Tuesday, January 31, 2006

State of the Union

A little something for you to read before “the speech” is read…

“Wages and benefits paid to civilian workers rose 3.1 percent last year, the smallest increase in nine years, the Labor Department said Tuesday. It said the escalating costs of health insurance and pensions are biting into employee compensation.

The rate at which Americans save money, which has fallen steadily for almost 20 years, dropped below zero to minus 0.5 percent in 2005, the Commerce Department reported. Not since the post-Depression years of 1932 and 1933 has the annual rate, which stood at 10.8 percent in 1984, entered negative territory. High housing prices, some analysts believe, have convinced people they don't need to save.

The government anticipates borrowing a record $188 billion during the January-March quarter - $42 billion more than the old mark set for the same period in 2004, the Treasury Department said. The timing of Medicare payments to health-maintenance organizations was cited as a major reason for the higher figure.”

3 more years?

Song of Myself

Song of Myself
This article is worth logging on and registering to read it...it's free. And it tells you all about the odd custom of the "State of the Union" speech. Did you know that it's a fairly recent bad habit? And that President Carter saved us from listening to it in 1981 by delivering it to Congress in written form?

Oh, if only Karl would follow Jimmy's lead and just mail us the darn thing!

Varmint Getter

Got Varmints?
I can hardly wait for the news stories when someone decides to save some $$$ and make their own Varmint Getter.

Putin boasts

about Russia's missiles
Here we go again...Remember this quote? (From 2001)
"I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue."
"I was able to get a sense of his soul."
"He's a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country and I appreciate very much the frank dialogue and that's the beginning of a very constructive relationship," Mr Bush said."


Tuesday and it’s already the end of the month. That went by pretty fast! And February is even shorter…Darn! I didn’t get all of things done that I wanted to; not even close, and so my list of January chores rolls over into the next month and the list is even longer.

According to the news reports, it’s time for the annual “State of the Union’ message tonight. I am extremely interested in hearing what Karl has to say, but I will wait until the transcripts are published before I comment. I really have a hard time concentrating when the presenter delivers the message.

And speaking of government…I was listening to Talk of the Nation yesterday and they were exploring some of the problems associated with the rollout of the new Medicare/Medicaid drug plan. Some listeners called in and the government experts gave them advice. Sort of. One gentleman called in and asked for some information on how to deal with the fact that he had to make a choice for a drug provider but he had no prescriptions to fill. (He was drug free!) Since I’m not taking any drugs at this time, I was eager to hear the explanation. The expert then rambled off onto some other subject and when called back to the subject…went off once again in another direction. It seemed like such a simple question! The short story? We never did hear it.

From what I have read, Karl is going to explain some of the drug program rollout issues tonight. I certainly hope he does a better job of it than the “expert” I heard yesterday. I’m still baffled and I can only imagine what it must be like for someone who is genuinely in need of prescription drugs.

It’s time for more coffee. With a shot of Butter Rum syrup. That’s my new favorite. And it’s time to look at the news and weather for today. With the Google Iran Alerts arriving on an hourly basis, it’s sometimes hard to see past that crisis and notice the other news. But there is plenty of it if you look for it. Such as “The highlight of the State of the Union address is likely to be the expansion of Health Savings Account”. Now there is a plan doomed for failure. You can’t get Americans to save for the little things in life (like retirement) and you expect them to save for their health care?

And how about this? “The much debated California Clean Money and Fair Elections Act of 2006, which passed with 47 of 48 Democrats voting in favor -- and no Republicans in support…would be a voluntary program. But a candidate who chose not to participate and accepted outside donations would almost certainly face scrutiny -- and perhaps voter backlash.”

The Republicans had this to say, "A system like this of public financing compels people to support candidates they otherwise would never want to support," said Mark Wyland, R-Vista.”

It would be better for all of us, no matter who we supported, if the voters paid for the campaign rather than the special interests. They just don’t get it…

Monday, January 30, 2006

The Hidden In-N-Out Burger

The Most Accurate Secret Menu
Just in case you're hungry...

Google Toolbar

Very cool...much better than the last one; and that was quite good.
Give it a try...

Tribalism and

Ignorance...all wrapped up in one. A dangerous combination!

I looked up this cartoon that has the idiots in such a bind and I saw...a cartoon.

Politicians notice Wikipedia

I'm surprised!
Statements traced to a House IP address included entries that U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., "smells of cow dung" and that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., is "ineffective." I didn't know they had the knowledge to do this....let alone turn the computer on. Oh, I know...they hired someone to do it!

Morning News

Headlines…. “Because they can't pass algebra, thousands of students are denied diplomas. Many try again and again - but still get Fs…”

That headline came from the LA Times and I read a similar one in the Sacramento Bee last week. And it strikes a very responsive chord in me. When I was in high school, I received a D- in Algebra. I still don’t understand Algebra, though I wish I did…but the school and my parents failed me. And I should have received an F. Cruel words. At some point in my education a teacher knew that I wasn’t “getting” it, but they chose to advance me to the next grade. Was that in the 3rd grade? Perhaps the 5th? And we still do it today and parents still like to believe that it will all be OK in the end. I’m guilty of that as well…

So now that this child, a high school student but still a child…is about to graduate; why do we decide to punish him instead of helping him? (Or her) Isn’t it our fault that he or she won’t graduate? And what are we going to do about the thousands that will leave high school this June without a diploma or a chance?

The Truth?

Here's one from the Republican camp...change a few names and it looks and sounds just like one from the Democrats...And you believe which one?

Good! I have bridge I would like to sell you...

Judgment day arrives

for Enron chiefs
Four years later! It's hard to believe that it could take this long...I have to ask; why? It only took a few months to get Martha into the slammer. Could it be that Lay and Skilling have friends in high places? Not that they're guilty, of course. It will take a jury to decide that.

Party Time!

Odd…during the course of last Saturday evening’s festivities, I was asked by my son-in laws if I would be attending the local Democratic Party Dinner? There was a sign posted in Hamilton City that advertised the coming event and it was apparent that they thought I would be going. Since I don’t belong to a party of any kind, I have to wonder why they thought I would be attending? In truth, I have a problem understanding why anyone would belong to a political party…Have we lost the ability to think for ourselves and so we need a “Party” to do our thinking for us? If you support the Democratic or Republican Parties by joining them, then you are in effect telling the world that you stand behind every single thing that those parties espouse. Why would you want to do that? You can do a lot more for the political process by remaining neutral and not committed…this forces the political parties to come to you and explain themselves if they want your support. Luckily, there are a growing number of voters who have recognized this potential power and the two parties are starting to take notice of them.

