May 31, 2012

Our apologies

To the people of Poland:

I am so very sorry.  I am sorry that the man holding the title of President of the United States doesn't have the balls to immediately and irrevocably take responsibility for the words that came out of his own mouth.  I wouldn't take the White House's word for it that he simply 'misspoke'.  He probably could be stupid enough to think that there were Polish Concentration Camps.

I have visited your country several times.  I didn't say "your lovely country", because, well, as of a decade ago, it was just beginning to show some color and life after years of communism.  There were small bright spots beginning to emerge from the Communist gray that permeated the cities.  The people were and are lovely, though.  There are many wonderful products - all of my dishes are Polish pottery, I have baskets and crystal from your country, as well. 

I also visited those camps that the president misspoke about.  I know how the citizens of your country feel about them.  I appreciate the roles your people took in the liberation of those camps and the preservation of them for historical and memorial purposes. 

I do not know why my president isn't tripping over himself to get on television, radio and the phone to your government's leaders to apologize thoroughly and profusely.  I have no weight or voice in my country, nor do I mean anything to you, but I am sorry.  Profoundly sorry. 


Bóg was błogosławić i pamiętanie. Szalom.

May 30, 2012

Wasted Votes

Can someone explain to me why people vote for primary candidates that aren't even running for office anymore?  Is there any validity or meaning to those votes?  Is it simply a refusal to vote against the presumed nominee or remaining candidates?

I think it gives false hope.  In a couple of years, Rick Santorum might look back and say, "Wow, look how many votes I got in Texas, six weeks after I quit running for the nomination!  I should run again!!"

Newt Gingrich might reflect on being virtually tied with Santorum in some counties, and think the same thing. 

And who are the hundreds of buffoons in my county that voted for Michelle Bachman?  She quit in January. 

How about that angle - who votes for quitters?  I have more respect for the uncommitted voters, even though I think they should just pick someone at this point.  Hey, fellas, think you might be able to commit by November?  And, yes, I said 'fellas', because we all know it is the male of the species that can't commit...

I live in a distinctly RED county.  One of the reddest in an already red state.  Still, it is nice to see the number of Republican voters versus Democratic.  Only a portion of the precinct's results have been officially posted, but Repub voters outnumber Dems by a 7 to 1 margin.  And I like that three no-name candidates are taking 6% of the presidential vote away from Blowie. 

I try not to delight in the defeat of others, but some have it coming to them, and I hope to be able to dance with glee in November, after our country elects ABO. 

May 29, 2012

Just play along

I am not a lunatic that demands transparency across all levels of government.  Yesterday I read a lovely piece of journalism written by a reporter that was invited to go along on a staff ride in Normandy. Among the memory-stirring descriptions of Colleville Sur Mer, the reporter also talked about the media's role during World War II:
But intuition and sheer grit helped overcome the pure chaos in the days and weeks that followed the D-Day invasion. The weather didn't cooperate but the allies maintained the element of surprise. They did not telegraph all that they were doing through the media. The media, which were embedded, kept their secret because their lives depended on it.
Which is as it should be.   There are things that the general public has no business knowing about for the integrity of a mission, plan or policy that protects the greater good.

Now, I admit that Blowie and his crew don't even begin to reach a level of trust that results in the respect of those parameters.  The douche won't release his college transcripts - why in the world do we trust him with anything remotely related to national security?

And he thinks we are stupid.  Case in point:
The Department of Homeland Security has been forced to release a list of keywords and phrases it uses to monitor social networking sites and online media for signs of terrorist or other threats against the U.S.
You can click over to the article for the full list.  It is ridiculous beyond words.  Some wonk sat at a computer and typed a few hundred topical words so that Homeland Security would have some bogus list to turn over to comply with a court order.  There is no way, on God's green earth, that the list is bona fide.  If it is...we are screwed.

Crash has the flu.  If he had the vaccine, he wouldn't be infected with the virus.  Maybe the doctor will prescribe some Tamiflu.  I need to go to Target anyway, to get ice, Crest and pork chops.  The Avalanche needs gas so I will take the Smart car or ride the subway. 

See, I can speak-a the G-man lingo.  I probably just ordered up a dirty bomb hit on Shitholeistan.

May 28, 2012

Thank You.

Found here

Yeager, an IED detection dog, lies in front of a battlefield cross as Staff Sgt. Derick Clark, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael Dale Reeves observe a moment of silence in honor of Lance Cpl. Abraham Tarwoe, a dog handler and mortarman who served with Weapons Company, 2nd Bn., 9th Marines, during a memorial service on April 22, 2012. Tarwoe, who became Yeager's handler in July 2011, was killed in action during a dismounted patrol in support of combat operations in Helmand province's Marjah district on April 12. (USMC/Cpl. Alfred V. Lopez)

May 27, 2012

Just a Sunday

I am envious of all that are enjoying a holiday weekend.  I remember those glorious days when Memorial Day Weekend was not only a day to remember those who died for our country, but also the gateway to summer.  School was out, pools opened, seemingly endless lazy days lay ahead.

My kids still have three (half-days) of school left.  Graduation is next Saturday.  Then three weeks (of half-days) of summer school for Bang who is taking speech this summer to free up an extra class slot next year. 

Looking back over the calendar, I wonder when 'teacher work days' became the norm.  I don't recall any of these days when I was in school.  We had the normal holiday breaks, but none of this half day and 'teacher in-service' crap. 

I would guess that unions had something to do with it.  And government intervention.  On our school calendar, most of those days when teachers are at school but kids aren't, are filled with continuing education sorts of seminars, days to calculate and input grades, and parent conference times.  Once upon a time, teachers could manage grading, reporting and conferences mostly within normal school hours.  I hope that all of the extra time needed now is because of increased reporting requirements.  Not that I support extra government mandates, but I don't want to think about a generation of educators that need more time to do what those before them managed with less.

Have I mentioned how much I hate the half-day of school?  That is purely a government creation.  In Texas, the schools must set a specific time of day at which the official attendance number for the day is recorded and the schools have to be in session for 180 days.  At our school it is 10:30 am.  Everyone at school at that time equals money in the school coffers.  For the past month it has meant a line at the computer each day at 10:30 as seniors without an exam that day sign out to leave campus.  This week the seniors are meeting in the office each day at 10:30, to check in, and out, before embarking on planned activities or going home and back to bed.   

