Wednesday, December 28, 2005


I've decided recently that I'm interested in Ronald Reagan. My conversion to conservatism is very much after Reagan was president, and what opinions I had were formed by my father, who still thinks Reagan is the worst thing to ever hit America.

While the bible expects us to honor our parents, it doesn't say we always have to agree with them.

I've been reading a bit, mostly books by people who worked for Reagan, and I'm now convinced (as many Conservatives are) that Reagan is the greatest president this country has had in many years. I just finished Peggy Noonan's When Character was King, in which she discusses how Reagan's character shaped his presidency. Another read was Peter Robinson's How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life. A third is Douglas Brinkley's Boys of Pointe Du Hoc.

In any event, other than listing my current reading, I should possibly share what I've gotten out of this. My father's complaint was always that Reagan sold out to business interests - he was in the pocket of corporations. What I think I've learned in reading is that there was a lot more to Reagan than that. To answer that point, I will say that there's a lot of good that should be said about corporations. Corporate America has employed more people, created more wealth, and done more to spur our economic growth than any other sector of the country. Government may employ more people, but to what end? More meaningless programs to pour tax dollars down? No thanks - I'm comfortable with capitalism, and comfortable with corporations. Nothing's perfect, and I won't defend Enron, but corporate America has helped this country thrive.

Anyway, what I'm picking up about Reagan is his determination to make this world a better place, and his commitment to his principles no matter what people said about him. He also seems to have been right on nearly every major initiative he undertook as president. The economy needed the tax cuts he pushed; the Soviets needed to be stared down; the country needed a return to the optimism he projected.

It's interesting - I taped a PBS show the other night on Reagan, and I caught a bit of it. Knowing PBS, I had low expectations, and on a few occasions they were met admirably. They interview this one biographer, who says "everyone says Reagan slowed down after he was shot. He lost the glint in his eye, and it was a slow, steady decline after that."

So, let's see. He's shot some 9 weeks into his first term. It's a slow, steady decline after that, right? So his reconstruction of the American economy, his landslide victory in the 1984 election, and his crushing defeat of the Soviet Union (without firing a shot) were part of a slow, decline? We should all have declines like that. I'm taking that guy's interpretation as part of the usual leftwing perspective on Reagan (not that I know this Lou Cannon's political affiliation). Reagan the Dunce. Reagan the Momma's Boy. Reagan the Napping Old Man. Reagan the Rich White Elitist. That sort of perspective is what I've come to expect of the Left, and they never pass up the opportunity to show how out of step with the rest of America they are.

I've come to the conclusion that Reagan was one of history's Great Men, Great Deeds types. He came along at just the right time to save this country from a Carter-like quick, precipitous decline and defeat the greatest threat to this world since WWII. I think I would have liked him, and I think the world is a better place because of him, and I'm glad he was my president.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Chirp chirp

I'm getting the vague sense that crickets are chirping out in blogland. Like I'm the only one at work this week (which seems to be true) and there's nobody to play with.

Aww, poor me.

Hope Terry gets back soon, and his mom says he can come out & play.


Just to finish off last week's nonsense about jackbooted thugs busting kids for taking out "Green Eggs and Ham."

The story was a hoax.

I for one suspected as much, but as I said last week I was prepared to assume it was true until we knew otherwise. Now, of course, we know the whole thing was made up. Look, the kid clearly has issues. The end of the news story indicates clearly that the kid needs attention, and he's used this as an opportunity for people to notice him. But some thoughts, in no particular order:

A) Why, of all things, did the kid pick this as his attention-grabber? Granted it's easier than faking your own kidnapping, but why a library book? And why, when the focus is on the War on Terror, would the DHS approach someone for taking out a communist book? Reasonable people should have picked this apart far more quickly.

B) A couple of things said by one of the professors who was part of this strike me as telling. First:

Dr. Williams said he does not regret bringing the story to light, but that now the issue can be put to rest. "I wasn't involved in some partisan struggle to embarrass the Bush administration, I just wanted the truth," he said.

I'm finding that a little hard to believe, Doc. You were all over this thing, talking about the "culture of fear" and the "government's chilling actions", as I recall the first article. Kindly don't p%&^ on me & tell me it's raining, OK pal?

Dr. Williams said the whole affair has had one bright point: The question of whether it is safe for students to do research has been answered. "I can now tell my students that it is safe to do research without being monitored," he said. "With that hanging in the air like before, I couldn't say that to them."

The problem with this is, Genius boy, that you could have, and SHOULD have told them that before. No one was monitoring their research before, no one will be now. The essential point he's making, as Terry noted about these types last week, is "well, we all know the government really wants to monitor you, and maybe they weren't here, but you're really safe NOW because I, I, your SAINTED PROFESSOR, have defended your rights mightily."

It's not all about you, and if you had a shred of common sense or weren't trigger happy to believe this about your own country, you would have investigated first and gone public after.

C) I have yet to get, nor will I get, any retractions from the people on the email list about their comments. Many people are away this week, and by next week other things will come up. If there is any honor among the correspondents I had last week, some of them will come forth and admit they went over the top. I will be shocked if anyone does come forth, frankly.

The hallmark of what passes for liberal thought is to jump the gun, make the accusations, raise all kinds of holy hell about it, then COMPLETELY ignore the unpleasant reality when it finally comes out. I'm terribly saddened by this, as I think these are on the whole decent people who happen to disagree with me. I can live with the disagreement, but the intellectual dishonesty is depressing. I deserve more consideration as an opponent in an argument, and they should be man enough to admit when they got it wrong.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

This is hard to read

I don't recommend it if you're feeling sickened, but it's a tremendously important article if you're interested in the aftermath of Katrina, medical ethics, the responsibility of medical providers in a time of crisis, and the rights of patients.

Investigations continue on exactly what happened in that hospital, but I think it's clear that difficult decisions were made there. I don't know what I would have done in the same situation. As a religious person, I'm of the basic opinion that a physician has no right to take steps to end a patient's life. I don't know what a sick person would want, or whether a simple death would be preferable to dying naturally, but slowly and presumably painfully.

I don't even know if it's entirely reasonable for a person to retain complete sanity when you're under the strain of four days of failing power, no food, probably little sleep, unceasing work, and possibly no hope of rescue. I would simply hope that no medical professional knowingly ended someone's life of their own (the physician's) volition. We trust our medical professionals to preserve and protect life to the best of their ability. My faith demands, anyway, that we leave decisions like these in God's hands - once on lifesupport equipment, for example, it's my understanding that Judaism demands that you maintain that support. You may choose not to employ it in the first place, but once in place, removing it is tantamount to murder.

Again, I'm choosing not to judge the actions of the doctors at Memorial Hospital. I wasn't there and we don't know yet what happened. Perhaps nothing did. But I do think this is a very important thing to investigate, and an important question for society to discuss. Who chooses when someone dies? (Leaving aside for the moment the Death Penalty, which for the record I support and belongs in a different discussion.) What responsibility does a physician have, especially when acting or not acting will risk their own lives? What rights to patients in these situations have?

It may be one of the more important questions in understanding the aftermath of Katrina - not simply the human tragedy of death & destruction, but the actions of people when faced with such choices.

Holiday T3

1. Are you an early bird in the prep for the holidays, and if so, how early do you start?

Holiday? What holiday? There's a holiday coming up? Uh oh.

2. If you decorate your house, when do the decorations go up, and what are they?

Not much decorating - we have a lot of the kids' stuff that will eventually get put up, and the menorahs themselves will hit the bay window day of. Assuming, of course, that the tools sitting there are removed beforehand. Yes, they've been there since I put the screen door in on Thanksgiving. So if tools count as decorations, I decorated on Thanksgiving.

3. Do you go out of your way to find special, well-thought-out presents, or are you so harried and confused that gift cards make more sense?

Like El Possumo, I leave such issues up to the missus. I ran out of ideas a loooooong time ago.

So did my dad, incidentally. When I was a kid, we started out with one small gift every day. Then maybe two larger gifts. Then one gift. Eventually my dad just handed me a twenty and told me to pick what I wanted. Apparently it took me only 5 years to get to that point, where he at least put up a good show till I was about 15.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

So you're kept up to date

The silliness is continuing. A woman emailed saying she believes Democracy has been subverted by Capitalism. I wrote asking why our economic and political systems are replacing one another. Granted the two are very deeply intertwined, but they are distinct features of American society. "Subversion" seems a bit much to me - large beefy men sitting in cigar-filled rooms moving pawns about.

Once again, BTW, with liberals it also seems to me "I feel"; "I believe". It doesn't seem to be about supportable evidence, and it doesn't seem to be about argument in the old sense of the term.

It's all pointless, but as I told another closeted conservative here, I feel like tilting at windmills today.

Political Junk

Avert your eyes if you think politics is boring.

I'm on an email list for archives, and most of the messages are fairly pedestrian. There was a note made a few days ago referring to the following story. I won't comment on the story itself - there's some back & forth here trying to determine if the thing is a hoax. I'll accept for now that the story is a fact, awaiting any further information should it arise.

Regardless, this posting brought everyone out of the woodwork. The tinfoil-hat brigades came out in force, arguing that we are a step away from Fascism, police state, cats & dogs living in sin together (Not that there's anything wrong with that). Normally I let these things go, but my illness and plain old irritation finally caught up with me.

So I sent the following email, which I thought the rest of you might like to see. If you wouldn't like to see it, it serves you right for reading this.


I had intended to skip the annual political folderol, but I'm still a bit sick and it's making me both cranky & ornery. Usually (for the rookies' information) I only pop up during these conversations to ask people to kindly return to their own corners and cease & desist.

