Some car thoughts

Posted in Michael's thoughts, Political Opinions, Ranting on May 19th, 2009 by Michael

I just could not get into the flow today and that really bugs me since there is a lot to do and the time will come when I have no time and I struggle with that. I suppose guilt by procrastination is a distinctly human emotion…

What is bugging me now?

Auto word correct. It is both a blessing and a curse. I’m a woeful typist and I do appreciate the assist, but I wish it were tied to a grammar engine so it could decide what is the best substitution. I may border on dyslexic but unless I re-read what I have typed (and I hate doing that), it really appears as if I am a total dumbass. Therefore, be advised, all errors are that of the machine.

Thoughts on this whole new ’emergency’ need to pass the ‘cash for clunkers’ bill… Oka, Obama came out with support for higher MPG numbers. I do not really have a huge issue with that except, we have to accept some facts. Note: different items but related, nevertheless. At least ‘cap and trade’ was not tossed in here.

  1. Poor people will suffer. Interestingly, it is not being spun that way. Why? Because there will be fewer older cars and parts for them will go up dramatically. Less people will be able to get that ‘starter” car.
  2. This hurts small businesses. Who do you think does all those repairs on older cars? Not the BMW dealer… Strange, I thought we were suppose to create not eliminate jobs (ooops, that was disproven with the tax plan).
  3. More Americans will loose their jobs because right now, and for the near future, foreign cars are ahead of the game when it comes to fuel efficient vehicles. More people buy them, less buy America, more Americans loose their jobs, more government bailout (or assistance) is required which is compounded by less revenue from taxes on these businesses that are disappearing.
  4. People will die. Just a fact supported by the federal government. Why? Because to get to the fleet averages, there will be smaller cars. Smaller cars are less safe than these big heavy cars that get crappy gas mileage.
  5. This does NOT stimulate the economy as much as it good. Why? In today’s version, you have to get 10MPG more than your older car if you are to get the maximum credit. That hurts all of us that may have had an efficient car before. Then again, this administration is about helping those who made bad decisions on the backs that make good decisions.
  6. Right now, only new cars are eligible in at least one of the bill versions… I do not think most people who would have bought a car for the $4000 credit is going to be able to afford a new car (hopefully, this will be taken out of the final bill when they are reconciled).
  7. Oh yeah, let’s not forget that the government is estimating that your car will cost $1300 more… hmmm, basically a clean air tax on every person in America. Kind of makes that $7 a week seem like chump change.

Let’s also not forget that this approach will drive more highway revenue loss (less gas, means less taxes which means less maintenance on the roads). Not sure people are looking at this long term. It just seems like a “good idea”. Populous rags will eat it up. People will not read past the headlines. Well, the true poop is in the diaper and this one smells.

I also like the bias slants the media is taking in hailing Obama and his reversal of Bush policies regarding California. The fact is there is no such reversal. Bush simply denied California’s request to create their own standard, instead mandating there is only a federal standard. This changes none of it. It is simply raises the federal standard to that which California proposed, hence making it a moot point. But, Bush is bad, Barack is bodaciously cool, blah, blah, blah.

What a nice week of weather we are having though. 80 and sunny. No gale force winds. Sweet.

I did some playing around with facebook today. I still find it too complicated and too touchy feely but it is nice to walk memory lane from time to time. I hooked up with my friend from elementary school today. Amazing how grown up she is! I keep forgetting that I’m old too (except in the morning, when I can feel it). Her memory is so much better than mine since I knew most of the kids in the class. I’m lucky to pick out five or six of them. Of course, I have poisoned many of my brain cells and the rest was left to rot in Corporate America.

I’m thinking this is to be a tri tip week if I ever make it to Costco. Interesting article today about them vs. Sam’s vs BJ’s. They are the most expensive of the three but they also have the most loyalty given their superior quality products and customer service. Makes sense — I suppose that is why I shop there. Their meat department is awesome. Produce very good. Wine plentiful and well priced. Great frozen foods. I must not be swayed by impulse buys…. I do find it tough to get out without spending a C note there…. Hence my hesitation about going to get the tri tips.

That’s it for today.

Another weekend that did not require me to stay up late and work.

Posted in Michael's thoughts, The Family on May 18th, 2009 by Michael

Yipee skippy is right.

