Saturday, June 30, 2012

Idyllic

I must give my brain a rest before I overload too many neurons, So I think I'll focus on something pleasant.  Hmmm.  What's pleasant these days?

This is what early summer 2012 looks like around Moogie's Mansion:


A little light lunch of leftover goodness with a sweet buddy on the front porch.

And no politicians.

Ahhhh.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Best of Healthcare Reform

I spent a good deal of the morning re-reading my posts on Healthcare Reform dating back to 2009.  It turns out that I was pretty spot on about a lot of stuff.  There are 43 of them, but these are some of my favorites:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Words Not Necessary


Courtesy of IMAO.
 
 
And:
 

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Health Care Reform Vote and the Slow-Learners in Congress

I obviously have not forgiven him for uttering it, because I certainly haven't forgotten it, but my husband made an observation a number of years ago that I think has particular applicability to Congress's vote last night on the House health care reform bill.

When I was first learning to play at golf (I still haven't learned to "play" it, just "play at" it), Pepper and I started playing "Twilight Couples" rounds in which we were paired with another couple and assigned some bizarre format designed to produce a divorce or two per round. On one of those blissful Friday evenings, I blew a putt. Actually, I had blown several putts on several different holes in one of those formats that, in addition to boosting the bottom line at the divorce lawyer's firm, had the added benefit of torturing the weaker player in a twosome.
 
The "weaker player" -- that would be me.
 
Anyway, after I blew the third or fourth putt, my precious soulmate turned red in the face as that vein in his forehead popped out, stared me down, and in a measured tone a few octaves higher than his normal speaking voice that turned the surrounding air a little blue, spat out the words: "G.D., Moogie! Even a monkey learns after watching other monkeys for a little while!!!"
 
For some reason that I still fail to understand to this day, I chose to finish the round and not leave him. And a few days later, I got a really nice gift -- it may even have been sparkly. That's kinda how my precious soulmate apologizes when he knows he's really screwed up.
 
So, when that memory floated to the top of my consciousness this morning as I dissected yesterday's House vote in my cozy bed, a whole bunch of monkeys and apes sprang to life right before my eyes. Monkeys named Canada, Sweden, England, Massachusetts, Tennessee. Apes that had played with socialized healthcare and figured out that it doesn't work; monkeys that watched its citizens losing way too many balls in a bottomless rough without boundaries; apes that were living the old joke about how to play a really long round with the partner who had a heart attack on the course: hit the ball, drag Fred; hit the ball, drag Fred.
 
Next, I realized that I'm Fred. You'll be Fred. Our grandkids will have to pay Fred's greens fees and drag us around without so much as being able to tee one up. And then I realized that those monkeys we've been watching have given up on this game because the rules aren't fair, the game is way too confusing and expensive, and there aren't enough tee times to go around.
 
Damn, Congress! Even monkeys can learn after watching other monkeys for awhile!
 
Those apes on Capitol Hill must be a little slow. We'll have to use very small words while explaining the error of their way. And take away their bananas.
 
Somehow I don't think we'll be getting a nice gift, though -- sparkly or otherwise. Maybe just a little more monkey poo flung in our direction.
 
Yeah, I certainly feel like I've been pelted with monkey poo today.  *sigh*

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Speechless

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around what CJ Roberts has done, so I won't comment yet.  I will share, however, a few of the goodies knocking around Facebook today.













This one might say it all.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

NOLA Navy Week: A Photographic Retrospective

I finally have a little break in the Home Improvement action.  I've been wanting to post a batch of pictures and videos that I took when NOLA Navy Week kicked off on April 17th to accompany my April 23rd post, so here we go. 

Through my work with the Louisiana Committee of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve ("ESGR"), and Pepper's "employer" position as Director of Labor relations for the local utility company, we wrangled an invitation to participate in a "Bosslift" as the ships traveled up the Mississippi. Bosslifts are one method that ESGR uses to educate employers of Guardsmen and Reservists about just exactly what their employees do when wearing their military "hats."  We've flown them in C-130s, toured bases, shown them how the Coast Guard performs marine rescues -- any number of things.  But, this was going to be a spectacular Bosslift.

