Monthly Archives: November 2004

And the word of the year is …

From Reuters comes this interesting bit of news:

“Merriam-Webster Inc. said on Tuesday that blog, defined as ‘a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments and often hyperlinks,’ was one of the most looked-up words on its Internet sites this year.

Eight entries on the publisher’s top-10 list related to major news events, from the presidential election — represented by words such as incumbent and partisan — to natural phenomena such as hurricane and cicada.

Springfield, Massachusetts-based Merriam-Webster compiles the list each year by taking the most researched words on its Web sites and then excluding perennials such as affect/effect and profanity.

Blog will be a new entry in the 2005 version of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition. The complete list of words of the year is available here.”


Patty Hill has created a Flickr site

Originally uploaded by FEDGIRL55.

My cousin, Patty Hill a.k.a. FedGirl55, has created a new Flickr site. This photo of her son Brad, who is one semister away from graduating from college and on his way to grad school, is one of her first posts.

As it turns out tomorrow, December 1, is also Patty’s birthday, so Happy Birthday Patty and welcome to the Flickr crew.


Now that I have your attention, I’m delighted to report that we learned today that we have a deviant in the family! No, not me, as most of you are probably thinking!

I’m talking about the fact that Mike and Cheryl and their three daughters, Madison, Morgan, and Kaitlin, all went to the doctor together today and learned through the ultrasound photographs that the new addition to their family, who is expected to arrive around the end of April, is a BOY! Everyone, but especially Dad, is, as I’m sure you can imagine, thrilled at the news.

So congratulations to Mom and Dad and the three sisters! We all look forward to the arrival of this new member of the family, and we are particularly delighted that we can now abandon the use of indefinite pronouns and begin to anticipate his arrival.

A “Norman Rockwell” moment

A “Norman Rockwell” moment

Originally uploaded by CaptQuirk.

Yesterday I shared Thanksgiving dinner at the home of Betty and Eugene Doyle, known to the family as “Mammaw” and “Pappaw,” here in Knoxville. The meal was wonderful, as it always is in that home, and I am deeply grateful to them for inviting me to share in this holiday celebration with them.

This picture of the gathered family group captures one of those events that I’ve heard repeated countless times in my years of attending these celebrations. The picture shows Morgan, the little girl about mid-way down the table on the left, taking a peek during the prayer as the picture was taken. (You may need to click on the picture to display it in a larger view, in order to see it.) However, the exchange afterwards between Morgan’s sister Madison, on the left with her head turned away from the camera, and her mother was one that has been conducted at other family gatherings, with different participants of course, many times before. So often, in fact, that it is almost a part of the tradition.

Madison said to Morgan, “you had your eyes open.” Her mother, Cheryl, said to Madison, “the only way you could have known that was because you had your eyes open too.” Some things just never change, and let’s hope they never do.

Thanksgiving 2004

Furman Bisher, a sports columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, use to write a column each Thanksgiving in which he simply listed all kinds of things from the world of sport for which he was thankful. Mr. Bisher still writes for the AJC and for all I know he may still maintain that tradition, but his column is now hidden behind a must-pay-to-view wall at their online site, so I no longer read it. But as I was growing up in Atlanta, I always looked forward to that annual column because he would mention little things, things you wouldn’t normally think to recall and give thanks for on Thanksgiving, and those references would always bring a smile to my face.

In recent years since the advent of email, I’ve patterned some of my Thanksgiving messages to family and friends after Mr. Bisher’s format as I distributed those Thanksgiving messages far and wide by email. So on this Thanksgiving, I’m going to provide an extended retrospective here on my blog of some of those things I’ve written in previous years because they seem as appropriate now as they did then.

From November 28, 1996 comes this first attempt …

Things I am thankful for …

My family.

My dogs.

My friends, tangible and electronic

Living at this time

The years I’ve already had

The quality of my life

My Intelligence

Experiences and Experience

My parents and ancestors

My extended family dispersed though they are

Challenges to experience

Lessons learned

Barriers overcome

Another’s gentleness

Something warm to bundle up in when it’s cold and a cooling breeze when it’s hot

The taste of water

The seasons of the year


The peace on earth that begins at the center of me and radiates

Stars in the heavens on a dark night

The smells of flowers



Learning to swim

Knowing how to type

My health



My musical skills

Companionship to snuggle up to and commitment to rely on

People of character

Blond haired little boys and curly haired little girls

Front porches on summer nights after dinner, talking


Spirit and its place in the scheme of things

Snow flakes, finger prints, and assholes

A good bowel movement

A restroom when I need it badly

Giving and the joy it brings

Forgetting and the relief it provides

The wisdom of Death

The fortunate accident of my birth, where, colored how, to whom, and when

Winston Baird’s time in my life

Having the joy of being a father



The wonderfully satisfying taste of a piece of bread when you are really hungry

Science, mystery, wonder, and discovery

The sunset in Key West


Talking directly and personally one on one

Being asked my opinion

Other people’s skill with words

Playing with words myself

Having successfully cooked a turkey that wasn’t too dry

And the whole idea of Thanksgiving, because it’s one of those ideas that if it didn’t exist I would have had to think it up myself.

