Friday, May 30, 2008

Free At Last and Where's Trina?

I left work on Wednesday (my Friday) with some good news for a change. The insubordination charges against me have been reduced to a non-event for all intents and purposes...or is that 'all intensive purposes'? Whatever. My supervisor and I talked about it and I told him that I was disappointed that so much time had been put into something which was so wrong from the outset and that it was my belief that no necessary changes would result from it. It was a good outcome for me but I was always looking at the larger picture and for me that would have meant a thorough investigation of not only my actions but the actions of the supervisor who created the scenario which caused all of this to happen.

At some point in the future (when I retire) I'll publish the blog I've written about this matter and the associated back and forth letters between myself, my union and management. I don't currently work for an agency (it's not a company although they like to think we are) which is at all cozy with the idea of allowing the truth to be spoken as it sort of gets in the way of the agenda.

A big thank you to Dog and Tim for all their help.

I was all set to ride today...suited up...water bottles filled and carbs replenished when I changed my mind and decided to stay home and continue with the yard work I'd begun last weekend. Again it was pretty much an all day affair. I'd hoped to get done with a couple hours of daylight to spare and I did but when it finally came time to ride there was a strong line of storms about to roll through. Last year that would have bothered me but this year I'm fine with it. I've accepted the fact that I won't be doing as many miles as the past few years.

Wednesday night Rachel was inducted into the National Honor Society with a few dozen of her classmates. When I was going through high school I didn't even know there was such a thing. I'm so glad for her that she's making the most out of her high school years in a way that I never imagined.

Funny story...Rachel got a call from one of her best friends, Katrina, who lives across the street. She called to tell Rachel that she was at track practice and that she thought she'd locked her keys in her car and could Rachel please go to her house, get her spare set and bring them to her? No problem. A few minutes later Rachel got a text message from a mutual friend asking if she knew where Katrina was because her car was running in the school parking lot with nobody in it. This was the afternoon and her car had been running all day since she'd parked it that morning.

They're thinking that a Native American nickname may be appropriate for her...Running Car.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day Musings

This Memorial Day as all the others for the past couple decades found me sucking up holiday pay at work. I was plugged into the radar at Polar High when Barry came in to help me out. When it slowed down we got to chatting and he mentioned that he'd been to a one hour Memorial Day ceremony earlier in the day put on by the city of Northfield. He felt it was important to actually take some time to reflect on the meaning of the holiday. My guess is he's in a very small minority of people who actually do that. Too many of us allow the meaning of the day to become overshadowed by sunshine, BBQs, beer and fun. I'm guilty.

I got home from work and took the pups for a walk then proceeded to get on my bike for an overdue ride. Having spent nearly all of last weekend working in the yard I was in desperate need of an endorphin fix. I got my fix but not without a hiccup to begin my ride. I was descending a hill within a mile of home on my way out when I noticed that my rear brake was tugging in a way I'd never felt. I'd just lubed my chain and I thought that maybe I'd dripped some oil on the side of the rim. I pulled over to have a look and noticed that I'd broken a spoke. That's not a good thing with the high tensioned wheels I use, Mavic Ksyriums.

I was fortunate for a couple reasons with this break. I was close to home and the broken spoke was on the non-drive side meaning that there was less stress on the broken spoke than had it been on the drive side of the wheel. Had it been one of those spokes the wheel would likely have contorted too much to ride back on. Anyway, I got home, swapped out bikes and was back on the road a few minutes later. And to think, I nearly sold my red Serotta when I bought the new one a couple years ago. I'm so glad I didn't do that as it's a great backup.

I don't mind riding in traffic but it's nice to have a day when there's very little of it. Holidays provide that opportunity for me. I caught one cyclist and we rode together for just a bit. He was heading up to Lake Harriet but I was set on crossing the river into Bloomington by the Mall of America and working my way west from there. We parted company.

Tammy didn't get off work until 7:30 so I was timing my ride to be back before she got home. That didn't work so well. I'd intended to take hwy 101 out of Shakopee and head east toward home but the road was closed. I followed the detour south and figured I'd forget about working my way back to 101 in favor of picking up 154th street and taking that into Prior Lake. That too was closed.

The winds weren't kind to me. By the time I headed east for home the winds had changed direction from northwest to northeast. So much for my tailwind to finish out the ride. I finally made it home after a few more miles than I'd intended...a little over 64.

Tammy, Rachel and I had a late dinner at Applebees. We've all been pretty busy lately and it gave us a nice chance to collectively catch up with each other.

