Wednesday, March 30, 2011

May the Fore Be With You

Sometimes I just don't know what to write about. Especially frustrating is when you get an assignment that links to a review of force factor and your keywords are “fore factor reviews”.

Of course, maybe I'm missing something here. Perhaps there are factors that come before review. Things like engaging ideas, the development of witty prose, words that don't require opening a two hundred pound dictionary - the abridged version.

Maybe the word preceding 'factor' isn't fore, or force. Maybe it's four. Or for. I know that I've shed a few pounds agonizing over how to write this post. Wow, the force factor is good stuff!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Maybe a WTF topic, but it didn't make it...

The English language took a giant step forward as the Oxford English Dictionary added new words, sorry, initialisms to its esteemed volume: OMG, LOL, FYI, TMI, BFF, IMHO, and that little heart thingy, ♥. I wondering how fast Shakespeare is "RO"ing in his grave.

Glow of the Screens

According to several tech sites such as, April is usually the best time of the year to buy flat screen TVs. Major manufacturers are about to roll-out their latest bleeding edge technology so the old stuff has got to GO! As a result, prices usually drop drastically on last year's hot technical fads as your favorite store tries to get rid of its dust-gathering inventory. Oh boy!

Unfortunately, this year may be a bit different. Japan's incredible earthquake has had a major affect on the world's electronic supply chain. The lcd tv reviews of Sony and Hitachi production lines for prism films and anisotropic conductive film report that they may be out of commission for several months. Since these two companies account for 70% of the global supply chain, it may be next spring before the latest technological goodies will be at your local store.

For now, you'll just have to make do with your 240 Hz, 1080p, high definition home entertainment system while those in Japan try to make do with, oh, I don't know, food and water that doesn't glow.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

re-adapt, re-adopt, and .... improve?

Metaphorically speaking, if you are trying to dig a 10 foot ditch with a toothpick, there comes a time when you have to re-evaluate your tools and your goals. I did that and changed my tool.

Now after a few years, I'm a little further along but I don't think this tea spoon is helping matters. In fact, why am I digging a ditch? I don't even like ruts!

So, it has become vital that I reassess goals and tools again. I don't have much time left. It's not that longevity runs in my family; it just ran so far ahead that I can't see it any longer. And, like a chewed up pencil, the next 15 years will vanish in a blink and 'valued employee' will mean nothing.

Yes, I know what you're thinking. Why not use a shovel? Really? Should my ultimate goal be digging my grave?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Do this, no, do that, no, do something else

I should be tending to several urgent tasks right now. There are those never-ending chores such as keeping the level of dust and dirt inside my house to below ankle level. Just as important is keeping myself free of prison (and available for dust and dirt removal) with timely payments to ever-so-understanding bill collectors.

There are those fast approaching deadlines. Heaven knows that the American economy is headed for certain doom unless I file my tax statements. And, unless I come up with some witty post about, I may lose the chance to make a dollar an hour while writing about other exhilarating topics such as weight loss and skin problems.

Yet, today, for the first time in a long while, I have the opportunity to do things that I've wanted to do but couldn't because of demands and obligations by others. So, if it is all right with you, I'll finish this assignment and then I'll go play… if I remember how.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Quietly Famous

I picked up one of the several trade magazines that have been accumulating in my mailbox at work. There, in an issue of "Test and Measurement", was an interview I gave to one of the editors back in December. Nice surprise to see my name and words in print. Now all I need is the groupies ... and some cash.

Maybe I celebrated my celebrity status that no one at work or home knows about. Since tomorrow is St. Patrick's day, I could be environmentally friendly and drink green beer. Perhaps added a couple of pickled eggs to the mix.

Well, if I do so that will be the end of my small carbon footprint. At least my emissions will be green ... ish (and so will be those unfortunately souls around me).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mo' Grandkids, Mo' Grandkids

First my daughter, then my adapted daughter and now my other adapted daughter. They recently reached the quarter century mark and are all expecting babies in a few months.

