Thursday, December 03, 2009

Win, Ducks, Win!

"OSU will fight till the end but WE WILL WIN!"

Roses, baby! We're going to Pasadena! Well, at least my team is. Oregon beat Oregon State tonight, 37-33. With that win, we clinch the PAC-10 championship outright, and seal a trip to the Rose Bowl.

I'm actually glad the game was close. over the last few years, the theme among OSU fans has been that the Ducks are the flashy, prima donna team, all show and no substance,while they, the Beavers, are therd-working, tough, scrappy team.

Well, tonight, the Ducks dispelled that myth. They trailed at half time, and came back in the second half. They held on late when OSU threatend again, and when it was gut check time, they passed -- on FOurth anf Three, Masoli took a broken passp lay and ran it for four yards. Three plays later, the Ducks got another crucial first down, and that was the game.

So well played, OSU, but better luck next time. Good luck in your bowl game -- I'd love to see a PAC-10 sweep.

We'll be doing our best to do our part in Pasadena.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Musical Geography Trivia Question

If like all the jolly good fellows, you drink your whiskey clear, from where are you?

The Muppets: Bohemian Rhapsody

The best thing I have seen in a long time!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dude Looks Like a (Lunch) Lady

I have something extra for which to be particularly thankful this Thanksgiving -- on Tuesday I found a second job -- I was hired on as a substitute cook for a local school district. Things are looking up!

Monday, November 23, 2009

An Almost Perfect End to a Long Night

A Savonelli, its bowl filled with a light cavendish. All that was missing was a snifter of brandy.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Musical Geography Trivia Question

If they were chopping them up and they were chopping them down, from where were they?

Gridiron Flip Flop

Sad day. My Alma Mater, the Douglas High School Trojans lost a squeaker to Sweet Home -- Congratulations to SHHS, you earned it.

On the other hand, the Ducks performed an incredible comeback to defeat Arizona, 44-41, in double OT! Way to go, Ducks! I'm still smelling roses!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hope and Change Smoke and Mirrors

FTFY, Mr. President.

A Tip of the Toque to Gaius at Blue Crab Boulevard.

Remember Obama's promise to bring transparency to government? Apparently, not so much. From a new article by ABC News:

Here's a stimulus success story: In Arizona's 15th congressional district, 30 jobs have been saved or created with just $761,420 in federal stimulus spending. At least that's what the Web site set up by the Obama administration to track the $787 billion stimulus says.

There's one problem, though: There is no 15th congressional district in Arizona; the state has only eight districts.

And ABC News has found many more entries for projects like this in places that are incorrectly identified.

Late Monday, officials with the Recovery Board created to track the stimulus spending, said the mistakes in crediting nonexistent congressional districts were caused by human error.

"We report what the recipients submit to us," said Ed Pound, Communications Director for the Board.


That's not mere human error. That's either laziness or intentional deception on the part of the recovery board for not verifying the claims before postingthem to a government website.

Meanwhile, over at the New York Times (of all places!), Ross Douthat points out the moving of goalposts by the administration:

...The stimulus bill was framed and sold primarily as a jobs bill, and the Obama administration placed a substantial bet on the promise that the unemployment rate would start dropping before 2010 arrived. When the stimulus passed with almost no Republican support, Rahm Emanuel, the president’s chief of staff, declared that “the most important number ... is how many jobs it produces, not how many votes it gets.”

He was right. But with unemployment near a 25-year high, that “most important number” isn’t looking very good. The White House is stuck arguing counterfactuals — how much worse the economy would be without the stimulus — and trumpeting obviously inflated estimates of how many jobs have been “created or saved” by federal dollars.


Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. I am the Great and Powerful Obama.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Forget Calgon...

After 10 1/2 hours on my feet, it was a hot bath and "IPA, take me away!"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Days

Happy Veterans Day to all the veterans who stop by and read me. Thank you for your service, it means the world to me. And a special message to my favorite veteran:


Happy Veterans Day, Dad.

I miss you.




Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Marines

Sorry I haven't posted earlier in the day. I had a busy one -- out enjoying that freedom you purchase for me, often with your very lives.

But don't think the day went unnoyiced, nor your sacrifices unappreciated. Those of us who live inside the walls on which you stand your watch are grateful, and we're keeping the hearth warm for you.

Come back to us safely. But if you cannot, know you will come home to an honored rest.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Batting .500

Ouch.

Stanford, no matter how badly they're doing, nor how good the Ducks are, has a knack for spoiling things for Oregon. Back in 2001, they handed the Ducks their only loss and knocked them out of the BCS championship game. Today they ended Oregon's winning streak,, and made it very possible for Oregon to gewt knocked out of the Rose Bowl. The Ducks hung tought, but just couldn't catch up after an early Stanford buildup.

On the other hand, I'm absolutely THRILLED with this week in high school football. My alma mater, Douglas High School, trounced their oldest rival, South Umpqua, 33-0, ending the season undefeated, and with outright ownership of the Far West League. They now get a first round bye before being the home team in the 2nd round of the OSAA division 4A state playoffs. Go Trojans!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

A Prayer for Fort Hood

Been at work all day so this is my first chance to post about the shootings at Fort Hood.

My heart breaks for the soldiers, families, and civilian workers involved in this tragic, horrible incident. It is one thing to go in harms way, to stand on the Thin Red Line between our homeland and those who woudl destroy her. It is another thing entirely to be ambushed while on her soil, on your own base, in the one place you should be safest and most succored.

My prayers are with you tonight. May God our Father in His infinite love and grace grant you comfort and guidance. May you rest in eternall bliss, far from the strife which you so willingly faced so that we may avoid it. Tears are not enough to express my sorrow for what has happened to you, but they are the only meager token I can offer.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Who's Gonna Pay Attention...

A Tip of the Toque to LMC at The Llama Butchers for this post, which got me on an old '80's music kick -- You remember the '80's, when hair was big, ballads were bigger, and the "M" in MTV actually meant "Music"? Yea, those '80's. Good times, good times.

So anyway, the whole '80's video wallowing I did made me reminisce on my amazing love life during the '80's. And by amazing, I mean amazingly dismal. I didn't have much luck with girls in my teens, or in my early 20's, for that matter. I had a few (count 'em on one hand) girlfriends, but they all dumped me after a very short amount of time. Most of my romantic activities during that era consisted of crushes on girls who thought I was a "great guy" but "more like a brother". Yeah, ladies, I'm looking at you.

This led to me being VERY much a connoisseur of the breakup/unrequited love subgenre of pop songs of the 80's, a time ripe with them, since the style of the time lent itself to sap and mauflin to begin with.

So I decided to compile a list of my top ten lost/never had love songs og the '80's. OK, Top 12 -- Twice two or more songs by the Same Artist get listed. On one occasion they share a spot, on another they each get their own ranking. Some of them I managed to pull right off the top of my head, some I had to research to be reminded, but in the end, these are the ones *I* came up with, with some commentary -- enjoy:

UPDATE:
I got a couple comments this morning, and another song I really liked back then was mentioned. Also this morning a forehead-slapper "How could I have forgotten that?" song came to mind, so I've decided to update the list, with some honorable mentions:

Honorable Mentions:

Falling from #9 (spot the reference), Against All Odds - Phil Collins
I never saw the movie, but it was a great song.

Owner of a Lonely Heart - Yes
An interesting refutation of the old "Better to have loved and lost" adage, and probably the rockingest song on the list. Great guitar and keyboard riffs in this song. Thanks, Robbo, for the reminder.

in the top 10:

10. All Out of Love - Air Supply
For me this song screams "Slow dancing with my homecoming mercy date who now has the heels of her palms against my shoulders and elbows lockled to make sure I don't try to dance too close".


