Friday, December 26, 2008

I am

severely underslept. Hockey last night, followed by 45 mins of KP with the Mrs. to deal with stuff we didn't get to before, followed by a night in bed in the guest room with Junior so Mrs. could get some sleep. Needless to say, not the most restful nighttime I've ever had.

Happily it's Friday, the day after Christmas, and I'm at work when nobody else is. So there's a very, very good chance I can nod off at the keyboard without anyone bothering me.

Some might say it'll actually improve my work performance.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Let's see...

where were we? No place in particular, so this post should pick up the theme nicely.

I spent the day at Microsoft today, in a brainstorming session. I find these things kind of fun, if you're with a good group of people. Today's group was pretty positive - aware of the challenges involved in some of the ideas we had, but openly discussing them with an eye towards trying to make things happen. Now, if I had any authority, I'd be able to see some of this through. As it stands, it's more likely that this kind of thing will get lost in the shuffle.

There are other things going on that I will not jinx by discussing, but life is moving forward. I'm feeling more at peace with the direction things are going than I was a month or two back, and a number of scenarios are possible. We'll just have to see where things go.

By the way, it's good to be the king. Microsoft may be the great satan, but they do have some really cool toys to play with.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I am up to my eyebrows

in a major, major webcast presentation and the testing is not going well. Fortunately in the comments to my last post Valerie (who has a very nice blog, by the by) provided an important reality check.

Seems a classmate of hers from years back unfortunately passed away at a very young age. As it turns out, her classmate's brother was a gentleman named Michael McHugh. A random thing, except it happens to be that Michael was murdered on September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center. And of all things, the 2,996 Project assigned Michael to me as a subject to blog about more than two years ago.

I had, of course, completely forgotten I had even done it.

I went back and reread my tribute to Michael Edward McHugh, Jr. As it turns out, not that long ago several people who actually knew Mr. McHugh had commented on the post. They seemed to appreciate my attempt at honoring a man I'd never heard of.

The internets is a funny place where random events connect total strangers. Occasionally something pops up to remind you that the daily grind of our lives can be pretty trivial when compared to other people's reality. So take a moment on a random November day to remember Mike McHugh, his recently passed brother John McHugh, and wish the family some consolation. It helps to put things in their proper perspective.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Presidents & Promises

I don't want to make much of Tuesday's results. The guy I wanted (albeit reluctantly) for the job didn't get it. The nice part about democracy is sometimes you lose, and the American version says you suck it up and work harder next time.

Any number of people, including many conservatives, are describing this as a great, historic moment for America. I don't buy it, perhaps because I didn't grow up during the period when this would be unthinkable.

I think I might actually be post-racial, unlike the people falling all over themselves about this. Because I don't care in the slightest that he's black, and I never did. I don't think this is a great moment for America, because I believe the President-elect is mistaken in what he believes is good for America. I think his economic policies will damage this country tremendously, and his judicial approach will take away American freedoms.

I would gladly have voted for a black man (or woman) who matched my beliefs in the power of the American citizen's abilities to take care of themselves. I would not have voted for a white man who believed, as I think Obama does, that American citizens are children who need nannying.

I wish him and the rest of us luck, and I hope sincerely that I am wrong about the Administration and Congress about to take over the reigns of government. I will gladly admit I'm wrong if America is a better place to live in 4 years. But if I'm right...

Once again

I attempt to make the point that the usual reference to Europe as the place and style to follow has its limits:

Hamilton rejects Ecclestone's comment that racism in F1 started as joke

Ecclestone is in effect saying "boys will be boys" and writing off the casual racism of Europeans I have mentioned in the past. So I ask - why exactly do we want to be like these people?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Headline in Newsday the other day:

Lawsuit: My husband's brain is missing

All around the world I can hear billions of wives saying "Yeah? Join the club, sister."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lest you think

I have permanently packed it in, I am still around. The last batch of holidays concluded this evening, which is my excuse for not following up the last post.

I remain unhappy with my professional lot, but the rest of life is fine for the most part. The trouble with all the holidays packed in to a single month is... well, they're packed into a single month. There's not much time to settle down, and by the end of it we're all pretty sick of it. A friend pointed out we were at our synagogue (which is an offshoot of the main one in town, and thus only meets weekly rather than daily) 21 out of the last 29 days; when you consider we usually have services in the building eight days out of a normal month, that's a lot.

As for the other, I am resigned for the moment to where things are. I'm back to cranking out the necessary paperwork, and the phone is ringing a bit which is good. I admit I'd rather the Lord not tease me any more - if it ain't gonna happen, I'd rather not get my hopes up.

