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Aug 31 2006

Macy's Blows Chicago

489-macys-map-full.jpg

Macy's (Federated Department Stores) which has taken over Chicago icon Marshall Field's mistakenly placed signage in their downtown Chicago store labeling major downtown thoroughfares Wabash Avenue as "Wabash Street," Randolph Street as "Randolph Avenue" and Washington Street as "Washington Avenue." I have absolutely no clue how something like this happens. Either you are 1000% certain of the name of the street/avenue or you look it up. Who makes this kind of mistake on an expensive permanent display that will be seen by millions? It's too bad there's not some interconnected network of computers that anyone anywhere could just tap into and get information like this in under ten seconds.

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Maybe Macy's/Federated can show they're serious about doing retail in Chicago by sponsoring a Bears fans appreciation night at the White Cubs' Wrigley Stadium. They could feature country music bands, thin-crust pizza, Polish hot dogs and free passes to Navy Park, the Sears Building Skydeck, rides along the Chicago Canal or other sites along the Magnificent Kilometer. Maybe work in some kind of commemoration of the great Chicago flood or famous Chicagoans Mayor Weekly, hockey great Michael Jordan, philanthropist Al Capone or singer Bill Murray. Sing it now...On State Street, that great street...That Toddler Town!

Photos and credit for breaking the story go to Mike Doyle and his Chicago Carless blog.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

087cross.jpgWe just received news that Janice Harvey, a friend of Mary's family, frequent reader and occasional commenter here, passed away today. She was only 32 and engaged to be married next year.

I remember her for making the world's worst cheesecake and always being incredibly nice to everyone. Rest in peace.

Posted by Don | Comments (2) | TrackBacks (0) |
Aug 19 2006

Soccer Video Montage

Here is my first attempt at making a music video montage. The clips are all from today's soccer practice. The song is the 1971 hit Hocus Pocus by the Dutch rock group Focus which reached #9 on the charts in the US in 1973. Don't even think of criticising the musical selection if you're under 40.

Posted by Don | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (0) |
Aug 18 2006

Judge Donald Thompson

486-judge-donald-thompson.jpgI never write about work, but the sordid tale of Judge Donald Thompson has pervaded the national news such that I feel obligated to note my connection. Thompson was today sentenced to four years in jail and ordered to pay $40,000 in fines for exposing himself when he ...um... pleasured himself with a pump while he presided over four trials in 2002 and 2003.

For those of you who are not aware, I am a practicing civil defense attorney in Tulsa which is immediately adjacent to Creek County and the city of Sapulpa where Thompson was a judge for almost 23 years. 487-convict-donald-thompson.jpgOver the years, I appeared before Judge Thompson on a number of motions. To the best of my knowledge and recollection...I lost every one of them. And, that's enough about that.

What amazes me, besides the un-freakingly-believable things he did, is that Thompson, 59 years old, married and father of three adult children, was given the opportunity early on to simply retire...no jail time, no probation, no fines, no penalty, just retire from the bench. He turned that down and, instead, risked 40 years in prison and $80,000 in fines and wound up with four years (eligible for parole after two), a $40,000 fine, loss of his $83,879 a year (a lot for Oklahoma) pension for life, registration as a sex offender and a good dose of national ridicule. Wow.

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This is the Creek County courtroom where Judge Thompson presided and carried out his various other "activities"...I'm speechless.

Posted by Don | Comments (10) | TrackBacks (0) |

Drew loves to roughhouse with dad on mom and dad's bed which is where the game of "Heal Me" somehow evolved. Drew is just a month shy of turning two in the video. Aunt Catherine was the videographer and supplied the laugh track.



[Update: Tuesday, August 15, 2006, for those of you who saw an empty white space here today:

YouTube.com, which serves up more than 100 million videos online a day, suffered a six-hour breakdown on Tuesday -- its first-ever unplanned outage, a company spokeswoman confirmed.

"To clarify and ensure accuracy, the site is not down for maintenance," YouTube spokeswoman Julie Supan said in a statement released shortly before the site recovered. "This was an unplanned outage."

Access to the YouTube site was cut off around 7:30 a.m. PDT (1430 GMT) and was only restored around 1:30 p.m. PDT (2030 GMT), or six hours later, according the spokeswoman.

I knew Drew's video would be popular...but I didn't expect it to cause YouTube to crash!]

Posted by Don | Comments (5) | TrackBacks (0) |

484-will-and-family.jpg

Today, Will turned one month old. Drew wanted to know if we were going to have cake. And by "cake" he means a frosting delivery device. Instead, we had strawberry shortcake with whip cream. Will had to settle for milk. If you look closely at the photo in the upper right, you can see Will wearing his birthday Nikes.

