Thursday, October 31, 2013

If you're gonna dream, dream BIG

After spending my life building homes, it probably won't come as a surprise to anyone that I like the TV show "House Hunters", and especially "House Hunters International".  

I often find myself ROFLMAO when an American goes looking for a home in picturesque Tuscany, for example, and they tell the Italian realtor they're looking for 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, a gourmet kitchen with dishwasher and a 48" Sub Zero refrigerator, with a big yard for the dogs and a post card view.  Their budget:  $1,000,000.  Something like this is what the realtor will often show them....

Really?  Those are some mighty expensive rocks!  I always wonder, is this property really a million bucks, or was it $20K until the realtor saw their American passport?  Regardless, Americans always have a wildly unrealistic expectation of how the rest of the world lives.  Four bedrooms and 3 baths?  They're asking for the Presidential Palace!

And it's now immensely popular to request a home "with character", which apparently means this:

I keep looking for a red "Condemned" sticker on a window.

And of course they want to live the "charmed life" of a local.  Sipping espresso and playing bocce ball all day, strolling the piazza and dining alfresco in the evenings....

Then I tune in the domestic version and see couples asking for a move-in ready home for $400K, and in many/most parts of the country they're shown something like this:

Nice, cute, well kept house....absolutely.  But $400K?  *choke*

It all makes my humble little apartment feel quite special.  I guess you could say, to me, House Hunters is a "comfort show".   :)


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wow! Nice Bling. Sorry about your penis.

I just heard that a friend of mine recently went to Northpark Mall to pick up a few things.  He parked in the lot and went inside, forgetting that he had left two Dallas Cowboys tickets on the passenger seat in plain sight. He came back a half hour later to find the side window bashed in, broken glass was everywhere, and there on the seat....were FOUR Dallas Cowboys tickets.  :)

Today's big breaking news:  The Jonas Brothers are splitting up.  I wonder if I should wear shorts or jeans today?  Oh, look....a bunny. 


While I don't have a horse in this race....I'm not Catholic....I must say I really like their new Pope, Francis.  Here he is, one of the most powerful men in the world, yet he eschews all the trappings of royalty available to him.  He passed on the opulent living quarters previous Pope's have enjoyed, the Wizard of Oz red shoes, the fancy gold bobbles, etc.  He just seems like a genuinely nice guy, the kind of pal you'd like to have over to share a few (blessed) beers and maybe watch some college football on a Saturday afternoon.

I'm rarely if ever impressed by Bling.  Back in my airshow days when a rich pilot would fly in his million dollar P-51 or similar and we'd get him safely parked and chocked, we'd greet him and say, "Wow!  Nice plane....sorry about your penis."

One of the most interesting men I've ever known was the uncle of a friend of mine.  (This was before Dos Equis Man.)  He lived in Houston in the same house he'd lived in for 25 years, drove a 5-year-old Olds 98, and wore comfortable, well-broken-in clothes.  He would invite us down to stay in his (very modest) beach house on Galveston Island and take us all out fishing.  Later we'd have a crab boil and sit around afterwards where he could talk intelligently about any topic we'd throw at him.  We tried to trip him up, but he bested us every time.  He was just an all-around brilliant, fun, pleasant, down-to-earth guy.

We knew he was financially comfortable....he and his brother had an oil pipeline related business....but it was only when he passed away that we found out exactly how well off he was.  Turns out his financial statement had more zeros to the left of the decimal point than any of us could even fathom.

I often think, when I win the lottery....that's it.  I often think of that.  But when I do, what would I buy? A few modest things maybe, some travel, but I don't really want much more than what I have now.  I just bought some new jeans, I have every color T-shirt LL Bean offers, and I just put new synthetic oil in my car.  

I am getting a new iPhone soon, but I'm going for the black one.  The gold one is just too Blingy.  :)


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Whore, good; ape, bad. I get it now.

I'm beginning to get a bit clearer picture of the ethical ranking system in Congress.  So far I've learned it's better to be a "whore" than an "ape".

It seems that parts of the financial reforms enacted after the bankers nearly destroyed the world back in '08 are just now beginning to be implemented, and the banks are none too happy about it.  

Right now the bank lobby is working overtime to exempt a wide array of derivative trading from regulation, and also one that would delay heightened standards for firms that would offer investment advice to retirees.  

