Feb is nearly over

Posted in Birthdays, Michael's thoughts, Political Opinions, Ranting on February 26th, 2010 by Michael

So too goes the Olympics, hope for civility in Washington and Max’s baby years.

First thing first. I have not been a big Olympic fan since the commercialization started and the split of the winter and summer games occurred. Plus, they all are about winning not competing and that is sad. You got disputes, you have boycotts, you got your twelve year old gymnasts forced into action by government tyrants, etc.

Of course, you also have the yawn factor. Not many winter sports I actually like outside of bobsledding, ski jumping and curling. I almost like the luge but really think it would be more interesting if they went down head first. I feel bad for the family and friends of the person that was killed in the sport but do not like the fact that they slowed down the course. I agree with I think it was Bill Simmons at SI, that the highest ratings go to Figure Skating since it is one of the few sports both men and women can watch (that would be Women’s figure skating). I mean, the ladies enjoy that pageantry and the guys like the hot chicks. Potato, potato. That all said, I really do not like “sports” that have an artistic component to them. Did I miss that requirement somewhere? I’d love to see that in racing, boxing or football. “yes, ladies and gentlemen, Miles Austin breaks free for a 74 yard touchdown. Normally, 6 points, but he did not high step into the end zone so the judges gave him a one point deduction”. Pa—leeze.

On to other depressing news, the debate on healthcare was a joke. The open forum gave 2x time to the democrats and at the end, instead of “let’s go think about this ” the output was basically, we are going to do what we wanted to do in the first place, thanks for playing… Yep, open to the options! Obama continues to be a joke on this topic “don’t want to get into the numbers”. Well, that is what it is all about.

The Republicans went back and forth from whiny to brilliant (Paul Ryan). The Democrats continued to hold the company line and spew lies about how this is critical RIGHT this second since people are dying. I guess they forgot about the laws of the country that prohibited the denial of service for those in life threatening situations or the existence of Medicaid programs for the poor. Oh, but wait they didn’t since reduction of costs for emergency visits (outside of rationing care, cancelling Medicare Advantage, finding mysterious waste that they have never been able to find, lowering doctor’s reimbursement 22% and of course taxing everyone but unions) is their way of paying for the inclusion of an addition number of people into the system (that is already bankrupt). But don’t worry, the 400K new government employees required to administrate this option will solve that issue. Plus, it will help make the unemployment numbers go down. A win win !!! Now, if they can figure out a way to blame Bush more, it would be the trifecta.

I especially like the Democratic line about how people can not afford insurance because of a lack of competition. Well, then pass laws that allow inter-state options – this is what Republicans are asking for. It is what will enable the free market to work. But no… if successful, that would negate the “emergency” that allows them to “act” and create a public option (or exchange). Yeah, introduction of an anti-trus 800 pound gorilla is competition. BTW, it just dawned on me… public schools vs private schools. Which are seen as superior? Which has what funding model? Hmmm.

Enough of that. It gives me a headache.

This is supposed to be week of my vacation but that was short lived by pressing issues in the work place. However, I did make it out to visit the kids in Hot Springs, Arkansas. During my short tenure, we went to visit the Clinton museum in Little Rock. Not a big fan of Clinton (he gets a lot more credit than he deserves but was at least smart enough to get out of the way when necessary – – listen up Barack), but I do find the history interesting. This one less so than others I have been to but mainly because it was not really history for me. I lived it. Still, I plan on seeing more of them. Thankfully, Texas has the most (or will).

It is amazing how many guards they have there. They could use some of the rooms for Fort Knox overstock. Pleasant people though unless you touch something you are not suppose too – like the carpet in the oval office exhibit (no, not the one pictured to the left – that is in a public space). I get it was the carpet in the White House but still, most of the other carpet in the White House ended up in a dumpster. I really doubt decades from now, that people will be that enchanted with it (“OMG, that is the real carpet from the White House”). And secondly, so it was touched. People – thousands of people (especially those that did favors for Bill) walked on it (this is a PG site). I don’t think touching it is going to harm it in any way – it is CARPET. Of course, that is just my opinion. I don’t get paid six figures by the parks bureau (funded by me through taxation) to make that call however. I’m just glad the federal officer didn’t pull his weapon on us.

