Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's enough to make you sick, isn't it?!

It's been pretty apparent for most of ye socks that things are dysfunctional on Wall Street. So, I won't belabor the point.

Yesterday, though, the House's rejection of the much-ballyhooed "bailout" plan reminded us all that Washington is even more whacked-out than the subprime mortgage yayhoos.

Somehow, over the last two hundred years or so we've "evolved" from Democracy to DemoCRAZY!

Just before the big vote, Speaker Pelosi went on the floor of the House to deliver a speech attacking the Republican minority. 12 of them who were on the fence cited her rant as the reason they switched their votes. That was the exact margin of defeat. Imagine what could be done if some people in the chamber knew how to exercise leadership, hold their tongues, and demonstrate a little bipartisanship . . .

What a lot of ye socks may have missed (and who could blame you given the plunging values of your retirement accounts?!) is that Pelosi's House also failed to extend tax relief:

  1. The Alternative Minimum Tax is about to expire, something that will affect about 25 million American households.
  2. Deductions for state sales taxes, college tuition, and teachers' out-of-pocket classroom expenses will no longer be allowed.
  3. Tax credits to businesses for research and development and using renewable energy sources will be scrapped.

Seems to me that we need to bail ourselves out of more than one mess here . . . and, frankly, I wish they'd start in DC and let the free markets be just that and sort themselves out . . .

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Old newspaper proclaims "Hope Ahead for Housing, Construction!"

Let's hope that headline is prophetic, no?!

I had a lot of pent-up frustration after my beloved Gators lost on Saturday, so decided to use the energy for a positive purpose and finally tackled the cellar.

In so doing, I discovered a ton of old newspapers--including the Business Section from the Orlando Sentinel dated 27 July 1975. Here's a transcript of the entire article as written by real estate writer Charles Guthrie:

The housing and construction industries began 1975 with the question, can we survive in '75, as the bite of the recession clamped down on the overbuilt Greater Orlando area.

A half-year later the economic roadside is littered with the bodies of defunct developers, builders and construction workers, but compared with those even darker days of six months ago, the remainder of 1975 shows a flicker of promise in some areas.

The good news first:

New house building permist are gradually increasing as the heavy inventory of unsold, never occupied homes is slowly reduced.

THE BIGGEST SELLER is the home below $30,000, now called low-cost, a market largely untapped by developers and builders until the boom bust and the lower priced homes were all most people could afford.

There's a quickly developing trend toward the "basic house," with "frills" such as Florida rooms and air conditioning sold on an option basis.

More attention is being paid by architects to better utilization of space in the smaller house (most in the 1,000 square foot range) and provisions by the builder for easy expansion when the owner wants it and can afford it.

AN IRONY OF the times: Most people buying the basic, no-frills houses are adding air conditioning.

The glutted rental apartment market occupancy rate has risen about 5 per cent in the past few months, to about 70 per cent as rent wars rage among competitors and only a minimal number of new units go on line.

Condominiums are still suffering, but offer great buys and in many instances the $2,000 tax credit.

The bad news:

UNEMPLOYMENT IN the construction industry is more than 25 per cent, says George W. Holleman, executive secretary of the Central Florida Builders Exchange. He doesn't see substantial improvement this year.

Building permits in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties totaled $67.9 million the first six months of 1975 compared with $165 million the first six months of 1974.

Single-family home permits in Orange County came to 485 from January through June this year. Last year 713 were issued during the same six-month period.

OFFICE SPACE continues to glut the market, with absorption crawling at a pace estimated to take two to three years to reach 100 per cent.

But as bad as things are, "I don't think we're in any calamity," Holleman said.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Angel Food Ministries

In these difficult economic times, I wanted to share with ye socks a program that was brought to my attention by my friend Becky.

Her church (East Orlando Baptist) recently became a distribution site.

