Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hillary Strikes Again

The would-be president and rumored VP candidate in 2012 has snitched out Arizona to the U.N. Human Rights Council because of the controversial S.B. 1070, which allows LEOs to question a person's immigration status when there is reason to ask them about potential legal violations. That, according to Hillary, is equivalent to beating, imprisoning, beheading, and other similar human rights abuses.

What in the world was that dingbat thinking? The U.N. Human Rights Council includes such bastions of human rights as Cuba, Libya, and Red China. According to Hillary, this select group should pillory Arizona because it dares to ask for documentation of people suspected of breaking the law. This is a human rights violation? As opposed to what takes place in those enlightened countries? Oh my aching butt.

And where is obama on all this? Did he approve Hillary's action, or is she off the reservation on this one? Given his penchant for bowing and scraping to other countries, and kicking dirt on this one, I suspect he's (1) pleased with what she did, and (2) ecstatic that she's taking the heat for it.

Geez, I hope she mounts her broom and swoops into the democrap VP nomination in 2012. That would all but guarantee that whoever the republicans nominate would win in a landslide...

Monday, August 30, 2010

There Is A Connection

Paris Hilton Arrested on Drug Charges

Is anyone really surprised?

Does anyone really care?

Mexican Drug Cartel Violence Escalates
A car explodes outside a police station, another outside a television station. A gang is suspected of massacring 72 migrants. A prosecutor investigating those deaths suddenly disappears.

Kidnappings and attacks on government security patrols are rampant...

Drug gangs have terrorized news organizations in northern Mexico, and journalists have been killed and newspaper offices attacked to quiet coverage.

In Tamaulipas, many newspapers and television stations simply have stopped reporting on the violence. The day after the massacre was discovered, local newspapers carried headlines about the new school year.

Meanwhile, the bodies of 14 people were found dumped in various locations around the Pacific Coast resort of Acapulco, while the U.S. State Department issued a new warning for Americans living or traveling in Mexico — particularly in border cities.

The State Department told U.S. diplomats in the northern industrial city of Monterrey to remove their children from the area after a deadly shootout last week in front of the American Foundation School, where many American students are enrolled.
Is anyone really surprised?

Does anyone really care?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Life Was Good

Kid # 1 was at a sleepover.

Kid # 2 was at an out-of-town tennis tournament.

We caught a break from the weather. It went from 100+ degrees with high humidity to the high 80s with low humidity. So I opened a bottle of wine and talked my wife into joining me in the pool.

The sunset was beautiful, the wine was great, romantic music was pouring from the outdoor speakers, and things were progressing nicely.

Then the damn dogs decided it would be fun to join us in the pool. So much for the magic of the moment...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Count Your Blessings

At the beginning of a new school year, the university where I teach has a freshman convocation. It's a fairly typical academic ceremony - boring but sincere speeches exhorting the students to work hard, dare to try new things, spread their wings, blah blah blah. If you've ever sat through a high school or college graduation you've heard the same stuff.

But there is one thing different about these convocations. For the last two years we've had something called a 'common read'. Basically, each incoming freshman class is required to read a selected book. The book is then worked into the classes they take. For example, an English professor might discuss the prose and composition of the book. A history professor might place it into historical context. A sociology professor might talk about the norms and customs of the characters. And so on across all the freshman classes. It's one way to help ensure that all the freshmen share a common experience, and it gives them something to talk about with the new people they meet. All in all, it's worked out well so far, although care must be taken when selecting the book. For example, seveal schools picked obama's book Dreams from my Father (insert your own snarky comment here). 

At our school, the first common read in 2008 was "All But My Life," by Gerda Weissmann Klein. It's the story of a young girl in 1939 Poland who spends six years in a Nazi concentration camp, losing her home, parents, brother, and even the friends she made in the camp. It goes on to chronicle her liberation by American soldiers, including the one who became her husband of 50+ years.

As part of the common read experience, the freshmen were encouraged to write an essay about their response to the book. Based on the essays and subsequent interviews, fifteen were selected to go on an all-expense paid (thanks to the generosity of some fine donors and sponsors - no tax dollars were used) trip to Poland and Germany, visiting the sites mentioned in the book. They met and interviewed Mrs. Klein. At the following year's convocation, they made a slide, picture, and video presentation chronicling their trip and the effect it had on them. The photos of the concentration camp and the description of what took place there really hit home with the audience - the incoming freshmen. It brought home that there is more to life than cell phones and video games - that there is a nasty, brutal world out there. The fact that kids just one year ahead of them actually got to experience it, even if only second-hand, was a real eye-opener.
Last year's book was Ishmael Beah's "A Long Way Gone," the autobiographical story of a 12-year old boy from Sierra Leone who became a homeless, wandering refugee at age 12, and who was conscripted into the army at 13 and introduced to a drug-filled life of casual mass slaughter. He was repatriated by UNICEF at 16, engulfed in the war again a year later, and finally ended up in the U.S. It's a truly disturbing account of how easy it is for a normal boy to be transformed into someone addicted to cocaine and killing.

Again, fifteen of our students went to Africa to see things for themselves (they actually went to Ghana, which borders Sierra Leone, because Sierra Leone is still too violent). And again, they made a presentation at this year's convocation. The most touching part was when one student described their experiences at an orphanage. The students spent several days there helping to build a new school. During that time they met and formed attachments with many of the kids, most of them between 4 and 10 years old. As pictures of the orphanage and the kids flashed behind them, this one young man told how the kids clung to him when it was time to leave, crying and wailing. He broke down as he told his story. It's hard to imagine, but over 1000 18-year-olds sat there in total silence, many of them crying as well. There were even a few tears among the faculty.

This year's book is "The Road of Lost Innocence," by Somaly Mam. As a 9-year-old she was sold into sexual slavery in Cambodia. Fifteen freshmen will be selected to travel to Cambodia this year for a close-up (but hopefully not too close) view. I can hardly wait for next year's convocation. I think I'll pack two handkerchiefs instead of one.

The point of all this is not to traumatize the freshmen, but to make them aware of the wider world outside of their currently limited sphere of experience, and to help them realize just how truly blessed they are. Many of them have had a tough life already, but this helps them put that into perspective.

It also does the same for faculty members who think they have problems...

Let Them Eat Lobster

Millions of Americans are unemployed and/or getting by with help from food stamps. Meanwhile, the obamas are chowing down on lobster. (Source here.)
During their July vacation in Maine, obama beelined to "Stewman’s Downtown restaurant where he was served the “Lobster Experience dinner... – lobster, corn and slaw."

Michelle Obama was barely off the plane during her voyage early this month to the Spanish Riviera when, according to the Spanish press, she dived into a feast of sea bass tartare, strawberry gazpacho and sardines, and a main course of lobster with seaweed risotto.

Michelle enjoyed the repast so much that she was right back at it on  August 14 during the Obamas’ two-day Panama City, Fla photo-op vacation. There, at the Firefly restaurant, it was more lobster for Michelle.
During the current 10-day vacation in Martha's Vineyard:
Monday night at The Sweet Life Cafe in Oak Bluffs on the Vineyard it was the lobster pasta appetizer for the president and a surf and turf entrée – the “surf” being a lobster tail – for Mrs. Obama.

