Wednesday, November 30, 2011

One Vote

I am usually not a one-issue voter.

But if Obama doesn't veto the Senate amendment to allow indefinite military incarceration for suspected terrorists, I will go looking for another candidate.

I'm sure he's worried.

Et Tu Leonardo?

Found here.


A really bad day.

French class sucked, big time. I drew a complete blank on lots of things.

My mento dropped from 2 Fs back to 4. He actually has a 09 in one class.

My new glasses feel strange.

My wife won't be home until late.

Now that I can think -- somewhat -- I think I was pushing too hard on the French. I'm going to back down substantially: just one verb type (the ER verbs); five verbs (ALLER, CHANTER, DONNER, PARLER, TRAVAILLER); four tenses (present indicative, passe composé, imparfait, and futur), and six voices (first,second, third/singular and plural). Then PERHAPS some more -- but still just ER, just those four tenses.

We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Synch Me

I am thinking that when and if I replace my phone, I want the ability to synch the calendar easily with my laptop.

I am trying hard not to think of that person who told me that when she updates her iPhone, it automagically propagates to her iPad.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Granny Again

There are times that I think I ought to just rent Granny's site.


From Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:

I think it's a little glib, but I like it. I also like the comment I saw somewhere that government ought to fear its citizens, rather than the other way around.


I liked Dick Francis novels. I thought they were just about all well done. Not all, perhaps -- every so often, a clunker would slip through -- but usually, you could count on them. Someone with a job that was somehow related to horse racing would get involved in A Problem. The problem would be of sufficient magnitude that the person would get sucked into wanting to resolve it. Sometimes they wanted to, sometimes they had to. Along the way, someone nefarious would get interested in the person's interest, and attempt to dissuade them. The attempt might be verbal, to be followed by physical means, or it might go directly to physical. Through perseverance, and occasionally through knowing wealthy or well-placed people, the person would find out what was actually going on. The bad guys would go to jail, or to a hospital, or worse.

Not all of the books, as I say, would be good. We picked up two from a used book sale, and while the first one - Straight - was satisfying and full, the second - Second Wind - missed the mark. It had all of the stylistic touches of a Francis novel, but it didn't hit the target. I'm not sure why, but whatever the reason, I think it explains why books written about a well-known fictional character, but done by someone else, usually sound hollow. They have no heart -- or at least, not the heart that the original author put there. The fellow who wrote the Nero Wolfe novels grumbled that he didn't want to see anyone writing his characters into novels after he was dead. They should write their own, he said. Still, with the success of books that said Dick Francis above the title, it was a pretty-much foregone conclusion that someone would try. In this case, it appears to be his son. I've read two of them. One sounds like the hollow version, and one sounded - not bad.

It'd be nice to have the original back, but I suppose this will do.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


This is one of my most favorite rooms in the world.


Every so often, Ron Paul says something that I agree with. Like this:

Bailouts came from both parties…. If you have to give money out, you should give it to people losing their mortgages, not to the banks.

It's not that we shouldn't have saved them. That was the right thing to do. We need them. It's that we resent mightily that they went on to make tons of money, gave little of the money back, screwed the consumers along the way.

Global Warming

...not necessarily bad.

Found here.


So, what do the parents do when the kiddo is away? Oh, exciting, sophisticated things. We're going to buy a water pistol to zap the cat (who's taken to blithely strolling across the dining room table). And we're going to look for a glass shelf to put into the hall bathroom, the better to hold some of her many toiletries. And perhaps today we'll go to see a movie. A funny movie, after Seven Pounds, yesterday.

Isn't that sleek?

Saturday, November 26, 2011


We watched Seven Pounds, this evening. My goodness. Probably not a lot of smiling people leaving the theater when that came out. Powerful.


Daughter's off at Disney World. Odd to be alone,just the two of us. Odd to think that come next year, this will be the norm.

It's Time

Yeah, This is Right

Healthy is as....

I rest my case.

Oh Dark Thirty

My daughter got up at 2:20. She has to be at the high school at 3AM for her trip to Disney World. The high school is nine minutes from here.

At 2:44 she started up her laptop and began to read fan fiction.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Got An Envelope?


I love before and after pictures like these.

Monday, November 21, 2011


There's an interesting article on the Good site concerning the topic of apprenticeship as an alternative to the standard US model of education.

