Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Soooo Full.....

Well another Christmas has come and gone. This was one of the merrier one's I've had personally in the past two years, mainly because I got to spend part of it with someone great. I also got to correct one of the great cultural oversights in her life, not having seen Star Wars.

It's ok everyone, BREATHE! We've got the situation under control. She now owns the original trilogy. I haven't gotten her the new ones. It's ok.

As for me, I got pretty much everything I asked for. And what I didn't get, I've just ordered on Amazon.com.

Also, I highly recommend this past weekend's "This American Life." Especially the last story about the immaculate conception as told from a very confused and stressed out Joseph.

Friday, December 22, 2006

An Archivist Gets Some Recognition...

Nice work!

People like that are my professional heroes.

Spin up the Jets...

Santa will be entering NORAD monitored airspace.

This is one of the coolest things NORAD has done, outside of that whole defending our airspace thing.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I find tinsel distracting...

Happy Festivus Everyone!

You're all a tremendous disappointment, now who thinks they can pin me?

Oh, get your Festivus Pole for next year at this handy site.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Best Christmas Movie Ever...

Miracle on 34th Street (1947):
Some choice lines:

Fred Gailey: "All my life I've wondered something, and now's my chance to find out. I'm going to find the answer to a question that's puzzled the world for centuries. Does Santa Claus sleep with his whiskers outside or in?"
Kris Kringle: "Always sleep with them out. Cold air makes them grow."

Fred Gailey: "Your Honor, every one of these letters is addressed to Santa Claus. The Post Office has delivered them. Therefore the Post Office Department, a branch of the Federal Government, recognizes this man, Kris Kringle, to be the one and only Santa Claus."
Judge Harper: "Since the United States Government declares this man to be Santa Claus, this court will not dispute it. Case Dismissed."

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Ghosts of Christmases Past...

Yes, I believe in Santa Claus.

Turducken Wars Episode 6: Return of the Turducken

Well, I've enjoyed turducken leftovers. We've completed A Very Nickish Christmas VI: Celebrating Our Monkey Ancestors.

A good time was had by all. But boy am I tired. So far no calls of food poisoning, so looks like we cooked it properly!


Turducken Wars Episode 5: The Turducken Strikes Back

In the form of leftovers. I have a ton of turducken now and have to figure out some other way to use it. I'm thinking of sending it to various points in the galaxy to locate the Rebel Alliance's new base now that their old one on the fourth moon of the gas giant planet named Yavin is securely in the posession of the Galactic Empire.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Turducken Wars Episode 4: A New Hope

Turducken is cooking, favors are ready. All looks good.

Turducken Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Turducken

AVNC VI CD is made. We have music!

Turducken Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Turduckens

10 hours and 45 minutes remain until we begin cooking.

No CD's were made tonight. I was busy helping get the trains set up.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Turducken Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Turducken

Well, approximately 18 and a half hours remain until I need to cook the Turducken. I have to admit, I'm a bit nervous. Currently the birds are defrosting in the fridge, as they have been since their removal from the shipping cooler Wednesday evening.

I've never cooked a large bird before, let alone three birds stuffed into each other. Not only is this a first, but this is a big event for me, it's the Christmas party. If undercooked it could be a disaster for the UMBC Gang.

Also I need to burn the CD's. That's a big priority for tonight.

Monday, December 11, 2006


I admit it, I'm a trekkie and, this is great!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Ladies and gentlemen...

I give you the great experiment.

"She's supposed to have trans-warp drive."
"Aye, and if me grandmother had wheels she'd be a wagon."
"Come come Mr. Scott, young minds, new ideas."

Actually no, it's really this.

This will be my first attempt at cooking poultry in the oven. 44 servings of food. I am going to have a TON of leftovers.

This week...

Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote "The Charge of the Light Brigade" (YAY!)

I got sick with a sinus infection. (Boo!)

I've got plenty of time to read and write because I've been home sick (YAY!)

I'm out of sick leave. (Boo!)

I found a new blog I like. (YAY!)

Okay, that's all I got. (Boo!)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

No way...


I bought Christmas cards. And I actually filled them out and mailed them this morning...well the first batch. UMBC Gang Members consider yourselves warned.


Thursday, November 30, 2006

Post-Rant Post...

Boy, I really had a lot of vitrol that needed to be expunged.

Well, enough about aircraft carrier names. Now we are coming to the topic that will strike fear into the hearts of men...christmas shopping.

(Insert dramatic music here.)

Yep, it's time to shop for christmas. My list of people to buy for isn't very long. Family, Book Exchange victim, er recipient, and a few others. No girlfriend to shop for so that's a lot of planning that I don't have to worry about.

So my plan is to complete this task tomorrow after a doctor's appointment. Also I'm actually going to send out Christmas cards this year. Seriously, I've bought them and everything. So tomorrow I'll need to get stamps.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The sorry state of CVN 78...

I guess it's about time for me to rant about something. Now my first choice is how CVN-78, the ship that will replace the LEGENDARY USS Enterprise CVN-65 is going to be named after...Gerald R. Ford. Sigh. I'm currently having a rave-out over this BRILLIANT decision by John Warner (Senior Republican Senator from Virginia and now in my opinion, a schmuck) with a friend via email. He and I both feel that if there isn't a USS Enterprise as a Carrier in this nation's navy well, then this whole country is off track. And apparently, this whole country is off track if we're naming a ship after GERALD FRIGGIN FORD!!! (OK, I'm gonna rant about this now I guess. My blood is up.)
Seriously, the guy never WON A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION! NEVER! EVER! He was in for two years and all he did was pardon Nixon, fall down steps several times on camera and got shot at by Lynette Squeaky Fromme. He's a nice guy and all, but he DOES NOT DESERVE A CARRIER NAMED AFTER HIM! Certainly not the carrier that will replace the USS ENTERPRISE. For God's sake! It's the Enterprise! You cannot have a US NAVY without a USS Enterprise, it's like getting rid of Santa and still wanting to put presents under the tree. It's not right!
The name Enterprise has been associated with the US Navy since the early republic. She fought the Barbary Pirates, the Confederacy, and the Empire of Japan. (Talk about the big 3 foes in US Navy History, I'd put in France as a significant foe but...well...it's France, they're not significant.) Heck, the WW2 incarnation of Big E made it through the entire war from Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay. And SHE was scrapped! That was a travesty! Now they're going to name the replacement ship after Gerald Ford? Seriously we deserve to lose a war if we name a ship like that. Damn.

Ok, I've vented now. Back to our regularly scheduled blogging.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

An Archivist's work is never done...

Saturday was a blissfully great day. Much sleeping in was done. And it was great! Oh man was I tired. The Terps lost to Wake Forest so no Orange Bowl for them. Ah well.

Today I'm doing laundry, cleaning my room and sorting through papers. Also I've got the master copy of a CD-Rom that will be released by the historical society containing scans of drawings from our archives. I've got to mail that out tomorrow morning.

Well back to work!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Stranger Than Fiction...

Just saw "Stranger Than Fiction" starring Will Farrell. It was very clever. I was happy to see Will Ferrell acting serious for a change and a movie that had a genuinely new idea. Not a run out and see it now movie, but go see it if Casino Royale is sold out. It's a good date movie.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

I've been looking for this...

I am a huge fan of The West Wing. Not the schmucks running it now, but the Josiah Bartlett Administration. One episode back in 2002 called "Holy Night" had Toby meeting his dad again and the Yale Whiffenpoofs' cover of "O Holy Night" figured prominently in it. I REALLY liked that cover of "O Holy Night." (FYI any version of "O Holy Night" or "Silent Night" that makes me get a little teary at the flood of memories of the great Christmases past that the song brings up is a keeper.) And lo and behold what do I find on-line this morning than....A Very Whiffenpoof Christmas. And it has that version of "O Holy Night" on it.

Now...will it arrive in time?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My road, kid, and I don't give lessons and I don't take partners...

I shall listen to "King of the Road" and watch "Emperor of the North" in his honor.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Casino Royale...


GOOD FRIGGIN JOB! Excellent movie, great Bond, great villain, hot babes and another Astin Martin bites the dust. GO SEE THIS MOVIE!!!


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

My lords and members of the House of Commons...

Yes, I'm an Anglo-phile. Okay. I admit it. Happy now?


I spent my drive in to work today listening to this on C-Span Radio.
(Yes, there really is a C-Span Radio.)
(And yes, I am a nerd.)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I forgot to mention, I saw "Flags of Our Fathers" this weekend. Excellent movie. Clint Eastwood did a VERY good job directing and Adam Beach who plays Ira Hayes is GREAT!

Next on the list: "Casino Royale"

Friday, November 10, 2006

Veterans Day...

November 11, 1918-The day the war ended.

Keep the Home Fires Burning

They were sum-moned from the hill-side,
They were called in from the glen,
And the Coun-try found them read-y
At the stir-ring call for men.

Let no tears add to their hard-ship;
As the Sol-diers pass a-long
And al-though your heart is break-ing,
Make it sing this cheer-y song.

Keep the Home-fires burn-ing,
While your hearts are yearn-ing,
Though your lads are far a-way
They dream of Home;
There's a sil-ver lin-ing
Through the dark cloud shin-ing,
Turn the dark cloud in-side out,
Till the boys come Home.

O-ver seas there came a plead-ing
"Help a Na-tion in dis-tress,"
And we gave our glo-rious lad-dies;
Hon-or made us do no less.

For no gal-lant Son of Free-dom
To a ty-rant's yoke should bend,
And a no-ble heart must an-swer
To the sa - cred call of "Friend".

Keep the Home-fires burn-ing,
While your hearts are yearn-ing,
Though your lads are far a-way
They dream of Home;
There's a sil-ver lin-ing
Through the dark cloud shin-ing,
Turn the dark cloud in-side out,
Till the boys come Home.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Oh wow...

