Archive for May, 2007

Blatherings

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

So, we missed our payment for phone and cable by one day, and they cut us off.

Hello, recession.

It’s not like we have bad credit or much debt. But they explained that they are trying to make people call in about it and the only way to do that is to just shut it off and wait for me to come to them.

On the one hand, it was a complete pisser, on the other hand it makes sense. The pisser is there is no warning even if the mail is a little slow — as per our case. The sensible part is that people who don’t pay should be cut off and then it should be their problem to get it back on.

But moving on…

Even one day without the internet sucked beyond description. It was like a kick in the balls how much I use it for simple stuff,  and when it’s gone…I’m frustrated.

An example was trying to get a bunch of chores done for P today. Pretty much all of them meant I had to go online. I tried doing it just on the phone and got about 25 percent done. That’s with internet on the phone!

Nail spitting time…

Our little new household “thing” is the rat terrier Dill. As smart as the hunting dogs, just as much energy, but acts like she just won a version of American Idol. The spray paint is almost all worn off, and she’s just happy to be here all the time. It’s pretty funny.

My other two dogs, Scout and Boo, are very smart. Very smart. But they are Marmeduke smart, meaning they think too much all the time and have reasoning that drives us batty sometimes. They play chess with stuff, while Dill just plays checkers. (You can quote me on that about how to describe two different dog breeds.)

The cats are a hoot through it all. They are all dog friendly in the way some crazy presidential candidate is greeted on stage during the night of a debate. They grin and bear it, but don’t take Dill too seriously.

Moving along…

I’m going to stick with my Bill Richardson endorsement. I’ve read about all the crap that happened while he was gov, and I am still not swayed that he isn’t the most qualified candidate of either party.

I know he is probably really running for vice president.

Which brings me to a funny line I read today in the National Review Online. It quotes political consultant Bob Shrum as saying John Edwards is a “Clinton who didn’t read the books.”

But that is kind of the downfall of the Clintons. They have been wonks since college. I know of which they speak, when you just intellectualize things, stupid stuff gets thrown at you.

 So is Hillary going to ride the healthcare bull again and take the withering crap from all angles?

Hope so.

 On memorial day, we went to my dad’s newly remodeled place. Awesome. It’s just really strikingly great. I’m in awe of it. The kitchen has a plasma TV and surround sound — ‘nough said.

But all that aside…

We went through 74 wireless internet connections that weren’t secured while we got there in 30 miles. They were popping like corn in a microwave bag for 35 miles. I didn’t log into any of them, but…WOW!

Twoferone

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

First, I had a kind of surreal experience today. I lead a meeting that was talking about things in the hundreds of millions, and I was thinking how I was going to pay for the meter when it was done.

Ever had that moment when you think your voice might crack trying to keep it all together during a meeting where no one else is even blinking over what you’re talking about? So you can’t act like it scares the shit out of you, but it does, even though you know that you know what you’re doing?

My day.

But it feels good to at least be rolling with the punches again.

 So, what do you do when you’re punch drunk?

I bought a big fat juicy expensive cigar today and smoked it on the back porch with the dogs. (The store took a debit card, the parking meter didn’t.)

Well, not that expensive, because it was reject of an expensive cigar with the same filler and wrap.

So I had to explain why smoking a cigar in the beautiful moonlit night on the porch was ok, and not going to make me drop dead. Apparently, they teach in school that any type of smoking will kill you. The nice thing is that, when she is listening, I have a sane daughter who listens to reason. I smoke a cigar about twice a year and I do it outside. I don’t inhale it, I just taste it. I asked her the last time she saw me smoke any of my cigars from the humidor mommy and her bought me for my first Father’s Day.

Copasetic.

That’s a twofer.

Never Stumped, She Writes, so I will, too

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

Big A wrote a few thousand words tonight on the history of a stump in our backyard.

It’s complete fiction, but it kind of makes sense and it’s written pretty well. She just turned seven.

