Friday, December 24, 2010

Twas the Night Before

Well, here it is. We made it to Christmas Eve in one piece. It hasn't been all that easy this year. Vicki's diagnosis of cancer in August has dominated our lives since that day she had surgery and the tests from the biopsy came back positive.

We've been fortunate that she's received the best care possible, though recently her Chemo guy has pissed me off. She has had two times now that her white cell count has been so low she couldn't take her chemo. This last Monday she failed her blood test again and came down with a nasty lung infection. I thought we were going to have to admit her for pneumonia, but the chest x-ray came back OK. She's been on a strong antibiotic and coughing up junk all week, but today she is much better.

We now know that the celebration of our anniversary where we were out and about among hundreds of people led to her infection. She just can't be around a lot of people with her immune system so weak.

Still, we are happy to be together this Christmas, to have the love and support of family and friends during this time of our lives and thankful for all the good things God has bestowed upon us.

So here's my Christmas offering for all you yuletide revelers:

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the valley
Bikers were out at some Harley rally

And Turkeys were fried and baked and roasted
While holiday celebrants were getting toasted

Old Codgers played golf and shot for the green
dodging the Ducks and Geese on the scene

The freeways ran smoothly at least for a while
till you came to an exit where stores sold high style

And our children prepared for Santa's coming
While father's struggled with overloaded plumbing

Cause our families come together at this time of year
causing some anxiety, confusion and fear

But it's still a great time if you hang on tight
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night

Peace and God's Blessings to you this Christmas,


Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Funnies and not so Funnies

My best friend Jack sent me an e-mail claiming to be me on you tube. The clip was an interview with an Irishman concerning his opinion of what were the root causes of the recession. The gentleman is both profane and profound. Enjoy.

John Stewart speaks to Obama's dissatisfaction with the American Public. As usual it's funny and poignant. Not much more to say about this. Here's the link .

That's all I've got on the humorous side. Here's a link to Christopher Hitchens (not a guy I can say I like or often agree with, but this time he's right on. Read him here.

OK, that's pretty much it for me this week. I am supremely happy it's Friday. My immediate supervisor (in front of his boss) in our team meeting today asked me if I liked my job. I told him NO I did not. He then asked me why I was still there even though he knows very well I need the insurance for Vicki's Cancer treatments. This guy tries to be a bully and intimidate folks, but in this case he just came off as being a jerk.

Hope your weekend is fantastic. Remember there's still 14 shopping days till Christmas. So get out there and stimulate our economy if you can afford to do so. Regardless, take a minute and contemplate the true meaning of this most precious Christian Holiday. For those of us who believe it's time to celebrate the birth of the World's Saviour. Not a bad reason to sing with joy if you've got it in you'

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Another Milestone

We completed 50% of Vicki's chemo this week. That's the good news. The not so good news is that her 4th chemo week will be the week before Christmas. It's sure to make her depressed and make it harder for her to enjoy the holiday. Still, I am determined that we will have a Merry Christmas.

This next week I'll be haunting the local mall looking for presents and surprises. Hopefully I'll be able to find nifty gifts to help cheer her up.

We also will be celebrating our 24th wedding anniversary the last Sunday before Christmas. Luckily it's before her next chemo, so she should be up for dinner out and maybe even a dance or two.

I've got the Thursday and Friday before Christmas off. That should allow me to look after her closely following her 4th chemo treatment.

Here's hoping that you and yours have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Seriously and Satirically Thankful 2010

  • Like many folks who have found jobs after a long stretch of unemployment I am thankful to have a job this year.
  • Likewise I am doubly thankful to have insurance
  • I am thankful to have a nice clean decent place to live and food on the table to eat
  • I am thankful to have reasonably good health for a person my age
  • I am thankful to be married to a wonderful woman
  • I am thankful for all the kids and grandkids we have
  • I am thankful and grateful for the great support system of friends and family that help us during Vicki's cancer treatments
  • I am thankful that today was Vicki's last Radiation treatment (#30)

