In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, I started another blog: scratchingforchange.blogspot.com

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

jescordwaineratgmail.com

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Miley Cyrus and Mom Jeans

According to a news report, Miley Cyrus was caught in mom jeans. I know there must be some importance to this, so I'll assume she acquired the jeans through some criminal act, or while shopping at Walmart; whichever is considered more heinous.

* - Update: Miley has broken her tailbone, according to another new report. I'm thinking a new movie, or album is the reason for these news stories. More headlines; more sales, although breaking a tailbone seems to be a little extreme for publicity. Then again, it probably won't get as much attention as her smoking something or saying words that gets Micky's mouth washed with soap.

All It Takes...

...is thirty minutes each day, six days a week. That's all it takes to get six-pack abs, or huge arm muscles, or a tight butt. Of course, you have to be in perfect physical condition. If not, you'll die on the second day from a heart attack.

If that doesn't work, electricity is available to shock your muscles into a well toned condition. With this method, you can just sit in a chair and get six pack abs. I'm not sure what it does for your arms and butt - if anything - but it requires much less effort. I guess you can wear the belt wherever you want to improve, but it might present a problem if you're working on your butt and forgot you ate an extra spicy burrito for lunch. (I doubt the warranty covers that type of damage.)

If neither of those are enticing, they have a large girdle looking apparatus that makes it look like you exercise. The only drawback is when you take your clothes off. While you may not be disturbed, others might and I wouldn't recommend such a task without some type of warning, or disclaimer.

Of course, you can always buy one of those machines that are available for only three easy payments of $199.99 (That's $600 if you're challenged by math) plus shipping and handling. Chuck Norris has one, so it must be good. Right? Surely, Chuck Norris wouldn't be in business to make money on selling exercise equipment? The drawback of these machines is that you can spend substantially less on empty boxes to take up room in your closet, or garage.

I know people that have memberships to gyms. They pay a monthly fee to wait for their turn on some type of equipment. I think they get more exercise wiping the machines with antiseptic wipes than they do from using the machine. Considering the exposure, I think I'd forego six-pack abs if the trade is athletes foot, or Ebola.

I don't know what is the best way to exercise. In my past, I had plenty from building forms, or pouring concrete. I stayed in really good shape, although the hard exercise left aches and pains that are permanent. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think there's a point where the damages outweigh the benefits. If you don't believe this, find a current photo of Arnold Schwarzenegger without a shirt.

Enduring Losses

I've lost two brothers in the last 5 years. Nothing can prepare you for the event and you find a feeling that life became incomplete by the loss. So, Ambulance Driver's loss touched a lot of raw nerves; especially since I know how he feels.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Remembering a Birthday

Yesterday would have been my father-in-law's 95th birthday. I thought about him this morning and the few stories he told about his service during WW2. As told by him, he walked across Europe, starting in Sicily and ending on a transport ship to Great Britain.

As a radio operator, he saw, and heard, much of the war. If he was in combat, he never told, although from his rather low opinion of General Patton, he was well aware of the carnage of his campaigns. All in all, he never had much to say and I never asked.

One thing that always stuck in my thoughts was his adoption of a dachshund during his time in Europe. Although I don't know where he found "Fritz", he was almost in tears when he described leaving him with a family in France before leaving Europe for home. They were companions for a long time, but Fritz couldn't go home with my father-in-law, so he did what was best.

So, I sit here with my thoughts and wonder about the events of war that led a radio operator to caring for a dog. I can imagine him sharing his rations and fussing over the small dog like he fussed over other dogs later in his life. While it seemed like he was spoiling his pets, I think it was much more. He was remembering and missing a friend he knew he'd never see again.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Paula Deen Has Diabetes

Okay. I know this isn't any earth shattering news, but considering how the press is trying to put a hypocritical spin on this, I feel Paula Deen is getting demonized by the narrow minded pinheads we call the mainstream media.

