Category Archives: Random Phone-In

Change Of Life

I have a new job. One that requires me to spend about 50% of my time on the road. So far I hate it. Because, you know, 50% is like half. This is going to seriously reduce my wood shop production. And, until I can purchase a laptop and get it set up, the only way I can blog from the road is via e-mail drive-by like this one.

I have spent most of the past week stuck in the eternal traffic jam that is Austin, Texas. You couldn’t pay me enough to live here permanently.

It has been a very wet Spring in Austin, and as a result, all the disc golf courses are muddy and sporting knee-high grass. It was already not much fun to wade around in it looking for my discs, and it became even less so after I stepped on a snake about as big around as my forearm.

So this morning I set out early to beat the traffic and find an alternate source of exercise. I found myself on a walking trail around Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin. It didn’t look like a very big lake so I decided to walk/jog all the way around. Upon later googling, I learned it is over 10 miles around that lake. It took about two hours to make it back to my little econo-box rental car, limping and badly chafed. I think I’m going back to the snakes.

Start Wars, Star Warts, Something Like That

Yesterday, the wife and I caught the matinee showing of the new movie everyone is talking about. The one with all the teevee commercial tie-ins and action figure Christmas sales. Based on the crowd I saw, ranging in age from around 10 to over 70, it’s easy to understand how this movie has already broken some box office records, and seems destined to break them ALL.

I will just add my review to the pile: It’s a pretty good flick. If you enjoyed the original trilogy, this one is well worth your time.

Something I read on the intertoobz that gave me pause. In this film, Mark Hamill is one year older than Alec Guinness was in the original.

Also, too, I still can’t believe they killed off…

Nutters On Parade

I didn’t watch last night’s Republican debate because… well… these days the only way I could possibly suffer through a two-hour exhibition of such shameless duplicity would be to turn it into a drinking game, but even taking a small sip for every lie could be disastrous. Especially on a work night.

I predicted a while back that Jeb(!) Bush was the guy to beat in this race, but there are a lot of talking heads this morning saying he is done. Like fried, dried and laid to the side done. (It occurs to me that I should probably have stopped making predictions back in 2008, when I said John Edwards had the most convincing message.) While Jeb appears to be every bit as befuddled and vapid as his big brother dubya (smart one, my ass), I am nevertheless sticking with my prediction because I’m pretty sure Jeb(!) is still the only candidate with anything resembling a national organization and ground game.

Besides, surely the “Republican Establishment” and primary voters can see that Hillary is absolutely going to mop the floor with any of those other mooks. I mean, come on, Donald Trump is a loudmouth buffoon whose entire campaign message boils down to “Look at how rich and awesome I am!” And Ben Carson is coo-coo bananas for Jeezus, but otherwise clueless. Seriously. They can see that, right? It’s not just me, is it?

Heckuva Job, Redux

Since the cyber-hacking of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) a few weeks ago, in which the personnel information of approximately 14 million current and former Federal employees was compromised, I have received several reassuring emails from the Shiny Shoes in Washington D.C. informing me that upper management is on the case. They are “taking steps to further protect Federal information and assets and improve the resilience of Federal networks.” I’m not completely fluent, but I’m pretty sure that’s MBA-speak for “now that the horse has gotten out of the barn and run away, we are going to fix that barn door, damn betcha.”

Not exactly confidence inspiring. Check out this sentence that has been wedged somewhere into every one of the emails I have received.

It is an important reminder that OPM discovered this incident as a result of the agency’s concerted and aggressive efforts to strengthen its cybersecurity capabilities and protect the security and integrity of the information entrusted to the agency.

Makes perfect sense, right? “We wouldn’t even have known we lost your private data if we weren’t doing such a bang-up job of protecting your private data.” I swear I smell a burrowed-in dubya appointee.

Hey, Vern!

Today is one of two days each year when, at a certain specific time, the wobble of the Earth’s axis brings it perpendicular to the Sun’s rays. At 5:45 PM today (Misery time), the North and South Poles will be the same distance from the sun; the Northern and Southern Hemispheres of the Earth will be receiving the same amount of illumination. Equinox, baby.

But only for a moment. The North Pole is moving toward the sun and the South Pole is moving away. That makes it the Vernal Equinox. The good one. At least for the Northern Hemisphere, because ver is Latin for Spring.

So the Equinox makes official what folks around here already knew if they were paying attention. The birds have been chirping before daylight for a few weeks now, and even on the cold mornings, that smell is there, signaling that the soil is no longer dormant; The microbes are working.

And the crazy, atheist guy has been riding his fancy BMW motorcycle to work for a couple of weeks now.

We Are Doomed

I didn’t think Bibi Netanyahu’s speech to our Congress yesterday would actually happen, but I guess I should have known better. It is yet another demonstration of just how far around the bend the Republican Party has gone. Not only was the leader of a foreign country invited to speak before Congress without consulting (or even informing) our preznit, the invitation was extended specifically to allow said foreign leader to criticize our preznit’s (and therefore our country’s) foreign policy. And for that, he was rewarded with multiple, lengthy standing ovations. So much for politics ending at the water’s edge.

It was embarrassing and shameful. And another step down this crazy road we’ve been traveling since the Clenis years. The modern Republican Party, or maybe I should say the modern conservative mindset, has become so convinced of their own inherent rightness that any and all contrary opinions are dismissed out of hand. A Democratic preznit is, by definition, illegitimate and therefore must not be allowed to govern according to the policies and principles under which he campaigned and was elected.

