Archive for November, 2009
One afternoon, two men were walking alongside a highway. As they came over a small hill, they were surprised to see that someone had built a brick wall right in the middle of the road. The wall was perpendicular to the road, and went from shoulder to shoulder, making it impossible for anyone or anything to pass. As the two men discussed how impractical the wall was, a car came driving over the hill. Failing to see the wall in time, the car crashed into the wall head-on, killing everyone inside. The men were outraged. “What a senseless tragedy!” shouted the first man. “Something must be done!” agreed the second. The two men shook hands and made a solemn vow to do everything in their power to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.
Before filling up on turkey and stuffing, it’s nice to check in with a mouse, a frog, an ogre, and all of their friends.
Click the picture above (or click here) for a full slideshow of the festivities.
Here’s how the last few months of 1969 went: On October 16th, the New York Mets won the World Series. And as if that wasn’t crazy enough, thirteen days later, a couple of computer geeks in California connected two computers together using a brand new network called ARPANET (which, despite popular myth, does not stand for the Al Gore Really Planned it All NETwork). ARPANET would later turn into a pretty successful project known as the Internet. Twelve days after ARPANET, a cute little children’s television show called Sesame Street debuted on public television. And eight days after that, I was born. Not a bad couple of months, I think…
So, on this, the occasion of my fortieth birthday, the traditional thing to do would be to consider all of the things I had planned to do by the time I was forty, sum up my regrets and failures, wallow in a pool of self-pity, and whip up a respectable midlife crisis, complete with the irresponsible purchase of a completely impractical sports car. Or, as my nine year-old put it the other day, “Daddy, most people die in their eighties, so you’re halfway done!”
The thing is, I have no memories of making grandiose plans for my milestone birthdays as a kid. I have a vague memory of computing how old I would be in the Year 2000 (thirty-one!) and marveling both at how far away the Year 2000 seemed and how old “thirty-one” sounded, but that’s about as close as I came.
So, it would seem, I’m left without the necessary ingredients to make a good crisis. Instead, this seems like a pretty good time to review the decade of my life that will forever be known as “my thirties.”
The first and most obvious difference between 11/18/99 and 11/18/09 is the presence of my two wonderful children, Avery and Brandon. To consider that when I turned thirty, neither of them were in my life is to realize just how long a decade it has been. Their growth from infants into happy and enthusiastic young boys colors every single memory I will ever have of my thirties, and makes the rest of my life before that pale in comparison. Which is, of course, exactly as it should be.
The rest of the family has had a good decade as well. Since that day, ten years ago, there have been various new nieces, nephews, and cousins born, and all the celebrations that come with all of that. And with the sad exception of my wife’s grandfather, everyone who was around for my thirtieth birthday is still alive and kicking on my fortieth. Again, I am truly blessed.
Speaking of blessings, I consider the party my wife threw me on my 30th birthday, and the various celebrations that have occurred over the past few weeks for my 40th. Many of the friends who attended back in 1999 had some part to play in 2009, and while there are some who are no longer in touch, there are many more whom I didn’t know then, but consider good friends today. No disrespect to Facebook, of course, but I can tell you without looking it up that my list of actual friends continues to grow unabated.
Other aspects of my life have progressed in similarly gratifying ways – my career has advanced nicely, we’ve significantly upgraded our home and I’ve got some shiny new toys that weren’t even invented when I turned thirty.
So, color this forty year-old content. All I need now is a song from some childhood friends:
Ah yes, that hits the spot…
As we move toward the passage of a health care bill, the opinion polling isn’t necessarily getting more useful, but it is certainly getting more entertaining.
Our friends at the Associated Press do their best impression of Jay Leno’s “Jaywalking” routine:
A ban on denial of coverage because of pre-existing medical problems: 82% in favor
A ban on denial of coverage because of pre-existing medical problems that would probably cause most people to pay more for health insurance: 43% in favor
Everyone should be required to have at least some health insurance: 67% in favor
Everyone should be required to have at least some health insurance, or face a federal penalty: 28% in favor
All companies should be required to give their employees at least some health insurance: 73% in favor
Companies that don’t give their employees at least some health insurance would face a fine: 52% in favor
So, to sum up: require coverage for more people, but don’t raise my premiums and don’t penalize in any way those who ignore this new requirement.