Basically, anyone can participate. It is not a need-based program. The cost is $30 per month, which you deposit at your nearest distribution site. Then, on the last Saturday of the month, you go pick up a ton of food. Everybody wins. Participants get inexpensive staple foods, churches get a small cut and the opportunity for community outreach, and suppliers save on distribution.

So, if ye socks think this is something that could help you stretch dollars, or if you think your church might like to participate, check out this website:



Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman, RIP

To mark the passing yesterday of a movie icon, I thought I'd post a little genealogical tribute of sorts:

1. Paul Leonard Newman, *26 Jan 1925, Shaker Heights, Cleveland, Cuyahoga Co., OH; +26 Sept 2008, Westport, NY; =(1) Dec 1949, Jackie Witte (div); =(2) 29 Jan 1958, Joanne Woodward.

2. Arthur S. Newman, *Aug 1893, Cleveland, Cuyahoga Co., OH; + ante 14 May 1950, Shaker Heights; = ca 1915.

3. Theresa Fetsko, *25 July 1896, Hungary; +13 Aug 1982, Riverside Co., CA.

4. Simon Newman, *ca 1853, Hungary; +1895.

5. Hannah Cohn, *3 July 1857, Poland (then part of Germany); to US in 1870; 1900 res 989 Pearl Street, Cleveland, (renter), worked as a milliner; +10 March 1913, Cleveland.

6. Stephen Fetsko, *20 Aug 1854, Hungary; to US 1890; 1920 res Cleveland, worked as a ship builder; +24 Dec 1946, Cleveland.

7. Mary Polenak, * ca 1875, Hungary; to US 1890; 1920 res Cleveland, worked as a milk laborer.

10. Selig Cohn.


If any of ye socks can extend these lines further back, let me know!

Oh, and as a side note, favorite Newman movie: Nobody's Fool. Check it out.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

A family business no more

In what has sadly become a sign of the times, the business section of the Orlando Sentinel today proclaimed the end of an 80+ year run for the Meloon family of Pine Castle, Florida.

The Meloons came to this little corner of heaven from Ossippee, New Hampshire, way back in 1924.

Walt, Sr., his wife Marion, and thier three sons Walt, Jr., Ralph, and Harold, established and operated a boat business right on Orange Avenue--just a few miles south of downtown Orlando--that has been a local landmark for generations. (Disclaimer: Walt, Jr., married my grandmother's cousin Bobbie Burns.)

Originally, the Meloons called thier family business the "Florida Variety Boat Company." In 1930, it became "The Pine Castle Boat and Construction Company." And, in 1936, it finally became "Correct Craft."

The family saw the business thru the Great Depression by various means, including the establishment of the now-well-known scenic boat tours thru the Winter Park chain of lakes back in 1938.

They also helped win the war in Europe by a "miracle production" of a WWII contract.

Of course, most of ye socks probably know their Nautique line better than all this history.

Yesterday, the historic run by the nation's oldest family-run boatmaker came to an end when Correct Craft announced they had formally changed hands. The new owner is Tennessee-based MasterCraft.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bedtime prayers

I'm heading off to bed now, but dont' know if I'll be able to get to sleep.

As of 11 o'clock, our "leaders" up in Washington still had not hammered-out the details of the big bailout.

Apparently, the Republican minority in the House is holding out for some key provision.

Oh, well, at least USC got upset out in Oregon. That's good for the Gators . . .

So, here's tonight's prayer litany, in case ye socks are interested:

1. DC gets its act together before Monday's market opening.

2. Bama beats Georgia.

3. TCU beats Oklahoma

Oh, and peace on earth and all the regularly-included items, too.

'Nite, y'all.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sometimes, it's not all about you . . .

I know that's hard for some people to believe.

But, sometimes, you've got to do what's right for your country first, and put the rah-rah pom-poms down.

This is one of those times.

Our country finds itself on the brink of economic turmoil.

Wall Street is squealing for a bail-out.

The federal government will have to close its doors if Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid don't get their act together and pass an omnibus bill.

And, yet, the junior senator from Illinois thinks it's much more important for him to continue his dog and pony roadshow than to actually be in Washington, DC, doing the job the people of his state elected him to do.

