Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tea Party silent on Wall Street? Arizona?

Seriously, why hasn’t the Tea Party jumped all over the Arizona immigration law? Talk about government getting into your lives – “Papers please.” First, they came for the Hispanics …

Same question, different issue: why hasn’t the Tea Party gnarled at Wall Street for robbing all America? You folks need to replace that hate and anger with some positive ideas.

Glenn Beck has lost over one million viewers since January. But actually, the dip would be deeper were it not for the fact that Fox is bundled with basic cable in most cities whereas high-toned MSNBC is not. So it’s not apples to apples. More like horse apples to apples.

There’s a suspicion hereabouts that Texas Gov. Rick Perry may have popped that coyote to impress Sarah Palin. He‘s either a helluva shot or a terrible jogger. Normally, exercise revs up the heart rate and spoils the aim even when it is laser guided. Show me the carcass.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Giving Avarice a Bad Name

Emily Post wrote “Etiquette” in 1922. The venerable little book is now in its 86th printing. I think it should be required reading before anyone is allowed to post comments on the Web.

Admit it – you read the obits. If so, read today’s tribute to Allen Swift in the NY Times. The voice actor played many a role in radio and TV, from Mighty Mouse to Gen. Eisenhower. He was one of the “best-known unknown actors on television.”

“The Big Bang Theory” is a new comedy for geeks coming on CBS. The producer has high hopes that “Maybe at the end of the day this will inspire some kids to go into physics just like ‘Cheers’ inspired countless young people to go into bars.”

Eleven indicted Somali pirates dropped a bombshell in a U.S. court today, revealing that their entire piracy operation is a subsidiary of banking giant Goldman Sachs. An audible gasp could be heard in court when the leader of the pirates announced, "We are doing God's work.” We work for Lloyd Blankfein." Not true, of course, but a good story nonetheless. By devil blogger, Andy Borowitz.

"The cheese stands alone." That's just one of her punch lines as Maureen Dowd skewers the rats at Goldman Sachs. A good read.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tea Party Trends

For once, Newt Gingrich was right. He predicts the Tea Baggers will become the militant faction of the Republican Party. Except he got his verb tense wrong. Present tense, Newt, present tense.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann, Tea Bag queens.

"The problem with the tea party movement, besides their almost universal rejection of dentistry, is that they want money for nothing and chicks for free. They want a deregulated free market and their jobs to stay here in the US; they want guaranteed health coverage regardless of preexisting conditions without a big government mandate; they want to call themselves tea baggers and people to keep a straight face.” Bill Maher

MSNBC's Chris Matthews asked if Wall Street is like Acorn for Republicans. He might not be joking.

Why haven’t the Tea Baggers organized a march on Wall Street? After all, the greedy fat cat bankers are the people who caused trillions of our 401k funds to evaporate.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Sarah Palin out of the closet

Movin’ on up. Sarah Palin is making so much money that I expect her to come out as an Episcopalian any day now. Entry level.

Tell me something. Are those socialists who want me to have socialist health care the same socialists who want me to have Medicare? Are they the same socialists who want me to have Social Security? Devious while dumb.

“Once they finished shaving the cats, the glamour event of the dog grooming show began.” So starts a NYTimes article about Intergroom, a three-day trade show for the doggy biz. Last year, in a fit of canine topiary, one dog was turned into a peacock. Funny story, photos. I wonder why the Times put the story in the sports pages?

The Mystery Woman got an early birthday present: an outdoor thermometer based on an invention by Galileo a long time ago. The device is a glass chamber filled with weighted balls suspended in a clear liquid. The balls are red (hot), orange (temperate) and blue (you get the picture). The colored balls rise and fall according to the temperature. Reds when it’s hot. Blue balls when it’s cold. And I have the strangest sensation that my voice is changing.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Can’t you just taste the joy in the springtime air? Every morning, for a brief moment, my knees forget they know arthritis. I can run and jump again, I just know it. And even if my stiff joints won’t cooperate, my heart beats faster, my mind works better and my smile gets bigger as the day floats by.

What a wonderful contagion sweeps the nation …

From the John C. Campbell Folk School Spring Newsletter

Dear Friends: Now sings the tufted titmouse “peter peter peter” and the bluebird soars by carrying the sky on his back. The earth has tipped, the days extend, the ground is making worms again. The chickens can’t believe their luck, there’s treasures everywhere. The crows are calling back and forth across the fields. You probably have noticed roadkill never includes crows, though they spend plenty of time in the road. This is because they help each other out. When one is in the road, there’s always another one up a tree yelling, “Car! Car.”

Two Springs

New York Times: March 29, 2010

Lately, I’ve been studying celestial navigation, the seafaring kind that requires a sextant, a chronometer, and a nautical almanac. It’s a way of adding a little trigonometry to a life that’s mostly addition and subtraction.

I began this project just as spring arrived and noticed that spring, to navigators, isn’t so much a season as a point. There it is in the nautical almanac, just between 5 and 6 p.m. (make that between 17:00 and 18:00) on March 20 — when the sun passed from a southern latitude to a northern latitude.

There’s more to it than that, which is one of the basic rules of celestial navigation. Spring is the vernal equinox — one of two points of intersection between the ecliptic and the celestial equator. (The other is the autumnal equinox.) It’s also the moment when the sun reaches what’s called the First Point of Aries, a fictional line of demarcation, like the Greenwich Meridian, that happens now to be in Pisces.

