I hate to say it – and I hate to admit it – but president Bush is very
likely a one-term president.

I predicted it long ago during the race of 2000. The economy was just ripe for downturn. The nineties had been quite prosperous. Any signs of recession had been evaporated by the rush to take advantage of the next big thing: the internet. You can delay a recession for a while but you just can’t fight it. We were due and any president, be it Bush or Gore, would have to try. The battle is often lost at the polls in an election year. Just ask father Bush.

I don’t think I can blame Bush any more for the recent economic plunge
than I can credit Clinton for our economic prosperity of the 90s – despite
Al Gore’s claims that he, in fact, invented the internet. Its simple
macroeconomics. Economic growth and contraction follow each other
in a fairly repeatable pattern. Both Gore and Bush had to see the troubles

George W. Bush’s staying power at the polls, largely generated from his
leadership after the terrorist attacks last year, is now
and the economy is to blame. Big surprise. We unite behind our president
during times of war, as we should. However, in times of relative peace,
we become a bit more introspective and look at the problems at home.

I also hate to say that Bush can increase his chances of reelection by starting a
war with Iraq. I hate to mention it because I feel that a war with Iraq is
basically inevitable. We can do it now or we can wait for Iraq to manufacture the
weapons needed to really give us nightmares. This problem should have been solved years ago. It shouldn’t be considered a political move, despite its obvious benefits at the polls.

However, I could be overreacting. His
numbers are still quite good and a whole lot can happen in two years,
including a nice economic recovery now that the internet bubble has finally
burst. In any case, I won’t be voting for Gore in 2004. I can guarantee you

by | Categories: politics | 2 Comments

Movable Blog

Jul 29, 2002

The posts have slowed but the layout has changed. What’s the deal?
The deal is that I’ve changed my blogging tool. I did use
I now use a tool called
Movable Type.
During the transition, I’ve been busy
tweaking the new layout and installing the new tool, leaving little time to
record my thoughts.

I’m quite happy with Movable Type. It sports a whole mess of features
not available with Blogger. I’m a technology geek and these features, like
the ability to use blog excerpts within other content, are just too cool.
The tool also exists solely on my web server and is entirely free, not asking me to
pay on a
yearly basis
for its extra bells and whistles. However,
the free version of blogger treated me well and is still highly recommended,
especially for beginners. It’s almost like saying goodbye to an old friend
(buh-bye blogger, sniff, sniff).

The funny thing is – and I’m reaching here in the midst of all this slightly
technical drivel – that the move from one tool to another felt a bit like
changing skins (though I imagine in real life, that would hurt).

The thought of changing tools filled me with a bit of dread because sometimes –
often, if you ask the wife – the geek inside works against me. Give me
a bunch of new knobs and buttons and what do I do? Poke and prod the beast until
something comes out that I like, generally taking a boat load of time in the process.
For me, at least, the transition wouldn’t be too simple and I knew it.

This fact, however, sure didn’t stop me. As soon as I peeked
over the shoulder of a friend playing with his new
I just had to have it. And now I do.

Actually, it wasn’t bad at all – a testament to the
a husband a wife who blessedly offer it for free. I’m happy its over though.
Now I might have time to blog about something actually interesting.

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It may be the middle of July with a heat index of 105 but it’s going to
snow. It’s definitely going to snow. There will be pigs a ‘flying
because my mother, God bless her liberal heart,
is going to vote republican. More specifically, she is going
to vote for Bob Ehrlich
to be the next governor of Maryland.

I suspect that her vote has a lot to do with the fact that he comes
from our home town of Arbutus. However, like myself, I’d guess that
it will be as much a vote for Bobby as a vote against his opposition.

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
is likely betting on two facts to
basically hand her the race: she’s a democrat and the Kennedy name
appears on her office door. The first fact is a good bet. The last
of Maryland wasn’t in my lifetime. Given the overwhelming influence
of the registered
in this state, that is unlikely to change anytime soon –
despite the fact that this race, like the one before it, it shaping
up to be reasonably close.

I’m hoping that the second fact backfires on her.
People finally appear to have shaken the idea that sharing the
Kennedy name somehow means you will be a good politician.
Personally, I’m tired of the Kennedy name referring to some type of
political entitlement. “Vote for me, I’m JFK’s second cousin’s
half-brother”. The biggest opposition to this theory comes from the
Kennedy family itself. In a couple of years, the name may be
synonymous with
and bad skiing. Kathleen is trying to avoid any negative aspect of that
image while grabbing at the coattails of her father with both hands.
Just take a look at her advertisements. It’s the last time I’ve seen
him on television. Her own
ignores any previous political history but is happy to report her family heritage
(here’s a

that mentions her other exploits).
I hope she thanks
everyday for his good deed.

