December 29, 2014

FOD

A classic Obama threat:
The new Congress hasn't yet been sworn in, but President Obama already is warning he plans to use his veto pen to counter initiatives from the incoming Republican majority...
..."There are going to be some areas where we disagree and, you know, I haven't used the veto pen very often since I've been in office," Obama said. "Now I suspect there are going to be some times where I've got to pull that pen out." 
I am not surprised, Obama is the ultimate hypocrite.  He stands on his soapbox demanding bipartisanship, and then threatens to veto Republican initiatives at will.

Our founding fathers did all that they could to build a system of checks and balances, to address the potential loopholes, to ensure that American citizens were represented in their government.  It seems that the system they created, and the interpretation they envisioned, has been turned on its ear.

December 28, 2014

Post-Christmas Refueling

I hit a wall yesterday, and did almost nothing productive, except laundering all of the new clothes that my family received as gifts.  Christmas was good, but I think I was still running on pure adrenaline.  The 26th dawned, and I was on a mission to return and exchange the gift missteps so I didn't have to hear about disappointment.  It is insulting, as an adult, to see the sum total of the holiday - all the work that goes into decorating, cooking, shopping, etc., only to have the young ones complain about a duplicate gift, or something that didn't fit. I understand that they have few other worries in the world, but, it grates on my nerves and some things are better dealt with swiftly than left to aggravate.

So, we fought the post-Christmas crowds on Friday.  I came out of it unscathed, and managing to smile and laugh about the obviously unhappy people who were handling their holiday disappointments with less character than my 7-year old.  There was an Asian lady that literally hip-checked me out of her way at the Apple Store.  I started to say something, but then noticed the poor kid she was dragging behind her, and decided that laughing it off would serve us all better.

I was at the Apple Store to buy a screen protector for an iPod.  We perused an entire wall of iPhone accessories (which is where Asian lady tried to knock me down, in her lust for some iPhone 6 gadget, no doubt), to no avail.  We crossed to the other side of the store where the speakers and earbuds were, thinking that perhaps the iPod cases and screen protectors would be found there.  Nope.  At this point an Apple Store employee offered to help.  I clearly said that we were looking for an iPod screen protector, yet she asked which iPhone it was for, while herding me toward the phone accessory wall.  "No," I said, "an iTouch, like these right here," and helpfully pointed to the display.

The Apple Store does not sell accessories for their music devices.  The Apple-bot tried to explain it away by telling me that the iTouch and iPhones have the strongest, most scratch-resistant glass Apple makes.  And yet she had just tried to steer me toward the display wall offering dozens of screen protectors for the phones.  The irony was lost on her.

I think I have caught up now, on my rest, and a refill of my ability to tolerate the stupid.

December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

As the midnight hour approaches, I have a rare hour of peace.  The youngest two are in bed, the oldest two are off to church, and, there is little pressing at the moment, other than the quick distribution of Santa's gifts for the big reveal in the morning.  That tradition slightly altered by the plastic fence material stretched between two chairs, blocking the Labradors from the Christmas tree.

The stockings and Santa's cookies have been placed out of reach from the pooches.  I contemplated re-decorating the bottom half of the tree, but then thought that we would spend Christmas morning chasing down dogs with glass balls in their mouths.  It will be more fun to explain the half-decorated tree and fence in my living room, when the pictures are viewed years from now.

I am thankful to have my family at home, to be blessed with good health, happiness, and wonderful friends and family.  I hope that each of you spends this Christmas season making memories with those that you care about.

Merry Christmas.

December 22, 2014

FOD

Golf Count: 50 rounds this year, 207 since taking office.  He'll likely squeeze in several more before we ring in 2015.  He sure has made up for the lost time during the election year.

This morning I am in full agreement with Rudy Giuliani:
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) blamed this weekend's killing of two NYPD officers on anti-police "propaganda," for which he said President Barack Obama bears some responsibility.
"We've had four months of propaganda, starting with the president, that everybody should hate the police," said Giuliani during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday." "I don't care how you want to describe it -- that's what those protests are all about."
Yep.  The president took to his podium, commenting on the Ferguson/Michael Brown events, he did it for Eric Garner, but when two NYPD cops are executed by someone who told the Internet of his plans to even the score for Brown and Garner, Obama is silent.

This president has done nothing to calm nerves.  His comments have fanned the flames.  He encourages black on white hatred.  He promotes anti-law enforcement attitudes.

It doesn't take a genius to predict what will happen next.  If you were/are a white police officer, how quickly would you be responding to a call in a black neighborhood?  Would you pause, and question the validity of the call?  Wonder if you were being lured into a trap?  Surely some departments in larger cities are having to face this possibility, and are implementing policies to protect their officers.  Policies that require first responders to wait for back up, policies that will slow response times.

It takes a special kind of stupid to loot and destroy businesses that serve your own neighborhood (Ferguson), and the same brand of ignorance to target LEOs in your own 'hood.  Good luck getting timely assistance when gramps has a heart attack, or someone is breaking into your home.

Obama, Sharpton, Jackson - they all have blood on their hands.  You reap what you sow, jackasses.

December 21, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like panic

Christmas is for children and grandparents.  Not the Christian celebration, which, let's all be honest here, has absolutely nothing to do with the lights, music, parties, gifts, and yards of wrapping paper.  No one is synchronizing their outdoor light display to music solely for the glory of their savior.  I love the Lord, but am also realistic enough to acknowledge that Christmas is a two-part event, and every person with a 'Jesus is the Reason for the Season' sign in their yard is equally as guilty of the same materialism as the atheist next door.

Again, I have come to the conclusion that Christmas is for children and grandparents.  Children are showered with toys, stuffed with candy, and squired around to various seasonal events.  Grandparents generally live to have their grandchildren and family visit, and Christmas fits the bill.  Those of us stuck in the middle are the ones slaving away to make the holiday magic happen.

My husband took 3/4 of the children shopping for me after school one day last week.  They were home before dark, as I ran all over town trying to cross a few things off my list; gifts for my four children, husband, parents, step-sister and niece, co-workers, White Elephant for husband's office party, hostess gifts for parties, parent's anniversary gift (thanks for that 12/22 bonus!), design, order, address and mail cards, harangue, demand, and walk oldest children through process of procuring gifts for their fathers and step-families, then the baking and candy making.  This morning I am tackling the wrapping.  We have a few presents under the tree, but nothing near the number of Amazon boxes stashed around the house, holding things that need to be wrapped.

I have a spreadsheet that tracks gifts, delivery dates, and number of wrapped gifts that each child will get (this is important amongst the young ones, so I have to combine and separate accordingly so they feel everything is equitable).  This is ridiculous, but entirely necessary.  Without the document,, I am likely to have hidden something that I purchased and forget about it until April.

I might have told this gift-story before; and while I might not have been appreciative of the big picture before, I now have the utmost appreciation for a gift I received when I was 16 or 17.   A male friend handed me a Fram oil filter for my car - topped with a bow, with a Sharpie-inscribed message that promised a free oil change.  Now that was a good gift, with just the right amount of wrapping.

I have a few last minute things to buy - stocking stuffers and something for the step-sister.  A trip to the Big Box discount store and the liquor store should do it.  Unless I have forgotten something or someone.  Better double-check the spreadsheet.

December 19, 2014

Game Day Guard Duty

If you are criminally inclined, today is the day to come to my community and burgle homes (but, please don't).

