November 30, 2013

The Witch in 7A

Elan was on a delayed Thanksgiving flight on which some woman made an ass of herself by loudly informing the flight crew of how important her life and plans were, with no regard for the rest of the passengers or crew.  Elan tweeted about it during the flight, read the whole thing here.

Here is a close up of the writing on the coaster when he sent her a glass of wine:



I think that the sentiment he displayed on the coaster was perfect.  I wish he would have stuck with it, and kept it biting and clean-ish, but I wasn't on that plane, and I can't say that the whole thing wouldn't have sent me over the edge and caused me to respond in a similar fashion.

It would have been awesome to be on this flight.  Seriously, I can't believe that no one intervened to help this guy out.  Just a little humor and additional cooperation would have likely led to a less crude, yet just as effective, interaction.

After the whole ordeal was over, Elan wrote a bit of a reflection on being kind to one another and treating people in service positions with dignity and respect:
I don’t care what’s going on with you: Don’t be rude to people who are doing their job. 
Don’t do it.
Don’t dismiss them. Don’t act like they are less than you. Don’t abuse them just because you’re the customer and “The Customer Is Always Right.”
If you’re the customer, you’re only right if you’re kind, polite and positively thankful.
If you’re not, you’re a jerk, and that’s the bottom line.
Absolutely.  

November 29, 2013

Just a regular Friday

This was shared on FB so many times the original author is unclear:
So I got dragged to Black Friday.
Next time I have another bright idea shoot me in the dick.

We (they) decide to go to Wal-mart for the 'deals' that save us (them) 10% and make us (them) spend 300% more than we normally would have.

American consumerism at its finest. I digress.

So as we wait in line for 2$ DVD's for three hours, my nose is violated by the stench of tortilla and unwashed Neanderthal. I'm also mentally scarred by the endless images of every redneck, hood rat, and welfare participant in 30 mile radius dressed in their Sunday best.

The aisles are so clogged that I can't force my way through like I usually do and I'm again required to inhale the soft stench of week old pork rinds and 3 day old sex sweat.

The average shopper is about as wide as their cart and this doesn't help the issue. I took a moment to enjoy the irony of morbidly obese people stuffing their faces with beef jerky and chocolate donuts while herded together like cattle.

Anyway, I can deal with all of this. I can deal with people fighting over a shitty DVD player, the 3 hour wait just to check out, and the ridiculousness of the entire experience as a whole.
We practice atrocious consumerism, spend outside of what's reasonable and lose all sense of civilization over a 10% discount on a 32" TV. What's worse, is that we pass these habits down to our children.
And that, my friends, is just one of the reasons that I am warm, safe, and going nowhere near a shopping area today.  Sites like this one shouldn't exist, and things like these shouldn't be the day after Thanksgiving headlines, and as long as they are, we are a lesser society for it.

November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving


Food, football, family...here's to enjoying 2.5 out of 3.  I love most of my family but there are always those that would be more fondly remembered in their absence rather than their attendance.

Hope your day is blessed with those things and people that mean the most to you.

November 27, 2013

Do we need struggle?

I am starting to form a theory about the violence in our world.

I think that the absence of real, physical, intimate, daily violence in our lives - or the threat thereof - causes some sort of unfulfilled need in those with weak character and causes them to act out.

When life was more hard scrabble, more of a day-to-day struggle to stay alive, keep yourself and your family fed, protect your property from invaders and thieves, I think that some dark need was satisfied. 

There is too much comfort and protection in our world.  I am not offering to go off the grid and live in a cabin in the woods, hunting and gathering for sustenance and schooling my kids by the fire - but I am willing to recognize that this place in time, without a daily struggle to simply live another day, isn't specifically what humans are hardwired for.

While I think that rapists, murderers and child molesters should die a slow and painful death, and I am staunchly opposed to insanity pleas, I do believe that some people simply can't explain why they do violent things, it is a primal instinct that isn't fulfilled by their modern lives.

I don't have any answers, again, this theory is in its infancy.  But, I am beginning to think I can see the 'why', which must surely, eventually, lead somewhere.

November 26, 2013

Remember when...

