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Posted by on Oct 19, 2012 in Blog, Travel, What's Left | 0 comments

My Great Privilege — Meeting a World War II Veteran

American Veteran Photo

 

In few more years, they’ll be gone.

Every one of them.

The millions who marched on foot across a continent and who sailed the high seas some 70 years ago are slowly but surely leaving us.  They pass away at the rate of thousands per year, which will gradually come to a few hundred, and then to a trickle.  In another decade or so, they will be no more.

They are what has been called “the Greatest Generation.”

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Posted by on Oct 11, 2012 in Blog, Personal, What's Left | 1 comment

How Is This Possible? Three Laptops Destroyed in Six Days!

 

Me and laptops don’t get along.

I average approximately three laptops per year.  What this means is — I somehow manage to lose or destroy about three laptops every 12 months.  Given those dismal odds, I started buying refurbished laptops a few years ago — which refers to discounted merchandise that went through hell and was returned to the store usually by some lying scumbag who pretty much did a war dance on the keyboard and then blamed the computer for suddenly “not working.”

Things got so bad for awhile, that I resorted to buying used laptops off of Craig’s List — which is really scrapping the bottom of the barrel.  I figure — why spend $795 paying retail at the store when you can fork over $250 for a used machine from some thief that will probably last just as long?

You’ve already read what happened to my new Acer while visiting France.  I bought that machine at Costco for $695.  It lasted only a month before some punk walked into my hotel and stole it.  Read the story here:  WHERE’S INSPECTOR CLOUSEAU WHEN YOU NEED HIM?

So this week, as soon as I got back home, I returned to Costco again and bought the same Acer model that had been pilfered in Cannes.

This one lasted a day.

Even worse, I somehow managed to destroy my backup HP mini-laptop — the one I use in case of emergencies.  You know, such as when something goes wrong with the primary laptop.

How this happened is a marvel not to be believed.  Here it goes:

Wednesday afternoon I was busy installing files onto both laptops — the new 16-inch Acer and the older 12-inch HP.  The laptops were plugged into the wall and sat on the floor beneath my office desk.

Marieta usually makes me a tumbler full of some kind of cocktail during the late afternoon.  The tumbler is actually a stainless steel mixer that’s commonly used as a shaker by bartenders.  At home, I prefer my cocktails served in a giant tumbler which stays colder longer because its made of metal rather than glass.

I have absolutely no idea how the following happened.  But we do own two cats — Alex and Faro — and they’re both now serious suspects.  I sat the 20-ounce tumbler down on top of the desk and walked away.  Meanwhile, the two computers beneath the desk were downloading new programs.

When I returned a few minutes later, I saw a horrifying sight.  The empty tumbler was laying on its side.  Liquid was spilled all over the desk and was dripping down onto the two laptops beneath.  The carpeting was SOAKED.  Both laptops were open and had a puddles of liquid and ice cubes all over both keyboards.

It was not a pretty sight.

No big deal, I thought.

I grabbed a towel and padded down both laptops, hoping to soak up what remained of what would have been a delicious Rum Runner.  To my amazement, the Acer keyboard no longer worked.  Worse, the HP showed a black screen.  After rebooting both laptops several times, I feared the worst — an accidental spill had wiped out not just one, but two laptops — one of them not even 24 hours new out of the box.

A hectic web search on my wife’s desktop (she usually forbids me to touch her computer, for some reason) found one possible fix — holding a hair dryer over the keyboard and blowing hot air into the motherboard.  Supposedly, this dries out the liquid trapped inside.  I tried that.  It didn’t work.

I allowed the laptops to rest and dry out overnight; but when both laptops were turned on this morning, the results were exactly the same.  The bottom line was — two laptops had been destroyed in my faux home happy hour.

The HP appears to be fried.  Ruined.  Gone.  Oh well — no big loss.  I bought that unit for $140 off Craig’s List a year ago.

But the Acer was more problematic.  I’m not exactly sure what the warranty says about spilling cocktails onto the keyboard and the liability thereof, but I decided to chance it and try and return the laptop to Costco, hoping for an exchange.  This afternoon, I returned the Acer with the keyboard that mysteriously no longer works, with no questions asked.  For those out there in the market for a refurbished laptop, you may want to avoid a silver Acer if you lean over the keyboard and get a heavy whiff of Bacardi.

So, for those keeping score — that’s four computers destroyed in 2012.  And, I still have nearly three months left to go.

What you’re reading now is my first post on a brand new Acer, bought (you guessed it) at Costco.  In a few minutes, Marieta will be bringing me a Tennessee Highball, encased in my beloved silver tumbler.

If you don’t see me updating my blog for the next few days, you can pretty much guess what happened.  And keep those cats out of the office.

 

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Posted by on Sep 18, 2012 in Blog, What's Left | 0 comments

R.I.P. Steve Sabol — NFL Films

 

 

Pro football lost a giant of a man today.

He wasn’t a player.  He never coached.  You rarely saw his face.

But you must certainly know his astonishing body of work which spanned more the four decades, and which left an indelible impression on the game that’s now been America’s real ‘national pastime” for two generations.

Steve Sabol was the architect of NFL Films.  Together with his late father, Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Ed Sabol, the first family of NFL historians made football into something far more than just a game.

They made football into art.  Their productions were grand theater on the gridiron.  Many of their shows were inspirational and epic.  Everything they did set the bar higher, not just in sports journalism but in all media.

Their narrative often accompanied by blaring trumpets, NFL Films programming was often better than the actual games they covered.  They created legends out of players and coaches most of us had never heard of.  They tore down myths.  Indeed, Steve Sabol wore many hats — writer, historian, filmmaker, journalist, announcer and marketer.  Everything he did showed pro football in a more interesting light.

Steve Sabel’s body of work is extraordinary.  Dating back to his early days as a rival-league AFL cameraman during the mid-1960s, Sabol used his natural talents and creative energies to push the bounds of sports coverage into something grander and greater.  He not only helped to transform many athletes into heroes and legends.  More important, he made them human.

All NFL fans everywhere owe a great debt of gratitude to the late Steve Sabol.  He passed away today at the age of 69.

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