Of course, we did stay up late and continue on the education of MA in all things Star Trek. That is time well spent. At least it is better than those extreme greenpeace movies that are not starting to permeate our school systems (look up ‘Annie Leonard’s stuff’ if you are unaware…). I’m all about being reasonable green, I’m not about taking a dump on the American system.

Back to Star Trek, I did a little cleaning of the man room closet to rediscover many of the action figures collected over the years. Yes, they bring me a little bit of joy until I realized how much money was sunk into them. I even found some dioramas which are now displayed on the shelves previously destined for cookie jars.

I’ll have to toss in that Barack is more like Uhura than Spock (with the democratic party and unions playing the part of StarFleet). For someone who has watched the show (which he calls “evocative” versus “provocative”), he should know that Vulcans can not lie (and don’t get me started about Star Trek IV). Therefore, he has NO chance of ever being Spock. Then again, that computer sensor Mr. Spock was always looking into may have been a teleprompter… Final point on that… He mentioned he gets to watch a lot of movies at the theater in “his house”. Someone needs to remind him, that it is the people’s house and frankly, he is a squatter.

I do not have the energy to get into the stupidity of Pelosi today, the irony of Frank or the head-scratching on why Murtha is not in jail. I guess, all in a day’s work for the least ethical arm of government (and that takes a lot!).

I fear that I have a strained Achilles tendon. Fortunately, I am not an athlete so no major harm done. Still it is stiff to walk when I first get up.

Meghan sprained her lower ankle after an extended session at bounce town. That was $500 I didn’t need to spend but since she was limping around, we did need to validate it was not broken. It wasn’t. Two days later, it was as if it never happened. The recuperative powers of the young is amazing…

MA continues to be Wii obsessed. I continue to be lazy.

I was thinking about things I hear. So, I compiled a list of things I hear myself or someone in the family saying WAY more than often I ever thought I would.

  • Put him down. Your brother is not a doll.
  • You peed where?
  • Get back in your bed.
  • Don’t lick the banister/table/countertop.
  • Where is your milk cup?
  • No, don’t blow on my food.
  • The poop stopped working.
  • Do you want to come see the poop?
  • What? (as in the response to a yes or no question)
  • Meghan did it.
  • Put some clothes on.
  • I want to do something fun today.
  • Oh my God, what is that smell?
  • Is daddy going to the airport?
  • I want a snack?
  • Take your fingers out of your nose.
  • When I grow up, I’m going to be a mommie —— (blank changes frequently)
  • Did you see the astronaut’s potty?
  • Can I see a picture of me, when I was a baby?
  • Hot dog (when asked what one wants for lunch ~ 70% of the time).
  • Is Pelosi, really still a member of congress? Wow.
  • Damn, it’s hot out there.
  • We need milk.
  • Five little monkeys jumping on the bed …
  • Those diapers are not for your dolls
  • Time to do laundry
  • Where did you get that?
  • I so need a glass of wine
  • Uh, I forgot

And that was just from this weekend…

I did play golf last week. Got sunburned. Killed a couple more liver and brain cells (not sure which will run out first). Hit some really crappy shots. In my defense, it was the first time out since Feb and the wind was blowing a cool 30 mph off of the lake. Made getting close to pins darn near impossible. Did grab my second birdie on the last hole. Always nice to finish that way. Finished up with some prime time grillin for the home based clan (hot dogs – of course, burger punches and corn). Yes, the camera adds 10-20lbs – plus, that is a bad angle. I may be a bit jolly but I’m no Charles Barkley.

Two months to the new Harry Potter film comes out. Only two and a half months until Meghan gets past “two”. And less than 18 months before America has a chance to right a terrible wrong.

Post Weekend

Posted in Michael's thoughts, The Family on May 11th, 2009 by Michael

A weekend has come and gone…as has an older, but still functionally good, sink and faucet. MA didn’t really care for the one in our house so she got a new one. It is all about her, you know. Well, the sink is… While I will cook from time to time (or more often than that when time permits), I fully admit to being non-competitive in the cleaning up department. So, if a new sink and faucet make her happy, then so be it. You can see the before and after pictures here. I still have one little thing to do (add an air gap as required by code) but it is what it is.

