August 31, 2011

Dry Socket - FML

Today I am envisioning heaven as a place where what you have done, and more importantly, been through in life, gets you more bennies.  Yeah, yeah, I know that it is more PC to think of heaven as an equalizing place where all are new, pure, good and awestruck by the power and beauty of their God.

My way is helping me cope, so don't rain on my parade.

So I am thinking that my heaven is kinda like the airport.  We are all going up, but some might get to board before others, some might have to wait for a seat, some are riding first class with champagne and the soft blankets. 

My current dental situation has elevated me to First Class and the heavenly equivalent of the Hertz Gold Club.  All of life's experiences have added up to give me superior status and some extra heavenly goodies.  I don't have to run through the concourse, I don't have to wait in any lines, I don't even have to check in at the counter - I can walk right on through to my destination. 

Up until now I wasn't acutely aware of what a dry socket entailed.  Sure, I had been warned after my wisdom teeth came out.  Sure, in conversation people have shuddered at the mere mention of the phrase.  OMFG, no one ever said that there would be times that I would gladly trade a child for some pain relief (and I really love my kids).  The doctor never mentioned that the four different numbing medicines he used are also vasoconstrictors and that a blood clot might not even form.  No one ever explained, that in the absence of a blood clot in the space formerly occupied by a tooth, that what remains is exposed nerve endings and bone.

The treatment is moderately effective, but highly unpleasant.  Old fashioned oil of clove is the predominant ingredient.  This is the Lord exacting revenge on behalf of my mother for that Dead Kennedys clove smoking phase I went through as a teenager.  She couldn't stand the smell, now I have to taste it every minute of everyday for two weeks or more. 

This too shall pass.  God doesn't give us more than we can handle.

That which does not kill us makes us raving psycho bitches stronger.

August 30, 2011

Come home safe

Which idiot is responsible for making the decision to keep Americans in space without an American space craft available to bring them home?

I realize that growing up during the Cold War has irrevocably shaped my opinion of the Russians, but even then, why in the world would we depend on another nation to shuttle our astronauts to and from the International Space Station?

Last week when I heard that a Russian Soyuz rocket had crashed shortly after lift-off, I knew that there would be trouble.  If for no other reason than governments, theirs and ours, move at glacial speed when determining the cause of accidents.   It has been nearly a week and they have yet to even recover any of the wreckage.  While NASA says that they are making every resource available to aid the Russians, they aren't saying if Russia has accepted their help.

So now we have two Americans (3 Russians and a Japanese astronaut) floating around in the ISS, with a Soyuz rocket for their ride home.  A rocket that could have something fatally wrong with it.  The combination of that rocket's space shelf life and the looming Russian winter dictate that, barring a miraculous revelation over the cause of the crash, those six guys take their chances and get home sometime in November.

Then the ISS will be flown from controllers on the ground in Clear Lake, Texas.  While the ISS couldn't be in more adept hands, you can't change out a blown space doohickey without a human on board.  Billions of dollars could be squandered because our government chose to put all of our space eggs in one Ruskie basket.

Remember the scene from Apollo 13, when various NASA engineers sit in the room and figure out how to use items on the ship to retrofit a CO2 filter?  None of those men would have ever suggested sending a man into space and leaving him there while NASA disconnects the fuel tanks and drains the Freon on the only functioning personnel ships in the American inventory.  Sure, they might have had to make a square peg fit in a round hole using duct tape and spit - but it was American duct tape and spit that saved Swigert, Haise and Lovell. 

I'm no rocket scientist, but I hit that above link and scrutinized it for several minutes, wondering if there were a way to piece a shuttle back together.  Wondering, if in the grand traditions of the Cold War, maybe, somewhere, somehow, we have hidden away, a vehicle that can rescue our guys, should the Russians prove unable.

When did America decide to trade her self sufficiency for foreign relations?

August 29, 2011

FOD

Long lost Uncle Omar has been found!  Blowie is having the White House chef prepare a special cake to take for the happy reunion.
BARACK Obama's long-lost "Uncle Omar" has been arrested for alleged drink-driving outside Boston and detained as an illegal immigrant, The Times can reveal.

The arrest ends a mystery over the fate of a relative that the US President wrote in his memoir had moved to America from Kenya in the 1960s, although the circumstances of his discovery may now prove to be an embarrassment for the White House.
Official records say Onyango Obama, 67, was picked up outside the Chicken Bone Saloon in Framingham, Massachusetts, at 7.10pm on August 24. Police say he nearly crashed his Mitsubishi 4x4 into a patrol car, and then insisted that the officer should have given way to him. A report filed with the Framingham District Court said that a breathalyser at the police station registered his blood alcohol at 0.14mg/100ml of blood, above the state limit of 0.08mg.

The Chicken Bone Saloon?  You can take the Obama out of Kenya, but you can't take the Kenya out of the Obama...

Blowie continues to find back door methods for illegal immigrants to stay in our country.  The article reports that the same lawyer who worked as a front for the White House to get asylum for illegal represented Aunt Zeituni Onyango has been retained for Uncle O.

Importing voters

August 28, 2011

Bad News, Good News, breast edition

Ouch!
A woman’s breast implant ruptured after she was shot in the chest last week with a paintball pellet, The Sun reports.
The 26-year-old’s soft-gel implant ruptured when the paintball hit her breast at 190 mph.
The injury is believed to be the first of its kind, according to the paper.
That's the bad news.  The good news is that it wasn't Candace Swanepoel:


Denny didn't post boobage this weekend, so I was feeling sorry for the guys, yet not willing to provide enough bare skin to attract Toejam's comments.

The Circle of Life

Boom is writing her first practice commentary for Economics today.  Over the next several months, she will write three 'for a grade' commentaries of economics related news articles that will be assessed by her Economics teacher, as well as being placed in her official portfolio that may or may not be randomly selected for moderation by the IBO.

The hardest part of this exercise, so far, is finding an article that is heavy on facts and light on opinion, so that Boom's commentary isn't affected by the slant of the original author.  (She found what she needed via Whited's blogroll).  Boom's econ teacher is (thank you, Lord) good at teaching and remaining moderate during class discussions.  Boom has not been able to determine his political position, which means he is doing his job of educating, rather than indoctrinating.  His love of Pink Floyd and Monty Python bodes well, IMHO.

