Friday, December 29, 2006

Here's Donna's Christmas Village up on the entertainment unit. Actually, there were a few more pieces we couldn't fit, plus the 'skating ring' set.

If you go over to Shot's Shack you'll see a few more Christmas pictures there.

Not only Friday Cat Blogging (tm) but Pug blogging as well.

That's Chops, Marissa's dog checking me out; Wilber, Kristina's gift guard-cat; and Babie (who shares the apartment with Donna and me) with her new catnip mouse (a Christmas gift from her Dad).

These were all taken on Christmas day.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I was sorry to learn of the passing of former President Gerald Ford when I woke up this morning. Even though I certainly didn't agree with all of his decisions, I honestly believe that he made them with only the best interests of the country, as he saw them, in mind. The pardon of Nixon obviously will always the major thing for which he will be remembered.

Donna and I send our deepest sympathy to his wife and family on this sad occasion.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Just a quick note this beautiful morn to wish one and all a very, Happy Holiday & Merry Christmas!

Hope you get to spend the day with family and/or friends, doing whatever your heart desires. Mind the 'nog and don't get behind the reins of your sleigh if you've had a bit too much Christmas Cheer!

Friday, December 22, 2006

It's hard to believe that in a month I'll be celebrating four years of doing this blog. In the next few weeks I plan on trying to make a few changes in its appearance and content. I also hope to get back to posting on a more regular basis, even if only a few lines several days a week. I've been told by several folks that they keep track of me (and Donna, of course) via the blog. I'm a notoriously bad correspondent!

I may also change a couple of things at Shot's Shack, but only in regards to the links. Several are outdated and haven't changed since I originally linked to them. I may even add one or two.

Since I don't post as frequently as before, I sometimes feel that talking about a certain political or social event is a waste of time. Generally, a couple of days have already passed since it was in the news or I've already seen a dozen other bloggers saying pretty much what I would (although in a much more intelligent and knowledgeable manner).

That being said, I believe that we may be seeing some radical changes taking place in Iraq in the New Year. I don't know exactly what, but the events of the last few months seem to be leading up to something major. I would not rule out a coup or at least a major change in the Iraqi government, as it is now configured. I have to admit that I don't know how an increase of American troops into the country would effect things, for better or worse. I also have to state that I don't know how I feel about that.

You could make the case that putting more troops into Baghdad, even temporarily, might aid in keep those already there safer. However, what then?

I don't know that an rapid withdrawal is the best answer, since it would cause a horrible situation for any coalition troops or Iraqi citizens who worked with/for our forces left behind. Those of a certain age will well remember the footage of the our final days in Vietnam, with troops and civilians all trying to get on the last few planes & helicopters.

That being said, I think that it's time to gradually begin redeploying both American and allied units. Certain areas in Iraq are beyond the ability of our troops to keep secure. Week-long sweeps, followed by withdrawal have proven ineffective as various factions simply move back in. It might be that all we can do is to ensure that the citizens of Baghdad remain safe in their homes from attack. Perhaps, if we can do that things will settle down long enough to allow a further decrease in all non-Iraqi military.

Better minds than mine are working on all this, so I think these will be my final comments on the situation until after the new Congress begins meeting in January.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I've made a few changes to links over on the Left. Don't have anything against those particular folks or organizations but it was getting pretty long. As I haven't had much time lately to keep up with as many blogs I felt cutting down on the links wouldn't hurt anyone. The political blogs are easy to locate either from links from those I kept up or from searching on topics in which you're interested.

For those who may be interested in what I have to say, over at Shot's Shack you can find my latest (and possibly last) book review for the Joe Bob Briggs folks. I explain the reasons over there as well. Plus I've removed the Joe Bob link from here and moved it to Shot's Shack, since that's more popular culture oriented than this one.

By the way, my first day training with Orange County Public Library was pretty easy. The folks there couldn't be nicer, Brian & Roxanne especially. I'll let you know how things progress.

Monday, December 04, 2006

No interviews scheduled yet this week, but I'm having my fingerprints taken this Wednesday as part of the background check for both Orange County & Mission Viejo. I'll also start my training with OCPL next Monday, so that's a positive sign. Also, both the City of Carlsbad & Long Beach have informed me that I've gotten through the first phase and will be considered for full-time positions. Fingers remained crossed, if a bit numb.

One strange thing was that OCPL has you to take an 'oath' when you're hired. You have to swear (or affirm) that you'll uphold the Constitution against the usual suspects. It was like joining the Navy again and something I've never had to do for a civilian job before.

Once again, the fires you've read about are northeast of us and we're in no danger. On the other hand both rattlesnakes and cougars have been sighted in the Ladera Ranch area. Sadly, a coyote was struck and killed by a car about a half mile from here. Personally, all Donna and I have spotted have been the occasional rabbit in the early evenings out back.

Donna and I had a very enjoyable Thanksgiving with Marisa's family up north of here. In fact, rather near the areas now being threatened by the fires. We'll be returning the favor come Christmas with Donna doing the cooking honors at Kristina & Marisa's place.

Sorry, for not being a more regular poster lately. Once I have a job and more regular hours, I'm going to make an attempt to get here at least every few days. Speaking of which, I want to apologize for not keeping up on my blog scanning either. The only ones I seem to get to are by Elayne Riggs and Mark Evanier, plus Tony Isabella sends me his TOTs a few days early.

In case you're wondering, the seismic activity has been increasing the past few weeks. There have even been a couple of 4.0 events here in SoCal, but nothing to shake us out of bed yet. :-)

Seismo says:"Keep a flashlight in your nightstand."

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Donna and I want to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

It's a bit overcast, but will be in the 70s here today. We're having dinner with Kristina, Michael and Merissa at Merissa's parents. That will be about a two hour drive north of here, but should be a nice day overall.

I'll try to fill you in on everything tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

How could I NOT post something about O.J. Simpson today? I'm sure you've all heard about the up-coming television interview and book, "I didn't kill her, but IF I did this is how I did it." (or something like that)

What advise, if any, is the guy being given that he would agree to take part in something like this? It can't be simply a matter of money, since O.J. seems to be leading a pretty damn nice lifestyle despite 80% of the American public thinking he murdered two people. Does he really miss the attention and public focus this much?

I think the folks at Harper-Collins should be ashamed of themselves, but as they are owned by Robert Murdoch's corporation, I doubt they had much real say in the matter. While I don't think I'll be watching the actual interview, I'm sure that I'll read & hear more than enough from other sources to be able to get the main points.

Lastly, I can't believe that anyone, least of all The Juice, thinks that this will change the way anybody feels about him. If anything, I suspect, it would push some of those on the fence over to the "GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY" side.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A few photos from the Veteran's Day tribute
Donna & I attended in Mission Viejo, this past Saturday.

The American Heroes group produces large poster size memorials of U.S. troops killed in Iraq & Afghanistan. Copies are given to family members and the larger posters are displayed in schools, institutions and in public memorials such as this. It was quite moving as you can imagine.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I'll experiment with the "new" Blogger tomorrow, but wanted to just post quickly.

Happy Veteran's Day to my fellow vets! Whatever the period in which you served, you have our respect and eternal thanks for what you have done. For those still in uniform you have our appreciation for a sometimes thankless job, often far from family and loved ones. May you return home soon!

Donna and I attended a local salute to the men & women who have served in uniform earlier. I intend to post some photos tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Boy, on top of the great victory of so many Dems yesterday, we get the surprise departure of Rumsfeld. Appeared that some reporters were (rightfully or not) upset that G.W. lied to them (according to how you view his statements last week) about Donald Rumsfeld remaining in his position. I watched both the Presidential news conference this morning and the later presentation of Bob Gates as the Sec. of Defense nominee. Pretty damn interesting television!

I actually spent a good part of last night (until around 11:15PM) and much of today, switching around from CNN to MSNBC, CSPAN, local stations and even for laughs Fox News. Absolutely fascinating stuff all over the place. Great seeing the talking heads switching gears as the results began coming in and even this morning when the announcement was made.

Interesting that while Da Arnold easily retained his office he had no 'coattails' to speak off when it came to state-wide offices. Except for the position of Insurance Commissioner, which went to a Republican (beating a Dem accused of taking large amounts of cash from the insurance industry), Democrats won most of the high-profile spots. Senator Feinstein easily won re-election and former governor Jerry Brown was elected to the Attorney General post.

Back in New York it really wasn't a surprise to see Hillary Clinton easily get re-elected, despite her being hated by some pretty powerful folks. It's on to '08!

Most of the Propositions went down to defeat, but some transportation related ones supported by the Governor and many Dems passed.

