Cold and Flu Season

I have to consider myself blessed even though I have the flu. This is the first case of the flu or any type of cold virus since February of 2003. I started feeling weak the day of my uncle's funeral this past Wednesday. I suspect I got this from someone there. It's just a hunch on my part. I feel rough...barely able to write up this post. My head hurts, throat hurts, every bone in my body is hurting today. If there is any consolation, I am not alone. After going to the doctor yesterday afternoon, the office was filled with people coughing and appearing very sick. I'm usually facing a 3 hour wait whenever I go to my doctor. Yesterday it was a 4 1/2 hour extravaganza. It was hell on earth. I have not been able to sleep all night. I am hoping I can recover somewhat over the weekend. But, I'm not optimistic I will.

If that isn't enough, my nine month old beagle, Ralph, has a stomach virus according to the vet. He can't hold food down, and has been throwing up. I didn't need this along with my being sick. So, now I have to help myself and my dog. Ralph slept most of the day yesterday. I suppose that could be the meds he is taking. But, that is totally unlike Ralph. He has one speed and that is full speed all the time. But, even as I type this, he is laying at my feet sleeping as I type up this post. I think I will let him do what he has been taught not to do; get up on my bed. He's been shivering and I think laying next to me with a blanket over him will make him feel better. Maybe it'll make me feel better too.

Somebody remind me why I took a flu shot this year.


The Recession

As I stated in my Tuesday's Rambling Thoughts, my home town of Mobile, AL has been largely an oasis from all the failing economic news. However, last Saturday it was reported in the local newspaper the multi-billion dollar contruction of the new ThyssenKrupp plant would be slowed due to the economy. The stainless steel operation would be delayed a year, meaning that nearly 1000 permanent employees would have to wait nearly a year before gaining employment.

Tuesday night I went to O'Charleys which is just about a mile from my home. This restaurant on any night of the week is packed solid. But, not this past Tuesday night. In fact, as myself and my nephew pulled into the parking lot, there were not nearly as many cars as we are accustomed to seeing. Inside the restaurant, it was maybe one-third full. It's not just O'Charleys that is suffering. A nearby seafood restaurant had been advertising their seafood buffet for $18.95, which is pretty good when you consider they had Alaskan Snow Crabs on the menu. Now, they are offering two for one at the same $18.95. Restaurants are now desperate in my area to get customers. It is sad. Some will go out of business and never recover. I'm 57 years old. I have been through several recessions in my lifetime. But, none equal this one.

President Obama got his Stimulus Bill passed in the House yesterday. Now, it will go to the Senate where it will face certain passage. President Obama better hope this bill does what he has been advocating even before he took office. I still say spending money to create jobs is a recipe for disaster. But, I also realize doing nothing will be equally disasterous. God help us all.


Cats, Dogs, and Kids

I had never particularly cared for cats. That is the way I had been all my life. I was that way until my ex-wife rescued one from an animal shelter. I loved that cat with all my heart. "Kida" provided laughs a minute to me. When I was bed ridden with the worst case of the flu I've ever had, Kida got up in the bed to comfort me. I'll never forget that. Kida was/is a prankster. He would innocently climb up at the top of the couch, walk casually by me and pop me up side my head. He would do that knowing I would chase him through the house. He was almost human. I wanted to bring him back with me after the divorce. But, as a final slap at me, my X gave him away. It broke my heart.

This video is some of the funniest moments of cats, dogs and kids I can ever remember watching. This may have been on TV at one time. I suspect it has. Still, it is funny to watch one more time. I hope you enjoy it.


Tuesday's Rambling Thoughts – January 27, 2009

An uncle (by marriage) of mine passed away Sunday morning. He was the type of man who was always willing to help someone in need. I had known him since I was 12 years old. He was as close to a blood uncle as I had. My uncle worked just about all his life at a nearby shipyard. I do believe he breathed in asbestos since he worked there before 1976. He died from COPD. It was a combination of things, not the least, of which, was due to being a lifetime smoker. He could not give up the cigarettes. My uncle was never a really big man. But, he was incredibly strong. By the time he died Sunday morning, he weighed about 77lbs. Anyone who is reading this blog entry and is still smoking; I wish you could have seen my uncle just gasping and struggling to get one good breath of air. I have never smoked a cigarette in my entire life. That has turned out to be one of the smartest things I have ever done in my life.

It appears the recession is starting to hit my home town. We had largely been an oasis from the moribund economy with a surplus of jobs, new industry in town and all the suppliers of this new industry which in turn provided even more jobs. The new ThyssenKrupp Steel plant was greeted with great enthusiasm upon the news we had beaten out the state of Louisiana for this plant. News last Saturday [article link] was that the stainless steel unit was going to be delayed for full operation for at least a year. That sunk in like a ton of bricks to people here. It should not have been unexpected with ThyssenKrupp stocks falling in Europe last week. The carbon steel plant is still good to go at this time. This news means nearly a 1000 people expected to be hired as permanent employees will have to wait about a year before being given the opportunity to work at this plant.

