Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Now You See Him . . .

New York Times columnist, Davids Brooks, published a column earlier this week entitled, "Obama as Convener in Chief."  He compares and contrasts several "management" styles  employed by American leaders, both past and present.  Surprisingly enough, he comes to a conclusion that the venerated JFK did us all a disservice with his famous Inaugural Address by giving rise to the notion that the President is a valiant, "heroic" Leader, a la Henry V at Agincourt.  And we've apparently been falling for that premise ever since. 

Brooks never does firmly nail down the current president's style.  Perhaps that's because the current president is akin to a chameleon, changing colors to suit the environment in which he finds himself.  He self-identified early on as a "pragmatist."  Today, having had the benefit of 2 1/2 years experience in witnessing The Obama Administration in action, I think we can clearly define "Obama Pragmatism" as something other than chameleon -- it's actually little more than pure weasel, if not outright hyena.

Brooks finds himself somewhat caught off-guard by the inconsistent presidential maneuvering.  I really like his characterization of the Obamaesque passive-aggressiveness:

"Still, I never would have predicted he would be this sort of leader.  . . .  Being led by Barack Obama is like being trumpeted into battle by Miles Davis.  He makes you want to sit down and discern."

If I could imagine Barack Obama being anywhere in the vicinity of battle, perhaps I can imagine wanting to sit down and discern.  It's more likely, however, that I'd want to sit down, put my head in my hands, and sing the blues. 

Kind of like I currently do, on a regular basis.

Maybe we really do need a Henry V.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Another of Those Posts that My Mother Would Disapprove

Wouldn't you just love to be a fly on the wall of the hospital room where this picture was taken!  Hugo and those Krazy Kastro Boyz!  Ol' Hugo was even sporting his favorite track suit!

Being southern, my Mama always admonished me to hold my tongue if I couldn't say something nice about someone. Ordinarily, being southern myself, I heed that admonition.  But, there are just some folks that set my tongue to wagging, and Hugo Chavez is one of them.

Pepper forwarded me this link in an email this afternoon:

"From all available reports, Hugo Chavez is in critical condition in a hospital in Cuba. The Venezuelan communist dictator was taken to Cuba several weeks ago for an emergency surgery regarding pelvic swelling, which has led many to speculate that he is dealing with prostate cancer.

In the irony of ironies, Hugo Chavez was faced with the decision to have to leave his own nation, and the health care system that was supposed to be an example for other nations, to receive care from another questionable health care system in Cuba."

In the "Subject" line, he titled the email, "Apparently God Has a Sense of Humor."

It would appear so, indeed.

In my reply I suggested that he get together a group of retired Blackwater guys, invade Venezuela, and storm the golf courses to take them back from "the people" before Chavez comes home.  I haven't heard from him in awhile.  Hmmm, I wonder.  I'd better go check whether any of the jungle camo uniforms are missing . . . .

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Legal Interlude

Doing a little Continuing Legal Edumacation. One of today's sessions addressed lawyering and the Internet -- social media, The Cloud, websites, "accidental clients," and blogging! Pretty interesting.

No exotic locale, or Food Tours, this year. Darn it.

Back in a few.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Daddies' Day 2011, Part Deux

So what if it's the day after Fathers' Day.  I just saw a couple of pics posted on the Facebook that are too good not to share -- especially in context of fatherhood and stuff.

This one was taken in the late 40s/early 50s in the Arkansas delta.  On the far right is my paternal grandfather; others in the photo are his cousin and three of his brothers.  The cousin who posted the picture is taking a day trip next week with her mother and brother to meet up with another cousin in hopes of getting her hands on the "Claytons' Hunting Club" sign.  Her grandfather is pictured, too, on the far left.  He actually passed away after a heart attack at that very Hunt Club.  I hope she's successful!

This one was taken as the nice Altar Guild ladies opened the doors at the church for baby daughter and her daddy to stroll down the aisle.  He looks like he kinda likes her, doesn't he?  The wedding photographer posted it on Baby Daughter's page as a Fathers' Day greeting to Pepper!  Wasn't that sweet!

