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Last Ride on 532

I put down my copy of Wealth of Nations as we began our descent into Phoenix. I decided to drink in the last bit of what was likely my last ride on the Route 532 Express Bus from Mesa to downtown. I resituated myself on the back bench, which seats five but rarely actually seats more than three, and took note of my fellow passengers.

My guess is that the median age was just north of fifty. At least two men had been asleep for most of the ride. One leaned precariously close to me several times, each time straightening up just before I was about to wake him. Even though there were thirty of us spread out over about 70 seats on the double bus, I like the back bench and this guy likes the side facing back seat, so we were closer than necessary.

Almost everyone had something to read. The guys who chat about “the game” and “the market” were not riding today. It is pretty common to see the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Paperback novels make up a good share of the selection as well. Newspapers and the occasional lawyer reviewing briefs make up the rest. Some just listen to music.

I will drive in tomorrow and am meeting some folks for drinks tonight. I start a new job on Monday that is not serviced by this Express Bus route. I’m planning to try riding a Local, but we’ll have to see. Also, today was a rare overcast day in Phoenix, Arizona. And maybe that added to my sentimentality, but I have to confess to mild feelings of melancholy over saying good bye to Route 532.

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The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh . . .


I had a pretty good Veterans’ Day this year. (BTW, where exactly does the apostrophe go? It is the day of several veterans, right?) The highlight was marching in the parade with Kate, pictured above. I guess I don’t really have much more. Oh, and here’s a CNN Link to a story about submarines. I like the part where they sub vet says that he guesses they all thought they were better than everyone else. That really is pretty much true.

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Meta-post

Today’s post is about posting.

I am an extreme extrovert. And I mean that not in the life-of-the-party sense, but in the Myers Briggs personality test sense. I really crave interaction with people. A day full of phone calls from clients and hearings and emails that require responses is roughly a thousand times more fulfilling for me than a day spent in my office researching a topic and drafting something based on the research.

In the world of blogging, my extreme extrovertism manifests itself in a strong desire to receive responses to what I write. Getting a notice that someone has left a comment on my blog is such a pick-me-up. It is like getting a handwritten envelop in the mail.

Often times to encourage comments, I will email an entry to someone and specifically ask for a response. I am a bit surprised, obviously based on my own inclinations, at how seldom people accept my invitation–plea–to comment.

So, I will ask a question, one which any reasonable person would understand is very likely to go unanswered, why don’t those who read this blog more often leave comments? I’ll even provide some choices:
A. The posts are too long.
B. The topics of the posts are uninteresting.
C. The poor grammar and excessive typographical errors make the blog unreadable.
D. The posts are interesting enough, but not the type to cause one to form an opinion.
E. It actually takes a significant amount of effort to crystalize thoughts such that they can be conveyed in a few sentences in a sentence.
F. Other – please specify.

[Note: I actually think the number of comments left on my blog is larger than would be expected for my readership. Other blogs with thousands of times the traffic as mine do not generate thousands of times the comments. But that only makes me more curious about the behavior that is so different from mine.]

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Travelers

While in college I read both Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance while traveling, mostly on airplanes. On both occassions I noted how it added an extra flavor to the books to read them while on an adventure myself. This morning, I listed to an episode of American Life titled Road Trip! while I was riding on a bus and had a similar feeling.

Now back to writing my brief.

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Mentor & Friend

Today is Chuck Blanchard’s last day at Perkins Coie Brown & Bain. He is off to begin his work in the Obama administration as General Counsel to the Air Force. It is a great opportunity and a good fit for him–he served as General Counsel to the Army under Clinton. Still, I am sad to see him go. He was my first introduction to the firm, and I have had the pleasure of working for him on some of the most interesting political law cases we’ve had a PCB&B. He will be missed.

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Mother’s Day Reflection

James and Kate’s Great-grandmother (Kirschner) Barton was a precinct committeemen along with her husband in the 1950’s. She raised six boys and adopted a niece. She was running the “little old ladies” to the doctor well into her eighties. Great-grandmother (Beals) Stone threw her husband out of the house in the 1950’s because he drank too much and gambled their money away. She raised two girls without a husband in a time when that meant doing without just about everything; but she taught her girls a lesson about strength and priorities. Great-grandmother (Pineau) Shea immigrated to this country from Prince Edward Island and when her sister stole her purse to try and keep her in Boston, she boarded the bus and convinced the bus driver to take her to Brooklyn—literally with the clothes on her back. Great-grandmother (Craig) Cassidy spent an extra day on Ellis Island because her brother forgot to pick her up. She also brought her Old World culture with her, teaching her grandchildren about fairies that she had seen with her own eyes no matter what others would say.

My wife’s mom started a preschool here in Arizona over twenty years ago. She worked on Wall Street. She took care of her mother and raised her kids. She is a ball of energy that there is no way I can keep up with. My mom has taught the severely and profoundly mentally handicapped as well as children with learning disabilities. She has shown those children the same limitless compassion she as show my brothers and me. Out of the classroom, she is also their advocate, always looking out for their rights.

James and Kate’s mom is a woman of uncompromising standards, particularly when it comes to the pursuit of academic excellence. She loves learning as much as she loves teaching. She brings integrity to her work whether her students are adults seeking a certification or a three-year old learning her letters.

Add to this list the many female role models Kate has at church (I seriously do not have space to begin listing them), it is obvious to see how blessed she is to have so many examples. Sometimes I forget to consider how lucky James is as well. When you have a mother and father that are partners in their marriage, when you see a mother who is not only intelligent but intellectually curious, when you see strength to go along with your mother’s compassion that is the relationship you seek out as an adult. I guess my point is that for both Kate and James, one of the greatest gifts their mother has given them is to make it likely that their kids will also have a mother like her.

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Happiness is . . .

. . . taking a little nap on your commute home.  (After reading about sufism to finish your chapter on Islam.)

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When we were children

The remarkable thing about this photograph is that Pat & I were actually younger than this at some point in our life. It is more than a little shocking.

I think Facebook has the potential to be quite a time suck.

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Well, it aint pretty

But here is a little photo montage from St. Baldrick’s. ug.

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Submarine Collision

According to CNN a British and French submarine collided in the North Atlantic.

First, this is really weird. Both subs were ballistic missile boats, which means each had a mission to remain undetected and capable of launching its missiles for a certain period of time. There is zero chance that either one of these submarines was “hunting” the other. Compare Grayling & Baton Rouge collision in which that is exactly what was going on.

Second, I don’t agree that this “had to happen sometime.” I have no trouble believing these two boats didn’t hear each other, but there is a giant ocean and I think you could have operated forever without a collision. That said, it would be pretty easy to prevent from ever happening again. We could pick depths to operate at. US takes 300-400, UK takes 400-500, etc.

Third, the problem is the French and NATO really don’t cooperate super well. It is weird because you’d think all that crap was just for show. But I recall at least on one occasion where there was a submarine screwing around in an area we were operating in, and we wondered if it might have been the French. You would think we could remember we are on the same team.

Finally, I guess you have to admit there is a risk to having floating warheads. My first response to the disarmament folks was just to criticize their hyperbole. But, fact is, a submarine sinking in the ocean would be a bigger deal that a missile silo in North Dakota caving in due to an earth quake. I guess. Although, the reactor is a bigger concern, and even then the diesel fuel on board might very well do the most damage to marine life.