Monthly Archives: June 2015

Time, Time, Time—Look What You’re Doing to Me

Kids finishing school.

Kids getting ready for various summer activities.

Trying to get the things that absolutely need to be done, done.

Taking a few hours to enjoy our anniversary dinner at a nice restaurant. Sigh. Wonderful.

Finishing up a four semester course for work.

Fitting in a half-dozen doctors’ appointments, and a little “minor” “routine” surgery.

My mid-life crisis desire to buy a boat.

Oh, and don’t forget work itself.

Whew!

Catching Up?

Six Million Dollar Man COL Steve Austin

Six Million Dollar Man
COL Steve Austin

I’m just finishing up a higher education endeavor that has taken over a year—around life, family, job, reality, and whatever. This means I now am looking forward to some time for pursuits of my own.

Of, course there’s the upcoming cataract evaluation, hearing aid fitting, etc.

I guess that makes me the six million dollar man (at scratch and dent, close-out prices), only instead of looking like Steve Austin, My appearance is closer to Wilford Brimley.

That’s okay, because Brimley has a more interesting voice; besides, Lee Majors (for you youngsters, the actor who played “The Six Million Dollar Man”) is twelve years older than I am. He’s going through the same or worse.

While Lee and Wilford have been haggling with their agents over endorsements for embarrassing products needed by old guys, I’ve taken a few computers apart and fixed them. I’ve helped out a few folks on various projects. I’ve helped my kids get ready for some summer events. I got my new grill set up.

Each of these accomplishments has pleased me more than any of the fictional heroics seen on television.

But I do still like Wilford Brimley’s voice.

A Finch or a Phoenix?

My kids found a baby bird on the ground the other evening, and concerned about its welfare, they asked what to do.

While I claim no expertise, and probably broke a dozen federal, state and local laws, I recommended that they keep it safe from predators overnight and release it in the morning.

A million years ago, whenever a baby bird was displaced, I was the kid in the neighborhood who ended up caring for it. Some did not survive. Some were able to adjust to nature. One—a sparrow—never realized he was a bird and remained with us for his natural life. Spoiled, but with a great personality is the best way to describe him.

The baby bird this week (named “Timothy” by my daughter) was released into the underbrush behind our yard and demonstrated that he could fly, at least a little bit. In the absence of proof positive, I’m going to assume that he’s done well and will live long and prosper.

However, some predator, such as the last remaining saber toothed tiger might have gotten him.

That’s reality.

As humans, we face reality every day at work, at home, or at school. However, we have a little something that other creatures do not have—dreams. We can imagine a better, brighter, more wonderful future. Hopefully it’s for whatever time we’re allotted, but even if we never see it, it’s nice to look forward to what might be.

Reality holds us back; dreams spur us forward. I choose the Phoenix.

Never underestimate power and the importance of dreams.

But First, This Important Word

I’ve been trying to do a blog that is an attempt at humor with some minor animation and even audio. Alas, life keeps getting in the way.

So, instead, I just wanted to share some fashion tips. CNN, always digging for the important facts and the real intellectual issues has done it again. In case you haven’t heard, Rachel Dolezal, the (recently resigned) head of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, who was born white identifies herself as black. With all the sociological, ethical, ethnocentric, philosophical, and cultural issues this affects, CNN went right to the heart of the matter.

Courtesy CNN

Courtesy CNN

If you wonder how she did her hair, here’s the CNN link—à
http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/16/living/rachel-dolezal-perm-weave-feat/index.html

Bet you’ll sleep better now.

That’s Not Funny—Today

Richie Pryor What more needs to be said?

Richie Pryor
What more needs to be said?

What makes us laugh changes with the times, and that’s sometimes hard to fathom. Why does something crack me up, but not my kids? (And, of course, vice-versa?)

I love Monty Python, who, at least, my daughter appreciates, and Firesign Theatre who very few appreciate—(well, I guess you had to have been there, man.)