They pulled it off! The Democrats got the House and the Senate! Jim Webb has been declared the winner of the Virginia Senate Race by 7 networks.

I had a feeling they would do well, but...dang!


"This race is tight like a too-small bathing suit on a too-long ride home from the beach."

"This race is as tight as the rusted lug nuts on a '55 Ford."

"It's the American way: if you don't vote, you don't get to whine."

-Dan Rather

UPDATE-11/08/06 1pm Eastern
Montana's Senate Race has gone to the Dems according to MSNBC.com.

The Associated Press is reporting that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld is stepping down.

Well, it's over...almost. Montana and Virginia's Senate Races are too close to call but the democrats have a thin lead in both. Expect recounts and court challenges. If the Dem's hold on to both leads then they have the Senate.

They already have the House, sweeping through it like Germans through France.

Maryland's races have been called, but things could get squirrelly with the absentee ballots that need to be counted. Right now Ehrlich is out and O'Malley is in. This was not what I expected as Ehrlich did exactly what I thought he needed to do, not screw up too bad over four years, to win. And for the most part he did. However, the college tuition increase, the PSC flap, the slots fiasco and the close ties to Bush were used effectively by O'Malley to win.
(Personally I was going to vote for Ehrlich until I got a spam email from his campaign. It's bad enough I had to see it on TV and hear it on the radio. That was the last straw. I resolved to vote for O'Malley at that point.)

Cardin has enough of a lead over Steele right now that Mike can probably deliver the concession speech and start working on his resume.

Bartlett won MD6 as expected.

And of course Fenty won DC. Shocker.

So, that's the political landscape as of 11am November 8th. Two big unknowns that need to be filled in but right now have a nice blue tint to them. Should be interesting.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day...

It's Election Day. Huzzah!!!

Well most of the pundits are giving the Dems the House and a gain in the Senate but not enough to take control. We'll see how that pans out. Locally here are my picks:

Ben Cardin beats Michael Steele.

Bob Ehrlich just barely hangs on.

Jim Webb and George Allen's senate race is too close to call. But I'll give the edge to Webb because of early reports of high turn-out in Northern VA...that and I think Allen is a schmuck.

Stone-Cold Lock (Insert CLUNK sound effect here): Adrian Fenty wins the Mayoral Race in Washington, DC.

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett keeps the MD 6th firmly in his grasp.

Nationally...I have this feeling the Dems will take both Houses of Congress. The key senate races that will tip the scales are awfully close. This could be a long night. (Somebody get their Dan Ratherisms ready.)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Train Day...

It is finished. I am tired, I am sore. But the Historical Society is richer for the experience.


Props to DASRT for coming down today! Thanks!!!

Friday, November 03, 2006

No Mister Bond...

I expect you to die!

"Casino Royale" is coming out soon and I'm psyched about it. It's a spy movie not an explosion movie. To celebrate it's pending release, here are my top 20 things in the James Bond series.

20. Jump-suited goons. The best entries in the series seem to have armies of nameless jump suited goons who run around with submachine guns waiting to get killed or run away in the last 20 minutes of the movie.

19. Felix Leiter. Gotta love the guy who gets to bail out Jimmy when things get tough. It helps when he brings the Marines/Navy/Army/Seals/etc.

18. Tuxedos. If I ever wear a tuxedo, you know what I'm going to say within the first ten minutes of putting it on.

17. Jaws. Yes, some people aren't Jaws fans, but he's just so damn menacing...until he turns to the good side in Moonraker.

16. The faceless Blofeld. Before "You Only Live Twice" Blofeld's face was never seen. He was much more...sinister that way.

15. General Alexis Gogol. Played by Walter Gotell, Bond's sometimes nemesis and later more consistent ally as the films became more homages to Detente rather than "let's stop the commies!"

14. Valentin Zhukovsky played by Robbie Coltrane. Bond's later ally in the post-Soviet Bond films. Dies heroically in "The World is Not Enough."

13. SPECTRE. Dangerous and without any convictions save their own code of conduct. Truly a threat to the world.

12. Kerim Bey. The last role for Pedro Armendiariz before he committed suicide (after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer) was of Head of Station T. Kerim was the most resourceful and well-equipped of the local Station Cheifs Bond ever has worked with in the series. He dies on the Orient Express in "From Russia with Love."

11. Oddjob. See "Goldfinger", you'll know.

10. "Tiger" Tanaka head of the Japanese SIS in "You Only Live Twice" who just happens to have a company of Ninjas handy when Jimmy needs to raid an extinct volcano-turned SPECTRE base. I wish I had a company of Nijas handy. He puts Felix to shame with that. (Yes the marines are great, but DAMN! Nijas? Dude, they'll kill you before you even know it!)

09. And based on that...The Company of Ninjas from "You Only Live Twice." If ever I get put in a position where I'm an evil genius and the hero has brought a company of nijas, I'm just gonna give it up right there.

08. Two words "Pussy Galore" Thanks. Nuff said.

07. The James Bond Astin Martin...various models.

06. Donald Pleasance as Blofeld. "KILL BOND! NOW!!!" Perfect.

05. Moneypenny (either Lois Maxwell or Samantha Bond) I think we all need a Moneypenny sometimes in our lives.

04. Dame Judith Dench as M. Best successor to Bernard Lee yet.

03. Bernard Lee as M. The epitome of what I expect the head of a group of secret agents to be. Flinty, irascable, smart and outwardly dispassionate...but he cares a lot for his people. Sometimes that side shows itself at important points in the series. (see "On Her Majesty's Secret Service")

02. Q. How can you not put Q in the top 5? I miss him. (RIP Desmond.)

01. Everything in the movie Goldfinger. It is the standard by which I measure the other films.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Train Day Approacheth...

Train Day is coming!!!


Sunday, October 29, 2006

They did it!

Kim and WoWN did it! They ran the Marine Corps Marathon!!!

You all rock!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Marine Corps Marathon...

Tomorrow I'm going to DC on purpose to watch the Marine Corps Marathon. The last time I saw this live the UMBC Quiz Bowl Team was going to Georgetown for a tournament. We walked right into it and weren't expecting it.

This time I'm going as a legitimate fan to cheer for Kim and WoWN.

Ladies, you're gonna do great!

But now I have a conundrum...what hat to wear?
Should I go for the classic B&O ballcap I have or...as it is the Marine Corps Marathon...go for my USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) Cap, the closest to a Marine cap I have.

I think Kearsarge is going to get the sortie order for tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sorry 'bout that Chief...

I have neglected my blog, but I had a good excuse...
I am friggin exhausted.

You all know about the adventures in Parkersburg then the Train Show then last week was B&ORRHS Archives-O-Rama. A sorting session where volunteers put our collecting in order. A good time for all. But another 7 day week for me.
Then Monday my cold got the best of me and I slept in.

So that's where I am. This weekend is the MCM in VA and DC. WOWN and DASRT are running. So looks like another busy-ish weekend. Then there's TRAIN DAY! the week afterwards.

Am I crazy or what?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Stealing a Quiz...

50 Things
From Kim’s page who appropriated it from someone else…

1. How tall are you barefoot?

2. Have you ever smoked heroin?

3. Do you own a gun?

What happened to number 4?
It’s right where you left it between 3 and 5. Geez..schmuck.

5. Do you get nervous before "meeting the parents"?

6. What do you think of hot dogs?
Best at a ball park if not there then best grilled.

7. What's your favorite Christmas song?
“Silent Night” either in German, sung by the muppets, by a church choir or played instrumental on a guitar.

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
Orange Juice and Coffee

9. Can you do push ups?

Look, yelling at me isn’t going to help find it.

11. What's your favorite piece of jewelry?
I don’t wear jewelery

12. Do you like painkillers?
You bet your bippy.

13. What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex?

14. Do you own a knife?

15. Do you have A.D.D.?
huh? I was looking at something else. Oooh! Floor-pie!

16. Middle Name?

17. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment?
I’m tired
Should I go get something for lunch now?
I need to get my classwork done.

18. Name the last 3 things you have bought:
Dinner at Subway in Oakland, MD, Gas at the Exxon in Oakland, MD, Gas at Kroger in Parkersburg, WV

19. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink:
Diet Coke, Coke, Orange Juice

