December 31, 2017

So long '17. I would like to say I hate to see you go, but...

I have never been big on the end-of-the-year recaps.  I have mentioned this has been a bad year. But that does not mean I do not have plenty of good in my life.

I fully expect to begin 2018 the same way I have celebrated the previous 38 New Years - with a kiss from the love of my life.

Best wishes for the Happiest of New Years
If you drink, don't drive. Be careful out there tonight.

December 30, 2017

a world I never knew

Speech was a required course in my high school and the “look at me” aspect of my personality adapted well to speechifying. I found the class an easy ‘A’. So my senior year I found I had just about enough credits to graduate if I took four classes a day. Besides the required Government/Social Studies class I took stuff I enjoyed: band, English, French, and though I did not need another class I took advanced Speech.

We covered a range of subjects in the class from debate to Roberts Rules of Order to various types of speech to acting. The class was small, maybe a dozen kids and sometimes we just discussed the events of the day. We learned to communicate. I probably enjoyed that class as much as any in my public school days and that speech class forced me to break me out of my anonymous shy boy shell.

One day the teacher brought in a box set of albums. It was recordings of Lenny Bruce. The teacher tried to give the historic background to Bruce’s comedy. But in the spring of 1980 the comedy was too cerebral, to East Coast, too dated, and had lost the edge it had in the late 1950’s. It wasn’t crude nor risqué compared to contemporary SNL or comedy of National Lampoon.  I just didn't find it funny. The school administration also likely would have even less than amused had they known Mr. Henderson was playing records with curse words to 17 and 18 year-olds at school. Still, it exposed kids in a hick farm town in  the middle of nowhere Indiana to a wider world. Isn’t that the point of education?


December 29, 2017

Get over it

A pathetic guy started screaming at the animatronic Trumpster at the Disney World Hall of Presidents as part of the “resistance “. I wish this was the setup for a joke. He proudly tweeted about it. I’m not sure if I would brag about this epic level of stupidity. Over 800 people liked his tweet.

The Grouchy Old Cripple has often said liberalism is a mental disease. I’m beginning to think he is right.

December 28, 2017

I thought that was March’s thing

Remember when December started unusually mild? We had temperatures pushing 70 at the beginning of the month. Mother Nature likes to bat for average, so now we are seeing a spate of very cold weather to even things out. It is not just the month of March presenting us with the lamb/lion motif. Looking ahead at the forecast, the new year is slated to start off with bone chilling cold:  highs around here will barely inch above zero. Guess what? It is winter, it gets cold like this every year.

In other news, there is no other news. The Colts will wind down their dismal season Sunday. The politicians are home, doing no harm. Serious electioneering a few weeks away for the 2018 primary season.

Here at the homestead I am ready to strip the house of the Christmas decorations. We normally go from Thanksgiving to New Years. This year, I was ready to be done with it on the 26th. We have two invitations to hang out on New Years. I don’t really want to go anywhere. I’m ready to put this year in the past. I’m trying to moderate my language these days, but I can only say good fucking riddance to 2017.

Why yes, I have a bad attitude about everything these days — work, weather, the holidays, politics, life in general. You may be shocked at this clear departure from my usual sunny disposition and positive outlook on things. Maybe more coffee will help improve my attitude.

I doubt it.

December 27, 2017

Five below zero

...is what the weather app describes the outdoor temperature this morning. The wind chill is -17. Fahrenheit is the scale. In other words, it is darned cold. To put things in perspective, it would be warmer to crawl into my freezer than to go outside. It is that cold. While I am back to work today, I am glad I don’t have to hit the road this morning.


December 26, 2017

Sparring with my inner demons on Boxing Day

Good morning, readers. I hope you had a great Christmas, Festivus, holiday, or long weekend. We had a great Christmas here at the old homestead. On Christmas Eve we celebrated with extended families and on Christmas Day we went to my daughter’s for dinner. I raked in some nice gifts. Apparently, I was a much nicer boy this year than I thought.

I ordered my wife some Ugg slippers from Amazon. It is the only thing she requested specifically. Either I ordered the wrong size (I don’t think so) or they sent the wrong size. My fair spouse does not have large feet, but these slippers were obviously made for someone who practiced the ancient Chinese art of footbinding. They are tiny. We will have to figure out how to return and exchange them this week.

It is a chilly ten degrees outside this morning with a subzero windchill. I have no intention of going outside, so it does not matter to me. Inside, the thermostat is set to a comfortable 69. (Hah! He said 69). I will admit it is cool here in the recliner next to blogging room window. We still have the original windows from when the house was built in the early ‘90s. All it takes is money to have them upgraded to more energy efficient models.

I have the day off work, so goofing off is on the schedule today. Maybe I can get the wife to go see Star Wars with me. Probably not.

Have a great Tuesday

I spent Christmas in the hospital

I asked the wife what she wanted for Christmas. She said to get something that would make her look sexy.

I went out and bought a case of beer.



December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas

My Backyard 2016
Merry Christmas to you and your family

--Joe

December 23, 2017

My favorite


Ding dong ding dooong

New day, same story. It seems I am destined to get up at 4:30 or so every day. Whatever. I’m not gonna cry about it.

The fairly heavy rain that is now falling is slated to turn to snow in the next hour or so. The ground is soggy and warm, so we shall see if it sticks. Heavier snow is in the forecast for tomorrow. We might get a couple of inches. I can live with that. A white Christmas would be nice. Vermont should be beautiful this time of year with all of that snow. If you don’t get that reference you outta spend a little more time watching old movies. Sheesh.

I have all of my shopping done. The wife has a couple of things to get for the family gift exchange. I get gifts for one, she gets the rest. That seems like a fair division of labor to me! I have to wrap my gifts still. I might go drop in the DVD of Ed’s favorite Christmas movie and reflect upon my wonderful life when I’m done writing this riveting post. I’ll let you know when I make up my mind.

Or not.

Have a great Saturday. Oh, and for the record, a canned post will follow this live one later today. Sunday and Monday’s efforts are also canned*. No fresh Christmas content for you. I don’t feel bad about it. You should spend your time with someone besides me on Christmas, as crazy as that seems. So let me offer up a live and hearty Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays to every one of you.



Update:

*edit. For reasons I won’t divulge I was perusing my writings from a December 2016 and discovered that my holiday posts for 2017 are the same as last year. Whoops. I guess my memory really is getting bad. Sorry about those repeats. Well, sorta, I don’t feel bad enough to redo my lame efforts. You will get over it. Mostly.

December 22, 2017

Focus is more than a model of car

I have been playing the Elevate brain training app for a while now. It helps improve your memory and focus, with games centering on reading, writing, speaking, math, and listening. The games are quick and fun and it only takes a few minutes each morning to play the three random daily games you get with the free version. Some of the games I like better than others. I find the “Visualization” game in the reading module incredibly easy (I’m in the 99.99 percentile on that one) and some of the math games incredibly hard (I hate you fractions).

I do very well in Reading, Writing, and Speaking. Math and Listening; not so well. I told my wife my scores the other day and she was in no way surprised that my listening scores were even lower than my math scores. Then she said something else, but I confess I wasn’t paying attention.

I noticed a trend the other day in the game’s scorekeeping methodology. I am close to reaching the next level in Writing. If I have a good game score (excellent or great) I inch one or two points closer to the next level. If I have a bad score, I slip 10 points further away. The rewards are small, the punishments large.

Mostly I started this training app because hypochondriac me was worried my memory was going. I was granted one gift at birth, an extraordinary memory. In the last decade or so I found my ability to recall slipping. I knew the Jeopardy answers, I just couldn’t get them out fast enough. My Elevate memory scores are very high. I guess it is just age. The synapses don’t fire with the same alacrity. Perhaps the file cabinets in my brain are so full of “stuff” it just takes longer to find the right fact in the right file. Maybe my memory is failing. It could be I’m just sliding from “excellent” to “above average”. I had another point, but I cannot remember what it was.

I’m not going to share my scores. It is embarrassing.

December 21, 2017

Try, try again

That other post is gone. The Nazis at the NFL will not let me post videos that tout their product. Now there is a valid reason to kneel in protest. Not during the Anthem, though.

Instead, since I’m feeling chatty, here is some more classic Christmas music. You will listen — unless you hate puppies and kittens and gentle butterflies. Do it for the children.


Shortest or longest?

Today marks the solstice. The weather reader told me today will be the shortest day. In fact, today will be some nanoseconds over 24 hours, just like yesterday.

Yes, you in the back? Uh hum. Yes. Oh, the hours of daylight are the shortest of the year. I see. The almanac indicates we will have 9 hours and 21 minutes of sun today at the old homestead, cloud cover not withstanding. So for me, today does make the “shortest day” of sun and the first day of winter.

