August 31, 2010

Day 26

I am enthralled by the story of the 33 Chilean miners that are trapped 2,200 feet underground after a landslide blocked the way in, and out, of the mine.

Today is the 26th day that they have been down there.  They survived the first 17 days on 48 hours worth of food.  Now they have three holes from the surface, big enough to provide air, food, clothing, medicine and other essential items.  Telephone service was established over the weekend, so now the miners can speak to their families.

Still, can you imagine?  Trapped in a small space, I think it is about 800 sf, with 32 of your co-workers?  Knowing that the best estimates put your rescue at somewhere around Christmas?  There are people that I couldn't be in a cubicle with for more than 10 minutes without blood being shed.  I guess survival instincts probably take over to some degree.  It is probably more of a dangerous situation now, as they have their basic needs taken care of.  It is less of a survival situation and more of a solitary confinement with 32 of your not-so-close friends situation.  Gah.

Of course, the mining corporation that was running the mine is bankrupt and isn't even participating in the rescue.  The miners that are trapped are not being paid, so their families are dealing with the dual stresses of having their loved one trapped underground and being in financial straits.  Even though our government sucks and our economy is in the toilet, we should be thankful for spirit of community and charity that would kick in, should something like this happen in the U.S.

Call me cold hearted, but I even have a little respect for the Chilean government's response to the demands for them to cover the salaries:
Union leader Evelyn Olmos called on the government to pay the workers' wages starting in September, plus cover the roughly 100 other people at the mine who are now out of work and 170 more who work elsewhere for San Esteban. Its license has been suspended by the government.
"We want the government to pay our salaries in full until our comrades are freed and then pay our severances," said Olmos.
Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said the government was prohibited by labor laws from assuming responsibility for the salaries. He said it was up to the mining company and would have to be worked out in Chilean courts.
Golborne noted the extraordinary circumstances of the mine collapse but pointed out there are many other Chileans who lack a job and said the government cannot be responsible for all of them.
Now, maybe the government could cover the pay and seek other remedies for reimbursement from the company or something, just to fill the gap.  But, still, it is refreshing to see a government that doesn't automatically throw money at every problem.

It shouldn't escape mentioning that the miners are going to have to work to help in their own rescue, clearing rock and debris at the bottom of the hole that is to be drilled.  It will take crews of 6+ working iaround the clock in shifts to remove the 4,000 tons of rock expected to fall.  I wonder if anyone has told them that they aren't being paid for that?  There is surely at least one of those miners that will say, "To hell with it, they ain't paying me, I ain't doing it."

I have a hard time understanding how, in this day and age, that we don't have some other, faster way to reach these miners.  Heck, the guys on Ocean's Thirteen tunneled under Las Vegas is an hour or so.

Following the current plan, the rescue path will be a 26 inch wide tunnel through solid rock.  A one man escape pod will carry each miner to the surface, a trip taking one hour.  Oh. Hell. No.  Can you imagine that trip?  Ever had a traditional, old fashioned MRI, all the way in the tube?  Now imagine it with no light at either end, knowing you are going through solid rock and one wrong move could mean you are stuck there to die, and having to think about it for an hour or more.

I will keep watching this story, waiting to see if they mention how much Valium they send down to the miners before they load up in the escape hatch.   

August 30, 2010

FOD

Today Roger Clemens will be arraigned on charges that he lied to Congress.

He is charged with three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of Congress.

Our government is prosecuting a citizen for making false statements, lying and obstructing Congress.

Irony or hypocrisy?

Parenthood

Leslie was blessed with her first grandchild last week, and he's a cutie.  When these videos hit my inbox this week, I thought of those blissfully unaware new parents and the adventures in store for them.

For the Dads:



For the Moms - best use of Bohemian Rhapsody outside of the original:

August 29, 2010

Perspective Changes

Did you have to fight for the Sunday comics section of the paper?  I was an only child, so the comics were mine for the taking except for when I was at the grandparents' house on holidays, surrounded by cousins to compete with.  We are a newspaper reading family and my kids scramble to be the first to get the (miserably downsized) comic section each Sunday.  They also have minor squabbles over the daily comics, but seem to cooperate to do puzzles, like The Jumble, together.  There is just something about Sunday mornings and a full color comic section, that brings on the sibling rivalry and the age old desire to be first.

It's funny how people gravitate to that section, despite their age or personality.  I don't know of too many people who don't give it at least a cursory review.  Whenever we gather for a Sunday meal at my parent's house, other family members always grab the stack of Sunday paper and, inevitably, sort out the comics. 

It brought to mind how wonderful the carefree days of youth are.  While I am reading the business sections and bemoaning the fact that savings rates have dropped below 1%, and Mr Harper, with the sports section, is crying in his coffee about the Cowboys getting their butt kicked, the kids want nothing more than to get the first crack at a giggle or two with the comics.   More often than not, it is so they can sit back and point out the good ones to everyone else who picks up the section.  Should a comic produce a LOL moment, everyone wants to know which one, and may even read over a shoulder. 

During my sleepless nights over whether I am adequately preparing them for adulthood in the big, bad world of today and wanting them to mature and grow appropriately, part of me wants to freeze them in this worry free time of life.

August 28, 2010

My Band Nerd

Kerrcarto's kid marched at his first football game last night.  For those of you not in the know, Texas high school marching bands rank high on the coolness level.  This wasn't the way when I was in high school, but now you are just as likely to see a drum major be homecoming king or queen, right alongside a football player or cheerleader.  Band nerds get full ride scholarships just like the athletes.  In fact, marching band counts as a phys ed credit.  Most of all, band is a way of life and a close-knit student community that epitomizes team work and sportsmanship.

Marching band is not for the faint of heart.  Our local band starts at the end of July (the state mandates when they can begin).  During state competition years (every other year), they usually kick things off with some sort of team activity, like a ropes course.  The very first day is "fish camp" whereby all of the new freshman and new-to-the-band kids are "kidnapped" by upperclassmen and taken to school for a crash course in marching basics.  Then begins the three-a-day practices.  Early morning marching, afternoon music and then more marching in the evenings.  My kid lost twenty pounds in three weeks.

The teenager was a member of the 2008 3A State Champion marching band.  These videos are of their championship performance in the finals in November of that year.  I apologize for the quality, we have a nifty DVD set from the professional videographers, but I don't know how to upload that stuff to YouTube.  This isn't the best angle or height to view the performance from, but you get the idea.

If you are a band nerd you might appreciate watching the full 8 minute performance.  You might also appreciate the music, as the Argyle Band scores high for both marching and the musical performance.  At 1:50 of the first video, my kid is one of the saxophones walking in a circle around the soloists, that's about as good as I can do to point her out without a tele-strator. 



