Frost/Nixon–Tonight’s Entertainment

Obviously any account of the event will share facts, but this is scarily similar. Too similar. I suspect it entered heavily into Peter Morgan’s thought process as he wrote the original stage play.

nytimes-nixon-frost.gif

The text above, from the New York Times, is a contemporaneous account of the Frost/Nixon interviews. I didn’t watch them in ’77. The pre-show buzz said it was long and ploddingly boring as I remember.

Helaine and I saw Frost/Nixon tonight. Excellent movie. Very compelling. Frank Langella is Nixon. I am a huge Ron Howard fan–that won’t change.

I was no fan of Nixon.

I turned against our Vietnam policy in ’66 or so (against our government’s policy not against our soldiers) during the Johnson Administration. I marched on Washington in the Moratorium and joined more peaceful protests while in college in Boston.

To my contemporaries and me Nixon poured gasoline on an already raging fire. Watergate then added insult to injury. And, as recon missions go, it was stupid. Nixon was going to win by a landslide anyway. Did they really need to know what was in Larry O’Brien’s office at Watergate?

It is difficult to understand the depth of distaste toward Richard Nixon if you weren’t there. Unlike Iraq, ‘Nam was being fought daily on TV. Death and injury were vividly seen. Bush-43 controlled the coverage much better than Nixon who watched public opinion shift away from him as the futility of the war became obvious. And, of course, Nixon was anything but a sympathetic character.

After the movie I wanted to read a little more from the period. Along with the Times article I found a long preview of the show from Time Magazine.

“He is back among us. And, as always, in a memorable manner, both painful and poignant, sometimes illuminating, usually self-serving. The once too-familiar face of Richard Nixon re-enters the homes of America this week for 90 minutes of dramatic television.”

What’s most interesting is this long Time article reads like an outline for the movie! Obviously any two accounts of this event will share facts, but this is uncomfortably similar. Too similar. I suspect Time’s treatment entered heavily into Peter Morgan’s thought process as he wrote the original stage play.

In the movie Nixon’s camp downplays David Frost’s qualifications to hurt them. I could be wrong, but that doesn’t ring true because of Frost’s association with “That Was The Week That Was“–a show whose American version was brutally critical of Nixon (and with this clip also brutally critical of PM Harold Macmillan in its British version).

Super Bowl Sunday With The Foxes

I watched until it looked like Pittsburgh had put it away, then fell asleep. I half heard the 100 yard runback with my eyes closed and head on a pillow on the sofa.

Super Bowl Sunday–I never got out of my pajamas. Didn’t shower until after 10p.

madeline.jpgWe started the day watching the entire “Puppy Bowl V.” OK, I didn’t totally dedicate myself to PB-V but I was in the room. I love Harry Kalas’ voice, but he really isn’t a great v/o reader.

I want the Beagle with lighter brown markings as a family member–Madeline.

We were watching NBC when Matt Lauer interviewed President Obama. Audio problems! Wow. That never used to happen on the network. I’m curious if this was staffed and set-up the same as it would have been 8-years ago?

Was President Obama too casual? No tie. Is it OK for the president to make Inspector Gadget references? Is it OK for a president to be impolitic and take sides in a football game, as he did?

He seemed like the nicest, most engaging and charming president of my lifetime. He makes Bill Clinton seem like Grover Cleveland.

I was uncomfortable President Obama was so relaxed and casual. It’s my problem I suppose. Just not used to it.

Coin toss. Who knew General Patraeus was short?

I didn’t have a lot of interest in the actual game. I watched until it looked like Pittsburgh had put it away, then fell asleep. I half heard the 100 yard runback with my eyes closed and head on a pillow on the sofa.

I did wake up for the exciting conclusion.

One of the best parts of the day was reading Ana Marie Cox (the original Wonkette) on Twitter. Here’s a sample.

A Husky/Beagle mix playing in #puppybowl. That must have been one hell of a blind date.

Will @animalplanet be sued by FCC for showing pussy during halftime of the #puppybowl?

