Thursday, August 24, 2006


The theme of today's blog is beating a home an idea like a dead horse.

For my part, I'm going to beat home the idea that our President is a complete and total idiot that brings absolutely nothing to the table of a free and democratic society. This is an idea I've been beating like a dead horse for quite some time. I even refer to Bush as the Village Idiot. The quagmire in Iraq is an absolute mockery of what a sound thinking, well intentioned and forward planning person would do in the Village Idiot's place. And while the public was about as fast as a dead horse in grasping this fact, they are coming around. Not only does the vast majority of Americans now agree that going into Iraq was a mistake, but (according to a recent poll that I read about in the paper this morning) 60% now feel our involvement in Iraq actually increases the likelihood of another torrorist attack here at home. And a record low percentage of people actually view Iraq as an actual front in our Global War on Terror (and Islam). These new numbers are only encouraging from the stand point that there is an election in November. Hopefully, a completely immeasurable and unknowable concept like "Moral Values" will not be the 3! deciding factor on who people vote for this time around.

In the mean time, the Idiot himself continues to beat his talking points on Iraq home like a dead horse. But only, he's far more classy in how he does it. He takes the dead horse, props it up and sprays some turtle wax on it, calling it a brand new horse. Forever, his talking point was "It's better to fight them there than here." This week, he unveiled the freshly cleaned dead horse: "If we leave, they're going to follow us home." The beauty of this one is that it further enforces another dead horse talking point that Bush is a lot more subtle in whipping: "Preserve my legacy and leave it for the next guy to figure out." Bush has set up Iraq to be an absolute no-win situation for his successor. If Democracy takes hold (which is unlikely in the long run, but possible in the short), Bush looks like a hero and a genius (of which he is neither). But if we pull out and chaos ensues (which is inevitable regardless of our presences there), he was right all along it's a good thing we stayed. Those are the only 2 options. This is part of the reason why I hate this President so much. We do not live in a black and white world and yet there isn't a single issue that can't be boiled down to one of 2 options for him. We absolute should pull out because we didn't belong there in the first place. There absolute will be chaos because we actively removed the only stabilizing force in the region. But there's a million reasons why each of these things happened. Democracy will not take hold because we removed Sadaam without cause. It will do so because it is what the people want and they fight for it themselves. A democracy absolutely must be earned. And chaos will not ensue because we're not there any more. Chaos will ensue because there are far too many forces at play in the region to simply boil down to bad and good guys: oil, religion, classes, human rights, education, basic services. All of these things impact the region and it's volatility. We are just another snake on the plane, Mother Fuckerer. We just happen to be a big Mother Fucking snake with a big box of band-aids and opposable thumbs.

And the last tie in to the dead horse theme is the fact that our President is about as useful as a dead horse in the middle of a desert. It's like the American People are the rider and they decided to let the dumb horse decide where to go. That horse took us into the desert. And we just said, "Hey this is where the horse wants to go so I'll just let him go. Foolishly, the American people actually thought the horse could get them out of the desert. Trusted that the horse knew where the water was. Figured the horse had a plan for finding food. Even if the horse is the famous Mr. Ed, that's still a dumb horse! Only the people that don't hear the horse talk know the real truth about the talking horse: IT'S STILL A FRIGGIN HORSE!!! The people's only hope for survival in that vast desert now is eating the carcass. I hope everyone gets hungry around November.

Friday, August 11, 2006

You're all wet

After 9/11, it took about 2 years for flying to become even remotely palatable again. With the ridiculous lines at security and the demanded removal of all shoes regardless of whether they were moccasins or sandals and the constant bag checks, it was a horrific nightmare. But the process had actually become reasonable within the past couple years. Now we have the mess with the water bombers.

Before I continue, for those that don't know, I think all the security stuff is a way of perpetuating fear and forcing the standard sheep citizen to believe that we NEED the current administration to watch after them. Airport security is just the tip of the ice berg, literally. When journalists actually grow a spine and decide to go for a dive, people are shocked at how deep this ice berg goes. And it all goes on unchecked thanks to the culture of fear.

