Day 327

Our first real snowfall of the season
Our first real snowfall of the season

When I saw this scene this morning, the phrase, “the cold comfort of death” popped into my mind. I know I’ve hard the phrase before, but I don’t know where it was. I googled the phrase, but none of the entries were familiar. A number of the entries seemed to have something to do with a video game, and another few dealt with poetry. No. I’ve heard the phrase somewhere else.

***

Forgive me in advance if I ruffle your feathers today. I have a feeling that I may get on my soapbox and preach, rather than just relate what I see around me. First, let me give you a link to a video and story about an event that I watched this morning: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2012/12/21/defiant-tim-huelskamp-exasperates-msnbc-hosts/. As I do most mornings, I watched Morning Joe on MSNBC. While most of MSNBC’s programming is pitched to the liberal population, the host of Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough was to the right of Newt Gingrich when they were both serving in the House of Representatives. This show is probably the closest MSNBC comes to balanced coverage.

 Anyway, Representative Huelskamp, on the issue of the “fiscal crisis” expressed the same point of view that all of the Republican candidates for president had expressed during their debates, and I’m paraphrasing here, no tax cuts at all…only spending cuts. No compromise. He is representing the people who elected him.

On the issue of a possible assault rifle ban, no. People kill people, weapons don’t. No compromise. He is representing the people who elected him.

It makes me wonder if our representatives truly do represent us. In other words, are they really a reflection of the people the represent? 47% of the members of congress are millionaires. 43% are lawyers. 85% are white. 83% are men. Congress had a full 109 days of work planned for 2012, but I don’t know how many they actually put in.

The numbers don’t mean that our representatives can’t do a good job representing us, but I believe the numbers make it harder for them to understand us. Political parties at the state and federal levels have so rigged the game that it is almost impossible to vote a person out of office, or to vote for a third-party candidate. Incumbents in the US House of representatives are routinely reelected at a rate exceeding 80% and Senators are reelected, on average, over 70% of the time. While I have never before believed that term limits were a good idea, I now think it is time that they were mandatory. Of course, that would take a constitutional amendment, but I would now support such an amendment. Let’s face it, we can’t do much worse than we already are.

Hey, I may get back up on my high horse again tomorrow.

Day 254 – updated

It’s another pretty morning

Taking a picture today was easy, but sitting down to compose was beyond me, so there are no words today, just a photo. Check back on Wednesday afternoon and I will have updated today, Day 254, with text. I promise.

***

So, the first thing I want to complain about today is the number of times people on television or on the radio start a sentence with the word so. I may have commented on this before, but it reached the tipping point for me again today. You usually hear political and/or economic “pundits” do it, but I’ve even heard contestants on Jeopardy do it. It’s something like inbreeding, one “pundit” hears another do it and thinks that it is cool, so they begin to lard their comments in the same way. I’m sure that this irritant will pass in another month or two. We have almost run the course of hearing “sea change,” which was the last fad speech pattern. I wonder what is coming next?

***

When I went for my follow-up appointment after the laser surgery yesterday I was pleasantly surprised that no one tried to tell me that I had come at the wrong time. Everyone was nice. The doctor you checked me did surprise me by stating that my vision was much better before she even checked anything. Darn, she was good. I will admit that she was right. Everything seems much clearer now, and brighter as well. I don’t have to lean toward the lamp in order to read. Also, I can make out the digits on the clock without straining. Despite my reservations about the sincerity of some of the doctors and staff, I will admit that they do excellent work.

***

On my way home yesterday I noticed that one person in Lafayette had put his “Lugar for Senate” sign back in his yard. It had been taken out of the grass shortly after Senator Lugar lost in the primary election to Richard Mourdock back in May. I’m sure that is some sort of statement, but since I’m not a Republican nor a “pundit,” I have no idea what it means.

***

As promised, I added text to this post from notes I had made yesterday. Now I have to go out and find a picture for today. I’ll get on that after I eat lunch.

Day 206

At Bellagio

This is a photo from the Bellagio fountain show. The tune that was playing was Hey, Big Spender. We walked there from Excalibur, just under a mile as the crow flies. There are crows in Las Vegas; I saw one u\yesterday. If you’ve been to Vegas, you know that there is no straight line walking route on the strip.

