February 28, 2013

Shut 'er down

In 1995, the government "shut down".  I was youngish then, and was really only affected by the fact that it took nearly two month to receive my passport for an upcoming trip overseas.  I really don't know how similar sequestration measures are, in comparison to the things that shut down in '95 and '96, but imagine that they are quite similar as far as being inconsequential.

Whited re-tweeted someone yesterday with a quote to the effect of "if sequestration were applied to Chris Christie, he would have to lose 12 ounces".

Heh.  Perfect illustration, I think.  The looming sequestration is simply a ploy, used by all sides to try to get what they want.  Does anyone remember where we were, one year ago?  Facing a government shutdown on March 4th, if there wasn't an agreement on extending the continuing resolution.  And, in a poll of politicians one year ago, Dims looked to benefit most from letting the shutdown happen:
"The Republicans look awful if there's a government shutdown and they are seen to have caused it," said one GOP Insider. "I remember how the last shutdown went and find it impossible to believe this one could go any better," said another.
Indeed, several recalled how a new Republican House Speaker empowered by a huge victory in the midterm elections was outmaneuvered by a first term Democratic President. "As Bill Clinton proved, the president has the bully pulpit in these situations, something Newt Gingrich never recovered from," recalled a GOP Insider. Another cautioned of the possible shutdown: "We always think it's a good idea until we do it and get our butt kicked when real people start suffering for it."
Democrats, meanwhile, were much more sanguine about the prospects of a shutdown and some seemed to even welcome one. "A shutdown will force middle income [families] to see how much government does to enhance the lives of ordinary Americans," said one Democratic Insider. "So far, Republicans have convinced everyone that government does nothing."
 I, personally, don't give two shits.  I don't live my life, plan my budget, or schedule my activities in any way that will be harmed by the laughable cuts forced by sequestration.  This is a political game, and smart Americans will continue to live their lives with little need for the drama of D.C. 

Shut downs, sequestrations - they are simply the new black in the great game of politics.    

February 27, 2013

Glad I could help...

Have you ever unintentionally made someone, or a group of someones, feel better about themselves, their situation, their life?

I did that this week.

Our veterinarian's office has a large spacious lobby, with plenty of room for a number of animals to be waiting, without getting unnecessarily close to one another.  The receptionists and techs sit at a large U-shaped desk in the center, with room for three of them to be helping people get checked out.

In what, I am sure, is a measure of business self-preservation, our vet's policy when picking up an animal after a procedure or overnight stay, is to settle the bill first.  I know some people are deadbeats, and am grateful that our history with the vet is such that we can run a tab when need be - like when we send a kid to pick up some meds or have an outcall for a large animal.  But, I get why they need generally like to hold Fido hostage until the bill is paid.

On this particular day, I was prepared to pay in full and stood waiting to hear what the damage was.  There was a nice lady with an older black Lab that was grousing a bit over the need to buy two boxes of heartworm preventative.  There was a lady with a dog rescue group that was requesting a discount for some medication.  There was a young guy with a new puppy and a couple with a cat, waiting for their turn at the counter.

Remember the old E.F. Hutton commercials, when everyone got quiet to hear what he said?  For reasons unknown to me, the room, animals included, got eerily silent right as the tech was ready with my total.  And when the words, "Two thousand eight hundred and seventy-eight dollars" came out of her mouth, heads snapped my direction and the guy with the cat gave his wife a "ain't no f'ing way we are spending that kind of money on Fluffy" look.

In an instant, no one else in the room had any cause to bitch about their bill, they were instantly better off than me.  As I handed my debit card to the lady, I turned to the kids and asked them who didn't want to go to college.  Not going to win any mother of the year contests either!

February 26, 2013

Control

Why is it that smoke alarm batteries never begin their slow death chirp during daylight hours?

As I was teetering on the top of a step stool at 4 am, changing the BACK UP battery in one of the hallway smoke detectors, I was also seething at the erosion of personal responsibility and basic rights that put me in that position.

Of course I care about my family's safety.  I appreciate technology that may one day save me from a fire in my home.  I do not appreciate that building regulations require only hardwired alarms, connected in a series, which causes all of them to go wonky when only one has an actual issue.

In further building code ridiculousness, an alarm is required in every bedroom, as well as in the hallway immediately outside of every bedroom.  It took me 10 minutes and a towel for muffling purposes to figure out which of the four alarms in a 5-foot radius, was chirping.

