February 29, 2008

Leap Day, or why gas prices are so high

Unless you live under a rock, or use the Julian Calendar, or mark you days under the French Revolutionary Calendar (happy 9 Ventôse CCXVI), you know today is leap day. This is the extra day we tag at the end of February to make the lunar cycles come out even. Like other salary employees, I am working for free today. At least my employer believes I am. My paycheck will not change a penny for the extra day of work. That, my friends, is exactly why I had to pay $3.17 for gas yesterday.

WTF, you ask? Stick with me for a bit and I hope it will make sense. I am erudite on many subjects. I will offer you this disclaimer right upfront, economics is a true weakness of mine. If any of the theories and conclusions I draw are out of line or wrong, please correct me. I have by necessity simplified much of what we will discuss.

By expecting me to work on leap day my employer expects something for nothing. Many taxpayers feel the same way. Every Government project, road, welfare, Social Security, food stamps. Medicaid, the military, you name it, is paid for by taxes. Many who receive services do not pay taxes. Most of us receive more in services than we pay in taxes. That is why our nation is trillions of dollars in debt. the current National Debt is $9,332,824,764,205. That is a whopping $30,650 owed by each and every citizen of this fine nation -- on top of your current credit card or mortgage bills. The good thing is you will not be asked to write a check to the treasury each month to pay your fair share. The bad news is you are paying your share every day.

A great deal of our oil and even some of our refined gasoline is imported. Many things go into the price of gas at the pump, including the cost of supply (hey, the trucks who deliver the gas to your local station run on fuel)refinement etc. The need for more than 20 different blends of gas to meet various state regulations is one factor that drives up the cost. These are all static costs, and as a relative situation have not changed over the past five years. As we all know, the cost of oil has risen dramatically in recent years. We can blame some of the increases on the instability of the middle east. Increased global demand is also adding to the costs. The growing need for fuels from India and especially China is putting a strain on capacities. No matter how much the left leaners of the wold like to pretend, the laws of supply and demand are intractable. If I have an item and you want it it has value. If two people want it it has a greater value. That is the fundamental element of trade.

The real culprit in the recent rise at the pump is the falling global exchange rate of the dollar. In 1999 a Euro was worth $1.17. In 2000 a Euro was worth only $0.82. Now the value of the Euro has increased more than 80%. It will now cost you $1.52 to buy a Euro. Click here for a real economist perspective. The dollar has weakened against every other major currency as well. How does this affect oil prices?

Let us focus on an imaginary oil producer. He produces oil in the imaginary country of Sandistan. He buys supplies, pays his workers, and sells his oil in sheckles. Six years ago things were easy because one Sandistan Sheckel equalled one good old US Dollar. Oil was 100 sheckels/dollars per barrel. For convenience sake that equaled $2.00 per gallon at your local Sinclair Station. Fast forward to today. It takes $1.50 USD to have the same value as a Sandistan Sheckel. Now the price at the pump is $3.00, just to maintain the same profit, etc. Does that scenario sound familiar? How have you gas prices changed over the past five or six years? Look at the chart above again.

Here is a chart showing the exchange rate over a similar period.Notice the trend is in inverse to the oil price chart above. Lower exchange rate = higher gas prices.

Why is the value of the dollar falling? One reason is our huge national debt. Too many people want something for nothing in this country. Too many of our elected officials cannot control the need to spend other people's money. Some of you will blame the tax cuts for the increased deficits. History has shown that lower marginal rates equal increased government revenue. Look that one up yourself. The issue is Congress' inability to control spending. Just like the bank and investors look at your credit rating and debt ratio to determine if you are worth an investment, foreign governments and currency speculators look at the debt and credit worthiness of the US to determine if they should by Treasury Bonds or US Dollars. Our high debt does not make us very attractive.

The situation is made worse by the Fed cuts in the interest rate. Would you invest in US Treasury Bonds at 4% return or in another nation that is paying a 6% return? The sub prime loan situation has put pressure on banks, making them less attractive investments. And so it goes.

Many would say a weak dollar is a good thing. It makes our manufactured goods more attractive for export to other nations. The only problem is we manufacture in the US only a fraction of the durable goods we did two or three decades ago. What do we make now that is attractive to the Euros or the Chinese or the Australians? Our cars and appliances are manufactured for domestic consumption for the most part. The T shirts and shoes and pots and pans and electronics and the goods that make up everyday purchases are all manufactured off shore. We do not have a whole lot the world wants to buy from us. We used to have a surplus of food, but the Government has mucked that up by making it more attractive to produce less (pay to not grow) or to sell to government subsidized biofuel producers. Now we are less and less the world's breadbasket.

What do we do? Well, it is leap year and that means Federal Elections! Do not give something for nothing. The next candidate that promises more government programs, more roads, more free health care more , more, more -- tell them to fuck off. Vote for the lesser of the evils. Look for the candidate that promises change. Make sure that change is less. Look for the guy or gal that claims they will cut spending, control earmarks, try to reduce the debt. Buy American (good luck). Have faith in the economy. If we get rid of the spenders the dollar will strengthen and the price of gas will come down.

February 28, 2008

Thursday Five

We all have favorite songs. We also have artists and songs that we hate, that we will change the radio station upon hearing the very first notes. There are also songs that many people hate, but we secretly love. These are the songs from our youth, pop songs from one hit wonders, maybe sentimental favorites.

Here are five songs I really like that were panned by the critics. Songs that time has forgotten. Tunes it is totally uncool to like. The music you sing when alone in the shower or car.

1. The Night Chicago Died by Paper Lace
2. The Three Bells by the Browns
3. The Unicorn Song by The Irish Rovers
4. In the year 2525 by Zager and Evans
5. One Tin Soldier by Coven (The legend of Billy Jack)

and as a bonus who does not secretly love Daydream Believer or anything by ABBA (especially SOS). Those tight blue spandex pants those girls wore...

Let no one say I do not put my self out for criticism.

February 27, 2008

1565

Sometimes the necessity to earn a living overrides the desire to produce a post.

