Friday, April 29, 2005

Picture this?

Ed Gamble

"It amazes me that leader Pelosi and the Democrats continue to criticize the president's proposals when they've offered no plan or ideas of their own. Just yesterday, leader Pelosi blocked members of her party from attending a bipartisan meeting with Republicans and the AARP to discuss reforming Social Security." - House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) April 28, 2005

A welcome to those readers coming from Carnival of the Trackbacks!

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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Presidential Press Conference: 8 p.m.

In addition to talking about the energy program he submitted to Congress FOUR YEARS AGO, tonight Dubya's expected to begin providing the details of his proposal to overhaul Social Security.

The Lefty-Loons will waste no time squawking in rebutal. Then again, from the start they've been saying how bad Dubya's plan is, and he hadn't even announced what it was.

Neil Cavato writes:

I cannot fathom anyone saying [Social Security] doesn't need fixing. Anyone telling you that is lying to you. Period.
As I wrote here, Dubya's not backing up or backing away. The Loons are, NOT that they're going to come right out and admit it. No, they'll continue to blither and blab, and comission push polls with carefully crafted questions designed to provide the results they want.

Their disinformation has worked with some but obviously not all:

Though President Bush has talked about voluntary accounts, the new poll finds that while 57 percent of Americans understand the accounts would be voluntary, 27 percent believe they would be mandatory, and the remaining 17 percent are unsure.
Maybe Dubya should have done a better job explaining? But explaining what? How could he have explained a complete plan, that hadn't yet been developed? Don't ask me.

What he has been saying, however, is getting through:
On the personal level, 53 percent say they want the choice to invest a portion of their contributions, up from 48 percent in early February — soon after President Bush spoke in his State of the Union address about offering investment accounts. Among those under age 55, almost two-thirds (64 percent) want the option to invest.
More here.

(And I'm still trying to track down the complete results. They're there! I know they are! Somewhere!!! But I'm out of time.)


Making it real

I don't remember the year. I do remember hearing the news reports on those cold and dark mornings as I choked down one of my grandmother's gawdawful biscuits before going to school. (Gram baked a dozen every week for us and in Mom's waste-not-want-not home, I'm the one who was stuck eating them because nobody else would.) I suspect it was those biscuits, though, that made me try to focus on something else, anything else, but that rock I expected to gnaw through, somehow, which is why I remember it as clearly as I do.

Day after day, the voice coming through the radio reported on the drama of the continuing filibuster.

I don't know if I already knew what one was (kinda), if I asked (and that's how it was explained) or because it was such a big deal if it was mentioned at school by my teacher. I can not begin to tell you how impressed I was that one person could talk non-stop for that many days. No wonder it was on the news every morning!

(That little misunderstanding of mine was straightened out years later, but we're still talking decades ago because that's when schools stopped teaching Civics.)

This so-called filibustering of Dubya's judicial nominees isn't really one. As Dick Morris explains:

The Republican leaders, and the Democratic majority leader before them, have allowed the filibuster to be rehabilitated in the public mind by agreeing not to stage one. The gentlemanly filibusters of the modern era, where each side concedes unless one has 60 votes, have permitted virtual filibusters that incur no public wrath.
Rather than push the so-called "nuclear option," Morris suggests a different option that's simplicity itself: A better option on judges: Bring on a real filibuster.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Writing related

Sisu points to a site that evaluates the readability of blogs.

Select Readability Tests at Juicy Studios, plug in the URL to your blog (or a specific post or an archived month if you want), click and when the next screen comes up, scroll down for the results. There it is along another table for comparison purposes as well as explanations.

According to the chart, I'm writing somewhere between the fifth and eighth grade reading level: the range of most newspapers. I'm exactly where I want to be because it took a lot of hard work for me to get there.

A lot.

I'd developed the reputation at work, "If nobody else can figure out how to write it, give it to "Doyle."

I was cranking government stuff out right and left: budget narratives, brochures, grant proposals, procedures . . . and everybody loved what I wrote, especially the bosses whose names it went out under.

I look back now and cringe.

Passive voice had become an automatic with me.

I wrote in passive voice automatically.