If you don't watch anything else, watch the movement that starts at the 2:50 mark of Part 2.  They called it the "Crazy Eights".  Perfecting this part of the program cost them numerous bumps, bruises, bloody mouths, broken instruments and at least one broken arm. 



It was one month later that we got the call about her name coming up on the waiting list at the charter school. Moving to a school without a band was probably the most painful part of the decision. My kid never even got to wear the letter jacket she earned, while she was still a student at AHS. I think band is what I miss the most about 'regular' public school. I have never been more proud of her, because I know how hard she, and all of her fellow band mates, worked to accomplish this championship.  To all the band nerds competing this year, Good Luck!

August 27, 2010

The Most Expensive Doughnut in the World

For cities and schools around the country, it is budget season.  Around here, most fiscal years start in five weeks.  The bean counters and number crunchers have been hard at work.  For my town, which relies almost solely on property tax, it has been a rough two years.  Not as rough as some, as our appraised values held just above even last year and dropped less than 1% this year.  Unfortunately, we had been seeing 10-12% taxable value growth every year before the recession.  It has caused some belt-tightening.

Schools are reliant on the same property values, coupled with the government dole.  The beginning of the school year brings about the beginning of the begging season on campus.  The advent of "educational foundations" is a scourge that needs to be eliminated.  Granted, some are better than others - but they all function in the same way.  They come up with creative ways to try and talk you out of money, hold one or two big events a year in which all of the teachers are expected to make a command performance and auction off a bunch of donated crap that some 'real housewives' spent the year collecting in the name of 'the children'.  The schools pitch in by allowing them to prostitute the children through the creation of one-of-a-kind projects (think picture quilts, ceramics with each kids' handprint or name, etc) that are made during instructional time and then auctioned off to the highest bidder - which is either the teacher (who can scarcely afford it) or one of the parents.  Who else would want such an individualized item?

But I digress.

Over the past week, I have attended a town ceremony to dedicate two new municipal buildings and the annual back-to-school night.  At the town ceremony, there were fresh flowers, a buffet of breakfast items and each person in attendance was given a set of commemorative coasters that were wrapped and festooned with a custom printed sticker with the town logo.  At the school event, each adult was handed a heavyweight folder, imprinted with the school logo, filled with informational papers (all of which were available on the website). 

I realize we are talking somewhat small potatoes, cost-wise,  But coasters and folders aren't free.  Not to mention the labor and resources expended acquiring and preparing the items.  Do taxpayers make the connection that they are being handed a coaster that they paid for?  Does that doughnut taste better or worse, knowing that someone took your property or sales tax money, processed it through a couple of governmental agencies, and then dispatched a municipal employee to buy it for you?

Does anyone (other than me) recognize how absurd it is to be holding a 75 cent custom folder printed by an organization that is asking the people in attendance to donate $600k, because otherwise, 'the children' won't get a good education?

Isn't the first rule of responsible spending, to eliminate unnecessary items?  To define 'wants' versus 'needs' and spend only on the needs?  I think we have become immune to the federal spending monster, but shouldn't we be more in tune with our local entities?  Is there a better place to start when demanding responsible spending?

My friend GOC often says that he thinks people should have to write a check every April 15, rather than have income taxes withheld from their checks, to better comprehend the cost of our government.  Maybe we should take that a step further and make sure that all items paid for with taxpayer money are labeled accordingly, with the price and resources that it took to get that product to the end consumer.  Even better, if I decide to forgo the doughnut and leave the folder, I should get a refund.  If I don't consume it, why am I paying for it?

August 26, 2010

Kitchen Window Sill Fornication

I like fish just fine.  When I was little, my dad had this awesome mile long tank with salt water beauties in it.  As a teenager and young adult, I tried to have fish.  I followed the directions, bought expensive filters and accoutrements.  I spent hundreds of dollars on fish medicine.  It made no difference.  Fish float at the sight of me and I don't want to deal with the tears, so I have always resisted having them as pets.

We have had one successful fish-as-a-pet experience in the past decade.  When my oldest was in second grade, a classmate gave the teacher a Beta for Valentine's Day.  The teacher was our neighbor and had big vacation plans for spring break, so we got to fish-sit. One thing led to another and we ended up with the fish that the teacher never wanted - and he lived for three or four more years.  When he floated, we had a bona fide memorial service and burial.  Flushing wasn't good enough.  He is buried under the pet tree in Grandma's yard along with the cats and dogs that went before him.

I cannot understand why my kids were so attached to an animal that they couldn't pet, teach tricks to, or remember to feed.  Ever since, they have bugged me to get another fish.  One day I came across a Sea Monkeys kit at Wallyworld.  It was $5, with a container, the Sea Monkey eggs and food.  I had some Sea Monkeys once, they never hatched.  I let my son give it a whirl, thinking that the shine would quickly wear off and he would discover that he really doesn't have the desire to care for the larger responsibility that would come with fish.  I thought that the ROI for my $5 would be well worth it.

He meticulously followed the directions and, voila, three days into it he had a couple dozen little Sea Monkeys.  We watched them grow, and then I noticed their numbers were dwindling.  I started to feel smug, knowing that soon they would all be dead and the kid would be over it.  Then this started happening:

Click to see bigger, but they are still shrimp
Click to be a real Sea Monkey sex voyeur

The Sea Monkeys are hooking up! Literally and figuratively. They stay attached for days, lucky little brine shrimp. Yesterday they had a batch of babies. The son I was so sure was about to be past his Sea Monkey fascination is so pleased, he would be passing out cigars, if he could. 

August 25, 2010

Oops

As the Army Golden Knight parachutist was unharmed, and didn't even need 'rescued' (he was able to lower himself down) - I am left to wonder what nickname his team members will bestow upon him for this mishap last night at the Rangers' game:


Photo from WFAA.

August 24, 2010

Heroes

We finally made it to the airport this weekend to greet the soldiers/airmen/Marines.  That's what I get for delaying on behalf of other people's schedules, over a week later than planned!  Originally, we were headed out on Friday.  I got up and called the phone number to check on the flight and it was early!  We would have needed to be walking out the door within minutes, so we decided to give Sunday a try, thinking that it would help jolt the kids back onto school schedule to get up and out the door for an early R&R flight arrival.

We got to the airport parking garage at the same time as a group of bikers in their veteran's vests and hats - and started our jaunt by thanking those gentlemen for their service.  There were four families that had come to greet their soldiers.  There is just no way to witness that display of love and gratitude without tears.  It is also cool to observe how many airport employees, police and crew members gravitate to the area for the flight arrival.  I don't know about where you live, but here in Texas, we love our troops and appreciate their sacrifices.  

