Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Into the breach again, dear friends

After a break of about three years or so, I figured I should dust this blog off again.

According to Google, there have been 2,102 pageviews of this blog, one as recently as October 11, my birthday. I wonder what that person--who MAY have been from Russia, according to Google's tracking page--was reading? What did they think about my observations, certainly long outdated, about the world situation?

Last thing I ranted about was the unfortunate business in Libya, resulting in the destruction of a consulate and the deaths of four Americans, including our Ambassador. Now, I was probably quite mistaken in that rant, since I was blaming the idiot preacher out of Gainesville, who decided he just HAD to burn a Koran, despite the many warnings that other deeply religious folks MIGHT take offense. Seems now that the best information is that it was probably some of the usual terrorist-types in the area who took advantage of the situation to put a hurting on us. Of course, we're still talking about Libya, because the House Committee, taking longer to investigate that mess than the Watergate Committee took to take down Nixon, is still not done (though seven other committees have looked into it and released their reports). Now they've decided that the e-mails of former Secretary of State Clinton have something to do with a bunch of terrorists attacking our consulate; I guess the theory is that Hillary, using her private e-mail server, tipped off the fanatics and told them about our Ambassador being there and being vulnerable to attack, since she'd already called off any attempt to send troops there.

We're back in an election with multitudes of GOP candidates (more than four years ago, some of the same faces, some new) all trying to outdo themselves in pandering to the Religious Right, the NRA/Gun-Worshippers/2nd Amendment crazies and the 2% or so who control most of the wealth of this country. The Democrats are trying to figure out how to keep from offending just about everyone except the same ones the GOP folks are pandering to. Trump is trying to (and massively succeeding) in offending everyone and may possibly win the GOP nomination. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Now, I've turned 60. I know, I know, it's not exactly an earth-shaking event. But, it does mean I'm less than two years away from retiring and that's a bit scary, since my job has become part of my identity. You also get into a weird pattern of trying to bet on when you're going to kick the bucket, since that's what the guys and gals in the insurance business are laying bets on as well.

Well, maybe I'll remember my password for a while this time (or put it where I can find it) and will rant a bit more. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


The events of the last 24 hours show us how dangerous the world is; the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and three Embassy staffers were killed during a "demonstration" or "riot" over a video posted to YouTube by a small group of fanatics in the U.S. that apparently denigrated the Prophet Mohammed. That one of the nutcases reported as helping to prepare the video is the crazy preacher out of Gainesville, FL who finally got around to burning a copy of the Koran and instigating massive riots in Afghanistan and other places where Americans are based, resulting in a number of American deaths, doesn't particularly surprise me.

Why? Because innate stupidity rarely goes away, no matter what the cause.

The dummies who started this with the video, one an Israeli living in the States and at least the aforementioned preacher/fanatic, had to have known it would cause a backlash. I suspect they were counting on it, because these kind of people live for it. They revel in the knowledge that something, anything they did, caused violence. Folks like this used to be called agents provocateurs and they've been around longer than we'd like to think, stirring up problems for some agenda only they can truly understand.

Does this excuse the monsters who caused the deaths of our Embassy staff in Libya? Of course not and if the cobbled-together government there cannot bring the offenders to justice, we'll have to pull some resources off the on-going efforts against terrorism in other places to track them down and make sure everyone out there knows such acts do not go unpunished.

The trouble though, is that we're in the middle of an election campaign and Mitt Romney has just shoved his handmade shoe and foot into his mouth by attacking the Obama Administration, claiming that they issued "mixed messages" to the rioters and "apologizing" for the YouTube video before talking about the death of our Ambassador. The problem is that the apology came from a staffer in the Embassy in Cairo BEFORE the Libyan incident and was not authorized by the Administration, but those kind of small details don't seem to matter to Mr. Romney and his handlers, who have famously said that they aren't going to let their campaign be "dictated by fact-checkers".

What Romney SHOULD have done was issue a short statement condemning the attackers and supporting the President as our LEADER in making sure justice is done and our other embassies across the world remain safe and secure. But no, while that would have been the honorable thing to do, the right-wingers MUST have their say, MUST attack the President because they themselves have no honor and no sense of unity. They've proven it time and again over the last four years by blocking the President at every turn, even over issues that they originally supported but abandoned once the President agreed to them.

Had Obama been a Republican President, rather than a Democrat, I'm pretty sure the Right would have been falling over itself to demand Democrats support whatever actions he decided to take in defense of American interests, just like they did when George W. Bush was President after 9/11. Many of us who did NOT vote for Bush and who questioned the results of the election of 2000 still proudly stood shoulder to shoulder with our fellow Americans and the Administration in seeking justice, particularly when we attacked the Taliban regime in Afghanistan that had welcomed Bin Laden and his cronies. We lost faith in Bush's policies when he shifted over to a made-up and unncessary war in Iraq, taking necessary troops and equipment from Afghanistan and allowing the Taliban to regroup and justified torture as a means of obtaining information.

I'm hoping calmer heads will prevail in the GOP, but after the path they've been taking over the last decade or so, I'm not going to hold my breath for any glimpse of sanity and reason.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Back Again, Again

How time flies when you're having fun.

Another five months have flown by since the last post and, depending on how things go, it may be another five months (or more) before I remember to update this blog again.

Why do I keep forgetting? Because no one reads it? Maybe; when no one bothers to give you feedback, you start thinking about the absurdity of writing something that others don't see. However, that's NEVER stopped me before, so why should it now?

Not a lot has changed over the last few months, except that our oldest nephew had a terrible horse-riding accident in North Dakota a few weeks back and suffered a spinal cord injury. How permanent or how encompassing it yet to be determined; he's currently in a rehab facility in Atlanta that specializes in such injuries and he has made some progress, but he's not out of the woods yet. Thank God he had insurance, because the alternative would have made a terrible example of why we need the Affordable Care Act (perjoriously known as "Obamacare").

Mrs. Blue and I returned from a trip out to the Oklahoma City area to visit littlest Blue and her honey. We managed to pick the week the backdoor to Hell was left open by someone, since the daytime temperatures averaged 104 or so, even in the shade. We did manage to enjoy ourselves, eating good food and seeing the sights (well, as much as you can see when everything is fairly flat). We did see the Oklahoma City Memorial, which was well designed and touching, even in the heat.

The political scene, post-Conventions, has returned to the usual carping about minor issues, though I've got to say that it is gotten practically surreal on the GOP side. Apparently, because of a floor fight at the Democratic Convention over the use of "God" in the platform, Romney started saying that Obama and the Dems were going to take "In God We Trust" off the currency, prompting an immediate response from the Dems of "What in the hell are you talking about?". Geez, Teddy Roosevelt started talking about that during his Presidency and my great-great grandfather issued the Christian Church equivalent of a fatwa against him (well, maybe not quite THAT extreme, but you get the idea).

Never underestimate the power of well-funded stupidity.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Back again, again.

Been quite a while since I've posted, probably because I've been rather busy with this, that and, of course, the other thing, and we all know how bad that can be.

Depressingly, however, it doesn't look like much has changed in the world since my last post. We've suffered through a much too long GOP primary season with its "front-runner of the week" which seems to now have finally closed out with the most boring, scripted and well-coiffed candidate, Mitt Romney, essentially the winner. Now Romney and his well-paid campaign staff can start shredding and deleting all the extremely-Right-Wing-nutcasey stuff he was saying to beat up on the the other candidates who were also saying extremely-Right-Wing-nutcasey things to appeal to the (what else?) extreme right wing of the GOP and the Tea Party types who vote in those things out in the wilds of Iowa and such places. His staff better be paid a lot, because they'll have their hands full trying to convince everyone with access to a computer and YouTube that he NEVER really liked the Arizona "Show Us Your Papers" law, that he really likes gays (not THAT way, of course) and that he's just an average Joe who really doesn't have buddies who are NASCAR owners or football team owners. Oh yeah, and he REALLY likes "cheesy grits".

Now we get the start the all-too-long-and-drawn-out Presidential election season. I will say one of the things I like about France is that their elections last about six weeks from start to finish with no ads clogging up the airways. Why can't we do that? Probably because the lobbyists for all the ad agencies would see themselves out of business if they weren't getting money from PACs and SuperPACs.

Oh well; at least old Blue's old house finally sold a couple of weeks ago and he's back to paying one utility bill a month and one property tax a year (unlike Mittens Romney, of course...). Ah, to be among the 1%, even if only vicariously through my taxes.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Back Again

Well, it's August, 2011 and another seven months or so have flown by without a rant; does that mean nothing have happened that is "rantable"? Oh my, of course not.

Let's see, I guess there's the little matter of the Tea Party and its minions (i.e., the rest of the GOP that has decided it has to follow the lunatic fringe down the path to eventual laughingstock status) bringing the USA to the front door step of financial ruin by whining about the debt ceiling and, at the same time, refusing to consider any kind of "revenue enhancement" (i.e., taxing the upper 2% of the populace that controls a hugely disproportionate chunk of the wealth and power and who can certainly afford it). Last I heard, the White House and the Democrats gave into the fringers some more in the Great Compromise by agreeing to budget cuts without any real hope of ever getting any tax revenue in exchange. Nice; while our infrastructure collapses around about us, I'll be sitting at my desk secure in the knowledge that Sarah Palin, Glen Beck and Sean Hannity WON'T have to be paying more in taxes because, well, they shouldn't have to.

Then there's the issue of our Governor and Legislative leaders climbing on the Tea Party bandwagon (well, that's not really true; they've BEEN on it for a while now) and indicating that IF and WHEN a "Balanced Budget Amendment" hits the States for ratification, good old Florida would be the FIRST to ratify. Not that they have to actually ASK the electorate whether or not a majority really thinks it's a good idea to tie the Federal Government's hands in financial perpetuity, since they are the "peoples' representatives" (hack, hack) and think that they don't have to ask us in advance. Fortunately, calmer heads prevailed and the BBA didn't make it out of the House Bill.

