Sunday, September 30, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
Video Link Here
The best thing about it is the related videos on You Tube.
UPDATE: One of the cardinal rules in blogging, as I understand it, is that you should not go back and change your posts. A little editing for spelling and grammar is ok but you should not change anything that makes a substantive difference. If you need to explain or apologize, you need to do it as an update or, preferably, in a new post.
I will confess that at first I had this YouTube embedded on my site but in retrospect, it's just too much - too over-the-top. Plus I was sick and tired of seeing the still image.
The link is there - I trust that I will not be blog-shunned for the change.
"'Everyone in the government and military can only talk of one thing,' he reports. 'No matter who I talked to, all they could do was ask me, over and over again, 'Do you think the Americans will attack us?' 'When will the Americans attack us?' 'Will the Americans attack us in a joint operation with the Israelis?' How massive will the attack be?' on and on, endlessly. The Iranians are in a state of total panic.'
"And that was before September 6. Since then, it's panic-squared in Tehran. The mullahs are freaking out in fear. Why? Because of the silence in Syria. On September 6, Israeli Air Force F-15 and F-16s conducted a devastating attack on targets deep inside Syria near the city of Dayr az-Zawr. Israel's military censors have muzzled the Israeli media, enforcing an extraordinary silence about the identity of the targets. . .
"Why would the Syrian government be so tight-lipped about an act of war perpetrated on their soil? The first half of the answer lies in this story that appeared in the Israeli media last month (8/13): Syria's Antiaircraft System Most Advanced In World. Syria has gone on a profligate buying spree, spending vast sums on Russian systems, 'considered the cutting edge in aircraft interception technology.' Syria now 'possesses the most crowded antiaircraft system in the world,' with 'more than 200 antiaircraft batteries of different types,' some of which are so new that they have been installed in Syria 'before being introduced into Russian operation service.' While you're digesting that, take a look at the map of Syria: Notice how far away Dayr az-Zawr is from Israel. An F15/16 attack there is not a tiptoe across the border, but a deep, deep penetration of Syrian airspace. And guess what happened with the Russian super-hyper-sophisticated cutting edge antiaircraft missile batteries when that penetration took place on September 6th. Nothing.
"El blanko. Silence. The systems didn't even light up, gave no indication whatever of any detection of enemy aircraft invading Syrian airspace, zip, zero, nada. The Israelis (with a little techie assistance from us) blinded the Russkie antiaircraft systems so
completely the Syrians didn't even know they were blinded. Now you see why the Syrians have been scared speechless. They thought they were protected - at enormous expense - only to discover they are defenseless. As in naked. Thus the Great Iranian Freak-Out - for this means Iran is just as nakedly defenseless as Syria.
"The pressure build-up on Iran is getting enormous. Something is going to blow and soon. The hope is that the blow-up will be internal, that the regime will implode from within. But make no mistake: an all-out full regime take-out air assault upon Iran is coming if that hope doesn't materialize within the next 60 to 90 days. The Sept. 6 attack on Syria was the shot across Iran's bow."
Google Earth, that's what:
Check it out.
HT: World Net Daily
"Nike today unveiled the Nike Air Native N7, a unique athletic performance shoe designed specifically for Native Americans. The Nike Air Native N7 is the result of nearly two years of collaborative research, development and fit testing in partnership with the Native American community. This first-of-a-kind performance shoe is built on a new and unique last created to address the specific fit and width requirements for the Native American foot. The result is a true Native fitting, performance product."
Well that's different.
First of all, you have to be careful what you broadcast to the world about your j.o.b. on these blog-thingys. I would never want to divulge an inappropriate level of the inner workings and machinations of the place I affectionately call "The House of Pain". That being said, I think it is okay to relate the following . . .
When someone is let go at my company, the corporate folks located in some far netherworld lock you out of the intranet where you can go online to get your pay stub and conduct various payroll functions. Naturally, the corporate bots are not supposed to lock you out until after you have received your walking papers - and here's why;
The bots did some pre-mature locking-out yesterday. Some employees who tried to access their pay stub online discovered that they were now denied access, they put two and two together, realized they were going to be let go today, and just started packing their desks. It was madness.
As of this morning, I can still access my pay stub via the intranet.
I also checked my direct deposit and it was the usual amount - no unused vacation time added.
Further, I had a conversation with the new manager yesterday in which he made comments that seemed to imply that I would be around for a while.
All of this does not mean that the boss-man wasn't just cleverly not referring to my imminent corporate-demise or that the bots aren't just waiting until 5pm today to lock me out once I am handed a check for my unused vacation and told to "hit the bricks".
But there is hope.
Now we just have to figure out a way to drum up enough business to get some of the good people who were let go back . . .
Here is real Goofy idea:
"Struggling KB Homes Pins Hopes on Disney Designs . . .
"The builder, which this week reported a loss for the second quarter in a row, has agreed to a licensing deal with The Walt Disney Co. to offer home design features based on many of the entertainment company’s most popular characters. By early next year, customers will be able to choose among flooring, lighting, wall covers and other products featuring Disney characters."
Uh, right. THAT'S your problem - there isn't enough children's animation worked into that $500,000 house you built.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Every day it's once at the South end of the yard and twice at the North end. Every day the same thing.