Griffey totally railroaded out of #puppybowl!!! Nipping is the opposite of “un-puppylike behavior”!

Apparently David Patraeus overseeing superbowl coin toss but not the Iraq elections

Are NFL coaches’ headsets the only form of technology that gets *larger* as it improves?

I don’t even really “get” football but even I understand that a 100-yard interception return is bad. Maybe the Cards are McCain after all.

This “Born to Run” song is kind of catchy! I think it could be a hit!

Cheering for the Cards reminds me of how being a Democrat used to feel.

Pitchers and catchers only a few weeks away!

If The Democrats No Longer Need Lieberman

So, what happens if the Democrats sweep the House, Senate and elect a president? It’s certainly not out of the question. I think the loser is Lieberman and by proxy, Connecticut.

I suspect we’re about to face an interesting political dilemma in Connecticut.

Right now, the Democrats control both branches of Congress. The majority in the Senate is razor thin. Democrats control by two, but only if you include Senate independents, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Though he ran against, and beat, the endorsed Democratic candidate in the last election, Lieberman enjoys the benefits of the Democratic majority. From his own website:

In 2006, Senator Lieberman was elected to a fourth term as an Independent, because of the strength of his record and his accomplishments for the state. He won the general election by more than 100,000 votes. He remains committed to caucusing with Senate Democrats, but will be identified as an Independent Democrat (ID-CT).

That last sentence was written before Senator Lieberman endorsed Republican Senator John McCain’s Republican bid for president. That followed two years where Lieberman sided with the president (and against the Democrats) on many issues, including Iraq and National intelligence.

So, what happens if the Democrats sweep the House, Senate and elect a president? It’s certainly not out of the question. I think the loser is Lieberman and by proxy, Connecticut.

Why would the Democrats keep Lieberman in a position of power while their own loyal members wait? I don’t think they will.

  • Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
  • Member of the Armed Services Committee
  • Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee
  • Member of the Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee

This is really all academic. Whatever happens will play out behind closed doors and without consulting the people of Connecticut. We’ll only feel its effect in Lieberman’s reduced power… though it’s tough to quantify that power right now.

This is one of those unintended consequences no one anticipates.

History Channel’s 1968

For me, 1968 was the seminal year. I graduated high school, left the comfort of my family to travel out west with a pen pal I’d never met, and started college.

I watched Tom Brokaw’s paean to 1968 last night. The History Channel is running it.&#185.

For me, 1968 was the seminal year. I graduated high school, left the comfort of my family to travel out west with a pen pal I’d never met, and started college.

In July 1968, I was working at Sears on Northern Blvd. Flushing. It was a store so obscure, until I worked there, I didn’t know it existed (I’d lived in Flushing nearly 15 years at the time). I was saving my $1.50 an hour wage to buy record albums.

In 1968 I bought Janis Joplin, Blood Sweat and Tears (pre-David Clayton Thomas), The Doors and Cream albums. As I remember, the going price for an album was $2.79. I was also going with my Cousin Michael and our friend Larry to concerts at the Fillmore East in the pre-stylish, quite seedy, East Village.

1968 is when I registered for the draft.

The Vietnam War was raging in the late 60s. The real controversy started a few years earlier, but by ’68 it was a festering national sore. Even with film instead of videotape, and without the immediacy of satellites, we were seeing more of the battles and horrors of war than we do in Iraq. Anti-Vietnam War sentiment was rising – rising rapidly.

1968 was the year the police went wild at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. I remember the horror in the face of Dave Kulka’s mom as she watched (while Dave and I didn’t) at their hillside home in Greenbrae, California.

Lyndon Johnson was abandoned. Bobby Kennedy as killed. Richard Nixon was elected. Men circled, but didn’t land on, the moon.

Of my 57 years, 1968 was undoubtedly the most historically significant. I wonder, in retrospect, if I was less cognizant of the nuts and bolts of the social and political tumult than I thought I was at the time? There was so much going on.