I guess the folks from the Land of Lincoln should be used to his behavior by now. I mean, ever since they were foolish enough to elect him to the Senate, he's ignored them and their needs and has instead been running for president. His attendance record is a joke. A bad joke.

Now, when times demand action (not just more hot air), he won't show up for his day job.

Imagine how detrimental that would be if he held higher office. And, think about that long and hard as November approaches . . .

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hold on, Harry and Henry!

Senate Majority "Leader" Harry Reid and Comrade Henry Paulson seem far too eager to pass the big $700 billion bailout plan thru Congress.

First, Reid erroneously stated that there was bipartisan support for the plan. The last I heard, John McCain wasn't on board. While he did say "further inaction is simply not an option," that doesn't mean he's in the rubberstamp business.

$700 billion is a lot of money, almost incomprehensible. So, let's break it down into terms everyone in this country can comprehend. That is $10,000 in additional debt that every household in America is being asked to assume.

I don't know about the rest of ye socks, but ten grand is still a sizeable chunk of change in this little corner of heaven.

I do not profess to be a master economist by any stretch of the imagination, so am willing to defer to the experts when they assure us that SOMETHING must be done fairly quickly to avoid complete chaos.

But, I'm with McCain on this one. Some provisions really need to be incorporated into any bailout scheme, including:

- Defining the level of governmental oversight for those entities accepting bailout money.
- Addressing the ridiculous executive compensation packages to cap salaries and eliminate "golden parachutes" for any business that feeds from the government trough.
- Demanding transparent accounting practices to restore public confidence.

Washington and Wall Street have become far too cozy. We don't need to make it any easier on them by rushing through the Paulson plan. We do need to know what we're getting ourselves into, and that's worth at least a few extra days of careful examination. The price tag on this one is just too large to do any less.

And, hold on to your hats, folks. I hear the auto manufacturers are waiting eagerly in the wings to see how all this goes, because they want to float the bailout balloon for their industry, too . . .

Is capitalism dying in the USofA?

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Monday, September 22, 2008


Those are the words the manufacturer very clearly printed on this roll of vinyl tubing.

Repeatedly. Like every 12 inches.

Yet, somehow, that is exactly what the plumbing subcontractor decided to ignore during my recent kitchen remodeling adventure.

The result was a minor explosion last night that caused a near flood before I located the water main.

The good news is Rainaldi Plumbing had someone over to the house to replace the line within an hour. Kudos to Nate Nguyen not only for his quick arrival on the disaster scene, but also for his bravery in entering the dark, dank crawl space beneath the kitchen.

The even better news is this problem erupted while yours truly was at home and able to respond before it got totally out of hand. I shudder to think how much damage could have occurred if it had happened while I was away at work . . .

The bad news is I missed almost all of the CBS season premieres I wanted to catch on tv tonight.

The even worse news is I have to call my contractor up tomorrow morning to make arrangements to pay for the replumbing . . .

Stay tuned.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Summer's end yard work

Well, ye socks, it is the last official day of summer, but the heat says otherwise.

Yours truly finally broke down and bought a new lawn mower, the shiny green Briggs & Stratton pictured here.

Actually got it yesterday, and assembled it as I watched the Gators romp over Tennessee.

I guess I should have been paying more attention to the assembly process, because one of the wheels flew off after making only a couple of passes across the back yard.

I couldn't find the lug nut or one of the washers in the high grass, and really didn't feel like investing too much time hunting under the abusive sun.

No big deal, I thought, I'll just head over to "the place with the helpful hardware man." He evidently doesn't work on Sundays, because I ended up having to sort thru two aisles of potential replacement parts. Should've written down the sizes from the instruction manual instead of just carrying examples from another wheel. So, I had an unwelcome surprise when I got back home and the wheel didn't fit quite as well as the other three. But, I was determined to "get 'er done" and pushed on. Pun intended.

