Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dumb Birds

My football-watching session this afternoon was interrupted by a loud THUD that shook the picture window. Startled me so much I almost fell off the couch. Once I became fully awake I knew what it was without even looking.

This has been an unusually cold winter here in the Heart of Texas. We've put out three bird feeders to help our feathered friends get through these tough times. A large flock of doves has discovered them and comes by regularly to gorge themselves. They've gotten so fat they look like feathered footballs. And they are D-U-M-B dumb. The noise today was the fourth in the last week to fly into our picture window so hard that they broke their necks and died. Feathers all over the porch, and nasty smears and streaks of unidentified liquid all over the window.

We've had other birds attack their reflections in the window - cardinals especially, and especially during mating season (my wife just nods knowingly and mutters something about "Typical males.") But this winter is the first time any bird has launched itself in a kamikaze attack.

On the bright side, fat dove breasts stuffed with jalapenos, wrapped in bacon, and grilled over a nice bed of coals are mighty tasty. And I save on shotgun shells.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Spin Out

obama's spin on Brown's win in Mass:
“Here’s my assessment of not just the vote in Massachusetts but the mood around the country — the same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office,” Mr. Obama said. “People are angry and they are frustrated. Not just because of what’s happened in the last year or two years, but what’s happened over the last eight years.”(quote link here)

Is this guy for real? Does he actually think that the same voters who elected the drunken skirt-chasing killer Ted Kennedy for God knows how many years, and the same voters that overwhelmingly supported him only one year ago, elected Republican Scott Brown because they're angry at Bush the Younger? What world does he live in?

I'm starting to wonder about o's grasp on reality...

Air America Grounded

NEW YORK ( -- Liberal talk radio network Air America is planning to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the company said Thursday.

Well, that's what the free market is all about. It's Darwinian: provide people with goods and services - in this case, ideas - that they want, and survive. Misjudge the demand for your product, and fail. To wit:

"Air America gave listeners what 'they' (meaning the management of the company) wanted to hear, not what their listeners had tuned in to experience—and that's why they failed." (Air America, Why It Failed)
That is, of course, a somewhat simplistic eulogy. While there is validity in the 'there's no talk radio market for liberal ideas,' I happen to agree with Nathan Harden's analysis that the underlying reasons that statement is valid are (1) demographics (radio is an 'old folks' technology, while young 'uns, who tend to be more liberal, are moving away from traditional radio towards satellite radio and MP3 devices), and (2) liberals who listen to traditional radio already had NPR - there weren't enough liberal radio listeners to support two outlets.

In any event, liberals still have most of the print and television outlets.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Gee what a surprise

John Edwards admits he fathered child with mistress

And to think this lying cheat was in the running for the highest office in the land. Oh well, at least he was carrying on the traditions of Bill Clinton, Henry Cisneros, Jesse Jackson et al.

Perhaps the most worrisome element of this case is that the story was initially broke by the National Inquirer. If, in a free country, the press is supposed to perform as a watchdog, this is yet one more sign that the mainstream media has become a lapdog of liberalism. Who would have thought that the New York Times would be scooped by a gossip rag.

Lo, how the mighty have fallen.

Spot On

I don't always agree with Ruben Navarrette, but in this case he's spot on in his analysis of the Scott Brown victory in Mass.

The obama-maniacs are so busy spinning it to preserve their messiah's image of, well, messiah-ism that they're completely overlooking the message sent by the voters. And the Repubs are just as bad. This is NOT a triumph of R over D. Nor is it a triumph of conservatism over liberalism. It's a loud and clear message that it's time for real hope and change, not the pap we've been spoon-fed during obama's first year.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Vagaries of Life

A good friend and a great person passed away unexpectedly – very unexpectedly – a couple of weeks ago. He was so full of life that I still have trouble accepting it. It doesn’t help that he was a decade younger than me (he was only 46) and in approximately the same physical condition; not a Speedo model, but in reasonable shape compared to the general population (or at least the population of males over 45).

Full of life, then not.
Engulfed by grief. Then comes peace.
He lives in our hearts.

(I lived in Japan for 3 years, plus I'm a sensitive SOB. This qualifies me to compose haikus. If you don't like it ESAD.)

