Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Presidential Visits and 40,000 Gallons of Gas

I just read a Wiki answer from an aerospace engineer about how many gallons of gas Air Force One uses up during one of those Presidential visits, both political and official.  Turns out the President uses up an average of 15,000 gallons of gas on a one-way flight.  Let's be kind and say it's about 30,000 gallons of gas for a round trip flight.

But it doesn't stop there!  Anyone been in a 20 mile radius of an airport where a President is landing?  If you have you'll know that you'll be stuck in traffic for hours sometimes as the President lands, disembarks, is shuttled into a limo, then taken to his destination.  During that hour or two, ten thousand cars are sitting there in neutral, burning tens of thousands of gas!  Let's not even get into the pollution that's being spewed into the skies.

What's my point?  It is essentially this:  perhaps in an age of ever increasing concerns about gas prices and the environment, it is time for the President to hold more electronic town halls and speeches and reduce that huge carbon footprint!

Of course, this would save far more.  We wouldn't need to pay the expense of that huge secret service detail nor would we need to pay for rentals of limos and all the support staff needed to coordinate these activities.

Do I have any hope that this will ever happen?  None.  Politicians of any party are egotists.  They are addicted to the touchy-feely adoration that comes with these visits.  By their very nature politicians must have constant "ego feedings" that are simply not satisfied by looking and speaking into a camera.

Maybe if we could clear out the First Class section of a commercial flight for his exclusive use , give the Prez free rein on the plane's intercom and promise him a "captive audience" of 500 or so travelers in the cheap seats we could sell it to the next President!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How Can I Screw Rachel The Way She Screws Me?

Is there anyone in America who has not received a call from "Rachel" with Cardmember Services at least twice a week?  "Rachel" is that robo-caller that is always calling to tell me there's nothing wrong with my card account but blah, blah, blah.

"Rachel" is like a member of the family now.  Just as I'm settling into a nice afternoon nap "Rachel" calls me.  Sometimes I'm in the middle of dinner when Rachel calls.  She's even called me and woke me up at night.

I've reported "Rachel" to the FTC at least a dozen times.  They can do nothing about "Rachel"; she's been calling me for a decade but the FTC says "Rachel" moves around a lot and they can't seem to nail her down and catch her.

I guess the frustrating thing about "Rachel" is that she's just an electronic recording.  If it were a live person I could at least turn her call into an obscene phone call.  I would really like to screw "Rachel" the way she has screwed me for a decade.

I guess our only hope is this:  Everyone in America, having listened to her at least twice a week for ten years, now knows her voice.  Perhaps someday some keenly attuned Walmart shopper will encounter "Rachel" in the lingerie aisle and do to her what she's been doing to us for so very long.  Like taking one of those huge 80's cell phones and giving her a proctology exam.  What would the criminal charges for that one be?...."aural sex?"

The 20th century had Mussolini, Stalin and Hitler.  The 21st century has "Rachel".

Sad.  Damned Sad.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Litany of Really Dumb Statements


Today's blog is about statements people have made that I consider really dumb.  I don't mean it to be politically oriented but many have come from politicians from all political persuasions.  What got me thinking about this subject was watching various interviews with the Occupy Wall Street crowd.  These people were demanding jobs, free houses, free health care and even forgiveness of their student loan debt.  Each time the interviewer asked them who they wanted to pay for it, they chirped "the government".  When they were reminded that "the government" was the taxpayer they seemed truly dumbfounded.
Enough said.  Here's some other really dumb statements I've heard over my lifetime:

"We're The Government and We're Here to Help You".    Please tell me of any government office, whether city, state or federal, that wasn't occupied by government bureaucrats that didn't act like they were doing you a huge favor just for even listening to you.  Please provide proof that one government program is not rife with fraud, waste and abuse.

"For erections lasting more than four hours please consult your physician"  Are you kidding me?  Any man old enough to need Viagra is not going to be running to his doctor complaining about a four hour erection!  He's more likely to be "streaking" down main street and snapping photos!

"We gave 2,000 automatic weapons to the Mexican drug cartels because we were trying to curb the exploding drug violence on our border".  This was Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder's testimony to Congress during the investigation on why our Border Patrol was being gunned down with those same weapons!

"But obviously, we've got to stand by our North Korean allies"  Sarah Palin's response when asked how she would handle the Korea problem.

"UPS and FEDEX are doing just fine, right?  It's the Post Office that's always having problems"...Barack Obama attempting to make the case for government run healthcare, while simultaneously undercutting his own argument.  (August 11, 2009 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire)

"I've now been to 57 states"...Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign.

"I'm not worried about poor people".  Mitt Romney during the 2012 Republican campaign.

"We've got to pass it before you can read it..and see what's in it".....Nancy Pelosi to the Press Corp just before passage of the 2,300 page Obamacare bill.

"We found ourselves in a hole that I didn't' dig, but I have dug, dug and dug to try and get out of that hole".   Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid on the economy.

"Half the lies they tell me aren't true"...Yogi Berra

"Always go to other people's funeral, otherwise they won't go to yours"...Yogi Berra

"Baseball is 90 percent mental; the other half is physical"....Yogi Berra

Re Race and Class Warfare:  "I want to be President of all the people"...."We must learn to disagree with civility"....There are no Red States or Blue States"....
...Barack Obama

"Mission Accomplished"....George Bush, 2003

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Guest Writer Rebuts the Lost In America "Drool"

Lost In America:  Today I am affording blog space to a reader who writes in opposition to the beliefs I espouse in my blog.  I have had several requests to my email to "guest write" on my blog, but, until today have never considered allowing it.   However, in fairness to the opposition view, I am granting him my space on the blog today.  His views follow:

First of all, I'd like to say that I consider Lost in America is lost.  His words are just conservative drool.  Not a week goes by that he doesn't wave the damn flag in front of us and mention his military service.  Big deal.  Their are other ways to serve our country like working in a soup kitchen or in a homeless shelter.  Don't mean everybody has to wear a uniform and strap on weapon.  An the flag is just a piece of clothe.  It doesn't have to have any special meaning.  I get so tired of seeing people stand up at ball games and listen to the national anthem.  Its been done so often it doesn't have any meaning anymore.  Peole just stand up like robots just because someone told them thats what there supposed to do.  So ease up on this patriotism stuff LIA.  An I get sick everytime I see on TV people cheering solders coming home from overseas...all they did was kill little kids and women over there.  Our gullet is full of it.

