Friday, June 30, 2006

Elvis has left the building

Well, not quite, but he's on his way out.

I'll be vacationing beginning next week and going until July 19th, so this place will be pretty dull. I may get in a post here and there but I don't expect to spend a whole lot of time near a computer, but will spend plenty near the banks of the now flooding mighty Susquehanna river. My timing, as usual, is impeccable.

If I was more savvy, I'd have hired a guest blogger to fill in for me or run a "Best of the Lumberyard" thing like Jim Rome does when he vacations, but the best and worst are just a click away in the archives and who am I to decide which is which and even if I did, who would really care? Besides, all I'd need is for some guest blogger to quadruple my readership and have all 28 of those people tell me they like the new guy better, and I should find something else to do with my spare time. Wouldn't that be a kick in the pants coming back from vacation? At least "babe a day" and "thought for the day" will continue to bring something new (or slightly recycled) to the page.

Have a great few weeks, and I'll be back when I'm back.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

just something I was reminded of last night while reading...

In elections, a lot of things are done and said to sway voters, to tug on emotional heartstrings and mess with our sensibilities. Afterwards, I tend to forget all about them, especially if my side wins, but this one hit me last night while reading the Ann Coulter book.

Back in the last election, John Kerry Heinz floated the alarmist rumor that if Bush were to be re-elected, he was bringing back the draft. I know this, because it was all the liberal over the cubicle wall could talk about for about 3 days.

"How can you possibly vote for that man. You know he's going to bring back the draft, like in January! The youngster will be going to Iraq before you know it!"

I guess it might not be a lie. He might have meant January of 2007. In any case, I guess we're still waiting.....

ps. I know, I know. How "mean spirited" of her, and me for being her parrot, to point that out.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

if you can't say something nice...

The Navy has this really ugly way of doing performance evaluations for its officers. It ranks them. You become number 2 of 20, or 10 of 20, or God forbid, 20 of 20. Being number one in your group is a really good thing and being the bottom is a career killer. Therefore, it doesn't matter if everyone you work with is stellar or pond scum. What matters is being at the top of the list of stellar or pond scum people. If you work with all superstars and you end up 18th of 20. You can be a superstar too, but you officially suck. What this does, is lead to a shitload of politics and back stabbing, and people trying to look better by belittling their contemporaries. If someone is higher than you in the pecking order, they become a target. So, the two basic ways of looking good were being good, and making everyone else look worse than you. (Can't you tell I miss all that?)

A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I taught flight school in that Navy. I was in a group of a lot of instructors who were, of course, ranked against each other. I wasn't #1, but I was close. I was damn good at what I did. One day, I left my locker unlocked in the instructors' locker room. Somebody grabbed my little survival vest (we wore this thing outside our flight suit in case we went down somewhere and needed a band aid, flare or something) and draped it over the Commanding Officer's chair in his office. It was a stupid move made by someone feeling the need to move up the pecking order at my expense. It didn't work. The next day I went around frantically looking for the thing, not believing someone would steal it from the instructors' locker room. The C.O. came out of his office with it, asking if I was looking for something. He and I had a chuckle about it all. Never found out who the asshole was though.

The point of this are who you are. You aren't who you are because of some comparison to anyone else, and if your only way of making yourself look good is to paint someone else as less than you, your game needs a lot of work. "Well, so-and-so didn't do it either, and not only that, he..." doesn't cut it.

A work related incident brought on this little trip up to the soapbox, and it's not that important here, but if a lame attempt to make someone else look worse than you is all you don't have much to hang your hat on.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


The biggest reason for our soon-to-be-made trip north is the parents' 50th wedding anniversary. Yes it's a cool thing. Yes much is being made of it and rightly so. Yes, there's all kinds of planning going on, and I'm on the sidelines, asking questions but not exactly in the center of the maelstrom. I'm also the oldest of four kids. Behind me, chronologically, is a sister and two brothers. The wife of the older of the brothers has taken on the organizational role, and informed and dad won't let us pay for the big party, so we're all taking some of the little things. We got the invitations, little brother is doing so and so (I can't remember what) and sister got the cake. We want you to make a speech.

A what???

A know, get up and talk.

Can't I get the cake?

Well, we tried to get your sister to do the speech, but she flat out refused, and said she'd get the cake.

Can I think of something else? How about a photographer? Do we have one of those yet?

Well, no we don't, and you get one, but can you do a speech too? You're good with words.

Well, I can sorta write 'em, but speaking them is another matter.

Then my brother got on the phone and said, I don't know what she has up her ass about this speech thing, but don't worry about it. He said he tried to tell her nobody needs to be reminded about how dad found all youngest brothers drug paraphenalia and threw it in the creek, and how many hours it took to retrieve it all, or sister trying to explain the scratches all over her back when she and her college boyfriend (now husband) returned from a camping trip. We aren't really in need of a trip down memory lane, because it ain't all sunshine and roses, but she's looking for a speech.

I don't know why I'm agonizing over it. I don't really have to do it at all, but I will (much more for my parents than for her need for a speech). I'm not much on public speaking. Several years ago, I taught a computer programming course at the local community college. They needed someone who could do it, and I was trying to overcome this fear of speaking in front of people. At least with programming, I knew the subject, so I thought I'd confront my fear. I did, and was terrified the first few classes, but it got better. In the long run, though, I don't know that it helped all that much.

