July 31, 2011

So much for the Sabbath

I was looking forward to a bit of a lazy day today.  My kids had been house sitting for our neighbors and had various chores there each morning, but the neighbors returned last night.  I was ahead on laundry.  The kids had tie-dyed a bunch of stuff yesterday and we were looking forward to the rinsing and unveiling this morning.   Lazy, hot summer day.

First thing, Mr. Harper had a situation come up requiring him to go visit one of his restaurants.  No big deal, nothing major planned, he would be home by noon.  The kids would watch some cartoons, we might play the Wii, enjoy our lazy morning.

Then, my mom stopped by on her morning walk requesting assistance in wrangling a large turtle out of her swimming pool.  She had given it an hour of effort and decided that help was in order.  Since she is a golf tournament widow this weekend, we got turtle duty.

Excited about the upcoming turtle expedition, Crash kept coming outside to see if I was ready to go.  I was trying to squeeze every minute out of our allowed 2 hour window for watering and sent him back inside twice.

Apparently one or both times that he came outside to rush me, Crash stepped in dog and/or horse poop.  Judging by the footprints, he then got a drink of water, tromped on to the living room, played some cars, circled the couch, climbed up on the couch and went down the hall to his room.

After the immediate hysterics, I picked up the chunks and quickly spot cleaned the floors enough so that the dogs wouldn't track it further while we fished for turtle.  Luckily, the turtle's evasion techniques were not superior to a triple assault of pool brush, pool net and four children.  It was a red-eared slider that didn't look quite so big out of the water, but still decent sized.  Crash was certain we were going to keep it and threw an impressive tantrum when we carried it to the pond across the street.

Back home, I shampooed carpet, cleaned hardwood and tile and barked at children about being treated like a maid.  My steam cleaner has a hand tool attachment that got sideways in its cradle, pressing the spray trigger and showering the couch, fireplace, two windows and me, before I got it under control.       

Just as I got the steam cleaner all rinsed out and ready to put away, Crash pushed a large car across the wet carpet.  More mom screeching.  Had to haul the cleaner back out and re-do that section.

It seems like every mess I cleaned up, ended up creating another one.  Now that everything is nice and clean, it is time to rinse out the tie-dye.  Part of me thinks that is just tempting fate.

July 30, 2011

Sweaty Cruise

Is there a name for the practice of watching certain movies on television - edited and with commercials, even though you own them on DVD and have seen them numerous times before?  Other than 'lazy'? 

Last night this phenomenon was on full display; Mr. Harper had been channel surfing, found nothing on his normal hits (ESPN and the other sports channels, the pay movie channels we subscribe to and on demand selections) and settled on 'Top Gun' being shown on CMT, of all places.

We have all seen the movie umpteen times.  We own the DVD and could have saved ourselves 40 minutes of wasted commercial time, had we just gotten up and put the DVD in the player.  We even commented on it, as we do every time that this situation plays out.   Long on talk, short on action, as we never actually get up and put the damn disc in.

I will say that this phenomenon is more commonly related to a particular scene or piece of dialog, for me.  I am more likely to watch something to a point and then walk away from it.  Top Gun is good for the duration, though.  Still, I don't get sitting there and enduring the editing and commercials. 

While watching Top Gun, I commented that, in nearly every scene, people are sweating.  Even in the shower scenes, when they supposedly have just stepped out of the water and are swathed in clean towels or parading around in their tighty whities, they are all sweaty.  Even in scenes where there are clearly fans moving the air, they are sweating.  Even in scenes where all of the extras are cool as cucumbers, the main characters are sweaty.  That makes me think the sweat is intentional.  That the director was constantly calling for make up to come spritz Tom Cruise in the face again.  I would have liked that job.  Squirting Cruise in the face with a water bottle, like a misbehaving cat.  
Spritz! 'Take that you Scientology freak!'  

Spritz! 'Oh sorry, Mr. Cruise, did I get you in the eye?'  

Spritz! 'Remember the cool feel of water on your face as you burn in hell for making your wife go through birth silent and unmedicated.'
Okay, then.  I think I might need to go evaluate my thinly veiled contempt for Tom Cruise.  Ya'll have a good weekend.

July 29, 2011

A Silver Lining

Mexico's unemployment rate is now 4.9 percent, compared with 9.4 percent joblessness in the United States.
An estimated 300,000 undocumented immigrants have left California since 2008, though the remaining 2.6 million still make up 7 percent of the population and 9 percent of the labor force, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.
Heck, ,if it weren't for that darn murder rate, I could entertain thoughts of moving to sunny Mexico. 
"It's now easier to buy homes on credit, find a job and access higher education in Mexico," Sacramento's Mexican consul general, Carlos González Gutiérrez, said Wednesday. "We have become a middle-class country."
Great, Mexico is a middle class country while the USA is about to get in touch with its Greek side, financially.

Want to solve the debt ceiling crisis?  Charge exit fees at the border and get some money out of the people headed back to Mexico. 

How many politicians fit in a bucket?

I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
-Winston Churchill

July 28, 2011

Addendum to my profane rant

Not that I have calmed down any, but I think I can keep the language in check.

What you are likely to hear, after this story continues to break, is about how we need more and more controls on the sale of weapons and ammunition. 

One part of the arrest of Abdo that isn't likely to get much attention is that a gun shop alerted the authorities that this P.O.S. bought $250 worth of stuff that he didn't seem to know anything about.
Store clerk Greg Ebert said the man arrived at Guns Galore LLC by taxi Tuesday and bought 6 pounds of smokeless gunpowder, three boxes of shotgun ammunition and a magazine for a semi-automatic pistol, paying about $250. Ebert said he became concerned when the man asked questions indicating he didn't know much about the items.
"(We) felt uncomfortable with his overall demeanor and the fact he didn't know what the hell he was buying," Ebert said. "I thought it prudent to contact the local authorities, which I did."
Mr Ebert and Guns Galore LLC in Killeen likely thwarted another homegrown terrorist strike at Fort Hood.  God Bless them. 

Another piece of FBI evidence for my trial

If you have spent any time here on Passed Up Strange, you know that I am fairly mild mannered.  I have strong opinions but tend to use PG-13 language, for the most part.  That ends here.  If you are easily offended, skip the rest.