Like most things, this is all a matter of perspective.

If you lived at 40 degrees of latitude south instead of north, today would be the first day of summer and the longest in terms of the hours between sunrise and sunset. Of course, most of the 40th degree latitude south crosses ocean, except for a couple of islands of Tasmania and the tip of South America, so not many folks get to enjoy the height of summer in those regions. By most mariner accounts, the oceans are fierce and rough in the “roaring forties”.

What does all of this mean? Not much. This big blue ball we call home continues to spin on its tilted axis as it rotates around the sun. The weather will be seasonably warm today and cold over the weekend. It may snow. Winter is not coming, it is here. Tomorrow we can look forward to more minutes of sunlight as the days march forward to another spring.

December 20, 2017

Wednesday Wanders

I fried up some chicken for supper last night. Mashed spuds, gravy, biscuits, and corn rounded out the meal. I’m not sure why you’d care what I ate.

I am slouching towards the weekend and Christmas holiday. I think I might take a few days of vacation to get the whole next week off. It is not like any customer is going to talk to me. I usually use that dead period to clean up my files and such. I’m in pretty good shape this year. I could use the time to prospect; finding info on potential customers through the interwebz. I could save my vacation days and work.

I am not sure if we have ever been less prepared for Christmas. The good news is my daughter is hosting Christmas dinner, so I don’t have that to worry about. We just have to make some stuff for the pitch-ins at the extended family Christmas Eve functions.

We went to the granddaughters’s Christmas pageant at preschool yesterday. There is nothing more entertaining than watching the teachers try to get groups of 2, 3, and 4 year-olds to line up and sing. It is like trying to herd guinea pigs. The kids are cute and hilarious. The church had big video screens on the sides of the stage. My granddaughter spent most of the time watching herself not sing.

The wife is heading over to my daughter’s today to make cookies, candy, and treats. It will be an all day affair. Three generations of girls cooking and baking. They will have a blast. Keeping my granddaughter from dumping whole bottles of sprinkles or colored sugar on every sugar cookie will be a challenge. Like every kid, she loves sprinkles.

I have a tune from an old musical floating on the edge of my consciousness that sums up my mood today: coasting along. I just can’t dredge it up.  I don’t know if the song fragment is Desi singing in “The long, long trailer” or a Martin/Lewis flick, or a Crosby and Hope road adventure. It is just an undefined snippet about “cruisn’ along,  singin’ a song”. Hah! The internet knows all and sees all. The song is “Side by Side”.  Martin and Lewis covered it. So did Bing. That explains why both were rolling around in my brain pan.

I hope you have a great Wednesday.

December 18, 2017

Sigh

If you are here today expecting the normal fare — pithy commentary, juvenile humor, personal anecdotes,  complaining, weather reports that are irrelevant unless you live here, political rants and such — you are going to be seriously disappointed. To quote Willie Wonka, “you get nothing”.


December 16, 2017

Really, it is


I knew you were wishing I would post some Christmas music. Search your feelings. You know I am right. The Force told me so.

Really, it is OK if you quit me

3:30 rolled around this morning and I felt a figurative tap on my shoulder as my old buddy insomnia decided to stop by for a visit. Last month I fought a battle with an inability to sleep, but in recent weeks I was back to semi-regular sleep patterns. Not today! I wouldn’t mind if Mr. Insomnia decided to hang out with someone else for a while. We have been intimate acquaintances for most of my life. I’m ready to move on. So here I am catching up on Interweby-type stuff. My Echo is softly playing Christmas music in an effort to force me into the mood of the season.

I spent the end of the week in the general environs of the Windy City. The drive up Thursday and back last night were uneventful. I soldiered through the normal late afternoon/early evening creeping traffic at the 290 to 294 bottleneck and along I-80 to the perpetually-under-construction interchange with I-65. The History on Fire podcast kept me entertained up and back with the four Crazy Horse episodes.

My granddaughter turns 3 today. She is the lone bright spot in an otherwise gloomy holiday season. For the first time in my life I just want Christmas to be done. I normally love this time of year. This year I just cannot get in the spirit. 2017 has been such a miserable year. Death, finances, and general malaise have combined to rob the holidays of their magic.

Ah, you didn’t come here to hear me whine. I hope not. If you did, I seriously wonder about you. I have managed to kill almost two hours goofing on the internet. Two cups of coffee and a half of a peanut butter sandwich broke up the time. This pathetic post took far longer than my usual ten minutes to compose and peck out on the keyboard. Too bad the effort is not reflected in the results. I’ve said it before, you get what you pay for around here.

Enjoy your Saturday, I’m going to try and read myself back to sleep here in my old comfy recliner.

December 14, 2017

Office Christmas Party

The raging winds have finally died down here at the old homestead. The whole house was groaning and creaking last night as old Boreas did his thing. It is still seasonably cold, but the big willow out back has ceased to imitate the Whomping Willow of Harry Potter fame. The sun is rising in dull pink and gray hues out my office window. Unfortunately, the privacy fence that surround my back yard prevented all of that wind from dispersing the layer of damp, soggy leaves that still carpets the ground.

I’m off to the corporate office later today. The big office Christmas Luncheon is scheduled for the morrow  and a failure to make an appearance would be noticed when I am one of 15 employees.

The local remote location will probably hold its own Holiday Extravaganza next Friday afternoon. Heck, those festivities may last all day. Since I am the sole employee at this sales office and that location is a spare bedroom in my house, I can just play it by ear. If I have a few drinks and pinch the office cleaning girl on the rear and make a few lewd comments, she won’t mind. She’s my wife. She will probably give me ‘that’ look though. I’m used to her mild disapproval.

December 13, 2017

Out of excuses

Now what is Al “I will resign maybe, someday” Franken going to do? He was counting on Roy Moore to provide cover so he could stay in office. His “I’m not as bad as that guy” position is now moot. I have this image of Franken staring at a mirror last night mumbling “I’m valuable, people love me, I’m funny” repeatedly.

In all honesty, I am sure Franken is not even close to being the biggest turd in Congress. In fact, his antics are probably pretty mild in comparison. Grabbing a woman’s tush while taking a picture is juvenile, crude and certainly slap-worthy. I’d bet if one of those women had slapped him or their man punched him in the nose, Al “Fast hands” Franken would have stopped. I’m sure he thought he was being funny. That in no way excuses or condones his gropes, gooses, and grabs. Even an eight year-old knows better.

The whole situation brings to mind a sentiment I have long held regarding the political class; namely, is this really the best we can do?  My disgust with everything Washington and both political parties increases every day.

December 12, 2017

My side hurts

I received this spam email today:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am indeed glad to be in contact with you even though this medium of
communication (internet) has been grossly abused by criminal minded
people making it difficult for people with genuine intention struggle
to correspond and exchange views without skepticism.  I got your
contact from the deceased disc-file record, then i decided to contact
you.

I have a business proposition for you Please get back to me if you are
willing to help please get back to me and I will send you a detail
mail.

Barrister Eedris Mohammed.
Unlike other spammers, he is not criminally minded.

I bet if I send him my bank info several million bucks will appear just in time for a Christmas.

hurry up already

64 days until pitchers and catchers report.

Be amused


December 11, 2017

Dear Democrats, Gimme a break

The Democrats and media (redundancy alert) are on their moral high horse talking how Al I didn’t really resign yet Franken “sacrificed” himself even though he didn’t really do anything that wrong. He is held up as the example of why the Democrats are pure and wonderful and red and blue sprinkles on a birthday cake. They respect women. Republicans don’t because some dude who hit on teenagers 40 years ago is running for office or something.

Again, just like with Hillary, the Democrats and media cannot grasp that a piece of crap human is still preferable to their candidate. Sorry to burst that bubble, but most Americans still find the idea that you can abort a baby right up to the time it is born repugnant. Many Americans don’t like Bernie Bro leftist economics.

More to the point, I refuse to be lectured by the very people who told me to shut up about Bill Clinton and excused and lionized and honored Ted Kennedy. Sorry, your sudden morality has the crackle of Confederate money.

Besides, what the voters in Alabama decide is not a reflection of the nation as a whole. John McCain certainly doesn’t represent me as a conservative, and Roy Moore won’t represent me either.

I’m sick of the whole resistance nonsense. Your candidate lost. Get over it. I know you are disappointed. I felt the same way in ‘08 and ‘12. Trust me — exactly the same way. Trump is not my dream President, but he is doing what I want done. He is appointing conservatives to the court. The economy is growing. The borders are becoming more secure. Check, check, and check. If he can find a way to cut my taxes and gut ObamaCare, I give him bonus points.