I could go on and on, but it's simply too depressing to do so. An earlier post to this blog was that we've become a "Nation of Idjits" and I'm all too much in agreement with that sentiment. Are we ever going to learn? Can we be just that stupid and throw away this great land and the potential that we still have as a country?

Maybe my mood will be different tomorrow. Ask me then.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Back Again

Did you miss me? Probably not, which is OK. That's what Old Blue gets for not writing daily or posting porn.

Lots has happened over the last thirteen months or so. Bought a new house, haven't been able to sell the old one; had to put my border collie to sleep because of advanced canine leukemia and have seen Youngest Blue graduate with honors from the local university, only to see her head off to the icy confines of Iowa for an eleven month stint in Americorps.

Oh, did I mention that our fair State elected a far-Right bunch in practically every open seat in the last election? That our new Governor, who used all of his own money to run (notice I was nice and didn't say he "bought" the election) is the 21st-Century version of a carpetbagger, since he's a Yankee who didn't live here until moving to Naples eight years ago in disgrace after his multi-billion dollar health services corporation was found to have engaged in massive fraud of Medicare funds? That he took the Fifth on seventy-five occasions during a civil deposition? That he basically wants to gut the State Pension System?

Ah, life goes on and on. I'll really miss my dog and my youngest one; everything else, not so much.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Guy Next Door

Well, Old Blue has turned all of 54 within the last couple of weeks and his thoughts have begun to turn ever more inward, looking to cement his legacy in the world.

Who am I kidding? My chances of having a long-term legacy in this mess are about the same as Dick Cheney's of being remembered as a kindly, beloved leader. Lots of people think I share DNA with Scrooge; I'm the bad guy who messed up their life, caused them to have trouble getting jobs, embarrassed them publicly and the like (despite the fact that it was THEIR actions that got them there; I just helped make it official).

I remember some of our neighbors, folks whose legacy in this world isn't much more than a tombstone in my hometown, but they had an impact on me as a child. I "ran away" one time when probably about 5 years old, putting some stuff in a hobo-like bandanna on a stick and going next door to live with the neighbors who always let me have a Dr. Pepper when I visited. They were nice folks (despite ratting me out to my parents), but I suspect no one in my hometown or the neighborhood would know who they were nowadays. That's too bad.

Me? I'll keep grinding away at my job for another slightly less than seven years, retire, and maybe, just maybe, write a book. Or, maybe I'll just start giving Dr. Peppers away to neighborhood kids.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Prez

I'm sitting here listening to the Current Occupant speaking to the Joint Session; so far, it's a pretty decent speech. Of course, the only big handclap he got from the Big Elephants is when he started talking about tort reform...sorta kinda.

It has been interesting to watch the proceedings, like when the Prez mentioned the "single-payer" system in Canada, and a few in the chamber applauded and when he said something else that someone didn't agree with, someone actually booed or something similar. Meanwhile, the Republicans are mainly sitting on their side, stony-faced, particularly when the President has called them out on some of the more ridiculous misrepresentations (like the infamous "death panels", brought up again by the recently unemployed ex-Gov. Palin). It's fun to see them silently planning the President's "Waterloo" (as said by one of their more prominent Senators) and trying to come up with a good sound bite for the good folks at Fox News in the coming days.

I'm hoping that something can be worked out, since there's still an awfully lot to do in a lot of things. Too bad the Right is letting itself get caught up in the moronic whining of the Becks, Limbaughs and Hannitys of the world.

Saturday, September 05, 2009


It's official. We are a country of idjits.

I got up this morning to the disturbing concept of Mrs. Blue staring at me sleeping for the last half-hour (she said I was peaceful, yet I was dreaming of Littlest Blue being a vampire, while I was trying to get my new cordless weedwhacker to work), had to get up to the creaking of my increasingly creaky bones and joints to let our dog out and get the newspaper; upon opening to the front page, I read about the local controversy over the Current Occupant's plan to address school students via television. A local "parent" indicated that he'll not be letting HIS kids watch the Prez because they are "not a socialist family". I repeat, they are NOT a "socialist family". I repeat again, they are not a "SOCIALIST FAMILY". Does that sound as stupid as it is, repeated three times in a row? I mean, do they really think President Obama is going to tell little Jimmy and little Jane to make sure and read "Das Kapital" by Marx and use a highlighter to remember the good points?

What in literally God's name has happened to our beloved country? Did the collective IQ of our people drop suddenly? I realize that there's a lot of frustration over the economy and that not everyone agrees with the Administration's views and proposals, but there's something more at work here, because the vehemence and bitterness isn't explained by simple intellectual disagreement. When you see older folks at Town Hall meetings saying that they don't want the "Gummint" fooling around with "their" Medicare, obviously forgetting that Medicare IS a government program (and a successful one at that), it's pretty evident that some of the ancient distrust of anyone telling you what to do, while at the same time taking money from them, is at work. These folks would rather a large, for profit, corporate entity make decisions about their health care than their duly elected government; they'd rather a corporate CEO, paid in salary and compensation that would make the average #1 NFL draftpick envious, tell them what to think than have the guy who one the clear majority in the election last year advise their children to stay in school and study hard in a television show during 1st period.

Nope, someone once said that you cannot go broke overestimating the intelligence of the average American and I'm afraid they were right. A lot of these Average Joes are letting Hannity, Limbaugh and, heaven forbid, Glenn Beck do their "thinking" for them, or just reading a one-second blurb in a blog from a rabid right-winger who, once he/she logs off, probably is thinking about the power they feel knowing someone, actually a LOT of someones, read their dribble and really think it's true.

Now, some would read this and say, "Man, that Blue is an elitist!"; maybe I am, because I expect the best of our people, not the worst, but I'm afraid that recent events prove beyond all doubt that we're a county of sheep, following the loudest voices instead of looking around to see that most of them are wolves.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Twenty-Five Years? Only Feels Like Yesterday...

Well, another two or three week gap, but I'm back again. This time I'm waiting around until the monthy office birthday party (with cake, no less, from Costco) so that I can receive my 25-year service pin from the Boss.

I actually hit the 25-year mark last month, but because of my vacation in New England, I wasn't able to be here to take advantage of it. Now there are three others scheduled to get pins who actually have been here longer, if you can believe it, so some of the bloom, as they say, is off the rose.

Still, 25 years is a long time to be working in the same place. Even longer when you've been doing what I do, day in and day out, same old, same old, just about every minute of it. Most folks probably would have slit their wrists by now, left for greener pastures or have been found by the janitorial staff one night stiff with rigor mortis. I still basically enjoy what I do, with some exceptions, but I'm mainly staying because of (a) the paycheck, (b) the health insurance and (c) the retirement package.

Every once in a while you read something in a magazine or a newspaper about someone who swears up and down with a straight face that their work IS their passion and "Going to work just doesn't seem like work" to them. Now, IF I had one of those jolly souls in front of me, I'd probably kick 'em where it hurts, since they've managed to depress a lot of folks who are probably playing the lottery every week just hoping to win big and tell the Big Boss where he can put that low-paying, soul-sucking job. That's the wonder of our American Dream: Yes, you TOO can work at a job you hate while others brag about a job that they just absolutely love to get up in the morning and drive through Rush Hour traffic to get to.

Now my father-in-law has put it all into perspective for me, as he's been telling me the last few years since he's retired that the last few years of MY job will seem like going down a slope on a Teflon-coated pair of skis. Unfortunately, so far it feels more like I've been Super Glued to the floor of Death Valley.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Welcome Back

It never fails that, whenever I've been on vacation and really enjoyed myself, coming back is a colossal pain in the neck (among other body parts).

The piles of work I left on my desk and in various other places around my office were still there, some even a bit larger than when I left. Where, oh where, is the pack of elves or faries or whatnot that are supposed to come around when I'm asleep or away to do the work for me because I'm such a kindly old gentleman?

Then the actual court sessions were long and aggravating, without even the random Tasering to make it bearable. One guy plead "straight up" (i.e., without a recommendation as to possible sentence) because he wanted less time than I was offering. My Judge sentenced the bozo to even less time than his lawyer offered--that really hurt, because the next moron on the bench decided HE could get a better deal too, but we put him off a couple of weeks and I slashed and hacked the previous options up so they won't be there next time. That'll show 'em.

Over the weekend I got two new tires put on my car and the next day the battery died. I spent good money and time putting a new battery in, only to find that the battery terminals are rather corroded and probably need to be replaced. Since old Blue's track record on car repair success hasn't exactly been 100% lately, I'm thinking of taking it in to let someone else do it so I can't screw it up.

Mrs. Blue and yours truly helped Littlest Blue move stuff into her cell...I mean room at her residence hall at the local university, then bought all sorts of food for her to shoehorn into the nooks and crannies. She's still coming down from the European trip--possibly detoxing, since she told us about her just about daily beer drinking ("But it was cheaper than soda!") and her consumption of a hash brownie in Amsterdam (oh, those crazy Dutchmen!). Well, at least she can't have beer for breakfast anymore.

Bigger Blue and I went to see "District 9" over the weekend and really enjoyed it. There's just something about a low-budget film where the director really has to work at it that seems to make them better than the big budget messes that Hollywood likes to throw at us like so much red meat at a pack of howling wolves. On the other hand, I watched an execrable mess from Israel in 1971 on cable on Saturday that was called "Hot Bubblegum"; simply an excuse for the director of that dreck to have young women take off their clothes and for pimply-faced young men to plot how to bed 'em and leave 'em. The so-called "hero" would be pilloried these days for his two-timing, but I guess the director/writer must have seen "Porky's" and left the theatre inspired. Oh, those wacky Israelis!

