Hasty Ruminations

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Monday, November 28, 2005


What a great weekend!

The client declared holidays last Thursday and Friday, of course. It also declared that I would meet the original deadlines on three projects despite the impromptu trip to The Frigid North last week. I finished one last Wednesday by working late Monday and Tuesday. And, I worked at "home" (at the trailer) last Thursday and Friday. The main document requires approval from the Irish subsidiary in Cashel, so I worked on it all day Thursday, came in to the office Friday morning and emailed the stuff to Ireland at 7:42 am (which is 3:42 pm in Ireland). Sure, I probably caught them out at the pub for a l..o..n..g.. lunch, but it still got there on time! I spent the rest of Friday working on the third project for the client.

So, no turkey those days. And, Saturday was spent on other things like laundry and various chores skipped during the Sgt. Preston of the Yukon trip to Frigidity. Now, all caught up, except... Still no turkey!

Sunday: church, internet, talk to my two eldest sons (one about his turkey fryer and UL concerns, his great new Honda log splitter; the other about granddaughter, Shamu in Hawaii and turkey sandwiches). And, finally, our turkey dinner! The 12 pound Butterball with stuffing pre-loaded and frozen claimed 5 hours at 325 degrees F. I decided not to risk it on the charcoal barbecue grill for so long (the gas one doesn't have enough room for such a big bird), so I popped it into the electric oven and it came out great! I used the electric temperature probe, too. Mashed potatoes, gravy, mixed vegetables, sweet potatoes, hot rolls, cranberry sauce - Lacy liked it all, and so did I. We had no room at the end for the freshly baked cherry pie, but no problems. I resisted seconds, and we now have leftovers, I think, until December, easy.

Topped it off with a trip to the outlet stores in Vacaville for a couple of sweaters, an electric skillet, and some miscellaneous stuff. It's dropping into the low thirties out here at night now!

A great holiday weekend after all!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Christmas in San Diego

My alma mater, USNA, got its third bowl invitation in as many years yesterday, for the new Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego. So, since I am in northern California, I ordered tickets as soon as they went on sale. (So did 1,000 other alumni in the first afternoon!) Rumsfeld can find plenty of money for Iraq, but the Navy will not buy tickets for Midshipmen to attend, nor will they fly them there in military airplanes. So, I also bought a ticket to donate to the Brigade.

I have not been to a college bowl game ever, and I haven't seen Navy play in person for several years. By the way, Army-Navy is on this weekend.

The bowl game is on Thursday, December 22, at 7:30 pm, at Qualcomm Stadium, and it will be on TV on ESPN-2. Lacy and I will drive down with the trailer from here; it will take about five or six hours. I hope to go on Tuesday or Wednesday, and stay through Christmas. My family lived in San Diego twice, so I have some memories to stir up.

After I got the tickets, they announced the opponent: University of Colorado. We have never played them. Why does the word "PAR-TEE" come to mind?

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Saturday was very, very busy:

- I had to spend time working on Saturday, to get the last samples of parts for my client. The factory had problems on Friday, but now it's fine.

- My sister's family was busy Saturday night, so I got a return flight Saturday night instead of Sunday morning.

- With two hours to burn, I found a theater with Harry Potter: Goblet and got a ticket. It reminded me of old Saturday matinees, with shrieking kids and swooning teenagers. The critics are wrong. This Potter doesn't try to do too much, but it does a lot. So much that many will want to see it again. Excuse me, is that such a bad marketing idea?! Oh, and as for the imaginative but limited JK Rowlings books (an atheistic approach to spiritual questions?) and her jingoistic "England First" tyranny over Warner Brothers - hey, the good ol' US of A is making money hand over fist on this franchise! Before you jump too fast, I concede that Rowlings, a hard working if less-than-brilliant author, has made millions and millions; but the U.S. film and book industry is making billions, worldwide.

- Speaking of bad marketing, Frontier Airlines charged me $125 to change my return flight. Because They Could. That's called bullying your customers. They will get an open letter from me, and no more business. What arrogance!

- So I am back in Arnold's CAL-EE-FOR-KNEE-YA, land of the illegal alien welfare check. Why should my taxes (yes, I pay income tax and sales taxes to California) go to pay for health care, driving accidents, education and the whole Left Coast Social Safety Net for Mexicans, Latin Americans, and South Americans who live here full time? All of the benefits, none of the burdens. And then THEY cop an attitude!

- On the airplanes TV's are now built into every seat. By foreign airplane companies (Frontier uses the European Airbus exclusively, so that Boeing will go out of business I suppose.) Swipe your card, and they get $5 and you get mediocre DirecTV. Pay $8 for a movie. Except that DirecTV is loaded with 2-1/2 to 3 minute commercials at 3 minute intervals. Excuse me: broadcast TV is 100% paid for by commercials, because that's the way we set it up in the 1950's. Since non-thinking citizens allowed the government to permit cable to charge money in the lackluster 1970's, the practise has spread to satellite by PAC donating operators. So, you now must pay $5 for about an hour's worth of commercial TV. You must pay money, and then you are entitled to watch their commercials! How wacko is that?! The dummy next to me last night swiped her card, watched 5 minutes of Animal Planet, and then went to sleep for 90 minutes while her paid programming and unwatched commercials ran out.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Finally! Government Accountability!

