Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It's always something!


Yesterday I went to the doctor to have him check out a bump on the bridge of my nose underneath where my glasses rest.  Turns out it's skin cancer.  Not a biggie, but still another nuisance that I have to deal with.  Of course they're reminding me to slather on the sun screen, but I hate the stuff.  Isn't a hat enough?  Jeez!


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Looks like it's "sink or swim" time for FEMA, pardon the pun.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency is responsible for coordinating federal, state, and local response to national emergencies, such as hurricane Sandy. (The actual work of putting things back right again still falls to the governors and the states.) 

They botched it big time after hurricane Katrina all but destroyed New Orleans.  Now we'll see if they've learned anything since.  Any time there's a federal bureaucracy involved I'm skeptical.  I hope I'm wrong.

The images coming out of the aftermath of the storm are incredible. The cleanup looks like an impossible task.  Where do you start?  They showed how things were down in the underground subways.  Yuck!  I can't imagine how long it will take to get it put back like it was before, if they can at all.  

Looks like unemployment in the area will fall to near zero for years to come, just by putting everyone to work hauling off debris.  For building material suppliers I'm sure they'll be producing stuff as fast as they can to replace what was destroyed, which will mean upward pressure on material prices nationwide.  Yes, we'll ALL probably feel it with every trip to Home Depot.

Wouldn't it be great to have things all going our way, smoothly, as planned, even if only for a few days?  What was it SNL's Roseanne Roseannadanna said?....It's always something!  *sigh*

S


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Not a very happy day

First, the good news:  We received a brief respite from all the political news.

Now, the bad news:  We have to watch all the disaster and misery taking place up and down the east coast as the result of hurricane Sandy.  What I noticed, however, is that all the news is covering is the disaster in New York City. If I lived in New Jersey or Pennsylvania or Rhode Island, etc, or had loved ones living there, I'd want to know what was going on there, too.  I guess the media is just taking the path of least resistance....no surprise. My prayers today are for all those affected.

Thank God for all the rescuers and first responders, especially the US Coast Guard.  Are they great or what?


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I spent yesterday afternoon at my daughter's house sitting with her very sick, elderly dog.  Moxie has been sick since last week, and after tests their vet says all indications are he has liver cancer.  They were on the verge of having him put down, but he suddenly perked up, started eating and wagging his tail.  They hoped he was getting better, so they brought him home.

As I suspected would happen, he started throwing up again and showed signs his end was near.  My daughter had to go to school (she's a teacher) and my SIL had to go out of town on business, and I just couldn't let that poor dog lie there all alone, so I sat with him and stroked his head and petted him and did what I could to make him comfortable.  

Fortunately he didn't seem to be hurting.  He just slept.

Update:  I just heard from my daughter (7:45 am).  They had to take Moxie back to the vet late last night.  They put him down.  :(  


RIP good friend.  He's now in good company with my Tara and Emma.

S


Monday, October 29, 2012

The snake oil salesman is alive and well


When a President goes through the White House doors
And does what he says he'll do
We'll all be drinking that free Bubble-Up
And eating that rainbow stew

Merle Haggard..."Rainbow Stew"

We must be the most gullible electorate walking the face of the earth.  It's an election year again, another crop of "tell 'em what they want to hear" politicians are talking out of both sides of their mouth, and we just smile and nod and bend over and let them have their way with us.

Four years ago it was Barack Obama "spreadin' it deep and sellin' it cheap".  "Hope and Change" was going to save us all.  But how?  No details?  Nope, just the power of positive thinking.  And enough of us voted for him to put his name on the mailbox at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  You may already be a Publisher's Clearing House winner.  No purchase necessary.  

We'll all be drinking that free Bubble-Up....


This year it's Mitt Romney.  He tells us he's going to give us all a 20% tax cut, expand funding for our military, and somehow still balance the budget.  Since when does 2+2=9?  We're all going to have good jobs, freedom from government interference, and a bright future, too.  How?  Only he knows, and he's not sharing any details with us.  Nope, we're just supposed to "trust him".  And a sizable number of us will.  Maybe enough to make him our next President.  

Do you think if an entrepreneur had come to Mitt when he was the CEO of Bain Capital asking for money, with a business plan that simply said "We're gonna buy cheap, sell value, go for volume, and get rich", he would have put millions of dollars in this upstart venture? Absolutely not!

