September 30, 2012

Teach your children well

I am related to a bunch of assholes.

I know every family has their share, but I really thought that my extended family at least had the same general core values, the same sense of compassion, duty, care.  They do not.

In a replay quite similar to this time last year, I am soon traveling to visit a beloved uncle who is losing his fight with cancer.  An uncle that has, throughout his life, been a stalwart man of faith.  I have never heard him raise his voice or say an unkind word - ever.  That kind of a good guy.  He and my aunt adopted two children when they couldn't have them otherwise.  Worked hard all his life, retiring several years ago to travel and enjoy life, only to have it cut short by a rare and aggressive form of cancer.

I can hardly speak (or type) about the myriad ways his grown children are failing him.  They are two selfish, rude, greedy little pieces of shit.  The only good thing about them being absent, is that they can't make any demands on Uncle P and my aunt. 

And the rest of the family?  Where the hell are they?  I live 500+ miles away and have been clearing my schedule for visits since I got word that he was heading home with hospice care.  There are family members that live within 10 miles that haven't bothered to stop by. 

Name one thing more important than expressing love for someone who's life is ending.  

I guess I am really no better than the assholes I am related to.  They show they are cold-hearted jerks by what they aren't doing and I show my bad side by the things I am doing.  Like wishing them a lifetime of regret and pain.  Deep, unrelenting, excruciating pain. 

September 29, 2012

Rainy Weekend

It's raining this morning, precipitation sorely needed, but badly timed. This would have been the perfect weekend for a myriad of outdoor chores, with the temperature tolerable, no major plans to interrupt the work flow and no Cowboys game to get in the way on Sunday. Instead, we turn our attention to indoor chores.

It might work out better this way, as a local charity is having a garage sale next weekend and needs donations. I can encourage the kids to sort through their pig sties rooms and cull some toys.  This is rather good timing to start in on the 'you won't have room for any new Christmas toys if you don't get rid of the things you don't play with' mantra. 

Or we could pop a movie in and curl up on the couch and blow it all off...

September 28, 2012

Obama Phone Costs

This video needs to go just as viral as the Cleveland Obama Phone lady video. The details on the origin and cost of the program, from Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR), who has worked to end the program:

More like this...

Can we get less bad news and more stuff like this?
Adam Greenberg’s major league baseball dream came true on July 9, 2005 and ended moments later when he was hit in the head by a 92-per-mile per hour pitch.
But after a nationwide push, the 31-year-old Guilford native is getting one more chance. It will be with the Miami Marlins, the team he was batting against when he was hit.
Way to go Marlins!  I love it when, in the midst of the 'we can't do that', 'what about the liability issues' mindset of today's society, some one steps up to the plate and does a good thing for another human being.  Mr. Greenberg won't have to go through the rest of his life saying 'if only...'.

And, cheers to this brave young woman:
After someone snapped a photo of her and posted it on online, Balpreet Kaur was ridiculed for following the tenants of her Sikh faith. But instead of hiding or lashing out, she politely posted a reply—and turned a bullying situation into a inspiring example of tolerance, support, and inspiration.
Someone snapped a less than flattering photo of Ms Kaur standing in line at her college library (Ohio State), without her knowledge. Then said person posted it on Reddit and the disparaging comments began.  Ms Kaur was wearing traditional Sikh headcover and has facial hair that was caused by teenage hormone fluctuations.  Her religion forbids altering the body.

The average college age person probably would have reacted with much less grace and class.  People were making very disparaging comments about her.  But she didn't.  She said this:
Hey, guys. This is Balpreet Kaur, the girl from the picture. I actually didn't know about this until one of my friends told on facebook. If the OP wanted a picture, they could have just asked and I could have smiled :) However, I'm not embarrased or even humiliated by the attention [negative and positve] that this picture is getting because, it's who I am. Yes, I'm a baptized Sikh woman with facial hair. Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women. However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body - it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being [which is genderless, actually] and, must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will. Just as a child doesn't reject the gift of his/her parents, Sikhs do not reject the body that has been given to us. By crying 'mine, mine' and changing this body-tool, we are essentially living in ego and creating a seperateness between ourselves and the divinity within us. By transcending societal views of beauty, I believe that I can focus more on my actions. My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body because I recognize that this body is just going to become ash in the end, so why fuss about it? When I die, no one is going to remember what I looked like, heck, my kids will forget my voice, and slowly, all physical memory will fade away. However, my impact and legacy will remain: and, by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can. So, to me, my face isn't important but the smile and the happiness that lie behind the face are. :-) So, if anyone sees me at OSU, please come up and say hello. I appreciate all of the comments here, both positive and less positive because I've gotten a better understanding of myself and others from this. Also, the yoga pants are quite comfortable and the Better Together tshirt is actually from Interfaith Youth Core, an organization that focuses on storytelling and engagement between different faiths. :) I hope this explains everything a bit more, and I apologize for causing such confusion and uttering anything that hurt anyone.
What a beautiful soul.

September 27, 2012

The new Peggy Joseph

Don't know her name, but she has unseated Peggy Joseph in the best video representation of the typical SEIU-paid to protest Obama supporter category:

Good Lord, save us. 

Oh yes we are

The president recently said:
"I still believe that we are not as divided as our politics suggest"
You believe wrong.

I have long had friends with different political beliefs - even living here in one of the reddest counties in one of the reddest states in the nation.  I have idiotic family members that can't separate a single issue that they feel passionate about from a platform that is 99% against the rest of their core beliefs.  I read stories like this and can't believe that there isn't more outrage about these leeches living off the taxpayers.  This woman called in the media for a comment made to her by a Kroger manager about her use of food stamps - and the public seems to side with her while ignoring the other key details in her story:
Nerger said she started receiving food stamps, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, when she became eligible for Medicare and Social Security Supplemental Income because of kidney failure in 2008. While she waits for a kidney transplant, she cannot work because of daily 12-hour dialysis treatments. Her husband runs a carpentry business. "If he doesn't get a call [for a job] we don't have any extra money for the month," she said.
EXTRA MONEY?  WTF is wrong with you lady?  A JOB should be your MAIN source of income, not EXTRA money after food stamps, Medicare and SSSI.  In other versions of the story, she says that her husband's carpentry business isn't profitable enough to support their family.  Then he should go find a job that is. 