The fact that I'm jumping into this one should indicate how disturbed some of this is making me. Bear in mind I've got a Benadryl hangover, so I may be more incoherent than usual. Note also that I have gone to the trouble to set up a separate email account just for this. Feel free to respond - I expect to let this account die a simple death shortly, so all spam & hatemail will probably wither away anyway.

Now, to the point. I am completely comfortable with everyone having their own opinion. I'm glad of it, and I encourage conversations such as these. I don't honestly think this is the right place for it, but most of the time I can ignore it. I think this time, however, people have lost a lot of perspective. For the record, I am a committed conservative. I believe in smaller government, people doing things for themselves, a strong defense, and most of the other conservative positions. That's my problem, not anyone else's, but this way you'll know where I'm coming from.

To this point, easily 99% of the conversation has offered the liberal position. Fair enough - again, everyone has a right to their opinion. But the level of invective, and frankly paranoia, is extremely disturbing to me. This concern that we're on a slippery slope to some kind of police state is not only an extreme assumption, but it denigrates both the United States and those people who have actually lived under true police states.

Several of my friends grew up under Soviet rule. If you wish to know what a police state is like, ask my friends who lived as Jews in Soviet Russia. I assure you the KGB and its FSU descendants are true stormtroopers; anything we in the US have come up with can't begin to act as they did. I know a few victims of the Nazi concentration camps - if you truly want to know what it was like to suffer under your government, ask them. [ed. Buddy's name redacted] is actually one of the few people I trust on this one - he has told me numerous times about his stint in Saudi Arabia. Where women cannot drive, where non-musilms are persecuted, where the press truly is not free.

All of this talk, as someone mentioned, of a "chilling atmosphere" is disingenuous at best, and unsupportable logically. To the best of my knowledge, this recent case of ILL is the first use of the Patriotic Act using library records.

One case. In FOUR YEARS.

Near as I can tell from the secondhand stories, they went to question the student and then did nothing further. No arrest. No late night disappearance. No confiscation of property. Basic police investigative work - question a person of interest, move on when there's nothing of use. I would hope the agents delivered an apology for troubling the student, and presumably that will be the end of the matter. Am I comfortable with the government checking library records? Actually, I am, assuming they have a reason for investigating. I know everyone has different levels of what's reasonable, but unlike other posters I have some faith in our system, our police forces, and our citizenry that we're not about to descend into fascism.

We have survived challenges to our society before. Someone pointed out to me recently that Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus during the Civil War twice. We survived that. Roosevelt interned many thousands of US citizens during WWII; we survived that as well. I would note, not so incidentally, that both of those presidents are deservedly honored by the political left. George Bush may not be at the level of either of those, but why assume that he's trying to create a police state? If you dislike the president, that's fine. Work as hard as you can to defeat his party & his ideas through the usual methods - vote against his party, call your congressperson, etc.

But please. Please. Please don't tell me he's a combination of Machiavelli, Adolf Hitler, J. Edgar Hoover, and, of course, Howdy Doody. Aside from being logically inconsistent ("he's an unbelievably clever and scheming idiot") it lacks perspective on the United States and the half of the country that did vote for him. We're supposed to be among the more educated people in the country, and historically more aware than almost anyone else. History is our business, and history (among other things) tell us that perspective is necessary.

The belief that each change in our nation is automatically going to lead to fascism fails to grasp the essential nature of the United States - we are built with enough checks & balances to have the best chance of remaining a democratic nation. The millions seeking to come here from elsewhere understand that - ask a recent immigrant which is the safest, freest country in the world and I believe most of them will answer the US. As the keepers and users of history, we should keep that in mind when we start to fret about a single event. No one on this list has reported visits by
black-cloaked government thugs, and none of us are likely to.

Here endeth the rant, and perhaps all of us should get back to work.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

So the only thing

worse than being sick yourself is sharing a bed with a nearly 5 year old equivalently sick person.

Youngest got it Friday night, I got it Sunday night, oldest got it last night. I spent all of yesterday in bed (I did get to watch "Going My Way" last night, which was hokey but fun. I like Barry Fitzgerald.) Oldest wakes up just as I'm settling in for the night, with the same stomach unpleasantness I had. She had it pretty much every half-hour from then until 4 AM or so.

So I got about 3 hours of sleep, I have a cold, and I'm still recovering from the virus. Why, no, everything's fine. Why do you ask?

I did manage to make four batches of fudge on Saturday night for Christmas / Chanukah / Holiday gifts for work people. Got some candy boxes at Michael's & delivered today, to a great deal of appreciation from all concerned. Maybe I'll take pictures, as we have plenty left. Plain milk chocolate, mint, oreo, and white chocolate chip. That last was a goof - Mrs. thought it would lighten the milk chocolate, but the white chips didn't melt. So we ended up with four kinds instead of three.

Of course, the very thought of fudge is making me ill, but when I feel better there will be plenty to eat. Anyway, I'll take pics later if I can.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I just got an email

from the nice folks down at IT saying they needed to perform EMERGENCY MAINTENANCE ON THE INTERNET. I did not know we were that important, but apparently the ENTIRE INTERNET is depending on us to get things fixed.

I'm not sure why this EMERGENCY can wait until the weekend to happen, but what do I know? I also have this vision of Terry's fixit-guy with the, umm, slight paunch heading over here with a box of craftsman tools and a large root beer float.

Anyway, if your internet is broken, apparently you can blame me.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Lord

is apparently quite forgiving. Or he has a wicked sense of humor.

I just found my keys.

In my work bag. In a pocket I don't think I knew it had.

God either wants me to pay more attention to the world around me. Or He just wanted to watch crawl around in the slush on my hands and knees because it would be pretty funny.

Either way, I'm glad he pointed them out to me before my dear wife arrived here with the spare set.

I think

God is trying to tell me something. Automobile-wise, anyway.

As I reported earlier in the week, I had the windshield replaced because of a crack. I also dealt with the check engine light, which was a bad O2 sensor.

So last night I get in the car to head home, and as I head down the hill I notice the car is pulling pretty seriously to the right. I get out, and the right front tire is flatter than Howard Dean thinks the Earth is.


Pull the car over to a flat spot, out with the jack and lugwrench. Get the donut on, and happily make it to the garage before they close. Yes, I should learn to patch my own tires, but I just wanted to get it done before today's blizzard.

So naturally we have tons of rain, but no blizzard. Allright, but both kids schools are closed. Get the cholent up, head out to work. I come down the stairs from my parking spot, and I can't find my car keys. I have now been over & over the wet, slushy, snowy parking area up there and the keys are simply gone.

I don't know if there's a message in here someplace, but if there is it has to do with my car. (For the record, the mechanic said "He's just trying to tell you that $#@& happens." He may have a point.)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Back from

a meeting offsite, and lo & behold, it's Thursday Three time:

Non-Sequitur Edition of the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three!

1. What do you think is going to be the next big fad in blogging?

Competitive blogging in hockey arenas. Watch from WAAAAAAYYYYYYY up in the nosebleeds as Daily Kos goes against Andrew Sullivan. See them type. Watch them scratch their noses. Drink coffee. Instant replay, jerseys, cheerleaders. Can a steroid scandal and a lockout/strike be far behind?

2. Have you ever stolen anything?

Yes. A pack of gum. I was five. It was treif. Mom made me go back & pay them.

3. What is your favorite fish recipe?

Take one fish. Put back in the fish tank/river/ocean. Get a hamburger. Or a hot dog. Or a candy bar. Almost any other food. Eat.

Have you gathered that I don't like seafood?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Turns out

it was a bad Oxygen Sensor. Several somewhat hard-earned bucks later, the car will pass inspection when the next one comes up in a month or so. I have no idea if I could've replaced it, but since I probably couldn't, I might as well pay the guy on the corner.

Oh, and oldest completely faded out at the museum - perfectly fine one minute, now she's upstairs asleep. She just got off the juice from the strep, too. Maybe it didn't work.


I'm having

a Terry sort of day today. The kids are off for school so the teachers can go get educated and drink coffee or something, so the Mrs. asked me to stay home. I have a personal day that needs blowing anyway, so why not?

So how, exactly, am I Terry-like? Start with the himalayas of laundry clogging up the house, which I am collecting, washing, drying, folding, and in some cases even putting away. There are also the required automotive tasks - a cracked windshield and a check engine light on in the car.

This is why I'm only sort of possumy - I did the usual Yankee thing and called the professionals. Since the insurance includes glass, why would I kill myself anyway? Add that I wouldn't know where to diagnose that little orange bulb, and it makes sense to let others handle things.

Anyway, we're off to the local kids museum to burn off some energy in somebody else's house.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


I vaguely remember us doing a work thing a while back - I'll need to check. ::checking not so furiously::

Yep - check it out here.

Despite the repetitiveness, I will answer anyway:

If all jobs paid the same and education and training were not an issue,
1) What job would you most want to have?

I really like the one I have, but if I had to choose something else I imagine it would be hockey related. Maybe color guy on a TV or radio broadcast. Assuming, of course, that "highly paid lying in the hammock all day guy" is not an option.

2) What job would you wish on your least favorite politician?

Steevil stole my answer, so I'll call it Elephant Pooper Scooper Trooper. Given that they all spend so much time speaking %$&#, I'd like to force them to shovel it, too.

3) Where would each of the jobs above be located?

The first would be anywhere there's an NHL team; the second would be wherever the most elephants are located.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

What does it take

to get me out of blogslumber? This is what it takes to wake me up.

Once again, the solution to every problem in the universe tastes just like chicken. And once again, schmaltz is really useful.

This is why I love America.

Monday, November 21, 2005

My wife

incidentally, is really cool. My new laptop & old clunker were not talking to each other, and I was too busy & incompetent to resolve it.

In comes the Mrs., who successfully networks those two plus her own, and last night I finally got a chance to start transferring all the old crap to the new machine. Plenty of it is junk, but the old one is in bad shape, so I'm dumping stuff on the new one & I'll hopefully sort it & clean it out over there before the old one gives up the ghost in the machine.

