Friday, August 31, 2007

FUBAR, SNAFU, POO POO, and a Word to be Named Later

Doggone, I don’t like the fugging poo poo we we face with the swinging bureaucrats at the FCC.

Ken Burns, the cherubic PBS mogul (he’s 54 years old) has a new multi-part documentary coming out next month. It’s about the Second World War, appropriately called “The War.” Over double digit hours it has four bad words in it. In two scenes, soldiers define FUBAR and SNAFU. In another scene a vernacular word for excrement is used. In the fourth scene an unacceptable word for a body part, your guess is as good as mine, is used.

Because the FCC tends to be arbitrary and capricious in its fining practice,Burns' company has put out two versions of the documentary, one with the potty mouth language and another without. That way it can’t take the hit for the potential fine, the stations take their choice.

I for the most part, don’t want bad language on TV. I especially don’t want it around when kids are watching. But, I don’t think there are a lot of little kids that are going to be watching this series. Those that are, are of an age that they have heard the words fuck and shit. They probably have heard the bad body part word that I can’t figure out from the Washington Post article that resulted in this post.

There’s a concept in law called prior restraint dealing with constitutional rights, that applies to the First Amendment. The FCC by its coy enforcement of its “decency” regulations is engaging in prior restraint, which inhibits speech in media. According to the Washington Post article, “[a] FCC spokesman said the agency doesn't prejudge any broadcast; he declined to comment further.” By setting no standard, and after the fact whapping those you didn’t “prejudge,” you get responsible people to water down their offerings, exactly what is desired by the FCC.

Why not run a real warning, not the “this program may…” thing. It should say “if you, your kids or anyone in the room have a problem with hearing what is by most people, considered to be a bad word, and we include expletives, swear and excretory words, you should switch the channel. Don’t watch this show. The choice is yours, don’t blame the station or the creator; and, we mean you FCC”

Thursday, August 30, 2007

AJC "Sorry" In Several Ways

As regular readers know, I think my local paper sucks. Do a search of the posts using AJC and you can learn of my thoughts on the paper's sorry state.

In a recent post, I talked about the death of Richard Jewell who was a hero of the 1996 Summer Olympics here in Atlanta. He was afterwards vilified by national media and the local rag. The AJC never could, and still can't bring itself to admit a mistake:

"Jewell's death Wednesday 'is not a day to consider lawsuits, rather a day to pay respect,' said John Mellott, AJC publisher.

'Richard Jewell was a real hero, as we all came to learn,' Mellott said. 'The story of how Mr. Jewell moved from hero to suspect and back in the Olympic Park bombing investigation is one the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported fully, even as it defended itself in a libel case brought by him.'"

From the AJC today in a follow-up article to an initial report of Mr. Jewell's death yesterday.

The thing the AJC missed in its full reporting of the story was the fact that it made a big mistake. It was wrong from the start. I'm a lawyer, and to an extent I understand hiding behind the defense that it didn't do wrong maliciously, a defense to defamation of a "public figure," something Jewell wasn't until the AJC and other news organizations made him one.

The AJC owes Richard Jewell an apology, now posthumously. I'm not holding my breath waiting for one; the paper can't even bring itself to write an obituary of a local man, a hero as its publisher calls him. The obituary in the paper has an "AP" byline.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

City Government and Businesses, Not at Work

You can read about it here.

For those of you that don’t know, Atlanta and most cities have, and will have even bigger, problems with sewer systems. Atlanta, a property owner and the owner’s business tenants have been sniping at each other for over a year about who is responsible for repair of a storm drain, built in the 1920's, that collapsed.

While they fought, two city workers sat in a truck next to the hole that resulted from the collapse and watched it, the hole, TWENTY-FOUR HOURS A DAY.

You can’t make this stuff up.

An Unlikely Hero

Back in 1996 Atlanta hosted the Summer Olympics. Famously, Juan Antonio Samaranch did not bestow his traditional closing "best games ever" compliment.

The games were marred by a bombing in Centennial Park on the outskirts of downtown. A couple of people were killed and several more people were wounded. The number of casualties were relatively low because a pudgy security guard saw the back pack that contained the explosives and herded people away before the bomb exploded.

For his trouble, he was attacked in the media as a suspect in the bombing. Without going through all the details, all of the networks and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution had at best, inaccurate, and at worst defamatory reports about the allegations. We learned the identity of the bomber and caught him years after the fact, Eric Rudolph.

Oh, the guard's name? Richard Jewell. He sued and settled with everyone but the AJC. Since then, he worked with small town police departments. As reported by the AJC today:

"A year ago this month, Jewell was commended by Gov. Sonny Perdue at an event marking the 10th anniversary of the bombing.

"'The bottom line is this: His actions saved lives that day,' said Perdue. 'Mr. Jewell, on behalf of Georgia, we want to thank you for keeping Georgians safe and doing your job during the course of those Games.'

Jewell, his voice choked with emotion, responded:

'I never sought to be a hero. I have always viewed myself as just one of the many trained professionals who simply did his or her job that tragic night. I wish I could have done more.'

Why post this? Richard Jewell was found dead in his home this morning, apparently having died from complications of diabetes. His death was reported by the AJC. I hope they do a nice obituary for him.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Blessed Recess Appointment Power

Congress is not in session. President Bush can save us a lot of anguish and mid-term recrimination by appointing a “recess” Attorney General, who can serve without confirmation until the end of the current Congressional term.

“A recess appointment occurs when the President of the United States fills a vacant Federal position during a recess of the United States Senate. The commission or appointment must be approved by the Senate by the end of the next session, or the position becomes vacant again. Recess appointments are authorized by Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution: ‘The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.’"

From the Wikipedia article on recess appointments.

Do we really need the Administration touting whomever its promoted replacement is; coupled with the Democrats’ use of the hearings to dredge up what Bush and Gonzales did wrong?

Don’t get me wrong, I think they did wrong. But we have enough problems without rehashing their sins now. Congress can hold all the committee hearings it wants; but, if Bush, against character were to give a recess appointment to a lawyer who has no political bias, no agenda, has integrity and honor…. Well no one comes immediately to mind; but, pick someone that is politically bullet proof and curtly announce, he or she is here until I leave.

There will be some Congressional and media howling. Then they can pay attention to the next stupidity of the Administration to surface.

I really don’t want to listen to the debate. I want January 2009, for better or worse, to get here quickly (with a tip of the ball cap to Fermi).

Monday, August 27, 2007

Constant to the Bitter End

From the New York Times:

“A senior administration official said today that Mr. Gonzales, who was in Washington, had called the president in Crawford, Tex., on Friday to offer his resignation. The president rebuffed the offer, but said the two should talk face to face on Sunday.

Mr. Gonzales and his wife flew to Texas, and over lunch on Sunday the president accepted the resignation with regret, the official said.

On Saturday night Mr. Gonzales was contacted by his press spokesman to ask how the department should respond to inquiries from reporters about rumors of his resignation, and he told the spokesman to deny the reports.