*Well, DUH!  How are they supposed to fleece retirees, and probably widows and orphans, too, with some regulator looking over their shoulder?*

Both lobbying efforts have received wide bipartisan support (mostly Republican, but some Democrats, too) in the House of Representatives.

Just curious....why would you want to conduct your business in the alleyways and shadows if you were proud of your exemplary behavior?  Wouldn't you want it to be regulated and made public?  

It's sorta like restaurants that fail health inspections....they want it all hushed up.  The ones that make an "A" want it in headlines on the front page for all the world to see.  Hmmmm....I think I've answered my own question.

The banking lobby has gone so far as to submit a list of suitable questions for "sympathetic" members of the House Banking Committee to ask bankers as they testify before cameras and under oath.  It's become so blatant that one House aide sent an email to a House Banking Committee staffer warning that members should be careful to not mimic the talking points from lobbyists.

"I know that some of our members are inclined to whore, but we must not be apes."

So it's whore, good;  ape, bad.  Got it.


From the absurd to the ridiculous

How could I have missed this?  Did you hear about the new "in thing" among metrosexual men?  Men-only nail bars....places men go to get manicures and pedicures.  This one ^ in LA is called "Hammer and Nails".  $25 for someone to cut your fingernails?  I think that's God's way of telling you you have too damn much money. 

For women, I understand.  They have to cut them, bondo and file them smooth, then mask everything off, prime them, and finally paint them.  That's pretty labor intensive.  

I honestly don't get this....unless it's a front for illegal gambling in the back.  But what do I know.  I don't get out much.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Oh, what I could make of this!

This could be one of those "make up your own caption" exercises.  I'll go first:  I'm imagining a jilted spouse/lover making a statement, ruining the beautiful view of some picturesque European river from the ex's corner office.

Or how about this:  The Tea Party has unveiled this as their new symbol, replacing the 200-year-old "Don't Tread On Me" snake.  "We're making YOU #1!"   

Maybe a reminder for "Prostate Awareness Month"?  (This could be the on the float bringing up the rear....heehee! the "Prostate 5K Run For Your Life".  No, FAST!)

OK, your turn.  Dazzle me with your creative brilliance.  (Bonus points awarded for snarky sarcasm.)


Note:  This was actually a political protest outside the Presidential Palace in Prague, Czech Republic.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cloud fell down

Saturday recap:  Texas Tech lost, Northampton won, the Plano festival was a let down, but last night we had a helluva storm, complete with a fantastic lightning show and loud claps of cool!

Then this morning I looked outside to find this:

Cloud fell down.

It just feels like autumn today.  Some days this would be the last thing you'd want to see, but today it just feels right.  Now and then I like a day when everything just slows down a few notches.  

Stay-at-home church on the internet, a leisurely breakfast, maybe a trip to Starbucks later for a latte and some quality time with the newspaper and some people watching.  (They have some interesting types come in there.)  I might even check out the Felon Football League for a while.  That's my day.  

CORRECTION:  I've just been informed my presence has been requested at IKEA sometime today, too.  


Friday, October 25, 2013

"I didn't do it, it wasn't my fault, I can fix it...."

So everybody is asking, "Why can't the government put together a health care website that works?"  Well, here's one little fact that I'll bet you haven't heard before:

When the government awards a contract to develop something like the website they must follow a code called the Federal Acquisition Regulation, which is more than 1,800 pages of legalese.  It all but assures the companies that win the contracts are the ones that can navigate the REGULATIONS the best, NOT the ones who can necessarily do the best job.  In other words, the winning companies have the best lawyers, not necessarily the best techies.

Consider this:  94% of Federal information technology projects in the past 10 years have been delayed, over budget, or performed below expectations....41.4% FAILED COMPLETELY!

IMO bureaucrats rarely do anything well, unless you consider writing endless reams of regulations that do little more than give themselves job security.  At that they're friggin' World Champions!  Nothing that can't be fixed, however.  :)

The men are excited about getting to shoot a bureaucrat. You wouldn't happen to be a lawyer, too, would you?


I will have to give a reprieve, however, to the Justice Department team that nailed JP Morgan Chase with a $13 BILLION settlement relating to their fraudulent mortgage bundling scam.  And Chase was told they might still be liable for CRIMINAL prosecution, too.  Looks like the pressure being put on the DoJ to not let these formerly "too big to jail" white-collar smug thugs get away with their crime is gaining traction.