The dawg apparently has an opinion about this. It's just weird.
How's THAT for post #251?
And Andrew Keen says we have nothing useful to say . . .
The only mitigating factors have been trying to keep things in good taste, trying not to utterly bore people and trying not to spend every waking hour in front of the screen.
The blog-system tells me that this is my 250th post! That's something. I don't know what that something is - but it's something.
All that to say, in this 250th post, I got nothing. Nothing at all to say.
None of the news interests me right now - haven't watched any remarkable movies lately - I am all out of decent poetry and funny videos - I'm not running or surfing due to the Great Upheaval.
The dawg ate the begonia yesterday. And no, that's not a euphemism. We had a begonia. The Dawg ate it. And that's all I have to say about that.
Maybe if I brew some coffee, shave and get dressed . . . Be right back . . .
Back - shaven, dressed.
Something about shaving and getting dressed that really helps embolden you for the day - sometimes. Today it helped.
I have been heading into the office early all week and when I go to work early - I try to treat myself to a BIG breakfast.
Today's fare consists of a cuppa joe, glass of oj, plate of eggs and sausage, dawg at my feet hoping that I drop some of any of the above.
I mention breakfast only because Andrew Keen, author of "The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet is Killing our Culture" had this to say on PBS last week:
"The Internet has 70 million blogs ... no one cares what you had for breakfast."(HT: http://www.instapundit.com/ )
Which I don't think is true. I bet someone read about my breakfast this morning and said, "Hey - that sounds good" and treated themself to a BIG breakfast. Proving that this blog has the POWER TO CHANGE THE WORLD (or at least what someone decides to have for breakfast).
The only thing on my mind this morning is the j.o.b. The news is that the bulk of the layoffs is coming tomorrow. I have tried to think of an analogy but I can't. All I have to say is a bunch of people are being let go and I hope I am not one of them.
I am getting together with a good friend for beers on Monday at the cathedral of Our Lady of Barley, Hops and Water:
Hopefully we will be talking about what a close call it was instead of talking about job prospects.
Well - gotta get to work . . .
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Today, the thin veil between brilliance and madness was parted and, to quote the Muppets, Lileks (and I mean this with all admiration) "skipped a groove".
"A day of small accomplishments. By which I mean none, I suppose. . . . Let’s glean the day and see what can be found.
"8:25 – 8:28: Shaved. I have discovered that not using the five-bladed razors auto-vibrate feature results in a closer shave. Turns out that when you turn on the vibration feature, the razor gets distracted and confused. Shave cream: Bath & Body Work’s “Barber” gel. It’s better than the Nivea I’ve been using for years, which is good, since I’m out of Nivea. Permanently. I will shave no more forever, Nivea-wise. It was reformulated a while ago to include a new fragrance. I did not want the new fragrance. I bought up as much pre-improvement stock as I could, and it’s taken a year to go through it. . .
"I am now resigned to scented shave cream, but at least it’s part of a consistent aroma profile, buttressed by auxiliary toiletries. And thus is our precarious grasp on order maintained. . .
"11:30 – 11:41: Working lunch. I cannot stand the peanut butter sandwich anymore. Between the double-fiber bread, which tastes like something you’d slide out of a box marked IKEA, and the super-chunk peanut butter, it’s like a mouthful of sawmill by-products and Elmer’s Glue. I had some cold cuts. Warmed them up in the microwave, which made them just cuts, I suppose. . . Anyway, I didn't have a drink for lunch today. Didn't even have dessert.
"Had an apple.
"12:20: Off to the office. On the job. I’ll stop the recap here, because the quotidian details cease to fascinate at this point.
I am no stranger to obsessive-compulsive-disorder. but. whoa!
I am reminded of Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man (rocking) "Wopner's on at at 5. Quantas, Quantas never crashed."
Except that Lileks is brilliant and Dustin Hoffman's character was autistic.
Maybe more like "Quantas, Quantas never crashed MUWAHAHAHAHAH!"
- Lynn Williams, Canadian record holder in the 1500 meters
A week or so later I took the dawg to his first-ever visit to the vet. And on our way in, they were carrying a fully-grown Golden Retriever out on his side. He had just had surgery and was not allowed to walk. One person carried him under the front shoulders and another had his hind-quarters. They gently laid him in the back of a waiting SUV.
What happened there? I asked the owner. He looked at me, held up a plastic baggie with the remains of a bathtub stopper that had been removed from the dawg's innards and simply said, "$6,000.00".
Oh dear. It was the same exact type bathtub stopper I have in my tub. I looked down at the dawg and resolved. "No surgeries in the first year - I will not allow myself to become attached to the tune of $6,000. I suggest you don't eat the bathtub stopper, dawg."
Well, its hard to say if the dawg has actually swallowed any hose. I doubt it. And if he has, hopefully the pieces are small enough to pass through. I'm not really concerned.
It's my fault anyway - because of the work drama and our goofy weekend schedule, our last run was last Wednesday. The dawg must be going a little stir crazy.
The dawg ate the hose. Sounds sort of like a euphemism for cabin fever. "How was your weekend?"
"Man, my dawg really ate the hose this weekend!"