What a waste.  Three kids at the same school, but with three different schedules.  One that just needs to check in for two minutes, one that has class for no reason as she has already brought home her report card for the year and one that actually has finals this week.  Forget the three R's - what are we teaching kids about effective time and resource management?    

May 26, 2012

A hero, finding those lost on The Hump

Pick anything on Senator Coburn's 2011 Wastebook of stupid government spending.  Any F'ing Thing.   Here's five of my easy picks:
 $750,000 on a new soccer field for detainees held at Guantanamo Bay.
10 million dollars to create a version of "Sesame Street" for Pakistani television.
 
Between 16 and 20 million dollars to help students from Indonesia get master's degrees.  

$2.6 million to train Chinese prostitutes to drink responsibly.

17.8 million dollars in foreign aid to China in 2011.
 But pick any government program you want.  ANY PROGRAM at all and then justify to me why that money is better spent than funding this guy's personal mission to locate AMERICAN WORLD WAR II MIA SERVICEMEMBERS.
In eight separate trips, (Clayton) Kuhles has located 22 crash sites and helped account for some 193 U.S. airmen once classified as missing in action. Kuhles, 58, an avid mountaineer, was in India in 2002 when he first heard of old crash sites in the treacherous mountains. His guide mentioned in passing that he had heard of a plane wreck buried in the jungle.
Out of his own pocket, on his own time, risking his own life, this gentleman has returned to 'The Hump' area time and again, to locate wreckage and human remains that our government won't (due to 'diplomatic strain').
Finding service members missing in action, including nearly 75,000 from World War II, officially falls to the Hawaii-based Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC). The command requires sound security, medical evacuation, communications and transport to conduct searches, something that has been impossible in recent years due to diplomatic strain. Still, as many as 30 sites already investigated or excavated in 2003 and 2004, when the U.S. was forced to pull out, will likely be revisited under new terms negotiated between the State Department and Myanmar.
This area of our government screams for the red tape to be cast away.   It has been over seventy years since some of these families have had any definitive news about their loved ones.
On his website, that has heart wrenching photos of located crash sites, Mr. Kuhles notes that it costs him $15k a trip to search for these sites.  He asks for donations. By all means, donate to his cause, should you feel led.  Better yet, demand that our government get the hell out of the 'poop-throwing chimps study' business and support the recovery of our military members that are still missing.  Demand that government gets out of the way to let patriots like Kuhle do what he loves.  Demand that government not have another discussion, on any topic, with China, India or any other country keeping us from American crash sites or remains, until those countries have agreed to let us search for and recover any and all American military members and equipment.  
More than 83,000 Americans are missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War and the 1991 Gulf War. Hundreds of Defense Department men and women -- both military and civilian -- work in organizations around the world as part of DoD's personnel recovery and personnel accounting communities. They are all dedicated to the single mission of finding and bringing our missing personnel home. The mission requires expertise in archival research, intelligence collection and analysis, field investigations and recoveries, and scientific analysis.  
Good God, could that last sentence be anymore telling?  Clayton Kuhles pulls his boots on and climbs the damn mountains where Americans disappeared.  His 'intelligence collection' consists of speaking with the indigenous people.  Scientific analysis?  He talks to the families and recovers what he can without going to jail in a foreign country.  Thank you, Mr. Kuhles, for being human and giving MIA families some peace.
"I'm so impressed by the sheer courage of those Hump airmen, flying their almost suicidal missions over the Himalayas, while knowing all the time that the odds were heavily against their safe return," said Clayton Kuhles, a self-described “professional adventurer” from Arizona who has made it his cause to seek out crash sites and bring closure to the families of the lost fliers.
"In fact, many of their buddies never did return, but simply vanished up there in those rugged and remote mountains," he added. "They were good men."

May 25, 2012

Tech Support

I am a news junkie.  Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to be a pure news junkie these days, as every network throws in their celebrity bits.  And, often, the celebrity bits coincide with the political bits, as most of Hollyweird is a bastion of liberal nuttiness.

I wonder if anyone is keeping a list of all the celebrities that have opened their piehole and wallet to support Blowie.  Some days I start to post a funny story or entertaining video, but then I think about who is in it, and am reminded of some Blowie-support thing they did or said.  I'm not giving those people another soap box.

Today it was Larry Flynt and Ashley Judd slobbering over the prez.  I watched a hilarious Tenacious D video, but when I thought of posting it, I remembered that Jack Black is a big Blowie fan, I think he was on Clooney's guest list.  I am sick of blindly supporting delusional people that think Obama has been good for our country.  They really do live in an alternate reality.

What I need is some teenager to write some computer code.  I would like a program that scans my posts for names, and tells me if they are a Blowie supporter.  Like spell check, but without the correction option (because you can't fix stupid).

May 24, 2012

FOldPeopleD

Do you ever wake up and wonder how you will make it through another day in the liberal hell we are living in?  Everywhere I turn there is another bunch of stupid people making claims or demands for what they are owed, or what we (the taxpayers) should be giving to them.

It isn't just the young and entitled.  More and more I am faced with older people who think that by merely surviving life past age 65 entitles them to some life of luxury that they didn't plan or save for.  Mr H loves to hire older people for their experience and work ethic, but when they turn out to be incompetent or lazy, he can't fire them, lest he has an age discrimination suit on his hands.  (So much for our at-will employment state).

Some days I think I am living in a nightmare.  When I see senior citizens on the street or store, they don't look like the sweet grandparent types very often.  Usually they are bitter and mean.  Shit people, the economy has been rough on all of us.  Who do you think is funding what ever Social Security you are receiving?

My grandparents worked nearly their whole life.  They raised eight children on a small working farm in northeast Kansas.  They didn't buy things on credit.  They raised most of what they ate.  They were active volunteers in their community, though it was never recognized as volunteerism - it was just how people lived, giving a hand to those in need, or getting together to organize a community event.  They had card parties, belonged to clubs, had lifelong friends.  They died after living a completely fulfilled life.

I pray to God that I am raising my children with a strong work ethic and the desire to be self-supporting.  I have no respect for people thinking they should get a free or reduced price ride, just because they have lived to the government mandated "retirement" age.  GMAFB

May 23, 2012

Bad Parent Confessions

A long hot summer stretches before us. Tomorrow is Crash's last day of preschool, then I get to spend ninety fun-filled days entertaining him and his siblings. Obviously, some of them are better at entertaining themselves - and he does a good job of that if television or video games are involved.