So one of my museum-quality framed cherished items on the wall is a letter that Beverely Cleary wrote me when I was just past seven. I wrote a story just like Big A and asked her opinion of it and to edit the thing. She did! And I got this wonderful handwritten letter back that really is pretty critical of certain parts, but very nice a in children’s-book-writer sort of way.

So, I got to thinking, when she decides to start doing stuff like I did late in my seventh year, are any authors or famous people going to write back? Is this one of the little things that totally is lost today…letter writing and writing a letter back. Are my Mr. Rogers’ and Cleary letters, and all the others, relics?

I am going to try and write one letter long hand a week. I’ll buy some good stationary and try to write at least a note on it to everyone I should at a 52-per-year pace.

I am going to design my own stationary and envelopes, buy a great writing pen, and write.

Big A is writing about stumps and stuff, word for word and letter by letter with her left hand…I can do kind of the same thing. Of course…I don’t even remember how to print or write properly…

 I’m not kidding. I can’t think of the last thing more than 10 words long I wrote by hand, and didn’t type into my PDA or computer. And when I did do it last, I was basically taking notes as a reporter and God forbid I expected anyone else to try and read that crap. To this day I can pick up any reporter’s notebook I filled and read it all to you, but if I handed it to anyone else? Whhhat, waaaaaa…never.

Enough blabber…I am going to write. It took me five months, but I figured out my New Year’s resolution. Big A writes about stumps, I realize my longhand is cut off at the root.

Giddyup for fishing in Hawaii

Monday, May 28th, 2007

So the Sunday night on a three-day weekend is like a gimmee putt in golf…you just kind of blow it off because you get to sleep in and there’s nothing on TV.

Anyway, I got really into thinking about what I was going to do on our Hawaii trip in a few weeks, and I figured it out.

 See…I just assumed golf. Kills several hours in world class conditions. But cost almost 200 bucks a pop. I thought hunting; but getting my gun there seems to be the reason the hunting is so good for the locals and guides. So…

 Fly fishing from the beaches and reefs! How could I have missed this until now. It’s basically free to fish in saltwater from the beach, and I can completely stock up combining what I already have with new things and still pay less than a round of golf at one of the resorts.

It’s not good fishing, but it would be kind of a kick. I have no flies that are close, and that’s probably 50 bucks right there. And I need some new line…and a new cartridge for my eight-weight reel, and a new leader or two…ummmm…like I said, still less than a round of golf.

(P: Really. Let’s say over those weeks I golfed four times. And it came to $400-800. Wouldn’t you rather me spend a couple hundred and just fiddle faddle around with a fly rod on the beach? Possibly catching something we could eat? (For others, I catch and release, but in the right situation and the right type of fish, I have been swayed.))

I can’t snorkel, and that is my Hawaii handicap. I can’t breath through my mouth.

I spent hours and hours trying to snorkel. I just breath through my nose and not my mouth. There is probably some good explanation someplace, but I just can’t do it.

So what if I try to catch the fish and bring them to me?

R.I.P. Another Touchstone to Time

Friday, May 25th, 2007

King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng died tonight, just a couple of hours ago.

Most of you could care less about this local story…but I was going to put it in a bigger context…

Three things:

1) He was elected to his position since I was in the second grade. That’s pretty much my whole political memory life. The chances of anyone else doing that in my lifetime is almost zero.

2) He was a Republican who kept getting elected in a heavy Democrat county.  My mean this is unheard of for a King County Republican to even get elected once, let alone for 28 years. I talked with him several times, and he was a ver nice, honest, sincere man — very cliche, I know, but he is kind of in that generation where cliches are about all you can use when they are the good eggs.

3) Finally, have you ever had something just gut punch you in the headlines when ou logged onto the internet? I’m not saying I’m emotional about this or anything, at all, but it was just THERE. Someone I had a passing interaction with over the years, but was also an icon for most of my life.