I never really did these things before but it was not that much work. Getting into some tight spaces, some time and a couple of trips to Lowe’s was really all it took to bring it all together. That said, Lowe’s charges $200 to do it for you – that is not a bad deal given it takes a little while to get it all done. Of course, as I contorted my aging and stiff (and slightly rounder) body into positions, I was wondering why most plumbers on TV are fat. I would think this is a great job for people with small hands like women. Of course, the whole butt crack joke would take on a whole new direction if covered by a thong. Just an observation.

Hey, today we got to see what a $324K picture of Air Force One looks like (finally). Not that impressed. Also, interesting in the tidbits some conspiracy folks are spinning. First, I don’t know why they were out there with this fly by. I DO have some trepidations around it simply being a photo op. If it were, it was a really really stupid one. I can not wrap my head around what else it could be except form sort of test of on-board systems (which is fine by me – just admit it). Anyway, those that believe it was something else point out a few interesting things… the picture, really was not professionally done given some glare, etc. on the plane. Also, the window shades were not uniform (some up, some down). You would think that they would want to get that right…. Of course, I would think our government so concerned with transparency would not hide these photos for two weeks, play cat and mouse with the press when asked about them, would not want to spend $324K of our taxpayers money (which after all could be going to the Treasury Secretary buddies in the form of bailout) and of course, would not want to inject into this world all of that CO2, which is what the devil breathes on a daily basis… Of course, I could be wrong. After all, the Whitehouse found someone to take the fall for this gross injustice use of funds…. Obama gets, as always, to claim the highroad.

Speaking of which, David Feherty got his ass handed to him by repeating an old joke that happened to involve the destruction of Pelosi, Reid and Osama (not, not Obama). It wasn’t original, it wasn’t that funny and it was not something that a lot of people in this country haven’t wanted to say given the evilness of that woman. Of course, the press is all over it yet barely a peep at and official Washington function (attended by the guest of honor, aka “the one”) where Wanda Sykes basically called Rush a terrorist and wished him dead. Okay, I get it was at a semi-roast event but if I recall, historically, the ‘roastee’ is usually the President and his party not the “opposition”. Yes, there were a few barbs thrown that way but it frankly, another event to bash everyone else. Can you imagine if Bush where there and he said something like that about Al Gore? Of course not. If he did, I guarantee you would still be hearing about it today. Final point, Rush is an ego maniac. He is a blow hard. He is sort of a pain in the ass but he is not, in a million years, a terrorist and to even jokingly labeling someone who spends his life defending what he believes is the basis of this country’s freedoms as such is not forgivable. Oh, not that we would expect any apologies coming from Wanda or the supports of that event (unlike those already published by everyone who ever knew David).

In other news…. Max is well on his way to turning into a little man. We just finished up his one year expose and face is starting to show signs of it. Well, that is in addition to the scars of youth. He has been hit in the face a couple of times by his sisters with bruises and cuts. He has whacked himself a couple of times and then there is the falling to shelves and chair legs and other things that are toughening him up for the future world of working for some drone company where he will beat his head against the wall for 8.5 hours a day. He has also taken to throwing things (food, hard plastic toys at my head, etc.). Not a fan.

Speaking of which, Star Trek is out. In yet another head scratcher, MA is never really seen the show. So, with the advent of the first season out on blu-ray, her education has begun. The set is really good. I do not know who mastered it, but for something that is 42 years old, it looks phenomenal (if only I looked that good). The bad news is that it is ordered like the series viewings. Why is that bad? Well, the show was shown on network television out of order…. The characters come and go. The original show is not shown until the second disk (Scotty is not even wearing his red shirt, Bones is not the doctor,etc.). Makes it confusing…. So, we skipped ahead and watched a couple of the later episodes, include Space Seed, which is required viewing. We started the movies last night. Of course, we had to start with #1 to catch up on what happened for 20 years. Of course, the first movie also really sucked……….. Will get to #2-4 later this week and then maybe off to a viewing.

That’s it for now. I am sure there is more to come now that I have a little more time on my hands.

Today I blog again.

Posted in Political Opinions on May 11th, 2009 by Michael

This time from around 35000 feet, plus or minus as we are bounced up and down through some light to moderate chop over Memphis or some other area between Dallas and Richmond. Over the last month, in stark contrast to the last year, I have been traveling a lot. Mostly 2-3 days at a time but when you tack on the security, the hideous long and unpredictable travel time from our homestead to the airports and lest not forget the unforgiving delays I seem to experience each and every time, well, it seems longer.