White House spokesmen also insisted on Sunday that they did not believe that Mr. Gonzales was planning to resign. Aides to senior members of the Senate Judiciary Committee said over the weekend that they had received no suggestion from the administration that Mr. Gonzales intended to resign.

As late as Sunday afternoon, Mr. Gonzales himself was denying through his spokesman that he was quitting. The spokesman, Brian Roehrkasse, said Sunday that he telephoned the attorney general about the reports of his imminent resignation ‘and he said it wasn’t true — so I don’t know what more I can say.’”

So what does this weekend scenario tell us about the Attorney General’s veracity leading up to his resignation? He has no problem lying and telling others to lie. Wouldn’t an honest man become unavailable to take calls? If pressed say “I have no intention of commenting on this story.” Nope, our Attorney General told his employee to deny the report on Saturday night. On Sunday he lied to a spokesman that was then apologetic to the press, “…I don’t know what more I can say (when the Attorney General is flat lying to me)”

Little lies belie big lies, even if they don't precede them.

I'm Not Really Sure What a Transfat is...

but, my bet is that it makes sugar, flour, eggs, butter and other things that are bad for you taste even better. Dunkin' Donuts has “banned” transfats in its “menu.” (The “banning” word, given our wonderful government, doesn’t really mean there will be none of the pesky fat in a donut. It means there will be less than half of a gram in a “serving.” Do you think that a serving of a “menu item,” say a, now big ass donut, will become two “reasonable bites” from the big ass donut?)

I’m not the healthiest eater on the planet. I’m, well, reasonable about what I eat. Years ago a female friend said that diets are easy. “Skip the white stuff.” Fat starts out as white, then there are potatoes, flower, sugar, lots of breads, most gravy, rice, you get the idea.

But if we are going to on occasion eat something whitish, why do we insist on fooling ourselves?

There are things that we eat that aren’t good for us. An internist that I went to suggested cutting down on starches, sugars, fats and so on, my friend’s white stuff. But, he said that there was no problem with every now and again eating a greasy cheeseburger.

Moderation is a good approach to life; but, a word that is related to the “middle” allows skewing to the left and right. Celery is on the left and donuts are on the right. You need some of both.

Technology, Saving Time and Money?

I fired up the office computer this morning and for a second or third time heard a soft grinding from the tower. Hard drive crash a'coming.

So, I looked into replacing the hard drive. With the cost of the drive, install and cloning we are approaching $300 bucks. The tower is about four and a half years old. Unsophisticated risk/benefit analysis seems to indicate that it's time to get a new tower.

Off to Click Home/Home Office. There was a one day special prominently displayed. $399 for 1 Gig dual core RAM, 160 Gig hard drive 48x CD/DVR-RW, with keyboard, mouse and 19" flat screen. Upgrading Vista to Premium and adding a year of warranty will be costing me $550.

This is assuming that the Office 2000 Small Business CD from my dying machine will install on the new one. One guy at Dell says the license will self destruct with the machine, the other says it will install. It did install from my dead laptop earlier this year to the new one with Vista. Cross your collective fingers.

So far today, technology has cost me more than $500 and about five hours. Should never have thrown out my manual Smith Corona all those years ago.

More Good Stuff

The Attorney General has resigned. Does good news come in threes? Gonzales, Cheney, Bush?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fermi Fixed My Font

You'll all notice that this post has Arial, as does the title. As I type it it's showing in the old "Font." I can live with that. And, what's more, it went back and fixed all the old posts. Good Blogger, good Blogger.

Scary Stuff shows you the future of our country. My vow to only give you good stuff ended at midnight last night.

It Is Probably Not Right to Bitch About Blogger, But...


1. Every time I use the proprietary word processing program that comes up on the "New Post" page, I get "Font." A font I don't like. A font that won't give way to Arial until I tell it to use Arial twice. This happens even if I compose in Word, using Arial, and cut and paste into Blogger.

2. If I start in the stupid program and go off to get a URL link, and "paste" it into the post, it puts it somewhere above where the cursor is in the text. Then I have to move it back to where it put it in the first place.

3. Sometimes it goes back to "Font" if I hit a hard return. Those Google guys and girls love the unlovely "Font."

That's it. Font comes free with Blogger. I guess I have no consideration given on my part so as to complain, but, damn, give a summer intern a project and fix the bugs.

Oh, I'm leaving this in just to prove a point, I just realized that the piece of *%$@ processor goes back to Font after you use the spell check function. I was going, and now am adding a point 4: Why doesn't Google recognize a contraction is an acceptable spelling?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Vietnam Redux, Happy Stuff

I’m not breaking my happy stuff rule for the day. This link will take you to an opinion piece in The Los Angeles Times that posits how we can make up for cutting and running in Vietnam. That’s good news, isn’t it?

Happy Stuff

I've written a few diatribes this week. Big Rick sent me an Email after my post on W talking to the pictures on the wall at the White House, asking me to let him know when the IRS and Secret Service showed up, ending with his thought that I was bit over the top in my opinions.

So, no negativity for the rest of this week, which ends in about six hours. That I can do.

Earlier in the week Pos told me how to do the convection thing on my new baby oven. As I tap the keys, there is a wonderful smell wafting. I'm, as you read (well depending on when you are reading this) baking a bone-in, Boston Butt, pork roast. Salt, pepper, tarragon, sage, marjoram and wonderful Mojo Criollo (Cuban marinade). I just did it for an hour at 425 and turned it down to 325 for another half hour. Then we'll see what the probe tells us about internal temperature.

Next oven adventure is cherry pie. I bought all the stuff to make it. Well kind of. I'm not making the crust from scratch, way too much work. But, I did buy plain tart cherries to be mixed with corn starch, sugar, lemon extract and some other stuff that I don't remember just now. Late night great smells and flavor.

So how's that to end the week? OK, there might be better ways; but, I'm pretty happy with my smelly stuff.

Enjoy the rest of the week and start tomorrow well. I'm going to read a really great paper, the Sunday New York Times, and an OK paper, the local thing. Newsprint and caffeine. Doesn't get much better.

Friday, August 24, 2007

"Collective Efforts"

As part of his plea agreement, Michael Vick admitted that six to eight dogs “were killed” by methods including hanging and drowning. He admitted that “these dogs died as the collective effort of” the two co-defendants and himself. An interesting circumlocation. The dogs are alive, collective efforts occur, including drowning and hanging and the dogs are dead.

Ah, lawyers.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Because Pos is Ahead in the Count...

and Mrs. Pos is not taking this seriously, I have to start to compete.

Sometime earlier this month Pos, of Niagaran Pebbles, vowed to post more posts than I did.

It struck me as odd until I looked back and realized that I do do this a lot.

I then saw him, blatantly, but admittedly cheating. I called him on it. No response to my comment that his post of two pictures of a floor and some baseboards qualified as a post.

So, here is my rejoinder. No floors,, no baseboards, indeed no straight surfaces at all. Enjoy, I give you, damn, I was going to give you "Falling Woman." She's an attractive somewhat unclothed animation that you can bounce off of balloons. The link isn't there any more. Wait, I'm going to Google it and see if I can beat floors and baseboards with a herculean effort.

