The Great Verizon Data Famine

The other day I visited my local Verizon store for the fourth freaking time! My mission was simple: upgrade my goddamn phone and change our account from my wife’s name to mine. In sane retail environments long-standing customers with impeccable payment histories get treated like royalty. I know it will come as a shock to all you parasitic socialists out there but it is the paying customer, and only the paying customer, that is keeping civilization’s lights on! I understand and appreciate the need for businesses to make profits and for the last three years Verizon has profited from my patronage and I have benefited from their excellent cell service. We had a mutually beneficial relationship but now I’m wondering if this marriage can be saved.

I have no technical complaints about Verizon. The engineers at Verizon clearly know what they are doing but it looks like the administrative and sales division’s model themselves on the DMV or Obama’s I’ve seen this before. Most software companies harbor competent to brilliant programmers yet are often fronted by ethically challenged sales baboons. My father, a retired petroleum engineer, used to say, “It’s a good thing oil is so valuable and customers are beating down our doors because head office couldn’t sell shit to a house fly.” I know it’s not my place, as a motivated shit seeking house fly, to question the sales practices of multi-billion dollar enterprises but, to quote a very wise old white guy, “you’ve confused me with someone who gives a crap.

When I first walked into the Verizon store I wanted an accurate answer to this question:

How much will my monthly bill be if:

  1. I pay the full retail cost of the phone upfront. Old white guys do not buy on credit because old white guys have learned the hard way that buying anything on credit means you eventually pay more. I am not interested in paying more. I have a very bad attitude when it comes to paying more. My butthole has been reamed often enough, long enough and hard enough that it’s now operating on a strict cash upfront basis.
  2. And if I have an uncapped 4G data plan. Cell providers constantly go on about their unlimited data plans yet down in the fine print — old white guys always read the fine print — you typically see “limited to two gigabytes per month.” Two gigabytes is not unlimited, four gigabytes is not unlimited, fifty yottabytes is not unlimited; unlimited means arbitrarily high.

It took two trips to the same store to get a simple price quote. The quoted rate was $69.99 per month. This is close to my current rate and since I’m burning another $39.99 per month on Internet cable it looked like I could cancel cable, divert all my residential Internet traffic through an iPhone 4G hot spot and save about thirty bucks a month.

I realized I would have to go on a data diet. 4G connections are faster than 3G but 4G is still much slower than cable Internet. The cable provider in St. Louis, Charter1, runs at 30 megabits per second. This is about five times faster than 4G. 4G is okay for blogging, modest sub-gigabyte downloads, uploading a few dozen high-resolution pictures and normal web browsing. 4G is not up to irritant free HD streaming. You can stream but the image is often downgraded to a blocky low resolution mess. I planned on giving up streaming because TV, whether broadcast or streamed, is still mostly time-wasting garbage. I was looking forward to reallocating my streaming time to good old-fashioned paper2 book reading.

After doing my research, considering the options and allocating funds I returned to the same Verizon store I had visited three times with the intention of plunking down the full cost of an iPhone 5s and signing another two-year service contract at the price I was previously quoted. Then things went horribly wrong. First, we had to call my wife to change the name on our account from hers to mine. The simple act of changing the account name voided my unlimited data. I went from an uncapped plan to a two gigabyte plan. Then, as a final affront, it turns out that you if you actually want to use your iPhone’s hot spot you need to pay another $30.00 per month on top of your normal data plan. In other words my bill would be a few cents shy of $100.00 per month. So, I would pay roughly the same as my current Verizon and Charter bills combined and end up with a connection that is five times slower. Old white guys are slow and stupid but not that stupid.

Instead of walking out of the store with a shiny new iPhone 5s and another two-year contract I left with my old iPhone 4 and a downgraded, but equally expensive data plan. I am now looking at other options. I will probably retain cable and cut off all cell phone data. Most of my cell phone data moves over Wi-Fi so why pay Verizon, or another provider, $30.00 bucks per month to keep up on Twitter tripe. Verizon’s sales did a bang up job here. They convinced a loyal and reasonably happy customer that it’s time to take a serious look at the competition. I was planning on a data diet but not a data famine. Can you hear me now!

