Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First Day of School

An early Fall view of our lane
As I write this, Kitten #2 is enjoying the last 27 minutes of Summer, blissfully asleep until rudely awakened by the march of time.  Kitten #1 starts classes today too, and I imagine she is also still asleep.  Kitten of All Kittens--She Who Loves Summer Like No Other--also is abed.  I am up to greet the day early, as is my custom, but as I sat here I realized that I was the only person in my family excited about the first day of school.  I've always been that way, mostly because I always liked school.  My girls like school just fine, but if given the choice between going and spending their time doing Summer things, I know what would win out.

The Kitten is another story altogether.  She takes Summer Worship to a whole new level, luxuriating in the soupy heat of it and the slow pace.  She gets genuinely down every year around the 10th of August after realizing the season is almost gone and the lists constructed in May have not been substantially completed.  I've begun to hear the resident geese making a bit of noise lately, and it puts me in an Autumn state of mind thinking about their Northern cousins who will winter over here and offer themselves up for my dining pleasure.  While it is going to be 94 degrees here today, I still am thinking Fall, and the dying embers of Summer have no impact on me whatsoever.

Soon, very soon, we'll have the first chilly night.  The leaves on the trees in the lane will begin to turn.  The annual "shouldn't we close the pool for the season" conversation will occur.  The sound of geese in the cove and overhead will become constant. I'll renew my hunting licenses and make a reservation with Mudge to sit freezing in a tree all day and listen to my friends shoot deer.

No, the first day of school never made me down.  Because it is the real first day of Fall, the best season of all.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Oracle of Tickbite College Football Review: Week 1

Well first off I was gonna commend Virginia for a good showing against UCLA, but CW already beat me to it. It's the first game so who knows, but certainly CW has reconsidered his morbidly pessimistic view of the Wahoos. But it cannot be said CW is a fair-weather fan, he loves those bums. (by the way, take a gander to the left, those Southern California schools still understand what cheerleading is all about don't they? Jesus H. Christ, what feminism has wrought!)

So, now lets get down to it going from low to high. My dearly beloved Wolfpack came back against a pretty good Georgia Southern squad. Georgia Southern you ask, aren't they just a bunch of Div II clowns? Well yes they are, and those clowns have won 6 National Championships and their last outing was in the Swamp where they handed the Flawda Gators an ass whipping. You might recall a few years back another Div II school that cruised into Ann Arbor, Michigan and hung one on the #5 or 6 team in the country before 110,000 admiring fans, so don't discount Div II too much. Speaking of which there was a rematch yesterday that wasn't quite so unexpected, Big Blue beat Appalachian State 52-14. Oh well, ski season is coming up.

In top 25 action I guess the biggest surprise (wouldn't call it an upset) the Lamecocks of South Carolina lost to Texas A&M 52-28 at home. Plus judging by the boxscore it didn't really look close. Spurrier has a great home opener record so this must really be a bummer for the fans. Note to S.C., schedule a donkey first game! It was a tough day all around in the Palmetto State, Clemson lost to Georgia 45-21.

The best game was Wisconsin down in Tigerland against LSU. The Badgers folded the tent in the second half allowing a 17 point rally eventually losing 28-24. So those corn-fed, freckle-faced white boys go home crying in their Budweiser (of which they consume by the pitcher).

Can you believe they have UNC at preseason #23? They beat Jerry Falwell U 56-29 yesterday in Kenan. OK OK, it was just a scrimmage but even still, Liberty shouldn't have scored a point. You know this Carolina corruption thing is not just about sports rivalries. We all hate UNC athletics and justifiably so. They're a bunch of arrogant pricks! They're the kind of people where you know you go to a frat party in Chapel Hill because you got a buddy who knows somebody there and anyway you go and you have a few and you hook up with a smoking hot Tar Hellian coed and you take her upstairs and shag the ass off her and she does tricks you haven't seen since the circus was in town and anyway you call her the next day and it's like, "Who the hell is this? Oh right, was that you?" and the next time you see her she's with some CW looking ponce wearing a Carolina blue blazer and a UNC baseball cap. See what I mean? That dear friends is the Carolina way!

Well that's it, see ya next week.

The President Has Run Out of Political Capital

PBO in his summer weight suit--The Audacity of Taupe
This week's admission by the President that he lacked a comprehensive strategy for combating ISIL in Syria and Iraq raises the ugly truth that for all his supposed political dexterity, President Obama has simply run out of political capital.