After a safety briefing, we were to be flown via Blackhawk helicopter to land on the U.S.S Wasp, a multipurpose amphibious assault ship, as she traveled upriver to her berthing station near the Crescent City Connection bridge.  We were to have lunch with crew members and observe them at their duty stations.  What a dream come true for a little girl born to a Daddy in the Navy, and who grew up to marry an Army chopper jockey!

Dream gone bad.  The weather gods had different ideas, mainly due to the high winds, and the flight was canceled (not to mention the weekend's Blue Angels air show).

To make it up to us, a local paddlewheeler boat, Creole Queen, was engaged to ferry us downriver as the ships came up, and we were allowed to follow Wasp to her berth -- a two-hour adventure, complete with complimentary cocktails!  In driving winds and drenching rain.  But, it was fascinating and we stayed outdoors on the aft deck the entire time.  What a view!  Herewith, some pics and videos:


Sailors in real uniforms from the U.S.S. Constitution.  Pretty cool.


A taste of the lousy weather as we headed downriver.


Passing one of the military ships.

video
video

And a couple of videos.


This is one of the Merchant Marine vessels that use the Mississippi as home berth, when they're not being dispatched all over the globe.  One of them was used after Katrina -- at the really brave direction of her Captain, who had been ordered not to do so by the brass -- as a provider of dialysis services in sick bay (since the hospitals were kaput), and supplier of fuel from her own tanks for emergency vehicles.  Captain Lansden was later commended by the White House for his humanitarian aid, and rightly so.


Here comes Wasp!

And there she goes!  You can tell how they launch amphibious landing craft aft.


This is the old dock at the former Naval Support Activity.  A Field Artillery unit from the Louisiana National Guard fired a 21 gun (cannon!) salute as each ship passed by.  You'll see more in a video below.


Wasp rounding the bend by the French Quarter.


Wasp being pushed into her berth by tugboats.  There's a pretty strong riverboat pilots' union around here.

View of the St. Louis Cathedral and Jax Brewery in the French Quarter from the water.


The Ecuadoran tall ship, BAE Guayas, at berth.


The Indonesian tall ship, Dewaruci, at berth.


The U.S. Coast Guard tall ship, Eagle, at berth.  She's actually a commissioned training vessel.  I'll post more pics later from the day I volunteered for the tall ships, from aboard Dewaruci and Eagle.


Coast Guard fast boats patrolling.  There was lots of security.

video

And, as the paddlewheeler Creole Queen heads back to dock, her steam calliope salutes the American ships with a medley of sea services anthems.  A pretty impressive and memorable day!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Arrogance, Thy Name Is . . .

The Tea Party has put together a pretty awesome video featuring our Young President, and as you might have picked up on, I rarely use the word, "awesome."  So it's that good.

Prepare to be amused.  Sort of.  Well, it would be amusing if it weren't so darned true.



Stay informed, my friends.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Imperial Carrot and Stick


I'm about to lose it. 

First, the Obama administration announces that it simply won't answer the phone when Arizona law enforcement calls ICE to check on someone's immigration status.  ICE will only investigate the status of the folks they pick?!?!?! The Executive Branch has been thumbing its collective nose at we, the People, waaaaay too much lately.  Not to mention at the Supreme Court.


Then some Senatorial twit from New Jersey proposes doing a Mayor Bloomberg on the rest of the country by having the federal government study whether large, sugary drinks contribute to obesity, and whether they should be banned.  WTF?!?!?!?!  Busybody Extraordinaire, Senator Frank Lautenberg, said:

"We owe it to our kids and our country to learn more about what is causing this plague. We need to know what impact sugary drinks have on obesity and if proposals that encourage Americans to drink fewer high-sugar drinks will reduce obesity."


Proposals that encourage Americans to drink fewer high-sugar drinks?!?!  When did I wake up to find myself living in George Orwell's mind?

And, just what might one of these encouraging "proposals" be?  Can you say, taxes?  Yep. Another bleeping tax is coming down the pike.

I'm afraid I'm about to morph into some wild-eyed survivalist who believes that anarchy is the way to go.  Yeah, that's the ticket.