This afternoon, the local high school's football team is playing for the state championship.  A title they won last year.  They are going up against another undefeated team that won the championship the year before last.  It will be a contest of epic proportions.  Nearly every able-bodied member of the community will be traveling to Jerry World stadium to cheer for the hometown team.

School is getting out early.  Businesses have posted signs of closing.  By 2 pm, it will be a virtual ghost town.  

Last night, the high school hosted a community pep rally.  Television crews did live spots on the evening news.  The head coach was giddy on camera, pointing to the crowd that had turned out and commenting that everyone loves the football program because it is the "only entertainment in town".

I don't know if I would go that far, but it sure will look like it today.

If you aren't familiar with Texas high school football, it is hard to describe how seriously it is taken.  They are, still, just high school kids playing a game.  Albeit on a big field, in a big stadium, semi-nationally televised (if you get Fox Sport Southwest), and the half-time performance will feature the state champion marching band.  It seems almost mean, that one school can win so much, and get the chance to flaunt it over and over.

I worry, some days, about kids who grow up in this atmosphere.  Always winning, always adding trophies to the case.  Heck, even the school newspaper's editor is achieving national acclaim for his coverage and photography of high school sports.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must say that my kids don't go to school here.  They did once, and they have many friends here, but they are educated elsewhere.

And, maybe that is why a little tiny part of me hopes that the team loses.  I will be cheering for them, and I really do hope they are victorious.  Maybe it is more accurate for me to say that if they lose, I won't be terribly disappointed as it might knock some people down a few notches, nearer to reality.

And, for the record, I won't be going to the game.  Even though most of the people in my office will be heading to the stadium, I plan to go home and watch the game on television, wrap Christmas presents, and be point-woman on neighborhood watch.

December 18, 2014

Hola Voters

Anyone care to explain to me what the heck is going on with this 'normalization' of America's relationship with Cuba?  Help me, if you can, understand what Cuba has that we need or want?

If 'cigars' was the first thing that came to mind, you aren't alone, but, in spite of the 'relationship' and five decades of trade embargoes, the United States has always remained the world's biggest consumer of Cuban cigars.  Cuba is roughly the size of Tennessee.  It has a few natural resources, but nothing that is in high demand, or hard to find elsewhere.  
Why take these steps now, what is at stake?  Don't tell me that Alan Gross was worth all of this.  Had you even heard that name prior to this week?  If not, let me fill you in.  This from the 'Bring Alan Home' website:
Alan Gross is a 65-year-old American citizen who has been imprisoned in Cuba since 2009.  He was arrested for his work on behalf of the U.S. Agency for International Development to increase Internet access and connectivity in small communities across Cuba.
I have an irrepressible revulsion for people who are portrayed as 'aid workers', when, in fact, their work has little to do with feeding, clothing, or providing necessary medical care for human beings at risk of death.  You aren't going to sell me on having a chummy relationship with Communists so that more liberal tools can travel to their countries and ensure that little Cubanos can access Instagram, without fear of being 'unjustly' imprisoned.
I also feel compelled to share with you my utmost respect for and fondness of the people of Cuba.  In no way are they responsible for the ordeal to which my family and I have been subjected.  To me cubanos, or at least most of them, are incredibly kind, generous and talented.  It pains me to see them treated so unjustly as a consequence of two governments' mutually belligerent policies.  Five and a half decades of history show us such belligerence inhibits better judgment.  Two wrongs never make a right.  I truly hope that we can now get beyond these mutually belligerent policies and I was very happy to hear what the president had to say today.  It was particularly cool to be sitting next to the secretary of state as he was hearing about his job description for the next couple of months.  In all seriousness, this is a game-changer, which I fully support.
Not exactly bleeding red, white, and blue, is he?

I know it is a stretch, but is anyone else counting the number of Cuban-American voters?  Is anyone else making the Florida political connection here?  Is it unrealistic to suppose that Obama, and his Dimocratic buddies (if there are any left) are looking down the road at having to defeat the former Governor of Florida (and his Hispanic wife)?  Amnesty for illegals, and all you Cubans can now travel freely to your homeland.  I can't seem to find any other logical reason for taking these steps now.  

December 16, 2014

Rätsel

Rätsel translates to 'conundrum' or 'puzzle'.

While living in Germany, I made several friends that became close enough that we could have 'that' conversation. We spoke about the Holocaust, what it was like for their families, how it affected them in the present. Many older Germans simply did not speak of it. It was an embarrassment, something that they were ashamed of - for whatever reason, whether it be action, inaction, ignorance, denial. Some likely didn't speak out of respect, some out of pain. At that time, there were buildings occupied by the American military that bore the marks of the Third Reich. Swastikas inlaid in tile work of WWII-era buildings, covered with carpet, but frequently pulled back to satisfy the curiosity of youngish Americans. A rather macabre visual reminder of the events that we had learned from history books.

We were acquainted with one family that embraced the members of our Army unit, as the family patriarch, Dr. Uhl, credited his life to American soldiers and his family showed their eternal thanks by befriending the soldiers. They entertained, shared their home, 'adopted' single soldiers, took us to a friend's Christmas tree farm each year, and bottled and served a potent brown liqueur that was legendary for its memory-erasing abilities.

 No doubt, the people of Germany have had to deal with a history that is notorious, inexplicable, horrifying, humiliating. The German people are infinitely sensitive to nationalistic behavior and displays. How difficult it must be, then, to be faced with the growing threat of 'Islaminisation', and struggle with the inevitable judgment that will/would come should they take a stand against immigration, or rally for people of a certain race, culture, or ethnicity to be prohibited from living in Germany. I hope that Germans can find some middle ground. Some place where patriotic Germans have the freedom to express their views without being branded an extremist. Some place where voicing concerns about national security and the need to control immigration doesn't earn comparisons to Hitler.

December 15, 2014

FOD

Looking ahead to Friday, when the Obama family will pack up and head to Hawaii for the holidays.  On Friday, I will be at work.  Then again on Monday, Tuesday, and part of Wednesday.  Might have to come in the next Friday.

Am I bitter?  Not so far as I get to spend Christmas with friends and family, people that I love.  I have had the privilege of spending Christmas with family in Hawaii once.  And once was enough.  I find we love each other more when we can go to our own respective homes at the end of the day.

I am bitter about the annual holiday that I, and my fellow taxpayers, pay for.  Take the example of the British royals visiting the states last week.
The duke and duchess will take commercial flights and stay in a New York hotel, which their spokespeople wouldn’t name.
Their retinue includes two private secretaries, two media aides, an adviser, a personal assistant, and a privately paid hairdresser for Kate. The British government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Royal Foundation — the couple’s and Harry’s charity — and St. Andrews are splitting other trip costs.
Why should the American people fund the vacation(s) of the president, his family, his entourage and their families, etc., etc.?  The Obama's have plenty of personal wealth.  It is about damn time that someone enacts legislation, or whatever it will take, that forces presidents (not just this one) to fund their own damn leisure activities.

December 12, 2014

Pace Yourself

Most of us have had a job or a situation in which we were cautioned, or observed, that our work pace was such that it was going to make others look bad, or set an expectation for the future that might not serve us well.

This morning, I walked into work and was greeted by several employees that were ready to take up their pitchforks and light the torches...their direct deposit wasn't in their bank account.  Payday is Friday and, as with most ACH transactions, we have grown accustomed to seeing a pending deposit notice or the money credited to the account around midnight on Thursday.  It doesn't matter that the contractual agreement says that pay is credited by COB on Friday.  When it deviates from the norm, all bets are off.

