Monday, February 28, 2011

Pay No Attention To That Man Behind The Curtain

Oops, I thought I would be cute and let the blog post itself this week while I was finishing up on jury duty. Which is what happened except for the finishing up. So, if you got any court system posts please ignore them until at least tomorrow when I'll be finishing up on jury duty.

What a Coincidence, I Think Have One Of Those

We had to fill out a survey when we reported for jury duty. Under likes, I mentioned biking, reading and a good sense of humor.
During voir dire (literally, dire voir) I was asked about my bike. Under the pressure of holding a mike, and an audience, I froze momentarily, and couldn't remember what kind of bike I had. I finally stuttered out, "An REI Express,"
"A Novara?," the prosecutor asked.
"Yes," I said, and then under interrogation said I could recognize it, which even I thought was sort of implausible since I could barely remember its name. The defense counsel asked me some more questions about how I might be able to tell my bike from other similarly dressed bikes, and I had to tell about falling off it and getting hit by a car, and how that  had changed its looks.
Our case is about a stolen Novara bike! During cross examination, the defense counsel got the owner of the bike in question (if it is the bike in question) to say that his bike had never fallen and had no scratches. I know we're not supposed to form an opinion until we've heard all the evidence, but so far, I don't like him and his superior attitude.

The Child Is The Father Of The Man

I'm on jury duty this week, so I won't be able to tell you this till next week.  I wasn't a bit surprised to see Robert ------- in the courtroom. Fifty years ago when we were in grade school, he was a bully and a thug. He once hit me in the head with a chunk of ice that was  as big as my head. I was surprised that he wasn't the defendant, but was on the jury.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I Was Right About One Thing: There Was Another Blog Post Right There.

I got an e-mail last night from a friend who told me that he couldn't find any of my blog posts subsequent to January 5th and asking what was new. Here's my response:
Not counting the two that can't post until next week, I count 32 posts since January 5th. Having said that, there isn't that much new here, and what is new, isn't really new, it's just this year's manifestation of the same old thing.  Today was the first day of the Fur Rendezvous, and like you might expect, the skies cleared to an implacable blue and the wind began to howl. I assume it was howling because it was so cold. I know I was. 
Oh, a couple of days ago, I got my new voter registration card. For the first time since the seventies I'm not a Republican. I was proud to be in the party of Lincoln, but seriously, Joe Miller, Don Young, Sarah Palin? And blaming school teachers and janitors for the financial crash, denying them the pensions they were promised while the bankers continue to smoke hand rolled hundred dollars bills?
Wow, there's another blog post right there.

Oh, by the way, I'll probably be at Costco today. See you there.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

T-t-talkin' Bout My Generation. You Were At Woodstock‽

I guess the Woodstock of my generation was Woodstock. Sometimes I think I was there, although I probably wasn't since I was just coming out of the 9th grade in 1969, and  not only didn't have a draft card to burn, I just barely had a learner's permit.. I'm pretty sure that some people that claim they were there now weren't even allowed to cross the street by themselves back then.  I did see the movie a lot.  Although, if that counted for anything, I also invaded Normandy and was killed by soldiers in Bolivia.
As I say, the Woodstock of my generation was Woodstock. I think it must be Costco now. Since I said that I was avoiding eye contact with people there one Sunday, more people have told me that they were there that day than the fire marshall would have allowed. And one of them told me she was avoiding eye contact with me.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Stand By For A New Post

or maybe more than one. I'm on jury duty, which I may blog about, but I won't be able to post till next week.  I wasn't sure I was qualified to be a juror since it took about twenty minutes this morning to find my way out of the parking garage. When I say "my way" out of the parking garage, that does sort of imply that I "found" a way out, rather than being led out by the hand and then being pointed across the street to the courthouse.  My normal method of navigating in Anchorage (mountains on the east side, water on the west) was worthless two stories underground, so I had to rely on my backup method (shuffle my feet and look helpless until a nice lady comes along).

Monday, February 21, 2011

I Don't Mean To Complain. Really, Then Why Do You Even Have A Blog?

