December 31, 2012

Dear Baltimore

For those of you who follow the NFL you are probably aware the Indianapolis Colts will travel to Baltimore for a playoff game next weekend.

Already we are hearing the stories about how Indianapolis "stole" the Colts in the dark of night ...blah, blah, blah.

In one more year the Colts will have been in Indy as long as they were in Baltimore. It is time to let it go.

Seriously, except for a few idiot fans and mostly the media, this quit being a story back in the 1980's. How many of the jackasses throwing eggs at the Colts team bus, and expressing the angst (while wearing Ravens purple) were even born in 1984 when the team moved? You know, the team FEW in Baltimore supported until they left?  The one the City was trying to take via eminent domain? The one that played in a half-empty crumbling stadium each week.

Baltimore fans it is time to support the team you wooed from Cleveland (irony alert) and get over a slight so old even the Godfather would forget it.

December 30, 2012

2012 -- The year in review

It is fashionable as the New Year rolls around to offer a recap of the previous year. Well you know me, I am a slave to fashion.  This post is my first ever Year in Review analysis. You might want to move back in your chair, you will find yourself increasingly on the edge and I don't want you to fall off.

There were approximately 365 days in 2012. There were 12 months and about 52 weeks. There were, in my part of the country, 4 seasons. It was alternately cold then hot then cold again. Some days were wet with rain and snow, some were dry.  Many were cloudy.  Some were bright and cheery.

I worked the requisite days for my employer. He paid me a fair wage.  At the end of the year it appears we made a bit more than we spent. I stayed in the neighborhood of 45 nights in hotels in various cities. I made about 30 plane landings. I don't think I went anywhere new. I stayed in hotels in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Oregon. There might be more.

Politically we had a Presidential election where the candidates were both less than optimal.  The takers now outnumber the makers and despite one of the worst economic records in history, The Obama breezed to a second term. Congress continues to demonstrate it is about the Power, not the People.

I managed to offer up 497 posts of varying quality -- counting this one. Most were composed with a tongue planted firmly in my left cheek. That brings the post total to 3,900 since March of 2005.

In 2012 sporting events occurred and movies were made. I watched some of both. I read some books. I slept and ate and walked and even ran a few times. I remained breathing and living throughout the year. That fact alone makes 2012 a very good year.

December 28, 2012

Post holiday blues -- treatment and cures

I keep staring at that damn blinking cursor, but through some kind of glitch in the system words will not type themselves. Does your computer write posts for you? Neither will mine. So here I am still vainly trying to follow the Acidman's advice and post something every day. I don't know why.

I could rant and rave about the damn politicians in Washington, but you and I are going to get screwed over, so why bother? I could describe in tedious detail my daily activities, but let us be honest, I'm bored by my life these days. The combined talents of Hemingway, Twain and Dickens could not make my life entertaining. I eat and sleep, work and pay bills, watch TV and read, deal with the weather when I am outside, stare at it through the windows when I'm not. In other words, my life is your life and who wants to read about mundane stuff like that?

It is Friday, and I have plenty to be thankful for.  You do too. After all, once again I managed to get you to read a whole post about nothing.

And you thought I was a no-talent hack.

December 27, 2012

I think Santa is getting old

The fat man in the red suit was either not paying attention or he is getting hard of hearing. It is probably time to change the old batteries in the hearing aids, Mr. Claus. You see, I asked for a snow blower for Christmas..Instead I got blowing snow.  Lots of it -- about 10 inches of the wet heavy stuff. But the jolly old elf gave the same gift to all of my friends and neighbors.  In point of fact he dumped a shit-load of snow all over the mid-west (that is a technical term of measurement).

I got half of my driveway shoveled last evening, so we can get the wife's SUV out if need be. There was not much hurry. The plow did not find my street until sometime in the wee hours of this morning. I am going to head out and tackle the rest of the driveway as soon as I am done sharing these riveting details with you.

The upper part of my drive is actually three cars wide, and only two wide at the bottom. The hard part is the boy's car occupies the far right part of the drive, necessitating a very long throw of snow. This exercise is where my age is starting to show.  I can't toss a shovel of snow as far as I used to. This means I am moving the same snow twice.

The boy wisely trudged off through the drifts to a friend's to spend the night. That boy ain't stupid.

December 26, 2012

Slick and dangerous

That is how the roads are described this morning. We are supposed to get pounded by a strong winter storm today. The snow prediction is for around a foot of the white stuff.  It is snowing and blowing as I type these words. We shall see what Mother Nature delivers for a post Holiday treat.

I hope you all had as nice a Christmas as I did. If you did, that would mean yours was pretty damn good. We spent Christmas Eve at my Mom and Dad's with my brother and his family then headed over to my wife's family for evening festivities. I have eaten enough food over the past few days to feed every hungry kid in those commercials for a month or two.

Yesterday my kids all came down and we feasted. gifted and gamed the day away. I believe every one was satisfied. The wife gifted me a new winter coat which it looks like I will get to use today and some cigars among other cool stuff. Cigars! Not many wives will provide stinky smoke sticks for their man. I am a lucky guy indeed. Can't smoke 'em in the house though. And she will bitch about how my clothes stink after I have indulged...but still.

Why don't you people tell me when I have a major spelling error in the titles to these exercises in entertainment? This place displays my foolishness on a regular basis, I don't need my stupid typing inadequacies  broadcast as well. You gotta look out for a fellow blogger people.

December 23, 2012

A Christmas card for you



Merry Christmas to all of you.  That you take a minute or two to stop by is a gift beyond measure. Thank you.

December 22, 2012

December 22, 1978

I first published this back in 2007. It is one of my favorite stories. Not because I think it is especially well-written, but because each and every word in it is true. These events took place yesterday, just a lifetime ago in 1978.  I thought about tightening up the tale a little, but instead I give it to you just as originally published. Editing is hard work.  Submitted again for the readers who, for some unknown reason, did not frequent these pages in the bygone glory years. And also because I cannot think of anything else to write today:

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'.

December 21, 2012

Friday Christmas Music



Ask and you shall receive

And who does not remember this classic?:




Just think, I almost dropped some Chipmunk's Christmas Song here.

I'm Alive

The wind is howling still this morning. We got an inch or so of snow on top of an inch or so of rain yesterday. Slick conditions are the word of the day. School has been delayed by 2 hours.  When I went outside to get the paper I noticed the boy parked next to the curb.  I suppose the driveway was too icy for him to make it up the slight incline when he came home in the wee hours.

I woke around 4:00 this morning.  I don't know why.  I tossed and turned until about 5:00 and finally just got up. I will need a nap later, I suspect. Since I am on vacation, it will fit into my empty schedule.

We finally finished our shopping last night.  Now we have to get stuff wrapped and under the big tree in the living room. I wrapped the wife's gifts last week.  I am the man! Said the boy yesterday: "I was snooping under the tree.  All the gifts are for Mom.  What the hell is up with that?" If he wanted to snoop at his gifts all he has to do is come into my office.  The goods are stacked next to my desk.

I don't want to catch you rummaging around in here either!

If I can get motivated I might do some baking later today. In the meantime I am off to waste some time on the interwebz. I have canned some first rate holiday music for your enjoyment later this morning, so check back often.

Hello?

Are we still here?

Fucking Mayans anyway.

December 20, 2012

I am so excited it is all I can do to keep from peeing my pants

I watched a couple of Christmas movies yesterday. In the afternoon I went to the 1904 World's Fair with Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis.



Have I ever mentioned the turn of the 20th century is the first stop I make after I get my time machine?

Last night I finished up my shopping and then caught White Christmas on TV.



Speaking of snow, the StormTeam/ScareTeam is in full panic mode.  We are supposed to get a tiny bit of snow tonight. I expect the populace to react as normal -- to rush out and buy up all of the bread, milk, and eggs at the grocery. This is essential because we might get snowed in, even though the history of incapacitating blizzards is limited in our area. After all, central Indiana was inconvenienced for a day or so back in '78. Snow must make the genpop have an overwhelming need to make French Toast or something.

December 19, 2012

Father knows best

Spy on your neighbor.  Turn them in to the government. The State knows what is best.  These sentiments have long been the mantra of progressives, socialists, communists, and lefties in general. Since every problem in New York is now solved -- crime is gone, Sandy is cleaned up, unicorns are farting rainbows in Central Park, Big Sodas are banned -- Nanny Bloomberg can once again turn his attention to the scourge of society -- smoking in your own home.

