Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Another Day In Paradise

To paraphrase what a great person said about great things, With a new job comes new responsibilities. No, that's not quite right. A little research reveals that the original quote, "with great power comes great responsibilities", while made famous by spiderman, probably originated with Voltaire. I know my place. I am no where near that level; spiderman or Voltaire.

I have just transitioned from peering into screen in a cubicle buried someone in a bunker in an unnammed location near the beltway, muttering "that program shouldn't be doing that", to sitting at home, looking at openings on Monster, thinking,  "I should be doing that", to sitting in a cubicle, staring at a guy (at least I think it's a guy) climbing one of the cranes hovering over the big hole next door that will eventually will be an impressive office tower, thinking alternatively "I could do that" or, depending on the weather,  "thank God I don't have to do that".

Of course, despite their nonchalance while pirouetting tons of metal at great heights,  those guys don't take chances. This was brought home to me yesterday. I was sitting at Yoda's Ye Ode Auto Repair Shop waiting for yet another doodad on the jeep to be replaced, broken, or fixed, and this kind of scruffy guy walks in. What got my attention was, under his ball cap,  I could see that he had dreadlocks.  This was unusual, since you rarely see 'dreds on a white guy, especially since in all other respects and in certain snobby circles he would be called redneck.

That's a funny word, "redneck". Like most words, its offensiveness depends on context. Imagine you are a certain older lady of high breeding, at the club, where Charles has just brought you a carafe of Earl Grey and a tray of the inevitable cucumber sandwiches, which,  like sushi, simply everyone pretends to enjoy. In secret you loath them, to the point of periodically excusing yourself so you can visit the facilities and purge yourself of them. You do this not because you have a problem, like that poor Mrs Underwoody in the next stall, bless her heart. She hocks up her guts every 5 minutes trying to remain svelte for her handsome yet hardworking husband who is obviously carrying on with that tramp who parks cars at the Perkin's droll Wednesday night affairs. You are therefore sitting there on this wonderous spring day, sipping tea discreetly spiked with a shot of Absolut you carry in a very ladylike flask. You see it helps burn away the taste of cucumber sandwiches and vomit. You spy a ball cap wearing cad drive up in a Mercedes (how gauche - the car, being a particularly offensive shade of chartreuse), and remark to the other hens gathered around you, "my, look at that redneck", causing a titter of giggles. That's just racist!

But Yoda's Ye Ode Auto Repair Shop is none of that, amd the guy is unremarkable, well, except for the dreadlocks. When asked if he was off today, he casually noted that he was a steel worker and they won't risk going up there in the rain. Yup, the last place you want you be if your a steel worker is on the steel in the middle of a rain / thunderstorm.

Of couse, my responsibilities while working for the new company come rather slowly.  Not that I am complaining.  The initial slower pace gives me a chance to learn and adapt. But, here in paradise I do have to wonder if I have been ushered into a gilded cage.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Funny Thought...

video

It occurred to me that when my old dog stands at the window and barks people walking down the street or the cats from next door it's the equivalent of a 80 year old man standing on the porch yelling "You kids get off my lawn!"

Hero of the Week 04/13/14

http://assets.gobankingrates.com/

It's 'Pay Your Taxes' week so of course the Hero of The Week goes out the the few American Taxpayers that still Do the Right Thing and try their very best to get their taxes in on time and file as honestly as possible. Yeah, many of our elected officials don't, and a great many people will get away with lying and cheating, but the great majority of us will file our taxes the way we live our lives, as honestly as we can, regardless of the financial cost. So here's to you American Taxpayer - you are the Hero of the Week for 04/13/14.

Monday, April 14, 2014

I Went To Hell Thursday

(Because we all are childlike when it comes to Christmas)

So I took a little trip to hell Thursday. I knew it was going to be hell. Hell, I had been putting it off for over a year. Every time I drove past the place, i'd see the parking lot was full and think "Oh Well, Alas! The time for this is not now." With new obligations coming I could no longer put it off. Like every good citizen I had a responsibility to do my duty, enter Hell, and get a replacement social security card.