I've written something, but lengthwise, it's more of a toast than a speech. Now I just have to memorize the thing (before next week) and do a decent job of delivering it. Sounds simple, doesn't it?

Monday, June 26, 2006

caught up in winning

Every year our neighborhood has a "Meet Your Neighbor" golf tournament. It started 6 years ago, with the neighborhood, as a way for all the folks moving in to get to know each other. The idea was everybody signs up and gets randomly thrown together and we all play a scramble format so it's nice and friendly. No handicaps in there, because it's nice and friendly, and for fun, we'll give the winner some little gift certificate thing in the pro shop.

Nice concept. Worked the first year, because nobody knew anybody. It's turned into something else altogether.

By the second year, the club had members, and everyone knew who the serious golfers were, and people insisted on being paired with their friends...and they were, because they were club members and the club bends over backward for its members.

Maybe if I were a serious golfer (or a member of the club), I'd see it differently, but there are plenty of opportunities in that club, as in any other, to show off your golfing prowess. They have their member tournaments and their competitions with other clubs and what not. The purpose of this thing was supposed to be to go out and meet some folks you don't know, and again, this year (yesterday), that's what I did. Met some nice folks too, so I got what I paid for, and shouldn't complain.

The thing is, the folks who won are all scratch golfers, and play together every week. They probably got in 18 before the tournament started at 1:00. Why did they bother? They certainly didn't meet anybody new, and was there any doubt they could win this thing? Well, there was a little, because there were two foursomes like that (the other came in second). Maybe they had a mini-competition going on between themselves. It couldn't have been for the $10 gift certificate the club gave them. Paying to play in the thing cost more than they got for 1st place. Maybe it was the recognition. I mean, some guy from the golf shop with a Mr. Microphone announced them as the winners, and presented them with envelopes with their gift certificates enclosed. There were smiles and high fives all around, like they accomplished something. Whatever. I just felt like saying, "sure, you guys beat us." For your sake, I damn well hope you did.

Friday, June 23, 2006

it's almost training camp

Alltel stadium is sold out, so we'll have fewer annoying fans of visiting teams in the house, and those that choose to watch our beloved Jaguars from the privacy of their couch are now assured of that ability for every game this fall. Maurice Drew, second round draft pick, has been cleared of all charges with the LAPD (and you just have to shake your head when that sort of thing becomes a highlight) stemming from an assault in an L.A. Denny's. Store cameras show he left way before the altercation, so you have to wonder, why was he indicted in the first place? The kid showed a lot of class not going off on the people who were making him look like a criminal, but it's over. Fred Taylor is reportedly looking like the guy we picked coming out of college. Byron discovered the weight room and is looking more like a football player and less like the Pillsbury Dough Boy (or a grown up Gary Coleman). The defense is looking even better than last year's...and we haven't even started training camp yet.

I can hardly wait.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

the Onion gets it right again

Every now and then the Onion comes up with a real gem of a parody. Yes, the story's fake, but the point is dead on. It really is sad when Raleigh, North Carolina is the home of the Stanley Cup and nobody there knows it or cares much. It'd be a lot like the U.S. winning the World Cup. That thing really needs to be won by a Canadian team, where the people truly appreciate it, instead of in a town where people are biding their time for college basketball season.

our World Cup finale

The last game for the U.S. Team comes today...unless they win big and a few other unlikely things happen, in which case the newspapers will insist that we care for a little bit longer. Otherwise the rest of the world will continue their tournament and we'll get back to what matters...NFL training camp.

I think we kind-of approach the World Cup like we do Groundhog Day. Nobody hears or talks about it in forever and all of a sudden, it's here. We hear on the drive to work that Puxatawney Phil saw or didn't see his shadow, not remembering which way means what, but some "expert" is always there to help us through. World Cup soccer is a lot like that. All of a sudden it's here. Somebody informs us that we actually have a team playing in it and tries to educate us a little bit. It lasts a little longer than Groundhog Day, but it only comes every four years, so it's pretty much the same on a larger time scale. Then it ends and we don't hear about soccer competition again...for another 4 years. It carries just about the same weight as Groundhog Day as well. We kinda like to know what happened, but only if we're reminded that it even happened in the first place.

So I kinda hope we win, and the right forces in the universe align to get those guys in the next round. After all, they've worked hard to get there. Then next week, somone on the radio can remind me that we have (or had) a game and tell me the results. If I happen to be listening to CDs that day though, I won't be any worse off. If the U.S. team doesn't win and we go back into the soccer vacuum, well, that's OK too.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

company e-mail

Some people will never learn. If you reply to a company wide e-mail and you just want the person who sent it to you to get the reply, don't "reply to all".

We got a company wide e-mail about weight watchers. It was an offer to join a company group session. The Director of Human Resources sent back the following reply (though I've removed the names to protect both the innocent and the computer illiterate) to the entire company.

"I just got clearance from my doctor to join WW but don't want to fork out another $200+ bucks when they refused to reimburse me from the last time that I was unable to attend. Would you see if they would let me use that previous payment as a credit towards joining now? Thank you for your help."