Wednesday evening "the president savored some lobster tempura at the trendy State Road Restaurant in West Tisbury on Martha’s Vineyard."
The hypocrite-in-chief fiddles while America burns ...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Two Gems...

... from Patriot Humor

Building Permit

I recently submitted a building permit application for a new house.

It was going to be 100 ft. tall and 400 ft. wide with 9 gun turrets at various heights and windows all over the place and a loud outside entertainment sound system. It would have had parking for 200 cars and I was going to paint it snot green with pink trim.

The City Council told me to forget about it.

So, I sent the application in again, but this time I called it a mosque.

Work starts on Monday.


Why are terrorists suicidal?

Wondering why Muslim terrorists are so quick to commit suicide? No Jesus, no Christmas, no television, no cheerleaders, no car races, no football, no soccer, no pork BBQ, no hot dogs, no burgers, no chocolate chip cookies, no lobster, no nachos, no beer nuts, no alcoholic beverages!

Rags for clothes and towels for hats. Constant wailing from the guy next-door because he's sick and there are no doctors. Constant wailing from the guy in the tower. On your knees facing east most of the day. More than one wife. You can't shave. Your wives can't shave. You can't shower to wash off the smell of donkey cooked over burning camel dung. Your bride is picked by someone else. She smells just like your donkey. Then they tell you that when you die it all gets better!

I mean, really, is there a mystery here?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


FUD = Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt

FUD is the underlying reason for the economic doldrums we find ourselves in. As George Melloan pointed out in a WSJ editorial yesterday, individuals and businesses are focusing on paying off debt and building cash reserves, for the simple reason that the economic uncertainty level is high. Without the stimulus of business and consumer spending (not government spending - see the second paragraph below), the unemployment rate will remain high. The high unemployment rate serves as a brake on economic growth, which in turn constrains increased hiring. All this results in a vicious circle, or even worse, an economic death spiral.
The Obama administration and Congress have dumped a huge load of highly dubious new legislation on Americans, much of it unread even by the legislators who voted for it. ObamaCare is an attempted federal takeover of a vast and complex industry. No one really knows how much chaos the financial sector "reform" act will generate. Hyperactive zealots in federal bureaucracies such as the Environmental Protection Agency have been unleashed to do silly things like attempt to reduce the planet's supply of carbon dioxide.

A massively expensive federal "stimulus" program failed to stimulate for the easily predictable reason that the money the government spends on its political projects robs the rest of the economy of resources. 

State and local governments are, on the whole, in terrible financial shape, which means that they will likely be shedding employees and adding to the ranks of the unemployed. The only remedy the Democrats have for cutting the deficit is higher taxes, which in a weak economy likely would be counterproductive.

The prevailing sentiment among business leaders ... is that "the politicians and officials who craft and enforce the rules are doing so in a capricious manner that makes long-term planning difficult, if not impossible. They are increasingly distressed by the lack of consistent direction coming from Washington. . . . So they are calling time-outs and heading for the sidelines while they wait for the referees to settle the rules of the game."
In the late 1970s, the last time Americans suffered from manic interventionism from Washington, we had "stagflation," a combination of minimal economic growth and double-digit inflation. It wasn't pretty.

Stagflation was cured by a set of policies that reversed the Keynesian nostrums then in vogue and that are again the core basis for federal economic policy. In the early 1980s, the Fed tightened money, tax rates were cut, economic regulation was pared sharply and an effort was made to curb nondefense spending. It worked quite well, producing 25 years of economic growth. It will be much harder to repair today's damage, but the need to make another try is becoming urgent.
I remember the late '70s. Carter was president. The economy sucked, the Iranians were pushing the U.S. around, and the country's morale was pretty low. Sound familiar?

The cure was electing a president who believed in America, and who inspired the citizens to do the same. Reagan's greatest gift to this country was the elimination of FUD. His clear, simple, and consistent message was that government should get out of the way and let the free market work. While his actions didn't always match his words (he was, after all, a politician) regulations were loosened and taxes were cut. The economy grew and employment increased, a lesson that seems to be lost on the current administration. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Much Better

The vacationer-in-chief has been forced indoors by the rain, curtailing his golf-outing-per-day plans. However, the Resourceful One lives to make lemonade out of lemons, so during his enforced hiatus from the links he has huddled with his Golf Czar to revise the rules of golf.

This is only a preview as the complete rule book is being rewritten now. Here are a few basic changes.

Golfers with handicaps:
- below 10 will have their green fees increased by 35%.
- between 11 and 18 will see no increase in green fees.
- above 18 will get a check each time they play.

The dollar amount placed in bets will be as follows:
-for handicaps below 10, an additional $10.
-between 11 and 18, no additional amount.
-above 18, you will receive the total amount in the pot even if you do not play.

The term "gimme" will be changed to "entitlement" and will be used as follows:
-handicaps below 10, no entitlements.
-handicaps between 11 and 18, entitlements for putter length putts inside the leather.
-handicaps above 18, if your ball is on green, no need to putt, just pick it up.

These entitlements are intended to bring about fairness and, most importantly, equality in scoring. In addition, a player will be limited to a maximum of one birdie or six pars in any given round. Any excess must be given to those fellow players who have not yet scored a birdie or par. Only after all players have received a birdie or par from the player actually making the birdie or par, can that player begin to count his pars and birdies again. This redistribution of strokes will help ensure equality of outcome.

These new rules are intended to get the game of golf out of the ditch that Bush and the Republicans drove it into.

Golf must be about Fairness. It should have nothing to do with Ability...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Salt in the Wound

My feelings about the Ground Zero mosque, put to music...

On The Road Again

With the start of the new semester I'm back to my weekly commute between Laredo and Boerne (north of San Antonio). Random impressions of the drive south:

The most dominating feature is the heat. It was bad enough in central Texas - around 100 when I left - but it steadily increased the further south I went. By the time I got to Laredo - 200 miles and 3 hours later - it was 106.

Closely allied with the heat was the sun. In central Texas you're aware of the sun. You can feel it when you step from shade to not-shade. But in south Texas the sun literally hits you. It's like a physical impact.

Taken together, it's amazing what a difference a couple of hundred miles makes in terms of heat and sun. It's a whole different environment down here. 

Manifestations of the sun and heat are scattered all over the highway. The most obvious is a profusion of road alligators - mean, ugly, dangerous hunks of rubber that come from shredded tires, mostly from big rigs. Between the economy and the high cost of large truck tires, more truckers are turning to retreads. The retread tire industry swears up and down that their product is not at fault, and that most blowouts occur because of improper tire maintenance. I suspect that it's a combination of retreads and high temperatures, but all I know for sure is that there's plenty of rubber on the road.