I can't blame the water since they are all in different parts of the United States. It has to be Facebook related. The last conversation they all had together involved babies and maternity clothing. It has to be Facebook's fault. I'll bet there's a pregnancy app like Farmville -- Babyville. I keep telling people if you don't opt out, you'll be in trouble!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I'll drink to 'I see now"

Lately, it has been a tad difficult to see the world about me. Yes, if I'm not wearing my glasses then it seems as though colored blobs and rotund shapes surround me. This happened once years ago, but it turned out that I walked into the middle of a Weight Watchers convention. These recent occurrences of faulty visions are not the same thing.

With my glasses on, I'm suddenly aware of an odd feeling that there is some distortion in my sight. I can't put my finger on this sensation. Or, if I did put my finger on it, I would end up poked myself in the eye. After a few seconds, this uncomfortable feeling turns into a blurriness from either my left or right eye but never both.

The doctor seems to think that I’m having a new reaction to extra stress in my life. Actually, he attributes it more to an aging body dealing with stress that my younger self handled with ease. Apparently, our weak forms are only designed to handle so much soul crushing events before giving way to undesirable side effects.

So, instead of changing my spectacles, my doctor recommends a few daily ounces of alcohol to relax me. My kind of doctor -- prescription glasses in the form of shots. I may still have blurry vision but at least I won't care as much.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Mo' horsepower! Mo' horsepower!

Last week, we had a customer stop by with his 2011 Dodge Viper, complete with its V-10, 600 horse power engine. Impressive to say the least. Today, NASA released this video of its 44,000,000 horsepower engine lifting Discovery into space. Saying that it is "impressive" is a complete understatement!
Here's the video (for some reason you have to give the link a few minutes to show itself here before you can play it):

Thursday, March 03, 2011

When Having No Government Is a Good Thing

P.J. O'Rourke once said "the mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop." Apparently, it's no longer a mystery to the citizens of Belgium. On February 17, they surpassed Iraq for having the most days without a functioning government – 250 days, in fact. And as far as I know as of this writing, there is still a deadlock between the French and the Flemish factions resulting in no functioning government.

Unlike Iraq's situation, the Belgians have not descended into anarchy with mass looting or such societal degeneration as dogs sleeping with cats. Laws are still being obeyed. Sidewalks and roadways are still being kept clean in spite of these fine people holding lots of parties and rejoicing.

Can you blame them? For almost 300 days, they have had no new laws, no new regulations, no new intrusions into their lives or their wallets. Absolutely amazing!

I think we should join in their celebration as well. We should enthusiastically shake their hands, light up one of their fine discount baccarat cigars, and congratulate them for successfully solving Mr. Rourke's mystery. The question is, how do we get them to export their solution into our country?

A rose by any other name…

…would still be the worst person to marry and even worse to be divorced from.

I hope you're reading this. Through all of your conniving ways that you pride yourself on, I hope that you found my blog, and you're reading this post. I'm sorry I don't have many pictures and that I sometimes use big words. Still, I think you’ll catch my drift in this little entry.

In a few months, our son graduates and the child support gravy train will reach its final destination. I don't know why we refer to your dependable income as child support. The money has rarely reached my son and his needs. Perhaps "untaxed alimony" would be a better phrase. I'm sure the IRS would be interested to learn this.

That’s not the only phrase that is in flux. Remember how you have made "your" son live with our adult daughter in less-than-ideal conditions for these past few years? You'll be happy to know that our son is now hard-pressed to call you his mother. But that doesn't matter, does it? For the next few months, I will continue to forking over your "child support".

So what is the motivation behind this post? I learned that you plan to visit your ambulance-chasing lawyer in the next few days for more child support. Apparently, the tax-free $1200 a month you’ve been getting hasn't been enough. Now you want claim to some of the money I earned through my second and third jobs – jobs I had to take on to pay off your debts, jobs that I struggled through to get extra money to send to our children to help them because you wouldn't. I guess I should be thankful you don’t consider yourself greedy.

