January 31, 2013

They don't make 'em like that anymore...

By the time I was born, there was a television in every home, mostly color.  My grandparents did have one of those huge modern (for the time) cabinet television and record player combos built into a cabinet that took up the better part of one wall. 

I remember spending weeks on the farm in the summer.  The TV didn't really get turned on that much - just for an hour or two at midday for my Grandma's "serials" and on Saturday nights.  Saturday meant Lawrence Welk on TV, with bubbles, corny musical numbers, and dancing old people.  If there was rain to chase me inside, I would sit and flip through the stack of albums, bemoaning the lack of Shaun Cassidy, and wondering why anyone would listen to that 'old' stuff.

I didn't appreciate the music my grandparents used to play.  I didn't appreciate the stories of sitting huddled around the radio to listen to shows.  Now I wonder if anyone in the family kept that great collection of music, from the 20's hot jazz that my grandmother won Charleston contests dancing to in her youth, to swing, big band, waltzes - some of which resides in fully remastered glory on my iPod today.

I didn't appreciate it then, but I love that music now.  I can't imagine that my grandchildren will have the same nostalgia if/when I play my Disco Duck album for them.  They just don't make music like they used to.

RIP Patty Andrews, you will be fondly remembered.


January 30, 2013

Democratic Voter Expansion Act*

*Title swiped from Keith Koffler at White House Dossier.

Someone in the Dimocratic party figured out that neither of the two likely candidates for president in 2016 is half-black.  Hillary might be married to the first black president, but she's uptight enough to register near zero on the black voter scale.  And Joe, well, they don't come much whiter than Joe.

Without the black voter base, the Dims need voters, enter "immigration reform".  Note the lack of proposed provisions to encourage lawful immigration in either bill that is being touted.  Most of the proposed legislation primarily seeks to grant legal status to people that are already here (having broken numerous laws along the way).  Blowie calls it "Earned Citizenship".  I shit you not.

There are an estimated 11 million illegals in the USA, a large percentage of them have birthed anchor children, are receiving food stamps, WIC, free school lunches, college financial aid, and HUD housing, along with all the other things afforded to legal, tax paying Americans.  They have homes, jobs, specialized grocery stores, and their own churches.  They aren't exactly a shadow population anymore.

So the Dims are going to push a plan that will take all those people that are already feeding at the government trough, and grant them a vote.   It's genius, I tell you.

And Blowie is smart enough not to stem the flow of possible voters:
Obama's speech, and a separate fact sheet handed out by the White House, made clear that the administration does not want to link the path to citizenship to border enforcement.
I think we should just call it what it is, the Democratic Voter Expansion Act of 2013. 

January 29, 2013

My achin' back

Having trouble sitting for any period of time, as I aggravated a disc issue in my back.  Enjoy the video of Johnny Football and others, and then let me know if this is completely faked, or just a million takes...



January 28, 2013

FOD 207 to go...

I saw a Facebook post of a photo of a young girl, with a caption that read something like this:
My father survived the attack in Benghazi, but my mom says we can't talk about it.
During Hillary's testimony comedy routine last week, she did mention that there were upwards of 30 people that ESCAPED the embassy when it was attacked.  She also said she had only managed to speak with ONE of those people - so as not to interfere with the other "investigations" that were being conducted.

I am no expert on the diplomatic corps.  I really don't know much about how our 3-letter organizations operate (except for the IRS, they just screw us).  The phrasing keeps changing, but I have seen the 25-30 evacuees referred to as "diplomatic staffers" and "State Department personnel".  Five of the survivors are State Department Diplomatic Security Agents.  Are the rest all CIA? 

Is there any other explanation (outside of conspiracy theories) for why none of the survivors of the attack have been named, seen, or heard from?

And, again, I am fuzzy on the details, but, are we supposed to staff our embassies with CIA operatives?  Have four men died, and the American public been lied to, so our government can cover up their covert spy missions that operate under the guise of our embassies?


You can read this, this, or this for the background.

January 27, 2013

From the mouths of babes

From The Princess' teacher in her weekly e-mail to parents:
I hope you have heard a bit from your child about our unit, covering types of government structures, over the past few weeks. This has been an exciting unit for the kids and we have been overjoyed with the many connections being made regarding laws and government representatives. It is clear that you shared many interesting details about the elections in your homes this year.
I would really like to hear the 4th grade interpretation of 'interesting details about the elections'.  One of the kids in the class lives in a home that helped host a fundraiser for Mitt Romney when he visited.  Another parent (a mom) recently stood in the foyer expounding on her imagined use of her CCW, should someone try to harm the children while she was on campus.  A couple families in the class have mentioned that they live in gated communities, not because of the security and exclusivity they provide today, but because when the revolution comes, those communities have a greater chance of fending off the looters and squatters.

Interesting details, indeed.

January 26, 2013

Putting them in their place

Dear Fox News, Drudge Report, and The Blaze (and all those left-leaning sites that I won't name):

Please stop putting the TMZ-ish entertainment and Hollywood gossip crap with the actual news.  I am sick to death of scrolling through the supposed headlines and seeing topics that have no business among the news of the world.