9. . Careless Whisper - George Michael
The ultimate song about losing someone because you deserved to.

8. With or Without You - U2
A great song, an awesome video, one of the last ones where Bono still looks lean and hungry, which adds to the feel of the song. Too bad it was also in the period where he was standing on the precipice of Hubris.

7. Total Eclipse of the Heart/It's A heartache/Making Love (Out of Nothing at All) - Bonnie Tyler
Gee, Bonnie, got a theme going? But seriously, they all still get to me.

6. If You Leave - Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
It took me a long time to forgive John Hughes for not letting Ducky win Andie in the end -- mostly because I identified so much with Ducky. There were a lot of characters in Hughes movies who made me think, "My Gosh, that's ME! -- Cameron Frye in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Brian in The Breakfast Club, The Geek in Sixteen Candles...

(and coming in high after having originally been overlooked):
5. Don't Answer Me - Alan Parsons Project
Really creative video, very poetic lyrics, altogether a great song.

4. Drive - The Cars
The "You're gonna miss me" song.

3. Boys of Summer - Don Henley
This is the "I Miss you and I'm not ready to give you up" song.

2. Heart of the Matter - Don Henley
Same artist, different album, this one is almost a bookend to "Boys of Summer", and is about moving on.

1. I'm Still Standing -- Elton John
This was the song I sang or listened to whenever I was trying to tell myself I was better off without "her", whomever she may have been.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

WHO'S the Best Team in the PAC-10?

There was a slight change of venue for tonight's game between the University of Oregon Ducks and the University of Southern California Trojans. The game was scheduled to be played at Oregon's Autzen Stadium, but instead, the Ducks decided to hold it in the woodshed. You read that right -- Oregon 47, USC 20. As one announcer, whoj had been hyoing USC all night finally admitted in the fourth quarter, Orgon didn't just beat USC, they pounded them. The Ducks were the 300-lb. inmate named Len and the Trojans were his cellmate "Muffin".

Maybe now people will start paying attention to the entirety of Oregon's season instead of just their first game.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Quote of the Day

After the Republican landslide in the off-year elections of 1994, everyone said that the Republicans didn't know how to govern because they had been in the opposition for so long. Now you're trying to tell us they don't know how to put up an oppostition because they've been in power for so long. The real truth is that the Republicans don't know what to do when they're unfaithful to their conservative ideals. However, when they're true to those ideals, they know exactly what to do and how to do it. Just witness the Reagan administration.
- Aitch, in the comments section of my previous post.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pawlenty: Me Too! Me Too!

A Tip of the Toque to Gabriel Malor at Ace of Spades HQ.
Oh, goody! Pawlenty endorses Hoffman, now Hoffman has a chance! Pawlenty will attract moderates who were undecided! Our savior!

Bull.
Pawlenty did this because, frankly, he can't afford not to. Palin forced his hand. He wants to run in 2012, and whether it's as a candidate or a kingmaker, the 'cuda's established herself as a force to be reckoned with.
If she plays kingmaker, he needs to curry her favor by appearing to have all the proper Conservative cred.
If she runs, he can't let her take too much of a lead so soon, can't seem to have been "scooped" by her. If Hoffman wins, it's a feather in Palin's cap, and Pawlenty is trying to put an asterisk by Palin's assist -- "Yeah, she endorsed him, but who didn't? Who's to say it was her endorsement and not mine that put him over the top?" But I don't think the people he's trying to impress (conservatives) are going to be fooled.

As for the NRCC, who is endorsing a liberal RINO, screw 'em. We don't need a RINO to win over moderates -- we need a principled conservative who understands where to give a little and where to stand firm on principles.
When he was still alive, my father loved to watch football, rooted for his favorite teams passionately. But nothing pissed him off worse than when a team would sit on a lead. He especially hated the "Prevent Defense" -- he called it the "Prevent Winning Defense" He drilled it into me -- you don't play to not lose, you play to win.
The GOP is playing to not lose -- it's bending over backwards (and often just plain bending over) to avoid alienating anyone who might have at any point in the past, or might be considering anytime in the future, voting for anyone in ANY race who happens to have an "R" next to their name. Meanwhile, we're failing to stand up for the very things that once defined us as conservatives, and we're STILL not winning, because now the party is alienating the people it once felt it could safely rely on.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Back in Time

Friday I got to go down to Roseburg and attend my high school alma mater's homecoming game. I left early in the day and made a pilgrimage of it. I'll post pictures as soon as I get them developed, and talk a little more about the places I stopped.

And yes, we won, Douglas defeated Brookings-Harbor 40-28, and it wasn't even really THAT close -- BH's last touchdown came with less than a minute to go. Way to go, Trojans! They're 8-0 now and ranked in state -- #3 before the game, we'll see where they sit when the polls come out.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Musical Geography Trivia Question

If she finally quit living on dreams, where did she take off her ring?
(1 point each for the building, city, location, and place in the building)

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Missing Child

UPDATE: According to sources, the child was recovered safe in Eugene area. The Suspect is still outstanding.


SUSPECT:MendozaPaulino, Juan DOB 09/29/1981H/M, 5-10, 170, Blk Hair, Bro eyesTattoo of "Juan XVIII" on left arm.


VICTIM:Mendoza-Peebles, Shaeleigh DOB 06/30/2008LSW: Pajamas with white top and pink/brown pants.

At about 5:15 am this morning, Juan MendozaPaulino took his 18 month old biological daughter from her mother's residence in violation of a restraining order. The suspect has threatened in the past to kidnap this child and take her to Mexico. At this time, there are no associated vehicles for the suspect. He is associated with 2264 2nd Street in Springfield. This apparently is the residence of his aunt. A teletype has been sent to all western states and border patrol.

CONTACT:
Detective Jeff Roth
Eugene PoliceViolent Crimes Unit
541-682-5569

Not at the END of My Rope, but Developing Rope Burns

So I had my interview today. Eh. I was interviewed by both the director of food services and the exectuive chef. They seemed to like me, but the chef was unimpressed by the short order nature of the restaurants where I've worked, my lack of "Real" reataurant (his words) experience. Furthermore, my time in SO and institutional showed when I proved too rusty to answer a simple culinary question -- what are the 5 mother sauces, and how do you make a Sauce Mornay? I felt like a freaking IDIOT.

I'm getting damned discouraged, and I'm on the brink of looking again for some other career. Maybe I just wasn't meant to do something I enjoy. I mean, SOMEBODY has to be a drone.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Out of my Hole

It's been what, a month or so since I blogged? A lot has been going on, and I jut haven't had the mental energy to blog. Heck, I'm barely keeping up with reading my own favorite blogs that regularly.

I moved out a little over a month ago, and am living ina rented room. It's... well, it's different as an adult in his forties from living like this as a twentysomething.

It's a daily financial struggle, because I'm underemplyed, but things are looking up. I have an interview tomorrow with a very large, very well-funded local institution. It would also be only part time, but even if I can't make it fit around my current schedule, the increase in pay and the fact that they offer some benefits at as little as twenty hours.

I see The Lad 4-5 days a week, and up until recently had him for most of the day two of those days. I'm now being scheduled to work Saturdays, so Buddy day has been moved to Fridayand truncated -- I have him from 9:30 AM until I drop him off at the babysitter on my way to work at 5.

Trust me, I've been following politics recently, just haven't commented on them here. It's been interesting to say the least. SO much to address, I think I'll save it for individual posts.