If I want to remove a dying battery from one of more than a dozen alarms in my house until daylight, I should be able to do so without the rest of the alarms in the series screeching at me.  Seriously, what are the chances that the ONE morning that I take ONE back up battery out of ONE smoke alarm will be the morning that a fire starts where only that ONE alarm could sense it and the one 18 inches away from it couldn't?  GMAFB. 

Perhaps the most famous nanny in the country is Michael Bloomberg.  His bigger-than-16-ounces-soda ban goes into effect in a couple of weeks, after previous successes with trans fat, baby formula, and salt.  As recent articles note, some of the unintended, and asinine, consequences of the upcoming ban are coming to the surface
For instance, ordering a 2-liter bottle of Coke, Pepsi, Sprite or whatever the family desires with a pizza delivery won’t be allowed. Even pitchers of soda at children’s birthday parties are going to be a no-no under Bloomberg’s far-reaching ban, according to the paper.
The exceptions and allowances are varied and nonsensical:
Diet sodas and alcoholic beverages are not covered by the ban, fruit smoothies are okay as long as they don’t have added sugar and coffee drinks and milkshakes pass muster if they contain at least 50 percent milk. Drinks with added sugar must not contain more than 3.125 calories per ounce.
How in the world do you police the amount of milk and added sugar in coffee?  Will Starbucks have to ration out sugar packets and pre-measured creamer, instead of the standard condiment bar?

More importantly, who are the people that elected this clown?

Who are we, that keep letting the government intrude on basic personal responsibilities?  I am tired of having to submit to laws and regulations that are intended to address issues at the lowest common denominator.

February 25, 2013

FOD Pictorial Edition







February 24, 2013

Snow Plowed

I spent the first 15 years of my life in Kansas.  My mom was a single parent for most of that time, and, like many kids of that era, I served many 'job' positions in the household, including snow shoveler and garage door opener.

In what seems a foreign concept to my children, who have spent most of their formative years in north Texas, if it snowed during the school day, or if I was out of school due to snow, I had to make sure the driveway was clear by the time my mom got home from work (at which time she would pull in and honk, signaling the need for the garage door opener to operate).

While it seemed selective at the time, I am sure that the timing of our street being plowed actually had more to do with a schedule that spent the earlier part of the day clearing the more heavily traveled streets in preparation for rush hour, before plowing the solely residential ones.  Regardless, it generally meant that around 5 pm, just as I was hanging the shovel up and thinking of a steaming mug of hot chocolate, the plow would come down the street and push a mound of heavily packed ice and snow chunks into the driveway.

My mother always owned vehicles that were ridiculously poor choices for the climate, and the two that spanned my shoveling days were a Datsun 280ZX and an IROC Camaro - both low to the ground and barely able to clear the driveway curb, much less the height of the plow's snow bank.  So I was back out there as soon as the plow came down the street, working furiously to get at least one side of the drive cleared before my mom came down the street.

While I really don't wish ill will on anyone (well, except select politicians), I am glad that this guy was made an example of.  I think he personifies, what most of us believe to be, the character of snow plow drivers.

(He removed his YouTube video after being fired, but there are bits of it within the story)

February 23, 2013

The wait begins.

Some of you fine folks are my Facebook friends.  If so, you might have noticed the photo I posted, of the target from my CHL shooting test. 

I didn't shoot great, but, for better or worse, you don't have to be a great shot to qualify to carry a concealed handgun in the great state of Texas.  (At least there is a shooting test).

I have lots of excuses - mostly that I have had tendonitis in my wrist for a couple of weeks.  I just knew it was going to hurt to shoot.  It did.  I anticipated.  I switched to a bigger gun and we mixed some dummy rounds in to combat the flinch.  Then I muscled through the little shocks of nerve pain and was proud enough of my effort in the end. 

We do have one more classroom session and the written test, but I am not really worried about that - it is primarily about the law, and stupid parts of the law in particular, and I have stupid mastered.  Seriously, one of the questions is about the only approved colors for the CHL test target.

The state uses a fingerprint capturing company that is making them a pile of money, I suppose.  Even those with FBI fingerprints on file have to be fingerprinted again.  And there is ONE company that coordinates it, with a limited number of locations and appointments.  The first appointment available within 40 miles of my house was March 6th. 

