Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A visit with Max, the man of faith

Carol was laughing. "Maybe you can talk some sense into him, Max." She handed me the phone.

"I'm done talkin'," he said, "I'll beat it into you."

"I wish you would!" I said. "In fact, I'd like to come over so you can do that for me. But we don't know how to get there."

The key was this: he lived on Cypress Way, not Cypress Street.

A few minutes later, we parked on the street and there he was, smiling and wheeling toward us in his electrically-powered chair. Vera was inside, and their daughter Judy had just arrived.

Soon we heard about wonderful things God did for them. They hadn't been doing well in their house, and were ready to move into a senior living center or something. Judy didn't think so. "You're doing fine," she told them.

But Max straightened her out. "We are dying. I weigh 128 pounds now."

Soon she relented. They visited a nice-looking senior residence, put down a deposit, and proceeded to wait a lot longer than they'd been led to expect. Meanwhile, son-in-law Jason had apparently heard something he didn't like about this place. He paid them a visit and started asking pointed questions about elder abuse.

Well, that was the end of that possibility; they found another senior residence, which is working out much better. When Vera fell in a doorway, both she and Max had call buttons hanging from their necks, and Max was able to summon help immediately.
At the other place, you had to make your way over to a cord hanging from a certain place on the wall. If the cord was in the other room, and your unconscious wife was in the doorway where your walker couldn't get over her -- well, I can't imagine what that would have been like.
At the hospital, the doctor told them to take Vera to this rehab center or that one -- nowhere else! Turns out that one of the executive directors or something at their residence knew someone at that rehab center. She got a bed by the window.

Now about their house: they had to sell it to pay the costs of the senior residence. They put it on the market, which had already started to decline. And I guess with the expenses of moving and all, they were behind on their giving. Max said, "Let's pay our tithe once we sell the house."

But the house didn't sell and didn't sell -- not even a nibble -- and after a while Max decided he couldn't stand it any longer. "I couldn't sleep," he said. So he told Judy to just write the check, come what may.

She dropped the check into the plate on Sunday morning; Monday there were four offers on the house.

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.
from 2 Chronicles 16

Saturday, October 25, 2008


The kitchen is just about complete now. The latest is that we have knobs. From Italy. These knobs influenced the design and color scheme of the whole kitchen. This photo shows the kitchen in its, uh, natural state.

Allow me to point out a few of the features of this kitchen, besides the knobs. The vacuum cleaner actually fits in one of the pantry-cabinets you see on the left; it's out for cleaning up sawdust.

The cylindrical trash receptacle is nice to have for two reasons: first, if you're breaking eggs, say, somewhere other than where the pull-out trashcan drawer is, you can drag the trash-can to where you're producing the empty egg-shells and drop 'em in forthwith. Second, if you're loading the dishwasher, then the trashcan drawer won't open! Well, it'll open a couple of inches, but not enough. So having a portable trashcan is a big help.

Then there is the white step-stool. When you're 5'3" or so, as we are, it's awfully nice to have. This step-stool has a very nice characteristic: no matter where you stand on the platform, your weight will be inboard of the stool's legs. We have had others, shaped like "TT" where, if you stood on the outer edge, your weight could tip the thing over, resulting in a cracked skull or a broken toe.

Finally, there is the chair with the cushions, covered by the skin of the fabled Nauga®. One can sit at the breakfast bar in these chairs, but... the kitchen floor is higher than the living room floor, and if you position the chair a little too far from the bar, it'll lean back and crack your skull. I think we'll hide the chairs for our kitchen-warming party.

Still thinking you'll vote for McCain? My vote doesn't matter, but yours might

My vote doesn't matter because I live in California, and all its electoral votes will go for Obama regardless how I vote. But if you're registered to vote in a state that's still "up for grabs," here are some reasons to think McCain might not be the right choice.
  • Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama. Not just the endorsement itself, but take a look at what he said. Here's another article about it.
  • Take a look at "Why Obama Matters" from the Atlantic... which is not exactly your bastion of left-wing demagoguery.
  • You've got your opinion about whether quagmire is spelled I-R-A-Q; take a look at "The Wars of John McCain" to see his.
  • (And if you think from these two that the Atlantic is a fountain of left-wing political correctness, take a look at "The War Against Boys," which puts them on AAUW's hate list, or "On Abortion: A Lincolnian Position," which I'm sure brought about fear and loathing from the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and NOW.)
But back to the election.