Well, I'm glad this person's doc is OKing the weight watchers thing, and I'm glad they're thinking of dieting because, frankly, this person has been letting themselves go for a long time, (and it's really hard to stay gender non-specific) but damn, they're the Director of Human Resources. Doncha think they could afford the other $200 if they really want to do this thing's just waaaay too much information for me, but the guys in the mailroom might enjoy it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

PETA, my favorite liberal hypocrites

Beyonce Knowles got slammed by the folks at PETA, the people for the ethical treatment of animals. You can read the article or I'll just tell you that she put some promotional "dinner with Beyonce" on e-bay. It doesn't say what she was promoting, but it gave fans a chance to bid on dinner with the booty-licious one. PETA placed the winning bid and used the dinner to harass Beyonce about her use of fur. She was unresponsive and eventually the PETA folks were escorted out. What a wasted opportunity.

Oh I want that chance. I'd buy a new fur hat for the occasion. Someone please sit me down with those loonies and let's have us a real discussion...and a big ol' steak. Afterwards if we haven't created one, we can spend the evening enjoying the circus, or road trip to Mexico and catch a bullfight. I want to know why it's so important to save all the cute and fuzzy bunnies of the world, and it's perfectly fine to slaughter the baby humans and they say nothing about it. Oh I know the answer. I just want to see if they can actually verbalize it. Killing the baby humans is yet another liberal cause. It's called "a woman's right to choose" (c'mon people, finish the sentence with me) to kill her baby.

We can rail against companies using animals to test their products and throw cow's blood on people wearing fur, but it's OK to kill your kid. When are we going to see the PETA folks throwing blood on an abortion doc entering a clinic? I mean, if you're going to get confrontational and in people's faces about animal abuse, let's be fair about it. When I see their concern for the baby humans, maybe I'll pay more attention to their concern for the baby seals, or the elephants at the circus. Maybe what we need is puppy, kitty and bunny mills, where we just keep 'em barefoot and pregnant, and just before the cute and fuzzy bunnies and kitties are about to be born, we yank 'em from their little bunny and kitty wombs and use the fetuses for product testing. Maybe that would be OK with the PETA folks. I hope you read that, got the visual and your stomach turned. I hope you called me disgusting. Go ahead, you won't be the first. (I'll think it'd be hilariously ironic if you call me "narrowminded" for suggesting PETA widen their scope to include all animals.) I hope you find the fetal bunny concept morally reprehensible, because it is, and I think the point is obvious. We apparently need to worry about the ethical treatment of all animals except the humans, because we've been excluded from the ethical treatment zone. I guess people aren't animals, much like lettuce has been removed from the veggie family.

Monday, June 19, 2006

the U.S.Open

Damn what a tournament! Davey Duval, hometown hero, who I had given up for dead, actually shows up, tied for 16th. Tiger, my favorite golfer, misses the cut in a major for the first time since....well damn, it may have been the first time since he turned pro. Ya gotta give the guy a break though...first tournament since comming back to work since his dad died. I know he's still pissed, but hey...don't beat yourself up too much Tigger. That's my job and even I'm laying off for now. Then there's the finish, which had to be one of the strangest in a while. Geoff Ogilvie wins...because Phil and Monte played dumb and choker respectively. Phil had it in his hip pocket and just played stupid, going for it when he had no good reason to and paying for the gamble. Monte, who actually was a bit mellower this trip across the pond..turned into someone I could actually pull for and yet...he let his nerves get to him and blew it when he had the tournament in his grasp. It was an interesting tournament on a course set up like I'd never attempt to play, with all the drama, twists and fun a major ought to have.

Yes, the U.S. Open lived up to what it ought to be. I wonder if game 7 of soccer on ice will be able to say the same.


First, happy belated Fathers Day to the rest of you dads out there. I had a very nice one, capped off with home made lasagne. The wife makes an amazing lasagne, but hasn't made it in a very long time because it's a day long affair. She learned from my mom, but makes it better than my mom (but please, nobody tell her that), and to give you an idea how long it's been, the youngster never had it before yesterday. He was almost as happy as I was. He tasted that stuff and his eyes lit up.

Next, I have to thank Brian Williams, the pretty face liberal front for NBC News. I knew of conservative columnist, Ann Coulter. I've occasionally read her stuff in the paper, but I don't make a point of it. I don't even know how often they run it. I saw her book in the bookstore when I went to get the youngster's required summer reading stuff (and bought/read the Da Vinci Code), but I had to order one of his books because it wasn't in stock. I had no intention of buying her book, but contrary to her self-persecution diatribe, it wasn't hidden in the back by the liberals who work there. It was on a stand right out front where you walk in. Otherwise, I wouldn't have seen it. Still, like I said, I wasn't buying. Then I caught Mr. Williams going spastic over how she criticized some of the 911 widows, and how Hillary called her "mean spirited" and said she had no respect for women. Now I was interested. First I wondered why the full frontal assault from the liberal media. Somebody sounded like they were running scared. It looked a lot more like damage control than objective news reporting. Then again, NBC is about as guilty of objective news reporting as CBS, ABC, CNN and Fox. Second, I just had to know why Hillary said this Coulter woman had no respect for women. This was, after all, coming from the woman whose husband ejaculated on a female intern in the White House, so the bar for actually having no respect for women is set pretty high with her. What could Coulter have possibly done? Obviously not that, but it had to be pretty heinous.

