Monday, December 27, 2010

13th Wedding Anniversary

Celebrating 13 years of being happily married today! I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Snow Sledding

This morning, I had the day off of work and Noel did not so I took the kids out snow sledding. There is a hill in Zionsville (yes, one hill ... that's how Indiana is - and this one is man made) at the Mulberry Fields park. After going to Wal-Mart, Target and True Value Hardware, we finally founds some sleds. Time to go sledding.

On her first trip down the hill, Mallory learned that she didn't like sledding and everything got really cold all of a sudden. Mason, on the other hand, loved it. We (Mason and I) may go back on Thursday and leave the girls at home (for those that can't see the video, click here).

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The 3-Advil Snow Fort

The Huber boys had been cooped up in the house for going on 48 hours and it was time to get out and let off some steam. So, Mason and I headed outside to build a snow fort. Mason donned his overalls, a jacket and (for some unknown, but fortuitous reason) his bicycle helmet (more on that in a bit).

For all the snow that was on the ground and for as warm as it was today, the snow still did not want to pack on its own. This is the precise reason the Rubbermaid invented 32 gal. commercial grade BRUTE trash cans. Armed with two shovels, tested the concept in the front yard before heading out back.

We packed that trash can full 10 times to build the walls. Then we (I) made 'bricks' by filling the can 1/3 full. Mason's job was to fill in the voids with loose snow. I was originally aiming for a roof but my back won the argument.

But, before we done, Mason wanted to smash into the test block we made in the front yard. (for those who can't see the video, click here). Again, thank God for helmets.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Preparation

Tonight we did our chores in hopes that Santa would come to our house. Noel made sugar cookies and I picked up some icing while I was out today. Then we made cookies; wonderfully, sugary, delightful cookies.

Here's hoping Santa enjoys them.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Quote from Saturday Night Live

From Seth Myers on Weekend Update:
Governor Patterson of New York said this past week that New York may be ungovernable. That's like Danny DeVito saying a basketball is undunkable.
That is awesome.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell

In the past couple of days, I've gotten some questions about my thoughts on the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT). (For those of you who stumbled across my blog, I served as a combat arms officer in the U.S. Army for almost eight years - just as a point of reference).

I think that this ruling is going to be a 'non-issue' in the medium and long run. In the short term, there will be an adjustment that many in the military will have to make. The Army that I was in was professional and focused on mission accomplishment. I doubt that has changed in five years. I don't buy the argument that it will adversely affect morale and that it will impact the 'good order and discipline' of small units. If a commander at any rank were to tell me that it would affect the good order and discipline my response would only be, "Are you telling me that you can't maintain discipline in your unit?" The army survives and thrives on discipline. it is a cornerstone of a professional fighting force. What the boss says, goes. This will be no different. Soldiers adapted to the integration of African-American soldiers and (in a more apt comparison) women into units. They, too, will adapt to this change.

Now that is not to say that there won't be some issues. There will be a small percentage in uniform that won't be able to adjust to this change. They will be dealt with through the Uniform Code of Military Justice. On the other side of the coin, there will be some homosexuals that will enlist to make a point and to flaunt the fact that this is now their right. Those few will make their point, but will have to suffer a grueling two year enlistment doing so.

The bottom line is that most will self select. Those interested in serving their country will enlist. Like most humans, they will keep their sexuality a fairly private matter, it only becoming apparent when they show up to a function with their date.

There are thousands of brave men and women who are serving this country who happen to be gay. They deserve the right to serve their country without fear of persecution or prosecution.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mallory's Christmas Concert

Like clockwork, the Abacus preschool held its annual 'Winter' concert this evening. This year we were treated to another wonderful show.

(For those who can't see the video, click here.)

Doug vs the Snowblower

Yesterday I proved I was smarter than my snowblower.

It took 3.5 hours to do it, but ... I did it.

(Why would anyone want to check the ability of one's snowblower to work before the big snow? I dunno.)

Anyway, as the snow was falling, there I was, yanking back on the pullcord, pleading with the small, stubborn 2-cycle engine to turn over. "Screw you", it grunted as the pistons moved back and forth before quieting again.

I'll show you, snowblower. I will set you on my workbench and take some of your covers off and stare at your insides (somewhat helplessly). That will show you. I may even take off some random screws and bolts to see what happens.

But then it dawned on me. Hey, this is a pukey little engine. I am smarter than 22 lbs of steel, aren't I? Channeling my dad I remembered that internal combustion engines only need three things; fuel, air and a spark ("It's actually four," the guy at Lowe's said, being 'helpful'. "You need compression, too." Thanks, Lowe's guy. You are smarter than me. I'm just trying to make conversation. Are you happy?)