The last several weeks we have had an ongoing battle about the mountains of toys that fill his room and a corner of the living room. His cries of boredom are met with my replies of, "If there is nothing in this house you want to play with, we need to give it all to someone else who would love to have new toys".

Then we escalate to crying or storming off, but recovery is quick and he is soon back to begging for XBox or Wii time. I want to crush the damn things with my car.  But then I remember that I have no chance of showering in peace, or taking an important phone call, without them.

Last night was the annual strings concert for The Princess. She plays cello, one of three in the third grade, the rest of the class plays violins. The school requires all second through fifth graders to participate in the strings program. Each class played two songs. There were two bonus songs that kids could memorize to play as a group. There are two extra-curricular strings groups, they each played two songs. That is fourteen songs total. Let's say 35 minutes of screeching and squeaking. I missed the concert last year and left with an all new respect for those members of my family that did attend last year, but still had the courage to return again this year. It took everything I had not to bust out laughing. I love my kid, but that was easily the most spectacularly horrible performance I have ever sat through.

Returning home after the concert, I noticed there was a Ranger's baseball schedule on the refrigerator. One that was topped by a real estate agent's card. I had seen a stack of these promotional card/schedules at preschool, but chose not to pick one up. Just as I chose not to pick up any other parent-owned business promotional items. I think it is nice that the school offers a place for people to shill for their business. On occasion, there is a card or coupon that interests me and I will grab it. Every few weeks the school allows some mom to set up shop in the foyer, with the headline that a portion of their sales will be donated back to the school. That is well and good, but I haven't yet needed a rhinestone encrusted baseball cap, or a rhinestone encrusted cross T-shirt, or rhinestone encrusted flip-flops. I still struggle with that merchant in the temple connotation when anything is sold in a church.

Back to the point - while I really don't mind that parents can offer their goods and services at school, I do have a problem with things given to my kid with the express intent to influence me.  When the preschool director allows, or instigates, putting someone's promotional items into my child's folder and in his backpack...I think it crosses a line. Just like the asshole parents that use the school directory for their LinkedIn connection requests and direct mail offers. So this Ranger's schedule is nice, except for the real estate ad and photo of a mom from preschool who is anything but nice in person. And I like the convenience of it, but don't want to look at snotty witch's face in my kitchen until October. So I did what all upstanding role model parents would do. I took a Sharpie to her picture, blacking out a tooth, adding facial hair and some horns. Can't keep my inner 10-year old down.

May 22, 2012

Maybe a little blow

NSFW due to language...

What I like about this exchange, in addition to the brash honesty, is the characterization that Obama's casual language and use of the euphemism 'blow' seems to indicate more than past casual use.  I hadn't thought of it that way - hell, I never read his book, so why would I know what he called cocaine?  Presidential hypocrisy is nothing new.  Neither is parental hypocrisy.  As a parent I have the right to balance my past history with explanations and wisdom from lessons learned.  As a president, how can he have such a flippant attitude toward drug use while our nation's policies result in thousands of lives ruined by felony convictions and thousands of lives lost in the Mexican bloodbath that feeds our nation's appetite for drugs?


May 21, 2012

It's the Constitution, Stupid.

The Archdiocese of New York, headed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., headed by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the University of Notre Dame, and 40 other Catholic dioceses and organizations around the country announced on Monday that they are suing the Obama administration for violating their freedom of religion, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

The dioceses and organizations, in different combinations, are filing 12 different lawsuits filed in federal courts around the country.

The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. has established a special website--preservereligiousfreedom.org--to explain its lawsuit and present news and developments concerning it.
God Bless 'Em.  Without any disrespect, I would like to say that the Catholic leadership has huevos grandes.  I wonder if the Blowie crew knew this was coming.  This isn't a small story, this is twelve lawsuits filed on behalf of 43 institutions.  This is a professional PR campaign, kicked off in concert with the lawsuits, just months before the election.  The website is gorgeous and comprehensive.  I clicked through every page I could find, looking for the 'donate now' button.  Never found it.  The 'How to Help' tab asks for two things.  To say this prayer:

Loving Father, Thank you for the gift of life and for the freedom to love and worship You. Through the power of the Holy Spirit inspire us to be your witnesses. Grant us the courage to boldly and joyfully stand in protection of our freedom. In your mercy, guard our religious freedom so we may continue to live out our faith and transform the world in which we live. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

And to share the information and website with 5 friends. I think at least five of you are reading this, so I have done what they asked.

I am not Catholic.  I don't care to impose my religious or contraceptive beliefs on anyone (other than my children).  I do believe in our Constitutionally guaranteed rights, and applaud anyone and everyone who is willing to take a stand against those who would suppress those freedoms.

FOD two-fer

While I realize that Blowie isn't to blame for our entrance into the war in Afghanistan, he is completely to blame for any world leader that thinks they can speak this casually about the cost to Americans:
"I'm bringing to you and to the people of the United States the gratitude of the Afghan people for the support that your taxpayers' money has provided us over the past decade, and for the difference that it has made to the well-being of the Afghan people," Karzai said after his meeting with President Obama ahead of the start of the NATO Summit.
 And another example of why the presidency might never recover from the trash occupying the White House right now.  It isn't enough for people to meet the president, to possibly shake hands or rub elbows at a swanky dinner party or A-list event.  Big check fundraisers used to be hush-hush.  Only those with the means were considered for the invite list, only those with class attended.

Obama auctions off seats at his fundraising dinners.  And it isn't enough, anymore, to just meet the president.  He's had George Clooney host a party, and now Sarah Jessica Parker is the latest celeb to raise money and be a co-raffle prize for the Prez.
The fundraiser, entitled 'A New York Night', continues the President's policy of inviting one or two regular supporters to hob-nob with the great and the good of D.C., Manhattan and Hollywood.

The lottery winners will have their transport and accommodation paid for, and will be given tickets to a Mariah Carey concert.

While this may seem like a generous gesture towards the Democratic grassroots, it is in fact a highly lucrative fundraising strategy.

At Mr Clooney's dinner last week, donations by supporters hoping for a chance to attend raised $9million - more than the $6million handed over by the wealthy invited guests.
Raffling off the chance to meet the leader of the free world, all in the name of re-electing him.  And, to keep it classy, this is the host.

