April 29, 2017

Looks like a three coffee morning

Storms have moved through the old neighborhood in waves this early morning. Lots of thunder, flashes of lightning and rain falling in moderate to heavy downpours. I have been awake since 3:30 or so and up since about 4:30. So it goes. The thunder has nothing to do with my insomnia, I usually sleep great when it storms.

My wife and I went to the movies last night. We saw the movie Gifted. It was pretty good. I don't usually like dramas, but this one gets a strong thumbs up.

Go on over and tell my man Ed congrats. He became a Grandpa again yesterday. Life is good.

The wet and soggy weather is supposed to continue right through the weekend. I am glad I got those gutters cleaned out. Thanks to my SIL's good friend Drew for letting me use his big extension ladder so I could reach the second story roofline on the back of the house. Also thanks to my SIL, I had forgotten (1) how heavy a 30' extension ladder can be and (2) how weak I have become in the past few decades. I used to be a lot stronger. What happened? That is rhetorical, I know what happened; not enough upper body exercise. I will go further, not enough exercise in general.

Enjoy your Saturday.

April 28, 2017

my aching back

I took the day off yesterday to help my son-in-law with some landscaping. We chopped / dug out a couple of shrub stumps. Then we spread a dump truck load of mulch. I then cleaned out the gutters on my house. Needless to say, or maybe I do need to say, I am sore this morning. I mowed and trimmed at my house Wednesday afternoon, so that is a lot of activity for a semi-old man couch potato.

It is Friday, so we have that going anyway.

My granddaughter is two. For the past couple of months she has been "fixing" various toys. She uses her spatula or spoons to "work" on her cars, baby stroller, doll bed, etc. Wednesday evening I bought her a toy tool kit. She was ecstatic. She opened it and grabbed the hammer, then the screwdriver, calling each by name. How does she know what a screwdriver is? In any case, her tool set is the only toy she played with yesterday and was the first thing she grabbed when she came in the door this morning. Maybe she will be an engineer. Whatever makes her happy.

I'm hoping for some good news today. Your prayers, if you are so inclined, would be appreciated.

I hope you have a great Friday.

April 26, 2017

Queso Blanco

I'm late getting to the old blogeroo today. None of your business, that is why.

It looks to be a beautiful day today, weather-wise. It will be real Chamber of Commerce weather, low eighties, low humidity. Rain is supposed to move in tonight and stick around until next week.

On a completely unrelated travel note, when did it become acceptable for the people at the back of the plane to run up the aisle as soon as the plane reaches the gate? It appears most of these rude, self-important jerkwads are under 30. It also may be that in my dotage I think everyone looks young. It is still rude. If you are guilty, stop. The plane empties quicker if we proceed in an ordered fashion - front to back. Yeah, yeah, I hear you. Guess what? Most of us have a connection. Some of us were smart enough to schedule ample time between flights.

April 25, 2017

Historical Ostriches

History is an ugly thing. Burying it will not make it go away. Tearing down Confederate monuments does not mean slavery never happened. Those half a million deaths from the Civil War are real. That bloody affair defined who we are as Americans; our government, our regional cultures, our unity as a people.

There is a reason Germany preserved Auschwitz. Not as a memorial, but so the future could never forget. It may be that the Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy had a different motive when they erected the statues to the Lost Cause. So what? To me they are an object lesson in history. I once made a road trip just to piss on the Jefferson Davis memorial. Nathan Bedford Forrest was a brilliant general and a horrible man who held racist beliefs for most of his life. Does that mean we should desecrate his grave?

If we erase from history every despicable, power-hungry, hateful, despotic megalomaniac who ended up in power then our text books are going to be pretty thin.

Getting rid of a few statues won't make life in the inner city change one iota. Anyone who thinks it will is shallow and certainly bound to be disappointed.

April 24, 2017

Why not?

How about some music today?

April 23, 2017

I Married an X-Man

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are blood stains hard to get out of carpet?

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

April 22, 2017

I call Bull s*%t

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

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

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

Why can't the Clintons just go away?

I fart in your general direction Earth Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 21, 2017

Campaigning Season

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

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

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

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

Sorry General, I fell asleep on guard duty. 

April 20, 2017

I ain't dead

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

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

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

Yeah, it is good to be me.

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

April 18, 2017

How it all began

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

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

April 15, 2017

Come fly with me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 14, 2017

that did not last long

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

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

As always, I welcome and encourage counter arguments in the comment section.

April 13, 2017

That is What She Said

I'm sorry. I don't know what is going on. I have never had such a long period of...un-inspiration, disinterest, "I got nuthins"  before on the old blog. Writing ennui is the state of affairs.

It is not just the blog. I'm bored with reading, TV, work, and even my meals are meh. Sorry. Such is life these days. I will post when I have something to say.

April 11, 2017

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Stuff cracks me up. I read an article in the Washington Post today (via Hot Air)* about the Trumpster's bombing of a Syria airfield. The article's sole claim was that Obama's planned attack in 2013 was way bigger than Trump's response to a chemical weapons attack. The whole joke is that Obama never actually ordered his attack. No bias here, Washington Post?  "So you ate 50 boiled eggs? I could have eaten 100 if I tried". Sheesh.

Yesterday was a beautiful day. I had some conference calls in the morning and afternoon. In between I snuck outside to play with the granddaughter. She played basketball, ran in and out of her playhouse and picked dozens of "pretty flowers" -- dandelions -- from the neighbor's yard. She ran her little two year old legs ragged. I noticed she brought a package of sidewalk chalk with her this morning.

Some heavy rain moved in during the evening hours. They have sinced moved East and today looks bright and sunny.

Enjoy your Tuesday.

The easiest way to make chicken pot pie is to buy one of those cheap frozen Banquet ones at the grocery.   You can't say I don't deliver on my titles. Today anyway.

* No links. I'm too lazy and linking on the iPad is a pain. Bad blogger.

April 10, 2017

good soft toilet paper is worth the money

...but this post is not worth your time.

Monday is upon us. I trust you had a good weekend. I did.

The weather was great. Saturday some friends came over. We went to a cheap dinner and spent the evening playing  Euchre and laughing. Sunday the wife helped me clean up the yard. We collected a trash can of sticks and debris plus three bags of old leaves I raked out of the flower beds. I pulled some weeds and fertilized the spring flowers. This morning I am a bit sore from the bending.

Have a great Monday.

April 8, 2017

Random Ramblings Volume 137

When driving the interstates you notice numerous cars are passing you on the right then you are driving like an ass and need to move over into the right lane.  A Missouri DOT sign had it right last year when it read "the right lane is for cruising the left is for passing".  I'm looking at you Ohio drivers.

Tne filibuster is not in the Constitution. In fact, it was not even part of the Senate rules until the early 1800s. Even then it was rarely used until the early twentieth century.  Judge Gorsuch is the first nominee to the Supreme Court to be filibustered. *

Filling the vacancy on the court was pretty much the sole reason I voted for the Trumpster. Also he was not Hillary Clinton.

It is supposed to be decent, weather-wise, this weekend. I may try to get some much-needed yard work done.

I received a call the other day that cracked me up. The caller asked if I was Joe. He had a thick Indian (subcontinent, not teepee) accent. He asked if I would be interested in an accounting job they had open., I told him I knew nothing about accounting. He replied that he saw my resume on-line and that it said I was a National Account Manager. I had to explain that was 'account' as in sales, not numbers. I wanted to tell him I was a history major. Balancing a checkbook challenges my math skills. But I do know how to use a calculator.

