Monday, February 19, 2007

A Holler Day

It’s a Holler Day! So go on out in the back yard and Holler!!

As noted: Today is Presidents Day.

Presidents Day is the common name for the United States federal holiday officially designated as Washington's Birthday. It is celebrated on the third Monday of February.

As the official title of the federal holiday, Washington's Birthday was originally implemented by the federal government in 1880 in the District of Columbia and expanded in 1885 to include all federal offices. As the first federal holiday to honor an American citizen, the holiday was celebrated on Washington's actual birthday, February 22. In 1971 the federal holiday was shifted to the third Monday in February.

I feel a Geezer Rant coming on. But. I shall resist. Do you have the day off today? I have a feeling a lot, if not most, of my Frequent Readers have the day off, given they’re military folks of one sort or another. Presidents Day is another one of those “Federal” holidays, like Columbus Day and Veterans Day. And by that I mean there’s no mail delivery, schools and government offices are closed, but the rest of the world gets up and goes to work. Same stuff, different day. I liked life better when we got the actual day we’re supposed to celebrate off. Sure, the three-day-weekend legislation was (and is) a good thing. Yet something is lost… At least that’s my opinion. Your mileage most certainly may vary.

So. To Jimmuh, George H.W., Bubba, and Dubya: Enjoy your Day, eh?

Today I learned something about Presidents Day I had not known before. It’s been a tradition, since 1862 (and an annual event since 1893), for a Senator to read Washington’s Farewell Address to the Senate to commemorate Presidents Day. After giving the address the selected Senator signs the little leather-bound book that records the names of all who have given the address to the Senate. Just for the record, the annual reading of the address will take place on February 26th of this year. (“The Senate will convene at 2:00 p.m. and Senator Corker (ed: R-TN) will read Washington's Farewell Address.”)

Were I a senator, and were I selected to deliver Washington’s Address on the 26th, I would emphasize the following passages:

The unity of Government, which constitutes you one people, is also now dear to you. It is justly so; for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquillity at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very Liberty, which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee, that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment, that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national Union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the Palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion, that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.

For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of american, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the Independence and Liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts, of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.

In other words: E Pluribus Unum. Certain politicians need this reminder.

I had one particular politician in mind when I wrote the above: Jack Murtha. Bob Novak has a good column in today’s WaPo about Mr. Murtha. I quote:

After 16 undistinguished terms in Congress, Rep. John P. Murtha at long last felt his moment had arrived. He could not keep quiet the secret Democratic strategy that he had forged for the promised "second step" against President Bush's Iraq policy (after the "first step" of a nonbinding resolution of disapproval). In an interview last Thursday with the antiwar Web site, he revealed plans to put conditions on funding of U.S. troops. His message: I am running this show.

Mr. Novak goes on to argue that Murtha is indeed running the show, as improbable as that may seem. But. Beware, Jack. Don’t forget the Law of Unintended Consequences. You may be in charge today, but there’s another election in 2008. For all the bad that’s said and written about American voters, we do have long memories. And we’re watching you like a frickin’ hawk (no pun intended, but it fits).

Why it’s hard to do business in Russia:

MOSCOW, Feb. 15 — A Russian judge convicted a provincial school headmaster on Thursday for using pirated Microsoft software in school computers, but declined to impose any penalty, saying that Microsoft’s loss was insignificant compared with its overall earnings.


Cheap, pirated software is ubiquitous in Russia, even as the country grows rich from oil profits. Pirated movies and music are sold openly; trademark protections are also widely violated, although less openly, and counterfeit cigarettes, pharmaceuticals and other consumer goods are common.

How insignificant was Microsoft’s loss in this case? About $9,700.00. But, it’s not the money, as they say. It’s the principal of the thing. It’s going to be a long time, if ever, before widespread rule of law comes to the former Soviet Union. Especially in the realms of intellectual property and patent law, just to name two areas. Software piracy isn’t considered a “real” crime in Russia. I never saw a single legal copy of Windows or Office during my trips to Russia. Not one. Just sayin’.

But wait…there’s more! From the International Herald-Tribune:

MOSCOW: In a Feb. 13 story about the trial of a Russian teacher charged with using pirated Microsoft software in school computers, The Associated Press, based on a Russian TV report from the courtroom, erroneously reported that the defendant refused an out-of-court settlement from Microsoft. Microsoft said it made no such offer.

The Russian prosecutor offered to settle the case if the defendant apologized, and Microsoft's representative said the company did not object. But the defendant refused. (emphasis mine)

I’ll be danged.

Today’s Pic: SN3 is ten years old today. My, how time flies!!

These are the first pics ever taken of The Birthday Boy, and they are scans, not digital photos. The pics of TSMP and SN3 were taken at home; the pic of SN3 and I was taken in the hospital.

Rochester, NY. February, 1997.

Happy Birthday, Bob-O!!


  1. Holler Day, hmm, didn't know that. I might scream for ice cream.

  2. No holiday for us here in Ames. Get off for MLK Jr. Day, but apparently the Presidents aren't worthy. Although I can't complain too much because I only had one class today...that I didn't go to, so I guess you might say I had a self-made holiday. Although there still was PT this morning at 0-dark-30.

  3. Happy Birthday to SN3! I got to spend the President's Day with GBN1 since my son works for the State of OK. I kind of like those Mondays when he is off. While living in a resort town, three day weekends were great for business, but lots of work for the resort folks.

  4. Well... I hope all y'all enjoyed your holler day!! It was pretty quiet around El Casa Móvil De Pennington, but I like it like that...


Just be polite... that's all I ask.