  1. Charter Internet is a binary operation. When it’s working it works very well, but over that last three years I’ve watched it go down more often than a cheap street prostitute. Right now it’s down. Charter outages are annoying but they’re usually quickly resolved.
  2. EBooks are developing nasty data mining habits. I have no desire to expose the precise details of my reading to busy bodies. This doesn’t mean I am giving up on eBooks but I am giving up on on-line eBooks. I now demand complete control of the eBook file on a device that I can shut off logging and communication. If you don’t control it you cannot trust it.

Blogging Bad 2013

Another year of blogging bad. My mother’s death and work were major distractions this year; I fell way short of my post goals but still managed to exceed the previous year’s hit count and set a new high.  To show their appreciation the good algorithms at sent us an annual report. Mine follows:

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

My Colon’s Merry Christmas

I have just returned from my second colonoscopy. For all you indestructible young’ins out there a colonoscopy is a medical procedure that basically entails stuffing a camera up your butthole to look for evil-doers. Thankfully you’re knocked out during the procedure and when you come to you remember about as much as alien anal probe abductees. Colonoscopies can detect and remove precancerous polyps in the colon; it’s a rare cost-effective procedure that actually saves lives. If you’re an old fart that hasn’t been probed I would suggest you ask your doctor about colonoscopies.

My colonoscopy went well. No polyps were found so I don’t have to do this again for ten years. The best thing about colonoscopies: the pictures. If you’re into colon porn prepare to feast your eyes otherwise avert them because you will never be able to unsee what follows. The notes on my report noted the “good colon preparation” which, in the immortal words of John Harvey Kellogg played by Anthony Hopkins in the definitive crazy health nut mocking movie The Road to Wellville, means “my colon is clean.”


Snapshots of my colon. I oddly do not care if the masses gaze on my interior. We all look pretty much the same from this perspective.

Tipping with Bitcoins

For the last two days my elderly laptop has struggled with the bitcoin-qt client while it downloaded and checked the entire Bitcoin block chain. This is one of the fascinating things about this “currency.” Its entire global transaction history is public. It occurred to me that the Bitcoin economy is now large enough to verify basic macro economic equations. You can precisely calculate the “velocity of money” from Bitcoin blocks.

Now that I have synchronized with the Bitcoin network all I need is some coin to play with. If you would like to send me a few micro Bitcoins I will send them right back. I want to observe the transfer process. Please use this address as a tip jar:




Minnie’s Pictures

Minnie E. Raver 1881-1977

While going through my late mother’s pictures I came across a box of my great-grandmother Minnie’s old photographs. When my great-grandmother died in 1977 my grandmother Hazel took her pictures and stuffed them in her Hoarder’s level junk filled basement.1 After Hazel’s death my mother recovered Minnie’s pictures from Hazel’s hoard and promptly filed them with her pictures where they remained until I found them. Minnie’s pictures have already seen off three generations of my ancestors and I’m next in line. Are they worth it?

Many of Minnie’s pictures are over a hundred years old. The oldest probably date to the 1870’s or 1880’s. Despite their age they’re in excellent condition. Obviously Minnie took care of her pictures and thankfully Montana basements and attics are often high and dry. I spent an entire day studying Minnie’s pictures. Her old portraits are superb examples of small studio 19th and early 20th century photography, see the following wedding portrait, and her snapshots are candid shots of the people she knew and loved. All of which brings me to my current problem. I don’t know who these people are!

Callie Davis Frank Smelser wedding 1905

Callie Davis (Minnie’s sister) and Frank Smelser wedding portrait 1905.

I have never had much of an interest in family trees or the entire quasi-delusional undertaking of genealogical research for the simple reason that most of it is bullshit. The basic genealogical problem is simple: people have always screwed around and then lied about it. When you get right down to it you cannot be certain, without DNA testing, that your own parents are your biological parents. There are good reasons to suspect that at least 1% to 5% of children result from cuckolding and for some social classes it may be as high as 30%. In other words your daddy may not be who you think it is! Cuckolding varies with culture, time, socio-economic status and so forth but it’s rarely zero. A cuckolding rate of 5% implies that by the time you’ve traced your ancestors to the great-great-grandparent level there is a 19% chance that an alleged, perfectly documented, ancestor is not really an ancestor. By the time we get back to the time of Christ, roughly 100 generations, there’s a 99.99% chance that any alleged ancestor is not really any ancestor. Genealogy without DNA is a hollow dead-end.