As I have said before, this is where my ass starts to show.  Boom is a senior in high school, learning things that I either learned in college, as an adult, or never learned.  Some of her subject matter is well beyond my grasp, though, bless her heart, she doesn't immediately realize it.

Part of me thinks that this is all part of God's master plan to prepare me for that day, late next summer, when Boom drives off to college.  Sure, I will miss my oldest child - but it will also be a relief to be the smartest person in the house again. 

August 27, 2011

Down in the mouth

My 3-5 month dental endeavor kicked off yesterday with the extraction of one angry infected tooth.  The procedure itself wasn't terribly complicated, but my history with anesthetics is not a good one.

I've always had issues with 'getting numb'.  As a kid, no one believes you and as an adult, the medical establishment tends to doubt just as much.  It is how people like me get reputations for being a biter at the dentist's office.   But, hey, there is some validation in having the doc realize that you aren't just making it up.  I believe he was on the third round of injections when he hit a spot that was still quite hot - I jumped and he said, 'Wow, you still aren't numb there!'.  And then he called for two other anesthetics, explaining that sometimes the pH is different (or something)...

See, at this point, we had cranked up the nitrous to 60% and, even though I had my iPod, I wasn't using it because the doc had a rockin' station going and we were jamming to some Stevie Ray Vaughan.  Man, that is a fun ride.  I have joked with my general dentist that when the school comes calling for an auction donation for their annual fund raiser, that she should skip the 'free whitening' coupon and give an hour on the nitrous bottle.  There are a bunch of harried moms that would fight tooth and nail for that auction item. 

The upshot to the numbing battle is that it tends to last for hours longer than normal, since they use so much.  My jaw didn't start to throb until about 4 am. 

I'm headed back to the couch for awhile.  Ya'll enjoy your Saturday.

August 26, 2011

Their punishment should mirror the crime

Have you ever noticed that parents who abuse their children by starvation have never missed a meal themselves?  I am sure there is some deep psychological explanation that connects gluttonous, obese white trash with their impulse to deny their children food.  Or they just eat it all themselves.

In this most recent case, in a two-month long streak of record setting heat, these two wastes of oxygen chose to punish, and ultimately kill, a child by denying him water:

Photo of murdering fuckwads from Fox 4, DFW



For at least 5 days, this pair of murderers denied a 10-year old boy water. At times they made him stand on an X they put on the floor, or next to an X they put on a window, with the brutal summer sun streaming in.

Some days they booted him outside to play in the heat, but threatened that he was not allowed to have water.

This boy and his twin were spending their COURT ORDERED visitation with their biological father and stepmother. As you might have guessed, this severe punishment had something to do with some accusation of some small wrong done to the stepmother's biological child. Of-fucking-course it did.

I know plenty of good step parents, plenty of divorced people that have done just fine raising their kids and spending time with them. Then there are these kinds of people. Everyone involved in the situation had been investigated by CPS on a prior occasion. When will the courts learn that every situation is different and unique - and it is usually the people that can't afford decent legal representation that get stuck with the 'standard' support and visitation, regardless of extenuating circumstances or the safety of the children?

Our court system is the least qualified place to determine what is best for a kid.

August 25, 2011

Fair Weather Friends

Those crazy Vineyardians, they aren't so crazy about Blowie anymore.  I am really starting to have a little more optimism about the 2012 election.  It is comments like this that give me hope:
“I just have to say I feel really uncomfortable, because I love loving him,’’ said Leslie Pearlson, a real estate broker on the island.
And this:
“I think a lot of people in ’08 felt, ‘Hey, here comes a breath of fresh air, and maybe this guy can put an end to a lot - not all of it, but a lot - of the foolishness that goes on,’ ’’ Alley said. “But he hasn’t been very good at that.’’
And this, too:
She said that as a business owner she does not have time to worry a lot about what goes on in Washington.
“I want to live my life and I want all that to be in order, and they’re doing their jobs - and now they’re not,’’ she said.
She thinks another standoff, with Obama and Republicans blaming it on each other, would so disgust her and others that they would skip voting in 2012 altogether.
Dare we hope that these idiots will just stay home on election day?  '...as a business owner she does not have time to worry a lot about what goes on in Washington...'  Are you fucking kidding me?  You think that owning a business is an excuse for being a bystander in our representative form of government?  You think the way to effect change is to let other people figure out who to vote for?  Where have we failed?  Is it education?  How can so many people not understand the concept of government OF and BY the people?  We won't ever get near what our founding fathers intended if we become a nation of QUITTERS.

Still, I would rather the Blowie minions stay home and STFU until he is voted out.

August 24, 2011

How a misspent youth comes back to haunt you

Twenty-some years ago I was working for Chili's, my first food service industry job.  My usual schedule was get up around noon, go to work around 3, work the evening shift, drink in the parking lot or go to a party, go home and do it all over again.  We had a nifty system worked out among the staff, that the first server cut took everyone's order and money and made the run to the liquor store.

During this time, I required some significant dental work.  My current dentist says that some people just have weak enamel, and I am one of them.  My work schedule and the time needed for the dental work necessitated that my dental appointments take place early in the morning.

So bright and early one morning 20+ years ago, I stumbled out of bed, somewhere between still slightly intoxicated and extremely hungover, and drove to the dentist's office for two root canals.  Now, I did the whole extreme brushing, flossing and gargling thing that is usual prior to a dental visit - but that doesn't do much good when Budweiser is venting from every pore in your skin. 

You would have thought that the dentist would appreciate a patient that sleeps through most of a root canal, yet that old codger's thinly veiled disdain is one of my few clear memories of the experience.  In retrospect, I think he was intentionally careless and rushed through the procedure.

If dental work, especially crowns, weren't so damn expensive, I wouldn't have had to work so many shifts to pay for it, and thus, would not have been tempted to share in the fellowship of the after-work drinking party.  The dental community shares in the blame for my condition that day.

