Friday, November 30, 2012

Are we being played for chumps?


The "fiscal cliff" is apparently the only news out there these days.  That's all I hear...fiscal cliff...fiscal cliff...blah...blah...blah.  Both sides agree spending will have to be cut.  The devil will be in the details, I understand, but at least it's a start.  The sticking point is taxing the rich.  The Democrats say it will bring in a gazillion dollars and help reduce the deficit.  The Republicans say it will cripple job creation.

Here is my question:  How will raising taxes on the rich, the "job creators", hinder hiring?

The argument seems to be that if taxes go up on the rich (actually if the Bush tax cuts aren't extended to the rich), they won't have the capital (money) to finance new entrepreneurs or fund business expansion, therefore no new jobs.  

Here's the fly in that ointment....the rich already have TRILLIONS of dollars (the Wall Street Journal estimates $1-2 Trillion) sitting on the sidelines not currently invested.  Our economy isn't strong enough to support all these new businesses the Republicans envision, and there isn't any place in China or Europe to invest this money either.  (China is slowing and Europe is a basket case.)  It just sits.

The money to invest in new job creation is there NOW.  How will any MORE money in the pockets of the wealthy create any new jobs?  This money has been in their pockets for a DECADE, since the GW Bush administration.  So where are the jobs?

Somebody please (honest question) explain in terms I can understand how tax cuts to the rich will somehow create new jobs while the money sitting there right now can't?

The wealthy seem to like the sound of the term "job creators" and have made it their justification for existing, and their Republican puppets in Congress happily spout it every chance they get without ever explaining it.

In fairness, let me admit right now I think an entirely different set of special interests are pulling the strings on their (Democratic) puppets in Congress, too.  It's a pretty sleazy game they play in Washington and you and I are the big losers.  If you'll just follow the money trail you'll see who the big winners are.

S


Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Vegetarian"...Old Indian word for "bad hunter"


What is it about women and vegetables?  If a bunch of women get together for a girls night out I can almost guarantee you that, once they all go to the restroom together, most will come back and order plates full of vegetables.  Colorful vegetables.  They seem to have this obsession with green ones, and orange and yellow, too.  But mainly green.  It's something dietitians have harped on for years, but have you noticed....most dietitians are women.  Coincidence?

Women have attached some near-mythical status to spinach and carrots and squash and beets, veggies that most men see as having little redeeming social value.  Speaking for myself, and you can quote me on this, "Blech!" 

Like most men I'd rather spend my dining energy chewing on something that not long ago was walking around on four legs.  That's probably why steak houses are always decorated in a heavy, masculine style....beams, wood paneling, etc, while tea rooms have flowery wallpaper and miniature dishes (so I'm told).  

IMO the social scientist who first came up with the concept of "hunters" and "gatherers" was spot on.  My concern, however, is that today men are becoming more feminized.  For example, if a man goes to a market to buy his meat, is he still "hunting" or is he now "gathering"?



The most insipid new product facing men today is faux-meat.  They've actually learned how to take vegetables, somehow melt them down, cosmetically alter them, and press them into shapes that make men believe they're eating meat.  Well, very nearsighted men, at least.  

Come on wives and girlfriends, please don't do this to us.  We admit you're smarter than us, but please allow us to enjoy this one last little primordial piece of our caveman heritage.  We deserve our steak, our scotch, and a nice after-dinner angioplasty.  Let us go out with a little dignity.

Bon Apetite.  :)

S


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The doctor said I could easily pass for an "artist's model"

I went to the doctor yesterday where he removed the bandages and stitches from my face / nose.  He said I could easily pass for an "artist's model".


He just forgot to mention the artist was Picasso.

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I've heard it said, probably more seriously than in jest, that the world would be a better place if we elected women as our leaders instead of men.  Men, the reasoning goes, are quick to pick up arms and go to war when they don't get their way, while women would be more likely to sit down with their adversaries and work out their differences.  But why limit it just to our elected leaders?  Why not our military, too?

Think about it:  Instead of having the oceans filled with these...




and the skies filled with these...


we would only need a couple hundred of these...


We could strategically park them around Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, North Korea....really any country we wanted to bring to their knees, then just turn up the volume.  My proposed new all-female army could nag any male dominated country in the world into doing anything.  