Haven't been doing a lot of serious cooking outside of work these days -- bachelor syndrome, it's too much trouble to go to to cook for just one person. Although I did come up with an excellent "Doctored Ramen" recipe.

I've spent some time on Facebook, reconnecting with old friends from high schol AND college, and even one or two from jr. high and earlier. I've been humbled by the level of friendship people still extend to me after so man years of disonnectedness. The compassion and encouragement they offer me in both the situation with my marriage and my job hunt has been overwhelming. I was shy in high school, and never extended myself to my classmates in a substantial way, and I'm learning now just how much friendship I missed out on because of that.

In a smaller way, I'm also still amazed at the real genuine warmth shown to me by my blog readers, who surprisingly enough still show up to read and comment when I finally do post. Your graciousness is not unappreciated, and hopefully will soon be rewarded.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Quote of the Week

“It’s a good basic axiom that if you take a quart of ice-cream and a quart of dog feces and mix ’em together the result will taste more like the latter than the former. That’s the problem with the U.N.”
(A Tip of the Toque to Robbo at TPSAYE)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remember

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

This post was originally posted on 9/11/06. I am adding more to it today.
Three years ago, on the 5th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I joined the 2,996 Project, an effort to memorialize all of the victims of that horrible day. When I joined, I was given the name of a victim, and agreed to remember her on my Blog. The person I was assigned was:

Ann M. McHugh
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Age: 35
From: New York, NY
Killed at the World Trade Center
At the time, with my first year in Culinary School looming, that was all I had time or energy to post. As I read other posts contributed as part of the project, I was struck by the amount of care and research done by many people on behalf of their 9/11 victim. So I've decided to start looking deeper into the life of Ms. McHugh, and share with my readers, as time goes by, what I can find out about her.
Ann Marie McHugh came to the United States from [Ireland]. She was born in 1966 and died in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. She worked in the World Trade Center for Euro Brokers Inc. Her body was not found.
Also, a commenter back in 2006 shared this:
I'm not sure if I'm intruding by doing this, but she was more from Ireland than New York, and her sister's old blog is here, and her new blog is here.The old blog links directly to an old post you should probably read.
The old Blog link he posted was to a specific post, and the link is broken, but here's the link to that old blog's main page.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Y'all got on this boat for different reasons, but y'all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything, I know this - they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, ten? They'll swing back to the belief that they can make people... better. And I do not hold to that. So no more runnin'. I aim to misbehave."
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds, 'Serenity'

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

R.I.P Ted Kennedy

Ted Kennedy has died of brain cancer. He was 77. Whatever you thyought of his life, his career, his politics, or his controversies, it's over now. From here on out it's between him and his Maker. My prayers are with those who loved him.

Monday, August 24, 2009

If you hear the Mariachi static on your radio and the tubes they glow in the dark, where are you?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Musical Geography Trivia Question

I was sick and tired of everything when I called you last night from where?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Quote of the Day

"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember it or overthrow it."
-- Abraham Lincoln, 4 April 1861

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Info Blegging

Something I've always wondered regarding German armored vehicles from WWII: a lot of times you'll see the designation of the vehicle end with the term "Ausf." followed by a letter -- e.g. Pz.Kpfw.Tiger Ausf.E. I assume it's a designation similar to the American "Model" or British "Mark", but what is the literal translation?

Just for my own satisfaction.

Quote of the Day

"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government -- lest it come to dominate our lives and interests."
- Patrick Henry

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Only in Eugene...

...will you see a Prius with an NRA membership sticker.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Musical Geography Trivia Question

Not too many horns can make that sound. Where are they?

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Public Service Announcement

I have been putting this blog post off for a while, hoping I wouldn't have to post it, not knowing when or how to broach the subject, but the time has come when I have to address it, because the topic of it will be something that directly affects me on a daily basis, and hence will have an impact on my blogging.

My wife and I are getting a separation. the paperwork will be filed this week, and I will be moving out as soon as a few practical issues have been addressed.

The goal at this point is to gain perspective and seek counseling ofor both of us. Reconciliation is still a possibility.

The reasons for the separation are complex, and neither one of us is entirely without fault nor completely to blame.

I do not intend to air our dirty laundry here any further, and ask that any readers who know us personally refrain form taking sides or making personal comments regarding either of us in my comments. My wife and I may have our issues, but they are ours, and as the mother of my son I still respect her and her privacy.

Please pray for both of us and especially for our son.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What's The Frequency, Kenneth Herr Goebbels?

OK, I know I said I wouldn't be blogging, but this was just to ripe a fruit not to pluck.

From the Aspen Daily News: Dan Rather wants Obama to help save the news.

From itself?


Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather called on President Barack Obama to form a White House commission to help save the press Tuesday night in an impassioned speech at the Aspen Institute.

“I personally encourage the president to establish a White House commission on public media,” the legendary newsman said.



We could call it something like, "The Ministry of Information"! Yeah!

Such a commission on media reform, Rather said, ought to make
recommendations on saving journalism jobs and creating new business models to
keep news organizations alive.


Here's an idea for a way to save journalism jobs: BE JOURNALISTS, NOT PROPAGANDISTS!

Corporate and political influence on newsrooms, along with the conflation of news and entertainment, has created what Rather called “the dumbing down and sleazing up of what we see on the news.”



Do you think that maybe some of that "sleazing up" can be attributed to the media's whoring itself out to one political ideology, Mr. "Fake but accurate"?

The free press, as established by the First Amendment to the Constitution, ought to operate as a public trust, not solely as a money-making endeavor, Rather argued, and it’s time the government make an effort to ensure the survival of the free press. If not the government, he suggested, then an organization like the Carnegie Foundation should take it on. Without action, he predicted, America will lose its independent media.



So let me get this straight -- the way to ensure a free press is to have the government control it? how very Soviet in your logic, Dan.

“If we do nothing more than stand back and hope that innovation alone will solve this crisis,” he said, “then our best-trained journalists will lose their
jobs.”



So that's what it really comes down to. Dan's worried about his buddies' paychecks. When he says "Best-trained", just filter it as "Most thoroughly indoctrinated" and you'll see what the real crisis for Dan and his ilk are. Because the fact is, Mr. BLather, innovation alone IS solving the crisis. From alternative news outlets, to the blogs, to the way that social networking sites like Twitter were used to get the news out of Iran when the government there had shut down traditional journalists, innovation is driving changes in how information gets out. The old legacy media no longer holds the information monopoly. And THAT is what Dan Rather REALLY wants Obama to save.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Things Fall Apart, the Center Cannot Hold....

Dealing with some personal issues, sorry for the blogging break. I'll be back when I can.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Quote of the Day

"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than
the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels
or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit
lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!"

- Samuel Adams

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Musical Geography Trivia Question

I'll get a standing ovation from the people,
When I start to sing my song,
When I turn 'em on where?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Wall-to-Wall Wednesday

Proof positive that we were slammed all during the dinner shift: I can still feel the residual greae in my eyebrows.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Chicken or the Egg of Power Politics

Everyone knows the old saying that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It's accepted wisdom, and our culture not only accepts it, we promulgate it in our popular mythos -- Citizen Kane, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington -- and and attention paid to the way things are done in D.C. seem to merely reinforce the assertion.

But recently I've begun to question whether we might have the paradigm reversed. Take a look at the corruption rampant in government, especially in the highest levels of government, and ask yourself if the people involved truly were corrupted by their power, or were many of them corrupt to begin with, and used corrupt methods to get where they are? Look at the political strategies used to win elections -- destroying your opponents personally, lying, voter fraud, the list goes on and on.