Get together, rat out your neighbor.  It is the New American Way.

We must do something

Cancelling gun shows on TV in the wake of a horrendous murder makes no sense. What next?  Should we expect TBS to cancel the annual A Christmas Story marathon? After all, the holiday tale is centered on a boy's desire to get a gun. Perhaps we could just digitally edit out the references to the BB gun and replace "Red Ryder Air Rifle" with "Higher taxes on the rich" or "solar powered  light up peace sign". . We have the technology. We can make it better.

While we are at it, to make the progressive-types happy, can we change the name of the movie to something less Christian-centric?

December 18, 2012

I am ready to go back to work now.

I have decided to eschew shaving this week. I am growing a beard for no other reason than I want to. I am on vacation.

"Eschew" is a great word, but I am not sure I have ever actually heard it during a conversation.  It is one of those words that crops up in written communication, but I do remember ever speaking it out loud. Apparently we eschew using the word eschew in conversation.

I am not sure how long I will last with the beard.  I last grew one in college, when I went for the Amish/Abraham Lincoln look.  That is to say beard, but no mustache. Right now on day three it is at the scratchy stage, it rubbed weird against the sheets and feels strange when I rub my granite-like jaw.  Historically it is around day three when I give in and shave.

I am sure you are riveted by this tale of facial hair.

On a completely different front I managed to make something this morning for the wife to take for her pitch-in at work.  There is that.

This blog jumped the shark so long ago I am now leaping orcas.

December 17, 2012

Pat, I would like to buy a period please

Sometimesa book will draw you in and you race through it, regardless of sleep, work, or  life. You can't wait to finish and are saddened when the book is done. Sometimes a book is so bad you toss it aside like a used diaper.  Most books fall somewhere in the middle.

I am in the midst of James Jones' acclaimed novel "From Here to Eternity".  It is one of those books with a compelling story. Unfortunately it is easy to put down.  I put it aside at every chance. I am like a kitten when I see a shiny object. Down goes the book. While I am reading I like the story very much. I just find it hard to pick back up.

Jones is amazingly wordy. His prose is more akin to a 19th century novelist than Hemingway. The man never met a period he liked. Yet his descriptions are so good you can only admire his language skills. Here is a paragraph that epitimizes both of these positions -- amazingly wordy and descriptive:

That afternoon that Mazziolli brought the transfer letter over from Regiment, Milt Warden had been sitting at his desk, puzzling over a snapshot Karen Holmes had given him of herself that was before him lying on the papers he had been working on, his cheek sumk on the knuckles of one big fist like a small boy watching a grownup's movie he could not figure out. 
One paragraph. One sentence. I suspect Hemingway blew his brains partly in protest over the overwhelming prose in this novel. I assure you this parpagraph is not unusual. This is the flavor and style of the entire novel so far. I find myself reading each sentence in breathless anticipation of a period. One sentence I just finished was 164 words long!  Often I have to go back and re-read a pssage to get a sense of what the author was trying to impart. Frankly, it is hard work. The story is compelling, but the 12 chapters I have managed so far could have been written in half the words. Would it be the same story? I don't know.  I once read a rule of thumb said good novels make bad movies. The Burt Lancaster film version of the book is first rate.

I have lots of books waiting to be read on my handy-dandy e-reader. I determined some time ago life is too short to spend on lousy books.  Jones' novel is not there yet, but more interesting stories await. I supose if I could make it through War and Peace I can get through anything. Tolstoy took me four months in fits and strts. I have been consuming Jones for less than a week.

We need more laws

The politicos and media whores are jerking their knees like a frog hooked to a battery in biology class. Laws! Rules! More!

Laws against murder did not stop the nut job in Connecticut, nor did prohibitions against firearms in a school.  More of the same will not stop the next guy. Some frantic woman on TV talk yesterday was foaming at the mouth about limiting egress points into schools. Why yes, why don't we get rid of the windows, doors and put up a fence? School feels like a prison for many students anyway.  Oh yeah, the killer came in through the front door.

Look, all of the metal detectors in the world will not stop a guy hell-bent on murder.  An armed cop is no guarantee.  Police officers are killed every day by criminals with quicker triggers and single-minded intent.

This time, by all accounts, evil visited our children not with an scary "assault weapon", but with a pair of ordinary handguns. He could have accomplished his task just as easily with a shotgun or a mixture of household chemicals. Guns are no more to blame than the gas in a Molotov Cocktail.

How do we prevent such tragedy in the future?  I don't know. Human history is replete with examples of man's inherit cruelty. Ask the citizens of a medieval village about the loss of their children after a visit from the local warlord or the Mongol Horde. Ask a frontier family about loss after a raiding party of Comanche destroyed everything, or the Cheyenne after Sand Creek. Ask the citizens of a Mexican border town about gun violence. As I said Saturday, there is evil in this world.

Tens of millions of us own guns and never resort to mayhem and murder. The old adage is true; when guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns. Every home in Switzerland has an assault rifle, yet that nation has a remarkably low crime rate. It is not the guns, it is the culture. Chicago, Washington DC and New York have some of the strictest gun control laws, yet the equivalent of a Sandy Hook takes place every weekend in those cities.

I do not have answers, but panic and knee-jerking is not a solution.


December 16, 2012

News

When it comes to sporting events the networks have adopted a policy of not showing the idiots who jump from the stands and run onto the field of play. Producers have found a reduction in incidents when the "Hey look Ma, I'm on TV" factor is removed.

Perhaps we need a similar moratorium on the breathless reporting that accompanies mass shootings. Not only will we eliminate the attention whore copy cat actions of the mentally disturbed among us, but we can temper some of the worst behaviors of the news reporters themselves.

The innuendo, suppositions, rumors and outright fabrications on display Friday leave me baffled and angry. Perhaps there is a news organization who finds it more important to be accurate than first, but it is not to be found on my television.

I could fill a blog post with a listing of "facts" reported Friday afternoon that were more fabrication than fact. It is one thing for me to sit on the edge of my recliner and posit theories.  It is simply dangerous when the anchorman and woman do it.

December 15, 2012

Saturday

Yesterday serves as a stark reminder that evil occupies this Earth.

December 14, 2012

Cruisin'

This post is evidence in abundance of my love for you. Here it is Friday, December 14, 2012, an ordinary day for most of you.  For me it is day one of vacation. I am off work until after Christmas, yet here I am doing my best to entertain you.

I could be trying to slog my way through From Here to Eternity on my Kindle or watching any of dozens of movies right now. I could be doing household chores or just kicking back drinking coffee and listening to music. I could repair to the garage and light up a fine hand-rolled stogie from a Caribbean nation. Instead  I am wasting filling your morning with my own particular brand of sunshine and lollipops.

You are welcome.

No, no thank you.

Friday Holiday Music




December 13, 2012

Relax, it is only tax money

What is it about politicians? Elect a conservative to office in no time at all he turns into a Big Government type. Does the SEIU cleaning crew put something in the coffee water?

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard started off well, cutting spending and doing the right things to get Indianapolis' fiscal house in order. Then he got the liberal disease. First it was bike paths down main arteries. Then it was a push for light rail and expanded public transit no one will ride. Now he is pushing electric vehicles on the taxpayers via  executive fiat.

I am willing to bet if the voters knew this was the agenda for a second term we might have seen a Democrat in office today. I have long maintained if the choice is pure Democrat or Democrat-Lite, voters will go for the real thing every time. After all, why buy an RC Cola when their is a can of Coca-Cola in the same vending machine?

It is bad enough valuable parking places go unused at area malls -- they are reserved as  "charging stations".for electric and hybrid vehicles. I don't see the City offering up free gas stations to fill up my car at taxpayer expense. Now taxpayer monies will be used to fund green boondoggles at the local level. Nothing epitomizes "Government" more than paying extra money for vehicles that don't perform to standard.

Asshats like Ballard somehow forget that every penny they spend is taken under penalty of law from the labors of individual citizens. The treasuries of Cities and Towns and States and the Federal Government are filled not with nebulous "tax money", but with my money, your money and your neighbors money. 

Pro Choice

Isn't interesting how the Democrats and progressive-types are all pro-choice, right up until it is a choice to belong to a union or not?

December 12, 2012

Wait a minute

Democrats are calling for a halt on Obama-Care-mandated taxes on businesses, claiming they are "job killing".