Your always putting the poor down.  Just because you have all the money you need don't mean everybody else does.  Just look at Bush.  He spend all that money in the wars while we got people at home that could use that money.  We need to cut the military to the bone and use that money to give free health care to everybody just like President Obama said.  I know you hate Obama just because he's african american but he's trying to straiten out this country after Bush and Chainy rooned it.

As much as you seem to hate the poor you sure hate the Mexicuns more.  How many blogs did you write about illegal immigration.  Don't you know no human is illegal!!  I don blame Mexicuns for coming here. You would too if you were as poor as them.  Don't forget it was there land before!  America stole the land from the Mexicuns and if they want to take it back that's up to them.  But you try to stir up hate against them by lying about all the benefits they get from the government.  Theirs no way they could qualify for any government benefits so stop the lying.  I think we need to open the border and let those poor people come here and work.  They do jobs Americans won't do.

I think your a very hard hearted person.  I read your blog about your family but I just don't see how you can have a heart the way you put down the poor and the Mexicuns and anybody who's a Democrat.  Maybe you forgot Bill Clinton!  He was the greatest president in the last hundred years.  When he was in office the economy was good and people had jobs.  An you talk about Jimmy Carter like he was trash!  He's also one of our best presidents and so is President Obama.  President Obama is just like Robin Hood, he wants to take from the rich and give to the poor, what's wrong with that?  You always talk about Ronald Reegan like he was a god or something.  Don't forget he's the one that got us into the economic truble in the first place.

Your such a snob too.  Your always putting down our schools.  I finished high school and I can read and write and so can everybody else that finishes school but you say were illitterate.  I gradduated from community colledge to and I'm thinking about going back to school to get a degree in journalism and then write a real blog that makes money and tells the truth instead of the lyes you write here everyday.

The last thing I want to say to you is your living in the past.  Your just a bitter old man who's time has past and this country is going another way an you don't' like it.  If people my age want to be like Europe and take care of all the people who the hell are you to say anything about it.  We need to fine some island somewhere out in the ocean an put grumpy ole people like you on it so you leave us alone. Were a different generasion and we want the rich people to start paying us back by giving every poor person a house and free colledge and free health care.  They stole there wealth off of our backs!


Monday, May 21, 2012

A Little Less Effort; A Lot Less Carbs

I've been on a low carb diet for a month or so now.  It's the Atkins Phase I, Induction and it's a tough one for anyone who loves their carbs.  Phase I of Atkins allows you only 20 carbs a day.  The average American consumes more than 500 carbs a day so you can see what a stern requirement Atkins lays on you.  The Atkins diet seems to be the only one that works for me these days.  As I've gotten older my metabolism is not the roaring fire engine it was in my youth so stern measures are called for.

A few years ago I went on the Atkins diet and lost 50 pounds in three months.  Over the next few years those pounds came back for a repeat performance.  But I've found it harder and harder to stay on a low carb diet for more than a few days.  However, a month ago I started looking at it as more of a lifestyle and less of a diet, as my youngest daughter practices it.  I have chosen to be less rigid with myself with this diet.  In my earlier low carb attempts I pretty well limited my self to steak, chicken and tuna with green beans or a salad as side servings.  Not bad but it got old pretty fast.

This time I've been making an honest effort to seek out alternative recipes that provide variety through low carb "workarounds".  My daughter had recommended Linda's Low Carb, a site maintained by a lady who really does offer a great variety of recipes that are tasty and allow you to live permanently on a low carb regimen.  She teaches low carb folks how to put a crust on fried chicken or fish, how to have tasty desserts and how to enjoy rich but low carb foods.

This past week I have prepared the fried chicken and batter fried fish and "faux rice" and "faux hash browns and they are really good...and help keep me motivated to stay on the rigid Phase I induction phase.  I've lost 20 pounds this month and do not feel deprived.

I did have one hang up; Linda has many, many dessert recipes and I was hankering for more variety in desserts.  I came across Linda's mention of on her site and hunted the Netrition folks up on the net.  They have all kinds of vitamins and supplements for weight lifters and athletes and health nuts in general, but I was interested in their low carb food offerings.  And I found Netrition to be just what I needed!

The first order I placed with Netrition was their CarbQuick baking mix and a package of Mama Lupe's low carb tortillas.  Netrition offered a $4.95 flat rate shipping for my entire order so it was easy to order from them.  I was excited as a kid at Christmas when my order arrived.  That very day I heated up some really wonderful Mama Lupe tortillas and made tacos that night for 3 carbs per taco!  Unlike so many low carb products, Mama Lupe's are great and taste just like regular tortillas!

The next morning I broke out the CarbQuick and followed their recipe for biscuits.  I made a small batch of biscuits to go with my turkey bacon and eggs and it was so great to eat hot biscuits with my breakfast.
I was batting two for two with my first order!

After this success I went back to the Netrition site and ordered Judy's sugar free peanut brittle, Judy's sugar free nut caramels, a pack of low carb pita bread, a box of no carb cookies and three more packs of Mama Lupe's tortillas to store in the freezer!  Kinda went nuts on this order.

With one exception every product I have received from these folks live up to the rave reviews they receive on Netrition.  The candy was wonderful and did not upset my digestive system or interfere with my continuing weight loss.  The one exception was a package of ginger cookies from True Zero no carb cookies; they just didn't do it for me.

But, all in all, I've never found so many wonderful tasting low carb foods as is offered through Netrition.  While visiting their sites I saw an offer for blogging sites to sign up with them as Affiliated partners.
Thus, you now see a new advertiser on my blog!  Anyone who wanders on to their site through my blog link enriches me in the form of a commission for leading you there.

You may take this blog as a shameless plug for Netrition if you like.  But I know there are people who struggle to stay on low carb diets.  If you are one of them it wouldn't hurt to give these folks a try.  They have excellent customer service and offer the best variety of low carb products as any I've found!