Give up their nuclear arms aspirations....done.  Stop threatening their neighbors....check.  Whip those Al Qaeda boys into shape....watch a Sex In the City marathon....learn line dancing....eat quiche...."yes dear".  And we could cut our military spending from $700B a year to just a few million.  What budget deficit?

Oh....and the world would be a much better dressed place, too.  ;)

S


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I'm a delicacy, someone to be savoured

I discovered this bit of flattering news yesterday as I was interrogating Luke the Wonder Dog regarding his participation in The Great Earbud Massacre of 2012.  (WARNING:  The squeamish might not want to view the photo that follows.)



As I've previously mentioned, I've been out of commission for a few days now following some surgery that requires me to keep a pretty large bandage over my face/right eye.  Because of that and the swelling it's difficult to keep my eyes open for too long at a time, so while I rest my eyes I listen to Pandora radio.

Yesterday I was walking across the room and stepped on a small piece of wire.  Further investigation revealed it was what was left of my earbuds.  A detailed crime scene investigation uncovered the rest of the carcass.

Luke quickly became the prime suspect.  The tip-off was the little piece of the deceased earbud he was chewing on.  I knew I had him cornered.  All I needed was a confession.

"So, Luke....I know you did it.  But why?  Revenge?  Abused childhood?  Some kinky lover's triangle?  What?"

"No, nothin' like that Big Guy.  It turns out I'm...whew...this is tough to admit.  I'm an addict.  No, not drugs or anything bad like that.  I'm addicted to the finer things in life, like your ear wax."

"Go on."

"Well, you know how I silently walk across the top of your big leather chair back cushion, get right behind your head while you're watching football on TV, then slip you a big, sloppy 'wet Willie' (tongue in the ear)?  Now I can't get enough of your ear wax.  It's 'to die for!'  Better than creme brulee, or a fine French truffle, or even a Twinkie.  You're delicious!"

But...how...

"You left your earbuds on the table by your chair, plugged into your tablet. A quick sniff and I knew....I had to have 'em!  I just couldn't help myself.  Sorry.  Am I gonna be away for long?"

Book him, Dano.  Case closed.  (Those CSI boyz have nothin' on me. :)

S

Yes, Luke can still talk.  No, I haven't found a freak show willing to put him to work yet.  I mean...Jeez...a talking DOG!  What more do they want?


Monday, November 26, 2012

Here's an offer you can't refuse....


Buy any new Park Place Custom Home (that would be ME!) between now and December 20th and if the world does in fact end on December 21st as the Mayan calendar predicts, we'll refund your money!  That's right....a free house!  Call now and ask for Scott.

This was actually a tongue-in-cheek ad by a Dallas area car dealer I saw on TV this morning.  I think it's pretty cute, but I doubt there are too many dullards out there who took it seriously.  There are ads, however, that seem to me to be equally ludicrous but must be super-successful or else they wouldn't pop up over and over.

How about the car dealer who promises "$3,000 trade-in for your old car, regardless of it's condition!  Push it in, tow it in...we don't care."  Ummm....$3,000 off what price?  Obviously (to me) it would be the MSRP of the overpriced new car they're gonna sell you.  And they're lined up around the block.

How about the air conditioning/heating contractor who promises if you'll buy an all-new super-efficient system from him it will save you up to 66% a month on your utility bills.  Up to 66%?  As in "some amount not to exceed" 66%?  Ummm....5% doesn't exceed 66%.  Operators are standing by.

And then there's the TV-only offer of a new super-slicer / super-mop / super-hair-remover (pick one) for only $19.99.  "BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!  Call right now and we'll DOUBLE the offer.  Just pay separate shipping and handling."  Ummm....how much is "shipping and handling"?  (I'm guessing the same amount it costs to import another one from the little toothless, naked sidewalk vendor in Papua-New Guinea.)  Have your credit card ready when you call.

It's true:  There's a sucker born every minute.  Cha-Ching!  (But that offer about the free house is real :)

S


Sunday, November 25, 2012

So, what's THIS button do?



in·tu·i·tive/in╦łt(y)o͞oitiv/

Adjective:
  1. Using or based on what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning; instinctive.
  2. (chiefly of computer software) Easy to use and understand.


It's been my observation that at about the time the first group of nerds got together and invented the computer (or whatever whiz-bang contraption preceded the first true computer) mankind began losing his sense of instinct.

