20 May 2008

A brief report on the Amazon Kindle

Since the publication in 1991 of Ben Bova's Cyberbooks, I have been awaiting the availability of a practical, dependable ebook device.

I'm still waiting.

I have just spent 2 hours trying (with mixed success) to get the content which I have paid for from the Amazon website to put on the THIRD Kindle that I have had, the first two having crapped out almost immediately.

The Kindle has good points - big memory (200 books or so), very sharp (if small) screen, (iffy) wireless capacity. However, my rather annoying experiences with Amazon and the Kindle lead me to conclude that with a whole lot of work, the quality of the Kindle will increase to "ordinary Chinese flimsy crap" and the customer service delivered by Amazon.com will rise to "sucks."

The initial process of opening your (first) Kindle and reading a (first) book is stimulating. So is the initial process of acquiring a venereal disease.

I need to check out bn.com.

Pippa passes.


17 May 2008

Bill Reid - work accomplished

Brethren -

Wor. Bro. William Morgan Reid, PM, Fairmont Lodge No. 9, AF&AM, was laid to rest with Masonic honors this afternoon.

There were no "uh"s uttered during the ritual.

The estate's heirs have given all of Bill's Masonic memorabilia (an astonishing amount) to the Executor (that would be me), and the Executor has in turn handed it over to Wor. Bro. Gary Donaldson, who will bring it to lodges and spread it around, and will notify the brethren on Phil's email at the time. After strict search, we did find ONE sport jacket which did NOT have a Masonic lapel pin on it.

I sincerely thank the brothers for the support shown to Bill during the past two months. Bro. Donaldson (and his exquisite wife Gracie), Bro. Gary Bolyard (whose daughter, Leigh Ann, sang The Lord's Prayer during the service, absolutely haunting), "Brother Doc," Bro. Brad Miller, MD, Wor. Bro. Harold Phillips, the telegraph man, and many, many other brothers fulfilled their obligation to Billy in full.

Remember, brethren, that there is a brother, Don Sirk, who remains in Fitzwater's Nursing Home right beside my office. Bro. Don has NO family, NO visitors, and thus we need to extend brotherly love to Bro. Don.

Acacia 157

14 May 2008

Election observations

Hillary by a landslide in West Virginia. That would be really significant if she were running for Governor. While Bill was sort of conscious, I told him that we needed to get the Rescue Squad to take him the half mile over to the college because he didn't want to miss meeting her. He gave me the last smile of his life and a nod.

Partner Amy won the Family Court Judge race. In lots of ways, this is win-win: She takes an important step for herself and family, and Dave gets to leave that pressure cooker with honor and a smile. Amy was still taking it all in today, and Dave was as upbeat and happy as I have seen him in a long time. But I lose a partner.

Oh, we went shooting yesterday. I have a problem. If an attacker stands in front of the broad side of a barn, s/he's safe from me.

Friend Randy Proctor came in third in the sheriff's race. That was the big surprise of the night.

Friend Spike Maynard lost the Supreme Court seat. They couldn't beat him fair & square, they had to go negative. Now, of course, he'll go make a mint in practice. Justice Workman has been there before, and she's OK. Justice-to-be Ketchum has a really good reputation, but I don't know him at all.

Pippa passes.


13 May 2008

Bill Reid - Obituary with times, etc.

Ryan Ford
Ford Funeral Homes
(304) 363-3130 or 612-8505

William Morgan Reid, 84, of Barrackville, WV, died in the loving arms of his family and Masonic brethren on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at Fairmont General Hospital. He was born September 12, 1923 in Chiefton, West Virginia, a son of the late Robert B. and Elizabeth Morgan Reid. He is also preceded in death by his wife, Arlene "Teckie" Reid, who died March 16, 2007.

Mr. Reid was a member of the Bethesda Baptist Church in Barrackville. He served in the United States Navy from 1943-1946 during World War II as a Pharmacist Mate. Mr. Reid retired from Bethlehem Mine Corporation as a Coal Preparation Plant Foreman. He was a member of the AF&AM Lodge #9 in Fairmont where he was a Past Master of the Lodge and served for many years as a coach; was a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason, Wheeling Consistory; York Rite Knights Templar Degree Mason, Fairmont; Member of the Order of the Eastern Star #34 in Fairmont, and was a member of the AAONMS, Osiris Temple in Wheeling.