I'm beginning to believe that power does NOT corrupt. Rather, sadly enough, corruption empowers.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Glimpse of the Future

Socialized Medicine in America

Democratic Redefining of Words...

This time it's not a question of what the meaning of the word "is" is... it's the word "Immdiately".

Friday, July 17, 2009

Protection Racket

A tip of the Toque to Gateway Pundit via Pundette:

IBD Editorials has sounded the alarm regarding a very disturbing little paragraph in the Obama healthcare package:

...The provision would indeed outlaw individual private coverage. Under
the Orwellian header of "Protecting The Choice To Keep Current Coverage," the
"Limitation On New Enrollment" section of the bill clearly states:


"Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance
issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if
the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day" of the year
the legislation becomes law.



So let me get this straight. If you want insurance, your choices will be to stick with what you have, find work for a company that provides group insurance, or go on the government plan. If you HAVE a n existing individual plan, and you decide to make any changes to it, your choices are narrowed down to two: the governmnet plan, or a corporate group plan. And if you work for a company that doesn't have a plan, or goes with the government plan, or if you want to be self-employed, your choice is down to one -- the government plan.

But this is all about "preserving choice", not forcing socialized medicine on everyone.

And it gets better:

Fox News: Americans who refuse to buy affordable medical coverage could be hit with fines of more than $1,000:

Americans who refuse to buy affordable medical coverage could be hit with
fines of more than $1,000 under a health care overhaul bill unveiled Thursday by
key Senate Democrats looking to fulfill President Barack Obama's top domestic
priority.


So not only are your options narrowed down to one plan, you're going to be fined if you don't choose a plan -- but there's only one plan to choose from. How is this NOT forcing us all into a government-run socialist program?

I absolutely LOVE the 1984-esque terminology:

Called "shared responsibility payments," the fines would be set at least
half the cost of basic medical coverage, according to the legislation. The goal
is to nudge people to sign up for coverage when they are healthy, not wait until
they get sick.


The Nanny State meets the Protection Racket. This administration aned congress are like Mary Poppins and John Gotti on a cross-country spree. They're like Boy Scouts gone bad -- they're going to help the little old lady across the street, and htey're going to bust her kneecaps if she declines.

This is what you voted for, America. This is what you elected. Did you really want this, or were you tricked, were you seduced, were you awed by the facade marble columns and the stern gaze into the future? Well, either way, this is what you brought upon yourselves.

Hope?

Change?

Meddling.

Coercion.

Are you going to stand for it? Has Obama made an offer you can't refuse?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel Is Just Scratching the Surface

A tip of the Toque to Gaius at Blue Crab Boulevard.

The WSJ has published an excellent OpEd piece by Mort Zuckerman on why the unemployment figures alone don't tell the whole sad story. I left a comment over at BCB, and I'm going to repost it here to share my personal perspective on what Zuckerman is saying, especially when he writes:

- The number of workers taking part-time jobs due to the slack economy, a kind
of stealth underemployment, has doubled in this recession to about nine million,
or 5.8% of the work force. Add those whose hours have been cut to those who
cannot find a full-time job and the total unemployed rises to 16.5%, putting the
number of involuntarily idle in the range of 25 million.

Count me among those underemployed who have accepted part-time work out of desperation. After taxes, I’ll be taking home almost exactly what I was drawing from UI each week, but there’s something psychologically lifting about earning it as opposed to “receiving” it.

One of the things I’ve noticed that I don’t hear being discussed is how this unemployment level is allowing the few employers who ARE hiring to be much, much pickier about whom they hire. On one end of that spectrum, I can recall at least 2 or 3 jobs where I was told that htey really really liked me, but that someone else had been JUST THIS MUCH more ideal for the job. On the other hand, one place where I interviewed later informed me they had decided to reject ALL their interviewees and re-post their ad, confident they’d get a new crop of applicants.

This means that less experienced workers, entry-level people (even people like me who have just recently finished training in a new career) have to compete with more seasoned workers for jobs that used to be our chance to get a “foot in the door”.

It also means that employers can, and do (often of necessity) offer lower per hour wages for jobs that used to pay much better.

So yeah, the official unemployment figures alone do NOT tell the complete story. And that story is even bleaker.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Musical Geography Trivia Question

Where did you pull out of late one night, if the moon and the stars was shinin' bright, and where was you drivin' if you were passing cars like they was standing still?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Quote of the Day

"India and China are both experiencing a sort of rebirth after centuries of
neglect and decay, but that doesn’t mean they are “teenagers” on the world
stage. As a matter of fact, both countries’ refusal to jump on the self-abnegation in the name of Climate Change (peace be upon it) bandwagon might actually stem from ancient cultural awareness of what constitutes bullshit."


- Andrea Harris, at Spleenville, regarding Indian and Chinese reticence to jump on the Global Warming bandwagon

Brave New World

A Tip of the Toque to Gatordoug at The Daley Gator.

And I thought Al Gore wask nutters. But apparently, the man that Community Organizer in Chief Obama has picked as his head advisor on science and policy issues is... well, just scary.

These ideas (among many other equally horrifying recommendations) were
put forth by
John Holdren, whom Barack Obama has recently
appointed Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy,
Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, and Co-Chair of the
President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology -- informally known as
the United States'
Science Czar. In a book Holdren co-authored in
1977, the man now firmly in control of science policy in this country wrote
that:


• Women could be forced to abort their pregnancies, whether they wanted
to or not;

• The population at large could be sterilized by infertility drugs
intentionally put into the nation's drinking water or in food; • Single mothers
and teen mothers should have their babies seized from them against their will
and given away to other couples to raise;

• People who "contribute to social deterioration" (i.e. undesirables)
"can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility" -- in other
words, be compelled to have abortions or be sterilized.

• A transnational "Planetary Regime" should assume control of the
global economy and also dictate the most intimate details of Americans' lives --
using an armed international police force.



And this is the man who has the ear of the most powerful man on the planet.

Hope.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Gainfully Employed

I just got a call from a place where I interviewd yesterday -- I've been hired. I start training on Monday. It's only part-time for now, so my paychecks will probably not be any more than my unemployment chacks have been, to start, but the hours should go up in the fall, it's a foot in the door, and quite honestly, money earned at a job feels better than unemployment insurance.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Smooth Move, O!

A Tip of the Toque to Gaius at Blue Crab Boulevard.



Not to be known as merely a domestic policy whiz, Obama has set out to be a master of global politics as well. And what a success that's been! The latest? At the G8 summit in Italy, he gave Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi the brushoff. One of America's staunchest allies over the past 60 years has been Italy, and this is how he treats her leader? Amazing.



So he snubs an ally, but is buddy buddy with anti-American tinpots, and toadies up to dictators.

Meanwhile, his reaction to the violent supression of Iranian students protesting their stolen election was timid and cautious out of a desire not to appear "meddling", but as soon as the Supreme Court and military of Honduras, with popular support, moves to prevent their president from circumventing their constitution, Obama and his SoS jump RIGHT into the fray in support of the would-be usurper. What happened to not wanting to appear meddling, Prez?

So this is what Obama meant when he said in his campaign that he wanted to restore America's image. And he HAS -- right back to the way it was in the Carter years, when our image was of a has-been superpower who abandoned its friends and caved in to totalitarian bullies.

And the world has taken notice of this "Restoration". Iran has stepped up its rhetoric and forged ahead with its nuclear program, N. Korea has defiantly tested new missiles -- some on the Fourth of July, the significance of which is, I'm sure, intentional on their part. And our European allies have accepted that if they're going to get out of the hole they've dug for themselves, they're going to have to do it themselves, without relying on America as they have been -- witness the leadership displayed by people like the German Chancellor in response to the Iranian protests.

