Thursday, July 31, 2014

The storm of the decade



Looks like Frisco is going to get wet again.  Oops...my cell phone is now screaming a flash flood warning.

Last night we experienced the biggest lightning storm I've seen in years, and now it looks like we have one last round coming at us.

Rather perversely, I'll admit I'm a weather junkie.  I love storms, at least so long as they don't cause injury or damage.  Unfortunately last night's lightning did strike two homes setting them on fire.  But as I didn't know that at the time, I stayed up half the night taking in the sights and sounds.

My back doesn't like being prone for 8 (7?...6?) hours at a time, so I'll often get up sometime in the night and settle in to my comfy chair in the den to snooze for a while.  

I had just gotten comfortable when the sound of rolling thunder began.  It wasn't long before it was just one lightning bolt and clap of thunder after another.  It was so bright I think I could have read the newspaper with the lights off.

Thunder seems to piss off the dog.  With the first crack of thunder Luke bolted upright and ran in to the den to bark at it.  K came in to retrieve him and asked me if I wanted her to close the blinds.  

I told her she'd better not touch those blinds as I was enjoying the show.  Then just as the crescendo built, it slowly died away after a spectacular 2-hour run.

The forecast high temperature for today is 84 degrees.  :)  This climate change thing is....umm....interesting.

S




Friday, July 25, 2014

Good guns vs bad guns. Wha....what?

I wonder if anyone has the cojones to weigh in on this one:


For years now one of the questions that has bedeviled us is what, if anything, can or should we do to curb guns and the violence that accompanies them.  The idealists want to simply outlaw guns.  Just pass a law and....pfffft....problem solved.  The Bubba's want to arm us all with Gatling guns and assault rifles....commence firing! 

Being consistent with my philosophy of avoiding the extremes, I agree with those who say guns aren't the problem, but the intent of the person using it is.  Consider this:

"A psychiatric outpatient opened fire Thursday inside a psychiatrist's office at a hospital near Philadelphia, killing his caseworker and slightly wounding the doctor, who shot the gunman with his personal firearm, authorities said."  USA Today

So in this instance was the gun the villain or the good guy?  Laws that prevent the sale to/possession of guns by those who shouldn't have them don't work.  If they did, this psychiatric patient (with a criminal background no less) wouldn't have had one in the first place.  

Yet the pacifists amongst us want to disarm us, or at the very least make it extremely difficult for us to buy personal defensive firearms.  If they had their way the good doctor in the story above would probably be a victim, too, and the gunman might have kept on killing others until someone stopped him.

Here's where it gets convoluted:  The hospital had a policy that prevented everyone but on-duty law enforcement from having guns on campus.  The authorities say that the doctor had a legal right to possess his gun, so criminally he's safe, but from a civil standpoint he's in deep doodoo.

The hospital might take action against him, possibly revoking his privileges there, and the original gunman can now sue him in civil court (he survived his wounds).  The bad guy is quite likely to settle in to a very comfortable retirement, courtesy of the doctor.

Where is the justice in that?  (See my post of several days ago bemoaning "too many lawyers, and too many laws for them to manipulate".)

Sure, we need to enforce the laws we already have.  Enough "background checkers" aided by a state-of-the-art computer system could possibly have prevented this wacko from getting his hands on a gun.  

With 300M (?) guns already on the streets, there is no ironclad guarantee he couldn't have obtained one clandestinely, but surely we can keep guns away from some of these nuts. 

IMO, good people should be allowed to protect themselves with defensive firearms as the police are almost always REactive*.  They don't show up until the damage is already done.  YOU are primarily responsible for your safety.

*In case you're wondering, assault rifles are by definition primarily offensive weapons*

What was it the lady interviewed at the scene of the hospital shooting said?  "I never thought it would happen here."

Yeah, famous last words.

S

* Some facts:  In the average shooting less than 4 shots are fired, at a range of 7 yds, in less than 10 seconds.  In my city the average police response time is 4.5 minutes.  In some rural areas and in some crime plagued, underfunded cities the response time can be up to an hour. 