So…I’m going to ramble about what’s behind door number three…

What if you worked the swing shift and went to bed early in the morning on 9/11, waking up at say, three p.m? Would that be the most time-warped sleep possibly ever? I was thinking about this last night when I caught the Sgt. Pepper tribute on American Idol…that would be about the closest anyone in my lifetime could come to living A Day In the Life.

Pump up the ramble…

I’m really not sure how I could last more than a few days in a house where I couldn’t pause live TV. I’m not kidding, it’s that good. Hotel TV even drive me nuts now when I’m not on vacation.

More…

If you get Windows Vista, another really cool feature is  pretty nifty little chess game that has been added to the usual games suspects in accessories. I’m not a big chess person, but I like to fiddle faddle with it while I am waiting for something else to happen (i.e. a phone call, meeting, waiting room, whatever).

So did you hear about the dog that caught the car?

Have you ever started something and aimed so high you thought it was silly to even think about it being successful? My big three, off the top of my head:

1) Go in the locker rooms of all three local professional sports teams before a game.

2) Have Peking duck in Beijing.

3) Appear live on CNN as a reporter.

All three of them I started out thinking it would be kind of a fun challenge to figure out how to put myself in a position to do them. It wasn’t dumb luck that I’ve done them all, it was just lucky. None were accidents and each involved a strategy.

I say that because anyone who knows me well, knows what I am talking about with my latest attempt to make a cool thing I’ve always wanted to do happen. It’s got almost no shot of working, but it keeps inching and then jumping foward. Heck, even if it completely fails now, there’s no blood other than time and I know a bunch of people that really think it could have happened.

We all hate it…

The airport has been busy the last couple of days as everyone who can muster has been trying to go find a pilot that disappeared near Mt. Rainier. There is technical good news and technical bad news here: His transponder, which should go off automatically on impact, never went off.

The good news: Maybe he got the thing down without having an “impact;” landed in a ravine in the mountains or something.

The bad news: Transponders only work about 10 percent of the time after a hard impact. He could have just flown into the side of some anonymous 7,000-foot peak and ended up with wreckage that could sit in the back of a pickup truck.

But several people on the airport, who have no connection to the pilot or anything other than being close to the geographic area the FAA says he went down in, have been making runs through out the day. They aren’t “official,” just teams of retired or vacationing people going to, “look.”

There aren’t many places in the U.S., especially the lower 48, where you can describe an airplane as “went missing.” See, that’s what they call it. His plane “went missing.” Which is another wicked side of something good. There is just nothing in the area where he went down. It’s not even as though someone might have seen or heard anything. He was just flying along and went missing the last couple of days.

Finally in my ramble…

I have had chile rellenos at restaurants from here to Mexico. In fact, I think that’s the only thing I’ve ordered since I graduated from high school. I’m not kidding.

Anyway, tonight we went to our regular local place and I ordered the usual. And the waiter asked me if I wanted to try it “gordo.” My Spanish is horrible, but I’ve been enough around the block of languages to know enough that gordo meant something bigger than normal.

Where has “gordo” chile relleno been all my life?

See usually they split the chile, clean it, put it in the egg batter and you kind of get a pancake. This was completely different.

It was the whole (whole!) pepper, stuffed with cheese and then put in egg batter. It’s not even on the menu! It was the meatiest, juiciest chile relleno I’ve ever had. It would be like having a stuffed fish as opposed to a soufle, or something life that.

But I have to end this with the how-I-knew-Spanish-lesson…

He said “gordo.” I thought “fat kid from Stand By Me.” I have a twisted brain.

 

Longtime prosecutor Norm Maleng dies

Seattle Times staff reporter

  PREV    1 of 3    NEXT 

Enlarge this photo

MIKE SIEGEL / THE SEATTLE TIMES

King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng was elected to the job eight times, getting 97 percent of the vote in his last election.

Enlarge this photo

KEN LAMBERT / THE SEATTLE TIMES

King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng in July 2006 announces four counts of murder against Conner Schierman for Kirkland slayings.

