April 30, 2013

One of those mornings

Is it just me or are Tuesdays the new Mondays?

Slammed at home, slammed at work, car in the shop with the third rendition of fixing the same problem - and it isn't the mechanics fault, it is mine - for owning a P.O.S. Government Motors car.  But, supposedly, GM, in response to this epidemic issue, now has the part that will fix all of my air conditioning woes.  It better, because I am tired of turning my car off and on at red lights to get the computer to reset and blow cool air instead of hot.

Anxious for today's press conference, expecting to hear how many red lines Blowie is going to let Syria cross.  I have a vague memory of some parody movie or show scene that had a character drawing lines in the sand, which the other guy would cross, and then the main character would back up and draw another line in the sand and tell his nemesis not to cross that line...sounds like our leadership.


Back to the grind for a bit - maybe I can find some time for more coherent thoughts this afternoon.

April 29, 2013

FOD

Golf count: 120

From Keith Koffler on Saturday morning:
President Obama will appear Saturday evening at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. Normally, the president tells jokes, sometimes pretty funny ones. But please, not tonight.
You’ve just completed memorial services for the victims of the Boston bombings and the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion. The survivors and their broken bodies lie strewn throughout hospitals and rehabilitation centers in Massachusetts and Texas, wondering how to carry on without the limbs they’d always had and with pain they’d never imagined.
You are the leader of a nation that was just attacked, and the comforter of those whose lives were blown apart in the duel tragedies. It’s a serious task demanding the projection of seriousness.
You supposedly felt moved enough this week to, um, share a moment of silence with your photographer in the Oval Office. You can make some amends for this crassness event by staying classy tonight.
In case you missed it, Obama didn't stay classy.  He didn't act presidential, or even empathetic.  Since he has checked the boxes on the mandatory appearances at memorial events, he is back into Celebrity President mode - and after a day of golfing, no less.

This pathetic excuse for a man makes me nauseous.

April 28, 2013

I can name that tune, for the most part

Bang and I watched this video last night, a retrospective of pop culture in 1999, and I made a startling discovery.  Generally, I am well versed in popular song, television, and movies - but this video threw me for a loop.  Most of the music was familiar, though I didn't recognize the faces, as well as most of the television references being completely foreign to me.

I started thinking that my age was catching up to me, and had a real minute or two of worry about the blank spot in my memory.  I could sing along with a majority of the songs, but recognized few movies, and fewer TV shows.  Then it hit me.  !999.  I lived in Langenselbold, Germany in 1999.  I had one English-language television station, AFN (Armed Forces Network), and listened to one radio station, AFRN.

I have never before had such a startling visual reminder of what I 'missed' living overseas.  And I mean that firmly tongue-in-cheek.  Still, it took me by surprise to realize that there is such a significant blank spot in my encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture from my lifetime.  


April 27, 2013

Waiting for the big quake

It has been a few years since I sat in a classroom on a daily basis, but don't recall reading anything about significant changes to the teaching of plate tectonics and fault lines.  I am feeling kind of let down by that San Andreas fault, you know, the one that is supposed to send part of Commiefornia into oceanic oblivion.

Looking at a map, and, again, being several years removed from my last geology class, I am not sure how a Big One along that fault would affect Sacramento.  Maybe there is another fault line I can pin my hopes on.  Or, perhaps, Jack Ohman will be standing directly over the fault line when she goes.

I won't reproduce it here, but Ohman drew a disgusting and inappropriate cartoon that was published in a Sacramento rag.
The cartoon in Thursday's edition shows (Governor) Perry crowing that "Business is Booming," flanked by signs saying "Low Tax!" and "`Low Regs!" It's a play on the Republican's often-repeated mantra that his state's low-regulation, business-friendly climate has its economy humming.
The next panel reads "Boom!" as a blast engulfs the area behind the governor and his signs.
Fourteen people died in the explosion in West.  And, while it makes no difference in the base argument against this pig of a cartoonist, the fertilizer plant was clearly in violation of several federal and state regulations.
I am anxiously awaiting Ohman's cartoon depicting the federal government's ineptness in identifying terrorists on our own soil.  Can't wait to see the panel with Obama and Napolitano framed by bloody limbs flying through the air on Boylston Street.  
There is nothing thought-provoking or inspiring about glorifying the death of Americans.  If this jerk of a cartoonist wasn't an American himself, such an action could land him on a terrorist watch list.  
Some people find noble callings in their life.  They seek to affect change, or raise awareness of important issues.  Some people trek across our nation carrying crosses, or bearing messages of peace to those they meet.  If I ever win the lottery, I will make it my life's mission to travel around the country and find offensive people like Jack Ohman, and kick them in the balls.

April 26, 2013

R.I.P. Possum

Ahhhhh, Spring

The joys of spring in north Texas; here at Harper House the live oaks are coating everything in a layer of green pollen and catkins, decades of overcrowded irises are blooming, the weeds are vibrant, and the neighbor's cottonwood tree makes it look like it is snowing.

In the pastures there are calves and foals taking their first steps.  Baby birds have hatched.  The insects have come back with warm weather, and with them, the increasingly larger members of that food chain - lizards, snakes, roadrunners, etc.

Spring, a time or re-growth and re-birth, and, here at Harper House, death.

The confirmed kill count is:
Baby Lizard - 1
Snake - 1
Baby Bunny - 3
All suffered Death by Dachshund.