Tammy begins working out of our home next week in her job as a telephone triage nurse. She's been working out of the main office in Bloomington the past few months getting up to speed and now she's ready. Being able to work out of our home will be especially nice next winter when the weather turns icy. Not walking into the den and interrupting her while she's working will take a bit of getting used to.

Funny, as I blog this my brother Keith just called to ask Tammy a medical question about a tick bite and Lyme Disease. Keith gets the family discount.

So what exactly does the word 'emo' mean? I asked the question at work today and I'm not sure that Dog got it entirely right. Rachel showed me how to find the answer to that and many other questions on Urban Dictionary...or in her speak...you have to 'urban dic it'.

In case you're wondering...

Emo:

Genre of softcore punk music that integrates unenthusiastic melodramatic 17 year olds who don't smile, high pitched overwrought lyrics and inaudible guitar rifts with tight wool sweaters, tighter jeans, itchy scarfs (even in the summer), ripped chucks with favorite bands signature, black square rimmed glasses, and ebony greasy unwashed hair that is required to cover at least 3/5 ths of the face at an angle.

Oh, and in case you're wondering what 'ripped chucks' are; they're ripped up shoes. And how did I know that? Duh.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Gardening and the Cost of Fuel

Okay, Tim d, the new profile photo is up. It's not exactly a current photo as it was taken a few years ago but I'm looking a bit tired in it having just completed an epic (for me) ride. So the way I figure, the fact that I'm looking a bit worn out in the photo should make up for the reality that it's a few years old and it should give a good approximation of what I look like. But then, you only see me at work and I'm always tired at work. Um, speaking of blog photos...Tim, Rob? Oh yeah, Tim...I just saw yours tonight...sweet.

With Tammy's new job our schedules don't mesh as nicely as they used to...definitely going back to Friday/Saturday off next year. I took off Wednesday from work so we could take our annual trip together to Gerten's Greenhouse and buy the bulk of the flowers for our gardens. This is the longest we've waited to put our flowers in but since this spring has been so cool we didn't feel like taking any chances with frost.

It's always a lot more work planting our flowers than I think it should be. This year I needed to add thirty, 40lb bags of top soil to the gardens. What seems like it should be a one day job easily stretches into two days of effort. I did get sidetracked along the way this year.

I woke up Thursday morning to the sound of water running. I wasn't sure where it was coming from but I'd soon learn. I looked out the den window to check the status of our bird feeder and I noticed the ground was saturated with water. I walked outside to find that one of the main lines from our underground sprinkler had sprung a leak. I didn't need that. I shut the water off and got busy digging down to find the problem area. This sort of thing isn't uncommon but usually the problems with the sprinkler are from heads which go bad after a few years and need to be replaced. I recall thinking somewhere during the repair that if I could just win the lottery I could forget about ever having to do this sort of dirty work again.

It turns out a root had grown under the water line and put enough pressure on it to cause a split.

Switching gears...

A few times a week I'll take the pups to the dog park ten miles away. I figure with the cost of gas it's easily a $5.00 trip each time vs just going for a walk around the neighborhood. It's worth it to me to let them get out and run around but it also represents the first time I've found myself reconsidering my driving habits.

It's a bit unnerving to watch the price of crude oil blow past the $100 per barrel price to around $135 where it's currently at. Our society has staked its future on this one commodity. Without a free flow of it we could easily find ourselves in a position unlike any other time in our lives. No blood for oil? Oh, I don't know about that. I can think of plenty of reasons to ensure a free flow of oil but having gas in my vehicle to get me to the dog park wouldn't be one of them.

When I supported Bush going into Iraq, oil was the main reason I could think of for going in although the administration claims it had nothing to do with oil. WMD. Yeah, right. Having Saddam in control of the 2nd largest oil field in the world was reason enough for me and I do understand that the US gets very little of its oil from Iraq.

I don't think it's any coincidence that the world is dependent upon the most unstable part of our planet the oil we all need to survive. God either has a sense of humor or it's His way of causing us to learn to get along with one another but that's just my simpleminded way of thinking.

I'm as guilty as the next person for enjoying cheap gas to the fullest my entire adult life. I recall the lines of cars at gas stations in the late '70s but it didn't affect me as I was in the Navy and didn't own a car. Are we headed for those days again or will the availability be there but at a steep cost? Actually, I don't drive all that much. If I were to subtract the miles I use for getting to and from work I easily put more miles on my bike each year than I do in our other vehicles combined. I suppose I should qualify that statement by saying that I ride a bit more than the average joe. That's not to say that there aren't some unnecessary automobile trips I could eliminate.