In any case, November could be interesting if Mr. Ehrlick can
swing some more democrats his way. And hey mom, welcome to the club.
I’m off to buy some extra milk and toilet paper so I can beat the rush.

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Nothing to Say

Jul 21, 2002

Over the last couple of weeks, I feel like I’ve kind of gotten on a roll with
this blog thing. However, I’m getting the urge to write and am at a loss for
subjects. I have nothing in particular to share and nothing in particular to

A lot of that is probably because I’ve spent the last week either at work or
working at home. Last week we had what I’ve termed our “closet calamity”.
Basically, the shelves and clothes of our approximately eight foot walk in closet
came crashing down at about 2:30 last Sunday morning. The racket that
accompanied this was impressive, to say the least. I, being the comfy sleeper
I am, incorporated it nicely into whatever dream I was having — waking up
temporarily in a daze and looking to snuggle back into my pillows. My wife,
however, thought the world was ending.

At one time, our closet shelving consisted of a single piece of wood that streched
the entire length of the closet, with absolutely no supports in the middle.
In addition, this same piece of wood, which sported a metal hanger underneath,
took on the burden of all our hung clothing. Sturdy design? Let’s just say that
I don’t think the construction crew was entirely sober when they thought this
one up.

Regardless, we happily used it. The closet in our previous home was smaller
than small. It couldn’t fit all of Jenn’s clothes in it, much less
my own, and, when we bought the house, we could only imagine what we’d do with all
the new space. We were a bit too busy doing our happy closet dance to really take a
good look at the specs.

About a year ago, the closet gave us a warning. The shelving came down with a
bang for the ages, interrupting a perfectly good shower and basically scaring the
crap out of me. Being the not-so-handy man I am, I fixed it. It seemed that
the glues and nails that served as the shelf anchor, just didn’t cut it (someone,
somewhere just said “duh”). I reanchored everything and life continued.
A week ago, it sputtered its last breath and took a final dive, taking
bits of the closet walls along with it. For the record, my anchors held fast –
thank you very much – but the bad design finally caught up with it.

So what happened to my week? Well, a new house project happened, that’s what.
Trips to Home Depot and
Lowe’s, followed by painting, and finally some building.
Somewhere along the line, the project changed from “this closet needs to be fixed” to
“while we are doing the closet, let’s repaint and fix up the bedroom”.
I’m not sure when it happened but I bet the wife could tell you – the little sneak:)
I’ll have to consider this as I install our newly purchased porch light out front.

In any case, that has been my week. The closet is nearly complete and, as I mentioned,
I really don’t have anything to say. Oh, well.

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I’ve Got Rhythm

Jul 17, 2002

Yesterday, I heard the beat of our child’s heart for the first time.
It’s one of those moments that I knew was significant when it happened,
but I don’t think I understood how much so at the time.
It was just another moment. Wasn’t it?

The wife got comfortable on the examination table, the doctor placed
her fancy little microphone on Jenn’s belly and ba-dum, ba-dum, ba-dum.
Tears formed in my wife’s eyes and, for a instant, I nearly
joined her (just a tear up, I swear). The little pressure cooker is
working overtime, just in case we had our doubts.

Jenn and I walked out of the hospital with more than a little euphoria;
another barrier passed, another bridge crossed. We again discussed
the reality of it all. Somehow the quick patter of the heartbeat
meant more than the fuzzy pictures we had seen so far. It may
have been just another moment in the day, but it is one I’ll reflect upon
for quite a while.

It seems that the clock is ticking, even if sounds of the pendulum were
slightly different than normal … ba-dum, ba-dum, ba-dum.

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Minor League Fun

Jul 14, 2002

While settling down in the stands to watch a baseball game on Saturday night, the
wife leaned over to me and said “this just seems more family oriented.”
The Bowie Baysox, the
Orioles double
A affiliate, were on the field and we were just beginning to take in the sights
and sounds of minor league baseball.

You know what? She’s right. Families of all types and sizes surrounded us.
There were kids enjoying a trip
around the merry-go-round just off of right field; other kids played catch
to both our left and right. The smell of hot dogs
was in the air, a good crowd watched from the stands, and the guy in front of
us was just itching to talk baseball with anyone who would listen. As I took all
of this in, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “Why doesn’t major league baseball
feel this way?”