In even more bleak economic news, General Motors announced it was cutting 2000 jobs and halting production [article link]for “several weeks” due to the continued downward turn of the economy. This is on top of news last week that Toyota out sold GM worldwide for the first time in history. It looks like things are going to get worse before they get better. You have to consider all the suppliers that get hurt when a major corporation like GM halts production. It's a terrible domino effect that will plunge the jobless rate even higher. I still think throwing money at this problem with this 1-2 trillion dollar bailout is a big, big mistake. What would I do? Unfortunately, I don't know what I would do. I just know throwing money at a problem is never the fix needed. How much money has been thrown at LBJ's “War on Poverty”? 30 billion? 50 billion? Has it worked? No. Will this bailout fix our economic woes? Not no, but hell no. Having a neophyte like Barack Obama in the Oval Office is not going to help things either. Those on the Obama cult bandwagon; you are about to get what you asked for now. The only silver lining I see is that “W” is finally out of the White House. That's the good news.

Finally, my other blog, “Diary: Alone on Earth,” is starting to surpass this older, more established blog in terms of traffic and subscribers to my feed. I had to take about a two week hiatus from that blog because it was taking up so much of my time. I am, quite frankly, amazed at the number of emails I have received and comments I have gotten in regard to that blog. The comments have not been numerous. But, there have been some that have massaged my over inflated ego a great deal. I'm really flattered by some who say I should get that story published. It is my first attempt at fiction. I am now going into the final half of this story on that blog. I'm not going to let the cat slip out of the bag here. But, I have a feeling people aren't going to like the ending. That's just the way it is. I have gone back and forth how I want this story to unfold and end. I have finally settled on an ending. I have a long way to go before I get to that point.


A Couple of Interesting News Items

Imagine you are out at sea, far from land. Imagine your boat sinks and all you have to remain afloat is an ice box. That, in and of itself, is enough to scare the crap out of anyone. But, now, also imagine you are at sea for a month on that ice box before you are rescued. That is exactly what happened to two Burmese fishermen [article link]. They were picked up by the Australian Coast Guard on January 17th. I think the fact both were in their 20s and most likely in good health contributed to their ability to survive as long. I can't figure out how they survived that long without food. Even more mystifying; how did they survive that long without water? I think four days is the maximum the human body can go without water. I suspect this story isn't over. Seems kind of suspicious to me.

Just when you think you have heard everything...Nigerian police have arrested a goat [article link] on suspicion of armed robbery. Apparently the goat and at least one other human thief were trying to steal a Mazda 323. Vigilantes turned on the two would be robbers. Apparently, one of the robbers was able to turn himself into a goat. In what will probably go down as one of the more classic lines of this year (as in "don't taze me, bro"], "We cannot confirm the story, but the goat is in our custody," said a Nigerian police official. Well, thank God for that! We just can't have goats going around stealing our damn cars! It's bad enough Nigerians are scamming people in the billions of dollars each year. Now, they are turning into goats and robbing cars. And the band played on...


Quotations by U.S. Presidents

In running with the theme of Inaugural week, I think some quotes from past presidents are in order. I have always loved quotations from various people. I even like to read quotations from celebrities because it shows that most of them are complete idiots. I'm looking forward to posting some quotes from President Obama in the future. I have a feeling he is going to give us a few to dwell upon in the years to come.

“I have no regret for any public act of my life, and history will vindicate my memory.”--President James Buchanan [President Buchanan had the unfortunate task of directly preceding President Lincoln. He left a mess for him as “W” left for the Anointed One. I think I have to disagree with President Buchanan in that history would vindicate his memory. He is largely a footnote insofar as U.S. Presidents go.

“History teaches perhaps few lessons. But surely one such lesson learned by the world at great cost is that aggression unopposed becomes a dangerous disease.”--President Jimmy Carter—[I have to say this quote surprises me since it comes from one of the most pacifist presidents we have ever had.]

“May we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.
(May 1954, New York City)”--President Dwight Eisenhower—[I hope the Obama cult members read this one.]

“Truth is the glue that holds government together.”--President Gerald Ford--[That must be why the federal government stays in a constant state of chaos. Truth is a foreign element in government.]

“It is an unfortunate fact that we can secure peace only by preparing for war.”
--President John F. Kennedy--[So very true. I hope President Obama realizes this. Decimating our military will only make our enemies bolder.]

“Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.”
--President Ronald Reagan--[I fear we are about to discover this truth the hard way under the Obama Administration.]


Al Gore: The Ice Sculpture

I don't usually laugh out loud at whatever news I read on the internet or watch on TV. Most times, I just "sigh" and shake my head. But, this news [article link] from an Alaska TV station about former Vice-President, global warming alarmist and soon-to-be Billionaire, Al Gore made me, quite literally, laugh out loud! It seems the erstwhile environmental crusader has had an ice sculpture made of him in Fairbanks, Alaska by a local businessman. Of course, Al Gore is pictured as "shivering" in this sculpture. That struck me as funny since he has been at the forefront of the Global "end of discussion" Warming movement around the world. I won't go into how many times his theory has been shot down that global warming has been man-made. Scientists who are actually climatologists and others who initially supported the man-made concept are "warming" up to the idea this may all be cyclic in nature. I just find it funny someone has made such an ironic sculpture of "The Bloated One" in Alaska.