I was watching CSPAN today while I got ready for work and they had a panel of oil company executives being questioned by members of the Senate. One number which stood out for me was the amount of profit being realized by one of the oil companies. It was ten cents per gallon of gasoline. It's possible that that's an excessive amount but I have no way of knowing. The number which followed was even more interesting and that is that oil companies are only making 25% of what the US government charges in taxes for every gallon of gas. Something to think about when trying to put this in perspective.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Fish Catch, Welcoming Rob and Dysfunction Junction

I previously wrote about Rachel's trip to Seattle last March with the youth group from Prince of Peace Church. I kept forgetting to ask her about the video of her at Pike Place Fish Market catching a fish. No, not with a reel but with her hands as one of the workers threw it to her. She just sent me a link to the video. She totally missed the first toss but did much better on the second attempt. Here you go. (I just found out...unless you have a Facebook account you won't be able to view the video)

I'd like to welcome a friend from work to the blogosphere -- Rob. Rob and I have worked together for 20 years. One could easily mistake Rob for a dyed in the wool liberal but he's more well rounded than that. I've learned a lot from him over the years and I'd like to think I've at times given him a perspective he may not have otherwise considered. He's our wordsmith at work and probably the most well read person I know. Anyway, I've been suggesting to Rob lately that he begin a blog of his own and so he has. His blog should make for some interesting reading this election year and beyond.

Conjunction junction what's your function? Hooking up words and phrases and clauses. A guy could easily make a rhyme describing today's FAA using that song's melody. Rather than call it Conjunction Junction I'd refer to it as Dysfunction Junction.

Dysfunction junction what's your function?
Turning a blind eye to the problems which plague us.

Dysfunctional supervisor how's that function?
It don't function at all but that's your problem.

Dysfunction junction there are liars among you.
We're doing the Lord's work don't you get in our way.

Dysfunctional supervisor you got nothing better to do?
Hey, I'm into this too deep to back out now my friend.

Anyway, you get the idea. Feel free to add a verse in the comments section.

The reason I refer to our work environment as dysfunctional is because it is. Dysfunction to me is about living with a problem rather than addressing the problem and resolving it so it stops causing difficulty for others. I'm speaking from experience. All too often upper management in the FAA is slow in addressing trouble makers within management if they address them at all. Innocent people suffer in the wake of the dysfunction while those creating the turmoil are further emboldened by the lack of action taken against them. The end result is an unnecessary dysfunction which takes away from more important matters. The sad part is that it doesn't have to be this way but yet it is.

Rachel's Billy Joel phase is showing no signs of letting up. I just burned her a copy of The Stranger. Hmmm...looking through my music files here and I see of a bunch of '70s disco stuff she'd like. What am I doing with them you wonder? I cannot tell a lie...I danced to some of that stuff when I was in the Navy in the '70s...and I enjoyed the heck out of myself too! You should've seen me.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Full Weekend

A tip of the glass to Robert Mondavi.

It's been a busy couple days off. I worked the all night shift on Tuesday night which worked out well for me as my brother, Bryan, was in town from Oregon and we were able to spend most of the day together on Wednesday. It was four years ago that he was last out here. We siblings refer to him as Bryan but he actually goes by Dave with most everyone else. My Dad's Name was Peter David Gilmore. My understanding is that my father preferred to be called Dave rather than Peter. My brother's name is David Bryan Gilmore and since people referred to my dad as Dave, for some reason my brother's name shifted from Dave to his middle name of Bryan. I think there was some concern that we couldn't have two Daves in the same house.

Bryan is a photographer and he's been on the road for the past couple weeks visiting relatives and photographing his journey. I enjoy photography as well but he's on a whole other level than me. I think we both thought it would be nice to get out together and take some photos. There's a place in Rosemount, 10 miles east of where we live where ruins from Gopher Ordnance Works from 60 years earlier remain. I thought it could make for some interesting photography.

We spent a little more than an hour out there walking among the concrete while I picked his brain as to how to frame a shot and what sort of things he looks for when he's photographing. It was nice to spend time with him; I only wish we had more of it.

Not far from the concrete ruins is the Tri-Valley Air-park where people fly their RC planes. We headed over there to see what was up. Pun intended. To our surprise there was a guy getting ready to fire up a Mig-29 like turbine engine plane. Very cool indeed. Bryan got some nice photos while I focused my attention on shooting some video.

