Thursday, March 25, 2004

Going on hiatus.

I won't be blogging for a while. My mother passed away this afternoon.

See you when I get back.

What's for lunch?

In Scotland, it's the deep-fried chocolate sandwich, garnished with vanilla ice cream. At least you don't have to worry about getting dessert with it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Haiku. Low tide.

It probably is no surprise that a lot of folks send me funny emails. Or possibly, "funny" emails. And I often get them multiple times, from multiple sources. (And worse, multiple times from the same source.) Only fair, I suppose: I will often send 'em along, so I must be willing to receive 'em as well.

One that's been making the rounds for a while showed up in my email box today. Probably the fourth or fifth time I'd received it in the past few months. The "poem" made up of George W. Bush's statements, arranged for aesthetic presentation, which ends with the stanza:

Put food on your family!
Knock down the tollbooth!
Vulcanize society!
Make the pie higher! Make the pie higher!

Okay, cute enough, so far as cheap shots go. But what got me about this particular email is that, unlike the other times I'd received it, the poem was described - repeatedly - as a haiku. Well, no, says the nitpicker inside me. Blank verse, sure; but it's not a haiku.

Or, as my email reply said:

Quite funny poem.
But this is not a haiku:
I thought you should know.

Ethics, schmethics. So long as I get my bonus.

Article in the NY Times about business schools struggling with the concept of ethics courses. Belatedly, business schools have recognized the need for such courses, following the excesses of WorldCom, Enron, and the like. An informal survey last spring indicated that 35% of schools have a required ethics course, a percentage that's unchanged since 1988. Alternatives to a required ethics course include elective ethics courses or some sort of emphasis on ethics in all courses (although I'm not sure what the interrelation between ethics and macro-economics is). Or, of course, ignoring ethics altogether.

Law schools, on the other hand, have required ethics courses - required for graduation and required for membership in state bars. And the legal profession has codified rules of ethical behavior for attorneys and for judges, not that everyone who ought to understand them follows them.

I understand that business schools aren't going to be able to create ethical standards in people who don't already have them. By the time someone is 25 - the typical minimum age at a business school - his personal ethical positions are pretty much set. But a good ethics course can cause that student to re-examine those positions in light of business-related issues: do you pay bribes in a culture that expects it? how far do you push the envelope on, say, accounting standards or FTC regulations? how does (or should) your conduct differ when you're representing your company instead of yourself?

And one of the fascinating things I learned in the business ethics course I took at Fuqua was that some of my classmates freely expressed ethical standards that guaranteed that I would never do business with them. (And this in an elective ethics course. Why were they taking the course? To learn more about people they think they could take advantage of?) For these students - headed to trading floors on Wall Street - "ethical" meant "whatever you could get away with." Even if something were against the law, if they could do it, make a profit, and not get caught, that was okay by them.

Wining and whining.

The Washington Post's gossip column has a couple of interesting notes today, on Patricia Kluge and John McEnroe.

Kluge is proud of her famously-expensive wine and her past as an erotic model and sex columnist, and McEnroe will soon have his own talk show on CNBC later this spring. What McEnroe can possibly have to tell us about business or economics is unclear.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Another reason to support mass transit.

Everyone's favorite whacko had an idea for a movie about a man who turns into a car that gets ridden around by a boy. Kevin Smith - director of Clerks and Jersey Girls - says that it was the wierdest movie idea ever pitched to him. And I'd imagine one of the most disturbing.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Point of clarification.

When I said yesterday that I occasionally envy my cat's life, this is not what I had in mind.

Although it doesn't surprise me that (a) the guy is a computer programmer, (b) he lives in California, and (c) the article fails to mention anything about a girlfriend.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Things that go bump.

There are times when I envy my cat's life, consisting as it does of sleeping, eating, sleeping, and napping. And snacking. She wakes up long enough to eat and then to go find a new place to sleep, often following the sunlight around the house as it moves during the day. But she excels at sleeping at night: when she jumps up onto the bed after lights-out, she settles between or onto my ankles (she prefers sleeping on them for some reason), and zonks out. And once she goes to sleep at night, she's dead to the world for at least ten hours, arising with a dainty ka-thummp! onto the floor immediately above my office to announce her readiness for breakfast.