I have noticed a couple of doves skulking about near the back fence. I hope they aren't contemplating constructing a nest in one of the trees. I loathe doves. That constant cooing and moaning annoys the heck out of me. Plus, I am sure they stick their nests together with their own shit. They are dumber than a liberal snowflake college kid or even an Irish Setter. a pair tried to nest in one of my wife's hanging basket of flowers a few years ago. I tossed the nest every day. It took most of the summer before they gave up and moved on.

I hope you have a great weekend.

*Abe Fortas was filibustered for his nomination as Chief Justice. He was already on the court.

April 7, 2017

March Hare Mode

I'm running late. I have to be on the road in ten minutes.

Maybe more later.

Maybe not.

But this is a post.

April 5, 2017

I scored some cheap cigars

In the time I have written this blog under various pseudonyms I do not believe I have ever had a stretch of writer's block like the one I am enduring. Perhaps disinterest is a more appropriate term. I do not feel like ranting on the politics of the day. I am almost to the point where I do not care. There is nothing of interest to anyone outside of my household in my personal life. I can't think of any noteworthy travel adventures to spice up the old blogeroo. The weather is typical springtime fare. I am breathing. I have the same worries and concerns as you: bills, health, happiness. I am blessed in many ways, but it seems the only topic I can muster to blog about is an inability to find a topic to blog about.

The Cubs won. There is that.

April 3, 2017

Blueberry pear tart

Hello fellow Earthlings. Monday is upon us and I greet the work week filled with optimism. That does not mean that I have anything of note to write about, though. I have three meetings today. You don't care. I am sick of politics. The arseholes in charge are going to do what they are gonna do. Our 'representatives' are only there for themselves first, and the Democratic or Republican Party second, then comes the lobbyists, big donors, foreign interests, and bribe payers. You and me -- the voters -- do not even figure into the equation.

I am not so naive to think that the situation is any different than it has always been. Those who think the partisanship and rancor is the worst it has ever been are ignorant of the history of most of the 1800's. But wouldn't it be nice if both sides sat down and actually tried to fix the obvious issues with ObamaCare or maybe looked at a SCOTUS nominee and noted that he has been in the majority opinion 97% of he time and acknowledged he probably is pretty mainstream? Yeah, I know.

April 2, 2017

It is here

My legs are bouncing up and down in anticipation. I am doing a grown-up version of the pee pee dance. I have checked and rechecked the time and station. Baseball's Opening Day is upon us. I feel like a five year-old crowded in the bow of the big boat crossing the lagoon to Disney World.  "Oh, oh, oh, almost there".

Will the Cubs repeat? History says probably not, but I know the despair of 90 and 100 loss seasons is behind me for a while. The Boys in Blue will be competitive and win far more than they lose. That is a good thing.

I know where I will be this evening, perched on the couch filled with youthful hope and exuberance as the the Cubs take on the evil Cardinals. Boyish dreams will fill my nose with the smell of well-used leather and dirt and sweat. I will hear the crack of the bat and remember that wonderful jarring sting as you make contact with a well thrown ball. I will hear the chatter on the field.  I still recall the dreams of a small boy imagining his name on the PA as he steps to the plate on opening day. Dreams from a time before he realized he just wasn't good enough by a long shot to play ball at almost any level; too small, too slow, too unathletic.

Tonight I will remember that moment last fall when a lifetime of dreams was fulfilled. When my beloved Chicago Cubs finally won the World Series. The joy, the exuberance, the sheer happiness I felt. I can't wait to go there again. If not, the seasonal  journey will be good enough. I wanted just one before I died. I even have a T-shirt with that sentiment printed on it. I got it.

Go Cubs.

March 31, 2017

I finally realized I need a title three days later

It is Friday. You already know that. The social chairwoman has yet to inform me of any weekend plans.

Congress continues along in a dysfunctional way. Both parties are to blame. I wonder if things would be different had the XVII Amendment not passed. Originally, the House was to represent the people while the Senate represented the States. That is why the Senate was not chosen through popular vote. If Senators were voting the will of their State lawmakers instead of individual voters I bet things would move a bit more smoothly. Now the senate is just filled with guys from big Congressional districts who worry about getting re-elected so they can feed at the lobbyist pig trough instead of making sure they are voting the wishes of Indiana, Texas, or Ohio. Note, I did not use the phrase 'the people of...'  in any case I bet there are at least 25 Senators who could not cite a single case and decision that disqualifies Gorsuch from serving on the Supreme Court. There are none that are so egregious that they represent an unsound legal mind.

Ah, that is too much political crap for a Friday.

Have a great weekend.

March 30, 2017

Wherein I declare your ideas as remarkably stupid and moronic

English is a bastard language rooted in Saxon and French and ancient Briton, Gaelic and a smattering of Latin roots. American English swipes words from Spanish and the Romance languages reflecting the true melting pot dynamic of our nation. English is a real pain to learn. Spelling is inconsistent, pronunciation is very regional. The dialect spoken in Scotland is a world away from the version spoken in tidewater Virginia.

In English we have the same word mean many things; consider sight and cite, to, too, and two for example. It is all complicated enough, but at least we don't have feminine and masculine verbs. In English he walks, she walks, we walk, they walk. The verb is the same regardless of the pronoun or article. This is not so in languages like French or Spanish. They have a different verb and article depending on the word being masculine or feminine. It is why most English speakers hate learning languages --the conjugating of verbs. Bah.

There is a movement underfoot where the Perpetually Aggrieved want to eliminate masculine and feminine pronouns. Instead of he or she they want to be called "ze" or "zir". I want to be "His royal bigness and arbiter of taste". I also demand you utter " Bippity Boppity Boo" at the end of every sentence when addressing me. 

"Joe, Your Royal Highness and Arbiter of Taste, will you tell me more? Bippity Boppity, Boo".

Yes, that is just as silly as the whole made up pronoun thing. If Bruce Jenner wants to slap on a dress and be called she, well, OK. If Darla wants to wear a flannel shirt and be called Dave then so what? As far as i am concerned if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is a duck. But i tell you here I will not refer to fellow humans by any old pronoun they care to make up. Ever. Sorry, I'm an old fart. I will not purposely change centuries of English grammar so that instead of 'she went to the store' we write 'them went to the store'. 

I bet crazed Social Justice Warriors are going nuts over the masculine and feminine verbs in the Romance Languages or is the silliness confined to our college campii?

In any case it is just dumb and I will not play along. Bippity, Boppity, Boo.

March 29, 2017

I'm sorry

I'm just not feeling it. I really just have nothing to offer.

I bought donuts this morning.  There is that.

Have a good day.

March 27, 2017

I got a haircut last Friday

Monday. 'Nuff said on that subject.

I see Joe Biden laments he did not run for President. He thinks he could have won. I think so too. I suspect a significant number of Trump votes were anti Clinton votes. Mine was.

One more week until real baseball. I am ready.

Feel free to create the balance of tne content in your mind. It will likely be more interesting than anything I can come up with.

Have a great day.

March 26, 2017

Just like that

Birds are chirping. The weather is fine. My coffee is hot and black, as God intended. I am breathing. I am sure my wife loves me, a little anyway. Life is good.

I hope you enjoy your Sunday.

March 24, 2017

You are welcome

I was on my way to the grocery store late yesterday afternoon. As I turned out of my cul-de-sac onto the street that leads out of the subdivision I noticed smoke coming out of a neighbor's garage. It looked like they were grilling or something. These are the same people who chain their dog to the tree in front of their house even though their backyard is fenced and use their truck bed to shoot off fireworks so the idea that they are grilling deep in the garage is not a far-fetched notion.

As I got to the corner I noticed the smoke was black and heavy and swirling out of the open garage door. This was no charcoal grill! I threw the Escape into reverse and sped back towards the house. As I jumped out of the car I could see the red and orange tongues of flame in the front corner of the garage. I knew they had small kids so I ran to the door. I hit the doorbell repeatedly. All three kids ran to the door and stared at me through the glass panels next to the door. They ranged in age from about seven to three or four. None made an effort to open the door. I shouted that they should get their mom, the garage was on fire. She burst out he door a few seconds later.

