16 October 2017

How's That Pudding Taste?

William Tecumseh Sherman.

I often wonder how Abraham Lincoln had to feel, hearing the news of Sherman's "March to the Sea".
Knowing the General was pretty much destroying EVERYTHING in his path; homes, businesses, railroads, crops... I'm sure he suffered some pangs. But he had also suffered while he watched ineffective Generals lead Northern Troops into losing battles, one after another.
"War is Hell"... Sherman knew how to fight.
And Sherman was succeeding.

Now comes Donald Trump. (Remember, I could NOT bring myself to vote for him last election... too liberal for me.)
I'm offended by some of his behavior in the past.
I cringe at some of his speeches.
His "Tweets" frequently are laughably adolescent.
But... "The proof is in the pudding", isn't it?

I've chosen French Vanilla.
And it tastes pretty good.

10 October 2017

Millions. Billions. Trillions.

We (the U.S.) are now over TWENTY TRILLION DOLLARS in debt.
That's $20,000,000,000,000.00 when written down. Try to enter that in your calculator and divide that number by today's U.S. population, maybe 330 million(?). My calculator won't reach that far and right now I don't want to do the mental exercise by dropping zeroes on both numbers.

Someone educate me, please:
How do we survive this catastrophic burden?

09 September 2017

The List

Yes, it's been a while.
And I may have missed a few in the interim.
But this one is SO typical of rich, ignorant, celebrity-types.

I'm confused-

If you are in the business of selling your talent to the masses, why would you express yourself in a way that would anger 50% (+ -) of your audience? Add to that the fact that most of us non-Hollywood types think you live in a cloister of like-minded people and have NO IDEA whatsoever how real folks make a living out here in the world.
Why not just shut your pie-hole and let 100% of your audience enjoy your work?

I present to you my list...
The list of folks that I refuse to support with my hard-earned $$$$$ because they're destroying my country.
"The List" will be updated and re-posted as new "smarter than you and me" folks make themselves known.
(Feel free to leave suggestions for additions in your comments.)

Robert Altman
Ed Asner
Alec Baldwin
Ellen Barkin
Rosanne Barr
Meredith Baxter
Joy Behar
Tony Bennett
Sandra Bernhard
James Brolin
Jimmy Buffett
Jim Carrey
Jackie Chan
Ladies and Gentlemen- Cher!
The Dixie Chicks
George Clooney
Elvis Costello
Sheryl Crow
Matt Damon
Ted Danson
Johnny Depp
Danny DeVito
Pee Puff Diddy-Daddy
Phil Donahue
Richard Dreyfuss
Roger Ebert (Assumed ambient temperature.)
Mike Farrell
Will Ferrell
Tina Fey
Sally Field
Jane Fonda
Megan Fox
Janeane Garofalo
Danny Glover
Whoopi Goldberg
Kathy Griffin
Tom Hanks
Woody Harrelson
Dustin Hoffman
Scarlett Johansson (Man I hate that she's on this list!)
Samuel L. Jackson
Ashley Judd
Val Kilmer
Kris Kristofferson
Jennifer Lawrence
Spike Lee
Jennifer Lopez
Bill Maher
Barry Manilow
Paul McCartney
John Mellencamp
Bette Midler
Jay Mohr
Michael Moore
Liam Neeson
Chris Noth
Bill Nye
Rosie O'Donnell
Keith Olbermann
Gwyneth Paltrow
Sean Penn
Rob Reiner
Tim Robbins
Alan Rosenberg
Tim Roth
Linda Ronstadt
Susan Sarandon
Jerry Seinfeld
Martin Sheen
Sarah Silverman
Bruce Springsteen
Martha Stewart
Ben Stiller
Oliver Stone
Barbra Streisand
Wanda Sykes
Gore Vidal (Assumed ambient temperature.)
Kanye West
Oprah Winfrey
Henry (The Fonz) Winkler

31 August 2017

HOME, James!

I'll take all bets.
It's pretty much inevitable.
In ten years, most people will NOT be driving their own cars.
Here's my thought process-

Our new Taurus can parallel park itself.
When it rains, the wipers turn themselves on.
The headlights dim and brighten themselves as cars approach at night.