Last month I went to a podiatrist for a pain in my feet. I mean, I already had the pain, I wanted him to make it go away. As part of his treatment, he recommended custom orthotics; spendy, but covered by my insurance. "Covered by my insurance," sounded pretty good, so I jumped on them, or I would have if my feet hadn't hurt.
Now let me tell you that last December, as in most Decembers, we had long since gone into our catastrophic coverage, which means that we have already spent a catastrophic amount on health care, but we don't have to pay any more that calendar year. Oh, and most years, I only go to the doctor never, so I rarely pay a deductible, because Karen has met the family deductible single-handedly. By December, we're all, "Sure I'll have a colonoscopy and give me the change in prostate exams." By the way, that's just for illustrative purposes. I have never personally said anything even remotely like that. Anyway, I went and got the custom orthotics today and was charged the full price of several hundred dollars towards my deductible. Ouch.
The young lady at the front counter said to wear them sparingly at first, to get used to them and that if I developed new pain in my knees or back to let them know so they could make adjustments to the orthotics. Apparently she didn't realize that at my age, all I do is develop new pains in my knees and back.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

It Starts With Losing Your Keys

 I haven't seen my car keys since Christmas and a while ago I had new copies made, so that's alright. I've been meaning to tell you that I may not know much about much ("I don't know nothin' bout nothin' at all"), but at least I can tell the difference between the moon and a Burger King sign, but this morning on the way to work the moon was so large, and so low, that for a second I thought it was a Burger King sign, but then I thought, "Why would Burger King open a restaurant in my back yard?" but they must have asked themselves the same question I guess, because they hadn't, it was just the moon.
You may be surprised to hear that I was going to work at all, what with the holiday, and so was my supervisor, especially since I had signed up for Tuesday off, which I hadn't remembered at all, even though it kind of made sense since it would have given me a five day weekend, except for going to work today.
I listened to a story the other day, The Swimmer, by John Cheever. I'd never read it before. It can be taken as a metaphor for aging and loss, although since aging and loss are so universally inevitable, I'm not sure we require a metaphor for them so much as a way to avoid them. A story I read a long time ago, Take Five, by D. Keith Mano, was a lot less obliquely metaphorical, and for me summed up life with one of the best lines in all of literature, "Just what the proctologist ordered."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

So The Bible Says, And It Still Is News

From today's paper:

Them that's got shall get:
Irked that Goldman Sachs appears to have reaped a $2.9 billion taxpayer-aided windfall on an investment of a mere $20 million, some experts and watchdogs say the Wall Street giant should return the money to the U.S. Treasury.

Them that's not shall lose:
The White House will also seek to cut in half... a program that helps poor families and the elderly pay their winter heating and summer cooling bills.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Existential Commuter

I almost didn't get to work yesterday. I have a new bell on my bicycle that has started jingling whenever I ride over a bump. I kept pulling over to let myself go by.

Friday, February 11, 2011

They're Calling It 18 Days That Changed The World and The Jasmine Revolution

I guess getting the iPhone on Verizon is a really big deal.
By the way, if you were at Costco Sunday, it wasn't you I was trying to avoid eye contact with.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

You Can't Handle The Truth, Or, We Want Democracy To Survive For All Generations To Come, Not To Become The Insolvent Phantom Of Tomorrow.

In the hustle and bustle of ignoring Leah's birthday last month, we completely overlooked the fiftieth anniversary of President Eisenhower's prescient farewell speech.  So, if anyone is interested in the speech, you can click here, and people interested in how much worse it is than even he predicted (hint, we spend more on "defense" than all the rest of the nations combined), can click here.
For the rest of you, here's a story that just killed when I was in junior high school:
 A guy goes into a coma in 1959. He spends ten years unaware of anything. Then, in 1969 he wakes up, looks out his window and asks the nurse, "Why is the flag at half staff?" "President Eisenhower just died," she says.  "Oh no, that means that awful Nixon is president!"

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

You Can't Handle The Truth

Our new station manager told me today that I'm not showing her enough respect. I didn't mean to hurt her feelings when I said she meant nothing to me because our managers are like buses, wait a little while and a different one will come along. I respected her enough to tell her the truth. 
Oh well, she'll get over it next month when she's moving to a different station.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Clinging to Power, Then, No Matter How Hard I Try, I Can't Make The Last Bit Tie In To The First Part

So, here's an interesting comparison: Hosni Mubarak has been in power for almost thirty years and doesn't brook opposition. Don Young, Congressman for all Alaska, has been in power almost forty years, and here's a description of the last time he was challenged, "Parnell had not tipped off Young. The congressman was fuming when he took his turn at the microphone."Sean, congratulations. I beat your dad and I'm going to beat you," Young said, referring to the 1980 race in which he trounced Pat Parnell, who ran as a Democrat. Young's demeanor resonated with Prax and other party loyalists.
"He had the opportunity to be gracious, and didn't take it," Prax said. "The tone of voice, the arrogance of that speech, was just more than I could take." Coose (past chairman of the GOP) said many in the Alaska GOP are calling for change without considering the consequences. He too would like change -- in the federal system.
Read more here.

