December 31, 2011

ROI Lies

I was blissfully unaware (because I don't care, except that it gives me something to make fun of them for) that there was a class action suit against Honda for its inflated fuel economy claims related to the Civic Hybrid.  The Blaze reported on a woman who points out that the class action settlement is just as much of a rip off as the fuel economy claims were.  While Honda advertised city/highway fuel economies as 49/51 mpg, owners averaged 31 mpg.  After battery saving software updates, the number went even lower.

Now, I feel for the owners getting duped into buying a car that didn't perform as advertised, especially since they don't get that warm fuzzy saving the environment glow, since their green cars aren't all that green.  Still, their money is their money (except for that bit that taxpayers fund by way of tax breaks for buying an energy efficient vehicle).  Therein lies the rub.

The government is the largest grant maker in the United States.  It isn't the 1% or corporations.  It is state and federal government.  That is wrong on every level and does much to undermine a free market system.  Taxpayers are continually funding things that are non-essential, wasteful and unjustified. If you have any doubts, read Senator Coburn's report on the National Science Foundation or The Blaze's highlights.

Two local stories this week focused on the installation of wind turbines.  One is on a public school campus and the other is on a public university campus.  Both are taxpayer funded.

In Keller, Texas, a Skystream wind turbine was installed on a middle school campus at a cost of $16,000.  The expected return on investment, when the district will realize $16,000 worth of energy savings is 26 years. And that assumes no annual maintenance costs, no repairs needed, no change to the wind conditions.  When questioned about the cost and ROI, note how quickly the powers that be turn it into an educational tool for the children:
As district spokesman Bryce Nieman said: "It's an instructional tool for students. Students can learn about energy conservation and other ways to generate electricity, alternate energy means."
He says the turbine helps trim the campus's energy bills. "It's better than nothing."
Really?  Because I would have thought that saving $16,000 and using, oh, educational resources like books, video, the internet and field trips might be a better way to teach about energy conservation.  Your best bet now is to use the windmill as an economics lesson - what not to do with taxpayer money.

Up the road at the University of North Texas, they recently installed three turbines with a $2 million grant from the State Energy Conservation Office.  They are estimated to result in an energy savings of $50,000 per year.  So, (and again ignoring maintenance, repair or changing energy costs) the ROI would be 40 years.   That's great considering the lifespan of these turbines before "major repairs" are needed is 25 years.

This picture doesn't show it as clearly as I would hope, but these three turbines are in a ditch.  If you notice the stadium lights in the background and compensate for the photo angle, you will see that the turbines aren't taller than the stadium.  Interstate I-35W runs right alongside the site, and is elevated through the area.  Driving by, you never look up at the turbines, they are pretty much at eye level.  Are they going to capture the energy from the wind turbulence caused by the Peterbilt's rolling off the assembly line across the highway? 

Picture from here
While they say the turbines are built for 'low wind' areas and claim that North Texas averages 12 mph wind speed - I don't think they'll get that at the height they have. I would also argue with their claim of our wind resources.  North Texas has a Class 2 rating, also known as 'poor' on the renewable energy wind maps.  Is it nuts that the DOE and State Energy Conservation Office generate maps and reports that show the lack of renewable energy resources in North Texas, yet shell out millions of dollars in those areas, for the very things that they say can't be captured?

All of this so that two school sites could be LEED certified.  A letter to the editor of the Star-Telegram sums up my feeling about the green movement:
That's why almost every application of alternative energy comes with an ample helping of someone else's money. Sadly, that someone else is the taxpayer, about whom no one seems to care.

December 30, 2011

The kind of tree I can wrap my arms around

Yesterday we ended up behind a Tesla Roadster coming through our little town.  This particular one was kinda dirty and by the time I realized what it was, the light was changing and I needed to be driving and not taking a picture, so this is what I ended up with (cropped and enlarged to the point of distortion):

This is what they look like up close and all cleaned up:


I don't hug many trees and I have an impressive stash of incandescent light bulbs.  I drive a monster SUV, but I could handle an electric car if it looked, and performed, like this one.  Too bad I don't have $110k sitting around to drop on one (and four fewer family members to tote around). 

(Whenever Crash sees a cool car and asks if we can get it, we talk about how many seats it has.  I try to turn it into a fun math/object lesson.  One of his favorites is a yellow and black Camaro, a la Transformers.  I told him that there were only four seatbelts and asked which kid would have to walk to school.  He never hesitated and blurted out, 'Boom.'  Evil little turd)

When we left the intersection, the Tesla left us in its dust.  Boom looked up the specs on her phone, while I was telling her what little I knew about the car.  0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds.  288 horsepower.  And ninja freakin' quiet about it.  As Boom read off the impressive performance info, she snidely commented, 'Suck on that Prius.'  That's my girl.

December 29, 2011

Where the sun don't shine

Someone please explain this to me.  It clearly appears that she has something, some sort of mechanism or harness, under her skirt.  And she has had lots of practice.  Nothing I have read about this video says where it takes place, but the gist of some of the comments indicates that this method is used by European gypsies.  (The best comment was 'Grand Theft Vagina').

And, yes, that is a CASE of 24 beer cans - Guinness to be precise.  Reminds me of the Jane's Addiction video for 'Been Caught Stealing'.

Drudge Jumps the Shark

On Christmas morning there was a shooting in a neighboring town, they are calling it the Grapevine Massacre.  I'm not sure what officially qualifies something as a massacre versus a shooting or a murder-suicide, but what remains is that seven people are dead.

The details that have emerged are, unfortunately, not an unfamiliar story.  An estranged marriage and financial strife are the known factors.  And for other reasons we will probably never know, the shooter chose to kill his wife, children, other family members and himself.

The shooter was dressed as Santa upon arrival.  The family apparently opened their Christmas gifts just before the shooting.  It seems that the shooter was the one that dialed 911.  All that is heard on the tape is 'help' and 'I am shooting people.' and this only after additional audio enhancement work - the original call was thought to be a silent open call.

There have been lovely pictures of the Iranian family, clearly having embraced western dress and customs.

Why in the world is Drudge running this headline?
UPDATE: Killer 'Santa' was a Muslim... 
Based solely on an innocent comment from a family friend:
Baum said the separation was very difficult on the family’s father. Baum said the family was Muslim but celebrated Christmas as a cultural holiday. The parents were originally from Iran.
There is nothing about this crime and tragedy that is at all relevant to the family's religion.  I don't believe that Islam is the religion of peace but these deaths are the result of a sick man - there is nothing to indicate that his faith had anything to do with his crime.    

It isn't the first time that Drudge's link has produced much less than the link title advertised.  Makes me wonder if they are hiring former Enquirer writers to craft their headlines.

December 28, 2011

How was it?

