February 28, 2011

Monday Blues

I can go ahead and post for most of the Midwest -- severe storms and heavy rain moved through last night. Lots of rain and thunder and lightning.  You would have thought it was late May as opposed to late February.

There was nothing on the old TV worth watching last night.  The wife gifted me with a copy of the 2010 Crossroads Guitar Festival DVD for Christmas, and I finally had the opportunity to watch the second disc. The first half was good, but disc two --wow. The compilation is well worth the price, but just hearing a couple songs makes the purchase worth while. Buddy Guy, Ron Wood and Johnny Lang team up on a fun and awesome version of the Rolling Stones tune Miss You. That song happens to be not only my favorite Stones tune, but one of my all-time favorites, and this version did not disappoint. This song is the one I usually sang to my babies when it was my turn to get up and soothe them in the middle of the night. I can no longer hit the high ooh ooh ohh ohh ohha hoo, but then I no longer have babies to sing to sleep.  Here, listen for yourself and see if it is not all awesomeness:



Check it out around the 4:00 mark, and see Buddy  do some great ad-libbing.

The second song that completely rocked the DVD was a Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood knockdown of the old Hendricks tune Voodoo Chile. I think Jimmy would approve:



There is not much I can say after hearing that.  Have a great Monday.

February 27, 2011

In your best Andy Rooney voice

Or Andy Hardy, whatever.

Yesterday the family decided they wanted lunch out, so I was sent to Subway to pay way too much for a lunch meat sandwich. Sometimes it is best not to fight, since the alternative was to go to the store and buy food so we could make lunch. A lose/lose situation.

To top things off, I had to go to the bank, since not only did we not have lunch stuff in the house, we also did not have money in the various wallets. So I headed to the ATM, one of the true miracles of the modern age. One puts in a plastic card, types a series of numbers and voila (ta da for you non-French reading types) out comes good old US greenbacks, dollars, cash, the currency of the realm.

As I drove up the one-way street beside the bank I noticed there was a line at the drive-up cash machine. I moved into fourth place and realized "that guy" was at the ATM. You know him. He is completely befuddled by the contraption. He has to insert his card three times before he gets it stripe down and to the right. The picture next to the card slot is too confusing. Then real issues arise for our modern Guy Fawkes of the ATM. He reads every screen in complete detail, unsure of his next step. He mumbles to his mate "Hey Mable, do I want to deposit or withdraw money?" She just stares across his shoulder at the offensive screen. Her lipstick smeared cigarette makes her squint.  The confused ATM user turns down the radio as if that will make the whole process simpler.

Once he determines which screen lets him take out cash our intrepid ATM user then is faced with a tougher decision.  How much cash to take out. He and Mabel discuss their impending shopping trips. She opines she could just write a check at the grocery (another story altogether -- and I know I will somehow be in line behind her when the time comes). Finally our couple decides they will ask the magic machine for $90. Too bad the instructions indicate withdrawals must be in multiples of $20.

Slow ATM guy types 9-0. The machine beeps an error and says you must withdrawal in whole dollar amounts in multiples of $20. He turns to Mabel and laughs, "Heh, I just tried to take out ninety cents". I bang my head on the steering wheel. while cursing full throat at the asshole who had the temerity to sell this old fucker the Chevy Truck that allowed him to get to the ATM in the first place. Our man of the hour then types in 9-0-0-0. The machine again refuses to cooperate.

"The damned machine won't give me my money". He types 9-0-0-0 again. And again. He hits the keys harder this time, that will help. Again, no dice. He stares at the screen for about three minutes. "Oh, it has to be a multiple of $20". They then have a lengthy conversation to decide if $80 is enough, or if taking $100 is more than they need. They decide to take $80.

"We can always come back tomorrow and get more", she says. "This machine banking is so handy".

Finally our hero gets his cash.  I am no longer hungry.  I am numb. Lunch time has passed and I think about our supper plans. Ed and Mabel take another five minutes to count the money, examine the receipt, and put everything away in the wallet before slowly, and I mean slowly, driving away from the machine.

The next driver pulls up. She puts in her plastic card and is completely confused. "What is a PIN Number?" she asks her companion...

February 26, 2011

I need you so

I had this tune stuck in my cruller this morning:



Why not, it is catchy and the best song The Cars ever put out. I heard on the radio the other day The Cars are back together and putting out their first album in more than thirty years. Damn I am getting old. And since I am rambling this morning, I might mention the Candy-O album cover was pretty awesome too:



Saturday is upon us. I am in a good mood because I got some good work news yesterday just at quitting time.  A prospect I have been working for more than a year has decided to source some business with us. That is two new customers in two weeks. This salesman gig just may work out after all (See that is a joke, I have been doing it for about 15 years now). The wife claims I have a dry sense of humor.

Wouldn't life be much easier if there were a sarcasm font? *

The side and back yards are standing in water due to the snow/rain/snow/ice/rain we have had in the past several days/weeks/months. More rain is expected this weekend. Boating anyone? Say that out loud in a snobby voice, it is a lot of fun. You know what voice. Watch a few movies from the 1930s if you don't.

