So, I had to go somewhere this morning and, on my way there, I crossed the Pierce Street Bridge. The anti-abortion folks were out with their signs. Seemed to me that most, if not all, of the people holding the signs were men.
Blog posts August 2006
To the surprise of almost no one, DNA tests have proved that John Karr did not kill JonBenet Ramsey. The only thing that surprises me is that it took less than two weeks from the time Karr was picked up in Thailand to get the DNA sample and the results. I thought it would have taken longer. I guess somebody wanted a rush put on it.
Even though he didn't kill JonBenet, Karr certainly seems to have some issues. Looks like the creep will soon be headed back to California to face charges there. It will be interesting to see if he decides to fight extradition from Colorado.
After nine days off, I went back to work on Monday. Knowing I would have a lot of emails to sort through, I went in an hour early. I figured 500, maybe 600 to go through.
The actual number of emails, if I recall, was 1189. And, that did not include the ones that came in while I was going through them.
Needless to say, it took me more than an hour to get through them. In the end, I think about six were worth keeping.
When I go to the store (pretty much any store will do), I have this little trick that I do. I always find the checkout lane that moves the slowest. I'm so good at it, that I don't even have to try. Jen's Law of Shopping states that: The slowest lane will be whichever one Jen gets into. Doesn't matter how many people are in front of me, or how many items they have. It will be slow. In fact, in many cases, some sort of rule of inverse proportions seems to apply, whereby the shorter the line appears to be, and the fewer items I have, the longer it will actually take to get through it.
I don't know why this rule/law/cruel joke of the universe applies to me, but it does. I always seem to get behind the person who a) needs to split up the order into two groups; b) bought some item which requires a price check; c) thought the ad in last week's newspaper was still good for today. Oh, it's not? Then I don't want that; d) wants to pay with a check, but doesn't have their driver's license. I've been in line behind them all and, sometimes, there was only one of them ahead of me!
This rule/law/cruel joke of the universe proved itself once again yesterday when I went to my least favorite store in the world - and you know WHICH ONE IT IS. I wanted to hang a picture in my office, so I needed a frame, a matte, and some nails. That's it. Nothing else.
So, it's the middle of the afternoon when I arrive at the store. And, as usual, it's mobbed with people meandering through the aisles, looking every which way except where they're going. It's also very loud inside the store. A combination of pop music and conversations made for a din that was louder than it needed to be, really.
Anyway, I manage to pick up my three items - a frame, a matte, and some nails - and head to the checkout area. About half of the lanes seemed to be open, and they all seemed to have quite a few customers in them. Then, I spotted the self-checkout area. Aha! That's usually good for small purchases.
Not at my least favorite store in the world, it's not. Despite signs which promise "Self checkout - Fast Lane", there were fairly long lines at each one, and a majority of people had carts which were fairly full of stuff. I eventually ended up in a self-checkout lane, behind an older couple who had a few cans of peanuts. They were behind a woman who had a cart, but appeared to be close to getting done.
Not at my least favorite store in the world. This woman had enough stuff to last a family of five for a week. And, she was the SLOWEST self checker-outer I have ever seen. She was so slow that I can't even describe how slow she was. Let me just say that it didn't help speed things up any when she kept pausing to pull her wandering kids back to her side. So much for the "fast lane." Jen would like there to be some laws about these things.
The old folks in front of me got fed up and took their stuff to the girl who was there to help people who needed help with the self checkout. I and my three items went right up there behind them. I think we qualified as "needing help" - to get the hell out of the store!
This would never happen at Target.
This morning's JonBenet story focussed on John Karr waiving his extradition from California to Colorado. The story on GMA said that Karr did not fight extradition, but he did say he was upset about having to wear one of those orange jumpsuits to the hearing. According to the story, Karr felt the orange jumpsuit would make him look like a criminal (or maybe it was a killer, I don't recall). In any case, isn't this the same guy who, during his perp walk in Thailand, pretty much told the world that he IS a killer?
Just askin', is all.
I had to go to the Lehigh Valley today - for an appointment. Thanks to four - yes, four! - construction zones on the turnpike, I arrived at my destination just a few minutes ahead of schedule. Unfortunately, a few minutes was all it took to remind me why I don't EVER talk to strangers (or pretty much anyone, for that matter) unless it is absolutely necessary.
When I got to the office, the secretary was there, along with an older woman. The secretary was behind the desk, the older woman was standing in front of it, and they were carrying on a conversation. I actually thought for a moment that the older woman was another secretary. Alas, no.
As I sat, waiting, in one of the two chairs in the waiting area, the older woman sat in the other one. I tried to ignore her, but it's a small office and there weren't any magazines handy. The woman asked what appeared to be a harmless question. I answered as briefly and as generically as I could. And, then, the woman proceeded to give me the cliff notes version of her life story.