So, if you feel that someone with a probable genetic illness is a hypocrite because they have a skill to prepare wonderful dishes, can capitalize on a television show and you are judging because you can't comprehend the entire matter, then you are a narrow minded pinhead, too.  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Local Shooting

A local sheriff deputy was shot while in the process of transporting a juvenile this morning. Somehow, the 16 year old prisoner took the officer's gun and shot him twice in the chest. After the shooting, a short standoff ended with the prisoner surrendering.

The officer is expected to survive, which is more than good. How the juvenile offender took the gun hasn't been explained, and how the other officers restrained their urge to shoot is beyond me. I don't think I'd been very patient, or had the willingness to allow the obviously "mad dog" young offender to surrender. Then again, I'm not a police officer. That's probably a good thing.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

State of the Union

Wouldn't it be refreshing if the President spoke with candor? I do; especially if they said something like: "We've spent money like drunken sailors chasing whores, and besides being broke, the entire country is now in debt to the tune of more money than it makes." Or: "I know I've spent a boat-load of money on vacations and dicking around, instead of working, but I'm the President and I really don't care what you think."

We'll never see that from any sitting President, even though that's exactly what they do. I think it has to do with most Presidents don't get the job because of their honesty, or integrity.  If they had either qualification, they'd know how to make the hard decisions, do their job and keep costs down.

Another thing: Every four years another group of Bozos is paraded in front of us and we're told this is the best they can come up with for a prospective President. What they really mean is that in all of the lying, thieving politicians they can find, this group can assemble the greatest number of PR people to put on a dog and pony show that even you might like. Meanwhile, the media and pundits put on their makeup, check their teeth and practice the lines they feel best show off their self-purported superior intellect and charisma. 

So. What is the state of the union? From my vantage point, we have about twice as many politicians, bureaucrats and media whores that any healthy society can tolerate. I think it's time for a big cut in this cancer on our society.

Monday, January 23, 2012

After Almost Six Months...

I'm still here. In a way, it's been an effort to see if there's a nitch for me on the internet; in another, it's been an experiment in what draws people to a blog site. All together, it's been interesting, and rewarding, so I'll keep plugging away.

I have to add it's, also, been like being in an aquarium at the mall. Lots of observers and few people to tap on the tank, although that may be good. I know how it irritates some fish.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Orange Vests

Wearing orange vests started with highway work. First it was recommended and then mandated in contracts. It was a good thing, since it does make moving targets more visible; especially at night. (Yeah, I know that sounds cynical, but after hearing a driver tell a trooper he didn't see a crash truck with a bazillion flashing beacons, I don't see the real benefit.) This has expanded to other types of working folks, including workers at retail outlets.

Anyway, I've noticed convenience store workers wearing vests, so I asked a worker about the new apparel. They, too, are mandated to wear the vests, while working outside the store. So now, like me, they can be asked where the PVC glue is found, if they're wearing the vest, while shopping at Lowe's.

You might want to buy one just for kicks. The look on people's faces is priceless, when you tell them PVC glue purchases require a contractor's license, or they stopped selling 2 x 4's..

Monday, January 16, 2012

Laryngitis

I've had it for last few days. I sound like the old wrestlers from the 60's that were clotheslined so many times, they almost lost their voices. It makes me feel like Ivan Putsky, or Jose Lothario, or Paul Boesch. If you recognize those names, then you're older than dirt.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sometimes Courtesy Is Unnoticed

As I was driving, I noticed a car was trying to leave the side street on which I planned on turning. I had the feeling they were in a hurry because the nose of the car was almost in the intersection. Usually, this means a driver is pushing to get out and make the turn as soon as possible....but not this time.

I slowed to allow them to turn in either direction. There was plenty of room, so to be courteous, I gave them some more time to make their driving experience more pleasant. They didn't move, so I finally reached the intersection and was forced to either turn, or wait for a group of cars that had just left the traffic light down the road.