In the meantime, Democrats lecturing anyone on morality is the height of hypocrisy. I guess if you forego any moral standards you don’t have to worry about it. I fart in your general direction.

i miss those old commercials where Santa rode over the snow on an electric razor

Here we are, another Monday. I’m less than motivated this morning. Yesterday was a tough day. I don’t know where I am on the grieving chart, but it is what it is. Today I just don’t feel like working. That is rare, I cannot remember the last time I woke up and said “I don’t want to go to work today”.

Until today.

Worry not, I’ll suck it up. This time of year is hard. People don’t want to talk to a darn salesman anyway, and especially not at the end of the year when they are trying to work next year’s budget, get projects finished, and are looking to the holidays. I’d like to kick the guy who invented caller ID right in the rear. Except for on my phone, I hate those sales calls. I, on the other hand, have a valuable product my potential customers need. My situation is way different.

In other news, the Colts/Bills football game yesterday was a hoot. Total blizzard conditions left the players sliding and falling in the snow. Coaches needed to pull out the old 1920s playbook, the forward pass was an impossibility; especially in the first half. Of course the Colts managed to blow the game in true Colts inept fashion. The Indianapolis soon-to-be-HOF kicker told them he needed the ball on the right side of the field for a FG attempt. The Colts waste 40 seconds. They never try for a score. They don’t try to get closer. They do not even move the ball to the right hash. They do nothing, they never even run a play! So yeah, the kicker had no time to clean the half foot of snow in the kicking area and the horizontal winds were blowing from right to left, thus, he had to kick from the left. Missed. The defense rolled over in OT. Game Over. Another head-scratching coaching botch job. I’m not sure how they have managed to win 3 games.

A couple of weeks ago we were shopping for Thanksgiving groceries and found some nice Porterhouse steaks on sale for 50% off. I thawed them out yesterday and threw them on the grill. Steak, baked spuds and salad made for a nice Sunday dinner.

Have a great Monday. If I call you, pick up the phone. My boss is riding me and I need some new business. You need a few thousand spherical plain bearings don’t you?

December 10, 2017

Revisiting Old Swayback

I have always liked to re-watch favorite movies and re-read favorite books. There are some movies I have seen 20 or 30 times. A few books I have read multiple times. By “multiple” I mean at least five times or more. Occasionally, one of my favorite multi-read books turns into a muti-view movie. The old adage that mediocre books make great movies is often true. The book and the movie I’m about to watch may be a case in point. I was maybe 11 or so when I came across an old hardback version of In Harms Way by James Bassett. I had already formed a love of history at that point and the book fit right into my groove. I read it straight through. Only much later did I see the John Wayne movie version. Although there are some changes to the plot, I dig the movie too.

For the past several years, due to my frequently chronicled eye problems I was unable to read my old copy of the book. In fact, when we moved here in 2013 I sold and donated just about every one of my physical books since I couldn’t read the print. Instead, I relied completely on my Kindle and it’s adjustable font. I have some of my favorites, ones I just couldn’t bear to part with*, in a plastic tub in the back of a closet. I think Bassett’s book is in there. Now I don’t have to go dig it out, because when looking up links for this post I discovered  the old book is now available pretty cheap in electric format! I can read real books now, but it is far more comfortable reading on my e-reader. I just scored one of my favorite stories!

The point of this post was to discuss watching the movie this morning. I like to watch it this time of year. Now I may reread the book instead. Choices, sometimes they are a win-win.

*like my 30+ year-old copy of The Washing of the Spears.

December 9, 2017

Hear the snow crunch

Panic! The weather maven says we will get one to two inches of snow today. So far they have avoided complete SnowTeamScareTeam coverage: “so far” being the operative phrase. It is certainly cold enough. We shall see. I ain’t mad about getting snow. It is December and a little white stuff will offset the Christmas lights perfectly. Should we get a bunch of snow, my old sled is leaning on the porch as a Christmas decoration. I’ll have to take off the wreath tied to it and wax up the runners, but it is ready. All I’ll need is a decent hill and a body that is 25 35 40 years younger. Both are hard to find around here.

My boss sent a flurry of emails starting at 4:45 PM yesterday, all requiring a response. I know I ostensively work until 5, but WTH, it is a Friday. I know, I know, most of the working world doesn’t work from home and does not have that kind of flexibility to their schedule. I was still at it at 5:30. This was like getting called into a meeting 15 minutes before the end of the day to discuss stuff that could just as well been addressed Monday morning. Oh well, it is not like I had a hot date, or any plans at all. The wife was gone, so I just read until time to cook supper anyway.

I don’t think we have any plans for the weekend. The social director does not usually check in with me though until it is time to go, so it is quite possible I am just out of the loop.

A quick glance out the window shows — let me check — darkness. I do not see any snow yet. The old sled is safe for now.

Have a great Saturday.


December 8, 2017

You do know Al “ Fast Hands” Franken did not actually resign, right?

I suspect that If you are sleazy enough to grope strange women who just want a picture or to fondle a sleeping fellow entertainer,  it is not much of a stretch to imagine Franken will fail to actually “resign” in a few weeks. After all, he grabbed his seat after mysterious votes kept showing up in the recount. Embarrassment has never been a character trait of any politician. Hypocrisy is the motto of the Democrat Party.

Heck, in a year or two everyone, especially his colleagues, will forget this sordid moment, as long as he votes right. Kennedy killed a woman and was a Democrat icon. Byrd was a honcho in the KKK. Sleazeballs from both parties were in on the S&L fiasco. Remember the Keating Five? Say, didn’t one of those scuzzes go on to run for President?

The air in the Capital is so fetid, so corrupt, so lacking in honor, that nothing would surprise me.

December 6, 2017

Three hundred and twenty

Unless I start cranking out meaningless posts* several times a day for the rest of the month, it appears I will fall short of 400 posts in a year for the first time in a more than a century. OK, since I started inflicting my worldview upon the interwebz in general back in ‘05. That inaugural year saw 481 posts in just nine months of blogging. That would equate to more than 600 posts in a year! I must have had a lot to say in those days. Maybe I just had more time?

As a point of order, it looks unlikely I will even manage to write the average of one post a day for 2017. Considering I was unemployed for a while, that’s pretty sad. Or not. It depends on your point of view.

My record of 544 posts in 2006, when blogging was at its height, seems more than safe. I have neither the time nor the desire to inflict myself on you that often.

Haha, this makes four six posts in two three days. I may make 365 yet!

*like this one

I’m sorry, so sorry

I often dwell on stuff in the past that cannot be changed: old actions, conversations, or decisions I did, said, or took. I don’t know why. There are certainly a slew of mistakes in my past. I have plenty of regrets. Is it strange to worry about things already in the past? I spend little effort worrying about the here and now, less on next week, month, and year. But I worry about the coulda, woulda, and especially the shoulda. Am I unique in this?

While not a planner per se, I am not overly impulsive either. In my youth I was more likely to do stuff on the spur of the moment, sometimes regrettable stuff, but no more than any other immature kid. For some reason I still waste time replaying that old movie about my past in my head, hoping for a different script this time.

Since the discussion has been a bit obtuse to this point, let me share a couple of examples.

I was walking along over the weekend, music droning in my headphones. Suddenly my brain replayed an argument I had with a parent back in my youth football coaching days. He didn’t think his kid was playing enough, blah, blah. I should have walked away. Why didn’t I walk away? Why am I worrying about it now, a decade or more later?

I have always been good a reading out loud. It is harder than you think, and listening to someone who is not good at it is painful. I honed the skill reading to the kids during story hour back when I was a librarian (a tale for another day). Last week, my daughter asked me to read a poem at the funeral. I mumbled over some words, paused when I shouldn’t have. I know I have excuses. The poem was emotional, the situation unbearable. I still read it through fine, but it sounded like I was reading it, if that makes sense. The personal emotions I was feeling doesn’t change the fact I wanted to do it right and didn’t. I redo that reading in my head every day. To what point?

My life is filled with regrets, great and small. The mistakes I have made are legion. I don’t know why I rehash them. Maybe God is sending a message that I need to really repent. Maybe there is something wired wrong in my brain, that I would prefer to live in the past. Maybe this post will be evidence in my future commitment hearing. Maybe I will delete it in a few hours.

I’ll likely regret that too.

December 5, 2017

I have questions

If Hillary had won the election, does anyone doubt Comey would have been the first guy shown the door? Seriously, is there any scenario where the FBI Director keeps his job?

Would Democrats be howling for impeachment over the Chief Executive firing the previous guy’s staff?

Shoulda coulda

Yesterday it was in the mid-sixties. In December. As could be expected with a warm front like that there was a high wind. Leaves were blowing from the pear trees like snowflakes. I looked at the backyard and knew I should have gone out and used the mower to chop them up and bag them. I looked at the trees and saw a large percentage of the leaves were hanging on to the limbs with a tenacious energy. Then a few phone calls for work, blah, blah and I did nothing. In all honesty, I didn’t really want to go out and do the work.