I wasn’t planning on going to the dinner…but maybe, if the Democrats paid for it…?

The Time of Day

Monday morning and it’s very quiet. I’m sure we can get used to it. We had a large number of grandchildren here on Saturday evening and it was great to have them all in one place! Good memories. And it was startling to see how they had grown as well. Karlee and Kyle, 7 and 5 respectively, had grown at least a foot…and we last saw them only a few weeks ago. Maybe it was the lighting?

I can’t help but be reminded of grandchildren this morning as I can see, quite clearly now, that someone (Who could it have been?) has drawn lines and squiggles all across the face of my monitor. They show up very well against the white background of this Word document. It looks like pencil marks and with any luck it will come off.

I was just reading the news this morning and came across this headline and quote; “Rice Admits U.S. Underestimated Hamas Strengthand "I've asked why nobody saw it coming. It does say something about us not having a good enough pulse." Condoleezza Rice, On Hamas's Victory In Palestinian Elections.

And so I wonder…why is it that in one of the most critical areas of the world, we can’t even tell what time of day it is? Why is our “intelligence” an oxymoron? And do we make all, or just some of our foreign policy decisions based on flawed information? Shouldn’t someone lose their job for this kind of failure? Or…since Ms. Rice was guilty of this herself, back in the Reagan days, when she was supposed to be watching the Russians, will the offenders be promoted instead?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

True Cost

Something from the Daily Reckoning…

“The true cost of the war in Iraq: Since March 2003, the monthly cost of the war in Iraq has risen from $4.4 billion to $7.1 billion. That means the war will cost $266 billion more than originally projected - and ultimately hit $1.2 trillion. But what else can we do? As a declining empire, it seems that the only thing America has left to offer in a globalized economy is the soft warmth of her protection.”

And I was listening to an interview the other day; Terry Gross was talking to Economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the former director of the Congressional Budget Office. During that interview, he acknowledged that he found it quite difficult to think about a Trillion dollars and what it meant. The numbers are just too big! He said that he would use percentages of a single dollar instead. An American tax payers dollar.


News; we have news this morning and it’s all about Iran. And it has been for the past week. According to the headlines, we are going to see oil climb to record prices. Predictions are for over $90 a barrel as traders worry about the effect of possible UN sanctions against Iran. And I don’t see Iran backing down from their position.

Here is what I see; Iran is a sovereign nation and a signatory member of the group of nations that have signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. They have violated provisions of that treaty. The other members of the treaty organization have a duty to deal with those violations.

India, Pakistan and Israel are rogue nations that have never joined the signers of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. These nations do not acknowledge any responsibility for world peace. In fact, Pakistan has admitted that they have sold nuclear secrets to North Korea and Iran…plus, who knows which other countries. Our threats to attack Iran only reveal a double standard in our foreign policy. Other countries around the world wonder why those rogue nations are allowed a “free pass”. And so do I.

Is Iran a danger to us? You bet! And so are Pakistan and Israel…maybe even more so.


Sunday has arrived and it looks like a stormy week ahead of us. The rain has stopped for a little bit and won’t begin again till tomorrow. And then the forecast calls for rain throughout the week. It looks like I’m going to have to begin my marathon training on Monday while wearing rain gear…but train I must. A very wet winter!

Last night we were enjoying a house filled with laughter as children and grandchildren (14 of us!) gathered to have dinner with “Aunt Kitty” and “Uncle Dean”. But, all is quiet in the house this morning. Later this morning, we will take Kitty and Dean on another short tour of the Chico area before we drive down to the Sacramento Airport, where they will board a plane and head home to Phoenix. (Where it’s drier!)

Last night, someone asked if I thought about my audience when I’m posting these thoughts to my blogs. Who was I writing for? I had to think about that for only a second and I replied that I write as if I were holding an actual  conversation with friends while seated in my living room; commenting on current events and things that interest me and that might interest the other party. I don’t write for a specific audience. And after more thought on the subject, I would have to say that I write mainly for myself. I need to give my thoughts a voice and a blog works. It doesn’t really matter whether or not someone is listening. That’s one of the reasons for my keeping a Journal as well.

That gives me an idea; I could start posting to my blog by using the format of writing a letter to an imaginary friend. That’s an old and accepted literary practice…But first I need to come up with a fictional persona.

The PACE Act

Immigrants Welcome!
As long as their skills are needed...so only the brightest need apply.

Saturday, January 28, 2006


"The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming."

I wasn't...

Sundial Revisited

Here are some great shots that Kitty took...she seemed to have a great eye for this, capturing the essence of the bridge.

Friday, January 27, 2006


What is the universe expanding into?
In downtown Chico, there is a billboard with the picture of a small boy and this question printed next to him...I don't remember what the billboard is supposed to be selling, but I loved the question. Now if only I could understand the answer!

Hamas under pressure

Everyone loves "democracy" in action...until the votes are counted.


Google Earth Images
You don't have Google Earth? Are you kidding me? Get it...

And here are the links to some great images. Find your own.


Friday morning and we’re safe and sound here in Orland after a trip to the big city. First, we went to Roseville and then to the Sacramento Airport to pick up my sister and brother in-law. My plan, ill conceived…was to shop for a few things that I needed at Restoration Hardware. That store was the only place I had found that sold a special nylon pan scrubber that I really like. And to our great disappointment, we found that Restoration Hardware was gone. Oh, the store is still there and the name can be found above the doors, but the spirit of the store has been sacrificed to the gods of mediocrity. They no longer sell exciting things. It looks like a Mervyn’s Outlet store now, with a touch of Pottery Barn thrown in. Now…where am I going to find my scrubbers? By the way, we asked the clerk at Restoration Hardware that question and she suggested, “A hardware store”! What?! We were in a hardware store! Or so I thought…

We left Restoration Hardware with a heavy heart and wandered the length of the Roseville Galleria, hoping to find some solace…and a store to replace the one we lost. No deal. So we headed to In-n-Out Burger instead and drowned our sorrows in a chocolate shake, plus a double-double and fries! Then we drove to the airport and picked up Kitty and Dean. The plane was on time and we were able to use the ½ hour free parking available in the new parking garage. Then we were back on the road to Orland.