I can't wait to see the rest!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Daddies' Day 2011

I haven't yet downloaded the pictures from the most recent wedding, but I'll do so shortly.  In the meantime, Happy Fathers' Day to all the fathers out there and you guys who have -- or had -- fathers.  Love you all!

Pepper has already enjoyed a round of golf this morning (who can really enjoy physical, outdoor activity when it's 95 degrees and 463% humidity?!?!  I think he deceives himself sometimes, but it's Fathers' Day, so let the deception proceed.)  We're getting ready to join some friends at their home for a family-style barbecue (and more golf on tv, I would venture).

Sometimes I miss the good old days when the girls always had their dance recital on Fathers' Day.  That was a way their teacher encouraged families to spend time together.  No stress involved there at all.  No sir. One year, Younger Daughter's number was a Daddy/Daughter Dance.  Pepper had been working in D.C. the week before, but he made special arrangements to fly home for one day so he could dance in that number with her.  That was a pretty neat Daddy-thing to do.  That was also the weekend that OJ Simpson did his special slow-motion cop chase through LA.  I wonder if there's a connection?  Nah.  Pepper would never drive that slowly.

Anyway, here's last year's post (that incorporates the previous year's post.)  You can see Pepper dancing with his baby daughter at her wedding reception shortly.  Cheers to the Dads!  Especially mine -- Happy Boompie Day, Boomps!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Campaign Season 2012

In yesterday's inbox:

Tomorrow, Saturday, June 18th, is this campaign's first national day of action.

Thousands of volunteers have already signed up in New Orleans and beyond to register voters and collect "I'm in" cards from new supporters.

Can you make it? Here are the details:

What: 2012 Day of Action

Where: New Orleans, LA 70115

When: Saturday, June 18th, 11:00 am

You should come out -- it's sure to be a fun and inspiring day:

I see two glaring problems with this invitation, and one big positive.

The problems: 

(1) The New Orleans Hornets started using the slogan, "I'm In!" in their huge marketing campaign for the upcoming season well before the Obama re-election machine officially cranked up.  Signs declaring "In-ness" are sported on lawns all across the region, but they're printed on fields of Creole Blue and Gold, not Baracky red, white, and O-blue.  The campaign, therefore, might believe it has broader support in southeast Louisiana than it actually does and might not work as hard down here.  Wait -- maybe that's not a problem after all.

(2) New Orleans is a pretty big place.  It would probably have been better to give volunteers a precise gathering location instead of leaving them to wander aimlessly around Orleans Parish in search of campaign literature and community organizers.  Wait -- maybe that's not a problem either!

The original Positive that I derived from the invitation (before discovering the inadvertent ones)?  The simple fact that I received the email invite means that I haven't yet been outed as a mole, and I'll be able to continue sharing the info I gather about the Administration and Campaign as an undercover operative! 

Emma Peel lives!

Striking resemblance, that.  Heh.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Gripe du Jour: Urban Bicyclists, UPDATED

Yes, I said it out loud -- city-dwelling bicycle riders are a wart on the face of the Earth.

I'm not talking about the folks in padded spandex britches and helmets who tackle challenging trails, or kids that go round and round and round in circles on the street in front of their houses (like I used to do).  No, I'm talking about the look-down-their-noses, self-important folks who eschew the automobile and take up waaaay more of the road than that to which they're entitled.

Now, I'm also not complaining about those cyclists who obey the rules of the road and choose routes that aren't dominated by the busiest arteries.  I don't condemn those who cycle because they can't afford a car (or gasoline!), or those who legitimately believe they're living a healthier, greener lifestyle by doing so.

As long as they obey the rules of the road.

It's a good thing I've trained myself to look both ways before proceeding into an intersection, even on one-way streets.  In New Orleans -- a city whose stop signs and traffic lights are viewed a mere suggestions -- that training is called "self-preservation 101."  But, it's a really good thing for many a cyclist I've encountered in this neck of the woods that I've trained myself thusly, because absent that training, several of them would be little more than road kill in colorful packaging.

