March 31, 2010

Liar, liar

Considering her facial expression, her pants may actually be on fire.

Oldie but goodie

This has been on my fridge for years, not even sure when I first cut it out.

Would you like your teeth straightened as well?

My three year old goes to a local church's preschool program three days a week. They recently had a 'Dental Health' week, capped off with a visit from an orthodontist. Good guy, this doc, I have been writing checks to him for a few years, with more coming. Bless his heart, he needs to get his office staff to proofread documents a little more closely. He was kind enough to give each kid a goody bag with toothbrushes, floss and an informational letter. Here is the entertaining paragraph:

March 30, 2010

Make Mine Freedom

This cartoon is over 60 years old, and was probably deemed a little melodramatic at the time. If you can't handle the whole thing, just watch the last 90 seconds.

March 29, 2010

There's one in every family

I traveled to the chilly tundra of Kansas City this past weekend to attend a family celebratory event.  The sort of event that found me seated, more than once, at a table with family members whose company I would not normally choose, due to vastly different views of society, politics, religion and basic decorum.
Case in point, while I appreciate the attempt at humor about the recently enacted Obamacare debacle, the dining room of an upscale hotel restaurant, with several children in the immediate vicinity, is not the place for a booming voice to remark, "They should hand out condoms before they screw you".   
Crass behavior aside, it was this family member's current 'career' choice that really ticked me off.  This uncle (by marriage - not blood, to be clear!), as a retired person with time on his hands, decided to go to work for the Census Bureau.  He casually remarked about how many people openly attend the first two day session of training simply to collect the pay and per diem, with no intention of ever working.  He had no real issue with the freeloaders.  In fact, the turnover opens the door for oafs like him to be 'promoted' to supervisory positions.  
Another aunt and uncle in attendance mentioned that they took the initial test and had received phone calls offering positions - but that upon hearing of the training regimen, they opted out.  I believe the comment was, "they could train monkeys to do the job".
Uncle Census Supervisor, having stuck around after his first assignment (which was traveling to RV parks and marinas to map people living in vehicles and boats - can't imagine the criteria they use to determine state of residence) is moving on to the counting phase of the job.  This requires more training.  He will be attending 5 days of paid training to learn how to follow up on homes that received the short form.  That's right folks, five days of training for a ten question form.  
Though I did mention that I answered only two of the ten questions (number of people and race - 'other' - "Legal American Citizen") and expected a visit from his census brethren, he wasn't deterred.  Hold outs like me keep him on the government teat.  That thought is almost enough to make me regret standing on principle and not answering the unconstitutional portions of the Census.  While I did receive a letter and a postcard, I did not receive any condoms.  So Uncle Census Supervisor and his homies working my 'hood will just have to screw themselves.

March 28, 2010

Professional opinions

Read a version of this at M.D.O.D., an email making the rounds.  I am printing the original version of his letter, which was a letter to the editor in Mississippi's Clarion Ledger, printed in August 2009.  Sounds like this doc got out while the getting was good.  
Dear Editor:

“During my last shift in the ER, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient with a shiny new gold tooth, multiple elaborate tattoos and a new cellular telephone equipped with her favorite R&B tune for a ringtone.

Glancing over the chart, one could not help noticing her payer status: Medicaid.

She smokes a costly pack of cigarettes every day and, somehow, still has money to buy beer.

And our president expects me to pay for this woman’s health care?

Our nation’s health care crisis is not a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. It is a crisis of culture - culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on vices while refusing to take care of one’s self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance.

Life is really not that hard. Most of us reap what we sow.

Starner Jones, M.D.

and this comment from M.D.O.D.'s post:

Believe me, in Fire/EMS we see this multiple times a day. The folks who have a big screen TV, PS3, and new furniture in their subsidized apt demand an ambulance ride to the hospital for a stubbed toe, and then ask for cab fare to get home. Meanwhile the working folks apologize to us for responding to their real emergencies. We are noting that the working folks are disappearing from our district though, and we are seeing the corresponding increase in calls.