How (not) to win friends and influence people.

UPDATE:

It gets... better?

If Only

*Sigh*

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Reading? Don't Make Congress Laugh

A Tip of the Toque to Gatordoug at The Daley Gator.

Apparently, House Democrats find the idea of reading a bill before voting for it amusing. Not just dismissable, as it was when they approved the stimulus bill, but this time, regarding the massive health care bill, completely laughable.

This is the telling comment:

“If every member pledged to not vote for it if they hadn’t read it in its
entirety, I think we would have very few votes,” Hoyer told CNSNews.com at his
regular weekly news conference.


Well, gee, Congressputz, does that tell you something about the bill?

We elect you and pay you, ostensibly, to actually consider the legislations put before you carefully, soberly, and decide on them after you are sure you understand their ramifications and believe they are the right course. And your response to that expectation is to laugh in your constituents' faces?

I hope the good people of Maryland remember this come 2010, and laugh all the way to the polls as they throw this bum out. And I hope the rest of America's voters consider what their own congresspeoples response in this situation would be.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Where I to publish a text simliar to the Declaration of Independence, and call it my “manifesto,” I would undoubtedly be placed on numerous watch lists as a fringe extremist!"

- Steve B at Tattered Bits of Brain

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Quote of the Week

"National office will dwindle down to the unhealthily singleminded (Clinton, Obama), the timeserving emirs of Incumbistan (Biden, McCain) and dynastic heirs (Bush). Our loss."

- Mark Steyn at NRO

Go read the whole thing. It sums up in a much more erudite anf far less angry ranty way my own feelings regarding Sarah's resignation -- although I think he captures the right level of bitterness very well.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
[Happy Fourth of July. Please don't forget what makes it special. - BNS]

Friday, July 03, 2009

Anchors Aweigh

On this most important of weekends for AMericans, I am posting this in memory of my father and grandfather, both of whom served in the Navy.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sweet and Fresh

I finally got around tonight to working on a recipe I've been mulling over in my head for quite some time. The idea was to take a savory dish and make a sweet dessert version. It started back when I noticed the similarity in appearance between the juices of two specific fruit. From there, I thought about parallels in appearance and texture between other sweet and savory produce. The result was a tasty cold dessert soup:

Fruit Gazpacho

2 cups pureed seedless watermelon
1/2 cup seedless watermelon, fine dice
(even seedless watermelon has a few seeds -- I know -- so make sure they're removed)
2 kiwi fruit, peeled and fine dice
1 large Fuji apple
1/4 cup strawberries, fine dice
1 tbsn sugar
1 pinch salt
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp finely chopped fresh spearmint

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the apple. This is an inmportant point since the lime juice will prevent the oxidation of the apple. Peel, core, and dice the apple (fine dice). Serve in a chilled bowl and garnish with mint sprig.

Serves 4-6

Monday, June 29, 2009

Job Hunt

Had an interview on Thursday and two more today -- a retirement home, a residential facility for mentally handicapped adults, and a winery restaurant. All three have positives and negatives to them. I'll hear back starting around Friday.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Portland, Oregon

Jack White and the great Loretta Lynn. Pity country stations wouldn play this or any song off her album "Van Lear Rose", because it didn't fit their definition of "country" (which these days is damned little else than pop with a southern twang), and ironic that an icon of rock music, a genre so often mocked by "country" singers, showed her greater adoration.

Miss Loretta, Ma'am, thank you for the song.

The Sunset Side of the Mountain

My sentiments exactly. As a country western fan, I've grown tired of the way "country" music has evolved to represent southerners as the last vanguard of rural America. Despite the "Left Coast" culture of our cities, the Western US is still very much country.

And yes, we really are the sons and daughters of the pioneers.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Where There's Smoke There's Flavor

Fired up the Old 97 (my smoker) today and made pulled pork from a picnic ham -- not as good as a Boston butt would have been, but I was nonetheless please with the outcome. I've become much better at pulled pork and ribs than at brisket. And strangely enough, I'm ok with that, since in the last couple of years I've developed a preference for pork over beef. And I'm still perfecting my Northwest riff on barbecue. Tonight it was pulled pork (smoked with alder, cherry, and apple) with blackberry barbecue sauce and coleslaw with dried cranberries on potato bread, sweet corn on the cob, and grilled asparagus. Of course we had sweet tea, but I think if I really want to go with the Northwest theme, I should be growing and making my own spearmint tea.

I Love My State, But I Think We Should Start Seeing Other People

A Tip of the Toque to ZZMike in the Comments over at Oregon Guy:

Even the folks at the Wall Street Journal are noticing how bad things are here in lil' ol' Oregon. Now those of you who aren't local can see why the job hunt has been so challenging for me. Unemployment almost as high as Michigan, taxes higher than anywhere but New York City? I'm not sure how much longer we can keep this up. Right now TFR's income is keeping our heads above water, but since she works in a "luxury" service industry, on commission, she's been seeing smaller paychecks, and we're starting to have to make decisions about what we can afford to keep doing or not. Unless things get better soon, we don't know if we can even afford to stay.

But where can we go? My family live in... wait for it... Michigan. And eleven years in San Diego taught me something important: I can't live somewhere that makes me miserable, no matter how much I make. Maybe for a year or two, but not for much longer. Oregon is the only place I've ever felt was "Home", and the things that define it regionally are the very properties that make it feel that way -- the forests and mountains, the pace of life, the solitude, the mild climate. I would be hard-pressed to find anyhere else with this combination of facotrs.

But unless things pick up for TFR and I find work soon, I may have to bite the bullet and start looking beyond Oregon.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Bring The Noise

Ok, I got this idea from a comment on Fox News. I'm not sure how effective it is, but it's worth a shot.

Most, in fact almost all, of the information coming out of Iran regarding the uprising is being sent via the internet, mostly social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. and the government is doing everything they can do to crack down on it -- tracking down the tweeters, bloggers, etc., and doing what they can to shut them down.

So the suggestion that was made was for those of us in the west who blog, twitter, facebook, etc. to change our location to Tehran and our time zome to GMT+3:30. The idea is that any time you post, it creates one more hit that appears from within Iran that the authorities there have to investigate and try to block (good bloody luck, you savage bastards: I'm out of your reach. Here's hoping you fail in your attempts to quell your people's urge for freedom).

So if you're reading this, and you blog, or tweet (or whatever it's called on Twitter), or have Facebook or MySpace, I'm asking you to follow suite and change your settings. And if you're an Iranian who stumbles across this site, we're with you: The world is watching, the world is behind you, the world wants you to win your freedom. And if you're an Iranian censor, here's hoping I made your job all that much harder.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Obama Plays Neighbor to Iran's Kitty Genovese

A Tip of the Toque to Another Black Conservative.

Dammit.

Apparently, the pleas of the Iranians mean squat to Obama. He's afraid that anything he does, or hell, even SAYS, stronger than expressing "concern", will appear to be "Meddling". The presidential election of a country on the verge of being a nuclear power is stolen, its people take to the streets in hundreds of thousands, if not millions, only to be attacked by truncheon-wielding security forces, and he's worried that we might offend someones sensibilities.

Go back to my post yesterday, and follow the link to Boston.com's photo essay. Click on the photos that have the strong content warning. Tell me that isn't more offensive than anything the President might say to Iran.

Meanwhile, IowaHawk converts Obamas politicospeak into sports lingo.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Quote of the Day Decade

A tip of the toque to the Llama Butchers.