How was your Christmas?  Ours was lovely, in case you were wondering.  I realized late in the game, all of the things that I hadn't done.  Several boxes of Christmas decorations never made it out of the attic.  We didn't do any outside lights at all.  We didn't even get the kids' stockings out until about 9 pm on Christmas eve.  The two youngest were in tucked in and ready to go to sleep when The Princess reminded me that we hadn't set out any cookies for Santa.  Gawd, where has my brain gone?

Despite the lack of detail preparation, we had a nice time with family and friends.  Miraculously, none of my kids were sick.  That seems to be a Christmas and vacation tradition, someone not feeling well.  But this year there were no tears and no fights.  Lots of laughter and sharing of memories.

It has become my habit, because I know my husband and it doesn't bother me, to buy small things for myself that he and the kids can wrap and give to me.  This year it was a glass baking dish to replace one that Mr H broke and a book of the Constitution and other important American documents.  Christmas morning came and neither of those items were in my stack of gifts.  It took 15 minutes of interrogation and backtracking before Mr H remembered where he had hidden them.  At least it wasn't me this year.

Over at Whited's, he posted some really vulgar things that ungrateful people said about what they didn't get for Christmas. I am thankful that my children appreciate what they have, and what they are given - and enjoy being a giver just as much as a receiver. I am also thankful that my stern talk with the 4-year old seemed to work and he didn't show any outward disdain for the gifts (or lack thereof) he received.

I panicked a couple of days before Christmas, when my stepsister called me with a question about a size for The Princess' gift. Her line of questioning led me to believe that she was spending quite a bit more than I would have expected. This led me to run out and purchase an additional set of gifts for her and her daughter. Even when it became evident that I was wrong about the value of the gift, I reminded myself that it was the thought that counts. I decided that the extra money I spent on her and my niece would be appreciated, as she is a single mother and constantly reminds us of her financial struggles. Imagine my surprise when my (13-year old) niece's Christmas morning Facebook picture included her 'first blue box'. Unless Tiffany's has started carrying butt whoopings, they don't have anything that girl needs.

December 27, 2011

Tuesday Three-fer

Three completely unrelated stories caught my attention this morning:

In the first, Nancy Pelosi is spending her holiday in Hawaii, albeit on a different island than the prez.
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, who served as Speaker of the House and is now head of the House minority, is once again spending her Christmas at the exotic Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka'upulehu in Kona on the island of Hawaii.
Pelosi reportedly plans to spend her Christmas Eve at midnight mass in St. Michael's Catholic Church in Kailua-Kona.
Pelosi spent the last two Christmas holidays in Kona at the same hotel in an elaborate suite that rents for $10,000 a night.
Champion of the 99%, slumming it in the $10k a night suite.  Oh, and help me understand why the state of Hawaii's taxpayers have to foot the bill for her local police escort?
Pelosi has been escorted by local police during her last two holiday visits to Hawaii Island at a cost of $34,000 to local taxpayers.
Number one, I think that security needed while on a personal vacation shouldn't be the burden of American taxpayers, it should be on Pelosi's dime.  But, let's grant her some latitude and acknowledge that there are people who want to do her harm - shouldn't a state representative of California's security costs be borne by the people of California?  They are the only people that have a vote - making the people of Hawaii pay for her security is taxation without representation.

The second story is about the TSA's expansion to mass transportation stations, trains, subways, bus stations, etc.
The TSA's 25 "viper" teams — for Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response — have run more than 9,300 unannounced checkpoints and other search operations in the last year. Department of Homeland Security officials have asked Congress for funding to add 12 more teams next year...

...TSA officials say they have no proof that the roving viper teams have foiled any terrorist plots or thwarted any major threat to public safety. But they argue that the random nature of the searches and the presence of armed officers serve as a deterrent and bolster public confidence.
Don't you  feel better, knowing there are 'viper' teams protecting our safety and deterring terrorist plots?  In the story, they used a specific example of a man being sniffed down by a highly trained canine, who can detect bomb making chemicals.  When the dog indicated a scent, the TSA handlers reverted to this highly effective interrogation method:
When Seiko indicated a scent, his handler, Julian Swaringen, asked Vetter whether he had pets at home in Garner, N.C. Two mutts, Vetter replied. "You can go ahead," Swaringen said.
Note to terrorists:  go to the pound and adopt a dog to avoid TSA scrutiny.

Finally, I know I shouldn't laugh, because people got hurt, but the visual makes me giggle.
Chile's Supreme Court has ordered a newspaper to pay $125,000 to 13 people who suffered burns while trying out a published recipe for churros, a popular Latin American snack of dough fried in hot oil...

...Judges determined that the newspaper failed to fully test it before publication, and that if readers followed the recipe exactly, the churros had a good chance of exploding once the oil reached the suggested temperature...

...Days after the recipe was published in the paper's "Woman" magazine in 2004, hospitals around the country began treating women for burns suffered when the dough boiling in oil suddenly shot out of kitchen pots.

December 26, 2011

Walked a Thousand Miles Blues

This blew me away.  If any member of my family could sit around and play and sing like this bloke's dad, I would never get anything done.  Fan-frickin'-tastic.

FOD Hawaii Edition

Last week, Keith Koffler's White House Dossier reported on the possibility that Bo, the First Dog, had flown to Hawaii and then flown back a few days later for a photo op with Blowie at PetSmart.  The First Lady's office had announced that Bo was flying with the family and an eyewitness in Hawaii had reported seeing the dog - as reported both in Hawaii and in continental stateside media outlets.

After the question of the cost of Bo's jet-setting came up, not only have the media outlets edited their stories to say that the White House claims that Bo did NOT accompany the women on the flight to Hawaii, but the eyewitness has now issued a ridiculously obvious spin doctor-crafted retraction statement:
"It is now clear my wife saw another black dog walking our neighborhood. We would like to apologize to Bo and the Obama family for any inconvenience this may have caused them. We would also like to wish them a peaceful and Merry Christmas."
I ain't buying it.  I would have bought, 'Bo flew back on Air Force one when it returned to the states after dropping the First Family off in Hawaii.'  I wouldn't have liked it any better, but it would have been believable. 

Regardless, the whole family is in Hawaii now.  As Koffler highlighted in other entries, the champion of the $40 middle class tax cut has already had expensive Morimoto sushi and squeezed in a round of golf with friends.