My Labrador has maimed his share of turtles and ducks, but it has always been, in my view, more of an accident by exuberant, slobbery, play-with-me over-enthusiasm.  The wiener dog is out for blood.

Some friends recently posted a picture on Facebook, of five scorpions pinned to their daughter's bulletin board.  She keeps them as trophies in their never-ending war against the stinging scourge.  We haven't seen any scorpions yet, but when they come, that could just be the little brown hound's redemption.  Keep the scorpion population down and I might forgive the bunny massacre.

April 25, 2013

Missing Buckyballs and switchblades...

Thanks to the Boston Bombers, we can reasonably expect to see new limitations on the purchase of:
Pressure cookers
Remote Control Cars (Oh, well, there are at least 20 in my sons' rooms)
Fireworks
What other things have assorted criminals ruined for the rest of us?  Think of anything that you can't get, or have to jump through hoops to possess - that isn't because of something you did, it was because of something a small percentage of idiots did, causing governmental intervention.

Strike that, we are all idiots for being complacent, apathetic, and unconcerned with our leadership until the system and the government responsible for it grew so big that it seems that nothing short of a full-fledged revolution will result in affirmative change.

I can't even buy a damn Sharpie marker and some Sudafed without handing over my driver's license, so why should I be surprised that Boston bomber-related SWAT teams forced people from their homes at gun point?

The erosion of rights for all because of the acts of a few.
It’s time America finds itself again, kicking butt and taking names, not coddling from cradle to grave, refusing to ban things just to make people feel good, and not exponentially overreacting every single time something happens. In doing so, we wouldn’t be giving terrorists the recipe, as we just did, for how to paralyze a nation.
If we don’t wake up, the next time a major attack occurs, you can kiss the American way of life goodbye. And no amount of hug-ins will bring it back.
Amen.

April 24, 2013

Wednesday Comic Relief

I don't know about you, but this week has been a real load of shit so far.  Two people got "let go" at work, one no loss but the other heartbreaking and unexpected.  Funny what an unexpected employee purge does to productivity.  The parking lot has never been so full at 5:15 pm.

The guy that didn't get fired is the one whose job I do for him, but if I am to believe science, it is my fault for being smart.
Stupidity can increase efficiency, claims Mats Alvesson, professor of organization studies at Lund University in Sweden. In a Journal of Management Studies article titled "A Stupidity-Based Theory of Organisations" Alvesson and colleague AndrĂ© Spicer explain how what they call "functional stupidity" generally helped get things done. "Critical reflection and shrewdness" were net positives, but when too many clever individuals in an organization raised their hands to suggest alternative courses of action or to ask "disquieting questions about decisions and structures," work slowed. 
I need to perfect my drooling idiot personna.

Anyway, I think we can all use some mid-week comic relief.  Amazingly, this is a K-Mart ad.  We don't have a K-Mart, they all closed down years ago, and the nearest one is about 200 miles away.  Even then, I don't think I have set foot in a K-Mart for at least 18 years, so I can't really speak to any improvements in product quality or shopping experience.  What I can say is that their marketing department has a great sense of humor.  Sure, it is childish, but it made me laugh...(you can skip the ad after 5 seconds)

April 23, 2013

And keep Clinton off sorority row

I try to avoid Dallas as much as I can.  This week, I don't plan on going anywhere near it.  Any clue what sorts of nightmares will be created with all the living former presidents in town, the week after a terrorist attack, to boot?

I, of course, do not have Obama's travel schedule.  I am aware that there is a big hoochie DNC fundraiser on his schedule on Wednesday evening.  Air Force One lands at Love Field.  Unfortunately, so does Mr. Harper's flight that day...but I am sure that any delays will be blamed on the sequester-caused FAA furloughs.

I think someone is finally getting Blowie to listen.  He skipped golf this past weekend, even though the weather was outstanding for it.  And, since he is flying to Dallas on Wednesday, staying for the Thursday library opening, the White House announced that he and the Wookie would attend a memorial service in West, Texas.

Don't worry, fine people of West, they have to get back to D.C. for a Planned Parenthood fundraiser that night, so they won't be staying long.

So it seems like someone has convinced Blowie to care just a little about public perception.  Or maybe it is all a coincidence and he will be back to his normal, in-your-face, living high on the hog, uppity old self in a few days.

(And since you boys are bringing the wives, if Bill asks for directions to Daniel Avenue, beware).

April 22, 2013

FOD

My boss likes to say, "I'm surprised that you're surprised."  He means it in the sense that, no matter how noble the cause, or how tenderly it is approached, there are some things that we just know won't end well, and no amount of common sense or righteous indignation seems to change the outcome that we suspected when we first struck out.

I am invoking that saying upon myself today, after reading that Obama's campaign group, Organizing for Action, is planning a major push for immigration reform - and not the kind that would send dangerous illegals back to their country of origin.

This headline was just under the ones about the Boston bombers being part of a bigger U.S.-based terror cell.  It is likely that they were planning other attacks.  That they were funded and trained by bad people in dark corners of countries that don't like us.  And they were naturalized citizens, though we don't yet have all the details on how that happened.

And in Obama's remarks about the killing and capture of the bombers, he failed to mention one very important thing.  Here is the key passage from Obama:
We will determine what happened. We will investigate any associations that these terrorists may have had. And we’ll continue to do whatever we have to do to keep our people safe.
What is it our great country is going to do about this terrorist attack?  "Investigate" and "...whatever we have to do to keep our people safe.".