  • On a lighter note I am thankful I was able to miss Sarah Palin's book signing here in Phoenix today.
  • I am thankful that the new congress will not be in session till next year
  • I am thankful that George Bush can never be president again
  • I am thankful that at least 50% of the population has common sense, though the people who are in that 50% percent are not the same all the time
  • I am thankful that for 4 days I will not be answering the phone for work
  • I am thankful that football is a winter sport (though the season gets longer every year)
  • I am thankful that I will not be driving, flying or commuting by train to some distant location during this holiday break
  • And I'm thankful that Cigars and Whiskey do for me these days what pot and Boone's Farm Apple Wine did for me in the 60s

Happy Thanksgiving,


Friday, November 19, 2010

27 Down

We've just ended week 6 of Vicki's treatments. They have included 27 radiation sessions and 2 chemotherapy treatments. This next week we will complete the 30 radiation treatments prescribed for her cancer and also the 3rd session of chemo.

I will be celebrating these accomplishments over a long Thanksgiving weekend. Both of us will be happy to end the daily visits to St. Joes for radiation. In fairness I should say that the folks at Radiation Oncology are great. Vicki has received the best possible treatment available and the staff is superb. That being said; we will not miss the trips or the treatment. I can see the effects of the radiation on her face tonight and the redness and swelling is apparent.

Her doctor has told us that the radiation will continue to have effects for a few more weeks and then slowly dissipate. We look forward to that.

The chemo will go on for a total of 6 cycles which should take us into late January of 2011 or early February. After that it may 2 or 3 months before she will be tested to see how effective the treatment regimen has been.

I pray every night that this will end our fight with her cancer and we will be able to look forward to a more normal life and schedule. Cancer world is a very different place to be.

One positive thing that both of us can take from this is all the wonderfully brave people we've met at the radiation and chemo centers. Some of these folk's stories and trials with surgery and treatments are scary and heart breaking. It brings to mind the story of the man who bemoaned having no shoes till he met the man who had no feet. Every time we go to the hospital or the chemo center we meet someone whose situation is so much more dire than our own. It gives one pause.

No matter what you condition or situation remember to count your blessing.

Wish us luck,


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Night Blues

OK, it seems the pundits may have gotten this one right. The Dems have lost the house and we will have our first "Orange" speaker of the house. Good luck you republicans, you'll need it. After two years of obfuscation and obstructionism the new majority will be forced to actually do something. If recent history tells us anything the damage will be done with continued weakening of any governmental oversight of the financial sector in particular and corporations is general.

The result will no doubt be good for the already wealthy and devastating for the growing lower classes and even middle classes now struggling for their very survival in the new American economy. So hold on to your wallets cause most of us are going to get slammed if they manage to pass the legislation on their agenda.

In my world, where cancer rules, we moved into week four of Vicki's treatment. Week two included 36 hours in St. Joes, some of it in the emergency room. We got out though and she's doing fine now. Week three was just 5 radiation treatments and one visit to the chemo guy for a followup. That week went pretty smooth. Oh, somewhere along there Vicki's hair fell out and I shaved my head to match. We are a pair of baldies now.

This week (#4) of treatment has been two chemos with another tomorrow along with the daily radiation treatments. My oldest daughter took Vick to the Monday and Tuesday sessions and I will pick it up tomorrow and through the rest of the week.

Vicki is doing well considering all the cancer treatments she's receiving. Her attitude remains superb and I gain strength from her positive outlook and faith.

So.... election or not, win or lose, life as we know it goes on. The good news is that we've seen the last of a season of the most obnoxious campaign commercials ever aired. Surely there are several places in hell for these responsible for the political ads this year. May they roast for eternity.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

1 Week Down, 23 to go

We've successfully completed the first week of Vicki's treatment. It consisted of 10 separate appointments, four of which were radiation and 3 chemo. The others were an outpatient minor surgery for her port placement, a shot at the end of the week to counteract the effects the chemo has on her bones and another one that I forget what it was about.