I do not care if Taylor Swift got breast implants.
I do not want to see actresses without their war paint on.
I do not care about American Idol, or lip-synching, or gay comic book characters.

If I did want to read about these topics, I would expect to find them in a section aptly titled 'Meaningless Entertainment Piffle' or even what the local fishwrap calls 'Life and Arts'.  And while the 'Squirrel Stalked by Leopard' video is funny, I don't think it should get top billing right under the story of a military leader getting screwed by Obama.

I would like to think that you have sprinkled this drivel among the real news in an attempt to get more shallow people interested in the things that impact their lives.  Valiant effort, but it annoys the hell out of smart people.  Please stop.

January 25, 2013

Biden Wrecks 'Em

I will not argue that a shotgun is an excellent home protection weapon, especially for those who do not shoot often - operation is pretty simple, ammo is fairly cheap, and your aim doesn't have to be great.

I do NOT agree that a shotgun should be one's only line of home or personal defense.  I really don't take anything Biden says too seriously, he is like our national court jester, IMHO.

If you haven't seen the windbag, here he is.  Please note that in the freeze frame currently displayed below, the vice president is making a hand gesture that got two 6-year old's suspended from school earlier this month.   Either that or he is a Texas Tech fan.

January 24, 2013

Because it shows you are a liar

If you have been under a rock and haven't seen this in one of its multiple regurgitations on television, may I present the woman whose testimony we have been awaiting for weeks.



What difference does it make?  Have you forgotten all of the promises that were made?  How about, because the president of the United States of America, and the Secretary of State have promised to explain exactly what happened in Benghazi, and have been stalling for months?  As a reminder:

November 14, 2012, Barack Obama, at first post election press conference:
And you know, we’re after an election now. I think it is important for us to find out exactly what happened in Benghazi, and I’m happy to cooperate in any ways that Congress wants. We have provided every bit of information that we have, and we will continue to provide information. And we’ve got a full-blown investigation, and all that information will be disgorged to Congress.
And I don’t think there’s any debate in this country that when you have four Americans killed, that’s a problem. And we’ve got to get to the bottom of it, and there needs to be accountability. We’ve got to bring those who carried it out to justice. They won’t get any debate from me on that.
Hillary Clinton, October 2012:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote to House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrel Issa (R-CA) Tuesday afternoon to pledge the State Department's full cooperation with Congress in getting to the bottom of the Sept. 11 attack on the Benghazi consulate that killed Amb. Chris Stevens and three other Americans. 

"It was clearly never, as Administration officials once insisted, the result of a popular protest," Issa wrote. "In addition, multiple U.S. federal government officials have confirmed to the committee that prior to the Sept. 11 attack, the U.S. mission in Libya made repeated requests for addition security in Benghazi. The mission in Libya, however, was denied these resources by officials in Washington."

Clinton did not address any of those claims in her response, except to say that she would provide those answers to Congress pending the results of the investigation.
What difference does it make? 

Four Americans are dead on your watch.  You, Secretary Clinton, promised the families and the American public that you would get to the bottom of this.  You, Madame Secretary, did nothing today, other than claim to take full responsibility while denying that you had any part in any of the breakdowns that caused this tragedy.  That isn't responsibility, that is pretty words followed by a steady stream of people getting thrown under the bus on your behalf.  The least you could do is get under it with them.

What does it matter?

It matters because those families deserve to know how and why their loved ones died in service for our country.  It matters because this administration promised to be the most transparent in history.  It matters because you have been lying and delaying since September.  It matters because our government sent a SWAT team to arrest a filmmaker that you blamed.  It matters because your president has claimed that there is no Al Qaeda threat anymore - or at least there wasn't during election season.  It matters because I am a taxpaying American citizen and I say it matters.

So take your righteous outrage at being asked common sense questions about what transpired and shove it where the sun don't shine.

January 23, 2013

Delaying the inevitable.

According to the IRS, more than 80% of taxpayers filed electronically last year, around 96 million people.

The telltale signs of tax season began here weeks ago.  It is hard to ignore the Hispanic gentleman dressed like the Statue of Liberty, dancing on a street corner directing people to a tax filing business.

Ya'll know that they aren't processing returns until January 30th, right?  The much delayed fiscal cliff deal included provisions that affected the 2012 tax year, so the IRS is busy playing catch-up with forms and processing programs.

If you file any of these forms, you will be waiting even longer to file, best guess is late February or early March:.  And don't forget that there have been new restrictions placed on refund anticipation loans - they aren't as easy or fast as they used to be.  Sadly, there is a segment of our citizenry that lets the government use their money all year, and they count on their tax refund (and probably have it spent already).

I don't know about you, but I am not in any rush to submit my tax return on the 30th, along with millions of other people - not enough faith in the electronic processing capabilities of the IRS.   