Fast forward 4 or 5 years and one of the teeth started acting up a bit.  The thing with root canal teeth is that they aren't supposed to have any feeling left in them.  The procedure is supposed to remove all living tissue and nerves and fill the canals with an inert material.  Feeling in the tooth is a failure of the procedure - it means the dentist missed something.  Eventually I had a full blown abscess.  I was six months pregnant.  With military dental care.  The only course of 'treatment' was extraction of the tooth and crown that had cost me over $2,000.

Last month I had a second root canal on the remaining tooth.  During the two and a half hour visit, the endodontist found a hole through the root of the tooth and a canal that was missed during the original procedure.  He explained that if too much force is used in the procedure, the tiny files they use go right on through the tooth.  He, obviously, didn't say whether he thought the prior dentist did it, or if he caused it.  He did what he could, but was pessimistic that the issue would resolve.  It did not and this morning I will be at an oral surgeon's office scheduling an extraction, a bone graft and implant.  I can't wait to see what the total bill will be.

I don't remember what a six-pack cost back in the early 1990's, but it will ultimately be the most costly beer buzz I ever had.

August 23, 2011

This really ruined my afternoon commute








No serious injuries, but they decided the best way to deal with 5,600 gallons of jet fuel was to let it burn itself out. 

The Cowboy Way

Being a Texan, I appreciate 'Cowboy Values'.  I don't know about what is going on in other parts of the country, but around here there are some major trends that circle around buzzwords like; rugged, cowboy, south/western, heritage.  From home decor to cowboy churches, the Spirit of the West is thriving.

The Tea Party might have missed it a little.  While many of the ideals of the Tea Party, Libertarians and Cowboys are similar - the cowboy way might be a more accurate descriptor for people like me.

I am not talking about hitching up the wagon to go to town or rustlin' up the cattle.  I am talking about the core values of both historical and modern day cowboys.  An honest day's work for an honest wage.  A true community, where those with the means help out those without - but everyone knows who the lazy drunks are and don't feel compelled to enable them with charity.  Family that spends time together.  Children that spend more time in the dirt than they do in front of the TV.  People with common Christian values that they aren't ashamed of.  People with integrity.  When life gets tough, they pick themselves up by their bootstraps, get back in the saddle, and push forward.  People who don't care what other people do, as long as it doesn't harm anyone else.  Cowboys discipline their own.  Cowboys don't need to blame anyone for their hardships.        

This guy was on Fox & Friends and he makes some of the same arguments:



Amidst all of the ugly political issues in our nation, I think that our collective moral decay is the root of all evil. Decent people with a strong sense of right and wrong would not lead our country the way it is led now.

And on a side note, WTF is up with Karl Rove? Did this man not get the 'we all need to stick together to get rid of Blowie' memo?  If he can't say nice things about every candidate running against Blowie, he needs to learn to STFU.

August 22, 2011

FOD v2

I saw it at Parkway Rest Stop who got it here via here.

FOD

This photo might be contraband.  I had read that the White House was not releasing photos of Blowie playing golf, in some weird effort to deflect criticism about his 11 day Martha's Vineyard vacation.  .  

Thank God that Keith Koffler keeps count, I am not sure I could keep up, otherwise. This photo documents Blowie's second round of golf this vacation. 20th round this year, 78th of his presidency. While 'Rome' and Tripoli burn, no less.

AP Photo/Steven Senne

August 21, 2011

Word Play

Four kids and forty-mumble mumble years have added some interesting variety to my vocabulary. 

I tend to be kind of a potty mouth around the house, which is another parenting failure of mine.  My kids do know that there are words that mom says that they better not be caught saying (though Crash does occasionally get away with 'scheisse').  I haven't always been such a swearer, but I think that adulthood and its responsibilities demanded a stress-relieving outlet and creative cursing is the thing for me.

To get back on my original track; there are unique words my family uses to describe everyday objects, as well as words that were once mispronounced by children and the alternative stuck.

Around my house, cars, trucks, pretty much anything with wheels - toy or real-life - is referred to as a 'vroom' or 'vroom-vroom'.  Vroom is also used as a verb, to describe riding or driving.  For instance, Crash will ask if I have seen his blue vroom vroom, or he may say that he wants to go outside and vroom his bike. 

Amongst the girls, devices that hold hair into ponytails are called hair doodles.

The Princess calls genital areas the 'wrong spot' or 'no-no square'.  As in, 'I threw the ball and it hit him in the wrong spot'.  Or, 'When I jumped off the diving board by bikini fell down and showed my wrong spot'.  The 'no-no square' verbiage has a song that goes along with it.  'Don't touch me there, that's my no-no square'.  I have no idea where she learned it and am not sure if I should work harder to get her to use a more positive euphemism.  Mr. Harper is thrilled by the negative connotation.

Boom and her teenage friends have some words that serve as helpful code around her siblings.  My favorites are; 'playing Parcheesi' for hooking up and 'area 51' for male genitalia.

We tend to dismiss French words and their pronunciations by saying the hard 'T' sound in words like depot, crochet and buffet, just for fun.  I also like to reverse it and request the song 'Margaritaville' by Jimmy Buffay.

Allergies are playfully called 'agerllies', after Bang's inability to pronounce the word as a toddler.
  
Until two minutes ago, when I looked it up online, I had no idea that the proper name of this type of sprinkler was an 'orbit':


Around our house, we differentiate this sprinkler from the oscillating ones, by calling it the 'racist' sprinkler.  In my mind I will always equate these sprinklers with an old joke about 4 Mexicans, a Chinese person and 4 black people.  The punchline is comprised of racial slurs, but describes the sounds this sprinkler makes to a tee.

This post resulted from our newest family word.  The Princess, either due to the mouthful of metal or her age, is unable to pronounce the name of the state formerly governed by Mitt Romney.  After hearing her say it a couple of times, the rest of the family, in what I think is a mob mentality-type Freudian slip, can't say it right, either.  It seems that the 6th state admitted to the union will forever, at Harper House, be called, 'Mass-a-two-shits'.

August 20, 2011

Tech Support

Mujibar was trying to get a tech support job. 
The hiring manager said,
'Mujibar, you have passed all the tests, except one.
Unless you pass it, you cannot qualify for this job.'
Mujibar said, 
'I am ready.'
The manager said,
'Make a sentence using the words
Yellow,
Pink, and Green ....'
Mujibar said,
'The telephone goes green, green,
And I pink it up, and say,
Yellow
, this is Mujibar.'