May 20, 2012

RIP Robin Gibb

I remember that I wasn't allowed to see Saturday Night Fever when it first came out in 1977.  Not appropriate for my age, with the 'R' rating.  I remember arguing the point a bit, as I had been taken to see Jaws which, I believe, scarred me for life.  It probably wasn't much of a fight as 1977 was also the year of Star Wars, which I saw weekly, if not more often, during its theater run.  When I finally did see the movie, I wasn't much of a fan.  I have never liked Donna Pescow, so I think I was biased from the outset.  Her character seemed so whiny and needy.  Not exactly the women's lib poster child for that decade.

I am straying a bit from my point.

Not having the context of the movie didn't seem to affect the music that flooded the airwaves in '77 and '78.  I soon had that black-covered, double album soundtrack.  Still have it, as a matter of fact.

Some days it seems like the seventies were a lifetime ago, but then when a week goes by and two disco era singers die in their early sixties, it seems like they left us much too soon.  I was a big Andy Gibb fan, along with the Bee Gees.  It is sad to think that three of the four musical Gibb brothers are gone now.  The Donna Summer 'Love to Love You Baby' album was an, um, spiritual awakening of sorts for me. Thankfully we have the immortality of their music.  Rest in Peace, Robin.   

May 19, 2012

Slow Down and Pay Attention

We are leaving at o'dark-thirty to put yet another child on an airplane.  This time it is Boom, heading off on her senior trip to Florida.  I haven't mentioned tropical storm Alberto to her, but it looks like it won't affect her anyway.  I have been emailing her videos and news stories about alligator attacks and the pythons taking over the Everglades.  Just for fun.

Boom will be out of town for Mr H's birthday, so we chose to celebrate early.  Mr H wanted to go to one of his favorite comfort food restaurants, and despite an early evening arrival, we had to wait a bit.  My mom accompanied us, and she is moving slowly.  She has some stress fracture action going on in her knee and is using a walker, since crutches don't like her.  (Operator error, but we won't go there). 

My first case of the ass came to the surface when we pulled up to the front of the restaurant.  There were people well out into the street, just standing there.  I pulled as close as possible to them, thinking it would brush them back.  No luck.  I figured that they might make some room once they saw the walker coming out of the back of the vehicle.  Who the hell was I kidding?  When did the world become so f'ing inconsiderate?

Mom dodged potholes and a gravel patch, going around everyone to find a path to the sidewalk.  We settled in to wait and soon our name was called.  Did any of the fat asses move, so the lady with a walker could go directly from point A to the door when her party was called?  Hell, no.

Half my family stood in front of the door waiting for mom and the rest, while the hostess yelled directly in my face, screaming a last call for our party.  I wasn't too polite in my response to her.  Apparently I also wasn't clear in the need for her to wait, as she turned on her heel and headed to our table.  A few minutes later, the rest of us caught up, though the hostess did have the decency to look somewhat chagrined as mom toddled by with the walker.  We were seated at the table farthest away from the front door.

Now, I have done the restaurant biz, but it has been a long time.  Mr H does it everyday, and I think I am very understanding.  But when did the last shred of decent, observant customer service go by the wayside?  Number one, that damn hostess should have noticed the lady with the walker, since she was offloaded right in front of her.  Second, when the party reports to the door to be seated and explains they are waiting for the lady with the walker to catch up, the hostess should have immediately thought ahead, adjusted her seating plans, and sat us at the first available table, not given us the scenic tour to the back room seating.  Third, hang out to make sure the chairs and space are adequate to accommodate.

Nobody sees past the nose on their face anymore.  Luckily for my mom, this is a temporary situation.  I can't imagine the daily indignities suffered by those who need a little time, understanding and/or help going about their daily lives.  Someday we will all need an extra minute or an extra hand and it is time that everyone slowed down a bit and paid attention to the world around them.

May 18, 2012

The Lies I Tell

For some reason the Do Not Call list is failing miserably of late.  I believe the majority of the calls are skirting the issue by claiming a political affiliation.  Nonetheless, it irks me and I have no patience for the calls.

Call me a job killer, because nobody is going to make their call quota dialing my number.  I am not rude, but I am not exactly indulging them.

My recent ploy is to listen to just enough of their spiel to know what to say so that they never call again.  Obviously I say the magic words "take me off your list", as well.

I frequently tell the Champion Carpet Cleaners that we have all concrete flooring.  No carpet, no tile, no grout, no hardwood to clean.  Air ducts?  Nope.  Historical home without central heat or air, I say.  Last summer was a bitch.

Last week I told a guy that I was a wrongly convicted felon and to not call me again to solicit funds for a law enforcement organization.

Yesterday I told someone that I was not a Republican, which is sorta true, though my mostly conservative beliefs put me closer to the right side than any other.

This evening, a nice sounding young man called on behalf of something like the "Association Against Illegal Immigration", so I, of course, told him I was an illegal immigrant.  I kinda look forward to ICE knocking on my door, I'd like to kick one of them in the balls.

Now if I can just figure out how to get those "credit card services" robocalls to stop.

The more things change, the more they stay the same

I clearly remember the gym/cafeteria/auditorium at my fourth grade elementary school.  On one side of the gym floor was the stage and the other side had a carpeted two-step riser.  The riser space was prized for doing sit-ups, since it was somewhat softer than the varnished wood floor.  It was on that riser that a classmate would hold my feet while I knocked out enough sit ups to qualify for the Presidential Physical Fitness Medal.  It seemed like we worked toward that award for months, doing old fashioned sit ups, push ups and pull ups.  I remember the rope climb, too, but don't think it was part of the test.

I only remember earning the damn thing one year.  I remember how fancy the printed certificate looked.  I think there was a patch, meant to be sewn on a sweat suit or jacket.  I took that beauty home and wondered why my mom wasn't more enamored of my accomplishment.  I don't recall, but imagine that my mom muttered something not appropriate for young ears when I handed her my certificate signed by President Carter.

My two oldest kids had their school awards ceremony this past Monday.  I like the awards at this school because they actually describe the award, call the student by name to the stage and recognize individual achievement.  At our former school district, they had a strict sealed envelope policy.  Every kid got an envelope with standardized test scores, report cards and any awards.  There were strictly forbidden to open the envelope until they had left the campus.  Couldn't let anyone's feelings get hurt if they didn't get an award.  I think that is bullshit.

