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Sitting Around, Singing a Song
June 5, 2000

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I find it hard to keep up with the Weblog. The Journal is one thing, but a Weblog is supposed to be more immediate, less polished. And I've made a few good rants but for the most part, I think I'm a better journaller. I'd like to hear other peoples' comments, of course.

I'm tired today, and I have 'abdominal discomfort,' which is to say a pain in the stomach. I have no other symptoms (even of abdominal disorders) so I'm very hopeful this will go away soon, as it's made it rather hard to sleep. It's a somewhat quiet day, which helps, but the rest of this week will be bananas.

Which might be a good way to describe Commencement. It was the Year of Humor for Brewster Academy. The Valedictorian opened with five to ten minutes on the thesis of sunblock being a good thing, and then went on to recount the entire, extended dance mix version of "The Little Engine That Could," including sound effects. And the Commencement Speaker was David Brenner, who you may recall as a perpetual Carson replacement host and early eighties A-List comedian who's still doing the Elder Statesman Comic rounds.

Brenner was gut-wrenchingly hysterical. I mean it. He did a thirty minute set where we barely had a chance to breath. And maybe that's enough for a Commencement Speaker, you know? Why recount a bunch of clichés when you're funny, and can do funny material about funny things? Of course, he was also "irreverent," as they call it -- including profanity and at least one admonition to "go with what's in your gut -- listen to your own voice. Don't listen to teachers," which seems counterproductive.

His son, Cole, graduated from the Academy this year. I knew Cole somewhat -- he was one of my relief kids. Cole was funny and irreverent too, and clearly the two got along very well, as did Slade, Brenner's younger son.

My own speech went well and got laughs, which was rare among the Awards Speeches. I gave out the Grace Murray Hopper Book Prize to our Senior Intern, Chris Hafner, and in describing Chris's qualifications I went over the time Chris rebuilt his powerbook into a death ray. Seriously. I saw him light a small fire with the IR port.

I'm going to miss Chris. He reminded me (in a good way) of my friend Bill Paul, who we feared bringing to Boeing Surplus lest he build old aircraft equipment into a gigantic robot that would then destroy Kent, and we'd get blamed for it. Chris will be there someday too, I'm just sure.

Well, time to go watch the Freshmen turn their powerbooks in. Everyone else does this tomorrow. And then? Then we'll see what the summer looks like.

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