Silly me, I was hoping for something stronger, something more precise, something more akin to what President Bush said after 9/11:
The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I've directed the full resources for our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them. 

April 20, 2013

Whoopsie, accidentally tripped and unplugged your respirator

My blog, my opinions and theories...

While I am not opposed to gleaning information from the little P.O.S. radical Islamic terrorist in Boston, I do hope that once he is thoroughly interrogated, that he succumbs to infection, respiratory arrest, or some other easily explained-away post-injury condition.  Here's why...

I believe that human nature is generally forgiving.  Most people, with the passage of time, come to a place where they feel that putting something behind them, or coming to terms with something, is a better place to be, than clinging to anger and bitterness.  Being angry and bitter for years is no way to live life, and a long drawn out trial will cause many people to stay in that mode.

Some will argue that the victims of the Boston bombing, and the families of those lost, want to see this punk brought to justice, want him to spend the rest of his life riddled with guilt, or some other emotion that I would argue he probably isn't capable of.

We don't yet know the extent of his injuries, and my second most fervent hope is that he makes a full recovery.  What I absolutely do not want to see is another terrorist pushed into the courtroom in a wheelchair, wrapped in a blanket, looking frail (see: Nidal Hasan).  I don't want to see years of trials, appeals, demands for religious accommodation, and liberal talking heads saying that we can't profile Muslim men with backpacks, because that is just irrational and offensive to the religion of peace.

If this asshole survives, the people of Boston will spend years clinging to hatred and bitterness, trudging to the courthouse for hearings, pouring over documents, dredging up the fear and pain of the bombing over and over again.  If he dies, the emotional part of the healing process can move forward, with a reasonable expectation of resolution, instead of constant setbacks each time his face is on the television, or there is a notice of hearing.

I am sure, among those affected in Boston, that there are some fine people that have much more respect for this creep's life than I do, and they would likely feel bad if he died.  Sorry to offend.  I'll stand with the uncle who declared them losers and said they didn't deserve to live.

April 19, 2013

Anthem for Boston

Bruins game, post-bombing. Wish this happened every time and everywhere our anthem is sung:

April 18, 2013

Praying for West

As a north Texan that often travels I-35 to points southward, the town of West, Texas, is familiar.  West is a Czech-settled community that is famous for stores and restaurants that serve Czech specialties, and an annual festival that celebrates their heritage..  Traveling home from College Station last weekend, we stopped at the famous "Czech Stop" and loaded up on kolaches (and one ginger molasses cookie for me - man, I love those things).  Everyone in my family plans their pit stops for exit 353.

I love that little town, and hope that as the sun comes up this morning, the residents of West will see the huge outpouring of support from their fellow Texans.  Yes, there is certainly heartbreaking devastation and loss of life, but almost as soon as the explosion happened, citizens and businesses rolled up their sleeves to help out.  The nearest Home Depot stayed open all night so people could come get supplies.  The local car dealership opened up as a safe haven.  Restaurants fed the hungry.  Blood centers opened early to start taking donation. Organizations began gathering supplies and hit the road to fill needs.

Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst, and keeping the lovely little town of West close to my heart today.

Neener, neener, neener

And nanny-nanny-boo-boo, too!
Never before had President Barack Obama put the moral force and political muscle of his presidency behind an issue quite this big — and lost quite this badly. 
The president, shaken to the core by the massacre of 26 innocents at Sandy Hook Elementary School, broke his own informal “Obama Rule” — of never leaning into an issue without a clear path to victory — first by pushing for a massive gun control package no one expected to pass, and then sticking through it even as he retrenched to a relatively modest bipartisan bill mandating national background checks on gun purchases.
"Shaken to the core".  Yes, I suppose I can concede that, after all, he waited 8 whole days after the massacre to fly to Hawaii and hit the links.

I listened to Blowie's remarks on the radio.  I didn't need to see his face to know that he looked like a petulant child.  I bet he stomped his foot and stuck his lip out when he saw the Senate vote count.  He sounded just like my 6-year old when he doesn't get his way, especially the part where it is everyone else's fault.  At least my child doesn't have any victims or their families to trot out for the cameras.

I am trying to find some portion of the 90% of Americans that supported this legislation.  Blowie has been saying some version of that for weeks.  The 10% of Americans that don't support the bill seem to occupy my home, town, workplace, and internet haunts.

One thing at the beginning of Blowie's whine-fest that struck me as hypocritical normal for the left, but still disturbing:
"...And Gabby Giffords, by the way, is both — she’s a gun owner and a victim of gun violence." 
Which is a true statement, backed by this article from January of this year:
Giffords and Kelly said they support the Second Amendment to the Constitution and are both gun owners. Giffords said she owns a Glock handgun. 
Juxtapose that statement with this information from the same article:
Giffords said her recovery work includes physical therapy, speech therapy and yoga and that it is going "so slowly, so slowly." When asked about the hardest part of her day, she gestured to her face and said, "I don't like at all. I'm sad."
Kelly explained that she was referring to difficulties seeing with her right eye and moving on the right side of her body. The segment showed Giffords walking with a service dog, her right side appearing stiff. She nodded at a suggestion that she gets frustrated trying to find the right words.
She obviously, and admittedly, is often frustrated and has physical impairments that are contraindicated for safe gun handling.  Giffords had a traumatic brain injury, and TBIs are known to result in cognitive, behavioral, and emotional manifestations, in other words, mental health conditions that should preclude her from being a gun owner.  But, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