I think it only lasted a couple of minutes (it seemed longer), but that was more than enough time for her to tell me how she worked for 14 1/2 years as a district manager for (name of company here). She needed 15 years for a full pension or something, but some young whippersnapper of a boss figured that letting her go would be a good way to save the company some money and make himself look good. She could have filed a lawsuit, she said, but apparently all the companies were doing it, so what was the use? Anyway, she headed down South where her no-good brother was planning to put dear old Mom in a nursing home. Well, the woman wasn't having any of that. She took care of mom and made her last days/weeks/months/years very happy. What was her reward? Mom left everything to the brother because, said the woman, she didn't realize he was a no-good louse. But, see, the woman figures that getting fired was a blessing in disguise because she was able to help out her mom.
That's nice, I said.
But, wait. There's more. Seems the woman at some point also went through a divorce. Her husband had a mental illness and she had to divorce him - legal advice, I think. Anyway, the woman said she's now starting to see the signs of that same mental illness in her four children. Did I have children?
No. I have a dog, I said.
But wait, there's more. Fast-forward to the present day, where it's tough for a woman on her own to take care of a house and a fairly large lawn. She said she promised God that she would only mow half the yard at a time. But, one day, she decided to mow the whole thing. Wouldn't you know it? Half-way through, the lawnmower broke down. The woman figures it was a sign.
Must be, I said. Yeah, a sign that next time, I should maybe show up late.
I recently bought the complete 5-season DVD set of the 80's TV show "Remington Steele." I liked it when it first aired, and now, seeing it again, I can appreciate it even more.
I'm about half-way through the first season. Some observations:
- In the second episode, Pierce Brosnan, as Remington Steele, utters the line, "My word is my bond." It's repeated several episodes later by Stephanie Zimbalist as Laura Holt. Of course, Brosnan eventually went on to play James Bond, even though commitments to "Remington Steele" made it happen later than it could/should have.
- In one episode, Steele compares the current case to the plot of a movie called "The Thomas Crown Affair," starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. Brosnan would later play Thomas Crown in a remake of the movie, which also starred Rene Russo.
- In an episode set at a Playboy-like mansion called, I think, the Devil's Hideaway, Remington and Laura pose as a doctor and his nurse. Laura suggests that she use the alias "Tracy Lord" (or maybe it was Lords, I don't remember). The episode was from 1982, which was before the adult film star of the same (or similar) name arrived on the scene.
- Glenn Caron served as a write and supervising producer in the first season. A couple years later, he came out with "Moonlighting," which, if you think about it, is really like "Remington Steele" in reverse. Instead of a competent female PI with an ingenue male partner, "Moonlighting" had a competent male PI with an ingenue female partner. In both cases, the couples engaged in witty banter and the occasional simultaneous shouting match.
In all, they don't make 'em like this anymore.
Several times a day, the Associated Press will notify news organizations of breaking/developing stories by sending "news alerts" over the wire. Usually, the initial alert comes across with the generic slug of "AP News Alert". So, actually reading it is, to borrow a line from Forrest Gump, rather like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get. Many times, you read the alert, expecting something big, only to find out that there's been, for example, a coup in East Jibip.
But, every once in a while, you are truly stunned.
Such was the case yesterday, when an AP News Alert revealed the arrest of a suspect in the murder of JonBenet Ramsey. In successive news alerts, more details were relayed, one or two sentences at a time: the suspect was captured in Thailand; he was being held on other sex charges; he had a previous conviction in California; he's a school teacher.
And, all the while, you're still thinking, I can't believe they finally made an arrest!
Ten years of seeing those home videos of JonBenet at her child beauty pageants; ten years of speculation about the mother being the killer, or the brother; ten years of tearful yet firm denials by the family; ten years of what appeared to be no progress.
After all that, there is progress. And, the prime suspect turns out to be some guy from out of the blue.
Pres. Bush straddles a Harley during a visit to the Harley-Davidson plant near York, Pa. on Wednesday, August 16. Photo courtesy: Paul Kuehnel, York Daily Record
You may recall about six-weeks ago, I was a little confused about how a $300 billion federal budget deficit could be a good thing. On July 11, I wrote:
"CNN's business reporter came on and said that the President wanted to speak this morning because the budget defict for the year will only be about $300 billion instead of the projected $400 billion. Apparently, the president sees this as a sign that his tax cuts are working, and he wants everyone to know that. I, personally, would like everyone to know that WE STILL HAVE A $300 BILLION BUDGET DEFICIT!"