An article in the New York Times by Reporter Diana Henriques caught my eye. She called the GAO (the Government Accounting Office, the investigative arm of the Congress) something else:

Curbs on Insurance for Military Are Urged

Published: November 17, 2005
In a report to be released today, the Government Accountability Office strongly urges Congress to act to protect military personnel from the deceptive sales practices and unsuitable investments and insurance policies that the report says have been a disturbing fact of military life.


I thought, "If ONLY that was what GAO stands for..." Well, I went to their web site, and it turns out that Congress changed their name:

"Effective July 7, 2004, the GAO's legal name became the Government Accountability Office. The change, which better reflects the modern professional services organization GAO has become, is the most visible provision of the GAO Human Capital Reform Act of 2004, Pub. L. 108-271, 118 Stat. 811 (2004)."

Now, is it because the GAO is Accountable, or because they force government to be accountable? Or is the jury is still out...


I have arrived in Minneapolis from Sacramento.


The guy at the hotel desk said, "First cold night this season, by golly, you betcha, for Pete's sake."

And Lacy, my bed warming doggie, is sleeping peacefully in California.

Monday, November 14, 2005

On the Road Again

Hurry Up! RUSH! RUSH!

Well, I have been tapped to fly from Sacramento to Minneapolis, and drive to Menomonie, Wisconsin, on Wednesday (the day after tomorrow); to get the plastics company who is making parts for my client qualified on printing the parts under FDA standards in two days; and to come on back to continue on the three other - well, six other - super rush HOT HOT things I'm already doing.

So, step one? Get Lacy back to the vet for some more medications for her minor infection; find a reputable boarding place for Lacy; and get all the reservations for her and for me.

All done in about 5 hours. That included the trip to the vet; getting his recommendation on a kennel ("Take her there, because they pay attention and they bring any sick dogs right to me!"); and go to inspect that place with Lacy. It's a combination hunting dog training academy, and large dog boarding place with individual runs with 5' protected area and 10' outdoors, plus a common dog corral for her to socialize (but separately from the hunters). Since Lacy is a lab, she has the hunter genes, so maybe she'll take up a new hobby while she's there.

If the qualifications go as planned, I'll visit my sister's family in Minneapolis Saturday and fly back out to California on Sunday. If not, I can work in Menominee Saturday, Sunday and Monday and fly back if and when they are done. They are conscientious folks, but this is their first time with FDA medical devices so it just takes time.

Phew! Time to breathe now...

Crusty Submarine Sailor

From Gary:

An old Submarine sailor walked into a bar. As he sat sipping his drink, a young, good looking woman sat down next to him. She turned to the old guy and saw the dolphins on his ball cap and the baseball warm-up jacket he was wearing, and asked, "Are you a real Submarine sailor?"

He replied, "Well, my father, two brothers and a third cousin were on the "boats". I've spent my whole life, riding "boats". Snorkeling, deep dives, Diesel Boats, Nuclear Power, Med Runs, Northern Runs, Deterrent Missile Patrols, Arctic Runs, SPECOPS, WESTPACs, runs to the Caribbean, Halifax, Faslane, Holy Loch, Rota, Naples, 2 day runs, Blue Crew, Gold Crew, the other crew, 90 day patrols, 6 month deployments, been through the "ditch" across theequator, under the ice, and up to the pole. Pearl, Yokosuka, Subic, Guam, La Madd, Fort Lauderdale, San Juan, tracked Ruskies, dodged P-3s, been depthcharged, torpedoed, tracked with active SONAR, detected by SOSUS, built them, decommissioned them, overhauled them, re-commisioned them, been a Blue Nose, a Shellback, blown from test depth, gone emergency deep, rode Tridents, 688s, 637s, 594s, Skipjack and Franklin class, drug runs, liquor runs, crazy Ivans, been in trail, used a Steinke hood, been through the tower, dodged Russian air power, fought flooding, fires, reactor scrams, stood watch on the Ballast Control Panel, Ships Control Panel, Electric Control Panel, Garbage Disposal Unit and Trash Disposal Unit. I got dolphins, a combat patrol pin, deterrent patrol pin and "Diesel Boats Forever" tattooed on my chest, "THRESHER" on my left arm, "SCORPION" on my right arm, Missiles on my back, and twin counter rotating screws on my ass. I've drank beer at the Horse and Cow, scotch at Highland Mary's in Dunoon, wine in Naples, puked at Beaman's Center in Pearl, ate chili at The SUBVETS, drank whiskey at Rosie's in Groton and I ain't missed a Submarine Ball since 1956, so yes, I guess I am a Submarine sailor."

She said, "I'm a lesbian. I spend my whole day thinking about women. As soon as I get up in the morning, I think about women. When I shower, I think about women. When I watch TV, I think about women. I even think about women when I eat. It seems that everything makes me think about women."

The two sat sipping their drinks in silence. A little later, a man sat down on the other side of the old Submariner, noticed his ball cap and jacket and said, "You must be a Submariner."