I looked for a pic online of this Al Gore ice sculpture. Alas, I could not find one. But, I think I probably found the one above more to my liking anyway. He's full of hot air, of course. But, I specifically think he is full of something else. Since this is mostly a family blog, I will refrain from saying what I think he is really full of these days. Oh, one more thing; the correct term now is "climate change." Obviously, they are doing this to cover all their bases. The lunatic left; you just gotta love'em!


Amazing True Animal Story

Ok, I'm starting to get into this video thing on my blog. I've seen some amazing videos at youtube. And, I guess "David's Wednesday Video" might be a good series to have. Maybe I'll officially start that series next week.

The video this week is one of friendship...and love. I certainly don't encourage people to adopt wild animals. The outcome might not be one they would enjoy. But, the male lion in this video was cruelly treated as a cub. He lived a life of misery until one day, a man and woman adopted him. They kept him despite the hardships of feeding him, keeping him under control and the natural fear that he might turn on them. They eventually managed to get him returned to the wild from whence he came. This video is about him one year later after he has his own pride and was, for all intents and purposes, a wild lion who could kill with a single swipe from his paw.


Tuesday's Rambling Thoughts – January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day. Today our new president, President Barack H. Obama takes the oath of office. As I stated yesterday, this is an historic day for this country. President Obama is the first African-American President of the United States. I hope once he takes office, everyone will back off and let him breath. A lot of people have high hopes for President Obama. The reason for a lot of that hope lies with President Obama. He has made a lot of promises to a lot of different people and groups. I don't see how he can possibly deliver on even half of them. For example, unemployment is at an all time high and rising. Yet, people like Senator Harry Reid of Nevada wants to push through a “comprehensive immigration reform” that will throw millions of low skilled workers into permanent residency. I don't buy the concept they do work that Americans will not. That is a lie perpetrated by employers to make money off the backs of these low-skill workers. President Obama has promised immigration reform that will grant amnesty. Yet, how can he do this with the economy in the pits and jobless Americans signing up for unemployment benefits each week? That's just one example of his promises. Regardless, I wish him good luck. He's going to need it.

Speaking of the Inuaguration...does President Obama really understand there is a recession? ABC news reports the price tag on President Obama's Inauguration is going to cost $170 Million!!! We, the taxpayers, have forked over $700 Million to bailout every Tom, Dick and Harry with a business pulse. And we are told to eat our cake and like it too. This large an Inauguration, this costly an Inauguaration is ridiculous when you consider the banks failing, housing industry tanking and Americans getting thrown out of work. It all comes back to Obama's famous ego. The significance of this day is not lost on me. But, it would have been more significant and more in tune with today's reality if it had been toned down a bit.

And if you think things are bad here, be grateful you are not living and working in Brazil. In December alone, Brazil lost 654,000 jobs! That is devastating to this country.. Plus, they added 1.6 million to the work force in 2008. Brazil sells a lot of raw materials to countries like China and the USA. So, there is that. But, losing that many jobs in one month (approximately 190 million people) is going to be tough for their government to overcome.

Finally, as I reported in my blog entry last Friday's “Gratuities: Optional or Not?,” I received a phone call from a Subway district manager concerning the incident where the food server took a tip (without asking me) from the change from the $20 bill I gave her. He profusely apologized for the incident. He also said the public affairs representative was wrong when she said it was “customary” to leave tips for the servers. He said he would be calling her as soon as he hung up with me. He told me the server is no longer employed with Subway over this incident. I told him I was sorry she was fired. But, I also told him I can understand that a business cannot have an employee like the Subway server who, basically, stole money from me. I was glad to get a call from this Subway district manager. I honestly didn't want the server fired over the incident. But, maybe she will learn something from this when she applies for her next job. I hope she does.


Inauguration or Coronation?

Tomorrow is going to be an event like no other in the history of this country. For the first time in our history an African-American will become President of the United States. It's easy to get caught up in the hoopla surrounding this momentous event. However, when the cheering dies down, President Obama will have to make do on his promises to many special interest groups. He will have to face an economy that is in the pits (thanks once again "W"). The Middle East is on the brink of another major war. Pakistan, our closest ally in the war on terror, is at the point of collapsing. You can paint our southern neighbor from hell with that brush also.

President Obama's tactic of dealing with a moribund economy is the same as his predecessor; throw money at it and hope something sticks. Spending taxpayer money is never the answer to economic problems. President Obama and his millions of admirers will soon find this to be true. However, to do nothing is likewise problematic. We are moving away from a Capitalist society (much to the delight of Democrats and socialists alike) to one of Socialism. We will move further left to become a country with a federal government that works to fix ALL the ills of the people of this country and, most likely, the entire world. I feel the results will be even more catastrophic than what we are experiencing under "W." Only time will tell if that is a correct assumption on my part.

I'm glad that President Obama has taken a "can do" attitude to this nation's problems. He's going to need that kind of attitude in the years to come. There is no quick fix to our problems. I hope, at least, people will give President Obama enough time to prove he is the man for this job...or that he is not. I have grave doubts and misgivings about a man with so little experience as this nation's Chief Executive. I hope he proves me wrong about him. I really do. It's entirely possible I'm wrong about him. But, he's filled people so much with the "hope" and "change you can believe in," it's going to be almost impossible for him to live up to the hype. We'll see soon enough.


Gratuities: Optional or Not?