Try censoring the hermaphrodite freak instead

I've always listened to most genres of music.  Maybe not a lot of some of them, but there is probably a song or two among every type of music that I like.  Since there are 6 of us in this house, there is a great deal of variety.  Having two teenagers and two younger kids, we try to be somewhat careful about explicit lyrics.  It is a little embarrassing when my 4-year old belts out, 'I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand...'

I appreciate that there has always been some measure of censorship regarding music played for the general public.  Trading 'son of a gun' for 'son of a bitch' in the radio version of 'Devil Went Down to Georgia' didn't seem like a sellout or overreaching censorship, so much as a compromise that allowed the song to be more widely disseminated.  It is easy to see that some people, especially at that time, would be offended by the word 'bitch' and, well, kids listen to music, too.

Today's radio edit culture has gone entirely too far.  Many popular bands record an entirely different version of songs specifically with the Disney market in mind.  That, in my book, is a sellout.  Disney edits aren't always about the words normally considered offensive.  But Disney's market is to provide a completely sanitized, wholesome product and they are consistent in what they do. 

This morning I witnessed an edit that goes beyond potentially offensive words and highlights the liberal bias of VH1.  The two 'offensive' words that were edited out of a 'Foster the People' video were....wait for it....
GUN and BULLET
GASP!  To be precise, the entire chorus lyric is:
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You'd better run, better run, outrun my gun
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You'd better run, better run, faster than my bullet
What the hell is wrong with that?  This is on 'cable' television, which means the censorship isn't required, it is preferred by the channel's programmers.  

What makes it even more offensive is that they will play every obscene, vulgar Lady Gaga video.  They feature bands with videos showing sex, drug use and criminal activities - but a band can't be heard singing 'gun' or 'bullet'?!  Luckily, we aren't regular consumers of this channel and its politically influenced censorship.  It was a channel surfing mistake that won't be repeated.  FU VH1.

July 27, 2011

Next week we will be funding casino buses

I am really disgusted and frustrated with society today.  I guess that's not fair, because it isn't everyone, but it is a large enough group to merit class action status.

There are the obvious offenders, politicians; from Blowie on down.  Criminals, from the Norway shooter to men who kill entire families at their kid's birthday party.

Today I am particularly sick of the nanny state, spread the wealth, we are all entitled to our fair share whether we work for it or not, mindset.  This isn't a new subject for me, but it really, really bothers me.  And the people that promote this agenda (from Blowie on down) spout the most ridiculous examples trying to justify why my tax dollars shaved from my paycheck should go to support someone who's talent appears to be in collecting unemployment and hurdling old people in the housing voucher line

My town was asked to fund a program that provides transportation for 2 residents.  That is less than 1 tenth of 1 percent of our town's population.  I can't think of any municipally funded program that should take the taxpayer's money to provide a service for 2 people, unless it was life saving and of minimal cost.  Of course, one of the arguments made for this ride service is that they were 'only asking for $500'.  That's where the trouble starts.  How many budgets are sunk with all the little things that add up?

Here's what really burned me up and, I am sure, made me look like a heartless bitch for arguing against it.  One of the residents that needs transportation is a mentally challenged person who is unable to drive.  Twice a week, this service picks her up and takes her to Whataburger.  Not the doctor, not to the grocery store, to Whataburger.

And the mayor wants the town to pay for it.

It isn't the government's job to chauffeur people to restaurants.  I know it is a quality of life issue, but that is what communities are for.  Neighbors, churches, clubs, family, friends.  Hell, I am free once or twice a week to drive someone to Whataburger.  Why in the world would I, instead, want my tax dollars funneled away to an organization that will do it at 10 times the cost?  (Their trip average, with labor and organizational overhead figured in is $24 per trip!!!)   

Of course, if Blowie is re-elected, it shouldn't be long before Michelle gets a law enacted that forbids federally funded transportation programs from stopping at hamburger joints...

The root of it is that some people think that they deserve to go get a hamburger.  People deserve to have satellite TV and to buy whatever they want with their food stamps.  People deserve cigarettes, a 40 ounce, cell phones, nice clothes, a mortgage.  The American Dream has morphed into the American Entitlement.  It makes me sick.

July 25, 2011

Don't Mess With Dale

A couple of Blownstars ago, several of us trekked down to the 11th Street Cowboy Bar to give a listen to this guy, Dale Watson.  As this video shows, he got screwed by a discount airline in Australia - but has gotten his refund and his revenge.

FOD

I would have gotten this up earlier, but I had a little accident with a tube of Super Glue.  I managed to glue a paper towel to my hand in the process and spent the better part of an hour dousing my hands in nail polish remover and picking bits of paper off.  My life is a sitcom.

Sitting here watching our 401k tank, wondering if the markets would have reacted this way if there were less minute by minute coverage of debt ceiling talks.  Is it me or does this feel like 2001 all over again?

July 24, 2011

Beauty in Real Life

I get a ton of emails with the subject "Picture of the Year" or "Best Photos of the Year".  I like pictures, but I usually just scroll through them in the preview window.  Often they have been seen before.  If they are truly unusual, they are usually photoshopped.  Every once in awhile, though, something wonderful lands in my inbox.  This was one of those extraordinary photos:

Article by Jon Tevlin, Photo by Frank Glick

Even better, when I started clicking to verify the photo credit, I found a story.  Not anything monumental, but a simple story of a good man who lived a good life after serving his country.  These are the things that should be in the paper and on TV.  Forget reality TV, let's have more real life. 

It was a crow that first caught Frank Glick's attention. It was flying around erratically, so Glick got out his Nikon camera and followed it. It was around 6 a.m. on a hazy spring day and he was driving through Fort Snelling National Cemetery because he was early for a training meeting at Delta Airlines, where he works.

Glick is an amateur photographer, but he always carries his camera, just in case. So he followed the crow, in some cultures a symbol of good luck and magic, until he saw it: a huge eagle perched on a tombstone, its eyes alert, its head craned, looking for prey. In the foreground, dew glistened on the grass.

Glick got his shot.

He didn't think too much about the photo, until he showed it to a co-worker, Tom Ryan, who e-mailed it to his brother, Paul.

