Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bombs Away

In Southern California, New Years and the Rose Bowl are synonymous. The media hype begins right after Christmas and continues through January 1st. This evening there was a news item about two B-2 Stealth Bombers arriving in the area. One will fly over the Rose Parade and the other will fly over the Rose Bowl game.

The B-2 Bombers are very impressive planes. They look like something out of Star Wars. They cost a bundle of money and can create a whole lot of destruction.

My question is "What the hell are we doing starting off a parade and a football game with flyovers of Weapons of Mass Destruction? What kind of message is that sending? I am probably going to piss off a lot of people, but I think it is criminally irresponsible to begin festive events with a display of military power. The B-2 Stealth Bomber is an extremely effective and destructive weapon of war. It has no place in a parade or a football game.

And people are going to cheer. Shame on them!

Quirks

We all have them. Little things that others think are strange.

One of mine has to do with soap, be it soap at the bathroom sink or soap in the shower. I don't like to waste soap. (According to my wife, I am much too wasteful with most things, so this soap fetish is a little strange -- at least according to her.) I will use it until it becomes a very small piece, to the point where it keeps falling out of my hands. I then stick it on the top of a new bar of soap. Once the soap dries out, to old piece is securely stuck to the new piece and, voile, no wasted soap.

I am so proud of myself!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Doggie Update


The golden was operated on today. The doctor had to wait until today because of the bruising on her lungs. She (the Dr.) was concerned with breathing problems due to the bruising. The people at the hospital have fallen in love with her. They keep her in a open area in the back where everyone is, so she gets lots of attention during the day. She is sedated so she is not up and moving around, but she is aware of her surrounding and the people around her. Golden retrievers are very people oriented, I think she is enjoying the attention.

The operation to put her pelvis back together went very well and the post-operative x-rays show that everything is back in place. However, because of the length of time that the pelvis operation took, they did not get to stitch up the laceration on her side. The Dr. said that her body temperature was dropping because of being out for so long, so they decided to wake her up. They will take care of her side tomorrow. Then she will go home to our son and daughter-in-law on Wednesday.

The operation and hospital stay is ungodly expensive, but there was never any doubt that we would do it. I can't believe the "friends" who have said, "Gee, if it was our dog we would have put her down." I can believe that people would put down their pet rather than pay for an expensive operation. But to say it to us after the decision has already been made is very insensitive and, quite frankly, pretty stupid.

We treat our pets as part of the family. By some peoples standards, I guess that is stupid. I say to those people, "Don't have pets." Our pets ARE part of the our family. When they are in need, just like any family member, we do what we can to help. There was never any doubt that we would help with her care -- as much as was needed. She is not just a dog. She is family.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Small And Big Tails (or Tales)

The 300 pound dog is in the news again.

I have written about the 300 pound dog in the past, here and here. As you may recall, the 300 pound dog is actually 4 dogs together, my two (german shepherd and labrador mix) and my sons two (german shepherd and golden retriever).

First of all, the 300 pound dog has now become the 310 pound dog with the addition of a chiweenie.


(A chiweenie is a mix between a chihuahua and a dachshund). My son and his family got her a few days before Christmas. She is a little thing but will grow up tough living with the other two big dogs. I won't be surprised if she turns out to be the boss of the family.

The other news is that the golden got hit by a car last night.

We had just finished cleaning up from the Christmas marathon and were settling down to watch a movie. I got a frantic call from the Daughter-in-Law saying that the golden had been hit by a car and asked if I would go help Son with her. I quickly grabbed a big dog blanket, jumped in the car, and rushed to the busy intersection where she had been clobbered by a speeding suburban. I never did care much for suburbans and now I like them even less.

I found her in the midst of a group of people laying on her side. She recognized me and tried to wag her tail. She had a large gash on her side. One of the people was keeping pressure on it. It looked bad but was not bleeding much. We got her on the dog blanket and put her in the back of the car.

Fortunately there is an emergency dog hospital about two miles away from where she was hit. Son and I quickly got her there. They immediately gave her some morphine and put her on a IV. We were there for about an hour while they stabilized her, did a blood workup and took x-rays.

She is going to be okay. She has a bruised lung and the big gash on her side, neither of which will require surgery. However, she also has a broken pelvis. The pelvis will require surgery. I looks like it is broken in three places. Son and DIL have a consult with an orthopedic surgeon later this morning to get the details on what the surgery will entail. The important thing is that she will recover. Son is devistated. It was his fault that the dogs got out. I am not sure if he will recover from that.

It was interesting when I got back home. I brought the dog blanket that we has wrapped the golden in back with me. My GS would not stop sniffing it. She just kept smelling and smelling it. I put it up out of her reach and she just kept jumping, trying to get to it. I know she could smell the golden's scent on it. But the way she was reacting, it was like she could "read" the whole story of the event from the blanket. The blanket had traveled to the hospital with us. It went into the treatment room with the golden. Sometimes I wonder just what dogs can "see" with their noses.

So our Christmas ended on kind of a sad note. At least she is going to be alright. It is something that time and money will cure. Thank goodness that we have enough of each to cover her recovery.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

The Christmas party is over and now we gear up for Christmas. Christmas day has always been a big day in the Critter household. All the kids and grandchildren come over for food, play, and, of course, gift giving.

Gift giving is a major event in our household. While we have talked about doing the "secret santa" thing, so far there has been little enthusiasm for it. Thus, everyone get everyone a gift. Well, not quite, but almost. There are about 15 of us all together. The tree get half buried under all the presents.

Here is the tree from last year.


You can only imagine the spread of presents around the base. We are truly blessed with a loving and giving family.

We all sit around together. One family member acts as Santa and gives out the presents one at a time. We all watch while that person opens their present. Then another present is handed out. It is not unusual for this process to take 4 or more hours. Even the little children enjoy it. There is often a food/drink/bathroom break in the middle of it and then dinner when it is all over. I also video tape the whole process. We have tapes going back many, many years.

So, while the Critter family gets ready for its big Christmas extravaganza, may I wish all of you a very pleasant and blessed Holidays. For those of you traveling, may your travels be quick and safe.

And thank you for following the rambling of a old man.

Monday, December 22, 2008

What's Wrong With This Picture?


Well, after all, $83 million is only 0.83% of the $10 billion we GAVE (not loaned like the auto companies) to Merrill Lynch, so why am I bitching?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Why Isn't This Guy In Jail?

Dick Cheney when asked by Chris Wallace if it's legal when the president makes a decision to help the country when it's fighting a war, Cheney said, "As a general proposition, I'd say yes."

(http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Cheney_If_president_does_it_during_1221.html)

WTF?!?

Following that to its logical conclusion, we could have the following scenario:
  1. The president starts a war.
  2. The president declares himself king/dictator.
  3. President disbands Congress.
  4. President does anything he wants.
According to Cheney, this is legal. As long as we are "at war", the president can do anything he wants to and it is legal.

Thank God we are only one month away from a new administration.

The Party Is Over

Each Christmas we have a party for our friends. We have been doing this for the past 25 years or so. My wife plans for this party all year long. It is a tremendous amount of work. Each year I tell her to hire a caterer to help and she says maybe next year. She gets a lot of joy out of it and apparently our guests do also. Several have been coming every year. The party was last night.

I was talking with a couple last night. They were telling me about their oldest daughter going away to college and how the house now seems empty. I reminded them that they started coming to the party before they were married. We went to their wedding. In a way, we have followed a generation of their family though our party. I think that is kind of neat.

It is hard in this day and age keeping connections with people. The party is one way we do it. In the end, maybe it is worth all the effort.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Saga Continues

A few days ago I wrote about hitting something on the freeway going about 70 mph. Nothing bad happened at the time, and I was able to drive home without further incident.

The next morning I decided to look the car over. While I was able to drive home without a problem, the car did "feel" different and the steering wheel was cocked to one side. Nothing was loose or hanging down under the car. However, upon closer examination I noticed a bubble on the side of the right rear tire. Not a good sign. Obviously the tire had been damaged.

I have needed new tires for a while. Being a great procrastinator, I have put off getting a new set. The time had come. Actually forced upon me, since the right rear tire now was not safe to drive on, at least , not safe to drive very far on. So, I was off to Costco and 600+ dollars later I was the proud owner of a brand new set of tires, with the recommendation that I get an alignment.