I can not provide you any pictures of the inside of Hell since there are some rather prominent warnings at the entrance about no photography being permitted in the premise according to Title Umpty-Squat of the Uniform Code of Pointy Headed Bureaucrats. I can only imagine the disappoint of the local arts majors when they discovered that they could not shoot their next "Lavoro Nudo d'arte" in those luxurious environs. Be that as it may, there is nothing to keep me from showing you an aerial picture snapped from Google Earth of my local Hell Office:

My Local Hell Office - Google Maps
Note the size of the building. There is obviously room for lots of Minions of Hell to work there. This is especially true because if you look at the red circle that I have drawn, that is the public area of Hell (half of which is the entrance foyer) where the unwashed hordes of citizens may wait for an audience with a Minion. Since times are hard, there were apparently only about 4 Minions on duty. I was informed by the Rent a Cop for Hell that this was normal. What that meant was that getting into Hell was immediately preceded by an hour long wait standing in line in the un-airconditioned foyer to Hell with the unwashed citizenry. If Harry Reid thought tourist were smelly, he should spend some time in Hell's foyer with the SSA supplicants. Note that I really don't blame the Minions. Due to the cozy nature of Hell's Waiting Room, the minions told us that they had to limit to number of supplicants in order to not run afoul of the Fire Marshal restrictions. I know - funny... what if there were a fire in Hell? That was appropriate, as they would be sure to be caught with a Fire House literally right next door. Here's a map for some perspective:




So once I reached the front of the line, either by waiting for the old people with canes to keel over, or for the Minions to actually administer an initial beating, I was summoned to approach the Screening Minion. I groveled appropriately and presented my pre-filled out form. My form must have been good, since, after looking over my form, the Minion handed be a oracle stone in the form of a paper slip. I noted a large sign indicating that:

DO NOT GIVE YOUR PAPER SLIP TO ANYONE ELSE AS IT IS NOW AND FOREVER ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER AND THEY WILL HAVE THE RIGHT TO EAT YOUR FIRST BORN CHILDREN
Which in retrospect might be a great deal if you have a real cad for a first born child. Since my first born is rather intelligent I immediately surveyed the area for child eating thieves. Not seeing any I joined all the other healthy folks standing around waiting for some old person's incontinence to kick in, forcing them to give up their seats and head for the bathrooms; of which there was only one. I did note this was Hell, right?

So I know you are wondering what is the seating arrangement in Hell's Waiting Room? Well wonder no more. There are a few rows of the most uncomfortable plastic chairs imaginable, facing a large welfare queen sized flat screen TV, with framed pictures of these scary guys off to the right:

Gay USA The Movie
whitehouse.gov
I think the flat screen was flashing some kind of hypnotic message about either Affordable Health Care or Global Warming. I can't remember which beyond having strange urges to buy health insurance for my non-existent Chevy Volt hours after my visit to Hell.

Anyway, I watched with much amusement a lady with a Greek passport fill out her forms, then help a guy next to her who spoke broken English and claimed to be a Nigerian Prince. Did you know non-citizens can get social security numbers of their very own? Me neither. I can't imagine why they would want to, but I am told I have a very limited imagination.

Then the lady with 20 kids arrived and really livened up the place adding ear drum splitting crying babies to the general hubbub of old people yelling at Minions about their social security checks disappearing into darkest recesses of Africa.

Finally it was my turn to see the Minion. Here's how it went:
<Minion>: "So your here to get a replace card"
<Me>:"Yep"
<Minion>:"Form and driver's license"
<Me>: "Here" (handing them over)
<Minion>:<click><glance at DL><click, click>
<Minion>:"We'll mail it to you - Next"

3.5 hours waiting, 30 seconds to transact the business I came to do! Not bad for a visit to Hell. I can't wait to renew my diver's license!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The first thing that came to my mind...


