Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween 08

YAR! Here thar be pirates! A whole cut-throat family of them. Even a dashing and swarthy Pirate Mom. They, of course, all went to school in their full pirate glory.

I, of course, working for a lifeless and emotionally bankrupt corporate succubus, couldn't do anything remotely interesting. So I went to work dressed up like a computer geek. Somehow, everyone saw through my disguise.

We'll have to plan something clever for next year. I vote for robots.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Unbroken Thumb

Never a good sign when my phone rings, and upon answering it, the only sound I hear is Liam screaming his lungs raw. Not a good start to the conversation.

The backstory was that Liam got his fingers smashed in a door frame while playing around at Meg's ballet school. As can be expected, he thought it was broken and swore to every god and angel that would listen that his thumb was broken in multiple places and it was the worst pain a nine-year-old could ever experience.

Flash foward a couple of hours. I'm sitting in the Emergency Room with him. After two hours, we get into a room. An hour later, we get an x-ray. And after a total of four hours (during which time Liam took a nap and I caught up on email) the doctors determined he had an unbroken thumb. Swollen? Yes. Painful? Yes. Broken? No.

And that is how I spent my night.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Oddities In The Atlanta Airport

On my way to Savannah, to visit my buddy, Chris Miller. Grabbing a connecting flight and find myself surrounded by oddities in the Atlanta Airport.

First up, a counter where you can roll up and get a flu shot. As if air travel isn't painful enough?

Next, some lady completely passed out and draped across a couple of chairs. The angle of the feet scream, "Kill me, now. Please!"

Finally, going down an escalator, this girl in front of me had her neck pierced. Let me say that again: HER NECK WAS PIERCED! First time I've ever seen that. Probably a reason for it. And I was very tempted it thump it, just to see her wince. I bet her parents are proud.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Out Of Order

My PC at home blew up.

The hard drives are not visible to the rest of the system.

So nothing boots up.

And I apparently have no data.

Hope to fix it soon.

Life without a computer isn't as bad as I predicted.

Monday, October 20, 2008

So Long Sabrina

My friend and cohort, Sabrina, had her last day at work. It is rarely good to see a friend go, but in this case Sabrina has found a much better position, making significantly more money, and she's also moving closer to her family.

I'll miss her. A lot of people at work will miss her. But she found a great opportunity and it would be a mistake to let it go. Good luck, Sabrina. You know how to find me if you need something.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Always Patsy Cline

“Always…Patsy Cline” is a play about the real life friendship between the show's namesake and Houston housewife Louise Seger. Glenda, Cindy's Mom, co-starred as Louise. We took Alex to see the last show, today. And it was great. Glenda completely rocked the house. That is her with the very big wig, in the picture. The singing by the girl playing Patsy was incredible. (She is on the left in the picture.) And the live band (in the very back of the photo) completed the effect. It was such a good show that our kids loved it, too.

Afterward, we went backstage and huge out with the cast for a bit. Took some pictures with the stars of the show. Let them know how much we enjoyed it and listened to the producer tell about the time he met the real Louise Seger.

Absolutely wonderful show. The first time I'd seen Glenda play a lead role. And I hope it isn't the last. Great way to end the weekend.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


A boy, his tractor, and his dog. That's what is best in life.

The strapping young lad is Tolar. My nephew. Doesn't talk much. But when he does, it's powerful.

I'm going to keep an eye on the kid. Hair like that spells trouble. Mark my words.

Gulfport Fall Faire

Gulfport School District had a big Fall Faire today. Cindy and I took Cousin Alex, Meg, and Liam. Beautiful weather and good company made for a fun day at the park.

First Liam got to meet a bunch of real firemen and put out a pretend fire with a real hose. (I like the little rainbow coming off the nozzle, in the picture.)

Then the kids were able to climb into the firetruck and see what is like to sit behind the wheel and steer the whole thing. Of course they wanted to flip every switch, blow the horn, and talk on the radio. Meg also wanted to see "the fire dog." I couldn't bear to tell her the truth, so I said they left it at the firehouse to guard everything while they were out. That won't her approval.