So the youngster's book came in and I found myself back at books-a-thousand, and staring at her Godless book on the rack and...saw the rest of the title, The Church of Liberalism. Now I'm sold, because it fits a theory I have. It's not very fleshed out, but it hit me one day when the liberal over the cubicle wall was taking a call from the DNC. He has contributed in the past and it occurred to me they were once again passing the collection plate. He was once again chatting with the faithful, pledging to wholeheartedly support their holier-than-thou effort to depose Dubya, because George is so morally wrong and he, of course, is so morally right. It then also occurred to me that he claims that he isn't religious, and takes every opportunity to mock mine, but he has one just like I do. His god is the government, and he worships it as the same omnipotent being that I call a God. He wants it to feed the hungry and take care of everybody and make all right with the world (just like what I want from my religion and my God), but unlike me, he expects us all to blindly follow his belief, by giving more and more every April 15th to the same collection plate so his god can build more ineffective social programs. The fact that his god doesn't function as he believes it should when Republicans run it is the reason they should never be given the opportunity. The fact that it doesn't when Democrats run it is hidden by the fact that they're supposedly trying...really hard. It's bolstered by the fact that he and those that believe in his religion are preaching that we can't make it in this world without his god. After all, the high priestess has declared it takes a village...NOT!

So on one hand we have my God, who is the perfection of everything good, though His existence can't be proven to the satisfaction of your typical liberal. On the other we have his, consisting of trial lawyers and ass kissers. Even if I'm completely off base, my whole belief system comes crashing down and my God should turn out to be an imaginary friend, I think I still win that one.

Anyway, that's about as far as I got with this theory so far, but the title of the Coulter book seemed to fall right in line with it. So far I'm a few chapters in and while she's interesting, I think she has a flair for pulling in only the facts she likes and ignoring others, and putting her spin on everybody's quotes to fit her agenda...much like the nightly news with Brian Williams. She's also quite the conspiracy theorist...again, much like those on the opposite side of the fence. So while she's making me think and she's pretty funny, I'm not quite on board. You gotta admit, lines like, "Those that say the death penalty isn't a deterrent can't explain why Michael Moore is still alive and I'm not on death row." are pretty clever and make a point. (That's not an exact quote, but very close.) As for "mean spirited", if that's the liberal euphemism for "caught you in a lie and called you on it", yeah, if everything she says is true, she's guilty as charged. What she has to say about the fanatical separation of church from state though falls right in line with what I've said here many times, and her spin is interesting...that it's because the liberals don't like other religions competing with theirs. She hasn't quite fallen in line with my theory yet, but like I said, I'm just a few chapters in.

So far though, this is looking like deal material. My dad's been hounding me to watch Fahrenheit 9/11. When I go north I may propose this one. I'll watch his conspiracy theory movie if he'll read my conspiracy theory book. He won't do it though. He's all about sitting in the front row listening to the liberal preachers tell him what he wants to hear. He's not much on the conflicting viewpoint. I guess none of us are, all that much, but if you don't listen to the opposition once in a while, how do you know it's still the opposition?

Friday, June 16, 2006

bit of this and that

The Heeley thing with the youngster...not so bad. We went walking last night and he rolled in the street. He's pretty good at it, so we might avoid the emergencey room on this one after all.

The Heat and the Mavs...damn I'm surprised. Mr. Wade is carrying Miami on his back as they go back to Dallas. I wonder if T.O will show up again. I wonder if he'll wear his Heat jersey again. What a way to endear yourself to the football fans in your new town. What an ultra-maroon.

The World Cup is looking like yet another disappointing disaster for the U.S. team. Nothing new there. Colin Montgomrie is leading the U.S. Open...something way new there. He won't last, but the longer he does, the louder the heckling from the New York crowd will get. Usually golf crowds don't get too obnoxious, especially at the Open, but you gotta wonder..that guy...that could get ugly.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

and here we go again

The youngster's heeleys showed up in today's mail. Why do I get the feeling emergency room - take 27 is just around the corner?

Gettin' ready for the trip north

We're packing up the family truckster with sweaters, heavy coats and jeans for the trip to Pennsylvania. Just joking. We are going to Pennsylvania in a few weeks, but sans sweaters. We used to go for Christmas, but at some point sanity kicked in and asked us why we did that when it was cold there and nice here. Why didn't we do that in July when it's ungodly hot here and...well, slightly less ungodly hot there...on some days. After doing it a few times and watching the temperatures, I've come to the conclusion it gets just as hot there as here during the day, and hotter on a lot of days. It does cool down faster and more at night though, and that makes things more comfy there in the summer.

This didn't start out as a weather post though, not that I'm sure what it started out as. I just know that wasn't it. So we're planning....and doing a ton of planning, because this trip also coincides with the parents' 50th wedding there's going to be lots of us there, and events taking place and trying to get it all where it needs to be and thank God for my brothers and sister, geographically much closer to the situation and handling the bulk of it all.