On the job front, I appear to have got an "On-Call Librarian" spot here in Orange County and should start training in a week or so. Another interview, for a similar position, seemed to go pretty well also.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Feel real good about today's interview, but we won't know for at least another week. I have two more scheduled this week. On the plus side, Donna will be starting her new job on the 20th.

Since everybody else in the blogosphere has made some prediction I might as well get in my two cents.

I expect the Democrats to be the majority in the House, but by not as much as we'd like to see. It will be difficult, should the GOP members vote as a bloc, to begin any serious investigations on just what has been going on in the Defense Dept. and the White House for the past six years. Also, you know that his Smugness and Master Dick will do all they can to obstruct any type of oversight into their actions.

Sadly, I don't believe the Dems will have quite enough seats to regain the Senate, although it will cut down on the clout of some GOP members. Given some moderates still among the Republicans I think that changes could be brought about unless the split is such that Master Dick has the deciding vote.

Here at Chez Chaput we'll be splitting our votes among Democrats, Greens and the Peace & Freedom Party. Actually, I'm the one going for Third Parties in those cases where I have decided to vote against any incumbent. We're also voting for some of the Propositions & Measure, against others. I won't bore you with which tonight.

Unless things look especially nasty early tomorrow evening (remember the three hour difference) from New York, I don't expect to have any comments until Wednesday. I just know that some of you will actually be interested. :-)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

You would think that being 'between jobs' I'd have much more time to blog, but I'm finding that looking for work seems to be taking up a lot of my time.

Had one interview this past Monday, but I'm not sure how it went. I think I'm too old in some cases or come across as too Nu Yawk in others, if you know what I mean. I have three interviews scheduled for next week, both at public and academic libraries. Two are for part-time/on-call positions but I'd like to think that those would be a foot-in-the-door to full-time.

Still waiting to hear from several other places, where I've done phone interviews. Yet another place has informed me that my resume has been passed along to the Hiring Manager, so I'll take that as a positive note. Should I even get an interview at this last place I'd feel that I was moving to a whole different level in my career. I'd like to think of it as a "dream job", but that might put a jinx on the thing. Trust me, I'll let you know if I do get called in and you'll never believe it in a million years!

Quick political comments....

Senator Kerry, please get a professional joke writer next time, okay?

To paraphrase one of those 'man on the street' comments in today's paper: "Kerry's not running for anything, so who cares?"

In all my years in Brooklyn & in Connecticut suburbs I've never the number of election signs endorsing one candidate or ballot measure as I do here in The OC. If you see one sign in a yard, you'll easily see a half dozen in the next one. Surprisingly I have only spotted a couple of bumperstickers on cars, but have seen several people standing on corners twirling banners with the names of candidates.

Speaking of which, the concept of 'spinners' is new to me. Apparently, businesses (geneally real estate agents it seems) hire folks to stand at intersections twirling large signs advertising a sale or 'open house.' You even see them listed as a job in the Classified section of the local papers. Most seem to be young men or teenage boys, but I have spotted a few females. Occasionally they'll where a silly hat or something to further get your attention and I even saw one Santa Claus the other day.

Have I mentioned how much I love California?

Friday, October 27, 2006

If you check out the Comments section in my post of yesterday (10/25) you'll find a link sent by Blue Gazelle to photos of the Riverside County fire. The local paper had some also, along with a map of the affected area, but the pictures at the link pretty much tell the tale.

The smell of smoke is even stronger today, Michael says he can even smell it up in Laguena Niguel. Besides the four dead firefighters a 'civilian' has also been killed, making the arsonist into a killer as well. The FBI, along with state & local police are investigating the situation with a $100, 000 reward being offered for the capture and conviction of this low-life (or perhaps more than one).

Maybe I've been listening to my old friend S.H.Otis too much lately, but I said to Donna that I think they should turn the arsonist over to the firefighters BEFORE placing her/him under arrest.

Speaking of S.H., he's really pushing a NO on Prop 86.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

In case any of you were wondering, the Twin Pines fires in SoCal are more than fifty miles northeast of us here in Ladera Ranch. Still the sky is murky and you can smell smoke if you go outside. Apparently, according to the Dallas Raines (the weatherman on Channel 7) wind conditions are blowing the smoke this way towards the ocean. Sadly, four firemen have already lost their lives the first day of this fire, which is the result of arson.

Although I was familiar with the Santa Anna winds, I had never heard of the 'red flag warnings' which go along with it. It's been very dry of late and the winds can easily spread any sparks, whipping them into something dangerous.

On the job front, I've heard bad news from one job and am waiting to hear about at least three others. I have one interview with a public library scheduled for next Monday and another the following week. Between the two I hope to be hearing from two different colleges, plus I'm doing another stint at Southern California Institute of Technology next week.

Oh, and remember that we've NEVER been about "Stay the Course" no matter what you may have heard!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Just quickly checking in to let you folks now how things are going. Sadly, not much has changed since last time. Neither of us has a full-time job yet, but we both have done interviews and are waiting to hear back. We're also both sending out resumes via e-mail and fax to just about any place which might be interested.

I went to a Job Fair in Irvine yesterday which was pretty much of a waste of time, plus it cost me six bucks to park my car after being told it was free. Won't be going to a job fair held by these particular folks again!

The only quick political note I have is that I am totally confused by the various ballot initiatives out here. Hard to get all the Propositions & Measures straight, let alone sifting through all the pros & cons. I think I'm voting YES on 86 and NO on 87, but that might only be until the next round of ads. If I have it right I'm voting for Big Tobacco on one and against Big Oil on the other. I know I'm agreeing with Bill Clinton and Al Gore, so whatever side they are on that's who'll get my vote. I'm kind of a Democratic whore on that, I guess.

I'm really not sure what to think about extending Measure M, so if you can help me out on that I'd appreciate it. It is supposed to continue the taxes which are used to improve the highways out here, of which I'm becoming a real fan. Wider and faster!!!

By the way, Seismo says we should have a "preparation party" to ensure we're ready for earthquakes. Hard to argue with a dog dressed like an Australian soldier (or whatever he is supposed to be).

That's if for now, mates!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Began working a part-time job yesterday at a vocational college in Anaheim. They needed someone on staff with an MLS and I was lucky enough to have posted my resume with an agency only a day or so before.

Had an interview in Newport Beach today and also got a call from Ontario for a follow-up to my initial one last week. Tomorrow we'll see how I do with a telephone interview with a local college. Things do seem to be looking up.

Donna and I had a nice meal with Michael, Kristina and Marisa last evening in Newport Beach. (That's the two of them on a recent cruise to Mexico.) Went to the Melting Pot to celebrate Kristina's b-day with fondue. I can't recall the last time I had fondue, but remember my first wife, Betsy, loved it so we used to go to a place in Boulder when we lived there.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

It's been years since I've subscribed to a newspaper, or even picked one up on a daily basis (not counting the freebies like AM New York). Working at the library I had access to the four major NYC papers plus lots of local & weekly ones as well. We have been buying the Sunday OC Register since moving out here to check out the Classifieds for jobs, so when the paper offered a special discount if you got the Saturday & Sunday papers delivered so we decided to take advantage.

I have to admit that I generally only skim the editorials and Op/Ed stuff, since I'm about 180 degrees politically from were the paper stands on most issues. Out here the NY Times would look like the Village Voice. It is good to keep up on the local and statewide events going down and also to read some articles on national & international stories which tend to be missed by the television news shows.

I'm finding it very interesting to try and get a grasp on the measures & propositions coming up for votes next month, there appear to be a dozen or so. Naturally, the ones getting the most air time have to do with Props 86 & 87, which deal with a higher tobacco tax and pushes for alternative energy vs Big Oil, respectively. the OC Register has let me know about some other things, such as Prop 89 on campaign reform and Prop 90 which deals with Eminent Domain. You would think you could guess how I'm siding on all these, but you might be surprised.

Oh, before I forget!

The Sunday OC Register has a great column that I never would have seen in New York. Called "Seismo-Watch" it looks at the seismic activity of the preceeding week. There's a map showing all the 'events' and a 'local activity' scoreboard. I really get a kick out of the column's mascot, which is a dog in a ranger outfit called (ready for it?), Seismo. This week Seismo says: "Shake the earthquake blues and be prepared!" Apparently, we're going through a lull right now with only minor events, but writer/geologist Charles P. Watson reminds us that the last time a similar lull occured it ended with the Northridge Quake of '94. Cool, huh?

Back to the election...