I liked how Browkaw treated this year. I remembered most, though not all of what went on. He connected some dots that I had not. I was disappointed in myself for not doing that sooner.

It was funny to see Tom Brokaw talk about his suited and skinny tied self, while portray his inner life as significantly hipper. Was he, or was he just a wannabe?

If you get a chance, this will be two hours well spent.

&#185 – The good news about cable TV is, even if you’ve missed it, it will run again… and again.

Putting A Webcam Online

One of my co-workers asked a favor tonight. Her brother is in Iraq and she just found out they could have video chats using Yahoo! Messenger (there are other ways, but he was already on Yahoo!).

She asked me what camera to get? I’m a bargain kinda guy, but she had that ‘tonight’ look. I sent her to Circuit City.

She came back with a little Creative camera that slipped over the display on her laptop. It set her back $60, which she viewed as a good value.

I took out the disk and installed the drivers. I can’t remember an install taking this long and installing this many inidividual pieces of software. You do what you can to hold back driver creep, but there’s stuff there we’ll never identify.

The camera itself is sweet. The video is sharp and though all webcam video is jerky, this was no more jerky than any other.

I think this is a good thing, a loved one talking with their soldier halfway around the world. There’s also a potential downside. This technology can bringing unwanted stress or create conflict that snail mail can not.

When my dad was in the Navy, back in WWII, he and my mom traded letters back and forth. The conversation was disjointed, with questions and answers passing each other as he crossed the ocean. Now the conversation is realtime.

How does the military looks at this? Good for morale… or bad? Good for discipline or bad?

As I hooked up the camera, I wondered why this was technology I wasn’t using? I’ve got cameras and have hooked them up. Long term use never seems convenient or necessary.

Curling Update

I wrote about my curling infatuation yesterday. Obviously, I’m not alone.

From NBC:

MSNBC’s Saturday coverage of the U.S. women’s curling match vs. Italy delivered 1.258 million average viewers (0.81 HH rating) its highest rating and best viewer delivery in the 5-8 p.m. time slot since Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2004 (1.272 million viewers), and the best Saturday for that time period since coverage of the start of the Iraq war, April 5, 2003 (1.801 million viewers).

In the general scheme of things, we’re talking about tiny numbers. A .81 rating means 99.19% of the homes with TV are watching something else! However, for MSNBC it’s huge. No, actually, for curling it’s huge!

Our Place In Space

I wrote earlier today about the setback for Rover Opportunity. It is stuck in some sand as it scoots around the surface of Mars. It has now been operating nearly a year beyond its expected Martian lifetime. It owes us nothing at this point.

Those in charge feel confident it will extricate itself. Good luck. I hope they’re right.

Also today, NASA announced they were pushing back the next launch of the space shuttle. What was scheduled for May will now go off during the summer.

The problem relates to ice. Much of the propellant for the shuttle is incredibly cold and any exposed area of its plumbing or tanks will cause ice to form, even on a warm Florida day. If the ice breaks off… Well, you remember what happened on the last shuttle flight.

The shuttle program started in the early 70s. It was a good idea at the time, but 30+ years later, it’s obvious we need to go a new way.

The shuttle is bulky, expensive, labor intensive and extremely dangerous. Close your eyes for a second and think how your car differs from the one you drove in the 1970s. We are flying a 1970s shuttle fleet.

The shuttle program was predicated on many promises, such as advances in pharmaceuticals, metallurgy and the like. In reality, shuttle related progress in those field has been minimal.

Certainly there have been benefits, like communications satellites, integrated circuits and computer chips. Today, it seems like the shuttle is without a real mission. The International Space Station, one of the reasons for continuing shuttle flights, is doing less than the shuttle did!

On the other hand, our two robotic Martian missions have been astounding successes. They have lasted longer than expected&#185. More importantly, they are doing real science on a real mission.

We can take chances… even get stuck in the Martian sand, because no lives are at risk.

We are using robotics more and more to replace humans, especially in dangerous situations. Unmanned drone airplanes fly recon over Iraq (and probably other places our military doesn’t admit to). Even portions of the New York City subway system are scheduled to be operated robotically.