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"Man shopping" for clothes

Over the past several "semi-retired" years my wardrobe, modest in the best of times, has taken a nose dive.  I can count only three decent sports shirts that I can wear out in the evening or to a casual business meeting.  As I have another meeting tomorrow and they've already seen me as "Larry, Curly, and Moe", I figured it was time to go do a little shopping.

 Whatdayamean "Am I going out looking like this?"

Like many men, I'm not a good shopper.  That's why I rarely do it.  That's also why I usually look like a holocaust survivor, except for the part about being brutally starved.  (Trust me, I DON'T look starved.)  My default version of clothes shopping consists of going to the LL Bean website and buying some new shorts and t-shirts, then waiting for the UPS man to arrive.  Easy peasy.

But today I felt brave and ventured out to the big mall just a couple of blocks away.  I went in to Dillard's first, found the men's department in the back corner, and then found several shirts that looked nice.  The lady whose first language sounded like it was Russian told me they were now 40% off.  Sweet!

I whipped out my wallet and she said, "I'll need your Dillard's card, please."

I said, "I'll just pay with my debit card, thank you."

"Oh no sir (or maybe it was "Comrade"), the sale price is only for Dillard's Club members.  I'll be happy to open you a membership.  ("Membership" must now be the code word for credit card.)  Nope, no more "memberships" for me.

Bye-Bye.

At the other end of the mall was Macy's.  Same drill, found the men's department and a couple of nice shirts....they were Tommy Bahama....but they were waaaaay over $100 each.

Bye-Bye. 

Next it was on to Nordstrom's.  I found their men's department in the corner of the basement (how come women get 95% of the store?) and a couple of acceptable shirts.

The tag said the fabric was "modal".  So I said to myself, "Self, WTF is modal?  And more importantly, does it need to be ironed?"  I looked it up on the World Wide Web (thank you iPhone) and it said modal "pills" and likely needs ironing.

Bye-Bye.

I decided my last stop before I gave up entirely would be REI.  Fortunately they had a couple of Colombia shirts that I liked, never mind that they looked like I was going fishing, so I bought 'em.

Now I'm just hoping the "fisherman look" is better than the "holocaust survivor look".  I'm thinking it's a toss-up.  Meh.  ;)

S

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What do you call a busload of lawyers going over a thousand foot cliff? A good start.



We have too many lawyers, and too many laws for them to manipulate.  I say this based in part on a piece I saw on the news this morning.

It seems a lady in a resort community (in Florida?) put her house up on Airbnb, a website that matches people who have property with people who want to rent a resort house or an apartment or even just a room for a short term.  A guy leased her property for 45 days, and paid her 30 days in advance.

After he was there only a day he began complaining about the "cloudy" tap water.  The owner said she would give him a refund and he could just move on.  He took her money, but then didn't leave.  She thought he would surely leave after his original 45 day term, but....no....he's still there.

Turns out the laws in that state view this guy as a "tenant", which means to get him out the owner will have to jump through all sorts of hoops and spend thousands of $$$ in attorney fees to legally evict him, which could take months.  So this guy is living in her house rent free, and perhaps trashing it in the process, and there is precious little she can do.

In this country today most laws are written by lawyers, and passed into law by legislators who themselves are predominately lawyers, and enforced by courts who are, of course, lawyers.  And they're written in such a way that the layman usually has to hire a lawyer to tell them what the document they're signing means.  And if something backfires, you have to hire a lawyer to save your a$$.

Sounds to me like lawyers have written their own ticket to a very well paid lifetime employment.  And the only way to stop them is to....hire a lawyer!  DOH!

S


Monday, July 21, 2014

Hello Monday



It was 45 years ago yesterday that the United States successfully completed its first moon shot.  For the record, my first successful moon shot predates that by about 11 years.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Speaking of mooning....what is it with Russian President Vladimir "Pootie Poo" Putin?  Why do we even sit down with him to discuss anything?  In his world lying through your teeth to get what you want is perfectly acceptable. 