I see so much potential with Will Ferrell, but I just…..keep….waiting….for……him…..to…..be……funny.

Adam Sandler? Enough said.

Supposedly Richie Pryor wrote most of Blazing Saddles expecting to star in it, but he was too edgy. He was too edgy because he had the courage to strip naked the bias and discrimination piled upon blacks through humor. In Silver Streak, when Patrick McGoohan (playing the bad guy) calls him the “N-word” after Pryor spills something on him (a dodge for Richie to get into position), Pryor holds a gun to McGoohan and says, “You don’t know me well enough to call me nig***!”

What a genius. He got the message through. A real genius.

Maybe, that’s what we need to laugh today, a little more genius in our comedy.

And our elected officials.

And our schools.

And on television.

Richie! Come back! We need you!

Password?

vlad

No photoshopping here!

Every time I turn around, I need to change a password.

Worse, when I got fed up with Internet Explorer’s habit of spinning, crashing and burning, I switched to Google. That meant that all of my browser stored logins and passwords disappeared; and since they were stored, I didn’t always have the information in hard copy, so I had to reset many passwords.

Then, when I realized that Google knew more about me than my proctologist, I switched to Mozilla. Even though I have been more attentive to saving passwords, the super-secret list is always in another part of the house, so the inconvenience continued.

Now, I see where the Chinese know everything about government employees—which is more than the US Government can claim—except for the NSA.

So, it’s getting scary.

The scariest part is that we haven’t heard what Russia is up to. Informed sources tell me that they won’t make an announcement until it matches an opportunity for Vladimir Putin to be photographed with his shirt off.

(Side note: To fellow Galaxy Quest fans—I never suspected that Putin was such a big Tim Allen fan.)

allen2 allen

John Scalzi, Andy Weir, et al

There are certain authors whose works deliver me from the responsibilities of my reality to another plane, after which, batteries recharged, I can return and work more effectively than before.

Then there are people who create hate and discontent.

Okay, let’s figure it out. On one hand we have people who make me enjoy life.

On the other hand, we have creatures who attempt to make everybody miserable (presumably because they are).

Pick a side.

Oh, and if you’re having trouble, try this….

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3659388/

Another Jobxtaposition

What if accountants managed their practices like psychotherapists?

“Are we finally ready to get my tax return filed?”

“I’m sensing a lot of anxiety. Would you care to talk about it?”

“Yes, I’m anxious, and, no I don’t want to talk about it. It’s April 13th and I’ve been here every week since January. I need to get this done.

“Now, here are all the receipts for all the repair parts I’ve purchased.”

“I see. Now how does that make you feel?”

“I feel like I’m going to go to jail or have my house seized by the IRS if we don’t get this finished! Look, just take these receipts and do your calculations so we can get this finished!”

“Hmm, I see. How do you think that his affects your relationship with your mother?”

“Well, considering that this is a family business, and my mother is the office manager, she’s going to be pissed if we don’t file our taxes on time.”

“Oh, dear. I see our time is up for this week. I say we continue next week. Shall we?”

“I’ve got a better idea. Tomorrow my mother is going to stop by and find out why our taxes aren’t done. Don’t think that not showing up at the office will help you—she’ll find you. I know. I stayed out half an hour past curfew once. ONCE! I was so scared that I hid in an abandoned quarry in a rattlesnake pit two counties away. She found me in twenty minutes.”

“I’m still sensing a lot of anxiety. Why don’t you leave all those receipts with me and I’ll see what I can do.”

[Knock on door]

“Son, is everything done and ready to file?”

“Not, quite, mom.”

At that point, my mother looked directly at the accountant.

“I’m not afraid of you,” the accountant said.

