April 30, 2017

You Turn Me On

I woke early this morning again. That is what happens when you take a Saturday afternoon nap. The sky is a blend of pinks and purples through the foliage of he big willow tree outside my office window. Music is playing softly in the background as Pandora Radio shuffles through progressive and classic rock artists. At this exact moment it is Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. My coffee is luke warm and the mug is nearly empty.

It is a good day. I count my blessings.

It is supposed to be much warmer today, back to near 80, but more rain is on tap. Yesterday evening my neighbor was mowing her lawn. The mower was struggling in the wet grass. It is no wonder -- we got a couple of inches of rain yesterday. Sometimes I wonder about people. Me, I had a lazy Saturday.  I binged watch some episodes of the History Channel series Vikings. I am almost through Season 1. The series isn't much on history*,  authenticity, genealogy, costumes, or actual chronology, but it is entertaining. I hung some curtains for the wife with no quibbles about the curtain rod being level. I watched and dozed through the Cubs game. I can feel you nodding off just trying to get through this paragraph. That was my Saturday. It doesn't look like anything more exciting is on tap for today. So it goes. No one ever promised entries would be consistently interesting around here.

I hope you have a great Sunday.

* For instance "England" as a place name or even concept did not exist in the Eighth Century

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.
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