Your Patriotism Is Up To You

In a recent post ( that has been reported in many outlets, Mike Rowe (known for Dirty Jobs and his narration of Deadliest Catch) makes an engaging case about how politicians, players, and the NFL brass are using football and the controversy about kneeling vs. standing to make their own points. It’s a short and thoughtful read, and I highly recommend it. Mr. Rowe reminds us that our country is what we make of it. His opening words are a good reminder to all of us:

“In democracies, we the people get the government we deserve. We also get the celebrities we deserve, the artists we deserve, and the athletes we deserve. Because ultimately, we the people get to decide who and what gets our attention, and who and what does not.”

As I do not believe that this is a controversy that is among the most important in this country at this time, I should probably stop writing now. I don’t watch a lot of football, and when I do, I usually miss the kick-off and opening ceremonies, because something else I was doing was more important.

Like many people, however, I have been giving this issue a lot of thought. Continue reading “Your Patriotism Is Up To You”

Will Market Forces Drive Change at Equifax?

OK, so the Equifax breach is a big deal. A BIG deal. Nearly half of Americans are affected[1]. Their information (and possibly yours and mine) has been accessed by some entity who is probably up to no good. There’s been hemming and hawing and biting of fingernails, but, other than a fairly precipitous fall in Equifax’ stock price,[2] it’s unclear what penalties Equifax may suffer resulting from its potential mishandling of all of our financial data.

What potential penalties are in the pipeline?

  1. Class Action lawsuits – generally these turn my stomach. I always tend to picture a bunch of too tanned lawyers drinking tropical cocktails in the Caribbean comparing the numbers of persons who have joined their class action the way some overconfident men compare shoe sizes. I know this is likely unfair. However, like many Americans, I worry that we are an overly-litigious society.  There’s another reason I don’t think much of class actions. The companies at fault never seem to learn much. We’ve all received checks in the mail because this bank or this auto manufacturer did something wrong and is making it up to me by sending me a check for $19.47. Whoa, let me pay off the mortgage! Was the problem solved? You tell me. How many of you have received a second check from the same entity a few years later for another infraction?
  2. Government investigations. Several state Attorneys General and government agencies have indicated that they will be investigating the breach and the responses of Equifax, its Board, and “C” suite. These will likely be lengthy goings on and unlikely to result in any near-term change in Equifax’ data security policies and practices. With any luck, necessary policy and practice changes will result from the recommendations of the “independent cybersecurity firm” that Equifax has engaged[3]. Hopefully, these will occur earlier than any government orders or settlements could provide.

Continue reading “Will Market Forces Drive Change at Equifax?”

Trump Tops the Eclipse

Scene: The Oval Office

President Donald J. Trump, Steve Bannon, and Vice-President Mike Pence are present, sitting. Sarah Huckabee-Sanders is entering the room.

TRUMP: “Standers –“

SANDERS: “It’s Sanders, sir”

TRUMP: “Yeah — don’t worry — I know my people — believe me”

SANDERS: “Yes, sir.”

TRUMP: “What’s all this about a blackout?”

Sanders looks at the President, confused.

TRUMP:   “You know, this thing that’s going to eclipse – (aside) nice word, huh – who says I don’t know words? – (to Sanders) that’s going to eclipse my Twitter feed.”

SANDERS: “Oh, you mean the Solar eclipse that is going to occur on Monday, August 21. “

Continue reading “Trump Tops the Eclipse”

Straddling the Budgie

A typical stretching exercise in my house is “Straddling the Budgie.” Regardless of one’s interest in exercise or not, one often finds that he or she is performing “Straddling the Budgie” on multiple occasions during a day. The major culprit for this exercise is our sixteen-year-old Siamese-mix cat, Budget. He was no doubt the runt of the litter. He is relatively small for a cat, with a single dark brown brow with a white face and tan flanks with white paws. His markings are so attractive and unusual that they serve only to make that other famous uni-brow cat jealous (maybe that’s why that other cat never looks happy).

Continue reading “Straddling the Budgie”

Along the Trail 2: July 2017

More flowers are in bloom along the Erie Canalway bike trail in and around Fultonville, NY, though there are some challenges.