So, off the the auto shop I went, asked for an alignment, and said "check the suspension. I hit something on the freeway." They came back and said, "yes. You certainly hit something on the freeway. You bent a bunch of crap on your right rear suspension. But never fear. We will give you a rental car while we fix your car."

So off I go in the rental car after signing away a significant portion of my credit card available credit. Rear suspension parts and labor do not come cheap.

The next day I am taking my grandson in the rental car to school for his math final. We get about three blocks away for the school and I notice that the rental car is starting to overheat. OH GREAT!!! Grandson begins to freak out. "I'm going to be late for my final". I say "Don't worry. I will keep driving to car until we get to school." Grandson gets dropped off and I call the rental car office.

After several calls between the rental car office, their central rode side service office, and AAA, a tow truck shows up and arrangements have been made to change out the rental car at the "closest" rental car office. The tow truck operator looks at the engine and says someone left the radiator cap loose and all the water has evaporated. He goes up to the house I am stopped in front of and grabs their hose and fills up the radiator. He tells me to go ahead and drive to the rental car office. There is no need to tow the car. Fortunately he is right. I was able to drive to the rental car office without further problems and get a new rental car (actually a truck, this time).

When I got home, the repair shop called and said that my car was ready. I quickly (actually one and a half hours because the freeway was jammed) drove over there and picked up my car.

So now, almost $2000 later, I have a new set of tires and a new rear suspension.

Lucky me!

How has your week been?

Monday, December 15, 2008

What's In A Name

I realized the other day that my grandson always refers to his girlfriend as "my girlfriend", not by her real name.

That struck me as kind of strange. Back in the days when I had girlfriends, I would introduce them as "This is Alice, my girlfriend". Girlfriend was a descriptive term, not a name. It told the other person what our relationship was. I always referred to her as "Alice", not my girlfriend, since that was her name.

I know his girlfriend. We have met several times. If he were to mention her by name, I would immediately know who he was referring to. So, it is not for my benefit that he refers to her as "my girlfriend" rather than by her actual name.

Is it for his benefit? Is he trying to remember that he has a girlfriend? Maybe he called her by the wrong name once, got in a lot of trouble for it, and has decided that "girlfriend" is a safer title to use.

I don't know what it is, but it does seem strange to me.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

This has been one of those weeks with too many things to do and not enough time to accomplish the things that need to be done. It seems like I have been on the go since Monday morning, yet I am falling behind in the work that I really need to get finished.

I seem to have been doing things for others all week long -- not that that's a bad thing. On Monday and Tuesday I was involved in a work proposal presentation for a job that I probably will not work on because of previous work commitments. I told the people when they contacted me that I probably could not do the work because of previous verbal commitments I have made, but since there I had not signed a contract yet, technically speaking I was available. They went ahead and put my name on the proposal because I have a long relationship with the client and they are familiar with my work. Due to some miscommunciations, I wasted part of Monday and Tuesday morning going to the client's offices, but not being needed until Tuesday afternoon. Real work got put on the back burner.

Wednesday, Thursday, and today turn out to be babysitting days. I was expecting to sit today only, not Wednesday, yesterday and today. Now I love my grandchildren dearly, but it is difficult to get much work done when they are around here. Right now what I am doing requires a block of time where I can concentrate without interruption. I can't do the work in 5 and 10 minutes spurts. It get very frustrating.

I am also tutoring one of the grandsons in math. He has a test today and a final next week. Math is definitely not one of his strong subjects -- hence the tutoring. He is taking algebra and it is really not making any sense to him. I know algebra, but I'm not sure I much of a teacher of it. At least I don't seem to be helping him much. I think we will be going through this again next semester.

Last night driving home from an evening obligation, I hit something on the freeway going about 70 mph. I don't know what it was, but it sent the car partially sideways and somewhat off the ground. I was able to get the car back under control. It is interesting how focused your vision comes when something like that happens. I could not really hear anything around me although I was aware of my wife saying something like "Oh Shit!", except she would never use that word. My vision became very focused on what was immediately in front of me and to my immediate left and right. And time really did slow down. That's the closest I have even come to losing control of a car at 70 mph.

And then to top things off, my daughter-in-laws father died yesterday.

This has been a somewhat frustrating and stressful week.

Monday, December 8, 2008

7 myths about Detroit automakers

This is an interesting article about the automakers. Admittedly, it is from the Detroit Free Press which may not be a completely unbiased source. But assume that all these myths are indeed myths.

Myth No. 1: Nobody buys their vehicles

Myth No. 2: They build unreliable junk

Myth No. 3: They build gas-guzzlers

Myth No. 4: They already got a $25-billion bailout

Myth No. 5: GM, Ford and Chrysler are idiots for investing in pickups and SUVs

Myth No. 6: They don't build hybrids

Myth No. 7: Their union workers are lazy and overpaid


Then why are the automakers is such trouble?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Faucet (Not The Farrah Type)

Today I had to do one of the things I hate to do. As I have mentioned before, I hate plumbing. Actually, my faith in plumbers and plumbing companies has been partially repaired thanks to some great help from a very unexpected source. I thank that source very much.

Anyway, I had to replace the kitchen sink faucet today. The old one just wasn't doing its job. It was a cheap model and lasted about 2 years. I've replaced it with a better one. When I had to replace the last one, I called a plumbing company to see what it would cost to have them install the faucet instead of doing it myself. They wouldn't tell me the price over the phone. Someone had to come out to estimate it. They showed up, looked at the sink, asked if they were to supply the faucet (no), and said that it would cost $300. I said "too much". He called his manager and the manager said how about $275. I said how about $100. Obviously we were not going to come to an agreement so I did it myself.

Today, I didn't even bother calling a plumber. For what they will charge me, I will bite the bullet and just do it myself. It is not a hard job. I'm getting old and I just don't like having to crawl under the sink and work in such a cramped space. I know, I am being a big baby. So what! I can be one if I want to.

The faucet went in relatively easy. It works and there are no leaks, so I guess today was a success.

I still will not become a plumber, however.

I Thought This Was Funny

You know what would really PISS OFF the Democrats...

Bush should resign now.

Then Dick Cheney becomes President

Then he appoints Condoleeza Rice as VP.

Then Cheney resigns two weeks later and Condoleeza Rice, a Republican,
becomes the first BLACK - WOMAN President!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What Is Happening?!?

I was listening to the evening news tonight while eating dinner.

First there was a report of a woman being hit by two cars and a description of "body parts" spread on the highway. Then there was a report about a lady that dragged her dog behind her truck (she may not have been aware that the dog had fallen out of the truck bed) complete with blood stains on the street. She was on her way to have him euthanized. Then there was the kid that was chained and beaten. Then the cholera epidemic in Zimbabwi. The attacks in India. On and on it went!

What is wrong with the world?

Sometimes I am glad that I am old.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Where Is The Oversight

I can't make this stuff up.

The White House sent an invitation to Jewish leaders to a Chanukah reception with the picture of a Christmas tree on it.



No wonder the government is in such a mess. The White House, the leader of the government, can't even get an invitation right! The level of incompetence in this White House is staggering.

I am staggering too -- laughing so hard my gut hurts! And shaking my head in disbelief!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Drain Away Your Problems

The sink in the bathroom has been draining slowly for several months. I hate plumbing and since I am pretty good at procrastinating, I have put off doing anything about it. As I mentioned in my previous post, I had family visiting last week. They arrived on Saturday night.

Sunday morning, the sink decided to stop draining. I had a choice to make. Call my son and borrow the snake to clean out the drain myself, or call a plumber. Since I hate plumbing, I called the plumber. He arrived a couple of hours later -- early Sunday afternoon.

The pipes under the sink are very old. They probably have not been opened up in the last 20 years. The plumber thought that the pipes would probably break if he tried to open them and suggested trying to unblock the drain by running his snake down from the vent on the roof. We went up there and he located the vent. Then he offered, for a little more money, to run all the drains and give me a 1 year guarantee instead of the usual 90 days. I said fine, just get it done.