This morning the backyard is ankle deep in leaves — literally, not figuratively. Sigh. I console myself with the knowledge that had I mowed up the detritus yesterday the yard would still be covered fresh this morning. The trees are mostly bare today. Thanks wind.

Yesterday was shirtsleeve weather. Today it is in the 30s. It is not going to get warmer anytime soon. In fact, it is supposed to snow this weekend. Besides, I emptied my gas can and drained the mower for winter. Feeble excuses that in no way prevent me from using a rake. The front yard filled two large garbage cans and five bags. The backyard will take at least triple that. The bottom line is I’m in a lazy mood and don’t want to do it.

The wife reminds me I wanted all of these trees. Just because she is right doesn’t mean I have to acknowledge the fact. I’m trying to convince myself that all those rotting leaves over the winter will be good for the grass. Besides, one shouldn’t have to rake leaves around Christmas decorations.

I know, I know. If you are looking for me this afternoon, I’ll be out back, bundled against the cold, getting rid of the leaves.  Boy, I miss the days when you could push leaves into a pile and burn them up. That’s the smell of fall to me.

December 4, 2017

Addendum

Will any of you hysterical leftist Democrat types please explain how cutting your taxes takes money from me or the poor or anyone else?

How is letting anyone keep more of their own money related in any way whatsoever to how much money you do or do not have?

Since no spending cuts or reductions are included in the tax bill (see below), no one is losing out on anything, not welfare, not healthcare, not spending of any kind.

This bill is not killing anyone who was not dying under the current system.

If you state otherwise you are not just being untruthful, you are a damned liar.

I know chirp chirp chirp.

It is the spending, stupid

Look, I’m no genius. I’m as smart as the next guy, perhaps more intelligent than some. Certainly, when it comes to math, my practical knowledge is confined to algebra. A calculator or spreadsheet is my best friend when doing computations.

But even I know that as a nation we cannot keep spending like this. Tax cuts are great. I want one. You want one. But without spending cuts all we have done is ensure someone else will pay higher taxes in their future.

It is time Congress looks at spending. All spending, and that includes the military. The automatic spending increases have to go. Reducing a planned increases of 5% to an increase of 2% is not a “cut”.

Say you spent $100 on electricity last December and budgeted $130 for electricity this December. At the end of the month your bill was $115. You did not save $15. You spent $15 more than last year. You know it. I know it. Only someone in the fetid swamp of Washington would think they saved money on the electric bill, see it as an excuse to go to the casino and bet not only that $15 on red, but the $15 for each month they “probably” will save in January, February, and March and wonder what happened to that $60 they were going to use to buy little Jimmie that Paw Patrol set he wanted for his birthday.

And yes, that was a run on sentence and you should read it as an indication of my pissed rantings. I’m channeling my inner Lewis Black.

I don’t care if it elects 100 Trumps. I am never voting for an incumbent again.

December 3, 2017

this boring life

Here we are on a cold Sunday morning.

I didn’t accomplish much yesterday. I finished a good book. Try it, it don’t cost nuthin’. I went for a walk. I took a short nap. I watched a Bruce Lee movie. I watched a couple of cooking shows. We went to dinner, came home and watched some shows we had DVRed. I went to bed. Ho hum, ho hum.

I would like to describe some big Sunday plans. I cannot. I have the empty Christmas decoration boxes to put back in the attic. I will probably go for a walk — I need that exercise! I will tune in to see the Colts choke away another game. Maybe I’ll fry up some chicken or make a pot of chili for supper. I don’t know.

Anyway enjoy your Sunday.

December 2, 2017

Once more

Seeing that little boy in that tiny casket is an image that will be seared into my memory forever. The grief of my daughter and son-in-law was palpable. After an immediate-family-only viewing at the funeral home there was a graveside service. There were so many people there.

I was honored, along with the other grandfather, to be a pallbearer. The little casket weighed hardly anything and still felt like I was carrying ten thousand pounds.

December 1, 2017

The Hardest Day of my Life


Today is going to suck.

I’ve been to funerals. Never for a baby.

I won’t bore you with my personal woes after this. I just need a place to vent.

November 29, 2017

title

My oldest son is flying in today. I have not seen him since he moved to Colorado in early August. I wish it were under different circumstances, but I will be glad to see him. I miss him like crazy. He will jet back Friday evening after the funeral.

My daughter was rushed to the ER yesterday with extreme cramping. She had a large blood clot. She seems better now.

The week of fun continues.

I want to thank all of you from the depths of my soul for your kind words, prayers, and support. It means more than you will ever know.


November 25, 2017

5859

My grandson died today. I Barely got a chance to know him. I held him for just a few minutes. He spent his precious hours of life on this Earth with his parents, as it should be. I take little comfort in the knowledge he is now with God.

A rare twist of genetics left him unable to live for long once the cord was severed. He was a fighter. He held on for 20 hours or so. The doctors predicted only minutes. He only had one half of a heart, but it was a big one. That baby was a fighter.

I mourn for the grandson I will never know: the missed games of peekaboo with his Paw, playing catch with a ball, trips to the playground, watching him play sports, go to school, grow into a sweet boy, a man.

I mourn even more for my daughter and son-in-law. No parent should ever have to bury a child. Such a burden is beyond my understanding. I lack the vocabulary, the ability to describe the unmitigated misery they must have felt choosing a cemetery plot and making funeral arrangements for a baby alive and kicking in his Mom's swollen belly, knowing he had no chance at life. I honestly do not know how they managed to climb out of bed each morning.

I would trade places in nanosecond to ease the pain his passing leaves in the lives of his mom, his dad, his sister. There will always be a hole in their life. I have lived my life. Little baby Sawyer had no chance.

My grandson died today. I am in grief. I am desolate. I am at a loss. I want to cry. My wife is devastated. I have not the means to comfort her. My family is hurting and I don't know how to help them. That is my job and I am failing. We have know this day was coming for months, but knowledge does not reduce the ache.

This tragedy is repeated a million times a day around the globe. We are not unique. That is no comfort either. This pain is personal.

Life will go on. My granddaughter doesn't understand. She is looking forward to her upcoming 3rd birthday and Christmas. We all have to slip on a brave mask and artificial smile for her. She deserves it.

Tomorrow will be better. The day after also. Incrementally the hurt will become a dull pain. I don't think the heartache will ever disappear completely. I hope not.

My grandson died today.  I Barely got a chance to know him.

silver bells

I got the lights and wreaths and garland and stuff put up outside yesterday. The wife helped. I don’t do the garland or spread the wreaths like she wants it done. I’m good with that. She makes them look nice. I just want them up. As usual, about 1/2 the lights failed to work. I did not have enough to put around the patio door or to do the trees in the back. I don’t think the backyard will get the holiday treatment this year. No one can see the backyard except us anyway.

I got the lights up around the roofline. We were wrapping garland around the porch rail when I glanced up to see two sections of the lights had quit working. I admit I said a couple of curse words. Luckily, I had a new box to use. Back went up the ladder.

The inside is done, so we are set for Christmas, decoration-wise. Decorations have sprung up around the neighborhood, it looks rather festive. Now we just have to get some presents to put under the tree.

Have a great Saturday.

What? Sure, I will post a holiday classic, since you asked:


November 24, 2017

Like the man said


Let the season begin!

No, I will not be shopping today.

Yes, I will finish putting up the decorations today. The inside is mostly done. I will get the outsid lights up this afternoon since it is supposed to be in the fifties.

Dinner was great yesterday, food family and festivities. My granddaughter was on, entertaining everyone.

The wife and I cleaned up the mess after everyone left. We went to see a movie afterward.

Have a great Friday.

November 23, 2017

I have plenty to be thankful for...



Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving.

Thank you for taking time from your busy day to read my blog. You have no idea how much I appreciate it.

I have lots to be thankful for this year.

Right now I’m up hanging out with my turkey. Ok, I was up anyway. She is taking a cold water bath just to make sure her inerds are thawed before I rub her big old breasts with salt and smother them in melted butter before baking.

Early this afternoon my  immediate family will gather here at the old homestead (minus my oldest son who is a thousand miles away). The normal Thanksgiving fare will cover the table: turkey, noodles, mashed spuds, candied yams, green beans, mac&cheese, rolls, gravy --  a veritable carbohydrate extravaganza. Your menu may vary.

What are you doing reading this crap?  Go spend time with your family, watch a parade or football game, read a book. Take a break from the interwebz today.

