April 30, 2011

No rest for the weary

Remember when Saturday meant sleeping in, or turning on cartoons and scrounging something to eat - quietly - as your hardworking parents slept in?

Whatever happened to that?

I feel like the old Army commercial, I've done more things by 8 am on Saturday than most (smart) people will do all day.

April 29, 2011

Congrats

Yes, I have been up half the night, watching the royal wedding.  I am a girl, sometimes.  I had intended to watch with the same trappings as I had nearly thirty years ago when I got up in the dead of night to watch Charles and Diana's wedding.  Ultimately, coffee won out over Apple Jacks.

I don't care who you are, HRH Catherine Duchess of Cambridge is one pretty lady:

Thanks to Reuters for the photo.


One thought was constant in my mind as I watched the crowds lining the streets of London and at the palace gates for the balcony appearance; I can't think of anything that would unite America in that way.  There isn't one single HAPPY occasion that would garner the attention of the American people, causing them to camp out, dress up and lift their glasses together.

I'm not so foolish as to think that there aren't Britons who could care less.  I know that there is a percentage of British people who think Royals and the monarchy should no longer exist.  But, overwhelmingly, England loves their royal family and turned out en masse today, to show that love. 

One final note.  I really should brush up on my history before events such as this.  Somehow, I don't think that directing my children to seek out the picture on a bottle of gin was an appropriate response to the questions about the Beefeater's attire.

April 28, 2011

Hey! Lookee over there...

Well, I left a bit of a wake behind me walking out of the elementary building at school this morning.  It was a little thing, but the cumulative effect really set me off.  I hate it when someone pisses me off first thing in the morning.  It really sets the tone for my whole day. I am not known for fuming silently, so several teachers were treated to my verbalized opinion of one very special office employee.

Thanks for letting me vent for a second.  Now then...

I don't ever want to see another president of the United States on the fucking Oprah Winfrey show.  I don't and didn't watch it, but I saw that it happened.  How un-presidential.  I realize that she is about done and over with, so maybe I should say 'talk show' instead of specifying Oprah.  Whatever.  Presidents shouldn't sit with their girly legs crossed on anyone's set couch between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm, it cheapens the office of president.  Just as classy as this whole birth certificate thing. 

I am not a 'birther' but I also can't ignore the fact that there are some things that are expected from people running for elected office.  You should have no issue with releasing your birth records, tax records, education and employment records.  I am not so naive to think that Blowie spent years and millions trying NOT to do something and then magically changed his mind one day because Donald Trump goaded him into it.  I think Blowie is arrogant and hides behind the whole, 'well of course I have all that information there is just no reason to show it to the lowly masses' argument.   

Honestly, I could go to Trader's Village and get just about any 'official' document that I wanted, for a price. 

CenTexTim commented over at Whited's site, that he thought the whole spectacle of discovering Blowie isn't a natural born citizen would be fun to experience.  Well, he didn't say 'fun', but I think it would be.  Holy Cow!  Can you imagine the spit flying out of Chris Matthew's mouth?  Oh, the billable hours for lawyers everywhere would surely be the ultimate stimulus package for our dismal economy.

I've read a dozen or so opinion pieces that each have some complex political strategy wrapped around yesterday's release of the BC.  The ones I most agree with are that Blowie likes to keep things stirred up and that he was diverting attention from other things.  The BC story permeated the media on the same day that gas prices were averaging $3.88 and jobless claims were up 25,000.  The economy is what can sink Blowie's re-election bid and he is smart enough to know it.

While the tragic weather in the Southeast will dominate today's news (as well it should, God Bless all affected), there will also be front page stories about the final shuttle launch and the Royal Wedding.  Makes me all the more curious as to what might be going on these next few days that Blowie doesn't want us to notice.  I know a series of diversions when I see them.

April 27, 2011

The post the FBI will jail me with

Please, please, someone take out Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church minions of hate.  I don't care how it is done.  I don't care if you incapacitate him financially or physically, I don't care if he is left dead or alive.  This 'mission' he is on is nothing but unbridled hate.  It isn't free speech.  It isn't beneficial to anyone.  In any other context, he would have long ago been jailed for terroristic threats or hate speech.

I generally think of myself as a Christian.  I suppose that is how I can sleep at night, knowing that I wouldn't suffer a moment of remorse to hear that Westboro went up in flames or that their van was involved in a fatal crash (because forgiveness could, eventually, be mine).  I can pray for them and heap Biblical coals on their heads, but a literal fiery death would make my earthly flesh so much happier.  I am human and weak.  This is my sin and I am content to live with it until the day God gives me the strength to overcome it.  Today is not that day.

Today, in the town, and around the very funeral home, in which I last laid eyes on my grandparents and numerous family members over the years, the Westboro freak show will be protesting.   This is the second time they have visited this small agricultural community in northeastern Kansas.  This will be the second time that the community shields the family from these asswipes.  Couldn't someone just accidentally hit them with a car or something?

What is additionally disgusting about this protest is that it is the funeral for an entire family that died in a plane crash last Friday.  Two little children and their parents.  They were friends of my family, in both this town and their hometown - as I also have family in both.  My family members have flown in the plane that crashed.  This hits way too close to home for me to simply condemn Westboro.  I want justice and revenge. 

I will never believe that this sort of action is what our founding fathers had in mind when they guaranteed our right to free speech and freedom of religion.   I don't think it was fathomable, at the time, that Americans would someday lack common decency and consideration for their fellow man.

Fuck. You.  Fred Phelps and the rest of your idiotic followers.

April 26, 2011

Loss of a family member

The inventor of the Teleprompter has died

Blowie should name a bridge or something for the guy.

Food Stamp Fun

This was posted on a local chat forum, but the poster didn't credit any specific site or author with it.  While I know a great many people who are quite gifted with digital manipulation, this seems authentic, just in the way the items are detailed, etc.  It is an actual store, and the only backstory I know is that (supposedly) this was found blowing around in the parking lot.  I did check, and Michigan does use a debit card system to issue their food 'assistance'.  If you know this to be a hoax, let me know.  Otherwise, chew on this (and wash it down with a diet Mountain Dew):

April 25, 2011

OMFG, why does the media give these people the time of day?