Anyway, the wife is pretty neat.


was all birthday parties, all the time. Youngest had two in succession, then oldest one in the afternoon. I got to sleep in a little, which was good because I stayed up late watching the hockey game I had taped in the afternoon. I took youngest to the morning party, which was fine except I couldn't leave.

Pass the parcel, projects, pizza, and ice cream cake. Over & done by noon, home, grab some lunch. Mrs. heads off to the Kosher Krispy Kreme donut party, and oldest & I entertain ourselves. Youngest returns, fell asleep in the car & transferred successfully to the couch. Oldest off in a friend's car to her gymnastics party, & Mrs. & I get to have uninterrupted conversation with her out & youngest asleep.

Oldest returns, youngest awakes, dinner, bed for oldest, youngest comes down & hangs out while I watch the hockey game. She goes to bed, I waste TV time & computer time, then off to bed after midnight.

Plenty to do, not much accomplished.

The weekend

was actually nice. Sunday was not the most accomplished of my days, but more on that in a bit.

Despite the lateness of our shoppitude, all the food was succesfully cooked. Cholent went up and turned out delicious, matzah balls were done on time, and family arrived with time to spare. A nice dinner and the kids actually in bed by 9PM. Like morons, however, the adults stayed up talking until midnight, so we were a little wiped the next day.

Especially given that a certain small person arrived in our bed sometime around 2:30 AM. I actually didn't notice until she started kicking me at 5:30AM, which got some extremely grouchy grunts out of me. Eventually we all dragged ourselves out of bed, got kidlets breakfasted, and everyone aside from Mrs. Skinny headed off to services.

Mostly peace & quiet at services, although youngest (clearly underslept) hung around at the beginning, half asleep on my shoulder. She disappeared off to groups after a while, returning later towards the end of services. Which would have been fine, except I was leading services at the time and she came over, quietly but insistently requesting I remove a lollipop wrapper for her. The presence of her uncle nearby, who offered to take care of her helped not a whit, so I led and unwrapped at the same time. Mind you, I've never led services in recent years WITHOUT one of them in my arms, hanging on me, or whispering loudly about whatever they need. I managed not to screw up anyway.

Lunch involved some other friends we invited, which was fine except my sister in law is quite the liberal and the husband of the friends (though I didn't know this before) quite the conservative, but after the initial salvos we got off politics and lunch was lovely. By the time it ended it was time for afternoon services, then a little more home until the end of Shabbos, when the cousins & all decamped for home.

Friday, November 18, 2005

I should point out

that I'm a confused, discombobulated, witless dope.

Relations are coming for shabbos, and we've known about this for weeks. We even have a menu written out by Weds night. Some of the things are cooked already.

And yet, knowing that I have to make both Cholent and Matzah Balls,* do I have all the ingredients I need for either? Well, I know you'll be surprised, but no, I don't. No meat for the cholent, no seltzer for the matzah balls.

What, I hear you cry, does that mean when Shabbos begins around 4:20?

It means that half the food still needs to be made and I will be a lunatic when I get home. Moreso than usual, of course. Well, the Lord does want us to appreciate the day of rest, and what better way to do that then spending Day of Rest Eve running around like the proverbial Gallus Domesticus, Decapita?

*It should be noted that Matzah Balls in Cholent is a tasty idea; take the uncooked dough, form into balls, and put into the cholent pot where they will cook overnight and end up delicious. Cholent in Matzah Balls, on the other hand, would be disgusting and the sort of sick, twisted thing that dopey, sophomoric "fusion" cooking types would come up with, and charge you $18 apiece for.

Good news

As both a short altitudinally challenged person and a fan of AC/DC, I applaud Angus Young being named "greatest short dude of all time."

It's about time the tallocentric world took notice of us underheighted people.

Gives more meaning to the AC/DC lyric "It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock & roll."

Thursday, November 17, 2005

As to why

I have been away, I'd say it's a combination of blogennui and busyness. My neighbor's mother passed away last week and it's been a busy shiva week for us as well, of course, for her.

Mrs. Skinny co-organized the meals for them, took over carpool, etc. I was over there twice a day for services, did some shopping, and helped out where I could.

I can't remember if anything else of consequence has actually happened. I made nacho stuffed shells on Monday, which freeze nicely and will give me lunch for a few more days. Last night was Chocolate Chip cookies, some for new neighbors & most for the weekend - my brother, sister in law, & two nieces are coming for the weekend while their house is being painted. My nephew decided to make his plans elsewhere, so we've only got the girls.

Oh, and I did have lunch with my friend Peter on Tuesday. There's a group of Medical Archivists that meets periodically in Manhattan, and I try & make lunch plans with Peter when I'm in the City, which is increasingly rare. We always end up at the expensive place a couple of blocks from where I used to (and he still) work(s). Considering he's not Jewish, it's nice there's a restaurant I can take him to that he likes. Kosher restaurants are sometimes a little on the cheesy side, and if you don't keep kosher they don't measure up.

Anyway, it's a steak place I go to when I feel like I have too much money & nothing to spend it on. The steak is unbelievable, and it's one of the few places where I pick the plate completely clean, so it's worth the expense. It was a nice chance to catch up with him, and I was out of the office for more than half the day, which doesn't hurt.

Thursday Three

Terry notes I've been a bit absent from blogging. I brought a note:

Dear Mr. Possum,

Please excuse my son from blogging. He had a slight case of the Plague.

Epstein's Mother.

Anyway, here's T3:

1) If you had an unlimited amount of money, what sort of house would you like to have?

A larger house that contained a backyard ice rink and a Super Chexx hockey table. It would also be the sort of house that other people clean for me. I'd also like a large workshop area with someone to teach me woodworking.

2) If you decided to chunk it and go the full Thoreau route, what sort of hovel would you like to have?

See #1. I am most definitely NOT the Thoreau type. I like indoor plumbing too much.

3) What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the house or apartment you live in right now?

I'd like a bigger yard. It was one of the choices we had to make when picking a house, and we chose the recently rebuilt house/small yard over the beaten up house/large yard combo.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Workin' in a coal mine

Goin' down down down.

Anyway, T3 this week:

1. What is the thing you like best about your job?

When I'm a smart-aleck, I say the fact that nobody bothers me, sometimes for weeks at a time. See the boss once a month unless I need something. When I'm not, I like answering reference requests most. I don't do a ton - this is the first year in the five I've been here that I'm going to answer more than 50 requests. They're fun because sometimes it's a neat search to find the answer to a question, and it's best when I don't have to think of a question to ask.

2. What one thing--mind you THING (i.e., not people)--that you would like most to change about your job?

There's a few, not the least of which is the pay. I think I'd like to be able to hire an assistant, which is not likely to happen anytime soon.

3. What do you wish people knew about your job that you think they don’t?

First off, I wish they knew that I don't handle medical records. I get a bunch of calls looking for people's charts, and I have to explain that I don't touch those. More importantly, I wish people understood how much I help other people do their jobs. I don't think people get that while I may not make money for the organization, I do an awful lot for the people who do make money.

Not while I'm blogging, maybe, but other times.

Monday, November 07, 2005

la la la la la

::skinny dance of joy::

Mamma's back in town, and all is right with the world.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Referrer log funnies

Somebody was looking for skinny black girls. I will give the searcher the benefit of the doubt that they had no nefarious ideas in mind, but short of my changing both gender and skin color, I can only hope they were severely disappointed.

I like this one "bic lighter etching" It does sort of eliminate the need to "come up and see my etchings" when you can pull them out of your pocket, but I imagine the post in question was less than helpful

This search is simply beyond me. Aside from the fact that the query string apparently doesn't work, I can't for the life of me figure out why Camilla would be here. I mean, I know her stall is all mucked out & all, and we've got her favorite oats, but...

I am also proud to announce that I was result #119 on the list of sites under the search "shaving cream fight." Please note that proper form is to stand back to back, holding cans of barbasol approximately waste high, tabs removed. Take ten paces, turn, and fire. While straight razors are not used by orthodox Jews, feel free to finish the job properly with the gilette product of your choice.

Marquess of Queensbury rules, if you please.


I remember Demers a bit as a coach. Other than my beloved and [GASP!] in first place NY Rangers, I also keep tabs on the Detroit Red Wings, where he coached for a while. I also used to read the Hockey News avidly, so I was up on things around the league.

Demers was a talkative guy, and I seem to recall him making points very emphatically in that stereotypical French Canadian accent (shoot dat puck, score dat goal.) It's kind of amazing to think that the guy kept illiteracy a secret and yet climbed to the pinnacle of hockey coaching with a Stanley Cup win (Canadiens, 1993).

People can accomplish a lot in life with drive & determination, but you still wonder how anyone can function, much less succeed in life when they can't read. And to keep it hidden for 60+ years?

More power to him for pulling it off.

I should point out

that this morning was the kind of carpool morning I dread. Not quite carpool from hell, but certainly carpool purgatory. Neighbor needed to be elsewhere, so she asked if I could take the kids to school. Oldest would now be late, but there weren't really other options so I said OK.

Everything is hunky-dory until we get the first non-related-to-me kid. She's gotta sit in the middle between two boosters because the other kids are smaller. As it is oldest is sitting in the front seat (BAD BAD BAD DADDY!), as I drive a Civic for crying out loud, and there's barely room for three teeny weenies in the back. Picked up child starts whining that she doesn't want to be there, not in the middle, not next to youngest, not...

Fortunately it was dad there, and he had a train to make. "Sorry, kiddo, here's where you gotta be." Down the block to get last kid. Ring ring ring. Nobody home. Call Mrs. - "is the kid at his cousin's house?" What day is it, asks she. Thursday? Yep, he's there. Drive the block there, whine whine whine. My youngest joins the sobfest. Dad's phrase that pays, my lovely child, is "too bad."