This has been a day in which every facet of the federal government has shown its ugliest face and put its most imperial foot forward.  Thinking about tomorrow is suddenly very, very scary.

Maybe the federal government should ban thinking.


I think I'll go have a Diet Coke.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Obama Campaign: Dilettantes in Paradise



My, my.  I haven't been around for quite awhile!  I must make up for that.

I've been stewing in something for a little while, and I think I've finally put my finger on why the latest Obama campaign fundraising scheme makes me so very livid angry.  You know the one I'm talking about -- the scheme wherein the Young President suggests . . . no, the scheme in which he outright asks you to forego birthday or wedding gifts, and instead suggest that your friends and family make a donation to his campaign in your name because that's a gift that "goes a lot further than a gravy bowl," and "it’s a great way to support the President on your big day."

For real.  It's called The Obama Event Registry.

First off, the traditional wedding gift to which the campaign so snarkingly refers is a gravy boat, not a gravy bowl.  Anyone with half an ounce's training in etiquette, protocol, or even common table manners knows what this is:


Who do they have running that campaign, anyway? A bunch of Occupy Wannabes?

Next, most everybody I know awakens on his birthday or wedding day and immediately thinks, "I wonder what I can do today, my special day, to redistribute some wealth support the president's re-election campaign?"  Sure!

But finally, what really galls my soul is this: the pure, simple, unending, unconcerned narcissism of politicians has finally gone over the edge with this one.  But this "idea" goes beyond the narcissistic; it approaches the tawdry.  Simple Narcissism was the cloak worn so ably and easily by former White House denizen, Bill Clinton. 

Example from personal experience:

Way back in 1992, when then-Governor Clinton was kicking his run for the Oval Office into high gear (after having told his Arkansas constituency in 1990 that he no longer had much "fire in his belly" to think about seeking the presidency, so please re-elect him to the Governor's Mansion and don't worry about him abandoning you in mid-term), I was teaching a grant-funded Summer Enrichment program for high school students at the UALR School of Law entitled, "L.R. Law."  (Remember the old tv series, LA Law? Yeah, bad pun.)  My staff (of one) and I had two weeks to immerse the kids in the legal system of central Arkansas, teaching them and exposing them to a little bit about trials, evidence, courts, and the criminal justice system.  The capstone activity of the program was Mock Trial, in which teams of students prosecuted a made-up civil lawsuit in teams -- the Finals were to be held in the rather impressive, refurbished Art Deco courtroom in the law school, and judged by law school faculty.  The kids were really excited about it and we practiced in the courtroom often so they wouldn't be quite so nervous.

Three days before the Finals, the Dean contacted me with an unexpected opportunity for the kids -- Bill Clinton was making a campaign stop in Little Rock and wanted to address a group of high school kids.  Since school was out of session, we were the logical go-to group.  Not being a huge Clinton fan, I must say that I wasn't exactly excited about the prospect.  After figuring out how to re-schedule the opening morning session the next day, while acknowledging that this could be a once-in-a lifetime chance for many of those kids to rub elbows with national figures, and knowing that "Clinton Time" was not called that for just any old reason -- he notoriously ran late to almost any event -- I gave in and told the kids about the opportunity to hear and ask questions of the sitting Governor and potential President of the United States.

He was in rare Clintonesque form and didn't disappoint -- the students were amazed when he called me by name as he was performing the ol' handshake/pat on the shoulder maneuver, and he asked how Pepper was doing.  (They both grew up in Hot Springs, and had also had some -- encounters -- during Pepper's National Guard service.  But that's another story).  He was charming and engaging and charismatic, listening to the mesmerized kids express their hopes and dreams for the future ("Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" was played to accompany the local tv news pieces on the campaign stop -- of course). 

He also ran 1 1/2 hours late while I tried to figure out how to entertain 24 high school kids in the Law Library chosen by the Campaign for its scholarly appointments and commanding view of the Arkansas River, but not very conducive to conducting classes/exercises.  All in all, it was probably a good experience for the kids, even if it did frazzle me to the Nth degree. 