So now we have two weeks of just afternoon radiation, with one exception. They will be doing a needle biopsy on a tumor in her side that we all believe is not cancer. Even so, the doctors want to be sure. So she'll be in St. Joes on Tuesday most all day between that and the radiation.

Hopefully the results of that test will be negative and we can focus on her health and state of mind during these next 6 months. We went out and found her a recliner chair today that will allow her somewhere to hang out without being in bed all the time. Currently she is using the couch. The last couple of days she's been asleep by 5:30 in the afternoon. She is going to be a morning person. They told us there would be some times during the day when her energy level would be at its peak and it seems that time is the first few hours after she gets up. After that she is tired and not really feeling that spiffy.

My two oldest daughters have been a great help during this first week and Bridget the oldest will continue after her sister Jamie goes back to Enid on Wednesday. I admit to enjoying the time spent with the girls, but wish it could be under other circumstances. Jamie has stayed with us during the week and went out to her sisters on the weekends and that has worked out well. She'll be back here this afternoon and we'll start the new week off with an afternoon radiation session on Monday.

All in all it feels like things are going OK at this point. I hope and pray that continues till we defeat her cancer and she's cancer free.

Wish us luck,


Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Last "Pre-treatment Weekend"

Things will get busy starting Monday. So we took the opportunity this last weekend to spend time together. Friday night we hung out and Saturday night we went out for dinner, dancing and some gambling at a local Casino.

It was the right thing to do and I knew it when Vicki told me on the way home last night that for a few hours she'd forgotten the upcoming trials of Chemo and Radiation therapy. For just a few hours we were just a couple having a good time on a Saturday night. Sometimes that's all you can ask.

We've been given the schedule from both cancer treatment groups and Vicki has 9 separate appointments for treatment next week. It will be hectic to say the least. While we are blessed to have some of the best doctors and technicians in the country at Barrow's Neurological, the offices for Chemo are at some distance from us and the hospital. It means we will be spending a great deal of time in transit from home to one and then the other treatment location. The tightness of the schedule has already caused some stress and tension, but we have put a plan in place to handle it next week.

My middle daughter Jamie is here for another week from Oklahoma and she along with her oldest sister Bridget are taking Vicki to St. Joes on Monday. That day she will get her port for chemo and her first run through for radiation. She is freaked out about the mask she must wear during radiation. It fits her face extremely snugly and holds her head in exact position.

Tuesday she and I will be going to her almost day long first chemo session. During this one they will give her two separate drugs and couple of liters of saline. This takes 5 and 1/2 hours. Then from there we will drive down to the hospital for her first radiation. That takes no more than 1/2 hour or so total. Still, it will be a very long first day of treatments.

Wednesday and Thursday she gets a one drug chemo treatment lasting about 2 hours and again radiation after each one. Then Friday she gets a shot at the chemo Dr.'s office for bone marrow loss and then another radiation treatment at St. Joes. During all this I will attempt to got to work all the days but Tuesday.

The next three weeks will be daily radiation and then the fourth week we start with combined chemo and radiation again.

This is scheduled to continue till she's had somewhere between 28 and 33 radiation treatments and 5 or 6 chemo cycles. That puts the total treatment time to around 6 months. Hopefully by February or March she will be done with all this and cancer free.

Anyway that's what I'm hoping for.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Cancer treatment schedule begins

Now that we're deep into it even Saturdays are not safe from calls from Doctor's offices about upcoming treatment appointments and various other necessities of the oncology related culture.

After breakfast this morning my wife informed me she'd received a call before I got up confirming her appointment to have a "port" installed at St. Joes to make her chemo easier.

There will be potentially 3 chemo and 5 radiation sessions during her first week of treatment. In addition there are other tests, shots and procedures upcoming.

On Tuesday of the coming week we go to St. Joes to have her mask made. This device will hold her head in exactly the same position for each of her 28 to 33 radiation sessions. There will be focused energy on specific parts of the interior of her skull to kill the remaining cancer cells that her surgery did not remove. The simultaneous chemo (done the same day) is supposed to enhance the effects of the radiation and also pickup any stray cancer cells in the rest of her body.