485-drew-and-will.jpg

Posted by Don | Comments (2) | TrackBacks (0) |

482-western-digital-my-book.jpgOur internal hard drive has been at capacity for a while now and our external backup hard drive didn't have a whole lot to spare either. Recently whenever I wanted to load new photos and videos, I had to delete something...usually an old game I was no longer playing. The only problem, I was running out of unused stuff to delete. So, I've been in the market for some external drives for a while and after doing some research and waiting for the right sale, I picked up a pair of Western Digital My Book Premium 400GB hard drives. I figured they were a pretty good deal at $0.50 a gigabyte and, as you can see, they have a beautiful form factor.

483-wd-my-book-premium.jpgI'm incredibly paranoid about deleting our treasured photographs and videos but I've placed copies of everything on DVD and on each of the new hard drives (triple redundant), so everything should be safe. We now have plenty of space on our internal drive and over a terabyte of space externally.

Interestingly, in 1990 I purchased an 80MB external hard drive for about $1000. Just one of our new hard drives has 5,000 times the storage capacity, at 1/5 the cost and 1/2 the physical space.

Posted by Don | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (0) |
Aug 7 2006

Lawn Basketball

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Drew loves to play basketball on the lawn. Like a true big man, he has no need for dribbling. Nothing good ever comes from bringing the ball below your shoulders. And Drew knows, it's never too early to start practicing your free throws. Drew has the form down but it looks like he's thumbing the ball a little with his left hand. Fortunately, we have time to work on that.

481-drew-lay-up.jpg

Enough shooting from the outside, time to take it to the hoop. This layup turned into a slam dunk!

Posted by Don | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (0) |

479-chaplin-dictator.jpgI can't be the only one who's ever thought about what they'd do different if they were world dictator. So, with a colorized Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator (1940) as inspiration, here's the first five (technically six) things I would do if I were world dictator:

1) No more night baseball games at Wrigley Field. This abomination has been going on since August of 1988 and I still can't get used to it.

2) I'm tired of opening a package of food, following the instructions to the letter and the result not looking anything remotely like the picture on the package. I would require manufacturers to take a random box of their product from store shelves, cook it as instructed, photograph the result and post it on their package without retouching. No more disappointments when removing food from the microwave.

3) Driving...I got a million in this category, but lets go with something not too controversial: right hand turn lanes. If there is land available at a stop light, then there must be a right hand turn lane built. OK, I can't resist a little controversy...no cell phones while driving, no exceptions, not even alleged hands-free versions. If the call is so darn important...pull over. I could go on for ever...

4) Government...another million things I'd do. First up, semantics and the elimination of baseline budgeting. You can't begin to solve complex problems if you don't start with accurate nomenclature. Baseline budgeting allows a person who plans to gain 100 pounds next year but only gains 75 to tell everyone they lost 25 pounds. Or, for a government program to automatically grow by 100 million but if it only grows by 75 million, the politicians tell us it was cut by $25 million. It would be the first small step to fixing the fiscal problems of our government.

5) And last, but not least, if anyone advocates for the elimination and death of another group of people, that person is terminated. The world doesn't need any one or any group of people calling for the elimination or extermination of anyone else.

What would you do if you were world dictator?

Posted by Don | Comments (6) | TrackBacks (0) |

478-drew-watering.jpg

If I had known I'd only have to wait two and one-half years before I'd get someone to do my watering for me, I would of had kids a long time ago.

Posted by Don | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (0) |

477-history-channel.pngI was contacted today by a representative of the History Channel who is doing research for an upcoming one hour documentary honoring the valor of Sgt. Rafael Peralta. Filming is expected to start in a few week with airing an unknown time thereafter.

I was contacted because of the terrific response I've had to one of my posts about Sgt. Rafael Peralta. I exchanged a dozen emails and had a half-hour telephone conversation with the representative and was able to supply her with quite a bit of information she did not have previously.

124rafaelperalta.jpgThe representative agreed to let me post her name and contact information so that any friends or family members of Sgt. Peralta could contact her. If you knew Sgt. Peralta before he gave his life for our country and you are reading this during the month of August 2006 and you would like to contribute video footage, pictures or stories to the documentary, please contact:

Allison Wurthmann
(212) 210-1400, ext. 5343
Allison.Wurthmann-at-aetn.com



Posted by Don | Comments (14) | TrackBacks (1) |