While not as bad as some of the others at work, I'd also fallen into the practice of writing endless sentences filled with jargon, acronyms and awe-inspiring phraseology; each one defying description because of its complexity, believing that in separating the multitude of phrases with a variety of punctuation marks I was amplifying understanding so that the message I was endeavoring to transmit would be more effortlessly comprehended which would, therefore, impress upon everyone the absolute urgency of the matter being presented for their consideration.

Instead of writing in a clear and concise manner, I wrote gobbledegook.

There's no shame in writing simply. It can be hard work, though, getting back to writing English after years of churning out bilge.

Monday, April 25, 2005

I hate these things!

Like I didn't know this already?

Your Inner European is Irish!

Sprited and boisterous!
You drink everyone under the table.

Well, maybe not the "drinking everyone under the table" part.

Via Jenna.


A day to remember

Da Kid was close to graduating from high school when he started making "car noises."

He already had access to one: a used Bronco I'd picked out for him, bought and insured. It might have been a gas guzzler but when your child starts driving, you really want something reliable with a high . . . erm, crash safety rating.

Da Kid knew neither his father nor I had any plans of buying him a different vehicle. He, however, had it all figured out. He would.

I told him fine, adding as gently as I could (Riiiiiiiight!) that he'd have to do it completely on his own. From scratch since he would NOT be using the Bronco as a trade-in and he'd also be completely responsible for his own insurance, too.

The kid agreed.

About a year later Da Kid had it all figured out. Or, he thought he did.

Between the pay from his job and how much he'd save in gas by NOT driving the Bronco, he could afford $X a month. Then deducting from that $X for auto insurance and $X for a car payment, he'd still have $X left each month.

I asked him how he'd gotten his cost figures and he proudly showed me.

He'd put a lot of work into it checking various online auto sites, and based upon the prices quoted for the brand new completely loaded MUSTANG he wanted, and their helpful online monthly payment calculators . . .

I said I didn't think so, but you know the way it is. What do I know. I'm only his mother.

As fate would have it, one of those multi-dealership massive car sales was underway down at the Fairgrounds so we took a trip over. And there was Da Kid's car! His dream MUSTANG!

By the time the figures were done, Da Kid realized how badly he'd miscalculated. Not only couldn't afford the Mustang, he couldn't finance any vehicle.

Not then, anyway.

First, he didn't have enough saved for a down payment that would make any appreciable difference in the monthly payments. Secondly and even more importantly, it's not that he had a bad credit rating. He didn't have enough much of a credit history at all. Just his always-on-time monthly cell phone payments.

A few days later we took a trip to the credit union I've been a member of for mumble- something years. I didn't know if it would work, if they'd approve it, but it made sense to me. My diabolical plan for improving Da Kid's credit rating apparently made sense to their loan officer, too, because when Da Kid and I left, he'd been approved for a one-year, $1,000 personal loan, secured by his new savings account into which he'd deposited $1,000.

Da Kid paid the loan off in five months not because he couldn't or didn't want to pay the loan off earlier. If he had, as the loan officer had advised him, it wouldn't have affected his credit rating the way he needed it to.

That was a little over three years ago.

Shortly thereafter between what additional money he'd saved and his much-improved credit rating, Da Kid pulled up in his new vehicle.

New not because it was, but new because this was Da Kid's first all-on-his own vehicle.

A Mustang? Hell no.

A far more practical two-year-old BUT still under-factory-warranty extend-cab Ranger.

Just about an hour ago — paying the loan off two year's early — Da Kid showed me its title.

"It's mine."

(The Bronco? It's still going strong. Hubby's driving it now.)

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Book Review

After reading a string of bombs, Paula is going back to her old way of choosing books: Try it before you buy it.

How bad was this latest one?



This week's Carnival of the Dogs is now up at Mickey's Musings.

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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Forgive me, please, if I puke

"It keeps getting worse and worse," I said to Hubby a couple of weeks ago. That was back when it was first reported that Jessica Lunsford might have been held for several days by John Couey, her confessed kidnapper, rapist and murderer.

And worse it got with the latest news that Couey had buried Jessica alive.

Earlier this week Florida’s House of Representatives unanimously passed what's being dubbed the Jessica Lunsford Act. The Tallahassee Democrat reports the State Senate, fast-tracking the legislation, took "the House version of the bill instead of its own and made some toughening amendments that will send it back to the lower chamber today."