For field employees, it is the worst.  They threaten to walk off the job, and, at best, will work at about a quarter of their normal productivity until the money is in their account.  No matter that it isn't due to them until the end of the work day.

Remember when you had to work a full Friday and then the boss would hand out the paychecks?  There is some beauty in that system that is lost on today's worker.  An honest day's work for an honest day's pay.

December 10, 2014

'No time to date' is the least of his issues

I work in the industry, so I am keenly aware of the benefits and drawbacks of people working in boom towns.  Housing is at a premium, services are often scarce.  Even big cities, like the Midland/Odessa area in Texas, have seen their resources tested by the influx of oil and gas patch workers and those that support them.

Their are opportunists in every crowd.  And this guy, well, he takes the cake:
I work in the oilfield (mid 20’s) and have no time to date so I’m looking for a homeless girl that wants a place to stay . You do not need to work just cook clean and bedroom fun. I want someone I can chill with watch movies with and play PS4 with and gamer girls are a plus. You go from the streets to a big comfortable bed , hot bubble baths , and good food and a person to cuddle with on the couch. I want a girl to take to movies walks in the park , and to share hot coco with when the winter comes. You must be drug free and willing to stay that way. I have a high sex drive and love to cuddle. If this sounds like something you would be willing to try please send a couple pics to prove you are real and put the word “Home” in the title. You must swallow. I am real and it has been a little rainy lately, in fact it’s raining right now and all weekend!! Any RACE is fine under 25 preferred. Any older than that and you’ll come with an attitude and blame me for your situation…..!! Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks
This gem of a 'job' description was posted in the housing section of Craigslist, 'cause that's where homeless people look for housing, right?

December 8, 2014

FOD

The poor prez didn't get to play golf this weekend, instead he had the pleasure of getting a fiber optic tube crammed down his throat.  (And, yes, I wish I could have been the one doing the cramming).

When someone in my family gets a sore throat, they take an over-the-counter pain reliever, suck on a throat lozenge, or, if we are feeling particularly indulgent, mom might spring for the Chloraseptic numbing spray.  If there is fever, or spots, we shell out a $40 copay to have a professional diagnosis.

The president gets a sore throat and gets a full ENT workup.  I get that he is the president, and isn't bound by Obamacare or thoughts of cost.  But, really, what a frickin' wuss.  The diagnosis was inflammation due to acid reflux.  Ya know what exacerbates acid reflux?  Smoking.  Think Barry is off the patch and Nicorette, again?

Ya know what else triggers acid reflux?  Sweets, high fat foods, fried stuff.  Maybe Barry should take his meals with the school children of America, and do as Michelle decrees.

Maybe Oblowhole can appreciate the rising bile so many of us deal with each day, as we live in this quagmire of his administration.

December 7, 2014

Pearl Harbor

I am struggling mightily with simply writing a post of remembrance and thankfulness for the brave American military men and women that died on this day in 1941.  The struggle is borne of being a child of an era that found peace in our military might, slept better at night knowing that there were courageous Americans in uniform standing guard on behalf of my country, and my freedoms.  We are no longer that great nation, and I feel that we have a government that is an embarrassment to the memory of those who so valiantly lived and died as patriotic Americans.

Further deriding that which I can't (alone) immediately change doesn't serve any purpose,other than to vent my own personal anger.

My prayers today remember those whose lives were changed by the events at Pearl Harbor.  Our military, their families, and the people of Hawaii - you are remembered, with much love and appreciation, today.

December 4, 2014

War Ink

This is pretty cool.

December 3, 2014

I knew a young Labrador who swallowed a sock...

...I don't know why he swallowed a sock.
Perhaps he's dumb as a rock.
We struggle mightily with keeping our male chocolate Labrador, Mosby, from eating socks.  He most frequently snakes Crash's socks, we are not sure if it is ease of opportunity or a particular affinity.  Crash is a typical 7-year old boy.  He takes his socks off and leaves them strewn about.  Mosby has also mastered removal of Crash's hamper lid, and he goes nosing around for smelly socks if he can gain access to the little man's room.  He likes the other kids' socks as well, but they do a marginally better job of keeping them contained.  Thus, our home has become one with a hallway of closed bedroom doors, in an attempt to keep the damn dog from ingesting something that may not find its way back out without surgical intervention.  
Some families mysteriously lose socks in the laundry.  We often find our missing socks in the yard, encased in Labrador fecal matter.    
We have discussed the challenge with our veterinarian, and are always on guard, watching for the warning signs that a sock is stuck somewhere in his digestive tract.  He was sympathetic, as he has a Labradoodle that noshes on his baby's socks.  We were in agreement that the small socks are something of a blessing, as they seem to get regurgitated or expelled out the other end.  The doc looked Mosby in the eye and said, "I don't want to see you in my O.R."
Mosby didn't take that to heart.
Boom was home from college for the weekend and, not being a full-time resident, she wasn't vigilant about keeping her socks out of reach.  Her luggage was open on her bedroom floor, and Mosby was in top retriever form, grabbing her socks, demanding attention in return for the fact that his sister was up on Boom's bed with her.  One minute Mosby was standing there with a wool sock hanging out of his mouth, the next he was gone down the hall, and we couldn't find the sock.  The large, adult-sized wool boot sock.  A sock that probably wouldn't pass as easily as a child's ankle sock.
We spent the next half hour walking Mosby around the yard, waiting for the hydrogen peroxide emetic to kick in.  Eventually, it did, and out came half-digested Purina and TWO of Boom's socks.  We hadn't even noticed the small black sock was missing until we saw it expelled.
He hasn't learned his lesson, as I pulled a baseball knee sock of Crash's out of his snout last night.  He has expanded his horizons, though.  We call him, 'The Dog Who Ate Christmas'.

December 1, 2014

FOD

Golf Count: 48/205

In what is being billed as a promotion for "Small Business Saturday", the president and his daughters shopped at an independent bookstore this past weekend.

I was curious about the story, after seeing the body language that the Obama girls exhibited last week during the pardoning of the turkey.  A Republican congressman's staff member posted a screed on Facebook about their outfits and behavior, and, got vilified as you would expect.  I didn't read her exact post, but I would guess that maybe she coulda woulda shoulda picked her words better or something.  And, since I am not an important person whose words will get me a Change.org petition calling for my job, I get to say what I feel - Hey, Obama girls, dress, act, and speak with a little class. If Since your parents aren't good role models, sign up for cotillion classes or something.


So, back to the bookstore, in which one of the daughters, Malia, commented about Chuck Todd's book about her father.  Apparently, she doesn't think he has enough life or work experience to be writing a book "yet", and called him "sad".

Malia must have forgotten that her father's first book was published when he was 34-year's old, intended to help launch his political career.  I don't like the guy, but feel it is worth defending the point, that Chuck Todd is 42-year's old, has over 20 year's worth of experience in the political journalism arena.

And whatever happened to the Obama daughters being shielded from the press?  Is that only enforced when they aren't making uninformed comments that the president will repeat, and then get put on blast to the media?

November 28, 2014

Watch your step

I had a good laugh over this evening's Drudge Report headline story:
"Rick Gets Ready"
Just over 24 hours prior, the Governor of Texas walked right in front of me.  The Princess was leaning on the rail of an elevated walkway when he passed by, putting his head right below hers.  I joked that she could have kissed it.  I wasn't expecting the governor, and possible presidential candidate, so when he looked up at me, I stammered a bit and simply said, "Hello, sir."