Now I understand Bank of America is next in the Fed's gunsight.  I'd love to be a fly on the interrogation room wall as the bankers line up to squeal on each other and try to get themselves a deal.  


Looks like a fun weekend ahead:  A big Northampton / Saracen rugby match tomorrow am, Texas Tech vs Oklahoma pm, and some sort of food / music / car show event in downtown Plano in between.  And maybe some rain over the weekend, too, which would be welcome.

Hope y'all have a fun weekend planned, too.  ;)


Thursday, October 24, 2013

This guy can't BUY a break!

It was at the State Fair of Texas about a year ago that Big Tex, the giant cowboy statue that welcomed visitors at the front gate, caught fire and turned crispy critter.  It seems the motor that moved his jaw when he "talked" shorted out.  (They never offered an explanation of why his crotch ignited, although rumors were ripe.)

It was big news at the time, and many people around here were truly saddened.  (I personally thought the whole concept was pretty cheesy.)  Money was raised for a new Big Tex, and he was ready for this year's fair.   

Several days ago at lunch I had the TV on and was (sorta) watching the local news when I happened to glance over to see this:

My first thought was, "Holy crap....he fell over!  THE SUM BITCH FELL OVER!"  *we just can't have nice thangs!*

Turns out the Fair ended its 3-week run last weekend and workers were taking him down and back to storage.  *Whew*  I'm not sure people around here could handle the trauma of losing another Big Tex so soon.


I don't get all this fascination with cowboys.  I really don't.  While there are still some working cowboys in Texas (mostly in west and south Texas), they're rare, and you're more likely to see them working out of 4-wheel drive trucks or even helicopters than on horseback.  They dress the way they do for a reason.

What you will see here are what we jokingly refer to as "urban cowboys".  These are city people who wear boots (dirty, never polished), Wrangler jeans, shirts with snaps instead of buttons, belt buckles the size of hub caps, and of course cowboy hats.  But the funny part is, they wouldn't know what to do with a cow or a horse if their life depended on it.  

I understand honoring your past, and we in Texas have an exceptionally colorful one.  But to re-live it every day?  I mean, do you see ordinary people in Boston walking around wearing 3-point hats, coats with long tails, and shirts with ruffles?  Or people in San Francisco walking around wearing....OK....bad example.

Oh well, to each his own.  As long as there's not a run on LL Bean "looks good fresh out of the dryer" T-shirts, I'm happy.  :)


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

If they drop this thing, is a "hard hat" really gonna do any good?

It looks like all the heavy lifting is complete on the new building going up just 3 blocks SW of our casa, so today they're taking down the big crane.  It's really fascinating to watch.  It's just like the erector set I had as a kid, only bigger.

I remember about a year ago I got up close and watched them take down the giant crane on the new building right next door.  I got to meet the project manager, and in fact he made me the jobsite Director of Sex and Music.  His exact words were, "If I want your fuckin' help, I'll whistle."  It was quite an honor.  :)


Did you see this in the news last week?  A giant "oarfish" washed ashore on a beach in Southern California.  A second oarfish washed ashore this week, too.  Turns out this might not be such a good thing. 

It seems that according to an old myth giant oarfish have some kind of built-in seismic detectors which can predict earthquakes.  In fact, oarfish sightings were noticed off Chile and Haiti before their devastating earthquakes, and off Sendai, Japan in 2012 also.

Maybe this would be a good time for people who live near the Southern California fault line to....oh, I dunno....MOVE!


Like a lot of Apple-philes I downloaded the new iOS-7 system when it came out a few weeks ago.  Since then I've had all sorts of un-Apple-like things go wrong with both my iPad and my iPhone. 

Turns out I wasn't alone.  There have been lots of complaints, and yesterday Apple made available a new iOS-7 software update that will supposedly fix the problems.  I'm now current.  I'll keep you posted on whether it worked or not.

Enjoy your Hump Day, and watch where you step.   :)



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I wonder what kind of terms you can get on a watch loan these days?

Does anyone remember John Cameron Swayze?

Back when I was a kid he was the TV persoanlity who, among other things, pitched Timex watches.  Their slogan was, "It takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'".  I remember in one ad they strapped a watch to the bow of a speedboat and blasted off across a lake, pounding from wave to wave.  I wanted to be like that watch, cool boat.