The waterfront there in Little Rock is really nice. Probably a great place to spend a spring evening. They even have a free fish and game exhibit area behind some of the restaurants. Really nice. I actually do not mind spending some of my tax money on things like that.

We also took the time to celebrate Max’s 2nd birthday. He is in a new phase of not liking pictures taken (the girls each experienced that as well). So, this will likely be the least represented year of his young life. That said, he warmed up a bit once the sugar from the cake started to take hold.

It was a fire truck theme since he seems to like them (Mackenzie’s favorite truck is the cement truck for those keeping score at home).

We also went to the Wax museum which was not that interesting but it was open (unlike a lot of things in Arkansas in Feb). Then we wondered through the hot springs and various bath houses. Funny what people use to do to themselves in the name of health. I have no doubt the next generation will say the same thing about us and our obsession with exercise. I’m a futurist hence I am already cutting back on that barbaric treatment of my body (though admittedly I have been considering putting a few miles on the bike this week before I have to hit the road again.

I guess that is it for now……….

My carbon footprint

Posted in Michael's thoughts on February 26th, 2010 by Michael

Yes, I have changed… I really tried to find a hybrid that I could live with and the nearest one was outside my budgetary confines. I also thought about a diesel. They are clean burning as long as you don’t consider urea a pollutant (which even California doesn’t at this point). God knows the subway in NY doesn’t either! In the end, it too pushed my monetary policy in the wrong direction. Finally, I looked at a used vehicle but the upper crust products for some reason retain their value in the used market to an insane level. Not sure why. That said, a Lexus GS350 was coming home with me until I noticed you could not really fit golf clubs in the trunk. WTH? What kind of moron designs a fly man car without the ability to through some sticks in the back? That really bugged me and I ended up with one of my original options.

Not sure about the color but MA’s car is also blue. So, we went from two gold cars to two blue cars. Consistency is good. This car has a lot going for it but I am still a little concerned about the ride. A little stiff. Well, that is like saying Al Gore’s personality is a little stiff. The thing is harsh over bumps. The tires are a little overinflated and that did not help. The springs are too tight I think. I am hoping that there is a little wear in period to loosen them up. I don’t really think this car would be car of the year if it rode horribly. If things do not loosen up, I might have to make a trip back to the dealer. That would be no fun for anyone.

That quibble – significant as it is at times – is offset by a nice interior, ample room, a huge trunk and apparent endless power for merging on highways (oh, for not being a car guy, I do like that…). This car has a really stupid 1-3 gearbox but once it hits 4th, hang on. It probably is good that it is geared like that or I might end up driving somewhat irresponsibly. Gas mileage is a little worse than my previous ride but that bad boy was starting to fall apart after 9 years and 80K miles.

It has already gotten a little bling added and of course a custom trunk liner.

Hopefully, I will have learned how to use my trip computer and figured out the suspension issues at the 5000M check up.

Good intentions

Posted in Michael's thoughts, Political Opinions, Ranting on February 26th, 2010 by Michael

Yep, they don’t mean squat when it comes to output as evidenced by both this blog’s meager collection and of course, the state of our government.

I’ve been busy doing the bidding of my economic master this month but lots of these efforts are now starting to wind down. I like being busy but there is a point where you just want to say enough is enough. I frequent that point often. Maybe I am getting lazy in my advanced years. It is pretty damn obvious that I am not getting any wiser.

Speaking of wisdom, I continue to enjoy the hypocrisy of the global warming conspiracy theorists. So, how many conferences – that they JET to with enormous carbon footprints – have been postponed or cancelled due to snow? I know, it is now “climate change” since they can not find evidence to support the global warming and if they do, they have to retract it later when it is learned that documents were not properly maintained, that data collection efforts were suspect and lacking scientific oversight, not to mention validity and/or my favorite, that they based their evidence on a student paper. Don’t see a lot of news coverage about these retractions. I wonder why? Oh yeah, it doesn’t support their end goal and objective. We have had record global warming here in Texas and I have inscrutable evidence.

