Schmit Family
Welcome to , , , and virtual front porch. This web site is just that; a place to visit for family, friends, and anyone, who are too far away, to stop by in person. Pull up a chair and stay a while....

28 February 2004 9:03 pm

Sunshine Marble

A white rose covered with morning dew
Sparkles as crimson light of a spring sun
Refracts through transparent spheres and
Projects dappled rays upon gossamer petals.

Aroused by spring's morning essence
A turtle's head slowly emerges
And finds the white rose
Shimmering in spring's dawn.

The turtle warily approaches the shining rose;
As he nears a soft spring breeze blows
A sunshine marble from a petal which falls
And scares him back behind his staunch shield.

And he waits until another spring breeze
Gives him the courage to once again
Peek at the rose.

Cleveland, Ohio

I wrote this poem for Carolyn very early on in our relationship. I presented it to her on Valentine's Day in 1993. I distinctly remember finessing the wording of the second to the last stanza in the recesses of Sears Library, which at the time was actually a library, on the Case campus. When we were married in 1999, we decided to share this poem with our family and friends. My brother read it during the ceremony and we included it in the program.

Posted by geoff at 21:03 in /poetry

23 February 2004 8:49 pm

The Numbers Are In

At five weeks and a day, Dylan was weighed and measured once again. He is consistently in the 75th percentile for length, weight, and head size. Another inch of growth puts Dylan at 22 1/2" long. He has reached double digits in weight, at a healthy 10 lbs 2 oz. And that was after a diaper change.

The adventures of Dylan are still quite limited, but we're enjoying the small changes. In the last couple of weeks, Dylan has ventured out on quite a few occasions, with Mom, Dad, or both (see photos). He has taken a liking to his fist, fingers, or thumb, depending upon what he can successfully put in his mouth. Dylan also is fascinated by looking at himself in the mirror. Geoff has fed Dylan from a bottle several times to make sure he has a means to eat while in day care, which he starts next week. See more photos of some of the snapshots of Dylan in the second half of his first month.

Posted by geoff at 20:49 in /family/dylan

22 February 2004 9:23 pm

A Wish for Writable Dates in iPhoto

brian d foy started an iPhoto AppleScript Wish List. What's on my list? Make the date property of the photo class writable.

The last time the time changed, I forgot to change the time on my camera. As a result, a number of pictures that I took had the wrong time before I realized my oversight. I was hoping that iPhoto 4 with its ability to make changes to multiple photos at once would help me address this problem. It didn't because it would only allow me to change multiple photos to the same date; not to subtract an hour from each photo. Given the number of photos involved, I tried to write an AppleScript to automate this process. Unfortunately, the date property of the photo class is read-only. If this property was writable, I could have automated what was a very tedious and error-prone manual process. In hindsight, I should have done what I usually due when I'm faced with a tedious and error-prone task on my computer. Use Perl.

Oh, yes, I did submit this feature request to Apple using the "Provide iPhoto Feedback" menu item in the "iPhoto" menu.

Posted by geoff at 21:23 in /apple

21 February 2004 10:48 pm

Science and the Bush Administration

As reported by Wired News, the Union of Concerned Scientists recently issued a statement and a report criticizing the Bush administration's consistent disregard for science and the scientific process when making policy decisions. What was the Bush administration's response? Read on....

Reportedly, John Marburger, President Bush's science adviser, said the report was biased and that he was troubled. Not troubled due to nature of the allegations, but troubled because prestigious scientists signed the statement. As if these scientists have done something wrong and should be ashamed of themselves. When providing examples of the Bush administration being supportive of science, he cited increasing the budget of the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. If I was confronted with this report and was trying to save face, I'd find a couple of examples of policy decisions based on hard science before I fell back to, "Uhh, we gave science more money." Which examples could he have cited?

Well, he certainly couldn't have cited how science influenced the Bush administration's decision not to strengthen lead poisoning regulations since Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson replaced two members of the panel that was about to do so and replaced them with others tied to the lead industry. Nor could he have pointed to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 2002 annual air report since the Bush administration demanded so many political changes that the EPA felt compelled to remove the entire section on climate change rather than risk destroying their scientific credibility. How about the science behind the assertion that Iraq's infamous aluminum tubes were being used to produce nuclear weapons? This was one of Secretary of State Colin Powell's more important pieces of evidence presented to the United Nations (UN) to justify invading Iraq. Nope, bad example. Technical experts from the Department of Energy's (DOE) National Laboratories as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) all disagreed with the Central Intelligence Agency's assesment. Who would you believe, scientists from the DOE and IAEA or a bunch of spooks? Maybe the science behind the Bush administration's forest-management policies would be a good example. Sorry, the Bush administration took the forest management plan defined by the Clinton administration that was based on nine years of research by 100 scientists and proposed changes that appear to lack any scientific basis.