You may think that I have exaggerated my claims about the anti-drilling NIMBYs in my town.  But really, folks, I can't make up stuff like this:
*Moonbat*, who lives on unincorporated land on the *outskirts of Sanity*, recently made a startling discovery.
She ventured out to her pool — which she described as looking like a brackish pond because travel and an illness in the family delayed its cleaning — and found a toad in the water. A closer inspection showed that the toad was really two toads in one.
They apparently were born mutated, one on top of the other, joined at about the front legs.
A few days later, *Moonbat* found another conjoined pair, then another, bringing the total to six toads occupying the horizontal space of three.
She wondered aloud to her husband if maybe something were in the water, not the chlorine and such that keeps the pool nice and clear — the *Moonbats* hadn’t had a chance to shock the pool in months, but … hello, a natural gas well sits about 300 yards from the house on top of the Barnett Shale.
These might just be some fracked up toads.
Opponents of fracking — hydraulic fracturing used to extract natural gas — claim the practice releases pollutants into the environment, and these toads might — might, mind you — provide local proof.
 *Names changed to protect the insane*

Apparently Moonbat was unaware that her brackish pool/pond was the best little toad whorehouse in North Texas.

FOD

This photo was taken last night, Easter evening, in D.C..  There are so many different directions I could go in captioning it, I will settle for an old standby (and you are welcome to add your own).  A picture is worth a thousand words:

From the Obama Foodorama blog

April 24, 2011

Who will get to "Teach Dad How To Dougie"?

One of our Easter traditions is to have a family egg hunt.  Actually, we have several because kids never seem to tire of finding the eggs - but the first one is special.  Inside the eggs are various prize coupons for little privileges around our house.  Most popular is "First One in the Pool", so on that not-too-far-off day when the weather and water is warm enough, one kid gets to do the first cannonball or dip the first toe.

Other perennial favorites include "No Dinner Chores", "King or Queen of the Remote", "Make My Bed" (which can be presented to anyone for redemption), "Movie with Mom", "Dessert Anytime" and various denominations of cash prizes that allow the winner to either take the money or opt to have double the amount put in the "Xbox Jar" toward purchase of a new gaming system.  

Speaking of Xboxes, that is what my former brother-in-law calls his ex-wife.  "Xbox"  BWAHAHAHA!

I sat down with the kids a few days ago to get their submissions for the prize coupons.  Several were vetoed and some surprises await them.  In typical fashion, I did all of the Easter shopping and planning and got a little torqued when Mr. Harper started rooting through everything to see what I had done.  If he is so damn interested, he could shoulder some responsibility, right?   Then he might actually know what to expect...

With our wide range of ages between the kids, there is a little direction of certain kids to specific eggs, so that they get an age and interest appropriate item.  The older kids understand and are rewarded with things they like to compete for ("Sit Shotgun").  I can't wait to see my husband's face when The Princess gleefully redeems "Use Dad as a hair, makeup and fashion model".

Happy Easter

April 23, 2011

Disgusting example of what passes for comedic journalism these days

Since the jerks at Wonkette, whatever the hell that is, have taken down this offensive post, I am choosing to preserve it in Internet immortality. None of us should ever forget what that site, the author Jack Stuef and his editors allowed to be published.  

On a side note, advertisers Papa Johns, Huggies, the Vanguard Group, Holland America Cruises, Nordstrom, Bob Evans Farms, Reliant Energy, DealSwarm and Coldwell Banker, Toyota, Coca Cola. and probably others by now, have dropped Wonkette.  Buy some stuff from them.

Some great writers have commented on the situation.  One of the Grouchy Old Cripple's favorite babe bloggers wrote a really good piece.   I like this one, as well.  

Jack Stuef is a vile piece of shit.  In case you ever doubt or forget, here is the proof:

Greatest Living American: A Children’s Treasury of Trig Crap On His Birthday

UPDATE: I regret this post and using the word “retarded” in a reference to Sarah Palin’s child. It’s not nice, and is not necessary, but I take responsibility for writing it. For those who came and are offended by this post: I’m sorry, of course. But I stand by my criticism of Sarah Palin using her child as a political prop.
–Jack Stuef


We spent way too much time on all of this.

BY JACK STUEF — That strange man yelling unintelligibly at Sarah Palin? He’s merely a lowly shepherd proclaiming the birth of our savior. Today is the day we come together to celebrate the snowbilly grifter’s magical journey from Texas to Alaska to deliver to the America the great gentleman scholar Trig Palin. Is Palin his true mother? Or was Bristol? (And why is it that nobody questions who the father is? Because, either way, Todd definitely did it.) It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are privileged to live in a time when we can witness the greatest prop in world political history.

Bald eagles or baby Palins? Same thing.

This morning, Team Sarah posted a happy-birthday message at the exact time of his birth. This is a poem “Lynda” wrote for Trig:
Sweet Angel Boy…
Oh, little boy what are you dreaming about
Candy canes and mom’s sweet hugs
Oh, sweet baby boy what are you dreaming about
Play cars…trains…planes and a daddy’s strong hands as he lifts you high and makes you laugh…oh, how safe you feel in those hands
Oh, little boy what are dreaming about
Sisters who play with you…and teach you new words
Oh, as you sleep little boy what are you dreaming about
A big bother that carries you on his shoulders…as he shows you the blue sky
Oh, little boy what are you dreaming about
A mother’s soft lullaby…the soft touch of her hand…the soft sound of her voice as she says “I Love You”
Dream on little boy as the Angels stand guard
What’s he dreaming about? Nothing. He’s retarded.