So I apologize for the overdramatic fit of pique last week. Last Saturday we read Ecclesiastes at services, and it's a healthy reminder that most of our petty concerns are fleeting and meaningless. This too shall pass.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Well, that's it

A perfect opportunity slips away, again. It was all but in the bag. "Hiring Freeze" is the excuse this time, and frankly, I've had it. I'm pissed off at God, the economy, the Wall Street jackasses who caused it, the elected schmucks who encouraged the behavior that caused the collapse, and at the current organization for putting me in this position.

I'll accept that God is trying to get a message across to me, but damned if I know what it is.

Monday, October 06, 2008

I admit to wondering

now that the 700 Billion has been approved (including the $50 extra large to the Moldavian-American Borscht Friendship Alliance and Field Hockey Team for their efforts to create a creamier consistency to sour cream), what happens next? See, the Dow is down today almost 4% AFTER we've pledged all this money to no one in particular worth mentioning. Henry Paulson said we'd save the economy, but I think he might have been the tiniest bit mistaken.

Look, believe it or not, I'm not panicking. I take a long-term approach to investing, and I'm surprising myself by how calm I am about it. But I have to ask the folks who clearly seem to be panicking - what now? You swore the economy would die without something; you insisted this bill was the only thing that can save us. And now we're still tanking, at least on the surface.

I have no answers, but it's not my job to provide them. Let's all remember one thing - it is actually possible for us to make things worse without half trying.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Somewhat tardily

I'd like to wish my three remaining readers a joyous and meaningful New Year. Unlike some other persuasions, we Hebrews use the turning of the calendar as an opportunity for prayer, introspection, and above all repentance. Like all humans (shocking as it may seem) I do have my faults. This time is meant for me to reflect on those failures and attempt to repent them and correct them.

Part of that, of course, involves asking forgiveness from those we have hurt, intentionally or not. So I ask pardon from any of you I may have offended.

Naturally it's also a time to ask God for blessing for the coming year, and I certainly have some specific requests of the Lord. I don't know how well I've done over the last two days, but I certainly prayed with purpose this year. What will be will be, and at the end of it all we depend heavily on God's mercy and patience with us weak-willed humans.

Holiday itself was nice - out for lunch yesterday, guests today. A beef roast referred to locally as brick roast was outstanding - cooked in red wine, low & slow, and I think I had six slices. It went over well with oldest child as well. Lots of prayer, shofar blowing, too much food - does it get any better?

So happy New Year all around, and may we all be inscribed in the Book of Life.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I have a question

about this photo:

Swiss daredevil Yves Rossy...

The caption reads:

Swiss daredevil Yves Rossy, seen here flying in May 2008, will attempt to cross the English Channel next week, propelled by a jet-powered wing strapped to his back, an aide said.

Since when do daredevils need Aides? This whole seat-of-the-pants thing has gotten more corporate than I ever expected.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I am getting

extremely antsy about the situation that's developing, and I expect I'll be totally nutty by the time I can take any active steps to find out what's going on.

I imagine the Lord is making me sweat this out so I'll learn some patience, but I can't say I'm enjoying it. The paranoid side is waiting for the whole thing to blow up, the hopeful part just wants it done so I can proceed. Neither side is handling the wait very well.

There's a Jewish saying - "Hashem Yirachem" - God will have mercy, that is often used when putting yourself in His capable hands and trusting that He knows what's best. I've been using it a lot lately, and I mean it most of the time. Mostly I am accepting of this particular hand, but the potential for success is pretty high, and the failure of this one would be devastating.

What will be will be, but I admit that I'm not learning the patience part as well as I probably should.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Why, specifically

I don't care for a certain type of liberal, particularly in the celebrity arena. I can't find a link anywhere, so treat everything in this post as "alleged."

As I saw it the other day, and Rush Limbaugh mentioned a few minutes ago, actress/commedienne Sandra Bernhard reportedly warned VP candidate Sarah Palin not to come to New York, or Ms. Bernhard would have "several of her big black brothers gang-rape" Ms. Palin.

Leaving aside Ms. Bernhard's reputation as an in your face, on the edge humorist, there are many reasons why any self-respecting person should be grossly offended by such a statement. Let me suggest a few:

  • It suggests Ms. Palin should be raped
  • It suggests Ms. Bernhard would like to see that happen, and would aid it happening
  • It suggests that black people would be doing the raping
The issues:
  • Women, especially liberal women, have for a very long time decried rape as top on the list of worst crimes men can commit
  • Any woman who would recommend such an idea should, by most lights, be shredded by the usual suspects in the feminist movement
  • The connotation of black men raping white women is one of the oldest and most racially charged canards in the book

Now, I don't need to point out that had this come from a conservative comedian this would be all over the place. I accept that this is the media universe we live in, and such statements by a liberal never see the light of day. Probably not a bad thing - normal people shouldn't be forced to read about this sort of stupidity over their morning coffee.

