Columns - Commentary
Memorial Day - The Veteran's Spirit - When he was told he
had only weeks to live, his response was telling. He was calm
and at peace. At 83, he told his children, he'd lived much longer
than he expected.
He fought in World War II,
after all the "big one" as he called it. He described
the terror he felt wading onto the beaches of Sicily as gunners
tried to mow him down.
While driving a munitions truck
along the sand one day, a German fighter pilot targeted him.
He jumped behind his .50-caliber machine gun and began firing
at the German. He hit the plane -- he saw its window shatter
-- but the German managed to release his payload.
The bomb was headed right at
him. When it detonated, he knew, it would ignite the munitions
he was hauling. The explosion would be spectacular. He didn't
panic -- didn't yell or scream. He thought only of his mother
the agony she would know when she learned her son had died
But the bomb was a dud. Recounting
the story years later, he laughed at how it soaked him when it
hit the surf. He laughed at how he'd survived his first scrape
He survived three other invasions.
In one, he took shrapnel to the back of his knee. He plucked
out the hot metal and kept moving. - More...
Monday - May 28, 2007
Off - It has been over a month since my last article appeared
in Sitnews. I know many of you probably appreciate that, but
there are one or two readers who actually look forward to my
articles. I offer the lame excuse that I've been living out of
a suitcase since mid-April. The wife and I took a long awaited
vacation to Switzerland in April, and I came back to spend two
weeks in Kansas on business. The trip to Kansas did have fringe
benefits as I was able to spend a weekend with our newest grandchild
in Council Bluffs, IA.
A lot has happened in the month-and-a-half
I've been out of touch. It now costs a small fortune to fill
the gas tank on the SUV. Both "USA Today "and CNN have
gotten on board with the global warming hysteria. Empress Pelosi
and King Reid finally allowed a military funding bill that President
Bush won't veto to move forward in the House and Senate; however,
as usual it is filled to the brim with pork that will not be
used to "feed" our troops. Enough cynicism, though,
let me tell you about Switzerland.
To say we rode a few trains
would be an understatement; we rode trains everywhere we went.
And when we weren't on a train, we were either on a bus or a
lake steamer on our way to or from a train station. In short,
we circumnavigated Switzerland, starting in Zurich and working
our way clockwise around the country, with brief sorties into
Germany via Lake Constance and Italy via Lake Locarno. We rode
the Bernina Express, the Glacier Express, and the Golden Pass;
slow speed cog railways up and down the mountainsides, and high
speed trains that blasted through the tunnels burrowing beneath
the Alps. I never thought I would say I was tired of riding trains,
but by the time our trip was over I was tired of riding trains
and actually looking forward to the nine-and-a-half-hour flight
back to Atlanta. Oh, and it is true; you can set your watch by
the departure times of the trains that ply Switzerland's rail
systems. - More...
Monday - May 28, 2007
Virus - It was a typical day -- chop wood, carry water --
when I got a pop-up from Symantec: "Your Norton virus definitions
are about to expire. Renew now?"
I thought virus definitions
went on forever like the giant tortoise or Dick Clark. Evidently,
they have to be renewed any time Norton demands "payment."
The Internet was such a good
idea on paper. Now we tiptoe through the day afraid of spyware
and macros and worms -- oh, my. It's enough to make you become
What do hackers get out of
the virus anyway? They're not even around to enjoy their evil.
It's like ordering a pizza to someone else's house:
"I'll bet they're opening
the door right now ... I'll just bet ..."
Norton promotes itself the
same way our government does: "malicious threat" ...
"security risk" ... "buy this or die!" Norton
is even now spreading new viruses should we fail to pony up.
So it goes.
But we have to guard our computer,
because that is where we store our brains. I myself wouldn't
know to use the bathroom if it weren't for Office Calendar.
Have you ever walked in to
find your computer thinking? What is it whirring about? Norton?
The whole thing was prophesied
by the 1986 thriller "Maximum Overdrive," in which
machines reign terror on B-rate actors. You don't believe that
appliances have a life of their own? Then how do you explain
the cords being tangled up when you get home?
You can't walk into a public
bathroom without lights turning on and toilets flushing. One
day we'll go to leave the restroom and hear a voice boom out
behind us: "Don't you give your back to me!"
I clicked the Norton update
button because it was either that or click the Norton update
button. A moment later: "Norton has detected a newer version
of your software. Upgrade now?" - More....
Monday - May 28, 2007