So now the part that made me chuckle reading the Drudge headline.  Mere seconds after passing by me, Rick Perry did something most true Texans know not to do.  He walked right behind a horse.  Between the horses rear-end and the elevated walkway we were standing on, to be more precise.  He might have had 8 inches to spare on either side.  No room for escape, or evasion, should the horse kick or back up.  And, poor Anita was in tow.

I would guess that the Governor, being who he is, as well as being a prominent former Aggie, gets to enter Kyle Field from the back entrance each time he visits.  But, really, he should know better than to try to sneak by Parson's Mounted Cavalry as they are lining up to enter the stadium.

As he squeezed through, my daughter and a couple of other riders started to comment about the not-so-smart person who had just passed perilously close to the business end of their fellow trooper's horse when they recognized the perpetrator.  One false move and Rick Perry would have been kicked/crushed/trampled to death by the ceremonial Cavalry unit of his alma mater.  That would have made quite a different headline.

I think there is a lesson for Mr. Perry to learn in this, something along the lines of keeping one's eyes looking forward, avoiding asses, steering clear of manure...

November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Belated, but heartfelt.

November 24, 2014

FOD

Golf count: 47/204.  He squeezed in a round in sunny Las Vegas.  Sources say he was greeted warmly by the course grounds crew.

SECDEF Chuck Hagel is out.  Not sure that I care if he was forced out or quit.

I think Obama took a shot at Hillary on Sunday when he commented about the next presidential election:
Speaking with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Obama said in picking a new leader, Americans will "want to drive something off the lot that doesn't have as much mileage as me."
Obama spoke in the context of saying complimentary things about Hillary Clinton. She was "an outstanding secretary of state," Obama said, and is "a friend" who would be "a formidable candidate" and "a great president." Still, Obama stopped short of actually expressing support for a Clinton run. "I am very interested in making sure that I've got a Democratic successor," Obama said, adding that Clinton or whoever else wins the Democratic nomination will inevitably adopt some policies that are different from Obama's. "One of the benefits of running for president is you can stake out your own positions ... and have a clean slate, a fresh start," Obama explained. "I think the American people, they're going to want, you know, that new car smell."
He didn't mention Joe, but I would guess that he has too many miles on him, as well, to fall into the 'new car smell' candidate category.

I am not sure when the tide turned, and I recognize that Saturday Night Live has long used political fodder for their comedic bits, and yet, the shots they are taking seem to be different, somehow.  Here is Saturday's opening bit, a parody of the School House Rock song that is now stuck in my head.  I love that the executive order is a smoker, and the bill keeps tumbling down the Capitol Building stairs, a la Eddie Murphy's Aunt Bunny.


November 23, 2014

Do they do "American"?

One of The Princess' favorite movies is The Book Thief.  She loved the book first, but is now equally enamored of the movie (despite its omission and artistic license with what she believed to be several key elements of the book).  HBO has the movie in rotation, and I have sat with her on at least three recent occasions, watching.

For those who are unfamiliar, The Book Thief is a fictional work set in Nazi Germany during WWII.  As such, the movie features English speaking actors affecting heavy German accents.

As I sat watching the movie, again, this week, I wondered about foreign-made films set in America.  Are there German films about the USA that feature Germans speaking their native language with an American accent?

I don't have a proclivity for foreign languages.  I have known, and envied, folks who were able to speak multiple languages, and could learn new ones in days, it seemed.  I can order food, find a bathroom and train station, and swear effectively in Spanish, French, and German.  And that is simply born of rote memorization from heavy use when living and traveling in areas where I heard little else (Texas included).

As such, I am not a foreign film fan.  I don't think I would even easily recognize if a foreign speaker was using an American accent.

I think it would be an interesting experiment to compare two films side-by-side, one with accents, one without, and see if it really affects the emotions evoked by the story.

November 18, 2014

Inverted Priorities

I have been exposed to many facets of our health care system recently, both personally and professionally.  It has been refreshing to know that my physicians think that Obamacare is as f'ed up as the rest of us think it is.  I am disgusted by the thought that my family makes hard decisions about our budget expenditures so that we can be responsible with our disposable income, while deadbeats and leeches are getting medical care, food stamps, free phones, etc., on the taxpayer's dime.  Reading this article makes me feel better knowing that these things don't go unnoticed by doctors:
We fling open the doors of America’s emergency departments to help those who can’t afford health care.  We have legislated this protection: No person can be turned away for financial reasons.  This is very compassionate, and represents the higher angels of our culture.  Alas, it also is emblematic of the stupider demons of government.  You see, the ER demonstrates the inverted priorities of American society...
...It’s all about priorities: those of individuals and those of leaders.  Our leaders, ever convinced that we must give medical care to those perceived to be in need, often forget that modern definitions of poverty and need may be a bit different from need throughout human history.  And that if a family has an expensive cell plan, new truck and big-screen TV with satellite, it might not be unreasonable to ask them to put up a little money for their own health care.
The entitlement society has taken over.  Common sense is gone.  The doctor writing the article points out several things that would be hilarious, if you could forget about the fact that you have probably done without some of these things, because you can't responsibly afford them due to the tax burden of supporting these people:
In the ER, expensive tattoos abound.  Piercing is ubiquitous.  Almost every adult and child has a smartphone, it seems.  All too many spend the duration of their ER visit glaring at the screen of said phone; barely looking up at the physician who is attempting to engage them in meaningful conversation about the reason they came for care.
Cigarettes populate purses and drug screens are notoriously positive for at least chronic narcotic pain medications, but often other substances, among them marijuana and amphetamines.
Dental care?  It is regularly ignored because, in the words of my patients, “I don’t have dental insurance.”  Guess what.  Neither do I, and I pay a lot for insurance.  Dental care has typically been a cash business. That’s why dentists, crafty guys and gals that they are, spend their time mucking around the human mouth.  Floss and toothpaste?  Seems a bit excessive compared to a nice new tattoo.
But, on the southern end of things, carefully groomed pubic hair is not at all out of the question.  The teeth may fall out; the nether regions will be carefully tended. 
Good to know that my family constantly re-evaluates our budget to keep discretionary spending at a minimum while folks on Medicaid are getting bikini waxes.

November 17, 2014

FOD

If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it.  Did Obama think that if he repeated that phrase often enough, that it would magically become true?

I am, unfortunately, heavily involved in the 'shopping' process for my company's benefits.  When you work for a small company, you wear a lot of hats.  I hate the chore of determining what corporate healthcare plan my company should provide.

If you like your healthcare plan, you can't keep it, because Obamacare dictates that all insurance plans follow a 'metallic' system of categorization.  And they set the guidelines for what makes a plan 'platinum', 'gold', 'silver', or 'bronze'.  All plans have changed in some form or fashion, as insurers change coverage and categories to meet the deadlines set by Obamacare.  This further complicates my task, as it is now impossible to compare apples to apples.

There have been numerous delays and 'non-enforcement' advisories related to the mandates set by Obamacare.  Among them, the ability for carriers to offer 'transition relief' policies that seem to be the same coverage for one more year.  My company's carrier is Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas.  They offered us a 'transition relief' continuation of our current policy, at a mere 19% increase over last year.

As much as we hate Obamacare, and the idea of ACA-compliant plans, we found one that will actually cost less than sticking with what we had, and with comparable benefits.  Gee, anyone else think that is intentional?  What better way to phase out non-compliant and grandfathered plans, than to make them astronomically priced?