In addition to the flowers pictured here, the orange day-lilies, called “Tiger Lilies” by many, have begun to bloom.  They will probably be blooming (one bud a day) for the next week or two.    Also blooming are the pretty and weedy yellow flower pictured below,  as well as another pretty and weedy plant, known as the creeping bellflower.  The pink clematis that I mentioned in my last trail post is also still blooming, but I have a picture this time.  All of these are visible within two miles of Fultonville.

Continue reading “Along the Trail 2: July 2017”

Fulton and Montgomery Counties, NY: Does a bypass to the Johnstown Industrial Park already exist? Only a regional approach can answer this question.

Fonda and Fultonville, NY are two very small villages along the New York State Barge Canal (formerly the Erie Canal) in Montgomery County in East Central New York. Recently, the neighboring county to the north, Fulton County, had a study prepared that attempted to identify alternate routes that could carry tractor trailers from Thruway Exit 28 in Fultonville to its 200-acre Johnstown Industrial Park five miles away and alleviate traffic and infrastructure challenges in the two villages. Continue reading “Fulton and Montgomery Counties, NY: Does a bypass to the Johnstown Industrial Park already exist? Only a regional approach can answer this question.”

Future News: Hurricane Trump Bears Down on Washington; Forces Inauguration Indoors

Hurricane Trump Bears Down on Washington; Forces Inauguration Indoors
Jan. 19th, 2089

A rare, landfalling hurricane is expected to hit the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area tomorrow. Heavy rains have already blanketed the area, delivering up to 1.75” in several locations. The rains have interrupted plans of many presidential well-wishers from attending the inauguration and many of the balls that traditionally accompany such events.

Earlier in the week, officials at the National Weather Service announced that the Hurricane would not be named “Abigail,” the first planned name for Atlantic hurricanes for 2089. Instead, it would be dubbed “Hurricane Trump.” Weather Service Director Zhoaria Kohme explained, “This hurricane is occurring prior to the official March 1 start of the Hurricane season, for which ‘Abigail’ has been reserved.”

Regarding the name of the Hurricane, Director Kohme noted, “Considering […] the 45th President’s denial of environmental change and the maelstrom accompanying his first year in office, ‘Hurricane Trump’ seemed like the perfect name.” Continue reading “Future News: Hurricane Trump Bears Down on Washington; Forces Inauguration Indoors”

Along the Trail

Blooming along the Erie Canalway Bike and Walking trail in Fultonville, NY on June 9 are Clematis and some sort of wild rose.  When the bike trail was put in several years ago, some thoughtful person took it upon themselves to plant clematis along the fenced part of the trail, heading west from the Route 30A – Route 5s junction.  Both the purple clematis (jackmanii?) and a very attractive pink clematis can be found along this section.Photographs of unidentified shrub rose and purple clematis

At the very corner referenced above (Routes 30A & 5s), can be found a huge, very pleasant-smelling bush of small white rose-like flowers.  Both the rosebush and purple clematis are pictured above.  As you may be able to see, the rosebush is overgrowing a crabapple (bloomed earlier this year) and is competing with several weedy box elders.

A Morning Prayer

Dear God:

I thank You for enabling me to have this relationship with You.

It brings me great comfort and joy to be able to pray to You and ask for Your help, Your blessings, and Your guidance.

I thank You for the gifts and characteristics that You have given me that help me to be more like Jesus and to better manage my life: Continue reading “A Morning Prayer”


With sincere apologies to Messrs. Bernstein and Sondheim, the following is set to the tune of “Maria!”  (original is © 1956, 1957 Amberson Holdings LLC and Stephen Sondheim) from West Side Story.


The most wonderful mot for a cup of Joe.


Sumatra! Sumatra! Sumatra!
Sumatra! Sumatra!

Su – ma - tra!

I just had a cup of Sumatra
What a bold, fulfilling taste!
A single drop I will not waste – today!

I cannot stop drinking Sumatra!
As rich as life can be,
It warms every part of me, I say!

Drink it fast and you’re nearly sinful,
Drink it slow and your mouth will always be grinful…

I’ll never stop drinking Sumatra…