April 23, 2017

I Married an X-Man

My fair and lovely wife possesses super mutant powers. She cannot bend metal to her will nor cause mini rainstorms. She cannot fly or spontaneously heal a paper cut on her thumb, but she can tell at a glance that a picture or shelf is even slightly off from level.

This rare and unique power has caused countless disagreements and lots of frustration over the course of our almost thirty-three years of marriage. You see, since I lack her amazing powers I have to rely on inaccurate tools like levels and tape measures to hang stuff on the wall. Unfortunately, my primitively tools are usually not up to her standards of eyeball perfection.

As a case in point I undertook the minor project of putting up new curtain rods in the granddaughter's play room Friday. I measured twice. I marked my spots. I used a level to ensure the marks were accurate. I drilled pilot holes for the screws and checked the level yet again. I mounted the brackets to the wall and again ensured they were level. I told my beautiful wife she could hang the curtains.

I was told the left bracket was lower than the one on the right. I climbed the stool and checked the level. It informed me otherwise. She informed me my level was wrong. I measured from the ceiling. The tops of both brackets were exactly the same distance from the top of the wall. I measured from the window. Again the measurements matched. Ditto from the floor.

"Your level is wrong, it is like a hundred years old." Apparently, the laws of gravity diminish if a tool is not brand new. I never knew gravity could fade over time, like that new car smell does.  I got my other level. I was betrayed yet again by an old tool. The mutant eye overcomes all Earthly measurements. My lack of faith in her powers was starting to cause some friction.

I told her she could make a fortune by renting her magic eyes out to contractors. Just think how much time they could save if they never had to measure anything.

It is a good thing her mutant eyes don't shoot laser beams, based on the look she gave me.

I fetched the ultimate adjustment tool and I made a delicate adjustment of the right bracket by hitting it with a hammer. She thought it looked better, but was still off. She allowed it was close enough.

Are blood stains hard to get out of carpet?

The damn thing isn't level anymore. I don't care. She is happy.

April 22, 2017

I call Bull s*%t

If what She says is true then Chelsea was the most self-aware and politically active six year-old in history. Then, after this historical stand by this gifted politically astute kindergartner she eschewed politics for the next thirty years.

I am sick of her already. The Clinton progeny has done nothing in her life, was far from active in politics until her mother offered up the biggest election choke job since Thomas Dewey. Now the liberal media is shoving her down our collective throats like a plate full of liver and onions -- We will like it no matter what. Our liberal overlords bow to the Clinton machine.

What six year-old takes a stand on abortion and decides the tenets of the family's church are not up to moral snuff?  Seriously, who buys into this hogwash?

Why can't the Clintons just go away?

I fart in your general direction Earth Day

It is Earth Day according to my calendar. I am pretty sure we don't have any festivities or special activities planned to mark the occasion here at the old homestead. Some of you may think I am an anti-Earth, landfill loving, frack and drill, toss my trash out of the car window, pollute the waters, climate change denier Neanderthal. You point at my nearly eighty years of accumulated writings over there in the archives section on the right as object proof of my hatred of Mother Nature and real butter.

You could not be more wrong. Not only did I earn my Environmental Science merit badge, but my very first patch I earned as a young Boy Scout in 1973 was the newly created "SOAR" (Save our American Resources) award*

Besides, I threw my empty water bottle into the recycle bin at the rest park this week, so there.

 I have presented unimpeachable evidence of a lifelong commitment to Earth. As a matter of fact, I have spent every single day of my life fully in the embrace of Earth and nature. I breath her air, I tread upon her terra firma, I have swam in her lakes, rivers, and oceans.

I will say this in conclusion: I do believe in climate change. I know the climate has changed every day since the Earth was formed. I just don't think driving my Ford SUV or using a good old incandescent light bulb or any other activity has anything to do with it.

We should try to conserve. Toss your trash into a bin instead of a ditch. Plant a tree. Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Do your part.

* and why was the BSA only concerned about American resources anyway?

April 21, 2017

Campaigning Season

Happy Friday everybody. I am done with the poor me pity party, at least for today. Well, at least for this moment in time. The weather has taken a chilly turn, but I can live with that. It is not like I really have a choice.

Spring has brought back to life the years-long war with Sylvilagus floridanus after the unofficial winter truce. I could fight him with conventional weapons, but that would take years and cost millions of lives. In previous years, given my eye issues, that was not an option. Besides, with my suburban proximity to my neighbors I would have to rely on a pellet rifle and I'm not sure I am a good enough marksman for a sure kill-shot. Hitting a bunny when hunting with a shotgun is hard enough. A slow, small caliber single round is beyond my skill set. Plus, I don't want to leave Hazel or Fiver wounded in pain. Rabbits cry. As an added complication, the little bastards launch their attacks on my lilies and flowering plants in the dark of night. As an aside, why won't they chomp on the Hostas? 

The past couple of years I have resorted to chemical warfare. After the failure of moth balls and homemade pepper water spray, I found some specially made animal repellent at the big box hardware store that works pretty well. It stinks to Heaven when you first spray it, but I can't smell it after a few minutes. I guess Peter Cottontail can sniff it out for a couple of weeks. I imagine for rabbits and tree rats the stuff stinks like a combination of old eggs, fat chick underboob sweat, smegma, and Strohs beer farts. Or Chanel No. 7, if you prefer.