Clearly I am in a silly mood. Time to do something else.


*I stole this from someone. Consider this credit to that great wit Anonymous -- sayer of many brilliant things.

February 25, 2011

An uneven start

The phone rang around 5:30 this morning. It was the automatic system informing me school was on a two-hour delay. I lie (lay? -- I never could conjugate that verb) awake a few minutes and knew I was not going back to sleep. For one thing, I was sweating, the bed was hot. I realized the wife had thrown off the covers in the night, effectively giving me double blanket and sheet. I like to be cold when I sleep and the warm cocoon was just too much.

I made some coffee and fetched the paper. I read last night's emails and fired off some of my own. I watched a bit of the weather and read some blogs.

As it neared the time to start waking the family I decided to make some cinnamon rolls.

The snow and sleet have stopped, the wind howls around the eves of the house. Friday is underway.

No Democrats were bashed in making this post.

The best post describing the political situation in Indiana and Wisconsin you will ever read.

http://grippinghand.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/indiana-house-democrats-and-their-carefully-considered-response-to-legislation/

February 24, 2011

A basic civics lesson

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
I am pretty sure that oath does not mean "I will support and uphold whatever laws I like and approve of". Failure to uphold the law is an impeachable offense. It is not the role of the Executive branch to create law, but to enforce law. Whatever you may think of the Defense of Marriage Act, it is the law of the land until it is repealed by Congress or repudiated by the Courts.

It is not the roll of the Justice Department or the President to pick and choose what laws to enforce.

Example #9,654 of why Democrats do not understand the Constitution.

Dear Democrats

If you are currently voting and supporting the Democrat Party you are pathetic.  I am not sure I can find a single Democrat that cares for anything more than perpetuating their own political power.  They do not care about the electorate, about the democratic process or the basics of the Constitution. Show me one Democrat that is not a self-centered envious economically challenged lightweight.

For God's sake one Democrat judge just ruled that thinking about an economic activity is economic activity and that taking a decision not to participate is participating in economic activity, thus subject to the Commerce Clause. Ponder that -- deciding not to buy

For a group of people who claim to represent the common man they sure make a lot of harmful decisions. Failure to drill our own oil reserves is having disastrous consequences for our economy. The spend, spend, spend of the current administration has mortgaged future generations to an unsustainable level. To quote the Reverend Wright 'The chickens have come home to roost" as the ponzi scheme known as Social Security inches to insolvency and the overwhelming burden of Democrat Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs bankrupt our national treasury.

For more than 100 years the programs and platform of the liberals and Democrat Party have proven an abject failure. The current Democrat ideologues have made a mockery of the bankruptcy laws in the governmental takeover of GM and Chrysler. The underfunded governmental pensions in Indiana are a direct result of paying unsecured creditors (the UAW union) instead of secured creditors in the Chrysler filing. The Democrats defied the clear wishes of the people in passing Obamacare. Federal Judges have put the Obama administration in contempt of court in the continued illegal moratoriums on off shore drilling.

The Democratic Party has again thwarted their Constitutional and moral obligations by childish refusal to participate in the legislative process in Wisconsin and Indiana. The Democratic Party has shown they will not, can not listen to the will of the people they have sworn to represent.

The Democrat Party does not represent the constituents, the people, but only the Democratic Party. Voting for such craven individuals in the future shows not only an ignorance of politics, of economics, of the Constitution, of civics,but an inability to appreciate the power of the franchise and the freedoms  we are blessed to have.. In short, I am surprised you do not need instructions to remind you to breathe in and out.

If you are aa Democrat and are insulted by this, too bad. But I will be glad to argue the sallient points.

February 23, 2011

Dear Indiana Democrats

Elections have consequences -- B. Obama

I do not posses the vocabulary to adequately describe my contempt, my utter repugnancy regarding the failure of the Democratic Party to fully participate in the legislative process in Indiana and Wisconsin. Like a spoiled brat facing defeat, they have gathered up their basketball and run away. The people have spoken and the Democrat, Big Government agenda was soundly defeated. Unable to accept the loss of power, the Democrats have fled to the People's Republic of Illinois.

Not only do the policies of the Democrat Party stifle job creation, the Democrats of Indiana are doing their best to give money to the hotels and restaurants of  neighboring state!

It is sad that I have to point out the obvious to some of our elected Democrat Party officials. In a Representative Democracy a key component of the democratic process is the minority has its say while the majority has its way. Such is the consequence of elections.

The Democrat Party representatives from Indiana are upset the State is considering a bill to make Indiana a "right to work" state.  This means a person cannot be forced to join a union as a condition of employment. How can people who are supposedly "for the little guy" be against letting an individual make his own choice to join a union or not? We all know the answer to that question. The unions cannot allow potential members to opt out, because the vast majority of current union members will drop from the rolls and few if any potential new hires will be willing to give part of their own money to the corrupt, left leaning union thugs. Of course the unions will lose money and the contributions to the Democrat Party will dry up.