January 22, 2013

What a waste

I heard a snippet of a song lyric today that resonated with me:
"...Cause why tip toe through life, to arrive safely at death..."
And that lyric came to mind again when I read this story:
Three bottles of rare, 19th century Scotch found beneath the floor boards of Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackelton's abandoned expedition base were returned to the polar continent Saturday after a distiller flew them to Scotland to recreate the long-lost recipe....
...Bottled in 1898 after the blend was aged 15 years, the Mackinlay bottles were among three crates of Scotch and two of brandy buried beneath a basic hut Shackleton had used during his dramatic 1907 Nimrod excursion to the Antarctic... 
...The whisky will be transferred by March from Ross Island to Shackelton's desolate hut at Cape Royds and replaced beneath the restored hut as part of a program to protect the legacy of the so-called heroic era of Antarctic exploration from 1898 to 1915.
130 year old Scotch and what did they do with it?  Sent it back to the freakin' South Pole to be put back where it was found.  Without having a drink of it.

Yeah, yeah, they took a sample via a hypodermic needle through the cork, so they can replicate the recipe.  But they can't replicate 130 year old Scotch, at least not in my lifetime.

I don't know what the extreme cold might have done to it - it wasn't frozen when they found it, but really, why shouldn't someone get to try it?  How is burying, what could possibly be, the best glass of Scotch this side of heaven, "protecting the legacy' of Antarctic exploration?  The explorers didn't take it there so that it could be buried forever, they took it to drink!

January 21, 2013

FOD 1460

National debt when Obama took office: $10.6 trillion
National debt today: More than $16.4 trillion

Number of people in poverty in 2009: 43.6 million
Number of people in poverty in 2011: 46.2 million

Unemployment rate in December 2008: 7.3 percent
Unemployment rate in December 2012: 7.8 percent

Number of Americans collecting federal disability insurance when Obama took office: 7,442,377
Number of Americans  collecting federal disability insurance 2012: 8,827,795

Number of people on food stamps 2008: 28.2 million
Number of people on food stamps 2012: 47.5 million

Flights on Air Force One: 836
Flights on Marine One: 801

Golf outings: 113
Media interviews: 591 
Meetings with foreign leaders: 131

Days until the 2017 presidential inauguration:  1460

From here, here, here, here, here, and here.

January 20, 2013

Something to believe in

I don't normally go here much, nor do I intend to.  I have no need or desire to impose my personal beliefs on others.  Nor am I inclined to broadcast what I have come to believe.

There are some 'religions' that I think are batshit crazy.  Some I think are better characterized as cults.  In fact, it would probably be most accurate to refer to all of them as 'belief groups' or something as 'religion' IMHO refers to a deity-based belief.  And I don't put trees, goats, fire, or comets into that category.  So that is that.

I know that what I will call 'mainstream' religion, and its churches have done plenty of harm to plenty of people.  But I think the good they have done outweighs the bad.  What strikes me today, and spurred this post, is that I believe that children need to believe in something.  You could even say that they need something to 'blame'.

There is a story making headlines, that highlights this fact for me:
A Missouri mother is outraged after her daughter's school district allegedly suggested the 13-year-old get a breast reduction to stop bullying.  
Tammie Jackson said her daughter, a sixth-grade student at Central Middle School is being sexually harassed because of her breast size, Fox2Now.com reported.
When Jackson called the school district to complain she said a woman suggested to me, "to have my daughter get a breast reduction," she told Fox2Now.com.
While the story focuses on the inappropriate and insensitive way that the school handled a bullying situation, there is a bigger issue at hand.

Jackson's money quote for me, is this:
"Let them know people's bodies are changing, everyone is different, but God made us all great," she told Fox2Now.com.

What is a kid to do - bullied or the bullier - when they have no one or nothing to blame or believe in, when they are personally attacked?  I'm not advocating church twice a week, or daily catechism, but I do think that some belief in a greater power helps kids more than it could harm them. 

January 19, 2013

Parenting Fail # 4,392

I came across a story linking to this cool kid's science video this week:



I think I am one of those girls that is missing whatever it is that they have determined makes many females less interested in, and adept at, science (and math).  As an adult, I have a better appreciation, and knowledge of, scientific and mathematical principals.  Maybe if there had been a cute science nerd in my formative years, I would have done better, instead I had crusty old lady science teachers with shady pasts that included rumors of explosions and science experiments gone wrong to explain away their various scars, limps, and crotchety demeanors.

While I better understand and appreciate science today, I still lack any driving interest in it.  This translates to an annual parental-coma-like state known as Science Fair season.  I do not like it.  I do not have good ideas, I do not appreciate the burden put on parents, I do not like to harangue my children for 4 months to get something done.  It is especially insulting that the final push before the due date coincides with Christmas break.  That should be family time, not marathon work sessions with Science Fair partner time.

Boom shares a similar dislike for Science Fair.  She muddled through the years it was required for her and never looked back when she hit the 'optional participation' years.  I think part of her problem was that she did a really cool project in fourth or fifth grade, one that she enjoyed, put a lot of time, effort, and thought into, and got no return on her investment.  It was one of the more memorable years for heavy parental involvement projects winning awards.  And Boom took away all the wrong lessons from that experience.