They spent years and untold millions investigating bullshit scandals made up out of thin air trying to bring down the Clenis, only to come up empty time after time. Unfazed, they decided to impeach him over lying about an extramarital blow job.

They have gotten so wrapped around the axle opposing any and every thing Michelle’s husband proposes that they don’t really stand for anything any more. But that’s not even the worst of it. They have disputed his birthplace, his religion, his love of country, his very humanity.

Where does it end? What happens when Hillary is elected preznit? It would be sad if it wasn’t so frightening.

Senescence

A few days ago, I got an email from my blog host informing me that malicious files had been detected on (and removed from) my website. With my luck lately, I expected the whole site to be gone, but I can’t see any difference. Even my Fuck Dick Cheney post is still there, and that’s about as malicious as I get.

I was feeling the need to post something anyway, just to see if this place is still operational after ignoring it for more than a month. I have a good excuse, though. I’ve been down with my back. Again. I’ve injured it a few times before, but this time was different. The pain is way down low, and it didn’t get better after a couple of weeks rest and a round of muscle relaxers. I’ve been pretty much worthless since the weekend before the New Year.

I’ve just finished my second round of muscle relaxers, and started physical therapy. I still have pain, but I’m cautiously optimistic that I may be on the mend. The therapist taught me some stretches that seem to be working. Getting old sucks. When I was younger I needed to stretch before I exerted myself. Now I have to stretch 3 times a day just to ease the pain of sitting, standing, and walking. Sigh.

Super Skivvies

I’ll spare you the photo, but Santa brought me a pair of SAXX Underwear this year. The Kinetic Boxers. They’ve got this nifty pouch-like area in front to support my shriveled, old jumblies.

Without doubt the most comfortable underwear I’ve ever had on (as well they should be with a price tag approaching $40), but the black and bright orange colors make me wish for a matching cape and mask. Maybe next year.

Polar Vortext

I’ve been coming to Oklahoma City for more than 15 years now, so I’ve grown pretty familiar with the weather patterns from season to season here. The last time I was here in July, a few years ago, the area was in the middle of a record number of consecutive days over 100 degrees. (I think it was 16.)

Anyway I thought I knew what to expect this trip, but I was mistaken. Once again I find myself experiencing record temperatures in Oklahoma, only they are record low temperatures, shattering decades old records by double digits. Lows in the 50s and highs in the 60s. And it’s raining. I’m singing the my-feet-are-wet-and-cold-’cause-I-wore-my-fancy-mesh-hot-weather-motorcycle-boots-to-Oklahoma-in-July blues. Luckily, I return to my natural habitat tomorrow.

A Missive From Red Dirt Land

On Sunday I hopped on the scoot and rode to Oklahoma City for 4 days of training. It’s been about 3 years since I was last here. Not much has changed. The city is still sprawling at the edges and crumbling in the middle. One thing I always notice in the part of town I hang out in here – the crumbly part with the good disc golf courses and great taquerias – is the number of damaged cars on the roads. No one here repairs their vehicles when they have a wreck. This must be the land of shitty insurance with high deductibles.

Every class I attend here has at least a few hard core right-wingers, and this one is no exception. Today I got to listen to a wingnut explain what he called the “Biden Plan.” When I got back to my hotel this afternoon, I googled that phrase and all I came up with was articles about Joe Biden’s opinion on partitioning Iraq. But that’s not the Biden Plan I heard about.

According to my classmate, when Michelle’s husband and Joe Biden came into office, the national debt was 8 trillion dollars. Michelle’s husband assigned Joe Biden the task of coming up with a fix for that debt. Joe Biden looked around and discovered that Americans are holding 17 trillion dollars in 401K plans, so the administration promptly set out to run the national debt up to that 17 trillion dollar figure to create a national debt crisis, whereupon they will take control of all those 401K plans, use that money to pay off the national debt, and then place everyone on a small, fixed government pension.

“That’s the plan” he said several times. “It’ll be like social security all over again.” I’m not exactly sure what he meant by that last part and I didn’t want to ask. He dropped this steaming turd of a conspiracy theory on a room with 9 other people in it. Of those 9 people, three were actively engaged in conversation with him, eating it up and enjoying their manufactured outrage, as wingnuts are wont to do.

The other 6 people never said a word. Some of them may have actually been ignoring the conversation, like I was pretending to do, but I doubt it. As part of my personal growth plan, I’ve been trying to avoid introducing myself to people and then calling them a stupid fuck with my next breath, but it’s tough sometimes. I managed to keep my teeth together, but I so wanted to ask him a few questions.

I could have asked him where he got his numbers, but I know he wouldn’t have been able to give me a straight answer. I’d bet money they were pulled right out of Rush Limbaugh’s moldy ass. But what I’d really like to ask him is why. Why would any preznit even consider doing something like that? Setting aside the fact it would destroy the country and start a revolution if he were able to pull it off, which he couldn’t, he would also be impeached and removed from office in about 20 minutes.

More importantly, I would ask him why people make up this crazy, ludicrous bullshit about this preznit? What is their motivation in filling the heads of nitwits like him full of fear and hatred? It’s a puzzle, innit?