Paul wondered whether a relative of the soldier might want a copy. The tail of the eagle partially covered the man's name, but Paul did some research and looked up the soldier's name in newspaper obituaries. The eagle had landed on the grave of Sgt. Maurice Ruch, who had been a member of the St. Anthony Kiwanis Club, the obituary said.

Paul called the club, and it put him in touch with Jack Kiefner, Ruch's best friend. When Glick took his photo, he never could have guessed how much it was going to mean to Kiefner and Ruch's widow, Vivian.

One day this week, I met with Kiefner and Vivian Ruch in her St. Anthony condo. The actual print would be delivered later that day, but Vivian held a copy of the statuesque photo and her voice broke as she talked about Maurie, his nickname, who died from a form of Parkinson's in 2008 at age 86.

"I'm sorry," she said. "This is very emotional for me."

Maurie graduated from college in mechanical engineering in December of 1941 and enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Known for his keen eye, he became a rifle marksman and was stationed in the Aleutian Islands. He served four years in the military and earned a bronze star.

To those who knew Maurie, he was a calm and deliberate giant. He stood 6 feet, 4 inches tall, with broad shoulders, but he was also unassuming and unpretentious.

"Used to call him Mr. Precise," because of his love of order and knack for fixing things, said Vivian. The Ruches had a rotary telephone long after they became obsolete because Maurie scavenged parts and kept the phone working.

"He could work a slide rule like nobody else," said Kiefner, who was a manager at Honeywell when Maurie was there as an engineer. Kiefner and Maurie were friends for more than 60 years. Not many people can say that anymore.

Maurie also loved nature and photography, so "he would have absolutely loved this picture," Vivian said. "I told him his first love was his rifle."

On a rainy morning, Vivian spread photos of Maurie in the service, and the two old friends sat and ate banana bread and talked about a man they both loved.

They got that opportunity because a guy they didn't know, Frank Glick, caught a special moment, and he and his friends took the time to seek them out and share the photo.

I told Vivian that some cultures believe the eagle is a symbol, not only of patriotism and dignity, but a messenger between heaven and earth. She nodded solemnly.

"I'd say the eagle had a very good eye when he landed on Maurie, and he was respected," she said.

"I miss him," said Vivian as she picked up the photo. "He was a good man and a good provider."

"The eagle couldn't have picked a better person," said Kiefner. He paused. "This has been kind of fun hasn't it?"

Tears welled in Vivian's eyes.

"Yes, it's been wonderful."

July 23, 2011

A prayer for Norway

I remember distinctly where I was when the Murrah building was bombed.  More than the act, I remember how it changed our nation.  The thought that an American would want to harm other Americans was hard to grasp.  In my memory, that was when airports started to change, asking if your bags had been with you at all times, if you packed them yourself, etc. 

That was also when parking a box truck became a challenge.  I remember a U-Haul truck parked in front of III Corp Headquarters at Fort Hood, in 1996.  It caused quite a ruckus until the kid that was delivering a piece of furniture returned to the scene.  Poor guy was just doing his job - and had legally parked, but our reality had changed. 

Crash likes to take a toy with him wherever he goes.  Usually it's a Hot Wheels car or something small like that.  We sometimes argue about taking it into stores, like Wal-Mart (mostly because I end up carrying it for him).  I say to him, 'They might not realize that we brought it from home and they will think we are trying to steal it.'

He always says, 'Why would they think we are stealing?'

That cuts right to the heart of it.  When did our country, our world, become a place where the worst is assumed?  Where normal people, doing everyday things, are questioned and doubted?  Because of disturbed people like Timothy McVeigh and Anders Behring Breivik.  People that take our collective innocence and trust, and shatter it. 

It is no badge of honor to be able to say to Norway that we, here in America, know what they are going through.  I hope the people of Norway find some reminders of peace and comfort amid the horror of what this madman has done to their country.  I hope the best of people's character is what comes to the surface during this tragedy.    

July 22, 2011

The White House Money Tree

CharlieDelta sent this to me, not sure how I missed it on Drudge when it first ran. Heck, I am not sure how this wasn't plastered all over the media. There are a dozen or more story lines here. Starting with his first day in office when Blowie claimed to be 'freezing' White House salaries of staffers that made over $100k.  Then there was that federal worker salary freeze.  In his official memo about that he said this:
Despite the sacrifices that I knew a pay freeze would entail for our dedicated civil servants, I concluded that a two-year freeze in the upward statutory adjustment of pay schedules is a necessary first step in our effort to address the challenge of our fiscal reality.
Making this chart all the more confusing and infuriating:

From here

You're smart.  You can pull out or click to your pay stub for comparison.  You probably know how much your employer was able to offer in the way of salary increases this year.  Or take a look at this:


The very people, the frail, dependent elderly population who aren't going to get their checks on August 3rd (according to Blowie and the gang), those very people that the Dims claim to be advocating for, haven't seen a cost of living increase since 2008.  Maybe some White House staffers could give back to help our Greatest Generation be able to afford their prescriptions.

Despite all of the arguments to be made, what I find most interesting is the two people that received the largest raises were the 'Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy' and the 'Director of African-American Media'.  We all know what a gangbuster the president's economic policy is.  Maybe if Mr. Vogel wasn't so busy spending his 83% increase, we could get something cooking in the way of jobs.

What the hell does a director of African-American media do?  And why can't the director of (every race and ethnicity) media do it?  Decades of screaming for equality, yet they insist on the hyphen and a job title distinction.  Hang up the African and try being an American.  Or go the fuck back to Kenya with your boss.

July 21, 2011

The Flag Removal Act of 2011

A study has concluded that exposure to the American flag causes people to shift their behaviors to a more Republican point of view.  Now, the methodology and list of questions asked at during the different phases of the study were specific to current politics, so there are many arguments to be made about the validity of the conclusions.

What stands is that people given the surveys that had an American flag printed on the page answered more positively about Republican candidates and less favorably about Blowie.

Now taking wagers on how long it is before:

Blowie stops wearing his flag lapel pin.

Flags disappear completely from the backdrop at Blowie's press conferences, speeches and fund raising events.

Flags are removed from any and all balloting machines and materials.

Flags are prohibited from being flown at polling places.