Maybe later.

More likely Thursday.

Sorry.

February 25, 2008

My American Idol Connections

There is a game called six degrees of Kevin Bacon. Supposedly everyone in Hollywood is connected to Kevin Bacon in some form. Since my life and everything about is the paramount concern to each and every one of you, I bet you are asking how all things relate to the old Hoosierboy. For instance there were three contestants of the 24 finalists on American Idol last week that hailed from Indiana. I am sure you want to know how many degrees separate those people from connecting with me.

The first contestant was a Luke something or other that comes from Crawfordsville, Indiana. My connection to him is simple. Crawfordsville was the home of Civil War General Lew Wallace. General Wallace is famous for his failure to appear on the first day of Shiloh. He got lost several times and almost cost the Union Army a major defeat. Wallace was the Governor of New Mexico during the Lincoln County Wars (read up on Billy the Kid) and wrote the epic Ben Hur. Crawfordsville is also the home of Wabash College, and I lived there for four years while attending that fine institution of higher learning.

The second performer was the pretty dark-haired girl from Lowell, Indiana. Lowell is in Da Region; Og country. My daughter briefly dated a guy her freshman year in college. This girl is his step-sister. Too bad she chose a bad song and was voted off. Look at that, two Idols contestants, two connections.

The third contestant is the biker-nurse with the skunk-like hairdo. She has a rocker voice and claims she lives in Mulberry, Indiana. I am sure many of you think that is a joke -- Mulberry? Here is a deep dark secret I do not like to divulge: my first real job after college was in Mulberry. I was the head librarian at the Mulberry Public Library. I was also Children's Librarian, Reference Librarian and head Janitor. Yes, people, I was once a librarian many years ago. That was two long years in purgatory. Let me tell you, a Librarian's Convention is not nearly as fun or as exciting as you would imagine it to be. Mulberry is home to a couple of thousand people. I was an assistant Scoutmaster in the Boy Scout troop there as well and I know many people in the town. Was this gravely-voiced singer one of the girls that used to come to story time at the library some 20 years ago? I do not know, but in my mind I inspired this contestant to lofty heights and introduced her to rock music on the late-night Thursdays when I played the radio loud at the Mulberry Public Library.

See, it all comes back to the Hoosierboy.

February 22, 2008

Relatives in the woodpile

Growing up in a small town is different. Generations of family are born and die within a small geographic area. Here is a story I am sure Jerry at Back Home Again can completely understand. Not only are we of a similar age, we grew up less than 30 miles apart. The situation my daughter encountered I am sure, will not seem strange to him at all.

My daughter attends Butler University. Situated in downtown Indianapolis the campus attracts a lot of students from not only Indiana, but the Midwest. There is a large contingent from the Chicago area. One girl is in several of my daughter's classes. They have gotten to know one another. In the course of conversation the girl mentioned she was from a certain town. It is also the town where I was born and raised, as was my wife. My daughter was also born there. We moved about 90 miles away when she was three. The girl called her dad and asked if he knew me. We graduated high school together. In fact, his name was similar to mine so we shared a homeroom together for all of Jr. and Sr. High. We knew each other well. He told his astonished daughter that he and I were related.

My daughter could not believe it. I confirmed the story, although with the caveat that the branches on this particular family tree were pretty wide. His grandmother and my great-grandmother were sisters. Now to be fair, my great-grandmother was one of 18 (yep eighteen) children. My grandmother (her daughter) was one of 13 children. As such, I guess I could claim relations in about 50% of Clinton County Indiana.

Still, it is interesting that two girls of college age could go to the same university, have the same class schedule, become friends, and discover they are related in a general way. Life is strange sometimes.

Life has been good to me so far

After a breakfast of coffee, orange juice and bacon -- yay bacon -- how could anyone be in a bad mood? Does there exist in all the world a better taste combination? Here are my top three:

Bacon/OJ/Coffee
Brats/Kraut/Beer
Beef/Noodles/Mashed Potatoes

As an added bonus it is Friday!

I have a three car garage I love. My driveway is three cars plus an additional parking area/ basketball court. It is absolutely wonderful until it snows. As I get older I find I cannot throw snow as far as I could in my youth. To be honest, I do not think I could have ever thrown it across a three car driveway (or even halfway across). I find myself moving the same snow two and three times now. I push it as far as I can, then throw it. I then move forward to repeat the action. Four inches becomes eight. Eight becomes twelve by the time I get to the side of the driveway. I guess I could follow the lead of my neighbors and just drive through it. My Durango will push through 3-4 inches of snow with ease. In my heart I harbor a secret hope some husband is getting bashed by his wife -- "Look, that fat asshole down the street managed to shovel his drive, and it is three cars wide. Why couldn't I have married someone like him...?" Hell, yeah. Some days it is good to be me.

February 21, 2008

Black Thursday

Man o Man I hate it when I get into one of these moods. Every little thing just pisses me off. I just watched the garbage men take the neighbor's can and drop it right in the street after dumping it into the truck. They threw my lids like a frisbee into the yard so I would have to climb over the piles of snow along the driveway to get them. I guess if you are a pathetic loser that can only find work handling garbage you have to get your thrills where you can.

I spent over four hours on hold and talking to idiots about a computer problem on my daughters new laptop. Right after the first of the year the screen just turned black, refused to light up. It was not the blue screen of death -- just a blank nothing. They kept it for more than three weeks. After it was returned, the daughter spent all day reloading all of her programs, files, etc. (They promised they would not delete that stuff). The next day -- all black again. They are telling me they hope to ship it out by the end of the month. Two months without a computer. The jerks cannot understand why I am pissed. What really chaps my ass, is if you marke dos you can talk to someone in the US. The rest of us get to talk to faceless jerkoffs in Calcutta. You can never speak to the same person twice. You know the drill if you have ever had to call customer support for any of the computer companies. If just one of them offered decent support and customer service they could own the market.