And don't give me any bullshit responses about how you can't work because of 12-hour dialysis. I know several people who have been in similar situations.  You can sleep through dialysis, sweetheart.  My neighbor did it for two years, while working, raising a family and being a model citizen volunteer (before her husband donated one of his kidneys to her).  

No, Mr. President, you couldn't be more wrong.  As you continue to push your 'everything should be fair' platform that means working people pay for deadbeats to have the same food, living conditions, medical care and insurance benefits that the working class does, you do little more than breed contempt, class warfare, and division.

September 26, 2012

Subtlety lost

What has happened to our society that subtlety is lost?  Is it the constant news wonk 'analysis' of every word a politician says or doesn't say?  Is it the TMZ types that follow a celebrity's every move and describe them in distinct detail?  Is it reality television that leaves nothing to the imagination?

As I turn out the lights on the organization that I have been working for, I am confronted each day with people demanding explanations as to why our board of directors decided to close down.  Despite a carefully crafted press release, a statement on our website and Facebook, and an email sent to our customer database, none of these people can seem to read between the lines. 

It makes it hard to take the high road, when people can't stop and look at who wasn't thanked or who isn't being recognized in our charitable distribution of assets, and figure out for themselves what the deciding factors were.

I hate to think that our collective IQ has dropped so much that we can't use a little common sense to figure things out.  Clearly, many people, on both sides of the political aisle, do little more than regurgitate factoids and opinions that they heard from a news reader.  I think it would be an interesting exercise, as has been done by some notable conservative groups, to go to a gathering of liberals and ask very simple questions like, 'Why do you feel that way?', and see if they can craft any sort of independently thought logical answer.

I long for the days when people let silence, or lack of specific details speak for themselves.  Silence can be so much more powerful than words.  Now all it does is crank up the rumor mill.

September 25, 2012

The Obligatory NFL Officiating Post

I can't tell you how many times over the past 18+ years I have had the 'life isn't fair' conversation with one of my kids.  Some people have more than we do - money, talent, luck.  Just as many have less.  Life was never meant to be fair (though the president isn't helping me teach that lesson).

In sport, there have always been good calls, bad calls, unfair determinations.  Usually, things even out in the end.  Usually they are few and far between.  This NFL season is an unprecedented disaster.  If this past weekend isn't the tipping point that pushes the league to come to terms with the officials, I think many fans will be lost.  I know that I can't stand to watch anymore.  At first it was morbid fascination.  Well, that and the hope that the Cowboys would be on the receiving end of some really bad calls.  Now, it just hurts to see what has become of the 'sport'.

I, for one, hate all of the non-sport aspects of the game.  I don't like instant replay.  If we are going to rely on mystery people in some booth somewhere, cueing up film that any nimrod in their La-Z-Boy can use to make the correct call, then get rid of on-the-field officials.  Do everything by computer.  Use replay for every play, every call.  I would prefer that we solely rely on the infallible, yet human aspect, of on-the-field judgement.  If they don't see it, maybe you get away with some things - but I think it evens out more often than not.

I don't really blame the replacements.  They are filling in.  They aren't NFL caliber refs.  They are unsure of some rules.  It isn't their fault that the NFL threw them into this situation.  They haven't been respected since day one, and a large portion of the idiocy on the field can be attributed to the players and coaches trying to get away with things they know aren't right (Jim Harbaugh).

I have never seen John Gruden as thoroughly disgusted as he was after the game last night.  Without a wild-eyed rant or foul language, he expressed what nearly everyone must have felt - it was shameful, ridiculous, inconceivable.

Pete Carroll is a classless dick.  I don't care whether he had seen the replay yet or not, you don't grant on-the-field interviews while acknowledging that the game isn't even officially over yet, while making a snide comment that the refs probably didn't even know that they needed to kick the extra point.

There is a refreshing display of good character from some Seahawks:
Marshawn Lynch was sitting in a private room in the back of the Metropolitan Grill, celebrating a thrilling, last-second victory with friends and family members over big steaks and fat lobsters.

Then, with the flick of a remote control, Big Brother appeared and left a rancid taste in the Seattle Seahawks halfback's mouth.

As Lynch watched Packers safety M.D. Jennings snatch the pass out of the sky and pull it to his chest while Tate, who had blatantly pushed off against Green Bay cornerback Sam Shields, belatedly latched on one arm at a time, the running back's eyes grew big and his jaw dropped low. The room was dead silent as the realization gripped Lynch and his companions: Like most of the viewing public, they now understood that the Seahawks had received an extraordinary gift from the replacement officials. 

"We didn't win that game," someone at the table said, and nobody made a peep to challenge him.

By the time Lynch left the restaurant early Tuesday morning and, while waiting for his ride to arrive, reassured a group of Packers fans on Second Ave. almost apologetically that their team would bounce back from this bitter defeat, it was clear the league's already problematic officiating lockout had reached critical mass.

September 24, 2012

Attention Vonage Users

If you are out of contract and paying more than $5 a month, give them a call.

I am in the process of dissolving all corporate accounts associated with the non-profit I work(ed) for. One of the MOST frustrating parts of doing this is that every single entity that enables you to create accounts online refuses to let you cancel service in the same way. I have spent my morning on the phone with numerous entities, running the 'what if we make you this fantastic deal so you won't cancel' gauntlet.

Apparently, people in overseas call centers don't grasp that a business closing means that their services are no longer required.

Back to Vonage: after two increasingly lower offers than what we were paying per month, the rep made a last ditch effort and offered a rate of $4.99 per month with unlimited incoming calls, with a price guarantee for life.

