Friday, September 18, 2009


I am in shock. For once in a good way. I am absolutely stunned to hear that Congress has overwhelmingly voted to defund ACORN.

According to the CBS News this evening, this will cost ACORN "tens of millions of dollars." Man, I hate their luck. But one man's trash is another man's treasure, and what ACORN loses someone else stands to gain. If Katie is right, there is $, $, $ by the pound ton floating around, and as was pointed out by a friend just a few hours ago, "There is no dormant $ in Washington."

So...What to do with alllllll that extra $? I vote we use it to fund WALNUT: Workers Against Lazy Non-producers United Together. Equal time/opportunity and all that.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

This? Or That?

Outside of the de rigeur academics and military science and sports, the life of a West Point cadet is full of opportunity. To name a few of the bigger deals in his one year there so far: M has gotten a New York state and a national EMT certification; he has traveled to Israel as a guest of the IDF; he has debated (and won!) against Harvard and Yale and others of their ilk. He has had occasion to shake the hand of the president (Bush, not N/Obama); and he has marched in the presidential inaugural parade (alas, N/Obama's). He has learned how to hack computers; he has driven a tank, coordinating a platoon (Is that the right military technology?) of tanks and hummers. He has even dislocated a jaw (his) and broken a nose (also his), courtesy of the evil boxing class required of all male West Point cadets.

This year is shaping up to be equally fascinating. He is on the debate team again, as well as MUN (Is that a team?), both of which offer the possibility of a trip to Oxford. As in England. And he is running for Class President. Nothing else occurs to me at the moment, but the year is young...

Well, a few days ago he called with a dilemma: "I could easily major in English," he said, "or history, IR, language, comp sci, or geography, or management, or philosophy. I would love to branch infantry, aviation, finance, transpo, MP, or JAG. I would love to skip the Army, be a SEAL, or work in the CIA, or be a stay-at-home dad, or a teacher, or a cop, but at some point it all has to narrow down..." :-( And that's the thing. You have to choose. Each is different from the others; none is necessarily better, or worse, than the rest. They can each be done well, or they can be done ill. But they can't be done all.

So this whole conversation, like too many other things I get involved in, got me to thinking. One can know a lot about a few things, or a little about a lot of things. One can be a master of one thing, or perhaps two, or even three, but one cannot be a master of them all.

And that whole line of thinking sent me off on another wonder: Once upon a time, people used to graduate from the 8th grade knowing pretty much everything there was to know. Now people go to 12th grade, college, masters, and beyond, and still don't know anything much. The more we learn, the less we know, because every time we find an answer, it opens up another ? or two, or three. AAAGGGHHHH!!!!!

Every time we say *yes* to something, we say *no* to something else. But, we have to say yes to something. Otherwise, we say yes to nothing.

Life is full of possibilities. At least it starts out that way. But "possibilities" is all most of them ever are, because . . . well . . . because there just isn't enough *us* to go around, and as things go along, things change. The changes are subtle, though, so much so that they generally go unnoticed, until one day....!!! Just like that!

All of a sudden, life is full of improbabilities.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Three-Party Day

Friendships are like anything else of value: they come at a cost, and one day last month I paid in spades.

  • First up a baby shower, in a town 20 miles west of here, for a young mom-to-be, known to us before she herself was born. I had initially considered riding with a friend, but then I re-considered after realizing I would probably have to leave before the party broke up.
  • Next in line, back in my own home town, was a bridal shower for the daughter of a friend. A luau. This was the *dinner* part of my day, but due to a reluctant gas grill, no one on hand who knew how to operate it, and a steady wind that quickly put out any flame that dared actually to light, dinner was just a vision of dreams to come by the time I had to leave that party. Early.
  • The final event of the day, in the third town of the day 30 miles to the east, was a recital/high school graduation ceremony for another young lady who not so very long ago was just a little scrap of a girl. I coaxed my Man along for this with the promise of a reception to follow. Between our late start and not knowing exactly where we were going, we completely missed the recital part of the program, but we were there for the graduation. After the graduation was the perfect time for the visiting of old friends and the eating of cheesecake in a host of flavors we'd never heard of, but by that time my Man was hungry(er), and while I don't have any such qualms, he just isn't one to eat dessert before he's had some food. Not even cheesecake. :-(
So we compromised. I still got to talk with everyone I saw that I knew, but not for long. We took off for a quick stop at Chick-Fil-A to go, and then home again, home again, by...oh, 9:30 or so.

I'm really pretty much of a homebody. Give me an uninterrupted day at home and I am thoroughly happy, so a day like today wouldn't ordinarily be a great day in my book. But it is the price of friendship, and who am I to argue with that.

Besides, on reflection, it worked out rather well. The parties were nicely staggered, and we got to see a host of old friends, some of whom we had not seen in years... And, all on the same dress-up. ;-) Can't beat that!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Finally! Fabulous! Fall!

Beginning with last May's triple-digit temperatures, we have just lived through one of the longest, hottest, driest summers on record.

Several days ago it began to rain with a vengeance. Flash floods. Washed out roads. Roaring-river streets. Closed schools. Canceled jobs.