I am not going to try to explain these things since I’m just beginning to grasp them myself. But this much seems to be true: In the nautical almanac, spring comes like clockwork, whether the snow has already withdrawn or is falling fast. The table of hour angles and declinations that pinpoints celestial spring seems to say, “Here it is, just where it always was. Make what you will of it.” It’s all dreadfully precise.

And then there is terrestrial spring, which is a matter of hints and wishes, promise and hope, a season that is only vaguely calendrical. On the first day of spring, I was driving along the Shields River in Montana looking out at a season that is really called “calving.” It was nearly over. Most of the new calves wore eartags and moved with confidence. Some chased each other across the fields and around their sober dams, as though they could never grow up to be that stolid. A few seemed already businesslike, thuggish, looking across the fence line at a wider and more forbidding world.

Along the edge of one creek-bottom ranch, a cow had just given birth, the umbilical still trailing from her as she tried to lick her calf to its feet. It rose and stumbled. The cow seemed both agitated and patient, eager to have her calf on its feet, but somehow certain that it would be soon. I moved down the road because there were other things for her to think about besides me. On a tree in the next pasture there were six bald eagles, waiting. There were ravens on the fence and magpies in the ditch, their young yet to come.


I wish y'all could see the Texas bluebonnets this year.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Meals, wheels and deals

Many people would argue that (Sarah) Palin did great ecological damage to Alaska and would like to do more by drilling all over it. So, getting her to host a show about the natural beauty of Alaska is a bit like getting Jeffrey Dahmer to host a cooking show for the Food Network. – Cenk Uygur, Huffington Post

In Denmark, they claim commercial incinerators burn trash so cleanly that many times more dioxin is released from home fireplaces and backyard barbecues. Ha. They’ll get my Webber when they pry it from my hot, scorched fingers.

Question: are those socialists who want to force me to buy health care insurance the same socialists who want me to pay for using the central sewer system? The bastards!

Bootleggers in Pakistan hide contraband in their cars. They stash booze in door panels and front bumpers. Suzuki Altos are the car of choice. In Tennessee, not so much.

We timed it. Last night’s hour-long episode of LOST! ran 53 commercials, which took up 24 minutes with only 36 minutes of actual island time. Commercial breaks can run as long as four minutes. One spot was for that expensive Lexus SUV that Toyota isn’t going to make any more.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Winter's last laugh

Horse pucky is to rodeo parades as potholes are to Minnesota winters. The streets are not safe. Both will hurt you. Major difference – the pothole is an inney.

I’ve never seen anything like it. Some streets look like earthquake zone aftermath.

The rash of bent wheels and broken axles or stabilizer links made the front page of the Star Tribune:

“The pocked roads have had Twin Cities drivers rattled and tire service providers running. A January thaw and rain cycle flowed by long stretches of frigid weather meant water seeping into cracks froze and stayed there. As spring approached, the asphalt bent, buckled and broke over the subsurface puddles. And potholes were born.”

They’re worse that anything I’ve ever seen in Texas. These are bodacious.

After almost 40 years in the Cities, the Mystery Woman has gotten good enough to offer a pothole class. She thinks. Here are her tips. I stand clear of any liability if you follow her advice.

1. Slow down. 2.Concentrate. 3. Drive like you’re in a bumper car at the fair. This is a test of your dodg’em skills. Makes you feel young again 4. When you find a particular bad stretch, don’t go that way anymore. There’s an alternate route to your left or right, through a different neighborhood, even if it takes forever. Roll down the window and wave at neighbors you didn’t know you had. 5. You can’t avoid the horizontal asphalt strips that have collapsed every 20 feet or so. But they act as speed bumps. Kathunk, kathunk. Good, huh? Helps you remember #1. 6. Drive just to the right of the usual path in your lane. You straddle a lot of potholes caused by that part of worn out road. (Just don’t drive to the right in your lane or you can end up in the oncoming guy’s lane. Not smart. Especially at night.) 7. Sit up high and straight. You can see ’em coming half a block away. 8. Follow your tires’ inflation guidelines, dummy.

True story. Just today, a mechanic told me that on-board computers in newer vehicles have a special diagnostic code for pothole damage. He reports seeing several that flash: Rough Road.

Road repairs will take forever. I almost wish it would snow to cover them up again.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Catbirds and robins

Here we go.

This weekend, we set up the screen porch. A month early. The snow pack has melted. There’s new green stuff at the ends of trees. Soon, we’ll have to mow. It’s time.

Of course, this being Minnesota, we run the risk of a passing April snowfall. But this time, the sun will help keep the nights warm. Yes, the nights, too.

That’s young Tom in the photo, left side. We call him Young Tom because he’s still in his fifties. That's me, Old George, on the right. We call him Honey.

In years past, the Mystery Woman would put up the screen porch single-handed. She likes to create things. She could assemble the puzzle in about two hours.

Later, when we began to giggle on a permanent basis, I would help. It would take about two hours.

Now, because of our rickety strength supplies, we hired Young Tom to help us. It took about two hours.

On our block, neighbors tell us they mark the start of Spring and the end of Fall by whether our porch is up or down.

Of course, I'm writing this from the porch. It's 53 degrees and feels good.

I guess I write about adventures from the porch in hyperbole. Visitors are sometimes surprised at how small the porch really is. Street level, too.

Small, yes, but from here the whole world opens up. Did you see that robin? Can you hear the children at the playground? Hello to John the postman. How you been?

It’s geezerlicious. (Stolen by permission.)

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