Sunday, November 30, 2008

More Videos

Here's another video. This is from my trip out to Springfield in September. You can read about the Ozarks Steam Engine Association in the link here. I think these are really interesting looking machines. They were used before there were gasoline powered tractors. But they could also be used for powering other farm machinery as well.

Little Traditions

I have a couple of little traditions that I do around the holiday season.

The first is that starting on the Friday after Thanksgiving all I listen to is Christmas music until January 2. Everyday on the way to work I listen to the soundtrack to a Charlie Brown Christmas. It helps put me in the mood of the season. The important thing is that each year I need to get additional music to listen to. This year looks like there is a bumper crop to choose from. Enya, Faith Hill, Tony Bennett, Neil Sedaka. So they'll be lots of new stuff to listen to.

The other tradition is what I call the Parade of Peanuts ties. I wear a different Peanuts tie to work each day until I leave for the holiday. You may ask if I have enough ties to do that and the answer is of course I do. I even have several holiday themed ones too.

This is just my way starting the season off right.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Butterfly Video

With the help of my wonderful new computer here is some video. This is video that I shot on Wednesday when I went down to the Smithsonian. It is of the Butterfly Pavilion. It is about a minute and a half.



The great thing about it was I was able to upload more than twenty seconds of video. Now I'll be putting up all sorts of videos. I have a great deal of my trip to England which I will be posting over the next few weeks.

I have to figure out how to move my old camcorder tapes onto the computer. I have to see if there is something that the VCR will plug into that also has a firewire connection so you can hook it up to the computer.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Down to the Smithsonian

Work let out early on Wednesday so I went down to the American History Museum. It had just reopened after extensive renovations. You can read more about it here. I got to the Star Spangled Banner and the Gettysburg Address. Along with other stuff in what is affectionately called the nation's attic. The museum is still not completely open but I think over the next few months all the galleries will be open.

Then it was off down the block to the see the Natural History Museum. There is a new and truly incredible exhibit on the oceans. I only scratched the surface on it. I definitely have to go back and take some more time going through it. I also saw the butterfly pavilion. Wow what an incredible exhibit. There is an admission fee but it is well worth the price.

Here are some pictures. Tomorrow I hope to post some video.








































































































































































































































































This is not part of the Smithsonian. But somewhere hidden is part of a cat. See if you can find Sam.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Time to be Thankful

It is Thanksgiving after all and it is time to be thankful.

There are many things to be thankful for.

Most of all my family. They are the reason I am the person that I am today.

Next to my friends for being there for me.

To Sam for being such a wonderful cat.

I'm thankful for the place that I live. I'm going to do a post on some of the wonders I have a chance to see very day.

I thankful for living in this country and the opportunities it provides.

I'm also thankful for the ability to smile with all that is going on in the world today. Smiling makes the world a little bit better of a place. So let's all smile today and what better way then with a Peanuts cartoon.

Personal Bailout

I've been doing some thinking and I think I should qualify for a bailout.

I know I would make a very good presentation to Congress. I would take public transportation to the hearings on the Hill. I'd take the Metro to Union Station and then walk the rest of the way. I think that would make an excellent first impression on the members of the House and Senate committees I would appear before. After all since I live in the District taking a private jet to the hearing would be just so over the top.

I could also say that I haven't been on any expensive junkets to fancy spas that cost thousands upon thousands of dollars. I know I did go to England but I paid for that with my tax returns and I stayed in a bed and breakfast. So I think that is another point in my favor.

I would present a detailed plan of how I would be spending the money. I would pay off my mortgage. This would free up money for the bank I took the mortgage from to loan to other people.

There's some major remodeling that I'd like to do on the house. This would help stimulate the construction industry. I'd encourage whomever I choose as the contractor to shop at the Home Depot which is a few blocks away. This would help stimulate the local economy. The contractor could also use some of those people who hang out in the Home Depot parking lot who are looking for work.

Once the house has been remodeled there would be extensive landscaping work done on the front and back yards.

Then of course I would have to do work on the inside of the house. I'd like to put in hardwood floors and re-do the kitchen. The plan would be to add another bathroom and re-do the current one. I'd also have to get new furniture.

Also a point to consider is that I would not be paying myself any extravagant bonus at the end of the year.

And the cost to the tax payers would be very modest. I think I could easily do all of this for just around a million dollars.

So this weekend I'm going to be working up my proposal to submit to Congress. I hope I'd be able to do it in the session in December. But I can be patient and wait until the new year.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Financial Follies

So the fun continues. If you pay real close attention to the ups and downs of the market you’d be suffering from whiplash. Down nearly 1,000 in two day then up around 800 the next two days. It’s hard to tell what to think except that things are probably going to be getting worse before they get better.

It seems the Treasury department is finally doing something about consumer loans. You know consumers those people who keep the economy going by spending money. Yes maybe indeed something should be done so they can get loans. Link to story.

The Federal Reserve and Treasury moved today to boost consumer spending and lower home mortgage rates, committing up to $800 billion to make it easier for households to borrow money for cars, tuition bills and new homes as part of a broad effort to rekindle economic growth.

In addition to consumer spending, the Fed announced it would buy up to $100 billion in mortgages held by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Bank in an effort increase the flow of money into the housing markets and lower interest rates. The Fed will also buy another $500 billion in bundles of mortgage backed securities issued by the agencies.


I guess I need to ask the question what took so long. This melt down began in September and just now we are getting around to doing something for consumers.

It seems if a bank gets into trouble there is immediate attention but well the average guy seems to paying for the bail outs but not reaping any of the rewards.

So the bank of the moment is Citigroup. Another one of those it’s too large to be allowed to fail. As one of the comments I read on one of the stories about this stated then maybe it shouldn’t have been allowed to get so big. Down the road the government is going to have to address this problem. Bigger isn’t always better as we seem in case after case these past few months. To protect us from having another one of these melt down the government is going to have to come up with rules so that this financial companies don’t take on a life of their own.

The government said last night that it will provide a multibillion-dollar backstop for Citigroup, revamping emergency efforts yet again to head off the failure of a company more deeply intertwined with the financial system than nearly any other.

the company in jeopardy is truly gigantic. Citigroup is the largest U.S. bank by assets, with $2 trillion on its books. By contrast, Wachovia, which became the biggest bank to be done in by the financial crisis after being forced to sell itself to Wells Fargo this fall, has just over one-third as many assets.

Citigroup engages in almost every form of financial transaction available to banks and investment firms, making it heavily involved with almost every other large financial institution in the world. It is also deeply integrated into the nation’s financial history.

Yes, Citigroup is the bank of the moment. I have to wonder what the next moment will bring and the one after that and the one after that and . . .

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Concert to Remember

I have to say it was an amazing night seeing Tina Turner. She was in excellent voice and she still has the moves. There is no doubt about it!