When I think apprentice, I think of someone from the Middle Ages learning to shoe horses or weave fabric - certainly nothing that's applicable now. But after reading the short article, I realized that our friend's daughter, in France, is doing exactly this -- starting to learn a trade in a formal school, then working for a while in the field at an actual working restaurant (not one just set up for the experience), then going back to school to build on that knowledge. It's a challenge -- as the article points out, and as we thought when we heard about what she was doing, it is difficult for a young person to know what they'd like to do, let alone, whether they'd be any good at it. But as someone who's currently doing the math for a child to be able to go through college, apprenticeship has some obvious advantages, as well.

Founding Fathers

Found here.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dancers Among Us

Dancers move gracefully, even when doing the obviously impossible.

Found at Creative Dusk.


Not much happening today. I sloughed off most of it. We had a decent Sunday brunch, then my wife and daughter went off to meet my wife's mother and her aunt at a place about an hour from here.

I did a little reading, then corresponded a little with a woman I know on Forvo -- she's one of the French editors; she helps me with French and I help her with English -- took a nap, and then did a little web surfing. I had been moping around the other day, thinking I really need to practice words like quelconque and lequel and bien sûr, but what can I use to..... when it hit me that I have this tool, a really nice freeware flashcard program called Anki, already loaded with a deck called French Linguistic Glue. Oh, yeah! So I did a little of that. And I finished translating a single French sentence. That may not sound like much, but the sentence is from Les aventures du roi Pausole, which I had picked up last year when I was looking for a book in French to try to read. I didn't realize how old this book was, or how complex the sentences! Every night, more or less, I break out the dictionary and I take the next sentence and try to understand it. Last night -- and the night before, for that matter -- the sentence was il repondit aux voix en agitant devant son visage, comme un mouchoir d'accueil, une main molle et amicale. I found that partially easy and partially impossible. At least I was better than Google Translate, which rendered a gibberish sentence -- "he replied to the vote, waving before his face, as a host tissue, a soft hand and friendly." I finally concluded that it was supposed to be He responded to the voice by waving a handkerchief of welcome in front of his face in a soft and friendly hand. Not all that sure, though, so I sent it off to my French instructor with a request for her to evaluate my performance.

And then I made tacos for dinner.


We had the kid over. It went pretty well.

I think that she thinks we're wealthy because we went to France, because we have a large kitchen, and because we have a Kitchen Aid mixer. After we spoke a little about having studied French for the trip, she asked us to say something in French. Like what, I asked, and she said I want to buy purple glasses. Um...Je voudrais acheter des....what's glasses? I looked at my daughter, who said well, sunglasses are lunettes de soleil, so... yeah, I said, Je voudrais acheter des lunettes violettes. I wondered afterward if she was testing us.

She seemed impressed by dinner, and asked Do you always have dinner like this? Dinner was spaghetti and meatballs, with garlic bread, salad, and apple cider. Nothing outrageous. We had put a tablecloth out, but that was pretty much the extent of the gloss. My wife said no, we try to eat together but usually our daughter eats and leaves for color guard before I get home. My daughter added My dad usually does the cooking, since my mom's at work. My wife told me later that the girl had said that when she was younger, dinner was frequently take-out from McDonalds.

She took a while to get used to the idea that we teased a lot at dinner, but she eventually got into it. My daughter mentioned that frequently the dinner table is silent because we're all reading, unless we're telling quotes from whatever we've got. I told her my mother used to ask my father not to read at the table, because I was doing it, but that didn't take. My wife said she does try to have conversations; my daughter and I both said really? here?

And I learned that the guy she had the child with, when she was 20, was 41 years old at the time. Oh, my. Her father is urging her to sue the guy for child support, which would make sense if he was working. Or even if she just knew where he was.

We never did have The Conversation, as she was texted three times by her mother, the last time saying that the child was screaming for her, so she abruptly wanted to return home. If and when we see her again -- we said we'd invite her over again, which seemed to please her - perhaps we'll have it then. I still have my notes for that conversation:

We will not -

- let you move in with us, even temporarily.

- tell you what you should do with your life.

- take sides.

- judge.

We will listen, and discuss, and offer moral support.

So that was the evening.


It’s not often these days that I do a cartoon without color, but I felt this one called for the starkness of the black and white inks. I actually wanted the ink to come out heavier and even more distinct, but I think the details on the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal made that difficult.

This cartoon refers to the sudden and brutal crackdowns on Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, which began in the dead of night last week in cities across the nation, and I’ve read were coordinated by the Department of Homeland Security. These attacks on free speech have involved inexcusable offenses like one that occurred near me, in Seattle, where an 84-year-old woman and a pregnant teenager were among the victims of pepper-spraying by police. I ask, what threat could an 84-year-old possibly pose to armored riot cops?? Unless she were wielding, say, a flamethrower. Perhaps next time she’ll think twice before protesting wealth inequality without carrying one!