I realize that there is not likely to be a repeal of Obamacare.  Even if there were, insurance companies aren't going to back down from the pricing high-water mark that has now been set.  I hope there are some changes made, something that encourages competition in the marketplace and prevents me from paying for the non-insured through both my policy premiums and my tax dollars.

794 days until our next president is inaugurated.

November 15, 2014

Swimming in sludge

My house is old.  Not antique old, but nearing 30 years and lots of stuff is wearing out.  We are the second owners, the original builder-owner sold it to us over eight years ago, so they saw the old girl through her first two decades.  And they took great care of her.

We have had our share of maintenance issues.  And this year seems to have been especially costly.  One new HVAC system, two recent calls for water heater repair (thank goodness not a replacement), and today, there is a nice gentleman in my front yard earning overtime/emergency call pay as he empties my septic tank that was apparently maxed out due to one of the previously mentioned issues with the water heater that had been constantly filling and draining itself for 10 days before we noticed it.

The windows need to be replaced in the near future.  The flooring needed to be replaced some time ago.  There are any number of cosmetic improvements to be made.  There are major appliances nearing the end of their useful lives.  There is a constant list of repairs needed.

And yet, I have seen the quality of most new builds, and while I love some of the modern amenities, I can also see the value in an analog home.  I think we will keep patching up the old girl for a few years.  She has good bones, and we are making some great family memories here.

November 14, 2014

Defensive Driving

As I prepare to add a teenage boy driver to my insurance policy, I am more acutely aware of every little thing that could affect my bill, especially an accident or other claim.  This does not always mesh with my otherwise assertive driving style.

I will be honest, if my kids aren't in the car, I don't always play nice.

Don't get me wrong, I am not unsafe.  Nor am I rude.  If traffic and the situation allows, I let people in front of me, I merge politely, I even laugh off most people who are obviously in a hurry and making aggressive traffic moves.  But d-bags who need their licenses revoked, and teenagers with an attitude are going to get reciprocal treatment from me.

In my daily commute there is a double traffic light intersection where two divided state highways meet.  The space between the two lights is short, and the designated left turn lane for the second light actually begins at the first light.

This does not deter people from running to the front of the left-most through lane at the first light, and then trying to force their way across the solid line and into the turn lane before the second light.  This morning I watched someone try this move up against a driver that was clearly not going to have any of it.  Rude Escalade versus F-250 that wasn't going to let her in.  At one point they were both occupying half of the turn lane and half of each neighboring lane, putting the F-250 in oncoming traffic's path.

I applauded him for not budging.  I would have loved to have heard what each of the drivers was saying, though their driving and hand gestures provided revealing clues.  I put myself in the truck driver's seat.  I fantasized about being in the same situation, sans passengers.  I dreamed about not yielding an inch and letting her sideswipe me, as the fault would have been crystal clear, and the car type indicates someone that is likely insured, or has a hefty bank account.  Police would come, they might even ticket her for reckless driving, or illegal lane change, as the witnesses would be aligned against her.  It would be a win for all the responsible drivers around the nation.

Then I came back to reality and accepted the fact that being right wouldn't necessarily mean that the ensuing events would be pleasant.  People would be late to work because of the traffic, witnesses wouldn't really stop, the police wouldn't haul her away in cuffs for being a bitch, and would likely ask why I didn't just let her in.

But, a girl can dream, and appreciate the show when someone else drives like I wish I could.

November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day

I remember my father on this day, and his service.

I feel blessed to have been an Air Force brat for a time, and then an Army wife, for a time.  The time as an Army wife has provided more friends that are veterans, than a normal 'civilian' life would offer.  I wish I could list them all here.  I wish I could call each of them up, and thank them for protecting my freedom, and yours.

For all that serve, or have served, we owe you more gratitude than you will receive on this day, or any other, for that matter.  Please know that you are appreciated.

November 10, 2014

FOD

Let the games begin.

Now that the midterm elections are over, we can expect a great deal of unpleasant action from the Oval Office.  If the distance between Obama and Dims running for office during this election cycle is any indicator, no one will be lining up for the president's endorsement the next time around.  That means that he has no reason to make friends these next two years.

What will he do?

Push a minimum wage hike.

Increase regulation of the internet under the guise of net neutrality.

Ramp up the number of American soldiers deployed to Iraq.

Get mocked by foreign countries.

And play more golf than ever.  Golf count; 46 rounds this year.  203 since taking office.

November 7, 2014

Painting a target on their back.

I have, in my life, seen some startling examples of loyalty - both misplaced and earned.  I understand fully the meaning of the adage "blood is thicker than water", having seen people stick by family members that were clearly adulterers, liars, and criminals.

As a former Army wife, I have witnessed the camaraderie and brotherhood of those who train and fight alongside one another.  I have also seen the deadbeats and jerks who populate the military - but, as with society, they tend to self-destruct and fade away.

I don't understand what is going on with SEAL Team Six.  Granted, the men making waves are former members, but as a whole, everyone I have ever known that was a member of any sort of elite military force was honorable, committed, and obedient, honoring the secrecy that comes with the sort of missions they are tasked with, even when their service ended.

It is distasteful to me that two former members are trying to profit off of their stories of the mission that (presumably) resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden.  I don't feel that it is necessary for the American public, or the world, to know who actually pulled the trigger.  I think they are idiots for exposing themselves, and can't help but think it is simply a matter of time before they become targets themselves.

November 5, 2014

Well now, can we get some things done?

The Republicans are enjoying their victories this morning.  In my state of Texas, there were no big surprises.  The only governor we have had since Bush will be turning over the reins to another staunch Repub, one who has made national headlines during his tenure as the Texas Attorney General - one who liked to sue the federal government:
Here’s a typical workday for Texas’ attorney general: "I go into the office, I sue the federal government and I go home," Greg Abbott was quoted as saying to a tea party group in an April 30, 2013, Associated Press news story.
Speaking to FreedomWorks Texas in Austin on April 27, Abbott said, "I’ve sued the Obama administration now 25 times, over the last four years."
Denton, Texas fracking opponents scored a victory with their ballot proposition to ban fracking within the city limits.  Supposedly, all eyes were on this race, as a fracking ban in Texas is said to be a harbinger of things to come.  I am not sure what the ban has, or will, accomplish, as existing wells are grandfathered, and, well, they are about drilled out.  There are sure to be a number of legal challenges to the ban, and I am afraid the city of Denton will spend quite a bit of their taxpayer's money defending the lawsuits.

But, overwhelmingly, the good news is that Congress is fully in Republican control.  Control of the House was retained, and, it looks as if the final tally of seats will set a new record.  The Senate will finally be rid of Reid in the driver's seat.

It was heartwarming to watch Anthony Brown upset in Maryland, after the Obamas campaigned for him.  The same thing happened in Arkansas, where the Clintons were unable to propel Dim candidates to victory,

We can rejoice today, but I hope that no one loses sight of the next election.

November 3, 2014

FOD

Tomorrow is election day.  If you didn't vote during the early voting period, get there tomorrow.  No excuses.

While tomorrow could result in a Republican majority, we are still faced with two more years of Obama and his pen.  Things have been rather quiet lately, as the president isn't doing much out in front of the media.  And, some things he has been doing have been ill-received, and the MSM won't widely report their fallen angel when he and his wife are heckled and booed at events.