Vicki sat down this morning at the computer and printed out a schedule so we can determine who will be going with her for what treatments. My goal is to be with her for all initial procedures, but I may have to miss the placement of the port so I can keep my hours at work up enough to stay full time and therefore keep my insurance.

Our middle daughter Jamie is coming in from Oklahoma to stay for two weeks and she will be going with Vicki to some of the appointments.

The hardest part for me seems to be letting go and allowing others to help. My two oldest daughters are awesome adults and I guess its time I let them show it.

I had a dream that life would get less complicated and slower as we grew older. I am constantly disabused of this notion. Still, its better to be active and fighting than the alternative.

Wish us luck,


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday, Sunday

We're just hanging out today watching the Cards and the Raiders. The lead has been going back and forth, so at least it's interesting this week.

We had another eventful week last week with Vicki's 2 MRIs and PET scan at St. Joes on Thursday. We will meet with the radiologist on Monday to review the results. We met with the team coordinator for the skull based tumor group at Barrow's Neurological Institute on Thursday as well. She explained the team's history, goals and approach to treating Vicki's cancer. One thing has happened to bring an extra level of uncertainty and frustration to my wife's world.

She woke up the morning after the tests with an unexplained swelling on her side, which remains still. Because of this we will go in early on Monday in case they need to send us somewhere else for help or diagnosis of this new issue. It pretty much bummed Vicki out and pushed her into into tears of frustration and fear.

It is hard to think outside of our immediate needs and situation, but I am still able to be appalled at both local and national politics. On the local level our esteemed Sheriff Arpaio is under investigation for potential misuse of an estimated $80 million dollars of taxpayer money. A local add about Brewer is attempting to associate her with the private prison company responsible for allowing the escape of three dangerous inmates and the murder of two more innocents before they were apprehended.

The national seen is worse with the Dems folding on shutting the door on charity for the rich. The Bush era tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% seem to still have enough support from both Republicans and Democrats to be renewed. The sad truth is that no matter what party is allegedly in power; money still rules our government at every level. Now, with the effects of the recession it is extremely aggravating to watch the rich get richer and the poor continue to get poorer and poorer.

And as if that weren't enough, the nutjob teapartiers, (those brilliant patriots and conservatives, just ask them) have gotten the right wing fringe fully engaged in the national arena. Some even hope for a Palin presidential run in 2012. Are we really that stupid? Maybe!

I must admit to serious disappointment with the achievements of this current administration and the Democratic party as a whole. They have once again managed to shoot themselves in the foot instead of seizing the initiative and being productive. The time is now past when effective reform for the financial sector is possible. That ship has sailed. The Dems allowed the Republicans to stymie and dilute the health care initiative and everything else they put forth.

And now we are blessed with the most devisive and ineffecient congress in many years. I truly dislike modern day republicans and their policies, but the Dems would be better served if they learned from their ability to execute a plan.

Especially troubling to me is the seeming "coupe de grace" of the right wing in demonizing "Big government" and immunizing "Big business", as if unelected CEOs and corporate hacks care more about social justice and national welfare than the people we elect to protect us.

I remain dismayed out our national naivete and the continuing ability of the right to be bamboozled by the Madison Avenue types in charge of Republican and now Tea Party strategy and tactics.

I guess the only thing to do is laugh. Without some humor it would be hard to live in this country at this time.

Best to all


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Labor Day 2010

It's that time of year again when we say goodbye to summer pleasures over the labor day weekend and get ready for school, fall, elections, winter holidays and all things long sleeved and cozy. We will be hanging out this weekend around the house and enjoying the three days off. This is our Labor Day.

Labor day has an interesting and perhaps unknown origin in Canada going back to the 1870s. For a look at the history of this Holiday go here. To summarize the history; it began as a celebration of trades and trade unions and evolved into what it is today. It is ironic that we find ourselves in the worst time ever for unions and trades in the US. Starting with Reagan killing the air traffic controllers union and moving forward through the massive exodus of manufacturing and value added jobs from our country to the takeover of our economy by wall street, we have witnessed the fastest and deepest decline in the value of work since the great depression.

