Monthly Archives: August 2002

New options at BlogspotThis morning I noticed that…

New options at Blogspot

This morning I noticed that Pyra, the parent company of Blogger, is offering some new options. Since I’ve used this service now since April for free, I may choose to upgrade to one of the newer options both because I would like to support their efforts and because I would like to have the option to post pictures to my blog. The new features would give me greater capabilities and an easy interface to post to the web. Unfortunately, the beginning of September isn’t a convenient time for me to incur more expenses, since both August and September have some fixed expenses in them that make taking on another expense unwise at this time. I’ll probably wait until the beginning of October to make the shift. However, I’m quite glad to see this new capability out there. I look forward to making the shift.

Phil tries broadbandLast night I received a call f…

Phil tries broadband

Last night I received a call from my friend, Phil Petty, to let me know that he had gotten Bellsouth’s DSL service (IFITL, pronounced “eye-fiddle”). He was having some trouble getting to his email server using Eudora. After giving him the proper POP3 settings, he was able to get the mail that had been awaiting him on the server. It’s always fun seeing a friend discover a new toy. Of course, it also means that there’ll be those late-night calls when he encounters problems, but that goes with the territory. For all of you who receive email from Phil prepare yourself for receiving large files that he doesn’t remember take a long time to download. That is probably one of the inevitable downsides of a friend getting a fast connection.

How to capture image files off the Internet (PC on…

How to capture image files off the Internet (PC only)

You can save any image that appears on the web to your computer (except a rare few where the webmaster has specifically prevented it). The next paragraph will explain how.

To save the image, RIGHT CLICK on the picture you want to save and choose “Save picture as …” and then either accept the name the dialog box suggests or change the name to whatever you prefer. (Don’t change the extension, however.) In the majority of situations, that’s it.

This rest of this message refers specifically to the Photo Galleries I’ve posted at Think of the individual galleries as “folders” on the website. The “icon” for the gallery (folder) is one of the pictures in the Gallery. (I can set which of the images in the gallery I want to use as the “icon” for that gallery.)

If you LEFT click on the gallery “icon” (image), that particular gallery will open up and you will see displayed a series of “thumbnail” images of the photos in the gallery. Let’s say there are 10 images in the gallery.

If you LEFT click on any of those images, you’ll open up a larger version of that image. The image is actually stored in four sizes on that site (small, medium, LARGE, and original), denoted by links below the image (you may have to scroll down the web page to see these links). The reason “large” is in caps in the previous sentence is to signify that LARGE is the image size displayed by default when you first click on the thumbnail version of the image.

Once one of the individual pictures from the gallery is displayed on your montior you can move to another picture by clicking on the link to either the NEXT or the PREVIOUS image. Those links are located at the bottom and top RIGHT side of the web page. (NOTE: if you have displayed the ORIGINAL version of an image, then when you click on NEXT it will display the ORIGINAL version of the next image too. So for this reason, it’s best to go back to the LARGE version again BEFORE you click on NEXT or PREVIOUS.)

The largest image of all in each gallery is the ORIGINAL version of it. I recommend that before you save the image to your computer you first display the ORIGINAL version of it on your monitor. The reason for this recommendation is that the original version will give you the greatest fexibility in what you can do with the image once you have saved it to your computer.

For instance, suppose you want to print an 8 by 11 version of the picture. If you have only saved the LARGE version rather than the ORIGINAL you may only be able to print a 5 x 7 picture. In other words, the larger your original graphic, the larger the picture you can print. If you only want to capture the image to send by email to your great aunt in Peoria, then you may save whichever size floats your boat.

One consequence of the choice to save the LARGEST image to your computer is that the larger the image, the greater the time it will take to display it on your monitor. Once displayed, however, it doesn’t take any longer to SAVE a large image to your computer than does to save a smaller one (you’ve already experienced the delay while waiting for the image to DISPLAY).

The images from the Vernine and Associates Reunion are located at There now a total of 47 images there.

Doing the Time WarpWell, the reunion weekend is no…

Doing the Time Warp

Well, the reunion weekend is now past. To all of you who went to the expense and effort to come back to Knoxville for the event (Don, Juan, Lisa, Jane and Benny), I want to say a big THANK YOU. It was great to have the chance to visit with you again. For those in town, I appreciate your making the effort to be a part of the events.

Debbie, I’m sure the Good Lord will forgive your taking the time to join us for brunch on Sunday. “In as much as you have done it unto one of the least of these, you have done it unto Me.” I have to believe that He is proud of us when we make sacrifices for each other. Janice, though I know it must have been a struggle for you to come to Saturday’s dinner, the weekend wouldn’t have been complete without your being there. Thank you, Larry, for bringing her and for joining the festivities. To Pat who supplied a wonderful meeting place for Saturday’s daytime meeting and for Saturday’s night at the movies, a special thanks. It was a wonderful facility that I really enjoyed. To Roger who has always been a big part of my life and our company’s entourage, I’m glad you would join us. To Vickie, who finally after all these years can now lay down the responsibility for keeping the books and being the historian of the group, and Steve, your presence was a necessary and welcomed part of the weekend. To Sharon Miller, our financial guru and gardian angel, it was delightful that you would join us for Saturday’s dinner.

For those who couldn’t attend (Carol Medlang, Carol McNeil, Jim Kessler, Susan McNamee, Chip Emerson and Ron and Charlotte Klieman), we missed you and thought of you often during the weekend. And especially, to Bill Kessler, this was the kind of weekend you would have reveled in. I am glad that Pat brought the picture of you to Saturday’s activities. We all felt, and continue to feel, your loving arms around us in one of your famous hugs.