March 27, 2010

Health care for the stupid and lazy

Much has been said about the 'feel good' provisions of Obamacare.  And it was no accident that those are the pieces that go into effect now, rather than later. 
The small business tax credit is so prohibitive that few, if any, will benefit.  But, to those on the outside looking in, "tax credit" sounds nice.
The pre-ex discrimination ban.  This is needed in many situations, but not all.  I don't see any reason why chronic alcoholics and drug abusers should be able to get coverage for self-imposed health issues.  It is asinine that insurers can currently deny coverage for pre-existing conditions for newborn children.  Shame on Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas.
Lifetime caps lifted.  Without some safeguards and a revamping of the insurance industry, this will be devastating to insurers.  People with diseases, victims of catastrophic illness and injury - absolutely they should have no limit to coverage as long as they have had a policy in effect for a reasonable amount of time.  This provision, coupled with the pre-ex ban will have catastrophic financial implications and will be rife with fraud.
So, B. Hussein Obama and his cronies have trotted out every frail, sickly, sob story of insurance malpractice that they could find.  Here's mine:
Donna Simpson, whose current goal in life is to be the world's fattest woman.  She is aiming at 1,000 pounds.  Sure, this is an extreme example - but there are millions of Americans who do absofuckinglutely NOTHING to maintain their own health, and, in fact, intentionally do things to harm their health.  Eat yourself silly, but don't expect someone else to cover your diabetes treatment, your blood pressure medicine or your Hoveround when you can't walk anymore.  Smoke 'em if you got'em, but don't expect someone else to cover your lung cancer treatment.  
Your preventative health measures should count for something in the great insurance game - check out Safeway's Healthy Measures program.  Realizing that 70% of all healthcare costs are a result of BEHAVIOR, they modeled a program after the auto insurance industry, recognizing the role of personal responsibility.  This is the type of reform that is needed.  Make the choices you want but don't ask me to subsidize insurance coverage you don't deserve.

March 25, 2010

Who will insure our health?

I happened to be in a meeting with some insurance brokers this week, these are gentlemen who both own agencies and serve as the middlemen for putting together benefit packages for corporations.  I mentioned John Stossel's article that outlines why no one will need insurance until they get sick - and my plan to cancel and take the chance of a $750 fine rather than pay my premiums all year.  One of the insurance guys said that he had advised his staff to do the exact same thing.  This from a guy who sells insurance for a living.
The conversation continued as they shared the information and updates that they were getting from the insurers they work with, the insurance associations that they belong to and their own opinions of what they were seeing.  The "lucky" people are those whose health insurance contract year just renewed or is about to.  The insurance companies can't change the premium price on those annual contracts, even though they will have to change the coverage.  Unfortunately, someone will have to absorb the costs of that increased coverage, and people whose policies renew with the calendar year look to be right in the middle of the crosshairs.  The conservative estimate was that, with Obamacare moving forward on schedule, policies renewing in January 2011 will see a 20% price increase.  It conceivably could be much higher, as someone has to absorb the overall increased costs and make up for the shortfall in premiums versus coverage for those policies already under contract.  All of the insurance guys were in enthusiastic agreement that the insurance companies would pass on every dime of that cost to the consumer.
More disturbing was their prediction that current insurers would be out of business in 5 to 6 years.  They weren't being glib.  Obamacare's requirements are impossible for health insurers to comply with.  It simply cannot be done within the current confines of the industry.
Case in point, here is some of the language from the Texas Insurance Code:

Sec. 421.001.  RESERVES REQUIRED.  (a)  An insurer shall maintain reserves in an amount estimated in the aggregate to provide for the payment of all losses or claims for which the insurer may be liable and that are:
(1)  incurred on or before the date of statement, whether reported or unreported; and
(2)  unpaid as of the date of statement.
(b)  In addition to the reserves required by Subsection (a), an insurer shall maintain reserves in an amount estimated to provide for the expenses of adjustment or settlement of the losses or claims described by that subsection.
(c)  The commissioner shall adopt each current formula recommended by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for establishing reserves for each line of insurance.  Each insurer writing a line of insurance to which a formula adopted under this subsection applies shall establish reserves in compliance with that formula.
Consider what the statutory reserves are intended to cover - what I will call a 'worst case scenario' - if all of their customers had claims to the limits of their coverage, at the same time. How do you calculate the needed reserves when the federal government has mandated that there be no limit for coverage? The answer is, you can't.  Even if they come up with some magic formula, no company will be able to sustain it and we will see the collapse of the current health insurance industry. Hmmm, isn't that what is needed to move toward Socialism?
When one of the insurance guys was asked about the future of his businesses, the response was, "I sure am glad that health insurance isn't the only thing I do."

Truth more entertaining than fiction

This cracked me up. One, because the sense of entitlement that 'kids' today have being so great that they think they can call the police when their drug dealer rips them off. Second, I had just finished reading an article about health care reform destruction and two people had been sparring back and forth in the comments. One of the choice barbs was, "What kind of health plan do they have down at the call center?", making this police report all the more entertaining.
100 block of East Hickory Street — An employee of a telephone marketing company reported about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday that he was robbed by a man who was supposed to deliver drugs to him. 