But this is why I hate these celebrities - the logic behind such a pronouncement (if there is any) is beyond twisted, it's repugnant. Hate Sarah Palin, knock yourself out. Campaign to have her defeated. Vote against her. Attack her policies as mean, unfair to poor people, whatever. But this sort of thing is not funny, clever, intelligent, or remotely mature. As long as this sort of thing is acceptable to liberals in public or private, I will consider it both morally and intellectually bankrupt as a political philosophy.

From the too easy department

Poll: Obama tops McCain as football-watching buddy

Yes, but we're not electing a football watching buddy - we're electing a president. I would be happy to sit & watch a game with Obama, but that's not quite the same as asking him to run the free world.

To the AP: Seriously, boys & girls - if you're going to drop crap like this up there, so easy that even I can respond with a takedown, you probably should find another line of work.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Things are

moving in a positive direction. I don't wish to say any more at this point, but I am quite hopeful for the first time in a long, long while.

Updates will come if they are necessary - these things are a long way from being in the bag, and I'm horribly paranoid about jinxing them.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

There's really no need

to remind anyone of the significance of today's date. It's seven years and a lifetime ago, and I was sitting exactly where I am now, 15 minutes before the world changed. Let us remember those who fell, but also those who caused their loss and what they want for this small world we live in.

God bless the memory of the innocent, and damn the memory of the guilty.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Am I the only one

who finds it both funny and ironic that the following youtube video:

Steve Cohen Campaigns for Obama on House Floor

is coming on the floor of the Congress from a guy named Cohen?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Tom Petty

said it best. The waiting is the hardest part.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Do I need a change of scenery?

Maybe it's time the North came back to carpetbag - wall-to-wall, and believe me it'll be wholesale prices or better:

Group dangles $50K for Jews who move to Ala. town

Get that deep-fryer ready, Possum Papa, and be sure to clean out all the treyf. 50,000 smackers doesn't go far up here, but I imagine in Dothan, AL we can get a whole lotta corned beef to deepfry with that money.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I'm confused

moreso than usual, anyway, by the following article:

Gov. Mom

So the whole point of the Post's take on this interesting question is that there's a question about the correctness of Palin's choice. The author writes

"Although a clear majority of mothers today are in the workforce, studies show that the pendulum has swung back, and most are skeptical about mothers working full time; they see part-time jobs as the ideal."

So, did I miss something in the last 40+ years of feminist theory? I thought the whole point of being a liberated woman in the modern age was that you not only could, but should do it all. Anyone who questioned a woman's ability to do both her family job and her paid job (and both equally well, incidentally) was a sexist pig looking to keep women barefoot, pregnant, subservient, etc. So now we have a perfect example of the feminist ideal - running a family and a state - and we have to raise the issue of whether or not she's qualified to do both? And ask if it's the right thing to do to her family?

I for one believe in two things. First, if at all possible, a parent should stay home with their kids. I happen to think it's better for the mother to do, but we all knew I was a Neanderthal already. No one raises your kids the way you do, and if you can afford it, better to have a parent home. Second, since that's not always possible, I believe people should acknowledge that something has to give. You can't be a superstar mom and a superstar employee and dedicate equal time to both. It's not possible to do it without sacrificing something, and that's the calculus every family faces. You shortchange work or your family when you try and do both, and that's something that has to be recognized (though not necessarily changed - people survive all kinds of rough childhoods.)

But I remain confused about the sudden change of rhetoric. When Hillary Clinton is running, it's a historic moment to show women have finally arrived. When Sarah Palin runs, it's time to see if a woman is properly balancing her priorities. This should be the pinnacle of the ideal of having it all, and instead it's something to worry about. You don't suppose the party of the woman in question has anything to do with the reporting, do you?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

On vacation

Took the family to Dorney Park/Wildwater Kingdom in the northern parts of Pennsylvania for a few days. The fact that it took as much time to get from Long Island to the George Washington Bridge as it did to get from there to Allentown, PA should give you an idea of NY traffic problems.

We still had a good day for the half-day we've been here so far. A bit of waterpark, a bit of non-waterpark, and all of tomorrow to go. I think oldest may have gotten a bit dehydrated, but I hope a night's sleep and the water we made her drink will help. So more park tomorrow, then off on Friday for a weekend in DC with friends, and by the time I get back to the office I will have been gone 10 whole days. I actually had a reason to check my work calendar tonight, and there's 50 emails waiting for me.

I didn't bother reading any of them.

