Humble beginnings

A letter arrived today from Thrift Savings Program, which is the pretax savings plan for Uncle Sugar's military. I needed to sit down after reading:

We will no longer use your Social Security number as your primary identifier . . .
Humble beginnings. It's not without its bugs, of course:

. . . if you talk to our call center representatives, they may ask you for your Social Security number as added protection.
They'll still rely on the SSN as a password---verification of identification---but not as identification itself. It's not what I was hoping for, not what servicemen (and all taxpayers) deserve, but for the FedGov this is a huge step.

More of this, please, and more boldly.


Rev Horton Heat would be dismayed

The State of New Mexico has some inexplicable animus against the martini.

Their highway signs warning against DUI use the distinctive silhouette of the martini glass as the universal symbol for abuse of alcohol. It's unmistakable.

I'd venture to say that the Land of Enchantment has arrested more DUIs suffering impairment from lagers than from martinis of all kinds.


My brother passed away quietly, in his home, with family near him. I was able to see him and speak to him before that, though I could not bring Toad to meet him. His wife and children move on, with dignity and peace.

We just completed the trek down to Phoenix for his memorial and back, offspring units and all, by passenger car and reward points by Marriott.

This brother was the presence of my father while my father worked away, by the week, during my adolescent and teen years. This brother taught me chemistry in the short hours of summer nights. This brother, when heading out for the service academy appointment he fought for, rued leaving me behind with quarreling parents and a house rotting beneath me. I will always be aware of the long shadow he cast.

This is the brother who exercised the most, lived the "cleanest" if you will, and surprised the rest of us the most by suffering and losing an uneven fight with cancer while the returns on his investments in life were just beginning to roll in.

He died the day that the en banc ruling against Abigail Alliance came down. He could have benefited from the medicines that this case sought to make available. He probably could have benefited also from medical practice disconnected from one's employment; he lost valuable time shuttling from appointment to referral to appointment, until the only service of use to him was hospice.