The man said his drug supplier called and told him that someone would be by shortly to drop off some drugs. The man said he received a subsequent telephone call, and the caller said he was in a vehicle that was parked outside the business. When the man walked over to the passenger-side door of the vehicle, the passenger grabbed him by the T-shirt and pulled his head through the open window, according to the report. The assailant demanded the victim’s money. 


The victim said he wriggled free of his shirt and ran into the business with the car passenger at his heels. They ran around the office, the victim said, but his assailant caught him and pointed a knife at his ribs. The assailant then reached into the victim’s pocket and pulled out three $20 bills. The assailant left the office, and the car left the area, the victim told police. 


The victim described the suspect as a black male with gold teeth and tattoos on his face. 
From the Denton Record Chronicle

UPDATE: Kerrcarto and I had the exact same thought.  Wonder what Iron Mike is doing in Denton?

photo from Funny or Die

March 23, 2010

Healthcare Savings

John Stossel's take on three of the biggest abominations in Obamacare is worth two minutes of your time.

It hadn't occurred to me, but Stossel points out a wrinkle that could result in thousands of dollars SAVED by my family.  With a ban on discriminating for pre-existing conditions and a $750 fine for not having insurance...which is likely to be struck down by the courts...there is no reason for my family to carry insurance on a daily basis.  I can go to a neighborhood clinic for everyday complaints - nearly every chain pharmacy has a low cost clinic in house now for about the same price as our office visit co-pay.  If I get diagnosed with something major, then I'll order up some insurance.  Our portion of my husband's employer-provided health insurance costs $3600 per year.  Even if we get 'fined', we've saved $2850.

The Texas Open Meetings Act

Some of you know that I have an alter ego, one that I don't care to blog about, but let's call it my "community service" (CS).  It isn't a court-ordered thing, but coincidentally, if I were to openly blog about it, I could end up in jail.
That's what really (additionally) chaps my ass about the state of our federal government and the empty promise of transparency.  If I were to publicly discuss how I intended to vote, or announce what sort of deal it would take to change my vote, I would A.) be run out of my CS position on a rail and B.) most likely be indicted for violating the Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA), among other things.  In certain situations, the TOMA trumps my First Amendment rights, but that was a known quantity when I accepted the position.
Governing should happen in front of the people that entrust public officials with decision making power.  At every level.  There are a few exceptions, and I think they are good ones.  In Texas, certain items can be discussed in a closed 'executive' session.  Real estate transactions are one example.  It should be easily understood that if word got out that a city was interested in buying a piece of property, the purchase price would immediately be affected, which could harm the taxpayers.  Personnel matters can be discussed behind closed doors, although the employee can request for the matter to be discussed openly.  Other than that, nearly everything in municipal government happens in an open forum.
I happen to live and do my CS in a small town.  This tends to complicate matters because everyone knows each other.  Social gatherings where a quorum of the CS people show up are, in most situations, exempt from the TOMA.  But, it is just as easy to tempt our collective fates by doing a simple thing like hitting "reply all" when responding to an email that was sent to all CSers.  If two of my friends, who are also doing some CS, call or stop by and mention the same subject that we might be considering, we will potentially be in violation of the TOMA.  If one of them is called by another 'servant', then they call me....oops...that makes three and that is a no-no. 
In contrast, we have a federal government that does the exact opposite.  NOTHING of consequence happens in the public eye.   If the leader of my town promised me a special "executive order" to get my vote, I certainly wouldn't be making triumphant speeches in front of the media.  I would more likely be wearing felon orange and communicating through a plexiglass partition.  
I have been in Texas for most of my adult years, so I guess I am naive to the open governing laws of other states.  I haven't time today to fully research, but a quick Google indicates that most, if not all, states have open meetings laws.  Why does the federal government get a pass?  Why are Americans not screaming in protest at what OPENLY goes on behind CLOSED doors?  We get to see White House photo ops of the president making "calls to key legislators" but we aren't privy to what he is promising them.  I am not dismissing anyone, from any political party, from my disgust.  All of them, Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Congress - they might as well line up on C-Span and collectively thumb their noses at us. 

March 22, 2010

Cheap housing and no state income tax

Texas is joining at least nine other states with a lawsuit over the health care debacle.  If you don't live in one of those ten, and prefer to preserve your Constitutional rights rather than a wealth-sharing philosophy, we would welcome you here in the Lone Star State. 
 