Suddenly, my mother’s sounded a little raspy, as she added, “You will be. You will be.”

yoda

Trolls and Other Slimy Things You Find under a Rock

I read the newspaper. I also read a wide range of magazines. However, there is a time lag, so I do try to read the news online. I say try because:

  1. It often isn’t news. I don’t care who’s had a liposuction, hair plugs, sex change, or is selling their 97 room mansion, complete with indoor landing strip.
  2. I prefer reading to video—not because video is bad, but because there is always an unnecessary commentary before, during and after the video. In many cases they have to rerun segments of the video over and over to allow for the commentary.
  3. Most news stories allow for comments. Unfortunately, these are, for the most part, anonymous. This brings out the worst of the worst in people. If you read Malcolm Gladwell’s books, it’s the equivalent of the abandoned building with broken windows—normal people will throw a rock through a window because it is now the norm.

Our newspaper, the Virginian-Pilot now requires editorials to be signed. Let’s put that into context.

What if the following were anonymous?

“Give me liberty or give me death!” (Actually this one sort of is, it’s impossible to positively attribute to Patrick Henry.)

“I shall return.”

“I have nothing to offer but blood, soil, tears and sweat.”

“I ask, not what your country can do for you, but what you and do for your country.”

“I have a dream.”

Great people with great ideas state their thoughts and take ownership.

Trolls merely mumble from under their rocks.

My point – if you have something worth saying, proudly take ownership of it. Ben Franklin did, and so did Malcolm X. Be great—you have the capacity, so do it.

Bummer

lightBummers—I hate them.

Flat tires, dead batteries, diarrhea, incompetent bosses, and getting struck by lightning. I’ve managed to avoid one of these in my lifetime. Unfortunately, there’s no medal for doing so.

Bummer.

On the other hand, like mosquitoes or paper cuts, such things are irritating but really do no substantial damage. However, sometimes we lose sight of that fact, and give such issues far too much importance.

Bummer.

But some people, like Bruce Springsteen can use the word bummer to write, “Madman drummers, bummers, and Indians in the summers with a teenage diplomat.”

I Blame Ringo

Harmony guitar after a little TLC

Harmony guitar after a little TLC

This past weekend we had dinner one night at Abbey Road, in Virginia Beach (Great restaurant!). The next night we ate at the Rock Fish (Another Great restaurant!), which boasts a collection of guitars once used by the Beatles. Mind you, most are “rehearsal” guitars, but as every musician knows, there are more hours spent practicing and rehearsing than performing.

As I may have mentioned, the hermit crab I got at the beach (and a playmate added later) ended up with a much better home that I found at the local Goodwill. I believe that Goodwill and other such stores are an important part of the re-use, re-purpose, recycle movement, and there are always treasures to be found. The crab terrarium was one, but I also stumbled across a $25.00 guitar.

I have steel stringed acoustic and electric guitars, but this one was designed for nylon strings—something I’ve wanted for a while. In its day it was probably a good starter guitar, and in its day, they made them to last. Naturally, I bought it, brought it home, cleaned it up and restrung it. It will take several days, if not weeks, for the strings to stabilize (which is normal for such guitars) but I can’t wait to see how it plays.

Therefore, I blame Ringo. Why? Two reasons: 1) Of all the instruments on display, none were Ringo’s. 2) In my humble opinion, of the four of them he has always had the best sense of humor, pointing out that the Beatles were a band in which he played for a small portion of his career. Besides, I think he would probably enjoy the fact that I blame him for me buying a $25 guitar at Goodwill.

So there, Ringo, and if you’re so inclined, pass the blame along to your brother-in-law, Joe Walsh (although since he’s a fellow ham, if I get to “work” him on the air, I’ll forgive you both.)

Crabs

Over the weekend while at the beach, I decided to do at least one touristy thing and bought a hermit crab, complete with crab habitat (a little cage with screened sides for the crab to climb.

My daughter read that they’re social, so it needed a playmate. We were near our favorite pet store and lo and behold, they had the perfect partner crab.

Today I dropped some things off at Goodwill, and peaked at the potential treasures they offered. There, with the purple price tag (meaning it was half off this week) was a complete terrarium. I brought it home and cleaned it up (salt is the preferred cleaning agent) and the crabs moved in. I’m waiting for comments from them, but none so far.