Thursday, 30 June 2011

Homework & Congressmen

I'm on vacation..but I sat there and watched a 5-minute clip with the President at some press conference yesterday, and he was jumping all over congress for failing to fix up the $14 trillion debt ceiling.  Naturally, this deadline of five weeks is not that far off and he's probably getting worried.  But he sat there and wanted to compare the way that his daughters do their homework to the way that congress fails to do their homework.

I sat and paused over this for a minute or two.  In some ways, you'd agree that kids might do a better job with debt than most folks.  If you only have three dollars in your hand.....you can only spend three dollars.  Most ten-year old kids would readily tell you that.

But then you mix in this unknown variable where the kid has a cash credit account and has $44k dollars to spend as they please.  If a kid knew he could print money, and spend it....without significant consequences....then everything would be screwed up.

So this idea of kids and congressmen doesn't really work that well.  What happens around early August if they don't agree?  I'm thinking the semi-recession we keep sliding towards.....will simply deepen and and any repairs that the boys did in 2009....just disappears.  If I were the President.....I'd stop the weekend golf games and get pretty serious.  I wouldn't campaign or show up up any fancy dinners.  I'd just get as serious as possible to fix up this problem....here and now.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

We Could Have Been Great

I've kinda noticed over the past month or two....these think tank guys who want to bring America "back to greatness".  So I thought I'd offer up my ten suggestions:

1.  End cable news.  To be honest, we've got a bunch of folks in Texas....worrying about elections in California.  We've got people in Arkansas who can name forty different Representatives, which ought to be impossible.  In effect, we need to dumb folks down to where they were in 1966.

2.  Dump high school education worries back to each state.  If the state folks really care....they will fix their own problems, and not turn this into some national circus show where 300 problems are presented....but no state has more than twenty of them.

3.  Turn the vice-president's office back into some unimportant office.  There shouldn't be more than a million Americans who can readily remember the guy's name.

4.  If you catch a politician lying, cheating, or in corruption....actually send him off to jail.

5.  Require every law enforcement officer in America....down to the wannabe cops in small towns throughout the south....to take monthly drug tests.  If they fail....don't let them stay around.

6.  Mandate that the American tax code can't go beyond 1,000 pages.  If you want to add more....then delete before you add.

7.  Admit you have enough national parks and national forests, and just stop the growth.

8.  Admit that the federal government has no business getting into NCAA bowl business.

9.  Admit that the federal government has no business getting into saving banks, Fannie Mae, cities, states, or such.  If they failed....they really need to fail hard.

10.  Admit that money doesn't ever fix anything that the federal government says is broke.

My guess is that these will come and pass....without much attention.

Monday, 27 June 2011

The Hat Story

 A heavy moment fell around two weeks ago with Army guys.  For years (almost a decade)....the standard hat for the Army crowd to wear....was the black beret.  They hated it.

There was some four-star general who made a decision long ago....that they'd all look sharp with the beret.  There were dozens of problems with it.  It was hot to wear in the south or desert region.  It always took two hands to mount it.  It'd get wet and soggy.  It never kept the sun out of your eyes.

So this year, Army folks complained enough, the boss finally got convinced.  They didn't dump the hat entirely....but it's going to be rare that you have to wear it.....and it's going to eventually disappear.

I sat and pondered over this deal.  In my twenty-two years with the Air Force....I always had this dislike of their hats for fatigues.  They were functional....but that was about it.

Then, I came to Panama for three years.  My unit had this Aussie jungle hat which was issued out to everyone.  It was the most functional hat that I ever wore.  It came with a nylon net that was hidden away into the hat.  You could stand out in a storm for an hour....and it'd never let a drop on your head.  It gave you character and a rustic feeling.

I proudly wore the hat they issued to me every single day.  And I still keep it around today for memory purposes.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Instructions....for a Bath Mat?

I had to buy a new tub mat.  So I went out to the local Bed & Bath shop....and spent $11.  I came back and opened up the mat, and out popped this 8-item directions for use paper.

I sat there....mostly curious.  Why would you need instructions for a bath mat?

It did advise me to unroll it and lay it flat for 24 hours before using...which made some sense.  They wanted me to fill the tub up a couple of inches and lay it in while covered with water.

What bothered me about this....was the stupid idea that a bath mat now requires instructions.  I noticed when I bought four glasses last year....there were instructions for them.  I bought a $6 pen around December, and it had instructions.

The sad truth is that we've all come to expect instructions.  Heck, if you open Pop Tarts....there are instructions.  If you look at most toilet paper containers....you get instructions.

Society has come to the point where we really aren't that modern or technical.  We are treated mostly as idiots.  I'm waiting for the day when you buy a toaster, and it comes with a 20-page instruction manual.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Does It Matter?

Does it really matter on who is President?

I've come to ponder this.  We've gone through a wide array of folks over the last two hundred years.  Frankly, I've come to the point where I think it really doesn't matter.  You could go out into Oakville, Bama....and just select the first guy driving down the road in a red Ford F-150, and he'd probably do just as good of job as anyone else.

He might miss a few important comments while making speeches.  He might forget that there is no longer a East and West Germany.  He might forget that France is our buddy, or treat Japan like some enemy.  But he'd like do just a good a job as anyone else.

I admit it's not the preferred method of just selecting guys out of their red Ford F-150, but it works  just about as well.

Frankly, this guy selected would likely let folks know by the tenth day that he wasn't going to hang around past the fourth year (just as well, cause we'd always prefer a new guy).  He'd probably talk alot about pick-ups and we'd eventually get tired of that.  He might miss a planting season or two, but the $250k salary would make up for that, and he'd be happy with the pension deal.

He'd likely have bar-b-q's on Saturday night on the back patio of the White House.  He'd probably refuse to travel as much as Bush or Obama ever did.  He'd probably turn stupid questions around to reporters and ask why the heck would anyone want to know such-and-such.  He'd probably ask for free National's baseball tickets every weekend.  And he'd probably be fairly relaxed when talking about the economy because he actually has paid his bills on time and knows all the problems in living a good lifestyle.

I realize I'm suggesting a radical departure to an American tradition.....but we've all reached a point where we just don't trust these political folks at all.  So, why not a guy from Oakville, Bama driving a red Ford F-150?

Only in Bama

Surprising some folks this week....Bama folks down in Lee county came down with E Coli.   Oddly enough enough....it came from a water park in the region.  state officals stepped in and announced three recommendations...to avoid more issues at other water parks.
1. DO NOT swim when you have diarrhea.

2. AVOID swallowing water when swimming or playing in lakes, ponds, streams, swimming pools, and backyard “kiddie” pools.

3. Shower with soap before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers. Germs on your body end up in the water.

I sat and pondered over these suggestions.  Swimming with diarrhea?  You got to be a pretty strong swimmer to do something like that.  Then sipping pool water?  Who the heck would want to do that? Its the third suggestion that surprises me....soap?  Generally folks wait til dinner time to clean up.

You would think they'd dump enough chemicals into pools....but with budget cuts, I am guessing that folks are using less pool chemicals, thus inviting E Coli.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Old Vacations

Around six years ago, I had one of my best summer vacations....to Denmark.  It was a nice cottage....fairly cloudy weather for the whole two weeks....and a nice quiet village nearby.  The village had just about everything you'd need...from a pub to a grocery.  Chances of getting robbed?  One in a million.

When you want simplicity on a vacation....Denmark is the place to go.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

A Note From Mount Vernon

It's a curious piece out of the tour of Mount Vernon....a Necessary.

Basically, this was where all the human waste got dumped each morning.  It collected in the garden-like environment...with soil tossed in....and then taken over to the garden later to dump there.

Distance from the front of Mount Vernon?  Two hundred feet max.  So if you were a guy and had a "need" in the middle of the day....you walked over and did your business there.

It had to smell....being that close to the house, but the social part of the house was on the opposite side....so maybe folks just didn't smell it.  As for the vegetables?  I'm of the belief that they were practicing some pretty unhealthy habits here.

Apparently, Washington believed that this was scientifically proven deal and Martha never argued.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Air Travel

I started my vacation back on Friday.  It's a curious bit of traveling.  I got out to the Regan Int'l Airport....to find my flight 45 minutes late.  Then, they said they had too many passengers....so they offered up $500 to skip the flight.....which I really couldn't do that.   When they did finally load us.....they then made us sit for forty minutes on the ramp because of a thunderstorm.  I got to Philly about eight minutes before my Germany-flight was to take off.....so I assumed that I missed it.

I scooted along the concourse, and fifteen minutes later....finally got to the gate....to find the plane was broke.  About 70 minutes later.....they finally agreed that it was capable of running, so we loaded.  Once airborne.....then came an hour of constant ups and downs because of storm activity, which didn't help much.

I have this great hatred of flying.....and you can kinda understand why I feel negative.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Twenty Simple Lessons in Life

I will occasionally dispense advice via this blog.....so this is my twenty simple lessons that might be beneficial to some punk kid just wanting a moment of wisdom.

1.  Every penny that you toss toward an apartment rental contract....is a dollar in relationship to what you could have had via a mortgage deal and your own house.