Nice wig you cowardly jerk
So here's to you Pat Bauer you dickhead. You cry baby, you worthless piece of crap. You have failed to represent the people of Indiana who elected you, you have failed in fulfilling your oath of office, you have proven you are but the pawn of the unions.  You have shown us all in the State of Indiana you are a spoiled little brat, unwilling and unable to participate in the democratic process. Good riddance. I hope the ignorant electorate of St Joe county finally wake up and send you packing.

Oh, and Mitch -- kiss your Presidential ambitions bye- bye with your support of the Democrat Party's craven actions.

February 22, 2011

So What?

I have a massive case of the "I don't Give A Shits" today. No motivation. I have to drive a couple of hours through what looks to be terrible weather to see a customer. Another night in a damn hotel.

I would past the whole Seven Dwarfs "work, work, work"  song but I am too lazy to look it up.

Happy Tuesday, I guess.

February 21, 2011

Screwing Off On President's Day

It is President's Day and for some reason that means a holiday at my company. I have no plans, I will screw off on the old interwebz, read a little and maybe watch some TV. I watched The Dirty Dozen last evening. I bet I have seen that movie fifty times.

Today I am honoring President William Henry Harrison (1773 - 1841). In his one short month (32 days) in office William Henry did not sign an executive order, propose a single piece of legislation, appoint a single judge, pardon a big donor, get a blow job from an intern, or allow his czars and bureaucrats to implement a single Presidential Policy. Too bad we cannot convince our current legislators or President to take a break for a month or two in his honor. Now President Harrison did not decline from politics from a Tea Party-like preference for limited government, rather he scored a massive case of pneumonia shortly after his inauguration and spent the next month on his sickbed, succumbing to the illness.

Harrison was an Indian fighter of some repute, defeating the unified tribes at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. Harrison was the last President elected who was born prior to the Declaration of Independence. As governor of the Northwest and Indiana Territories, he is best known as an advocate of expanding slavery. He won the Presidency on his reputation as a war hero from the war of 1812.

So here's to old William Henry. A very short tribute on President's Day.

February 20, 2011

It is raining

We survived the surprise party last night.  I had a great time. I laughed until my face hurt. My old roomie was certainly surprised the whole gang showed up. There was one story that nearly killed me with laughter, one that I had forgotten.

In the fraternity the rooms were considered suites. There were two rooms and a small sleeping room.  The original design was two rooms with two desks and a sleeping room with two sets of bunk beds in the middle. In every case the desks were moved into one room and the second room was made into a living room/party room. This room was usually filled with cast-off couches, recliners and in the early 1980's, elaborate stereo systems that took up a lot of room.

One of the roommates had stinky feet. They smelled bad.  At one point we made B keep his shoes outside the room the stink was so terrible. Now roommate G was always complaining about the foot smell. One day, while he was at class we took a couple of B's smelly socks and stuffed them deep into G's pillow case. That night we climbed into our bunks early, just to see the reaction.

G came to bed and started bitching about the smell. We gagged on our pillows, laughing so hard.  G punched his pillow in frustration. He moaned that the smell was even worse. This went on for days and days, until G finally did his laundry (probably weeks) and found the dirty socks. Believe me, sonsofbitches and motherfuckers were the least of the oaths flung our way.

That tale is probably not the college hijinks you expected. Maybe this is one of those "you had to be there stories".

February 19, 2011

2994

I woke about 6:30 this morning, bladder full. I slipped into the bathroom and then out to the kitchen to get a glass of water. The full moon was shining bright, low in the western sky. I tried to go back to sleep. My wife was gently snoring in her favorite position; her back to me.

I looked at the clock. It was a little after seven.  There was just enough light from the rising sun to see as I pulled on yesterday's Nike T-shirt and some jeans. I went into the bathroom and did my poke-the-finger thing. The readings were acceptable this morning. I padded to the kitchen.  The old coffee from yesterday was still in the filter. I threw it away and began the coffee making ritual. While it brewed I slipped on my shoes and went outside to get the paper.

The moon was almost covered by some thin clouds. The air was warm for a February morning. I offered a silent prayer of thanks for the blessings God has given me and headed inside. The paper was filled with local nothing. The local boys lost a basketball game, a local factory announced its' closing. More unemployment. Obamanomics in play once again. I poured a cup of coffee and filled a bowl with Lucky Charms. I know. Breakfast and the morning paper done, I refilled my coffee cup and dropped into my office chair.

The laptop hummed to life. A quick click on the "e" desktop icon, a tap on the drop down menu brought me here -- post 2994.

Next month I will have been at this for six years, if my often-faulty math is correct. We have become comfortable friends, you and I. You know my stories, understand my dry sense of humor. The blog world changes.  Old bloggers are gone and done, new ones come along.  The same with readers. Some of you have stopped by to share my life for years, some found me today, by accident or purpose.

I am in a weird reflective mood today. We are going to a surprise party this evening.  An old college buddy turns fifty.  I have not seen him for a few years and I am excited to go. The wife is going because she knows I want to. She could take it or leave it.  An evening listening to us reliving past lives and watching me drink beer is not on her bucket list, I am sure. The old stories are not so amusing to her anymore, she has heard them far too often, and was part of most of them as they happened. She is not too interested in the past. I spend a lot of time there, in my mind, in this blog, in the books I read, the music I play.

