Wednesday, December 31, 2003


I was catching up on some of the Bloggers I like to read. Many are making their 2004 predictions. Some have Howard Dean being nominated and others have him getting to the convention with insufficient votes and thus a fractured Democratic convention.

In all cases that have Bush winning in 2004 in a cakewalk. That sounds like a pretty safe prediction. I don’t think it’s a matter of IF but rather of by HOW MUCH.

Bush seems to be living charmed existence. It’s almost as if some all-powerful all-knowing supernatural being were intervening in human affairs.

For my part, I think I’m with Drucker when it comes to predicting the future – it is a fool’s profession. Rather than try to predict the future, better to prepare for many outcomes and thus have as flexible and adaptive response as possible.

Still, I also believe that, in many ways, we all make our futures. So I guess I would ask: What kind of future do you want and what are you doing to make it happen?

Posted by Ted on 12/31/03 9:41 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

The Eagle Has Landed

I have returned home. The client released his employees at 1400 and then he and I worked until about 1600. He had a dinner to attend, so I decided to bail.

As I went through my prelaunch countdown and the main engines came up to full power, I called Karol to let her know I was leaving and would be home as soon as I could. Traffic proved to be a bit thick and I did not make optimum time.

However, when I got below Exit 7 on the Jersey Turnpike, it thinned quite a bit. I was able to use a power setting of 3,300 rpm while keeping a sharp eye for the constabulary. I glided into home base at just shy of 1900.

Posted by Ted on 12/31/03 9:32 PM | Link

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

End of First Day

I just returned to hotel room. My client and I had to wait quite a while at the restaurant to eat.

I've got my keyboard working well now. So far, things on this mission are going pretty well. I'm using my Palm to take notes while I work and it not TOO bad. I'm not going to stay up very late as I just left a wakeup call for 0540 tomorrow morning.

I need to get up at that time to run on their treadmill, take a shower, eat breakfast and be at the client site bright eyed, bushy tailed and read for work. I did 2.2 miles this morning.

I felt a little intimidated during my workout as there was a fellow already running on the other treadmill when I came in. I ran my two miles and left. He was still running, when I left. I guess I really really need to get into shape.

One of my goals is to get my resting pulse rate below 50 beats per minute. I also want to run more than 1.75 miles in 12 minutes. I've got a ways to go those.

I guess that's it for tonight. I'm going to floss and brush my teeth and go to bed. Talk to you tomorrow.


Posted by Ted on 12/30/03 9:40 PM | Link

Monday, December 29, 2003

Arrived at Destination

I was all ready to type madly into my Palm, but no luck. I think the batteries in my keyboard are dead. That means I have to painfully hand letter this. Tomorrow I'll get new batteries. This will be an abbreviated post.

The trip up was uneventful. I made a brief stop to refuel my body. While cruising used a modest power setting of 2700-2900 rpm. Total travel time of 2:20.

On the NJ Turnpike, as I neared NYC there were lighted signs that said, ''Cars may be searched entering into NYC.'' It looks like they're taking this terror threat seriously.

Posted by Ted on 12/29/03 9:30 PM | Link

T - 30 Seconds and counting

All systems are go for launch. Dasher-1 has was washed yesterday. Just the load of dirt removed from the fuselage and flight surfaces should markedly reduce fuel consumption. The tire pressures have been checked and set to 31 psi. Fuel tanks have been topped off. All necessary items have been stowed.

I’m taking my Palm Pilot with my portable keyboard and me. Perhaps I’ll do some Blogging in my motel room and then download it, upon my return.

I’ve got to go now. The main engines are coming up on full thrust. If I don’t release this bird, it’ll tear the launch tower apart.


Posted by Ted on 12/29/03 5:02 PM | Link

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Lord of the Rings

Karol and I went to see Lord of the Rings tonight. It is a VERY good film. I found parts very moving. What impressed me most were the personal sacrifices many characters in the film make. The do it for each other, for honor, and just because it’s the right thing to do.

At one point Frodo, and his friend without peer Sam, is somewhere in Mordor. The good guys don’t know exactly where they are and cannot help them. But they hit on a tactic that does help them. They attack Mordor – even though they cannot know if this will work. Men die. Good men. And I was deeply moved by their loss and their sacrifice. It seemed inconceivable that anyone would do such a thing.

Yet, in the film, this strategy works and Frodo fulfills his mission. I understand that Tolkien put much Christianity into this story. Although I could not find a specific scene that pointed to the Bible, it almost felt as if I were reading the Bible. Watching the film, I was also reminded of the current struggle in the world against terrorism and the more specific struggle in Iraq.

The three LOTR films are probably the greatest set of films ever made. The photography is breathtaking. At some point, we will buy a DVD player and then likely purchase the three films.

I think the most important message of the three films is that evil exists, that it can only be conquered through force, and you need to act before evil has sufficient strength to win. As it is in the film, the good guys barely make it.

Karol and I read the books many years ago, so we knew generally how the story went and I think that helped us enjoy the films. Not everyone will enjoy it. I would not call this a chick film. In some of the battle scenes, it was hard to keep track of who was doing what to whom.

Posted by Ted on 12/28/03 10:00 PM | Link

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Two-Day Away Mission

Monday I will be piloting Dasher-1 on a two-day away mission to a North Jersey client site. Liftoff is scheduled for 1700 December 29, 2003. My mission will be to find and bill as many hours as possible before the return blastoff occurs at 2000 hours on December 31.

Posted by Ted on 12/27/03 8:42 PM | Link

Friday, December 26, 2003

Don't Expect A Thank You

Have you ever done something for someone and they never take the time to say, "Thank You?" It has happened to me. When it does, I think of this story.

As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!"

He looked at them and said, "Go show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, their leprosy disappeared.

One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, "Praise God, I'm healed!" He fell face down on the ground at Jesus' feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, "Didn't I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Does only this foreigner return to give glory to God?" And Jesus said to the man, "Stand up and go. Your faith has made you well."

If nine out of ten lepers could not thank Jesus for healing them, why should we expectd people to thank us for less?

Posted by Ted on 12/26/03 8:28 PM | Link

Europe's Proxy War

Ilka Schroeder, a 25 year old former German Green Party member, who is now a member of the EU Parliament, characterized the Palestinian Intifada as a European proxy war on America.

"The Europeans supported the Palestinian Authority with the aim of becoming its main sponsor, and through this, challenge the U.S. and present themselves as the future global power. Therefore, the Al-Aksa Intifada should be understood as a proxy war between Europe and the United States."

Posted by Ted on 12/26/03 8:18 PM | Link

How My Mom Got Her Talent

Have you ever wondered how my mom got to be such a talented painter? The reason just came to me today.

I used to live on a dairy farm. My dad kept Holstein cows - the black and white ones. He registered them. Part of the registration process was to show what the cow looks like. Each animal's black and white spots are unique – kind of like fingerprints.

The registration form had the profile of the cow (left & right). It was my mom’s job to draw the cow's spots on the form. This could get a little challenging as occasionally we’d get a cow that looked like a Dalmatian.

This was all free hand drawing. I figure all the practice drawing cow spots, is what gave her the talent to paint so elegantly.

Posted by Ted on 12/26/03 8:13 PM | Link

Liberals/Progressives Suffer Loss

Liberals/Progressives/Socialists are loosing the hearts and minds of the American People.

The Voter News Service, a media consortium that interviewed thousands of voters as they left the polls, has FINALLY released their report from the 2002 elections.

The GOP won the national vote for House seats by 51% to 46% and voters who identified themselves as "conservative" increased from 30% to 34%.

The number of self-identified "liberals" shrank to the lowest level in the past four elections - 17%. "Moderates" continued to dominate the electorate, representing 49% of all votes cast.

Bush’s re-election is looking better all the time. There is even the outside chance the Republicans could pick up enough seats in the Senate to have a filibuster proof majority.


Posted by Ted on 12/26/03 7:46 PM | Link


I subscribe to Meriam-Webster's Word of the Day. Today the word is borborygmus. I thought this was such a neat word I'd share it with you.

borborygmus • \bor-buh-RIG-mus\ • noun
: intestinal rumbling caused by moving gas

Example sentence:
Jim, having skipped breakfast, was beset by borborygmus long before noon, and was mighty grateful for the pile of holiday treats next to the coffee machine.

Did you know?
Unless you're a gastroenterologist, chances are you never knew there was a name for those loud gurglings your stomach sometimes makes. And looking at the word itself, you might think it's just some crazy coinage invented recently by someone who thought the word matched the rumbling sound. But actually, "borborygmus" has been part of English for at least 240 years; its earliest known use dates from 1762. We picked it up from New Latin, but it traces to the Greek verb "borboryzein," which means "to rumble."

Posted by Ted on 12/26/03 8:22 AM | Link

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Buy Order

I just put in an order to buy ACO (Amcol Inernational) at $19.15 a share.

Posted by Ted on 12/25/03 9:10 PM | Link

To Our Troops: Thank You.

Please read this from Peter Schoomaker. Its short but worth the read.

Posted by Ted on 12/25/03 7:42 PM | Link

And Then...

Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We have seen his star as it arose, and we have come to worship him."

Herod was deeply disturbed by their question, as was all of Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law. "Where did the prophets say the Messiah would be born?" he asked them.
"In Bethlehem," they said, "for this is what the prophet wrote:

`O Bethlehem of Judah,
you are not just a lowly village in Judah,
for a ruler will come from you
who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.' "

Then Herod sent a private message to the wise men, asking them to come see him. At this meeting he learned the exact time when they first saw the star. Then he told them, "Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!"