The kids ran across the street crying in panic and hysteria. The mother tried to kick the flames, but the fire was three or four feet high by then, the garage was filled with thick black smoke. I asked her if she had a rake or shovel I could use to drag whatever was on fire out into the drive to spread it out. She just stared at me and ran out the side door of the garage. Of course opening that door caused a draft that fed the flames further. At this point the fire was about three feet in diameter and three or four feet high and the boxes and packaging that fueled the flames were burning fast and hot. You could not see the back of the garage for the smoke.

She dragged in a hose and started spraying the flames. After a minute or so the fire was a smoldering mass, but the danger of burning down the house seemed to have passed. I asked her if she had it under control. She again just stared at me and shouted to the kids that it was OK. Two came back up the drive. One curled into a hysterical crying ball. I suppose, without evidence, he was the one who set the fire. His reaction was far beyond fear.

I asked the woman again if she was OK now. Again she just looked at me. I shrugged and got back in my car and headed to the store. I would say that I wasn't really looking for a thank you, except that I was. If I had not driven by when I did the wall of the garage would have caught. A minute or two later and who knows?

When I came back from the grocery the garage door was closed. I would have thought they would want to air out the smoke odor.

I don't guess this qualifies me for the Boy's Life "True Scouts in Action" feature.

March 23, 2017

A metaphor

OK, I will spell it out -- I'm busy as a beaver today.

March 22, 2017

Hmmmm part 2

So the Trump team was under surveillance after all. And just what is incedental mean anyway? Clearly this was under the auspices of the Obama Administration and NOT related to foreign or Russian investigations.


This may get interesting and ugly.

another lazy post

A decade or so I stated that I would never post a YouTube video on the old blogaroo. I firmly held that resorting to video was a crutch to compensate for lack of content. It was lazy blogging. I think I broke that pledge about two months later. That is how we roll around here. I have written 5634 posts (not all published) counting this one in the twelve years since I started this blog. I don't know how many of those posts included videos. I suspect quite a few. I do know we can add another to that tally:

This old 80's tune popped up on my iPod the other day. Go ahead and listen. A couple minutes spent in Nostalgia Alley won't hurt a thing. If you are too young to remember the 1980's, then you might hear something new.

So, if you have read this far it is clear that my writers block continues. I started this site on March 22, 2005 with a mixture of high hopes and trepidation. Twelve years ago today. There are bloggers who have been around longer. There are bloggers with significantly higher readership. There are many, many bloggers who are better writers. I am, by definition and fact, just an average Joe in the blogging world.

I am pretty sure that 135 of my first 150 visitors 12 years ago was me, checking to see if anyone had read my crap. Some things don't change. I still seek approbation. I'm still a jerk. I am opinionated. I am probably a lot less funny than I think I am. Sarcasm is still my best weapon. I still don't know what I am trying to accomplish here.

I don't have a huge readership, but you are loyal.

Before I delve into the maudlin, let me just offer a heartfelt  thank you for reading to all of you who have stopped by in the past twelve years. I can say with complete candor that each of your visits and comments has helped make my day a little more pleasant.

March 21, 2017

Good news and bad

i am once again connected to the interwebz. I can surf the news and blogs with abandon and impunity. There is no need to worry about data usage. I can have access to hundreds of channels on my big screen TV. I do not even have to find the station I want, I just speak o the remote and the magic box finds my program or station. That is the good.

Now the bad news, if you are a fan of this bloggity example of personal navel-gazing; I have nothing of interest to report. The weather is unabashedly March. Politicians are behaving remarkably political. My daughter prepared a great birthday dinner for me last night, both my boys came home to honor me. Having my family all together pleased me more than I can express, but I suspect that has little interest to you. In fact, my annual first-day-of-spring birthday passed with no fanfare at all. For the curious among you this was the double nickels birthday. I can still remember when that seemed really, really old. Life is what it is. God is good and has blessed me in ways I cannot describe. Thc fact that I cannot entertain you today is something we will both survive.

I hope your day is good.

March 19, 2017

I love you so much I am using valuable hotspot cell data to put up this post

I told my internet/cable provider to stick it up their...on Friday. I'm sick of the constant outages and frequent price changes -- like charging me at random for premium channels I never asked for and never wanted. I told them to shut it off. I called the other guys who will be here Monday. I have no illusions, the other guys will be just as bad. I will save about $50 bucks a month with the new customer discount. When the new guys raise their rates I will just go back to the current crappy provider at their lower introductory rates. Neither company understands the value of customer loyalty.

To bridge the gap I bought n antenna for the main TV. I get about 20 local stations including a bunch of broadcast stations playing old TV fare from my youth and even before. You know, stuff from when the world was black and white with shades of gray. Lots of cowboys, lots of magical hot chicks.

I am getting a kick out of watching old Johnny Carson episodes. It is strange to watch Carson and his guests smoking away during the interviews. I find it amazing that the same basic jokes we hear these days were used describing Reagan. Funny how every Republican President is inept, bumbling, and a puppet of an evil cabinet. Last night's rerun from 1974 was fascinating from a historical perspective; they were talking about Nixon, Watergate, and streaking.

This was all the rage at the time. I had this 45 rpm record. A local ice cream shop offered a free banana split to any streaker who came to the window. I don't know if they paid off. I remember streaking down the block on a late night dare from my neighbor on one of numerous back yard summer campouts. Streaking was just another fad that faded away. I suspect winter had more than a little to do with it.

Where are you Dustbury?

March 17, 2017


I'm having internet issues. Posting will be light for a while.

One part of me says 12 years is enough.

We shall see when the repairs are made

I didn't want to leave either of you hanging

March 14, 2017


I was skeptical when Trump claimed he was wiretapped by the Obama administration. Then we see that there were reports back in January that claim his aids were under surveillance.

Now the DOJ says they need more time to see if Trump was under investigation. Sorry, if he wasn't then it takes no time to reply that there is no record. The request to Conress to delay responding looks like there is fire under the smoke and the agencies involved are trying to smother it right quick.


Apricot, peach, apple, sugar cream, black raspberry, pecan, lemon

March 13, 2017

I watched Butler play 'Nova. I'm now an expert

It is that time of year. Folks who know diddly about basketball opine on the relative merits of teams they have never seen play a single game. These so-called experts lament the inclusion and exclusion of marginal teams, each of which one could make an argument for and against. If you are a player at "should have been a 15th seed university" you can take solace in the fact that had you just won a few more games there would have been no question about your inclusion to the big tournament.

To those who cry about the seeds. Get over it. You have to win every game to be the champ. It does not matter where you are on the bracket, win and nothing else matters. Crying about being an eight seed opposed to a sixth seed is a waste of time. It does not make you appear a college basketball cognoscenti. It makes you a petulant know-it-all cry baby

Finally, if you do fill out a bracket, take a stand. Filling out multiple brackets to hedge your bets is just lame.

I won't share my uniformed, best guess, flip-a-coin, oh-who-cares-bracket. Decades of experience shows my Magic 8 Ball is a liar. My selections never survive the first weekend.

All before I have even had a drop of coffee

I have been up since just after 3:00. I don't know why. It is especially irritating because I did not go to bed until midnight. When I say I don't know why, I may be fibbing a little. I have a bad case of heartburn. I feel it all the way into my throat. I took a couple of antacids and drank a big slug of generic Malox, to no avail. I am a bit confused by the acid reflux. I had the most benign of meals for dinner last night - chicken and noodles.