2.  Sadly, most everything you need to know in life....occurs by the end of the tenth grade.

3.  I realize that a Honda Civic doesn't have any lust, any 5-star ornaments, or sparkle....but if you wanted a car from a new car sales lot that would last ten years and probably not cost you more than $2k on maintenance costs over ten years....then it's the best car in America.

4.  The difference in knowledge gain via four years at Harvard or four years at Mississippi State?  Zero.  The difference in cost?  Over $80k.

5.  Politicians will openly lie to you....steal from you....and travel to Paris, France on your tax money.  And if you accept them as your Facebook friends....they might even send a picture of their private parts.

6.  If you took a marker and pulled out an Atlanta Constitution newspaper....and just marked what was "fact-comments" only on the first sixteen pages.  You'd notice that it'd be barely enough to put on one page.  So roughly fifteen pages are mostly opinion or perceived comments.  That's what you pay for.

7.  If you had taken a guy out in 1920, and suggested that you could bulk-buy a whole pallet of dog food, and save half the normal costs.....he'd just look at you and why would you want to buy a whole pallet.  That's how much we've changed in 90 years.

8.  If you asked any Sheriff of any town in Bama how many folks from his deputy staff that he drug-tests each year....he'd just look at you.  He might grin....but he won't answer that because he'd never dare drug-test his guys....cause mostly half would fail.  And they are the ones enforcing the drug laws of the state.

9.  If you went to Walgreens back in 1966....they had maybe two types of laxative that you could take.  Today?  There's at least thirty types of laxative....some of which comes in cherry or lime-flavored.  Has this vast growth really improved anything?  No....it all still comes out the same way, and just as quick.

10.  In the 1960s.....most folks were willing to drink freeze-dried coffee and that was enough to make them happy....even though it didn't have much of a taste.  Today, these same folks absolutely must have some gourmet-type coffee, which costs $3.50 a cup....and came from virgin-ladies who live on some island in the Pacific Ocean.  And these folks would travel an extra five miles to get that fancy cup of coffee.

11.  Among all the things in life that you can ask for today....is Fiji Water.  They will ship it to your front door for $115 (four cases with a set of golf balls, the Father's Day special).  Why would you sip Fiji Water?  I can't really say.  We've reached a point where you've got too much money, and taken up some odd habit of drinking foreign water.  And strangely enough.....you haven't even walked on Fiji in your life.

12.  The harder you try to volunteer and get on some jury....the more likely they will knock you from the selection group.  If you want jury duty and the honor....act stupid, dim-witted, and talk about what you saw on Oprah's show from last week.

13.  Don't raise your expectations by attending a twentieth year high-school reunion.  Only half the folks will attend, and you might end up leaving early because you actually turned into a huge success....only because most other folks still work at Piggly Wiggly, change oil at the lube shop, and make custom-made fake jewelry 

14.  The cost of making a "safe-room" in your house to protect you from a tornado?  Usually less than $1,500.  Yet most folks will look at the cost and still say no.  The plain truth?  When the day finally comes and you got that tornado about 300 feet away from the house....you will pause and wonder why you were so stingy with your money.

15.  As you sit there and ponder over the 200-channel option or the 300-channel option with the satellite TV guy....just remember, most folks got by up until the 1980s....with just four local channels (one of them was the educational channel).  Is your life really demanding those 200 channels?

16.  There is nothing better on a hot summer afternoon....than a cup of crushed ice....ice tea....and a freshly squeezed half-lemon toss into it.

17.  If you took a poll....less than half of Americans have ever been to a city-hall meeting.  Before the 1990s....it was probably less than ten percent.

18.  A guy with five acres of property....can grow all the food he'd ever need....to include the beef, pork, & chicken.  Toss in the garden.  Toss in a private 700-gallon tank of water with your own grown catfish...and you could sustain yourself and your family for less than $500 a year for sugar, coffee, and the essentials you can't grow (soap, whiskey, and Clorax).

19.  It's taken almost a hundred years now for political folks and IRS to write over 70k pages of tax code.  You have to wonder how it will be in another hundred years?

20.  The sad truth is that the best company managers in America...are mostly coaches who get people into position to deliver....coaching each step of the way.  In effect, these successful managers....have simply adapted football strategies, acted like Vince Lombardi, and put their people onto the field to act like the 1972 Miami Dolphins.  They give pep talks, strategy huddles, toss out a bad "player", and energize the team to win.  And the sadder truth....is that we really don't want to admit this in public.

Monday, 20 June 2011

A Trip to Mount Vernon

I finally made it out to Mount Vernon.  There are a couple of tips I will offer you....if you ever want to come and view the Washington house.

First, you can get to the "park" by Metro if you want (from a hotel in Arlington easily). Get to the yellow line and head to the end at Huntington.  Get off and climb on the "101" bus (leaves every 30 min during the week and 60 min on weekends).  It's the last stop on the 101 bus and takes about twenty minutes to get there.

Second, there is a cafe or two at the entrance.  Tank up on water and liquids if traveling in the summer.  Everything is priced higher than you'd like to pay....so don't complain. In the 90-degree temperature....drag along one bottle of water with you for the walk.

Third, it is a walk of sorts.  Figure three miles to be covered during this episode.  Bring a hat for cover in the summer and wear comfortable shoes.

Fourth, the house does look like a poorly maintained place when you get up close to it.  They are doing some work, but that's generally the same way it looked in 1799....so don't get excited or anything.

Fifth, the tomb is the last part of the walk and a bit of an interesting place.  They generally walk forty folks up and do the ten-minute talk and then allow pictures.

Sixth, you end up leaving it with an appreciation of rural living and a quiet lifestyle.  I think Washington built a place where he could simply enjoy the scenery and have a ale with visitors on the back porch as the sun went down.  He didn't invent things like Jefferson....he was more of the guy who just stumbled around in life and was lucky.  He never really inherited anything much and simply got to where he was in life by honest work.  In the end, you have to admire the guy.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Our "Smart" Nation

This week....there was this interesting piece in the NY Times.

Basically....there is this group called the Chronicle of Higher Education....which exists in Washington.  They did this study.  A quarter of the state elected representatives in America....7,400 of them....simply do not have a four-year degree.  This bothered these folks greatly.....enough to write about it.

Naturally, they bragged that only 6 percent of congress is in such a bad way.....then told how 72 percent of adult folks over the whole nation....are the same way.

I was in mortal fear of Bama and it's statistics.....that we'd be number one.  But, there were numerous states in front of us....led by Arkansas with 25 percent of its legislature folks in a bad way.

The purpose of this study?  They wanted to impress upon these non-college grads that colleges were being underfunded, and they needed to take more of a personal interest.

I sat and pondered over this. Did we need state legislature folks with degrees that badly?  No.  Most all tax code and real estate laws....are all written by special interest groups.  There's not a single guy in the US House of Representatives or Senate....who writes their own stuff.  The speeches?  They hire guys to write them.  The special lines for the Sunday chat shows?  All written for them, and they get coaching treatment to ensure they can speak the stuff.

Do we really need college degreed folks in politics?  I kinda doubt it.  If I pulled out a forty question test on the Constitution.....most of the guys in DC would fail it.

The sad thing about these results?  There's some guys down in Bama and Mississippi who are likely calling up some wannabe-college (non-official), and asking how much a bachelor degree would cost.  They will haggle....to eventually agree on $3k.  Some professor-looking guy will come by the next week and evaluate the guy over a four-beer lunch.  At the end....the professor will pull out a form....sign it....and then hand the guy a made-up certificate with a degree with the University of Mark, Luke and John (a Bible-college, naturally).  The guy will talk this up for a month....and let everyone know that he finally got educated.  The sad truth?  He might be as educated as some joker from Harvard who lost $250 billion during the big bank scandal of 2008.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Your $22k College Tuition Bill

There is this great piece written by Richard Vedder for the Wall Street Journal back about ten days ago.  The topic?  Time to make professors teach.

There's this research out there which ends up suggesting that while universities sit there with a huge swarm of professors....the majority of them barely teach twenty percent of the classes.  So you end up with the rookies or nontenured guys....teaching around 57% of classes (the average that the study came to conclude).

In essence, what your local state university is doing....is hiring up guys....pushing them like young doctors through this period of low pay and enticing them to reach the status of "tenured".  Once you produce a paper or two....write a conclusive study....publish a book, then you start to look good for tenured status.  Once tenured, you start to see fewer classes, and mostly sit around with spare time where you tell the university staff that you are producing all kinds of data and information.

Their one curious guy mentioned in this written piece....was a professor who had done the research to conclude since 1980....over 21,000 articles had been written on Shakespeare.  The significance?  Well.....a bunch of journalists just keep coming up with different ways of telling some story about a dead playwright from over 500 years ago.  What made the professor sit around and analyze this?  Who knows?  Could he have taken on more classes and been just as productive?  Yes.

What the article goes to suggest is that the university crowd probably has thirty percent more folks working for it....than they should have.  As you pay $22k a year for Johnny Junior to attend the University of Florida complex....rest assured that some professor is sitting there....maybe teaching three classes for the entire year....pulls in his $100k a year....and is writing some research piece on how the Braves quit being a loser in the 1980s.....and finally became a winner.  If you cut the thirty percent crowd and got professors back to teaching....then your tuition for Johnny Junior would revert back to $16k and be kinda reasonable.

