How to spend that free (i.e. unpaid) time on your hands this fall

It’s fall again, and the smell of unpassed budget legislation
is in the air.

While Congress debates whether lying about sex is an impeachable offense—depending
on how you define “is”—the Rat is finalizing his fall shutdown vacation
plans. Do the math: Impeachment plus budget impasse equals gridlock.

After last fall’s abortive effort to take an extended vacation without burning
leave, the cyberrodent has adopted a more scientific approach to fiscal
brinkmanship—especially in view of the amount of money he has riding on the
office’s shutdown pool.

The wired one took the trouble to develop a computer model of the current political
climate that predicts when the president will stop signing emergency spending bills.

The model, based on an artificial intelligence program used by Ross Perot to prepare
for his last presidential debate, exploited the spare computing cycles on congressional
servers after the president’s deposition was posted.

As you might guess, the model predicted a giant sucking sound shortly after this
week—the week after the House Judiciary Committee voted to initiate an impeachment
inquiry, three weeks before current emergency spending bills expire and the week when the
moon waxes full.

The Rat’s model factored in astrological and biorhythm charts for the president
and House Speaker Newt Gingrich. It also analyzed the fuzziness of woolly caterpillars and
the shape of the stain on Monica’s dress. All parameters pointed to a long
Thanksgiving vacation without pay this year.

Bearing that in mind, the Rat sold back his leave days, tuned up the Ratmobile and got
on the Web to check for hotel vacancies.

This being a La Ni'a winter, his itinerary swiftly turned to southern latitudes with
post-hurricane season discounts.

He also spent some time getting his Christmas shopping done early, so his credit
insurance can pick up the card payments when Bill pulls the plug.

The wise old Rat also revised his to-do list in the event of a shutdown, just in case
it runs longer or starts later than he expected. Ah, chaos theory is just perfect for
conditions like this.

The Rat came up with his top recommendations for spending a long fall—and possibly
winter—at home:

With these surefire time-fillers, the Rat feels certain that any shutdown will zoom by.

If all else fails, you can stand in line to watch the Microsoft Corp. trial.  

The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad
packets in cyberspace. E-mail him at [email protected].


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