Monday, September 29, 2003

"Nobody is here to ban a book..."

The Monitor (TX) | Parents seek to ban books
Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land..., part of the class' summer reading list, may lead to "inappropriate sexual arousal of young teens," parent Julie Wilde wrote in her complaint to the district.
As opposed to appropriate sexual arousal, which would be inspired by...what?

Well, she may have a point with Stranger.

The Monitor (TX) | South Texas ISD board decides against book ban, grants alternative
In the end, the school board voted unanimously to keep Brave New World and Stranger in a Strange Land, while giving parents more control over their students' choices by requiring principals to automatically offer an alternative to a challenged book.

..."Nobody is here to ban a book," ...Eddie Medrano said. "We're not here to ban any book. We are here to just plead with you to say to the staff, to the administrators, to the teachers, to say to them that certain books are not appropriate to this age level. Maybe they would be appropriate when they're older, but not freshmen kids. Not these books."

Sophomore Heather Outland said she found the books to be pornographic and offensive.
I can think of no better way to turn kids off to science fiction than forcing them to read "Stranger in a Strange Land" too early. On the other hand, I read it in junior high, and I turned out all right...Well, maybe I'm not the best example...

I have been thinking for a while that school reading lists tend toward the dark and depressing. The last few books my daughter has been assigned include "Lord of the Flies", "On the Beach", "1984", "A Tale of Two Cities", "A Separate Peace", and "The Autobiography of Malcolm X". Can we please have a book where the protagonist doesn't die?

(Saw it at the Obscure Store.)

Friday, September 26, 2003

You can't make this stuff up

AP | Makers of Kazaa Are Suing Record Labels
Turning the tables on record labels, makers of the most popular file-sharing network are suing entertainment companies for copyright infringement.

Sharman Networks, the company behind the Kazaa file-sharing software, filed a federal lawsuit on Monday accusing the entertainment companies of using unauthorized versions of its software in their efforts to snoop out users.

Sharman said the companies used Kazaa Lite, an ad-less replica of its software, to get onto the network. The lawsuit also claims efforts to combat piracy on Kazaa violated terms for using the network. Entertainment companies have offered bogus versions of copyright works and sent online messages to users.
I like their attitude.

Denial ain't just a river in Egypt

WXIA | Morris Brown Opens With 70 Students
School is back in session at struggling Morris Brown College but the historic school is a shadow of its former self. With major financial problems and no accreditation, only 70 students remain.

"We all stay in the same dorm together, we have study groups together, it's like a little family," said student Danesha Dixon, the president of a freshman class comprising of eight students.

The mass exodus of more than 1,500 students occurred after the historically Black college lost its accreditation last spring amidst allegations of financial mismanagement.

The campus now shows signs of neglect, there are few extracurricular activities and no sports teams. The number of students could drop as well as reality and disappointment set in.

"I was hoping to come here and try out for the basketball team as a walk-on basketball player and try to make something of my basketball career," said Mareo Cox. "I really want to play ball."
That testimonial may not have been the best PR Morris Brown could have wished for.

Isn't it better to close the doors with pride, legacy, and history intact than to continue like this?

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Hint: It has nothing to do with Tigers

What did Encyclopedia Brown know that would have helped him solve his own murder?

The Thursday Threesome

:: Green Eyed Monster ::
Onesome: Green - Are you ready to go from all things green to the vibrant colors of autumn? Or for those of you down under, from winter to spring green? What do you like best about the change of seasons?

I used to look forward to autumn. Now... well, do I spend too much time complaining about my pharmaceutically-thinned blood? Seems like I barely got warm this summer and now I'm cold again.

Twosome: Eyed - Have you eyed anything lately that you absolutely had to have? Or have you had your eye on something for a while now that you want to splurge on?

The last thing I splurged on was a used copy of The Greatest 1950's Stories Ever Told from DC Comics.

Threesome: Monster - Are you a monster movie/ thriller fan? If not, what kind of movies do you like?

No, not really. I don't know what kind of movies I like any more: I don't know who any of these "new" actors are. Ben who?

EXTRA: The topic of the week at the Back Porch:
So...what TV themes are your favorites? Did you like the actual shows, or just the theme songs? Also, were there any themes that you could not stand?

