Friday, October 31, 2014

Big Fat Friday Free For All

What's the matter, Chief?  Gain a pound and a half this week while working out five times? About to lose your Senate race to a very beatable candidate? Generals bitching about your war plan?

Share your pain.  We're here for you.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Senator of What?

I cannot think of a better or clearer example as to why the XVII Amendment should be repealed than what is happening now in North Carolina. In the Senate race between Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis over $100,000,000 will be spent by both political parties (along with a myriad of special interest groups) in an attempt to buy this election. It should give one pause to consider exactly what the payoff must be for some of these groups to go all in, as if their very survival depends on it, and indeed it just may. One thing is for certain, whatever goodies handed out will come courtesy of the American taxpayer... and it will be huge. That my friends is what scares hell out of me.

Let me ask you, how are the people of North Carolina being served by these two candidates? They were picked by the elites of both parties to serve the elites of those parties. The campaign is being financed by said elites and the winner will be beholding to same, not the citizens of North Carolina. I don't wish to imply we are unique in all this, quite the contrary, this is the norm throughout the country with every competitive Senatorial race. We just happen to be the most stark example of how and why the system is broken.

As I've said before and as every high school freshman knows, the balance of powers was given a lot of thought by the framers. A Representatives' job is to protect the interest of the citizens in their district. The President's job is to protect the nation's interests. Once Senators were appointed by the state governments (and beholding to) and therefore protected the interests of the States. Now we have a system where the Senators owe nothing to their respective States. And please don't say the voters, they are just a hoop to jump through...with the help of outside money of course. And that "outside money" whatever or whomever it may be is a Senator's true constituency, NOT the voters.

So whomever is elected be it Kay Hagan or Thom Tillis, they will not be representing anybody or anything even remotely connected to guys like me. They are the political class, and I don't have a say.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Update from the Road

It's the morning of my last day in San Diego for this trip.  I'll work all day, grab some dinner, turn in the rental car and then hop on the Redeye.  Good, though uneventful trip thus far, though I must report that my hunt for the perfect hotel goes on.  The Holiday Inn Express I'm in is pretty good.  A hearty free breakfast, free parking, free wifi (yes, I know those costs are rolled into the total cost, but I don't like them charged as extras) and a clean comfortable room.  Problem is, it is haflway between Little Italy and Old Town San Diego--so sorta stuck in the middle.  I did manage to walk to a sushi joint for some rather good but overpriced sushi last night, but by and large, one needs to drive to any respectable place to eat.  The gym here is small, but I've been the only person in it each time I've visited so that hasn't been an issue.

The weather has been--as it usually is--perfect.  I drive across the Coronado bridge each morning on my way to the client site, and where I lived for 15 months spreads out before me.  What a life it was.  I see young mothers and children on the streets as I drive through, and I wonder "who can afford this at that age?"

One of the bonuses to working where I do is that the Navy's Basic Underwater Demolition School (BUDS) is nearby--the place where we begin to make SEALS.  I walked down to the Subway to grab a turkey sub (6 inch) yesterday at lunch time, and passed the based galley as I walked.  There--at an outside shower, were twenty five or so young exhausted men waiting their turns to step up fully clothed into the shower, to remove the heavily caked sand and dirt from their uniforms.  Many of you have seen TV shows that feature what these men go through, and it is grueling.  Making sure none of their handler/torturers was nearby, I softly added a "keep it up guys, proud of you" as I walked by--and got two or three huge bright smiles of recognition in return.

I've managed to sorta stay on East Coast time while here, getting to bed each night well before 9PM and up at 0500.  Truth be told, that would be the DESIRED East Coast schedule, but I try to remain conscious a bit longer at home in order to keep the Kitten happy with my effervescent conversation, but I often fail at that task.  The other problem is that I often get up at 0500 too.  So I suppose the only thing I am really accomplishing on the West Coast is getting more sleep.

I am watching the run-up to the mid-term election with great anticipation. Things appear to be going well for Republicans, but I don't see it as overwhelming.  I'm looking forward to staying up late next Tuesday to watch things come in, but the entire evening will be made whole if and when it is announced that the Senate balance has tipped.  I cannot wait to see Harry Reid lose power.  I simply don't like the man.  I never disliked Tom Daschle....but this guy....the worst.

Republicans shouldn't expect miracles though. The President has the Veto and it still requires 2/3 of each chamber to overturn. Those numbers simply don't exist.  So when folks talk about "using reconciliation to repeal Obamacare" they are indulging in fantasy.  Perhaps we get the 51 votes in the Senate required to pass a repeal under reconciliation, but when the President vetoes it, we'd still need the two thirds majorities to overcome that--which will not come.  Now, it might be worth ONE vote to demonstrate Republican seriousness, but then any subsequent vote would be unserious.