Anyway, we're dodging tropical depressions and storms again. So much for a "quiet" Hurricane season.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Long, Long, Long Day

Why today seems to be more draggy than yesterday escapes me. I actually had less sleep Monday night because of the trip to pick up Littlest Blue from her Most Excellent Adventure, but I woke up this morning feeling drugged out, but, I swear, I don't touch the stuff.

Maybe it's the weather or the inexorable count of the days, minutes and seconds that go by until I can walk out of here into the misty world of retirement. Beats me and scares me at the same time, since I tend to look at retirement as going over the top of the hill and skidding downhill into oblivion. Who actually does MORE constructive stuff when retired? Maybe folks do--my in-laws certainly keep busy, God bless 'em--I just keep thinking about the various things I've been wanting to do all these years and wondering if retirement is really an off-ramp to them or dropping dead when I get my first pension check in hand?

Yeah, I know, not exactly happy thoughts today, but that's just the way it is sometimes. Heck, I COULD be traipsing around the country, screaming my lungs out at various Democratic Congresspersons at their Town Hall meetings about health care and other stuff during the Summer Break for fun and profit like a lot of the Astro-Turfers are these days, except I happen to agree with the President on the idea of some sort of medical safety net for all those poor devils who don't have any. In fact, I find it incredibly odd that most of these so-called protesters, who don't generally look all that prosperous, are yelling about this at all, since they are the ones who'd probably benefit from most of the proposals, assuming they've bothered to listen at all over the last couple of months.

Nope, most of the yellers and screamers are too busy worrying about the Current Resident stalking their dearly beloved Gramma and Gramps, waiting to inject them with some of Dr. Kevorkian's finest and put them out of our misery and thereby generating all those savings in Medicare that's supposed to help pay for the less-fortunate (and not so old) to get health care.

Oh well, enough happy thoughts for today. Gotta go out and see if the torrent has stopped long enough for me to head out to the grocery store and get something to eat for my family so that we don't have to think about butchering the dog.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back in Siberia

Well, as the drunken ex-fighter pilot said at the end of "Independance Day" as he kamakazied the giant alien ship, "IIII'MMMMM BAAAACCCCCKKKK!".

At work, anyway. I had to drive over to Jacksonville to pick up Littlest Blue yesterday from her European vacation, figuring that we'd be back in the old home town by 8 PM tops, only to find out that her London-Houston connection started out two and a half hours late, making her miss her connection by a couple of minutes and not allowing us home until 1:30 AM, meaning that just about everyone in the Blue household is tired.

But, it was back to the old salt mines today. My staff was glad to see me (well, at least I think so; more so after I shared genuine Vermont honey in tiny little jars and Maine Lottery scratch-off tickets with them) and I've been wading through the morass all day today, further reminding me why I keep a countdown clock until my retirement.

Littlest Blue regaled me all the way back last night with tales of the wild and woolly Old Europe (as Rummy called it in the Prior Occupant's administration), particularly how she HAD to drink beer just about everywhere because it was SO much cheaper than soda or water with ice in it. Not that I'm doubting her, of course, since I've heard that before, but not out of the mouth of my youngest, who cannot drink legally here. She doesn't seem to have destroyed too many of her brain cells in the process, but now she's got to buckle down and go through a couple of weeks of training at her job herding freshman girls at our local university and then ratchet things up for school, which starts all too soon.

Bigger Blue managed an "A" in her one class at the local Community College this semester, of which we are all happy for her. Now if we could only get her to pick up her clothes in the bathroom...

Our cat is getting older and having a difficult time remembering where to take a whiz. Sorta like yours truly, but I'm not nearly as old as she is comparatively, so I really don't have as good as an excuse. She managed to put a big stain in our newly installed wood floor and now is convinced that the same spot is the place to go from now on. She's also remembered to wake me up in the middle of the night for wet food, so I know it isn't the kitty-kat version of Alzheimer's. It'll be a sad day when our cat is gone; she's been a good one, if you don't count the shedding, the countless allergy attacks and the constant screaming for food. That's what make us love them, I suppose.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Did you miss me?

It's been a while, I know, but I've been on vacation for the last couple of weeks.

Mrs. Blue and I went off to the wilds of New England, Vermont, New Hampshire, the greater Boston area and Maine. We really enjoyed ourselves, as one of the nice things about New England is that you can get around most of it without driving for hours and hours, like you do in our home peninsula.

We flew to Burlington, VT for a few days, hitting some places we went to a couple of summers ago and new ones as well. We ate at Bove's Italian Restaurant, where I had their famous lasagna; a couple of days later we ate at the Alchemist Brewpub in Waterbury. We drove our rented Volvo S80 across Lake Champlain at Crown Point and into upper New York to visit Mount Whiteface and take the skylift up to the top, returning to Vermont on the ferry. We drove over the Quechee George in Quechee, VT and had a wonderful lunch at the Simon Pearce store and restaurant in nearby Woodstock.

After Quechee, we drove to Norwich, where we ate lunch and shopped at the King Arthur Flour store, then drove to North Conway, NH to take the Cog Railway up to the summit of Mount Washington. We were mooned by some hikers (apparently a tradition of sorts) and enjoyed the overcast weather at the top. North Conway is a big tourist trap, but at least it's a clean and fairly neat one, with many tourists wandering around.

After North Conway, we drove to Boston, staying for six nights at a Marriott in one of the western suburbs. Unfortunately, the higher-end Marriotts, unlike their cheaper Fairfield cousins, don't offer complementary Wi-Fi, so I was out of touch with things except for a liberal use of my Blackberry. We did manage to navigate the"T" as they call the metro in Boston without any real problems, seeing the Liberty Trail, the U.S.S. Constitution and the North End, among others. While I was in the North End, I got to see a religious street festival that was a slightly-updated version of the one in "Godfather, Part II", complete with ribbons of dollar bills over a statue of a saint. I had dinner at one of the Italian places there and got some canoli to go. Mrs. Blue and I made a point of hitting various museums and taking the Sam Adams Brewery tour, where everyone in our group was awfully friendly by the end of the tasting session.

One day was taken up with a trip to Plymouth to see where one of my ancestors came to these shores, but I was sorely disappointed. There's still a bit of history there, but it is all but drowned out by the shouting of crass commercialism. I half expected to find a "Pilgrim XXX Video Gallery" around every corner. Of course, the fact that the day we went was probably the first dry, sunny Saturday New England had had all summer may have had something to do with the crowds of tourists, some in cars, some on motorcycles, packed like sardines on the street.

Our last few days were in Maine, staying in Portland, but driving around to see things up and down the coast. We had a good time there, enjoying the scenery and the local brewpubs as much as anything. We did discover mustard pickles on this trip (made by a local place south of Rockland) and vowed to order some one day, since no one here in North Florida seems to eat them.

Of course, now it's about time to hit the saltmines again. Mrs. Blue goes back tomorrow, while I have to drive over to one of our bigger airports to pick up Littlest Blue, coming back from her whirlwind European tour. She says she's gained a lot of weight from both the food and the beer, particularly in Berlin. It'll be good to see her in any case.

We went to see "Julie and Julia" today, which will probably make every part-time blogger (like yours truly) start finding something substantial to blog about in order to hit the big time like Julie Powell did. I'm not jealous of her, since my sense is that she started the blog for her own sanity and just got lucky (and fortunately noticed) in the meanwhile. I write this because I just like to write, whether someone reads it or (more likely) not.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Happy 4th of July

It's very, very hot here, typical for our fair city this time of year, just not terribly bearable except for Dr. Gorey's invention of air conditioning back in the early 19th century. It's been a bit of a quiet 4th of July here for us Blues. Mrs. Blue took off for South Georgia to spend time with her middle sister, Bigger Blue met up with folks in a group project at the local public library, while Littlest Blue and I sat around and watched "The Fifth Element". Later, I went shopping a got the fixin's for Pork Carnitas and we enjoyed them greatly.

It is strange to think that, back in the Civil War, Vicksburg fell to the Union forces under Grant and Gettysburg was soon to finish up its three days of hell. Americans in all sorts of places over the centuries have been fighting somewhere, surviving, sometimes maimed, others dying on July 4. It's a hard thing to think about, especially since my family has been luckier than most over the last few generations with no one being killed or wounded in the nation's defense. My grandfather didn't have to serve in WWI, my dad served a rough couple of years in North Africa and Italy as a groundscrewman in a B-24 unit during WWII (and did get shot at a few times, thank you very much), my brother was in the Air Force during Vietnam doing computer work for NORAD and I was too young for Vietnam, too old for everything else since. I still count myself lucky and fortunate to live here, even with all our troubles, since it is still freer than a lot of places and we haven't been in the business of shooting our political opponents, at least lately.

That's why I get so tired of reading blogs and posts by the "super-patriots", who either think that if YOU haven't served in the military, YOU cannot understand freedom OR that their political opinion should somehow count for more than yours. Having quite a few veterans in the family over the years and having studied most of our wars over the years has given me a great deal of respect for the military and for those who've sacrificed for our liberty, but I don't think that necessarily makes them more qualified to speak about political matters than me OR means that they love this country more than me or even more than the latest immigrant off the boat.

Garrison Keillor, host of "A Prarie Home Companion" recently said during a PBS show I saw following him around for a year with his show and daily life in New York City, that he's seen a lot of kindness in America during his travels and that that kindness has done more for us than the angry voices out there. I agree with him; I'm tired of the yelling, the hatred, the not-so-veiled disgust that many seem to have nowadays just about everything. Civility just isn't the accepted norm anymore and, unfortunately, there's too many ways for the venom to get our and about with the Internet and now stuff like Twitter.