Very little today is intuitive.  To turn off a computer you press "start".  Huh?  Why don't they just have a little button that says "off"?  Ever try to record a program on a DVD?  Unless you've received a Masters Degree in Engineering from MIT or Texas Tech in the last couple of years, or have a 6-year-old kid whose first toy was a laptop, fuggetaboutit!  It doesn't matter what the little buttons say, they usually don't do what you think they should!

Case in point:  Night-before-last the temperature in Dallas dipped to 31 degrees.  Before then we hadn't even turned on our heat, but we did that night just in case it got too cool inside overnight.  Sure enough, the next morning we decided to give the thermostat a nudge and warm our little apartment some.  As I was closer to the thermostat, K gave that chore to me.  BIG MISTAKE!



This is what our digital thermostat looks like.  

When we moved in we received a packet of instruction manuals for (almost) everything....oven, cooktop, microwave, etc....but not the  thermostat.

How hard can this be?  I don't need no stinkin' instructions.  I want to "SET" the temperature to let's say 68 degrees.  Press "SET", then up to "68", then "HOLD" (to hold that temperature when you're finished "setting" it).  Then "RUN" to start everything in motion.  Make sense?  It did to me at the time.

Au contraire.  The first thing I knew a blast furnace fired up and the read-out said, 75...no, 80...no, 81.  WTF?  OK, quick.  "UN-run", "UN-hold", "UN-set".  Something....anything....STOP!

K calmly walked over, said a few unkind words about my Neanderthal intellect, pressed a few buttons, and the world was right again.  (Keep in mind K is 20-years younger than me and definitely has that post-computer-age mind set, while I'm still thinking with a  "Grog-busting-rocks" kind of natural instinct.)

Is it just me?  Are there truly no Dodo birds besides me left in the 21st Century?  Hellooooo.....

S


Saturday, November 24, 2012

It's "Small Business Saturday"


I don't know where the idea came from, but I like it.  

Today we're encouraged to make a special effort to do business with the mom-and-pop small merchants instead of the giant national big-box retailers in our area.  The trick is to find one.  I don't know how things are in smaller towns or rural areas, but here in the Big City they're becoming as rare as hen's teeth.

Back in the late 1950's-early '60's when I was in my "yout" that's pretty much all we had.  Mom bought her dresses at Stern's, while I was outfitted by Ken's Mans Shop and The Varsity Shop.  Dad shopped at Jas K. Wilson.

The toy store was M. E. Moses.  Hardware was available from Plaza Hardware.  (I worked there as a kid assembling and repairing Schwinn bikes and Lawn Boy and Toro lawnmowers.  I learned about tools there, too.)  The pharmacy was Payne's Drug Store.  If you wanted a casual meal out you went to Harris Restaurant or to the Plaza Cafeteria and saw Mr. & Mrs. Padgett.  Want a hamburger?  Try Lindy's drive-in.  Need a new car?  Go see Ken Pruitt (Buick) or Mr. Jackson (Chevy).

Mr. Tedford owned the Enco station (now Exxon) and would always wash your windshield and check your oil while filling your tank.  We got our furniture and appliances from Hollingshead's, and our tires from Shugart's.  That's just the way things were back then.  You bought from your neighbors.  They knew you and went out of their way to make you happy. It was called "customer service".

Today we have Walmart and Target, Macy's and Toys R Us, Home Depot and Walgreen's, Chili's and the Sonic Auto Group.  Need gas?  Just swipe your card at the pump.  (A complete stop is still required.)  The "owner" is usually in a far-away city somewhere looking at a spreadsheet, and the "manager" was a senior in high school last month.  Neither knows your name.  Or cares.

I understand "economies of scale".  I know we have many, many more choices at much lower prices today than we had back in those days, but something deep inside me says we've lost a whole lot, too.  If you can still find a small local business where you live, go buy something from them today. (Maybe again tomorrrow, too?)  Spend an extra buck or two.  It won't hurt you, and it will mean a lot to them.

S


Friday, November 23, 2012

The unscratchable itch



I'm a scratcher.  I guess I have dry skin because I seem to have more than the usual number of itches most people have during the course of a day.  And worse than actually having to scratch an itch is to have an itch you can't get to to scratch.  That will drive you absolutely CRAZY!!  When we were kids my brother and I would wrestle and I'd pin his arms and then taunt him, "Does your nose itch?  Don't you wish you could scratch it?"  The power of suggestion worked every time.  Heehee!