After this interview the wise men went their way. Once again the star appeared to them, guiding them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house where the child and his mother, Mary, were, and they fell down before him and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. But when it was time to leave, they went home another way, because God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.

Posted by Ted on 12/25/03 7:35 PM | Link

The Spirit of Christmas

This picture stands on its own.

An American GI with a little Iraqi girl.

Posted by Ted on 12/25/03 7:23 PM | Link

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Merry Christmas

It’s Christmas Eve. Christians celebrate this as the night when God took the form of man and walked among us. This child was the product of unwed mother born in a barn. That night was filled with hope and joy. But it was also the prelude to the greatest evil ever committed by the hand of man and God’s greatest gift to man.

This is a CRISTIAN holiday. Non-Christians can celebrate Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman, but they don’t get it.

So my Christian reader, please accept my wish for you to have a very Merry Christmas. May you find joy and peace in the promise God made these 2,000 odd years ago.

To my non-Christian reader, what can I say? I’m sorry. You don’t understand the danger you are in. Without that understanding, you just can’t get it. You are condemned to be on the outside looking in.

Posted by Ted on 12/24/03 11:10 PM | Link

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

The Reason for the Season

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David's ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancé, who was obviously pregnant by this time.

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn.

That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior--yes, the Messiah, the Lord--has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David! And this is how you will recognize him: You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!"

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others--the armies of heaven--praising God:

"Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors."

When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, "Come on, let's go to Bethlehem! Let's see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

They ran to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. Then the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds' story were astonished, but Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their fields and flocks, glorifying and praising God for what the angels had told them, and because they had seen the child, just as the angel had said.

Posted by Ted on 12/23/03 10:15 PM | Link

Monday, December 22, 2003

Dean's Stock Still High

Dean continues to roll on, but Clark's stock is starting to rise a bit.











Rest of Field




Posted by Ted on 12/22/03 10:33 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Faster Internet Speed

My Internet speed just got faster. I just received an email from Comcast. They informed me they just bumped up my Internet speed. They told me to unplug my modem and then plug it back in again. I did that and now I can download at 2,700k and upload at 256k. Not bad, not bad at all. And it didn't even cost me anything more. I'm impressed.

Posted by Ted on 12/22/03 9:55 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (3)

Good Cop Bad Cop

Steven Den Beste has a thoughtful take on the Bush/Blair team and how they took down Qaddafi. He says that Bush and Blair have fine tuned the good cop/bad cop to a fine art.

The British position with Qaddafi, on the other hand, was that they had considerable influence with Washington but no veto over American actions. If you Libyans give us a deal with thus-and-so concessions, we think we can sell it to Bush and we promise to try really hard. We want to work with you here and to help you on this. But if you don't offer us enough there won't be anything we can do to keep the Americans from coming to visit you with extreme prejudice, like they just visited your buddy Saddam.

He also makes the point that Gaddafi's surrender was the product of diplomacy backed up with a credible threat of force. Without that threat, all the words in the world would not have moved Gaddafi.

The Weasels are trying to use a triumph of the threat of force as a demonstration of why you don't need threats of force. But it won't work, because they can't explain why they themselves could not do what Blair's government actually did, and why this agreement happened when it did. They can ignore the "coincidence" of events in Iraq, but no one else will.

Posted by Ted on 12/22/03 7:51 AM | Link

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Cocoa is Good for You

Beyond the froth, cocoa teems with antioxidants that prevent cancer, Cornell University food scientists say. Comparing the chemical anti-cancer activity in beverages known to contain antioxidants, they have found that cocoa has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine and up to three times those found in green tea.

Posted by Ted on 12/21/03 8:35 PM | Link

Problem Solved!

The client solved the problem themselves. It turned out to be a rights issue. I worked on the situation, but could not find an answer. Then they called about 1630 and said they had resolved the problem.

Good news. I did NOT go to Philly today and I won't tomorrow either. It did, however, burn about four hours of my time this afternoon.

Posted by Ted on 12/21/03 4:45 PM | Link

Trouble in Center City

Just before we were to leave for church this morning, I received a cell phone call from my client in Philly. He said they had loaded some security patches on the server and then rebooted it. After rebooting, the cannot get SQL Server to run.

They are emailing the error log to me so I can take a look at it. This company is big enough that they have their own dedicated IT department. I have more problems with companies that have their own IT department, than with clients that do not. I have found many IT guys to be overconfident.

There is a slight chance I may be going to Philly today, but we'll see.

Posted by Ted on 12/21/03 12:40 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Saddam Responds to his Accusers

Shortly after he was captured, four Iraqi's spoke with Saddam. They were not gentle. Here is a report of their conversation with him.

Posted by Ted on 12/20/03 10:03 PM | Link

The Cedar Waxwings are Back

The building owner, where my office is located, planted flowering crab apple trees years ago. Every spring they are covered in small pink blooms. Now all the leaves are gone, but they have bountiful harvest of crab apples.

Yesterday morning, as I parked my car, I noticed a flock of Cedar Waxwings devouring the crab apples. These birds seem to come every year. I don’t know how many there were as they were coming and going and dropping a lot of crab apples on the ground. I would guess there were at least half a hundred.

Posted by Ted on 12/20/03 7:46 AM | Link

Friday, December 19, 2003

Some People Just Never Give Up

FORT BENNING, Ga., Dec. 19, 2003 — Sgt. Christopher Chandler, an Aurora, Colo., native, lost his left leg from below the knee Dec. 16, 2001, when he stepped on a land mine while providing security for an explosives ordnance disposal unit in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Chandler recently made history when he graduated from the U.S. Army Basic Airborne Course.

Posted by Ted on 12/19/03 10:19 PM | Link

Two Weeks Before Christmas

T'was two weeks before Christmas and all through Iraq
The people still worried that Saddam would be back
The soldiers went out on their nightly patrol
Capturing the bad guys was always their goal

With raids seeming endless in the triangle Sunni
We hoped that not all of Iraq was so looney
We gathered the tribe of Saddam in Tikrit
And suddenly now they all started to snit

They told of a farm where Hussein just might be
Odierno then called on our boys from the great 4th ID
More rapid than Ba'athists our soldiers they came
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name

Now Delta, Now Rangers, Now Cavalry too!
On Green Hats, on Pilots, I need all of you!
Go to that farm and secure it right now
Capture his ass ~ you guys know how!

Off went our soldiers under cover of night
So stealthy, so quiet, with no trace of light
While we back at home were eating our lunches
Our boys on the ground were following hunches

And then it was time for the raid to begin
The first target came up empty within
Could it be our Intel was wrong once again?
No! Somewhere nearby is the wolf in his den

And then, in a twinkling, camouflage torn away
In a hole in the ground did their quarry lay
Dazed and confused, right at them he looked
Did the stupid old fool know his goose was now cooked?

He was dressed all in rags from his toes to his head
And his beard was as matted as 12 day-old bread
How the mighty had fallen, could this be Hussein?
One look in his eyes was to know he's insane

Our boys got their man ~ how proud we all are
The relief in our country is felt near and far
A bath he's had now ~ yet he'll never be clean
Forever tainted with mass torture and his Fedayeen

To our soldiers, we give our undying respect
You always give more than we ever expect
We hope you can now have a night with some fun
Your loved ones back home say ~ JOB DAMN WELL DONE!

Posted by Ted on 12/19/03 9:24 PM | Link

Dean's Teflon Coating

I think I have finally figured out Howard Dean's appeal. To explain it, I need to digress to human communications. I highly referenced study found that when we communicate with one another, 55% of the communication comes from you appearance and body language. Another 38% comes from our tone and inflection of voice. Only 7% comes from the words we use.

Howard Dean has mastered that completely. He always appears in a long sleeve shirt, with the sleeves rolled up. One might ask, why not just buy short-sleeved shirts. The answer: image. He also speaks with much confidence and his voice is filled with passion and anger. I guess you could say his performances are somewhat like a rock star's - all noise and spectacle without substance.

In the words part Dean says some really inane things. But his followers are unfazed. Take a look at the numbers above. The words themselves are only 7%. Sure he's got the words part screwed up, but the other 93% are right on. He attracts people at a visceral level, not a logical and reasoned argument level.

Similarly, the Bush haters, hate Bush viscerally, and then look for logical excuses to justify their anger. By the way, the Bush haters have just had a really really bad week. They are not going to have a Merry Christmas.

In sales we have known this for a long time. The saying is, "People buy emotionally and then find reasons to back up their emotional decision."

So Dean’s apparent Teflon coating should be expected.

Posted by Ted on 12/19/03 9:14 PM | Link

Vietnam Ghosts Laid to Rest

It is said that generals fight the last war. It appears that better describes the news media. Ever since the start of the war, references to Vietnam and quagmire have abounded. Although the parallels have always be few and sparse, the capture of Saddam Hussein blows them right out of the water. If this is like Vietnam, then, as one person said, capturing Saddam is as if we had captured Ho Chi Min.

The Vietnam analogy has been refuted.

Posted by Ted on 12/19/03 8:50 PM | Link

Did a Domino Just Fall?

Did I just hear a domino fall? Moammar Gadhafi has just agreed to verifiably dismantle his weapons of mass destruction. Secret negotiations started on almost the exact day that operation Iraqi Freedom started. Coincidence? Not bloody likely. There's a new sheriff in town and one-by-one, he's cleaning out all the rat holes. Now some of the rats are surrendering before he even shows up.

It has taken the world some time to adjust to the new sheriff. They first thought he was like the old one - all hat and no horse. They now realize he is Shane.