And this morning we will head north to Redding to visit the bridge and the gardens at Turtle Bay…even if it’s raining.

Read ‘em and weep

A tale of two countries as seen in the headlines…

Google Alert for: Iraq
US Rebuilding in Iraq Found to Fall ShortNew York Times - United StatesBecause of unforeseen security costs, haphazard planning and shifting priorities, the American-financed reconstruction program in Iraq will not complete scores ...
Kerry: 'Let Iraqis Stand Up for Iraq'ABC News - USA... John Kerry, D-Mass., believes US troops do not necessarily need to be pulled out of Iraq right away, as a senior Democrat suggested this week, but they need ...
Iraq's oil industry far from recoveryDaily Times - Lahore,Pakistan... oil minister. Insurgents blew up pipelines from Iraq's northern fields on Wednesday, halting the flow of oil to Turkey. On Thursday ...
US, Iraq leaders reach out to Sunnis to counter IranIndian Express - New Delhi,India... "They are trying to find someone else, some other allies who will not turn against them (in Iraq) if things heat up with Iran.". ...
US fails to carry out most Iraq water projectsReuters - USAWASHINGTON, Jan 26 (Reuters) - About 60 percent of planned water and sanitation projects in Iraq have not been carried out since the 2003 US-led invasion, a US ...
And now this…

Google Alert for: Iran

57% Back a Hit on Iran if Defiance PersistsLos Angeles Times - CA,USA... WASHINGTON -- Despite persistent disillusionment with the war in Iraq, a majority of Americans supports taking military action against Iran if that country ...

57%? Who are these people? And what are they thinking?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Half Full or?

More from the Daily Reckoning

“*** The rapidly deflating wealth balloon...how much destiny does a decadent empire have?

*** A whole lot of nothing...paper money's latest experiment enters a new phase...

*** Bernanke is battling a forest fire with a woodpile...the French begin a campaign against their obesity epidemic...and more!

The days of cheap energy are over. Kuwait confessed that it has about half the oil it once claimed. And like a fat lady in the pastry section before a snowstorm, China is buying up oil reserves wherever it can find them - in Nigeria, in Ecuador, and in Syria.

Meanwhile, wealth leaks rapidly out of the West and into the East.
Bloomberg tells us that China's economy grew at 9.9% last year, overtaking France's in total output. That puts China in the number five position, just behind Britain, Germany, Japan and the United States. Economists expect China to run past Britain this year. Then, it will be snapping at Germany's heels.”

Compared to these boys, I’m a paragon of optimism! Take that, you critics who call me cynical!


Thursday morning and I think it rained last night…of course it wasn’t forecast. This week, the forecast has varied every day from what was previously forecast and now I just read that rain is predicted for the entire weekend. Darn! Kitty and Dean are arriving tonight and I was hoping we would see some decent “walk around” weather while they are here. The only good part of this forecast are the low temperatures; all in the high 40’s.

Speaking of walking around; our plan was to drive to Redding and visit Turtle Bay and the see the Sundial Bridge on Friday. I think Kitty and Dean would appreciate the mosaic work in the Children’s Garden…but right now the forecast says “showers”. Perhaps it will still be possible. I know that I would like to see the completed mosaics; last time we were there, the artist had about 80% of the work finished.

Some headlines I noticed a few minutes ago…

“Schwarzenegger Approval Rating Recovering: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's approval rating is showing signs of recovery after tumbling late last year, according to a poll released Thursday.”

Do you think this might have something to do with the fact that he is acting a little more responsibly? That he is showing some signs of maturity? This year he has avoided a lot of the Hollywood-style press conferences that he was becoming infamous for. It isn’t much of an improvement, but even a little bit of humility is better than nothing.

“Congress catching on to the value of blogs: It's starting slowly, but a group of senators and representatives are now blogging, and some observers expect the number to grow as elections near.”

Ah! But who is really doing the blogging? Don’t bet your paycheck that it’s a real senator or representative at the other end of the “net”. It will be some low paid operative in the publicists’ office that is doing the work. Very much like the “personal” letters you receive when you communicate with your representatives. Blogs like that just take up valuable space that could be used for better purposes…similar to their offices in Sacramento and Washington.


Google Alerts are very handy for keeping up with the news. I have this one, the Iran Alert, set for delivery anytime. You can set the delivery for once a day if you like…right now, I’m getting this one about 4 times a day. And, as you can see, the sources are from all over the world; you get a balanced view of the news.
Iran Receptive to Nuclear ProposalLos Angeles Times - CA,USA... a possible Russian compromise aimed at defusing the international dispute over his country's nuclear program but reiterating a threat that Iran might launch a ... See all stories on this topic
China opposes sanctions to resolve Iran disputeReuters - USABEIJING (Reuters) - Veto-wielding China said on Thursday it opposed sanctions over Iran's nuclear ambitions, as Tehran's nuclear negotiator held talks in ... See all stories on this topic
Former Iraq weapons inspector says referral of Iran to UN not ...People's Daily Online - Beijing,ChinaFormer UN chief weapons inspector in Iraq Hans Blix said on Wednesday that it will not be helpful if the United States refers Iran to the United Nations ... See all stories on this topic
Israel Supports Diplomacy With Iran While Readying Its ArsenalBloomberg - USA... Desert Storm. Dick Cheney.''. Twenty-five years later, the US and Israel say they face a fresh nuclear challenge, in Iran. This time ... See all stories on this topic
India Rejects US Attempt to Link Iran Vote to Nuclear AccordBloomberg - USA... government rejected an attempt by the US to link a proposed civilian nuclear accord between them with support for the American stance on Iran's atomic program. ... See all stories on this topic
Iran's siege withinKhaleej Times - Dubai,United Arab EmiratesLITTLE is generally reported from within Iran even as the country remains in global spotlight for all the wrong reasons. The twin ... See all stories on this topic

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

What's the Real Story?

What’s the big secret?
“…citing the confidentiality of executive branch communications, said Tuesday that it did not plan to turn over certain White House documents about Hurricane Katrina or make senior White House officials available for sworn testimony…”

Others already have made some of this known. What’s the problem with the White House? Are they embarrassed? Secrecy seems to be their favorite tool.

Fashion News?

Libya sees swift removal from US terror list

But, Muammar Gaddafi will soon head up Mr. Blackwell's list...

