Tangled Up Holidays

My life has been tangled up with holidays from Day One. Literally. I was born at five minutes to midnight on New Year’s Eve.

The major intersection between my life and a holiday comes on Thanksgiving. When Mrs. Hoge and I were planning our wedding day, we selected 24 November, the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend in 1979. Every few years, our anniversary would fall on a Saturday again, and after we moved to Maryland, that would be opening day of deer season. Connie joined me on opening day in 2012. (Gentlemen, how many of you have had your wife ask you take her deer hunting for your anniversary?)

And from time to time, our anniversary would fall on Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving Day, 2016, was our 37th anniversary. I was also the day Connie died.

So Thanksgiving is a very mixed day for me, but I’m thankful for 37 years of a loving marriage to a wonderful woman.

A Fond Memory

I’m writing this just after 1 am on Monday, 20 November. I knew this week was going to be a bit weird and disjointed. I’ve just come off three weeks of working an 11 pm to 7  am shift supporting a 24/7 equipment test, and I was looking forward to spending this week easing back into a normal schedule. And then I came down with a nasty cold that has made it difficult to sleep for more than an hour without waking up to blow my nose.


OTOH, being up late when all else is quiet is a good time to sit and think. And remember, in this case a happy event from Monday, 20 November, 1978.

I’ve previously written about How I Met Mrs. Hoge in late 1977. The more I learned about her, the more attractive she seemed, and by the time we were both moving to Nashville, Connie was on my short list of women to court and marry. However, she was romantically interested in someone else as she moved to Nashville.

If you read the post linked above, you know that Connie and I had been introduced by an old friend of mine Henry Martin. Henry hosted a Bible study at his house on Monday evenings which I began attending. A few weeks after I joined the study, Connie joined as well. She had dabbled in Eastern religions while in college, but she didn’t feel that she had the spiritual support to deal with the changes occurring in her life.

The theme of the Bible study was a systematic look at all the reference to the Hebrew and Greek words translated into English as “spirit” taken in a chronological order from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22. We were in I Chronicles when Connie decided that she needed to become a Christian. Henry was a deacon at Belmont Church of Christ and had a key to the church building. He offered to open it so that we could use the baptistry for Connie. She said yes and asked me to baptize her. We practice baptism by immersion in the Church of Christ.

It was a typical late November night. The temperature was in the upper 30s, and the heat had been set low in the church building for over 24 hours. The water in the baptistry was cold. I was wearing a set of waders, but as I bent over to immerse Connie, I leaned about 1/4 inch too far, and they filled with water. I got almost as wet as she did.

Connie remained a faithful Christian to the end of this life. I look forward to seeing her again.

And I look for the Resurrection of the dead,
And the life of the world to come.

The Past Few Weeks, The Next Couple of Days

Since the last week in October, I’ve been involved with a 24/7 test program on a piece of hardware I’ve been working on for the past five years. The testing ended late last night with results very much in line with my predictions.

I was part of the third shift crew working from 11 pm to 7 am, so my normal schedule, including blogging, has been disrupted. I’m taking the next week off and will spend the next couple days getting my sleep cycle back to normal in time for the next episode of The Other Podcast.

I’ve got some vacation time coming. I think I’ll take next week off from work.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

For many years, the IRS filings from Brett Kimberlin’s Justice Through Music Project showed a lawyer named Jeffery Cohen as Executive Director. This post about Dread Pirate #BrettKimberlin’s Boss’ Day Job ran eleven years ago today. A SWATting threat was posted in its comment section.

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Court records show an email address for a Jeffrey R. Cohen who has the same street address as Justice Through Music Project. That email address is associated with the law firm of Millen, White, Zellano & Branigan. The firm’s web site gives this information about Mr. Cohen:

Our entertainment practice focuses on music, film and television. Because of our intellectual property expertise, we understand not only the finer points of contract terms but also the significance of the intellectual property issues at hand. Jeff Cohen heads this practice group. Jeff owns Sumerian Records and is a partner in an entertainment management company Outerloop Management.

Here are links about Sumerian Records and Outerloop Management.


* * *

* * * * *

Bill Schmalfeldt spent the next several years unsuccessfully trying to prove that he wasn’t the source of the SWATting threat.

A Disrupted Schedule

Blogging and most of the rest of my activities will be out of kilter for the next few days as I transition to working during third shift. The widget that has been the focus of most of my attention for the past five years is undergoing environmental testing. It will be subjected to 24/7 temperature testing in vacuum for the next few weeks, and I’m on the third-shift crew.