Those dumb rebel bastards in Ukraine apparently don't know there are ears listening to all their radio transmissions and eyes (and cameras) watching their missile launcher, minus one missile, hot footing it back across the border into Russia.  All while Pootie Poo says, "Nope, not us.  We didn't shoot down your plane.  Nobody saw us.  You can't prove a thing." 

I thought one of the benefits of doing business with "enemies" people who we have previously been at odds with is they wouldn't dare do anything to jeopardize their newly-found mutually beneficial business relationship?  It would "civilize" them.
  
Apparently Vladimir Putin didn't get that memo.   He is now the official "King of Mooning".  All Hail King Poot!

S


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Denial solves nothing


Unless you've been comatose for the past few months you know that, in addition to the normal influx of illegal immigrants, we've had tens of thousands of kids sent to the US by....their parents?....their home countries?  Who knows?  And the situation is getting worse by the day.

If their stories are to be believed, they are fleeing Central America because violence, likely drug cartel related, and dire poverty, are forcing parents to push their kids north, hoping for a better life for them.  

I don't know if that's true or not, but what I do know is we have thousands of kids, dirty, many of them sick, sleeping on floors inside chain link cages, in totally inadequate, unsanitary conditions.


The heartless among us are fighting tooth and nail to keep these kids from being humanely housed, even temporarily, in their communities.  They've actually thrown up roadblocks and threatened violence to keep these kids out of their sight.

I think that's shameful!

If there are mangled bodies littering the scene of a horrific highway crash, the first order of triage is to care for the victims.  There will be plenty of time later to determine what happened, who's at fault, who should pay for the damages, etc.  But first you provide care for the injured.

Can you imagine yourself as a 10 year old, away from your family and everything else you know, a thousand miles from home, regardless how pitiful that home might be, and you're being snarled at by people who think of you as scum?

We need immigration reform.  How should it be structured?  I have no clue.  But these illegals are here now anyway.  It is simply impossible to round them all up and send them home.  

We need to find a way to bring them into our system and make them useful, contributing, tax paying members of our society.  Sure, weed out the criminals and those who are here just to scam our system, but then welcome the rest and put them to work. 

The Democrats want this and the mainstream Republicans want this, too.  The latter's traditional base, corporate interests, definitely wants this.  But rank-and-file Republicans are petrified by the extremists on their Tea Party right and refuse to face reality.  The "problem" isn't going away.  We need action.

S

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hump Day brain musings



I read in the newspaper yesterday that a Navy nurse at Guantanamo, Cuba is refusing to participate in the force-feeding of an Islamic detainee who is on a hunger strike.

The concept of a hunger strike makes no sense to me.  If it's some sort of protest, how does dying of self-induced starvation make you the big winner?  

"Ha!  I'm dead, but you're still alive.  I WIN!"


That might make sense in the eastern mind, but to my western mind it just sounds stupid.  If you're dumb enough to refuse the food offered you, especially since it's prepared in accordance with the sensitivities of your culture, well....then say "hey" to Allah for me.

So does this make me....what do the shrinks call it?...."passive aggressive"?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For the past several weeks all the sports news has been about nothing but the World Cup, ad nauseum.  I kept watching all those string-bean soccer players and wondering how they would physically compare with American football players, or even more of a mis-match, with English rugby players?


Ever wonder how those rugby guys get those big, powerful legs?


It's due to off season training like this....doing ONE LEG squats with about a half-ton of weights.  (That's pretty impressive.  I personally couldn't roll that much weight downhill with a tail wind.)

Let's review:


World-class soccer player


English rugby player


I'm getting a visual


I think I answered my own question.  :)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In this morning's email I received from Living Social (like Groupon) an offer to take a discounted stripper class.


I forwarded it on to K, with an offer of a full scholarship.  So far she hasn't said "no".  *Ha!  Not gonna happen*  :)

S