Gotta go now...there's three quarter of a cup of sugar free peanut brittle calling my name.  :)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

"My Neighbor And The Long Goodbye"

I moved into my present home eight summers ago.  The first neighbor who came over to say "hi" was my neighbor Richard.  He was a very friendly guy, had a sunny and gentle disposition...made me glad I had a kind neighbor.   He looked much younger than his age.  I would not have guessed that he was in his mid-70's as he had such a youthful outlook on life.

During the first weeks I spent a lot of time out in the yard, digging weeds and planting bushes and trees.  Richard also spent time outdoors, fussing with some outdoor chore.  As we worked we began the routine of running conversations as we carried out our chores.  During those exchanges I learned that Dick was a retired teacher.  I reflected that he would be one of those teachers that I would have been glad to have.  Dick was also good with his hands.  I would often see him working with wood in his open garage.  He seemed to know what he was doing.

About a year after I moved in Dick came over one morning while I was working in the garage.  We engaged in swapping life experiences.   At one point Dick was talking about a farm he once lived on when suddenly he paused and was silent.  He then said to me "I'm so sorry, I've learned that I'm in the early stages of Alzheimer's and I get a little fuzzy once in a while".  I felt no discomfort in this revelation, although I did feel sorry for him.  I gently prodded him about what he was saying before his thoughts went foggy and he finished his story with ease.

A few months later Dick related to me that he was preparing to sell his RV.  He had already prepared a sales flyer and when I saw it I was taken aback by his posting of an unusually low sale price.  I told him that didn't sound right to me and we came inside to my den and I checked out the price range of his RV and showed it to him.  I like to think I saved him about ten thousand dollars on the sale.  This was my first indication that Dick would probably need more assistance than occasional prodding on telling a story.

The next problem that arose was Dick taking off for morning walks, then being unable to find his way back home.  Sometimes his wife would have to take out after him and bring him home.  Finally, she put an end to his walks entirely.

Not long after that Dick could be seen puttering around the yard but it was clear by then that he was well along the highway of "The Long Goodbye".  This saddened me beyond measure.  Here was a highly educated man, with a bright and sunny personality who suffers the tragedy of a brilliant mind that had now forsaken him.  I cannot imagine a situation so unfair to both him as well as his loving wife.

About three years ago Dick's son moved in with his parents as both began suffering from the devastation of Alzheimer's.  Though the son works during the day he returns each night to give succor and support to those who once cared as lovingly for him.  I was glad that they were blessed with help

Three days ago Dick passed, his body finally giving way long after his mind had left him.  Last night I read his obituary and guestbook.  The guestbook was signed by Dick's students.  They spoke of a caring and loving teacher, and a man who had made a difference in their lives.   Perhaps now Dick can once again see and hear of the love expressed for him; something he had missed sorely in his last years...the years of the long goodbye.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My Wish List For My Children and Grandchildren

I just read Kate Greene's heartbreaking story of her losing battle with breast cancer and the "wish list" she left for her husband and kids.  Her list consisted of her desires for them to have an adventurous, fulfilling and loving life.

That got me to thinking of what I'd wish for, for my kids and grandkids.  While no one can dictate what others can or should do with their life, I've learned enough about some pretty amazing places that would surely enrich the soul.  I've also thought long and hard about what I, personally, would love to see them experience in their lives.

To which, I offer:

Because I love my country so dearly, I would love that they love it too...and strengthen that love by going "one on one" with some of our founding fathers.

1) Arrange to spend three days in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Spend a whole day touring the Thomas Jefferson museum; see the many personal Jefferson artifacts and possessions.  Watch the film bio showing all day at the museum to get an idea of who Jefferson, the man was.  On the second day, tour Monticello; walk his farm and gardens, tour the house and stop to reflect that the great man lived here.  On the third day, drive over to Schulyer, Virginia and tour John-boy's home, Ike Godsey's store and the Walton Museum.

2) While in Virginia, drive over to Mt Vernon and tour Washington's home.  Tour the new museum but also do the walk through of the home.  Stand on that back portico that has the Potomac River flowing not fifty yards off his back porch.  Try to imagine George Washington sitting on that same back porch 250 years ago!  Magic!

3) Arrange for lodging and spend three days in Washington, D.C.  Spend a whole day going through the Smithsonian Museum.  See everything from buckskins worn by Lewis and Clark to the Wright Brothers plane to exhibits from the M*A*S*H set!  On the second day, visit the National Gallery of Art and The Aerospace Museum.  On the third day, visit the Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln memorials.  Go to the War Memorials and Arlington National Cemetery to get a better appreciation for those who gave their lives for your freedom!

After learning a bit of our history, and learning a bit about our Founding Fathers, go out and see America!

1)  Read about Pierre L'Enfant, then go and see the Statue of Liberty!  Go to the 9/11 memorial so that you may never forget that it can happen again!  Go to a Broadway play and have a slice of New York cheesecake for me!

2)  Go to upstate New York and attend that famous apple festival.  Taste the apple pies and cobbler and wash it down with hot apple cider!

3)  Go to Richmond, Virginia and tour the Confederate Medical Museum just on the James River.

4) While still in Virginia, travel down skyline drive in the Shenandoah Valley.

5) Travel south to Savannah, Georgia and admire the old historic homes in that beautiful city.

6) Go down to the Florida Keys, put on your raggedy jean shorts and a tank top and hit the bars and crab shacks, then tour Hemingway's home and see how "Papa" lived while writing some simple elegance of language.

7) Travel West to New Orleans and sip Hurricanes and chow down on Gumbo, with beignet chasers, washed down with chicory coffee.

8) Go to Santa Fe, New Mexico and soak up the culture of the Southwest by touring all of those marvelous art museums.  Go let the Nuns show you that "miracle staircase" in the chapel there.

9)  Travel further west and stop at Williams, Arizona and take the little train that will carry you north to the Grand Canyon.

10) Travel south to Sedona, Arizona and see if that "Sedona Red" really does throw off spiritual vibes that reinvigorate the soul.