"The federal health care legislation passed tonight violates the United States Constitution and unconstitutionally infringes upon Texans' individual liberties. To protect all Texans' constitutional rights, preserve the constitutional framework intended by our nation's founders, and defend our state from further infringement by the federal government, the State of Texas and other states will legally challenge the federal health care legislation."

Greg Abbott
Attorney General of Texas

March 21, 2010

There should be 219 other people in this picture.


Update: Left Coast Rebel switched out the prior photoshop to this one, courtesy of No Sheeples Here.

Obamacare Out

The number varies between 36 and 38 states that have passed or are considering legislation to protect their citizens from Obamacare's mandate that all citizens purchase "acceptable" health insurance.  The requirement is in both versions of the bill and calls for monetary penalties and misdemeanor convictions that could possibly include jail time for not complying.  Lord knows our police and jail personnel have nothing better to do than enforce health insurance mandates.  
Interestingly, the House bill calls the fine a "tax".  The Senate calls their fine a "shared responsibility payment".  If the bill passes with any semblance of this penalty in place, it may be the silver lining to this very ominous dark cloud.  I have to believe that our Supreme Court would rule such a "tax" unconstitutional.      
Two tax professors, Rodney Mock and Jeffry Tolin, published a paper entitled, "Purchase or Else: The Health Insurance "Tax"."  There is a free PDF download of the paper available here.  It is relatively concise, an eight page document, but nearly half of each page is footnotes.
I won't bore you with the minutiae, suffice it to say that Mock and Tolin present a sound argument against this part of the Obamacare bill, explaining the case precedent Congress is using to claim their ability to regulate, tax and control the health insurance industry and force Americans to enter into contracts (they claim authority under the commerce clause).  Mock and Tolin then provide the case law under which they believe the Supreme Court will strike down the mandate. Here is their conclusion:
Congress does not have the authority under the commerce clause to regulate taxpayers not engaged in interstate activities (or any other non-activities for that matter, including intrastate). If we permit it do so, we open the door wide to unlimited centralized government in which Congress could essentially:
‘‘evade all constitutional limits by taxing anyone who doesn’t follow an order of any kind — whether to obtain health-care insurance, or to join a health club, or exercise regularly, or even eat your vegetables.’’ (David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey, ‘‘Mandatory Insurance Is Unconstitutional,’’ The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 18, 2009.)
Congress also does not have the authority under the Constitution’s various taxing provisions to enforce its mandate indirectly through a naked tax, because that would be punitive in nature, an unconstitutional extraction on thin air that attempts to suppress a kind of conduct Congress cannot regulate: our right to purchase what we want, when we want, and if we want.
So as I wait out the day and see if this bill passes, despite 75% of states being against a key component, despite a majority of Americans opposing it, despite the estimates of up to 47% of primary care physicians that would quit medicine if it passes, despite the constant threats of using procedural tricks to shove it through...I hold out hope that even if the bill passes, that there are legal challenges that will render it impotent for the foreseeable future.

March 19, 2010

The Zero Years

My Census 2010 form is still blank. I am rarely so indecisive, but I haven't yet decided how much of a protest to make of it. I understand the need to be counted, but the rest of it seems much too far reaching.  If the right hand was aware of what the left hand was doing, there would be no issue in gathering the other information asked for on the form - it exists in many other governmental databases
In true blogosphere form, someone I have never met, but have heard of through other people I have never met, but whose blogs I read - and one amazing dame who I have had the pleasure of meeting - posted a "Census Footprint", detailing where they were in the 'zero years'.  See their post's here, here and here.  Now for mine:
1970: The year of my birth. In April, I was a wee infant, about to celebrate my first Easter.  We lived in Anchorage, Alaska, my dad was stationed at Elmendorf readying for a tour in Vietnam.

1980:  Fourth grade, Tomahawk Elementary School, Olathe, Kansas.  Mrs. Sherrill was my teacher, our classroom was built in space carved out of the library, with cloth cubicle-type walls.  I suppose it was a period of rapid growth for this suburb of Kansas City and they couldn't build schools fast enough and it was a time before portable buildings were commonplace.  I loved to roller skate, play 'Hot Box' (the baseball drill; some call it Pickle or Rundown), participate in dirt clod fights and play the Atari.

 1990: Living in Flower Mound, TX.  I worked at Chili's, in their burger and fajitas glory days.  The 'up all night, sleep all day' years.  Moonlighted at a couple of clubs I liked to hang out at.  I was smart enough to figure out that I could sit and blow my money all night, or work for a few hours, racking up the 'can I buy you a drink when you get off?' offers and end up with the same result.  Single and enjoying every minute of it. 