Now, with the current situation, I just don't buy this whole liq exp thing. Sure, they exist, but how are a bunch of terrorist looking people going to congregate on an airplane and put together the mechanism required for detonation without arousing any suspicion? It just wouldn't ever happen ever again. Period. Yes, it's unfortunate for the innocent and nice Middle Easterners, but it's a realistic by-product of the fear culture. And now you can't bring ANY beverages on board? Really? Have you seen the size of bev erages given on flights? I don't think I've been on a flight longer than 2 hours and not brought my own water. It's almost criminal to not allow you to bring on board a beverage.

And it's not like it's necessary. Make the person sample all liquid carry-ons. Do they die? No? They're clear. If you don't want to sample your hairspray, you check it. This whole thing is absurd.

On MSNBC last night, my aunt paused briefly on Keith Olberman's show. He hates O'Reily so I kind of like him and I'm interested in what he has to say. Then he says the following to a security specialist: for years now, people haven't been allowed to bring any beverages into stadiums, so how can the airlines justify their lax security all this time? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!? That was the must reeeeetarded thing I've every heard on talk TV, and I've seen my fair share of both Hannity and O'Reily. YOU CAN'T BRING IN BEVERAGES TO A BALL GAME BECAUSE THEY WANT THE REVENUE!!!!!!!!!! Sure they they will claim is it to keep out alcohol or so you don't chuck it and hurt someone. But we all know the real reason. Actually, at Dodger stadium, you can bring in any plastic bottle still sealed. That's just as reasonable a requirement as making people sample the beverage.

So now, the Village Idiot's international War on Terror gains credence because stadiums have been on the forefront of liquid explosive security measures and nobody's tried to blow one of them up yet. SEE!!! It's working at stadiums!!!! Olberman should have mentioned that movie theaters deserve just as much credit for their diligence.

Is it a good thing that these yahoos were caught? Absolutely. Should we be careful and not take our safety for granted? Definitely. Should we give up our right to bring water onto an airplane because of an isolated incident? Absolutely definitely not. They don't add up. It's not black and white like that. You've not been safer at a stadium because they've forced everyone to throw away outside beverages for the past 10 years. I can still get into stadiums without taking off my shoes. After the London subway incident, we didn't ban people from carrying bags on our public transportation. The obvious difference here is that the Federal Government can mandate security regulations on planes. Not on subways. Not at stadiums.

And saying things like stadiums have been safer than planes because we haven't been able to take beverages into those sites only gives ammunition to a lunatic every bit as dangerous to our freedoms as the terrorists.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Stuff we haven't done yet

We've been in Florida for about 6 weeks now and there are several things I wanted to do once we arrived. Stuff that I always liked doing before that I thought Jenn might enjoy. And by no means is it stuff that I expected to do during the first 6 weeks or even the first 6 months. But stuff that I'd like to get around to doing and not end up being one of those things that is perpetually on the "we'll do that next weekend" list. Here's the list of some of that stuff, a description of it and whether we've done it yet or not.

Wings - My favorite wing place in Florida, Wing City, is no more. My second favorite, Wings Plus, is thriving and we have indeed been. Jenn didn't like it as much as I do. The good news is that there's one within delivery range from where we're moving. I'm not sure there's an establishment west of the Mississippi that can actually do wings.
Yesterdays - This is my favorite fancy restaurant in South Florida. It's right on the Intercoastal, which is a waterway that separates the beaches from the main land. They have the best cheesecake anywhere. They have an awesome Caesar Salad. Because it's spendy and fancy, we haven't gone yet. It's not going any where. I can wait for this one.
Hooters on the beach - It's one thing to go to Hooters. It's another thing to go to Hooters on the beach. I haven't even been to the beach with Jenn yet. We'll get there.
Have a good cheesesteak - this one was just for me. Check. That was out of the way the first night. I don't think you can get a good cheesesteak west of Pittsburgh.