Since I'm back on my strict diet (as part of my New Year Resolutions), I eat at Subway quite a bit. Another reason I eat there is because they have improved their menu. I eat there about two or three times a week now. It's a change for me and, like I say, they have improved their menu. I went there yesterday morning for the second time this week. They always have a container next to the cash register that has a sign which says “Tips Appreciated.” Sometimes I leave a tip if the service is fast.

I got a foot long sub combo with a chips and a couple of chocolate chip cookies (ok, sometimes I have to make an allowance on my diet) and a 32 ounce drink. It came to $11.22. I gave the Subway server a $20 bill expecting $8.78 in change. Well, I got the $8.00, but she kept the $.78. Now, I've seen this before. But, not at Subway. I told the server she still owed me $.78. She said, “That is my tip.” I told her that it is up to me to 1) decide if I want to leave a tip and 2) how much that tip will be. Now, it wasn't the money at all. It was her arrogance and the principle involved. I know she doesn't make much money. But, that was all beside the point. I told her I wanted the rest of my money. She pulled open the cash drawer and threw the change up on the counter with most of it landing on the floor. I told her that if she didn't pick up the change and hand it to me, I would be reporting her to Subway. She said, “It's your money, like you said. You want it, you pick it up.” I picked up the money and went out the door. Of course, after I got home, I called Subway Public Affairs. I told the Public Relations person about what happened. She said it is customary to leave tips. But, that the server was out of line and would be reprimanded (reprimanded???). I said if it is “customary” to leave tips, why isn't it just added to the cost of the meal itself? She said then it would not be a tip. A tip is voluntary, she said. I told her it is not voluntary when your own employees are taking the money without asking the customer. That is not a “customary” practice of any business I have ever associated with in my life. She didn't have much to add to that. She just said the employee would be dealt with about this “incident.”

I won't let this keep me from going back to Subway, of course. Subway has some fine people working for them, especially this couple from India that own a Subway a bit further from my home. I will be going there from now on to get my Subway sandwich. It just seems that if there is a jerk to be found anywhere in the world, he or she will somehow walk into my life these days. I just didn't expect to walk into that jerk in a Subway Sandwich store.


Guantanamo Revisited

Last year, I made a post simply entitled “Guantanamo.” You can read that article by clicking HERE. There were a couple of replies that defied logic or explanation. It appears that common sense is lost on some people. The Muslim fanatics at Guantanamo and elsewhere are not interested in negotiating. They have no interest in your welfare. They are interested in one thing; killing you in any way they can. Why then should we allow these animals the same rights as every law abiding American citizen? They are war criminals and should be tried as such. Instead, The Anointed One will soon close down Guantanamo which will effectively put the protection of the Bill of Rights over people who have killed Americans at war, at the World Trade Center and decapitated innocent civilians, both Iraqi and western, in Iraq.

Now, it appears that at least 61 ex-Guantanamo detainees (article link) have returned to their goal of world-wide terrorism according to the Pentagon. At least 18 have been verified as returning to fight in either Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere in the world. Another 43 are suspected of returning to Jihad the hell out of the world. Those figures aren't good enough for some. I have a healthy dose of skepticism whenever the government tells me this or that. I've been disillusioned about the government since Vietnam. But, the Pentagon has really nothing to gain by inflating these numbers. Obama is going to take our troops out of Iraq (and eventually Afghanistan) regardless of what is said here. He is going to close down Guantanamo. In fact, his campaign pledge was to shut it down in the first 100 days of his administration (although he has hedged a bit on that in recent days...big surprise there). The Pentagon has nothing to gain by inflating the recidivism rate. That is not stopping The Human Rights Watch from spouting “...need to be viewed with a healthy degree of skepticism.” Funny...if you read the article, they are wanting “details” to prove these “victims” at Guantanamo are innocent, flower picking citizens of the world. Yet, they offer no “details” by stating “Rights advocates contend that many Guantanamo detainees have never taken up arms against the United States...” Well, how in God's green earth would they know this? Did they go to Guantanamo and ask them? And they took their word they have never taken up arms against the USA? Asinine! And I thought “Code Pink” was as disgusting and ridiculous as it gets. They have competition now.

It's bad enough we have to fight an enemy who is hell bent on annihilating us at every opportunity. Their goal is simple; kill every non-believer of Islam. But, these purported “rights group” still worry about their rights and whether they are being tortured. My question to those that support these scum; will you still feel this way when the Muslim fanatics take your children or spouse to be decapitated? Somehow, I get the feeling you may have a different point of view if that were to happen due to one of those Guantanamo ex-detainees.


Beagle Puppies

I just absolutely love beagles. I bought my current beagle, Ralph, almost a year ago. He doesn't look like a puppy any longer. They grow up so fast!!! Like most beagle puppies, Ralph had one speed and that was WIDE OPEN at all times. I thought he was going to drive me crazy at first. He was always into things. One day, he came into the living room with a new roll of paper towels that I had carelessly left in a shopping bag on the floor next to the kitchen table. Paper towels reached from the kitchen to the bedroom and then into the living room where I was watching TV. I learned my lesson not to leave ANYTHING on the floor with Ralph there. Beagle puppies are like that. Maybe all puppy breeds are that way. I don't know. I just get a kick looking at the videos of them on youtube.