Hmm, raising taxes on business hurts jobs?. That is crazy talk. I wonder why we never heard that argument in the past?

The next thing you know, someone, somewhere, will offer up a crackpot notion that taxing the small business owners who provide more than 50% of the jobs in this country at a higher rate will also hurt employment.

"And so it goes" ...I always quote that asshole Vonnegut at funerals

An old friend died over the weekend. Mike was a man's man. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, sports and life in general.  He supported and followed his kids through Boy Scouts, college sports and life. Mike was an all around great guy. I did not spend much time with him in the past decade or so, I moved away and life continues at a fast pace. But  I will say the world is a less happy place today. Mike was a Vet, a teacher, a community leader, and one of those people who truly made a difference.

Here is an example of his sense of humor. A bunch of us were at his house one Saturday afternoon. Mike's living room window looked over his back yard and hunting dog kennel. Suddenly Mike started swearing.  "Watch that front right corner of the dog house" he said.  Sure enough after a minute or two a rat snuck* from under the dog house, ran to the dog's food bowl and snatched a bit of food before retreating back under the dog house. "Stay here" Mike said. He went out the front door.

A short time later he appeared on the far side of the dog house. Soon the rat again made its way to the bowl. Mike reached to his hip, drew his pistol and shot the rat dead. Seriously, the damn thing just fell over.  I nearly did too.  Who does a fast draw and hits a rat on the run? We went out and sure enough, there was a hole in the rodent's head. Mike flung it by the tail into the bean field beyond his property.

A few hours later the other guys left. Mike looked at me and laughed. "Don't tell anyone", he said, "But the gun was loaded with bird shot.  I couldn't miss". I believe to this day I am the only one who knows Mike was no Deadeye Dick/Wyatt Earp reincarnated. But for Mike, if no one knew the truth the whole joke was pointless. No one loved life like Mike. It is a fitting tribute the line extended out the Funeral Home door for the calling. Everyone liked Mike.

One weird thing happened at the Funeral Home. As I entered the building one of the employees looked at me and said "Hey Joe, how are you?". This might not be remarkable other than the last time I saw this girl was in May of 1980 when we graduated high school. I guess I have not changed as much as I imagine. But then I recognized her right away. The difference was in high school she was Class President and I would have been voted most forgettable in the class, if anyone could have remembered my name.



*sneaked?


December 11, 2012

Friday Holiday Music -- Tuesday Edition




My mind is a blank, so enjoy some fine Christmas music from Frank.  Go ahead and listen, I know you will dig it.

December 10, 2012

Belly Up Komrade

H/T Doug Ross




















Everyone knows the Berlin Wall was built to keep out the pesky capitalists trying to enter the Worker's Paradise.

Half the population scratches their head and asks "Berlin Wall?"

December 9, 2012

Deep Thoughts for a Sunday

Since a drunk Dallas Cowboy wrecked yesterday and killed another Dallas Cowboy  I suspect we will get a diatribe today from Bob Costas seeking to bring back prohibition.

Because I know you are losing sleep with all of the worrying

Background here and here

I bought a new halogen bulb for my desk lamp. The package says the bulb has a one year guarantee.  So did the one I replaced during the hot days of summer. I had to tear the heck out of the package to get it open. Nuclear waste is not sealed this well.

The lamp is what is dead, not the bulb. I don't know why,  I am not an electrician. I plugged it in a different outlet. No workee. Damn thing cost me like $10 at WalMart 6 years ago. I have already spent too many minutes of my precious time fiddling with it.

I am off to buy a new $10 lamp at WalMart.  It will likely cost $13 now.


Disclaimer: It is really Thursday afternoon when I am writing this post. I have already put up two posts today, I don't want you spoiled by too much exposure to mind-blowing analysis, intelligent postulation, and riveting tales such as you are reading now. I have a holiday music post and a Pearl Harbor post set for Friday already, I don't want the brilliance and edge-of-your-seat adventure of my desk lamp to obscure the importance of the December 7 anniversary.  I think I will put this story of woe and excitement into the queue for Sunday.

I have my reasons. 


What we say we pretend it is live and unfiltered by time and calendar?

 Further Disclaimers: On Friday  I just now (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) edited this post to add right here, in this very spot, a note that the wife had a spare desk lamp!  I know, who keeps a spare desk lamp handy?  It turns out she bought it for the boy to take to school and he did not want it. She had discarded the receipt, so I win. Is is wrong for me to say I liked the old one better?

If my wife were to ever read this piece o'crap blog I know what she would say. I hear it a dozen times a day. "You are so weird".

December 8, 2012

Greatest Inventions in the History of Man

I once wrote a popular post about the greatest events in the history of man. You can look it up, there is a search box around here somewhere. (I think. You can check that out for yourself too.  Do I have to do everything?) or just search Google, Bing, etc.

Today I thought I would tackle a list of the greatest inventions.  Several inventions come right to mind.  Advances in medicine, the airplane, the auto, the computer all are strong contenders for the list.  My liberal readers would find it amiss if I left off the invention of The Pill and abortion on demand. The light bulb and the printing press have to be in the running. Perhaps we should even consider such mundane products as plastic clothes hangers. Had they been around a few years earlier Joan Crawford's daughter could have avoided a beating or two.

See, this is harder than you thought.

After the jump you can see the complete list.  You can argue my ranking, but the choices are beyond debate.  I know you will agree.

December 7, 2012

A Friday triple header -- lucky you

I do not believe I have ever heard a foghorn outside of TV or movies. It would be appropriate if one were sounding its lonesome warning in my neighborhood this morning. A thick layer of fog blankets the area. I can barely make out the porch light on the neighbor's house across the cul-de-sac, and the lights on the street behind me are completely obscured. Visibility can be measured in yards, not fractions of a mile. School has been delayed by two hours to allow the fog to burn away in the morning sun. I fully expected a Boy Scout holding a lantern to light my way to the mailbox to get my paper this morning. You will understand that reference if you were a Boy Scout before the current urban version of the Boy Scout Handbook was published.

Forgive me if my ramblings seem a bit punch drunk this morning. I have been up since shortly after three in the ayem.  My old buddy insomnia came for a visit and stayed for breakfast. I will offer a hearty "You are welcome" for your unspoken thank you for not publishing the rambling nonsensical post my sleep deprived mind composed around four dark thirty. What started as a rambling apology to Jean for a snide comment I left on an earlier post became a rambling exhibit of my true schizophrenic self. TMI on display, Dear Readers. That post is safely tucked away in draft status where it belongs.

I better stop this effort before it descends down the same dark pathway.

December 7, 1941


Friday Holiday Music



..or a more traditional version if you prefer:




One of my favorite carols. I think I like the choir version better.


December 6, 2012

It is a good thing I was not on TV

I woke in a strange room in a strange bed in the middle of the night. I stumbled toward the bathroom and promptly banged my left foot on a sturdy piece of furniture. I said words that you cannot say on TV.

After correcting for my wrong turn, I limped into the bathroom. In the fuzzy light I noticed the toenail on my fourth toe was half torn away; vertically, not horizontally.  That is to say it was torn lose from the end to the nail bed. Blood was involved. More words you cannot say on TV were uttered. Stupid hotel room. Such an event surely was not my fault.

I turned on the lights and rummaged through my briefcase and found a band-aid.  I used a washcloth to blot away the blood. I used the band-aid to tape the thing down. Just for good measure I mumbled a few more words you cannot say on TV.

I replaced the band aid last night, the nail appears to be sticking back into place. It is black.  I suspect that despite my heroic efforts, and accompanying words you cannot say on TV, the nail will still fall off in the distant future.

Mumble Mumble

My desk lamp is still out.  The light bulb did not magically replace itself while I spent part of the week in the Windy City. I would like to use the shadow cast by my giant head over the keyboard as an excuse for my numerous typos, but such an argument would be naught but excuse-making.

Today is payday, a bi-weekly event that always brings a smile to my face. I enjoy seeing numbers to the left of the decimal point in my bank account. Many years ago (1,413 to be exact), I worked for a small plastics company.  I was up in the office wasting time and told the lady doing payroll to see if she could add a couple of extra zeroes to my paycheck that week.  She laughed at my poor joke.  Friday came and there to the right of the decimal were two perfectly penned zeroes in the third and fourth decimal places. There is something to take away from that boring story.  Be careful for what you you ask.