But, we were able to get in one final practice in the courtroom before the kids departed for the day. 
And, then, the Big But happened -- as I was kicking off my shoes in my office and preparing to tweak the next day's closing events, the phone rang.  On the other end was someone from the Campaign Scheduler's Office.

They wanted to use the law school courtroom the next day as a legal-ish backdrop for some nitpicky policy announcement to be made by Candidate Clinton.  And they needed it all afternoon in case they had to do several takes.  And they were very sorry about my kids, but were sure that, since the Candidate had spent time with them earlier, the kids would understand why they would now be performing their mock trials in the classroom instead of the impressive courtroom, replete with bench, witness stand, counsel tables, and jury box.  The Candidate would provide autographed photos to each child to assuage his disappointment.

And they left me to tell the kids.  Let me tell you what a roomful of deflated, dressed to lawyer-ize, high school kids looks like.  No, you don't want to know; it's too painful.

Then, the Candidate only used the courtroom for 30 minutes and I didn't find out about it until it was too late -- I could've juggled the schedule around that brief interlude and the kids could've had a much better experience.

And I've had little to no trust in the sincerity of any political candidate's expression of genuine support for education, and helping the little guy, and sharing the "stuff" with the common man ever since.  The expression "ringing hollow' doesn't come close to how those words echo in my ears.

So when the incumbent president asks young people to give up their biggest chance to start lives together with nice things -- or just with things that they don't have to buy -- in order to support his campaign . . .  I have to get up and walk around the house for a few minutes to cool off while typing this post.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Still Around!

I've been on the road. Back in a bit!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

On, Wisconsin!

Stolen from Facebook:

It's starting to look up -- remember 2010!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

D-Day + 68 years

Honor Flights is a national organization that transports WWII Veterans, free of charge, to Washington, DC, to experience the WWII Memorial erected in their tribute.  It has been my pleasure to be amid the crowds welcoming home several Flights returning to New Orleans.  We're losing The Greatest Generation so quickly.

It's D-Day + 68 years.  Thank you, Soldier, Sailor, Marine, Airman, Coastie, Merchant Marine.



Here's a post with a little more information about the "flash mob" that greeted an Honor Flight to Reagan International on May 23, 2012.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Day in the Life of Home Ownership

Something mystifying and wondrous happened to me today.  Its like may never occur again, so I need to record it for fear that I'm losing what's left of my mind and somehow made it up.

But, I swear, I didn't make it up.

We've had so much work done on Moogie's Mansion the last couple of months that it's hard to remember everything we've done.  We're still living in chaos, though, because most of the Laura Ashley bathroom (everyone needs a full bath decorated in busy, dark mauve Laura Ashley-esque floral prints off the kitchen, dontcha know.  We never got around to re-doing that bathroom.) is currently located in the kitchen and dining room while new tile is laid to replace that hideous pink carpet.  "Currently located" includes the toilet, which currently peeks out from under the kitchen table.  I have managed to get the contents of the laundry room out of the bathroom and dining room back into the new, much more spacious laundry room, though.

Have I mentioned that we've taken in a tenant?  Moogie's Mansion is zoned as a multiple family dwelling, there being 2 water and power meters, and several entrances from outside.  Pepper actually lived in the apartment upstairs before we bought the Mansion and before I moved down here full-time.  When the house went on the market, he had fallen in love with it and didn't want to risk having bad new landlords, so we just bought the old girl.  He had one tenant, a work colleague, before I moved down, and we haven't had one since, using the apartment as guest quarters instead.

Moving in a tenant meant packing up and moving a quarter of the house from one side to the other!  At least a quarter of the house is now culled and packed away, ready for the next move.  But what a nightmare!  And the remainder of upstairs looks kinda like a used furniture store, with stuff stacked and leaning up against other stuff.  We're gonna have to get a storage unit.

Anyway, another improvement we made was to replace the master bathroom toilet.  It was probably medieval vintage.  Long story shorter, when our wonderful Kerry Luminais Emergency Plumbers installed the new one, they cut off the water to the upstairs, too, by mistake.  And after they turned it back on, the water pressure to the apartment kitchen slowed over a period of days to something that might be generously described as a trickle.  Pepper, Tenant's dad (who is a work friend of Pepper and occasionally stays here with her overnight when work calls him to New Orleans -- Tenant is a cute young female twenty-something), and I all agreed -- using our best plumber's intuition -- that something was clogging the ancient pipe and that it would need to be replaced.