April 17, 2013

Good Riddance

We, and our friends across the pond, shouldn't be surprised that Obama is not among those attending Baroness Thatcher's funeral today.  I, for one, am ashamed, but thankful that our governmental leadership has declined to attend.  I won't recount the numerous embarrassing things the Obamas have during previous encounters with the Queen and her English, choosing instead to breathe a sigh of relief that we won't have to hear of another this week - that is, of course, assuming that snubbing one of our closest allies as they lay to rest a hero of modern politics, isn't embarrassing enough for you.
There’s no other way to interpret this: it’s a deliberate and profoundly embarrassing slight to a vital American ally.  Granted, the United Kingdom isn’t quite as vital to American history, culture, business, or strategic interest as a world-straddling hyper-power like Ghana.  From Front Page Magazine:

When John Atta Mills, the President of Ghana, died last year, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton personally led the delegation to his funeral along with such figures as Johnnie Carson, the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, General Carter F. Ham, the Commander of the United States Africa Command and Grant T. Harris, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs.
But under Barack Obama, what Ghana gets, the United Kingdom does not. Instead the US delegation to the Thatcher funeral looks a lot like the US delegation to the Chavez funeral. Two former secretaries of state friendly to Thatcher and several congressmen who agreed with her views, including Michelle Bachmann.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is coming. Barack Obama obviously is not. Neither is any high ranking member of his government. As at Chavez’s funeral, the highest ranking Federal official will be the charge d’affaires at the American embassy. It’s hard to get any lower profile than that.
All four former presidents were invited. Nancy Reagan and George Bush Sr. are not healthy enough to travel. The rest apparently didn’t care. Former VP Dick Cheney however will be attending, which is about as close as you can get. Newt Gingrich will also be there.
As for Obama. The man who had no room for Churchill in the White House would certainly have no time to take a break from his umpteenth golf game to pay tribute to a woman who represents everything that he is working to destroy.
I should make the obvious comparison being made, that of our country's actions for dictator Hugo Chavez:
In addition to James Derham, who presently serves as Charge d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in the Venezuelan capital, the State Department said Thursday that the delegation to the socialist revolutionary’s funeral will include U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks, New York Democrat, and former U.S. Rep. William Delahunt, Massachusetts Democrat.
Jesse Jackson and Sean Penn also made the trip.

I love my country, but, sheesh, this administration sure makes it hard to be a proud American on the world wide stage.  I won't apologize for Blowie - I didn't vote for him and take no responsibility for the things he does - but the damage he is doing both internally, and on the world stage, policy-wise and friendly-ally-wise, are going to take years to fix.

April 16, 2013

On Boston.

It seems a bit hypocritical for me to have a blog, my own little corner of the interwebs, and still claim to hate modern technology in certain cases. 

Today is one of those times. 

What happened in Boston was horrific.  Terrible.  Frightening.  Sobering.  Sad.

We do not know exactly what happened.  There were explosions, there were deaths and injuries, and the rest, in the words of Shepard Smith, is media "smotherage".  Wall to wall coverage of an act we really know little about.  I have seen the same loop of video footage at least one hundred times - it was even playing on ESPN2 when we went to get wings for dinner last night. 

We will get some answers, eventually.  Maybe not all the answers, but Boston isn't going to suffer a Benghazi-type of cover up, there were simply too many people involved for that to happen.  So, we will get some facts, after some time has passed and the letter agencies have done their due diligence.  Until then, I wish the media would just step away.  People who are seeking news know where to go - we don't need 24 hour television coverage without any new information.

With that said, I do want to commend some unnamed people that have become my heroes in this event.  I do not know their names, and I hesitate to describe them in detail, as I think there are probably dozens more that I would miss.

The people that have become my heroes are those who, on the video tapes, were seen turning toward the explosion, not running away.  Some were clearly law enforcement, trained to fight rather than fly, but some were civilians, with a natural instinct to face the danger head on.  There were those that literally gave the shirt off their back, the belt from their pants, to staunch wounds and cushion heads.  God Bless You.  Not too many of us know how we would react in a situation like this, but I hope that I would have the guts to stand my ground and help my fellow man. 

Prayers for Boston.

April 15, 2013

FOD

Golf Count: 119

What a callous jerk, out golfing on Saturday, while Wasserman-Schultz's staff is at home, planning their measly brown bag lunches for the week.

I need to go back and look, but I am fairly certain that I predicted Obama would break the 200 round mark before the end of his second term.  Not golfing during election season makes his total seem low, but I think the frequency of golf outings will increase exponentially now.

Last week brought the annual unveiling of the president (and vice's) tax returns.  The bulk of the Obama's $662,076 income was from his $400,000 presidential salary, with an additional quarter million in income from sales of his books, and about $11k in investment income. 

The White House was quick to issue a statement to try and head off criticism:
In 2012, the president and first lady paid about $112,000 in federal income taxes. The White House said their effective tax rate was 18.4 percent, but added that it would have been more if Republicans would accept his tax proposals.
“Under the president’s own tax proposals, including limitations on the value of tax preferences for high-income households, he would pay more in taxes while ensuring we cut taxes for the middle class and those trying to get in it,” Jay Carney, the president’s press secretary, said in a statement on the White House Web site.  (from here.)

