Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Random Thoughts

A reader pointed out in my last "Random Thoughts" that the possessive is "its," not "it's." Yes. I knew that, but try telling my fingers (okay, finger) which always types "it's." Sometimes I don't catch it. Sorry. But I also type "get's" a lot, and that's never right, go figure. Thankfully, spell check catches that error. Alas, when I think "there," my finger may type "their" or even "they're," requiring correction.

How come the media were quick to link the Darwinist Oslo shooter to Christian Conservatives (huh?), but couldn’t find any link by the Muslim Fort Hood shooter yelling "Allah Akbar" as he slaughtered his comrades to Islam?

I'm going to start selling "Bob Bonds." You laugh, but at about 805, I think our credit rating is better than Uncle Sam's. Our total debt, in the mortgage on our small condo, is about 50% of our annual income, and it's secured by property worth more than the current loan, though I have to pay extra to keep ahead of the Fannie Mae Real Estate Collapse. So Bob Bonds should be AAA rated.

Two years ago we bought our condo here in Blagobamaville for $160k. We thought it was a good deal, as two years before that the same type unit was selling for $250k. Now the same type unit is being advertised for $130k. Yikes. Time to raise my debt ceiling.

Our main problem is that too many politicians and most of the public are ignorant of basic economic principles, and are thus subject to manipulation by cynical leaders calling for "Justice," or "Fair Share" or something else that sounds good and doesn't work. We are like a man who thinks he is so special that the law of gravity doesn't apply to him, and steps out of a 20th floor window. Screaming that gravity is "racist" or a "terrorist" or "unfair" as he hurtles toward the concrete doesn't change a thing.

It's funny how the media outlets like the Old Gray Hooker in NY were delighted to use Wikileaks stolen information, but also delighted to condemn British tabloids for hacking cell phones. What was the difference? That the tabloids stole the info themselves, rather then got it from the thief?

Things look so black, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that people are moving their cash out of US Treasury Bonds and into Czarist War bonds, for safety.

Walking around the house trailing an oxygen hose for my pulmonary fibrosis, getting my ears yanked when it catches on things, has given me a lot of sympathy for dogs on leashes or chains. Makes me want to bite someone.

I walked into the local dance studio to pick up my granddaughter. A five-year-old looked up and said, "Who are you?" "I'm Bob," I replied, "Who are you?" "I'm Abby. What's that thing on your face?" So I explained about pulmonary fibrosis and why I needed oxygen for mobility, then let her honk the bike horn on my O2 tank cart. Instant pals. My kind of girl--straightforward, no games.

Boy, do I hate playing "20 questions" with gas pumps: Zip code? Debit or credit? Car wash? Receipt? Pay outside or inside? Etc. Maybe because I remember my dad getting a dollar's worth of gas, and the attendant checking the oil and cleaning the front and rear windows. And I cherish the memory from college of pulling into a station in Lunenburg, MA and realizing the rip-off artists had jacked the price of regular up to thirty-nine and nine-tenths cents a gallon! I pulled right out, of course.

But I also remember having one black phone in the house, attached to the wall, with different rings depending on which home in our rural south Jersey neighborhood the call was for. Really.

More and more companies make you spend ten or twenty minutes in voice-mail-hell answering questions posed to you by a computer, which can sometimes understand your voice. It wastes your time, but none of theirs. They call that "customer service." Or maybe "progress."

Talking about stuff like this proves I'm old.

In fact, I'm so old, I remember when Liberals said protesting government policies and actions was patriotic. Now they say it's terrorism. Probably they think the Tea Party folks are weird because they don't smoke pot and have sex with strangers at their protests, or trash the area. And most of the Tea Party types probably bathed before coming out.

If you were born in Zimbabwe, Africa, then immigrated to the United States and became a citizen, does that not make you an African-American? How about if you were a white citizen of Zimbabwe forced out when the government expropriated white farms and gave them to black supporters, ensuring the starvation deaths of many thousands of black folks?

Every week, black kids are murdered in Chicago. Unfortunately they are being killed by black gangbasngers, so their deaths aren't considered a big deal except by their families. If the perps were white, there would be a national outcry to find and stop them, with various leaders posing for photo ops. But it's considered normal when the crime is black on black, no more unusual than Muslims killing each other for Allah in many parts of the world. The reporters have the hard job, every week trying to find fresh ways to describe the parents' outrage, grief and sorrow.