There will be a lot of teasing about old farts tonight I am sure.  I will join right in, since accident of birth leaves me 48 --  for another month -- as some of my closest friends turn fifty. Don't think for a minute I won't point that out.

There you have my Saturday; the morning routine and the evening plans. Black ink on a white background. The curtains to a window on my life pulled back a fraction to let you see in. You peek.  Are you hoping to see me dancing naked wearing a Groucho nose and clown shoes? Do you hope to catch me crying at the ending of Breakfast at Tiffany's? If you want good writing and quality entertainment you are shopping at the wrong store. Whatever your reasons for lurking outside my blogging widow, I thank you.

I hope your Saturday turns out as nice as the one I have planned.

February 18, 2011

Here in flyover country

I am back from my quick 24 hour sojourn in Gotham City. The visit lasted 23 hours and 56 minutes too long. Weird, the traffic in Chicago is worse than what I usually face in New York, but I hate the New York visits so much more. Perhaps I am more familiar with the Windy City? I had a great view of the Mall and Monuments as I connected through Reagan Airport yesterday afternoon.

Flying still sucks. As I sat in various airports this week I tried to do a quick addition. I think I have now made over 600 commercial flights. I am estimating on the low side. In reality it is probably more in the 700 range. I have never done an actual count and it is too late to start now. That total is way less than a lot of business travelers and far more than most people. At least I am long past the days of 100 plus flights a year. If I travelled like that now, I would blow my brains out. Undressing at the airport, emptying the bags for the TSA -- what a pain. And sadly, does anyone really feel any safer for the remarkable inconvenience? There is no greater example of the idiocy of Governmental policies than airport screening. Does anyone remember the days of the Unibomber when screeners would ask you if you had guns or bombs in your bag? Like I would admit it if I did.

It is Friday, and that counts for something.  I am off for the Monday Holiday so I have a three day weekend to look forward to. It is warm today, in the low fifties. It would be nice to get in a good cigar, but I doubt it is going to happen.  I have a desk full of work to get done.  In addition, I have already broken my New Years Resolution to do my expenses in a timely fashion. I  still haven't done my January receipts, forget February. I believe I have mentioned how I hate doing expenses?

February 16, 2011

Today's earworm


Do yourself a favor and check out the live version from Yessongs

Bonus


Is there a better bass player in the world?

February 15, 2011

Crack the Code, read the post

vtsvk yjr vpfr, trsf yjr apdy.

apdyomh eozz nr zohjy yjr mrcy gre fsud -- O jsbr yp hp yp givlomh Mre Uptl. Niy O eozz apdy dpqr hppf qidov gpt upi yp rmkpu.



If you crack the code, do not give it away, help your fellows by dropping a hint in the comments. Here is an example:  m=q

Education Reform

There has been a lot of talk about education reform lately, not only here in Indiana, but nationwide. With two educators in the family I have a little perspective on the issue.

I believe we can solve much of the problem with two simple actions. I also have some ancillary ideas on education as well. Before I get to the meat of the issue, we all need to acknowledge the role of education in society. It is not the job of the school to make sure your kid has something to eat. If you are poor, you are getting food stamps and assistance. The school should not be providing breakfast and dinner.  Lunch is provided to keep the school day flowing. Just as factories and businesses have lunchrooms, so the school provides lunch. Parents have a significant role to play in education. If your kid is failing to get the education you think he deserves, start the process by looking in the mirror. In some cases the public school is at fault, in many instances lazy parents are to blame.

The first way to improve schools is to provide vouchers for students. If a parent wants to send their kid to a charter or private school then they should be given the a voucher for the same amount the taxpayers are spending on public schools. As far as using the vouchers to move from one public school to another, I am open to arguments. I understand the teachers/schools argument that moving the best and brightest from a given school, leaving only the can't learn/won't learn makes for a failing system. On the other hand, it is not fair to force a student to attend a crappy school all for reasons of geography.  It is a chicken/egg problem.

Second, grading teachers based on the student's test scores is a crazy idea. Some classes are just smarter than others.  My daughter's graduating class sported 7 students with perfect GPAs. Five were National Merit Scholar finalists or semifinalists -- from a class of ;less than 250. Fifteen of the class scored above 1400 on the SATs. Obviously the following class' standardized test scores dropped significantly. This did not mean the school, nor the teachers failed.

Judging solely on test scores has several negative results beyond those I discussed above. Anyone who believes cheating on the standardized tests does not occur is delusional.  Schools, teachers and school systems do anything possible to make sure the scores meet the required levels. Students should get a well rounded education, not just learn what is necessary to pass the test.

There are some lousy teachers out there.  My kids and your's have had them. Both my boys were put behind in math from Middle School because the teacher they had did not bother/could not teach the material. Both struggled through high school math, always getting by, but having to work very hard just to keep up. Those teachers need to be weeded out. Tenure should be abolished. No one should be guaranteed a job, just because they worked at it for three or five years.