20. What time did you wake up today?

22. Current worry?
The Presentation I was just assigned.

23. Current hate?

24. Favorite place to be?
A good bookstore/library

25. Least favorite place to be?
Traffic back-up

26. Where would you like to go?
London and Scotland and CHICAGO!

27. Do you own slippers?

28. What shirt are you wearing?
Black t-shirt and my arrow green dress shirt

30. Favorite color(s)?

31. Would you be a pirate?

32. Last time you had an alcoholic drink?
Someone’s wedding…Jess’?

33. What songs do you sing in the shower?
I have no set mental playlist

34. What did you fear was going to get you at night as a child?
I dunno

35. What's in your pockets right now?
Wallet, keys, comb, change, ID, metro pass and glasses wipe

36. Last thing that made you laugh?
NewsRadio re-run yesterday about “The Shaft”

37. Best bed sheets you had as a child?
Empire Strikes Back

38. Worst injury?
Rheumatoid Arthritis

40. How many TVs do you have in your house?

41. Who is your loudest friend?

42. Who is your most silent friend?

43. Does someone have a crush on you?
I hope so.

44. Do you wish on shooting stars?

45. What is your favorite book?
The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy

46. What is your favorite candy?

47. What song do/did you want played at your wedding?
“A Kiss to Build a Dream On” as performed by Louis Armstrong

48. What song do you want played at your funeral?
“Smile” performed by Nat King Cole

49. What were you doing 12 AM last night?
Reading my email.

50. What was the First thing you thought when you woke up this morning??
15 more minutes

Monday, October 09, 2006


Well, I'm back after 5 days of trainy goodness. First I went to Charleston for a meeting with the widow of a noted railroad photographer and the archivist of West Virginia at the cultural center in Charleston. I was traveling with a fellow Historical Society member and a noted expert on diesel locomotives. We met at my place and were on the road at 5:30am for our first stop: Cumberland, MD. Some thoughtful soul put a Roy Rogers right next to the B&O Main Line there and we had a nice breakfast as dawn broke over the Queen City of the Alleghenies. However, I did spill my coffee all over my pants to start things off. Fortunately I was standing up, so no vital equipment was burned and lo and behold, I had a change of pants in my suitcase!
Then we did a short jaunt to Mexico, MD to look at trains. Then back in the car, a fill of the tank at Sheetz and we were on our way to Charleston.
We took I-68 to Morgantown and then broke off south on I-79. The trip too longer than planned due to our jaunt to Cumberland with it's trainy goodness and "The Coffee Incident." Our ability to make up time was not enhanced by SIX MILE LONG work zones on I-79. Oy vey!
We made it to Burnsville, WV, got gas at the Exxon there and again enjoyed more trains as a CSX coal drag was waiting to go north to Grafton, WV with a load of hopper cars. There were also some leased locomotives belonging to the short line that services the coal mines in the area visible from the road. However, time was a factor here and we had to hustle south.
We arrived in Charleston and spent the next six hours adding caption information to railroad photos that had been donated to the state archives. Then we had a nice dinner with our hostess and hit the hotel. My traveling companion and myself had a total of 4 hours of sleep between us before we left (he was keyed up about the trip, I was doing a class assignment due the Sunday I was to come back) and we were out like lights by 9:30pm. The only thing we noticed was a hellacious thunderstorm that hit Charleston at 2am Thursday and was loud enough to wake us both up.
Thursday we were back on the road at 8:30am after a fine breakfast at the hotel. We arrived early in Parkersburg, WV at our convention hotel. This was fortunate as there were some logistical problems that needed to be addressed and my traveling companion went to work and I vegged out until the Board of Director's meeting.
Following the 5 hours of "fun" that is a BOD meeting, our convention began in earnest. I only caught some of the presentations as I was running around doing errands and...checking my email...yes, it was there and I had to get my fix.
Friday was Tour #1 in the rain, it was a good time and the day did clear up so that the afternoon was magnificent. Had a grand time. Again, got the short end of the presentations but still circulated enough to meet some new people.
Saturday was glorious and a great day to be running around, WV and Ohio. We toured a Carbon Black Plant and had some nice historical vignettes on the B&O Railroad in the Ohio River Valley. I was surprised by how important that area was and is to our industrial base even today. During the trip I did have one interesting adventure on my own. My digital camera gave me the "batteries are dying dude" light and I went in search of new batteries in Marietta, OH. Walking through town during the lunch break I found a hotel where I was informed that a CVS was "2 blocks down the street." Now, this is 2 Ohio blocks not DC or Baltimore blocks as I walked about a mile and a half to get to the CVS. Still, I got my batteries, got my lunch and made it back onto the bus for the trip back to the hotel and a chance to clean up for the formal banquet.
The banquet was really nice, had a great speaker and I made it a point to sit with some society members who I didn't know. I try to do that each convention and I think it's a good way for me to meet people and for people to meet their society archivist. One never knows who one may meet or how one can help them out.
Afterwards I helped pack up our society retail store set-up and went to bed. I awoke Sunday for breakfast and a general business meeting where I presented on the state of the society archives. Then back in the car with my cohort and we were on our way home...the long way.
We took US 50 East to Grafton, WV. This is a holy grail of B&O railfans, lots of locomotives and still rather busy. On our arrival we just happened to meet a noted railfan and RR Historian who advised us that he was about to go chase a train that was leaving the yard going eastbound and inquired if we wanted to go. We looked at each other and said, "Let's roll." and off we went at some unsafe speeds on narrow country roads chasing a freight train. I have to say, it's hard on the driver to do this, especially if the driver has no bloody idea where he is and is only following the jeep in front of him for dear life lest he be lost DEEP in the wilds of WV. I was able to keep up, boy I was tired afterwards. Got some nice pictures though.
Then we split up from our guide and went to Rowlesburg and M&K Junction, WV. Another B&O railfan hot spot. We met a kindly tower operator who allowed us to take photos within the bounds of safety of the locomotives and the tower there. She was also kind enough to tell us that a westbound train of empty hoppers would be at Terra Alta, WV around 3 or so. Again, into the car and off we went. We made it to Terra Alta with 15 minutes to spare, got our pictures and then went to Oakland for dinner and pictures of the 1884 Baldwin Station there. Then straight home. I got back in after 6pm. A long day, but a good day.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

I have returned...

And apparently, I've been called in for a blog coup attempt. Film at 11.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Off the Grid is Off the Hoof!

My last day until the 8th connected to the internets.
I know I'm going to go through WWW withdrawl. I'll need some way to check my mail, check the blogs, etc. I'm giving it up for the next 5 days.
So, just a heads up, you can ignore the blog until the 8th when I'll be over-trained and full of digital photos.

On that note here are some random thoughts, I call it "My Moment of Larry King."

The Chicago Bears are going all the way this year.

There's nothing better than a good Italian restaurant.

Cary Grant and Gregory Peck are two actors who really deserve an Oscar.

What's Mike Ditka up to these days?

Dusty Baker will be the next manager of the Washington Nationals, you can bet money on it.

Joe Gibbs smiled and laughed like the old days at his Monday press conference, the only thing missing was Jack Kent Cooke beside him.

Bush Administration officials need to get parking spots reserved at Capitol Hill now since they will be testifying before Congressional Inquiries for the next two years.

If the Wizards can figure out Miami, they're gonna make it to the NBA Eastern Conference Finals.

I haven't had a good pecan turtle in a while.

See you all Sunday! Go Redskins!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Vacation is coming...

Yes, my annual vacation time is coming. I finally started taking vacations in 2004 and in 2005 I merged it with the B&O RR Historical Society Convention. As I am now on the BOD I kinda HAVE to go. So once again this year I'm off for 5 days of wholesome train-ness. I'm going completely off the grid, no laptop, nothing. I have no intention of being bothered by work or anything, it's just gonna be railroad history.

Before you ask;
Yes this is my idea of a good time.
No, I'm not crazy.
Yes, I know this probably is not a good place to meet women.
Yes, this REALLY is my idea of a good time.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I had forgotten this, with my attendence at grad school, I get access to various databases and article indexes.
Sorry, but for a history nerd getting unfettered access to journals is a good thing.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


If THIS is your idea of a nice weekend, and you're single, we need to talk.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

James A. Garfield...

I just finished Dark Horse: The Surprise Election and Political Murder of James A. Garfield by Kenneth Ackerman. It is quite possibly one of the most interesting and well written history books I've come across in years. The narrative is crisp, well written and doesn't dwell on irrelevant details. The story of the political machinations and factional fighting between the Half-Breeds and the Stalwarts during the election of 1880 and subsequent first months of James Garfield's term is fascinating. Add to that Charles Guiteau's time vainly trying to get the Paris Counsulship and his slippage into the role of deranged Presidential Assassin and you have a hell of a story. I literally could not put the book down. Go get it, you'll love it!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

One more day of summer...

Yes, the last day of the Summer of '06 (pronounced ought-six) is tomorrow. Be sure to give it a fond fare well.

So now we enter the fall. One of my favorite seasons. It means three months until winter and Christmas. It also means early nights, which actually, I kinda like. I like being able to walk out of my office into the night or dusk. It feels moodier, makes me want to read and study and write and such. I feel more intellectually productive and stimulated. I guess that's conditioned since fall is traditionally when school and college semesters begin to get interesting. You've gotten through the intros, now you're into the meat of your courses. Ah, to be in college or graduate school at a time like this...

Wait a second! I am in graduate school in a time like this! SWEET!

Ah, all I need now is a chill in the evening air, a wood paneled library/study, a fireplace, a mug of hot tea and some Glenn Miller Band music on. (someone will call me old in 5, 4, 3, 2...)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Avast ye!
'Tis the day when you sea dogs should be talkin' like a pirate!


Monday, September 18, 2006


Seven Days until Library School Starts.

Yep, I couldn't stay away. Which is probably good. I was starting to get bored out of my mind without some kind of learning to do.

Expect more updates as my education continues...

Say it's not so Joe...

My beloved Redskins are 0-2. We can't beat the Vikings and we can't beat Dallas. I'm getting that oogy feeling now about the season.

But 14 games left, let's give them one more chance to gel before I start wailing about the collapse of the Redskins first half of the season.

I can tell you what the problem was last night: Penalties.
The Skins were going back and forth with unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. It was awful. They were out of control and it showed. My dad summed it up as he watched the game and saw Washington get it's 4th unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in 20 minutes and said, "This is NOT Joe Gibbs football."

All I could say was, "Yep."

This could be a VERY long year. I may get my $20 ready to pay off my Redskins bets now.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Damn I'm tired...

It's nearly 23:00 tonight and I am TIRED. I had my normal 45 hour work week, then Saturday was Archiving, then my 10 year High School Reunion Saturday night, then more Archiving.
And now of course, there's a Redskins game on, and not just any old game, Redskins vs Cowboys. The big game no matter how bad the season is. So, I'll be awake tonight listening to this game. (Right now Dallas is leading by 14 and looks like we're gonna be 0-2. :-(

Still archiving went well, we got a lot of stuff done and I think my volunteers had a rewarding weekend for their own research projects.
The reunion went well too, not as many people I hung around with showed up. That was a bit disappointing, but overall I think the class of 96 came out ok so far.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Through early morning fog I see. Visions of the things to be. The pains that are withheld for me...

Ok, I volunteer for a Railroad Historical Society as their Archivist and an at-large member of the Board of Directors.