11) Veer around the hell hole that is now Los Angeles and go north to Santa Barbara and enjoy the beauty of the coastal range.  Go further north and stop at Pismo Beach for the night.  Get up early the next morning, carry buckets and boiling pot and a container of butter and go out and dig for clams and steam them then and there and enjoy!

12) Travel east and motor quickly through the San Joaquin valley that has now become a pig sty and climb the hills up to Yosemite National Park.  Stand beside majestic redwoods that were here when Christ walked the earth.

13) Travel north to Washington state, stop and have a coffee at the original Starbucks, then north again to Mt Vernon, Washington.  Get out at road side produce stand and sample those delicious apples.  Then drive west across Rainbow Bridge to Widbey Island.  Stand on the south shore and watch the ferry bring the Boeing workers come home through a sunset sea.

14) Be happy!

Monday, May 14, 2012

"Commuting the Death Sentence of A House Fly"

I've had one house fly in my house since yesterday.  I know it's just the one because I've searched the entire house in hot pursuit of him.  He only shows up once I've put down the deadly fly swatter.  When I do, he begins flitting around my head, trekking across my bald pate, then scooting away when I painfully whomp the top of my head with the swatter.  I imagine he's getting a real kick out of it.

My fly also loves coffee; as soon as I fill my mug with coffee and set it down on my computer desk, Mr. Fly begins trying to find a landing pattern on the rim of the mug.  I wave him off, only to be confounded by his next attempt.

Mr. Fly also loves my computer screen.  Even as I type this he is hovering about the word "screen"..there, I brush him away and he's off again.  He is particularly daring now that I have declared a truce; I've tried to send some good vibes his way, promising not to use the fly swatter on him if he'll just give me a moment or two of respite.

A few hours ago I went into the bedroom to take a nap.  I was in blissful dreamland when I began to emerge from REM sleep, brought on by an irritating buzz and Mr. Fly trying to do a three point landing on my eyelid.  I awoke in a crabby mood which became even more crabby when I looked at the clock and realized my nap was limited to 15 minutes.  "Damn", I cursed "he even follows me to the frickin bedroom!"

I then began to feel a little sorry for Mr. Fly.  Perhaps he's just lonely, stuck in the house and unable to go outside and play in dog excrement in the back yard.  Then, I remembered reading somewhere that the common house fly only lives for 48 hours or so...then I really felt bad, knowing he's wasted his youth and much of his adulthood trying desperately to find a nice pile of garbage to party in.  Because I take all my garbage out every morning he's been out of luck with that.

My empathy and sympathy for Mr. Fly has now gotten the better of me.  Why should I have the power of life or death for this little irritating imp?  I've decided to be magnanimous and let the little bastard die of old age.  If my calculations are correct he's going to be going belly up sometime tonight, right around my bed time.

This "fly goodwill" is not applicable to my youngest Chihuahua; little Rosie hates flies and often camps out near my back sliding door.  This big window catches the heat of the sun and any flies within the house will inevitably land on the glass to warm up.  Rosie then goes into a tizzy and begins pawing the glass and leaping up to try to snare one with her paw.  Sometimes she succeeds in knocking on to the floor, then while they are dazed she begins taunting them, pawing at the fly each time it tries to recover equilibrium and fly off.  Sometimes she bares her teeth in silent snarl in an effort to scare them to death.  Failing this, the fly often plays dead, then when Rosie walks away, bored with the play, the fly leaps up and flies away.

But Rosie's not here today; her mom has custody of her for a few days, so Mr. Fly is safe.  So, humanitarian that I am, I am content to maintain a death watch for Mr. Fly, all the while brushing him off my head and off my coffee mug.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Me and HSN and Winning the Lottery

If I ever win the lottery I'm going to set up million dollar trust funds for all my kids and grandkids.  I'm going to donate a million bucks each to St. Jude's Children Cancer Research Hospital and the Humane Society.  Then I'm going to buy a home in Maui and furnish it with a big screen television.  Then I'll sit back, turn on Home Shopping Network, and buy every damn thing they are selling, hour by hour!

I love Home Shopping Network.  I see stuff on there that I would love to buy for one or both of my daughters, or I see the latest craze in power washing, and I covet it!

Not everything reels me in.  I'm not much for the jewelry shows, or the women's apparel, or the "Ahh Bra's"(although I don't mind watching the models!).

But I love just about every piece of cookware I've ever seen on HSN.  I guess my favorite is Emeril's slow cooker that lets your brown and fry and slow cook all at the same time.  I also get excited when he trots out that deep fryer that allows you to filter the oil, put it away and re-use it, without fuss.

Don't even get me going on all the gadgets, gizmo's and electronic stuff.  I want it all!

Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm not an HSN groupie.  I don't sit there with HSN on all the time.  But when I do, I begin to covet what my neighbor has.

When I have had my fill on Sunday mornings of Meet The Press and This Week, I'll flip over to QVC and watch pudgie David on In The Kitchen With David".  David is always hosting someone selling mouth-watering, lip-smacking goodness; Virginia Hams as big as my left hip, New York Cheesecake, or chocolate peanut butter cookies....and Pudgie Dave is sampling the fare and looks like he's having an orgasm as he wolfs down a goodie.

So, that's my dream folks!  When I win the lottery I'll put a big smile on the faces of everyone I love, then head for the recliner and a HSN/QVC Marathon!  "Hello, David"...send me a dozen of them hams, a case of cheesecake and a barrel of them peanut butter cookies!"  :)

Friday, May 11, 2012

High School HI-Jinks

Well, the airwaves are full of reports about Mitt Romney's "bullying" a kid at his boy's school.  Seems the kid got his hair bleached and got an unwanted hair cut.  Years later the same kid feeds Obama's Political Hit Squad that Mitt Romney abused him...and that he's gay.

Obama's death squad twisted this into a story about how Romney abused gays while in high school.  Never mind that the guy readily admits that he either was not gay, or had not identified himself as gay back then...this was just too good a lie for Obama not to push.  Coming on the heels of The Annointed One laying his blessing on gay marriage, Obama's hit men saw the opportunity to once again find another segment of society to divide.

Romney responded by apologizing for what he did 50 years ago but of course this is never enough for the liberals.  Unless you fall on your sword you can never redeem yourself.