Yesterday, I had already looked in the opposite direction of the one-way street I was preparing to cross and saw no traffic coming from the correct way or the wrong way, when something whispered to me that I should glance at the wrong way again as I was stepping on the accelerator.  Sure enough, out from behind a parked car popped Mr. long-haired unshaven man-boy, pumping away as he listened to something plugged into his ears, decidedly oblivious to the fact that he was going the wrong way on a one-way street.  Fortunately, I braked quickly enough to save his sorry hide.  And then he flipped me off! 

If I had squished him, I would have been a total wreck, but it still would have been his fault.  In the jousting game of car vs. bike, car always wins.

Don't even get me started on those cyclists who insist on riding on busy streets at rush hour, 15 mph below the speed limit, and who refuse to get out of the middle of the lane, backing cars up six or seven deep.  Or those who won't wait their turn and peddle past a line of cars at a stop sign, on the right, and pass you as you're preparing to make a right turn.  Or those group riders that take up an entire lane at a leisurely pace. 

They're as bad as those inconsiderate air travelers who insist on strolling (or waddling) through a concourse, five abreast, taking up all the space their rolling luggage doesn't, and talking at the top of their lungs.  Almost as bad as unescorted men in grocery stores who abandon their carts in the middle of the aisle to go look at  or fetch something the next aisle over, effectively halting cart traffic in all directions.

Moogie appears to have mounted the "anti-inconsiderate dolts" soapbox today.

Anyway.  The New Orleans Police Department recently announced that tickets will henceforth be issued to cyclists who flaunt the rules of the road -- and tickets have actually been issued!  Pretty pricey tickets!  Of course, that was in the French Quarter (where cyclists often run people off the sidewalks!), and the practice probably won't stretch all the way uptown where Moogie can get some relief from menaces on two wheels. 

But it's a start.

If the world would just put Moogie in charge for only a few days, there would be some much-needed changes made in public interpersonal interaction.

UPDATE:  Inno's comment below inspired me to add a little article and video about the "World Naked Bike Ride," New Orleans chapter's, recent event.  I live in such an -- interesting -- place.  Probably not for those under 18, and probably not best for viewing at work.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

And It's Not Officially Even Summer Yet . . .

So, I called the HVAC people this afternoon to schedule annual maintenance on the AC. 

No dice.

It's been so hot, and they're so busy doing repair calls, that they aren't even scheduling regular maintenance!  They put me on the waiting list -- to be scheduled.  I said I hope to hear from them before September.  The nice HVAC lady didn't laugh.

That darn nutria!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How I'm Feeling Today

Well, that didn't work, did it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Army Birthday and Flag Day 2011

A very important day in the U.S.A.!  Sa-lute!

This yummy cake was served at the Grand Opening of the new Commissary at Belle Chasse NAS/JRB in March.  I've been saving this picture just for this day!  Hooah!

(Plus, the Brass finally came to its collective senses, listened to enlisted and non-coms, and did away with that cumbersome beret for everyday ACU.  Back to the field cap at last!  The beret is all right for dress uniforms, but it's kinda silly and a pain in the neck for ACUs.  I just wish they'd done it 9 years ago so that Pepper wouldn't have had to spend all that time shaping and shaving the silly things.  But, I'm still not sure why the term switched from "Battle Dress Uniform" to "Army Combat Uniform."  I guess hopey-change-for-change's-sake has been going on longer than we suspected.)

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Family, the Dog Lovers

Elder daughter has become a woman on a mission. 

Since she took a teaching job in North Little Rock she's been a much happier person, overall.  But now I think the "nurturing" -- and keeping up with 9th and 10th graders -- part of being a teacher has spilled over into her personal life.

Before school was out for the summer last week, she noticed two black lab pups on the loose in her neighborhood.  She didn't know where they lived, but she fretted about them being out on the streets in the heat, so she left a bowl of water on her front porch before she left for school, vowing to find their home if they were still around when she got home.

They didn't reappear for several days, so she relaxed a little about their welfare.  Until yesterday evening.

Then, there they were, back on her front porch.