I have a flat top electric stove. You know, where the burners are hidden. The stove comes with a light on the surface to tell you the stove is hot. The bastard will not shut off. The little red beacon stays lit 24-7 in an effort to send me over the edge. I keep touching the burners in an idiotic determination to either burn myself or prove the electronic circuitry is fucked up.

Regarding the coaching situation at Indiana: either fire the guy or let it go. Enough already. If Sampson violated the terms of his probation, if he committed the same violations again, he is too stupid to coach a six year old team at the local Boys Club. If IU did not construct a contract that made the agreement null and void upon breaking of any NCAA rules, they are too stupid to be trusted with any aspect of educating our children. They should be fired and barred from ever having a job in the education field or a taxpayer job in the future. A stiff and complete kneecapping may also be in order.

Did Obama-rama really say that for the first time in his life he is finally proud of his country? I do not doubt it. He is too good to pay proper respect to the flag, he does not think we need to have English as our official language and he is an avowed socialist. If he has not seen any good in the United States of fucking America over the last forty years, he should find another place to live. If you are considering voting for this inexperienced vacant headed smile, you are a sap, a moron, an uneducated puff. Are concerned about his Wahhabi upbringing? Are you concerned about putting another Dimocrit with shady land deals in his past? Are you concerned about his multitudinous of "Present" votes in the Illinois Legislature? Are you concerned he has no principled stand on anything except vacant "change" and "Hope"? Cheese and Crackers people, we are all in favor of hope. I almost to the point I would rather have the Hildebeast than this son of a bitch. At least we know what evil lies in her shrivelled black heart.

Does our Government really think we are so dumb that we believe they were concerned about the possible environmental issues involving the fuel from the dying spy satellite? We blew it up so the technology inside does not fall into our enemies hands. The only real concern was if we really wanted to show the Ruskies and the Chicoms and the rat bastard Euroweenies how easily we could pluck a satellite from the heavens. Concerned about the fuel inside -- what bullshit.

I am hungry, and now I am pissed off. I hope you are happy. I would also like to offer a half-felt apology to my pal Supergurl for going off in her comments.

Random Ramblings

Genetics is a funny thing. I have thick wavy hair ( well not as thick as it used to be and I keep pretty short so it looks straight). My daughter and youngest son have very fine straight hair. My oldest son has very thick curly hair. My wife used to have very curly hair until my last kid was born and it became very straight -- weird, Huh? We all have dark hair. Only the youngest shares my blue eyes.

Only my oldest son is left handed. He bats and throws a baseball right handed though. The youngest does everything right handed except batting and golfing. I am all right handed.

I finished the last Sharpe book and started Don Brockette's America Falling last night. So far it is a pretty good read. Go to your favorite book seller and order it if you haven't already. The current book will be number 23 I have read since the first of the year.

More winter weather is expected this evening. The temp is still in the teens. I know those of you north have it worse for cold and snow, but this has been a cold winter. I have not had a cigar since before Thanksgiving -- it has just been too cold.

Well, as you can see I have nothing to offer you right now. Check back I may have a real post later.

Oh, and April -- there are five there. You just have to look!

February 20, 2008

Brought to you today by the numbers six and nine

I had Monday off for the Big Presidential Catch-all Holiday. I spent the greater part of the afternoon filling out the FAFSA. If you have kids in college or going to college you know what a pain the backside that can be. To fill out the FAFSA I had to do the kids taxes. While I was at it, I went ahead and did their State Taxes too. What a fun filled afternoon. Two complete FAFSAs, Two complete 1040EZs, two complete IT1040s. I chose an official Holiday to keep me from finding the nearest elected official and taking out my bureaucratic frustrations by removing his gonads. A season to every purpose, I guess.

I spent yesterday filling out my 120 page forecast. At this point I am so sick of numbers I am contemplating a shooting spree on Sesame Street. Is it a coincidence that the two cultural exports from the Arabs are numbers and terrorism?

Now it is Wednesday and Hump day. Though a shortened work week, it feels an extra day or two has been added. It is cold and snowing. Is anyone else having issues with the spell check button on the Blogger posting template?

I know; whine, whine, boo f-ing hoo. Man, I need a vacation.

February 19, 2008

Revolution Now

Historian Barbara Tuchman once opined that research is endlessly seductive, writing is hard work. For me that is undoubtedly true. I love research. I used to get lost in the library, one book leading to another until I was completely off my subject and reading Josephus or Tacitus or Livy. I was off task and loving it. The Internet has only made such forays easier. No more card catalog, no more reading of moldy tomes. Now you can go right to the key passage with a few strokes of the keyboard.

I have spent a good portion of the last six months reading about the Napoleonic Wars. I reread the entire series of Aubry/ Maturin books (20) and I have been rereading the Sharpe books since the first of this year (I am in the middle of volume 21, the final book so far). In providing the links for the post below, I reread The Duel. The movie and the short story both refer to Joseph Fouche. I vaguely knew the name, but the details escaped me. Off to the Internet I went.

I began my search at the notoriously inaccurate Wikipedia. It may be wrong a lot of the time, but like any encyclopedia, it is a starting point. While reading up on Fouche I was led astray reading about the French Revolution, The Reign of Terror, Murat, Robespierre, and the Jacobins. The French took the concepts of Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality to new levels. They outlawed religion, changed the calendar and went so far as to propose that money and wages be abolished. The whole concept sounds a lot like the principles espoused by Karl Marx fifty years later.

Based on my research I have prepared a little quiz for you. What do the French Revolution, The Russian Revolution, Hitler and the Nazis, The Cuban Revolution, The Cultural Revolution in China, The unification of Vietnam under the North Vietnamese, and the government of Pol Pot in Cambodia all have in common?

In each and every case the existing government was displaced by leftist/socialist/communist types. The goal initially in these Revolutions was to lessen or eliminate the gap between the classes. The new governments want to feed he hungry and clothe the poor. They ended up trying to eliminate everything that made us different. No one could be better in any way. The end result was not bringing the lives of the citizens to a higher level, but lowering the standard of living of all to the lowest common denominator. Everyone became poor (except those in power). Eventually the rich, the educated, the religious, the opinioned, the powerful, the Revolutionaries themselves were eliminated. Ultimately, the power became consolidated to a few, the people to pay the price. The only way Socialism could be moderately successful was to eliminate anyone who might voice opposition. Is it any coincidence that some of the greatest mass murders in history have been socialists?