I know that the projects teach kids about the scientific method, as well as important lessons in planning, time management, and which carpet cleaner works best.  Can't that be done during class?

The projects that I think would be fun the school won't approve - we've discussed many psychosocial scenarios.  Both leaving a wallet out and seeing if it gets returned to the office, and a Pavlovian sort of experiment involving chocolate and training siblings to do chores for one another were turned down when Boom proposed them.  (Current SF rules require informed consent of all human test subjects!)  I think this is a riot:



My disdain for the Fair is going to haunt me.  Yesterday was the Big Day at school, and Bang and his buddy have now advanced to the Regional Fair.  Great.  Another day out of MY life for this stinkin' thing.  Maybe next year he could do a project to find my missing Science Fair give-a-crap gene.  

January 18, 2013

Banking, back in the day

Do you remember when you had to wait a whole month to get your bank statement back, along with your checks, so that you could balance the checkbook?  Now everything is just a click away.

Over Christmas break, Boom and I sat down to go over her expenditures from the first semester, to determine if the amount of money we were giving her for meals and incidentals was appropriate.  We discovered that she had never set up online banking.  Even though she gets her statements electronically she wasn't authorized for any other functions.  Instead of downloading four months of expenses into Excel or Quicken, we got to do it the old fashioned way, with paper, pencil, and an adding machine.

I liked the lesson in that.  At the same time, I rather love that I can deposit checks from my scanner.  And I can move money from account to account, from bank to bank, and from bank to debtor, with a few clicks.  The convenience and time savings of online banking can't be beat, I just don't want to lose the important financial and budgeting lessons that come from doing it the old fashioned way.

Maybe soon the school and Scouts will move into this century - those are the two entities that I write checks to on a regular basis.  Good for record keeping, annoying as hell to me.  The school is notorious for sitting on checks.  I am still waiting for a check from the beginning of December to clear, which is what started this post.  Once upon a time, I would just be getting my December bank statement to go over, and most likely, by the time the next statement rolled around, that check would have cleared.  Instead, I check my account several times a week, balancing my checkbook each time, and that line in my register that doesn't have a little check-mark beside it is driving me nuts.

January 17, 2013

Lyin' Hawaiians

The one in the White House and the one from Notta Dame.




Calling Godwin's Law on myself

Those people that do the Hitler videos should do one of Obama announcing his 23 executive mandates, at least there might be some humor to be found if they were presented in that medium.  There are startling similarities between our president pictured with children, and with his superiority complex, that make me vomit a little each time I see the side by side comparisons with the propaganda posters of Nazi Germany.

I don't have anything new to add to the gun control debate.  I am against it.  I believe that gun ownership is Constitutionally protected and guaranteed, and with all other things Constitutional, I think that right should be unimpeded and unregulated unless and until, like all other litmus tests for our rights, the exercising of my rights somehow infringes on yours.

As a conservative in the political realm, I suppose I am expected to cling bitterly to my guns and Bible.  Clinging, yes.  Bitterly?  Well, I don't think so.  I believe it is a responsibility, and a Constitutionally guaranteed right.  I think it is the other side that is bitter about it.

What disturbs me most, are the changes to our societal foundation.  If people won't resist this, what else will we witness in our lifetimes?  What freedoms have quietly eroded to bring us to the point where this president thinks he single-handedly has the power to ordain changes to our foundational principals? 

January 16, 2013

Liars

I once read somewhere that lying is a form of disrespect.

In the words of the late Rodney Dangerfield, I get no respect.

At home, I have the little ones who are just learning right from wrong, who tell such outrageous lies that it is clear that they really mean no harm - they are just learning about honesty (and self-preservation) but haven't quite figured out that mom knows better anyway.  There are a couple of others in my family that are older and know better, but have chosen to disrespect and insult me by spinning their tales. 

At work, there is a guy that can't tell the truth.  I like to call him on it.  He tries to manipulate with lies, as if no one would ever think to question what he says.  He also tells the sorts of lies that could only be believed by a moron - so he obviously thinks I am stupid, and not worthy of the truth.  Or he is a compulsive liar and can't help himself.  Bless his heart, that must be it.

On a larger scale, I have a government and a president that clearly meet the definition of pathological liars.  They live in an alternate reality and believe the crap that comes out of their mouths.  They treat the American public like a bunch of mouth-breathing buffoons who aren't even capable of reading a bill to understand what is in it, without first making the bill a law.  (Can you believe that really happened?)

I don't recall ever feeling so helpless or hopeless about my country's leadership.  I can find hundreds of thousands of like-minded people, yet we can't seem to elect representatives that stand up for truth, respect, and being true to their word.

When you look at how the grown ups act, it's no wonder we are raising generations of kids that think lies are the convenient way out of a difficult situation.

January 14, 2013

Tell the truth...