Late Again

And now the newspaper is late in arriving. Darn! I was hoping to see some good local news and get rid of the intense anxiety and depression caused by today’s national and international news stories. Let’s see what’s on the Sacbee.com website, “Federal budget cuts would take billions from California programs” That’s probably not what I was looking for…

(And I had to use the San Jose Mercury News for the story link above because the Bee insists on readers registering first. What a drag!)

I did notice this from the article…“ California also faces penalties of $185 million in 2009 and $260 million in 2010 if the state cannot encourage more welfare recipients back to work.” And the minimum wage level is what? Do you think there might be a relationship?

Intelligence Test

I just happen to know the answers to all of these

I did receive a little coaching...but I can't tell you how much.

Oh, Tom...

What a kidder!

Audit reveals

widespread misuse of reconstruction money in Iraq
Great picture of Donald! If only that were his real day job...the hat looks good on him.


Wednesday has arrived in the usual fashion and I’m here to see it. That’s always a good thing! Now if Wednesday turns out to be as nice as Tuesday was; this could be a great day. After lunch, It didn’t take me long to rid myself of my sweatshirt and I spent the rest of the day in my t-shirt. If I had thought about it, I might have grabbed a pair of shorts to wear instead of the jeans.

The day isn’t very old, but I already have two “Iran” alerts from Google News and no “nanotechnology” alerts at all. Oops! Make that three “Iran” alerts now. It would be so nice to not think about the Middle East for awhile, but that isn’t going to happen, not while our future is tied to the oil that comes from there. And I believe that most people would be surprised at just much oil we use for purposes other than driving from point A to point B. If manufacturers would use the label to include the statement, “Made from oil” right below their logo, I think we would all be surprised at just how much oil is used to make our lives comfortable.

I did read some promising news about the possibility of using our huge reserves of oil shale. The technology is evolving on how best to extract the oil and from what I read, the cost would be around $30 a barrel. That’s cost…so price would probably be double that.  

But, wouldn’t we better off in the long run if we could find a way to end our dependence on oil for transport? Maybe it would be a good thing to tax our oil to the point where we are forced to find an alternative and use that tax money to develop it. But who would we trust to do that for us?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Good one!


A great example of a mashup. Google Maps scores again. And maybe I can find a link nearby...


I think every smoker ought to see this picture...yes, he's three years old. Obviously he can't read the warning labels on the packs.


Tuesday has arrived once again. And I’m here in my usual place. This morning I’m trying to see through the darkness and see if I can tell what is causing the neighborhood dogs to bark. I even heard our cat making noises; and she’s all the way down at the other end of the house and inside the garage. My flashlight reveals nothing out of the ordinary and all is quiet now, but it did remind me of the stories about how animals can predict earthquakes long before they occur. Could it be?

I have been checking my Google Alerts this morning and now I’m not sure that I should have included “Iran” in the list of news items that I want Google to seek out for me. Far too much information!

I guess I’m not being honest…I really do look forward to reading the alerts. I only wish that they were of a more positive nature. Trying to deal diplomatically with the leaders of Iran has to be one of the worst jobs you could find yourself in. I was reminded of the diplomat’s difficulties during the first Iranian crisis, the holding of American hostages. At that time, Iran wouldn’t talk directly to the U.S, but insisted that all communications go through a third party. Can you imagine what is lost in the translation? That’s another reason to make certain that open and direct communication remains an option.

Of course you won’t find Iran and Israel talking to each other; the two antagonists that most need that kind of approach. Those two are already using the world’s news media to launch their pre-emptive strikes against one another. The only consolation is that their angry words of war are not killing the innocent. Not yet.


“President Bush said he found it "amazing" to be accused of breaking the law by ordering a secret program to intercept calls and e-mails.”

I’m sure he did. His presidency has been one amazing thing after another…

Monday, January 23, 2006

Immigration grows as security issue | csmonitor.com

as a security issue.
Bush is going to have a very difficult time in the days ahead as this kind of news takes over the headlines. To satisfy the farmers, he has to push immigration reform that includes “guest workers”, something that doesn’t go down well with most neo-cons, making them angry. But the facts are this…Americans won’t do farm labor unless they are paid more. If paid more, the price of farm products can rise till they are no longer competitive with imported products. When that happens, the farmers will want tariff protection, which will ruin the plans for a free trade agreement. The rest of the world is angry. Product prices will rise and the consumer is angry…and red states will slowly but surely turn blue.

Postscript to Tired

...And cable? That isn’t even on the horizon for us. When we lived in remote Janesville (population 500), 20 years ago, cable was available. Thank you Comcast! Cable or satellite, neither one are what we really want; that‘s the ability to choose only the programs we want to pay for. That’s the part that is so frustrating as I know the technology is available for us to pick and choose the programs we want to see.

As one who is still able to remember the earliest days of television; it’s especially irritating to see how far from the original promise that television has strayed. Oh, sure…it’s now High Definition and in glorious colors, but for 100+ shopping channels do we really need High Definition? Ginzu knives in full color? How odd…I was reading the paper and sure enough. There was an article about the problems we “rural” folks have with the availability of broadband, or lack thereof. The article referenced some wireless ISP’s, but even those are unavailable here.

Another news article detailed the problem that newcomers to the Sacramento area (Natomas) are having. It seems that the realtors don’t mention the fact that Natomas is a historical flood plain and the federal government has conveniently changed the definition for this high risk area. (Convenient for developers) Now the newcomers have read the Sacramento Bee articles on the distinct possibility of levee failures. They have also noted for the first time that the large earthen structures on the immediate horizon are in fact, levees! Some people feel they have been sold a bill of goods…but I have a feeling that these same people didn’t notice the existence of a nearby airport as well and are now wondering what that noise is?

Top 100

-essential downloads of free software & freeware for Windows XP
I just ran across this list. From personal experience, I can see that there are quite a few good ones available here.


The news is exhausting at times. The sheer volume of available news is staggering! And I have this compulsion to read it all…or at least the headlines. And this morning I’m having a frustrating time with my Direcway satellite connection; getting DNS error messages at every page I try to access. I may have to wait till the black and white news is delivered before I comment any further.

I can hardly wait till cable or DSL broadband is available here. Yes, we live in one of the few places where cable doesn’t even exist as an option. You might think that we lived in a “holler” in faraway Appalachia…instead of where we do live; suburban California, 20 minutes from Chico and its University. Although I complain about the satellite connection, it’s still ten times faster than the available dial-up, though the rumor has it that DSL might become available this year. (Same rumor as last years) Thank you SBC!  