Here's the song list:
Steamy Windows
Typical Male
River Deep, Mountain High
What You Get Is What You See
Better Be Good To Me
Acid Queen
What's Love Got To Do With It?
Private Dancer
We Don't Need Another Hero

Intermission

Help
Undercover Agent For The Blues
Let's Stay Together
I Can't Stand The Rain
Medley: Jumping Jack Flash/It's Only Rock 'N' Roll
Goldeneye
Addicted To Love
The Best

Proud Mary
Nutbush City Limits
Be Tender With Me, Baby

From the moment the curtains parted, Tina Turner was on. She has so much energy it is amazing. This is the third time in about 25 years that I've seen her. To me Tina has not slowed down at all. I just hope at 69 I have as much energy. And damn those legs!!

Help, Undercover Agent For The Blues, Let's Stay Together and I Can't Stand The Rain opened the second half of the show. Tina was sitting down surrounded by her band when she did these numbers. They really show cased her voice. But after this slow interlude the concert went back into high gear.

And here are some clips of the show from last night. The last clip (not the last song) was Proud Mary and it is just an incredible performance. It shows the complete and total talent of Tina Turner. Enjoy. I did!









Sunday, November 23, 2008

You Better Be Good to Me

I got to see Tina Turner at the Verizon Center tonight. I'm tired out from the concert and all I had to do was watch Tina perform. Oh yes and in three days she will be 69. I'll comment more on the concert tomorrow but for now enjoy You Better Be Good to Me one of my all time farvorites:

Tina on NPR

My friend Tina was on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday talking about arts and crafts.

Hear Tina's interview by following the link here.

There's a link to her ilike seamonsters in the blogs I read or just click here.

Oh and by the way Tina did a great job!!!

Saturday Follies

Every have one of those days when in the middle of it you go why exactly did I get up today. Wouldn't it just have been better to have stayed in bed? That's the sort of day I had yesterday. Here's how it went.

I got up a little late. I take a spinning class on Saturday morning. It starts at 9:15. It was pretty cold yesterday and I'd also wanted to run some errands after spinning and so I decided to drive over to the gym.

Parking can be tricky over there. A few minutes one way or another can make the difference between getting a spot or not. I was late. So I was concerned about if I would get s pot.

This is how my trip started. I get in the car and head out. I haven't gone very far when all of a sudden I'm passed on the right. There's a very small amount of space for this gut to complete this because there's a car parked in the right hand lane. If I hadn't slowed down, I would have hit the guy. This same guy later still in the right hand lane decided he needed to make a left hand turn which is three lanes over. So he just moves across the lanes. And of course he didn't use a turn signal.

The lights are not working in my favor and it is more and more obvious that I might not make it in time. I finally get near the gym and parking is hard to find. I find a couple of spaces but I'm not in the correct lane to get them. I need to go around the block. I'm stopped at a light. The traffic across from me has a left turn arrow. I finally get the green light.

There is someone making a left hand turn. They started making the turn after my light had turned green. I start forward and the person making the left turn decides they are going to make the turn anyway. I lay on my horn. I get this look of why are you blowing the horn. I stop because I'm concerned the other driver won't stop. I then move forward but the left turn person has decided they are going to make their turn no matter what. I sound my horn again and go on my way.

Well this little drama wasted some time and I lost the parking spots. I finally park about five blocks from the gym. I race to the gym. I get into the locker changed my clothes. I need to use to use the bathroom. I put my water bottle on the sink counter and head over to the urinal. The water bottle falls down and slowly rolls off the counter. I am of course doing my business so can't stop it from falling. The bottle rolls off the counter and shatters. So much for the water bottle. I still go to the spinning class but I find out you really do need to drink some water when you are in an hour spinning class.

But this is not the end of my fun day. A couple more things happen. I have another pass on the right and another close call. Someone who turns in front of me. Someone who moves over into my lane no signal and just enough room to fit in the lane.

I do some shopping. I get home and bring stuff into the house. Then I sell well for lack of a better word I smell shit. I think oh no. Sam had had another tummy episode earlier in the week. He hadn't made it to the litter box in time and left and very odoriferous pile. I think he's done this again. I'm looking around to clean it up. I do a search of the house but don't find anything. But I still smell it. I think maybe I put what I bought (cat food and litter) down on the ground and maybe they picked up something. Still no luck. Then finally I look at my shoes and there it is.

After all this fun I decided it was time to stay in the house and not push my luck.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Agreement in Iraq

Remember a year ago or so when we all thought Iraq would be the issue that would dominate the election. It seems like a distant memory now.

This week there was finally a status-of-forces agreement that the Bush administration has been negotiating for months. This is going to allow US troops to remain in the country after the UN agreement expires at the end of this year.

The story in the Post states:

"The total withdrawal will be completed by December 31, 2011. This is not governed by circumstances on the ground," the spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, told Iraqi reporters, pointedly rejecting the more conditional language that the U.S. government had sought in the accord.


So now there is a time table to withdraw from Iraq with no conditions. No matter is going on in Iraq come December 31, 2001, US troops will be gone. In other words the Bush administration completely caved. No more BS about how a time table will let terrorists know how long they have to wait until they begin their attacks again. No well will get out only if some set of conditions are met. Nope none of that at all.

The Iraqi Parliament still has to approve the deal. So there is always the possibility that this might not happen. If that should happen, then there is precious little time to come up with something else since the UN mandate expires at the end of the year.

I thought this was an interesting point in the story:

American officials have pointed out that there is nothing stopping the next Iraqi government from asking some U.S. troops to stay. The Iraqi military is years away from being able to defend the country from external attack, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials.


I can see almost no circumstances where any Iraqi government would want US troops to stay longer. More fantasy from the Bush administration on Iraq.

Friday, November 21, 2008

On the Metro

Here are some general thoughts I've had lately when I've been taking the Metro to work

Why when the door chimes chime and people rush to get on to the train (or for that matter in the normal course of getting on the train) they stop once they are on the train. It never seems to occur to them there might be people behind them trying to get on too.

Metro has gotten new cars. The area around the doors has been redesigned. Most of the poles have been taken out. The idea is to have people move to the center of the car. The problem is there is almost nothing to hang on to now around the doors. There are a couple of bars but they are near the ceiling and you have to be tall to reach them.

It is a good idea to get people to move into the cars. But here’s the problem that I have. I was going to get out of my seat and head towards the door because my stop was coming up. The train was moving. I stood up but realized there was no way I could walk over to the door because there wasn’t anything I could hold on to. So I just waited by my seat. Now the train was not all that crowded so I had no problem exiting. But, if the car is crowded, it would have taken me longer to get out. I could see this causing a delay when the Metro is busy.

Another thing on the Metro. I love when the doors open and the people on the platform try to get in the car before the people in the car have gotten out. One day a guy tried to do this and a lady no sir you can wait until we get off. She then forced the guy back onto the platform. I thought good for you.