Since I brought up the Lincoln article, I don't like the democratic party's position on abortion. But nearly 20 years of republican supposedly pro-life presidents have done precisely nothing with respect to Roe v. Wade. At this point I don't believe that Republicans can do anything about the issue. We should think about people already walking around. How many Americans and Iraqis have paid too high a price for our military misadventures already? And VietN..., uh, I mean, Iraq is winnable?

What about coal mining deaths here at home, the dire consequences of the disastrous anti-labor administration we now have? How would John change any of that?

Yeah, I'm a registered Republican, and I will probably change that some day. But that doesn't matter for this general election, since I can vote (actually "have voted") for the Democratic presidential candidate. I hope you will too.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Unsupported protocol: Mordac to the rescue

User: When I try to access this file, I get "Unsupported protocol"

Mordac: Let me see... what host are you on? A-HA! You're not on an IT-conforming box. Try one of the "cycle" servers.

User: OK... <typing noise>... Now I get "No such file or directory."

Mordac: Problem solved! I'll close the ticket now.

User: ...?

The sound of one Schedule-Chicken clucking

Schedule chicken! If you haven't heard of it, it goes like this:
  1. BOSS: OK, we have system test coming up next Tuesday.
  2. MGR1 (sweating): We're on track for Tuesday (thinking: if a miracle happens).
  3. MGR2 (avoiding eye contact): 90% complete; we'll be done next week.
  4. MGR3 (to MGR2): But my guys tell me the API isn't even checked in yet! You were supposed to have that 2 weeks ago! With just a week to go, it's not possible...
  5. BOSS (looking around): So when can we enter system test?
  6. MGR3: Two weeks after his (indicating MGR2) APIs pass unit test.
  7. MGR1 (silently): (Whew! I have 2 more weeks now!)
  8. BOSS (to MGR2): So you'll be ready next Tuesday, right?
  9. MGR2: Thursday
  10. BOSS: But you said you'd be ready for system test next Tuesday, which was the system test deadline
  11. MGR2: I said "next week".
  12. BOSS (to himself): How can I get these guys to quit lying?
How indeed? Let me start by saying that the answer is not for BOSS to stand up and yell, "Will you clowns quit lying?" or threaten to fire the next poor fool he catches doing it. Unfortunately, BOSS (and the system he uses) are a major parts of the problem, because his subordinates have a perverse incentive to play the Schedule Chicken game.

Before we can figure out how to get rid of it, we have to start with "where did this come from?" Here are a few observations.
  • #1: How did BOSS (or whoever) decide the system-test date? Why are we talking about dates in the first place? In other words, one issue is the whole focus on "meeting" a milestone.
  • #2, #3: MGR1, MGR2 make completely unverifiable (and unfalsifiable) statements! Note that BOSS doesn't challenge them. Information about who's really not finished won't surface 'til system test actually starts -- or when it doesn't.
  • #4: This is the first objectively true or false sentence that's been uttered. These accursed milestone meetings are filled with lies, but hardly anything falsifiable.
  • #4 again: Why are we only talking now about something that's 2 weeks late? Shouldn't this conversation have happened 2 weeks ago?
  • #7: Why does MGR1 think he has more time just because MGR2 is late? Why has BOSS trained him to think so?
  • #8-#11 Deliberate deception! Probably driven by an overly competitive atmosphere
  • #12: I'm going to say that all this lying is strongly encouraged by the environment. The focus on when (mistake #1) something will be ready (mistake #2) is a source of all kinds of trouble.
It's true that BOSS has to be concerned about the when question, but why do we pay BOSS the big bucks? Because his job includes this onerous task:
  • translate what I need to know into terms that will produce the desired behavior in MGR{1,2,3}.
It's also true that BOSS has to predict the future. But we pay him to predict the future, and not just by rolling up unverifiable (and unfalsifiable) predictions from MGR{1,2,3}. Where's the value-add in that? No, what BOSS should be doing is getting factual data about the past and present from his subordinates. Things like:
  • Have the unit test specs been reviewed and approved by <insert Test Spec Reviewer's name here>?
  • What % of the unit tests have been run?
  • What % of the unit tests have passed?
  • How many staff-weeks (or staff-months) have been spent out of your budget for this task?
  • How much of the overflow buffer (or "contingency account") has been spent?
That last one takes some explaining.