Teachers want to be treated and paid as professionals and they should accept the same professional standards as the rest of us. Teacher Unions (and ALL public sector unions) should be abolished. Each teacher should be evaluated by the principal each year. I will even allow that the lead teacher or peer review could be part of the evaluation. Teachers that cannot teach should be fired, just as any other under performing employee. I bet we would all be surprised at the number of teachers who become suddenly energized when the job is not safe for life.

That is it. Vouchers and abolishing tenure will do the trick. When teachers are working to keep their job, just like the rest of us, they will put more effort into the job.  I bet using the same lesson plans from a decade ago (even when the texts change) will become a thing of the past. Students will learn, test scores will improve.

We do not need more tests, more state or federally mandated rules. Just better teachers. Improve the teacher, improve student learning, and the failing schools will magically improve.

February 14, 2011

Love is in the air

My two favorite Valentine Girls
The fourteenth day of the second month has rolled around. That means it is Hallmark Card Day  St. Valentine's Day. A few times in the past I have offered my own true life love story -- the tale of my first date with my wife. I am sure you have all seen it more than once by now, so I will not offer it up again. One can only watch 27 Dresses, When Harry Met Sally or Breakfast at Tiffany's so many times, and my love story also gets old. But if you must, you can find it in the archives here. There on the right is a picture of my two favorite girls, taken some 24 years ago.

Anyway, fellas, buy your wife/girlfriend/significant other something today. I do not care if it is a made up holiday. I do not care if she says she does not go for that kind of stuff-- she does. Even if she is a practical girl, a gift that says "I love you" is still a lovely gesture.  Flowers, cards, stuffed animals, one of those fake roses found next to the cash register at the gas station, a Payday candy bar scrawled with "I love you baby" with a Sharpie is better than nothing. It is all about the effort, Dude. You do not have to blow her away with a candle-lit dinner, diamonds and soft music. Just let her you are thinking of her, that she is important in your life.

Ladies, your man just wants some nookie. No sentiment is required.

The wind is howling today, but it promises to be warm -- in the low 40s. Not exactly a heat wave, but far better than the teens and twenties we have seen since mid-November. Most of the snow is finally melting. I did see two different jack-asses at WalMart yesterday in shorts and tank tops. The white-trash gene runs deep in this part of the nation.

It is Monday, time to do some work.

February 13, 2011

If I were king of the forrrreesssst

Well, well, well. It is Sunday morning in Obamaland. Millions of people still believe the Government somehow just gives away money and benefits. Half of America does not pay income taxes. Locally more than 50% of the students are getting free or reduced lunches. We still remain the only country in the world not drilling our own oil resources. Somehow there is a belief it is better to buy what we need than produce it.

Do you want to be depressed like my on this fine Sunday?  Do a little research.  Add up the number of laws introduced into Congress last year. Add in what your State and Local Government saw fit to legislate and regulate. Is it really possible we need so many rules in a free society? In more than 200 years haven't we covered most of the stuff we need  to have an ordered populace? 

How about we demand our elected officials take a break? They only come to their respective Capitals to do the required fiscal and spending bills. Then each and every one of them goes home -- in the case of Washington officials, not to Georgetown or Frederick, but to their hometown and state. They could save on per diem, they could reconnect with the people.  They will not need to do fundraising, or meet with lobbyists.  There will be no Congressional junkets, no fact-finding tours, no trips to exotic locales for conferences, or "business development". Seriously, China is not going to open factories in the United States.

Let's go a step further.  I say we start over. We do not need a Constitutional Convention -- we already have the more perfect union. We just follow the blueprint established by our forefathers. Get rid of all Federal employees and departments. Start over again. If we really need an Department of Education debate the merits n the New Congress. If the National Endowment for the Arts is where we want to spend our hard-earned taxes, so be it. But every department will have new employees. new management. term limits -- bring 'em on for elected officials and for the bureaucrats. Just because we have done it a certain way in the past does not mean there is not a better way.

I say every new law in the new Government must show how it meets Constitutional muster. Every new law will sunset n 10 years. If it is still a good idea after a decade, it will be passed again. No legislation by regulation and fiat from various agencies. If lawmakers are spending their time voting on the latest EPA idea, then he is not dreaming up new ways to limit my freedoms.

Foreign aid has to be cut. Starting next year all aid will be reduced 10%. A further 10% will be cut each year after that until the US money well is dried.. If we can't educate Ghana on the threat of AIDS in a decade, then we never will. I get that some places need help, but charity begins at home. We have enough debt without borrowing money to give to someone else.  Would you take out a second mortgage in order to donate to the Salvation Army? Then why are we stealing from our kids piggy bank to give to Egypt or Palestinian Terrorists?

Look, I cannot solve all of the country's problem is one Sunday morning blog post, but these ideas are a start.

February 12, 2011

Mmmmm, Kidney Pie

Good morning fellow blogworld travellers. We find ourselves on the cusp of a warm-up here in Hoosierland. Finally. This global warming has been kicking my ass.  I know I am not alone, most of the country has seen a harsh winter so far. I have some bad news, though. Winter is still far from over. It is a sad commentary when we are celebrating a warm up when the temperatures are just going to be what is normal or average for this time of year.