So off I set on my journey to outwit the snowblower.
1) Air. Yes, plenty of it around. It's getting a bit colder by the minute, but there seems to be an abundance.
2) Fuel. Out with the wretched fuel that has been sitting idle in the engine for eight months. I will freshen your cup with nice, new gasoline with just a hint of 2-cycle engine oil mixed in.
3) Spark. I can take out a spark plug, right? I remember someone (Dad again?) telling me that God made special sockets for sparkplugs; coated with rubber to keep the ceramic from breaking in the event of a mishap. Off to Lowe's for trip number one for a socket and spark plug (Every Huber Home Improvement requires a minimum of two trips - call it Huber's Law). The entire way to Lowe's I was chanting "Rick Chuck James Ate Yams ... Rick Chuck James Ate Yams." This was the model number of the spark plug I needed (RCJ8Y). There is where I met the aforementioned 'helper' who helped my find Rick James' spark plug and who convinced me I didn't need a socket; that a small engine spark plug wrench would do the trick. I'll save you some time, it doesn't do the trick.

Back to Lowe's I go. This time, to secure what I should have gotten in the first place; a shiny Kobalt 3/4" deep well socket (not made for spark plugs because small engine spark plugs don't justify a special socket ... at least not a Lowe's. But, going on hour 3 of my project, these were mere details). Back to the house!

Now that I was armed with the proper tools, I pulled the original spark plug out and it look bad (this being a purely qualitative assessment of the original spark plug, having no idea what I was looking at).

After swapping the gas and installing the spark plug, I re-assembled my snowblower, ready for another pull of the cord.

Nothing. Amidst the quiet snowfall, one could hear my energy and motivation tiptoeing down the driveway and into oncoming traffic. Shoulders slumped, I shuffled into the garage to grab the snow shovel. Defeated, I began to shovel the drive.

But, you said you are smarter, Doug? Yes, as it turns out, but not more spiteful. After shoveling the entire drive, I looked at my snowblower one more time. I gave it one more tug. Nothing. Just one more.

That tiny engine (all 98 cubic centimeters) roared to life! Announcing its presence to all of the snow pushed neatly to the sides of the drive. I let it sit there for a moment so it could reflect on its actions. Barking, coughing and rattling there in the drive, I watched it with a great deal of satisfaction.

Then, I pushed it over to the neighbor's house and cleared their drive.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Funny ... really funny.

This is one of the funniest things I have read in a while.

Click here for some great humor.


Mallory is 4!

Today was Mallory's 4th Birthday. She celebrated in grand princess fashion this weekend, being spoiled by Noel's folks. We had her folks in town this weekend (along with her brother and his family) for Thanksgiving. So we celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas and her birthday all in the span of three days.
We thank everyone who sent birthday wishes and presents for her. She is blessed to have so many people who care about her. The picture below is of Mommy and Mallory. Mallory is wearing the cross necklace that Great-grandma and Great-grandpa Purvis got for her. GGMa Purvis got it for her as a reminder that she is lucky enough to have three grandmas. Two here with us and one looking down from above. While she doesn't understand it yet, she will in due time and appreciate that there are so many watching over her.
For her birthday dinner, we went back to the kid's favorite burger joint, Red Robin. The kids have too much ice cream, but the service was great (thanks Caitlin!) and the burgers were, of course, amazing.

The staff at Red Robin even sang Happy Birthday to our amazing little four-year-old. My how time flies.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

3rd Quarter

My 3rd quarter has come to an end this evening. Strategic marketing management and corporate finance are in the books.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Proud Day

Referenced by Tim Ferriss on Twitter …

He pulled it from a comment I left on his blog.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Is Obama a Keynesian?

Click here for the video.

A Bargain at Any Price

For the price of $1 billion per day, your country can fight two wars! Sound like too much money? For a mere 20 percent of that price, your president can visit Mumbai. Kind of like Rick Steves' books: "Mumbai on $200 million a day". A best seller to be sure.

Can I recommend a GoToMeeting or a WebEx?

More here.

Monday, November 1, 2010


This is the first year that both kids went trick-or-treating. I am not talking about the obligatory one or two houses. I am talking a full-up military campaign (complete with strip maps, 5-paragraph operations order, dress rehearsals ... the works). Armed with nothing but costumes and plastic buckets, we were set. But first, we had to carve pumpkins.

Mason was into it (having hand selected his pumpkin at Stuckey Farm). Mallory was content to draw on her pumpkin with a Sharpie. Regardless, it brought back fond memories of four boys surrounding a newspaper-covered kitchen table carving pumpkins under the watchful eyes of Mom and Dad.

It was now, officially, Halloween.

And now onto the trick-or-treating.

Mason was dressed as an Ohio State Buckeye while Mallory made a game-time decision to go from Snow White to Belle (Having only spent $2 on the Snow White costume at a garage sale, we weren't too upset).

Dressed to the nines and ready to go, we met up with a couple of other families and off we went. We rang every doorbell in our part of the neighborhood; 71 total. By the time we were 3/4 of the way done, I was carrying Mallory but we would not be deterred. We made it back safely as Mom was handing out the last pieces of candy. A successful Halloween, indeed.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cool Cast

Thanks to all for the kind words this weekend. We are coming to grips with the fact that Mason is very good at breaking things. As Great-grandma suggested, we discussed this second injury with the doctor as an indication that it could be something more than just a co-inky-dink. But, Dr. Caltoum, a very well-respected physician/surgeon at Noel's workplace reassured us that the bones look healthy and there are no symptoms of anything more sinister than a boy that ran head first into some long odds.