August 19, 2011

A quick post as I wade through the laundry

We are back home and I am digging out from suitcases full of laundry while trying to prep for school next week.  Prep means nagging the kids to finish up those annoying summer reading assignments.

This article has me fired up, though I don't have time to do it much justice right now. 
It sounds like a pretty good deal: Retire at age 38 after 20 years of work and get a monthly pension of half your salary for the rest of your life. All you have to do is join the military. But, as the nation continues on a fiscal path of insecurity, is it time to reassess this model?
As the nation tightens its budget belt, the century-old military retirement system has come under attack as unaffordable, unfair to some who serve and overly generous compared with civilian benefits.
'20 years of work' that equates to putting their lives on the line for people that now say 'everything is on the table'.  GFY.  20 years of being separated from their families.  In the case of lower enlisted, it often means years of pay so low that they can't feed their families and have to use food stamps.  These aren't unemployed deadbeats, they are soldiers.

The article points out that 83% of service members don't stay long enough to receive retirement.  They can serve 19 years and they get NOTHING.  It is a 20 year commitment to our country or nothing.

Boom is considering ROTC in college and she is likely to apply to the Army's Veterinary Medicine program once in grad school.  The benefits clearly outweigh the service commitment, which is a driving force behind our volunteer military.  The government has been moving the goal posts for veterans for decades, changing veteran's health care coverage, changing the retirement pay calculations, limiting services and other benefits that were promised when so many signed up for their service.  It is a wonder that anyone voluntarily serves.

Leave our military alone.  If anyone deserves a Cadillac health plan and a no-worries retirement fund, it is our military.

August 18, 2011

Honoring a Soldier

We are headed home from Missouri today, after vacationing for a few days before the school year begins.  I always like to take a short trip or plan some big activity the week before school, so my kids have something to say or write for that 'What I Did This Summer' assignment.

When we walked out of our lodge on Wednesday morning, the flags were flying at half staff.  Upon returning, we asked the front desk staff what the occasion was.

Turns out that the Governor of Missouri ordered the flags flown at half staff to honor a Missourian that was among those killed in the Chinook helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

While a lovely honor.  Even more impressive was that the staff here could immediately, accurately and reverently answer my question.  Every state should honor their military with the same level of consideration. 

August 17, 2011

It's the everything, stupid

It's the economy.  Unemployment.  Obamacare.  Big government.  Regulation.  Illegal immigration.  The wars.  Spending.  Debt.  Ignorance.  Arrogance.  Narcissism.   

There are any number of HUGE, SIGNIFICANT issues that this election cycle is, and should be, about.  Yet, what is the left stooping to?  Crass personal attacks on candidates.

I won't promote the photos by posting them here, but apparently, the best response the left can come up with to a day's worth of campaign talking points is to publish photos of Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry eating corn dogs.

Posting the photos wasn't enough, they had to get all trashy with the captions and headlines.  Including:
“GOP Candidates Gone Wild”
“Totally Butch”(accompanying a corn dog eating photo of Marcus Bachmann)
"Gov. Rick Perry deep throats corn dog at Iowa State Fair"
As many of the comments point out, a similar photo or caption of Barney Frank would be met with outrage.
Why the double standard?  Is this really what we have to look forward to for the next 14+ months?  

August 16, 2011

Do the uninsured pay the same rate I am charged?

A couple of weeks back I spent the afternoon and evening at the hospital with my oldest child.  We were sitting on the couch, watching the boys battle on the Wii, discussing other indoor heat-beating activities we could do.  Boom was fine one second and the next was clutching her head, curling up in a ball and beginning to cry from a sudden and quite severe pain in her head.  We have since learned this is called a 'thunderclap' headache.

We went through the usual suspect symptom list and when she started to mumble and slur some words, I decided that we would go to the ER to rule out an aneurysm.  Apparently my concerns were well-founded, since when I mentioned the symptoms to ER personnel, they came out immediately to evaluate her and order a CT.

Not that I was fooled or anything, but the recent saturation of billboards pronouncing what the average ER wait time is for a given hospital had me thinking that something had changed. The carefully chosen wording on the signs, 'you will be seen in _______ minutes', never indicates that you will be seen by a doctor within that allotted time, just seen.

No big deal for me, as getting the CT ordered was what I had came for and, apparently, the latest standard of care allows for a PA to get those wheels in motion.

Though she's never had a migraine before, and lacked every other common symptom except for pain in the head, the negative CT lead the PA to treat it as such and administer a migraine medication (inducing about 20 minutes of side-splittingly funny, loopy teenager behavior) and tell us that the doc would be in to answer any questions before we left.  We were going to be in and out of the ER in under 2 hours - woo hoo!

I am left to wonder if the doctor had been at all involved in Boom's care up until that point.  She read the notes, asked the same questions and came to a much different conclusion.  We weren't going anywhere until we were sure that there was no bleeding in Boom's head.  She looked kind of incredulous that anyone else had come to a different conclusion.

The next procedure would normally be a lumbar puncture a.k.a. spinal tap to test the cerebrospinal fluid for blood or infection.  I have been down that road more than once, so when the doc said the word 'OR', and offered an MRI, I chose that path.

It was interesting to me that the doctor said that a lumbar puncture 'is not a procedure we can force you to have' and then mentioned the most frequent side effect, which is a horrendous headache.  Cruel bit of irony, there.  Mr. Harper went that route once, seeing a neurologist for a migraine, having the tap, getting the excruciating headache and needing another spinal procedure (a blood patch) to stop the suffering.  I don't recall him being given a choice, or being told that an MRI and MRA were just as effective, if not more so, to detect a bleed.  I appreciated the choice, in Boom's case.

Boom had the MRI and MRA and was observed for a few hours before being sent home with a diagnosis of...headache.  Migraine in pain level, but luckily without the light sensitivity or nausea, though they sent her home with meds for all.

Fast forward to this week when the insurance EOBs started rolling in.  The very first one indicated a $987 charge for 'surgery'.  She didn't have any sort of surgery, so I called Blue Cross asking for the coding number and description (which shouldn't be such a freaking mystery or convoluted system).  The hospital had charged for the lumbar puncture that we declined!  Though the insurance company says the hospital fixed it, I will wait to see what I actually get billed for.

