Hasty Ruminations

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Nice Goose

Lacy likes to chase geese. But this one fooled her.

A model's hand displays Italian artist Guido Daniele's painting of a swan.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Prescription Pot

The FDA announced that it does not support the medicinal use of marijuana.

I agree: keep it recreational.

Imagine what a joint would cost if Warner Lambert had made it, when they were still in business.


Lacy and I with the pesky little kid from the camper next door.

The rain yesterday made for a relaxing day.

I've switched from the U.S. Mail to UPS for all of my forwarding needs. Since I travel a lot, I have tried for three years to get the USPS to forward my mail, first from home to my hotel, then from home to a post office box, then from a permanent post office box at home to a temporary post office box at my work location.

Nothing has worked. Not a thing. Right now, I have been waiting for 8 weeks for the mail to be forwarded to me from California.

So, I now have a UPS mail box at home for all of my mail; and a temporary UPS box here in Pennsylvania. Guess what? After three days, the system is already working. And on Saturday morning, in the rain, I received my first fee payment from the new client, in the new UPS box here. Next week, electronic deposit starts.

Another idea which has proven to be great for traveling a lot: switch your banking to Bank of America. They have branches and ATM's everywhere. That also means that my checks are regarded as "local" by campgrounds, RV stores, and grocery stores.

Yesterday, Lacy and I dealt with the mail, grocery shopping and a nice walk. Today, it was church, laundry at the laundromat, and I found a new RV campground. It is closer to work, in a very pretty area by a private lake. The place has a reputation as being strict on rules enforcement, and they have many rules (like not walking the dog in the campground, and not using electric heaters). I will appreciate their "no noise" policies and their fees, which are about 1/3 less than what I paid in California.

I am moving out of the KOA here since their store is only open when I am at work, and the owners are very unfriendly. They know that I am not happy, but they chose to give up at least three months of my campground fees rather than accomodate me. It must be great to be so rich that you can ignore your customers, and then let your business trickle away!

I am now at a Panera Bread place, munching as I type. These places are great! Free WIFI and great coffee. The next big event today is to cook the turkey breast I bought yesterday. That will give Lacy and me at least three dinners and several sandwiches for lunch. Good stuff!

It's fun to be busy.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


. It's going to rain all weekend here in Pennsylvania.
The trailer gets small.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Star Trek: Elders


The news is that Shatner and Nimoy have been tapped to do ANOTHER Star Trek movie, 2008 release. After #10 with the "other guys" was such a flop.

Who thinks that making a movie of octogenarians zipping across the bridge of the Enterprise in their wheel chairs and walkers will be riveting for the audience? Probably the same guy who put Julia Roberts on the Broadway stage to get bad reviews.

Will Spock's hearing aid interfere with his Tricorder readings? Will Kirk's irritating pauses... between... words become longer?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Back To Work

I've searched for my next contract for six weeks. That's about two weeks beyond economic viability! Prospects ran hot and cold; things materialized and then disappeared. So, of course, last Friday I finally got not one, but three offers.

Actually, one firm offer and two "we really want to, soon" ones. So, Lacy and I will be driving from North Carolina to Bethlehem PA on Monday. It's only a one day trip, and it's near my oldest son and his wife in New Jersey, so those are positive benefits. They want me to consult as a packaging engineer, and that's right up my alley.

The other two are for St. Louis (a variety of pharmaceutical manufacturing projects) and for Minneapolis (hands on working manager for medical device manufacturing). Both are consulting, and both are expected to gel soon. I told both companies thanks, but I gave my word to the Bethlehem people first. Maybe later, but after I've both paid some bills and delivered some value to the people in Bethlehem.

Besides, I gave my word.

New Orleans Mayoral Race

Folks who are still evacuated from N'Oleans because of Katrina asked a lot of questions of seven mayoral candidates yesterday.

It's been seven months since the storm. Where did they find more than two folks who want this job?

The people wanted to know when, please, they could come back.

It was probably just a PR thing anyway.

Those people aren't residents anymore, so no one has to sweat their votes.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Basic Questions

Just some basic questions:
When is it right to terrify captured, bound prisoners with vicious dogs?
When is it OK to explode a car bomb next to children?
When does any religion, any government, or any one say it is good and proper to have suicide bombers enter a mosque, blow up their bombs, and kill 79 people after their weekly sabbath service?
A few months ago, Muslims celebrated Eid el-Fitr and Eid el-Adha. Soon, Jews will celebrate Passover, and Christians will celebrate Easter.
Is there any chance that some recognized leaders, in honor of the religious holidays, can convince their country men that murdering innocents and terrorizing the helpless does not win you admiration?
Don't they realize that they are losing the hearts and the minds of the world?
People often ask, "How can God or Yahweh or Allah permit these terrible things?"
The more pertinent question may be:
How much longer can He restrain Himself?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Only 56 Years


Couric Posted by Picasa

It took us only 56 years to have a woman in a solo anchor spot on the national evening news.