The state-of-the-art in robotics is well beyond anything imagined in the early 70s. Yes, NASA gets some credit for that. But now it’s time to take advantage of that technological edge and move our space program into the 21st Century.

There might be a time in the future when men, again, will be necessary for space exploration. They aren’t now. Another space disaster would be devastating to our nation. Along with the human toll, that bit of national vanity must be considered.

It’s time to ditch the shuttle and start flying smarter.

&#185 – I suspect, based on past experience, that NASA timelines are always conservative, making every success look that more successful.

Just Shoot Me Now

News ratings are dependent on a variety of factors. One of the most important, maybe the most important, is your lead-in. It doesn’t seem like it should be this way, considering how we all use the remote control, but it is.

Having a good lead-in means having a more prominent place to promote your show and the added spillover of those who were already on your channel when you come on.

It’s because of this that I am disheartened to see:

CHICAGO (AP) – Talk show host Oprah Winfrey celebrated the premiere of her 19th season Monday by surprising each of her 276 audience members with a new car.

Great. Unless Judge Judy solves the war in Iraq this afternoon, we head into 5:00 O’clock a little behind.

Exaggeration in Weather

A few months ago we interviewed someone at the TV station. He was talking about Iraq and made reference to 130&#176 temperatures. Today an AP reporter was writing about a power outage in Bahrain. He also mentioned 130&#176 temperatures.

Even I will admit, 130&#176 is awfully hot. Unfortunately… or maybe fortunately, in neither case did the temperature hit 130&#176. In both cases it was about 20&#176 cooler.

I don’t think our interviewee or the AP reporter meant to mislead people. They wanted to show it was hot and grasped for numbers. The Bahrain number might actually refer to the heat index or the thermometer was exposed to the Sun, I’m not sure.

Temperatures are comparable only when they’re measured using the same method. That’s why there are official protocols we use. This is like comparing heights but using different definitions of inches.

It’s My Job

Every once in a while someone will tell me some outlandish weather story. They believe it, but it’s untrue. I hate to burst their bubble, but it’s my job… weather, not bubble bursting.

Here’s today’s installment from the L.A. Times. It’s a story about heat problems suffered by soldiers in Iraq.

With temperatures approaching 130 degrees, medics fear that casualties will increase. “This could become a significant problem,” said Brian Humble, senior medical officer with a Marine emergency facility at a camp just outside Najaf.

The headline that lead me to this was on Drudge in red type: TEMPS NEAR 130 DEGREES IN IRAQ…

Here’s what I wrote to the author of the article, Edmund Sanders:

I know it’s a minor point, and I’m not denying it was hot, but it is doubtful Najaf has gotten above 120 any time in the past decade and 115 in the past few weeks.

In order for statements like: “With temperatures approaching 130 degrees, medics fear that casualties will increase” to be meaningful, we all have to agree on how we calculate the temperature. Normally, temperature is taken out of the sunshine in a louvered enclosure. It is an air temperature, not a surface temperature – so the thermometer needs to be protected in that way.

The historical high for Asia is 129f in Israel. Worldwide the highest was 136 in what is now Libya.

I live in Connecticut. Often, in the summer, my viewers will tell me it was 115-120 in their backyard – because of direct sunshine on the thermometer.

All the best,

Geoff Fox

I’ll let you know if he responds.

Here’s the bottom line – You can’t get the big things right unless you get the little things right.

Rick Springfield in Cromwell

As a married man, I understand there are certain things I should do for my wife (just as there are certain things she should do for me). A marriage is a partnership and you want your partner happy.

That’s why I scheduled a vacation day for Thursday, the date of the WTIC-FM Second Chance Prom. It’s not that either of us wanted to go to a prom (neither of us did the first time around – though only one of us was a social misfit while in high school… guess which of us it was). It had more to do with the entertainment – Rick Springfield.

