January 25, 2015

Another trip around the sun

Today marks another anniversary of my 35th birthday.  I don't always celebrate the same anniversary, but 35 sounded good for this year.

I am not exceedingly vain or morose about the passage of years.  While some parts of me protest getting out of bed in the morning, my mind still views the world from a youngish point of view.  Mind you, I have bills, children, and a number of other responsibilities that I do not shirk - but I am not a stuffy old grouch.

For instance, Friday night, while cringing at the noise level, watching the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby, and praying that my kid's car wouldn't be last (again), I made the astute, and youthful, observation that the event could be markedly improved by a few cold beers.  I hold no hope that youth organizations will embrace this concept, so I really need to plan better and pregame these sorts of events.

As my children range in age from second grade to junior in college, I have many years of youth-associated activities to take in.  The homebody tween and sullen teen in the middle provide whiplash inducing changes of perspective.  But, I still have a few years of papier mache volcanoes and learning to write cursive before I start to bemoan the loss of a real kid in the house.  Of course, the spread in age could potentially provide for grandchildren coming along right as my youngest eschews the trappings childhood.  Or at least that is the justification I use for hoarding baby clothes and toys.

I don't mind the number today, though time seems to be passing much faster than it did when I was 25.  I have long said that I look forward to hitting the magical number and aged appearance that will allow for me to show my true grouchy-and-brutally-honest nature, and get away with it.

January 22, 2015

No SOTU

As has been my habit for the duration of the Obama presidency, I did not tune in to hear him stutter his way through the SOTU.  And, I haven't even read the entire transcript.  I planned to just skip the whole thing, because the man never does what he says or says what he does.  No need to watch his performance art, and I think I might have thrown something at the television, had I been forced to lay eyes on the illegal alien that was a guest of the president.

I mean, really.  Someone who broke our laws, and is in our country illegally, a guest of the president in the House chamber.  What a slap in the face to everyone that has immigrated to our country by the book.

I don't care what Michelle was wearing (though I know it was Michael Kors because that is what the news thinks is important to yak about).  I scanned an article that offered a comparison of Michelle in the suit next to Julianna Margulies in the same suit, as worn on the television show The Good Wife.  Julianna wore it better.  Is it Michelle's posture that is bad, or are her shoulders permanently sloped and forward like that?  She always looks slouchy.

Back to the point.  It doesn't matter what Obama said during the SOTU.  One of the top headlines leading up to the speech was O's track record of keeping/breaking promises made, and he is second only to Ford for not getting his SOTU calls to action enacted as law.  Depending on who you like to believe, that is either because he is a waste of oxygen polluting the White House, or it is because Congress is unruly and uncooperative and doesn't know what their constituents want.

I have concluded that my blood pressure and stress level is better off not listening to anything Obama says.  I am better off watching the countdown-to-election clock, somewhat secure in the belief that no one could be as bad as this president.

January 20, 2015

City Slickers

I live in the town limits of a small town that is north of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex.  Over the past two or three decades, more and more city slickers have moved here, wanting their little slice of country, that is still within commuting distance of their downtown jobs.

Six years ago, our long-time neighbor widow decided to sell her place.  Her large property and its pond had been the hub of neighborhood events, and all the kids had a standing invitation to fish in her pond.  She even left her canoe out for them to use.  The acreage became too much for her to take care of, and she sold to a city-family with infant twin daughters.

The first red flag came when the indignant woman of the house came flying out in a rage when two neighborhood kids showed up with fishing poles.  The man of the house owns a fishing supply store and fishes professionally, so I was trying to cobble together some justification for her anger...perhaps he had stocked some precious practice fish or something?  Nope, she was offended at the nerve of those kids, just walking right onto her property and daring to fish in her pond.  She started rambling about liability and insurance coverage, which is when I knew that I should just walk away, rather than try to explain how our former (and clearly ignorant and reckless) neighbor had given the kids blanket permission to fish.

