Nashville

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Greetings for Nashville, Tennessee where I am writing to you from the Factiva booth while we wait for the sound crew to finish hooking up the A/V equipment for tomorrow. I’m here for the next few days for the annual gathering of the Special Librarian’s Association where we will show off our latest developments.

The conference is being held in the massive Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center which is more like a self-enclosed cruise ship than a resort. Many of the 2,000 rooms face inwards with balconies overlooking huge enclosed atriums, each with their own Southern theme. It’s very much like a Disneyland with climate controlled temperatures and constant lighting so you begin to forget what the weather is like outside.

I later went for a run out around the town (we’re about 20 minutes northwest of downtown) and got more a feel for what it’s like around here, basically strip malls until you get down near the Cumberland River which is a nice lazy river like the Deleware back home. Passed quite a few lots selling RV Mobile Homes with names like Pioneer and Intruder (only $136k), it’d be nice, just once, to see one of these called something less intrusive like, Whisper.

Update: I’ve posted photos from the trip.

Memorial Day Parade

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All the kids on the block entered as the “East Franklin Wheelers” in this year’s Memorial Day Parade. The usual suspects showed up, the couple on the bicycle built for two, the Pennington, Hopewell, and Titusville fire brigades, several troops of Brownies, Cub Scouts, tractors, classic cars, and the Delaware Valley PT Cruiser club.

Pig Roast

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Yesterday, the Cirullo’s held their annual Pig Roast. They grew up in the area and the Pig Roast is an excuse to bring all their far-flung friends back together for a day long gathering interspersed with games of Quoits, a raffle drawing featuring “expensed” corporate giveaways [Merrill Lynch T-Shirt, Mettler Toledo swiss army knives] and many mugs of beer. More kids this year than last so the late-night crowd was only a few. I turned in early but we could hear the clanking of the Quoits on their pins late into the night . . . the sounds of Summer.

Cicadas

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Thanks to Aunt Karen for the image.

They’re friggin’ everywhere in the neighboring town of Princeton and I can hear the din if I have the windows down during the drive home (on second thought, maybe I should keep the windows up). No sign of them in our small hamlet yet and the joke around town is that their too high-brow to be seen here.

At any rate, the re-appearence of Brood X, that has been lying dormant for the past 17 years is all the talk around time and the source of frequent humor.

Finale

Tyler’s Pre-K class gave an end of the year performance today. They’ve been practicing the words to their songs for the past few weeks. We caught on to the “suprise” when we heard Tyler singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame and knew we never taught him such a song. I’ve got the whole thing on video if anyone wants to sit through 15 minutes of 5 year-olds warbling off key to Yankee Doodle and Little Rabbit Foo Foo but I think it’s something only a proud parent can love.

On a flyer the teachers gave out was a particularly funny list of responses to questions.

“What’s special about your Mom?”
Tyler…She always gives me more stuff than my sister.

“What’s special about your Dad?”
Tyler…He always hugs me

Strawberries!

Tyler gets started

The weekly harvests have begun at our local organic farm, the Watershed, where we split a family share that allows us to share in the food that they grow there. Most of the crops are harvested for you and all we need to do is drive down the road to fill up a couple of grocer bags full of wonderfully fresh and pesticide-free veggies. It’s fun to go with the kids because each week there’s always something that’s available on a “pick your own” basis. In May, it’s strawberries to be followed soon by rasberries and, *yum* blackberries. This week too were snap peas which are so sweet you can eat them right off the vine!

Julia in the strawberry fields

Summer is truly here as our neighbors, the Trasks, have yet again graciously opened up their pool which is unofficially known as the, “East Franklin Swim Club.” After a morning of picking in the fields, a dip in the pool is always welcome.

A bit of Fame touched our block this weekend as we heard the good news that the Trask’s daughter, Emma, who had been busting her butt for the last year on a Michael Moore film project not only was able to attend the Cannes Film Festival but also that the film won this year’s Palm D’Or.

Not only did Fahrenheit 9/11 pull down the world’s top film prize, it received a 20-minute standing ovation (a record in the film festival’s history) and was only the second documentary to win the Palm D’Or in 50 years.

As you may know, the film’s original backers have pulled out which prompted all kinds of conspiracy chatter and probably only helped boost the film’s profile. Disney’s recent punch in earnings was due, in a large part, to their theme park business and the most successful Disney theme park is in Florida. Some say that Disney didn’t want to jeapordize their cozy relationship with the Governer of Florida, Jeb Bush (the President’s brother) by distributing a film so openly critical of the President.

Disney just can’t seem to call any of the right shots in their film division. First they piss of Steve Jobs and send him, Pixar, and the Shrek franchise off in search of their own distribution channel. Shrek 2 opened last week to a “record shattering $125 million” for through this weekend. Now it looks certain that Fahrenheit 9/11 will be a money-maker as well. I recall Moore’s first documentary, Roger & Me, was extremely profitable because production costs on a documentary are so reasonable. Way to go Emma!

Cool Email Alias

I normally just delete the junk email that lands in my box but this one caught my eye just because of it’s name.

Flippant H. Sassafras

The middle initial really makes it.

A further search for Ms. Sassafras on Google led me to this page which really raised an eybrow. I mean, it’s a page of gibberish (as far as I can tell) with the title of “Indelible Iceland Summand Purdue” WHAT THE HECK? It’s registered at yale.edu so I navigated up the URL and can’t seem to find a root.

Google and the other web crawlers must be having fun with this person’s site! If anyone can tell me what this is about – please tell me!

Allowance

Oh man! I just found a PDF of Bush’s request for more funds referred to below and it’s even funnier than I thought. Krugman referred to the one page cover letter to the budget ammendment but he didn’t mention that the ammendment request was only THREE pages with the first two pages being a cover note explaining why costs “cannot be estimated with precision.”

How do you estimate something with precision anyway???

To think of all the business plans, market analysis, and positioning statements I need to submit to initiate projects at my company and this is all it takes is four pages for our government to fling $25 billion overseas! The kicker is in the footnote:

**The original version of this document inadvertently contained an incorrect date. The money is intended to be available on the first day of Fiscal Year 2005: October 1, 2004. The orignal document incorrectly listed this date as October 1, 2005.

Not only do we want our money, we want it NOW.