Sunday, February 12, 2006

Software...Good, Paper...Baaaad

13 February 2006

I’ve always had a love for political and editorial humor. It must be one of my personality quirks I got all the way back from when I started college and fell in love with those editorial comics about Three Mile Island, Russians in Afghanistan and Iran Hostage Crisis. I especially like the one of the two bomber pilots above Iran discussing the response to the Iran Hostage Crisis. Flying over Tehran, one bomber says to the other, "I'm all for a response to this Iran Crisis, but this is horrendous!" The other pilot, "Yep, there they go. 50 fully gassed up Ford Pintos!" (You know, well-known for their exploding gas tanks when rear-ended in the '70's?) Or maybe the NRC as a little old man taking a Frankenstein for a walk downtown (the Frankenstein with a shirt reading "Nuclear power" and the old man saying, "He's just a big old pussycat!" Or another personal fav is an old man on a rickety old horse-drawn fire engine with its horse ready for the glue factory, pulling away from the United Nations building in NY and him saying, "...and right after this, we'll get right over to that three-alarmer in Afghanistan!" in reference to a glacial UN response to the Russians in Afghanistan. (See, the UN was always ineffective and slow in dealing with reality!)

You ever feel like you are the last person in the world who’s not a pod-person? (Reference “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”) That’s about how I felt this morning. I came in early and was surprised to see on the front-page of my msnbc.com that His Majesty Dick Cheney “accidentally” shot a fellow hunter. Well the first words out of my mouth were, “Oh, so Dick took Scooter (Libby) out for a “hunting trip” eh?” To which the response to the above said remarks was 1) crickets chirping and 2) looks from my coworkers up the line of “what the heck are you talking about?”

So, without further adieu, for those of youse that don’t keep up with the political news/gossip, I’ll just sum it up by saying that Scooter Libby was the one that supposedly “leaked” information about Valerie Plame Wilson ending her career as an undercover operative (NOW they say with Dick Cheney’s permission – after the fact- of course since the VP can declassify information anytime he wants…even if it means blowing the cover of a long-time spy working as a secretary cum investigative genius) concerning the investigation of WMD’s/attempts by Saddam to obtain uranium and such in an attempt to try to prove that Saddam had nuclear capabilities as instructed by the President, resulting in Val’s (an undercover CIA agent having worked for the State Department in a series of embassy’s throughout the world over the last, say 25 years) suggesting sending her husband to visit and investigate the remote possibility of some small African nation selling stuff to Saddam, which to everyone’s surprise turned up no definitive or even remotely damning evidence that Saddam was trying to obtain/buy used uranium at bargain-basement prices for his little collection. No damning activities having been discovered (squashing THAT possible defense position for taking Iraq by storm..errr, purely coincidental reference to "Desert Storm"), info of the whole operation exposing Val as a spy was leaked, resulting in a real finger-pointing who-dun-it to assign blame for blowing the whistle on one of our long-time spies, uncovered and discovered to be Scooter, resulting in everyone backpedaling to try to clear Cheney from any involvement in the whole ball of wax (the leak of Val’s identity, not the shooting, soon to be labeled as an attempted hunting suicide, I’m sure…yet!) I should also mention that Cheney and Scooter are good friends from way, way back and still are to this day...according to news reports and probably the White House spin doctors. Hope that sums things up for you to better understand my sick, sick political humor today! It is almost too “Non Sequitur”ish (comic strip by Wiley Miller if you’re out of the loop) if you know what I mean?

In other news this morning, “The Flying Tomato,” aka Shaun White took Torino by storm! Whooo-hooo! After reading the write-ups on Saturday, it didn’t provide a lot of hope that our snowboarding hero would be able to pull it off. Imagine my surprise this morning eating breakfast and seeing on the big screen The Tomato on the screen nearly in tears as the Star Spangled Banner played. Good Job and very cool!

The last couple of weeks have been mostly uneventful. I’ve been dragging myself into the future, okay, into the present by working with this damned HP Pocket PC. I’ve been arm-wrestling with the sync/downloading of my CSV based address file transfer from Yahoo to my Pocket PC. Seems it might be a problem with my laptop having two versions of Outlook resident causing problems with the download or sync of the info from my laptop to the Pocket PC. If it sounds like Greek to you, it is to me too. But, I’m pulling myself through this and understanding more about it everyday. The ultimate objective is to get my info all pulled over to the Pocket PC and divorce myself of my Franklin-Covey Daytimer book forever! The Pocket PC already has everything else that I need, like the calendar, the note pad capability, and now all my address book complete with email addresses, so this upcoming vacation will complete my break with the paper copy of the daytimer.

Getting ready to take a nice vacation of eight days in Munich and then six days at home. Down to the point of the contract where I have a bunch of days that I must “use or lose”, so I’m ready for another trip to Europe. Phil is going to meet me in Munich and from there, the schedule should be pretty fluid. Should be fun considering we will be in Munich for the last two days of Fasching which are Rose Monday and Shrove Tuesday. After those festivities, I am thinking that we need to go see the BMW museum, definitely a trip out to Neuschwanstein and possibly a trip out to the concentration camp at Dachau. I’ve been to Dachau twice before, but always with different people. I think it’s an important trip that everyone should at least make once in their life. Very sobering and very sad.

On the up side, we will be in the Vier Jahrezeiten Kepenski about two blocks from the Hofbrauhaus. The hotel is in the center of town, so it should make it easier to get around. At least it will be away from the rain, mud and scum-filled pools of muck around the trailers at Victory.

We had had so much rain over the past few weeks, that KBR has stopped installing those 12 foot tall blast barriers. Actually, I think they may have halted on the project since one of them fell over into a trailer and is now peacefully resting on the steel girders which support the floor of the trailer. I guess the ground shifted with all the rain and such and the barrier just toppled over like a toy soldier. Fortunately, it was only a shower trailer that was damaged. Imagine if it was in the middle of the night and it was actually one of our living trailers? You would be able to ship whomever home in an envelope…just fold ‘em up and mail ‘em back. Maybe KBR will reevaluate the whole blast barrier setup…but don’t bet on it. If I was a betting man, I’d say the odds of getting flattened by a 12 foot concrete blast barrier versus getting hit and killed by a mortar are about equal at this point. We will have to talk to hajji for the spread on those odds.

Speaking of which, just two nights ago, there were sirens wailing for about an hour and heading in the direction of the back gate. Soon afterwards, we had a couple of incoming mortars. All the newbies at the trailer park were all yakking about the incoming. It’s funny how you forget what it feels like to have the ground shake underneath you when it is relatively quiet for so long.

So later in the night, I’d finally gotten that address book to load into my Pocket PC as an Excel doc versus a CSV doc (since Outlook is sooooo user friendly!) and I decided to break from it and go down to the Green Bean to celebrate with a Triple Chi Latte, my conquering (or rather winning a somewhat decisive battle in my quest of understanding this Pocket PC) yet another step in freeing myself from my paper Daytimer. Software…yeahhhh! Paper…boooo!

On my way back to the trailer, I was walking past the TMC and nearly ended up corralled up into a group of local and foreign nationals who were without escort and under guard of a soldier with a weapon. It’s no fun to have a weapon pointed at you at night and be accused of being one of the “usual suspects”. I’m not saying that my life flashed before my eyes or anything that dramatic (after all, blogs are allll about drama), but it certainly made me think that maybe I should be a bit more careful with the company I keep!
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