I have sat here in my office surfing the interwebz in the dark. Yesterday my brain prompted me with a memory from a nearly forgotten class in European history where one single lecture focused on the post WWI cultural, artistic, and scientific movements in Weimar Berlin. For some reason the phrase "Berlin Modeling School" came to mind. I suppose the professor was talking about the Bauhaus School. 1920's Berlin led me to more than two hours of surface research on art, Dadaism, architecture, literature, cinema, cabarets, and even some YouTube clips of some famous Kaberet performers. That led me to Christopher Isherwood. Descriptions of his books led me to think about Hemingway and Fitzgerald.

This led me to a fuzzy thesis regarding the 20's and the decadence of the "lost generation". I wondered why the post war years after The Great War led to the libertine 1920's and the post WWII years led to unprecedented economic and technological growth. Then I decided I didn't really care and that someone else has likely published whole denuded forests worth of paper on the subject. Finally, I decided that it is all just too much work for a predawn Monday mind.

Historian Barbara Tuchman was entirely correct when she stated that research is endlessly seductive.

And thus you get a glimpse into my head. It is often not a fun place to be.

March 12, 2017

Every time ...

...I watch Rudy I think he is a bigger dick with each viewing. What an overbearing jerk.

Somebody owes me an hour of weekend

I ain't late. Well, not much anyway. As far as I am concerned it is just after 8:00. I don't care what the clock says. I challenge anyone to prove the ridiculous clock changing rule has any benefit at all.

Maybe we need to sick the SJWs on the case. Any hourly wage workers on the clock at 2:00 AM this morning got cheated out of an hour of work and wages. The graveyard shift sucks anyway and now archaic clock laws are doubling down on the agony. Workers unite! Stop Time Until Paid all I Demand should be the new protest slogan. I hope to see marchers carrying STUPID signs as soon as Monday.

I ventured out into the cold to get some Sunday donuts for the wife this morning. As I pause for a sip of coffee I notice a few things odd about the preceding sentence. First, I assume donuts bought on a Sunday are no different than those purchased on any other day of the week. I have no idea why I needed to call them Sunday donuts.  I admit that I have no more idea what that particular phraseology means than you do. Second,  I am disingenuous to claim I bought the bakery goods only for my wife. If that was the case, the box from the bakery would have been filed with nothing but unfilled bars iced with chocolate.  I also bought a couple of cake donuts, a jelly-filled and some plain yeast donuts for me to eat over the next few days. Sorry if my opening sentence of this paragraph mislead you in any way.

I have a new rule. I will stop reading any article, editorial, blog post, or comment that references that the 2016 election was hacked. The same goes for any television report. There is absolutely no evidence the election was compromised by hacking. The DNC and John Podesta had their emails hacked. That is far different than nefarious persons affecting the outcome of voting. It is a small but intrinsic difference. I'm done with it. Any person claiming, even out of habit or ignorance, the election was hacked is either a damnable liar or so uniformed and ignorant they are not worth considering. I will give those succumbing to such inaccuracies the same credence I would a scientist who maintains the Earth is flat.

My coffee cup is down to the imaginary dregs. I'm off for a refill and that gives me an excuse to end this phlegmatic effort. Enjoy your Sunday, even if you did get cheated out of an hour of your weekend.

March 10, 2017

A Post With No Name

I just read a Screeching article from a disenchanted Blue Stater who thinks the blue states should take their ball and go home. They pay all of the taxes, have the best art, and are moving towards utopia while the red states are hate-mongers, white supremicists, Russia-loving, food stamp abusing rednecks who want to screw up everything.

In his revised history the Democrats had a majority power until after the Civil War when evil Republicans won by giving away land. I guess he forgot about that whole Democrats were in favor of slavery, Jim Crow and segregation thing. Only progressive economics brought the country around to truth in the Great Depression. In his revised history Trump is the most Imperial President ever, after jus six weeks in office. ObamaCare would have worked great, only it had to be mucked up to please the red state troglodytes. I guess he forgot that all of the ACA was written and passed by Democrats and only Democrats. I'm surprised he didn't blame it on the Russian bogey man.

The author of this "think piece" envisions a wonderful world with high speed rail, open borders that attract the world's best and brightest, free universities and a violence free society with strict gun control. He laments that blue state policies to combat climate change might help ignorant red staters. But the good news is that a progressive approach to foreign relations can allow us to reduce the military to pre-WWI levels.

I say go ahead. See how many of those suburban counties vote to stay red. Take a look at California, those closest example of your liberal promised land. Seperate, go your own way. Go ahead.

Oh, and good luck with the food thing. Growing stuff takes lots of land, thus farm country is sparsely populated. But I, for one,  would rather have food in my pantry than access to good quality opera or art studios.

Your position may vary.

Via Hot Air

March 9, 2017

Get the government out of medicine and costs will go down

There is a correlation between financial aid and the steep rise in college costs. The more federal aid, the higher the cost to attend. Look it up.

There is a similar problem with health care. Why do we need health insurance? Because the costs are so high. The government has tried for years to manage healthcare. The result is excessive costs. Very few can afford the costs of healthcare. A mere doctor visit cost hundreds of dollars. Prescription costs are outrageous. The ACA or now ObamaCare Lite are attempts to fix the symptoms, not the problem.

We need to reduce the costs of health care, not make sure people can afford insurance to pay for it. When Medicare pays $30 for a procedure that costs $100 that means you or I will have to pay $170 to have the same care.

The real question is why that procedure costs $100. How many tests and unnecessary work is done because after the fact some lawyer is going to go back and ask why a very expensive test wasn't done that might have discovered that case of lung rabies that killed poor Jane, when there were no symptoms or indications she had anything more than a simple cold. "He should have known". Too much cost is added to medical care in "cover your ass" testing. Prescription drug costs are sky high because ten years after a drug is released and approved by the FDA three people had an adverse reaction out of millions who received the benefits as advertised. Boom. There is a class action lawsuit and someone has to pay those lawyers. And why isn't the FDA ever a defendant? They approved the drug. Do you want to reduce health costs? Tort reform is a good place to start.

Open up medicine to the free market. Let doctors advertise and compete just like the ambulance chaser lawyers out there. "I'm Dr. Barry 'The Knife' McLean and I can get you that appendectomy for just $40". Why not?

Let people choose the level of insurance coverage they want. Why is the Federal Government deciding what should be covered? Why should my wife and I be forced to pay for pregnancy coverage? Why should you be required to get hair transplant coverage? That is like telling me I must buy a round of martinis when I go out for a burger. What if I only want tea?

Maybe you want better prescription drug coverage. Maybe my neighbor only needs coverage for catastrophic emergencies. Why should the Feds decide those questions? We all make choices and live with them.

I could live with the Government creating a high risk pool or covering those who are uninsurable. I get that Anthem does not want to take on the risk of Tony down the street who has had a couple of heart attacks. Like most Americans I am for offering a helping hand.

Government is using a sledgehammer to fix a loose watch gear.

March 8, 2017

a July post in March

Like many people of my age I grew up without air conditioning. I did not think it a burden, no one I knew had air conditioning either. My bedroom was on the northeast corner of the house. While I had two windows, a large one on the north side and a smaller on the east, the chances of a cooling cross breeze coming in through the screens on a sultry summer night was usually less than zero.

There is something about a summer night. The cicadas strum and the crickets fiddle in their endless cacophonous symphony to the moon and stars. I would lie in bed listening to the night sounds and the regular passing of trains a few blocks north. They would sound their big air horns as they approached the Maish Road crossing, picking up speed as they headed east out of town. I can still hear in my mind the screech of steel on steel as the brakes slowed the inbound trains, the bang of cars taking up slack, the steady rhythmic click and clack as the cars passed over the rail connections.