Hah, do I come through for you or not? Without further ado, well, a bit of ado, click your mouse on her and move her as you will over, under and around the balloons. Enjoy.

Take this Pos:

My Tears Have Ended

Damn, Just Damn will take you to a article on some pictures of Iraq vets. I’ve never done a post that had a disclaimer saying don’t open the link with kids around. This is it. Don’t. I think you have to register to get the article, but they don't require more than an Email address and user name.

My tears have ended. I found the link at Pole Hill Sanitarium. Read Doc, he’s good.

Here’s an expanded version of my comment on his post.

I was deferred at the very tail end of the Vietnam war, first 2D, then 4D, if you are interested in what they mean, go to Google. To me they meant that I got a nice college education, in this country, rather than Canada. I lost a buddy from high school to that war. After, a friend of mine came back from it, eating ten or fifteen pills a day to deal with the after effects of his service. He, and we, never knew which "he" would show up on any given day.

I have a friend today that has some shattered knees from his service. The good news, they cause him to miss hit an occasional golf shot letting me beat him.

My Father served our country in World War II. He started out building the Alaskan Highway, then went to Europe, in several waves past the first. As I am alive, he didn’t get killed.

My brother was a Marine, just after Vietnam ended. A cousin served in the Army in Germany in the late Sixties.

I’m the guy in the family and the community that didn’t do his “bit,” to use a term even older than I am.

People died in my Father’s war. People were horribly disfigured. People were maimed. Though possibly disingenuous, I can live with that. I’m alive and free because of their sacrifice.

All of the same things happened in Korea. Then, I think we got a bit too big for our britches.

Vietnam, Grenada, and it got worse and worse. We started the fights. They ended badly. We seem to do it again and again, not learning the lesson that the entire world is not ours.

Here’s the problem. “Us,” is now us old guys, the old guys I used to hate when I was at risk of going to Vietnam to fight their war, a war that should have never started, as is the case in Iraq.
So, while I can “live with” the losses of my Father’s war, I can’t live with the waste of our current egocentric adventure. The waste? Look at the pictures in the link. Tell me what they bought.

What Is the Opposite of Synergy?

Those of you that have visited here for a while know that I have little regard for the local paper, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

I've done a couple of posts about it's "USATodayification," doing a poor job of even that lowly goal.

Early this year, it announced that it was going to focus its money and reporting on local news. OK, one would think that given the local genesis of the Michael Vick disaster, there would be an AJC reporter all over the story.

I did a post about my thoughts on the Atlanta NAACP president's comments on the issue yesterday, the link was to the local "Channel 2" website, Channel 2 is owned by Cox Enterprises, or something of the sort. Guess who owns the AJC? I bet you guessed right.

With the new emphasis and spending on local news, what did the AJC report? It printed an AP article. The article mentioned none of the stupid things the local NAACP President said, as reported by the TV sister.

If you as the parent company send one sibling to the news conference, OK. But let your kids talk to each other. Don't go outside of the family to report a sanitized version of what was said.

A final thought, I guess AP isn't much of a reliable source for news anymore.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Our President Has Lost It

In a speech today, the President of the United States of America, argued that we should stay in Iraq because we cut and run in Vietnam and thereby, by inference, killed people in Cambodia during the "Killing Fields." "Mr. Bush acknowledged the long debate over whether the United States military should ever have been in Vietnam in the first place: “Whatever your position is on that debate, one unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America’s withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens, whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like ‘boat people,’ ‘re-education camps’ and ‘killing fields.’"

My position on that debate is that people died not as a result of our withdrawal; but, rather, they died as a result of our attempt to invoke our idea of how that part of the world should live, of course, the way we wanted them to live.

Even his father understood the legacy of Vietnam. Have a plan, execute it, stop. W missed that day in school.

Bush also compared withdrawal in Iraq to World War II and the Korean War, inferring that since we stayed the course in those wars, "Democracy" prevailed. What he forgot about those wars was the decades of the Marshall plan and similar programs that rebuilt the structures we destroyed. He also forgot that Germany, Japan and North Korea started those wars and that we started Vietnam and Iraq.

Perhaps a lesson to be learned is don't send your child to where ever he went to high school or send him or her to Yale. They don't appear to teach logic or history.

The President of the United States of America is a dangerous man. He does not have a clue as to what he started, what he caused, what to do about it. All he knows is that he isn't taking any blame. "All we have to do is be the great country that we have always been, impose our will on, what's that place we're fightin' in?, Iran?, no, no, that's the next one. Iraq, that's it. Those She people, the Suns and the Curds, they just have to have time to understand the upside of buckling down to doing what we want them to do."

I'm thinking of Nixon in his last days in the White House, talking to the pictures on the wall.

Can Killing Be Excused?

Atlanta NAACP Weighs In On Michael Vick in this link. Its President said, well read what he said.

I listen to a fair amount of sports talk radio if the local news station and NPR are boring as I drive. There’s a divide in Atlanta on the fate and culpability of our former quarterback.

I can’t see this story as racial. Cultural, yes. Mike Vick grew up and didn’t have a lot. He made a lot of bad choices. He became the current trendy word, a thug.

He has an enormous amount of ability to play football; but, at each turn in his life he has chosen to do wrong. That isn’t a black or white thing. We can talk all we want about what makes bad people become bad, but race isn’t a factor. Culture can be.

Without knowing, I think Vick was disserved by his family, community and teachers. That said, he started and continued down a path that apparently led him to fight dogs. If they didn’t win, he participated in killing them. Not humanly, if that is a possibility, but gruesomely.

From what I’ve read over the past month, there are white and black people who do the same thing. They are all thugs. They’ve done wrong.

To explain, justify or try to mitigate his culpability or fate by saying that he is the victim of racial bias is plain stupid. That seems to be what the local NAACP guy is trying to do.

If the black community is defending or marginalizing what Vick has done, it is making a mistake. There are things that people shouldn’t do regardless of their social condition, race, ethnic backround or religious persuasion. Vick did one of those things. Timothy McVey did one of those things, on a larger scale. As did, the “In Cold Blood” killers, Pol Pot, the Menendez brothers, the 9/11 terrorists and a host of others.

To equate a killer of dogs, especially in the manner in which these dogs are reported to have been killed, to a hunter, regardless of your feelings about hunting, is stupid. As close as I can come to a comparison is bull fighting, and that is barbaric, and wrong.

Wanton killing is not a good thing. It doesn’t matter what the object of your killing is. Your social, racial, ethnic or religious status has no effect on the wrongness of your actions. Whoever you are, where ever you come from, don’t do it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Your Help Will Be Kindly Appreciated

I'm not good at ovening or broiling. I also don't like the ambient effect of firing up either.

So I bought a convection toaster oven. The basic oven/broiler/grill functions I can handle. But, I've now spent about an hour on the internet and no one is able to tell me how the convection changes what you do with the machine.

The little booklet that comes with the machine is useless. It tells me, truthfully that the convection fan will more evenly bake and broil whatever I put in it. It also tells me that what ever I put in it will cook faster, or I can set a lower temperature and cook whatever I'm cooking using less electricity.