And eating that rainbow stew....

Has our educational system failed us so badly that we can no longer critically think?  Has common sense gone the way of the dodo bird?  Do we just hoover up everything Fox News or MSNBC tells us, questioning nothing?  

I'm certainly not going to tell you how to vote, or how I voted.  That's a personal decision.  But please, know why you're voting for a particular candidate.  We need meat and potatoes details in order to make smart choices.  We're getting puffed pastry promises.  In politics, nothing is what it seems.

I have no idea who will be running in 2016, but I can hear their campaign promises now...."Jobs for all, taxes for none, and a free puppy for everyone (while supplies last)."

S



Sunday, October 28, 2012

OK, so geography isn't their forte....


BREAKING NEWS:  Apple Maps is projecting Hurricane Sandy will strike California around midnight tonight.  (Seriously, I hope all my friends in the path of that storm come through safely.)

Not much to talk about today.  Yesterday was my day for football....college football in my case.  I had the unpleasant experience of watching my Texas Tech Red Raiders have their head handed to them by Kansas State, 55-24.  Disappointed yes, but surprised, no.  KState is really good.  Solid all the way around, a true Heisman contender at QB, and expertly coached.  They should be #2 in the BCS poll after this weekend, which means they very well could be playing for the national championship in early January.

K and I went to Starbucks for our weekly coffee and read, then went to the mall near our home to just walk around and people watch.  I never tire of people watching.  Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung all had kiosks set up hawking their newest gadgets.  I asked the Samsung guy why my Galaxy Tab(let) 7.0 didn't come with an owners manual?  His response:  *deer in the headlights look*  It seems it's available online, but it's 100+ pages long....no way I'm gonna print it all out.

I want a simple little booklet like every other gadget in the world comes with.  While at the mall I stopped in to Barnes and Noble and found a "How-to" booklet which will answer my basic questions and is dumbed down to something I might understand.  (Wonder if it knows how technologically dumb I really am?)  Wish me luck.

That's enough drivel for now.  Have a nice Sunday evening everyone.

S




Saturday, October 27, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

There's no turning back now

OK, it's official....I'm retired.  I checked my bank statement online yesterday and there it was, my first Social Security check.  There's no turning back now.  Not that I'd want to.  It's a nice little chunk of change, but it's an odd feeling to see money appear without feeling like I worked for it, at least recently.  Getting paid now for work I did 40 years ago just feels....strange.

The promised cold front finally arrived yesterday and it's a doozie.  This morning at 0600 it was 50 degrees, but the wind was blowing 25 mph, making the wind chill feel like 44.  Let's hope the leaves take the hint and start changing colors.

Friends here on Blogger who live up north keep showing scenes dominated by reds and oranges and yellows, while I look outside here and still see lawn mowing crews.  Here's hoping my east coast friends can make it through the "Perfect Storm" the weatherguessers say is coming their way.

I had some free time yesterday ('cause I'm retired....see above ;), so I went and voted.  The line wasn't too long and I was in and out in 10 minutes.  I really felt cheated, though, because I know that regardless of how or even if I vote, the outcome in my county and state isn't in doubt.  I'd like to see a little suspense, you know?

And finally, my "Things That Chap My Hide" for the day:  I hate it when I'm trying to make a sandwich involving peanut butter and I'm down to the very bottom of the jar.  There is no way to get the PB out without getting it all over the handle of the knife.  Klutz that I am, it's a short jump from getting it on my hand to on my clothes and in my hair.



Listen up JIF....make your jars shorter and wider at the top.  They'll still pack and ship just fine.  Trust me.

Have a great weekend everyone.

S

Thursday, October 25, 2012

You can't bullshit an old bullshitter


The world's toughest job?  Being the public relations guy for a bank.  This was a tiny little article in today's paper:

Greece offered universal health coverage until an agreement with its international lenders (banks) stipulated the unemployed must pay for their own treatment.

Isn't this just bringing the unemployed into line with the banking policy of charging customers a hefty fee for bouncing a check?  They're just charging you more of what they already know you don't have any of.  Duh!

A close second might be the PR guy representing Foxconn, the huge Chinese electronics contractor who employs hundreds of thousands of low-wage workers to assemble iPads for Apple.  (Their motto...."The beatings will continue until morale improves.") 

"They actually like working 18 hour days, on account of there isn't anything to do back in the dorm with their 250 roommates."