Next, the tattoos. On their face. Liam got a big orange G, for Gulfport. Meg got a bunch of colors and swirls and flowers. Not sure what Alex got. But she got her ink, too.

And then we treated them to some cotton candy. Which scored big points.

There were also some rides and information booths (one showing a simulated pair of lungs after a couple of years of smoking.) Meg and Cindy had some pizza. Liam fired a robot-mounted air cannon at a bail of hay. And the various schools gave away books and magazines to encourage reading for everyone.

We escaped with our sanity and without anyone crying. That's a major victory, in my book.

My Aardvark

After faire, Meg was hanging out in our room, watching a cartoon. I asked if she had fun today, and she said it was great. In between words, I noticed strange things were afoot.

"Meg, stick out your tongue."


And this is what I get. My aardvark and her green tongue.

Friday, October 17, 2008

50s Day

Today was "50s Day" for Liam's grade. He put on his high tops, blue jeans, white shirt, and sun glasses. Cindy greased up his hair. I rolled his pants leg and sleeves. And he was off to watch Grease and look at Poodle Skirts.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Report Cards

The kids received their report cards today.

Meg almost made all 100's. The only non-100 was a 99! And she made all S's (Satisfactory) on the non-graded stuff. She's also the top reader in her grade!

Liam made all A's! He's officially on the Honor Roll. And his Principal wrote a note on his report card recognizing his efforts. He also made all S's on the non-graded stuff. He's the top reader in his grade and the second highest in the school, next to a 5th grader.

Very proud of the kids this week. We're going to have to come up with something extra special fun and exciting to do this weekend. I'm open to suggestions...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Days like this remind me why I'm glad I moved back to the Gulf Coast. Cruising down the beach. Windows down. Sunroof open. The cry of seagulls.Smell of the sand. No traffic.Beautiful sunset.

It's all good.

Just need 364 more like this one.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This Olde House - Bathroom Ceiling II

My father is my electrician. (He's also a former Navy electrician and currently a property engineer where we both work.) I usually do the heavy lifting and the demo work while he plays with the electricity. So I asked him to come over and help me 1) relocate the bathroom light from the hall to inside the bathroom, 2) wire up the new light / fan, and 3) help hold up the drywall while I hang it on the ceiling.

We actually tried to get it squared away last week, on Wednesday. But we discovered that the wiring was extremely wonky. We could have worked around it, but it would have required multiple splices into multiple cables. Instead, I bought a few more parts, Dad spent some time thinking about a more elegant solution, and we waited until today to try round two.

First, Dad put up a new junction box. It took the old feed to the light switch (in the hall) and split it off to power the same lights and same outlet, but it also powered the new fan and light and will be able to support a new GFI outlet when I eventually gut that bathroom. Since the ceiling was open, Dad popped up through the beams and made pretty quick work of it.

Next, we opened the wall a good bit. Where they used to be just an outlet, we made room for the switch to control the existing lights and a switch to control the soon-to-be-installed fan and overhead light. We were hoping to keep the outlet in place and put the new double-gang box on the other side of the stud (to anchor it.)

Unfortunately, we bumped up against an unexpected EXTRA stud. Two, actually. One (seen in the picture to the left) by the outlet that completely eliminated the space we were going to use for the double-gang box. And one by the medicine cabinet.

After a bit of a scramble, Dad said we could move the outlet to the smaller space, widen the original hole, and put the double-gang box against the original stud. There we be a briefly ugly spot in the middle, but I'd fix it later.

We mounted the fan, with only a little bit of trouble and then put up the "greenboard" I had cut earlier.At which point we discovered that the fix was way too tight. We couldn't shimmy them into place at all.  I had cut the dimensions by measuring stud-to-stud rather than wall to wall. Even though it was only half an inch on each wall, the margin for error was too strict. I had to trim all the edges. But then they fit into place.