Working on Labor Day

I often say that I’ve retired twice, but that’s not strictly accurate. I did retire from working as a contractor at Goddard Space Flight Center when I was 65-1/2. Mrs. Hoge was going back to graduate school to study for a degree in Landscape Architecture, and I had just rapped up my deliverables for an x-ray astronomy project, so I decided to “retire” from going to work each day. Six months later, the new company that had taken over the electrical engineering support contract at Goddard asked me to come back. The University of Maryland campus is just a few miles from Goddard, so I could share the commute with Connie. I  decided to accept their offer.

After Connie’s cancer diagnosis in 2015, I retired again to focus on caring for her, but when she went into remission and returned to her graduate studies, I accepted another offer of work at Goddard. I’m still working there.

While I did retire from Goddard twice, I never quit working. I’ve done freelance technical work in the areas of audio, power systems, and rf (radio) for over 50 years, and I’m still at it. In fact, I’ve been working on an audio project today.

Then and Now

When I was working in radio in Nashville back in the ’60s and ’70s, there were only six effective daily news outlets in town: The NBC outlet (WSM-AM/TV), the ABC outlet (WSIX-AM/TV), the two separately owned and staffed CBS outlets (WLAC-TV and WLAC-AM), the morning paper (The Tennessean), and the evening paper (The Nashville Banner). Only one, the Banner, had a conservative point-of-view. In the early ’70s, the Nashville media market began to “diversify” when WPLN joined NPR. Nashville was not unique in left-wing dominance of its news media.

The Banner folded in 1998, but it was replaced by an online site of the same name in 2022 which says it “will be politically agnostic and will not include opinion pieces.” Things are still a bit lopsided in the media back home.

Several folks roughly my age at those news operations have gone on to other things. I’ve gone from WLAC-AM to working at Goddard Space Flight Center. Oprah Winfrey moved on from WLAC-TV and Pat Sajak from WSM-TV to other work in television. And Al Gore … well, being Bill Clinton’s VP was the high water mark of his career.

What Our Ancestors Did

My podcasting partner Stacy McCain has a post up that touches on the fact that many Americans, including many black Americans, are descendants of slave holders. I am one.

From 1680 to 1863, seven generation of my ancestors were planters in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Tennessee who used slave labor. Slavery was part of the economic system that existed in those places and times, and they were people of the those places and times.

I am a man of my place and time. I’m not a slave holder. Indeed, I oppose slavery.

Another Milestone

A bit more than 29 years ago, my arms got too short, and I had to start wearing reading glasses. Over the past few months, my far vision had reached the point where I need corrective lenses to drive. Today, I was fitted for my first pair of bifocals.

This is going to take some getting used to.

About That Young Airman

People are wondering how a young airman could have had access to the classified information compromised in the recent leaks. It’s quite simple, the low-level clerical jobs in military facilities are handled by privates, seaman, and airman who are supervised by more senior specialists and by NCOs. The PFCs and Spec4s in the comm center I ran in Viet Nam were all 19 or 20 years old, and they handled classified traffic on a routine basis every day.

Of course, the young men working in that comm center were highly motivated to do their jobs well. The consequence for screwing up was loss of one’s security clearance, which meant leaving the nice, air conditioned, underground comm center bunker and serving in one’s secondary military occupational specialty. All my men had a secondary MOS of 11B (Infantryman).

A New Ride

I bought a new car yesterday. The 2014 diesel Beetle that we bought as a commuter car for my late wife wasn’t large enough to do some hauling I need to do. Neither was my 2021 VW GTI. I traded the Beetle for a 2023 VW Taos.

Of course, the dealership wanted me to finance the car so they could earn a finder’s fee, but I paid cash. At my age, I don’t buy green bananas.

BTW, while I was doing the paperwork to close the deal, the dealer finance guy’s phone rang. It was someone who wanted to sell him an extended warranty.

Valentine Flowers

Flowers were always a part of the loving relationship between Mrs. Hoge and me. The first flower I gave her was single pink carnation for Valentine’s Day, 1979.

When we bought our first house in Nashville, we moved in during the late summer. The next spring, I was pleased to see crocus popping up in the yard. After we moved to California, we had roses blooming for 11 months each year, but no crocus.

When we moved to Maryland and bought stately Hoge Manor, Mrs. Hoge planted some crocus bulbs for me as a surprise. I’ve enjoyed seeing them every spring. The first crocus of 2023 came up this morning.

A Carnation for Valentine’s Day

On Valentine’s Day, many of us give flowers and candy to our sweethearts. A single pink carnation one Valentine’s Day is part of a cherished memory of my courtship of Mrs. Hoge.

She was just starting her career as a recording engineer in Nashville and was working at Audio Media Recorders. The small room where tape copies were made had begun to be called “Connie’s Closet.” I stopped by the studio on my way to work at Harrison Systems, and left the carnation in a bud vase on the counter where the Ampex and Studer tape machines were installed.Carnations wound up having a very special meaning in our lives together.