July 20, 2011

No surprise

This comes as no surprise to me, and it won't to most of you.  Introducing the new and modern definition of poverty:


There are several things on that list that I don't have.  We aren't wealthy, not even comfortable, really.  But we are a two income home, our teenage kids work in the summer, we have savings, a little retirement, some investments.  It pisses me off that a chunk of every paycheck goes to fund programs and services so people that qualify as 'poor' can have more televisions than we do.

It isn't the TV, mind you, it is the principle.  There is no NEED for television - period.  One set is a luxury item.  This survey is a few years old, so it doesn't take into account that anyone with a computer has an additional television and DVD player.  Many middle class and above Americans have canceled cable and satellite TV to stream Netflix and watch shows on Hulu as a cost savings measure.  Yet poor people have a TV in every room with DVD players, gaming systems and satellite.

Let's not overlook the fact that every item on that list sucks electricity.  I think utility bill assistance programs should do a home visit and disable electric devices in a home, leaving only the necessities, if taxpayers are going to foot the light bill.  If you can't afford to pay the power company and are going to rely on taxpayers to do it for you, you should have to turn off and unplug everything but your refrigerator, stove OR microwave (there really isn't a need for both, if you are truly poor), air conditioner (I'm being generous) and clothes washer (and that is a stretch - you can use the sink).

This list doesn't cover the car in the driveway, the cigarette and alcohol purchases, jewelry, weapons and restaurant food habits.

No wonder it is such a pain in the ass to try to instill a work ethic in my kids.

July 19, 2011

It's called the flu and you can go to Care Now for it

I have a rather long story that I will share about our ER visit yesterday, but don't have the time right now.  Everyone is fine and at home.

I would like to mention that the ER is for EMERGENCIES.  I realize that some people can be very sick but not look like it.  But a few minutes in the waiting room soon separates those in need of emergent care and those that are simply moderately sick but wasting time, space and resources because of the little plaque on the wall that says, 'This facility accepts Medicaid'.

Unless the patient is truly in a life or death situation, there is NO reason for 10 family members to accompany them.  Seriously.  If your spouse, mother and three licensed driver-aged teenagers can accompany you to the ER, surely four of those five people could stay home and watch the other 5 children that you brought with you.  Even if there were some extenuating circumstance that prevented them staying home, surely they could go hang out in the cafeteria or at least stay in the lobby.  There is a reason why ER rooms have only one chair next to the bed.

The guy that hit his leg with the chainsaw only allowed two of his blood splattered friends to come with him to the ER, and one of them stayed in the lobby at all times.  La familia should follow that example.

Lastly for now, a shout out to the medical supply company that thought up the latest vomit catching technology.  Having seen one too many people projectile vomit right past those ridiculously small and ill-shaped emesis basins of the past:


I was pleased to see the new mouth gasket and plastic bag doohickey that was being handed out to those who needed it.  Much more effective.

Worn out

Spent 6+ hours at the E.R. with one of the kids.  Many thoughts on the state of health care to get down on virtual paper, but first, sleep.

July 18, 2011

A Touchy Subject

That post title will earn me a spot in horrible pun hall of fame...

This is the current marquee sentiment on display at a local church. I have cropped their name out because they are very nice people and probably haven't thought this through. The former pastor is serving a combined 80 year sentence as a guest of the Texas prison system, for molesting young male congregants.

FOD

There are smarter people than me working in politics.  This woman is not one of them.  While repeatedly telling the interviewers that they 'just don't understand' how Social Security 'works', she continually harps about how SS hasn't missed a check since 1935 and says that there is money to pay benefits through 2037, but in a stunning example of speaking out of both sides of her mouth - at the same time, no less - says that the president's threat about checks not going out on August 3rd is correct. 

We have plenty of money to pay benefits for the next 26 years but something will prevent checks being cut in three weeks?  Huh?

Note that this congressperson thief from Chicago also slips up and speaks the modern truth about SS - 'it is a pay as you go system'.

July 16, 2011

Redlining the Bullshit Meter

I'm not a home shopping channel kind of a gal.  Never have been, have made fun of those who are.  Having seen many elderly and infirm buy thousands of dollars worth of cheap crap only confirms my belief that home shopping television preys on the weak.

I will, however, send a shout out to QVC.  They canceled a Jane Fonda appearance due to feedback from customers about her anti-American actions during the Vietnam War.  You never should have scheduled the appearance in the first place, QVC, but congrats on seeing the light and pissing off the commie bitch by canceling the show.

Red Jane posted this tidy little work of fiction on her blog, in response.  Emphasis mine, as usual:
“I was to have been on QVC today to introduce my book, ‘Prime Time,’ about aging and the life cycle. The network said they got a lot of calls yesterday criticizing me for my opposition to the Vietnam War and threatening to boycott the show if I was allowed to appear. I am, to say the least, deeply disappointed that QVC caved to this kind of insane pressure by some well funded and organized political extremist groups...
I am on several mailing lists and read dozens of news websites and blogs, yet had heard nothing about the QVC schedule - anything truly well organized by crazy extremists a.k.a. 'conservatives', probably would have been somewhere on my radar.
...And that they did it without talking to me first. I have never shied away from talking about this as I have nothing to hide. I could have pointed out that threats of boycotts are nothing new for me and have never prevented me from having best selling books and exercise DVDs, films, and a Broadway play. Most people don’t buy into the far right lies. Many people have reached out to express how excited they were about my going onto QVC and hearing about my book.
Check the Bullshit Meter!
Bottom line, this has gone on far too long, this spreading of lies about me! None of it is true. NONE OF IT! I love my country. I have never done anything to hurt my country or the men and women who have fought and continue to fight for us. I do not understand what the far right stands to gain by continuing with these myths. In this case, they denied a lot of people the chance to hear about a book that can help make life better, easier and more fulfilling. I am deeply grateful for all of the support I have been getting since this happened, including from my Vietnam Veterans friends.”
'Vietnam Veterans friends'?  Are these American veterans, Janie?  Name one. There is nothing you or your piece of shit book can do for any veteran I know.  But maybe you could take the time to thank the veterans and current military members for the sacrifices they made/make to ensure insane old coots like you can publish whatever drivel you can pound out.

