September 27, 2004

Party Dogs

Sometime during my early formative years, I was watching two dogs interact and I had the misfortune of asking my father why it was that they were smelling each other’s butts. To answer my query, my father repeated the following limerick.

Oh the dogs they had a party
They came from near and far
Some came by motorcoach
Some came by motorcar

On entering the meeting there
Each dog would take a look
Where he had to hang his asshole
High upon a hook

When they were all assembled
Each canine son and sire
Some bulldog son of a bitch
Jumped up and hollered “Fire!”

Things were in a panic
It was hell upon to look
Each doggie grabbed at random
An asshole from the hook

The assholes were all mixed up
Which made the doggies sore
To have to wear another dogs ass
He’d never worn before

That is why until this day
A dog will leave a bone
To go and smell another dogs ass
To see if it’s his own.

Although I’ve never known it well enough to repeat it, to this day I’ve never seen two dogs together without thinking about it. (I finally got him to transcribe it yesterday.) One day, I hope to pass this bit of wisdom on to my progeny, much to the chagrin of GF. Until then, I’ll just have to be content sharing it with you, my readers (all 3 of you).

(For the googlers: I did a quick search and didn't find this anywhere online. So if you're wondering about the origin, here's what I know. My father heard this as a child, but like me didn’t remember anything but the gist until he stumbled across it quoted in a Tolstoy book, and he does not remember which one.)

Posted by Clancy at 8:07 AM | Comments (2)

September 24, 2004

Wedding Plans...

GF and I have been through a lot recently (and it’s not done yet) and we also need to get around to tying the knot sometime soon, so we’ve been talking about it.

We had a really cool plan. Our original idea was to buy a house, have a massive house-warming party and invite everyone and anyone. I was even going to try to get my “Germany” family here without my mother’s knowledge. I thought we’d have it catered, perhaps hire some entertainment, and bring in truck loads of alcohol. Once the party got moving well, GF and I would disappear into the house, and reappear dressed for a wedding and surprise our house-warming guest with a wedding. This way, no one got dressed up, brought gifts, had to pick out invites, centerpieces, bridesmaid dresses, a gajiollion dollars worth of flowers, or all the other masses of crap that accompanies traditional ceremonies. Unfortunately, our beautiful new home didn’t fit into the plan as well as we wanted it too. (It needs a lot of work and just doesn’t quite fit our original idea.)

So we’ve been batting around other ideas. We don’t want anything too traditional, and definitely nothing too very expensive. (We both feel that people waste obscene amounts of money on weddings.)

And we’re seriously thinking about Vegas. And if we’re gonna do Vegas, then it also has to involve Elvis. And a Pink Cadillac. Maybe even a drive-thru. Seriously.

Posted by Clancy at 3:00 PM | Comments (2)

September 23, 2004

Say it Isn’t So!!

You mean all those emails are wrong?

Posted by Clancy at 10:50 AM

Kilroy was Here

Jay, over at WizBang examines the almighty powers of the VRWC mastermind, Karl Rove.

That post brought me to the realization that KarL ROve is very close to KILROY. Do you think it’s possible that Rover is actually the mystical, omnipresent American fighting man, Kilroy?

After WWII (and perhaps a brief stint in Korea), Kilroy pretty much went underground. Sure, he has appeared everywhere (even been to the moon with Bugs Bunny), but in recent years, Kilroy sightings have been on the decrease while Karl Rove sponsored activities have been on the increase…

Coincidence? I think not.

Posted by Clancy at 9:17 AM

September 22, 2004

Buying a Rock

I started writing this as a general guide, but it has come to my attention that someone out there needs my help. She has practically already said “Yes” and he hasn’t even asked yet!

Last year around this time I was shopping for a ring and along the way I learned some interesting things. Like, for example, the right way to buy a diamond and I thought I’d share what I learned...

Disclaimer: I am a computer programmer, not a gemologist. I have never worked in the gemological profession and nothing below is the result of any paid (or otherwise) sponsorship. Below is simply my understanding explained as I learned it.

For the first part of your education, go to you local diamond specialty store. You know, the big one that does all the cheesy mushy lovey-dovey advertising on the radio. Before you walk in the door, make a pact with yourself that you are just looking and that you will not be buying this trip – this is an educational trip only. Lock your wallet and credit cards in the car if necessary. Explain to the salesperson what you are looking for (you may not even know, allow him/her to direct you a little). If the store is the real deal, they will take the time to explain the 4C’s (cut, clarity, carats and color). 4C’s is actually wrong, it should be 5C’s – the last one being the most important – certification. GIA or AGS is an absolute must. If the rock does not have a cert (from one of those two labs), you aren’t playing on a level playing field and you will more than likely be screwed. (In other words – you are in the wrong store – leave now!)