Next came the EOB for the imaging.  $4110 for the MRI and $4734 for the MRA.  No wonder the lumbar puncture is the first course of action, it's the cheapest route.  Well, cheapest if you aren't among the 30% that get the spinal headache and have to have further treatment.

Anyone want to guess what that single injection of Imitrex cost?  $457.  Insert your own rant about prescription drug prices here.

Of the $14865 billed, insurance covered $5061 of the charges, which is the total of their allowed charges.  Of course, they only paid $3968, so I am stuck with the rest.  But, where does that other $9800 of 'not covered and you can't be billed the difference' go?  Is it all just inflated to get the maximum payment, or does someone really lose money in the deal?  (Other than me).  If I didn't have insurance, would the charges look the same?

August 15, 2011

FOD

A collection of Blowie photos presented as a juxtaposition to the Perry photos from yesterday:



August 14, 2011

President Goodhair

Texas Governor Goodhair is running for president.  I gotta say, he's the best use of my vote, considering the current GOP field.  Sure, there are people I would rather elect, but they either aren't running or don't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning.  This is no election to water down the field with independents, Blowie must go.

Yeah, yeah, there have been some things he didn't do well in our state.  Heck, he used to be a Democrat, something you are sure to hear plenty about in the coming months.  But, Texas has weathered this recession better than any other state.  When the mind of the people is on the economy (stupid), it is hard to ignore what has and hasn't happened here in Tejas.  Perry knows how to build a good team. 

Perry looks presidential.  I know that sounds superficial, but it is important.  He is confident, decent looking, affable and takes us back to the sort of president that is at home on a horse, using a chainsaw or hefting a weapon (to shoot a coyote that is after his dog - it doesn't get more American than that!).  A smart campaign staff is going to push those Blowie hanging curtain and pedaling his bike in mom jeans photos alongside pictures like this:




I think he has a shot (pun intended).

August 13, 2011

Your rodent hair is in my insect fragment

CenTexTim has a post up that talks a bit about the overwhelming (redundant, idiotic and stifling) amount of regulation we have in the United States.  In the comments, I mentioned this Glenn Beck clip that provides an excellent visualization of how much regulation is associated with Obamacare alone.

This morning on the local news, there was a plea for blood donors.  The nice lady explained that the record heat has affected their ability to donate because the Food and Drug Administration has strict temperature guidelines for blood collection.  She pointed out that storage isn't the issue, but that they haven't been able to meet the temperature guidelines of everything being between 59 and 77 degrees.  The FDA says the ambient air temp can't be over 77.  The equipment and medical supplies can't be over 77 degrees.  The cookies and free T-shirts can't be over 77 degrees.  Those big bloodmobiles sitting parked in our record high overnight lows in the mid 80's simply can't be cooled sufficiently to get every surface and item within the accepted range and hold it there as temps go well over 100.  Several times the nice lady reiterated that there was no danger to the blood and that they had adequate refrigeration, as she just as frequently uttered the letters F.D.A. with thinly veiled contempt.

If the blood is safe and the donors are willing, why does the government need to be involved? 

Living in Germany for three years, my kids became big fans of Kinder Eggs.  I was reminded of them in a slideshow on Fox News titled 'Foods You Can't Buy in the United States'.  A Kinder Egg is a plastic egg encased in a thin layer of chocolate.  Inside the eggs are small toys, usually requiring some assembly.  The packaging is duly marked to warn of the small parts and danger to children under 3.

The parts are larger than Tic Tacs, but those can be sold to a child.  Barbie shoes are similar in size, but Mattel is still raking in dough from those.  The list of toys or parts of toys that are similar or smaller is endless.  Apparently, putting the toys inside of a chocolate covered plastic egg confuses kids into thinking that the toy is edible, according to the FDA.  The decision maker must not have any children, as the whole point of the Kinder Egg is to get to the TOY.

In April of 2010, the FDA set up a sting operation and shutdown an Amish farmer for distributing milk.  Unpasteurized milk.  Raw milk.  Your tax dollars paid for some 'agent' to set up fake accounts and take delivery of this contraband to bolster the criminal case of people buying milk straight from the cow.  My mother is lucky to have survived a childhood filled with daily milk abuse, as her brothers shot her in the face with milk straight from the source, and then, GASP!, the whole family consumed the unpasteurized dairy products.  

As usual, there are no statistics to site, no dead-from-choking little kid bodies or people killed by warm blood or fresh milk, because - the government will tell you - they have prevented those deaths by regulation.  You can't have a chocolate coated Kinder Egg, but you can have plain chocolate with up to 60 insect fragments per 100 grams.  Want some peanut butter in your chocolate?  That's thirty more insect fragments and a rodent hair. Gag. 

I haven't really even scratched the surface on all of the 'oversight' that the FDA is charged with.  They do too much.  They have too much power.  They have stripped us of personal responsibility.  They think we are ignorant and incapable of making informed decisions.  They refuse to let us make our own choices, determine our level of acceptable risk and enjoy or suffer the consequences.   They are the first government agency to get the ax when I am president.

August 12, 2011

Dude, R.I.P. Jani Lane

Half an hour ago, one of my kids was asking me who Frankie Valli was, noting that he would be appearing at the state line casino in a few weeks.  I was explaining that he was a musician from my mother's era, but that he had a cameo in the movie Grease, which might explain why he looked somewhat familiar to the kids.  I jokingly said that I wasn't aware that Valli was still alive, much less touring.

Now I read that Jani Lane, lead singer of hairband Warrant, has died.  I feel old.  And bummed.  I loved this song, back in the Spandex day...

Who are these people?

Someone prayed too hard or something and there was a brief disruption in our miserable heat.  Now, I am sick of it, my yard is dead, my water bill has doubled solely from watering enough to keep my foundation from cracking and I paid $122 for one bale of hay yesterday.  BUT, we were two days short of the record for number of consecutive days over 100 - and we have another 10 or more ahead of us.  The temporary break in the heat didn't bring any rain or lasting relief, so WTF?  I wanted a T-shirt or something that said I survived the long hot summer of 2011. 