Remington Steele, the slow and sultry original first-season theme. Actually, anything that Mancini did was good. WKRP in Cincinnati.
I can't think of any that I just can't stand. Most TV themes are Just There, inoffensive or insipid at worst. The "Three's Company" theme is atrocious. I'd like to say it's a product of its time, but I didn't like it then either.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003


Reuters | U.S. Court Unplugs Anti-Telemarketing List
A federal court has blocked the national "do not call" list that would have allowed consumers to stop most unwanted telephone sales, one week before the much-anticipated measure was due to take effect.
...In its decision, the court said existing laws give the FTC authority to curb abusive telemarketing practices, but that any national do-not-call list must be handled by the Federal Communications Commission.
...Lawmakers predicted the decision would be overturned quickly, arguing that they had given the FTC the proper authority when they approved the list in February.
I'm conflicted. As a small-l libertarian, I'm reluctant to give any federal bureaucracy an excuse to grow. But I find this an appropriate use of government resources.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Ask them if they're interested in aluminum siding

AP | Barry Column Turns Table on Telemarketers
Telemarketers are now screening their calls, instead of the other way around.
The American Teleservices Association isn't laughing at Dave Barry, not after the Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist for The Miami Herald listed the group's telephone number in his Aug. 31 column and sparked a flood of phone calls to the group's offices.
..."It's difficult not to see some malice in Mr. Barry's intent," said Tim Searcy, executive director of the ATA, who said the added calls will be costly to his group because of toll charges and staffing issues.
Barry hardly sounded apologetic.
"I feel just terrible, especially if they were eating or anything," he said.
...ATA officials have said about 2 million of the 6.5 million people working at telemarketing call centers across the nation will lose their jobs because of the rules that established the nationwide "Do Not Call" list.
Barry also attacked that logic in the same column.
"Of course, you could use pretty much the same reasoning to argue that laws against mugging cause unemployment among muggers," he wrote. "But that would be unfair. Muggers rarely intrude into your home."
*BWAH HAH HAH* *gasp* please... stop... can't... breathe... *BWAH HAH HAH*

Here's the Dave Barry column that gave the phone number. So you can see the toll-free number there. Not that I would encourage you to use it or anything. I mean, I would hate for any casual use of 1-877-779-3974 to result in any additional inconvenience for those poor hardworking people. They didn't ask to be made fun of by Dave Barry. But then, who ever has?


No, sorry, I don't know where my mind was. It's way too late for Talk Like a Pirate Day. Must be oxygen deprivation from all that malicious laughing at the American Teleservices Association (1-877-779-3974 toll free).

Wait a minute. "Telemarketers are now screening their calls, instead of the other way around."? Something is wrong with that sentence.

Monday, September 22, 2003

For the same reason environmentalists don't buy electric cars. (See Michele's A Small Victory. Hint: Is Unbrand America itself a brand?)

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Long ago in a theater far away

When is a movie finished?

Digital Bits' Rumor Mill is reporting that, as part of the marketing promotion for the inevitable Episode Three (if you have to ask "of what", move on to the next item, you won't care about anything else I have to say here), fans can expect the eagerly-awaited DVD release of the Original Trilogy in 4th Qtr, 2004.

But which trilogy? The films as originally released in 1977/1980/1983? Almost certainly not. George is on record that he never intends to release those. The SFX-enhanced Special Edition we've seen? Well... maybe not, according to Ain't it Cool News.
One of the digital guys was showing off some stuff on his laptop at Fox last week and it was a really surreal experience because it was the fight between Vader and Alec Guinness but it was all new stuff, very similar to the fights in the new shows, all hyper and well choreographed. Think Yoda was pretty fly for an old Jedi? Wait til you see Guinness.
Of course this could just be test footage prepared for someone's personal amusement. But it's all too credible that the shot could be intended for an Ultimate Episode Four.

I might be upset if I still had any emotional involvement in this series. But the better the effects get, the weaker the story looks.

Friday, September 19, 2003

"Do I look like I'm hiding anything?"

USA Today | 'Naked in Baghdad' clothed in reporter's plain talk
[Anne] Garrels [of NPR], 52, was the only broadcaster among the 16 American reporters who remained in Baghdad during the bombing (although ABC used freelancer Richard Engel). She reported parts of the war you didn't see on TV.
...Her title comes from a night she broadcast naked from her hotel room using a satellite phone she wasn't supposed to have. She figured that if Iraqi security officials knocked on her door, they'd give her a few moments to dress, allowing her to hide the phone.
If half of what we've been told about Iraqi security is true, that reasoning seems... flawed. But then she was there, and I'm not.
The Friday Five: This week's questions:
1. Who is your favorite singer/musician? Why?