Contrast the $4 million dollar Obama vacation with this story:
A Marine who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor has returned to the USS Arizona -- divers placed the urn holding Frank Cabiness' cremated remains inside the battleship sunk by the Japanese 70 years ago.
"He said it was because that's where he belonged," the late Marine's son, Jerry Cabiness, said after Friday's solemn ceremony. "He lost all of his friends there and he wanted to be with them."
The divers swam over to the sunken battleship and placed the container inside.
Hawaii-based Marines from the 3rd Marine Regiment performed a rifle salute and taps Friday, some nine years after Cabiness died in Lewisville, Texas, at the age of 86.
Jerry Cabiness said his father always wanted to return to his ship, but his family took some time to fulfill that wish because of some financial problems and the expense of traveling to Hawaii.
"But we finally got it done. And it was a beautiful ceremony. The Marines did him proud," he said.
The American taxpayers fly dogs (with or without the family, it doesn't really dilute the point), maybe they should start filling up the rest of Air Force One with the common man who is just trying to fulfill their father's last wish.

December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all of you.  I hope your day is filled with reminders of how precious this life is.  I will be spending the day surrounded by my children, taking special care to commit the day to memory, as they grow up entirely too fast.  To all of my internet friends, it is a pleasure to share time with you.  God Bless You and Your Families.

December 24, 2011

Effing Elf on the Shelf

Tonight we say goodbye to Henrey, our family's 'Elf on the Shelf'.  If you are unfamiliar, this modern day money making and parental torture scheme consists of a boxed set containing a book and a small elf doll.  The book tells the story of these elves that swoop down into homes during the Christmas season, to watch the children and report back to Santa each night, turning up in a different spot upon their return each morning. 

A couple of years ago, a classmate of The Princess' told her about the 'Elf on the Shelf'.  She was enthralled, so we dropped $30 at the local booksellers and acquired our very own elf.  While presented as a family addition, The Princess took charge, naming him (quirky spelling included) and registering him on the 'Elf on the Shelf' website (cha-ching).  Those first two years were a delight, as the kids would look for Henrey each morning as he worked his way to each child's bedroom and around the house.  We played the free online games and got emails from Henrey a couple of times a year.

This year, some mother with too much time on her hands purchased and assumed the responsibilities of an 'Elf on the Shelf' for The Princess' class.  From Thanksgiving to the end of the semester, 'Jingles' entertained the third grade with his antics.  He was a very active elf, sometimes moving around several times a day while the class was out of the room.  Jingles wrote notes, sprinkled glitter and did various other mischief around the school.

 Jingles' presence and antics spurred much conversation among the third grade.  The other children with elves at home shared the quirky things their elves do and demand.  The Princess reported to us each evening, all of these things that we were previously unaware of, but now required to comply with.  First it was note writing - with The Princess penning long missives that she taped near Henrey each evening, all of them requiring a response.  Thank goodness a classmate had informed The Princess that elves write in 'candy cane sparkle' ink, so we knew what to expect.

Then it was food.  The Princess was informed by her helpful classmates that elves like candy, so she left pieces of candy next to him each night.  Jingles wrote the class a note extolling the elves' love of cheese and crackers.  When I refused to set out cheese and crackers on a nightly basis, The Princess wrote Henrey a note telling him to help himself to the crackers in the pantry.

As if the holidays aren't busy enough, the responsibility of making sure an Elf doll shows up in a different spot each morning is somewhat challenging.   Henrey sometimes likes a spot so much he spends two days there.  Don't judge me, I have a lot on my plate.  Then one day The Princess reported that elves don't just sit - they are usually found in funny positions, laying in plants and hanging from things.  Boom and Bang took an active interest in assisting Henrey in this department, until I put an end to it after finding Henrey wrapped around a candlestick in a manner that made me feel as if I should stuff dollar bills down his shirt.

In response to the popularity of the 'Elf on the Shelf' scheme, there is now a complete line of products, a paid area of the website, and, my favorite, a parody book about a bad 'Elf Off the Shelf', Horace.  Horace tries to hook up with Barbie, commenting that he never would have guessed she was such a prude.  Now that is a funny read.

When I Googled to find the picture of the book, up popped several websites about creative things to do with your elf.  One was aptly titled 'Elf on the Shelf Ideas', with photos of elves found playing Guitar Hero, having 'snowball' fights staged with mini marshmallows and other Christmas figures, making a photocopy of his butt...hilarious stuff, but Good Lord, who has the time for this?  (And yes, I did bookmark the site for future use). 

The list of things we know about elves now is a long one.  After recounting it all one night, and complaining about the thoughtless parents that set these precedents for the rest of us, I joked that we should set Henrey up in a manner that would result in The Princess going to school and reporting that elves require a six-pack and a hundred dollar bill each night, to guarantee a good report to Santa.

December 23, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

What is the big deal with wrapping presents?  Seriously, is this anything other than a mechanism to enrich decorative paper producers?  My frustration has nothing to do with the fact that it seems like I have been wrapping presents for weeks - and stayed up until 2 am two nights in a row to wrap after the kids went to bed.  Two mornings from now, all of that paper and ribbon will be tossed about and ultimately stuffed into a big black trash bag - hours of work cast aside in a matter of minutes.

It will be cold here on Christmas morning, maybe this year we could get a fire going and toss the paper in as we go, to save me the heartburn of looking at it after the fact.

My stepsister is a bagger - everything in a gift bag, never batting an eye.  I don't have a problem with it, but in what seems to be some midwestern version of Christmas snobbery, my mom's side of the family has always eschewed the easy way out.  If I don't wrap and ribbon-top the gifts, it clearly means I don't care as much.  Or some such BS.

The kids do love tearing through the paper, though.  Typically, I give my kids some clothing staples (socks, underwear, T-shirts) for Christmas.  The usual reaction is a roll of the eyes as they toss the items into the 'clothes' pile.  Often the boys call for the telltale rectangular clothing boxes first, to get them out of the way.  Bearing this in mind, along with paper cut-striped fingers, I handed Bang his Christmas ration of athletic socks yesterday, rather than wrap them.  (It also played into the careful balance of how many boxes each kid would have on Christmas morning - value means nothing, it is all a numbers game).  I thought he would appreciate one less boring gift to open, but he seemed a little disappointed.

We have a loosely enforced rule at Harper House.  I have no problem with the shaking and good-natured guessing of the contents, but the smarmy (mostly teenage) pronouncements of what each package contains tick me off, so I instituted a rule that if they guess what a present is, it gets donated to someone else (an empty threat, but it keeps them cordial).  Bless The Princesses' heart, she was arranging gifts under the tree and noticed that one of hers was ticking.  I saw the look on her face, as she struggled with the knowledge and the possibility of what could happen, should she mention it.

I think it is winding down, just a few batches of candy to make, a couple of hearty meals, plenty of adult beverages and the joy of having my family together, healthy, happy and undeniably blessed.