The sheriff has had a very good week. First Saddam was captured and shown to be the coward that he is. For weeks he has exhorted his followers to martyr themselves against the Americans. Then, armed with a loaded pistol and an AK47, he meekly surrenders without firing a single shot.

Then the French, Germans, and Russians surrender to James Baker and agree to relieve Iraq of some of its debt. They did this even though Bush has said they aren't getting any reconstruction contracts funded by US tax dollars. I would love to find out what Baker said to them.

Now Libya has surrendered to Bush. And we didn't even have to fire a shot.

The world now knows what the new sheriff means when he says, "You are either with us or you're with the terrorists." It looks like want to be on our side.

Posted by Ted on 12/19/03 8:23 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Jackson/Bryant/Peterson Free Zone

This site is a Michael Jackson/Kobe Bryant/Scott Peterson Free zone. I'm not saying those stories are important in some way. They just don't interest me.

Posted by Ted on 12/18/03 10:36 PM | Link


It is surprising how one's emotional state affect one's physical feeling. Most of this project I have felt tired. I think the reason is, there were parts of this project I was less that fully confident I could do. The nature of my business seems to be that I am frequently operating at the limits of my knowledge/skill. There were parts of the project I wasn't very confident about.

I felt under stress. That leads me to another point. Tony Robbins says that, when we say we're feeling stressed, what we're really saying is we're fearful. That bit of transmogrification has been a small epiphany to me. Now when I feel stressed, I say am I afraid of? Here, I was afraid of failing in front of the client.

But I don't like to loose and I don't like to fail. When I am in deep do-do, my mind really focuses. I have been in situations where events were not under my control and appeared to be getting worse. People have commented, how cool, calm and collected I remain.

They don't understand. If I have a project that is appears to be in a cascade reaction to destruction, I need eve bit of mental processes I can lay my hands on. I need every neuron firing in complete sync and harmony with all it's neighboring neurons. I simply cannot afford the mental load to get emotional.

As I look back on my many "adventures," I cannot find a single incident where I was defeated. Yes, I may have taken some casualties. On rare instances, I have taken heavy casualties. But I have always be able declare victory in the end.

Tonight I feel fine.

Posted by Ted on 12/18/03 9:02 PM | Link

Mission Accomplished

Well, after four days on the project, I am done. All the stations have been upgraded and the software is now running on Microsoft SQL Server. Everyone seem contended. But the proof of that is always how fast they pay the bill.

Everything appears to be working fine. Although, I left the building feeling a little like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. Its one thing to run the software for an hour or so. But, as they hammer it over the next few weeks, we'll find if I missed anything.

One thing I came away from this project with is, I think I now know how it feels to be a yo-yo. The IT department is on the 53rd floor. The users for this software are on the 15th floor. When I arrived in the morning I had to chose which set of elevators to take. I could take an elevator that went from ground through all floors to the 20th floor, or I take an elevator that went to the 46th through the 54th floor. That means, when I was on the 53rd floor and had to go to the 15th floor. I took the elevator from the 53rd to the ground floor. Then I got an elevator that took me from ground to the 15th floor. If I needed to go back to the 53rd floor, I reversed my journey. Each trip was accompanied with my ears popping.

As I say, I think I know how a yo-yo feels.

Posted by Ted on 12/18/03 8:27 PM | Link

Merry Christmas

Someone sent this to me. I like it so I’m passing it to you. Click here to see it. It’s a little maudlin, but nice.

Posted by Ted on 12/18/03 5:56 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Third Day on Client Project

The upgrade project at the client site is moving along. Today I finished converting all the data and started the client site installations. With a little luck, I should finish up tomorrow. So far the client seems in good spirits. From that I conclude they are still happy.

The days are a little long, but the billable hours are ALWAYS appreciated.

Posted by Ted on 12/17/03 9:04 PM | Link

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Letter to the Legion from the Front

Dear Post 45,

I caught wind of and read the recent news articles being circulated back there in the states. I figured I could clarify some things for you. As usual the news media has blown some things way out of proportion. The countryside is getting safer by the day despite all the attacks you are hearing about. Imagine every shooting incident or robbery committed in L.A. or Portland being blown way out of proportion.

This is a country where most of the Saddam Hussein thugs are being chased around like scared rabbits by Coalition forces. It is literally open season on them! We hunt them down like animals. There were about a million soldiers in the Iraqi army at the beginning of hostilities and most of them took off before we attacked. There are some that were very loyal to Saddam that are trying to sneak around and take pot shots at us. We are cleaning them up pretty fast.

There are also thugs from other countries running around, like Iran and Syria. Well, the Iraqis hate these thugs as much as we do. So the Iraqi people are hunting them down too! I can honestly say 98% of the population of Iraq love us and they do not want us to leave...ever! They say as long as we are here they feel safe.

What is going on with the countries infrastructure? Everything is going well! The railroad is running again! The railroad has not run since 1991. In the city of Hillah, the power stays on 24 hours a day and it has more power than prior to the war. Some Iraqis are worried about getting too much food from the coalition because they don't have enough room in their homes to store it. The markets are open. The Seabees have rebuilt all of the schools and put in furniture and chalkboards. The kids used to sit on the floor! Now they have nice desks to sit at. Commerce is running. New money is being printed. The Iraqi Dinar has stabilized and is now increasing in value.

Most of the Iraqi men want to buy Chevy pickups (I told them a Dodge Ram with a Cummins Diesel is better Ha Ha). They pretty much want any vehicle made by General Motors. The highways and bridges are being repaired. In the Universities, the girls have tossed their deshakas (long black dresses with head and face coverings) and are now wearing western style clothes and even some are wearing short sleeves. The favorite drink is Pepsi, followed by Coke. They want us to bring them any and everything American. Any item made in America or that is from America is worth money over here.

The newspapers and television paint a picture of doom and gloom and that we are having major problems over here. That is just not the case. The Iraqis have a saying about the situation over here "Every day is better than the day before". Life is flowing back in to this country and it is fun to watch and I am so glad I got to watch it happen. Some days watching the Iraqi people is like watching the faces of little kids on Christmas Day. Many of them are walking around in a daze wondering what to do with their freedom.

They are starting businesses everywhere. They want to build shopping malls and factories, they want McDonalds and Jack in the Box and Pizza Hut. Of course anything American Fast Food, because of the stories the troops are telling them. We give them our old newspapers and magazines that you've been sending us and they are absolutely flabbergasted when they read them! They want us to keep bringing them. They read every single page even the advertisements over and over! This would be a good time for media to get their magazines going over here because the Iraqis just love them.

So in short you see I will give you the straight scoop and keep you informed of what is up over here. I will sign off for now and send this along. Thanks again to all of you for your support. My mailing address has changed. The older one is no longer working. I will tell you the new one as soon as we get it.

Senior Chief Art Messer
22 Naval Construction Regiment (Forward) Task Force Charlie
U. S. Navy Seabees
"With Compassion For Others, We Build, We Fight, For Peace With Freedom"

Posted by Ted on 12/16/03 9:38 PM | Link

Nice Retort

In the same northern Iraqi town yesterday, about 700 people rallied, chanting: "Saddam is in our hearts, Saddam is in our blood." US soldiers and Iraqi policemen shouted back: "Saddam is in our jail."
Hat Tip to Andrew Sullivan

Posted by Ted on 12/16/03 8:26 PM | Link

High in Philly

My body is better today. I have started the software migration from Pervasive database to Microsoft SQL server. So now it is just wait. A chance to sit, a chance to rest. The migration has been running for about 30 to 40 minutes and I would guess it's about two thirds done. While I'm waiting, I caught up on the calls I needed to return and now I'm catching up on my Blogging. I'm currently typing this on my Palm Pilot using the collapsible keyboard I bought. It's not the perfect keyboard, but is types surprisingly well. The only problem is the space bar. It needs something on top of it to make it easier to hit.

This client is situated on the 15th, 51st and 53rd floors of the One Liberty Plaza building in downtown Philadelphia. As I'm typing this, I'm looking out the 53rd floor window at Philadelphia laid out before me. My window faces northwest. I can easily see the Philadelphia Art Museum. Although there are some high cirrus clouds, it is pretty bright outside and I'm about the highest point in Philly right now. I'm using a vacant office in which the whole wall is windows and, since I'm very near the top, they slant inward near the ceiling.

As I as riding up the elevator this morning, I was grateful to the designers that they chose NOT to put clear floors in the elevators. I don't think I'd want to look down 53 floors through the elevator floor. Yuck!

There is a building of roughly equal height about a block away. I look at it and think about the people that put the finishing touches on the top of it. The thought of someone crawling around the top of these buildings, working on them, makes my stomach flip. I would not say I have an uncommon fear of heights. But I would say I have a practical respect for them.

I find it interesting. Here I am on the 53rd floor and my car is parked four levels UNDERNEATH the building. I guess this it the greatest vertical distance from my car aside from flying in an airplane - 57 floors.

Posted by Ted on 12/16/03 11:10 AM | Link

Monday, December 15, 2003

Chief Wiggles on Saddam's Capture

The people of Iraq are rid of him forever. I felt their pain to the extent that I could and I knew their joy to some degree, for I too felt like weeping as the people, as if by proxy, cried for their dead and lost loved ones. The people were finally able to release the sorrow of the past enslavement through their cries and screams, as if to say Saddam you did not win, you did not beat us, we outlasted you and we will have our day. It is over.
Chief Wiggles

Posted by Ted on 12/15/03 9:45 PM | Link

A Fair Trial?