Made me laugh

Driving down the road yesterday, a Toyota minivan pulled alongside of us.  As it passed, we noticed some writing in the dirt on the rear window.  Expecting the usual 'Wash Me' or equivalent, I allowed my attention to be diverted long enough to read it - and then about wrecked laughing.  Kudos to the author, points for both originality and sense of humor.  It read:
I wish my girl was this dirty!

July 15, 2011

A glimmer of hope

In a new Gallup poll, a majority of voters are choosing a generic Republican candidate over Obama.  Now, I am looking for some small glimmer of hope to cling to and realize that the election is still 16 months away, so don't burst my bubble.


The same article mentions that George H.W. Bush held a significant lead over a generic candidate in polls, and had a 71% approval rating at the same point in his presidency, but lost the election.  Usually, that sort of historical factoid would have me dismissing the poll altogether.  Today, I just like seeing any poll number that has Blowie beaten.

I am concerned that the GOP will end up putting forth a candidate that can erase the presumptive lead shown in the poll. Mitt Romney was specifically named in the article as being a candidate that is unpopular with those polled.  The RNC needs to get off their asses and get behind someone electable.  And, no offense to my third party friends and independents, but we all need to get behind someone that can win the election.  I know, I know, it's a principle thing, but Blowie is destroying our country and, more than anything, we need him gone.

July 14, 2011

Enough is Enough

'Enough is enough', is apparently what came out of the president's mouth as he was walking out of debt ceiling talks yesterday.

Thank you, Captain Obvious.  The American people have been saying that for years now.

I am finding it hard to be sympathetic to any side, since our checks and balances form of government tends to spread the blame for a situation as comprehensive as this.  Yes, Blowie is a miserable excuse for a leader who has enacted policies and and programs that have nearly doubled our debt.  And he has done it at light speed.  To a lesser degree, we must remember that several trillion bucks was already written in red when Blowie started handing out his share.

I can't watch another politician on the television wonking about who won't get their check.  How about let's start with the dead weight at every governmental agency, why don't we?

Boom had a birthday on Tuesday, and in the Lone Star state, that is the day that one's driver's license expires.  We made the trek to the DMV yesterday to renew her learner's permit.  As we pulled into the parking lot, there was a gentleman who appeared to be monitoring a water sprinkler on a little patch of green grass out front.  During the hour-and-a-half wait time, we watched this gentleman hold up a door frame and gaze at the waiting room, lean on the counter and watch the waiting room, chat with other employees and go outside to move the sprinkler two more times.  Hand to God, this man did NOTHING else in the time we were there.  He was making at least minimum wage on the taxpayer dole, not to mention the cost of watering grass at noon on our 12th consecutive day of 100+ degree heat. 

The workers made announcements every few minutes to ignore the computer generated screen message that stated 'No Credit Cards are accepted for payment', telling us that they are able to take credit cards since the system was installed last month - but they 'haven't received authorization to change the screen information'.  (Nor, apparently, are they able to add another paper sign explaining the situation).

Now, the DMV often gets a bad rap, even when they don't deserve it.  The clerks were mostly pleasant, when they were treated as such.  One was pretty entertaining, telling little old ladies to step in front of the screen for their 'Glamour Shot'.  During their announcements they reminded us that it was a 'good' day in regard to wait time, since they had been averaging 2-3 hours.  It's not that they are incompetent or slow - the DMV in Texas is responsible for all things driver's license related, as well as; identification cards, voter registration, organ donor registration and selective service registration.  They also have to perform optometry duties, get fingerprints and take pictures.  Our state won't let you get any sort of license (driving, fishing, weapon, etc) if you have any sort of outstanding debt that the state tracks (child support, court fees).  It is up to the DMV clerks to perform all of those system checks. 

Sure, this was a state agency, but it is a carbon copy example of what goes on in government offices at every level.  The government, from the top down, has imposed so many fricking laws and policy requirements that 'point of sale' transactions take hours and mounds of paper/computer work.  Perfectly capable people are overwhelmed with internal and external regulations, and no empowerment to make common sense decisions at their level.  Job functions with no real responsibilities remain, because, well, there are some people that you just can't fire, so you have to have a place for them.

I don't think our government is capable of making the real changes necessary.  It scares me to death to think about what the future holds, because, really, it is just going to get worse.  As I watched every person in line at the DMV yesterday hand over Social Security numbers and birth records, have their photos taken and thumbprints recorded, register for the possibility of compulsory military service, I was struck by the Big Brother intrusions that we don't even question any more.  We are hopelessly in debt, taxed without true representation and our Constitutional rights are suppressed in a new way each day.  What remains of our republic?

July 13, 2011

Let it ride

Disclaimer: I am not sick. I am not old (enough for Social Security or Medicare). I am not a military member or veteran, though I am the daughter and former wife of military members/veterans.  But I am an American and I am smart enough to know that the crap spewing forth from Blowie's podium each day is absolute rubbish intended to invoke an emotional response to a financial situation.

It is no mistake that the White House's daily talking points in regard to the debt ceiling talks continue to raise the issues of old people, sick people and veterans not getting their government benefits.

I heard a television commentator say that they probably have a chart at the White House, outlining what each day's new talking point will be, 'Monday - Social Security, Tuesday - Medicare, Wednesday - Veterans, etc.'

What scare tactic is next?  We've covered old, frail and our nation's heroes...hmmm...oh yeah, the children.

What will it be?  Education, WIC, SSA disability, HUD...no deal on the debt ceiling will cause children to starve and be homeless - I am just sure of it.

I want no resolution until after August 2nd.  The media has made that date certain, though many much smarter and involved people say that we actually have some flexibility beyond 8/2.  My hope is that the remaining Blowie-hards, that believe everything that comes out of his thin-lipped mouth, will get their gummint check on August 3rd and maybe realize that he talks out of both sides of his mouth.

On the other hand, maybe they won't get their checks and they will have to lay off the crack pipe and gummint cheese for a while.

Win -win.

July 12, 2011

Catherine Becker the Pecker Wrecker

Becker told police she tied her husband to their bed after poisoning his food to make him sleepy, Lt. Jeff Nightengale told KTLA.

The 48-year-old waited for the man to wake up before grabbing hold of his penis and cutting it off, police said.

She then placed it into the garbage disposal and turned it on.
Ho Dang.  She took the Lorena Bobbitt up a notch with the garbage disposal trick.
She later told authorities her spouse "deserved it"
The site I first read this story on had some really entertaining comments.  The best I could come up with was the title to this post. 