One final observation and this happened just today. There was a woman with one a piece of luggage with wheels on it. She was pulling it behind her. In a matter of a few feet she banged it into one person and almost had another trip over it. The problem is people don't have a very good sense of just how much additional space the luggage takes up. So invariably they bump into people or move the luggage in such a way as to cause someone to trip over it.

In general the Metro is a wonderful thing. I'm on the Red Line. I have two stops that are about equal distant from my house. I can leave for work at 8 and get to work by 8:30. It can't get much better than that.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thursday Smile

I'm a little behind on things because of the election. Mostly after it was over I just had to take a moment and relax from all tension over it.

Here's a series a strips from Peanuts about Halloween. A little late but they are still very funny. Click the image to see it larger and enjoy.
























Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More on Pirates

Seems this has been a busy week in and around the waters of Somalia. Eight ships have been hijacked this week alone. Since the beginning of the year there have been a total of 39 ships taken. You can read a story from USA Today about it here.

The story reports that:

17 vessels remain in the hands of pirates along with more than 300 crewmembers, including a Ukrainian ship loaded with weapons and the Saudi supertanker carrying $100 million in crude.

I have to say again this seems like a strange story. Hard to believe in this day and age that this is going on.

The Indian navy scored a victory by destroying a pirate mother ship:

A patrolling Indian navy frigate quickly identified the vessel as a "mother ship" _ a mobile attack base used to take gangs of pirates and smaller speedboats into deep water _ and ordered it to stop and be searched.

By the time the battle was over, the mother ship had sunk _ the Indian gunfire sparked fires and a series of onboard blasts, possibly due to exploding ammunition _ and the speedboats were racing into the darkness.

As several American navy spokes people have said this is a very large area. Naval ships of whatever country can't be everywhere at once. The problem is in all likelihood going to continue until conditions in Somalia improve. However, Somalia's been in turmoil since the 1990s so it looks like this problem is not going to be going away anytime soon.

One more Democrat in the Senate

Convicted felon Ted Stevens lost his Senate seat. Mark Begich was declared the winner yesterday. Not all ballots have been counted but Begich is greater than the number of ballots that remain to be counted. Read more here in the Post.

I guess my first question is why it took so long to get the results. But I guess this is democracy at work. The story notes that:

The Democrat's lead thus far -- 47.8 percent to 46.6 percent -- puts him beyond the margin of victory that would allow Stevens to call for a state-funded recount of the ballots.
The Republicans caucused yesterday but decided against any comments on Stevens. One Republican wanted Stevens expelled from the caucus. It seems they were aware of the event going on in Alaska with the count and decided to let matters take there own course rather than taking any action on their own. Seems rather typical for Republicans lately.

As for the Democrats they decided to make nice with Trader Joe Lieberman. Obama had said that the Democratic Caucus should not strip Lieberman of his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. It does seem that if the Dems are going to carry out the notion of bipartisanship they should begin at home. Punishing Lieberman although it would make many members feel good would be completely counter productive.

With this win, it means the Democrats now have 58 seats in the Senate and inch closer to the 60 need to end any filibuster. I think this is very much a careful what you wish for. I think it would be much better if the Democrats did not get to 60. Just because they have the 60 votes doesn’t mean they will get those 60 votes all the time. Also if they do reach 60, there’s no way they can blame the Republicans if important legislation is not passed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Avast, ye maties

Yes, there are pirates.

But they're not in the Caribbean.

They are off the horn of Africa near Somalia.

It's hard to believe but in this day and age piracy has taken on a life of its own. The latest victim:

The 1,080-foot Sirius Star was seized by Somali pirates Sunday off East Africa. Its owner, Vela International, said the tanker is now believed to be anchored off the coast of Somalia.

More than 80 pirate attacks have been registered this year. Last month, the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved resolutions calling on nations to send naval ships and military aircraft to Somalia's coastline and allowing foreign powers to enter Somali waters to fight piracy.
You can read more about it here from the Post and from CNN. You can also see an AP video about here. Both ABC and NBC network nightly news casts had stories on this.

The reason for this increase in attacks is because Somalia has essentially fallen into anarchy. And pirates can operate with impunity.

Makes you think if somehow these pirates were actually organized say by a terrorist group what they could do to the supply of oil. But then again with the developed world in or about to be in a recession the impact might not be as great.

But still it is hard to accept the idea of pirates. I wonder if anyone's had to walk the plank.

Funny Ad for a Room For Rent for the Inauguration

This is a really funny ad that appeared on Craig's List and also there was a story about it in the Post. This guy advertised a room for rent for the inaugural.

Here's the ad:

In a search of a room in DC so that you can spend Jan. 20 standing in the bitter winter cold with thousands of like-minded souls watching the historic transfer of power from one Harvard grad to another? Look no further.

Me: Heartless, greedy right-wing oppressive type looking to make a buck.

You: Obama's election was Christmas/your first kiss/May Day all wrapped into one. You dutifully wore his button -- which you have yet to remove -- contributed money to his campaign from your non-profit job and chanted "yes we can" as if it were the 11th commandment. A strange void now exists in your life and -- like an old hippie looking to recapture the spirit of Woodstock -- you are undertaking a pilgrimages to Washington for one last gulp of the Kool-Aid.

Along with my bedroom you will have access to the house's many amenities including cable television (not that you watch much TV) for viewing Keith Olberman's latest unhinged rants and CNN in high-def. Wireless internet means that the Huffington Post and DailyKos are only a click away on your MacBook. American flags and other patriotic paraphernalia in the room can be removed upon request.

The house is located in the diverse neighborhood of Adams Morgan with people of many different skin pigmentations that will allow you to revel in your tolerance. Rest assured, however, that this diversity does not extend to ideology and that you are sure to march lock-step with the prevailing sentiment ensuring that your most strongly held beliefs remain unchallenged.

Easily accessible subway and bus stops will help ensure a minimal carbon footprint while fair trade coffee is never more than a few steps away at any number of independently-owned establishments. Nearby non-chain bookstores similarly mean that tomes such as Mao's Little Red Book, Chomsky's latest masterpiece or additional copies of The Audacity of Hope can be easily purchased either for yourself or as early holiday shopping.

Rather than state a price I am requesting that you bid on this fabulous opportunity to ensure profit maximization on my part so that I can better weather the Bush Recession.

Post-election Podcast










Now that Arthur and I have recovered from the election, we have a chat about where things are political. You can listen here. We start by talking about post-election issues—what’s going on, what’s likely to happen. We also talk about the future of the Republican Party. That leads to a discussion of the various ballot initiatives, especially California’s Prop 8. The reaction to the passage of Prop 8 and what happens next. Finally we talk about the elections in New Zealand.

Enjoy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Rent Your Home for the Inauguration

I told you about this earlier. Well the guys were out at Metro Center again today passing out these flyers.