November 22, 2017

A peek behind the Wizard’s curtain

Sinatra is crooning softly in the background. It is early. I complained about that yesterday. There is no point belaboring the subject. It just is. The boy and his dog are asleep in the bedroom adjacent to my office. The wife sleeps restlessly down the hall.

Yesterday the boy was at work. The wife was visiting a friend. I was ensconced in my office, or maybe putting some boxes in the attic, or perhaps on the patio smoking a short cigar in the weak winter sun. I don’t know where I was, but at some point my daughter stopped by and left some cookies on the counter. They were just there — a paper plate of snickerdoodles. I don’t know how I missed her. It is a good thing it wasn’t a cat burglar. Does anyone under the age of fifty use the term “cat burglar”? It brings to mind Cary Grant and Princess Grace, not armed thugs breaking in at night to grab your wallet and TV.

I bought a couple of “smart” plugs. Now I can turn on a lamp or the Christmas tree just by telling my Amazon Echo to do it. Because who doesn’t want to control their house by voice? More importantly, I did it because I can. I dig technology and I look forward to automating more stuff. It would be awesome to say “make coffee” and a steaming mug is waiting downstairs. Suck it George Jetson. So what if evil Amazon is listening in to every aspect of my life as long as Big Brother turns on my lights, locks my doors, plays my music requests, and makes me coffee? We are under permanent surveillance anyway, I might as well make the technology work for me.

I went to the store last night to buy the stuff for Thanksgiving dinner. The place was pretty well cleaned out. I managed to get everything except crackers for the cheese ball. That is OK, I don’t like cheese ball anyway. That may not be true. I am 55 years old and have never tried a cheese ball of any variety. Never.  Don’t know why. Now it is a matter of hard-headed pride. I know it is stupid. I have eaten all manner of foodstuffs, but for some stubborn perverse reason I refuse to even try a rolled-up collection of soft cheese. I like cheese. But I won’t eat a cheese ball. I won’t start this Thanksgiving either.

I think I need more coffee. When does that automated coffee brewer arrive? “Hey Alexa, order me a smart coffee maker...” .

November 21, 2017

Who volunteers to sing me a lullaby?

I don't know what is going on. I have not been able to sleep at night. I cannot blame it on jet lag, I have been home for almost a week. Besides, I had issues sleeping while I was in China. In fact, my problems started before I even left on my business trip.

I am so tired, I fall right asleep. Then, a couple of hours later, I wake up. I manage to get back to sleep but wake up every hour or two until about four or five then I am up for the day. I fight sleepiness and exhaustion all afternoon and evening until I hit the bed, fall right asleep only to wake up a couple of hours later....

My sleep is marked by expressly vivid dreams, something I used to rarely have ( at least that I can remember when I wake up).

I am so sick of this pattern that I am seriously considering taking a sleep aid for the first time in my life. I have eliminated evening caffeine. I have tried staying up later and going to bed earlier, but I do not know what to do about the thoughts and worries that creep in as soon as the firewall in my brain is weakened by sleep and exhaustion. Poof, I am awake again.

I have always managed to get by on 5-6 hours of sleep. I have occasionally fought bouts of insomnia. Back in my graveyard shift days I was often up 24 hours at a stretch. Never have I had such a protracted period of sleep deprivation as I am experiencing now. I feel muddled and tired all of the time.

Enough complaining for this morning. I am sure this pattern will break soon. If not, I suppose I will just get used to it.

November 20, 2017

A foodie post

Go ahead guess the mystery meat

Hands down, this was the best thing I ate during my recent trip to China. It was even better than Peking Duck, my previous favorite. I had the Duck again this trip and it was excellent, but this dish surpassed the crispy duck skin. I will let you guess what it is in the comments. Feel free to embiggin, it ain't against the rules. No using search engines though. Besides, this isn't a stock picture from the interwebz, I took it myself as the dish was placed on the table. I ate this in a restaurant in Zouzhuang.

Speaking of food, I purchased a nice big turkey for our feast Thursday. I still have to get the rest of the dinner stuff, but turkey was on sale this weekend at Kroger. I saved almost 50% off the tag price. I know a certain blogger who would approve.

Yesterday was cold and blustery, perfect soup weather. I made a big pot of potato soup and some BLTs for supper. The tomatoes were the last from the garden. I brought them in green before the first frost and let them ripen on the counter. I will miss good 'maters until next summer.


November 19, 2017

Sorry about the blog

On occasion I indulge in pure narcissism and reread some of my old blog posts. For instance today I read about three years of old November posts. One thing is clear, both the quality and quantity of my efforts has decreased. I guess there is a reason I have about 1/10th the readership I enjoyed back before face-whatever and twit-verse took over social media*

I will blame it on multiple factors, I have used an iPad in recent years to blog and surf the interwebz and typing on the tablet is not as easy as on a real ‘puter. Plus, I have shared most of my old tall tales and adventures already. I have written more than 5,700 posts. I think we know each other now.

I enjoy reading old comments. Many of you have been here for a very long time. Some of the old readers are gone, your opinions and comments sorely missed.

As we head into Thanksgiving week I want to thank each of you for taking time from your busy day to read my drivel. I don’t know why you do, but I appreciate it more than you know.

I would like to be able to promise better, more interesting, funnier, insightful efforts going forward. I won’t make that pledge. You are going to get more of the same.

Sorry about that.


* am I the only one who hates that phrase?

November 18, 2017

wind in the willow: the bloggity version

It appears today will be most unpleasant, weather-wise. Blustery and rainy, it will at least be seasonably warm. The mix is just the kind of weather that spawns severe weather. Highs in the upper fifties today will be followed by a steep drop in temperatures resulting in a high Sunday in the 30s. Thus the windy conditions. It was just such a weather pattern that spawned a tornado that hit my neighborhood back In 1992 on, by coincidence, the weekend before Thanksgiving. In that event my house was spared damage but some houses and a gas station and hotel about a quarter of a mile away from me were heavily damaged.

The local professional football franchise is on a bye this week. I won’t have their pathetic play to complain about Sunday. I guess that opens up time to do some stuff around the house. Traveling two weekends in a row left plenty of things to do. I got the front yard raked of leaves on Thursday. I still have the backyard to do and today’s wind will shake more down. Besides, my neighbor hadn’t raked up her leaves, so they will end up in my yard. So it goes. I have the most trees on the cul-de-sac, so I co tribute to everyone’s workload. I am in no condition to complain.

That about covers it for a Saturday morning. Enjoy your weekend.

November 17, 2017

J’accuse

Remember when the Democrats, and leftists in general, condemned anyone who criticized Bill Clinton as perverts, focusing on sex? They ridiculed our repressive society and religion in general. It was a just a BJ, they would scoff. So what if Clinton was a person in power who waved his manhood at underlings. We were told to “lighten up you perverts”.

Skip ahead 20 years. Women suddenly “remember” events from 40 years ago and how they have been traumatized for life. Apparently every woman in Hollywood, in the media, in the workplace, at the mall, pushing a cart at Target has been harassed and/or sexually assaulted.

I have no doubt that many, if not most, of the accusations are true. Men are pigs. Men are assholes. Men are predators. Men are jerks. Men think about sex all of the time. Some of us are able to contain our urges. Some cannot will not.

That said, am I the only one who finds the current...hysteria....a little unsettling? Hypocrisy of the left aside, the whole atmosphere is a little reminiscent of a witch hunt.

Should I fear for my job, my marriage, my reputation, because back in 1977 I spent pretty much every minute of summer school Driver’s Ed staring at a girl named Nancy’s sideboob? And what about now, since four decades later I still remember her magnificent rack?

 Whoops, sorry.

I suppose that confession will get me reported and kicked off Blogger. That is three strikes against me — conservative  white  male. Hillary was right, I am deplorable.

I never thought I would long for the days where were focused on Russian Facebook ads.

Some days I really miss the Cold War. Back then we didn’t have to invent crisis to worry about.

Part of me wonders if my position here is very wrong. Women have been treated pretty much as objects for far too long. Caveman Curt probably tried to cop a feel in exchange a portion of his newly- killed saber tooth tiger. Things haven’t gotten better.

Those of the female portion of the species, or think they are, or want to be, or are just confused about their nether regions, should feel free to set me right in the comments. I have a suspicion that I am completely out of touch.

Still, I can’t help but think about the estimated 900 men, women, and children “witches” who were tortured and burned from 1625-1631 in Wurtzburg, Germany. It still feels like we are in the midst of a media and political witch hunt.

November 16, 2017

Maybe Bond, James Bond, can do it

The front yard is ankle deep in leaves. Yesterday was all rain and drizzle and I was tired. Today? I may try to get out and rake a bit. I had a conference call this morning, but I have nothing scheduled for the the afternoon. My forty hours this week is long exhausted if you count the travel time and being gone for twelve days.