Tony Nitti at Forbes, must have read that quote as he penned his article that compares Obama's 2012 taxes with what he would pay on the same income in 2013, with Obamacare and other changes that he has pushed through.  If you enjoy a bunch of tax-speak, read the whole article, but for us short attention span folks, here is a handy table:


    
So in summary, the law changes arising from the fiscal cliff negotiations — which will raise over $600 billion in additional tax revenue over the next decade  — will cost the President – assuming he repeats the same income and deductions – about $2,200 next year.
And if that’s got you feeling a little angry, you may just want to go ahead and skip the rest of this sentence…because of the $317 billion in additional revenue expected to be raised over the next ten years by the two Obamcare tax hikes, the President will personally be contributing a whopping $1,800 in 2013.

April 13, 2013

I can't decide...

Joe Biden's gaffe was to ask wheelchair-bound Chuck Graham to stand up, and, to this day, the YouTube video still gets replayed over and over, because, really, what kind of a tool is that unaware?  So, that was definitely beyond the pale, but does this FB ad for (wheelchair-bound) Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott make anyone cringe?  Even just a little?


April 12, 2013

Regarding that massive chip on your shoulder...

We all die.  Some of us sooner, later, more tragically, or more heroically than others.  But we all die.

What happens, at that point, to the deceased, is solely a matter of personal belief.

What happens, at that point, to the surviving friends and family is also a matter of personal belief.  Some mourn the dead for a period of time, then cherish their memory, recall them fondly, and get the hell on with their lives. At the other end of the spectrum, are those who incessantly memorialize and use the death of a loved one for their own agenda.  And those people are at odds with my personal beliefs.

I did not lose a child in a school shooting.  I cannot begin to imagine the unbearable pain such parents go through.

I have lost a parent, grandparents, other family and friends to cancer, heart disease, drunk driving, murder, drugs, carelessness, and unfortunate timing, among other reasons.  While some of those deaths were preventable at the time, I never took up a banner and used the circumstances of my heartbreak to manipulate other people into changing their lives to accommodate my desires. 

Some of the parents of the Sandy Hook Shooting victims were flown to D.C. this week, on Air Force One, no less, so they can use the deaths of their children to influence the gun control debate.  Several of the families have had calling cards, with photos of their deceased children, printed.
But there’s nothing subtle about the way some of them conclude their visits: by leaving behind a color card with a photo of their slain relative. Nicole Hockley, who introduced President Barack Obama in Hartford this week, hands senators a card with three photos of her son Dylan, who was 6 when he was gunned down. One frame shows him grinning, in a Superman shirt.
“Dylan Hockley, 3/8/06 – 12/14/12,” the card says. “Honor his life. Stand with us for change. NOW IS THE TIME.”
Wow.  Do you think she did that all on her own?  Did she sort through six year's of photos and mock up the three-photo spread on Shutterfly?  If not, who is the crass politician that staffed it out to some graphic art intern?  And these people think that what they are doing honors the lives of their children?

In what I used to call "a stunning display of hypocrisy", but now seems to be par for the course, the Sandy Hook parents, while parading photos of their dead children on Capitol Hill, also found time to scold Fox Broadcasting and the producers of the show "Glee!" for airing an episode that included a school shooting plot-line.  "Too soon," they said.

It wasn't that long ago that most of the world observed a prescribed period of mourning when a loved one died.  While it might seem overarching to expect these parents to dress in black and stay home for six months to a year, the principle is sound - we need a time to grieve, and we shouldn't ignore the fact that, in our deepest time of grief, we don't make the best decisions, or see things clearly.

I cried the day of the Sandy Hook shootings - I grieved with those families, just as I mourned the loss of every life on September 11, 2001, and just as I feel empathy for every family that loses a loved one.  I read the obituaries every day and feel a sense of loss for people I have never met.  I am not a callous person.  But losing a family member, friend, spouse, or even a child, no matter the circumstances, doesn't make your loss more significant than any other, does not make you any better than me, or give you any claim to try to control the laws that affect other people's rights.

April 11, 2013

When it rains...

...it pours.

Literally and figuratively.

Literally, the skies opened up yesterday.  Here in northern Texas, the temperature dropped mostly overnight on Tuesday, with Wednesday morning cold and blustery, and thunderstorms most of the morning.  Boom went to class Wednesday morning in relative spring warmth, only to come out to a 20 degree temperature drop with the rain.  Heh.  Important college lesson - read the whole forecast, not just the current conditions.

It shouldn't have come as a surprise, as NASCAR race weekend always brings bad weather.  It seems like every year they do a news story about all the people at the campground that have to take shelter from the storm.  Here's a thought, tent camping in a massive parking lot in April in Texas = severe storm magnet.  Build a hotel.

Figuratively, what was to be a quiet day of wrapping things up before taking Friday off, is now filled with unexpected last minute work projects, compounded by three dozen family chores that have to be done today, and Mr H is out of town until tonight.  It is suspiciously convenient that he always takes a return flight that puts him home just after the kids' bedtime.  Hmph.

As we were leaving the house for school, one of the dogs had picked up a tick - discovered when it crawled onto The Princess' hand as she gave him a goodbye skritch.  I am surprised there was no freak out, just a slightly elevated voice in her request for her brother to identify the thing crawling on her hand.  Checked the calendar and, sure enough, the dogs are due their flea and tick preventative this week.  Open the cabinet, and find empty f'ing boxes - who put the empty boxes back in the damn cabinet?  Now I have to add a trip to Tractor Supply to my list, and feel my skin crawl all day as my imagination magnifies one little tick into a whole house infestation of everything that creeps me out.