I know I'm being a bit naive about this, since our history has been replete with harsh and nasty comments about everything, but some politeness and consideration would be rather nice right about now. The government isn't shooting those who disagree with it and our military isn't inclined to overthrow the legally elected authority, even if they don't agree with them all the time. Thank goodness for small favors.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Whadya Mean I'm Irrelevant?

In reading the excellent Whatever blog of John Scalzi, one of my favorite S/F writers, I find myself on the defensive. He blogged on 6/7/09 about a NY Times article referring to bloggers and the problems they have with quitting when they realize that, well, no one is bothering to read the blogs that they have dutifully put out into the blogosphere 'lo these many years...

Well, me anyway. I haven't quit, but I sure have a lot of the same symptoms the NY Times and Scalzi refer to--long times between posts (guilty) and the nagging "whattsa matter with ME?" attitude when no one bothers to read or at least post replies, good, bad or indifferent (or even insulting!).

Scalzi's right--a blog worth reading IS a lot of work. I certainly haven't bothered to post every day or multiple times a day (Jeez, I DO have a life and career, you know) and haven't gone to the trouble of learning the niceties of web or site design, downloaded pictures or other bright, shiny things from other websites to sweeten the deal for you prospective readers out there. Of course, it would matter if I really gave a hoot one way or the other.

Of COURSE I give a hoot one way or the other! Why the heck would I be posting anyway? I do see this as something of a public version of a diary, but on the other hand, I just saw the trailer for the new movie coming out with Meryl Streep as Julia Child and the young woman who decided to post a blog about cooking every recipe in Child's cookbook over the next 365 days of her life, a blog first published as a book, now turned into a movie. THAT'S what all us frustrated bloggers are hoping for--the publishing rights and the possibility that someone from Hollywood will end up portraying a much prettier or handsomer version of ourselves when the movie comes out.

I think Daniel Craig would be able to crank out my slighly Midwest-tinged Southern accent, don't you?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I've not posted for a while (not that anyone seems to notice), mainly because I've been pretty busy with work and other stuff for a while.

We've completed some more work on our house, which is still a work in progress, inside and out. It's not quite "The Money Pit", but it does seem that way sometimes, especially when we keep looking at other houses.

Just got back from the Memorial Day weekend and the annual Family Reunion of Mrs. Blue's mother's side of the family. It rained pretty much all weekend , off and on, we were in a cabin a ways away from the rest of the bunch because of some issues with the cabin we were going to be in, saw a cute little mouse in the kitchen the first night, had to basically balance myself on the edge of the bed because it was a double and enjoyed ourselves. I finished reading Joe Haldeman's "The Forever War" up there--a great piece of military SF.

We're still awaiting our Governor's action towards a bill that would cut the salary of some State Employees (myself included) by 2%, effective July 1. I'm not holding my breath for a veto, given the current times.

One of my nieces is currently driving out to Truckee, CA to live for at least a few months. I worry about her trip (that's a LONG way to drive!), though not as much as if it were either Bigger Blue or Littlest Blue, since neither one likes driving on Interstates. I know she's wanted to strike out on her own, but the older relatives are hoping nothing bad happens, while I think the younger generation is excited for her. That's the difference, I suppose; us oldies look at all the possible problems, the younger folks look at all the possibilities.

The North Koreans have detonated a Hiroshima-sized nuke underground. Don't quite know what the Current Occupant needs to do this time--at least even their erstwhile allies, and even the IRANIANS, are appalled (at least publically). It'd probably be relatively easy to set up a big airstrike to take out most of their facilities and leadership, but Soeul would proably be a big smoking hole before it was over with.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

ARRRRGH! The President's Plane! The President's Plane!

Apparently some numskull in the FAA decided that it was a good idea to have a massive 747, painted in the colors of Air Force One, fly around lower Manhattan for a photo op, followed by an Air Force F-16, somehow forgetting that Manhattanites are terrified by the sight of ANY airliner flying relatively close to the ground these days, thinking of 9/11. People left their jobs, panicking as they wandered the streets, using their cellphone cameras and videos to get a shot of the next terrorist target being impacted.

The usual recriminations are going on and someone at the FAA will probably lose their head over it. Of course, this whole mess begs more than a few questions, like:

1. Why didn't someone simply make an announcement to the various media in NYC telling them about the photo op well in advance and make it sound like a good time to be had by all instead of saying "Surprise!"? They might as well have painted Osama Bin Laden's picture on the side of the 747 with the words "You're Next!" for all the good it did.

2. I get that New Yorkers are a bit on the sensitive side about the appearance of an airliner flying around their burg seemingly being chased by a fighter but, on the other hand, it WAS Air Force One (well, a look-alike, anyway) after all. You think they'd have looked just a LITTLE closer to figure that one out.

A few years ago one of the Space Shuttles was returning from a landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California on the back of a NASA 747 and arrangements were made for it to use up a bit of avgas by flying over our fair city. I was coming home from work and saw folks pulling over on an Interstate overpass and realized what was coming, so I pulled over and gazed at the massive beast (which does look rather like something prehistoric mating in mid-air) and really wished I'd remembered to bring my camera that day.

It's too bad such a sight has become something so fearful instead of something wonderous.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Not That Anyone Asked Me, But...

1. Since I live in the Republican wet dream of a "low tax" state, one that Sean Hannity has praised as just an absolutely wonderful place to live, I'll try to remember that when our Legislature has gotten done with its Neo-Con cum Libertarian/Grover Norquist-aping stupidity that masquerades as an excuse for law-making which will probably gut our universities and other public schools, when all us sorry-excuses for "public servants" have to PAY the State to work instead of the other way around, make all of us swim in the next good-sized oil spill on our formerly pristine beaches because one of the Big Elephant mucky-mucks slipped in a "Drill, Baby, Drill" proposal to put oil wells three miles off the coast AND when we all start driving on the hundreds of thousands of miles of new toll roads once those morons have decided to privitize EVERYTHING in the name of "no new taxes". Sheesh. When are they going to remember that they work for the PEOPLE, not for their ideology?

2. I was fascinated to read about one of those poor families making OVER $250,000 a year, the parental units of which claimed that they'd be HARD-PRESSED to pay the little bit extra that the Obama Administration will make them pay in income taxes next year. Yup, they might have to forego that couple of weeks a year they spend in the extended family beach condo, cut back on their subscription to The NRA Today, or whatever that rag is called and, heaven forbid, maybe even cut back on their $13,000.00 a year contribution to their church. Wow. The President is SO unfair.

3. Speaking of Sean Hannity, I'd probably pay good money to see him waterboarded. He apparently claimed in some spot last week that he'd volunteer to be waterboarded for charity to show how "harmless" it really was to be strapped to a wooden board, blindfolded, have a wet rag put over your nose and mouth and have water poured over your face to realistically simulate drowning. I'm surprised that all of the interrogators at Guantanamo and the terrorists being questioned weren't just falling all over themselves laughing every session. Keith Olbermann has offered to pay a charity $1,000.00 for every MINUTE Hannity, assuming he ever gets around to putting his smirking face where his mouth offered to put it, lasts under the tortu...wait, FUN of being waterboarded. Another website apparently gives us average folks the opportunity to donate another $1.00 a minute OR, even better, ups the ante by offering to pay only IF Hannity is denied sleep for 48 hours beforehand AND/OR is slapped around AND/OR has to stand in the same position for hours AND/OR is naked when it is administered (well, I might have made up the last one). Yup, I'd be willing to have it televised, maybe even pay-per-view. It would certainly beat any WCW Westlemania event.

Monday, April 20, 2009

On Being An Old Fart

It's official: I'm an Old Fart.

I'm finding myself more and more thinking and talking out loud about "the good old days", the days when "things were done right" and when lamebrains didn't walk the earth in the massive numbers that they seem to presently. I'm probably going to start wearing Burmuda shorts and flip-flops with black socks.

Well, maybe not that far. But I've been doing what I do for nearly twenty-five years now and I'm driven crazy by others who can't be bothered to follow law and procedures that have been in place for many years, by those in authority who use it to feather their own nests instead of the common good and the seeming inability of elected officials on the State level to realize that those of us who work for the People need a proper salary to live on as well instead of being treated like slave labor.

Of course, I realize that every generation, growing long in the tooth, has said exactly the same thing, particularly about the next generation whom they look at as being mouth-breathing morons, unable to maintain the wealth and safety of the nation. Yet, every generation seems to get by and succeed, despite the whining of their elders. It isn't that I don't think that the next generation won't be able to keep things at the high level we've come to expect from Americans--rather, I think that it's MY generation that's doing its dead-level best to screw things up and leave little for our kids to enjoy.

Oh well, maybe the Republicans will put us back in the Fifties when it was safe to be white, privileged and elite, putting all those minorities (racial, sexual and economic) back in their place. Lord knows they're trying hard enough to.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Crackberry Addicts Unite!

Well, we've gone and become part of that great, unwashed horde of humanity that has surrendered to the electronic addiction known as the Blackberry. Who knows where our lives will end up?

It started when Littlest Blue started sniffing around about when our cellphones were eligible for upgrade under our Sprint contract. That puzzled me a bit, since she's always expressed great affection for her cellphone/connection to the world at large. We did go look at one of the kiosks in the local mall to see what was currently in the Sprint line-up, but I was wanting to hold out until their IPhone-killer, the Pre, came out, since there was nothing wrong with our current units. Of course, Littlest Blue's phone started having problems a week or so afterwards (I meant to examine it for signs of tampering and/or dropping repeatedly on dormroom floors), so that forced my hand and we went to the local Sprint shop over the weekend.