It took a while, but I think Karma finally caught up with me.  Yesterday I took off the "pressure bandage" that covered all my facial slices 'n dices.  Now the sutures are visible, which are kinda gross looking, but not quite as bad as I expected.  

Now I have to keep it gooped up with some sort of antibiotic ointment for the next week, which looks worse than the actual sutures.  The worst part in all this is I regularly feel the urge to scratch my nose, but I can't 'cause it's all goopy and sore.  Jeez!  It's driving me nuts!  Is this where insanity begins?


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

While I've always been a news hound, over these past several days being housebound I think I've OD'd on news.  I've listened to local news, ABC News, Fox News, CNN News, and CNBC until they start repeating themselves.  

One news item that struck me:  When Hamas and Israel began their cease-fire everyone in Gaza came out into the streets and began shooting live ammo into the air in celebration.  I guess they don't teach physics in Gaza.  I'm surprised some of those "mental giants" didn't take it a step further and shoot off a few of their rockets, too.  Straight up.  *Yea....we won!*

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

Y'all will have to "shop 'till you drop" without me today.  Have fun.  :)

S


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Another day in paradise




Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Regardless of your circumstances, I hope you can take a few minutes today and give thanks for all that you do have.  If your health isn't the best, just remember there are many hurting more than you.  If your pantry isn't exactly overflowing, remember there are many getting by on less.  If your roof leaks, just remember there are many whose homes have been washed away.  If your finances aren't on the most solid ground, just remember there are many who would happily trade places with you.

Just open your eyes and look around.  We all have much to be thankful for.  We just need to look for it.

Have a wonderful day,

S


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated." Mark Twain

I feel like the blind double-amputee trying to read braille with hooks.*  There's no telling how this post is going to turn out as I can type while only seeing out of the tiny sliver of my eye that isn't covered by a bandage.  



I thought I'd have a little incision and a few stitches covered by a band aid.  Hahaha!  If it's true chicks like guys with scars, then I'll soon be Hollywood's hottest leading man.  They cut me from above my eyebrow, down the side of my nose all the way to my nostril.  At least that's what I'm told.  Fortunately it doesn't hurt.

My next project is to contrive a manly story to explain the scar I'm sure I'll end up with.  "Oh, I was too stupid to wear sunblock and I got skin cancer" is just too pathetic.  I need something like "I was fighting foreign evil-doers intent on destroying our civilization while working side-by-side with my friend Bond, James Bond ('cause he has all the really cool toys). After the mother-of-all-knife-fights we managed to find the device and cut the right wire just as the clock went to 00:00.  You're welcome."

Yeah, that oughta work.

Seriously, K is the ultimate Florence Nightingale.  Before I can even think of something I might want or need she shows up with it.  (It's kinda scary, actually :)  And even little Luke the Wonder Dog sticks right at my side where ever I go.  I guess that's the canine version of TLC.


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

Fortunately none of this has damaged my taste buds, which is good because tomorrow promises an absolute feast for which I am truly thankful.  I hope you can have a comfortable day with your friends and family, too. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

S

*I realize there are many wounded servicemen and women who will live forever with their injuries where my minor discomfort will only last a few days.  I will always give them all the gratitude and respect I have in me.  I hope you will do the same.  *Thank you*


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

As if I wasn't already impressed with James Bond....

....this just ratchets it up another few notches:

Daniel Craig, the current James Bond, is on a worldwide tour promoting his new movie, Skyfall (which BTW I can enthusiastically recommend). I just read that at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, Afghani-freakin'-stan 800 British troops were all settled in to see the newest Bond movie when out walks Craig himself, 007, to say Hi to his countrymen.



While there he got to meet the troops, fire guns on their range, and took time to visit those in the base hospital, too.  It seems like it was something done sincerely on his part as it was done too low-key to be much of a publicity stunt.  At least I hope so.

I like seeing the human side of celebrities.  Unfortunately so few of them even have a human side.  To me this nice act makes Daniel Craig one of the good guys.  :)

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

I'm going under the knife this morning.  The doc is going to cut out the little skin cancer thingy on the bridge of my nose.  While they always tell you every possible thing that can go wrong (CYA, you know), I'm looking for it to be pretty much a non-event.  One of you (can't remember which) remarked that facial scars are a chick magnet.  We'll see about that.  