As I turned, I examined the car as I passed. The driver, who was huge by any standard was eating an ice cream sundae and chatting with her passengers. There she was, wedged between the steering wheel and seat, that was pushed as far back as possible; conversing and grazing. I wasn't a blip on her radar; ice cream was on her mind. A meteorite could have struck the middle of the hood and she wouldn't have noticed.

I guess I was a little amazed. I like ice cream, but not that much.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hiatal Hernia

I haz one. I didn't know it, until tests during a hospital visit, which revealed the hernia and explained heartburn that was becoming a problem. Medication for GERD stopped the heartburn, but either things have changed, or something new has developed.

For the last few days, it's felt as though I swallowed a large pill and it stuck in my throat. Added to this annoyance is occasional hiccups, which only aggravate the discomfort. So, I'll watch the symptoms, see if they disappear, or make plans to pursue treatment.

It's hell getting old. It's definitely not for sissies.

Blah

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sometimes...

...there's no inspiration. Today is one of those days. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Bleh.

Monday, January 9, 2012

No

That's my name for a new political party. The party of "No". Here's how it works:

No, you can't have any more money for government. In fact, you spend too much, so your budget is cut by 50% for starters and taxpayers will get a 50% reduction in their taxes. If you don't like that, we'll go to 75%. It's up to you, but the answer is still no. No new taxes, no new entitlement funds, no raises, no inflation, no more borrowing, no more regulations, no more waste, no more vacations for any elected official, no more government intrusion and no more whining. This is the real world. If I have to cut, learn to live on less money and learn to adjust my budget for higher living costs then the government can too. In fact, since they're all public servant, they can make bigger cuts, learn to respect the people that generate their salaries and do so without so much as a whimper. If you don't like it, then quit. I wish you would.

Friday, January 6, 2012

First Beer

It was blistering hot. I was with my brother and a friend and we were planning on bow fishing in the borrow ditches along the oil field road that ran through the mostly dry salt water marsh. Only the channels and low spots held any water, which were full of alligator gar.

We were in the friend's '55 Chevy. It was 1973, so the car wasn't quite 20 years old. Built like a tank, and dependable, it was perfect for the task at hand. Our goal was to waste another summer afternoon doing things that held no real importance, but occupied our young minds with new adventure. We were searching for the larger gar that could reach lengths of over 7 feet. The limited amount of water was known to trap these monsters and we felt there was a chance today might bring one to skin and sell. The meat would sell for 25 cents a pound. The big gars could have more than 100 pounds of meat and $25 was a lot of money when gas sold for 20 cents a gallon.

The marsh was mostly miles of cracked mud with an occasional oasis of salt grass. Heat waves washed away the horizon in a rolling, oily ripple of distortion. Dust devils raced along the oyster shell roads. The dust, as we travelled, hung in a swirl as we travelled looking for our prize. Eventually we stopped at a favorable location. The heat rolled in as we opened the doors.

Nothing really prepares you for that type of heat. Within minutes, as the humidity prevents sweat from drying , everything you wear becomes soaked with sweat. A hat keeps the killer sun from burning your skin, but nothing prevents the sweat from running into your eyes. Eventually, you realize that wiping away the sweat, and dust, only chafes. The pain from the burning sweat becomes tolerable. It's better than the blisters from constantly wiping your eyes. 

The spot didn't reveal anything but a few small gar. We decided to move to another location, which proved to not have any large gar either. We were now really thirsty, but our young minds hadn't contemplated the necessity of water. We had nothing to drink.

We decide to head on home, but we'd drive slow and scan the ditches as we left. Since we were over three miles into the marsh, this would take some time. I was beginning to think of how good a cold drink of water would be. As time went on, I was ready to call it a day and forget about bow hunting. We had peppermints, which helped with thirst, but only made it tolerable.

We were about halfway back to the entrance, when our friend spotted a car on a side road that belonged to someone he knew. My vote of forgetting about the stop was ignored, so we pulled behind the car and approached an old man I'd never met.