"I know what you mean, I stayed inside all weekend too."
I guess it's not that catchy.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Every month, it puts out a free newsletter containing portions of a speech recently given at the college.
In this month's issue, author Amity Shlaes looks at the 1936 Presidential Campaign and Roosevelt's "forgotten man" in a new light.
It's worth a read.
The real estate industry is in upheaval the likes of which no one I know can remember. Because of the unprecedented nature of the market, people are left guessing as to how bad it may get, how long it will take and when things might turn around.
I wrote last week that my company's county manager was unexpectedly replaced. Our old county manager was something of an optimist, "Things are going to get better! Hang in there!" as such, he was inclined to hang on to staff as long as possible so as to be ready when the big uptick occurred.
Our new county manager is *ahem* not and optimist. "Things are going to get worse before they get better - best to let the slash-and-burn begin" seems to be his position. I don't blame him - you need both types in business and seeing as how the company has been in the red for the past two months, a little thinning of staff was inevitable.
But this is b.r.u.t.a.l. No one really knows, but it appears that we may lose one-half to two-thirds of our staff in the next week or two. Those on the chopping block have an idea of where they stand and it is like working amongst the un-dead. Those who are relatively safe are just trying to keep their heads down and do their job with diminished staff-support. Then there are those somewhere in the middle - they aren't necessarily on the chopping block but they are close enough to feel like they are. Me, I am probably safe but I feel like I have a front-row seat to the spectacle.
I came home whipped yesterday. The wife had the day off and spent it doing just those things that suited her fancy so she was full of sweetness and light. She let the dawg out as I was getting out of the car and I was welcomed home in a way only a dawg can welcome you.
The wife poured me a beer, remarked how pretty the sun looked as it shone through the glass,
remarked on the sunset,
then baked a sausage and sauerkraut pizza and popped in the original Muppet Movie for our viewing pleasure.
But that was yesterday evening. And now the night-terrors begin. "Maybe I can get a job at another company - We might have to move to another town where business is better - Maybe I can wait tables again - At 37? You're crazy! - Maybe I can . . .Maybe I can . . . Maybe I can . . ."
Never mind what I maybe can do - what I really need to do is get back to the office. With the loss of my assistant, I have a ton of work and no help in sight. This type of situation can lead to a death spiral - you don't have enough help, so the clients get frustrated and take their business elsewhere - which leads to deeper cuts in staffing etc.
So for now, all activities are suspended - no running - no surfing - just WORK. It is a cruel irony that you need to run, surf etc. most during periods that are so difficult that you don't have time to do anything but concentrate on survival - keeping the ol' noggin above the water line. At least I have time to blog, I suppose.
Speaking of time - ugh, I have to get dressed . . .
Man. That beer tonight is going to taste wonderful.
Monday, September 24, 2007
“The same can be said for life, which has both its extraordinary peaks and intense valleys. Regardless of one’s situations, I believe that with some inner strength, courage and encouragement from those whom you love, I believe people can achieve anything”
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Unfortunately, I am also somewhat obsessive-compulsive. I can get chores and errands done quickly and efficiently so long as conditions are right, the planets are in alignment and the wind is blowing from the south.
This weekend, we were promised the storm of the century! Not in 20 years had we received as much rain as was barreling our way at the tail-end of the week. The heavens were going to open and a whole 2 1/2 inches was going to pour forth. Parents were advised to huddle with their children in the hallway or bathtub with mattresses over them should the whole house come crashing down around them from the sheer enormity of 2 1/2 whole inches! of rain! from the sky!
Here is what the sky looked like this morning:
Goofed around and watched a movie (review below).
Plans for today? Why, CBS Sunday Morning and a pot of coffee with eggs and breakfast meat of course. After that spit-and-polish will be the order of the day in preparation for dinner guests.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
When the movie "300" came out, I was intrigued. 300 Spartans standing against 1,000,000 Persians? For duty, honor and freedom? Sign me up!
The trouble is, I am put-off by gratuitous violence. Call me crazy.
I had heard that "300" was a gratuitous-sex-and-violence-comic-book-version of the Spartan stand at Thermopylae. So I sort of wrote it off without losing interest in the subject-matter.
The other night, I was channel-surfing (as is the duty of all red-blooded American males) and I came across a documentary called "The Last Stand of the 300" on PBS. I was hooked.
I CAN'T BELIEVE I DIDN'T KNOW THIS STORY!
It is amazing - and no, I can't sum it up for you. All I can say is 300 warriors standing against 1 million savages for duty, honor and freedom in 580 BC. Not hooked yet?
Well, after watching the PBS documentary, I went out and rented "300" at Hollywood Video. YES. I WENT OUT and got a movie from HV because I am too impatient to wait for it on Netflix.
The lady at the counter informed me that I had some unpaid late fees but that I could pay them in installments and I didn't have to pay any of it today (sorry to inform you honey, but Hollywood Video will either forgive my late fees or go bankrupt long before I ever pay-up).
So what do I think of 300? Well, they get the main, broad brush-strokes right (according to PBS). Its as if they adhered to the basic known facts, then honored the legends and then let the CGI people go crazy (If you don't like to see computer-generated people getting their heads chopped off in slo-mo, this movie is not for you).