I am surprised that she made it these past six years without installing a fence around the pond to keep kids (including hers) out of the water.  She has taken a dramatic, though no less concerning turn toward 'country living'.  One day last fall, I couldn't get the dogs to come when I called, they were barking at the back corner.  Next-door-lady was brandishing a rifle, determined to get a shot at the coyote that was picking off her chickens.  Watch where you point that thing, lady!

This past weekend, the man of the house, along with his father-in-law, took advantage of the warm weather to take care of some outdoor chores.  Now, we take the opportunities we can, to mulch up leaves over the winter.  With a heavily treed street, there is no sense in being militant about raking - the wind will blow tomorrow and deliver a new batch.  Well, city slicker neighbor thought he would rake up little piles of leaves and set them ablaze.  Along our fence line.  Just as the forecasted 20 mph winds kicked up.

To his credit, the neighbor quickly jumped our fence, put out the leaves on our side that were burning, and raked additional fuel away from the fence.  I guess he thought we wouldn't notice the brief inferno, or the hours of smoke, as he didn't bother approaching us.  Mr. H went over and shared with them the process of checking the fire marshal's website to see if it is an authorized burn day before setting things on fire.  Next time, I will just call it in and let him get the ticket before he burns my house down.

Not surprisingly, we don't interact much with those neighbors, preferring the neighbors on the other side of our property,  Unfortunately, they are going to put their house on the market soon, as age is catching up with them, as well.  I need to go advocate for a much more thorough vetting process so I don't get anymore city slicker neighbors.

January 19, 2015

FOD

Do you ever check in on a site that you haven't been to in a few weeks, and want to re-post everything they have posted?  Keith Koffler's White House Dossier is often a favorite of mine for FOD items, and today when I clicked over looking for the Golf Count, I found these gems that I have to share.





And this Mike Lester cartoon:


January 14, 2015

I need fewer MLM 'friends'

I have vented here before, on my deep seated hatred for multi-level marketing.  There is nothing more insulting to me, than to receive an invitation from a 'friend' or neighbor, promising one thing - perhaps wine and chocolate - only to show up and become a hostage listening to some MLM spiel and getting guilt-tripped into buying something so the host can get her free crap.

When I was a kid the Avon lady came to my grandmother's house.  And, for a farmer's wife living miles from neighbors and a town of any size, I am sure that home-delivered cosmetics were welcomed, right along with the female company.

My mom still uses her Tupperware salt and pepper shakers from the 70's.  Most of the other containers have disappeared over time, but those tall S&P shakers have withstood the test of time, likely outliving the lady that got a free burpable storage set.

Many of my aunts still sport formal living rooms decorated with wares of a home decor MLM, I think it was called Home International or something like that.  I remember tagging along to one of those parties, solely for the appetizers and punch, and watching the ladies scramble to order mass produced 'art work' with complementary wall sconces and fake flowers.  It cracks me up that a local Italian restaurant has a picture identical to one that hung in my grandma's kitchen, I smile each time we eat there.

When I was a young adult, a cousin tried to rope me into her Amway downline.  The pitch included several cassette tapes I was supposed to listen to and see how my life could be changed by roping in all of my friends.  In hindsight, I realize that they had dollar signs in their eyes, seeing all the other young (and naive) Army wives they hoped to sway into shilling some cleaning products for them.

I have sat through Mary Kay, Longaberger, Stampin' Up, Pampered Chef, Shaklee, Scentsy, Herbalife, MonaVie, Nerium, and Advocare.  I can't remember the names of the anti-aging juice, the ugly jewelry, the fingernail decoration, exercise crap, more candles, more decor, clothing, etc..  These days it is Thrive and essential oils.  Sheesh, I don't need any more junk!

It is a sad state of affairs that I have to stalk social media whenever I get an invite to the home of a casual acquaintance, and all too frequently see that what I have really been invited to is a sales pitch.