First, determine your carat weight range and be adamant that the salesperson doesn’t have you compare to rocks of dissimilar size. That’s not fair and does nothing for your lesson today. Also try to choose and stick with one type of cut. The round brilliant is the one that makes all the fire when it’s done well. Pear, Princess, Emerald, Marquise, etc. are all very nice cuts, but they will not have the same fire as a good round. And for some, like the Emerald, clarity is more important because imperfections are more visible.

Now that you have a weight and cut in mind, have the salesperson shows you a several diamonds in that range. The major lessons you should take away from this display of expensive rocks are these: All of them are beautiful and your woman would be overjoyed to have any one of them. Examined by your newly trained eye, you don’t really see that much of a difference between the VVS1 or the SI1 clarity, or an F and an H color. But you should see a difference in the cut grades based on brilliance. And you should gain a preference for a particular color grade, or at least an acceptable range. And finally, you should realize that without the cert, and without the others to compare it too, you can’t tell the difference between the least expensive and the most expensive rock in front of you. The cert is extremely important. In fact, you can tell by the cert alone what the rock will look like.

And that last line is the point. Diamonds are basically a commodity whose value is based primarily on the 4C’s. Jewelry stores first educate you enough to help you understand why you want to buy a more expensive rock, but in the end they appeal to your emotional side to make you buy. (Let’s face it, a guy buying an engagement ring is in a very unstable emotional place and is quite likely to do very stupid things at the slightest provocation.) But they never ever want you to think of a rock as a commodity.

I hope you made notes while you were in the jewelry store. (You have been to the store now, right? Don’t read any farther or you’ll ruin the whole affect.) Jot down what you remember about the size, cut, clarity, color and (especially) the price of the selection of diamonds you saw. Got that? Good. No go here. I’ll wait as I’m sure your going to be a while…

I know you’ve been staring at your monitor now for a long time in disbelief. I was the first time. I saw prices around 35 to 50% less than what I’d been seen in that big diamond store. For the same money I had suggested in the jewelry store, I was looking at significantly larger (and better) rocks online. Very Significantly.

Once you come to terms with this shock, you have some decisions to make. This may involve a few more trips to various stores to see these things in real life. Remember to be strong, but that should be easier now because you have seen the “truth.” (I actually found it entertaining. I knew more about what their rocks were worth really worth than the salespeople did. Especially at the “mall” jewelry stores.)

Rank the 4C’s in order of importance. I decided first that I wanted a particular carat weight +/- 3 carats. (Prices get weird at round number points like 1, 1.25, 1.5 etc.) so be flexible. A .96 carat of better quality can be considerably less expensive than a .99 of just good quality. Second I decided I would not compromise on cut or color. (I wanted and Ideal cut and a “D” color.) Clarity was least important. VS2 to SI1 is at the lower ranges of clarity, but the imperfections are still invisible to the naked eye so I didn’t see value in worrying too much about clarity.

If you are anything like me, you’re still wondering how you can buy a rock without first seeing it. It took me some time to work on my mind that I was willing to part with a huge hunk of cash to buy something I wouldn’t see. This is why the first part of your education was so important – the cert tells all. The jewelry store bought their rocks based on the cert, they priced it based on the cert and now they’re trying to convince you to pay them a big pile of money based on the cert. It’s all about the cert.

If you’re still not comfortable with buying the rock online (and I don’t blame you – I was extremely reluctant) there is another way. Dig out your forgotten and mostly useless yellow pages and go to the Jewelry section and start looking for the words “Diamond Broker” or “Diamond Brokerage Service.”

Toward the end of my search I found a diamond broker just a few blocks from where I work. The ten minutes of talking to the salesperson (who is also the proprietor) taught me more than I had learned over the previous week. (In truth he mostly just confirmed what I thought I knew.) We discussed my specs, and he offered his opinion and suggestions. Then, right in front of me, he logged onto his wholesale network and found a couple of rocks meeting my requirements. He showed me HIS wholesale price, plainly visible on the screen, and explained that he simply added 20% to that price. You should find that that price will only be about 5 to 8% more than that first source I showed you. (And it will still be 30-50% cheaper than those “other” places.)