All-in-all, if you can eat teen-camp food for a week straight and not get nauseous or constipated, then this movie might be up your alley (so-to-speak - camp food takes a strong stomach).
To sum up the philosophy of the movie, I will borrow from Ronald Regan when asked what his position was on the Soviet Union, "We win, they lose".
Watch the documentary first - then the movie.
Recommended with reservations.
BTW: If you are a total Spartan-Geek, you can check out the following website. (i am sure I will be there the remainder of the afternoon)
It would be one thing if professional people whom we deal with on a regular basis eventually became our friends; but in almost all cases, these folks were our friends long before they chose a profession.
Add to the list, patented inventor:
You would think that with friends like these, I would have figured out how to make more money . . . .
If ignorance is bliss, Father said,
shouldn't you be looking blissful?
You should check to see if you have
the right kind of ignorance. If you're
not getting the benefits that most people
get from acting stupid, then you should
go back to what you always were -
being too smart for your own good.
Friday, September 21, 2007
From their site:
Raise a stein to every one's favorite German export: Oktoberfest is here! Since 1810, the two weeks before the first Sunday in October have been set aside for beer, sausages, spaetzle, and sauerkraut.
What began in 1810 as a regional celebration of the marriage of Prince Ludwig has evolved into one of the largest festivals in the world.
Local microbreweries create special beers in the Oktoberfest style--a Marzen, traditionally brewed in March and tapped for Oktoberfest . . .
Hungry, thirsty hordes of merrymakers descend upon Munich, Bavaria's capital. Tents capable of seating 100,000 people offer beer from six local breweries--carried by more than 1600 strong-armed waitresses--and serve southern German specialties.
Find your lederhosen, a good source for bratwurst, a fine Marzen-style lager, and let Allrecipes help you celebrate Oktoberfest.
The sum of all known value and respect I add up in you whoever you are;
The President is up there in the White House for you . . . it is not you who are here for him,
The Secretaries act in their bureaus for you . . . not you here for them,
The Congress convenes every December for you,
Laws, courts, the forming of states, the charters of cities, the going and coming of commerce and mails are all for you.
"Once her son is off to school, Laura Mansfield settles in at her dining room table with her laptop and begins trolling Arabic-language message boards and chat rooms popular with jihadists.
"Fluent in Arabic, the self-employed terror analyst often hacks into the sites, translates the material, puts it together and sends her analysis via a subscription service to intelligence agencies, law enforcement and academics.
"Occasionally she comes across a gem, such as when she found a recent Osama bin Laden video — before al-Qaida had announced it.
"'I realized, oh my gosh, I'm sitting here, I'm a fat 50-year-old mom and I've managed to scoop al-Qaida,' said Mansfield, who uses that name as a pseudonym because she receives death threats. . .
"There have been times when an impending video release has kept her from a planned shopping trip with her daughter.
"'It gets really challenging when you're trying to do that and cook spaghetti at the same time,' she said."
HT: The Most Significant Thing
Just go to http://play.blogger.com .
I find it fascinating. The photos are from all over the world and if you click on one that interests you, you will be taken to the person's blog post where the photo appears.
It is surprising to see how many of our blogspot neighbors are blogging in a language other than English.
HT: The Most Significant Thing
Thursday, September 20, 2007
This was a day when nothing happened,
the children went off to school
without a murmur, remembering
their books, lunches, gloves.
All morning, the baby and I built block stacks
in the squares of light on the floor.
And lunch blended into naptime,
I cleaned out kitchen cupboards,
one of those jobs that never gets done,
then sat in a circle of sunlight
and drank ginger tea,
watched the birds at the feeder
jostle over lunch's little scraps.
A pheasant strutted from the hedgerow,
preened and flashed his jeweled head.
Now a chicken roasts in the pan,
and the children return,
the murmur of their stories dappling the air.
I peel carrots and potatoes without paring my thumb.
We listen together for your wheels on the drive.
Grace before bread.
And at the table, actual conversation,
no bickering or pokes.
And then, the drift into homework.
The baby goes to his cars, drives them
along the sofa's ridges and hills.
Leaning by the counter, we steal a long slow kiss,
tasting of coffee and cream.
The chicken's diminished to skin and skeleton,
the moon to a comma, a sliver of white,
but this has been a day of grace
in the dead of winter,
the hard cold knuckle of the year,
a day that unwrapped itself
like an unexpected gift,
and the stars turn on,
into the winter night.
WARNING! FIRE! WARNING! FIRE!
Grooowllllll . . . .
Waahunh . . .?
When we bought the house a couple years ago there were a great many things that caused to pause in wonderment about the previous owners. Why did they do that? Why didn't they do that? Why did they do that that way?
One of the head-scratchers was the smoke detector. Attached to the wall. In the living room. I tore it down and chucked it before we painted.
Well, a couple weeks ago I finally got around to putting up the new smoke detector in the hallway outside the bedrooms. On the ceiling. Where it belongs. . . . apparently right above the gravity furnace . . .
SCREECH! SCREECH! SCREECH!
WARNING! FIRE! WARNING! FIRE!
Grooowllllll . . . .
Waahunh . . .?