There is a great group of volunteers that hands out flags to wave, distributes 'Welcome Home a Hero' lapel pins and sets up everything.  Once the plane landed and the soldiers were on the way, they got the family members and veterans to the front of the line.  The rest of us lined up on either side, making a path to the door, where the heroes were directed to the appropriate bus to whatever terminal they were headed to for their continuing flights home.  Some people brought stuff to hand out - snacks, notes, etc.   Volunteers outside handed out water bottles.  I think what many soldiers really liked was that one of those volunteers out by the buses had brought his big old slobbery dog.  Many of them stopped to give him a little skritch.

So, the soldiers started to trickle out.  Someone hit the 'play' button on a jambox, to cue up the patriotic music.  Nearly everyone was wearing patriotic colors - including red, white and blue cowboy hats, flag skirts and 'Freedom isn't Free' T-shirts.  Some folks brought flowers to give the female soldiers.  Nice touch, I thought.

Head volunteer lady shared with everyone that they have learned, from the soldiers' feedback, that for some of the guys coming right off the front lines in Afghanistan, the noisy crowd is overwhelming.  She warned that some would ignore the offer of a handshake, but that people shouldn't take it personally.  There were some soldiers that had a deer in the headlights look, God Bless Them.  Most were obviously pleased with the reception.  I got a little choked up watching all those Vietnam Vets at the front of the line, knowing that this was not the sort of treatment they received when they came back from down range.

Every time I have gone to greet the soldiers, there has been at least one guy that truly embraces the experience.  Sunday was no exception, with one youngish soldier (E-5) that hugged every female, young and old, all along one side of the line.  He got to the end, found out which bus he should be on, and then turned around and worked his way back down the other side of the line, hugging all of those girls.  Ear-to-ear grin and unbridled enthusiasm about being back stateside for a couple of weeks.  God love him, I wish I had gotten his name and contact information.

I announced the different ranks, patches and such to my kids, as the soldiers walked by us.  The rules for wearing a combat patch have changed, so they aren't just the division patches anymore.  Many I didn't recognize, as I think they can wear company level patches as their combat patch now.  We saw all ranks from a private to a colonel, with a chaplain, a CW5 and two CSMs thrown into the mix.  There were 188 military members on the flight.  We clapped our hands raw, and whooped ourselves hoarse.  Can't wait to go back and do it again.

August 23, 2010

First Day of School

Well, three of the kiddos are in school today.  I was less than impressed with the school's first day organizational level.  My second grader is starting the school year with a substitute as the school messed up some filing that delayed her assigned teacher's visa renewal.  Her actual teacher can't teach until October 1st.  My older kids had no clue where they were supposed to be because administration had fouled up all of the class schedules so badly that they were scrapping it all and reprinting them for distribution this morning.  I better shut up now, since I am expressly forbidden by school policy to criticize.

They did set up an ambassadors program to assign a mentor for each new kid, but they didn't let the new kids know about it.  First day traffic and unfamiliarity leads to kids trickling in late, and since they didn't know someone was meeting them, or where, they all showed up in the office wondering where to go.  Poor kids.  Who just drops their kid at the door of a new school on the first day?

Back at home, safe, after negotiating through two other school district's primary traffic ways and school zones.  Now I am back to providing full time entertainment for the 3-year old without the helpful distraction of siblings.  Gah!

This was on the office door at school.  Not sure how I missed it in the paper, I usually read Mallard Fillmore.

August 22, 2010

Statistically speaking, the economy is not improving

From The Economic Collapse Blog comes '15 Economic Statistics That Just Keep Getting Worse'. 

1 - The number of Americans who are receiving food stamps rose to a new all-time record of 40.8 million in May.  The number of Americans receiving food stamps has set a new all-time record for 18 months in a row.  But there is every indication that things are going to get even worse.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that the number of Americans on food stamps will increase to 43 million in 2011. 
2 - The U.S. economy lost 131,000 more jobs during the month of July.  But the truth is that the U.S. economy has been bleeding jobs for a long time.  According to one analysis, the United States has lost 10.5 million jobs since 2007.  Meanwhile, immigrants (both legal and illegal) continue to pour into this nation in unprecedented numbers.
3 - Americans who are out of work are finding it incredibly difficult to get back into the workforce.  In the United States today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to an all-time record of 35.2 weeks.
4 - The U.S. government keeps trying to pump up the economy with debt, and in the process things are getting wildly out of control.  According to a U.S. Treasury Department report to Congress, the U.S. national debt will top $13.6 trillion this year and climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015.
5 - The interest on all of this debt is becoming increasingly oppressive.  As of July 1st, the U.S. government had spent $355 billion so far in 2010 on interest payments to the holders of the national debt.  The total for 2010 should be somewhere in the neighborhood of $700 billion.  According to Erskine Bowles, one of the heads of Barack Obama's national debt commission, the U.S. government will be spending $2 trillion just on interest on the national debt by 2020.  Keep in mind that the entire U.S. government budget is less than $4 trillion for the entire year of 2010.
6 - If the U.S. government was forced to use GAAP accounting principles (like all publicly-traded corporations must), the annual U.S. government budget deficit would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 trillion to $5 trillion.
7 - Social Security will pay out more in benefits in 2010 than it receives in payroll taxes.  This was not supposed to happen until at least 2015.  In the years ahead, these new "Social Security deficits" are projected to be absolutely catastrophic
8 - There are simply far too many retirees and not nearly enough workers to support them.  Back in 1950 each retiree's Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 workers.  Today, each retiree's Social Security benefit is paid for by approximately 3.3 workers.  By 2025 it is projected that there will be approximately two workers for each retiree.
9 - Wealth continues to become highly concentrated at the top.  Since 1973, the average CEO’s salary has increased from 26 times the median income to over 300 times the median income.
10 - According to a poll taken in 2009, 61 percent of Americans "always or usually" live paycheck to paycheck.  That was up significantly from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.
11 - The Mortgage Bankers Association recently announced that more than 10% of all U.S. homeowners with a mortgage had missed at least one mortgage payment during the January to March time period.  That was a new all-time record and represented an increase from 9.1 percent a year ago.
12 - A recent survey of last year's college graduates found that 80 percent moved right back home with their parents after graduation.  That was up substantially from 63 percent in 2006.
13 - During the first quarter of 2010, the total number of loans that are at least three months past due in the United States increased for the 16th consecutive quarter.
14 - The total number of U.S. bank failures passed the 100 mark in July of this year.  In 2009, the total number of U.S. bank failures did not pass the century barrier until October.
15 - The U.S. dollar continues to rapidly decline in value.  An item that cost $20.00 in 1970 would cost you $112.35 today.  An item that cost $20.00 in 1913 would cost you $440.33 today.
You can read the entire article here.  Just in case you don't have time for the whole article, here is the conclusion:
Any rational observer (and clearly U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner does not qualify) can see that the foundations of the U.S. economy are coming apart.  The rapidly accumulating mountain of debt that has fueled our "prosperity" is impossible to repay and is going to progressively choke the life out of our economic system.  The good jobs that we have allowed to be shipped out of our country are never coming back.  Every single day, more wealth flows out of this country than flows into it.
Anyone who claims that things are getting "better" is either ignorant, completely deluded or is purposely lying.
The U.S. economy is not getting "better".
The U.S. economy is dying.
You should adjust your plans accordingly.