We stopped for a late lunch at Panera Bread. I'd never been there before. Good sandwiches.

We came back home and I asked Bryan if he had his Linux program with him so I could install it on my computer. He's a believer in Linux. He likes it for its ease of use and the fact that it's not a system resource hog with the only drawback being that it can be difficult to configure for wireless operation. Anyway, after the installation we booted up my computer but couldn't bring up the Linux OS. On the 2nd try my computer began to reformat its C drive without any warning. When we brought it back up there was no Linux to be found and I had a bunch of work to do as far as reinstalling my programs. I probably needed to do a reformat anyway so it's just as well.

Tammy and I took Bryan up to Jackie and Jerry's Wednesday night so he could see them while he was here. Jackie and Jerry have a couple staying with them for a few months until they get a place of their own. We shared some laughs getting to know them; Jesus and Vididiana. Of course somebody had to joke that Jesus is living in Jackie's basement or something along that line.

Rachel has her dance recital this weekend. I think she's ready to move on to another studio next year as many of the girls she's dancing with are very cliquish and catty toward kids who aren't in their group. It's becoming more of a nuisance than she'd like. Personally, I hope she leaves as I don't think she's being challenged enough where she's at. I'd rather see her struggling in the back row but knowing she's growing as a dancer than to see her in a more prominent position but not feeling as challenged as she'd like to be.

Taking videos of the performances is prohibited as the owners of the dance studio want you to buy the DVD they have produced. I understand that this is a business for them but what's more important to me is that it's our daughter out there and I'd rather not rely on someone else to video her performance for me. Besides, I like to focus on her and leave the rest of the group to the company producing the DVD. We always buy the DVD they sell so I don't see where they're out any money. Here's the discretely made video I took last night...

Here's a link to some videos I took of her dancing.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Child Abuse

Child abuse comes in many forms. How is it that a child so young should be filled with so much hate? This is a disturbing video. Please don't view it in the presence of little ones if you choose to view it at all.



Was he reading a script or did he really believe in what he was saying? Was it just an act? I don't know.

I'd like to think that the feelings of the young boy in this video are not at all representative of other children his age, at least not in America. Sadly, I think his hatred is shared by many minds his own age in other parts of the world, namely the Middle East, where children are routinely taught that America and Israel are evil.

If the hate which is being spoon fed to young minds in the Middle East is akin to a cancer on that part of the world, I'd have to say that the patient is terminal; at least in so far as there being any hope for a civilized people to rise up. I don't want to suggest that more violence in that part of the world is the answer but it would seem that anything less than removing those who are infecting their next generation of people with a core of hatred is not going to be enough.

It would be nice to think that young people would eventually revolt against the older establishment and find the truth for themselves but I fear that that is pie in the sky thinking. Or is it?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Lost Then Found

I got up this morning and the first thing I thought about was getting in my truck and going to look for my cross. I fed the pups then scarfed down a bowl of Trix and was on my way. There were quite a few bikers on the road and I was wishing I was one of them. I knew it wouldn't be long before they'd be wet as rain was a sure thing...just a matter of when.

I drove to a point where I thought I may have been when I snagged my cross while trying to remove a bug/bee from inside my jersey yesterday. I seem to recall being on a downhill when it happened but I couldn't be sure. I no more pulled over and turned off my truck when my cellphone rang. It was Tammy. She offered a prayer that I'd find it and with that I was on my way.

If the cross fell straight down it would be on or near the road. If I caught it when I snagged the necklace while tossing aside the bug/bee then it would likely be well off to the right and possibly in the tall grass beyond the gravel shoulder. I could only recall seeing the necklace, not the cross, after the incident so I couldn't be sure where the cross fell off.

I walked slowly doing my best to make a sweeping scan from the road to the grass and back again. One guy stopped early on and asked if I needed a ride. I thanked him and explained what I was doing. I wondered if people maybe thought I was drunk as I was zigging and zagging just a bit with my head down trying to cover the entire gravel shoulder in one pass.

About 30 minutes into my search a red car passed going in the opposite direction then turned around and pulled up behind me. By the time I looked back the driver had gotten out and was calling my name. It was a friend from work, Rick Melhorn, who lives nearby. He said he'd passed me once and thought he recognized me but didn't imagine it was me because I wasn't dressed in biking gear and what else would I be doing out there nearly 40 miles from home. I told him my story and with that he was back on his way. He no doubt had better things to do than help me in what looked like a wasted effort. I understood.