So it was a real surprise the other night, when she woke me up at 4 a.m. Something had set her off - she was as agitated as she'd been during the earthquake in December or the tornado in September: Unhappy meowing, frantic pacing back and forth, repeated jumping from the bed to the floor and back, unwilling to be soothed or to be distracted by food. Figuring that there had to have been something to get her going like that, I got up and wandered around the house, trying to find what might have been the problem. The furnace wasn't about to explode, there was no car halfway into the living room, no one had broken in to threaten Her Majesty's food supply, and the weather was peaceful. No telling. I gave up and went back to bed. Eventually, she did too, but not especially happily.

It was back to normal last night, though. I awoke around 1 to find my bed swaying: medium sway, small sway, nothing. No noise, just the swaying. Perhaps what you'd expect if someone bumped into the bed, or someone heavier than the cat jumped onto it. Except there's not supposed to be anyone else in the house to hit the bed, and the cat was sprawled unmoving across my ankles, delicately snoring, so it wasn't her. Since she was still asleep, I clearly hadn't been moving my legs around enough to shake the bed, while my arms were in the same position they'd been in when I fell asleep. Hmm. Another check of the house, not that I knew what I'd find that would have made the bed sway that wouldn't continue to cause its presence to be known. Again, nothing, so I returned to bed. And a check this morning indicates there wasn't an earthquake or nearby explosion. Oh, well. I blame poltergeists.

In your heart, you know he's ... dead.

One of the few good things about spam is its ability to entertain, albeit unintentionally. And one of this morning's batch of spam caught my eye as I was about to delete it: it claimed to be from Barry Goldwater. Hmm. Spam from beyond the grave? Might be worth looking at.

Alas, no; it was actually sent on behalf of Barry Goldwater, Jr., hawking a legal tender 1933 $20 double eagle gold piece, for the amazing price of $19.99. Seems unlikely, doesn't it? Well, it should be entertaining figuring out the catch. It turns out that the coin being sold really is legal tender, just not legal tender of the U.S. It's from the CNMI (Commonwealth of the N. Mariana Islands), whose budget appears to come from making stamps and coins to sell to collectors, a practice only recently adopted by the U.S. Mint. And the coin is described in the email - but not on the website - as being 20 mil, which is mighty tiny - only 1/50 of an inch across.

And if this particular coin isn't to your liking - perhaps you have eyesight as poor as mine, and you'd like to be able to see the coin you're buying - you could instead purchase the official NY state quarter which now carries a portrait of A-Rod (a colorized U.S. Mint coin) or a legal tender 1 Crown coin with Harry Potter on the front and Queen Elizabeth II on the back (from the Isle of Man).

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

It's nice to have a hobby.

This guy's is painting a baseball, and not in a Rembrandt/still life sort of way. He took a baseball, and put a coat of paint on it. And then another. And another. For 27 years. It's now almost a yard in diameter, weighs 1,300 pounds, and is estimated to have over 18,000 layers of paint. (Hmmm. With a radius of 18 inches, including the baseball, that would mean that the paint layers would each be less than 1/1000 of an inch in thickness. Is a layer of paint really that thin?)

The folks from the Guinness Book of Records visited and have taken a core sample, to confirm that it's all paint. And Saturday was declared "Ball of Paint Day" in Alexandria, IN, where there evidently isn't a whole lot else to do. (Alexandria is also famous for having what they claim is the world's largest hairball, taken from their sewer system at over 200 pounds.)

Monday, March 15, 2004

Unsafe on any ballot.

Nice little column at The New Yorker on the legacy of Ralph Nader. Nader gets big plus marks for his work on automobile safety and helping to establish the EPA, OSHA and the CPSC, among other accomplishments, and big minus marks for helping put into office the current administration which is undermining all those positive efforts. At this point, the column suggests, the net legacy for Nader is still positive. But if Nader's 2004 candidacy has the effect of keeping Bush in office for four more years - although the columnist doesn't think it will - then the expected Nader legacy will be negative, and could be summed up as "George W Bush."

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Lottery madness.

The lucky person (or group) who won the Feb. 20 Mega Millions lottery jackpot - an annuity value of $239 million - has yet to claim it. Sure, they've got another 5 months in which to come forward, and they're probably off furiously consulting with their tax attorneys and CPAs. But they could still have their attorney call the Lottery office and put in a claim.

Sadly, it's not me. I know because (a) I haven't been within 50 miles of the store where the winning ticket was purchased within the past 18 months, and (b) I checked my ticket again, anyway, just in case. (And not only did I not match all six numbers, I still don't match any of them.)