But there's always an elected idiot who just has to open their yap to prove just how stupid they really are:

Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, asked whether the state can do anything to rehabilitate sex offenders.

"I know something about human behavior," said Siplin, an attorney. "What are we doing with the sexual predators while they are incarcerated? It's more economical for us to get some sort of treatment for them in jail so they can overcome their weaknesses."
I’ll tell you what "treatment" I’d recommend for these wastes of oxygen that prey on children. It would definitely prove economical while helping them "overcome their weaknesses," permanently.

Toss ‘em in with the prison’s general population.

Welcome readers coming from Wizbang.

I hate these things!

I am a d20

Take the quiz at

You are the large, round, friendly d20! (You probably didn't know this, but the shape of the twenty-sided die is called an Icosahedron.) You are the friendly, outgoing, outspoken, leader of friends. You are often looked up to, even though you don't normally deserve it. Most other types secretly wish they were you, and you'd give them tips on how, if only you had a clue yourself. Your charisma is often all you need, but you have your occasional moments of brilliance as well--just never when it's actually needed. You are the all- around good guy, a dependable chum, a respectable foe, and an inspiration to those who need one. Who says you can't get by on a smile and good looks alone?
Via Ace


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Local boy makes good.

Since fellow Florida blogger Rogers Cadenhood is so good at figuring stuff out, I wonder if he has any suggestions on Lotto numbers he'd like to share.

Fla. Man Secured Weeks Ago.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Offender - Predator Explanation

On March 21 I pointed to Florida's sexual offender and sexual predator definitions asking, "If someone out there from the legal community blogs the difference(s) between the two, please let me know."

Yesterday I sent an email to Matt Conigliaro at Abstract Appeal asking if he'd explain the difference in very simple terms.

Matt's reply, quoted here with his permission, is:

There is a difference, barely, in who is a "sexual predator" and who is a"sexual offender." The latter are people who have been convicted of any of a series of statutorily listed crimes generally involving sexual conduct and which may be various levels of offenses, including first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree felonies. (Second-degree felonies are considered less serious than first-degree felonies, and third-degree felonies are considered less serious than second-degree felonies.) A "sexual predator" is a slightly more narrow list of folks. It basically includes anyone who's twice committed a crime that merits the "sexual offender" label or anyone who commits a single crime that merits the "sexual offender" label and that crime is a capital, life, or first-degree felony.

At one point there was a requirement that a person be determined to bedangerous to others before being designated a sexual predator. That requirement has been removed.

Both sexual offenders and sexual predators are subject to heavy reporting requirements regarding where they live, work, and attend school.
If you're a Florida Blogger and Abstract Appeal (The first web log devoted to Florida Law and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals) isn't on your blogroll, it should be.

UPDATE: For those wanting more detail, Deborah provides this link.

Monday, April 18, 2005

That's TWO!

Social Security has been in trouble for a LONG time. A Ponzi scheme, it was doomed from the start.

Every few years someone would yelp, "It's sinking!" and a new fix -- always the last one that would supposedly ever be needed -- would be enacted.

The "tweaks" over the many years consisted of increased payroll taxes, reduced benefits, forcing people who'd previously been exempt because they were already paying into other plans to "contribute," and / or exempting people who'd already paid into the system (or would in the future) from ever receiving Social Security BECAUSE of the type of pension they'd paid into.

Amazingly as soon as Dubya sounded the alarm, the Lefty-Loons conveniently forgot that Clinton had said the same thing.

"Social Security is in just fine and dandy shape and always will be!" they bellowed and screamed in editorials and interviews. "Dubya's lying!"

Eventually, the Lefty-Loons began to change their script:

"Social Security is in just fine and dandy shape . . . except it just needs to be tweaked!"

That was ONE: An acknowledgment by the Loons despite their best attempts, the public understands Dubya wasn't the one lying.

"No private personal accounts!" the Loons have shrieked from the start. "Ever! Yer all too dumb to survive without somebody (Us!) taking care of you. So for the greater good, you and yer income . . . y'all

Deborah points to this article from the Washington Times.

House Democrats have decided to quit emphasizing that they will not negotiate changes to Social Security until President Bush drops his idea for private accounts. The switch in strategy comes after Democrats learned from focus groups that people frown on the lawmakers for being obstinate.
Read that again.