I'll say James Taylor. There's no easily definable reason: I don't analyze why I like or don't like music.

2. What one singer/musician can you not stand? Why?

Only one? Hmm. I don't bother to remember the names of musicians I don't like. That said, I guess Bruce Springsteen has yet to justify his existence.

3. If your favorite singer wasn't in the music business, do you think you would still like him/her as a person?

I have no idea. I don't know any "name" professional musicians as people, let alone "my favorite".

4. Have you been to any concerts? If yes, who put on the best show?

Very rarely. I mean, I can count the concerts I've ever attended on the fingers of one hand.

5. What are your thoughts on downloading free music online vs. purchasing albums? Do you feel the RIAA is right in its pursuit to stop people from dowloading free music?

The RIAA's concerns are valid, but their response is wrong. I think it would be far more effective if they could create a series of public service announcements in which big-name performers speak on its behalf, politely asking their fans not to download their music. Unfortunately, (1) that isn't the RIAA's style, and (2) it appears that not a lot of artists are on the RIAA's side in this, since only the very biggest actually make any money from CD sales. That says something.
But I don't want to hear from the RIAA: I want to hear from the artists. If this issue isn't about them, then it's just bookkeeping.

Thursday, September 18, 2003


My Nude Calendar Watch has now attained sufficient notoriety that groups that publish such calendars are now e-mailing me to let me know about them. Cool! I'm happy to help spread the word, and I know from my site meter how many people find me because they're Googling for that list.

Speaking of which, in other news, sometime this morning I got my 80,000th hit. While I don't agonize over the meter reading, it's nice to know people are still reading. Thanks.

The Thursday Threesome

:: Darwin's Survival of the Fittest ::
Onesome: Darwin's - Hmm... Ever run across someone who could be a Darwin awards candidate? Can you share your story? If not, what's your favorite story (true or not)?

Never knew anybody who would qualify. I've encountered plenty of people whom I wish would, if you know what I mean. The stories I've seen are entertaining enough, but I've lost my enthusiasm for them since I discovered so many of them are mere "urban legends".

Twosome: Survival of - What kicks you into survival mode during the week? Kids? School? Driving? Spouse (nope, better leave that one alone!) The News? What makes you yearn for your next break?

Driving. I'm getting to the point that I hate driving so much that I'll often just stay home rather than drive to go somewhere. Thanks to the web, I can do most shopping without leaving the house.

Threesome: the Fittest - Hey, how are you doing in the fitness wars? Are you the drill sergeant leading the troops on the five mile hikes or are you the person waiting back at camp with the chips and dip ready for when they come to their senses?

I'm the reluctant guy who forces himself to get some exercise since he had that Close Call I've said so much about.

EXTRA: The topic of the week at the Back Porch:
What kinds of food do you like? How about you like fast food/chain places, or mom & pop joints? When you go to the you buy ingredients for scratch cooking, or do you buy convenience foods?
Also, it's canning season...anyone do any of that???

I don't get as much pleasure from eating as I used to. I never was much of a gourmet, anyway. At the moment I have a craving for Long John Silver's.
I hate to cook, so I tend to buy what I know how to make. Since there are other people in the house who cook different things than I do, this means I have to force myself to buy what they know how to cook. We always have some heat'n'serve meals in the freezer, but most often we cook from scratch.
Canning? Me? You must be kidding.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

The light bulb goes on

Lileks | Wed 9-17
Imagine you've been asked to complete the sentence "I'm pleased that that the courts have canceled the election before it took place, because . . ."

I wouldn't know what to say. And I'm fascinated by those who leap to finish the sentence. They're perfectly comfortable with the courts calling off a vote in advance.

I'm sure there must be some instructive parallel with the 2000 Presidential election to be drawn here.

AP | California to Appeal Delay in Recall Vote
In Monterey, former President Clinton again sharply criticized the recall during a talk organized by a think tank. He said the purpose of democratic elections was to give politicians several years in office to solve problems and make unpopular decisions.
"When my daughter was born, I got an 18-year term," Clinton joked. "It's a darn good thing we didn't have a recall provision. Our decisions didn't always suit her, but she turned out well."