I am not a perfect writer by any means. In point of fact, my writing ability has diminished since starting this time-waster. The Indy Star is running a series of radio ads featuring their writers. I am sure an ad agency has written the script, because every spot has the writer using the tag line "...its not just what I report on".  I could be wrong, but shouldn't a professional writer know not to end a sentence with a preposition? Doesn't there need to be an object of the preposition? Isn't the "on" completely extraneous? I know, pot/kettle from someone who always uses too many words.


December 4, 2012

Nothin'

Seven years is a long time. I think you and I have conversed about everything I have to opine upon. I keep thinking about trying to quit this here time-wastin' hobby.

I guess I can make it another couple of weeks until the end of the world. . Live blogging the Mayan Meltdown would give me something to write about.

Say, is it bad policy to not buy the wife any Christmas presents?  I recon there is no point buying gifts she'll never open, what with the end of the world and all.

December 3, 2012

We need to put some Kenny Rodgers on every GOP iPod

The GOPhers are laughingly bad at public relations. They are at times so politically inept I can not believe it.

Look, Obama is perfectly willing to let the economy go head first off the old cliff  like those crazy Mexican divers at Acapulco we used to watch on Wide World of Sports. The propaganda arm of the Democrat Party (the press) will point a bony finger right at the Republicans and the ignorant masses will believe the GOP is to blame. Fer chrissake the electorate blindly still believes the current economic situation can be blamed on Bush. Conservatives are just going to have to accept a sprinkle of reality on their scrambled eggs.

It is morally indefensible to let 100% of Americans take a tax increase to protect the top earners.  Yes, I understand the economics.  I know that upping the taxes on the job creators will not help reduce debts and deficits.  I know it will stifle job creation. I also know 60% plus of the electorate has bought into the soak the rich class warfare nonsense. The economic consequences of punishing a few is far less than punishing the whole. Those are really the only two choices. Obama is not going to give, he will win the PR battle.

Give the 'Bamster the tax increase but insist on spending cuts NOW. Perhaps the GOP should offer to up the lower limit from $250K to $750K?  Obama will go along,  It is a pride thing on the taxes. He is going to kick and scream and hold his breath. He is a child willing to ruin the family night out to get his way. Sometimes you just have to let the kid have the ice cream, even if it does make him sick; if only to prove a point.

The place to dig in is on spending and the debt ceiling. When you negotiate you get what you can.  Obama is not going to give on tax increases. He must get a win.  He will get a win, damn the consequences.  The President won't pay those consequences if a compromise is not met. The Republican Party will  Make the pain as small as possible, and accept reality. The alternative is the political wilderness.

December 2, 2012

Blue plastic, 10 gallon galvonized, yellow mop...

I have stated numerous times I know how lucky I am.  I have been all over the world and these United States and seen amazing things.  Mostly the trip was financed by the company. For instance if I am in a given city and spending the night, it costs the company nothing if I go to a museum or historic site in the evening.

That said, there are few things I have missed I would like to see before I settle down for my long dirt nap. I have been through Buffalo at least a half dozen times but have yet to so much as glimpse Niagara Falls. I used to travel to Greenville, SC every month or so, but never took the time to search out Shoeless Joe's grave, nor travel the few extra miles to see the burial site of Ty Cobb.

I spent a day in Paris. I got to see the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, The Arc, but did not make it to Versailles, Sacre Cour nor Jim Morrison's resting spot. I toured the castles of the Loir Valley, but did not get to Normandy. I skirted the edge of the Ardennes, but had to get to Frankfurt. Most disappointingly for me, I was within 50 or 60 miles of Waterloo but my traveling companion refused to go.

I have not been to the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone or Mt. Rushmore. I was in the area of Mt. Rushmore a few times.  Once the flight schedule left me time to drive there and back -- it would have been 4 hours each way, but I could have made it if I left early enough. I set the alarm and decided not to make the drive. I should have.

I have been to many Civil War battlefields, but never Chickamauga. I used to drive to the Atlanta area often and never had time to make the side trip.  I glance longingly every time we drive to Florida for Spring Break, but we pass the exits to the battlefield in the wee hours of the morning.

In all, I can say I have had it pretty good. I could check a bunch of items off almost anyone's bucket list.

December 1, 2012

Saturday randomness.

It is a little after eight in the morning on a cloudy Saturday.  I am on my second cup of coffee. Jim Morrison is droning in the background, getting ready to kill his Daddy. The End. It is a live version.

I muddled my way through the morning fishwrap and the attendant Saturday advertisement circulars. The local basketball team lost. They do that a lot -- lose. For a fairly large school by State classification standards (4A) they historically are bad at nearly every sport. You can have a losing culture..

I type in my own shadow, my desk lamp has burned out.  It seems like I just replaced that bulb. Enough of The Doors, I push next on the old iPod and the Boxtops are singing about a love letter. Better on the ears on an early Saturday morning.

It was warm when I went outside to fetch the paper. I will lace up my walking shoes in a bit for some outside exercise. I try to get in three to four miles on the weekends. Steely Dan is never going back to his old school. I compose and type slowly, too many typos.

My sinuses are doing the every morning drip, drip. My passport renewal came yesterday. I can now escape.

The wife and I were discussing work Christmas parties last evening. I realized I have not worked in a formal office or in a group setting for fifteen years. I cannot believe it is a decade and half since I last habited a cubicle. Midnight Rider. It will be twenty years next fall since I took a temporary assignment into OEM sales. I thought I would be back on the plant management track after a few years of outside experience. Here I am, still at it. I'm not sure if I could work in an office environment anymore.

Can't Find My Way Home.  I am composing slowly this morning.  Usually it takes me about three to five minutes to write a post. " I can usually tell" you mutter at the screen. "Taking time certainly does not equate to valuable content" I mutter back. I am not sure these imaginary conversations between you and I are healthy,  I think to myself.

Let it Be.

Good advice, Paul. Whisper words of wisdom, indeed. The End was playing when I started blogging today. We have finally reached that point

weekend funny


November 30, 2012

Livin' the high life

So, last night I needed to head over to the mall and pick up a Christmas present I had purchased for my wife. She suggested we just grab a bite to eat while in the Big City. I told that was fine, but we could not go anywhere nice, like Red Lobster. After all, I did not win the big lottery..

Friday Holiday Music



Oh for goodness sake, take a couple of minutes and listen.  I know you will dig it.

November 29, 2012

Reason # 619 you wish you were me.

I flew home from the Carolinas last night.  Long gone are the days of vacant seats and half-empty flights. The airlines have disposed of much of the fleet of winged aluminum tubes. Less capacity equals full planes equals more revenue. I don't like it on a personal basis, but I understand the business side.

I boarded when my zone was called and perched in my aisle seat waiting on my seatmate to arrive and occupy the window seat next to me.  I played the game every frequent flier plays -- "Please not next to me".

I lost.

A big woman/girl waddled down the aisle.  I avoided her eyes in the hope fate was not looking for a willing victim.  No such luck, she she pointed at seat 20 E.  All estimated 400 pounds of her.

She had to put up the armrest to fit into her seat, and her thighs and fat rolls spread onto my tiny space. This chick did not sport a muffin top, it was a whole bakery. Her girth was such the tray table could not be lowered. I kid you not.  I am not a small man, but her thighs each would make two of mine. To her credit she snuggled up to the window as much as possible, but her fat rolls still extended onto my seat by a good four inches.*

Here is the rub, I hate to be touched. I tolerate it from friends and family, but strangers rubbing against me gives me the sqeemies. I endured the entire flight -- 1-1/2 hours-- with this young lady's body snuggled next to me.  Her thighs were against mine, her hips against mine.  I scooted as far to the aisle as possible but her fat oozed onto my seat like unmolded jello. It took every bit of self-control not to jump into the aisle and scream "Get off of me!". Even relating the tale sends shivers of revulsion through me.

The next time you think I have a fun job, traveling around, staying in hotels often and flying the friendly skies; you should reflect on this story.



* Sadly, for once I am not exaggerating or using hyperbole to spice up a tale.  This was a big girl.  She seemed self-conscious and a little regretful to be usurping my limited space. She just had nowhere to put her mass.

Sticks and stones, b*tch

Susan Rice may or may not be qualified to be Secretary of State or even secretary of the local school board. As far as I know the job is not open.

By all accounts John Mitchell was qualified to be Attorney General under Nixon. His qualifications did not make a difference when he lied and helped cover up a minor burglary. He went to jail.

No one died in the Watergate break-in.