HOWEVER, we had mounted the fan too high. The metal rods that hold the decorative piece in place didn't reach down low enough. And of course we figured this out AFTER the ceiling was in place. So I had to crawl up into the attic, on my belly, over the antique insulation and we worked everything down an inch. Terribly hot and uncomfortable. It made me realize why renovation work is so expensive to contract out.

Eventually, everything went into place. And for a change, I used drywall SCREWS and hung it using a cordless drill. MUCH easier on the arms and neck. I'm never going to manually hammer drywall nails again. I've pledged myself to The Way Of The Screw. (Laugh it up, Chuckleheads.)

And with the villainously painful work out of the way, Dad wrapped up the wiring, made everything pretty, tested his handwork, and we called it a day.

Next step: get Troy to mud and sand it. Then Cindy cuts loose with the paint. And we're done. With this project.

Monday, October 13, 2008

MindSpring Revisited - Less Lincoln

To borrow from Churchill, Less Lincoln is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. A modern day Ronnin in search of a worthy Shogun. Never on the same adventure twice. And rarely giving any glimpses of what lurks behind the darkness of his shades.

Less was one of those guys I really wanted to hang out with. However I could never muster the strength to stay up THAT late or drink THAT much. But almost without fail, if I ever found myself in the Vortex, he was either already waiting, or not far behind. And his tab was measured by the pound.

Less pings me from time to time. Usually an obscure technology article, or a link to one of his adventures. I caught up with him via email and here are his updates, in his own words:
  • How were you involved with MindSpring?
    I worked my way from dialup support to emperor of the know universe, otherwise known as Acting director for the Mindspring Eathlink NOC.
  • What was one of your favorite adventures at MindSpring?
    one main. nuff said.
    or the 3com party where they ran out of beer and palm pilots, and the mood turned ugly. so they got waay more beer.
  • Share a memorable event from MindSpring?
    the excite Pal Chat where I told Kelly she was too young for me. Apparently it made her determined.
  • What is something other SpringHeads might not have known about you in those days?
    I only started working there to pay for my practice space for Superstar Pillowfight
  • Why did you part ways with MindSpring?
    despite outlasting some questionable directors, I was apparently too junior for my job. so they put in a consultant over me, and wondered why service went to hell. A guy can only take so much.
  • What are you up to these days?
    I build datacenters and engineering teams for Google.
  • Did you learn any lessons at MndSpring that you still carry with you?
    CV&Bs go a long way, if you actually pay attention to them.
  • Come up with a unique question of your own.
    What really went on behind the elevator ?
Yo! Good question, about the elevator. That hit me like a forgotten Vietnam flashback. Thanks, Less!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Uncluttering The Keys

One of my New Year's Resolutions was (and is) to unclutter my life. I honestly think clutter (in any form) is disruptive on multiple levels. So I continue to try to find ways to streamline my world and diminish the burden on my poor tattered braincells.

This week, I tackled something completely new. I uncluttered my keychain. I think I have accumulated almost 20 years worth of cruft and carried it around in my pocket without ever giving it any thought. But yesterday I looked at the jumbled hunk of jingling iron and said: "Wait a second, I don't need that any more!" And a few minutes later, I had a much more organized and much lighter keychain.

To unclutter, I used three main techniques:
  1. Line up the links: I never realized it, but I had about 11 rings and they were strung off each other with no rhyme or reason at all. It was a sprawling explosion of loops that had clearly grown out of control. So I unhooked EVERYTHING, eliminated un-needed rings, and lined them up neatly next to each other, in a continuous chain.
  2. Reduce, reduce, reduce: I had items on my keychain that I would never (under any circumstances) use again. Never. No way. Those had to go. And I also had too many rings with just one item on them. Those had to go, too.  
  3. Create functional groups: Previously I had everything spread everywhere. Pure, unadulterated chaos lurking in my pocket. I switched to three functional groups: car keys, work keys, and home keys. That's it. My entire life summed up in three simple groups. 
When I was done, I was left with only four rings (more than 50% reduction!) I had removed several items that I should not have been carrying this decade. There were neatly lined up without any chance of folding upon themselves. And it all made a lot more sense when I looked at it. From left to right, here's what I had left:  my car ring (includes a trinket from Liam and my new Gerber Artifact), my house ring, my work ring, and Cindy's car's ring (includes my Blockbuster fob and my much-beloved Utilikey.)