Ah, I see. The voters are children who can't possibly know what's best for them. Fair enough. Some of them obviously are. Let 'em vote, and they might vote unwisely, e.g. differently from me. Boy, I'm glad Clinton is still here to set me straight. I might have gone to bed thinking that "of the people, by the people" thing still counted for something.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Adventures of the RIAA/MPAA continued:
What do you mean, sharing music is legal in Canada?

Tech Central Station | Blame Canada
While the Digital Millennium Copyright Act may make it illegal to share copyright material in America, the Canadian Copyright Act expressly allows exactly the sort of copying which is at the base of the P2P revolution. In fact, you could not have designed a law which more perfectly captures the peer to peer process.
The reasoning could and should be adopted in American court defenses.

Here's the thing: If I rip an MP3 and store it on my hard drive, that's legal. That's private copying, fair use. If that drive happens to be shared on a network, the fact remains that I have not committed a crime. Still legal.

If I give a CD to a friend, and he makes a copy of a song on it, that's fair use too. If he happens to find that CD where I have left it (*ahem* on my hard drive) and make a copy, no crime has occurred. That's how Canadian law is expressly written, and that's the interpretation I think a canny lawyer could give to American law.

Don't get me wrong. As I've said, I do have some intellectual property out there that I'd like to protect. The RIAA doesn't get a cut: It's priced in such a manner that allows us to recoup our investment and sustain its manufacture. As it happens, it's a comparable price to "normal" commercially-available CDs. If Sony's mass production technology doesn't allow them to undercut a dozen people working out of a garage, then what good is it?

Monday, September 15, 2003

Adventures of the RIAA/MPAA continued:
Would anybody bother to bootleg a ten dollar CD?

Denver Post | Recording industry's missteps
The best-selling "Chicago" movie soundtrack is available on CD starting at $13.86.
The actual movie, with the soundtrack songs included, of course, plus additional goodies ranging from deleted musical numbers to the director's interview and a "making-of" feature, can be had for precisely $2.12 more.
Therein lies the problem for a critically wounded music recording industry: The "Chicago" CD looks like a rip-off, and the DVD looks like a steal.

Friday, September 12, 2003

The Friday Five: This week's questions:
1. Is the name you have now the same name that's on your birth certificate? If not, what's changed?

Of course it is. (Girls write these questions, right?)

2. If you could change your name (first, middle and/or last), what would it be?

I'm content with it as it is. I used to dislike the spelling of my middle name. "Stewart" just looked wrong: It ought to be "Stuart". But I'm used to it now.

3. Why were you named what you were? (Is there a story behind it? Who specifically was responsible for naming you?)

I was named after my grandfathers, one name from each of them. They both died shortly before I was born. You know, I've never asked my parents whose idea that was.

4. Are there any names you really hate or love? What are they and why?

I've always liked "Christopher" and "Elise". No reason. (I do have a cousin named Elise, but I haven't seen her in decades.)
I won't answer to "Danny".

5. Is the analysis of your name at accurate? How or how isn't it?

Next you'll be sending me to the daily horoscopes.
The Thursday Threesome :: Sticks and Stones ::
Onesome: Sticks and stones - Are you an outdoorsy sort? Would you prefer to spend all your spare time hiking, biking, swimming, etc? What's your favorite outdoor activity?

Are you kidding? Heck, no. My favorite outdoor activity is relaxing in a shady chaise lounge by the pool. However, I have neither a chaise lounge nor a pool.

Twosome: May break my bones, - Have you ever broken a bone? Or needed stitches? Or been hurt badly enough you should have gone to the hospital but didn't?

Not recently. I broke a finger when I was a child. I stepped on a tent stake once and put a gash in my foot that needed stitches to close--and, of course, I needed stitches when I had my wisdom teeth out.
But when I went to the hospital, it was because I needed to.

Threesome: But words will never harm me - The pen is mightier than the sword and words do truly have the power to hurt. But sometimes we slip and just can't help but vent our anger toward that slow moving driver or the jerk who cut in front of us and took the last of what we needed. What's your favorite insult to hurl? Do you try to censor yourself when the kiddos are around?

I'm a gentleman. Ask anybody, they'll tell you. The meanest word I ever use is "jerk".