So, we sit here with another cast. Albeit a cool, green and blue candy-striped cast. The doctor did it herself commenting that she (and her fellow residents) would make funky casts to make the time go by (usually at 3am) during their long residency shifts (Uncle Marc can probably relate).

We are back on the mend and, with any luck (not that we have much lately ... the lottery ticket was a bust), we'll have the cast off by Thanksgiving.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lightning Strikes Twice

Here are the answers to your questions:
1) No, this picture was not taken two months ago. It was taken two hours ago.
2) It happened on the playground at school.
3) Yes, I bought a lottery ticket. Our luck has to change.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ba - Ba - Ba

Mallory watches intently as Mason sounds out letters during our reading time. With a firm grasp of the alphabet, he has started to play a game with Mommy and me. At the dinner table each night, we guess what Mason and Mallory had for lunch at school.

Here was tonight's conversation:

Mallory: Daddy, guest what I had for lunch today, daddy!
Daddy: Uhh, give me a hint.
Mallory: It starts with a Ba. Ba - Ba - Ba.
Daddy: Brussel Sprouts!
Mallory: No, Daddy! Ba - Ba - Ba.
Daddy: Broccoli!
Mallory: No, Daddy! (giggling) Ba - Ba - Ba!
Daddy: Give me a hint!
Mallory: Ba - Ba - Ba ... BASGHETTI!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mason is free (of his casts)

After many days of strggling with two casts, and then one splint, Mason is finally out of his casts. Mom and Dad were worried about his arm but the doctor said it healed nicely! Happy days.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

30 Years of Marriage

This past weekend, my parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary - a milestone, to be sure. The four sons hosted (with many of the thanks going to Ken and Lori for coordinating everything) at Valley Vineyards, one of Dad's favorite haunts.

It was so nice to be a part of such a wonderful event; filled with my folks' friends and family.

Ken did a great job with his barbershop quartet (video below) and the food was wonderful (especially the cake, Beth ... I keep telling Greg you should go into business!).

Thank you to my wonderful parents for raising us well. For the challenges you helped us overcome and being there to celebrate our successes in life - those successes are a recognition of your love, discipline and patience. As I said at the party, it is tough to pay you back and I hope that I can pay it forward, by guiding my kids in the spirit in which I was raised.

Love to you both. Congrats and may there be 30 more.

The soothing sounds of Smooth Transition!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Random Weekend Photograph

Mallory and Mason at the barbershop ...

Mason and his Casts

It has been six (long) weeks since Mason broke his arms. Last week we went to the doctor to have his casts removed. We were all very excited to have them off (it is a toss-up as to who was more excited).

And, as in life, nothing ever goes quite as planned. As the nurse was removing Mason's cast on his left arm, she said, "uh, can you come here and look at this?". Never a good sign. Mason had managed to lodge a piece of rubber mulch (from his playground at school ... you know, the one we said he shouldn't be playing on because he had two broken arms? Yeah, that one) underneath his cast. Apparently, it had been there for three or four weeks and had opened a sizable wound (in which is was resting comfortably). So, she pulled it out with a pair of tweezers and dressed it.

Downstairs for X-rays and back up to see the doctor and hear the results. Right arm: good to go. Left arm: No so much. Punxatauny ulna didn't see his shadow so it's four more weeks in a splint as the bones continue to heal.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Huber Brother Football Round Robin

This weekend is the second of two clashes between Huber brother college football teams. Ohio State played Ohio University (where my younger brother, Ken, matriculated) last weekend. Where, if you missed it, the highlight was the Ohio University Bobcat mascot trying to lay a beatdown on Brutus Buckeye. Fortunately, Brutus was too smart for those sha-nay-nays.


This weekend, the Eastern Michigan Eagles arrive at Ohio Stadium. My older brother, Greg, is a proud EMU alum. Let's hope the mascots play nicely.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mike Nugent - Former Buckeye

I am proud of Mike Nugent, the Centerville, Ohio native and former stand out for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Today he had five field goals (the sum total of all of the Cincinnati Bengals' points) in their win over the Baltimore Ravens.

After being drafted in 2005 by the New York Jets, he struggled to regain his starting job after getting injured. He bounced around to a couple of teams, eventually being waived by them all.

I hope he has found a home in Cincinnati.

Mason's First Buckeye Game

Mason went to his first Buckeye game this past Saturday. We arrived at around 10am with Noel slowing down to about 5 miles per hour as we jumped out of the car. Maybe hyperbole, but we got out in traffic so that Noel and Mallory could make a quick getaway from the crazy traffic.

We walked north past Morrill and Lincoln towers, making our way to Converse Hall. The Army RTOC Alumni Society (of which I am the proud webmaster) was having a function. I got to see some folks that I hadn't seen in close to 15 years, so it was good to catch up.