We've had a pile of bad news health-wise lately:
A director had surgery to remove cancer
A director's wife passed away
A volunteer had to go to the hospital for low blood pressure
A volunteer had a heart attack AND got pneumonia

This has been one hit after another, I feel like I'm on M*A*S*H.

I think part of this is the fact that most of our members are on the north side of 50. We need new blood. So, gentle readers I'm soliciting your opinions for what can be done to get younger people in a Railroad Historical Society?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Primary Colors...

As you may know from the profile, I live in MD. Today is the day of our primary election. In general these are yawn fests but there are a handful of races I'm checking on:

Billy Don Shafer vs Janet "Mo Hubbard" Owens.

THFH's pick: Owens by a nice margin. Billy D went "Katherine Harris Crazy" on us. Makes this choice pretty easy.

US Senate:
Bespecticaled Ben Cardin vs Kwaeisi "Big K" Mfume
Ben Cardin will easily win on name recognition due to his extensive TV ads throughout the state.

And just because it's close by:
DC Mayor:
Linda Cropp vs Adrian Fenty

Fenty's had the lead by a wide margin for a couple of weeks. I don't expect this to change.

Well, those are the only ones I care to pick. We shall see how things turn out.

I'll take Natural Selection for $200 Alex...

Insert Darwinism joke here.


Well, another 9/11 has come and gone and thankfully nothing new happened yesterday. (However this morning some jerks went after the US Embassy in Damascus, Syria.)

I've noticed something about 9/11's since the memorable one in 2001, we're not angry as a nation anymore.
If you look at the national mood on 09/11/01 you'll see three main threads; shock, sadness and a righteous anger. It's as close to the same kind of anger felt by the US when Pearl Harbor was attacked by surprise. Both events offended our sense of "fair play" in relation to war and took our pride down a few pegs.
After Pearl Harbor we declared war on Japan and Germany declared war on us (to which we said, "GREAT! We were hoping we'd get a chance to give you jack-booted thugs a whuppin!") Then we got into a coalition of nations with a common interest and proceeded to liberate Europe and systematically destroy the Japanese Empire. By December 1, 1945 we were holding war crimes trials on the home soil of Germany and Japan. (Boy if that doesn't broadcast who won to a population, I don't know what does. "HI! We've kicked your ass and we're going to try and probably execute your military leaders who commited crimes against humanity on your soil, you all get to watch.")
Bang zoom, done. Fascism wiped out as a significant threat to the world.
After 9/11/01 we declared war on terror. (Ok, no political entity to really declare war on, but the terrorist is the enemy of the world, shouldn't be a problem to get people in on this right?)
We got the boys together, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, even China and said, "OK, we know Bin Laden did it. Let's get Al Qaeda." And we did. We went into Afghanistan and took out the Taliban who had been sheltering Osama and started either killing or capturing AQ agents. Ok, great, things are working out ok.
Then we did "Homeland Security."
Then we did the Patriot Act.
Then we did Iraq.
Then we found out Iraq had no Weapons of Mass Destruction. (NB: "Where are the Weapons of Mass Destruction?" is a question my dad likes to blurt out whenever he sees the president talk about Iraq. Whomever the Democrats are going to have running for president should just keep asking this whenever they are with Bush or Cheney on camera. I think if the Democrats did that in 2004 we'd be looking at President Kerry right now.)
Then we RE-ELECTED Bush after the last three things showed us that:
1.) Homeland Security is a joke. It's an inefficient department, FEMA, the nation's disaster management agency was left in the hands of a Horse Association president and Katrina showed what a great idea that was. The aircraft screeners were the same people who were screening airports before 9/11 but now they're government employees. The Homeland Security funds have now become more pork for congress to dole out to rural fire departments so they can buy haz mat trucks and command centers for the next big barn fire.
2.) The Republicans don't want smaller government anymore, and they apparently don't give a damn about the whole original concept of America, "People should be skeptical of their government." Now it's "you should be careful about what you say in times like this. blah blah blah." Look, the people who thought up the idea about the Patriot Act should have watched a movie called "The Manchurian Candidate." Angela Landsbury has a great speech towards the end where she talks about what kind of laws she'll get passed in the wake of the assassination of a political candidate. Watch that movie now, look at the Patriot Act and just start crying. Then vote the bums out of office in Novemeber. (The entire House is up for re-election, it could be done.)
3.) Iraq has shown us that smart people aren't in government anymore. The historian David Halberstam wrote a book called "The Best and the Brightest" about the influx of young policy wonks into government during the Kennedy Administration. I have to assume they're gone now. Purged by Nixon, or Reagan or either Bush. Or they just said "Screw this" on their own and took corporate jobs or teaching. Nobody seems to have thought things through with Iraq and fighting terror and civil rights and in case nobody has noticed, WE STILL DON'T HAVE A FRIGGIN EXIT STRATEGY FOR IRAQ! Before we invaded Europe we had an exit strategy. We were working on rebuilding as we were bombing them back to the stone age. We knew we'd have to help them rebuild from scratch so we planned for it. Hello! George! Did you all forget to do something before you sent the lads out of Kuwait? Can we say, "planning for the peace?"
Here's the exit strategy that I've got:
1.) Divide Iraq along ethnic lines. (The original borders were arbitrarily drawn by the Brits anyway.)
2.) Form a multinational corporation from those three to four new countries to control the Iraqi Oil industry. Each entity gets an equal number of seats on the board and the presidency rotates between them on an annual basis.
3.) Create a multinational police and judicial force along the same lines with a single mandate borrowed from the RCMP, "ONE LAW."
4.) Tell them point blank, "If you all can't get along like this, we will nuke you all." Park a ballistic missile sub in the gulf and have it surface once a day just to let them know we're not screwing around. Make sure the Iranians see it too.
5.) Pack up most of the boys and get the hell home. Leave enough troops behind to keep Al Qaeda busy but that's it.

Probably not the best, but it's better than what we've heard from the White House.

So back to the original thread. I think a lot of us are embarrassed to be Americans right now. We disagree with the government, we feel used when we look at the war, and we don't want to be angry about it because we don't want to disrespect the soldiers who are doing their jobs, putting their asses on the line every day.
I think that's where we are right now. We've got a national grimace on our faces.
Unfortunately, I don't know if there is an easy or cheap way to fix it. I fear that there isn't...but I hope there is.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


The first full day of Football Season is tomorrow. Woo-hoo!

Redskins play Monday!!!
Double-Header Monday Night Games!!!

Will I be able to survive?

Yeah, probably.

Also, if you're looking for a good book, check out "The Great Escape" by Paul Brickhill.

Yes, yes, it's the book that was made into the movie of the same name with Steve McQueen. (Known as "The dig 'em out movie" by some.) Brickhill was involved in the actual escape attempt. Darn good book. Fast read and exciting.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


The Chrysanthemum Throne has a male heir.

Bush admitted, "Yeah, we do have secret prisons. So what?"

And I got an iPod.

Ok, so folks, what's the guilty pleasure song on your iPod?
Mine: "Theme from Shaft" performed by Issac Hayes.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Pics garnered at the Family Reunion...

These are from a photo-album my Great Grandmother kept and were scanned after the Family Reunion today.

This is TFH's paternal grandparents on their wedding day.

Shortly afterwards TFH's paternal grandfather received a letter from the President of the United States that began with "Greetings..." And he was off to Korea with the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Of course, it wasn't all seriousness.

And just for giggles, can you guess who this handsome young man is?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

I know what you're thinking...

You're thinking, "Man for a historian, this guy doesn't talk much about history on his blog."

Ok, maybe you're not. You're probably thinking about your day, or what's my point, or what's my day's point or something.

Well, I have to say I noticed that I don't talk much about history with this blog. Probably because 1; I don't "work" in history for "money" and 2; not a whole lot of my "friends" "work" in history for "money."

Since it's not something that frustrates me every day then I guess I don't need to vent about it.

Well, I have an honest to goodness historical link for you today. This was done by one of my archives volunteers. He's getting his PhD. Neat site, good writing. Check it out.

There, for the one of you who may have been actually wondering "why doesn't he post more on history" there ya go. Happy now?

Thursday, August 31, 2006

He'll always be the definitive Pa Kent

Well, Glenn Ford has passed away. For those of you who are really into classic films, he's probably best known for his role in "Gilda." A film best remembered for the scene where Rita Hayworth did that signature hair flip that became an iconographic moment for her, in fact so iconographic it's used in "The Shawshank Redemption."

I personally remember him for two films, "Superman" where he played Pa Kent. (If you look in on the mantle of the scenes in the Kent house in "Superman Returns" you can see a picture of Glenn Ford as Pa Kent there.) I also know him from "Midway" where he played Admiral Spruance, commander of the US Task Force that whipped the Japanese Fleet.

I've seen some of his older stuff, but I will always identify him with the first two roles I ever saw him play. He was a good solid actor, not flashy. I really can't think of anyone today would would be able to take his place as an understated lead, Maybe Tom Hanks now, or David Straitharn (sp?) (The guy who played Edward R. Murrow in "Good Night and Good Luck.")

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Yes, it's scary, but I love the headline.

Ok, "Otter Attacks Pregnant Woman" caught my attention, but make it "Deranged Otter Attacks Pregnant Woman" and BOOM! Now you got me locked in!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Festivus for Allofus

Well, it's over. The 10 year reunion of the formation of the UMBC Gang. Whew. Everyone seems to have had a good time and it was great to see EVERYONE back together. It's been too long since something like that happened.

Here's a pic:

That's everyone. Thanks Dave for posting this.
During the festivities a discussion started about going to Cooperstown, NY next July for Cal Ripken's HOF Induction. That should be either a blast or the end of friendships...

Thursday, August 24, 2006


I've neglected the blog a bit. I've been playing Civ III. It's always fun to be invaded by someone with muskets...at least when you have mechanized infantry, F-15s and modern armor. Heh.

