Sunday, September 28, 2014

Probably Not A Serious Policy Proposal

We're bombing ISIS because they've killed two Americans in a grisly fashion. This will be the third, no, fourth time we've gone to war with enemies of Iran. Our relationship with the Iranians is starting to seem like one of those cheesy comedies where two lovers pretend to hate each other in public. And by attacking ISIS, instead of letting regional powers deal with them, we are giving them legitimacy among people who inexplicably resent our attacking Middle Eastern targets, aiding their recruiting. 
In the meantime, 32 Americans are killed by guns everyday without ever leaving the country. If we want to save American lives, maybe we should declare war on the NRA. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Two Legs Bad. One Leg, Even Worse

When Karen is in a lot of pain, she sometimes tells us that she wishes we were too, so we'd know what she's going through. We tell her that's not very nice, that we're not wishing the pain on her, that we're doing the best we can for her, that caregiving for an angry person isn't exactly the life we would have chosen, and that our wish for her is that she could be pain-free. Well, dreams do come true, at last. I woke up this morning with a debilitating pain in my leg. I can barely walk. I actually noticed it last night when Karen woke me up to change the input on the TV so she could stop watching a DVD and go back to regular programming (we have a new DVR and remote [which has nothing to do with her not being able to change inputs, I'm just bragging a little]). I assumed it would be better in the morning, because isn't everything? So far, it's not, but I've taken some aspirin. If I was making this up, my new replacement bike would arrive today to mock me, but no, it's still mocking me somewhere between Federal Way and Anchorage.
Recently, I heard an interview with William Deresiewicz, railing against the Ivy League. His thesis is, “The system manufactures students who are smart and talented and driven, yes, but also anxious, timid, and lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose: trapped in a bubble of privilege, heading meekly in the same direction, great at what they’re doing but with no idea why they’re doing it.” He calls them, and his book, Excellent Sheep. Which, is fine I guess, but a little irritating.  My dad said you don't have to go to college to learn how to spend money. May I add that you don't have to go to an expensive college to learn how to feel bad about your life? It's not just the young entitled that don't know the purpose of their lives. It just gives you the luxury to indulge  your angst. To paraphrase Garrison Keillor, sure you're depressed, but what does that have to with the fact that the cows still need to be milked?

In any event, it's the furious sheep that are so annoying. Just like you wouldn't let a fox guard a henhouse, why would you let Fox guard a sheepfold? The oxymoronic thought leaders on the right didn't want socialized medicine and released their sheeps of war to attack it, arguing for mandates and subsidies for insurance companies. When they got what they wanted, they turned their ovine marauders loose on it chanting,  "Obamacare bad, the exact same thing by a different name, good. And, also Benghazi."

Saturday, September 20, 2014

I'm Working On A Post In My Head That's Really Good (In My Head). This Isn't It.

So, which is more pathetic, those sad sacks that are live tweeting their lives instead of live living them, or the people that follow them? I'm asking for a friend.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Buyer's Remorse. For FREE.

I met the car of my dreams yesterday. It was a Subaru Forester with low miles, but a high enough seat that old people could get in and out of comfortably. Karen liked it too. She enthused, "Fine, get it if that's what you want." She said it in that way that let me know that she'd be fully onboard until the first problem when it would become, "That car you insisted on getting."
And still I was going to get it until I couldn't sleep this morning (I was expecting to be called into work) and my mind wouldn't let go of the fact that we had a car that sort of works,  that doesn't cost anything, compared to a well-priced dream car that costs something. But this older car does need maintenance and probably costs more to operate than the newer car that has four wheel drive, so it's much safer for winter driving, but are we even going to be here in the winters anymore since I really am still thinking of retiring, but we can't be gone all winter or we'll lose the PFD and the slickest part of the winter is when it's warmest, i.e. early and late when we'd be here, but does 4WD even help on ice, or just on snow?
And also, Don Young is a bully and a buffoon.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Book Report