The inauguration is over two months away. I can only imagine what things are going to be like in January. This place will be going nuts.

And I have to say I'm so glad I live here!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sam's Day

With all the election activities, I forgot to mention that Sam is now 13 years old. I place his birthday around Halloween. So here are some shots of the intrepid kitty cat.









































































Here's one of Sam's favorite toys. He can play with this for hours of course taking time off for a quick nap before batting the toy around the living room.









































Sam can also spend hours looking out the window or in this case the door.






















Here he investigates Tupperware.
































Yes, I am ready for my close up.

I often wonder what Sam is thinking. He hates when I spend hours on the computer. I think he feels he should be the center of attention. When I had a straight back chair, to get my attention, Sam would jump up on the back of the chair and my shoulder. Needless to say that scared the hell out of me. Now I don't have a straight back chair and he can't do that anymore.

Sometimes he will meow from the upstairs becoming very insistent if I don't come up and see what he's up to.

Something that seems to only happen in cold weather is when I have a blanket over my legs while watching TV he will sleep on my legs. He becomes very annoyed if I have to get up and he is disturbed. He will, however, wait at the end of the couch and resume his place once I've come back from doing whatever I had to do.

Sam is so strange. No wonder I like him so much.

The Transition

So the transition is well underway. It sounds like in short order most of the White House staff will be named and the cabinet sometime in the next couple of weeks.

I've noticed a rather interesting development in the coverage of all this. Many of the people being named are from the Clinton years. Somehow by naming these people the media is beginning to question if this the "change" that Obama talked about. There have even been comments that this is somehow the Clinton third term.

Well in case people and the media in particular need a reminder of what change is here's a list of some of the changes that are coming:

There won't be the notion that if you object to what the government is doing in Iraq, Afghanistan or the war on terror you are somehow a traitor to the United States.

The middle and lower class will have real tax relief.

When a bill is signed by the president there won't be a signing statement that says what part of the law will or won't be enforced.

People will be appointed to posts because they are qualified not because of cronyism.

When an energy policy is created it won't be dictated by the oil and natural gas industry in secret meetings with the Vice President.

You won't see U.S. Attorneys dismissed because they don't want to pursue a political agenda in conducting prosecutions.

There won't be rewriting of scientific reports to fit in with a political agenda. At an even more basic level there will be a belief in science again.

There won't be the semantics game of what is and isn't torture. There won't be any torture.

When Obama takes the oath of office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States thats' exactly what he will do. He won't be ignoring parts of the Constitution he doesn't particular like.

And that's the biggest change of all.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Funny Story

This is one of those funny but true and sort of hard to believe stories that happened to me this week.

I'd had the day from hell at work. It was as I often say "why should it be simple when it can be hard" days. When everything took five or six steps when normally it should take just one. My boss and I had spent over two hours trying to figure out why there was a problem when we exported a file to make it into an HTML file. Finally we figured it out. But it set the tone for the rest of my day.

I ran into another charming software stumper. All I can say is when technology works it is a wonderful thing but when it doesn't work the way you want or expect well that's just a bitch.

Finally the end of the day comes. I'm going to go home and make a nice dinner and just relax. I'm "cooking" in other words everything is going in the microwave. I'm making chicken with rice and some corn.

Things are going well. No problems with the chicken or rice. I get the frozen corn out of the freezer. When I do that I hear this odd sound. Almost like a tinkling sound. I stop what I'm doing and the sound starts. I think hmm oh well. I move from the frig to the counter to put the corn in a dish so I can put it into the microwave. I hear the sound again. I look around. I try and figure out where the sound is coming from. I look around the kitchen and I'm still hearing the sound. Finally I feel something hit my let. I look down and there is corn all over the floor. The bag of corn has a hole in it. Of course by moving around the kitchen, I've been moving the bag of corn in my hand and spreading corn all over the floor.

After everything else that happened that day, all I could do is laugh. I did decide that I was going to eat my dinner first before cleaning up the mess. I really should have taken care of it right away. I have to think getting frozen corn up off the floor would have been easier than getting the corn up that had thawed. It was again not as easy as it should have been.

I feel that years from now I'll move something and find some mummified kernel of corn.

Odds and Ends

On the Way to the Gym
I'm on my way to the gym this morning to take my spinning class. It is a rather nasty day out. Rainy and very humid and for November rather warm.

At Rhode Island Ave. and North Capitol Street there is an accident. The police are there along with a fire truck. At first it is hard to tell what's happened. It turns out that the car involved in the accident was hit by the fire truck. I have to assume that the fire truck was on the way to a call and the person in the car couldn't be bothered to yield to the fire truck. To add to matters the car was struck on the side which means the car was traveling on the cross street in relation to the fire truck.

I hope the fire truck was traveling to a "real" emergency.

Spinning
I took a spinning class this morning. It was me and the instructor. It was a good class. It lasts an hour.

The instructor is first rate. You get a long hard workout with her class. She concentrates on building resistance over a period of time. Also coming out of the saddle for a minute at a time. Then sitting back down for a minute and then standing again. For standing she makes sure the resistance is high. The big thing is to keep the resistance at the same level once you sit down. That is not as easy as it sounds.

Diplomats Are Everywhere
With the big economic summit in town this weekend, there are police and diplomats everywhere. I could really notice the step up in the police presence when I was walking up to Tom's opening (which by the way was a big success).

This morning parking around the gym was a little tricky. Usually I can park within a couple of blocks of the gym but not today.

I got to see the Chinese delegation driving down Connecticut Ave. on the way to the White House.

I'm not sure what the summit will accomplish. It seems that developing countries are in the drivers seat as the developed nations slip into a recession. But I have to wonder if at some point the recession won't come calling on the developing countries too.

At the Grocery Store
On the way back from the gym, I stopped off at the grocery store. I had to pick up a few things and see if there were any bananas I could buy. The problem with bananas is they are either way too ripe or so green they won't get ripe for a week. The bananas were too ripe.

I got a couple of other things and headed for check out. It was Saturday morning and it was pretty busy. I used one of the self-checkout lines. They have four of them but only two were working.

I usually use the self-checkout. I will say they should work better than they do. First off home come two of them were out of commission. I think that there should be a limit on the number of items you can have in these lines. People with full charts should have to use the regular check out lines. It takes too long otherwise. Also produced should be labeled with the codes so you can scan them in quicker. I had a green pepper and had to type in the item. For some reason there was nothing under green or pepper. I ended up not getting it because I didn't want to hold up the line.

One final note. I got to add a new label to my posts this morning Obama Presidency. Pretty cool.

Clinton at State?

I have to say I was surprised at this one.

It didn't occur to me that Obama would want Clinton in the cabinet. Also that Clinton would want the position. More on the story here.