Remember that whole Occupy 'movement'?  All those students and un-or-under-employed people that had the time to camp out in various cities, to make some sort of statement about socioeconomic equality?

Remember all the 1% and 99% crap?  All the finger pointing, race baiting, and fear mongering.

Remember when the president said, "...you didn't build that"?

For how many years did the Dims and this president divide using money?  For how long did the hapless Obama voters buy into the belief that Obama was just like them, not those evil greedy corporations and rich people?  Nevermind that his government assistance comes in the form of a free house, airplane, limo rides and endless vacations on the backs of taxpayers.

So, Obama is out on the left coast, rubbing elbows with his famous supporters, a who's who of sports stars and Hollywood types that add to my list of things to never support again, if I can help it.

The fundraiser was hosted by Haim Saban.  Yes, that Saban, of Power Rangers fame.  Interestingly, Saban is an Egyptian born Israeli Jew - but that doesn't seem to dampen his enthusiasm for supporting this president.

Coming to America and realizing the American dream, and becoming the poster boy for 1%ers can make a man forget to stand on principle, I suppose.  It can also turn a man into a jackass. 

When introducing Obama, what did jackass Saban complain about?  The lack of valet parking at the White House:
Saban said, “Last Friday, the president and first lady were very generous and kind with their time, they invited us to the White House for a very small intimate dinner. And we had a wonderful time – great food, great company, very inspiring. No valet parking! You know what? I had to walk to the White House. We have valet parking at the Sabans! So, Mr. President, if you would, please, thank you. Taxpayers’ money? I’ll fund it, no problem".

November 25, 2013

FOD

Do you ever wonder how Obama would come across without the speech writers and teleprompters?  Obviously, he is, quite on his own, arrogant to the point of narcissism, dishonest, and phony, but how much of what we hate about him is really his own and how much should we attribute to those who put the words on the screen and in his mouth, for him?

It is easy to pick out the policy issues that separate us.  It is infuriating when the president shows more emotion in a speech about a policy loss, than in an address to the nation on the loss of American lives.  When his handlers created this persona and crafted their plan to elevate him through the political ranks, did they knowingly start with someone devoid of redeeming personality traits, or was that an unexpected bonus?

November 23, 2013

Pink is not my color

Sigh.

I hate cold weather.  I am especially perturbed by cold weather coupled with precipitation.  Welcome to my pink hell:



Pink on this graphic indicates a winter storm, which signifies, in this instance, ICE.  No fluffy white snow for the kids to play in, no pretty flakes to land on tongues.  ICE.  Black ice on the roads in which all of the inexperienced Texas drivers will be playing vehicle pinball prior to landing in the ditches.  Heavy ice on tree limbs and power lines, causing outages and road blockages.  No winter fun, just forced captivity and/or treachery on the roads.

Luckily, my kid has college classes at least through Tuesday.  While I was envious of her peer's parents crowing about the impending arrival of their scattered collegians this weekend, now I am thankful that Boom isn't on the road or trying to catch a flight home until this mess has cleared out.

My saving grace for this weather event may be that I have already purchased a few Christmas gifts - the sort that can be broken out for entertainment, should the natives get restless during their confinement. 

I joked that it is Murphy's Law of Texas winters, that the first potential 'bad weather day' for which they might have missed school, falls during their Thanksgiving break.  While they will miss that distinct childhood glee from a Snow Day, they also won't have to make it up at the end of the year.

November 22, 2013

The Nuclear Option

It doesn't mean what you hoped.

No mushroom cloud over D.C. today.

The Dims in Congress have done what no one thought they would ever muster the cajones to do - they have voted to change the rules of how the Senate approves presidential nominees. 

Do I think that the filibuster is the best way for our legislators to consider nominees?  No, I don't, but I do believe that our partisan lawmakers cast aside all decorum, protocol and common sense on consideration of nearly all things that make it to Capitol Hill, long ago.  The filibuster, once used to make sure that decisions were carefully weighed and measured before being voted on, has, of late, turned into a media spectacle that is often just a distraction to slow down a vote on something that was decided behind closed doors long before being introduced on the floor.