2000Langenselbold, Germany. Unhappily married with two kids, living 'on the economy' but attached to the 4th Aviation Brigade, Fliegerhorst Kaserne, Erlensee, Germany.  I remember the Y2K fears, and calling back to the states shortly after midnight Germany time, to report that everything was still working.  Then we went back outside and watched a drunk, elderly German neighbor shoot off bottle rockets with haphazard aim, landing several on his own roof.   

2010:  Back in Texas, happily re-married, four kids!  I spend my time as a public servant, volunteer and marginally employed part-time director of a non-profit foundation.  I do lots of laundry and bake school treats.  Looking forward to getting a degree and having an outside-of-the-home career when the kids are all in school full time.

March 18, 2010

Destruction from within

Chuck Schumer taking a dump on the Constitution. The secretly recorded audio begins around 2:45, if you would like to skip ahead.

March 17, 2010

Happy Saint Pat's

My mother's side of the family hails from the Emerald Isle.  They immigrated here and became farmers, ultimately landing in the midwest amongst others with funny sounding names from faraway places.  Due to the hostility toward Irish immigrants, the family name was changed - dropping the O' to become an ambiguous reflection of a heritage forsaken for a better life in America.
In my travels to Ireland, I found that the original family name is still a common one, but no one in our family has gone so far as to see if we have any direct relatives to claim there.  Irish tourism depends on hapless folks like us, with bins and displays full of traditional family names and coat of arms designs for sale.
We spent our first night in Ireland at a working farm.  The owners were in their late sixties, an age that looks much older on people that have spent their lives farming for a living.  The lady of the house showed us into her parlor and served us cookies and tea.  Soon she was chatting away and shared with us that none of their sons wanted the family farm.  The land had been in the family since the beginning of time, but just the night before our arrival, the youngest son had told his mother that he wanted to work in the city like his brothers, and wouldn't be taking over the farm.  She hadn't told her husband yet and said the news was likely to break his heart.  Such an uplifting arrival.
The next morning, before we went down to breakfast, I threatened my kids that they were to eat everything this dear woman put in front of them.  I told them that I didn't care if they liked it or not, they were to choke it down and smile about it.  We were served a full Irish breakfast with all of the ingredients from right there on the farm; fresh eggs, bacon, toasted soda bread, marmalade and black pudding.  My kids poked and prodded at the lump of pudding on their plates.  My 'remember our talk upstairs' look prompted them to put it in their mouths and smile.  That was probably a mistake.  Mrs. O'Malley took that as a sign of approval and proceeded to share the secrets of her pudding recipe.  The kids were doing okay with the ingredients of pork, barley and various spices.  It was her explanation that she liked to get the meat and blood from the same pig that turned the kids green.  We lost the oldest one when she explained the lamb blood variation.  
Each St. Patrick's day I tease the kids that I will make them a traditional Irish breakfast.  They emphatically decline the offer.  Do you think they realize what is in an American hot dog?

A pun for the day:

What's Irish and sits outside in the summertime?

March 16, 2010

Just not my day

Yesterday's mail run delivered to me both my 2010 Census and a jury duty summons.
Item #1, the Census, arrived days earlier than the warning letter said it would. That warning letter cost taxpayers $85 million to send, BTW.  I am torn between filling in only the number of inhabitants in my home, or getting more creative and filling all of the blanks.  I have noticed that nowhere on the form does it ask for legal names, so funny nicknames should do.  I noticed that the only option someone of mixed race has, is to check the box for 'other'.  It's hard to believe that in these modern times, there is any other choice.  If we are all to be treated equal, why are people being put into tidy little categories of race?  I like the suggestion put forth by an anonymous commenter on GGDF, I think I will check "other" and write in "American".
I am confused that the census is supposed to reflect the inhabitants of my home on April 1, yet they would like to have the census returned to them by that date.  The government must think us all omniscient.  I can think of any number of scenarios that might cause someone to be staying with us by that date.  Marriages on shaky ground, college student spring break shenanigans, transient friends that like springtime in Texas, etc., you never know when someone needs a place to crash for awhile.  
Item #2, the dreaded jury summons.  The county government's only way to make me regret being a registered voter.  I never get interesting cases.  The last jury I was on hung because two jurors just could not accept that we were only allowed to deliberate on the information that had been presented in court.  They thought we should be able to ask questions!  Twice they forced the issue to the point that the judge called everyone back to the courtroom so the foreman could try to ask a question, only to get the same instructions about what we were legally allowed to consider when rendering our verdict.  In the end, a repeat drunk driver was let go because of two ignorant women.
Mr. Harper, he has all the luck.  He sat on a jury for an indecent exposure and lewd conduct case.  The defense case alleged that it was all a big misunderstanding.  They said that the accused had a rash and was simply applying ointment to his ailing schmeckel while "air directing" along with a crescendoing classical music selection on the radio.  In his car.  On I-35.   