I wasn't familiar at all with Phil Angelides, who is the Democrat running against Da Arnold for Governor. Sadly, he really isn't making a great show of it and most folks think that Schwarzenegger will be re-elected. Hard to believe given the Governor's low poll numbers a few months ago. Seems that Angelides & the Dems are trying to paint Schwarzenegger with the "Bush" brush, but it isn't really working. As disliked as the President may be, the current Governor has enough distance in his many of his positions so you can't mistake one for the other, despite the Dems worst ads. Personally, I think the anti-Angelides ads the Republicans have been running which use the Rove-ish 'flip-flop' thing on poor Phil appear to be more effective.

The only person I know I'm going to vote for, rather than against, this time out is Jerry Brown. The former California Governor and Presidential candidate is running for Attorney General. The worst his enemies seem to be able to come up with is that Brown is anti-Death Penalty. Considering my own warbling feelings on the issue, it won't prevent me from giving my vote to Linda Ronstadt's former beau.

I'll probably have some more political ramblings before Election Day, so stay tuned.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Like to keep you all updated on the work search out here. I've had two interviews here this past week. One a kind of 'walk-in', where I handed my resume to a the librarian who is hiring 'substitute/part-time' librarians in this section of Orange County. The other, this morning, was with the city of Ontario, which seemed to go pretty well. Fingers crossed!

I've got at least two more interviews scheduled for the next few weeks and have been sending out resumes like mad all over the place. Also, my resume posted on the ALA site actually got me a call from Tacoma, WA which I found kind of funny. I was actually stationed there for a few months in early 1970 while part of the commissioning detail for the USS Shreveport.

The weather here has been beautiful the last couple of days, cool in the evenings and short sleeve during the day. The Saddleback Range looks like it may have some snow on the very top peaks, at least from where we view it.

We are heading out to a Chili Cookoff tomorrow, which supports some animal shelter & rescue groups in the area. I'm really curious to see, smell & taste some of the entries, as I'm a big chili lover. Now that I know that this event is held I'm tempted to see if I might sign up to compete next year. I make a dynamite chili, which is actually a slightly different version of a recipe I was given years ago by Babs Prisco. I still call it Bab's Chili in my recipe file.

I was going to get into some political stuff, but decided at the last minute that other blogs and the talking-heads on TV have pretty much drained the life from the Mark Foley story. Heck, even Court TV is getting into the act so you know things are bad! To be honest, it doesn't seem that Foley broke any existing laws or actually had physical contact with underage boys, but the whole thing is pretty sleazy. The GOP isn't doing themselves any favors by attempting to shift the blame unto the Dems by saying it is all political. The House GOP leadership brought this on by not acting appropriately months (if not years ago).

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Hey, kids! Remember me?

It's been a hectic week here in Ladera Ranch. I've been attending workshops on resume writing, interviewing, networking and all types of things which supposedly should get me hired. Or at least beyond the HR door! I already have a couple of interviews scheduled, so let's all hope that things will work out and soon. I "graduated" on Friday and will be volunteering with Experience Unlimited a few hours each week until I get hired. It's a great program, sponsored by the state of California and held at various "One Stop Centers" here in The OC.

The weather out here continues to be nice, but that shouldn't surprise anybody familiar with California. We only had one rainy day here the past month, and that was only early in the morning. The last couple of days have been a tad chillier and I actually used the heater to clear the rear windows.

Had a great time last Sunday, when my old Navy buddy Jeff and his fiance, Sue, came down to visit. I haven't seen Jeff since we served on the Waddell together in the mid-70's. Boy, did he look older! :-)

I was happy to find the Los Angeles 'progressive' station KTLK on the AM dial, since I was missing my daily Air America fix. I'm now a big fan of Stephanie Miller and her morning crew. It was a surprise to hear Ed Schultz the first time, since I thought I had tuned into Rush by accident. Initially the speech pattern and voices are very similar, so it took me a couple of minutes to realize it was safe to listen.

If I get a few more free minutes this weekend I'm going to post some comments about the new TV season and such over on Shot's Shack. All the new and returning shows have debuted yet, but I do have some thoughts about what I've seen so far.


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Not a whole heck of a lot to add since last time. Still sending out resumes and contacting various places for employment. Fingers crossed that something will turn up soon.

Donna and I both passed out California driver's exam this past week. Not a surprise for Donna, who used to live here, but I was delighted to only miss three questions out of the 36 on the test. You could get six wrong, so I guess I did a bit better than some other folks with whom I'll be sharing the roads.

Speaking of which, we also got our second car. We bought an extra car from Donna's younger sister & her husband, so we now have the Vue and an SL2 (both Saturns). This is actually the fifth Saturn we've owned, two of which we traded in and the other I drowned. (If I haven't told that story in a while, let me know!)

Believe it or not, I actually had to put on long pants for the first time (not counting for interviews) yesterday, as it was a bit chilly. I've been living in t-shirts & shorts since we moved out here and I've gotten a bit spoiled by that.

I don't think I mentioned this last time out, but I've gotten back in touch with an old shipmate of mine from my second Navy hitch. Jeff K. tracked me down via the 'net and after speaking on the phone a few times we've made plans to actually get together next weekend. I can't wait! Jeff and I were very close when we served on the USS Waddell together in San Diego during the mid-70s. Sadly we lost track of each other, briefly connecting in the '80s but then not staying in touch. Hope this time things work out differently, as we have twenty plus years of ex-wife stories to swap. :-)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Couldn't let the anniversary of the WTC tragedy go unmarked, but I'm not going to use it to be all political. We'll see if the President can keep his word and not turn his Oval Office speech into a campaign soapbox.

It doesn't seem like five years have passed since I got a phone call from Donna, who was at work, telling me that a plane had hit the first tower. By the time we got the television in the UNH library going we witnessed the second plane hitting. Only a couple of hours later I was at home watching with the rest of the world and waiting for Donna to get home from work, as she stayed (since she had heard from her family in NY and they were all well).

Are we safer today than we were back then? Not by much in my book, but I'm not an expert by any means. Although I do wonder how you get to be a 'terrorism' expert? It must pay pretty well since there are so many of them on television. Hell, I've got my military background and a Masters degree! Shouldn't that get me a few minutes on Fox?

Still now news on the job front, but I'm still sending out resumes (both via the Post Office & electronically) so something will eventually turn up, I'm sure. Going to be heading over to the Job Center here in Orange County to chat with one of the Veteran's reps, just so see if that gets anything moving. Might be time for one of those career shifts away from the library field, although I really would hate to do that at this late stage. I have sent out a couple of resumes to places looking for managerial types without an MLS to play things safe.

Also, waiting to get the second car out here in a couple of days, which will let Donna and I get around seperately should something turn up for either of us.

I'll keep you posted and will try to drop by here at least once a week if I can.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Nothing really to report on the job front, although I've been sending out lots of resumes. I have one interview this afternoon in Laguna Niguel, about which I'm nervous. I'll try to tell you how that goes as soon as I know.

We just got out internet hook up yesterday, so I hope to be posting a bit more often. It will also be nice to check on e-mail and the classifieds without going down the hall to the 'library.'

It is kind of cool to be sitting here at the computer looking out over the patio and viewing the arroyo. Early in the morning, before the fog burns off you can't even see across (about a mile) to the other homes facing us. At night you can only see a few house lights burning and nothing in between. It's easy to imagine at those times what this area must have been like a hundred years ago, with only ranches and open range. The arroyo narrows here, but looking south you can see miles of open & uninhabited country (not counting the power lines & repair roads, of course).

Donna and I have been busy unpacking and putting stuff away, so there are only a few boxes left. We hope to have fewer with the entertainment unit put together and the computer desk set up. Still have some boxes of books (not counting my four long comic boxes in the closet), so we will probably get a small bookcase for the living room.

That's it for now, but I'm going to try to post some stuff over on Shot's Shack later, just so folks skimming that will have something new.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Hey! Did you miss me?

The past week has been pretty hectic as you can imagine, so blogging has pretty much dropped from my activity list. Once we get our own computer up and running I’ll try to get back to posting on a regular basis. I’m typing this on the apartment complex computer in the “library”. I also had to put together an updated resume and a couple of sample flyers for a five-minute presentation I had to give at an interview. I suppose I should be happy to have this at my disposal to begin with.

While our car was shipped ahead, and Kristina even met us at the airport with it, our furniture and most of our belongings still won’t be out here for at least a week. I don’t even want to get into that, since we are pretty upset. Fortunately, we had planned on buying a lot of stuff once we got here to begin with, but still our bed, computer, television sets and the majority of our clothing, etc. are just now making their way cross country.

The three of us (me, Donna & Babie) survived our flight out on Jet Blue. The tranquilizers we gave Babie worked just fine and the Benedryl the vet recommended also helped her with the flight. I wish I had been that calm and got to sleep the entire flight. Donna also slept, while I drank coffee and watched several episodes of BAND OF BROTHERS on the History Channel.