The rocket exploding on the launch pad last night just seems like the latest in a string of mounting evidence that we've lost something, a little spring in our step, the ability to hard things well.  I wrote yesterday that I thought the person who makes us believe we are still good at doing hard things, and who lays out a vision for how we'll recapture that spring--that's the person who will win in 2016.  In other words, a positive, uplifting message.  We'll see if anyone hops on that....

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Hammer's College Football Show Week 9, with Special Hammer

Ole Miss and LSU played a good one last night in Red Stick (aka Baton Rouge) and for us devotees of old fashioned smash-mouth football it was like 1957 with Billy Cannon. Just a great back-to-basics football game. I can just hear the chatter down in the trenches: "I is sorry my brother but I goin hafta bus yo head head wide open and yo mamma ain't fixin' you no grits 'n gravy and yo girfren' ain't givin' you no puddin'. By the way, how's that class in plasma physics coming along?".
LSU had four turnovers, so how did they win? Well the passing game was pretty much a wash but they almost doubled the Rebels on the ground, plus a few stupid penalties here and a few bone-headed plays there and presto-chango...YOU LOSE! But the really BIG loser in this game is #1 Missississippi State. Can you guess why?
They had an interesting stat on one of the shows about Les Miles. Check this out, going onto the 4th quarter BEHIND, he has a .511 winning percentage. Chew on that awhile.

Ok let's get it out of the way, UVA blew it like a drunk Paris Hilton on a Foo Fighters tour bus. The Heels were outgained 443 to 374 and didn't look so hot themselves, but still Virginia found a way to not get it done (I'll just say Mike London's clock management needs a little work). This might be all she wrote for Coach. This was a game that should have been a win and now the Wahoos' bowl situation is precarious at best. London didn't have a lot of goodwill to start the year so we'll see. But damnit all to hell, I HATE WHEN CAROLINA WINS!!! Hey CW, worn that Carolina sweatshirt lately?

In other action South Carolina went .500 and 2-4 in the SEC, the Vols continue to suck as does the Michigan Wolverines and Texas Longhorns. ECU is 6-1 and Marshall is 8-0. Did I tell you I once met Marshall's Coach? His name is Doc Holliday and he spent a few years in Raleigh as Mike O'Cain's offensive coordinator, and I found him to be very offensive (insert canned laughter here). Naaa, just jiving. He's obviously a pretty good coach having gone 8-0 I don't care who you're playing. I wonder if UVA has his phone number?

At this point in the season there are a lot of GREAT one loss teams out there, and two loss teams as well. Oregon is good (although their defense sucks) 'Bama, Auburn, Mich. St., Nebraska, Ohio State, K-State, TCU, Baylor. The National Championship is wide ass open. I wouldn't hazard a guess as to who is in the top four but I can guarantee there'll be a ton of pissed off teams at the end of the year. Give it a couple of years and they'll trim a game or two off the schedule and go to an 8 or 16 team playoff. There's just too many good teams out there.

Well that's it. Oh, almost forgot, the Wolfpack didn't lose this week.
C-ya, wouldn't wanna be ya!

The Use of Political Proxies

One of the benefits of considering oneself a member of a political party is the proxy value of that membership.  Here's what I mean.  If someone runs as a Republican in a race against a Democrat, I can know nothing about the particulars of the race but STILL have some basic sense of how I should vote simply because someone adheres to the same party as I.  And if I do not educate myself on those particulars, the party proxy is sufficient for me to vote for that person.

We have in our county, and elected council.  One of the members of the council is a friend of ours, Catherine more than me, but a friend nonetheless.  He is a Republican.  I know this only because I had to do significant searching around to figure it out.  It is nowhere on his electioneering material, his yard signs, his bumper sticker--nada.  He is in fact, a member of a small subgroup of county council members who sorta run as a block--Democrat and Republican--under the banner of "County over Party".

I decided that I was not going to vote for him in the upcoming election, because of his attempt to be apolitical.  During a conversation with the Kitten yesterday, she was much exercised by this revelation.  Now the Kitten and I don't do politics all that well, because the few things she cares about, she cares about deeply, and sometimes I disagree but care far less deeply.  Those conversations never end well.  The Kitten was really taken aback by my stance, and insisted that it didn't make sense.  I made the counterargument that it makes perfect sense, that I prefer to spend my days thinking and reading about national and international issues, and that I use the "party proxy" to guide my local decisions.  This simply didn't wash, and I could see that she was getting a bit upset with me--not only because she is friends with the guy I wasn't going to vote for, but because in her opinion, his stances on the issues were much better aligned with the interests of our household.  Sensing the significant likelihood of there being no good way out of this, I stumbled upon an idea of true genius.