When you think about the future of our country does the idea of making the rich pay appeal to you? Do you think it takes a village to raise your children? Do you think we should rely on the government to provide health care, pensions, or maybe even wealth? Do you ever think that certain people 'make too much money'? At least two of the prime candidates for President believe some of these things. That is not to say they are potential mass murders. I will say they want the power more than anything, though. The further down the slippery slope of socialism we are led by the left, the progressives, the liberals, the communists, whatever they want to be called in this day, the closer we come to the Cultural Revolutions of the past.

Imagine if you lived in Russia of 1917, China of the 1930s, Cuba of the 1960s or even France of 1790 for a moment. What do you imagine your fate? Would you be a victim of the death squads or Madame Guillotine? Would you find yourself in the basement of Dzerzhinsky Square? Executed on the baseball fields of Havana by Castro and Che? Slaughtered by Mao or Pol Pot? Or would you face a life of squalor, of hunger, of ration lines for bread and toilet paper? Please tell me again what part of Socialism appeals to you? That philosophy has worked and made life better where in the world? Do you think that could never happen here? Have you seen the posters of Che in the campaign headquarters of B Hussein Obama?

There is one other common trait among all of the leftist -- they want to take away your guns. I wonder why?

February 18, 2008

Monday Morning you look fine

The good news is I have the day off. I have nothing to say to you at this time. The old creative juices are sour. The fingers, both of them, are poised over the keyboard. The coffee is brewing away. The brain is stuck in idle.

We had a pretty uneventful weekend. I did have a nice and interesting conversation with my youngest son. He is taking American History in his 8th grade class. They are studying WWII. He read about Anne Frank. I gave him a copy of Night, by Elie Weisel. The boy started asking about Hitler and the death camps. He could not understand how the people of Germany let such horrible things happen. How could they elect Hitler? I tried to explain the historical background. I started with the idea that communication was much different then. There was no computer, no TV, The state controlled the radio and the newspapers, thus the information the people received. We talked about WWI and the Franco=Prussian war and how they shaped the political landscape that brought Hitler to power. I could not answer his basic question, however. He asked repeatedly how they could do it, the ones running the camps, giving the orders. In the end I could only tell him that I did not know, that such hatred is beyond me. He then asked a harder question. "There are Muslims who want to do the same thing to all of us isn't there?" He is pretty smart for a fourteen year old.

I was messing around over at Amazon last week. I finally ordered my copy of America Falling by Don Brockette. Yes, I am a terrible procrastinator. Yes, I am a bum. Sorry Don, but the book is on its way now.

I also ordered a copy of one of my favorite films ever. It is called The Duellists. I had an old version I taped off TV about a decade ago on VHS, it was pretty much unwatchable. MY new DVD copy arrived Saturday and I have already watched it. This movie was directed by Ridley Scott and the visual appeal is almost as compelling as the story. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, two French Hussars embark on a series of duels. The movie speaks about honor, about pride and about the certain deadly politeness that governed the manners of the 19th Century. For me, the film also touched a deeper fiber of my being. I could identify with one of the characters. I will not tell you which. The swordplay is spectacular and the film captures the times very well. I have also read the short story The Duel by Joseph Conrad, of Heart of Darkness fame. That novel was made into the war classic Apocalypse Now. But please, do not let you opinion (favorable or not)that film influence your decision to watch The Duellists. You can read The Duel here. Doubtless you can pick up a copy of The Duellists at Netflix or such. If not, this film will make a fine addition to your DVD collection.

February 15, 2008

Continuing on a theme

What is it with people who are always looking for change? My wife makes terrific chocolate chip cookies. She probably uses the same recipe as your wife or mother or sister. This recipe is time-tested and produces a consistent, gooey sweet treat that makes a glass of milk more enjoyable than a 20 year old Bordeaux.

Of course she is looking for a new recipe. Wednesday night she tried something new. The results were a cookie that was OK, good but not great. It was mile better that that abortion of sugar and flour called a chips ahoy, but by Thursday morning these wife's confections were as hard as a rock and as favorable as a chocolate chip paper plate. How do you exp...

sorry I just had to dispose of a big-assed centipede that was strolling across my living room floor. WTF - it is February? I guess spiders and ants will be next.

..lain that you have not eaten any of the cookies because they are like eating flat chocolate chip encrusted rocks? She would claim she was trying to find a better recipe. I would say why change what is already good enough? Fundamental differences in personality are at work here folks. Do not get me wrong, I am not against change. I am against change for changes sake. There is a clear difference. What are you -- a changer or a traditionalist?

I'm not a very smart man...

A lot of people running for office this year are using the theme of change. Case number one is the race for the Indiana Seventh District for the US House of Representatives. That seat has been owned by liberal Democrats for my lifetime. Julia Carson, whose voting record is similar to Maxine Waters and Cynthia McCommie's died in office last fall. They are holding a special election. Ms Carson's grandson is the Donk Party nominee. His entire message is we need change. For me that raises two questions. One, since the Dems are in control of Congress, doesn't that mean he is repudiating the Democrat leadership? Secondly, doesn't his message indicate he is against everything his grandmother stood for?

The same arguments hold true for B Orama Osama Obama. He is part of the Democrat controlled Legislature. He is part of Washington. If we change from the way things are now, doesn't that mean we should have a Republican controlled Congress?

I am just saying...

February 14, 2008

Here you go

"I feel like a Valentine poem.
Anyone game?"

Big Dick wanted a VD poem:

Its Valentine's day
Big bucks for flowers I paid
I hope I get laid



What have you got?

Exclusive interview with B Obama

In a new outreach program Democrat Presidential contender Obama has agreed to be interviewed by bloggers. This humble scribe was one a scant few granted exclusive interviews.