I know lots of people don't care for Sprint, given the postings on the Web I've read over the years, but we've really never had a problem with them or their cellphones over the years. The local yokel in the store this time was no exception, probably seeing Papa, Mama and Baby Bear walk in the door together causing him to lick his chops in anticipation of another kill...I mean sale.
Of course, I started looking at the Blackberry phones because of the bigger screen (and my obsessive need to have the newest, shiniest and generally useless technology available to me). We all ended up getting the Blackberry 8330, aka "The Curve". I happen to like the full (well, for a cellphone, anyway) keyboard and the large screen, along with the Internet access. Mrs. Blue opted for it, well, probably as much because there just wasn't a whole lot else out there to choose from, while Littlest Blue just happens to like the bling aspect of it.

Anyway, it's been a few days and I'm still trying to figure everything out about it. Reception isn't quite as good as my old flip phone that could be dropped off a cliff and still work, but the screen is still really nice and there just isn't much substitute for being able to watch an entire episode of "Battlestar Galactica" on Sprint TV while I'm sitting somewhere waiting for something to happen. I don't know if I'll be like the President and cannot live without mine, but it'll do until the next upgrade.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Random Musings

Not a lot on my mind these days, but here's some stuff going on:

1. Littlest Blue has been making plans to go to Europe this summer with a friend (and some of HER friends). As the friend has been there before and others in the group have as well, we are fairly confident that our little one won't find herself in a White Slave market being auctioned off to the highest bidder just after landing in London in mid-July. Of course, some of the prep work for this rather long excursion is falling on yours truly. I'm looking into airline fares, unlocked GSM cellphones and prepaid SIM chips and trying to figure out what she'll use for money over there. Fortunately, she's not the only person who has ever traveled over across the pond, so we do have some resources to fall back upon. She's excited, Momma Blue is worried and I'm envious.

2. Meanwhile, Mrs. Blue and I are contemplating taking Littlest Blue to Miami to see her off and then walking down to another concourse and flying off somewhere for OUR vacation. Bigger Blue is taking classes this summer at the local community college and will dog and cat-sit for us, so we can actually enjoy a vacation on our own (all the while worrying about our two out-of-pocket daughters). Maybe NYC, maybe somewhere else, time and money permitting. It'll be interesting to see how it all works out, as we've been used to having kids in tow all these years--to have our vacation all to ourselves would be, well, strange.

3. I have yet to figure out the Republican strategy so far; apparently they can't either. It sounds like Dr. Doolittle's "Pushme-pullyou" that had heads on both ends of a llama-like creature that didn't know if it was coming or going. They're always whining about the spending of the stimulus packages (yet were willing to spend like drunken sailors the previous eight years), accuse the President and his administration of being socialists (yet helped pass the most egregious parts of the bailout last year, including the AIG bonus package) and can't figure out who's actually leading them (Limbaugh, Steele or the late, lamented Bozo the Clown).

4. Our local politicians here in the Sunshine State have apparently declared war on their own employees. A prominent state senator (scion of a prominent family whose money came out of the citrus industry) talked about cutting state employees' salaries by 5% across the board, saying that "nothing was off the table" at one point, while being part of the cabal that DOESN'T want to address our many and varied tax loopholes that mainly benefit the rich and powerful who either live here or come to play, like skybox purchases, yacht purchases or feed for ostriches (well, maybe NOT the latter). Then they started talking about graduating it so that only the really well-paid lard bricks would get hit with the 5% (guys like me, supposedly). And yet, just a few weeks ago, I heard that paragon of witty political commentary, Hannity, talking on his radio show about what a WONDERFUL tax paradise Florida was, since we had low property taxes and no income tax. Yeah, and we're going to make sure that our kids all grow up ignorant and crime runs rampant in the streets while the rich and powerful can feed their ostriches on their yachts without getting popped with all those unfair taxes the liberals want to impose on them.

5. The Idiot of the Week Award, I suppose (hard to make a decision since there are SO MANY to choose from), goes to the Florida State Senator from the Miami area who, during a committed hearing concerning a law against bestiality (i.e., sex with animals) apparently didn't know what that term meant and, when the term "animal husbandry" came up, further made herself look incredibly stupid when she started babbling about someone marrying a dog or some such. Unfortunately, the good Senator is a Democrat; at least she's from Miami, meaning the infection won't necessarily get here for a few years.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Nomination For Cretin Of The Week

Yes, my first Weekly Cretin Of the Week Award goes to (drumroll)...GLENN BECK!

I've been listening to this guy for a while, both on TV and now on his radio show, at least in the snippets that I can stand without a vein in my brain exploding. His consistantly smarmy, "aren't us neo-cons so much smarter than the rest of you" approach has been bugging me for a while, but a clip from his radio show this last Saturday is what finally put him over the top for the Weekly Cretin Award.

When I tuned in, Beck and some unidentified sidekick were discussing the prospect of dividing the country along ideological lines, with the neo-cons taking 25 and the "liberals" taking the others; Beck's theory, assuming I understood it correctly through his babbling style, was that once all of "his people" moved to the new Neo-Con part of America, they'd beat the economic stuffin's out of the Liberal States because, of course, "Free Americans" can do a lot more than those supposedly hampered by all those nasty rules, regulations and taxes. He made his first cretinous point by saying that the Neo-Cons would even take Yellowstone National Park, you know, that place that all the "tree-huggers" won't allow building and, I suppose, "freedom". Of course, Mr. Beck, who apparently was asleep during that part of High School history class, forgot that it was a REPUBLICAN President, Teddy Roosevelt, who created the National Park system, of which Yellowstone is, fortunately for the rest of us non-freedom loving types, still a part of.

By itself, the Yellowstone reference probably would have gotten him the coveted Cretin of the Week Award, but THEN Beck went a little bit further, babbling some more about how "progressives and liberals" would probably use "force" to bring the Neo-Cons back into the fold and somehow linked the "liberals and progressives" to Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin and, last but not least, Adolf Hitler! How exactly was Hitler a "progressive"? Well, as Beck pointed out, wasn't Hitler's political party called the "National Socialists"? It was at that point that old Blue, seeking to prevent the vein from popping off in his skull like a 4th of July fireworks presentation, switched back over the to Oldies station.

You see, Beck, having apparently not only slept through his history classes but possibly being either (a) drunk or (b) high during them, should go back and read some of 20th Century German history. The so-called "National Socialists" were called that BEFORE Hitler even joined up with them; when he did join up with this bunch of losers, still sore about "losing" WWI supposedly because of being "stabbed in the back" by the folks at home, particularly those of the Jewish persuasion, his speaking skills managed to push him to to forefront, NOT because he was advocating "socialism" in any real manner, shape or form. In fact, a number of Germany's prominent industrialists supported Hitler because of his opposition to the burgeoning Socialist movement during the Weimar Republic AND because of Communist agitators taking some advantage of the power vacuum after the war. There is little or no evidence that Adolf Hitler ever planned on a "European-style" socialism like the Far Right is trumpeting about these days, unless you count the slave labor camps where Jews, gypsies, political opponents and gays were worked to death building V-2s and other secret weapons.

There may be plenty of possible complaints to make about the political direction the Current Resident of the White House may be taking us, but Beck's approach is exactly why the Far Right has essentially lost its collective mind and is simply throwing out mindless attack after mindless attack, preaching only to the already converted instead of attracking new followers. Even worse, the demogaugic dribble coming out of the mouths of Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity and Beck is getting dangerously close to calling for treason (remember the poll on Hannity's website the other week about which form of revolution his fans might prefer?) and may result in some some real whacko-fanatics to start shooting and bombing in this country in a misguided and ill-informed attempt to create the Neo-Con Nirvana of "freedom" that their radio-head leaders supposedly want.

What the "entertainers" of the Right Wing REALLY want is a country where THEY don't have to pay taxes on their swollen earnings, where they can lead their minions without benefit of election to follow their whims and feed their massive egos on a daily basis. "Freedom", as far as I can tell from their rhetoric, is an America that has never really existed; one where government doesn't really do anything, taxes aren't collected for anything and laws, rules and regulations (except for those supporting their so-called "Christian" theology and banning gays, abortions, immigration, etc.) are banned. They've forgotten that taxes are what has made this a civilized society, paying for schools, roads, public safety and education--getting rid of them will put it back into the Third World faster than Limbaugh could find another doctor to fill his pain-killer prescriptions--and the recent peanut-salmonella scare has reminded us again that some of those rules and regulations are there for a very, very good reason. What we need is not to abolish taxes, rules and regulations, but to go through them with a scalpel and get rid of the ones that make no sense, that do not serve the public good or that are there simply to pad someone's wallet in a special interest.

But, I digress from my initial purpose to recognize Mr. Beck as the Cretin of the Week, for he richly deserves it. I suspect it won't be the last time he gets it, but he's got a LOT of competition.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Just Doin' My Part To Stimulate The Economy

It's funny how times change so quickly. Not all that long ago, we, Americans in general, were being excoriated by financial commentators because we weren't saving anything; now, we're being excoriated for saving TOO much. Apparently the President wants us to whip out our wallets, checkbooks and piggy banks to help everyone stay in business by spending here, there and everywhere.

Well, I'm here to tell you that the Blue family has been doing more than its part over the last few months to put a little "oommmph" back into the national economy. First, we had our kitchen cabinets, countertops and three of our four major kitchen appliances replaced; then we had the Christmas of the juice-sucking 52" Sony LCD and stylish lowboy media center; next, our floors were replaced and finally (though not by a long shot) we bought odds and ends of furniture at a local Scandinavian furniture store that's going out of business. Of course, now that we've modernized and polished up a good chunk of the Blue house, we've GOT to do the rest of the place, at least according to the plans I hear Mrs. Blue muttering about in her sleep and because of how things look in comparison between the new and shiny and old and decrepit. Paint, backsplashes and other necessary renovations are in our future (and out of our savings).