The Feds are suing Bank of America, accusing them of making home loans without ever even checking borrower credentials, a policy known mockingly within the company as "the Hustle".  They then sold the loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, where they mostly went straight into default.  

The taxpayers had to assume the loss when Fannie and Freddie failed, and now the Feds are going back on B of A.  How might the bank's PR guy possibly spin this?  "Ahh....umm....the Hustle?....that was just a dance contest we had on casual Friday's, that's all.  We're good."

Another tough one....the PR guy for bankrupt American Airlines.  "If we don't give big bonuses to our senior executives we'll lose our top talent to our competitors."  

Dude, you're BANKRUPT.  You don't HAVE any top talent.  That's why you're BANKRUPT!

You can't bullshit an old bullshitter.  ;)

S



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Something else that really chaps my hide


Yesterday I experienced something that really chapped my hide.  Ironically, the source of my aggravation was.....ME.  

The scene:  I was on my way to work and had just exited the freeway.  I was sitting at a red light when I grabbed for my cell phone and couldn't find it.  My phone is usually in a case on my belt, but it wasn't there.  Or on the seat beside me.  Or on my car's console.  That could only mean one thing:

*scary music*

I left my phone at home.  

Ooooooh noooooo!

I felt absolutely lost.  It would be like a cop going to work without his gun, or a banker going to work without his mask.

It never really dawned on me how dependent I am on my cell phone.  It's my ONLY phone. Like about half the population I gave up my land line years ago, relying just on my cell.   I make personal calls, business calls, read and send emails....I even use it as a flashlight.  

It gets worse....I have an extensive directory of several hundred names on my phone, both personal friends and business associates, and without that directory my phone is little more than a shiny, sleek rock.  I couldn't call K, my bro, Cellphone Users Anonymous, or anyone.  I didn't know their phone numbers.  I was thinking of calling 911 just to talk to someone.

Finally my bro came out to our jobsite where he found me pacing aimlessly.  He went back and brought me our old office flip phone, but again, without email or my directory of contacts, it was of little use. 

It was one miserable day.  :(

S

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sorry for dozing off....is it over?


No, I didn't actually doze off during the final presidential debate last night, but it was touch and go for a while.  The polls this morning all agree President Obama won, but I certainly saw no knock-out punch or anything even close.  What I saw was a surprising amount of agreement on the issue of foreign affairs.  On many occasions Romney said he agreed with Obama's handling of (xyz).  Where was the blood and broken, flying teeth?  I just thought it was a boring event.

I will have to say that Obama did successfully (in my mind) call out the discrepancy in Romney's claim of a plan to generally cut spending and move towards a balanced budget all while cutting taxes across the board and increasing defense spending.  That arithmetic just does not compute, and unless Romney can/will provide specifics on how he's going to do it, I'm a skeptic.

I will also agree with Obama that raw numbers of military hardware (ships, planes, etc) are no longer as important as weapons system capability and survivability.  I've met many military leaders over the past dozen or so years and they all seem to agree.  I sleep well.

What shocked me was the fact that Europe, Africa, South America, Australia, and most of Asia except China have just disappeared.  They are apparently no longer even discussed when it comes to foreign affairs.  Did you hear them mentioned last night at all?  (OK, Russia was mentioned very briefly, but that was it.)  They've just vanished!

No, the only part of the world that matters seems to be the Mideast and SW Asia.  We seem to spend ALL our time / money / effort trying to civilize those heathens, and all we ever really do is buy off a few despots and corrupt generals.  All because they have oil.  There isn't a damn thing there besides that.  As I've said before, we need to develop our own secure sources of energy so we can quit beating our heads against the wall trying to schmooze those bastards.

OK, now I'm worked up and awake....about 12 hours late.

S


Monday, October 22, 2012

The next Big Stink


This has been a really bitter election year, a really bitter and divisive 4 years for that matter.  Here's something to consider:  I'll bet you the upcoming election results will NOT end the bitterness, but will intensify it.  Here's why....the electoral college might well crown one man the duly-elected "winner" while the popular vote will say the other candidate really won.

So what exactly is this electoral college? It was our Founding Father's way of putting a layer between the common man, the actual voter, and the election process.  They didn't actually trust the common man.  They were afraid a tyrant would somehow get control of a party and be able to manipulate enough uneducated naive voters to win the popular vote, and this was their way of being able to override such vote rigging.  (They were a very suspicious / paranoid bunch!)