Anyway, three wheels or three-and-a-half, the yard looks pretty good now.

I, on the other hand, am in desperate need of a shower.

And a massage.

Or, at least an aspirin.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

GATORS 30, vols 6

Call me crazy, but as long as the Orange and Blue beat FSU and Tennessee, I consider that a winning season.

Well, as of today we are halfway there, having once again beaten the hillbillies at Rocky Top.

After the game, I heard some folks talking about the vols' coach(?) Philly-cheese Fulmer. But, I couldn't quite make out what they were saying.

Maybe, ye socks can help me out.

Was it "mediocre," or "meaty ogre"?

I think this picture will help you choose . . .

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Start making your 2009 birthday plans now!

For the benefit of ye out-of-town socks whose local media won't make this the lead story in the evening news like they will in this little corner of heaven:

The Walt Disney Company has announced that in 2009 they will give free admission to any one of their parks to every person who shows up with proper identification on their birthday.

That's a $75 value, give or take a few bucks.

Of course, they know what they're doing. Nobody goes to the big WDW by themselves, do they? And it's highly unlikely that the birthday boy/girl's companion(s) is/are going to have the same DOB.

Nevertheless, it is something. So, if you've got the inclination to take Mickey up on his offer, start booking your reservations now!

(I only wish my own birthday fell during the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival . . . oh, well . . .)

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Totally off the wall

Ok, recent posts have been a tad on the serious side lately, so here's some random items to mix it up a bit.

No rhyme or reason to any of this. Just some stuff I had jotted down over the last couple of days that I thought ye socks might find at least mildly interesting or amusing:

1. http://www.publicprofiler.org/worldnames Type in your surname and see how popular it is.

2. http://www.simpsonizeme.com Have your best head shot ready to upload and generate a Simpsons cartoon version.

3. http://www.yearbookyourself.com Again, have a good head shot ready to upload. This time around, you're going to generate what your yearbook photo would have looked like if you went to high school in the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s, etc.

4. The siding contractor began work on the back of the house yesterday. Keep your eyes peeled for some digipics by the weekend.

5. Happy Birthday greetings to my little sister.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Of land deals and road construction

Finally, a little fiscal responsibility in this little corner of heaven.

Unfortunately, it wasn't the homegrown variety and had to come by way of Tallahassee. But, we'll take what we can get when it comes to saving tax dollars.

This photo shows what the final stretch of State Road 429 currently looks like just a hop, skip, and a jump from ye olde Lake Hammer chalet. But, the lovely toll collectors over at the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority are salivating over a two billion dollar scheme to ram the so-called "Wekiva Parkway" even further north--about 25 miles through some very environmentally-sensitive land.

The only thing stopping them were legislative mandates that two chunks of undeveloped property be purchased from the existing owners and set aside as state conservation lands:

Tract #1: "Neighborhood Lakes" encompassed 1,600 acres, and was successfully acquired by the state for $74 million in March of last year. ($46,250 per acre).

Tract #2: "Pine Plantation" is much smaller at "only" 385 acres, but owner Jim Palmer (an Orlando attorney) wants $37.5 million for it. ($97,402 per acre--more than twice as much as tract #1).

I was impressed that our illustrious governor was willing to nix the deal yesterday (and thus delay the road construction plans). Mr. Palmer has been one of his biggest supporters in this part of the Sunshine State, and was only recently rewarded by the governor with an appointment to the board of the Orlando International Airport. So, to see him draw the line at this outrageous asking price was refreshing. I know some yayhoos on the Orlando City Council would have simply gone along with it and raised our taxes to pay for it.

The reason this was a bad deal transcends politics (and environmental considerations, for that matter). I absolutely HATE to quote Bill Clinton, but "It's the economy, stupid."

Land values across Central Florida have decreased substantially over the last year and a half, not more than doubled. Even using the out-of-date sale price per acre of tract #1, the state could not in good conscience offer more than $17.8 million.