I’ll let you know more about how things went when I get a chance. Right now I want to check out some job sites, but I just wanted to let you know that we’re doing okay.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Here's a picture of Terramore Aquatic Park, which is near us in Ladera Ranch. I know it's mostly for kids, but I think Donna and I may check it out during our first week.

It's hard to believe that in just two days I'm going to have to consider myself a Californian and not a New Yorker.

I'm leaving work in a couple of hours and don't really know when I'll get a chance to post anything. It may well be more than a week before we get our furniture (including the computer). I'll try to blog from the library or from Kristina's laptop (unless the battery blows up!), but until then I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy doing this. Hope we won't lose touch and you'll keep Donna & I in your thoughts.

I'm sure not going to miss the commute on the MTA everyday, that's for damn sure!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I have to admit that I was one of those folks who were convinced that it was the parents of JonBenet Ramsey who were responsible for her death. Guess many of us folks over on the True Crime group were way off on that one, huh?

Sadly, Mrs. Ramsey died before the murder of her daughter was officially solved, still under a cloud of suspicion. Fortunately, the rest of the Ramsey family can now have some closure.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

If you're trying to contact me try using the Comment option here. The folks at Verizon were simply supposed to cancel out DSL account and switch it to 'dial-up' so we could maintain our accounts until we got to California. Apparently they totally closed our account causing us to not only not have e-mail but also lose stuff saved in the files. Fortunately, Donna printed out a lot of the material (including our Jet Blue flight passes) or we really would have been in trouble.

To be honest, Donna hasn't been happy with Verizon since we got it, but we kept it because we also had out regular and cell phones with the company. In Ladera Ranch, we will gladly switch over to Cox.

Color us as dissatisfied Verizon customers!

Friday, August 11, 2006

I've been meaning to add a link to Thom Hartman's site for a couple of months now and finally got around to it. I enjoy listening to his Air America program on Saturday mornings on my way to work and have also liked those times he has filled in for other AA hosts. I especially enjoy when Thom has on spokespeople from conservative and right-wing organizations, usually poking holes through their arguements but allowing them to explain where they are coming from. It allows you to hear "the other side" which in itself makes his show a must.

Hartman is probably one of the most educated and well-read of the AA hosts and fully expect that he'll be the one stepping into Al Franken's shoes, should Al actually run for office in '08.

A few more shots of Heritage Park, from the 'official' website. The pics we took were pretty similar but it give you a nice idea of where the new Chez Chaput will be located.

It really is hard to believe that a week from today will be my last day here at QPL.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I wish I had remembered to bring a camera along on Tuesday night. Donna and I finally had a chance to get together with two of my former supervisors and friends. Sue Raboy & Mady Kiner were the Branch Manager and Assistant Branch Manager at my very first branch in Brooklyn, Sunset Park. I can't begin to tell you all the stories and memories we shared at dinner.

Along with Mady & Sue was Arnold, Mady's husband, all three of whom were among those who attended my wedding to the current Mrs. Riggs.

It really is hard to believe that I've known the three of them for twenty years at this point.

For those comics fans reading this who may wonder. Yes, Sue is indeed related to the late Mac Raboy, artist on Flash Gordon, Captain Marvel, Jr and plenty of other stuff.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Here's a photo from the 'active adult community' where we'll be living shortly. Hard to believe that in only a little over two weeks, Donna and I actually be there.

When we were in California a few weeks ago we saw a lot of places from Long Beach to West Hollywood and places in between. For a while it seemed we were going to be taking a place a few miles away, but financially this place worked out.

If I get a chance I'll try to post a few shots we took, but I wanted to give you an idea.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

According to the latest from CNN-- "Israeli forces are operating in Baalbeck area, northeast Lebanon -- about 50 miles from Lebanese capital, Beirut, and near border with Syria."

The whole situation is becoming uglier each day and there doesn't appear to be a resolution in sight. The Administration dragged its feet for way too long, thanks to the neo-Cons and their ties to certain groups.

At least that and Fidel's health issues have driven the Iraq civil war (and let's face it, it really has become that!) from the front page & evening news. G.W. & Co. can be thankful for that at least.

Good also to see the NYC tabloids find Mel and Christie much bigger news.

Monday, July 31, 2006

CALIFORNIA DREAMING is indeed becoming a reality here at Chez Chaput. I have given my 'official' notice to Queens Public Library and we have started packing up.

As things stand now Donna and I hope to be in SoCal by August 21 the latest. We already have an apartment (found during our trip out there the other week) which takes pets, so Babie is coming along for the ride. I may post some photos of the surrounding area in the next week, since we took a bunch while looking at different places.

Wanted you folks to be among the first to know.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

I may be jumping the gun here, as I haven't really officially announced this, but it looks like Donna and I will be moving soon. Not everything is in place but staying here in NY doesn't seem to be our best (or only) option.

I'll probably have more to say early next week, so I'll see you then unless something comes up worth blogging about.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Apparently G.W. took note of my blog post earlier and has changed his mind. Seems that Condi will be racking up some more frequent flyer miles and will have to curtail her shopping for Prada this weekend.

The comedy duo of Bush & Blair are doing boffo with their tag-team act and are taking it on the road, it seems.
Spotted this earlier this morning:

"BEIRUT (Reuters) - Intense Israeli bombardment killed 13 people in Lebanon on Friday, while U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she would return to the region only when the time was right for a lasting solution to the crisis."

And exactly at point would that be? Maybe after most of Beirut has been leveled and the entire infrastructure of the country destroyed?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I'm very sorry to report that the position I was hoping for in Los Angeles didn't come through. I received the call last evening and it pretty much put a damper on the evening as you can imagine. Sometimes these things just don't work out.

Donna and I are discussing our future here in New York. No quick decisions but we're leaning towards a move to the coast just the same. I'll keep you updated.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The expression "No news is good news" may or may not be generally true, but in my case not so much. Unfortunately, we don't have a definitive answer re the new job in California, so Donna & I continue to keep our fingers crossed. I hope that those of you wishing us well will do like wise.

I do want to thank Dr. Chang, Dawn, and the other members of the Braille Institute staff for allowing me to take up their time last Tuesday. They are very busy and being there for several hours, I'm sure, cut into the work they do. I really do hope to count myself as one of them in the near future.

On the other hand, Donna and I did do some apartment hunting while in the OC. While not thrilled by some of the places we saw initially, we found a couple of places in the Ladera Ranch area that really looked like places to settle down. I'm tempted to post some pics, but don't want to jinx anything.

I'll keep you all posted as the week progresses.

Friday, July 14, 2006

I expect all of you to do your best in preventing WWIII breaking out while I'm in California. I'll happily deal with the fires, earthquakes and mudslides if you'll keep atomic warfare from ruining my vacation.

Since I may not be able to post for the next week I wanted to share the Los Angeles skyline with you. Got no clue when this may have been taken, but it certainly must have been an unbelievably clear day, huh?

With any luck I'll have some news to report when I get back.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Well, the contractors are working on the A/C here at the library. It's really nice in the Adult room, but sadly the Children's Room was around 85 degrees at 9:30am. The unit hasn't worked properly since the branched re-opened in March. Earlier in the year, folks downstairs had to wear sweaters it was so cold, as there was no heat. Fingers crossed that they'll get the unit working properly by later today.

When I worked in Brooklyn the branch would be closed if the temperature went above or below a certain set mark. Here in Queens The Powers That Be have decided that employees can sit in the heat or cold, comforted by the possiblity that Administration may shell out a few extra dollars as Compenstation Pay. I doubt the folks at Central would sit in the conditions the branch staff works in each and every day.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Well, I'm sure the guillotine is being readied back in Paris. I actually watched a soccer game (not all of it since there was also a Mets game on at the same time) for the first time in years. I was really sorry to see French lose by only a penalty kick after a very good record.

Not much of a fan of this sport, as I've mentioned before, but had my reasons for rooting this time around.

The worst part is that here in Dyker Heights & Bensonhurst, as you can imagine, the locals are going crazy. Car horns, fireworks and drunks hanging out sunroofs and car window waving the red, white & green.

Hard to believe that this time next week Donna and I will be in California with The Child and her friends.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Interesting to discover the news of the death of Ken Lay this morning. While I have little sympathy for the man, considering what his actions did to the pensions and savings of hundreds (if not thousands) of working folk, I do feel badly for his family. I'm sure that the coming days will be hard enough without the bad jokes and other comments sure to be directed at Mr. Lay.