I removed an entire ring's worth of items: At one o'clock is an ancient RFID fob that used to get me into the front door at a dotBomb. At three o'clock in my first Corby Key that opened the door to the MindSpring NOC. At six o'clock is an old tarnished key that opens a steamer trunk I've had for 20 years. And at nine o'clock is a small key for a luggage lock I haven't used since I married Cindy. Unseen but also removed were five unused rings, two plastic fobs for gyms (one in Atlanta!) that I don't have memberships to, and a beer bottle opener from my days of slinging drinks in college.

One small facet of my life gets uncluttered.

A couple million left to go.

This Olde House - Bathroom Ceiling

So. My OTHER bathroom appears to have a problem or two with the ceiling. This isn't the bathroom I recently renovated. This is the "front bathroom," that most guests use. Not only is it horribly out-dated, but the ceiling has paint peeling down and sinister little black spots speckled all over the place.Of course, living down here in Hurricane Alley, we have a problem with mold. Knowing this, Cindy thinks it is the mold that has been making us all sick recently. And if anyone knows Cindy, they know she won't let up on me until I relent and rid her of her woes.

In a quest for peace, I spent the last half of my weekend, all by my lonesome, tearing down the ceiling in the front bathroom and removing the insulation. The bad news was that the insulation was absolutely filthy. Bad enough that I wore a respirator in an effort to fend off any airborne villains lurking up there, in the humid darkness. The good news was that everything was completely dry. No apparent moisture or recent growths of mold. Pretty much bone dry and mostly dust. I honestly think everything was damaged three years ago, by Katrina. I'm betting that the roof was breached, water got in, the insulation was rendered filthy by the rain and replacement of the roof, and the old sheetrock was briefly exposed to mold which keeps seeping through from time to time.

Finally, with everything removed, I mixed up some bleach, water, and Jomax then sprayed everything down. Every beam and board. If that doesn't kill the lingering mold, nothing will.To be doubly sure, I sprayed it TWICE across two days.

Now, the plan is to install a new vent (the old ceiling was un-vented (I'm betting steam contributed to the viability of the old black stuff)) install new greenboard (which is moisture and mold resistant) and coat it all with some Kilz (which loathes mold as much as Cindy does.) That's the plan. I'll see how it goes across the next two weeks.

Looking forward to getting THIS project behind me. In the meanwhile, the ceiling is gutted and hanging open. I imagine it haunts Cindy as much (if not more) than the mold did.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Vote For Jon In '08

Earlier this summer, One Project Closer selected my bathroom renovation (sample images below) for their Before & After 2008 Contest.

Well, the line-up is complete. And all the entries are available for viewing.

The voting is open. I'm #9. And it appears I'm currently in 2nd place. Please check it out and cast a vote.

MindSpring Revisited - Bjorn Lindfors

Bjorn managed the MindSpring call center in Atlanta, GA. We met by way of our beloved brides who worked together as nurses in the same unit at the same hospital. Aside from our frequent discussions about our favorite customers, one of my favorite memories of Bjorn involved (imagine this) a party at Prince Of Wales. I believe we were drowning our sorrows after hearing we were destined to "merge" with EarthLink. My sammich arrived with a pickle on it. Drunk and stupid, I flicked it through the air. Several tables away, the airborne pickle landed squarely on Bjorn's forehead. Both of our tables erupted in laughter. Bjorn stood up, wiped the pickle of his head, and threw a cup of beer at me. We all laughed until it hurt. And when I think of Bjorn, I think of that beer slowly arching through the air and landing on my chest.