We went to a show at Excalibur last night. We saw The Australian Bee Gees. They are a tribute band (surprise!) who perform Bee Gees tunes, try to look like the Bee Gees, call themselves by Bee Gees names, and try to sound like the Bee Gees. It’s hard for me to say how good they are because I’m not a big Bee Gees fan. Who do I think I’m kidding? Of course I’ll tell you how good they are…they are OK.

The show started with the instruments, mainly the percussion, overpowering the vocals. I’m pretty sure that was purposeful in order to keep the audience (more about the audience later) from noticing how dissimilar the groups voices were from the original’s. As the show went on, the music was toned down on the percussion and up on the voices. You gradually get used to the voices that way.

***

Let me digress for a couple of sentences. The idea of watching a tribute band made me think of the Dylan Schaffer mysteries Misdemeanor Man and I Right The Wrongs . The protagonist is a small time lawyer who fronts a Barry Manilow tribute band. I recommend these books, and hope Mr. Shaffer continues the series.

***

Back to the show. I mentioned that I am not a Bee Gees fan, but I will admit to liking their ballads. However, I will never forgive them for contributing to disco (the music that tried to kill all other legitimate music).

Let me comment on the audience. The people behind me, over my right shoulder, yelled and laughed loud enough to drown out the drummer. I did not like them. Nor did I like the gent behind me who, when we stood up (the band requested that we stand during the last song (which is a cheap way to get  a standing ovation), this guy shoved my chair into the back of my knees so that he would have more room to bust his old man disco moves. He almost knocked me down.

One last thing about the band. Why did the drummer have a plexiglass barrier in front of him. Was he really afraid the crowd would start throwing beer bottles at him?

***

So we walked from Excalibur to Bellagio to see the water fountain show, and from there to the Mirage, another .6 mile as the proverbial crow flies., to see the dolphin show. After wending our way through the casino to get to the dolphins, we found that the dolphins only work from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. They must be unionized.

From there we took a taxi back to the timeshare where I collapsed for the night.

Day 118

A beautiful morning in the country

What a beautiful morning. I took a short drive through a bucolic countryside. The fact that I was playing the Jefferson Starship album Spitfire with the windows open may seem incongruous to the surroundings, but it seemed right to me. Spitfire did not get the critical praise that it’s predecessor Red Octopus did, but I like it better. Evidently, that’s just me. With Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, and Marty Balin part of the group, this could easily have been a Jefferson Airplane album. Why did they change the group name?

I am not going to take the time to go back through my posts and see if I’ve put down words about this topic before; I know I’ve thought about it; but I’m a cranky geezer, so I’m allowed. I left the house around 8:30 this morning. It was already a warm, sunny day, and as I drove through the streets of Lafayette, on my way to the countryside, I saw no children playing outside. Where were they? I can’t imagine that as a kid I wouldn’t have been outside at that hour getting sweaty and dirty. How can they be having fun, enjoying childhood, if they are inside watching TV, playing video games, or sleeping? I don’t get it. But, like I said, I’m a cranky geezer. Life may be passing me by, but it looks to me like life is passing the youngsters by. Heck, Mason spent the night here and Cindy finally woke him up around 10:30 this morning. OK, that’s my verbal drubbing of today’s youth, and the parents who don’t shoo the kids out of the house.

A quick update on my former toe, or actually the surrounding remaining flesh, all of the redness is gone! It seems that the healing process is continuing apace. That makes me feel much better!

Day 89

In need of a paint job and more

I have to tell you that I am not in a good mood today. I don’t want to throw or smash anything, but I do feel like complaining. Some might describe my mood as bitchy. I would not disagree. Little things are causing me to seethe, and make me want to whine. I don’t like it when other people whine, but I am occasionally self-indulgent. I’m thinking today, “What good is a blog if you can’t whine once in a while?” Where shall I start?

My trip to the grocery store to buy coffee can offer irritations that seldom are allowed rise to the surface. People who push their shopping cart to their car, empty it, and then leave it in a parking spot get my goat. I think it is the height of laziness to just leave the cart sitting, blocking a potential parking spot. Do these people wonder why cart corrals are set up in the parking lot? They obviously don’t care about other people, it is all about them. I know that in a few cases there is probably a good reason they can’t push the cart a few yards to the nearest corral and leave it there…I’m trying to think of an example…perhaps they have trouble walking and need to use the cart like a walker. But then, how did they make it into the store? Did they use a cart that someone else had left in the lot? Did they drive around looking for an abandoned cart? Also, how many people are there like that? I ask because there are many of the carts sitting around the lot.