FYI, in the election of 1876 Rutherford B. Hayes had a quarter-million fewer popular votes, but won the electoral college vote 185-184.  In the election of 1888 Benjamin Harrison had 80K fewer popular votes, but won the electoral college vote by a lopsided 233-168.  And more recently George W. Bush won the election of 2000 with 500K fewer popular votes, but with 5 more electoral votes, 271-266.

I'm seeing signs something similar might happen next month.  They say Obama and Romney are neck-and-neck in popular votes, but the number of solid Obama states has many more electoral votes than Romney's solidly red states. Regardless of which candidate you / I prefer this election year, I just think that's wrong.

So why don't we just do away with the electoral college and vote directly for president?  Because it would take a Constitutional Amendment, which would require a super majority of state legislatures and congress, and BOTH parties have benefited at one time or another from the screwy electoral college process.  Both see they have more to lose than to gain.  In short, nothing is going to change.

Sharp as our Founding Fathers were, I'm thinking they bungled this one, at least as seen through modern eyes.

S

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Winding down the weekend...WITH UPDATE

I'm all "footballed out".  Yesterday I watched (most of) 3 college games.  It was nirvana!  My Texas Tech Red Raiders beat TCU in triple overtime, 56-53.  It was a "W", but it was a very ugly "W".  *holding nose*

Today I'm going with K and a friend of hers to "Commie Con".  I'm not into the National Felon League (NFL) pro football, so I figured why not go to this Commie thing.  Otherwise I've got nothing going on today.  Maybe I can get some interesting pictures of old statues of Lenin or something.

We're still on the cusp of summer here.  Yesterday it was absolutely perfect....a bit breezy, but temps were in the 70's.  Today it's expected to touch 90.  Enough already!

While walking the dog yesterday I did notice an oak tree dropping its acorns.  Check the size of these things:



Yikes!  I'm thinking this must be the site where Lance Armstrong cleaned out his steroid mixing bowl.

Enjoy your Sunday.

S

UPDATE:  Turns out it wasn't "Commie Con", but "Comic Con".  And not comics like Seinfeld or Leno, but comic books and science fiction movie characters and paraphernalia.  It was...ummm...interesting.  :0

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Oooooh Nooooooo!!!!


I've been following the election so intently for so long now I think I've developed Electile Dysfunction. Wonder what color pill fixes that?


Friday, October 19, 2012

Things that really chap my hide....

Passwords.  Hate 'em!  

I've written about this before, but nothing has changed and they're still chapping my hide.  Typical security question:  "What was the name of your first elementary school?"  xxxxxxxx

"Incorrect.  What was the name of your first elementary school?"  Hmmm....maybe it's case sensitive?  Xxxxxxxx

"Incorrect.  What was the name of your first elementary school?"  Listen up, dammit.  I went there for six friggin' years.  I KNOW what the name of my school was.  It's xxxxxxxx.

"Incorrect.  You are now locked out.  You must jump through 6 incredibly difficult hoops in order to regain access.  Get ready to give blood and have your DNA tested.  Oh, and bend over."

Grrrrrr!

But there is hope.  Yesterday I heard that some nerdy inventor, apparently just as fed up with passwords as me, will soon release a new program/app that uses "biometrics" (retinal scan?) to determine the legitimacy of a user.  You look into the camera on your computer (or iPhone?) and it can tell if you are really "you".  

I could be the face of this product....the poor Goober who never can remember all his many passwords. I doubt I'm alone on this.


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Bureaucrats.  I think they're profiling me.

When building a new home we have to provide to the city building inspection department a "form and elevation survey".  This confirms that the home is not being built outside the allowable building pad (not too close to the side or front or rear property lines).  It's also to confirm that we are at least at  the required minimum elevation above sea level (to make sure we're not in a flood plain).

I turned mine in on the project we have underway now and two days later they kicked it back.  The subdivision plat they have on file shows one side property line to be be 164.22 feet long.

My surveyor found it to actually be 164.23 feet long....one one-hundredth of a foot longer.  That's about 1/8" difference. Big Whoop!  It made absolutely no difference in whether the home was properly within the pad.  We had plenty of space to spare all around.  

I had to call my surveyor and have them redo it to show the .22, all because some bureaucrat didn't have enough sense (or the authority) to make the call.  Grrrrr!