I managed to sleep most of last night, so I should be back to normal by this evening. Fortunately, I have always recovered quickly from jet lag. Even so, I laugh at movies and books where the hero jets across oceans and goes right into action, never tired, never off-kilter, his body clock switching seamlessly. It doesn’t work that way. If there is a person who can do it, I have never met him or her.

November 15, 2017

Stuff I think

Why haven’t we seen a press release from UCLA announcing they have dismissed those three basketball players who managed to embarrass the university and America when they opted to shoplift while in China?

I don’t care how well they can dribble and shoot the ball, an honorable program would give those players the boot and the hell with the win-loss record.

Edit. Never mind

I’m baaaack

I walked in the front door around eleven last night. The total trip, hotel to home, was about 26 hours. I scored a aisle seat with an empty seat next to me on the long Shanghai to Toronto leg.

I went to bed around 12:30 and managed to sleep about 4 hours before getting up. I will be fighting sleep this afternoon.

Forgive me for not throwing up a meaningful essay today. Perhaps something will come to mind later.  I doubt you want to read any more semi-sarcastic travelogues.

I will leave you with an amusing anecdote. On Sunday we went to the Sun yat-Sen mausoleum in Nanjing. Like most places in China it was crowded. There were about a thousand school kids there (not an exaggeration). My colleague told me the kids were very excited. Most have never seen a “foreigner” (read round eye) before and found me way more interesting than a dead guy who died
school kids in their blue track suit uniforms
almost a century ago. I received lots of stares and embarrassed  giggles. After descending the stairs we were walking along the path back to the parking lot when one brave little guy, about eight or nine, had the temerity to actually offer me a shy “hello”. I gave him a hello right back. He ran thrilled back to his group chatting excitedly. My guide laughed and said the boy kept telling everyone “He spoke to me, he spoke to me”.

I am glad to give someone a thrill in life. My ego allows me to imagine that for the next couple of weeks the lad will be mentioned by his classmates: “Hey, remember that time Ralph spoke to that foreign guy”. In time the legend will grow to describe that we had a full conversation.

I have to admit, the whole thing made my day too.

November 13, 2017

Do you prefer pig snout or scrambled duck brain?

Jinshan temple
When you read this, provided you are not up in the middle of the night surfing the interwebz, I will still be here.  Despite the time stamp on the post, it is pushing four in the afternoon as I hunt and peck at the laptop keyboard.  I am still here, but not for long. I head home tomorrow and I am more than ready. I like Chinese food, but I am jonesing for a good old American cheeseburger.

Last night at dinner I grabbed a skewer of...meat...I took a bite and I must have made a face, because it tasted terrible. My host look at me and said "You do not like duck stomach?".

Why no, I do not. I also do not like sheep intestines, chicken feet, bullfrog, nor pig tongue. If I never lay eyes on tofu again I can live with that. To break things up, we are having Korean food tonight.  I wish I could skip tonight's dinner with my colleagues, go to the Burger King down the street and grab something, but they would be appalled and ashamed if they did not entertain me. They would never leave a guest to fend for himself.

In all, it has been an enjoyable trip, albeit too long. I saw some cool stuff. Like the temple above. I saw some funny stuff. Take this for example:
I am pretty sure that does not mean what they think it does

Embiggen both or either picture if you desire. Or not.

I am done working for the day. I will be picked up in a few hours.  In the meantime, I am tempted to hit the minibar. Instead, I might take a nap. I need to get my body adjusted back thirteen hours.  I will likely recover around Saturday.

Right here in this post you get a slight glimpse of the good and bad side of travel -- especially International travel.

November 11, 2017

the eleventh day of the eleventh month...

The leaps and bounds and hoop-jumping I must  perform just to read certain interwebby things, not to mention even post these words here in Red China, reminds me of how much we Americans take our freedoms for granted.

That freedom, while God-given, has only been protected at a steep price in blood and vigilance. Our men and women in the armed services have served to guarantee we have freedom enjoyed by few people in history. 

Thank you for your days and nights away from loved ones, your service, your sacrifice.

Stuff that cracks me up

Here is a definition of irony: I visited a small museum dedicated to Chairman Mao.

They were selling souvenirs.

Nothing like using the very definition of Communism in a capitalist venture.

November 9, 2017

It appears Trump is on a similar travel schedule

I am in sync with the President's travel schedule in that we are both in China.  China is a big place, so that is like saying we share space in the US. I was here first this week. I wasn't doing Secret Service advance scouting. In fact, I am a long way from the Forbidden City where the Trumpster met with the big Poobah from China. I will still be here after the President makes his escape.  I suspect his travel arrangements are just a bit more comfortable than mine. The taxpayers are not funding my travel, perhaps that is the difference.

Speaking of escape, I have been informed my plans have changed. I have been "volunteered" to stay into next week so I can carry some urgent samples back by hand. Unfortunately they will not be finished until early next week. What is an extra few days from home when I have already been gone a week?

Hmm, my sarcasm font seems to be inoperable.

On the bright side, I will get to do some sight-seeing over the weekend, so that is cool.  I was told the original plan was to take me to see the large temple complex near Hangzhou. I ruined plan that when I told my hosts I was there a few years ago. You remember. If not, look it up. You can find pictures in the archives. You should try and keep up. In any case, I am sure whatever we see, it will be interesting. My hosts have been very accommodating.  That is not sarcasm.

There is some additional good news, I have increased my Mandarin vocabulary by 30%. I now know three words. Look at me, trying hard not to be the ugly American.

I thought I had adjusted pretty well to the 13 hour time difference. Then came last night. I fell asleep early, woke up after 4-5 hours and then slept in fits.  I am up early now. That means I have time to type this drivel. Lucky you.

I guess we are all the beneficiaries of good fortune. BTW, that is more of that elusive sarcasm font.


Enjoy your Friday, Thursday whatever.

November 7, 2017

A post written tomorrow for your enjoyment today.

I have not seen much on this trip to the Far East: hotel, car, plant, car, hotel. Rinse and repeat.

I have eaten some good food and some not-so-good. Chicken feet, not so good. Beef tongue, tolerable. I still cannot mange chopsticks. My hosts have given up on me in that regard.

I forgot Google is verboten in Red China. So is my personal gmail account. I have gone through leaps and bounds to post this quick note since Blogger is Google too. I am sneaking in through my company's VPN.  I expect the authorities to burst into my hotel room and any moment and drag me off to be squashed by a tank in Tienanmen Square.

Actually the visit is fine, I am finally getting adjusted to the time difference.

Not that you care.

I will say this.  I don't watch CNN at home. That is pretty much the only English channel available here in Zhenjiang. The programming is all Russia/Trump 24-7. I mean the theme of every single story. There is such an anti-Trump bias it is palpable.

Enjoy your week. And yes, this post was written tomorrow due to the international date line and all of that time zone stuff.

November 4, 2017

Lucky you

I said I probably wouldn’t post. I lied. Total complete boredom compels me to electronically scribble a note to you.

“How’s that?” , you ask. I’m here in Canukistan on a long layover. I have free WiFi. I’ve been here since just before eight AM. My next flight leaves at 1320 for those of you who can tell military time. That means I have — lemme pull out my fingers and count — a bunch of free time. Then, my boredom unsated, I get to climb into another flying tube of aluminum and fly west for 15 hours or so. Yay, me. Then I get to ride in a car for three or four hours. My total trip will be pushing 30 hours from the time I left home. Say it with me “Boy, Joe, I wish I had your job, traveling to those cool places”.

I said say it.

Since I am parked in the international terminal the loudspeaker is blaring in multiple languages. Since it is Canada, everything is in English and Surrender Frog. Gotta keep those Québécois happy. Of course, hypocrite I am, I will need all announcements in China to be in a English. It is my right as an American. Everyone knows that. Catering to me is completely different. I think that is called irony, and it has nothing to do with wrinkled shirts.

Security took forever this morning. There were only two lines open: one for TSA Pre, one for the rest of us schmucks. I got there just in time, after I moved into the queue, the line stretched almost back to the central airport lobby. You would have thought a few of the 15 or 20 TSA types standing around talking about last night’s episode of Last Housewives or something could have fired up another x-ray machine, but that is just thinking crazy. One Agent told folks in the back of the line there were six lanes open in the B Terminal with no waiting. He said they could go over there. I just wondered why they didn’t bring some of those  superfluous TSA agents over to the A Terminal and open up another lane? Silly me.

I’m giving serious thought to lying down on the dirty floor and taking a snooze. I’m afraid I will sleep right through my flight. I could set an alarm, but mostly I’m just all talk. Besides, I need to sleep over on the plane. I have to get my body clock shifted 12 hours.

Enough bitching. How’s your weekend going?