Anyway, Bjorn stopped by and gave left an update, in his own words:
Arrived at the doorsteps of MindSpring in September 1996. Two years earlier I had visited Charles apartment which was then the MSPG HQ, and picked up my Internet access kit with NetManage Chameleon & my e-mail address which I still use. Eventually I ended up running the Atlanta service center.

In the early MindSpring years McQ set up a program where you could get your car painted if you agreed to let it become a rolling MindSpring advertisement. Driving an 84 Volvo station wagon of uncertain color this was an offer my neighbors would not let me refuse. Shortly afterwards I received a note stuck on my wind shield. "You guys run a great company, keep it up!"
A big part of working at MindSpring was the rush of having people come up to you and assume instant coolness since you were wearing a MindSpring t-shirt and presumably worked there. I've never had that happen to me before or after MindSpring.

Eventually business changed, we became Earthlink and a few years down the road the decision was made to no longer handle our calls in-house. At that time Cindy Alexander called me from Colorado and asked if I might be interested in moving to a place with tall mountains and world class skiing. After thinking about it for about 2 seconds I accepted and moved to Colorado Springs.

Here in Colorado the center has gone from being Adelphia to Time Warner Cable LA. Between managing commercial support and travel to the pacific coast to meet with my co workers I've managed to find a little time for some climbing, mountain-biking, skiing and a trip to China.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Football In Fall

Things I'll always remember with perfect clarity:
  • Graduating from college.
  • Marrying Cindy.
  • Helping deliver my two children.
  • Watching my boy throw a perfect spiral through the cool October air.
Great way to end the weekend.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday Night Jams

Tonight was the premiere of Star Wars: Clone Wars, on Cartoon Network. I'm fortunate that everyone in the house, with the exception of Cindy, really likes it. So we ordered some pizza and chilled some Sprite and Cindy fixed chocolate chip cookies. And we had a party.

Liam invited over his best friends from school: Luke, Keoki, and Thomas. The parents thought it was a great idea. I thought it was a great idea. And the boys loved it. It almost worked out, too!

Seeing as it has been nearly 30yrs since I was his age, I'd forgotten that getting four boys together after school and filling them with soda and pizza is a recipe for anarchy. They quickly degraded from watching the show into playing Nintendo, picto-chatting, and seeing who could say, "fart" the most. But hey, they were having a great time. That's all I really cared about.

At some point, they escaped the confines of the house and made a jailbreak into the yard. Pitch black. One of me. Four of them. And they aren't worried about falling down and breaking a hip or fracturing a wrist. So the four monkeys were rocketing around the yard like rabid ballistic missiles. Ultimately, Liam clothes-lined Luke, and they tumbled to the ground. Thomas jumped onto the two of them. And Keoki splashed on the top of the pile. A big tangle of spindly legs and fart jokes.

Good friends. Good food. Good cartoons (for those of use that watched!) And that is how we spent out Friday night.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

MOVIE: The Da Vinci Code

Anyone who has read Dan Brown's book, The Da Vinci Code and then sees "the movie" is going to spontaneously jam their pinky finger into their own eye sockets and frantically reduce their eyeballs to red mushy paste. "The movie" more closely resembles a plump, nearly-bursting colostomy bag than it does the book of the same name! As a film, it rapidly springs a leak and merrily sprays its rancid contents all over the expectant fans of the novel. And the ungodly stink lasts for days.

The movie absolutely butchers the plot of the book. Dr. Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is a flimsy shell of the character barely recognizable as the protagonist that captivated me to the point that I couldn't stop reading. Silas (Paul Bettany) doesn't strike any sense of fear or suspense in the movie like he does in the book. Opus Dei is presented like a freakish cult rather than a modern offshoot of the Catholic church. And the entire sub-plot centered around Langon's revelation of the genocidal assault on "the sacred feminine" is suspiciously absent.