As bad as cuckolding is it’s the least of our genealogical problems. Genealogical records are incomplete, contain serious errors and are often complete frauds. As late as the 19th century the settlement of estates was very sensitive to birth order. If you were a first-born son you got everything while your baby brother got squat. It was even worse for women; they got less than squat. In such an environment there is a powerful incentive to forge records. Old handwritten documents may look official to modern eyes but you cannot assume they’re accurate. With a well-placed bribe first-born Johnnie suddenly disappears from the record. People have always lied about the important things.

Given all these obvious problems I usually ignore people going on about the exploits of their glorious ancestors. Your roots are unreliable people! You really don’t know who your great-great-great granny was and if you insist on telling tales about her I will insist on DNA evidence. I know that many of the dead in Minnie’s pictures are probably blood relatives and some are probably direct great-great or greater grandparents. I cannot be 100% sure they’re genetic ancestors but I can follow obvious document breadcrumbs and learn enough about these people to attach stories to their pictures.

I wasn’t looking forward to the giant chore of scanning, restoring and researching Minnie’s pictures2 but following breadcrumbs was more interesting than expected. It turns out that there’s a lot of dead people on the internet. When I started looking for death and marriage records I immediately came across a cemetery record for my own recently deceased mother. It was surprising to find her so soon. There’s an active world-wide ghoulish group of people photographing cemetery monuments and posting their findings online. It’s ironic but a Facebook for the dead preceded the Facebook for the living. Starting with my mother I backtracked through my alleged ancestors looking for a “Lydia.”  “Lydia” was scrawled on the back of what looked like the oldest of Minnie’s pictures.

Lydia Jane Ayres

Lydia Jane Ayres 1839-unknown

If the records are correct I believe this “Lydia” is Lydia Jane Ayres. There is a very good chance that Lydia is one of my great-great grandmothers. Lydia married Albert F. Raver in 1863 in Brant Ontario. Albert was the mother of Minnie’s husband Bert Raver.

I didn’t find any pictures of Albert Raver in Minnie’s collection and that’s too bad because I suspect Albert had an eye for the babes. I looked for his death record and found this confusing census entry. Here was an Albert F. Raver with exactly the same age and birth origin remarried to a Lydia L. Raver. At first I thought it was a mistake but Albert’s marriage to Lydia L. Ayres was in 1906. That did not compute. Then I remembered a story my grandmother Hazel told me years ago when we were talking about her grandparents. She told me that one of her grandfathers married twice to two women with the same first and last names. She complained about how difficult this made sorting Christmas and birthday cards. I cannot remember if the name was Lydia Ayres but what are the chances? It seems Albert married  Lydia Jane Ayres in 1863. Somehow they parted ways and later, at the age of 68, Albert remarried in 1906 a younger Lydia L. Ayres. Having been divorced and remarried myself I can only marvel at Albert’s ingenuity. The last thing you want to do in your senile dotage is call a second wife by your first wife’s name. Before social security that could have been a fatal mistake. Randy old Albert neatly dodged that bullet.

The randiness was not confined to the Raver branch. Equally intriguing is this old portrait of “dad’s old sweetheart.” Here Minnie is likely referring to her own father and my great-great granddaddy Howell Cobb Davis. Screwing around, contrary to boomer mythology, wasn’t invented in the 1960’s.

Dad's old sweetheart

“Dad’s old sweetheart.” Probably an old girl friend of Howell Cobb Davis.

Minnie lived to 96. I was in my twenties when she died so I remember some of the people in her snapshots. Here’s Minnie with her first-born son Vernon standing in Marble Canyon Arizona in 1949. I knew Vernon as a boy. He always posed exactly like you see him her.

Vernon and Minnie Raver Marble Canyon Arizona 1949

Vernon and Minnie Raver Marble Canyon Arizona 1949

You can read the poor guys mind. “Do you really need another picture? Well if that’s how it’s going be I’m going to assume my petulant spoiled fat boy pose.” You cannot blame Vernon. His photographic life got off to a dreadful start. Look at this gem.