I'll wait, no problem.


Note the change in the DEMAND for dropping private personal accounts?

That's TWO!

Despite all the times someone has written or snorted changing the current Social Security system is dead, Dubya's still not backing down or away.

The Loons are. Why?

"It makes us seem like we're `typical politicians.'"

Overhauling Social Security is going to happen, people.

And quietly behind it gathering momentum, The Fair Tax.

Welcome to readers coming from Carnival of the Trackbacks.



This week's Carnival of the Dogs is up at Mickey's Musings.

Not enough?

Then take a gander (sometimes I just crack myself up) at Friday's Ark.

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Sunday, April 17, 2005

I hate these things!

I knew the results would turn out to be a mixed up mess. How right I was.

Your Linguistic Profile:

45% General American English
30% Yankee
20% Dixie
5% Upper Midwestern
0% Midwestern

I especially agree with Pious Agnostic who noted that it's impossible to answer some of the questions. For example:

10. What do you call an easy class?

A crip course
A gut
A blow off
None of the above. It's a "snap class" because passing is as easy as snapping your fingers.

11. If it's raining while the sun is shining, you call it:

The Devil is Beating His Wife
A sunshower
You have no term for it
Again, none of the above. Here in the Sunshine State, it's called typical.

Via: Pious Agnostic, Jenna and Norma


Saturday, April 16, 2005


Noah In 2005

The Lord came unto Noah, who was now living in the United States, and said, "Once again, the earth has become wicked and over-populated and I see the end of all flesh before me. Build another Ark and save two of every living thing along with a few good humans."

He gave Noah the blueprints, saying, "You have six months to build the Ark before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights."

Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard.... but no ark.

"Noah", He roared, "I'm about to start the rain! Where is the Ark?"

"Forgive me, Lord," begged Noah. "But things have changed. I needed a building permit. I've been arguing with the inspector about the need for a sprinkler system.
My neighbors claim that I've violated the neighborhood zoning laws by building the Ark in my yard and exceeding the height limitations. We had to go to the Development Appeal Board for a decision. Then the Department of Transportation demanded a bond be posted for the future costs of moving power lines and other overhead obstructions, to clear the passage for the Ark's move to the sea. I argued that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear nothing of it.

Getting the wood was another problem. There's a ban on cutting local trees in order to save the spotted owl. I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the owls. But no go!

When I started gathering the animals, I got sued by an animal rights group. They insisted that I was confining wild animals against their will. As well, they argued the accommodation was too restrictive and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space.

Then the EPA ruled that I couldn't build the Ark until they'd conducted an environmental impact study on your proposed flood. Also, the trades unions say I can't use my sons. They insist I have to hire only Union workers with Ark building experience.

To make matters worse, the IRS seized all my assets, claiming I'm trying to leave the country illegally with endangered species.

So, forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least ten years for me to finish this Ark."

Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow stretched across the sky. Noah looked up in wonder and asked, "You mean, You're not going to destroy the world?"

"No," said the Lord. "The government beat me to it."

Via: Hey Joe!

Friday, April 15, 2005

I hate these things!

Trekkie Appreciator
Survey Says...

You like Star Trek and have obviously watched more than a couple of episodes or movies, but you don't live or breathe the world (read: you probably don't go to your local McDonalds in your Klingon gear - not that there's anything wrong with that...). Excellent! You've managed to tread the fine line between sci-fi buff and Star Trek nerd (otherwise known as the difference between enjoying Star Trek for its entertainment value and running around with a batleth quoting Klingon battle poetry).

Via: My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy



Participants and readers are not particularly thrilled with this week's host of one of the regular blog carnivals.

Click here for one of the reactions.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

"Houston, we have a problem."

Apollo 13, of course.

Many (most?) of you have seen the movie. I have, too, but I also remember when it happened because I saw it live and I don't mean just on the television.

Thirty-five years ago last night we in my parents' house were glued to the radio and/or the television after the first reports began to come through that there had been a problem of some sort with Apollo 13. Mom was washing the dinner dishes and cleaning up the kitchen, but all out of order.

Normally she'd do the dinner dishes, then get Dad's lunch ready for the next day while brewing a pot of coffee so it would be ready when she filled his thermos the next morning. Instead, she was fixing his lunch and brewing coffee before with the dinner dishes stacked, yet to be washed.

