Post holiday blog

Posted in Michael's thoughts, The Family on December 27th, 2008 by Michael

Okay, an old friend recently commented to me that I was a bit cynical. With no offense, that is like saying that Obama’s actual plan for America is a little sketchy. To quote John McLaughlin “metaphysical certitude!” Okay, maybe that is cynical too. (note: doesn’t make it any less accurate).

That all said, I have decided that I am done with Christmas in its current incarnation. It is gotten too big, too crazy, too hurried, too busy, too consuming, too expensive, too expected and just freaking too stressful. It went from a winter wonderland to a Wal-Mart warzone.

It doesn’t help that I have been working on this insanely planned migration from the last two months and we are down to the wire but I suspect the rest of my comments still are valid. Mr. Easy going (J) has turned into the Grinch. So, bah hum bug all over the place.

Next year, there will be 10 gifts. They can start making their list now. They are going to pose for pictures without my begging, bribery and berating or there shall be less presents. Free enterprise at work. I will forgive their utter greed and lack of appreciation for what they have and have received since they, like we all were before them, kids. However, the buck will stop there. And, at some point during the holiday, I will get to relax and do nothing but enjoy myself.  That is the plan.  Time to crack down.

In all honestly, it was not a complete bah humbug experience.  The kids enjoyed the event.  There were thoughtful gifts (which, of course, got passed over for things like the sacrosanct “baby doll with bottle” combo set). There were educational and fun gifts, including the fabulous Mickey Airplane that all three have taken too. And of course, there were the activity-based gifts that required my – you would think flabby and hence cushy – ass sitting on the concrete floor in the garage assembling. The jury is still out on some of those but as the POTW indicates, Meghan does enjoy jumping up a storm and some say it is the holiday for Children… (alas, there use to be religious undertones to it.)

Anyway, Mackenzie is still a little bike adverse since it requires some sort of rules (e.g. you can not press backwards on the pedals or it will stop!). I personally have been keen on Maxwell’s basketball hoop – and he seems to enjoy watching me chase the orange ball around after those rare misses. There were also the practical gifts that were relegated to the adult section of the event. Of course, those are just slightly different than the normal theme of acquisition and then announcement of “you bought me this for Christmas” ala the infrared turkey fryer and the biscuit joiner. And yes, there were the “that kind of sucked” gifts but we gave most of those this year, so I’m not going to dwell on it.

Anyway, that is all behind us now… and as Max assists with cleaning up the commercial carnage, and we have to look towards the future. I’m going to spend the next week working nonstop to get this project done while hopefully carving out some time to finally update the man room (It is functionally done but not storage friendly – IKEA to the rescue) as well as update the various computer systems I have. Sure, it is not as exciting as planning for world domination and non-stop media adulation, but a guy has to do what he has to do. So far, I have salvaged one HD into a new external enclosure (how green am I!), am in the process of reformatting and starting over on my Macintosh (after utter failure with the Apple store’s Genius Bar), and have a new HD coming in to expand the available storage on my main PC (since video eats kilobytes like Barack consumes campaign contributions). Of course, there is the annual book to do…. All good things to do but all time consuming and requiring a kid free environment. Neither of which are highly available.

So happy New Year to those that care. May it bring you what you want, regardless of what the very fine Rolling Stones theme song may try and convince us.

So it goes…

Posted in Michael's thoughts, The Family on December 24th, 2008 by Michael

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
All creatures are stirring, overseen by the spouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
Putting this bike together is too much for this man with gray hair;
The children were laughing loudly in their beds,
Could I get away with dosing them with sleeping pills without someone calling the Feds?
And us in our shorts and our neighbors in turbans,
Had just settled down thinking , what a great time for bourbon;
Out in the garage, I make noises and clatter,
Kids are locked behind a safety gate so no matter;
Away to the instruction manual, I flew like a flash,
Tore into the toolbox knowing Toy-R Us would have done this for $20 cash;
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But my wife with a new twelve pack of beer;
Renewed with my power drill, so lively and quick,
I knew in that moment that I am THE St. Mick;
With final curse words exclaimed, and beginning of dawn’s light,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

It was a political week – don’t read if it offends

Posted in Political Opinions on December 21st, 2008 by Michael

It has been a while since I blogged and it is not a simple thing to do cramped as I am in 32D on this flight back from Chicago to Dallas. Yes, there are 32 rows on a plane… I’m sitting just outside the bathroom on a S80 which means I get that pleasure along with the constant whirling of the engines. Thankfully only two hours.

As you can imagine, it was an interesting political day here (I’m in Chicago) with the Gov Blagojevich
being arrested. Shockingly not that many locals were surprised. I do find it interesting that with this announcement of the latest corrupt official, that most are resigned to just accept that the politics are now, and have always been basically, operating from the dark side. So, today’s thoughts are all political. Turn away now.