The way things are going, however, I may have to put in for our part of the Stimulus Package ourselves. Now, how exactly do I go about becoming an earmark?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Things To Be Thankful For

In this age of Doom and Gloom (not helped any at all by the constant flow of bad news from every pore of the media on a hourly basis), there are a few things to be, if not happy about, then at least somewhat encouraged by here in the Blue Household:

1. I've still got a job, as does Mrs. Blue and as does Littlest Blue. Yes, we grouch and complain about the lack of raises, working conditions or individuals we're forced to deal with on a daily basis, but having a job sure beats NOT having one by a mile.

2. We're healthy. Sure, there's high blood pressure, creaky bones, sore muscles and incipient baldness (me) but nothing major that cannot be medicated or dealt with fairly easily. There's all sorts of people getting hammered with major stuff that we've been fortunate to avoid for now.

3. Everyone is pretty mellow, no mental disorders, chemical addictions or abusive personalities to speak of. We do occasionally get into arguments about minor things or fuss about household chores, but the Blues are a fairly laid-back bunch, all in all.

4. We're pretty solvent; no gigantic adjustable-rate mortgage to worry about, just a few things we've bought that get paid off pretty quickly. We did have some investments in the stock market, but we've been hammered like everyone else, so now everything pretty much goes into cash under the mattress.

Yup, things could be a lot worse. Of course, I always think that things COULD be better, but I'll take what I can get nowadays.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Last Night on TV

I actually watched a Presidential speech all the way through--about the first time that's happened in, oh, about eight years or so. Our last President's speeches made my spleen hurt after the first five or six minutes. Even the neo-con scree-merchants (Limbaugh, Hannity and their ilk) admit that President Obama can give a good speech, better than just about anyone in recent memory, even if they don't like his ideas too much.

Of course, there were those moments--like when the President said that Americans "invented" the automobile, something which gave all the scree-merchants something to cackle about, that the "Anointed One" made a mistake. Sure, Americans didn't invent the automobile, but we sure made it practical and developed the system of mass-production that made them affordable, so he wasn't too far off. I could have done without all of the jumping up and down of the Speaker of the House like a jack-in-the-box every few seconds.

Over the whole, however, the President did a good job pushing his policies and explaining the need for the Stimulus package. It didn't help that the President said that the spending would be "transparent" and that there would be no "earmarks" and that today it was pointed out that there were, in fact, lots 'o earmarks, probably in the eight billion dollar range, a small percentage of the total bill, of course, but enough to give the scree-merchants something to talk about today.

Then there was the Big Elephant "response", such as it was, by their new up-and-coming "star", Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. Why is Jindal the up-and-commer? Because most everyone else has flamed out. The Governor of Alaska has retreated to her wintry home to lick her wounds, pay a $7,000.00 settlement of an ethics complaint regarding her kids traveling on the public's tax dollar (how mavericky of her!) and make a "documentary" about how she's really not nearly as stupid as the "mainstream media" supposedly portrayed her during the campaign and, had McCain's people not "muzzled" her, things really would have been different. Rev. Huckabee's got his own talk show now and McCain is back being the grouchy old guy he always wanted to be. Nope, the Big Elephants are trying really hard to be relevant and with it, I mean, hip, I mean...well, I don't have any idea what I mean and neither do they. Their new black head of the RNC, Steele, talked the other day about the Big Elephants getting into the "hip-hop" market somehow--I doubt he's ever used the phrase before, since it was quite obvious that the hip-hop community was probably laughing its collective derriere off when they heard it.

Nope, Jindal is the Next Reagan, to hear Hannity and Limbaugh drooling over him during their radio shows today, notwithstanding the almost universal panning of Jindal's speech, even by those who like the guy. He obviously thought the President was going to do a "malaise" speech, as he alluded to such, but Obama blindsided him with a FDR-style Fireside chat in front of the Joint Session. Jindal really hit a low point when whining about how effective "Government" is by talking about Louisiana's experience with Katrina. Rachel Maddow on MSNBC literally was struck dumb by it, since he was as much admitting that his own former President and his policies were absolutely incompetent. Yup, no one knows incompetence like a Republican, especially when he's looking at his own party.

Of course, the scree-merchants all complained about how their new favorite was being mistreated by the media and how he really did a great job get the picture. Look, I realize they hate the President, especially now that they and the Big Elephants are essentially irrelevant, but the amount of fertilizer they're shoveling to make Gov. Jindal look good is absolutely incredible. Get used to it, it'll be going on for the next four years.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tonight on TV

It's the President's big address on national TV tonight and, quite frankly, I wouldn't blame him if he looked straight into the eyes of the joint session of Congress and told them where they could put all their whiny complaints and petty bickering. Then he'd turn around and belt Pelosi, kick Reid where it hurts and then go out into the aisles, find Boehner and do the airplane spin with him, throwing him into the Republican side of the room.

Really, he's been on the job for about a month and he's gotten little cooperation from the Right, but not a whole lot more from his supposed allies on the Left, since they've seen fit to load up the Stimulus Package with fodder for Limbaugh and Hannity. Of course, those two bozos, with the rest of the lunatic fringe on the Right, would have been whining even if the President had cut back every single entitlement program to nothing, cut taxes on the rich so that only the lower and middle classes ever paid anything and dropped nukes on both Tehran and Pyongyang.

It's hard to tell if anything is going to go right for us as a country anytime soon, but give the guy a chance, will ya? Lefties are saying the President isn't spending enough, Righties are complaining that he's spending too much and the folks in the Middle are simply trying to keep everyone happy long enough to let the ink dry.

Oh well; I've got to go get some groceries for the Blue clan. They'll probably include some snacks to munch on for the fun part of the evening; channel surfing MSNBC and Fox for the post-game commentary. MSNBC will probably take the Prez's side and Fox will show more clips from Gov. Jindal's response than they do of Obama since, according to one commenator, this is Jindal's "coming out party"--though wouldn't it be funny if he really did "come out"? If Jindal did that as a joke, half of the GOP would probably drop dead of apoplexy.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Random Thoughts on Oscar

I'm sitting here watching the Oscars, giving rise to some random thoughts:

1. Americans are getting their butts kicked by them dadgum Furriners in a lot of categories; why, even the host, Hugh Jackman, is an Aussie! Actually, this is probably a good thing, since most of our native stuff seems to be ripoffs of old movies and TV shows, while our foreign friends seem to be thinking broadly and creatively.

2. When these folks get up on the stage or during their interviews on the Red Carpet, they all seem to be rather normal, except for all the legions of screaming fans, the borrowed jewelry and clothing and, of course, the free swag they get that amounts to the annual GDP of some Third World countries.

3. So many movies are dependant on makeup, set design or special effects instead of good writing and acting.

4. I'm not all that keen on the SemiCircle of Five method of giving acting awards. It's rather pretentious and sounds like something from a rather pitiful Sci-Fi Channel made for TV movie about a little kid getting an award from a circle of alien elders.

5. I did like Ben Stiller doing his Joaquin Phoenix impression.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What Is It With Cats, Anyway?

Someone once described Man's relationship with dogs as a friendship, as we needed dogs as hunting partners (and the occasional shish-ke-bab) and they needed us as protectors; our relationship with cats, however, was a bit more one sided, like the cats deigned to be associated with us on a day-to-day basis.

Each cat seems to interpret their contract with humans differently. I had a big orange Persian growing up that just walked in the back door of my home when my father was coming in from bowling one night and just decided to stay. Tiger, as my mother called him (I preferred Fritz, after the X-rated cartoon cat) liked to sit in a dining room chair under cover and whip out a razor-packed paw on the unsuspecting bypassing pedestrian. He'd jump up into my bed at night to sleep with me--this in an un-air conditioned house in Sarasota, FL during the summer. It was rather like having a furry heating pad with me during the 90+ degree, 100% humidity nights. Persians, of course, shed their weight fur just about every day--did I mention that I'm allergic to cat dander?--making everything in the house both furry and sneeze-inducing. If I rubbed my eyes after petting Tiger/Fritz, I'd swell up like a prize-fighter after going the distance with Ali.
I even accidentally ran the poor cat over one day when I was going to my job at a movie theatre; Tiger/Fritz had gotten in the bad habit of sleeping under the back tire of our Pontiac and I backed over the poor thing one night when I didnt' see him. He survived, fortunately, though he always seemed to hold it against me after that.

Cats seem to also realize who doesn't like them and immediately make a beeline to torture them. My grandmother hated cats. She was with us one Thanksgiving and, in a livingroom full of cat lovers, Tiger/Fritz made a beeline for her on the couch and started rubbing up against her leg. She looked down at him with a look of pure disgust, but since Tiger/Fritz was about half her size, what was she going to do?

We were "given" a cat about fifteen years ago. Kitty, who also goes by the name of Stinker, was in a box on our porch one morning when I went out to get the newspaper. There was a note attached indicating that some poor family just couldn't afford to raise her and that they'd been "watching" us for a while and had concluded that we were "kind people" who would give her a good home. Now, being stalked by someone as the subject of an involuntary cat adoption isn't high on my list of life goals, but we couldn't just toss her into the then-empty back lot for her to become a feral kitty, so we kept the poor waif.

Now, Kitty had managed to make it appear that she's finally accepted us under certain conditions: we have to make sure that there is always plenty of "wet" food whenever she wants it, the kitty litter cannot be allowed to get too nasty and there'd better be a lap available when she wants it. Of course, your petting cannot be too affectionate, as Kitty tends to decide on a whim to take a bite and a swipe out of you without any warning, stalking off with an angry look in her eyes. She's never really forgiven us for bringing our border collie mix, Emily, home one day from a rescue society sale; she took one sniff and did her best "Bride of Frankenstein" hiss and stalked off.