FOD T minus 209

Golf count still at 113 (home from Hawaii and D.C. ain't a year-round golfing spot)

It seems clear that Obama has three goals for his second term.  Guns, illegals, and giving himself unlimited credit.  Two of those goals seem likely to be obtained from a thorough raping of our Constitution through executive order.

I am not sure, exactly, on what grounds this administration and the president feel that they can cast aside the very basis of our government - a system of checks and balances - and continue to force things upon the American people while ignoring 278 +/- duly elected representatives that generally vote conservatively. 

They are coming for the guns, no doubt.  Though one wonders what the average number of guns per capita will be by the time they get their new laws in place.  Gun sales are at record highs, some ammo prices have tripled in the last six weeks, ARs are nearly impossible to find, and many manufacturers are still working to produce the weapons for orders they took last spring. 

Liberals want to argue the etymology of the words used in our Constitution, but I have yet to meet anyone who can explain to me why military members take an oath that swears to support and defend the Constitution against "all enemies, foreign and domestic" - define the 'domestic' for me, libby.  They hang up on whether those domestic enemies are a literal or figurative description of what was, or what could be.

Illegal immigrants are likely to get a broad pass on breaking our laws, with Blowie ramming through one enormous (you have to pass it to find out what is in it) sort of bill.  I know a few people that have come to our country, documented and not.  I can tell you that the ones that are here legally sure as hell don't want their illegal countrymen to skate by.  I can also tell you that the illegals I know have little interest in going on the grid.  Instead of crafting legislation that would address youth brought into our country by their parents, skilled workers that are needed in our country, or letting migrant workers help out during harvests, Blowie is gonna welcome them all with open arms.

The debt ceiling fight will be over before it starts.  They are already setting the stage, so that it will seem that Blowie is left with no choice but to 'save' us by circumventing congress and raising the debt ceiling AGAIN, without curbing spending.

What's the definition of insanity?

January 13, 2013

Back to college

Boom headed back to college this morning.  I was up early, making some cookies and things for her to take back, trying to ease the shock of going cold turkey after a month of home-cooked meals.  She procrastinated a bit, delaying the inevitable.  She's a great kid, family oriented, so she isn't one of those that is itching to get back to the college social scene.

She made it almost 70 miles before she called about something semi-important that she forgot to pack.  Kind of a convenient way to make sure she gets a care package first thing - what kind of mom would I be if I didn't send a little something fun in the box?

I think it is funny, some of the little quirks of being in the Corps of Cadets.  They have to switch roommates for the new semester, which caused no small amount of complaining about the various possibilities.  Whoever that roommate ends up being, she and Boom have earned the privilege of having carpet in their dorm room.  One piece of carpet, 16 inches by 16 inches.  (Everything is equated to their grad class year, 2016).  I offered to cut a piece of remnant that is in our attic, but apparently there is some expectation of buying a perfectly good bath mat and cutting it down to size.

I just recently heard that Parent's Weekend is a Big Deal (more so for Corps kids for some reason).  Validating that fact is that hotel rooms are almost fully booked (for mid-April)  and at premium rates - even higher than home football weekends.  Note to any future A&M parents (CenTexTim), look at a calendar, look at the athletic schedule, and book everything you might want a room for, now.

Boom's outfit might come to town during the Fort Worth Stock Show in a couple of weeks.  Otherwise, it will be March before we see her again.  There are thousands of articles about seeing your kids off to college in the fall, but not much written on the jolt that comes when they head back after the first Christmas break.  It doesn't seem much easier today, than it was last August.

January 12, 2013

False Sense of Security

Subtitle: Knee-jerk reactions to a psychopathic massacre.

For those of you with kids in your life and those that pay attention to what your tax dollars pay for in local school districts, I ask, what has the reaction, from a school security standpoint, been to the Newtown massacre?

With the tragedy happening one week before my kids were released for Christmas vacation, there were just a few things that had been done to step up security - but apparently school officials were busy little bees over the break.

The school district that serves my home (my kids go to a charter school in a neighboring town) has also taken some steps to increase security.  I have a couple of friends that serve on the school board and was pleased that they consulted with some very impressive people about training for their staff - which is exactly the glaring security gap that schools (and businesses and individuals...) have.  I don't know how much further they have gotten, but that is also a good thing - I appreciate that they are avoiding the frenzy and resistance that would come should they talk publicly about plans or potential strategies.

Other schools seem to be taking a similar path, I read a recent news story about 'Avi', a former Israeli soldier whose company has been hired to consult with a Dallas private school:
'Avi' doesn't want his last name revealed. The school doesn't want to be identified, and neither do parents taking Avi's class.
"We teach you how to see a suspect before he comes here," he told the parents Thursday night.
"If you get it in your veins, in your understanding, it's not so hard," he said.
Avi runs MAYDAY Preemptive Counter Terrorism Strategies, an international firm that has worked with governments and corporations across the world. He believe schools should have gates on campus to limit entry, portals visitors must pass through, and doors that can be locked with a remote control. However he said what's more important is for a threat to be identified before it comes on campus.
Training!  Yes! I don't much agree with his affinity for gates and portals - because that isn't the kind of world I want to live in.  I want my kids to go to school, not a prison each day.  But the prison lock-down scenario seems to be the direction my kids' school is headed.