*Ya hear that, K?  A little TLC right here, please. *  :)

Y'all behave.

S

Monday, November 19, 2012

It's deja vu all over again...again

A little Thanksgiving story from my past:

I love banana pudding....always have, ever since I was a little kid.  My grandmother was an awesome cook, and every Thanksgiving she would make a banana pudding for "us", although I knew it was really for me. Unfortunately, after my grandmother passed on, banana pudding was rare non-existent around our house as my mom didn't inherit her mother's talent for cooking.  



Fast forward a few years.  While my ex-wife was a pretty good an average cook, she wasn't as enamored with banana pudding as I was.  On our first Thanksgiving together we traveled out of town to spend the holiday with her family.  When we got there my new MIL told me she had a surprise for me....she made me a banana pudding.

YEA!  Finally, a banana pudding.  I purposely went easy on the turkey and dressing in order to leave plenty of room in my belly for dessert.  "Mom" dished me up a healthy portion of BP, and I dived in.

*What's with these little chewy bits in my banana pudding?  Coconut.  She put coconut in my banana pudding!  WHY??  Vanilla pudding, bananas, vanilla wafers....that's ALL that goes into banana pudding.  It's a classic, for God's sake!  Don't mess with a sure thing.*

"I saw this new recipe in Southern Living magazine and it sounded soooo good.  I just knew you'd love it."

Mmmmm....thanks "Mom".  *ACK*

Thanksgiving, 2012.  K said she was going to bake something for dessert to take with us to her family's for Turkey Day, and I suggested a pecan pie. 



I love pecan pie....always have, ever since I was a little kid.  Last night K told me she had a surprise for me.  She saw a new recipe on Pintrest she was going to try for "pecan pie....cake".  Cake?  CAKE??  

Ummm, Sweetheart?  Pecan PIE is a classic.  Remember the other Golden Rule?  "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

I'm sure I'll love it.  

I'm hoping the swelling goes down by Thursday.  ;)

S


Sunday, November 18, 2012

If it's cloudy out is it still "Sun day"?

Sunday, to me, is the most awkward day of the week.  Think about it:  Monday through Thursday are just regular work days.  You get up, eat, dress, go to work, blah, blah, blah.  Friday is a bit more special.  You're more likely to go out for a nicer lunch or maybe to an after-work happy hour with friends or co-workers or spousal unit.  

Saturday....ahhh, Saturday....is by a wide margin the most fun day of the week.  Maybe sleep in a while longer, golf or tennis or bike-ride (if that's your thing), a nice lunch or dinner out, the list of possible things to do is virtually unlimited.

Sunday on the other hand is one of those odd, in-between kind of days.  Sunday morning means for many a trip to church (or these days a trip to the 'puter for some online church), the BIG weekly edition of the newspaper, some pro football on TV (if that's your thing), and otherwise just getting yourself ready for that 'ol Monday through Thursday grind thing.  It's not really an all-out fun day like Saturday, but it isn't a work day either.  I take that back....I guess you could say "reflecting" is fun, right?

All I/we have left to do today is visit Starbuck's ("Four bucks") for a fancy coffee and an hours worth of newspaper reading.  Maybe some cow on the grill later.  I dunno.

S

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Comfort or style?

As you might imagine, as a builder I'm interested in architecture and design.  I was reading an article in the paper this morning about a lady who sold her tech company for $23M, then to celebrate she renovated a loft (to the tune of $2M) she said "to make her friends envious".  Then I saw the slide show of her new digs.  Ugh!  It was all done in an ultra-contemporary style.  I just looked at her "den" and wondered where she would sit to read a book or watch TV?  



Here is an example of what I mean.  Does this look comfortable to you?

Does anyone remember the 70's TV show All In the Family?  Remember Archie Bunker's chair?  It was this old raggedy thing that Archie wouldn't let anyone else sit in.  He said his butt print on the cushion was just right and he didn't want anyone else messing with it.  (NOTE:  That chair is today in the Smithsonian.)  I feel pretty much the same about my chair.


It cost a small fortune 15 years ago, but I think it will probably outlast me.  I know it looks like hell, but it is supremely comfortable.  That ottoman has been the favorite napping spot for 3 dogs (Tara Belle, Emma Belle, and now Lukie Boy).  I place my feet wherever the dog isn't.  