Do you ever get recurring dreams?  Not the kind where you dream the same thing for days on end, but a dream that you have several times in a night? For instance I kept dreaming about an email I need to send to a customer. I  would wake up and think, WTF?, go back to sleep and have the same dream again. I think I had the dream a dozen times in the last few minutes (hours?) before I got up this morning. Perhaps the proper term is worrying instead of dreaming? I don't know, but sometimes these recurring dreams are not about work, but stupid stuff. It is like my brain is an old LP record that gets stuck, playing the same bits repeatedly. I used to rarely dream, but since I went on my diabetes medicine I have more dreams and they are more vivid. Perhaps it is a function of sleeping better and more deeply? I don't know, but the repeating dreams drive me crazy. If I am going to get stuck on something why couldn't be naked women visions of my naked wife or something similar?

Late yesterday afternoon the demon chewing on my right kidney had his fill and moved on. The pain left as suddenly as it came on. There is some weird shit going on, I tell you.

Hey, look at that! I have filled a decent-sized post without saying anything. Just yesterday I was discussing with my wife my lack of talent in any area. I guess I was wrong. reading nearly six years of back posts at this poor excuse for entertainment will tell all and sundry I am very good at wasting your time. Quantity over quality works every time. 

Enjoy your weekend.

February 11, 2011

I need a milkshake

I have this nice post all written in my head on education reform. It will have to wait. I don't feel like writing today.

February 10, 2011

Thank You John Steinbeck

For years I felt I had an obligation to finish any book I started. I had the mistaken belief that there would be some redemptive quality if I just stuck it out to the end. That attitude allows me to claim on my "I read it" list such legendary tomes as Don Quixote, The Inferno, War and Peace, The Vicar of Wakefield, and that total overrated piece of shit Moby Dick. I suffered through Hawthorne, Defoe and Sinclair. I made it through Sister Carrie and the remarkably similar Communist Manifesto.

It was The Grapes of Wrath and those damn turtles crossing the road that finally convinced me life is too short to read crappy books. Since then I have failed to finish lots of authors. I lose not a minute of sleep in tossing aside the latest bestseller if it fails to entertain me(see Grishom's Ford County). Currently, I find myself reading a book I bought for the Kindle. I only paid $2.99 for it, but that was too much. Three dollars too much, if you get my meaning. I should have used the "try it free" preview feature. Another lesson learned the hard way.

At what point do you give up on a book? When I grab a novel by an unknown author from the library I have no issue tossing it after a dozen pages or so. But as a cheap bastard, I have a harder time giving up on something I paid for. I am about 1/3 through the book now. It is not funny. The plot is inane, and the story spins in a predictable fashion. It is almost as if I wrote the thing. I won't give you the title, because there is a certain segment of the population that will try to read this crap book, just too see if it is as bad as I claim. I know, I am just such a person.

I guess I will give it a few more pages then move on to other stuff. I have at least a dozen books waiting, paid and unpaid. I am sure any will be more entertaining than the current selection.

Example #156 of I wish I had said that

As usual, James Old Guy nails it.  Read it here.

February 9, 2011

Egyptian Waffles

We all have that mental picture of the hardy frontiersman holding a wet finger aloft to gauge the wind before making that long shot on the dusky heathen hidden in the distant rocks. Except no marksman of repute would even bother with the wet finger technique. Assessing the wind with a finger to the air serves as no guideline to the wind across the valley or even a few dozen yards away.

In a similar fashion you never see an NFL placekicker do the finger to the wind experiment. It is the inexperienced and novice that resorts to such amature tactics.

Holding a finger to the wind does not work in determining ballistics and it will not serve as an effective tool in foreign policy. The Obama Administration has no idea how to handle the various crises in the Mideast, so they change their position daily depending on the prevailing winds. Except by the time the Obamaites have placed the policy making finger to test the wind, the politics of the moment have changed, making all involved look like bumbling armature fools.

We should not be surprised the key players in the administration have no clue on foreign policy. None have management or decision making skills. Obama has no experience running anything except a campaign. Biden is a career politician and Hillary has no foreign policy expertise of any kind. Yes, her husband was President, but that in no way makes her qualified. My wife has been married to me nearly 27 years.  I would not venture to claim she could discuss the merits of my widgets to a prospective customer. That is not a slam against the love of my life, but rather pointing out the obvious fact that one does not gain skills through osmosis. Or, in Hillary's case, even sleeping in a bedroom down the hall from the President. She did manage the Bill's Bimbos Eruption Team during the campaign, but that left her ill-prepared to handle current global crises. I am not sure how she is going to blame Egypt on the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy when it seems Obama's old leftist buddies from the Weathermen and Code Pink are among the groups stirring up the trouble in Cairo.

The Obama serves us a side of Egyptian Waffles everyday simply because he does not have the ability to manage the situation.  Taking hard decisions and looking out for America's best interest is so far from his mind, his beliefs and his skill set, that the very idea is impossible. The Obama cannot solve the Egyptian issue by apologizing or blaming Bush. He is out of answers. The playbook is empty.  He did not learn how to assuage allies while encouraging terrorists and be always on the winning side at Community Organizer School.