Then more prestigeous makers brought their Swiss-made brands here and they became highly prized, with names like Rolex, Omega, and Tag Heuer.  They just seemed so exotic.  Now even they are old hat, with makers you can't pronounce offering watches that you can't read, or afford.  (A hundred thousand bucks for a watch?  Really?)

Honestly, does this make any sense to you?

And how about this one?  I think whoever designed it had a boob fixation.

Sometimes the hands are there, but you have to look really, really hard to find them.

Have a light-bulb-changing phobia?  Then keep looking.

Ferrari even endorsed this Hublot model.  Quick Mr. Race Car Driver....what time is it?

At one time I succumed to the lure of one of those early "prestige" brands (and still have it in a drawer somewhere), but the last time the battery died I never bothered taking it to a jeweler to have it changed.  Instead I dug through my stuff and fished out the little plastic model I wore to the pool....heck, IN the pool....and it's still with me.

It may not be much, but at least I can tell what time it is.  I've either become very egalitarian in my old age, or just plain lazy.  ;)


Monday, October 21, 2013

Things aren't always what they seem....

Remember back in the 1980's when we were all scared to death of "Japan, Inc"?  This was when [it seemed as if] Japan was kicking our economic butts, they just seemed so unstoppable.  Our economy was stagnant while theirs was skyrocketing.  Then the 90's happened, Japan, Inc stumbled and fell crashed, and they entered their "lost decade".

Now we see the real Japan, warts and all.  Their population is actually shrinking (has been for years) so precipitously that the big industrial companies years ago began developing personal robots.

These aren't meant to weld cars together or assemble little electronic thingies, but to wait on people.  The expectation is that before long there will not be enough care givers left to look after Japan's elderly.  These robots are supposed to clean their houses, cook and serve their meals, and I suppose even keep them company.

I read an interesting article yesterday in The Guardian explaining Japan's dilemma:  Educated Japanese women today don't want to give up their careers / independence, and Japanese men no longer feel economically secure enough to provide for a family.  (Women who continue to work after marriage are called "devil wives".  Ouch!)  Therefore many just forgo romantic involvement / marriage all together.

Apparently Japanese employers assume a female employee will immediately start having kids after marriage, so they kill off their careers.  And with "lifetime employment" agreements between companies and employees going the way of the Dodo bird, many men are scared they won't be able to provide for a wife and kids.  Many never marry at all, and a sizable number still live in mama's basement (for real).

Quite a fall from the heady days of Japan, Inc, huh?

This morning on the news they showed pictures of the worst smog I think I've ever seen.  It was in China, and was so bad (5x the level considered "unhealthy") you couldn't see across the street.  They also supposedly have a looming catastrophic water shortage, a "house of cards" banking system, and an increasingly restless rural population yearning to enjoy "the good life" like their city cousins.  

We always hear about their exploding economy, but rarely about these kinds of crushing problems just below the surface.  I wonder if we'll be looking back on "China, Inc" 20/30 years from now and wonder what all the fuss was about?

Perhaps so, assuming we can get our s__t back together by then, too.  I'm thinking the recent slap-down of the Tea Party was a step in the right direction.  Now we can take a good, hard, realistic look at where we are and where we need to go, without having to listen to the demagoguery of nut cases like Sen. Ted Cruz.  *back in your hole, Ted*


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Here he comes....there he goes

Going to 4-yr-old grandson Parker's soccer game this morning.  I think later they'll break up and play positions, but for now they all just play "mob", as in wherever the ball goes, the mob follows.  It's 45 degrees this morning with a breeze.  That should wake everyone up.

Later we're going on a search for food trucks, probably downtown.  Looks like Luke the Wonder Dog is coming along, too.  There are always lots of dogs there, which should thrill him....unless any of them try to get too close.  

Then he does an admirable imitation of a greyhound chasing that little mechanical rabbit around the racetrack.

After that....gee....lemme think.  Oh yes!  Football, or as K calls it, #$%^&* football.  :)


Friday, October 18, 2013

Just thinking out loud....

I guess I'll give chastising Congress a break for a while.  I think they know how I feel.  

My to-do list today included balancing the checkbook, and I'm happy to report all the numbers are still a dull, monotone black.   Otherwise, all is quiet here.