I don't know what evoked the ancient memory of night sounds; of the low rumble of trains, of the chirp of insects, of the whisper of an owls wings in flight, the occasional scream of a bat in the summer air. I am not sure of why I think of sweat, tossing and turning in the night, of lonely musings and pre-dawns spent with Louis L'Amour or the latest book I filched from my mother after she went to bed.

I don't know what stirred those memories this morning. Perhaps it is because I stayed up late reading last night. Maybe it is just old memories leaking through to flood today's reality away. I should have stored this post away until summer's heat invited the insects to replicate their intricate music into the night sky. But the regular rhythm of the steel wheels of late night trains clicking over the rails will have to be provided from my imagination and memory. The tracks a few blocks north of this house are moribund and dead. They will soon be transmuted into a public greenway, a walking and biking path for suburbanites to exercise in a straight line from point A to point B and back. Besides, the night sounds will be muted by the closed windows of the air conditioned house.

If a cicada cries it lonely paen of sex into the empty night and no one hears it, does it exist?

March 7, 2017

A bit of this, a little of that, a dolup of mayo, a tablespoon of fat

It is another early morning here at the homestead. Once again my eyes popped open at four in the aye em. So it goes. I'm not complaining, merely stating fact. Rain and thunder is moving through the area. Perhaps that woke me. I doubt it. I usually sleep great when it storms. I blame it on supper. I had a bacon cheeseburger topped with jalapeños and peanut butter. You read that right. Don't judge until you have tried it. Anyway I think the peppers are stirring up dissent and perhaps outright revolution deep in my guts. It could be that my appendix is about to burst. It could be gas. It could be a monster case of hypochondria. It could be that all of my recent bellyaching and complaining has caused...bellyaches.

A blind man could see what I did there.

The whole Trump wiretap kerfuffle is not going away soon I think. One thing is for sure; either Trump or Obama is going to be embarrassed.  I don't mean in the blushing cheeks sense, but rather in a significant political and media sense. The real question is can we trust the media to report the truth? Can the Obama sycophants in the press shed eight years of fawning to tarnish the media darling's image if Trump is telling the truth? Time will tell. I'm betting Trump hatred is enough to bury the story, no matter what.

What is up with this paper-thin old man skin I have developed? I bumped my hand on the door jam yesterday and when I looked down I was bleeding, A couple of hours later I had a mysterious two-inch scratch that was bleeding on the same arm. Either I am losing my mind or I am routinely having my brain wiped after doing battle in the Matrix. Perhaps I took a shiv to the gut, that would explain my pains this morning.

March 6, 2017

I'm starting to really hate politics

I wrote a version of this some months ago. You can look it up. There was NO hack of the 2016 election by the Russians or anyone else. There is no evidence, zip, zero, nada, rien. Some email accounts and the DNC were hacked. There is no evidence the election was hacked. Any reporter, politician, or Democrat who claims otherwise is a liar, disingenuous, or ignorant of the facts. Period.

Next. Even if Trump was in contact with the Russians, it had nothing to do with your vote, my vote, or a vote for anyone. Those having a hissy fit over Trump's possible discussions with the Russians conveniently ignore that the Clinton Foundation was taking in millions from foreign governments. How many conversations with foreign powers did she, or her surrogates, have in the four years she spent campaigning for the 2016 election?

If the Obama administration did investigate or initiate surveillance on Trump or his cohorts in the months leading up to the election it would rank as a monumental political idiocy. Even if there was a small chance that Trump might win, his new administration would find out about it. At least Nixon used his own men to snoop on the Democrats. He was not dumb enough to use the Justice Department.

On the other hand, those who indignantly claim that Barrack Onama would never do such a thing must have forgotten he sicked the IRS on his political enemies, he had his AG run guns into Mexican drug lords in an attempt to force through gun control measures and he outright lied about the murder of Americans in Benghazi. Obama's hands are far from clean.

Would someone please take away Trump's access to twitter?

March 5, 2017

In the kitchen

My youngest came home for he weekend. I have not seen him in a while. We went to my daughter's and had pizza last night. My oldest son has plans so he missed the mini-reunion. I may make a lasagna this evening for supper. That is one of the boy's favorite meals.

Long-time readers know I do most of the cooking around here. I enjoy it. I always have. One of my first merit badges as a young Boy Scout was the one for cooking. I make no claims I am a better-than-average preparer of food. Your mom or wife is probably a better cook. My daughter is very good. My youngest works as a restaurant cook and has for a number of years. I have no doubt he could turn out ten perfect omelets to my one.

I do fine with the comfort foods. I can make a good batch of mashed spuds. My scalloped potatoes are good. My wife says my fried chicken is only second to her mom's. I make killer white gravy.  I can do chili or various casseroles. Most of you can probably do it just as well, if not better. All three of my kids claim I make the best lasagna. The youngest says this and he worked for a couple of years in an Italian restaurant.

Me, I don't know. I never care for my own cooking. I always think most other people's food is better. I enjoy the process. I take great pride when everything comes together at just the right time. I do not particularly like baking though.

Honestly, I have always maintained that anyone who can read a recipe can cook. Sure, you may have to figure out how to dice an onion or develop some knife skills, but turning out decent food isn't that hard. I have cooked long enough that I don't usually need a recipe for the old standards, but if I wanted to try something new I go by written directions. It is not brain surgery.

I enjoy watching cooking shows on TV. My method is simple: watch, learn, do. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. That is life.

March 4, 2017

a post without a local weather report

A couple of years ago my son-in-law gifted me an Amazon Echo. It wasn't my birthday or Christmas. He knows I like gadgets and is a great guy. At the time the device was a nice music speaker with a few skills. It could tell me the weather forecast or the score of a ball game. I programmed it to give me selected news headlines. It would answer basic questions or serve as an alarm. Today the app can do a ton of stuff, but is still rather basic compared to what digital devices will be in the near future. But I dig my Echo. I can even compete on Jeopardy questions.

For Christmas my wife gave me an Echo Dot to use in my office. I can listen to internet radio or streaming music without using my phone. The sound is pretty basic, this device is the size of a hockey puck. But when listening to talk radio or sports talk the quality of sound is not as important. Sometimes I like to listen to music in my office. In that case I can connect the Dot to my Bose Soundlink II Bluetooth speaker. It is pretty cool. I find it handy to control my music with voice commands. For instance if a song comes on Pandora that I don't like I can just say "Alexa skip" instead of fumbling for my phone, unlocking the screen, launching the Pandora App and pushing the fast forward button. In fact, I can launch the app on the Echo just by telling it to play Pandora.

For a lazy cuss like me, that is pretty cool.

Oh, and I lied. There is a dusting of snow on the ground.

March 3, 2017

Mystifying Myths

It is a cold Friday. There was a dusting of snow overnight. In a rare twist, I have a conference call this morning and a meeting this afternoon. I will have to turn in my salesman card, working on a Friday afternoon. Hah! I wish the stereotype was true, I usually work on Friday afternoons.

In other news, there isn't any. I am in a rut, or perhaps a creative void. Putting electronic "pen" to the screen has been a challenge. Do I skip blogging altogether? Do I post a series of short blatherings repeating "I got nothing" in various ungrammatical ways? Should I haunt the archives and toss up a series of reruns to rebore you (the first time wasn't enough I guess). In desperation I have opted for all of the above.

But I did tell you about my weather this morning. There is that. About three hundred years ago I worked as a librarian in a small town of about 1,500 people. One of my elderly patrons told me she always notes the date and weather on the lid of the oatmeal can whenever she fixes oatmeal. I found that a strange habit, especially when she said she does not keep the cans when they are empty. I guess this blog is my oatmeal can.

March 2, 2017

Who are you?