From This is Historic Times, including the commentary.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Daughter just got notified that she qualifies for $5000 more per year in scholarship if she keeps a 2.5 average, which becomes $11,000 more if she keeps a 3.2 So, counting what she has already, that's a possible 16K per year for a school that costs about $42k. Not bad.


Almost as soon as it was released, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Michael Musmanno wrote (Tropic of) Cancer is "not a book. It is a cesspool, an open sewer, a pit of putrefaction, a slimy gathering of all that is rotten in the debris of human depravity.”

Wonder if my library has it? Sounds like fun.

Found here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Should We?

Found here.


The people who sell eyeglasses charge way too much. And they assume that other people want fashion. Perhaps some do, but not all. And I would bet, not most, either.

Yea or Nay?

When I read this, I thought that the customer was probably a Republican. Then I thought 'that's not really fair'. And it isn't.

But I still think the odds are with me on this one.


The Venza has Bluetooth connectivity to my phone, which I like. It would also be able to connect to the music on my phone if I had music on my phone. But today I was thinking gee, I wish I had a way to make a quick memo recording, and realized that the phone has a memo capability -- but Bluetooth doesn't connect to that.

Why not? (I know, if I really were a geek, I'd be able to figure it out. Hack it. But, alas....)

Thursday, November 17, 2011


I am tickled pink. I have gotten four short notes in two weeks from the girl who stayed with us last year. Very cool. She says she's coming to New York with her class. We probably won't go up there just to meet her for lunch, but it's nice to know that she'll be here.

I said probably. Though I do have a sudden urge to practice French.

We also got another indication that you need to use Google Translate with caution. She said "jai vraiment hate d ' y retourner new york" which GT translated as "jai really hate to go back new york". Only, she meant to write " j'ai vraiment hâte d ' y retourner new york ", which is "I can not wait to go back new york". Amazing what some missing punctuation can do to screw up your sentence.

(And yes, I did smile a little when I saw the first version, because I knew what that word was, and what it was supposed to be!!! Maybe there's hope for my French yet. )


I hate it when someone puts up a post, I see it on Google Reader, think hey, that's interesting, go to comment -- and they've deleted it. I wish there was a way to say hey, you know, that was good stuff.


I'm not sure what the people in this video are saying, but I would suspect at least one of them is saying Holy Crap!

Ce Matin

Yesterday evening, I was in a somewhat foul mood. (I know, right? That hasn't happened since the last time!)

Part of it was the weather -- grey and drizzling. At night, the headlights reflected on the road, making it tricky to know where the road was and where, um, Bill, you're about to drive onto someone's grass. That kind of driving reminds me that older people shouldn't drive at night...and where, in the age spectrum, I fall. (Ugh. Hate that word fall, for some reason. )

Part of it was my glasses, which decided to break. Not the lenses, but one of the arms. I don't know about you, but our local opticians always treat questions like can you put a new pair of arms on this as if you're asking can you graft an elephant onto this?

Part of it was the dinner. I had made home made pizza, four days ago, and it was really good. Tonight, I did it again, and it was terrible. I know why, too -- the pizza stone hadn't heated enough, I used too much of the basil oil (I thought there was just enough to work into the dough, and it turned out there was actually quite a lot), and I used too much mozzarella (my wife really likes cheese, so I figured use it up...only it turned out there was more in the bag than I thought). I hate it when I bake something and it turns out badly.

But most of it was colleges. My daughter got a scholarship from the school she wants to attend (yay) but it wasn't very much (boo). It was five thousand dollars, which is about enough to pay for one quarter of one semester per year. It's nice to have, but still. Plus, it turns out, we found that the college I'd like her to at least consider is less expensive than her preferred one, to the tune of nine thousand dollars a year. Wow. But this morning, it occurred to me that I had told her that I would not reject a school out of hand just because it was somewhat more expensive. Two or three thousand dollars a year, say. What with the scholarship, the one she wants is four thousand dollars a year more than the other one. Huh. Still a lot, but with other scholarships....maybe. Not allowed to change the rules because I don't like the result.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Strange Wonderings

Sometimes, I wonder about strange things. Like, why do you see more women than men cross their legs at the knees (rather than just rest the calf of one leg on the knee of the other)? Is it because it's easier for women to do that ? And, if so, is that because women's anatomy lets them lift a hip up further, so the leg can pivot more? And if so, is that because their anatomy is built for childbirth? And is that why women tend to have a rolling, 'hip-swinging' gait? Why do guys think that's attractive? Is it because guys subconsciously relate it as 'more rolling means more likelihood of success in childbirth; is good' ? Similarly 'larger breasts means more milk capacity to nourish children; is good' ? I really don't get the big breasts fascination. Doesn't stop me from noticing, though, but then sometimes I wonder about it.