At least we seem to have it better than my wife's youngest sister's family. They've got a huge black cat that's a pint-sized panther. I've only seen Midnight in passing (and I do mean passing--he runs off whenever anyone not in the family comes into a room), but my wife tells me that he likes to come into my sister-in-law's bedroom, hop up into the bed and walk around making trilling noises, but that if they are very, very quiet, he'll leave them in peace.

Kitty, on the other hand, has abandoned the idea of sleeping with us (probably because Emily sleeps in our room and likes to exercise her herding instinct), but will sit outside our door at 4 or 5 in the morning, either yowling for food or, even worse, scratching lightly on the door to tell me that it's her feeding time. Of course, my wife never hears any of this, which I suppose is her revenge for breast-feeding our two girls all those years ago.

Anyway, cats have made it pretty evident that they want us to need them but that they don't want to seem to needy--except, of course, when a lap is empty.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Will The Last One To Leave Please Turn Off The Lights?

Watching the news, right, left or middle of the road, is getting downright depressing these days. Nothing, but nothing seems to be going right for the home team anymore. Iraq is just a powderkeg with a very long fuse, timed to go off right after we take the last train out; Afghanistan is a powderkeg with a much shorter fuse; Pakistan is just about the same, but with nukes; the economy has already gone down the toilet and is headed for the sewage treatment plant and a new season of NY Housewives started up on Bravo.

I'm still trying to figure out how it all went so wrong, so fast. There's plenty of blame to go around to all the parties, but just like Pogo, we have met the enemy and he is us. At some point, I suppose, it'll turn around, but just when and how many people will be hurt is still to be determined. It's bad when GM wants a pile of money from the taxpayers AND is still going to fire a bunch of workers, which seems to be rather contradictory. Beats me what the answer is.

Now, don't get me wrong; I'm in pretty good shape, at least for now. Old Blue is 2.7 years away from technical retirement, 7.7 away from real retirement (assuming, of course, that the State's Pension fund wasn't all invested in Bernie Madoff and this Stanford guy out of Texas). I worry more about my daughters and their futures, but there isn't much I can do about that except to teach them about good money management (excuse me for a minute---I had to pick myself off the floor after laughing for a while) and maybe get them both AK-47s for personal protection like the NRA keeps telling us we need.

Somethin's gotta change.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Global Threat of DIY

Yes, there's yet another danger out there, one that threatens everyone of us, particularly married men. I speak, of course, of the sirens' lure of DIY, otherwise known as "Do It Yourself".

DIY sounds so seductive; save money, show the little woman in your life how much of a man you are by DOING IT YOURSELF! No plumbers with sagging jeans showing you parts of their rearward anatomy that you could easily have done without and will now never forget; no "handymen" promising to do the job for something only slightly less than the GDP of some small 3rd-world country. You yourself can do it, says the sultry voice sotto voce, and afterwards you will bask in the glow of the admiration of your spouse, your children, your extended family and those neighbors who called in some lamebrain to complete a project that you could easily handle if you weren't busy saving the world (or working at your day job).

Well, I'm here to tell you that, unless you are that rare being who actually CAN do it yourself, save yourself time, money, sore muscles and the scorn of all who know you by letting someone who knows what they are doing, who do it for a living, do what you foolishly thought you could do on your own. You'll keep your sanity and possibly your health--though your wallet will suffer somewhat.

I know of what I speak. A couple of years ago I managed to fall off a ladder in my backyard doing something to my roof and managed to bruise both my body and my pschye, barely setting foot on a ladder since. When we had some cherry trees taken out a while back, I asked the tree service to cut the trunks into "manageable" sections for me to split and saw for firewood later; they are still sitting in my back yard, mocking me even as we speak.

This weekend I spent trying to put together a media cart for my daughter. It looked reasonable enough and I fell prey to the sirens' voice again; Sure, you can save yourself the $50.00 it would cost to have someone else put it together, but YOU ARE A MAN! YOU have been given hands and have bought TOOLS over the years! Put them to good use!

Oh yes, I have finally prevailed, but at what cost? I've got a headache, my back hurts and I hope I haven't put something together that'll fall apart at the first bit of stress put upon it (like a DVD in a DVD player, for example). I thought I had learned my lesson from this last couple of weeks where we paid out good money to have professionals install our flooring and new toilets and marveled at the good job they did and how we didn't have to spend weeks or possibly months trying to duplicate what they did in less than a fortnight. But NOOOOOO, I had to save a little money, so I also now have a bookcase to put together (which I lead Mrs. Blue to think would be done by the time she got back tonight from an out of town funeral, but it ain't happening), which will have to be done over the next week or so.

Learn, oh foolish ones, from my example.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Loggerheads Over Lincoln

It's the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln, one of the greatest, if not the greatest President in American history. He is as much myth as man any more because of all that he accomplished and, I suppose fortunately for his posterity, his death before the problems of the post-Civil War period could become manifest.

There are times I wonder what old Abe would think if he could come back for a day in the present and look around at all he managed to save; would he recognize any of it or think that his personal sacrifices had been worth it? Would he look at the descendants of his Party, the Big Elephants, and wonder what in the world happened, how his ideals became the narrow-minded meanness of the present, the hateful biting of the hand of the Current Resident who has reached out to them.

Don't get me wrong; I know enough about history to know that Abe wasn't a saint. He famously suspended the right of Habeas Corpus during the Civil War, supressed dissent and used force to enforce the draft. His racial views would not be politically correct now, though they did apparently change and evolve as the war progressed. Still, few Presidents in our history have managed to inspire us as Lincoln did in his short time as the national leader. I'm hopeful that our current President can manage to inspire us in these tough times. He's not a saint, but then neither was Ronald Reagan, the current Republican saint, and Obama is going to be dealing with a lot more trouble than Reagan ever did, so his inspiring oratory will be needed more than ever.

I just wish the Big Elephants and their mouthpieces in the right-wing media would back off a bit and remember that they are NOT the only patriots, NOT the only Americans. They lost an election but NOT their responsibility to make this country work the way the Framers of the Constitution intended. Will the bigger minds, the better angels of their nature, elevate the debate from the Right? I doubt it, but maybe they'll surprise us all when the shit begins to hit the fan.

Dead Party Walking

While driving home to have some lunch, I tuned into our local conservative talk radio station (which would be a good substitute for a pair of paddles hooked up to a car battery in case my heart ever stopped) and listened for a couple of minutes to Glenn Beck, lately of CNN, now of Fox and his own radio show every day.

Now Beck seems to be a fairly nice guy, though the former DJ/drug abuser and/or alcoholic/Mormon convert's politics and logic escape me. He was going on and on about how the Big Elephants are going to "stay the course" against the Democratic masses over the next 12-24 months and then have to "clean up their own act and throw out the bums" from the party who apparently caused their recent troubles (I guess he's talking about the big spenders and "moderates" who snuggled up to the Dems too closely over the years, though he COULD have been talking about the crooks, the corrupt ones or the out-and-out racists who seem to still populate their ranks here and there). Then he had to go and start ranting about how if only the Republican party would get "back" to it's "conservative principles" and elect ONLY those to office who will stick with that version of their ideological purity, that they'll finally convince the vast majority of Americans to vote their way next time and bring about a new version of the old America, originally envisioned by those God-fearing Framers of the Constitution.

Which, of course, is a bunch of hogwash. The Framers could barely stand each other as it was, but at least they knew how to compromise and make deals, which is what got us the Constitution that we have, which was their real genius, NOT the made up, so-called "Christian" America that Beck, Hannity, Coulter, Limbaugh and the other neo-con radio show jocks seem to think they created. It's strange to me that the Big Elephants keep thinking that if they'll only purge their ranks of the less-than-pure ideologically, they'll win all the elections; it's rather like the old Communist version of the New Man. Once all the old capitalistic urges were purged out, the New Man would be a Communist like Karl Marx envisioned--pure of heart, willing to share his all with his comrades on the commune, not having any impure motives or thoughts.

But human nature, being what it is, keeps getting in the way. Being responsible, self-reliant and paying your own way would be nice, but it isn't the way things have ever worked in this country. We'll always have those who cannot do for themselves, many times through no fault of their own, and we'll always have the venal and cruel, who are out only for themselves, who need to have someone riding heard on them to keep them bottled up so they won't hurt the society as a whole. Beck and the neo-con's faulty logic is that they can create the New Conservative Man and take over everything, when their own lives and greed show clearly that they'll never do it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Where's a Techie When You Need One?

It's gotta be something related to age.

I've found that, the older I get, the less inclined I am to remember how to plug in the wires and fiddle with the do-dads that make the bright and shiny things in my house whirr and buzz and show the pretty pictures. After getting our flooring redone last week, I had to put back together stuff like my bright-and-shiny new Sony 52" juice-sucking behemoth (not hard, since I made NOTES about where all the plugs for the Blu-Ray and Home Theatre went) and my Dell desktop (which I did NOT make notes about or, as I should've done, taken a digital picture of the backside--the CPU, not mine--for a visual representation), so now my Dell's sound is inexplicably out, leaving Bigger Blue to complain to me nightly about it, since she cannot listen to Rhapsody while reading fan fiction for hours on end instead of working a part-time job or, heaven forbid, study, study, study for college. I tried again at lunch today to figure the sucker out and still can't come up with a solution, which means NOW I have to actually find the original instructions (buried somewhere in the Goodwill-dropoff-style-piles we have scattered in and about here and there) and READ them, then get on my back under the makeshift computer table we have, down amongst the tumbleweeds of dog hair, kitty fur and dust that's been making me sneeze a lot lately.