There's also a large number of charred spots along the median from small brush fires. I don't know what caused them, but they're plentiful. I feel sorry for the firefighters who have to gear up in this heat to extinguish them. Our local VFD has a brush fire truck - basically a dually pickup with a sprayer mounted on the bumper that is used to help control brush fires - but it still takes boots on the ground to take care of residual hot spots and make sure the fire is out.  

Finally, there are the inevitable overheated vehicles. I used to feel guilty about zooming past folks who needed help, but everyone I saw was talking on a cell phone, so I figured help was on the way.

On the bright side, I noticed a new cafe in the little town of Moore, just a few miles south of Devine (what, you don't know where Devine is?). It caught my eye because of the name - the 401 Kafe. I don't know if the owners used their 401(k) funds to open it, or if they opened it because their 401(k) funds have disappeared, but its a catchy name. It's pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but I hope it works out for them.

Not exactly the thrill of the open road that songwriters are enamored with...

Once More Into The Breech

Once More Into The Breech - Meaning: Let us try again one more time.

This phrase has particular applicability for us teachers, who are beginning a new semester this Monday. It's similar to Samuel Johnson's statement that a second marriage is "a triumph of hope over experience."

As a serial husband, and a serial professor, I'm here to testify that Johnson's comment is true in both cases. But for now we'll constrain ourselves to the new semester.

At the beginning of every semester I think "This time it'll be different. This time students will come to class prepared. This time they'll be enthused about learning. This time no grandmothers will die during the semester."

And each time I'm bitterly disappointed.

Actually, that's a bit of an overstatement. For the most part the students I get at this particular university are pretty good kids. They're bright, they work hard, and they're excited about being in college. But they've been betrayed by a public school system that teaches them to regurgitate facts without understanding their meaning, that graduates students who are incapable of writing a complete sentence, and that utterly fails to teach them how to think. So I and the other faculty spend an inordinate amount of time teaching skills that, in my God-like opinion, the students should already know. It gets terribly frustrating, and we constantly have to battle the temptation to take it out on the kids.

Oh my, I've gone from being hopeful to clinically depressed. I guess I've better have my morning eye-opener before I wander off to class.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Possibly the greatest political ad of our time


I don't know much about Ben Quayle, other than he's the son of George H.W. Bush's former VP Dan Quayle, but I've got to give him props for this spot.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Who's In Charge Here?

It boggles the mind that whoever is in charge - obama, or his staffers - could be so, I don't know, incompetent? Naive? Clueless? All of the above? to have so mangled his image and message over the last couple of weeks.

It all began with Michelle "let 'em eat cake" Obama taking a lavish, $80,000 per day (taxpayer funded, of course) vacation in Spain. She even managed to piss off the Spaniards.
"In Spain too the anger was palpable as the US President's wife had a Spanish beach at the Villa Padierna Hotel in Marbella closed so that she, her daughter and their entourage could go for a swim." 

Then obama and his family jetted off to Florida for a quick dip in the almost-Gulf.
"Obama and his daughter Sasha took the plunge off Alligator Point in St Andrews Bay, next door to Panama City. It is primarily a freshwater bay, fed mostly by adjoining creeks and springs. It is more of a small lagoon, protected by sea beds and salt marshes, so it really isn't part of the Gulf..."

Shortly afterward, during a dinner celebrating the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, obama proclaimed his support for the abominable mosque at Ground Zero. His timing was perfect.
"The president's statement puts him once again at the center of a cultural clash just as his party enters the final stretch of a difficult congressional campaign." 

Following that masterful political move, obama and his clan skedaddled off to Martha's Vineyard for a well-earned ten day vacation.   
"In the first full day of a Martha's Vineyard vacation, President Barack Obama set aside some of the cares of office Friday...

Despite regular briefings on intelligence and other matters, the president was hoping for a stay dominated by downtime — from drowsing at the beach to stops at trademark ice cream shops.

And plenty of golf. Three hours after his bookstore visit, Obama was at Vineyard Golf Club, teeing off..."

As I mentioned before, I don't begrudge the prez a little R&R. It is, after all, a tough job. But this guy carries it to an extreme. And who's in charge of image management? All this is being played out against a backdrop of a stagnant (at best) economy and rising job losses. Other presidents at least pretended to share our pain.

During the first oil embargo Jimmy Carter donned a sweater and turned down the thermostat.

George Bush gave up golf while the troops were in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Granted, Carter's  and Bush's 'sacrifices' were mostly symbolic, but they at least showed some awareness of the value of symbolism. obama and his handlers seem totally oblivious to the chasm between the first family's carefree jaunts into various laps of luxury and the distressing economic reality in which many Americans are mired. Just a little sensitivity would go a long way. For example, obama could announce that he will forgo vacations until the unemployment rate drops below 8 %. (Not to worry, obama fans, he could still take extended weekends off. That wouldn't be a 'real' vacation. And it would only be for the next 2+ years, until the 2012 presidential election.)

I just don't get it. Has obama given up on a second term already? Is he throwing in the towel and just enjoying the perks while it lasts? Is he so egotistical as to believe he can get re-elected in spite of all these shenanigans? Or is it, as Ed Lasky suggests, simply hypocrisy?
"The hypocrisy is glaring and plays into the perception of the "Do As I Say, Not as I Do" problems that many liberals have (the Gore/Edwards addiction to big, energy absorbing and carbon spewing lifestyles; Nancy Pelosi's penchant for private planes, paid for by us, etc.)."
A President has his priorities, after all.


My family and I live in a small town in central Texas. I am a professor at Big State University (Satellite Campus) in a Texas-Mexico border town. During the regular school year (late Aug. - May) I teach three days a week in Border Town.

It's about a three hour drive (one way) between Small Town and Border Town. To make the commute manageable, I have a one-bedroom apartment in Border Town. During the summer, I stay in Small Town.

Over that period, I instruct the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to forward my mail from Border Town to Small Town (about the only mail I get is utility bills and rent reminders - for some unexplainable reason I can't get these sent to my permanent Small Town address).

Today I returned to Border Town to prepare for the Fall 2010 semester. As a matter of routine I checked my apartment mailbox. The USPS is usually pretty good about forwarding mail, so the only thing in the mailbox was a letter from - you guessed it - the USPS. It was a somewhat tardy confirmation of my forward-mail request.

Aside from it being somewhat late, the only other noteworthy aspect of the letter was the last paragraph:
"If you do not speak English ... please take (this letter) with you to your local post office for assistance."
Do I really need to elaborate...?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Short Takes on Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi's latest foray into never-never land brought to mind a short list of some of her most recent follies that exemplify her absurdity and hypocrisy. 

I refer, of course, to her statement that “there is no question there is a concerted effort to make this (the Ground Zero mosque) a political issue by some. I join those who have called for looking into how is this opposition to the mosque being funded.”

At the same time, she also called for "transparency about who is funding the effort to build this Islamic center."

She went on to say that the mosque’s location is a zoning issue that New Yorkers should work out among themselves.

So if I understand her position(s), both the supporters and opponents of a local issue should be investigated by the federal government. What a masterful piece of leadership. And some people wonder why certain of us view politicians and the government with a jaundiced eye.