Who manages the colleges and allows this kind of mismanagement to occur?  Strictly guys with PhD's who will tell you that this is the path to a successful college.  If you asked them to evaluate a change back to professors teaching....they'd likely throw a fit and refuse such a situation (maybe even suggest a strike).

So here you are.  Our college tuition costs spiral upwards.  You kinda understand the bold logic to this.  And there's not much to do but stand, grin, and expect a yearly tuition rate of $40k by 2025.  For those who wondered....that's enough to buy two base model Ford F-150s.....and they would actually produce more than the average university professor.

Friday, 17 June 2011

A Long Pause?

What will become of Anthony Weiner?

I suspect he'll disappear for 100 days.  He'll call it rehab or whatever.  He'll sip wine off in the French countryside or travel out to some fancy clinic in Arizona....but he'll get "cured".  By November, he will return to NY City and find this nifty job for an analyst on CNN every morning....looking over politics for the 2012 election.  It'll last till November of 2012.

Around that point, he'll write a book and claim he's a different man, then start talking about a New York City comeback....maybe as mayor.  The guy will comeback though.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Simply Observations

I kinda expected it by this week....a Representative Anthony Weiner doll is now for sale ($39).  If you want the Wiener doll with his manliness, then it's $10 more.  I tried to imagine who'd want to buy something like this....but it's mostly serious Republican guys who just want one to go with their Barbie set.

Some school in Massachusetts is in trouble for handing out a survey to 13-year old kids.....asking about their full and lusty bedroom life.  Yeah, the parents weren't informed about the survey until after it came out, which has disturbed a bunch of them.  So the questions covered sexual partners and oral activities.
Plus, there were questions about suicide and drug use.  My guess is that the kids started laughing about halfway through this survey episode, and then commented graphically about the lusty relations they had with the school teachers, the librarians, and the bus drivers.  The survey folks took all this data....and in the months to come, will produce this report that sixty-two percent of American 13-year old kids are having relations with school librarians and teachers, while six percent admit they've done it with the bus driver.  The ladies who work in the school cafeteria will breathe a sigh of relief as they were never mentioned, and their lusty affairs with Johnny Junior were not mentioned in public.  

Finally, after Congress got all up and upset over the President being in Libya and demanded he officially announce "action" and ask permission.....he said that he didn't have troops on the ground there, so he didn't need to ask permission.  Technically, he is correct.  A bunch of think-tank guys will show up on NBC and CNN today to readily agree with this.....and we will all feel better that comment.  So four years from now....as we still lack troops on the ground....we will still likely be fighting some kind of guerrilla war in Libya.  It'll make sense for a year or two, but after three....some idiot will finally figure the game out.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Simply Observations

It had to be a shocker to most postal workers and retired postal guys yesterday....as the president of the mail union stood up and said that they should be increasing their services....by fighting terrorism.  Fredic Rolando tossed up several ideas....one of which was to put a sensor postal trucks to alert folks of biological attacks.  In essence, these mail carriers would be postal Marines in some fashion....protecting the national security.  I stopped at that point and pondered over this.  Postal services are going bankrupt and they are already having to consider dumping Saturday services and trimming off a quarter of all the post offices in America.  So this suggestion is a last-ditch effort to keep government money funneling into the system.  These sensors they talk about?  Thousands of dollars, and they'd require constant maintenance....then you toss in the fact that any alert, triggers some local fire department and a messy work stoppage where the threat might only be powered chili peppers.

Over fifty thousand morality police in Iran (these are regular guys, not real police) are being pre-briefed and prepared for this order to come down.  Basically....the mullah folks have determined that too many men have glamorous hairstyles and wear necklaces....which are officially banned by Iran's mullahs.  You can imagine these four guys coming down to some restaurant...picking on two guys sitting there with fancy haircuts, and pulling out something to whack them with.  A couple of other guys in the establishment would take offense for messing with their friends....and turn loose on the morality police.  I'm of the mind that these fifty thousand morality police will walk around for a couple of nights and just say they didn't see much of anything.  And for those who attempted discipline.....they are likely sitting in a hospital and talking about quitting the morality police.

Finally....some folks have figured up Weiner's retirement deal if he leaves Congress now....close to $37k....if he holds off to age 62.  It's a five-star deal if you ask me.  Course, in New York City....that's almost welfare status....so I'm not sure if Weiner is happy with that much money.  In Bama, a guy could fish everyday, play poker on Friday nights, and drank as much beer as he wanted.

This, or That

I didn't watch the Republican debate from last night.  It's way too early to take anything serious.  Today, I took note of a fairly laughable debate....watching the clips of what took place and the questions.  John King of CNN ran this....and did a number of these "this, or that" questions.

It became this comical period.  Rick Santorum (former senator) was asked if he preferred Leno over O'Brien, but he admitted he really didn't watch either.  Bachmann was asked if she preferred Johnny Cash over Elvis....and then hinted that she did have "Christmas with Elvis" on her iPod.  Newt?  He got the American Idol or Dancing with the Stars choice....picking American Idol as his choice.  Ron Paul?  When asked Blackberry or iPhone.....he responded with Blackberry.

I could carry on, but it became this comical moment really not worth watching.

So I'm waiting for next September.....when Rick Perry is likely sitting there against President Obama....and CNN's John King does the "this or that" routine again.

To Governor Perry: Trout or Catfish?

To President Obama: peanut butter or jelly?

To Governor Perry: Babe Ruth or Barry Bonds?

To President Obama: Pabst Blue-Ribbon or Coors?

To Governor Perry: Jean Luc Parcard or Captain Kirk?

To President Obama: trailer-trash gals or Nancy Pelosi?

At some point, you'd just hit mute and take the whole debate as a comical affair.  If you need this kind of questioning to decide upon a Presidential candidate....then we've probably gotten to the point where it's all a joke.  Imagine asking Ronald Reagan.....boxers or briefs.....and there'd likely be this real long pause, and Reagan would have keenly answered....neither....responding in typical Reagan-speak: "You know, back in 1944, the nation was short on cotton for the war, and I just gave up wearing underwear, and have been so....ever since".  Then he'd grin, the house would erupt in laughter, and the debate question guy would look like a fool.

Yeah, Ronald Reagan would never have played the "this or that" game.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Strange Things in Auburn History

It came as a shock to Auburn football fans today.  The story goes....back over twenty years ago....Auburn had this football coach named Pat Dye.  Pat offered up this football scholarship to Princess Di as Prince William was born.  It was on official Auburn letterhead and very straightforward.  Prince William would be having a chance....at age eighteen (from that day forward, eighteen years), to play for Auburn.  The royal palace sent a thank-you note.

So you can imagine this unique scenario playing out.  At age 13.....the Queen could have brought in a trainer quietly and secretly from America....to train Prince William and put some bulk on the kid.  Months would have passed secretly....as William had a dozen other retired NFL players show up and teach him every trick in the book.

So as this scenario would have played out.....at eighteen....Prince William would have shown up at Auburn...presented his paperwork, and they would have been forced to cooperate with Pat Dye's offer.

Weeks would have passed as Prince William went through the rookie red-shirt period.  By sophomore year, he'd been playing halfback, and getting fifty yards a game.

At some point, he would have carried the team onto a national championship and made Brits literally weep as they watched him carry Auburn to win after win.  Sitting off in the corner of the state....would have been the Alabama recruiters....kicking themselves because they screwed up and didn't recruit the kid.  And as the final seconds tick away at the national championship....out of the shadows would have stepped the Queen into the stadium.  A hush would have come over the crowd.  The Prince would take this last moment of inspiration to kick ass over Oklahoma State, and win the game.

At that moment.....the folks of Bama would have stood up and declared themselves a part of the monarchy and forever sworn allegiance to accept the Queen as the one and only leader of Bama.

Yes, it could have been this way.....maybe.

America on the Verge of Something

It was an odd moment.  The President stood up today and announced that the US will produce an additional 10,000 engineers over the next four years.  That's ten thousand more than what we were planning to graduate or need right now today.

So I sat there....kinda curious.  If you trained 10k more punks to be engineers...and in four years they graduate...they'd expect to find engineering jobs.

If these ten thousand engineering jobs don't exist today.....who will hire Johnny Junior or Mandy in four years? The only answer? The US government. Who would pay for their salaries? The US tax payer. And what would they research that we aren't already researching in the private sector? Hmmmm....that might be a curious question.

Course, any moment now....the President might announce that we will train 30,000 beauticians over the next five years as well.  That would likely make just as much sense.  Maybe we'll train 50,000 additional septic tank experts as well.

By 2016, we might have a whole nation of experts in something....mostly all unemployed or working for the government.  Something tells me that this is a bit screwed up.  But it never hurts to have a extra hand around to dig up septic tanks....that's my humble view.

Humbly from Bama

"Shovel-ready was not as ... uh .. shovel-ready as we expected."

-- Quote by President Obama today at some press conference.