March 15, 2010

Happy Spring Break FOD

March 13, 2010

Till taught by pain, Men really know not what good water's worth

Here in North Texas, there are hundreds of horse ranches, with some other livestock mixed in.   This area used to be much farther away from the big cities of Fort Worth and Dallas, but urban sprawl has brought them closer.  There are still many areas and families that make their living from agricultural means.  Unfortunately, there are also 'city slickers' that move a little out of the city and fancy themselves 'ranchers'.  
While cities may have the odd person who collects cats or dogs, we tend to get horse collectors here.  There are a couple of families in my neighborhood that moved out here and got a couple of horses, because that's what it took to keep up with the Joneses.  Some of the kids rode for awhile, but eventually the 'new' wore off and the horses are left to their own devices, with the bare minimum of care provided to them.
My neighbor helped form a rescue group for farm animals.  There are thousands of small animal rescue groups for the average house pet, but the need for facilities and organizations that can handle rescue livestock is becoming dire.  I had the privilege of helping out with a seizure this week; eleven horses and a llama!

Most of the 'Big News' livestock neglect and abuse cases around here are a result of the economy.  People can't afford to feed their livestock, plain and simple.  They either deny that their animals are starving in front of them, or they are too proud to seek help.  This week my eyes were opened to the practice of hobby breeders.  I'm not talking about people that invest in a couple of good horses and breed them on the side for extra money, I am talking about people that acquire a couple of, in the sheriff's words, "plug nickel horses", and let them roam freely together (mares and stallions), with no regard for inbreeding, and end up with a herd of horses that no one wants and they can't afford to care for.
This practice has become especially rampant with miniature breeds among the Hispanic community.  People can be found with a truckload of minis to sell at weekend flea markets, just like they were puppies.  They go for $200, no papers, no prior vet care, but aren't they cute?
I haven't heard the final report, as the vet hasn't finished the assessment.  But two of the mares we seized are clearly pregnant, with at least one other looking like it.  All of them malnourished, none of them ever having hoof care, their teeth floated, vaccinations, wormed, etc.  They were roaming freely among what I call a "compound".  It was eight mobile homes with one perimeter fence.  There were junked cars and trash EVERYWHERE.  On a previous visit, the sheriff had told the owner to corral the horses into a pen and get them hay and clean water.  The pen had been cleaned of the big pieces of trash, but was still littered with broken glass, pieces of metal, nails and other small junk.  Many of the horses had open wounds.  They were standing in thick mud - the kind that sucks your shoes off your feet.  
'Mexican Machismo' turns my stomach.  There were fifteen animals on the property.  One had a name - the stallion (brace yourself), 'Don Juan'.  Clearly, the mares, llama, dogs, etc., have no worth to this jerk.

His horses, the ones that live, are ensured of a peaceful life now.  If only we could treat the owner to the same treatment as his stallion.  Don Juan was castrated yesterday.

March 12, 2010

Perhaps a career in the natural gas industry?

(641):

Went to the career fair today..I handed out many resumes to find out later that they say I have a bachelor o farts degree...Top that.

I wish Allen West was from Texas

If anyone can identify the squirming "plead the 5th" idiots and others that avoided the question, please let me know.  Wait until the 1:40 mark for Congressional candidate Allen West to answer the question...

March 11, 2010

Busy week

I've been overwhelmed with a little side project this week.  Hope to find time to tell you about it soon.  In the meantime enjoy this little joke:
 
In Washington, D.C. an old priest lay dying in the hospital. For years he had faithfully served the people of the nation's capital and was well known among the elected officials.

He motioned for his nurse to come near.

"Yes, Father?" said the nurse.

"I would really like to see President Obama and Speaker Pelosi before I die," whispered the priest.

"I'll see what I can do, Father," replied the nurse.

The nurse sent the request to The President and Congress and waited for a response.

Soon the word arrived; President Obama and Nancy Pelosi would be delighted to visit the priest.