I hate bullying.   During my high school days we were no where close to the level of bullying that exist in our youth culture today.  But, as high school boys, we did indeed participate in our share of school pranks.  This was equal opportunity pranking.  No one was exempt from being the brunt of a prank and I can't recall ever picking on anyone based on their gender or race or personality.

But we all gave and received our share of high school pranks.  I can remember we let the air out of a tire on a guy's car (and then provided a pump for him to pump back up!).  We snapped towels on rear-ends in the locker room.  All of us at one time or another got red-hot (TigerBalm) rubbed into the crotch of our jock straps before going out for P.E.

Had we known that someday we might want to run for President we certainly would have refrained from theses high-jinks, especially today where every mistake you ever made is brought forth in High Definition Technicolor by your political adversaries.

So now we have CNN and MSNBC running "Breaking News" bulletins about Romney's high school behavior.  And you know what?  In the many hours of this coverage, not once have I heard one of those left wing TV pundits mention Obama's abuse of alcohol, pot and cocaine in his good ole high school and college days.  Not a single mention!

So, folks, when you can't campaign on Obamacare, when you can't compaign on your record of 8 plus percent unemployment, when you can't talk about adding $5 trillion dollars to the national debt in three short years, you resort to high school hi-jinks and dogs.

Sad.  Damned Sad.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Jobs vs Gates; IMAC vs PC

Okay, I'm going to, at minimum, irritate you PC folks...and I really don't give a damn.  I've more than paid my dues with PC woes over the years and have earned the right to bitch about them.

Since 1990 I have owned a dozen PC's.  During all those years of ownership I endured a "hate-hate" relationship with them.  I put up with 303 errors, blue screens, 6 or 7 minute boot up times, dozens upon dozens of viruses and worms.  I've had to endure years and years of shitty Windows versions and, lastly, I've never been able to escape the "Microsoft Clutter" that eventually clogs up the PC so badly that even "CLEANERS" can't clean up the programming mess.

Last November the fan on my PC went out.  Luckily, Apple was giving a "veterans discount" on their IMACs and MAC Airs.  I decided then and there that I was finally done with Bill Gates and his crappy operating program.  I went down to my local Apple Store and bought an IMAC.   I paid twice what a cheap PC would cost...and it was worth every penny!

As soon as I walked into the Apple Store I was greeted by one of their floor people, an Asian girl who asked what I do with a PC and recommended the best IMAC suited for my needs.  She then walked me through an orientation, got me signed up with Apple and arranged to have all my old PC files transferred from my old PC to my new MAC.  As part of the Special I was given free classes for one year so that I might optimize my use of my new MAC.

I have never needed a single class.

The first thing one notices as you carry out your new MAC is how light it is; no bulky CPU Box.  Everything you need is in the monitor portion of your computer.  I took my new MAC home, unboxed this beautiful and elegant computer, placed the batteries in my wireless keyboard and wireless mouse and right away began using it.  No half dozen connections to make, just a single plug in from my printer, which is not wireless, and I was ready to go.  All of a sudden half of my computer desk was empty and clean.

I had all the programs I needed on the MAC except for a word processing program.  I paid Apple $20 bucks for "Pages" which is a great word processing program that will convert automatically to word when I need to send documents to a PC user.  All the other programs were easy because Jobs and company have made their program intuitive and easy to comprehend, even for a dummy like me.

The color and image graphics are bright and crystal clear and truly lovely.  Every command on IMAC is executed instantly unlike the balky response in Windows.  Although I have no external speakers the sound emanating from my MAC IS amazing;  my music plays back with a quality not unlike the best sound systems available and the movies viewed on the MAC are equal to the best of HD televisions.  Best of all; my MAC is never turned off, thus needs no "boot up".  The MAC, when not in use, simply goes to sleep.  In the morning when I go to my computer, three taps anywhere on my keyboard brings my MAC to life instantly.

Okay, you PC weenies, go ahead and crucify me; call me an Apple Snob...but by God, I now have a computer that works for me rather than the other way around.  God bless Steve Jobs for being bastard enough to demand perfection in his computers.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Removing "Personality" From Politics"

If we could remove all of the personal enmity from our national politics, if we could cut out all the character assassinations and all of the gross character distortions, I wonder if we might be more able to make rational voting decisions.

What if we could eliminate the "fringe 10 percent" on both sides of the political spectrum?  What if we could eliminate the bigots who would never vote for a black man..and by the same logic, eliminate the ten percent of the liberals who choose to vote for a black, not because he's doing a good job, but just because they can eliminate some bizarre liberal guilt for our ancestor's sin of slavery?

What if we could surgically eradicate all of the big money in politics?  What if the conservative super-pacs were barred from funding political ads?  What if the big unions were banned from promoting candidates who support their greed?  Wouldn't we be better off if we didn't have the "noise" created by these ads and had to rely on what candidates actually say?

What would voters do if all the hate were removed from those 10/10 fringe hate mongers on the political fringes?  How would we vote if our psyches were not assaulted by misleading political ads?

I'm thinking the 80% in the middle would have an easier time in deciding who we want to lead us.  I believe we could more clearly see the demarcation of ideas between the rival candidates.  The lack of "political noise" would facilitate our abilities to determine exactly what we are looking for in our next President.

We could then ask some basic questions, and decide who to choose based on which candidate bests matches our needs, beliefs and interests:

1) Does the candidate support a larger role for government, or shall he rely on the entrepreneurial
talents of the American people?

2) If the candidate supports big government, please have him explain the spending excesses in the GSA and other federal agencies, the massive fraud in medicare and medicaid, and failure of a host of federal poverty programs that have failed to bring people out of poverty after spending trillions of dollars since 1965.  Ask him also if he can name a single government agency that doesn't make the "customer" (us), feel like we're "bothering" them by asking for assistance.

3) Ask the conservative candidate why he espouses the mantra of "no new tax revenues, in any form, and at any income level".  Say to him; "while it is reasonable not to raise taxes on the middle class, how is it not reasonable to expect true millionaires and billionaires to pay higher rates?"  For example, with Social Security and Medicare in severe financial trouble, why are we still paying Social Security pensions to those who have millions and billions in net worth?  Similarly, why are we paying the hospital bills for millionaires and billionaires when they can easily pay those bills themselves?