Mason experienced TBDBITL, stadium popcorn, and after about 20 minutes, the novelty of the game wore off on him. He hadn't quite figured out how to watch a game live, incorporating the scoreboard, etc. into understanding the game. But, it was great to watch him make the O-H-I-O with his arms and clap along with the band.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Obama Knows Transportation

In a Labor Day speech today in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, President Obama called upon Congress to dump $50 billion (yes, again with a 'B') into transportation. There are two issues that I must point out.

The first is the Keynesian business that government spending spurs the economy. If that were the case, then why stop at $50 billion? Obama's plan includes rebuilding 150,000 miles of roadway and 4,000 miles of rail. The rail, he says, will be 'paid for' and will not add to the deficit. I am here to tell you, that if the government knows anything, it is the transportation business.

Which brings me to my second point. The U.S. Government look no further than Amtrak, Uncle Sam's very own passenger rail company. If we take a quick glance at the Amtrak consolidated financial statements from 2008 and 2009 we will see just how good at business it really is. In 2008, Amtrak posted a net loss of $1.13 billion dollars. Not to be outdone, Amtrak lost $1.264 billion in 2009. According to SubsidyScope, Amtrak loss money on 41 of its 44 routes in 2008; ranging anywhere from $5 to $462 per passenger.

But, Doug, you say, surely this is a sign of the times. Amtrak is suffering from the economy like every other business. That may be true, but according to the summary of a Department of Transportation Inspector General's report from 2001:
1) Amtrak’s financial performance has not met expectations and its ability to meet its self-sufficiency mandate is in serious jeopardy; 2) Amtrak’s efforts to achieve self sufficiency will fail if additional capital is not forthcoming; 3) Amtrak will require substantial Federal appropriations, even after it achieves self-sufficiency
So, for at least the last 10 years, our beloved government has know that Amtrak is a money pit. But, to keep the locomotives running, the U.S. engineers keep shoveling good money into the furnace to make those locomotive engines run.

It looks like a transportation stimulus might not be the best elixir for the economy after all.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Operation Iraqi Freedom

The sun set earlier today on Operation Iraqi Freedom. Thousands of brave warriors gave their lives including Captain George Wood, Captain Chris Seifert and Specialist Carson Ramsey. Their sacrifice was not in vain. May their families garner strength from the budding, yet fragile, democracy taking hold in the desert of southwest Asia.


That's how long it took for President Obama (in a speech about the end of the Iraq war) to blame former President Bush for the economy. Why'd it take so long, I wonder?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Punxsutawney Mason

We saw the doctor today to get an X-ray of Mason's healing arms. The X-ray saw its shadow; four more weeks of casts.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Casts ... One Week Later

Mason is adjusting nicely to his new hardware. I should have expected nothing less when I picked him up after his first day back at school and discovered he was playing football on the playground. That hasn't stopped him from reminding us about his injury.
Me: Mason, Can you help bring some of the groceries in the house?
Mason: But, Dad, both of my arms are broken.
He also got a very sweet note from one of his classmates, Grace (it didn't scan well, my apologies).

Thanks to Grandma Huber and Grandma Slezak for their gifts and wishes. Also a warm thank you to my boss at work who was kind enough to send a get well wish with some delicious cookies.

Rest assured, Mason is back to his old tricks. Just with casts.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Casting Call

Since orthopaedic surgeons don't work on weekends, we had to wait until this morning to see one. We arrived at Clarian North Medical Centera bit before eight to see what was in store for us. Noel had dropped Mallory off at school and was already at work which made it convenient ... considering her employment at Clarian North.

There were a couple of distinct possibilities heading into the appointment. First, and most painful, would be that the doctor would have to reset the left arm. That would have cause all-around boo-boo tears and we hoped to avoid this option. The second was that the doctor would look at Mason's arms and say, 'Yup, let's put 'em in casts'.

Luckily for us, the doctor uttered those words (well, not exactly those words) and Mason got to choose some colors for his brand new casts. He chose red with a 'cool' white stripe on each. I think the nurse (who was awesome, by the way) was channelling Indiana University colors. I was all for it because I knew that in six weeks both casts will be scarlet and grey.

After getting fitted for casts, we stopped by Noel's area so Mason could show off his new hardware. 'I wanna see Kent," Mason said. Apparently, Mason and Noel's boss (the aforementioned Kent) are on a first name basis.

In the car, on the way to school, Mason and I had a discussion about what he could (and could not) do when returning to school. No gym, no playground, no swings, no nuthin'. I had sucked every last bit of fun out of two broken arms. He began to cry in the car and was mopey and weepy as we entered school.

That all changed when we entered Mrs. Lamaster's first grade class. You would have thought Mason had just come home from the war. Everyone wanted to see his casts. Suddenly, he was the center of attention and relishing every moment of it. 'Yeah, I broke my arms.' 'I was on the swingset and I fell off.' 'Yeah, it kinda hurt.' He was firing off lines he had rehearsed now a solid 36 hours. Having practiced on everyone from the random guy in the CVS pharmacy to the random woman in the elevator at the hospital today, Mason was ready (and willing) to hold his impromptu press conference right there in front of Mrs. Lamaster's desk.