The first knee-jerk reaction at our school is a new visitor check-in system that runs driver's licenses against real-time sex offender databases.  (Because sex offenders in schools has been such an issue).  This cracks me up because the school, formerly, had a two-page notarized affidavit that was required for them to run a background check if a parent wanted to volunteer.  Now, a marginally trained parent-volunteer takes your license, and runs it through the system without notice or warning as to what is being done (unless you happened to read every word of the school newsletter).  The first false result that gets returned should cost them a pretty penny.  Little Johnnie's mom volunteering at the front window isn't likely to handle the situation with any confidentiality, poise, or preservation of rights.

The campus director is full of ideas about what is to come.  The campus used to tout its low energy use, with natural light provided by walls of windows.  Once the biggest hassle was the interruption, as kids waved to their friends as they walked by the classrooms on the way to the gym (open campus with multiple buildings that requires walking outside).  Now they are realizing that those walls of glass don't provide much protection, or cover, from un-friendlies.  I have heard talk of roll down metal curtains, keeping children indoors, perimeter fortress walls.

Is the future of our society really one where kids sit in windowless rooms, can't go outside for recess, will be sent to their parent's cars like a prisoner emerging from the prison wall, and field trips are forbidden?  I don't want to live like that.  I don't live like that - I won't live like that.  And I don't think schooling children in that environment is healthy or productive.   

January 11, 2013

Sanitizing

My job is full of perks.  We dress casually, we come and go as we please, we have a gorgeous office facility, we have the ability to work away from the office, we have the flexibility to bring our kids if/when there is a childcare situation, and we get along like one big family.

Those last two perks are haunting me today.  Like any family, there are a few outliers.  People who don't have the same values, work ethic, or common sense.  In my building we have frequent young visitor due to some child care challenges.  She spent most of Christmas break hanging out in her mom's office.  First week that she is scheduled to go back to school and she woke up with a fever on Tuesday.  She spent most of Tuesday on a pallet on the floor of her mom's office resting and watching movies.

Yesterday she spent most of the day hurling in our office restroom.  Loudly.  Violently.  With all of the precise aim one would expect from an ill 7-year old.

Her mom isn't terribly inclined to clean up messes. Or being maternally sympathetic or comforting.  Or keeping her contagious kid away from others.

The poor child came into my office three times, snot and tears of the post-vomit variety streaming down her face.  She looked horrible, clearly felt horrible, and I felt bad for her - but, sheesh, get the hell out of my office.  Don't touch my stuff!  It amazes me how kids bounce back for a few minutes after throwing up...enough to raid my candy dish and play with my adding machine before running for the bathroom again.

We ran out of Lysol and Clorox wipes around noon.  I am going back this morning, armed with a plethora of germ killing items, having doused myself in hand sanitizer upon leaving the office and washing everything when I walked in the door at home, in what I hope will not be a vain attempt to leave the crud at the office.

January 10, 2013

Lightning Protection?

President Obama is putting a symbolic twist on a time-honored tradition, taking the oath of office for his second term with his hand placed not on a single Bible, but two -- one owned by Martin Luther King Jr. and one by Abraham Lincoln. 
Two Bibles - think that is to ward off the possibility of a lightning strike when he swears to uphold and defend the Constitution?
Good luck with that...

Buttoned up


Do you, or anyone you know, need to unbutton every button on a dress shirt to get it on?  Are there people in the world that have hands so large that they have to undo the cuff buttons, plus that little button that normally holds the slit in the wrist area closed?  Granted, I buy off the rack, ready-to-wear, generically sized shirts, but I have never had a sleeve so narrow that I couldn't get my hand through without unbuttoning that little button.  Most of the time, I can get my hand through the cuff with it still buttoned, as well.

And another thing.  Who the hell decided that a men's dress shirt needs to have 14 straight pins in it, when it is offered for sale as a folded item?  I hate it when Mr. H gets new shirts.  I always miss a pin and end up getting stuck with it. 

Someone, somewhere, has convinced the American public that our clothing requires many more fasteners than are actually necessary to keep the clothing on - which is what fasteners of all types are supposed to accomplish.  And, button down dress shirts aside, I think women get the ridiculous end of the stick, most of the time.

That Cajun cooking guy, what was his name...Justin Wilson?  I remember he always had a belt and suspenders on at the same time.  He used to joke that he was a safety engineer for wearing both.  I have several pairs of pants that have a button, a hook, and a drawstring (in addition to the zipper).  Triple engineered capri pants.  They constantly fall down.  I cinch up the drawstring and the double hook comes undone.  Sometimes I forget to tie the drawstring or zip the zipper because I am trained to do TWO fastening functions, not FOUR.  It's embarrassing.

