Archive for August, 2013

I Wonder How Long This Will Stay Up

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Syrian Intervention

Not being a student of American history can be painful. For example, President Obama has been struggling to remember Teddy Roosevelt’s dictum on foreign policy “speak softly and carry a big stick”. Initially he seemed to think it was “bow a lot and throw a hissy fit”. Lately, though, he has been convinced that he made an interpretation error. The World’s Most Powerful Man™ has concluded that the most correct interpretation of what Teddy Roosevelt really meant was “stomp around and step on your dick”.

*sigh* The legacy of the Obama administration: Foreign policy through drive-by missiling because he was dissed by somebody . And he’s just going to show THEM. Whoever THEY are.

I note in passing that the killing of actual American citizens in Benghazi doing the job that he sent them to do only initiated a cover up, not retaliation of any kind.

Update: Steve has an even better example in the comments: “Speak grandly and wave a limp dick.”

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Saw Palmetto Harvest Time!

I saw some folks out harvesting saw palmetto berries up in Georgia over the weekend. It probably wasn’t their property and it was probably illegal but, as far as I’m concerned, anybody that puts the effort into harvesting saw palmetto berries probably needs the money pretty damn bad.

SwampMan pointed out that since I was not currently working, perhaps I should go pick some saw palmetto berries and try to sell them. “Um, NO!” I said firmly. “I don’t think that I could possibly pick and sell enough palmetto berries, assuming that I don’t get arrested for trespassing and theft, to pay for my antivenin for the snakebites from the big ass timber rattlers that like to hang out under the fronds.”

SwampMan told me he had that part all figured out. “I’ve already thought of that!” he said. “I’ll put a platform on the 3-point hitch on the tractor, and drive out in the woods. Then you can stand on that platform and joog a stick around underneath the palmetto real good to see if there are any rattlers, killer bees, hornets, yellow jackets or wasp nests before you get down and pick ’em.”

Yet somehow I passed up that opportunity.

SwampMan sighed. “So, have you considered starting a meth lab?” Well. There would be no spiders. No snakes. No hornets. No wasps. Sounds better already! Plus, the wildlife folk wouldn’t be giving me grief about depriving black bears of their sustenance if I had a meth lab. I’d have to act all contrite in front of a judge about stealing wildlife food in the form of saw palmetto berries when in actuality I wouldn’t care whether the damn bears starved or not if I was hungry enough myself to be out there whacking hornet nests and rattlesnakes away from palmettos.

Unfortunately, I have heard people refer to making meth as “cooking” meth. Oh, dang. I have never followed a recipe without “improving” it in my life. I googled it and there are all sorts of instructions. I wonder if the penalties for that are more severe than peddling, say, cookies that I baked in my own oven without a license, tax ID and health inspection? I wonder how many law enforcement agencies are now reading my blog?

I can see it now. My grandkids’ friends may ask my grandkids why they aren’t visiting their grandmother this summer, and they would have to say something like “Oh. Grammaw is doing 20 years in prison.” “Dude, did she kill somebody?” “No, she was baking and selling cookies without a license and she didn’t declare it on her income taxes.” “Bummer. She shoulda started a meth lab.”

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The End of a Romance

If I had been gifted with a beautiful singing voice (which I was NOT), I would have wanted it to sound like Linda Ronstadt’s voice, the voice of an angel. Had I been gifted with a beautiful face (ditto), could it ever have been as beautiful as Linda’s?

I suppose the good Lord knew what he was doing by not giving me any discernible talents WHATSOEVER (glaring at heaven because somebody’s going to have to EXPLAIN this one day), but to be able to sing without children crying “Mommy, make her STOP!” would have been wonderful.

What must it be like to have had the voice of an angel for so many years and then to have it taken away by Parkinson disease? I can’t imagine.

I was flipping through all the videos on YouTube with Linda Ronstadt trying to find my favorite. Well, they are ALL my favorites. I remembered a hard time in my youth. I was all torn up by a youthful romance that was not going well at all as young people (and the not so young) sometimes experience. I was madly in love. He was madly indifferent. I listened to this sad song on the radio and realized that no matter what I did, it would never be enough.

I walked away determined to never again try to turn myself into somebody else’s ideal and to just be me instead. That’s worked out fairly well for me even without the voice and beauty. Thanks for an era, Ms. Ronstadt.