And cable? That isn’t even on the horizon for us. When we lived in remote Janesville (population 500), 20 years ago, cable was available. Thank you Comcast!

Turkish Court Drops Charges

Freedom of Speech, at last.
Let us never lose it...
I can't imagine this happening in our country.
But we need to "imagine" the possibility that it really could happen, even here.

Bloomberg.com on Iran vs. U.S.

"Bush acknowledged that America's faulty prewar intelligence on Iraq has undermined its credibility. ``People will say, if we're trying to make the case on Iran, well, the intelligence failed in Iraq, therefore, how can we trust the intelligence on Iran?'' he said. "

Good question, Mr. Bush. How can we?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

"Generation X" ??

Anyone? Anyone?...

The Notorious Mr. Blum

Interesting guy and with a lot of data and history to interpret. He should soon be quite rich, according to the news story I read about him. His books, which weren't all that popular, have a new notoriety since he was quoted by bin Laden in last weeks audio tape. I understand that the books are now flying off of the shelves...Here's his website

Bending the truth

in a million little ways

Good article that made me think. And that's always a plus! And from this same article, "the Internet is awash in bloggers who trade in gossip and speculation instead of fact. For many of these people, it's not about being accurate or fair. It's about being entertaining, snarky or provocative --" First; what is "snarky"? Is that a current word or a typo? Was it supposed to be "sneaky"? And of course it's not about being accurate or fair...it's all about opinions. Always has been and always will be. Sometimes, if lucky, the opinions will be accurate and fair...

Peace...in our lifetime.

Sunday is here; a new week begins, according to some calendars. I have always preferred the week beginning on Monday and never understood the preference for Sunday. Ah well, small thing! But I’m sure I could find a focus group and at least half a dozen bloggers to support (feverishly) one day or the other. That is…if I bothered to look. And I won’t. Can you imagine the arguments, both for and against Mondays being the first day of the week? Imagine how it might effect the economy as millions of useless calendars could lie moldering in warehouses, unsold? And pollution…that moldering just might produce toxins that would create new Superfund sites. This in turn would allow some contractors to make millions while remediating the problem. Gosh! It seemed like such a simple problem…The good news is that Outlook allows you set any day of the week as the first one. How democratic; and disaster is averted. Using Outlook just might be the way to spread democracy and world peace would soon follow

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Saturday already; this week…this year, are going by very fast. But that’s just an age thing. And scary! I wonder how I can slow it down? Should I throw away my calendars? I have already given up my watch and still the days fly by and so I doubt that a lack of calendars will do much to slow things down.

I wonder what kind of day we will have? It was raining last night and that was a last minute correction to the old forecast. And now I see that the new and revised forecast calls for sunny days ahead…until the weekend when rain “showers” are forecast. Darn!

I need to go to the bank soon and turn in the last of the coins I have been collecting for many years. All of the years that traveled, I kept stowing my loose change in my briefcase or suitcase, and then, after coming home, I would place it all in wrappers. I ended up with close to $1,600 in coins! This should help to finance some of the power tools I want for the garage. I picked up a nice band saw yesterday and the plan calls for a scroll saw as well.

Map Reading

Rove Lays Out Road Map for Republicans in Fall Election

The president's chief political advisor left little doubt that he is intent on making national security the pre-eminent issue.

Gosh, do you really feel safer with W in the driver’s seat? With a Republican majority?  

Do you feel safer with Karl in charge? That’s even scarier!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Expose 'radical' UCLA teacher,

get $100 -
Ah! The power of greed...
"...is the creation of Andrew Jones, a 2003 UCLA graduate who said he runs the organization mostly on his own with $22,000 in private donations." I wonder what ethics class he took?


"OPEC producer Kuwait's oil reserves are only half those officially stated"

I hate when that happens!


Portable Greenhouse
Darn! I paid too much for it at Lowe's...though I suppose the shipping (32 pounds) would equal it out.


Also in the morning’s news were stories of Iran’s moving assets to prevent them from being seized if the UN moves ahead on threats to enforce economic sanctions. The scene in the Middle East is chaotic; although we (The U.S.) are threatening Iran because of nuclear ambition, we are quite cozy with Pakistan. And that nation is very unstable and already owns a large number of nukes. Plus the fact that we support Israel and they won’t reveal anything about their nuclear capabilities. They won’t even join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation club. It looks like we have painted ourselves into a tight corner.  

Book Sales

More on the Orland Free library…I just found this page. It seems that the Library Book Sales organization can dynamically search the current database each time you call up this page and that let’s you see exactly what’s stored in the old trailer, ready for you to buy…If you’re looking for a special book, this might be the place to look. Just my unbiased opinion of course.


Friday has arrived once again and I’m as ready for it as I can be…which isn’t saying much. I do have the fire revived and I have my first cup of coffee in hand, so as much of the world that I can control is in pretty good shape. But as for the rest of the world…

The headlines are pretty much standard and I have to look at my email and my Google Alerts to find something interesting. I did get a good joke from the Prairie Home Companion weekly email, “A blonde man decided to wash his sweatshirt, but when he started to put it in the washer he stopped and asked his wife, "Should I wash the sweatshirt in hot water or cold?"
"What does the sweatshirt say?" she asked.
"University of Oklahoma"

The more I think about it, the more I think that’s not really a blonde joke, but a true representation of the differences in Type. A man whose Type prefers Sensing versus a wife who uses iNtuition. Oh well, it’s still funny!

That’s one of the problems that comes with knowing a great deal about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, everything seems to have some connection to Type. It’s like the story of the new carpenter and with a brand new hammer in his hand, everything looks like a nail.

I did read about the latest in nanotech news; it appears that Denmark will soon be the center of research in this field as they were given a 15M grant to develop the world’s most powerful microscope, an Environmental Transmission Electron Microscope that is five times as powerful as existing microscopes for research. I would love to be able to look through it!

And there was some news about the need for new laws to govern nanotechnology. I really agree…except. We certainly can’t allow the current generation of lawmakers to write them. These partisan dimwits can’t think past the contents of their wallets. Their version of regulation for nanotechnology would put the science back 50 years.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


The documentary, 'Why We Fight' harks back to Eisenhower's warnings about military buildup.