Enlarge this photo

DALE BLINDHEIM / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Norm Maleng beams in 1978, the year he became King County prosecutor. He became a leader on crime policy, anti-drug laws and major legislation on runaways.

Related

Norm Maleng, King County prosecutor for 28 years and one of the most respected leaders in the state’s criminal justice system, died Thursday night of cardiac arrest after collapsing during an event at the University of Washington. He was 68.

Mr. Maleng was rushed by medics to Harborview Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 9:11 p.m. Mr. Maleng had been attending a Nordic heritage event at the UW Center for Urban Horticulture when he collapsed.

Mr. Maleng’s death sent shock waves through the community, where he was praised as a towering figure who even-handedly shaped the criminal-justice landscape in King County and throughout the state. He had been prosecutor so long that it seemed no one had ever held the job before him.

“I’m still kind of in shock,” King County Sheriff Sue Rahr said. “Norm was the Rock of Gibraltar for King County. It’s like the Rock of Gibraltar washed into the sea.”

Mr. Maleng, a Republican who was elected prosecuting attorney in 1978 and had won re-election ever since, was widely viewed as a thoughtful and consummately professional prosecutor, even as he oversaw some of the county’s worst criminal cases, ranging from the Wah Mee Massacre in 1983 to the Green River murder case that culminated in 2003 with the sentencing of Gary Ridgway.

Norm Maleng

Birthplace: Acme, Whatcom County

Education: Graduated from the University of Washington in 1960; UW Law School, 1966

Early legal career: Served as staff attorney for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce; worked in private practice for three years; appointed chief deputy of the civil division of the King County Prosecutor’s Office

King County prosecutor: First elected in 1978; re-elected seven times

Prominent cases:

• Convictions of Kwan Fai “Willie” Mak, Benjamin Ng and Tony Ng in the 1983 massacre of 13 people at a Chinatown International District gambling club.

• Successfully sought the death penalty against David Lewis Rice for the Christmas Eve 1985 murders of Seattle attorney Charles Goldmark, his wife, Annie, and their sons Derek and Colin. After years of appeals and reversals, Rice pleaded guilty to the slayings in 1998 in exchange for a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

• Conviction of Martin Pang for setting a 1995 warehouse fire that killed four Seattle firefighters.

• Struck a deal in 2003 that spared Green River Killer Gary Ridgway from the death penalty in exchange for his guilty plea to killing 48 women and helping find the victims’ remains.

Other political campaigns: Sought the Republican nomination for governor in 1988 and 1996; ran for state attorney general

In those cases, Mr. Maleng made life-or-death decisions on whether to seek capital punishment. He alone made the decision, saying he was the one who must take responsibility as the people’s elected representative.

“No person has had a more profound impact on our legal community and system of justice. His absence in the public arena is almost unthinkable,” Seattle lawyer Jenny Durkan said. “We lost a giant today.”

Robert Lasnik, the chief U.S. district judge in Western Washington who worked closely with Mr. Maleng for years as chief of staff, praised Mr. Maleng as “the heart and soul of justice in this community for more than 30 years.”

“No one questioned his integrity or his honesty,” said Lasnik, who was driving to the Maleng home late Thursday night to be with Mr. Maleng’s wife, Judy.

Lasnik and William Downing, a King County Superior Court judge, are among a host of young prosecutors Mr. Maleng brought into office and helped rise to prominence in the legal community.

Mr. Maleng also was a major force on criminal-justice issues. He was one of the architects of the state’s Sentencing Reform Act, which brought more uniformity to sentencing. He worked for tougher state laws concerning sex predators and repeat offenders. He supported reducing sentences for some drug crimes and expanding treatment options for addicts.

For years, Mr. Maleng had drawn no viable opponents, a sign of his stature in the legal community and the unlikelihood that anyone could defeat him in a county where his name was virtually synonymous with “law enforcement.”

Reactions to Norm Maleng’s death

 

 

“He was instrumental in reforming our criminal-justice system and helping child victims of sexual assault.”

