Hasty Ruminations

Speaking out, to remove all doubt. http://hastyruminations.blogspot.com

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Great Minds...

The prison population is up even though the crime rate is falling.

Someday even the Associated Press might get a clue. That is simply an idiotic headline reminiscent of those about Teddy Kennedy at Chappaquidick.

Did it even occur to them that the crime rate is falling BECAUSE the prison population is up?! Like, the bad guys are mostly all in jail, so there are a lot less of them on the streets committing crimes?

And the bleeding hearts want to see us shorten sentences and release them.

Only One Song?

Canadian singer Caroline Marcil had a rough night at a Canada-USA hockey game last Friday.

She was invited to sing "The Star Spangled Banner," but forgot the lyrics. Twice. (Her native language is French.) She left to get the written lyrics and when she returned to the ice, she fell down She left the ice in tears.

I felt bad for her. It got me to wondering about the song itself. I have sung it for years at patriotic events, and I wanted to see what other songs (or poems) were ever written by Francis Scott Key.

I found none.

Is it because the lyrics he wrote at Fort McHenry are flowery, antique, and eminently forgettable? A 2004 Harris Interactive survey of 2,200 adults found 61 percent of Americans don't know the words to "The Star Spangled Banner." Of those who claim to know all the words, only 39 percent know what follows the line "whose broad stripes and bright stars," according to the survey.

The National Anthem Project is trying to teach America to sing the national anthem.

Know why we can’t find any other poem or song written by Mr. Key? I don’t either, but his main job was as a lawyer.

Perhaps after some folks tried to sing his Anthem, they suggested that he not give up his day job.

Friday, April 22, 2005

911 Dispatcher Offers to Shoot Unruly Child

A woman named Lori said she recently phoned authorities in Watauga, Texas, after coming home to find her daughters fighting. She told the dispatcher that her 12-year-old had kicked a hole in the door.

The 911 dispatcher, Mike Forbess, said "OK. Do you want us to come over to shoot her?"

After Forbess' comment, the woman fell silent for about five seconds.

The police chief reprimanded Forbess after “Lori” complained.

Apparently, nobody went to “Lori’s” house to shoot the hole kicking brat.

Oh, well… Maybe next time.

Never mind.

Man Arrested For Spitting On Jane Fonda

Fonda Declines To Press Charges

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Police said they arrested a man for spitting on two-time Academy Award-winning actress Jane Fonda during a book-signing stop in Kansas City Tuesday night.

Fonda, who is now very old at 67, was in town hawking her new book and new movie.

At about 9 p.m., police said 54-year-old Michael A. Smith, who had been waiting in line for about 90 minutes, passed a book to Fonda and then spit a large amount of tobacco juice into her face.

Smith is a Vietnam veteran. And my hero.

Amateur Horse Jumping Event

This is for my niece, Kaitlin.

In Raleigh, NC, at the state fairgrounds, the North Carolina Jumper Hunter Association ''C'' Horse Show will soon be held. The ''C'' refers to shows geared to novice equestrians. The events are designed to encourage exhibitors to develop the skills and confidence needed to compete at more advanced levels. The competitors are judged solely on how much fun the events are to watch.

Judges rank a multitude of all-ages equestrian events, including Short Stirrup, Pony Hunter, Children's Hunter, Adult Amateur Hunter, Junior/Amateur Owner Hunter, Age Group Equitation and NCHJA Equitation.

If riders get points for being funny to watch on a horse, I ought to enter right away!

Young Catholics

It turn out that John Paul II left behind a generation of committed young Roman Catholics who actually take a more conservative position on sex than did their parents. Church leaders call them Generation John Paul II.

They include university students who study the "theology of the body" - John Paul's theological justification for a conservative sexual ethic that includes opposition to contraception, abortion, premarital sex and some forms of assisted reproduction.

While many younger folks were just wrapped up in the aura of John Paul at world youth days, sing ins and the funeral itself, the more serious ones are causing a lot of people to smile while they scratch their heads in wonder.

Pope Benedict XVI

I was going to jump right in and herald the election of the new Pope, but then I thought about his age. We celebrated too fast for John Paul I as I recall, and he died within 38 days. Then, Pope Benedict (Cardinal Ratzinger) predicted that his would be a "short reign" - and he wasn't describing his mangement style! More reason to wait, and maybe write one article called "Hail and Farewell".