EXTRA: The topic of the week at the Back Porch:
When you are feeling down...what movie(s) are guaranteed to lift your spirits? Why? Also, are there any particular scenes that bring a smile to your face?

"The Muppet Christmas Carol". "The Whole Nine Yards". "The Court Jester". (How can you not laugh at "the pellet with the poison is in the vessel with the pestle"?)
But I keep coming back to "Sleepless in Seattle" and "You've Got Mail". I'm a sucker for a good chick flick.

Thursday, September 11, 2003


FILE PHOTO: The 'Tribute in Light,' a tribute to the victims of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks, light up the sky above lower Manhattan in this view from the Brooklyn Borough of New York, Monday, March 11, 2002. The  blue beams of the 'Tribute in Light'  will shine again on Sept. 11 and on every anniversary of the terror attacks.  (AP Photo/Daniel P. Derella)

The twin towers of the World Trade Center burn behind New York's Empire State Building in this Sept. 11, 2001 file photo. The Trade Center, fated to become one of the most controversial structures of the 20th century, is the focus of 'The Center of the World.' The film by Ric Burns, the final episode of his New York documentary, debuts Monday, Sept. 8 on PBS's American Experience. (AP Photo/Martin Lederhandler)

The New Yorker (9-12-01) | The Twisted Sky
When I walked out of the subway, I went into reportorial autopilot. I know this now because I am looking at my notes as if I had never seen them before.
...On the corner, not far from Murray Street, as thousands of frightened and crying people fled, I saw a giant corkscrew of singed metal sitting in front of an abandoned bagel cart. It took me a minute or so to realize that it was the engine of a jet plane.
It never occurred to me that there was much left to be scared about. I didn't feel that I was in any danger; I felt like an extra in a movie, waiting for Bruce Willis to come and save the day. But as I stood there, staring at the twisted sky, I began to realize what was happening. People were jumping or diving from the highest floors of the North Tower. Others were clinging to beams and ledges that had buckled when the plane plowed into the building. But, one by one, every few minutes, another person lost his grip or just let go. From down on the street it looked almost like a desperate ballet: some seemed to be flying, their arms sweeping gracefully as they picked up speed. Others tumbled and some just dropped, rigid, all the way down. I was standing next to a woman in a blue blazer that said F.B.I. on it. She was crying and I started to cry, too.

John Labriola captured these dramatic images of office workers evacuating Tower One of the World Trade Center on September 11 during the attacks. Labriola is an independent contractor with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey on the 71st floor of the building and managed to escape with no injuries.

Palestinians cheering the World Trade Center attack.

WNBC (5-17-02) | Exclusive: Couple Captures WTC Attack On Tape
The couple said they're going public because people back home in Seattle don't realize the lingering impact of Sept. 11. They said when they bring up their continuing nightmares, friends have recently told them to "just get over it."

(If you didn't like this post, you may like this one.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Adventures of the RIAA/MPAA:
Not the message they meant

Reuters | Flexplay DVD
The Walt Disney Company has begun to sell Disney movies on disposable DVDs in a four city test to see if consumers will pick up a limited life DVD rather than renting and returning to a video rental store. When the Flexplay DVD , shown in this undated publicity photograph, is removed from its packaging and exposed to air, a process begins that renders the disc unplayable after the pre-set viewing period elapses. The disc becomes opaque and thereby unreadable when the disc changes color from red to black. The DVD's will carry a suggested price of $6.99.

Someone explain to me how this is not an admission that they could make money selling their normal DVDs for $6.99. What part of the cost of manufacturing these things is cheaper than regular DVDs?

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

The future of alternative journalism
On the off chance that you haven't yet seen Matt Welch's essay for the Columbia Journalism Review, "The New Amateur Journalists Weigh In," you should. Yes, it is true that the Blogosphere already has a pretty high opinion of itself, and (as Welch admits) this article will do nothing to change that.

But his explanation holds water. Once you've read it, you'll realize not only why blogs caught on, but why it was inevitable that they, or something very much like them, would. I had a glimmer of it when I started my own page back in 1995 (I discussed it here, in an archive from 1996), but Welch has done a far better job than I did of tracing its true lineage--and hinting at things to come.
Minor template tweak
My visitor logs tell me that most of you will be able to see the modification I did to the title graphic, just above. Did you know that CSS styles allow shaded text without having to create a graphic? I found out how to do it from Mandarin Design Daily. It's easy, and cool.