I count myself as lucky to be holding down a job with benefits in this economy. Without a job we would have no health insurance. The events of this week made me all the more aware of the precariousness of our situation. My wife had surgery this week and was diagnosed with cancer. Currently we await the results of the biopsies to know what we will do next. It feels like swimming in a sea of uncertainty.

My hope is that the stage and type of cancer will allow quick and successful treatment. In this coming battle we face I know that attitude is everything, so I am doing my best to stay positive and supportive. I am also focusing on enjoying every minute, no every second, with my wife from this moment forward.

I remain extremely hopeful for our personal situation, but remain less than optimistic about the future of labor and labor unions in our nation. The toxic politics of the Republican party have managed to demonize everything beneficial for the working class by masking the war on the middle class in issues like gay marriage, abortion, immigration, regulatory reform and taxes. I fear for our country that the so-called conservatives will take control of congress and move forward on useless foreign wars, massive defense spending, tax cuts for the rich and loose to nonexistent oversight of the financial powers that brought this country so close to economic collapse just 3 years ago.

So while I will be enjoying the time off to spend with my sweety, I will not be celebrating Labor Day so much as grieving the demise of its namesake. Somehow it feels more like a wake than a Holiday to me.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Of Work and Play

Working for the man in the 2010's is a different gig than it was in the 60s and 70s. For one thing the "man" is just as likely to be the "woman" and for another the "man" may well not be human at all. I have the great pleasure (insert snarky tone here) to have both things going for me. My immediate supervisor is ostensibly a nice young woman 30 years of age, but in actuality I work for a computer. It tells me when to start, when I can take a break and when I can go home. If I have a temper tantrum at not being able to sign out for break(old man needed to Pee) and happen to drop oh let's say a dozen calls, it rats me out to some pernicious little weenie in the home office that tracks me down, writes me up and gets me fined a week's worth of commission. Ain't corporate life in post recession awesome?

Now to be clear on this I do not object to working for a woman, but I would at least like her to be older than my own children. Seriously, it's like working for your kids here. Secondly if you have to work for a computer then make the thing smarter, faster and more helpful.

Recently a corporate weenie decided a call I answered took too long and wasn't focused enough on auto glass, even though the customer's question was something entirely different. Again there was a write up and another attempt to fine me a week's commission, but this time I objected. We had a meeting with another supervisor up the line, listened to the call and had the warning (a final written one) voided. All this during the week I was the number 5 salesperson (by commission paid that week) in the telephone sales department. There are about 900 people in my position.

I took the opportunity during the last meeting to encourage the management (read people my kids age) to be more positive and uplifting to the employees. We fire or someone quits here almost every day. The turnover is incredible, really outrageous, but due to the economy there is a fresh group every week or two.


Play this weekend consisted of chilling out. My wife had a couple of grandkid's parties to attend and I was still bushed from our trip last weekend. During that weekend we spent the night in the hotel at the Apache Gold Casino in Globe, the next day traveled to Pine Top and then came back Sunday through Payson. The total miles covered during this circuit was 454. Loved the trip with the exception of the new photo speed trap at the entrance to Show Low coming in the main highway. The damned thing flashed me and I await an overpriced ticket in the mail. So this weekend was used for rest and relaxation.

I did watch the Cards win on Saturday. The game started in old style Cardinals fashion, but in the last quarter they pulled in out. I wouldn't have thought to watch, but the young lady who sits next to me at work is the girlfriend of one of the players. Having a personal connection made it more interesting. She is a great young woman and not the kind you'd expect as an NFL players sweetheart. She is shy, hardworking (going to school full time to finish a graduate degree, teaching soldiers in the National Guard on Weekend duty and working 30 hours a week as well). She has impressed me with her independence, drive, and fortitude. Yet the small minds that make up our management at work have failed her miserably. She needs a Monday-Friday schedule starting in September to allow her to perform her national guard duties more fully and they have managed to botch up the effort. It looks like she will find other employment. At that point my personal connection to the cards may evaporate.
Well at least I watched one game.