Cousin's house, ring ring ring, no answer, side door, there they are. Dig seatbelt out from under whiny non-related kid, head over to school. Mercifully only a block away. Kids out one by one, up the stairs into the arms of loving teacher, whining & crying from all three. A cheery goodbye from VERY late dad & oldest, & off to her school.

Mamma's return can NOT come soon enough for me, for a wide variety of reasons.

Thursday three time

In a way, I think this list of question ties in very nicely with Jordana's post about postmodernism. There's something so Deconstructionist about using blogs to explore the reasons for blogging. I imagine there's a PhD to be written in here somewhere, but I'll leave that to the incomprehensible babblers to assemble so no one (including their mothers) will read it.


1) If you have a blog, why did you start it? If you don’t have one, do you think you might start one? Why or why not?

Do I have a blog? Do I have a blog? That's a tough one, hmmm.

I have a blog, in fact, and I imagine at least one person is reading it. Besides me, I mean. I started it because somehow or the other I ended up at Terry's place and decided it was a neat place to be. Terry and Jim noodged me over the edge into starting my own. I had toyed with the idea, and couldn't really decided if there was any point. Why would anyone read it. I swiftly learned that there's no reason to worry about that in the blogworld - most blogs are there for no reason at all. So why not contribute to the dreck out there?

2) What blogs do you read most often?

Terry's & Jordana's. I check out the others on my roll semi-regularly. During election season I was reading the National Review 7-8 times a day. I've given up on it as my interest in politics has diminished, and I need to work a littlebit. I don't have the energy to get too deep into other blogs.

3) Finally, what do you consider to be the greatest strength(s) and most profound weakness(es) of blogging?

For me the purpose of my blogging & blogreading is social. I clam up at cocktail-party type social events, but I can get a lot of the same interaction online, and I can express myself better with strangers by writing than by speaking. With that in mind, one strength for me is the ability to find like-minded people to socialize with. I don't need to hang around blogs with people I don't care for - I can always find another place with a more appropriate crowd.

Another is the wide variety of opinions and perspectives out there. It's a great place if you really want to see how other people are thinking and understand how the other side of whatever believes. It can also serve as the check on the media that I think this country needs. You've got millions of tinfoil hat brigaders for every successful Bush National Guard Records events, but those few successes are a useful check.

I'll agree with Terry on the negatives - too many trolls and troglodytes for anyone's taste. It's much easier and safer to be a putz, call someone names, and act like a fourteen year old when you can do it anonymously. The blogosphere simply gives the neanderthals a new space to act stupid.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

So, tell me

have you ever been to a meeting where some folks seemed determined not to get with the program? Where the answer to everything is "I don't think we can do that"? Which really means "Why are you making me do my job properly?" and "How can I stall this and/or blow it off so I don't have to do anything?" Where something that would be really cool, is absolutely necessary for the organization, and in the grand scheme of the universe is simple and cost effective is still not really where some people want to go?

Hmm. Me neither. Nope. Never. Not even as recently as this afternoon.

I'm Alone! I'm Alone!

Holy crap. I'm alone!

Mrs. has headed south to our friend in the DC area who just had a baby a week ago. Figuring that an extra pair of hands would be useful, she hit the road at 8:30 last night to give her friend more tons of baby paraphenalia and a week's TLC.

The result?

Yours truly gets a week alone with the miniature tornados. It's not a terrible thing, but it's a mite complicated. Youngest starts school at 8:15 around the corner; oldest starts at 8:15 five minutes from work, which is 20-25 minutes away. Youngest finishes school at 2PM, except on Tuesdays when she has gymnastics after & gets out at 3; oldest finishes at 3:45, except on Tuesdays when she has Arts & Crafts, & gets out at 4:30.

Getting the picture?

Happily, neighbor we carpool with has agreed to both take youngest at 7:45, as well as drive all week. Grandparents will be called into service on several of the days. All in all the logistics will be resolved somehow. I feel a little bad about overloading neighbor, but we did cook her dinner for her birthday on Sunday, and I made a pile of mint fudge as a birthday present, so we're trying to even it out a little bit.

Oddly, despite being alone with the kids, we were far more together and on time today than when Mrs. is around. I wonder if this means something?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Thursday it is,

I am back at work, and there's more silliness:

Now then, we want you to name the THREE most idiotic things you’ve ever done to prove yourself against the forces of Mother Nature. This doesn’t have to be just weather, though, even though Sarah would probably like it that way, but can be any of the forces of Nature--gravity, weather, earthquakes, electromagnetism…

1) Not so much to prove myself, but I did ride my bike 4 miles home from school one day in a torrential downpour, and tried riding full speed. Guess what? No brakes. I nearly got hit by a car, and learned to slow down.

2) More recently, I attempted to shovel 18 inches of wet, heavy snow with a handheld electric snow broom. Had I kept it up, I imagine I would still be there now. I was smart enough to borrow the neighbor's gas powered blower, and the next year I went out & got one of my own. Corner properties and NY winters do not mix well, shoveling wise.

3) Indirectly, I would say among the sillier things I've done (not once, but twice) is have late December babies. We had to call the volunteer ambulance to get us to the hospital for oldest because a blizzard hit the day before and I couldn't get the car dug out. Should there be more kids, I vote we aim for August.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

If it's Sunday

it must mean there's yet another holiday coming up. Joy. Rapture unforseen.

Truth is, I'm kinda holiday-d out. It's two more days of running around to services, wondering what other uselessness is piling up in the old email box, and wishing for a normal week.

The kids both have colds, which they kindly gave to us, we've been (and will continue to be) running all over creation, and Mrs.' carefully measured new closet hardware doesn't fit because the bottom of the closet is wider than the top.

All in all, we're ready for a few normal weeks. Kids in school, me at work, and Mrs. doing her thing at home without all these weirdos underfoot.

So if I don't see you tomorrow, I'll probably be back in time for Thursday. Maybe next week I'll even show up on a Tuesday or a Wednesday. Unless today is Friday and I've simply lost all command over the calendar.

:: SIGH ::

I need to get back to work so I can get some rest.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Oops - I knew I forgot something

Happy Blogiversary to Me. It was yesterday, but you know men often forget these things.

And yes, Terry, it is all your fault.

As I pointed out

elsewhere, today is the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. There was a lengthy cover story on the topic in this week's US News, and it's an issue I read for a change.

The article's fine, if a little light on detail on the battle itself. This is the first link that comes up on Google, and seems pretty comprehensive, so you can get that elsewhere. One thing about the article I found a little odd was the end:

Was Britain's mastery of the seas, and the eventual demise of Napoleon, good for the world? That depends, of course, on whether one thinks the growing interconnectedness of the world--one certain consequence of the British Empire and the trade that moved throughout it--was a good thing. When Britain abandoned its restrictive Navigation Acts in the mid-19th century, it gave a strong boost to free trade among all nations across sea routes made somewhat more secure by the presence of British naval power--a further boost to globalization.

Did Nelson really matter in all this? That's the question the anniversary of his most famous battle invites us to ponder.

I thought answering those questions was the whole point of the article? Anyway, it's worth a read. I'm no expert, but I think the battle was important for the immediate impact on the Napoleonic wars. I'm not so sure about the greater impact on trade, etc. The battle, to me, simply proved what should have been obvious - nobody on sea could execute the precision, gunnery, and seamanship of the British navy. Nelson's boldness and skill are what made Trafalgar happen as it did, but I don't think the French could've competed with the Brits at sea.

Given that the first British troops didn't arrive on the continent until 1809, four years later, I don't know what was the impact of the sea victory on the overall defeat of the French beyond morale. British domination on the sea, I think, was going to happen regardless of the events at Trafalgar. Yes, I acknowledge that the fear of a Napoleonic invasion was real, but practically speaking I don't think the French would have been successful - I don't the French or Napoleon had the same skill at sea fighting as they did on land.

The other interesting point, historically, is the impact of Great Men and Great Deeds. Oh, I know modernist historians have tossed out that model, but they forget that these are the things that make history come alive. Nelson and my other favorite of the period, Wellington, are exactly the sorts of personalities that could make an impact on young people and teach them about history. Flawed men, both, but the kinds of men that turn the tide of history. Nobody had beaten Napoleon in Europe until Nelson succeeded at Trafalgar; no one defeated the French on land until Wellington succeeded in the Peninsula. Oh, I know about the attacks on Russia and the costs to the French, but the British beat the French head-to-head, and I think a lot of that was because of Wellington's generalship.

Anyway, I think too much has been disposed of in the rush to rewrite history. There's a certain value in knowing how regular folks lived, but let's face it - it's awfully dull to read about peasants when you can ride along with the big boys.

Before I forget

here's the Thursday Three, backwards version:

--Madeleine Albright

--A 16 ounce framing hammer


There you have it! Now then, go off and either make up a question that ties all three of those together in a HI-larious way, or just make up three questions that each thing is the answer to.

The best question I can come up with are "Name three things MacGyver would use to escape from a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan"

First, Mac would put Albright out there to force the holy wackos to cover their eyes rather than see the intense feminine beauty that is Ms. A. Any insufficiently holy unwashed lunatic would be bored senseless by her speech on the critical economics of the Kyoto Protocols.

Next, our intrepid Fixit Guy would use the hammer to bop Albright (in a gentle and nonviolent way) on the noggin to shut her up before he goes comatose.

Finally, MacGyver enjoys a well-earned snowcone on the ride home in the jerryrigged paraglider he built with empty videotape boxes, dental floss, and the pages of Ms. Albright's autobiography.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Once more, this time

with food. Continuing the cycle of interrupting my work week, we begin the holiday of Sukkos (Sukkot to those who speak proper hebrew) tonight. I forget how non-Hebrews refer to it - Tabernacle, I believe. Anyway, this is the booth holiday. Eat all you want, but do it inside a tent with leaves on top. Some people even sleep in theirs, but it's a little nippy for that as far as I'm concerned.