He was sitting in a lawn chair, fishing pole in hand and an ice chest by his side. He exchanged pleasantries with our friend, introduced himself and then asked something that I'd never been asked before: "Would you boys like a cold beer?"

I'd tasted beer before. I didn't like the taste, but I was thirsty. When you added the fact I was only 16, desperate for liquid, and honored the old man would make such an offer, I accepted. My brother and friend - just as thirsty - didn't hesitate either. He handed us all a Schlitz from the cooler and took one for himself. I noticed the ice had rock salt on top to make the beer colder.

The old man tapped the top of the can and opened his beer. Following his example, I did the same and took a sip. The beer was cold; real cold; so cold, there was slushy ice in the first sip. It was nectar of the gods. I took a quick gulp and downed the rest. The old man eyeballed me for a moment, and then asked: "Would you like another beer?"

I hesitated. After all, I'd never drank anything in my life and here I was drinking beer.

"Sure. Thank you very much."

I savored the second beer. We all shot the breeze, talked about fishing and then it was time to leave. We said our goodbyes,  how it was to meet each other and we left. We only stopped for a few minutes to examine an alligator that was around 12 feet long. It looked dead as it lay on the bank. My brother opened the door to throw a rock and the alligator disappeared. I blinked and it was gone. Bubbles rose to the surface from the fresh stirred bottom My brother never stepped out. He closed the door and our friend pulled away.

The sun was extra bright as we travelled home. There was a buzz to the air and my mind examined the new feelings that beer could bring. I decided I really liked beer and have ever since.

Polls, the Media and Horse Manure

I listen to talk radio on the way home from work. Usually, if the host doesn't interest me within a minute, I'll switch to another show or listen to music. Today, one host inspired this post.

The host was explaining that some polling company had polled around 1000 supposed voters and asked the question: "Should anyone caught texting, while driving, lose their license for a period of time." Of the people polled, half felt they should and the other half felt they shouldn't. The demographics showed that age played a big part of the data. The majority of older folks felt they should and the younger felt the opposite. So, after the data was crunched, it was half and half.

My opinion is that this is horse manure. First, how can they determine if the respondent is actually a voter? The poll was by telephone, so the only thing they could depend on was the honesty of the person they talked to. The same goes for age. Otherwise, the data is horse manure, yet the host was using the data as if it was authoritative and correct.

Another thing that bothered me was the fact the issue of texting while driving was considered a subject that merited attention. While I'm sure there are people that are involved with accidents while texting and driving, I'm not convinced it's a big problem like the media would like me to believe. My personal experience in driving - and I have over a million miles behind the wheel - tells me that driving too fast and following too close is a much bigger problem. So, what are we going to do about this? Mandate governors on cars? Mandate radar detection systems that slow a vehicle down to prevent following too close to the car in front? Take away licences from those that drive this way? Lobotomy for repeat offenders?

Anyway, I'm tired of the talking heads of the media, pollsters and the horse manure they peddle daily. If they really want to talk about something important,  talk about the fact that inflation, sorry fiscal policies and lying politicians have just about ruined this country. Expand this subject to include the millions of derelicts that milk the public tit and are never punished for their complete disrespect for law and lack of decency.  That's important, in my opinion. The rest is mostly fluff and an obvious effort by the media, pundits and politicians to bask in their self-importance.

Blech!

Dear Gina:

I know we've never met, and I'm sure you really get into the Facebook social networking stuff, but I don't want to hookup with you. I hope you don't take this personally, and by no means do I want you to think I'm trying to embarass you on a public blog, but this really needs to stop. I'm tired of clicking delete in my spam file. It's one of those time things: you're wasting my time and I find such things irritating and rude.

Sincerely,

Jess

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Some Days Work Out Better Than You Know

The highway I usually travel to work was the scene of a 40 car pile-up this morning. Bits and pieces are being reported about what happened, but it looks as though heavy fog and smoke reduced visibility to nothing, which led to the accident. So far, four serious injuries are part of the 24 reported injuries. The photos starting to appear show mayhem.