Yesterday, while Mr. Bush was speaking in Lancaster at a fundraiser for Lynn Swann, he picked up on the theme. I don't remember exact quotes, but I do recall him using the word "prioritize" (say it with me, pry-AHR-tize) in five or six consecutive sentences. The president was saying that because he prioritizes his budget, there's money left over to put back in the people's pockets through tax cuts.
Now, admittedly, I know nothing about accounting, it's been more than 20 years since I took Calculus in high school and college, and I seem to recall being hung over when I took the final exam for Economics 101 (It's all rather fuzzy, like this math seems to be). I'm old school, OK? But, how is having a budget deficit the same as having "money left over?"
The following news item comes courtesy of United Press International:
British official: Bush admin. is 'crap'
Some of those present at the meeting said they could not remember
"He was talking in the context of the 'road map' in the
Cohen said asked that the remark be left out of the meeting's minutes.
"These discussions are intended to be private and remain within the four walls," said one official. "They are private so that there may be frank discussions."
HERE is the link to the original article in The Independent.
I know. 13 games out of first place in the NL East. But, after 24 runs in 2 days, and just 2 1/2 games out in the Wild Card race, I'm in. So, move over. Make room for me on the Phillies bandwagon. Not that I really ever left, mind you. It's just that, now, I'm looking at the road ahead instead of the road WAY ahead - as in next season. I think there's still some hope for this season.
One big reason, Ryan Howard. He's up to 41 home runs now, and has a good chance of breaking Mike Schmidt's single-season Phillies record of 48, set in the World Series-winning year of 1980. When Howard hit his 40th over the weekend, he became the first Phillie since Jim Thome to accomplish the feat. Only a two-year gap there. But, when Thome hit 47 in 2003, he was the first Phillie to hit 40 or more HR in a season in 20 years! No one had done it since Schmidt, who had 40 in 1983.
Another reason? Jimmy Rollins. What does he have? 4 or 5 home runs in the past week? Guess he's eating his Wheaties.
And, here's hoping Chase Utley has one more hitting streak left in him.
Now, if we could just get some consistent pitching ....
A good time seems to have been had by all at W-B's Bicentennial Parade.
My day officially began around 9:15 a.m., when I decided to clean the windows of the station vehicle I would be driving in the parade (I brought it home from work Friday night, and had already been asked to wash it before heading to the parade). Well, as I began cleaning the windows, I noticed that the rest of the interior was filthy. So, what I thought might be a 5 or 10-minute job, turned into at least a half-hour project, complete with vacuum cleaner and Clorox wipes.
Just as I'm finishing up, a UGI Utility truck pulls up, essentially blocking my exit. But, the guy said he would be done in 10 minutes, and he was.
So, around 10, I set off for the car wash. By the time I finished that, it was about 10:20, so I was already late to pick up well-known local personality, Manny Gordon! I rushed over to get Manny, and we made it to the staging area in W-B by about 10:30.
And then, we waited. We were in Division 7 of the parade, which happened to be the final division. So, we hung out and chatted for about an hour until it was time to head down South Main.
Manny had a ball! He's almost 95 years old now, but he was like a kid - handing out pencils to young and old, trading calls of his trademark "Enjoy! Enjoy!" with people in the crowd. A couple times, I stopped the car, so people could take his picture.
The parade route was only about one-mile long. We went from a shopping plaza near Abe's to the reviewing stand on Public Square. Then, once we got past the reviewing stand, it was over. The End. Nothing to do but take Manny back to his apartment building and head back to the station.
No need to guess. I'll tell you. Tomorrow (Saturday), I will be driving a station vehicle in Wilkes-Barre's Bicentennial parade. If you recall, it was supposed to take place in early July, but got postponed onacounna the flood. Anyway, the parade starts at 11AM, along South Main Street in Wilkes-Barre.
I'll also tell you that I will not be alone in the vehicle. No. I will be chauffer to a well-known personality here in NEPA. Who is it? Why don't you come out to Enjoy! Enjoy! the parade in downtown Wilkes-Barre and see for yourself.
Yesterday, the "big" story was the break-up of an alleged terror plot to blow up planes headed from the UK to the US. So, I suppose it's appropriate that on the way home, I heard the song "Lightning Crashes" on the radio. Appropriate because that song always makes me think of terrorism.
It goes back to 1995, when the band Live (from York PA, BTW) was very hot. "Lightning Crashes" was one of several hits from Live's "Throwing Copper" CD, and was all over the radio. When the Oklahoma City bombing happened, someone mixed audio from news reports in with the song, and the mix got a lot of airplay. So now, everytime I hear the original song, I think of the bombing.
I've been looking for an mp3 of the mix somewhere on the web, but haven't managed to find it yet.
Mix or no mix, "Lightning Crashes" is still a great song.