So that's what he did. Of course in the process of doing that, he discovered that he could not get the snake down the vent for the bathroom sink, so he had to take the pipes apart under the sink anyway. And of course the piping broke as he expected it to. To make things worse, he did not have the right piping to replace what broke and neither did Home Depot, so he said that he had to come back the next morning. FINE!?! Fortunately we have two bathrooms, so we were not completely out on the street.

As he was leaving, my wife came out of the other bathroom and said that something was wrong with the toilet. I took a look and saw a hole in the side of it. I grabbed the plumber before he left and told he we had a problem. It turns out the the snake instead of going down the drain, came back around and poked a hole in the side of the toilet. The plumber said that they would take care of it and replace the toilet. Of course, that has never happened to him before!

So, the next day, Monday, the plumber showed up about 9 am with a new toilet in hand. By early afternoon the toilet was in and the sink was repaired. He wanted his money.

Part of the original deal was that he was going to run our main line out to the street with a larger snake. He said that because of the toilet problem, he was told not to run the main line. I said fine, just give me a discount since you did not do all the work. He said he could not do that and that he had actually run the main line from the roof, but with a smaller snake. I just wanted to get rid of him and went ahead and paid him the full amount.

I got a call from the plumbing office later that evening and they asked about the job. I went over everything with the lady on the phone including not getting a discount that I thought I was entitled to. She said that all these reports go to the general manager and that he may call me. It's been a week now and I have not heard from him.

I told her, I have a year guarantee. If something happens within the next year I will call them. If something happens in more than a year I will call a competitor. I guess they don't care.

So now I hate plumbing and plumbing companies! What's a guy to do?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Week That Was

It was an interesting week. I had guests for the week. It was a great, and sometimes trying, week with another adult and two small children around full time. Now don't get me wrong, it is great to have family visit and to see and spend time with those that you only see occasionally. But when you are use to the peace and quite of a household without children around, you begin to miss it shortly after their arrival.

We did all the usual touristy things, hung out with friends, and made a trip to Disneyland. Disneyland was not a crowded as I expected. Must be the economy getting to people. Usually the day after Thanksgiving is a zoo there. This year, not so much. The lines were noticeably shorter. But, god, everything is soooo overpriced. Still, we had a good time and the kids were ecstatic.

So, now it is Sunday. Everyone is gone and it is time for things to get back to normal -- whatever normal is.

And I have a plumbing story to tell, but that will have to wait until later. I have something else I must do right now.

Some Things Are Just Wrong

As I was perusing my way down the beer aisle yesterday, I came upon this:

I'm sorry. Beer, tomato juice, and clam juice do not belong together. And the fact that they put it together in a can is even worse. But the real shame of the whole thing is that people acutally buy it!

UGH!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Anti-Intellectualism

This on the license plate holder on the car in front of me at the stop light.

My kid can beat up your honor student.

What a lesson to be teaching your child -- on several levels. I would be embarrassed to ride in that car, let alone drive it.

Question?

The Iraqi parliament is debating a security agreement to keep US troops in Iraq past the end of this year. If they don't agree to the security pact, then we have to get out.

Why does the Iraqi parliament have to agree, but our own Congress does not even have a say in it? No debate, no vote, not even a nonbinding resolution. I don't understand.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Is It Payback Time?

Let's see. We have ponied up 700 BILLION dollars to bailout financial institutions. I have a very hard time getting my head around $700,000,000,000. That's a lot of zeros. I mentioned in a earlier post, you would have to earn $1,000,000 an hour, every hour of every day, for 80 years to earn $700,000,000,000. That's a lot of money for a long time.

Now we are hearing that they have given about 1/2 of that money to banks with few, if any, strings attached. We are not even sure what the banks are doing with the money, except that they are not helping the homeowners who are about to lose their homes. Hopefully they are not following in AIG's footsteps and spending it on parties.

Now along come the big three US auto manufacturers asking from money. They want about 25 billion or roughly 3.6% of the 700 billion -- not all that much, relatively speaking. The US auto industry employs about 10% of the work force if you include all the auxiliary industries attached to the big three. That's a lot of people. Some estimates say unemployment will rise to about 10% if the auto industry goes under.

Treasure Secretary Paulson says fuck you to the auto industry. I guess he wants to save that 3.6% for his banking buddies.

This shows you where the Bush administration's loyalties lay. They would rather prop up the financial institutions to the tune of $700 billion dollars rather than propping them up with "only" $675 billion and helping out thousands of auto workers and other associated hard working people with $25 billion.

One other minor point that seems to be missed in all the discussion that has been going on. The news reports keep referring to the $25 billion for the auto industry as a bailout. The banks and financial institutions are getting a bailout. We are giving them the money with no expectation of getting any of it back.

The auto industry is asking for a loan. Let me say this again. They are asking for a LOAN. They intend to pay it back. I've yet to hear a bank or financial institution say they are going to pay back their money gifts.

I'm no big fan of the US auto industry. I do own two US made cars, but that is only because they are cars that my wife wanted. I don't really care too much about what I drive as long as it doesn't break down on me and gets me from point A to point B. I think a lot of the problems the US auto makers are having are their own damn fault. Their managements are a bunch of idiots.

But their workers are a bunch of hard working stiffs -- good old Joe the auto worker. If we can GIVE money to a bunch of banks and Wallstreet crooks and expect nothing back, then we ought to be able to LOAN 3.6% of the bank/Wallstreet money to the auto industry.

We did it for Chrysler in 1979, and got paid back. Maybe they will pay us back again.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Carpet

Today is new carpet day.

I can't believe all the crap that has collected under our carpeting over the last 10 years or so. Maybe 15. And to think that the grandchildren have been crawling around on it. UGH!

Also, as a final farewell, one of the dogs peed in the middle of the living room carpet about 2 hours before they pulled it up.

A fitting end for the old carpet -- piss on it!

Let's Solve Gay Marriage

OK, I have a new plan. Actually it is not mine. I heard about it last night on the radio while I was driving home.

The arguments in favor of defining marriage as between a man and a woman only are religious. They have tried to use other arguments, but the basic reasons are really religious only. The arguments against defining marriage as between a man and a woman are legal. They say that marriage is a legal contract and has nothing to do with religion.

I say, fine. Let marriage be religious. Give religions the right to use the word marriage. Define marriage as a religious right to be defined any way any religion chooses. Marriage then becomes something like baptism or communion. It conveys certain religious rights as defined by the specific religion only. There are no legal rights.

All legal rights are conveyed by a civil union. Current "legal" marriages become civil unions. If your church chooses to recognize your civil union as a marriage within their definition of marriage, fine. If not, take it up with your religion. The civil union gives everyone regardless of their sex, the legal rights that a married man and woman now have.

This solution separates the legal and religious aspects of marriage as currently defined. The religious people can have their marriage and they can define marriage any way they want. Who can get married is up to each religion.

If you want legal rights, you get a civil union. The civil union can also be a church marriage if the religion agrees. Otherwise it only carries legal rights and not religious rights also.

This will also allow people to get married in church and have religious rights of marriage but retain all their single rights from a legal point of view.

Some people might consider this as having your cake and eating it too.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Till Death Due Us Part

My daughter-in-law's father is dying.

He has smoked himself to death. His lungs only partially work. He may or may not have cancer. He is on a lot of oxygen.

He has a couple of good days. He knows what is going on. Then he has a bad day and is drugged and restrained. Then it takes another day or two to get over the drugs. The cycle repeats.

This is no way to live, or to die; neither for him nor for her. It is a slow death for both of them.

But for the grace of god, go I (or is it me?).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Confession Time

It is time for a confession.

I watch Dancing With The Stars.

And I enjoy it. There is a reason that athletes do well on the program. It is actually very physically demanding and requires a great degree of coordination and gracefulness.

Plus the ladies' costumes are hot -- except for Cloris (and she is finally gone)!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday Afternoon


Today was one of those great fall days that we seldom see in Southern California. It was windy, sunny, and about 65F outside. The sky had those big fluffy white clouds in it. Because of the wind, the sky was very blue. We get a blue sky with white fluffy clouds only a few times a year so it is really a great pleasure when it happens.

We got a call from our 9 year old granddaughter in the morning. She wanted to come over and spend the day with us. We picked her up and first went out to breakfast at IHOP. IHOP is her favorite breakfast place. She had pancakes and a "flat egg". She calls fried eggs, "flat eggs". If you ask her if she wants a fried egg, she will tell you no. She wants a flat egg.