It almost got me down. When I think of major league baseball lately, I think
of handing over my wallet to get in and all the labor
problems that are going on right now. It seems that all the success that
major league baseball has enjoyed has lead to one thing: a whole bunch of
rich, spoiled men fighting over how to split all the cash. A lot of the
between owners and players make it seem much more like a business
than the average fan wants to admit. We know it’s a business, we really
do. But when there are two strikes and two outs in the bottom of the ninth with the tying
run on second, we want to think that the batter wants to win in his heart and that
money is far from his mind. Unfortunately, I’m not so sure.

In any case, for $8 a piece, the wife and I saw one hell of a ballgame. Good to
average play all the way around, ending with a four run comeback in the bottom
of the ninth to win the game. Top it off with a fireworks display,
and we have a winner. I can see me coming back this season. I can see the wife
and I bringing our children here in the future. We won’t have to break the
bank either. A family of four could get in for $16, provided the kids are
under five (in which case, they would be free). Maybe we’ll even put them
on the merry-go-round. Try doing that at
Camden Yards.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a blast watching the Orioles play this year.
But while players and owners alike fight over the piles of scraps, it was nice
to ignore it all. For one night, at least, it seemed a bit more pure, a bit more
enjoyable, and, yes, a bit more family oriented.

by | Categories: sports | 3 Comments

4 wheels and a beach

Jul 12, 2002

Assateague Horses
While vacationing last week (yep, here comes a second vacation story), the wife
and I took our relatively new Xterra
for an adventure. More specifically, we took it on the exclusive off-road vehicle
beach on Assateague Island.
What a blast.

Wild ponies, other assorted wildlife, 13 miles of wide open beach, and
a Xterra fresh for its first four-wheeling experience is quite a mix indeed.
The little 4 wheel engage light was brightly shining on the dashboard. On my left,
the Atlantic Ocean threw wave after wave onto the sand from about twenty yards
away. To my right, sand dune after sand dune rose from the beach;
an occasional access trail, screaming for exploration, could be found between
them. Top it all off with the sights of wild horses making their way from place
to place and you have some of my most memorable experiences of my trip.

It’s funny, but I couldn’t help but feel like a member of an exclusive club.
No sports cars or family cars in sight, the special tools of the trade in the back
(which are a shovel, a piece of wood, and tow cable, for those who are interested),
and a proudly displayed, but rather expensive, OVR sticker on the front of the
truck helped solidify this feeling. My good old Trans Am couldn’t bring me
here; heck, it has trouble getting out of the driveway when it rains.

The only glaring fault of the island, from my perspective, is the bugs.
They have bugs that occasionally carry off a tourist just for the fun of it.
This is all the more worrisome when we factor in the fact that my wife is
incredibly allergic to mosquitoes; who, in a bit of irony, seem to flock
to her like she was the pied piper. I can hear the little critters now, “I have
been to Mosquito Jenn! It contained the nectar of the Gods!”

Unfortunately for the famous mosquitoes of the island, “Mosquito Jenn” was safely
withheld from them – try as they might, the glass of the windows protected us from their constant dive bombing attacks. However, they can take solace in one fact: the
OVR pass lasts for a year. We’ll be back.

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Hard Knocks Football

Jul 11, 2002

It seems that HBO is going to run another
“Hard Knocks” football special this year.
Last year, this show followed my home-team and super bowl champion
Ravens through
training camp and the preseason. This year they are going to switch gears and
head to Texas to profile my second favorite team, the
Dallas Cowboys.

First, a bit on the show itself. By and large, I really enjoyed it last season.
Obviously, as a big fan of the Ravens, I thought that the opportunity to see what
happens more or less behind closed doors was quite interesting. The
show certainly had its slow points but it also had a couple of memorable moments.
(like “The Goose” locking the tight ends, including Shannon Sharpe, in a
trailer or a bit of rookie hazing that ended with a poor gentleman taking
an ice bath). The focus on rookies that were on the fringe of getting cut and
some unfortunate injuries suffered by the team added just that bit of drama that
was needed.

The coverage now heads to Dallas. For those who don’t know, Dallas has been
my favorite football team for as long as I can remember. I know what many of
you are thinking: “Oh no, a Dallas fan. How could you?” All I can say is
that I got it honest. I grew up in a house of Cowboy fans, namely my two
brothers. The Cowboys were good in the seventies, my brothers would cheer
away every Sunday, I was young and impressionable, and it stuck. When they
got good again in the early nineties, my love for the sport was just hitting
stride. It all clicked, particularly since poor old Baltimore didn’t have a
team of its own. When it gained one, just a few scant years ago, Dallas had to
slip down a notch to make room for the hometown boys.

