Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!!!

I am currently at work and in costume.


I am wearing a name tag that says “Hello!  I am Captain Obvious in his Civilian Disguise!”


My coworker is wearing a name tag that says “Hello!  I am Clearly, his Sidekick!”


We have 3 signs that say “The Secret Lair of Captain Obvious” around our desks.


Soon everyone will know that Captain Obvious is on the case, and what, specifically, that case is, and what, specifically, we will do to solve that case!


After class tonight, if there’s still time, I’m going to hide in the bushes and scare little kids.


I love Halloween.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Social Security, gambling, and idiotic politicians

Nope, not a running topic (though there may be an Ellen topic later for all you Ellen lovers/dog haters out there).


I really should get out and run, or ride, or something.  Working in the back yard is a good workout, but it’s not exactly exercise.




So, there’s at least 1 idiotic politician who continuously is calling for legalizing gambling in Texas.  This idiot is Rodney Ellis.  He wants to transform the Astrodomain into some kind of gambling mecca because all our Texas money is going to Lake Charles for gambling.


I say let Louisiana have that money.  They need it.  They can also have the destitution, desperation, crime, and degeneration that comes with the rot that takes from the have-nots and gives to the haves.


What got me thinking about that particular balloon headed politician was a rousing discussion on the same topic last night as I was returning from classes.  One of the radioheads was pondering whether or not (specifically) a Vegas-style gambling park would be keen here in Texas and (more generally) whether gambling should be allowed at all.  Well, first off if Vegas were in Texas Vegas wouldn’t be Vegas.  You know, what goes on in Vegas stays in Vegas?  Well, that only works if Vegas is over there, not over here.  If Vegas is over here, then what goes on in Vegas happens right here, and that’s no fun.  There’s plenty of opportunities to piss away money and forget about it here in town—it’s called a bar.  Trust me, I know.  I’m told that’s how I spent many nights in college (not that I remember, what happens in the bar gets vomited out and flushed).


But that conversation got me to thinking about social security.  Why?  Because one of the blue-hairs that goes down to Lake Charles called up and said that she and her fellow retired husband head to the mistake on the Lake two times a month with about $700 between them and sometimes they’re up, sometimes they’re down, and then they head home (I’m willing to wager that sometimes they’re up, but usually they’re down otherwise the casino wouldn’t operate, but that’s just splitting hairs, right?).  She talked about how most of the people on the bus that heads down there during the week are fellow geriatric social security types and that got me to thinking…


Why the hell are WE paying them to go gamble with the social (so called) security money that won’t be there when we retire?  If they have enough money to piss away in Lake Charles, should they have enough money to not take the social security payment that neither me nor my child will be getting when we retire?  Or even more importantly, that my disabled sister NEEDS in order to feed and clothe herself and put a roof over her head since her deadbeat (soon to be) ex husband took everything and left her with neither her health nor security?  While she HAS to get a social security payment, these people who don’t need the money are going and freely giving it away to a multi-billion dollar multinational corporation.


Maybe instead of spending tax dollars on the infrastructure needed to support an industry that breeds crime and sows the seeds of poverty we should spend money on a wealth building program that would reduce crime and sow the seeds of wealth?  How different would the economy look if the driving desire was for better stuff rather than cheaper stuff?  How different would the world look if America was an investor nation and not a consumer nation?



Monday, October 29, 2007


Here’s a funny accounting story.


We’re sitting in class and the prof is going over depreciation techniques.  The first is the most basic, straight line depreciation.  For those of you who don’t know how it works, depreciation is the dollar amount of an asset purchase that gets expensed over time.  In practical terms, it’s the difference in what you bought your car for and how much you can sell it.


Straight line depreciation works just how it sounds.  You take depreciable value of the thing and divide it by the number of years in its planned life and that’s your depreciation—on a graph it makes a straight line of an equal amount each year.


Here’s the example:  Machine purchased at $11,000; residual value $1,000; estimated life 5 years.