As they went to the hospital, Obama commented to Pelosi, "I don't know why the old priest wants to see us, but it will certainly help our images and might even get me re-elected."

Pelosi agreed that it was a good thing.

When they arrived at the priest's room, the priest took Obama's hand in his right hand and Pelosi's hand in his left hand. There was silence and a look of serenity on the old priest's face.

Finally President Obama spoke.. "Father, of all the people you could have chosen, why did you choose us to be with you as you near the end?"

The old priest slowly replied, "I have always tried to pattern my life after our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

"Amen," said Obama.

"Amen," said Pelosi.

The old priest continued, "Jesus died between two lying thieves; I would like to do the same."

March 9, 2010

Just so we're clear

            DICKhead                                                  DICKtator

Dear Sean Penn, thanks for wishing death by rectal cancer on me, and those like me, with enough functioning brain cells to recognize Chavez for what he is.  Couldn't you think of a more painful death to wish on us?  I know I can.  If you would be so kind as to visit Texas, I will arrange a demonstration for you.

March 8, 2010

New Math Humor

"How do you trace a scatter plot? Ya give the pencil to Michael J. Fox."

BWAHAHAHA.

March 7, 2010

Earn it

My first restaurant job was washing dishes in a small town cafe owned by a family member.  I was six or seven years old and had to stand on a milk crate to reach the sink.  On subsequent visits I was promoted to refilling coffee for counter customers and handing out pieces of Super Bubble to kids as their parents paid at the register.  
As a teenager and young adult, I spent many years waiting tables and bartending.  I was a corporate restaurant trainer after that.  My husband works in the restaurant industry to this day.  In short, I appreciate and understand the business, especially the service side.
That said, I am sick to death of the assumption that every little function in the world is worthy of a tip.  If you are a business owner, set a reasonable price for your goods and services.  In full service restaurants, I tip well - exceptionally well if the server does a good job.  I've been there, after all.
If I walk up to a counter to place my order, which I will be carrying to the table...put the tip jar away!  What did you do to deserve a tip?  You pushed some buttons, handed me a drink cup and processed my payment.  More infuriating is how quick service restaurants have programmed their credit card processing to include a tip line on the receipt.
Just last week, I went to Fuzzy's Tacos.  I stood in line to place my order, got handed a styrofoam cup for my drink - which I filled myself, picked up my own silverware, retrieved my food from the kitchen window when they called my number, wiped my hands and face with the roll of paper towels on the table and then picked up my own dishes and threw my trash away.  Why does the credit card slip have a line for the tip?  Why should I stand there getting the stink eye when I total it out and sign it, sans tip?  
We frequently attend sporting events at American Airlines Center in Dallas.  Tom, our section's beer guy, gets to keep the change, and then some.  Why?  Because he delivers beer to my seat.  He knows what I like to drink.  He knows that my kids like to have cotton candy in the second period of a hockey game - one blue, one pink.  If Tom gets assigned to another section and I have to walk to the concession stand to buy a $7 beer, a plastic cup with "Tips" scrawled on it with a ball point isn't a welcome sight.
In my book, restaurant tips are intended for two categories; those who make "server wage" which is a paltry amount (could it still be $2.13?) because tips are intended to average out their hourly pay and those making a decent wage but go above and beyond in their service to me.
And while I am thinking about it, I hate restaurants that automatically add gratuity for large parties.  Why?  It is as if they are assuming that people dining in a group will collectively forget to tip.  If the charge is for the additional hassle of dealing with a large party, then call it that - a "large party fee".  One of my family's favorite restaurants doesn't add gratuity and even has little cards on the table explaining why they don't add it.  I don't think it is a coincidence that they have a rockin' wait staff. 
I am trying to think of something to write or do when confronted with the 'tip line' on a credit card receipt for a function that clearly deserves no tip.  Any suggestions?

March 5, 2010

Sleep Talkin' Man

"Good morning. I just wanted to be the first person to call you a twat. Enjoy your day."
 Makes me wish (just a little) that I had an office to walk into this morning, I can think of a few people in my corporate past that I could have greeted that way.

Sleep Talkin' Man is a comedic genius.  Leslie found him first.