I'm an Eagles fan, so this may be a bit of wishful thinking. But, are there signs of T.O. trouble popping up in Big D, even before the 'Boys have played their first preseason game?
An article on FoxSports.com began with the headline "Owens likely to miss first preseason game," which is scheduled for Saturday. Then, it went on to explain how TO has some sort of hamstring injury, and how he is having his infamous hyperbaric oxygen chamber flown to his hotel at training camp in California. A team of "specialists" is also coming in from Atlanta.
In the article, TO is quoted as saying that Cowboys officials knew that one of TO's personal doc's examined him last week, but he wasn't sure if they knew about what the article called "the next wave of helpers."
TO said, "I have to do what's best for me regardless of what anybody thinks."
What does Coach Parcells think? According to the article, Parcells answered most questions about Owens' health by saying he didn't know.
"I know everything I need to know," Parcells said. "Well, there's nothing more to know. Maybe not knowing exactly is all I'm capable of knowing at this point."
Parcells says he's taked to Owens' trainer, but not TO himself. He also says that's how he (Parcells) typically deals with injuries.
I keep getting these notices from the local Subaru dealer saying that it's time to take my 1999 Forester in for service. A few months ago, the notice said something like, "Our records show that it's time to put new belts on your 1999 Forester." Today's mailing began with, "Our records show that it's been some time since you had your 1999 Forester in for service."
No kidding. That's probably because my records show that, four months ago, I traded in my 1999 Forester for a 2006 Forester. My records also show that the transaction occurred at the aforementioned local Subaru dealer - after they sent me a letter saying that they wanted the 1999 model because they had some need for it. Whatever.
Please make a note: You wanted my 1999 Forester. You got it. Any service is now up to you.
Here's the situation. At work, there are not enough desks to go around. Not everyone in the news department can have their own personal desk. Some of us, me included, have to share. I share my desk with someone who works the morning shift. It makes sense because we're hardly ever in the newsroom at the same time. My/our desk is also in what's known as the producer quad, so it's a popular place for whoever happens to be filling in for me or my deskmate.
Now, I make a daily effort to keep the work area clean. If I spill something, I wipe it up. I keep a stash of wipes handy so I can clean up ink marks and coffee rings, even if I'm not the one who left them there. I understand how those things can happen.
What I don't understand is why I also have to (yes, I HAVE to. It's a compulsion) clean fingerprints and various elongated smudge marks off of the computer screen. It's not a touch-screen, so why are people touching it?!? What is that about? If you must touch the screen in order to point something out, wouldn't a nice plastic cap at the end of a pen do just as well as a greasy fingertip? Touching the screen with your finger doesn't make what appears on the screen any more real. It just makes the screen more dirty.
So, go ahead. Sit at the desk. Leave a coffee ring or two. But, please, don't touch the screen!
First, an update on the 3rd Congressional District race in Kansas. I'm following that one because one of my high school classmates is in it. On Tuesday, my friend defeated three other candidates to win the GOP nomination. He had more than 50% of the vote. So, now he's on to November against the Democratic candidate, who happens to be the four-term incumbent. Stay tuned.
Secondly, the race for the 10th Congressional District here in PA is now creeping into my home life. I actually thought I lived in the 11th District, so I was surprised when, on Tuesday, I received a message on my answering machine regarding Rep. Don Sherwood (R-10th). So, I did some checking and discovered that I do, in fact, live in the 10th District. I expect that I can expect a lot more calls like this:
VOICE ON PHONE: Don Sherwood says he's helped (x number of) seniors get (some sort of medical coverage) through (some program or other). Let me tell you what Don Sherwood has really done.
At that point, mostly because I didn't think this race concerned me, I pushed the "delete" button and erased the message. Now I have to wait for another phone call to find out what Don Sherwood has really done. My guess is that the phone will ring any minute now.
Today's a big day for my friend from high school. It's primary election day in Kansas and, as I mentioned in a previous post, he's running for Congress. He seems to be the leading Republican candidate in his district. So, I'm figuring he'll make it through to November to face the incumbent Democrat. That promises to be a much tougher battle.
The US senate race here in PA appears about to get more interesting, now that Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli, of Wilkes-Barre, seems likely to get on the ballot. Conventional wisdom has him helping Santorum's cause by getting votes from folks who might otherwise go for Casey. If Romanelli does, in fact, get on the November ballot, let's hope he gets his WEBSITE back up and running. I tried to access it last night and this morning with no luck.
In other news, I did not see the "Miami Vice" movie over the weekend. Scheduling matters dictated that Woody Allen's "Scoop" be the designated film. Predictable, but enjoyable. I also enjoyed the glass of Pepperwood merlot that I had after the movie. Very nice.
That's my review, and I'm stickin' to it.
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