In the end, I went with the online source simply because I’d already found the “ideal” rock. Everything was exactly as they promised and I couldn’t be happier. And of course, GF was blown away

One word of warning concerning the “D” color diamonds… *I* think they are the most beautiful – they are truly colorless and that combined with an ideal cut will produce the best sparkle and fire. BUT if your woman is the diamond wearing type, and she wants a tennis bracelet, or diamond wedding band, etc. you will have a very hard time finding other jewelry with D, E or F colored diamonds to match (and if you do it’s gonna co$t you).

Happy shopping!!

Posted by Clancy at 10:32 AM | Comments (10)

September 21, 2004

Thank You

GF and I were totally blown away yesterday by how profoundly our situation has touched so many.

The outpouring of love from everyone has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated. And not just here, but from our family, friends and coworkers. Thank you all so very much for your kind words, love and concern. We are healing…

Extra Special Thank You’s to those that left a comment on the last post (mostly due to Helen I’m sure); Rob, Helen, Rachel Ann, Jadewolff, Easy, Tiffani, and Butterflies

Posted by Clancy at 4:26 PM | Comments (2)

September 20, 2004

We Call Them Miracles…

…Yet we’ve come to the point that we expect them to happen. At best, we fail to recognize them and, at worst, we’ve just plain forgotten that a baby really and truly is a miracle.

It’s wonderful how in 11 and a half short weeks I have come to love Thumper. It’s a selfless kind of love that I’ve always known I am capable of, yet I am still humbled by its power. The joy is almost indescribable. Simple stated, it is the kind of love that would make you sacrifice EVERYTHING, immediately and without question.

And then you are awakened by the panicked cry of your lover. Your reality has transformed into a gushing river of blood. With the blood flows your hopes and dreams. And you find that the other side of all that joy is an indescribable pain.

Early Sunday morning, we lost Thumper.

In the beginning, they told us that there is a 15% chance of miscarriage in every pregnancy. And Sunday morning, they told us that 80% of the time it’s a simple matter of nature taking care of itself. And while there is little comfort to be found in those percentages, the odds are still in our favor. GF is OK and we’ll try again in a couple of months. (And I’ll make an honest woman of her before the next time too!)

We have so very much to be thankful for – it almost feels selfish be upset about missing out on our miracle.

That said, we’ll never forget Thumper. Even though we never got a chance to know Thumper, we’ve been forever changed by the opportunity we were granted to be a part of a miracle – if only for a short time.

We can only hope and believe that Thumper has found new friends – perhaps Egg & Bacon and all the other lost miracles have welcomed Thumper to their world, and they are at peace now.

Posted by Clancy at 6:31 PM | Comments (8)

September 17, 2004

Final Jeopardy

In a follow up to this post, here's the question that dethroned master Jennings:

Companies and Corporations.

The Answer:
This company has a workforce of 17000 people, whose average working year is only 4 months long.

(forgive me if you've seen this - this news is a week old already)

Posted by Clancy at 11:20 AM | Comments (1)

September 14, 2004


Too Funny...

Posted by Clancy at 6:37 PM

Bigger is Better

Not always, anyway.

For those that think the Hummer H1 is just too small to meet their needs, the folks over at International have the answer to you needs. Introducing the new International CXT...

Surely, some basketball/football star is having his new CXT pimped-out as I write this - I'm sure I'll see one on the streets soon. I wonder if you can get spinners for those big 10-lug aluminum wheels...

On a related note, upon seeing a stretch H2 Limo, GF asked, "Why don't they just paint it yellow and be done with it?” Why, Indeed.

Posted by Clancy at 9:56 AM | Comments (1)

September 13, 2004


I don’t know how it happened (probably too much bad TV and a short attention span), but for some reason I have come to love commercials.

I’ve seen this one (click the appropriate link) several times and it’s great. Very cute and very effective.

(Except the kid, Jaden Gil, is of no relation to Andre and Steffi. And not being a tennis fan I had no idea who Taylor Dent was. Finally, Andre & Steffi are driving a Kia – something I seriously doubt they would do in real life.) Anyway – those points aside, the commercial is good!

Posted by Clancy at 3:43 PM

September 10, 2004

Facts? Who Needs Facts?

I read Ed Wassermans whiney-assed opinion piece yesterday about how journalists are under assault - “…anybody who enters the profession makes a core commitment to do his or her best to determine and tell the truth. And I think that commitment is now under assault.” - And I thought – wow – that would be a valid argument IF.TRUTH.WAS.EVEN.PART.OF.THE.ARGUMENT.

I didn’t have the time or ambition yesterday to respond. Fortunately, Paul over at Wizbang did. Go read it.

