Sneaking Suspicions
Archives-- May 9-15, 2004

This page includes posts from May 9-15, 2004 in the usual reverse order. Each posting on the home page is perma-linked to these archive pages.

May 14, 2004
Personality clues on the office wall

Iíve been wondering about the extent to which the artwork and other display objects in one's office give a hint about the personality of its occupant.

Surely thereís something to this. For example, in my office there are no poster-sized photographs of kittens, and there never will be.

Anyway, the idea seemed like an apt subject for a compare-and-contrast exchange among bloggers.

Iíll start it off by highlighting three such objects that hang on the walls of my little 12 x 10 corner of state government.

This is Soir Bleu, by Edward Hopper. I first saw the original in a traveling exhibit at the Asheville Art Museum in North Carolina in 1998. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to buy a print.

I know just how the man in white feels.

I forget where I bought the movie poster for Ralph Bakshi's Wizards, shown above, but I know exactly where I saw the movie during its relatively short first run in 1977--the KB MacArthur theater, on MacArthur Boulevard in DC. I think it's a drugstore now.

I like the attitude shown by both characters on this poster, and I'm told my facial expression sometimes matches theirs exactly.


I bought a copy of this San Diego Zoo announcement during a visit there in 1980. I could be wrong, but I think a lawyer may have had a chance to review this before it was posted throughout the zoo.

I try to keep this item in mind whenever my clients ask me to look over an agreement they've drafted.

Your turn.

Drop me a line when you post your own sample, and I'll update a list of blogger entries on this subject at this location.


Daryl Cobranchi saw this post and was reminded of a sign someone placed on his desk. It's apparently still there, and for a good reason.

Terry Oglesby complimented my choices of artwork, but is also justifiably proud of the original art that adorns his office.

May 13, 2004
A local "tax honesty" advocate caught in a lie

Last week Donald Donovan received his sentence for the tax crimes that a Delaware Federal jury found he committed.

Despite his apparent membership in the so-called "tax honesty" movement, Donovan managed to give the sentencing judge a decidedly different impression:

A Seaford man who acted as his own defense attorney and argued the federal tax code did not require him to pay income taxes was ordered Friday to serve three years in prison.

Judge Kent A. Jordan ordered the term plus a $7,500 fine for Donald Donovan, 53. The judge said he thought Donovan had lied and perjured himself during his January jury trial at U.S. District Court in Wilmington. He said he believed a man Donovan named as responsible for his business finances was a fictional character contrived in an attempt to hide income and thwart law enforcement.

"I believe you are still trying to hide the truth today," he said.

I wrote about Donovan's conviction last January, and discussed the fact that the downstate Delawarean made some of the standard arguments of the tax protester movement, with the same sorry results. He argued unsuccessfully that the 16th Amendment was improperly ratified, and that only corporations had to pay income taxes in any event.

The jury was not impressed.

I readily admit that some of the folks who try to avoid these obligations are a complete mystery to me. The ones who are essentially con men are easy to understand, but the true believers in outright balderdash boggle me.

For those who share my mystification, I recommend "Itís So Simple, Itís Ridiculous", Brian Doherty's fine new piece in the May 2004 issue of Reason about Donovan's fellow delusionists.

I especially liked these two passages:

The movement against the income tax has lately adopted one of the tropes that define an on-the-rise minority in modern America: Its members want to be called what they call themselves -- the "tax honesty" movement -- and not be slapped with the pejoratives that most people have known them by (if aware of them at all).


[T]he tax honesty people are strangely reminiscent of fandom -- of the comic book, fantasy, science fiction, role-playing-game variety. They have the same obsession with continuity and coherence within a created fantasy world of words. Itís just that, in this case, that world of words isnít a multivolume fantasy epic or a long-running TV series -- itís U.S. law. When these people try to reconcile the definition of income in this subsection of Title 26 of the U.S. Code with the definition in a 1918 Supreme Court case, itís like hearing an argument over the inconsistencies between a supervillainís origin as first presented in a 1965 issue of The Amazing Spider-Man and the explanation given in a 1981 edition of Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man.

Makes sense to me.

Read the whole thing, as they say.

May 12, 2004
A brutal reminder

It's pretty obvious that much of the recent talk about outrage and apologizing about prisoner abuse was aimed at convincing regular folks to push the Administration into withdrawing from Iraq and the war on terror.

Al Qaeda's Iraqi terrorists gave us a brutal reminder of why we shouldn't, with the beheading of Nick Berg of West Chester, Pennsylvania.