4) Ask the liberal candidate why he always glorifies someone who "rose from poverty to achieve success" but denigrates anyone who was unfortunate enough to have been born to a wealthy family?  If we were to follow that rationale of degradation, we would never have elected John Kennedy or Franklin Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt, or even George Washington!

5) Ask the candidate if he would dare to admit that many federal support programs create a sense of dependence on a government check and actually encourages some folks to fore go an effort to work and achieve.

6) With regards to illegal immigration, ask the candidate to state his position on the morality of allowing those who break our immigration laws to be rewarded for the effort.  Ask them to state clearly why they do not believe that, once you create amnesty you don't further encourage further illegal immigration by illegals assuming that if they stay long enough they will eventually be rewarded for "jumping the immigration line".  Ask what he would tell those law-abiding immigrant applicants who have waited patiently in line for ten years?  Ask the candidate if they really believe that the 14th Amendment was written as a "green light" for illegal Mexicans to automatically be granted citizenship for their children, just by the simple "geography" of being born here.  Also, ask the candidate this "if you feel empowered to sue states like Arizona for "enforcing federal immigration law" why do you ignore sanctuary cities who flout immigration law?

7)  Ask the candidate to please explain his position on our wars in the Middle East.  Ask him to define our goals there.  Does he expect our military to democratize 300 million Muslims whose very religion is diametrically opposed to a democratic culture?  Ask the candidate if the $3 trillion dollars we have spent in the last decade of war has been worth it?  Has this decade of war made our country safer?  How are we less vulnerable from a terrorist attack than we were a decade ago?

8) Ask the candidate why we continue to maintain troops and bases in Germany and Italy and Britain for 65 years after WWII ended and 25 years after the cold war ended?  Ask the candidate why we continue to station over 30,000 military troops in Korea when that wealthy nation is more than capable of defending themselves.  Ask him that same question for Japan.

These are the kind of clear-eyed and logical questions we should be asking those who are running for election to our nation's highest office.  We should not be talking about eating dogs or ferrying them atop a car.  We should not be discussing the cost of a blouse worn by a candidate's spouse.

Sadly, we'll continue to talk about dog rides and dog meat, we'll continue to discuss the latest political attack, the latest "bon mot" or "boner" spoken at a political rally.  We'll continue to assign a "coolness rating" based on how often the candidate appeared on John Stewart or The Tonight Show.

Sad, Damned Sad.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Baseball's Crazy Salaries; "Foul Ball!"

Albert Pujols left St. Louis for a spanking new contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  They are paying him $24 million dollars a year for the next ten years.  That is guaranteed money!  It doesn't matter how he performs; he's going to make in excess of $240 million dollars over the next decade.

Albert Pujols has hit one home run this year and he's batting below the "Mendosa Line", with a sub 200 batting average.

Last year the Washington Nationals paid Jason Werth almost 20 million a year.  He had a really bad year. This morning brings news that Jason Werth has a broken wrist and will be out for months, perhaps longer.   If and when he does come back there is no guarantee that Werth will ever hit for power and average as he did in Philly.

A few years ago the San Francisco Giants signed Barry Zito to a long term contract that pays him $124 million dollars.  He's been a bust ever since he signed that contract and his 80 mile an hour fast ball is one of the slowest in the league.  I can count on my fingers the number of pitching victories Zito has posted since that huge contract signing.

Carl Crawford signed last year with the Boston Red Sox.  The Sox gave him $124 million dollars over seven years.  Crawford was hurt most of the year and batted an anemic low 200's batting average.  His Home Run total tanked as well.  This year Crawford is again injured, hasn't' played a single game, and his injuries are now a matter of great concern to the ball club.

I could cite another hundred or so examples of ball clubs paying enormous salaries with little in return for their money!  Baseball executives surely come from another planet!  How is it possible in this day and age, when our country continues to slog through a deep recession, that ball clubs can afford to give these kind of salaries and get nothing in return?

The answer is:  You, the fan, are paying for these mistakes.  Once upon a time we cold go to a major league ball park, have a hot dog and a beer, and fork out less than ten bucks!  You won't find that bargain today.  And keep in mind, we weren't seeing an inferior product for that ten bucks.  We were seeing the likes of Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays and Willie McCovey and Reggie Jackson!  It's also interesting to note that only three players in those days were paid as much as $100,000 dollars; Mantle, Mays and DiMaggio.  In the mid-60's the great Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale held out for salaries of $80,000 and $50,000 respectively!

Amazingly, while we fans are being gouged at the ballpark, the major league club owners continue to thrive!  Broadcast revenue and sky high ticket prices continue to line their pockets with billions of dollars  while our cable bills and tickets increase.  And note this:  as baseball continues to hide their books, as they plead poverty, there has never been a baseball club sold for less than the price they paid for it in the beginning!

I believe if baseball continues to ignore the welfare of the fans they are going to go right down the tubes.  As baseball executives continue to pay these ridiculous salaries...and pass the costs of their mistakes down to the fan, baseball will eventually suffer.


Monday, May 7, 2012

"Real Unemployment Rate: 16%, Labor Utilization Rate 63.2%

This morning the Labor Department released the latest monthly jobs report.  The report was grim; only 115,000 jobs created during the past month.  Economists are saying if we are ever to exit this recession we must begin seeing 500,000 new jobs per month created.

Ironically, Obama is basking in the the .1 percent decline in the unemployment rate.  Dead in the water at 8 plus percent the unemployment rate is an anvil sized drag on the economy.

What Obama is not telling you are the nasty details.  The minute unemployment decrease occurred as even more job seekers have forsaken any hope of ever finding a job and are just giving up.  As the feds measure the unemployment numbers they can happily just toss these people to the roadside and plow on, relieved that they don't have to count the lost and forsaken in the jobs statistics.

Fortunate for Obama is that very few Americans even understand this "fuzzy math".  Should the American people ever be exposed to another government statistic that the Bureau of Labor uses when they need a more exact and accurate picture of the labor market, they might be more inclined to toss Obama out come November.