August 21, 2010

You, sir, are no Uncle Sam

Sorry about the video-heavy posting this week.  I haven't had much time to put a thoughtful post together due to work, school starting next week, climate change.

I added a little national debt counter widget on the sidebar, from this website.  Here is the trailer for the movie/documentary entitled, "I Want Your Money".  I hope it is released well before November.

August 20, 2010

Proud to be from Texas, same as the Bushes

If you missed my shout out to the Bushes, after they welcomed soldiers at DFW airport, at least find time to watch this video over at GOC.

There are times when politics and policies matter little, in the shadow of class and integrity.  I don't care who you are or what you believe.  The appreciation - and the acknowledgment of that appreciation - is evident in every person's face in the video. 

Happy Vacation, Blowhole

Blowie has been in office for 19 months, if I can still count.

Yesterday the Obammies departed for their NINTH vacation since taking office.  I have never been to Martha's Vineyard, but I am sure it is beautiful this time of year.

My family, as many of you know, blew our vacation budget this past December-January and didn't travel anywhere major this summer.  Plans for a big end-of-summer trip this week were dashed by Mr Harper's jury summons and the school's last minute command performance scheduling of meet-the-teacher nights.  We're headed out today to find some fun things to do in the balmy 102 degree temps here in North Tejas and have big plans to go to a local fair tomorrow evening.

We are much more fortunate than many people in our country.  We have employment, savings, healthy kids.  I am no less insulted by the vulgar display of excess that Blowie's nine vacations represent.  At least Carter put on a show and a sweater when telling us all to cut back.  If Blowie were to re-enact that speech today, he'd do it shirtless from a sauna, or while lounging on the beach.  He is arrogant and ignorant, a double whammy of tasteless attributes that should never be given the helm of a rubber dinghy, much less a country.

August 19, 2010

It takes alkynes

Harper House is caught up in school related drama this morning. Last night, at "Meet the Teacher", we were met with the surprising news that my teenager would NOT be taking IB Chemistry this year. Seems that only three students signed up to take it, and three students does not a class make. All of the political, social and 'WTF are you thinking as a school?' arguments being brought to a head with this issue, we are now faced with one week to decide whether to forge onward at this school or transfer back to the traditional (non-IB) school.

I didn't have these kinds of issues when I was in high school. It was all aimed at getting a diploma and getting into college. Now, it seems to be about how many college credits you can get under your belt before actually going to college.

I, possibly, have the only 16-year old girl who cried over NOT seeing Chem on her schedule. Physics and HL Biology were on it, but she was really counting on three science courses. I know, she is a little bit of a nut. At least she was fortunate enough to have been sobbing on the shoulder of a school board member's wife, in the restroom. What a great way to have communicated our disappointment to the leadership!

We went back and forth over the quality of education in traditional schools versus IB; the teaching methods, the holistic learning environment of IB, the sizes of the schools in question, etc. The issue still bothering me is that of putting all of our eggs into the IB basket - years of hard work could all be for naught if she doesn't pass the exams and get the IB diploma. Is the learning experience worth it, without the diploma?

I have to admit that part of me wants to quit slogging ten miles each way to school and ironing uniforms. I would rather drive a mile to school and have my kids wear jeans and T-shirts. I would like them to trade extended essays, portfolio projects and IOB external assessments for good, old fashioned pop quizzes and final exams. We could go back to Friday night football games and friends that live in the same zip code.

As it stands, this minute, the kid wants to stay at the nose-to-the-grindstone school. Academic arguments seemed to be at a stalemate, so it was this phrase that really decided it for me, "Mom, I don't want to go back to the drugs and grind lines at my old school."

Can't argue with that.

August 18, 2010

The Democrat Slide

It is finally starting to look like there is some youth or someone with a sense of humor at the RNC:

August 17, 2010

"Those Voices Don't Speak for the Rest of Us"

This needs to be in heavy rotation around our country.  It comes from the Republican Study Committee, though it ends abruptly without a specific hook or message.  I hope someone is using it as a coaching video for a 2012 presidential candidate.  We need someone who understands that it is the ideology that needs fixed.  The issues will follow, if we can fix the mindset of our leaders.



Via Left Coast Rebel

August 16, 2010

The King's still dead

I love me some Elvis.  Thirty-three years ago today, I remember hearing the news. I was at my babysitter's house and remember the adults being shocked and sad.  Just two months earlier, on June 18th, Elvis had performed in a concert at Kemper Arena in Kansas City.  My parents and some other friends and family went to the concert.  I found out after the fact, that a couple of my cousins that were the same age as I was, had gotten to go and I was ticked off.  I think there is still a little bit of resentment in my heart, that I got cheated out of seeing The King.

I am not a fanatic.   I have not been to Graceland (though I think it is in my very near future), I do not own any dishes, clothing or jewelry with his likeness.  I have a friend who dresses up like Elvis every Halloween, in a very authentic looking jumpsuit.  He also has his own Christmas tree adorned solely with Elvis ornaments.  I do own most of his music and love to watch his corny, horribly acted movies.

I am one of the sacrilegious Elvis lovers that think it is better that he died when he did.  The circumstances were humiliating enough, I don't think his 'greatness' would have survived much longer.  I'm glad we didn't get to see The King of Rock 'n Roll get old(er).  I didn't like his seventies-era persona, I shudder to think of what Elvis might have looked like in the 80's. I prefer to remember him in all of his leather pants-clad glory.

August 15, 2010

Blowie almost swam in the Gulf

In a grand attempt to thwart the claims that he is a "do as I say, not as I do" kind of a guy, Blowie and fam (minus the kid who has been at camp for a month) jetted off to Florida for a quick vacation.  I, personally, wasn't aware that the Mrs had already returned from her luxurious trip to Spain.  I am now further confused as I am reminded that the Obama's summer vacation starts on the 19th, in Martha's Vineyard.  So, WTF have all these other trips been? 

With high hopes of helping to stimulate tourism - without checking the calendar and realizing that most American families are returning home from vacation to start the school year - the Obamas grabbed the press corp and headed south.

I thought it funny that all of the "crowd" scenes were of the arrival at Tyndall - all uniformed service members with cameras and smiles, yet local (to Florida) comment boards and blogs speak of crowds of people with "O must Go" signs and of stories from military members who were snubbed by the Obamas - it seems that they only paused to smile and wave for the 30 second video needed for the evening news.