For the record I appreciate legitimate building inspections.  I know first hand that there are plenty of builders who stay up late thinking of ways they can cut corners to make a few more $$$$, quality be damned.  Inspectors need to hold their ground.  What I described here, however, just borders on harassment.

S


Thursday, October 18, 2012

I think I dated her once....


We must find THIS woman posthaste and do absolutely everything necessary to make sure she does NOT reproduce.  Or vote.

S


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wanna see my vacation pictures?


It's odd to me how politics is all the talk around the water cooler, yet here on Blogger people seem to be going out of their way to talk about the weather, the grand kids, what they had for lunch, anything BUT politics.  This seems like a very non-confrontational group.  I'm not looking for "confrontation", but just a good healthy discussion and exchange of ideas.  I guess I'll just have to have that exchange with myself.  So be it.  Y'all can relax.  I've got this.

Anyway, I thought last night's presidential debate was a good one.   Both candidates came prepared and it showed.  Neither fell on his face like Obama did 2 weeks ago.  The consensus this morning is that Obama narrowly won the night, and I guess I wouldn't argue with that.  It seems pretty obvious that these two don't like each other....it's become personal.  

I'm guessing Romney thought it a good thing that he got to go first, based on a coin flip.  Trouble was, it meant Obama got to speak last, with no time for rebuttal.  Obama in essence had a closing statement, and Romney didn't.  This is where Mitt's 47% quip was brought up again and eloquently hammered home, and was left in the audience's mind to ponder overnight.  Shrewd or just luck, I think it will show up in this coming week's polls.

Speaking of polls, have any of you ever been polled by Gallup or ABC or CNN any of the more prominent companies?  I haven't, nor do I even know of anyone who has been.  Part of that might be because I live in Texas, which means the pollsters just consider me and everyone else here a Red Stater, so why bother polling me?  Because of the fairly wide discrepancy in results, I'm thinking polls get waaaaay more attention than they deserve.  That's what I think.

S


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"Speak softly and carry a big stick."...T Roosevelt


Isn't tonight's presidential debate supposed to be the one that concentrates on foreign policy?  If so, let me give you a sneak preview of what to expect:  Ours sucks.

This isn't really news.  Our foreign policy has been retarded as far back as I can remember.   Bay of Pigs?  Vietnam?  All of the wasted years we've spent trying to bring "peace" to the Mid-east?  Now Libya and Syria?  Our government is simply inept.  This isn't just the Obama administration's bungling.  This goes back decades.

Right now Mitt Romney and Eddie Munster Paul Ryan are saying Obama botched protecting our diplomats in Libya, resulting in their deaths.  What an obvious political ploy.  Shame on them!

Here are the facts Mitt:  Congress....that would be the Republican controlled House and the Democratic controlled Senate, voted to CUT the funds for embassy protection around the world.  (I believe I heard the number was $300M they cut.)  We need to curb spending....I get it....but don't act surprised when we cut past the fat, through the meat, and into the bone, then it hits the fan because all we can afford are local hired guns to protect our diplomats.  They're worthless!  (Wonder if President Mitt would agree to cut HIS Secret Service detail when traveling overseas and rely on "locals"?)

Didn't I read that at about that same time we "requested" permission from the Sudanese to bring in US military personnel to safeguard our embassy in Khartoum, and they rejected it?  So much for political correctness.  We should have said, "We're bringing in OUR people to protect OUR embassy.  If you object, we're bringing our diplomats home, and they're bringing OUR CHECKBOOK with them."  Then I'll bet they couldn't have said 'approved' fast enough!

Forget about niceties in the Mid-east.  It's lost on them.  Just lay it out there.

(Hey, I'm retired.  I have the time.  I could take over and fix things if they'll just call me.)

S


Monday, October 15, 2012

Red Bull and me, a winning combination


I was watching the news this morning where they did a recap of Felix Baumgartner's supersonic plunge to earth as he stepped out of a balloon at 128,000 feet.  His effort was, of course, sponsored by Red Bull.

Red Bull.  I don't get it.  It's an "energy drink" that consists mainly of caffeine along with a few other natural ingredients (taurine and glucuronolactone, found in fish, poultry, and grains....I looked it up).  That's it.  I tried the stuff a couple of times but found it had absolutely NO effect on me.  It's a glorified cup of Joe, which by the way doesn't have any effect on me, either.

Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz was traveling through Thailand back in the 80's when he discovered the locally brewed concoction.  He partnered with them and grew the brand into the international phenomenon it is today, and made a few billion bucks for himself in the process.  Last year Red Bull sold 4.5 BILLION cans at, what....$2-3 each?  As I said, I tried it and didn't feel squat. Nada!   Well, I felt like my wallet was $2-3 lighter.  Does that count?  I think they should call it Red Bullshit.

On the other hand, I do like the way they take much of their profits and use it to sponsor everything from F-1 race car teams to airplane races, yacht races, motocross racing, insane skiing, soccer teams, to guys jumping cars and motorcycles through the air for no obvious reason at all.   Oh, and so Felix Baumgartner can prove once and for all that Sir Isaac Newton was right. Their list of crazy things to sponsor is almost endless.  Good for 'em, I say!

Next I think they need to sponsor me as I attempt a leisurely stroll through a city park while towing a tiny little dog....a sure crowd pleaser if there ever was!  For enough cash I'll even wear their logo on a helmet or a cape.  That ought to sell another case or two of Red Bull, right?  *wonder why nobody thought of this before now?*

S


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Simple, but effective

I saved my appetite for this evening's dinner....


Grilled bacon-wrapped fillet, dressed/baked potato (1/2....gotta watch my "delicate physique", you know), and a piece of K's homemade beer bread, all washed down with a cold Stella.  Life is good!

S


"The bigger they come, the harder they fall"

Texas Tech destroys No. 4 West Virginia in huge upset


Tech fans storm the field after hearing free celebratory beer was being served in the end zone under the "Double T" logo.

Did you ever have one of those days where everything went right?  Me either.  But yesterday my Alma mater Texas Tech did when they absolutely annihilated #4 ranked West Virginia, 49-14.  I wish we could have put a few of those points into a Karma account for use against Texas a few weeks from now.

Looks like attending the State Fair isn't going to happen for me this year.  But frankly, other than having an Original Fletcher's Corny Dog and staring at the latest in piercings and tattoo chic up close and personal, there really isn't all that much there for me.  True, I'll miss seeing all the newest pickup trucks on display, as well as the multiple stages set up for performers to entertain us with both kinds of music....country AND western.*  Oh well, there's always next year.

Last night a storm came through (so I'm told....I slept through it) and dropped about an inch of rain on us.  Today the sky is cloudless and blue, the air smells so clean, and the temp is in the 70's.  I'm thinking Luke the Wonder Dog can come with us for our Sunday coffee as we'll be able to sit outside and enjoy this perfect Autumn weather.

Hope you have a fun day planned, too.

S

*sarcasm


Saturday, October 13, 2012

No "Get Out of Jail Free" pass! Lock her up!

The local news has recently been dominated by the trial of a woman who "super-glued" her little 2-year old daughter's hands to the wall, then beat her into a coma.  The child finally made it to a hospital where she is still recovering.

The mother claimed she was sexually abused as a child, which made her act this way.  She claims she has now been through counseling and that she is no longer "a monster".  At least that was her defense in court.  A jury didn't buy it and found her guilty anyway and the judge yesterday sentenced her to 99 years in prison, making her ineligible for parole for 30 years.  Some (her family) were outraged at the severity of the sentence.

I have absolutely no problem with the sentence.  I don't care what happened to her as a child, horrible as I'm sure her abuse was, that should not excuse how she acts today.  Those are two completely separate issues.  Even if she has been successfully counseled, for the sake of her children (5), I'm not willing to chance it.


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

Scheduling conflict....Grandson Parker has a soccer game today at 11 am.  The Texas/Oklahoma game is today at 11 am.   Parker plays 8 games this year.   Texas/OU play once this year.  Conflict solved.  ;)

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Do local TV stations have "fashion consultants" to advise their anchor people?  I'm watching a guy this morning who's wearing a conservative suit, blue tie....and orange socks.  He had to sit in a chair instead of just sitting behind his desk to interview a particular guest, and his dayglo socks show.  I wonder if they were the only clean socks he had in his drawer this morning?

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

It's State Fair time.....only one week left.  WWSD?  (What Will Scott Do)

S


Friday, October 12, 2012

I didn't see THAT coming!