We cannot lose sight that four Americans died in Libya, while the White House watched in real time and sent no aid. Susan Rice was the face and mouthpiece of the Administration who spread a false story to the American people. Maybe she knew the truth, maybe not. She still had a role in the cover-up, and it is not unreasonable to expect answers as to that role.

If you think this is much ado about nothing, how would you react if this mess had occurred during the hated GW Bush administration?  Try opening your mind, it is a valuable exercise.

November 28, 2012

" You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could've been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am."

Rob Deer played in the Major Leagues for 11 years.and 1,155 games. In that span he accumulated a lifetime .220 batting average. Deer had a journeyman's career, but we will not see him in Cooperstown anytime soon, unless he is there to view the bust of some old playing buddies. In his time in the Majors, Deer amassed 853 hits and a whopping 1,409 strikeouts. He led the league four times in strikeouts.

Is anyone surprised Deer has been named as an assistant hitting coach for the Chicago Cubs?

I wish to hell this post was a joke, something uttered in a Leno monologue or a poorly written SNL sketch.. Alas, the truth is sadder funnier than fiction.

It is no wonder the Cubs have failed to capture a World Series since 1908.

November 27, 2012

Dear Democrats and lazy reporters

So, the very self-same white, angry racist Republican Senators who voted to confirm Condoleeza Rice as the first back woman to be Secretary of State, and who voted to confirm Colin Powell as the first black Secretary of State are now suddenly closet members of the KKK (similar to the late Democrat Robert Byrd) and inveterate racists, unreformed Confederates longing for the plantation days of yore in their opposition to Susan Rice as a potential Secretary of State nominee? Are those very same Senators who voted to confirm Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State now mere anti-feminists, charter members of the legendary He-Man Woman Haters Club?

If you claim the opposition to Susan Rice is rooted in a hatred of blacks and women you are a mere partisan hack, you are delusional, you are ignorant or simply a fucking liar. There are no other options.

Behold what passes for intellectual thought!



This is what is being taught in the universities and colleges of America. This is why Obama was elected despite one of the worst economic records of any president in history.

We know now why the Soviets built the Berlin Wall -- to keep the damn West Germans and capitalists out of the worker's paradise! 

November 26, 2012

"The stuff that dreams are made of."

I assembled the big Christmas tree and decorated it Saturday.  I put up the wife's smaller tree in the dining room. She will decorate it. The boy and I got the balance of lights put up outside along with the other Christmas decorations.

To quote the old song...well how about we just queue up the real thing?



The only thing missing is some snow, but I bet that is in the near future too.  This time of year always stirs up memories. It was always around Thanksgiving when the big toy catalogs arrived.  Yeah, it had clothes and stuff too, but it was the pages of toys that my drew my brother and I.

The Montgomery Ward and J.C. Penney catalogs (for some reason we hardly ever got the Sears catalog) always had the best toys.  The Matchbox cars and Tonka trucks were displayed among rugged hills and rushing rivers.  G.I. Joe battled evil Commies and Nazis from behind perfect ferns and rocks and jungle. The orange Hot Wheels track never was as exciting when you set it up on the kitchen floor at home as it looked on page 267 of the Ward's Christmas Book.

November 25, 2012

Variations on a theme

I have toured most of these United States. I have been lucky enough to travel to Germany, Austria, Great Britain, France, The Netherlands, Italy, Canada and Mexico.

But wrong is a state where I have but rarely found myself.

November 24, 2012

It is good to be me

I hope you are aware, after all of these years, that I hardly ever write anything at this old blog not laced with humor, sarcasm, or at least with a smirk and smile on my face.

But when I do write something serious, it is insightful, and filled with righteousness and good sense. "Wrong" is a state of being I rarely experience.


November 23, 2012

"I'll have what she's having."

Hooo*

 I hope you survived your Thanksgiving. I participated in two glorious feasts, first at my Mom's, then at my  wife's niece's. For once I did not overindulge at either place, although I ate more than usual. At the niece's, I carved the turkey as I do every year both at Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner.  I guess no one else has the expertise or ability (or more likely a desire) to dismember a fowl.

The crowd at my mom's was rather subdued, only my mom, dad, brother, my wife and youngest son in attendance.  The rest of our small family was attending family commitments elsewhere. Still, even if all if the family was present and we brought in the cousins and their kids, we could fit around a table or two. It is a sad yet wonderful thing when you can have a family reunion on the patio.

In opposite contrast is the wild free-for-all at my wife's side of the family. One niece has five kids of her own and the other cousins and sisters and brothers and husbands and wives and offspring means a bunch of wild swirling, running and yelling; a cacophony of sound and chaos that frankly leaves me with a headache.  This was true long before I got old and cranky. But in the end it is fun and family and food and that is what the Holiday is all about, after all.

I am not even going to rant about the ridiculousness of the Black Friday craze.

Well, maybe a little.  I am sorry, but tires? Who is going to a men's store to pick up a suit at 1:00 in the am? Since we have moved the sales to Thursday evening I suspect we are only about a year away from The big Wednesday Morning pre-Black Friday sales. Heck, in no time we will start Black Friday sales back on a Friday again, only it will be the Friday after Halloween   Your grandkids will do the Black Friday sale the Friday after Christmas.


* in your best Ed McMahon.   I don't know why, just go with it.

Friday Holiday Music



I dig this version.  I find it delightful and strangely sexy. 

In my high school band geek days I was occasionally seconded to the school orchestra to ply my trombone trade. One of the highlights each year was a tour of the local elementary schools to perform a Christmas Program. This song was always a crowd favorite. Mine too, for the brass was an integral part of the melody, not filler to pump up the damn strings. 

November 22, 2012

Because you need multiple posts from me on Thanksgiving



Here is a tune from the Greatest Holiday Movie ever. There is no discussion on FACT.

And indeed, I have plenty to be thankful for...

Once upon a time I was actually amusing.    No? Oh, well...

And lest I forget, Thank You for your patronage of this often poorly conceived and badly executed outlet for my  daily outpourings and brain dumps. The idea that anyone takes a few seconds or minutes from their day to read what I have to say is humbling to the core.

Go stuff yourself


November 21, 2012

"Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me. Aren't you?"

I picked up my mower.  The mechanic said it is in bad shape.  He showed me the drained oil and it was as black as a liberal's heart. I changed it less than a month ago. He said there is serious wear and bad stuff (technical term) inside, probably beyond repair for my little push mower. I may get another three hours or three years from it. It sounds bad when it runs, despite new plugs and a "tune up".

I will deal with it in the spring,  I guess.  I just need it to run long enough to finish my half-cut lawn today.  I thought about pricing snow blowers while I was at the shop. I figure if I invest in a snow blower that is a firm guarantee we will have another virtual snowless winter! Do you think the wife will want a snow blower for Christmas?


update like anyone really cares, but the mower lasted about 15 minutes.  It started to spew oil and seized. There was about $100 wasted.  The mechanic said if he could have started it before he replaced the magneto he would have said "don't bother". Damn it all, the yard still is half mowed, but I did finish the front first, so I guess it will have to due until spring.

"You're gonna need a bigger boat"

Things have been pretty serious around here. In spite of the political storms swirling about I have been in a great mood.  You cannot tell by the musings and ranting on exhibit here.  You may believe otherwise, but I have a whole life outside of these pages. The real me likes sports, music, movies and occasionally cuts forth with a sarcastic wit. Oh, I guess that is the bloggery version of me too. But mostly I avoid politics outside of here.

There is a distinct advantage in hoarding vacation days. Since my company has a firm "use-'em-or-lose-'em" policy, I enter December in fine shape.  December 13 will be my last day of work for the year, except for a work day scheduled December 28 to send in my final yearly expenses and monthly report.  Yay me!  Since it appears I am the only person in the company actually "working" today, this day before Thanksgiving is almost like a bonus day of vacation. I sincerely hope we can avoid the customer crises today that have cropped up so far in this short week.

I tried to get one last cutting of the lawn last week, but the mower finally crapped out.  I took it to the repair shop where a new magneto was installed. Apparently a magneto is more than a character in an X-Men movie. I will pick up the mower today and finish the half-mowed yard.  I want to get to the grocery early to pick up the stuff I need for my contribution to the family feasts Thursday. And now that the boy is home, I can finish putting up the holiday decorations with his help.  The decorations may have to wait until Friday. His college student sleeping schedule and my desired working hours do not exactly coincide. That is OK, I was young once.