The prof put on the board $2,000 depreciation in years 1 through 4, then $3,000 in year 5.


Five hands immediately went up and an argument with the prof ensued.


“Shouldn’t it be $2000 in the final year?”  “no, no…  this is right.”


“Shouldn’t there be $1000 in residual value remaining in the asset account?”  “No, no, this is right.”


“Are you sure about?  Really sure?  Because that’s not right.”  “I’m sure.”


“Is this going to be on the test?  Because that’s not right.”  “I’m sure it’s right and I can prove it.”


Out comes the book… a couple of seconds of silence… then “Ok, so it’s $2000 each year.”




Of course, there would be some that would say “My reality is that it should be $3000 in the final year and my understanding of accounting is just as right as your understanding of accounting”.


There is just no reasoning with those people.

Friday, October 26, 2007

War, and rumors of war

Despite all statements to the contrary, the US Media (and undoubtedly world outlets as well) keep pushing for war with Iran.


Mind boggling.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A scare with the baby

Ok, so we had a little bit of a scare over the weekend that taught us a lesson in procrastination.


We have a dog named Rusty.  A really great dog (that was adopted from a rescue organization, thank you very much).  Our son also has a dog—named Doogie, adopted from the Ty Beanie Baby company.  Doogie goes everywhere with the little monkey.  Everywhere.


Our neighbors have 2 dogs, Angel and Bree.  Angel is a yellow lab and a wonderfully sweet girl.  Bree is a… well, I don’t know what she is, but she’s a beautiful golden something (maybe a mutt) and just under a year old.


Angel poked a hole in the fence over the weekend and Rusty had a grand old time going over to play with Angel and Bree.  When our little monkey saw two dog heads poking through the fence he got really excited, pointed, and said “goo!  GOO!”  Yesterday evening, about potty time, Rusty decided to go out and… well, it was potty time.  After the bidness was complete he sauntered over to the fence and vanished like a fart in the wind.  Our little one, naturally, was curious and excited about the two puppy heads poking through the fence just before Rusty vanished and went to investigate.  While we’re petting Bree and Angel, Bree suddenly takes off across her yard.  Our little guy giggles, points, and exclaims his commentary of “Goo!  Goo!  Goo!” while Bree is darting back and forth across the yard.  Our neighbor’s son is chasing Bree, Angel is soaking up the exclusive attention, and our little guy is pointing and commenting.


Then we notice that Doogie has gone missing.  Everything was suddenly clear.


Our little guy had dropped Doogie for just one second and Bree had taken that second to abscond with the little plush dog.  Once she was finally cornered and gave up the goods, the dog was returned undamaged except for a bunch of dirt and even more sticky, gooey, dog slobber.


Doogie fully recovered after a trip to the washing machine and through the dryer, but the reality of letting our little fellah figure out how to sleep without his little friend was just a little too clear a little too soon.  We’d have done it—I wouldn’t have gone searching for a Doogie at 7pm on a Sunday night.  No way, no how.  Doors were invented so that we wouldn’t have to listen to babies learning how to sleep without a trusted friend.  But if we don’t have to yet, we’re not going to yet.  That day will come.


So, we’ve ordered our “backup Doogie”.  Took us all of 2 minutes to do after we came into the house.  After talking about it for nearly a year, we finally took the leap and ordered the backup.  No more procrastination for us.

Starting tomorrow.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Kids, drugs, and rubbers

Ok, I know.  I really should start running again…  but I just don’t care to right now.  I’m exercising in other ways and am about to get back on the bike, so there.


But what comes with not running is unfortunately hearing all kinds of stupidity going on in the world.  I’m still pissed off that I know the name of the dog Ellen tried to dump on someone after she couldn’t live up to her responsibility.


I hate even knowing that insipid story exists.


But another stupid story is the school board in Maine making “all forms of birth control available to middle schoolers” without feeling the need to inform the parents.  Birth control pills are included in that list of “all forms” of birth control.  They kick you out for having asprin, but they’ll give you birth control pills and you don’t even have to tell your parents.  Something just isn’t right about that.