Except now I still want to note his ascendency (that's a word, right?) and to acknowledge how comfortable those Catholics are with a Pope who reflects so clearly what we came to understand about Pope John Paul II. There is enough turmoil; it's nice to have some continuity. So welcome, Holy Father! Fair winds and following seas (as we sailors say)!

Saturday, April 16, 2005

English Official Language In West Virginia; ACLU: 'That is racist. That is like French being the official language of France.'

"That is discriminatory," said Jesse Jackson. "What's next? Will the U.S. claim to be separate from Mexico?"

Be sure to click the link.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

$$$ Homeland Security $$$

NPR sometimes gets me warm under the collar on my way to work. It happened this morning.

Certain politicians and tag alongs are upset at the fundamental unfairness of Wyoming getting $38 per capita of Homeland Security largess, versus poor New York only getting $2.52 per head.

Check out NEMA's report (http://www.nemaweb.org/Library/Documents/State_Administration_of_Homeland_Security_Funds.pdf) on state spending of this money. New York didn't even bother to report their numbers.

Since the last homeland security attacks were not made with bows and arrows, per capita defense (like, helmets and shields, I guess) won't work. Their not-so-subtle argument depends on no one doing the arithmetic. But, we are GOOD at math:

Wyoming's population of 501,242 @ $38 each = $19,047,196.
New York state's population of 19,190,115 @ $2.52 each = $48,359,090.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

West Virginia Makes English Its Official Language

Measure Inserted Into Bill as Amendment

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (April 12) - Two days after the end of the legislative session, state lawmakers are discovering something few were aware of: They voted to make English the official language of West Virginia.

Language lessons for West Virginians start Monday.

Lessons for the legislature, including the cartoon, “How A Bill Becomes A Law”, start today.

Wisconsin Considers Legalizing Cat Hunting

(April 12) - Feline lovers holding pictures of cats, clutching stuffed animals and wearing whiskers faced-off against hundreds of hunters at meetings around Wisconsin to voice their opinion on whether to legalize cat hunting.

Residents in 72 counties were asked whether free-roaming cats - including any domestic cat that isn't under the owner's direct control or any cat without a collar - should be listed as an unprotected species. If listed as so, the cats could be hunted.

It is a measure designed to make driving safer in Wisconsin, where the roads never seem to end. Fewer cats means less slippery roads.

Lacy has voted “Yes” on the question.

Martha Must Serve Full Punishment

Judge Rejects Petition, Says Sentence 'Is Designed to Be Confining'

NEW YORK (April 12) - Martha Stewart's bid for an early release - or at least to be able to leave home more often for work - was dashed by a federal judge who ordered her to serve the full five months of house arrest.

“One more peep out of you, and I DOUBLE the sentence!”

Anyway, we wish…

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Nuclear Club

The latest rumor: Bush the Junior, Clinton, and Bush the Senior are in Rome because the Vatican wants the Bomb.

That's because Islam will be the major force for the new Pope to deal with, according to media broadcasters.

Israel, Iran and North Korea are said to have the bomb already. Why not the Vatican?

And you thought those were marble columns around St. Peter's!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Pope's Secret

A rumor on TV is that the Pope named a new cardinal recently "in pectore" (secretly, in the heart) so as not to announce his name in a country where to do so might endanger the Cardinal). They hope that John Paul II may name him in his papers.

Well, the truth can now be told. It's why we left New Jersey after all:

I have made my reservations for the Conclave, in Rome.
Lacy will accompany me as consigliare and , well, monsignor, I guess.
Pax vobiscum, youse guys.
Just remember: my vote cannot be bought, but I have a list of rental rates...

Camden NJ vs. Greenville NC

Here we are, back at Panera's. I am having a house latte, and a loaf of thickly slice rye bread. Most will go home with me (in hand!).

I saw an article recently placing Camden NJ at the top of the list for worst crime cities per capita. (Baghdad may lead in the decapitated per capita category.) Camden is a national disgrace, but Joisey sez, "Ho hum...". So glad we moved out of New Jersey.