My thought was that Clinton would stay in the Senate. Over time she would take up the position similar to Ted Kennedy. A mover and shaker. An important senator who's support was sort after. I figured she would be the champion of health care.

But then I started thinking about it. This might not be a bad idea after all. Clinton would be much closer to the center of the political action. She would also play a much greater and more important role as Secretary of State then as the junior Senator from New York. She also has an unusual position because she is a former first lady.

I'm thinking this might be a good idea.

It does seem that Obama is taking to heart Doris Kearns Goodwin book Team of Rivals. This details how Lincoln brought into his cabinet the major players who ran against him for the presidential nomination. I did a post about Doris Kearns Goodwin apperance at the National Book Festival back in 2006.

In a similar vein Obama is going to meet with McCain on Monday.

I think this is going to be a very interesting transition unlike anyone we've seen in the past.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Help For the Little Guy

With all the billions going to the banks and AIG, it seems there was very little help going to the average person. All the big plans didn't involve directly helping those people in danger of loosing their homes. Now finally there is some help.

First and foremost what took so long.

You can read more about it from the Post here.

The upshot is that the terms of the mortgages are being renegotiated. The two big mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are at the forefront of this. This program will help out people who are 90 days behind in payments. It will lower the interest rate and extend the time of the loan from 30 years to 40 years. In some cases some of the principal owed on the loan will be deferred.

The idea is to keep people in their homes. With so many foreclosures, they are up 25% this year, it doesn't make sense to have even more people default on their loans. After all the banks aren't going to be able to unload these house if they end up owning them. Also the more foreclosures the more this drives down the value of homes. That only helps to perpetuate the cycle.

Some banks are taking a similar approach but with one big change. They are not waiting until a homeowner is 90 days behind. The banks are contacting homeowners they feel might run into problems and working something out before that point is reached.

Again what took so long.

Congress will be holding hearings today on the bail out. They will specifically be asking banks that received the money why they aren't doing more to help consumers.

About time Congress actually did its job.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Photographs by Thomas Drymon

My friend Tom is having an exhibit of his photography at Caramel. It opens this Friday. You can see details below.



Odds and Ends

Rent Your Home for the Inauguration

At Metro Center this morning guys were passing out leaflets. On them they said you could rent your house for the inauguration and get from $1,000-$5,000 for the week. I have a funny feeling that Washington will be wall to wall with people come January 20.

There have been several news reports that rooms are going quickly. If you expect to get one you need to book now or you'll miss out. There's also been at least one report on how to rent your house for the inauguration.

It makes me wonder what January is going to be like in DC. To top it off the inauguration is the day after the Martin Luther King holiday.

25 Percent Off

I wen to the Apple Store at Tyson's Corner Mall over the weekend. To get to the Apple Store I went through Bloomingdales. They had a sale on men's suit. The suits were really nice. I'm pretty sure they were from Italy. If you took 25% off the price of the suit it would come to $423.75. The price of the suit was $1695. Yes $1695.

Now I sort of think that $423.75 you could go to many other stores and get a pretty nice suit for that price. And if there was a sale you might even be able to get two.

Now at first I thought that I'd misread the price. On the way back to my car I checked again and sure enough $1695. I thought as I went out if anyone can afford a suit for that price then they can afford to have their taxed raised. Because I'm pretty sure if you can afford a $1695 suit you're probably making over $250,000 and that means your taxed will be going up when Obama is president.

Training

I went to the gym on Tuesday. It was rather strange not to have a personal training session with Randy. But I did pretty well on y own. I know my legs hurt today so that's always a good sign that I've had a good workout. I went on Sunday too. I'm using some of the exercises that I did with Randy and then adding some of my own stuff as well.

I still haven't connected with the trainer Randy recommended. We were supposed to have a session last Friday but he had to cancel. I was hoping we could arrange something for this week but that seems like it's not going to happen. I hope to get back working with someone soon. I'm going to go down to one session a week.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Electoral Votes By District

Only two states have their electoral votes divided by Congressional Districts. They are Maine and Nebraska.

It seems that in Nebraska one electoral vote will go to Obama because he won one of the districts. Obama won the 2nd Congressional District. It is the first time since 1964 that an electoral vote from Nebraska has gone to a Democrat.

Now that is change.

Center Right Nation?

That's what the Republicans are calling the United States. They see that as there way back to power. In piece after piece after the Republican pasting on Tuesday is this refrain.

This from cry at the drop of the hat on the floor of the House Congressman John Boehner from Ohio:

America is still a center-right country. This election was neither a referendum in favor of the left's approach to key issues nor a mandate for big government.



This from Dov Zakheim a senior foreign policy adviser to the first Bush:

The United States remains a center-right nation, but it is not a bigoted or small-minded one. Ours is an inclusive, generous society. It may not want too much government, but it seeks responsible and efficient government. It eschews isolationism and admires the promise of cooperation in foreign affairs. It looks to its leaders to keep their promises, but it also wants them to win over those whose votes they did not receive.


This from Rich Lowry of the Nation:

It is indeed, as conservatives have been insisting in recent days, a center-right country. The question is how to appeal to the center again.



A couple of quick points come to mind. Just because the Republicans are saying the nation is center-right does not make it true.

The notion from Mr. Zakheim that the center-right nation he envisions exists is not bigoted well I think Mr. Zakheim needs to look at some of the people who attended McCain/Palin rallies. I think that would be an eye opener for Mr. Zakheim.

I'm not sure the country is a center-right country. I'm not sure it is a center-left country. I do know that it is moving further and further away from the center-right country it was when Bush was elected president.

Here is the problem I see for the Republicans. If this is indeed a center-right country I don't see how the Republicans appeal to people. The reason is they have become a far far far right party. There are essential few if any moderates left in the Republican Party. Most important of all they are a very very white party. All you need look at is the people who attended rallies. Or the people at the convention. They have been completely unable to broaden the Republican appeal to any minorities.

In the not too distant future minorities will be the majority. What does the Republican Party do then? How do they shed the image of grumpy, very old and very, very, very conservative white men?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Election by the Numbers

It really wasn't all that close. At least in comparison to past elections. Obama got 53% of the vote. That is the first time a Democrat has gotten over 50% of the vote since Jimmy Carter back 1976. Obama won in every age group except for people over 65.

Eight states switched sides from 2004. Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada.

Only one state is still outstanding Missouri where McCain is ahead by 5,859 out of a total of almost 2.9 million votes.

McCain spent all that time in Pennsylvania yet he lost the state by 11%. Not even close. It makes you wonder what the McCain campaign saw that made them think the state could possible go their way. This was one if the few places that the Republican National Committee ran ads about Rev. Wright. Probably in retrospect not a particularly smart move.

I was surprised that Ohio went for Obama. And further surprised by the margin of 200,000. Once that was called which was around 9:30 it was only a matter of time i.e. the polls closing in the west before Obama would win.