She knew they were someone's pets because they would sit on command and were fairly well-behaved, but they didn't wear collars and you can't call a Vet on Sunday to check whether they are chipped, so she did the logical nurturer thing -- she took in two four-month-old Labrador puppies. 

Bear in mind that she and SIL#1 have two dogs of their own (an "active" young boxer and a chiweenie -- chihuahua-dachshund mix -- a rather bossy little thing who enjoys the sound of her own voice), plus they are keeping Younger Daughter/SIL#2's very needy lab-golden retriever mix during YD/SIL#2's Honeymoon.

They do not live on a farm with lots of acreage.

It was apparently a wild and crazy scene at Elder Daughter's house last night.  All night. 

She left her bedroom window cracked so she could sort of keep tabs on them during the night, having bedded them down on the deck outside the window at an ungodly hour.  They are apparently part night-owl because there was not a lot of puppy-napping going on.  A lot of puppy playing, yes, puppy napping, no.  SIL#1, needing to sleep a little so he could be functional at work today, decided to shift to the guest room so as to be sheltered from puppy noise.  And, I doubt he was very happy about that.  But it was probably the right move on his part.

Elder Daughter awoke from a restless sleep around five in the morning to spy through the window their very heavy barbecue grill slowly moving across the deck in fits and starts.  Yep.  The puppies were having a tug-of-war with the grill cover, and the grill was losing.

Then they were hungry.

After gulping down enough coffee to keep her conscious, Elder Daughter went to work on finding the pups' home.  Sherlock Holmes would have been proud.

Long story shorter, a nearby neighbor told her that the pups belonged to his next-door neighbor, a college student who often threw raucous college-student parties, and whose lease had therefore been non-renewed.  He put Elder Daughter in touch with College Boy's landlord, who in turn gave her College Boy's name and phone number. 

It seems that College Boy had gone out of town on a little vacay, leaving two bored, 4-month-old lab puppies who like to dig, unattended, outdoors.  College Boy's grandmother was allegedly coming by to feed them.

A rather terse text-messaging session ensued, followed by a call from College Boy's mother.

College Boy's mother came to Elder Daughter's house to pick up the pups, driving a Lexus (Elder Daughter fixated on the Lexus part, expecting instead to see something like the Beverly Hillbillies' truck roll up in front of the house.  She still can't believe that CB would allow his Lexus-driving mother, not to mention his grandmother, see the appalling state of his house and yard.).  Elder Daughter recommended that CBM board the pups until the prodigal son returned to take up the responsibility for those precious little souls he had assumed.  CBM assured Elder Daughter that she was going to do precisely that.

Elder Daughter called me as CBM was pulling away with the precious cargo, and noticed that the car had stopped.  She was livid, fearing that CBM had simply slipped the pups back into the yard.  So, she did the logical nurturer thing -- she stormed over to CB's fence and started calling the pups, ready to sic the authorities on the CB family if need be, giving me the play-by-play every step of the way.

Fortunately for the CB family, the pups were not in the yard.

Now Elder Daughter worries what will become of the pups when CB has to find new digs and she's not around to look after them.

I doubt it will be a problem.  And, I suspect that CB should just bend over and accept the fact the Elder Daughter is likely to be stalking him henceforth, in full-blown puppy-lover mode.

At least until school starts in the fall.

I wonder where she gets it?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Of Weiners, Funeral Mobsters, and Post-Nuptial Existentialism

I've had nearly a week to recover from all the wedding festivities (not the least of which was the 99 degree heat for the mostly-outdoor reception!).  I spent most of this morning catching up with my regular blog-rounds, so now I suppose I should leap back into posting.

I'm not quite ready to do the wedding post yet, though -- I'm experiencing a little "wedding-planning void."   This is the first time since February of 2009 that I haven't had wedding planning somewhere near the surface of my mind, and it's kind of sad.  Easier on the bank account and frazzle factor, but still a little sad.  Kinda like Lucy's Post-Christmas letdown in the old Peanuts cartoon strip.

So, for today, I'll play with politics a little and add a little Louisiana flavor for lagniappe.

First off, Weiner Fest.  The story that won't go away (not to mention the story that has the greatest bad-joke potential in recorded human history). 