I had a good time at the movie. My dad, uncle and cousin went. We had an hour to kill so we walked around the museum, I must go back. It was great!

This week has been meh. I'm just looking forward to the weekend when the whole UMBC Gang will re-unite for a picnic. There are more of us now than when we graduated so it should be a great group picture.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Looks like they heard about the 918th

Tomorrow I'm going to see one of my favorite movies of all time on the big screen.

12 O'Clock High is going to be shown at the National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center. I'm looking forward to it eagerly. I don't get to see many old movies as they were meant to be shown. This one is going to be in their Imax theater. Perhaps they can play with the lenses and make it show large enought to encompass the screen.

It's a good story with good writing, great acting and well put together. For some reason I just like to watch it. I guess it's because of the major theme, leadership.

The 918th Bomb Group is getting its ass handed to them in the skies over Europe. They're among the first groups of B-17's to deploy to fight the Nazis and are just being pummelled. A combination of bad luck and mistakes generate more casualties for them than any of the other groups. The group CO overidentifies with his men, they love him for it, but it's burning him out. So he gets replaced by Gregory Peck's General Frank Savage.

The movie gets real good from that point on.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006



I'm a patient man Focker...

"Wacky Neighbor said...
I will take you down, I will take you down to Chinatown.

10:18 AM"

Ok, WN's talkin smack. It's definitely football season.
For those of you who don't know, WN and THFH were college roommates, Quiz Bowl teammmates, and co-authors of a historical research paper on Memorial Stadium.
We also briefly managed the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and ran a small airline in the Andes.

WN is also a huge fan of The Baltimore Ravens (aka-The Baltimore-Washington Metropolitian Area's Team of Diminishing Expectations.) THFH is a die-hard fan of The Washington Redskins (aka-future Super Bowl XLI Champs)
For many years I have made a small "sporting wager" with WN stating that the Redskins will either make it to or win the Superbowl.
This year I expect to win.
So bring it on WN. Let's see what happens to Baltimore when your precious McNair blows out a knee or tears an ACL or MCL again. Where's your Billick now, see?

I await your response.

Monday, August 14, 2006


On this post "International Left-Handers Day" Monday I want to give a shout-out to all my homies who use the south paw!

Saturday, August 12, 2006


I'll take "Duh!" for $200 Alex.

Good news

Ok, my friend may be working stuff out and it may not be something that I did. I hope things improve for this person. I'm not going to press the issue though, it would probably make things worse.

The B&O Society event in Brunswick went well. Still have some things to fix, but overall it was great! Huzzah!!!

why I love the Midwest

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bad Things...

Alas, I think Mythbusters has jumped the shark...Kari is in FHM.

That and the myths this week were lame-ish. Not really myths, a postage stamp can destabilize a helicoper and the mentos and coke thing.

Pity, there go my Wednesdays on the Discovery Channel.

Even more serious, a friend has unexplicably cut off all email communication with me, I'm hesitant to call. I suppose I'm out of the "Circle of Trust." I'm not sure what I did to merit this exile, but I'm just too tired to fight it. And if I don't deserve an explination email at the very least, well...fine. Despite this acceptance I'm incredibly bummed. I hate to lose touch with friends and I'm exceedingly happy that the gang from college has stuck together for these 10 years since our first meetings.

Still, I'm in a funk now. Probably won't get out of it until the BORHS Brunswick Mini-Con starts Saturday morning. I'm running that event so there will be plenty of things to distract me from this.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I have a new box! 3.0 Ghz! Huzzah!!!

Also football is on Thursday and Friday in prime time!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Can you hear that?

It's someone's knees getting blown out.
Yeah baby!
Scrimmage with the Skins and Ravens AND the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.

Oh this brings joy to my heart. Football, fall, cooler weather and the inevitable monday night football games that run past midnight. All just weeks away. Weeks I tell you! I just love this time of the year. College ball, pro ball, playoffs...high school games that empty the streets and fill the stands of small towns across america. Yes, the nearest town is home to a damn fine high school football team and Friday nights will be under the lights.
I love it. A DAY! A DAY of pro sports on TV. Real sports not Indy Racing or Tennis or Golf or Soccer. (Yeah, that's right, Soccer sucks! I can't get into it, I don't have the patience for it and god dammit I hate ties.) No siree...American Football 12 plus hours of good times in front of the TV or a good three at a game.

Truly this is a golden age.


Work has been absofreakinlotely CRAZY!
1.2 hours of OT AND I go in tomorrow.
This is a government job and I'm not working with hardware!
WTF People?

Glad that's over.
Now for a non-venting entry, please see above.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

A ball of gas

Yes, the sun. The great ball of plasma that warms this little rock we call home. This week it will be on full. (Someone's been dicking with the thermostat again!)
Not a big fan of the hot hot day. In fact I'm not that big a fan of Buster Poindexter's hit "Hot Hot Hot."

This week is one of those weeks that remind me why I like the other 9 months of the year better.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Ici Chacal

Yes, it's that time of the year. The latter part of July.

Why is it "that time of the year" you may ask?

It is the time of the year when I read one of my favorite suspense novels;
The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth. I read the book during the time of the year it happens. I do the same reading schedule with The Hunt For Red October since it is divided up by days.

Read it, you'll like it. It was turned into a movie by Fred Zinneman in 1973 and done quite well.

Let's see what else is going on...
The BORHS 2007 Calendar done in tribute to West Virginia RR photographer JJ Young is selling well. I'm very pleased about that. I compiled it with the assistance of a myriad of people. I'm glad the society's investment is paying off.

I started with my new company in earnest this week. 9 hour day. That's not so great. New co-worker. That's a good thing. We'll see how things go from here.

The UMBC Gang Anniversary event is coming along well. We appear to be on track for nearly 100% attendance. I hope we can make the full 100. Usually someone has to get married for that to happen. Honestly, it would take me too much effort at the moment to arrange that.

I also have this urge to fish. I don't know why. But whiling away a day at my favorite spot at Turtle Branch Hiker Biker Overnighter on the C&O Canal seems very appealing to me. It's a nice spot. There's a group of rocks that go out into the river about 8 feet. So you're a bit away from the shore. You're also on the outside of a bend in the river. It's very pretty at sunset.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Late to the party

Sorry about my tardiness, but I just found the website:

The band has been around for some time and has been well publicized, but I like the whole concept so much I wanted to mention it.

Fill this please.

Well, had my pre-employment drug screening this morning. This was actually easier than I expected. I was at the Cubs-Nats game Friday night and sweated to the ball game. I was concered I had perspired so much I wasn't going to be able to fill the cup to the line. Fortunately, a large amount of water to rehydrate myself the hour after I got home from the game.

Real orientation is Monday at 9am. Huzzah!

Hmmm, let's see...Wacky Neighbor passed his actuarial exam. (Those of us who knew him expected this. The man is BRILLIANT! Smartest person I know. Seriously.)

That's all I got.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Today is the last day at DPRA and tomorrow is the first with the new uber contractor. I've just wrapped up my exit interview and am waiting for a conference call to start. It's thrilling.
Still, I'm sad to leave DPRA. It's a nice little company. I would have like to have hung out here for two years to get my MLS and then go on to bigger and better things. Oh, speaking of my MLS I found out how much it's going to cost for 2006-2007. This will be 6 credits a quarter for four quarters. It's all on-line via Drexel University. Any guesses? You can guess per credit hour and cumulative cost for the year. When someone gets within $500 per year I'll close the contest.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Well, I have a job that will last beyond next week now.
End with the old company on the 19th and start with the new one on the 20th.
To celebrate I went to Cold Stone and got a Strawberry Milk Shake to enjoy on the walk to the metro station.

Also, the calendar project I've been working on for the B&O Railroad Historical Society is done. The calendars have been delivered to the society. I got my sample and they look mahvelous.

Tomorrow is payday and then a weekend of archiving at the BORHS! Yeah! WOOOOOOOOO!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Wow, talk about a slow bureaucracy

Only 299 years to get this little issue resolved. Way to go Virginia!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

And then there were three.

Today was another wedding for a member of the UMBC Gang. And it was a good time at the reception.
That leaves three of us who are still single. Myself and two others.
I've been kicking around that in my head on the way home. And I'm ok with my status.
Right now I'm just not ready in terms of emotion or living situation to deal with anything like a meaningful relationship. I mean I'd like to be dating, but I'd like to be in my own place now too, have my MLS all finished and know weather or not I'll have a job after the 17th. (As a side note, events came to a head at work. My company runs out of money for me on this contract sometime between the 17th and the 21st. I have a meeting with Lockheed Monday at 3pm to help get things going on a new position with them doing the same job. But as my current supervisor says, I'm probably going to get "a couple of days off" whether I want them or not.)
So, I'm a bit relieved I don't have rent due, but this helps prove the adage that your savings should be able to cover three months of expenses.
So that's where I am right now. Things are at a bit of a low ebb at the moment. I don't know how they will turn out.
God I hate uncertainty like this.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

"You're not going to have to answer to me...

You're gonna have to answer to the Coca-Cola Company."

Cracks in the armor surrounding the most important secret in the US...the formula for Coke.

The bluest skies I've ever seen are in Seattle.

Cause they sure aren't here. Yet ANOTHER day of rain/thunderstorms. Anybody around here starting to build an ark? Seriously, if you live in DC Metro area and you are building an Ark, please let me know.

Add to this:
Frustration at work with incompetence from other contractors. Employer change may be accelerated. And just the general drudgery of having to work after a national holiday for three more days and well...I'm maybe at Defcon 4 for a Philadelphia Meltdown.