Therein lies the root issue.  Governing is supposed to be transparent to the governed.  Debate and consideration of issues is supposed to take place on the floor of the Senate (and House), not in closed-door meetings that take place months in advance, with carefully crafted strategies and plans of attack.

The Dims claim that the nuclear option was necessary to relieve the partisan gridlock in D.C., but all they have done is poke the beast and encouraged an even uglier division in our government.  I don't think it is an accident, the timing of it.  Distract the simpletons that were starting to catch on about Obamacare, and create a new rift in Congress nearly a year before the next elections, for all the short-memories to forget.

I love my country, but despise this government.

November 21, 2013

My lunch is racist

My routine for the past few months has been to go home for lunch, to let our puppies outside for a bit and grab a quick lunch.  Usually my lunch is leftovers or a sandwich.  I have always loved peanut butter and jelly with potato chips.

I never thought that my lunch was considered racist.
Apparently, it’s because people in some cultures don’t eat sandwich bread. Verenice Gutierrez, principal of Harvey Scott K-8 School in Portland explained to the Portland Tribune:
“Take the peanut butter sandwich, a seemingly innocent example a teacher used in a lesson last school year,” the Tribune said.
“What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches?” Gutierrez asked. “Another way would be to say: ‘Americans eat peanut butter and jelly, do you have anything like that?’ Let them tell you. Maybe they eat torta. Or pita.”
Wait a minute.  So, just because other cultures don't eat the same foods that I do, speaking about such foods is racist?  And schools are training teachers to be even more ultra-politically correct and not mention any food that could signal any relationship to a particular culture?  GMAFB
…The Tribune noted that the school started the new year with “intensive staff trainings, frequent staff meetings, classroom observations and other initiatives,” to help educators understand their own “white privilege,” in order to “change their teaching practices to boost minority students’ performance.”"Last Wednesday, the first day of the school year for staff, for example, the first item of business for teachers at Scott School was to have a Courageous Conversation — to examine a news article and discuss the ‘white privilege’ it conveys,” the Tribune added.
The link they are making is that using a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as an object in a teaching lesson conveys 'white privilege'.  Oh, shit, I can't quit laughing.  I keep thinking of that giant generic tub of peanut butter that my friend used to pick up from the WIC office when she was a teenage mother.  White privilege....BWAHAHAHA.

I fear that all common sense has left this country.

November 20, 2013

28 years of Windows

How has your life been changed by that little innovation released by Microsoft 28 years ago today?  Windows 1.0 was a little different, I am sure, it looked nothing like the high-def image heavy, multi-tasking genius that most of us take for granted today. 


As much as I like to complain about the behemoth Microsoft has become, I am chained to it by home and work machines; PC, laptop, tablet, and Android phones.  As I type, I have three monitors in front of me, with Fox News running, financial tickers, music, email, and this Blogger window.  My grandmother and those of her generation are pictured with a toddler on their hip, while stirring something on the stove with one hand, ironing with the other, and rocking an infant cradle with a foot.  They were domestic multi-tasking geniuses. 

I remember how groundbreaking the first beepers were.  I recall being at a special occasion dinner with my father and someone's beeper went off in the restaurant's coat room.  Half the men in the room jumped up to see if it was theirs - these being the Most Important Men in the room, the doctors, lawyers and executives that were so vital to their business that they needed to be reached night and day.

Today, children Snapchat, Instagram, Tweet, and can put together a computer based presentation that would rival the professional products of just a few years ago.

I am not always sure that this technology has been a resounding improvement to our lives, but I have hope that our short attention spans will soon tire of the bells and whistles our tech society currently thrives on, and we will again treasure companionship, face-to-face contact, and human relationships built on interaction outside of the digital realm.  If/when that happens, I'll be sure to blog about it.

November 19, 2013

White Suburban Mom

My childrens' school doesn't use the Common Core curriculum, but that doesn't mean that I don't care about those families that are affected by it.  And it certainly means that I am offended by the United States Education Secretary making profoundly racist comments about people who resemble me:
It’s fascinating to me that some of the pushback is coming from, sort of, white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were, and that’s pretty scary. You’ve bet your house and where you live and everything on, ‘My child’s going to be prepared.’ That can be a punch in the gut. 