If you are a Vonage user, you might want to have a go at that. Keep saying no until they get to their final, final, final offer. Heck, tell them you know they have the ability to offer $4.99.

If you are also in the market for music licensing, hit me up for that deal.

FOD - Apology Video

The State Department is spending $70k of our money to run this ad in Pakistan.  They posted it to their Facebook page on September 18th.  Note their blatant disregard and failure to mention the Constitutional right of free speech:

September 23, 2012

For the Romney Campaign Marketing Geniuses

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to think of three dozen ways that these photos can be used by the Romney campaign.  If I were Romney's body man, I would, right this very instant, be changing every large bill in Mitt's wallet to fives and tens, and making sure there was no more than, oh, let's say, $60 in it at any given time.

I especially like how Blowie is giggling like a little girl as he takes out his wad of cash, while Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is clearly also reaching for his payment.  Is Blowie laughing because Tom doesn't have a bank roll?  Is he tittering at making Tom pay for his own sausage? 

Doesn't he know you should put the small bills on the outside?

I am sure that the Obama campaign thinks it is important for the voting public to see the president paying for his own stuff, not some staffer taking care of the bill.  I bet they are proud of every photo op of the president paying his own way through all the campaign stops at eating establishments.  He's a regular guy, with a giant wad of cash in his wallet.  Hell, just give the guy an EBT card, it's all coming from the same pot, right?

This photo is just to remind Michelle of the many ways her husband supports her healthy eating platform:

September 22, 2012

Saturday Morning Comic Relief

This girl has a future in comedy, radio pranks, something...she nails the accent and vernacular and is quick witted...

September 21, 2012

Friday Night Foot (or something) In Mouth

Vice President Joe Biden may have stuck his foot in his mouth again on Friday, using an awkward off-the-cuff phrase to compliment high school cheerleaders during a campaign stop.
 Wait for it...
“Guess what, the cheerleaders in college are the best athletes in college,” Biden said. “You think, I’m joking, they’re almost all gymnasts, the stuff they do on hard wood, it blows my mind.”
Bah dum bum.

Wish I was in Houston

I wish I could have been in Houston this week.  Words I never thought I would say...still, this week, I would have welcomed the chance to be in H-town.

Gah!  What the hell?  My favorite sign at the local Babe's is the one that says 'Life's too short to live in Houston'.  I hate the humidity, I hate the traffic, and one particularly psycho ex-boyfriend from high school resides in Houston.  I try to avoid it at all costs.

There were two good reasons to brave it this week:

Even though they arrived brandishing an upside-down Texas flag, I would have liked to have seen the space shuttle Endeavour.  The Endeavour not only represents the end of a storied shuttle program, but also represents what we didn't get - 'we' being Texas and 'what we didn't get' being a space shuttle to display, irregardless of the fact that Mission F'ing Control is in Texas.  Thanks, Blowie.  Gut NASA and screw Texas out of a shuttle.  FU.  Would have been nice to see her fly once more, even if she was flying away to CommieMexiFornia.

Also gracing the Houston vicinity this week is a ship, an LCS-3, set to be christened the USS Fort Worth.  This is the first vessel to be thusly named and many of us in the Fort Worth area are mighty damn proud.  They have had her parked in Galveston and open to tours all week.  Had I known a day or two sooner, I would have taken the kids. 

Star-Telegram/Ron T. Ennis

September 20, 2012

The Obama You Don't Know

Go here.

Read it all.

Challenge five of your liberal acquaintances to read it.  Try to have an open conversation with them about the person Obama has said he is versus the facts now commonly accepted by most educated Americans.  Ask them if honesty matters, and, if so, how they can believe he will do any of the things he is currently promising to do.

Distress Signal

I can't help but speculate that this was less of a mistake and more of a not-so-subtle commentary on Blowie eviscerating the NASA budget.  And yes, it is the Texas flag, not the American flag, but flying it upside down still signals distress in my book:

Endeavor landing in Houston, September 19, 2012
Of course, in the grand scale of distressing bastardization of flags, I would say this one takes the cake:

$35 for this piece of shit

Life is messy

I have a husband, kids and animals.  Some things in life are messy.  Some are messy by design and some messes are required to set things straight again.  (Mr. Harper loves to clean out the garage by removing damn near everything, sweeping it clean and putting everything back).

Then there are the accidental messes.  Obviously, childhood and illnesses cause memorable messy experiences.  Why is it that kids have such bad aim when they are vomiting?  And why do dogs run from the tile floor to the carpet to throw up?   I have powered (and steam cleaned) through our entire family of six having a stomach bug at the same time.

My kitchen has seen its share of accidental messes.  Kids spill things.  Dishes get broken.  Eggs dropped.  Dishwater slopped.  Pots boil over.  Once a Pyrex baking dish exploded in my oven.  It was a horrific mess, but well contained.  Bonus points to the company for disavowing any responsibility for faulty cookware but inexplicably sending an entire new set of bake ware and giving me a $100 credit at their online store.

I once dropped a two-gallon humidifier tank that I had just refilled.  Lots of water and broken plastic on the floor.  I knocked a glass mixing bowl out of a dish drainer and into the sink.  That involved uber-paranoid clean up with the power turned off as I had to get the glass out of the garbage disposal.

Once Boom knocked a bottle of oil-based salad dressing out of the refrigerator door.  And to this point, that oily, broken glass, all over the refrigerator and its contents mess held the record for worst pain in the ass clean up.  Until now.

While cooking dinner last night, I went to fetch something from the top shelf of my pantry.  In the process, a package of pancake mix came tumbling down, and somewhere in the millisecond that I was blinded by the bag, a liter bottle of balsamic vinegar fell to the floor.