Oh, to be born in a different time. Today, you are what you imagine yourself to be. Do you want to be a living Ken doll? No problem. Believe deep down you are a man woman dragon? You can do that. Even if you are a male and identify as a woman (or vice versa),  modern society is on board.

When I was an older teen, I identified as a 21 year old. Every time I tried to get a 12 pack of Strohs the clerk refused to sell it to me because I was 18, or 19, or even 20. I told them I identified as an older male, but no one recognized my rights. It did not help that at 21 I looked about 16. Heck I was still being regularly carded into my thirties. But it is clear I was discriminated against by an aged-defined society.

Today, I identify as a smart, quirky, 23 year old with six pack abs and devastatingly good looks. My mirror discriminates and that is an undeniable fact. So do the twenty-something coeds at the mall who fail to give me a glance, not even to subtly check out my ass. The horror, the pain, the tragedy. Society is unfair!

I also identify as a person with a well-funded bank account. Apparently, Chase Bank is not up to date with identity politics; they keep insisting I have actual funds in my account before they approve debit card purchases. They are guilty of being...monietists? In any case it is a clear case of discrimination.

Look, it is great to pretend. We all have a bit of Walter Mitty hiding deep within us. At various times I was sure I was Captain Blood, Robin Hood, Big Jake, or Geronimo. At ten I was sure I was Simon Kenton. For a time, I believed I was a writer, a deep thinker, a philosopher, a gentleman.

Alas, as Popeye so adequately stated it, "I yam what I yam". You are too. Biology never lies. If you want to cross dress, have horns surgically installed, or undergo takeadickoffme surgery, it is none of my business. That doesn't mean I have to agree with your new identity any more than you have to believe I am better looking than Zac  Effron.

March 1, 2017

The old man is snoring

Thunder is rumbling overhead as the morning starts. Waves of storms passed through here since early last evening. We just have lots of wind and rain, but these same cells proved deadly in other locations, spawning tornadoes and downed trees. The associated change in pressure has caused me to have a massive headache, one bad enough to wake me up. Spring, I hate you. On the other hand, my head pain may be the onset of a cold. The granddaughter is mildly sick and my nose has started as steady drip. My sinus pressure could just be a massive buildup of snot.

Variations on the theme of the day (but no Prince):

Edited to remove the videos. I'm sure you are OK.

February 28, 2017

what she said

Without hope, you've got nothing
-- my wife

February 27, 2017

Every little thing is gonna be all right

Monday. Insert a sigh, a harrumph, a pondering chin rub and frown. I stare at the blinking cursor a few moments. I take a swig from my nearly empty mug of coffee. I can find no inspiration outside my office window, just the bare branches of the big willow swinging slightly in the cold February breeze. It is that shadowing time, not long after daybreak. It is cloudy, so everything has an almost black and white feel, as if a blue filter has been placed over the camera lenses of life.

I refill my coffee cup. I stare some more at the blinking cursor. I fart. Of course it does not stink. On the radio they are talking about the big Award Show screw-up last night. I did not watch. I can not think of many activities more boring than watching award shows. If you dig them, I am good with that. That is how I roll. I am not about imposing my will on others. The world would be a better place if I were a Universal Arbiter of Taste and All Things Good and Proper. Even then, I would be a guiding hand, not an authoritative fist. I would be a benevolent leader, not a strict driver wielding a harsh whip. Well, except I would decree that none of the Clinton or Bush families would be allowed to run for public office ever again for the next seven generations.

I have important stuff to do this morning. You will have to be happy with a fair amount of empty words in my entry this morning. That too is how I roll sometimes. We will both survive.

February 25, 2017

This is Bullsh*%t

It was 73 outside yesterday.

It is snowing as I type this.  It is 31 degrees. The wind chill temperature is 20F. What the heck Mother Nature? Honest, there is no need to go all crazy on me. I bought real butter.

What, you in the back with your hand up? What do you mean you don't get that reference? OK, Step back to 1974 for a half minute:

The previous post today was written weeks ago.

For reasons I won't get into I was day-tripping back through my archives this morning. Boy, not only did I write a lot, I was pretty opinionated back in the old days. Not like now...

What? One thing remains constant -- I was pretty much right then too.

Enjoy your Saturday.

When Caesar crossed the Rubican River in 49 BCE it meant...

I dig me some trivia. I have stuffed my head with arcane nonsense that only comes in useful when shouting along with Jeopardy, or playing trivial pursuit. No one in my family will play trivia games with me. I often know the answers. If not I can bluff my way through. If that fails I will filibuster until I get my way. I suspect trivia game time of any sort is unpleasant if I am a participant. Why do I suspect this? I have been told it is true.

My wife is used to my stories and boring fact-filled anecdotes. She has developed, in many decades of practice, the ability to look like she is paying attention while her eyes say "I just don't care". She pretends because she loves me. I prattle on because that is what I do.

Almost through a sixth sense I can feel when I have wandered too deep into the trivial. Sometimes even that knowledge fails to stop me from delving too deep into the facts and historical nonsequitors. I do it a lot here at the old blog. I write monologues on the mundane. I can sense you first reading, then skimming, then skipping whole sentences. Then you just click and move on. Hah! You just almost just did right now!

A few times lately I have been talking to my wife about...whatever, and I sense she is only pretending to pay attention. I stop, sometimes mid sentence and ask her "You don't care do you?". She will laugh and tell me no.

You don't care about this, do you?

February 24, 2017

The old lady who swallowed a fly is a life lesson for science

I am a steadfast believer that things happen for a reason. I believe events work out as they are supposed to, as ordained by a higher power. No, not the trivial like picking up that split on the bowling alley, or winning a ball game, or hitting five successive green lights; random life chance plays a significant role in events. I think the Supreme Being guides us to his will. This may not fit with your creed. I'm good with that. I am firm in my religious beliefs and really have a strong libertarian outlook when it comes to religion. You can worship, or not, as you please as long as it does not impinge on my rights. I have never been comfortable with the proselytizing aspect of religion. But religion is not the topic of the day.

I have always liked science. I'm just not too good at it. I will blame it on math and leave it at that. Biology, chemistry, physics -- I like the concepts, but I get lost in the details. I was fortunate enough to study the sciences in the course of my classical liberal arts education, and learned just enough to be dangerous. I understand what goes on in the circulatory system or the chemical changes at the molecular level when steel is heat treated. My office is living proof of the third law of thermodynamics.

What do the preceding paragraphs have to do with each other? Simply stated, the efforts to clone long-extinct species is a very bad idea. Jurassic Park is a fun movie, but a terrible idea. Cloning a wooly mammoth falls into the same category. These animals are extinct for a reason. Humans might have wiped out the passenger pigeon, but maybe Nature wanted the skies cleansed of the immense herds of these poop machines. Imagine the ecological damage a thousands-strong flock of birds could do. Perhaps the mammoth was so terrifying that it was a good thing our ancestors killed them off?

One of the great unintended consequences was the absolute destruction wrought upon the indigenous peoples of the Americas by European diseases. It never occurred to the best scientists of the time that could happen. You may argue that we are much advanced scientifically in the modern times, but it was not so long ago the best scientists thought you treated a cut by smearing it with horse dung or that bleeding cured just about anything. Is there reason to believe future scientific minds will not look back on our own era and marvel at how crude, how inept, how wrong we are today? Species are extinct for a reason. Let's leave it that way.

February 23, 2017

Half post

The big willow in back is breaking out in leaves. I have tulips about an inch above ground. Continual warm temperatures will do that. Boy, are the plants going to be surprised when winter returns this weekend.

I wish I had something more of interest to offer you this morning.

I didn't win the giant lottery jackpot last night. The fact that I did not buy a ticket might have something to do with it.

This is the first car I ever drove. The first car I owned was a 1966 Chevy pickup with a 3 speed manual transmission with a column shift. What was your first car?