Virginia which was close for most of the night finally was called for Obama. But again the final results were not all that close. Again Obama won by 200,000 votes. I think in the future Virginia is going to be in play. There have been two straight Democrats as governor (in Virginia the governor can only be in office for one term). There are now two Democratic senators and it went for the Democratic presidential candidate as well. It shows the huge shift towards the Democratic taken place in the suburbs around Washington, DC.

Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico are states that have been put in play too. Or better put are no longer sure Republican states. And, you have to think that if McCain had not been on the ballot in Arizona, Arizona would be in play too.

I think the Republicans have to be worried about how things will play for them in the future. Of course one election does not make a trend but places long considered Republican were in play and that should give some pause. It means the Republicans have to fight on their own turf instead of taking the battle to states that usually vote for the Democrats. It also mean the number of toss up states has expanded. And that in the long run is a good thing.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Circular Firing Squad

This seems to be what Republicans especially people in the McCain campaign are doing. Playing the blame game. Point their fingers at Sarah Palin. All sorts of leaks about her. That she was not very bright and incredibly ambitious.

This from a McCain aid even before the election:

"She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone," this McCain adviser said. "She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else.

"Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves, as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom."


I guess she doesn't know that Africa is continent not a country. I guess the list goes on and on. Campbell Brown of CNN has good column about the whole thing. The upshot being, and I happen to agree with this completely:

You are the ones who supposedly vetted her, and then told the American people she was qualified for the job. You are the ones who, after meeting her a couple of times, told us she was ready to be just one heartbeat away from the presidency.

If even half of what you say now is true, then boy, did you try to sell the American people a bill of goods. If Sarah Palin is the reason some voters chose Barack Obama, that is no one's fault but your own.


I am no fan of Sarah Palin. But the McCain campaign chose her. It seems they didn't do the proper job of vetting her. And yet still put forth she was qualified to be vice-president and a heart beat away from the presidency. It seems to me the idea was to do anything to win. Damn the consequences.

Thankfully the American people saw through that.

A Transcendent Moment

That's what Tuesday night was. It was history. It is a moment in time that will pointed to from now on as when something dramatically changed in our country.

I've been thinking about those moments that I've lived through. Here's what comes to mind"

The assassination of John F. Kennedy one of my very first vivid memories that I have.

The assassination of Martin Luther King.

The assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.

The landing on the moon.

The resignation of Richard Nixon.

The Challenger explosion.

The Berlin Wall coming down.

9/11.

And now of course Tuesday night.

A large part of the list is tragedies. They do seem to have a larger impact of the flow of history then the triumphs. But Tuesday went beyond triumph. It wasn't only that the first African-American was elected president. It was a repudiation of an administration that attempted to destroy our very constitution. Tuesday was also the triumph of the rule of law over the trouncing of that same rule.

No matter how you look at it, it was a glorious night.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Obama Rally In Northern Virginia, Election Eve

Here are some pictures from a co-worker who went to the Obama rally in Manassas on election eve.




Wednesday, November 05, 2008

1:30 AM

Why what a difference a day makes.

I was hopeful that Obama would win. I never thought it would be like this.

Huge changes in the electoral map. Ohio, Virginia and Florida changing to the Democrats. He's leading by hair in North Carolina and Indiana and is just behind McCain in Missouri and Montana.

Montana!!! That more than anything shows how things have changed.

I'll have more on this tomorrow well actually today.

All I can say is every once and a while America does something really great and this is one of those times.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

He's Won

Once it was announced Obama won, people came out on my street and cheered. I found my cow bell and took it outside and shook it long and loud. And peopled cheered even louder.

What an incredible night.

YES WE DID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

284 and counting.

Virginia is in his column as well

5 Minutes To Go

The polls about to close on the West Coast. When they do Barack Obama will be elected the next President of the United States.

10:20

There's sort of a lull now. Everyone is waiting for the polls in the west to close to call the race.

Chris Shays who's a Republican congressman in Connecticut lost his seat. There are now no Republican representatives in New England. Now that is a huge change. It was a rock for the Republican Party for decades. But as the Republican Party became more and more and more conservative, New England drifted away.

10:00

It's coming up on 10:00. More polls will close. Iowa will most likely go for Obama.

Virginia is very very close. Obama has a very small lead but it looks like he is slowly pulling away.

Florida is close as well but is still ahead at 51%.

North Carolina is also just as close.

Indiana is every so slightly ahead for McCain.

Things are looking very good.

I Think It Is Over

9:35

Ohio has gone to Obama. No Republican has ever won without winning Ohio.

New Mexico has gone to Obama.

NBC puts Obama at 200 electoral votes. When the west comes in Obama is president.

Obama at 174

9:15

Obama is now at 174 electoral votes.

IF Obam can win Florida then he's well on the way to winning.

It is interesting that CNN is taking a long time to call states.

I am jumping from station to station see the most recent information.

How will it end? When will it end?

I'm not sure yet.

The Democrats have picked up at least three seats in the Senate: Virginia, New Hampshire and North Carolina.

Haven't hear much about the House races yet.

Jumping all Over the Place

8:45 I'm not staying with one station but surfing when commercials come on or I want more information.

Interesting that is took CNN so long to call Pennsylvania.

Obama has over 100 electoral votes. He needs to win a couple of those toss up states.

Florida and Ohio would be great wins.

So far things are going well but then again this has happened before so I'm not jumping up and down yet.

A new round of states coming up at 9. New York among them.

Around 8:30 pm

I've been talking with people and also watching my friend's Arthur's blog from more than half way around the world. I think we are all excited but still cautiously optimistic.

I like what my friend Mark said he hopes Obama crushes McCain. He hopes McCain only wins 10 states. I don't think that will happen. At least for now fingers crossed things are looking good.

Pennsylvania Goes for Obama

Obama has won Pennsylvania at least ABC and NBC have projected it so. The effort by McCain to turn PA has totally failed.

It is also interesting to see that all of the states not called so far have been states that usually would go Republican.

This is a very good start.

Also the thing to remember that the west coast and Hawaii bring in 74 electoral votes for Obama.

I think I'm almost breathing normally.

Lots of Talking Heads

Not a whole lot going on. So lots of talking heads without saying a great deal.

It is interesting that most of the states that are out are states that are normally Republican. The states that are usually Democratic are yet to come. McCain is ahead in the electoral college but only two states have been called.

I will say that the way ABC is showing vote totals at the bottom of the screen it is almost impossible to follow the information.

It's also interesting that everyone seems to have a touch screen to play with. This is something that CNN has pioneered.

Good news in Virginia and totally expected Mark Warner is crushing Jim Gilmore.

There's also a great deal of exit poll statistics about who voted and how they voted etc etc

Election Night Blogging

I'm going to try and post during the night. It will be my reactions and how the vote totals pile up. I'm not going to say who I think will win. Not just yet anyway.