This mess takes the award for number of surfaces I managed to soil - tile floor, wood floor, carpet, wallpaper, refrigerator, painted wall, pantry, pantry contents, kitchen cabinets, chair, shoes, backpack, homework folder, dog bowl, oven and me.  The debris field extended out at least 10 feet in every direction that it could go - otherwise stopped by appliances, cabinets and walls.  My legs had dozens of little pinprick wounds from tiny pieces of glass. 

I haven't pulled the refrigerator out yet, opting to clean what I could reach and wait for daylight and some help for whatever is further under it.  The carpet seems to be glass free, but the stains aren't completely gone. 

When it first happened, I wanted to cry - it is one of those catastrophes that you look at and aren't sure where to begin - well, where to begin after you get the bleeding stopped.  But what got me through three hours on my hands and knees cleaning was one constant thought; it was ugly and messy and a wreck, but it paled in comparison to The Caramel Pie Story.   

September 19, 2012

Not how we do it in Texas

A select group of people in this world have been exposed to a certain great Hill Country story teller's tale of stump broke animals and the services they provide.  I will not elaborate - this ain't Penthouse Forum.

Down in Florida, they go one better, apparently.  First, they have a fancy name for it: zoophilia.  Second, they use miniature animals, thereby removing the need for a stump.
A Florida farmhand arrested for having sexual contact with a miniature donkey explained to cops that the Sunshine State was “backwards” since its residents “frown on zoophilia,” according to a police report.
Carlos Romero, 31, was collared yesterday and charged with misdemeanor sexual activity with an animal.
Investigators report that a witness last month spotted Romero, pictured in the mug shot at right, “up against the rear of the donkey” apparently having sex with the animal.
You can hit that police report link for the dirty details.

I guess the only positive to take away from the story is that while the rest of us have been taking it from behind from a bunch of donkeys, this guy in Florida was returning the favor.

September 18, 2012

Too fat to die

I cannot think about politics, foreign relations, national security or anything related to it without throwing up. 
So let's poke fun at a fat guy that killed someone thirty years ago and is using obesity as the basis to request a stay of execution.

First point; how does someone whose meals are provided by the taxpayer end up weighing 480 pounds?  Can someone get Brad and Angelina on the phone and point out that there are skinny ass American children that are starving and are skin and bones, while we have murderers the size of a Smart car?  If anybody can get the attention of political leaders, it is Brangelina.
Ronald Post, who shot and killed a hotel clerk in northern Ohio almost 30 years ago, said his weight, vein access, scar tissue and other medical problems raise the likelihood his executioners would encounter severe problems. He's also so big that the execution gurney might not hold him, lawyers for Post said in federal court papers filed Friday.
I am fairly certain the floor will hold him.  Strap his fat ass to the floor.  Duct tape him.  Hell, if you can get him there, he probably can't get back up on his own anyway.
"Indeed, given his unique physical and medical condition there is a substantial risk that any attempt to execute him will result in serious physical and psychological pain to him, as well as an execution involving a torturous and lingering death," the filing said.
And the problem with a torturous and lingering death is what, exactly?  I am so sorry, did I miss the part where he gently placed his victim on a padded gurney, gave him the chance to see his family one last time, say a few words and then go gently to sleep?  Enforce the damn death penalty with some gusto, boys.  Put a bullet through him - doubt that vein access and scar tissue would cause any problems for a .30 cal.

Here's an idea.  Stop feeding him.  I'm not saying starve him to death, just give him bread and water until his January execution date.  Better yet, let's get him one of those taxpayer funded lap band surgeries.  Hire him a personal Pilates trainer.  Whatever it takes to make sure he is skinny enough to enjoy a painless and comfortable execution.

September 17, 2012


Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif said he believes Al Qaeda is responsible for the deadly attack at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans and that roughly 50 people have arrested in connection with the violence, according to two broadcast interviews Sunday.
U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice blanketed the TV airways Sunday to reinforce the Obama administration’s position that the deadly violence at American outposts across the Middle East last week was the result of an anti-Muslim video -- delivering her message on four morning talk shows.  
 Ms Rice, FYI:

Hole in ground

September 16, 2012

Failed Diplomacy

I don't need to link, because if you are one of the people who happens by this little blog of mine, you are painfully aware of the violence against Americans, and others, that is taking place in the Middle East.

The president has reacted in the way we have become accustomed to - he immediately blamed someone else.  In this case, an American 'filmmaker'.  Apparently anyone with a video camera and a YouTube account is now called a 'filmmaker'.  At the memorial ceremony marking the return of the remains of four Americans killed in a terrorist attack movie protest in Libya, Hillary Clinton actually said this:
This has been a difficult week for the State Department and for our country. We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with.
You are wrong, Madam Secretary.  We have everything to do with it.  All kinds of people, from all walks of life, and from every religion, come to America because our Constitution guarantees them the right to practice whatever religion they want, and to express their opinions, whether or not you agree with them, through the right of free speech.  

And quite frankly, I don't give a good God damn as to the 'whys' of the situation.  When there is violence against Americans, I don't wring my hands and hope for a peaceful diplomatic outcome.  I lust for violent revenge.  I watch brown shirted thugs arrest a 'filmmaker' in what is surely meant to be a very public show to appease the protestors, and feel the bile rise in my throat.  Sudan won't let us send our own Marines to protect our embassy.  I wanted to put my foot through the television when Clinton became Libya's apologists and blamed 'a small and savage group...not the people or government of Libya'.   

Ugh.  This is not my America.

September 15, 2012

When words fail, go to Sonic

A few weeks ago, the kids and I were in Dallas waiting to pick Mr. Harper up at Love Field airport.  We had time to spare and we were hungry - but Love Field's immediate vicinity isn't overflowing with an abundance of clean palatable restaurants.  I drove a few blocks away to an area that has always been a nice part of town - clean, safe and a good bet for a decent meal, and known as a gay area.