I saw this about a Captain standing on the bulbous nose of his ship - pictured here:


Not just any ship - the Queen Mary 2! So my very first though was why the life vest? Can the captain of the ship not swim? Is that a desirable quality for a ship captain? After all, if he knows he will be going down with his ship, then he will be more careful, right? It seems a little weak to me, that's all.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Hero of the Week 04/06/14


Another week of Americans being Americans, so the hero of the week was pretty easy to pick. In case you missed it, there has been a little fracas out in Nevada that didn't  involve Elvis Impersonators or the Vegas Strip. Contrary to what some major media outlets may imply about the story, it's not just about the Feds moving some cattle around:


Nope! This guy:

Cliven Bundy Standoff

had 600,000 acres of public land that his family had run cattle on for over a century reclassified by the BLM. It turns out that a turtle that may live on that land was declared an endangered species. The Feds reclassified the land and charged outrageous fees to discourage ranchers from running cattle there.  In the meantime, they ran out of money for a conservation center they had set up and 'euthanized' the hundreds of turtles that lived there. Mr. Bundy didn't pay, and the Feds swooped in. Now the Bundy's are standing up to the thug tactics and in response the Feds are tasing and sicking dogs on them and roughing up old ladies. 

So congratulations Cliven Bundy and your whole family, you have won the GAA Hero of the Week Award!

Note: There is more to this story. Some reports indicate it may have to do with either oil and gas leases or Chinese solar farm development.  Either way, what is happening down there matters, and is worth your time to try to be informed about it.

UPDATE 4/13/14:
Drudge and ABC are reporting that Bundy has 'won' and the BLM will not enforce the court order to remove the cows and are 'pulling out of the area'. This seems like a stall tactic by the Feds to cool things down, then once the protesters go home they will be back. I doubt very much this is over.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Equality


A few days ago I was trolling the White House Photo Gallery and came upon this picture:


Why that was wonderful! The Presi took a little drive up the the Maryland suburbs for a meet and greet and a talk about equal opportunity. Bladensburg MD is a kinda depressed area. It wraps around NE and SE DC, the toughest neighborhoods in DC. However, the group behind the president gave me pause.

If they are representative of the area, I see they are mostly women and girls, with a lone row of guys on the back row. They are predominately of color, and the only white like guy clearly distinguishable is in the center of the picture just over the Bamster's left middle finger, but he appears to be of Asian descent. No symbolism there. Nope. None at all.

I went to Wikopedia to get a look at it's demographics. That notes that the makeup of the town is 70% African American, and 30% other. A close examination of the picture shows about 60 people (adults and kids) visible, and on close examination about seven non-black people. That's 11%. Not exactly equal to the demographic, but ok. What about the female to male ratio? According to Wikopedia, that should be about equal, with 47% male and 53% female. Looking this picture over, I can count about 10 males. That's like 16% male participation here. Methinks the deck was just a little bit stacked.

It does leave me thinking what happened to the missing guys and white people. Did the administrators just tell them "Sorry. The Presi doesn't want your type behind him when he talks about equality. Better luck next time". I wonder what kind of message that sent with you know, some animals being more equal than others. Do they even teach Orwell in schools anymore?


Dreaming


Here's a funny that I figured out from the White House Daily Photo today. This is a picture of the Bamster touring the fake Oval Office in the LBJ Library:


Looking at his eyes, there is almost a tear in there. It is unusual for the Presi to show so much real emotion. It's a kind of hungry look. So I got to wondering, what could have moved him so much? What was he looking at?

I poked around the LBJ Library web site looking for an answer. Since the fake Oval Office is modeled on the real one, I knew the fireplace was opposite of the desk. So he was looking toward the fireplace, and over it. What was there in the fake  Oval Office that so captivated him. Well, this picture is hanging over the fireplace:


An old white guy? Was that what he was looking at with hunger in his eyes? An Old White Guy? Well, it's not just any old white guy, that's FDR up there. What about FDR would make the Bamster green with envy? That he was a real war time president? That his "New Deal" that damn near drove the country into the ground is the model for the Bamster's own administration?

Nope! I went to Wikopedia to read up in FDR to find out why he was such a point of envy for the Bamster. There it was in the second sentence:
Serving from March 1933 to his death in April 1945, he was elected for four consecutive terms, and remains the only president ever to serve more than eight years.
I am thinking someone might need a little NyQuil with their cookies to get to sleep tonight after a busy afternoon spent day dreaming...

Caught Looking?