I'd like to know what the poor fella did to 'deserve it', if anything. For fun, I forwarded the story to Mr Harper, with a reminder that I keep my kitchen knives sharpened.

July 11, 2011

What's good for the goose

Not to be outdone by her hypocritical husband, the First Wookie exceeded an average woman's daily calorie consumption in one meal to start off the week:
First Lady Michelle Obama may have temporarily forgotten the lessons of her own anti-obesity campaign when she indulged in a sinfully caloric lunch Monday at a popular new hamburger restaurant.
A Washington Post reporter said the first lady ordered a cheeseburger, french fries, chocolate shake and Diet Coke at Shake Shack -- a trendy hamburger spot that recently opened an outpost in Washington's Dupont Circle.

Based on nutritional information on the restaurant's website, the meal added up to a scale-tipping 1,556 calories.

Obama has made the fight against childhood-obesity a central focus of her White House tenure and launched the "Let's Move" campaign to promote exercise and ensure children have access to healthy food.

The Post noted, however, that she has also admitted to having an "obsession with french fries."

"It's all about moderation," she has told reporters.
I wonder if her hubby and the Dims have heard that moderation pitch before?  I don't recall seeing a side of peas with her order.

Thanks, Michelle, for telling me what to feed my kids while you order up the original asinine fat-meal capper...the Diet Coke. What did that tab run ya?  I am guessing it was close to what some Americans have to spend on food for the entire week, thanks to your husband's *leadership*.

As a side note, I've been thinking that modern technology and digital signs are enabling our government's run up of the debt clock.  Remember back a couple of years ago when gas went over $2 a gallon and gas stations had to turn their 5's around to use on the price sign?  Then when it hit three bucks, they were using backward E's.  Some of the stations had to tape the number placards on because their signs were only meant to go as high as one dollar and change - there was no room for a wider digit.  When we have debt clocks with plenty of room for more and larger numbers, we are just encouraging Congress to see how high it will go.

FOD

Via the Weekly Standard:
In a 75-minute meeting Sunday night, President Obama once again demanded that more than $1 trillion in tax increases be part of any deficit reduction package attached to a vote on the debt ceiling. In the session, Obama rejected a Republican proposal to seek $2.5 trillion in spending cuts and reforms, and insisted on higher taxes on businesses and wealthy individuals.
But...but...but...

July 10, 2011

Bad Mom Moment

I said something hurtful to Boom yesterday and it has been on my mind ever since. Now, what I said wasn't really so bad, but knowing my daughter, it left a bit of a mark. On top of that, Mr Harper and I continued to talk about the situation - and other associated behaviors - knowing that she could be, and probably was, listening.

Bad parenting moment. Not CPS bad, or her life will never be the same bad, but not my most shining moment either.

Boom got some test scores in the mail. What should have been an opportunity for encouragement, a 'I know you can do better' moment, instead turned into a 'when are you going to stop wasting my time and money and take things seriously?' moment. I was thorough in my list of things she has squandered resources on over the past 18 months.

I am not defending my behavior, rather I am admitting I don't always react to these situations in the most positive way. And preparing a kid to be on their own is hard work sometimes. In all fairness, Boom is my least assertive child and rarely does anything to her full ability unless pushed. She is smart as hell and capable of doing anything she could possibly want to do. Problem is, we can't seem to find the 'want' very often.

She has been successful in situations that included a coach or band director pushing her. Peers and parents don't seem to be able to find that same drive.

On the other hand, I find myself defending her 'opportunities'. She turns 17 this week and isn't driving. One part of me acknowledges that she lost several people close to her due to car accidents over the past 3 years and may be fearful. The other part of me realizes that she just hasn't bothered to take the time to learn. She has only rudimentary knowledge of how to do laundry and she can cook only basic items - things I need to make sure she can do before she goes off to college next year. She would be willing to learn but it would require me seeking her out and demanding her presence. She has never been the kid who was tugging on my sleeve, asking me to show her how to do something.

Part of me admires her even keel. Not much bothers her, not much excites her. She takes things in stride - me, not so much. She's happy with good when I want perfection. The thing she says to me most often during discussions like the one we had yesterday is, 'I'm not you, Mom. Your expectations are too high for me.'

That's just crap. Like every parent I know, I want her to achieve all the things she has said she wants to achieve. Sure, I sometimes see a slightly different path to getting there, but her dreams are her own. Somewhere along the way, I feel like I missed out on instilling some important value or forgot to teach her some important life lesson.

How do you instill initiative in a teenager?

For now, I know that I need to be more careful in what I say, try to be more encouraging and less of a bitch. More of a nurturing maternal figure and less of a hag demanding that she get things done.

Maybe I can make her breakfast and sweetly spell out 'Write the 7 essays for your college applications' in syrup as a gentle reminder that she has some work to do.

July 8, 2011

Oh. Hell. No

I embrace the (legal non-extremist immigrant) melting pot of America.  I love our language that borrows and Americanizes words from other countries, a language shaped and transformed over time by the previously mentioned legal non-extremist immigrants.

I appreciate new words that speak of cultural contributions to our collective society.  Waaaaay back when I was schlepping food and drink for Chili's, you wouldn't believe the number of people that couldn't pronounce 'fajita'.  Heck, they didn't even know how to assemble and eat them, because they were a new contribution to our culinary vocabulary and there really isn't any other 'American' word that accurately describes them.

On the other hand, we've seen and talked about giant clouds of dust and sand in the U.S.of A. before. Much of the southern and western portions of our great country have seen a dust/sandstorm or two in their day.  We even had a decade known as the Dirty Thirties a.k.a. the Dust Bowl.  Now, that seems pretty descriptive to me.

One little old school thing that I cling to is my desktop copy of Roget's Thesaurus.  Flipping through to just a couple of words meaning 'large in size', I easily find at least 50 adjectives that get right to the point; behemothic, colossal, elephantine, humongous, massive, monstrous, gargantuan, immense, stupendous, titanic, tremendous, etc.  I think the English language provides plenty of choices to accurately describe the storm that enveloped Phoenix on Tuesday, which is why I refuse to click play or embed this.