For those of you who are not acquaintances and/or do not know of the infamous Philadelphia Meltdown here is the brief story. Quiz Bowl tournament in Philly. Things were going very poorly for the two UMBC teams. One team wanted to leave early and take transportation for 5 people with them. 4 of us wanted to stick it out. The back and forth got too much for me and I yelled a sentence accented with the F--- word. The Wacky Neighbor still thinks it was great. It vocalized everyone's frustration with that tournament. However I'm now a bit embarrassed by it. However after a really horrible day or a bad drive, I will stay in my car and just yell that word out once to get all of the hostility out of my system. It's actually rather spiritually cleansing.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Superman Returned

And it's about damn time!

I saw SR today with some of the UMBC Mafia. A good time was had by all. Clocking in at 2 hrs and 45 minutes one might think it would be hard to sit through.
I had no problem. I could go see it again right now and enjoy it immensely.

The good:
Brandon Routh-so much like Christopher Reeve it's scary
Kate Bosworth-a good Lois Lane
Kevin Spacey-EXCELLENT Lex Luthor
The writing-well done.
The directing-pretty slick
The Special Effects-up to one's expectations
The Train Layout! Very nice!!! Too bad it gets trashed.

The needs a bit of tweaking:
Frank Langella as Perry White. Fair, I had to wait through most of the movie for him to say, "GREAT CEASAR'S GHOST!" He could have been a bit more over the top like someone from a Howard Hawks movie or James Cagney in One, Two, Three. Give me some rapid fire orders. I expect to hear that staccato dialogue from a newspaper editor.
The guy who played Kumar from Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. Give him a line!!! Please!
Editing. While the film did pass by quickly, I did think they dwelled a bit on some parts and could have trimmed the fat and increased the pace.

Still, go see it. It's worth the price of admission and it's definitely going to be joining the DVD collection when it comes out.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Didn't see that one coming.

I join the people of Brazil in saying, "WHAT THE F-!?!?!?"

Friday, June 30, 2006

Okay, we are now in the land of the surreal

Google images of Bush, Koizumi and Graceland.




The story in itself is rather odd, but I just feel the whole thing is a convergence of pop culture that Quiz Bowl Trash question writers live for.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Da-da-da-dee-dah---dee da da....

He's back, and the movie is looking like a winner...

The first Superman came out the year I was born, 1978. The franchise is as old as I am, and while III was weak (though it helped set up a great plot point in Office Space and IV sucked, I still liked I and II.

Now the franchise has been reborn, they've kept the John Williams theme (thank God) and it looks like a good cast. I hope to get the UMBC Mafia out to see it this weekend. If they can't make it, I'll go alone.

I dunno why I'm such a sucker for this character. Perhaps it's the kick-ass theme song?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Rain Rain Go Away-Holy Crap! It's Larry King!

A wet and rainy weekend has been enjoyed by all.
Friday night was Nats at O's with various members of the UMBC Quiz Bowl Mafia. I'd call it UMBC Gang, but there have been some marriages into the "family" since we all became friends (just like how Carlo started working for the Corleones once he married Connie.)

So it rained this weekend, but not during Friday's game, or during Sunday's game. I had done the leg-work to get tickets for those who wished to attend Friday which the O's won. Then Sunday my younger brother Ben got me into his company's luxury suite. There was an extra ticket so I invited Kim. And lo and behold who was sitting next to us?

He's the guy standing up in the multi-colored shirt. Kim took the photo. WTG Kim with the camera phone when we needed it!
I also geeked out and called The Wacky Neighbor.

It continues to rain. Much gnashing of teeth during the drive home tonight. Roads flooding...not a good thing.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Sports, Medicine, and History

The US lost to Ghana in the World Cup and we have been eliminated from the tournament. Great! Now we can get back to covering the sports that this country has embraced; Baseball, doping scandals and NFL Football (training camps start next month.)
Also enjoyed the O's 2-1 win over the visiting Nationals with the gang. Granted it was the Nats, a struggling team, but still a win is a win. Also the stadium was a sellout and we got a good wave going during the late innings.

Had a Dr's appointment today. (FYI, I have rheumatoid arthritis so I have to go to the Dr's every three or four months for a check-up and to have bloodwork done.) I need to lose 26 lbs. Sigh, so that's my summer project.
My relitive who was told they have cancer now does not. It was something else giving that impression during the tests. A biopsy proved otherwise. WHEW!

I have a couple of irons in the fire right now for the B&O RR Historical Society. One I'll know about by July, the other two are longer range.

Busy busy busy.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Uh-oh...and the rest of the weekend's news

First the Uh-oh:
North Korea is going to test launch a long range ballistic missile that could reach the US. Not a good thing.
In response:
Report: U.S. activates missile defense system over N. Korea test

TOKYO — The United States has activated its new ground-based interceptor missile defense system in response to a possible North Korean missile test, according to a published report.

A Washington Times story in Tuesday's editions says the United States is considering intercepting the missile if North Korea goes ahead with the test.

For the full Washington Times report click here.

The U.S. missile defense system is described in the article of being made up by 11 long-range interceptor missiles, including nine deployed at Fort Greeley, Alaska, and two at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

The system was switched from test to operational mode within the past two weeks, the officials said.

The report quotes unnamed U.S. officials as saying two Navy Aegis warships are patrolling in waters off the Korean peninsula and would be among the first sensors that would trigger the use of interceptors.

A senior Bush administration official is quoted as saying that an option being considered is to shoot down the Taepodong-2 missile.

The report came after Pyongyang declared Tuesday it is free to conduct missile tests despite a self-imposed moratorium, saying it is not bound by prior agreements and that outsiders have no right to criticize its actions.

Okay now I have to admit, it would be pretty cool if the damn thing worked and we slapped that missile down. It would be a new level of, "Knock it off or we'll knock it off for you."
However, if it fails we look like schmucks.
What to do...what to do...
Eh, what the hell, go for it boys! I feel lucky!

Now for the rest of the weekend's news:
Had an archiving session this weekend, all went well.
Father's day I got dad a RR book he had wanted.
And now I'm back to the drag. Fortunately there's a ballgame Friday! Booyah!

Monday, June 12, 2006

News from the world.

Good: I got into Drexel's Internet based MLS degree program!

Bad: A family member has cancer.

Meh: Ben Rothlesberger got into a nasty wreck today. The Brilliant Quarterback of the Steelers wasn't wearing a helmet. He has a broken nose, jaw and a multitude of other injuries. I know it's crass and hugely awful karma, but the Steelers may as well start thinking up some good promotions. They ain't going back to the big dance this year. Thanks Ben! I'm sure the Browns, Bengals and Ravens are gonna send you some nice cards and flowers, you single handedly improved their playoff chances 25%.

Stuff I really don't care about but post for comments: USA lost it's world cup match to the Czech Republic. YAWN. Who's playing baseball on ESPN tonight?

Thursday, June 08, 2006

New York City...

Monday afternoon I took Amtrak from DC to NYC for an EPA Conference in lower Manhattan. I have returned this evening.

As I was working I didn't get to spend a lot of time sightseeing, but I did take some time Tuesday to walk around town.

Monday was spent getting into the hotel, getting dinner in Tribeca and then sleeping off my kinked up back. I had a bad seat on the way up. OW!

Tuesday was work followed by a walk down Broadway to Wall street. I saw Wall St. Kinda underwhelming. It's better if they paid Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen to re-enact scenes from the movies of the same name there for ambiance.

After Wall St. I turned to walk to the WTC site. I got there and saw the pit. If the real estate wasn't so valuable I'd say let it be. Every kid in the US needs to see it as it appears now. A hole, no a wound in the city. I went by Co 10 and saw the plaque to the men lost there. They were one of the first on the scene as they were across the street from WTC itself. I have to admit I almost broke down crying in the street there. I walked around the three sides of the site that are accessible and then went up Greenwich to Tribeca again for dinner. I had another excellent meal (sautee'd clams over linguine). Then back to the hotel. I watched the Red Sox blow it against the Yanks. Dammit!

Wednesday was work and then the train home. Better ride down. But a late night. Again, I am so very very tired.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

So very tired...

Tired...must not sleep...must Blog...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Heh, seriously I am wicked tired.

Today was the big research trip to the MD Historical Society. It was ok, I won't have the copies I had wanted to take with me on the train Monday, but I'll get them. That's a start. And I'm going to have to go back. I'll need significantly more time to decipher the handwriting there. Argh.

So I was there from 11 to 4. Took a brief lunch. Went to Borders, went to Brunswick and ate dinner at the MARC parking lot listening to NPR and watching the CSX yard crew there put a train together. (Yes, I AM that much of a train nerd.) Then home. So it's been a busy day. A good day though. I'm happy.

However I did not get a new book to read on the train. I'm gonna have to remedy that tomorrow or Monday.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Is that a real word, or is it like "Strategery?"

Anyhow random things on my mind:

My supervisor/co-worker's last day is tomorrow. We are going out to a sit down lunch. Hopefully it won't be pouring as we will be walking. I'm happy for her but a bit disappointed. The contract went into flux and now I don't know what the hell I'm getting into. I only know that some time in the future my paychecks will be from Lockheed Martin.

Saturday I'm going on a research jaunt to the Maryland Historical Society

I'm going to New York Monday! Huzzah! First big train trip since Chicago in 2004. Hopefully the Northeast Corridor will NOT lose power. BTW...here is my favorite shot from my pictures of Chicago:

Yes that baseball is in flight. Took me 10 shots go get that.

So Saturday will be spent making many copies of the papers of one Ross Winans. Look him up on Google. Said copies will be going with me to New York and I'll work with them on the train. Hopefully being able to write during the three and a half hours up and back. But I'll probably spend a lot of my time looking out the window.

Also I've put a profile on an internet personals site. Is this desperation or merely adapting to the new social impact of the internet? I think that if it works I'm adapting if it fails it's desperation.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Post Holiday Weekend blogging...

Ah, another Memorial Day weekend come and gone.
No more war movie marathons or anything close to it until July 4th or November 11th.
Grilling is now the order of the season.
The Cubs have already imploded.