HB: As a Republican, I am not familiar with your platform. Can you give me the condensed version of your positions?

BO: I am for change. It is time to change Washington.

HB: What changes are you going to make?

BO: We are going to do things differently.

HB: How are you going to do things differently?

BO: By making changes.

HB: And some of those changes are...?

BO: I am glad you asked. We are going to make changes for the American people.

HB: ?????

BO: Change!

February 13, 2008

Do not forget to buy your lover a V-D card

Here is a copy of last year's post, since no one clicks links:


Monday, February 12, 2007

A love story

Thursday, the second wrestling meet of the week. I took a beating, yet still won. You remember the old joke about "does your face hurt?", yes it did. On the bus ride home I had time to think. In the dark it all became a stark reality. I just had to get out of going to that dance.

How could I break it to her? She bought a dress, I had ordered the corsage. Dinner reservations were made. I did not even know this girl. I could say I was sick. Think, man, think. If I cancelled I would be a heel, and Teresa would be pissed. That would be bad. She would not like me to cancel a date with her best friend.

Friday, I woke, no closer to a resolution. I had a crush on this girl, Teresa. Her best friend asked me out to a Sadie Hawkins dance. It was a big deal, the biggest dance of the year except for the prom: dresses were bought, suits were worn. I said yes, thinking the girl would talk about how wonderful I was and Teresa would see me as something besides a friend. Sixteen year old boys do not always think logically, especially when it comes to women. Yes, my motive was wrong. I did not care.

Wrestling practice was supposed to be short, most of the team had a date for the dance. I had two black eyes, the result of high cheekbones and sharp elbows. We started wrestling around and my partner Jeff got a bloody nose. He got them all the time and of course, I laughed at him. This really made him mad and he was determined to give me a bloody nose as well. The only problem is I had never had one. EVER. He proceeded to give me several hard cross-faces. He hit me with an elbow, he smashed me with his skull. No bloody nose. I took a quick shower before heading home to get ready for the dance. Shit, my left eye was swollen shut, my right eye and cheek were hues of blue, green and purple. I bet her parents would be real impressed.

I circled the block twice mustering the courage to knock on the door. Her nephew answered. Fortunately she was ready. A few quick pictures and we were on our way. No one asked how I came to look like a prizefighter.

On the way to the restaurant we did not speak much. I gave this girl a quick glance. I barely knew her. Only after she asked me to the dance did I discover her last name. Her short hair was dark, almost black. It fell in soft waves framing her face. Her nose was straight and narrow, freckles covered her cheeks. Her eyes lit up each time she smiled. They were hazel.

We went to the local Moose Lodge for dinner (the oldest in the world), there was not much else in the little town where we lived. I had pork chops. Neither of us spoke much during dinner. Aborted conversations ended with one word answers. "Is your steak OK?"

"Yes, It is fine," she muttered. Oh God, what have I gotten myself into? OK, dinner, go to the dance stay an hour or so and make an excuse to take her home. Maybe I can claim I have wrestling practice in the morning. I noticed her hands. The fingers were long and smooth, a small hint of white fingernail polish graced the long nails. A few freckles dotted her arms. I tried hard not to stare at her chest above the white sleeveless dress. The swell of her breasts was enticing. She was kind of pretty. When she stopped in the ladies room after dinner I briefly thought about just leaving. She was in there a long time, and maybe she was hoping I would.

I still remember clearly the events before the dance. What I ate. The back of my neck burning with embarrassment. The feeling everyone in the dining room knew I was a lousy date, a failure, a hoodlum. The rest of the evening remains a blur. We found our table at the dance. We were sitting with her friends. I knew some of the other guys. The lights were low and suddenly this strange girl looked lovely. The band was playing and we sat and tried again to talk. Finally a slow dance was played and I summoned the courage to escort her to the floor. She fit perfectly in my arms. the top of her hair came to my eyes. Her waist was the perfect size for my skinny arms. She smelled faintly of flowers. After the song we walked to the punchbowl holding hands.

As we sat back at the table I moved my chair closer, we began to find things to talk about. My hand was on her thigh. I forgot my mother's admonition to not try to be funny. Mom told me that often others just did not get my dry sarcastic sense of humor. The girl had the most melodious laugh. We danced some fast songs. She had rhythm, I could only jerk around like a spastic monkey with a lobotomy. I was having a good time in spite of my efforts not to.

Another slow song began and we moved to the floor hand in hand. I put my arms around her, her hands locked around my neck. I looked into her eyes and saw my soul. She leaned to me, and I to her. Our lips met and electricity shot through my body. My hair stood on end. As our tongues met, I never felt like this before! Wow, I said as our lips parted. I was out of breath. I was not sure if we had kept dancing or not. The room spun. I kissed her again.

The night lasted forever and ended too soon. As we made out in the front seat of my parent's Monte Carlo, hurried plans were made for another date the next day. I drove home with her taste on my lips. Pizza, a movie and more electric kisses followed on Saturday.

Monday came and Teresa did not look quite so hot. She asked me how the dance went, a knowing leer on her face. I know now girls talk about that stuff*. Teresa told me she just knew the girl and I would get along. She suggested a double date the next week. Why not?

I found an old picture taken at that dance back in December of 1978. I see a skinny boy, his left eye shut, his right black. I see a couple of kids, unsure of life, of themselves. The pretty girl is standing next to that boy. I know the picture was taken as we arrived, before the slow dances, before the kiss. I know this because in the picture I am just a shy boy, smirking at the world.

I dated the girl for several years. I left for college. I got engaged. I got married.

The girl is now my wife. Her kisses are still electric.


* My buddy Jeff just asked me if I got 'any'.

February 12, 2008

I bow down to the religion of Algore and Global Warming


Behold the power of Mother Nature. Here is the awesome display of 5-10 inches of snow and ice. Impressive isn't it? After two days of dire winter storm warnings, we were inflicted with this impressive dusting. Not even the drivers of Dallas and Atlanta would be daunted by this massive accumulation. We had a similar scare a few weeks ago that called for more snow with fewer results.