That statistic is the Labor Utilization Rate.  The LUR measures the total number of working age adults who participated in the work force during the past measurement period.  The current Labor Utilization Rate is a dismal 63.1 percent, the lowest rate since Ronald Reagan took office in January 1981.  Need I remind anyone that this frightful labor rate came on the heels of the Jimmy Carter presidency, then consider the "worst President" in our nation's history.

What the LUR tells you is the real level of despondency and frustration in the American labor force.  When only 63 percent of working age Americans are employed one can never hope to emerge from this long and deep recession.

That 63 percent LUR paints a picture of folks who have abandoned the American dream and have joined the ranks of Obama's Food Stamp Army.

Never the less, Obama stands smiling in front of huge adoring crowds as he champions his economy policies.  African American voters will give him 90 percent of their votes even as Black unemployment exceeds 20%.   Obama has recently been touring college campuses to tout low interest student loans..and they are cheering him, even as an even more frightening statistic hovers over the "youthful clueless"; the Bureau of Labor statistics show that half of all June 2012 college graduates have no hope of securing a job.

Sad, Damned Sad.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

TV Hell

Anyone who's ever read my blog for any length of time know that I do not believe in the conventional concept of Hell.  No eternal fire; God is simply not that cruel.  However, I'm more than willing to admit that God probably has some moment of reckoning waiting for those of us who have not walked the straight and narrow.

Perhaps, God, knowing each of us so well, has something unique for each of us when we finally meet Him.  Perhaps, as punishment for our mis-deeds, God has "custom-made mini-Hells" all ready for "the big payback."

For me, Hell would be watching endless re-runs of "Roseanne".  I just have never been too crazy about watching hours upon hours of the travails of white trailer trash.  Two extremely obese adults, leading their stomachs around the house, yelling at each other just doesn't make it with me.  I can only guess that people who watched that show also love "Maury" and "Jerry Springer".  Yes, indeed, God could sure put the hurts on me by forcing me to watch "Roseanne".

If God is really cruel he would also force me to watch re-runs of "Gilligan's Island", "Fantasy Island", any reality show and any of those Norman Lear Black comedies from the 80's.  I do not believe black folks yell at each other constantly nor do most black people speak in "Ebonics".  I also resented those TV Blacks who chose to get their revenge for all those servile "Stephen Fetchit" Blacks in 40's movies by always having a white "stooge" to play the fool in those 80's shows.

Perhaps the worst hell for me, (and I'm almost afraid to let the Big Guy know this), would be having to watch Rachel Maddow and the rest of those flaming liberals on MSNBC.  Just the idea of having to watch those folks keeps me awake at night...and praying for a little more time here in a world where I can still "choose my channel".

Friday, May 4, 2012

"Goodbye, America of My Youth"

I have somewhere between now and a decade left of my life.  Before my mind becomes foggy with age, and my body becomes too weary to make the effort, I want to bid the America I knew a fond Goodbye.

Goodbye to an America where self discipline, morality and dedication to hard work resulted in personal and professional success.

Goodbye to an America that welcomed the immigrant but held a firm hand against invading hordes.

Goodbye to an America that the poet Carl Sandburg called the Breadbasket To The World.

Goodbye to an America that sometimes learns slowly, but eventually embraced the dreams of equality of a Martin Luther King

Goodbye to an America where its citizens all participated for the benefit of all and not the one we have now, where over half of the populace are given a free ride on paying taxes, where three generations of the "victim" class have lived on welfare, and a government check, for the their entire lives, and feel entitled to do so.

Goodbye to the America of De Toqueville, a Frenchman who toured America in the early 19th century and praised Americans as open, friendly, hard-working, who possessed strong moral values and who frowned upon sloth.

Goodbye to the American home, where we could leave home and leave our doors and windows open and  feel safe that nothing would be missing when we returned home.  And Goodbye to the time when we valued a house as a home and not something one placed "in hock" when we need more money to finance vacations and swimming pools and new furniture.

Goodbye to the America where we sat on our front porches and talked with our neighbors in the quiet of the evening.  Now we sit at a computer keyboard and spout hatred or pablum at a place called Facebook.

Goodbye to an America where our milk was delivered, fresh from the local dairy, to our door in ice cold glass bottles.

Goodbye to an America where the shouts of children at play outside could be heard from dawn to dusk, not the sound of
the artificial bleeps of a video game, where childhood obesity and early Adult onset diabetes was non-existent.

Goodbye to an America where Coke and Pepsi's came in bottles for ten cents...and goodbye to those nickel candy bars.

Goodbye to the America that would have told Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson to shut up....and would have told Shaun Hannity and Ann Coulter and Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow to lower their voices.

Goodbye to an America that would have told the Black Community to "look in the mirror" and stop the Black on Black violence...and to stop sponging off Uncle Sam, before you start telling Whites how to think and behave.

Goodbye to an America that believed in John Kennedy's famous challenge; "Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You, Ask instead What You Can Do for America".

Goodbye to an America that had a national debt small enough to comprehend what all those "zeroes" meant after the 16.

Goodbye to a political system that worked; where politicians knew the promise of "compromise" and not a political system that uses government largess to bribe and pimp for votes.

Goodbye to an education system that taught students math and science and grammar and spelling, and where parents and teachers worked in equal measure to make sure students obeyed the rules and achieved educational goals...all without the help of teachers unions and billions of wasted tax dollars.

Goodbye to a highway system where one could travel 3,000 miles East or West and not encounter crumbling bridges or highway cracks large enough to swallow a small car.

Goodbye to an America where China was something you ate dinner on...unlike now where China is now subsidizing your evening meal.

Goodbye to the America of my youth.  I will be eternally grateful to have grown up during that time.  I was so fortunate to live in the America where one could dream big dreams and have them come true, where "right" was right and "wrong" was wrong....and we clearly saw the difference.

Hello New America; where the Boy Scouts get sued, Girl Scouts get taught birth control at the age of six. Hello New America; where our most popular icons are rap artists, drug-loving entertainers and outlaws.
Hello New America; where only forty percent actually go out and vote but spend hours daily on the message boards complaining about corrupt politicians.
Hello New America; where less than 5% of the population want to serve in the military or in the Peace Corp.
Hello New America; where folks now believe they are entitled to the wealth of others, who studied harder and worked harder than they did.