Politicians who never walked into a recruiting office and tried to join the military, who talk about how wonderful veterans are, make me ill, regardless of party.

Protecting your kids from failure and hard knocks pretty much guarantees failure and worse hard knocks. Which they won't be able to cope with. If they want self esteem, let them do something esteem worthy.

If God hadn’t wanted me to be fat, he wouldn’t have made beer taste so good.

Never forget to vote. There's always someone on the ballot you'll feel good about voting against, even if he/she wins.

A nickel won't buy what a penny would buy when I was a kid. Why didn't we have fifth-cent coins? Cost too much to make. A dollar won't buy what a quarter would buy when I was a kid. Why didn't we have quarter-dollar bills? Cost too much. So why do we still have pennies and print dollar bills instead of using only dollar coins? The cowardly politicians are afraid to do what is cost-effective for fear of annoying voters. Same with Saturday mail delivery. 90% of home mail is junk mail. I send fewer letters in a month from my office than I sent in a day before e-mail. We PDF formal letters and e-mail them for instant delivery. But they can't tick off the postal unions, regardless of the costs. If the politicians don't have the guts to make these little decisions, how can we expect them to solve the massive budget problems facing us, which will create great pain to fix? And greater pain not to fix, but they hope the blame bubbles will burst over the other party.

As a kid, I went to boy scout camp twice for a week. And I never lacked for things to do in the summer. Lunch was at whatever house we were at. "Be home by dark" was the rule. Are today's kids better and happier for all the structured activities?

The illegal immigration thing is self-limiting. Once the USA is as poor, corrupt and crime-ridden as the countries they are coming from, there will be no reason to come here. Your grandkids may not like it, though. What are you doing to preserve America?

From a political point of view, a legislator is usually better off voting on the losing side of an issue. The winners, having won, aren’t too mad at you. The losers are grateful to you for supporting them in a losing cause. As one of seven Republicans then in the 40-member Massachusetts Senate, I had a lot of opportunity to vote on the losing side. In one two-year period I tallied vote on for my re-election campaign, I voted against increasing the state budget more often than any other Senator. Had I prevailed on those votes, the people who didn’t get the hoped-for tax dollars would have been very angry with me.

Of all the folks writing about our problems, it seems to me that Mark Steyn is the one who best understands the dangers facing the country. And his writing sparkles. But he's from Canada--go figure.

I've been through 45s, 33&1/3s, 8-tracks, cassettes and now CDs. And my dad had several hand-cranked 78 players at one time. (He was a man of frequent enthusiasms.)  I'm too old and tired to try to convert the Celtic and American folk music I like to an iPod. A week after I finished, something new would come out. Maybe already has.

If you want to know what it's like to live in a third world country, you used to have to travel. Now you just have to wait. It will spread out from our inner cities to you. Guaranteed. Buy more ammo.

Some guys have a midlife crisis and buy a red convertible. I'm having mine a little late and at a rough patch for the country, so I'm shopping for an M-1 Garand instead.

The next time there's a riot in a city, issue the police "shoot to kill" orders. It will be over quickly and more lives will be saved in the long run. I'm terrible? It's coming.

I think it was P. J. O'Rourke who said, "Conservatives believe in God. Liberals believe in Santa Claus." Unfortunately, there is no Santa Claus.

I told my ten-year-old granddaughter, Britnye, that I was writing a book just for her, called, "Advice for my Granddaughter." She said, "You should put in a chapter about how to take care of your grandpa." "That sweet, honey. What should I put in it?" I replied. "Well," she said, "Stuff like how to change your diaper!" Huh. No ice cream for her that night.

I have a druggie in the family who pretty much has stolen from me every chance she got in the 20 years I've had the unfortunate connection. She can't understand why I am not interested in taking her out with the family and buying her dinner, or don't believe anything she tells me. But then, she's an Obama voter, with a deep-seated sense of entitlement, who, at 36, has never worked a forty-hour week. What should I expect? But don't tell me the laws against battery aren't a deterrent.

What's the difference between buying a stock and putting your money on Red at the Casino? On Red, you have almost a 50% chance of winning....