Almost everything that can be said about this fiasco has been said, but in addition to pointing out that the media -- and even the dude's constituents -- seem to be focusing on the actual weiner and its varying states of dress, and not focusing on the outright, intentional LYING in which the little weasel (the actual man, not his appendage) engaged, I'd like to make note of one of the funniest statements to be broadcast over the airwaves in recent memory.  And it was, I believe, unintentionally (albeit, potentially Freudianly) funny.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, when asked why she wasn't calling for Weiner's resignation, stated, "I believe that it's up to the individual member" to make that decision. 

That was, in my view, a most unfortunate time to refer to a Congressman by that particular asexual, politically correct term.  Mr. Weiner's member has obviously been making decisions for him for many years.

*Rimshot*  Thank you.  Thank you very much.

Next.  Do you remember way back last August when I first told you about the Louisiana Casket Cartel that had issued a Cease and Desist Order against some Benedictine monks who were making and selling simple caskets for reasonable prices?  Well, here's the update.

During the most recent session of the Legislature, the funeral industry managed to pull off a strong enough lobbying effort to prevent a repeal of the monopoly-encouraging regulations, leaving the Abbey open to thousands of dollars in fines, and its monks to potential imprisonment, for selling coffins without paying exhorbitant fees and securing a funeral director's license.  As a result, the monks decided to pursue the lawsuit they had filed last August in federal court seeking a modification of the statutes governing funeral industry licensure. 

The funeral regulators' defense team characterized the regulations in terms of "consumer protection," raising the gruesome specter of coffins too small for plus-size bodies, leaking decomposition fluids from an above-ground family tomb; the monks' attorneys more appropriately characterize the statutory scheme as little more than "unconstitutional economic protectionism."

A half-day hearing took place last week, the briefing schedule has been set, and we should have a ruling from U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval by early July.  Judge Duval is a Clinton appointee, and has been referred to as a "liberal judge" more than once, but he does appear to be a fairly solid constitutionalist.

Wouldn't it be nice to see the small-time entrepreneur -- and common sense -- prevail this time?

Okay, okay, you persuaded me.  Just one wedding picture, taken in the Bride's Room before the ceremony.

I have the feeling that this one will make me get teary-eyed for years.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Don't Run Off, Now!

I'm still alive! Just caught up in a whirlwind. Back soon!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wedding Day, Minus 3 -- and Hello Hurricane Season 2011

So, I'm thinking the tire gods are as angry with me as the Blogger gods have been recently.

I got on the road later than I would have liked (because I had to wait for a UPS delivery requiring a signature -- and the delivery guy was out of treats for Bouie, who was already stressed out by all the packing and taking of Rosie to the kennel early without him. Yeah, he doesn't go until today because Pepper needed company last night. So, I had to dig up some old treats for Bouie because he was wearing his pitiful face. It was a hectic scenario at Moogie's Mansion.)

So, I got on the road later than I would've liked, but early enough to get me to Little Rock in time to get some wedding stuff done. I downed my Wendy's grilled chicken wrap and was settling down on the long I-10 bridge over the spillway when I heard a lot of racket; I couldn't figure out what it was for a bit, and initially thought the beat-up car beside me needed to have its engine looked at, when it dawned on me that I had a flat. Going 65 mph, on a bridge, I had a blowout. In a car that was loaded to the gills with wedding and reception paraphernalia.

Several hours, and USAA Roadside Assistance, later, after kind assistance from a lady state trooper (who offered to help me change the tire!), a tow to a "safe place" (because the Roadside Assistance folk don't change tires on an interstate bridge), and a hefty wait for the tire changer at the truck stop casino (because tow folks don't change tires), I was back on the road. But, by golly, after proving to myself that I could still change a tire a few months back, I had vowed not to do that again, and I remained true to my vow.

I didn't get to Little Rock until after 10:00.

It was a long day.

And all this is to say that posting will probably be sparse the next few days until we buy all the booze in central Arkansas, deliver stuff all over creation, entertain, and marry off the last child. It will be glorious!

I need a nap.