Here are a couple of excellent YouTube tributes to the magic intellectually disabled baby prop, presented by Glenn Beck:




Here’s Piper licking her hand and rubbing it all over Trig’s head for some reason:



Here’s Trig returning the favor, meeting another Down syndrome baby and immediately trying to lick it:



And finally, Louis C.K.’s verdict on the kid:
(Due to the outcry, they pulled the video, disabled embedding and disabled comments - but they still have the video on YouTube.)
“Why just celebrate tax day today, April 18th? It’s also Trig Paxson Van Palin’s 3rd birthday. His mom went to a lot of trouble to leak amniotic fluid over 8 states to make sure that he arrived in this world somewhat alive,” writes Wonkette operative “Barbara_i,” reminding us of the occasion. “Sarah went to a whole lot of trouble to name him ‘Van Palin,’ a ‘Van Halen’ reference he will never get.” Indeed.

Enjoy yourself today, Trig. Have fun! Get drunk (on purpose this time)! We can hardly wait for 15 years from now, when you will finally be able to vote and will be sent off by your mother’s junta to fight the Union in the Great Alaska War. It’ll be quite a loss. You’re the smartest one in that family.

April 22, 2011

Justifiable kick-some-ass-icide

Stories like this make me sick:
Two Minnesota girls who felt bullied by their peers killed themselves in an apparent suicide pact during a sleepover at one of the teen's homes.

The two friends, who attended Marshall Middle School, reportedly felt like outcasts in their eighth-grade class.
Settle said her niece was often teased about her appearance....
..."She was made fun of for being overweight, her red hair," Settle told ABC News. "She posted on my [Facebook] wall that she really wanted to come back....that the people were mean and cruel and she didn't fit in."
Bullies have been around since time began, but this shit is out of control.
I have my own theories, probably wrong, but mine nonetheless.
The next hands-off, 'boys-will-be boys', or 'look at my little princess that can do no wrong' parent that I come face to face with is likely to get punched in the mouth.
Bullies used to be the kids from truly 'broken' homes.  If there was a parent at home, they were likely drunk and/or abusive and Little Johnny didn't really know any better or was acting out for attention.
Today, bullies are likely to be snotty rich fucks with indulgent parents and a society that is so uber-concerned with how they feel, that they are ignoring how they act.
Our overly sensitive, politically correct society has contributed to generations of kids that have paper-thin skin and no restraint.  No cut sports and 'award' ceremonies where every kid gets a sealed envelope but no specific recognition have done little more than cause kids to have unrealistic views of their own abilities and teach them that they don't have to work for anything, because everyone gets treated the same regardless.  
We have made them equals in the classroom and on the field, so it is little wonder that the asshole kids of the world have turned to the hallways and playgrounds to oppress and taunt.
Oblivious parents, an indulgent society and our collective distaste for holding people accountable are responsible for this tragedy.

April 20, 2011

Just call me Nostradamus

I had read little more than the headline about the First Wookie's plane being in a 'close call' aborted landing incident, when I predicted that there would be immediate and decisive action taken by the FAA.

Sure enough, it took less than 48 hours for the FAA to announce new rules requiring a supervisor to monitor the movements of planes carrying the vice president or first lady.

So, controllers can sleep and watch movies while hundreds of Americans in commercial and emergency medical flights are left to fend for themselves, but the Wookie and Biden's Old Lady get within 3 miles of another aircraft, returning from an appearance on 'The View', and we got us some new rules to protect 2 of the biggest wastes of oxygen on the planet.

TSA agents can molest children, but it takes a full blown commission appointment and weeks of investigation to revamp guidelines.  Let a TSA agent get their hands in Sasha's training bra or Malia's waistband and we'd see some changes being made.


What a ridiculous double standard.  Has there ever been a president that had such obvious disdain for the people he was supposed to represent?

Kiss that 4th Amendment protection goodbye

Chalk one up to Harper for having an ancient cell phone that can't be snooped:
The device used by the Michigan State Police is a portable forensic system called the Cellebrite UFED that can suck data from a variety of devices, including multiple Android phones and Apple iOS devices such as the iPhone and iPad.
...according to Cellebrite's product description, the UFED can grab email, Web bookmarks, Web history, SIM data, cookies, notes, MMS, instant messages, Bluetooth devices, locations, journeys, GPS fixes, call logs, text messages, contacts and more.
If the administration is so anxious to re-write our Constitution, why don't they start with the possible loopholes relating to how modern technology is used?

420

Funny that today was "dress like a hippie day" at school! I think all the tie-dye and peace signs sent me back in time, remembering this Steppenwolf lyric:
You waste my coin Sam, all you can
To jail my fellow man
For smoking all the noble weed
You need much more than him
You've been telling lies so long
Some believe they're true
So they close their eyes to things
You have no right to do
Just as soon as you are gone
Hope will start to climb
Please don't stay around too long
You're wasting precious time
While I like the sentiment, it has never been my favorite Steppenwolf song. So, the musical tribute for the day goes to Steve Miller...

April 19, 2011

School shopping

As I mentioned yesterday, Boom and I ventured north this past weekend, to visit Kansas State University.  If you have been following along, you will recall that Boom's goal is to be an Aggie, but she is smart enough to weigh all of the options.  Boom wants to be a large animal veterinarian, and KSU's vet school has a strong large/food animal focus.  They have an early admit program that guarantees a spot in grad school if you agree to do your undergrad work at KSU, which is a rather big incentive/insurance policy. 

The annual KSU vet school open house brought back fond memories for me, as I had attended as a child, while my uncle was in vet school.  When I was a kid, you got to glove up and stick your hand in the fistulated cow's stomach.  All they allow is a little look-see, now. 

At nearly every turn, we had a chuckle or two over how horrified Boom's tree-hugging vegan classmates would be, if they were in attendance.  We made sure to pick up plenty of 'Eat Beef' and 'I love beef' paraphernalia which Boom has since used to decorate several school binders.  (Later in the weekend, we spent part of the morning helping trying not to get in the way of my cousin working his cattle.  Boom got to brand a cow!)