After breakfast, we stopped at a neighborhood Christmas boutique where the GD picked up a Christmas present for her mother. Then we went home where "the girls" dropped me off, so they could go and do some serious shopping. I spent a nice relaxing afternoon reading and then walking the dogs while "the girls" bought crafting supplies. The GD loves to go to Joann's where Grandma buys her all sorts of stuff.

They came home later and hung around for a while. Then we made pizza for dinner before taking the GD back home. We all had a very fun Sunday playing with our granddaugher and enjoying the pleasant fall weather.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Books Are Heavy

I have been reminded again why I will never move from this house.

I spent today packing about 50 boxes of books and moving them to our storage unit. Sometime next week the carpet guys will be coming in to install our new carpeting. This should be the end of it for this year. We have had the inside and outside of the house painted, new front windows, new patio door (12 feet of door and windows), and new carpeting.

My wife has a VERY extensive cookbook collection. They all had to be packed and moved so that the carpet guys can move the bookcase cabinets to install the carpet. My wife is a collector. There are lots of other stuff that she is packing because again the furniture that they are stored in have to be moved and they are too heavy with all the stuff in them. I am only allowed to handle to books. They are unbreakable. This is really a pain; quite literally. I now have a sore back and knee. Well, the knee was already sore so I can't really blame all this moving stuff.

Anyway, as it started out, if we were actually to move, the packing would kill me. The only way I would do it is have someone come in and do all the packing for us. It would cost a fortune, but I am never going to do it myself.

Enough complaining. Time to fire up the TiVo and watch some football. With the 30 second skip, I can go from play to play and watch a whole game in about an hour and a half. Love the TiVo.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Eat Their Own

I have found it interesting that the republicans seem to be eating their own. The revelations coming out about Sarah Palin are coming from republicans, not Democrats. Why is that? Is it an attempt by the McCain people to blame Palin for his failure in the election? Is she the scapegoat? Or is there a more sinister reason?

I heard an interesting theory (conspiracy?) this morning. These revelations about Palin are coming from the Mitt Romney people. Many Mitt people joined McCain after he dropped out of the race.

Mitt is a Mormon. Mitt is very ambitious and wants to be president. If he was not a Mormon, he might have been the republican candidate this time, but the evangelistic wing of the republicans torpedoed him because he is a Mormon.

Mitt has to do two things between now and 2012. One, eliminate Sarah Palin as a potential candidate, hence the smear campaign against her. I think she is as dumb as a rock, so I am kind of enjoying the slaughter. But I am no fan of Mitt either.

Secondly, Mitt has to gain the support of the evangelicals. Here's where Proposition 8 in California (gay marriage elimination) comes into play. The passage of this propositions was primarily financed by out-of-state Mormon activists. It is their intention to show that they are on the same side as the evangelicals and that they have significant political power. They want to from the same kind of alliance with the evangelicals that the Catholics have formed using the abortion issue.

Mark my words. If they are successful, it will be Mitt in 2012.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Good And The Bad

The Good: California kicks McCain's butt.

The Bad: Proposition 8 passes. Gays and Lesbians cannot marry.

It is a shame in this day and age that all people who love each other cannot get married if they chose to. California does have civil unions, but "separate but equal" is only separate, not equal.

CA, hang your head in shame! Hate is still alive and well!

Update:
Proposition 2 passes. Chickens get larger cages. (A good thing)
Proposition 8 passes. Gays cannot marry. (A bad thing)

WTF? Chickens get more rights. Gays lose a right that they did have. Are we fucked up, or what?!?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voted And Proud Of It

For those of you that are interested, I voted for that socialist, terrorist-loving, Jew-hating, Muslim Obama. See, even if all that bullshit that the republicans threw at Obama is true, he is still the better candidate.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Burn, Baby, Burn

About a week ago, Jack burned his Harvard Law degree.

And it made me sad.

It made me sad, but Jack had his reasons. In fact he has gone into a lot of detail in explaining his reasons in both his responses to the comments to the above referenced post and in this subsequent post.

What I am struggling to understand is why it made me sad. I immediately felt a sadness in the pit of my stomach as soon as I read it. I was feeling a loss. It was my loss, not Jack's loss. Why would Jack burning his degree make me feel sad? I would have thought my first reaction would have been "Way to go Jack." After all, it is just a piece of paper and can easily be replaced. Call up the University and they will send you a new one, probably for a small fee.

I understand the work and effort that goes into getting a college degree. I have three of them. That's not to brag, but to illustrate that I do understand what it takes to get multiple college degrees and what a significant personal accomplishment it is.

Therefore, when you burn one of them, you are burning a part of yourself. It may be a part that you want to put behind you. It may be a part that no longer serves its purpose. It may be a part that needs to be discarded so that you can move on forward to bigger and better things. But burning seems so destructive and permanent. I don't think I could do that to myself. I guess I am taking it very personal.

It is interesting how we use fire to symbolize our desire for change or to symbolize the end of something. All of us either have or know someone that has burned pictures, letters, or other things from someone we no longer want any connection to. In my case it was a friend burning pictures of an ex-husband. In the sixties, we burned our draft cards. And what better way to piss off conservatives than to burn an American flag in protest over something. We also burn people, in effigy. And Buddhists burn themselves, in reality. I remember my parents burning their mortgage when it was finally paid off. We don't do that very much any more because we never pay off our mortgages.

Several years ago I got out of the corporate rat race and went into business for myself. I didn't even think about burning my degrees. Of course I was not making the wholesale changes in my lifestyle that Jack is. I have never had to show my degrees for anything. They sit in a box somewhere is a storage unit. I could burning them and still continue to do what I do.

But I think I would lose a very deep personal part of myself. It is a part that does not get shared. It is for me only. And it makes me sad to think that someone else would burn that part of themselves.

But then again, a degree is just a piece of paper, so...

I've kind of rambled around here, somewhat incoherently. And obviously I still have not really figured much out. Jack's action has unexpectedly touched something inside of me. Something, I guess, I need to get more in touch with.

Wish me luck.

Cheney For McCain

Here is another good reason to vote for Obama. Cheney Endorses McCain.

Got A Dead Fish?

Some times all we need is a dead fish to make us happy!

Goodbye Opus


Good night Opus. May you sleep well.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Am I A Stalker?

Is following someone's blog like being a stalker?

This question popped up in my mind as I was reading through some blogs that I follow. For several of them, when I see that there is a new post I get excited, well not that kind of "excited", but more like interested in seeing what the blogger has written about this time. Often it is about something personal happening in their lives. It is like I am following them around through the internet. Is that stalking?

I read in the paper today about how cell phones are becoming the new way of hooking up with new people. Is that happening with blogging also? I am new at this blogging stuff, so I don't really know what is happening.

I don't want to be a stalker. I guess everyone is voluntarily putting their lives out there for other people to read about, so maybe it is not really stalking. But even so...

People voluntarily walk down the street too. That doesn't mean that I have a right to follow them around from one public place to another. So...

I just hope that if someone feels that my comments are inappropriate or just bothersome, they will tell me.

And I will go away!

Because I am NOT a stalker!

I Think...

... John Scalzi's got it right. Check out his blog. It's a list of things to vote for president before voting for John McCain. There are also a lot of additional items in the comments.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Socialism

McCain is throwing out BS about Obama being a socialist and "wanting to spread the wealth". Well, I got news for you. All tax plans redistribute wealth. Government redistributes wealth. It is only a question of whether it is up or it is down.

So, let McCain call Obama a socialist. If indeed he is, then so is McCain as explained here.

So there. Nay nay nay-nay nay!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dining Out

It use to be that a very nice dinner out, like for a special occasion, would cost about $100. Now $100 barely covers a regular dinner out.

The painters are in the midst of painting the inside of our house, so it is "eating out" time for the next few days. Last night we went to a nice, but not very expensive French restaurant. The bill came to:

Split a salad $12
2 entrees $34
1 bottle Wine $27
1 Dessert $7
2 Coffee $6
Tax $7

Total before Tip $93

The previous night we had dinner for about half the price, but it was at a little, but terrific, Mexican place. Dinner was enchiladas and burritos. Total still came to almost $50.