I am proud to have been a part of such a wonderful group for all those years and to continue to be a part of it even though we have now gone on to different things. What we learned from each other and shared together continues to influence not just us but all those with whom we come into contact. Email is so effortless and cheap; we shouldn’t lose touch with each other now that the reunion is past. You can still send messages to the distribution list when you have news of successes, pleas for support, and the joy of achievements that you want to share. I love you all.

To help you recall the event, the photo site now has 46 pictures from the various events. By the time you read this, there’ll be a 47th. When I finish this post, I’m going to scan the picture from our get together those many years ago at Lord Lindsey’s and post it to the web.

If you have something you’d like to add to my comments, just click on “Comments” below and you’ll get a pop up window where you can add your thoughts.

Until the next time …

The reunion beginsTonight seven of us got together…

The reunion begins

Tonight seven of us got together for dinner at Chesapeake’s Seafood Restaurant here in Knoxville to kick off our reunion weekend. Juan drove in from Charlotte, NC, and Don flew in from Tampa. It was a fine dinner at a first class restaurant, and to make it even more special, Juan generously chose to pay for everyone’s dinner. Tomorrow (actually later today) we’ll meet at Pat Kessler’s clubhouse for a get together to share memories of our times together and to enjoy each other’s company.

I find that it is only after an experience is over that I tend to realize what a special thing it is. Our years together as a company were busy with serving clients and trying to make sure we had new assignments when the ones we were on were completed. We didn’t have a lot of time to realize the quality of the people we had assembled when we were together, or at least, I didn’t take the time to realize that. Now, after all these years, I think back about the people who were a part of that organization and I am astounded by the skill, ability and intelligence that the company had at its disposal.

Unfortunately not al those who were a part of the experience are able to attend this weekend. Most recently I heard from Carol Medlang whose parents have both been ill lately and because of that she couldn’t attend. Janice Willis also had other plans interfere with her ability to participate in the weekend. Others too couldn’t make the weekend, and as of this point I’m not sure just who else won’t be here. I’m looking forward to seeing Jane Hascall and Benny Abbot, her husband, tomorrow. More after the events later today and tonight.

The collection of pictures from tonight’s dinner are already on the web at the Vernine and Associates Reunion Gallery on Pbase.

A pet peeveIn his column titled Corpus Linguistics…

A pet peeve

In his column titled Corpus Linguistics, John Rosenthal, subbing for William Safire who is on vacation from his weekly “On Language” column in the New York Times Magazine (registration required), points out that “Linguists can generally be divided into two groups: prescriptivists, or those who hold that language is governed by fixed rules of grammar, and descriptivists, or those who believe that patterns of actual usage reflect the way the language is used.” The point of his article is that because of computers’ ability to analyze massive volumes of data, the descriptivists are gaining more and more ability to argue for their point of view in this age of the Internet when common usage is so documented, accessible and easily manipulated. Never before has English as it is “spoken” everyday been so available for research. And never before, in the my opinion, has the language therefore faced such a vulgar onslaught and a profound threat.

You see, I am a prescriptivist, to use Mr. Rosenthal’s term. I grew up and was educated in the 50’s and 60’s. English (grammar) was my favorite subject in High School and English (literature) was my major in college. I was schooled in the proper use of language by the book (which is the distinguishing characteristic of the prescriptivist approach to language usage), and what’s more my college major gave me the opportunity to fall in love with words and word play but especially as they are used eloquently in the spoken word. I even spent some time teaching English at the middle school level.

So in this one area I am very much a conservative. And I might add, I am that in this one area alone. Politically and socially, I am still very much biased toward liberal thought and sensibilities, again as a result of my education during those years and my having lived through the last half of the 20th century. When I hear my grandchildren or my sons and/or their wives violating one of the rules of language I had drilled into my consciousness, I feel compelled to “help them with that.”

Now, it seems, if we believe Mr. Rosenthal, the “other” school is going to become the prevailing point of view. So now I can officially enter my dotage as a language curmudgeon, pissed off regularly by the way the younger generation takes the language “to Hell in a handbasket” and quixotically fighting a losing battle against sports and news anchors and politicians who model such obnoxious phrases as “for you and I,” “he shoulda went” or “he hit it good.”

I’ve always wondered why old people seemed so angry all the time. Now the reason is becoming apparent.

Big week ahead!I learned this past week that I had…

Big week ahead!

I learned this past week that I had gotten the promotion I applied for at work. It takes effect at the beginning of the next pay period on Sunday, August 18th. My new title will be Product Specialist. In this role, I’ll function as an intermediary between the supervisor of our group and the agents. My other responsibilities will remain pretty much the same, but I’ll do more coaching, handle calls from irate customers when the agents need help, and help to train new agents. It will provide a modest increase in salary, but the main thing is that it will give me a chance to make use of my experience and skills in ways that I can’t currently. I’m looking forward to the challenge.

Then on Friday of this next week, we begin our Vernine and Associates Reunion weekend. For those coming in for the weekend, I think it is a good idea to post the agenda. So here goes.

  • Friday night, August 23rd, Dinner at Chesapeake’s at 7:00 PM
  • Saturday morning, August 24th, meet at Pat Kessler’s clubhouse from 9:00 AM until 3:00 PM.
  • Saturday afternoon, break for tour of the former offices
  • Saturday night, Dinner at Carrabba’s at 6:30 PM
  • Saturday night at the moves, return to Pat Kessler’s clubhouse for a private showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • Sunday Brunch, August 25th, at Italian Market and Grill at 11:00 AM