They opened a new casino about 100 yards from the building my wife and I work in, and we are delighted. No, we don't gamble there, but they improved the road we commute on, making the drive easier.

I think poets today write free verse because they are too lazy and undisciplined to create a poem with the power of meter and rhyme. So the phone book or an ad for trusses can be a poem, just because they said it was. Rhyme and meter do not make great poetry--there's a lot of doggerel around--but the classic poems that last mostly have it.

I could recite poetry to you for 45 minutes or an hour without repeating myself. And without a teleprompter. My Marine buddies used to think it amusing that I wrote poetry. Until they found out that with a few details I could compose three stanzas of ABCD iambic verse for them for their girlfriends. I wonder if there are old Marine wives complaining, "You don't write poetry for me anymore like you did when we were dating!"

Still, there's no love poetry like a Marine DI abusing the recruits he's training, to make them mentally tough enough to survive combat.

I don't like modern art or modern music any more than I like modern poetry. And it's not because I'm old. I hated that crap when I was twenty. Not only doesn't the Emperor have any clothes, he has no taste, either.

Want to make a liberal squirm? Ask him if he considers himself a patriot. You will seldom get a "yes" without a lot of qualifiers.

Bitter Internet Joke: How To Predict Your Social Security Payout. If you’re 50 or under, try this methodology: Pick a number. Then subtract that number from itself. You’re done!

I want a job with great health care, a better than average salary, an excellent retirement, and a light work load so I can spend the day surfing the web for jokes or porn--depending on my mood. But the discriminating SOBs say I'm too old for government service.

I buy books, I read books, I give books away and my shelves are over flowing. I have little desire to put them all on a Kindle. So I'm a dinosaur. So sue me. NO, WAIT. Just kidding.

If you are saving the environment and helping create jobs in China by using those Algore Spirely light bulbs, and a fly lands on your lamp anywhere near the bulb, DO NOT SWING AT IT. No, I don't want to talk about it. Just trust me on this, okay?

A local grocery store is advertising, "You can have a field day every day at (our store)." Guess they don't know that in the Marines a "field day" is a thorough cleaning of the squad bay (barracks), followed by an inspection and, if you pass, liberty call. I'm not shopping there.

If driving down the street on a warm summer day and passing a pretty girl in shorts doesn't convince you our way of life is worth fighting for against those misogynist theocratic thugs from Burkistan, nothing will.

The voices in Washington saying "Save the Country" are still drowned out by the hired-gun lobbyists and their interest groups shouting "Don't cut me."

One of the many reasons to avoid TV are the endless commercials saying, "Call Congress and tell them to spend more money on my group," or "Call my law firm to sue someone," or "Call us to get out of paying your taxes or mortgage." ("We've helped many good people just like you, and Tim Gaithner and Charlie Rangel, pay just pennies of what they owe!)

When you hear the term "tax expenditure," grab your wallet. If you earn $100, and the government only takes $30 of it in taxes, some politicians think that they $70 they let you keep is a "tax expenditure," because they could have taken it also. Beware politicians who use this term. They really think the money you worked to earn belongs to them to spend buying votes. And they are planning to launch a "kinetic fiscal action" (AKA tax increase) to get it.

Bragging about how much you paid for something doesn't impress me. Any idiot with more money than brains can pay too much for things. Tell me how you got a great deal and paid very little. When they closed the Goodwill in downtown Fitchburg, MA, the manager told the reporter how Senator Hall shopped there. Didn't seem to hurt me with the voters. I wasn't cheap, I was recycling ahead of the wave.

There are a lot of near-do-wells, bums and deadbeats who could have been turned around at Parris Island or MCRD San Diego. And there are a lot of jerks who would be the better for a smack in the snot-locker. But that appears to be against the law. Go figure.


  1. Another *spot on* post, Bob! Thank you for being blunt and to the point. We can only hope that there are more and more of us that agree 100% with you.

    Take good care of yourself.

  2. I liked your comment about the coinage. In the Navy, 68-69, I was stationed about 26 miles outside of Athens @ NCS Greece. I always wondered about Greece's money. The exchange rate when I was there was 30 Drachmas to 1 US Dollar. They had 1 Drachma coins. The also had Lepta coins, 100 Leptas equals 1 drachma. They had a 1 lepta coins. What could you possibly buy with 1 lepta?