Friday, August 29, 2008

What I Think

I like to stay away from political punditry, because God knows, neither the boob tube nor the web tubes need another.

But I want to make sure that I've done my tiny part to Wise UP America.

So with an apology for the few friends and family who can stand my politics enough to keep reading, here are some quick 'n speedy bullet points for your face.

My Bush Top Five Eff-Ups (Does not include failing to eff up Social Security)

  1. Let's all say it one more time: Osama bin Laden had nothing to do with Iraq. Saddam Hussein didn't even like his brand of Islam. Not that it wasn't crazy enough. It just wasn't his brand. Neither did Saddam Hussein have WMDs. But Bush/Cheney kept trying to get us to believe it, 'cause they wanted into Iraq. Reeeal bad.
  2. Once Bush got into Iraq, he and Dick Cheney (1) immediately allowed chaos to reign, (2) dismantled the army and government and forgot to put it back together, (3) sent young conservative idealists to run the reconstruction effort even though they had no experience at anything, and (4) turned what was left of the country into a money machine for Haliburton to the detriment of our troops and our country. (Yes, I get to count all those as one because it's my list.) Hey, remember when Paul Wolfowitz said, pre-invasion, that Iraqi oil would pay for reconstruction? Wasn't that hilarious?
  3. Bush ignored and then spectacularly effed up each facet of Katrina relief: evacuation; emergency food and water distribution; emergency housing; reconstruction; and dike rebuilding.
  4. Bush's Iraq policies are now bogging us down and dooming us to a long-term war in Afghanistan, due to the fact that we have been trying to do too much with a very thin film of troops who are not currently deployed to Iraq. But probably will be next week.
  5. Bullied government departments such as the EPA, NASA, and national weather service employees to keep any mention or evidence of global warming out of their reports and their recommendations for action, so that such warnings would not affect their buddies in Big Oil.
My Top Five McCain Warnings

  1. His published medical insurance plan would tax the medical insurance you now earn as an employee of a responsible employer.
  2. He wants to use this new revenue from your newly taxed benefits to give to the uninsured as a tax credit to buy private insurance with. These credits (estimated at $2,500) will be given at about half the current cost of private health insurance (estimated at $5,000 and up), and will grow yearly at the cost of living, not the much, much higher rising cost of health care.
  3. He wants to extend the Bush tax cuts to the extremely wealthy. (Reality check: this money does not trickle down. Wealthy people aren't known for their generosity. That's why they are Republicans. Then again, maybe that's why they're wealthy.)
  4. He wants to privatize Social Security. Sound Bushy enough for you?
  5. McCain's energy plan calls for 45 new nuclear power plants by 2030 (when he will be celebrating his 94th birthday). Meanwhile, we still have nowhere to put the nuclear waste we have right now.
Five Reasons to Vote for Obama

  1. He makes us all want to join together and work, hand in hand, at building a barn, while whistling Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue in unison. No, really. This is what we need right now: a president who can LEAD.
  2. He has a reasonable, do-able, revenue-able medical insurance plan. Look it up. And you won't even have to pay taxes on your current health insurance benefits.
  3. A responsible, phased removal of our troops from Iraq.
  4. A multi-faceted plan to attain energy independence within 10 years and create 5 million new jobs in the new green and alternative-fuel economy.
  5. He gives us great street cred with the rest of the world. We can show the world that we're not all drugstore cowboys with a chip on our shoulder and a nervous snicker. Some of us can talk words. There's more, but I'm boring myself.
Tomorrow I promise to go back to posting cute pictures of my dogs.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Doing My Part to Save You from Your Own Ignorance.

Have you ever wondered how Canada got its cool name?

Surprise! It's just another instance of some European dude misunderstanding the natives.

Canada is Huron-Iroquois for "village."

Fascinating, huh?

You're welcome.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bravery of the Piglet: A Whole 'Nother Level

This morning in the bath I was castigating myself (ooh, sounds painful) for not having anything useful to say, and compounding the problem by filling my ears with a constant stream of podcasts from Garrison Keillor intoning poetry to Russell Brand giggling about having faces drawn on his naughty bits.

I toyed with the idea of taking 20 minutes out of my day to sit in a lotus position and say "ohm," but considering my past attempts at clearing my mind of all thoughts, I dropped that like a hot Buddha.

Baby steps. Just leave some space for thought between Fresh Air and the Scottish comedy bits. But where to start?

By this time, I was backing out of the driveway with KNRK blasting out of the speakers. (Drew must have driven last. He always turns it up too loud. Old man hearing issues, I think.) A perfect moment to live the dream.

I turned the car radio off.

No, really. No radio. No iPod. No CD. Just the hum of the little Prius.

I have to say, I didn't miss it, but my commute is barely twenty minutes long. Unfortunately and despite my courageous pilgrimage, I still have no powerful deep thoughts to share either. And, And, AND, I had no radio dial to fiddle with while the cardboard beggers were staring at me at the I-5/Mill Plain traffic light. So I was forced to pretend a fascination with passing vehicles that seemed not a little feeble-minded.

But I'm not afraid to try it again. Just not on the way home.