This afternoon when I went to pick him ... where was he? Playing football on the playground, his casts covered with signatures.

Broken arm(s) + 1st Grade = Rock Star status

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ground-breaking (et al) Event on a Saturday Night

Mason has now accomplished something I never have. Mason broke his left arm.
Last night, Mason's friend came over and they were playing outside. I decided to mow the lawn, trying to beat any rain that we may get later in the evening. It was cool and a bit windy. Our neighor was mowing, as well. As I came around the back of the house making my first pass with the mower, I saw Mason sitting on the back patio crying. "Wow," I thought to myself. "Is Mason in trouble?" I continued around the perimeter of the back yard when Noel came out of the house and motioned for me to come over where she was standing and Mason was sitting.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"I fell off the swing, Daddy," Mason said, still crying.

"Okay, what hurts?"

"My arm."

Given my years of medical training (Hey, I watched ER for like four seasons), I asked if he could move his fingers. He moved his index finger on each hand but was obviously tentative to trying anything else. And, his left arm looked a bit 'funny'. Not 'haha' funny, mind you; more 'funny' odd.

Noel saw the same thing that I did. She said we should take him to the doctor. I agreed and went to get my keys and change out of my especially nasty lawn-mowing shoes (a pair of tennis shoes that I got at Fort Leavenworth in 2001 that I refuse to part with).

I helped Mason into the car and we were on our way to the hospital. I tried to make small talk with Mason. We listened to 'rock star' music (Classic rock on Q95) on the radio ("Daddy, what does 'classic' mean). He had stopped crying before we got in the car and was now just in a fair amount of pain. He took a keen interest in traffic signals; only the red lights, wondering when it would be 'our turn' to go.

We arrived at the ER in short order walked into an empty waiting room. We went immediately to triage. Weight, blood pressure, pulse ox, CBC and chem 7, stat!. Oh wait, more ER the TV show flashbacks. Just weight and BP at this point. Some paperwork for daddy and we were back in an exam room awaiting a doctor or nurse.

At this point, Noel began a steady drip of text messages with questions. I was doing my best to keep her informed as she was very worried. We spoke a couple of times on the phone. We met the nurse, Daphne (who, apparently knows Shaggy, Scooby and he rest of the gang), Brian the EMT and finally, the doctor. We met Barry, the X-ray technologist. Looking at the X-ray it was fairly obvious what was wrong.

It was nearing 10 when we were discharged and still had to hit the pharmacy to fill his prescription. "Don't wait until tomorrow to fill this," the nurse advised. "he will be in a fair amount of pain tonight."

We found a 24-hour CVS and waited for 20 minutes to fill the prescription. CVS, it turns out, was much busier than the ER.

Arriving home at 11pm, Noel was so happy to see Mason. She hugged him gingerly and we went upstairs to change out of the clothes he had been to the hospital in.

So now we were left to figure out what the immediate future would hold. He has an appointment to see the orthopaedic surgeon on Monday morning and soccer season is all but over (I joked that it started and ended this week). School should be interesting. He's right-handed so school shouldn't be a problem, right?

Oh, wait. Did I forget to mention he broke both forearms?
Never a dull moment here at the Huber household.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Respect and the Mosque at Ground Zero

Dennis Miller reads a powerful letter from a soldier when the trooper states that U.S. soldiers cannot eat, chew gum or drink water in front Muslims during the Holy month of Ramadan out of respect for their holiday.

Respect for a group's feelings cuts both ways. Being deployed to three different countries with a Muslim population, I can attest to the fact that that U.S. Army bends over backwards to respect the culture of others.

Click here to listen to it on the DMZ)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Obama and the Mosque

I felt it necessary to weigh in on the proposed mosque being built at Ground Zero. You can read my brief commentary here.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mason is Entering 1st Grade

Almost one year ago, I wrote about Mason entering kindergarten. It seems like a long time ago because Mason has grown so much in 12 short months. He has gone from an interest in the Disney channel to 'big boy' programs on Nickelodeon and more mature cartoons (no, not that mature ...) on Cartoon Network. His size 3 shoes seem so big when I hold them in my hand yet perfectly proportional to his body when he has them on.

He (along with Noel and I) love Stonegate. I know I must sound like they feed us Koo-Aid there, but it is a wonderful, nurturing place to help educate our son. The faculty and staff remain in our high regard.

I, too, am gearing up for another year as chair of the Stonegate PTO Dad's club. I am fortunate to work with some of the most selfless women who dedicate many of their days to the betterment of our dear elementary school. Wish me luck as I try to cobble together a pancake breakfast in the winter (I am on the lookout for guest stars, mainly one of the Colts if you know them ... just sayin') and possibly a spaghetti dinner in the Spring; along with the usual help we provide setting up, tearing down and whatever else the PTO needs assistance in doing.