Besides all that planning though, is the aging family truckster, which will carry us and our stuff to the keystone state. It's in fine shape, but I will take it in for an oil change this weekend and a general looking at by people more qualified than I, and while I'm planning that...the radio antenna broke. It's an annoyance more than anything. It's one of those that extends and retracts when you turn it on or off and the motor that does that extending and retracting has gone haywire. It's happened and been replaced once before, making me again wish for a different design, like the ones embedded in the windshield with no moving parts. So for now...until Saturday when I get it to the shop, I'm avoiding the radio, which ain't so bad. I'm getting back to some of my CDs...rediscovering Elvis....Costello...cuz the angels wanna wear my red shoes.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

if your mortgage is less than $500,000 and your monthly payment is more than a buck fifty, we need to talk

How stupid do these people think we are, or more to the point, how stupid are people?

The mortgage refinance business is way out of control. From where I sit, people appear to be getting themselves in all sorts of trouble with creatively financed homes, where the monthly payment is something close to chump change now, but oooh you wait. If you still have this mortgage in 3 years, you're life is going to be a living hell when the payment zooms past the national debt. Either that, or you will own less of your house in those three years than you do when you start the payments. There are people out there now who fell for this three years ago and are losing their homes. Learn from them. Don't follow in their footsteps. It's not worth living in some huge fancy house now, so you can be out on the street in three years. I listen to these ads on the radio and just wonder. Who falls for this crap? I can see the interest only mortgage plan three years ago, if you want to live cheap, know you're going to move out in a few years and are willing to take a calculated risk with your living arrangements. The housing bubble was just getting bigger, and it seemed a reasonable gamble, if you weren't going to stay in a house for very long, to sit on whatever appreciation was coming for free and cash out later. Whatever apprecation the value of the house gained would be yours to pocket. That was then though, and now, that calculated risk isn't looking so good. The housing bubble burst, and homes aren't appreciating like they were then. Those mortgages with low starting rates that soar after three years weren't all that great a deal then, but they're looking real ugly now. People are losing their homes at a ridiculous rate how are there still people who can watch that and say, "Sure! Sounds good. Sign me up."?

Listen people. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Learn it. Live it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

new, improved and what?

I do the grocery shopping in our house. Between me and the wife, I seem to be better at picking stuff at the meat and produce departments and, it means I get the snack material I'd rather have. Food is far more my department than hers.

Since I get to do this, I notice things, two of which only make me shake my head. There's a seafood section and next to it is the sushi guy. He isn't always a he. Sometimes he's a she, but he or she is always Asian. I guess they're Japanese, but I don't know for sure. He or she always greets me with broken english (which I secretly think is an act) and a smile and sometimes I buy eat that day for lunch. Lately I've noticed the packaging for the sushi says "New and Improved." Can someone help me with that concept? It's raw fish. How do you improve that? How do you make it newer? Now, even raw-er? I mean, it's raw. It had better be pretty new, because raw and old..lets not even go there. The veggies wrapped up with it...same deal. They're already fresh and you don't do anything to them. How do you improve on that? If they're newer, what does that say about what you used to sell me? Something about that doesn't sit right.

Then there's the pre-made salad stuff and one bag is called "Very Veggie." What does that say about the other bags? Not very Veggie? What do they have in them that isn't veggie, or less veggie than this bag? I mean, this bag has more other veggies besides lettuce, but since when is lettuce not a veggie? Did I miss the lettuce memo?

Just a few musings from the produce section of the lumberyard....

ahh, the inconveniences of a tropical storm, and FPL

Well, the rains are here, and welcome. The dry spots in the yard that the sprinklers don't hit enough are looking far better, and the pond out back is looking more like a pond and less like a beach, but it still has a long way to go. I'm hoping we still have a good deal of rain coming though. My yard needs it a lot less than the forests.

It did mean the usual FPL power outages though...just as we were trying to get ready for work. It meant getting dressed in a hurry by flashlight, so I could disconnect the garage door from the opener so the wife could get her car out (mine lives in the driveway) and then reconnecting it after she left and not getting to go through the morning ritual with the paper. I sat there in the semi-dark as the cloudy day was beginning and figured...might as well head for work. At least there we might have power...and air conditioning. I know these things will happen, but they get very frustrating. We live on the border between two power companies. South of the border road, we belong to Florida Power and Light. FPL owns most of south Florida. We're like the red headed stepchild up north. Across the border road to the north lies the territory of Jacksonville Electric Authority. Ahhh, JEA...Mecca of electrical power! As I drive out to work, the lights are obvious. JEA still has power. Everyone north of the border road still has power. The gas station on the north side of the road at I-95...lit up like a Christmas tree. The one on the south side...dark and dormant. If this were an isolated incident, it wouldn't be a big deal, but two years ago when the real hurricanes came through, the folks north of the road had power days before we did. DAYS! I'd drive home from work (in JEA territory, so there was power), down the border road and see the lights...and turn south into our neighborhood, and sit in the dark and humidity. We finally checked into a hotel...north of the border road. FPL's excuse was...."We have a lot more people in Miami and Boca with no power and in worse shape than you. We'll get to you when we can." I'm not saying you didn't have people in worse shape than us and lots of 'em, but we're part of your territory too. If you can't handle it, please give us away. Give us to JEA. They obviously have the ability to keep power coming to our part of the middle of nowhere when you obviously can't. Today, that Miami/Boca excuse ain't flyin'. In those storms two years ago, we'd go across the border road to the grocery store just to sit in their air conditioning. I was tempted to ask if I could put a cot in their frozen food aisle.