Times have changed.  Don't get me wrong, the area is still clean, well kept, there is a very active social and dining scene.  It is just that what used to be a gay hangout is now Planet Gay.  As we entered the neighborhood, there were rainbow flags on every light pole, signs and stickers supporting gay rights, stores that cater to, um, alternative life styles, etc.  Most of the bars and restaurants had outdoor patio areas that were busting at the seams with gay couples - and they were overwhelmingly male and overwhelmingly flamboyantly gay.  We saw 4 females in our trip around the block.  And there isn't a damn thing wrong with any of it - live and let live, to each his own...

I would have liked to have gotten a meal there, I was really hungry and time was going to become an issue, but, Crash was in the car.  Crash had never seen gay public displays of affection.  He has had no coaching, no experience, no exposure to what he was suddenly bombarded with as he looked out the window.

As you know, five year old's aren't generally great at thoughtful subtlety when they speak.  He freaked the hell out.  He spoke his mind.  Even with the windows up and radio playing, I worried that someone outside the car would hear his uncensored thoughts about what he was seeing.

And what do you say, as a parent?  This isn't like a kid staring at someone with a deformity, or declaring loudly that someone is FAT.  There isn't a way to walk up to a gay couple and say, 'My son has never seen men kissing, could you introduce yourself and show him that you are normal?'

At least, I couldn't ask that without risking an ass kicking.  And there was no guarantee that anything we, or anyone else, could say to Crash would get him to stop vocally expressing his aversion to what he was seeing.

Some parenting challenges I am just not up for. 

September 14, 2012

Nail Biter

Sorry for the lack of a post today, had a long night and tense day awaiting word from a loved one in the Middle East.  All is now well and my regular drudgery will resume soon.

September 13, 2012

Uncomfortably Numb

On Tuesday, the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, as a result of an inexplicable chain of unusual circumstances, my car radio ended up on MSNBC for a few minutes as I drove the kids to school.  Turns out, MSNBC was replaying the Today Show coverage from 9/11, uninterrupted and un-post-attack-analyzed.

NBC happened to be the channel my television was on that fateful morning when I first heard the news.  I remember the exact spot, the house I was driving by, taking my kids to school, when the radio voice first said the word 'terror attack' after the second plane struck.  When I got home, I turned the TV on - and it stayed on for hours.  So when I heard that coverage being replayed on the radio, something in me just wanted to turn it on at home and re-live that morning for a little bit.

Knowing everything we know now - it is interesting to hear the theories and information that was being relayed to the public on 9/11.  It is easy to recall the full spectrum of emotions from the day, that week, those months that led to so many changes in our day-to-day lives.   Most of us had never heard of Osama bin Laden until that day, but his name was mentioned on national television within 14 minutes of the second plane crash.  The 'intelligence community' knew who to look at.

Earlier this week, I read a story about how Americans have become numb to war casualties.  Unless it is a hometown hero or family member, most people aren't even aware when a life is lost in any of the places our military is fighting. 

Is that why there is so little outrage at what has happened in Libya and Egypt this week?  United States Embassies and Consulates are American soil.  Our country was attacked, for all intents and purposes - again - on our own turf.  Four men died.  One of those men thought that their own 'police' forces had been photographing the compound and expressed worry that something might happen.  What in the hell is our 'intelligence community' doing?

Why has the media and the liberal public turned a TERRORIST ATTACK into some political campaign bullshit?  I don't care if Mitt Romney dressed in drag and danced the hula - Obama is the motherfucking president and he should have taken immediate and decisive action to condemn those responsible for this attack and he should have initiated an immediate show of force.  Times like these I agree with the old adage about carrying a big stick.

I listened to Obama's 'statement'.  There wasn't one ounce of feeling, not one hint of emotion in his voice.  I want to kick him in the balls, just to see if anything gets a reaction out of him.

 God Bless the service of the men who died serving our country.  Peace to the families that have lost loved ones.  Prayers for the Marines deploying to the region and those already in place.  This American girl is brokenhearted for the loss and pissed as hell that our government hasn't responded appropriately.

September 12, 2012

Brazos Valley Voodoo now with soundtrack

Once upon a time, teenage boys had to run the gauntlet of facing the chemist at the local pharmacy to purchase condoms.  Same thing went for unfortunate teenage girls in need of a pregnancy test.  The late night 7-Eleven clerk was known to cast a jaundiced eye at anyone requesting to purchase the Zig-Zags kept behind the counter, just to the left of the Penthouse magazines.

As a parent, I sure would appreciate some of those products going back behind the counter, if for no other reason than so I don't have to explain, in the middle of the Wal-Mart vitamin aisle, again, that K-Y Warming Jelly isn't for cold feet and hands.  I am curious, though, why eye drops, vitamins, and Ensure shakes share an aisle with sexual products.

Right or wrong, I think there is some value in having to grow a pair and face the scrutiny of the world for the things you want (or need).  I would prefer that teenagers practice safe sex and be well armed to do so, but I see the positives in having to face an adult, other than your parents, and make a purchase that virtually shouts your intentions to defile somebody's sweet baby girl.  If you aren't confident and proud of what you are embarking on, then you shouldn't be doing it anyway.

On the other hand, I have suffered the wrath of a nosy cashier a time or two and, hell, no, it isn't any of their business.  As the wife, mother and primary shopper in our household, I get to take credit for all the embarrassing purchases.  Trying to make conversation to explain that the stool softener is for the dog and the yeast infection medicine is actually for a diaper rash, just comes off as a sad attempt at hiding the real story.  I usually try to throw in a twelve of Shiner and some Chunky Monkey and mention that it is going to be a heck of a Friday night.

A couple of weeks ago, in the pharmacy area of a Bryan, Texas, H-E-B Store, I came across this:

It does a little bit of everything

Now, this was in a little section that had all sorts of different ethnic products.  Creams, powders and things with foreign names.   I was intrigued by the bottle - and then the descriptive "toilet water" label.  It was called Florida Water, and I liked equating it to toilet water, 'cause I am not to fond of Florida, for many reasons.  I Googled it right there in the aisle, and the first thing to pop up mentioned its use in Santeria and voodoo.  Horry Clap!  I put that bottle right back down and looked around.  Who in the hell, in Bryan, Texas, is practicing Santeria and/or voodoo in such frequency that the H-E-B stores carry their devil water?