Also, as more and more people are staying home or carpooling, there are fewer and fewer vehicles on the roads and thus less and less need for expensive toll roads. And, since there is less driving going on across the state, there's less gas tax revenue to finance them anyway.

As someone whose family has lived here for 9 generations, I am all for preserving as much of our region's natural beauty while we strengthen our infrastructure. But, a bad deal is a bad deal, and that's not worthy of posterity.

Slightly-reluctant kudos to Governor Crist.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Orlando gives "Thumbs-up" to McCain

The Republican presidential candidate paid a visit to this little corner of heaven yesterday.

Actually, it's his third visit in as many weeks.

I guess the pundits are correct. The I-4 Corridor will once again play a pivotal role in picking the new White House tenants. Those on the short list have certainly been courting us lately.

This time, Senator McCain was the guest of La Asociacion Borinquena de Florida Central, a Puerto Rican social club east of downtown Orlando.

You can tell from this picture that he was in good company. That's former governor Jeb Bush applauding in the background, far left. The current governor Charlie Christ is back there, too. He's the one sans jacket with shirt sleeves rolled-up. The man in mid-applause second from the right is my dad's old high school classmate and current Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty. Hidden behind McCain in this shot were a pair of Martinezes: Senator Mel and former governor Bob.

Love him or not, McCain was in his element in this small townhall sized event. Now I know why the junior senator from Illinois is afraid to engage him one on one in this sort of arena--despite the standing offer of free airfare.

The speechifying was, thankfully, kept to a minimum. The nominee touched on only 3 main themes:

1. The mess in the financial markets. He blasted those who have "treated Wall Street like a casino." A bit populist, but it resonated.

2. His plan to have 45 nuclear plants up and running by 2030, a goal that will not only move us toward energy independence but also toward a greener environment.

3. The success of the surge in Iraq. He always seems to go there, doesn't he? Well, I guess it's working for him . . .

Latest polls show all this courting of Sunshine State voters is paying off for the GOP. If he'd just send Sarah Palin down this way for a visit or two, he could seal the deal . . .

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Tax and spend mentality out of control in Orlando

Our illustrious mayor Buddy Dyer has rammed through a 15% tax increase in this little corner of heaven.

Ye socks may remember his recent indictment for election fraud.

He's also spending billions on "entertainment venues" that residents won't be able to afford to visit because they'll be too busy struggling to pay his recent tax hike.

And, yet, he can't understand why folks around here don't trust his administration with their tax dollars.

He is running a $31.4 million dollar deficit this year. But, instead of cutting government largesse, he proposes a few token cuts and hikes taxes.

I don't remember everything they taught me in college macroeconomics, but I do recall the illustration that showed how government syphoning money out of the system means there's less for individuals and the private sector.

Buddy Dyer and his minions at City Hall have succeeded today not in balancing a budget but in hurting renters and causing businesses within the city limits to close their doors and (hopefully) move their operations to more business-friendly adjacent communities.

This will not be forgotten in the next election, Buddy. Kudos to commissioners Phil Diamond and Robert Stuart for standing-up against the Dyer machine. Their efforts were futile this time around, but I hope voters will send more voices of reason to join them on the city council very soon.


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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Goya's Ghosts

That's the title of a DVD I just finished.

Picture "Les Miserables" meets the Spanish Inquisition.

Doesn't sound like too much fun, does it?

Perhaps a run-down of some of the primary cast members will change your mind:

- Stellan Skarsgard (better known from "The Pirates of the Caribbean") plays the iconic Spanish painter Francisco Goya.

- Natalie Portman (who was awesome as Anne Boleyn in a previously-reviewed DVD) is Goya's gorgeous muse Ines--but be forewarned, she becomes an old hag after spending a decade and a half in a dungeon.

- Javier Bardem (evil incarnate in "No Country for Old Men") plays a wayward priest turned revolutionary named Lorenzo who fathers a child with Ines while she is in prison.

- Randy Quaid plays--hold on to your seats--the King of Spain! (He's come a long way since those National Lampoon roles.)