By contrast, a young woman (from a set of two young women) came to me just now and asked whether I got on the Internet, because her friend is having a problem with her PC at the next table. When I said "Yes", and no, there is no code, she said in her delightful southern drawl, "Thang kew!" Wonderful! It just makes me smile.

In Camden, she would have broken my new laptop, stolen the screen, and screamed "RAPE!" all at once. Not from malice; from experience.

Monday, April 04, 2005


I just went wireless! Gee, this is like working without a net!

I got a replacement PC for the oldest, brokest, most out-of-date one in my company, and I made sure it was wireless. I found out today that Starbucks offers "hotspots", but their service is provided by T-Mobile, so there is a charge. At Panera's Bakery and Cafe, it's free. And, they also have coffee, latte... and LOTS of bread!

The computer found the network, and I just clicked a few things and here we are. Now, I just have to keep the crumbs out of the keyboard. Oops, there goes one... kybrd.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

News, News, News

There is a LOT going on, and I have been ... absent! My apologies, Gentle Readers. As Lennon said (no, not the Communist one), "Life is what happens when you're making other plans."

Internet: My temporary home-away-from-home (the trailer in a campground in eastern Carolina) does not have phone hookups. DirectWay doesn't know how to connect my PC in North Carolina to their satellite(!). So, I have been blog-less for a week. I got a replacement notebook computer for one of the dying business ones, and it has WIFI, so I will truck on over to Starbucks soon and see if I can get it to work.

Pope: The coverage of the Pope's death has been wonderful, I think. I'm celebrating that he's off to his eternal reward. I was on hold for about 45 minutes last night with a Boston radio station I heard on a "skip" in North Carolina, and I did not get a chance to put in my two cents.
- On a mundane basis, I think the Pope deserves a lot of credit for being clever by appointing Archbishop John Foley from Philadelphia as his communications chief. I met him, a sharp former newspaper editor, and a very intelligent man (as was John Paul: linguist, author and he had earned two PhD's). Who better these days to head up a huge corporate communications effort than an experienced American communicator?
- The Pope's legacy may be with encouraging youth to talk to God, though he did not get them to come back to the Church.
- As to his presumed authoritarianism, the one area I wanted to see fire and brimstone is in the U.S. priest abuse scandal, and I am sorely disappointed. Even Cardinal Bernard Law got a pretty good job in Italy after he resigned in Boston.
- My personal thoughts about Vatican II really do not matter, since the Church is neither a democracy nor a republic. But the priests, and especially those in authority over them who did nothing, deserve punishment.
- Finally, I will remember him as the Pope who established the fourth set of Mysteries of the Rosary. The Rosary is a wonderful prayer, and he made it better!

Terry Schiavo: I don't know if Terry (Theresa Marie) wanted to avoid artificial life support or not. I know that her husband has no credibility, having denied her Holy Communion and barring her parents from her deathbed. And I strongly suspect that she would not want to be the poster child for euthanasia, or mercy killing. Rest in peace, Terry.

Fifth Wheel Camping: First of all, it is not camping. Yes, it takes place in a beautiful campground surrounded with nature, pine trees, sand and a pond in the middle of farm land. But when I wake up, I put on the coffee maker, hunt in the refrigerator, shave with hot tap water, shower, blow dry my hair with a dryer which is plugged into a wall outlet, dress in a starched shirt, pressed trousers and Lands End shoes, walk the dog, set the heat and ventilation, and drive to work in the truck. True, at night, I can build a fire near the wooden picnic table next to the trailer, so it LOOKS like a camp; but what I have is a portable hotel. And I LOVE it!!

My Brother: Things are working out in Chicagoland so that Paul can come to join me in North Carolina. He has done a lot of great work with the powers that be, it isn't easy, and I see a happy transition in the next month or two!

New Client: I finished the first week with a new client in Greenville, NC. I am developing certified tests to run on their sophisticated dryer system, used to apply a liquid coating to powders and then to dry it. The powders can then be compressed into pharmaceutical tablets with uniform properties. My goal is to develop and run tests which produce documented evidence that the equipment does what it is expected to do. So far, so good; no, so excellent, really!

So, now that I have poked my head out of the trailer, what's up?