Then yesterday I was catching up with a colleague after the between-semesters Christmas break. He’s experienced a similar career path as I have: successful business career, followed by a midlife course correction into higher education. We both have older kids who’ve moved out of the nest and gotten on with their lives (although I have a second set that are now teenagers). We’re both grandparents.

Anyway, the week before Christmas his brother-in-law died, again totally unexpectedly. The BIL was a single parent to two teenage boys. There were no other family members suitable or willing to take the kids, so my colleague and his wife overnight went from empty-nesters to the parents of a couple of grief ravaged and hormone addled teenage males. Talk about a lifestyle change. But God Bless him and his wife for stepping up and doing the right thing. The only other alternative was for the kids to be turned over to the tender mercies of the State of Alabama’s Child Protective Services. No reflection on the good folks there, but that doesn’t seem like a good place for the kids to be right now.

So what can we conclude from all this? Are we subject to the whims of fate – the vagaries of life? Or is there some intelligent design behind this? Some deeper meaning that we can’t hope to fathom? I don’t know, but I’m comforted by the belief that my friend is in a better place, and will be there waiting for us when we arrive. Similarly, my colleague from the university and his wife have scored major karma points, and will reap their reward at some point in the future.

The final consequence of these events is that they’ve encouraged me to think deep, philosophical thoughts about The Meaning of Life. After a lengthy session of pondering the metaphysical I’ve come to the conclusion that the answer lies in another bottle of Shiner…

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Massachusetts Tea Party

Shout-out to my peeps in MA.!

Brown wins Massachusetts Senate race

Hopefully this will serve as a wake-up call to BOTH parties signifying that We the People are sick and tired of 'politics as usual.' Probably too much to expect, but one can dream.

Now it is incumbent on us to keep up the momentum and continue to get the message out. People are, or at least should be, elected to solve problems, not create them. A good way to start would be to require that members of congress be subject to the same laws that they impose on the rest of us.

If Social Security is good enough for us, it should be good enough for them. Get rid of their Cadillac pension plan.

If Medicare, obamacare, or whatever other abomination they come up with is good enough for us, it should be good enough for them. Get rid of their Cadillac health benefits.

Term limits wouldn't be a bad idea, either...

Monday, January 18, 2010

New Beginnings

The new semester begins tomorrow. Despite knowing better, I am foolishly optimistic. Maybe this semester the students will be enthusiastic about learning. Maybe this semester they will come to class prepared. Maybe this semester will be different.

I think of this as a triumph of hope over experience. It is much like getting married for a second, or even third time (but that’s a subject for another day).

Actually, I would settle for fresh and creative excuses. I’m so burned out on dead grandmothers, swine flu, computer malfunctions (“the dog ate my flash drive”). I don’t dare tell them this, but if they come up with a story I haven’t heard before it’s good for at least a C.

One of my favorites, for sheer chutzpah, was the student who claimed he missed an exam because he was in jail for manslaughter. The idea was that if I didn’t accept the initial excuse, I was supposed to be intimidated by the thought that he was potentially violent. When I asked for documentation I got an obviously bogus email from

Sorry, dude, try again…

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Texas Concealed Handgun License

Earlier today I completed the renewal course for my Texas Concealed Handgun License. Now it's up to the bureaucrats in DPS HQ. Reports of processing time vary from 45 days to 4+ months. We'll see...

Enjoyable way to spend the morning. Brushed up on related legal issues, then got to burn through a box of ammo. The only less-than-positive note was during the classroom session. Several people reminded me of my students, asking lots of 'what-if' questions of marginal relevance and even less possibility of occurrence. I guess some things are universal.

I've had my CHL for several years now and have only been in one situation where I even thought about needing a weapon (knock on wood). Either I'm very lucky, totally oblivious to my surroundings, or both. In any event, it gives me piece of mind when I'm out and about. Plus it has the added benefit of exercising my constitutional rights, which are like muscles. The more you use them, the better off you are.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Rest easy, America - your government is on the job

The federal government can't keep terrorists off airplanes, even when the terrorist's own father is kind enough to call and provide advance warning. But it has no problem protecting us from an eight-year old Cub Scout.

Names on the watch list are secret, as is the selection criteria. And so, apparently, is the procedure for correcting errors.

Is it any wonder so many people mistrust the government?

Hillary in Haiti

Hillary Clinton Arrives in Haiti

Haven't those poor people suffered enough?