And, now, I hear thunder rolling in...guess we are in for some more literal rain.

April 10, 2013

Reliving my youth

Do you ever identify with the phrase "in your element"?  I hear that some people have the jobs or lives of their dreams and are uber-successful and gorgeous and nothing is ever wrong in their lives.  That ain't me.  We are normal.  I like my job, but it isn't anything like what I ever dreamed I would do as an adult.  Same for Mr. H.

Mr. H was a high school athlete.  Probably could have played college, and maybe higher-level, but life got in the way, and the being a student part of college didn't appeal to him.  Whenever an athletic activity begins in our family, Mr. H is clearly in his element.  Confident, able, and thrilled to be playing a game again.  Sometimes it even overtakes him a bit, and he is quite competitive, to the point of being obnoxious.

There are many places I am comfortable, many things I enjoy, but last night, I think I found, perhaps, that one thing that I spent so much of my youth doing - and doing well - that it was like the proverbial bicycle ride, and I fell right back into it, as if I had never stopped doing it.

Roller skating.  Damn, I am a good skater.


The Princess had a scout outing to the roller rink.  She asked if I would stay and help her as she is not an accomplished skater.  We soon discovered that she didn't want to be a skater of any sort.  She really didn't like it one bit.  I told her of the years I spent going to "Pla-Mor" skating rink three and four times per week.  Practicing my skills in the garage, basement, and driveway when I couldn't get to the rink.  Budgeting my allowance to pay for skating (and a new cassette tape every couple of weeks).  My enthusiasm was not contagious.

The Princess made two long, painfully slow, clinging-to-the-wall circuits around the rink before announcing she was done.

I could have stayed all night.  The breeze in my hair, cutting in and out of traffic, showing off my smooth transitions to backward skating, spinning, speeding, coming to a screeching halt on my rented toe stoppers.  If I closed my eyes, I could block out the unfamiliar scene and see the blue floor of my childhood rink, the dark corner where kids went to make out, the skate counter where I would sit and flirt with cute Steve Walsh while he adjusted my skates, the lights flashing on the ceiling to "And the Cradle Will Rock".

It's only $2 to skate and $2 skate rental on Tuesday nights...I might have found my newest old hobby.  Now I need someone to come couple skate with me to "Keep On Lovin' You", just like old times.

April 9, 2013

Wolf!

Since the proliferation of cell phones, I have thought that church pastors, speakers, musical program directors, etc., should arrange for a phone to ring at the beginning of the event.  As everyone has likely observed, when one person is sent scrambling for their ringing phone, the rest of the phone owners in the room tend to double check their ringer level.

Either someone has a sick sense of humor, or they had a similar plan at the University of Virginia, when the student newspaper began tweeting about random dorm searches, apparently prompting a massive alcohol dump.

It isn't much of a stretch to find a motive for this sort of prank - just over three weeks until finals begin, time for students to buckle down and study, get their grades up, prepare for the school year's end. 

On the other hand, it is just over three weeks until many of the students head back home for the summer - back to parent's homes and watchful eyes.  It would be interesting to see if there is a spike in (replacement) alcohol sales this weekend.

April 8, 2013

Saber rattling



FOD

In case you missed it, Obama took time out of his busy schedule to issue a statement on the death of film critic Roger Ebert.  A man, who, undoubtedly, shaped the lives of many Americans who followed his suggestions on what movies were worth seeing.  United States Navy SEAL, Patriot, Defender of Freedom, Chris Kyle...not a word.

As to that busy schedule - North Korea's rumblings, those pesky unemployment numbers, and that damn sequester - times are so bad that the White House still isn't giving tours, decided to cancel the Jewish American Heritage event, and is starving the staff of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz...

Meanwhile...the Obama girls divided their spring break between the Bahamas and Idaho.  And Obama found time to attend an NCAA basketball game.  And:
the Obamas took in an exclusive viewing in the White House theater of the movie “42,” which chronicles the life of Jackie Robinson, with the film’s cast and crew. Earlier, in the day, Michelle hosted a “42 Film Workshop” for kids in the State Dining Room that featured Harrison Ford.
Obama even got in a reception for the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings and major league soccer champs LA Galaxy on March 26. And there’s money around to transport him to the golf links, where he traveled by motorcade last weekend.
The White House announced...that the 10th concert in its "In Performance at the White House" series would go on April 16. Set to perform are Al Green, Ben Harper, Queen Latifah, Cyndi Lauper and Justin Timberlake, among many others. 
And
President Obama went out for a round of golf Saturday afternoon, his second weekend in a row to hit the links at a course at Joint Base Andrews.
Golf Count = 118 rounds in 50.5 months.

April 7, 2013

L'il Kim's Texas Target

As the rhetoric out of North Korea began to heat up, it was reported that L'il Kim's targets were LA, DC, Hawaii, and Austin, Texas. 

There is no shortage of articles, opinion pieces, statistical analyses, and blog posts on the effectiveness of gun free zones as easy targets.

I love my home state of Texas, but Austin is kind of like Vatican City in Rome - set apart unto itself and, in many ways, completely removed from the reality that surrounds it.  Austin an odd liberal bastion in the middle of this great state.

Yesterday "dozens" rallied at the state capitol in favor of universal background checks.  Speakers supporting the measure included an Austin city councilman and the Austin police chief.  Keep Austin Weird, indeed.