Let's face it.  Being President of the United States is an unusually difficult job.  I cannot even begin to understand the pressure under which that man operates every day, and the dark things with which he has to contend.  But Mr. Obama's position is no different than any other President's...the job was tough for all of them.  Where Mr. Obama's Presidency differs is the degree to which he has squandered the political capital he amassed as the darling of the media, the darling of the left (but I repeat myself), the darling of the young, and the darling of the apolitical. Five and a half years into his Presidency, the President is alone, marginalized, and treading water.

As the linked to article says, a politician makes a "gaffe" when he accidentally tells the truth.  Putting aside for a second the obvious truth that by saying there is no strategy the President leaves himself open to fears among the governed that he isn't up to the job...the strong likelihood that he was telling the truth, and the degree to which the truth was simply unacceptable to the media and the chattering class (my member number is 2387490) is just another sign of the utter lack of capital the man possesses.  The media is increasingly hostile to the President, slow to realize the degree to which he has been a disappointment though quick to natter on about how he hasn't been as cooperative with them as they would like.

The left has also turned on the President, for seemingly not being left enough.  Cornell West's deeming of the President as a "counterfeit" is just one of the many cries from the left indicating their discomfort with Obama. Folks like me and many of the readers of this President have been from the beginning, hostile to his programs and his ideology, but this turn from the left is noteworthy.

The Kitten is a relatively apolitical being, but even she had to admit that she has more and more conversations with friends who are also apolitical--but who voted (twice)--where those friends indicate their disdain for the President and their regret at having voted for him.

How did all this happen?  Well, for one thing, I have to conclude that the golfing thing really is hurting the President.  The scenes of him running off for the golf club after crying his crocodile tears for a beheaded journalist strike many a simple person as unpresidential.  We all get that he needs time off -- but the manner in which he is pursuing it is rubbing people the wrong way.  Don't come at me now with your "well, Eisenhower golfed...."  Yes, he did.  And he won World War II.  And he didn't serve during the days of a 24 hour cable news cycle.  The comparison is idiotic.  Hell, Roosevelt (T) road horses all the time.

Secondly, his foreign policy choices are increasingly questionable.  The President's pollsters tell him that the American public is war-weary and that they don't want to get involved in entanglements abroad.  They are right.  I think the American public does feel that way.  But the American public also likes being top-dog, they like our power and influence in the world, and they like knowing that we CAN do something about things even if we DON'T.  Here is where the President is failing.  He is so obsessed with the former that the latter concern escapes him.  And the public is losing confidence as a result.  They have come to believe that we don't act because we are incapable of acting, and that is causing deep in their bones anxiety that plays out in their support (or lack of it).

Finally, although the media did their best to deny and obfuscate, enough truth about Obamacare has gotten out that the public (appropriately) believes they were lied to.  Serially.  Blatantly.  The trust is gone and Mr. Obama's Presidency is gone with it.

Can he recover?  Never say never.  But the likelihood is low, and we will find ourselves in 2016 with the interesting
spectacle of Democratic candidate(s) running against the "transformational" President that they were in love with just a few short years ago.

UCLA 28 UVA 20

UVA replacement QB Matt Johns (Courtesy: Daily Progress)
Went down to Charlottesville  for the home opener yesterday against #7 (and Lee Corso's pick to win it all) UCLA and expected to get beaten like a drum.  Instead, I came away with a sneaky suspicion that we aren't as bad as I thought and that we might beat a few teams this year.

Our offense gave away three touchdowns...two pick six and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.  Starter Grayson Lambert looked horrific, the play calling was terrible, and it looked to be a long game.

But the defense was pretty damn good....we put pressure on UCLA's star QB all day.  We gave up some big plays, but that's something we always do.  The suspect offensive line didn't give up any sacks... and our second string QB came in and led the team on two scoring drives and got us deep inside UCLA territory at 5:50 left with the score 28-20.  We were in position to send it to overtime...and then disaster.  First down up the gut....nothing.  Second down up the gut...nothing.  Third down...you guessed it...up the gut.  Fourth down incomplete, that's the ball game.

But the third down play was not supposed to be a run.  It was signaled in as a pass and the replacement QB (who may have earned a starting job), went to his wrist band, pulling off the wrong play.  While that excuses the horrible third down play...it does nothing to excuse the first and second down plays.  Simply horrible.

All that said, it was a beautiful day, was with awesome people, and we played a good team tough.  Hope springs eternal...

Friday, August 29, 2014

Big Fat Friday Free For All

Aw, what's the matter, Chief?  Your home opener this Saturday against the #7 team in the country?  Got "no strategy" for ISIL?  Share your pain, it makes it hurt less.

No weigh-ins for me.  Giant. Slovenly. Slothful.