February 22, 2017

Humpity humping on hump day

Yeah, a nonsense title to an unremarkable post. Yeah, I am pretty sure I can make that prediction without fear. Oh, I could talk about the wonderful warm temperatures. I could remark upon the drastic change in that weather coming ahead. We are expecting highs of 70+ on Friday and high temps in the 30s on Saturday. I expect there will be ugly aspects to such a drastic temperature swing. I suspect there is weather of some sort at your location. Since my weather has no relevance to you, there is not much point in dwelling on it. Except that I have done so in the preceding sentences.

I could ramble on about the continued response from the losers of the last election. I read of a woman who divorced her husband of 22 years because he voted for Trump. Either she is bat-shit crazy or there were some major issues in that relationship long before last November. He is probably better off without sharing a bed with that intolerant harridan.

I could talk about work. I won't.

I could just leave off right here and get a coffee refill.

Now that sounds like a plan.

February 21, 2017

High 67. low of 50

The great weather continues. I am certainly not complaining about afternoon highs 30 degrees above normal. I am concerned this bout of spring-like weather will be followed by more winter. That will be depressing. It just goes to show that groundhogs are damned liars. I have always found porcupines to be far more credible.

February 20, 2017

You deserve a break today

In the 1953 movie The Wild One Mildred asks Johnny what he is rebelling against. He replied "Wadda you got?". That pretty much sums up leftist politics for the past month. Every time I turn on the news I see a group of people protesting about something. Generally, it seems all they have is that they are angry they lost the election.

I see people are protesting because they got fired for losing their jobs last week because they did not show up for work -- so they could protest. Who is at fault here? The boss said if you don't show up for work Thursday don't come back. You skipped work. You lost your job. This isn't on the boss.

Today there are protests planned for "not my President" on President's Day. Give me a break. How is it possible to be so angry all of the time? Isn't it exhausting? I complain about politics quite a bit around here. It is my vent. It also ends pretty much right here on these pages. I cannot imagine being angry 24-7. Hug your kid. Take a walk in the park. Play fetch with a dog. Eat some nachos. Watch a ball game. View a few cat videos. Throw away that vagina costume you wore to a Washington a few weeks ago. You look stupid calling for "rights" you cannot articulate and already have. The costume is stupid too. Trust me, future you is not going to want to show that picture to your grandkids. They will not be proud of you.

Cute little grandchild: Why were you dressed like that grandma?

Grandma, cringing over her graphic vagina costume: I was protesting for rights.

CLG: You were trying to get the right to vote? You were trying to allow women to work?

G: No, the guy who won the election said some women will let a celebrity do anything, even grab their crotch.

CLG: Is that true. Will some women do that?

G: Yes.

CLG: And that is why you dressed up like a giant vagina to make women aware of their actions?

G: No, I wanted the other political party to win the election. I was mad we lost.

G:  ?????

Take a day off from the protests. We will all feel better. You might find out life is pretty much the same as it was last February 20th.

February 19, 2017

Boy, you have a bad attitude today

I probably over-did my morning constitutional yesterday. Bored with walking the same old route through my subdivision I ventured across redacted to another subdivision. I ended up traipsing about four miles while smoking a fine stogie. I came home and watched a couple of episodes of the old TV series Kung Fu because Kung fu. No more needs to be explained. Next, I suppose you are going to ask why I would watch a John Wayne movie or one of those Clint Eastwood orangutan comedies. You might as well ask why is there air.

In the afternoon I helped the wife straighten up the house. By late afternoon my legs were mildly sore. Last night we joined some friends for dinner. It was his birthday celebration. We came back to the house and played some euchre. In all, it was a pretty good day.

And you don't care a whit about any of this. No, no, don't protest. I know that glazed-over look in your eyes. I see it in my fair wife's hazel eyes often enough. I'm a little disappointed. I thought your day, indeed, your very happiness, hinged upon my insight, my punditry, my humor, my very existence in the blogosphere. Now I find out you stop by out of habit. It is quite possible you stopped reading some time ago. In that case you are going to miss this: the secret word is shillelagh. 

Since you have developed such a bad attitude on this gorgeous Sunday morning I'm not going to describe the weather, per my custom. That will show you.

Good day.

I said good day, sir.

February 18, 2017

whole lotta nuthin'

I watched my neighbor back into her garbage can Tuesday. The trash service had picked up earlier in the morning and I guess she forgot the can was curbside in her driveway. She moved it up by the garage. It blew over in the wind. It is still lying in her driveway on its side. She parks right beside it.

I took the wife's car for an oil change yesterday. In the late afternoon we walked the granddaughter down to the park. She played ball and bubbles outside when we got home until her daddy came to pick her up.

The weather woman says we can expect temperatures in the sixties through next Friday. I can live with that. It is February! I estimate we have received about two inches of snow all winter. Why do I think we are going to get a heavy spring snow storm? I actually have some green shoots coming up n the flower beds!

Where are you GOC?

Enjoy your Saturday.

February 17, 2017

Can you dig it?

It is a sunny 64 degrees here on a February Friday afternoon. The patio door is open and fresh air is flushing the stale winter air from the house.

It puts me in the mood for some Friday music. I know, you have been waiting so long for a return of this feature.  You have, dang it!

How about an old classic?

I hope your Friday is going great

Who am I meeting and what are we discussing?

I am a salesman. Semi-public speaking and giving presentations is an integral part of the job. I don't show up at a customer and read from a script. My approach is generally extemporaneous. That doesn't mean I do not prepare. While I rarely work from notes or an outline, I use them in preparation. I develop what I want to say, and try to imagine every possible question, concern, or comment from my customer. I learned long ago that BS and bluster hurts my credibility.

I'm not sure how the Trumpster has been successful in business. He seems unprepared and dives into his press conferences looking ready to speak straight off the cuff. It makes him look uninformed, unprepared and he responds to hard questions with the very BS and bluster that I find totally ineffective.

There is little difference in what I try to do and a Presidential presser on the surface. Trump is trying to sell his administration's policies. It is embarrassing when the President shows up and it seems as if he learned the material sitting in the parking lot 15 minutes before the meeting. It takes away from the message and gives his enemies ample ammunition. Obama was overly scripted, often using a TelePrompTer at a press conference. He did keep on message. Trump just wings it. There needs to be a happy medium.

February 16, 2017


Last week Major League Baseball said they were going to experiment with a rule change at the lower levels of baseball that automatically put a runner at second base at the beginning of any extra inning. My response was not just a firm "no", but a resounding "Hell no". As pointed out elsewhere, those marathon 15-plus inning games where position players take the mound are rare. More to the point, they are fun as heck. When I told my wife this plan, even she said the idea was bad. Her first response was she liked to see those games.

Now this week MLB is trotting out a trial balloon about changing the games to 8 inning affairs.

Get rid of the designated hitter. Fewer hits equals shorter innings and shorter games. Raise the mound back up to pre-Bob Gibson levels. What did you say MLB? You want more offense? Then that equals longer games. Cutting a 3 hour game to 2:45 is not going to bring in the young fans.

Baseball is never going to be king of the sports world again. Revenues are up. Fans are happy. Leave the sport alone.

There is no immigration right

If someone can give you a thing, it is not a right. If it can be bought or sold it is not a right. A right is a natural ability to pursue a given path: a divine mandate if you prefer. You cannot purchase the right to worship the deity of your choice. No one can grant you the privilege of your political beliefs or speech. You have the natural and divine right to protect yourself and your family. You have the right to pursue happiness (this happiness is not guaranteed, you have the right to strive for it).

There can be no right to health insurance. Nor is there a divine or natural mandate for free housing or food. Thomas Paine was correct when he argued that if a right is given by a government, then it can be taken away by that same government. Then that thing is not a right, but a mere charter.