There was a booth with a simulated horse 'interior' to feel, and they were giving out shoulder high plastic gloves to make the process seem more authentic.  Many kids were using the gloves as a tote bag, putting all their give-away items in them.  It was hilarious to see all these kids with a 3-foot long candy filled glove slung over their shoulder.  Boom skipped that activity, as she has been shoulder deep in the back end of a live horse on more than one occasion.  She did insist on buying the T-shirt being offered at that booth, though I am not sure where she will be able to wear it:


April 18, 2011

FOD

We took a quick trip this past weekend to visit Kansas State University. Just after getting on I-70 in Junction City, we were entertained by this pair of billboards. I guess Kansas isn't as Dimocratic as it used to be.

April 17, 2011

Sunday Video, Dramamine version

This made me seasick watching it.  Sheesh, like these guys (& gals) don't have it hard enough, Mother Nature can really throw up some challenging weather.  Watch this video about trying to work and land on a carrier in high swells.





The only carrier landing I ever did involved a lot of alcohol and a row of slippery bar tables lined up on the dance floor. It really looks like scary fun, one of those things that I might have pursued - had I known then what I know now.

April 16, 2011

Just over a week to go...

I haven't eaten meat in five weeks.  The easy thing to say is that I gave it up for Lent.  If you know me, you will know that I am not particularly religious - certainly not in any sort of orthodox way, which is what you would expect for someone making such a sacrifice for Lent.

Truth is, I like the idea of Lent, but not for the reasons that religious leaders will blather on about.   It's more about setting a goal, testing my personal will power, lasting longer than Mr Harper.

What I have found is that I have very little energy.  I know I am probably not managing my nutrition very well, as I really haven't made much of an effort to replace the meat-based protein that I have eliminated from my diet.

All in all, giving up meat for Lent hasn't really bothered me, primarily because Shiner Bock and chocolate aren't meat.

April 15, 2011

When high school is better than CVS

Storm clean up involved much shoveling of gravel, trying to move the driveway material back where it belonged, resulting in a rather nasty episode of low back pain coupled with mid-back spasm.

I was faced with two possible paths to pharmaceutical relief:
Navigate the phone system at the doctor's office.
Beg for an appointment in a reasonable time frame, as in, while my back still hurts.  Apparently doctors can't/won't write prescriptions for controlled substances or muscle relaxers if they haven't seen you for the specific problem before.  Never mind the years of prior visits and the doctor's own profession that I am "not a frequent flyer".

Finally get appointment, pay $30 copay before services are rendered.

Sit, quite uncomfortably due to excruciating back pain, in office waiting room exposed to millions germs that will undoubtedly result in some mystery virus in 3- 5 days.

Undergo expensive radiologic tests to confirm self-Googled Internet diagnosis.

Get RX for 3 day, no-refill muscle relaxer and advised to rest.

Drive self to pharmacy, wait entirely too long for a guy in a lab coat to double check the 12 pills that a tech has put in the brown bottle.

Pay $20 copay for prescription.

OR

Ask my high school daughter to score me something at school.
Ultimately I had neither the patience or lack of conscience for either.

April 13, 2011

A little crush

I gotta admit, I didn't used to like Neil Cavuto much.  Nothing personal or pivotal, his gravelly voice kinda bugged me and he has, as have all people, said some things I didn't agree with in the past.

Tuesday, Neil did a segment in which he had a little buzzer and, as he played soundbites of various democrats making statements about what the Republican budget plan would do, he would sound the buzzer at each outrageous claim.  It was great, except that he needed a more obnoxious buzzer to emphasize the point.

Neil's show is on when I am sitting in car line waiting on my kids.  Today, my astute 4-year old even got involved as Neil took on Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX).  I was about to wet my pants laughing right up until she called 'us' all fools.  Crash said, "...we aren't fools, she's a fool"!

I loved it when Neil said, in response to Johnson's insistence on spending, that:
'...we are broke.  Broke, broke, broke, broke, broke.  Poor.  Done.'
I had to come home and watch the video of it, which is even more entertaining.

The only thing I was disappointed in was Neil keeping on subject and, despite Rep Johnson's constant regurgitation of Blowie's education spending talking point, never taking a swipe at Eddie by mentioning her college funding program of illegally funneling scholarship money to her relatives.

Someone's laughing, Lord, kum ba ya

I think I have whiplash from watching Blowie go from the far left to just left of center and back in about 0.26 seconds. 

I, quite by accident, caught the last part of Blowie's budget speech.  His ideas are pretty much the same old pig with some new lipstick, but his Republican flattery and comments of 'even people I most disagree with want to do the right thing for our country' are sure to horrify his base and entertain the rest of us.

Well, some of us will be entertained, except those in the highest tax brackets who are furiously transferring their assets to offshore accounts as I type.  I'm not quite sold on Blowie's assertion that the wealthy want to do more for America, but Washington just hasn't asked them to.

Does he realize that he used his (contradictory) line about how much you owe in taxes shouldn't depend on what kind of accountant you can hire, just before claiming that wealthy Americans want to pay more?

What I didn't hear him say was, "If you are a true patriot and believe in my plan, just make that donation check out to the Bureau of the Public Debt, not my re-election campaign".

My next career

Next fall my oldest child will be starting college and my youngest will be going to kindergarten.  (I know, I know, WTF was I thinking?).  I have been blessed with the ability to work part-time from home for the past 11 years, but I am looking forward to getting a 'real job' and socking away some cash for our golden years, so Mr Harper doesn't have to work so hard, or for so long.

I think I have found my future career.  I want to be the ombudsman for the Ministry of Mother Earth.  My job would be, apparently, to:
"...hear nature's complaints as voiced by activist and other groups, including the state."
It doesn't say, but I am going to guess that I also get to respond, on behalf of nature, to the barking moonbats that I will be paid to listen to.  Since I will be Mother Earth's advocate, I think it will be fun to speak on her behalf.  Can you imagine the fun to be had with natural disasters?  A little celebrity-fueled credibility is all I need and I will have all of the tree huggers and double rainbow seekers hanging on my every word.  Anyone know how to get in touch with Ed Begley, Jr.?