This is a minor inconvenience. I'll take a little time powerless if it means the fire danger for this half of the state goes way down. I'm making a bigger deal of it than it really is, but this thing with FPL is chaping my ass. Despite my willingness to sacrifice some time without power for much needed rain, it doesn't have to be that way. It wouldn't be so bad if FPL's incompetence wasn't so glaringly obvious on one side of my drive to and from work. Somebody knows how to keep the lights on. If you can't handle what you have, give it to someone who can.

Monday, June 12, 2006

people are looking at me like I'm stooopid

OK, I know I walked right into that one and there are a bazillion smart assed retorts. Go fer it and enjoy yourself for a few.

Most of these people aren't actually looking at me. They're listening to me because they're calling, mostly from points north. They're relatives calling, concerned about the onslaught of Tropical Storm Alberto..which is tracking right at me. I am grateful for the fact that I have people concerned for my safety, but this case...we're actually hoping this thing hits us.

Alberto is supposedly full of rain and not a whole lot of wind. We've been in a drought for the past month...two months...a long time. It's been damn dry, and it still is. We've got wildfires starting up from cigarette butts tossed from car windows on I-95. The whole east coast of Florida is kindling. What could possibly be better than a huge drenching? The firefighters are praying for this thing.

So when they call and ask if we think it'll hit us, and I say, "Please, bring it on!" they think I'm nuts...but really....we could stand a good soaking.

Friday, June 09, 2006

the Myers Briggs myth

Myers Briggs is probably one of the bigger workplace pet peeves I have. I know, you're sitting there saying, "My God, John, get a freakin' life" and I will. It's on my to-do list for the weekend. I'm only bringing it up because I am once again being offered the opportunity to waste a day of my and company time to go to a Myers Briggs workshop. I will again decline. I think Myers Briggs is pretty cool stuff, but I think ZipZaps are cool too, and they have equal relevance in the workplace.

I have ranted about this before so I won't do it again, but it really has to be one of the most farcical wastes of time and money in business culture today.

the World Cup

The World Cup starts today..this weekend...maybe next week...anyway, soon. For those of you that don't know, it has something to do with soccer.

I was reading the paper this morning, and the sports page is all over it. There are articles about how World Cup Soccer has turned the corner in the U.S. People care now. It's turning into the big deal the rest of the world thinks it is.

Did something just blow by me? Did we have a soccer revolution revelation and I just missed it? Did the important soccer tour bus just skip J'ville or something? I'm not buying it for a second. America simply doesn't give a rat's patootie about the World Cup. I'm not saying that's right. I'm not saying soccer isn't a cool sport. The youngster loved playing it before he ran into baseball, and he still likes to kick a ball around. It certainly takes a helluva lot more athleticism and skill than driving NASCAR, or playing golf. Note to Tony Stewart: You certainly can't get through a quarter of a soccer game with a broken shoulder. Note to John Daly and Lumpy Herron: oh never mind. Stand either of them next to a soccer player...any soccer player and you can get that picture without the note. For whatever reason though, soccer just doesn't grab our attention, no matter how the marketers and media moguls of the world keep pushing it at us. All that said, I won't debate the percentage of Americans watching the World Cup will grow from the last time it was held. The increase might be more than 100%, up from 2% to...oh at least 5. Holding an impromptu poll in my workplace. Three of twenty people (and I cheated...I asked the Indians) knew the World Cup was being played and two of them knew where. None of the twenty knew who the U.S. was playing first. Even the Indian guys were no help there. When I asked any of them to name a player on the U.S. team, the closest guess I got was Mia Hamm.

So, what corner did we turn? I don't think it was a very significant one.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

the NBA finals

I find myself in a strange detatched spot with the NBA finals. I usually pick a team and pull for them, but I'm not particulary fond of either this time around. you'd think I'd be pulling for Miami. they're the in state team, but although they are in state, they're still 350 miles away. That, and I've never been a Shaq fan. Even when he played for Orlando, I wasn't all that impressed. Maybe if he could sink a free throw I'd think of him more as a basketball player. Then there's "Zo." In my Villanova Wildcat colored world, I see Alanzo Mourning and all I see is Hoya. I look at Pat Riley and all I see is rat. There's a bit there to like in Mr. Wade, who's struggling with the flu or something.

Then there's the Mavs. I liked the Mavs more when Steve Nash was there. Yes, I realize he was a Sun, before he was a Mav, before he was a Sun, but I still thought the NBA world was a better place when he was in Dallas. Both teams are there for the first time, so one of my usual highly weighted reasons to pull for a team when I have no other will be fulfilled either way. I guess in the end I'll sorta pull for Dallas....if for no other reason than I like the Heat less.

al-Zarqawi dies

Ya know, I guess on some level, I should be happy about this. This man has been an obstacle to peace for so long and yeah, I should be happy that he won't be that anymore. I am happy that he won't be that any more. I just wish he didn't have to die to achieve that objective.