Looking back, I know now that Mom and Dad knew the phone was going to ring. When it did, Dad took his filled thermos and the lunch box Mom had packed and headed to work.

I didn't see much of Dad as each day slowly dragging into the next. No one knew what had happened or what would. Although it had happened several years before, the memory of the Apollo 1 fire was still too fresh . . . at least for those living in my family's home.

You see, Dad worked for Grumman on the LEM. Each and every one of them from the first prototype to the last one built — scheduled for the later-canceled Apollo 18 — that now sits on the floor of the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum.

Air and Space Museum,
Washington, D.C.

Dad wasn't any fancy scientist or engineer. He was one of the thousands of Grumman "grunts" — "Grumminites" — who all played a part in what is now, by most, forgotten.

While enjoyable Apollo 13, the movie, is less than 2 hours long and it’s not particularly accurate. This article is much more complete.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Update: Jessica's Petition

I'm still getting steady hits to my entry here from people trying to find information on "Jessica's Petition." As I later added, the petition was publicized and quickly withdrawn with an explanation that a new one would be forthcoming.

I've since noticed an article dated April 1 about Joseph Dawson, the petition's author, that points to Protect Florida Children. The site, which Mr. Dawson says is the home of the petition he wrote, is HORRIBLY done.

I scrolled all over the place (Have I mentioned the site is a disaster?) and finally found:

The petition phase of our campaign is completely over, and I would like to personally thank the thousands of people who promoted our cause.. . . Senator Nancy Argenziaro did a fabulous job of creating Senate Bill 1216 after our Child Protection Amendment and she deserves our support and thanks.

Elsewhere (The site SUCKS!), Mr. Dawson also writes:

The original author of "The Child Protection Amendment", aka "Jessica Petition" was in fact Joseph H. Dawson of Homosassa, Florida. Several individuals pirated the Jessica Petition for profit and commercialization. NONE of these petitions were authorized by the author nor are legally valid to support a Florida amendment or a federal law. All signatures on those petitions are in fact worthless. Online petitions are invalid and only original signed petitions can be accepted by a governmental entity.
And then if you scroll around enough, there's a link to a statement that pretty much says "I'm not doing this for money or publicity before running for office, or . . . " Read the whole thing.

(Does something seem a little off to you, or is it just me?)

Still, no petition or if it's there somewhere, I sure can't find it. Which is kinda strange, since you'd think it would still be displayed even if that "phase of our campaign is completely over."

Yes, there are a couple of other petitions out there: here and here for example, but according to statements made by the site administrator and senior moderator in the OFFICIAL Jessica Lunsford chatroom in these two threads, the Lunsord family has not endorsed nor are they connected with any of the petitions.

(Note: See here for my post on some of the provisions in the proposed Jessica Marie Lunsford Act.)

Welcome Carnival of the Trackbacks VII

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

"It's not really burnt to hell."

Peej blogs primarily about cooking and presents the perfectly-prepared, finished dish in the form of a photograph. Even what she recently referred to as a failure is tastefully done and had me drooling, but she laments:

People have the impression that I'm this master pastry baker so I thought I would bare my soul here and show a lemon meringue pie-gone-wrong.

She then dissects what she did compared to what she oughta done.

My heart bleeds for her. BLEEDS! Really!

That's a failure?

You want to know what a failure is? Try the baked ziti I fixed for dinner last night.

It's not like I've never fixed baked ziti before, either. I already had the sauce in the freezer, the same sauce I've been making for a long time.

The ziti was in the cabinet, the same brand I've been using for a long time.

Used the same cheese I always do, too, for the topping.

Except when I pulled it out of the oven, instead of being cooked it was . . . and I burned the crap out of my hand, too.

What went wrong? Damned if I know. If I knew it wouldn't have turned out the way it did. Maybe I turned the oven on the wrong temperature setting, or maybe I screwed up when I set the timer, or maybe . . .

People pay big money at fancy restaurants for dishes listed as Blackened (fill in the blank), right? So what's wrong with Blackened Ziti?

Peej photographed her "failure." If I had mine, it would show a double-strength, draw-string garbage bag, because I'd have tossed it in the trash once I finished jackhammered it out of the pan . . . if I'd had the time but before I could, Da Kid came in from work.