It's more complicated than that, really, but this simplifies life.

We commemorate the tents we lived in in the desert and God's protection of us as we wandered around looking for a 7-11 so we could get slurpees. I put off getting my sukkah up for a while. I was planning on it last Sunday, but it looked threatening and was kind of damp, so I figured I'd put it off for a little bit.

Then, of course, the heavens opened on us in the Northeast all last week, and I couldn't find my wetsuit & flippers to be able to get it together. So come heck or high water (which mercifully ended Saturday morning) I was getting that puppy up this weekend. Happily, I bought a prefab job two years ago - aluminum frame with canvas skin, and I went out Saturday night after Shabbos to get the frame up. With interruptions, I had the whole thing together in about 35 minutes, so I went ahead & put the skin on.

The roof is made of these mats of what I think are bamboo slats, and I figured Sunday would be the day for that. Except the wind kicked up a nor'easter (coulda been southwest, I have no idea) that whipped around like crazy yesterday, and I decided to hold off. It's gotta be on by sundown tonight, so one way or the other I'm getting it on this afternoon.

Lotsa cooking too, including Chana Masala and mango chutney, which I finally got to the consistency I wanted. We're having friends with us for the first days of the holiday, and she's making samosas, so we've got Indian night set. Turkey will go on the grill when I get home shortly - last year's holiday turkey from work - we're getting half a shelf back in the freezer for the first time since last December. It'll get refilled this December with this year's bird. Mashed spuds, cornbread muffins, cranberry sauce, and poof - Thanksgiving in October. Stuffed zucchini too, and lots of other stuff.

I'll bring leftovers on Thursday if there's anything left.

Good idea, Brother.

I'm in favor of this one - the excess is ridiculous, and it's nice to see a man of the cloth point out that a Catholic school should have higher standards. A caveat here - I went to a private all-boys yeshiva, and the concept of a prom never would have entered the administration's mind even if there were girls there. Which there weren't.

A couple of points, both about the last paragraph:

1) Most importantly, I'm not quite sure the kid quoted at the end gets it. "We're not losing everything" is not what I think the principal was after.

2) More insidiously, I object to the description put on the kid by the reporter.

"We go to all the parks with our friends," Laine said just before hopping into his jet-black Infiniti and driving off to meet friends for an after-school snack.

What would be wrong with simply quoting the kid without mentioning his car? My interpretation of this is either A) the reporter is a car buff, or B) more likely, he wants to show off the rich 17-year-old and his expensive toys. I assume he meant to undercut the kid and his comments somehow, and I think his snacktime and how he gets there is completely irrelevant to the story.

Look, this is an interesting question - what responsibilities do parents and schools have? What experiences should a child have? How much spending is too much? But if the kid's parents can afford the car, and they want to give it to him, what does it have to do with the story? There are rich people in the world, and people who buy their kids expensive things. I just don't think this kid's situation has anything to do with his quote, nor with the rest of the story.


Never mind that half the guys are probably ex-NBA players, or College players, for once the Tel Avivniks beat the NBA. I mean, maybe Toronto is a lousy team for all I know, but still, it's a victory.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Yeah, right

This guy committed suicide. The same way Tony Soprano is a legitimate businessman. Like Hillary Clinton isn't running for president. As is, "the check's in the mail."

Look, I wouldn't believe Syria if they said the sky was blue. You really think this guy committed suicide? I have a real nice bridge I'd like to sell you. Very affordable.

A Day Without Food

means another fast day has arrived. This one is the granddaddy of them all, Yom Kippur. I mentioned earlier that I would talk more about the meaning of this time of year, so this will do as well as anywhere.

Unlike other folks, we spend our New Year's period focusing on prayer and repentance. It means a lot of time in synagogue, and a lot of prayers. We're supposed to go through this period examining our deeds and our performance over the last year. None of us are perfect, and some of us need more work than others. God examines our deeds and enters a judgement for us for the year ahead. As one of the prayers says, we're examined to see who will live and who will die, who will suffer and who will have joy, etc.

It's meant to be stark and frighten us into sincere repentance for our sins. We ask God to overlook our sins once we have committed ourselves to a better life. The prayer concludes that repentance, prayer, and charity will void an evil decree. Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, and the ten days in between are designed for us to examine ourselves and correct our behavior.

For me personally, this is a contemplative time. I try like most people to examine my deeds, but sometimes the hustle & bustle of life, work, and children makes contemplation difficult. While I recognize I'm not what most people would call an evil person, there are more than enough failures in my personal, professional, and spiritual life to repent. The tough question is how to overcome character traits like impatience, limited attention span, and laziness to address those and my other failures. I believe God understands my difficulties and loves me enough to forgive them, but it's still incumbent on me to work harder to bring myself to repentance.

As I spend all day tomorrow in services, I'm going to be fighting tiredness, hunger, a wandering attention span, and other distractions as I attempt to earn a positive judgement for the year ahead. Like most people, I will pledge to do better and then fall off the wagon as the year goes on. It sometimes seems pointless, as both God and I know in advance that I won't be able to keep it up all year. But I'm convinced this is necessary, and when I pray tomorrow I fully intend to improve my behavior for the entire year ahead. The challenge is to stick to my resolution and live up to the standards the Torah has set for me.

In any event, tomorrow is a day when we don't eat, drink, and a number of other things. We're supposed to be as angels tomorrow - not needing earthly things, as we attempt to repair our relationship with God and our fellow man. With that in mind, we are supposed to apologize sincerely to our friends & relations for any harm we might have caused them. I am thus asking forgiveness from my few readers for any insults or distress I might have caused, and I pray that we are all granted a positive judgement for the year ahead.

Shana Tovah.

Monday, October 10, 2005


Frabjous Day! Caloo Calay!

[Hebrew dance of joy, followed by back pain]

Looks like I've finally made the JV over at the Axis of Weevil. They haven't had the induction ceremony or anything, but Terry moved me from my lonely spot above the line to the exalted ranks of those below the line.

See how little it takes to make me happy?

Now all I gotta do is write my acceptance speech to the Southern Barbershop Quartet and Macrame Collective, Northern Division.

Rosh Hashana Roundup

So, when last we left you anything useful (relatively speaking) oldest had chicken pox. Remember how I said things couldn't get worse? Remind me to shut up more often. We were all set to send her back to school the following Friday.

Except she couldn't put any weight on her leg. Trip #2 to the doctor. Guess what? She sprained her knee. All's done, right? Nope - sick last Monday too, trip #3 to the doc, and she had a virus. I prayed hard for no more illness.

Most of the first part of last week was a blur of cooking & cleaning as we prepared for Rosh Hashana. Stuffed cabbage, apple cake, chalah, blondies, sweet potatoes & carrots, and finally corned beef. And all this with us only hosting one meal. Even with most of it done by Sunday, we still rushed into the holiday.

The holiday itself was pretty good. Unlike other people's new year, we spend half of it in services. We started at 7:30 AM, and finished around 12:30 PM. It's a long day. I was tapped again to blow the shofar at one of the other synagogues in the neighborhood - it's a long story, but they needed me to blow for the second day of the holiday. Fortunately for them, they got the Certificate of Occupancy on their brand new building on the Friday right before the holiday. I had to walk a little further, but it is a nice building.

My performance was OK - not as smooth as I've been in the past, but I think everyone fulfilled their obligation. I have to say that particular synagogue is not for me on a regular basis. I like the people there fine, but they're lacking some in the decorum department. I recognize it's a long time in services, but you could take your conversations outside the sanctuary if you can't sit still and keep quiet.

The rest of the holiday was fine - we had lunch at some friends on the first day, with turkey and lamb and mashed potatoes and... other stuff I've forgotten. Our across the street neighbors were there too, and then both families plus another came to us on the second day. Fun was had by all, and nobody bothered eating much dinner either night.

That's the wrap-up. If I'm feeling inspired, I'll say something about the meaning of this time of year, but now I should get some work done.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Thursday Three

Ahh, maybe later. Procrastination destination:

1. Do you usually need a clock to know what time it is or do you have that “time sense”?

I think I'm a clock guy. I can tell when it's daylight out and when it's night. Now if I can only get my kids to buy into the program.

2. Can you estimate the time tasks will take or are you always off?

Depends on the task. I can estimate cooking and driving pretty well. Other things are kind of hit & miss.

3. Will you do today what you can put off until tomorrow?

I'll let you know later.

I tend to procrastinate a bit. I go in planning to get stuff done, and then I get distracted. What were we talking about again?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Speaking of fun with Headlines

As of right now (3PM EDT) Yahoo lists this on the front page as follows:

Secular Bible text developed for high schools

Now, I don't know if the CSM or Yahoo have editors like the one Terry found, who actually edit stuff when it's, duh, wrong, but it's kind of stupid for such a headline to appear. Makes me think of some other headlines they could assemble:

"Kerry Becomes President, Loses Election"
"Earth is Flat, except for the Round Parts"
"In New Scheme for Daylight Savings, All Hours to be AM"

Look, I'm sorry, but there's no such thing as a secular bible (well, the NY Times is treated that way, but...). Either your bible is about religion and faith in God, as it has been for thousands of years, or it doesn't exist. Give me all the claptrap you like about "the bible as literature", or all the so-called scholars with their "book of J, Book of E" BS. Anyone with half an ounce of sense knows what the Bible is - a religious tome that believers take to be the transmitted word of God.