I said, "ok, Kitten.  You will be m proxy.  I will consult with you on local elections and matters, and rather than use the party as my proxy, I'll use you."  Problem solved.  Pure, f*****g genius.

On The Road Again

This missive comes to you from the United Club, terminal C Dulles Airport.  I'm in a foul temper, so I might as well just let it out.

Firstly, this airport continues to blow, and I really mean blow.  There is not an airport in the nation where the daily parking is as far removed from the terminals, as here.  Not even Providence RI, which also blows.

Whereas once upon a time, we cleared security here and then got on the dreaded people movers, when the people mover docked, you were at your terminal.  Pure and simple.  Annoying, but pure and simple. So now there is a light rail system, which during its construction, I believed would make this less of a suckhole of an airport.  Except it doesn't.  It only sorta gets you to your terminal, after which you have another long walk.  Ridiculous place.

Speaking of security, the real source of my distemper is TSA/Security.  You see, I'm one of those guys who paid his money, filled out the paperwork, got fingerprinted, and had the interview--so that I could go through the TSA "Pre" line.  No taking the computer out, no taking the liquids out, no taking the shoes off, no taking the belt off.  A great way to speed through security.  Except if you have a hunk of titanium instead of a hip.  You see, those circular xray machines were a Godsend for me.  The metal detectors ALWAYS trip on me, and then I get the pat and wand action.  So even before TSA Pre, the circular scanners were a serious upgrade for my security experience.  What Dulles apparently hasn't yet figured out though is that some of the people going through TSA -Pre have ortho implants--but there is no circular scanner at the TSA Pre station.  And so there I go, fat, dumb, and happy, and the metal detector trips.  Ok, I figure I need to get a quick pat and I'm on my way.  No.  Back through.  Take my shoes and belt off--essentially back to the non-Pre status.

So as I stood there fuming, I asked to see a supervisor.  A kindly gentleman came over to speak with me and I informed him of the significant design problem.  He copped to it, and told me I should ask to be escorted to the Xray scanner next time.  I asked if I were the first person to bring this up.  He said, "no, happens all the time".  Life under Obama.

I am on my way back to San Diego, where I have a wonderful client and where I will be traveling once a month or so for the next year.  This is my third trip since August, and I am attempting to find "the perfect hotel" to stay in.  My requirements?  Free WiFi.  Free parking.  Some kind of a gym.  20 minute commute to the jobsite or less. And a good bed.  Name brands preferred.  This time, I am staying at a Holiday Inn Express that appears to meet most of my requirements, so we'll see how it turns out.

Back to my happy place....I am considering springing my participation in "No Shave" November on the Kitten when I return.  This is no small item, as she and the Kittens tend to shun me when I am bearded.  It will not be a domestically peaceful month if I undertake this operation.  There is a reasonable chance for increased passive/aggressive behavior.  There really isn't much of an upside to it, except I don't have to shave.  It has become crystal clear as I have aged that three things make me look older--being fatter, longer hair, and a beard.  We'll see if this flies--I'll keep you posted.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Badinage From the Front Lines of Caroline du Nord

Legal/illegal is just a state of mind in North Carolina and it appears illegals don't mind at all. Currently there are 10,000 illegal aliens on the North Carolina voter rolls. This is due to a number of factors, not the least of which is our Republican Governor's decision to give Jorge from Heujucar a driver's license when he couldn't spell driver's license in English OR Spanish (actually Nahuati) if you held an AK-47 from an Arizona gun shop courtesy of the Holder Justice Department's illegal gunrunning to his greasy, louse bitten head.
How did we get here? Let me explain. First, a NC driver's license is issued to a known illegal which looks EXACTLY THE SAME as every other driver's license. Then DOT sends a list to the Board of Elections and if they smell a rat they send the name (maybe a real name, maybe an alias...who would know?) to Homeland security which tells them if the individual is a citizen and therefore eligible to vote. Remember, when the license is issued these folks are ADMITTED illegals. Well, lo and behold the overwhelming majority of inquiries made to Homeland are found to be just fine, yes indeed they are citizens and eligible to vote. Nevermind  that in many cases the individual in question wouldn't have had time to get a green card, much less full citizenship. And nevermind this 10k number is just what they have found SO FAR based on underreported numbers from Homeland. God only knows the real number!
I've always thought voter fraud accounted for about 3-5% nationwide. I viewed it much like a department store views "shrinkage", just the cost of doing business. But friends this is a real problem and 5% might be a huge miscalculation. If we can root out this stuff and get it front and center in the public's mind we can show the Democrats to be the liars and cheats we know them to be, and maybe, just maybe we can derail some of Obama's immigration insanity (and actually win an election or two).