April 12, 2011

Not my kids

The other day Paul posted about a Chicago school that PROHIBITS sack lunches.  Yes, you read that right, they do NOT allow children to bring a lunch from home.  CenTexTim also got on his soapbox about it.

See, the brain trust in Chicago is taking in loco parentis well beyond established parameters.  Yes, a school is responsible for the health, safety and welfare of children while they are on campus.  No, that does not mean that they get to dictate a child's diet, for better or worse. 

Going hand in hand with the Chicago story, is an apparent controversy over chocolate milk.  Another example of the education system deciding it is easier to DICTATE rather than EDUCATE, with a little industrial lobbying thrown in for good measure.

My school lunch of choice in high school was a Nutty Bar and a Dr Pepper, both out of cafeteria vending machines that have long since been outlawed.  Occasionally I had french fries, and at least once a month, the somewhat legendary Texas school CFS lunch, drowning in white gravy.  I used to be a svelte, healthy American, right up until I had my first child and then everything went to hell, but that was well after my school days.

I realize that it is more expensive and less convenient to purchase healthy food.  It isn't rocket science when a box of Little Debbie Snack Cakes cost less than a bunch of bananas.  Fast food dollar menus can provide a lot more bang for your buck than purchasing lean meats and fresh produce to feed a family. 

Regardless, schools have no business telling people what they can and can't eat.  They can educate kids to make healthy choices.  They could let the kids get up out of their seats and play every once in awhile.  And I mean really play.  And talk, talking is good sometimes.  I know I sound like a broken record, but it is the sit down and shut up at school mentality that is making kids fat, not the lunches.  Everyone likes to blame video games and computers, but kids spend 7 -9 hours a day at school.  Incidentally, they have video games on the computers at school, they just call them 'learning tools'. 

I can't believe that the parents in Chicago aren't advocating on behalf of their children.  I get that some parents might not have the means to send a lunch from home, but no one should support a prohibition on those who can.  I can feed my kids healthier food, that they like, and keep track of their overall nutrition in the process.  No one has a right to dictate what they are fed, other than me.

Cleaning up

We had a NASTY storm blow through early Monday morning.  In typical fashion, I was wide awake, in fact, at one point I was in tears from fear for the horse outside, while my family slept. Actually, the two youngest did get up during the second wave of storms, permanently displacing me to the couch.

I was certain, in my post midnight, overly emotional, certain we were gonna die state, that the hail and debris was going to come through The Princess' west-facing window.  The window survived, but daylight revealed that the side of the house looked like a kindergarten art project, plastered with oak leaves.

The concrete driveway is covered with about 3 inches of mud (actually a mixture of sandy loam and horse manure - pasture runoff) and we have gravel from the drive that washed several hundred feet across the front yard.

First on the cleanup list today is tree limb duty.  We have two large limbs (from the only two mulberry trees on our property) that broke, but not completely, so they need to be cut down before they fall on someone.  I will leave all of the small limb and branch pick up for the kids to do after school. 

Our neighbors to the west apparently took the brunt of the gust front for us.  One lost a barn - the metal was across the street wrapped around several trees.  Immediately next door, they lost six or seven large trees, but luckily, none of them hit structures. 

It will be a chorus of chain saws today.

April 11, 2011

FOD

In what his supporters call a 'victory lap', Blowie visited the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday, just hours after Congressional leaders reached a stop gap budget deal to avert a government shut down. 

There are five Secret Service agents flanking Blowie in the above photo, and an unknown number not in the photo.  What do you think the president's opportunistic 'victory lap' cost the American taxpayers?

Now comes the news that Blowie has a plan, a real, live budget plan, that he will announce in an address this Wednesday!

So, what was that budget thing he talked about during the State of the Union? 

From Tina

April 10, 2011

Kiss your kids with that mouth?

Dear Tiger Woods:

I will admit to having a little giggle or two at your expense in the past. Water under the proverbial bridge.

Even though you are often referred to as 'disgraced' or 'fallen', I think it is important that you remember that, even if you aren't considered an acceptable role model for young people, you are still on national television each weekend.  Well, at least when you make the cut.

I understand that your own children aren't in the gallery at your tournaments, but please remember that children are present.  Not just in the gallery, or following your playing partners, but also watching on TV.

See, the thing is, my kids go to school with the kids of your Saturday Master's playing partner.  It's a smallish school and everyone has been excited for them, getting updates via the staff and Facebook during the weekday play and wanting to watch the coverage on TV this weekend.

I am sorry that your round didn't go the way you wanted, but the super slow motion replay of you dropping the f bomb was disappointing.  Seeing Mr Harper's face as his 8-year old princess repeated what you said was entertaining for me as a wife, but I couldn't really enjoy it, since it was at the expense of my daughter's innocence.  (She wonders why her school chum's dad is playing golf with the grumpy guy).

So, until your game or language improves, or until network censors figure out that there should be a 3-second delay during golf broadcasts, could you find a harder-to-lip-read swear word?

Thank you,

Harper

P.S.  Thanks for dropping to 9th, maybe we won't have to see so much of you today.

April 9, 2011

Race weekend

We live about 10 minutes from Texas Motor Speedway.  It is race weekend.  For reasons unknown to me, the races were/are scheduled for Friday and Saturday night, 'under the lights'.

While we appreciate the economic impact of a crowd twice the size of our recent Super Bowl, descending upon on us twice a year, this night thing is really screwing with my schedule.

I have to cross one of the major routes to the speedway to reach the kids' school.  It wasn't much of a problem getting to the school by 3:45 yesterday, but getting back home after The Princess' theater class was a challenge.  And getting Bang to a friend's birthday party this evening is going to require a 20 mile detour.  