When we were in Costco today, I avoided making eye contact with three different people I didn't want to talk to. Tell me again, why do people join Facebook?

Friday, February 04, 2011

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Do You Want To Know Something Funny?

Me too!
But for now, I know something irritating. Karen was asking her doctor yesterday if there wasn't something he could do for the pain in her leg she's had since the test she had back in August. I assumed he'd say, "No," because if there was something he could do, he'd be kind of a monster if he hadn't done it already.
What he did say was even more surprising; he wouldn't have ordered the test in the first place. Since they already knew she had an infection, and they were treating it, there was no change they would have made to the therapy.
So, remember last summer when I wrote, "Ha ha, the test they did to find out where her pain is coming from, is where her pain is coming from."? That test was meaningless.
In news on the technology front, I called Karen from work today. She not only heard the phone, and recognized that sound as a ringtone, she answered the phone successfully, and when we were done talking, she was able to hang up.
To paraphrase Caesar, audivit , is refero , is ieiunium sursum.*

*She heard, she answered, she hung up.

Passive? Active? Nope, Just Annoying Voice

Someone at work today said that something was one of their pet peeves. I said, as I always do, "You shouldn't keep your peeves around long enough for them to become pets," but then I realized that feral peeves probably aren't much better.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

I May Come Off As A Little Testy Because In Just Two Office Visits And One Visit To A Pharmacy, We Used Up All Of This Year's FSA And Then Way More

I spent a lot of time today in doctor's and dentists offices with Karen for routine explorations of our ability to spend money with them. While Karen was having cavities filled in her mouth, and created in our bank accounts, I finished reading Stephen Hawking's Grand Design. Hawking says that the universe arose from nothing...wait a second, why should I try and paraphrase the smartest man in (this version of) the universe, when I can just copy and paste?

In The Grand Design we explain why, according to quantum theory, the cosmos does not have just a single existence, or history, but rather that every possible history of the universe exists simultaneously... We discuss how the laws of our particular universe are extraordinarily finely tuned so as to allow for our existence, and show why quantum theory predicts the multiverse--the idea that ours is just one of many universes that appeared spontaneously out of nothing, each with different laws of nature....As we promise in our opening chapter, unlike the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life given in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the answer we provide in The Grand Design is not, simply, "42."
So yeah, there are an infinite number of universes, and I happen to live in the only one without a single-payer  health care system.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

"I've Got Bright's Disease, And He's Got Mine"

Newsweek says that "Rage Has Gone Viral", and I think I might have caught it.  This morning, somebody said that hedge fund manager John Paulson had "earned" $5 billion  this year. It kind of put my day in perspective; I had been pleased because I'd found a quarter.
The Atlantic says we aren't angry enough:
In theory, no one should be angrier at wasteful, clumsy government than Democrats, since it undermines their political principles and appeal. In practice, since the 1960s, Democrats’ defensiveness about government, driven partly by fealty to public-service-employees unions, has turned them into the party of bureaucracy, rather than of effective government, just as Republicans’ fealty to incumbent interests has turned them into the party of Big Business rather than of free markets and innovation.

Voters get it. Most Americans except the very rich saw their incomes stagnate under George W. Bush, even as their expenses for health care and education shot up. But cheap credit and rising home prices—not to mention cool, affordable smart phones and flat-screen TVs—masked the dismal reality. That mask was ripped away by the Great Recession, and so Americans have been feeling 10 years’ worth of pain concentrated into a two-year span
Along the lines of masking the pain, though, the price of iPhone 3GS's has come down enough that we got Karen one the other day. Heretofore, her interest in technology had peaked with the advent of running water, and it may not be a perfect fit for her. I came into the room and found her staring at the phone, waiting for it to do something. She finally must have made it do something because I got a three and a half minute message from the radio in the kitchen.