It also appears that the number of diners is way down. Both of these places are normally busy on the weekends. This weekend they were not busy at all.

It is a very tough time for restaurants.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

When Is A Terrorist Not A Terrorist?

According to Sarah Palin, a person that bombs an abortion clinic is NOT a terrorist, or at least she is not sure if you should "use the word terrorist there". This comment occurred during an interview with Brian Williams. Read about it and view a video of the interview (in case you think I made this up) here and here. (http://www.alternet.org/election08/104590/palin:_%27i_don%27t_know%27_if_abortion_clinic_bombers_are_terrorists/)
and
(http://rawstory.com/news/afp/Abortion_clinic_bombers_not_terrori_10252008.html)

Her answer was in response to a pretty easy question. She was asked if she felt that abortion clinic bombers were terrorists. Rather than giving the politically correct answer "yes", an answer that the vast majority of Americans would agree with, she went off on a rant about Ayers, and then said that

"Now, others who would want to engage in harming innocent Americans or facilities that it would be unacceptable to... I don't know if you're gonna use the word 'terrorist' there,"

So, I guess only a left-wing fanatic is a terrorist. A right-wing fanatic may be unacceptable but not a terrorist.

Is this the type of thinking you want a "heatbeat" away from the presidency?


Friday, October 24, 2008

Style Costs

From here.

First, $150,000 for clothes. Now, $22,800 for two weeks work for a traveling stylist for Sarah. Well, the republicans have always been more about style than substance anyway.

They are just living up to (or down to) expectations.

More Gay Marriage

This post is in response to a couple of comments on my last post about gay marriage. I thought I would write it here instead of leaving a longish comment.

I don't really understand the extreme, and sometime violent, reaction to gay marriage. This is an activity, or maybe better, a group of activities or life style, that has very little impact on people other than the two involved in it at the time.

The most common reason for objecting to gay marriage seems to be religious. But the religious argument does not make a lot of sense to me either. I am fine with organize religion opposing gay marriage. That is not where my questions lay.

I am puzzled by the people's reaction, not the religions' reaction. There are many things that religion opposes, but people choose to ignore. And if they don't ignore it, they certainly don't react to it with the viciousness that they do toward gay marriage. For example, divorce, adultery, hate, etc. There are a multitude of behaviors that religion frowns upon, that people engage in all the time without provoking general hatred and proposed constitutional amendments to ban.

So what is the problem? Repressed "gayhood"? Maybe we protest the strongest against that which we fear in ourselves the most.

To give it a political spin, republicans are by far the most vocal against gay marriage. Yet it is mostly republicans that have had to deal with gay scandals.

It is conservative, evangelical religious leaders that are by far the most vocal against gay marriage. Yet it is mostly conservative, evangelical religious leaders that have had to deal with gay scandals.

What does that tell you?

Coming back to the California constitutional amendment to define marriage as only between one man and one woman, it seems that their biggest argument for the passage of the amendment is to prevent the teaching of gay marriage in the schools. That is a very weak argument and it means that they have no real basis other than their own fears of who and what they are.

I feel sorry for them. It must be very depressing to have so much self-doubt.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Gay Marriage

Marriage between consenting adults was recently upheld in California by the state supreme court. Now California has a proposition on the ballot to change the state constitution to define marriage as between only one man and one woman. The main thrust of the TV ad arguments supporting the proposition is that without it, gay marriage will be taught in schools.

OH MY GAWD! The world will end!

Not just marriage, but the dreaded "gay marriage" will be taught. The argument is just bullshit. But you know what? I wish it was true. I think we would have a better society.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What If We Could See With Our Nose?

The other day I was talking to a friend and we were discussing how it is kind of amazing how our eyes work. Or maybe I should say our eyes/brain. From a relatively simplistic point of view, light bounces off things around us, goes into our eyes, get translated into electrical impulses that travel to our brains. Our brains take those electrical impulses and creates our vision. We see what the light brings to our brains. We see objects, color, depth, and movement among other things.

Our eyesight is much better than dogs. They are pretty good at movement, but not so good at the actual object. Dogs have a much better sense of smell than we do. Much much better. So we began to wonder if dogs "see" with their noses like we see with our eyes. Are they able to create a mental image of what they smell? Can they distinguish different, but very similar objects by smell like we do by color?

Taken a step further, if we could develop a sense of smell like a dogs, would it change the way we perceive the world around us? We would see and smell an object in great detail. How would that change our perception of things.

Maybe we would become great bullshit meters! That would be useful around election time.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Why Would GOP Repress Voter Registration?

Here is why the republicans are trying to repress voter registration.

QUOTE
Shortly before the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, Paul Weyrich — a principal architect of today's Republican Party — scolded evangelicals who believed in democracy. "Many of our Christians have what I call the 'goo goo' syndrome — good government," said Weyrich, who co-founded Moral Majority with Jerry Falwell. "They want everybody to vote. I don't want everybody to vote. . . . As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down." (I added the emphasis)

Do NOT Vote Straight Ticket

Be sure your vote counts. DO NOT vote straight ticket. Your presidential choice may not be registered -- for sure if you live in North Carolina as described in this Snopes article. Vote for each candidate individually.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Massive GOP Voter Fraud

Check this out at Rolling Stone. This article by ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR. & GREG PALAST outlines massive republican voter fraud across the United States. And they are complaining about ACORN!

Kennedy and Palast are accusing the republicans of such things as:
  • at least 2.7 million new voters have had their applications to register rejected
  • a Republican secretary of state blocked 43 percent of all new voters in Los Angeles from registering in early 2006
  • states reported scrubbing at least 10 million voters from their rolls on questionable grounds between 2004 and 2006
  • Colorado holds the record: Donetta Davidson, the Republican secretary of state, and her GOP successor oversaw the elimination of nearly one of every six of their state's voters.
  • In 2004, a third of all provisional ballots — as many as 1 million votes — were simply thrown away at the discretion of election officials [as a result of caging operations].
  • Add up all the modern-day barriers to voting erected since the 2004 election — the new registrations thrown out, the existing registrations scrubbed, the spoiled ballots, the provisional ballots that were never counted — and what you have is millions of voters, more than enough to swing the presidential election, quietly being detached from the electorate by subterfuge.
This is disgusting! The way to prevent the republicans from stealing this election is for everyone to vote. The margin of victory has to be too large to be stolen!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Does Yours Stink?

Colin Powell's comments about Obama being called a Muslim have popped up on a couple of blogs that I follow - here and here. Essentially Powell is saying that calling someone a Muslim should not be a derogatory comment.

And he is right!

Where do we get off thinking that Muslims are bad? There are bad individuals who happen to be Muslim. There are bad individuals that happen to be Christian. There are bad individuals that happen to be Hindu. You get the idea.

I remember way back in my college days. It was after a party and a group of us went out to get a bite to eat. We were sitting around waiting for the food to arrive and started discussing politics. An election was coming up and we started to talk about the importance of voting. I made a comment about voting being voluntary and that I was considering not voting at all.

Well, you would have thought I had just insulted on one of the guys' mother. Bob became irate. He said that I HAD to vote. And then as the ultimate insult to me, he said that I was a (n-word). Not that I was LIKE one, but that I WAS one. [I am going to be politically correct and not write the word out. You all know what I mean and I really don't want to offend any reader if they happen to be offended by that word.]

Today, he probably would have called me a Muslim.

So back to Obama. So what if he was a Muslim? Should it really matter? I say "NO". Unfortunately, in this day and age, I don't think he would be where he is, poised to become the next President of the United State, if he were. Sad!

America, it is time to grow up. Our shit does stink sometimes!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Do You Look The Part

I've had two teeth pulled in the last two weeks, the latest one yesterday. Both are uppers, the first one was the left back tooth and the one yesterday was the right upper. The dentists have numbers for the teeth. They talk about number 2 or number 15.

I don't know why they don't just say back upper right second from the end. I guess number 2 sounds more professional, but it doesn't really mean he is any better, which reminds me a story.

Long ago, back in the beginnings of my working career, I worked for a very conservative engineering company. They were very concerned with appearance. Everyone had to wear a suit. Not a sports jacket. The pants and jacket had to match.