UVA's football season, you ask?  Well, here it is:

vs UCLA  (L)
vs Richmond (W)
vs Louisville (L)
at BYU (L)
vs Kent State (W)
vs Pitt (L)
at Duke (L)
vs  UNC (L)
at Ga Tech (L)
at Fl State (L)
vs Miami (L)
at Va Tech (L)

Is Virginia this bad?  Well, no, not really.  They will be better than they were last year.  But the schedule is crushing and everyone else is better.  Hell, Richmond is one of the best teams in their division and could easily take this game, what with two former Virginia QB's on their roster...

The last six games is going to be brutality.  But win or lose, I am a Wahoo.  Wahoowa.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

When Will They Learn?

Do you recall the Romney/Obama debates? I know CW does, for him it was like watching 70's (pre-body wax) Swedish porn. Remember the moderators? Well there was the appropriately named Candy Crowley weighing in at just under 275, and Martha Raddatz who was once married to one of Obama's buddies (and at the time FCC Chairman). What did they expect out of these two mainstream network leftists I wonder? I'm not sure but I'll tell you what they got, moderators who steered the conversation where they wanted it to go and acted like a tag team against poor Romney. Of course AFTER the election everybody did a mea culpa and said that maybe Romney got the short end and gosh awfully sorry about that Benghazi thing...our bad. Well no need for an apology, nobody screwed up at all and certainly not the cetacean Ms. Crowley. They did exactly what they planned to do. No the screw up was by Romney's people for allowing the bias twins to moderate.

So now comes our Republican National Committee approved Senate candidate for North Carolina Speaker Thom Tillis, along with his entourage of big-time campaign managers and consultants (Lee Atwater they ain't). So far they have advised him to let them handle it, stay out of the limelight, don't worry we got this one. We'll soften Hagan up with ads and then kick her butt in the debates and it's all downhill from there, cruise on home to victory. But for God sake don't do anything stupid like actually present a position or stand for something. You'll only invite attacks and besides, voters are tired of gridlock and bickering. They want politicians to get along and if you're too critical you'll be seen as an asshole or bully or worse. Just relax, you're in good shape.

In keeping with that looser strategy which has never worked and will never work, guess who will be moderating the two Hagan/Tillis debates? The ever so professional and fair (in a Bill Ayers kinda way) Norah O'Donnell and Mr. "He's So Cute" (but not lately) himself George "Stephie" Stephanopoulos. You may recall Stephie kicked off the "War on Women" by badgering a perplexed Mitt Romney during the '12 primary debates about abortion when ABSOLUTELY NOBODY was talking about abortion! But if you're going to gin up an issue you gotta start somewhere and apparently Stephie was only too happy to oblige.  

In my humble opinion if you want to win you have to be willing to lose. Take the fight to your opponent, set out your position clearly and concisely and defend it. Win or lose let everybody know where you stand. It worked for Reagan and it worked for Newt in '94. Plus it's the only thing that does work. So if you want to put your constituency to sleep and energize your dispirited and disheartened competition then keep listening to the Steve Schmidts of the world, you'll end up in O'Cain or Romney land real quick. So I ask again, when will they learn?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What's It Gonna Be?

I doubt you've noticed but we've got a vote coming up in September to extend the authorization for the Import-Export Bank. The Import-Export Bank you ask, is that like a credit union? No it isn't. The "bank" is an official agency established by FDR that is independent from the executive and it really doesn't loan money. What it does is take on the "risk" that business would otherwise not take so as to facilitate exports. In other words if a business wants to do business in Upper Volta but is afraid the local Generalissimo (who two years ago was a staff sergeant) might spend the national treasury on a villa in Nice then the Import-Export Bank guarantees the business will get paid. In fact they pay the business up front to take the risk (that they didn't take) and if the deal goes ass over tits the business still gets paid (with taxpayer cash). I know, it's complicated but what it really means is the "bank" hands out taxpayer money to companies that big politicians like. For example, about 44% of the cash goes to Boeing (and you wonder why Washington state is so damned leftist!).

Now everybody knows this is just a boondoggle but hey, big business likes it, the politicians like it, the corporate lapdog Chamber of Commerce likes it, and money don't mean shit these days so who are we to complain? Well there are a few malcontents out there such as myself who, I don't know, think that just maybe corporate welfare to connected multi-national companies at the expense of the US taxpayer just ain't right. But I'm just being difficult I guess.

But here's the thing. This is a good litmus test for our Republican politicians. Most to the Tea Party types are of course against this, but Boehner is, as would be expected, foaming at the mouth to vote HELL YES! So keep an eye out, it's going to pass there's just no doubt, but let's see who walks the walk.