If you’re a regular reader of the blog you know Helaine is a bit obsessed (though in a perfectly fine way) with him. A fan for 30 years, she is the leader of his New York City Area Street Team – a grassroots promotional organization that’s probably more responsible than any paid promotion for whatever success his latest CD and single have had.

I consider Rick Springfield a dot-com success story. With little airplay or promotion he is still able to sell out midsized venues across the country. His fan websites, run by the fans themselves, have an incredibly loyal base of users. Many of them think nothing of driving hundreds of miles to see him again and again.

From my perspective, it’s fascinating. And, it’s a method of success (and make no mistake about it – he is a success today) that didn’t exist until the advent of the Internet.

As long as I was going, and to make my wife a little happier, I offered to produce a story for the station. We’ll run on our Sunday morning news show which has a slot for celebrity interviews. Of course I was upfront in my reasons for wanting to do the story.

Thursday afternoon, Helaine, Steffie and I headed out to the Radisson in Cromwell (nice hotel – good sized room – plenty of towels). Since the prom was 21+, and Steffie is 17+, we got a room and checked in. I met up with Ronnie, Rick’s road manager, setting up the specifics of the interview. In many ways, Ronnie reminds me of Arthur (Rip Torn’s character) from the Larry Sanders Show.

By 3:30 PM Andy, my photographer, had arrived. We scouted out a vacant meeting room, borrowed a few balloon arrangements from the prom, and set up. The background wouldn’t look so sparse with the balloons.

Rick came down and we were ready to go. We talked about 15 minutes. I tried to avoid asking him about Jessie’s Girl – only because I had heard it asked every time I’d heard him interviewed… and every interviewer misunderstood the actual meaning of the song – how he wished that he had Jessie’s girl. But we talked about the Internet fans and Street Team and his new CD.

The interview went well. He opened up and answered thoughtfully. I couldn’t have asked for more.

As we got up to walk into the main room for the sound check, Helaine turned to Rick and recounted a story about how, while working in radio in 1981, she had picked up his dinner tab and he had told her the next dinner was on him. Though the statute of limitations on dinner had surely run out, Ronnie asked us to join their group for dinner.

I’m sure I’ve been to band sound checks before, but I never really thought about the tedium for the band. Each room is different. Often, a different city means different equipment. It always means different acoustics. But a sound check isn’t really music as much as it’s repetitive note playing.

Dinner was nice. The band was like any bunch of guys, on the road, away from home. Helaine sat between Rick and me. He and I spoke through most of dinner. We talked politics and Iraq. He told us about his sons, one a recent high school graduate on his way to college. Steffie soaked up the conversation. Helaine was in heaven.

We went upstairs and changed to our evening wear. Everything went fine, except putting on the studs! I’m not sure who designed them but they were murder to get in place. Of course without them, the shirt was buttonless – there was no choice.

We made the prom around 7:30 PM. I knew some of the folks from WTIC-FM and said hello. Rick came on at 8:30.

Of course a significant portion of the audience was his loyal supporters – and they crowded the stage. But, I sensed the people who were there as prom attendees were also getting into it. Yes, he was a soap opera pretty boy – but that doesn’t mean he can’t play.

The concert was as loud as any I’ve ever heard. The fact that we were inches from the speakers probably didn’t help.

He played the hits, and the new stuff and we went upstairs happy.

Tonight, I finished my end of the deal. I screened, wrote and then voiced the Sunday morning package. Later today an editor will look at my notes and try and cut it as I wrote it. I’ll see it the first time Sunday at about 8:50 AM.

Flag Day in Hudson, NY

All the photos on this page, and lots of parade pictures, can be seen in my photo gallery.

Back in 1969, when I got my first paid on-air radio job in Fall River, Massachusetts at WSAR (Ahoy there matey, it’s 14-80) I met Skippy Ross – a fellow disk jockey. He was older, wiser, married, and the station’s music director. We became friends.

Later, in 1971, I went to WBT in Charlotte, NC. Skippy was already there… he just wasn’t Skippy anymore. In Worcester, MA he had become Skip Tyler and now he was Bob Lacey.

