Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring Is Here And So Are We

We're back from seven weeks, mostly in the desert, but eating instead of fasting. And what insights did I gain? Hardly any: we were gone seven weeks, and if time is really money, why don't we represent it as $7 weeks? Time wasn't just money, of course, it was also sitting and eating. So now, I'm in the largest pants I've worn in ten years, and blogging instead of going to Planet Fitness.
Still, the days are getting longer, the snow here is virtually all gone (having never arrived in the first place) and it's hard not to believe in the promise of spring. Be not deceived, though, this is just when most blizzards arrive.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Americans With Disabilities Act. But Sometimes They're Sad On The Inside.

We're waiting for our flight home. The flight's not until tomorrow, so we're staying in a motel. Microtel, actually. Which, inexplicably, I construed as sort of a resort suite experience, but it's not.  I asked for a handicapped room when I made the reservation on Expedia, and it is. The bathroom light doesn't work nor does the AC/Heat. What I should have said was handicapped accessible. 

Monday, March 16, 2015


It's probably a coincidence that Vladimir Putin hasn't been seen for days, and then just as he reappears, I start blogging again. 
In my last post, we were in Tucson. The day before we were scheduled to leave, Karen's brother called to offer her a chance to talk to her mother. A few minutes later he called to say that she had died. It's comforting that practically the last thing she heard was Karen telling her she loved her. We changed our plans and our flights; instead of going home we came to Iowa for the funeral. At the visitation, Geraldine looked beautiful and at peace. Seeing her so, along with the dignified funeral provided some comfort.
Now we are in Northeast Iowa getting ready to go back to Anchorage at the end of the week. A few years ago, agronomists, maybe, or lunatics, introduced Asian beetles to America as a way to control aphids. They have been very successful at surviving (with a lifespan of two to three years) reproducing and colonizing new areas, planting their little flags in bathrooms and living rooms throughout the Midwest. Rash ecologists, using the there-was-an-old-lady-who-swallowed-a-fly pest management philosophy have suggested importing Asian predators to control the beetles, but we all know how these things end; with schoolchildren fleeing Bengal tigers to get to T-ball practice.
Other things I've learned here in Iowa: one benefit of drinking coffee late at night is that when you have to get up to go to the bathroom, you'll already be awake and St Patrick's Day Parades are truly John Deere's hour come at last.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Now We're in Tucson

I bet you're just like me, you vaguely remember reading about Francis Fukuyama's essay The End of History, but you never  actually read it. I know, right? You could casually mention, as Wikipedia puts it, "the idea of an 'end of history' does not imply that nothing more will ever happen. Rather, what the postmodern sense of an end of history tends to signify is, in the words of contemporary historian, Keith Jenkins, the idea that 'the peculiar ways in which the past was historicized (was conceptualized in modernist, linear and essentially metanarrative forms) has now come to an end of its productive life; the all-encompassing “experiment of modernity” . . . is passing away into our postmodern condition'," to attract the ladies. I never did that, because I was already well into the bonds of matrimonial bliss when it came out, but you know, could have.
Anyway, it seems that despite the optimism engendered by the fall of the Berlin Wall, history didn't even slow down, better yet end. Some people just don't want to be Western Liberal Democrats 
The above is the intro to a crazed rant I was going to post, but for a clear and rational explanation of why Bibi Netanyahu can't really be taken seriously, click here, and for the real Israel/Iran/Saudi/US situation, you really, really should read this
And finally, if Netanyahu really doesn't want a "messianic, apocalyptic regime" to have nuclear weapons, shouldn't he be trying to get Republicans out of government?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cities Are Like Toddlers. They Could Sleep, But They're Overtired