Next we have an article from that bastion of objective reporting, the New York Times. Published a few months ago, it praises Her Speakership for ratcheting up the level of ethics in the House. I had a hard time suppressing my gag reflex after the first line - "Let us sing a song about the wonderfulness of Nancy Pelosi" - but I held my nose and read on (pardon the mixed metaphor).
"Pelosi has actually been very good on ethics. Under her watch in the House, earmarks are fewer and more transparent. Travel rules are tighter. She fought for the creation of a new in-house watchdog, the Office of Congressional Ethics..."
Two points:

First, under the category of 'do as I say, not as I do' comes the information that Pelosi evidently doesn't believe the tighter travel rules apply to her.
"Pelosi incurred expenses of some $2.1 million for her use of Air Force jets for travel over a recent two-year period ... "in-flight services" for the House speaker included a list that looked like a dream order for a wild frat party: Maker's Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey's Irish Crème, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewars scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey and Corona beer."
(Source here.) 

Second, Pelosi's new watchdog panel has been busy shooting democraps in the foot.
"The Office of Congressional Ethics, a new watchdog group set up by Ms. Pelosi in 2009, has eyed at least eight members of the Congressional Black Caucus, whose members have complained that some of those investigations are racially motivated."
Ah, the irony. Charges of racism are being leveled against the left. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Among the most prominent gooses and ganders are, of course, Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters.
"Democratic Reps. Charles Rangel and Maxine Waters, both members of the Congressional Black Caucus, are poised to have House trials on ethics charges right before midterm elections..." 
"If they come to fruition, the trial-like ethics hearings could also drive a dispiriting wedge between Democrats, including the Obama White House, and African-American supporters who, so far, have been the only voting bloc not to waver in their support for the first black president."
I'll pass on the obvious comment about unwavering black support for the first black president (that, of course, is not racist).

The sad part of the ethics charges against Rangel and Waters is that it has nothing to do with racism. There have been - and still are - plenty of crooked congresscritters of all races, religions, and ethnic backgrounds. Rangel and Waters are being investigated because there's ample evidence of wrongdoing, not because they're black.

Similarly, there have been plenty of incompetent bunglers in the White House. Obama is merely the latest. He's not incompetent because he's black, but because he's, well, incompetent.

In another ironic twist, the charges against Rangel and Waters came around the same time that charges against former Speaker of the House Tom Delay (R. - Tx.) were dropped. Some have speculated that the charges against Delay were politically motivated (gasp!) and played a key role in the Democrat takeover of the House in 2004. What goes around comes around.

Unfortunately, given their track record, I have a nagging suspicion that the Republicans will find a way to screw things up sometime between now and November. What's that old saying - something about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Finally, here's something I heard on Hannity the other day. To paraphrase, no matter how bad things seem, or how down you might get, keep in mind that it could be worse. Somewhere out there is a Mr. Pelosi...

UPDATE: By a happy coincidence, the following appeared in my in-box this morning (Thanks, Bots).
On a Saturday afternoon, in Washington , D. C., an aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the Bishop of the Catholic cathedral in D.C.

He told the Cardinal that Nancy Pelosi would be attending the next day's Mass, and he asked if the Cardinal would kindly point out Pelosi to the congregation and say a few words that would include calling Pelosi a saint.

The Cardinal replied, "No. There are issues of conflict with the Catholic Church over certain of Pelosi's views."

Pelosi's aide then said, "Look. I'll write a check here and now for a donation of $100,000 to your church if you'll just tell the congregation you see Pelosi as a saint."

The Cardinal thought about it and said, "Well, the church can use the money, so I'll work your request into tomorrow's sermon."

As Pelosi's aide promised, House Speaker Pelosi appeared for the Sunday worship and seated herself prominently at the forward left side of the center aisle.

As promised, at the start of his sermon, the Cardinal pointed out that Speaker Pelosi was present.

The Cardinal went on to explain to the congregation, "While Speaker Pelosi's presence is probably an honor to some, the woman is not numbered among my personal favorite personages."

"Some of her most egregious views are contrary to tenets of the Church, and she tends to flip-flop on many other issues.

Nancy Pelosi is a petty, self-absorbed hypocrite, a thumb sucker, and a nit-wit.

Nancy Pelosi is also a serial liar, a cheat, and a thief.

She married for money and is using her wealth to lie to the American people.

She also has a reputation for shirking her Representative obligations both in Washington , and in California.

The woman is simply not to be trusted.

I must say, Nancy Pelosi is the worst example of a Catholic I have ever personally witnessed."

The Cardinal concluded, "But, when compared with Obama and Senators Harry Reid and John Kerry, House Speaker Pelosi is a saint."

Happy Birthday Honey

My wife had a milestone birthday last week (her XXth - and no, that's not roman numerals for 20th). We've reached that point in our relationship where we tell each other what we want for presents, and then pretend to be surprised when we get it. For example, last year for my birthday she gave me a new rifle scope. I'm pretty particular about my scopes, so I gave her all the info and she toddled down to our local gun shop, picked one up, and had it mounted and bore-sighted. I was quite pleased.

I knew her birthday was coming up. I started asking her well in advance what she wanted. All during our vacation I kept pestering her for ideas. I never got a straight answer, so I was forced to take matters into my own hands.

Her birthday was the day after we got back from vacation. I had to go up to Burnet that day, about a two hour drive. On the way back I stopped at the Marble Falls Wal-Mart and got a card and their finest bouquet of roses (hey, nothing but the best for my woman).

A little further down the road in Johnson City I stopped at one of my favorite places - Whittington's General Store. They sell a variety of goodies. Nothing fancy, but a nice assortment of local specialties such as beauty products made from the lavender that's grown around there, salsa, preserves, gourmet coffee, a small selection of trinkets and jewelry, and of course their house specialty - beef jerky. I gathered together a hodgepodge of lotions, coffee, a picture frame, a nice little necklace, and a few packages of jerky. The pleasant saleslady put it all together in a gift bag along with some gaily colored tissue paper. I figured between all that stuff, plus the card and roses, plus a bottle of champagne I had chilling at home, I was golden.

All went well at first. She liked the card, oohed and aahed over the roses, sipped the champagne, and then started looking around expectantly. I brought out the gift bag and her eyes lit up. She liked the lotions and coffee, loved the necklace and picture frame, was okay with the coffee, and then pulled out the jerky. Things went rapidly downhill at that point.

"BEEF JERKY!?!?! It's my XXth birthday and you get me BEEF JERKY!?!?!"

"But honey, I kept asking you what you wanted, and you never told me."

"We've been married long enough that you're supposed to KNOW what I want without asking. And I don't want BEEF JERKY!

"But honey, what about all the other things I got you?"

"They're okay, but you spoiled it by adding BEEF JERKY! What makes you think I wanted BEEF JERKY? I don't even like BEEF FRIGGIN' JERKY!"