Speaking of which, The White House has announced that the President still doesn't know Mr. Lay, despite photographs and video reputed to exist.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

I know my might catch flack for this, but I'd like to give the folks folks reading my two blogs an early crack at comics & fanzines I'm clearing from my collection. I may be moving in the next few months, but even if we remain in Brooklyn I think it's time to weed out stuff I no longer want/need.

There's about ten comicbook long-boxes of stuff I'm getting rid of one way or the other.

The fanzines/magazines include stuff from the 1970s, i.e. a couple of issues of RBCC, GUTS, OMNIVERSE and others. I also have some copies of Comic Book Profiles, Amazing Heroes, etc. There are also some zines (pro & fan) on "B" movies & serials. Some of these are yellowing with a bit of water damage on a few.

The comics are mostly in Very Good or better condition, but that's according to my standards. Most are DC & Marvels from the 1980s-'90s, when I was collecting heavily. Many individual mini-series, and cross-over tie-ins. There are also a few 'underground/adult comics','anthropomorpics' and 'independents', including some 'ash cans'.

If you are interested in either or both lists I'll send them along as an attachment via e-mail.

Write me at:

Saturday, July 01, 2006

"It was twenty years ago today...."

Well, it was actually twenty years ago yesterday, but things were pretty hectic at work and I didn't have a chance to post. Still I didn't want a very important date in my life to go unnoticed.

On June 30, 1986 I was hired as a Librarian Trainee by the Brooklyn Public Library. After spending most of the day at Grand Army Plaza filling out forms and getting a brief indoctrination, I found myself at the Sunset Park branch of the library meeting Susan Raboy & Made Kiner, who would shepherd me through my first six months.

I can't begin to tell you the things that have happened over those twenty years. Good and bad, but leading me to where I am today for better or worse. :-)

Hats off to Ms. Raboy & Kiner for the friendship and guidance through everything that has happened.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Haven't had much to say about politics or other socially important issues of late, so I thought I'd mention a few things which I've noted recently.

Nice to see the Supreme Court show a bit of backbone, despite the packing of GOP faves. I'm sure those same Republican talking heads who spoke highly about the Justice's decision on the Texas redistricting, will now jump on them for not backing His Smugness on the Gitmo trials.

Do we really need to see Britney Spears all prego on the cover of a magazine? Of course, I felt the same way years ago about Demi Moore on showing all at Vanity Fair, so I'm probably in the minority.

Seems the Congress has snuck themselves another 'cost of living' raise, while denying again an increase in the Federal minimum wage. Meanwhile the Iraq War continues and the same Chicken Hawks get closer to an amendment banning flag burning. We'd all be much safer believe me, knowing you anarchists were finally put in your place!

Not sure if I'll be around for the November elections here in NY, but I'm probably going to vote for anybody who runs against Hillary in the Democratic primary. I'd like to see a 'real' Democrat stand up to her. Come the election, if I'm still eligible, I'll probably vote for HC just to ensure somebody with a Democratic label sitting in both NY seats.

I know any comments I make regarding Israel would just get me in trouble, so I'll only say that things seem to be getting worse there for all concerned.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Shots of the Unicorn Bar and the ice cream machine setup at the "adult" pool area of the Carnival Legend. Donna, Pete and I spent a number of hours in and out of the pool & hottub enjoying some relaxation time. This is also the vantage point from where Pete & I watched the initial hours of the search for the man who jumped overboard. Our stateroom was exactly one deck down from this point.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

This will only mean something to two people who read this blog. I had to explain it to one of them.

Yesterday, we were driving the Gowanis to pickup Donna's ex Michael, at LaGuardia Airport. I happened to look up at a bright red billboard and saw the following:

"I pooted!"

Nothing else on the sign.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The plane is part of the Coast Guard search for the man who jumped overboard. The sailing boat, privately owned we assume, also took part and sailed in the search for most of Saturday.

Thihs web pic showing the Legend leaving St. Thomas will give you an idea of from where the man jumped. His cabin was about mid-ships one deck over the lifeboats (which you'll see on either side of the mid-ship balcony cabins.

Our cabin was at the top deck, rear just one in from the right side as shown.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Shots from our pier in St. Thomas, including one of the U.S. Coast Guard craft which escorted us in and out.

Neither Donna or myself remember seeing these craft present on our past cruises, but the last time we were in St. Thomas our cabin was pier side so we might not have seen them.

I regret not taking my camera along to Megans Bay, since both the beach there and the journey back & forth were amazing. The beaches are on the other side of the island from downtown and the piers, so you have to travel through the hills which provide some beautiful, if sometimes nerve wracking photo ops.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

A couple of shots of Megans Bay I was able to find on the 'net. Believe me, this does not do the place justice. I easily compare Megans Bay to the beaches in the Bahamas any day.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Our Cruise, part 3

Donna and I have both been to St. Thomas several times in the past. The last time was while aboard the Celebrity Summit, the notorious cruise on which both us ended up with medical bills approaching a thousand dollars. Of the five ports the ship hit we were only able to get off on two, with St. Thomas (the last port) being the only one in which we spent several hours shopping and having lunch. As Donna’s knee was bothering her due to the incident in the tour bus the day before, she decided to spend the day relaxing aboard.

Pete, who had never been on a cruise, was excited at the prospect of heading to one of the local beaches. We had checked out several of the ‘shore excursions’ offered by Carnival, but most included shopping and site-seeing, neither of which interested either of us. The whole point was to spend several hours at a beach, relaxing and not being on the ship’s schedule. Also, the official tours started at around $39 per person with nothing included, except the admission to the beach.

Getting off the ship around 9:30am we found a number of open-air trucks with bench seats. The price chart listed Megan’s Bay, which we had been told was nice, at $10 per person so we decided to take our chances. It was the right choice!

Megan’s Bay is considered one of the most beautiful beaches on the island and it is obvious why. Sandy beaches, under palm trees with picnic tables and a small snack bar & gift shop. It costs $3 person to get in for the day and Pete sprung for another $6 a piece to get a couple of beach chairs. The water in St. Thomas is clear and warm, with small fish swimming right between your legs as you wade in. No jet skis are allowed in the area, and the only motorboats belong to area residents. Only small sail boats, paddle-boats and rafts are available for rental, so you can float and swim with little concern.

We remained for almost three hours, only suffering minor sunburn on our backs and feet. Real Men don’t ask each other to put sun screen on each other, after all!

Oddly it was only $8 each to return to the ship, and the drive back took you along the hills where Pete was able to take some nice photos. I hadn’t taken my camera along, so you’ll have to take my word for how beautiful things were, unless I can find some shots of Megan’s Bay on line. We got back to the ship in time to grab some burgers by the pool and take showers before heading out to dinner later.

The Legend pulled out early that evening and I was able to get some shots. After dinner, we had some drinks and spent a while in the casino. Pete, who was a favorite of the Casino Hostess by now, decided to stay while Donna & I headed back to relax, and get some room service.

The whole point of the cruise was relaxation so the two of us skipped most of the shows. The three we attended were quite good; being the typical stuff you’d see in a Las Vegas or resort show. If you’ve seen this type of thing you’ll know that they are filled with Broadway and movie musical numbers, generally with three or four ‘featured’ singers along with a dozen or so dancer/performers.

Thursday morning found us at the pier in Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. Friends had told us that the beaches here were even more beautiful than those in St. Thomas, but as the ship was only going to be in port until 2:00pm we felt that we’d skip those in favor of some last minute souvenir shopping. I’ve got a few pics of the shopping area, which I’ll eventually get around to posting here. Donna and Pete bought some t-shirts for the various kids back home, checked out a couple of the jewelry shops and then headed back for lunch.

While we had a lot of fun during the cruise, it was fairly uneventful, until Friday night/Saturday morning. I wrote about the man jumping overboard to his apparent death last week, so there isn’t much to add. I don’t want to end all this on a down note.

Again, cruising is In My Humble Opinion the best way to relax with little pressure once you get onboard. I’ve heard that some ‘all inclusive’ resorts are comparable, but I haven’t tried one yet so that remains to be seen.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Our Cruise, part2

Our first port of call was San Juan, P.R Which due to it taking about two and a half days to arrive there from NYC, we didn’t get in until after 2:00pm on Tuesday. To be honest, Carnival was conducting a survey of passengers to decide just what they would do with San Juan. If the port should be the second port, allowing passengers longer in the port, or to skip it make it the last port, where they would be there in the mornings.

The way things work now many of the museums and landmarks are getting ready to close by the time some tours arrive. If you want to do shopping, have dinner or visit some of the night spots which open early then the current 2:00pm -11:30pm stay works out fine.

