Wednesday, May 25, 2005


The more you move around, the more wierdness you stir up. At least that's the way it works for me. I'm at my friend's house down in Osceola County using his new HP... trying to dump some stuff into my profile account with Orange County Schools because my computer won't fully load the index page of OCPS's website server. Hmmm.. it has to be my stuff. It's got no reason to not work, but there you go. And of course, I want to automate my profile so that I can make multiple applications. Wierd. Tell me again... these are supposed to be labor saving devices, right? It must be something screwey with JAVA... that's what I'm thinking... hmmm.

This HP is nice though. I guess that I could take three grand down to circuit city and get a box just like this one that would download the same stuff as Tommy's new HP. But the dark side is that the damned thing doesn't have a 3 1/2 " drive for me to move the key files out of my stuff and into the HP. What is that? Have floppys and such become obsolete? They sold Leete a brand new machine without any floppy drive access. The thing has a DVD burner and CD writer, a USB port so that you can hook your ipod up to it, and flash memory reader port on the front of the thing... but the HP guys just assume that floppys are passe' and don't bother to put one on their high end consumer machines any more. I feel like I need to take a wake up pill and return to the 60s. Maybe get out some of my old CPM 8 inchers or maybe get out a box of hollerith cards. I've got some. I still have all the cards that I ran for my dissertation in a box somewhere.

Of coourse, this just stops me cold because the documents I brought with me are on a 3.5 disc. What an antique you are Bob. Just what I need... to feel older. Sign.

The nice thing is that I'm sitting at a big window looking out across the lake as huge thunder clouds are rolling into St. Cloud. Here in the middle part of Florida the east coast seabreeze and the west coast seabreeze collide about this time of the afternoon and usually all hell breaks loose thunderstorm-wise. This is why central Florida is the lightening strike capital of the US. All that rain coming together usually makes for a great light show.

With a little luck lightening will strike the phone lines and fry the whole network all the way back to Bill Hewlett's house in California (or wherever).


Monday, May 23, 2005


People always seem to ask for advice about hiring a lawyer after they've already hired one. Again one of my friends has had their kid do something stupid at school and is facing criminal proceedings, and the parent is looking for some way to find another blame assignment person other than their own clogged selves. It is amazing.. and it just puts me in mind of the soft school/hard school discussion that I had the other day. There's a book out about soft/hard culture shifts in the C. Wars that is true enough here.

This kid was fooling around in class and put something in his teacher's coffee cup and was outed by the other kids in the class, he was called on the carpet and fessed up... then the school principal called the cops and the kid was charged with attempted murder. Turns out the chemical prank was poison (I don't think the kid realized what he was putting in the cup.) Anyhow, now the kid is charged witha capital felony and the mama got a lawyer, who charged her 10K$ and she asked if that was too much and what could she do now. After telling her that a contract is a contract there wasn't much that anyone could do. I started thinking about what was happening.

That kid did something incredibly thoughtless and was called down on it. He probably didn't "really" mean to commit a felony, but he did.. now he thinks that since he's a kid that somehow it will be fixed. Not. And the mama is just as boneheaded about the deal. She recruited a lawyer, signed a contract with the man to represent her son, and now wants to go shopping for another lawyer. Duh.

I'd say the lady was the reason why the kid is such a lose cannon. His idea of a harmless joke is to put poison in someone's coffee. Now his mother thinks that the school is somehow to blame because the man should not have been drinking coffee and leaving his cup out where anyone could put poison in it. Suddenly there's this not so subtle shift of responsibility.

Where did we go wrong as a culture? I don't know. There is a real shift from being a kid.. what the French call the "age ingrate" and being a functioning adult. You can track a boy who is capable of being a total moron at 16 yet becomes a responsible and capable adult working in industry or being a soldier.. by the time he is in his middle twenties.. and the same kid is like a totally different person. The shift is that the kid gets away from the nurturing soft irresponsible teens and tweenies... and gets out into he real world of having to pay for his own screwups.

That mama never has had to pay for anything... until now.

Why did we allow this softness ever to intrude on our lives in the first place? I never had it.And I am continually amazed that other people can't see what is coming down on their heads until they are charged with having to be responsible for thier own folly.

Jesus... committing a capital crime, a life felony, as a joke... then not thinking that anyone will call them on it.



Saturday, May 21, 2005


I suppose that I should be grateful for anything at all. I've been out playing yachtsman for the last few days and I thought that it'd be a good idea to check my email, so I found my way to an internet cafe... interesting notion. This is the first time that I've actually paid for the privilege of hooking my laptop up to a phone line. I know that a lot of guys do this when they're traveling by boat. I have a fellow and his wife on the blogroll who are slowly wending their way around the world (bumfuzzled) and they are always talking about finding somewhere to upload their website to the internet. Since I have always been securely hooked to the phone in the office I've just blithely been ignoring the cafe struggles of my friends in the South Pacific. First of all... it's expensive. Or at least, relatively expensive. 5$ for 30 minutes is OK I guess but I'm not used to having my rambling timed. Now I know why the Bumfuzzled folks use SSB for email bursts rather than just using the www. While I appreciate the contact I'm becoming aware of the frustrations that the traveler has with blogging. It's not the blog but the phone that is the hassle. Plus, this laptop is not configured to genereate links like my big computer generates. I've got a feeling that I can figure that one out if I'd just take the trouble to go through the setup stuff in the config file, but I'm too lazy to try to figure it out for now so you guys just can do without links. Get over it.