Barring any complications, my completed application documents should go in the mail that same day.  The state is supposed to turn the plastic card around to me within 60 days, but a couple of friends that did their class together had wildly different situations while waiting for their license - from 29 days to over 90.  I am prepared for the worst, but hoping for the best. 

In the meantime, shopping for a carry gun.  Girls just don't have as many places to conceal a gun as the guys do.

February 21, 2013

Veterinary Visiting Hours

I have a sick dog living at the vet clinic.  He had emergency surgery earlier this evening, and by the time he was awake, the day staff was ready to go home, so I didn't impose and demand to see him.  He's been there since midday Wednesday and I miss the little guy.  On top of which, the prognosis is still pretty guarded, so I will have one of those sleepless nights, praying that the phone doesn't ring.

Being optimistic, I am planning on calling them first thing and asking when I can come give the little fella a skritch.  I realize that it is more important to me than him, but I need something to look forward to.

Lookout Tom Kruse...

Federal authorities executed a search warrant at The Scooter Store's New Braunfels headquarters this morning.
About 150 law enforcement officials, including from the FBI, the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Texas Attorney General's office, were at the company's offices.
Most employees at the headquarters were directed to leave the premises.
Wow.  I can't say that I am surprised that they were potentially doing something wrong, I am, however, surprised that the OIG might actually be cracking down on Medicare fraud.
It only takes one sick day, lounging on the couch and watching network television, to see how many companies are exploiting various loopholes or lack of oversight, to provide our geriatric community with scooters, diabetic supplies, adult diapers, and prescription drugs.  
I, personally, have a fondness for the Hoveround. It is "round for a reason".  Yeah, so grandpa doesn't gouge the walls or take you out at the ankles coming around the corner.  How long before the FBI comes knocking on their door?
I feel bad for any elderly people who are eagerly awaiting their personal mobility vehicle that may never arrive.  If they can't get around, they are likely to sit in front of daytime television programming and buy something from the Bradford Exchange while they apply for a reverse mortgage.

February 20, 2013

Six Degrees of the Blogosphere

I'm a bad blogger in the sense that I don't really pursue reciprocating links with blogs that I read frequently.  I have linked to those that I have met, and any that have straight up asked - 'cause I have nothing against it, I just don't have time to build a big bloggy link list and go begging for people to link to me.  This exercise started as blogs were originally intended, a personal outlet of my own, an internet diary of sorts.

Like almost anyone who stops here frequently, with a similar daily reads list, I read a bunch of "gun blogs".  I like the stories, I appreciate the reviews, I share in most opinions as to the repression of our Constitutional rights.  I don't know any of the gun bloggers personally, but I have met some friends of friends.

Today, at a defensive shooting class, the instructor asked if any of us read any specific internet sites or blogs.  When I answered in the affirmative, he asked for specifics, and then mentioned people by their "real" names and professions, as opposed to their internet handles, as he is personally acquainted with them.  I learned that one blogger that I enjoy lives just up the road, and that the exploits he writes about happen much closer to home than I would have imagined.  After exchanging stories with my instructor today, I am left wondering who he is...in the world of internet aliases, I mean.  He clearly frequents several of the same sites, and he most certainly is the sort that would comment often. 

Also checking the memory to make sure I didn't get in any flame wars with anyone on a gun blog...

I have to admit to being one of those that was full of scorn for things of a personal nature back when Gore first invented the internet.  I still don't cotton much to the idea of internet dating, or the unsavory things that are out there for any kid or lunatic to see.  But, I have met some kick ass people on this thing, and some days it serves as a reminder to how small this big world can be, when people with similar interests find a place where they can meet like-minded people and become friends, of a sort, whether or not they ever get to meet face to face.

February 19, 2013

Range Time

Late night email from my boss telling me my duty station for the morning was the range...blogging will have to wait.

February 18, 2013

FOD

Blowie spent the weekend golfing in Florida, while the Wookie and first daughters went skiing at some undisclosed location.  Incidentally, Biden and family are in Colorado for a ski weekend, leaving me wondering who is minding the store, if you will.

Blowie golfed the 115th round of his presidency yesterday, teeing off with none other than Tiger Woods and Floridian club owner Jim Crane.  Saturday's round with Butch Harmon joining the president's group for several holes makes all the more sense now. 