My kids are in a public charter school.  One that we waited five years to get a kid into.  One that has all the same leadership and political issues as any other school, but has a curriculum and foundational teaching style that fits my kids.  There is always room for improvement, but the deciding factor is, and always has been, what sort of education my kids getting in the classroom.  When the politics affect the classroom, we gone.

And that is what bothers so many people in relation to Common Core.  It is inherently political.  It appears to be a wet dream of educational indoctrination curriculum for liberals.  No more 'See Jane run'.  Sample grammar lesson sentences from the above linked article include, 'Government officials' commands must be obeyed by all' and 'An individual's wants are less important than the nation's well being'.  Gah.  If my kids were in a Common Core school, I think we would jump ship and educate at home.

I don't need the school to teach my children morals, values, or political views.  That is for me to do.  I do believe that a world-view of belief systems can be presented in a way that doesn't force allegiance or derision in the school setting.

Arne Duncan made an offensive observation, because he brought race and affluence into the equation.  No parent, regardless of skin color, bank balance or address, likes to hear that their children aren't brilliant - but, we are also, most of us, acutely aware of our children's abilities (those people who let their tone deaf kids try out for American Idol, notwithstanding).  The real punch in the gut is realizing that our great country, founded by courageous rebels, that once was the breeding ground for innovation and invention, is now run by the very sort of dullard that Arne is trying to describe.  Our government officials aren't even bright enough to realize how stupid they are.

November 18, 2013

FOD - The Big 4-Oh

The president hit the big 40 over the weekend.  No, no, he is not celebrating a long past birthday, rather, he set a new record for himself for rounds of golf played in a year.  And, it is only mid-November, with the big Hawaiian vacation just around the corner.

Let's think about that number for a minute.  This week marks the 42nd week of the year.  Obama is just shy of averaging a round of golf a week.  How many of those weeks were we 'sequestered'?  How many were Americans suffering because of the action, or inaction of those elected to represent the people of this nation, while the president worked on his short game?

I don't have the time or memory recall to detail every other thing that should have been occupying some of those hours he spent on the course, but shouldn't running the country, especially considering the state it is in, take a little more time? 

Perception is key to a job that puts you in the limelight 24/7.  Most people that rise to the level of a presidency realize that.  This president is content to have his elitist, expensive, time-consuming hobbies and rub our collective noses in it every weekend.

November 16, 2013

Life Lessons

This morning finds me at my kids' school, awaiting the start of a charity 5k event to benefit the family of a teacher whose sweet baby girl was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia two weeks ago.

Also on my mind is a little boy in College Station that was sent home from the children's hospital in Houston to spend the days he has left with his family loving on him.  Aggies raised over $100k in one day to support this precious family as they say goodbye to their son.

Both of these kids and their families have awesome support networks and seem additionally fortunate that those networks are able to provide the resources that allow them to afford medical care and time away from paying jobs, to focus on their kids. 

This is how communities and charity should function. There is no government mandate, no law, no requirement for anyone to do anything other than what their conscience, heart and pocketbook will allow.

November 15, 2013

How do you keep a plan that is no longer offered?

Does anyone else think that none of this Obamacare crap is a surprise to the administration?  Well, maybe the website disaster blindsided them, but not the plan cancellations.  And I don't buy, for one second, that they think any insurance corporation can magically turn back on plans that they discontinued to comply with the law.

The minute the law passed, insurance companies went to work trying to figure out "what was in it", so they could continue to operate as a profitable business in compliance with the law.  Countless resources and man hours have been spent getting ready for implementation mandates.  Insurance companies didn't cancel plans because they wanted to.  They canceled plans because they had to.

And now, with one fairy dust sprinkled speech, the president thinks the insurance companies can get in their time machines and re-visit 2009, and ignore the 8,736 meetings they have had about the changes in the law, and dismiss the millions of dollars, forests of paper, and months of guidance they have given to their customers - and offer the 'old' plans...but just until the end of next year.

Read that as "until after the mid-term elections".

There was a point of no return on much of the Obamacare-related changes to the health and insurance industries.  A benchmark that we blew by sometime in 2010.  There is no going back as long as this law stands.  There is never any going back in terms of costs, employment changes and medical personnel lost in the sucking black hole of Obamacare.