As you’ll see when I finally get around to posting our pics, we took a tour of the Bacardi Distillery, skipping some of the other tourist spots. You certainly get in the right mood, since the folks from Casa Bacardi have open bar or frozen & iced rum drinks as you leave the SJ terminal. I think some folks didn’t make it past there!

With drinks in hand to boarded a mini-bus, which we soon discovered did not have a working air conditioner. Opening windows didn’t provide much relief, but the trip to the distillery was only about twenty minutes and out driver/guide Manual (“Call me Manny!”) was knowledgeable and amusing. I had no idea that Ricky Martin is about the only celebrity in P.R. At least it seemed from the way that Manny pointed out where Ricky stayed, worked out, eat and jogged when he was back on the island.

Naturally, the tour of Casa Bacardi began and ended with the bus pulling in front of the gift shop, which also included an outdoor refreshment stand. While you had to pay for such items as water, soda, chips, etc. you were able to have two more “free” rum drinks using the tickets you received upon boarding the bus. The tour itself was fairly interesting, beginning with a twenty minute film on the history of the Bacardi family (Did you know the bat was chosen as the symbol of the company because a coloney of fruit bats was discovered in the original warehouse the family purchased when they began their business? They were considered a sign of good luck.) and how they came to become one of the largest rum manufacturing companies in the world, and certainly the most famous. Following this you were able to see a replica of the original stills, smell casks filled with rum at various stages of manufacture plus others containing every type and brand the Bacardi’s sold.

The tour ended with all of us getting back on an open-air trolley to be returned to the gift shop. At this point the guys behind the bar had given up even asking for tickets and some folks (I admit to being guilty) helped themselves to several more freebies after hitting the gift shop. I now have two t-shirts, a ball cap and more than enough rum to keep me very happy after work or while at the grill on summer weekends.

Unfortunately, the trip back took a bit longer, going by way of Old San Juan and the A/C hadn’t been repaired. We were also a bit jarred when an automobile pulled ahead of us, causing Manny to brake sharply. Poor Donna hit her knee on the seat in front of her, which caused her some discomfort later. We eventually made it back to the ship, overheated and looking forward to a quick shower before dinner.

It was kind of cool watching us pull out of SJ at a bit after midnight, as you could see the city really lighting up and hear music coming from a number of clubs along the shore. I’d spent some time in P.R. previously, while in the Navy and had a chance to see some of the beautiful countryside. I’d recommend it for folks, but you might want to pick a cooler time of the year, since it was pretty hot & humid in late May.

I’ll get around to St. Thomas & probably Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands either later tonight or tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

See! I told you the Rove-Meister was going to walk away. Damn you all for slandering the man!

Man, the gang at Al Queda didn't take long to come up with a new #1 guy, did they? Anybody believe like I do that there really is no such person? Nobody had ever heard of him before this, so I think he is an invention that will 'sign' future statements from the group, but never make an appearance. Just spec on my part, of course.

I'll bet the AMA will be taking flack for coming out against its members taking part in torture or executions. Again just a guess.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Our cruise, Part 1

Perhaps the events of Saturday should have given us an idea that all things weren’t going to run smoothly. Of course, you never know in this type of situation.

We were going to set sail aboard the Carnival Legend on June 20th at 4:00pm. Donna and I, along with our friend Pete, had a balcony room confirmed but didn’t know which one it might be. Anyway, Pete’s son Peter gave us a ride to the terminal in Manhattan getting us there around 12:30. At some point during the trip Donna had taken her purse out of her carry-on bag. It was only after Peter had already taken off and we were in the terminal that she realized that the purse, with our Passports and boarding documents were still on the backseat. It’s at moments like that when I’m glad to have a cell phone.

Due to a motorcycle tour and several street festivals, changing the normal traffic patterns, what should have taken only about ten minutes took nearly a half hour. This was even with Pete & I crossing over to meet Peter at 44th St.

Once we had our documents it still took us until after 2:00pm to even begin the boarding process, since the ship had been delayed about two hours coming in that morning. When we finally got aboard we discovered our cabin was at the very stern of the ship on the top deck of those with cabins. You can imagine the view straight down to the propellers, which later would prove quite interesting. (I have some photos which I’ll be posting in a day or so, at least a couple showing the view.)

Pete had never been on a cruise before so he was delighted by the stateroom with its extended balcony. It was already set up with three chairs, a footrest (which doubles as a drink stand) and small table (usually found in the stateroom, but apparently moved outside). Over the eight days of the cruise we used them all quite a bit.

The first day of a cruise is always casual dress in the dining room, since many folks don’t get their luggage until later and you often have to wear whatever you had on when you boarded. If you’ve never cruised before let me tell you that it might pay to have a sweater or light jacket, since the A/C is cranked sometimes.

Pete discovered the casino the first night and soon became a favorite of the Casino Hostess. Within a few days she even sent along a bottle of wine to our table and on our last day gave him a Player’s Club ‘goodie bag’ of stuff. Donna and I have generally won and lost a few hundred dollars during each our cruises and never even saw the Casino Host, so I’m not going to guess how much Pete gambled.

It takes two and a half sailing days to get from New York to our first port, which in this case was San Juan, P.R. I’ll fill you in on our shore trips and the later part of the cruise next time out.

I've been pretty busy around here since getting back and wanted to at least begin telling you about the cruise. I hope to post some photos of the ship and the three of us tomorrow.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Sorry that I haven't had a chance to post pics or talk about our cruise. It's the beginning of the new fiscal year at the library, I'm still sending out resumes and other things have prevented me from sitting down to blog. I really will try to get to it, perhaps later tonight for a bit since I'm working.

On a political note. Can Bush's base be so easily deceived and kept in place by this last minute return to the gay marriage issue? I also hear some talk about the old tired 'flag burning ban', which never fails to stir things up. Have the last few years of Iraq, Katrina and illegal wiretapping really meant so little to these folks?

I've read the Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. ROLLING STONE piece on the 2004 election. It still angers me, but admit that the SALON critique by Farjad Manjoo (both pointed out by Mark Evanier) raises some good points, chiefly that we've all heard much of this before and Kennedy really adds nothing to the debate save his name recognition.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Some of you will recall that Donna and I sailed on a Caribbean cruise last week on the Carnival Legend. You may also have seen that ship in the headlines the last day or so.
The next few days I’m going to be telling you about the cruise and posting photos. We generally had a good time and so I wanted to mention tragedy right off the bat.

It was around 1:15am on Saturday morning when I was awoken by the Captain’s voice over the public address system. As any of you who have cruised before know, they seldom make announcements after 10:00pm and NEVER in the middle of the night. The Captain said, as closely as I recall, “Operation Bravo. Operation Bravo, all staff. Operation Bravo on the starboard side.”

Having served in the U.S. Navy my initial reaction was that there was a fire. When I noticed no alarms sounding, I immediately realized that it had to be the second worst incident, namely a ‘man overboard.’ Going out on the patio I noticed, being all the way aft, the ship was slowing quickly and then turning sharply. Peter, who was sharing our cabin, also awoke and we saw the ship’s searchlights playing over the surface. A call to the Purser/Reception Desk got me an ‘everything is under control’ response. It was only about twenty minutes later when the Cruise Director came over the P.A. to verify the ‘man overboard’ situation.

For the next twelve hours the Legend, along with the U.S. Coast Guard (via aircraft) and at least one other vessel (a private sailing boat) continued to cover the area in which the man had disappeared.

According to word making the rounds (including several of our tablemates, who had a stateroom several doors down from the man and his family), the husband had been drinking quite a bit, and had lost a ‘large amount’ in the casino. He and his wife had been heard arguing several times around the ship and security was called around 12:45. Upon several members of the security team gaining entrance to the room, the husband made a dash for the patio and leaped over the railing. This was witnessed by the security team, the wife and at least one of their two children (reported to be around seven years old, and I have been told there was a young child as well). Obviously, in this type of situation rumors abound, but I’ve tried to keep this to what we heard from first and second hand sources.

Over the next two nights, Donna and I saw the wife accompanied at all times in both the dining room and in the lobby leading to the buffet by a female security officer. Our table mates, who shared the deck with the family, told us that a security guard was posted permanently outside the cabin.

Sadly, no report I’ve yet heard or read states that the man or his remains have been located. From my knowledge of the vessel and my experience in the Navy, I have to assume that he was more than likely immediately pulled into the wake of the ship, probably under & into the propellers.

We may never know the entire situation, but my thoughts must go out to his wife and children, as well as any other surviving family. This is an incident that will remain with them for the rest of the lives and I hope that the media will leave them in peace.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

We're off on our cruise later today, so I won't be blogging or reading anything for the next 8 to 9 days. Wanted to give you something to stare out for a while and nothing brings to mind cruising like the towel animals the cabin stewards create almost every evening.