The weather models cannot predict accurately 5 hours in advance. For cripes sake the forecast changed from 5-10 inches to 2-4 inches in less than an hour last night. How does anyone with a brain believe weather predictions for five, ten or fifty years from now? If you do, then you are a moron and I ask you never return to this site again. Life is too short to deal with gullible fools. Lace up your Nikes and prepare for the spaceship. The cult of Global Warming is for dunces and idiots.


Oh, and Happy Birthday Abe.

February 11, 2008

Do you know me?

I am the smoke from your campfire dissipating in the leafy branches of the trees. I am the dream that makes you smile in your sleep. I am the shadow on the lawn you see on a moonlit night. I am the moan of the wind on a springtime morning. I am the ache in your heart for what you never had. I am the pain in your gut for all you miss. I am the cloud that shines red-gold in the setting sun. I am the butterfly that flutters from petal to petal. I am the drifting snow. I am the smell of corn and fresh mown alfalfa in the fields. I am here and not. I exist on the peripheral of your vision, a shape, a ghost. I am thunder in the clouds. I am the magic you feel at Christmas. I am the tremor you feel in your soul walking a dark street at night. I am the goosebumps on your arms, the tears in your eyes. I am the lingering smell of your wife on the pillow. I am the frost etched on your windows, only to be melted by the winter sun. I am the nuzzle of your man on the back of your neck. I am summer lightning over the horizon. I am a lingering kiss goodbye. I am neither here nor there. I am the lie that tells the truth. I am the pain of childbirth. I am the joy of a first kiss. I am the white heat of betrayal. I am the cold touch of loneliness. I am the kick of a gun. I am the thrill of a roller coaster. I am nobody. I am here and gone. I am real and imaginary. I am Hoosierboy, and I do not exist.

Dream Weaver

Did you ever have one of those dreams that was so real, that drew you in so deep, it lingered with you even after you woke up? The kind that fades away slowly as the minutes tick by on the clock?

I had one of those dreams this morning. For mysterious reasons I was attending a meeting at my former elementary school. We were a little early for the meeting which was to be held in my fifth grade classroom, so I showed my friend the cafeteria, the library, the gym etc. All was perfectly normal, the school had been modernized so it was familiar, yet different. It felt like more than thirty years had passed since I tread those halls, but I still knew my way around. The only thing that was really bizarre was my companion was an African elephant 12 feet tall. Oh, and the elephant could talk, but only to me.

Dr. Freud please call your office.

February 10, 2008

Retired Green Beret shoots intruder, gets court martial

BREVARD, Jan. 19, 2008 - Retired Army Green Beret James T. (Smokey) Taylor got his court martial this weekend and came away feeling pretty good about it.
Taylor, at age 79, is one of the oldest members of Chapter XXXIII (The LarryThorne Chapter) of the Special Forces Association. He was placed on trial byfellow Chapter XXXIII members under the charge of "failing to use a weapon of sufficient caliber" in the shooting of an intruder at his home in Knoxville, TN, in November.
The court martial, of cour se, was very much tongue in cheek. The eventitself was deadly serious.

Taylor had been awakened in the early morning hours of November 5, 2007, when an intruder broke into his home. He investigated the noises with one of his many weapons in hand.
"It was just after Halloween, on Monday morning at 4:30," Taylor said. "I heard this commotion at the door and grabbed my fishing gun, a little .22 revolver, to see what was going on. I got to the front door and this fellow had ripped my security door out of its frame. He said, 'you're going to have to kill me. I'm coming in.'"
When a warning to leave went unheeded, Taylor brought his .22 caliber pistol to bear and shot him right between the eyes. "I was about four feet away from him when I shot," Taylor said. "Looking back now, I'm glad he didn't die, but that boy had the hardest head I've ever seen. The bullet bounced right off."
The impact knocked the would-be thief down momentarily. He crawled out of the house then got up and ran down the street. Taylor dialed 911 and Knoxville police apprehended the wounded man about 200 yards away, hiding in a hedgerow.
Complicating the case, as well as the court martial, the offender was released on bail but failed to appear for his court date. Knoxville police said the man was homeless. They did not know his whereabouts or why he had been given bail.
The charges brought against Taylor by his fellow Green Berets were considered to be serious. He is a retired Special Forces Weapons Sergeant with extensive combat experience during the wars in Korea and Vietnam.
"Charges were brought against him under the premise that he should have saved the county and taxpayers the expense of a trial," said Chapter XXXIII President Bill Long of Asheville, NC.
The trial was held at the Hampton Inn in Brevard, part of the group's regularly scheduled quarterly meeting. Long appointed a judge, Bert Bates, a defense counsel, Jim Hash, and a prosecutor, Charlie Ponds. All are retired Special Forces non-commissioned officers with extensive combat and weapons experience.
Ponds outlined the case against Taylor, emphasizing that the citizens of Knox County were going to be burdened with significant costs to again apprehend, and then prosecute and defend the would-be burglar.
"Proper choice of a larger caliber gun would have spared the citizens this financial burden," Ponds said, "while removing one bad guy from the streets for good. He could have used a .45 or .38. The .22 just wasn't big enough to get the job done."

Hash disagreed. He said Taylor had done the right thing in choosing to arm himself with a 22.
"If he'd used a .45 or something like that the round would have gone right through the perp, the wall, the neighbor's wall and possibly injured some innocent child asleep in its bed. I believe the evidence shows that Smokey Taylor exercised excellent judgment in his choice of weapons. He clearly remains, to this day, an excellent weapons man."
Hash then floated a theory as to why the bullet bounced off the perp's forehead. "He was victimized by old ammunition," he said, "just as he was in Korea and again in Vietnam, when his units were issued ammo left over from World War II."
Taylor said nothing in his own defense, choosing instead to allow his peers to debate the matter.