Doesn't stop me from planning what I'd do with all that money, though. First decision: take the annuity payments or the lump-sum present value? $6 million each year for 25 years ($9.5 million before taxes, or so) or $96 million ($145 million pre-tax) today (and all figures are wild-eyed estimates)? Well, I'm all about instant gratification, and I really don't care about those last 5 or 10 years worth of payments when I'm really old, so I'd go for the big bucket o' money today.

To be excessively responsible, I'd put aside $25 million in blue-chips, utilities, and government bonds, to ensure a happy retirement and to live on until then. And another $5 million would go to giving myself the lifestyle I'd like to become accustomed to: buying a new house or renovating this one, building and stocking a really good wine cellar, building a great little home theater, frequent vacations to the South Pacific, and similar mad-money expenses.

I'd use $5 to 15 million to buy a business to run. A winery, perhaps, or a local or regional microbrewery. Today, I'm leaning towards the latter, and yes, I already have one in mind. And I've got a brewmeister in mind to bring in for it, as well. (Again, not me. It'd be the brewer to whom I've often given the highest brewing compliment I can think of: As much as I like my own beer, I'd rather buy and drink his beer than drink my own.)

But that still leaves a big pile of money to play around with, and to do something useful with. I think I'd do something to support higher education with it. Some would go as an unrestricted grant to my alma mater; some would go to endow chairs in business law and ethics at business schools, initially, at each of the schools I've gotten degrees from; and the remainder would go into a scholarship program. And if I set this up correctly and in the same year I get the big lottery payout, it becomes a great tax deduction off that payout, and the government essentially helps fund the scholarship program even more.

Security, fun, philanthropy. A good mix, I think. Now all I have to do is win the lottery. (Or, I suppose, have someone who's already won the lottery give me all of their money. About equally likely, I think.)

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Road rage.

I don't have a whole lot of patience with crummy drivers. Drivers who are unfamiliar with the neighborhood and are obviously lost, I can relate to and put up with. But making that into an art form is a bit too much.

I was out doing errands this morning, and heading home along a semi-limited-access residential feeder road. Four lanes (and left-turn lanes, when needed), sometimes divided and sometimes not, speed limit 35 or 40 (and people doing 45 or 50), very few cross streets. At one point, after about 3/4 of a mile without an intersection, we were approaching a fairly major intersection, with traffic lights and left- and right-turn lanes all over. I'm in the right lane, and the driver of the car in front of me decides that she really wants to be in the left lane. She slows down, and slows down, and slows down, and finally comes to a complete stop, 100 yards from the traffic light. (No one in front of her in our lane, of course.) Fine, I think to myself, she just realized that she needs to turn left at the light and has panicked into doing so right this very instant. And all I'm going to do is go up to the light and wait for it to turn green, anyway, so it's not as though I'm losing a lot of valuable time. Unfortunately, she didn't stop quite soon enough, and traffic backs up in the left lane past where she is. So those of us in my lane have to wait until the light changes and all the traffic in the left lane clears before she changes lanes and we can continue.

She then motors up to the intersection - and goes straight. Hmm. Maybe she means to turn left into the next street. Well, no. Or maybe the strip mall beyond that. Or the next street. Or at the next light. Well, again, no - none of those. She merrily continued in the left lane for about 3 miles: four traffic lights, another half-dozen streets without traffic signals, and ten or fifteen driveways to commercial establishments. Finally, she turns her left-turn signal on. And continues on past two more uncontrolled intersections and straight through another intersection with a traffic signal. After about three-quarters of a mile, she turns the left-turn signal off and immediately swerves into the right lane, just barely in time to enter an intersection where she could turn right. She goes straight, of course, as she does at the next corner.

Okay. Time for me to finally realize that I'm less likely to end up in an accident of her causing if I'm not on the same street, so I turn onto a cross street. The last I saw of her, she was tootling along in the right lane, as though none of her lane-changing escapades had ever happened.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Another half-baked idea.

Ah, technology. You know those handmade, organic loaves of bread you see at your local supermarket? Chances are they're actually made in a factory in New Jersey, partly baked and flash-frozen days or months in advance, and shipped to the store to get the remainder of the baking. And real-life artisanal bakers are being frozen out, as it were, and driven out of business. Not a good thing.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Westward Journey nickels.