Survivors include one sister, Fleda Arlene Reid Moore of Fairmont; one half sister, Agnes Cohen of Pottstown, Pennsylvania; beloved cousin, Jane Haynes and her husband Tom of Fairmont; one dear friend, Pola Honce of Bridgeport; many nieces and nephews and thousands of Masonic family.

In addition to his parents and wife, he is preceded in death by two uncles, John and Edward Morgan

Friends may call the Ford Funeral Home, R.C. Jones Chapel, 1410 Country Club Rd., Fairmont, on Thursday, May 15, 2008 from 6:00- 9:00 PM, Friday, May 16, 2008 from 3:00 to 9:00 PM and on Saturday, May 17, 2008 from 10:00 to 11:00 AM. The Order of the Eastern Star #34 will perform ritualistic services on Friday at 7:00 PM in the funeral home. Funeral services will be held in the funeral home on Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 11:00 AM with Pastor David Cyphers and Reverend Joshua Patty officiating. Interment will follow at the Beverly Hills Memorial Gardens in Westover, West Virginia. The AF&AM Lodge #9 will perform ritualistic Masonic graveside services. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Bethesda Baptist Church, PO Box 118, Barrackville, WV 26559. Online condolences may be made at www.fordfuneralhomes.com.

PS - Food & drink provided at Friday visitation - We know everybody's gonna want to shoot the breeze & tell stories about Bill - He'll like that.


Things to say before I catch a couple hours of sleep

I don't know if I have a point to make or not. I just feel compelled to write here a little.

Bill Reid was my Masonic coach. This means that, many years ago, he spent hours and hours with me teaching me portions of "the work," which requires a whole lot of memorization. Bill knew the work perfectly (hours of it), and he always insisted that I get it "letter perfect." Over the past few months, he's been working on some floor work with me - Brothers will know what I mean by that.

I was called to Fairmont General Hospital around noon yesterday - Bill has no immediate family, and I'm his medical power. Bill's oxygen sats crashed Monday late morning, and the Rescue Squad took him up to the ER. I crashed my afternoon with the assistance of my really great staff, and went up to the ER. My buddy Judge Born permitted me to appear in two brief matters by phone yesterday afternoon and basically told me to keep my ass up at FGH to take care of business. Bill was getting really good care from the ER people, with Dr. Porfili, a really competent and personable lady. She called in Bro. Doc Brad Miller, who dropped everything, came running, and took the medical control of things. Brad discussed with us (including Bill) treatment options, and that this was the end -- basically, really aggressive treatment might prolong Bill for a few days of total misery. It was BILL'S decision to call it a day, and be kept comfortable.

Brothers came and went all evening, and both Bill's pastor and my/our pastor, Josh Patty, came running and stayed for hours doing their spiritual/pastoral thing. Bro. Gary Donaldson and his wife Gracie, came up from Weston early afternoon, and stayed to the end a little while ago, and Bro. Gary Bolyard hurried up from FSU. Lots of other brothers were in and out. We settled in at 8 or so, and just waited for the end, talking to Bill, reading to Bill, praying with Bill. It was really weird watching the ECG - that's one of the few skills I still have a little bit intact from my paramedic days, and I wish I didn't remember it - the green squiggles don't represent life, but they reveal life function. And Bill passed beyond, and we were there -- the others hadn't seen a death before -- and I've seen too many - but this time was different - The ICU staff told us they'd be with us all the way, but they had a patient crashing in another room, we told them that there wasn't anything they could do for Bill, to take care of the living, so I ended up telling the others what was happening as it happened.

I don't know what my point is. It's coming up on 6 AM, I'm back at the office, and I have to get out of here at 8 to go to Morgantown for weight class, then to the funeral home to sign stuff, and then (hopefully) an afternoon of shooting at the farm. I'm fried, I'm sad, I'm encouraged (and oddly, I'm reading The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins, and after this night's work, he can go straight to hell), and I'm awash in epinephrine.