Left me wondering how much of this story was true, and how much was dramatic license . . . I guess one would call that "thought provoking." I suppose that's a refreshing thing when you consider the sorts of response a lot of films provoke . . .

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tina Fey could have a new career!

I had no Gator game to watch this weekend. So, restless as that left me on this fine Saturday, I was able to stay up late enough to catch the season premiere of SNL.
I must confess that the show has lost its shine for me in recent years.
Of course, that probably has something to do with being out of college and a near elimination of beer consumption.
Most of the show still comes off as sophomoric to me. But, tonight's opening skit really had me laughing.
It featured Tina Fey as VP nominee Sarah Palin, and Amy Poehler as the woman who should have been the Democratic presidential nominee.
Now, Poehler is leaving at the end of the season. Apparently, there won't be much need for her impersonation of the junior senator from New York in the near term.
However, if things go well for the Republican ticket this Fall, I believe Fey will have at least four good years of impersonating Palin.
I'd been saying for weeks that there was a physical resemblance between these two very attractive women.
But, Fey deserves a lot of credit for picking up a pretty good Palin-esque accent along with some of the Alaska governor's podium mannerisms. I can only imagine how good both the comedienne and her muse will get with practice.
That alone should be enough to get you undecided voters off the fence and behind the GOP bandwagon!

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Friday, September 12, 2008

I don't like Ike

No, I'm not referring to the former president. I actually like him.

And, I'm not referring to the "misunderstood" former "better half" of Tina Turner. Although, his rather nasty disposition and brutality may be a near equal of the Ike that's on everyone's mind today.

Of course, I am referring to the nasty hurricane that is threatening so many of my friends out in the Lone Star State.

If you won't take the advice of those of us in this little corner of heaven who have survived so many storms in recent years, then remember the lessons of "What's Love Got to Do With It?"

Ike can pack a punch.

So, let him eat your dust.

You'll be much better off.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

One Day of Blog Silence in memory of 9/11/01


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Keep your fingers crossed . . .

After calling a local HVAC specialist in the wake of this weekend's unexpected indoor precipitation, I am now hopefull that he can kill two birds with one stone.

No, not literally.

Without going into too much technical detail, which would surely bore the majority of ye socks, the techinician believes a new fan is the solution to two problems.

Not only should it put an end to the excess condensation beneath the interior unit, it should . . . keep those fingers crossed . . . also alleviate the sauna-like temperatures up in the attic.

That's the good news.

The not-so-good news is the fan in question is of a non-standard size. (Go figure! Something non-standard around here!!)

So, he had to call in an order, which will hopefully be filled this afternoon.

Stay tuned to the ongoing saga of our struggles with climate control in this little corner of heaven . . .


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

What Hath God Wrought

That's the title of a book that recently won Oxford historian Daniel Walker Howe the Pulitzer Prize. [ISBN 978-0-19-507894-7.]

It is derived from the Biblican verse Numbers 23:23.

The King James Version puts an emphatic exclamation mark after the phrase!

But, when Samuel Morse used it to make the first major telegraph transmission back in 1844, he put a question mark after it?

Howe intentionally put no punctuation after his title, because he wanted to leave it up to the reader whether it should be a statement or a question.

He's funny like that. I mean, he must be pretty peculiar to dedicate his opus to John Quincy Adams, of all people. But, that dedication proves merely a prelude for the pro-Whig, anti-Jackson theme of the entire book.

That bias was echoed by an introduction penned by Howe's editor, David M. Kennedy. They pooh-pooh the popular myth of Jackson as hero, saying he (and, by extension, his followers) "battled in ignorance" at New Orleans in 1815 and then throughout the era that ended with the Mexican War.

In their view, it is not the era's individualism and heroes that are noteworthy. Rather, they celebrate the growing collectivisms of big business, mass communication, abolition, etc. To them, "groupthink" trumps inspiration. And, it was the mindless pieces of artillery that won America's early battles, not the personal efforts of her leaders.