The old boy replies, "Well, I always thought I was, but I just found out I'm a lesbian."

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Things I Never Expected

It is very funny how the things I never expected have all, without exception, turned out great:

I never expected to get into the college I chose. Instead, I got two appointments.

I never expected to get promoted two years early in the Navy. But I did.

I never expected to have command of a Navy ship at age 30, but I did.

I never expected that I would need to quit drinking. But I did, 24 years ago.

I never expected that I could quit smoking. I did, ten years ago.

I never expected that I could travel full time all over the country, with my own consulting business, in a cool great trailer and a huge truck, but here I am.

I never expected to have four great kids, who all turned into great people, but they did.

I never expected she would leave me. But, you know what? After two years, it is turning out much better than I expected!

So, the conclusion?

I suck at predictions.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Vive La Frenchie!

Another one from son John:

President Bush has authorized the Joint Chiefs to begin drawing up a battle plan to pull France's butt out of the fire again. Facing an apparent overwhelming force of up to 400 pissed off teenagers, French President Jacques Chirac may not be able to hold off the little turds. "If the last two world wars are any indication, France will surrender any day now," said Condi Rice, Secretary of State.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Peter Pace advised the President that it might be necessary to send up to five Marines to get things calmed down. The General admitted that five Marines may be overkill, but he wants to get this thing under control quickly.

President Bush said to get our Marines out of there as soon as possible after order is restored. He also reminded Pace to make sure the Marines did not take soap, razors, or deodorant with them. "The less they stand out, the better", he said.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I (Heart) New Yawk

Thanks to Nicky:

Wahddya wahddya?!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Where To Take Bad Kids

Landscape #1

I've started my acrylic landscape of autumn leaves, by laying in the blocks of color, shadow and a few trees. It will get much brighter with the leaves, and maybe some gravel on the road. Here's the first view:

Very primitive at this point, but I'm happy with the progress after one night. (The picture is at an angle to avoid light bulb glare in the photo.)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Good Bye, Stew's Buddy

Riggs, the best doggie in Atlanta, lost his battle to cancer last Saturday night, in the arms of Stew. Read the sad, sad story on Stew's blog.

Riggs is playing frisbee in Heaven with some little kids now.

Join me in a little prayer for Stew and Jan.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Men Are Gloriously From Mars!

From son John:

Here's a prime example of "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus" offered by an English professor from the University of Calgary:

The professor told his class one day:

"Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting next to him or her. As homework tonight, one of you will write the first paragraph of a short story. You will e-mail your partner that paragraph and send another copy to me. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story and send it back, also sending another copy to me. The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back-and-forth. Remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. There is to be absolutely NO talking outside of the e-mails and anything you wish to say must be written in the e-mail. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached."

The following was actually turned in by two of his English students: Rebecca and Gary.


First paragraph by Rebecca: At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.

Second paragraph by Gary: Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "A.S.Harris to Geostation 17," he said into his transgalactic communicator. "Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far..." But before he could sign off a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.

Rebecca: He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. "Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel," Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth, when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspaper to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her. "Why must one lose one's innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully.

Gary: Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu'udrian mother ship launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace disarmament Treaty through the congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion, which vaporized poor, stupid Laurie.

Rebecca: This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic semi-literate adolescent.

Gary: Yeah? Well, my writing partner is a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium. "Oh, shall I have chamomile tea? Or shall I have some other sort of F-ING TEA??? Oh no, what am I to do? I'm such an air headed bimbo who reads too many Danielle Steele novels!"

Rebecca: A-hole.

Gary: B-tch


Gary: Go drink some tea - whore.

TEACHER: A+ - I really liked this one!

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Things are moving along well here in Northern California-land.

- The eyesight is becoming focused again! What a relief. I was driving with an eyepatch. In New Jersey, we drove with TWO eye patches! Meds are back under control, with two new ones added.

- Today, I will correct the damage done when my accountant bailed out two weeks ago. They didn't plan properly, so I missed a filing deadline.

- Much progress at the client's, but the workload is incredible. Gonna be some nights and weekends.

- I am going to paint a landscape this weekend. Yes!

- Doggie is a great companion. Then, every day, she does something new to make her an even greater companion!

- Stew of Get Stewed fame has me pointed toward an EA Game, Battlefield 1942, so that's on today's list.

- I made a great meatloaf last week - Lacy and I made short work of it. I got a whole, stuffed turkey which is headed for the Thanksgiving table via the barbecue. But mostly I'm subsisting on cut fruit and the occasional chicken ceasar salad.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Senate Secrecy

Majority Leader Harry Reid called for a closed session today, to discuss intelligence reports before the Iraq war. So they closed the Senate, kicked out the public and turned the lights down low. Really!

They've done this recently whenever they talk about chemical weapons, and impeachment.

Actually, I think they should go under cover whenever anyone says the "I" word in the Capital Building. Otherwise, it's just embarrassing to hear folks like Lott, Kennedy, Boxer, Feinstein, Frist and the rest discuss "intelligence". Talk about adding nothing to the conversation...