I got the stuff back from Tallahssee reinstating my teaching certificate so I can go look for a job. My creditors are glad to hear that I'm sure. Anyhow, I'll try to settle down and do some job searching next week. In the meanwhile, I'm debating about whether to apply for another state job down in Bartow. One of the CPI jobs is open down there and I've said in the past that that would be an interesting thing to do. We'll see. In the meanwhile, I'll get off this cafe line and get back to boating.

Have fun.


Saturday, May 07, 2005


For those who care... today commemorates the death of Antonio Salieri in 1825. Salieri was the court composer of Emperor Joseph, wrote 40 classic operas, and was falsely cast as the villian in the play "Amadeus". The rumor was that poor Antonio poisoned Mozart... a lie spread by Mozart's truly strange widow... and continued by the movie of the same name. To call the movie historical is to make fiction the basis of truth and give the lie to all history. Salieri was a distant friend of the volatile Mozart, and one of the young man's few professional friends. The truth is that Mozart died of typhus. A common thing in the early 19th century there in septic Vienna.

Salieri didn't have that spark of visionary genius that characterized Mozart, but he was a competent fellow, a popular mucisian of his time, and the teacher of such luminaries as Beethoven and Liszt.

Just thought you'd like to know.


Friday, May 06, 2005


I spent some time on the phone this morning chatting with my friend Allison at HSA making sure that I wasn't burning any of my bridges by backing away from the TASC job and going to look for a teaching position. She's one of those young women who remind me of my mortality. Very good looking and... eager... I think that's the right word. Cheerfully willing to do what it takes to be successful. Working her way up the corporate ladder... has a side job to pay for her new pickemup truck. A boyfriend with an MBA who is some kind of famous surfer. Anyhow, she reminds me of the kind of girls I used to lust after in my bitter past.

I remember one... a girl who was in one of my classes that I taught for UCF over at the community college in Leesburg. She was late twenties going on seventeen. Two kids and looking for a marked path to the middle class. Intensely social and just a little bit on the edge of trouble. Marked by all that... wanting. Living in a crappy microscopic apartment with her two kids and pictures of her parents on the mantle. Serious faces, like agrarian signposts here from the '30s, peering out at the photographer from K-Mart's anniversary picture collections. I remember that little apartment. Rental furniture in a duplex. Bookcases made of concrete blocks, wire mesh hanging baskets in the kitchen holding Winn Dixie veggies, mismatched dishes from Goodwill, used textbooks on the kitchen table, pawnshop Royal typewriter and a fresh ream of blank paper beside last week's assignments. The little girls asleep in their mother's bed by ten o'clock. Me looking at last week's writing assignment and being handed bad poetry while she made us a cup of instant coffee. Me sitting on a broken couch reading bad poetry, no rhymes and no reason for existing except that I'd asked her to try it as a class project. Wanting to be a teacher and buy a Buick. Pay for braces for the girls some day. She wanted to explain to me that she wanted to be free of her ex- husband's "hold" on her. Get her own life. Get free.

Now days that woman is teaching elementary 5th grade at a school in Tavares. Married to a Sheriff's deputy and owns a used Buick. She calls me three of four times a year and mails me bad poetry. Still looking for Mr. Goodbar I suppose. Still "wanting", but mostly happy in her quietly desperate way.

What Allison wants is to be successful. And happy. I'm not sure that those mutually exclusive entities are congruent, but that's what she wants.



Jonah Goldberg says it best in a recent piece:

"Meanwhile, Michael Jackson can have no defenders on left or right. He doesn't fit any normal categories. Like Troy McLure, he's not gay. Unlike O.J. Simpson, he's not even black anymore. Who was it who said, Where else but America can a poor black boy grow up to be a rich white woman?"

He he he.


Monday, May 02, 2005


I've spent the last few days on the boat. Drifting along... what I call Gulfstreaming. Went down to Miami and drifted back up the coast coming back into Cocoa then back to The Anchorage. Solo communing... no TV, no paper... no computers. Just me and the Atlantic. It rained all day yesterday but that was OK. Made everything quiet down and cleared out the riff raff. Time to think.

I've decided to pass on the State job and go back to teaching. There are several good openings locally, just straight classroom jobs. I'll do the paperwork this week and see what bubbles up.

In the meanwhile, I went to Golden Corral last night and watched the mobs at the feeding frenzy. Interesting. Sunday night is family night I guess and the place was full of these huge crowds of Hispanic mommies and daddies who were there with whole rafts of kiddies.... not bad, just in constant motion. It was a circus of squalling babies and teen agers. This one young woman, couldn't have been more than 16, babe in arms, shouting at her hubbie about something, her breasts had been leaking out onto her t-shirt. She whips one of her boobies out and plugs the kid in, much to the horror of an elderly white couple sitting at the next booth from me. Hey, everybody eats at the Golden Corral, right? But it really was a cultural jolt to the elderly couple. Not elderly, just older, kind of like "grown children WASPS"... tourist types from up north if you follow me. The woman actually gets up and tells the girl that she should go to the ladies room where she can have some privacy. Well, the latino boyfriend tells the old lady to perform an anatomical impossibility and the couples come within a heart beat of becoming an item in the morning paper. Who you think you are bitch? Who the fuck are you anyhow? The white couple left in a hurry and left behind a whole crew of young family types doing that head move that they do... I'll tell you Marlita what I would do with them (head move head move)... I would bla bla bla (head move head move). What a hoot.

Anyhow, I enjoyed the show. Got to bed early and now I'm up early looking for trouble myself. What a life.