Frankly, with the exception of the Pentagon construction in 1943....there's never been a shovel ready project like folks meant in this case.  It's like saying you're about to have a bowel-movement-ready situation, and then discovering everything ready except the lack of toilet paper which Aunt Vera forgot to buy at Piggy Wiggly today.  It's crap....literally....from that point on.

And the sad thing?  This sounds like something that George Bush would say....two years into his Presidency.  

Monday, 13 June 2011

My Neighborhood

We had one of those odd events today.  Some crazy lady....got on the DC Metro system (our subway) over in Maryland.  Apparently was on near the rear of the train....then announced that she had a bomb.  This freaked folks out....pulling on the "stop" handles and trying to get the doors to the car open.  Folks were craping in their pants over this.....all fearful that it was real.

What most folks may not realize....is that the 'hot-cable' that runs all the juice for the train.....is about a foot off the ground on one side of the train.....not up twelve feet above the track.  So these folks trying to rush off....could have fried themselves just because of one crazy lady.

Cops arrested her.  I'm guessing she's doing mental exams.  She won't be let loose for several weeks....that's my humble opinion.

How to Flip Off the British

There's this interesting tale which kinda falls into the news leftover from last week.

There's this guy....Luis Vernet, who is credit with a major discovery....the ability to preserve leather (with chemicals involved of course) and Argentina gets the credit because that's where the guy took residence.  We wouldn't have all this fancy leather today.....unless this treatment discovery had been made.

Now, you'd sit there and think that was enough history for Luis.  But no, there's another piece of world history.  He was the first, and only governor....of the Falklands, while they were an Argentine-controlled territory.  Remarkably, Luis comes up early in his life (born in Hamburg, Germany) as this adventure-prone guy who was seeking out vast fortunes.

He works out this deal with Argentina....mostly because no one there cares for isolated and desolate island region....where he is appointed governor.  He's mostly there for business interest...seal hunting.

So Luis sits there....with maybe forty-odd characters....in the middle of nowhere.  Some might have come over from Argentina, but realistically....they came from all over South America and Europe.

In 1831, Luis got himself into a bit of trouble because American vessels showed up around the region.....seal hunting, and he really didn't take this in a pleasant way.  Luis gets upset, and charges out to take the American vessels.  Reports don't indicate any bloodshed over this, but some American anger came out of the episode.

After the seizure, the American government gets upset....then sends the USS Lexington into the Falklands area.  There's not a lot written over the arrival of the Lexington, but the US navy guys, and their Marines....clean up this mess real quick.  US vessels are released, and Luis gets toted off the island.  Luis, the Argentine governor and only representative of the Argentine government...never returns.

Somewhere in the early part of 1833....the British arrive and take ownership of the island.  No one from the US cares.  No one from Argentina cares.  Luis doesn't care.  It's pretty much a done deal over who owns the island from that moment on.  So for roughly four years....Argentina had the island.  They never invested a penny into it.  No one has ever even suggested a Argentine flag flew over it.  Other than a possible governor's stamp to document official papers.....there's never likely any connection back to Argentina.

Now to fast-forward to this past week.  The US government did an odd thing. They got around to the OAS council meeting (the Latin America guys), and decided that for the first time ever....they'd kinda agree with Argentina over their ownership of the Falkland Islands.  The British, for all practical purposes, sat there in shock reading the US agreement.

Why the change in the US position?  Some folks will remember that the very first thing on the US calendar under the new President...was this meeting with Gordon Brown the Prime Minister.  It was a Blockbuster 25 DVD movie packet....all in US format, which means it won't play on a European style system.  I'm mostly of the belief that the administration has walked this direction intentionally, and they have no desire to  do anything positive for the British.  This is simple another example.

The curious thing about this Luis Vernet episode....there's not a single statue of this guy anywhere....not on the Falklands or in Argentina....even though he was the first governor of the place.

The Cost of 275 Pounds

As the Sarah Palin emails were finally released at the end of last week....you had to be standing in Juneau to get them.  For some odd reason, the Alaska folks made it mandatory that you had to fly into Alaska...buy the six boxes (275 pounds), and then do whatever you wanted.  You couldn't have these transmitted via the internet or buy them via a DVD.  That alone....should have made you suspicious.

We don't know the precise number of news media organizations that sent their folks up to Alaska....to the remote capital of Juneau, but I'd make an educated guess that at least two hundred reporters arrived with the news media's credit card.

You can imagine this planned event.  The New York Times picks out "Larry".  Larry spends almost thirteen hours flying from New York to Seattle, then onto Anchorage, and finally onto Juneau.  Larry rents a SUV of course.  Larry gets a hotel room in Juneau for four nights and is sitting there Friday morning.....having spent $22 for a full breakfast at the fancy hotel he's staying at.  He gets to the state government building to stand with the other jokers.  Then he pulls out the credit card to buy his copy of the Palin emails.

Larry spends all of Friday evening going through 400 pages of the emails.  He's busy sending them back to the New York Times via his scanner.  Because of the low quality internet at the hotel....it takes a full minute to transmit each individual page.

By Saturday morning, the Times folks are worried.  Nothing is looking juicy.  They've spent over $15k for Larry, his trip, his hotel, the SUV, and the copy of the Palin emails.  Frankly, it doesn't even meet page two quality standards for the Times.....so they have to push it back a bit.

Larry?  Well....I'm guessing by Sunday afternoon....the Times has decided that Larry should just pack up and leave.  He'll bring the six boxes (275 pounds) with him.  The Alaska Airlines agent is smiling at the counter....it'll be a $300 fee to get these boxes all the way back to New York City.  Larry could have done it for half that if he'd done Fedex....but he's young and lacking knowledge about things like that.

By Tuesday morning, Larry will be sitting back at the New York Times.  He'll ask what they should do with the 275 pounds of Palin emails.  A junior-junior reporter will be given these and told to review what's left that Larry hasn't read.  To be honest, the Times really can't afford to play this Palin email much again.

The folks in Alaska?  I think they are mostly smiling.  They made a couple of million bucks off the reporters who toured Alaska for a brief weekend.  They ripped off their media outlets and rented out every single SUV that they probably had to rent.  Alaska Airlines is happy because they got a bunch of folks to travel all the way to Juneau....which is normally not a hotspot for anyone.

The curious thing.  A bunch of reporters made a trip to Alaska that they'd normally never travel to in their entire life.  And they just might have an itch to return....just to flavor life in abundance....which they enjoyed for a brief 72 hours.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

The NATO Question

There's been this comment on Thursday from outgoing Defense chief Gates.....that maybe all this money the US pours into European bases....might not continue.

He was careful about how he said this.  He suggested that they were stingy on their funding....and not always willing to put actual troops on the ground in dangerous situations.

The question is.....does he speak for the President, or is he hinting what he sees over the next five years?  My guess is that if this economic downfall goes another notch down.....we will see some bases close there and a leaning posture of more to close.

Should we stay in Europe?  Up until the 1980s....it was probably a necessity....because of the evil Soviets.  Today?  There's virtually zero chance of the Russians invading Europe.  The worst case scenario is that some Iranian guys would get the idea to fire off some missiles at Europe.

I'm guessing that Gates spoke mostly for himself....and hinting that there might not be deep financial pockets with the US in the months ahead.  Some senators will make a decision that one or two European countries will be on our favorite list.....and then start cutting the rest.  Who goes and who stays is yet to be seen.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Sarah and the Emails

"Sarah says it is OK for Willow’s friends to jump on the trampoline, but if they get out of control or one of them gets hurt on state grounds this could be a problem."

- Email from Todd via Governor Palin's Email account

Yes, we can finally say that the 20-odd thousand emails that they turned loose yesterday....really don't say much worth repeating.  This was the great fear of the Washington Post.  They have to come out in the Sunday edition probably.....and admit that she was mostly just a regular governor.  She didn't Twitter with husky men from Red Bay, Bama.  She didn't post obscene pictures of herself to handsome guys from Tulsa.  She didn't tell Blago that she'd do the senator job and pay him $500k for the seat.

If you asked me....Sarah likely timed this entire release and probably just picked up another five percent of the independent vote.  And no....I probably would still not vote for her.

Somewhere in the background....you can imagine the President standing there this morning, and suggesting to his campaign folks that maybe they could accidentally release all of his two years of Senator emails....but then realizing that there's lots of stuff that would be not so positive and maybe even very negative.

A New Law

This week....Tennessee suddenly got tough.  They passed a law that makes it a state crime...meaning state jail time.....if you "transmit or display an image" online.....causes folks to feel "frighten, intimidated or cause emotional distress".

You could end up in jail for a year (max) or have to pay $2,500 in fines to the state.

What kind of image?  Well....that part wasn't entirely clear.  If you pulled out a picture of a manbearpig (one of South Park's favorite characters....half-man, half-bear, half-pig), that might be enough.  If you had a picture of your neighbor locked in an embrace with Hillary Clinton....that might be enough.  If you had a picture of some school buddy with a wart planted on their nose.....that might be enough.