Don't assume that he isn't fuming.  And don't assume that he plans to fade quietly away.  No, I think this lame duck will go out in flames.  One of the scariest scenarios is this one:
President Obama’s upcoming unilateral legalization of millions of illegal immigrants is not just about amnesty, changing the culture, encouraging future illegal immigration, and so forth.  It’s about who will be president in 2016. It’s about creating a massive new population of potential Democratic voters for shady operators on the left to target.
But wait a second. These people can’t vote, you say. They’ll just be legal residents. It takes years to become a citizen! And only citizens vote.Think again...
ONLY FOUR STATES REQUIRE PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP TO REGISTER TO VOTE: Kansas, Arizona, Georgia and Alabama...
...In some states, the driver’s license and voter registration application are on the same form, and the applicant simply signs. In small print, the form says applicants acknowledge they are U.S. citizens. In other states, voter registration is a separate form and applicants check a box.
In either case, once signed, the forms are automatically sent to the county or state registrar of voters, and the name is added to voter rolls. State DMV officials are not required to authenticate citizenship.
Our only hope is that Obama's narcissism gets in the way of him doing anything to help out his party.

October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!


My kids know to hand over Kit Kats and Twix before they even hit the bottom of the bucket.  If I eat them as we walk, the calories don't count, right?

There has been some measure of ridiculousness in a couple of north Texas towns, as misguided and conceited people try to separate trick-or-treating and October 31st/Halloween.  What in the world could be so important as to cause city governments to declare a date change to Halloween trick-or-treating?  High school football, of course.  

Smart kids with transportation could really bring in the candy haul, going from the towns that moved Halloween to the 30th and November 1st, with the actual day in between.

 

October 30, 2014

Picking a fracking fight

The eyes of the (energy) nation are on Denton, Texas, a city that borders my little burg, as a grassroots effort managed to put a fracking ban on the municipal ballot.  There is a ton of money being thrown at the vote, as well as various civic organizations taking sides, and a whole lotta folks with their panties in a collective wad on both sides of the issue.  The Chamber of Commerce is against the ban, the North Texas Fair and Rodeo took the same position, and the two universities that call Denton home refuse to choose a side, which ticks everyone off.  Those 'for' the ban, are generally individuals with backyard interests and a lack of science to back up their health scare claims.

And for reasons of full disclosure I will mention that I am in the gas biz, though fracking isn't what we do.  My position does avail me of endless pages of studies, documents, key note speeches, and other information that I am able to vet and base my opinion on.  But my intent today was not to argue the merits of natural gas and how we harvest it.

Yesterday, at an industry event, one of the sponsors was handing out the I (heart) fracking buttons pictured in yesterday's post.  They were the most popular items in the place.  Usually the booth giving away cigars runs out first, but yesterday everyone wanted that button.  I had to pull some strings to get one.

Today, I have a few last minute errands to run in Denton before we celebrate Bang's 17th birthday this evening.  I think my first stop should be to purchase a GoPro camera that I can strap to a hat and capture the reactions to my fracking button.  Considering the vitriol of the fight they have going on, I wouldn't be surprised if the camera captured an assault, death threat, or, even better, a science debate with a NIMBY tree hugger.

October 29, 2014

October 28, 2014

No rain, but it's pouring

We have a plumbing issue of an emergent nature.  One of our two water heaters is acting up.  By acting up I mean leaking, in an unpredictable and frightful manner.  And, as luck would have it, it is the heater that services all of the showering facilities in the house, thus necessitating a swift resolution.

Complicating matters is what I don't know.  Mr. H, as I have mentioned a time or twelve, isn't handy in a home improvement kind of way.  He is smart in a number of other areas, but was raised in a firm "call a guy" environment, when things go awry around the house.  He was the only one home when the first symptom cropped up.  Unfortunately, he didn't know to check the appropriate doohickeys and settings, so I have little information to go on.

I am more of a fix-it girl, but sometimes calling a guy is the best answer.  Times like this, it is the only answer because the Harper Handwoman service is overbooked in other departments.  I have to be out the door by o'dark-thirty for an all day corporate event tomorrow (okay, okay, it is a clay shoot, but it is for work), the following day is Bang's birthday, the next Halloween, and then the weekend (also known as pay-through-the-nose or S.O.L time, should a repairman be needed).  Mr. H is going to have to call the plumber, and I am going to have to pray that he remembers everything I told him to ask, before agreeing to repair or replacement.

Here's to letting go of some responsibility and hoping that it doesn't cost me a $1,000.  Do you think the plumber would mind my husband standing over his shoulder with a cell phone, Skyping me while the issue is diagnosed?

October 27, 2014

FOD

My prediction, that once seemed a stretch, has come to pass, and two years earlier than I even thought it might be realized.  Obama's golf count exceeded 200 - in fact, counting this past weekend's activity, the total sits at 202 rounds during his term-and-a-half, having played 45 times this year alone.

And, SNL did a great job of commenting on every other facet of the Obama administration this weekend:


October 23, 2014

Canadian jihadists

RIP Nathan Cirillo.  A Canadian patriot and soldier, serving a short rotation at a national monument, in what should be a ceremonial guard position - the sort of job that's highlights generally include reminding young people not to climb up on the statue, and posing for tourist photos.  Instead, yesterday, Cirillo was gunned down by a madman with ISIS ties.

And, Canada enters the fray.  Not that they weren't concerned, or involved in the 'global war on terror', but until the hit-and-run car incident on Monday, and this act, they had not suffered the sort of high profile native-soil attack that other nations have endured.

These acts wither in comparison to the horror our, and other, nations have faced at the hand of terrorists.  And yet, we seem to share a common bond in the blathering of media wonks that know just exactly why insane jihadists do what they do:
It is always stunning when a country that has brought violence and military force to numerous countries acts shocked and bewildered when someone brings a tiny fraction of that violence back to that country. Regardless of one’s views on the justifiability of Canada’s lengthy military actions, it’s not the slightest bit surprising or difficult to understand why people who identify with those on the other end of Canadian bombs and bullets would decide to attack the military responsible for that violence.
How absurd.  Is this reporter actually trying to make a 'they started it' argument to validate some level of understanding to explain the actions of a homegrown terrorist?

October 22, 2014

Let's make some money...

Okay you Pinteresty creative types.  The pictures below show pieces of 12" steel pipe with various cuts and welds.  These are used to test welders.  For every welder we put on a job, each of them will have tested by cutting and welding one of the straight pieces and one of the pieces with a perpendicular piece attached.

We have piles of these things that are usually just sold for scrap, or trashed in some way.  Surely there has to be something that can be done with them.  They almost look like something, already - I just can't figure out what it is.




October 21, 2014

Ebola Lies

I realize I sound like a broken record, but this really ticks me off.

For weeks now, we have been told that there is no reason to panic about Ebola exposure.  We are faced with a constant barrage of quacks on television condescendingly telling us the difference between panic-induced reactions, and the science that we should be relying on in relation to the risks of contracting Ebola.  

Direct contact with an infected person's bodily fluids is required, they said, and then proceeded to fill 53 barrels with the personal belongings of the three Dallas-area patients, and send them off for incineration.  


Yesterday, the contact group of the first victim was released from quarantine.  We are told that none of them contracted the disease.  

How in the world can that be true?  How did the family of Thomas Duncan care for him during at least 4 days of Ebola symptoms without contracting the virus, while two nurses that cared for him using CDC protocols and protective gear, did?

I have no trust in this government or their response to this outbreak.  My heart breaks for Duncan's family, as they have lost him, as well as any personal keepsakes from his life.  If the two nurses recover, they will return home to apartments void of their clothing, carpet, and other personal items.  How is that justified, when 'science' says Ebola can't live outside the body for more than six days?  