Vernon F. Raver 1904-1964

Vernon F. Raver 1904-1964

In the early 20th century women liked to dress up their baby boys as girls. Vernon got the full girly treatment. You cannot blame him for being scarred for life after such trauma. Here’s a clue ladies. Boys are not girls. Gender is not arbitrary. People that assert the contrary are idiots. Sorry if that sounds like mansplaining; the truth is not always polite.

I doubt I’ll ever get through Minnie’s pictures. There are hundreds of images to scan, restore and research. I just don’t have the time or energy but in the years ahead I will occasionally pick out and upload attractive images. Here’s the gallery to follow if you’re interested.

  1. If Hazel was alive today she would be a star on TV’s Hoarders.
  2. Despite their good condition it was still a lot of work to restore the images posted here. To judge what I had contend with browse this gallery of before and after diptychs.

Yellowstone and Me

Mali by the Yellowstone Roosevelt Gate

My wife in front of the Roosevelt Gate that marks the northern entrance to Yellowstone. The road to Mammoth Hot Springs and the Lamar valley are open during the winter. Most of the park is snowed under.

I have moved so often that I am no longer from anywhere, but if asked, one place, Livingston Montana, has the strongest claim. Every summer, from infancy to late adolescence, I spent long happy months with my grandparents in Livingston. If you look at a map you’ll see that Livingston is close to Yellowstone National Park. In the late 19th and early 20th century the town billed itself as the gateway to Yellowstone. In those days most people reached the park by train and the train went through Livingston on the way to Gardner and the northern park entrance where the famous Teddy Roosevelt arch stands to this day.

Being close to Yellowstone we made frequent family trips to the park. I don’t know how many times I’ve entered Yellowstone. We’d make at least one trip every year and some years we went two or three times. We thought of Yellowstone as our own private national park and we were intensely proud of the place. This hasn’t changed. People that live near the park today are as fiercely devoted to Yellowstone as my grandparents and parents ever were.

When I was a child the park service did things differently. In the 1950’s and 1960’s rangers didn’t chase bears into the woods so they hung out on park roads begging food from tourists. Seeing bears closeup was always a thrill. Of course, you weren’t supposed to feed bears. Signs were everywhere reminding Boobus americanus that bears were dangerous wild animals, but the largely ignorant public ignored the warnings with predictable results. Every year at least one moron was killed by a bear. In good years two or three would succumb. Since most of the dead were clueless tourists locals viewed Yellowstone bear attacks as a form of imbecile euthanasia. We were sad when rangers had to put down offending bears. You don’t see a lot of bears in the park these days. When they show up the rangers shoo them into the woods; it’s easier to train bears than tourists.

Family outing in Yellowstone

In the summer of 1967 I snapped this photo of my parents, maternal grandparents and siblings with an Instamatic camera. I was only a teenager but I was already a veteran Yellowstone visitor. We made frequent trips to the park and we all loved the place.

After bears geysers were the next biggest thrill. Yellowstone is world-famous for its geysers. Some estimate that half of the world’s active geysers are bubbling away atop Yellowstone’s massive caldera. The immense size and power of the Yellowstone super-volcano was not fully understood in those days, but you could see the park was a special, almost magical, place with your own eyes. One geyser, Old Faithful, is emblematic of Yellowstone and most of our park trips included a stop at it.

Old Faithful is not the most spectacular large geyser in the park, but it’s the most dependable. By some rare geological quirk Old Faithful has been venting at regular intervals ever since it was named in 1870.1 The interval changes a bit from time to time. The Madison earthquake tweaked the frequency and times vary more than many believe, but if you go to Old Faithful and invest a few hours the geyser will not disappoint. The most dramatic eruptions occur during the winter when super-heated geyser steam blasts into freezing mountain plateau air. Old Faithful in the winter is pure bucket list material. I’ve watched Old Faithful shoot off dozens of times. I’ve seen Old Faithful with my parents, my siblings, my grandparents, my children, my nieces, in-laws and some good friends. My experience is not unique. If you’ve seen Old Faithful I’m betting it was with someone special.

There’s more to Yellowstone than bears and geysers. It harbors the largest high altitude lake in North America. It is home to a variety of North American plants and animals. It has one of the most spectacular river canyons and waterfalls anywhere and it shelters, in scalding geyser waters, rare ancient extremophiles that are among the oldest life forms on Earth. The park doesn’t need me to sell it. It’s one of the world’s very special places.

