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.