Don't be bringing your Arabic words for 'big sandstorm' to my America, unless you would also like to be looking up the Arabic equivalent to 'ass whooped'.

July 7, 2011

Crossing a line

Tonight a man lost his life at a baseball game.  The fan was at the Texas Ranger's game with his young son and fell over the railing trying to catch a ball that had been tossed into the stands by player Josh Hamilton.

Horrible situation.  Tragic consequence. 

My heart is breaking for the little boy that watched his dad fall to his death.  And for the man that tried to grab him as he went over but was unsuccessful.  And for Josh Hamilton who will probably always second guess throwing that ball to the crowd.

What makes me nauseous is the constant replay of the video footage.  Do we really need to see it?  When will this sort of 'journalism' end?  Even if the immediate family had been notified, I am sure that distant family, friends and co-workers hadn't heard the sad news and instead, watched their friend, boss or uncle die on the evening news.

Damn.

July 6, 2011

1485

One thousand, four hundred and eighty-five.

That is how many new laws we have in the great state of Texas, courtesy of Governor Good Hair and the 82nd Legislature.

To be perfectly honest, the Gov only signed 1,458 of the bills into law, but allowed another 27 measures to go into affect without his signature.

Here in one of the last great frontiers of state's rights and a live and let live mentality, we must have really been lacking to need nearly 1,500 new laws.

Texans can rest easy tonight knowing that it is now legal to catch a catfish with their bare hands (and a license - cha ching!).  Unless they are over 75, then all their fishing is free (this required another law).

While the economy tanks, the TSA gropes and Obamacare is forced down our throats, Texans can relax by playing the newly minted official State Table Game of Texas, a game of 42 in dominoes.

While it will still be considered statutory rape and there can still be a criminal conviction, an 18 or 19-year old who has consensual sex with a minor over the age of 15 won't be required to register as a sex offender.  This one cracks me up, because the language of the law still call the minor involved a 'victim'.  Victim of what, I am left to wonder.

You can ride in a helicopter and shoot feral hogs, all at the same time.  That sounds like a good time, thanks Gov.

At what point do we have a valid challenge to Ignorantia juris non excusat?  How in the world can the average American citizen ever have a comprehensive understanding of all of the laws imposed upon us by our local, county, state and federal governments?  Ignorance of the law is practically guaranteed, due to volume alone.

My home state did pass one notable law:


A person commits an offense if, during the period beginning three hours before the service begins and ending three hours after the service is completed, the person engages in picketing within 1,000 feet of a facility or cemetery being used for a funeral service.

I am sure some ACLU shitheads will file a First Amendment based lawsuit, but I am proud to live in a state that is willing to pass legislation that restricts freaks like those from Westboro.

July 5, 2011

If I ever commit murder, I want that jury

Just over a year ago I dutifully reported for jury duty. I made the first cut, but ultimately wasn't chosen to serve on the jury. What I came away with then, is the same feeling I have today after hearing the Casey Anthony verdict. God help me if my life ever depends on the reasoning process of a jury of my peers.

I've thought about it quite a bit this afternoon, and am sure there is some other ambiguous legal definition, but I took the time to look up the precise definition of the word 'peer':
One that is of equal standing with another : equal; especially : one belonging to the same societal group especially based on age, grade, or status
Our judicial system does nothing to select actual 'peers'.  If they did, Casey Anthony's jury would have been twenty-something white girls with an unnamed baby daddy (and they would have done a better job).  If our legal system actually assembled 'peers', I wouldn't ever fear standing trial.  If I ever end up in the wrong place at the wrong time and end up accused of a crime I didn't commit, I will have no hope of acquittal.  Whatever form of mass-stupidity takes over jurors is sure to sink a decent person like me.

I know full well that juries can only consider evidence that has been presented.  I know that the jurors and legal experts will argue that there were holes in the theories, that there was refutable evidence, that there were too many unanswered questions.  I didn't watch the trial and I really only skimmed news of it every few days.  That was still enough to know that Casey Anthony never gave any indication that she was concerned about the whereabouts of her daughter.  She partied her ass off while her daughter was missing, she didn't call her family in a panic.  She didn't ask for any help in locating her.  She wasn't even the one to make the police report.  Her mother eventually reported that baby girl missing, after 31 days of lies and excuses from Casey.  My son once disappeared in a public place for 3 minutes and I was ready to mobilize the FBI.

She made up some story about a nanny named Zanny.  This is nearly a verbatim example of something my 4-year old would come up with.  'That is my stuffed animal, Jerry the Beary'.

She borrowed a shovel from a neighbor.

She accused her dad of molesting her (but only after being in jail for 3 years).

She allowed/encouraged her defense team to infer that her mother left the pool ladder down allowing Caylee to drown in the pool.  This is after she stole money and a car from her mom.

She laughed, hugged and high-fived her defense team after the verdict.  I guess she forgot that her little girl is dead, and apparently, there is a child murderer running loose on the streets.

In the Scott Peterson trial, the jury was out for 7 days.  This trial they took less than 11 hours to render the verdict.  There obviously wasn't much discussion.  What a bunch of frigging morons.

I don't care what the jury says.  Her ass should have fried.  Even O.J. was surprised by this verdict.

Home of the Brave, Indeed.

Living her dream

Residing on the fringe of the semi-rural suburban outskirts of the Dallas-Fort Worth area means we have to scour several sources when trying to find local information.  We are too small, too far north and in the middle for either of the big cities to wrestle over claiming us as their consistently covered territory.  We identify more closely with the west side of the Metroplex and subscribe to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper, even though they stopped printing the section that covered our local events.

While trying to find out why the highway was closed this morning, I stumbled upon a most entertaining piece of pseudo photo journalism.  I am not sure what else to call it.  Our local Fox affiliate offered up a collection of local mug shots.  Though the news stations don't cover our hard news, a shocking majority of the mugshots they gathered are from criminals apprehended in our area.  The kids and I were rolling on the floor laughing at the combination of facial expressions, tattoos, hairstyles and array of criminal charges. (Hey, it's too damn hot to do much else to entertain them.  I think of it as a tough-love kind of experience for them).

The irony of this lady's clothing choice sent me into hysterics, coupled with the fact that this woman's name is Elizabeth Taylor:


See the entire slideshow here.