Local news has been heavy on heat-related stories.  After reading an article about cloud seeding, my curiosity was piqued and I decided to do a little Googling.

Holy Crap.  Did you know that there are people in the world that think airplane vapor trails are really a secret government conspiracy dumping chemicals all over the United States?  It makes for some hilarious reading.

Who are these people?  I really had no idea that this conspiracy existed.  Now I am wondering if anyone I know believes this crap.  One of the theories is that the government is spreading a chemical that works as a sunscreen to slow global warming!  I wonder what SPF that is.

It is too strange to dwell on, but if you want a couple of laughs, go here or here.

August 11, 2011

A simple truth that must change

Not sure who to attribute it to, if you know, enlighten me.  This is the simple truth:
The problems we face today are there because the people who WORK for a living are outnumbered by those who VOTE for a living. 

You say you'll change the constitution

Poor CharlieDelta, he can't help it if he is a native of the left coast.  This will get him fired up...
California’s complicated gun laws may soon become crystal clear, as some politicians are currently trying to close the open carry loophole. This would effectively eliminate the right to carry a firearm as a private citizen anywhere in California.
Crazifornia's current gun laws are ridiculous.  CD frequently blogs about the limitations and miles of red tape one has to go through to purchase and own firearms in the state.  The article sums it up this way: 
For 99.9% of Californians, you can’t carry your handgun concealed, you can’t open carry it loaded, but you can open carry it unloaded.
And now they want to abolish carrying it, period.  For those of you thinking, 'Wait a minute, they can't do that!  It's a second amendment right to bear arms'.  Yeah, that's the problem.

Crazifornia doesn't seem too concerned with the Constitution.  They aren't even too concerned with their own laws:
Sam Wolanyk doesn’t want to see that (abolishing the 2nd Amendment) happen. He is an advocate for open carry- which in California is legal if the weapon is completely unloaded. To make his point, Wolanyk carries a pistol on his belt with a detached magazine on his other hip while he walks around downtown San Diego.
This public display in support of the 2nd Amendment has already created problems with local authorities. Despite the fact that carrying an unloaded handgun in the open is completely legal under California law, in 2010 police drew their pistols on Wolanyk, threw him on the ground, and allegedly said “we don’t care what the law is, you can’t do that.”
Is it any wonder why the government wants the citizenry to be unarmed?  I don't think that it is any accident that words like 'revolution', 'uprising' and 'terrorist' have been used to describe the growth and membership of the Tea Party.  From one point of view, it connotes the determination of the people to effect change, to radically change the government.  For the government to call conservative, small government-minded people 'terrorists' labels them dangerous and strikes a chord invoking images of Oklahoma City, 9/11, Fort Hood, Arizona.  It gets the anti-gunners all twisted up.

I think states like Crazifornia are intentionally trying to disarm their people for fear of a real revolution.  

August 10, 2011

Looks that Kill

Old people think I hate them.

I don't.  Delivering Meals on Wheels in my community, I have learned more about history - real history - than I ever learned from books or professors.  We have an extended network of pseudo-grandparents that we think of as family.  Alas, those aren't the old people that think I hate them.

I estimate that there are 10 old people seething with misplaced anger toward me this morning.  This small, albeit vocal, group of over 65ers have been demanding, for the past two years, that our town freeze their property tax rates.  My statement that I was happy with their current exemption was met with visual daggers.  I should have stopped there, but I even said that I thought it was overly generous, and financially risky, that it had been raised the previous year, considering the economy.

Here in Texas, towns can grant dollar amount exemptions or they can freeze tax rates for over 65 and disabled persons.  Exemptions can be revisited and adjusted annually.  A tax freeze is forever and irrevocable.  Anyone with a basic grasp of economics and the understanding that 55-60% of municipal budgets in Texas are supported by property taxes can clearly see what freezing a tax rate forever would do. Our town would become a mecca for people over 65. 

As it is, tax exemptions reduce our town's taxable value by $200 million dollars.  That's alot for a town of just over 3,000.  And our tax rate is one of the lowest in the area, at .37.  One of the 'ladies' that is the most bitter had a town tax bill of $208 last year.  Cry me a river lady.

When towns are having to cut services to EVERYONE, closing libraries, pools, parks, leaving roads unpaved - why does a small group of people think that they should get special treatment?  This small group is the same one demanding more and specialized services.  They want a tax freeze and a senior center to hang out at.  Our police department is down a squad car until the next fiscal year, because we can't afford to replace it - but they are screeching about a place to play bingo.  Leadership is about making decisions for everyone, not just a small specialized group of people with the loudest voices.

It's a lesson that is hard to teach at this level.  I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that our nation's politicians don't understand it, either.

August 8, 2011

Low Tide

The Dims are beginning to turn on their Messiah.  From Drew Westen in the New York Times
THE real conundrum is why the president seems so compelled to take both sides of every issue, encouraging voters to project whatever they want on him, and hoping they won’t realize which hand is holding the rabbit. That a large section of the country views him as a socialist while many in his own party are concluding that he does not share their values speaks volumes — but not the volumes his advisers are selling: that if you make both the right and left mad, you must be doing something right.
Some key phrases from the rest of the article that caused the old leg tingle for me:
...he is simply not up to the task by virtue of his lack of experience and a character defect that might not have been so debilitating at some other time in history...

... a president who either does not know what he believes or is willing to take whatever position he thinks will lead to his re-election...

...his stories virtually always lack one element: the villain who caused the problem, who is always left out, described in impersonal terms, or described in passive voice, as if the cause of others’ misery has no agency and hence no culpability...
And my favorite passage:
Those of us who were bewitched by his eloquence on the campaign trail chose to ignore some disquieting aspects of his biography: that he had accomplished very little before he ran for president, having never run a business or a state; that he had a singularly unremarkable career as a law professor, publishing nothing in 12 years at the University of Chicago other than an autobiography; and that, before joining the United States Senate, he had voted "present" (instead of "yea" or "nay") 130 times, sometimes dodging difficult issues.
I think the tide is turning.  Really turning.  Even Maher and his panel have declared Blowie done.  Democratic blogs and bloggers are now declaring Obama to be a closet Republican.  That's their out, you see.  'He fooled us'.  We still stand for all the things he said he stood for, but he disappointed us.  That's the next mantra - blame Blowie.  The Dims have just added another person to the roster of people to blame for whatever ails them.  Right now, the president is both their problem and their PR solution. 