After making a grand speech about how the oil stopped flowing over a month ago, Blowie announced that he was going to put his money where his piehole is, and swim in the safe, pristine waters.  He pretended to be shy about shirtless photos, and told the press they couldn't come.

Hours later, the White House released a photo of Blowie and his kid swimming...

...in Saint Andrew Bay off of Alligator Point, in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Missed it by that much.

August 14, 2010

The Speech Every Principal Should Give

Written by Dennis Prager

If every school principal gave this speech at the beginning of the next school year, America would be a better place.

To the students and faculty of our high school:

I am your new principal, and honored to be so. There is no greater calling than to teach young people.

I would like to apprise you of some important changes coming to our school. I am making these changes because I am convinced that most of the ideas that have dominated public education in America have worked against you, against your teachers and against our country.

First, this school will no longer honor race or ethnicity. I could not care less if your racial makeup is black, brown, red, yellow or white. I could not care less if your origins are African, Latin American, Asian or European, or if your ancestors arrived here on the Mayflower or on slave ships.

The only identity I care about, the only one this school will recognize, is your individual identity -- your character, your scholarship, your humanity. And the only national identity this school will care about is American. This is an American public school, and American public schools were created to make better Americans.

If you wish to affirm an ethnic, racial or religious identity through school, you will have to go elsewhere. We will end all ethnicity-, race- and non-American nationality-based celebrations. They undermine the motto of America, one of its three central values -- e pluribus unum, "from many, one." And this school will be guided by America's values.

This includes all after-school clubs. I will not authorize clubs that divide students based on any identities. This includes race, language, religion, sexual orientation or whatever else may become in vogue in a society divided by political correctness.

Your clubs will be based on interests and passions, not blood, ethnic, racial or other physically defined ties. Those clubs just cultivate narcissism -- an unhealthy preoccupation with the self -- while the purpose of education is to get you to think beyond yourself. So we will have clubs that transport you to the wonders and glories of art, music, astronomy, languages you do not already speak, carpentry and more. If the only extracurricular activities you can imagine being interesting in are those based on ethnic, racial or sexual identity, that means that little outside of yourself really interests you.

Second, I am uninterested in whether English is your native language. My only interest in terms of language is that you leave this school speaking and writing English as fluently as possible. The English language has united America's citizens for over 200 years, and it will unite us at this school. It is one of the indispensable reasons this country of immigrants has always come to be one country. And if you leave this school without excellent English language skills, I would be remiss in my duty to ensure that you will be prepared to successfully compete in the American job market. We will learn other languages here -- it is deplorable that most Americans only speak English -- but if you want classes taught in your native language rather than in English, this is not your school.

Third, because I regard learning as a sacred endeavor, everything in this school will reflect learning's elevated status. This means, among other things, that you and your teachers will dress accordingly. Many people in our society dress more formally for Hollywood events than for church or school. These people have their priorities backward. Therefore, there will be a formal dress code at this school.

Fourth, no obscene language will be tolerated anywhere on this school's property -- whether in class, in the hallways or at athletic events. If you can't speak without using the f-word, you can't speak. By obscene language I mean the words banned by the Federal Communications Commission, plus epithets such as "Nigger," even when used by one black student to address another black, or "bitch," even when addressed by a girl to a girlfriend. It is my intent that by the time you leave this school, you will be among the few your age to instinctively distinguish between the elevated and the degraded, the holy and the obscene.

Fifth, we will end all self-esteem programs. In this school, self-esteem will be attained in only one way -- the way people attained it until decided otherwise a generation ago -- by earning it. One immediate consequence is that there will be one valedictorian, not eight.

Sixth, and last, I am reorienting the school toward academics and away from politics and propaganda. No more time will devoted to scaring you about smoking and caffeine, or terrifying you about sexual harassment or global warming. No more semesters will be devoted to condom wearing and teaching you to regard sexual relations as only or primarily a health issue. There will be no more attempts to convince you that you are a victim because you are not white, or not male, or not heterosexual or not Christian. We will have failed if any one of you graduates this school and does not consider him or herself inordinately lucky -- to be alive and to be an American.

Now, please stand and join me in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of our country. As many of you do not know the words, your teachers will hand them out to you.

August 13, 2010

Illegal immigration idiocy

This made me giggle:


From a Fox News slideshow of U.S.Customs and Border Patrol photos of weird discoveries.


I can't wrap my head around the sort of ignorant arrogance that makes people believe that they can sneak into our country disguised as a chair or stuffed into a dash, and, if successful, then take to the streets in protest about how they have a 'right' to be here.  You stuffed yourself in a car dash!  Where does this misplaced sense of entitlement come from?

I have two good friends whose parents immigrated, legally, to the United States from terrible situations in their home countries (Czechoslovakia and Vietnam).  The stories they share about running for the border across a field of land mines or leaving everything behind; friends, family, possessions - and escaping in the dead of night, are noble histories that will be proudly passed on through the generations of family that are now Americans.  Will my grandkids someday go to school and be treated to a story from little Juan's grandparents about how they escaped their evil homeland by curling up in the spare tire space of an Impala trunk and made it just in time for their anchor baby to be born in an American hospital?  Gah.  

Schedule Change

If you came here wanting to see our welcoming-the-soldiers-at-the-airport pictures, we didn't go this morning.  First, I was awake and outside from 2 - 4 am with one of my kids, watching the Perseid meteor shower.  Second, once we announced our intention to go, several others wanted to join us but couldn't do it today.  We are set for next week and will report back accordingly.

UPDATE:  CenTex Tim asked about the R& R flights.  The system has improved dramatically!  The flights now generally arrive right around 8 am, today was scheduled for 7:55 am.  The recently updated info page says that the arrival time will change to 10:30 am in September.  There used to be no set time, you would call the phone number for updates over and over, and the time would change.  One Scout trip we planned was delayed until a 1 am arrival!  I do still recommend to heed the recorded advice and call often, in case the time changes.  The airport ambassadors are really good about keeping you informed once you are there.   Here is the airport website with links to all the info

August 12, 2010

Those Classy Bushes

Say what you will about Bush the president (I won't necessarily agree), but there is little argument about George W Bush, the man - and his lovely wife, Laura.

With a only a small group of kids and their families aware in advance, the former president and his wife showed up bright and early to DFW Airport yesterday to greet soldiers.  Another act of class and compassion from a president that prefers quiet acts of service over staged media events.  God Bless the Bushes and the gratitude they show our men and women in uniform.


The Bushes were available for photographs for every service member and their families.  They shook hands, admired babies and supported a service organization in the process. 