Posted by Clancy at 10:04 AM


Today is another one of those beautiful super clear blue sky days we are occasionally blessed with this time of the year. It’s the kind of day that naturally makes you smile want to exclaim to anyone who will listen that it’s a beautiful day!

Except it reminds you of another beautiful super clear blue sky day.

And I’ll never forget that day. I was working at a very nice rural corporate campus. We had TV’s tuned to some news network in the cafeteria and some of the maintenance guys were eating a late breakfast when the story broke. One came by my office and said that an airplane had hit the world trade center. When I asked what kind of airplane and he said it was a small commuter plane. Having worked in aviation, I had flown the VFR corridor through New York (1000’ and below over the Hudson River) and I knew how easy it would be to turn a little “bug smasher” into the city. It wasn’t until after the second plane hit that we found out that it wasn’t a “bug smasher,” but a 757. And suddenly a interesting news story was suddenly so much more.

Then came news of the Pentagon strike. And we slowly realized that we were being systematically attacked. We were at war.

The internet ground to a halt from all the people trying to get to news. We instead went to the cafeteria. Unfortunately, we had some VIP’s visiting and our facility manager didn’t think it was a good scene to have more than half of the employees in the cafeteria watching TV and ordered the TV’s turned off. An hour or so later, realizing the gravity of the situation, the TV’s were turned back on. I wasn’t like anyone was doing any work anyway.

I remember thinking about what an incredibly tough engineering feat it was going to be to fix the towers. I was assuming that they would eventually get the fire under control and the remaining damaged upper structure would have to be removed and rebuilt. It didn’t occur to me that the entire tower could collapse until it did. And then the other one fell.

I remember going for a walk with one of my co-workers and friend. He had a family and expressed concern for their safety. We noted the lack of vapor trails in the sky and when we heard a helicopter somewhere in the distance it just fed our fear of what was to come.

They let us go at 1:00. On the way home, my girlfriend called and wanted me to come over – she didn’t feel like she could be alone. I went over and we sat on her couch and watched TV and cried. After 2 hours of that we couldn’t take it anymore and turned the TV off and went for a long walk. The city had an eerie quiet hush. We walked until it started to get dark and we realized we were hungry. Walking by a retirement home on our way home an elderly resident sitting on a bench asked me if I was going to go sign up [for the military] tomorrow. I said if they’d take me, I’d go.

I still feel that way.

Regardless of what you think about our present situation, it’s important to never forget how you felt that day. For if enough of us forget, extremists will certainly provide us with another reminder at the cost of even more innocent lives.

I know that every year around this time, on any one of a handful of beautiful super clear blue sky days, I’ll remember…

Posted by Clancy at 9:05 AM

September 9, 2004

Jeopardy Co-Host Announces Retirement

Well, OK not really.

It is being reported that Ken Jennings finally loses at Jeopardy after his 75th game and 2.5 million in winnings. There was no comment from the LDS church regarding their expected windfall considering their normal tithe…

Posted by Clancy at 3:52 PM

Tactical Victory?

Kevin at Wizbang links to a story from the Tallahassee Democrat that proclaims that knocking Nader off the Ballot in Florida is “a tactical victory for John Kerry.”

Unfortunately, this proclamation assumes that the standard Nader voter is just a dumb rube and eliminating Nader will force them to vote for Kerry. But I disagree…

People who may have been planning to vote for Nader will have 4 choices.

They vote for Kerry.
They vote for Bush.
They vote for someone else.
Or, they just don’t vote.

Suppose for a minute you were a Nader supporter – would you vote for Kerry knowing that his minions were responsible for your man losing his place on the ballot? Or would you hold your nose and vote for Bush as a big f-u to the Kerry a-holes?

Posted by Clancy at 3:35 PM

September 3, 2004

Thumper Meets World

In this post I promised more. How's this for more?

Thumper – this is the world. World – this is Thumper.

Please excuse the poor picture quality. This was the best I could do with a small 300 dpi black and white image on thermal paper.

If you look real close at the black circle in the middle you can make out a head, the torso and an arm. Thumper is 21 mm long (or is that tall?) and 9 week old! (Yeah, I know it’s a bit early, but I suck at keeping secrets!)

I’m gonna be a daddy!!!!!!! Which obviously implies that GF is gonna be a mommy!! Mere words cannot begin to express our happiness.

Posted by Clancy at 12:20 AM | Comments (6)

September 2, 2004

Equal Time

See - I do listen to the other side!!! Just check out what Liberal Larry (at Blamebush) has to say:

Since the dawn of history, the ultimate goal of war has always been to kill to enemy and crush his spirit until he submits to your will. As a consequence, billions of lives have been lost, and valuable resources have been wasted furthering the cause of Western imperialism. It wasn't until Vietnam that the world realized the best way to avoid pointless death and destruction is to discard the primitive concept of defeating the enemy, and instead focus on "winning the peace" through the determined pursuit of a complete stalemate.