I was at lunch with some colleagues and made the remark that I wished I could come to work in cutoffs and a T-shirt. They looked a me like I was crazy. Why would anyone want to do that? We were all professional people and we should look the part. I said it didn't really matter how we looked as long as we did a good job.

One fellow said "Let me explain it to you this way. What would you think if you were on a plane waiting to take off and the pilot walked on the plane in a T-shirt and cutoffs?"

I said that I didn't care what he was wearing as long as he could fly the plane.

His reply was "But how would you know?"

How would you know, indeed!

People in uniform seem to carry more authority than normally dressed people. Well-dressed people get more respect than poorly dressed people. I think we are all guilty of making judgments based on appearances. We assume the pilot can fly the plane because he has a uniform on. We assume the guy asking for help is legitimate because he is dressed nice. We assume the bum is just looking for money to buy a drink.

I wish we had a better way of making quick determinations about the intentions of people other than just their appearance.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Final Debate

McCain - Angry old man with a shit-eating grin on his face.

Obama - Already president just waiting for the inauguration.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Who Earns The Most

We all know that the conventional wisdom says that the stock market will come back. If you stay in it long enough you will make money. But when will you make the most money - under republican rule or under Democratic rule?

Well, check out the graphs below from the New York Times.

$10,000 invested under Democratic rule since 1929 will have grown to $300,671 while if it was invested under republican rule, it would have grown to only $11,733. That's right - only 11 thousand dollars. Even if we exclude Hoover, it only grows to $51,211.

So much for the republicans and their superior economic policies!








I Have Arrived

This morning as I was getting ready to go to the dentist I was asked why I was all dressed up. I looked at my clothes, laughed... and felt great. I was wearing a short-sleeved shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes. She was right, I was dressed up. Usually I am wearing a T-shirt and shorts (jeans).

I said to myself, "Yes. I have arrived." Wearing jeans and a shirt is dressing up! I think the only time I put on a tie now is for either a wedding or a funeral.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Chill

Liar!

Some people will say anything to get elected. The "straight-talk express" has come off the track completely.
















"I'm very, very pleased to be cleared of any legal wrongdoing, any hint of any kind of unethical activity there. Very pleased to be cleared of any of that."

--Sarah Palin, phone interview with Alaska reporters, October 11, 2008.

Four Pinocchios

Whoppers.

From Fact Checker

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fascism

This writing is from Tim Wise. I am posting the whole thing here rather than just linking to it because it is IMPORTANT. Fascism is the consequence of not caring enough.


THIS IS HOW FASCISM COMES: REFLECTIONS ON THE COST OF SILENCE
by Tim Wise

For those who have seen the ugliness and heard the vitriol emanating from the mouths of persons attending McCain/Palin rallies this past week--what with their demands to kill Barack Obama, slurs that he is a terrorist and a traitor, and paranoid delusions about his crypto-Muslim designs on America--please know this: This is how fascism comes to an ostensible democracy.

If it comes--and if those whose poisonous, unhinged verbiage has been so ubiquitous this week have any say over it, it surely will--this is how it will happen: not with tanks and jackbooted storm troopers, but carried in the hearts of men and women dressed in comfortable shoes, with baseball caps, and What Would Jesus Do? wristbands. It will be heralded by up-dos, designer glasses, you-betcha folksiness and a disdain for big words or hard consonants.

If fascism comes, it will spring from the soil of middle America, from people known as values voters but whose values are toxic, from simple folk whose simplicity, far from being admirable, is better labeled ignorance, from "all-American" types whose patriotism is a dagger pointed at the very heart of the national interest, for it so forsakes all the best principles upon which the republic was founded, choosing instead to elevate and ratify the narrow-mindedness, the bigotry, and the intolerance that also marked our country's origins.

If fascism comes, it will be ushered in by tailgaters at the big football game, by Joe Six Pack, who, upon finishing his sixth beer and belching forth the stench of a mediocre life lived, will gladly announce its arrival, so long as it comes with a steady supply of Pabst Blue Ribbon and hot dogs on the grill, and giant foam hands with a "We're Number 1" finger, some Mardi Gras beads and a good titty bar.

If fascism comes it will dress like a hockey mom, or a NASCAR dad. It will believe Toby Keith to be an artist, Larry the Cable Guy to be a comic, and that the world was made in six literal days less than 6000 years ago.

If fascism comes it will come from the small towns; the ones Sarah Palin, quoting a famous racist and Jew-hater, said "grow good people," and which occasionally do, but which, just as often grow provincial, isolated, fearful and superstitious ones.

If fascism comes it will come from faux populism, from anti-immigrant hysteria, from persons who have more guns in their homes than books, or whose books, when they have them, are principally volumes of the Left Behind series, several different copies of the Bible, and a plethora of romance novels.

If fascism comes it will be welcomed, lock stock and barrel by persons who pray at every meal to a God they visualize as white, whose son they also think was white, and who they believe is going to rapture them all into the sky upon the blowing of some heavenly trumpet, after which point all those who don't think as they think will be burned in an eternal lake of fire. Their vision and version of God is itself fascistic--to love a God who would do such a thing is to love an abusive, sadistic and evil deity after all--so it should come as little surprise that their conception of the state would be equally authoritarian or worse.

If fascism comes it will be at the behest of those who hold a contempt for what they call "book learnin," who prefer Presidents who mispronounce basic words because they make them feel smarter, and who are looking for nothing so much as a commander-in-chief with whom they would enjoy having a beer, or two, or twelve at some backyard barbecue.

If fascism comes it will be interviewed, lovingly, on talk radio, by hosts whose cerebral inadequacies are more than made up for by their bellicosity, their bombast, their willingness to shout down those with whom they cannot argue, for argument requires knowledge, and this is a commodity with which they have not even a passing familiarity.

If fascism comes it will come wrapped in red,white and blue, carrying a crucifix and a shotgun, projecting its own sexual confusion and insecurity onto others, substituting volume for veracity and rage for reason, and landing on the New York Times best-seller list as a result.

If fascism comes it will have a pajama party at Ann Coulter's house, pop pills with Rush Limbaugh, and go gay-bashing with Michael Savage, all in the same weekend. And it will refuse to learn another language or get a passport, because doing either of those would make one cosmopolitan--which is just another word for "faggot."

If fascism comes it will come because a lot of people who aren't like the folks I'm talking about here, won't stand up to the ones who are. Because we're too busy, don't want to make waves, don't want to lose friends, or alienate family. It will come, in other words, because those who know better are cowards, more concerned with getting along, making nice, and being liked than with telling the truth, calling out evil and saving their country.

If fascism comes it will come because of the silence, and thus, collaboration of those who think themselves good, and certainly superior to the knuckle-draggers they can see on YouTube at the McCain rallies, but who in the end are no better and in some ways worse than they: after all, at least fascists stand up for what they believe in. They are telling us, in no uncertain terms what kind of United States they want and are willing to fight for, and maybe even to kill for. But many "progressives," many liberals, many of the so-called enlightened are doing nothing at all.

If fascism comes it will come because those liberals thought voting for Barack Obama was all they needed to do; it will come because they allowed themselves to believe that politics is what a person does every four years, but not at work, and not in the neighborhood, and not at the dinner table. Meanwhile, know-nothings filled with hate, nurtured on racial and religious bigotry and who have overdosed on the kind of hypernationalism that has always proved fatal to those places foolish or craven enough to allow it a foothold, talk of their visions for America at every opportunity. They raise their kids on that sickness, they build churches whose very foundation is rooted in that cancerous rot, and they will think nothing of steamrolling those who get in their way.

So when, exactly, do we fight back? When do we say enough? When do we stand up to our relative or friend who sends us the e-mail about Obama being a Manchurian Candidate or al-Qaeda sympathizer, or the one about the decency of Midwestern flood victims as opposed to those stranded after Katrina, or about how God was punishing New Orleans because of its tolerance of homosexuality, and tell them what we think: namely, that they are a bunch of racist, heterosexist loons, whose friendship or familial connection we neither want nor intend to pursue unless they get help. When do we decide that we love our country and humanity too much to allow these people one more day of decent sleep, one more day of self-assured confidence in their craziness and the willingness of the rest of us to just take it? When do we decide that every irrational, Jeezoid, racist thing that comes from their mouths will be attacked, will be rebutted, until they can no longer take for granted the ability to say any of it in mixed company without being called out?