January 12, 2015

FOD


I am not naive enough to believe that lack of military service accounts for the great and numerable shortfalls in character, integrity, and leadership shown by the last two Democratic presidents.  I do think that there are lessons learned through leadership that are necessary traits of a president.  I do think that the military generally provides those lessons.  There are other life experiences that do the same, but Clinton and Obama had neither the military service or commensurate civilian management experience.

Clinton was at least understandable.  It isn't hard for people to identify with the horn dog Arkansas man child that can't keep his dick in his pants.  We all know a guy like that.  It isn't hard to sympathize with a guy that has a wandering eye, and a battle axe of a wife.  There are some arguments to be made over the deaths associated with the Clintons.  I call them "assisted suicides".  But, the world is full of people that think it is easier to knock off people that could cause their downfall, rather than face the music themselves.

Narcissists are harder to put a point on.  They are so frickin' full of themselves.  They are textbook psychopaths. Egocentric jerks like Obama don't get a pass from those that don't worship him.

Not to be missed is the fact that military service ain't what it used to be.  It isn't all patriotic young men serving for love of country, fighting for the freedom of their friends and families.  It is somewhat more difficult to justify a life given to sit in the sand somewhere, protecting political interests.

And yet, I don't think I would have a problem with prior military service being a presidential qualification.  If nothing else, it would force the president to have walked a click or two in the shoes of people that he ultimately commands.  It would check a necessary box in the 'experience' field, one that 'community organizer' doesn't fulfill.

January 7, 2015

Shaking

Earthquakes are the new thing in my neck of the woods.  My friend in Oklahoma City frequently mentions a little tremblor.  We felt our first one back in 2011, and I can't recall another one since.  All around my town, though, there have been more and more reports of earthquakes.

Yesterday, sitting in line waiting to pick up my kids, the afternoon deejays were freaking out, claiming that they had just felt an earthquake in downtown Dallas.  Their studio was on the tenth floor of a high-rise building, and they were a little concerned.

That earthquake led to several more:
North Texas has been rattled by 11 earthquakes in just over one day. The latest one took place just before 10:00 a.m. and measured 2.7 in magnitude. Another quake about 90 minutes earlier registered in at a 2.6 in magnitude.
There have been 12 total small earthquakes in the DFW area so far this year, all centered around the old Texas Stadium site in Irving.
There is a ghost-of-Tom-Landry joke to be made, but that isn't where I intended to go with this.

The 3:10 pm earthquake that scared the radio folks was notable, and followed by another slightly stronger one:
7:37 a.m. Tuesday                    2.3 magnitude
3:10 p.m. Tuesday                    3.5 magnitude
6:52 p.m. Tuesday                    3.6 magnitude
8:11 p.m. Tuesday                     2.9 magnitude
8:12 p.m. Tuesday                    2.7 magnitude
9:54 p.m. Tuesday                    1.7 magnitude
10:05 p.m. Tuesday                  2.4 magnitude
11:02 p.m. Tuesday                   1.6 magnitude
12:59 a.m. Wednesday             3.1 magnitude
8:34 a.m. Wednesday               2.6 magnitude
9:57 a.m. Wednesday               2.7 magnitude
Earthquakes in Oklahoma and Texas have been blamed on oil and gas drilling and the fracturing processes associated.  That isn't where I intended to go either, but the cause will most certainly be a factor, should this pattern continue.

What I am most worried about today, is living in an area in which none of the structures are built to withstand earthquakes of any magnitude.  And, as such, none of the insurance policies issued for structures include coverage for damage caused by earthquakes.  I don't want to be at the top of Reunion Tower, or driving on the High Five when a stronger quake hits.  

The cynic in me thinks that insurers will (if they haven't already) begin to map and track earthquakes, and then use that information to deny coverage for other things.  There is also the likelihood of an industry of opportunistic construction and foundation businesses that will begin to sell hapless consumers on some manner of supposed earthquake-proofing for their homes.

I know that we are supposed to do everything "bigger" in Texas, but I don't think earthquakes should be included.