November 14, 2013

Toast, now pre-toasted

When I moved to Texas nearly 30 years ago, Mrs. Baird's bread was a new thing for me.  The bread aisle offered many different varieties of bread, most of them bearing the Mrs. Baird's brand name.  Six Flags used to have a little shack that handed out free mini-loaves of the yeasty white bread.  And, to this day, the Mrs. Baird's bakery south of downtown Fort Worth, situated next to the Coor's brewery, emits a wonderful aroma for the drivers on I-35W.  I wonder if they have a common yeast supplier.

A few years ago, the iconic Mrs. Baird's brand was sold to Grupo Bimbo, a Mexican bakery conglomerate that has been buying up American brands for the past decade.  Whether you noticed or not, brands like Entenmann's, Sara Lee, Oroweat and Thomas' are now under the Bimbo umbrella.

While Bimbo hasn't changed the brand name on Mrs. Baird's products, the shelf space in the bread aisle is now filled with new and different products that bear the Bimbo name.  I don't suppose the ownership took the time to research the English word "bimbo" before forging ahead.

This product caused Boom to go off on a mini-rant for several minutes the first time she spied it at Wal-Mart:


As Boom asked on that day, who can't make toast?  Why in the world would people buy days old, dried out, crunchy bread?  Is this some Mexican delicacy that we haven't heard of?

Many a time in my more youthful and under-furnished apartment days, we toasted bread directly on the rack of the oven, or on a cookie sheet using the broiler.  Even in the absence of the specialty kitchen appliance known as a toaster, there are ways to get the bread warm and golden brown.

Having spent time in parts of the world where toast is made in advance, and placed in little racks on the breakfast table, I can attest to the fact that 'warm' isn't a universally accepted state of how toast should be served.  But even then, the toast had been prepared in the very recent past, not toasted, packaged, and shipped around the country for enjoyment at a later date.

I suppose I shouldn't mock - I have relatives that can't understand why I buy salad mix in a bag and pre-shredded cheese.  Time-savings and lack of bloody knuckles are good enough reasons in my book, but my predilection for convenience foods still isn't providing me a justifiable reason to buy already toasted bread.

November 13, 2013

Psycho cyber stalkers

Luckily, my dating life was over long before the internet became a commonplace vehicle for meeting potential love interests.  While I have made great friends via the miracle of modern technology, I still have reservations about internet dating, having seen the consequences of a friend's failed attempts.

Case in point, this story out of New York:
A Manhattan architect has filed a $1.25 million defamation lawsuit against his ex-lover for trashing his reputation by making Web posts claiming he is a sex addict with a “tiny STD-infested weiner” who “sleeps with anything that moves,” according to court papers.

John B. Wender, 53, who is a principal at Bartolone Wender Architects located at 350 Seventh Ave., says he met Louise Silberling “over the Internet” in March 2011.

They saw each other in person only three times and broke up in March 2012, the Manhattanville resident says in his Manhattan Supreme Court suit.

Searching Wender’s name on Google returns more than a dozen hits on scathing blogs, on the social-networking site Tumblr, on professional review sites, and at the site LiarsCheatersRUs.com, all allegedly authored by Silberling.

The various postings accuse the Manhattan professional of having a “seedy BDSM lifestyle,” and of having sexual proclivities including “daddy/daughter scenarios . . . over-the-knee role playing . . . rape play . . . forced orgasm, spanking, whipping, paddling, flogging, gagging, strap-on-play, wax play, and auto-erotic asphyxia and strangulation,” according to court papers.

Silberling even allegedly posted fake reviews on professional Web sites, attacking her ex’s architectural work with such critiques as, “Every word that comes out of John Wender’s ugly mouth is a lie.”

Wender’s ex-wife and disabled son also did not escape attack, according to the suit. Silberling allegedly created blogs in their names with their photos attached — calling the wife a witch and the 13-year-old son “retard [and] ugly.”