I just have trouble celebrating the death of a man, any man...including this one. I wish there was another way, and yet, every time we try another way, someone absues it and turns it against others. I know I sound way to much like Rodney King when I say, "Can't we all just get along?", and have been slapped around enough in this imperfect world to know the answer is a resounding "NO!" Sometimes reality bites.

I know part of this is my own ignorance. I don't understand what makes a man want the ojectives that al-Zarqawi wanted, and others still die for. I understand some level of intolerance. I see it in myself. We all have it, or nothing would be against our accepted laws. I don't understand it to that level though, where people who don't think of the world exactly as you do must die for it. I don't understand the cheapening of life, a miracle of a gift from that same God you claim to worship, to the point where you feel it's your right, to not only refuse that gift on your own behalf, but take that gift from others.

Just the ramblings of an imperfect man in an imperfect world on yet another imperfect day....

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Thought for the Day

"Being on a ship is like being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned"

Coming from an ex-Navy guy who spent way too many days on a boat, truer words were never spoken. Sorry Royal Caribbean, but there is nothing about the word "cruise" that says "vacation" to me.


well, I am now the scourge of my household.

After three days of unrelenting, "Please, please, please can I watch it? If I find a copy can we watch it? Why is it so scary? C'mon dad, I can handle it." I relented. The youngster found a video store not far from home that had not one, but two copies of the original Exorcist, so we went, he rented it with his money. We had a bet...all of one dollar. He said he'd get through the whole movie without covering his eyes. Well, we didn't get through the whole movie...period. Granted, part of this is the fact that my memory of a movie I saw 30 years ago isn't all that good. I didn't remember all/any of the gory details, including the scene where she violently masturbates with a crucifix screaming "Let Jesus fuck you!", which was more than the 13 year old very Catholic mind was ready for. That's probably just one example, but I really should have prescreened this thing before letting him see it. He got through most of it though, but not without shielding those baby blues a few times. The dollar was already mine. He got as far as the priests showing up and having their first ritual with the possessed, before turning off the DVD player. Wide eyed, he looked at me and said, "You could have just said no."

He didn't sleep at all last night. The wife and I didn't sleep much last night, because he was up and not leaving us alone....and I'm getting all the blame...from both sides. I suppose that's fair. In hindsight, I really should have just said no. I know, I know...."What were ya thinkin'?"

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


What sort of bullshit is this? Don't you people have lives? Do we have to make up shit to be worried about?

It's June 6th, 2006. Two Thousand and Six, people. The day you got your panties all in a wad over happened two thousand years ago, and nothing bad happened, at least nothing we're feeling the ramifications of today that I know of. If you know different, feel free to enlighten me. I doubt anyone back on June 6th, 6 even knew it was a bad day. They probably didn't even call it June. I don't know when 666 got rubber stamped as something evil, but I'm betting it was after that.

Oh sure, the folks in Hell, Michigan are having a field day with it, and I don't blame them. If I lived there, I'd jump on the marketing possibilities and haul in an extra dollar or two, too...but beyond that....I hope nobody really had a c-section over this thing, or a kid with goat horns.

ps. Thought of this later. The youngster is now into scary movies. It's pretty funny actually. He wants to watch all this scary stuff and then, come time to take his shower at night, he wants somebody to be upstairs (where the bathroom is). Since my computer is in a spare bedroom upstairs, I'll hang in there while he takes a shower. Then, come bedtime, he either wants someone up there or lights on, and then he wants to know...."Dad, how long before you go to bed?" So, he likes scaring himself silly, but then he regrets it at night when he has to be by himself. Anyway, we were in Blockbuster this weekend and as we were checking out, he saw some DVDs for sale. One box said "Prequel to The Exorcist - scariest movie ever made." So now he's got this Exorcist fixation. He wants to see the Exorcist...bad....because he wants to see the scariest movie ever made. It's like a challenge for him. Problem is, Blockbuster doesn't have it. I'm sure we'll figure out something....

"your mother wears socks that smell"

Monday, June 05, 2006

not so Larry

I was first introduced to Larry the Cable Guy on the radio, several years ago. I listened to an alternative rock station in the morning and just about as I was pulling in to work, Larry the Cable Guy came on and did an almost-daily commentary on something. He wasn't all that regular. He'd be there one day, skip a day or two and be back for a few days in a row. you never knew for sure that he'd show up and the topics were all over the map, but usually from a conservative slant. He was hilarious. I'd look forward to my 5 minutes of Larry getting into work.

Then the radio changed their morning show format to some guy named Bubba the Love Sponge, to compete with Lex and Terry, by out grossing, out shocking and out crude-ing them (not an easy bill to fill). After 5 minutes of Bubba, I knew that wasn't for me. I went to sports talk.