Yes, if you look at my profile you will see that I am a fan of The Chicago Cubs.
You may ask, "Why is someone from Maryland who has NEVER lived in Illinois or the greater Chicagoland area a Cubs fan?"

I will answer you this: Expectations and Emotional Investment.

Why the Cubs? Because if they suck it's expected. And they just keep coming back, like Charlie Brown kicking the football they just don't know when to pack up and go home. I like that.

I invest a lot of emotion into my teams. Yelling at TV's, radios, etc. I wear my sports heart on my sleeve when I can get away with being an obnoxious loud annoying fan. (usually home alone or in a car.) So if you are familiar with the now regular fall of the O's every season, the beginnings of futility with the Nats AND the lean years of the Washington Redskins, you can understand that I needed a team to root for that would not help give me a stroke. Ergo I have picked the Cubs. I can sit back and enjoy the game. It's nice.

That and Wrigley Field is a great place to go see a game. I have been there, I want to go back. The fans, the real pipe organ, the drunken idiots in the bleachers...ah Chicago how I miss thee!

So what else is going on...
Had the BBQ, that went well. Go to NYC for an EPA Records Conference thing next week, that should be nice.

And work is work. Though I do have a research trip planned this weekend so that should be fun.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Memorial Day

It's Memorial Day weekend and I'm darn glad it is. AMC is showing all war movies, though I have a more than adequate collection of my own and there's the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 Tomorrow. And the gang is coming over Monday for a BBQ.

But it's also a time when I get a bit introspective...

For 9 years "professionally" and 14 years total I have studied military history. Primarily I am interested in the American Civil War but I've had a fairly wide range of interests in history books on this topic. So whenever this time of the year comes around and the movie channels start showing all the WW2 movies I watched as a kid with my dad I start thinking of cemeteries.

Yep, cemeteries. Part of it has to do with a tradition that my grandfather on my dad's side (hereafter known on this blog as Pop-Pop Fry) did EVERY Memorial Day. He went to all the cemeteries where his parents and aunts and grandma Fry's parent's were buried and put flowers on their grave. I usually went with him. Part of this started because he would take us to Kiddie City in Frederick for a toy at the end of the journey. Still I always remember going out with him. I also know where my great grandparents' graves are in Mount Olivet cemetery and Resthaven Memorial Gardens in Frederick. (The tradition is modified now with Christmas trees that my Dad puts up instead of the Memorial Day trip. Still, someday I'm going to have to take up the duties. I may opt to do both.)

Anyway, there are a lot of veterans buried in Mount Olivet including a few score of Civil War soldiers who died from wounds received at Antietam. They were brought to Frederick by horse drawn ambulance and put in the army hospital, the churches around town and the old Hessian Barracks (originally built to house Hessian POW's from the Revolution.) I recall frequently looking at the headstones of those graves and others we came across that had flags and I took the time to read the dates of service.

Now with the US at war with terror I think about those graves a lot now. And the new ones with guys my age in them and I just get kinda quiet. Sometimes I don't know if this country is worth all the trouble that people go through to protect it. Seriously. We haven't done a really good thing for the world as a whole since the Second World War and the Marshall Plan. Most people don't vote for President. The best and the brightest don't serve their country in government as there's no money in it. We're selfish and have a short attention span.

What the hell happened?

Seriously? Why did we let it get this far? We're supposed to be the United States of America dammit! Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. C'mon in, get a job make something of yourself, make your kids' lives better and on the odd occasion we SAVE THE FREAKIN WORLD! We did this. This whole country got its stuff together and looked at Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire and said, "You guys are doing bad stuff, you didn't leave well enough alone and now you bombed us. We and several million of our friends here have come to kick your ass!"

And by God we did. It was that rarest of things, a GOOD war. I'm not going to argue it with anyone. It was a GOOD thing. It had to be done. It should have been done in 1935.

So I'm lamenting the past and now everyone is expecting some idea from me on how to fix it. I don't know how to fix this country but I have some ideas to try.

First I'm gonna steal an idea from Dan Rodricks of the Baltimore Sun; reinstate a draft. Now calm down and let me finish what Dan suggested. You can choose three paths; military service, domestic social service, overseas social service. Kind of like Armed Forces/Peace Corps/Americorps only you don't have the option of doing nothing. You as a kid have to pick one. Get off the computer kids and go fix the planet. I think this is a brilliant idea.

Second: Reality TV=VERBOTEN! Just make it stop, please for the love of all that is right and holy in the world. Make it stop!

Third: If in the future we decide to invade someone...BRING EVERYONE! No more of this bringing a small forces because the American public will blanche at a huge military buildup. If you're gonna go, GO! Go with EVERYONE! You're going to war, there are no half measures. It's supposed to be messy and a hard decision, it's WAR! We made that mistake in Vietnam and we've made it again in Iraq. If you do something like this do it all the way. There WILL be civilian casualties, they will be YOUR FAULT. But that's the way it goes. We never have had any second thoughts about Dresden, Berlin, Schweinfurt, Polesti, Wilhemshaven, Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, etc. When you go to war with a country you go expecting to fight the WHOLE COUNTRY. Like I said, going to war is not supposed to be an easy decision, nor is it supposed to be painless. That's what keeps war from being more frequent. It's a terrible thing.

Fourth: Everybody in this country needs a good sense of humor and to stop being so sensitive. Just relax. It's been worse.

Ok, that's all I got at the moment.
Happy Memorial Day everyone.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I'm just workin for the weekend...

And I was working...

This weekend was volunteer weekend at the B&O Railroad Historical Society. So I spent these glorious two days around dusty documents.

Well...not really. Actually this weekend we started at the B&O Historical Society and then went to the B&O Railroad Museum to listen to a lecture. Then Sunday was a more productive day at the archives. More sorting, I strained my back trying to help move shelves. That wasn't so hot. But we got some good stuff done.

So now I go to the new building tomorrow and unpack. Hopefully all will be well.
We shall see.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Mr. Sulu...warp speed

We have a cable modem now...


Thursday, May 18, 2006


So I'm not at my normal office today, actually technically today I don't have a normal office...WE'RE MOVING!!!

Ahem, well we're not moving, by we I mean the actually office workers, the moving guys are moving today. EPA people are off at some conference thing or just off, us contractors are scattered across the greater Arlington/DC Metro Area. I'm spending today at the company's office suite in Rosslyn. I'm about three blocks from the garage where Bob Woodward and Mark Felt met during Watergate. That in itself is a cool enough fact to ALMOST make me "tourist out." But I won't. I work here, I have a badge on a dongle. I'm supposed to be in a hurry, walking up METRO escalator and yelling "STAND TO THE RIGHT!" at tourists who are either corralling their kids, gawking at the metro (why you would gawk at what I consider to be some of the WORST subterranean architecture in THE WORLD I do not understand. Seriously, METRO stations are dark and sterile. There is no personality to them. Do what Chicago does, lighten them up and put some tiles or something on the wall...Paint murals! ANYTHING! Ahem, anyway...) or looking at their maps of DC wondering where the hell the Smithsonian/White House/insert memorial name here is.

This in itself is a shame. Those of us who work or travel through DC to our jobs really miss out on some neat stuff. Usually the highlight of my commute is taking the yellow line bridge over the Potomac and seeing the city and its water/train/air traffic, (yes, I like to watch boats, trains and planes, I am a transportation geek.) or walking across Farragut Square from Farragut West to Farragut North Metro Station. (Another thing, Adm. David G. Farragut doesn't get enough press these days. That's someone who needs a Carrier named after him. Though there is some solace in that Capt. Kirk's first assignment upon graduating Starfleet Academy was the USS Farragut. Also the Nebula Class USS Farragut was one of the three ships to rescue the crew of the Enterprise D at the end of Star Trek: Generations.)

So...where was I? Oh, not being able to "tourist out." Right...so yeah I think too many people take the city for granted or think it's a pain in the ass. And at times the traffic is a pain in the ass, this is what we get for having a Frenchman lay out the streets. (So George Washington gets a mulligan on that, otherwise he did pretty good.) So I'm just saying, look around you when you commute, you may not know what you're missing.

Anyway I'm off tomorrow. Getting a cable modem (HUZZAH!) and a haircut (HUZZAH!) and meeting with the Curator of the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore. (HUZZAH!) Busy day, but I think the meeting will be a great thing. Oh, and I have to drop off a calendar for the historical society to the printer. That's VERY important. Really, this is my first publishing project. I want to make sure it gets out right.

Also I was reading one of my friend's blogs and was struck by how she wanted to be Scarlett O'Hara but now doesn't. I think Scarlett is an interesting character and rather complex. However, I agree with Kim's new assessment that she's not a great role model. But it got me to thinking...who did I want to be from the movies...and I realized that I had several characters that I wanted to be, but I think the one that was always at the top...Han Solo.

Han Solo was the Mac Daddy of Star Wars. First, he got the coolest sidekick; Chewbacca. Second, he wasn't noble to the point of being a pain, nor brave to the point of stupidity. He was in most of Star Wars for the money, Empire to save his own skin and Jedi is when he finally decided...I'm in it for the cause...and the girl. This brings us to the third great thing, he got the girl. Nobody else got the girl in all of Star Wars. And in her day Carrie Fisher was indeed hot. Though she's hit the wall pretty hard now. Fourth, having the Millennium Falcon to tool around in is a major plus. Yeah, that pretty much sums up the reasons why I wanted to be Han Solo when I was a kid.