I'll be honest. I was so used to seeing them on the bed or nightstand that the 'monkey' hanging from the mirror actually scared me at first. Of course, the several drinks I had before hand didn't help I suppose!

Take care and have a great Memorial Day, if I don't get back here before then.

Monday, May 15, 2006

I've heard that as part of his border patrol initiative, G.W. is going to announce tonight that Jenna & Barbara are joining the National Guard. They'll be assigned to ride armed speed boats along the Rio Grande to keep illegals from swimming up to the riverwalk in San Antonio.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

It's hard to believe that this time next Saturday, I'll be sitting aboard the Carnival Legend preparing to set sail out of New York harbor. Donna, Pete and I will have already taken part in the lifeboat drill and will probably be sitting out on our balconey watching the Statue of Liberty pass along side. We would have already had lunch and probably a drink or two, just to get into the proper cruise state of mind.

We still haven't been given our room assignment, but we have been guaranteed a balconey stateroom at least. According to the 'cruise advisor' we may very well be getting an upgrade, but that could be anything from a room on a higher deck to an extended balconey. It is possible, given when we booked and being past passengers, that we may even get a mini-suite. Hoo boy!!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

You really do have to wonder about that 31% that seems to remain behind the President. Almost every day brings us some new action which cuts away at that support, but I guess (as folks on Air America often conjecture) people refuse to admit that they could have been so wrong about him.

How are the Republicans running this Fall going to put a good face on all this? At some point many of them will have to find some small thing to point to as showing that they have been productive. Iraq, the economy and gas prices aren't really the best things on which to rest their platforms. It is going to be another ugly campaign with the Right Wing playing for their base.

It's good to know that if I forget who I called the other day, by deleting my Incoming/Outgoing file I can contact the NSA.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Had a very interesting experience this morning at a local school here in Queens. Each year they hold a "Career Day" and invite people in various occupations to take part. When another librarian couldn't go the buck was passed aand I accepted.

Try to explain what you do to a 1st grader! Fortunately, many of the kids already know me, as they come with their parents, but it's still hard to keep them interested for more than a few minutes, let alone twenty (as I was asked to do). I actually had a much better time with the fourth grade class I met with initially. Kids seem excited to know that this library carries comics, graphic novels & manga, besides "real books."

Still doing the countdown to the cruise and am contemplating putting something up on both blogs while I'm away. Probably some of the photos I still haven't posted already from our previous cruise. Nothing says "we're on vacation" like a towel elephant.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Sometimes I think the most important thing I do around here is trying to smooth the ruffled feathers of patrons. Library policies (and this is true of all libraries I've worked in, not just Queens) can sometimes be a bit hard to understand and people get upset when they can't get immediate results. Of course, it would help if some of my staff were a bit more patient, but that's another story completely.

It seems that a day doesn't go by now without thoughts of the up-coming cruise. We've already booked a tour for San Juan, including a stop at the Bacardi distillery. Pete and I are definetely planning on hitting the beach in St. Thomas, but haven't decided what to do in Tortola (as some past passengers haven't had the best things to say about that place). Donna may decide just to do a bit of shopping in St. Thomas and leave us guys to ourselves.

Just a reminder that I'm still looking for a library position in southern California, if you happen to know of one!

Friday, May 05, 2006

So, Donna and I are reading some reviews by past passengers on the Carnival Legend yesterday. We often will do this when unfamiliar with a ship or some of the ports. It turns out that only last year while doing this same cruise we will be departing on the Legend almost capsized!!

As some of you may or may not know, unless a passenger ship is leaving or entering a port, much of the cruise of done by computer in the same fashion as the 'automatic pilot' on a plane. At least one crew member is on the bridge, just in case something occurs and the ship's Captain must be informed. In the case of U.S. Navy ships the bridge is generally manned by a half a dozen or more officers and enlisted, depending on the type of ship and under what conditions the ship is sailing (weather related, or peace time opposed to 'war time' cruising).

Apparently, around 5:00pm, after the Legend had left Tortolla for the return voyage to New York, a "computer glitch" occured forcing the ship to tilt over to the side. While nobody was seriously injured, the pools (some with passengers) emptied onto the deck, items in staterooms, shops and the restaurant were tossed about. Some passengers report that lower cabins, with portholes, were actually underwater while others viewed only the sky. Unlike the situation involving the rogue wave that many read about, there was no flooding or major damage. Some passengers say others actually carried or wore their lifejackets for the next day or so.

While in the Navy I can report several times when the ships I was aboard tilting anywhere from 20 to 30 degrees of more, during storms. At least once I was almost swept over the side while trying to negotiate an outside ladder during one such gale. Not something I miss!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Ahoy, shipmates! Just when you thought it was safe to put out to sea, the Chaputs have decided to go cruising once again. Damn, but you would think that once a year would be enough wouldn't you?

I was hoping that the release of the new remake of "The Poseidon Adventure" (simply called POSEIDON this time around) would put a damper on any ocean voyagers for a bit, but no dice!

Anyway, in just under 19 days we will join our friend, Pete, aboard the Carnival Legend for an eight day Caribbean cruise. I'll let you know more later.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Just a few quick thoughts at the end of the week.

I can't really get worked up one way or the other about a Spanish version of the Star-Spangled Banner. It is the 'national anthem' so you could make the argument that it should be sung as written. On the other hand, the original has been interpreted in so many ways that I don't think it does any harm to translate it into something perhaps more meaningful to new Americans. I'm sure to get into at least one argument this weekend over this.

Wow! Imagine somebody in the GOP being involved in a sex scandal? Not even interns, but actual prostitutes! I am shocked and appalled.

Did anybody, even among the 32% who still favor Bush, believe that he would do anything meaningful about the price of oil and gas for the average American?

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I guess ever since 9/11 many of us have had a feeling that the entire story was not told. As in the case of the JFK assassination and the Warren Commission Report there have been doubts, at least in my mind (and who doesn't love a good conspiracy?). I'm not going to take sides in this, but do feel that things were kept underwraps by certain agencies and individuals.

If you go to the websites of the VILLAGE VOICE and NEW YORK magazine, doing a search in their archives for '911 Truth' will bring up articles which introduce several groups who are doing their own research into what may have happened.

Personally, I think that the situation was a combination of the "Official Story" and massive incompetence on the part of various government agencies and the current administration. You will certainly not accept completely everything you'll find there and some of it may upset you but I think you should check over at to which I've placed a link over to the Left.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Nothing like getting to work and seeing a body under a blanket! Yep, it's great living here in NYC.

Actually, I have no idea what happened since the police had the body covered and there were more than a few folks hanging around. I expect I'll hear something more on the news tonight, but it is sort of creepy.

By the way, if you peek over at Shot's Shack you see that I'm trying to get rid of some of the comics I've acquired over the past twenty years. I'm not going to list them all, but do want to get down from around 18 long boxes to four at most.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

I was pretty down yesterday, as you can imagine, but I've decided that part of it was my own fault. I convinced myself that I had a position, simply because I had been called in for a second interview. I should have been more realistic and known that it was only a possibility.

I'm going to continue to send out resumes to California libraries, perhaps widening my geographical search. After all, I know that I'll have to drive no matter where I end up, so anything in the Los Angeles or San Diego area should be okay. I'll be using the Laguna Woods/Rancho Santa Margarita area as a point of reference, since that is the area we'd like to settle in.

If you check out the links over on the Left you'll notice that I'm cutting some. Nothing negative about the sites, but it is getting a bit out of hand and I rarely check many of them out anymore. I also want to refrain from having too many dupes on my two blogs.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Donna just called to tell me that I got The Letter from Orange County. *sigh*

Well, I'll just have to keep sending out those resumes I guess.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

It would be nice to think that Scott McClellan announced his resignation as Press Secretary because he finally had enough of covering for his boss. I think it had more to do with the phoney 'shakeup' that the Bush White House is doing to make the American press write about something other than their failed policies.

You can expect McClellan to write a book in the next years or so to white wash his own performance. Then he'll go on to be a paid lobbiest for some corporation or other.

For those keeping track, I'm still waiting to hear from California.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Hope everyone had a nice weekend, rather or not you celebrated a holiday. The weather here in NYC was nice and we spent Easter Sunday with Donna’s big ol’ Italian family. Naturally, I ate way too much and we have lots of delicious leftovers for this week.

I haven’t really been in a posting mood either here or over at Shot’s Shack, since I can’t help but be thinking about the interview. Still no news to report, but fingers remain tightly crossed all around.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Well, I'm afraid I don't have anything to report. The interview seemed to go well, but I will still have to wait for "the phone call." *sigh*

California was nice, though a bit overcast on Monday. I actually got a bit of a sunburn from driving around with Kristina on Sunday with her sunroof open. I could definitely get used to that, since I've loved southern California since serving there in the '70s.

