Thursday, February 19, 2009

Quote of the Day -- Feb.19, 2009

A government big enough to give you everything you want is also a government big enough to take everything you’ve got.
~Gerald Ford, Address to a joint session of Congress (12 August 1974)

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Time Travel

Warning: You may wish not to read this post unless armed with a pair of safety goggles.

Wow. I've lost nearly 60 hours out of my life.

I will tell you: there is nothing quite like a strong bout of stomach-related ills to make time pass quickly.

OK. Maybe "quickly" is the wrong word, because as you are sitting on the floor of the bathroom, holding a cold washcloth to your face and neck, all while... well, you get the idea. While all that is going on, the time passes very very slowly.

No, while that is happening you are fervently praying for a quick death.

But looking back from the other side of illness? Wow. Where did the time go? I had so many blog posts I wanted to make. So much I wanted to do.

And I am not the only one to so suffer. This may actually be a blog-spread stomach virus. Everyone I know has had it, and most of us are bloggers (or at least connected by e-mail). I know two of my close friends in SLC have suffered through the same 60 hours I did. Other bloggers have had it staggered on-and-off around the past week or so.

Sheesh.

Now you know why I recommended the safety goggles. I may be over it, but who knows what contaminants are floating your way via the internet.

Good luck to you and yours.

Keep your head up, and out of --in the words of the Immortal Bill Cosby-- the place that was never meant for your face.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Quote of the Day

"An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life."
~Robert Heinlein, "Beyond this Horizon"
I do not tend to agree with many of the Dean's socialist positions. On this one, however, he is spot on.

Thoughts?

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Nuptial Nuttiness

I must start out this entry with an admission: I am a Wal-Mart shopaholic.

The store that everyone loves to hate (at least, everyone says they love to hate) is a guilty pleasure. I have to admit, I like those $5 DVD feature films. I like the cheap t-shirts. I even like the $10 watches.

And really, don't we all like throwing on the hole-filled sweatpants, baggy t-shirt, and flip-flops (yes, in January) to sneak in a shopping trip at 11:30 p.m.?

Please say yes; I can't be the only one.

But a couple in Utah have gone a little too far . . . .

Now, I once spent a great deal of time in Utah. I still consider Utah my home away from home. Too many school memories there, after all, to simply cast away.

But come on, Utah. You need to disavow this couple RIGHT NOW or you very well may be entitled to the name: White Trash Capitol of America.

This story gives "white trash" a whole new name. I am sorry, but it's true.

ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) — To save money, a Wal-Mart assistant married his sweetheart at his workplace, standing up next to the barbecue accessories in the garden center of the store.

It was the first Wal-Mart wedding for 5th District Judge Eric Ludlow, who administered the vows Saturday at the Bloomington store in St. George.

Wal-Mart auto department employee Greg Scott Ford exchanged vows with Corissa Otto, whom he met two Valentine Days ago.

The marriage makes for a family of nine — she had six children, he had two, and together they have one more.


Many thanks to my buddy JR for this story.

---UPDATE---
O.K. After reading a bit more of the story, I guess I have to dial it back a bit. It seems they truly are victims of the economy.

But still . . . is a visit to the Justice of the Peace more expensive than this?

Different strokes, I suppose, is the best answer.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Crisis? Really?

All we have heard since November 2008 is the worsening state of the country's economy. All we have heard for the past two weeks is how the passage of the stimulus spendulous package was critical for the survival of the country, essential to stem the coming catastrophe, and likely the only thing to keep Satan's gateway from Hell from opening and allowing a demonic possession of the entire Earth. Something akin to Gozer crawling out of a New York refrigerator and ultimately causing a marshmallow explosion of epic proportions.

O.K. Maybe the last was a bit of hyperbole.

Maybe.

But now what are we hearing?

From Reuters today:

President Barack Obama's aides warned Americans on Sunday not to expect instant miracles from the $787 billion economic stimulus bill he will sign this week, but said it would help eventually.
I'm sorry, Mr. President, but did you not just spend two weeks telling us that our utter destruction was emminent if this bill did not pass? Telling us of the catastrophe that was certain, unless the bill was passed and boost economic growth?

Now you and your staff is telling us that the catastrophe has not, in fact, been averted? That the economic crisis is still getting worse even though the bill passed?

My guess? My guess is that the Republicans who voted against this bill are being set up for the fall. I will predict that if when this economic boost fails, Mr. President and the Democrats will point fingers and say, "It would have worked if it had been bigger, with more money involved, but the eee-vil Republicans would not let us pass anything bigger and better." (Aside: That's right, I said "Eee-vil. As in the froo-its of the De-veel." Gotta love the Axe Murderer.)

So back to the seemingly still-looming economic Armageddon. I'm going to guess that the Prez, in all reality, does NOT believe it will have much of an effect: something on the scale of a speed-bump in front of a runaway tractor-trailer rig in a steep mountain canyon.