We're still hiding out in the Southwest waiting for winter to end in Alaska. Or start for that matter; February has steamed up the books with record warmth all over the state. Meanwhile, yesterday  it snowed just outside of our latest city of refuge, Las Vegas. Like New York, Las Vegas never sleeps. Which is just a nice way of saying that no matter the time of day or night, there always too many people on the street.
Since we don't want to smoke, drink, gamble, overeat or pay for sex, we really have no reason to ever leave our luxury time-share. Except for this which has been going on, off and on, on and on for twelve hours a day. Plus, last night, I lost all self control and while I still don't drink, gamble or pay for sex, I ate so much that I although I also still don't smoke, I am smoldering a little. Tomorrow, when we have to evacuate from the stentorian warning that says we don't have to evacuate, I think we may hit a buffet.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Busman's Holiday

From Bisbee, we went on to Mesa, the theory being that since we had friends that had a house in Arizona, effectively we had a house in Arizona. Benjamin Franklin said that fish and friends begin to smell after three days. Of course, he was writing in the 18th Century before the advent of refrigeration and massaging shower heads, so we stretched it out a little longer, but after a few days, we moved on to Yuma. Everyone said that you can't winter in Yuma because it's too hot. I scoffed because I want warm winters and I didn't plan on summering in the desert. The naysayers were right, though. Today in Yuma it is supposed to reach 90℉, but it will have to do it without us, we're heading to Lake Havasu City on our way to a week in Las Vegas. A few years ago we scratched Flagstaff off our list of possible retirement retreats because it snowed twice while we were there. I think there isn't a snowball's chance in Yuma that we'll retire here. My sister joined us here, and it was fun, but I think we could have had just as much fun somewhere where we didn't have to skulk in the shadows
This morning I went for a walk and listened to podcasts, just like I'd never retired at all. Grammar Girl talked about participles. She said that they were verbal because they looked like verbs, but that they acted more like adjectives. It seemed an odd thing that verbs are words that do things, but that usually the word "verbal" means to just talk about things. Here are twenty-five examples I didn't think of that are also their own opposites.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Lots Of Rise, No Run

Remember back in school they taught you to calculate linear equations and slopes? Me neither, really, but I went for a walk in Bisbee today and the whole town seems to be a special case as explained here at Math is Fun. I found that the town consists of a narrow road with all the buildings built up the sides of the abutting cliffs. The walk was breathtaking. Literally, hypoxia inducing.
Later we went to Tombstone, "the town too tough to die." The OK Corral is now a park, surrounded by gift shops. I think I simultaneously found my spiritual home and everything that is wrong with America:

Back To School

Karen and I are snuggled up in a charming bed and breakfast in Bisbee, AZ. It was originally a school built in 1918 and the classrooms have been made into guest rooms. Part of its charm is that there are no televisions or radios in the rooms. That lack is gain for relationships; free from TV's incessant distraction, couples can focus on what's most important to them. Karen and I were able to really finally compare  Netflix vs Hulu. Hulu had current  TV shows, but Netflix had The Rockford Files. It was fun to see the old cars and young James Garner. And the fashions. What were we thinking?
Today we're planning to go to Tombstone and see where the tourists get trapped.

Friday, February 06, 2015

I'm Not A Farmer's Daughter, But I Did Marry One

For the first time this year, I weighed myself this morning. Apparently, the trick mirror and trick waist-band conspirators I've been encountering  got to my scale, too. I admit I was a little overconfident about my weight, especially if that extra confidence weighed between eight and thirteen pounds. 
The good news is that I'm able to assume that this extra weight is muscle mass because of my six-day-a-week Planet Fitness habit. And it might be, too, at least the part that doesn't hang over my waistband; before I retired, I had calves that a 4H farmer's daughter would have been proud to show, and even now they're a mass of well-defined ropiness. 
Last week Hallmark thrilled, maybe even overexcited, their target demo of little old ladies by having a Diagnosis Murder/Matlock crossover event.  The next day, they gradually dialed back the excitement by having Mannix check in to Community General. My calves may be ropy, but they're not made of steel;  we're still a little tingly.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

What If Toy Story Was A Documentary?