October 20, 2014

FOD

Oh, to have this opportunity:

Obama makes rare campaign trail appearance, people leave early
Wouldn't it be fun to have the chance to stand up, turn your back, and walk out on the current president?  Not many Dims have been keen on having the president appear at their campaign stops, and I would bet that Maryland's gubernatorial candidate, Anthony Brown, is second guessing his decision to have Obama stump for him.

The president begged those in the room to vote,
"You've got to vote," Obama repeated over and over at a rally for Brown in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, near Washington.
Democrats have a history of not turning up to vote in midterm elections.
"There are no excuses. The future is up to us," Obama said.
A steady stream of people walked out of the auditorium while he spoke, however, and a heckler interrupted his remarks.

I haven't really paid much attention to other state races, and the article mentions the comfortable lead Brown holds in Maryland, so maybe his close association with Obama won't hurt his election hopes.  I can say with certainty, though, that I don't have much fear of a Dim winning the Texas governor's race.  Even the liberal Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial board picked Republican Greg Abbott, not able to find much substance or realism in Wendy Davis' platform.

Michelle Obama recorded a campaign robocall message for Davis.  Maybe she can parlay that into a new campaign song...

October 17, 2014

Dusty but no Ebola

I know I have been lax here, work has required my presence in the Texas oil patch, out west.  It is dusty, dry, lacking in amenities, but booming.

I didn't come up for air the first 48 hours, and when I did, it was to read a news story about yet another nurse testing positive for Ebola.  And this after she flew on a commercial flight...with the CDC's permission.  Or maybe not, as her uncle claimed otherwise on a morning news spot.

Today the rampant story is about a lab worker that handled Ebola patient samples and is on the Carnival Cruise Ship 'Magic'.  Nothing to fear, but, for some reason, the U.S. notified other countries, and Belize denied entry of the ship, and they are now working to get the woman and her husband off the ship.

Anyone else think they should just let that ship sit for a few more days, to be sure that the incubation period has expired?

I sat down to the evening news last night and got a 2 minute weather update, a 2 minute sports update, with the entirety of the remaining newscast slot filled with Ebola stories, along with a split-screen shot of the helicopter following the progress of Infected Nurse #1's ambulance as it traveled to the hospital.

I have said it before and I will say it again.  I do not believe that our government/CDC has any clue what they are dealing with or how to handle it.  If it isn't airborne, why transfer patients to bio-containment units?  If it can't live outside a host body for more than six days, why decontaminate and/or incinerate infected person's belongings?  Couldn't they just shut and lock the doors to their houses and not let anyone in for a week?

Schools are closing, cleaning, sending out warning letters.  Idiots are flooding 911 with calls.

I kinda wish I had stayed in West Texas.

October 13, 2014

FOD

People are beginning to panic about Ebola.  This is not meant to diminish the lives lost, or the families affected, in any way.  I simply mean to say that Americans now see that an infected person entered the U.S.  That man, Thomas Duncan, has died.  One of the people that helped take care of him has now tested positive for Ebola.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to think about how many people could potentially be out there, infected, exposing others to the virus.

The now-infected nurse cared for Duncan while he was in ICU, when it was known that he was gravely ill with Ebola.  What about the bevy of people that cared for him in the E.R. when he was originally sent home?  

I ask again, why, if this disease is spread by direct bodily fluid contact, and can only live outside the body for up to six days, are officials doing haz-mat clean ups of homes, vehicles, and hospitals?  Why did they insist on cremation for Duncan?

I don't know about your view, but mine is that 'we' have no confidence in our government, or the government agencies that are tasked with oversight of things like public health.  'We' have no reason to believe that they are telling us the truth, are taking the proper action, or that they even care to.

I don't believe that Obama believes the danger of anything, quite frankly.  And, where other presidents had the intelligence to surround themselves with people who helped offset their weaknesses, this president is surrounded by people just as short-sighted, self-serving, and narcissistic as he is.

October 8, 2014

Skunked Weiner

Our little Dachshund, Roscoe, got skunked last night, right in the frickin' face, as I imagine his face was right about spray-height for the skunk.  And, as with all thorough skunkings, it happened right at bedtime, so instead of tucking in, we were in the yard bathing the dog with de-skunking stuff.

While his odor is no longer eye-watering bad, he still smells skunky.  Adding insult to injury is Mr. H's diminished sense of smell.  We put Roscoe in the garage for the night, and this morning, Mr. H let him in the house.  Luckily, I caught him before he got too far into the house to rub his smelly head on anything.  He needs about two more de-skunking baths and several hours of airing out before I will welcome him back inside.

Skunkings are always a major PITA, but there also seems to be a humorous side to each incident, as well.  This one was on Mr. H, who had a pants-soiling moment coming face to face, and then face to rear, with the skunk.  Roscoe wasn't coming to the door, so Mr. H had grabbed a flashlight to go find him, as most times he can be found digging around the gutter downspouts trying to get toads.  When Mr. H's flashlight caught two sets of eyes gleaming in the darkness, it caused him a bit of a panic.  i wish I could have seen his face as the skunk swung its hind end around to take aim at him.  Luckily, he got away before being sprayed (what are their re-load capabilities, I wonder?).

Roscoe is so distressed about the disruption to his cushy life, that he has been howling pitifully.  We warned the neighbors that, despite the sound of it, Roscoe isn't dying a slow and painful death, he is just mad about being relegated to the garage.  I tried to calm him down before leaving for work, I turned the radio on for company, and had brought a special antler bone for him to gnaw on.  The little shit was hellbent on escape, and in the process of me trying to slip him a treat, he made a break for it, causing me to bloody my knuckles trying to stop him.  Thankless little turd.

October 7, 2014

Concussed

Attic pull down stairs: +1
Harper's forehead: -1

Our attic spaces are accessed by pull down door/folding stair combo units.  Our garage attic is the most used space for storage of seasonal items, old furniture, and empty product boxes to satisfy those warranties that require the return of the item in its original packaging.  It was just such a box that caused my injury.  A big yellow Dewalt box, the one that my newest miter saw came in.  It has been sitting in the garage for months, and as I was working on projects this past weekend, I decided tidy up a bit and get things put away.

I can't pinpoint the whys and hows, but the 'what' was the attic stairs somehow beginning to unfold themselves and falling down to whack me on the forehead.  Not my brightest moment.

I didn't lose consciousness, but did see stars and become nauseous.  Now, some three days later, I am still sporting a significant swelling and several shades of bruising.  I can also tell that my brain isn't working as well as it should, but we don't need to tell anyone about that!

I wish I had a better story, though the folks at the office are having fun with it.  I get a few stares out in public, too, which would normally give me the opportunity to make some snide comment to fuel their speculation, but my concussed brain isn't as fast as normal when trying to come up with something witty to say.

October 6, 2014

FOD

My brain isn't working at full capacity (more on that tomorrow), so I don't have the ability, or time to research, whether there has been a president that stood up from Day One and refused to blame his predecessor(s) for any shortcoming, statistic, or situation.  There are certainly inherited challenges to any leadership position, be it president of the United States, CEO, or Den Mother.  I have always believed that true leadership involved taking those challenges in stride and owning every step forward or backward from that point.