At the ceremony on Monday, not only did they recognize individual achievement, but the school board president and principal both gave a speech that encouraged those who didn't receive an award to work harder next year.  To make good choices.  To choose homework over Facebook.  They were properly encouraging to the kids, not accusatory or critical. 

The school is also proactive in that they will notify parents of the need to attend the ceremony, if their child will be receiving an award.  If you don't want to sit through an ass numbing ceremony and wonder if your kid is going to get anything, you don't have to.  Brilliant plan, in my book.

So, on Monday Mr H and I sat in the school gymnasium for the ceremony in which Boom was recognized as an honor graduate and was presented with a gold cord to wear with her graduation robe.  Then began the parade of awards for community service.  A pretty blue cord was awarded for those with 200+ hours of service in high school.  Boom qualified, but never bothered to turn in the documentation because it coincided with application for a Presidential Service Award.  Back in the fall when the email went out about turning in service hours, I believe my daughter's exact words were, "I don't want anything that has that idiot's signature on it." 

Can't fault her for that.  It probably would have elicited the same response as did my award from the second worst president in history.  How sad that our president, just by virtue of occupying the Oval, can serve as the Great Discourager.       

May 17, 2012

Florida's kids won't be left behind

When they said it takes a village to raise a child, they didn't mean a village of idiots.

In a stunning example of the sort of education administration decision that makes Tim's head explode, Florida takes first prize:
The Board of Education decided in an emergency meeting Tuesday to lower the passing grade on the writing portion of Florida's standardized test after preliminary results showed a drastic drop in student passing scores.
Lower the passing grade so students can pass.  What in the world could be wrong with that plan?


Who is served by lowering the bar each time the standard isn't met?  Some in Florida are complaining that scoring standards were changed this year, and say that is to blame for the massive failure rate.
The writing exam was made more difficult by increasing expectations for proper punctuation, capitalization, spelling and sentence structure. The board also increased the passing grade from 3.5 to 4 on scale of zero to 6.
The kiddos need to be able to write a grammatically correct sentence and get a 66% overall.  Yeah, I can see how difficult that could be.  But don't let facts get in the way of a good story:
The Department of Education's notice for the proposed emergency rule says when the board approved the scoring changes it "did not have, and could not have had, impact data" that would show how those revisions would affect the results. It adds that the preliminary results now indicate "the heightened scoring rules may have unforeseen adverse impacts on school grades."

Asking kids to spell, capitalize and punctuate correctly adversely impacts school grades.  Wow.

I'm not a big fan of standardized testing. I realize that our public school systems have little choice in being measured by such tests if they want to keep their accreditation and state and federal funding.  The system simply isn't set up to support independent measures and there is little else to use as a benchmark of (non)progress.

The Princess' report card is a sight to behold.  Not because of the grades, but because of the style and content.  It usually runs more than a dozen pages.  It includes self-analysis, goal-setting and progress made toward those goals and clear rubrics with examples of work to support the assessment.  There are some numerical and letter grades, but none of them stand alone without teacher comment.  There is a portfolio of her work in primary school that shows her progress over the course of six years.

Most public school teachers would look at The Princess' school's assessment process and cringe at the thought of how many hours her teacher spends measuring the student's progress.  But it gets done.  It gets done well.  It provides clear and concise information on what my daughter has and has not learned.  Isn't that what a report card is supposed to do?

I get that traditional public schools don't provide the support, pay, staff or tools to assess kids adequately.  I could probably even make a good case for the use of standardized tests - but only as a measuring tool, not as a teaching rubric.

And yet...every argument for and against testing and meeting broad standards brings me to the same conclusion - what should we expect when we let the government tell us how to educate our kids?

May 16, 2012

Yet another sign of the apocalypse

If you paid $35,800 to attend a fundraising dinner with the president, would you be offended when they confiscated your cell phone at the door?
More than 60 VIP donors who attended a fundraiser at the home Blackstone CEO Hamilton James on Monday night were told they had to place their phones in a plastic bag before being allowed admittance, ABC News reports.
While one campaign aide called the move “standard operating procedure,” Zeke Miller of Buzzfeed reports that several campaign veterans (including aides to Hillary Clinton, Rick Perry, and Jon Huntsman) have never “heard of the practice, which is common in secure White House spaces where there are concerns of espionage, but unknown in contexts in which only political secrets are discussed.”
Let's back up...if you are an American who has listened to Blowie demonize Wall Street executives for the past, I don't know, five years or so, would you be surprised to learn that he spends his evenings rubbing elbows with the evil 1% and walking back his public statements for the sake of fundraising?

While airing attack ads that call Romney's private equity firm a vampire:
Mr. Obama turned his focus from Romney's Wall Street ties and met with New York's financial elite himself at a Park Avenue fundraiser Monday night.
He raised more than $2 million from Wall Street deal makers, telling them, "I think risk takers should be rewarded."
 I can't believe that my fellow Americans continue to be taken in by this jackass. 

May 15, 2012

Best Dog Ever


Woody
July 17, 2000 - May 14, 2012

May 14, 2012

FOD

Late Saturday night I had to run to the mall to get a Mother's Day card.  Not because I procrastinated or forgot, but because the card I bought a week ago never made it home.  I think it was bagged separately from other items and set to the side and forgotten, but who knows.  I needn't have worried, though, because Sunday morning in my email inbox, Blowie had me covered:
Don't forget!
It's Mother's Day!
As rewarding as being a mom can be, it sure isn't easy. That's part of why the Obama Administration is taking steps to level the playing field for mothers and their families.
To help you show some appreciation for the mom in your life, we've put together two Mother's Day cards. One focuses on important health care reforms and the other on heroic military moms across the country.
Here is the beautiful card they put together focusing on Obamacare:


Isn't that lovely?  Who does their graphic art work?  Blech,  Can't wait to see what they put together for Father's Day.  Maybe a card showing how to check your own prostate.

May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

It's my day, so I am taking it off.

But, first, I want to wish all of the other moms out there a Happy Mother's Day.  I hope that you get to spend it with those that you love - your mom if she is still with you, your children if you have some, or siblings or a dad to remember your mom with. 

We're pretty fucking awesome, we moms.  Don't you forget it.