I pondered over this....even a cartoon drawing of Jesus with bad teeth....could upset some Baptists....and triggering them to get the state court into action.  The image of the President with words attached that aren't what he actually said....would be enough to trigger emotional distress with some folks.

The problem with political folks....they end up with too much time on their hands while in session.  Then they start to create all kinds of laws that just pile up on more laws which aren't enforced, and you got a mess.  For you folks in Tennessee....I kinda feel sorry for you...it may take three years before they vote to undo this one.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Your Future

It's a curious thing.  The folks over at the Employee Benefit Research Institute did this study.  Basically, their end result is that most folks will have to work well into their 70's.....to finally retire (to actually afford retirement).

I sat and read over this.  It's kind of dismal news for some folks.  If you were bare working class at age forty-five.....with no savings and just living out of an apartment, then you'd best start planning on still working at 75.  It's the only way you will survive.

I pondered this a while.  It's pretty hard news for some guys.  They've been thinking of retirement while driving the Pepsi-truck.  They've discussed retirement with Joe at work while they sold laptops at the electronics shop.  They've discussed retirement with their wife Wanda while they were counting up the quarters they needed to use the washer at the trailer court....because they can't afford their own washer.

It's a life that will be fairly miserable for most folks.  You start to hurt more with injuries as you get up around sixty.  You start to count every afternoon as you tire out by 2PM, and you aren't even near twenty years from retirement.

I'm guessing that this will start to wear enough guys out and the government starts talking about Social Security II....which would jump into effect around age 72 for guys who needed another $800 to appear monthly out of thin air.  Course, the problem is.....you gotta survive until age 72....to take advantage of that.

America.....it's not getting better, but the positive is that you don't have to sit around at home and watch Oprah in the afternoon.  We'll keep you busy.....and hopefully happy.....serving slushies and handing out carts at Piggly Wiggly.

Not That It Really Matters

Some folks finally sat down today and did an analysis of Representative Anthony Weiner....our troubled Facebook dude with the lusty photos.

Tony doesn't have a law degree. He doesn't have a medical degree. He doesn't have a MBA or anything in education related to business. He has a bachelor of arts degree....which in the real world....doesn't get you very much. No business dealings. No fancy pub or bar ownership. No used car sales. Nothing.

So folks got to talking a little....and basically...if he did quit....the only work would be some network that'd have to come up and hire him as an analyst. Would CNN or MSNBC do that? Would CBS be willing to take him on as a project?

I sat and pondered over this. Basically....in my mind....he's limited to trailer home sales or some ministry work (preachers always can find a new church of operations). Or he'd have to find some foundation that does charity work and they need some guy to talk alot. There really isn't much left for him...if he were to quit.  So I'm resting with my original suggestion...he will not quit.  In November of 2012....I would imagine that he won't be re-elected, and by that point....some folks at CNN will be looking for a talking head to appear four times a week to chat about something.  Maybe it'll be a good chance of activities for him.  Plus he could keep the Facebook account.

The Whole Truth to the Matter

So they waited and waited and waited.  Today, they get their objective...twenty-four thousand pages of emails from Sarah Palin's brief two years as governor.  The newspapers are mostly falling over themselves at this point....thinking of a vast treasure.

I sat and pondered about this.  The twenty-four thousand pages likely represent not just her emails going out....but the emails coming in.  In fact....if it's anything like what I get in a normal at the office (200 emails coming in)....then they'd find that I write forty responses.  That means twenty percent of the twenty-four thousand pages....will be mostly sports updates from her husband or staff, the planned office bar-b-q summary, weather emails over upcoming snowfall, happy birthday greetings, and requests for naming upcoming state buildings after possibly corrupt political figures.

As folks sit there for the next two weeks and cover the twenty-four thousand pages.....I'm thinking some will just quit after a hundred pages.  Some will start to ask why the governor has to be involved in a planned office bar-b-q.  Some will ask if this is typical email traffic for an individual in public office or working for the government.  The sad truth is....yes.

So don't expect much.  Heck, her husband might have even sent her an email or two....asking she pick up some baloney and wheat bread on the way home.

Dark Clouds Over Bama

You can generally tell when the Bama political folks reach a point where the excitement has dripped out and they started to pass laws off the top of their head....like sexual toy laws, or declaring a state country-song, or declaring Bama as a God-fearing state.  Today, they went out and passed the toughtest illegal immigration laws in America....even tougher than what the federal government would pass.

First, it sets up this cop versus citizen situation where cops of any type in the state....in the act of acting like a cop (lawful stop, detention or arrest)....can stop and start making a reasonable attempt to determine a person's citizenship and immigration status.  Course, you can imagine a 8PM roadblock in your local community....where you got Grandma, Uncle Lester, your cousin Wanda (the trailer-trash gal), and your other cousin, Rufus, who has a funny accent after living in New Orleans for five years...all in your car.

The wannabe cop steps up to you, and starts everyone for an ID.  You are the only one with some drivers license, naturally, because you are driving.  No one else is carrying.  Cop gets all disturbed when no one will comply and Rufus starts cussing in New Orleans slang about this whole dang thing messing up his wrestling TV schedule.  So except for yourself and the license you produced....everyone else gets toted off to jail because your Barney Fife-like wannabe cop felt they were all illegal immigrants.

Then we come to another interesting aspect....schools are supposed to decide if you, the newly arrived kid in the region....are legal or illegal.  Right away, you shout out your social security number, 123-45-6789.  The principal likely accepts that and you just start grinning because you made that one up.

The odds of Auburn or Bama State turning down a talented illegal Mexican quarterback or punter?  If it means a national title....it's best you not bring up this topic or ask about who this Juan-kid is.

Then there's this part of the new law where you could be in serious state trouble if you rented illegal aliens property (like a trailer).  Some Bama cop will come out to make trouble for you.....and you might have to pay off the local political party that runs the county district attorney business.....just to clear a moment of stupidity.

Finally, there's funny part to the passed law where it states that if you stopped and picked up a fella in your truck.....and he turns out to be illegal.....you could be in serious trouble.

I sat and pondered over this.  You see....folks in Bama are awful nice folks.  If you see a hitchhiker....least as a guy driving.....you are likely to pull over and pick the guy up.  To be kinda honest here....we have a list of twelve questions that we start rattling off as they climb in the truck (Been standing there long?  Where you headed?  Is this the best way to get to such-and-such?  You ever been to Grand Ole Opry?  Where'd you go to school? Your feeling on the NCAA bowl situation  You ever dug up a septic tank?  Where'd you go to school?).  The curious thing is that we don't typically ask folks about their citizenship.  This is one of those silly questions that most folks don't see any rational reason to ask.

I can see all kinds of problems with guys who pick up some hitchhiker with a accent, and them wanting to pass this info later onto some wannabe cop.  The cop is running around trying to find some Russian-speaking guy over near Red Bay who is dressed up in a funny suit and wearing a Yankees hat.  It'll take three hours for the idiot to realize it was all a hoax from the boys down at the gas station.

The problem in Bama....political folks start thinking and then passing some weird stuff.  They had a thing about sexual toys for women a number of years ago.  They felt they could control this stuff and ensure the purity of Bama women by banning such importation of sexual toys.  Then it got around that you could order via the internet, and get all the "Jimmy-Jong-Long toys" that you desired via Fedex delivery.

What I see is mostly a bunch of wannabe cops trying to push folks around....demanding an ID or triggering a fight where the mayor has to fire the chief of police because he's stupid enough to question locals about their nationality.

Once again....my home state has stumbled along into some pit....waiting on some George Wallace-like character to explain things the right way to a bunch of news folks, and you just kinda stand there grinning at how stupid things have become.

Scheduled for 2012?  We are aiming to pass a state law that the NCAA grand national champion title game can only be decided between a match-up between Auburn and Bama state.  We think the state senate, the state legislature, and the governor will all be in agreement on that one....but it will upset the kind folks down in Florida a good bit.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Farmers and Rural Folks

It was a curious event today....the President issued an executive order....establishing a White House Rural Council.  Basically, the order is to strengthen rural areas and promote some kind of economic growth.  The head dude on this Council?  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack who was formerly a governor in Iowa (Democrat).

What does this mean?  Well...I'm guessing that Tom will go around and meet with farmers and agricultural agents....maybe some illegal Latinos....some unemployed folks from rural communities.....and special interest groups.  They will devise some $4 billion dollar package which will be there to help farmers and build jobs in rural America.  The exact method on the spending of this package is likely already thought up.....and most you farmers are not going to collect a penny (my humble opinion).

There will be some town hall meeting in Iowa or Kansas....with a bunch of farmers or rural folks.  The President will be there....chat up for an hour, and it'll be broadcast via M-TV to a bunch of punks who aren't sure what rural means.

At some point....there will be an argument about the rural degree of folks.  If you live within six miles of a Wal-Mart...it'll be argued that you aren't exactly rural.  Then it'll be argued if you have more than twelve grain silos per square mile....that you aren't doing bad off and shouldn't be getting any revenue money.  Then folks will argue that rural folks want mostly high-speed internet where they can download lots of lusty hot Italian videos.  Finally, some corn farmers will start cussing about beef farmers aren't of the same nature as them....with the hog farmers just smiling and grinning over this whole discussion.