November 3, 2017

Uninspiration

Yeah, I am lacking. I haven’t posted for a couple of days. I’ve really got nothing to say.

I know.

I could whine and complain, but you don’t care.  Who wants to read that stuff?

Baseball is done. Hurry up February. The Colts suck and things won’t get better soon. I don’t like basketball. Politicians of both parties should suffer painful crotch fires (That should no way be considered a threat, rather a metaphor for my general disgust).

You have weather. I have weather. They may or may not be similar.

That about covers my normal topics. Feel free to insert your own adventure.

Oh, posting will be sporadic at best for the next week or so. You will survive. Sometimes I can some posts when I know I will not be able to get here daily. Occasionally I throw up a rerun. Not this time.

Have a great weekend. I made other plans.

November 1, 2017

Bitch set me up

Lee, Washington, Jefferson, Grant, Lincoln - no monuments for you. Your lives and beliefs make us squirmy and squishy, and remind us of old unpleasant times and besides you were white. Spit.

A crack-head corrupt former mayor — You deserve a statue.



Edit: This is the best thing you will read on the whole “get rid of history” movement

I have a little wooden replica cigar store Indian I call Charley

It is spitting snow this morning. What happened to those beautiful fall days we didn’t have? I blame it on climate change. I am certain we are all gonna die. Really. All of us.

We had four (4) trick-or-treaters last night: two pairs. The wife bought three bags of candy and a box of little bags of cheese balls. I told her to buy one package of six full-sized Snickers or Reese’s.  The four kids last night makes a total of less than 20 visitors on Halloween since we moved here in 2013. I don’t know what made my wife believe this year would be different.

Now I have to fight the temptation to grab a Milk Dud or Almond Joy or little chocolate bar every time I shuffle through the kitchen. Yeah, I am about as likely to ignore that giant bowl of candy right next to the Keurig as I am to not look at her nekkid boobies when she takes off her shirt. I think she is secretly trying to kill me. She bakes cookies and cakes every week. A few Sundays ago I was shooting diabetic meds into my gut while she was baking cupcakes.

It is hump day. You already know that. Couple keen insights like identifying the day of the week with a weather report that has no relevance to you and you can see why this blog has an audience of fourteen. Insty has nothing on this collection of musings.

How about a couple of political thoughts?

Suddenly, Democrats have a big issue with draft dodgers. They are outraged by Trump’s bone spurs. They were so upset that Bush served in the National Guard they made up stuff. But when it comes to Democrat military service (I’m looking at you Bill Clinton) there is nothing to see here folks, just move along.

If I spent my time cataloging liberal hypocrisy I would get nothing else accomplished.

As far as I can tell, a guy did lobbying for the Ukraine, didn’t fill out the proper forms, banked a bunch of money for doing the work, lied about it and now that proves Trump did something with the Russians and therefore cheated Hillary out of getting a chance to sell nights in the Lincoln Bedroom for outrageous amounts of cash. Does that cover it or am I missing not just the smoking gun, but the evidence anyone brought a .45 to the meeting to start with?

A dude murdered a bunch of people with a truck in New York. He was from a majority Muslim country, shouted “Allah Akbar” , and had ISIS materials in the truck. Police are not sure if it was a terrorist attack.

I think that about covers the world as I see it for today.

October 31, 2017

In the spirit of the season

I intend to dress up like a guy who does not wear a Halloween costume tonight when I pass out candy to the three Trick-or-treaters we expect this evening. In other words I will be sporting jeans and T-shirt.

October 30, 2017

I was born a ramblin’ man

Yesterday’s poor me post got me to thinking about travel. Not so long ago I was doing some calculations. Windshield time is good thinking time. Based on various company car odometers I know I have driven in excess of one million miles. I estimate I am getting close to 800 airplane trips. I wish I had kept exact track back when I started traveling. I know my first business trip via plane was to Albany, NY in the late 1980s.

Somewhere In the archives  there is a list of airports I have flown to, through, and from. I have added a few since, so the number is probably 50 or 60?

I have more nights in a hotel room than a $5 hooker. I’ve been a Hilton diamond member for a decade, and top tier frequent stayer in other chains before that. Let’s say I stayed an average of 30 nights a year, I know that is low, that would be more than 700 nights in a strange bed since 1993. That is a bunch of hotel points!

I used to highlight in my atlas every city I hit on a business trip. The atlas wore out. I have been to 45 states, not all on business, but most. I have been to 14 different countries, at least 10 of those were for business.

I know business people who make my travels seem insignificant. I have a buddy who is a true road warrior. He is gone Monday through Thursday or Friday every single week. I know folks who have taken foreign assignments. I know a few international players who go overseas every month. There are guys who travel the highways every day, but still get home every night. They are definitely traveling men. Those who work in the airline industry or even some in the military laugh at my minuscule record of my excursions. I do think I have been out and about more than your average bear.

 I don’t travel like I used to. I don’t want to fly 120 legs a year. I don’t want to log 70,000 miles a year behind the wheel of a sedan. But I have. It is what makes me, well me. Besides, it has provided a wealth of blog fodder, even if my rambling tales and travelogues are the soporific you need before bed.

October 29, 2017

Get up there Sal, we’ve passed that lock...

Here we are on a downright cold Sunday morning. It is overcast and still dark at 7:41 AM as I hunt and peck at the little iPad keyboard. If it dries out, I have some outside stuff to do. I need to put the hose away for the winter, dismantle the swing, and clean up debris from the big willow. Nothing hard, nor too time consuming. I should rip up the tomato plants from the garden. Summer lingered well into fall, and we went from the 80s to the 40s in a hurry. Now all of those chores need doing.

Why the urgency, you ask? I’m off to the Far East next weekend. I offer a lower-case “woot” to express my lack of excitement. Back in 2013 when I went to China the trip was way better than I expected. Perhaps that will be true this time as well. If I am honest, it is the trip itself that sucks. Usually, my favorite part of traveling is the “getting there”. Twenty hours-plus on various planes, trains, and automobiles is no fun. I was thinking about it yesterday, it was more than fifteen years ago when I did a lot of international travel (is going to Europe 5-6 times a year a “lot”?). Not that I am ready for a bed in a nursing home, but hard travel at 40 is different than travel at 55. I don’t know how to explain it, but business travel is not vacation travel. You have to adjust to the time ASAP, meetings and work start right away. There is no relaxing ramp-up to get used to your surroundings. Colleagues want to make sure you are entertained, so long days end with late dinners, followed by yet another early morning.

It sounds like I’m gripping, and I am. I also recognize I have been fortunate enough to go all over the world on an expense account. That is indeed, pretty cool. Short of the military, I have travelled more than most people. I have seen stuff most people dream about. I have walked the Great Wall, seen the Louvre, the British Museum. I touched the Rosetta Stone. I have visited cathedrals and castles. I also put in 15-18 hour days for a week at a time and spent more days than I can count away from my wife and kids. International travel most always extends over a weekend. Or two.

 I would leave in an instant for a vacation trip to just about anywhere. Traveling around the globe to work; meh. It is hard to explain to anyone who has never had to do much business travel. In my heart, I know the trip will be fine.

 I just wish I could get the hang of chopsticks.

October 27, 2017

I came upon a child of God...

I went to the doctor this morning. He was moderately happy. My blood sugars are still too high, but overall my A1c has dropped down to 7.8. Not where I want it, but reduced 30% from just a month ago. If the wife would keep from making pies and cake and cookies in the evening it would help. I suppose some would argue it is my own fault for eating said bad stuff. That is crazy talk, every bad thing in life is someone else’s fault. She is lording her sugar privilege over me. I need a safe space, preferably one with a comfy recliner, large TV, cold beer, and cigar smoking.

One side effect of the various meds is my weight is good. I weigh less today than I did when I got married. In fact,  I weigh pretty much what I did upon high school graduation way back in 1980. Last week I hit what has to be a 30 year low. My weight is down nearly 60 pounds from when I started this blog. Maybe I need to change the web address?

I have regretted the blog domain Fat in Indiana since about a year into this exercise in navel gazing. What a stupid name. Unfortunately, I have never been able to think up something really clever, and starting over is just too much effort. Besides, there is 137 years of genius captured in the archives of this blog.

I finished the Ken Burns Vietnam documentary last weekend. It started fairly even-handed, but took a decided anti-war turn in the final few episodes. Nixon evokes a powerful hate among the leftist types. I was somewhat disappointed to find that a majority of the vets interviewed throughout the series ended up as anti-war protesters. They were part of the bunch who chucked their medals over the Capital fence and rooted for John Kerry in his “I saw war crimes” testimony before Congress. I suppose their later political position does not color their impression and war experience, but I cannot help feeling there must be some bias there and I question the whole series based on that.