Greg Nickels

“He was an icon to prosecutors. He stood for fair, balanced, apolitical prosecution. As a relatively new prosecutor, I cherished his opinion, his guidance and his advice.”

— Janice Ellis

“He was one of those old-school lawyers who remembered what it’s like to be a professional and show respect, whether the person is an adversary or not.”

— Jackie Walsh

“When I think of Norm, I just think of a compassionate heart. … I did a lot of homicide cases, and he made it a point in homicide cases to meet with the families. … His heart and his generosity marked who he was.”

— Lisa Marchese

“Norm was a mentor and a friend for so many of us in law enforcement … When I ran for attorney general, he was one of the first people I turned to for advice and support.”

— Rob McKenna

“We lost a giant today. … He was a genuinely good man, who tried to do good his whole career. No person has had a more profound impact on our legal community and system of justice. His absence in the public arena is almost unthinkable.”

— Jenny Durkan

“He represented the people of King County with honor. People all across King County will feel his loss.”

— Dwight Pelz

“His memory will live on for decades with all of us who have learned from him and tried to live our lives the way he did.”

— Mike McKay

His news conferences in major cases were legendary. He would emerge from behind a blue curtain and, in a commanding voice, explain what action his office had taken and why it had done so. While some of those pronouncements were controversial, his integrity was almost never questioned.

Despite his achievements as a prosecutor, Mr. Maleng was less successful in statewide races. A political moderate, he twice ran for governor, losing in the 1988 and 1996 primaries to more conservative opponents. In 1992, he lost a bid for state attorney general to now-Gov. Christine Gregoire.

Mr. Maleng’s collapse sent Rahr, Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske and Dan Satterberg, Mr. Maleng’s chief of staff, to Harborview, and word of his dire condition quickly spread throughout the Seattle legal community.

Mike McKay, one of Mr. Maleng’s closest friends and a former U.S. attorney in Seattle, was with Mr. Maleng’s wife Thursday night when his death was confirmed. The Malengs’ son, Mark, is a graduate of Washington State University. A daughter, Karen, was killed in a sledding accident in 1989 at the age of 12.

Metropolitan King County Councilman Larry Gossett said that after Mr. Maleng died, friends and family were led into the room to pay their last respects. He saw Judy and Mark Maleng hug Mr. Maleng.

“Even though he passed on tonight, his legacy will be everlasting,” Gossett said. “He was always so respectful of everybody.”

Mr. Maleng was raised on a small dairy farm near the community of Acme in Whatcom County. He graduated from the University of Washington in 1960 with a degree in economics and then served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

Mr. Maleng earned his law degree from the University of Washington in 1966. He served as editor-in-chief of the Law Review. After law school, he served as staff attorney for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, chaired by the late Sen. Warren Magnuson.

He then returned to Seattle, where he worked in private practice for three years before being appointed chief deputy of the civil division at the age of 32. After being elected prosecutor, Mr. Maleng established a number of new programs, including a nationally recognized sexual assault prosecution unit, a specialized homicide investigation and prosecution unit, a victim assistance unit, and a comprehensive domestic violence prosecution unit, including a system of advocacy for victims of domestic violence at the district courts throughout King County.

“He’s been a friend to me personally as I’ve gone through all of my issues as chief of police,” said Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske.

Said Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels: “This is a great loss. Norm was unquestionably one of the finest public servants in our state’s history … His commitment to justice with humanity is unmatched. He will be greatly missed.”

King County Executive Ron Sims said Mr. Maleng “served the people of King County with integrity and honor, and it was my privilege to have worked with him. He was esteemed in the legal profession and loved by his friends and colleagues.”

Mr. Maleng had long been a central figure in the Mainstream Republicans of Washington, said Alex Hays, the group’s executive director. Mr. Maleng was a board member of that group.

“His competence, wisdom and good character allowed him to have a remarkable term of service,” Hays said. “He [was] a role model.”