There's other news possibly, but I'm too paranoid to write about it. Updates will follow if circumstances make it necessary.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Old, Fat, & Happy

That's my answer to the following question posted on LinkedIn:

What is Your Personal Vision and Ambition Statement for the Year 2020?

I'm sure there are better answers than mine, but there are a lot worse answers too.


Check out what's new in History on my gadget-thingy below. Today's significant event is Bill Clinton's manly military strike in response to the African Embassy bombings. Full details on Operation Infinite Stretch are here.

Frankly, I'd rather have seen something on the Battle of Yarmuk or most of the other events listed for August 20 than revisit the Clinton administration's lame response to an attack on US property and lives. Still, it was a decent laugh to start the morning.

Monday, August 18, 2008

So here's my Question,

assuming Mr. Hassett is correct in the following article:

Democrats Offer Lesson in Misleading on Taxes

Where is the AP's retraction? I see no reason to doubt Hassett, who I assume has actually read the report in question, whereas the AP has a much less dependable track record. On the face of it, when I heard the original news story my first assumption was that the story had it wrong. Anytime you say 90% of anything chances are good it's an exaggeration; when you suggest that the country's biggest taxpayers pay no taxes at all, most rational people with even a slight understanding of economics have to think something's screwy.

I take Hassett's illustrations to heart - measuring GE in the same bucket as the Hot Dog vendors is by definition ridiculous; add to that the financial sense of reporting your earnings as wages rather than profit, and it all starts to make sense. So I repeat the question - where is the banner retraction to replace the banner headlines about corporations paying no taxes? Mr. Clemens' remark about lies, damned lies, etc. seems appropriate here.

So a word to all of us - take what you read with the appropriate grain of salt; in the case of the AP, I recommend a grain the size of the moon.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

More Blog Mucking About

Seems as though Google now has even more crap to clutter up one's blog with. (So I ended on a preposition? Whaddaya gonna do about it?) Google Gadgets seems to include thousands of little doohickeys that add everything from semi-naughty pictures to quotes from every bible in existence.

Some looked OK, so I added two on the right - Today in History and Hubble images. I'd prefer not to bother with stock tickers or Super Mario games, but if the masses request it I'll consider adding them. For about 2 seconds, and then we'll go back to the bland dictatorship that is this trivial corner of the internets.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Can it pop a wheelie?

I think at 18 I knew what a screwdriver was. Nice work, man, and keep it up.

H/T to the Corner, where Mr. Robbins notes that left alone, we can come up with answers far better than government.

Oh Beloved Europe

I heard this story about the Spanish basketball team the other day (though this is more commentary than reporting, and identified as such, happily):

Gasol, Calderon question fuss over photo

What it brought to mind immediately is not the particular childishness of the Spaniards here - most of the rest of us stopped doing this in Kindergarten. It made me think of the liberals who go on & on about how we need to be more like Europe, how the Europeans are more in touch with their feelings, how they're nicer, more sophisticated, etc.

A dirty little secret about Europe these people never acknowledge is the incredibly casual racism that you bump into over there. I've been to England three times (and no, this makes me neither particularly experienced nor a jet setter), and each time I've run into people making the most disparaging comments about other races without a second's thought. The most interesting case came from a taxi driver of clearly foreign extraction (South Asia as I remember) ripping into members of another ethnic group as being dirty, classless, etc.

I'm not all that surprised, frankly, at the behavior of this basketball team. The ancient tribalisms and the powerful nationalism of European countries hasn't really died out - it's available anywhere you choose to listen carefully enough. I don't much care - I still vote by the "Sticks & stones will break my bones" theory, and I think all the hypersensitive types (yes, I mean you Sharpton & Jackson) need to relax a little. But I am disturbed by the constant drivel coming out of the left that all we need to do is be more like the Europeans and the world will magically be a happy place.

Europe is a beautiful place that has many wonderful people and culture, but let's not miss the crap that comes along with it.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Doctor Rocker

Neat story:

Brian May, guitarist for rock band Queen, completes Ph.D. thesis following 30-year hiatus

Sure beats the Honoris Causae Harvard hands out like Pez. Has Ozzy Osbourne ever used a pressure-scanned Fabry-Perot Spectrometer? Did Mick Jagger ever record high-resolution spectra of the Zodiacal Light?

I think not.

(H/T to the Corner)

Thursday, July 31, 2008


There's not a whole lot to report on around here. Junior grows like a weed, which is her job; the other two continue their fun at camp.

My problems of before remain as they were - more of the same, and precious little relief in site. A few things are cooking, but not to my satisfaction yet. The big issue now is morale, and finding a way to keep on an even keel. Some days are good, some are not.