May 12, 2012

Cashing in on death

The news passed rather quietly last week, that the Painter of Light died of an alcohol and Valium overdose.  I suppose if your celebrity is based on a rather quiet life of creating art filled with Christian imagery, there isn't as much of the stare-at-the-train-wreck fascination as there is with those who live full blast in the tabloids.

I shouldn't be surprised, but I am - not to mention disgusted, by Whitney Houston's family cashing in on her death:
Whitney Houston‘s survivors are starting to act more and more like Michael Jackson‘s family. They’re learning to make money from their late star’s death. Today– three months after Whitney died–they’ve announced a deal with Lifetime Network for a reality series. Pat Houston, husband Gary, grandma Cissy, and of course Bobbi Kristina, will now film a show about how they’re dealing with Whitney’s death.
Not to sit in judgement of a family known only to me through the media, but it isn't too far of a stretch to see how they likely enabled the drug use that killed Whitney.  She was clearly their cash cow, and now that she isn't bankrolling all of them, they are finding a way to keep her working for them - even in death.

Another sad reminder of the decline of civilized society.

May 11, 2012

Ick


I cannot begin to describe how disgusting I think this cover of Time magazine is.  As I have read in many iterations of comments about the story, I believe that this exact photo, if viewed in a different context, would be considered child pornography. 

I am not about to link to the piece of shit story and this moonbat's justification that her four and five-year old children still get to latch on to the twins at their discretion.  I know nothing, nor care nothing, about whatever the hell 'attachment parenting' is.  I do have an issue with the provocative title that insinuates that I may be less of a mother because my kids only see my bare chest by accident at this point in my life. 

I love my children.  They know I love them.  I provide for them, set boundaries for them, discipline them, laugh with them and cry with them.  They do not need my boob in their mouth to know that I care for them deeply.

This woman, Jamie Lynne Grumet, has an adopted 5-year old son that hits her up once a month or so for a mouthful.  Yes, I am serious, it is in the 'backstory' feature that ran with the article online. 

If a kid is walking, talking, dressing himself, tying his own shoes and doing without the funbag for 30 days at a stretch, WTF are you thinking, letting him at it when the mood strikes? 

The kid in the picture is her turning-4-years-old next month biological son.  Someday he will want to ask a pretty girl to prom.  Either he will be haunted by this photo, or late for the date while he sucks down a few pre-dance mouthfuls of mommy milk.  Gag.

And don't give me the nutrition argument.  My beef is with the method of deployment.  If she wanted to pump her breast milk and feed it to her kids until the cows come home (I think there is a pun in there), I would think it gross and over the top, but not criminal and mentally crippling like this cover is going to be for that kid.

The only thing I can commend Grumet on is her acknowledgement that she can't reason with people like me.  People offended, disgusted and convinced that this has little to do with a parenting style and everything to do with some holier-than-thou breastfeeding activism. 

May 10, 2012

Divide et impera

The always entertaining 'Quote of the Day' from Keith Koffler:
“I was for gay marriage before I was against it. And then I was against it before I was for it.”
- Barack Obama
A note from our attorneys: This is not a real quote
People are allowed to change their minds.  Hell, I am female and we wrote the book on it.  People change their minds for many reasons.

In this case, Blowie's personal revelation, the one that was still 'evolving' as of last week, came only after...
"Some leading gay and progressive donors are so angry over Obama's refusal to sign an executive order barring same-sex discrimination by federal contractors that they are refusing to give any more money to the pro-Obama super PAC," wrote Greg Sargent in a Washington Post opinion piece. 
With no intention of signing that executive order, and with the knowledge that 1 in 6 of his key financial supporters are gay, what's a president to do?

Throw them a bone, cloaked as a long, personal evolution that was the result of conversations, observations, long walks on the beach and golf course and Biden and Arne Duncan opening their pie hole.

Could the timing be any more obvious?  Is the LGBT community so desperate for the president to legitimize their life choices that they will ignore everything he has (and hasn't) said and done up until this point?

If nothing else, I hope that people note the headlines of earlier this week, the ones that characterize this as a 'wedge issue'.  Blowie isn't seeking to unite anyone.  He didn't offer any action, just words.  His personal beliefs, not even promises of hope or change this time.  Let's be clear on this, Blowie wants to divide and conquer and he doesn't really give a shit who you want to marry.

May 9, 2012

Pimpin' out the presidency

Whether or not your mom's on Twitter, here's something guaranteed to make her smile on Sunday: getting a personal shout-out from President Obama.
From now until Thursday at midnight, you have a chance to win that for your mom or a special mother in your life—just get five or more donations to your grassroots fundraising page to automatically put yourself in the running. (If you don’t have a page, you can set one up here.)
That's right: If your name is drawn, the President will send your mom a special Mother's Day tweet from @BarackObama. With more than 15 million people following him on Twitter, she'll be honored in front of a pretty wide audience.
Even if your mom doesn't have an account, she'll still be getting a personal note from the President of the United States, thanking her for doing all the hard work that goes into being a mother.
I know my mom, Anne, would be thrilled—and it might even inspire her to give the whole Twitter thing a try.
So give it a shot. Tell everyone you know to pitch in and help get your name in the hat.
All you need are five donations by Thursday at midnight to be automatically entered, and it could be your mom who has an extra-special Mother's Day this year.
Good luck (and hi, Mom)!
Thanks to Weasel Zippers via Drudge for the story and commenter "Anna" from whom I borrowed my post title.

Boom was reading factoids to me out of a magazine yesterday, one of them was that the Queen Elizabeth has sent over 520,000 telegrams to people celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.  I remember my grandparents getting a 50th wedding anniversary acknowledgement from President Reagan.  Lovely milestones in life celebrated with dignity and refinement.

Now, literally for $5, you can be entered in a drawing for a presidential Tweet.  Can this president get any more vulgar?  I can't even imagine the sort of people that would sit around the computer on Mother's Day, waiting to see if Blowie says something about their mother.  Who does that?  

You know me, I had to click over and see the details of this crass offer.  It doesn't even cost $5.  The Big Print says that the rules are to get 5 donations to a grassroots fundraising effort, but deep down in the Small Print is a link to the free entry page.

I plan to make multiple entries.  If I win, I am going to need a good "mother" name for Blowie to Tweet about.  What do you think I could get away with?  Mrs Fubo? 