Eugene Jarecki, who produced this film says, “No matter who is in power, the status quo in America here and abroad is disproportionately on defense. When you take away resources from the elements of your natural life and allocate them to defense, you skew society and you disrupt a terribly delicate framework on which democracy is based.”

And how much do we spend?


A headline from the Los Angeles Times…
Governor Goes on the Road to Mend Fences in the GOP
In Newport Beach, Arnold Schwarzenegger meets with Republican stalwarts upset with his proposed state budget and public works plans.

When will our acting governor realize that he would gain credibility if he simply stops playing to an audience? In this case, he will do his best to placate the Republicans and next week it will be the Democrats. Why can’t he just be his own man? Oh, that’s right…he’s an actor; everyone is an audience!

HDD Drive (4GB)

Not quite Nano
But this is getting close. Can you imagine how small the nuts and bolts are?

If You Give a Congressman

a Cookie
Sorry; it's one of those New York Times links...but it's worth the effort to read it. I will look around and see if I can find it somewhere else.

ps. The authors of this piece have a book coming out soon, "The Broken Branch : How Congress is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track (Hardcover)"


Thursday morning and I can see the moonlight. No clouds. That’s a good thing. Yesterday’s violent weather was certainly interesting; wind, hail and lightning. But, it’s time for some sunshine!

I have the wood stove fired up and heating the house once again. It’s a chore and I dislike the ashes and the dirt that comes in with the wood, but the heat is nice. The builders of this house included a ventilation system that takes heated air from the area above the wood stove and directs it to the remote bedrooms. It works on convection (1.vertical air circulation in which warm air rises and cool air sinks, resulting in vertical transport and mixing of atmospheric properties. 2. Flow of heat by this circulation) so it’s not the most efficient way to heat a distant room, but every little bit helps and since I am still using the firewood that came with the house, it’s cheap. I have the thermostat set at 65 and I see that the thermometer is right at 71. The heater never came on at all last night.

Speaking of chores. I had a terrible dream this morning; one that woke me up quite early. In the dream, I was late for an appointment and everything that could possibly go wrong… was going wrong, making me anxious and very upset. What was that all about? Am I feeling guilty because I don’t normally worry about those things anymore? If so, it’s time for my subconscious mind to get with the program. I’m retired! I don’t need to worry about appointments!

The news looks like more of the usual, although I did spot this strange piece, France said on Thursday it would be ready to launch a targeted nuclear strike against any state that carried out a terrorist attack on French soil.” What are they thinking? What kind of terrorist attack? And how do you prove which state carried out the attack? Do you just lob an atomic bomb at the first country that comes to mind? Once the first atomic weapon is used, all bets are off. Just talking about the possibility of using atomic weapons can bring us closer to doomsday. I’m afraid that the current generation in power has forgotten just how terrible a weapon an atomic bomb is…and the French statement is similar to a dare, a dare that some fool may try.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


The next to last post was satire/parody of course…something I’m always fond of. And that makes me think of MAD magazine. There was a brief mention of that magazine in today’s paper and the date of its founding, 1952. I would have been 12 years old at the time and I remember seeing those first issues while viewing the great selection of comics at Stuarts Pharmacy in Manhattan Beach. When the magazine debuted, it was published/edited by William Gaines and my favorite cartoonist from those pages was Will Elder. Great stuff!  

“In October 1952, William M. Gaines and E.C. Publishing brought out a new comic book, priced at 10 cents ("Cheap!"), titled "Tales Calculated to Drive You Mad," and sub-titled “Humor in a jugular vein” which at first just made fun of other comic books.”

But, by 1958, it was all over for me; as the artwork degenerated (I think Elder left) and the humor became sophomoric. (Was it always?) I really think it’s the artwork that draws me to Bizarro…there’s a lot more in the drawings than first meets the eye. And with Elders work, I remember staring at one panel for a very long time to be certain that I hadn’t missed a single item.


Giclée is an odd word...but I love the concept! Perhaps there is a use for the lowly inkjet printer after all.

U.S. Holds Going-Out-Of-Business Sale

Be the first in your block to own a piece of history...supplies are limited so act fast!

Funny Stuff

OK, I understand that Bizzaro is not for everyone...but I still want to share yesterday's comic.

The Bee

I guess it’s time for me to go and look for the newspaper, before the poorly wrapped paper is a soggy mess. Of course there is no rain on the internet news and I never have to deal with weather related issues when reading it. I should (logic tells me) end my subscription to the newspaper and go electronic for all that I need to know. But there’s something comforting about holding that piece of cheap paper in my hands. Why is that? It seems to make the news more believable, as if the combined labor of the hundreds of people employed by the Sacramento Bee has given it validity. They wouldn’t put that much effort into delivering it to my driveway if it wasn’t valuable…would they?

The Library is Open

Wednesday morning is here again. And the forecast is for more rain; the usual. This is becoming tiresome. So it was exciting to read that tomorrow we can expect sunshine for the entire day. In fact, the forecast doesn’t mention precipitation for al least 3 days. Yippee!

OK, back to the reality of the moment…it will rain today and that’s the best we can expect. What to do? I have a couple of boxes filled with books destined for the on-line sales. I should try and reduce that number to just one box. And I have a box filled with books that needs to be placed in the racks now that they are in the database. One of those, a weighty volume on physical medicine and rehabilitation priced out at $120; that’s the most expensive one I have ever dealt with.

When we first joined the Orland Friends of the Library, we were surprised at the size and scope of the organization. They gather up used books from a wide area, sort them, and then sell them at two, week long, book sales each year; Spring and Fall. Whenever the sorters find books that might be valuable, they set them aside and I research those to price them for on-line sales. They bring in close to $700 a quarter this way, and adding that to the other book sales gives the organization many thousands of dollars each year to buy more books and equipment for the Orland Free Library.

It’s always sad to hear about the many public libraries that are on the “endangered” list and closing. It isn’t going to happen in Orland. Not this year or the next. But, what is disturbing is the fact that almost all of the volunteers are over the age of 65. What will happen when these people are gone?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Bad News!

Sewage Spill

What a mess! I read that the worst of it was at 20th Street. That's where raw sewage forced manhole covers open and flooded garages before flowing onto the sand...


I just read an article about travel and blogs and apparently there is an upsurge in the number of travel blogs after a long dry spell. I read some of them and they don’t resemble the kind of blogs I would have expected. Most of them seem to be shills for hotels and airlines. Now I really wish I could have been blogging during those years of travel! What a great way to relieve the frustration that accompanies most travel experiences…and here is a link to one of the best of the blogs.