Things are much the same and then not like anything or any time before. Life goes by faster now and leaves a little less to remember it by. I suppose when fall finally gets here and we can emerge from our air conditioned cocoons I'll cheer up.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saturrrrdaaaaaay Afternoooooooon

If you lived through the 60s and have enough brain cells left to remember the Jefferson Airplane and a singer named Gracie Slick, you may understand the manner in which today's blog title is written. If you didn't and you don't, Oh Well!

My better half and her mother are spending the afternoon at my daughter's hair salon, so I've got time to watch a little world cup, a little golf and surf the net for the latest news.

The first thing I found on the Huffington Post this morning was an interview by a high school student of a long time Arizona legislator who chairs the committee on education. Sort of an oxymoron really, I mean education and a committee on education in the Arizona legislature.
Anyway, the boob doesn't know his own voting record and the fact he voted to cut $550 million bucks from the same program he says he supports. You can read the article and see the video HERE.

Then over John Amato's Crooks and Liars is this fantastic video from C-Span of Democratic congressman Sheldon Whitehouse giving a detailed and chilling account of how corporations have infiltrated the very government agencies that are supposed to be regulating them. That article and commentary video(I warn you it's long and windy and full of hyperbole, but still accurate) can be found HERE.

I stopped in at the sight called Hysterical Raisins and found this amusing account of the Republican Senator who felt the need to apologize to BP for being extorted by the Obama administration to pony up $20 billion for a fund to help the victims of the Deep Horizon continued oil pumping. (It ain't a spill folks, they're just pumping 50-75 thousand barrels of oil directly into the Gulf of Mexico.) You can check that out HERE.

Well that's enough political claptrap for me this week. The weekend is way too short to start off with, so there's a limit to how much time I'm willing to devote to contemplating the seemingly unstoppable decline of our society and nation.

The summer doldrums are upon us here in Phoenix, with temps each day over 100 degrees, so the best thing you can do is hang out at the pool or inside in the AC or make the trek up north on weekends to escape the heat.

I wish you well


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Random Sunday Thoughts

BP OIL - How about some criminal charges for those who knew they were risking disaster and proceeded anyway? And while we're at it, what will the Gulf of Mexico and the rest of the world's Oceans connected to the gulf by currents look like with MILLIONS OF BARRELS OF OIL in them?

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO THE LEAK - slow, inept and let's face it, quite impotent. It becomes clearer and clearer that regardless of the party or leader in office that corporations run our planet with minimal oversight.

ARIZONA'S IMMIGRATION BILL - It's hard to believe it will have any significant effect on the amount of illegal aliens in our midst. It has however sparked debate on what we are willing and able to do about our ever changing demographic. And of course it reinforces the idea that we here in Arizona are backward, illiterate racists.

FIREWORKS, GUN LAWS AND GUNS IN BARS - Though this is old news it still bugs me that our state legislature is able to spend time on these laws but can't find the time or smarts to help with our state's fiscal issues.

JOHN MCCAIN AND WHAT'S HIS NAME HAYWARD - This dude (Hayward not McCain) has always reminded me of the cartoon character that said "and now for the Norts Spews." Whatever their party comes up with will be immaterial to me and many other voters.

THE NEXT SUPREME COURT JUSTICE - Since the selection of George Bush by the court is has become more and more important to get someone on the court who is even slightly liberal. This is why the republicans fight so hard on these appointments.

THE DEFINITION OF CONSERVATIVE - I have long wondered what exactly is supposed to be conservative about a party that abandons the middle class, worships the wealthy and powerful and wreaks havoc on the few protections given to the common man. Two wars (at least one totally uncalled for) billions wasted on killing people and worsening our position in the world and these people call themselves conservative. Sounds extremely radical to me.