There is a message in this experience. I'm just too damn tired to figure it out tonight. Any takers?

Pippa passes.

Reassignment - Wor. Bro. William Morgan Reid

Brethren -

At 4:15 AM on Tuesday, 12 May 2008, the Great Architect summoned Worshipful Brother William Morgan Reid, Past Master, Fairmont Lodge # 9, AF&AM, to gather his Master Mason’s working tools and report to the Lodge Not Made With Hands. At this writing, he is being reunited with his beloved Tek.

Bill was in the presence of family and brethren when he died, and he made the transition peacefully. He discussed treatment options himself with Bro. Dr. Brad Miller on Monday afternoon, and his wishes were strictly adhered to. He was responding to conversation, prayer and scripture reading up until around 2 AM. Bill’s pastor, Rev. Cyphers, attended Bill Monday night, as did Pastor Josh Patty, who has been pinch-hitting for Rev. Cyphers while he was out of town for an extended period. The final prayer offered in his behalf was simply, "Father, into your hands we commend Bill's spirit."

Bill’s earthly remains are in the care of our brothers, the Fords. He will be at Ford/R.C.Jones at 1410 Country Club Road. Bill’s beloved cousin Janie is in de facto charge of funeral arrangements - she figured out that I was in over my head when she had to tell me what a "spray" is. The funeral will be sometime Saturday, and there WILL be a Masonic service at graveside, and Bill requested that Wor. Bro. Gary Donaldson act as Master. Gary needs a backup or two, so PM’s are really needed. Pastors Cyphers and Patty will both be doing the religious service There will be an Eastern Star service, probably Friday night. We’ll figure out other visitation times later today. Arrangements will be forwarded by Phil’s Masonic Telegraph, posted on my blog and in the Fairmont Times (and on their website, timeswv.com).

Rt. Wor. Bro. Greg Riley was one of the brothers who came up Monday night, and he told us that he remembers a Masonic funeral where around 80 brothers attended. We are doing the Saturday funeral to give as many brothers as possible an opportunity to attend and participate, and if we can’t turn out 100+, we ain’t trying. Please, please make every effort to attend. No, don’t make every effort - just attend, ok? Bill deserves it.

What am I forgetting? Oh, yeah - 3 or 4 weeks ago, Bill was talking to me about this eventuality - with a real gleam in his eye, he told me to strictly give it in charge to the brethren that there is no "uh" in the funeral service. Study, brothers, we only have one chance to get this right.

Roger Curry
Acacia 157
Cell 304-282-8013
Pippa passes.

11 May 2008

Of no interest at all to non-West Virginians

I haven't gotten around to doing my traditional sample ballot yet this election cycle. To explain: Years and years ago, when I was a "ballot commissioner," I began posting a sample ballot (this was in the paper ballot days) on the back of a door in the Circuit Clerk's office. Is it inappropriate to point out that my predictions have been uncannily accurate? So far, at least.

The vigor - and in some instances, the viciousness - of the current campaign probably has slowed down my prediction machine.

I haven't planned this post, so I don't know if this is going to boldly predict anything. So, let’s just call it some election observations?

Supreme Court - This is the hot button race in the state, at least the one where there is real competition. The players are:

Spike Maynard - I’m supporting him. I like him. He rules against me a lot. He has caught undeserved shit from political opponents. Were these opponents to point out that he’s just too damn conservative (the real objection they have), that would be fair. I’m getting some splash on this, and I’ll live with it.

Margaret Workman - Her big minus is that she’s been there before and left. But that’s her biggest plus, too. I barely know her personally. She has written some good decisions in the past and no question she can do the job.