It surprises me that he didn't appoint a rural Czar....but maybe that's the next step here.  It also surprises me that suddenly the White House got worried about rural America.....and that maybe rural votes might count for something in 2012.

All in all....for you rural folks....you need not worry now.  The American government is looking after your best interest....as if they weren't before....but they are now.

Professor Bishop and the Bottom Line

In the spring of 2010....Professor Amy Bishop of University of Alabama-Huntsville....got invited over to a tenure meeting at the university.  Basically, her peers had a meeting and this was to spell out the fact that she wouldn't get tenure.  She ended up pulling out a gun and shooting three of them.  Witnesses were around....so there's not much doubt about what happened in the room.  In Bama, that's a slam-dunk for the death penalty in most cases.

This week, it became obvious that her defense effort will center around the idea of her being insane....thus being sent off to some facility for the rest of her life.

There's a problem here....if the jury buys this.  Basically....they'd be admitting that the university went out and recruited an insane professor...paid her fairly substantial pay for several years....gave her a fair amount of lab equipment and responsibility....while she was insane from day one of the employment situation.

My own personal view is that if this goes through....someone from the state ought to whip up some mental exam requirement for every single job within the preview of the state employment office....and require you take a mental exam before you ever get hired.

You'd have to ask yourself.....how many additional professors working for the university currently....are insane?  How many state troopers are insane?  How many parks folks are insane?  Heck, between Auburn and the University of Alabama football coaches....maybe even one of these guys might be insane (we'd allow them to stay on if their record is better than ten wins and they go to a national bowl though).

My own guess is that even if you do drag five New York City doctors into the courtroom to pronounce Professor Bishop insane.....that might not be enough in Bama to convince a jury to allow her the insane title.  Folks might actually sit around and remember their aunt being nuts and still be allowed to having twenty-five dogs around the house.  Then folks might remember their neighbor who has five hundred chainsaws in their garage....all made in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1977 and made personally for left-handed guys.  And finally, folks might take note to remember their church associate who speaks up about his personal chats with Jesus each Saturday evening while he sips Pabst-Blue Ribbon.

Professor Bishop may have a problem in Bama convincing folks that insane means anything much.  We're all a bit insane in Bama...but we don't go around shooting folks.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Simply Observations

Ok, when a psychic calls you up (you being the chief of police or some marshal)....and then they tell you of twenty bodies being buried over in your neck of the woods...what should be your reaction?  Out in Liberty County, Texas.....they took the psychic serious and actually went out to the house in question.  As they started to mess around with these folks....they naturally wanted a search warrant.  Most folks wouldn't just let some cop roam freely over their property unless the judge was involved. The problem now is.....dozens of idiots will be calling up this Sheriff and remarking about their crystal ball.  You can see the next election where some ad appears on TV with the Sheriff bumbling around like Barney Fife....hoping that the gypsy lady can find the missing dog.  It's best never to trust a psychic....unless they are talking about a tall mysterious lusty gal from Nashville.

Somewhere in all this Wiener business going on....there's this ex-porn star (Ginger Lee) who was getting personal Twitter messages from the Representative.  I think it's pretty neat that a political guy gets a chance to meet gals like this and correspond on a regular basis.  Most political folks we have in Bama.....don't ever get a chance to chat with gals like this.  It's mostly trailer trash gals or former college girlfriends.  I'm of the mind that its best that this all came out now.  If we had waited, and he'd gone on to become governor of New York state, then Senator, and then in twelve years....possibly VP for some President....then this could have all came out, with fifty ladies on his Twitter account.  We'd all be standing there...kinda wondering where he got time to chat and meet up with so many ladies.  So yeah.....it's best it all came out now.

I was chatting yesterday with someone who has actually been in the new DOD building under construction in Alexandria, VA.....the Mark Center.  There are lots of issues with the building and I've chatted over this a fair bit.  I asked what the interior was like, and then he commented about the Italian marble.  Apparently, the guys in charge of this....put tons of real imported Italian marble into the bathrooms.  It kinda surprised me because we don't even get that kind of treatment over at the Pentagon.  Then he commented about what will be the eating circumstances.  There's an executive type eating joint....probably around $15 for decent meal....then three or four fast-food places (likely to be a Pizza Hut, McDonalds, etc), and that's it.  When you look beyond the building....there's nothing for two or three blocks.  And it's practically impossible to get out of the building once you park your car in the morning.  Metro buses to take you some place?  Barely planned stops as it stands right now.  A guy might starve after two years of working there because he was so tired of the local eating.

Finally, ABC says the new Katie Couric afternoon talk-show will be just like Oprah.  For some reason, I can hear the CBS news crew laughing in the background.  They heard all kinds of pumped up talk several years ago, and eventually realized that Katie's one and only success was the Today Show.  I suspect in eight months that ABC will come to the same belief.  As for you folks with nothing much to watch in the afternoon.....you might want to use that hour for cleaning the garage.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Simply Observations

I sat and watched about ten minutes of the Weiner stuff from last night....then turned the TV to some John Wayne western.  Frankly, this guy was obviously lying most of last week as we saw him daily and he was always careful about describing what he remembered.  He now says....even though he is a four-star liar....that he will stay on.  It makes sense to him and I'm guessing some New Yorkers agree.  The problem is that if he resigned....then who takes his place?  An unknown?  That just won't be acceptable.  So you are left with some wannabe comedian who pretends to be a Representative and he sends around pictures of himself in his underwear.  Of all the laws that would be helpful now....if they could only craft one that says you can't send hot lusty pictures of Senators or Representatives to Americans.   I doubt that we'd see such a law though.

CBS news has finally come out and said that jobs are such an issue now....that we are at the level of the "Great Depression".  What's faking us out?  Banks are still in business....that's my opinion.  At the peak of the Great Depression....if you walked up to your local bank....you'd likely find it closed or maybe open but limited to handing you the 2011 amount of $200.  It's curious that CBS would finally say something like this, but maybe they finally found their journalism backbone.

Out in Roseville, Cal.....there was this form that the kids brought home for the parents to fill out.  We all know the form and the twenty likely questions on it.  Well....they added a question in Roseville.  They asked how the kid got delivered (natural or c-section).  If you selected c-section, then they asked why.  People looked at the question and got all upset that this was a whacked out question.  So far, the school district has refused to answer why it was added.  I'm guessing that they asking around and trying to find the dope who added the question and then asking who peer reviewed the form before releasing.  With a question like this in Bama....they would have had to toss in a third option....delivery by stork.  And probably twenty percent of folks would have just put "x" in that column and grinned.

It is believed (without any conclusive data) that almost twenty-five percent of all American hackers....work in some relationship with the FBI or CIA.  I kinda laughed about this comment but the truth is that you can't tell.  If you were attending some Baptist church and learned that a quarter of the membership drink whiskey on a weekly basis....it'd unsettle you a bit.  For the hacker community, you'd have to be watching your front, sides, and rear.....wondering who were your real friends.

Finally, a bunch of journalists have had to pull out their history books and review the Paul Revere ride after comments by Sarah Palin.  Sarah told the story of how Revere was caught, and then told the British the entire threat of thousands of Americans coming to kick their butt.  That's not the general version that most folks remember from high school and their one and only college class.  Well....here's the honest truth.  Revere blabbed in fair detail after the British finally grabbed him.  He was a talkative guy.  He told the British bluntly that they were in deep trouble and just ought to back off.  For some reason....historians and professors haven't liked that side of Revere over the years....so they kinda avoided the subject.  The truth is....Palin was right in her description.

The Dreaded Gadget

One of the newest breeches of security occurred this week when EMC's computer at Lockheed Martin got busted into.  The curious source of information that the hackers got ahold of?   Well....the data that runs these stupid SecurID's that EMC sells to companies.

At some point around 2004, I was given one of these and there was this ten-minute briefing to explain how I'd read my company e-mail by logging on and then viewing the continually changing six-digit number that would appear.  You had roughly 20 seconds to view the number and then type it in.

It was a curious reaction by most folks that I worked with.  Most simply stopped viewing company e-mail entirely and if something important occurred....then some manager had to download the important e-mail and send it by Air Force e-mail to each of us contractors.

So if you asked folks....the general answer to the success of this secure ID gadget....was pretty dismal.  For some hackers to waste time busting into it?  Well....if that's worth the effort....feel free.  Our contractor e-mails probably aren't worth reading, and by next week...the SecurID folks will have devised an entirely new way of developing the magic number to push out every twenty seconds.  

Monday, 6 June 2011

The Mars "Shape"

This is what we know.  Someone got around to gazing at Google's Mars pictures.  They went area by area.....strictly a private guy with nothing to do....and he eventually came around to note this image.

The metalic shaped object?  Roughly 150 feet wide and 700 feet long.  The experts are kinda scratching their head.  They want to believe that it's another stone formation.  The problem is that it's awful long, narrow....and would be a different shade of color.

What do I see?  I've seen enough Air Force satellite imagery to say this is four items.  At the top is one item which is 75 feet long.  Then the second is a bit wider, but around 75 feet long as well.  Then you have two shapes which form a slight-L shape, which make up the remaining 500 feet.  There's nothing within twenty miles of this to come even close to this color.