THE ECONOMY - For some reason the markets have been surprised that jobs have not bounced back. These are the same folks that oversaw the exodus of manufacturing during the last 3 decades in search of better quarterly results. Really? Now you're surprised?

BEING A HOCKEY FAN IN ARIZONA - Each year I look forward to the NHL playoffs and the Stanley Cup. I don't follow the rest of the season because I don't have cable and I don't care till the playoffs. This year NBC carried the first two games and will carry the 5th game today. We were able to see game 4 over at the clubhouse here in our development while enjoying the buffet so that worked out great. It took me a while to get over the way the Coyotes played in game seven against the Red Wings, but I'm back to rooting for the underdog in the Cup finals.

WORK HAS CHANGED - I'm working as a troop these days, just one of many, many others. It is a daily lesson in humility. I've fought for a decent lunch hours (yes, one that falls somewhere in the actual time you eat lunch) and won due to a doctor's note. Now I'm in a similar battle over a decent work station that doesn't cause the arthritis in my neck to incapacitate me after a day's work. Again a doctor's note has been required to get even minimal action. I will be bringing in a footstool to help mitigate the pain caused by the replacement chair that gives me enough height to work the keyboard, but denies me the ability for my feet to reach the floor.



Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day this Year

I have often griped in the past about not having a veterans day off. It went on like that for more than 3 decades since my release from active duty. For some reason every time it came around I had to work. It has not been the same with Memorial Day. This year will be the first in my memory, going back at least 30 years or so, when I WILL be working on Memorial Day.

I should be thankful that I have a job and believe me, I am. It's just that this year I was drafted to work on what would otherwise be a paid holiday. It doesn't feel like much of a Holiday if you're working does it? Oh well, that's life in the post recession
corporatocracy we like to call the good Ole USA.

Many of my fellow employees are in the same boat. We will spend 4 hour shifts tomorrow answering calls about auto glass pricing and scheduling. It seems our busy country and populace require instant auto glass gratification. So while you are basking in the sun on the beach or considering the plane, train or auto ride home from the memorial day trip, I will be there for you if a rock dings your windshield or a vandal or thief breaks your drivers door glass and makes off with your

Of course the real meaning and purpose of Memorial Day usually gets lost in the drive to maximize vacation time and leisure. If you're interested in the genesis of this holiday, then please go here. The official date of inception is May 30
th 1868. A union general named John Logan declared this day as a time to put flowers on the graves of union and confederate soldiers.

So................ Whether you're working tomorrow, finishing your holiday or just hanging at your house, please take a minute and contemplate why we honor the millions of soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines who gave their lives fighting battles in the name of our country.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

What I like about spammers

It seems that a couple of dweebs out there among the vast intertubes of the overnet think that blogs are just places for them to post their crap.

Not so much really.

So; to those who continue this pernicious pastime, let me just say this.

Someone was passing around the rumor that you eat shit and run rabbits.

I disabused them of this falsehood by telling them outright that you don't like rabbits.

As on my other blog, comments will now be moderated.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

False Economy

As I watch Butler and Kansas State battle it out for a place in the final four, I thought I'd post today on the cost of our Walmart based economy.

The idea of cheap (not inexpensive but definitely CHEAP) Chinese imports dominating our domestic retail economy hit home once again today when I filled our Hummingbird feeder. Yes we did cheap out and buy the least expensive one at Lowe's and yes we knew there was a good possibility that Hummingbirds would be less attracted to it than other more costly ones. What we didn't count on was that it would leak.

After the first filling of the feeder and the resulting red stains on my patio, I moved the offending item to a tree a few feet into the yard. Now each time we fill it we must take precautions against the incessant leaks.

The awful truth about this is that even should we go back and buy a higher priced one, it may well leak as well, due to shoddy engineering, poor manufacturing and general cheapness.

There was a time in this country when we made things. Americans produced socks, shirts, pants, shoes, toasters, TVs, lamps, cameras, furniture, and thousands of other sundry items we use each day in our lives. While the highest quality items of domestic origin were pricey, there were still plenty of lower cost options made in the good Ole USA. Not so much now.