"I CRY SO MUCH.I SHOUT VERY LOUD.I DIE EVERY DAY....
YAS,IM AN IRANIAN GIRL.
HELP US.SOMEONE HELP US.THEY KILL MY BROTHERS.THEY KILL MY SISTERS.THEY KILL MY PEOPLE.SOMEONE HELP US.
SOS
SOS
SOS
SOS
SOS
SOS
SOS
SOS
SOS
SOS
SOS"

- Melika, a commenter at a Boston.com article on the protests in Iran.

If this doesn't break your heart, I have no hope for you. Don't turn your heads. Don't wait for it to pass. Keep watching, keep speaking out, keep supporting the Iranians, keep the fires burning.

Moments like this only happen once in an era for any country. What happens next is still up in the air. This could be another Boston Tea Party, another Velvet Revolution, another Berlin Wall falling down -- or it could be Prague 1968, it could be Russia, it could be the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror, it could be another... Tiananmen. Does the uprising survive? Is it crushed? Does it evolve into Democracy, or does it devolve into chaos? Time will tell. But one thing is for sure: If we in the West do not support the Iranians, do not help them get the word out, do not put pressure on our politicians to keep up the pressure on the government of Iran, Iran very well COULD end up being just another Tiananmen, a massacre at the hands of the security troops.

The Iranians are shouting: they're shouting for their freedom; their voice; their vote. But they're also crying: crying for help; for succor; for shelter; for support.

Don't turn a deaf ear to them now. Don't think that if we let them fall back into tyranny and terror that we won't pay the price ourselves some day. "Then they came for the Jews...."

Friday, June 12, 2009

Feeling Pretty Down

Received an email rejection today for a job for which I interviewed just before we left for Florida, one I really wanted. So far, since the layoff, I've submitted close to 50 resumes and applications, and only had 3 interviews. In one of those three, I was rejected before the interview was over, and in the one that was mildly promising, I'll probably have to settle for part-time work instead of full-time, because of this trip.

One of these days I'm going to write an autobiography, and entitle it "How to be Worthless by 40".

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Finally Got to See Gators

Yesterday we went for a nature walk/interpretive tour at Six Mile Cypress, a 9-mile long slough that leads from the Caloosahatchee (sp?) to the Gulf. Among the different things we saw were several young (1-2 years old) alligators. Today we went to a working ranch and nature preserve called Babcock Ranch and saw several adults, including a big 7-footer. We also got to hold and pet one young gator they've been using for orientation presentations, he'll be ready to release soon. I was amazed at how soft their skin is.

Tomorrow we visit the Ford & Edison Winter Estates, where my in-laws are volunteer docents. Saturday's a rest day, Sunday and Monday will be spent at Busch Gardens in Tampa, and Tuesday we fly home.

Tomorrow I'll be hearing back about the job opportunity for which I interviewed just before leaving. I'll let you all know how it goes.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Having Now Tried Gator....

No, it DOESN'T taste like chicken. At least, not to me. OK, maybe a little like dark meat chicken, but it reminded me more of very tender pork, with maybe just a hint of chicken and catfish to it. A little sweet, surpisingly tender. I'd have enjoyed more of it, but The Lad wolfed down half the plate.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Gulf Coast Impressions

Well, as of tomorrow, I'll have been on the Gulf Coast of Florida for a whole week, and so far my impressions have been favorable. Sure, in some ways it has disappointed, but it has pleasantly surprised me just as much, and lived up to my expectations in other ways, so on the average the impression is favorable:

The one thing I wanted to see more than anything else was a wild alligator. Has not happened yet.

I have been told repeatedly by my wife that this is a much better place than the Pacific for hunting for seashells. While I readily admit that the variety of shells here is far greater than in the cooler waters of the Pacific Northwest, the surf here has proven so far to be as harsh as any with regards to the natural destruction of shells.

Florida drivers are frickin' insane. Seriously -- they scare me, and not in an "I'm impressed and intimidated" way, but in an "I fear for my life" way.

Ft. Myers reminds me of a cross between San Diego and Houston, but with a fraction of the population. Ft. Myers Beach in particular reminds me of Mission Beach/Mission Bay in San Diego, and Sanibel and Captiva Islands remind me a lot of Coronado. But with smaller crowds. And friendlier people. And humidity.

Lord, have sweet mercy, the humidity. And it isn't even "bad" yet. Thank Merciful Jesus I'll be gone before that benchmark is reached.

Haven't seen a gator yet. I want my money back.

It's odd to be in a place with an about even mix of southern and New York/New Jersey accents. Every time I meet someone, I'm waiting to see if they'll greet us as "Y'all" or "Youse Guys".

I can't compare it to Oregon, it's like apples and oranges (never was there a more fitting metaphor, given we're talking about Florida and the Pacific Northwest), but I can compare it to California, and may my mother forgive me, but I think I prefer Florida. With a caveat:

If you only want to, or can only afford to, live in one place year round, and want more varied options in terms of act9vities, including activities normally not associated with beaches or the troppics, pick Cali. Skiing, wine country, the desert, mountain climbing, Yosemite, etc. If you can pull off the snowbird thing, or are happy with a warm, summery, beach-style lifestyle, head for Florida. I swear I'm transmorphing into Jimmy Buffet. This plase is like (San Diego-Crowds)x(affordability+friendliness).

Yesterday was my 41st Birthday, and after taking me to dinner, the Inlaws gave us a walking tour of Downtown Ft. Myers. Friday nights is Art Walk night, so all the galleries were open to the public late, and giving out free hors d'ouevres and minimally priced "Adult refreshments". Relax, California and ORegon, wine is the one arena in which you still kick Floridian hiney. HOWEVER, I have a new favorite cigar maker. Rocky Patel is out of Bonito Bay, Florida. His Connecticut 1997 (Connecticut shade wrapper, Nicaraguan filler) was one of the smoothest, mildes smokes I've ever had, and it was only $8 in a shop where my old fave (the Macanudo Hampton Court) was $11, yet the Rocky compared favorably to it.

I haven't been following politics too closely. Did Obama apologize for American arrogance and aggression in invading France, a country that wasn't even our enemy, back in 1944?

Anyone know where I can see an alligator?

I even got flirted with last night, by someone other that TFR. A woman complimented me on my Panama hat (authentic, made in Ecuador as all real Panama hats are), and gave me that sly, sweet smile. Obviously, I merely thanked her and went my merry married way, but still and all, it was a damned nice boost to what is these days a very bruised ego.

Florida's too damned flat for me to live here year round, but I could see myself snowbirding some day.

Speaking fo the flat terrain, it's weird being able to see weather coming, and going, and missing you by miles, so far off. As a son of the mountains, I'm used to having my weather give me maybe 10 minutes warning, tops, before it's on top of me.

Still waiting for my gator sighting.

But tomorrow, I get to eat what I have not yet seen -- they appearently serve gator nuggets at the Ft. Myers flea market. Yum....

Really wish we could get down to the Everglades before we head home, but we don't have the money for an airboat, and without that, I'm not sure it's worth the trip.

I am still in communications with a job opportunity back home that I really, really, really, REALLY want. Keep me in your thoughts/prayers.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Where's Sous-do?

As you may have noticed, I haven't blogged in nigh unto a month. So where am I, ad up to what have I been?

Well, as you all know, I was job searching immediately following my layoff from the school job. I found a tentative part-time position, starting later in June, but in the meantime I'm still exploring other options.

All of that is on hold for the time being.

Well prior to the layoff, TFR booked us tickets to visit her parents, starting on the 31st of May and extending until June 16th. That is where we currently are -- the tickets are non-refundable.