As those "dozens" held their event in Austin, over 41 dozen people showed up for a CHL seminar for teachers in Kennedale (just south of Fort Worth).  Over 500 educators desiring knowledge and information on gun rights, laws, and safety.  A vision of Chris Kyle's that became reality - and is sure to keep 2nd Amendment bashers awake at night.

So, if L'il Kim is looking for the gun free zone lovers in Texas, he found the right target, and Austinites need not come crying to us for help when they are caught empty headed handed. 

April 6, 2013

Apologies to George Carlin

Bitch, ass, f*cking, shit.

Those are the four words that I wish weren't so prevalent on the radio.  And, without admitting any level of agreement with Tipper and her labeling squad, I would appreciate knowing, before I purchase my 10-year old daughter the special Target edition of a CD, if said CD is the radio edit or the potty-mouth version.  I bear no ill will toward the artistic expression, but if the "shit"-less version is being played on the commercial, one reasonably expects that the version marketed is the one same one being sold.  (One would be wrong).

With three kids in my car each day, clamoring to hear each of their favorite types of music, I am exposed to a wide range of genres - as are they, by me.  We compromise, and I think we are all, to some degree, better for expanding our musical horizons.

I remember two distinct songs from younger days - "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" and "Jet Airliner", that had naughty bits in them.  Every once in awhile the "son of a bitch" version and the "funky shit" version made it on the radio.  I can't remember the last time I heard "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" on the radio, but I do hear "Jet Airliner" every now and again on the classic rock station, and these days it seems to be the "funky shit" version all the time.  Times have changed... 

My kids have had a different youth experience.  Zac Brown might have named the song "Toes", but Crash used to call it the "Ass Song".  Currently in heavy radio airplay is Macklemore's "Thrift Shop", a song in which they bleep out the "ck" in "fucking", in such a way that it does very little to mask the word at all.  Hilariously, the radio edit completely bleeps out the word "honky" - is anyone actually offended by that word?

It used to be that broadcast television and radio were a place that was relatively profanity- (and nudity, drug use, and graphic violence) free, while cable television and, more recently, satellite radio, were where the dirty stuff was.  I have no problem with it, I just would like a little head's up, some sort of notice, before the Top 40 station is screaming "Britney Bitch" at me at 8 am.

April 4, 2013

Gun Control Repost-o-rama

First from Old NFO via CenTexTim:

An interesting question/statement is posed with this one from the Custer County Chronicle, Feb 6, 2013 page 5A.

image001 

In the comments to Old NFO's post was this gem of a post from Roberts Gun Shop:
Nearly every mass shooting incident in the last twenty years, and multiple other instances of suicide and isolated shootings all share one thing in common, and its not the weapons used.
The overwhelming evidence points to the signal largest common factor in all of these incidents is the fact that all of the perpetrators were either actively taking powerful psychotropic drugs or had been at some point in the immediate past before they committed their crimes.
  • Eric Harris age 17 (first on Zoloft then Luvox) and Dylan Klebold aged 18 (Columbine school shooting in Littleton, Colorado), killed 12 students and 1 teacher, and wounded 23 others, before killing themselves. Klebold’s medical records have never been made available to the public.
  • Jeff Weise, age 16, had been prescribed 60 mg/day of Prozac (three times the average starting dose for adults!) when he shot his grandfather, his grandfather’s girlfriend and many fellow students at Red Lake, Minnesota. He then shot himself. 10 dead, 12 wounded.
  • Cory Baadsgaard, age 16, Wahluke (Washington state) High School, was on Paxil (which caused him to have hallucinations) when he took a rifle to his high school and held 23 classmates hostage. He has no memory of the event.
  • Chris Fetters, age 13, killed his favorite aunt while taking Prozac.
  • Christopher Pittman, age 12, murdered both his grandparents while taking Zoloft.
  • Mathew Miller, age 13, hung himself in his bedroom closet after taking Zoloft for 6 days.
  • Kip Kinkel, age 15, (on Prozac and Ritalin) shot his parents while they slept then went to school and opened fire killing 2 classmates and injuring 22 shortly after beginning Prozac treatment.
  • Luke Woodham, age 16 (Prozac) killed his mother and then killed two students, wounding six others.
  • A boy in Pocatello, ID (Zoloft) in 1998 had a Zoloft-induced seizure that caused an armed stand off at his school.
  • Read the rest at Ammoland.com

    So, I ask, will the proposed Universal Background Checks include political party affiliation and prescription history?

    Evil winning

    On January 31st, Kaufman County (Texas) Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was gunned down on the courthouse steps, in broad daylight.

    On March 19, the head of Colorado's prison system was murdered by Evan Ebel, a member of a white supremacy gang.  Police caught up to him two days later, chased him down and shot him to death in Decatur, Texas. 

    This past weekend, Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife were murdered in their home

    Yesterday, news came that two members of the same Aryan Brotherhood prison gang are possibly headed to Texas.

    If you are a party to a court case involving white supremacy groups, your case has been delayed indefinitely. 

    The bad guys are winning right now.  Prosecutors don't want to endanger their lives, or that of their families, so they are dropping the cases and living low, with 24-hour guards. 

    This is not how justice is supposed to work.  Carry 'em if you've got 'em, folks - when these sort of characters come calling, there isn't time to seek help or a gun that is on the other side of the house. 