Why, in the face of the fascism they would surely introduce if given the chance, are we intent on being so nice? Why are we not more offended? Offended not merely at what such persons say about others--like Obama, or Latino immigrants, or whatever--but even about we who look like them? After all, their open exhortations of racism presuppose that they are speaking for us, and that this kind of brain-dead ventilation is something to which all white folks should aspire as though it were virtually the essence of enlightenment.

If fascism comes it will come because we did not see in their actions a sufficient threat, or because we allowed ourselves to believe that it couldn't come, that our institutions were too strong, our people too good, for that to happen. If it comes it will come because we allowed ourselves to believe the rosy and optimistic version of America spun by Obama, without tempering that optimism with a clear-headed appraisal of the way that (sadly) a still huge number of Americans actually think: because we allowed the vehicle of our hopes to outrun the headlights of truth; because we convinced ourselves that we actually lived in the country of our aspirations, rather than the nation we have at present.

And if fascism doesn't come--if, rather, democracy does--it will come because good people said no. It will come because we saw in this moment the opportunity to demand the full measure of our humanity and to pour it forth upon the national soil. It will be because we understood that democracy isn't what you have, it's what you do. But if we are to issue that demand, if we are to stand straight and fulfill the potential we possess to do justice, we had best exercise the option quickly, for the opponents of justice are on the move. They are preparing to enter on the winds of our silence and indifference, and complacency. Let them find no quarter here.

Why I Work For Myself

Now I know why I work for myself.

I sweated for 30 years working for large corporations. I did well, established a reputation with their major clients, and then I quit and went into consulting -- for these major clients. I've had a lot of help along the way and hopefully all those involved feel that it was a fair exchange.

Yesterday, my wife wanted to go to a craft show. It is a fair way from our house and she does not like driving that far alone. So, I packed up the laptop and a couple of folder of papers and said "let's go".

She enjoyed herself at the show and I sat outside in the shade of a large tree working -- also enjoying myself. It was 75F outside with a light breeze. The sun was out and the sky was mostly blue. My ipod was plugged into my ears.

People walked by and nodded. One guy said "Now that's the way to work".

I agree!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Margaret And Helen

I just came across this blog.

Margaret And Helen

Helen really nails it! She says it like it is in words that everyone can understand.

Like:

"To Senator McCain I say, with love in my heart, sit down and shut up. You’re beginning to look like an ass and your answers sound like a cross between Barnie Fife and Floyd the Barber."

You got to love it. She is 82 years old!


Reagan Said It Right

This is the one time that the Gipper got it right. Check it out!









Gipper Speaks

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Guilt By Association

Tired hearing about Obama's ties to radical extremists? Take a break and listen to some of McCain's ties to his own extremists.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677/#27092691

Today on Keith Olbermann.

Is He A Racist?

Today, while walking the dogs, I stopped and talked to a couple of neighbors. One of them said the other one was putting two McCain signs on his lawn. I replied that I will have to put up three Obama signs on my lawn. That got us started.

What I found interesting was that he said that he had voted for Hillary in the primary. I replied that I did not understand how someone who voted for Hillary could possible vote for McCain. His answer was "experience". He thought Hillary had the experience to be president, but that Obama does not.

When I tried to point out that McCain and Hillary had very little, if anything, in common and did he really want 4 more years of what we have had for the past 8 years, he came back with:
  1. Since the Democrats have controlled the House and the Senate for the past 8 years, they are as much to blame as the republicans. (Yes, he really said that and would not believe me when I said that they have controlled the House and Senate for only the last 2 years and the Senate control is by only the slimmest of margins.)
  2. The Democrats and the republicans both had the same information on Iraq, so they are both equally responsible.
  3. Hillary should have gotten the nomination and that there was something funny going on with the Democrats. Obama stole the nomination from Hillary.
I never really understood why he would vote for Hillary and not for Obama. His explanations did not make any sense to me. I have come to the conclusion that he is either:
  1. Very stupid.
  2. A racist.
I don't think he is really stupid. He may be uninformed, but most of us are uninformed in one way or another. I think the reason he will not vote for Obama is because Obama is black. Well, really only half black. He may not even realize that he is being racist, but I think that is the reason at least until he comes up with a better reason than "experience", especially when he can not explain what he means by "experience".

Based on some of the statements I have heard from the McCain camp, I think they are trying to exploit this hidden racist in our society.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

1st Impressions, 2nd Debate

I will admit. I may be bias. I think Obama is the better candidate by far. That being said, I do think that Obama easily won this debate. He provided more detail in his answers. He did a better job of answering the questions and not avoiding the questions. He seemed more in command, more "presidential" if you will. He showed more confidence and self assurance.

Watching McCain, I kept thinking he sounded like a snake oil salesman except when he sounded like an evangelist. He spoke more in generalities and tried to appeal to peoples emotions rather than their intellect.

Unfortunately, I have seen statistics that say something like 80% of people pick a candidate based on emotion and only about 20% pick a candidate based on the issues. So...

Is This The Man You REALLY Want As President?

Check out this link to Rolling Stone:

Make-Believe Maverick






















Illustration by Robert Grossman


More 300 Pound Dog

The 300 pound dog was over again this last weekend. As you recall, the 300 pound dog is actually 4 dogs altogether. All four have fun together running, chasing and chewing each other. By the end of the day they are exhausted. At night they all sleep in the kitchen. There are baby gates across the entrances to the kitchen to keep them in and while they could climb over the gates if they really wanted to, they don't.

Beware if you are a burglar, however. The two German Shepherds will go right through the gates to get at you.

Everything was fine until about 5 am Saturday morning when "My Alarm Clock" decided that everyone wanted to go outside. She started banging on one of the gates. I got up and went out with them. Once outside the decided that since they were up, everybody in the neighborhood should be up also and started barking at I don't know what. So here it is, 5 am in the morning. The dogs are barking and I am yelling at them to be quiet. And it was a Saturday morning on top of it. Those that worked all week and thought they could get some extra sleep on the weekend were sadly mistaken.

I finally got everyone quieted down and back in the kitchen. I went back to bed and got to sleep until about 7:30 am when the "Alarm Clock" decided it was time for breakfast.

Dogs run you life as much, if not more, than kids!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Martial Law

This YouTube clip of Rep. Brad Sherman (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaG9d_4zij8) talking about the fear mongering of the Bush adminstration over the bailout is scary stuff -- Bush threating MARTIAL LAW.

We cannot allow 4 more years of this mentality!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Fighter Pilots Make Lousy Presidents

Came across this today:

http://chris-gerrib.livejournal.com/148897.html

Excellent read!

Is Palin Cheney In Disguise?

From last night's VP debate

Question:

"Do you believe as Vice President Cheney does, that the Executive Branch does not hold complete sway over the office of the vice presidency, that it it is also a member of the Legislative Branch?

Palin:
Yeah, so I do agree with him that we have a lot of flexibility in there, and we'll do what we have to do to administer very appropriately the plans that are needed for this nation.

Biden:
Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we've had probably in American history. The idea he doesn't realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States, that's the Executive Branch.

WOW! That alone should be enough to decide who to vote for.

Palin Did Great...

At least as good as she could do! Was it good enough?

NO!

She showed that she can do what the average person could do after 5 weeks of intensive training - answer the question with a "canned" (memorized) response, or pick out a word or phrase from your opponents reply and respond with a "canned" (momorized) response, or if all else fails, respond with any "canned" (memorized) response. Also drop a few "g's" along the way and throw in a few colloquialisms to sound folksy.

We already know what we get when we elect an average or below average person to the most powerful position in the world. With McCain - Palin, or Palin - McCain as she once said, we are getting two average (or below average) people. McCain finished 4th or 5th from the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy. Palin went to 5 different colleges to get her degree. Any of us who have gone to college knows what that means. It means you were not smart enough, or partied too much, to stay in one college. That was evident in the debate last night. I don't think she gave an original answer all night long.

The two debates so far have made it very clear that we will get a continuation of the Bush policies with McCain-Palin. They offer very little, if any, that is different. Palin even likes Cheney's intepretation of the role of the vice president -- the man that Biden called the most dangerous vice president we have ever had.

