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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.