My In-Laws live in Ft. Myers, Florida.

The trip has had its ups and downs -- mostly ups -- but let us dispense with the downs.

To save money on airfare (a significant amount), we took the red eye from Portland to Houston, leaving at 11:45 PM PDT and arriving at IAH at 5:30 AM CDT. I did not sleep a wink. I finally slumbered on the drive from Tampa to Ft. Myers. I still have not completely adjusted to the time change, and find myself unable to sleep at night and nodding off at various inopportune moents throught the day.

On the other hand...

I've slept in every morning. Happy hour starts at 4 PM. Daily activities consist of lounging by the pool, swimming in the pool, grilling near the pool, and eating/drinking as we gaze at the beautiful sky beyond the pool.

I'm partially wresting with guilt and frustration generated from not yet being gainfully employed, but between months of unabated work and weeks of nearly fruitless job searching, this is my first real vacation in quite some time. I'm also enjoying the Florida climate more than I expected -- this early in the season, it's not THAT muggy yet. I could easily see myself wintering in Florida and summering in Oregon.

Hell, if I had the money, I would retire today.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Latest News From the Job Front

So here's what's happened:

The interview and the call-back both went well. The position os for a new restaurant that opens in early June, training starts May 30. Unfortunately, I'll be out of town the first two weeks in June -- we purchased non-refundable tickets to visit my in-laws.

But they want to hire me, so they're going to contact me when I return, and fit me into the schedule then. It will probably be part-time at first. but with the opportunity to advance quickly. Meanwhile, I continue to fill out applications and send out resumes in case I find something that's a better fit.

That's My Boy!

It's been a while since I updated my readers on The Lad. Well, it's been over four years since his birth, and he's growing into quite a wonderful boy -- sweet, very tender-hearted, good to his mother, bright (SCARY smart at times), with a surprisingly well-developed and wicked sense of humor.

And he's definitely his father's son. He insists on helping me in the kitchen every time I cook. When he plays, he plays at "cooking". When he pretends to salt his "food" while playing, he doesn't shake a salt shaker -- he pinches with his fingers and rubs them together. And today, he REALLY proved that I've raised him well.

The weather was glorious -- close to 80, I'd guess -- so we spent a lot of time outdoors -- we went to the park, went garage sale hunting. On our way home, we pulled up at a stop sign when the smell of smoke came wafting into the car. This wasn't charcoal smoke, this was real wood smoke -- oak, I'd guess, from the aroma. Before I could comment myself, The Lad chimed up, "Do you smell the barbecue?"

I'll make a pitmaster out of him before he can legally drink!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Takin' It To The Street

So the cooking audition fell through -- the company has been put on a hiring freeze, they may or may not call back in a few weeks. And the other two interviews went nowhere. So today I'm back out dropping off resumes.

This really sucks. I knew about the summer layoff when I took the school job last summer, but what I DIDN'T know back then was that the economy would tank and the job market dry up by THIS summer. I figured I'd have little trouble finding seasonal work. Instead, I'm right back where I was this time last year, scrambling to find work, and wondering if I'm EVER going to make a career move that doesn't go from promising to dead end in the short time it takes me to transition into it.

What I had hoped to do, and still may if I end up back at the school in the fall, is save up, buy a small concessions trailer, and start doing my own selling at fairs, festivals, etc. -- I'm convinced that the only way to really secure my future is eventual self-employment.

So out the door I go -- wish me luck.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ohhhh... Halfway There

Thanks to everyone who's keeping me in their prayers. Do far, so good -- two interviews down, one to go. Both went well, I think they liked me. The first place definitely is a more attractive option, for reasons I'll get into once I've heard from them.

Only one thing has me a bit nervous: at the first place, the chef wants me to come back next Thursday and cook for him, and it will be Black Box, which means I'll show up, he'll have ingredients ready for me, and away I go. I've never done that in this kind of setting before -- sure, I've done it in school, I've done it ON the job, and I've worked a stage before, but I've never had to cook black box to GET a job before. It has me a bit nervous and intimidated, which is not a good start, since self-confidence is obviously one of the qualities he'll be watching for.

I really, really, really want this job. It starts out part time, but offers chances not only for full time hours but advancement and growth. I've become a bit pragmatic about the career futures available in this industry, and this job represents one of the few avenues with real advancement potential, especially for someone starting this late in life.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Wish Me Luck

As you may or may not know (I can't remember if I've mentioned it on this blog), my current job is with a private contractor providing food service for a private university. I'm not directly employed by the school. One of the ramifications of this is that I get laid off in the spring -- my last day is May 8th -- and, hopefully, rehired in the fall -- ostensibly some time in late August.

What to do in the meantime?

Well, this week I have 3 job interviews -- two on Wednesday, one on Thursday. Two are with restaurants, one is food service for a local corproration. Any one of them woulf pay well, and might even tempt me away from the school come fall. Regardless, they all represent a paycheck.

I'm asking for prayers and best wishes from my readers. I'll let you know how they all go.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Musical Geography Trivia Question of the Day

If he was his father's only boy, and his mother's pride and joy, where was he born (be specific)?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Convenient Half-Truth

Two Tips of the Toque to the Llama Butchers.

The first is for a link to this editorial in the Wall Street Journal in response to the declassification by the Obama administration of memos regarding CIA "torture". The gist of the editorial is pretty obvious to anyone who's ever played sports, let alone those in the military and intelligence communities: Never reveal your playbook to your opponent. Of course, throughout the Past 8 years, we've grown used to the "playbook" being revealed by the press, but now, it's the administration itself telegraphing our punch.

The second tip is for the LB's posting Former VP Cheney's response. Cheney asserts that the current administration has been overly selective and less than forthright in their declassification process -- revealing the methods employed by the CIA in specific cases, but not the follow-up memos that show the end results and effectiveness of those efforts.

With all due respect (and admiration), Mr. Cheney, don't hold your breath. The mantra of the left is "Torture Doesn't Work" -- their minds are made up, don't confuse them with facts.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April Fool

A Tip of the Toque to the Llama Butchers:
According to Paul Begala, this isn't Tax Day, it's "Patriotism Day".
Lovely bit of hypocrisy, this. During the Bush administration, leftists made sure we knew we weren't allowed to question their patriotism for opposing the President on any number of issues. But the minute one of their own is in the White House, they are more than willing to question the patriotism of anyone who thinks our tax burden is exorbitent.

My response is to remind Comrade Begala and his fellow socialists of their favorite slogan as recently as a year ago:

Dissent is the highest form of Patriotism.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

That's More Like It!

Well done, Navy. Let's hope this is an indication that the administration is learning. I'm not super optimistic, but it's a good first baby step.

He Is Risen

Thursday, April 09, 2009

What Happened to the Yardarm?

Unbelievable. The greatest superpower on Earth is being held at bay by four Jack Sparrow Wannabes in a dead-in-the-water lifeboat. I'm sure that's improving our image with the rest of the world.

From the Yahoo! news article:

The U.S. brought in FBI hostage negotiators to work with the military in
trying to secure the release of Capt. Richard Phillips of Underhill, Vt. An
official said the bandits were in talks with the Navy about resolving the
standoff peacefully.


How about, "Let him go and we let you live -- THIS time". Even that's a bit generous in my book, but for the sake of the captain's life, it may be necessary. But just like Terrorists, You don't negotiate with pirates -- ESPECIALLY not from a position of weakness. This isn't new territory -- our first foreign war was against African pirates associated with militant Islam.