It's not as if we didn't have any other food in the house. There's leftover roast and leftover baked chicken and leftover veggies, but grabbing a plate from the cabinet, Da Kid headed straight for . . . IT, excavating about a quarter of the pan.

After he'd crunched his way through that, "The Eating Machine" went back for more.

"It's all in the way you look at it," he said. "It's not really burnt to hell, Mom. It's 'Extra Crispy.'"


Monday, April 11, 2005

Old Man

(For Lucky - 4/11/00)

Doc, we had another scare today
With "Old Man" dog, my friend.
And once again I've had to face
That this could be the end.

But for tonight, another night
He's sleeping by my side
And once again I'm spared the tears
I'll try so hard to hide.

Doc, I know you know
How much he means to me.
But, Doc, Old Man is not a dog.
He's my friend. You see

Friends are not possessions.
For them you'll take the pain
Of letting go, not holding on
So they won't hurt again.

And Old Man dog will tell me
When his joy in life is gone.
His eyes will simply tell me,
"You're only holding on.

"Friends are not possessions.
For me please take the pain
Of letting go, not holding on.
Set me free, my friend."

Sunday, April 10, 2005


This week's Carnival of the Dogs is now up at Mickey's Musings.

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My name is Tank and today is my birfday.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Do not . . .

. . . click on this link.

I'm telling you, don't!

I told you not to so don't blame me.

Blame Oceanguy.

Friday, April 08, 2005

"Jessica's Law"

John Couey, Jessica Lunsford's alleged kidnapper, rapist and murderer, has a criminal record spanning 30 years. One of the people who should have been aware that he was a registered sex offender was his probation officer, but, unfortunately, that information may be scattered and not easily available to officials.

In August, sheriff's deputies arrested [Couey] on a minor drug charge, [Mary Doyle, Citrus court representative for the Salvation Army] said. That new offense constituted a violation of his probation terms.

For violating the DUI probation, a judge sent him to jail for 59 days, court records showed. The judge put him on probation for the drug charge.

When Couey got out of jail, Doyle said, he didn't check in with probation as required. So her office sent notices to Couey's listed address, 7421 Grover Cleveland Blvd. in Homosassa.

The notices went unanswered, so officials arranged for a violation of probation warrant on Dec. 2. But no one went looking for him; the warrant just sat in the system, ready to be served whenever Couey came into contact with law enforcement.

Couey eventually moved into a mobile home on Snowbird Court in Homosassa, across the road from Jessica's home.
Shortly after Couey confessed telling authorities where he'd buried Jessica's body, Jessica's Petition was written, publicized and quickly withdrawn with an explanation that a new one would be forthcoming.

There is no longer a need for a petition to encourage our state lawmakers to strengthen the laws involving sexual offenders and predators.

The Jessica Marie Lunsford Act ("Jessica's Law") is working its way through both houses of the state legislature.

In addition to tougher sentences for those who prey upon children, it would require GSP tracking of sexual offenders and predators who will be released, and require judges to order electronic monitoring of sex criminals convicted of crimes against children any time they violate their probation, even for technical violations such as failing to check in.

The proposed law would also make it a felony to harbor a sex offender without notifying law enforcement.

Welcome Carniival of the Trackbacks VI.

UPDATE: May 3, 2005

Barn Blogging?

I didn't start it. Bill Hobbs did.

The Powell Barn
Old Bethpage Village Restoration
Long Island, New York

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Random thoughts

The next time you hear someone yammering that the way to "fix" Social Security is to either raise the current income ceiling of $90,000 to (fill in the blank) or do away with with the cap completely so that all earned income is subject to FICA, remember . . .

Payroll deductions for Social Security are already creating a surplus even after current recipients are paid. That "extra" is then then used to fund desperately needed projects like these.

Increasing the income ceiling or completely eliminating it will generate even more, so that after current Social Security recipients are paid, the politicians will be able to fund endeavors even more worthwhile.


Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Joe at Attaboy, in an imaginary conversation with the person who delivers his daily newspaper, asks:

[D]o you think there’s a chance you can get the newspaper in the driveway rather then the wet, soggy grass?
Joe obviously lives in one of those upscale neighborhoods to which only the best (of the best!) paper deliverers are assigned. His not only tosses the paper IN his yard, (s)he does so every day.