Designed to simultaneously celebrate the Lewis and Clark Expedition and annoy coin collectors, the US Mint announced today the production of newly-designed 5-cent pieces, or what you and I would call "nickels." The front stays the same, with Mr. Jefferson looking solemn, but the back shows Uncle Sam and a nameless Indian shaking hands, under a crossed axe and golf club, the words "The Louisiana Purchase," and the date of 1803. Later this fall, another nickel design will come out, with Lewis & Clark themselves aboard a longboat. (So, if you're a coin collector, you can't just get one nickel with each mint mark to represent the year's coinage, you'll need one of each combination of mint marks and the three reverses.) Presumably additional designs will come out in 2005, and in 2006, Mr. Jefferson and Monticello will return to the nickel, although not necessarily the same depictions as are currently on the coin.

And, thanks to the success of the state quarter program, they're considering a program showing portaits of U.S. presidents on the dollar coin. The theory being that this will increase the popularity of the Golden Dollar coin, as the presidential portrait coins would be the same size and color as the Sacagawea dollars. And for trivia buffs, yes, Grover Cleveland would appear twice in the series, due to his non-consecutive terms.

How much do you want to watch Dennis Miller?

Or, if you prefer, how would they have to pay you to watch him? In Los Angeles, the going rate is $15. I'm not sure it's enough to make me want to watch him in person. Possibly if I could sleep at the same time. But what I can't understand is: How did Monday Night Football let a gem like this slip through their fingers?

The economic October surprise.

Interesting speculation on a possible October surprise of an economic nature. The theory propounded is that the biggest issue in the presidential campaign will be the economy and the lack of job creation. So, in September and October, big national employers (e.g., Wal-Mart, Sears) go on a tear, hiring hundreds of thousands of employees, causing the job-creation totals to soar and make it appear that the economy really is improving. Bush gets the credit, gets reelected, and then all those new jobs are eliminated.

Interesting theory. Probably harder to pull off than is described here, but also not beyond the realm of the Committee to Re-Elect the President to consider. Personally, the October surprise I'm expecting to see is the "capture" of Osama bin Laden around October 15 to 20, picked up from where we've known all along he is.

The indignities parents put their children through.

Like naming their daughter Diot Coke. (And presumably her nickname is "Cherry.") Although, in their defense, this was done in 1379.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Money from heaven.

The checks from the checks from the CD "Minimum Advertised Price" antitrust settlement have been mailed, and I'm sitting here staring at mine. The good news is that it's money I never would have sued on my own to recover, and all I had to do was to fill out a form on the web a year ago. And I'm surprised to be getting anything at all, because if enough people - about 13 million - had filed claims, the per-capita refund would have been under $5, the minimum amount that they'd distribute to individuals. Instead, it appears that just under 5 million people filed claims, so the amount of the individual refund was $13.86. Not enough to buy a big-screen TV with, alas.

The disconcerting part of it, though, is that while the check came in a mailer with a return address of the Antitrust Litigation (and not the court where the action was filed and settlement reached), the explanatory letter contained with the check was from Jerry Kilgore, the Attorney General of Virginia, patting himself on the back for getting me this money, and all but reminding me to vote for him when he runs for governor in 2005. Sorry, Jerry, but I'm not so cheap that you can buy me off with $13.86 of monies I'm entitled to anyway.

What this country needs is a good five-dollar haircut.

Of course, for five dollars, it doesn't have to be all that good. Just so long as it doesn't look like it was done with a weed-whacker.

One of my favorite wine shops in Richmond opened a second location about a month ago, in a brand-new shopping center. Two doors down from it, a chain barbershop opened two weeks ago, and they've got a grand-opening sale: haircuts, $4.99. Since I was past due for a haircut - well past due, the uncharitable among us might say - I figured it was worth a shot, and the price was right. And it looks fine, given what they had to work with.

I haven't always been willing to walk in off the street and trust my hair to a complete stranger. I hate breaking in new people to cut my hair, just as I hate going to a doctor or dentist for the first time. Back in Charlottesville, I followed one woman who cut my hair from one salon to another to another, and I arranged my haircuts around her maternity leaves, just to avoid dealing with someone new. Even when I left Charlottesville for Durham and Richmond, I'd time my return visits to coincide with when I'd need a haircut, and make appointments during those visits. Alas, after 20 years of cutting my hair (and that of others, I suppose), she seems to have gotten out of the hair-cutting business, so I was forced to make other arrangements here. And it appears I've survived.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Too much time on their Photoshopping hands.

Far Side cartoons remade into "real life" via Photoshop.

Behind the times.


You can tell when a fad becomes over-the-hill, or a "new thing" becomes no longer new and hip. It's when I take part in it. These days, even Mars rovers have blogs.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Subways of the world.

No, not the sandwich shop. Maps of subway systems from around the world, presented on the same scale. Kind of cool.