Gen. David Petraeus, head of the U.S. Central Command, said more ships
would be sent to the area because "we want to ensure that we have all the
capability that might be needed over the course of the coming days." U.S.
officials said the guided-missile frigate USS Haliburton was among the ships en
route.

The additional ships will serve as a show of force following an
increase in the number of attacks and the first one on a U.S.-flagged ship. The
vessels would give the U.S. military more eyes on the threatened area and make
the pirates think twice before trying to seize another ship, but it was not
enough to mount a blockade, according to a senior U.S. defense official who
spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss
operational matters.


We don't need more EYES on the threatened area, we need more FISTS. The pirates aren't going to think twice about JACK just because they know we're watching -- they'll only think twice if we make it demonstrably and patently clear that we're watching, and ready and willing to lower the boom on them if they act up.


"These people are nothing more than criminals and we are bringing to bear a
number of our assets, including naval and FBI, in order to resolve the hostage
situation and bring the pirates to justice," said Secretary of State Hillary
Rodham Clinton.

Nothing more? They're something far LESS than criminals, Madame Secretary. While historically captured pirates were given criminal trials, they often never made it to trial due to being sunk at sea, and they were often treated the same as spies and non-uniformed combatants in wartime: summary execution was often the norm.

I'm not necessarily advocating summary execution, but I also believe that while pirates are under arms, they are not merely civilian criminals -- they are enemy combatants, and the appropriate response to their violent force is superior violent force.

President Barack Obama was getting regular updates on the situation, said
spokesman Robert Gibbs. Attorney General Eric Holder says the United States will
take whatever steps are needed to protect U.S. shipping interests against
pirates.


Sink them. destroy their vessels, shoot them dead, bomb their docks. Follow Jefferson and Decaturs example -- make vigorous, enthusiastic war on them. Make them understand that the end of piracy is death, and that the only hope of survival lies in lowering their flag, laying down their arms, or better yet, never take them up in the first place.

Update (5:46 PM Saturday):

An American
skipper held hostage by pirates tried to swim to freedom Friday but was
recaptured seconds later when the bandits opened fire within view of a U.S.
destroyer.


According to the article:

He was in the water only a matter of seconds — not enough time for sailors
aboard the Bainbridge to do much to help him, the defense officials said.
Because both the lifeboat and the Bainbridge are moving, no swimmers or divers
could have been standing by in the water, the officials said.


No swimmers or divers -- but what about GUNNERS? Why the HELL didn't they have small arms trained on these guys so that the instant he was in the water, they were taken under fire? *sigh*

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Photobucket

Smoke 'Em if You Got 'Em

This last weekend was glorious here -- weather in the 50's Saturday, 60's on Sunday, and pushing 70 on Monday. We spent Sunday picnicing, going for a drive in the country, and grilling bison burgers. It felt more like June than April.

I also managed to get the grill and smoker cleaned up and ready to go for the coming summer, and I'm kicking things off THIS Saturday (regardless of the weather) with a rack of spare ribs. I'm thinking I'm going to smoke them dry the first half of the day, just to get plenty of smoke on them, but I'm definitely finishing them wet -- I love sticky, sweet-hot wet ribs with layers and layers of cooked-on sauce. in fact, I prefer a thicker sauce with ribs than with either brisket OR pulled pork (in fact, I like my pulled pork sauce to be very Carolina-inspired). Of course I'll be continuing my practice of making the sauce from scratch, and giving them an Oregon twist -- the sweet base will be blackberry jam (strained to remove the seeds, of course) from blackberries picked in my own back yard. And I'm making a batch of my Killer BBBBBBBeeans (That's Blackberry, Bourbon, Beer, & Bacon Barbecue Baked Beans). Sunday we're out to my aunt and uncle's place in Veneta for Easter dinner.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Quote of the Day

"North Korea and Iran going nuclear is not the same as Norway and St. Lucia going nuclear. "

- Mark Steyn

Why the HELL haven't I been reading this guy all along?

Monday, April 06, 2009

Quote of the Day

OK, so I just posted one. That was Sunday (barely). It's now Monday (by 14 minutes). A Tip of the Toque to the Ace of Spades Open Blog:

"If the pen is mightier than the sword, then criminalizing words is a way of disarming potential opposition..."

- Mark Steyn

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Neil Cavuto is All Out of Bubblegum.

A Tip of the Toque to Aitch.

If you think that the government is our savior and the Nanny State is Utopia, you might find this video a bit unpleasant.

If, howver, you agree with Ronald Reagan that "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help'", you'll share with Neil Cavuto in his anger as he hands congressman Alan Grayson (S - Florida) his socialist head.

The current government -- both the executive AND the legislative branches -- want us to sign away our rights to them, and the only reassurance and justification they offer is "Trust us -- it's for your own good". No thanks, I've seen from history where that path leads, and if my country is to go down it, by God, it won't be without a fight from some of us.

Everything Old is New Again

I've decided to go back to my old blog name, for several reasons. First of all, it matches the URL. Second of all, it reminds me, and the occasional reader, of somthing we all need to remember. Thirdly, I'm hoping the change will jar me out of my blogging doldrums and get the expressive juices flowing again. Finally, I just plain like it, always have, and miss it.

I'll still go by A Boy Named Sous as my Nom De Pixels, but the blog is, once again, Memento Moron.

Let's see how this goes.

Quote of the Day

I'm not usually a big fan of bumper stickerisms -- liberal OR conservative -- because they tend towards strawmen and false dilemmas, two fallacies that irk me probably more than any others. But today I saw a bumper sticker ona very nice Ford F-250 in Eugene that I believe actually hits the nail on the head. It's today's quote of the day:

"Don't spread my wealth -- spread my work ethic."

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Quote of the Day

"If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with
inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just power from
the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made
beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth and their
soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not
forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of
the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that
direction cannot lay claim to progress. They are reactionary."

- Calvin Coolidge, 5 July, 1926

A Tip of the Toque to Mike at South Texian.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Soylent Dumb

A Tip of theToque to Ken, the Fifth String on the Banjo of Life:

Really?

All Things to All Men

As anyone who knows me or reads my blog knows, I'm incredibly fond of my home state, an equally proud of it -- despite my frustration with the political atmosphere here, it's a beautiful place, and outside the cities (especially Eugene and Portland), quite down-to-earth.

Also, despite what people think, Oregon, and the Northwest in general, is not one continual rainfall. One of the things that I've been proud of for quite some time, as it directly relates to the beauty of this place, is its incredible geological and climatic diversity, and the surprising way that diversity stacks Oregon up in comparison to other regions of the country.

I do not deny that there is beauty to be found across this great nation, nor do I imply we hold a monopoly on it. But what is amazing is the way in which so many diferent places in Oregon compare to so many different parts of the rest of the country. With the exception of a few very extreme examples (The Everglades, or the Grand Canyon, for instance), if you pick a specific place in America known for its geology, climate, and scenery, I can, with some effort, find somewhere in Oregon with similar features -- in some cases, admittedly, the Oregon version is a second-best copy, but in other cases, I'd happily stack Oregon up for comparison with confidence that we'd come out on top.

Let me give you a few examples. For copyright reasons, I am not posting any of the gorgeous pictures I found online here -- rather, I'm posting links and letting you see for yourself:

Hudson River Valley, New York
Columbia River Gorge, Oregon/Washington Border

Arizona's Painted Desert
Oregon's Painted Hills

The Blue Ridge Mountains
The Coast Range

A Maine Lighthouse
Oregon's Heceta Head Lighthouse

Grand Tetons, Wyoming
Wallowas, Oregon

Napa Valley, California
Willamette Valley, Oregon

See what I mean?