The furnace had set off the alarm which set off the dawg who bolted to the other side of the bedroom which set off my wife and the cat and all five were now doing their best to get the only non-responsive gadget / pet / human in the whole house to do something about it.
Waahunh? *bleary* 3:11am
Stumble to the hallway. Rip down the alarm off the ceiling where it belongs. Take out the batteries. Stumble back to bed.
So That's Why . . .
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I am a person who likes routine. I find great comfort in the familiar.
Although I have been doing this running thing pretty consistently for the past 9 months, it has never felt totally routine. Heading out with a 11-month old puppy Dawg, trying to build an initial running base and collection of injuries, all have added enough variables to ward off any feelings of comfortable routine. Until this morning.
Maybe it was because all I had to say to the dawg was "let's go" and he was at the front door, then hopping in the car unbidden. Maybe it was because the run just felt good. In any case, it was the routine, the familiar this morning and it felt great.
I awoke with my head buzzing with all kinds of confusing thoughts this morning. It feels like there is a lot going on right now.
I have heard that back in the days of leaded gasoline it was good for your car to take it out on the highway and "open her up" - "give her the gas" and really get that engine moving to blow out the carbon build-up. I don't know if there is any truth to it - sort of sounds like one of those urban myths.
Myth or no, that's what the run felt like this morning. Routine, familiar, comforting. I "gave her the gas" and it helped to blow out some gunk in my head. With my head a little clearer, I decided to cut the run short and head home to take care of some things before work.
That - and the bathrooms don't open until 7am.
Note to self: Eating a big-herkin' steak the night before a run isn't such a good idea . . .
"Ever wonder how it would feel to be a lifeguard? Or a paparazzo? Or a conservative radio host? Times reporter Bill Lobdell decided to find out. Each week, he'll try on someone else's life as part of a new weekly latimes.com video feature, "Living Vicariously in L.A." Today, in the first installment, you can see him working for a day as a Huntington Beach lifeguard. Stay tuned for his future stints as, among other things, a pastor delivering a Sunday sermon and a Botox patient."
HT: Hugh Hewitt
My words are words of a questioning, and to indicate reality;
This printed and bound book . . . but the printer and the printing-office boy?
The marriage estate and settlement . . . but the body and mind of the bridegroom? also those of the bride?
The panorama of the sea . . . but the sea itself?
The well-taken photographs . . . but your wife or friend close and solid in your arms?
The fleet of ships of the line and all the modern improvements . . . but the craft and pluck of the admiral?
The dishes and fare and furniture . . . but the host and hostess, and the look out of their eyes?
The sky up there . . . yet here or next door or across the way?
The saints and sages in history . . . but you yourself?
Sermons and creeds and theology . . . but the human brain, and what is called reason, and what is called love, and what is called life?
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Good news! All of
From MSNBC.com: Key Graphs:
“State Sen. Ernie Chambers sued God last week. . . “
“Chambers says in his lawsuit that God has made terrorist threats against the senator and his constituents, inspired fear and caused ‘widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth’s inhabitants.’”
senator, who skips morning prayers during the legislative session and often criticizes Christians, also says God has caused ‘fearsome floods ... horrendous hurricanes, terrifying tornadoes.’” Omaha
“He’s seeking a permanent injunction against the Almighty.”
Funny how they don’t mention his party affiliation . . .
- a runner
Yesterday was greeted with much anticipation. The wife's sister was going under the knife to have a cornea transplant in Seattle, the wife had a meeting of significant importance scheduled for noon (and no, it was not about pregnancy), a friend of ours was having her first ultrasound of her first pregnancy, a couple of friends of ours are in the middle of career upheaval and yet another friend of ours is going through one of the great rights of passage that up-ends your world but through which we all must pass one day.
I received an e-mail at work that our county manager was stepping down and five minutes later, the new chief was making the rounds introducing himself. Being in the real estate industry, the market has been *ahem* "contracting" which puts a lot of pressure on the powers that be to make some pretty difficult decisions. It is roundly believed that the new chief was brought in to make some of those difficult decisions. He seemed like a nice enough guy to me - moved from Santa Barbara because he needed more city-life. Of course, he probably seemed nice to me because (so far as I know) my position is relatively secure. I am sure others shook his hand yesterday and stared into the icy black maw of an impending job hunt. Careers hang in the balance.
With the market contracting as it has, every client that used to send you 10-15 deals a month is now sending you 3-5 deals a month. Which means everyone needs to scramble for more clients, but quick. Imagine fishing against a clock; its not good enough that you readied the pole, baited the hook and staked out the best fishing hole. You have to get a fish in the boat NOW and then another and then another . . . . Well yesterday I landed a fish - a fish that ought to be good for 10-15 deals a month.
The wife did all the grocery shopping after her meeting - which doesn't sound significant except that the larder was e.m.p.t.y. and when the fridge is empty, making a list and buying everything on it feels significant.
I came home and the reports began to trickle in, the wife's noon meeting went well, her meeting with a friend afterwards went well also. The wife's sister came out of surgery, took her patch off and could see well enough to dial the phone and tell us all about it. The larder was restocked and the wife set about making dinner.