When your enemies spend their time 24/7 trying to figure out ways to kill you and taking what opportunities they can to carry out that goal, ignoring them is just not an option.

The abuse excuse they cited was just an excuse, after all. If it weren't for the Abu Ghraib stories, Al Qaeda would have used some other claim to publicize their murders for their intended propaganda effects.

I really don't believe we started this conflict.

Nonetheless, I regret to say that we must try to finish it.

There will be screw-ups, abuses, and crimes committed along the way, because that is an inherent risk of human conduct, especially in wartime.

From this point on, however, I really don't want to hear about any more apologizing for American errors. We should just clean up the messes and move on.

I'm sorry, but life is just a bit too serious right now to be acting so sensitive toward those who want us dead.

May 11, 2004

Today the Environmental Protection Agency announced far-reaching changes to the rules concerning emissions from diesel engines.

This time the regulations arenít aimed at yuppies driving Volvos and Volkswagens. Instead, the rules alter the engine designs and fuel requirements for a wide assortment of off-road vehicles, including trains, tractors, construction equipment, and marine vessels.

As noted in an AP story announcing the new limitations, the potential environmental benefits from these changes are pretty extensive:

About 159 million people live in areas where smog or microscopic soot is making the air unhealthy, says a recent EPA analysis. The agency cites off-road vehicles used in construction, farming, industrial plants and airports as one reason for the problem.

Those vehicles account for a quarter of all the smog-causing nitrogen oxide and nearly half of the fine soot from mobile sources, according to the EPA. Air pollution in port areas and along major rivers is aggravated by diesel exhausts from ferries, tug boats and barges.

The story noted the approving comments from pollution control officials. It also included an extraordinarily graceless comment from a lobbyist for the environmentalists:

"It's remarkable that these strong rules come from the same administration that has otherwise turned back the clock on 30 years of environmental progress," said Emily Figdor of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a grass-roots environmental advocacy group.

Apparently at least one alleged environmentalist has never learned that more flies are caught with honey than with nasty dark stuff.


May 10, 2004
Fooled again at the beach

Youíd think that after living in the Rehoboth Beach area for 15 years that by now I could figure out when the tourists will first make their presence known each spring, and take appropriate precautions about moving about the area with a minimum of fuss and bother.

Not yet, apparently.

Yesterday was a gorgeous Motherís Day hereóbright sunny skies, about 65-70 degrees, with a light southeast breeze coming off the ocean.

We had brunch reservations for 1 p.m. at our friendsí restaurant, the Back Porch Cafť, a Rehoboth Beach favorite celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. 

The four of us left our house at 12:45 p.m.

We live about 3 Ĺ miles outside of town, and from September through April the trip takes 5-10 minutes at the most to reach a parking spot in front of the restaurant on Rehoboth Avenue, the main drag.

At 1:10 p.m. yesterday, however, my spouse and daughters abandoned the car while I was stalled in traffic about a half-block from the Back Porch. I then began the traditional hunt for a parking space, while they walked to the restaurant. Naturally, I was then held up by the usual backlog of other hunter-drivers stopped in both travel lanes, waiting for someone to back out of a space.

I didnít even bother to look anywhere along Rehoboth Avenue. Instead, I drove a few blocks north, where my search would be unimpeded by the spring tourists.

In the summer even these spots would be gone, filled by summer renters and beachgoers with special residential parking stickers. In early May, however, thereís still a chance for locals to find a weekend parking spot within three blocks of the ocean, because we know where to look.

I eventually joined my family at about 1:25, and thoroughly enjoyed the mimosa, the great meal, and the pleasant din created by several dozen happy brunchers.

We heartily recommend the eggs benedict, the fish cakes, the sautťed pear/ricotta cheese omelet, and the scones.

We also recommend leaving much earlier to reach any destination in Rehoboth, from now until just after Labor Day.

May 9, 2004
Happy Mother's Day

Best wishes for a happy Mother's Day, especially to all those blogging mothers!

May 9, 2004
Shameless self-promotion

This morning I posted my latest golf book reviewóFrom Birdies to Bunkers, by Alice Dye with Mark Shaw.

It reminded me of Harvey Penick's Little Red Book.

May 7, 2004
Traffic Report

May 6 marked the 28th month of this site's existence.

As of that date, 205,450 visitors viewed 262,105 pages.

Thanks very much for your patronage.


Stop by again soon.


Contact Information:

Fritz Schranck
P.O. Box 88
Nassau, DE  19969


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© Frederick H. Schranck 2002-2004