Thank goodness for Kerry Luminais Emergency Plumbers! 

The guys got here this afternoon, checked out the problem, cleaned out the filter on the kitchen sink faucet, and left a tool for Cute Young Tenant to use should the problem recur.  All in the space of about 5 minutes, water was flowing freely.

But, here's the miraculous part.

As we were walking down the exterior steps, I remarked how painless that had been and asked what I owed him.

Are you ready for this?

He said, "Not a thing.  My pleasure. And I'm still looking for a girlfriend for Bouie."
I nearly fainted (especially since the stove repair guy had nicked us for a hefty repair bill to fix the apartment stove earlier in the day.)

I mean, when's the last time you heard of a plumber doing something like that?!?!

I'm really gonna miss Kerry Luminais Emergency Plumbers.

And, I promise I didn't make this up.

Monday, June 4, 2012

From Pepper's Inbox

Pepper got this email today and forwarded it to me:






Pepper,

Would you like to help send Mitt Romney to the White House without ever leaving your home and earn free Mitt gear, too?  Our "Volunteer for Mitt" program is up and running for supporters who can spare a few minutes to make personal calls to other voters across the country.

To thank you for your hard work and support for Mitt, the campaign will be giving away thank you gifts based on the number of calls made between Monday, June 4th and Saturday, June 9th.

Incentives are the following:
  • 100 total calls made - bumper sticker
  • 250 total calls made - lapel pin
  • 500 total calls made - signed photo
  • 1,000 total calls made - Romney t-shirt
  • 1,500 total calls made - Romney half-zip sweatshirt
To get started making calls, go to http://mi.tt/Volunteer-for-Mitt to log in or register.

With your help, we can build the strong grassroots organization we need to be successful in November. Please consider donating a few minutes of your time from the comfort of your own home to this critical effort.

Thank you for your help!

Rich

Rich Beeson
Political Director
ConnectWithMitt
MRFacebook
MRTwitter
MRYouTube
MRFlickr
MyMitt
MittRomney.com

While I have decided to support Mitt (mainly because his name is not Barack Hussein Obama), I think I shall have to decline this particular offer of a quid pro quo.  As I replied to Pepper, I despise getting those political calls so much myself that I would be loathe to inflict them on anyone else.

On the other hand, if that "Romney half-zip sweatshirt" is also a hoodie . . . the delicious irony of it all might just cause me to reconsider.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Just Call Him Mayor Mary Poppins

But, he probably wouldn't prescribe more than a half-teaspoon of sugar substitute to help the medicine go down.



I have never been so glad not to be a resident of the Big Apple.  I suppose after his off-the-wall insistence that no soft drinks larger than 16 oz be sold in NYC, the next target for Mayor Bloomberg will be bun-length hot dogs.  You know -- if you eat hot dogs that are regular length instead of super-sized bun-length hot dogs, you won't ingest as much salt and fat, so we're from the government and we're here to make help you moderate your salt and fat consumption!

I always held my cigarettes up to the place where I'd cracked the window, even when there was no one else in the car, because I remembered being trapped in the smoke-filled backseat while both parents puffed away. I've been a non-smoker since 1987, and these days I don't particularly care for sucking up someone else's smoke, but I think banning smoking outdoors in parks or beaches is just way too heavy-handed.  It's now a primary violation (meaning the driver can be pulled over simply for smoking, even if he's in compliance with all other traffic laws) in Arkansas for adults to smoke in their own cars if they're transporting a passenger under the age of 14.  A primary violation!!!  Hell, failing to wear seatbelts isn't even a primary violation!  And I'm happy about that.

We're reaching a tipping point.  I just hope we stand up to some of these Big Brotherisms before we find ourselves bent over, kissing our individual liberties goodbye.

Like Jim Treacher at The Daily Caller, I kinda go along with the first New Yorker interviewed below about the new NYC sugary drink regulation:



Sheesh.