How much longer before a woman President?

He Missed the Point

Bacchanal, Titian, 1519 Posted by Picasa

A Catholic high school on Long Island cancelled the prom. The principal, Brother Ken Hoagland, said things had gone too far.

Years of escalation had resulted in stretch limousines, ball gowns, tuxedos, and house rentals in the Hamptons. And little or no supervision.

Once it was canceled, the kids proposed that buses take them (jackets and ties for the boys, dresses for the girls) to NYC, and they pay for a dinner dance and cruise.

That all makes sense, except… the principal’s letter about canceling the prom missed the point:

"It is not primarily the sex/booze/drugs that surround this event, as problematic as they might be; it is rather the flaunting of affluence, assuming exaggerated expenses, a pursuit of vanity for vanity's sake -- in a word, financial decadence," Hoagland said in his letter. He is a member of the Marianists – the Society of Mary.

I think that he should have canceled it. But, do we conclude from his letter that if the cost of limos, house rentals, and post-prom catering had been more economical, he could have lived with the sex, booze and drugs problems?

Why don’t I find that reassuring?

Sounds like this guy is starting his own church! Because it IS primarily because of the sex, booze and drugs problems that it should have been canceled. AND no parental control.

Don't worry, Brother; these rich kids will have plenty of money left for the school endowment after they sober up from the prom.

Has the Pope been briefed?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


A story I read this morning bought back some powerful memories.

A young mother of three was just finishing her evening shower when she heard a huge commotion from the kids' bedrooms. She grabbed a towel, wound it around her wet hair, threw on a robe and ran to the bedroom to confront the rowdy ones. They were all quickly chastened, tucked into bed, and the mom left the room. As she prepared to slam the door, she heard her three-year-old ask the others, "Who was that?"

My aunt Therese was in eighth grade or so when I was born. As the youngest of our "elders", she was the one we turned to for fun and games and, sometimes, a little slack. She was always the preferred babysitter, though she would tickle me until I wept from exhaustion, and frustration, until I got big enough to stop her. She taught me to dance. I can always remember her with her wet hair up in a towel.

Therese died a terrible death as a young mother of three in the '80's from over radiation for cancer of the lymph system. I still miss her a lot, but her three kids miss her even more. They have all grown to be very smart, very successful young adults who inherited her sense of fun, and her impishness.

I haven't spoken here of my love for the theater. I have designed and built the stage sets and scenery for over 60 plays and musicals. I haven't done it for several years now, and I miss that, too. When that story triggered my memories of Therese, I also remembered "Memories", from Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber:

See the dew on the sunflower
And a rose that is fading
Roses whither away
Like the sunflower
I yearn to turn my face to the dawn
I am waiting for the day . . .
Not a sound from the pavement
Has the moon lost her memory?
She is smiling alone
In the lamplight
The withered leaves collect at my feet
And the wind begins to moan
All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again
Every streetlamp
Seems to beat a fatalistic warning
Someone mutters
And the streetlamp gutters
And soon it will be morning
I must wait for the sunrise
I must think of a new life
And I musn't give in
When the dawn comes
Tonight will be a memory too
And a new day will begin
Burnt out ends of smoky days
The stale cold smell of morning
The streetlamp dies, another night is over
Another day is dawning
Touch me
It's so easy to leave me
All alone with the memory
Of my days in the sun
If you touch me
You'll understand what happiness is
A new day has begun

Monday, April 03, 2006

Oscar + Mayer = Good

. (Oscar by itself... not so much.)

I spent some of my valuable time last night watching the movie Crash, which won Best Movie this year over Brokeback Mountain. I thought of writing to applaud the courage of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for voting for a movie which no one had actually seen. Including the reviewers.

Saddled with a mangled, arthritic plot, it tries to be a poor man's Pulp Fiction. As easy as that sounds, it fails. I was a big fan of Sandra Bullock, right up to her first appearance in this film as the moody, world hating wife of the district attorney. Then I realized that she was just typecast. I guess being Mrs. Monster Garage is not all that it was cracked up to be.

Racist cops magically transform into angels of mercy. A good cop's little bro becomes accomplice to a Hamlet of a hoodlum, who cannot decide whether to be or not. (SPOILER) A middle eastern immigrant, liabeled as a rag head, tries to murder a Mexican locksmith with a new gun; shoots the Mexican's daughter instead; but the gun is loaded with blanks.