Stay tuned for updates just as fascinating as this one.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Anything For Baby

You know that thing that parents always say, "it's better that our [insert son, daughter] have this experience than we. It is what we have striven for our whole lives."

[Insert picture of grey-haired woman wearing a pilly cardigan sweater and mended stone-washed denims purchased in 1989, who has to look up and squint to see your face, what with the bad posture resulting from all those nights working that janitor's job at the abattoir, and the huge glasses last in style when disco was cool.]

I spent last week clearing out old papers that were taking up space in the garage. I shredded so many checks. For coaching, bikes, wheels, more wheels to replace the wheels, airline tickets, medical bills. I told Drew it was like we had sent Dean to college twice - once for his Fire Fighting degree and once for his Cycling degree.

My son is going to Barcelona next month with the US Cycling team.

No, I've never been to Barcelona. But the month after, I'm taking a week off from my abattoir position to see him race - in South Central LA. I may even buy myself a new cardigan for the trip.

Oh, you know I'm full of crap. Congratulations, Dean! I couldn't be prouder.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Zucchini Patrol

I was trying to take an artistic, early morning picture of a stunningly yellow zucchini blossom, but the Zucchini Guard was on patrol, and I was denied.

Collies can be quite stern when you try to take prohibited zucchini photos.

Drew's Angel

At Black Crater earlier this summer. What's that? The setting sun? Or an ANGEL!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Summer Clearance 2008 - Tour de France Version

Okay, so I got distracted in July and never posted my annual Tour de France issue, wherein I make a completely inane and misguided prediction, and/or reminisce about hilarious moments of sportscasting gobbledy-gook.

Not that I blame the guys for occasionally spewing something unintentionally kooky after 21 straight days of 8-hour-a-day blabber making. They gots to keep talking. Dead air is bad for the career.

But this year was an especially good one. Behold:

Phil Ligett on the 3-peak Alpe D'uez day: "Quite an unrelentless pace today..." Okay, we'll let that slide, because it's Phil Ligett.

Bob Roll: "...sometimes you have to pick your entrails up off the road and keep going..." Well, to be fair, that's just Bob Roll being Bob Roll.

Paul Sherwin: "Last year his Tour de France did not go quite as expected, but this year he's come back younger & stronger." Now that's more like it.

And my favorite stupid thing came from my least favorite stupid announcer:

Frankie Andreu: "If Euskatel doesn't win, then I would say Euskatel lost."

I'm putting my money on George Hincapie to win. I think it's his year.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Olympics, Schmolympics, We Went to the Fair

Look at the ears on this thing. I could lose twenty blood-pressure points just by petting those ears. And he could mow my lawn in no time.

I need a goat, no, make that two goats, some floppy-eared rabbits, and a pig-steering cane.

This sheep was the most interested sheep in the whole place. Most of them made a point of ignoring me. She was fascinated by my picture-taking contraption. And a little alarmed.

This is not total chaos. Only 90% chaos, tops.

If you have never seen a 4-H pig-judging event, get the hell over to your county fair and get a load of this. Take eight to ten kids, give them canes (no, not special magic canes, or ones with tasers on the end, just canes) and a two-hundred-pound pig with some definite goals in mind, and tell them to parade their pigs in front of a judge, while attempting to steer them away from their main ambitions of taking out the competition in a more physical way.

Kids and their pigs. And their Canes of Swine Control. Heartwarming.

It's the best entertainment purchase of the summer.

Don't let them out, dude. They're just looking for trouble. Whatever you do, don't let them on the Tilt-a-Whirl.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Here's a Thought For You. Now Go Ice Yourself Down.

It's too hot to sit here and write crap, so I will make it short:

I saved this wee quip from a BBC Radio broadcast last week, because I thought Drew would appreciate it: "tofu is proof that nature abhors a vegan." (Personally, I have no problem with either, but be warned that vegans would have a tough time finding something to eat at the fire station. I'm not sure if that's a diversity issue or not. Or just an old, old wooden ship.)

I'm going to go out on an ice floe, and guess that nature abhors a Hummer too.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

I Kicked Ass on my New Computer Game Today

So I bought this software for my Raspberry that allows me to track my nutrition and exercise. I guess the theory is if you have to write everything down, you may think twice about downing that third brownie, or you might take one more lap around the park.

Yes, I'm calling this a computer game. It's as close as I'm going to get, and it allows me hours of fun trying to fudge the numbers in my favor. Mmmm, fudge.

But today I discovered a new weapon in my fight for domination over this game: gardening. I have been bumming because my "very brisk" walks in the morning are only good for 257 calories per hour. Today I put in about three hours in the back yard, between picking the blueberries, cutting back the grape vines and wisteria, and mowing, so I thought I should get to count that for something.

Imagine my surprise when my game tells me that gardening is worth 320 calories per hour - 63 calories more per hour than very brisk walking! I feel like I found a "cheat."

Between the walking and the gardening I did today, I feel like I am entitled to eat a stick of butter. But I'm going to stick with some leftover pizza and some M&Ms.

I know. The glamour of my life takes my breath away sometimes.