Before he headed out to golf, Blowie gave a speech about violence in Chicago.  In what seems to be some twisted, tragic pattern, there has been another violent Chicago death.  A Chical teenager was gunned down just hours after her sister attended Blowie's speech.  This, just a week after his wife attended the funeral of a teenage girl that was a shooting victim shortly after performing at an inaugural event. 

I am hoping that the president figures out that his speeches do little to stop violence.  In fact, around my house, they incite it.

February 17, 2013

"The" or an "s"

Scanning the news this morning, I came across a headline that spurred my blogging juices.  This headline:

Ram to build only light duty diesel pickup for sale in U.S.

What I thought would be a 'what the hell are they thinking?' sort of post, based on my initial reaction to what I thought the headline said, quickly went in another direction. 
What do you think that headline means?
When I first read it, I thought that Dodge had decided to stop selling all gasoline-powered trucks and only offer diesel fuel trucks in the United States.
That isn't what the article says.  Right off the top, the article makes clear that Dodge is going to offer the first, and only, diesel fueled light duty truck.
Going back and reading the headline, I see where my confusion lies.  If the headline said "Ram to build THE only light duty diesel pickup for sale in U.S.", now that would have been clear.  Or even, "Ram to build only light duty diesel pickupS for sale in U.S."
Using both the "THE" (and an extra one) and the "S" would have been even better.  "Ram to build THE only light duty diesel pickups for sale in THE U.S."
I suppose one could argue that headline writing has always been about making the most attention-getting sort of impact in the fewest number of words, from the glory days of printed news, when space really mattered.  But, this is an internet headline.  Space is infinite.  Can't we get some clear, concise, and written-in-complete-sentences sort of headlines?

February 16, 2013

The Whine Generation

Well, it took about 5 minutes before the first lawsuit was filed over the conditions on the Carnival cruise ship, Triumph.

Quite frankly, I think those people should put their big boy pants on and get over it.

Now, I can sympathize with those that had lost wages, or incurred additional hardships due to the delay in returning to shore.  But, suing for being "inconvenienced"?  GMAFB.

If you were rolled off the ship on a stretcher and loaded into an ambulance due to injury caused by the conditions, I might listen to some of your complaints.  But, for those able-bodied people that chose to get on a floating buffet for their vacation, never thinking that if an accident happens, it is likely to result in unpleasant conditions due to the fact that YOU ARE ON A BOAT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN, what the hell did you expect?!

What really cracks me up is all of the people pictured in, what clearly are, Carnival robes, or holding up towels on which they have written some pithy 'I Survived' sort of declaration.  How about, 'I survived and ripped off some linens in the process!"?

I am sure that wading through sewage, or not having air conditioning was probably life changing for some of those people.  I would bet it is a change they needed.  Perseverance, tolerance, and adaptability are good character traits, I hope some of those folks learned a measure of it.

February 15, 2013

I want my fair share!

I have been shopping for a new weapon.  I am taking my time, trying out many friend's handguns and visiting various shops.  I have had a touch of tendonitis in my wrist, which is complicating things - I don't want to develop a flinch, since it hurts every time I tighten my grip.  Plus, I am a girl, which naturally means it takes me forever to make up my mind (hmph).

Mr. Harper had planned on the purchase being my Valentine's Day gift.  Instead, I got an IOU in my card and a lovely box of chocolates from him and the kiddos.  We don't do big V-Day, just token items.  We went out for a casual family dinner, choosing a local burger joint over a nicer restaurant to avoid the smoochy crowds.

I was perfectly content with my middle class celebration until I read about the president's V-Day dinner.  An estimated $900!  Holy crap - and that was just for food and drink.  Earlier in the day, while making an appearance at a school that actually had to interrupt their mid-February break and come to work to accommodate him, Obama remarked that getting the Wookie flowers was easy, because he has a rose garden.  I believe that is the taxpayer's rose garden, Mister.

February 14, 2013

On the Run

It looks as if the cop-killing, manifesto-writing nut in Cali has met his maker.  I am not sure how long it will take them to positively I.D. him, but all signs point to the body being his.  Law enforcement is in full backpedal mode, claiming that they did not intentionally burn down the cabin where the fugitive was hiding.  Recorded evidence of the scanner feed with officers saying things like "Burn that f*cking house down", notwithstanding.