Why do I say this? Take a look at this:
After pushing Congress for weeks to hurry up and pass the massive $787 billion stimulus bill, President Obama promptly took off for a three-day holiday getaway.
. . . .
The president plans to spend the Presidents' Day weekend in the Windy City, and is not expected to sign the bill until Tuesday, when he travels to Denver to discuss his economic plan.
I'm sorry, WHAT?!?

HERE'S the story in full if you're interested.

Remember how frantic the Prez and the Dems were to pass this bill last week? The orgiastic furor almost violated the laws of physics. 1,071 pages of text went largely unread because of the looming catastrophe.

And as soon as it's passed, he flits off to Chicago.

Excuse me, Mr. President. This is your job now, y'know?

Oh wait; I forgot. Out of approximately 144 working days in the Senate, he was absent a tremendous percentage of the time. I believe that at one time, the estimate was 80% missed votes.

"So?" I hear you say? So.... He's just working the hours he's used to working, apparently.

You see, it seems the Commander in Chief has not yet figured out that this is a working federal position, not a federally-funded vacation. In office less than a full month and he has already taken a holiday. Man. I remember back when President Bush II took work home to his ranch and actually worked on vacation. Remember the outrage and screaming that took place? I think the echo can still be heard in some corners of Crawford.

But here? "Awww.... Look at the cute couple there. Oh! Isn't that...?"

Yep. That's the Prez and Mrs. Fashion-plate, Michelle Onassis Obama carrying that stylish doggie bag. (Aside: Wait! "Doggie bag"? Did I miss the adoption of the First Canine? Did I actually miss that story? [Yawn] Oh yes, that's right. I DON'T CARE! )

As much as I detest Nancy Pelosi, at least she had the dignity to finish her work (albeit overly-rushed) before she headed off on her vacation. Maybe her tickets were non-refundable.

Or else she did not have her own 747 at her beck and call.

Oh wait! I have it now.... As a sitting President, he must get President's Day off!
Somehow I have missed reading that part of Article II.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Back to the USSR!

Show me round your snow peaked
mountains way down south
Take me to your daddy's farm
Let me hear your balalaika's ringing out
Come and keep your comrade warm.
I'm back in the U.S.S.R. U.S.S.A. boy
You don't know how lucky you are boys

Welcome to the United Socialist States of America, Comrades!

Where's my tinfoil hat?

Well, the spending bill passed the Senate. Now the House and Senate have to compromise our future our Constitution our country on a bill to present to the President.

I wonder how much more that will cost us? And what will it cost our children?

One of my colleagues e-mailed me and opined: "The Democrats are going to be in a world of hurt in two years."

My response: "Are they? Are there enough people that care about this to make a difference in two years? And what will the country even look like in two years? Will we even have free elections any longer?"

Yes, probably hyperbole. But is it really? What will history really say about this period of time? Or will it say anything at all, because the "victors" will not want the rabble to know the truth, that -- once -- we were free? How many of our freedoms and our liberties will we still have?

And tell me this: How can so many stupid people be leading our government?

Or an even better question: How can we keep electing these same stupid people to positions of leadership in our government?

And because we do, do we deserve what we get?

That's a scary thought. Think about all of the stories in the Scriptures, where a people "get what they deserve." It usually does not end well, does it? Especially in the Book of Mormon, everyt time the people are as prideful and stiffnecked as we Americans seem to have become. Do we really need to be humbled this way? Honestly?

Are we intelligent adults, we voters? Or are we sheep?

Actually . . . maybe you should not answer that. I am scared to know the answer. The Gadiantons are no longer at the door. They're already inside and sitting at the dinner table, folks.

Because I do not know how to say "Baaaaaa" in Russian, I'll simply say, "до свидания."

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Friday, February 06, 2009

Heroes

I met a real hero today.

That's a word that has lost its meaning. It is so over-used these days; everyone from sports stars to pop stars are called "heroes."

Hero: n. [L. heros; Gr. a demigod.]

1. A man of distinguished valor, intrepidity or enterprise in danger; as a hero in arms.

2. A great, illustrious or extraordinary person; as a hero in learning.
~1828 Webster
I am sorry, sports fans, but Michael Jordan and Brett Favre? Not heroes. I do not care what roles they play, what songs they sing, or how many times they have checked themselves into rehab, I cannot think of many -- if any -- pop culture "icons" (for lack of a better word) that deserve the moniker of "hero." Certainly none that I would want the Horde to emulate. (Aside: I mean, no matter how heroic their characters, do you want a son to grow up to be like Christian Bale or Robert Downey, Jr.? Really? Are Miley Cyrus and Lindsay Lohan the daughters you want to have?)

This man, however, was in his mid-fifties, I would say. He was career Army: twenty years of hard work. We are not talking a desk pilot, here. This man served twenty long years, through some of the worst days in our modern history--1961-1981: a lot of crap went down in those two decades.