For nearly 35 years he has been Bob Lacey, working at the radio and television stations at 1 Julian Price Place, and becoming a Charlotte institution. He and his partner, Sheri Lynch run a woman friendly&#185 morning drive radio show, syndicated across the country.

Bob and I have remained friends through all this time. When my life was falling apart in the mid-70s, Bob took time off and drove with me through the Western United States. We have shared good times and bad longer than most married couples – and with a better relationship.

On-the-air Bob refers to me as his ‘gold best friend.’ It’s an honor I treasure.

We are two very different people. I think the difference can be best explained in a little story. The year was 1973 and I was leaving Charlotte, moving to Cleveland (based, as it turns out, on bad information from someone who wanted me to leave). It was my last day there and I was getting a new tire put on my car. Bob joined me at the tire store on Independence Boulevard, a busy Charlotte business district back then.

We went to the Coke machine. Bob went first. His soda plopped from the slot, he put the bottle into the opened, pushed down and was ready to drink. I got my bottle, went to the opener, pushed down and… soda all over me. It was as if a midget was in the machine, waiting for me to shake the bottle.

To me, Bob has always seems suave and in control. I have always seemed like an unmade bed – scattered and kinetic.

We are both lucky, because in spite of setbacks in our lives, we’ve done well – both with our careers and families. And, for two old guys (and he is much older and very, very short… make that very, very, very short) we’ve aged well.

I was on the phone with Bob late last week. It was the usual chit chat. I asked him what he was doing over the weekend and he told me he and Sheri (his radio partner) were flying to Hudson, NY for Flag Day. There’s a parade, which they ride in, the emcee from the reviewing stand.

Hudson is a few hours from here – a nice drive if it’s a nice day. There’s some highway to take you away from the urban areas and then it’s small, sparsely traveled 2-lane roads through rolling hills. The trip goes up through Northwest Connecticut, cuts through the Southwest corner of Massachusetts and then west into New York and the Hudson River.

I decided to go.

Since I knew neither Helaine nor Stefanie would want to take this road trip, I prepared a geek’s journey. My camera was ready with two sets of batteries and two flash memory cards (I could have taken 350 high resolution photos, but only took 273). I put my old Dell laptop on the passenger’s seat, plugged an inverter into the cigarette lighter and threw a GPS antenna onto the armrest between the seats. This trip would be well documented.

The trip up was uneventful. The weather superb – truly perfect. Though I had printed directions before leaving the house, the GPS receiver was really helpful, showing me my turns before I got to them.

With the top down, on a sunny day, there are lots of sensations. The warmth of the sun (I was worried about the warmth of the sun on my laptop, which I removed from the seat and put on the floor while still in Connecticut), the breeze, the aroma.

Springtime has good aromas. There weren’t many restaurants to pass at this time of day on this route. I did smell freshly cut grass (a watermelon-like smell), freshly cut lumber (as I passed a mill) and a dairy farm. They were all distinct, but the dairy farm was certainly the most pungent.

I have a radar detector mounted in the convertible. When I first bought the car, I had electricity brought from an interior light directly to the unit. It only went off once on the trip, and then because a police car was going the opposite direction and must have had his transmitter on.

By the time I got to Hudson, the streets downtown were closed off for the parade. This was a bigger deal than I thought – and as I’d later find out the longest parade I’d ever seen.

The main street of Hudson, Warren Street, was lined with happy people. For some reason I expected this to be a lily white town. That was not the case. There was just about every shade of person imaginable, and they were all out on the street together ready for the parade.

It seems like Hudson is a town that was, and possibly still is, down on its luck. I walked on cracked sidewalks with tall weeds growing through them. There were small houses with chipped paint. On Warren Street itself the homes were old but freshly painted. It had the aura of gentrification – a two edged sword which rebuilds and displaces.

