Many images have come out of Boston after the recent bombings. For some reason I was particularly moved by the cover to the Boston Magazine showing running shoes. The ‘heart & sole’ imagery may not be subtle but it highlights an element of the attack that is evocative. The international and cross-cultural nature of an athletic event like the Boston Marathon adds an extra layer of ugliness to this attack. It calls the mind the terrorist attack at the Munich Olympics a couple of generations ago.
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Today is the birthday of Nelle Harper Lee. She is 87. “To Kill A Mockingbird” has always been one of my favorite books. It is the first book I recall reading more than once. The film adaptation starring Gregory Peck is a classic. I saw a stage adaptation a few years ago and found it is equally powerful as a play. She is one of inspirations that gave our ‘Harper’ her name.
It seems impossible to read anything about Harper Lee that doesn’t focus on that fact that “…Mockingbird” was her only book; often with an implied disappointment. I understand the fascination but I also find it annoying. How many masterpieces is a one required to produce before they earn their place in cultural history? Thanks to Ms. Lee, I learned to appreciate writers with what I think of as a southern voice. I’m sure I would have discovered Tennessee Williams had there never been “To Kill A Mockingbird”, but probably later than I did. I probably would have discovered Truman Capote as well though I am not sure. I’m not as confident I would have discovered William Faulkner, Eudora Welty or Flannery O’Connor. Thanks Ms. Lee…and Happy Birthday.
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The recent theft of my wallet spurred me to action canceling credit cards and replacing all the little bits of plastic and paper that represent my life in my back pocket. Most of the replacements have arrived and it occurs to me I need to buy a new wallet in which to keep them. I don’t think I have ever purchased a wallet. Is it possible, at my advanced age, that every wallet I’ve ever owned was either a birthday or Christmas gift? Since both are months away I must brave the frontier of this uncharted shopping territory. How exciting!
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One of the pieces of paper I need to replace is my Social Security card. I don’t have any particular emotional or sentimental attachment to my lost card but it occurs to me, aside from the birth certificate, it was the oldest piece of paper I owned. I was in 6th grade. I had just gotten my first job, a paper route, and needed to have a social security number. My mother took my sister and I to the office above the Post Office we both got them. I took pride in the fact my sister’s social security number was identical to mine except mine ended in a 7 and hers ended in an 8. My number was lower even though she was older; the things one finds interesting age 12. It was amusing to see how I signed my name at age 12. I wonder if I can try to recreate that on the new one. “But officer; it’s not forgery. It’s nostalgia.”
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Sometimes up-to-date information can be TMI. Friends in Portland OR recently sent a package using the Postal Service. USPS has committed time and energy to touting their new online tracking system in an effort to be more competitive. In this case, I was able to go online and see that the package went from Portland to Seattle to Phoenix. It arrived in Phoenix in the early hours of 4/23 where it was sorted and sent out for delivery. In the wee hours of 4/24 our box again toured the sorting facility and was sent back out for delivery. Apparently unable to get too much of a good thing, our intrepid parcel made one more nostalgic visit to the sorting facility in the early morning hours of 4/25 before being sent back out, again, for delivery. It finally arrived at our door about 4:30 PM. Had the package simply arrived the afternoon up on 4/25, while not dazzled by the speed, I would not have been dissatisfied with the service. But knowing the little-parcel-that-could made ‘last call’ at the Phoenix sorting facility three days in a row before finding its way to us looks like inefficiency. If Harry Potter had spent that much time under the Sorting Hat I would never have finished the first book.
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Life Lessons from the Lost Wallet Diaries….
After a recent hacking incident, WordPress posted information on its website recommending users enhance their security by moving to a second-level authentication system. In this system, in addition to ones user name and password, one needs to provide a 6 digit code that is generated by a smart-phone application to sign in. This is a variation of the SecureID system we used for years at the bank. I was familiar with the process so I put it in place.
When setting up the authentication system, the instructions stress the importance of printing a list of single-use back up codes. These codes would be used to access Wordpress if the authenticator application were unavailable for any reason. Since there is no way to access WordPress without a code, they warn users to print the backup codes and keep them in a safe place separate from your phone. They recommend keeping them in your wallet. That way, should your phone be unavailable for any reason, like, oh I don’t know, say, just hypothetically mind you, someone steals it, you can still access WordPress. Am I the one only person in the history of the world who lost their wallet and phone at the same time? The Happiness Engineers (yes, that is really what they’re called) at WordPress were terrific about assisting me but it took two days to regain access. For anyone else using the system, you may wish to consider keeping more than one copy of the backup codes and keeping one of them somewhere other than your wallet……