December 22, 2011

More White House Email Fun

The White house is clogging my inbox again, this time with a series of messages aimed at the payroll tax cut.  First they sent something titled 'This Isn't a Game' and asked for people to respond with what $40 per paycheck means to their family.  Today they followed up with another email and a (left side only) sample of the responses they have gotten...
"$40 is big money for us"
Yesterday, we asked you to tell us what losing $40 per paycheck would mean to you and your family if the House doesn’t pass the bipartisan payroll tax cut compromise by the end of this year.
The response was truly overwhelming. Thousands of Americans have responded and we wanted to make sure you saw some of the responses that have poured in from across the country.
If you haven't already, tell us what $40 means for you and your family, and see what it means for other Americans.
Have questions about the payroll tax cut? Today at 3:30 p.m. EDT, Brian Deese, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, will be holding Office Hours on the @WHLive Twitter account - join in the conversation using the hashtag #WHChat.
Stories submitted on WhiteHouse.gov
I can buy lunch from the cafeteria for almost a whole month for my twins, I can buy food, or pay for gas. I can save it for my daughter’s prescriptions deductibles. To some people $40 is nothing, but $40 is big money for us.
L.A., Hamden, Connecticut
$40.00 a paycheck will allow me to continue to pay co-pays to doctors for necessary medical treatments needed to control debilitating disease.J.R., Arlington, Texas
Our cable internet bill is $49 per month. If we lose this payroll tax cut then we will have to give up either or internet access or possibly our 'Friday Family Pizza' night. Either way, we will lose something that brings us together as a family. 
K.Z., Frederick, Maryland
$40 less a paycheck means I will have to pick between my insulin and the water bill. It means never being able to see my doctor - even though I have insurance.
B.T., Roswell, New Mexico

The email droned on with other examples from email and Twitter, ad nauseum.  Then this additional opportunity to communicate with the White House:
Tell us what $40 means for you and your family.
So I clicked.  Here is my short and sweet response that won't be showing up on any White House missives:
$40 per paycheck means that in 1,923 years we can afford a Christmas vacation like the president's.

December 21, 2011

The best gift ideas...

...often go down in flames.

Last Saturday, my stepdad had a run-in with a skunk.  A comical, wake up the neighbors with 17 rounds fired at o'dark thirty, kind of a run-in.  My stepdad is an early riser and he generally makes a predictable circuit, walking out to the back of the property to the barn/man cave, to turn everything on in preparation for his morning workout, then out to the street to get the newspaper.  He was returning from getting the paper, having come in the backyard gate to enter through the patio door, when he almost ran headlong into the skunk.  He gave it a wide berth, heading back out to the barn to get his old .22.

This was probably around 5:30 -6 am and it was still quite dark.  He was doing his best to hold a flashlight and fire at the skunk with his old .22, since the controls for the outside lights were all on the other side of the skunk.  After several rounds fired, my mom was awake enough to determine that he probably needed assistance.  When she came out, the skunk had been declared dead and she was supposed to hold the flashlight while a shovel was fetched to scoop up the carcass.  She spotlighted the skunk, who was apparently only dazed, and began wobbling around again.

Tired of this, my stepdad called for a handgun, the noise of which woke up the house guests and several neighbors (if lights suddenly switching on is an indicator), yet didn't phase the skunk, whose drunken movements in the dark were a hard-to-hit target.  The shooter was blaming the flashlight holder, who was flailing wildly, trying to cover her ears.  I wish there was video, it would make us at least $10,000.

After being berated for the noise of the handgun, my stepdad picked up the old .22 again, positioned and threatened the flashlight holder (mom) and FINALLY got the skunk between the eyes.

After hearing the story, I thought the perfect gift would be a red dot and flashlight scope for the .22.  Sure, it's overkill, but there are some inexpensive versions and it would make the old .22 a true varmint gun for my stepdad in his leisure years.   I called my mom and asked about the make and model of the .22, for fit.  'Old' was her reply.  "I know," I said, "that's why we call it the 'old .22'". 

It took several days before mom had the opportunity to get me the specs on the gun, 'Old' is the understatement of the year.  It is a Remington Model 33.  They stopped making them in 1935.  Anything I could buy would probably be worth more than the damn gun.

I don't have a new .22 in my budget at this point, but think I will keep it in mind for his September birthday.   The Remington was his granddad's, so it should be put up and saved, not pulled out for skunk shooting.

December 20, 2011

On Christmas Shopping for teens

My kids aren't label conscious, and shopping for Bang is more about finding the right size for his stringbean shape.  He has grown nearly 3 inches since May, losing the same amount of girth for each gained inch of height (how I would love to have that problem).  His existing wardrobe is driving me nuts, as the waist now allows for a Snoop Dogg level droop - something that Bang is loathe to rectify, as hitching up the pants puts him in 'where's the flood?' territory. 

The girls and I set out to find some new pants for the boy, and a shirt or two to accompany.  We stepped into the first hipster teen shop.  You know, one of those with a shockingly young, half naked, ripped abs model on a larger than life canvas at the front entrance.  We were eventually greeted by a trendy young retail employee who screamed, "Can I help you find anything?," over the blaring music.  We shouldn't have dismissed her so soon.  It was friggin' dark in that store.  Even with two pairs of young eyes, we struggled for several minutes to see prices and sizes.  They clearly don't want to sell anything to anyone who cares about price or size.  

We left that store and tried one other that was equally as dark, loud and un-shoppable.  I haven't looked it up, but have to believe that they are owned by the same parent company.  The third store was a welcome change.  Music at a level that allowed for conversation, brightly lit, and friendly young employees that weren't too hip to talk to us.  Not only did we make several purchases, we commented on the pleasant experience and vowed to not return to the other stores.  WTF kind of business do they think they are in?  And, no offense to the store we liked (that has American in the name), but all of the clothes look the same, they just have a different logo.

The other thing I want to complain about is the lack of access.  It was two steps up (and then two steps down) into both of those dark stores.  I didn't notice an accessible entrance, though maybe their hip wooden louvered shutters can be opened to allow someone in a wheelchair in.  It wouldn't matter, because they don't leave enough room to walk between their racks and tables, much less maneuver a chair or walker.  In fact, there were very few stores that do leave enough space.  The local costume jewelry chain has packed their small store with twice as many racks as it should accommodate.  Even Toys R Us was impassable with added bins and tables in the aisles that made it impossible to walk more than single file - no way a wheelchair could access.  I am still fortunate enough to walk without an assisting device (until my knee surgery next month), but feel even more fortunate that I can choose not to shop at stores that clearly can't accommodate everyone. 

December 19, 2011

A bit of a glitch, in more than one way

I took this quiz to see which presidential candidate's platform matched my own.  Bearing in mind that the canned answers to each question leave a bit to be desired, I thought I should still get a fairly accurate prediction. 

Wrong. 

Not only did it choose a candidate that I don't support (Michele Bachmann) - I am fairly certain that most of my answers were nowhere near her stated beliefs.  And to add to the ABC news provided comedy bit, this is a screen shot of my results - Michele is looking a bit haggard these days:

 
Even more confusing, is that I clicked 'play again', entered the SAME answers and got a DIFFERENT response.  I was thinking the Ron Paul picture in place of Bachmann was a one-time glitch, but no.  I got Ron as Michele, with Ron also as a runner up. 