It is a proud day in Harper-land, when formerly extreme left Blowie supporting blogs have better anti-Obama graphics than 'we' have had.  If my family survives until the next election, I have some hope of salvaging our American Dream.


FOD - The Blame Game

To begin, I swiped this from Leslie:
"We've weathered the Arab Springs effect on oil and gas prices. The Japanese earthquake and tsunami's effect on supply chains. The extraordinary economic uncertainty in Europe and recently markets around the globe have taken a bumpy ride," Obama said this morning.
If you are keeping track, Blowie blamed our economic situation on

The Arab Spring
The Japanese Tsunami
Uncertainty in Europe and
The bumpy ride of global markets

John Kerry and David Axelrod blame the US credit downgrade on the Tea Party.

Bawney Fwank blames military spending.

Timothy Geithner thinks the boys over at the S&P just have 'terrible judgement'.

And we can't forget the tried and true 'inheritance blame'.  From Blowie's birthday/fundraiser speech:
"But the thing that we all ought to remember, is that as much good as we have done, precisely because the challenges were so daunting, precisely because we were inheriting so many challenges, that we're not even halfway there yet."
He might not have named Bush, but he surely meant it.

Interestingly enough, considering his love of cameras - Blowie has not issued any statement on the credit downgrade.

While Blowie laid low this weekend, Governor Goodhair prayed for him and the nation.

August 7, 2011

Fishers of Men

I produce a music festival for the organization that I work for.  While not of a musical genre that I ever was a fan of, these past eight years have certainly made me appreciate the immense talent of the musicians that I work with.  This song stopped me in my tracks the first time I heard it.  Literally stopped me cold.  There are no effects.  One single microphone and four voices.  This is the studio version but you can click on over and watch any of the bootleg concert footage of the same and see that it never changes.  Name one current pop star who could perform without voice manipulation or under the cover of instrumentation.

 

August 6, 2011

Rest In Peace

A prayer for the 30 American military members killed in Afghanistan.  Prayers for their families and friends.  No loss is insignificant, and families across our nation get sad news from the military everyday.  They, too, weigh on my heart.  While their deaths are no more or less significant, the loss of 30 brave Americans at once demands our attention.

I won't desecrate their sacrifice by using their deaths as a point in a political argument, but must say that any person - politician, bean counter, commander - that does anything less than giving our military members every resource that they need, should suffer no less a fate.

What happened to our collective patriotism?  I have ideas and opinions, but again, this isn't the post for them.  Thirty Americans lost their lives in the line of duty.  While we complain about the economy, the weather, the lack of leadership in Washington - they fight.  While we sit in air conditioning, go to the mall, the movies, eat at restaurants, kiss our loved ones goodnight - they fight.

While we enjoy our freedoms, our liberty, our happy lives - they fight.  The least we can do is remember them.

August 5, 2011

Pee(Wee) your pants funny

Because a picture is worth a thousand words...

click for more adventures with PeeWee and the Cowgirls

A new political party

One of the top stories over on The Blaze this morning was about Jon Stewart's take on the Ground Zero cross lawsuit.  You know, the one that some atheist group has filed to keep a cross from being displayed at the 9/11 Memorial in New York.

Jon has come a little bit toward the middle over the years and tends to take aim toward the left a little more often than he used to.  Still, it isn't often that I take notice of his rants.  But this one is spot on.
Stewart took a stance in support of the cross’ display and against those opposing it, asking atheists:

“…why do you give a sh*t? That cross is an artifact. It was found at Ground Zero. It has come to mean something to people who view it as a symbol of comfort.”
Stewart nailed it (forgive the pun).  Why in the world do people go out of their way to restrict the freedoms of other people, especially when it does absofuckinglutely nothing to just leave it be?  They hide behind their religion (and yes, atheism is a religion) instead of just being honest and saying that they are petty, hateful people.

At least when my 4-year old hides the Wii controllers in his room, he honestly says that he did so no one else could play without him.

Jon Stewart's comment should become a movement, heck, it should become a political party.  (Remember the 'rent is too damn high' party?) 

'Why do you give a shit?' could become the political litmus test for every issue.  It would revolutionize town hall meetings and candidate debates.  All the moderator would have to do is name a topic, followed by, 'Why do you give a shit?'

Other variables would be 'Why should I give a shit?', 'Why don't you give a shit?' and 'What will it take to make you give a shit?'.

The Why Do You Give A Shit? party, not taking any more shit since 2011.  

August 4, 2011

What I really meant was...

Each of my children has their own 'thing' that motivates them.  A frequent exchange heard is, 'If I pick up my room, then can I ________?'.   If/then statements abound.

If my children completed all of their chores and tasks as negotiated and I, then, reneged on my end of the deal, I would lose their respect, my credibility and my ability to effectively motivate them in the future.  Right?

So, why does Blowie think he can get away with this:
When I said 'change we can believe in' I didn't say 'change we can believe in tomorrow.' Not change we can believe in next week. We knew this was going to take time because we've got this big, messy, tough democracy.
And who are the idiots that will believe that load of crap?

Could someone remind me of what sort of POSITIVE 'change' has happened during Blowie's reign?  Even some sort of indicator that a good 'change' is coming?

There are people willing to take whatever the Great Narcissist doles out and open their checkbooks in the process.  I saw this succinct summation on a bumper sticker yesterday:


Or reproduce.

August 3, 2011

Smorgasbord

One baby lizard in the living room was novel.  When the second one went darting across the carpet last night, I was Googling to find out how many eggs are in the average nest.  So far, no more visitors this morning.

*****

President Barack Obama said something that I agree with!
President Barack Obama implored Congress on Tuesday to settle the dispute before leaving town, calling the stalemate "another Washington-inflicted wound on America."

Unfortunately, I don't think he meant it the way I interpret it.  'Washington' = 'Blowie'.