This brings me to Barack but more specially to the press. I am STILL amazed over the cover her gets from the press and by extension the people. Like Reagan, not a lot sticks. He is beyond Teflon though. I’ll have to think of a new term. Anyway, on this specific issue, he didn’t have comment until all of the uproar, then he joined in the “please resign” camp. Two of his aides had publically stated that he had contact with the Gov before the arrest but afterwards noted that they were “mistaken”. Hmmm. Not Reagan but Nixon I fear. Add to the fact that he supported the Gov election, he shared campaign financial people and given the very tight and coordinated political system in Illinois, you really have to ask if everything is on the up and up. After all, from the tapes, we know one of the considerations was a key Barack insider where they were dismissed because “they would only show appreciation”. That tells me that someone in the group KNEW what was going on. It is appears that it was his chief of staff, Rahm, which is not a surprise given he too is an Illinois insider, and an active supporter. Not only that but he seems to have a some sort of relationship with the Gov – friends, maybe not, but certainly players in this deceitful game of Illinois politics. It is great that Rahm did not act on it, but why not come forward with it? This is especially puzzling given that Barack campaigned to be more open and with a higher ethical standard. Why is it that he instructed his team not to talk and that they were having an ‘internal investigation’. Interesting how he claims this was due to he “didn’t want to interfere with the case” rhetoric. BS. Look, who cares if he talked to the Gov about who should be in the seat? I would think that he would WANT to given he will need their support. Like the AG firings on the US Attorneys – it is not illegal. So, how cares? I would say move on but it goes back to the lies around “we didn’t” that bugs me. I also find it shockingly apropos that the liberal bastion NY Times rarely even mentions that the Gov is a democrat…. I wonder how it would have been different if it were a Republican ? I’m sure Chaney conspiracy theorists would come out of the wood work.

Speaking of conspiracy, I see the press is all over this missing email stuff from the current President. Let me just say this… while I have no doubt that there is stuff there that Bush does not want to be made public and will work as hard as he can to keep it from being so, I manage email systems for a living and I know how difficult getting data is. With upwards of 400K mailboxes and hundreds of terabytes of data under my watch, I am not surprised that they can not find some or get it back from backups. Especially data from three years ago. So believe what you want. The administrations claims are potentially very legit. Oh, Clinton tried to get rid of data too his last weeks in office. Guess it is a rite of passage – piss people off and then hid the evidence.

Back to the super slick Barack….or at least his treatment in the press. He has already broken many of the promises he made on the campaign trail so this latest should be no surprise. Personally I hope the best for Barack as he is our guy now but this constant look the other way is alarming. Is there is no check and balance, are we safe?

No one mentioned that his key fundraiser was not only an owner of a bank and an active participant in the predatory lending practices that caused the current economic downturn. He has now said he might not be able to fix the economy as fast as he promised. Duh. No recourse. He has decided not to raise taxes on the rich immediately since they are helping drive the economy. Well ,double duh. I think I called that out a few weeks ago. Where is the uproar ?

People applaud “his commitment” to integrate the parties but the best he could do is get a well known, self appointed partisan as his Chief of Staff. Of course, at this point he is keeping Mr. Gates on temporarily as Sec of Defense – not surprising given the war (which we have won according to many – probably at too high of a price however). He gets to claim he has that Republican inclusion thing going on. Right. Gates will be gone soon. Love how the press are already reporting on his thoughts on architecting an end to the war. Excuse me? I guess they missed the signed agreement on the troop withdrawal…

Okay, so the press sucks. Let’s look at how PE Obama is doing.

Let’s look at his choices… I’ve talked about the sellout he did on Biden. Talking change and selecting a mega insider. Press – no comment (not much about Biden going into hiding either at the end of the election). It only took 43 days to give a press conference after being elected (hmmm, effective…). Also interesting is his choice of Homeland Security. A term locked Gov who has nearly bankrupted her state? Her claim to fame is hatred for the “fence” between the US and Mexico. Ah, okay. Press… Pass. Hmmm. Gov. Richardson finally landed in a spot after being considered for pretty much every cabinet position except the one he begged for. When you think New Mexico, do you think Commerce? Hmmm. He is also already in trouble over another potential ‘pay to play’ scheme. Press? Pass. Then there is Daschule. At least he has an active interest in health care so I’m not too excited over his choice. Of course, his wife is a lobbyist. I thought that was bad ? Well, it is if you are a Republican.

Back to checking off this list more inclusion (granted every recent president has added members of the opposite party to their cabinet – not sure why the press is making a big deal out of this, especially when the pick is for Secretary of Transportation. Oh, and he happens to be an Illinois Republican. Anybody been to Chicago? Yeah, they have transportation down to an art form…). His pick of Colorado Sen. Salazar is interesting. Perfect pick. His by line is that he was for “freeing American from the dependence on foreign oil” but then his voting record shows he is opposed to oil shale development (in Colorado) and of course, Arctic drilling is a complete no no. And what about Eric Holder? Well, another Illinois dude. I know George brought some Texas folks with him and that makes a lot of sense to keep who you know but Barack was all about reaching out, expanding, etc. BS, it seems. I am not sure I have a lot of juice with Holder outside he did recommend the Clinton pardon of Marc Rich, which we all know was a payoff. Besides that, he at least has experience. Let’s see what he can do (oh, and to the press that is again, claiming Barack is unprecedented with his picks, Eric was actually THE AG for the last couple of months under Clinton. So there.).