We all know that Obama's favorite pastime is blaming Bush.  Not even the passage of time has lessened the proclivity of the Obama administration to blame the guy who came before.  Obama is also a gold medal contender in passing the buck and throwing others under the bus.  I have seen dozens of political cartoons that illustrate the pile of bodies under the Greyhound.  Even left coast editorial boards have seen the light:
What’s the saddest statistic of the political season? Here’s one contender: a Google search for the phrase “Obama ISIS buck pass” yields about 478,000 results.
That’s what happens when a president makes comments like the ones Barack Obama made during an interview on “60 Minutes.” There, he haplessly explained that Jim Clapper, director of national intelligence, acknowledged he’d underestimated how quickly ISIS could rise to threaten the Mideast.
True enough – but also misleading, and another unforced error for our clearly beleaguered president. Mr. Obama should have recognized that he had opened himself up to legitimate charges of buck passing...
...But instead of facing the music – as John F. Kennedy did in the wake of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 – Mr. Obama all but hid behind his new press secretary, Josh Earnest.
“Everybody,” Mr. Earnest had to tell reporters, blew it on ISIS. But only the president, he went on, is “the one who takes responsibility for ensuring that we have the kinds of policies in place that are required to protect our interests around the globe.”
If only President Obama actually bothered to act like it. At the National Journal, Josh Kraushaar draws the only possible conclusion – that the ISIS flub is proof positive of a characteristic pattern of conduct. From Benghazi to Obamacare to the IRS and VA scandals, says Kraushaar, this president’s “time-tested strategy” is straightforward: “Claim he’s in the dark about his own administration’s activities, blame the mess on subordinates, and hope that with the passage of time, all will be forgotten.” 
When the Orange County Register has you pegged, it's time to get a new spin doctor that can come up with a better excuse for your failings.

October 3, 2014

Contagion

I live northwest of Dallas, so this Ebola thing is front and center on all the news outlets.

I am getting more and more confused by the minute.  I have heard 'experts' say that Ebola is only spread through direct contact of the bodily fluids of an infected person.  To me, that seems to mean that person A would need to touch person B, or be within the droplet landing vicinity of a sneeze, cough, sweat or blood, or somehow touch their excrement.

Now I am hearing that the virus can live on surfaces for a period of time.  So, when bodily fluids are no longer liquid, they are still dangerous?  Fluid does not equal liquid/wet?

One talking head will say there is nothing to worry about, that the virus can't survive long on surfaces, then the CDC sends a cleaning crew into the apartment where the infected man was staying and takes away the household linens for incineration.

Two of the infected man's family members work in the health care industry, and his daughter, when answering the door for the EMTs, refused to let them enter until they put gloves on.  Who the heck responds to a call of any sort in this day and age, without being gloved up first?

Prior to going to the hospital, the man had been in bed, sweating profusely, but feeling chilled.  His daughter brought the blanket he had been using to the hospital, and it sat on a hospital waiting room chair for hours, until the man was admitted and the family was told he was in isolation, so they should go home.  I imagine that blanket was one of the items bagged up and taken away yesterday.  I wonder about the waiting room chair?

If the virus generally only lives on surfaces for a few hours - and in a pristine environment the maximum is six days, and it can be eradicated by Lysol and other sanitation chemicals, why have several law enforcement vehicles and the ambulance used for transport been taken out of service, parked, and blocked off with biohazard tape?

Anyone else get the feeling that we don't even know what we don't know?

I wouldn't wish this type of public health scare on anyone else, but of all the cities in the U.S., I would argue that the director of Dallas County Health & Human Services is an assclown and it couldn't have happened in a worse place.  I hope that there is someone more capable and better spoken at the CDC or somewhere that will do a better job of calming fears and instilling confidence in the public.  Get Zac Thompson off the teevee.


This guy does little to make me feel safe about their ability to control this situation.

October 2, 2014

Attention Grabbers

Not a day goes by without a bleg, gofundme, or local story about an activity taking place to raise awareness and money for some cause.  Many are noble, some are silly, and increasingly they entail some attention-grabbing facet that I find annoying.

In this morning's news was a follow up on a story about a school district's four-year and $400,000 legal battle waged against students who filed a lawsuit for getting in trouble for the wearing of a rubber bracelet that read, "I (heart) boobies".  Clearly a breast cancer awareness tool, along the lines of "Save the ta-tas" and the latest "CheckYourSelfie" campaign featuring a bra cam.

Locally, there has been coverage of this guy, "Mr. Ballsy"who is pushing a giant testicle from coast to coast to raise awareness for testicular cancer:


I like the audience provided by social media and the internet, to spread the word, raise awareness, and enable those who want to lend a helping hand, educate themselves, or help fund a cause.  I don't think we are better served when we use provocative language or imagery in those campaigns.

October 1, 2014

Overstimulated

I spent the morning volunteering at school.  Holy smokes, I don't know how educators make it through the day without a drink.  I think the Ritalin is being diagnosed for the wrong group of people in that building.

I was helping with iPad rollout, as the school, sometime over the summer, decided that every student needed their very own mini iPad.  Many schools work hard, involving parents and teachers, seeking grant money or corporate sponsors for initiatives like this.  They plan, prepare, and think ahead.  This school, not so much.  They announced the initiative the first or second week of school, and along with the announcement came the notice that students (read:parents and their pocketbooks) would be responsible for cases, screen protectors, and an extra charging cord, so that one could be left at school.  For me, most of those extra expenses are times three kids.  It is somewhat satisfying to know that the first major iPad casualty was at the hands of a teacher, who ran over her new iPad with her car.

I was anxious to be on the campus today, as they had a Major Issue yesterday.  I wanted to see what the general mood was, how the administrators were handling a situation that I found hilarious when I read the email report on The Situation and The Action.  It was one of those times that I was left thinking how ridiculous the entire situation was, not to mention the fact that it apparently commanded the need for a school-wide email communication to calm the shrieking harpies.

The school has a great deal of construction taking place.  There are three new buildings that are occupied, but still undergoing some exterior finish out.  A construction worker was up on a scissor lift working, and several teachers and students reported that the worker was urinating from his perch.  A stop work order was issued and the construction company was ordered to leave the campus.  The police were called.  An emergency meeting of school and town officials was called.  I am assuming that it was the police 'investigation' and subsequent questioning that led to the discovery that the worker in question was installing part of the enclosed gutter system and had drilled a hole that released trapped water.

Couldn't someone, student, teacher, principal, custodian, construction manager - anyone, walk over to the worker, look up, and, if still unclear, say, "Whatcha doin' up there?"

Sheesh these folks are high strung.

September 30, 2014

Worn Out

My house is nearly 30 years old.  The previous owners did an excellent job caring for it, but time takes a toll, and there are many things that are wearing out, seemingly all at once.  Coupled with 1-year old Labradors and 7-year old Crash, my list of things that need repaired or replaced is far outpaced by the time and money needed to do so.

I am now faced with prioritizing the needs and wants.  Sometime Sunday night, our main overhead kitchen light fixture quit.  We have some under-cabinet lighting, as well as a separate light over the sink, that has sufficed for a couple of days, but every time I walk into the damn room, I hit the switch expecting light, and am reminded that this is one of the things that needs to be fixed, and, now!

Several outside chores have been in a hold pattern, waiting for cooler weather.  Well, it looks like that weather is coming soon, so what excuse will I have for my procrastination now?

And then there are the things that I know are going to mushroom into a Major Ordeal, once the can of worms is cracked open.  The last time I had a little plumbing issue, it cost $10,000, two weeks of jack-hammering through the slab, and digging up the last nice bit of landscaping that we had, to get it fixed.

There just aren't enough hours in the day, not to mention the lack of enthusiasm when I work all week and then am faced with nothing but additional chores all weekend.  And it's football season, for goodness sake.