So I was tooling around the White House photo gallery and saw this picture of the Presi and a couple of his guys (Podesta and McDonut) wanking around the south lawn.


Then I did a double-take. What the heck was going on out there and what was Podesta looking at?


Monday, April 7, 2014

Hey Michelle - Stop Making Our Kids So Damn Fat!


So Weasel Zipper had a pointer to where kids were tweeting out pictures of what their school lunches were like after Michelle's healthy eating campaign kicked in. Now I know institutional food always leaves a lot to be desired, but these were pathetic. Let's take a look at these offerings from a paleo viewpoint to see why they will do nothing to make kids healthier and how the same food could be changed to be actually be a healthy.

Take this for instance:

Ok, so right off we have a a roll (bread bad!!!) and mashed potatoes (starch bad!!!). If you ate nothing but those two things you would end up 500 pounds and be that guy that they would have to use a forklift to roll your bloated corpse into your grave at 30 because they don't make caskets that large. The only redeeming thing in this meal is the ground beef - the corn is only marginally digestible and God only knows what's in the gravy.

How can this be improved? Frankly I don't think it can. Maybe some kind of casserole using the ground beef, asparagus, and some other veggies with a cheese crust would do it.

Next we have this:


Once again - a bread bun (bread bad!!!!). The packet of ketchup is just sad and has no nutritional value, and kiwis are not real fruit - there just isn't enough there and serving 1/2 of one gives you half of nothing. For God's sake, take the money you spent on a handful of kiwis and buy like three tons of bananas then give the damn things away. Pound for pound, bananas are the cheapest fruit, a no guilt filler, and there is nothing better, despite what those 'weird trick' ads may lead you to believe. Obviously you loose the bun here, but what else? Well, instead of a bun, you could go with these:


Or just opt for the scoop of salad, with the burger cut up and tossed in.

This was just frightening:

That roll of evil bread just dominates this meal. And three damn tiny tomatoes? Are you kidding me? The milk is good as far as it goes. I don't really drink much milk. My long suffering wife buys the skim stuff which is so devoid of flavor (fat) I can't bring myself to drink it. We went back and forth on the relative merits / demerits of skim vs. 1% vs. 2% vs. Whole. Since I eat enough cheese to get all the calcium I need, it's a moot point for me. I see no reason that, given an otherwise balanced paleo style meal, that a glass of whole milk cannot be consumed along with it.

How to improve this? Take what's in the bun (assuming it's some kind of meat smothered in cheese and tomato sauce), add a layer of veggies underneath it (like cauliflower), slice up a real tomato and put that on top, then bake that for a while and serve it with packets of hot sauce that you steal from Taco Bell. Pitiful to yum in no time flat!

Finally i'll close with this:


Again, the ever present 1% milk. Again, i'd say go all the way (skim) or not at all (whole). 1% is for losers, plain and simple. Just to belabor the obvious - there's that stupid evil bread bun again. Why does Michelle want to poison our kids? Is she somehow beholden to the white bread council? Damnit women - break those bonds of slavery!

How to improve this? Take the chicken patty there, cut it up, and put it on a salad. It's like no one has thought of this before:

McDonald's Chicken Salad

I think the tweet campaign about Michelle's gestapo school lunch takeover is admirable. Hopefully kids will learn about the right way to eat and avoid the fatty Michelle diet fads:



Additional Note:
Think I am just talking B.S.? Perhaps I am. All I know is in the last 1.5 years making exactly the kind of meal changes and choices noted above I dropped 80 pounds and am in the best shape of my life. I may be wrong, but I don't think so... your mileage may vary...


Sunday, April 6, 2014

A little help from my friends


So I was browning the internet this morning and was shocked awaked when I heard this amazing pontification by a nearby Virginia congress critter noting:

A lot of members can’t even afford to live decently in Washington
I was shocked! Those poor bastards! The sacrifice everything to campaign for years and years. They then are finally able to scrape up enough votes to get sent to do a thankless job in far away Washington D.C., and they find that they can't afford to live there decently. As if anyone could get by on the piddling salary they are paid. Perhaps they are just not familiar with the area and are making some bad choices. After all, they could be needlessly sharing boxes over heating grates on the national mall with homeless guys when, with a little knowledge they could be just a bit more comfortable.