What no one is willing to tell me is what the ratio is. If I'd broil something for fifteen minutes, if I set it for convection broiling, what should I subtract?

If ya'll don't know, it's ok. I'll just use it without the convection setting. The key selling point was that it was only thirty-five bucks. But, please, one of you smart people must know what I'm supposed to do.

Monday, August 20, 2007

My Political Desert

A Tale of Two Cities, Mario Cuomo, 1984

Ann Richards, Poor George, 1988

A Place Called Hope, Bill Clinton, 1992

The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama, 2004

(Author's note: the link to Ann Richards and Bill take you to related sites for a reason only explained by my utter inability to work this damned internet thing. "Google" what I've called each link and you can get to the link. My abject apology is offered."

One win out of four. But, you have to admit they are a whole lot better at speechifing than the Republicans. Abe Lincoln was probably the last good one with “Four score….”

If you want to read and listen to wonderful rhetoric, click the links.

For the last twenty-three years, I’ve listened to these speeches, each of the linked speeches live. I loved them. I was moved by them. I quite voting for them Bill’s second time around as, late in life, I grew up.

My wake up call, long before Jerry Maguire, was “show me the money.” It wasn’t and isn’t there.

That isn’t to say that I switched sides. I couldn’t abide the “Gipper.” The first Bush was a “place-keeper.” Bob Dole was one of the sourest people I’ve ever seen. Our current guy, well, read the archives of the blog.

What strikes me about our politicians is their calculated intention to ignore what is important to our society and lead people astray from what they should be thinking about.

We have a ton of crucial issues facing us in the near and mid term future. I won’t bother beyond that time period.

I invite you to tell me one concrete proposal that any Republican or Democratic candidate for President next year has on any issue that is fully laid out and fully funded, considering the need to fund the rest of our government. (There’s one exception to that invitation, on one issue, by one candidate. Mike Huckabee has signed on to the “FairTax” bandwagon, as small as it is. It is self-supporting. The only problem with liking his support of that issue is he is pretty much a social/civil liberty Neanderthal on everything else.) Back to the main point, the “pie” is only so big; and our candidates keep promising slices that when added up, total more than one.

Life Hiker, see the Recommended sidebar, in a comment to a post on R World, see likewise, said Bill Clinton was the best liberal Republican he’d ever seen. The post and the comment were the impetus for this post.

I’d actually like to see a candidate that, don’t boo me now, combined the qualities of Bill Clinton and Jimmie Carter. Ability, pragmatism and morality. Oh, and add a dash of Patrick Moynihan and Newt Gingrich, in their heyday, for fiscal responsibility.

Don’t see anyone out there fitting my bill.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Clara Barton Is Very Unhappy

I’ve spent most of my adult life negotiating and litigating disputes. The older I get, the less litigation make sense. Seldom does anyone “win.” For the most part, litigation seems the logical result of a dysfunctional society. “Oh yeah, take this. And I’ve got lots of money to pay lawyers to bury you.”

I’ve been a lawyer for twenty years. Over all those years, I’ve played the game of making a call, writing a letter and suing. Almost always before the trial starts, a settlement is reached.

But, it seems the ritual of the antagonistic call, threatening letter and escalating lawsuit is necessary to get people to sit down and talk. It’s how I make a living; but, it makes me a bit sad.

Did you know that Clara Barton started the American Red Cross? Did you know that her symbol for the organization, the now ubiquitous “red cross” was stolen by a lot of companies in the late Nineteenth Century? Did you know that Johnson & Johnson was one of those companies; but, that it worked a deal to share the symbol, it commercially and the Red Cross non-commercially?

They’ve fought ever since as you can read in
Johnson & Johnson Sues the American Red Cross in an online New Jersey paper.

J&J is pissed because the Red Cross is making about $2 million bucks a year licensing disaster preparedness kits with the cross logo on them versus the billions it is making selling band aids and drugs.

From what I can gather from the article neither has a trademark on the cross. We seem to have mega company pissing on mega charity, with mega charity pissing right back.

Boys and girls, come down to Atlanta. I don’t have room for more than one CEO and one lawyer from each of you; but, we’ll start the day having breakfast at the Pot ‘n Pan, a greasy spoon on Piedmont. You will be surrounded by blue collar and gay guys, a taste of getting along.

We’ll repair to the small conference room at the office. Upstairs in the building is always warm. It will stay that way so you aren’t comfortable and want to wrap things up and go to a better clime.

We’ll order in Varsity hot dogs, onion rings and peach fried pies so as to upset your gastro-intestinal tracts, further discomforting you and giving you an incentive to settle your differences.

Late afternoon will bring you a sugar rush with some Krispy Kremes. Heart attacks beckon if you don’t talk nice.

Stylishly late, we’ll go to the Colonnade on Cheshire Bridge if you haven’t solved your differences. You can mix with the little blue haired ladies, the flaming old gay guys, their young consorts and the Buppie influx till you learn that getting along is an acquired, but satisfying taste.

You still fighting? We’re on our way to the Grady Hospital emergency room so that you can look at the moaning and dying people you both purport to serve. You are going to stay there until you get over your stupidity and quit this foolishness.

My hourly rates are reasonable; and, other than Pot ‘n Pan and the Colonnade, I won’t be eating with you so my expenses will be minimal.

Ya'll come on down!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Stolen From Kami

Install Vista is a cute YouTube video that I am not stealing so much attributing to Kami at dallasks. I have XP at work and Vista on the laptop. I’ve found that both often get poor grades in the “working and playing well with others” categories.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I'm Not Sure What the Title Is

Yesterday, somewhere around one in the afternoon, I think, I lost a set of keys to my office and home. I think they went astray at McDonalds.

An aside, I don't much eat at McDonalds; but, I was hungry, there was no one in the office to eat with and I had stuff to do. It's a couple of miles away. I had two double cheese burgers, small fries and a small Coke. Didn't eat but about half the fries. My stomach was distressed for the rest of the day, though that might have something to do with what followed.

I got back to the office and realized that the "valet" attachment between the car key and car remote and the other keys had dis-attached, leaving me with just the remote and the the car key. Back to McDonalds. Nothing turned in. Back to the office and get a key from the Office Manager to duplicate and run home on the off chance that that's where they separated. Nope.

Get spare home key and go to General Hardware in Brookhaven, home of "50,000 Items;" and I believe it. Get extra keys made. Go back to the office. The new key works.

At the end of the day, the new home key doesn't work.

This afternoon I drive back to General Hardware. Everywhere should have a place like this, except for the part I'm going to get to. The aroma, I don't know what it is; but, the only place it exists is in a real hardware store. You look into the store. There's a central aisle with shelves on either side. The ceiling is maybe fourteen feet high with the shelves going to within a foot or so of it. There are signs at the side aisles; but, that is not the way you find things. You find one of the five or six guys that work there, that are the only people in the world that know where each and every one of the 50K items are. And they do.