We're all optimists, aren't we? That's why our estimates are always too low. "Sure, two weeks," we say, but that assumes things go as planned. Really now, how often does that happen?

If BOSS pads the schedule, then workers will do the "student syndrome" (wikipedia) thing and not start 'til 2 weeks before it's due. And things don't go as planned, and even the padded schedule is missed.

How do you fix that? The key insight is in item #5 on this post: by tracking other things than what you track now:
  • effort estimated (budget)
  • effort expended (out of budget) -- not % but actuals
  • how much is left in the "contingency account" or "buffer"
Of course there's more than that required to fix the Schedule Chicken game. But it's a great start.

Not "How close to 'done' are you?" (answer: 90%! Always!)

But "What % of your unit tests have been run? Passed? How much (not what %) of your budget is used? How much is left? How much is left in the contingency bank?" Track all of those. That's where you add your value.

And that's also why there's not enough money in the world to get me to do that job.

And by the way

Rothman's article on student syndrome (which came up in a google search while I was writing this) is brilliant. Her consulting group's homepage is here but don't hire them unless you're prepared to do what they tell you.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ikea Stockholm cabinet assembly: 109067 etc.

I went to Ikea with the lovely Carol, and we selected a black Stockholm cabinet. Of course some assembly was required. Step 1 was to screw in twenty (20) pegs or whatever. Whew -- felt like having a beer after that, but with 21 steps to go, I dared not.

Subsequent steps were easier, until I got to step#14, which was an exercise in science (physics, materials science, anthropology, textual criticism, etc.) because I did not grok the picture. Well, I got the idea that for this step I should be sure to use the 109067 screws, not the 100344.

What's the difference between the two? From the picture (in the image scanned here and in the front of the instruction booklet) what I noticed was:
  1. 100344 is shorter;
  2. 100344 is fatter;
  3. 100344 has coarse threads (vs finer threads of 109067).
  4. And: 100344 has a combo Phillips/slotted head whereas 109067 has a Phillips-only head; I didn't notice that before!
The instruction book said that all eight of these lookalike screws were supposed to be in bag#1, but there were 4 in bag#1 and 4 in a separate bag all by themselves (the "elite" screws).

Now when I looked at the "elite" screws, I found they were maybe a little longer than the others, which argued for their being 109067. They felt a little fatter than the others, which contradicted the length thing. The threads had exactly the same pitch AFAICT, though the "elite" screws had a threadless part on the shank, like lag bolts. The "elites" were sorta brass-like in color vs chrome, and they had a combo Phillips/slotted head.

With those differences, I decided that the "elites" were 100344 and the common screws were 109067, based on the following logic:
  1. 109067 is for a right-angle bracket that's pretty thin, hence we want the screws there that have threads all the way up to the head. In contrast, 100344 is for attaching a sorta "arched" part of the hinges, so their lag-bolt-ish feature wouldn't hurt.
  2. The other screws that hold the hinges have both
    1. a brass-like color and
    2. combo heads, not Phillips-only.
  3. 100344 goes into particle board but 109067 goes into something that looks like hardwood. Though the holes looked about the same size, it stood to reason (I thought) that the hardwood stuff didn't need as fat a screw in order to hold.
Since this took a fair amount of deduction etc., I thought I'd tell you about it.

The good news is: in the process of writing this I discovered that the picture indeed showed 100344 with a combo head (connecting "D" above with "2.b", so my judgment was vindicated. Whew!

Bottom line

The definitive difference between 109067 and 100344 for this cabinet is that 100344 has the combo Phillips/slotted head, whereas the 109067 is regular Phillips. Ignore the differences in length and thread-pitch suggested by the pictures in the instruction book. 109067 may be in bag#1 (with 100344 in a separate bag) or they might be packed together in bag#1 as the instruction book says.

Good luck and enjoy!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Out of the mouth (or keyboard) of the elder teen

Parents are supposed to have all this influence on their kids, and bring blessing into their lives and so on. What I'm thinking about today, though, are a two prophetic pronouncements from the elder teen.
By the way, when I say "prophetic" I don't mean in the sense of "foretelling the future"; rather I mean "bringing a message from God."