I moved toward the river, where the reviewing stand had been erected, and waited for Bob and Sheri. They arrived, first in the parade, sitting in a convertible. It is only now, looking at the photo, that I realize it is a used car, for sale, with the price tag nicely affixed to the windshield. Still, it looked great rolling down Warren Street, and Bob and Sheri were enjoying every second of it.

We chatted for a few seconds and then they made their way to the microphone and the parade began. It was a bad day to have a fire in the Hudson Valley, because I believe every piece of fire equipment for a hundred miles was rolling down Warren Street – even a blue fire truck from Philmont, NY! Along with the fire equipment there were policemen and soldiers and and organizations, plus kid from schools and sports leagues.

This was the longest parade I had ever seen. As we approached the 3 hour mark, I turned to a policeman standing near me and asked, “Are they going around for a second time?”

There was a sad moment. A float in memory of a local soldier who had been killed in Iraq. The base of the float was full of American flags – one for each death in this war. In a glass case, the soldier’s uniform was displayed. Very, very sad.

The parade ended and Bob, Sheri and I hopped onto a golf cart to head down to the riverside where the festivities would continue. The scene was very much like those beeping carts that careen through the terminals at airports, taking people with more pull than us to the next gate.

It was getting late. I had a drive ahead of me. They had autographs and then a plane ride back to Charlotte. We’d all get home around the same time.

I wish I could have spent more time with Bob, and with Sheri who I like a lot. Bob and I are already trying to figure out a time for next summer. But maybe there will be time sooner.

The good thing about gold friends is, their friendship will wait.

&#185 – When I say woman friendly, I mean a show which is not based on sex, bodily functions and stretching the vocabulary envelope. Stern, Imus and Bubba the Love Sponge don’t qualify for this genre.

All the photos on this page, and lots of parade pictures, can be seen in my photo gallery.

Almost Ready to Resume

The tedious process of putting the website together has nearly completed. I know I have lost over a week of entries (some I was able to get from cached Google pages). And, what makes it worse was it was the week I wrote about how I cured the common cold, solved the Iraq problem, pulled the tooth from a bear and slept with an Indian maiden… sorry old joke.

When the website was restored, it came back without much of the programming work I had done for things like the current temperature you see on the right and historical weather info, which is now only starting to run anew in the background and which will go live over the next few days. Also, cron jobs, programs that are set off by timers, disappeared.

Last night, the company that hosts this site offered me a month’s hosting, $10, to cover my loss. How do you respond to that?

I was enjoying writing for this site so much that this interruption and the subsequent loss of material has been very stressful to me.

Anyway, hopefully back to normal later today and beyond.

Is That a Dinar In Your Pocket…

I drink entirely too much coffee, and I’ll be the first to admit it. Two mediums a day… it’s probably the equivalent of 4 or 5 regular cups. But, I can’t do without it it, and why should I?

Tonight, on my way back to work after dinner, I stopped at the Dunkin’ Donuts near home (by the way – what a disappointment while in Southern California this year to find no Dunkin’ Donuts). They know me well enough that often, my coffee is poured and ready by the time I’m at the counter.

As is often the case, especially after being on TV for over 19 years on the same station, I was recognized. It was a young black man. He was wearing flashy ‘bling’ and an elastic type head covering on this awful, drippy, day.

When he spoke, it was obvious that he was well educated and a man, not a child. He had the confidence that comes with maturity.

His name is Aaron Hawkins and he grew up here in town. Now, he’s in the Army, repairing tanks. His home base is in Georgia, but he’s just back from Iraq.

We talked a little about the war (I worry about this Vietnam wannabe war, fought mostly by men of color, without a draft). There are too many historical analogs.

Then, as I was about to leave, he reached in his pocket, pulled out his wallet and started to thumb through the bills. He pulled one out, smiled, and gave it to me… a 250 Dinar note with Saddam Hussein’s picture. Current value, around $.20.

I’m sure Saddam saw the proofs, asked to have his hair darkened and a little taken off the jowel… or maybe the artist knew for his own safety that flattery was the best policy.

Whatever the case, it was a great gift from Aaron. I’m glad I got to meet him.