You show them the broken piece, or the other piece. If you don't have them, you lamely describe what your problem is. They turn away from you and start walking into the labyrinth. You follow. They stop and look at the shelf in front of them and pick up the item you want. Usually what you want is small. They put it in a little manila envelope and put a price on the envelope. Most of the items on the shelves don't have prices; but, you don't mind getting ripped off, even if you are, and I don't think I have been, because most of my bills have been under two bucks.

A few years back, having moved, I was reassembling an antique drafting table that I have. There were little ancient screws that attached the leg/support piece to the table top. I was two short.
Read the previous paragraph again if you don't remember how the process works. Thirty-seven cents, plus tax.

So anyway, I drove over this afternoon. Having been there yesterday, I knew where the key machine was and walked there unassisted. There was a sign that read "Push button ONCE for assistance." I did. Within seconds a man appeared and looked at me.

"Hi. I got some keys made here yesterday. This one doesn't work. The teething is right but I think the blank is too wide because it won't go into the lock."

I held the good key next to the bad key as I said this. After my speech, he took both and examined them. He turned to the wall of keys and rummaged. He chose a blank, put it in the machine with the good key and ground. Then he buffed.

"You bought this here?"

"Yeah, want to see the receipt?" as I pulled it from my shirt pocket. He wasn't looking. He put the bad key and the good key on the counter and put the new key into a little manila envelope. He wrote "N/C" on the outside and handed it to me.

I smiled and said "thanks for your help," as he was turning away from me. Does it help to describe the ambiance to say that he wore bifocals with big lenses, down low on his nose, with a string attached to the earpieces, and looked piercingly over them at me the second or two that he actually looked at me during the encounter? I walked toward the front of the store. I stopped at the counter where the lady that had rung me up yesterday was sitting again, but facing away from me. I cleared my throat and she turned. I showed her my manila envelope with it's N/C. She smiled and said "see you."

I drove the few miles home and tried the key, it worked.

I guess there are all kinds of customer service.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Chicken, Waffles. Sausage, Jelly. You Decide.

I find what piques your interest in posts interesting. Sometimes I write a post that I like, that I really like, and there is nothing. No comments. Sometimes, I say something in a post, in law it would be called dicta, an aside not material to the main point, and it takes on a comment life of its own.

Other times I do a quick post that strikes a commenting chord. That seems to have happened last night. I did a short piece about a Food Network show that had Alton Brown eating simmered and then baked beef tips, with the juice, on pancakes. He and his “motorcycle gang/crew” raved about it. Did not seem appetizing to me; and, I compared it to chicken and waffles. That led to comments. In a comment response, I admitted that I can understand a savory crepe; but, I drew the line at adding syrup to the chicken and waffle. Well that led to more comments, the latest being Pos who found out that a sausage biscuit with jelly on it, though it sounds bad, is quite good.

So he knows, down here in Atlanta, jelly is part of the deal. I stopped at a down home type place and ordered a sausage and cheese biscuit a couple of years ago and asked if they had any Dijon mustard. The nice lady looked at me and said they had jelly. I settled for mayo.

All that said, here’s a link to Wikipedia. Is there any subject that it doesn’t have an article on? My Google query was “chicken and biscuits.” Seems there are two schools of thought on the proper liquid to top the basic bird and batter. Read for yourself at
Chicken and Waffles. I’m so proud that I made that hyperlink.

So, here’s a comment starter. What weird food combinations are good? No chocolate covered ants. OK, but you better make a compelling case for it.

Xenophobia or Proper Zoning?

I've noted a couple of times on this blog that my real-life v. cyber friends, for the most part consider me to be a liberal, commie, pinko sort of guy. My reaction to that is to actually use facts and logic. For the most part, they haven't changed their adjectives, so I don't know.

Every now and again, something comes up that challenges my world view. Better put, something comes up that I can't mesh with my several world views.

This time, and again, it's race relations. Atlanta has a simmering, latent, xenophobic ambiance. Merriam-Webster, online, defines xenophobia as: "fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign." Given that definition, which I think is correct, we really aren't xenophobic. We are xenophobic relativists with a bit of economic, provincial fear in the leavening.

No one here has a problem if you have a Swedish Au Pair living in your spare bedroom. But we very much prefer our non-blond, non-European hired help to leave the county by sundown, especially in the northern bedroom counties.

Cobb County, on the northwest side of Metro Atlanta has a long history of wanting to stem the tide of "others" moving to its environs. We have MARTA here: Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, that operates trains and buses in Fulton and DeKalb Counties, the two most urban counties. Cobb for years would have nothing to do with it. Still won't but in the past couple of years has been sending its own buses to and from Intown train stations. Same with Gwinnett County on the northeast side of town. People on the north side used to, and may still in some quarters, say that MARTA stands for Moving Africans Rapidly Through Atlanta.

Given what I've written, you can see I'm not joining with my fearful north side neighbors. So, my dilemma? Cobb County passed an ordinance earlier this year that makes it illegal for people to live in a house or an apartment that doesn't have at least 396 square feet for each resident. Forsyth County the furthest north and most rapidly expanding bedroom county is considering a similar ordinance.

From today's Atlanta-Journal Constitution, online: "Chairman Charles Laughinghouse defended the draft ordinance. 'It doesn't target any specific ethnic group,' Laughinghouse said. 'It targets a specific problem that is becoming more prevalent, not only in Forsyth County but the metro Atlanta area.'"

Well, yes, he's right. The problem is that Cobb and now Forsyth want their "Mexicans" (all Hispanic people in Metro Atlanta are "Mexicans") to live elsewhere. (Back in the old days, way back in the late Eighties, Forsyth County used the old tactic of burning out or harassing black people that had the temerity to try to settle in the County. Hosea Williams, a colorful lesser light of the Civil Rights movement held a march on Forsyth that was hailed as a model of peaceful demonstration. Its peacefulness was enabled just a tad by a thousand or so Georgia State Troopers.)

So, again, where's my dilemma? Well here it is. I don't want to own a house, or live next door to a house, that has twelve guys living in it with six cars in the driveway and and in front on the street. Detracts from the neighborhood ambiance and the property values.

As much as I don't want to, I think I have to side with Cobb and Forsyth Counties. Though their ordinances are targeted directly at Hispanic people, they are reasonable zoning regulations. God, I hate facts and logic.

And The Winner Is...

Judi of Talking To Myself at at 11:44 p.m. last night on the Baseball/Football post. Fermi was closest before the 7,500 mark with a comment, no. 7,498 mid-evening last night; and Michelle came in a bit after Judi at one something this morning (get some sleep).

Thanks to you all, we'll do it again at some appropriate marker.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Something For You To Comment Upon

I just watched the second episode of Feasting On Asphalt, II.

Alton Brown just raved about beef tips in a restaurant in Mississippi that were simmered then baked and then placed with the juice on pancakes. Sounds like the local chicken and waffles, something that just doesn't sound right and that I won't try.

Cheney's Non-Evil Twin which if I had any ability at technical stuff would read Niagaran Pebbles has a link today to a YouTube clip of our esteemed Vice President talking about the first Gulf War in 1994. Quite cogent.