That's my short definition of the role of a prophet: one who represents God to Man, typically by bringing a message of some kind. The role of a priest is to represent Man to God, typically by praying for and/or with them. Of course one person can play both roles; Jesus did prophet and priest and king.
The first was some years ago. We'd just had a Bible study with a Japanese couple who were not yet following Christ. We were using the "Glad Tidings Bible Studies" created by our friend Mailis, a Norwegian Lutheran Missionary from Finland whom we'd met in Japan. These are terrific materials -- now you can download them in a bunch of languages other than the original Japanese and English.

Anyway, these folks had been engaged with the study, and I hope with the Holy Spirit, and I was very excited to have been part of that. "At times like this, I feel like I could be a missionary!" I said.

Then came the prophetic statement from the then soon-to-be teenager: "You are a missionary."

Oh, that's right, isn't it? What makes a missionary is acting like one, not a title or a box in an org-chart.

What brought that to mind was something that happened a few days ago. I was IM-ing with the now soon-to-be ex-teen-ager. One of her friends (one of our friends, I should say) had asked me to write a "pastoral recommendation" for a short-term mission opportunity, and it hadn't occurred to me that I would be qualified.

The second prophetic pronouncement (maybe not quite verbatim) came across the wires: "You have been pastoring her, right?"

D'oh! What makes a pastor is acting like one, not a title or a box in an org-chart.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Class of '78 Reunion

Last week's party was loud and crowded, but I was very glad I went: skipping it would've made me feel silly since I'd spent nearly $200 for the tickets!

Seriously though, I had conversations that brought me great joy.

The lovely Carol came with me, trouper that she is, even though she only knew one couple there. We talked with Meg and Clinton and heard that their twins are doing well. I got to see Mark and John, who are really bright guys. (As an undergraduate, Mark's prof told him that "you've seen things some of my colleagues would miss." I think John might have gotten one 'B' at Stanford, maybe -- or maybe not. One of his papers came back from the prof with nothing written on it until the last page, which simply said: "Brilliant! A") We spent a lot of time together as undergraduates.

John started a business with another of our classmates, and he's the principal author of the most widely used software for, ah, something to do with soils and environmental engineering; he's traveled to Europe and the Middle East on consulting trips. Mark is a med school professor and edits a journal involving something really important related to evidence based medicine.

Besides the many pleasant memories evoked by seeing these folks, there's also the sense I got from them that they're doing things that really suit them well. It was wonderful seeing others as well. Luigi looks terrific; so does Rick, though he lost some weight. We all have shorter (or less) hair. Dan's got a beard now.

There were some sad moments, recalling some of our classmates who have passed away. My freshman roommate died, as did two others we knew from that dorm.

The high point of my evening, though, was hearing from another guy I knew from the dorm. He told me the story of how the younger teen "saved my daughter's butt!"

His daughter transferred as a junior from a small (Catholic?) school to Menlo Atherton (M-A) High School, which is huge by comparison. Those two factors caused some concern. As this father related the story, "ONE girl," (he held up an index finger) "One girl welcomed my daughter, invited her to eat lunch with them...." Gave her a group to be part of, helped her find her footing.

That sound you just heard? That would be my buttons popping.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

This is so nerdy...

So my daughters (or maybe one of them?) got me a T-shirt that says "enjoys calculus" which I'm afraid I've just demonstrated in wikipedia's article on "Volume" -- particularly in the derivation for the formula for the volume of a sphere.

Here's how it happened. I was thinking about spheres for some reason, and I couldn't remember how to calculate the volume of a sphere. In fact I couldn't remember how to calculate the surface area either. I mean, one could look up the formulas somewhere, but how can you derive the formulas?

I couldn't think of any way to get any of them other than through calculus -- integrating the area of circular "slabs" parallel to the x-y plane as you take z from 0→R, which yields 4πR3.

Anyway, the lack of a non-calculus derivation bothered me because it seemed to me that when we learned this stuff in geometry class, we didn't know any calculus. H'm... On the other hand, maybe it was like, you know, the centripetal force formula mv2/R, which we just memorized in high-school physics but turns out to be derivable by parameterizing (x,y) in terms of t....