People do this everyday at the airport, welcoming the returning soldiers and those coming to the states for R & R.  I have had the privilege of accompanying my kids and their various Scout and service groups as they welcomed soldiers.  It is a moving experience.  Families with soldiers on the flight are placed nearest the entrance, with the rest of the greeters flanking both sides of the path to the door.  Most of the soldiers are simply going out the door and getting on a bus to another terminal to reach their final destination.  Every time I have gone, there has been at least one soldier that was meeting his baby for the first time.  Rivers of tears. 

Their are lovely veterans, with hats, vests and jackets that signify their prior service.  There are warm, gray-haired ladies that hug each and every soldier.  Kids wave flags, hold signs, cheer.  More tears.  Worth every tug of the heart.  Makes you proud to be an American.  (Maybe Blackie O should give it a try).

I'm glad that I noticed the story about the Bushes in the paper.  With the temperature still well over 100 each day, and well out of things to do to entertain my kids, we will be headed to the airport in the morning.  We'll take pictures.

Jobless claims up...again

Is this really a surprise?

Buried deep in the story was the one-sentence tidbit that many of us have been stomping our feet about for months:
Some economists speculate that many census workers whose jobs are finished are requesting unemployment benefits.
Speculate?  Even back in February when the Census was ramping up hiring for the summer, some economists seemed to see the writing on the wall:
"With the government set to create some one million temp jobs to conduct the 2010 Census in the next few months, it's hard to see how job growth won't resume soon," Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com, noted recently. "Yet there are reasons to be nervous that job growth won't revive in earnest or may even peter out after Census temp jobs fade this summer."
It's not rocket science.  Blowie got some artificially inflated jobs data for a few months, but now there is no escaping the fact that the unemployment rate is well in the toilet and poised to stay there.

August 11, 2010

"The recession we inherited from the previous administration"

Above is the current mantra of the Oblowme administration, in case you have missed it being uttered repeatedly over the past two weeks.

$322.36.  That is how much the $26 billion state aid package costs me, according to a handy little calculator from Fox News.

Paul Ryan explained this latest stimulus package as 'taxpayers from fiscally responsible states bailing out fiscally irresponsible states'.  I believe my state qualifies as one of those fiscally responsible states, despite Blowie doing everything he can to sink us.  So fiscally responsible, in fact, that this stimulus stipulates that Texas can't receive any of the money unless we spend some of the earlier stimulus funds.  Nanny, nanny, boo, boo, Sheila Jackson Lee - you can kiss my ass.  If you think we can't manage our own financial house, you have elevated stupidity beyond commonly accepted thresholds. 

Ya know, I really kind of like that Paul Ryan.  I realize that his 'roadmap' needs some work, but heck, it's a whole lot better than anything else that has been put on the table in recent memory.

I think that what I really like about him is that he is smart, good looking, well spoken and genuine (as far as politicians go).  I know it is shallow to say so, but I prefer a president to look and act presidential, not be a bumbling doofus of a teleprompter reader.  I wonder if Mr Ryan is on the 'Shadow GOP's' short list?

August 10, 2010

Blowie don't need your dough, if it comes with accountability

So President Blowhole was in Texas yesterday.  Bill White, the Texas democratic gubernatorial candidate avoided him like the plague, instead hanging out in Johnson County, which is , coincidentally, where Whited has been working.  Stay away from the elephant-earred dim, Whited! 

The Blowhole also managed to avoid some poor sap who had ponied up $10,000 dollars to attend the fundraising dinner held in Dallas.  One Ralph Isenberg had been told that, if he contributed at that level, he would get to go through the receiving line and have a minute or two of conversation with the Blowhole himself.  Mr. Isenberg wrote the check and then mistakenly showed his hand by announcing that his intention was to get an audience with BHO to plead the case of a deported, illegal Bangladesh national.  Huh?  I thought the Blowie was all about letting the foreigners stay and play.

The case of Saad Nabeel is all too familiar.  He was born in Bangladesh and brought to the U.S. by his parents 16 years ago, when they were seeking political asylum.  A typical case, in that, the parents were repeatedly DENIED asylum and told to leave the country.  They did not.  Supporters now argue that this young man is traumatized by having to live in his native country without Taco Bell and Taylor Swift, his American cell phone silent, blah, blah, blah.  They cry that he is at a point in his psychological development that his peer group is more important than his family and it is akin to torture to have removed him from his friends and the American culture that he grew up in.

A deportation order was issued in 2002.  If the family had OBEYED OUR LAWS, little Saad would have been 11-years old when he returned to Bangladesh, or wherever it is they wanted to go.  The parents are the only people to blame for any negative aspects of this kid's immigration status.  They kept him here illegally, now he is banned from entering the U.S. for ten years.  There were no mistakes or loopholes exploited.  The immigration officials followed all the rules, even granted extensions, but the family chose to break the law.  I don't care that he was a scholarship student at SMU and UTA - how's about we give that scholarship money to a student that is here LEGALLY!  They need smart engineering students in other countries, Saad will be fine.

Back from the tangent, now.  So, this Isenberg fellow paid his ten grand and announced that he would be using his two minute audience with Blowie to plead this kid's case - highlighting the fact that Blowie's administration has claimed that college students whose parents brought them to America AREN'T being deported.  Lo and behold, Mr. Isenberg got a call late Sunday 'uninviting' him to the event.  Someone in the Blowhole's administration told Isenberg that he had been 'flagged', though they declined to explain what that meant other than, "you don't get to come to dinner".

Keep pissing off your party brethren, Blowie, especially the ones with money. 

894 days until the next president is inaugurated. 

August 9, 2010

Seriously, how do they do it?


CD sent this to me and it struck a chord.  Not a big epiphany about illegal immigration - 'cause it is no secret how I feel about that.  It was more along the lines of, "How do they do it?"  I like to know how things work, what is going on, the process.  My husband has been completely freaked out by my requests for him to go into certain establishments and tell me how they get from 'body bath' to 'happy ending'.  I am curious about the phrasing, the nuances, the euphemisms.  (He has, to date, always declined my requests).

If I go into a new restaurant or store that uses some sort of new-fangled system, I like to know in advance how it works, or have it clearly explained to me.  No one likes to look like a clueless idiot, right?  The current craze around here is the self-serve yogurt and toppings places.  Luckily my kids had been to one before I had, so I knew what to expect, as there was no signage, no helpful employees and no clear process when I entered.  Now I know to grab a paper bowl, serve up my yogurt flavors, add my toppings, weigh and pay.

So, while the picture above is meant as a visual jab at the illegal immigrants in our country, I want to know how they do it.  I have, on occasion, forgot my insurance card at the doc's office and had to bear the wrath of the grumpy front office lady.  Whenever a cashier asks to see my I.D. when I pay with a credit or debit card, I always say, "Thank you for asking," because there is no other mechanism that prevents a thief (or one of my kids) from using my card in those situations.