Bob Bastress - Here is another guy that I don’t know well. He teaches at the College of Law, and has for something like 30 years. He’s certainly the best legal scholar of the group, and I’m presuming that he would be quite liberal. The academic accomplishments are important, but I just don’t think that they will translate to votes in West Virginia. Some of the bar resists an academic on the Court, and I can argue that one both ways. “Practical experience” is important, and sometimes professors have more of that than you would expect. If that’s the case, the campaign hasn’t effectively communicated that. Frank Cleckley is strongly supporting Bastress. I don't think Frank is well-known as a politician, but he's probably the most prominent lawyer in the state, and unquestionably transformed the Court (for the better) when he was a Justice there, and his word carries a lot of power.

Menis Ketchum - I am told that he is a really good lawyer in the southern part of the state, but I’ve never communicated with him in any way. His ads follow the pattern of the others, “Spike is a son of a bitch and it’s all Don Blankenship’s fault,” which may be effective, but it doesn’t tell us a thing about his judicial philosophy.

Prediction: Maynard, then Workman.

Sheriff - There are three serious candidates.

In the lead and my projected winner is Randy Proctor. He has run before and lost a squeaker last time. He has been running continually and effectively since. He has great law enforcement credentials. NONE of the candidates has talked about the fact that the Sheriff is also the treasurer of the county and runs a BIG business operation. I think that’s an anachronism anyway, but there’s no support for changing that. I’ve supported Randy for the past 2+ years.

Donnie Leonard will run a strong second, in my prediction. He is a thoroughly nice fellow with solid law enforcement credentials. He is strongly supported by Sheriff Slaughter, who swings a lot of weight in the Democratic party. His campaign has been strong, but not apparently strongly financed. It’s a shame that’s a factor, but Dr. Reality says that it is.

Joe Carpenter will be a real player in the future. If he stays in the public eye like Randy has done, he’s got a strong start on the 2012 or 2016 campaign. He is the least experienced, but still has good law enforcement credentials. He has not spent a great deal of money campaigning, but he’s worked personally hard at it, has kept on message and campaigned smartly. Son Tim has a Joe Carpenter sticker on his truck.

Family Court Judge

How in the pluperfect hell can I call this one? My great friend David Born is the incumbent, and he is an excellent judge. The things that make him a great judge make him a lousy politician. Perhaps this points out flaws in judicial selection, I don’t know. On the other hand, appointment invokes the appearance of cronyism and no doubt the reality of it in some instances.

My partner and great friend Amy Swisher is running against David. She’s the most personable of the candidates, and has worked extremely hard toward the end of the campaign. Her literature is really good, but her campaign hasn’t spent much money.

Marci Carroll is a really, really smart lawyer with a fanatic work ethic. Her campaign has run like clockwork, she’s put money into the campaign and if the amount of work is the sole determiner, she wins hands down.

Steve Fitz is an extraordinarily nice fellow with good sense. His campaign really never took off.

Prediction? Jeez - how about it’s within the margin of error, so we’ll see. It’s how much legs Dave’s incumbency has versus Marci’s determination versus Amy’s positive personality. It will be the nominee's election to lose, because if they take the Republican, Shirley Stanton, for granted they'll get greased. Shirley is a good lawyer and will run a really strong campaign.

I know that to Clank & Rags & the rest of the Shelf crowd, this is a great bloody boor of a post. Sorry, this is what's going on in my life right now.

Hillary is coming to Fairmont tomorrow night. I ain't going.

Pippa passes.


09 May 2008

Bro. Bill Reid to Arbors nursing home

Brethren -

Bro. Bill Reid was discharged from Mon General today - He is now at Arbors of Fairmont, Located on Watson Hill across from the Manchin Building. I don't know room no. yet, nor phone, I'll advise.

He is mostly off of the very intrusive positive pressure breathing mask, and that will give him a lot more freedom. The doc says that he has 10% heart function, tops. But he'll be back to coaching -- His mind is sharp as a tack.

Brethren, please visit Bill - he spread bread upon the waters for decades, and now it's time for us to spread more.

Pippa passes.

Acacia 157

Roger D. Curry, J.D.
Curry & Swisher, pllc
213 Locust Avenue
Fairmont, WV 26554
Fax 304-363-1143
Cell 304-282-8013
lawyer - writer - longhunter - steward