I kept asking God for His help in finding my cross but there were times when I began to doubt that I was going to find it. Even though I'd done a good search yesterday my doubts were quickly replaced with thoughts that I was certain it would soon be found. I simply believed our prayers would be answered.

About ten minutes after talking with Rick an SUV slowed and pulled to the side ahead of me. I didn't want to look up for fear that I'd miss seeing my cross. The driver got out and I expected him to ask if I needed help. Instead, he asked if I knew where Troy Burne golf course was. My first thought was, 'Dude...if my cross is on the shoulder, you probably just drove over it.' Slim chance I figured. I told him the course was just up the road on the left. He got in his truck and drove off.

I continued up the road and got to where his truck had been parked. There, laying in the SUV's tire tracks I found my cross. It suffered some damage from being driven over but I was so thankful to have it back. It was only a couple inches onto the gravel shoulder. I couldn't find it to save my life yesterday but there was no missing it today.

Within a couple minutes of finding it Tammy was ringing my cellphone to see how I was doing. She was very happy for me when I told her that I'd just found it. She then did something which I'd forgotten about in my excitement. She thanked God and it wasn't just in a figure of speech sort of way.

It's nice to have it back.

Had I been just a minute or two earlier in my search I would have found it before it was driven over. It's still all there and it still represents a faith which is important to me. I watched as the guy in the SUV drove over my cross and was helpless to stop it. A bit of harsh reality after all the searching I'd done. Perhaps there's a symbolic lesson in there. People can trample Christ's name or disparage the church but they can't diminish my faith in Him and what He means to me. Maybe I'm reaching with this. Maybe not.

Friday, May 9, 2008

A Letter From Ventris and My Lost Cross

Keith came by the house yesterday to set up the desk he made for our den. Tammy begins working from home (telecommuting) in the next couple weeks so we needed an additional desk to accommodate the equipment she'll be using. Keith made the desk to match the corner unit he did for the other side of the den minus the upper cabinets.

Rachel has been working overtime studying for her APUSH (Advanced Placement U.S. History) exam. She's been getting together regularly with friends in study groups and quizzing each other. They had the test today from 8am to noon. Miss Clark, her teacher, took all their cellphones from them before the test began. What Miss Clark didn't know was that all the kids had set the alarms on their phones to go off at noon when the test was over. It made for a good laugh.

Rachel won't get the results back until mid July. Provided she does well enough on the test it will count as credit for college. She said it was very tough.

I got a letter in the mail yesterday from none other than Ventris Gibson, Assistant Administrator for Human Resource Management for the FAA. I had written a letter to George Bush back in January detailing my frustration with what I see as hypocrisy with FAA management in regard to pay. When the FAA imposed their pay and work rules on controllers in September 2006 it was told to us that they needed to get costs under control. It actually had nothing to do with that but I suppose it sounded reasonable. Anyway, Ventris states in her letter that "the guiding principles for the new pay system are: ensuring pay for performance; ensuring long term affordability; continuing to support career progression; attracting the best candidates to manager positions; and continuing to provide clear incentives to remain in and progress upward in the management chain." In other words; being an air traffic controller isn't something we want to reward anymore than is necessary. Becoming a traffic dodging supervisor, a one year working the boards wonder is where the real money is at.

I went out for what I figured would be a 50 mile ride today but once I got out there I decided to go a bit longer. I was having a good ride until about 12 miles north of Prescott, WI, when I felt some sort of bug near my shoulder trapped between my jersey and my base layer. It felt like it was the size of a bee so I reached in, grabbed it and threw it off to the side. I did it quickly so as to minimize my chances of being stung. In the process I caught my hand on my necklace which holds my cross. I didn't see anything wrong with it so I pressed on. A couple miles later I noticed that the necklace was dangling open and that the cross was gone. I turned around and slowly retraced where I'd been but I couldn't find it. I spent the next 30 to 45 minutes going over the route while asking God's help in finding it. It was difficult to know just where I'd had the encounter with the bee as I was in a bit of an endorphin induced zone and not so focused on my surroundings.

I was a couple hours from home and around 4:15 I decided I needed to give it up and head back. It made me sick to think that I'd lost it as it has a lot of meaning for me. I felt like I was leaving a part of me behind. Rachel was having a bunch of kids over for an APUSH party and I needed to be there as Tammy was at work.