Did you see where some college player at a small school in Iowa knocked down 138 points in a 179-104 defensive struggle? That is NBA/ABA-type scoring from the1970's. He lofted in excess of 100 shots. I bet he will need help zipping his pants today.

If I fail to post later today, I wish all of you a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

November 20, 2012

A Public Service Announcement

I had over 200 spam comments yesterday.  More than half were not caught by the spam filter. I really do not get the point of dropping a drug ad on a post three years old on a blog very few read. Can some of you computer/internet types explain the whole spam rationale?  What is the point?

Most of these ads were for sources of cheap anti-depressant drugs... Is someone trying to tell me something? 

Anyway,  I refuse to go to the evil squiggly scrunched up comment word verification. Instead, I have opted to implement a blog owner approval requirement for comments on any post older than 30 days. I hate that. I have always been an advocate for free and open commenting around here.  This is a First Amendment blog. We will try this and see if it helps reduce the spam-o-rama.

How Much You Wanna Bet

...the roll-over Republicans fall yet again for the Democrat Whimpy Budget Plan?  You know how Whimpy used to try and cajole a burger out of Popeye with the old " I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today"? That is play number one in the Democrat budget negotiation playbook: promise to cut future spending in return for tax increases now. Of course future spending is never cut. We hand over the money today and Whimpy buys everyone in the diner a hamburger. Come Tuesday, we are told we should just pony up the funds for a few more burgers. The Stupid Party reaches for their our wallet...rinse and repeat.





tune in to the 2:40 mark

November 19, 2012

I'll take my ball and go home

People always go into hysterics and panic after they lose, be it an election or a big ball game. The Republican Party is no exception. The power brokers are again up to their elbows in pointing fingers. Yes, I know that is a nonsensical mixed metaphor, but it seems strangely apt to me.

Once again the Republican hierarchy is blaming the conservative wing for the failure to win an election. This action is purely in the face of reality.  Americans, and Republicans in particular, are conservative. This Guy has it completely right. I am sick of the Republican Party bringing out Democrat Lite candidates, or old guys merely because they have "paid their dues". I said it in 2008 and I mean it now.  Why would anyone vote for a slightly-less-liberal when you can vote for the real thing? Especially when the Republican candidate is less than likable? If you cannot carry the uninformed through your good looks, or charisma, and your policy position is "I will spend almost-as-much-as-the-other-guy", how do you expect to win?

Back in high school there was always that kid who showed up at the cool-kid parties even though he was not welcome.  The cheerleaders made fun of him behind his back and the football players dumped beer on his nerdy head, but the cool kids let the dork come to the party because he let them copy his math homework. That is how the Republican Party treats the conservatives. They like our votes, but hate our ideas. I'm tired of the wedgies.

You see, here is the secret of Washington politics. It is all about the power. ObamaCare was never going to be repealed. It will be tweaked and modified, but there is too much money to be made for the lobbyists, and too much power to wield for the politicians for the program to wither and die. The National Republicans are only about the power. They are content to rule the House, and a Senate majority would be OK, but then the Republican Bosses would have to be responsible for policy. This way it is convenient to just blame the Democrats when nothing gets done.

Here is where I am today. I opined late last year it may be time for a legitimate third party for 2016 if the Republicans fail to get their shit in a sock. I am sick of voting for "not as bad as the other guy". If the Republican party thinks conservatism is the problem, maybe it is time the conservatives looked for a new home. I predict it will take but two election cycles for the Republican Party to become a mere whisper of their former selves.  After all, the Whigs held on for a few Congressional seats in 1860. Good luck winning elections as the Moderate Party. I would venture that path has not been too successful so far.

How long are you willing to be a mere political booty call for the Republican establishment? They want our votes, but just screw us.   At least a hooker can expect a fifty on the dresser. Conservatives are only the butt of the joke at the old boy's club.



A Monday Movie Review

I watched Diner over the weekend. I did not like it anymore than I did in 1982. I give it three "O"s -- overblown, over hyped, and over rated.

How about some hippie music?



Forget the crap from The Wall. this is some serious music. I have actually memorized all of the lyrics to this song.

November 18, 2012

Meandering Musings

I dreamed (dreamt?) I got a tattoo. It was a Chicago Cubs one on my left shoulder. It was only a dream.

I will spend this week in the office, no travels for me. That is good, the past few months have included a bunch of airport, windshield, and hotel time. Usually the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are slow, but  I will be doing my Wilie Nelson thing (On the Road Again) a bunch this year.

I am not sure if you noticed, unemployment has surged since the election. Business orders have dropped and things are starting to look ugly out there. The reality of Obamnomics (including the ObamaCare) is about to smack the economy across the face with a nail-studded two by four.  Thanks to ignorant Obama voters and the stupid GOPhers for putting up yet again a tepid candidate.

The millionaires are back on TV begging to be taxed at a higher rate. They pay a lower rate because they have only capital gains income. You pay a lower capital gains tax rate than you do on your income. If those guys feel so strongly they are not putting in their fair share, they are free to overpay their taxes.  They can write a check to the IRS at any time. Typical Democrats, it is all about words and intentions, never action. They are always quick to spend someone else's money.

I had no intention of going down the political rant rabbit hole today. I have my Sinatra Station on Pandora playing gently in the background.  I splurged and instead of my usual pot of Maxwell House I dropped a K-cup of the good stuff into the Keurig. I did my best to set the stage for a mellow Sunday of movies and football. Then the home screen shows me the damn Democrats in action and my blood pressure spirals upward. Do some homework people.  Ask yourself if what is going on in the Libya cover-up is acceptable. This is not about a general diddling some groupie slut. Americans died and your President lied.

I have been getting slammed with spam the past few weeks. It is no problem to delete them en masse from the spam filter, but this week about 50 or 60 a day have been getting through. That is a pain, to delete them one at a time. I HATE HATE HATE the comment verification squiggly letter thing.  Not that I am much of a commenter anyway, but the scrunched up verification means I have to really want to put in my two cents before I bother. I don't want to put it in here. I guess I will act like a Democrat does on federal spending and the economy and just hope things will magically get better.

I am off to read your blog. 


November 17, 2012

F-ing Damn Unions Anyway

So long old pals.



I will miss you guys. I know we have not spent much time together the past few years. It was me, not you. Blame it on my health.

And you,





I think I'll miss you most of all.


 I will NEVER understand a mind that would rather have NO JOB than one with a pay cut. 

True Confession

I have not provided a fresh post since election day. They have all been canned for a least a few hours, in some cases days and weeks.

That statement is just as true today.

November 16, 2012

Living in the Past

Sometime during my third grade year at Samuel P. Kyger Elementary school my life was changed.. Until then I was an indifferent student. I did not think much of school one way or another. I went because I had to.  There was nothing to like nor hate about it.  School just was. But a couple of things happened there in Mrs. Walters' class. We were introduced to the SRA system. We had to read a book and take a test on it. These were real books, not the picture books of the earlier years.  We read real stories with plot and characters. I did the minimum.

Then one day the teacher wheeled in the projector. This in itself was not unusual. She threaded the 16 mm film through the pathways, the lights were shut off and the blinds were closed. The familiar click click of the projector and the countdown sequence started. It was a Disney film.  It was called Johnny Tremain and it was the most awesome thing I had ever seen. I sat enthralled.  Paul Revere and Redcoats and history just became real to my little brain.

Imagine my surprise to find out Johnny Tremain was a book! I read it as fast as I could. I took the SRA test and scored a perfect score. I read the book again. Mrs. Walters directed me to similar books of historical bent. I discovered biographies. My teacher took to listing everyone's reading scores next to the SRA box.. We all knew who read the most books. It was going to be me. It was me. Reading opened a magical world. I could go anywhere. I could learn anything!

Over the subsequent years I read every biography and history book in the elementary school.library. I also became a regular at the public library.  Mom bought me books. I read and read, especially if it had to do with history. I am sure know I bored my family silly talking about this battle and that person. Soon I repeatedly heard the the same phrase in my ears -- "Put down the book, Joe, go outside and play". I took my book outside and sat on the step, the curb,  or the picnic table on the patio and read. Eventually I would join the other kids in baseball, or "army", or neighborhood mayhem, but if no one was around it was my books and me whiling away the afternoons.