Poppycock and balderdash!

If, like Morse, one interprets the title of this book as a question, its author posits there are only two possible answers. What hath God wrought? Thomas Jefferson suggested an "empire of liberty." The Whig forebears of Howe and Kennedy, on the other hand, would have us stifle that aspiration for their vision of America as a "light of virtue unto the nations." Which answer is "right," liberty or virtue?

Yours truly will stand on the side of liberty. But, it takes all oars to propel a boat. So, if being a virtuous example to the world is your calling, go ahead. You may even earn a Pulitzer for your efforts . . .

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Monday, September 08, 2008

A pair of old family portraits

My cousin Patricia was kind enough to scan and forward these two old family portraits over the weekend, and I post them here for the enjoyment of ye socks who are not yet completely bored with my genealogical pursuits.

The first (rather faded) portrait is of my great-great grandfather (and namesake) William S. Morgan, and his wife Lola Blakesley Morgan. It was probably taken shortly after they were married in Kansas City, in 1889.

The second portrait is of Lola's parents Mary and Edson Blakesley. We still can't quite figure when the Unicorn-do was popular. The date on the photo says 1892. But, I must say that Grandpa Blakesley's mustache is ALMOST as hip as the one gracing the upper lip of yours truly.

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Talk about humidity

It's SO humid in this little corner of heaven.

HOW humid is it?

It's SO humid that it's raining in my dining room!


I was really freaked out this evening to discover the chandelier was sprinkling rain drops all over the freshly-mopped floor.

At first, I couldn't figure out why it was happening. I mean, there is no plumbing up there in the ceiling, so where is the water coming from?!

Then, it dawned on me that the AC unit is up in the attic. And, upon inspection, I found the drip pan overfloweth.

Whoever the genius was who installed said pan, pinned it beneath the four legs supporting the AC unit. So, neither yours truly nor anyone else may remove/dump any water it collects!

Brilliant, huh?

Anyway, I drained as much of the H2O as I could with a cup, and put an old kitty litter box in the pan to collect any future condensation. That seemed to do the trick.

Never a dull moment around here . . .


Saturday, September 06, 2008

Snapping a losing streak

A lot of Gator fans were biting their nails this evening, as our #5 ranked team took on the Miami Hurricanes in the Swamp.

In fact, there were 90,833 folks in attendance at the game--a Swamp record.

The reason they were biting their nails was the storied history of the rivalry between the two schools--one that includes a losing streak for the Gators that dates all the way back to 1986.

The nervousness continued all the way through half-time, when the Orange and Blue was only ahead by a score of 9-3.

Both teams returned for the second half, to continue the battle of attrition between their defenses.

There were only 13 minutes left on the clock when Tim Tebow and the Gator offense finally broke the stalemate, making it a 16-3 game. That finally sucked the emotion out of the Canes, and they quickly gave up another 10 points.

Final score: GATORS 26, hurricanes 3.

Oh, and Tebow has now thrown 130 consecutive passes without an interception, a school record.

Georgia is now officially on notice.


Friday, September 05, 2008

Like nails on a chalkboard

After seeing Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, and other stellar speakers at the GOP convention earlier this week, last night's presidential nomination acceptance speech by John McCain was something of a letdown.

Fortunately, what he lacks in charisma is more than made up by his integrity and leadership abilities.

Nevertheless, there was one point in his speech that really grated on the nerves of this genealogist:

"We believe everyone has something to contribute and deserves the opportunity to reach their God-given potential, from the boy whose DESCENDANTS arrived on the 'Mayflower' to the Latina daughter of migrant workers."

With all the money I'm sure the McCain campaign pays their speech writers, editors, vetters, media consultants, and handlers, I find it hard to believe that no one over there knows the definition of "descendants." For their edification:

descendants - (n) one's posterity, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.

Any boy who had descendants on the Mayflower would have to be tremendously old, even older than John McCain's 96-year-old mother Roberta, and could hardly be described as a boy in the first place.