All told, 32 Web postings are attached as exhibits to the Manhattan civil suit.
This pair only saw each other in person three times, meaning the rest of their year-long 'relationship' played out over the internet or telephone.  I don't know about you, but I think there is something to be said for the need for face-to-face interaction, if for no other reason than being able to judge the character of a person.  Maybe if Wender had gone to dinner and a couple of movies with this woman, he would have known that she was a few sandwiches short of a picnic before he got in so deep that she trashed him, his family and his professional reputation all over the internet.

Clearly, this woman is a psycho bitch from hell.  I am not one for lawsuits, but, assuming that she is responsible for these website postings, I hope she spends the rest of her life paying off that $1.25 million that he is suing for.

You don't drag someone's family, much less a disabled child, into your dating spat.  And, the best relationship advice I could ever give would be this; if someone breaks up with you, it is because they don't want to be with you, so Move On.  No amount of stalking, begging, insulting or threatening is going to make someone change their mind. 

November 12, 2013

The other Dave Wilson

This is probably the funniest or saddest story you will read this week.

Dave Wilson is white guy.  A sort of gadfly in municipal political circles, was elected to the Houston Community College Board last week.  Wilson is a (white) conservative Republican.  He beat a 24-year incumbent.  He was elected by, and to represent, an overwhelmingly black Democratic district.

So how did he get elected?

By insinuating he was black.

I don't know whether to cry over the stupidity of voters or laugh at his bravado.
Wilson, a gleeful political troublemaker, printed direct mail pieces strongly implying that he's black. His fliers were decorated with photographs of smiling African-American faces -- which he readily admits he just lifted off websites -- and captioned with the words "Please vote for our friend and neighbor Dave Wilson."

One of his mailers said he was "Endorsed by Ron Wilson," which longtime Houston voters might easily interpret as a statement of support from a former state representative of the same name who's also African-American. Fine print beneath the headline says "Ron Wilson and Dave Wilson are cousins," a reference to one of Wilson's relatives living in Iowa.

"He's a nice cousin," Wilson says, suppressing a laugh. "We played baseball in high school together. And he's endorsed me."
If any person bases their vote on skin color, information from which was gleaned from the clip art on one piece of direct mail, they get what they deserve.

November 11, 2013

FOD

Blowie hasn't yet finished his fifth year in office, but he hit the 150 mark for rounds of golf this weekend.  My prediction of at least 200 rounds during his presidency will certainly come to pass.  Heck, it could be as soon as next year.
I started to list all of the other things that Blowie should be spending his time working on, but, hell, you all know the list, and you all know that it is probably better that he stays out of anything that we would like to see actual positive progress made on.

As offensive and elitists as it is, Obama on the golf course is better than Obama in the Oval. 

November 10, 2013

Perspective

Borrowed from A Trainwreck in Maxwell:


The $2 straw

Sometimes in life you have to take a stand. 

Like most Americans, heck, most people worldwide, I would assume, I have watched as my bank of 20+ years chipped away at the perks of our banking relationship. 

Once upon a time, there were fees to be expected if one bounced a check.  Then came the minimum balance fees and the ATM fees.  Fortunately the minimum balance thing wasn't a problem, and with the advent of point of sale debit purchases, cash doesn't require an ATM.  Now, each year I get a small booklet outlining all of the fees associated with the privilege of letting them hold my cash deposits. 

This past weekend, while traveling, my husband was sent into a grocery store to buy a couple of items and get some cash back.  This particular store had a cash back limit per transaction, so Mr. H panicked and, instead of grabbing a pack of gum and going back through the line for the rest of the cash he needed, he went to the in-store ATM.

This ATM charged a $4 fee, and, to add insult to injury, our bank charges a $1.50 foreign ATM fee.  Fortunately for the bank, Mr. H was taking the brunt of my anger for this bonehead event.  It cost $5.50 to get $60 cash.

This morning, I was opening the mail that had piled up over the last week.  Call me crazy, but I still like to get paper statements for banking and credit cards.  I like to see it in black and white.  I like to mark up the statement as I balance my check register.  I like to have something tangible to shake at my husband when I question an out-of -budget expenditure.

Tucked in with this month's statement was the announcement that, should I continue in my one-woman pursuit of environmental destruction of wanting a tree-killing paper statement, they would be charging me $2 a month. 

If I make the switch before November 30, they will give me $5.