I am not sure if it is just a ridiculously flawed program, or whether putting in the same answers and getting different candidates, within the same 10 minutes, is just a reflection on how often the media and the candidates change their positions.

FOD

A vicious stomach bug is making its way through Harper House.  I blame Obama.

December 18, 2011

The creative rebellion of today's youth

I am not an overly controlling mother, but a responsible one. I try not to judge, but I fail miserably at times, when observing the parenting habits of others. Case in point; a condition of my daughter having a Facebook is that I have the password. Some of what those other kids post clearly shows that their parents are not at all involved or monitoring the site.

Seriously, if your 16-year old daughter is posting pictures of the guys in her room with a handle of vodka - you have missed the parenting boat. There is a monumental chasm between kids getting away with things that their parents don't know about and the kids not only doing it, but having the guts (or lack of common sense) to post photos of their misdeeds on the internet.  Isn't that a cry for help or something?

I don't routinely check up on Boom. She isn't a regular FB user, and has never posted anything risque. I have only asked her to un-friend a couple of people who were insanely inappropriate in their use of language and photos. I do sometimes use Boom's FB to check on things other members of my family have posted (I am not FB friends with anyone I am related to, for my sanity). When I log in with Boom's credentials, I am often greeted with a vivid snapshot of teenage life. Tonight it was humor, and I almost wet my pants.

One of Boom's classmates is Indian and her family is Hindu, the strict vegetarian sort. Now, they have some specific rules for their daughter that seem strict, and this darling girl is becoming a poster child for repression rebellion. Her FB statuses are littered with profanity. She presented her Secret Santa his gift in a bag that said, 'F*ck You, Here's your present', never batting an eye at what the teachers would say.

With all that angst, I was worried that maybe this girl would start drinking or do something else dangerously irresponsible.  I should have remembered how smart she is.  How do brilliant but repressed Indian girls act out at their parents? Like this:
'Parents are out of town. Time to eat bacon and watch trashy reality TV'.

December 17, 2011

Lessons in losing

For my Texas friends, that chill you felt in the evening air last night was hell starting to freeze over for a couple of hours, caused by the juxtaposition of Harper being willingly seated in Cowboy's Stadium.

I don't like to do anything to contribute to Jerry Jones' bottom line, so yesterday was a true test of my patience. Especially at $15 a ticket for high school football (no child or student discount). We had a pretzel, a hot dog, a popcorn, cotton candy, a soft drink and three bottled waters = $42. Makes me quite curious as to the price of the prime rib they were slicing at one of the fancy concession stands.

We trekked to the stadium for the high school football state championships. Our local town made it to the big game, and even though my kids go to school somewhere else now, we wanted to go see the game and support our friends and neighbors.

It must be fun for those kids, to play on the big field, to be up on the gigantic screen and to wait for television time outs. I am sure some teams handle the honor and accomplishment with grace. Others, not so much.

A good friend of Boom's is one of the team trainers, so we started off by searching the sidelines to spot her. As we did that, I noted the overwhelming number of people that were on the sidelines - that had no reason to be there. While most of the player's dads were in the stands, there were dozens of guys on the sideline. People without kids in high school at all, much less a player on the field. Hangers-on, I think they are called. Golfing buddies of the coach, the local megachurch preacher, and - most sickening of all - the private conditioning coaches. These high school kids have private coaches that work with them outside of the school (and UIL) parameters. Everything you have heard about high school football in Texas is true, and then some.

'We' didn't win, and while I feel for the team, I hope that they take away the lessons that are so often missed in today's society. Humility, grace, dealing with disappointment, facing challenges and being proud of the individual accomplishments that outweigh the final score.

December 16, 2011

Vacation?

As it seems with all 'vacations', mom gets stuck with a monumental task list.  Today is the last day of school before Christmas vacation, which translates to:

gifts for friends
gifts for Secret Santa (usually the one kid we know nothing personal about)
cupcakes for 60 third graders
juice boxes for preschool lunch (I nabbed one of the easy things on the sign up sheet)
teacher gifts
ornaments for exchange
book for exchange
5 pounds of Christmas Crack made (which is what my kids call a certain white treat we make because it is addictive)
12 dozen spritz cookies for gift tins (broke the gun in the process)
Christmas trail mix for Mr H's IT department (something I threw together with leftover things one year and they think it is the best mix they have ever had)
Gift card for a holiday meal (the required donation for my luncheon today)
I think that is it.  Now, all I have left is baking, candy making, Christmas shopping and wrapping for family and friends.  I can get that accomplished with four kids in tow, right?

December 15, 2011

Dear Editor:

Texans Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips was recovering Thursday morning after a successful surgery, sources told KHOU 11 News.
Phillips, 64, had his gallbladder removed and an unspecified procedure performed on a kidney, according to the source.
However, Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said the defensive coordinator was still undergoing the procedure while meeting with the media after practice on Thursday.
Wow.  If Wade Phillips can have his gallbladder removed while meeting with the media, why couldn't he effectively coach the Cowboys?

I did it half way

I'm no runner, I will admit that right up front. In the required P.E. class I had to take in high school, I perfected the 400 meter ankle sprain - staging a fall on the first lap of the mile so I could be excused and sent to the nurse's office.

I have never liked to run, and I don't really envy those people who do. I understand that many people really enjoy running - and good for them. I am not one of those people. If you see me running, someone is behind me with a gun.

I have never had the slightest desire to run a marathon. I have walked the kid's 5k course at the Cowtown Marathon and seen the ultra marathoners with their cool medals and lithe bodies, but have never been inspired to give it a go myself.

I imagine that having such a commitment to running is commendable - it just isn't something within my realm of understanding. The thought of it makes my teeth ache. I feel no need to test my limits. I am good right here, thank you.

So, having established that I harbor no ill will toward those that enjoy running as a hobby and/or form of exercise, I will say that every time I see one of these bumper stickers, I laugh:
What in the world does that say about the owner? I ran HALF a marathon. A whole HALF. I would have run the whole thing but 13 is my lucky number, so I quit there. It seems more like an admission of failure to me. And is it really politically correct to hijack the number significance of a race that is named after Phiedippedes' historic 26 mile run to Athens from Marathon to report that the Athenians had won the battle of Marathon? If he had only run 13 miles, there might be a much different history known to man. 

December 13, 2011

Mayor Dipshit of WTFville

Why do the idiots of the world persevere?  Seriously, why do the most jacked up, embarrassing excuses for humans seem to forge on, while good people struggle and face adversity?

Back in the spring, my town elected a buffoon for mayor.  You may be thinking to yourself, 'Harper is just saying that because she doesn't like his politics'.  You are wrong.