While the tension is lifting on the left coast, we have a bit of a fugitive situation here in north Texas.  On Tuesday morning, a felon from Florida was being transported to Nevada for a court hearing or something.  The felon was unruly on the first leg of air travel, so the airline said they could not board the connecting flight.  In awesome Planes, Trains, and Automobiles fashion, the two officers traveling with the prisoner decided to rent a car and drive the rest of the way, from Houston to Las Vegas.

Skipping over the obvious - for instance, take a direct flight when transporting prisoners, I am struck by their idiotic decision to travel through Dallas.  I understand they were meeting another officer at DFW airport, but everyone knows that you don't want to take the northern route from Texas to Vegas during the winter.

So, the coppers stopped at a Wal-Mart near the airport so that one could use the restroom.   The officer that was left in the car with the prisoner got stabbed with a shank made of broken sunglasses, and the prisoner got away.

Accompanying the basic description are a few key points; the prisoner was wearing civilian clothes (another mistake), the clothes were not appropriate for the cool temperature, he only had one prison shoe on, and the man was in handcuffs and shackles and didn't get away with a key or a weapon.

Seriously, how hard could this guy be to find?

Until he makes some (other) stupid move that may indicate his whereabouts, my kids will go to school under their third day of a "soft" lock-down.  In the meantime, everyone in my office is role playing what they would do, should they come face to face with this guy.  Several guys went to the range for lunch and then came back to the office to change out carry guns to ones they thought more suited to this particular threat.

If this guy was in some sort of copy-cat mode from the Dorner case, he sure picked the wrong state to escape in.


February 13, 2013

Pssssst

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day.  If you haven't gotten your significant other something yet, may I suggest a heartfelt letter?  I was at Wal-Mart today and they were putting out Easter candy.  Don't get stuck trying to pass off a Cadbury Creme Egg as Valentine candy.

February 12, 2013

Rest Easy

I don't know who took the photo, and I imagine it was taken in violation of the family's wishes, but it is precious to me, to see the tribute of over 100 tridents slapped into Chris Kyle's coffin.


I can't verify it, but many news outlets have reported that there were people on every overpass between Midlothian and Austin today, waiting for Kyle's funeral procession to pass by.  I wouldn't doubt it. 


 
Photos from here and here.
Kerrcarto posted some other photos, take a look at those, as well.

God bless Kyle's family, and thank God this patriot was a Texan - he got the farewell all of our heroes deserve, but one that he certainly would not have gotten in too many other places in our country.  Rest easy, Chief.

Fat Tuesday State of the Union

I am too lazy to figure out if the State of the Union address has ever taken place on Fat Tuesday before.  It is the Speaker of the House who sets the date, so blame Boehner, if the timing bothers you.

It seems kind of fitting to me, Obama's first term was four years of reckless, drunken sailor-sort of spending, partying all the time, traveling, and showing his ass (though not for the right reasons). 

I kind of like the parallels.  One last juicy, pork filled dream of a speech, with big dreams of recovery, prosperity, and a sense of revelry.  I hear that The Nuge will be in attendance.  His potential outbursts could put the whole 'You Lie' thing to shame.  Not quite the same as what people have to do to get the good beads, but it could be just as entertaining.

The parallel I really like is the one that is a pipe dream - the aftermath, if you will, of Fat Tuesday, is Lent, a time for sacrifice, reflection, penance, and prayer.  Traditionally, those that celebrate Mardi Gras will indulge to excess on Fat Tuesday, and then begin their Lenten season of sacrifice the next day.  It looks like Obama has no intention of cutting back, heck, Pelosi and Carney can't even seem to agree on whether or not there is a need to cut back on spending.

Only one thing is for certain.  This Fat Tuesday SOTU is a great reason to print out a bingo card, mix up some Hurricanes, and say to yourself, "Four down, three to go."  That is either SOTU speeches or drinks - your choice.

February 11, 2013

FOD

As Dr. Benjamin Carson's speech at the National Prayer Breakfast has been grabbing headlines, and rightfully so,  not too many have had a proper laugh at the president's remarks.  His speech's theme was 'humility'.  Yes, really.