But not to worry, I am sure Michelle can solve the food crisis in Egypt by advising them to just eat more broccoli. It is clear the starving poor are not getting proper nutrition.

As for the domestic front. all it takes is a little more spread the wealth rhetoric, a few more Government give-aways and we can all be happy. No need for the private sector to create jobs when our largess comes from the Government. Broccoli?  Heck let 'em eat cake.

February 8, 2011

Revisiting an old friend -- with a new twist

Today we are going to once again offer a little contest.  Years ago there was a game show where the contestants tried to name a song based on the opening notes. Somehow, I did very well playing along at home. I have always been able to recognize songs and music. Today we are going to attempt a variation on that theme. I will offer the opening lines of five different songs and you will try to guess the song title and artist.

I know what you are mumbling.  Hey, Joe, this sounds a lot like the Friday Five, a feature of this blog I loathe. Well it isn't the Friday Five. It is Tuesday not Friday. And you will enjoy this contest of knowledge. It will be fun, stirring up old memories.  You should prepare yourself to exclaim "I remember that song". You are going to thank me and beg me to do this contest every week. Nay, every day.

So here we go. Below are the opening lines of five songs from the classic rock era. None should be too obscure. No B-sides, no tricks. Identify the title and artist in the comments.  Don't forget to tell me how much you love this fabulous idea.

We will start off easy:

1. I was born in a cross-fire hurricane
And I howled at my ma in the driving rain

2.I woke up in a Soho doorway
A policeman knew my name
He said "You can go sleep at home tonight
If you can get up and walk away"

3. I remember standing on the corner at midnight
Trying to get my courage up
There was this long lovely dancer in a little club downtown
I loved to watch her do her stuff

4. Whiskey bottles and brand new cars
Oak tree, you're in my way
There's too much coke and too much smoke
Look what's going on inside you

5. Well, I just got into town about an hour ago
Took a look around, see which way the wind blow

I know, it is fun, right?

Put your answers in the comments.

February 7, 2011

There is a broken down vehicle blocking the right lane

It is Monday and that means back to work for many of us, and back to school for the millions of kids across the nation affected by last week's snow an dice storms. The Big Game is over. I have nothing of interest to impart. Most of you will not be surprised.

I have been reading like a fiend since Christmas. I can see the Kindle so much better than old musty pages, especially paperbacks. I have finished 12 books since Christmas. That is almost two a week. Some of you probably read more, my wife has not read two books in thirty years. To each his own.

I hit the work day early today.  My burst of enthusiasm pretty much petered out by 9:00 am.  But I started with good intentions! That is what counts in today's modern, progressive society. Who cares if the social programs that bankrupt the nation do not work?  Who cares that Obamacare will increase insurance costs and make you lose your plan and cause doctors to retire by the tens of thousands?  We have good intentions!

February 6, 2011

Big Game Sunday

Today is the culmination of the NFL season. I really have no interest in either team, but I guess the game could be good.  On paper the teams look evenly matched. The words good game and Superbowl rarely can be placed in the same sentence, however.

I should not have typed the trademarked name of the Big Game. The NFL gets a little wonky when the words "bowl" and "Super" are used together. They are not as crazy and obsessed as the governing body for college sports, who really get their panties bunched in their crack when you use "madness" and the third month of the year together. I suppose they might miss out on few pennies of royalties.

Anyway, I will watch the game. I expect to see a low scoring affair, but that is rarely the case in the Big Game. Even if the Steelers do pull off a victory, can we stop the Big Ben Is The Greatest Ever And Let's Put Him In Canton NOW talk? The team from Iron City wins on defense, and a strong running game. If you need evidence the team is not about the QB, the Steelers were 3-1 with a journeyman third string quarterback while Ben was doing penance for allegedly pawing unwilling women. Look it up, the stats are out there. Rothlisberger is a middle-of-the-pack quarterback at best. On most other NFL teams he would be considered a serviceable starting signal caller. He had the good fortune to be drafted by a winner. Ben did not make the Steelers winners.  There is a difference.

Enjoy the game, the commercials, the endless analysis. Or not. This is America and you can watch the Lifetime Channel, or How I Met Your Mother reruns. Put in a movie or read a book. Do what as you will. I don't care, as long as you have a great Sunday.

February 5, 2011

What my Brother would post if he had a blog

A young Arab asks his father, "What is that weird hat you are wearing?"

The father said, "Why, it's a 'chechia' because in the desert it protects our heads from the sun."

"And what is this type of clothing that you are wearing?" asked the young man.

"It's a 'djbellah' because in the desert it is very hot and it protects your body." said the father.

The son asked, "And what about these ugly shoes on your feet?

His father replied, "These are 'babouches', which keep us from burning our feet when in the desert."

"Tell me, Abba?" added the boy.

"Yes, my son?"

"Why are we living in Dearborn , Michigan and you're still wearing all this shit?"
 
