Sunday, November 15, 2009

The pause that refreshes in so many ways

Happy Monday.

In the past week, we've (my wife and I, not the royal we) have been fortunate to see all seven of our grandchildren -- and their parents, of course.

That's truly a pause that refreshes.

The little ones, in our case ranging from less than six months to eight years, have such a joy of living, such an optimism, such a positive slant on things -- whatever the problem, mommy and daddy can fix it.

Their problems can all be fixed. Yes, we've been fortunate. Even in our little one, who was undergoing surgery at the age of one week, is gaining by leaps and bounds, his chipmunk cheeks and round tummy showing the effects of parental love, good food and the best in medical care.

I know we've been fortunate, after seeing what happens to neglected, unwanted children or those born with medical conditions that are beyond the scope of science and medicine.

So, with all the complaining I do, both in writing here and verbally to friends and family, I really do know how blessed I am in so many ways.

They say the children will lead them. Let's say the children inspire us to make sure we act in a way that will keep them headed on the path to much health, happiness and success.

Number, please

That doesn't mean I'm going to stop bitching. Heaven forbid.

Ask me what I was doing for hours today. Let me tell you.

I was programming the phone books on two phone systems, one home and the other cells. Why? Because we now have to dial an area code for all phone calls, even to people who live next door. So, one has to sit here and put 203 in front of all my presets.

Connecticut is getting two more area codes, I guess they are needed because of the proliferation of cell phones and other devices.

Google is getting into the act with the Droid, a version of the iPhone that works on Verizon. AT&T has the iPhone sewn up, at least for now. Once that gets going, along with other phone systems, including the one that has pigs eating pork in its ads, the numbers will sell out like tickets to UConn women's basketball.

I'm sorry the iPhone isn't available on Verizon. I'd buy it in a heartbeat. The people who have it are having way too much fun.

But, I've heard horror stories of AT&T's lack of coverage. A woman who works at Yale in downtown New Haven says since she switched from Verizon to AT&T, she can't make or receive calls. A person with whom I used to work was shocked one day a few years ago when she called her husband in Bethel, a town in Connecticut near Danbury, to open the garage so she wouldn't have to go out in the snow. You guessed it: No service.

Well, I'm going to wait a while before even looking at the Droid. I want something that will work internationally, and something that will work well. Even the IPhone had problems (I'm not sure if you can change your own battery even now), so let someone else beta-test it.

I'll stick to my years-old Samsung that I got for nothing or next to nothing. It makes calls, received them and in a pinch, I can text with it. And it never, or almost never, loses calls.

How dumb is this?

The Hampshire Gazette is the daily paper in the Amherst, Mass., area, named after the county, not the college.

It contained a story that is hard to believe, but I am assured is true.

The good people of Amherst, Mass., in Representative Town Meeting assembled, have issued an invitation for two residents of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to live among them. No, not the Cubans, the guests of the government. In other words, suspected terrorists.

They say that those who move to Amherst should not be convicted of terroristic acts against the United States of America. One of those is a former Russian soldier who said he didn't get a fair shake in the Russian Army because he was a Muslim. He could not get Halal food (that's the Muslim version of kosher -- no pork), and was not allowed to pray.

So, how did he come to the attention of the U.S. at Gitmo? According to him, he ran away to Afghanistan. The Russians were on his tail, so he made up a story that he had been in training in an al-Qaida camp so the Americans would arrest him, not the Russians.

So, off to Gitmo he went. But there, instead of being patted on the back, he got locked up.

So on the force of this tale, which has my BS meter working overtime, the good people of Amherst invited him and a buddy to come live among them.

This guy is either dangerous, or a complete idiot. So are the naive people of Amherst who don't seem to think things through.

I'm told that the invitation will only take force if the State Department goes along with the gag. That make me confident beyond measure.

God bless fools and do-gooders.

Until next time...