July 4, 2011

Independence Day FOD

Two signers of the Declaration of Independence died on the 50th anniversary of that glorious 'first' Fourth.

Last words of Thomas Jefferson on July 4, 1826:
Is it the Fourth? (Asked of his doctor, Robley Dunglison, who replied, "It soon will be.") I resign my spirit to God, my daughter to my country.
Last words of John Quincy Adams later that same day:
(Asked by Mrs. Clark if he knew what day it was.) Oh, yes; it is the glorious Fourth of July. It is a great day. It is a good day. God bless it. God bless you all.  (He then lapsed into unconsciousness. He awakened later, and mumbled) Thomas Jefferson survives (unbeknownst to Adams, Jefferson had died hours earlier at Monticello).
Barack Obama quote on each July 4th:
FORE!

July 3, 2011

Road Tripping

I am disillusioned with my fellow Texans.

I had the immense pleasure of visiting Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park yesterday.  This park encompasses the original town site of Washington, Texas, including Independence Hall, the very site where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed.  There is a lovely (air conditioned) museum detailing those early struggles and offering displays, interactive games and a Texas themed gift shop. 

The most fun my kids had was at the third offering of the park, the Barrington Living History Farm.  This site was the home of the last president of Texas, Anson Jones.  The home, barn, out buildings and land are preserved to reflect the mid-1800's, with costumed workers eager to show their guests how to spin cotton into yarn, plow a furrow in the garden or do laundry the old fashioned way.  Isn't it funny how much kids enjoy that kind of 'work' in the right setting?

On Friday, we were a little early in arriving at our appointed destination, so we took a brief side trip to another state historic site, Monument Hill/Kreische Brewery.  This site memorializes and serves as the resting place for a number of Texans who lost their lives fighting for the independence of our state.  The 'losers' of the Black Bean Lottery are buried here.

While planning our route from barbeque nirvana (and Lordy, was it good) we noticed a small side note that suggested taking a scenic bypass, the La Bahia Scenic Highway, Farm to Market Road 390, on which we accidentally stumbled upon the original site of Baylor University, saw beautiful scenery with views of Somerville Lake in the distance and threaded our way through small towns and quaint one-lane rock tunnels.

So back to that disillusionment thing.  These are red, white and Lonestar, dripping with historical significance kind of places.  Even aside from the significance for Texans, these parks are fun, clean, safe, affordable (one was free, the other cost my whole family $15 for all access).  We were alone at Monument Hill.  There were maybe a dozen or so families at Washington-on-the-Brazos.  WTF? 

The employees were friendly and knowledgeable, something not always so easy to come by in a gummint employee! 

Where the hell are the people?  I think it is embarrassing and frickin' sad that more people probably paid $14 to tour JerryWorld, than those who visited a state park this weekend.  What's that thing about those who don't know history being destined to repeat it? 

July 2, 2011

Not your mother's Jenny Craig plan

I had planned on being in Fredericksburg, Texas this fine weekend, but another opportunity for the entire family to possibly enjoy the beautiful Texas Hill Country together, at a later date, presented itself.  Instead I dropped The Princess off for a weekend of sleep-away camp with her very best friend in the whole wide world - and along with my oldest and youngest children, decided to enjoy the scenic and gastronomic delights of mid-central-southeastern Texas. 

If you are an early riser, you may well be reading this as we are having barbeque for breakfast.  Not just any barbeque, but the legendary Snow's BBQ in Lexington, Texas.  From there, we will be traveling to Giddings, Texas and a stop at the also legendary City Meat Market, to partake of both their BBQ and their uncooked meat selections.

Many a traveler makes the minor detour off of I-35 to Taylor, Lockhart and Luling - as we have before.  The more easterly BBQ trail is something I have wanted to do for years.  We brought a large mostly empty cooler to take some home....but you never know what will make it and what won't.

Also on the itinerary is a stop at the Blue Bell factory store in Brenham and a Sunday morning visit to Weikel's for kolaches. 

Hungry yet?

July 1, 2011

What's good for the goose

Who needs Ipecac to induce vomiting?  If you have swallowed something that you shouldn't, or partake of a binge/purge lifestyle for weight loss, I have stumbled upon an excellent mode of triggering the gag reflex.  Just read the First Wookie's words:
First lady Michelle Obama today spoke in very frank and personal terms to a Massachusetts audience as she described her conversion to a political wife, as well as the toll President Obama’s job takes on him each day.
“I see the worry creasing his face. I hear the passion and determination in his voice. ‘You won’t believe what these folks are going through;’ he told me that last night. ‘Michelle, it is not right. We’ve got to fix this. We have to do more,’” she said during a visit to Boston for a fund-raiser on behalf of the Democratic National Committee.
I wonder if she could be more specific.  What is it that 'these folks are going through' - other than trying to survive under the weight of Blowie's policies that have burdened us?  

'We have to do more'?  No thank you, Mr President, you have done quite enough.

An interesting twist to the referenced news story.  After three-fourths of a page of typical MSM slant, the author gets in a little dig at the end (bear with me, the context is worth it):
The Schusters’ event was planned by Bryan Rafanelli, who also planned two state dinners for the Obamas, as well as the reciprocal dinner they hosted recently in London for Queen Elizabeth II.
It was held outside, under a tent erected against a backdrop of rhododendrons.
The white tent and white fabric draping the poles was enhanced by brilliant, lime-green patterned tablecloths with white leaf-like designs.
The flowers were by Winstons: peonies, hydrangeas and orchids.
The menu, by The Catered Affair, consisted of a crab stack; avocado, tomato, cucumber and mango; a salad of baby mixed lettuces; and cilantro lime vinaigrette.
Dessert was a selection of tartlets.
The first lady wore her hair up, with what appeared to be a white or cream-colored dressed with a black-fleck pattern. She wore high heels. Asked to help a reporter better describe her dress, Rafanelli said simply, “Fabulous.”
When she spoke, the towering first lady eschewed the platform that had been placed behind the microphone for Elaine Schuster’s introduction.
Yet while Schuster spoke from typed notes, the first lady used a TelePrompTer, despite the relatively small and friendly audience.
I have the tiniest glimmer of hope that the media is starting to see things more clearly - or maybe they have just decided not to turn a blind eye any longer.