The jury, consisting of all the members of the Chapter, discussed the merits of choosing a larger caliber weapon as well as the obvious benefits to society of permanently deleting the intruder so he would never again threaten any private citizen.
The other side of the coin, that of accidentally causing injury to a completely innocent citizen if a more powerful gun had been used, also gained considerable support.
Following testimony from both sides, Judge Bates determined the charges should be dismissed. The decision was met with a round of applause.
In fact, there was strong sentiment expressed that Taylor should receive an award for not only choosing wisely in picking up the .22, but for the accuracy of his aim under difficult and dangerous conditions.
After the trial Taylor admitted the ammunition was indeed old and added the new information that the perp had soiled his pants as he crawled out the door.
"I would have had an even worse mess to clean up if it had gone through his forehead," Taylor said. "It was good for both of us that it didn't."
Meanwhile, back in Knox County, the word is out: Don't go messing with Smokey Taylor. He just bought a whole bunch of fresh ammo.

February 9, 2008

I guess McCain does not look so bad

I have seen this before, but the story bears repeating as often as possible. Otter forwarded this list in an email. I encourage anyone to dispute the facts:

Hillary Clinton has been telling America that she is the most qualified candidate for president based on her "record," which she says includes her eight years in the White House as First Lady - or "co-president" - and her seven years in the Senate. Here is a reminder of what that record includes:

- As First Lady, Hillary assumed authority over Health Care Reform, a process that cost the taxpayers over $13 million. She told both Bill Bradley and Pat Moynahan, key votes needed to pass her legislation, that she would "demonize "anyone who opposed it. But it was opposed; she couldn't even get it to a votein a Congress controlled by her own party. (And in the next election, her party lost control of both the House and Senate.)

- Hillary assumed authority over selecting a female Attorney General. Her first two recommendations (Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood) were forced to withdraw their names from consideration, and then she chose Janet Reno. Janet Reno has since been described by Bill himself as "my worst mistake."

- Hillary recommended Lani Guanier for head of the Civil Rights Commission. When Guanier's radical views became known, her name had to be withdrawn.

- Hillary recommended her former law partners, Web Hubbell, Vince Foster, and William Kennedy for positions in the Justice Department, White House staff, and the Treasury,respectively. Hubbell was later imprisoned, Foster committed suicide, and Kennedy was forced to resign.

- Hillary also recommended a close friend of the Clintons, Craig Livingstone, for the position of director of White House security. When Livingstone was investigated for the improper access of up to 900 FBI files of Clinton enemies (Filegate) and the widespread use of drugs by White House staff, both Hillary and her husband denied knowing him. (FBI agent Dennis Sculimbrene Confirmed in a Senate Judiciary Committee in 1996 both the drug use and Hillary's involvement in hiring Livingst one. After that, the FBI closed its White House Liaison Office, after serving seven presidents for over thirty years.)

- In order to open "slots" in the White House for her friends the Harry Thomasons (to whom millions of dollars in travel contracts could be awarded), Hillary had the entire staff of the White House Travel Office fired; they were reported to the FBI for "gross mismanagement" and their reputations ruined. After a thirty-month investigation, only one, Billy Dale, was charged with a crime - mixing personal money with White House funds when he cashed checks. The jury acquitted him in less than two hours.

- Another of Hillary's assumed duties was directing the "bimbo eruption squad" and scandal defense: ---- She urged her husband not to settle the Paula Jones lawsuit. ---- She refused to release the Whitewater documents, which led to the appointment of Ken Starr as Special Prosecutor After $80 million dollars of taxpayer money was spent, Starr's investigation led to Monica Lewinsky, which led to Bill lying about and later admitting his affairs.

---- Then they had to settle with Paula Jones after all.

---- And Bill lost his law license for lying to the grand jury.

---- And Bill was impeached by the House.

---- And Hillary almost got herself indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice (she avoided it mostly because she repeated, "I do not recall," "I have no recollection," and "I don't know" 56 times under oath).

- Hillary accepted the traditional First Lady's role of decorator of the White House at Christmas, but in a unique Hillary way. In 1994, for example, The First Lady's Tree in the Blue Room (the focal point each year) was Decorated with drug paraphernalia, sex toys, and pornographic ornaments, all personally approved by Hillary as the invited artists' depictions of the theme, "The Twelve Days of Christmas."

- Hillary wrote "It Takes a Village," demonstrating her Socialist viewpoint.

- Hillary decided to seek election to the Senate in a state she had never lived in. Her husband pardoned FALN terrorists in order to get Latino support and the New Square Hassidim to get Jewish support. Hillary also had Bill pardon her brother's clients, for a small fee, to get financial support.

- Then Hillary left the White House, but later had to return $200,000 in White House furniture, china, and artwork she had stolen.

- In the campaign for the Senate, Hillary played the "woman card" by portraying her opponent (Lazio) as a bully picking on her.

- Hillary's husband further protected her by asking the National Archives to withhold from the public until 2012 many records of their time in the White House, including much of Hillary's correspondence and her calendars. (There are ongoing lawsuits to force the release of those records.)

- As the junior Senator from New York, Hillary has passed no major legislation. She has deferred to the senior Senator (Schumer) to tend to the needs of New Yorkers, even on the hot issue of medical problems of workers involved in the cleanup of Ground Zero after 9/11.

- Hillary's one notable vote, supporting the plan to invade Iraq, she has since disavowed.

Quite a resume, isn't it? Sounds more like an organized crime family..

February 8, 2008

Beat, bushed, tired

A couple of old buddies showed up last night. It has been a while since they visited, and as a result I only slept about two hours. I bet some of you know those guys -- Indigestion and Insomnia. I am not sure why I had such heartburn. I fried up some chicken and made mashed spuds and white gravy. Not really a spicy meal. Maybe it was the grease.

I finally get the stitches from my mouth in about an hour. Those threads have driven me nuts for about four days. I think all will be better when they are gone.

Like the stupidest commercial on TV says, have a happy period, if you are in the midst of your menstrual cycle. The rest of you should have a happy Friday.

February 7, 2008

It is all in a name

I am not one to make fun of people. As a child I was teased for my surname by cruel children and their parents. I would not do that to another person, especially an immigrant trying to better himself and provide the fruits af the American dream for his family. OK, yes I will.