Later in the day, he met with House Democrats at a retreat and reiterated the theme:
I’m deeply grateful to have been reelected, and I’m humbled by the support that I received from all across the country. (Applause.) And I said at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning — and I was telling the truth — I genuinely am humbled.
The fascinating thing about this job is the longer you’re in it, the more humble you get, and the more you recognize your own imperfections. And you try to make up with effort and hard work those gaps in your personality or your intelligence that become so apparent to everybody on the daily news every day. (Laughter.)
In my experience, people that have to make grand speeches about how humble they are don't know the meaning of the word.

It is a shame that those 'gaps in personality and intelligence' are apparent to everyone except Obama voters.

February 9, 2013

Potluck

Crash reluctantly returned the 'treasure chest sweatshirt' yesterday morning.  When I say reluctantly, I mean I force-marched his butt to the classroom and made him face the music.  The first go-round he got about three steps from his teacher, did an about face and made a break for the door, with me jumping to block his escape.

In his defense, I learned that the sweatshirt in question has been unclaimed in the class for a couple of weeks, and when the teacher held it up and asked if anyone knew who it belonged to, several people piped up and said it was Crash's.  I am sure there was considerable inner turmoil as his 5-year old mind tried to reconcile a way to keep an object that he wanted, and had the blessing of his classmates and teachers to keep, but that he knew wasn't his and mom was going to call him on it.

Also in his defense, and as a commentary on the sad state of society, his teacher, when I told her the fantastic tale (lie) he had presented to try to keep the shirt (that he was trying to steal), commented that 'Crash is so creative!'.  Bah.

**********

Am I the only one that thinks the people who investigated the Super Bowl blackout should be handed the Benghazi investigation?  Less than a week has passed and they know (or at least have placed blame on) a specific part and are in the process of replacing it.

**********

Today the Wookie is traveling to her hometown to attend the funeral of a girl she never met, based upon the supposition that because the girl was one of hundreds of people that performed at inauguration related events, she is somehow intimately connected to the president, and that official representation is called for.  Standby for gratuitous photo op moments of our caring first lady comforting a family that lost a child to senseless Chicago gun violence.  Cue the violins and gun control sound bites.

Yesterday, over 1,000 Americans attended the funeral of Chad Littlefield.  Monday thousands upon thousands of people will attend the memorial service for Chris Kyle, being held at Cowboy's stadium due to the expected size of the crowd.  The funeral procession from Midlothian to Austin is expected to draw thousands more, lining the roadways and overpasses along I-35.  Patriot Guard riders, VFW posts, and school groups (using school-donated buses for travel) will be among those lining the route.

I doubt that anyone would welcome the Obamas to Texas for these services, but what does it say about our leadership, that the First Lady is attending the funeral of a child that she never met, while there is no representation at the memorials for an American war hero and his friend that helped and supported veterans?

February 8, 2013

Klepto Crash

Crash got in the car yesterday after school, toting a sweatshirt that did not belong to him.  It was a maroon school-logo sweatshirt, and Crash has a blue one.  His siblings were already up in arms about it, having had a prior discussion with him before getting in the car.

I should interject a bit here, and mention that the kids' school does have a defined initiative to catch kids doing the right thing.  The Princess is always getting some little tchotchke for 'magic trash', which means she picked up some scrap of paper or something without being asked.

So Crash climbs in the car with this sweatshirt and begins to tell us about how he was being so good that the principal took him to the treasure chest and let him pick something out.  He said there was a whole treasure chest of sweatshirts, one with school sweaters, and a 'hair salon' treasure chest filled with hair bows and hats. 

Bang and I looked at each other with the same, unspoken thought - Crash thinks the lost and found boxes are treasure chests.

And yet - Crash was crafting a truly believable tale, without prompting.  And the school does set periodic deadlines after which they donate the school uniform lost and found pieces back to the parent-teacher organization for re-sale to the student body.  It seemed almost plausible that the school could have decided to use unclaimed school sweatshirts as recognition pieces.  And Crash was so matter of fact, and his story didn't change when he was asked to repeat it.  And the sweatshirt was the correct size, and had no one else's identifying markings in it. 

A couple of hours later, we were back at the school for the kindergarten through third grade music program.  As we walked through the school lobby, I asked Crash to show me where the treasure chests were.  His demeanor changed instantly.  He ducked his head and said, "I don't want to show you."

Ahhhhh, the truth is revealed...well, almost.  A few steps later found us passing the huge trunks that are used for the lost and found.  "Crash, are those the treasure chests?"