From November 23, 2000, I wrote …

On this Thanksgiving day, I am thankful …

For remote controls for the TV;

For being a part of a loving family, even if we are all in different places this year;

For having a job that I like and can be proud of;

That I am still “sucking air” after so many years;

For memories of other Thanksgivings and other people who shared them with me;

That my youngest son has less than a week to go before he comes home;

That my oldest son and his family have less than a month before they move into their new home;

That my computer, purchased at the end of 1994, is still functional and adequate to my needs;

That both of my old dogs are still around and as devoted to me as they ever were;

That Alex Rodrigez is still a potential Atlanta Braves’ free agent signee;

For still being in contact and periodically active with my old quartet, the Fun Addicts;

On November 22, 2001, I added this list …

Now a year later, though there are some modifications to the list because time changes things, I am still exceedingly blessed and quite thankful.

When I was at Citizens Gas and Coke Utility in Indianapolis in 1994, Moses Dunston used to say “Any day above ground is a good day.” I agree with him, and on this Thanksgiving day, I am glad to still be “above ground.”

I am proud to have reached the venerable age of 60 and grateful that I still feel young, despite the evidence I see in the mirror and the mounting pile of memories that belies the illusion.

I am thankful that when my friends Rocky and Bruno reached the point where their bodies could no longer sustain their magnificent spirits I was able to muster the courage to help them depart this life peacefully and painlessly. And I am unbelievably thankful for the years we shared with each other.

I am grateful that my friend Del Jones’ children were thoughtful enough, even in their time of sorrow, to let me know of their Dad’s death in October. In those early teenage years, he and I shared almost every experience, and I cherish the memories I have of our deep and abiding friendship.

I am thankful that my son, Mike, has but one more weekend restriction to his freedom and that these past two years have passed as quickly as they have.

I am happy that I was able to obtain a new computer this year as a result of an award program at the place where I work. The old computer and the new one are functioning well together in a network and I am able to use both of them.

I’m thankful to have a hobby like this that I really enjoy.

I am grateful that I am continuing to enjoy my job and that I derive satisfaction and pleasure from performing the chores that are a part of my responsibility. Getting pleasure from performing the job, rather than from the rewards or accolades that come from doing it, is one of the great blessings of any occupation.

I’m thankful for the advances of technology that make bigger and better cheaper and smaller. What an amazing positive cycle technology is in!

I am thankful for friends who are still here and those who no longer are. Though thoughts of those who have departed this world or this part of the world often bring a tear to the eye or a lump in the throat, those same thoughts provoke gratitude for what we shared and the pleasant memories that accompany them.

Every day ought to be Thanksgiving because the beginning of another day in which I have the opportunity to count my blessings is a blessing itself.

I am thankful for my place in the line that traces backward in time through my parents and my grandparents and forward through my children into my grandchildren and beyond.

I am thankful for the control I’ve been able to exercise over my passions and my addictions and for the pleasure I derive from doing so. It’s an honor to set a positive example, and I’m grateful to have the chance.

And this year, 2004, I remain grateful for all those things, but I can add …

I am grateful for Blogger, for RSS, for FeedDemon, for Podcasts, for The Bat!, for IT Conversations, for TSE Pro, for Google and for CEO Express, to name but a few of the wonderful applications and web sites that are the product of someone’s amazing imagination and incredible talent.

And I am grateful for you, dear Reader, for taking the time to read this blog and for all the words of encouragement you have shared with me. I enjoy and appreciate the fact that I can write for my own enjoyment and share it with so many so easily.

I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving and hope that all of us keep this sense of thankfulness throughout every day of the year.

My thanks to Lee Lankford

It’s always nice to hear from someone who appreciates your efforts. Yesterday I got an email from Lee Lankford, a second cousin (Sarah Ann Murchison’s daughter), who was asking how to reach my “family news” blog. Even though I had to clarify that this site isn’t just a family news blog, I sent her the link to this site and the link to my Flickr photo site as well.

Then later in the day I received these kind words in a second email:

“WOW! How cool! I have been moving around and reading the entries, looking at pictures and am so impressed! Thanks so much for sharing this with me.”

My thanks to you, Lee, for your comments.

Talk about “cool.” I found her comments very cool indeed.

Kevin Sites in his own words

Kevin Sites is a freelance reporter on assignment for NBC and is embedded with the forces in Iraq. He recently witnessed and videotaped the killing of a wounded Iraqi soldier in a Mosque in Iraq.

Since then, he has been the subject of much discussion about the decision to report the event. Here, in his own words, is the description of the event and the subsequent controversy surrounding it.

Kevin Sites Blog:

“It’s time you to have the facts from me, in my own words, about what I saw — without imposing on that Marine — guilt or innocence or anything in between. I want you to read my account and make up your own minds about whether you think what I did was right or wrong. All the other armchair analysts don’t mean a damn to me.

Here it goes. “