Can you believe Carolina? I'm more perplexed and dumbfounded than angry (or happy). As you know Tickbite is Wolfpack country, not many preppies wearing Bass Weejuns running around here. But UNC is OUR university too. If there is wrongdoing WE have an interest as well. I may be an opponent of UNC on the athletic field but we Tickbite-ittes want to be proud of our flagship university not ashamed. I have seen many scandals over the years, as we all have; point shaving, criminals with scholarships, out of control alumni etc., but I've never seen bogus classes! For 20 years they had "paper classes" that didn't meet! AND they want us to believe only two people knew about it. Give me a break !!
This has grown beyond a normal scandal, we're into SMU territory now. I can well understand the fear they are experiencing. The Tar Heel brand is worth millions upon millions in real dollars, forget about the intrinsic, intangible value. They want to protect it and their instincts are to circle the wagons. I get it, but that time is over. Forget about NCAA sanctions, somebody needs to go to jail! The powers that be should just forget about sports for a while. They need to get a hatchet man over at the athletic department and clean house from top to bottom, and I'm talking everybody from the water girls to Roy Williams. And please don't tell me Williams didn't know about this, the kids he was coaching knew, they were the ones enrolled in the "classes", so the idea that he wasn't aware is ridiculous. That is the only way to restored confidence. I don't say this out of malice, I say this as a product and a friend of the North Carolina university system. God I wish Bill Friday were here, he'd know what to do and have the guts to do it.

That's all I got. I was gonna talk about Monica Lewinsky a bit, but what's the point? Hillary's minions will have this bimbo idiot jumping out a window if she keeps it up (oh it was terrible, she was soooo depressed). She's just a blow-job joke anyway but if it happens Drudge will get the blame.

Big Fat Friday Free For All

Hello, Chumley.  What's got you down?  Honey Boo Boo's mom pass on you for a child molester?  Ebola putting a cramp in your hipster lifestyle?  Got a Russian sub in your home waters you just can't find?

Share, friends.  Share.

This morning's weigh in--190.8.

Interested in what I've weight on/around this date over the years?


So--my average weight on/about this date from 2004 on is 182.8.  I am currently 8 pounds above that.  Gotta get my act together.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Hammer's College Football Review: Week 8, Skate and Don't Hesitate

What a game last night in Tallahassee! The Notre Dame Fighting Irish came to town loaded for bear and brother-man they almost pulled it off. Admittedly I haven't paid much attention to the Irish this year but I was very favorably impressed. Brian Kelly has put together a squad with not a lot of weaknesses. Their skill positions are outstanding and their line play is absolutely top notch! But they need to learn how and when to cheat. I refer specifically to blatant picks on cornerbacks right there in front of God and and a national television audience (it cost them the game winning touchdown). So my condolences to all you Papists and half-drunk mud apes of Irish ancestry out there, but buy a clue, you ain't gonna get those kind of calls at Doak Campbell Stadium on a Saturday night.

In other action #4 Baylor is #14 Baylor having lost to the best unranked team in the country, WVU. The Mountaineers blow hot and cold so often it must be a bitch for their fans. At least NC State sucks CONSISTENTLY! TCU looked great against OK State. 'Bama got some payback against Texas A&M, Oklahoma lost to K-State at home (State's defense is KILLER!) and Ohio State is starting to make a move.

I watched most of the Ga. Tech/UNC game yesterday, It was very disappointing. I expected the Jackets to bring that triple option into Kenan and hang 60 on statistically the worst defense in college football. WRONG! Coach Larry Fedora (never trust anybody named Larry) got those assholes to play over their heads so that's two in a row now for Tech.

CW's Cavaliers got dusted by Dook yesterday in Durham. It was funny, all the while the game was on CW was stuck watching The Marriage of Figaro in some dinky little theatre in bumfuq Mary-Land some God-damn where. Nothing like a little Mozart when your team sucks I always say. I could tell he was really into the performance posting on FB every five minutes. And that's just the thing isn't it? A good libretto ain't got a chance in the cultural wasteland of crab-on-the-brain eastern Mary-land. What a waste of time by all parties involved.

Well, I think we can announce the first firing of the year, Florida's Will Muschamp. The poor guy is drowning. The Gators got humiliated yesterday in The Swamp by the Misery Tigers and trust me, Gainesvillains are in no way amused. Oh they'll let him play out the year, but after the FSU game he'll have a bus ticket in hand.