Fingers remained crossed but I feel a bit more positive, so I'll let you know what happens.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

"Oh, how can you be in two places at once when you're not anywhere at aaaaaaaallll???"

I guess you can chalk it up to the fact that press releases are done before the fact, especially when it comes to various events done by politicians. Reading a copy of the release today it was amusing to find that I was apparently presented a document yesterday afternoon by a state Senator, commemorating National Library Week in Queens, while I thought I was taking a nap in Brooklyn. I hope I was dressed better in Queens. :-)

Well, tomorrow I'll be flying out to California for a job interview, so I hope those who know me will wish me well. I'll probably not be able to post anything until I get back to work on Wednesday and I may not know the outcome by then. However, I will let you know what adventures I had on the Left Coast.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Donna and I were watching NCIS (one of our favorite shows) last night when she spotted a few helicopters in the distance. From were we were in Dyker Heights you could see at least four copters, with one especially low and circling. We couldn't figure out what was happening until we caught the 10:00pm news on Fox 5. As some of you now know there was a near riot going on in Borough Park, where Orthodox Jews were setting fires and confronting the NYPD. Appears some officers may have gotten a bit rough with an elderly man who they had stopped for using a cell phone while driving. We'll probably never know the 'real truth' at this point as both sides are giving slightly different versions of events.

I was sitting in my office earlier working on the up-coming Annual Leave schedule when I happened to look out the window. I had heard them talking about a wintry mix, but was surprised to see large flakes of snow actually beginning to cover the ground and parked cars. The past weekend was absolutely beautiful here, so I didn't expect this. Then again, I can recall a few times where we have had flurries on Easter!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Had a nice relaxing weekend taking care of a few things and getting things together for my California trip. Got to look professional for OCPL, right?

Yesterday, Donna, her cousin Evelyn (known as EvieB) and I drove to Patchogue, NY out on the island. (Long Island, for non-New Yorkers) Don's cousin/EvieB's brother Charles was a soloist in a benefit concert out there. It was to raise funds for several groups working with folks suffering with and survivors of breast cancer. The funds will be split among: Babylong Breast Cancer Coalition, Cure Mommy's Breast Cancer, Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition, Long Island Lesbian Cancer Initiative & Thursday's Child (working living with HIV/AIDS). All really fine organizations deserving our support.

Go over here and learn more about the group who performed. Although this particular fund raiser is over you can still find out more about it.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Have I mentioned how wonderful and understanding Donna is? She spent hours trying to book flights for my California trip and then going crazy trying to explain to me what I had to purchase my tickets. Needless to say I blew it, ending up taking a different flight to LAX rather than the flight to Santa Anna she had planned. (sigh)

If she had opened the car door and told me to walk back from JFK at that moment I wouldn't have blamed her.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

With everything else going on, both at work and home, I'd totally let an anniversary go by without notice.

Twenty years ago last month I moved into Apt. 3-Eye in Brooklyn following an early release from the U.S. Navy. A month later, which would be about twenty years ago last week, I began working a series of Temp jobs. One of those, which became permanent for several months, was as a file clerk for a law firm situated on the 53rd floor of one of the World Trade Center towers.

It has been a strange & eventful twenty years, that's for sure!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

It will be interesting to see what the resignation of Andy Card as White House chief of staff will do. I can't see anybody outside of political junkies even knowing who Card is for that matter. It appears to me to be one of those somebody having to fall on the sword for Bush.

On more important matters, I got the CALL last night from California. I'll be flying out in a couple of weeks for a 'face to face' with Human Resources. I have a good feeling about all this, but will continue to keep you all posted.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Enjoyed a good time yesterday, despite a sprained wrist, at a Christening party for the twins. Megan and Daniel were both baptized into the Catholic Church yesterday about a hundred folks were on hand to join in at the party after. If I remember I'll probably post a couple of pictures here in the next day or two, since the kids were on best behavior for most of the day.

Still haven't heard back from California, so my spirits needed the cheering up. We continue to remain hopeful that I'll get a phone call later this week, but I'm still sending out resumes to other California libraries.

I was lucky this morning that my commute wasn't affected by the sinkhole and subway tunnel collapse in Bay Ridge. It only caused problems on the "R", which I rarely take now that I'm working in Ridgewood. Fortunately, except for one SUV which all but disappeared into the hole, nobody was injured as the driver escaped unhurt.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Not sure if this qualifies as anti-war, but it is anti-GW:

The Wartime
President Song!

My old man, he had oil...
so I'd never have to toil !
With a knick-knack, bomb Iraq
all your money's spent...
I'm a wartime president !
My old man, made a call...
so I didn't go to 'nam at all!
With a knick-knack, bomb Iraq
all your money's spent...
I'm a wartime president !
Did my time in the Guard...
Went AWOL... It wasn't hard!
With a knick-knack, bomb Iraq
all your money's spent...
I'm a wartime president !
DUI? I made bail...
Then Daddy sent me off to Yale!
With a knick-knack, bomb Iraq
all your money's spent...
I'm a wartime president !
We won the war, so wave the flags...
just ignore those body bags !
With a knick-knack, bomb Iraq
all your money's spent...
I'm a wartime president !
I'm in charge. I'm the Prez...
Cause I do just what Cheney says!
With a knick-knack, bomb Iraq
all your money's spent...
I'm a wartime president !
I'll do fine in the end, cause
Halliburton is my friend !
With a knick-knack, bomb Iraq
all your money's spent...
I'm a wartime president !

Got this from over at

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

How can you not love a strip that begins a storyline about Homeland Security with a POWER PACK reference?

Monday, March 20, 2006

We are on pins & needles here at Chez Chaput, waiting to hear from the folks in California. Fingers crossed, of course, but a bit nervous nonetheless.

Naturally, I realize that I’ve only gone through the initial interview process but I feel pretty good about things. It would be great to get a call for the second interview, even though it would mean flying out to the OC. (I can’t believe I’m saying that!)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Just when you thought it was safe to check out the blog, Christina S. sent along a few more photos from the cruise. There are still a few I haven't annoyed you with and I'll get to them eventually.

The lovely sunset was taken by Christina, who'll you will see posing with my Uncle Charlie by the hottub. Also a nice group shot of the four of us at the pool, possibly shot by one of the waiters before he took our drink order.
Is there not a single Democrat in the Senate with the courage to stand up beside Sen. Russ Feingold?

Feingold introduced a resolution yesterday to censure President Bush for authorizing a no-warrant domestic surveillance program, and accused G.W. of breaking the law and misleading Congress about it.

"When the president of the United States breaks the law, he must be held accountable," said Feingold, but it doesn't seem that his fellow bench-warmers have the backbone to support the measure. Naturally, the GOP is going to paint this as pure political grandstanding, but it's sad to see some name Democrats speaking out against this.

If not now, when is the Democratic Party going to stand up for the rest of us? The Republicans dragged the Clinton family and his administration through the mud for minor (and generally unfounded) matters, yet the Dems will let His Smugness trash the Constitution at will.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

I've added another link over on the Left to LIBRARYSPOT.COM. I have found it to be a great reference resource and a quick way to find things without searching Google everytime you can't find something for a patron. Filled with links to almanacs, calendars and misc. databases which you can use for actual research or just to waste some time.

It's sponsored by West Law, a database/information provider so it may not have every source you mind find otherwise. Still it has come in useful, especially when you're alone at the Reference Desk with several patrons all asking for different things at the same time.
Now granted I love a good conspiracy as much as the next Leftist, but it does seem a bit odd doesn't it that Milosevic's death comes less than a week after the star witness in his trial, former Croatian Serb leader Milan Babic, was found dead in the same prison?

I don't think many a tear will be shed over the former strong-man, but it will be interesting to learn what the autopsy turns up.
If you haven't been reading it since I posted a link, you should click on UNSHELVED MEDIA at the Left. The strip has been doing a story on blogging at work the past week. Today's talks about just how addicting it can be.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Today was one for the books, since we had our "Grand re-opening" with a score of local & state politicians dropping by for a photo op. There must have also been a dozen folks from Queens Public administration, including the Director. Actually heard my name mis-pronounced once, which was as close to an acknowledgement as one could expect.

Interestingly enough, at lunch time Donna told me that I'd gotten a response to a resume I submitted to a library system in California. I may be able to set up a telephone interview, as I've apparently gotten through the first round of consideration. Not going to hold out much hope but a bit of California Dreaming never hurts.