I hope to head out early in the morning tomorrow before the rain gets here and see if I can do better by walking the stretch of highway rather than scanning from on my bike.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Kevin! Making a Ghetto Screen and Music Memories

I finally got around to taking my bike apart, cleaning it and putting it back together yesterday afternoon. In the process of doing that I noticed that my bike pump which straps to the frame for repairs on the road was missing a key part. The rubber grommet on the head which creates an air tight seal had worked its way off. Had I flatted with it like that I'd have been dead in the water. I took a trip to Flanders Bros bike shop in south Minneapolis last night to pick up a new pump. Of course I can't just buy a new head for the pump I already have but I would if I could.

I hadn't taken the Crosstown since they began construction on it. I'm not sure what the time table for completion is but it's quite a project. Lake Street was also torn up. Not only that but there were some killer potholes all over the road. I think I'll avoid both those roads for a while.

We were doing our thing at church last night (tattoos and painting nails) when I heard somebody behind me say my name..."Kevin!" I turned and saw a face I hadn't seen in at least a dozen years. It was a friend from my previous marriage/life; John Moerschel used to date a friend of ours. My dad hired John's dad when he worked at Control Data in the '60s. Small world. John was at Hosanna volunteering financial services for people in need. It was nice to see him again.

Rachel had a bunch of friends over last Saturday night to sit around the fire pit in the driveway. Katrina brought over her DVD player and projector and they set it up to play their show, Mortal Combat, against the garage door. They thought it was a great time. Tammy said I should have seen them out there. They had ten chairs all lined up just like at the theater.

Tammy had the idea to string up a sheet as a movie screen and I expanded on her idea by finding a tarp at Fleet Farm with rivets along the sides and corners. I screwed in some hooks along the garage door frame and with the help of some bungee cords I quickly had a ghetto movie screen for less than $20. I spent an hour steaming out some wrinkles from it. It's not perfectly smooth but it's a lot better than the panelled garage door they'd been using. Rachel is quite happy with it so that's all that matters.

Duck watch. Yep...they came by again a couple days ago with the second male shadowing the pair. He took off before I shot the video. Tim and Rob, this is for you...

video

Can you think of some songs which take you back to a specific moment many years earlier? Whenever I hear Led Zeppelin's, Ramble On, I'm reminded of the time I heard that song driving north on 35W near 46th street in the early '80s. I don't know why that memory remains with me but it does. Several other songs evoke specific memories for me as well. Wildfire by Michael Murphey brings me back to the spring of 1975, riding the school bus one morning along Old Shakopee road my senior year. Somebody must have had a radio.

I don't hear this song very often but when I do I always pause to take it in.

Friday, May 2, 2008

A Billy Joel Phase and Who Am I

If it's Friday it must be raining...and it is.

I went out riding this morning knowing that I wouldn't stay dry...and I didn't. 20 miles into my ride the skies opened up. I don't mind a little rain when I'm biking but I found myself in a heavy downpour with lightning strikes close by. A bit unnerving when you're out on the highway with no shelter nearby.

I'm trying to stay motivated to get out and do stuff but it hasn't been easy with the depressing weather we've been having. I was able to get out and mow our lawn yesterday for the first time this season. All the lawns around are greening up very quickly. Look a little closer and you can see buds on the trees.

Rachel is in a Billy Joel phase. She and Katrina are in the kitchen baking marshmallow rice crispy treats and listening to his music. They know all the lyrics to We Didn't Start the Fire...quite impressive. Tammy doesn't like Billy Joel. I dunno...I like some of his stuff but I think I've heard Uptown Girl a few too many times in the past couple days. I'm going to have Rachel listen to The Stranger. That for me was his best recording.

Tammy and I went out to Green Mill tonight for a couple glasses of wine and an appetizer. We were talking politics and we both decided that we were officially separating from the Republican party. No surprise there to anybody who knows me and has talked politics with me anytime this past year. We've seen enough. No, we won't be sporting any Democrat bumper stickers or supporting any Democrat candidates. We will simply no longer be the sure bet for Republicans that we've been. It's more a repudiation of Bush and those who supported his policies than anything. I don't see much difference between a tax and spend Democrat and a borrow and spend Republican. Where does that leave me? I'm not sure but Tammy is considering writing in the fictional character from the first two seasons of 24, David Palmer, for president. I think he's dead; does that matter?

Bush's policies became personal for me with his anti-labor stance with respect to the FAA. But enough about that.

The ducks were back again today. also, check out the squirrel trying to climb the bird feeder. He's a persistent little guy but I was only able to catch the last part of his efforts.

video