This man, in his words, had a lot wrong with him. "I've spent most of the last several months in bed; I'm in bad shape," he told me. His wife sat there with tears in his eyes as he talked how much time he spent at the VA Hospital, and how much he owed to her--his second wife. "She's saved my life," he admitted. He went on to explain that he was fully combat disabled.

This means he was not disabled by falling off a ladder in a supply warehouse somewhere stateside. As he told me, "I'm disabled because of combat."

Needless to say, I thanked him profusely for his service. He accepted it gratefully; I told him that I hoped he heard it often. He confessed that he didn't hear it much, but a lot more than he used to hear it.

I almost wept, hearing that. His humility was evident. The kind of humility that his experiences would give a person. A truly scriptural humility. The kind I would expect Captain Moroni to have had. But still, I almost wept -- with sadness, as much as gratitude and amazement.

You have got to be kidding me. Here we have someone who has almost given the last full measure, someone who has protected our Liberty and way of life, and he receives little gratitude? I would like to believe that it is because he does not walk around in his uniform. I rationalized that people just do not know he is a veteran, let alone a combat-injured veteran. I also, sadly, realized that it was more likely the result of political correctness: it just is not fashionable to respect the warrior.

Then, he said something that pushed him up another notch or two in my book: "I don't want a free ride. I'm paying all my creditors back."

He would not even entertain the thought of a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. He was here to see if a Chapter 13 would work for him, and if he could pay his creditors back at 100%.

Do you know how often I hear that?

Usually it is "How can we screw over these jerks that have taken so much of my money?" or words to that effect. Now, sometimes this attitude is almost warranted, because there are a lot of predators out there, preying on the stupid and uninformed in our society. But it is not always the case; probably not even the majority of the time.

But he was adamant. "I'm paying back everything I owe. I just need a little breathing room; I need the bleeding to stop just a little so that I can get on my feet and start paying them all back, everything to everyone I owe."

Wow. I cannot express what a feeling I had. He had nearly given his all to his country and here he was, not asking for a handout, not asking for "his due," not even really asking for much help. All he wanted was some breathing room so that he could pay everyone back at 100%.

I do not often see heroes. Combat veterans do not normally scream out their records for all to hear and praise, so I do not often get to thank them for their service and sacrifices.

Add on to that someone who does not want to pursue what others would think they were owed, who do not want to take advantage of the system? Strange and uncommon in itself.

Together? A rarity. I feel as if a dragon has just crossed the road in front of me, majestic, stately, and truly unexpected.

Not only do I thank you, sir, I salute you.

These are the heroes I, as a father, want for the Horde's role models.

Not Michael Jordan. Not Miley Cyrus.

But HEROES

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Trust Me. I Talk Good.

As anyone who knows me well will tell you, there is little else that raises my hackles like really bad grammar, poor spelling, and inaccurate puncutation. Both of these things send my proofreading brain spinning.

I almost fell off the bus today because of this problem.

There is a new business in town. Apparently, it is one of these outfits that performs commercial, albeit medical-type, scans for early warning of cancer, heart disease, and the like. Obviously, in this economy, they could be considered a luxury expenditure, and have therefore increased their advertising presence accordingly.

Well... I am relatively certain that this was not the kind of advertising effect they wanted.

You see, as I was sitting on the bus this morning, my eyes wandered up to the advertising along the space between the window and roof of the bus. Here, right in front of me, was an advertisement for this body-scan outfit. (Aside: Perhaps I am being too charitable in not printing their name. Maybe, just maybe, I need the extra points that charity could get me. Or maybe I am simply weak. Whatever it is, forgive me, because I am going to withhold the name. But I do believe it is a national company; if you see the same kind of advertising, please let me know.)

I quickly read the new advertisement. Then the mental nails scratched down the chalkboard in my brain. I re-read it to make sure I had not misunderstood. Then I read it a third time in utter disbelief. Surely they did not mean....

Here's what I saw (alas, if only I'd had a camera with me)--it was an ad for a lung scan, $299.00 if I remember correctly, and the text was as follows:

Breathe easier.
Get screened.
Their is a good chance it will save your life.
Excuse me? What?!

You're serious? A professional, likely multi-state, medically-related company does not have the sense to proofread their advertising? I do not know whether to hope they had an outside advertising company help them or not. Which is worse: to make this mistake in-house and not catch it? or to hire someone so inept as to make this mistake and then not catch the mistake in the draft?

Plain and simple: would you trust these people too to tell you weather whether you had cancerous cells in you're your lungs?

Really now, would you?

And actually, the second thought I had was even worse: how many people read that advertisement every day and see nothing wrong with it? Truthfully, is that not the actual state of society? of public education? or am I being too cynical?

This entire event has actually caused a slight headache this morning. Sharp pains at the base of my skull.

I'm going to go lie down for awhile, I believe.

Lie, I said. Not lay. Their There is a difference, you know.

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