Someone came up to me on Sunday and said, "Have you thought about Wednesday?" I panicked and said, "Yes, my whole life," but it was sort of a lie, because I hadn't really thought about Wednesday at all. It turned out they had invited us for dinner, and we were supposed to be deciding on a day.
Of course, after that I couldn't stop thinking about Wednesday. It occurred to me that the phrase, "A Wednesday in February," is so filled with transgressive spelling choices that it's no wonder the terrorists hate us.
Now that I've retired, I'm free to spend several hours a week looking for the TV remote. But not for much longer. I've just ordered Pixies, a new little device that can be attached to anything and can be located within an inch. If you have more than one, they talk to each other, extending their range. That's what they're supposed to be talking about, although surely, when they realize just how many times in a day we lose the remote, they'll probably also be saying, "Can you believe these guys?"
If you'd like to enable your devices to talk about you, which admit it, you already assumed they did, you can click here. Full disclosure, if you do end up buying them through that link, I get a five dollar referral fee, but then you get a code to share with your friends just like Madoff and Ponzi.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

That's Why I'm A Winner

To finish off the last post, one set of laser blasts was all it took to pierce my iris and send me on my way.
Since then, I've been working out at Planet Fitness every morning, or what passes for morning since I have no particular reason to get up if I'm still sleepy, or if I'm even concerned that I might get sleepy later. After that, Karen and I have been cleaning out the computer room. It's a massive undertaking because I used to bring stuff home, and Karen would it put it away. I've been doing my part, but, do you remember back in 2008, I was complaining about how I'd ridden one hundred miles in one day on my bike, and I was planning on talking about it for weeks and for months and for ever* and then two days later Karen upstaged me by going in for day surgery and had her heart stopped instead? Since then, she's been pretty disabled and it's really played havoc with our filing system. The surgery she had this spring has made a huge difference and we just now finished cleaning, filing and shredding.
Speaking of, "playing havoc", we finished just in time to watch the last few few plays of the Superbowl. My daughter lives in Boston, but our family has long ties to Seattle. I couldn't lose. I literally Could. Not. Lose.  I wasn't even playing.

*As you can see, that part worked out.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Round 1

First round of firing into my eye and they think they might be through. And you were so scared. 


While I await a laser in my eye, I just lost a game of Words With Friends. Yep, it's that kind of day. 

Live Blogging

I'm off to get my eye pierced right now

Drops in. Just waiting to get the laser blaster warmed up. 

I saw my ledger balance just before the drops went in. Apparently I have a pretty large co-pay which makes me even more complicit in this procedure. Just get in the car, right eye, don't ask any questions. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Gotta Go, A Big Bang Re-run Is Starting

It's possible I'm enjoying retirement. Enjoyment isn't something I've practiced a lot, so I'm not sure, but I see that I haven't written anything here, for a few days, and I really don't have anything much to say now (as if that's ever mattered). I think the genesis of most posts was something I heard on a podcast at work that most likely irritated me, or the work itself irritated me. I'm just saying that irritation was the mother of invention when to came to my inventive little missives here; such as they were/are. I know most of them aren't all that, sort of the literary equivalent of a swing and a missive. 
I know they say not to post online when you're going to be out of town, so I'm not saying exactly why Karen and I applied on Friday for TSA Pre✓ which allows travelers to avoid screening at airports. They told us that it could take up to three weeks for a decision, but that we could check our status online. Apparently we are so white bread that they gave us our authorization in just a few hours  over a holiday weekend. The only part of the interview that was a little troubling was when the man taking our information asked me my hair color. I said, "Brown," and he looked up and said, "Uh huh, I'm just going to check 'gray or graying'"

Next Monday, I go to have my other eye pierced. Until then, if this post has been too anodyne, here's a link to an infuriating article about why the best army in the world has been fighting continuously for almost 15 years and hasn't won a war since 1991.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