Said state GOP Chairman Luke Esser, “It’s a tremendous loss in so many different ways. A lot of people can’t even remember that we had a King County prosecutor before Norm Maleng. That’s how much of an institution he was.”

Mr. Maleng was a devoted baseball fan. He regularly attended Mariners games and would pull people aside to talk about the latest successes or travails of the team.

In recent years, Mr. Maleng guided his office through some difficult decisions, including striking a deal that spared the life of “Green River killer” Gary L. Ridgway in exchange for his guilty plea to killing 48 women and help in locating the victims’ remains. Since that decision, legal observers have argued, it’s become more difficult to justify and prosecute a death-penalty case in Washington state.

In December, Mr. Maleng announced he would not seek the death penalty against Naveed Haq, the 31-year-old man accused of the July 2006 shooting rampage at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle that left one woman dead and five others wounded. Mr. Maleng cited Haq’s history of mental illness.

A month later, Mr. Maleng decided to seek the death penalty against 25-year-old Conner Schierman, who is charged with killing his neighbor Olga Milkin, 28; her sister Lyubov Botvina, 24; and Milkin’s two sons, Justin, 5, and Andrew, 3, on July 17 in Kirkland.

Mr. Maleng was regarded as restrained in his pursuit of the death penalty. Jackie Walsh, a defense attorney who recently battled prosecutors over their attempt to impose the death penalty on convicted cop killer Charles Champion, said she had so much respect for Mr. Maleng that she found it uncomfortable to call him by his first name, as he’d asked during their negotiations.

At a party shortly after Walsh’s father died, Mr. Maleng made his way across the room to convey his sympathies. “I thought it was so sweet and kind … one of those old-school lawyers who remember what it’s like to be a professional and show respect whether the person is an adversary or not,” she said.

In interviews, Mr. Maleng called Winston Churchill his personal hero. He said he read at least four newspapers daily and rarely watched TV — admitting he should watch more.

In a 2005 interview in Washington Law & Politics, Mr. Maleng described his management and hiring philosophy:

“What I want to know is what is in that person’s soul or heart … I like to have people who have a smile on their face, an optimistic spirit, a passion for their work and a passion about life.” It was a philosophy born of his rural roots, which he carried with him throughout his life.

Sheriff Rahr said she spent Saturday night with Mr. Maleng and his wife in Bellevue. Mr. Maleng was being honored for his work on domestic violence.

“We were kind of laughing,” Rahr said. “He was in a tuxedo. He said, ‘I hope there’s no cameras here, because if anyone sees me in a tuxedo it’s going to ruin my image as a farm boy.’ ”

Times staff reporters Ralph Thomas, Brian Alexander, Sharon Pian Chan and Christine Clarridge contributed to this report.

Information from The Seattle Times archives is included in this report.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com; Steve Miletich: 206-464-3302

A “Huh. Whoda thought?” Moment

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

Every once in a while I remember a quote from someone who helped teach me in college. Not verbatim, but the idea, I guess. One of those happened today when I was thinking about how many lemmings are still following George Bush. Not the war, but the guy himself. And I was reminded of a little group discussion we had with a really old man, who said that if you can get a third party, or a fourth, and a fifth, to say something is a good idea, everyone will think it’s a good idea. Or to that affect.

Anyway, I remember exactly who was talking to me in college and said words to that…Edward Bernays.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays

Now I was just a dreay-eyed college student spending more than my parents paid for their house 40 years ago…each semester. And this was almost 20 years ago. But I got into a little group that got to visit Bernays at home and invite him to various functions and listen to him talk. It wasn’t even a formal class. I swear, more than once we’d just pile into a college van and head over to his place and sit and listen.

So I was responding to a political post at a website and someone said I was too young to judge “a president in a historical context” and that we didn’t call people supporting FDR “lemmings.”

And I thought, well, the leading PR guy in WWII and through the 1950s talked to me about it.

I didn’t pull that arrow out.

But it did getting me thinking…I knew Bernays was an important flak, but I didn’t know he was THAT important, and I certainly had no idea he was Freud’s nephew — twice.