Pos, this doesn't count as a post.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Baseball vs. Football - A Joint Post

I did a post recently about baseball; and, Pos, of Niagaran Pebbles, see Recommended sidebar, left a comment suggesting that I write about something interesting, though he said it in a kinder way. Pos, from Philadelphia, is a football fan and is salivating in anticipation of the coming season. I’m in the middle of my annual, about to be disappointed, following of the Atlanta Braves.

We decided to do a “joint” series of posts about why we are the way we are. Some of you are reading this on my blog and some of you are reading this at Pos’ place.

Pos’ response is found further down. Kind of a point/counterpoint thing. It may go further than that, maybe not.


You need to look to history to understand the present, an academic once said. I’ve been exposed to both baseball and football, but baseball “took.”

I grew up in a Detroit, blue-collar suburb. We had the Tigers, the Lions and the Red Wings. The Pistons were in town, but weren’t on my young radar. None of the teams had distinguished itself by the time I got to the point that sports became important. They were really just a backdrop for what kids did back then.

The kids in the neighborhood had a “community” ball and bat. I was the owner of the ball. Bobby, who lived across the street, supplied the bat. Most of us had a glove.

So when you don't you have enough guys for a game? You don’t need more than three. Each is his own team. A batter who throws the ball up and hits it. Two guys in the "field" which, since we were all right handed, was everything to the left of "second" which usually was some object found in the real field. One of the guys played nominal short and the other guy was a kind of Texas League outfielder. You were out if the guy fielding the ball threw to the other guy before you got to first. There weren't any home runs because the one ball was a bit mushy and we were all, how to put it, untalented.

Bobby’s Uncle was a groundskeeper at Briggs Stadium where the Tigers and the Lions played back then. Two summers when I was about eleven or twelve, Bobby and I got to go to a day game with his Uncle when he went to work in the morning. We got to go on the field before the players came out to warm up and after the game when the stadium was empty again. “Don’t bother the players if they come out.” But we did get to see them up close.In 1968 Denny McClain won 31 games, and the Tigers, featuring Mickey Lolich, Willie Horton, Bill Freehan and the one and only Al Kaline, beat Bob Gibson and the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games for the World Championship. This was big stuff in Detroit. The last time had been in the Forties.

So, I grew up playing and watching baseball. Football was there, but only once a week; and, back then there were only fourteen weeks in a season and no Super Bowl until later on.

As an adult, I went to law school at the University of Miami, then and now with a very successful baseball team. Mark Light Stadium was just down the street from the law school. A student ID and a couple of bucks got you in. Good baseball, pretty girls in skimpy clothing. If all else failed the stadium lights were good enough to read by. Miami baseball was as much a social as a sporting event. And that is probably the heart of my attraction to it over other sports.

It’s there. But, it doesn’t intrude on whatever else is going on at that moment. You can space out at a game and not miss much. You can have it on the TV, read a book, clean the kitchen. If something happens, and it probably won’t, the crowd roar will alert you. If you have TiVo, you are living in a perfect world.

Football requires more attention. Too many players doing too many things. Some may think I’ve just made a case for the superiority of football. Maybe, if you are a fervent sports fan; but, I am not. Baseball is just my speed.


At the risk of sounding as though I am making age jokes here, as I read Dave’s explanation, it seemed to me that he and I are simply products of our respective generations. I grew up in the Super Bowl/NFL era. He missed it by a few years.

I don’t want to dismiss the allure of baseball to a young child, hanging out with friends, tossing the ball, hitting the ball, etc. there certainly was that, but I was and still am a decidedly uncoordinated person. Woefully so.

My memories of baseball were not ones of camaraderie, but instead were opportunities to have some fun at my expense. My father was not interested in sports at all, and I remember a single time when he took me to a local ball field to hit the ball a bit. It was a bit like the old story about the dancing elephant – it wasn’t a matter of how well he danced, but merely a wonder that he was able to dance at all.

Later, in preparation for moving from Boston area to Pennsylvania, where my mother knew everyone was “into baseball,” (she was wrong – they were into sports of every kind) she enrolled me in the Instructional League of the town’s Little League Baseball program. I was three years older than everyone else on the team. And I still just plain and simple did not get it. I was placed in the outfield where I could do the least damage. The only real memory of that experience that I have that was positive – a teammate’s father owned an Italian restaurant just on the other side of the big green monster at Fenway. And he treated the whole team to a meal and one Red Sox souvenir item.

When I got to Philadelphia, I found it impossible to cheer for a “philly.” Just sounded a bit less than manly or something. But I was a big kid for my age, and was well suited for being a football lineman, and there was a contact football team at the school I was attending.

I was no better at football than at baseball, but at least now I was not expected to catch or throw or anything like that. And I continued to play until my Junior year of High School when I broke my arm during a game.

So, why do I watch football and not baseball? Initially, it was the Super Bowl. Super Bowl XII to be exact. I was 10. Dallas vs Denver. I watched with my mother’s mother on her big console color TV. And when I went to school the next day, I was able to speak intelligently about the game. And for a brief moment, I wasn’t a social freak.

Fast forward a few years. Many many years. I was living in Hawaii, serving in the Air Force. I had many co-workers and friends from all over. Joe was a Giants fan. Sean and John were Dolphins fans. Dale was a Cowboys fan. In an effort to be a part of the group, I chose a team to follow. Although I was ostensibly from Philadelphia, I had no real connection with the Eagles. But my best friend lived in Pittsburgh, and I knew his wife was a Steelers fan. And they were from Pennsylvania too. It just worked out.

It didn’t hurt that they were in the playoff hunt that year.

And, as Dave says about baseball, it just took.

When I got out of the service, my new best friend (also my brother-in-law at the time) was a Broncos fan. Just about every one of my best friends now has some favorite team. The Broncos, the Eagles, the Packers, the Steelers, etc. Very few of my close friends are indifferent to football. The people (my age) that I know now who are baseball fans, I just don’t get along with as well. Generally.

I now have a fantasy football team. I am running an office NFL pick ‘em pool. I go to Super Bowl parties. I watch the Eagles at the local watering hole. My circle of friends and acquaintances has grown exponentially through a common enjoyment of football.

And now, a word about football itself. In baseball, there are a couple of dominant teams every year. You just know that one of the big spending teams like the Yankees is going to win the pennant. In the NFL, they have a salary cap that allows small market teams to be as competitive as big market teams. They have a thing called free agency that allows a more even distribution of talent, and guarantees that on any given Sunday, any team can compete with any other team. So even a fan of the lowly Browns has something to look for every year. In 2003, the Steelers went 6-10. The next, with very nearly the same exact team, they went 15-1. And didn’t win the Super Bowl.

That my friends is drama.

Attending a game in person is a special event. It better be for $250 per ticket! The tailgating, the cheers, the absolute elation after a big play that causes you to hug a complete stranger. I have been to hundreds of baseball games, and love watching them in person, but never experienced the same sort of, dare I say, religious reverence seen in the football stadium. And because there are fewer games each season, each game matters that much more than each individual baseball game in a season.