One thing's for sure, if the cashier knows what that stuff is for, I bet they don't give any commentary when they ring up this purchase.        

September 11, 2012

Never Forget

September 10, 2012

NFL Porn

I have always taken issue with white football pants.  Very few people look good in white pants of any sort, and they certainly do not flatter 300 pound linemen.  I moan every single time the camera goes in for a tight shot of the line of scrimmage, every cottage cheesy cellulite dimple accentuated and the stark white straps of the support garment digging in to meaty ass cheeks.  And, to be quite frank, the darker the skin of the player, the less was left to the imagination.

Why are jock straps white, anyway?

Back to my original complaint.  The white pants.  I think they should be outlawed.  The football season is played after Labor Day, invoke that rule.  They can't be fun to launder, with grass and field paint stains.  Many teams have a dark pant and a light gray/silver option in addition to the white.  Just get rid of the white.

So, for as long as I can remember, the white pants have annoyed me. I want them gone, and I think I see a glimmer of hope in the future.
One of the biggest offseason moves in the NFL was a billion-dollar deal that affected every franchise. The league switched to Nike as its uniform supplier after 10 years with Reebok, and the new line made its debut as the regular season got underway.
We have Nike to thank for the 2012-2013 NFL season degenerating into Sunday afternoon soft porn.  Behold the Detroit Lion's left tackle, Jeff Backus (and try not to make a joke about his name and this photo):

Moisture wicking fabric = might as well be naked


Our President, campaigning in Florida:

The Vice President, campaigning in Ohio:

 The Secretary of State's plane to APEC Russia 2012:

Sadly, only the bottom one is a photoshop.   Top two photos are from the AP and bottom is from here.

September 9, 2012

Before reality TV

I think that I grew up during the golden age of game shows.  I know that there were some greats that were before my time, but I think that the genre really came of age in the 70's.  What is distinctive is the number of shows that included a celebrity participant - Celebrity Sweepstakes, Match Game, $10,000 (and then $20,000) Pyramid, Password, and the Big Kahuna, IMHO, The Hollywood Squares.

The Hollywood Squares was hilarious then, and even more so now, as I better appreciate the humorous nuances and innuendo.  What really strikes me is how sharp and quick-witted so many of those celebrities were.  There isn't much talent like that left in Hollywood.  As a kid in Kansas, I watched the Squares intently during the late summer, as sometimes host Peter Marshall would wear a Kansas City Royals baseball team jacket, in a show of support for his MLB-playing son, Pete LaCock.

Probably the funniest game show of all time was the original The Newlywed Game.  It is hard to believe that the people on the show pro-created and we are still around to tell the tale.  What a bunch of idiots.  Entertaining, but idiots.

You can skip on ahead to The Newlywed Game greatest hits around the 6:30 mark, but there is some Hollywood Squares gold and a priceless Andy Roddick turn on The Weakest Link worth seeing in the middle.

September 8, 2012

Mexican Word Clouds

I love the degrees of the internet, clicking through a site or link to find kindred souls scattered about the Gorenet makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.  This morning I discovered SooperMexican.  Good stuff over there.  This piece comparing the convention speeches of Ann Romney and Michelle Obama caught my attention:
A “word cloud” resizes the most used words in a body of text according to how many times they’re used. In the image below, I entered the entire text from Michelle’s speech tonight:
                 Now.. compare it to Ann Romney’s speech… pretty striking:

I like this word cloud exercise, and Sooper Mexican does it with various other speeches and the opposing party platforms.     

The Rio Olympics

It was hard to watch the summer Olympics this year and not hear chatter about the next summer games host, Rio de Janiero, Brazil.  During the closing ceremony there was an official handover to Rio, with the mayor of London giving the Olympic flag to the mayor of Rio, amidst the fanfare and Spice Girls performance.

I've never been to Rio.  I don't really know much about it other than the basics; carnival, that big statue of Christ, Sugarloaf mountain, thongs and soccer.  I hear the beaches are lovely, but that could be a commentary more representative of Brazilian bikinis, than sand and sun.

I am sure the Brazilians are hard at work, building venues and making plans.  One would assume that blighted areas are set to be cleaned up a bit and other undesirable traits will be addressed before Rio is at the center of the world stage.

Rio is the capital city of the state of Rio de Janeiro, bordered to the north by the state of Minas Gerais.  Rio proper is probably about 100k from the state line.

Here is a picture of the 4 meter long pregnant anaconda that was recently captured in Minas Gerais.  Sane people would assume that the snake was destroyed (as my mom says, the only good snake is a dead snake) or taken to a zoo or some other containment facility.  Nope, they took her back out of town and let her go.

Picture:KeystoneUSA-ZUMA / Rex Features

Make those Olympic travel plans early.

September 7, 2012

I'll see your vet bill and raise you...

A few weeks ago, CenTexTim shared his doggie's surgery tale.  He hasn't posted any updates, but I assume that dog and owner have recovered.  If his vet charges anywhere in the ballpark of what mine does, I would bet that his wallet hasn't recovered. 

Our Lab, Gus, had a little surprise surgery yesterday.  Last month, he suddenly had a lump on his head one day.  When I say suddenly, I mean, I was petting his head, he went outside for half and hour and came back in with a bump the size of a walnut on his head, right where I had been petting him.

We thought he got stung or bitten by something and gave him some Benadryl for a couple of days. He wasn't at all bothered by it, so we decided to wait a few days to see what happened.

Ultimately, the lump went away.  Then it came back.  Usually on Friday evenings, one of us would notice it coming back and we would decide to call the vet first thing Monday.  Of course, the lump was gone by Monday.  Since it kept coming back in the exact same spot, I took Gus to visit the dog doc yesterday.