I've probably run out of new things to say, but then again, that happened awhile ago. In spite of that, I do walk around talking a lot. Sometimes, I even think I'm pretty amusing, "Oh, I love the way you fixed your mailbox. It gives a word lover the chance to remember that it's 'jury-rigged' and 'jerry-built'."
Even though, I've run out of new things to say, "of making many books there is no end," and I've read a few lately. I think I told you about the last two I finished. Well, the last two literary books, I finished; I'm not bragging about the ones by Dean Koontz and Alexander McCall Smith. I started recommending Cloud Atlas seven years ago as, "really great," because I know how to write a concise book review. The author, David Mitchell, has a new book out, The Bone Clocks. It spans the period 1984 to 2043. I preordered it and am up to 2004.  In an interview, he said that all of his books will eventually be revealed to be parts of an uber-novel. 
A lot of the critics have panned the last third of this new book, or uber-chapter, for an incomprehensible  sci-fi plot. I'm sort of looking  forward to that. What I haven't enjoyed so far is a pages long rehash of why invading Iraq was such a bad idea. I mean, it was, but Frontline has already covered that sufficiently. It's true, but it seems unnecessarily topical for a book that aspires to be literature. It's as if in the middle of The Razor's Edge, just before Elliot (spoiler alert) dies, there is an account of the Bretton Woods Conference, and how it will lead to a dollar glut.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Like A Clock-Work Scone

Normally at this time of year, I whine about how much I ate at the state fair, and bemoan how much weight I gained. I could do that this year, too, but maybe I can just show how I approached the fair like a well oiled (or, greased, really) machine:
There is a kind of race called a regularity rally. The goal isn't to necessarily be the fastest through the course, but to come closest to the judge's pre-race estimate for course time. As I walked across the fairgrounds, I put the last bite of funnel cake into my mouth just in time to say, "Two scoops of Gold Nugget ice cream on a waffle cone, please."

Monday, September 01, 2014

More Political Opinions That You Can Skip If You Don't Like Uninformed Commentary. But If That's Who You ARE, Why Are You HERE?

One of my customers told me recently that another customer had told her about my blog. She went on to say that she didn't really read blogs. I told her that was too bad;  I tried to be a one-stop shop for puerile views and comments.
Like these:
Back in April of 1964, I read an article by Dwight D Eisenhower in the Saturday Evening Post called Why I Am A Republican. I probably didn't read it closely then because I was only nine, and because I was still pretty jumpy after March of that year. To be honest, I didn't reread it all that closely just now either. The salient points seem to be that Democrats were big government socialists, and Republicans were yeoman freeholders standing against the encroaching forces of Communism and (possibly worse, because harder to discern) liberalism.
So, I never directed the Colossus that saved the free world, nor became president of the US and then Columbia, but I was a Republican for a long time, and now I'm not. When Ike was president, the Republican party stood for something, or at least they seemed to. Now they only seem to stand for protecting the interests of the very richest people and businesses at the expense of the rest of us, and against anything proposed by the current president. Some, think that this obstructionism fulfills the dream of the founding fathers that the Senate would be a place of deliberation that would slow the headlong rushing of the House. But the founders believed in deliberation leading to compromise to achieve goals not just obstruction and paralysis. Even Ike, while wanting people to stand on their own two feet, gave them roads to drive on with the biggest government construction projects since the pyramids. There is a balance between free people joining together in a community and the Republican's Lord of the Flies approach to individualism.
Republican Dan Sullivan is running for the Senate on a platform that includes repealing Obamacare. It's hard to see what he'd replace it with since Obamacare is the Republican's own plan. I guess the good thing that might come out of all this is that if Republicans only believe in opposing the president, we might finally get the single-payer plan that every other country with good outcomes and low cost healthcare has.
In any event, given that Sullivan might be the member that would tip the Senate, and thus Congress, back to the Republicans, even if I liked him better than I do, I couldn't vote for him. Although