Here's what we hope will be another terrific year at Stonegate.

Mason with his new teacher, Mrs. Lemaster.

Mason at his new desk.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Looking backwards or Forwards?

President Obama on Monday, Aug. 9th 2010:
The policies that crashed the economy, that undercut the middle class, that mortgaged our future, do we really want to go back to that, or do we keep moving our country forward?" Obama said at another fund-raising event in Austin, referring to Bush's eight years as president.
Can we really move forward if we are always looking backward? I won't forget the day that Major Matt Kaufman (now a retired lieutenant colonel and forever a great American) looked at a soldier who was complaining and simply said, "Its hard to roll up your sleeves when you are wringing your hands."

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Photography Choices

I laughed so hard yesterday night that I almost cried. It doesn't take much, apparently.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Argument for Charter Schools

From tomorrow's Wall Street Journal op-ed page:

Of the country's 20,000 high schools, only 2,000 produce about half of all dropouts. And a black child has a 50% chance of attending one of these "drop-out factories." The urban school problem isn't too many charters but too many failing schools.

R.I.P. Google Wave

Google announced today that it is letting Google Wave go out to pasture. It was a noble effort that just didn't gain the traction. I used Google Wave (or at least tried it out). I just wasn't functional enough to incorporate into making my life more productive.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Cake Wreck?

We have some strange traditions in the Huber family. One of which is the recognition (and subsequent celebration) of 1,000th days. These days call special attention to every 1,000 days we have been alive (a much rarer occurence than the annual birthday, as my father likes to say).

Today is Noel's 13,000th day on this planet. To mark the occasion I ordered a cake with (what I believe) was a high degree of specificity concerning the lettering which was to adorn said cake.

I just wanted it to say, "Happy 13,000th Day".

What I got was a bit different.

13,000th Day Cake

You can see much more egregious versions of cakes like this here.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Massachusetts and the Electoral College

According to, The Mass. legislature has voted 28-9 to bypass the Electoral College.

Under the law, which was enacted by the House last week, all 12 of the state's electoral votes would be awarded to the candidate who receives the most votes nationally.
Sounds reasonable, right? Well, not if you are the founding fathers who (by my guess) were better at this than the current slate of state senators in one of the original 13 colonies.

Because the law of unintended consequences strikes swiftest and decisively in politics, imagine this scenario.

In 2012, the people of Massachusetts vote in the majority to re-elect Barack Obama. If the Republican challenger were to win the popular vote, not one of the electoral votes from the Bay State would go to our current president. The will of the people would have been thwarted completely.

I can only hope that their governor has the sense to not sign this bill into law.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Yesterday, I had the opportunity to spend time with three great guys that I used to serve with at Fort Hood, Texas back in 2002-2005 (but seems like much longer ago).

Tim Love volunteered his house to have a this mini-reunion but he is in the process of moving so his wife's parents were gracious enough to host. We had wonderful food, taught the foreigners (those from outside the Midwest) how to play euchre and got a chance to catch up. We talked and laughed for hours; sharing stories of 'where are they now', 'remember when' and 'oh-my-god I can't believe I forgot about ...'.

It was great remembering the higher points of my Fort Hood experience with some fantastic officers with whom I was lucky to serve.
It was also a pleasure meeting James' new wife (congrats again to you both!).

A big thank you to Michelle Love and her parents (the Pontikos family) for hosting such a wonderful reunion.

Tim Love, Me, Josh Ishibashi and James Mijares

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Twittersphere

In news that most people won't care about ... I got a Twitter account today. You can follow me by clicking the cool new button to the left on my blog or at @huber57.

Its a brave, new world.

Monday, July 19, 2010

To Mothers Everywhere

A tribute to mothers ... we love you very much.

(Please click here to watch the video for those that get the email feed).

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Scarlet T

Transparency became a big word in the 2008 presidential election. President Obama wielded the word like a scarlet letter, implying that those who don't espouse 'transparency' must not have any.

This last week, in the midst of Apple's iPhone 4 antenna debacle, Senator (D-NY) Chuck Schumer weighed in with a letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs (because all of the country's problems are fixed, apparently) with this:
I write to express concern regarding the reception problem with the Apple iPhone 4. While I commend Apple’s innovative approach to mobile technology and I appreciate its service to millions of iPhone users nationwide, I believe it is incumbent upon Apple to address this flaw in a transparent manner.
(You can read the entire letter here.) And there you have it. Since Sen. Schumer demands transparency, there must not be any. Never mind that Apple was probably still evaluating the issue (and has since taken steps to assist customers with the problem).

What a great political weapon to be the one to so nobly call for transparency while implying that there is none.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Evaluating Text with an IF() Statement Using Microsoft Excel


Earlier today I got a question from a classmate:


How would you program your IF statement in excel based from Figure 13.60 from our textbook? I know how to do it if it is just a number, but the Q1-XX format is throwing me off and I can't make my table look like the one in the figure.
Here is the answer:

In order to evaluate some of a text string, you have to use one of three functions.