Good luck to the New America:  I won't be around to see what you will become....I'm glad of that.

Goodbye to the America of My Youth.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

"Mr. Hodges...and The Magna Carta"

I was an average high school student.  I did best in English and History.  Were I not "equation-challenged" in Math I would probably have been a "B" student.  I just could not grasp the concept that knowing the dimensions of an isosceles triangle would make my life easier nor did I see how theorems advanced the road of humanity.

I took four years of French, and to this day, can still understand French and can read a French newspaper.  I have no idea how this knowledge stayed with me for nearly half a century but I'm grateful for it.  In typing class I also developed a 50 words per minute typing skill that has served me well in both my personal and professional life.

Most of the rest of my high school life was spent over in the music room, learning breath control and developing a relationship between voice, lyric and melody and practicing and performing in plays, operettas and music festivals.

While I thought music and drama would be my life, the Big Fella was arranging "back up plans".  HE was planting a seed that would not fully develop until a few years later.  That "seed" came in the form of a balding, gap-toothed history teacher who always had pants covered in chalk and who was "no-nonsense" when it came to learning in his class.  His name was Gerald Hodges and he was my sophomore history teacher.

I have often read that, if a teacher is truly in love with his subject, it is quite impossible for one to sit in his class and not learn.  Mr. Hodges was like this.  He loved history and, for me at least, he succeeded in making me like it too.  Even then historical characters were beginning to leap off the page in full dimension and become "real" to me.  Mr. Hodges taught me that History was more than arbitrary dates and the exploits of ancient dead men.

George Washington was more than a frumpy white-haired gent with bad teeth.  When Mr. Hodges talked about him old George came galloping through the years, the smell of leather saddle distinct, the clop of horse hooves and labored breathing of his steed both exciting and real as he chased Cornwallis across an ancient field.

When Mr. Hodges spoke of Thomas Jefferson he quoted our then President John Kennedy who said to a group of Nobel Laureates gathered at a White House dinner; "Gentlemen, I don't believe I've witnessed a more impressive array of scholars gathered in one place...with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone".  That, to me, was a pretty impressive introduction of our third President.

Mr. Hodges taught us the U.S. Constitution.  He impressed upon us the importance of those first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights.  He gave examples in real terms of why those Rights were so very important and he challenged us to become good citizens and defend those rights, for everyone, be they rich or poor, weak or strong.

So, thanks to Mr. Hodges, I was smitten with History, but I was not yet in love with it.  That would not come for a few years.  The seed blossomed into growth one dark night in Vietnam.  I was in a group military formation awaiting my first night on security duty.  As we received our duty instructions the Flight Commander's words were halted by the screaming whine of North Vietnamese 122 rockets soaring over our heads and exploding in thundering crashes about us.  Like everyone else, I took cover, and, illogically, burying my arms beneath my body, as if I could preserve my arms everything would be okay.

The reality of war had finally come home to me.  All that night I thought about the guys on the other end of those rocket launches.  I wondered what would make them think they had any chance against the most powerful superpower in the world!  All of a sudden I wanted to know, that if I were to die in this place, what was I dying for and what were "they" fighting for.

The next day I went to the Tan Son Nhut base library.  I searched out the shelves on Vietnam history.  I started by reading of all the foreign powers who had tried to permanently colonize this small nation.  I read of the Portugese efforts, the French colonization, of the horrors the Vietnamese suffered at the hands of the Japanese and, finally, how America got settled in the quagmire of Vietnam.  I read every book on that shelf, then sought out the histories of men and events from other nations.

Those pursuits led to examinations of varied philosophies, religions, and the world's literature and the history of how each evolved.  I was blessed that I was later able to pursue those interests in the formal realm of college classroom, and degreed acceptance.  I am blessed still, that when I open a history book the characters leap up off the page and speak to me as if they were old friends.

And I owe it all to Mr. Hodges.  For caring enough about his subject that it would rub off on others.  For planting the small seed that would develop into a lovely thing indeed.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Hodges...may there be thousands more like you, spreading the word like a Johnny Appleseed...planting the seeds that will blossom and grow and make the world a more enlightened place to live.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"To Bulgaria With Love"


A few months ago I was reviewing various demographic stats for my blog.  I was prompted because I had seen an unusual number of page views from URL's which I didn't recognize.  When I flipped over to my "Audience" stats I saw that I had gone somewhat "mini-viral" in Bulgaria.  On that single morning 300 Bulgarians navigated to my blog!  I was astounded!  I looked at the blog subject and could find nothing that would have so intrigued Bulgarians that they would tune into my blog in significant numbers.

Now, for a guy who is not hip to how one goes about attracting a blog audience this was pretty heady stuff.  I found similar anomalies on other days as well.  One week I will find I'm "big" (and I say that tongue in cheek) in the Netherlands, another week I'll find that the French are reading in significant numbers.

Overall, my largest volume of readers come from the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Japan, Mexico and Russia.  But I also have a few that regularly read from Nigeria, Bulgaria, China, Turkey, Malaysia, the Philippines and many other smaller nations.

Each time I see these stats I get a thrill that people are interested enough to navigate to Lost in America and read what I have to say.  Oh sure, I know my 65,000 page views don't compare to the Huffington Post, or even a single article on Yahoo, but I'm thrilled none the less.

A few months ago I reconnected with my cousin, Ralph.  He noted my blog link on Facebook and emailed me and told me he had been enjoying my blog.  Soon after his daughter Tammy corresponded as well.  Between those two peering over my past blog efforts I saw a pleasant spike in readership and was pleased to see some of my old blog entries regurgitated and appreciated.  Because I have been fairly prolific, especially compared to those bloggers who post less frequently, I have a substantial sample of blog entries which cover a wide variety of subjects.

So, I am very pleased and appreciative that I have readers who are interested enough to visit daily, or occasionally, and take the time to consider what I have to say.  And when 300 Bulgarians tune in on a single day I am pleased beyond measure.  And I'd give a pretty penny or two to find out how 300 of them went "viral" on me.