When people want a fair trial of Saddam Hussein, just what are they asking for? I mean, what kind of defense is he going to present, that he is the product of a dysfunctional family? Cut me a break. Is there any sentient being that doesn’t believe Saddam is guilty? I think the trial should serve just one purpose. It should give the Iraqi people an opportunity to list all his crimes against them. Then they can take him out and shoot him.

Posted by Ted on 12/15/03 9:35 PM | Link

Who Would Saddam Vote For?

Who do you think our enemies would vote for President of the United States? Howard Dean? Wesley Clark? I suspect their last choice would be Bush 43, don’t you.

Posted by Ted on 12/15/03 9:16 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Don't Stand Here

One reason M-1 tanks are still frequently used for combat operations in Iraq is because they have a new shotgun type shell for use against hostile infantry. The XM1028 shell holds 1100 10mm tungsten balls that are propelled out of the gun barrel and begin to disperse. The tungsten projectiles are lethal at up to 700 meters. The official, "… requirement is to defeat equal to or greater than 50% of a 10 man squad with 1 shot and equal to or greater than 50% of a 30 man platoon with 2 shots." In Iraq, the M-1 tank rolls down the road with an XM1028 round loaded and the gunner looking through his sight for potential targets. If attackers do pop up, a hail of 10mm projectiles can be fired at them in seconds. At night, the XM1028 is even more lethal, for many hostile Iraqis still don't realize that the thermal sight on the M-1 makes people clearly visible at night to the gunner, especially if they are carrying AK-47s or RPG launchers. The Iraqis still tend to bunch up, which allows one XM1028 round to wipe out entire teams of hostile fighters. The M-1 using the XM1028 shell is the world's largest shotgun.

Posted by Ted on 12/15/03 9:04 PM | Link

I Was Beat Tonight

I was really tired, when I got home. I wasn’t a particularly long day, but I was on my feet all day long. By 17:30 my dogs were barking. I was working on the client’s server. They had their server in a room about five feet on a side with a strong air conditioner in the room. There was no place to sit, but it didn’t matter anyway, because the keyboard was too high to sit and type. After a while, my fingers got so cold I could hardly type. I’m feeling a little recuperated now.

Posted by Ted on 12/15/03 9:02 PM | Link

Sunday, December 14, 2003


I think I’m about done with this puppy. I don’t see much else on the Blog to change – from a layout standpoint. I’ve got my header working at the top and I’ve pretty much got the links on the right organized the way I want. If you see something you think would improve this Blog, just click on the comments link and let me know.

Posted by Ted on 12/14/03 5:02 PM | Link

An Iraqi Blogger On Saddam's Capture

Before this, I prayed the traditional prayers of thanksgiving. That I, and the Iraqi people should see this day! This, surely, is the mother of all days for us. The heroes of our valiant Pesh Mergas, and the heroes of the U.S. Fourth division have done it. Now is the time to unleash the Iraqi Counter Terror; now is the time to go for the kill. Let us go after them. Don’t lose this moment. They want to recant and live in equality with the people? they have a chance - otherwise they will have to go. I am too overwhelmed with emotion to write coherently; please excuse me. The foul mouths of the enemies of our people everywhere and the neighboring vultures and hyenas be stuffed with dirt; we will come after you; your time will come.

Long live the great alliance of Mesopotamia and the United States of America and her allies. Now is the time, now is the time; Do not delay; unleash the Counter Terror.

God Bless Iraq; God Bless America; God bless the Allies.

And above all Praise be to Allah the Almighty the Avenger.

Posted by Ted on 12/14/03 1:14 PM | Link

Saddam is Toast!

I gleefully greet the news of Saddam’s capture. I had hoped they would capture him dead, but this was my second choice. My fear is, now that we’ve got him, what do we do with him? Maybe we can get some intelligence from him. Maybe we can uncover the links between Saddam and Mohammed Atta. I thought Saddam looked pitiful on the TV. He looked exactly like the rat that he is.

I don’t think this will reduce the attacks in the short term, but it will in the long term. Those people that had been wavering as to which side to support now know there is no future on Saddam’s side. In the short term, those individuals that were fighting for the return of Saddam now know their cause is lost. Their problem is they now realize the road they are on leads to a very dead end. When people have no hope, sometimes they do some very irrational things. I would expect more suicide attacks. The insurgents have always been dead men walking, but now they know it.

Posted by Ted on 12/14/03 10:45 AM | Link

Saturday, December 13, 2003

How to Make A Living

I’ve been cogitating on the various strategies of earning money. You see, I always consider myself self-employed, even if I am an employee for someone else. One’s income can be easily determined by multiplying the number of customers one has by the average profits from each customer.

If you are employed by someone else, then you have just one customer and the calculation is easy. If you’re an author, entertainer, or sports figure, then you have potentially millions of customer.

The more customers you have, the more secure your financial future. If I run a company and I have ONLY one customer, then my business is at risk. Should I loose that one customer, I am out of business. Now if my skill set is needed by many people, then I might be able to easily find a new customer.

But if I sell to 1,000 customers and I loose one, it is not a big hit to my bottom line. I would have to loose many customers, before I would see a serious lose of income.

There is another consideration – time. If I am a sports figure, I am limited by how many hours I can put in and how much I can charge per hour. In the case of someone like a Tiger Woods, his hourly rate is pretty good. Former President Bill Clinton now makes speeches for hire. I hear he gets $100,000 a pop. If he can give three speeches a week, then he can collect about $15 million a year.

Entertainers can do better because they can leverage their time. By making recordings and selling them, they can create a passive income that can surpass what they could do in live concerts.

I don’t have any great thoughts here; I’m just thinking out loud on how best to become rich. I haven’t quite mastered that yet.

Posted by Ted on 12/13/03 6:52 PM | Link

Almost Done

Well, this Blog is ALMOST looking the way I want. I’ll tell you, it hasn’t been easy. I am NOT a web master and my knowledge of html is nearly zip. So I’ve been using Microsoft’s FrontPage 2003 to help. I do something FrontPage and then look at the html FrontPage generates. I have also stumbled across this web site gem. It’s been a big help with the html. Although I like what Movable Type does for my Blog, they could do with a little more documentation. They leave all the html up to you. So it’s been a lot of trial-and-error – emphasis on the error part.

Now I just have to figure out how to put the header I use on the rest of my web site in this and I’ll be about done with my tweaking.

What do you think?

The really tedious part will be porting all my Blog-to-date to Movable Type. That’s a cut and paste job with clean up afterwards. I’ve got about five months of Blogging to bring across. They say something about importing, but I don’t know if they mean from FrontPage.

But that’s for anther day.

Posted by Ted on 12/13/03 1:46 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)


One problem faced by our world today is called “piracy.” I’m not talking about piracy on the high seas, but what is called software piracy. Software piracy is when one makes a copy of a computer program or a music CD, which they purchased, and then ether give it to a friend or sell it.

The people that made that software, whether it is a computer program or a music CD are protected under the federal copyright laws. That means we may not reproduce their work without compensating them. They own the rights to that software. Buy copying and giving or selling their work without compensating them, we are stealing from the authors.

I think that making unauthorized copies of software is not only illegal, it is wrong. It is stealing. As honest Americans we should have none of it.

Posted by Ted on 12/13/03 9:52 AM | Link

Friday, December 12, 2003

Here's an Optomistic Note

Victor David Hanson in National Review Online has a stunning article on how we are slowly winning the war on terror. He makes parallels between now and the Peloponnesian War, between now and the Civil War, between now and World War II, and between now and the Cold War. His point is that in every war there is a tipping point. It is a point at which everyone begins to realize who the winner is going to be. It is human nature to want to be on the winning side. Once the realization of who that winner will be sets in, people start to move to that side of the contest.

In 2003/04 many people naively compare Iraq with Vietnam. The parallels are few and sparse. Victor David Hanson views the whole sweep of history to show the true parallels.

He makes the point that even though the weight may be in one direction, there can be temporary and devastating setbacks – like the Battle of the Bulge and the Kamikaze’s in World War II. But these are desperate actions by the losing side. We should expect just that from our enemies. But if we keep our resolve, it will be shown as their last gasp and victory may well be within out grasp. I urge you to read the whole article. It is what I call realistically optimistic.

Posted by Ted on 12/12/03 10:27 PM | Link

Not for Peace, Just Anti-American

This from Davids Medienkritik

Just when you thought the German “peace” movement couldn’t get much more hypocritical they take things to a whole new level. Last week the unbelievable lack of protest at the German government’s plutonium and arms deal with Communist China made it seem as the peace freaks had all rolled up into a big ball for a long winter hibernation.

Not so! The German TV news program “Panorama” uncovered some of the wonderful activities that particularly dedicated cadres of the German peace movement are currently engaged in. In the spirit of peace, a number of groups have started a fund-raising campaign entitled “10 Euros for the Iraqi Resistance”. The money will be provided to the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance (IPA) a group dedicated to carrying out attacks against US soldiers in Iraq in collaboration with Saddam loyalists. The common goal is to "liberate” the Iraqi people from the evil imperialist American occupiers. On their website these groups gush with enthusiasm about turning Iraq into another Vietnam for the USA.

These people are not for peace they are just enemies of the U.S. They remind me of Hitler. Hitler just wanted peace. A piece of Poland, a piece of Belgium, a piece of Franc...

Posted by Ted on 12/12/03 9:51 PM | Link

Words, Words, Words, Words

While driving home tonight I heard on the radio the results of an interesting study. I don’t know how accurate it was, but I thought the results rather humorous. According to the study, little girls, when they talk, tend to make recognizable language. Little boys on the other hand, tend to do less language and more sound effects, like “Zoom zoom or wup wup.”