Here’s a song I used to use as a lullabye for the kids before they got old enough to beg me to turn on the radio instead:

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Thrift Store Shopping

Zoe Thrift Store TreasuresSwampdaughter and Zoe came to the house to pick me up to go thrift store shopping and out to lunch. I LOVE to go to thrift stores. You NEVER know what you’re going to find. Today we found alligator purses (but in the $300 – $500 price range, so we passed on THOSE). I picked up a pair of jeans that was not too short and not too tall but juuuuuust right, a lovely dark red leather Day-Timer cover, and three pairs of shoes.

Well, I *really* needed some new(ish) shoes, for my around-the-house shoes were horrible. We’re talking flapping soles here. My brother had left a pair of Reeboks at my house to be thrown away because he’d spilled tar on them. I’d been wearing them to feed the livestock. They were in better shape than mine, even though they were 3″ longer, so just sayin’. I kept forgetting when I went into town that I needed to look for shoes since when I go into town it is usually to a hardware store. Not much of a shoe selection there. I did have one pair of acceptable sneakers and a pair of leather boots to wear when I went out in public so that I didn’t completely embarrass and humiliate the family.

So, now I have THREE pair of shoes that can be worn around the house but are in good enough shape for wear-to-town shoes. They weren’t high end shoes, but were barely or never worn. There’re a pair of light weight hiking shoes from Lands End, a pair of leather catamaran boating shoes, and New Balance running shoes. They’d be about $180 new if there weren’t a sale. I paid $23. (Happy dance.) I would have had to pay more than that for just the New Balance running shoes but I’d have felt really bad if a sheep peed on them and I purchased them NEW at full price. The sheep can freely pee on them all they want since each pair cost less than a pair of dollar store shoes.

As for the Day-Timer thing, I asked my daughter sadly if she ever thought that I’d need a planner like that again, for I used to use mine constantly for work several years ago to keep track of meetings, appointments, billing, etc. “Probably NOT!” she said. I knew what she was thinking. I would just have to suck it up and get an adult phone and put all my information in THERE. That’s what she does. That is what all her friends do. That is SO not happening. I went ahead and bought it even though I don’t know if I’ll want to put the money into buying the guts for it. But, hey, it was less than $3.50. I can put crossword puzzle material in it, take it to Whataburger when I’m eating, open it up, and PRETEND I’m a useful and productive member of society, right? I could carry it with me and put coupons in it along with my grocery store list (which I usually forget so I bring home weird things). I could put ammo in there.

SwampDaughter was picking up T-shirts for the boys, so she ended up with three pairs of jeans, four T-shirts each for the boys, and Zoe’s thrift store picks for a couple dollars more than what I paid. Hmmmmmm. She did only pick labels that were half off that day. I recklessly paid full (thrift store) price.

Zoe picked out a purple sparkly hat, a dog purse, and some toys for her “babies” at home. Yep, she’s having Mommy buy toys for her toys.

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Make Your Stand on 09/11/2013

SwampDaughter and I were talking on the phone about collaborating on writing a Kindle murder mystery book just for the fun of it. My killing technique was more low tech and left no trace once the soft tissue was gone; hers was more high tech and we argued about whether that would leave chemical tracers and might appear in bone pieces. We agreed that that needed further research. We shared imaginative ways in which to dispose of the bodies. Again, her ways were higher tech than mine, but my ways left nothing that could be tracked back which could be a bummer in a murder mystery where there have to be SOME breadcrumbs left to follow.

We both fell silent suddenly, and I remarked “You know, somebody from the government is recording this conversation.”

“That’s exactly what I was thinking! It’s pretty creepy, isn’t it?” answered daughter. “There is no such thing as a private conversation anymore!”

“When we both start Googling chemical tracers and how long various chemicals stay in dead bodies, we’re REALLY going to be raising some flags at government agencies, I suppose, considering that the government seems to be more fixated on citizens than terrorists.” Especially Republicans or Tea Party members.

We stopped talking about our potential book and started talking about loss of freedom that begins slowly, incrementally, then suddenly the older folk notice that there isn’t any, and the younger folk don’t understand the fuss because they’ve always been under surveillance.

When I read this at Market Ticker, it resonated with everything that I had been feeling and speaking about lately. I decided to sign on:

I keep getting emails that are of the general form “you ought to run for office.”

And I keep saying No.

Why?