Since we live so close, and there is no charge to park at the track, we usually make a trip out each race weekend, to walk the midway of displays and souvenir trailers.  Three of the kids and I headed out there this morning.  I sincerely hope that a NASCAR track is the only place in America where people are having turkey legs and light beer for breakfast. 

The economy sure has taken a toll on events like this.  Not just in attendance and ticket sales, but the midway displays are greatly reduced.  Five years ago, you couldn't have walked away from the midway empty handed, they practically shoved giveaways on you.  Today, the only things anyone was giving away required you to not only hand over your personal information, but the Sprint booth even had the caveat that you 'must elect to opt in and receive our promotional emails'.  All of that for a koozie or a lanyard! 

It was also entertaining/horrifying that there wasn't a single person who could manage to squeeze out 5 pull ups to win a T-shirt at the Army's display.  I stood by watching a couple of already-feeling-no-pain bubbas try to do it, only to get an eyeful of creamy white beer belly as their Dale Jr shirt creeped up during the attempt. 

We have seen plenty of race cars this week, but this vehicle was our favorite:


This modified golf cart/UPS vehicle was actually making deliveries!

April 8, 2011

I hope this isn't goodbye

I'm worn out and headed to bed for the night and then have to be up early to get a kid to a fly fishing class (fly fishing, in North Texas!)

I probably won't know if the government shuts down until morning, and by then, apparently, I will be dead.

According to various house dimocrats, the Republican budget cuts will kill women, old people and children, which just about covers my entire household.

If you don't hear from me soon, you'll know they were right.

Name, name, bo bame. Banana-fana, fo fame...

The DJs on the radio show that we listen to on the way to school were discussing amusing names today, but they surprisingly didn't mention the recent news story out of Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Despite citizens voting in favor of naming a new government center after a popular former mayor, sadly, the new building will not bear the moniker, 'Harry Baals Government Center'.

Over at the Mostly Cajun blog, you can frequently find posts entitled 'The Name Game', highlighting the entertaining, confusing and idiotic names bestowed on the recently born innocents that will be stuck explaining, spelling or apologizing for the actions of their parents.

Several of my high school classmates were patients of dentists named Russell Stover and Dr Payne.  Seeing that they are both still in practice makes me feel young!

Speaking of high school, I went to school with (a) Jimmy Hendrix, Michael Jackson and Misty Shores.

My daughter had a classmate named Summer Knight.

I used to be married to (Lieutenant) Colonel Sanders.  And no, he didn't cook.

My daughter's opthalmologist is Dr Packwood.  One of his associates is Michael Hunt.  Neither seems to have the sort of disposition that would allow for me to make a joke about it, though.

When I had my last child, I giggled every time I checked out at the OB office, noting that there was a gynecologist named Dr Finger.

I guess nothing surprises me anymore, but I wish everyone with a 'unique' name had a sense of humor to match.

April 7, 2011

Cutting the un-cuttable

I love football.  If baseball and apple pie are symbols of America, then certainly high school football is an undeniable symbol of Texas.

High school football has been untouchable in all things budget and austerity related since God was a boy.

Back when I was walking barefoot, uphill, in the snow, to high school, I was a fan of football, but more of an academic competitor in school.  What was infuriating then, is that all extra-curricular activity funds went into the same general account, and then were redistributed per budget allowances.  It is a real kick in the gut for a group of debate geeks to work their butts off, washing cars at a Saturday fund raiser, counting the money that was made, only to have it turned into the general fund to be doled back out, with football getting 60% of all extra-curricular funds and all other sports and academic groups having to share the other 40%.  It didn't matter that we actually raised enough money for whatever competition we wanted to go to, we didn't get sole credit for our efforts, and we never got back what we put in.

Blame whoever you want, the economy, educational 'reform', skewed policy, global warming - school districts can't support themselves financially.  As the economy ebbs and flows, so too, do school district budgets.  We see years of explosive growth, new facilities, new programs, massive hiring fairs, followed by years of, 'OMG, we have a $30 million shortfall this year'.

Obviously, there are those of us who watch incredulously when a district builds a $60 MILLION football stadium or $4.5 MILLION indoor practice facility that is impressive enough to be used by a Super Bowl team. Some of us wonder about the cost of maintenance, the liability, the clear bias shown to high school football.  Ask kids from other sports about how often they have access to those facilities.

Now we have the earth-shattering news that some districts are going to cut football budgets and set strict guidelines on how many kids can play.  Gasp!  Welcome to the world of every other high school extra-curricular activity.
The Keller school district, facing a budget deficit of up to $30 million next year, is cutting $800,000 from its athletic budget. About 1,000 students will lose the opportunity to participate in athletics, including previously untouchable football, as the district will set a maximum number of teams for each sport.
Coaches will also lose their jobs. An assistant will be eliminated from every team that has more than one.
'An' assistant, as in 'one'?  Hmmm.  I clicked on over to each of Keller's four high school websites.  They average 15 football coaches per team.  Like most schools, their coaches coach more than one team and more than one sport.  So, eliminating one assistant from each team that has more than one, amounts to ONE employee, not one from each sport.  But, whoo-wee, are the football fanatics screaming.  Of course, they make it about the children:
"The fear right now is that we will reach a point where we have to cut kids," said Heath, whose team beat Euless Trinity in December for the 5A Division I state title. "It's sad, because a lot of kids might not get on the field much, but it gives them a place to belong."
"Having to eliminate those opportunities goes against the grain of what we have been doing here in Texas for decades," Keller athletic director Bob DeJonge said. "Now we are going to have to have more tryouts to see which ones can make the team. It's pretty sad."
GMAFB.  I pay taxes to fund schools to educate kids.  Not teach them how to play a game.  Sure, sure, I get the benefits and I love football, but seriously folks, these kids need to know how to read and write and do math.  Sports shouldn't be the budget cuts of last resort, they should be FIRST.  Especially football.  In fact, I think every single gender sport; football, volleyball, baseball and softball should be first on the chopping block.  And no-cut sports are a huge part of what's to blame for our entitlement-mentality youth.  Getting cut is good for kids.  It teaches them to work harder or choose a goal that is more suited to them.  Every kid that gets cut should watch 'Rudy' and learn about dedication and teamwork, and that it isn't always about being the star quarterback.