I still love reading. I still love history. How wonderful my two favorite hobbies match so perfectly. So it was with great joy a week or two ago when I spotted the Newberry Award winning Johnny Tremain as the Kindle Daily Deal. For just $1.99 I scored the book that started it all.  I know it is a kid's book.  I am certain it will not bring the same wonder it did more than forty years ago. But a couple of bucks and an hour or two is a cheap price to relive a seminal moment from my youth, one that has formed my very being today.

Friday Holiday Music



We are going to take a break from hippie music to kick off the Holiday Season in style. Why not, Walmart has had the Christmas displays out since early October and the mall has been piping in Christmas tunes since Halloween.

I dig Christmas music and who better sets the mood than Dino? Besides, it is cold outside.

November 15, 2012

Smoke gets in my eyes

Last Friday evening we went to visit some friends. We ordered in a couple of pizzas. The women headed uptown to visit some shops and such. My buddy and I went out to his deck/patio to enjoy the unusually warm November weather. Temperatures were hovering in the low 60's and upper 50's as he built a fire in the fire pit. I cracked open a couple of ice cold beers and lit up a fine stogie. Mine was a Royal Jamaican Gold, his, a CAO, I think.
This was a fine cigar
Wood smoke  from the oak logs twisted with the blue haze from the fine tobaccos, sending a fragrant scent into the night sky. We solved the world's problems, laughed and had had a complete boys night out right at home.  The faint pink sky of the evening drifted into a deep blue sky filled with stars as we sat in the dark, illuminated by the flames. The fire was just right to keep off the deepening chill. The beer flowed. My cigar burned down to a nub, leaving my fingers singed. I pulled out a spare and lit an H. Upmann Vintage Cameroon, a more mild ending to the night. Eventually the antique stores, craft shops, and art galleries closed. The ladies returned and the evening came to an end. 

My jacket stunk like Satan's tennis shoes Saturday morning.

November 14, 2012

Corporate Wars of 2012 or example 1,513 of why on line complaint forms suck

So, I had to go all Mr. Asshole  on US Air today.

Perhaps you read this post.  I filled out the f-ing on line complaint form.  I got an email response from Customer Relations advising me my complaint was important and they would respond within two business days.  Chirpity fucking chirp and a week has passed.  Unacceptable.

We did the representative/supervisor thing.  A few calls were made while I fumed on hold and presto chango, I have a full refund on the way. Initially I would have been satisfied  if the airline just waived the rebooking fees. Then they screwed with me. Nothing less than a full refund could soothe my pissed-off ego at this point.  It was a matter of principle.

Of course, I am certain I will be flagged for extra security screenings going forward and I will be permanently assigned middle seats with no recourse. But I won a small battle for the little guy.

Go me.

Second City Blues

I was awake at 4:30 this morning. Not on purpose, it just happened.  I don't know why, do you? The stars were bright in the early morning sky when I limp-shuffled out to get the paper.  I made some coffee and ate an apple danish while I read the morning news.

I motored my way to Chicago Monday morning.  I drove half the distance through hard snow flurries. I guess it is about that time of year. The Windy City lived up to its nickname as the winds whipped down LaSalle Street as I made my way to visit a customer.I followed up by driving to the far west suburbs to spend the night. I did not even scratch the surface of the Naperville night life. I grabbed a burger and went back to the hotel. I got back home yesterday evening after bringing the business equivalent of sunshine and lollipops to yet another customer's dismal existence merely by showing my shining countenance. I will be off to another exciting location later in the week. The kind of place the late Dale Evans would have called her favorite village. I will be in B-town Friday afternoon to pick up the kid from school for Thanksgiving break.

A nearby town had half a subdivision go all explody Saturday evening. We were about a mile away when it happened, watching the new James Bond flick.  It is likely the home explosion coincided with the big explosions near the end of the movie. (oh, spoiler alert -- there are explosions on the James Bond movie, who woulda thunk?).  We took the southern way out of town (pure coincidence) instead of the northern, which would have put us right in the middle of the emergency response. Weird. I do feel for the people of the Richmond Hills subdivision on Indy's south side. Everything gone in an instant. Not to lessen any tragedy, but with a hurricane you at least get a few days warning. A tornado or explosion is a right now disaster. If you are so inclined  I am sure the folks could use a prayer or two -- both in thanks and for strength. If you can afford it, the Red Cross and Salvation Army are always good places to send a ten spot, for Hurricane relief, or just local emergencies.

November 12, 2012

The average Greek is better off economically

In the course of his first term, Obama increased the federal debt by just shy of $6 trillion and in return grew the economy by $905 billion. So, as Lance Roberts at Street Talk Live pointed out, in order to generate every dollar of economic growth the United States had to borrow about five dollars and 60 cents. Mark Steyn

This, my Obama voting friends, is what you just rewarded with four more years.  You voted for the economic model of spending $100 at the casino to come home with $7, and claiming you "won".

You were fear mongered into a triple mortgage on the United States for the price of an abortion.

November 10, 2012

I believe

A day or two has passed. I have to take a hard look at my personal philosophy. I am, I suppose, an anachronism. You see, when I see a Norman Rockwell painting I do not sneer, I think it represents a good vision of America. I know that vision is not, and has never been reality, but I think it an admirable goal.

I don't go to church, but I respect those who do. I think a foundation of morality is essential to the success of a people. Some things are just wrong. Occasionally life's rules are black and white. There is no such things as "moral relevance". Such an argument is merely a construct to excuse immoral behavior.

I believe that the key to success is hard work. I believe the government that governs least, governs best. I think society and individuals  should offer a hand up, not a hand out.

I think the key to happy, healthy children is loving parents. I believe education of children is a combination of parents and schools.  How can you send your child to kindergarten without the ability to name red, green, or blue or count to ten? When we suborn the raising of our children to the State, we are lost.

I think that what you do in your bedroom is your own business, and you need neither my sanction nor approval -- providing it is between consenting adults.

I see nothing wrong in Mitt Romney's or Bill Gate's  wealth. I would not mind a little of it myself.  Yet I do not believe it is the role of society or the government to determine "how much is enough". I believe in equal opportunity. I understand there can never be equal results. We all buy tickets in life's lottery. Sometimes we scratch off winners.  Most often it just does not work out. Some people are smarter. Some are faster. Some are stronger. Penalizing the smarter, faster, or stronger does not make life more fair.

I would never break into my kid's or my unborn grandkid's piggy bank and hand the funds to my neighbor. I believe borrowing money to pay for an ever-expanding government is just as wrong. I believe very few Americans would run up credit card debt to donate to the guy standing off the interstate exit holding a sign that reads "will work for food". Yet some people have no issue with a collective "We the Taxpayers" borrowing money we do not have to give to that very same guy.

I believe The United States of America is the greatest nation on the face of the Earth.  I have no issues with our superpower status. I believe our system of government is seriously flawed, yet remains the best system in history. 

I am not interested in the pigment of a person's skin.  Genetics determines eye color, hair color and skin color. So what? Therefore preferences based on skin color are wrong. I do agree to pay reparations to any live American who was a slave in 1865. Outside of those persons, opportunity is what you make of it. Skin color is no excuse for failure. There are plenty of real life examples of individuals refusing to accept the circumstances of life.  Education is a life-long process.  Take advantage. 

I believe my natural rights and freedoms devolve from God/Nature/the Universe -- not Government. I believe I have the right to posses arms to defend myself from predators: be it man, beast or  government.

I believe government is a necessary construct. It is contract among people to join together in common purpose to bring order and safety to society. I do not see "fairness" in taking the property of one citizen and giving it to another.

I believe every position I have espoused is reasonable and right.  More than 50% of Americans disagree with many of my positions.

I believe that fact leaves me dumbfounded.

November 9, 2012

Friday Five

Sunday is Veteran's Day, so what better theme for the Friday Five post than a listing of the greatest war movies.

Given the history of Man is a history of war, the number of war movies is astounding. The cinematic treatments of WWII alone is beyond count. You could make a list of ten magnificent "POW" movies from WWII.

That said, I will list of ten of my favorite war movies, because after all it is my blog. I know I will be scorched in the comments for leaving of many classics.

In no particular order:

Zulu
Midway
Patton
Battle of the Bulge
Full Metal Jacket
Pork Chop Hill
Waterloo (the Sergei Bondarchuk version with Rod Steiger as Napoleon)
In Harm's Way
The Fighting 69th
The Desert Rats
Bridge on the River Kwai
Saving Private Ryan

I am sure you have favorites. Let me know what I missed in the comments

Friday Hippie Music -- post election version



Not really hippie music, but the sentiment holds true.