I am not a football guru. Don’t ask me to tell you the difference between a nickel or dime defensive package (actually, that one I know), or what an end route is, as opposed to a skinny post. But I know that when Willie Parker breaks out into the flat and is outpacing all the nearest defenders, there is a feeling of joy that is simply unmatched. Even the grand slam home run my son and I saw against the Florida Marlins last year didn’t feel that good.

I could get sucked into baseball. If the Phillies went on a tear and I was lucky enough to see a few games in person, that would be cool. Maybe if they were to win the World Series. But for now, football is enough joy for me.

Ignored Rule of Baseball

A TAG is the action of a fielder in touching a base with his body while holding the ball securely and firmly in his hand or glove; or touching a runner with the ball, or with his hand or glove holding the ball, while holding the ball securely and firmly in his hand or glove.

That is the rule that is routinely ignored on the tag at second base on an attempted double play. The umpires decided not to ignore that rule because the shortstop for the Braves missed the bag by about two inches, versus the foot or two most miss by, on a play about a half hour ago.

I know most of you aren't exercised about this; but, Alberto Gonzales is expected to call it fast and loose. Umpires aren't. If they do, they are supposed to be consistent. If that is the case from this moment on, expect a lot less double plays.

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution and The New York Times, Compare and Contrast

I just subscribed to The New York Times on Sundays, so this morning there were two papers when I opened the door.

I couldn't do a true comparison of the time it takes to read each as I learned that a lot of what is on on Saturday is in the Sunday print edition. It took about an hour to read the AJC and about two hours to read what I hadn't already read in the NYT.

Much more color in the AJC. Much more substance in the NYT.

Lots of graphics in the AJC. Competent writing in the NYT.

No locally written book reviews in the AJC. The 28 page New York Times Book Review section.

Good coverage of the Braves in the AJC. Nothing beyond box score in the NYT. What's up with that?

For good measure, I read Creative Loafing, Atlanta's "alternative" weekly which is owned by a company that publishes "alternative" weeklies in a bunch of cities. Twenty minutes. But I skipped the ads for strip clubs, the personals, plastic surgery ads and the music reviews.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Swear Words and a Thought About Our Societal Wimpiness

It is 6:16 p.m. on Friday the tenth of August, in the year of our Lord, 2007. According to my home page weather it is 102 degrees outside of my abode. Inside, when I walked in about fifteen minutes ago, it was 86, as I turn off the air when I leave in the morning. The humidity is way up, I'm not going to talk about wet and dry heat. Insert some swear words, it's hot.

As most of you know, I live in Atlanta. It's hot here in the Summer. I grew up in Michigan without AC. There was a bit of hot, but you could abide it.

I used to go out to Vegas with friends once a year to play golf, gamble and eat. One of those years, a friend and I were talking after we had gotten there about looking out of the plane at the desert and the beginning of the mountains. My thought was, if I'd seen that in the seventeen or eighteen whatevers as I was moving West, I'd have turned back. Of course, turning back, I might have faced the Southeast's oppressive humid heat, or the Northeast's frigid cold without the benefit of electricity and its wonderful effect on my comfort.

Seems to me that I owe my parents some thanks for having borne me at a pretty good wimpy era in history.

Last Contest Update

As of 3:00 p.m. EDT, the blog has had 7,321 visitors with a current average of 44 a day. Weekends usually have a bit less traffic. So, Monday, Tuesday?

If you don't know what this is all about or want to refresh yourself on the rules, scroll down to previous contest posts.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

A Blog Kind Of Thing.

I regularly read Curmudgeon, the author of Second Effort. He lives and works in "undisclosed locations" in the Chicago area. He's a White Sox fan and thus is suffering from clinical depression at this current point in time.

He did a post that referred to another blogger, Chris, that created yet another round-robin post thing. This one intrigued me. The deal is to go back in your archives and dredge up a post that you like. Put a link to it in your post and a link to the post where you found the idea. A traffic builder of sorts.

Other than the embedding URLs and my lack of ability to do it, I liked and feared the idea. Is there something out there in the archive, early on, that I like, that I want re-exposed?

I settled on and I am tired of trying to get that to read as the title of the post from last fall.

So read the old post, tell me what you think. Go over to, damn, another hyperlink. Go over to the Recommended sidebar and click Second Effort. Scroll down to the post that is titled something like "Best Shot" from Wednesday of this week. If nothing else, you find a guy that can write.

On that last subject, when you are done with the instructions above, or if you want to ignore them, go to the sidebar and click Pole Hill Sanitarium. The Doctor has a really good post today about Barry Bonds, society and a few other things. Some amazing writing and cogent thoughts.

Black and White? Or Green?

Atlanta, "the city too busy to hate," has found the time, when it comes to our public hospital, Grady Memorial.

The City of Atlanta straddles the border between Fulton and DeKalb (de CAB) counties. Like most big cities, we have a huge public hospital that serves most of our uninsured, poor, elderly, etc. It has one of the best trauma centers in the country.

Given those missions, it is always short of money. The shortfall is made worse by the fact that its patients come from all over Metro Atlanta and to an extent, Georgia; but, its public funding comes primarily from Fulton and DeKalb taxpayers.

The Hospital is currently undergoing its latest and most serious crisis. It is projected to run out of money sometime late in the year. To date, the crisis has been addressed by pontification by the various camps of politicians. There's a "Grady Summit" scheduled for Monday. Earlier in the year a "Task Force" appointed by Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, issued a report that among other recommendations, promoted the creation of a non-profit corporation to take over the day-to-day running of the hospital from the Grady Board.

The Board has ten members, three appointed by the DeKalb and seven appointed by the Fulton, County Commission (the disparity is historical - Fulton had a lot more people in the Forties when the Board was created). The Grady Board and the Fulton and DeKalb commissions have a majority of members who are black. The Task Force has a white majority. Ah, now you know where this is going.

Joe Beasley, regional director of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition said last week "It's about race, if we don't know it and don't deal with it, we're just whistling Dixie." Mr. Beasley is black.

Retorted A.D. Correll, white co-chairman of the Task Force, "this is about green - not black or white, it's about money. We simply have got to quit talking about political power and talk about how we're going to pay for care for people of this community. I don't give damn who's in charge."

Beasley sees the non-profit corporation proposal as a "white" power grab. He wants the Hospital bailed out; but, he wants operations to be controlled by the current black majority Board, the Board that ran the Hospital for the last seven years, losing money, resulting in the current need for an immediate $120 million bailout.

This rhetorical war also needs to be seen in the context of the last several years of Fulton County "secessions." For years there has been conflict between the northern and southern parts of Fulton County. Most of the southern population is black, with whites holding the majority in the north. Property in the north is more valuable and brings in more property taxes, the primary source of county funding, which are spent by the majority black government in the south.

North Fulton residents after years of trying, got the State Legislature to authorize referendums to form cities in the north part of the county. So far we have three new cities: Sandy Springs, Milton and John's Creek. The result is less money going to the county and less to spend in the south. Though the rhetoric about these events has died down, there were allegations of racist motivations for city creation.