Then, we have Hillary. Okay, this was shrewd. First, the key issue he argued against her with during the campaign was the war. So, who does he put in charge of foreign policy but Hillary. Her husband as we all know has marginal deals in place with many foreign governments today…at least Barack called him out on that. But really, was this an ethical thing? I think that Barack wanted to do two things… stop the money flow to Hillary in the event she ran again and secondly to get a list of potential donors. Make no mistake, Barack is about the money. He raised/spent TWICE as much as the publically financed McCain was allowed. TWICE the amount. I’m thinking he could probably have put some of that money to good use on “main street” if he was so inclined. By the way, I’ll not even mention that while Barack has – good for him – rejected money from registered lobbyists, he did take funds (and lots of them ) from legal firms that lobby. Hmmm. Must be those higher ethics shared by the legal profession. Press gave him a pass on that one too.

All of this would skirt review but when the press spends three weeks looking at how much money was spent on Sarah’s outfits (which were given to charity), one has to really shake their head. No mention about how much Michelle spent – and don’t even suggest they were her own clothes. Go back and look at pictures of her a year ago and then today. A gosh darn army of stylists are involved there yet the press only references her “effortless style”. Makes me want to puke. Of course, we KNOW the press was pro-Obama. Heck, even one of their own called them out on it: “Time’s Mark Halperin scolded the media … during this election cycle calling the favorable treatment “the most disgusting failure” of the press he’s seen for years. “It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage.”

By the way, why won’t Barack release his birth certificate? I personally think it is a non-issue, and really stupid to boot, but it does beg the question. This could have gone away faster than yet another insider being added to his staff, but no… seems very transparent to me.

Seems like the only think Barack is getting called to the table on is picking a preacher is not for gay-marriage. Well, of all of the things we have going on in this country, this is the topic that the press wants to focus on ? Geez. Heck, we all know Obama doesn’t have a strong record in picking preachers…. Oh wait, now that Hillary isn’t concerned with that, the country isn’t either.

Getting a little bumpy up here… plus, this macbook pro is shoved up to my chest courtesy of the guy in front of me deciding the two hour flight requires full reclination.

I don’t think I want to talk about the $850B he is thinking about to improve roads. Sure, all of that is good stuff. I like nice roads. I like new schools. I like putting people back to work. Too bad most of them will be unionized (of course!), run by mobsters from Chicago (no doubt) and be as efficient as most of the programs we have out supporting the highway system (really: so 1) how many cigarettes can you smoke while hold that “stop/slow” sign and 2) how many people do you have to have supervise that one guy with the shovel following the compactor?). My issue is the deficit. Has ANYONE heard or read a story on the deficit? I remember in the Bush years, that was a lead off on how we are shackling our children due to spending on the war, etc. Hmmm. We have $700B for the economy (I know he was not instrumental in that), now another $850B or up to a trillion? Add to that the concern (also, maybe gone now) about social security failing. I guess since the press is not mentioning it, it isn’t important. Whew, I was worried for the children there for a moment.

Enough about the evil press and the surprises (or not ) of Obama. For those that are surprised, I just ask, what did you expect? This is a little known state senator just a few years ago and now is the PE (or messiah as the press and certain constituents might see). Again, my hope for this country is that we get past playing dress up and get to governing. And while he is the quintessential show pony, he might have some game. Let’s hope he does and let’s hope he is an all star.

Back to speaking of evil, I am about done with the court systems and businesses and this systematic attempt to rid all meaning of Christmas. Yes, the courts are full of dumb shits so it does not surprise me their order to allow atheist signs. But others are banning the bible from schools (not the Koran though). Refusal of Christmas trees, etc. Those that know me, know that I am not one for ANYONE shoving something (believes, plans, opinions) down my throat, but come on… If you have an issue with a Christmas tree, just go pound sand. I don’t see any of these uproars with Hanukah or this seemingly made up holiday of Kwanza. I say, to each their own. This is not government sponsorship of religion. It is simply celebration of something positive in a world of evil.

For my liberal friends, my gift to you — the next blog will be politic free!

Just a thought.

Posted in Michael's thoughts on December 12th, 2008 by Michael

If you go to this web site, you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier who is currently serving overseas.  You can’t pick who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services.  All cards are designed by young children across the United States.

been a while

Posted in Michael's thoughts on December 1st, 2008 by Michael

been away driving and being driven crazy.

have to jet out again but will be back soon.

I’ll draft something then assuming the wind and noise of Obama patting himself on the back for getting away with changing his campaign promises without any scrutiny by the press (ha!) or the public (which have been conditioned to be dumbed down) settles down.  Makes me sick.  Of course, that is even agreeing with him on some of the changes!

Hope everyone got a great deal on a TV or whatever it is that one wanted.