You Know What They Say About A Man With Thick Irises

Nothing. They don't say anything, and if they do, it's "Ouch."
Yesterday I went to have a hole drilled in my eye to relieve the pressure of narrow angle glaucoma. They said it would take maybe five not exactly painless shots with a laser to create a hole in my iris to allow fluid to drain from my eye. After the first five blasts, though, the doctor told me that my iris was so thick that it was going to take another round of five to get through, but that so much pigment had been stirred up that I would have to sit in the waiting room (or wait in the sitting room) for it to settle down.  While I sat waiting, I did my PT exercises. As I told the technician, "Don't flatter yourselves, it's not just my eyes that are failing."
In the end, it took a total of three sessions to get through. The doctor fired so many times at my eye that I thought she might be trying to win a stuffed animal. Next week I'm having the other eye done. I'm looking forward to being done with this, but hopefully, after having this done, I'll be able to keep looking at things.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Pho-n For (Almost) Everyone

I've been retired about three days now. I used to walk at least seven and a half miles every day I worked. It helped me stay in shape. Since then I have been involved in three marathons including NCIS and Blue Bloods.
Today we went to PHOnatic for lunch. You probably know that pho is a Vietnamese soup and it is pronounced fƏ, as in fun, not fō, as in foe. I ended up eating my enormous bowl, and most of Karen's. I was so  pho-ll. I ate hers because she remembered after we got there that she didn't like pho. While we were eating, she had time to remember all the things she didn't like about us, too. It was quite a list! And she was pho-rious.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Letter Carriers Are Interchangeable, But I Like To Think I Put The Fun In Fungible

I'm retiring in a little over a week (a little over because I just got mandated to work New Year's Eve which is my scheduled day off next week). That means I'm leaving "I can't do these chores because I worked all day" years old for "I didn't retire to do chores all day."

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Can You Tell Which One Is Not Like The Others?

My last day fast approaches. I was thinking last day of work, but I suppose the sentence is terrifyingly true as written. I am still working, and here are some more entries in the occasional series, A Day in the Life.
Click to Enlarge
When I took the first of these pictures, it did seem as if it could be my last day since the moose stopped eating, and then started walking directly at me. "Ah, the hunter has become the hunted," I thought coolly as I scurried away.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Leader of the Pack (Because I'm Late For Work And I Don't Have Time To Think Of A Better Title) Next Month: Better Titles

Leah read the draft of our Christmas letter last night. She said it was depressing. I said, "Duh, I'm going to finish it with Merry Christmas!"
The letter is mostly for people that don't follow this blog since everything in it has already been online. The depressing part of the letter is that unlike this blog, which is opt-in, the letter is opt-out and even that isn't true, since there is no mechanism to opt out of it.
If you want to see what you're possibly missing, click on the link here.
If you do, you should know that I am aware that "hopefully" has a controversy attached to it when it is used as a disjunct as I do in the letter However, no other word seems to work better, and hey, I'm a rebel. A rebel with a cause; hopefully.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

We're Off To See The Vizier, The Wonderful Vizier Of Oz

I'm not sure if I'm talking about hypocrisy here, and of course only the overconfident would say anything is ironic. But, isn't it at least odd that  some people that think it's fine to show graphic pictures of aborted babies at state fairs or PTA meetings  because stopping the horror is more important than cosseting the squeamish, but some of these same people are upset that the Senate's Torture Report was released, as if admitting torture is worse than torturing.
One argument against releasing the report is that if people knew what we'd done, it might incite violence against Americans. But you know who already knows about the torture? The terrorists that were tortured.  Also, the innocent people that were tortured and then released might have mentioned it to their friends and families as an explanation for why they were off to join the jihad.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Bard Of Dagobah