I repaired to the deck, libation-in-hand to quietly breathe in the cooling evening and watch the sunset. Feist was on the stereo - one of our bands de'jour - and the smell of dinner was in the air. The sky was bright orange in the distance - pink and grey clouds against a darkening blue background hung overhead. A hummingbird was flitting amongst the trumpet vine on the back fence while another one chirped away in the distance. Some insect in the neighbor's yard was doing its best imitation of a cricket.
I thought to myself, this is good. I should try and capture this - maybe take a photo. But as soon as you switch from experiencing a thing to trying to capture a thing, you lose the thing. No, best to let this one go by unmolested. I took it in for as long as I could without becoming selfish and headed to the kitchen to keep the wife company.
"Hey, look at that." the wife said, and pointed out the window at the remaining embers of the sunset.
"Yeah, I know"
UPDATE: Funny, it seems that Lileks had a similar evening:
"Complain we might about humidity in the summer, a touch of it on a September night is like the breath of heaven. I’m in the gazebo, swatting mosquitoes; crickets and a lone contented frog in the margins of the yard. A storm is due, but they’ve said that all day. We were supposed to get Severe Weather in the afternoon, complete with hail the size of . . . big hail, I don’t know. I’m tired of hail similes. All I know is this: it’s midnight, I’m wearing shorts, it’s September, and there’s great drama in the trees up above. I live for this."
Only, he's in Minnesota and talented and I'm in San Diego and, well, you know . . .
Lying around all day
with some strange new deep blue
weekend funk, I'm not really asleep
when my sister calls
to say she's just hung up
from talking with Aunt Bertha
who is 89 and ill but managing
to take care of Uncle Frank
who is completely bed ridden.
Aunt Bert says
it's snowing there in Arkansas,
on Catfish Lane, and she hasn't been
able to walk out to their mailbox.
She's been suffering
from a bad case of the mullygrubs.
The cure for the mullygrubs,
she tells my sister,
is to get up and bake a cake.
If that doesn't do it, put on a red dress.
Monday, September 17, 2007
From the San Diego Union Tribune: Key Graphs:
France's foreign minister warned yesterday that the world should prepare for war if obtains nuclear weapons and said European leaders were considering their own economic sanctions against the Islamic country. Iran
“’We will not accept that such a bomb is made. We must prepare ourselves for the worst,’ Kouchner said, specifying that could mean a war. He did not elaborate on what kind of preparations that would entail.
“’We have decided, while negotiations are under way . . . to prepare for eventual sanctions outside the United Nations, which would be European sanctions,’ he said.”
President Bush’s response?;
Washington, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the Bush administration is committed, for now, to using diplomatic and economic means to counter the potential nuclear threat from .” Iran
“’I think that the administration believes at this point that continuing to try and deal with the Iranian threat, the Iranian challenge, through diplomatic and economic means is by far the preferable approach. That's the one we are using,’ Gates said.”
I’m sorry, I must have bumped my head . . . let me re-read that one . . .
Obviously this is all Bushitler's fault - just give me a while to figure out how . . . .
Just about all my friends are wine drinkers. Gaggles of us have even taken trips to Napa, Santa Barbara, the Temecula Valley, Washington State, even Hawaii (yes - Maui has a winery) to tour wineries and sample the faire. A number of my friends even have climate controlled wine lockers.
While we are certainly not "wine snobs", our discussions on wine occasionally have veered into the surreal - discussing viscosity, color, clarity, the right glass for the right wine, whether it has nice "legs" or not . . . at which point I am left silently wondering, "We are still talking about the wine, right?"
Then there are the flavors - chocolate, lavender, gardenia, blackberry, raspberry, gooseberry (okay, I made that last one up)
Most of the time I start to get very quiet during these discussions. I just can't differentiate all these nuances the way some people can (I suppose I don't try very hard either). Truth be told, in the past I have been more concerned about quantity than quality (told you I am an uncultured lout). An approach I should probably abandon seeing as how there are increasingly more children at these gatherings and I'M AN ADULT FOR CRYING OUT LOUD.
I have three basic descriptions for wine - "WOW!", "Pretty Good", and "meh".
One of the endearing things about our friends the Monticelli brothers (3rd generation wine-makers in Napa Valley - link to the right) is their standard response whenever someone asks them, "Is this a good wine?" or some similar question . . . "Do you like it? Then its a good wine!"
All that to say, this article in the Telegraph brought a smile to my face this morning: Scientists prove wine buffs are talking rubbish
The title of the article overstates but it's worth reading. Key graphs:
". . . Today a US team publishes hard evidence that people smell the world differently because of their genes.
". . . It reveals that small changes in a single gene – identified as OR7D4 – can cause a person to perceive a key ingredient of male body odour and urine as smelling like urine or, most remarkably, vanilla.
"The Telegraph's wine buff, Jonathan Ray, commented: "Shock horror! So there is scientific proof that wine lovers talk rubbish. Doesn't everyone after a glass or two?
"'How does one describe what scrambled eggs tastes like, or smoke smells like, without comparing them to something else? So it is that we wine lovers might describe a wine as tasting of truffles, leather, game and rotting veg. Well, dammit, that's what old red burgundy often resembles. It certainly doesn't taste of grapes.'"
HT: World Net Daily
Sunday morning I did this.