Now the rain has stopped, but the clouds linger. We are having one dreary, grey, dark, cloudy day after another ~ my very favorite weather! We haven't seen the sun in about a week now, but I'd say we've had our share, and more, of the sun and summer ~ enough to last the rest of the year if you ask me ~ so it is definitely time for a break.

I've lived in Texas long enough to know it's not going to last. Any day now, I expect the sun will break through for a blazing round of Indian Summer. But for now it is Fabulous Fall. Time to live again!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

New and Improved!

So what's the deal? Why is it that I can't watch tv without a written set of instructions (after a tutoring session from my kid, that is...)? I consider myself to be fairly intelligent. I can think logically and rationally. I can put a coherent sentence together. I can even add. So it isn't that I'm not smart enough. Nope. Nothing like that. In fact, if anything, I think I may be too smart. The deal is, that what I am not, is tech-y.

I'm thinking that to be truly tech-y, one must be very literal-minded. Nothing can be assumed or taken for granted, and evidently, my mind is given too far over to flights of fancy (perhaps why my family once unanimously voted me the person most likely to be abducted by aliens), but this is actually rather mind-boggling, because in reality, I am probably the most practical person God ever created. If not, I'd like to know who is. In any event, I am definitely a top contender.

I am not much of a tv-watcher at all. My tv consumption is limited to keeping my Man company ~ he watches nature shows and things while I knit and fold laundry ~ and watching NCIS on Tuesday nights with M ~ we "bond" by way of Google IM. That's the extent of my tv habit, so to get back on track, why do I even care that I need directions to turn the thing on? Well, as is soooooooo often the case, the reason I care is that I just can't help it: there is a serious streak of dyed-in-the-wool rebel in me.

I used to be able to turn on the tv, whether I wanted to or not, until the long arm of the Federal Government determined that we alllll needed better tv reception, therefore: Enter the mandatory digital signal. And just like that! with a snap of the Executive Fingers, we are obsolete. In the absence of cable or a dish or a satellite or some other such techno-wonder, a regular tv set "no longer works" and an antenna is useless.

But no worries! If you are unable or unwilling to ante up for new state-of-the-art equipment, Uncle Sam to the rescue with a $40 coupon for a box that will make everything alright again. Where Uncle Sam is coming up with the $ to give these out, and what, exactly, Uncle Sam's interest might be in making sure everyone has ready access to the God-given right of mind-numbing television is a whole 'nother rant, but the thing is, The Box doesn't make everything alright.

We have had The Box for quite a few months now, and while I have mastered the art of Turning on the TV, which is more than I can say for my Man who, in a bizarre turn of events, calls me whenever he wants to watch tv, I must say, the quality of our picture has gone from Analog-Acceptable to Digital-Dreadful. It is true that we get a lot more channels with The Box, but a great deal of the time the picture is broken up into little squares all over the screen. Other times we simply have a black screen displaying a/n (?) "Unable to get a signal for this channel" message. Don't recall ever having either of those problems with analog.

So ... Three or four channels that we can actually see? Or a myriad that we cannot? Which would you choose? Well. Not that you get a choice.

Welcome to yet another phase of Techno-Hell in the new, improved USSA.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Job vs. The Handout

I don't know who came up with this idea, but what a concept.

Like most folks in this country, we work for our living. Like many folks in this country, we do it in the form of a small business, at no small sacrifice to our personal lives. Like many small business owners, in addition to working for ourselves, we work for a national retail corporation in order to provide medical insurance which we could not hope to afford privately.

This is how it works: We work, we get paid, we pay our taxes. Perhaps I should rephrase that: We work, we pay our taxes. And then we get paid. And then the government distributes its ill-gotten gain however it sees fit. Great deal, huh? For somebody.

What's bothering me, outside of having no say over my work and my $, is this: In my Man's case, in order to be able to work to get that paycheck, he is required to pass a random urine test. I find that whole notion insulting, but, ok, maybe employers have a legitimate call on that, given the drugged up state of a wide section of the populace. What I seriously have a problem with is the distribution of our $$$ to people who don't have to pass a urine test.

So, here is my Question: Shouldn't one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check because we have to pass one to earn it for them?

I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. I do, on the other hand, have a problem with helping someone sitting on his butt ~ doing drugs or who knows what else, while the rest of us are strong-armed into supporting the Lifestyles of the Entitled. . . . . Can you imagine how much money the government would save if people had to pass a urine test before they were given a public assistance check?

I guess we could call that program, 'Urine or You're Out'.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Stunning September

Today is September in every way:

  • School traffic running up and down the street,
  • Dove hunting season,
  • Cool temperatures,
  • Cloudy skies.

So who needs all the extra traffic jamming up the road.

What in the world am I going to do with the doves besides clog up the freezer.

And "cool" is sorta relative, isn't it. The best I can say about that is this is still summer in Texas, so any temperature that falls short of three digits is a temperature to celebrate.

But the cloudy sky really is something to write home about at this point.

So, one out of four...Ok, not really stunning. Not yet, anyway. But, it has potential: It is September, even in Texas, and after one of the hottest, longest summers on record, we are on the home stretch!