Not much use, is it? Makes it perfect blogging material.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008


Took the day off, and I was poking around here & blogger has added a bloglist thingy that includes some info off the RSS feeds of some of the stuff I read. I'm going to try it for a bit & see if I like it.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


and possibly too much vodka/tequila/you name it leads to this:

Chess boxers slug it out in the ring

I can only imagine that hockey chamber music or smash mouth watercolors are not far behind.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Soviet Jokes

Apparently a running theme was going on in one of the blogs over at National Review - old Commie jokes. I liked this one:

The express train is running from Warsaw to Legnica (site of a big Soviet Airforce Base in the communist years) when it suddenly jumps the tracks and runs off into the woods. After a while going through the woods, it returns to the tracks and somehow gets back on. The conductor goes up to the engineer and says, "What are you, nuts? Running off into the woods like that." The engineer replies, "There was a Russian general standing on the tracks." The conductor berates him, "Then why didn't you just run the #%$$^%$ over?" to which the engineer replies, "That's just it, he ran into the woods."

I sense a whole area of humor I need to get familiar with.

Dodged a bullet

The Odyssey, and its clunky transmission, are thankfully still under warranty. Three or four weeks later and we'd probably have been screwed. So they will call next week to set up an appointment to replace the whole shootin' match on their dime. Per the good Mr. Possum the replacement only has a 12,000 mile warranty, but the way Mrs. Skinny drives (in miles/year, not leadfoot) that'll last us two years.

By which point we may be looking for a replacement anyway, so it all works out. It made the $60 (!) I spent on a rental yesterday while they looked at it seem a bargain, though that's an awful lot for the Chevy Speck I rented. I'm still pleased at the results, either way.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hotel Skinny

We've had guests of one sort or another for close to a month now, and I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. I love my family, I love Mrs.' family, but I'm tired of changing sheets in the guest room, feeding extra people, and not being able to walk around in my skivvies. They've all been good houseguests, but we're booked through at least mid-August and I think I'd like it to be just the five of us again for a little while.


It's always the same, isn't it?

The Not-So-Lost Tribe

I have no problem with you highlighting the plight of native tribes in heavily logged areas. Make all the teary-eyed pictures you want. But why, why do you need to make stuff up? You ruin any point you were trying to make by faking things, so why do it? There's always an excuse from people like this, and the argument always comes back to "truthiness". It should be so, therefore anything I do to promote that is not only acceptable, but somehow beneficial.

The Shema prayer ends with "I am the Lord your God, Truth." Truth is essential to a moral and ethical life, and to be in firm concert with God's plan. Lacking truth is lacking in Godliness, and yet so many of these people believe that the ends justify the means. It's sad, and it's stupid.

Monday, June 23, 2008

At Long Last

the intranet redesign project is live. It's taken more than two years of effort, meetings, more meetings, even more meetings, but we've finally launched the site. I've been so incommunicado over the last month because of all the work that was necessary, but in the end we have essentially the site we intended. Not perfect, naturally, but awfully good considering the amount of work involved.

But. But.

A superior that need not be named deserves to be hit by a bus. I'm not pleased at myself for wishing harm on another human, but they deserve it. Not a thank you. Not a "we couldn't have done it without you." Certainly not a bonus or other formal recognition for me doing their job for them. Just insulting emails asking where everything else she wants is. Never mind that go-live is just the beginning for what has to happen, what with all we pushed off until now.

So the inevitable, I hope, will happen. I will offer my services elsewhere, and hope that even if the praise is as hard to come by, I will be making enough additional money to compensate a little. There's no reason to treat your employees like servants, unless you don't care whether or not they remain your employees.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Environmentalism has Officially Jumped the Shark

How do I know? Viz. the following, courtesy of LiveScience via Yahoo:

Environmentally Friendly Bombs Planned

I grant you that toxic chemicals are, well, toxic, and we're trying to save the planet. But if there was ever anything unfriendly for its environment, wouldn't most of us say a bomb would be example #2 (following AlGore himself, naturally)?

I know there are non-deadly reasons people use explosives. But let's face facts - the reason most of this stuff is out there is to make really, really big booms that eliminate whatever (or whoever) was standing there before. Leaving dust, debris, and destruction behind. Most employers of this technology aren't really all that concerned about a coupla liters of toxic byproduct.

Which raises to me the likely ironic aftereffect of enviro-safe bombs. How long before Hamas or Al-Qaida steps up to a microphone somewhere and piously declares that as Islam is fundamentally committed to saving the planet, all homicide bombers (excuse me - freedom fighters) on their way to "convert" buses full of schoolchildren and shopkeepers will now switch to the kinder, gentler IEDs and strapped-on explosives.