NPR Member Station Coverage Details
Here is a sample of what a Google Map mashup can do...and if you look at the Google Map Mania blog, you can get a bunch of good ideas on how to use Google maps.

The Power of Google!

Advertising with Google Maps
Who would have thought?


Tuesday it is and the holidays are over. It’s time to get back into a normal pattern of work/sleep/play as the next holiday is a long way off; President’s day, near the end of February.

The news is interesting this morning. “With ballot-counting from Sunday's presidential runoff election all but complete, Chileans consolidated the leftward shift in South American politics, giving Socialist Michelle Bachelet a victory over billionaire Sebastian Pinera. Leftists also head the governments of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Venezuela, and leftist President-elect Evo Morales of Bolivia is to be inaugurated Sunday. Bachelet will be Chile's first female head of state. Unlike some other leftist presidents, however, she is not expected to change her nation's relationship with the US, analysts said.”

Bachelet should be uncomfortable with her win, as the last time a leftward leaning candidate held that office, (Dr. Salvador Isabelino Allende Gossens) a coup was directed and supported by the US and he was killed. Will the CIA be looking for an opportunity to do it again? Since the recent news that copper (A strategic material) was becoming in short supply, Chile will assume an even more important role in the supply of that metal.

The news this morning also shows that China will be quite interested in the amount of copper in Chile. I’m sure that President Bachelet can expect to see a lot of international interest in her pronouncements concerning the copper industry.

Odd. Apparently no one has a good estimate of just how much copper is left in the world. I’ve read half a dozen reports this morning and each one has a different number for the amount known to be in reserve. The reports go from rosy to bleak.

Monday, January 16, 2006


I found it! I thought I had lost my copy of Young Einstein, starring Yahoo Serious. My mistake, kids! Don’t go looking for it anymore…but if you ever want to borrow it, just let me know and I’ll bring it over for you.

Where's History When We Need It?

A link to this anti-Muslim website was sent to me recently. The writer that created the site was clever enough to include a statement that he would remove the site if he could be proven wrong…and then he goes on to write his messages of hatred without using any facts that might be debated…or proven wrong. For some odd reason, it reminded me of the times of the Chinese Exclusion Act in America (1882), where anything could be said, or written, and rarely questioned…as long as it was anti-Chinese. History is filled with similar examples of this kind of thought. Funny, how we do our best to avoid learning anything from history.


Monday morning and all is well. One pesky mouse is dead. We spotted signs of a mouse yesterday and then I saw it for just a moment last night as it scooted under the washing machine. Our cat had been very attentive to the area where the mouse had been active but she hadn’t caught it. I rearranged all of the traps last night in the hopes of catching it and when I looked at the traps this morning, they were all empty. Darn! Then I spotted the mouse, dead…right in the middle of the floor. Luckily, I hadn’t stepped on it. I’m sure it was the poison bait that did it in. I better get some more, just in case this mouse has some relatives. They seem to come from large families…


bypass compulsory registration with these free passwords
What a great idea. Anything to help rid the web of compulsory log-ins is welcome. The New York Times is one of the worst for this...

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Iran says not scared of Security Council,

warns on oil prices -
Sounds very much like a dare, doesn't it?

Excuse Me?

Did I forget something? I could have sworn that the voters in California got rid of the governor that used the "Pay to Play" method of governance...

Gov.'s Top Aides' Pay Bolstered by Donors
Schwarzenegger has paid at least four of his advisors substantially for their work on his campaigns. Critics fear conflicts of interest."
Oh, really?

"...Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has supplemented the salaries of at least four of his top government aides with private campaign money, a practice that means a piece of their overall pay has come from donations by corporations and others that do business in the Capitol. Schwarzenegger set up a standing agreement in which three present and former aides received a monthly $5,000 check from his political accounts to moonlight as campaign aides, on top of what they earned in salary as government employees, the governor's office said..." Sweet deal!

Homeless Men Attacked

in Fla. on Yahoo! News Photos
Who raises children like this? And why aren't their parents arrested as well?


Another one of those odd quizzes...I'm a sucker for them! And "Officially Approved" as well...What on earth does that mean? That I won't be burned at the stake? That's a relief!
You scored as Chalcedon compliant. You are Chalcedon compliant. Congratulations, you're not a heretic. You believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in every respect, apart from sin. Officially approved in 451.

Chalcedon compliant





























Sunday morning once more; the last day of the week. A day of rest here in Orland. And I am awake at the usual hour and not resting at all. Oh well, At least it’s normal…for me. And I can see that the moonlight is illuminating the orchard and that means that the clouds are gone for the day.

What else is new? Not a lot. I’m almost caught up on my reading. I have begun Anne Rice’s new book, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, and I’m about halfway through it. I really enjoy her writing style. Sparse sentences that seem to speak volumes. The Economist had a very large New Year’s special edition that had me reading overtime and I have just begun last week’s regular edition. I hope to have it finished before I receive the current edition on Tuesday. And I found a new book to read while I was pricing books for the Friends of the Orland Library. It’s the story of Maggie Greeno; A Historical Narrative on the Unusual Life, Adventures, and Achievements of a California Pioneer Woman. It was published by Lahontan Images in Susanville. Greeno is not a name that I remember from my studies of Northeastern California history and so I’m looking forward to reading it.

The Economist had a very interesting special article on the spread of gang violence by the two gangs that infest Central and North America; Mara 18 and Mara Salvatrucha. (I’m not sure if the Economist link will work if you’re not a subscriber.)

One of the more disturbing things I read was all about the efforts of Frank Flores, head of the Hollywood sector of the anti-gang task-force of the Los Angeles Police Department. “Mr. Flores is proud of Calgangs, a database which uses digital photographs and other information to track gang members; but national law-enforcement officers have no access to it. Calgangs stores the details of 928 Salvatruchas, a tiny fraction of the estimated size of the gang; and more information sits, unread, on file-cards in cabinets in Mr. Flores's office. He lacks the staff to sort through it. Moreover, of the four detectives in the anti-gang task-force, only two speak Spanish. Of the 12 uniformed officers, only one does. What are they thinking? It’s as if they held a contest to see how best to fail and the LAPD won. “This is in Los Angeles—a city where the maras arguably originated, and which has a large Latino population.” And they can’t find more than one uniformed officer that speaks Spanish? No more than two detectives? “Local police elsewhere in the United States are even less prepared to deal with the maras, says Mr. Flores, who has been teaching police in other jurisdictions about the gangs. The Washington, DC area, which has the second-largest concentration of maras in the country, is approximately where Los Angeles was ten years ago, says Mr. Flores. Everywhere, the statistics on gang-related crime are not remotely reliable. The same fear that makes it difficult to recruit informants means that most gang crime goes unreported.”