Those that know me, appreciate that I am no longer a happy go lucky traveler and I do it out of necessity. That said, and after racking up a few hundred thousand miles in my day (even if a pittance to some), I am sick of it. I dislike so many things. Old planes, non-customer service personnel, restrictions on carrying water past security, taking off my shoes, $6 beers, etc. I’m not so concerned about cut backs in pillow availability however. I just don’t care. I may be the only one — but I do miss airline meals. Now, I grant you that Wolfgang puck really was not shaking in his boots over them but frankly, for what they were, I thought they were pretty decent. Plus, they broke up an otherwise (hopefully) uneventful event from getting from point A to point B.

I know today people have their gameboys, their iPods, PCs a plenty and you can’t throw a dead cat without hitting at least two people deeply submerged under the blissful sounds of the Bose headphones. Hell, I even have a kindle I bring along just in case I have the mental stamina to take on literature. With ridiculous charges permeating every ticket and people cramming more and more stuff into the overhead bins, maybe it is a wise thing to eliminate one more distraction in the cabin. After all, the flight attendants are here for ‘our safety” not to serve us savory beef tips over rice…

As you might have gathered by the lack of Michael blog nation, a couple of things could have occurred… I’ve been busy working on other things to the determent of the blog, I’ve run out of things to complain about, I’ve given up with the stupid America and have decided it is not worth my blood pressure pills to think about it or that I have simply not had internet access. Whatever your guess, you have about a 50/50 chance of hitting on one of the right answers.

As some of you know, I took a slightly different work role back in January and have been see sawing back and forth on it. I have sales people who are suppose to be my customers which just piss me off. I have delivery people who are supposed to give me what I need, that pisses me off too. Different reasons, some legitimate, some uncontrollable but pissed off is, well pissed off. Timelines have not changed, only my sleep patterns.

That socialist leaning Obama has an inside track of permanent disgust. Like Biden, every time he opens his mouth you just have to shake your head. At least Joe says what he thinks (sadly) and doesn’t have series a master orchestrated and teleprompted spewage pandering to his leftist support groups. That is when he is not working on high faluntant generalities contrived to appease the USA Today. He is a master at controlling the debate, though it is easy to do when there is no support or acknowledgement of the opposition from the press. That love affair is so bent that it really has almost become a government run entity. Of course, they get their way through bribery (secret press dinners, predetermined questions in the press room, etc.) and ideological alignment, not intimidation. Still, I think some fascists organizations originated in this manner too… think Europe if you so want to go down that road. Of course, those willing and with means to speak out are uniformly panned by the mainstream media as kooks (which some of them are) and put on government watch lists by the administration with labels such as an “extremists”. I’m sure I am on one of those lists since I try and read blogs that are not by Olbermann and Maddow or even sponsored by NPR alums. So be it. For a couple of days, I lived in the great country of Texas, free from the hypocrisy of it all.

The good news is that I think there is a movement afoot to actually voice displeasure with the way of The One, even if officially, there is no such thing (and backed up by MSN Polls, I tell you!). I know most media discredit it and tried to turn the recent Tea Parties into a partisan distraction. No doubt there were a few ‘haters” amongst the rest of good, honest Americans simply exercising their [current] constitutional rights (at least where they were allowed to do so). Of course, you know who you are and you are probably on some list now.

Why do I say what I say? Well, the whispers are growing louder. The number one book in the country is a testament to the rights and responsibilities of Americans. Fox News media numbers are up (well, it has no competition). Even people are flocking back to the National Review. Wow. I will say we would not know it from the plethora of leaders of the party. That remains a semi-vacuum. Not that Eric Cantor isn’t trying (though he may not be the right guy after all). Mitt is still trying to be relevant though too that ship may have sailed. McCain, for all of the good, is really not a hardcore conservative and still carried the baggage of shame and disillusionment from the horrible campaign he ran. Palin? Pretty face with political pull but doesn’t have the stuff to bring it home (sort of like the Obama of the Republican Party).

Sorry had some good turbulence there…

Anyway, I have hopes now that all of the simple stuff is “done” and the work of real governing is underway, that we can go back and drag down those that wish to be expedient without ramifications, into real discussions and accountability. Of course, Obama has to remember that it is about getting to work, not holding press conferences… — how many has he had? Five? I guess those that can’t do, talk about it. Those that can’t do either, work in congress. BTW, I condone Fox for not carrying his latest political ad (er. Conference). I hear, other media may follow suit since it is costing the billions in revenue. Of course they are trying to figure out a way to do without pissing off “the one’ and his followers, who control much of the media. In general, I support the ‘voluntary’ coverage of press conferences… and believe that is their duty, but enough is an enough. 2-3 year, not a month.