This dancing around by the ACLUniks and so-called "free speech" types (motto - "MY speech is free - yours is not, because you disagree with me") about how (GASP!) reading the bible will somehow turn us into Iran is beyond stupid. Trying to satisfy these dopes is like trying to kiss a roach - they're damned quick to move to a new position, and it's not much of an accomplishment if you do pull it off.

Some specifics from the article:

Others express concern: "I don't think the Constitution prohibits the use of this textbook, but I have real doubts about the wisdom of this approach," says Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. "At this time in America, it's better to simply talk about religious influences when they come up during the study of literature, art, and history, and not take the text of one religious tradition and treat it with special deference."

Look, chuckles, admit the truth. You don't really want them talking about it at all, and you'll fight like hell to keep them from even discussing it, much less treating it with deference. Even a nitwit secularist like you, if you were capable of being honest, would admit the profound influence this book has had on society. You might disagree with it and its principles, but its effect is blatant. Now, were someone to build a curriculum around, say, Lolita, or Tony Kushner's Angels in America, I imagine you'd be crowing about the preeminence such powerful literature should have in the American psyche, and cursing the religious wackos who might think it's offensive.

At the same time, many US English teachers express concern that students' deficient biblical knowledge is hampering their education.

Nice deduction, Sherlock. Glad you're paying attention.

Marc Stern, general counsel of the American Jewish Congress, a constitutional watchdog, says that, "Without question, it can serve as the basis for a constitutional course."

Let me get this straight. The American JEWISH Congress, not a constitutional watchdog, but another collection of secularist, barely Jewish lobbying busybodies (see Foxman, Abraham; ADL) is taking the text central to the faith of its name, and allowing the bowdlerized version as "constitutional." I'm sorry, bubbaleh, but you seemed to have missed a few days of Hebrew School. The point of being a Jew and a Jewish organization is not to destroy the Torah, it's to support it with every ounce of your strength. You should be decrying the bastardization of our holiest text instead of shrugging noncommittaly and saying "meh."

Look, boys, as they still say in Brooklyn sometimes, "Don't do me no favors." You want to dance nekkid in the streets at the altar of secularism, have a good time. Just don't act surprised if the rest of us point out that you and your emperor are a few stitches shy of a three-piece suit.

Thank goodness

for the Thursday Three, or I'd never blog. Anyway, here you are.

1) What one language would you most like to learn to speak, or at least understand?

Wag that I am, I too was going to say English. Terry beat me to it, so that's out. I've taken Hebrew, French, Russian, and Latin in my checkered educational past, and I can't speak any of them conversationally. What I've learned is that I have no head for languages. I'd like my Hebrew to be better than it is, and I think it would be most practical. I can kind of understand, but not as well as I'd like.

2) What one skill would you most like to learn?

I've been interested in learning to fly forever, but the cost is in the way. I'd also like to learn to play an instrument, mostly guitar. The one that's probably most achievable is woodworking, and I've actually started to make some attempts at it. Can I pick two? Or three? You notice I didn't say I wanted to get good at math.

3) What one character flaw would you most like to rid yourself of?

Impatience. I cannot seem to conquer that particular problem. I get it when I'm driving and with my children, and I can't seem to get over it. I recognize intellectually that I'm not getting there that much faster if the guy in front of me moves over to the middle lane. I also realize they are 4 and 2 respectively, and they can't be expected to meet my expectations on some things, but I often feel they're ignoring me deliberately and I tend to jump on them quicker than I should.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

That does it.

I need more memory.

Yes, smartalexes, both personal and computer-wise.

I can't run GoLive with virtually any other program, and I need other stuff running at the same time.

Now, what have I got that would actually get the IT people to come through with something I actually need to do my job?

Monday, September 26, 2005

I would be extremely

hard pressed to find a day more bizarre than this one. It has not been fun, and here is why:

3AM, give or take an hour: youngest comes downstairs to us. I did not wake from my already fitful sleep, happily. Mrs. changes soaked pull-up, nurses, bundles her back to bed. She had reason for waking - she fell asleep on the couch at 3:30 yesterday, woke up at 6 (very grumpy I might add) and asked to go back to bed, which she did.

6AM: Bright eyed and bushy tailed after close to 15 hours of sleep, youngest returns and performs some calisthenics on our bed.

6:20AM: Phone rings, nobody there. Looks like the automated phone system from the synogogue, which usually calls to announce funerals and shiva.

6:26AM: Phone again - a kid from town is missing, and they want volunteers to meet at the house at 7 to help look. Up, shower, hop in the car.

7AM: At the house - grampa and kid left yesterday to go hiking in Bear Mountain State Park, up north aways, and nobody's heard from or seen them since. We start grouping up into carpools, and they ask us to come back in an hour after the park police have had a chance to get things in order. Back home, pray, grab some water bottles, flashlight, sweatshirts.

8AM: Picked up by the carpool, get some instructions; please wait around 10 minutes; OK, head up to parking lot at state park

9AM: collecting other members or our carpool; on the way over to the highway, word comes they found the kid & grampa; everybody stand down. Home, get changed to go to work.

9:30AM: On the road to work, Mrs. calls - school called, oldest is crying & moaning, her stomach hurts. I stop at school (on the way to work anyway) and keep sicky company while momma gets back on the road (she took child today instead of me so I could go play posse.)

10:15AM: She gets child, I get to work & rush off to another oral history interview.

1PM: Get jabbed for annual PPD test, head upstairs. Message from Mrs. "Guess what? Oldest has chicken pox. She's home from school for the week."

So that's the day so far. I guess I shouldn't have told someone that the day couldn't get any more bizarre. Everytime I answer the phone from Mrs. now I ask whether or not someone has the grippe, or gout, or the plague.

It's going to be a LOOOOOOOONNNNNNNGGGGGG week.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Thursday three has arrived

And I am finally woken from my blog-slumber to respond:

1) Name three events that occurred in your life that you look back on occasionally and wonder how things might have turned out if you had done something different.

One I can think of right away was the choice of grad schools. I don't look back as if it was a life-altering experience, I simply wonder what might have been had I picked up and moved to either Boston (technically Waltham) or Baltimore, as I had the chance to do at Brandeis or Johns Hopkins. Different friends, possibly different relationships. (Come to think about it, I didn't have any romantic relationships at all, so anything would have been a change.) I'm happier where I am, but there's always what might have been.

A second might be my choice to attempt a career as an engineer. I spent a year at an engineering school under the mistaken impression that I wanted a science career. My dad thought I'd be better off in a liberal arts school, which is in fact where I ended up, but I suspect I would have wondered for the rest of my life if I could have done it had I not tried. I'm glad I did, even if my dad had a point.

There's a couple of girls in my past, neither of whom I dated, that I still sometimes wonder about. One is a vague memory from second grade that I had 7 year old hots for, and the other is one from later who remains a friend. I did ask her, but she turned me down. Probably rightly so, but I still wonder sometimes.

2) If you could have lived in another time, what would it be? One stipulation--you have to be pretty much what you are right now--no going back in time and being Alexander the Great, no being Einstein or Moses or Casanova. If you’re a teacher, you’ll still be a teacher; a doctor, still a doctor; a car mechanic--well figure that one out on your own. You wouldn’t know the future, either--so no going back and betting on horse races and stuff. You would just be you, only in another time and place.

Hmmm. Hard to say when I'd want to go to, though I've developed a fondness for the Napoleonic Era. Archivist to Hammurabi?

3) What one aspect of your life, such as your family, job, social life, spiritual life, creative ability, etc., do you find most rewarding?

I suppose I should join the parade and say my kids, but rewarding may not be the right term for it yet. It's hard work, and I sometimes have a problem seeing the rewarding part of it. Though when I see them absorbing lessons (as when oldest voluntarily shared her loot from a treasure hunt with friends & sibling) it's easier to feel the reward. Personal fulfillment often comes to me from cooking, of all things. It's my one creative effort, and I like being able to eat the results.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

What's this?

Is that a Thursday Three I see? Didn't folks in my blog circle used to do such things many moons ago? Let's see if I still remember how to do this.

1. With the recent hurricane that hit the Gulf Coast, it has once again been made obvious that being prepared ahead of time can be the difference between life and death. Do you and your family keep an emergency pack of supplies ready to go at a moment's instant as so many people recommend? What all is in it?

Unlike the well prepared Possum (much less the overprepared Michael Chertoff), we have nothing prepared. Oh, the diaper bag is usually packed, and sometimes has old boxes of raisins & other snacks, but we seem a bit ill-prepared for disaster. Since our biggest troubles come from snow up here, I don't know if there's a whole lot to do but make sure the snowblower has gas in it and get some extra milk & water in case of a blizzard.

2. If, heaven forbid, anything as destructive as a hurricane or earthquake or fire or flood were to hit your community, and assuming you stayed around or couldn't get out, what are some of the skills you have that you think could be utilized to start the recovery efforts?

Hmm. My history skills will be even more useless than they are now. If I have a full tank of propane, I can grill food if there's any to be found. I do own some tools, so if I can figure out how to use them properly, I might be of some help.

3. How safe do you feel in your own community when it comes to disaster preparedness?

Well, on the one hand, nobody that lives in the neighborhood has guns, so there's hopefully fewer thugs; I guess that also means less defense, but that's one of the big debates about having them up here. We're a tight-knit community, so I'd hope that we'd all stick together and help each other out. We're as safe as I suspect humans can be - if we band together to protect each other, we'll be fine. If we choose to look out for ourselves, we don't stand much of a chance.

More from

the "some people have too much free time" file. I suspect we paid for this from tax money, and I'm glad they can now figure out what garbage I typed on this here blog just by listening to the keystrokes.

Mind you, they could just read the silly thing, but I can't imagine anyone paying good discretionary tax dollars just for people to read this nonsense.

Friday, September 09, 2005

I need

to get out the door and get home, but this is bothering me a bit and I'm going to post on it briefly. Maybe I'll add to it later.