At that point I feel back on the advice my father gave me the day we got married. "Son, remember these four sentences. They'll save you a lot of grief."
1. You're absolutely right, dear.
2. It's all my fault.
3. How could I have been so thoughtless.
4. It'll never happen again.
So I dutifully grovelled and opened another bottle of champagne. That calmed her down enough that the dogs came out from behind the couch and the kids ventured back into the room.

Women. Can't live with 'em, and can't leave 'em on the curb when you're done.

* * * * * * * * * *

Actually, she wasn't mad. She was laughing while she ranted about the jerky. It just makes a better story when I tell it like she was upset.

BTW - Whittington's General Store has a program where they will send jerky to our troops. I usually buy a couple of packages for them every time I go there. Click here for more info.

Monday, August 16, 2010


I'm repeating myself here, but anyone who has ever been an E-5 or below in the military understands RHIP, as I explained earlier. Here's another example.
A Colonel was about to start the morning briefing to his staff. While waiting for the coffee machine to finish brewing, the colonel decided to pose a question to all assembled.

He explained that his wife had been a bit frisky the night before and he failed to get his usual amount of sound sleep.

He posed the question of just how much of sex was "work" and how much of it was "pleasure?"

A Major chimed in with 75-25% in favor of work.

A Captain said it was 50-50%.

A lieutenant responded with 25-75% in favor of pleasure, depending upon his state of inebriation at the time.

There being no consensus, the colonel turned to the PFC who was making the coffee and asked for his opinion?

Without any hesitation, the young PFC responded, "Sir, it has to be 100% pleasure."

The colonel was surprised, and as you might guess, asked why?

"Well, sir, if there was any work involved, the officers would have me doing it for them."

No Place But Texas II

A little while back I posted something about how special a place Texas is. Here's a follow-up.
A young Texan grew up wanting to be a lawman.

He grew up big: 6' 2'', strong as a longhorn, fast as a mustang. He could shoot a bottle cap tossed in the air at 40 paces. When he finally became of age he applied to where he had only dreamed of working: the Texas Rangers.

After a number of tests and interviews he was called in for his last interview.

The Ranger interviewing him said "You're a big strong kid and you can really shoot. So far your qualifications all look good. But we have an 'Attitude Suitability Test' that you must take before you can be accepted. We just don't let anyone wear our badge."

Then, sliding a service pistol and a box of ammo across the desk, the Ranger says, "Take this pistol and go out and shoot six illegal aliens, six ACLU lawyers, six liberal congressmen, six drug dealers, six Muslim extremists, and a rabbit."

The young kid asked "Why the rabbit?"

"Great attitude," said the Ranger. "When can you start?"

A Man After My Own Heart

This is especially appropriate on FOD. It's not a joke. It is a real obituary. You can see it here , but I've copied it below to save you the trouble. I bolded the best part.
Robert W. Snyder, Jr.

Born September 2, 1947
Died June 19, 2010

Viewing: June 24, 2010
Service: Thursday, June 24, 2010 - 11:00 a.m.
Cemetery: Utah Veteran's Memorial Park

Bob left us on June 19th after a day of doing what he loved, sailing the BJ at Soldier Creek with good friends and family. Bob was born September 2, 1947, at Mitchel Field AFB, in New York, the only son of Charlotte and Robert Snyder. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he married Connie and they began their life together in Denver. After a few years in Denver, the couple moved to Minneapolis where their son Michael was born in 1970. After a brief stay living in San Francisco they finally made their home in Utah where they raised their son and enjoyed many friends and family. Bob is survived by his wife, Connie, son, Mike (Wendy), granddaughter, Bailey, and sisters, Jean Allstun and Carol (Gary) Davis. Bob lived his life to the fullest and always found a way to have a good time. He had way of making friends with everyone he met and will be missed by all who knew him. Services will be held Thursday, June 24, 2010 – 11:00 a.m. at Camp Williams, 17111 S. Camp Williams Road (Redwood Rd), Bluffdale, Utah. Family and close friends are welcome from 10:00 – 10:45 a.m. prior to the service. Arrangements in care of Olpin-Hoopes Funeral Home. Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.olpinhoopes.com. In lieu of flowers and in memory of Bob’s humorous outlook on life, please feel free to make contributions to whoever may be running against Obama in 2012.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

That's Just Plain Wrong

I've posted before about the abominable plan to build a mosque at Ground Zero. Nothing's happened since to change my mind. Yes, the property owners have a right to do pretty much whatever they want, as long as it conforms with all the building codes and other rules and regulations. But just because something is legal doesn't mean it's right. A little sensitivity and understanding would go a long way to improve the Muslim world's image in this country. Doesn't look like that's going to happen, however, especially with osama-oops-I-mean-obama now supporting construction of the mosque.

Obama makes clear support for ground zero mosque
After skirting the controversy for weeks, President Barack Obama is weighing in forcefully on the mosque near ground zero, saying a nation built on religious freedom must allow it.

"As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country," Obama told an intently listening crowd gathered at the White House Friday evening to observe the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

"That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances," he said. "This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable."
Much as it pains me, I have to agree in principle with osama-oops-I-mean-obama up to this point. But again, it's a matter of what is the right thing to do, not what is legal.
"Barack Obama has abandoned America at the place where America's heart was broken nine years ago, and where her true values were on display for all to see," said Debra Burlingame, a spokeswoman for some Sept. 11 victims' families and the sister of one of the pilots killed in the attacks.

Building the mosque at ground zero, she said, "is a deliberately provocative act that will precipitate more bloodshed in the name of Allah."

Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son was killed at the World Trade Center, said the president had failed to understand the issue. "As an Obama supporter, I really feel that he's lost sight of the germane issue, which is not about freedom of religion," she said. "It's about a gross lack of sensitivity to the 9/11 families and to the people who were lost."

Added Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.: "President Obama is wrong. It is insensitive and uncaring for the Muslim community to build a mosque in the shadow of ground zero."
Add osama-oops-I-mean-obama's support for the mosque to his hosting of a Ramadan dinner last night, and it becomes very, very clear that he cares more about reaching out to the Muslim community than he does about the feelings of Americans.

Obama to host Ramadan meal Friday
President Barack Obama will Friday join an evening meal to break the daily fast observed by Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan, the White House said.

Obama participated in a traditional Ramadan meal in September 2009, where he praised Islam as an integral part of the United States.
Integral: essential to completeness (from Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary).