So I'll make my guess....someone landed there long ago, and this is what's left.  Long ago....I mean more than two thousand years ago.  Simply my humble opinion, and I'm pretty sure the guys will strongly suggest it's just rocks.  But rocks don't put off that much metallic color.

Somebody landed....did their colonization effort....came to a failure, and likely went back to Earth (their original lab).

The 6th of June

It is the 6th of June.  I typically write on this day of a place far away....where up until the quietness of 6 AM, there was nothing but the waves washing up onto the beaches of Normandy, France.

In a matter of minutes....things changed.  Some men lived and some men died.  Arriving on the beach meant an eternity of doubt on the mind's of men as they wondered how they'd ever survive that morning.

Eventually, the morning came to a close and Germans who stayed....ended up mostly dead.  By late afternoon....the Americans held the beach and things were fairly concrete at that point.

You can imagine the German planners and Generals sitting back miles away and trying to guess the ultimate plan and goal of the united force at the beach.  There were a hundred things that they could have done....to have stopped the invasion in its tracks, but they simply didn't grasp that in time.  And by the morning of the 7th of June.....the invasion was moving out and putting intense pressure on the Germans.

Those Americans who survived that morning and the rest of the war....are left with various memories of the morning invasion.  I can't imagine waking up a single day for the rest of my life, and not thinking about every move I made when I left the landing craft and every bit of sand that I dug out of my fingernails at the end of the day.  I'd probably have the smell gunpowder in my nose for the rest of my life, and I'd probably think about what I did right or wrong for decades.

So in eighteen hours, the 6th will end yet again.  There's a lot to remember and think about today....only because men rose to the occasion and did what they had to do.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

The Lack of a Rescue

This is what we know.  Out in Alameda, California over the Memorial Day weekend....some guy walked up on the beach....and then walked straight into the Ocean.  The intent was to drown himself.  He was successful but not from drowning.  It was cold enough....that when he finally was pulled out....he had hypothermia.  He died at the hospital.

The curious thing is that numerous people were around on the beach to watch this.  They called 911.  The Fire Department arrived but they had been decertified from participating in a water rescue (they actually had orders not to get into the water).  The policy had been to call the Coast Guard, which they did.  But the location was not deep enough for their vessel to operate.  The guy eventually dragged to the shore.

Folks got hostile over the next couple of days over the lack of a rescue.  They asked reasons for the Fire Department's decertification.  The comeback from the city is that this was policy but they've now agreed to give the chief fireman at the scene the option of doing something.  The firemen though....will likely ask to be trained....thus bringing back into focus the cost of this training which is one of the problems that started the policy in the first place.

So far, after an hour of searching for the number of times that the firemen had been called out in Alameda for water rescues....I've been unable to find past occurrences.

Frankly, if this was the one and only time that such a rescue was required....I might question the necessity of paying for extra training or worrying about future events.  This isn't exactly a preferred method of suicide.  And the curious thing....is that the city merely said the chief firemen at the scene could make his own decision...which means he still might decide not to rescue the guy.  Full circle, if you ask me.  Only in America.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

The North Korean Scale of Happiness

In the news today....it's been reported that the Chosun Central TV station (North Korea's one and only network)....came out with a happiness index.

I sat and pondered upon this.  A happiness index out of North Korea.  It's something that the National Republican Party would do....as would the National Democratic Party.  The Catholic Church would likely produce something like this....if the Pope asked them to.

So the index was devised by local North Korean researchers.  The happiest place on Earth?  China.  It's amazing....they got a complete perfect score of '100'.  I suspect the Chinese are a bit thrilled about this, but mostly wondering how you'd arrive at a perfect score.

So right behind China....was North Korea, Cuba, Iran and Venezuela.

I paused at that point.  There was something about these four countries....that just made me think the index might be bogus.

So I kept reading....South Korea actually got around 18 points.  And the US?  Three lousy points.  Bluntly, we are living in a very unhappy place.  We were in 203rd place.  France was ahead of us.  Mexico, Honduras, and even Canada were ahead of us.

I pondered upon this placement of happiness.  Here I am....fifty-two years old....living in the most unhappily place on Earth.  The Krispey Kreme donuts I eat.....they don't help a bit.  The Pabst-Blue Ribbon beer?  Doesn't help.  The Fox News Channel and the CNN folks?  Doesn't help.  Baywatch and Knight Rider reruns?  Doesn't help.  Dominos pizza?  Doesn't help.  Katie Couric and that Matt dude from the Today Show?  Doesn't help.  Clorox and Windex spray?  Doesn't help.  Paris Hilton?  Doesn't help.  Hee Haw, Scooby Doo, and Fantasy Island?  Doesn't help.

I am lost on a sea of unhappiness.  No matter what America does....we will still linger behind Tonga and Pakistan.  The only logical answer?  Well....originally, I thought maybe moving to Cuba would help....but it occurred to me that more Pabst-Blue Ribbon would be the better answer.

The curious thing is that there exists this research team in North Korea who has the job of measuring happiness.  And you have to wonder where exactly they hang out on a Saturday night, what beer they drink, and if they've ever watched the Andy Griffith Show (especially the episode where Barney makes the quote: "Nip it, nip it, nip it").

I'm of the belief that the research team has never traveled beyond the borders of North Korea, and if they were to stop for a brief hour or two in Red Bay, Bama....have a bar-b-q sandwich over at Ezzell's on First Street....they'd likely start to shed a tear or two, and admit while tossing down a Pabst that life might be better than the measly three points they gave Bama.   Heck, we might even edge ahead of those Germans on this scale of happiness.

Simply Observations

To put things into prospective today.....John Edwards says he done things wrong, hurt folks, but sure didn't break the law.  This didn't help to avoid the federal prosecutors charging him up with a $925k payment to his mistress back during the 2008 Presidential race.  The sad thing is this was all campaign funds, which has a federal law or two over them.  So in effect....if convicted....it becomes a felony situation.  If you had to pick a law to do something stupid over....involving your mistress....this is number one in the book.

Jobs did grow great in May....over 54k new jobs.  Strangely enough....McDonalds creates half of the nation's jobs.  Yeah.....a bunch of burger-flipper jobs.  Yeah, that all makes sense.....you know.

Some reporters have said boldly....that as they attempted to follow the Palin bus tour....it was so unplanned....that they (the reporters) had to stop by the side of the road to relieve themselves.  Being from Bama....I kinda wondered what they meant by this as being worthy of reporting it nationally.  Around 250k Bama guys stop daily along side the road...and I doubt that this has been reported much at all since the 1920s when cars got first introduced.

Out in Texas...at the Medina Valley Independent School District....things are flipping almost daily.  Graduation is coming up and typically....there's the mention of "thank God" or "blessings" in graduation speeches.  There's some kid....who is scheduled to graduate....and his mama has gone to court to say that any religious wording at the graduation will bring "irreparable harm" to him.  So a federal judge got involved and then said there were various phrases forbidden to utter at the graduation ceremony.  I read through his orders....kinda wondering what part of the Constitution he'd failed to read.  People stood around in shock after hearing this order.  Then in the last couple of hours....an appeals court has stood up to say that the judge was all wrong, then revoking the orders.  Folks are now pausing for the Supreme Court to likely get dragged into this.  I sat and pondered over this.  First, some imaginary Vulcan guy (sadly) summed this type of situation up pretty good......"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few".  It's not one kid on graduation day....it's a bunch of kids....each with a vastly different view of blessings.  Second in my humble view....if uttering "God bless you" will bring irreparable harm to some kid....he'd best not go to any fine SEC college, work in the US Army, or read up on French history.  If you ask me.....he's already doomed for irreparable harm and had best just barricade himself in mama's house to stay safe from the rest of America.

Finally, this Tony Wiener dude from New York state....who is a representative in the US congress....has turned this entire week into a crotch battle of sorts.  He first said the underwear picture sent to some young gal's Twitter account wasn't his.  Then admitted it might be.  He won't allow the cops to get into this all. And he spent almost an entire day this week....doing interview after interview over the crotch picture.  All in all....just my humble opinion....but we didn't have this problem prior to the 1990s with representatives or senators sharing crotch pictures.  The guys from the 1930s....the worst you could say about them is heavy drinking and boozing.  The guys from the 1920?  Maybe they were hanging out in local DC salons too much.  Frankly, Tony needs to get an intern or two.....and stay active and busy in the office....or just start drinking alot.

Friday, 3 June 2011

The War

Officially, the war on drugs started on 17 June 1971.....with President Nixon.  He made a speech and coined the phrase.  So for forty-odd years....we've been at "war".  To be honest....this isn't much of a war....but the phrase sounds neat and nifty.

This week....a international group wrapped up their analysis of the war on drugs.  Their conclusion?  An utter failure and wasted money.

I'm not shocked over the analysis because I came to virtually the same belief a number of years ago.  The real bottom line on this war....is that if you were successful, then the price of drugs would escalate year after year, and it'd be awful hard to find crack, meth or cocaine on the streets of America.  The prices really aren't changing much.  Oh, you can't buy cocaine for the same price you did in 1978.....but relatively speaking you can put drugs on the same line as groceries and gasoline....and it's pretty much lined up.