I don't advise any man, woman, child, or even a Communist to watch this movie, under any conditions that don't include confinement at Gitmo.

I don't know what vile, wicked, heinous things I did in life that lead me to the moment that I rented this back-room abortion of a movie. I'll never be able to recover the hour and change that I wasted while mentally retching to it. I can only hope some day science invests a drug or electrical therapy that will help me purge it from my mind. I'll certainly never clean its stink off my poor mutilated soul.

Da Dubious Debate

Watched the debate with Cindy. Actually enjoyed it more than the main event from last week. I think both sides provided a better show than I thought I was going to see. Palin was faaaaaar sharper than in any of her limited interviews as of late. Biden was less venomous and even kiltered than during the primaries. Turned out more civil than I ever imagined.

On Palin:
  • Liked that she was gracious, slightly informal, neighborly, and subtly took the Ross Perot-like stance of a Washington outsider. 
  • Liked that she was very knowledgeable about energy from her experiences in AK, as well as knowledge about what it takes to raise a MIDDLE CLASS FAMILY, because she and her husband and kids are still in the middle class. (Big points for that last item!)
  • Liked that she correctly pointed out that McCain and Company tried to put more restrictions on Fannie & Freddy earlier this decade without blaming Clinton. 
  • Liked that she was willing to talk about Iraq / A'stan as much as she talked about the economy.
  • Didn't like that she was dry and predictable on the "War On Terror," giving little of her own opinion and only towing the party line. (I think she has an opinion and she isn't sharing it.) 
  • Didn't like that she would not address lowering taxes on the Middle Class, or bankruptcy reform, or the plan to tax employers for health care benefits they provide to employees. 
  • Didn't like the waffling on Global Warming. (One sentence she says AK feels it more than other states, other sentence she is saying it is a natural cycle.) 
On Biden:
  • Liked that he was also gracious and unusually polite. He took fewer blatant shots  at McCain than I thought he would .And he was very complimentary of Palin and McCain on a few topics.
  • Liked that he had more detailed numbers and statistics than Palin seemed to have. 
  • Liked that he talked about his small town roots and his family's history in industries which are fleeing American soil.
  • Didn't like how he would not answer about his offer to join McCain on the ticket as VP.
  • Didn't like how he would not answer about how he thought Obama was not qualified to be Command & Chief
  • Didn't like how he seemed to have more verbal stumbles and simplistic mistakes. Certainly expected his performance to be perfect. But he seemed to be rushed and gassed at times.
 I don't think there was a clear winner. Republicans who were worried about Palin likely feel better about her. Undecided voters are likely still undecided. And Democrats are still hoping they aren't watching the rise of an African American Jimmy Carter.

I'm still lamenting the lack of Ron Paul on the final ticket. But I'm a computer dork, what do I know?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

George's Last Milestone

Since I'm the only one keeping score, it is my esteemed honor to announce that George W. Bush officially entered the record books today. He bravely lead the total debt of the United States of America to Ten Trillion Dollars.

The actual number as of 5 seconds ago is: $10,024,724,896,912.49.

Or $33,415.75 for every legal citizen in America.

Click here for details.

That, by the way, doesn't count any of the proposed $700,000,000,000 our elected officials want to give to the bankers and lobbyists for their bad investments.

That, also, doesn't include any future costs for the "War On Terror."

And, that doesn't include any future costs for the care and nurturing of the brave men and women already wounded during the "War On Terror." No estimate of the cost of their health care is factored into the current deficit.

Ten Trillion Dollars of debt.

Congratulations, Mister Bush. You've done a fine job here. Something your kids and mine can be proud of. Fantastic job. Excellent. Thanks, buddy.

Four more years, I say! Let's get McCain elected to pick up where Bush left off. We could still squeeze out some money for occupying Iran. Right? Still plenty we can do to fix those low unemployment numbers. Right? Perpetuate that "American Dream" of home ownership. Right?

Ten Trillion dollars. And some loose change.

MOVIE: Mr Woodcock

Three word review: side-splittingly funny!