I do have a theory about the transparency issue. We all know Barack talked repeatedly about how his was to be the most transparent administration ever – which has been debunked by everyone that has cared to look into it (aka not the mainstream press). I think people just misunderstood. He plans on being SO transparent that nothing actually exists… it is all vapor (or speech) ware. I suppose you can not hold accountable what doesn’t exist.

He is the master at this… He says “hold me accountable” but then talks only about how they have to do that ” next time” since he is still having to deal with “8 years of abuse” that was really six mostly good years and then of course the democrats took over congress and Bush checked out. WTF? It is such as shamefully deception statement that I have nothing but an odious response to him and his administration.

BTW, what has he done?

  • Helped support a trillion dollar spending bill that no one read (note: 60 days ago the economy was SO bad that it was do something or America would implode. Now, the Fed Chief says it will be turned around in the last half of this year…. Hmmm.). — It was sham and we all know it.
  • Promised to close a prison – which doesn’t mean that we will not have prisons, just not that one. Of course, those that get out may be housed in the US and supplemented by our tax dollars.
  • Tell our enemies where are prisons are and promise that we will not do anything to them if caught, except maybe play milli vanilli music 24 hours a day. — Great…. I feel safer already.
  • Rescinded certain stem cell research restrictions and funded abortion agencies in foreign lands (with OUR tax dollars). — Much ado about nothing (but more government spending)
  • Reverse Bush doctrines on the Patriot act as promised? Nope. His administration continues to use the same arguments in court. — I’m on the fence about this one.
  • A great tax break for 95% of Americans… Great. $7/ week. — Enjoy it while you can. Energy, business and capital gains are all going to go up the day after the 2010 elections.
  • Provided a transparent government? Nope, really, it is exactly the same as previous administrations, even less so since the press doesn’t ask questions.
  • Making whole sales changes to the war efforts? Nope, nothing has changed though frankly not needed since Bush already had an exist strategy. – Glad he is getting credit for everything he opposed previously.
  • Telling the rest of the world that the US sucks. – this earns him a failure mark in any poll as far as I am concerned. What an arrogant shit for having the audacity to speak for the rest of us and our history. Hope he tries that at the D-Day celebration.
  • Opening the door to things like forced union votes and extremely high energy costs with a cap and trade option (which he and Gore will ignore since they can). – pay back for the votes.

Just wow. Let’s raise the roof on those 100 day survey results! He is ‘da man’!

Anyway, I need to move on. It just gets me cheesed when I look at the papers and the adulation. Wait, let me just say this to all of the socialist leaning dumbasses that are threatening the absolutely absolve this country of its greatness: “Obama’s not your mama”. Of course, he plays one on TV. Anyway, get a job. Contribute.

I love my “anti-social(ist) T-shirt. Wish it came in more colors…

What else is new.? I guess all have seen this month’s contribution to the imagery. Lots happening in April with the trips. I think May will be a slow month for pictures.

BTW, am I a magnate for bad weather? First, there was Houston, then Dallas and now Richmond. I’m surprised some conspiracy folks have not decided this is related to global warming. Probably soon. Someone just has to get Al Gore to bring it up since he is the resident expert and hypocrite related to this matter. Good thing his net income has only increased 20X since he took up this “cause” to help the environment. It is amazing that no one really asked why his weekly carbon footprint is equal to an average Americans’ for a year. No one really asked any questions about his validity of being carbon neutral (through credits given to him by companies he does business with). And no one gave any credit to Bush on the environment when he actually runs his farm using green principals. Oh wait, the press would have to cover that. Not going to happen.

At least Costco is getting on the bandwagon… they now have 60W solar panels for sale. Now, if only HOAs (aka the Mafia of suburbia) would allow people to use them. That reminds me that I need to touch base with my local city council members…..

Since I started this blurb, several projects have fallen off the plate and now I am clear to focus on one, albeit large, project for work. It will be interesting to see what I am do with bad myself not having to work weekends (or be in airplanes) any more. Wait, I think there is a kitchen sink I am suppose to install…