I'm 99% certain the word they were looking for (or, should have been) is

ancestors - (n) one's forebears, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc.

Maybe, the McCain campaign would like to hire a certain genealogical consultant to vet any future speeches.

Know your genealogy, ye socks!

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Huck rallies the troops

Wow, I can't believe I stayed up so late last night watching the GOP convention coverage.

Most folks, I'm sure, were hanging in there to see how the new VP nominee Sarah Palin would do.

Yours truly was never in doubt that she would deliver a stellar speech.

No, what got me to tune in last night was the opportunity to see Mike Huckabee, the fellow I had supported during the primaries.

It was almost bittersweet to see him addressing a convention so many of us had hoped would be nominating him instead of John McCain. But, he quickly reminded us that now is the time to look forward, and we must be united in the fall to defeat the evils the junior senator from Illinois and his ilk would perpetrate if given the opportunity.

As usual, Huck had a couple of great quips. Here's my two favorite:

* The reporting of the past few days [referring to the "mainstream" media's coverage of Gov. Palin's family life] has proven tackier than a costume change at a Madonna concert.

* I'm not a Republican because I grew up rich. I'm a Republican because I don't want to spend the rest of my life poor, waiting for the government to rescue me.

I was also pleased to see that the Huckabee family was given a place of honor in the gallery. They were seated directly behind the McCains and Palins.

I think I'm finally ready to do what 96-year-old Roberta McCain suggested, hold my nose and vote for her son . . .

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Governor Palin's roots

I love it when I can combine interests like genealogy and politics.

So, today, I wanted to let ye socks know what I've found about the roots of Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska, who will hopefully be the next Vice President of the United States.

She has several easily-traceable lines in this country (as well as others in Ireland and Germany). I will give you some of the surnames I found in case they may appear in your own family trees:

Abrams, Aires, ASTON
Bascom, Bassett, Beaumont, Blackwell, BRERETON, Brown, Burke
Caverley, Charde, Chipman, Claghorn, Clark, Cobb, Coleman, Collins, CORBET, Curtiss
Davis, Deane, DELVES, Durant
Gibbs, Godfrey, Gorham, Gower, Grimm
Hammond, Hawes, Heath, Hedge, Henry, Hereson, Hinckley, HOWLAND, Huckins, Hurst, Hyllier
Lothrop, Lovell
Mather, Mayhew, McKness, Mueller
Payne, Pease
Rainsford, Ring, Rowelles
Salte, Schmolz, Sheeran, Skiffe, Smith, Snow, Soule, Stephenson, Strong
Tanner, Taylor, TILLEY, Tyson
Warren, Whelden, Woodward

Note: Capitalized surnames are where I was able to make a direct link to my own family tree. So, it turns out the governor is my distant cousin several times over. (Now, there's as good a reason as any to run out and vote for her, isn't it?!)

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Gustav: The storm that wasn't

I suppose if Gustav had received a more appropriate level of preparation, the hand-wringing crowd and their "mainstream" media cohorts would have accused President Bush of being an uncaring cad like they did back in 2005.

And, they would have tried to link all Republicans to that aspersion.

Fortunately, they failed.

But, all the evacuations, etc., proved to be a gross overreaction.

I suppose we should feel relieved about it, but I'm more peeved than anything else.

It got me thinking about that old Shakespeare comedy "Much Ado About Nothing."

What parallels may be drawn there? I knew ye socks would ask that question, so here's my feeble attempt.

I would cast John McCain and Sarah Palin in the roles of Benedick and Beatrice, who are kept apart by a bunch of foolishness until the very end of the play. Finally, though, they come together in an impromptu celebration. News reaches them of the capture of the dastardly Don Juan (played, of course, by the junior senator from Illinois). But, they don't let it ruin their day, choosing instead to continue enjoying themselves as planned and put off the villain's prosecution
for a more opportune moment.

Not sure what roles should be assigned to Joe Biden, Cindy McCain, or the Clintons. I'll leave that up to you!

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