 
From Otter. Who does not have his own blog.  And why would he? Blogging is dead. Twitter and Facebook, that is where the action is.  Except for me.  I think I am among the last inhabitants of Earth not on Facebook. Except for that one guy in Outer Mongolia. And that scary dude in the shack in Montana. And that farm couple in NW Nebraska, they don't even have the internet.  And me. None of us are on Facebook. Don't look, I am not there. I am not twittering fluttering myspacing.  This piece o' crap takes up too much time.  I do not need any more hobbies.  Just get off my back about it already.

February 4, 2011

Just Because



Let's try not to riot like an Egyptian this weekend, OK?

Working

Going at it hard on a Friday morning. Hobbies have to wait.

Check back every ten minutes or so to see if I have published anything.  I need the hits.

February 3, 2011

Episode 23, our hero braves the elements in search of potatoes

I have not been able to get out and walk since Sunday, and I feel like crap. Maybe I can brave the streets today, but a street that looks clear in a car can be treacherous when walking. My neighborhood is still pretty bad and there are no sidewalks. Most of the lazy homeowners would fail to clean them off anyway.  I am amazed at the number of people who do not even bother to clean their driveway.

The wife was gripped deep in the throes of cabin fever, so we ventured out to the store late yesterday.  The shelves remained bare of bread, but there was plenty of other stuff. Some $200 later, I had the bag of potatoes we needed.

I made salmon patties and fried potatoes for supper.  It was darn good, but the house still stinks this morning in spite of burning candles.  The wife baked some chocolate chip cookies last night, but even the awesome goodness of baking cookies cannot overcome the power of fried salmon.

Be safe.

Balance the budget

John Stossel for President. Beats the hell out of any of the proposed candidates so far.

Read this.

February 2, 2011

Egypt is Burning

I have been doing a bit of research the past month or so on the French Revolution. In the past I spent far more time on Napoleon and his wars, and I really did not care much to study the Jacobins and the Reign of Terror. I took a class in war and revolution back in college and we read Bacon and Paine and discussed the role of revolution in a general way, but this is the first time in 30 years I really have studied the period.

I have a half formulated post spinning in my brain relating the French Revolution and its extremes to today's world, but nothing coherent has yet found its way to virtual paper. I am not about to begin that essay now, so hold off on letting those eyes glaze over.

It is interesting to compare some of the rhetoric spouted by The Obama and his minions to that of the various French Revolutionaries. Did you know that at the height of the Reign of Terror it was fashionable to be dirty, smelly and sporting rags for clothes? You see, the basis for the Revolution was equality. Appearing in nice clothes, or washed, meant you were trying to be better than the average street dweller. Since the Revolution's roots were the hunger protests of the poor, the homeless and the residents of the slums, no one dared affect the look of the "Aristos". Somehow, the idea of equal opportunity espoused in the American Revolution was perverted to "equal outcome" by the French. Does that position sound familiar?

Some experts are amazed at the rapidity of Revolution in Tunisia and Egypt. History shows the people can overthrow a government in very little time. We have many examples beyond the French. Look at the rapid fall of the Communist Bloc and the Berlin Wall. Unless a regime is prepared to brutally suppress the revolt, the mass of the people can fast overwhelm any government. A hesitant military will allow the people to overcome the police and law enforcement. It is interesting to note the police in most revolutions side with the regime in power. The linchpin is always the military. Will soldiers fire upon their fellow citizens?

In 1956 Hungary, it was not the Hungarian Army that put down the revolt. It was the Soviets. Foreign armies of occupation are far more willing to  shoot would-be revolutionaries and suppress rebellion. It has been reported China brought in troops from the distant provinces to put down the Tienanmen Square revolt, afraid troops from Beijing would hesitate.

In Egypt, the police have tried to suppress the protests. The key is the role the military will take.  Remember, it is the military that really controls Egypt. In any case, a change in regime can not bode well for our relations with Egypt. Israel will find a far more Islamist state next door than previously.  These events can not be positive for oil prices, for regional stability, for the War on Terror.

We should not be surprised when similar events occur across the Middle East in the coming months. Oppression, poverty and a vast difference in the standard of living between the ruling class and the people will in the end precipitate a revolution.  The rise of the people will be fast and furious. And little good will come of it.  Rage is never a good formula for governance.

Windy Wednesday

All said, things could have been worse.  We have about an inch of ice on everything. The drive is as smooth and white as a skating rink. A layer of frozen rain covered the sleet. It is smooth and slick.  Perhaps the neighbors hit the whole addition with a Zamboni machine in the night? The howling winds would have covered the noise. We did not lose power (yet), but some people on the next street did. Sucks to be them.

The local fishwrap was not at the end of the drive. Likely it was not delivered due to the weather. We got off easy -- The Windy City is getting hammered.

February 1, 2011

So...

Did you hear the one about the old middle age guy who went out to get the newspaper?  He slid down the driveway like an Austrian ski jumper going for Olympic Gold. He managed to grab the newspaper as he slid by and finally came to a stop in the street. He was still on his feet, the slide culminating in a textbook ice skate stop (though only wearing some smooth-soled Asics).

Then the dumb old jerk could not get back up the ice covered incline of that same drive.

He finally walked over and crunched his way back to the front door by walking in the grass.

Smarter than your average bear, eh BooBoo?
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