Have you tried to find a reasonably priced pair of shoes that wasn't made in China, Pakistan or WhereEvertheFuckistan lately?

The most heavily advertised and purchased brands like Nike, Sketchers and others are made everywhere but the US. The manufacturers say it's too expensive to make them here. What they don't say is that the profits made from using cheap foreign labor are just too tempting to pass up. That's the real bottom line.

The almighty buck, as witnessed by the recent bailout of the despicable financial sector, is all we've been about for since at least WWII and maybe waaaay longer than that. I yearn for the time when converse lowtops were made here and our Levi bluejeans were still a domestic product.

In my humble opinion the only thing that the advent of massive cheap imports has done for this country is burden our landfills with millions, perhaps billions of pounds of cheap crap hardly worth buying in the first place.

If and when I replace the defective feeder, I will force myself to attempt to find one made somewhere else than China. If I get lucky, I might even find one still being made in my own country.

Wish me luck.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Old Dog, New Tricks

I got a job!

Believe it or not, it may be possible for an old dog to learn new tricks. I successfully completed my first week of training at my new company. This training week consisted of classes, computer use and a smidgen of role playing for handling incoming calls.

I was happy to score 100% on 4 of 5 incremental tests, with a score of 95% on a computer navigation segment (old dog, new tricks, right?) and on the final I got a 99%. Not bad for a guy who is perhaps the oldest employee at this location.


Next week the rubber meets the road. My class and I start our shifts (they vary in starting times and length) with mine being the 6:00 AM to 2:30 PM shift. I feel blessed to have a full time job with a great company (Safelite Autoglass) and the potential to grow with the new location.

My job is that of a Customer Service/Sales representative. The operation of which I am a part handles calls from all over the US and we are able to quote prices, schedule work and handle the logistics of service and install from a central location. The organization and attention to detail required to move thousands of pieces of auto glass around the nation on a daily basis is truly amazing. I admit to feeling pretty good about being a part of a company that is well run and efficient.

On top of all this my commute is short. I filled the Civic with gas on Saturday and calculated my daily commute costs at less than $2.75 a day. Sweet!

Now I just need to relax and do the work. Wish me luck.

Oh and to all you folks out there still looking for work; don't give up hope. If I can do it then you can too.


Friday, January 29, 2010

Supreme Court or Supreme Crap?

Like many political junkies and progressive advocates I am currently suffering from extreme issue fatigue. (If you haven't heard of this then you are obviously not thinking enough)

With the economy still faltering, unemployment above 10% and moving higher; with health care reform turned into a bad joke and financial reform a laughingstock among the informed, and of course there's those two pesky foreign wars we've been waging for years, it makes one just plain tired.

So the latest ruling by the Supremes should really come as no surprise, though to me it does seem a bit like piling on. The Superlative nine decided in all their wisdom ( well actually it was really a 5 to 4 vote) that what our political system needed most was more money from special interests. Hey, you can't make this shit up, they said it. Corporations are people and they have the right of free speech as much as any real person!

And what speaks louder and more freely than millions upon millions of corporate dollars spent on attack ads, yellow journalism campaigns and distorted reporting?. According to the top echelon of our judicial system, .....nothing.

If I had to register my disappointment with the actions of the administration, the houses of congress and the Supreme court it would be up there with my admiration of Hitler, Maddoff and Jack the Ripper.

I am a believer in personal freedoms and rights, not corporate ones. This latest abomination shows clearly that the we've lost control of our government.

The saddest part of this to me is that we will be subjected to more and more political BS for longer and longer periods of time. The already almost never ending election cycle will become filled with dreary, tedious, and mostly erroneous political bias guaranteed to misinform and dupe the sheeple. We can all look forward to continued episodes of political suicide where the masses vote time and again against their own self interest.

There's nothing like gun control, gay marriage or abortion to cloud the more real and pressing issues out of the spotlight and put more ideologues and monocrats into public office.

Oh Goodie!