A facet of this trend apparently persists all the way through life. According to the announcer, women speak about 25,000 words a year. Although don’t quote me exactly on the time frame, but that’s not important anyway. In the same period, men only speak about 10,000 words.

When asked how much time they need to communicate with their spouses, women say 45 to 60 minutes a day. When men are asked the same question, they respond with 20 minutes three times a week.

I like to think that men are just better at cutting to the heart of the matter without all the superfluous words. And sound effects can really spice up a conversation. I mean, what would MOVIES be like without sound effects.

Posted by Ted on 12/12/03 8:33 PM | Link

Lost One

Two hours of scrambling to quote a client on the modules he was looking at and he says, “No thank you. Too expensive.” So I go from a $13,000 sale to a $2,500 sale. It happens.

Posted by Ted on 12/12/03 8:22 PM | Link

A Tiny Bit Hectic

This day is turning out about the way I expected. Microsoft has a promotion that expires next Monday. I emailed all my clients and told them about the expiration date and also told them I would be out of the office next Monday, so they should get their orders in by Friday.

This morning I started assembling all the documentation I wall need to take with me for the software upgrade. I expect it’ll take at least three days. We’re moving their software to a new server and then upgrading to the latest version AND THEN upgrading again to use Microsoft’s SQL Server database. Through all that I have to make sure that, in the end, everything works OK and all the reports give the same results they did before we started all this.

Then one client called and said he’d take the promotion, but also wanted to get the manufacturing software. He said he’d leave it in my hands as to recommend what they should get. Although I really appreciate the confidence, it is also a great responsibility. Now, whatever happens, it’s my fault. So now I have to learn enough about the Microsoft Manufacturing software to make sure it’ll do what they want. If it goes forward, I can learn enough more to train them on it.

I guess I’m feeling a little harried today.

Posted by Ted on 12/12/03 1:17 PM | Link

Four Inches!

Eight miles this week. I missed yesterday’s run due to rain and thereby missed my goal of nine miles for the week. Although I guess I could run on Saturday, I have selected Saturday as my day off. I don’t run and I try to make a payment on my sleep debt.

When I moved the cars from the garage to next to the house this morning, I checked the rain gauge before I emptied it. Just over four inches! That was the rain we got from Wednesday evening through Thursday midmorning.

The temperature, when I went out at 05:15, was 34 degrees. I hope the weather stays good for a while. I have a project in Philly and will be making the commute into the city for at least the first three days of next week.

Posted by Ted on 12/12/03 6:42 AM | Link

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Christmas Chamber Meeting Tonight

Karol and I attended the Christmas Chamber meeting tonight. It was hosted by a law firm in town. VERY nice digs. Now I know where all the money goes. The food was catered. There was some excellent salmon there. Although I like salmon, I’m just not a big fish lover. But this as VERY good.

I like to go to these sort of things to practice my meeting and greet skills. Unfortunately, I’m getting to know too many people. You can’t just walk past people you know. You have to stop and say, “Hi.” Then it’s too easy to get engaged in a conversation. Then when you’ve disengaged yourself from this conversation, it’s harder to break in on another one.

I need to really practice my meet and greet total strangers skills.

Posted by Ted on 12/11/03 10:15 PM | Link

Anti-Missile Test a Success

The defense department is slowly making progress on the anti-missile defense system. I know the press only reports on failures so here is a success. Never count the Americans out, when they set their mind to something.

Posted by Ted on 12/11/03 8:59 PM | Link

Gore's Endorsement

Gore’s endorsement of Dean has set off all kinds of theories as to what he is up to. Here's one take.

Dean has said that upon getting the nomination his first act will be to fire Terry McAuliffe, head of the DNC. McAuliffe was put there by Bill Clinton and he is Clinton’s man. So firing him is a direct confrontation to Clinton. Now Gore is endorsing Dean and thus by implication giving an “in your face” to Bill Clinton.

Some are saying that Gore is setting himself up to run for president in 2008. That theory presupposes that Dean will loose next year. If Gore is setting himself up to run in 2008 and Hillary CERTAINLY is, then it will make for a very interesting contest. It could be the best show since P.T. Barnum.

Posted by Ted on 12/11/03 12:16 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Rain and Some More Sleep

When the alarm when off at 04:45 this morning, I stumbled to the window and looked out. It was raining! A silent cheer went up inside me as I stumbled back to bed for another hour’s sleep. That means I did NOT jog this morning.

I have been adding a mile to my weekly mileage every two weeks. This week I had planned on getting in nine miles. Now that’s not going to happen. But the sleep was good.

It’s actually raining pretty hard at times. Now all the snow is gone and the world no longer looks clean.

I just checked the temperature outside and it's 57 degrees. Almost spring like. When I took the cars out of the garage, I checked the rain gauge - three inches!

Posted by Ted on 12/11/03 6:47 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

More On the Palm Pilot

The timekeeping program is proving to be very useful. To my surprise I’m catching on pretty good to writing on the thing using their Graffiti2 language. The only challenge I’m encountering is, in the Graffiti language you write everything in lower case letters. I’ve spent years as a draftsman lettering exclusively in upper case. So when I go to write an “h”, I write “H” instead of “h.” But my brain is slowly reprogramming itself. I’ve been able to conserve power better by setting the automatic shutdown to 30 seconds instead of two minutes. Today I only consumed about 25% of the available power.

Posted by Ted on 12/10/03 10:02 PM | Link

Blog Tweaked Again

I've tweaked my color settings a little. How do you like it now?

Posted by Ted on 12/10/03 9:45 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

A Knife Through the First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Until now.

The SCOTUS has just said this doesn’t matter. It is now illegal to run an ad that criticizes a politician 60 days before an election.

I don’t know why we even bother with a constitution any longer; they just make it up as they go along anyway.

As Rush pointed out today, sodomy is protected by the Constitution, but free speech is not. Is that crazy or what?

Posted by Ted on 12/10/03 9:18 PM | Link

Networking Meeting This Morning

I went to my networking meeting this morning. Although it is a very good group, in spite of being mostly female, I'm disappointed in my performance. I should be getting more referrals for them and it's just not happening. I just need to be more creative and more outgoing, when I'm out of both the office and home. I need to think of myself as a salesperson for the group that, when I'm out in public, is always selling for them.

Maybe I should get a big button made up and wear it in public. It could say something like, "Got a problem or a question, ask me. Maybe I can help."

Posted by Ted on 12/10/03 9:28 AM | Link

Tuesday, December 9, 2003

Selling Broadcom

I'm selling my Broadcom stock (BRCM). It closed slightly below it 50DMA today and it's Relative Strength line is in a two week slump. It also closed well below 90% of it's most recent high. Time to take my small profits and run.

Posted by Ted on 12/09/03 10:23 PM | Link

France & Germany Sucking Air

Citing national security reasons, U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz has ruled that prime contracts to rebuild Iraq will exclude firms from nations such as France and Germany that opposed the U.S. war. More here.

Yes! It's about time. I say be kind and gracious to your friends, annihilate your enemies, and help those that help you. As for France and Germany, they can go pound sand.

Posted by Ted on 12/09/03 10:16 PM | Link

The Butler Mobile

Since the heavy combat in Iraq ended last April, American troops have been improvising additional protection for their unarmored vehicles. One of these efforts has become something of a standard. Capt. Darryl M. Butler, an engineer officer for the 354th Civil Affairs Brigade (attached to the 1st Armored Division) developed a armor kit for Humvees. A half ton of steel plate, cut into 25 precisely measured pieces, is attached to a Humvee in a few hours and provides protection from fragments (from bombs and shells). Called the MPAH (Modified Protection for un-Armored Humvees) kit, nearly fifty have been installed and several hundred more kits have been ordered. Unofficially it's called “The Butler Mobile,” The kits are being made and installed (under Captain Butler's supervision) by Iraqi contractors. This provides jobs for friendly Iraqis, and protection from the hostile ones. Civil Affairs troops are most vulnerable to attack, because they often travel without the protection of a convoy. Civil Affairs work consists of traveling around to talk and negotiate with Iraqi leaders (official and otherwise) and supervising reconstruction projects. Civil Affairs units have no armored vehicles, and only rifles, pistols and machine-guns as weapons. The most common form of transportation is the Humvee. The Butler Mobile is not only a life saver, but it also makes the job a lot less nerve wracking. Captain Butler is a reservist, an engineer who works for the Corps of Engineers.

From Strategy Page

Posted by Ted on 12/09/03 10:08 PM | Link

Another New Blog Style

Movable type has several different styles you can use on your web log. Although this is not exactly the style I’m looking for, it’s a little closer than to what I was using before. I am modifying the default styles with great caution. I don’t want to so badly screw it up, that it becomes unusable. I’m using FrontPage to do experiment in. I do something there, then I see what html it generates, and then go into the style and modify it. We’ll see how I do.

Do you like this better that the other?

Posted by Ted on 12/09/03 9:51 PM | Link

Dean Stock Soars

Dean’s stock at the Iowa Electronic Markets continues to climb. Remember, the winner at the Democratic convention pays one dollar. If you buy Dean Contracts now at $0.76 and it pays off $1.00 at the convention, you’ll pocket a tidy 32% gain.

Rest of Field..........$0.029

It looks to me like the angry left is enveloping the Democratic Party.

Posted by Ted on 12/09/03 9:45 PM | Link

My Initial Experience with the Palm

My main reason for getting the Palm was timekeeping. I downloaded two programs on a trial basis. One was really simple, which was what I was looking for. It was called SDS Time. But then I discovered it could only handle 24 tasks in one day.

Did I ever tell you how fractured my day can be, when I’m in the office.