This video is a beagle puppy playing with a Rottweiler. I am not sure that Rottweiler is full grown. Otherwise, I don't think he would have tolerated that beagle puppy playing as fiercely as he was. In fact, if you watch the video, you'll see where the puppy got a little TOO playful with the Rottweiler. You'll see what I mean.


Tuesday's Rambling Thoughts – January 13, 2009

Guess what state had more people leaving than coming in to live? Michigan? Nope, despite dire job losses there, that isn't the one. New York? Nope. California? Yes indeed, the golden state had more net loss of people than any other state. Why? According to the article it is due to higher taxes, unchecked illegal immigration, and a traffic situation that is getting worse with time. For decades people went to California in search of a better way of life. During the Great Depression, men rode to California in search of work. It appears that won't be the case during this Great Recession we are now experiencing. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger keeps calling for higher taxes, relaxed enforcement of illegal immigration, increased social services with no way to pay for them. Now, he is paying the price. I don't understand why Arnold just doesn't go a head and join the Democratic Party. He espouses all they believe in anyway.

Speaking of taxes...it appears the days of avoiding taxes by buying online are about to end. It seems one of the big advantages of buying products online (beside avoiding big crowds) was you didn't have to pay any state sales taxes. But, with the economy in the shape as it is, state governments are desperate to find new revenue any way they can. One of the states pursuing taxes this way is New York. Amazon.com is suing the state in court over this action. Other online companies, such as Overstock.com are also suing state governments over collection of taxes. I don't see state governments gaining a foothold on tax revenue as quickly as they would like. There are many different tax jurisdictions they will have to overcome in order to collect taxes on citizens of their states. But, the day of wine and roses of buying online will be over eventually. This was the main reason I bought online. Initially, I was worried about buying online for security reasons. I now probably do at least 50% of my buying online due to the convenience and, of course, to avoid paying taxes.

In what will certainly go down as one of the more bizarre stories of 2009 (at least in my neck of the woods), a man wanted on fraud charges bailed out of his plane over Alabama and allowed the plane to crash near Milton, FL. Marcus Schrenker managed to convince police in Harpersville, AL he had been in a canoe accident and need assistance. The police, unknowing that he was wanted for fraud, helped him to a motel. When they found out who he was, he had already left the motel. I imagine once he is caught the FAA is going to want to tack on additional charges as well. It's a miracle that plane didn't crash into a neighborhood.

Finally, I was clearing out my hall closet yesterday when a book fell down and nearly creamed me on the head. When the book hit the floor, a letter popped out. It was an old letter from an old, dear friend. It was a letter from my old friend Barry who passed away not long after I started this blog last year. I won't rehash his story. You can read my eulogy to him HERE. It was a letter he had sent to me while I was boot camp in the U.S. Navy. It was dated July 7th, 1970. Barry and I had both gone into the Navy on the buddy plan. But, Barry couldn't handle the day to day routine for various reasons (most of which I blame on his mother). Barry lacked self-confidence. It hurt him his entire life. Barry was given a medical discharge from the U.S. Navy and sent home. But, back to the letter...Barry told me how proud he was of me and how much he looked forward to seeing me when I got home to Pensacola (where my family lived at the time). Being told he couldn't hack it in the military devastated Barry. He never really recovered from that. I sat down, read the letter and realized how much I miss my old friend. Most people are blessed with that one good friend in their life. Barry was that friend to me. I'll always miss him.


Global Idiocy

We live in interesting times. We live in a quite interesting world. People in this world think that President-Elect Obama is Abraham Lincoln, FDR, Gandhi, MLK Jr., all rolled into one. When Obama proves he is just a man, look for world-wide depression and reality to rule the day. But, this blog is not about Obama (it will in the future, you can count on that). This is all to point out how naïve people are in this day and time.

In an article of the New York Ti...eh, I mean, Pravda (that other bastion of objectivity) is reporting the earth is on the brink of another Ice Age. I could be wrong, but I recall this same warning from Time Magazine, Pra...er, The New York Times, and other tabloids of the 60s. Again, I could be wrong. Anyway, back to the story...”Many sources of data which provide our knowledge base of long-term climate change indicate that the warm, twelve thousand year-long Holocene period will rather soon be coming to an end, and then the earth will return to Ice Age conditions for the next 100,000 years.” Well, my goodness! What will the Global Warming zealots have to say about this?!?! I can hear the moaning and gnashing of teeth even as I type this story. I can imagine a war declared by each respective group. No doubt, the battleground would be in the Arctic north where the poor polar bears are sweltering in the heat and humidity.

In Great Britain we learn the Brits, and soon the much maligned French, are going to ban flat screen plasma TV's in it's ongoing effort to become more “green.” The Sunday independent further reports, “"Minimum energy performance standards" for televisions are expected to be agreed across Europe this spring, they say, and this should lead to "phasing out the most inefficient TVs". At the same time, a compulsory labeling system will be drawn up to identify the best and worst devices.” So, my British friends, if you don't have that big monstrosity to watch the next football match now, you better hurry up and get one. Pretty soon they will be taken off the shelves. I'm just curious if they are going to take the flat screen TVs out of the living rooms that have already been bought. Ok, I'm being facetious now. But, the Global Warming zealots do not surprise me in anything they do. Somewhere Al Gore is smiling...and counting his millions.