Greening the Ethnic Cleaning, indeed.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Got a couple days this week to poke around the big city at a conference. Nice mostly just to get out of the office a little. Things have not improved appreciably, so any excuse not to be there is welcome. Not a ton of consequence at the show, but it's helpful to find out what people doing real work in the area are busy with. And I had a nice burger with pastrami on it for lunch with some colleagues who went to the conference.

Another day of it tomorrow, plus some other business I have to take care of. And maybe a nice juicy steak to top it all off.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Cleaning out the garage is a reasonable activity for mother's day. Stuff to toss, a little organizing, right?

Let me say that the unexpected object I had to remove from a double stroller (which we had just offered to the expectant couple across the street, BTW) put a severe damper on the joy of a neat garage.

That object would be a late, former member of the family Sciuridae. The disgusting remains had damaged the stroller, so I had to Indian Give (can I still use that term?) and set aside the conveyance for conveyance to a garbage dump.

I remain extremely creeped out by the experience.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Say Hello to My Leetel Frien' - Ex Utero Edition

Look who showed up on Sunday:

Cute, huh? Another girl (4 against 1 at my house now; anybody know where I can rent a Port-a-Potty?) 6lbs, 9 oz, 18 5/8", and in an awful ^%$# hurry. One hour from first contraction to outside baby. Worth the trip, though.

So there I was, happily leading services for the congregation on the last day of Passover, at a point where I couldn't stop, and the phone buzzes (I had it on vibrate so as not to offend anyone.) Who else would be calling? Finish up, hand off to someone else, call MIL, she says "I think we're getting ready for the baby", I walk home, half an hour later, there she is. Best part is the guy who took over for me at services, also named Dan, is the last guy who got beeped in the middle of leading services. He was doing the additional service for Yom Kippur, though, and it's not like you can just grab someone to take over. I at least made it easy for them.

Monday, April 21, 2008

All right, Outta the Pool

Mr. Possum loses this one; no additional SkinnyJuniors as of yet. Plenty of matzah and associated GI distress, a considerable lack of sleep, but no babies delivered Chez Skinny at any point over the extended holiday weekend.

Mr. P had selected a girl, arriving on 4/20. Mrs. Skinny would've been happy to oblige, but Jr. ain't quite ready yet. Updates as events warrant.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Word Invention

Terry sent me this link from Iowahawk the other day, where the good Raptor describes his brief visit to Postville, IA and the surprising accumulation of Orthodox Jews floating around that end of Flyover Country. I've known about this group for a while - they've established a major kosher meatpacking plant out there, presumably to be closer to the cows.

In any event, I mentioned to Terry that there's a book out called Boychicks in the Hood, in which author Robert Eisenberg describes his visit out there to see the Jews in Iowa. Which led me to coin what I think is a new term to describe noticeably Orthodox Jews living in rural parts of America:

Hayseedic: adj. - pertaining to or describing an ultra-Orthodox person living and working in traditionally rural, non-Jewish areas of the United States. cf. RebNeck, Yankel Reb.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

There's a point at which

you start to ask yourself why you bother.

Today's one of those days.

Why Brer Jimmah

should be kicked out of the US and his citizenship revoked:

Carter Pays Tribute to Terrorist Mass Murderer

Perhaps the Georgia Nut will now fully embrace Hamas by signing up be a suicide bomber.

Friday, April 11, 2008

If You like to Grill

or even if you just like to eat, can I recommend you join Weber Nation?

I am watching their chef on a video podcast grilling some marvelous looking steaks. He hasn't even put them on the grate and I'm salivating.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Lovely Jordana

has sent along a link that will leave the transportation buffs (like my Dad) glued to their computers for a day or 70:

London Transport Museum

Your spouses will hate me forever, or thank me for getting you off facebook for a while.

Archives in the News

Nothing ever dies in this modern media world, as Wally World found out:

Candid Camera: Trove of Videos Vexes Wal-Mart

It's a marvelous tale of handshake deals, unintended uses, unintended consequences, and the ability of Americans to turn lemons into lemonade.

I imagine the exec who killed the arrangement with this video company is no longer a "new Walmart Exec" but an "ex-Walmart Exec." This highlights a real problem in all organizations regarding institutional memory and the dangers of losing it or missing the value in it. Chances are the exec looked at costs and said "we can get this cheaper." Not a ridiculous idea, but it REALLY would've been worth investigating the parameters of the deal, not to mention saving the tapes for posterity, archival use, etc. Lessons to learn, folks.

Thanks to an archive buddy for passing this one along.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


I can't think of a task I'm less suited for than sitting here like a yutz and attempting to collate statistics on web usage. I can't figure out what the important numbers are, and I'm supposed to be providing them to a group of people who know even less than I do about what we should be looking at.