I did notice yet another building crane going up across the street.  Speaking of birds ("cranes", get it?) shouldn't there be millions of them flying south for the winter by now?  Thinking back years ago, by (or before) this time the sky would be filled with what seemed like millions of birds doing their annual migration.  Do birds just avoid big city airspace these days?  Are they scared of all those cranes?  That's probably a good thing, come to think of keeps the little shitters away from my car.

Our next door neighbors have packed it up and moved.  I saw them a couple of days ago loading a U-Haul.  I had noticed their terrace furniture missing and thought something was amiss.  Turns out they're moving back to New Mexico....I guess they aren't Big City types.

Met another neighbor in the elevator yesterday.  She's an American Airlines flight attendant, Sherlock Holmes here deducing that by her suitcases and American Airlines flight attendant uniform.  Just making small talk, I asked where she was returning from, and she said a London trip.  

I commented, "Oh, then you must have some seniority", and she said, yes, 25 years and she was STILL "junior" on that flight.  Some quick mental math told me she must be 45-50 yrs old, yet she looked to be a stunning mid-30'ish.  Now I'm wondering how much of her was "real", or if my eyesight is failing me.

This weekend promises to be Chamber of Commerce / picture-postcard autumn perfect.  K is playing hookie this afternoon from work, so we're planning a leisurely lunch somewhere of those 2-hour meals with maybe an adult beverage or two.

Bon Ape Tit, y'all.

Here's hoping you're having a pleasant day, too.  :)


Thursday, October 17, 2013

"And if re-re-re-re-re-elected, I promise you I will...."

The best case yet for congressional term limits:

In our recent gubment shutdown / debt ceiling crisis, a small MINORITY of hard core Tea Party Republicans called the shots.  It's said that the majority of the House Republicans did NOT share the Tea Party venom, yet were afraid to stand up to the TP bullies.  With their own re-elections coming up next year, they were afraid if they DIDN'T at least pay lip service to the extremists they would face a strong primary challenge from a Tea Party-er themselves. *Holy sheep shit, Robin!*

So they voted, perhaps reluctantly, to "shut 'er down".  Millions of disabled veterans were scared to death their disability checks, often their sole source of income, wouldn't show up.  Same with military retirees.  Same with senior citizens.  Same with veterans going to school using their GI Bill.  (And let's be clear here, these were all PRE-PAID beneifts.)

A small army of gubment workers and contractors (that's a whole 'nuther blog post) missed their paychecks, too, and no doubt many missed paying a few bills on time.

Overall it's estimated the shutdown cost us $24 BILLION dollars.  All this because a group of otherwise reasonable Republicans, who could have voted their conscience but lacked the balls, valued their JOBS more than the citizens....the country....they personally pledged to serve.  

They valued their job, their POWER, their chance to be cut in on some lucrative business deals, more than the country.  And frankly, I imagine if the shoe had been on the other foot, the career Democrats would have done the same thing.

They threw the whole country under the bus in order to save their jobs.  I think it's time we make that job a whole lot less desirable.  A short term limit would be a good start, perhaps followed by a lifetime prohibition on a future career as a lobbyist.  And no lifetime congressional pension or health benefits, either.  In fact no perks at all.  When their term is up, they go back home to the rat race like the rest of us.

I say it's time we throw THEM under the bus for the greater good of the country!

*Cue the music*


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The mafia is watching and learning from the Tea Party

The mafia could learn much from the Tea Party extortionists in the House of Representatives.  

First the Tea Party campaigned explicitly on the promise they would shut down the government.  For two weeks they f__ked around making demands they KNEW would NEVER be acceptable to the opposition. 

Then they say it isn't them " siree, it's those damn Democrats....they won't negotiate in good faith".  Yuck yuck.  

They finally throw up their hands and say they're out, it's up to the Senate to put together some sort of compromise.  OK, fine.  Harry "Life of the Party" Reid and Mitch "Pull My Finger" McConnell, with the help of some bipartisan MODERATES, are on the verge of putting something together, and the Tea Party "Gang of Ninety" pull their heads out of their asses....

John "Boner" Boehner's "Glamour Shot"

....and announce that, no, they would put together a plan after all, scuttling everything the Senate was working on.  BASTARDS!

On second thought, the mafia is smarter than that.  (And their approval rating is higher, too.)