What kind of example is being set for our children when they learn about the importance of science and the rigors of the scientific process in school only to come home and see the leaders of this country give science as much credit as the horoscopes in the paper?

Perhaps this is all just a big misunderstanding. Maybe the various secretaries and agency heads in the Bush Administration are under the impression that it is their job to do the opposite of what their title describes. Or maybe, they are confused about what their title actually is. If Tommy Thompson was the Secretary of Big Business, jeopardizing the health of children to support the lead industry would make sense. If Donald Rumsfeld was the Offensive Secretary, preemptive invasions, alienation of the UN, and derision of half of Europe would fit his job description. If George Tenet was the head of the Central Ignoramus Agency, mistaking aluminum rods used for rockets for those used for enriching uranium would be understandable. If Michael Leavitt was the head of the Environmental Profiteering Agency, rolling back thirty years of environmental progress would be reasonable. And if George Bush was the president of the .... Nope; I can't think of a title that would explain his behavior.

Posted by geoff at 22:48 in /politics

15 February 2004 5:08 pm

Three Trees

Tree "Stop making my Father's house
Into a market place!" 1

Half a century ago
An idealistic young man
Planted a honey locust
Near His house.

Five years ago
Another idealistic young man
Planted four honey locusts
Near His house.

And the now old man
Prophesied to the younger,
"In fifty years you will return as I have
And see not one but four full grown.
And while watching the people rest
In the shade of their branches,
You will know that you have made a difference."

Today the young man returns;
The world has touched him with its cynicism
Yet he retains his youthful idealism.
He finds the threesome destroyed.

   The idealist is saddened
   For he understands not why;
   For the cynic
   The answer is blatant.
   The idealist knows
   Their branches had no tempting fruits 2,
   Yet to the cynic
   The rutted ground is tainted with the color of money.
   The idealist knows
   That no locust plague devoured the trees 3,
   But to the cynic
   We enslave ourselves to Mammon 4.
   The idealist knows
   That the first angel did not blow her horn to consume the trees 5,
   Yet to the cynic
   The mark of the Beast is upon us all 6.
   The idealist knows
   That no alter to another God has been erected where the trees once stood,
   But to the cynic
   The golden bull-calf is in our communities 7.


The trees were betrayed for a carnival,
A carnival that didn't even earn 30 pieces of silver 8.

The memorials of Chesser, Grime, and Bargabos.
Lie buried, rotting...

   The idealist knows they have died
   But hopes they will grow again.
   He sees green shoots
   Growing from the severed trunks;
   To the cynic
   They will never be the same.
   He smirks at the thought of buying nature
   To replace that which was destroyed.
   And he knows that...
   "Big Money got no soul." 9

Cleveland, Ohio

1 John 2:16
2 Genesis 2:17
3 Exodus 10:12
4 Luke 16:13
5 Revelation 8:7
6 Revelation 13:17
7 Exodus 32:4
8 Matthew 26:15
9 N. Peart "Big Money"

Yes, I was a bit upset when I wrote this. In 1988, I completed my Eagle project. My project was to plant four trees and a number of shrubs and install a couple of benches in the lot next to the church that I attended. Five years later, while I was away at college, the church that I attended held a carnival to raise funds. In order to hold this carnival, someone decided to cut down three of the four trees that I planted. Reportedly, the carnival didn't raise much money. Not that it would make a difference if it did.

Even back when I wrote this I realized that I am a cynical idealist. Since then, I've refined my understanding and now realize that, in general, I am cynical about the past and idealistic about the future. For me, this division is preferable to the reverse which would be quite depressing. Not that I really have a choice....

The picture, from 1998, is of the surviving honey locust tree; it is even larger now. In the upper-right corner, the branch from the older honey locust is visible. Mr. Walter Parsons planted the older honey locust over 65 years ago. One of my finest memories of my Eagle project is him commenting to me that someday my trees will be as large as the one that he planted and I will watch people enjoying their shade. While it has been fifteen rather than fifty years, I have enjoyed watching people enjoy the tree. The tree is currently holding a yellow ribbon for each of the military personnel that are related to the church and serving in Iraq.