March 3, 2010

On Voter ID

Yesterday, over at The Whited Sepulchre, there was a nice round up of the Texas Primary Election results.  I find myself in agreement with most of his assessment, but we're going to have to agree to disagree with his take on the Republican Ballot Proposition #1, requiring photo I.D. to vote.
Having had the privilege task of serving as both an election clerk and judge, I think that any measure that increases the voter verification process is a step in the right direction.  Here in the great state of Texas, all one has to do is show up at the polling place with just about any piece of paper that bears their name.  Utility bills, library cards, birth certificates, checks and expired identification cards and licenses are all accepted at the polling place.  If you are a Texan, you might be confused about this measure, having shown your DL to vote.  Thing is, election workers can only ask for your voter registration card or some other form of I.D..  They can ask for your DL, but it isn't currently a requirement.  If you can come up with any scrap of paper bearing the name of a registered voter, you are going to be allowed to vote.  
Whited points out that, presumably before he was legally able, he used his father's driver's license to buy beer and cigarettes and asks which poll worker is qualified to determine if a photo I.D. resembles the voter presenting it.  I don't think it matters much.  Texas still requires advance voter registration, so the amount of work that would go into falsifying both a license and a matching voter registration is time consuming and would have to take place well in advance of election day.  Anyone who is in our country legally is entitled to a state issued I.D., their distribution point also being a place where one can register to vote.
Even if you were to 'borrow' someone else's photo I.D. to vote, they have to show up on the voter rolls, at the correct polling place for that precinct and will only be allowed one vote.  It's not as if the I.D. can be recycled down the line of voters, like we used to do at the door to Billy Bob's.  
The argument that this law will somehow discriminate against the poor or minority populations holds no water with me.  How?  Banks require a photo I.D., writing a check at the grocery store requires an I.D., driving requires an I.D., good retailers ask for I.D. when debit and credit cards are used (poor Texans receive their government 'benefits' on a debit card).  Heck, I think most forms of I.D. that I listed above as being currently accepted at the polling place (bills/library card) require an I.D. when they are acquired.      
Is there still an avenue for misrepresentation?  Sure there is, but a photo I.D. is a step in the right direction.  Having seen the 'inside' of the voting process, there are many other pieces of the machine that are more worrisome to me.  

March 2, 2010

Shopping for a swimming suit...

Guys don't know how easy they have it.  This email from a friend is an excellent description of the horror moms and older women face each spring:

Today's stretch fabrics are designed for the prepubescent girl with a figure carved from a potato chip.
The mature woman has a choice-she can either go up front to the maternity department and try on a floral suit with a skirt, coming away looking like a hippopotamus who escaped from Disney's Fantasia or she can wander around every run of the mill department store trying to make a sensible choice from what amounts to a designer range of fluorescent rubber bands. What choice did I have? I wandered around, made my sensible choice and entered the chamber of horrors known as the fitting room.
The first thing I noticed was the extraordinary tensile strength of the stretch material. The Lycra used in bathing costumes was developed, I believe, by NASA to launch small rockets from a slingshot, which give the added bonus that if you manage to actually lever yourself into one, you are protected from shark attacks as any shark taking a swipe at your passing midriff would immediately suffer whiplash. I fought my way into the bathing suit, but as I twanged the shoulder strap in place, I gasped in horror - my boobs had disappeared!
Eventually, I found one boob cowering under my left armpit. It took a while to find the other. At last I located it flattened beside my seventh rib.
The problem is that modern bathing suits have no bra cups. The mature woman isn't meant to wear her boobs spread across her chest like a speed bump. I realigned my speed bump and lurched toward the mirror to take a full view assessment. The bathing suit fit all right, but unfortunately it only fit those bits of me willing to stay inside it. The rest of me oozed out rebelliously from top, bottom, and sides. I looked like a lump of play dough wearing undersized cling wrap.
As I tried to work out where all those extra bits had come from, the prepubescent sales girl popped her head through the curtain, "Oh, there you are," she said, admiring the bathing suit.  I replied that I wasn't so sure and asked what else she had to show me. I tried on a cream crinkled one that made me look like a lump of masking tape, and a floral two piece which gave the appearance of an oversized napkin in a serving ring. I struggled into a pair of leopard skin bathers with ragged frills and came out looking like Tarzan's Jane, pregnant with triplets and having a rough day.  I tried on a black number with a midriff and looked like a jellyfish in mourning. I tried on a bright pink pair with such a high cut leg I thought I would have to wax my eyebrows to wear them.
Finally, I found a suit that fit...a two-piece affair with a shorts style bottom and a loose blouse-type top.  It was cheap, comfortable, and bulge-friendly, so I bought it. My ridiculous search had a successful outcome, I figured. When I got home, I found a label which read -- "Material might become transparent in water."
So, if you happen to be on the beach or near any other body of water this year and I'm there too .. I'll be the one in cut off jeans and a t-shirt!