Being the helpful guy I am, I decided to do a little research to see if I could find some decent digs for the destitute congress persons. First, we need to find a nice place to stay.  Since they obviously are living in cardboard boxes given that they are getting by on just $174000 per year, maybe they could check in here:

Goolge Street View - 425 2nd Street NW
It's Mitch Snyder's CCNV shelter located just steps from the capitol building. I know, that may be just a bit dangerous for a congress person. Did you know that as Federal Employees, congress persons may qualify to live in family housing at the nearby Bolling AFB? Yeah, the housing for the military isn't the grandest digs in the world. Take this rat hole for instance:

From Bolling Military Housing site

Yeah, that's probably a bit too lowbrow for them. Perhaps they could look into a nice B&B via air BnB. Let's see what's available around the capitol:

Air B&B Sites - Washington DC
Well there sure does appear to be a lot of options for a congress person to lay their weary, bill writing, filibuster breaking heads does there? But perhaps these locations, are not decent. Let's take a look:
A really nice place

Yes, that is certainly not a hell hole and just a little more substantial then the cardboard boxes these poor folks are used to living out of. But what is the cost? Well actually it's $125 a night with a cleaning fee of $50. Now let's say that congress is in session 160 days a year, and assuming the poor creatures would need to sleep over all those nights, that would be a cost of about $20,000 per year! That's like 12% of their whole salary! How can they live like that? How will they afford to get their tuxes cleaned for all those swanky cocktail parties they have to schlep to?

Which brings up a good point. Congress persons don't live on cocktail weenies and crackers alone. They do have to eat. Having worked in DC, I can tell you that it is not a cheap place to find nourishment. Here's what the current food truck situation looks like around the capitol:


Basil's Tyme sounds interesting. Let's see if it's in the range of what a starving congress critter can pay:

Yeouch! The congressional food stamps are not going to go very far eating like that! Maybe they should wonder out among the smelly tourist and ask for the 'Congressional Discount' at one of these:

I know, I know. They have their own cafeteria, but I imagine that like most cafeterias, the food is probably inedible. Here's a secret. Since they can barge into almost any government building they want, guess which government building located near the capitol has the best cafeteria? FBI? Nope - just imagine how plain the Hoover Burger must be. Treasury? The food taste good, except it has a lot of heavy metals in it that can be toxic. IRS? I guess it's ok, if you would like white bread as a side to your white bread sandwich. EPA? You don't even want to think about what they serve there. Nope, the best government cafeteria is the at the Agriculture Department. At least I have heard that's true. I have never been able to get in there at lunch as they guard their cafeteria like it's Fort Knox or something.

Well, I hope that helps! The last thing we want is our congress persons standing on 14th street holding up a sign like this just to have to eat:


Or, worse yet, going this route just to have enough to keep on legislating:

No, not that! Anything but that!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Hero of the Week 3/30/14


When I was looking around for the hero of the week I came out with two main contenders. The first was this group of guys:

Yep, he has a beard so right away you know he is not a US Marine. He is Philippine Lt. First Class Mike Pelotera and that group behind him are guys who are part of a contingent that rotate to live on this outpost of freedom:
Janes - BRP Sierra Madrid
They are there to lay claim to the Thomas Shoal for the Philippines against the raw aggression of China to seize the atoll. At stake are the massive undersea oil and gas deposits that lay below her keel. Nine or ten guys standing against the might of the Chinese navy; that takes guts!

My winner of hero of the week is this guy (or a guy that kinda looks like him):
One Shot - Six Dead Tangos


An (unnamed) Lance Corporal British sniper. Seems the Taliban was advancing on their position with the aim of getting a suicide bomber in place to kill a bunch a infidels. He took the shot at 930 yards. The hot round set off the suicide vest, blowing the martyr and five of his friends to Allah. One shot, six martyrs: excellent conservation of valuable war resources. He was using this rifle (L115A3):

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/36/L115A3_side.jpg/300px-L115A3_side.jpg
So congratulations Unnamed Lance Corporal! You get the Hero of the Week Award for 3/30/14!