I guess I missed that day in History class (or was it Social Studies) where it was explained exactly how Islam was "essential to the completeness" of the United States. I think we'd do quite well without a religion that treats women as second class citizens, that revels in cowardly sneak attacks and bombings that kill and maim innocent men, women, and children, that promotes barbaric acts like stonings and beheadings, that makes absolutely no allowance for any religion other than itself, and that has become synonymous for violence, oppression and intolerance.  
Earlier this week the president offered his best wishes to Muslims in the United States and around the world as they welcomed the holy month, saying: "All of us must remember that the world we want to build -- and the changes that we want to make -- must begin in our own hearts, and our own communities.
The world that Muslims want to build is a Christian, Jew, Hindu, and Buddhist-free zone where women are clothed from head to toe and walk three paces behind their man, unless they're in a minefield. Then the woman goes first, followed by the children and livestock, and then the man.
Obama said the rituals of Ramadan "remind us of the principles that we hold in common, and Islam's role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance, and the dignity of all human beings."
Again, when I think of Islam, I don't think of "justice, progress, tolerance." Instead, I think of honor killings, beheadings, stoning, and terrorism. I think of Islam's approach to 'infidels' (so-called non-believers); convert them, enslave them, or kill them. Call me old school, but if someone has publicly stated that their goal is to harm me or mine, I'm damn sure not going to reach out to them. Instead, I'm going to do my damnedest to take them out first.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Muslims aren't anything like I described above. One way to prove it would be by not building that damn mosque. So here's my challenge to all my many Muslim readers [end sarcasm].

Prove me wrong by your actions, not your words...

For the interested reader, here's some links on this topic that do a far better job of discussing it than do I.

Charles Krauthammer column (written before osama-oops-I-mean-obama's statement of support for the abominable mosque).

Hope n' Change 1

Hope n' Change 2 

One final comment: it's okay to build a mosque on Ground Zero, but it's not okay to pray in school, or include "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance? What's wrong with this picture?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Can't Make This Stuff Up

Warning: irony ahead.

Obama closes curtain on transparency
President Obama has abolished the position in his White House dedicated to transparency and shunted those duties into the portfolio of a partisan ex-lobbyist who is openly antagonistic to the notion of disclosure by government and politicians.

Obama transferred "ethics czar" Norm Eisen to the Czech Republic to serve as U.S. ambassador. Some of Eisen's duties will be handed to Domestic Policy Council member Steven Croley, but most of them, it appears, will shift over to the already-full docket of White House Counsel Bob Bauer.
Bauer is renowned as a "lawyer's lawyer" and a legal expert. His resume, however, reads more "partisan advocate" than "good-government crusader." Bauer came to the White House from the law firm Perkins Coie, where he represented John Kerry in 2004 and Obama during his campaign.

Bauer has served as the top lawyer for the Democratic National Committee, which is the most prolific fundraising entity in the country. Then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., the caricature of a cutthroat Chicago political fixer, hired Bauer to represent the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. In the White House, Bauer is tight with Emanuel, having defended Emanuel's offer of a job to Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., whom Emanuel wanted out of the Senate race.
There's more at the link, but you get the idea. So much for "the most open White House ever"...

In a similar vein, Nile Gardiner does a truly outstanding job of listing 10 key reasons why the obama presidency is in meltdown. Here's a summary.

1. The Obama presidency is out of touch with the American people

2. Most Americans don’t have confidence in the president’s leadership

3. Obama fails to inspire

4. The United States is drowning in debt

5. Obama’s Big Government message is falling flat

6. Obama’s support for socialised health care is a huge political mistake

7. Obama’s handling of the Gulf oil spill has been weak-kneed and indecisive

8. US foreign policy is an embarrassing mess under the Obama administration

9. President Obama is muddled and confused on national security

10. Obama doesn’t believe in American greatness
To me, number 10 is the most telling and the most damning one. In a nutshell, this nation has elected someone who "doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism, and has made apologising for his country into an art form."

Check out the full article. It's worth the read.

Friday the 13th

Well, technically all this started last night (Thurs. the 12th) but I consider that Friday the 13th Eve, so it counts.

We let the dogs out front, and they encountered a porcupine. Fortunately they were more curious than aggressive, and the porky was pretty laid back, so no harm, no foul. We took the mutts around back, where they ran into a skunk. Again luck was with us - they actually came when they were called (for once) and escaped a spraying. They've been skunked twice in the last year, so maybe they're learning, although I doubt it.

Then early this morning (6:30 a-friggin-m) our 16-year old knocked on the bedroom door and said the temperature alarm on the freezer was going off (he leaves the house at 6:45 a.m. to go to work). I went to check it and almost stepped on a scorpion - barefoot, of course. After crushing the bug and looking at the freezer (it wasn't running) I put on a pot of coffee. Went back to look at the freezer again, working under the theory that if I keep checking it'll decide to start working. Returned to the kitchen and found coffee all over the counter and floor. It looks like I put the pot on just off-center enough so that the coffee missed the hole in the top and ran down the sides. 

Cleaned up the mess and started another pot. Went back and fiddled with the freezer. Checked circuit breakers and GFIs, rattled the coil, and finally resorted to that old computer standby. I unplugged it and plugged it back in. Lo and behold, the damn thing started merrily humming away. So now we have to decide if it's okay to eat partially thawed and then refrozen pizza while we wait for the repairman serviceman technician to arrive.

I may put something stronger than half-n-half in my coffee...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

There Is Hope

I'm still basking in the afterglow of our vacation. One of the reasons is the people in that part of the country - in and around Sheridan, Wyoming - still retain the virtues that made America great.

They work, and work hard, for what they get. They don't sit around with their hands out expecting Uncle Sam to take care of them. They help their neighbors when needed, without expectation of reward. They are polite to strangers and respectful towards women (the men take their hats off when greeting one). They believe in traditional family values, and have a deep affection for this country.

Case in point: the night before we left we went to the Sheridan County Rodeo. It's a small, family-oriented happening. They have the usual rodeo events - bull dogging, bronc riding, barrel racing, etc. - but also a plethora of kid stuff; stick horse races (below), goat roping, calf riding, and the like. Whole families attend, often with their dogs. You can bring your own food and drink, or buy it from volunteer-run concession stands. It's like a family reunion and picnic.

The most moving part was at the very beginning, when the American flag was brought into the arena by the rodeo queen. America the Beautiful played in the background as she galloped around the arena. Without any prompting, the entire audience rose, removed their hats, and placed them over their hearts. After the queen posted the colors two small girls, ages 7 and 9, sang the National Anthem. They did it surprisingly well, their voices clear and pure. They also sang it as it was written, without stylizing it. I've heard professionals do much worse. Even more impressive, the crowd sang along. Most of them knew the words by heart.

As long as this country is blessed with people like that, there is hope.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Big Brother - Great Lakes Airlines Version

Yesterday I vented about my displeasure with Great Lakes Airlines. Today I found this on my blog stats.

Domain Namelodgenet.net ? (Network)
IP Address12.29.0.# (Great Lakes Aviation)
ISPAT&T WorldNet Services
Continent : North America
Country : United States  (Facts)
State : Iowa
City : Spencer
Lat/Long : 43.1474, -95.1425 (Map)

I don't know why they have their little bots scurrying all over the 'Net searching for comments about them. God knows it isn't because they care about their customers. I guess next comes either a pair of goons knocking on my door (Moose and Rocco) or a cease-and-desist letter from their lawyers. I doubt if there will be any improvement in their service.


Vacations are wonderful. It's nice to get away from things and recharge your batteries before returning to the grinding crush of reality. Just ask Michelle Obama.
In March, over spring break, Mrs. Obama with her daughters, mom and some pals hit New York for a round of Broadway shows.