I sat down during the BBQ with some guys I work with fairly closely. As a group these are a terrific bunch of guys, and they're very good to work with. The problem for me is when politics come up during our conversations. Needless to say they're on the left, I'm on the right.

I don't care that they have different opinions - that's natural and healthy. What bothers me is the assuredness with which they lay out what I think are unfounded and in some cases malicious lies. This concept going around that the president is a dyed-in-the-wool racist is laughable as far as I'm concerned, and yet my friends routinely cite it as biblical truth. (The Halliburton thing came up again, too).

I suspect the part that bothered me most is the characterization of the people who support the President and/or Republicans as basically abortion foes and anti gay and little else. I realize it's easier for most people to reduce their opponents (intellectual and otherwise) to a simplistic position. It makes it far easier to discard his arguments if you reduce them to bare minimums. But as I've discovered in my journey to political/social conservatism, people on the right (as I'm sure of the left) are more complex than that.

Abortion never entered my mind in the 2000 elections, much less gay rights. I was unhappy with the Clinton administration and what I considered its cavalier attitude to the will of the people, and I felt Gore would simply continue in that mold; hence, I voted for Bush. 9/11 cemented my view that I made the right call, but I had reasons for voting the way I did beforehand. Through my conversations with the folks who read this blog, I've gotten to know many other conservative types who are not one dimensional, and I get a little frustrated with my friends for acting like we're all either one-note voters or dim-bulb hicks.

I choose not to end my friendships (admittedly born only of a shared workplace, but I do like these guys), and I try and avoid talking politics with them, but they can't seem to see beyond their own prejudices. I do think it illustrates what many conservatives have said - the left, claiming always to be the party of inclusion and openmindedness, has sunken into a rigid orthodoxy that contradicts its avowed principles.

One minor note

before I head up to the employee BBQ they run every year. No kosher food, unfortunately, but the soda is free and it's company-sponsored hooky, so who am I to argue?

I mentioned the other day that the printer (requiring no special assembly at all) was due to arrive sometime next week. The computer, requiring a certain amount of speciality, was enroute and in fact they attempted to deliver it yesterday AM.

Regardless of all the suggested delivery plans, I come home from work and oldest says "daddy, your printer's here." I ask wife (missing completely the box sitting by the back door) "Printer? the printer's supposed to get here next week?" Says she "I dunno, but there it is."

So, the delivery works out as follows. Computer, set to be delivered yesterday, arrives around 10 AM on Truck #1; no answer, leave a tag to pick up or it will be redelivered tomorrow (i.e., today). Printer, set to be delivered next Wednesday, arrives on truck #2 at 2PM, and is simply left on the back porch in view of all passersby. Computer is then picked up by me at the FedEx location after 7PM, and brought home.

Somehow I can't help feeling there are some inefficiencies here that could have been avoided. But I suppose they ship a million packages a day, so they must know better.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

For the record

This entry comes via my spankin' new laptop. I keep hitting the frappin' CAPS LOCK... sorry, caps lock button, but otherwise all is cool.

I've never seen a desktop so empty.

Anyway, time for hockey, but I have moved up a notch or three since this AM.

Be forewarned

This link is in reference to a somewhat explicit scene in an upcoming film. Most of you reading this are adults of one form or another, so the concept that Hollywood is including more than two people in a bedroom scene should neither totally surprise nor shock you.

What I find even less shocking (and why I'm even bringing such silliness up here) are the comments made by the female participant in this little menage a trois. This from the attractive in a "waiflike, please eat a cheeseburger, honey" fashion Rachel Blanchard:

Blanchard said she agreed to do the sexual scenes because they are integral to the film's message.

"The film is basically about the power of celebrity and the abuse of that power," she said. "It sort of expands on how abusing that power sexually has consequences. It's a redeeming film and it has a positive message."

Look, dear, I'm sure you're right. Somewhere in this brilliant piece of art I'm quite sure there's some kind of positive message. The kids are definitely going to uplifted by Kevin Bacon playing a drugged out alcoholic comedian. And yet I remain unconvinced that you stripping nekkid and pretending to get hot & sweaty with Chip ("Thank you sir may I have another") Diller from Animal House is socially redeeming.

Look, I don't honestly care if anyone chooses to write this, film this, act in this, watch this, whatever. But let's call the proverbial spade a spade, shall we? This was a chance to put nekkidness in a movie with a nice looking woman, and they took it. Making up moral messages for this sort of thing is silly, and makes you look like the lightweight I already suspected you were.

It's sad

but my new computer is better traveled than I am. Despite Gateway's claim that it would take until next week for the machine to show up, it was nearly delivered this morning. I say nearly because Mrs. didn't hear the doorbell (wasting her time on the ridiculous concept of actually taking a shower 3.5 hours after being woken).

Based on the FedEx record, the 'pewter has been in Shanghai, Anchorage, Indianapolis, and Jamaica, Queens. I can only claim to have been in one of those places. And it ain't Shanghai.

Nonetheless, I'm quite pleased. I'll have to go pick it up, but I can live with that. Oddly, the free (well, once I file the rebate forms) printer apparently won't be here for a few days yet. Which I can live with, since I don't desperately need it anyway.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Why chocolate

might be bad for you.

M & Ms - melts in your mouth (BOOM!), blows up your hands.

Rumor has it

I have been somewhat remiss in my posting of late. I can't say I think anyone should be so desperate to see what I have to say, but I guess with Sugarmama on hiatus people will look at ANYTHING.

My professional life has become all oral histories, all the time. I had to make up a spreadsheet to figure out what I'm up to with which interview. The boss wants to schedule 5 this week, and it's a shortened week. I'm also trying fairly desperately to get more storage space, since I'm jammed to the gills already and I know there's more out there. I can't seem to get my oar into the available spaces before somebody comes up with a reason why I can't have it, so it's getting a little tiresome. It'll work itself out.

We did go away for the long weekend down to our friends in the DC area, which was really lovely. We really didn't do anything, but it was nice to see them and pleasant to be away. Ate a LOT of meat - grilled lamb chops, chicken, and steak for dinner Friday night (and again cold on Sat. lunch), then burgers Sunday night. We're going to be eating a bit more vegetarian this week to make up for it. On top of it, our friend is expecting and we brought them a ton of stuff - crib, clothes, stuff. We're not just gaining a surrogate niece/nephew, we're getting back our basement and garage.

Last bit of news is the best - I have finally pulled the trigger on a new computer. Been agonizing for months on a replacement for my five year old Sony refurb with the devil in it, and I couldn't bring myself to do it. Mrs. finally pushed me over the edge last week, and a shiny new Gateway M360 is eventually on its way to me. I wanted the laptop enough to swallow the higher price, and as the wife said, I'll probably get a new one in five years anyway, so it's not forever. All I really need to do is upgrade the memory, which I will do separately on my own.

So that's the update.

Friday, August 26, 2005

uh. um. well...

This is possibly the stupidest thing I've ever seen. Some people will treat absolutely anything as "art" or call anything "educational."

And some people will do absolutely anything, and don't even need money to do it.

More proof of why I think European intellectuals are completely, utterly, and irreparably coming from the fourth moon out from Pluto.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The thing

about oral history is that it's by and large the spoken word. Unfortunately for some, the simplest way of using oral histories is by reading them. It's not the perfect approach to getting what someone said, but it does make reference easier.

And I say unfortunately for some because some poor devil has to transcribe all the verbiage. Lucky for me on the project I am now involved in, the Doctor running this deal has a secretary (a complete doll, by the way) who has been doing all the heavy lifting on this. I mean heavy lifting, as she says her back is killing her from sitting and typing all this hot air.

Unfortunately, she was having trouble making head or tail out of one interview, done with a chap of foreign extraction. I volunteered to attempt it in the hopes of freeing her up for more useful tasks. Lord have mercy. Aside from the fact that the interviewee appears to have marbles in his mouth, this is really miserable work. I'm making good progress (halfway through, 24 pages or so in four hours of work), but this is no fun at all.

This is why I think Terry is a saint for typing all his wife's stuff. I'm glad my wife can type, and the kids happily can still hand in all work in crayon.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Blogger sucks, huh?

Hmmm. Terry picked up sticks & moved over to Munuvia. And then the server goes ooey kablooey? Coincidence? I wonder.

Where was a certain Possum who claimed to be at an "educational conference?" He wasn't letting squirrels loose in the Munuvian backwoods, was he?

I would attempt to fill the void with similar blather, but we all know it would be a pointless exercise. Besides, my in-laws are on the way back over the pond from Scotland (and may I say I would not be completely disturbed if they brought me back a kilt), so I have other things to think about.

Oh, and the kids are done with camp & off to the beach today, so life will be busier for a while until school starts.

UPDATE: LittleA correctly points out that it would be BADGERS, rather than squirrels, that would have gummed up the Munuvian Public Works and Malt Shoppe. A thousand apologies for the error. Look for a correction on page D35 above the tide schedule and below the personal ads.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Pictures worth a thousand words

A friend of mine sent me this link, and I can't begin to tell you what it means to me. To see Jews doing such things to Jews is beyond my comprehension; to listen to Reuters (a bad idea to begin with) this is after "four decades of occupation." No mention of the attacks by the Arabs that forced this "occupation." Certainly no mention of what the Palestinians in Gaza have managed to do in the last 40 years. Which is nothing at all. Meantime brave Jewish settlers have built homes, communities, farms, and lives.

And all of it destroyed in three days.

It's no surprise that this began on Tisha B'Av, the most tragic day in Jewish history. I had started a post on the Three Weeks, a period which ended last sunday with the observance of the Tisha B'Av fast. (more details on the three weeks and Tisha B'Av here.) This is as good a place to talk about it as that one. Tisha B'Av is primarily known as the day when both Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed, first by the Babylonians in 586 BCE and then by the Romans in 70 CE. Most of the commentaries note that Tisha B'Av is the national day of mourning and tragedies.