He is a convicted criminal.  All Class A misdemeanors, and it takes a Class B to be legally disqualified.  You woulda thought that nine charges ranging from deadly conduct to DWI would keep someone from getting elected, but that isn't the case around here.  Buffoon.

He has told colorful stories about his arrest record.  Apparently he doesn't realize that those convictions are a matter of public record. Most recently, he was convicted of a DWI.  He got pulled over four months prior to the election - he was actually under indictment for the charge when 254 deranged people voted him into office.  He had an excuse for the DWI, first telling a lively tale of having two beers with his dinner and getting pulled over.  Then he changed the story and claimed that it was really all about some confusion over an open container found in his car - because he had been picking up litter that included beer cans.  Those records (and evidence photos) are also open to the public (though he is unaware). You be the judge - was there any reason to question the sobriety of the driver of this car?


The buffoon is a pathological liar.  He lies about everything, with no apparent reason.  Among the bios he gave various media outlets during the election, he has given four different answers as to his college education.  All of them are lies.  I don't think he realizes that people can check transcripts.  I don't think he realizes that some people read more than one local news site.  Looking at the bio he gave our local paper, compared to what I know now, the ONLY things he didn't lie about were his name and age.  Seriously.  Everything else is a fabrication.

This man tool is making a mockery of my town.  He follows town workers around, questioning everything they do.  He slept with the town receptionist (there's some job security for her).  His mother attends every meeting and hisses at anyone that questions her baby boy.  It is too juvenile and embarrassing to fully describe.

Tonight, I disagreed with him and he told me that from that point forward, I could only speak when he gave me permission.  He said this in a public forum.  In an official town meeting.  On tape.  For the record.  In front of my son and his Boy Scout Troop.  I haven't ever wanted to do someone real physical harm before, in the way that I wanted to snap the neck holding up his pudgy fuckface.  I had a red zone, psychotic-episode type of irrational violent thought - with the image of his bloody dented skull making me smile.

I didn't shut up, incidentally.  Not tonight, not ever.  I might not be there to kick around in a few months, but you can rest assured I am going to leave you with some battle scars to remember me by.

Maybe for fun I will put his DWI dashcam video on YouTube and send the link out to the town email list.

Good Tuesday to you

Crazy busy morning.  Later, maybe.

December 12, 2011

FOD

After a dreary summer marred by the fight over government borrowing, rank-and-file Democrats say they are growing more optimistic about President Barack Obama's political prospects in 2012. They cite his tougher, more populist tone and what they view as a chaotic primary fight among Republicans.
And...
Mary Gail Gwaltney, a member of the Democratic National Committee from Las Cruces, N.M., said she felt stronger about Obama now "because I'm looking at the other party's field and they don't have a strong candidate."
Good Gawd.  We can't survive another four years of Blowie.  Please, please, someone get their act together and unite the conservative side of America.  

December 11, 2011

Party Time

Went to Mr H's annual corporate command performance Christmas party last night.  It really isn't a bad event, it just isn't great.  The CEO hosts at his house and the guest list is small - just senior management and the corporate office drones.  I am guessing there were about 35-40 hostages waiting on the first one to make a break for it, which opens the floodgates.  No one gets snockered.  There is usually a lively billiards competition in the game room.  There is good food.  I don't eat shellfish (since a nasty incident at Beefsteak Charlie's as a kid) so the stampede to the shrimp cocktail always amuses me.  There is always a lovely beef tenderloin and several dessert selections in the butler's pantry.  The CEO's teenager tends bar and short pours everything.  Each year the beer selections change, yet no Shiner.  Next year I swear I am bringing my own.  

This week serves up several Christmas luncheons, but then our 'required' events are complete and we can focus on family stuff.  It strikes me as odd, the stories and lawsuits against 'Christmas' and the homogenization of the Christian and Jewish holidays into 'winter holidays' - yet no one balks at the time off of work or school.  No atheist parents showing up at school board meetings and demanding that someone show up to teach little Sunbeam on December 25 (yeah, I know it is on a Sunday this year).  I don't know of any non-Christians that weren't bellying up to the buffet at the party last night. 

We are a 'Merry Christmas' and 'Happy Hanukkah' kind of family.  I love the traditional trappings of the season (I can do without the additional market driven distractions); decorating, bad-for-you food, parties, cards, gifts, time with family and friends, and the music...

December 10, 2011

Christmas Chores

I have to hit it hard this weekend and get some Christmas shopping and running around done.  My kids get out of school for the holidays on the 16th, so all of the school-related gifts for friends and teachers need to be finalized.  Mr H conveniently planned a business trip during the week, so I am on my own for the Christmas-related activities that are punctuating our already busy schedule. 

If I were a rich girl (Yubby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dum), I would do stuff like this.  I think it would be cool to secretly surprise people with little displays of generosity.  We have our family traditions, year round, that we do to try to bring others joy and comfort.  All too often, I am left wishing I had more to give. 

I love these flash mob things, maybe I will get caught up in one at the mall today (yeah, right):
 

December 8, 2011

Random bits

I owe you a review of 'Unite or Die!'.  It was great.  I am trying to secure The Princesses' copy of the script to share some of the bits that got a reaction out of the audience.  There is video, but I am reluctant to post other people's kids on my personal blog without explicit permission.  I am extremely proud of The Princess, as she had two speaking parts, neither of which had been practiced at home (so the five syllable words were quite impressive), and both of which she delivered perfectly.  Though styled as a Reader's Theater, several of the kids (including mine) had memorized their parts, and all of the third graders ended the performance with a rousing presentation of "Fifty Nifty United States", the song they sing naming all of the states (in alphabetical order, no less).  'Fifty Nifty' had been practiced at home.  Repeatedly.  For weeks.  Several times a day.  In the house.  In the yard.  In the car.  You get the idea.  I am proud my daughter can name all of the states, but am glad this learning unit is over.

I feel like crud all of a sudden, my throat started to bother me tonight, somewhere in between the preschool Christmas program and the high school basketball game.  My knee is throbbing, with my physical therapist having given up on me.  I go back to the doc next week, since therapy has made things worse.  My therapist said that she would expect the doc to restrict me to being non-weight bearing for a few weeks.  Great, now I have to get all my Christmas running around done before I am on crutches.  Although I like the looks of those electric scooters at Wal-Mart.  I could get some shopping done with wheels...

My friend GOC is weighing heavily on my mind.  As I write this, we just got word that he has been in the hospital after what his brother-in-law termed a 'mini-stroke'.  Denny hadn't posted since Monday and then hadn't responded to friendly attempts to reach him, so we knew something was up.  Praying for his speedy recovery and glad that he has a good support system there in Georgia.