When I had my detached retina surgeries years ago I was told I couldn't lie down to sleep until my eye healed, so for a while this served as my bed, too.  The back cushion just envelopes me, and the bottom cushion...well...speaks for itself.

The table on the right usually has a book or a couple of magazines on it, a clock, and a good, bright (3-way) reading light.  Underneath I even have a jar of peanuts handy for snacking.  A lot of football has been watched from that chair, lemme tell ya!

Unlike the lady in the story above, I gave up years ago trying to make my friends envious.  All I care about these days is making my butt happy.  And my dog.  ;)

S

PS...I do let K sit there whenever she wants.  Archie would be appalled, but she deserves it, too.




Friday, November 16, 2012

Black Friday is here, the one I've been dreading

OMG!  This is a true catastrophe!  The world will never be the same.  The youth of the world, and many of us grown-ups, too, have been robbed.  They've been taken from us waaaay too soon.  




I'm talking about Twinkies, and SnoBalls, and HoHo's, and Cupcakes, and Hostess bread, the one that "builds strong bodies 8 ways", and....  *uncontrolled sobbing*

Hostess Brands, the company that bakes all those goodies, is closing its doors...er...ovens...for good.  They've been bankrupt for months now, and their "best and last offer" to their union has been rejected.  Turn out the lights, the party's over.

How could this happen?  We're Americans.  We're fat.  I would have thought the company that bakes all these hi-cal delights would be rolling in dough (pardon the pun).  How inept do you have to be to muck up a powdered-sugar-covered donut company in America?

RIP my friends.

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

What is it with the Palestinians and the Israelis?  They're at it again.  While I'm obviously not there to see first hand who did what, it sounds like the Palestinians just couldn't help stirring up the ant pile....again.  You just know what's gonna happen!  They've been lobbing missiles at Israel, and sure enough the Israelis are giving 'em right back.  

These guys just don't seem to be happy unless they're miserable.  Their "leaders" have an odd way of thinking.  Or do they?  It's hard to be the leader of a beat-up group unless you have a beat-up group to lead.  So you just make sure your people are beaten up on a regular basis.  Just lob a few missiles and then sit back and wait for the inevitable whuppin'.  Is this their version of job security?  Go figure.

Oh well.  Now go out and start your weekend (yes, it starts on Friday) with a farewell Twinkie.  

S


Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Grand Conundrum


The headline read:  "Romney blames loss on Obama's 'gifts' to minorities and young voters".  

In a conference call with many of his big-money supporters Mitt Romney told them that it was Obamacare (calling it a gift to lower-income Americans, perceived to be primarily minorities), the Dream Act (which prohibited deportation of young illegal immigrants who were brought here by their parents when they were very young), and the forgiveness of a considerable amount of the interest incurred by students (who are relying on student loans to get their education) that was responsible for his defeat.  He said these "gifts" to targeted groups bought Obama enough votes to put him over the top. 

Or to put it another way, the status quo didn't work for the Republicans.  This needs to be their wake-up call.  They need to find a way to embrace these groups and broaden their base of supporters.  Making the recent election an "us vs them" affair is no way for Republicans to turn their fortunes around.

Here's the conundrum:  Yes, we need to cut our budget deficit.  We can't go on indefinitely running up a trillion dollars a year in red ink.  But at the same time, we DO need to expand health care.  Where a decade ago 65% of companies provided health insurance to their employees, today it's roughly 55%.  You see the trend?  An unhealthy, broke workforce is not what we need to compete economically with the rest of the world.

And we DO need a highly trained workforce, which obviously requires a highly educated workforce.  The days of getting a high school diploma and then spending the next 40 years working at the sawmill are over.  Education costs lots of money, money most families don't have.  Government does, except it's all borrowed money.

And we DO need immigrants.  While many developed countries actually have a shrinking population, ours is still growing, thanks to births to recent immigrants.  Without them working and paying in to "the system" we won't be able to honor our commitments to our baby boomers now at or nearing retirement.  We need to find a way to expeditiously, responsibly admit new immigrants.  And legitimize many (but not all) of those here now.

It seems we need to do lots of things to stay on top in the world, but they all cost money.  Money we don't have.  What to do?

S




Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Identical twins separated at birth?