On a good day, that section of highway is complete madness. Due to a large refinery expansion, thousands of extra workers travel the highway every morning and evening. The speed limit is 65 at night, but that's only for those willing to be run off the road. It's not unusual for traffic to travel at 80 mph and higher. Weaving in out of traffic is common and the safe distance to travel behind another vehicle is ignored by many. So, it's dangerous on the good days and treacherous on the bad. Today was bad and I'm glad I took a different route. From the time the accident was reported, there was a good possibility I might have been involved.

Final tally as of this evening: 79 vehicles involved, 54 sent to the hospital, 4 critical patients and 18 moving violations. To add insult to injury, I barely made an exit due to stopped traffic I could see ahead on my way home. It was bumper cars on an overpass, with part of the railing in the outside lane on the cross street below. Traffic, as usual, was gridlocked in an intersection because people just couldn't wait, or find another route.

An Electrical Question

I've read some articles over the years about how electrical suppliers were required to buy back any excess electricity you happened to have left over after your windmill, or whatever, generated more than you required. I can see the rational thought in this process, but haven't quite figured out the mechanics.

My house has a 200 amp service, which is supplied from a transformer that is attached to a pole. The electricity supplying the transformer is of a substantially higher voltage than my house can use, but the higher voltage is necessary to tranport the amount of electricity to more than one customer. This is the standard procedure, since the higher voltage allows smaller wire to "push" the electricity over further distances. Still the wire size is fairly large compared to all wiring in my house, except for the main feed. To add insult to injury, anything I'd generate for my house would be of the wrong voltage, so I'd have to use a tranformer to convert the voltage to the correct voltage for the grid and tie into the higher voltage cables, which are inaccessible to me as a consumer.

A windmill is an expensive critter to own and operate. Besides the subsstantial cost for construction, the additional wiring, converters and maintenance are well beyond what I'd be able to tackle. On a still day, or during downtime for maintenance, I'd have to be able to use the grid for electricity, so what I have would still be necessary. Otherwise, much of my electrical system would be repetitive and this would be expensive and there's no way I could justify the expense due to the fact I would lose money.

Generators are handy. They can supply everything I need for electricity, but since I've dealt with them before, there's no way I can use one at a cost that's less expensive than what I buy from the electrical supplier. I've done the math, so buying a large generator, making the necessary connection to the grid and selling it back to the supplier would be a huge loss over time. 

Solar might be an option, but I don't think I have enough acreage, or money, to justify the expenditure to gamble on the possibility of selling electricity back to the supplier; especially if I consider nothing could be sold at night.

Hydroelectric is out of the question. I have no water source.

So, now to my question: Has anyone ever actually sold electricity back to the supplier?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Seven Left to Go

This cat survived two attempts of euthanization by an animal shelter, so they decided not to go for a third attempt. I'd say the cat earned its life after the first attempt, but then again, I don't run an animal shelter. I don't think I could.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Spreadsheets

I use spreadsheets at work. Some are simple; some are full of macros, elaborate formulas and multiple sheets. When they work as they should, they're more than handy. When they don't, and need careful scrutiny to determine where the problem is hidden, the final effect may be feeling like my brain has turned to mush.

I think I should wear earplugs this evening. That way my brains won't leak out on the drive home.  

Monday, January 2, 2012

Mini Meme

Lee Ann is responsible for this post. It's a meme with the first sentence of the first post of each month for 2011. Since I started in August, I don't have a full year

August -I was told by a friend, a few months ago, that I needed to write more.
September -I've used computers since the mid '80's.
October - This is a view from the cab of a 60 ton rough terrain crane.
November - I was in a lumber store this afternoon and was a little surprised by the ignorance of one of the clerks.
December - The newest news reports have reports of rape, robbery, assaults and other activities in the OWS locations throughout the country.

All in all, I'd say it looks like a conversation with someone with severe ADD or Rain Man.