Thursday, March 29, 2012

Goodbye to a Great Talent div

The first tune I ever learned on the banjo was Foggy Mountain Breakdown.
After many hours of playing guitar in bluegrass groups and with many banjo players (I never really progressed), I never lost my sense of wonder at his artistry
Here's something a little different ......... and just as wonderful.
So long Earl.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Don't Get Sick div

Everything I've heard on the radio and teepee lately is about the talk before the Supremes on what to do about healthcare. "Keep your government out of my healthcare" - -  unless you are a woman or someone with Medicare. "Rationing"  - -  unless you have enough money.

I simply cannot believe that we, as one of the most advanced countries and economies in the world do not have a system to ensure healthcare to its citizens ?

The scolds say that we have the best system in the world  - -  then why are so many people forced to use emergency rooms for a common cold ? Why are so many people one brush with sickness away from bankruptcy ?? Why are so many people trapped in dead-end jobs and virtual slavery solely for the access to health insurance ???

Look just across our northern border. As many apocryphal stories as there are, how many Canadians do you know that are clamoring for our system??? Why are Americans going to Canada for perscription medicine ???

Who would be unwilling to pay a flat 5% of their income to have assurred access to healthcare ??
Surely, small business (and, for that matter, huge corporations) would love to forgo the expense of funding insurance for their employees. Of course, they'd be required to pay a living wage.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Coiuld it be the way I say it ?? div

Why is it that every time the unsupervised Mittens opens his mouth without his talking points teleprompter he screws the pooch?
If the Republicans can't trust him, can normal people ??
.... and have you seen or heard his slogan "Restore Our Future" ?? Think about it, how do you restore something that hasn't yet happened ??
Since the avowed platform of the Republican party is to take us back to 1929 (or possibly 1890) does this mean that if they get their Mitts on the government we'll get the New Deal ???

           enjoy, but pardon the subtitles - hell, practice your Spanish)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Just a wee bit o' Music div

Hope your foot is tappin' .... or your paws or anything ya got.

Promises, Promises div

Per yesterday's post, the Goose Girl made good on her promise. I taught her how to make enchiladas thirty years ago (then, she didn't know what one was  - -  best explanation Mexican lasagna).

Tonite, she nailed it !!!!

The small "casserole" is for our neighbor - newly widowed - -
There was also salad, blueberry pie and margaritas !!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Shopping div

Went to the grocery store today. The Goose Girl has promised to make enchiladas and blueberry pie tomorrow. Tortillas and blueberries were on my mental list. (Three items or more get written down).
Great news !!! Blueberries were on sale. 6oz package of fresh berries 2pkg / $3 (another store had them for $2.89/pkg). Right there next to the berries were more berries in a larger package (18oz). Atop the package was a sticker saying "BuyBig, SaveBig"  - -  the price $5.99.

Now, what's wrong with this picture ??

I asked the store manager why the apparent disconnect in pricing ??

What I told him was simply this: 1) this is my neighborhood market; 2) I realize that the math and critical thinking skills of 50% of the population aren't the greatest in the world and that many people don't stop to think about unit pricing;  and 3) I don't like to think that our local supermarket is taking advantage of us.
Got a runaround about how the local store doesn't set pricing and lots of retail doublespeak. He said that he'd check tomorrow (fortunately for him, the sale ended today) and correct any discrepancies. Like Google sez, Don't be evil.

Years ago, I stopped at another local market one morning  to get some donuts. The sign above the pastry case said "Donuts: $.33 each, 3 / $1."  The cashier was adamant that my 3 donuts were going to cost me a dollar - I asked if she could please ring them separately.
Granted, it's a penny  - -  but pennies add up, and the cashier hadn't a clue.

No Surprises div

Why do you think they call it "Dope?"

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bafflement div

One of the hardest things about doing this blog thingee is deciding what to write about. There's this great desire to be original and not pirate anything from anyone else, let alone plagiarize their words and ideas.  Like what Atrios said.

But, there's just SO much material.

I often recommend the Capitol Steps to those visiting the Great White Theme Park; very creative  (and heaven knows they never will suffer from lack of material). These folks run the gamut and are "fairly balanced" in the process. I think the nightly news and the talking heads could learn a bit from them.

I was asked last nite by an American ex-patriate (living in Greece) what the issues were in the upcoming election; ya know, it was hard to explain just what the issues were. Every day there seems to be some new twist and I can't imagine what sense someone in Europe (they have their own problems) can make of the idiocy going on here right now.  She couldn't understand the preoccupation with sex and why women can't have a say in their own healthcare. I sure as hell didn't have a good answer.
I see today that a crazy woman in Arizona wants to make women witness an abortion before having one.  I guess she hasn't considered that this would violate her anti-abortion stand.

Gas was $4 a gallon last nite. Obama's fault...... HUH ????
When is someone going to ask why we are a net EXPORTER of gasoline and jet-fuel ??????