Try to lock the doors with your keys in the car, "The Bull" scolds you with two beeps of the horn and WILL NOT comply with your security request.
Approach another vehicle at too great a speed and a band of red lights flashes across the windshield while an annoying alarm loudly sounds. If you don't react, the car applies its own brakes.
I'll insist the cruise control system on this thing is one of the greatest inventions of man...
Set the minimum distance you want to follow a car. In traffic, the system will slow as you approach a car, then, when you pull out into the passing lane, it accelerates once again to the speed you designated. (No clicking on and off of the cruise control system.) Amazing.
The Taurus also warns you when you begin to test the limits of your traffic lane. Approach the right or left limits and the steering wheel shakes. Do it too many times in a short period of time and a "coffee cup" appears in the warning segment of your instrument panel with a "rest may be necessary" comment... the damn car is nagging me!
And there are many things it does that you don't even realize while you drive... take a corner a little too quickly and it transfers power from outside wheels to inside to prevent a skid.

We've all read about "autonomous" cars.
Computers drive them. You simply get in and tell the thing where you want to go.
I think they'll be PERFECT for major city driving. Folks there won't even need to own their own car-
Just call for one to show up at your door at a certain time and direct it to take you to your destination.
You own no car, no insurance, no maintenance expenses, and no need to worry about the stack of "stuff" you have to move around in the garage to make room so you can park.
How do you feel about this future?

I don't like it at all.
I'm an enthusiast.
I have driven fast cars and motorcycles much of my life. I revel in the feeling of "turning into the skid" when I have applied so much power the rear wheels have broken loose and I have to correct the steering to keep the car headed in the direction I want... and having done it successfully, find myself pressed against my seat with a smile on my face.
But that's wasteful. And it's DANGEROUS too, isn't it?
Yeah, and that's the point.

Autonomous cars will be demanded by the public for that reason.
Computers don't make errors. Humans do. For "the public good", people will demand we drive them.
Those of us that want to be in control of our own vehicles will be scorned, shunned, and charged exorbitant prices until we see the error of our ways.
No more human errors.
No more loss of human life because of texting, drowsiness, or driving under the influence of... whatever.
It's coming, and I'm pretty sure we can't do a damn thing to stop it.

But remember this:
"Open the bay door, HAL."
"I CAN'T do that, Dave."

28 August 2017

Yeah... Again.

What a revelation. Two years ago, while Sara Jean and I were in Destin, I bought a "Run to Wally World" machine... a  well-used 50cc "Tao Tao" Chinese scooter with a "Top Case", and a top speed of 35 mph and more storage space than you can imagine unless you've actually seen it.
Expert bikers, (I'm NOT one), have a saying...
"It's more fun to ride a slow bike fast, than to ride a fast bike slow."
I had an absolute BALL riding that little 50cc machine!

But with a 35 mph top speed I couldn't ride it from Destin to Ft. Walton Beach on the highway...
There was a definite possibility of getting run over, and a near assurance of John Law taking offense that I'd be holding up traffic.
I needed a faster machine.

On a lark, I stopped at a place that rented scooters and asked, "Got anything in the 150cc range?"
The owner gave me the "follow me" finger, and took a tarp off a used Piaggio MP3 250cc.
"Take it for a spin" says he.
And I was hooked. The price was right. I bought it the next day.

I've now had that machine 19 months. It goes 80 miles per hour if necessary, (not with me on it!), and gets about 80 miles per gallon of regular unleaded. (Oddly, it does NOT have the room the 50cc scooter had beneath the seat!)
My only complaint with the thing?
When Sara Jean is on the "bike" with me, we're crowded and uncomfortable.
I love much about this stupid thing... it attracts attention wherever we go. It goes more than fast enough, has plenty of room, and keeps me from having to start a four-wheel vehicle to go get a gallon of milk.
So I started a search.There's a 500cc version. The machine is bigger, not only in engine size. The seat is a full inch longer, which I think will make all the difference in the world when we are two-up.

So I bought one.
It's enroute to our home as I write this, and should be here in just over a day.
We're both excited about it.

Now, the question:
There are six bikes in my "Hangar" and one being used by my son in Phoenix.
This machine will take the place of several of them.
Which do I now sell?

Some folks on "real" motorcycles look down their noses at scooters.
I ain't one of  'em.
This thing is a GREAT tool, (and will outrun most of 'em up to 60 mph!)

11 August 2017

Alternate History...

While watching historic movies of WW1 and WW2, the thought often comes to mind...
What kind of world would we now be living in if Germany and Japan, instead of spending all their monetary and human treasure on waging war, had simply devoted their efforts to making the products they make today... Hondas, BMWs, Lexus's, and Mercedes Benz's?

Germany's major cities were totally destroyed and had to be rebuilt before they could re-industrialize.
Japan's major cities also felt the sting, and LOTS of money had to be spent rebuilding.
What if that money, spent on waging war, then rebuilding infrastructure,  had, instead, been spent on producing quality product to sell to the world?
Would "Made in China" now be stamped on the base of all the products being sold in WalMart?