The summer started with a Memorial Day weekend trip to Chicago; the family went to the Camp David presidential retreat before July 4; they weekended in Maine, sightseeing in Acadia National Park, departing on July 16 and returning Sunday afternoon July 18. 

The first lady arrived in the Mediterranean coastal city of Marbella (Spain) on Wednesday (Aug. 4), checking in to the super-posh Villa Padierna, along with her daughter, friends, a small number of staffers -- the East Wing would not say how many -- and a security force. (The Obama's older daughter, Malia, 12, is at overnight camp.)

On Thursday, Mrs. Obama's entourage arrived in the historic city of Granada, also in southern Spain. The day also included viewing a flamenco performance and in the evening a visit to the Alhambra palace.

On the weekend of Aug. 14, the first family weekends on the Florida Gulf coast, part of an appeal by President Obama and the first lady to encourage gulf tourism in the wake of the BP oil spill. Between Aug. 19 and 29, the first family will vacation on Martha's Vineyard, where they spent part of last summer.
(Sources: here and here, courtesy of Stilton Jarlsberg)

Theoretically, all this traveling is done at 'minimal' expense to the taxpayers. While she flies on U.S. government aircraft for security purposes, she pays personal expenses herself. And if you believe that, you probably voted for her husband.

I guess she needs a break from the onerous duties required of the First Lady. You know, things like ... well ... ummm ... give me a minute (frantic Google search) ... oh yeah - "The First Lady is not an elected position, carries no official duties, and brings no salary."

Never mind.

You'd think with all that time on her hands she'd pick up a copy of Dress for Success. 

Speaking of vacations, while we were on ours we were joined by obama, pelosi, and reid. It was just for one day, and it was kept secret from the press, but I managed to sneak one quick picture of the three of them in deep conversation.

They're standing in the midst of their policy outcomes...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Great Lakes Airlines Sucks

For those of you not familiar with Great Lakes Airlines, it is a regional airline that serves small market towns in the west and midwest. It operates a fleet of turbo-prop puddle jumpers that seat 20-30 passengers per plane. They are subsidized by us taxpayers under the Essential Air Services program, a federal program that was intended to provide flights to smaller communities that otherwise would not be profitable for regular air service. It is only by virtue of this program that Great Lakes stays in business, because they are the most unreliable, inept, incompetent firm I have ever had the misfortune of doing business with.

I'll keep this short, because I just got back from 10 glorious days in the Wyoming mountains (more on that later). No television, no cell phones, no internet - it was fabulous. It's amazing how the constant barrage of bad news and negative vibes that we receive every day grind us down without our noticing it. But get away from that for a while and you return refreshed and much more positive - in spite of that worthless excuse for an airline.

On the outward leg we flew from San Antonio to Denver via United (no problems), then switched to Great Lakes for the hop from Denver to Sheridan. That flight was about 2 hours late. No big deal, since we didn't have to be at our final destination at any specific time, just "sometime Thursday." The only downer was that the two hour delay was combined with a two hour layover, so we had about four hours to kill in the airport. Still, that was tolerable. A little lunch, a couple of beers, a video for the kids, and all was well. The return trip, however, was a different story.

The flight from Sheridan to Denver (Great Lakes) was late. The ETD kept changing, and not in our favor. However, we were constantly reassured that we'd make our connection. Wrong...

Not only did we miss the connecting flight from Denver to SA, but there were no seats available on ANY flight going our way for at least 24 hours. The United folks were helpful, once we finally got to talk to a real live human being (that's another story - both the 'customer service' counter in Denver and the phone reservation center were woefully understaffed), but bottom line the first available seats were on a 7:20 p.m. flight the day after our originally scheduled flight. Thankfully, the United customer service rep informed us that Great Lakes was responsible for our overnight accommodations - something the Great Lakes people 'forgot' to tell us - so we trooped back to the Great Lakes desk (in another concourse, of course).

After dealing with a totally apathetic customer service person, we finally got to the hotel around 10:00 p.m. That was eight hours after checking in at the Sheridan Great Lakes counter at 2:00 p.m. for a 1 hour flight.

The hotel and its staff were great (Denver Marriott Gateway). I give them an A+ for the way they took care of a stranded family with no toiletries or change of clothes (our luggage was still in the grasp of Great Lakes). The United staff was likewise courteous, competent, and professional, once we were finally able to speak with them. I give the United people an A+, but United itself only gets a C for understaffing its customer service positions.

Check-out time at the hotel was noon. Our flight was at 7:20 p.m. So we spent seven hours exploring the Denver airport. If you have to get stuck in an airport the Denver one isn't a bad choice, but just about anyplace gets old after seven hours, especially when it was coupled with a four hour stay there just ten days ago. Eventually, however, the flight took off more or less on time and we straggled home around midnight last night.

I realize this doesn't sound like enough to justify the scorn I've heaped on Great Lakes, but (1) you had to be there to experience the total disregard for anything approaching customer service (who needs customers when the federal government is covering your operating expenses?), and (2) there's much, much more to the Great Lakes saga. Everyone we spoke with has one or more Great Lakes horror story. I've got a few more myself - I was stranded once by Great Lakes in Gillette, Wyoming, a few years back. Nice place, good people, but not somewhere you want to spend an extended period of time waiting for a plane.

Anyway, it was a great trip, we're glad to be back, and happiness is Great Lakes Airlines in the rear view mirror...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Large Scale Beer Ad

It's day 10 of our vacation and I'm running out of ideas for pre-posted blogs. So for today I'm drawing on two of my favorite subjects - beer, and laziness. The net result is a Youtube video of a truly creative beer ad. How they coordinated all those 'actors' I have no idea.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Trauma to the Groin

Ever noticed how all those 'Funniest Home Video' shows always have a segment devoted to us men getting nailed between Twin #1 and Twin #2? It's another of those universal concepts that unite men of all races, religions, and nationalities.

With that in mind here's musical rendition of assorted traumas to various groins.


Friday, August 6, 2010


Some things must be universal. When I was in the Army there was one set of rules for officers and senior NCOs, and another for us lower-ranked enlisted men. This inequity was explained by the acronym RHIP, or Rank Hath Its Privileges.

Evidently this is a universal concept, as evidenced by the following picture.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Stimulate My Economy

Sometime this year, we taxpayers will again receive another ' Economic Stimulus' payment. 

This is indeed a very exciting program, and I'll explain it by using a Q & A format:
Q.  What is an ' Economic Stimulus' payment?
A.  It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.

Q.  Where will the government get this money?
A.  From taxpayers.

Q.  So the government is giving me back my own money?
A.  Only a smidgen of it.

Q.  What is the purpose of this payment?
A.  The plan is for you to use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set,  thus stimulating the economy.

Q.  But isn't that stimulating the economy of China?
A.  Shut up.
Below is some information regarding how spending your stimulus check impacts the economy.

*  If you spend the stimulus money at Wal-Mart, the money will go to China or Sri Lanka. 