Billy Bob Thornton played a demon (Mr Woodcock) straight out of my past. Seann William Scott plays the Successful New-Age Self-Love writer (John Farley) that I thankfully (?) didn't turn out to be. And Susan Sarandon (Beverly) did a great job NOT being my Mom. (That would have totally harshed my mojo.) A comedic master piece. Wildly under-reviewed and under-appreciated. I may BUY this one just so I can refresh my memory on the near-endless stream of taunts that Mr Woodcock drops on the poor defenseless gym students.It was just THAT good.

Acting was great. The role of Mr Woodcock was perfect. If it weren't  a light-hearted comedy, Billy Bob would have been up for some awards. Seann William Scott played a somewhat predictable role. No awards for him. And Sarandon gave an honest but unimpressive performance. Mr Woodcock easily stole the show and I'd pay money to see an entire two hour follow-up dedicated solely to him.

Direction wasn't too risky or ground breaking. The pacing felt about right. But the dialog... (sigh) couldn't get enough of that. Resonated well with me and my oh-so-joyful memories of being the smallest, skinniest, least coordinated kid in the state. Plenty of pleasant flashbacks, there.

Few special effects to speak of. An interesting plot. Lightly predicable. But eventually a very fulfilling battle between good and evil. And more quotes than I could begin to remember. I'll have to see it several times to truly appreciate the depth of the humility Mr Woodcock was able to deliver to his kids.

Date flick? Yeah. On a less-than-serious night. Kid flick? Not for anyone below mid-teens. But then again, in today's "kinder & gentler" school environment, I don't think the current generation will actually understand the subtly of the hatred a wussy kid can feel for their gym coach. That timeless feeling is reserved for "special" people. At least that's what I tell myself to get through the day.

Financial Finger Pointing

I must not be on the same GOP newsletter as everyone else down here. I missed the announcement about the new strategy! Today alone, I had three friends try to get me to sign up for the strategy. It seems to be: Blame Clinton for the current financial implosion because it is really HIS fault and the Democrats' fault.

Here is the crux of the argument: In 1995, Clinton signed into office the Community Reinvestment Act. It forced banks (against their will and their better judgment) to give huge loans to hopelessly unqualified minorities. Then the mythos grows to include the chivalrous GOP trying to heroically defeat the bill. But the vile, devious Dems stymied every valiant effort. And a decade later, here we all, because of Billy Clinton and those greedy, manipulative Dems.

Of course this is all a recent piece of folklore. Just in time for the 2008 elections. Just in time to try to diminish Obama's newfound lead in the polls. Never mentioned in the past 13 years. Never corrected while the GOP-controlled Congress was working hand in hand with the GOP-controlled White House. Not fixed when they had a clear, unobstructed majority. Nope. But they suddenly find the strength to bellyache and point fingers about it NOW. After the fact.

However, the biggest problem with this new urban myth is that President Clinton did not sign the bill creating the Community Reinvestment Act of 1995. That's because there was no bill to sign. And he did not enact the changes. The original act in 1977 (Item 12 U.S.C. 2901) gave broad regulatory powers to three agencies: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of Thrift Supervision, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. These agencies made the regulatory changes within the power they already had under CRA 1977.

Of course that bit of trivia won't make it into the GOP newsletter or Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points. But it does make a few folks feel better about themselves and their party because they get to point the finger at Bill Clinton and the Democrats, from 1995.

Happy Birthday, Mr Cline.

He still haunts my thoughts. Every time I hear an obscure telco term. Or see Mister Potato Head. Would have been thirty two today. I think? Uncle Ron reminded me: "just because he's dead doesn't mean it's not his birthday."

Cindy said I should have called his mother. Let Mamma Cline know that her son is still remembered by his friends. She'd probably appreciate that. I may try to do that tomorrow. My Mom would appreciate something like that. Maybe his will, too.

You're still with us, Stanley. In our hearts. And on our minds. A part of us.