I used to really enjoy technology. It is still fun to LOOK at the bright and shiny buttons and lights, but trying to figure out how to set them all up is a royal pain. I had to have the Sony installed by the Geek Squad guys because the very thought of trying to put wires here and there started giving me the vapors, as they used to say many years ago.

Too many options, too many labels and too many doohickeys to keep up with. Pretty soon, I'll be back to wanting to write everything on paper and use snail mail to keep up with the increasingly small circle of folks I keep up with (sorta-kinda). It'll just be too much trouble to keep up with the pressing of buttons. Think I'll order myself a Jitterbug cellphone and curl up in my Snuglie on the couch.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


According to the latest news hot off the Internet, the President's stimulus package bill was passed by the Senate with a better-than-60-vote majority, meaning the Big Elephants can't do anything about it.

Of course, now all the NCYMs (Neo-Con Yahoo Mouthpieces) like Hannity and Limbaugh will probably start complaining about nothing is working the day after tomorrow and how their beloved tax-cuts woulda, shoulda and coulda been much, much better. Given that the Big Elephants had their chances since the Reagan days to make that work AND they blew a balanced budget AND a budget surplus after the Clinton days, I don't think they've got much traction anymore.

It sure won't stop 'em from whining about it, however.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Bailout Fatigue

One good thing about having been off for a week and a half getting my flooring redone is that I'm without a TV at the office and unable to watch the news shows (there being a dearth of anything else worth watching during the daytime) and having to listen to talking heads go on and on about the Economic Stimulus Package (the ESP, for short). It's getting uglier by the minute, at least according to the talking heads on all the various channels.

I'm just a poorly paid prosecutor, so I really don't understand all this mess other than it seems the Dems want to spend lots of money we don't really have and the Big Elephants would rather see rioting in the streets and the collapse of our economy rather than see Obama "win" one. It's gotten so bad that Andy Card, W's former Chief of Staff, was whining on Fox News about how shameful it is that Obama (gasp!) ISN'T WEARING A JACKET IN THE OVAL OFFICE! A sure sign of the decline of our society; terrorists and Vlad Putin saw that and, I'm sure, have been emboldened to test our young President even further.

While I don't necessarily like ALL the pork that the House Dems put into the ESP, I think Obama was right the other day to rather laughingly say, "You know, it IS a stimulus package; you HAVE to spend money to have a stimulus, don't you?". Lord knows we've got enough crappy roads and bridges, enough lousy schools and other programs that have been laid waste these last eight years, to warrant the spending on them to help things out a bit. The Big Elephant answer is, of course, to cut taxes, cut taxes and, yes, cut taxes. That'll get things moving...oh, wait...that's what they've been doing over the last few years which didn't exactly help our infrastructure much, isn't it?

I think any tax cuts or rebates will simply be put into savings and not spent on fripperies like new kitchens and flooring (as I've been doing lately) to help the economy. The high end of the tax base needs another tax cut like I need another chin and the middle to lower end of the base need something more than a cut--they need jobs and cannot wait for the Big Elephant dream of everything trickling down to help them.

Me? I've done my part to stimulate the economy; I'm waiting for everyone else to get off their butts.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


Well, we've just spent the last week and a half getting new floors installed in the abode of the Blues. I've lost count of how many times I moved various piles from one room to another, from one side of a room to another and from the house to the storage shed. Everything in the house has been covered at one time or another with a fine white (and probably carcinogenic) powder from the guys making wavy things flatter and solid things not so solid so that wood and ceramic products could fit under them. So, now the floors look absolutely wonderful; it's the rest of the place that now looks like a drop-off for Goodwill.

We are trying to sort through all the stuff we've accumulated over the last twenty-five years of happy married life. It really is amazing to pick up the odd magazine, clipping, Christmas card or warranty for a long-gone piece of electronics and say to yourself, "Just why the hell am I keeping this? What ever possessed me to put this on a pile of similar crap and never look at any of it again until today?". So, we are trying to donate what can be donated, recycle what can be recycled and shit-can the shit-cannable as fast as possible. It'll still be a month before the place is worth inviting the relatives over to see.

Meanwhile, I'm at work, trying to keep my job until the Day--retirement, that is (as Foghorn Leghorn would put it). With about 700,000 of my fellow Americans out of work, I'd like to keep me from becoming one of their number anytime soon, particularly since it'll take until my retirement possibly to save up what I've had to take out of saving to pay for all the recent renovations. Being off for a week and a half, however, has given me the time to catch up on the various episodes of a show on HGTV about bathroom renovations, none of which, as I can tell, cost less than $19,000.00 and most in the $25,000.00 range; given that we've renovated our kitchen, all of our flooring and got a couple of new toilets (guaranteed to flush a "pail of golfballs") in the bargain for less than it took those poor saps on TV to renovate ONE bathroom (at least they can probably use their new toilets to entertain and amuse their guests by flushing a pail of golfballs), I'm pretty satisfied, all in all.

It's back to work in a couple of days, however, so it's a dull Saturday night for ole Blue. Wish me luck.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Good Times

Well, it's REALLY been a long time since I last posted. Since then we've had the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression (and might end up surpassing it) and elected a new President (I don't care WHAT Rush Limbaugh says--ANYONE would have been better than W, possibly even the reincarnation of Millard Fillmore). Lots of other stuff has happened in our lives here in the Center of the Known Universe, most of which would pass as significant events in the lives of mere mortals but are actually rather mundane in ours.

Let's see--we vacationed on the West Coast this past summer, flying out of Atlanta to Seattle, where we stayed a week in the Pacific Northwest's glorious greyness (ONE clear day out of a week, don'tcha know) with a side trip to Vancouver, BC. We then drove down to see Mount St. Helens (well, at least the clouds covering Mount St. Helens), drove down the Pacific Highway through Oregon and Northern California to San Francisco, where we collectively improved our cardiovascular systems by walking up and down the hills of that fair city. Lots 'o fun was had by all.

I had all sorts of excitement watching my savings and investments drop like the proverbial lead ballon over the last year or so because of the absolute greed of a few folks who really didn't need the extra money. Looks like Big Blue will be having to work all the way through to his 30 years for his pension (assuming the State didn't invest it all in the derivatives market) and then five more years to earn a bit more in the "get of of Dodge" retirement plan our fair State offers its massively underpaid employees. There's been a big hue and cry here about those folks who have "double-dipped" (that is, they've technically retired under our "get out of Dodge" system, waited a month, went back to their old job at probably their old pay, but with a huge lump sum deposited to their retirement account AND getting monthly retirement benefits given them). All the outraged citizenry complained to the local newspaper, but it took a fairly Republican-leaning local columnist to remind them that (a) the Legislature set this program up and (b) the so-called "double-dippers" (including a number of folks I work with) are getting paid to do the job the same as anyone else, just getting the money that they are legally entitled to. Oh well, it's probably screwed it up for the rest of us in the future, so I wasn't exactly planning to do it myself anyway.

Besides, the longer I'm at my job, the more likely it is that I don't want to stay any longer than the 7.7 years I have left to get my full benefits. I've brought in a LOT of money to my home state doing what I do, but not exactly getting rewarded in kind (and probably couldn't be anyway) and the stress level is getting a lot higher because of certain decisions being made that I don't have any control over. Gonna be LOTS of fun over the next few years and I'll be happy to be gone, I suspect.

We got our kitchen redone (refaced cabinets, new countertops) and this week we're getting the floors redone throughout the entire house, tile and wood. It's gonna be hell moving everything around, but hopefully it'll be worth it. It had to be done, I keep telling myself, it had to be done. The trouble is, there's all sorts of OTHER things that need to be done too, but we'll probably have to put those off in these tough economic times. At least we've gotten a couple of new toilets in the deal, both of which promise that we'll be able to flush "a bucket of golf balls", NOT that I'm planning on putting my gastrointestinal system through something like that anytime soon, but it's good to know that, should I so chose, our toilet will be able to handle the load.

Littlest Blue is still riding herd on the inhabitants of her "residence hall" at the local University as an RA, getting paid for the experience. She told us about the suicide of a student at a neighboring residence hall (they really don't like the term "dorm" anymore, though I certainly don't understand why) last week. It sounded like he was having problems when he transferred here recently and being away from friends and family here in our fair burg probably didn't help.

Bigger Blue is still at the local community college. She did well last semester, which is always helpful. She spends way too much time reading "fan fiction" on the computer, but as long as she's doing better in her grades, I can't complain too much.

Mrs. Blue is still in her job, still as beautiful as ever and worrying about me and my occasional stress-induced ranting. Can't say as I blame her.

Since my last posts I've discovered a couple of good sci-fi authors, Jack Campbell (a nom-de-plume) and his Black Jack Geary series and John Scalzi (Old Man's War series, Agent to the Stars, his Whatever blog, etc.). I read Scalzi's blog as much to enjoy the occasional troll (a dimwit who likes to just irritate everyone for no readily ascertainable reason other than that they are a dimwit) who comments to Scalzi's positions on things. Someone today decided to get mad simply because Scalzi asked her a couple of times to put her website URL in the proper place in the comment section and she refused, essentially because she wanted to advertise her blog.

Now, I would like someone to read this mess of a blog I publish and today's blog was inspired by my going to the site and noticing that someone actually read my last entry (way back when) and wanted to know why I wasn't updating more). You cannot imagine how that gladdened the cockles of my heart (whatever the HELL those are!). I write, of course, more for myself than anyone else, so folks NOT reading doesn't necessarily bother me, but folks who DO read it are my heros, even if you think I'm a loon.

I'll try to post more often, at least when I have something to say and can remember my Blogspot login name and password. Any comments are appreciated (well, maybe those from trolls not so much...).