Made me feel a little better about the fact I spent more on my college education than my house.

Priceless.

Why me animal gods? Why me?

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

I love all my pets. Two of them were complete strays we nursed back to health, and the others we’ve had since being two very small puppies and a little kitten.

The drill on strays around here has always been the same…immediate trip to the vet for shots and a checkup, posting around the neighborhood, waiting a little bit and then owning. Cats have never been a problem, and all of them have either been given by us to good homes or we kept them.

So, that’s my pre-amble about pets in  our current household.

So, imagine my shock when I was awaken at six this morning by Pilar to tell me there were a couple of stray dogs on our porch. My initial reaction was very grumpy. Very grumpy. I rolled over and said, basically, “Make them go away.”

 ”No,” she said, “you have to see this.”

Argh.

I’ll be damned. There were two little dogs, one of them obiously a male chihuahua and one a female small mix with a curvey tale and red hair.

The mix didn’t look too great. Mange and big-time fleas. She also wouldn’t let us get close enough to really take a good look. The ChiChi was timid, per the breed, but looked pretty healthy.

But when I saw them closer is when things got bizarre. Written on each of their bodies in black spray paint was the word “homeless,” and they were decorated all over with paint. I’m not kidding. Someone spray painted these dogs.

My next thought: Shit, this is going to be complicated. I mean, what do you do with a couple of spray-painted stray small breed dogs shivering on your back porch early in the morning? Back to bed…

No, really, at about seven I started calling local vets to figure out what to do. While all sympathetic, they all said to either call the Human Society or animal control. So I called the Humane Society, and the explained that they no longer do animal control in the unincorprated country. So I called animal control, and sure enough, about noon they showed up and the dogs were gone. The guy hung around a little while and said, “When you catch them, call us back.”

Umm..catch them? Whooooooooa.

These things are scared to death of me, because I’m sure, I’m a man. And I was the only one home.

For most of the day they disappeared. Until P & A got home.

*poof* They were back.

For more than an hour we tried to lure them close enough to slip a choker over their heads to get them in crates. Not even close. They were interested in the treats, but scared to shivering.

Until Big A just went out on the lawn and sat down. I’m not kidding, they were immediately all over her, letting her pet them and just plain friendly. So Big A is the one who got each of them on a leash, and they actually trusted her enough to let her slip the “noose” on and get shoved into the crates.

Yes, ooh, coo and ahhh…the seven-year-old dog whisperer.

Groan from me.

You’re not suppose to bond at all with spray-painted, homless, strays. Especially a rat dog and something slightly bigger. A nightmare was unfolding before my eyes. Sure enough, as soon as we crated them, the lobbying from the two female humans began. Hard.

I’m pretty adament to call animal control tomorrow, even though there is about a 95-percent chance they will be destroyed in 48 hours. I’m also not a big fan of doubling my dog vet bills, and worrying about boarding them for $15 a day when we travel.

I have this feeling I’m going to be the bad guy here. So I gave P and A until tomorrow to come up with a solid better solution than animal control. Short of finding a miracle owner who wants a stray, spray-painted dog, Godspeed to them for finding a solution.

One of us is getting older and the other is more relevant

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

So Sunday was the 400th Simpsons episode.

Not only do I remember when they first showed up as a short on the Tracey Ullman Show, I have almost all the Life is Hell books from before the cartoon because I was going to a leadership camp every summer at the college Matt Groening went to about the same time.

(Hmmmm….eBay items number…)

 Seriously, The Simpsons are turning into, in terms of longevity, the FDR-type sitcom of my generation. And I got a front-row seat. It’s like the 60 Minutes of sitcoms.

But what impresses me the most is how relevant they are with the humor. Outside of South Park, they are dead on every week more than anything else.

So, let’s stop and and think about that.

If you had to do something 400 times after nearly 20 years, could you stay relevant and funny?

I’m getting old. My answer at this point in life is, “No.”