I admit, part of what makes me wonder about all of this is when I stand right over the cat and she looks straight up at me. I think why can't humans do that? Which leads me to thinking about anatomy. I recall reading an article about 'flaws in human anatomy' - like 'why do we use overlapping passageways for breathing and eating?' Or (from a joke collection) - proof that God is an engineer -- who else would design the human body so that it has the amusement area right next to the sewage plant? And I remember years ago reading 'women like lipstick because it's a visible representation of hidden engorged labia'. I thought What? Can't be.... Which I still think, by the way.

Strange, I know....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

French Grammar

Side-By-Side French and English Grammar is probably the best French Grammar book I have found.

It's not the most comprehensive (for deep research, I prefer the Berlitz French Grammar Handbook), but its the best for casual, quick hey, explain this concept to me in thirty seconds use. English grammar concept on the left page, corresponding French grammar concept on the right page.

Its the only French book I've borrowed from the library that I liked enough to buy for myself. For what that's worth.


Found on FreXxX.


Wondermark is a very classy comic strip -- they call it an 'illustrated jocularity', which better fits their style -- but even for them, this is an amazing column.


We're going to try something that we've never done before. I'm not sure that it will be successful; I'm just hoping that we don't find ourselves regretting it.

A girl whom my daughter knows from color guard graduated from high school two years ago and started at a tech school type college. Some time afterward, she became pregnant by an unemployed man who was twice divorced and had already fathered two children. The girl dropped out of school and is now living with her parents and the child. She works at a McJob, to which she has to be driven because she doesn't have car insurance. She describes her father as 'loving her in his own weird way'; also, 'a control freak'. He kicked the boyfriend, who was living with them, out of their house twice, and he kicked her out of the house once, even before all of this started, while she was still in school. And, she's bipolar.

Two weeks ago, we took her with use to see my daughter (and others) perform at a high school football game. She seemed to really appreciate it. We got to see the control freak style in action; the father called her twice in the fifteen minutes it took us to get to the football game. I heard her say you're being a bit of a controller, again, Dad. But she seemed to enjoy the game, and she really enjoyed seeing the girls of color guard again. I suspect it reminded her of happier days.

Three days ago, she texted my wife, asking if she could come with her son to live with us. She offered to 'contribute to expenses, if necessary'.

We were stunned. After much thought, we concluded that we did not want to do this. Multiple reasons: we didn't want the responsibility of having to bring her to work, and babysitting for her while she was there. We didn't want the control freak father to be calling us frequently to see what she was doing. We didn't want the boyfriend showing up, let alone, wanting to move in. It all just sounded too scary for us. On the other hand, we didn't want to abandon her. I wouldn't say she was desperate, but she gave off something like that vibe. And maybe the father is a control freak, but fathers - good ones - want to know that their kids are okay. And, who knows, maybe her estimate of this boyfriend as a great guy is valid. I doubt it, but maybe. So we contacted some people we knew and asked them: are there agencies in this area that could help this kid get her life going again? (One friend warned us that she sounded like she was ripe to move in and drop into 'daughter mode', where the parents handle and pay for everything. We think so, too.) But each of them came up with two or three support possibilities, some of which sound pretty good. So we replied back. We said that we didn't want to let us live with us, but we would like to talk with her about some possibilities. Could she come over for dinner?

This weekend, we're having her over, and we're going to lay out what we found. And we'll see what happens. It may be that she arrives thinking that she has a chance to talk us into it. You put things softly - we're not comfortable in having you live with us - and people can draw such conclusions. We might have to be harsher than we like to be. My wife thinks that just the experience of getting out of the house, being away from the father, will be good for her. I hope so.

And I hope that she doesn't beg.

Monday, November 14, 2011


I just read an article on the New Yorker web site about Steve Jobs.

