Thursday, July 31, 2003
As promised (finally!), here's a picture of my "little" sister Patty at her wedding. Sigh.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003
A couple of quick updates of a personal nature.

The Missus and I have bought a house in beautiful Leesburg, Virginia. Right now it's a pile of mud, but should be done before the end of the year. (The contract actually says, "Completion Date: Oct/Nov 2003, or any time within two years of that date," but we remain optimistic.) I'll update with pictures when available.

The other "big news" is that I am going to be moving my website and this blog over to which should be its permanent home. There's nothing there yet. So you faithful reader or readers out there, stay tuned for the big move!

Wednesday, July 23, 2003
Watched some DVD's over the weekend. Quick reviews:

First was a "chick flick" or "date movie." At the risk of sounding like a milksop, these kind of movies don't automatically cause me to run for the hills. It's nice to watch a movie with the Missus and not care if we end up having a conversation in the middle of it. (There are some movies that I very much don't want that to happen in.) This one is pretty much like all the rest. I hope I won't give away too much if I tell you the two leads fall in love by the end. But wait, I forgot to tell you which movie this is. It's How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. The girl's writing an article with the title's theme. The guy has wagered that he can make a girl fall in love with him in 10 days. The guy meets the girl, etc., etc. The girl, played by Goldie Hawn's daughter, is cute. The guy, played by Matthew McConaughey, isn't as cute as he thinks he is—though the Missus may disagree. I can recommend this, less as a movie, more as a way to spend some pleasant time with your spouse.

Ted Turner's Civil War movie, Gods and Generals is more of a "guy movie." Running well over three hours (on two DVD's), it's a movie that greatly benefits from having a Pause button available. Some will find it too long and, between the battle scenes, too boring. For a history buff like myself, it's a very enjoyable movie. I appreciate that they tried to make the movie as historically factual as possible, and not aim the movie at the ADD-addled MTV generation. So that means that one of the main characters, Confederate General "Stonewall" Jackson, is very religious and quotes scripture at the drop of a hat. Another character recites a poem about Julius Caesar before a battle, befitting a college professor turned Union colonel. There was also an attempt to get the hairstyles exact, including an extremely frightening beard for cavalryman "Jeb" Stuart. I got a little misty-eyed when, at the battle of Fredericksburg, the victorious Confederates saluted the brave Union soldiers who died honorably in a futile attempt to charge their well-positioned lines. Recommended for history fans.

Thursday, July 17, 2003
Here's a column full of common sense by Mark Steyn, a great writer. Enjoy.

Monday, July 14, 2003
Well, my "little" sister is officially married now. The wedding was Saturday evening and everything went excellently. She and her new hubby are sunning themselves this week on a Caribbean beach where the cool breezes and cold beers are no doubt whisking away the extreme stresses they've been under.

This is my blog, so everything naturally comes back to me and I must confess that while I'm very happy for them, I am a little sad too, since my strongest memories of my sister are of when she was a little kid. I found an old album containing pictures that I took with my first camera back in 1979. They include a couple of my then three-year-old sister cuddled up with her bottle and a blankie. I've been scanning them, and when I'm sure she won't kill me, I'll post some of them.

Along with some of her wedding photos too.

Saturday, July 12, 2003
Since I've started working again in beautiful Maryland, I've been taking White's Ferry across the Potomac each day. It's a calm, beautiful ride through the countryside of Loudoun County and Montgomery County and through the small towns of Leesburg and Poolesville.

I have been taking a shortcut that I found between Poolesville and Gaithersburg. In the past when I went to Poolesville, mostly to play golf, I would take the "traditional" route down Route 28 to where Route 107, White's Ferry Road, forks off. Feeling in an adventurous mood one day, I took an alternate route. I left Route 28 at Seneca Road in Darnestown and followed it down to Partnership Road, which brought me out on White's Ferry Road just before Poolesville.

A shortcut! I firmly believe that it was the search for shortcuts that was the catalyst of man's evolution from earlier forms of primate. So of course I felt really good and took my shortcut every day, laughing at all the fools that didn't know about it.

Yesterday, the Missus and I met for dinner at the Kentlands after work. When we were finished, we decided to take the ferry home. Since she didn't know the way to the ferry from the Kentlands, she followed me. As was my habit, I took the turn at Seneca Road to follow my beloved shortcut. The Missus, mistakenly following another green Honda, went merrily along the "traditional" route. I called her cell phone to confirm that she knew the way to the ferry from there—she did—and to tell her that I'll meet her at home, which I would reach long before her.

As I headed down the road to the ferry, I snuck peeks into my rear view mirror to see if I could see my wife's Subaru. There was no sign of it, and I chuckled thinking how far in front of her I was. I was just about to reach the ferry when she called. "Where are you?" she asked.

I told her I was just about to get to the ferry. "What?" she said. "I thought you'd be home by now. I'm already on the ferry!"

I pulled up to the ramp. The ferry had just pulled out. I could see the Subaru safely on board.

I ranted. I cursed. I yelled. That was no shortcut! I haven't evolved! I'm just a baboon!

Tuesday, July 08, 2003
One last thing on a busy blog night (and I apologize to my faithful reader [readers?] for not updating sooner). Here's a short review of Terminator 3 that I saw on Thursday night. We'd been discussing Arnie during the day on Thursday, rehashing some of his best lines from previous movies. Some of my favorites:

  • In Raw Deal, Arnie plays an ex-CIA type exiled to a small Southern town. His wife, upset at being stuck out in the sticks, turns to drink for consolation. Arnie arrives home one day to be greeted by his drunk wife tossing a chocolate cake at his head. Arnie: "You shouldn't drink und bake."
  • Commando finds Arnie chasing the men who kidnapped his daughter. An innocent stewardess becomes his reluctant partner. In one scene, Arnie is holding one of the bad guys by one leg over the edge of a cliff and interrogating him. The next scene: Stewardess: "What happened to that guy?" Arnie: "I let him go."
  • There are so many more! Checking out Arnie on the indispensible Internet Movie Database, we saw he's now 56! We joked, instead of "I'll be back," it should be "Oh, my back!"

    Actually the movie was a pretty good summer "popcorn" flick. Yeah, yeah, I know, that's a cliche. But, in this case, I had some popcorn, missed the holiday traffic for two hours and had a good time. The movie wasn't as hyped and "important" as T2 was, but it didn't take itself too seriously, and got the job done. By the way, the 56-year-old Arnie looked great. Recommended, but not for kids. It was rated R and earned it for some icky scenes.

    My brother-in-law Ray Flanagan (a.k.a. "rayflana") had one of his photographs featured on a cool photography website called Photo Friday. Each week, the site designs a new photographic challenge. This week's was "Angles." Congratulations to Ray, who has taken some fabulous pictures. You can see some of them through the Photo Friday website, and more of them at Ray's homepage.

    The Social Security Administration has a pretty neat Baby Names website. It shows the most popular baby names each year since 1990. It also shows the most popular names by decade back to the 1880's. See, our tax dollars do buy some cool things.

    Here's a joke passed along by my Dad:
    An elderly American absent mindedly arrived at French customs at the Paris airport and then fumbled for his passport.

    "You have been to France before, Monsieur?", the customs officer asked sarcastically. The ancient Yank admitted that he had been to France before.

    "Then you should know enough to have your passport ready for inspection," snapped the irate official. The American said that the last time he came to France he did not have to show a passport.

    "Impossible, old man! You Americans always have to show your passport on arrival in France!"

    The old American gave the Frenchman a long hard look then slowly stated:"I assure you young man, that when I came ashore on Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day in 1944, there was no damn Frenchman on the beach asking for my passport."