I will be taking that $5.  And then I will be taking my business elsewhere.  I have accounts at two other institutions that will be happy to have our business.  They waive most fees for long-term customers and refund the fees charged by ATMs. 

Somewhere, in some board room, a group of people sat around and made the decision to discontinue paper statements, thinking that $2 wasn't such a big deal to those who still wanted the hard copies.  They didn't stop to think of the sum total impact of the actions they have taken.  It might only be $2, but it was the $2 straw that broke this camel's back.

November 9, 2013

No Options

Where do we go from here?  "Here" being the smoldering scene of the Obamacare train wreck.

People like me have seen this coming off the rails since before the clown-in-chief was elected the first time.  The change he promised was unrealistic.  It didn't take a genius to see the obvious, but I am still amazed at how many idiots never stopped to think about what they were supporting and voted into office those who voted this monstrosity into law.

I am even further incensed by our governmental representatives that didn't and don't have an alternative.  We all warned about the train barreling down the tracks, yet not a single Repub or Tea Partier or Independent has a viable alternative to the law we are stuck with.  What did 'our' side do to prepare for this eventuality that they knew was coming?  Not. A. Damn. Thing.

The tragedy of this situation is that there is no going back.  Insurance companies aren't going reduce prices on the true 'gold'-type plans.  They have spent millions trying to comply, as well as figure our how to remain profitable.  Even if some part of the compliance issue goes away, the prices won't go down.  Ever.

Why don't we have a countermeasure ready to deploy?  Why have we spent the better part of over three years, just bitching about a law without coming up with something better?

November 8, 2013

The Two Hour Window

In September we bought Crash big boy bedroom furniture.  Being the youngest, his room was a mismatched haven of hand-me-down pieces, IKEA plastic bucket toy storage systems, 2,439 Hot Wheels cars and roughly three billion Legos.

Furniture shopping sucks.  There is a glut of cheap crap to choose from, cheap-cheap, cheaply made with moderate pricing, and moderately well made with obscene prices.  I did not come across any youth or smaller-sized bedroom pieces that were high quality.  Between this shopping experience and pricing kitchen cabinetry, I am more resolved than ever to take some high level woodworking classes and make stuff for myself.

Anywho.  I settled for a much-too-expensive-for-what-I-got, but better-than-most-things I had seen youth bedroom set.  The dresser has been on back-order since September, but is finally due to arrive today.

So this morning I am at the mercy of the two hour delivery window.

One plus is that the store's website has a 'follow the truck' feature, which lets you see what the delivery order is, with each stop's city listed.  I am fifth in the queue, and, by my observation of the estimated delivery times of the stops after me, the last stop before lunch.  Good.  When they delivered the bed and desk, we were in the mid-afternoon window and they arrived at the late end of their estimated time.

Things have certainly improved since the days of sitting all day just waiting for the truck to rumble into the driveway.  GPS tracking, text messages, email alerts - but somehow I doubt that delivery drivers are any more productive than they were twenty years ago.

November 7, 2013

Getting out of the armchair

I am not a football player.  I have played the flag and back yard versions of the game, and I am a devout fan.  I can watch a game and spot what is being done right and wrong.  The classic armchair quarterback.

In life there are many such instances of areas that I am not an expert, but also not an idiot.  This also applies to business, where being a mature adult and parent has taught me lessons that carry over to the corporate world.  Sometimes work lends me the opportunity to get out of the proverbial armchair and show the kiddos how it should be done.

Yesterday was such an opportunity, with all hands on deck for an industry organization's annual sporting clay shoot.  Fun with guns!  Our marketing girl was all atwitter with her concerns about being in several places at once, as our company needed to man a sponsor booth, where we would have the opportunity to meet potential clients, and she had volunteered in several other capacities with the hosting organization.  Stand back, sweetie, we got this.  We sent her on her merry way, and three of us old hands made more promising network connections in one day than our young sales people average in 6 months. 


I think it is all about being comfortable in your own skin.  Not fearing casual small talk.  Being able to discern when it is, and is not, appropriate to insert a little business talk into the conversation.

A classic example of street smarts and experience versus book learning.  There is a place for both, but the street kids rocked it in this case.