I'm hopeful. That's all I'm going to say at the presidential level. As for the Congressional level. Looks like the Democrats are going to whip the Republicans. And it's about time too. I'm not sure the Democrats will get 60 seats in the Senate. It would be nice if they did so they could get rid of Trader Joe Liberman. But then again having 60 seats might make the Democrats a little too cocky.

As we say in my family we'll see.

Voting

I got up early because I haven't adjusted to the change in time yet. I decided to go and vote before going to work.

I got in line around 6:35 am. I was given a number. I'm not exactly sure why but my number was 79. I'd say that by the time the polls opened at 7 there were at least 200 people in line.

The voting is done in a school's art room. The set up is not the best because there's only one door and it's a regular size door. Other than that it's fine. I was lucky that my last name fell in one of the shorter lines to check in. As the person in front of me was signing their name, I was giving the poll worker my drivers license. It sped things up considerably. Once I signed my name I went to another line to receive my ballot.

I got the ballot and then it was off to vote. The ballots we use are read by an optical character reader. What you do is link two ends of an arrow. There's the name of the person you are voting for and then the end of the arrow. There is then an empty space and then the start of the arrow. You take a number two pencil and draw a line connecting the two parts of the arrow.

Here's an example (click on it for a larger view):














I have to say I paused for a second to take in how historic a moment this was. I very carefully marked my ballot for Obama/Biden and then filled in the rest of it. I then very carefully checked my ballot to make sure I'd voted for who I want to vote for. I think took it over to the machine and put it and got my I voted sticker.

When I walked out of the school I walked passed the line of people waiting to vote. It was essentially where it had been right before the polls had opened. Again my guess there were probably around 200 people in line.

I've done my part to help elect Barack Obama president.

And So It Begins

I'm off to vote. I'm doing my part to get Barack Obama elected.

Everyone needs to do their part and get out and vote.

I'm hopeful of an Obama victory.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Closing Statements

Arthur and I did a final podcast on the election tonight. You can find information about it and link to it a couple of posts down.

We both did Closing Statements about the campaign. They are in the podcast but I also wanted to post each of them. They follow after this post.

Remember to vote tomorrow!

My Closing Statement

Here's my closing statement:

I’d like to say something in general about the past few years. I’m tired of the notion that somehow because I don’t agree with the party that controls the presidency, I’m somehow un-American. That somehow I’m not a "real" American. To put it bluntly I’m tired of my patriotism and love of this country being constantly questioned by the party in power.

Having said that I’d like to add that the single most important thing anyone can do tomorrow is to go out and vote. Furthermore you should encourage everyone you know to vote. Call them, e-mail them, tell them to vote. Democracy does not work unless people participate. So Vote.

As for me, tomorrow I’m voting for Barack Obama. I could go into great detail as to why I’m supporting him but I’m just going to mention a few points.

I think he’s right on taxes. I think the middle class deserves a tax cut.

I think he’s right on foreign policy. I think electing Barack Obama president, in and of itself, will go a long way to restoring our standing in the world. I know he’s ready to make the hard choices necessary to keep this country safe.

I think he’s right on health care. Health care is a right not a responsibility. Also you shouldn’t have to lose your shirt if you get sick.

I could go on, on issue after issue. But I’ll close with this.

We’ve had eight years of fear. It’s time to have four years of hope. And that hope is Barack Obama.

Arthur's Closing Statement

Here's Arthur's closing statement:

I tried to think of what I could say that hasn’t already been said, but there’s not much. I’d bet nearly all listeners of this podcast have already made up their minds, and, in any case, I’ve been pretty clear about my opinions on this election. So, I’m unlikely to convince anyone at the last minute.

So instead, I thought I’d share a little about my life’s political journey that led to this moment, and the reason why I voted as I did.

I wrote on my blog about how one of my earliest memories was political: A mock presidential election held in my Kindergarten class. I talked about how I distrusted the whole set-up because, since we couldn’t yet read or write, we had to depend on the teacher to write down the candidate we wanted. I learned to be suspicious of potential voter fraud at five years old.

What I haven’t talked about before is who I voted for in that mock election, because even now I find it kind of embarrassing: I voted for Barry Goldwater.

You see, I was born into a Republican family. From an early age I was taught the importance of limited government, of individual freedom and liberty. But my Christian upbringing also taught me that we have a duty to care for those who cannot care for themselves, and that we must always strive for justice and fairness.

In 1980, the first election in which I was old enough to vote for President, the Republican Party veered sharply to the right. It became a party I no longer recognised and could no longer support. Their zeal to “reign in” government meant the poor and middle classes were left to fend for themselves, and large parts of society were shut-out entirely. As part of this, a religious fanaticism was unleashed. I never again called myself a Republican.

So my arrival at the door of the Democratic Party was as a refugee—I was escaping the arrogance and intolerance of Reagan’s Republicans.

Over the years, I worked in grassroots politics, alongside some brilliant, talented people, trying to make society better for everyone despite the Republicans efforts to do the opposite. And, I always voted.

Despite everything, I came to believe in the fundamental decency and tolerance of difference that I found present among individual Americans throughout the country. I learned that, more often than not, the failure of American politics is not the failure of the people—the voters—but rather a failure of imagination from the people who would be our leaders. They have been, especially on the Republican side, committed to maintaining what has already passed, and to ensuring that as a people we cannot become better than we are.

But just as they have failed to lead, we have failed to demand more from them. We’ve been content to let them practice their politics of division and reaction; we’ve allowed them to bully opposition into silence, and we’ve allowed them to convince the American people to vote against their own best interests.

Not counting Kindergarten, this will be the eighth presidential election I’ve voted in.

But this year is different from all the others.

I am proud that I cast my vote for Barack Obama for president. In fact, I’ve never been as committed to a presidential candidate as I am to Barack Obama, because he represents the values I hold, and the beliefs I’ve established from the political journey I just described.

Barack Obama offers the best chance we’ve had in more than a generation to bring Americans together in a new, centrist majority. Together with the new Congress, he will have the opportunity to marginalise our enemies on the extreme right once and for all, not by the tired divisive tactics of the past eight years or so, but by finding common ground and restoring civility.

And that means that we can finally start moving forward together. It means we can stop living in fear of the next outrageous attack from the religious fascists as we instead create the society we deserve, one in which all people are equal and deserving equally of the blessings of freedom and liberty.

I have no illusions that President Obama will be able to wave a magic wand and make the political excesses of the past three decades disappear, but he can help us, the centrist majority, to take our country back from the extremists who have been running it.

Imagine a world in which we all strive to be a better people than we are today. Imagine a country that calls upon the “better angels of our nature”, and not upon the basest selfish instincts. Imagine a politics that embraces difference as a strength, and politicians who build a united country. If you can imagine it, we can have it.