  
I think like many people I watched the Veep debate last night expecting to see a personable Joe Biden yap and on que say something funny that Saturday Night Live can take and make into a hilarious skit.  That SNL skit may still happen, but what I actually witnessed was an informed, powerful, very combative, stand-his-ground candidate Biden.

Specifically, here's what I saw:  Biden probably said the words "middle class" 20 times.  Same with "level playing field", and "a fair shake".  He came across as the populist defender of The People, something I think will play well with blue-collar voters.   And what is THE most critical state still in play?  Ohio....gritty, blue-collar Ohio.  Eighteen electoral vote Ohio.

Biden got so worked up on several occasions I fully expected to see him start foaming at the mouth.  But again, that much passion is probably appreciated by the blue-collar types.  Just go into a bar in Ohio and bring up Michigan, or vice versa.  You'll see lots of "mouth foaming"!

And Biden had something for war-weary voters, too, when he promised we would be out of Afghanistan by 2014.  "Sure, the Afghans would be happy to let us keep doing their fighting for them forever.  That's why we put them on notice.  'You'd better be ready to defend YOUR country come 2014.'" I think that struck a popular chord and will be well received.

In this case at least I think Biden's age and experience trumped Ryan's youth and vigor.  How could Ryan compete with Biden's "I was right there with Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neil (and a bottle of scotch?) during their epic budget battles"?  Or, "I was on an hour-long conference call with Bibi Netanyahu (Israeli PM) and the President and we're all in complete agreement...." 

I think that "complete agreement with Israel" reference probably reassured the Jewish community, too.  And correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Florida have a sizable Jewish community?  Twenty nine electoral vote Florida.  Smooth.

Paul Ryan is a numbers man; a budget, Medicare and Social Security expert.  While very important stuff, it's also very boring to talk about.  It's all based on "projections" and "assumptions", and with accounting being such a fraudulent practice today, can easily be refuted.  It's a "He said, She said" argument that politicians have been throwing at us for so long they're hardly believable any more.   "Projections" are a tough sell.

Most awkward exchange:  Ryan sharing Gov. Romney's compassion for a family who had suffered through a horrible car crash, while Biden explained he WAS the family that suffered through a horrible car crash.  OUCH!

Best zingers:  When Ryan mentioned that Jack Kennedy cut taxes, Biden chimed in, "Oh, so now you're Jack Kennedy?"  Also, when Ryan explained how Romney mis-spoke when talking about the 47% quip, saying, "I'm sure you know what it's like to have your words come out not the way you meant for them to."  Haha!

While the red states are still red and the blue states are still blue, I think Joe Biden's performance probably picked up quite a few net votes for the Democrats.  This is going to make for an interesting finish come November.

S



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Retirement


I've had several comments recently asking why I'm building another house when I'm supposedly "retired"?  OK....here's the deal:  I'm frankly not sure what to do with myself.  

While I'm retired, K isn't.  She's up at 6 AM and I'm not far behind. I like to watch the news, but after watching for an hour or so they start repeating themselves. I live in a nice apartment (by choice) because there is no....NO....maintenance.  Which also means I have no yard to "putter" in or garden to grow, not that I would if I had the space anyway.

I take the dog on a long walk every day, weather permitting, and I regularly check email / internet, but neither requires that much time.  And of course I read... A LOT.  Maybe a volunteer opportunity will present itself one day, but it isn't here yet.

I have for 30 years done all the household grocery shopping, and I actually enjoy it.  Because I have the time I've taken over the majority of laundry chores, too, which is really a non-event.  (We have machines that do most of the work.)  We have a housekeeper because 1.  I don't clean bathrooms (this goes back to my bachelor days); and 2.  Geneva has become almost like family, and she depends on us for part of her income.  She stays!

Regarding work....for 30+ years Bro and I have had a good working relationship:  I handled operations, and he handled the office.  He really doesn't have a solid understanding of what holds the roof up.  I told him that after I retire I'd still come in to take care of the early phase of construction (foundation, framing, mechanicals, etc), then he could take over more.  I'm still allowed to make a few $$$ on top of my Social Security, so this works out just fine for both of us.

Over this recession I've sat around for long stretches at a time, which made me look forward to the next small job.  I like having something to do, without having anything I HAVE to do.  (I don't ask for much, huh?)  Maybe over time I'll learn how to whittle or rock or build ships inside little bottles, but not yet.  I'm still a rookie retiree.