Monday, August 25, 2014

History... What History?

Does the date August 24th. jar a nerve in you psyche? Probably not. Look it's no problem, for many of you history started when you got your first car, or first ride (wink wink) or maybe your iPhone (for CW it was his first double-breasted blue blazer from Jos. A. Bank, he was nine). It's ok, you're just an American...now quick, who was Salmon P. Chase? But for all you history illiterates out there the 24th was the day Paris was liberated in World War II. World War II you ask? OK, half of you can stop reading, House Wives of New Jersey just started. For the rest of you what happened was Tom Hanks landed on the beach at Normandy then George C. Scott commanded a bunch of tanks and, well they ended up in Paris somehow. So, yesterday they celebrated the 70th. anniversary of the event and let me tell you, what a hoedown! It's was like Paris Fashion Week with a haute couture military theme.

Now you have to hand it to them, the French are very good at paying tribute to the French. It was a patriotic celebration for Paris' few remaining non-Africans led by French President Francois Gerard Georges Nicolas Hollande (pronounced eh...screw-it, say it any friggin' way you want) honoring the French resistance (the most famous resistance EVER!) and Charles De Gaulle. There was not much mention of the US 4th. Infantry Division, the British, Dutch, Canadians, Polish or Wild Bill Donovan. No it was strictly a Francophilic exercise in national masturbation.

But before you get your panties in a twist I'll remind you of what General De Gaulle said at the time (at least they're consistent).
“Paris liberated! Liberated by itself, liberated by its people with the support of the armies of France, with the help and support of the whole of France, of the France that fights, of the only France, of the true France, of the eternal France!”
Eternal France my ass, eternally ungrateful dickheads maybe.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dispatch from the Road: San Diego

Returning to the scene of the 1999-2001 crime, San Diego.  Here is where I spent 15 months as XO of a Cruiser--USS PRINCETON (CG 59)--a truly great ship with a truly great crew.  I needed those things, as it turned out that when I set out for my cross country trip to SD to start the tour, a young woman was about to remove my heart from my body and blow-torch it to dust.  That ship and that crew had a lot to do with putting the spring back in my step.

But I never quite got San Diego.  I missed the change of seasons.  I missed the snap of chill in the air come fall.  I lived an idyllic life in Coronado where the temperature is 75 and the sun shines virtually all days of the year, save for two months (May/June) when the marine layer does its cloudy, cool bit.  But I never really took to it.

I think it was the heartbreak.  Without that, I'd probably have eaten this place up.  I posted on Facebook recently that I had not been back here since I left in 2001--but that isn't true.  I simply forgot the time I came here in 2009.

Mine looked just like this.  A magnificent beast.
This time is different though.  I will likely be coming out here regularly on business now, and I am going to have a great attitude about it.  I am staying at this quirky little hotel in Point Loma, a place I am enjoying though there is no coffee maker in my room.  I arrived home from dinner last night to a rocking pool scene and screening of the movie "Point Break" on a large screen above the pool.  The dining options within walking distance are limited, but so what.  I like it.

Had dinner the other night with a friend of long-standing who retired around the same time that I did from the Navy.  He's now an executive at a shipyard out here and doing wonderfully.  Great to see good guys thrive.  During our dinner, another exec from his company came by for drinks...a guy who also happens to be a friend of 27 years.  I have to imagine their company is in good hands, with these two guys running things.

I did not appreciate how beautiful SD was when I lived here.  Driving last night on "the 8" (they say that out here--add a "the" in front of the highway number) west, the hills rising, be-speckled with signs of human life, it is hard not to like it.  If you can afford to live in Southern California, then there are much worse places to live.

As I drove on the highway, I had a crystal clear memory of the Saturday morning that I bought my baby, a brand new 2000 BMW Z3.  Late on a Friday afternoon, I had come home from a day on the ship--I got a phone call.  The voice was familiar, a man from the Navy I knew well.  He was calling to tell me that I had "deep-selected" to the rank of Commander.  I was ecstatic.  It had been a tough, tough year.  So that night, I decided that I would wake the next day and go buy my Z3.  An impulse buy?  Yep.  Responsible?  Nope.  The right thing to do?  Absolutely.  I loved that car, and I am quite certain there is another Z in my future, after I get this other hip swapped out.
The drive back to Coronado from the dealer was an typical San Diego day.  Sunny, low 70's.  I had the top down--mostly left it down--and I was blasting the radio.  Those memories were so clear last night I could taste them.

I've got a full day here in San Diego and then a red-eye back home tonight.  I promise to give San Diego the chance it deserves.

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