According to the eloquence book, odd word order is another bit of craft. So, brilliant Yoda is.
In trying my hand at it, I realized that tat for tit maybe a great way to pay for body art, but it's no way to run a government. Sparingly, think I, we should use this, because after a while, don't you just want to say, "Jeez, Yoda, you're 800 years old and one with the Force, when will you learn to form a simple sentence?"
Man proposes, God disposes, but it was Leah and I who went to the dump on Saturday afternoon. I had a long weekend and big plans for reorganizing the chaos in our office and bedrooms, or at least swapping the chaos from one room to another. But, a few weeks ago, I'd noticed a bag of bird seed in the garage had been gnawed through, which, along with seeing a mouse, made me think we had a mouse in the garage. I cleaned up the bird seed, and figured the mouse would find another place to live.
The mouse, as if. On Saturday, as I got ready to roll up my sleeves and start in on reversing entropy in the house, Leah screamed so loud in the garage, that I could hear it in the kitchen since she had called my iPhone first. There was a veritable mouse civilization living in our garage. A well fed, bourgouise, prosperous, tending towards obese, mouse city of city mice. Even the garage, which is detached, was like, "Dude, you've got to do something."
The mice were eating so much more than bird seed. They had chewed open a bag of organic mulchy stuff, and some caffeinated  sport beans left over from bike rides, and who knows what else. They'd spread it carefully all over every concealed corner. but they were not very careful about keeping their food corner separate from their restroom corner if you catch my drift.  Anyway, long story slightly shorter; we cleaned the garage, using copious amounts of Lysol and set some traps. Now we wait.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Hungry Are Not The Enemy, Hunger Is

or so the activists say on TV. But for me now, hunger isn't the enemy, it's barely even a memory. One of my readers told me not to say that the turkey was stuffed, and now I am. But, ha, ha, we had corned beef. We did that once many years ago. My sister came up from Seattle, and when she went back to work, she told them about the corned beef. Her co-worker said, "You Jews can't do anything right."
I have been off my diet for a few days. Saturday was my anniversary, well, Karen's too, and we went to a movie. Oddly, on a day that celebrates two becoming one, I got my own popcorn, because, as I explained to Karen, I don't like to share.
Today is Thanksgiving, and of course, we all have a lot to be grateful for. Fox News must be pleased that the day after a Republican report completely disproved all of the deranged accusations they'd been making about Benghazi, thirty thousand of Lois Lerner's emails were discovered. "Will there be any smoking guns?", the interviewer asked about the unread emails. "I'm sure there will be," the guest  who hadn't read them, said. Of course, when it comes to smoking guns, Fox has been positively ecstatic about Ferguson.
In other, better, news, The Earth Girls were featured in the Alaska Dispatch Holiday Gift Guide:

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

If Only The House Republicans Had Some Way They Could Reform Our Immigration System

In church last week, the pastor read the story of the battle of Jericho. I know you shouldn't pick and choose among truths, but, probably because of my own personal history and pathology, I don't like stories about walls tumbling down.
At work, the word has gotten out that I'm planning to retire, possibly because every morning I tell them, "Ha, ha, just five more weeks till I leave you losers behind forever." I've never been more popular, although it's the kind of popularity that a dead raccoon by the side of the road has among crow connoisseurs. Like they say in church, "Where the body is, there the vultures will gather."
All the carriers are coming by to look at my route with a view to bidding on it. The underlying, unflattering subtext is, "If that old man can handle it, how hard can it be?" 
Political watch: It's been 517 days since the Senate passed bipartisan immigration reform and John Boehner said that the House would take up a bill of its own. They haven't, but now they're so insulted by the President's actions that they can't be expected to pass a bill about anything, not even a bill to implement their own ideas to reform immigration. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Scary Messages Are Coming From Inside The House

I heard an interview with an Idaho Republican Congressman today. Representative Labrador is willing to leave the country without an Attorney General, stop hearings on judicial appointments, even threaten another government shut down in response to the President's action on immigration. Apparently, the one thing House Republicans aren't willing to do, and haven't been willing to do for the last year and a half is take up the bipartisan immigration bill passed by the Senate in 2013.
I can't even...
but only because that's an example of aposiopesis from Chapter Seven in the eloquence book.