You will survive too.

November 8, 2012

Red State Blue State 2012 edition

It is increasingly clear we are not a Red State / Blue State electorate any more. It has turned primarily into an Urban vs.Suburban/Rural battle. Obviously this is not completely true, there are large swaths of rural areas that tally up blue in places like the upper Midwest and Rocky Mountain areas of Colorado and New Mexico. But the trend is obvious.

Many Government services are more important to the urban dweller.  Public transportation is a good example. In addition, the number of people employed directly or indirectly by the Government of all levels is increased in the big cities. State capitols and government offices are not located in places like Mulberry, Indiana or New Bremen, Ohio. No one votes to eliminate their own job.

The question going forward is how can the GOP limited government types convince the people in the urban areas the money is not unlimited. How do we make them understand the vast areas of red have no use for publicly funded bike paths, light rail and neighborhood art centers?

Please proceed to the nearest on line complaint form

Last Monday  I was slated to fly to Charlotte, NC returning on Tuesday night. You  might remember there was some bad weather pounding the East Coast at the time.

I watched the weather and flight status through Monday morning and finally started for the airport to make my afternoon flight. It looked like the weather was passing way north of my destination.

As I was almost to the airport, my cell phone rang.  It was US Air, calling to cancel my return flight.  Not the one I was about to get on,  the flight scheduled for Tuesday evening. The recording did not mention the outbound flight. I pulled over and called the airline. After more than 30 minutes on hold, I proceeded to the airport anyway. The phone call to US Air reservations remained on hold throughout the trip.  I gathered my stuff and headed to the ticket counter. After a 20 minute wait I made it to a representative.

I explained my situation to the representative.  I could get to Charlotte, but my return was cancelled.  She checked the system and agreed.  She said there was no other flights on Tuesday or Wednesday available to get me home. I told her I wasn't going if I could not get home.  She recommended I cancel the outbound flight and put in for a refund. She pushed a few buttons. She typed a few words. Done.. I cancelled my rental car and hotel.  I called the customer and canceled the meetings for Tuesday. No problem, a few hours of my time wasted, some gas burned. This stuff is part of the traveling life. Weather happens.

Fast forward to this Tuesday night. I get an Email from US Air telling me they have rejected my refund. I can rebook in the future with a $150 change fee.

Oh, oh, Houston we have a problem.

I spent 35 minutes on hold yesterday with US Air Reservations. The Representative checked my info, talked with a supervisor and then proceeded to really piss me off. He acknowledged all I claimed. He said the problem was the return flight went as scheduled after all, even though they called me to cancel. That was why my refund was denied. He said I had to contact Customer Relations to resolve the issue. No, he could not transfer me. US Air Customer relations does not have a phone number. You have to fill out an online complaint form. No, I can not just answer the refund rejection Email the airline sent me, it goes to a dead file. I have to fill out the customer complaint form on line. No, he can not help me, I have to fill out the customer complaint form on line.  No he cannot transfer me to a supervisor, I have to fill out a customer complaint form on line.  No they can not help me at the airport ticket counter, I have fill out a customer complaint form on line. Yes, he agrees it is silly,  I can voice my irritation by filing out a customer complaint form on line.  I can complain about the lack of a phone number to Customer Relations by filling out a customer complaint form on line. I can complain about the hour plus I have already spent trying to resolve the issue by filling out a customer complaint form on line. I could probably wrap the phone cord around his neck and choke the life out of him as long as I first fill out a customer complaint form on line.

I fly US Air almost exclusively. I have for more than a decade. At various times I have been a silver, gold, and Chairman's Preferred member of their frequent flyer program.  I flew their airline 32 times last year and 24 so far this year. There are people who fly a lot more, but I bet I have been aboard US Air planes in excess of 500 flights. The situation would be ridiculous even if it was my very first flight.

US Air informed me via Email, after filling out the customer complaint form on line, they will read and respond to my customer complaint form I filled in on line in 2 to 3 business days.

Until yesterday afternoon,  I was OK with no refund.  I just did not want to pay the $150 rebooking fee when I rescheduled the flight. Now, I want it all back. It is the principle of the matter.

November 7, 2012

Hows and whys of elections

You know, I think the election result that leaves me the most disappointed and disheartened is the vote to retain Justice Steven David in Indiana.  I cannot believe any informed citizen would agree with his Castle Doctrine ruling. Retaining David is a sign of how uninformed most voters are. Even worse, it is a possible sign of how little the modern American regards his basic Constitutional Rights.

It is no wonder we are giving away or freedoms for the illusion of security.

Votin' for The Obama

Remember the odious GW Bush, the liberals bogeyman first class? The cause of our misery and object of our scorn and hatred? He was the one who inspired the call for Hope and Change, because presumably for your average Democrat we were without hope and everything "The Shrub" did was wrong. Remember him?

So when you lefty-types cast your votes for Obama yesterday which policy of his did you like? After all, Obama must have repudiated the actions of George Bush in every way, right?  Right? Just what changes has the man with a plan wrought in four years?

Bush got us involved in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama got us involved in Libya, we are still fighting in Afghanistan and still have troops in Iraq. Drone strikes have increased dramatically and targeting of specific individuals within the borders of sovereign nations have occured.

Bush deposed Hussein. Obama deposed Qaddafi.

Bush brought us the hated Patriot act.  Obama perpetuated the Act and strengthened it. Obama has allowed drone flights over the US.

Bush had wiretaps in the US.  Obama has even more.

Bush ran up debt and deficits.  Obama has more debt and a larger deficit than all of the previous Presidents combined.

Bush spent like a drunken sailor. Obama has spent like a drunken sailor who won the lottery.

Bush bailed out the car companies and gave us TARP.  Obama continued those policies and increased the bailouts. In addition, he has squandered billions of tax dollars on bankrupt green energy companies.

Bush proposed a favorable immigration policy.  Obama advocated for exactly the same measures.

Bush lowered the standing of the US in the world, especially in the Mideast.  Obama has lowered our standing with our allies and the Mideast hates us even more. Iran is even closer to building nuke bombs. Much of North Africa has been taken over by radical Islamist factions who hate us.

Bush "outed" Valerie Plame. Obama got an Ambassador and other Americans killed in Libya.

Bush had high gas prices.  Prices have doubled under Obama. Ditto utility prices. Personal income is down. Food prices are up.

Bush gave us tax cuts to spur the economy.  Obama gave us the very same tax cuts to spur the economy.

Unemployment was high under Bush.  It is significantly higher and staying there under Obama. Foodstamp usage and welfare are at historic highs.

Under Bush the housing bubble burst. Under Obama housing starts and prices dropped further and have seen little improvement. Lending is still very tight.

Bush flubbed the Hurricane Katrina response.  After a week FEMA had not brought relief to the people of New Orleans. Hurricane Sandy finds millions still without food, water, shelter in New York and New Jersey.  FEMA says it will be weeks before housing and shelter can arrive. Bush was crucified in the press.  Obama is not to blame, however.

Bush housed WOT prisoners in Gitmo. Obama houses WOT prisoners in Gitmo.

Obama allowed guns to cross the border to Mexican criminals who then used those weapons to kill hundreds of Mexicans and even Americans.

Bush inaugurated odious security measures at the nations airports.  Obama has strengthened and increased those measures.

So, except for ObamaCare and a support for gay marriage, all of you Democrats just voted in the fourth term of George Bush.

I guess it is really far more about party loyalty than actual philosophy.

It is Done

I said months ago nominating the guy who lost to the guy who was trounced by Obama was a mistake. When neither the Presidential candidate nor the VP candidate can carry their home state it is going to be a long, long night.

The Republican party should have learned the lesson of Bob Dole, John Kerry and John McCain. People need something to vote for. Anger over the current occupant is not enough. But the stupid party continues on its "Democrat Lite" way and those of us who are small government-types are left with two choices election after election -- bad and worse.

So it goes. Life will continue in these United States. The takers are outnumbering the producers at an increasing rate. The very culture of the media makes it impossible to get fair reporting.  It is not a conspiracy. They do not think they are biased, but companies and organizations tend to hire like-minded people and and over time the employees develop a similar mind-set.

The People have voted. It is done. We will live with the results. The bright spot is a divided Congress. the House will temper the progressive agenda --if the Speaker has any balls at all. That is a big IF.
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