And, finally, not to be outdone, The Sunday Times of London reported that “Performing two Google searches from a desktop computer can generate about the same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea, according to new research.” You read that correctly. Doing two Google searches can lead to Global Warming. Oh, the added use of a computer, of course, adds to their lunacy. It wasn't enough that cows taking dumps in pastures contributed to Global Warming. Now, doing a Google search on cows taking dumps in pastures is responsible for Global Warming as well. I won't be around to see it. But, 50 years from now, people are going to look at this idiocy and just laugh their asses off in the same manner we do now at the “duck and cover” atomic bomb warnings in the 50s. You can count on it. Has the entire world gone stark raving mad?

Welcome to the 21st Century, President Obama.


Happy Birthday Elvis!

Elvis Presley would have been 74 years old yesterday
. Of course, some people think he is 74 years old right now on some remote island somewhere. Be that as it may, Elvis Presley's birthday was celebrated in Memphis, TN yesterday. People in my age group can remember where they were when JFK was assassinated, where they were when the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disasters took place and, most recently, where they were when 911 WTC disaster took place . We also remember where we were when the news came out that Elvis had died. He has far surpassed any earnings he made while he was alive. In fact, he topped Forbes Magazine of dead celebrities in earnings.

Even President-Elect Obama has gotten into the act. He has requested that the Elvis song, “If I can Dream,” be played during his inauguration. I was never a big fan of Elvis. I respected what he did; a poor country boy from MS who grew up to be a superstar like no other. Like so many people who went from poverty to overwhelming wealth, Elvis was unable to handle his celebrity status. So, he turned to drugs. He turned to food and the subsequent obesity. I prefer to remember the young Elvis, the Elvis who served his country (albeit as a super star entertainer) in the U.S. Army. I think that is the Elvis most people prefer to remember. That was the Elvis, the young Elvis, that the U.S. Postal Service used in the postage stamp celebrating Elvis life a number of years ago.

The song below is really the only song by Elvis I really like. In fact, this is one of my favorite songs. I know others have sung this song before. But, no one, I mean, NO ONE could sing it like Elvis. Sing it Elvis.....


Lawyers: You Just Gotta Love 'em

Realizing I could be stepping on some sensitive toes here and quite possibly stereotyping, I post this entry with caution. Oh, hell with it! Let's throw caution to the wind. Everybody's favorite whipping boy (or girl) is a lawyer. I mean, do people tell doctor jokes with the same enthusiasm as they do lawyer jokes? In fact, the best lawyer jokes I have ever heard came from lawyers. I won't go into a lot of detail about the disdain that many (maybe even most) Americans have for this profession. A lot of people dislike lawyers because the legal system is set up to give them a job. And, who do you have to deal with in the courtroom? A judge, who quite incidentally, happens to be a lawyer him or herself.

My late father left some land over in nearby Pensacola, FL to me and my two siblings. Unfortunately, his mistress declared the land should be legally hers because she was his common-law wife. After almost two years of fighting, our side eventually prevailed. But, not until lawyers on both sides got their pound of flesh. We had to sign paperwork that required the presence of our lawyer in Pensacola. Our first appointment to have this done was back in August of last year. He had some kind of family emergency and could not be present. Therefore, no signing of paperwork could take place. So, that was no problem. That sort of thing happens. We were rescheduled for October. I asked the secretary why the hell the wait for two months to sign documents that we were told wouldn't take over 10 minutes for all three of us to sign. She said Mr. XXX had other obligations that pushed this signing date back. Well, that really pissed me off. I said to have Mr. XXX call me when he got back to his office. Of course, I never heard from him. Our appointment in October was coming up and I called to make sure our lawyer was going to be there. Pensacola is over an hour's drive from our city. I didn't want to drive that far and find out he wasn't there. The secretary said she had been meaning to call me...Mr XXX had to fly to New York on that day on a matter. Now, I'm really pissed. I know it wasn't the secretary's fault. But, her nonchalant attitude irked me almost as much as the lawyer who didn't give a damn whether we got our money or not. Hell, he had already gotten his money. He didn't care. I told the secretary that to make one more appointment and Mr. XXX had better be there. No exceptions. I told her my next step would be to file a complaint with the American Bar Association in Pensacola. She realized I was serious now. Date was set for January 5, 2009. I was just too numb to even argue any longer. I told her Mr. XXX had best be there.

This past Monday, myself and my two siblings drove to Pensacola. We arrived at the office of the lawyer 15 minutes early. Mr. XXX was nowhere to be found. I was livid. I then asked her for directions to the local ABA office. It was at this time Mr. XXX walked in like nothing had happened. Congratulating us on the money, blah, blah. Of course, I wasn't going to let him off that easy. I blasted him right there in front of his secretary and a couple of clients. I'm not normally that abrasive. But, he deserved it.

Yesterday, I made a post about Ann Couter's freedom of speech and how NBC was usurping that right. Of course, if I had thought that through, I would have realized that as a private entity, NBC does not have to guarantee freedom of speech (or any right, I suppose) to Ann Coulter. Someone with the username of “kindledude” made the sarcastic comment “I love it when non-lawyers discuss the law. Always good for a laugh.” It was like he was saying, “Hey, look at me! I'm a lawyer and I know this stuff, you don't! And now I'm going to display my knowledge and what an ass I am all in one short post!” sigh....I know, I know. They are a necessary evil in one respect. And, I know not all lawyers are like the two I have mentioned. But, it sure as hell doesn't do anything to dissuade the perception myself and many others have of them. This has just not been a good week for me and lawyers. Maybe next week I'll feel differently.