So what is the motivating factor? Racism? Money? A combination of the two? "Color" is certainly involved. "Control" is a factor - if money comes from outside the two counties, should control remain with the counties? Absent the ability to control spending, should the State and/or the region throw money at the very real problem? I dunno.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Contest Update

Visitors are picking up; though comments are not. Current visitors are 7,210 with an average of 45 a day. If that holds up, the winner will visit next Monday.

Monday, August 06, 2007

$$$: Three Balls: Glavine, A-Rod, Bonds

Credit first. The idea for this post comes from, as often, The New York Times, online. There was a quick piece on Bonds and A-Rod and their respective 755th and 500th home run balls.

A-Rod's ball is estimated to be worth $100K; but, the guy that got it says he may settle for a boatload of Yankee signed stuff. A-Rod says he would like the ball.

Nothing in the article about who caught Bonds' penultimate ball; but, the "experts" say the next one could be worth more than $600K.

Quietly last night, Tom Glavine pitched his 300th winning game, going into the sixth inning. The closer, I think Wagner, gave him the last ball and a hug. Priceless?

P.S. Blogger spell checker thinks contractions are misspellings; but, it gives a big OK when you type A-Rod.

Contest Update

With all the dither of the jerkstore recently, I forgot my promise to give you an update on progress toward 7500 visitors.

As of a few minutes ago there have been 7153. Still clicking along at an average of 38 a day.

If you've happened along and have no idea what I'm talking about, scroll down a little over a week ago and read the contest announcement and rules.

If traffic holds to current patterns, we will reach the destination on or about August 16.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sorry Folks

Seems I've attracted a stalker. Until I block the attacks, your comments will be a little slow in showing up on the blog.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


Structures require maintenance.

You change the oil and sparkplugs in your car. The filters for the house air conditioner and furnace get replaced periodically and you paint the siding now and again.

But, when it comes to this kind of work on big stuff, "out of sight, out of mind" prevails over "pay me now or pay me later."

It's been pay me later time for a couple of decades now for our public utilities.

I've lived in Atlanta for the last twenty years. I used to work in the heart of downtown and parked in the "pigeon pit," which is an area where the streets years and years ago were built up above ground level so the railroad tracks didn't interfere with street traffic. Even back then, the concrete structures were falling apart. Chunks of concrete had fallen out, exposing the rebar in the piers. Our solution? String metal "netting" under and around the concrete so people and cars didn't get hit by the falling debris.

Starting a few years back, a couple of decades late, Atlanta started spending a couple of billion dollars to save our water system.

This morning's paper reported that there are 18 bridges in Metro Atlanta that score under 10 on the 1 to 100 structural integrity scale the feds use in inspecting bridges. The paper reported earlier in the week that Georgia DOT spends about $100 billion a year maintaining bridges but that to bring bridges up to proper maintenance levels would take more than a billion dollars.

When and if we pull out of Iraq maybe the money can be spent on some of the more critical inframaintenance we should have been doing. Probably not. In six months, our bridges and water and sewer pipes will be back out of public sight and out of our public mind.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

FDR, Truman, Johnson, Reagan, Bush I, Bush II, You and Me

President Bush's Speech About September 11, 2001

Leonard Pitts' Editorial, September 12, 2001

My post yesterday got me to thinking about September 11 again. I’m going to make a small effort to not refer to it as 9/11.

I mentioned in the post that President Bush made one of his few compelling addresses to the nation on September 11, 2001. That got me thinking about Leonard Pitts’ piece the next day in The Miami Herald. I remember tears as I read it.

Leonard Pitts is no George Bush; and, George Bush is no Leonard Pitts. Our President is a privileged white, Anglo-Saxon, right-wing, religious-right guy. Leonard Pitts is a now privileged, but not always, black, left leaning, moderate at best, religious guy who doesn’t insist you and I live his religion.

Having now reread the speech and editorial, it strikes me as to how wrong, in many ways they both were.

Both were, understandably and rightly outraged. Both extolled the resilient nature of the American people. Who said what?

"These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed; our country is strong.

Did you want to make us fear? You just steeled our resolve.

When roused, we are righteous in our outrage, terrible in our force. When provoked by this level of barbarism, we will bear any suffering, pay any cost, go to any length, in the pursuit of justice.

Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature. And we responded with the best of America -- with the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could.

As Americans we will weep, as Americans we will mourn, and as Americans, we will rise in defense of all that we cherish.

This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time.

As Americans we will weep, as Americans we will mourn, and as Americans, we will rise in defense of all that we cherish."

The quotes alternate between the two pieces. There’s a bit of a difference in style, but the tone is the same. If you care, go to the links to the speech and the editorial and find out who said what.

Here’s some Charlie Daniels for you:

In America

We'll the eagle's been flying slow, and the flag's been flying low, and a lot of people's saying that America's fixing to fall.

But speaking just for me and some people from Tennessee, we got a thing or two to tell you all.

This lady may have stumbled but she ain't never fell. And if the Russians don't believe that they can all go straight to hell.

We're gonna put her feet back on the path of the righteousness and then God bless America again.

And you never did think that it ever would happen again In America, did you? You never did think that we'd ever get together again.

Well we damn sure fooled you. We're walking real proud and we're talking real loud again in America.

You never did think that it ever would happen again.

From the sound up in Long Island out to San Francisco Bay, and every thing that's in between them is our home. And we may have done a little bit of fighting amongst ourselves, but you outside people best leave us alone.

Cause we'll all stick together and you can take that to the bank.That's the cowboys and the hippies and the rebels and the yanks.

You just go and lay your hand on a Pittsburgh Steelers fan and I think you're gonna finally understand.

And you never did think that it ever would happen again In America, did you? You never did think that we'd ever get together again.

Well we damn sure fooled you. We're walking real proud and we're talking real loud again in America. You never did think that it ever would happen again.

Daniels wrote the song in the early Eighties, after the Iranian hostage crisis, at the height of the Reagan resurgence of patriotism. And of course, before September 11, 2001.

In yesterday’s post, I quoted from FDR’s “infamy” speech.

What do these four men say about us as a people?

Well, we seldom start fights; though some would argue that our peace-time activities foment fights.

We do fight back.

When the fight is life and death, so far we’ve won.

When the fight is far away, and in the near and middle term, not one that will destroy us, we wander away. Korea, Vietnam, Iran of Charlie Daniels fame, Iraq the first time, and it looks like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran, this time around.

We talk big, we meddle. Then we seek the current version of “peace with honor.”

The terrorist attack against us on September 11 was barbaric. Without vigilance and action to prevent its recurrence, we will see another attack.

But, we tend to misdirect our anger. Korea in the Fifties, Vietnam in the Sixties, Iran in the Seventies, Afghanistan and Iraq in the Nineties and Iran now, do not threaten our way of life.

We fought Korea,Vietnam and Iran as surrogates for the Soviet Union. We fight with Afghans, Iraqis and Iranians as entities that substitute for the non-nations, the groups, that try to harm us. The new Soviet Union is Al Quada, Hamas, etc.

I think it’s time we identified the enemies we have and figure out how to deal with them.