He sheepishly nodded.

Now I am stuck trying to figure out how much dishonesty and thievery should be blamed solely on Crash.  It goes without saying that the little turd spun quite a yarn to explain how he got the sweatshirt.  But, could it be pure coincidence that he managed to lift a shirt of the correct size, that had no one's name in it?  These aren't small boxes, they are pool deck boxes, three of them, at least five feet long a piece, and full to the brim.

Having figured out the treasure chest mystery, we settled in to watch the program.  At the end, the principal told the kids what a superb job they had done and how proud he was of them.  My mom leaned over and whispered, "Uh-oh, sounds like Crash earned another trip to the 'treasure chest'."

Great, my kid is a liar and a thief, but no one in my family can take it serious enough to give him the stern lecture he deserves.


February 7, 2013

Do I live in a bubble?

I am a voracious reader of the news.  I think there is a little more to be gleaned from a written story, stripping away the tone and inflection used by television news readers.  But, my schedule doesn't always allow me to get my fill of written stories during the week, so I supplement with radio news.  It is there that I am subjected to the soundbites of people who's voices grate on my nerves - Obama, Pelosi, Feinstein, etc.

Over the past several weeks, I keep hearing variations of a phrase that I can't reconcile with my world.  I have heard those mentioned above, when talking about more taxes and more gun control, say things like, "an overwhelming number of Americans support this" and "the majority of Americans agree".

How do they know that?  Was there some national poll that I missed?

I concede that I live in bright red, conservative, gun loving state - but I have friends, family, and business acquaintances all around the country.  So where is it that I would need to go to find this majority of people?

I honestly could round up every person I know to be left of center, gather them on the sidewalk, and casual passersby of a conservative variety would outnumber the liberal, at least 30 to 1.

Is my home town and state really that disconnected from the rest of the country?

February 6, 2013

Saturday Mail

The US Postal Service is going to stop delivering mail on Saturdays.  They will deliver packages, but not letter mail, a move that they estimate will save $2 billion a year.

While I don't get nearly as much mail as I once did, I usually have something in the box each delivery day.  Most of it goes straight in the recycle bin, since I don't bother to open the junk. 

I can understand that, on the surface, it would make sense that cutting a delivery day saves money.  Except that they are still delivering packages.  They might not be stopping at every house, but they are likely driving by a large percentage of them to deliver a box.  While they aren't delivering letter mail, it is still coming in and being processed, sorted and readied for delivery, meaning a heavier workload for the Monday crew.

Could this mean that, gasp!, the USPS will somehow become more efficient, or should we kiss any expectation of a reasonable letter delivery time, goodbye?

And do you think they will get any friendlier with the change?

February 5, 2013

Out doing something...

As the video suggests, I am up, out, and trying to do something to make the world a better place. Well, actually, I am out trying to make a dollar to pay the bills, but that means something in the big picture, right?

Obviously scripted, but cute kid and a worthwhile message:


February 4, 2013

FOD

It makes me sick to my stomach, if I think about the myriad ways this president has defiled and degraded the Office.  The Obamas have no couth, no class, and they don't seem to have any advisors that give good advice.

Case in point:  our economy is in the toilet, millions of Americans are out of work, we are at war, and there is a little boy being held hostage by a lunatic in Alabama.  I don't care if you watch the Super Bowl, Mr. President.  I don't even care if you have a party.  What you don't do is announce it to the world.  You don't publish your high-falutin' menu choices. 

And in your traditional pre-game interview, you should say things that encourage all Americans, not pick subjects that are highly divisive. 

Though I didn't see it aired during the game, this commercial always reminds me of Blowie - he looks ridiculous, lacks skill, is passing his shortcomings on to a younger generation, and has no clue how big of a buffoon he really is:


February 3, 2013

Senseless

I went to bed last night with a heavy heart upon hearing the news that Chris Kyle and a man named Chad Littlefield had been murdered. 

Chris Kyle is a former Navy SEAL, a sniper - one of the best.  He went to high school in Midlothian, a classmate of a family member, and friend to many that I know.  He served our country valiantly and, after making the decision to leave the military to spend more time with his family, continued to serve the public by training military, law enforcement, and the public. 