The other program I tried and eventually paid for ($20) is just called Times. Although it is a smidgeon more complex than the SDS Time program, it allows an unlimited number of tasks in a day and does a little nicer reporting. I figure with my poor time-keeping skills, this little puppy will pay for itself in a few weeks, if not sooner.

Since I knew virtually nothing about these little guys, I think I should have bought one a little higher up on the food chain. I wanted color and that I got. Not so much for the color as black letters on a white background are the easiest to read. I’m finding that a little higher model would have allowed me to purchase more options. But I’ll learn with this guy. Already I’ve discovered that long battery life is not its virtue. At the end of the day, the battery is nearly drained. I’m going to get a charger so I can keep it humming all day long.

When I’m on the road, I likely won’t use it as much as my days tend to be more concentrated.

Posted by Ted on 12/09/03 9:18 PM | Link

A Plea From Chief Wiggles

Today in the course of what was to be a very normal day, a man knocked on my door with a very special request. At first he was obviously a little uneasy, not sure if he should enter through the large double doors into the spaciousness of my office. As he reluctantly stepped in he looked around to see if anyone else was in the office. It was already late in the day, the others having left much earlier; I was alone to receive the man's inquiry.

I motioned for him to sit down, puzzled by the mans late arrival. I was curious of the man's intentions at such a late hour and anxiously asked if I could help him. He said he had a very serious matter to discuss and a very big favor to ask of me. As I usually do I responded with an affirmative "yes, please continue and we will see what I can do." By his words it appeared he had spoken with others regarding my humanitarian efforts for the Children of Iraq.

I appreciated his kind words supporting my campaign to "Share Joys with Toys" and his confidence that I was the one person capable of finding a solution for his dilemma. He humbly proceeded to reveal the purpose of his visit.

As is customary there was no sequence to the events he disclosed, starting with the seemingly insignificant pieces to the puzzle first, but later through my questioning I was able to put the pieces together.

Four young teenage girls, two sets of sisters, all cousins, were hiding in a home in his neighborhood. Their lives were in danger, jeopardized by their efforts to assist Americans to uncover dangerous criminals in their neighborhood. Now as a result of their actions their lives are being threatened, forcing them to find refuge from their would-be assailants.

The girls are out of options and nowhere to run, their families unable to sufficiently provide protection from an obviously larger more powerful enemy. He repeatedly declared that "we, the Americans, are their only hope", begging for my help and assistance to prevent the four young girls from being killed.

Time is running out, the girls unable to stay hidden for very long without some type of long term solution, in a land that knows little of the meaning of forgiveness.

Searching for a safe haven is not an easy thing, but the young ladies desperately need to find safe passage to America, away from the evil designs of their enemies here.

After some discussion and a few phone calls to confirm the story, I have come to my own conclusion.

I need to find an organization that is willing to sponsor these four young ladies, (two age 13, one 15 and one 16, I believe), to bring them to America and assist in find a loving-caring home for them. If there is a church group, or some other charitable organization, or business that could assist in this endeavor, I would appreciate hearing from them as soon as possible.

Their trip needs to be sponsored and an effort made to insure a safe place for these girls to live, preferably together as sisters.

Please if there is any individual or organization that can help provide a solution for these young ladies, contact me through my web site immediately. We need your help in making this happen before it is too late. Please be sure to write in your email the name and contact information, with telephone numbers, so that we might call you right away.

I would appreciate your help. Thank you.

Posted by Ted on 12/09/03 8:04 PM | Link

Senator Kennedy Has Left the Reservation

Did you see Senator Kennedy on the news yesterday? I love it when he goes apoplectic. He becomes a caricature of himself. This Medicare thing really rattled him. My suspicion as to why is because the Democrats got their clocks cleaned on this one. I’m not sure the Medicare bill is a good one, more on that later, but Bush really steamrolled the Democrats on this one and Kennedy is furious. I love it!

Posted by Ted on 12/09/03 8:07 AM | Link

My Brain is Stuck

Did you ever have one of those days when you couldn't get a particular tune out of your head? I woke up this morning with the music of “O Come O Come Emanuel” going through my head.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emanuel.
Da – da – da –da O Israel.

And I don’t even know all the words to it!

Posted by Ted on 12/09/03 6:45 AM | Link

Monday, December 8, 2003

Microsoft Office 2003

I recently loaded up Microsoft’s latest offering Office 2003. That includes Outlook, Word, Excel, Access, FrontPage, Visio, PowerPoint, MapPoint, and Publisher. It’s the first time I’ve played with MapPoint. It is pretty cool. Much more convenient that using MapQuest.

But Outlook 2003 is my new love. For the way I work, it is a huge improvement. In my Outlook, I have set up about 40 folders. I have also set up rules that route emails to those different folders, depending on where they are coming from.

With new Outlook I also have a folder called Unread Emails. That way I can read all the current emails without scrolling through all my folders. What is ever better is I can put a flag on Emails that require follow-ups. Outlook gives me a folder that shows all the emails that require follow-up. That way I can just go to my follow-up folder and take care of business. It is way cool.

My SpamBayes even works with the new Outlook so Spam continues to be no problemo. I’m sure there is a lot more I’m missing, but so far I’m a very happy camper.

Yes, I know that Microsoft is the company everyone loves to hate, but for me, they are trying hard to help me make a buck.

Posted by Ted on 12/08/03 9:46 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Where's the Energy Gone?

As I was getting Dasher-1 refueled at the WaWa, I happened to think about a brief TV show I saw last night about sports cars. They had Lee Iacocca on and he mentioned how, in the 70’s you couldn’t sell safety. Now it’s all the rage. Then my mind followed that thought and how, at times, it seems that we as a nation have become safety obsessed.

Have we as a nation lost our sense of adventure? It seems sometimes that, whenever someone proposes something bold, the naysayers come out in droves to crush it. “You can do that,” they say. “That’s dangerous,” they warn.

I think you saw some of this in the anti-war pro-Saddam rallies in the build-up to Operation Iraqi Freedom. The predictions of the dire results were legion. Yet to date, their predictions have proved to be wildly pessimistic.

Perhaps that one of the reasons they hate Bush so much. Bush has shown himself not to be a shy and shrinking violet. He has, in fact, governed boldly. I think his recent trip to Baghdad illustrates that.

But, isn’t this the way America used to be. Weren’t we born a nation of risk takers? People came here for a better life, but with NO guarantees they would be successful. Certainly not all were. But some, through brutally hard work, prevailed and did so uproariously.

Perhaps, we as a nation have grown too old. Perhaps we, as a nation, are no longer willing to take risks. Have we become so afraid of failure, we are unwilling to try?

Posted by Ted on 12/08/03 9:28 PM | Link

Palm Pilot Update

I downloaded a program called SDS Time for my Palm. It's a pretty simply time keeping program. So far, it seems to be working pretty good. As I go through the day, I'm adding new tasks for the program so I just have to click on the one I'm doing to select it. It automatically records my start and stop times. That's very important.

Posted by Ted on 12/08/03 12:25 PM | Link

Sunday, December 7, 2003

Another Sunday, A Church Revisit

Since we have narrowed out church selection to three churches, we visited church number three this morning. It wasn’t bad. Although the service we go to uses what they call “praise and worship” music instead of more traditional hymns, they actually sang a hymn this morning. But when they have a band, hymns don’t sound quite the same

At the start of the service the pastor had a little difficulty bringing the service to order. I felt like he needed a gavel.

They sang the song “Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord.” In that song, there is the phrase, “I want to see you. I want to see you.” Whenever I hear that, I think to myself, “No you don’t.” Read the Old Testament. In there Moses request the Lord to let him see him. The Lord is very empathic that he will not. He tells Moses that he cannot see the Lord and live. In the end, he lets Moses see his back. The person that wrote that song did not think very clearly about what he was saying. You do NOT want to see the Lord.

Posted by Ted on 12/07/03 9:26 PM | Link

New Weblog

Well, I’ve done it. What you’re looking at now is my blog in Movable Type. I’m finding some pluses and minuses. On the plus side, it does some very nice things like automatic archiving and web page creation. It also let me post to my Blog from any computer that can access the net. It also allows you, the reader, to post comments to those posts you’d really like to say something about.

On the down side, its text editing capability is on par with Notepad. There is no spell checker, no grammar checker, no nothing. What I do now is, compose in Word and then cut and paste into Movable Type. There is also none of the easy click, click, click I’m used to when I use FrontPage. Now I’m going to have to learn a little html. My take is, it’s a good product, it just has a ways to go. I’m hopeful they will continue to improve the product in the future. It’s going to be some time before I have this blog formatted the way I want.

Posted by Ted on 12/07/03 9:10 PM | Link

Learning My Palm Pilot

I’ve been playing with the Palm Pilot. Trying to figure it out. My major task for this thing is timekeeping. Since billable hours are near and dear to my heart, I’m hoping this will let fewer of them slip through the cracks. There seem to be at least a dozen or more time keeping programs I can download and install on it. But which one is the one for me? Ah, that’s the challenge.

Posted by Ted on 12/07/03 8:55 PM | Link

Hindsight Check

At this point in our Iraq democratization project it may be instructive to revisit some of the predictions coming from the anti-war pro-Saddam crowd.

Credible estimates of the total possible deaths on all sides during the conflict and the following three months range from 48,000 to over 260,000. Civil war within Iraq could add another 20,000 deaths. Additional later deaths from post-war adverse health effects could reach 200,000. If nuclear weapons were used the death toll could reach 3,900,000. In all scenarios the majority of casualties will be civilians.