S


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Dumpster Police



I'm not sure if there is an actual "First Rule of Bureaucracy", but if there is I'm sure it's something like, "Job security is directly proportional to the number of stupid new rules you can dream up."

We started another new custom home last week.  We're to the point now of putting up the perimeter silt fence (to please the Federal bureaucrats at the EPA*) and bringing in the trash dumpster.  Now we find that we must have yet another permit, this time to bring a dumpster onto our property, something we've been doing for years.

It seems this large Dallas-area suburb now wants us to declare what's going in the dumpster.

Me:  "Uhh....trash, Sir!"

City Dumpster Police:  "What kind of trash?"

Me:  "Construction trash, Sir!"

City Dumpster Police:  "Specifically, what kind of 'construction trash'?"

I'm so tempted to say, "Scrap lumber, plywood, roofing, cardboard boxes, Jimmy Hoffa's body, leaking barrels of toxic DDT, old bloody wound dressings from the illegal AIDS clinic next door....you know....the usual."

*Speaking of the parasites in Washington, did you know I have to pay a 3rd party inspector to come and check our "storm water runoff mitigation compliance" twice every month and within 24 hours of every 1/2" rain, at a cost of $75 per visit?  (You can "self inspect", but they'll hang you if you're audited.)

This adds about $1,500 to the cost of every home I build, yet another example of why homes cost so much.  IMO we have way too many people doing similar unproductive tasks that add absolutely nothing to our economy.  They make a living, a very good living I might add, by leaching on to those who actually produce something of value.  

Just sayin'.

S


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Vanity


I never cease to be amazed at the gullibility of some people.  What I've noticed, however, is the divide between "educated" gullibility and "ignorant" gullibility.  An example of ignorant gullibility is the scam from the "National Bank of Nigeria" telling me my fortune is waiting for final disposition, AFTER I send them a sum of money for the last bit of legal work, of course.  Obviously they're pushing people's "greed" hot button.  I guess it works or else they wouldn't keep sending out such emails.

Educated people are probably too smart to fall for that.  Instead, those trying to get into educated wallets tend to aim for our "vanity" hot button.  I can promise you if you've ever written a letter to your Senator or Congressman, or contributed to any politician's campaign, your name is on their sucker list.

I regularly get correspondence on official letterhead from the Chairman of both the Republican and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committees commending me for my "thoughtful reasoning and civic responsibility".  They tell me I'm the kind of person Senator _____ would like to have on his Grass Roots Steering Committee, advising the good Senator on issues that affect us all.  

But first, of course, Sen. _____ must get re-elected.  Won't I please be a sport and give (pick one) $100, $500, $1,000, or more?  And as a thank you, Senator _____ will rush me a lapel pin signifying to the world what a VIP I am.  WooHoo!

(Umm....can I wear a lapel pin on a T-shirt?  After Labor Day?)

Have you been anointed like me?  Does your Senator call you by your first name?  Are you on his Rolodex?  Do you have a personal invitation to stop by and visit Sen. _____ anytime?  I do, 'cause I'm special.  (He said he would be in his car somewhere.)  

S


Monday, October 8, 2012

I really need to get out more....

A first for me yesterday:  I had dinner off a gourmet food truck....several trucks actually....and it was fantastic!  There's a show on one of those cable cooking channels K watches that features food trucks from various cities across the country.  They're not your typical construction site "maggot wagons", but real gourmet food vendors.  Because our municipal health departments are so ridiculously restrictive, they're just now being allowed here in Dallas.



While enjoying our weekend coffee shop R&R K saw an announcement on their bulletin board hawking a "Food Truck Palooza" at a local Jewish Temple, proceeds benefiting the North Texas Food Bank.  We went there mid-afternoon when the crowd was small and the lines were short.  There were about a dozen trucks there, but we eventually narrowed it to the sushi truck and the gourmet slider truck.


Here we had some kind of salmon and something (?) sushi which was excellent.


Still, it was a distant second to The Roadside from Easy Slider (Angus beef, cheddar, BBQ sauce, grilled jalapenos, and crispy fried onions).  Washed down with a cold brew it was incredible!


Ten more seconds and all you'd have seen was an empty plate!  It was about the best tasting thing I've ever eaten, no joke.  So good we got another order and brought it home for an evening "snack". 

I think we're going to have to keep track of these truck's whereabouts so we can make them a regular part of our weekend rounds.  ;)

Definitely.

S