Oh, well, I’m sure no one at PBS cares what I think. Why would they?



Have a great day.

October 26, 2017

About the blog

I’m still here. Breathing and thinking;  everything a sentient human ought to do. Except writing stuff here. That, I’m not doing. Well, except I am. The fact you are reading this is proof. I haven’t, -written, that is - for a few days.  Confused? Me too. 

There was a layer of frost on the pumpkins this morning. There was frost on the grass as well. I suspect that cold snap will kick-start the trees into fall mode. The leaves on most of my trees are decidedly green.  

I could fill the next couple of paragraphs with complaints. You are not interested. Rest easy, I won’t go down that path. 

I haven’t watched any baseball, but I wish I would have last night. It sounds like a contest for the ages. Oh, well. I won’t lose sleep over it. 

The granddaughter is spending the night. That is good. 

Look, I have just served up ample proof my life is boring, I have nothing to say, and my apathy level as regards the old blog is pretty high. You have shown a remarkable disdain for repeats. 

What do you want for nothing?

October 24, 2017

All the right moves

I pulled my T-shirt down over my sweaty back and surveyed the lawn. The grass was cut in nice straight strips. The trimming had been done around the numerous flower beds, ornamental bushes, trees and the house and patio. And this was in the prehistoric days before weed eaters and electric trimmers. I had trimmed the entire yard with those old scissor-type trimmers. Grandma asked me if I wanted to come in for a game of cribbage, but I told her I had to get home and clean up. I had a date. She said I could have a Coke, so I went down to the basement where she kept the soft drinks. It took just two long drinks to drain the little six ounce bottle.

Why does Coke taste so much better in little bottles?

When I came back upstairs Grandma handed me a bunch of cut daisies.

Some money would be nice.

She said they were for my date. I told her kids did not do that stuff anymore, but she said the girl would love it.


The girl met me at the door and gave me a wooden look when I held out the flowers. I told her they were for her and they smelled good. She stuck her face into the bouquet then handed them to her mother to put into water. We left for the movies.

Time to execute, initiate the set up. 

As we walked through the parking lot I stretched first my right arm then my left over my head. I repeated the motion in the ticket line. I explained I had been 'landscaping' all day and my arms were stiff. 

Oh yeah 

We took our seats for the movie and I held her hand during the previews. 

Take it slow HB

A few minutes into the movie I stretched the arms again, this time I slipped my left arm around her shoulder. 

Oh yes, you are smooth. Now the tricky part, take it slow and she will never know what is going on

She leaned against me. She turned to me and smiled. I gave her my best 'make her melt look'.

I slowly let my hand drop down and brush her breast. When there was no response, I repeated. 

Yes, yes, yes, she does not even know what I am doing! 

I let my hand rest on her booby. I began to gently massage. 

Go, go, go, yes!

I felt her breathe deep. I squeezed gently. I kissed the back of her neck. She began to breathe a little deeper. I rubbed against the nipple, I think it was getting hard. She began to breathe rapidly. She was almost panting.

Holy cow, she was getting hot

She whispered something, she was out of breath. "What?" I said.

"Stop" she moaned a little louder. I pretended not to hear. 

No no no no no

She brushed away my arm and hissed "Quit, let go". 

"I thought you were getting excited" I whispered into her ear.

"No, I am allergic to flowers, I can't breathe -- I need my inhaler."

A repeat from May 2007. Still a classic.


Rinse and repeat

Outside it is the same as yesterday — cold, gloomy. It is perfectly seasonable. It is not raining, though. Perfect weather for a pot of chili or soup. Also for sentence fragments and punctuation errors.

I have to confess, as much as I like baseball, I have no interest in this year’s World Series.

I have no interest in the politics of the day, either.

We covered the weather. We hit on sports. We touched on politics. What else is there? I am reading an account of the Alamo by Walter Lord.  I’m barely into it. I enjoyed his account of the Battle of Midway, I read it as a teen, and his writing of history is remarkably readable.

That’s it for today, I’m off to work.

October 23, 2017

Yawn

It is a rainy, dreary Monday here at the old homestead. Cool to downright cold temperatures are expected throughout the week. The recent spate of warm weather coupled with a bit of rain has my tomato plants confused. A bunch of blooms have formed that will never bear fruit once it drops below 30 next weekend. I have a couple of dozen green tomatoes that are ripening slowly in the weaker fall sunshine. I will try to pick them and either fry them up (my wife doesn’t like them fixed that way) or let them ripen in the window.

It was an uneventful weekend. We babysat Friday evening. Saturday we visited some friends and played euchre. Sunday I mowed the yard and watched some very bad football.  I am sure you are bored just reading about it.

I did paint the mailbox post to the approved neighborhood color. It has been the wrong color for at least the four years we have lived here. I got a note from the HOA last spring and ignored it. My neighbor said he had some paint left over if I wanted it. So making things right cost me about 15 minutes of my time and the water to wash out the brush. I am now right with the the autocrats.

October 22, 2017

Hmmm

More thoughts on my previous post:

Instead of focusing on who said what to whom, the media should be asking what were US service men doing in Niger anyway?

October 20, 2017

Head shaking sadness

Dead soldiers deserve more than to be mere pawns in a he said/she said political war.


Happy dance

Friday! This has been one very long week. I will be ecstatic come five o'clock, but I am giddy as a fly on a dog turd this morning.

Yeah, I know the Cubbies lost. Down at one point 3-0 in the series with the Dodgers, it was inevitable. I stated at the start of the playoffs I did not think Chicago could get past LA. You can't win it all every year. I didn't think it would be that ugly though.

I finally got the money my old employer has owed me since February. It is not a lot of cash, about a normal bi-weekly paycheck, but welcome as a drink of cool water in the desert. Too bad it is earmarked for bills. The tiny bit extra? Well, the wife dropped her phone yesterday and cracked the screen into a spiderweb of destruction. Sigh.

I did get a $10 credit from Amazon for the e-book price fixing settlement. Free books!

I'm off to work, enjoy your Friday.

October 19, 2017

Dear NFL

You are the National Football League, not the National Reform the Criminal Justice System League. Not the Equal Pay League. Not the Hands Up Don't Shoot League. I guess you just don't get it. We want you to provide needlessly violent sporting events for our entertainment. If I want politics, I will tune into the Sunday Talking Heads political shows that air on TV before your Sunday games.

If that means no more pink shoes and sweat bands during your cancer awareness weeks, I can live with that. I think we are all aware cancer sucks anyway. If the athletes that play your game want to do community activism, good for them. They can do it on other days of the week. I don't participate in my pet causes at work, and the players shouldn't either.

Just like the stupid anchor on ESPN who advocated a boycott of NFL sponsors, you are destroying the source of your income. The NFL cannot live on ticket sales. Focus on football, it is your core mission. Anything else is a waste of time, money, and energy.


October 18, 2017

Stuff I think about

Why is it the only people in America without an ubiquitous cell phone poised to capture every moment in pictures and video are the people who regularly have encounters with space aliens and Big Foot-like creatures?

Going to bed angry and disappointed

I know you don't care about baseball. That is OK.

The Cubs are down 3-0. There is no way they can come back from that deficit.

No matter how bad the bullpen or the Skipper's head scratching decisions, if the Cubs cannot score runs they will not win.

The idea we could see a Dodgers/Yankees World Series leaves me wanting to puke. I would even root for the Cardinals over the Dodgers, and I would root for just about anyone playing the Yankees.

October 17, 2017

Words to live by

Thomas Payne’s once wrote:
“You will do me the justice to remember, that I have always strenuously supported the Right of every Man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it.”
That pretty much sums it up.

A whole post devoted to stuff you do not care about

Almost all of my children came to dinner last night. My middle one is living in Colorado, so dropping by for some lasagna was not really an option. Other than his vacant chair (figuratively), we had a great time. It was nice to all be together, reminiscent of the great summer crowded house adventure *.

It seems none of my favorite sports teams can manage to play in the second half of a game. The Cubs have choked away opportunity after the fifth inning in the past two games. The Cots presented us with another horrible second half performance, par for the season so far. I'm not sure getting the star QB back will change anything. Tennessee managed to score on every possession but one, that one a lucky pick six by a Colts linebacker. Other than that errant play, the Titans scored on every other possession. I'm not sure if you created a hybrid Manning-Montana-Brady quarterback clone he could overcome a defense that gives up 30+ points a game, mostly in the late 3rd and 4th quarters. Sheesh.

I said at the beginning of he season the Colts would win five games. I am not sure that was correct. They have won two. I don't think there is anyone else on the schedule they can defeat. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

  Go forth and prosper on this beautiful fall Tuesday.




*check the archives, but you really outta be reading every day
Consider everything here that is of original content copyrighted as of March 2005