I think I'm over the geek gawk fit. For now.

(UPDATE: It was shaded all along, but it was shaded black, which didn't show up well against dark purple.)
Bite the wax tadpole
Reuters | No Magic in Rogue Venezuela Version of Harry Potter
A pirate version of the latest Harry Potter blockbuster has hit the streets of Venezuela but the illegal book lacks the magic of the original and the translator apologizes on virtually every page.
The rogue Spanish edition of J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" is peppered with notes from a translator who had to leave phrases in English with a Spanish explanation "(Sorry, I didn't understand what this means)."
A similar note on the same page tells readers: "(I didn't really understand what this phrase meant, so I paraphrased)."

"To be, or... something."
"Whoever translated this wanted to beat the market ... but I don't think it quite catches the spirit of Ms. Rowling's original," said Jose Farres of Editorial Oceano, which holds the rights for the book in Latin America.


Monday, September 08, 2003

RIAA works on the honor system?
Wired News | Peace Offering for File Traders?
The music industry plans to offer what it calls a "general amnesty" to file traders who step forth and promise not to do it again, but experts say few will take the bait.
...The offer, first reported by Billboard Bulletin, would require people to sign a notarized form promising to delete illegally downloaded files from their computer, submit a copy of a photo identification and pledge to stop the infringing behavior. In return, the RIAA would agree to not sue them.
...One attorney said he would not advise a client to volunteer for this program.
..."I think people distrust the RIAA," he said.

No kidding.

This is a difficult issue for me. I do, after all, have some intellectual property out there that I'd like to protect. But the real answer, it seems to me, is going to involve some combination of (a) lowering the cost of a CD to reflect what it actually cost to make, and (b) increasing the royalties that artists get from sales thereof. I mean, it's been years since I bought a new CD.

If the RIAA would care to try to convince the music-buying public that they actually do add some value to the product, justifying the percentage they take, I'd love to see what they have to say. But when executives who aren't missing any meals and equally-well-fed attorneys are prosecuting middle-school kids, well, it's not great PR.

Friday, September 05, 2003

The Friday Five: This week's questions:
1. What housekeeping chore(s) do you hate doing the most?

Mowing the grass. Does that count? I detest mowing grass. Pave it and paint it green.
On the chance that you intended that I should stay inside, I guess it would be filing.

2. Are there any that you like or don't mind doing?

I can do dishes all day long. Admittedly, although I don't mind doing them by hand, I'm not a big fan of dishes that can't go in the dishwasher. I understand this in the case of things like woks and cast-iron skillets, but not wooden bowls and knife handles that require special cleaning and oiling before being put away. I'll never buy one... and I hide them when I find them so they won't be used. Life is too short. Let people who can afford servants to polish the silverware use those things. I'm OK with Melamine, Pyrex and Corelle.

3. Do you have a routine throughout the week or just clean as it's needed?

As needed. I probably should develop a routine, just to be sure everything gets cleaned periodically, but I haven't had the dicipline to do it.

4. Do you have any odd cleaning/housekeeping quirks or rules?

I hate finding dirty dishes in odd places. I hate finding dishes in the sink that still have food on them. We don't have a disposal: Plates should be scraped clean in the garbage can before being put in the sink.

5. What was the last thing you cleaned?

I'm in a rut, I think. I just did the dishes before I went to bed last night.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

The Thursday Threesome :: Red-Yellow-Green ::
Onesome: Red - Stop! Take a moment from your busy day and let us know what it's like now that the kids are back in school. Hey, even if you don't have kids, I'm betting the traffic pattern has changed on your commute! ...and not for the better, -eh?

The day is just as busy as it was, only now the afternoons have this early-rush intermission as I retrieve the kids from their respective gulags, I mean, schools.

Twosome: Yellow - The leaves will be yellow and gold soon in New England! Who's your team this year? Oh, college of course! (Okay, you can go NFL if you'd like ...)

Team? You must be kidding. I hate football.

Threesome: Green - Go ahead, tell us what is happening in your neck of the woods as Autumn approaches. I've heard tales of the ash trees turning golden in Pennsylvania while central California is still in triple digits. What are you seeing when you're out on your porch?

This is Georgia. We don't get fall colors until mid-October.