This money that we give Columbia, Peru, Mexico and various other countries to fight drugs?  Totally wasted.  The millions we give various states and their law enforcement agencies?  Wasted.  The millions we give to the DEA?  Wasted.

I sat and watched a couple of news forums last night cover the topic briefly.  Few ever touch on the economic side of pricing....which I find curious.  Most simply covered the amount of funding given to foreign governments, and how it disappeared into a money pit....to be used as they see fit (you could envision all these GM SUV's being bought and driven by VIP law enforcement folks).

The White House came out and tried to defend the program....but frankly....it's hard to show success other than talking about arrests and confiscation.  If you brought up the pricing scheme staying on track....they would have been dazed by the comment and probably just grinned as they admitted that might be true.

Bottom line here?  Don't worry....we rarely give up a war....and I'm pretty sure the war on drugs will just continue on.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Dressing Up a Bit

A number of years ago....I worked for a company that was a Fortune-500 company.  They had this headquarters out in San Diego at the time.  They had a high executive within the budget department who went off for about a month and then reappeared one morning.....he was decked out in a full skirt, blouse, heels, etc.  Somewhere in the midst of the month gone....he had this operation done, and added ladies features.....which it would be best not to go much further into detail about this part.

It took around twenty minutes for the arrival of this guy to reach the "Doc" who was the CEO of the company.  It took him three minutes to confirm the event, and then he ordered security to escort the guy out of the building.  Whatever it was going to take to fire him.....it was automatically accepted as part of the CEO's policy.  I was told that well over $750k was offered to the guy as a settlement.  The CEO was flat-out not going to accept a cross-dresser or a transsexual in the company headquarters.

Today, in California state news....there's a bill going around the legislature that would allow a cross-dresser or transsexual to dress like they want....and the business can't do a thing about it.

Will it pass?  It's hard to say.  Amongst all the financial and employment problems that California has today....it's odd that this is one of their top priorities.  You'd think they'd put more effort into tax revenue or finance reform, or cutting costs within the state.  But they worry about about stuff like this.

The curious thing?  A guy could come up and just decide that he was going to wear women's heels with his business suit....and trip out all of the other guys.  He'd walk into the break-room....strut around the candy machine....click his heels a bit as he looked at the sodas, and start a bit of break-room talk.  Women would ask where he bought his heels just to get a reaction.  Guys would ask if they hurt any.  Eventually....a month later....another guy would show up like this.  Then over the next year....dozens of guys would start wearing women's heels....acting like it was normal.

Frankly, life is awful damn short....and if this is the best excitement you can dig up.....you got issues.

The Underground Issue

We have a brewing battle here locally in Virginia with the Dulles airport.  It's the "other" airport in the DC region.  Basically....Reagan International is a small airport where most folks get out of town on Friday.  Dulles?  It's the airport where international flights land and about twenty-five miles outside of town.  For years and years....the Dulles folks have wanted the METRO line (our subway) to extend out to Dulles.  Agreement has finally been reached and the DC METRO will reach Dulles within six years.  However, there is this argument about the final point.

Dulles folks want the subway to end in a tunnel next to the airport....like some international airports do (London, Paris, etc).  The METRO planning folks and most Virginia folks want the METRO to end in a above ground station adjacent to the airport.  The difference?  $300 million extra if they dig the tunnel station.  And folks aren't sure it ends at $300 million (it could $450 million for all practical purposes).

The state governor has gotten into the mess and said he wants it above ground to save money.  Most folks around the region agree with that sentiment....why waste the $300 million?  The airport crowd and the committee that manages METRO....all stick to the tunnel idea.

I sat and pondered over this issue.  It's a silly problem if you ask me.  You add on almost an entire year....if you have to dig this huge bunker-like station beneath the airport.

So I've come to this idea....since it's all important to give folks arriving this feeling of London or Paris....that you've got to be underground, then lets give the feeling.  You built the above-ground arrival point.....then lay in this tunnel that folks can walk thirty foot beneath the surface, and then arrive inside the airport.  Yep, a fake walking tunnel.....likely built for less than $10 million.  You can even pump in swamp-gas like scents to give folks that tunnel feeling.  Maybe toss in a dead rat or two on the ground to add more tunnel feelings.

I'm guessing my suggestion won't go far because I'm trying to spend the $300 million.

The Greatest Music Video

If you have nine minutes....you might want to watch the greatest music video of all time. The curious thing....they did this with one take....and no splicing. Pretty amazing if you ask me. And I'd go to Grand Rapids in a heartbeat after watching this.

\

Simply Observations

Lance Armstrong....our boy wonder of cycling....finally got angry enough at 60 Minutes and their episode accusing him of doping up for the French bike races of a decade ago....that he told them to apologize.  So far, they won't do it.  The curious thing.....there isn't one absolute piece of evidence to show in this case.  The 60 Minutes crowd simply has various folks that say they were there, and make the accusation.  Over the past three or four years....I've come to view the new management of 60 Minutes as mostly a group of comical guys who don't measure up to the old crew.  For a while, they even had Katie Couric on the staff....which gives one a laugh over the intended desires of the 60 Minutes leadership.  My prospective?  Lance will take them eventually down to the mat. If there was a simple blood test sitting out there....that might settle it....but there isn't.  You've got a bunch of wannabe 60 Minutes folks who just don't measure up.

MSNBC's Martin Bashir.....a guy who mostly talks and talks.....giving you little substance for the hour of power that he broadcasts for MSNBC....finally stood up today and said that Sarah Palin's use of the American flag on her bus tour...is illegal.   For the few folks that watch Martin.....they probably got all pepped up.  The sad thing.....the other 99k instances of illegal use of the American flag.....were never noted by Martin.

The DC emergency services crowd came out and admitted that roughly one third of all their ambulances are sitting parked.  The AC units for the back of the vehicle.....are mostly all broke or non-functional.  The maintenance guys spoke up about this months ago.....and the city simply didn't have the budget to handle the problem.  So now....as emergencies pour in.....there's thirty percent less ambulances out there to handle the cases.  I sat and pondered over this.  Back thirty years ago....most all ambulances that came to get you....in all of America....didn't have any real AC in the back anyway.  Apparently, we've taken the attitude that AC is pretty much a mandatory thing, and we aren't even willing to open up a window for folks to get fresh air instead.

Finally, there is an article today that indicates the President will be using the Detroit car industry....with it's rescue....as a major theme of his re-election campaign.  So you can imagine these ad's coming on....some rough voice in the background.....talking up how the government came to Detroit....saving Chrysler and General Motors....and you ought to vote with the President because of this.  If you ponder this long enough....you start to ask how General Motors and Chrysler ever got into such a deep mess in the first place....and the President would prefer you not think that deeply.  Then you'd ask why Ford didn't screw up and take your money.....again, it's best we not think about that.  Then finally, you'd ask....would you even buy a General Motors or Chrysler car today?  The sad answer is probably no.  If you ask me...some idiot on the President's staff sat and watched too many Chrysler Detroit commercials

The Money Trail

It's an interesting prospective.  Senator Tom Coburn (Republican of course), went out and asked Congressional Research Service to do an analysis.  How many federal employees in each state...made more than their governor?

All total?  77k federal emloyees make more....than the governor in their state.  This included twenty-two librarians and even one interior designer....all employed by the federal government.

Now, before we rush out to really get excited....we really need to analyze the facts here....because Tom isn't going really get us square on the facts.

In Colorado....the governor (Bill Ritter)....makes $90k a year as governor.  The state made that decision....not Bill, or the federal government.....or even Senator Tom Coburn.   There are over 10k federal employees in Colorado who make more than the governor.  Where do most work?  Well....not to get excited here....but in Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo mostly.

In Maryland....the state governor makes $150k (Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley).  He's surrounded by over 7k federal employees in his state....who make more than him.

What Senator Tom wants to get up hyped up about....is that government employees are overpaid.  He might have a point....but then you ask yourself....who exactly approved this increase each year?  A majority of Senators and Representatives....along with the President.  This has been going on for the past fifty years.

What's Senator Tom want to do now?  Mostly freeze up federal pay for a number of years.  He won't say publicly, but one can imagine that we are talking about a freeze of five years likely being his agenda.

What does the governor's pay have to do with this whole thing?  Well....nothing.  That's the curious thing.  Tom wanted to use some measuring stick and this was the best he could arrange.

One would start to ponder now....how does a New York Yankee really deserve $12.5 million a year?  How does a Wall Street banker deserve $40 million a year?  How does the chief nurse of San Fransisco health services deserve $400k a year?  How does the chief of police of a 100k resident town in California earn $240k a year?  No one can really answer this....even Senator Tom.

How does a Senator go and ride on a fancy Air Force jet to Paris or spend six nights in France discussing trade relations....free of charge?

Yep, we've got problems....and Senator Tom has barely scratched the surface.  And the sad thing is.....he's getting cases and cases of free bottled water....because no one in the Senate will drink DC tap water.  Only in America.