I'm amazed that the man has been so gracious and held his "cool" in spite of the attacks on him, his wife, his children, hell even his dog.
Folks out in Montana have nicely summed up the issues.

Mittens is going to put his "experience" as a businessman to work as President. Doing what exactly ??? Still haven't heard anything from the Republicans other than cut taxes, cut benefits, cut government, and increase defense. Pretty soon everyone not on Wall Street or K Street will be in the Army, Nay, Air Force or Marines. When are these rubes going to figure out that GOVERNMENT isn't a business ??? I think somedays my brain is gonna explode from hearing the insane things they say.

ARRRGH !!!!!! I need a drink.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ain't got Nuttin' div

Long day Driving4$$ .......
Listen to this and talk amongst yourselves    -- one of my favorites by a bunch of (very talented) unknowns sitting around in a hotel lobby .........

Friday, March 16, 2012


I've been away from the retail travel industry for five years now (except for Driving4$$). I remember doing the electronic visa application for clients heading to Australia (no money required) but can't imagine what a prospective, inbound  "tourist" must think when being confronted by the ESTA application form (not to mention the $14). I don't even know what some of the referenced "conditions" are. It's sort of like the questions required on a handgun application here. If you answer "YES" you're in a shit-load of trouble.
Stumbled upon this, guess it says it all.
I know what some of my pax say after arriving at Dulles (IAD)  - -  both US citizens and "visitors,"  - -  no wonder my tips suffer.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How cum ?????? div

Every day, I read one of the premier newspapers in the country cover to cover. This is a habit begun as a newsboy for the Arizona Republic more years ago than I care to remember (though those days, when Phoenix was a small community, are long gone but fondly remembered).

The business section (and many of the articles focusing on economics) seem to tell of many reasons why we should give money to banks. These are the folks that 40 years ago were offering toasters for a deposit.
Talk about "bailouts." !!!!!

WTF, over ?????

Since the repeal of Glass-Steagall the banks have had free rein to do "whatever" with the money entrusted to them. Seems like one of the "players" has had enough. Guess he can kiss his future on Wall Street goodbye. So much for telling truth to power  - -  I saw plenty of it in the military (and experienced the consequences).

Then again, there's the fact that none of these assholes have gone to jail. When I served as a Notary Public, my State required me to maintain a record of EVERY document I certified and the identification of the person needing my service. How come these assholes aren't in jail ??????? Sounds like a violation of the law to me, eh ???

Then there's the folks the "rich" entrust their money to (well, if you got it, waste it)  - - Oops, my bad !!

Maybe we should start concentrating on the folks that are robbing us instead of vaginas. (Please, don't get me started).

If a person is robbing you, don't you have the right to defend yourself ??? Could be coming.

Friday, March 9, 2012


On this day last year, my Dad passed away  - -  peacefully, at home, at the age of 93. The years had taken a toll on his body, but thankfully, his mind was still active and agile. Dad always said that he'd had a good life (and several times commented that he was surprised he'd lived past 26).

He gave me so much; a sense of responsibility, the ability to think for myself, his love of driving (which he was still doing, even on the day of his death) and so many other things.

I know that there were things I did that disappointed him. I know that there were things I did that made him proud.

Over the years, though we grew apart philosophically and politically, the respect and the love for each other never waned.

My Dad was a true hero who cared for his wife and family. He showed us the beauty of our country (and I don't know how he endured all the "are we there yets").  He allowed my sister and I to make mistakes (and contribute to their correction) and despite our shortcomings or disappointments, never stopped loving us.
Whenever I think of him, this picture of him as a young Marine during the Guadalcanal campaign will always be the first to come to mind.

Every time I hold a steering wheel, he's sitting next to me (thankfully, without the machine gun).

Thank you for the pictures  ... and the stories ... and the roads.
Thank you for the freedom when was time for me to go.
Thank you for your kindness, and the times when you got tough,
 ... and Papa, I don't think I said  I Love You near enough.

(thanks to the late Dan Fogelberg for letting me paraphrase his words - I can't think of a better way to express it)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

This Blogging Stuff div

(h/t Rhymes with Orange)

......... and why are there so many viewers from Russia ???

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


They just keep on a thumpin' 'em !!
Haven't we killed and injured enough of out young men and women in the interests of "fightin' 'em over there, so we don't have to fight 'em here" ???
Haven't these assholes figured out yet that "they" don't want us there ..... and don't want (and unless goats can swim) and won't ever be over here ???
If the "Islamists" are killing each other in Syria (or in any of the Islamistans for that matter), shouldn't we just we them have at it ???
If  the President had any sense, he'd demand that Congress pass bills for a universal (no deferments allowed) draft and a 25% tax surcharge BEFORE any of these contemplated actions are authorized.  Let these chicken hawks put their family's skin and wallets in the game. Wanna bet that they don't have the guts to do it ??