Because when it comes to fundamental liberty interests there are two facts that nobody wants to talk about — but are inescapably true.
•Free people need no “leader”; the very premise of unalienable rights precludes one, for the most part.

•If you need someone to lead you to do the right thing you don’t deserve the fruits of doing the right thing.

This much is clear — the NSA isn’t going to stop their crap until and unless the people demand it and start holding government — and the private businesses that make what they do possible — accountable.

It has been proved that the people will not vote out of office even those who are known to have committed outrageous acts even when it happens days in front of an election. I point to 2008 as the prime example of exactly this fact.

We all should be able to walk into a doctor’s or dentist’s office and plunk down $100, see said dentist or doctor, and have no record of anything transmitted to or kept by anyone other than us. Today, this is impossible.

We should all have the 4th Amendment right to be secure in our papers, effects and lives, including electronic transmissions, until and unless there is a warrant issued detailing a specific alleged offense and identifying the specific items to be searched for or seized. This includes our emails, it includes our phone calls, text messages and the location data generated as a necessity to provide us with mobile services, which we did not consent to be used for any purpose other than providing those services. It includes no “automatic license plate readers” on cop cars, light poles and similar. This is what The Constitution says; it is not a suggestion.

And we should all have every single law enforcement officer, who work for us and are paid for by us, have at all times a video and audio recording device on and working while they are on the job and the lack of any said record, any delay in turning over such a record, or any evidence of editing or tapering thereof with said record shall be cause for dismissal with prejudice of any charge brought by or through any act of said person irrespective of any other evidence, with one exception — if the suspect is the one who caused the record to be tampered with or destroyed. We have two shining examples right here in NW Florida, one of a county Sheriff’s office that thinks shooting innocent people and breaking into homes without probable cause is just fine and a second city police department that appears to think that outrageous acts up to and including sexual assault, extortion and intentionally ramming a citizens car by sworn members of the force are ok as well.

All of these reforms we can have right now.

But none of it we will have until and unless we demand it and further, the only peaceful means we have of demanding it is to withdraw our consent and support of each and every business enterprise that makes possible the violation of our rights until and unless they stop it and stand against it.

In short, we either threaten to and do destroy through peaceful and lawful means — the simple act of refusing to spend money — every single firm that does not stand with us or we deserve what we get as a society, and all who claim to me that someone should come and “save them” are going to see me erect the middle finger in response.

So here’s the challenge.

On 9/11/2013 if you run an Internet site you go dark.

If you use the Internet you go dark.

And whatever you were going to buy, whatever you were going to do on 9/11/2013, you do not do on 9/10, 9/12, or at any other time.

You get your friends to do it, or you decide they’re not your friends any more.

You get your business associates to it, or they’re not your business associates any more.

If just 10% of the people in this nation will demand and enforce these changes, they will happen. They will happen because if they don’t and we demand and enforce that demand via peaceful, non-violent economic means we will destroy the businesses that have over-levered themselves under the premise that we are sheep and will not act in such a fashion.

On 9/11/2013, I will display this — and only this — on both The Market Ticker and Tickerforum.

fuck the nsa

And then I will look at the results to see who also does this, and who not only unplugs themselves during that day but in addition does not simply shift their activity to the surrounding days.

I will know whether the claims that people “did” do it are crap or not from Internet traffic data that is collected in real-time by a number of firms and I will confirm it via 3rd Quarter earnings reports where I will look critically at the revenue numbers from all of the major retailers with Internet components in the United States, including but not limited to Amazon.

There will either be at least a 1% q/o/q decline on US revenues, or there will not.

And if the lawmakers do not respond, then in October it will be two days instead of one. In November it will be three days, spanning Thanksgiving — yes, intended to screw “Black Friday”, and we will add to it no Internet purchases of any sort for holiday shopping.

And again, I will measure and see whether any material percentage of the people will get behind this.

From this data, preliminary and ongoing, I will decide exactly how far I will personally go in unplugging and walking off. I will decide whether it is worth continuing to put forward effort in this regard — or not.

It’s time for me to throw down the gauntlet.

You either believe in what America was founded on, or you do not.

To paraphrase the band “Rush”:

If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice, and “no action”, in my opinion, answers the above question as NOT.

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Arizona’s First Day of Middle School

Arizona first day of middle schoolGoodness, how time flies when you’re having fun!

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