This guy comes by the booth yesterday. He looked to be a native of the Indian subcontinent. This was on his name tag:

Menahj Atwah

I had to leave the booth I was laughing so hard. I am not making this up.

February 5, 2008

Tuesday Afternoon

So here I am preparing for day two of the world's most boring trade show. It is Super Tuesday. It is Mardi Gras. It is supposed to be in the 80s here in the sunshine state. Whoops, if you see my wife it is 50 and raining.

I normally sleep on planes. I guess I have flown 500 or 600 flights in my life. Yesterday I was seated next to a guy who was terrified of flying. He talked the entire flight. I tried to turn the conversation to other topics, but he paniced over every minor bump adjutmet and turn. It became tedious after a while. The joys of travel are few.

Maybe more later. Have a great day.

February 4, 2008

hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

18-1. Best team ever? We no longer need to have that discussion. The Patriots and Belicheat must feel like they were kicked in the crotch by an elephant on steroids. The best part of all -- I get to spend the next three days with a rabid Patriots fan. I have a bucket of salt to rub in that raw bleeding wound.

Posting will be light as I head to warmer climes to work a trade show. In the time/space continuum there are normal hours and there are trade show hours. They say a dog lives seven years for every one of ours. A trade show hour is one seventh of a regular hour. That means if you are there for two hours, it seems like fourteen. Trust me on this. They like to hold these fetes at nice warm locations, thinking that makes it more palatable. Instead, it is just cruel that you are stuck inside. Of course the location is what lures the attendees -- a vacation and free stuff for spending 40 minutes at the show. What really sucks is I will be sans car so I will be stuck with my colleagues the whole time. The stitches in the jaw preclude smoking some choice stogies in the sun.

My mouth is feeling pretty good. The wife was bitching at me for bleeding on the sheets Friday night. I said I did not do it on purpose. I must have moved my head off the towel I put down for that purpose while I was sleeping. I guess I was not supposed to move. I punched her right in the nose. That shut her pie hole. Not really. I did not punch her and it did not stop her yammering. She was just in one of those moods yesterday.

I have to shower, pack and get some wipers for the car before I head to the airport. The left one is in shreds. Have a good Monday, Mofos.

February 3, 2008

My Superbowl Prediction

When I was first married I did not care much for sports. Other than a Cubs game I rarely tuned in. I especially did not enjoy football. A drinking buddy and co-worker invited me to his house in January of 1988 to watch his favorite team, the Denver Broncos, take on the Washington Redskins in Superbowl XXII. Given Jeff had caught his wife in bed with his best friend just a few weeks before, I thought I'd best attend his party.

What was that? You want details? Well, Jeff worked third shift. So did his best friend (who was also the Best Man in his wedding). His wife worked third shift too, in a different department. His MIL worked for me on first shift. Is it inbred enough yet? Jeff had been married for exactly two years. This company worked lots of overtime. It was not unusual to be called upon to work an extra four hours at the end of a busy shift. On this particular day, which happened to be his Anniversary, Jeff was called to work over. His spouse and his buddy, who both worked in different departments went home at the regular hour. I listened to Jeff complain about working, I went to the big boss and asked if we could let him go early. Others promised to stay over on first shift if necessary to make up the work. Since it was Jeff's big day the boss agreed.

Jeff was not surprised to see Sam's car in his driveway when he got home three hours early. He thought they were going to have some drinks to celebrate. He even purchased a bottle of cheap champagne. He was surprised to catch them doing the pokey part of the hokey pokey (put the love worm in...)on the couch. After he chased the jerk out of the house he threw the bottle of bubbly through the back window of the former best friend's Chevy.

When I arrived at the Superbowl Party Jeff was especially irate because the 'friend' had filed charges against Jeff for breaking the car window. How is that for balls the size of grapefruit?

Well, Washington destroyed Denver 42-10, and I left at halftime after the Redskins notched 35 points in the second quarter. Less than a year later I would leave that job and that town, never to talk to Jeff again.

Oh, the point of the story? The Patriots will not be denied. While it sickens me to say it, the game will be a blowout. I will quit watching at halftime, just like Superbowl XXII.

It is never simple with me, is it?

Oh, and thanks for your well-wishes. I am feeling fine.

February 2, 2008

Dear Mr. Fantasy

I am not one to dream about other women, especially married women. Fantasies about married women I do not know and have never met are most disturbing. I had a very disconcerting dream last night that involved SWMBO, of Blog d' Elisson fame.

Now before the Son of Eli jumps in his car and drives North to kick my ass, I should explain some details. In my dream she shot me with an arrow. In the nether regions. To be most specific in my left butt cheek. I asked her a tearful why as the shaft was removed from my bloody flesh. She gave me a bold look and said " Well, your jaw does not hurt so much now, does it? Why would this apparent nice mother, wife, and according to Mr. Elisson, wonderful woman, do such a heinous act in my nighttime slumbers? I blame it on the Vicodin.

Apologies to all concerned. This is a true story.

February 1, 2008

update

OK, I was not really sick, just in pain. I broke a tooth Monday night and have been in pain since. 3 Advil every two hours is probably not a good thing. I had not slept more than 15 minutes at a time for three days. I still was my dazzling self while visiting customers this week.

Now, less two teeth, I am at the keyboard. Even better I have a script for Vicodin.

I get a troll for the first time in months, and I do not have access to the Internet. Oh well, Dick took care of him. On that subject lets get something straight. Just because you are a war hero it does not make you a good President. Can anyone name a good thing from the Taylor and Tyler Administrations? How about William Henry Harrison? And perhaps our greatest hero of all (and one of my personal heroes)Grant was saved from being one of our worse Presidents by Carter and JFK.

I will give the devil credit, unlike John IservedinVietnam Kerry, McCain does not run on his military record. I just think he is not a Conservative. He is better than Obama/Hitlery though.

Well, I am off to ice my jaw and watch some John Wayne.

Sick

Maybe later
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