I'm sure there is value in these things somewhere, but heck if I know how to dig it out. The process itself is beyond mind-numbing, and it takes forever to do. I know every job has crappy tasks that just have to be done, but this is one that never should have gotten dumped in my lap. Not only do I hate doing it, but I'm no good at it and my time would be better used elsewhere.

Though I guess that's true in a great variety of ways around here.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Want to meet a Hero?

Meet a hero.

Mind you, I don't recommend this as an idea to try at home, but the instinctive reaction by L/Cpl Croucher was to save his fellow Marines. What's the British version of Semper Fi, anyway?

Nice job son - you done good.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The More I Talk to Some People

the less they clearly know or understand. In my current situation, it becomes more painfully obvious that people that I was OK with before are actually dumber than dirt.

It's OK to be dumber than dirt; but if you're talking to someone who knows far better than you what's going on, and who is clearly smarter than you are, take a safe route. Say "Dan, is it under control? I'm too busy to deal with this right now - if you say we're OK, then we're OK." Leave it at that, and I won't be shaking my head in wonder that you're doing anything more advanced than stocking groceries.

Terminal Boredom

n.- the effect of attempting to complete two tasks at once that, individually, cause the employee to fall asleep at his desk. cf. mind-numbing, repetitive.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Speaking of Sniffs

I appear to have picked up a cold someplace. Considering that the cough I developed in February still hasn't gone away, it's getting me a little irritated.

I know, I know - boo-frickin'-hoo.

Had a Sniff or Two

Nothing concrete, and I continue to crank out the personal documentation on a slow but semi-steady basis, but there have been a few encouraging inquiries.

None of it matters until it matters, but as I continue to ride the emotional and mental roller coaster, each sign of interest is a brief reminder that I'm not entirely useless or unwanted. This is not a pleasant exercise to say the least, but you just have to keep plugging away.

A colleague in the identical (and I mean identical) boat to me believes in sending out hundreds of feelers; I guess I disagree with him. Anything within 100 miles, within a football field of what he's looking for gets a shot. I don't know if it's the right approach, but I'm being more selective. If it looks like something I want, I try it; if I'm grossly underqualified, or it looks stupid, I'm not even wasting the time.

In the end I guess it doesn't matter that much - you only need one, and with the Lord's help (though I admit a touch of peevishness that He's not filling me in on His plan) the right one will appear whether you try for one opportunity or 1,000.

If I keep telling myself that, I imagine I'll start to believe it.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008

There's been a Sighting

Shoulda posted this earlier, but kinda slipped my mind. There's been an Actual (well, Virtual) GOYL sighting. Check out the comments to this post.

By the sounds of it we're in similar situations, which explains her disappearance. Anyway, GOYL, welcome back however briefly to the world of blogging, and even if things are down, some of us are still checking up on you now & again.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Why I don't trust Experts

Via Yahoo/AP:

Experts: Years before dollar regains value, prestige worldwide

Conspicuously missing from the story is the length of time it took the dollar to slide. Look, I don't understand anything about economics. A dollar is still a dollar, though I guess it buys less and that makes it weak. Either way, what'd it take for us to go from gangbusters to a weak dollar? Six months?

Where, precisely, is it written that it will take years to come back? Things can turn up as quickly as they turn down, and there's no guarantee that Europe's economic problems (which I assume are varied) might not cause similar problems for the Euro.

At the end of it all, like the weathermen and the global warming crowd, too much of this is guesswork for my taste. They all have pet theories they've been waiting years to see turn real, and now that a down cycle has finally hit they're crowing about how right they are. I have no idea why they love doom & gloom so much, other than it's Bush's fault. My only actual concern is if one of the Democrats gets elected, these central planning ouija-board pundits might actually be in a position to ruin the economy.

In which case they're correct - it will take years to regain prosperity.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Be Sure

Your Sin will Find you Out

Politically speaking, I could not be happier to hear this. The man is a self-aggrandizing, bullying jerk, and to have this land on his head makes me happy. As always, I feel badly for his wife and family, but this couldn't have happened to a more appropriate slimy politician.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


More of the same. Confused orders. Deadlines moved up suddenly to yesterday. No communication at all. Negative messages stated outright - while not to me directly, by extension it all applies to me as well.

You know what else? I'm bored. I imagine there are things I need to do, but I don't feel like finding out what they are. I suppose I could clean up around here, but at the best of time that's not terribly motivating.

Sorry to kvetch, but there's not much else to do.

Friday, February 22, 2008

I know

it's bloody late, but I played hockey so I'm still up. Anyway, some positive developments today regarding opportunities available. Means nothing until it means something, but there's some hope and that's a good thing.