If it is our imperialistic arrogance and jingoistic pride that causes wars, then it's also America's historical insistence on military superiority that prevents it from relying on diplomatic means to resolve conflicts. Where collaboration and appeasement would insure an everlasting peace, the U.S. military-industrial complex rushes to war, resorting to knee-jerk retaliatory and pre-emptive attacks on weaker nations that unfairly result in an unequal distribution of casualities. How can we Win the Peace when the enemy's dead and wounded exponentially outnumbers that of our own?

Go read the rest of it!! I think Larry has actually managed to explain Senator Kerry's entire platform.

(Thanks to Susie)

Posted by Clancy at 3:55 PM | Comments (1)


Helen writes about breakups today (among other things) and she inspired me to tell this long winded story:

Several years ago I was introduced (via email) to an incredibly interesting women (to keep this coherent, I will call her Marie). We traded a few emails and were working on coordinating our schedules to finally meet when another friendship took a romantic turn and sparked intense feelings. I had been genuinely excited to meet Marie, but in light of my present situation the only thing I could do was break it off, and I did. To make matters worse, Marie had sent me her picture and was convinced when I broke it off that it was because of her picture. She sent me an angry email in reply.

The friendship-turned-romantic-interest sputtered along (twice) for the next 5 months before dying in a heap of flames in a small cold cabin in Lake Placid New York 2 days before New Years.

A month or so later, cleaning out old emails (I keep some forever, I think) I stumbled across emails from Marie. I re-read them with interest and wondered if she was still around and available. I sent a tentative email and explained the first “breakup.” (Do cyber relationships even count?) Whatever I wrote, I must have been convincing because this time we actually met. And we really hit it off well. We talked and talked and talked some more. All in all, it lasted 6-7 weeks and was starting to get serious (I’m somewhat old fashioned when it comes to serious relationships) when she gave me the; “It’s me” line. I didn’t understand it and I didn’t accept it real well either. I’d been dumped before – can you say Lake Placid – but this was somehow different.

I went through an ugly period after that. It wasn’t related to Marie, it was all my doing, but I skimmed along the edge of depression for a while and took part in several less than healthy relationships. I was trying to clean myself up and break away from the unhealthy relationships when I got a really long email from Marie. She apologized for the last break-up and explained that she’d done some serious introspection and could explain what happened and really wanted the opportunity to do so.

So we did. We had several dates and things were looking up when another person I had had interest in and had been talking (before Marie Part 2) too finally reciprocated the interest. She and I hit it off very well and in an extremely short period of time. All of this made me start questioning myself about Marie – if I really had a thing for Marie, why would I have been so strongly drawn to this other person so quickly. I didn’t want to string both of them along, that wasn’t healthy or fair and nothing good could come of it. I knew I had to cut one of them loose. And Marie was coming over for dinner.

I tried to carry on like nothing was wrong, but Marie was pretty smart and she saw through me. After dinner I confessed that something wasn’t right. I didn’t know what it was but something wasn’t right. She got upset, blamed herself for the last breakup and left in tears. And I felt like dog-doo. OK, worse than dog-doo. And karma being what it is, the other relationship turned sour almost immediately thereafter.

A week after Marie left in tears, I was checking some seldom used email accounts when I found and email from Marie that was already 3 or 4 days old. I don’t remember exactly what the email said, but I do remember one line. She wrote that we seemed we have different paths to take in life but if I ever found that the road led back to her, that I should dare to take it.

Six months unhealthy dead-end relationships later I turned 34 years old. I had spent the day before my birthday with my mother and when she asked about women and relationships I told her about Marie. I had been thinking about Marie for about two weeks before, but I was still undecided about what to do. I had even started composing an email to Marie, but it was languishing unfinished in my draft folder at home. I knew she’d left the door open, but I didn’t dare want to hurt her again. I didn’t want to risk knocking unless I was sure I was willing to walk through the door…

That day at work, I got an email from Marie:

'Gone' doesn't mean forgotten. Happy Birthday - may the year bring all that's best.

- It seems I’ve written about this part before. Marie (not her real name) is GF (also not her real name). -

And more of the story goes on here.

And there’s even more, but for that you’ll have to wait a little while longer…

But only until tomorrow!

Posted by Clancy at 11:32 AM | Comments (2)