My kids waiting for Old Faithful

My kids waiting for Old Faithful to erupt in the summer of 2000. Watching Old Faithful is like a family reunion for me. I’ve seen it shoot off with most of the special people in my life and even when I was by myself I was always thinking how others would love this particular eruption.

As I entered my teenage years we moved to Iran where I spent a year before moving to Lebanon for school. During this time I saw large chunks of the Middle East, Egypt, Turkey, most of Western Europe and England. We returned to Canada. From Canada I moved to Ghana, then Denmark, then Barbados, then western Canada, then eastern Canada, then back to the US. I’ve seen dozens of national parks in many countries and many are spectacular. With so much to compare it against I started thinking of Yellowstone as, “a been there, done that”, “nothing to see here”, “not worth the hassle,” bore! Doesn’t everyone have a boring old Yellowstone in their backyard? I was blasé about Yellowstone for years until two notable events and advances in geology made me reassess my feelings about the park.

Remember the great Yellowstone forest fires of 1988. Dramatic images of vast fires filled newscasts for weeks. The park service endured abuse from all quarters for letting the fires rage. Fire has always been important for North American evergreen forests. Years of fire suppression in the US and Canada slowly produced dense tinderbox forests that blaze when set alight. The great Yellowstone fires of 1988 punctuated this point. We now understand that fire is necessary for the long-term health of forests, but explaining this to outfitters, tour operators and other businesses that depend on moving tourists in and out of parks remains a hard sell. A few years after the great 1988 fires I visited the park with my young children. I was expecting a burned out wasteland, but I was surprised by verdant undergrowth and the largest fattest elk herds I had ever seen. Between the black timbers lush ferns and other plants burst forth by the billions. It was a good time for ungulates. I know it pisses people off when experts are right, but the experts were right about forest fires. Fortunately, the braying nitwits soon had something even more controversial to whine about.

The most famous animal in the park these days was absent during my youth. I am talking about wolves. Wolves had been exterminated in Yellowstone for the usual fallacious bullshit reasons in the early 20th century. When people started seriously entertaining the idea of reintroducing wolves to the park every brain-dead rancher in the west decided to go on TV and show the world that westerners are every bit as ignorant as Yellowstone bear-food tourists. I remember one particularly eye-rolling twit going on about how kids waiting for school buses at lonely winter ranch gates would fall prey to bloodthirsty wolves. It didn’t matter that there have been very few authenticated wolf attacks on people or that there were good ecological reasons for reintroducing wolves. Ranchers the world over subscribe to what I call rancher ecology. If it’s not a cow or a rancher shoot it! I’ve endured this sentiment in the US, Canada, Brazil and Ghana. Grow up people; you’re embarrassing us! If you’re really this stupid having bloodthirsty wolves pick off your idiot spawn would help us maintain our species IQ.

The park service ignored the loons and brought the wolves back. What happened, just the biggest and most successful species reintroduction in national park history? Watching wolves reestablish themselves has made it crystal clear how important top predators are to functional ecosystems. Before the wolves came back the elk and deer, like welfare recipients, had gotten stupid and lazy. Their biggest problem was avoiding traffic. The wolves changed all that. Now if they’re not on their hooves they’re probably going to get eaten. The presence of wolves has had many unexpected benefits. The elk no longer clear out the underbrush near streams; this has led to a profusion of wild flowers and other plants that were rarely seen before wolves. The denser plant growth has provided habit for insects that feed birds. The slower moving waters are more suitable for native fish and beavers. The park is in better shape than it has been at any time in my life and we can credit the work of Canis lupus for a lot of it.

Bison on the high plains of Yellowstone National Park.

Most of Yellowstone is a high elevation plateau. It’s great habitat for deer, elk, bears and now wolves. There are mountains in the park but they are not as impressive as the Tetons to the south or the Absaroka range to the north.

And, despite the western whining, the biggest beneficiaries of wolf reintroduction have been, you guessed it: Homo sapiens. Lots of people are making money on Yellowstone wolves. Every winter thousands of people make their way into the Lamar valley to watch and hear wolves. People come from far and wide and occasionally the wolves put on a riveting show for them. Yes they occasionally stray from the park and there have been livestock losses. Whenever a sheep of calf gets eaten the rancher press covers it like a mini 9/11 terrorist attack. In some cases the attacks occur in the park. It’s not widely known that domestic animals graze national forests and parks. Hey, if your cow is eating state subsidized grass stop whining about occasional losses to wildlife. You’re damn lucky the stupid public tolerates grazing on public lands. In pure economic terms wolf introduction has been a rare government money-maker. Perhaps if Congress assholus were reintroduced to their natural habit, prison, similar benefits would ensue.