In this case we will use =LEFT().

The =LEFT() function has two arguments:

=LEFT(text,number of characters)

So, point to the cell (text) that you want to evalate and return the number of characters starting at the LEFT.
If Cell A2 has Q1-92 and you type in =LEFT(A2,2), the formula will return "Q1", because it returns the first two characters starting at the left of the text string.

The same holds true for =RIGHT(), it just works the other way (from the right, oddly enough).

=MID() works a bit differently.

=MID(text,start number, number of characters).

In this function, you point to the text, then tell it at what character you want to start evaluating and then the numer of characters.

So, lets say you want the decade from the text.

=MID(A2,4,1). This will return "9". It looks at the text string, counts over 4 from the left and returns 1 character.

So, how does this help me with the IF statement? I hear you asking.

You combine the IF() and the LEFT().

It looks like this:

It reads like this ... If the first two characters in cell A2 are equal to "Q1", then return a 1, otherwise return a 0.

Hope that helps everyone!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Skipping Rocks Along the Olentangy

Yesterday, we made a trip to Columbus, Ohio. Mason and Mallory got to hang out with their cousins, Henry and Baxter. We all piled in a couple of cars and drove up to Highbanks Park, just north of Columbus, on Route 23.

The kids skipped rocks, searched for tadpoles, frogs (toads?), crayfish and whatever else was swimming in the Olentangy River.

All of this play reminded me of when I was Mason's age; skipping rocks into the same river when I would visit with my Grandparents almost 30 years ago (I sound old as I type that...). My uncles Jeff and Randy would walk down the bike path with me and we would spend (what seemed like hours) just skipping rocks into the calm water as it flowed south toward campus.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Wonderful Website for Parents (and Wouldbe Parents)

To all parents, and (more importantly) prospective parents, please view this wonderful website.


LeBron to Miami

In case you woke up from a coma this afternoon, LeBron James is going to play for the Miami Heat. Now everyone can go about their business.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Last year on the 4th, I wrote about my opinion of fireworks. Not much has changed as I hear them echo throughout the neighborhood. Listening to the loud snaps bounce off the houses still reminds me of the familiar sound of gunfire as it would rattle through downtown Baghdad. The stacatto cracks, random and violent, stop just as soon as they start.

Its not the ones that our good neighbors fire off the night of the 4th so much as the fireworks left over. The noises are out of place, even 18 hours after the previous evening's celebration.

This afternoon, I looked out the window to see where the noise was coming from. Watching the fireworks made the experience much different and diffused some of the emotion and reaction that they invoke when I am just listening.

There were four or five kids in the driveway across the street. They were lighting strands of firecrackers and bottle rockets. They seemed blissfully unaware of the power of these explosives and were jumping around, celebrating the day off of school and the power housed in these little cardboard tubes.

What was most satisfying, as I watched them play, was that they had no idea what the sounds of war are, let alone that they were re-creating them in their driveway. Hollering, jumping and laughing, they were enjoying their afternoon.

It reminded me of a quote from one of our Founders, John Adams:

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.

Let us all pray that the only 'gunfire' our sons and daughters hear are that of M-80s and firecrackers.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The White House Staff

On Friday, the White House released a list of its staff and their wages (you can view it here). The yearly salary totals over $38,000,000. Yes, that is with an M. This is not an indictment of the Obama White House but more of the White House or government structure in toto. The First Lady has a staff of over a dozen people with a combined salary of nearly $1.2 million.

Obama has 12 members of his staff that are advising him on economic policy (okay, this may be an indictment of the Obama staff ...). Their combined salary is over $1.4 million per year. Feel like you are getting your money's worth there?

It is no secret that government staffs at all levels become bloated over time. This is just a stark example of it.

FairTax TV Spot

Tomorrow (July 4th) there is a half-hour spot airing on the Fox Business Network about the FairTax. I urge everyone to tune in and listen to the idea.

It airs at 1:30 EDT.

Let me know what you think.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Checking IDs

As of yesterday, anyone who sells alcohol in the state of Indiana must check the customer's ID to see if they are old enough to buy alcohol. Regardless of age or hairline, clerks will now be forced to make a septuagenarian pull out their driver's license and present it.

It seems that we already have a law against selling alcohol to minors. I think this law is a bit of overkill. I am sure cigarettes are next. Maybe movie theater tickets for movies with an R-rating or lottery tickets.

Let's see what the Indiana legislature comes up with next!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Leadership in the McCrystal Debacle

Here is an interesting piece written by my former battalion commander, who now works at the Center for Creative Leadership.

My thoughts are that McCrystal had to go. If there is one thing that is NOT tolerated in the Army, it is insubordination. If he is not guilty of that, he is guilty of not having discipline within his staff (maybe a worse offense).