Me? I’m out here in the boonies so I’m not as picky. I just want my paper tossed over the 250 feet of fence out front, somewhere. Anywhere will do so long as it’s IN the yard. I’ll find it!

It’s not hard to figure out which house has been making this request for years, since we’re the only house on this side of the road for a good half-mile. But does it happen? No.

Instead the paper is flung so that it ends up outside the fence. Now, this might not be too bad except as I said, we’re out in the boonies and the city has 7 or 8 foot of right-of-way between my fence and the road and since there are numerous rural-route mailboxes lined up next to my driveway, people are driving up and either picking up or putting their mail in the boxes on the way to work. The result: a squished and torn-up newspaper.

Unless it’s been raining and what’s left of the run-over and squished, torn-up mess is buried in the mud.

Or unless the delivery person missed the right-of-way completely and the paper landed in the middle of the road and it turned into — as evidenced by shreds wafting in the breezes even hours later — instant confetti.

And that’s when we GET our delivery.

Sometimes the fill-ins dump the paper on the side of the road 200 feet on either side of our driveway -- one day it’s on one side; the next, the other — or with pinpoint accuracy throws the paper over the fence into the yard across the street.

(Note: "They" don’t even subscribe.)

So Joe, I’m really sorry that your tootsies get damp because yer paper ends up in the grass IN your yard instead of ON your driveway, but . . . you wanna trade delivery dweebs?

(Disclaimer: mumble-something years ago fighting to make ends meet, after I got off my regular, full-time job I usta be one.)

Monday, April 04, 2005


This week's Carnival of the Dogs is now up at Mickey's Musings.

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I'm speechless

I’m still on the mend from what is truly The Bug From Hell. Unfortunately, something new cropped up yesterday morning after I’d taken the dogs out and finally discovered where the newspaper had been thrown this time.

I yelled for Tank and the Wonderdog as I opened the door to go back inside. What came out sounded like it had come from a pubescent boy. By noon when I took them out again although I hadn’t said another word aloud until then . . . shocking silence total and complete.

It’s startling to suddenly NOT hear your own voice, especially when it's always automatically been there to call the dogs in, or call them to go out, or cuss when you drop something messy on the kitchen floor.

Tank’s adjusted quickly and quite well. I clap my hands together and he comes to see what I’m doing. After that it’s hand signals he’s used to.

The Wonderdog, on the other hand, isn’t. He flies from the living room when I clap, heads out the door when I motion for him to do so, and that’s as far as it goes. Once he was outside, fergitaboutit. It’s anyone’s guess.

It’s not that he listens to me well to start with, but now I don’t even have a voice for him to ignore.

Just when I finally decided to say the heck with it and leave him outside yesterday afternoon (It’s not like he’s going anywhere. The yard is fenced and as an added precaution, the gates are secured with bungee cords.) Wonderdog dashed up and sat just like he’s supposed to do, waiting for me to tell him "IN!.

I did, but nothing came out.

By now I knew that my voice was completely gone but did that stop me? No.

Exasperated, I again said "IN!"

Nothing. Did THAT stop me? Nah.

So there I am turning red in the face repeating myself . . . repeatedly, despite the fact I know not a word is coming out or will, and there’s the Wonderdog staring at me with his head cocked, obviously trying to figure out what the HELL I want him to do.

I finally just grabbed a treat from my jeans pocket and pitched it through the door into the kitchen.

THAT he understood.

I’m still "speechless" today, although I can squawk a little. If I lower my voice enough, I can actually get a few words out here and there.

I just wish the Wonderdog would stop grumbling back at me like we were having a conversation, or barking at me like I’m trying to pull a fast one on him by hiding a chicken in my mouth.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Picture this?


Friday, April 01, 2005

Stomped by an elephant

That's what I feel like after The Bug From Hell, and I'm not certain I'm done with it yet. Or that it's done with me?

Feeling better, anyway, than I was and only four hours before I can take my next dose of Whoopee! cough medicine. It's really good schtuff! I'm due for another horse-pill-sized decongestant then, too.

And then I'll crawl back into bed, after I kick the Wonderdog out of it . . . again.