The republican leadership must think the American voter is really stupid putting up these two people (bozos). At least with the Bush adminstration, you could see that the real power behind Bush was Cheney. Who will be the power behind McCain? Certainly not Palin!

God help us if she (and he) are elected.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sliding Procrastination

New patio door today.

We are kind of slow in getting things done around here. About 3 years ago, the window in the left panel of our patio door cracked. The dogs were playing and one of them banged into it -- HARD! The patio door is big. It is three sections each 4 feet wide. The slider is in the middle. So, we are replacing 12 feet of window, 8 feet high.

The existing door is metal. It is probably 50 years old. I am sure it was installed when the house was originally built, back in the early 50's I believe. Over the years it had rusted some and so when one of panes cracked, we decided to replace the whole thing rather than just replace the glass.

Like I said, this all started about 3 years ago. First off, I decided that the new windows and door had to be double paned. From an energy point of view, and now I think building code also, double pane is the way to go. What took the time, besides both my wife and I being great procrastinators, was deciding what the design should be -- french doors, slider, vinyl, wood, window grids, no grids. We kept changing our minds. Not me so much. I pretty much defer to her on such matters, as long as I don't hate it.

Things finally got to the point where we decided it was time to get a bunch of things done, so the patio door was added to the list. So far we have painted the kitchen, painted the outside of the house, replaced the front windows and now replacing the patio door and windows. What we got is not so important. The fact that we are doing it is.

We keep saying "why didn't we do this sooner?" I don't have a good answer for that, but I do see one advantage in waiting. We are having no problem getting workmen to do the work. Craftsmen are just not as busy as they use to be. They return your calls. They come when they say they will. And we are getting quality work from them. And we are paying with inflated dollars.

So sometimes being a procrastinator can work to your advantage

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Is This The Great Depression Again?

I've been listening to Thom Hartman (http://www.thomhartmann.com/) this morning on the radio. He just spent the last hour reading parts of articles from the New York Times that were written between 1929 and the early 1930s. It is amazing the similarity between what was going on then and what is going on now. President Hoover was saying the same things that the republicans are saying now. They pushed and passed a bank bailout and it did not work. It was not until FDR came in and started programs that put money into the system at the bottom instead of the top, did things begin to turn around.

Here we are again trying to throw money at the top again hoping it will trickle down to the bottom.

Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.

It is also possible that the republicans are only trying to stall off disaster until after the election. Then they can blame everything on the democrats. And it is also possible that the democrats are not smart enough to recognize it or do anything about it!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Did the Voters Win?

In this morning's LA Times, a front page article said that the most often given reason for the failure of the bailout vote yesterday was the voters reaction to it. Does that mean that the congress for once listened to the voters and not to the democratic leadership, the republican leadership, or the white house leadership?

Does that mean that corporate greed, wall street greed, and power-hungry politicians lost? I don't know about that. But at least some politicians listened to their constituents. It is interesting that most of the ones that listened were republicans.

Maybe they are finally getting the message. Bush has so screwed things up that simply being a republican is sufficient reason not to be reelected -- nor believed!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

300 Pound Dog

300 pound dog -- actually there are 4 dogs that make up the 300 pounds.

This weekend I am watching my son's two dogs along with my two. That gives me:
2 German Shepherds
1 Golden Retriever
1 Yellow Lab (mixed with chow -- the dog, not the food)

All together they weigh about 300 pounds. Do you know how much crap and pee 300 pounds of dogs produce? Let me tell you, it is a lot! I have a large dirt area in the backyard. It is spotted with wet spots all around. It looks like it rained back there. However, given that the sun is out and it is about 80 deg F outside, I don't think rain is the cause of the spots. And every time I go out there, there is a new "pile" to pick up.

I shouldn't really complain however. I love having all the dogs here. Whenever I go out to the yard, or the dogs come into the house, they are so happy to see me. They run all around me, panting and waiting to be petted. They don't jump up on me. They have had some training. But their excitement and enthusiasm is infectious.

When I spend a little time with them, I feel better about the world. I think we should elect a dog as president!

NOTE: After writing my last post, I needed some "dog time" to tune up my head. I now feel much better.

Is This VP Material -- More Like SNL

From the Couric - Palin interview:

COURIC: Have you ever been involved with any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth. We -- we do -- it's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where -- where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is -- from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to -- to our state.

Now there is doubt that she was even telling the truth about the trade missions:
http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Did_Palin_lie_about_trade_missions_0927.html

republicans -- just more of the same crap!

I'd laugh if this wasn't so damn serious!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Death Do Us Part

Yesterday, my daughter's grandmother on her mother's side died. She was in her mid 90's and had a stroke earlier in the week. Her general health had been poor for the last few months and so everyone was more or less prepared for her passing. She was the last grandparent living and, since her mother died a few years ago in an accident, I am now my daughter's oldest living direct family member.

I was out walking the dog this morning when that thought struck me. I didn't use to think about age. As I was growing up, we were not big on birthdays. My mother would make a special dinner, but we rarely had parties. Not like today. The grandkids have big birthday parties each and every year.

As we got older, we begin to celebrate the 5's -- like 30, 35, 40... I didn't think much about them. I thought 30 was a great age. I was single at the time, making a good living, and having the time of my life. If I had to be an age forever, I think I would pick 30. 40 was okay. People get freaked out at 50, but I wasn't bothered by my 50th birthday. Even 55 wasn't so bad.

Then I hit 60! And I realized that my life was more than half over. When you are 40, living until you are 80 is a very real possibility. Even when you are 50, living to 100 is possible in this day and age. But 60 -- living to 120 is not reality. So, now my life is more than half over. I am on the downhill side.

I think I have come to terms with it. I use humor to make me feel better. I've make comments here about being old. I can still laugh when I say it now.

Someday I will no longer laugh.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Why Spend $700 Billion?

I know there are people out "there" that are much smarter than me. Please, someone, tell me why we have to spend $700 billion dollars?

From the numbers that I have seen, there is about $100 billion of bad mortgages. The rest are okay. The bad mortgages are ones that people cannot pay and the value of the property does not cover the value of the loan. That doesn't mean that the value of the property is zero. Even if the property value is only half of the loan value, then there is "only" $50 billion loss money. Hell, according to some sources, wall street paid out over $120 billion in bonus between 2000 and 2006.

Help me out here. Where is the crisis? Looks like another Bush ripoff to me. AND THE DEMOCRATS ARE GOING ALONG WITH IT!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Credulity

I recently read a post by Roger Ebert, the film critic, (http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2008/09/this_is_the_dawning_of_the_age.html) titled "This is the dawning of the Age of Credulity. I was not smart enough to know what "credulity" meant, so I looked it up.

cre·du·li·ty
Pronunciation:
\kri-ˈdü-lə-tē, -ˈdyü-\
Function:
noun
Date:
15th century
: readiness or willingness to believe especially on slight or uncertain evidence


Yesterday I heard that McCain wants to delay the Friday debate. Today I hear rumblings about canceling the vice presidential debate. And where are the Palin interviews with the press? She is not allowed to talk.

I think McCain-Palin want us to vote for them based on CREDULITY.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

No Oranges

They came to treat for termites today. It turns out that they did not use orange oil. It turns out that because of the way the wall is constructed and because of the insulation in it, orange oil was not an option. At least that's what I got from the guy doing the work. (May be Termite Man, who commented on an earlier post about orange oil, can explain it better.) He said that orange oil is used on open framing. He could not get to all the wood in our wall. On the upside he did not see any damage with the boroscope (used to look inside the wall), only the swarmers and droppings (ugh, termite poop!).

They ended up injecting a foam containing Termidor into the wall. It is an odorless termiticide/insecticide. At least it does not smell and hopefully it will stay inside the wall. I have a feeling that any termite company could have done this, so I may be the victim of a "bait and switch" situation. It did take two people two hours to do the work, so the price that I paid may not be too bad. More help for the local economy.

It comes with a 6 month guarentee which can be renewed for an additional 10% of the original fee. I may take them up on that offer for at least a couple of periods, just in case we didn't get them all. At least I will try to get through a couple more swarming seasons before I let the guarentee lapse.

So, hopefully, this is the end of my termite saga. Since we did not tent the whole house, I may be living on borrowed time, but I think my dogs and my grandchildren will thank me.