Let's try this a different way. Say you were transported into a strange land or world. The leaders of the place told you that since you are now in Liberaltopia you must pray five times a day to a can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup. There is no violence, just a firm insistence on prayer to a can of soup. Do you readily start paying homage to the red and white label merely  because your new neighbors suggested you do so or do you continue with your current religious belief (or non-belief)? No one can force you to adopt their religion. You may go through the outward motions, but your true inner beliefs will not change. This is because religion is a right.

If the same citizens said that it was their custom that you be beaten with a cane every morning after morning prayers, would you bare your back readily and willingly? Would you resist? The right to protect yourself is a natural right.

If the Liberaltopians set you up in a dwelling made of straw and you shared it with the family raccoon you might find it more comfortable to live in a brick house with a pool, but you would insist on living under a bridge unless you got your way? That is how you know it is not a right.

People from Liberaltopia have no natural right to come to Florida, or Texas, Ohio, or Indiana. They have no right for you to provide food or housing or a job. There is no right to free medical care or minimum wages. Those things are nice. They are generous gifts bestowed by society, the state or fellow citizens, but there is no right to have them. You may not come unbidden into my house, my city, my country. That is a privilege I may grant you, but you have no natural right to my stuff or my society.

Spend some time with the works of Locke, Hume, Jefferson, and Paine before you start lecturing me on immigration rights, or the right to not hear speech you disagree with, or whatever the right du jour might be. True rights can never be given nor taken away.

February 15, 2017

741 weeks on the charts

You don't come here for a weather report. Too bad. That is the one bit of content I manage to consistently include. It is a lame, tired, and effective conversation starter. Sometimes the subject is interesting. If a big storm were in the offing that would be news. The expected seasonable temperature with occasional snow flurries in today's forecast is not noteworthy. That this normal mid-February weather day is sandwiched between some great warm days may be of note. Last weekend saw the temperatures hit he low sixties. Yesterday we approached fifty. This coming weekend may see the temperature hit above seventy --in February! Bring it on. My only fear is that the wife will see such spring-like weather as a good opportunity for me to get out and work in the back yard cleaning up the fallen branches and limbs from the big willow and the mass of leaves that did not drop from the three Bradford pears until about Christmas. I'm going to want to laze in the sun, grasshopper-style. She is going to want to get the work done while we have the opportunity. That is what happens when someone who likes to relax marries someone who cannot relax. 

February 14, 2017

Happy Hallmark Day

It is the day of love. Tell your significant other you love them.

Remember when you used to make card holders in school from old cereal boxes or milk jugs? Then there would be a party and all the kids passed out cards and ate cookies?  I could never wield scissors with the skill to cut out a heart that didn't look lopsided and hacked up.

I would not go back to those days for anything

February 13, 2017

Identity Theft is a Crime

If you use a Social Security Number that belongs to someone else to get a job, perhaps open a bank account, or even get a loan, that is classic identity theft. It is a crime. Even if you are an immigrant trying to make a better life for your family, it is a crime. Even if you have been doing it for 22 years, it is stealing. It is theft and a crime and should be punished. You are not a martyr, you have not been wronged. You are a criminal.

As always, I welcome and encourage counterpoints in the comment section.

February 12, 2017

Stuff I have seen

I carry a cell phone. It is an iPhone and it has a camera built right in. Too often I forget I have it when I see a potential perfect picture. I get the snapshot in my head, but far too often I miss out on saving the scene digitally.

A case in point came up earlier this week. I was at the Kroger down the street. I saw an Indian (dot, not feather) pushing around one of those little carts they have for kids to push beside mom. She was all hunched over trying to push it. She was loading it with produce. I laughed out loud. Only later did it occur to me to take a picture. But it was funny as heck.

Sorry I can't show it to you. You would laugh too.

February 11, 2017

Palm tree dreams

My view of the green comet was obscured by clouds. The ever-present light pollution did not help. I love living here in suburbia, but as I have said before, I miss seeing the night sky filed with stars. These days Jupiter and an occasional glimpse of Venus are all that is visible behind the haze of city light.

I didn't get up on purpose in an attempt to see celestial phenomenon. I thought I would take a look since I was awake anyway. Sigh. Insomnia used to be an occasional issue. Now it is a regular feature of my life. I once prided myself on my ability to relax. Now I am unable to shut off my brain. I suspect it has something to do with lack of nookie. That's my theory anyway. I trotted my thesis past the wife. She disagreed with the premise.  She claimed that is my theory of everything. I volunteered to put the principle through a vigorous test cycle. She pretended not to hear me.

The snow from earlier in the week melted for the most part yesterday. It is already 50 this morning. Rain is slated to move in most of the day. This has been as mild a winter as any I can remember. That does not mean I'm not ready for spring. Boy, was that a poorly constructed sentence. Let me try again; I am ready for spring. I'm ready for baseball. I'm ready for cold beer and smooth cigars on my patio,

No, what I really want is to be sitting on a beach under a warm sun drinking piña coladas or maybe watching the ocean roll by from the deck of a cruise ship while I sip a rum-infused umbrella drink. I suspect that would be an even better medicine than a little nookie for what ails me. I'm willing to try both cures, just in case.

February 10, 2017

I'm late getting at he old blogeroo today. My delay has no bearing on content. Waiting until afternoon does not mean I have anything to write about. Sorry. It is Friday at last. There is that. 

I'm not a lawyer, I did not play one on TV. I did represent myself at a speeding ticket hearing once. How in the world can any judge rule that a non-citizen, who lives in another country have rights under the US Constitution? 

If the press presented he Ninth Court of  Appeals ruling with any sort of truth most Americans would scratch their heads and say WTH?  Look it up, that is what they ruled.

I am not going to let politics ruin my day. Enjoy the rest of your Friday.

February 8, 2017

Which Yemeni Scientist made that breakthrough in particle physics?

Tech companies claim that the Trump TEMPORARY ban on immigration from seven nations identified by the Obama administration to be centers of global terrorist activity hurts their ability to find qualified workers.

This begs the question of why the colleges and universities in the USA cannot produce qualified workers.

We know the answer. Workers from India, China, or Pakistan will work a lot cheaper than say a grad from MIT.

I wonder how many employees at the 90+ tech firms who weighed in on the court case against Trump's EO came from Yemen or Afghanistan? Not that there aren't bright people from those countries, but their universities are not world renoun centers of academia and higher learning.

This is about politics and nothing more.

Into this world we're thrown

I have an empty bag as far as content goes this morning. My brain is tired. I don't know what that means either, but I was compelled to type it.

It is supposed to snow today. It was in the low 60s yesterday. We shall see if we get the accumulation predicted. The ground is pretty warm. Even SnowTeamScareTeam is low key about the snow chances.

I dropped the wife's favorite sugar bowl last night. It did not break, but sugar exploded all over the kitchen. What a mess. It was not as bad as the jar of peanut butter I dropped and shattered several years ago. How do you clean a sticky mess filled with shards of glass? I guess that is why my Jif comes in a plastic jar now.

I had a guy call me about a job yesterday. This happens on occasion. I am intrigued in that it will pay a lot more than my current gig. A lot more. The issue is I am not sure I would like the work much. I could do the job. I could do it well. I also think I could wake up with an "I don't want to go to work today" attitude on a regular basis. But the money...Of course there is no guarantee I would get the job should I proceed. It is an interesting conundrum -- could I do a job I don't like to make a lot of money? To be clear, we are talking a 50-75% raise here for a job I would not enjoy much after the initial enthusiasm wears thin.

That is it for now, enjoy your hump day.
Consider everything here that is of original content copyrighted as of March 2005