Archive for January, 2009


January 24, 2009

encyclopedias1.jpgI’ve written before about the weighty problem of disposing of a set of encyclopedias.

And I’m writing about it again in today’s paper. E.S. has a set she doesn’t want any longer and she’d rather not throw the books away. After all, they’re full of useful and interesting information. She just prefers to use the Internet now.

Other times I’ve answered this sort of question, I usually get calls from at least one and often more people who would love to have the encyclopedias and I try to hook up the two parties accordingly.

As I suspect there are probably a number of people out there who’d like to have a set of encyclopedias — and others who have sets they’d like to get rid of but ideally without trashing them — I’m setting up this post where they can indicate as much if they want.

How about it? Anyone?


A photo of the 82nd soldiers who marched in the inauguration parade

January 22, 2009

Some of you may have missed this previous blog entry where I dorkily posted lots of screen caps taken from CNN’s live Web stream of the Inauguration Day events.

I happened to be watching — and managed a quick screen cap — when CNN briefly showed the 82nd soldiers marching in the parade. We’ve had a hard time hunting up official news photos of this and I know some of you would like to see at least this. I wish the quality was better and the quantity was greater. But this was the only picture that I could manage.

If you’d like to see other images from CNN’s coverage Tuesday, go here.


Lt. Col. Xavier Brunson, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, brought about 100 Soldiers from Fort Bragg, N.C., to represent the active-duty Army in the parade, according to this Army press release.

Images from the day

January 20, 2009

I’ve posted some screen shots from today’s events, taken very obviously from CNN’s live Web stream. (Thanks, CNN!) If you see just two pictures in this post, click on the link at the bottom to view the rest. Naturally, you can click on each picture to view it in a larger size.

I’ve posted all of the photos in chronological order except for the top two, though I also have them in chrono order down below. The first one’s up here for obvious reasons — President Obama is taking the oath of office, verbal stumbles and all.

And the other photo up top shows the 1st Battalion of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment of Fort Bragg’s own 82nd Airborne Division marching in today’s inaugural parade. Hooah!




I do solemnly swear

January 20, 2009

They each recite the same oath. Below, watch 13 of Barack Obama’s predecessors swear to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States.

Bird’s eye view

January 19, 2009

Wondering if I-95 is clogged with inauguration goers?

What’s the Capitol look like right now?

If you’re curious, check out the following live web cams. TrafficLand has links to dozens (hundreds?) of live traffic cams on main roads all around the D.C. area and up and down I-95. The interstate doesn’t look busier than usual to me right now. Tomorrow may be another story.

Here’s a link to just the downtown D.C. traffic cams.

Here’s a link to a rotating live cam showing the Mall, including the Capitol.

Speech! Speech!

January 19, 2009

obama_inauguration.jpegIn less than 24 hours, Barack Obama will give his inaugural address. There will be lots of eyes — and ears — waiting for his words. Will his speech live up to the hype? The pressure? Can he speak simply and yet eloquently? Powerfully and also honestly? Will we remember what he said on Wednesday? Or next year? How about in 100 years? Does it matter?

We’ll see — and hear.

Here, several veteran speechwriters opine about how Obama could handle his inaugural address.

Here’s a chart showing the most-used words in previous inaugural addresses.

Here, a columnist for a Canadian paper asserts that few U.S. presidents have spoken memorably at their inaugurations.

martinlutherking.jpgmlk-speech-at-lincoln-memorial.JPGHere, watch a speech by a man who will almost certainly be alluded to tomorrow by the new president. This speech — made on Aug. 28, 1963, at the opposite end of the Washington Mall from tomorrow’s activities, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial — is considered one of the greats of all time. Today’s when we remember that speaker’s birthday.

I minus four days

January 16, 2009

And counting.

I, of course, stands for Inauguration — though I Day will really be an “Us” kind of day (and a U.S. kind of day), not an “I” one if you want to pursue and stretch the “there’s no ‘I’ in ‘team'” metaphor.

In the meantime, we’ve had farewells and some grousing.

As we move forward, you know me: I’m looking back.

Here, again, are glimpses of previous times when men first took the presidential oath of office. The two below occurred in times of great national duress. There were no inaugurations in these two cases, only situations where men were suddenly required to step up and in.

The latter video includes Ford’s remarkable speech following his taking of the oath — “Not an inaugural address,” he said. “Not a fireside chat, not a campaign speech — just a little straight talk among friends.”

This is when he declared “our long national nightmare is over.”

Why you should eyeball any mysterious teensy charge on your credit-card bill

January 14, 2009

quarter.jpgIt may have been placed there by scammers.

Maybe you think: So what? It’s for, like, a quarter, give or take a few cents. If that skates under your radar, no big deal. Right?

Not necessarily so. Brian Krebs of the Washington Post, who blogs about computer security issues, says the tiny charges that have been reported by numerous people in recent weeks may indicate those accounts are dangerously compromised.

While some consumer advocates think the crooks are trying to surreptitiously steal a bunch of money by taking teensy amounts from lots of people, Krebs said it’s more likely that the crooks are using the teensy charges to test whether the accounts are good for the looting.

The charges are coming from two alleged companies called Adele Services and GFDL — though no one’s located these outfits.

If one of these unauthorized charges shows up on your credit-card statement, you should contact your card issuer pronto and consider filing complaints with the Federal Trade Commission and the Internet Crime Complaint Center, which is a partnership between the FBI, the National White Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Video from long-past inaugurals

January 13, 2009

As prep for next week’s presidential inauguration continues, here are some looks at inaugural ceremonies from more than 100 years ago. These videos are grainy and silent (though one has a narrator) but they’re fascinating peeps at history, nonetheless.

Here’s newsreel footage of William McKinley’s inaugural in 1897.

Here’s film of McKinley taking the oath of office in 1901 for his second term, which would last just six months. The camera was operated by someone you may have heard of, Thomas Edison.

Here’s footage of Teddy Roosevelt’s 1905 inaugural.

Powerful talk

January 9, 2009

In scary times.

No, not these times, though they’re scary

No, I’m still looking back to past presidential inaugurations as we head toward the next one, on Jan. 20.

If you want to read or hear powerful words, check out FDR’s first inaugural address, made on March 4, 1933, when the nation was mired in the Depression, unemployment had soared to 24 percent and nearly half of all U.S. banks had failed.

In his address, FDR acknowledged the difficulty of the times but also tried to rally and encourage Americans. This is when he famously declared that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

Interestingly, and perhaps unsurprisingly, he didn’t come up with those words. They were supposedly placed in the speech by one of his senior advisors, Louis Howe. But FDR did deliver them and he’ll forever be known for this powerful inaugural speech (among other things).

Click here or on the pic below to go to a site where you can watch a film of the speech or just listen to audio of it. Or read it. Note: For some reason, the film version excludes bits of the speech throughout.