The comment was in reference to the lack of a deal to fund the FAA.  I wonder, did they figure in the projected $1.2 billion loss in revenue when they worked their debt deal magic?

*****

O'Donnell, Maddow and Matthews are predicting a second term for Blowie.  No surprise there, though Matthews did ad the caveat that it would depend on the economy.  What was entertaining was to read in an Associated Press article that:
"...their choice isn't surprising, considering the network's liberal tilt."
 *****

This guy is still a Democratic congressman:


Representing the fine people of Oregon.  Hasn't resigned yet, saying that it was critical for him to stick around and vote on the debt deal. 

*****

Is this what is wrong with Egypt or what is wrong with our justice system?

August 2, 2011

That explains it

From an article about Gabrielle Giffords returning to the House to vote on the debt deal:
Among those who had been told of Giffords’s return was Vice President Joe Biden, who met with her privately for several minutes. “I said, ‘Now we’re both members of the Cracked Head Club,’” Biden later told reporters. “You know, I had two craniotomies.”
Sure, Joe, your two aneurysms somehow rank up there with getting SHOT.  They must have removed the part of his brain that normally filters crass comments.

Hippies and Lizards

The results of the kiddos tie-dyeing session are in:


Evidently the dark blue or purple dye bled onto the other shirts, despite thorough and repeated rinsing prior to washing.  There was a white kitchen towel that was in the washer when I dumped the shirts in.  It is now a purple towel and the previously white areas of the shirts all have a purple hue.  No one cares, as the fun is in the colors and designs.  Boom, now a senior, is into rebellion mode.  She tie-dyed a school shirt and plans to wear it on one of the designated 'school spirit shirt' days, just to push the dress code police's buttons.  Check back in October and they will likely have a rule prohibiting altered or customized school shirts.

Early this morning I was watching the horror show otherwise known as the local weather forecast, when movement on the carpet caught my eye.  It blended in well with the carpet, which usually means scorpion.  *Shudder*  It moved too fast to be a scorpion, though.  Must be a spider.  Nope, once I caught up to it hiding among the Wii Rock Band guitars, I discovered it was a baby Texas Spiny Lizard.  We have tons of these around our house, frequently seen dashing across the window screens or doing that little push up move on the tree trunks.

I remembered the insect net hidden in my closet, an Easter basket filler that the Easter bunny forgot to stick in Crash's basket.  The little lizard was quick, but after one misstep that sent him hiding under the couch, I flushed him out and right into the net.  Cute, cute.




We kept him on the counter until everyone was awake to see him.  I caught a fly for him, but it was too big for him to eat.  I went out and grabbed a couple of ants and he either ate one, or it escaped when we weren't looking!  We set him free in our front landscaped bed, as it seemed the best habitat for the little guy.  Plenty of mulch to burrow in and hide from birds, plenty of small insects, shady and sunny spots and it receives the lion's share of our water ration.  Plus, there are plenty of other lizards in the area, so whenever we see one, we can all pretend that it is the one we caught and that he lived to tell the tale of his adventure into the house.

August 1, 2011

Precocious Little Turd

Crash has his moments.  He's four.  He has three older siblings.  We are a rowdy kind of family.  We jump out from behind doors just to scare the bejesus out of each other.  We play jokes, we dance and sing off key.  We get the dogs riled up so they chase the kids around the couch.

Back to Crash.  I think the presence of a 13-year old brother and today's brand of toilet and crotch-related humor on the Cartoon Network are somewhat to blame in tonight's incident.  Mostly, though, it was just Crash being a little turd.

Mr. Harper was relaxing on the couch.  Crash asked if he could have ice cream for dessert.  Since he hadn't finished all of his dinner earlier, he was told, 'No'. 

Crash asked another two or thirty-two times before Mr. Harper said, 'No, and don't bother me about it again'.

Crash apparently didn't like that answer as he reared back, balled up his little fist and junk punched his father. Dead center aim and with all of the force his 37-pound body could muster.  Enough, apparently, to bring tears to a grown man's eyes as he rolled around the living room carpet in the fetal position.

Brought tears to my eyes, too.  I haven't laughed that hard in ages, which I know demonstrates a complete parenting failure and reinforces Crash's actions, but, man, it was funny.

Good thing our reproductive years are behind us. 

FOD


My conspiracy theory/prediction:

Blowie couldn't stomach any further erosion of his poll numbers and had enough foresight to see what would happen if a deal wasn't done before the markets opened (and tanked) on Monday FOD morning.  So they cut 'the deal', late Sunday night.

As shown above, the markets opened well, but then, as the actual details of the deal were being digested, and politicians on both sides of the fence started screaming about what it did and didn't contain...the markets reacted.

I think 'the deal' will be voted down by both the Senate and House.  Economic chaos (worse than the past coupla years) will ensue.  Then Blowie will use the 14th Amendment and raise the debt ceiling all on his own, with no cuts, no caps, no taxes, no balance.

I hope I am wrong.

No rest for the weary

Spent another night in the ER.  This time with my mom, who is in otherwise excellent health, but has a family history of heart problems.  When she had crushing pain in her chest (and finally called me after 15 minutes!), I rather insisted that she go have an EKG, at least. 

My mother hates hospitals and is a horrible, sometimes slightly belligerent patient.

Little did I know that the protocol for chest pain is an EKG, chest x-ray and blood work that is repeated at the 2 hour and 7 hour mark.  My mother about hit the ceiling when told that she really needed to stay in observation for 7 hours, minimum.  Since my stepdad was the recipient of a quadruple bypass in his forties, a phone call to him sealed the deal, but left me with the hostility.  Times like this I wish I wasn't an only child.

Mom watched the clock, we listened to her other-side-of-the-curtain-neighbor's TV blare and I curled up on a chair for most of the night.  Labs came back fine, she was putting her shoes on to sprint for the door as the doctor tried to tell her that all they had concluded is that she hadn't had a heart attack - and that she really needed to follow up with a cardiologist and have a stress test to rule out a blockage.  She tossed out her self-diagnosis of heartburn, and the doctor rallied back with statistics about how many people confuse indigestion with cardiac pain.  The doc and I exchanged meaningful looks, translated as, it is my duty to get her to follow through.

That is the battle I face today, guess I better have another cup of coffee.