How do illegals face these situations in real life?  I get that they probably have a fake I.D..  What about when they get pulled over by the police?  They can't hand him the flea market I.D..  What do they do?  I keep reading MSM stories about how devastated our nation will be if we expel illegals and enforce our existing laws - they point out how many illegals are homeowners.  How the heck did that happen?  I cannot begin to explain the mountains of documentation I had to provide to get my mortgage.

The Latino community and their supporters have claimed that any requirement to prove citizenship amounts to a "papers please" Nazi-type of society.  Give me a break, I live it everyday - it isn't so hard when you are a legal citizen.

August 8, 2010

Sunday humor....adults only

Imagine the following:  

You have just made it through your wedding ceremony and have stepped out on the front steps of the church, where your friends and family have gathered.  
Following a family tradition, both of you hold white doves which you will release together.  

You and your new bride stand shoulder to shoulder with a dove in your hands as your friends and family eagerly wait.  The photographer raises his camera and gives the signal.
You and your bride open your hands toward the sky.  
Not a dry eye anywhere, the camera flashes; the moment is saved for eternity.. 

August 7, 2010

Honor Killings

Last night we tuned in to watch a Fox News special about an honor killing in a nearby town.  It will be on several times over the weekend, if you are interested.

The day after the Said girls were killed, the kids and I were in Lewisville, near the family's home.  It was January 2, 2008 and we had gone into a quilting supply store and were headed to the mall to spend some Christmas gift card funds.  The Said home was just off the highway frontage road, in our path from point A to point B.  When we came out of the quilt store, there were helicopters overhead and emergency vehicles all around.  Needless to say, we had to detour.  A cop friend of mine was on site that day, as he is a trained negotiator.  At the time, it was believed that the father/killer might be holed up in the house.  My friend says that he will never forget the man's name, as he called it into a bullhorn, hundreds of times over the course of several hours, before the SWAT team got the order to enter the home.  I talked to him about this case last week and he said that it is believed that the killer is in Egypt, that his son is with him and that his family and many in the Muslim community helped him and continue to protect him.

Not to diminish the horror of the murders, but what really bugs me, over two years later, is that the MSM, local law enforcement and the FBI refuse to call it what it is, an 'honor killing'.  In the news story they talk about the FBI issuing a 'wanted' poster and statement that had the phrase 'honor killing' on it, but removing that phrase just days later.  The local police refuse to use that terminology and my cop friend has told me that they were warned not to refer to the crime as an honor killing.  Can't offend the Muslims, you see.

It makes me sick, how our once great and proud country has capitulated to pressures from groups that do nothing to contribute to our nation.  Groups that instead defile our society.  Male Islamic extremists believe it is their duty to kill females that they feel dishonor their families.  How did we get to this point?  Our great country's freedoms weren't ever intended to allow a religion that is oppressive, intolerant and advocates commands the killing of non-believers.

August 6, 2010

Blue Angels!

I have mentioned this before, but didn't have the picture at the time. CD is going to see the Thunderbirds this weekend, and it made me think of this -

Each year the Alliance Air Show features either the Blue Angels or the Thunderbirds.  We live about 10 miles, as the crow flies, from Alliance Airport, so we are treated to lots of practice runs and flyovers during air show week.  No matter the branch of service, they always coordinate with the local Boy Scouts to do an Aviation Merit Badge course that culminates with the participants getting to meet the pilots at the air show.  My son participated last year.


My oldest daughter never wavered in her choice of a future career...until she saw the Blue Angels perform and then had the chance to interact with them a little at a charity event that weekend. She has the gift of perfect sight and a high aptitude on the science and math side, so who knows, now?

August 5, 2010

The Obama Apology Tour Continues

Note to Prez Blowhole and AmbASSador John Roos ahead of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial ceremony:

We have not forgotten, neither should you.  Sheesh, Blowhole, you claim to be Hawaiian.  Have you never taken the time to learn about the attacks on Pearl Harbor?  Have you never visited the sites?  Do you not value the American lives lost?

Remians of the USS Arizona, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

Names of Arizona survivors that were later buried at sea with their shipmates
USS Arizona Memorial

The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not only justified, but ended a world war that would have dragged on for years longer and cost an estimated 1 million more lives.  We have made our 'peace' with Japan.  We have sent delegations to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  There is no reason to attend an anniversary ceremony and there will never be a time to apologize for the bombs.  Stay home, STFU and quit apologizing for past actions that defined the country that we were before you started screwing things up.

August 4, 2010

Socialist School Supplies

Much like many work-from-home-moms, the end of summer is bittersweet for me.  I love my kids, they are fun to hang out with.  I like to sleep in a little and not have to make lunches, nag, prod and rush out the door each morning.  On the other hand, it is now August.  The heat index predicted for today is 108, with the actual daily high temperature not expected to drop below 100 anytime in the 10 day forecast.  Dangerously hot to be outside and dangerously tedious to remain indoors.  We have done the Main Event, the mall, the movies, the skating rink, the museums...the thought of school is somewhat welcome.

With the beginning of the school year comes one of my biggest pet peeves.  The school supply list.  Example number one of the socialist take over of our society.

The lists have evolved from what one child, my child, needs for the school year, to the estimated number of supplies needed from the 40% of parents that buy them, to cover all the deadbeat parents who don't.  All of the office supply stores and discount stores have a huge rack at the door, with copies of each school's supply list, so I have compared them - the socialistic stupidity is not reserved for 'underprivileged' or 'economically disadvantaged' schools.  I would venture to guess that more poor kids show up to school with supplies than the rich kids do (every church and charity in town provides them).  Those liberal upper middle class folks are the ones that can't be bothered by responsibilities, they expect the system to take care of it for them.

Let's start with the school supply 'packs'.  Most schools offer these packs of the required supplies, ready made, and sold for a slight profit by the school or PTA.  We've given that a try.  Horrible quality, twice the price as what the supplies are selling for all over town.  These packs are delivered to the classroom, where the teacher opens them and promptly distributes the items into the community piles.  No wonder today's youth lack responsibility and pride of ownership - our school system won't even allow them to be responsible for their own #2 pencil.  Kids don't have to remember to bring the appropriate items to school and class, everything is right there for them.  They don't have their own scissors, glue, markers, paper...Lord knows it would be way too difficult to keep that straight.

No school we have ever been associated with has offered any sort of an 'a la carte' supply pack.  I might go for a pack with the exhaustible resources; pencils, pens, paper, glue, etc.  My kids don't need a new pair of scissors, a new ruler, a new dictionary or another flippin' clipboard every year.  I thought these liberal school types were all for reducing, reusing and recycling?