Incidentally, on a completely unrelated note, strange things happen when you mistype things. Should you happen to type "" (note the transposed letters) you end up at something referred to as a "mega site of Bible studies and information."

It also suggests (not that I read very carefully) that my lack of faith in Jesus is likely to doom me to eternal damnation or some such overly warm final embrace.

Strange place this internets, and odd that anyone would waste the time to squat on a variation of this useless drivel center. Still, I suppose it keeps them occupied in between doses of medication.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Needless to say

No such luck. There is a new normal, and I've just had to learn to deal with it. So I do whatever I absolutely have to, and no more. I listen to stupid comments and keep my mouth shut. I get unnecessary instructions, and I just say "OK."

It's a dumb way to live, I grant you, but it's a way to survive.

Oh, did I mention I also got sick as a dog about two weeks ago? Two days of 102 fever, followed by all sorts of nasty side effects, including gums so swollen I couldn't eat. I have no idea what the Lord might have in mind for me, but if He's trying to tell me something I have to say it would be easier to grasp some of the messages if they'd come in one at a time.

If the Frogs or Locusts show up looking for me, tell them I'm unavailable please.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Peaceful interlude

All the above (or below, whichever) was interrupted for the most part blissfully by a vacation in mid-January. The in-laws were kind enough to sponsor a trip down south, to beautiful Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Why, yes, I believe there are a few things to visit down in that part of the world. Something about a Mouse...?

So we did the Disney thing, and everyone had a good time. We did nothing but Disney - the kids are a little young and a lot too fraidy-cat to try Universal, and there was plenty to do in Walt's kingdom anyway.

Short version: Disney Hollywood Studios (nee MGM Studios) on Monday, Magic Kingdom on Tuesday, Epcot on Wednesday, Animal Kingdom on Thursday, and back to Magic Kingdom on Friday. A Princess Breakfast, lots of characters signing autograph books, gift shop after gift shop after gift shop. We actually kept much of the spending to a minimum, and having the in-laws with us helped a lot.

It was a nice change of pace, and by the middle of the week I was actually able to forget about work a bit. I deliberately left the laptop home, and didn't check email or voicemail all week. At that point I figured there was really nothing I could or would do about work anyway. My other thought was to see if a little time and distance would help and maybe life would go back to normal.

What the Hell????

This is a part of my life where I want to be a little circumspect. It remains in the state that began six weeks ago, and changes to it may take some time. Talking too much about it (and certain people managing to find out about it) could create even more headaches, and there's enough going on right now. Should things happen as I'd like, I will explain more clearly in the future.

You may recall changes were made professionally - someone got fired who deserved it, and all was to be well.

Oh how wrong a person can be.

Things are not well; discussions of important benefits to me went from Topic A to Topic Z. Rude, thoughtless, and ignorant comments have been directed to me and others, and for no reason we can fathom. I am tainted by association, and I believe the reason for the change has nothing to do with me or my work.

Naturally this all began right in the middle of the crisis with Dad. No one's even asked how he is in weeks. The timing could have been much, MUCH better. Either way, the writing is on the wall. I don't even think they know they're sending the messages they are, but I'm reading them loud and clear anyway.

I am taking the steps I have been forced to take, and with luck I will make my own change. The sad part is, and the one thing I will not forgive, is that they made me not care. I loved where I was, and they made me not only hate it, but not give a damn, and that's something I can't forgive.

Where to begin?

How to explain the 180-degree turn in my life over the last six weeks? Things that were no longer are, and things that were not suddenly have become.

Cryptic? You betcha. Paranoid, me?

You have no idea.

Seems safest to begin at the beginning, with one of the two scheduled items for the new year. Dad had been to the doctor last Sep or Oct, and they saw something they didn't entirely like. So I recommended he go talk to one of the guys here, world-renowned for that particular part of the anatomy. The long & short was scheduled surgery for early January. So Pop goes in, figuring on a 3-5 day stay in the hospital, then 4-6 weeks recovery.

So here comes the first curveball, and it's a doozy. He's in for a few days, and if anything he seems worse as time goes on, not better. I'm there every night till 9-10PM, my brother's there all day (including, heroically, staying by himself there for Shabbos so dad would have company.) Sunday night he is in terrible pain, and Monday they tell us they're taking him in for emergency surgery in an unrelated area. I am now running all kinds of insane, paranoid fantasies in my head that he's not going to survive.

Happily, none of them came true. The second surgery went well, and Pop was quickly on the mend. He's home and recuperating now, and while he's looking older (and thinner) than he did before, he's mostly himself again. I think he's getting a little depressed, but he's been on the shelf for a long time, so I don't blame him.

So, that was stress enough, without...