Home Sweet Home

Autumn Blaze

I’m home again. Anne is being consumed by first graders. Life is good. Pictured is our newish Red Maple, which is living up to its name. When I first got home, I noticed that our front lawn had been tagged. Dig Right had been here. Anne pointed out that all our neighbors had also been tagged. Vaguely I remembered a text from the water company, saying that they would soon be doing something. I guess these paint sprays are part of this something. Later, I met the tagger. He told me that next year, the water company plans on replacing the water mains. They will also be checking the laterals and if you have lead piping, they will offer to replace it. I’m pretty sure that we don’t have lead, but rather galvanized, but it will be good to check it anyway. The hits just keep on coming.

It seems like only yesterday that our street was torn up for a new sewer line. That process lasted for almost a year. In the interim, sewer work has spread out throughout the area, making most of the roads around here feel like an off-road experience. Now that that phase of this process is reaching its conclusion, I say why not. Let’s do it all over again. I mean my lawn is looking nice again, except for the white paint that’s all over it now. The pavement on our street and in our neighborhood is again as smooth as butter. Bring on the backhoes! I’m not saying that the water pipes don’t need to be replaced. Broken water mains are a routine event. It’s just that like everything else in life, timing is everything. The only silver lining in this whole Déjà vu all over again, is that this time it will be our across the street neighbors who will be bearing the brunt of this operation. That is because unlike the sewer line, which is located on our side of the street, the water main is on their side. Which lucky neighbor will get the porta-potty? I wonder if I’ll ever get caught in the shower, when the water is shut off?

Political Winds

Manganese Oxides – Dendritic crystal growth

After almost a week in Washington DC and an off-off year election, you didn’t really think that there wouldn’t be a political post, now did you? On Monday, after a day-long museum crawl, I was walking back to the hotel. As I passed the Capitol building, I noticed more than the usual amount of activity on the part of the Capitol police. One officer was standing on the opposite street corner, with an AR-15. I came to the conclusion that Moscow Mitch and Red Rand would soon motorcade down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Whitehouse and join Trump on a flight to Kentucky. Their combined mission was to prop up the incumbent Republican governor. Unfortunately for them all and even though Trump stated that “losing sends a really bad message” and pleaded with his fans, “you can’t let that happen to me!” It happened. The Democrat won the popular vote, with Medicare. Now the GOP is maneuvering to game that election.

All week, DC television had been dominated with political ads by candidates for Virginia’s state legislature. Democratic ads harped on their opponent’s NRA support, “A bullet travels the length of a football field before it is first heard.” The NRA rally that I had previously seen on the Capitol grounds, must have been in response to this campaigning. Meanwhile, Republican ads harkened back to the scandals that engulfed Virginia’s Democratic administration earlier this year, “If your head is held down, then it is not consensual.” They were all highly repetitive. In the end, the Democratic message won out.

We are now less than a year out from next year’s 2020 Presidential election. Tuesday’s elections were the largest last set of elections before that election. Except for elections in the reddest of red state of Mississippi, things went pretty much in favor of the Democrats, which is an encouraging sign.


Gutenberg’s Puzzle, Lloyd G. Schermer, 2006,

Under the motto “to err is human, to correct divine,” embedded into the white tiled walls of the men’s room in the Newseum are past newspaper headlines that don’t read as intended. Collected by the Columbia Journalism Review these headlines that don’t mean what they say and corrections that admit embarrassing errors are the best of bathroom graffiti. I’ve collected some of them below:

  • Solar system expected to be back in operation – Libertyville Herald 3.15.78
  • Collene Campbell champions the rights of murder victims after being one herself more than once – The Orange County Register 9.30.01
  • Chief Blue, the last full-blooded Catawba Indian Chief died in 1959. The Evening Herald incorrectly said Wednesday that he died three years ago due to a reporting error. – Evening Herald (Rock Hill, SC) 9.2.76
  • Deer Kill 130,000 – The Minneapolis Tribune 12.7.67
  • Babies are what the mother eats – The Times-Herald 7.11.64
  • Red Tape Holds Up New Bridge – Milford Citizen 7.12.82
  • Ford, Reagan Neck in Presidential Primary – Ethiopian Herald 2.24.76
  • Defendant’s speech ends in long sentence – Minneapolis Tribune  2.25.81
  • Never Withhold Herpes Infection From Loved One – Albuquerque Journal 12.26.84
  • Editors’ Note: A mistake made by a transcription service mangled a quotation from William Bennett in Michael Kelly’s July 17th Letter from Washington. In criticizing the political views of Patrick Buchanan, Mr. Bennett said “it’s a real us-and-then kind of thing,” not, as we reported, “it’s a real S & M kind of thing.” – The New Yorker 8.14.95