Then there is 'the list'.  My second grader is supposed to start the school year with 55 pencils and 8 Pink Pearl erasers.  Someone apparently figured out that, in second grade, the proper ratio of pencils to large erasers is 55:8, in fourth grade the ratio is 72:3.  More insulting is that she needs 2 boxes of 7 inch, 12 count colored pencils.  Why two boxes?  She is not ambidextrous, nor has she ever brought home the equivalent amount of art work that would justify 24 colored pencils, 48 crayons, 20 markers (thin and wide), 100 sheets each of manilla and colored paper.  GMAFB. 

My older kids are required to have things like AAA batteries and a flash drive.  The batteries are for calculators in math class, yet they are also required to have their own scientific calculator.  Again, no expectation of responsibility - the batteries are for the teacher to distribute should someone need them.  Fine, I can understand having a few batteries for back up, but not 864 - which is how many they would have if every child complied with the request.  Whatever happened to having your own back up batteries?  Or 'buying' them from the teacher, or borrowing and having to replace them the next day?  No f'ing responsibility.

And the flash drive?  Forget it.  We got one of those pieces of shit in the school pack once.  It had preloaded bloatware and advertising.  They prostitute the kids with all the fund raisers and now they make them marketing targets at school.

Some of my teacher friends have mentioned that they have little say in the process.  Heaven help you if you are a new hire, you will suffer from the choices made by the bitter teachers who didn't get their contracts renewed in the spring, when they made the list for the fall.  Once I ran all over town, gathering the specific colors and sizes of three-ring binders and pocket tab dividers for my kid.  He was required to have one for each of his seven classes.  Third day of school, the teaching team decided not to use a binder system and sent them all home.  Opened.  Name written in Sharpie on them.  Un-returnable.  

I am the anti-socialist.  I buy the basic supplies.  I write my child's name all over them in big black indelible script.  We have a cabinet of school supplies at home that the kids can pull from throughout the year.  I let the teacher know that I have a stockpile and to feel free to ask for things if they run low.  My kids will have what they need, but I'll be damned if I will be responsible for the deadbeats.

August 3, 2010

Waiting on the next Reagan

Excerpted from Ronald Reagan's memoir of the 1980 primaries.  My changes are in bold.
I became more concerned about the things that were happening - and not happening - in Washington. (Obama)  had run for the presidency on a platform calling for cuts in defense spending and implementation of what the Democrats called "(American Recovery and Reinvestment Act)." I'm sure they meant well - liberals usually do - but our economy was one of the great wonders of the world. It didn't need master planners. It worked because it operated on principles of freedom, millions of people going about their daily business and making free decisions how they wanted to work and live, how they wanted to spend their money, while reaping the rewards of their individual labor. 
I also thought the administration was a disaster in the arena of national security. While it was cutting back on our military power, we were losing ground to (Communism, Muslim extremism, terrorism) in much of the globe. The morale of our volunteer army was plummeting, our strategic forces were growing obsolete, and nothing was being done to reduce the threat of a (terrorist strike, rogue nuclear state) that could destroy much of the world in less than a half-hour's time. There were other serious problems: unemployment, (national debt, trade deficits, foreign ownership of US companies, disastrous WTO, NAFTA and CAFTA policies, costly regulatroy and taxing policies) were climbing and it looked as if administration policies would  (keep)  the nation in a serious recession.
But perhaps worst of all, it seemed to me that America was losing faith in itself. Almost every day, the president was sending a message to the American people that America had passed its prime, that Americans were going to have to get used to less in the future, that we should not have the same hopes for the future that we once did, and that we had only ourselves to blame for it.

The current catchphrase is that it took Carter to get Reagan.  I don't see the next Reagan on the horizon.  I am hoping that he/she materializes soon.  I can relate to the 'losing faith' thing and would like to find a potential candidate that I can support.  For too long, it has been the lesser of two evils in elections both local and national.  I want someone worthy of my support and loyalty, not just my vote.

Reagan's first official act as president was to sign an executive order removing gas and oil price controls, his "first effort to liberate the economy from excess government regulation".  We need a leader that thinks like that.

August 2, 2010

August 2, 1985

Twenty-five years ago today, I was returning from my father's funeral in New York.  I don't remember much about that week, nor do I easily recall the exact date of his death.  Today is the date that sticks in my mind.

I remember that my dad's company provided a car service for me and my mom, and a limo dropped us off at La Guardia for the flight home.  Our flight was scheduled to arrive in Dallas around 7:30 pm.

Midway through the flight, something happened.  The flight crew became a collective basket case.  One flight attendant, not stopping to realize that the brake was on the beverage cart, shoved it as hard as she could, causing it to tip and dump various liquids into my mom's lap.  Just as she got the cart moved, another FA dumped a gallon of club soda on my mom, in an overzealous effort to rectify the situation.  A couple of rows up, a FA pulled out half of the contents of an overhead bin onto someone's head, trying to get a blanket out.  Scenes like this played out all around us.  The FAs were jumpy, overbearing, and emotional.

We began circling shortly after that.  There was weather we needed to go around.  Then there were 'delays on the ground'.  We finally got clearance to land at DFW, but then we sat on the tarmac for quite awhile.

Stepping into the gate area, we were bombarded with the news that a plane had crashed, Delta 191. Well, that explained our flight crew's comedy of errors.

The gate area was packed with news crews, cameras and lights.  There were people everywhere.  I wasn't old enough, or coherent enough, to figure out why they were all there.  I don't know if they had closed other terminals or if we just happened to be brought to the same terminal that Delta was using for the press and families. People called out questions and information to us as we filed out of the jetway.

In our car going home, I remember flashing lights everywhere.  Police directed us through several detours before we were on the right road to home.

Over the years, my mom and I have talked about it a few times.  Her memories are somewhat different than mine.  I was a surly teenager, thrust into a deep depression by the death of my father and an unwanted move to Texas.  I wasn't paying much attention to anything but me in those days.  We have noted that had she not been on that plane from New York with me, my mom would have been sitting in the traffic on Highway 114, in the same area as the car that the plane bounced off of before crashing.

One of the water towers that the plane hit still has a dent in it.  I look for it whenever I drive by.  I have wondered why they didn't replace the tank, at the same time glad that they didn't.  I like tangible reminders of the past, not memorials and monuments.

The airport is having a ceremony to mark the occasion today.  I hope everyone touched by the crash has found peace.

August 1, 2010

Hide your kids, hide your wife.

I have lived most of my life in tornado alley, and as Jeff Foxworthy has famously said, they never interview educated Southerners after a natural disaster, it's always the lady in sponge rollers and a muumuu.

Here is an entertaining example of real life being more entertaining than fiction. I do not know how these journalists keep a straight face.