*  If you spend it on gasoline, your money will go to the Arabs.

*  If you purchase a computer, it will go to India, Taiwan or China. 

*  If you purchase fruit and vegetables, it will go to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. 

*  If you buy an efficient car, it will go to Japan or Korea .

*  If  you purchase useless stuff, it will go to Taiwan. 
*  If you pay your credit cards off, or buy stock, it will go to management bonuses and they will hide it offshore.

Instead, keep the money in America by:
  1)  Spending it at yard sales, or
  2)  Going to ball games, or 
  3)  Spending it on prostitutes, or
  4)  Beer, or
  5) Tattoos.

These are the only American businesses still operating in the U.S.

Go to a ball game with a tattooed prostitute that you met at a yard sale and drink beer all day!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

No Place But Texas

I love living in Texas. I can't imagine anywhere else that has the right mix of bravado, self-reliance, common sense, and sense of self. Of course it's not perfect. We have our share of idiots, assholes, and liberals (but I repeat myself...). Fortunately, the state is large enough that there's plenty of room for them to co-exist with the rest of us.

I truly value Texans' proclivity for and tolerance of indiviualism and self-expression. Here's a few examples.

Seen at the Southwest Airlines counter at Houston Hobby airport:

View when landing at the Preston Smith International Airport in Lubbock Texas

When you look at the message, it was not made by cutting down plants for the letters. It was made by cutting everything else away and leaving the letters. That took a lot of ingenuity, time, and ability. Look at the second picture and compare the message size with the farm house and adjoining buildings. The 'field art' is huge. The farmer who owns the field made the images. It's near the airport so all of the planes coming and going can see the message. It would be hard to land in Lubbock and not see this.

Finally, we have a sign in front of a furniture store at the intersection of Hwy. 290 and Hwy. 281 in Johnson City, Texas. In spite of the name, it's not really a city. It's more of a small town - population around 1200. In a small town environment such as that, it's difficult for merchants to specialize. They typically carry several types and lines of merchandise, as evidenced by this sign.

Here in Bergheim (population in the 1980 and 1990 censuses was 22) we have one general store. Opened in 1900, it provides fence-building supplies, feed, and dry goods, as well as the necessary grocery staples for local ranchers. The Bergheim General Store and Post Office was awarded a state historical marker in 1983.

Like most of the people around here, we don't live in Bergheim proper, but rather in the county outside the 'city' limits. Although civilization is encroaching (San Antonio is about 25 miles to the south, and heading this way fast) we still go to the Bergheim General Store for the four B's: Beer, Bait, Bullets, and Blue Jeans.

It just don't get any better than that...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Nature vs. Nurture

Watching the kids grow up often causes one to stop and think "Where did that come from?" Did they inherit it from Mom or Dad? Did they learn it? Or did they figure it out on their own?

I've seen bits and pieces of me in things the kids say and do. I've also seen things that obviously came from my wife. And there are a few that I pray to God they got from TV or an acquaintance, not from someone related by blood or marriage.

This nature vs. nurture debate has been going on for centuries. I'm certainly not going to try and settle it here. But I will offer up a diagram that I think does a pretty good job of piecing together heredity, environment, and development.

In any case, whether you support nature, nurture, or a combination, I think you'll agree that the poor kid below is doomed...

Monday, August 2, 2010


No, not fore. Make it 40 - or actually, 40+. That's how many rounds of golf obama has played since he became president (as of July 16, 2010).

President Barack Obama  has played a remarkable 41 rounds of golf since becoming president, easily outpacing his predecessor...

With the excursions lasting on average at least five hours, the president has devoted a total of more than 200 hours to golf, not counting time spent on the White House putting green. That’s the equivalent of twenty five eight-hour work days, or five work weeks spent smacking golf balls.

The former community organizer’s 41 trips around the links ... compares to only 24 total outings for former President George W. Bush, according to statistics compiled by White House chronicler Mark Knoller  of CBS News. Bush, whose golf outings were used to help deride him as a callow, lazy, rich boy, played his 24th and last round on Oct. 13, 2003, saying he was ending the practice out of respect for the families of Americans killed in Iraq.

Image management is so much easier when the mainstream media is on your side.

Since the April 20 explosion that killed 11 rig workers and started the Gulf oil spill, Obama has teed up seven times, according to White House Dossier’s count. This includes back to back sessions April 23 and 24 while on vacation at the Grove Park Resort & Spa in Asheville, NC, just days after the crisis began.

From a period stretching from April 3 to May 22 of this year, the president went golfing eight of nine weekends.

He went out only once in June when, with the Gulf of Mexico slowly becoming the new U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve and accusations of presidential inattention at their height, White House image counselors appeared to think the golf needed scaling back. But he’s back with a vengeance, having made his way out on the course both weekends so far this month.
And this doesn't even include his numerous other posh outings as chronicled here.
One of his companions on nearly every outing is Marvin Nicholson, the affable, White House trip  director. Nicholson, a former  “body man” to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), is the perfect guy for getting away from it all, having worked as a golf caddy, a bartender, and in a windsurfing shop – where he met Kerry.
Oh my aching butt. This guy sounds like the epitome of the idle rich frat boy that Bush was portrayed as. What a resume - caddy, bartender, windsurfer, White House aide... how does one climb that career ladder?

I don't mind the president - any president - taking a little R&R. It's a tough job, and the guy (or gal) sitting in the Oval Office is certainly entitled to a little down time. But obama's carrying it to an extreme. Given all the urgent issues facing this country, from the economy to the war against terrorism to immigration to nuclear proliferation to unstable regimes like Iraq and North Korea to - well, you get the idea - I'd sure like to see the person in charge focused on making progress in solving those problems, not worrying about his handicap or who to invite for the next White House concert.

I guess that's what happens when an unqualified ill-experienced bozo with no understanding of how the real world works weasels his way into the White House...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I'm Tired Of Turning The Other Cheek

I like to think that I'm a fairly tolerant, fairly forgiving, and fairly logical person. But the idea of building a giant mosque at Ground Zero just wrenches my gut. Some make a sound argument in favor of it. Others are strongly opposed.

On this one I've gotta go with my gut. It just feels wrong - very, very wrong. Muslims have traditionally built mosques at the sites of their greatest victories, as the video below points out.

(From The Jawa Report via BMEWS)

The idea of a foreign mosque - in some respects, an enemy outpost - on the site where so much American blood was spilled in a despicable, cowardly, murderous attack by scum-sucking swine who, if there is a just God, are currently rotting in Hell and will remain there throughout eternity, literally sickens me.

(From OLDCATMAN via BMEWS (in the Comments))

I'll go along with a mosque at Ground Zero when churches and synagogues are allowed at Mecca...

Oh, and by the way - check out a couple of the mosque's supporters: Michael Bloomberg and Andrew Cuomo. There's two of the left's most shining stars. Wouldn't have anything to do with real estate values and campaign contributions, would it...?

Bleech - I need to go settle my stomach with a Shiner.