Gen. Petraeus has a difficult task in front of him. He has mentioned during his testimony in front of Congress that he was going to review the rules of engagement that govern the soldiers fighting in Afghanistan. He must tread lightly and modify these rules with great caution. If the reports are true about soldiers being hemmed in by overly-restrictive rules, loosening them too fast could be calamitous. Kind of like letting a drunk out of rehab and having him walk home past the bar. Reports are that soldiers are angry and frustrated. What 'better' way to release that frustration than through a hail of gunfire or a 500-lb bomb.

Moonpie (her pen name), currently rehabilitating at Walter Reed said in her blog:

Petraeus said he would take a hard look at the issue. He'd better. The only thing worse than having Congress and the American public in your face is having your own soldiers despise you.

As an aside, if you want an unfiltered glimpse into the life of an amputee with the courage enough for the rest of us, take a few minutes and read through her blog.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Magic Kingdom, Vacation Day 8

Our vacation finished on a high note with a trip to the Magic Kingdom. Truly the happiest place on earth, Mallory and Mason enjoyed themselves immensely. Mason and I ran to the back of the park and were able to ride Splash Mountain once and Big Thunder Mountain twice ("Daddy, did you see those goats? How did they get alive goats on that ride?!").

Within 45 minutes, we claimed victory over Adventureland and headed to breakfast. We had reservations at Cinderella's Castle to dine with the princesses. Mallory was more excited to see them than Mason, but he had sword, so all was right with world.

Here is Mason and Mallory with Cinderella.
Mallory with Belle (from Beauty and the Beast)
Mason with cousin Baxter

After breakfast, we dodged downpours, visited the Enchanted Tiki Room, took a boat ride with the Pirates of the Carribean, visited the Haunted Mansion, and scarfed down smoked turkey legs.
And, here, the measure of any successful trip to the Magic Kingdom (Mallory with cousin Baxter):

We had a wonderful vacation; enjoying family and fun.

Tommorrow was to be the car ride home...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Our Little Princess, Vacation Day 7

Day 7 of our vacation was a day to relax before our last day (at Magic Kingdom!). Noel and her mother had been plotting for months to take Mallory to the Bibbity-Bobbity Boutique. Located at the World of Disney in Downtown Disney, it offers a day (really more like 45 minutes) of pampering for the young princess in your family.

Mallory and mommy got to spend some quality time together while daddy and Mason went to the giant Lego store and looked at all of the crazy Lego sets they had to offer and the even crazier Lego sculptures outside.

Anyway, back to the boutique. Mallory had tons of fun and was transformed into a magical princess. Enjoy the pictures below:

Friday, June 25, 2010

Disney's Hollywood Studios, Vacation Day 6

After getting crispy in the hot Florida sun at the beach, it was time to meet Mickey and Minnie. Our first stop was the Disney Hollywood Studios park.

The park skews its entertainment to the older kids (and dads) but much fun was had by all. The most entertaining thing for me was when Mallory saw Darth Vader for the first time. She jumped up and took off running. Below is a clip from the show, but not of Mallory. I never have the camera at the ready when I need it!

We enjoyed the Disney stunt show and Mason rode his first real roller coaster, the Aerosmith-sponsored Rock 'N' Roller Coaster.

Mason and I ran into some snags with the aforementioned Rock 'N' Roller Coaster shutting down when we were two trains from riding and once in the Hollywood Tower of Terror but other than those two hiccups, it was a fun day.

As a side note, I still miss the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire show they had where members of the audience would compete to sit and play the game. Who doesn't love Disney AND trivia? I guess Disney doesn't anymore. Boo hoo. Maybe I'll start a Facebook page to bring it back.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wannado City, Day 5

After two days of roasted in the hot Florida sun, I was ready for a change of pace. Noel's brother, Allen, had heard of a place called Wannado City just south of where we were staying.

In his description of the place, he had me at 'indoors' and I was ready to go.

Turns out, Wannado City is an interactive space for kids where they can 'live' for a day doing work and having fun, all with 'Wongas', the currency in Wannado City. When we signed in, Mason and Mallory were each given check for 150 Wongas. Of course, you can't spend a check in Wannado City, so both had to go to the bank to get it cashed.

Once the two had Wongas in hand, it was up to them to see how they wanted to spend it; and when they got low, had to make decisions on how they were going to earn more.

The funny thing was that both Mason and Mallory were more interested in earning Wongas than spending them. Mason and Mallory both were firefighters and were called to a fire (see the grainy 'smoke-filled' [by smoke-filled, I mean lots of mist] video below).

Each of them worked in the (heavily-branded) Coca-Cola bottling plant where they had to use a video screen to control which bottles would be filled, then capped, and shipped off to customers. My personal favorite was the fashion show (which, coincidently, was Mason's least favorite, but he humored his old man; again, see the video below).

The kids made cookies in the bakery, acted as a reporter for the Miami Herald, made a pizza, and worked as an archeologist. I tried to explain FICA to Mason, but apparently the tax code is different (ney, non-existent) in Wannado City. Mason even got to the point where he was comparing how much he could make by doing different jobs. Who doesn't love cost-benefit analysis!!!???

It was a welcome break from the hot Florida sun and the kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Next was back to Orlando to see Mickey!