I am embarrassed that I live in a state that elevates a sport above common sense and a decent academic education. 
"We had to get back to the core of what we do, and that's educating students," school board president Cindy Lotton said. "We have mandated curriculum and requirements for students to graduate. Football is not included in that."
While I agree with Ms Lotton, I fear her leadership will be short lived.  No one cuts high school football in Texas and gets re-elected.

April 6, 2011

Random thoughts

Way to go Aggies!  Heck of a game.  The women's final was much more exciting than the men's.  I don't watch much basketball on TV, college or professional, until tournament time.  Considering how invested I get in some teams, I don't think I could handle the stress level if I watched all season long.

*****

I usually like to get gas when I have just under half a tank.  Unfortunately, there have been extenuating circumstances and vehicle swaps with Mr Harper that put me in a 'running on empty' situation a couple of times over the past month.  Last week when I filled my gas tank, the pump was set to shut off at $75.  I don't quite comprehend why retailers set those limits each time gas prices skyrocket.  The week before, I had no problem filling up to the tune of $86, but once gas surpassed the $3.50 mark here, they set the $75 shut off.  I guess they must think that people are more prone to stealing the gas when it gets that expensive.  What it means to me is a huge pain in the ass.  There was no warning that the pumps were set to shut off at a certain amount, so I had already put my credit card away and didn't bother getting it back out to reset the pump and get more gas.  They lost at least $20 of my business for making it inconvenient for me to fill up my gas guzzling SUV.

Yesterday I tried to fill up, at $3-mother-fucking-63 a gallon and the pump cut off at $100.  That was close to filling up my tank, which was running on fumes thanks to Mr Harper, but not quite full.  Again, I didn't bother resetting the pump and getting more gas.   (Pardon my language, but this gas price thing is ridiculous)

While I can think of much better ways to spend $100, I am left wondering if the current gas prices are going to hold, rise or lower over the next nineteen months - up until the election.  Anyone else think that Obama is unwilling to tap our reserves now, because doing it this time next year will allow gas prices to fall just before the election?  With the short memory of the collective population, they will forget the YEARS of high prices and the INACTION of this administration and get all giddy at the perception of what they are saving, should gas prices fall just before the election. 

I have no doubt that this president has no qualms about manipulating everything he can, American people be damned, to insure his re-election.  It won't surprise me in the least to see gas prices continue to climb and then Blowie, next spring, swoop down, in full 'savior' mode, and institute 'broad, comprehensive measures to provide economic relief to Americans' and open up the reserves.  I, for one, won't be fooled and I certainly won't forget that he could have taken the same action a year earlier.

*****

Two years ago there was a tragic accident in my town that took the life of a 3-year old girl.  To make a long sad story short, she fell into her home's septic tank and drowned.  It was heartbreaking and traumatic for everyone involved, from the family, to the emergency workers, to the neighbors and all of the town's people that were searching for her that night.  When they finally got the tank drained, they found both her body and the septic tank lid.  The best guess is that she stood on the plastic lid, causing it to tip up and allow her to fall into the tank. 

As with many families that are faced with such a horrific loss, the family wants to prevent this from happening to others.  They have ignored the fact that the lid may have been ill fitting or of inferior quality and instead have focused their efforts on enacting legislation that would require ALL septic tanks to have 'locking' lids.  My septic tank access lids are 14 inches below ground level and are like manhole covers - heavy metal with a beveled edge that make them larger than the concrete opening.  There is no existing mechanism by which a locking lid could be retrofitted to my tanks.  There is no need. 

I would agree that the newer, aerobic septic systems, with the thin fiberglass or plastic lids at ground level are an issue.  How did they come into existence?  Our state began requiring that all new septic systems be of the aerobic type which require that a licensed sanitarian provide routine maintenance.  The maintenance requirement and design specifications allow for frequent, easy access to the internal parts of the system.   Our state legislated its way into this potential danger.

The 'locking lid' legislation has failed once, and judging by comments on the news stories about the bill, it should fail again.  Of course, those of us that don't think legislating every septic tank owner in the state of Texas to prevent an accident that has apparently happened 20 times nationwide over the last 15 years, have been called 'dead baby haters'. 

Share your story, educate people, heck, get some grant money or something to initiate a trade in program where people can trade their plastic cover for a concrete one.  Just don't keep trying to force unnecessary laws onto people to assuage your guilt.

April 5, 2011

Put your money where your mouth is

Whited has a great post up, 'You don't believe that you cause global warming', in which he points out that those who purport to believe in global warming, don't really and truly believe in global warming or they would have long ago ceased the personal behaviors and habits that contribute to said global warming.

Locally we have the exact same situation in relation to natural gas drilling.  The running 'joke' that the old timers tell is that people who don't own their minerals are the only ones getting sick.  (In Texas, you don't necessarily own the rights to the oil and gas beneath the surface of your real estate, surface ownership and mineral ownership can be bought, sold and owned as two separate entities).

The anti-drilling folks scream about air and water pollution - and then document it by going for their daily run or bike ride, right by the drilling rig, and posting news of their burning throats and watery eyes on their anti-drilling blog.

They post videos of foamy and cloudy well water that they say has been ruined by the fracing process, but they still bathe themselves, their children and their animals in it.

They claim that kids are sick at school because of the wind driven fumes wafting over the playground, yet they aren't homeschooling.

They scream about declining property values, but are paying a tax bill that shows an annual increase - even in these economic times.

It's like the Wizard of Oz with an alternate ending.  The curtain has been drawn back, we can all see the smoke and mirrors, but instead of stepping out and owning up to the dramatics, anti drilling fanatics, just like the warmistas, just pull the curtain back shut and keep playing with the special effects, assuming we will all have an amnesia episode and eventually believe whatever they want to make up, even as they, themselves, don't believe it, as evidenced by their daily actions.