I'm in K's doghouse.  I have a special aversion to sunscreen.  It's slimy and I don't like putting it on right after a nice shower.  I feel dirtier than before I took the shower!  Now I've got this skin cancer and it turns out I'll HAVE to dip in the stuff daily. Yuck!  I have to admit it....K has been right all along telling me to slather it on. 

Yesterday I had a procedure done where they cut out a small spot on my chest.  All is well.  Then I had to go next door to another Dr. for consultation about the cancer on my nose, right where the nose-piece on my glasses rests.  

This guy is a "maxillofacial" specialist.  Next week he's going to cut the spot off and examine it under a microscope to make sure he cut out juuuust the right amount of tissue.  Then he's going to cut skin elsewhere (maybe the bridge of my nose?) and transplant some tissue from there back onto my nose where the boo-boo was.  



George Clooney.  Or is it?

I told him as long as he was slicing and dicing I was kinda hoping for the "George Clooney" look, and told him there would be a nice tip in it for him if he could help me out.  He told me he was a simple highly trained medical specialist, not a miracle worker.  :)

So I guess it pays to be a pasty-white little nerd living in mama's basement.  No sun, no skin cancer, no slimy sunscreen.

S


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Luke says "jump!"....

....We say "how high?"  What do you call a male "prima donna"?  Whatever you call it, Luke is one.



It seems he was playing with K over the weekend and jumped off the couch wrong, spraining his "knee".  Now he has a hitch in his giddyup.  The vet says it's a floating patella (kneecap) a common problem with small dogs.  For a week we have to carry him up and down the stairs.

But before that K found it hard to find a dog food that he liked.  He would eat one kind for a few days, then tire of it and refuse to eat it anymore.  Dry food, wet food, a mix of the two....she never found the right one UNTIL she gave him a tiny piece of real chicken we were eating.  Boy Howdy!!  

Now we have to buy a rotisserie chicken weekly in order to have a bit handy for him every day to mix with his dry food.  And frankly, I like it too, so I'm not exactly crying in my beer.  (The chicken, not the dry dog food.)  Saturday, however, we bought some smoked turkey instead as they were out of cluck.

Last night His Highness The Lukester turned up his nose at that one, too.  At 6 pm I had to go out and battle the commuters on their way home who also stopped at Market Street for their chicken dinner.  I had to race to beat a little old lady to the last one, but I got it!  Actually she was debating between two, one mildly seasoned (that Luke prefers) and one lemon "something".  When she put the mild one down for a nano-second I lunged for it!  

In the end Luke approved, and allowed me to remain in his presence for the remainder of the evening.

Oh lucky me.  ;)

S


Monday, November 12, 2012

This could be bad news....

There is an email going around that says a coup is underway to oust John Boehner as Speaker of the House and replace him with Paul Ryan.  (Hmmm...I actually thought it would be Eric Cantor who would lead the revolt.)  I'm no big fan of John Boehner, but I feel like he would be someone who could/would negotiate with the Democrats.  

Paul Ryan is a headline-grabbing "my way or the highway" kinda guy.   Bad move, Republicans!  The Tea Party-ers apparently didn't get the message:  The People have repudiated extreme politics.  They want our leaders to work together to get something done and not throw us all under the bus.  

My concern is that if this is true and Ryan (or Cantor) does become Speaker, we're going over the "fiscal cliff" next year.  Sequestration (across-the-board spending cuts) will automatically kick in, cutting not only fat from government (good) but meat, too (bad).  And we can ALL see our paychecks reduced when the "Bush tax cuts" expire and we go back to our previous tax rates.  Ouch!  Ryan has said, and I believe him, that he will NEVER allow taxes to go up on the wealthy.  



"If my friends can't get their tax cut, then none of you can, either."


Ryan says the wealthy are the "job creators", which is a half-truth at best.  While the wealthy might be "incubators" of new businesses, they depend on middle class consumers to actually buy whatever the new businesses are selling in order to succeed.  If the middle-class has their take-home pay reduced due to higher taxes, they'll buy less.  New businesses will stagnate or even fail, perhaps taking us into another recession.  How would that create any new jobs?

Whatever the two sides can negotiate regarding tax rates for the wealthy, so be it, but don't hold the middle class hostage in the process.  The election is over.  Now we need leaders, not ideologues.

S