Pembroke Welsh Corgi Puppy

I had never even heard of a Pembroke Welsh Corgi until Sunday afternoon. Wife of a friend told me to come over to see her new puppy, "Muffin." Not really wanting to see a dog named "Muffin," I tried to plead out of it. But, since she and her daughter had taken care of some household chores while I was down and out from my back surgery, I couldn't really say no.

So, I go there and saw another kind of dachshund to me. I had never even seen or heard of a Corgi. Seriously, I've always loved beagles or any kind of hound dog. But, it was hard not to be awe struck by Muffin. She came right up to me and wanted me to pet her. She is all of 8 weeks old and can conveniently fit in the palm of my hand. I have sometimes thought about another dog, if for no other reason than to keep Ralph company while I am gone during the day. But, since it has been the two of us since he was six weeks old (Ralph will be 9 months old on the 12th of this month), I'm kind of worried about Ralph's reaction to another dog in the house. Ralph, like most beagles, is extremely territorial. Any dog that even comes sniffing around get's him going! He's snapping, barking and trying to get through the fence to the dog who dared to intrude on his yard!!! So, I doubt I'll be getting a Corgi or any other dog. Ralph is enough.

I saw this video of a Corgi puppy and thought some readers might like it. Really cute puppy.


Tuesday's Rambling Thoughts – January 6, 2009

Ann Coulter
. I admit this woman gets on my nerves sometimes with the outrageous things she can say. Her comments after 9/11 were over the top. But, given the gravity of the moment, they were almost understandable. But, NBC banning Ms. Coulter from the “Today Show” because of her comments about the biased media (NBC just proved her book to be factual) and scathing criticism of President-Elect Obama, in her new book “Guilty”, led to the decision to ban her from NBC. I'm curious how many people NBC banned for life for criticizing President Bush. I would daresay there are none. There is this thing called the 1st Amendment. It appears it does not apply to people who dare to criticize the annointed one, President-Elect Obama. Is it any wonder why so many people are terrified not of PE Obama, but of his cult members? NBC's unprecedented action deserves condemnation by PE Obama. If he truly believes in the 1st Amendment, he will come out and criticize NBC for their action. Love her or hate her, Ann Coulter's freedom of speech should be protected and defended.

Another holiday season has come and gone. I enjoy Christmas and New Year's Day. But, like a lot of people, I'm always glad when it's over. This year buying gifts hurt even more due to a terrible economy. But, thankfully, Christmas comes once a year. Back in the 80s, merchants tried to turn a theme of “Christmas in July” on July 25th. There were furniture stores who had Christmas trees decorated in the front of the store and all the other Christmas ornaments associated with this season. People caught onto what this was all about; more commercialization of a sacred Christian holiday. It failed eventually. I'm sure there are still some merchants who practice this Christmas in July travesty. But, they are few and far between.

You can always tell when people get new computers in my neighborhood. Christmas brought more computers into homes. How do I know? My cable download speed is cut in half since before Christmas. Ordinarily it is in the 5-6MB a second. Sometimes it .5-2MB a second. Comcast has assured me they are working to correct this problem. But, I'm not sure what they can do other than put new cabling down which would cost millions of dollars. That's the bad news. The good news for me, since I do computer maintenance on the side, is more work.

Finally, I was gratified to find out over the past week there are still honest people in this world. The ice maker in my freezer had stopped working. No ice and, for some reason, no cold water coming through the spout for cold water. I checked everything I could think of to check. Water valve was wide open in back of refrigerator/freezer. I put in a new water filter. I checked a couple more things and still no ice or water. I reluctantly called a refrigerator technician to check it out. I was already hurting financially from Christmas. But, I can't make it without ice when I need it and I am too spoiled by that ice maker to use ice trays now. The technician came and within five minutes he had the ice maker working and water coming out the spout! He said that a small chunk of ice had gotten between a sensor and ice maker that caused the problem. Expecting a huge bill, I asked him how much I owed him. He said, “I think a smile and a handshake will suffice. Let's keep the Christmas spirit going just a wee bit longer.” Damn, I couldn't stop thanking him for that. And, yes, I gave him a big smile and a handshake.


Firefighter Accidentally Killed

One of the more bizarre stories of the new year occurred in Elizabeth, NJ. Firefighters were responding to a house fire. Firefighter Gary Stephens was directing the fire truck when the driver lost sight of him and instead focused on the fire. Gary Stephens got trapped underneath the fire truck. It took several attempts to free Mr. Stephens from the fire truck. Gary Stephens died at the hospital as a result of his injuries. This fire was started by a “homeless man” from Guatemala who had broken into the home. He started the fire to get warm.

The first reaction I'm sure people are going to have reading this story is sympathy for a homeless man who was simply attempting to get warm. Let's dig a little deeper. He was in New Jersey, a safe haven for all illegal aliens. He broke into a home. Breaking and entering is a felony. Emilio Vasquez is charged with arson, and murder. I don't see the murder conviction sticking, unfortunately. They would have to prove his actions were with malice. I don't see that. Most likely that will be downgraded to 1st degree manslaughter charge.