They scream for more regulation, more inspections, more licensing, more government intervention.  They cry out for Erin Brockovich to save them, they convince town governments to spend tax payer dollars to investigate claims that have no basis in fact.  What they don't do is change their behavior.

April 4, 2011

I'm out.

Some people had predicted that Blowie might not run for re-election.  While I had hoped they were right, I was convinced that he was much too arrogant to willingly be a one term president.

In consideration of the old adage about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer, I like to keep up with Blowie's campaign strategies.  The launch of his campaign is being billed as more of an organizational build up, which makes sense, as community organizing is his forte.  What made me laugh is the current catch phrase:


"Are You In?" gives humorists an easy lead in.  Are you in debt?  Are you in the unemployment line?  Are you in foreclosure?

I have to admit, that for the first (and only foreseeable) time in my life, I want to run out and find an "Out and Proud" T-shirt or bumper sticker.  If Blowie can recycle an old logo, so can we:

April 3, 2011

Downsizing and telecommuting, it's the government of the future

Like everyone else with a computer and an email account, I get a slew of rhetoric-filled chain email each day.  One of my husband's brothers is a liberal and has indoctrinated his children to follow in his footsteps, but the tone of his forwarded email has shifted over the past year from all hopey changey, to WTF is going on with this president?
It was this particular bro-in-law that sent me an email yesterday with an idea that's time has come.  It has been bantered about in the media a few times, but I believe that any hope of setting this ship back on the right course and reducing the size of our debt and our government will have to include this idea...
I don't have the time or energy to validate the many of the dollar amounts cited in the email, so I have removed them (which is what other people should do before hitting 'forward' on five year old chain email).  The main idea stands on its own:
When a company falls on difficult times, they reduce their staff and workers. The remaining workers must find ways to continue to do a good job or risk that their job would be eliminated as well.
Wall street and the media normally congratulate CEOs for making these types of 'tough decisions'.
Our government should not be immune from similar risks.  Therefore:
Reduce the House of Representatives from the current 435 members to 218 members. 
I think I could live with that.
Reduce Senate members from 100 to 50 (one per State).
I don't know about that one.
Then, reduce their remaining staff by 25%.
I think a 50% reduction would be perfectly acceptable.
Some Yearly Monetary Gains Include:

$174,000 pay/member/ yr base pay for House members, so cutting 217 is a minimum savings of $37,758,000 a year.
Billions saved by staff reductions, travel costs and earmarks of those no longer in a government job.  If Congresspersons were required to serve 20, 25 or 30 years (like everyone else) in order to collect retirement benefits, taxpayers could save a bundle, too.
Look here for the ridiculous salaries of staff members, and look here to read about the six-figure bonuses many representatives pay their staffs after a successful campaign!
The remaining representatives would need to work smarter and improve efficiencies. It might even be in their best interests to work together for the good of our country.
Ha!  Working together is a pipe dream.
We may also expect that smaller committees might lead to a more efficient resolution of issues as well. It might even be easier to keep track of what your representative is doing.

Congress has more tools available to do their jobs than it had back in 1911 when the current number of representatives was established. (telephone, computers, cell phones to name a few).
Now, there's an idea.  Telecommuting!  Representatives can remain in their districts 90% of the time and use the technology that Al Gore worked so hard to invent.

April 2, 2011

Free (borrowed) campaign talking point up for grabs

I was watching a mid-90's movie early this morning when I couldn't sleep.  I am too embarrassed to mention the title, as it is a smarmy comedy-wannabe-drama that watching once is excusable, but I am game for watching it anytime it is on.  Just a harmless guilty pleasure, I guess, but I ain't gonna give you the rope.

The point is, one little line of dialogue jumped out at me this morning.  I've heard it a dozen or more times, but considering the state of our union, it seems to speak directly about the current occupier of the Oval.  I am paraphrasing and substituting as called for:
Whatever your particular problem is, friend, I promise you, Barack Obama is not the least bit interested in solving it.  He is interested in two things and two things only:
Making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it.
That pretty much nails it, huh?

April 1, 2011

April Fool's Fun

Harper House is not for the faint of heart or those lacking in a sense of humor.  We like to play jokes and tricks on one another, from the simple to the semi-elaborate.

April 1st is no exception, but we usually don't spend a lot of energy planning things for this day, because people are expecting it.  The kids would be disappointed is we didn't do something, so a few small jokes are in order.

Just before bed last night, I put a couple of drops of blue food coloring into the open gallon of milk in our fridge. This morning the blue milk elicited an appropriate range of reactions from 'eeewwww' to 'cool, I want some'.

A good friend of mine is a realtor who has loaned me one of her signs for the weekend.  The kids will come home from school to find our house, apparently, for sale.  This particular gag might play out for several days, we'll have to see.  Mr Harper unknowingly boosted the reality factor this morning, as he was telling me about several openings in his company's northwest region and we were discussing what sort of relocation package they might be offering, etc.

The Princess is celebrating her 8th birthday this weekend, which provides the perfect avenue for another little gag.  I have a cake bakery box from another event that I have been saving.  The Princess specifically ordered a store-bought Hello Kitty cake for her birthday on Sunday.  Since most bakeries are closed on Sunday and I have a busy day tomorrow, I can easily say that I had to pick up her cake today.  I plan on filling a foil pie pan full of whipped cream and putting it in the box.  Mr Harper will make sure that the audience is front and center as I get the 'cake' out of the car, trip, drop the box and then step on it full force, sending whipped cream flying out the sides.

To cap off the day, an oldie but goodie.  Just when everyone thinks the sun has set on another April Fool's Day, I will have done the old 'rubber band on the kitchen sink sprayer' trick, guaranteeing that Mr Harper takes a bedtime shower when he goes to wash his hands after giving the dog his evening meds.  If he wasn't so predictable, it wouldn't be so easy.