Chris Kyle leaves behind a wife and two children.  Chad Littlefield, I am certain, leaves behind a loving family that I look forward to hearing about in the coming days.  Chris Kyle recently visited my office - and there was an appropriate amount of hero-worship as he completed his business and then graciously autographed copies of his book.  Most in my office are shooters, and have a great deal of admiration for the sort of marksmanship that Kyle is famous for. 

Kyle's company, Craft International, holds their local events and trainings at Rough Creek Lodge, a lovely resort southwest of Glen Rose, Texas.  Even Fox News is running the story with a headline that sensationalizes the location of the murders, the bold type screaming out "GUN RANGE" and ignoring that this was an event location that served as Mr. Kyle's workplace.  The left is gleeful, yet again, for two more graves to dance upon in relation to their gun control argument.

These murders were senseless and can be blamed solely on the lunatic that pulled the trigger.  So help me God, if any liberal wonk in my vicinity tries to say otherwise, they will wish they hadn't.  Rest in peace, Mr. Kyle and Mr. Littlefield, and God bless your families.

      

February 2, 2013

Early Spring

For reasons I can't really explain, other than my 5-year old was up at 6:15 am and we were talking about it, I found myself in front of the television watching the live coverage of the American 'tradition'(?) of Groundhog Day.

He did not see his shadow, which only happens 14% of the time, thereby predicting an early spring.

Those folks in the crowd sure looked cold, so I am sure early spring is welcome news.  Or they could live in a part of the country where it is warmer year round.  Just sayin'.

It was kind of nice to sit on the couch snuggled up with Crash, watching the fat little fur ball on TV twitch his nose while a bunch of people who are waaaay too emotionally invested in the process anxiously await the announcement coming at the end of a ridiculously rhymed verse, read by a man in a top hat.  Though, given a thermos of spiked warm beverage, I could probably get into it to. 

While I can play along with the whole groundhog schtick, there is one thing that I can't quit chuckling about; the name of the site where Punxsutawney Phil is showcased for all the world to see in HD glory...


February 1, 2013

Death by Obamacare

I have been getting quite an education about Obamacare lately, as my employer tries to put into place all of the processes and personnel that it will take to comply with all of the new regulations.  I am also learning that many of the required provisions are "law" but the IRS hasn't issued official guidance that clarifies how things are to be done.

Late yesterday several friends posted this story about the IRS's latest guidance on how to calculate the penalty owed for those that don't buy insurance.  In the article, they let the cat out of the bag - the lowest tier of Obamacare insurance, the Bronze healthcare plan, is expected to cost a family of five $20,000 per year.

During this same time period, a co-worker asked for some suggested doctors in the area, as her family is new here.  A few of us came up with a list of people we had seen and liked, for her.  When she began calling around for more info, two-thirds of the doctors said that they aren't taking new patients.

How is everyone going to get their free health care if their aren't any doctors willing to navigate Obamacare?

Perhaps most frightening to me is the cumulative picture of health care in the future, based just on my personal experience.  More red tape and fewer seasoned health care providers means the standard of care will drop significantly.  And it wasn't great to begin with:
The medical profession and the media have always claimed that the leading causes of death, for both men and women, are heart disease and cancer. Records show us that in 2001 cancer claimed 553,251 lives, with heart disease in the lead with 699,697 attributed deaths. But when medical reports were more closely examined, analysts found that 783,936 deaths—in a single year--were directly related to medical care misdiagnosis and carelessness.
Never before has a complete overview of the medical field been examined where medicine related deaths have been combined and totaled. Here are some of the horrific results derived from a one-year period:
  • Adverse Drug Reactions: 106,000 people dead with $12 billion in expenses. 
  • Medical errors: 98,000 dead with $2 billion in expenses.
  • Bedsores leading to other complications: 115,000 dead with $55 billion in expenses.
  • Hospital acquired infections: 88,000 dead with $5 billion in expenses.
  • Outpatient mishaps: 199,000 people dead with $77 billion in expenses.
  • Unnecessary Procedures: 37,136 people dead with $122 billion in expenses.
  • Surgery-Related complications: 32,000 people dead with $9 billion in expenses.
I suppose the birth control mandate is a good thing, since we are all getting screwed, one way or another.

[Statistics from Death By Medicine, Gary Null PhD, Carolyn Dean MD ND, Marin Feldman MD, Debora Maslo MD, and Dorothy Smith, PhD.]