Seems to me a REAL leader should be out there asking that question today...
"Do you really want to go down this road? Wouldn't it be better to spend your currency feeding your people and making your country stronger?"

I don't see any leader asking these questions.

Someone should.

10 August 2017

I Refuse!

I will not sit idly and be a slave. 
I will not allow my family to be abused. 
Prisons can only function with the cooperation of the imprisoned. 
The Jews in Germany walked calmly into the train cars, then into the chambers. 
Germans ALLOWED their country to become a tool of  Satan.

I refuse. 
I hope you will also.
Together we can change the world.

22 July 2017

"War And Peace, (A Love Story)"

(This actually posted by accident earlier this morning. Sorry Ed! Comment again if you're so moved.)

Sara Jean is in Chicago. I wasn't at all sure she'd be interested in watching my 3.5 hour recording of Tolstoy's "War and Peace," so this weekend was an opportune time to watch it all by my lonesome.
It wasn't at all what I expected.
Henry Fonda, at age 50 or so was miscast as a 20-something pacifist.
Audrey Hepburn once again proved that you don't have to have "big parts" to be one of the most beautiful creatures on earth.
Well known for her big parts, Anita Ekberg has a pretty big part in the flick. I've always had a "thing" for Anita... she certainly IS eye candy.
Mel Ferrer and Herbert Lom  also have starring roles.

I've always been interested in Napoleon's DISASTROUS retreat from Moscow in the Winter of 1812, and the fact that Hitler learned NOTHING from that history. I hoped the movie would devote some attention to that story, and it does. BUT, surprisingly, I was very surprised to find how much of a "Chick Flick" this also is. There are several loves stories going on in the background as battles between the French and Russians unfold.

Ferrer's character at one point has a conversation with Fonda's character which struck me:
"War is the most horrible thing in life. If it were in my power I would not take one prisoner. The French are my enemies. They destroyed my home, caused my Father's death, exiled my Sister and my child. Now they hope to destroy Moscow. Why take prisoners? That's PLAYING at war. Take no prisoners. Kill and be killed. If there were none of this playing at war, we would go to war only when it was worthwhile going to certain death as now."

Is there a way to make war so horrible that man won't consider playing the game?
I wish it was so.
But watching the Palestinians and Israelis play at it says it ain't.
The Northern Irish and British also were at one another's throats for years, and neither cried "Uncle".
(And both those conflicts have/had their basis in religion! So much for "Love thy neighbor, huh?)

The movie IS long. But if you, like me, are a fan of the actors, even at 3+ hours, it's worth your time.
I give it 4 out of five stars.

20 July 2017

Defacing God's Handiwork

I have NEVER understood the tattoo.
Growing up, there was the infrequent "USMC" tattoo on one of my Dad's acquaintances, generally added to a bicep in someplace like Manila when the bearer was soused.
I once saw one that read "When I die I'm sure to go to heaven, 'cause I've already been to Hell."
I'll let God make that decision.

But lately I'm REALLY perplexed.
We're almost in "Illustrated Man" territory with some people.
... Take a somewhat ugly set of legs and completely cover calves with equally ugly tats.
Or, like "American Pickers", cover the chest of a reasonably attractive woman with some garish artwork.

I've had this discussion with women I'm attracted to.
Some have revealed they have a tat discretely placed where only someone VERY special will see it.
(I'm assuming this will be a tiny butterfly or rose, and that it would normally be hidden beneath undergarments... a "present" for someone fortunate enough to unwrap the package!)
That means the bearer had to expose that part of her body to the artist... (how "special was he?)... a thought that kinda turns me off by itself.

I fear those getting tats today are being affected by a fad.
And as age comes upon them, they'll regret the pressure they felt when they went under that needle.

But that's just me.

06 July 2017

Three Dog Night

We are now doing our annual thing-
Friends are off on vacation and we are taking care of their two small dogs, both Shih Tzus. One of the two has been a guest at our house previously. We were a little worried about the other... he's a little "nervous". Last night was their first night with us this time.The dogs slept like the dead, all night long, even when my 70-yr old prostate forced me out of bed three times.But it wasn't a need to hit the John that woke me at about 3 A.M..
It was the feeling that something was crawling toward my armpit.

We had a mild Winter here in the Midwest. Mild Winters mean lotsa bugs in Spring and Summer.
It's been a bumper year for ticks. I've pulled several off Lucy already. I've even pulled two from Sara Jean's scalp. I'm lucky that I've nabbed a couple of the little suckers before they buried their heads in my flesh so far, like last night. But the rest of the night I had imaginary critters crawling over warm, tender parts of my body.

I'll be doing a VERY thorough investigation of canine bodies tonight before anyone with two, or four legs, climbs into the sack!