Posted by geoff at 17:08 in /poetry

11 February 2004 2:52 pm

The Many Faces of Dylan

I've been amazed over the last three weeks with the variety of facial expressions Dylan has in his repertoire. So, that's the subject of our first home movie, "The Many Faces of Dylan." The movie is in QuickTime format, so you may need to download a viewer if your operating system hails from Redmond. The footage was captured on a Canon Optura 20 digital video camcorder and the movie produced using iMovie, part of Apple's iLife '04.

Posted by geoff at 14:52 in /family/dylan

9 February 2004 4:30 pm

More Visitors, More Photos

We've continued to post plenty of pictures of Dylan in the Family category. Be sure to check them out and to keep looking for more. We won't always have a post when photos are added.

Dylan recently was visited by three of his grandparents. Here are some photos that we took while they were here. Dylan survived the first round of spoiling. He is the first grandchild on both sides of the family, so we'll have to watch this in the future. This first visit spoiled Mom and Dad a bit too, as we had extra hands and arms to hold Dylan. He spent much less time in his swing during the weeklong visit.

A handful of friends from work have also stopped by to visit Dylan. Dylan has yet to spit up on any of them -- or at least no one has mentioned it to me. We took photos during each visit.

Posted by geoff at 16:30 in /family/dylan

6 February 2004 12:55 pm

His Word

my best friend:
   i felt as close to as possible.
a new friend:
   i thought different.
another person:
   i barely knew at all.

but one night,
through many hours,
through many tears,
with shaking limbs,

He showed me that which
no speaker can preach
and no book can tell.

He showed me:

a closeness, never felt before;
a brotherhood, indefinable;
a friendship, unbreakable;
and a community built upon His Word.

Cleveland, Ohio

Spiritually, as well as in general, I'm a very private person. However, since I've decided to post my poetry more or less indiscriminately, I'm including this one. This poem was inspired by an incredible all-night discussion with three friends at Case, the kind one only seems to have in college. For those of you who have had a similar experience, this poem will be more meaningful than for others.

Posted by geoff at 12:55 in /poetry

6 February 2004 12:53 pm

ACLU 2004 Workplan and Democratic Candidates

I recently received my copy of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) 2004 Workplan. A couple of the issues resonated with me. Rather than railing against the Bush administration, I thought it more productive to research how the democratic candidates for president opinions on these issues. Al Sharpton, Dennis Kucinich, Howard Dean, John Edwards, John Kerry, and Wes Clark are still in the race; so, I checked each of their positions on these issues.

The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act

As an aside, the brilliant name of this act deserves an entire chapter in a marketing textbook. Even the marketer who came up with Altria is probably jealous. The USA PATRIOT Act is that infamous piece of legislation that allows search and seizures without probably cause. In fact, its definition of "domestic terrorism" would probably include this post. The intention of the Fourth Amendment is that the government doesn't listen to my phone calls or read my e-mail without probably cause. Yes, I know; Carnivore and Echelon aren't new, but the USA PATRIOT Act legalizes these abuses. Clark, Dean, Edwards, Kerry, Kucinich, and Sharpton have all expressed concerns and proposed revisions to the USA PATRIOT Act. Disconcertingly, however, both Kerry and Edwards voted for the USA PATRIOT Act. To his credit, Kucinich did vote against it.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Rights

The recent ruling in support of gay marriage in Massachusetts is promising. However, only Kucinich and Sharpton support gay marriage. The rest of the candidates support the "separate but equal" position dismissed by the Massachusetts Supreme Court. Clark, Dean, and Kerry all have somewhat detailed positions regarding LGBT rights on their web sites. Edwards' site barely touches on this issue. To their credit, Kerry has a perfect scorecard rating from the Human Rights Campaign and Dean has done more than just post position papers on his site; he signed the civil unions bill in Vermont.

Voting Rights

Clark has posted the most detailed proposal for addressing this issue. Dean and Kucinich focus on the problems with electronic voting, of which there are many. Edwards and Kerry briefly mention addressing the voting-rights abuses evident during the 2000 presidential election.


Most of the candidates have relatively similar positions on these issues, which is not surprising after watching their debates. Regardless, browsing the candidates web sites was very interesting. I found that the selection of issues that were not presented as insightful as the candidates' comments on those issues that were. Of course, in the heat of the primaries, the candidates are going to be promoting their most liberal positions on these issues. Once one of them secures the nomination, he will begin to move back to the center. And then, if he wins the election, we'll have to see what is actually done. Regardless, as cynical as I am about the past and present, I have to remain optimistic about the future.

Posted by geoff at 12:53 in /politics