The aftermath of a 'conventional' war could include civil war, famine and epidemics, millions of refugees and displaced people, catastrophic effects on children's health and development, economic collapse including failure of agriculture and manufacturing, and a requirement for long-term peacekeeping.

I will observe that NONE of this happened. Also please note that the anti-war people anticipated that Saddam would use nuclear weapons. Did they lie about them?

Posted by Ted on 12/07/03 3:10 PM | Link

Last Night's Play

I was thinking about the Christmas play we attended last night. The message was one of forgiveness. As Christ forgives believers of their sins, it is incumbent upon us to forgive other’s sins against us. In the play there are two groups, “hillbillies” and “city folk.” It is the hillbillies that are quick to forgive and then teach that lesson to their city cousins. The only problem is, the hillbillies at like they’re idiots. The people playing the parts did a very good job – especially the hillbillies. The problem as I see it is, it leaves you with the impression that only an idiot would practice such unequivocal forgiveness.

Posted by Ted on 12/07/03 10:36 AM | Link

A Glimmer of Hope

Since Operation Iron Hammer, we have seen a drop-off in attacks against us, and we continue to see a decrease in crime (especially as we put more Iraqi Police and ICDC [Iraqi Civil Defense Corps] on the streets). We are seeing [an] upswing in the perception of U.S. forces' action in the Arab media . . . and a significant increase in tips from the locals of Baghdad, and an extremely significant increase in the turn-in of unlawful weapons. . . .

All these things may be due to the enemy lying low to see what we're doing; it might be due to us having significantly hurt the enemy during the operations; it could be that the thugs and criminals being paid to conduct the attacks are not up for fighting anymore. And, it might also mean that the average citizen of Baghdad is getting sick of fighting, and that same average citizen is better supporting the coalition (which we believe, from our data). Or, it might mean the enemy is gearing up for another offensive. And that's why it's important that we keep the pressure on with offensive operations and civil affairs actions, and working [with] the good people of Baghdad.
From Brig. Gen. Mark Hertling

Posted by Ted on 12/07/03 10:21 AM | Link

Saturday, December 6, 2003

Went to Church Play

Karol and I went to a Christmas church play tonight. I was presented by the church of someone that used to work for one of my clients. He was in the play. It wasn't too bad. We saw people from our previous church there.

Posted by Ted on 12/06/03 10:01 PM | Link

The Pastor Responds

I received the following Email from the Pastor I previously Emailed about their service.

Thank you, Ted, for your message: it was indeed good to hear from you. I'm pleased to know that there is spiritual nourishment from our church to your and Karol's hearts when you worship with us.

About the "facing" of the mural...The main intent is that we face the altar where the offering has been placed, all facing the same direction with the congregation. Perhaps the eyes too far up might suggest that feeling of "worship" of the mural which I would certainly not want to imply!

I thought I would share with you a wonderful experience for me: the development of a new approach to daily Bible reading. Here is this site.

Hope to see you and Karol soon

Posted by Ted on 12/06/03 5:36 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Snow Again This Morning

When we got up this morning, it was snowing very fine flakes. Karol had an appointment to have her hair done and I had a scheduled haircut. Off we went. As I was driving to the barber, I was thinking to myself, “Whew. I’m certainly glad I don’t have to travel far today." It’s about a five mile drive to my barber and at times the visibility was down to 100 yards. I also got a couple of chances to test the ABS on my car.

I decided to stop at the ACME supermarket on the way home to get some items. After shopping there, I remembered why we don’t go there very often. Their prices are high, they have less selection that Shop Rite, they have narrow isles, and they had THREE checkout lanes open. I was not pleased.

I then walked over to the RadioShak store and bought myself my first Palm Pilot. It’s a Palm Tungsten E. I also bought a small keyboard for it. My major task for this thing will be as a timekeeping device. But first I have to figure out how to use it. RadioShak gave me $30 off for applying for one of their credit cards. I accepted. After the bill comes and I pay it off, I’ll cancel the credit card. I have enough credit cards already.

It quit be about 11:00. I came home and shoveled two inches off both driveways and sidewalks. I wanted to get them cleaned off before they froze solid tonight. I was just finishing up, as Karol came home. Nice timing!

Posted by Ted on 12/06/03 5:30 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Friday, December 5, 2003

Bush's trip to Baghdad

Bush's trip to Baghdad is still reverberating. Here's a letter from a soldier at the scene and his take of the whole thing.

We knew there was a dinner planned with ambassador Bremer and LTG Sanchez.

There were 600 seats available and all the units in the division were tasked with filling a few tables. Naturally, the 501st MI battalion got our table. Soldiers were grumbling about having to sit through another dog-and-pony show, so we had to pick soldiers to attend. I chose not to go.

But about 1500 the G2, LTC Devan, came up to me and with a smile, asked me to come to dinner with him, to meet him in his office at 1600 and bring a camera. I didn't really care about getting a picture with Sanchez or Bremer, but when the division's senior intelligence officer asks you to go, you go.

We were seated in the chow hall, fully decorated for Thanksgiving when all kinds of secret service guys showed up.

That was my first clue, because Bremer's been here before and his personal security detachment is not that big. Then BG Dempsey got up to speak, and he welcomed ambassador Bremer and LTG Sanchez. Bremer thanked us all and pulled out a piece of paper as if to give a speech. He mentioned that the President had given him this Thanksgiving speech to give to the troops. He then paused and said that the senior man present should be the one to give it. He then looked at Sanchez, who just smiled.

Bremer then said that we should probably get someone more senior to read the speech. Then, from behind the camouflage netting, the President of the United States came around. The mess hall actually erupted with hollering. Troops bounded to their feet with shocked smiles and just began cheering with all their hearts. The building actually shook. It was just unreal. I was absolutely stunned. Not only for the obvious, but also because I was only two tables away from the podium. There he stood, less than thirty feet away from me! The cheering went on and on and on.

Soldiers were hollering, cheering, and a lot of them were crying. There was not a dry eye at my table. When he stepped up to the cheering, I could clearly see tears running down his cheeks. It was the most surreal moment I've had in years. Not since my wedding and Aaron being born. Here was this man, our President, came all the way around the world, spending 17 hours on an airplane and landing in the most dangerous airport in the world, where a plane was shot out of the sky not six days before.

Just to spend two hours with his troops. Only to get on a plane and spend another 17 hours flying back. It was a great moment, and I will never forget it. He delivered his speech, which we all loved, when he looked right at me and held his eyes on me. Then he stepped down and was just mobbed by the soldiers. He slowly worked his way all the way around the chow hall and shook every last hand extended. Every soldier who wanted a photo with the President got one. I made my way through the line, got dinner, then wolfed it down as he was still working the room.

You could tell he was really enjoying himself. It wasn't just a photo opportunity. This man was actually enjoying himself! He worked his way over the course of about 90 minutes towards my side of the room. Meanwhile, I took the opportunity to shake a few hands. I got a picture with Ambassador Bremer, Talabani (acting Iraqi president) and Achmed Chalabi (another member of the ruling council) and Condaleeza Rice, who was there with him.

I felt like I was drunk. He was getting closer to my table so I went back over to my seat. As he passed and posed for photos, he looked me in the eye and "How you doin', captain." I smiled and said "God bless you, sir." To which he responded "I'm proud of what you do, captain." Then he moved on.

Posted by Ted on 12/05/03 7:21 PM | Link

Bush hatred is getting out of hand

I see that I'm not the only one that is starting to worry about the health of our President. The vitriol against the president has exceeded rational discourse. The seething rage of the president's critics would be funny if it weren't so serious. Charles Krauthammer has even coined a term for it: Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS) - which he defines as...the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency -- nay -- the very existence of George W. Bush.

Let us not forget that since Harrison, nearly every president elected in a year that is divisible by 20 as died in office.
Harrison 1841
Lincoln 1865
Garfield 1881
McKinley 1901
Harding 1923
Roosevelt 1945
Kennedy 1963
Reagan 1981
Regan did not die, but there was an attempt on his life in 1981. Just a few minutes later to the hospital and his name would have been on this list for real.

Bush was elected in 2000. By this numerology, that makes him eligible.
I would think the President's critics would show a little responsibility. Aren't they the ones always calling for tolerance and a banning of hate speech? Well you can't find a more intolerant crowd with more venom filled speech than the president's critics. With all the hate going around, there are going to be some wacko's that will take this message to heart and act on it. Do you think the president's critics will be chasten when that happens? Yes - for 30 days. Then it will business as usual. That's assuming the assassination attempt in unsuccessful. At this point I feel it is not a matter of if, but when. I hope the Secret Service is well prepared.

Posted by Ted on 12/05/03 5:16 PM | Link

Email to Pastor

I sent an email to the pastor of one of the churches we recently attended. I stated my reluctance about part of their service. Here's the letter I sent.

Dear Pastor,

My wife and I have attended a few services at your church.

In general we have found that you have a nice service. You have an excellent organ and the organist is not afraid to put the pedal to the metal. It is a magnificent instrument.

I like your enthusiasm. Whether it leading the singing or speaking from the stage. I found your speaking style very similar to my own. As you indicated last week you do speak fast with many gestures. In my speeches, I tend to do the same thing only you enunciate better than I do.

I am working on speaking more slowly. I was observing the President lighting the Christmas tree tonight and I noticed that he spoke much more slowly than I do. Then I got to thinking about the "great communicator" Ronaldus Magnus. He spoke very deliberately.

But you speak well with lots of enthusiasm.

My wife and I found only one disquieting item, when the Gloria Patri and the Doxology were sung, you and the choir turned, and it appeared, faced the painting above the alter.