Every now and then I'd hear about ol' Larry. Mom-in-law bought me his book, which I almost finished in the emergency room a while back. It was...OK, but it wasn't up to his old commentary standards. I knew he was on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour with Jeff Foxworthy, but I had never seen it...until last night. I watched, because we channel surfed to it and since it was on, I wanted to satisfy my curiosity. I hadn't seen ol' Larry do stand-up, and I wanted to see what it was like. Talk about disappointing. I'm sorry, but the big guy just doesn't have what he had in the gool ol' days. I could have finished The DaVinci Code, but instead, I sat through three other comics, two of whom I'll admit were actually funny, before getting to Larry's meltdown. Obviously, my opinion wasn't in the majority (something I'm used to). The audience on TV was loving him, but it sure looked to me like a guy resting on his laurels, and relying on unimaginitive remnants of what he used to be. It was just.....sad, I guess.

Friday, June 02, 2006

approval ratings and choices and someone please give us something worth voting for

The Democrats in this country are dancing circles about Dubya's approval rating. They hate the guy and are pleased as punch that the rest of the country is finally agreeing with them, and yeah, they should be. I know my opinion of our president hasn't exactly gotten better.

What I want to say though, is be careful. This is probably your best shot at people like me in a very long time. Don't take it lightly, and don't assume we'll salute anything you run up the flagpole just because it's a break from the last eight years. Just because I'm not that keen on Dubya doesn't mean I've become a flaming liberal. Don't confuse the country's lack of approval with the current regime with a change in attitudes, or values, or the views that sent us all to the polls in the first place. I could vote for a Democrat. I have in the past. (I know...shocking, but it has happened, on more than one occasion, and not too long ago, but it has been since the 70's that my vote for President went that way.) I won't vote for just any Democrat though. Serve me up another liberal joke from Massachusetts and I'm sorry...that could still make me pull the lever for Bush, if he could run a third time. Dukakis...Kerry....what's next, the midnight ride of Teddy Kennedy? I have enough trouble fathoming how the people of Massachusetts can continually send that guy to Washington. Don't expect the rest of us to fall in that line. For God's sake, don't put Hillary up there. I'll vote for my tattoo covered cousin's pet snake before I'll put my stamp of approval on that bitch. If you want to stir up the "anybody but..." vote, nominate her. Give me a real choice I can be happy with. Just because I don't particulary like who's running the show now, doesn't mean I haven't figured out it could get a lot worse, as well as a lot better.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

the Da Vinci code

Just thought I'd throw in that I'm more than a quarter/less than a half of the way through The Da Vinci Code. Great story....very hard to put down and go to sleep.

Is my faith shaken? Am I buying any of it? No more than I believe the Quiddich World Cup will be played this fall in England's green and pleasant land with the Dark Mark blazing against the sky. It's a great story, but that doesn't make it Gospel.

terrorists and profiling and...well, what do you expect?

Today's paper this morning as I was getting out the door to work...American Muslims are complaining of discrimination when they wear their traditional Muslim dress. One of my favorite song lyrics says it all. "If you want to change the world, shut your mouth and get on with it."

Yes, I'm sure it's happening and no, it isn't right. In a perfect world it wouldn't happen, but what the hell do you expect? You have these terrorists out there who are, as the name implies, terrorizing not just this country, but many countries. They preach intolerance and hatred for anything unlike them and they do it in the name of your religion. They have, in essence, hijacked your religion and and made their twisted version of it the emphasis of the mainstream media. What are you doing about it? In a perfect world, you would have to do nothing. People would see the idiots for what they are and you'd be left alone, but this isn't a perfect world. They know it. They're banking on it. They're hoping the imperfect world helps them start and sustain their globalized "religious" campaign of bullying and hatred, and we have to stop them. We all have to make this world a little more perfect. We have to help. You have to help. You have to get off your whiney asses and stop complaining that people are discriminating against you and hit the source of that discrimination. Stop playing the victim and work the solution. You have to hit that connection everyone makes between you and car bombers. You have to denounce those people. You have to disassociate yourselves from them, and don't say you already did. If you already did, this discrimination wouldn't exist. I'm not saying you haven't tried, but you haven't tried hard enough, because the job obviously isn't finished. If it was, you'd have nothing to whine about.

I know it's a complex thing, but here's the bottom line. Public perception is that there are the terrorists, and the rest of the world fighting them. You're sitting on the sidelines supporting neither, afraid to be linked to the terrorists because of what they represent, and afraid to be linked to those fighting the terrorists for fear of looking like you're denouncing your faith. It could be wrong, but that's the view from the outside looking in.

Well, you need to actively pick a side, and if you want to stop the discrimination, it had better be the side fighting terrorism. Note I didn't say fighting Islam. The world isn't fighting Islam. This ain't the Crusades II. It's only the terrorists who say it is, because they need you to legitimize their cause. The world is fighting terrorism. You have to realize that terrorism is not your religion. It's theirs. Hate and intolerance is not your religion. It's theirs. They happen to be wrapping theirs in the name of yours, and you need to be outraged by that, and do something about it. You have to rail against it. You have to do it every day, louder and louder, for as long as it takes to get it through the world's thick skull. If you're not, you're part of the problem. These people have hijacked your religion and you have to take it back, and no, you haven't....yet. I'm hoping and praying you do.