This hurricane season as been a bit of a letdown after the intensity of 2005. I suppose it’s difficult to top one of the most damaging storms in human history, but still, throw me a friggin bone here. Ernesto had the wind knocked out of him over Cuba today and should hit south Florida as a tropical storm or a minimal hurricane… Hardly worth crawling out of bed for something like that, really. There is a slim possibility that he could punch out of Florida around Cape Canaveral and head north to Charleston. Moving slow, he could reintensify and do some damage. I’m not holding my breath.

I wouldn’t exactly say I’m rooting for the hurricane, because that would just be wrong, but still, this season has been all blow and no go. So much for new furniture.

Crabs… but the good kind…

There are precious few traditions that make Maryland a standout among the states. Sure, naming jousting you state sport is good, but there is absolutely nothing more Maryland than blue crabs from the Bay. These crustaceous, bottom-dwelling, cadaver-eaters are unsurpassed for sheer tastiness. Yes, I know, you have to steam them alive, cut off their face, and eviscerate them on the plate for just a few morsels of delicious meat, but still, it’s a small sacrifice of time on our part to enjoy their last full-measured sacrifice. Steam on, yonder caldron, there are warm days left and I’m feeling somewhat peckish.

I had a dream…

Some people have the knack for recounting dreams they have almost every night. Although I know I dream, I very rarely remember more than a few details of even dreams that I know where intense. Last night, however, was an exception. It was like dreaming in Technicolor… everything was just a little too bright, the people were just a little too expressive, and it was a little too real.

My colleagues and I were sitting in what I can only think of as the courtroom that hosted the Nuremburg war crimes trials of Nazi officials at the end of World War II. The key members of the project team were all there and we were listening attentively to our headphones as the translators repeated the words of the prosecutor, who was one of the senior employees who has opposed the project from the very beginning. As the bill of indictment was read and translated I remember distinctly that “dream” Jeff looked towards the judges’ dais. While faces were indistinct, I was struck by the formal presentation of the flags of the United States, the Army (complete with battle streamers), and the starred flag of a general officer. The “list of complaints” seemed to go on ad infinitum and at length, there seemed to be a question, as everyone in the defendants’ dock pointed to the program manager. I wish I could remember more, but the reading of the grievances and looking at the room in detail seem to have been the crux of the dream.

I don’t generally do a lot of dream interpretation, nor put stock in “what they tell us,” but in this case, I’m willing to make an exception. I’m reasonably sure that it’s just about time to take a nice long vacation

A show about nothing…

As much as I enjoy spinning yarns about the absolute stupidity that is working in Washington, I am utterly bereft of ideas. Absolutely nothing happened today that is blog-worthy. I could pull a filler story out of draft and flesh it out a bit, but that doesn’t seem quite right either. Better luck next time and please stop by again real soon.

Gloria In Excelsis Deo…

It’s what I’ve been waiting for. It’s what has eluded me for the last six months. It’s what, late at night, lying in the darkness, I feared would never come. It’s the prize I felt cheated of, the gods of the bureaucracy conspiring against me.

Now, at last, it’s mine. Permanent, undeniable, irrefutable proof that my work has not been in vain. I am promoted. I’ve seen the paperwork and held it in my own hands. I’ve scrutinized every box and am convinced of its legitimacy. I am exhausted, spent, but I am at last happy.

Gloria in Excelsis Deo.

What’s next?

An educated man…

A dear friend recently gave me a book, The Marks of an Educated Man. The somewhat weighty text, penned by Albert Wiggam, and originally published in 1925 is a remarkable lesson in the fine art of being a man’s man in 1920s style. And lets be honest, when it’s written by a man named Wiggam, it has to be good.

Select chapter titles are:
• You Can’t Sell Him Magic (Jeff’s translation: Nothing good is easy)
• He Links Himself with a Great Cause (Jeff’s translation: To the greater glory of the German people)
• He Builds an Ambition Picture to Fit His Abilities (Jeff’s translation: Accept that some people are just stupid – but even they can dig ditches)
• He Always Tries to Feel the Emotions He Ought to Feel (Jeff’s translation: He’ll only show approved emotions like anger, lust, etc.)
• He Keeps Busy at His Highest Natural Level in Order to be Happy, Useful and Good (Jeff’s translation: Lack of productivity is un-American, so get a real job you useless hippy dipshit)
• He Cultivates the Love of the Beautiful (Jeff’s translation: Hurray boobies!!!)

And my personal favorite: He Knows that Popular Notions are Always Wrong.

It just doesn’t get any better than that, folks. I think I would have liked the 20s.

Like a cat…

I spent a great deal of today hiding out and trying to do a few items that were, once, part of the actual job I am theoretically supposed to do on a daily basis. Several of my coworkers had gotten themselves trapped on tasks on the other side of the building for our other project.

I’ve often thought that I don’t try to make myself very conspicuous unless I need to get something from someone else, but after lunch, one of my dear coworkers commented that “Jeff’s like a cat, he’ll come around when he’s ready for attention.” I’m not entirely sure that was a compliment, but I found it pretty apt.

A Rant in Two Parts…

1) Driving home this afternoon there was mass confusion on I-95 north. Typically such confusion is caused by one of three things, a) an accident, b) rubbernecking resulting from a recent accident, c) car fire. Not this afternoon, though. Today, the middle lane of 95 was clogged with a sub 50-MPH driving, flashers flashing, flags flying funeral cavalcade. WTF? The guy is dead, he’s not in a hurry to get anywhere and even if he was, doing under 50 on 95 is not going to get him there any faster. Would it kill you bastards to be a little considerate to the living. I’m sure Mr. or Mrs. X was very special to you, but even they would think you’re an ass for holding up traffic like that.

2) I had the apparently unrealistic expectation that people in graduate level classes would be able to write a coherent sentence. I was wrong. I was dead wrong. I’ve spent the better part of the last two hours editing a 10 page paper my “teammates” put together. Appalling is the only word that comes close to actually describing the grammatical carnage. I finally gave up after fixing the worst of it. If anyone is interested in reading the drivel these people came up with, please let me know. If nothing else, it should reassure your own sense of inherent superiority.

Hurricane Season…

For most people, the diminished expectation for tropical storms and hurricanes this summer is a reason to celebrate. Personally, I’m more than a little disappointed. Hurricanes (usually those Category 3 and above) are a 14-hour/day, 7-day/week vacation from my normal job. Of course, like anyone, I bitch about the long hours and the seeming lack of support from other quarters, but in the end, these storms are a chance to stand neck-deep in the national decision-making process and play with senior leaders from the White House, Department of Homeland Security, Defense, and others. They are a chance to work till you bone tired and still deliver. It’s a chance to make obscene amounts of overtime and I want to buy new living room furniture, damnit.


I’m almost positive that my higher order thinking skills may have reached the “fatal systems error has occurred” stage this afternoon. I’m usually pretty good at looking at spreadsheets and making them make sense. I spent four hours today trying to decipher one and still have no goddamned idea what the hell I am actually supposed to be doing with it. Seriously, everyone else in the room heard the explanation and said “oh yeah, that makes sense” while I sat in my corner trying not to spill my drool cup. I swear to Christ, I feel like the mildly retarded cousin that everyone treats extra nice at Christmas. Bloody hell.