I will admit that sales teams are hated in many corporate settings - they get to fly all over and rack up the expense account meals with clients.  They go to all the golf tournaments, fishing events, casino nights.  They get the convention swag bags.  Maybe that is a lesson in maturity, as well.  Going home to your family, and your own bed each night is something appreciated by an older crowd who doesn't get so excited about a new koozie and a trucker hat with someone else's logo on it.

November 6, 2013

My kind of party

A Wisconsin man was arrested early today after zapping his wife with a stun gun after winning a bet with her on last night’s "Monday Night Football" contest, police report.
Bwahahaha!

In case you were wondering, yes, your suspicions are correct:
Police noted that Nicole and John each consented to Breathalyzer tests. Nicole’s blood alcohol level, .155, was nearly twice the .08 legal limit, while John’s was a bit lower, at .137.
The fact that these idiots did their betting and paying up (read: tasing) in a public place just adds to the hilarity of the situation.  Who was the party pooper that called the cops?

The police report noted that there is video evidence:
While Nicole told cops that she had not agreed to the tasing, a cell phone video reviewed by officers showed that she was “standing still with her arms up and the male subject applies the Taser to her. In the video, Ms. Grant is seen laughing and it seemed apparent that Ms. Grant had consented.”

Hope the video makes it to YouTube soon.

In the end, John was arrested for illegally possessing the taser device, which happened to be illegal in Wisconsin.  He was not arrested for public drunkenness,  disorderly conduct, assault, domestic violence, or anything else directly related to goosing his wife on the ass with 50kV.

November 4, 2013

FOD

Golf count courtesy of White House Dossier:
President Obama headed out to Fort Belvoir today for a round of golf, the 149th time he has played as president and his 38th outing of the year.
Obama has golfed more times this year than any of his presidency.
He’s playing with a couple of college friends and a White House aide.
While the president and friends hit the links, I, like so many other Americans, was trying to digest the latest in a long line of personal budget-busting issues related to health insurance.

My employer is drafting a policy that will force all spouses and dependents that can get coverage through their own employers off of our policy.  My husband's employer just unveiled their new Obamacare-compliant Bronze, Silver and Gold plans - with decreased coverages, increased costs, and, you guessed it, a new carrier and network...meaning new doctors, new facilities and new rules to get accustomed to.

This week will bring one of those gut-check times of taking stock of our lives, our financials, and our health.  We will compare the penalty, plans, and cash pricing from our current doctors to see which is the most affordable route for our family.

It is sad state of humanity, to sit and be gleeful at every hard luck story that gets some news-time, of that select group of reasonably employed Obama voters that are now seeing the harsh reality of what health care reform means to them.  All that hope and change might work for the eternally poor and lazy, but the bill is coming due for those of us that have to fund their care and keeping.

November 3, 2013

Technical Difficulties

Pardon the interruption as I am at the mercy of hotel wi-fi. 

This is also the second time in recent memory that my hotel stay was, um, enhanced by a power outage.  Fun times.

More later.

November 1, 2013

Six

CBS News broke the story that revealed the number we have all been anxious to hear.  Six whole people managed to sign up for insurance through the healthcare.gov website on October 1st.

How do you spin that?

The next day was marginally better, but...
By Wednesday afternoon, enrollments were up to "approximately 100." By the end of Wednesday, the notes reflect "248 enrollments" nationwide.
The health care exchanges need to average 39,000 enrollees a day to meet the goal of seven million by March 1.
This information is from 'war room notes', taken during twice-a-day meetings at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  The documents make it clear that the administration has known the numbers all along, despite their claims that they wouldn't have that information for at least six weeks.

This law and its implementation invoke a strong laugh/cry response for me.  I am one of the lucky people that had great insurance provided by my employer.  Now, part of my job is figuring out how we can, as a company, continue to offer equitable coverage that is affordable, while meeting dozens of unfunded administrative burdens that are required by Obamacare.  People like me will be paying for all those subsidized plans for people who have no interest in helping themselves.

I can't stand the president, can't even listen to the sound of his voice.  But, I would have paid good money to be a fly on the wall when he got the news that SIX people signed up for Obamacare on day one.  That was surely a tantrum worth seeing.