In addition to the quirks (to put it mildly) that he demonstrated, the article said that he had one key skill: he could see the improvements that something needed. He couldn't see them in the item itself, but when he was presented with alternatives to the item, he could pick out the alternative that would make it better. The article says that he wasn't a visionary who saw a better world and reshaped it; he was a tweaker who took the existing world and changed parts of it slightly until they reached perfection. Or at least whatever he thought perfection was at the moment he thought it. No bets on whether that changed over time.

An interesting thought. He couldn't create perfection himself, but he could demand it from others, and recognize it when they did. Working for him must have been both exhilarating and exhausting.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Creative Solution

Found here.

Damn Cold

Found here.


Drawing with a hard can it be?

Faber Castell from eric yeo on Vimeo.



My daughter is walking around, wearing a T Shirt from the college that she wants to attend (and has been accepted to; though she hasn't said Yes, that's probably just a formality at this point). She's eating a cold piece of pizza.

I think that she's getting into the mood for the experience.


Webcam Girl's Dancing Surprise - Watch MoreFunny Videos


(Is Electronics an antiquated word? It sounds like one. Oh, he's smart....he's studying Electronics!)

But anyway.

In the fervor of our device for reading is smaller than your device for reading, I wonder if anyone is contemplating bigger ones -- something that can give you the heft of a real book? The heft could come from a small storage compartment for pens, glasses, whatever. It'd need two screens, too, I think (quite helpful for read this page and search the rest of the book, or the web, with that one).

I'd buy it.

Hey, Otter?

...and Bacon

Found here.

On Track

I know it's not quite this simple. But when all your friends have one...

Found at YellowDog Granny.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Driving Ambition

...would not be to drive up to Vermont from Pennsylvania one day and back two days later. Been there, done that.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


I have never been particularly good with introspection.

I told my wife that I likely would not go for another term as judge of elections, once this one is up next year. It's an easy enough job; the main requirement seems to be having someone who is willing to give direction, and to tell people how to get things done, or why they cannot. Occasionally, there are awkward moments, such as when a voter gets himself into a tizzy and you have to gently get them off the ledge and back to where they want to be, or when a voter asks why we don't require identification when voting. I think they assume, as I would have, that we're all highly trained and experienced Voting People, conversant with the laws, rules, guidelines, recommendations, and whatnot that cover the area. There are certainly enough of them, and every election, they seem to have more -- this time, they included a sign to post saying that only voters and poll staff could be in a certain area. Who else is there? one of my people asked, and I had to admit that I had no idea. (Now, I think they're trying to limit people from other areas, such as news reporters and politicians running for statewide office.) But most of that is trivial.

I do get tense beforehand -- will this be the time that we can't get the machines up and running by 7AM? Doesn't help when people show up late. We did find that the time on the machines is not only wildly different from one to another -- one said it was 7:02 when another said it was 7:11 -- but that the machine is 'smart' enough not to let you turn it on just because you're saying Dammit, it is SO 7AM, turn on! One of my staff asked why they couldn't just skip that one and come back to it, and I told them that the rules said THIS one had to be first. Why? they asked, and I didn't know. Makes no sense to me.

And I worry about shutting stuff down -- am I going to remember to sign everything, put it in the right place? My position is the biggest bottleneck -- I, or I and the inspectors, or I and everyone else, has to sign every damn form. And things go get filed weirdly, like this is how they evolved and no one is willing to start from scratch -- this paper goes in Envelope H which goes into Envelope A -- except that there IS no Envelope A; that one goes into Envelope B while a copy goes in the Small Manila Envelope and one gets taped to the door. I made a checklist, and it works pretty well -- its been a while since I had to add anything. We're more likely to skip a step because we want to get the hell out of there than because it isn't on the list.

Still, those aren't the reasons I want to quit. I tell people it's boring to sit there all day, which is true, but that's not it. I told my wife that I don't want to be doing this when I'm 66, which is what I'd be at the end of another term; that's true (I hate the idea of the geezers doing this for ten, twenty years, and I despise the thought of being one of those geezers), but that's not the reason. I don't know what it is.

But I'd like to.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Monday, November 07, 2011

Heart Failure

I was in the middle of editting a post when I got an error saying that the editor had failed, and I should recycle my session. So I saved it off line, refreshed the page -- and got, in succession, an error that the editor didn't work, then a 404 for the blog address, then a 'this account has been deleted', then a 'this account has been blocked.

After staring in blank astonishment, and sending them a note for help, I noticed that my Google Reader access was still there. Google signon was still there, too, but GMail and Googletalk had both gone away. So I tried 'resetting' my google password -- and it worked. Suddenly, I had access again.