At this point, I suppose I could curse you with eternal pain, with the constant sufferance of unyielding foul flatulence, and with an irretrievable loss of your senior citizen discounts. But I don't have to do that. Our children have called me. They have had deep heart-to-heart talks with me. The two oldest have lost all respect for you. Our daughter is seriously considering a ban between you and all contact with your grandson. Our oldest son has already stopped answering the door when you tried to visit these last couple of times. As for our youngest son, well, he said he's keeping his peace until after graduation in a few months.

So what can I say? A rose by any other name will get what she deserves. Should you pay that visit to your unscrupulous attorney, well, may you relish in the resulting happiness of your own creation...

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

enjoy the decline

You have to love being an American. Where else can you live and be bombarded daily about how lucky you are to live in the land of the free and home of the brave? Where else can you hear about the triumphant abolishment of slavery while looking at your paycheck that has been severely reduced in the name of the public good?

It’s disturbingly amusing that you can have hundreds of thousands of dollars extorted from you over your working lifetime for someone else's retirement instead of your own. In fact, when it comes time for your much-deserved retirement, things get complicated instead of simple. For example, you get to fight through a maze of medicare supplement plans thanks to your government looking out for you. Survived that little adventure if you can until your ultimate end. Even in death, what's left of your property isn't your own unless you paid off some pricey lawyers to keep bureaucratic fingers away.

I guess I could close my eyes and try to wish it all away. And maybe that's the problem. Too many people have been and are now pursuing that destructive method. Can we break this bad habit? Or, shall we just sit back and enjoy the decline?

Call 91111! We have a Stupid Child Alert!

In today's edition of stupid news that should not have made the Internet, we have a story from Atherton, California. Today, we have an incident involving a student who wasn't paying attention in math class. Definitely not newsworthy. Also not newsworthy is the teacher's response, which involved walking up and briefly rattling the desk of this inattentive eighth-grader. What should not have made the news is the fact that a fellow student then called 911 and reported a crazed teacher in the classroom. When the police arrived, they found a calm teacher teaching a calm class.

So, was the cell phone toting brat arrested for placing a non-emergency call? No! Did the school superintendent place the teacher on administrative leave because police were involved? Yes! Was any of the other students upset by their teacher doing his job? No!

Can somebody tell me why this news story was allowed to happen?

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Reason 1,673 for Your Taxes

Among all of the taxes extorted out of your pay, there one funding Social Security disability insurance. How can you get some of your money back? Well, it's very, very easy. Actually, not that easy.

First of all, you have to have at least five years worth of of your payroll taxes kicked into this particular system. Next, you're out of luck if you've reached retirement age. (If you find yourself still having to work at this point in your life, now would not be a good time to become disabled. You can pretty much kiss those dollars taken from you goodbye.)

Then, you have to have been suffering with a verifiable "mental or physical impairment" for at least a year before you can submit the paperwork. Surprisingly, death qualifies as a physical impairment. Perhaps because rigor mortis is easy to verify. In any case, death seems more of the ultimate disability. It's also one that you are going to have great difficulty in collecting on for yourself.

Let's say you've made it this far – you've had enough of your money taken from you, you're young enough, you suffered long enough with your job-hampering, verifiable disability and – here’s the important part – you’re not dead. So now, it should be easy enough to start collecting those SSDI benefits, right? Please! Remember this is your government and they are here to help. It takes your favorite bureaucrats on average 2 to 4 years to process and deny 63% of the claims.

So work hard and earn lots! Someone has got to win this SSDI lottery ... or become disabled trying.


30 years ago, the military stationed me at Pope Air Force base. During my four year tour, I bought the house in the surrounding area and have been held hostage by the mortgage payments ever since.

But this post isn't about my hostage situation. Today, Pope AFB became Pope AF – Pope Army Field. As part of the base realignment, Fort Bragg took over Pope this morning without firing a shot – just a scribble of pens and an exchange of salutes between a couple of generals from the respective military branches.

About a thousand airmen will remain to handle continued air support. But the hundred thousand troops at Fort Bragg will now have more square miles to romp and play in. And I will watch as my surrounding area changes even more with the influx of thousands of more solders.