Don’t worry, I will make time for my trip to Norway next year… And for the record, I am FOR reducing our carbon footprint. I am opposed by the means of forcing one to do it.

Not really sure what else is going on since I have to do this from memory and that is subject to years of attack by natural enemies of the synapses: hops and grapes. Suffice it to say, it was not that important!

I forgot about this one….

Posted in Michael's thoughts, Political Opinions, Ranting, The Family on February 9th, 2010 by Michael

Okay, it is a new year… not sure that will translate into more consistent blogging, but we shall see.  I know this seems like a very simple exercise but there are more challenges in creating this than might appear.  

Of course, there is determining the subject matter.  Outside of what happens outside my world, there is just not a lot of news that occurs on a daily or sometimes weekly basis.  My job is not something I want to blog about and it too is pretty boring to most.  Same old stuff generally; I am just being on a different part of the urgency curve day to day (like now – it is going to get really, really busy this week). The kids do what kids do and unless one of them goes to the hospital (which we hope not, for obvious reasons, and of course, since we changed to a high deductible insurance program…), there are not a lot of things that happen there.  I can pretty much write them now – Meghan is defiant.  Mackenzie whines about something… Meghan taking her doll, having to eat what we eat for dinner, etc.  Max gets pushed down, started his “mine” phase.  He thinks it is funny to be loud.  No one wants to go to bed, Etc.  Outside of then taking care of the house (rearranging, painting, decluttering, etc), that consumes 90% of my waking free time.  I will plug in short movie reviews if and when we ever see any.  As it is, I am sure Netflix loves us since we are not very fast about the turnover process.

Of course, I could write about other things going on… sports or politics.  Both kind of leave me shaking my head.  There is still the rabid press fascination over Tiger Woods – again, don’t care.  Then, you got the Wizard players pulling guns on each other over gambling debts (considering they make millions…. That must have been some bet).  And of course, you got football.  Steelers continue to get questionable calls (hey, not just my opinion, even major news casts have mentioned it – sorry Jim).  You have the college systems flawed with an overabundance of money and bowl games while academically, tuition continues to rise.  BTW, I am for a playoff system.  My proposal:  Top 8 play in four bowls, top two of remaining four go for the national championship hosted at whatever bowl did not participate in the first four.  All games DONE by Jan1 except Championship game, which happens one week later.  Automatic bids go to four conferences only, rotated each year based on previous year’s performance.  Top 8 determined by BCS like system with top four not included in automatic selections getting in (none of this top 14 crap).  Finally, on the Mike Leach thing – all of those involved are acting like a “bunch of pissy little girls” (to quote Burn Notice).  Leach’s ego is too big.  The University AD resents it.  James is a being propped up by his dad from the bully pulpit.  It was all a power play.  Be men, not cowards hiding behind your lawyers.  The bottom line is that Leach will get paid and the University will look like fools.  They got what they wanted – 10 straight bowl games.  They made the deal with the devil (Leach).  I am not sure why they expected to change him (or did they?  They might have simply had their hand forced by James).  I don’t know.  I don’t care.  College athletics has lost its focus.  I’ve blogged about it before.  It certainly is not for the kids and their education.  Please…

I try and not pay too much attention to politics since nothing good is occurring.  Obama continues to champion the demise of America’s standing in the world while pushing hard to move towards socialism.  Now, some of you may support that.  You may agree that the rich have too much and we should simply take it away and give to everyone else.  I’m not one of those people.  I am about individual freedom and accountability.  Those that NEED help should get help.  Those that choose a life that is not conducive to helping themselves?  Well, I feel absolutely NO responsibility to provide for them.  America is great because we can make choices and we can be rewarded for our hard labor.  Those go hand in hand.  Take one away and you take both away.

I also continue to be dismayed by the lack of accountability the media has to us.  Or maybe they think they jobs are really about selling papers and people want to see things, not as they are, but how they want them to be?  Hmmm.  If that is the case, we should label them as entertainment and remove any legal protections they have.  On National Security, he has been a disaster… form the infamous (if you read alternative sources) radical republican terrorist watch list Homeland Security maintains to directive not to prosecute illegal aliens found crossing the border to the latest bombing attempt in Detroit.  Janet is a moron but no one seems to care.  Obama should fire her first and then Eric Holder and of course all of the other loons on his massive White House staff (like the pervert who is suppose to be overseeing our school system).