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire -

The Bancroft Library
As a fan of old images, I had to stop by here and see these...

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Minimum

I was reading about the minimum wage yesterday and the columnist came up with some interesting data. In 1938, when the Minimum Wage law was enacted, despite attempts by conservatives to defeat it, an hours worth of minimum wage (.25) would buy 2-1/2 loaves of bread. In 1968, the same hour of labor ($1.60) would buy nearly 5 loaves of bread. In 1998, and today…the hour ($5.15) would buy the same old 2-1/2 loaves once more. (Plain white bread only!) Bad news for bakeries…and those who must try and live on minimum wage. And people wonder why welfare is preferred over working for a living? Ask a “Compassionate Conservative”.


not present during attack
Oops! Sorry folks...our bad!

The Morning Read

I have been reading the Daily Reckoning once again and doing some cut and paste quotes for my blog. I enjoy the writing style of these guys but I’m always disappointed by the typo’s I find in their material. There really is no excuse for typos anymore. Not with spell checking available for just about every application. Whenever I find a typo in a commercial publication I automatically think less of the sender. How professional can they be when mistakes like that are published? Why would I want to do business with them? You don’t have to tell me…I know it’s slightly neurotic on my part. Slightly? OK, very neurotic!

Here is what I read this morning, “When Alan Greenspan started his policy of easy money, Americans got poorer - not richer. Since he became head of the Federal Reserve, personal debt levels rose from $28,892 for the average family in 1987 to $101,386 in 2005 - a jump of 250.9%.”

That’s scary! Why? Because it’s not just one unique indebted idiot that we can safely ignore, it’s the average! And that effects us all. (Affect or effect? Has to be effect…stupid Spell Check!)

“In a desperate move to slow it down, the Federal Reserve has raised short-term interest rates 12 times since June 2004.”

“Unfortunately, many people have no safety net. In September 2004, the personal savings rate among Americans was just 0.2%. In China, it's 25%. And for every $19 an American earns, he spends $20.” Hello? Anyone home?
And speaking of homes…“Americans even buy homes they cannot afford. By mid-2005, nearly 50% of homes were purchased with interest-only mortgages - compared to 5% in 2001. And personal bankruptcies have doubled in the last decade. Roughly 43% of American families spend more than they earn each year - meaning that the average household carries some $8,000 in credit card debt that is nearly impossible to pay off.”


Saturday has arrived and so has the rain. It doesn’t seem to be a downpour, just a light rain that I can barely hear. The Yahoo forecast tells me that the rain will continue through the morning and then become showery. Tomorrows forecast is for sun; I like it!

And what will we do today? I’m sure that there must be many chores awaiting me in the garage and so that is where I will be for most of the day. I can be productive and dry at the same time. I’m thinking of starting (again) on one of my older stained glass projects. It would be nice to get it out of the way; to say it’s complete.

A quick look at the various news links tells me that not a lot has happened overnight. Well, of course things happened…but reporters take the weekends off, and so Saturday and Sunday mornings are always light on news. Wouldn’t it be nice if news didn’t happen on weekends? If disasters could only occur on weekdays? It would give a whole new meaning to that old Friday afternoon phrase, “Well, we made it through another week!”

Here’s something I found yesterday and sent the link on to Bill and Jill. It’s a lighted dog collar and it’s only $11 at Amazon. I looked all over the usual sites for a lighted cat collar, but without success. I guess that not many cats wear collars. I would love to have one though; Boo, my cat, has the ability to blend right in with her surroundings and I’m always being surprised when I find her right next to me while I’m searching for her. A collar like that would give me the upper hand. Yeah, right.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Pat says...

sorry for Sharon slur
Amazing how a $50m contract can bring out the "so sorry" tears.

Merry Christmas!

Let’s revisit the “Merry Christmas” vs. “Happy Holidays” controversy. I was thinking about this the other day, for no apparent reason…and it struck me! Holidays are derived from Holy Days. I checked and sure enough, “Based on the English words holy and day, holidays originally represented special days of the Christian Church calendar”
So what’s the problem now?

Study Shows

Increasing Nursing Staff Improves Safety And Quality In Hospitals
No kidding! This is why it's criminal for bean counters to determine how much healthcare you need...

USDA Using Satellites

to Monitor Farmers
Gosh, they're taking all of the fun out of farming. This could have a serious impact on the local economy!

New Rules

My old friend, Dan sent me an email containing some humorous comments made by George Carlin. It’s about the new rules for the New Year, 2006, as imagined by Carlin.

New Rule: Stop giving me that pop-up ad for classmates.com! There's areason you don't talk to people for 25 years. Because you don't particularly like them!
New Rule: Don't eat anything that's served to you out a window unless you're a
seagull. People are acting all shocked that a human finger was found in a bowl
of Wendy's chili. Hey, it cost less than a dollar. What did you expect it to
contain? Trout?
New Rule: If you need to shave and you still collect baseball cards, you're a dope. If you're a kid, the cards are keepsakes of your idols. If you're a grown man, they're pictures of men.
New Rule: Ladies, leave your eyebrows alone. Here's how much men care about your eyebrows: do you have two of them? Okay, we're done.
And the most important one…New Rule: I'm not the cashier! By the time I look up from sliding my card, entering my PIN number, pressing "Enter," verifying the amount, deciding, no, I don't want cash back, and pressing "Enter" again, the kid who is supposed to be ringing me up is standing there eating my Almond Joy.

This leads me to comment on the trend towards self serve “everything”. When I go to the market or the hardware store, I want someone to wait on me. I don’t want to scan and bag my own “stuff’. Now I could be persuaded to change my mind if I were to be rewarded in some way. After all, the store is profiting by not having to pay a human. So where’s my cut? A 5% discount? How about 3%? Something! C’mon…I need an incentive here.

And one more thing; as I was using my credit card the other day, the clerk took it from me to verify the valid date on it, gave it back and then asked for it once again to look at the signature, gave it back and then told me to slide it. What? She was suddenly crippled?