As I alluded to last week, the Shepherd University Rams did indeed lose to Notre Dame (the South Euclid, Ohio Notre Dame) 35-34. Falcon QB Ray Russ threw for 459 yards to hand Shepherd their first loss of the year and dash their hopes of a chickenshit, small college, whogivesashit national championship. Oh well, could be worse, you could be a NCSU fan.

Do you folks realize that if we had to pick the four teams for the playoff right now we'd have two teams from Missississippi in it? Who woulda figured? But since Ole Miss and Miss State play each other the last game probably ain't gonna happen. As you well know, late losses count a helluva lot more than early losses. As it stands now we might even get a two loss team in the playoff.

That's it. I'm kinda bummed what with Duke and Carolina winning and State losing. I'm just not myself. So if I've offended anyone with my off color repartee, then I just want to take this opportunity and say, get over it numb-nuts. C-ya.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

On the Virtues of Sleeping In

Six graduate level writing assignments await my studied eye today, so in order to ready myself to hack others' writing to pieces I figured I'd do a bit of my own first.  I rise today in full-throated support of not rising; that is, in sleeping in.  It is something I do only rarely, but having done so this morning I am flush with praise for the practice and hope for its continuing presence in my life.

I am an early riser.  Partially by choice and partially as a result of geography, I tend to get up pretty early each day, including Saturday and Sunday.  Additionally, having made a career choice that virtually guarantees that I always have work to do and that the level of work cannot possibly be confined to eight hour days, I find myself up early even when I don't have long commutes to make, simply to have enough time to get the work done.

This morning was different, and it involved a conscious choice.  You see Kitten #2 is an accomplished equestrienne, and she has a very,very important show today. Her performance will determine if she makes the Washington International Horse Show, something that has been her aim for about two years now.  Her determination and hard work has been something to watch, and I am truly proud of her for the way she has approached this goal.  The show is so important that she asked that I (and her grandmother) not come to it, and is only allowing her mother to attend as a means of transportation to and from.  I go to many of her shows, and I have been witness to the nervousness and tension that goes along with this pursuit--and so I took my leave with aplomb.

The show necessitated an early wake up (early for Kittens) of 0500.  When the alarm went off, I laid there and considered my options.  I could grab my mask and earplugs and roll over and go back to sleep, or I could get up, make them breakfast, and see them off with hugs and best wishes of support.  You have no idea how attractive the former option was, especially considering how often I am up at 0500 as it is.  I did in fact, grab the mask and earplugs, and put both on whilst the Kitten pursued her toilette behind closed door, an important detail as she did not SEE me make this commitment to sloth and self-love.  I laid there for a minute or two and reconsidered my decision.  IF Kitten #2 makes the big show in DC, I will not be able to be there because I am flying to California.  I had already been informed that my presence at THAT show was absolutely desired, and I earned some raised eyebrows at missing yet another seminal event.  Given these circumstances, my laying in bed might be viewed with some scorn.

Because higher order thought processes had begun--something that always dooms my ability to sleep-- I bounded out of bed and asked the Kitten if I could make her and her spawn some eggs before they left.  I immediately entered faux husband and faux father of the year status with this simple act.  "You don't have to" she said, and while I agreed that I did not HAVE to, I did not feel completely free not to, at least while confined to my own guilty conscience.  And so, I alighted to the kitchen, engaged in the standard feeding rituals with the two dogs who apparently had grown to miss me with great feeling in the previous six hours, and made a pan of scrambled eggs.  When Kitten #2 appeared, she thanked me for the "good luck flowers" I set in her room yesterday (I'm no dummy) and began to devour her eggs.  They were not around more than ten minutes before it was time to load up and move out, and so I saw them off with a clear starry sky and a crescent moon overhead.

And then went back to bed.  And sprawled out decadently.  And put my mask on so that the approach of day would go unnoticed.  And put ear plugs in so that whatever noise the dogs might make would be ignored.

I laid there remembering the DVD-encased advice of some guru I had once heard who said, "if you think deeply about your breathing, no other thought can enter your mind.'  This always works for me, and so that is what I did.  And three and a half hours later, I woke up.  Dazed, but satisfied.  Completely refreshed.  Actually, felling accomplished, as if I had stolen something of great value from some kind of protective giant, or dragon.

Was this theft a responsible act? No.  Indeed not.  I have a ton of work to do.  I am scheduled to go sit in the local viewing area for the Met Opera and enjoy "Le Nozze di Figaro".  The Kitten has been patiently waiting for me to run more cat 6 cable to variously inaccessible parts of the house. But none of this matters to me right now, as I am well-rested and self-satisfied.

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