I have to reapply if it rains hard, and the little chewing bastards got one of my emerging plants in the night after it rained. The rabbit army snuck through the fence like Gooks in the wire at Hue during Tet. Or maybe like Guthrum through Wessex, if Late Dark Ages / Early Middle Ages is more your historical thing. 

Sorry General, I fell asleep on guard duty. 

April 20, 2017

I ain't dead

i left home Monday at 3:30 Am. Flew to Atlanta, flew to Baltimore, flew to Atlanta, flew to Indy. I met some people in the middle of all that airport and airplane funliness. I pulled into the garage just after 10:30 PM.

Wednesday I jumped in the car just after 6:00 AM. I negotiated the highway construction and jerk drivers and ended up in the greater Chicago area. Talked business with some folks. Got back in the car in time for Northwest suburbs rush hour fun and repeated the road construction mambo towards home; albeit at greatly reduced speeds for the first couple of hours. I stopped for fuel for the car and my belly and returned to home around 9:30 PM.

People say to me "Joe, I wish I had your job. It must be fun to travel around to different places." I think about how next week I will fly to the West coast, have a dinner meeting, then get up early to fly back home. I will spend somewhere north of twenty hours traveling for a two hour meeting.

Yeah, it is good to be me.

It beats being dead by a long shot. It also explains why bloggity goodness has been lacking of late. I suspect we will both survive.

April 18, 2017

How it all began

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five:
Hardly a man is now alive 
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry-arch
Of the North-Church-tower, as a signal-light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country-folk to be up and to arm.”
If you have never seen it you should watch the first few episodes of the terrific HBO miniseries Adams to get a real understanding of the events surrounding the Birth of the United States. Or just re-read Johnny Tremain
Here is a version of the events I wrote in 2010

April 15, 2017

There has been a lot of electronic ink and angst over the airline industry and United Republic Airlines  this week. Let me tell you, bad customer service is nothing new to the airlines. We are far away from the times where air travel was a glitzy wonderful experience as depicted in song and film.

I have flown less than many and more than most. I did a rough calculation and I guess I have been a passenger on more than one thousand commercial flights. I have been to hundreds of different airports around the world. At one point in my career I was flying every week. I was a Platinum/Chairman level frequent flyer for six years straight. In one year I was Platinum on one airline, gold on.another and Silver on a third - simultaneously. I flew so much the airline gave me free access to the sooper sekrit clubs they maintained in the airports. There I got  comfy couches, free drinks, salty snacks, and personal reminders on when it was time to board my flight. I think I have the credibility to discuss the miserable experience flying has become.

There was always security at the airport. Some airports were better at it than others. In the pre-TSA days the airlines ran security. Usually the small airports were tougher than the big airports. In the wake of the Unibomber (remember him?) threats things started getting ridiculous. Security screeners would actually ask you if you were carrying a gun or anything hazardous. Seriously. If you said "no" they passed you through. In the wake of 9/11 we entered Kabuki Theater of security and turned the whole process from aggravating to insulting and intrusive.

Perhaps even more than most businesses, the airlines suffered greatly during the 2008-2010 recession. Several airlines did not survive. Gone were the days of flying with an empty seat in the middle, of late night flights half full and meals on your flight. Routes were consolidated, amenities were dropped, and space for each seat was reduced so that the airline could cram more folks onto the plane. Baggage fees and charges to board early were instituted.

Flying went from a luxury to an airborne bus to a cattle car in the skies. I'm not sure I could tolerate 100-150 flights a year anymore. Airlines have fought the battle between customer service and profit for a good while now. Profit wins. Gone are the airport clubs, free bags, meals, and seats big enough to accommodate more than an average 12 year old. During the sailing ship days of the British Navy a sailor was allotted 14 inches of space to hang his hammock. We read that and wonder how they managed. Your average economy class seat width on a regional carrier is 17 inches. How wide are your shoulders?

Airlines know they have a captive customer base. They don't have to do better. For the next month or so, bumped passengers will be treated better. Harried gate people will try to smile more. But in no time flying will be back to treating the passengers like Third Class passengers on the Titanic.  But we will keep flying; usually we don't have a choice.

I will be mooing and bleating and oinking like the rest of the cattle as I am herded on board a flying tube Monday morning. Like the rest of the passengers I will hope my name is t called to be booted off the flight because the airline oversold the plane or just needed the seat to move a flight crew.

April 14, 2017

that did not last long

I know you do not read links. I don't either. You really, really need to read This. No, seriously click here and read it.

At first I thought the article was a satire, but the author is serious. This, my friends, is the state of modern liberalism. This is the ideological battlefield worldwide. The political stance almost makes communism seem reasonable. There are a bunch of Democrats in this country who would find nothing in the article to quibble about.
This will not only make the world a more equitable place, but will also go some way to paying the debt that white males owe the world. Over the past 500 years colonialism, slavery, and various aggressive wars and genocides, have been due to the actions of white men. Redistributing some of their assets will go some way to paying the historical debt that they owe society. Source of this moonbattery
Humans of all races have done a pretty good job of killing, enslaving, and making life pretty miserable for their fellows since the beginning of time. Placing all of the blame on male Northern Europeans for the ills of the world displays an astounding ignorance of history and demonstrates a degree of prejudice, racism, and hate that would make a KKKer blush.

As always, I welcome and encourage counter arguments in the comment section.
Consider everything here that is of original content copyrighted as of March 2005