I guess I'm a little sensitive about that sort of thing as I frequently drive past the Padre Pio shrine on Route 40. Although I respect the dedication of the people that built that thing, every time I see people out there praying to that statue, I think about Moses coming down off the mountain only to find the Israelites worshipping the golden calf.

I don't remember the exact passage and it may not even come from the bible, but, to paraphrase it, it said something like, "That built by the hand of man has no power." Meaning of course, that it would be useless to pray to it.

Still you are doing an excellent job and I think we will likely visit you again.

Ted Armstrong

Posted by Ted on 12/05/03 5:12 PM | Link

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

We had our first snowfall of the season early this morning. When I went out about 0515 this morning to get the cars out of the garage and park them near the house, the lawn was white with snow, but he streets were merely wet. When I left the house to go to the office about 0745, I had to brush over two inches of mashed potatoes off my car. I posted some photo's here. By about 10:00 we had about three to four inches on the ground and then the snow turned to rain. By time I came home tonight, the streets were wet but clear. No shoveling!

Posted by Ted on 12/05/03 5:09 PM | Link

Wednesday, December 3, 2003

Strange Encounter

Also went to my business networking this morning. On the way out of Larry's II restaurant, a gentleman accosted me and asked, "Do you still jog?"

"Yes," I replied. Then I looked at him quizzically. I could not place his face. "Did I used to jog with him," I thought. "I don't remember you," I said.

"Oh, you wouldn't know me." he answered. "I live on Adams Avenue and used to see you and your wife jog by. Does she still jog?"

"She walks now," I said and then hurried out the door. I thought to myself, "That was a bit strange."

Posted by Ted on 12/03/03 9:26 PM | Link

Bad Joke

A mechanic who worked out of his home had a dog named Mace. Mace had a bad habit of eating all the grass in the mechanic's lawn, so the mechanic had to keep Mace inside. Since the mechanic did not cut his grass, it eventually became overgrown.

One day the mechanic was working on a car in his backyard and dropped his wrench losing it in the very tall grass. No matter how hard he looked, couldn't it, so he decided to call it a day.

That night, Mace escaped from the house and ate all the grass in the backyard. The next morning the mechanic went outside and saw his wrench glinting in the sunlight. Realizing what had happened he looked up to the heavens and proclaimed...

"A grazing Mace, how sweet the hound, that saved a wrench for me!"

Posted by Ted on 12/03/03 9:25 PM | Link

Toastmasters Tonight

Had Toastmasters Meeting tonight. Gained a new member. Now we're back to 30 members. Our club does well. We have over $1,000 in the bank and our members do well in contests.

On the way home we narrowly missed hitting a deer as it crossed the road. Fortunately, the deer was silhouetted against the lights of the oncoming traffic and I was able to hit the binders in time to avoid it. The deer appeared to make it to the other side of the road without being struck by either me or the oncoming car. As regained speed, I thought to myself, "Why does a deer cross the road?"

Posted by Ted on 12/03/03 9:24 PM | Link

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Someone Sent This Link

Someone sent this link and I thought I'd pass it on. It's called, "In the Final Analysis." Not too bad. I recommend it - particularly if life is handing you a few challenges.

Posted by Ted on 12/02/03 8:56 PM | Link

Trouble in Ann Arbor, MI

I only mention this because I have a very close relative that lives in Ann Arbor, MI. It seems the Ann Arbor Pioneer High School has canceled Diversity Week in 2003. Why? A US District Judge ruled that had to invite everyone. Even those that disagreed with them. Apparently they decided that was TOO diverse for their diversity week. I mean, after all, you can take this diversity thing too far. So Diversity Week in Ann Arbor has been canceled.

Posted by Ted on 12/02/03 8:54 PM | Link

Misunderestimating Bush

Michael Novak
reviews 32 of Bush's speeches and finds them surprisingly eloquent. He compares them favorably with both Reagan and Kennedy. He illustrated his point from some excerpts from some 43's speeches. In November 8, 2001. See if you don't find this moving and eloquent.

Courage and optimism led the passengers on Flight 93 to rush their murderers to save lives on the ground, led by a young man whose last known words were the Lord's Prayer and 'Let's roll.' He didn't know he had signed on for heroism when he boarded the plane that day. Some of our greatest moments have been acts of courage for which no one could have ever prepared.

We will always remember the words of that brave man, expressing the spirit of a great country. We will never forget all we have lost, and all we are fighting for. Ours is the cause of freedom. We've defeated freedom's enemies before, and will defeat them again.

We cannot know every turn this battle will take. Yet we know our cause is just and our ultimate victory is assured. We will, no doubt, face new challenges. But we have our battle orders: My fellow Americans, let's roll.

At the Day of National Prayer and Remembrance on September 14, 2001.

And we have seen our national character in eloquent acts of sacrifice. Inside the World Trade Center, one man who could have saved himself stayed until the end at the side of his quadriplegic friend. A beloved priest died giving the last rites to a firefighter. Two office workers, finding a disabled stranger, carried her down sixty-eight floors to safety. A group of men drove through the night from Dallas to Washington to bring skin grafts for burn victims.

In these acts, and in many others, Americans showed a deep commitment to one another, and an abiding love for our country. Today, we feel what Franklin Roosevelt called the warm courage of national unity. This is a unity of every faith, and every background.

It has joined together political parties in both houses of Congress. It is evident in services of prayer and candlelight vigils, and American flags, which are displayed in pride, and wave in defiance.

Our unity is a kinship of grief, and a steadfast resolve to prevail against our enemies. And this unity against terror is now extending across the world.

America is a nation full of good fortune, with so much to be grateful for. But we are not spared from suffering. In every generation, the world has produced enemies of human freedom. They have attacked America, because we are freedom's home and defender. And the commitment of our fathers is now the calling of our time.

And his more recent speech in London.

Perhaps the most helpful change we can make is to change in our own thinking. In the West, there's been a certain skepticism about the capacity or even the desire of Middle Eastern peoples for self-government. We're told that Islam is somehow inconsistent with a democratic culture. Yet more than half of the world's Muslims are today contributing citizens in democratic societies. It is suggested that the poor, in their daily struggles, care little for self-government. Yet the poor, especially, need the power of democracy to defend themselves against corrupt elites.

Peoples of the Middle East share a high civilization, a religion of personal responsibility, and a need for freedom as deep as our own. It is not realism to suppose that one-fifth of humanity is unsuited to liberty; it is pessimism and condescension, and we should have none of it.

Do you see the theme through his speeches? It is one of hope and optimism. Not pie-in-the-sky optimism, but one that realizes the road ahead may be difficult, but we will prevail. He lifts high a torch of idealism for us to follow. Very much like Kennedy and Reagan did.

Yes you can certainly credit his speech writers, but he hires them. If he doesn't like what they say, they tells them to go back and change it until it does say what he wants. Either way, I would call that leadership.

Posted by Ted on 12/02/03 8:52 PM | Link

Monday, December 1, 2003

US Kicks Butt

Nice victory by US troops in Samarra yesterday. I wonder if it was a setup. I find it very interesting that the Baathists chose this particular convoy to attack. Why would you go up against an Abrams tank and Bradley fighting vehicles with AK47's and RPG's? For one it was carrying a ton of new money. If I were the commander I would have been tempted to let leak that the convoy was coming, it's route, and what it was carrying. Then I would have been ready to hammer anyone that thought this was going to be an easy picking. It appears that's exactly what they did.

You gotta wonder about the IQ of the attackers. It's one thing to plan an attack, but then when you see what you're up against, why would you go forward with it. The M1A2 fires a round nearly five inches in diameter and can take out any tank. The Bradley's fire a 25mm cannon which is a round about one inch in diameter and can penetrate nearly anything, except the amour on the Abrams. If it was me and I saw what was coming down the road, I think I would have decided it was time for a career change.

A recent article on the web indicates that each attack is treated by the military like an accident report. They have a huge database of every single attack. How it occurred, what casualties there were, and all the details. Since the whole military is on their own internet, every commander has access to this database. I wonder if that information went into planning a trap yesterday? We will probably never know.

Posted by Ted on 12/01/03 8:45 PM | Link

FIRE on the Campus

There's a new organization on college campuses these days. It's the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Here's their mission statement:

The mission of FIRE is to defend and sustain individual rights at America's increasingly repressive and partisan colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience—the essential qualities of individual liberty and dignity. FIRE's core mission is to protect the unprotected and to educate the public and communities of concerned Americans about the threats to these rights on our campuses and about the means to preserve them.

They've been involved in knocking down some of the more egregious speech codes that have sprung up on many college campuses. It'll be interesting to see how they do in the future.

Posted by Ted on 12/01/03 8:44 PM | Link

Distressing News

Although I get this second hand, so take it with a grain of salt. It seems that during the holidays festivities, at one of the family gatherings, a very serious if not contentious discussion ensued. Although I will admit to having a very stubborn nature, I guess you could consider this the pot talking to the kettle.

I cannot remember ever converting someone to my point of view, when they were originally opposed to it. Conversion from one point of view to another is a long slow process. The best I believe one can do is to make a tactful thrust. If that thrust is parried, then it is best to walk away. Further attacks will only harden the resolve of you opponent. I'm with Greg Koukl on this one. The best you can do is to attempt to "put a burr under their saddle." That is, leave them with only a very small nugget that they will later ponder.

Debating with the goal of converting the opposition is, generally, an exercise in futility. Take it from someone, who does some selling, that has at times tried the "hard sell." It don't work. Persuading people to you point of view in a very fine art that few, including myself, can achieve. Better to follow 1 Peter 3:15.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

Posted by Ted on 12/01/03 8:37 PM | Link