We don't have the pathology back, but the vet is fairly certain it was a mast cell tumor.  Reading up on it, I would say it is a textbook case.  Hopefully, it will be a stage 1 tumor and we are done.  In hindsight, we are a little worried that this was actually the second tumor, as he had a growth removed from his paw a couple of years ago that is eerily similar in character.  

The cost of the surgery didn't exceed the swallowed ball fiasco, but it was still way more than we had budgeted for animal care.  All this college and dog surgery is cutting in to my Shiner budget. 

I kinda like the soft Cone of Shame, makes him look like a flower...

September 6, 2012

Need a math tutor

I am a reasonably smart person.  When in doubt, I am resourceful and usually know where to look to find answers.  I am educated, but recognize that new skills and methods have been developed since my last math course.  I have a kindergartner, a fourth grader, a freshman in high school and a freshman in college.  They are all taking a math course of some sort.  I have racked my brain, tried advanced equations, diagrams and theorems.  I checked with each of my children to see if they had been exposed to some 'new math' that might help.

None of us have the intelligence to understand DNC math:
(-50%) = 2/3

Sound Effects of the Future

I was parked next to a Prius at the gas station yesterday.  Crash was with me, and my habit is to roll the window down and talk to him as the tank fills.  He was playing some motorcycle racing game on my phone as we waited, and in typically male, five-year old fashion, he was accentuating the game with his own array of sound effects.

I had a girl child first, and since Bang was born, have been in awe of the sound effect talent that comes with the Y chromosome.  Truly, my boys were born with it, especially Bang.  I know that I sure as hell wasn't making any of those sorts of noises during playtime when he was a toddler.  Boys just have this innate ability to add sound effects to their activities.

As Crash added his own engine and squealing tire noises to the game, I looked over at the Prius as it drove away, wondering how kids of the future will signify vehicular progress in their sound effects.  For me and mine, it is the pitch of 'vroooooom, vrooooooom, varooooooom', the pauses and tenor changing to signal the climbing RPMs and gear changes.  What sounds will all the crunchy granola tree hugger kids growing up with electric and hybrid cars make?
'Whhhhiiiiiiiiiiirrrr, pffftssssshhhhhhhhhhhh?

September 5, 2012

I hate Verizon and Microsoft, especially Microsoft

I couldn't watch the Wookie speak last night, but Mr H kept flipping over, waiting for our local news to start.  Those little snippets, with the linebacker shoulders and smug smile looking back at me, probably caused some of my nightmares.

I also lost much sleep last night fuming over a disastrous customer service experience - if you know of a way to talk to an actual native English-speaker (above call center-level management) at Microsoft that can comprehend a very straightforward issue and has the ability to make decisions, let me know.

Woke up (for good) to a Verizon idiocy issue.  I have decided that many of the issues that consumers face are the result of online ordering and fulfillment systems that have been created and programmed by a generation of people who have no real life experience, and instead, rely on their years of role playing fantasy games.

I changed our service bundle over the weekend.  Dumped liberal HBO, got faster internet speed and a new channel package.  All I wanted to do was dump HBO, but any changes to my account negated the protected status of my internet and TV package that haven't been offered since 2009.  The internet and channel changes were forced upon me.  Also forced upon me is something called 'digital voice', which seems to be quite similar to VOIP phone systems.  I really don't care, it is our dinosaur land line, which exists for elderly relatives that still rely on the number they have written on their Rolodex.

When the original order processed, there was a pop up window warning me that the voice mail service we had would migrate to the digital system.  We would have to record new greeting messages and transfer any saved messages from our old box.  We would have to use a new retrieval phone number, as well.

Within hours, I had a 'services installed' email and, sure enough,  HBO was gone and the internet speed tested out higher.  I picked up the phone and tried the snazzy new *86 feature to dial in to voice mail and set it up.  I got a message saying that the feature wasn't active on this number.  I dialed the ten digit version.  Same message.  I dialed the old voice mail number and got a message that I had the new service and needed to call a different number or dial *86.  I waited a day, thinking it might not be active yet.  Then two days, still no go.

This morning I decided to try the online account manager.  It welcomed me to the new service.  It walked me through set up, with the same reminders to set up my new greeting and transfer old messages.  I set up all the online features and was taken to the final account management page.  I clicked on the 'voice mail' menu tab only to be given a message that I was NOT subscribed to voice mail, but the feature was free and included in my phone package, I just needed to order it.  Twelve or thirteen clicks later, I had the free service ordered, got the SAME confirmation email, but, it actually worked when I picked up my phone.

Doesn't this sound like some teenage fantasy role playing game?
You start the game sleeping inside your home in the Kokiri Forest. When Navi 
the Fairy comes, you'll wake up. Leave your house and a girl named Saria will 
greet you. Climb down the ladder and talk to her, then run up the small hill 
and go to the left. Go around or climb over the fences to reach the wall. 
When the Action button says "Enter", push A and crawl through the passageway. 
There will be a maze with a boulder moving through it. Get through to the 
back of the maze and open the chest there to get the Kokiri Sword.

September 4, 2012

DNC Week

Here we go again.  Later this week the current occupier of the Oval will accept the Dimocratic party's nomination for four more years.

I try to stay informed on important political issues.  I do not rely on the media to form my opinions for me.  Unfortunately, I can't stand to listen to Blowie or his wife speak.  I usually rely on transcripts to draw my own conclusions.  While I could read the speeches the next day, I will miss the important cues from the crowd.  I think it will be important to see and hear what topics and comments elicit responses, and if those responses are positive or negative.

I dread the time suck of listening to a group of people that, to me, represent everything that is wrong with society.  I abhor the class warfare and socialistic values.  I am disgusted by people that will cheer for derogatory comments about good people.