It all begins with one simple thing: Hope. Barack Obama offers us the opportunity to create real change. Are we ready and able to accept? If so, there’s one clear first step: We must elect Barack Obama president and let nothing keep us from voting. Can we do that? You know the answer: Yes, we, can.

Final Podcast before the Election










This is the final podcast that Arthur and I are doing before the election. You can listen to it by following this link.

It’s Election Eve we go over the current Electoral College totals. Then, we discuss a few smaller issues, and go over comments.

Then it’s to the main purpose of today’s podcast: Our “closing statements”. We tell you what we’re thinking and feeling at the end of this long campaign.

And we urge everyone to get out and vote tomorrow and to tell everyone they know to get out and vote.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Obama's Visit to Springfield

Here's my brother's piece on Obama's visit to Springfield yesterday:

Unite in Common Effort

We met some interesting people in line. A couple from Oklahoma began the day intending to drive to Pueblo, Colo, where they knew Obama was appearing. Then they learned he was coming to Springfield, and they changed plans because the drive was much shorter. Many others besides them came from Oklahoma, and still more arrived from Arkansas and Kansas and from Kansas City and Columbia and other parts of Missouri.

We spent about fours hours standing next to three nurses from St. John’s, where Jen works. One of them, in her mid-50s, said she had voted Republican all her life, along with the rest of her family. This election would be her first vote for a Democratic candidate for president. I asked her what the deciding factor was. She did not hesitate:

“Palin.”

The nurse wondered about Palin calling attention to her daughter’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy. “I was a teen-age mother,” she said. “If my mother had paraded me out like that, it would have crushed me.”

Many people in cars drove by, mostly giving a thumbs up. One guy hollered pro-Obama slogans out one window, while his dog, a little daschund, barked loudly from the passenger’s seat.

A few McCain drivers cruised by, leering. They received boos from the crowd — even though, as we all know, We don’t need to boo, we just need to vote ...

I heard several people wearing blue official Obama cards say, over the course of the afternoon, that everyone in line would get in. I was extremely skeptical. The line was as thick as a lane of traffic and extended, depending on various reports, from one to two miles.

In any case, once we were inside, the stadium filled up slowly but steadily over three hours. Eventually, all the bleacher seats with good sightlines were filled, as was the playing field and sidelines. Even as Claire McCaskill was introducing Michelle Obama, the last of the crowd was filing in. It’s likely that everyone did get in, because there was still plenty of room in the far end zone. But that was the only empty area. The crowd was estimated at 30-35,000.

Everyone watching TV has probably heard his recent stump speech. He seemed to be really enjoying the delivery, especially the material about Dick Cheney’s endorsement and the annual earnings of plumbers.

I was most moved with a quieter part of his speech. It goes somewhat like this:

The government can only do so much ... each of us will have to do our part in out selves and our communities. ... We need to usher in a new era of responsibility and civility. We can disagree, but we can also summon the strength, grace and dignity to unite in common effort. ... All of us have a role to play in our (revival).

New iMac

Here are pictures of my new iMac. It is great. The screen seems very large to me still. My last computer the monitor was around 17 inches so this means I have 7 more inches of space to deal with. It makes a huge difference. I can open all sorts of windows and have room on the screen to see all of them.

It is also WAY faster. Web pages load in what seems like seconds compared to the eMac. Applications open quicker too. InDesign opens in a reasonable time frame and getting things to print are so much easier now.

I'm very please with my purchase.






































Here's something interesting. If you look at the M and W keys, they are the exact same key except one is turned upside down.

Obama In Springfield

Barack Obama was in Springfield, MO last night. My brother and sister-in-law went and saw him. They called my up on their cell phone and I got to hear some of the speech live. It was very cool. Read more about Obama's visit here. Also I've asked my brother to do a write up of the event. I hope to post it sometime today or tomorrow.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Fall Back

That's what we do tonight. We fall back to standard time.

As everyone always says you get an extra hour of sleep. My dad came up with a great response to that: you only get the extra hour if you can sleep the extra hour. I couldn't agree more. As someone who in all likelihood not be able to sleep the extra hour, 5 am will come awfully early. Not that I always wake up at 6 on the weekends but sleeping "late" on the weekends for me is like 7 am. I'm hoping to be able to fall back and sleep to at least the time tomorrow.

Of course with time change coming a week later than it used to be, a couple of my electronic devices decided they would be helpful and change automatically. The only problem with that of course is they changed last weekend. So last Sunday I dozed off on the couch and woke to look at the clock on my DVD recorder. It said 2:15. Now I know it had to be later than that. It took me a little while to figure out what was going on. So I changed the clock back to daylight savings time. The thing is tomorrow I'll have to change it again.

I always seem to forget one clock in my house. That one is the one in the basement. Since I don't go down there a great deal except to do laundry or iron, the clock can sometimes be wrong for up to a week. I'm hoping to remember change it this time.

Then of course with time change it is time to go around to all the smoke detectors and CO2 detectors and change batteries. This year I have enough batteries to do all of them.

So I hope you can sleep the extra hour we're all getting tonight. I all likelihood I'll be up around 5. Even Sam won't want to get up and play that early.

Clothes that fit

It's nice to have clothes fit again. I put aside a bunch of jeans at the beginning of the year that no longer fit. They were too small. I commented on this in an early post. But I tried on some of the jeans again this morning.

I did this because I got on the scale this morning and I weighed in at 171 pounds. Yeah!!! Let me say that again YEAH!!! I thought to myself I should try the jeans again. The 34 inch waist one I had no problems getting into. The 33 inch ones felt a little tight. It was also hard to get your hands into the pockets too. But I think if I wore a pair for awhile they'd loosen up some. I've noticed that with jeans that they seem tight when you first put them on but loosen up as the day goes by.

I think I need to pay a little more attention to my abs. I have a DVD of exercises which I need to do on a regular basis. I have a tendency to start doing them and be very good for a couple of weeks and then something interrupts my schedule and well I just start doing them. But I'm going to get back into it starting tomorrow. As well as getting back on the stationary bike. The goal is to do both of these things 2-3 times a week.

I've set up an appointment with a new training at Results. My first work out will be this coming Friday. I think for awhile I'm just going to do once a week. I hope to get into some of the other classes that they have. I went to spinning again today. I hope to add another class on Wednesday. My thought is to work out on Sunday, Tuesday and then have the personal training session on Friday. I'd take spinning classes on Wednesday and Saturday. They also have an intro yoga course on Thursday. Hopefully the yoga course will help with my flexibility. I also have to get up enough nerve to actually do it. It's also at 7 in the morning which means a very early morning. But for now that's the plan.

I hope to start some of it next week. With the election on Tuesday it probably means no spinning class on Wednesday because it starts at 7. Thus starts the next phase of working out. Perhaps a new weight goal is to be under 170 pounds but that's for another time at least for now.