You know what I miss?  Button fly jeans.  Good old fashioned Levi's (politics aside), shrink to fit, button fly, nice and broken-in jeans.  5 buttons.  Count them as you do them up to make sure you don't miss one, and then one yank and they are undone. Custom fit was a bath tub of warm water away.  Ahhh, those were the days.

January 9, 2013

Diploma Day

Today Boom gets her IB Diploma.  While she, and her senior class, graduated the old fashioned way back in June, the IB testing calendar doesn't mirror a traditional school calendar.  Students don't get their test results, and know whether they earned the diploma, until July of each year.  Boom's school holds a ceremony to award the diplomas while most of the kids are still home from college in January.

I am looking forward to seeing the collective group of kids again.  I have kept up with several of them via Boom and/or their parents - but the snarky and curious side of me is waiting to see and hear the things that people don't say, like who has gained the famous Freshman Fifteen, or who isn't headed back this semester.

Boom has been refreshingly candid about her first semester experience.  Rather than offering ambiguous pleasantries when asked how school is going, she has used phrases like 'learning experience' and 'looking forward to doing better next semester'. 

So far, I have heard nothing but raves about little Johnny and Janie being straight-A college students from the parents, and I can't help but wonder if Boom will come home with the same story after a day with her former classmates.

After the ceremony, the college freshman spend an hour with the high school seniors - answering questions, sharing stories about their college experience so far.  Of all the things the school does to prepare kids for college, this is among my favorite.  I wish 19-year old me could have visited with 18-year old me and saved me some heartache.

January 8, 2013

Banning transparency

The self-proclaimed most transparent administration in the history of the world, has again tried to prevent  some hack photographer's right to publish photographs taken in a public place.

You might remember the not-so-surprising scrubbing of the internet that took place when pictures of first daughter Malia on a class trip to Mexico were posted, and then quickly disappeared from the Gorenet.

Someone needs to, again, remind the president that we have some rights about what can and cannot happen in public.  Our president has allowed for the American public to be videotaped, wiretapped, followed, photographed, and put on watch lists for things that we do in the bright light of day, for all to see.  The same president uses the strong arm of the Secret Service to prevent photographers from releasing pictures of his daughters walking along a public beach.  On a vacation paid for by the American taxpayers.

I don't want, or need, to see pictures of the lavish lifestyle my tax dollars fund for the Obama family, as they vacation on the beaches of Hawaii.  I don't care much, in general, for paparazzi shots to begin with.  This particular photog was actually lying in wait for Jessica Simpson - yet I doubt the Secret Service would have threatened him about publishing any photos of her - though one could easily argue that a pregnant woman deserves an extra measure of consideration, no matter the level of celebrity involved.

It's not about the standard, in my book, it is about the double-standard.  There was no White House arm twisting to shelve shots of grief-stricken children in Newtown, but a picture of Obama's healthy teenage daughters on the beach gets agent intimidation and an official threat letter.

January 7, 2013

FOD

A mixed bag today...

The Obamas have returned from Hawaii.  This year's Christmas trip soaked the taxpayers for over $7 MILLION, but hey, he solved that fiscal cliff thing, right? 

Blowie squeezed in some more golf after returning to the islands after his brief sojourn to D.C., bringing his presidential total to 113 rounds.

Blowie's MSM has been ramping up the anti-gun rhetoric in advance of whatever controls he will be trying to impose upon us  Last month a New York newspaper decided to publish the names and addresses, in map form, of legally licensed/registered gun owners in their area.  They continue to stand beside the decision even as a blogger chose to exercise some (poetic) form of vigilante media justice and publish the names and addresses of the people who work for the New York paper.

Here in Texas, we aren't afraid of exposure.  I have prepared a gun ownership map of our state, for those of you who might be interested.  Each red dot represents a Texas gun owner.


January 6, 2013

CFL Zombie Apocalypse

It might not be an actual zombie apocalypse, but it looks like one...CFL's make people look like zombies.  There are three 'shades' of the CFL apocalypse, harsh washout white, rotting pumpkin orange, and classic zombie green.  We might be living, but we look like the walking dead. 

I hate CFL light - I once found a 'shade' of light that was acceptable, and replaced the eight (!) living room bulbs at once.  I follow all the rules...they are bottom down fixtures, I bought instant-on bulbs, they aren't turned off and on a bunch.  I have replaced all of them at one point or another, some of them twice, over the past four years.  Not hardly the lifespan promised.

They get dimmer and dimmer each month.  And when they go out, I throw them in the trash.  No schlepping them to the Depot or Lowe's for disposal, no sealing them in plastic bags.  If the government cares so much about the environment and health, then give me back my non-toxic incandescents.

Yesterday I bought a small stockpile of incandescents.  There weren't many left to choose from, and what I did buy, I bought in large quantities.  I was interested in buying some LED bulbs, as I like the light they produce much better than fluorescent light.  I was prepared to pay more for the bulbs as long as I liked the light and the bulb was appropriately sized for the fixtures I had in mind.  A 20 watt equivalent LED bulb was priced at $15, and they went up from there.  To replace the bulbs in my bathroom fixtures with comparable wattage would have cost me nearly $400.  And I don't have $400 to wager on the promise that those bulbs are going to last 20 times longer than traditional bulbs and save me hundreds in electricity costs. 