You want to know how to absolutely destroy a perfectly good political party?  Elect a small bunch of Tea Party bully's and let them goose-step their way into power.  In 6 months your party will be a flaming wreck.  Keep it up Tea Party, and you'll learn the meaning of "unintended consequences".


I'm in the wrong business

I recently went to one of my grandson's T-ball games, and as I was walking through the parking lot I noticed almost every car there had multiple window decals announcing their kid's participation in a dance studio, karate school, pee-wee football / baseball / soccer team, etc.

I remember years ago when my girls were small several went to a dance "academy".  Judging by all the car window decals I see today I'm guessing the phenomenon has grown even bigger.  And it's a great business, too, about as recession-proof as you can get.  Parents will eat Ramen noodles three meals a day in order to scrape together enough money to keep their kids enrolled.  But the tuition is just the tip of the iceberg.

Every little girl needs at least one dance outfit, and of course special shoes, and a monogrammed bag to carry it all in, and one of those car window decals for mom's minivan.  All these things and more can be ordered directly from the dance studio.  It was the original one-stop shopping.  *Cha-ching!*  

Then every 6-weeks or so you would get a note from the teacher that says your child (all of the class actually) has REAL talent and is being promoted from the Beginner's Level 4 class to Beginner's Level 3 class.  There were about 48 levels, best I could tell, each with their own distinctive outfit, bag, and window decal.  Also conveniently enclosed with the note was a new order form.

The payoff was the annual Christmas dance recital.  My kid's dance school rented the local 1,000-seat high school auditorium for both a Friday and a Saturday performance.  The lights would dim, the curtain would rise, and out would trot 15-20 kids....the "Tuesday, 5pm, Beginner Level 4 Class, aka The Dazzlers."  They would do their little kick / spin around / fall over / pick nose / curtsy, and the curtain would close.

Five minutes later the same thing all over again, this time the Thursday, 6pm Advanced Beginner Level 3 Class, aka the "Highsteppers."  Then the "Showoffs", followed by the "Lil Darlin's", then the....

It was funny watching the parents in the audience.  The mom's were always grinning and waving and taking pictures, while the dad's were sitting there doing mental math.  

You could just see their wheels turning:  "20 kids to a class @ $40 each, they're running through 10 classes an hour, 4 hours on Friday night, 8 hours on Saturday, plus all the tutu, gym bag, and decal income....and these are just the little kids.  Then there are the cheerleader classes....that's next weekend.  Holy crap!  I'm in the wrong business."

But of course we all did it because it made our kids happy, plus it kept peace in the family.  And give 'em credit, this is probably where most of today's world-class ballerinas got their start, not to mention more than a few pole dancers.  :)

Ahhh....the days.


Monday, October 14, 2013

This is gonna get ugly

Look out Washington.  Here they come!

The Democrats and Republicans have been waging a battle of wills....some would say they fight about budgets and debt ceiling limits and such. The newspapers and cable TV report it, and some of us bloggers write about it, but odds are it has touched very few people any of us might know personally, if any at all.  

That could change in a big way very soon.  It's said that if the government defaults on paying it's bills (as soon as later this month), Social Security recipients, disabled veterans, military retirees, and others might not be getting their monthly checks.  I don't think the politicians realize what they're letting themselves in for when they start playing pinata with a beehive of Gray Hairs.

It's one thing to heap scorn on a welfare recipient who won't work and lives off his gubment handout and food stamps, yet has a new smartphone, a bottle of hooch and a carton of cigarettes, and a body full of expensive tattoos.  "Get off your ass you bums and get a job!"

I dare you to go up to your elderly neighbor wearing his "WWII Veteran" ball cap, or your grandmother, and tell them to "get a job you bum" because they can't pay for their apartment or food or medicine because their meager savings can't cover the shortfall of them not getting their social security checks.  Or the disabled veteran who is missing limbs because he/she did their time protecting you so you could get your MBA and land that great job on Wall Street, get rich, and join the Tea Party (or any party).

The government checks these people get are NOT welfare.  They PRE-PAID for these benefits by working for decades, paying into a supplemental retirement system every payday of their lives.  Same with veterans, whose terms of employment stipulated that if they were injured on the job they would be cared for.  Unilaterally change their terms of employment and not pay them NOW?  REALLY?

I agree there are lots of worthless programs our government can and should cut to save a buck.  But it would take a pretty cold person who shares a special relationship with the devil to hit on the Gray Hairs.