Viscaya - This is a turn of the century Spanish-style mansion built right on the water in Miami. It has a really cool garden in the back. The house is immense. It was actually used for the filming of Ace Ventura. Anyway, we haven't been yet. Again, this one isn't going anywhere. I'm certain we'll get there during one of our trips to visit Blair in Miami.
Pier 66 - It's a hotel on Ft. Lauderdale beach. The cool thing about it is that the top floor has a rotating bar. I figured, with FLL now being the Miami to Boynton mid-way point, we can meet up with our Miami friends there one of these weekends.
Disney day trip - When we get to Boynton, and it's only a 2 hour drive, I'm 100% certain this will happen. I'd like to do a short weekend trip soon-ish, too.
Everglades - Not something to do during the summer. For any reason.
Busch Gardens - This one is better as a day trip. I haven't even talked to her about this one yet. They have a new coaster. It's definitely better to wait until the summer crowds go away.

Baseball - Been to my one Marlins game requirement. Can't wait for next year! Jenn didn't go. She hates baseball, but I thought she might go just for the fun company. I was wrong, but that's OK.
Bowling - Once we get settled in, I'm excited to be in a league with Eddie again. I'd be even more excited if Jenn agreed to be part of a mixed league!
Football - I want to go to a Dolphins game and a Hurricanes game this season. I'm not sure Jenn will want to do either one, but I'm hoping I can talk her into it.

OK, I'll admit it. This entire post was just a thinly veiled excuse to get a little more excited about the start of football season.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

My life has a house (buyer)

For anyone who cares, here's where we are with buying our house.

On the technical side - the stuff that actually matters from the stand point of, "if it doesn't get done, the deal falls through," - we've got 3 things actively going on.

1) Loan Application Documentation - We have just about everything that was requested of us. I have to reprint our bank statement from the previous period because the on-line print out I did doesn't show the numbers for each entry. They got cut off. Unfortunately, we have to use an on-line statement because Bank of America has California customers and the Rest of the US customers. If you leave California, you either need to close your California account and open a new ROUS account. Obviously, that's a problem for auto-pay bills and is a giant hassle in general. Except the banks in ROUS can't do anything but deposits and withdrawals for CA customers. Also, I'm waiting for 1 more 401K statement and we have to get Jennifer's. The loan guy says the 401K stuff probably won't enter into it.

2) Insurance - This one we have some time on. I thought we had had a HUGE development yesterday when we got a quote that was about $1000 less than what we were expecting. However, after receiving the written quote, I'm afraid that it might not cover any damage as a result of a hurricane. And while I hate to be accused of thinking negatively, there are just some risks I'm not willing to take. I'm in the process of trying to get other quotes, but it hasn't been easy. So many insurance companies won't do business in Florida that it's difficult to find even a broker than can help with coverage.

3) Home Owner's Association - We were given a 3 page application from the seller's broker for the home owner's association. It turns out the application is actually 16 pages. And we can't schedule a HOA approval interview until the application is done. This is the most annoying of the 3 because it just seems a tad silly. But, obviously it's an important step. And I suppose it's a good sign that the HOA actually takes some interest in who they let in. I've been assured by the realtor that once we jump through their hoops, we'll have no problems.

On the non-technical side, Jenn and I went furniture shopping this past weekend. We went to 5 places. 3 had nothing that really grabbed our attention. 1 had an awesome barstool and matching table set. And the other had multiple selections we really liked of everything else that we needed. Unfortunately, they also happened to offer the worst financing terms. we both believe, however, that we've done a relatively exhaustive search. Since we've found stuff we like, we're just going to go with that.

Now, we're in the process of picking paint colors. We have a general idea of the direction we want to go. The accent color in the main living room will be decided this weekend after we go curtain shopping, but we know what we're looking for. We have the primary color all but picked. We're pretty sure of what we're going to do with the spare bed room. We still have to figure out a master br color scheme and the accent for the spare. The bathrooms, although in dire need of help, we've put on hold for the time being. We'll get them painted this year, but maybe not this month. They need remodeling work and it may be worth while to do it all in one shot, which would mean delaying painting. Those are my thoughts not entirely confirmed by Jenn, but I think she might be on the same page.

That's where we're at right now. We continue to get way ahead of ourselves. And I know that everyone wants a football posting, but believe it or not, the home buying process has actually dwarfed the opening of training camps. But I have my 2nd fantasy draft in a week. That will help get me back in the swing of things!