Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Instant Dissonance

Sort of like Instant Karma, only not quite as one with everything.
More like, as 1/3 with everything.
"I am .333333333333333 with the Universe."


The stimulus bill has passed Congress, and the President has signed it, and now we will see what happens.

I hope it helps.

The final bill seems laden with a lot of crap that won't create many jobs.

It would have been clearer if Congress passed a single focus jobs bill, then a single focus tax bill, then a single focus bill to help homeowners, etc.

But we have this instead.

I am still optimistic, but it looks like a lot of money is spent on many items that make very small differences.

Maybe they all add up to big differences, which we need.

Keep hope alive.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Vacation Time!


In Northern California, there is a tourist attraction that has been in business for at least 40 or 50 years...

I saw it many times as a kid, with my brother and sister and 4 cousins, thanks to my grandparents. This is in the middle of some of the most beautiful Redwood forests on earth.

This tourist trap has a huge gift shop, an enormous parking lot, some interesting naturescapes called The Trees of Mystery, and these fantastic statues of Paul Bunyon and his faithful companion, Babe, the Big Blue Ox.

Paul and Babe are classic characters from American mythology.

Paul, like so many other timbermen, is a giant logger who cuts down enormous trees and hauls them to the mill with the help of his trusty companion Babe, who is, well, a really big blue ox.

Few people know that the Grand Canyon was actually created by Paul walking along the Southwest U.S. dragging his axe behind him.

And Mount Hood, in Oregon, was formed when Paul piled rocks on his campfire to put it out.

There are other statues of Paul and Babe in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Maine, and statues of just Paul in many more places, including Arizona, Idaho, Washington, New York and Oklahoma.

There is a good one in a neighborhood in Portland, Oregon, and another, as one would expect, is on top of a Vietnamese restaurant in Albequerque, New Mexico.

These particular statues are the best, because they most accurately show what Paul and Babe looked like when they were living, in the early 1900's.

And because they are the largest (as far as you know). You can actually see them from Google Earth. They are on Highway 101, the Redwood Highway, about 2.5 miles North of Requa.

And the most important reason they are the best is because Babe is anatomically correct.

Babe, like all giant oxen, has big blue balls.

And a humongous blue dingus.


My Condo Building...Someday

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Health Care In America

Tom Daschle has withdrawn his name from the running for HealthCare Czar and Secretary of HHS.

He didn't pay taxes on a car and driver he got while consulting or sitting on a corporate board or something.

Lots of taxes...over $100,000 in taxes.

So sometime between November 4, 2008 and now, knowing Obama was going to nominate him, he paid them.

But the scandal was too big, so he dropped out a couple of days ago.

Apparently, it will take between 2 and 47 people to replace the job he was going to do...

He had respect of both Democrats and Republicans, which it seems no one else in America has right now...

So what do we do?

I don't know, but we had better not get sick while we are trying to figure it out.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Petty Bothers And Other Reasons For Criminally Insane Behavior

Why is it that when one is agitated, an additional small, niggling irritant can seem to grow completely out of proportion, until it consumes the agitated and everyone else in the vicinity?

I was doing my taxes this evening (for 2007...) and I only had to spend a little time on them, as they were almost done.

Which means I was almost ready to send my scribblings to the accountant (yeah, I put it off even though someone else does them...)

Anyway, I was wrapping up when I had to paper clip some stuff together, and that is when my sanity started to slip away.

I went to my desk. The same desk I work at every day (I work from home).

I opened my upper right drawer, where paper clips are meant to be kept (of course, because I'm left handed).

And I looked at the dark plastic desk divider-partition-tray-holder-of-necessities-and-miscellaneous-crap. And I was displeased at what I saw.

I have two paper clip "boxes". One is just the right size for the large paper clips, referred to by office supply store inmates as "Jumbo". The other is the same size, so it holds regular sized paper clips (in larger number, obviously, since they don't each take up as much space).

But several months ago, I was running very low on the regular ones, so I purchased a pack at some non-office supply store. Safeway, or Fred Meyer, or something.

The container in which they were housed was different, see-through rather than the familiar white and red box, and not made by Acco.

But they were shiny stainless, and seemed to be the same as the ones I had always purchased.

They were not.

These were just enough smaller than standard paper clips to make it harder to, well, to clip papers.

They are cheaper, and have less length on which to gain leverage (which of course makes it easier to place the standard clips on a modest stack of papers).

So I looked at my small paper clips with renewed disdain, picked up one, and tried to clip my important tax papers together to make it appear to my accountant that I had put some thought into my annual (ideally) duty.

And I couldn't seem to get the little clip onto the small stack of papers.

It was (clearly) not because the papers in the stack were too great in number. I had clipped more papers with the substandard clip before.

But this time, the clipped clip just wasn't working with my (taxed) mind and fingers.

I became irritated, then annoyed, and that is when the snowball grew to a mushroom cloud.

I cursed, I spat, I threw things. I threw the phone throught the window. I threw the cat through the gap in my front teeth. I threw up.

I have been using these crappy clips for months, determined to use them up before buying a fresh supply of the good ones, never enjoying the experience, always feeling just a little less pleased about it each time.

These tiny, less endowed, shrunken, dwarf paper clips (not to malign actual dwarfs, or dwarves, no matter how many of them may read this) (such as maybe 7) are only made this way for one reason; cheapness!

Some paper clip company realized that they could manufacture smaller than usual ones, and no one would notice...until the unwitting victim opened the container and began using them (unwitting defines me pretty well).

Immediately, our human sense history and uncanny ability to measure things with our eyes and fingers (okay, women can do this...men, not so well) tells us that we are holding an inferior product. We can look at it, and feel it, and we instantly realize it is not as big as we are used to. It does not have the length, nor the width, nor the heft to which we have become accustomed.

That is to say, it disappoints in its smallness.

It's just a little guy.

And it's shortness and narrowness makes one know, instantly, that with it they will have a mediocre experience.

The big corporation saves big money.

The small paper clip leaves one with dissatisfaction and frustration.


From Left:

Jumbo, Regular, Shorty.


Just wait until I tell you about my stapler.





Sculptures Along Interstate 5 in Washington State

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Winter Of Our Discontent

The nations economy looks to be still struggling to get on its feet.

Signs of a recovery are still not apparent.

We are getting little good news, and a lot of bad.

We must keep the faith, and look towards the coming months with hope.

Why? Because it can make us feel better than we otherwise might.

And what will that do for the economy?

Not much.

But remember, the Super Bowl is today, and advertisers are still willing to shell out record amounts for commercials.

$3,000,000 today, for 30 seconds, a record.

That tells me some very large and powerful corporations and people (large people?) believe there is a benefit to reaching out to American and international consumers in this, a dark moment in the current recession.

All is not lost when the Super Bowl can still generate millions, maybe even billions in ad revenues.

So think positively, look towards the shining football stadium on the hill, and remember, if we can't get work in construction or development or finance or mortgages or real estate or the auto business, we can all go to work on Madison Avenue, where we can drink all day, smoke cigarettes constantly, and chase skirts around the office.

This once proud country will rise again, in an alcohol and nicotine-fueled rampage through the boardrooms, bedrooms and hotels of greater New York.

If we can't manufacture things, or create, or innovate, or save, or invest, we can certainly shill.

Brigades of suits, decked out with crisp-edged pocket squares and shiny shoes, will descend on the enemy and convince them that we are still Number 1.

Believe in what I say, oh ye of little faith.

For the words of the profits were written on the corporate wall,
And tenement hall,
And echoes, with the sound, of salesmen.