The FILM is loaded with blanks.

I should not be so negative. Actually, the film (we call it a movie only after three rounds at Jimmy's Bar & Grill) has a positive note: every ass we ever hated is involved in The Crash, one way or another. Except for Ang Lee.

As I watched, I reflected on another movie which I saw again yesterday: Back To the Future. Isn't it too bad that Steven Spielberg forgot how to make great movies like that?

So, the choice for the academy came down to this one, or Brokeback. Pretty apt phrase, "down to". Which academy was this? Police Academy?

I later realized that if I were voting for the Oscar, and my vote for the movie meant I wouldn't have to actually watch this piece of dung, well, it would be a small price to pay.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

A Collage: All The News That Fits

- Domino's Pizza founder Thomas S. Monaghan is building a town in Florida to be governed according to strict Roman Catholic principles, with no place to get an abortion, pornography or birth control. Civil libertines and the ACLU should just get over it.

- Some folks are whining about the lethal injection death penalty. It seems to be okay for the pound to put Fido or Fluffy to sleep that way; why not serial murderers? The real problem: 150 completely evil people are condemned each year in the U.S., but only 35 are executed. It’s easier to get elected to Congress than it is to get caught, convicted and wasted. Let’s turn over the executions to the inmates and call it a day.

- They say there is a video tape of journalist Jill Carroll in captivity praising the terrorists and criticizing the U.S. So what? She did what she had to, and she’s alive. Now, if Bush and Rice would only do what they have to do.

- Scott Peterson’s family has offered $250,000 for the “real” killer of his pregnant wife. A pretty safe bet that they won’t have to pay, since Scott is already convicted. But here’s a thought: Maybe Scott, OJ, and Robert Blake can get together and start a company to find the real killers of their wives. It could be on weekly TV, opposite that American Idle show. (Idol?) What would you call it? S*M*A*S*H? Divorce West Coast Style? What do you think?

- What to do about New Orleans? Who cares?

- Russ Feingold wanted a censure vote, and nobody came. Oh, he got convicted Watergate felon John Dean, a lawyer who couldn’t even convince Richard Nixon that he was breaking the law. Good idea, Rust. I mean, Russ. Why was Dean there? Why, to sell his book, of course!

- Tomorrow is the change to Daylight Savings Time. Indiana is finally being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, too. That leaves Hawaii and parts of Arizona as the only holdouts for not changing their clocks. Show of hands: who cares?

Dodge Ball: It's Not For Sissies Any More

A youth minister in Liberty, MO, was charged with assault for knocking a 16-year-old boy down and kicking him.

David M. Boudreaux, 27, took a head shot from the teenager in a dodge ball game in February at Crescent Lake Christian Academy.

Authorities said the teen missed Boudreaux with one throw but then got him with the next. Knocked his glasses off. The boy apologized, but Boudreaux pushed him backward, kicked him in the groin and left. The kid suffered whiplash, a concussion and blood in his urine after being kicked.

Boudreaux later apologized, so now they’re even.

We hear that Boudreaux has been placed on administrative leave. I would hope so. Not only for the assault, but for being a very bad dodge ball coach.

Seems to me that neither he nor the teenager are any good at dodging.

Judge, Jury and Executioner


If you wanted to kill a coyote, but you were squeamish about doing it yourself, what would you do? Put it another way: if you wanted to have someone else kill a coyote, where would you drop it?

Why, in Cental Park, New York City, of course!

So a coyote winds up in Central Park last week, and leads New York's Finest (well, Sorta Good) Cops on a two day merry chase. They finally shoot the Dickens out of the coyote with a dart gun at close range from what looked like an elephant gun. 35 pound animal.

Soon these guys are gonna need bandoliers and back packs to carry their excess belt gadgets. Some of it is used to trim and filet doughnuts. Except for the guy who uses his glove as a privacy thing.

So they take him 60 miles away, to Putnam, and in case he isn't terrified enough, they decide to put an ear tag on him. So that they can keep all of the catch-and-release coyotes sorted out:

As they are punching or drilling or shooting a hole or two in his ear, the coyote stops breathing, and New York State biologists, who had him muzzled, legs tied, down on the ground, probably sitting on him to fasten this tag thing to him could not revive him.

Big surprise.

If they wanted him dead, they should have killed him in the park.

Right now, every Dunkin Donuts in the City is full of cops bragging about how they brought down this perp.

Next time any state like California or Florida agonizes over a death penalty execution, they should just release the guy in Central Park and alert the NYPD.