Judy suggested that I google on "volume of a sphere" and see what other calculation methods might be out there... didn't find anything easier than the first method on wikipedia's "Volume" article. That's when I noticed that the previous version had a gap... there was this weird "(This substitution is difficult to" in it, immediately followed by "Thus, the sphere..."

So I put something there I thought easier to follow. Oddly, the page was vandalized within 15 minutes... fixed immediately.

off-white and nerdy....

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Open letter to a Stanford computer science undergraduate

Dear C_______,

Although I was representing my employer when met you at a recent career event, what I'm about to write here is not a statement of my employer or of anyone else.

The short version of what I want to say here is:
  1. Your resumé is very impressive.
  2. Your resumé tends to make me feel worried about you.
On #1, I don't guess you needed me to tell you that. I mean really, your accomplishments, both technical and in promoting women's participation in STEM, are exceptional. I would love to have you work with us next summer if we could find something that interests you; we have a lot of problems to work on, and we have a lot of freedom in the intern program to let you work on them. But there are also many other companies who would love to have someone like you work for them. Some of those companies are household names, so I consider that we would be very lucky to be able to snag you. So provided that the economy doesn't go completely down the tubes, you'll be in high demand. Including by us.

On #2, and this politically incorrect part really isn't a statement of my employer.... Maybe it's because I have daughters rather than sons, but when I look at your resumé, this is what I worry about: I hope you get enough exercise and sleep and fresh air, that you find time to do volunteer work, that you get out dancing or to concerts, that you read novels or poetry and take time to relax and reflect... that you find enjoyment in life outside of math and science. I did not do much of that at Stanford; I was in a big rush, which is a sort of theme of my life.
Apropos of nothing: My daughters are about your age, and I'm just as proud of them as your parents are of you. When I think of why I'm so proud of them, their schoolwork isn't at the top of my list. Of course my heart overflows with affection whenever I think of them, so I'm not really objective. But I think of their compassion, their joy in life, their love for God, their courage and maturity and generosity -- and that is what busts my buttons. Now it doesn't hurt that their verbal SATs beat mine, that they have better grades than I ever got, or that their teachers love them. But that's secondary.
Well, all that was really incorrect politically -- again, not a statement of my employer! -- and I hope I haven't offended you. But I certainly hope that you take better advantage of Stanford than I did -- that you take classes in areas outside math and CS and engineering, and I don't mean Philosophy 161. And that you "waste" time with friends and think and talk about where you're going in life. I hope you get a few Bs and maybe even a C (okay, a B-minus if a "C" is unimaginable) or two because you've taken the time to be with a friend rather than cram for the endless sequence of exams.

Because there's so much more to life than math and computers and engineering. I hope you don't make the mistakes I did, is what I'm saying.

Best regards,

PS: whether you come to work for my employer or not, here are a few things you might enjoy reading. Maybe in a few years?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Lies, damn lies, and "No on W" ads

You can skip this posting if you don't live in Redwood City (climate best by government test).

Measure "W" in the upcoming general election would require a 2/3 majority to change any "open space" land to permit other uses. Developers don't like this measure because land that remains open space isn't land they could develop, sell, and make a ton of money from. Realtors don't like the measure because land that can't be developed or sold also can't pay them any commissions.

Notice anything about these groups of people? They stand to make less money -- maybe lots less money -- if the voters approve measure W. Therefore, they've decided to invest some money to defeat it. According to this article in the Redwood City Daily News,
DMB Associates, the Arizona firm hired to draw up a development plan for 1,433 acres in Redwood City owned by Cargill Inc. ... contributed nearly $692,000 to the "No on W" campaign, including $113,000 in staff time, records show.
Besides the $692,000 from an Arizona firm, there's another $400,000 from various sources: Oracle Corp., a group of realtors, unions....

By way of contrast, Save the Bay (the "Yes on W" team) have spent about $331,000.

So where do the "No on W" folks get off talking about some Oakland outfit trying to take over Redwood City? Sheesh! I mean for gosh sakes, look at the money! "Save the Bay" have spent less than half the amount that one out-of-state group contributed to the "No on W" campaign.