I did not enjoy that. I can only imagine what losing access is like for people who rely on Google to work. Not to mention, how do you tell people Hey, its not me doing this! Please don't go away!!!

So, I created a Tumblr account at Right now, there's nothing there, but if this one ever goes south, that's where I'll be, at the very least posting what's happening, and probably crying about lost archives. Sounds attractive, right? But I hope you'll come there anyway, should the need arise.

I don't have a lot of followers, but I don't want to lose the ones I have!

Sunday, November 06, 2011


I'm not a runner, but I thought this was of interest.

Saturday, November 05, 2011


Tonight we did something we haven't done for a very long time. My wife and I went out to see a play.

It was a local theater presentation of Hamlet. It was very nicely done -- mostly polished, with a large cast and a lot of energy, particularly from the fellow in the lead role, who pranced and scampered and leaped all over the stage, being sad and buoyant and melancholy and exuberant by turns. It was particularly captivating because this was a small 'theater in the round' presentation, and we were in the front row. For several of his monologues, Hamlet was right in our faces, staring at us, scowling and muttering and laughing and gesturing.

We had a good time.


I am not a wood-worker of any sort. The guy who built our addition liked to say that he just 'hammered some nails', and that's a good description of my wood handling ability.

When the kitchen was remodeled, we had new cabinets installed. They're nice, though I remember being astonished to find that the cabinets -- both the old ones and the new ones -- were each supported by four or six long screws. I would have assumed that they were supported by ten or twenty, and had buttressing to boot. But those cabinets didn't fall down, and these haven't, either, so I suppose they knew what they were doing.

Not so much with the shelves -- specifically, the two trapezoidal shelves in the corner cabinet. Each of those jewels has fallen once or twice in the eleven years that they've been there. In each case, the shelf's supports -- thin plastic clips -- gave way. Nothing even smashed, not even the glasses on the top shelf, but they've made a great big mess. Both times, we've said we really should do something more permanent than this. But each time, we've gotten more of the clips -- so this is why they gave us so many -- and put the shelf back up.

Now, it's happened again. And this time, we're going to see if we can get better quality supports than those we currently have. Same kind, but metal, with a thicker, longer support lip. If we can, we'll use them. And if we can't, we're going to nail a strip of wood under each side of the shelf, in addition to the clips. I'd like to put braces in, too, but I know my limits -- and that strip of wood is about it. Even there, I'm not sure if I'll be able to do it. That's an awkward place to work in, and we wouldn't want to find that the screws poked through into the next cabinet.

In theory, it's a piece of cake.

Friday, November 04, 2011


From YellowDog Granny.

Thursday, November 03, 2011


I admit it, this is strange. But I'm excited: I got three books on French grammar out from the libe!

(Try to restrain your boisterous enjoyment.)

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


According to some articles I just read about male life expectancy in the United States, I can expect to live to about 75. Which means I'm about 83% of the way there.

Well, heck.

Then again, that length of time ago, I was just past 50 -- and that seems a long time ago. I had just changed jobs, leaving a company that doesn't even exist now. I hadn't even thought of learning French, or starting to bake, or any of that. My daughter was 5. That's forever ago.

And you keep hearing that people living till 85 or 90 is becoming more common.



Last night, I saw a program on the functioning of Marine Helicopter Squadron HX3 -- the one that flies Marine One.

I was not surprised to learn that there are multiple Marine Ones (any thing the President flies that's a chopper is called that, and it's always flown by the Marines), or to learn that they have support aircraft, too. To learn how many Marine Ones they have, and support aircraft, and people; to learn that they fly the helicopter and people and parts inside an Air Force cargo transport anywhere the President goes, whether they're expecting to use it or not; to see how big their operation is -- well, I thought : This is part of why it costs so much to move the President someplace.

And I remembered how, just as Obama was coming into office, there was a kerfuffle about a new Marine One that the military wanted -- bigger, stronger, faster, more shielding, more everything -- and how they didn't, but only because this was a new President and he wanted to get past the question (I'm not used to this one yet, he said. I've never had a helicopter before.)

A long way from the President going out for a stroll by himself....

Tuesday, November 01, 2011


Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't think that people are pissed that Wall Streeters and others earn so much money. They're offended by it, because they apparently do so little for the economy in order to get that money, and they earn obscene amounts. But they can live with it.

I think that what they're pissed at is that those people are earning so much while so many others are getting squeezed, working harder, earning less - or nothing.

If the squeezing wasn't there, I don't think we'd care nearly as much.


Found here.