Okay, there is something surreal about posting a blog and then posting another blog linking to your previous blog.
I might as well just do this.
ANYWAY. The point is, I made further progress on the great retaining wall project in the front yard on Sunday. No, I don't actually have anything built yet - no, I don't have all the supplies purchased - and no, what wood I have purchased is not all stained yet. BUT! I have made substantial headway on digging out the trench, painstakingly leveling each landscape tie where it will eventually go. It's no pic-nic.
My front yard slopes left to right (or right to left depending on which way you are facing). I want the first landscape tie at the highest point to be flush with the ground. The next tie slides half-way under the first and the next one slides half-way under that and so on so that the top of the retaining wall remains level while the lot slopes away. Fascinating, I know.
I had to borrow a hatchet from the neighbor to hack out a root 3 inches in diameter that was impeding progress. A few feet later I came across another root about 1/2 inch thick and reached for the hatchet when I though to myself, "That's an awfully straight root".
"Put the hatchet down, step away from the trench, keep your hands where we can see them."
Turns out, it was the gas main. That was a close one.
Couple more weekends and I should be able to start actually building the wall.
Rounded out the day with a drink, a Dawg, a cigar and a book all on the back deck.
It's Monday - time to figure out a way to pay for all this stuff . . .
We were going to be in DC for Halloween so we all decided to dress up. I dressed as "Bill" a-la Schoolhouse Rock. The costume met my two major requirements for dressing up: 1) It was comfortable, 2) It was dirt cheap (basically a bed sheet with a wooden dowel in the top. Other wonderful costumes were donned by those in attendance but I will leave it to my friends to post them on their own blogs if they wish.)
We all walked to the Capital building Halloween night and had a great time. One of my buddies had a camera and he asked me to goof around on the Capitol steps while he filmed. At one point the Capitol Hill police came down and wanted to know what was going on (I guess apeing around in a bedsheet on the Capital steps at night is a little odd - I don't think he was familiar with Schoolhouse Rock).
After the trip, I received an e-mail from my buddy with this video:
Happy Constitution Day!
"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
"On September 17, 1787, the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention held their final meeting. Only one item of business occupied the agenda that day, to sign the Constitution of the United States of America. . .
"After being signed in September of 1787, Congress sent printed copies of the Constitution to the state legislatures for ratification. . . By June 21, 1788, nine states had approved the Constitution, finally forming "a more perfect Union."
"No matter how much we argue about the details of its meaning today, in the opinion of many, the Constitution signed in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787 represents the greatest expression of statesmanship and compromise ever written. In just four hand-written pages, the Constitution gives us no less than the owners' manual to the greatest form of government the world has ever known."
The full text of the Constitution is easy to find on the web. I found an easy-to-use site here.
Here and there with dimes on the eyes walking,
To feed the greed of the belly the brains liberally spooning,
Tickets buying or taking or selling, but in to the feast never once going;
Many swearing and ploughing and thrashing, and then the chaff for payment receiving,
A few idly owing, and they the wheat continually claiming.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
I woke up this morning and felt like I was filled with lead.
Look! Down on the ground! It's a man-hole cover! It's a corpse! No. IT'S LEAD-MAN!
I mumbled in the dark to the wife, "I am supposed to run today." She mumbled back, "Can't you skip it? Sleep in."
"I am supposed to run today" I thought aloud. Feet on the deck - let's get it over with.
I had planned on benching the dawg today as he totally lagged on Friday but he shadowed me all morning - put his head in my lap and gazed up at me.
Ohallright - get in the car! I drove to the marina and parked at the north end.
The marina loop is about 3 miles which seems to be the point at which the wind goes out of his sails. We ran the 3 and I dropped him off at the car with a bowl of water and finished out my run solo along harbor drive.
My right IT band reminded me that it was there and I discovered a new pain in my right heel that I pray is not the dreaded plantar fasciitis.
It would figure though, I seem to be destined to run the entire gauntlet of running injuries.
So why do I rise in the dark every other day or so to run when I could be snug-as-a-bug? Because that's how stubborn and obnoxious I am
A marriage is risky business these days
Say some old and prudent voice inside.
We don't need twenty children anymore
To keep the family line alive,
Or gather up the hay before the rain.
No law demands respectability.
Love can arrive without certificate or cash.
History and experience both make clear
That men and women do not hear
The music of the world in the same key,
Rather rolling dissonances doomed to clash.
So what is left to justify a marriage?
Maybe only the hunch that half the world
Will ever be present in any room
With just a single pair of eyes to see it.
Whatever is invisible to one
Is to the other an enormous golden lion
Calm and sleeping in the easy chair.
After many years, if things go right
Both lion and emptiness are always there,
The one never true without the other.
But the dark secret of the ones long married,
A pleasure never mentioned to the young,
Is the sweet heat made from two bodies in a bed
Curled together on a winter night,
The smell of the other always in the quilt,
The hand set quietly on the other's flank
That carries news from another world
Light-years away from the one inside
That you always thought you inhabited alone.
The heat in that hand could melt a stone.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Being that I work in a climate-controlled office Monday -Friday, I would much rather work outside than inside on the weekend. The trouble is, many of the estate-improvements at the top of my wife's list are inside.