    To make matters more interesting, the George W Bush Presidential Library on the campus of SMU in Dallas is about to host their grand opening event.  An event that will be attended by the current and all still living former presidents and (some of their) wives.   

    I sure don't envy the Secret Service right now. 

    April 3, 2013

    If I ran the world

    I must admit that I had it pretty cushy for quite a few years.  Funny, I never really thought I would look back at being an Army wife, living in a foreign country while my husband was down range 80% of the time, and think of it as "cushy".  What I mean, more specifically, is that I had the ability to stay home with my kids when they were young.  I didn't have to work, and when I did work, it was on my terms and in my own home.

    The job I took last year, after Crash started kindergarten, would be considered "cushy" by many.  I come and go as I please, am learning all aspects of the business with the ability to carve the path of my choosing within the organization, and we get to play with guns a lot.  I really like almost everyone I work with.  Even when we disagree, it is more of a (healthy) marriage sort of relationship - we get it out of our system and move on.

    I have one co-worker that I cannot stand.  He is stupid.  Completely inept.  The kind of guy that has gotten where he is in life by nodding his head and smiling, letting people believe he is on target with whatever the subject may be, when, in fact, he is totally clueless and desperately trying to figure out what the hell is going on while keeping a pleasant look on his face.

    My company sends everyone through a pretty in-depth psychological testing battery and visits to our corporate psychologist.  This guy did not test well in any area - but, he had certain credentials that were needed at the time, so they hired him anyway.  Now I have been tasked with managing the guy because no one else wants to. 

    And what I have learned is that men stick up for other men, no matter how stupid they are.  They feel sorry for him.   I think they see a little piece of themselves in him.  From where I sit, we have a job to get done, and if someone can't handle it, they need to go.  Especially a guy who clearly has no long-term potential.  Stop the bleeding, save the resources, preserve the sanity of the smart people in the office who are having to work at lowest-common-denominator level.

    And, in a momentary sign of weakness, when I was asked whether he should be let go or have his job duties redefined, I opted for the latter, knowing that if he were terminated, I would inherit the few responsibilities he does have.  Now I am in charge of him, which means doing all of his work for him, anyway.  I would have been better off giving him the thumbs down and getting complete ownership, not just clean up duty.

    I need to help him find a government job.  He would be perfect for the DMV. 

    April 1, 2013

    Favorite April Fool's Day Email

    This was in my inbox:

    Click Here for the New Ammo

    New from Lucky Gunner and Tacnition!


    New Depleted Uranium Rounds Specialize in Taking Down Drones!


    Listen up Lucky Gunners - We're thrilled to introduce you to the latest product to hit the virtual shelves of LuckyGunner.com - 12 gauge loads especially made to take down the unwanted survieillance associated with Big Brother's drones!

    These new 1 3/8 oz. loads are capable of slinging pellets made of depleted uranium up to 1 kilometer straight up into the air. We've exclusively partnered with Tacnition to get these rounds, which feature the latest in technology.

    Be sure to give them a look and ensure your ammo stache at home has a least a few dozen of these rounds before you're not able to make the purchase without someone looking over your shoulder as you order!
    And, the further description on their website was just as entertaining: 
    Big Brother is watching, and with modern technology, if Big Brother can see it, he can turn it into a giant smoking crater with just the press of a button. Even your secret remote wilderness bunker is no match for today’s military drones. In partnership with Tacnition Ammo, Lucky Gunner is happy to introduce a new way for you to fight back against the All Seeing Eye with our new anti-drone shotgun loads.

    Years of research and development have gone into these highly effective 12 gauge shells that can turn even Joe Biden’s double barrel shotgun into an instant anti-aircraft platform. Specially formulated propellant is capable of launching 9 pellets of depleted uranium rounds up to 1 km straight up into the air. With accurate shot placement, this armor piercing buckshot will disable vital systems on modern military drones. At minimum, the force of impact will disable navigation systems, but in over 60% of our field tests, the drones were incapable of remaining airborne after contact with our Anti-Drone Loads.

    FOD

    Joseph Curl, in the Washington Times, has an excellent article about the Obama's endless vacation, and their apparent lack of concern for what we sequestration-hindered hacks think about it...
    Neither President Obama nor first lady Michelle appear to give a damn about perception. They won the White House and, by God, they’re going to enjoy their time there, no matter the cost. And who cares what you think, anyway?
    How else to explain the nonstop vacations the pair keep taking during what Mr. Obama calls the “worst financial crisis since the Great Depression”? In 2013, the First Family has already enjoyed three vacations — that’s one a month. (Sorry, Joe America, you might have to forget your week at the beach again this year, but make sure you get those taxes in on time!)
    The Obamas ended 2012 and kicked off 2013 in an $8 million, 6,000-square-foot house in Hawaii (they left well before Dec. 25, by the way). There, the president played five rounds of golf (breaking the 100-rounds-as-president threshold). Scarcely a month into Term 2, Mrs. Obama headed off for Aspen, taking along the couple’s daughters. Vice President Joseph R. Biden also hit the Colorado slopes. While the girls (and Joe) were gone, Mr. Obama nipped down to Florida for a four-day boys weekend of golf, teeing it up with his buddies — and Tiger Woods. He hit the links again this weekend, then dropped in for an NCAA tournament game in Washington.
    It seems like the media tide may be beginning to turn on Blowie.  Too little, too late - and just in time for them to find a new liberal darling to prop up before the 2016 election.  But, the schadenfreude while reading articles like the one above is a small comfort.