See, that is what is missing in modern politics, especially on the national stage.  Some time ago, politicians lost the ability to separate the man from the issues.  In some cases, the man is the issue - you aren't going to change someone's core values, and those certainly affect policy decisions.  What I am most bothered by, is the inability of the Dims to acknowledge that they can disagree on issues without attacking a person's character.

Mitt's my guy - because he is the person that has any possibility of beating Blowie.  I wonder how many minutes after the opening of the Dim convention it will be, before we hear a disparaging remark about his wealth, his work, his religion or his dog.  No matter what you think about either presidential candidate, there is no argument that Mitt Romney is a better man, a better community member, a better father, even.  There is no lack of back-stories about people he has helped, mentored, cared about.  In fact, one of the core tenets of that (what some people think is wacky) religion of his, is that service is required to get into heaven. 

There won't be any surprise stories about Mitt's extended family living in a mud hut somewhere or in our country illegally.  Like so many of us, Mitt believes in family, and taking care of one another as we are able.  Even the embarrassing drunk uncle would probably get a leg up from Mitt.  Obama never even acknowledges that he has family beyond those occupying the White House with him.

I challenge anyone to present to me, ONE thing that Obama did to serve another, that didn't have selfish intentions.  Find me one little old lady that he helped across the street, one grocery cart that he put back so it wouldn't hit someone's car, one piece of trash he went out of his way to pick up and throw away - all things my 5-year old does on his own.  Show me one human, decent, kind thing did on his way to destroying my country.  

September 3, 2012

FOD - The Sad Truth

This one has made it around the interwebs and through my email inbox two or three rounds.

This quote was translated into English from an article appearing in the Czech Republic as published in the Prager Zeitung of April 28 2011.

"The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting an inexperienced man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America . Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama. It is less likely to survive a multitude of Idiots such as those who made him their president."

September 2, 2012


Boom is homesick.  Of course we expected it, to some degree, and we, in turn, have been missing her.  Several times over the past two weeks, I have handed plates to one of the kids to set the table, only to have them return the extra one to me as a silent reminder that we don't set the table for six anymore.  Bang said we were Boom-sick.

I had slightly higher expectations for Boom being in the Corps of Cadets, thinking that training, if not shining shoes and brass, would keep her busier than the average college kid.  It does, and it will, but things still aren't quite in full swing.  Today, in fact, is the day that all 800+ campus organizations and clubs gather to recruit and attract new members.  I am sure she will find some kindred souls there.  (She did perk up upon receiving an email about a Corps marksmanship team - especially when she learned that there is a range in the basement of the military sciences building on campus, within a stone's throw of her dorm.  Now, why don't they put information like that in the school's brochures?)

I know Boom is homesick because she says she is.  And she has been calling two and three times a day.  She wasn't feeling well this week, a phenomenon that they call the Corps Crud, what I suspect is the same 'getting exposed to a bunch of new germs' sort of illness that school kids, parents and teachers get at the beginning of the school year.  First time away from home, with a stomach bug and her roommate ditched her for the weekend.  Yeah, I would be lonely too.

Last night found me learning to Skype, on my kids' computer, as I do not have a webcam.  We got all the dogs in front of the camera and Boom took The Princess on a video tour of her dorm room.  Boom was modeling her array of uniform hats, so The Princess went and got her viking helmet out of the dress up trunk, to play along.  I think we cheered her up a bit.

Boom finally had time on Friday to go get her P.O. box assignment.  I paid for the damn thing in July, but they don't assign the numbers until the dorms open, and they have very inconvenient hours, so we are just now getting the info we need to start sending care packages and notes.  That should cheer her up, too.

On our end, the emptiness comes intermittently.  Boom left her room looking pretty much as it always does.  The bookshelves are overflowing, her stuff is everywhere, plenty of clothes still stuffed in the drawers.  The hits come when I want to tell her something, or need someone tall to reach something for me.  Most of all, the dinner table is a little empty and I miss that hug and kiss goodnight.

It's still a little too easy to pretend that she is just at a friend's house or off on a school trip, things that were frequent the past few years.  I suppose the real stake to the heart will be the first time that she should and could come home for a holiday, and she chooses to go somewhere else.  That's when her room gets cleaned out and re-purposed into an office/exercise room...

September 1, 2012

False Flattery

Got a letter from the desk of Mitt Romney this week...

Having worked on several annual events for school, town and charity, I have learned many tricks of the trade for wording materials, signs and T-shirts, so that they can be used for multiple years.  Rule one, is to not put the date on anything that you might want to use again.  My letter from Mitt followed this rule, with the words 'Monday Morning' gracing the top of the page where the date would traditionally be.

The salutation was "Dear Fellow Republican", where the hell did you get that idea Mitt?  Then, by the fourth sentence, Mitt calls me " of our country's most active Republicans...".  The letter goes on to talk about how important my feedback is to the campaign, with "Every Republican on the ballot this year counting on your input on the major issues..."

The accompanying letter from my good friend (apparently), Reince Priebus, calls me a "top supporter" from a "select group".  He lauds my "active political involvement and steadfast commitment to the Republican Party".  He even goes so far as to say that I am someone "who has a finger on the pulse of your community".  Yeah, I have a finger and a community, but I think you are confused about which finger and where I would like to stick it, in regards to my community.

I don't know what to be more afraid of; the possible outcomes of the election, or the people across the nation that fall for this false flattery.  Does the end result truly justify the means?  Is blowing smoke up people's asses for money really how a candidate can best help the average American family?

I am surprised that Obama hasn't come up with a way that allows people to convert their government aid into a campaign contribution, a "Swipe your EBT for the King" campaign.

Putting it into those terms, I lean toward a completely new and radical campaign finance proposal - candidates should only be allowed to take corporate contributions.  No more individual donations.  Clearly the voting populace is too stupid to vet issues, compare platforms, research candidates.  Anyone that actually believes that they will "play a critical role in helping elect" anyone, as long as their opinion is accompanied by a generous contribution, should go back to bed and try again tomorrow.