As a compromise, I have decided to spend Saturdays working on the inside of the estate and Sundays working on the outside of the estate.
Today being Saturday, I have been working mostly inside . . . only . . . I got all the inside chores done by noon. Well, being the ambitious old coot that I am, I decided to run to Home Depot to stock up for the Great Retaining Wall Project for tomorrow.
It took forever.
Imagine your worst trip to home depot for all the myriad reasons and double it.
I got home, unloaded the tonnage of supplies, came in and got sucked in by Muppet videos on You Tube such as this one:
Don't act like it's never happened to you . . .
Well, half-a-dozen Muppet you-tubes and a bourbon and coke later and, "Nothing to see here . . . move along . . . "
I guess here ends the productive segment of this Saturday . . . .
"Google Australia has unveiled what it describes as the world's most powerful dedicated election website, capable of exposing inconsistencies in the public pronouncements of political leaders. . .HT: www.worldnetdaily.com
"Google's Australian-developed election site includes a feature called "On the Record", where users can type in a politician's name, along with an issue of their choosing. It then scours parliamentary transcripts and the politician's personal website to find any statements on the issue, allowing voters to check whether their representatives are being consistent."
I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journeywork of the stars.
And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren,
And the tree-toad is a chef-d'oeuvre for the highest,
And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven,
And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery,
And the cow crunching with depressed head surpasses any statue,
And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels,
And I could come every afternoon of my life to look at the farmer's girl boiling her iron tea-kettle and baking shortcake.
Friday, September 14, 2007
This is the fountain at the West end of the plaza. Beyond the fountain, you can see the plaza - the botanical building is on the left. The Dawg's fountain is at the far end - left-hand-side and the big fountain is just beyound that.
Fine run this morning. Wednesday's run went so well I was eager to see how this one felt. About average, I suppose, but the dawg started to really lag around the 25 min mark.
It's tough. You have to wonder, is he hanging back 20 feet just because that's where he wants to be this morning? or is something wrong? does he not feel well? is he just overly tired? Is part of that stuffed animal he ate yesterday still caught in his throat?
After watching him for a few minutes, I figured we better cut it short. Pretty sure it was the right idea since he is currently passed out at my feet.
I am scheduled for a 6-miler on Sunday - I think I will bench him for that one.
There was a woman in Ithaca
who cried softly all night
in the next room and helpless
I fell in love with her under the blanket
of snow that settled on all the roofs
of the town, filling up
every dark depression.
in the motel coffee shop
I studied all the made-up faces
of women. Was it the middle-aged blonde
who kidded the waitress
or the young brunette lifting
her cup like a toast?
Love, whoever you are,
your courage was my companion
for many cold towns
after the betrayal of Ithaca,
and when I order coffee
in a strange place, still
I say, lifting, this is for you.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
It is no secret that Hugh Hewitt is my favorite talk show host. He is my favorite, in part, because of his regular segments such as the “Smart Guys” where John Eastman, the conservative dean of
Here are the key graphs from the LA Times:
“Just days after he signed a contract to become the first dean of UC Irvine's new law school, Erwin Chemerinsky was told this week that the deal was off because he was too "politically controversial."
“Chemerinsky said in an interview today that UC Irvine Chancellor Michael V. Drake had flown to North Carolina on Tuesday and told him at a hotel near the airport that that he did not realize the extent to which there were "conservatives out to get me."
“Chemerinsky, one of the nation's best known constitutional scholars and a liberal professor at
Duke Universityin , said he signed a contract last week after being offered the job Aug. 16. He said he had lined up a board of advisors for the new school, including the deans of the UC Berkeley and Durham, N.C. Universityof Virginialaw schools and three federal judges, including Andrew Guilford, a Bush appointee from . . . Orange County
“He said that "concerns" had emerged from the UC regents, which would have had to approve the appointment, Chemerinsky said. The professor said Drake told him that he thought there would have been a "bloody battle" among the regents over the appointment. . .
“John Eastman, a conservative constitutional scholar and dean of
Chapman University Law Schoolin , who frequently debates Chemerinsky, called UCI's move "a serious misstep." . . . Orange
“In April 2005, the professor [Chemerinsky] was named one of "the top 20 legal thinkers in
" by Legal Affairs magazine.” America
Not that I am a con-law scholar or anything and I don’t think I have ever agreed with anything Erwin has ever said on the Hugh Hewitt show (he is a liberal’s liberal); but you don't have to be a scholar to understand that the idea that an institution of higher learning – a law school, at that – would impose an ideological litmus test on the deanship is just plain stoopid. While the shallowness of my con-law knowledge is exceeded only by its narrowness, it seems to me that Erwin Chemerinsky is more than qualified for the post and would have been a great “get” to UCI Law.
The fact that the board of Regents would rather have their second-choice conservative over their first-choice liberal does not bode well for an institution that has not even opened its doors yet. If conservative thought is so fragile, so delicate and so in need of protection from the storms of vigorous debate that it cannot endure a liberal dean of a
UCI ought beg him the take the job a second time – and Erwin ought to make them pay a few extra dollars for the pathetic treatment he has received.
HT: Hugh Hewitt