My only problem with the show is that this season just can’t be as good as the last.
The records of the two teams in the season following the show could end up
being quite similar. Dallas, although lacking at the quarterback position, is
looking quite solid in both defense and at the running back position. Their
wide recievers are reasonably solid. They could (I repeat could) compete for a
playoff spot, much like my Ravens did last year. This year Dallas seems to
be on its way up. The Ravens, little did we know, were on their way down.
However, this might not mean much to the show for two
reasons. One, the show takes place in the preseason. At this point, it is
all about the hype. The Ravens had a super bowl trophy. The Cowboys
have quite a large following. The ratings may end up being better but the content
probably won’t. Two, the Cowboys just don’t have the cast of characters that made
the show so much fun with the Ravens. Let’s replace Brian Billick with Dave Campo. Let’s
replace Tony Sirigusa with La’Roi Glover. Replace Shannon Sharpe with … well, you can’t
really replace that mouth with anyone outside of Mick Jagger. Can you? It just
won’t have the same ring to it. There is no replacing the personalities that
made up the Ravens last year.

In any case, I’ll be watching and hoping for the best. I’m voting for the
Cowboys this year, if only to stem the tide of tears over what has become a
rebuilding year for the Ravens.

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Racing the Magazine

Jul 6, 2002

Last week, the wife and I took a vacation with our assorted in-laws to
Ocean City.
As far as vacations go, I’m quite pleased. Lots of relaxation
with bits of fun mixed in for good measure. Luckily, the week gave me one
amusing story (at least to me) to relate.

See, one of my favorite pastimes on vacation is reading. I usually bring a couple
of books with me as well as a magazine or two. This vacation was no different.
I had brought a couple of novels, among them
Good Omens
and the
first Harry Potter
book (yep, I’m behind the curve on this one), and some gaming magazines.

So there I was, laying in lounge chair by the pool, soaking up the sun,
settling down for a good reading session with the latest issue of
Computer Gaming World
(I’m a game geek; I know it) when I noticed something
particular. The pages of the magazine were slowing coming apart. In fact, they
were coming apart one page at a time, almost in cadence with my reading.
I would read a page and the page a couple of sheets back would break free.

I should have known it was all going downhill when I noticed that I was leaving
blue fingerprints on the pages. Hmmm, I thought, I didn’t have any blueberries
today (as a side note, I’ve never had blueberries which made this conclusion all
the easier). It seems that the magazine was slowly melting in my hands; kind
of like M&Ms,
regardless of their little catch-phrase.

So what was I to do? That’s right. I needed to read the magazine before it
could fall apart on me. I would read a page and a page would fall out. I’d
read another and two more would fall out. Would I make it? Could the knight
slay the beast? What was in store for our hero next episode?

I’d like to say there was some drama involved, but there wasn’t. Any drama
that existed was found solely in my brain as I triumphantly completed the
issue in just time (so there sun, take that). The sad, crumpled mess of paper
that was once a magazine retired to the trash bin while I moved on to seek
other challenges. It seems that you do have to take life’s little victories where
you can find them.

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I had a dream the other day. It included a child, more specifically my future child, at about 2 or 3 years of age. It was a quick glimpse of the future, the child and I were together and, if I’m not mistaken, on the front step of a house (I’ll guess my own). The biggest thing I remember is looking at his or her little shoes. At that moment, I awoke and thought, “Oh my God. We’re going to have a child”.

It’s not like I didn’t know. I’ve mentioned it a couple of times here and these days, more often than not, the concept twists around in my brain. However, it is starting to settle in. Our recent OB visit went well. Jenn’s belly is getting a bit harder and bit larger every week and with it, reality is beginning to take hold. For the record, her cute little belly is a sexy little thing.

After all, you only get a couple major events in your life. Graduation, marriage, and children are easily the biggest three that I can think of and, now, the last of those is just around the corner. It will change everything.

I’m still coming to grips with the idea of the wife and I being trusted with such a tiny, precious life. Isn’t there a test we need to take? Ah, yes, the answer is A, isn’t it, no B? Where are our references? The dog and the cat may vouch for us, but it isn’t like they are anxious to voice their opinion. I’d like to see your qualifications, sir.

What a challenge ahead. It’s not a stretch to say that his or her first little steps in those little shoes will be a huge leap in both my life and that of my wife. I only need to temper my anxiety with my impatience. I can’t wait. I just can’t wait.

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