I'm sure people will say it was the fire truck driver's fault. There is some negligence there for sure. But, if not for an illegal alien in this country breaking into a house to start a fire, the firefighters would never have responded to that call. That is why I blame the illegal. He wasn't mentioned as illegal in the news report. It's not politically correct to do that. But, 2+2 still equals 4. He should get the maximum sentence by law. Unfortunately, it won't be due to murder. I feel it is unwise of the DA to try him on that charge. I hope, I sincerely hope if it is discovered this was an illegal alien, the family of firefighter Gary Stephens sues the hell out of the state of New Jersey over their illegal alien sanctuary law. How many more Americans have to be killed by illegals before the federal and state governments take action???

Oh, those of you who are illegal alien apologists who are offended by my venomous response..........I DO NOT CARE.


New Year Resolutions

Like many people, I've made my New Year Resolutions. I'd say I'm successful at maybe...MAYBE 1 out of 10 resolutions I make. I have good intentions when I make them. As the year rolls by, I forget what resolutions I even made. There are a couple that I made in 2006 that I still maintain. Without further adieu, my New Year Resolutions for 2009.

1)Diet. The never ending battle. I have to admit success in this fight. When I decided to finally do something about my weight, I was tipping the scales at 242lbs. I have hovered between 195-205lbs ever since. I'm trying to get back down to 195lbs again. I don't follow my diet as strictly as I did three years ago. But, I still stay away from sweets as much as possible. I avoid fast food restaurants except for my morning coffee at McDonalds.
2)Exercise. I started this New Year Day in 2006. I have become an avid workout demon now! In fact, if I miss a workout, I feel guilty the rest of the day. I credit this resolution to my better health and keeping that poundage off.
3)My temper. As mild mannered and laid back as I am, you would never guess I have a problem with my temper. But, it has been a life long problem. I have not been successful as I would like. It has caused a breakup with several women in my life. It's something I hope I can overcome someday. I vow to try even harder this year.
4)Patience. It's a good thing I'm not a doctor or I would starve to death due to my absolute lack of patience (ok, corny joke..haha). I think this goes hand and hand with my temper. Waiting is something that absolutely kills me to do!!! But, I have got to learn to be more patient. Last time I went to my doctor for a checkup, I made an ass out of myself. I had been waiting for about 30 minutes to go to a back room when I had enough. I went to the front desk and vented. Little did I know people before me had been waiting almost two hours that day...sigh. I've got to do better at this. And I am definitely going to try to be more patient in 2009.
5)Forgiveness. I'm a hard person to deal with when I feel I have been wronged by someone. I've got to understand that no one on earth is perfect, especially me. I've got to learn to forgive and forget. How many times have you heard people say they forgive you, but they won't forget it? What they are really saying is by not forgetting it, they are not forgiving. Color me that way. I especially need to follow through when I say I forgive someone. It's not easy for me to do. But, I intend to work especially hard on this in 2009.

I think those five should keep me busy this year. A couple I won't have much trouble with since I am currently doing both (diet and exercise). But, the other three are what I have to work on this year. I hope I am successful. I hope you are successful in whatever resolutions you have made for this year.


New Year's Day Reflections

When I was a young boy, New Year's Day meant college football, blackeyed peas (with the lucky dime in the peas), cornbread, more relatives that we didn't see on Christmas, fireworks and the dread of going back to school after about a two week layoff for the holiday season. As I graduated from school and went into the U.S. Navy, I really can't remember much about New Year's Eve/Day. For some reason, those days are a blur now. Ok, I went out on the town with my fellow sailors and brought in the New Year in style. I just remember I had fun. I remember New Year's Day 1972...Cam Rahn Bay, South Vietnam. I had been “volunteered” for riverboat (or swiftboat if you prefer) duty for a period of 12 weeks. I knew there was a 50% casualty rate for this type of patrol. I didn't think I would come back to see New Year's Day 1973. Somehow, I survived. There were many others who were not as fortunate.

Now as I steam full speed ahead toward the age of 60 in a couple of years, I think back not just on New Year's Day; but all the holidays I have somehow managed to be around to celebrate in one form or another. There are several friends from high school who are not around to celebrate this holiday or any other holiday. The same goes for many friends I made while I served this country in 'Nam. And, the same can be said of relatives. I have been blessed in ways I guess I never really thought about. I'm still alive and kicking for a new year. I have a little sister who will eternally be age 25. The last New Year's Day she celebrated was in 1989. My favorite uncle celebrated his last new year in 1986. My mother's last New Year's Day was in 1998.

I realize you are supposed to be cheerful and optimistic this time of year. I have no reason to be pessimistic despite a floundering economy. I know this blog entry is less than optimistic. And I don't mean to sound so morbid by pointing out those I have known through the years who are no longer around to celebrate the arrival of a new year. It's just that I wish all those beloved people were still around for the travels down the road of life. I miss all of them and I wouldn't give up all those warm memories for anything. In that respect, I suppose those people will never die as long as I am able to remember them. Ok, now I feel better! Happy New Year everyone!!!

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