May 8, 2012

Cool religion

It is a little quiet around Harper house this week, as Bang is off on his class trip to Boston.  Since 14-year old boys aren't the greatest communicators, I am thankful for a teacher/chaperone that Tweets pictures and updates throughout the day.  The snapshots of the kids at Fenway Park elicited many groans of envy.

The group met for departure at 5 am yesterday.  For us, that meant a 3:45 am wake-up call since the path from here to the airport is mostly a major construction zone and they close sections of the highway each night to work on overpasses and such.  Boom, in some inexplicable show of sibling affection, got up and accompanied us to the airport.

We were standing with the other families, waiting to make sure that none of our kids would be the one to cause a TSA incident, when a trio of Buddhist monks walked toward us.  I believe Boom called them "legit monks" - as if someone other than a monk would shave their head and parade through the airport in a sarong (this is Texas, not California).  As they approached our group, an older woman on a bench next to us saw them and dropped to her knees, bowed her head and clasped her hands in a prayer position in front of her.  The kids were elbowing each other and saying, "cool".

Damn straight.

I didn't lecture, but was struck by the parallels of this group of kids traveling to a city at the heart of our struggles for freedom from religious tyranny, witnessing what freedom of religion means, right there in the airport terminal.  And they weren't offended or bothered, they thought it was cool.

And not to get all lectury (I know, I know) with those of you reading, but it is cool that, in our country, we are free to worship as we choose.  I don't think our forefathers ever dreamed of 'religions' that weren't based on love.  'Religions' that call for their followers to murder anyone unlike them.  Hell, that is antithetic to our country's reasons for seeking religious freedom. 

My stomach curdles, thinking about the time and resources that will be spent over the next several years, housing, feeding, providing medical care and a team of attorneys to violent, evil men who plotted to kill as many Americans as they could, in the name of a 'religion' that our government bends over backwards to accommodate.  That isn't what was intended by our country's founders.  It isn't what our Constitution intends to protect.   

May 7, 2012

FOD

And, by proxy, FCB.  That would be Cheryl Bormann, attorney for 9/11 terrorist Walid bin Attash.
Cheryl Bormann, counsel for defendant Walid bin Attash, attended the arraignment Saturday dressed in a hijab, apparently because her client insisted on it. She further requested that the court order other women to follow that example so that the defendants do not have to avert their eyes "for fear of committing a sin under their faith." 
An American civilian defense attorney, who is not Muslim, dressing in full hijab and asking that all other females in the courtroom do the same to protect the delicate sensibilities of four pigs on trial for playing a part in the murder of thousands of Americans.
This traitorous request comes in the midst of a circus of an arraignment hearing wherein the defendants refused to speak, made paper airplanes and ignored the judge.
You can't get away with that sort of behavior in traffic court, why in the hell is our government allowing it in, arguably, one of the most emotionally charged and important trials in the history of our country?
Blowie is still the commander in chief, right?

May 6, 2012

Coming soon to an arena near you...

Obama's campaign team needs to CGI an audience if they are going to keep up appearances.  Blowie's campaign kick off might not have had the rock star feel that he got so used to in 2008.

Devin Dwyer of ABC News penned an article that began:
As the president and first lady hit the campaign trail together today for their first public rallies of 2012, here are five things to watch that could make this a noteworthy day.
Numero Dos on that list of five things to watch included:
Four years after “Obamamania” swept college campuses and across the country, we will get a glimpse of what the phenomenon looks like the second time around. The Obama campaign expects overflow crowds at both OSU and VCU as part of carefully orchestrated optics. Aides want to portray the president as still highly popular among young people and still able to energize large crowds.
 Here's a little picture of the 'energized large crowd':

From Ryan Williams Twitter - @RyanGOP



But the event fell short of the 20,000 supporters the campaign had forecast as organizers moved people from seats to the arena floor in front of the dais to project fullness to television audiences. Obama volunteers had worked feverishly over the last week to gin up a crowd, making multiple calls to residents believed to be supportive of the president.
Twitter was abuzz with photos and comments about vast areas of empty seats in the arena’s upper deck.
Noting that the Obama campaign had predicted an "overflow crowd," Williams said, "This arena was not full so the president failed to meet the bar his campaign set."
 I'm not a big Pretender's fan, but I can't get this lyric out of my head....
A, O, Way to go, Ohio...

May 5, 2012

Reality Sucks

I think we all know some people who have beliefs and practices that are beyond comprehension to us.

I know a very nice lady, the mom of one of Boom's friends, who is lockjaw-bound on the government teat.  She is a single mother without a job.  She has two children, one with special needs.  She is 50-years old and working on a college degree at a major university.  She is a homeowner.  How does she manage all of this without a job?  We are paying for it.  It is incomprehensible to me that there are programs that go so far beyond covering tuition that they provide for a family of three to live somewhat comfortably. 

Most insulting is that, recently, a new bumper sticker showed up on her car.  "99% Unite".  I gotta tell you, the day I was behind her in car line at school, it took every ounce of restraint I had not to plow into the back of her car.  How can these people claim to be a percent of anything when they contribute nothing?  My family is carefully budgeting, I am planning to return to the real-world workforce and Boom is taking the most cost effective path to a state college.  A plan that we have been saving for her entire life.  This lady gets to walk around crowing about her kid going to a private college and it's 'free'.  Screw Blowie and Julia, get the freeloaders off the dole. 

My other reality gut-check this week is local election related.  No one ever believes it, and even hardened incumbents are taken aback each year, with the dishonesty of the general population.  People lie to your face.  I remember a good friend, a grown man, sitting down one year after an election, looking over the list of who voted and nearly crying because of the people that had told him they voted for him, when, in fact, they didn't vote at all.  Friends, relatives, business associates.  Our county posts each day's voters on their website during early voting.  We make calls to encourage people to vote and they tell us they did, all the while we are looking at the list, knowing otherwise.

Here in Harper-ville there was a mass defection this week.  People that I, and others, know, love and respect (well, we used to) completely sold out.  Told bald faced lies and then turned up in the newspaper, pictured hand in hand with the enemy.  Smart people, that someday soon will know the folly of the road they were led down, but it will be too late, since you can't un-vote.    

My mom was working the issues this week, talking to some neighbors.  This is her first official foray into campaigning and she had her first revelation, "Some people are too stupid to vote".  Ain't that the truth.  But that's Blowie's base.