Phallic Food Ban

An Islamic cleric in Europe has reportedly ruled women should be forbidden from touching — or even being near — bananas and cucumbers because their oblong shapes can make women think of sex.
The unnamed sheikh, who was featured in an article on el-Senousa news, was quoted saying that if women wish to eat these food items, a third party, preferably a male related to them such as their father or husband, should cut the items into small pieces and serve.
He said that these fruits and vegetables “resemble the male penis” and hence could arouse women or “make them think of sex.”
He also added carrots and zucchini to the list of forbidden foods for women.
There you have it, guys.  The secret to getting your woman all hot and bothered.  Forget wine and roses.  No fancy jewelry or romantic talk needed.  Take a tour of the produce department.

Ice cream cones, bomb pops, push ups?  Because, obviously, we of the weaker sex can't put our tongue on anything without wishing it were somewhere else.


What about hot dogs?  Corn dogs?  Twinkies?  Egg rolls?  Burritos?

Crash will be ticked off, but his lollipop habit will have to be curbed.  Momma can't see those without needing a cold shower.  GMAFB.

Now, the sight of these might cause a little wishful thinking:

back story here, language NSFW

December 7, 2011

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Seventy years.  What saddens me most about today is the lack of acknowledgment, the dearth of television specials, parades, patriotism on display.  It shouldn't catch people by surprise, as they write the date on a document, that today is the seventieth anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  There should have been weeks and days of planning to mark the occasion. 

The number of survivors is dwindling as age catches up with them.  The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association will officially disband at the end of the year - there simply aren't enough of them still alive to keep the organization running.  Will we do their service justice, or continue down this path of forgetting and treating this day like any other?

looking up from the USS Arizona Memorial

Unite or Die!

Unite or Die! is the title of the third grade play I am on my way to see this morning.  I am intrigued and anxious to see the third grade interpretation of the American Revolution.  In addition to the normal little bits of entertainment; the boys who make faces or pick their noses, the shy ones that clam up with stage fright, etc., there is the addition of costuming that will likely add an additional chuckle or two.

Noting that colonial tricorns aren't that easy to come by this time of year, the teacher sent out a request for pirate hats.  The hats are probably close, but the Jack Sparrow mentality prevails.  In my mind I hear, "Arrrrrrgggggh, the British be coming."

I will report back this afternoon.

December 6, 2011

To snooze or not to snooze

I am not a snooze alarm person.  Never have been.  My mom was a single parent that usually left for work before I even got up, so I was responsible for getting up, dressed, fed, lunch packed and to the bus stop on time.  If I didn't make it, I was in for a long walk. In the snow, uphill both ways.  Okay, not uphill both ways, but from October to April, snow was likely.

While not a snooze person, I was a to-the-minute alarm setter.  I knew exactly how long it took me to accomplish all of my tasks and I set my alarm to allow every possible minute of sleep.  If I wanted to do something special with my hair or wardrobe, I might calculate a few extra minutes.  I was never a morning homework doer, instead staying up late to get it done.  I never found much reward in having time to kill that could have been spent sleeping.

Bang is a morning person.  Up at the crack of dawn or earlier, and he wakes up hungry.  While he talks a big game, he just can't stay up late (yet).  He is a morning homework kid.  He is up, fed and dressed by the time Boom is finally rolling out of bed.  Back when we had a coffee maker, he would hit the start button for us when he got up.  Makes his own breakfast.  Packs his own lunch.  Always has time to listen to music and mess around before it is time to leave for school.

Boom has never been a ray of sunshine in the morning, but she used to be much better about getting up.  Neither of my teenagers are sleep-til-noon kids unless they are sick, but Boom is edging toward it.  The siren call of the internet while doing computer-based homework has been keeping her up late.  She isn't so much a social networking kid, instead spending her time reading books online and texting half the night.  And she has a new love affair with her snooze alarm.

I had to wake Boom up twice last week when she kept hitting the snooze, cutting it dangerously close.  There is no room for error when school is 10 miles away and there is no alternative mode of transport.  If one kid is late, it makes them all late.  I know that the time is coming for Boom to face the consequences of her actions.  One morning I am just going to have to let her sleep in and miss school.  Of course, I have to plan carefully to make sure it isn't a test day, or a day that she doesn't miss anything and get a free vacation.

Maybe I can use that day off of school to force her to learn the other life lessons she has been avoiding.  Like laundry.

December 5, 2011

About that tsunami relief fund...updated

This story about an ultra-luxury car wreck is all over the news today.

An outing of luxury sportscar enthusiasts in Japan ended in an expensive freeway pileup — smashing a stunning eight Ferraris, a Lamborghini and two Mercedes likely worth more than $1  4 million together.
Yes, it is cringe-inducing.  Such a waste of good auto-porn.  The price tag has risen to $4 million or better - and I still don't think that includes the cost of the Prius.

Is anyone else struck by the thought that just eight months ago, we were sending piles of money, supplies, personnel and other resources to Japan after the March 11 tsunami?

Granted, $4 million is a lot of money in cars, and not quite so impressive in the face of a $300 billion disaster, but...the image of a group of luxury car owners out for a Sunday drive and gathering leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  Japan is smaller than California.  It isn't as if the tsunami and nuclear disaster in the north of the country went unnoticed.  And it isn't as if everything is back to normal.  While little kids all over the world cracked open their piggy banks to 'save Japan', what were these folks doing?  Not selling their cars for the cause, apparently.

FOD

Blowie is going to make a speech in Osawatomie, Kansas this week.

When I first read this tidbit, I couldn't stop giggling.  I grew up 30 miles from Osawatomie, Kansas.  When I was a kid there was only one thing that Osawatomie was known for - the state insane asylum.  Sure, they had changed the name to 'State Hospital' before I was born, but no one called it that.  When kids acted up, there was always the threat of being 'sent to Osawatomie'.  It used to have an imposing main building that looks like the asylum of everyone's nightmares, but was notable for being a Kirkbride:


My grandparents and their friends talked of the odd person or relative that had been committed to the hospital.  Tales were told of the horrific sites and jarring sounds that mark any facility where the severely mentally ill reside.  The decades before psychiatric drugs were terrifying times filled with electric shock, lobotomies and straightjackets.  They used to talk about the residents being taken outside in their straightjackets and tied to the fence so they could get fresh air without harming themselves or wandering off.

Sounds like just the place for Blowie.