On a lighter note…

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

Not only do I not understand how to organize my music on this new stuff, there is zero written to do it. So, I have to trudge off to a bookstore and get my operating system and my PDA all figured out the old fashioned way…read it.

I knoooooooooooooooooooow, it’s all there if I look for it, but I am not trudging out the computer to read my way through it.

That would be like trying to figure out Thoreau’s cabin specs based on his book. It’s there, but, it’s so muddled…who wants to use the book for that, even if you’re building a cabin? (OK, you get the gist, not a good analogy, I know.)

As much as I just quabbled over G-Dub and his admins lack of communications savvy, I eat crow when it comes to how exactly these tubes are suppose to talk to each other to make them all work together and then how you use HTML to make it all work.

I feel like Marshall McCluen (sp?) when it comes to the digital age. Wasn’t he the “medium is the message” guy?

Call me a hypocrate, but I don’t have the power of the free world to make this stuff work together.

That’s why this was kind of funny…Ijust railed and I am a self-taught nerd and I don’t understand a lot of technical stuff. So I guess I’m making fun of myself on a microlevel. So be it.

But I had to admit to it.

Why Jimmy Carter was almost right…

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

His words were poorly chosen when he called B-Dub the worst foreign policy President in history.

But I have another take on why he may be right.

His administration and it’s die-hard followers are the stupidest ever during a tech revolution for communicating with people and government directly and with nuance, without acting like it was 17th Century diplomacy.

That’s why he has affected the world worse than any other president in history.

Warren Harding understood the power of newspapers and PR early on, and Teddy carried the mantle.

Wilson understood the recorded voice and its power just after World War I as he tried to form the League of Nations (inflection meant something to anyone who heard it…I’m not saying he was good at it, though.)

Hoover was a bonehead as radio came along…

And FDR completely slam dunked the powerful new medium. He got it and understood and things could be broadcast all over the US. By nearly the end of WWII, he understood that in days, anything he said on radio could be heard anyplace in the world.

Eiesenhower understood that transportation was a form of communication. The national highways and the jet age and funding for both are bastions of that.

Kennedy got TV. He understood that looking good was almost the equal to sounding good.

Nixon realized, too late, the emerging powers of the nightly news. When Uncle Walter said Vietnam was a mistake, everything shifted and he missed it as newspaper journalists and TV journalists were co-mingling towards Watergate and the end of a war.

Reagan understood cable news and the idea of cycles. Actually, Lee Atwater did, but they mastered the soundbite.

Clinton was the first one to deal with the instancy of the traditional media “news cycle” and the fact it could be all live anywhere; but if anyone really cared or it made much difference, depended on the time zone and that country’s technology.

Then we get to George W. Bush…

He can affect more people in the world faster, and with more impact, than any person in history. And he’s flubbed it. He doesn’t either want to embrace that or he doesn’t understand it. He admits he doesn’t use the internet, but his reason was that he didn’t, basically, want an e-mail paper trail. He admits he shuns the technology! So here we are, in the middle of one of the greatest communication revolutions since Guttenberg, instant communication, and it scares our president to death…not necessarily the technology, but that the technology is smarter than most of the people that use it internally (re: Gonzalez), his main constituents don’t care (retired people who don’t use it), or he is just blowing it off.

Hence my point…let’s say at best case he just blew it off.

Does he understand how fast I can txt mail from my phone 500 people I want to hear something I just watched live on Fox News and respond to it? That is one form of communication. Or that these aren’t your grandparents “Arabs” your dealing with concerning use of this instant technology? Another form of communication. Or the fact that most people in the world, get their opinions and information in a blink of an eye these days? More communication.

We can’t isolate ourselves from anyone, because pretty much noone is isolated.

That’s biggest blunder in foreign politics ever. In history. We can argue a little battle here and there, in the historical big picture, but this is an administration that would really rather just ignore the current big picture and pick out little battles. This week it was Jimmy Carter (yawn), what is next week’s?