And if you look at the flyers and the print ads, it's clear that the "No on W" folks have more money. They have nice looking glossy ads. They have spent three times the money that the "Yes on W" team have. They have realtors, Oracle, and $692,000 from an Arizona outfit on their side.

They've outspent us 3:1. They have prettier brochures and more ads. Ads riddled with half-truths and outright lies (including "Big Lies"), but more of them regardless.

On the "Yes on W" side all we've got is volunteers and a few sympathetic friends from the Sierra Club. And the truth.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

it's here!

After going through this ordeal as described on the blog of the lovely Carol, we finally have our kitchen countertops and sink. We started in May and now we're just about done.

We've got some electricity to hook up -- disposal and dishwasher -- and some knobs. But other than that...

The younger teen is having a party -- about a dozen friends watching Disney movies. I was so happy about having the kitchen sink in that I didn't even mind doing dishes. That'll last at least another few hours I'm sure.

Staying un-Pornified

I haven't actually read the book, but it was featured in a First Things article from January 2008. April's letters department contained this observation:
Pornography is everywhere....
    How many times can one man turn away from the billboard, shut off the TV, or throw away the magazine before succumbing to temptation? .... Before anyone will fight a war on pornography, they will have to acknowledge that there is a war to fight.
First Things, April 2008, pp. 8-9
And so the current issue of The Atlantic arrives with an article titled "Is Pornography Adultery?" by Ross Douthat. Now the Atlantic is hardly a proponent of a return to Victorian values or of conservative religious dogma (Hitchens is a frequent contributor), but here is a senior editor quoting Matthew 5:28 and arguing that "the Internet era has ratcheted the experience of pornography much closer to adultery than I suspect most porn users would like to admit."

Douthat covers various viewpoints on pornography, but he argues compellingly that the category of "cheating on your spouse" includes a whole lot more than extramarital coitus. It includes some of Bill Clinton's activities in the White House for example. Would it include "phone sex"? Probably. Staring at, meditating upon, delighting in the image of the "Playmate of the Month"? Ask your wife.

I mean really, if the husband's pledge includes "forsaking all others, to cleave to her only" -- then there's a whole lot of possible behaviors that would violate that pledge.

Douthat closes with this zinger:
Smut isn't going to bring down Western Civilization any more than Nero's orgies actually led to the fall of Rome, and a society that expects near-universal online infidelity may run just as smoothly as a society that doesn’t.

Which is precisely why it's so easy to say that the spread of pornography means that we're just taking a turn, where sex and fidelity are concerned, toward realism, toward adulthood, toward sophistication. All we have to give up to get there is our sense of decency.
"Is Pornography Adultery?" The Atlantic October 2008, p. 86
It was great seeing that in my favorite monthly magazine.

Now let me back up a bit... the rhetorical question in the First Things letter: How many times can one man shut off the TV?

The answer came for me while we were still living in Japan (about a decade ago). My answer was: not enough times. There are things on TV, especially hotel TV, that I should not see, but I saw them and didn't always turn away.

From that day onward, I made a little rule for myself: Never turn on the TV when alone in a hotel room.

Does this mean I'm a chicken or that I'm prudent? Well, yes it does. Paul tells us to flee sexual immorality (not just "avoid actual physical adultery"). Therefore "no hotel room TV" is part of my plan.

And if you happen to see me while I'm traveling on business, or shortly afterward, would you ask me this please:
Seen anything interesting on TV lately?

So many VCRs, so little time

Back in July, the younger teen and I spent a weekend with my cousin's family. They had a copy of Pausch's The Last Lecture, and once I started reading it, I had a really hard time putting it down. The lecture got a lot of exposure in the media.

OK, so here's the deal. He taught this class on user interfaces, which he started off by complaining bitterly about VCRs. You can read about it here -- or click here and click on "Met when @ UVA"; you'll see this:
I had the pleasure of taking Randy's first course on "User Interfaces" back in 92 or 93. How many courses have you heard of where the professor begins the first class by assailing the poor UIs of clock radios and VCRs only to immediately smash them Gallagher style in front of a classroom of undergrads. Randy was one of three truly inspirational teachers that I had the pleasure of studying under during my entire formal education. I still retain and use much of the knowledge that I learned from him.
Anyway somebody gave him a trophy, which had a little hammer on it. The little plate on the base of the trophy read, "So many VCRs, so little time."