Is there government assistance for light bulb purchases?  How in the world does the government think that the 47.5 million people receiving food stamps are going to be able to afford light to eat that taxpayer-funded food with? 

January 5, 2013

All American Rejects

Back in my day, it was a given that the high school cheerleaders and sports stars were self-centered snobs.  Every once in a great while there would be one who wasn't - usually a nice, smart kid that also happened to have some natural athletic ability, but most were the sort of kids that craved the spotlight, and demanded that they be the center of attention.

Generally, this was kept pretty much in check by societal norms and familial expectations.  Even the snootiest princess and cocky quarterback seemed to know that the big 'me' show was over at graduation, though a select few dragged it out through college and young adulthood before discovering that the real world didn't give a shit how many touchdowns they scored in the big game against Sherman six years ago.

Today's young people are often called out for being much too self-absorbed.  They have no work ethic.  They think that someone else should carry the load for them.  They live their lives through constant self-promotion in the form of status updates, tweets, and Instagram photos, assuming everyone needs to know every intimate detail of their life. 

Last night I caught a bit of a high school football 'All-American' team game.  Every few minutes the coverage would cut away from the actual game to a high school boy who was announcing his college commitment.  There was an on-camera interview and much bragging before the kid would take a ball cap out of the plastic bag his mom was clutching, and slap it on his head to showcase his future college team.  They treated these kids like they were superstars.

I can name several high schoolers that spent their Christmas vacation on mission trips, working, taking an extra class, and/or volunteering for charitable organizations.  None of them are doing it to be in the spotlight.  Many of them are doing it to try to have a better shot at college and scholarships that will enable them to attend.  If there is a spotlight to be shined, or a college education to be handed out, they deserve it more than the group of thugs I saw on TV last night.

When will our mindset get back to rewarding those who are likely to be productive members of society for a lifetime, versus those whose athletic ability might entertain the masses for a few years?  If the majority of today's youth think that we want to know their every move, we are to blame for treating them like celebrities, even before they leave the womb.   

January 4, 2013

Lone Gator

Florida lost the Sugar Bowl game, 33-23 to Louisville on Wednesday.  At the end of the game, only one player walked over to the band section to sing the school Alma Mater, this guy, Darrin Kitchens:


From what I read in the article, like many schools, from junior high to college, the players usually gather near the band to sing the school song at the end of the game.  This article does specify that Florida usually does it for wins, but one would think that the effort was worth making for the end of season bowl game, no matter the final score.

My hat is off to Mr. Kitchens, whatever his motivation was - be it school spirit, commitment to team, pride in his season, self-service, he was the only player that cared enough to stand on the field, sing the Alma Mater, and support the band.  That is the mark of a true sportsman.

January 3, 2013

If no one is holding the pen...

...is it still a 'signature'?

Since the president returned to the Hawaiian beaches and golf courses, he can't be bothered with actually signing bills into law.
President Barack Obama's staff used an autopen (a machine that mimics one's signature) to sign the "fiscal cliff" legislation that Congress passed on New Year's Day. There was no ceremony or photo-op for the autopen bill signing.
Anytime that the White House provides a legal opinion justifying their actions, I think we should all wonder what the hell they are up to.
The pool reporter sends along a link to a "Department of Justice legal brief on the subject" of bills being signed by the autopen. Here's the link, which says, according to the memo from a deputy assistant attorney general in the George W. Bush administration, that the practice is legally fine in theory.  
George W. Bush, though, never signed a bill with an autopen. Obama has now done it 3 times.
Why not sign the bill?  Why employ an autopen for one document, while making your pen and writing hand available for another on the same day?
The reporter specifically notes that another bill, a defense bill, was physically signed by the president himself yesterday.

Sheesh, Blowie has now soaked us for an extra round trip to Hawaii this holiday season, purportedly so that he could broker the fiscal cliff deal, yet he can't be bothered with (or wants no credit or blame for) signing the bill into law. 

January 2, 2013

Crazy Busy

Ever have one of those days when everything unexpected happens at once?  On the downhill slide of one of those.  So, here is a joke that alludes to the thorn in my side:
In a dark and hazy room, peering into a crystal ball, the fortune teller delivered grave news:
"There's no easy way to tell you this, so I'll just be blunt. Prepare yourself to be a widow. Your husband will die a violent and horrible death this year."
Visibly shaken, the young woman stared at the mystic's lined face, then at the single flickering candle, then down at her hands.
She took a few deep breaths to compose herself and to stop her mind racing. She simply had to know.
She met the fortune teller's gaze, steadied her voice and asked, "Will I be acquitted?"


January 1, 2013

Happy 2013


While there was much to be proud of, happy about, and content with on the homefront in 2012, the state of our country is such that I don't wish to dwell on it much. 

I wish you the best in the coming year.