Well, I've got to go off and do the Kessel Run now. May the Force be with you.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Railroad Warrior

For the second time in as many weeks, I've been driving like a madman. Not in terms of speed, but distance.
Yesterday at 6:45am I left for Wheeling, WV to pick up a donation of railroad documents from the B&O RR's Benwood Roundhouse. The forecast was for afternoon thunderstorms, so I was hoping to make it out and back before things got really hairy.
I took I-70 West to I-68 West to Morgantown, WV. Stopping there at 9:30am for breakfast and to refuel the truck I was in. Left Morgantown at 10:00am on I-79 North to Washington, PA where I got back on I-70 West and took that into Wheeling, arriving at 11:30am.
So in Wheeling I meet up with a local B&ORRHS member who met us at the woman's house and we caravaned to the place where the records were stored in McMechen, WV. We picked them up, I took the member back to his truck, we socialized, I saw a neat train layout under construction and then at 2:30pm, I left for the return trip.
I stopped in Cumberland, MD at 5:00pm for dinner and gas. (Note: the gas station I used did not require one to pay before pumping. That surprised me. It was under $3 a gallon out there, that did not surprise me.)
After Cumberland I went to Baltimore, MD to unload. I called people back who left messages for the HS and finally got back on the road home at 9:20pm. I got back to home around 10:30pm. A total of 16 hours on this trip.
Some would say I'm crazy to have done that, at times I was inclined to believe them, but it was a good trip.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

10 Years...

10 years ago, around this time, I was graduating high school.

10 years ago, a little more than three months from now, I started UMBC.

10 years!!! Holy crap where did it all go?
4 years undergrad at UMBC-2 girlfriends and Rheumatoid Arthritis
***1 BA in History with a certificate of General Honors***
2 years FT grad work at UMBC
2 years FT T. Rowe Price and PT grad work UMBC and PT RR Historical Society Archivist
2 years FT STG International, PT RR Historical Society Archivist with an additional year of PT grad work UMBC and one more girlfriend.
***1 MA in Historical Studies***
2 months at DPRA.

So that's where it all went. I guess I have been pretty busy. And I THINK...I THINK I'm the first of the UMBC Gang to have gotten an advanced degree. Which is ironic since I was not the one with the highest GPA.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Ummm...I'll take "seriously? You mean it?" for $200 Alex

I'm listening to WTOP right now and they had a "Keith Richards update" just now;
"The Rolling Stones denied that Keith Richards has brain damage."

Perhaps not from the fall but...c'mon...the man has freakin' embalmed HIMSELF!

Seriously, good thing that was radio. I couldn't say that with a straight face.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Weekend of Trains and Travel

So...I've been on quite a trip.

Friday I took off work and got up at the normal time of 6am.
I was met by a fellow B&O Railroad fan and historical society member at 7:30 and together we embarked on a trip to Willard, OH by way of Altoona, Horseshoe Curve and Gallitzin, PA.

While it was a 9 hour trip to Willard, it was a good trip. First, Horshoe Curve ROCKS! Plenty of trains and a very scenic spot. It's a park with a funicular up to the viewing area, museum, gift shop and bathrooms that well...there are no flush toilets. It looks like a real bathroom, but it just goes down to a septic system below the building. If you drop your keys...they are so gone man. Second, Gallitzin, PA has a nice train viewing park near the Gallitizin tunnels. Very impressive to see a train roar out from a mountainside.

Willard was the site of the 2006 B&O Railroad Historical Society Ohio Mini-Con. Good times. I enjoyed myself and there are plenty of trains in Willard as well. So, I was trained out. It took 7 hours to get home, a more direct route thankfully. We had good weather for the entire trip so that was a major plus.

So now back to the drudgery of work until this weekend when I have to venture once more into the mountains on a mission to Wheeling, WV.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Look out Teldar Paper!

"Greed, for lack of a better term, is good."-Gordon Gecko (played by Michael Douglas)

Today I bought stocks for the first time. It was cool.
I now own little bits of:
Norfolk Southern Corp
Acher Daniels Midland
Genesse and Wyoming Inc
Six Flags Inc
Energy Partners Limited (Jim Cramer recommendation)
Mercantile Bankcorp

So far I'm up $90.


Got some bad news late last night, Louis Rukeyser has passed away.

If you're not familiar with Mr. Rukeyser, well he had a pretty good show on PBS called Wall Street Week that was produced out of MD Public Television in Owings Mills, MD. It's near where I used to work.
(good people, I still have my investments with them.) People would call and say, "Do you see Mr. Rukeyser in town?" These also tended to be people who were fun to work with on the phone, they knew their stuff and asked good questions and they generally had a good attitude about the market.

He was a smart guy who didn't scream or yell (though Jim Cramer does have his good points). But he was witty. For me wit and clever use of language go a long way.

Anyway he got royally screwed over when MPT put a new guy in charge who said "Hey let's go commercial and partner with Money Magazine." Lou said no, in fact he said, "HELL NO!" The bosses at MPT said, "Lou even though you made this show, we're going to screw with it." That's when Lou decided it was time to leave, so he told everyone. In fact he did it on his show, first verbally skewering his boss and then saying, "take this job and shove it," on TV. Then he went to cable with his show, his old boss got fired because of how he turned MPT into crap and then Lou retired because he got sick.

Lou, I'll miss ya!

Sunday, April 30, 2006


Well, it's 9pm and I am T-I-R-E-D.

Saturday was retrieve parental units from DC as they returned from their vacation.
Then take brother to his place in Baltimore as he had borrowed dad's truck while his was in the shop.
Today was SLEEP!
But I got up at 9am anyway. I went to Brunswick for a historical society mission that went very well. I stayed in town to visit some folks at the museum there and for the Capitol Limited to pass on its was from DC to Chicago. It went by on time at 5:03pm. Nice work.
But my work is done, things are good and all is moderately ok in the world.
Three days to a new episode of Mythbusters.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Jim, so help me, I'm starting to think I can cure a rainy day!

My enduring respect (and a prize if I'm feeling generous) if you can ID the fictional character who said the title.

Well, good news. New contractor wants to keep staff the same. Rep from said co said, "It's not broke. I don't want to or need to fix it."

Sweet. However, I implemented the evac plan now for what appears to be a false alarm. Not good. But the above was not in writing so I may yet need to evac.

Still, I have a job. Always good. Other folks I know do not or will not. :(

Now for some of my choice topics of discussion:
1. GASOLINE. Ok, that's it. We're gonna have to declare war on...hmmm...George who do we hit that can fix this? China? Then we lose all of our cheap imported goods. England? Nah, they pay $5 a litre. They're hurtin worse than us. Germany? Same deal as England. Venezuela? Not so much. Citgo is Venezuelan. Anytime you buy Citgo gas the profits go to Hugo Chavez. Remember that Red Staters, also Citgo sponsors a NASCAR team. Where's Homeland Security when you need it? Hmmmmmm?
Russia? Nope, they're cool with selling gas and not being a member of OPEC. We might want to get real buddy buddy with them.

Wait...I know...


Their economy is gonna implode anyway, thanks to some short sighted students and some stubborn commies. People get used to getting fired because you're all gonna get your asses laid off in 20 years. Then Germany will buy your bankrupt country and say...Damn! We tried this the hard way THREE TIMES!!! and all we had to do was wait for you to do yourselves in. Danke Schoen. (In case you didn't notice, not a big fan of France. Bigger army than the Nazis in WW2...lasted a week against them in land combat. So much for a steadfast ally. So we bail their ass out with the ever reliable Brits. (motto: "C'mon, just TRY and invade us you little goose stepping twit.") And after we save their pitiful conquered butts they decide to horn in on the win. Puh-leeze. There's a reason why FDR called them "damn frogs."

Seriously, about the gas...buy hybrid. It's only gonna get worse. Or at least buy oil company stock to get some of your money back.

2. Trying to rob David Copperfield...magician not the Dickensian hero.
Four rocket scientists from FL tried to rob David Copperfield.
Ok, read the story and say it with me. Bad idea guys.
First who doesn't know who David Copperfield is?
Second who tries to rob a magician in the first place? Seriously. I'd like to know.

3. Tony Snow: New White House flack.
Ummm, he worked for Fox News before this. He really isn't changing jobs here people. He just doesn't have to work in the same building with Steve Doocy anymore.

4. Brett Favre decides to stay with Green Bay one more year.
YEAH! I admit it I am a Packer fan. And Brett Favre is fun to watch when he's not throwing into triple coverage. Let's get this guy a line and some healthy receivers and give him a decent year to head off into the sunset on. He deserves it. Better yet...have everyone in the NFL make a secret pact to let Green Bay into the playoffs. Just lay off enough that they make a wild card or eke out a division championship and play his last game at Lambeau. I'd get Veklempt. I'm getting Veklempt now. Someone channel Vince Lombardi and make this happen!!!

5. Wait Wait! Don't Tell Me! is coming to DC next week. Lisner Auditorium at GWU. Tickets are...get this...$60 a pop! $60!!! $60!!! People! WTF? $60?!?!?! I'll need that for gas!

6. Reading: I just finished To Dare and To Conquer

Not a bad book. Had some interesting tidbits about special forces throughout history and just what makes a special force special. Mainly the people and the objectives. Worth reading, especially as we will be using them in the war on terror a lot.

Currently I'm reading Team of Rivals So far it's very good.

Well it's late. I'm going to end this post. Perhaps there will be more on the morrow.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Fin de Semanna

Well, another weekend down the drain. I did get to watch All The President's Men. I did not get to hang out with my friends. Seems we just couldn't pull something together with other commitments. Ah well. Things should settle down soon anyway. Besides it freakin' RAINED! Bad night to be out Saturday. Probably best for us all.

I did get belated birthday presents. BONUS! I got The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes and The Iron Horse and the Windy City about railroads in my favorite metropolis...Chi-town!

Let's see...that's about all I got going on. I did the volunteer thing. That's going well. Going to try and spend some of the organization's money. Let's see how that goes.

I also interviewed on Friday with my old boss. She moved on from my old job before I did. I may have to jump ship if the new company decides not to take me on. It'll be a pay cut but it will still be a pay check.

And it looks like we're going to get a great view of a comet in may take a gander at this here.