The Hobbit.

Peter Jackson will film The Hobbit, although not for a couple of years. New Line Cinema has the rights to make the movie, and MGM has the rights to distribute it, so it'll take the studios' attorneys a couple of years to figure out who gets how big a piece of the money pie. Jackson is in the middle of doing the latest remake of King Kong, anyway.


Cute little video of a juggler. Not quite a "how to" video, but still.

I taught myself to juggle when I was in college. During final exams at the end of the first semester of my senior year, to be precise. A pretty good way to avoid studying. I even took three oranges into some of my exams, as something to do when I wanted a five-minute break in the middle of the test.

Friday, March 05, 2004

citi_bank EMAIL_ Veerification .

This is an actual email I received the other day. Subject line (here, the title to this post), spelling, grammar, and punctuation unchanged, in no small part because I really don't know where to begin.


DEAR Citibank-Online Clients,

_This letter was sent_ by t_he _Citibank_ sevrer to
veerify _your_ e-mail adderss_.
You mustt clmpeote this pceosrs by clicking on_the link
_below_ and enttering in the little _window your Citibank_
ATM/Debit full card_nummber and PIN_ that you use in_the Atm machine.
This_is done - for Your poetcrtion -i- becaurse some of our
membres no lngeor have acsecs to their email adssdrees
and we must verify it.

[link deleted for everyone's protection]

To veerify _your EMAIL adderss and acces your citi_bank
account, click on the_link below_.

[and another one deleted]


I don't think I'll send them my Citibank information. Not least, because I don't have any Citibank accounts. But I'd be willing to issue a quitclaim deed to the Brooklyn Bridge to anyone who'd fall for this email.

You are "Go" for orbit.

Found a nice blog entry about former Senator and astronaut John Glenn's reaction to the plan to gut the space program. Check it out for yourself. It quotes from an article in the Houston Chronicle which notes Glenn's claim that reducing the research component of the space station will save only $2.5 million (that's with an m, not a b).

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Spring would appear to be on its way.

And it's not just the 81 degrees outside that makes me think so. It's the crocus blooms in the front yard. Okay, when I planted them, there were four colors - and thus far, only the yellow ones have come up. But I think I can see leaves for some of the others, and I can also see the shoots from tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths.

The best part about bulbs? The sore muscles you get from planting them have long ago faded and been forgotten by the time you enjoy their beauty.

Ah, Corporate Democracy.

Great fun watching the shareholder vote on the election of directors for Disney yesterday. On the one hand, it didn't mean anything, because the election wasn't a yes/no vote on any candidate, and so long as a candidate received even one vote, he'd be elected. But because voting for corporate directors is usually like that and usually the chosen slate is unopposed (as was the case with the Disney election), any substantial withholding of support from a candidate is a strong symbolic statement. Even the withholding of 5% can be embarrassing to the director and the company, and the expectation was that 20% - or even as many as 30% - of the shares voted would withhold their support from Michael Eisner, and if that threshold was reached, the board would likely strip him of one of his two titles (CEO and chairman of the board).

Well, surprise. The preliminary count indicates that 43% of the votes were withheld from him. And sure enough, the Disney board took the board chairmanship away from him.

And I took part, too: I voted my shares to withhold support from Eisner and his followers. I normally don't vote in stockholder elections, on the theory that I have too few votes to matter or to make a difference even in a quorum count, and if I did vote, it usually is in support of management. (If you're going to vote against management, why do you own stock in the company?) But I voted this time, and for a couple of reasons: (1) Roy Disney's opposition to Eisner made sense, and I thought they deserved my support, but more importantly, (2) Eisner "fired" the ESPN columnist Tuesday Morning Quarterback without explanation (or, in my opinion, justification), and my emails to ESPN and Disney - clearly marked as coming from a stockholder - asking for an explanation went unanswered. Not even a "Thanks for your comments" reply. Not appropriate behavior for a company that lives on customer satisfaction.

TV and stuff.

When I'm not out driving for hours and hours on I-95, I occasionally watch some TV. I caught "Dream Job" on ESPN Sunday night, and thought it was fun. A "reality show" of sorts, it's a weekly, live job interview, with the grand prize being a one-year contract as an ESPN anchor. And the competitions that the contestants take part in are legitimate and job-related - this week, they put together and announced their own "Top Ten" lists from that day's sporting events and took part in a "Fact or Fiction" segment, debating either side of some dubious sports proposition (e.g., "The Eagles will be in next year's Super Bowl"). Interesting show, with a real-life payoff (unlike, say, The Donald's show "The Apprentice"), and at least some of the contestants could be decent anchors. I'd be willing to watch this show in later weeks - except that "Crossing Jordan" returns this week and is also on Sunday evenings at 10 pm, and if the choice is between watching Tony Kornheiser (one of the judges on "Dream Job") and Jill Hennessy, well, it's not that much of a choice.