You may well be wondering why I haven’t gone off on the people who park their cars in the fire lanes. I have no respect for those people. Surprisingly, there were no cars parked there today. They probably were parked in the handicapped spaces.

I am not the only person who is not in a good mood today. While I like the service we get from Comcast, I have one complaint. We receive a lot of email that is not meant for us. I’m not sure why that is true, but it is. Today we received an email, in error, from a woman who is very upset. I won’t identify her, but here is what it says (Oh, if you know Irene, please tell her that her email didn’t get to the intended person…unless you are that person):

I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’VE DONE OR SAID TO YOU FPR YOU NOT TO CALL OR ANSWE YOUR ANY OF MY CALLS.YOU SAY LOVE ME BUT YOU STOP ANSWERING MY CALLS OR EMAILS ON THE SUTE,SO IS IT ME OR SOMETHING I’VE SAID OR WAS IT MY PICTURE.I STILL WANT TO BE WITH YOU,BUT I CAN’T MAKE YOU CARE OR LOVE ME AS YOU’VE SAID.SO IF YOU DO NOT ANSWER THIS EMAIL OR CALL THEN I WILL HAVE MY ANSWER. I’M NOT GOING TO BEG YOU , IT’S YOUR CHOICE
 
LOVE IRENE

Day 88

Our first Iris this spring

Based on the number of buds we have on all of the Iris’, there will be a large number of blooms this year. The purple seems deeper this year as well. I love the plants not just because the flower is beautiful, but also because there is so little work involved with growing it. Anything that is easy to grow is my kind of plant. I should learn to make dandelion wine so that I have an excuse to not weed them out. As is I need an excuse.

This morning on Morning Joe Professor Michael Sandel from Harvard was hawking his most recent book What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets. I must say, they had an interesting conversation. I may be purchasing the book, because the topic interests me. While money is not high on my most wanted list, I do like to have enough on hand to pay our bills and cover emergencies. More than that amount is a luxury I don’t need.

People who have acquired wealth seem to be admired by others. Why is that? I honestly don’t know. The media seem to think that we need to pay attention to wealthy people. Why? Unless they give large amounts of their wealth to charity, or to make sure people have jobs, why should I care? If they are a “celebrity” it is even worse. Why else would we even know about Paris Hilton or others like her? Has she, or anyone like her, ever done anything that rates a mention on national television or radio? I can’t think of anything. Dare I ask if she is a job creator?

Well, it is obvious that I am not writing a carefully thought out posting today. It is more of a disjointed diatribe. Sorry.

Day 49

Cloudy morning

This farmhouse is just isolated enough to suit me. If you left click on the photo you should be able to get an enlarged view, and note that the porch light is on. Is someone expected?

***

I took a break from writing to eat some breakfast and do a couple of things in our bedroom, and forgot to come back to the blog. Either I’m getting too old and forgetful (Nahh!) or I don’t have anything to write about (no) or writing isn’t as interesting today (yeah). Still, I have my goal, and I shall meet it before the end of the day. So I have about seven hours that I can use to work on the writing.

Let me write about a pet peeve that I have with the paper newspaper, specifically the comics page. When I was growing up, (I can now hear the moans from anybody under the age of 35 who may be reading this) the comics pages had both “gag-a-day” strips like Peanuts and continuity strips like Steve Canyon. There are very few continuity strips anymore, and I miss them. You could follow the continuity strips for months before a story arc wrapped up. It was like watching a movie serial (I can hear the people under the age of 45 saying, “What is a movie serial?”).

One of the best, and longest running continuity strips is Prince Valiant. It has been running in Sunday newspapers continuously since 1937. I hope you are lucky enough to live somewhere that still has a newspaper that carries the strip. We are not so lucky in Lafayette, IN. I mentioned Steve Canyon earlier. It was a daily and Sunday strip that ran from January of 1947 to June of 1988, when the creator, Milton Caniff died. It was one of my favorite strips. I used to read the Sunday pages in The South Bend Tribune. My dad always bought that Sunday paper because the LaPorte Herald-Argus did not have a Sunday paper. While the LaPorte paper had continuity strips, Alley Oop comes to mind, it did not carry the Steve Canyon dailies.

Why are their fewer continuity strips? I need to give that some thought.