This past Sunday, my friend Mike gave me a birthday present to remember. He enrolled me in the 2009 Damon Runyon 5K Walk/Run for Cancer Research, which took place inside Yankee Stadium. Part of the 5K course, which included stairs, ramps, and several laps around the stadium, was two laps around the warning track that circles the field of play. We took full advantage of this unique opportunity, and brought our kids along to share in the experience as well. Here’s a quick (less than two minute) video montage:
Photos are also available here, or in the Featured Photos link on the left navigation bar of this site.
Thanks, Mike, for an awesome birthday present and (one more time…) Go Yankees!!
UPDATE: I just received an e-mail from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, asking me to add a link to their foundation to this blog post. Done! Anything for a good cause…
Today is quite a significant milestone in the extremely insignificant world of I Should Be Sleeping. This is my 1,000th blog post. In honor of this prestigious, yet highly inconspicuous occasion, I present you with some fun facts about my little corner of the web:
- My first post was on May 8, 2005 and was entitled Hello World. Those who studied the ancient art of C Programming with Kernighan and Ritchie will understand. Everyone else will recognize it as a friendly greeting.
- It took me 1,648 days to write 1,000 posts, or roughly two posts every three days. That’s not a bad pace to keep up over a period of four and a half years, if I do say so myself.
- My posts have encompassed eighteen different categories, ranging from Politics (20%) to Technology (18%) to Sports (8%). A full 30% of my posts have been about Random Events or Weird News Stories. All of this strikes me as very representative of the things I think about, which I guess makes sense after all this time.
- I’ve received 1,677 comments, or roughly two comments for every three posts. Since I joined Facebook in late May of this year, though, my comment rate has jumped roughly 50%.
- I only have detailed stats going back to January, 2007. Since that time, though, more than 54,000 visitors have graced these pages, taking in almost 82,000 pages. Extrapolating across the life of the blog, it is very likely that I’ve received upwards of 85,000 visitors and have served upwards of 130,000 pages.
- My post popular post in that time have been my Review of a January, 2006 Billy Joel Concert at Madison Square Garden which has garnered over 6,200 visits and sixty-six comments. Also insanely popular was my reprinting of Premiere Magazine’s Twenty Most Overrated Movies of All Time, which has been seen more than 5,500 times (almost 2,000 of them on the same day – August 28, 2008 – when someone tagged it on stumbleupon.com).
If I’m being brutally honest about my progress, I’d say I’m reasonably pleased with what this blog has become – a place to record my thoughts, an opportunity to learn a bit about running a modern web site, and a chance to watch the web grow from a static medium to a dynamic medium to a socially networked medium. I’ve made some legitimate friends here, and have made the acquaintance of a few interesting, if not notable, people (a few of whom have sent me free stuff!).
That said, I’d love to see the site “go viral,” and become a place where dozens of people I don’t know discuss the topics I throw out there, but I haven’t found the time nor the secret, magical ingredient to make that happen so far. After 4.5 years and 1,000 posts, I think it’s safe to say it will probably never happen. Then again, you can’t win if you don’t play.
So, to sum up, I thank you all for being a somewhat-willing part of this. If you’re still reading at this point, you are likely one of the 5-10 loyal readers who have provided more than half of the traffic described above. A special thank you to you guys as well.
Here’s to another 1,000 interesting things to say!
OK, one last post about the Yankees winning the World Series and then I’ll stop. I promise. But today was the famous “Parade Down the Canyon of Heroes” in New York, and thanks to the annual New Jersey Teacher’s Convention, my kids did not have school today. So as it turned out, I was the one who played hooky, and we all went and saw a parade. An extra special, heartfelt thanks to the very generous people on the corner of Broadway & John Street who, right before the parade started, decided to allow my kids (and my wife and I) to move right up to the front of the crowd – allowing them (and my camera) fantastic views of the proceedings.
The picture slideshow is here, or in the “Featured Photos” section at the top of my left navigation menu.
Enjoy the pics and, once again, congratulations to the 2009 World Champion New York Yankees!!!
After all, even a Phanatic can only take so much…
A little Photoshop inspiration for my Yankee fan friends!
WORLD SERIES OVER.
THE-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E YANKEES WIN!!!!!!!!!
Thanks for an unbelievable, unforgettable season, fellas! Congrats to the champs!
NOW – ONTO THE PARADE!!!!!
Very successful, thank you:
My kids went as inventory management consultants. Can’tcha tell?
Before sorting all the candy by type, they reported in with a total of 301 pieces. Little did they know, this doesn’t count the candy that my wife and I ate after they went to bed last night. The picture above also reflects the four of us “picking” at it today. I give the whole stash a couple of weeks…