I've been enjoying "Keen Eddie" on Bravo. A fish-out-of-water detective story, with a New York City detective sent to London to catch drug smugglers he allowed to go free in a botched drug bust. Madcap antics ensue. Well written, pretty funny. Naturally, the 13 episodes that Bravo has will be all there will ever be - this was originally a Fox show, and the Fox suits burned off half the episodes as a summer filler and decided to can the rest because they didn't want another cop show, or something. So the principals from this show have gone on to other things. It's still fun to watch, for as long as it's on.

I've also been going through some of my many, many boxes of books, and came across the C.S. Lewis "space trilogy" of Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength. So I thought I'd give them another shot - I've never been able to force my way through all three books, even though I've tried on maybe 4 previous occasions, the last being perhaps 25 years ago. And my experience this time is no different than those other times: Enjoyed the first book well enough, and am slogging through the second, although with substantially less enjoyment. If experience holds, I'll finish the second, start the third, and lose all interest.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

More on DirecTV.

You've doubtless seen those stupid ads for DirecTV - where a celebrity reads glowing letters supposedly sent by "real" subscribers, and we are intended to be impressed. Well, the celebrity doesn't so much "read" the letter as overemote over it. ("Jumpin' Jehosephat Yeehaw!" as Laurence Fishburne says. Yeesh.) And recently they've even gotten a real actor - Robert Duvall - to take part in the campaign. And I'm sure that the letters were written by real subscribers - real subscribers who work in DirecTV's marketing department, or are relatives or friends of such. Utterly unconvincing ads, and a waste of their money. But I suppose it's their money to waste.

It was a DirecTV service truck that I saw in Orlando last week that seemed to me to be the stereotype of DirecTV and its policies. I was on I-4, where the road was 5 lanes wide on my side. A small DirecTV service vehicle was in the next-to-left late with its left turn signal blinking. And with no one anywhere near in the left lane, he stayed in his lane, his left blinker flashing away merrily. Nothing new for Florida drivers, of course. After following him for a mile or two, I needed to get around him, and found that from the front, his left turn signal wasn't blinking. Not because he'd turned it off, of course; because he'd had an accident that had crumpled the left front quarter of his car. And the entire left side of his car, although that might have been from a different accident. And there he was, happily driving along at Interstate speeds in rain that alternated between drizzle and downpour, with a soda in one hand and a cell phone pressed to his ear in the other. (And how was he controlling the wheel? I decided I needed to put some distance and a couple of lanes between us before I found out to my dismay.) Why would DirecTV want Danny DeVito to represent them when they have this guy?

Hand-eye coordination test.

Cute little hand-eye coordination test. Or, as my results show, an "And-High" coordination test. Perhaps I need glasses. Oh, wait....

Not only the Wizards lose at Wizards games.

Haven't you always wanted this to happen? A guy proposes on the floor at halftime of an NBA game, the center of attention, and the woman says "No" and flees.

Or, I suppose, the fact that she'd just won tickets to a future Wizards game finally sank in.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

I'm ba-a-a-ack.

I was off to Florida for a week. Forgot to take my Blogger password with me (sigh). But now, I've returned.

850 miles on the Interstate is a long, dull drive. Well, except for when other drivers make it exciting, for microseconds at a time. (Nothing came of those incidents, thankfully.) A little too long to make all in one stretch, so it turns into two days of tedium. Thank heavens for books-on-CD: three of them (about 25 discs worth) covered the trip almost exactly. I wish the Hercule Poirot story had been a bit more interesting, though, and about half as long.

The cat is a fairly good traveler, all things considered. Other than the every-second-and-a-half inquiries of "Are we almost there?" for the first 100 miles, she slept most of the way, often in my lap. And she never made a break for the door when I got opened it. Once we got to my parents' place, she recognized where we were and remembered where her "safe places" were, and it took only about two days to re-establish the truce with the resident cats.

On the trip back, I had to marvel at how the highway engineers were able to add an additional 200 miles of Interstate highway to my route in South Carolina in the space of less than a week, and with no signs of construction or obvious detours.