Retirement div ..

Well, at least he didn't leave in the middle of the night. There are still bars in the Baltimore area that have Robert Irsay's picture strategically positioned in urinals.

I'm not an NFL fan (nor the NBA - never thought that basketball should be a contact sport). I think it's become boring. Unlimited substitution, player/position/situation specialization, the use of spotters and wireless communication to on-field coaches and the use of taxpayer-funded college and university programs as a farm system. Though baseball and hockey do draw talent from those resources, at least they have a system to "grow their own."

I wish him luck  - -  he'll probably go into the Hall of Fame and get a network commentator contract. He'll never be as good as "Dandy Don." At least Meredith was a real QB that called plays.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Apology div

I always thought that an apology was more than simply admitting you were wrong. An apology implies, yea demands, a cessation of the apologized activity and promises to "do better." I think the word the Catholics would use here is "contrition"

I don't think it's going to  happen with Rush. To close an "apology" with  "My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices." certainly doesn't say " I'm sorry."  What it really says is,  "... shit, I've really fucked up and this is gonna hurt me in the wallet. Wish I'd been a little more polite. Maybe I shouldn't have called the slut a slut or a prostitute; gotta buy a Thesaurus"  Yep, that's Rush; always classy. 

Natch, IOKIYAR applies here and most (but not all) of the hierarchy and hangers on are soft pedaling their responses to keep from hurting his feelings.

I don't always agree with Kathleen Parker, but her column in today's Washington Post contained on of the most prescient quotes I've heard on the matter:    "The image suggested is equally degrading to Limbaugh, given his obvious familiarity with “watching,” and invites unflattering speculation. To wit: It is entirely possible that Limbaugh himself never needed contraception in college, but virtue in the absence of opportunity is hardly a moral triumph."

Trust me, he ain't a gonna change.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Lousy people in the world div

What Atrios  said, + 1

Arbitrage div

Now, does that  AIG shit make sense ???
Why aren't any of these people in jail ????
Why are they so intent on giving money to stupid people ?????

Customer Service (not) div

Two years ago, we completely gutted and remodeled our kitchen  - -  after 30 years with me, the Goose Girl had more than earned it.  New layout, all new (state of the art) appliances - purchased through Sears. For six months after its completion, the Goose Girl would go down in the middle of the night just to sit with it !!! Needless to say, my gourmet cook wife loves her kitchen.

Two months ago, the cook-top starts to act up  - -  some computer code that resets after the breaker is cycled. We call it in for service (yeah, we purchased the warranty), the guy shows up and says that part of the wiring harness is pinched. He does his magic and leaves.
Last week, it starts up again  - - same thing. We call it in and repairman #2 shows up  - -  "oh dear, you need a new touchpad, I've ordered the replacement and rescheduled you for next Friday." At this point, the cooktop still works, but bears watching.

The parts show up (it's the whole glass cooktop) and today, repairman #3 shows up. He doesn't bother to introduce himself, and asks if the parts are here. I reply that they are on the landing in that 2X4 foot box. He remains rooted in place until I move and carry the box upstairs. He manages to cut the tape and has some problem lifting the cook-top from the package. I suggest we set it on the floor to preclude breaking anything.

He then proceeds to attempt removing the old cooktop (I had to ask if he wanted me to disable the circuit). After 35 minutes, he's still fumbling with it with all the understanding of a hog lookin' at a wrist-watch. I call Sears, and say that this ain't workin'. I reschedule the service and tell XX (still don't know what to call him)  that it appears he hasn't the faintest idea of what he's doin' (politely) and ask that he reassemble it since someone else is going to do the repair. He manages to get it back together (although I - and neither did he -  have any idea what the purpose of the left-over, unattached screw was). I reset the breaker and now get another code and all controls flashing.

I call Sears and request that someone come out tomorrow to make right what this yahoo has totally screwed up. I talk to Jo (think it's short for JoBollywood)  and she repeatedly apologizes for the inconvenience  - -  hope we don't need to boil water !! I ask if she has any authority to get some action  - -  she apologizes (I think her authority ends at "apologize"). I ask to speak with a supervisor and after 10 minutes on hold speak with Tony ( I think "supervisor" means someone with less accented English).

Tony offers to send the repairman (#3) back. I ask if he would like the doctor that screwed up his operation to make the repair ?? He sounds flummoxed and makes the same offer. I inquire whether or not there is any repairman in the entire mid-Atlantic region that can't be dispatched this evening or tomorrow ?? Again, he offers to send #3. Arrrrrghhhhh ..............

What pisses me off is that the guy sent had no idea of what he was doing. He certainly could have called "tech support" (and we suggested it) but refused.

Seems that (like I've said before) after cutting employees, the next thing on the block to enhance the increase in "shareholder return" is training.