May 4, 2012

Stupid Season

It is municipal election season in my town.  Many people refer to election time as 'silly season', but I call it 'stupid season'.

While small towns are often known for being highly polar and politicized, I think that mine is even more over-the-top than most.  If you have followed along here at all, you will recall that last May, my fellow citizens elected an alcoholic convicted criminal with no job, no education and no property, to represent our town.  This jerk's adult criminal history features domestic violence convictions that include hitting his mother and sister, aggravated kidnapping charges of a former girlfriend, deadly conduct, theft, public urination and DWI.  In fact, he got the DWI four months prior to the election and was under indictment when he was elected.  The mayor referred to his rap sheet as 'youthful indiscretions' and proclaimed his innocence of the pending DWI charge.  After the election he struck a plea deal.

How do you overcome voters who don't care if the leader of their town is a pathological liar that frequents the county lock up?

You can't fix stupid.

As expected, Mayor Dipshit, being greatly empowered by his win last year, has gathered a slate of like-minded and worthless individuals to run for the open council seats this year.  You would think that the revelations of his past, as well as his boorish and offensive behavior over the past year would get people out in droves to defeat his candidates.

But people don't care.  I can't tell you how many phone calls I have made and doors I have knocked on to hear people say that they really don't have an opinion and don't plan to vote.  Are you f'ing kidding me?

That attitude scares the shit out of me.  I live in an overwhelmingly conservative community.  If these people don't even care enough to vote in an election that directly and immediately affects their home and children, will they bother to go to the polls in November?  Do we want them to?

May 3, 2012

Strange men in my house

It is a good thing that I am not trigger-happy.  A less, um, level-headed - or stupid, as the case may be - person might have had a different reaction to a couple of recent events at Harper House.

I have an ancient clock radio on my nightstand.  It has been years since I needed a routine wake-up alert, so there hasn't been any need or desire to upgrade it.  Between the age of the appliance and the overcrowding of the FM airwaves here, it is a challenge to keep the radio tuned to a particular station.  For quite awhile every time I set it to wake me up to music, I got static, no matter how meticulously I had tuned it the night before.

Yesterday I needed to get up well before my Circadian clock would have kicked in, so I set the radio to go off at o'dark-thirty.  As often happens, the knowledge that I needed to rise early to do some important tasks caused me to not sleep well at all, and I was up before the alarm, anyway.  I forgot to turn the alarm off when I got up.

I was at the other end of the house when I thought I heard voices.  I walked toward the bedroom and, sure enough, there were voices.  Speaking in Spanish, in hushed tones.  I had several moments of pure terror, before whatever schtick they were doing on the radio expired and some background music began to play.

As if one near heart attack wasn't sufficient for the day, another of my brilliant ideas ended up scaring the crap out of me.

I got a new cellphone in January and none of the ringtone options were good.  I like something simple and plain, but all it offered were synthesized techno rings.  Blech.  I got all modern a few weeks ago and downloaded an ap that edits any song file into a ringtone.  I thought I was being particularly smart (and ultra-cool) when I decided to use 'Bodies' by Drowning Pool.  The song starts out with a whispered lyric for several measures, then kicks in full throttle.  I thought it would be great to have that quiet intro, followed by the loud part, in case I hadn't heard it ring.

Great in theory, not so great in practice.  I have been startled by that damn ringtone more times than I can count this week.  Home alone in the house, I get the man's voice whispering in the other room freak out.  If there is some background noise but I am near the phone, I get the sudden screaming, jump-out-of-my-skin freak out.  Gah!

Note to self: do not handle any firearms unless cell phone is on silent or off.

May 2, 2012

Beer Makes Men Smarter

I read this story and made a note of the link a few weeks ago, waiting to see which of my blogging friends would be the first to write a post about it.  I am quite shocked that none of them have (that I have seen), so I will set aside my life experiences, ignore years of personal anecdotal evidence and fisk this story claiming that beer makes men smarter.
 Beer makes men smarter.
So say researchers at the University of Illinois in Chicago.
They found that men with a couple beers under their belts were actually better at solving brain-teasers than their sober counterparts.
To reach that surprising conclusion, the researchers devised a bar game in which 40 men were given three words and told to come up with a fourth that fits the pattern.
For example, the word “cheese” could fit with words like “blue” or “cottage” or “Swiss.”
Half the players were given two pints. The other half got nothing.
The result? Those who imbibed solved 40% more of the problems that their sober counterparts.
Also, the drinkers finished their problems in 12 seconds while it took the non-drinkers 15.5 seconds.
I am rather tickled that none of the respondents for the 'cheese' question replied, 'fromunda'.  If you don't know the joke, just move along, it is disgusting.

Seriously, though, word association as an indicator of intelligence and problem solving skills?

My theory is that a study that gives half the guys two pints of beer and the other half none only results in those without the beer fixated on getting beer, while those with the beer are exhibiting a Pavlovian response that has them providing intelligent answers in the hopes of getting more beer.

I would venture to guess if the test subjects were given some other form of alcohol, say a nice shot of Listerine, the results would be considerably different.

May 1, 2012

Arrogance

Over the weekend, I used the word 'arrogant' to describe someone.  The Princess asked what 'arrogant' meant, and once satisfied she understood from the synonyms we provided, walked away saying that she liked that word and would be using it at school this week.  I am not sure if she had an intended target in mind, or just likes to sound the most verbally advanced among the third grade.  If she is looking for a person to apply that particular adjective to, I would suggest the president.

Setting aside the crassness of running an election ad that politicizes the assassination of Osama bin Laden, how dare Blowie take credit for the death?

I can't even begin to name the layers of responsibility and credit that are due to everyone else up and down the chain of command, supply, training and intelligence that deserve a pat on the back for killing bin Laden.  A true leader would have deferred every ounce of recognition to those people.  From the military member that actually put the bullet in bin Laden's head, to the person working in the ammo factory producing that bullet, the gun manufacturer, the boot maker, even the accountant at the Kevlar factory - all deserve recognition before the douchebag that simply gave the order that allowed the Seal team to do what they were trained and in position for.

To every person, known, unknown, behind the scenes, or driving the train - anyone who has anything to do with protecting my freedoms, honorably serving in the United States Military - God Bless You and Thank You.  I acknowledge and appreciate each and every one of you.

To that empty suit occupying the Oval.  Sit down and STFU.