The commentaries note that the Israelites in the desert cried over the episode of the spies (Numbers, Chap. 13 if I have it right). The night they cried over the false report was Tisha B'Av, the ninth of the Hebrew month of Av. As the sages report, God said "you've cried tonight over false reports and for no reason; I will make this a day you will cry over forever." Numerous tragedies, including the Jewish expulsion from Spain in 1492 have happened on this date. I don't know any other faith that has a national day of mourning. Certainly the death of Jesus is highly significant, but given the theological necessity of his death, I don't consider that an issue where Christians "mourn", exactly, that event. The closest parallels are national (rather than religious) rememberances - the Armenian Genocide, Pearl Harbor Day, September 11, etc.

We as Jews focus on this day all of our grief and pain at our suffering. What makes it important is not that we have been persecuted and killed. It's that we have lost our immediate relationship with God, and it's our own fault. We pushed God away, and we mourn the consequences of our all too human mistake. The First Temple was destroyed for the sin of idolatry. The Second Temple, however, was destroyed largely because of man's inhumanity to man. It's known in Hebrew as "Sinat Chinam", literally "hatred of friends/neighbors", most commonly translated as baseless hatred.

Which brings me back to the original part of this post. The idea that Jews could do such a thing to Jews is beyond awful. If this were to happen in any other country - the government forcing thousands of its citizens to abandon the homes they've lovingly built and maintained for a generation - there would be outrage and international condemnation. There would be talk of the Nazification of the country, or discussions of ethnic cleansing. But Israel? Jews? They're just "ending the illegal occupation."

The psychological damage this will do to a generation of Israelis is enormous. The soldiers being forced to do this have been shown crying their eyes out at the idea that they have to destroy the lives of their fellow citizens. This was destined to happen on Tisha B'Av - there could be no other day when such events could happen. It's more proof of why, when people expect that I will support the State of Israel no matter what, I argue that a government is just a government. Since Israel is led largely by non-observant Jews, the State doesn't represent what I believe Israel needs to be. It needs to be the Light Unto The Nations, and how is that possible when the people running the country don't follow the path of God? It becomes just another state, where events like this can happen, and we do not serve as an example to others.

I think the saddest part of these events is the likely result. Talking heads and elitist thinkers will nod sagely, saying "Israel is finally showing that it's willing to move a little towards peace." The rest of us may realize that Israeli compliance with the "peace process" has been WAY beyond what reasonable people could expect, for which they've gotten zero credit. And while the gasbags pretend this will help, I believe this will change nothing. The Palestinians will not magically lay down their weapons & teach their children to co-exist with Jews. They will simply direct their energies towards other protests, other "failures of Israel to be a partner in peace," and sadly, towards new terrorism.

It's a false promise, Mr. Sharon. This will not bring peace. This will not end the conflict. Your government has simply destroyed life and success, and the end result will be status quo. More death, more lies, and no peace. I pray you've made the right choice, but I firmly believe you have not.

May God comfort my brothers & sisters, and may he bring an end to our strife speedily.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Busy day. Oral History interview at 11, and the rest of the day spent going over the transcript of one of the earlier interviews. I spent a bit of time on some footnotes to the transcript - subjects sometimes drop names and organizations as if everybody knows what they are, when a lot of us have no idea who they're talking about. It makes for some interesting research.

Anyway, that's one transcript down, and there'll be three more from the interviews we've done over the last week shortly. Nice to be busy, but...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Peter Jennings

The world is very sad about this one, but I'm not actually losing a ton of sleep over his death. I did not by any stretch wish him dead, or even ill. I'm not convinced, however, that we've lost the greatest newsman since Edward R. Murrow, or that his death irreparably lessens the world.

I used to watch Jennings regularly maybe 10 years ago or more. I was not the conservative I am now, and I don't think I was looking for liberal (or any other) media bias. My political philosophy has changed, and an incident reported to me by a friend ended my affection for Jennings. I found out from him as well that Jennings was married at one point to a Palestinian woman, which I think suggests why he might have behaved as he did. I don't care that he was married to her, or that he personally may have chosen to support the Palestinian side of the argument, but (again, according to this friend) it seems to have impacted his journalism.

Jennings did a report on Jerusalem perhaps 8-9 years ago. During the filming, my friend reported, Jennings was on his way through the Old City and heard a great deal of noise coming from the Western Wall area. What it turned out to be was Jews celebrating the holiday of Simchat Torah, when we acknowledge the completion of the yearly cycle of reading the Torah. This friend found himself near Jennings, and invited him to come down and take a look at the dancing & singing. Which the intrepid reporter refused to do, instead reporting there was some kind of "Jewish riot" going on.

Now, I admit I got this story secondhand, but this particular friend is a pretty dependable source. I can't see why he would make up such a convoluted tale, and it plays into what I consider the media's a) inherent bias, and b) its refusal to do the kind of reporting it should do, no matter what the result of that reporting is.

There are plenty of other examples of Jenning's particular liberal bias, and I'll leave it up to others to discuss those. I did not wish him dead, and I'll offer my condolences to his family and friends, but I don't share this particular outpouring of grief.

Save me

from the scheduling fairies. The day started out easy enough. Monthly chat with the boss at 1PM, and that's it. Then the phone call. "We've got an oral history scheduled at 3:30." OK, maybe I'll leave a little late, but that's not so awful once in a while.

"Hi. The 3:30 is now at 1PM." Ummm, OK? Check with the boss' admin - can I sneak at 12:30? "Lemme check."

Downstairs, try & get all the equipment set up by 12, so that I have time to eat a little and make what could still be a 12:30 with the boss. Stuff my face, notice the voicemail light is lit, check it out.

"We're moving the meeting with the boss to 4PM."

Simpler, I suppose, but my head is still spinning a bit. Since the rescheduled boss meeting is still actually today, there's not much to complain about.

Considering that I can go weeks at a time without a single meeting, I don't see why the few I do have end up conflicting with each other.

Monday, August 08, 2005


in honor of aforementioned birthday, we had a child free weekend. Kiddies went off to grandma & grandpa's for shabbos, & Mrs. & I got some well needed rest. We didn't cook anything nice for dinner on Friday, we ate Peanut Butter for lunch, and rested.

I woke up Saturday at 6AM, as I normally do. And then I said "I'm going back to sleep", which I did. I woke up at 7:45, and decided I wasn't ready to get out of bed. So I stayed in until 8:15, got my act together, and still got to services on time instead of my usual 10-15 minutes late.

Napped in the afternoon, finished a very good book on the 92nd Signal Battalion[ed.-Terry, this one may be for you - the main character is from near Birmingham.] Started another book on the Hitler Youth, which is more interesting than I expected, given that one chapter had close to 300 footnotes.

Mrs. went out Saturday night to hang out with a friend she hasn't had time to talk to, and I watched the Holy Grail. Woke up late on Sunday, then headed out to my folks for brunch with my uncle & to pick up the kids. Back home, oldest (who hadn't gone to bed any earlier than 9PM, two hours after normal) fell asleep for a few hours. I made Nacho stuffed shells for my dinner, Mrs. & kiddies made Lasagna, I made ice cream, kids to bed, more reading, bed.

My kind of weekend.

Happy birthday

to me. I live in a tree. I look like...

I'm old. Old old old. Fogeyhood has arrived with my 35th birthday. I am now closer to my AARP card than to my bar mitzvah. My walker is on order, and I have a strange desire to eat dinner at 4 PM.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Aww, fer Pete's sake...

Why am I always it? A certain Possum with too much time on his hands and devilry in his soul decided I needed to be tagged into the game. I've never been in one of these before, so forgive me if I lack a certain meme etiquette. Frankly, I always thought a meme was a Hawaiian bird that the lazy ^%$#@ over at the NY Times crossword puzzle use to fill in a space when they can't think of something more useful.

I didn't ask to be in this, so don't blame me if you don't like the answers.

1. How many books have I owned? Are you SURE you want to ask this question? I know I can't count that high. Multiple thousands to be sure. I probably should have reinforced the floors before the bookshelves went in.

2. The last book I bought was: Well, Mrs. bought Harry Potter 6, so I guess that counts. The last book I recall consciously purchasing was The Man Who Broke Napoleon's Codes about George Scovell, an officer in Wellington's army in the Peninsula. I haven't really started it, but we had credit at B & N and actually went to the store, and I physically picked up the book before buying it. On the to-read list.

3. The last book I finished was: Sharpe's Regiment. I'm re-reading the whole series, and I'm nearly done with Sharpe's Siege. I'm sure a lot of people find the series repetitive & formulaic, but I enjoy them, anyway.

4. What books made an impression on me? What a question. Almost every book I read makes an impression on me (especially the ones I drop on a toe). Certainly the Bible and the Talmud are important, but I don't consider those "books" per se. I remember Ambrose's D-Day as being very notable; RF Delderfield's "To Serve them All My Days" is another favorite read that I can pick up again and again. I don't know if there's a book that changed my life exactly, but certain books mean a lot to me.

Two of David Klinghoffer's books are tremendous (I found one of his books a bit slow) - The Lord Will Gather Me In, about his journey to orthodoxy, and Why the Jews Rejected Jesus, which I've written about elsewhere. The last book I'll add for now is Diane Ravitch's The Language Police, which I highly recommend.

I reserve the right to add or change this list. In the meantime, to keep things alive, I hereby tag...JORDANA!

Nyah nyah nyah nyah.

UPDATE: Ms. Jordana has begged off, claiming (ridiculously) that she's already got one. The recently relocated Yorkie Lady has agreed to pick up for the slacker, so look there for the continuation of our game of tag.