The swindling of money from TARP (which he takes credit for even though it was not approved by him) to payoff car companies and look for other private industry accounts goes widely undiscussed, though probably illegal.  Cash for clunkers was a mess.  When pressed about government’s ability to do things, he blames everyone else, then says the buck stops with him.  He has the gall to remind people of Katrina over an over again – which was an order of magnitude more challenging  – to deflect blame.   Note: his FEMA team could not even handle frozen roads in Kentucky – look it up.

And of course, the whole health care debacle really gets my goat.  From what I can read – and sorry, I am not lawyer so some of the things written are a challenge to digest – we cover a few more but not all (like it or not), we will encourage companies to drop their existing coverage of employees (cheaper to do so), we will get a ‘non-profit’ government run system that will pay doctors less and hence, drive them from the practice, we will miraculously find and cut all of the waste in medicare (in theory) as well as supplemental programs like Medicare Advantage to make it budget neutral. We will start to tax folks more immediately but not give them benefits for three more years (wasn’t there something about taxing without benefits about 200+ years ago?).  Quite frankly, I am not seeing any positives out of this, outside of the protection against pre-existing conditions.  If that is the case, let the government run a program for those individuals and leave the rest of us alone.  Well, no, help us by passing some real reform, not political speech making reform.  Allow companies to sell across state lines (and not only as part of the a government run alliance).  Implement tort reform (even if it takes most of your campaign funds away).  Create tax incentives for companies and individuals.  You know, do the right thing for the nation, not the large entitlement-voting block that pays for your trips abroad.

BTW, try spending some time in Washington working – not behind closed doors with your ‘advisers’ from unions or democrats – but doing what you are there to do.  I don’t think you really need to be in other parts of the world.  First, we have out own issues.  Second, you just seem to screw things up more.  And third, it is not very environmentally sensitive.  Aren’t you for that?   I thought I saw some press release saying you were…


Again, I could talk about all of that stuff in the blog but it gets me too excited and stress is a silent killer.  And, I am not even an over paid football coach living in Florida…

So, there is the dilemma.  That said, I will try and do better – maybe once a week like the POTW.  That reminds me that I need to pull all of these into a book.   Plus, I have to do the family books and the kids books.  Crap.  When will I find the time?  I just got the kids books done two months ago for 2009 and that was with MA front-loading a lot of them.  At least this is a labor of love, even if it impacts my nap schedule.

 I suppose it is resolution time and I’m not big on that but do appreciate the return to normalcy post the holiday madness.  Obviously, time management is an issue but that might be more around organization.  We have to get the kids into a schedule we can support and that probably will mean dropping some activity towards the end of the year.  I say that not just for us, but for them as well.  I am not going to be one of those parents that have their kid doing something everyday.  Kids have to be kids and while life lessons like competition, etc should be learned early, appreciation for what one has is equally important.

Our treadmill computer went crazy so we have decided to go with a bike to get some exercise.  Hopefully, that will last.  It is easier to do and watch TV or read so maybe it will have staying power.  My goal is 25 miles a week with 5 miles being added each week once I break the seat in.  I know that is not a lot but given what time I have, it is pretty good.  For me, it is more about blood pressure, etc. than weight loss. I know how to do that.  I just don’t like the methods of getting there.  MA has some new Wii things so I am sure that will start up once her heel feels better.  Of course, one day they may finish the park down the street… but that is being run by the government and so I have little hopes they will get phase 2 done any more expediently than they did phase 1, which ran 6 months late.

I’ll probably get more involved in political issues this year, since frankly it is obvious that if we do not take a stand, we will get run over.  I used to be much more passive about the government but then again, it was not eroding at the same pace back then.  Where is the time where the representatives went away with your best interests?  I guess gone.  Now, it is a full time job watching these people.  Hopefully, we will be able to send a positive message to Washington come November.  I hope it is not too late.