Archive for March 2004

HAW (Housepets Against the War)

This is a yard sign in my neighborhood. Not sure if this is a eulogy for “Joey the Cat”, or just a heartfelt expression of his political views. Next time I go walking, I’ll stuff some crunchies in my pocket to make an offering.

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Farewell, Alistair Cook(i)e

I remember the first time I saw Masterpiece Theater - the opening shot, the camera panning through a room full of antique gewgaws and furniture (lingering just long enough on a decanter of port that you really wanted a fingerful), until at some point one of the pieces started speaking, and identified itself as Alistair Cooke.  I had no idea who he was or what he had done and, really, have never bothered to find out.  Philip over at Just Playing links to some interesting biographical material.

I probably wouldn’t even remember his name were it not for a Muppets skit called Monsterpiece Theater, hosted by Alistair Cookie (played by Cookie Monster, of course).  Cooke did, however, exert a certain influence over our lives.  During much of the 70s, we didn’t own a television.  We could have, of course, but it was one of those affections of iconoclastic youth.  Then in 1978 or so, my wife’s uncle died and we became possessed of his small color television.  It suited our modest viewing purposes for a few years, especially after our son was born in 1981, but at some point it developed a short somewhere, and every now and then required a strategically-placed whack with a fist in order to function properly.

Sometime in 1983 PBS broadcast the Jewel In The Crown series on Masterpiece Theater and we started making it a regular household event.  Showing at 8 or 9 on Sunday night, it became, for me, that last branch to grasp before being swept over the falls and into the cauldron of another Monday in public accounting.  Just as we developed this NEED for the fucking thing, of course, the aforementioned malfunction started occurring more frequently, and my electronically gifted fist was less and less effective in providing a lasting cure.

One Sunday I woke up with a little pall over my mood, as I considered the possibility that the TV might not work that evening for a Jewel episode that we were looking forward to.  With that in mind, and with the additional rationalization that my son should not go further in life thinking that physical violence was the primary tool in working with recalcitrant electronics, I headed down to Magnolia Hi Fi with the express purpose of returning with a television.  I didn’t even make a pretense of shopping, I just marched in and picked it out based on its price and the fact that I could walk out the door with it.

So, I have Alistair Cooke to thank for nudging me to my first TV purchase, and with it another step away from my 20s. 

Welcome, Reader #3!

I learned today about a regular reader I hadn’t known about before.

Doomer Sooner

I’m gonna pre-empt Dr. Omed here and post a link to the ultimate in Okie Arcana.  I’d cast more aspersions, but I’ve got the feeling that there’s probably an Ohio State version of this out there somewhere.


A picture named FlockofPeeps.jpgI love when they flock up and start heading north.  Anyone know what kind of feeder I should hang out in the yard to attract more?

They’re Gonna Skate….

Tyco Jurors Head Home
After Tumultuous Week

March 26, 2004 5:48 p.m.

NEW YORK — The judge in the corporate-looting trial of two former Tyco International Ltd. executives sent quarreling jurors home for the weekend Friday, but declined to declare a mistrial, at least for the moment.

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Sunset on the Oregon Coast 4/2002

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Can’t Wait

Seems to me there’s way too much unrelieved text here lately - time for some eye candy. In a couple weeks, we’ll be headed here (Oregon Coast) for spring break We first discovered the coast on a bicycle trip in 1977 from Astoria to San Francisco. We’ve been taking our spring breaks here since the mid-80s.  The weather is not always spring-like at this time of year, but that has the advantage of keeping fair-weather tourists away. There are many opportunities to hike, paddle and just beach-walk.  And if it rains, it’s a great excuse to make a second latte and finish all the half-read books I bring along.

A picture named Heceta Lighthouse.jpgHeceta Head Lighthouse 

Good Thing I Don’t Do This For A Living

Wow, my NCAA bracket entry (in a local pool) has just about flatlined.  I’m second from the last in a pool of about 150.  The guy I’m beating, “Jim Bob”, must be a crank who thought less of his $5 than I did - he picked Eastern Washington to win the title.  I actually put about 10 minutes’ thought into filling mine out, faxing it in just seconds before the deadline last week.  Still, I’m far, far behind the women in the accounting department at my clients’ who got me into this.  They filled out their brackets based on how well they liked the school colors of the teams.

Toward A Rough-Hewn Judiciary

Who ever thunk judges led such interesting lives?  First, we hear about Scalia buddying up with that grizzled outdoorsman, Dick Cheney, at one of those private animal shooting galleries to pot them some ducks.  Probably nothing luxurious about it, just some guys camping out, hiking several miles a day, living by their wits and wresting their meals from nature, so no ethical worries about improperly influencing a member of the judiciary.

Then I read today in the WSJ that:

A lead attorney pressing a legal attack by industry against pending federal air-pollution regulations had social contacts with two federal appellate judges at a guest ranch before they decided the 1999 case. The meetings came as part of a series of expense-paid seminars for judges paid for by donations from industries and conservative foundations.

The case — the American Trucking Association vs. the Environmental Protection Agency — was one of the biggest environmental cases of the 1990s. In it, the appeals court struck down new EPA regulations on soot and smog, claiming that Congress had never delegated the authority to the EPA. The U.S. Supreme Court later rejected the lower court’s decision, upholding EPA’s right to tighten regulations on soot and smog under the Clean Air Act.

While the case was pending, one of the judges that made the decision — U.S. Circuit Judge Douglas Ginsburg — participated with Ed Warren, who argued the case on behalf of several industry groups. They were both directors of the Foundation for Research on Economics & the Environment, a group based in Bozeman, Mont., that holds periodic seminars at a resort hotel and a rustic ranch for selected federal judges. The sessions feature plenty of free time for fishing, hiking, cocktails and other forms of socializing.

Man, these guys are rugged!  And you thought they sat indoors all the time reading case law and writing their memoirs.  I for one am glad that they get outdoors and get some physical yang along with their scholarly yin, gain an appreciation for the environment and bring a healthy, balanced attitude to the cases they decide.