Wolf reintroduction put Yellowstone back in the news but advances in geophysics and geology vaulted the park’s status to global icon. There aren’t very many super volcanoes in the world and there are even fewer active super-volcanoes. This is probably a good thing. Too many of these puppies blowing off would seriously depress the market and no amount of quantitative easing would excavate your baked ass from cubic kilometers of volcanic ash. Geologists have been aware of Yellowstone’s violent volcanic past for decades but it wasn’t until the age of high precision GPS monitoring and satellite radar that the alarming dynamism of the park made headlines. We’re not used to landscapes “breathing” but something like that is going on in the Yellowstone caldera. The entire plateau goes up and down in amazingly short times. It takes a lot of energy to move a few hundred square kilometers of rock in a matter of years. Yellowstone ground movements have been monitored since the 1920’s and they are so marked that even the public notices. Now that we better understand the monster that lurks under the park everyone expects it to wake one day and blow the joint sky-high. Maybe we’ll get lucky and see it blow in our lifetime. The last time the Yellowstone super-volcano erupted Homo erectus walked the Earth. They we’re on the other side of the world but super-volcanoes make themselves felt at great distances. I’m willing to bet that evidence of large Yellowstone eruptions will eventually be detected in ancient African or Asian hominid fossils. Yellowstone’s super-volcano gives the park real sex appeal. Let’s face it, chicks dig bad boys, and bad boys that can waste entire countries are volcanically hot!

View of Yellowstone Lake from West Thumb.

Yellowstone Lake from West Thumb. Yellowstone Lake is large and deep and most of it lies within the Yellowstone caldera which covers an area three times larger than the lake. Imagine this entire landscape erupting. They’re not called super-volcanoes for nothing!

Yellowstone’s enduring importance has nothing to do with landscapes, geysers, bears or volcanoes. Its major contribution is the idea of a national park. In 1872 the US Congress took time out from their usual whoring and profiteering, work they assiduously pursue to this day, and accidentally did something worthwhile; they created the world’s first national park: Yellowstone. Despite modern whitewashing this wasn’t an act of a farsighted and wise people. Yellowstone was too far away, too high for agriculture, had no known mineral deposits and wasn’t even in a state at the time. How the hell can you deliver pork to nonexistent districts? Congress couldn’t see how to pillage and profit from Yellowstone so they gave in to a small but determined movement that wanted a park. The congress of 1872 was probably less corrupt and venal than our modern degenerates but they weren’t freaking saints and it annoys the hell out of me that partisan revisionists are constantly citing Yellowstone as a wonder of big government. Yellowstone was a product of the corrupt and incompetent Grant2 administration for Christ’s sake. The same dolts that brought you Custer’s last stand.

Judging the motivations of the long dead is pure hubris but evaluating the results of their actions is how we learn from history. By any standard Yellowstone was a glorious result. The congress of 1872 set a precedent that spread worldwide. Ken Burns argues that national parks are the single best idea the US government has ever had and I agree. I shudder to think what Yellowstone would be like if it wasn’t a national park. It would probably be the biggest hive of luxury spas and posturing celebrity scum on the planet. Imagine Aspen, Cannes, Bath, Monte Carlo, Dubai and Hollywood all whored up with natural boiling mud and geyser waters. Instead of being proud of Yellowstone I would be advocating nuking the place. The nukes wouldn’t damage the super-volcano but they would cauterize the celebrity infestation. Thank the all squiggling FSM that this nightmare was aborted in 1872. National parks have aborted many such nightmares all around the globe.

In my ideal world parks would cover at least a third of Earth’s lands and oceans. We’re not there yet, but when we are, people will still look at Yellowstone, the world’s first national park, and my personal favorite, as one of the very best.

  1. Nobody knows who first discovered Old Faithful. It was known to Native Americans long before it was named “Old Faithful.”
  2. Unlike the current occupant of the White House Grant did something that mattered before he was elected president.