Blowie's staff is steering the media toward the historical significance of the site:
One reason Obama picked the Kansas town, situated about 60 miles southwest of Kansas City, was for an historical tie. President Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican, spoke in the town in 1910, a year after he left the presidency. In that address, to a crowd then estimated at 30,000, Roosevelt called for what he called a “New Nationalism where everyone gets a fair chance, a square deal, and an equal opportunity to succeed,” the White House said.
Great, another class warfare and pro-socialism speech.
The other thing that Osawatomie is known for is its connection to John Brown.  
John Brown, considered a fanatical abolitionist by some and a martyr by others, is closely associated with the pro-slavery and free-state struggle of the Kansas Territorial period, 1854-1861.  John Brown followed five of his sons to Kansas in 1855 where he saw an opportunity to help make Kansas a free state-bringing a wagon load of weapons along with him.
Some call John Brown the first home grown terrorist.  But, I wouldn't be surprised if there is a Blowie photo op in John Brown Park or the John Brown Museum.  John Brown was the only white man that Malcolm X said he would consider letting join the Organization of Afro-American Unity (though I doubt he would have actually said that if Brown had still been alive).

Don't kid yourself.  Blowie acquiesced to speak in a mostly Red, flyover state only because he found a city that appeals to his crazy black half.

December 4, 2011

Home for the Holidays

Blowie is headed to the islands again, for a 17 day vacation. Wasn't he just in Hawaii last month?

I, for one, have adopted my friend Whited's view. If he ain't in Washington, he isn't mucking things up as much (we hope). So, bon voyage, Barack.

I think it is incredibly poor timing and poor taste on his part. Our leader should be the very image of austerity considering the economy. Instead, he is taking a vacation to a place many people have no hope of ever being able to visit due to cost, and he is going for seventeen freaking days! Good for us, maybe he will tick off a few more people with this show of extravagance.  Maybe Peggy Joseph and the lady with 15 kids will realize that he really isn't their savior.

For the rest of us middle class working and tax paying stiffs, prepare to take it in the caboose.  This isn't a budget vacation:

THE HEFTY HOLIDAY BILL

Last year the Obama's Christmas trip to Hawaii cost more than $1 million.
He covered the cost of his family's accommodation, but the rest was covered by the taxpayers.
The bill to house Secret Service agents and Navy Seals in beach front accommodation stretched to $16,800.
A further hotel bill of $134,400 covered 24 White House staff staying in the Moana Hotel at a rate of $400 a day.
The estimate, by the Hawaii Reporter, also included $250,000 for local police overtime, $1 million for the president's own round trip flight to Hawaii on Air Force One, and $10,000 for a local ambulance to accompany the presidential motorcade.

December 3, 2011

Paulsibilities?

The other day I talked about the Republican's party's nominee.  As the nation anxiously awaits Herman Cain's 'big announcement, I will venture a guess that he is done.  I agree with anything you could say - there is a double standard (Clinton/Flowers/Lewinsky, JFK/and every bombshell of the era, Jefferson and his slave baby mama, Garfield, Harding, FDR, Ike, LBJ), I don't really think a politician's sex life is any of my business.  It is my business if they lie about it once confronted.  It is a problem if it wasn't consensual or violated marriage vows.  Character flaws need to be examined.

I heard a radio pundit point out that Cain's statement that he was 'reassessing' was the end of the campaign.  Even if Cain meant it as precisely what he said, the American psyche isn't wired to invest in someone who might be gone next week.  No intelligent person would invest in a product if the company's president announced that may not be in business in the near future.  I though it was odd and telling that Cain's campaign staff took to Facebook to ask his supporters to send him notes to encourage him to stay in the race.

That would seem to leave Romney and Gingrich.  Blech.  Unless you can take Huntsman's daughters seriously. Me neither.

There is one interesting point of light.  The Spalding GOP Store is selling campaign items for three 'hopefuls'.  The Spalding GOP Store is a division of the Spalding Group, a Republican marketing company.  The store has been the official Republican Presidential campaign supplier since 1984.  The three hopefuls that they are making a buck off of selling merchandise for, under the guise of possible Republican candidacy?  Romney, Gingrich and...


Wouldn't that be a kick?

December 2, 2011

Not worth the wait. Seriously.

I'm not exactly sure how it works these days.  When I was a young(er) girl, there was many a discussion, with best friends and in groups at slumber parties.  There were Judy Bloom novels.  Movies.  Practicing on the back of your hand.  After school specials.  The dark corner at the skating rink.  Older kids to watch.

Regardless, I think most of us had some general idea of the mechanics and some plan for a signature style, the first time we embarked on some serious smooching.

Fox News is running a story about those with their knickers in a twist over the portrayal of virgins, and, in the trailer, a couple who has never even kissed, in a new TLC show.  I don't give a damn about what any 'expert' says, this is 'reality' television, all the players left their ethics and right to complain at the door when they signed the production contract.

What this trailer for the new TLC show 'Virgin Diaries' is, is gag inducing, wet your pants funny.  You might not know whether to laugh or puke, but you won't be able to turn away.  Train wreck syndrome fixation.

Love her or hate her, Ellen's commentary is funny and spot on.  Eye bleach not provided, Class IV Beverage Alert:

Not so dumb blonde

I get offended when people treat me like I am stupid.

My teenagers fall into that category.  I am not an idiot.  When I walk by your computer and you are furiously closing windows or switching tabs, you aren't fooling me into thinking that you were doing homework.

My stepsister is one of those habitual liars that never remembers the lies she told previously, so the next round of lies is even more entertaining, because no one ever lets on that we know it is all a pile of crap.  Her assumption that I won't remember our last conversation tends to piss me off, because it shows me that she doesn't think I am smart enough to keep track.  Every now and then it is fun to push back with some facts, which tends to result in an even more elaborate story.  But, most often, I leave it, to keep the family peace.

I don't know how anyone falls for any iteration of the Nigerian email scam.  Really?  Some Nigerian royalty stumbled upon your email address and needs help that only you can provide - and even though you are a complete stranger, they will pay you thousands of dollars?  GMAFB

Even my mom is guilty of forwarding those idiotic chain emails about how Microsoft is tracking the email and will reward the users with some great act of charity or royalty payments.  Sheesh, let's all take a refresher course in how email and the interwebs work.

This morning, as I was making the usual rounds of various news sites and blogs, I was struck by the number of ads that were trying to hit a personal note with me.  You know, the ones that read your IP address and then have a picture of someone that they represent to be the "Your Town" guy or girl that is losing a pound a day with one simple trick to melt away body fat!  Or one weird trick!  Or discovered the secret to cut their electricity bill in half!  Or went back to school on grants!

Problem is, I live in a pretty small town.  I don't know everyone, and it has grown over the past few years, but there is no way that there is a shred of truth to the personal connection the ad is portraying (not to mention the crapola they are peddling).  Just this morning alone, in about 15 minutes, I saw 6 different people pictured in ads with a caption that represented them as being from my town.  I probably see a total of 10-20 of those ads each day.  Even if I wanted to believe that those fly by night companies were legit, it is hard to overlook the fact that I should have recognized someone by now.

If you really wanted my business, you would assume I am smart, rather than post generic stock photos of people that you claim are in my town and know how to do something amazing.