“There are some things kids just don’t feel comfortable talking to their parents about” said one board member.  So, the school board feels it’s a good idea to reinforce that discomfort rather than encourage that parent/child relationship to include even icky subjects like sex and death.


“Kids who are going to have sex are going to do it no matter what we do, so we might as well try and make it safe” was another quote I heard.  Yea.  I know they will.  Set aside the fact that these kids are still in middle school—10, 11, 12, 13 years old—and it’s still a stupid, stupid argument.  Kids who are going to ______ are going to _______ no matter what we do, so we might as well try and make it safe can be extended to any sort of activity.


Kids who are going to do drugs are going to do drugs no matter what we do, so we might as well try and make it safe.


Kids who are going to go on bloody gun wielding rampages are going to go on bloody gun wielding rampages no matter what we do, so we might as well try and make it safe.


Kids who are going to abuse and mutilate animals are going to abuse and mutilate animals no matter what we do, so we might as well try and make it safe.


Kids who are going to strap bombs to their chest and blow themselves up are going to strap bombs to their chest and blow themselves up no matter what we do, so we might as well try and make it safe.


It’s a pathetic and stupid concession of basic, simple responsibility to say “they’re going to do it anyway so we might as well” provide them birth control pills, rubbers, needles, weapons, stray cats, and suicide vests because we might as well make it safe and easy for them.  I mean, if it happens under controlled circumstances they might not feel anything bad like shame when they have to go to the pharmacy and buy their rubbers like we had to do when we were kids.


IT’S NOT LIKE THEY’RE HARD TO GET IN A STORE WITHOUT THE PARENTS PERMISSION!!!  That way you at least have to take some modicum of personal responsibility and actually ride your little tricycle to the store to buy your rubbers.  There were more than one occasion when I chickened out and couldn’t buy them because someone my parents knew was in the store.


And if you’re not mature enough to buy condoms, you’re not mature enough to use condoms.


But it’s not like our schools are trying to create mature, responsible people as they go through the education process.  Why should the kids be anything better than the parents?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mutts and Moms

I can’t believe I’m actually posting something about this stupid crap, but here I go…  posting something about this stupid crap.

But Mutts and Moms has suspended it’s website and e-mail because Ellen DeGeneres has publicly attacked a fine rescue organization for animals because Ellen DeGeneres failed to live up to her end of an adoption agreement and Mutts and Moms didn’t bow to her celebrity fiat.


So, here it goes.


Someone I don’t give a rip about—some stupid celebrity named Ellen—has gone and done something stupid and the “system” didn’t bow to her wishes as to how it should operate.


I don’t know Ms DeGeneres personally.  All I know is that she’s some kind of celebrity and some people give a crap about that—“Do you know who I am?”  My answer:  Yea, so?


But I digress.  I don’t know Ms. DeGeneres personally.  I do know normal people and pet adoption types.  I got my own dog from a rescue shelter—Bluebonnet Beagles, great folks—and know how seriously they take what they do.  I don’t see eye to eye with most rescue/adoption types because my pets are pets, not members of the family.  Yes, I love my dog, but the only thing separating my dog from food is that my dog can, theoretically, CATCH food.  I know that’s not a popular point of view, but think about it.  Why are cows not pets?  Because cows are food.  Why don’t we eat horses?  Because we ride horses.  But if there weren’t any cows and we were hungry…  (watch the Postman).  Europeans don’t have quite the same love affair with horses, and in Europe horses are… Yup.  You guessed it, food.  Why are rats (that are invited into the home) pets and not food?  We don’t eat rats because they’re filthy beasts.  But I betcha if that Kroger down the street suddenly ran out of food for some reason old Parker the Rat will start looking curiously like Chicken Broulet.  And that’s another one.  Chickens provide nothing to us except… THAT’S RIGHT, FOOD!  They are not transportation (unless you’re very, very tiny) and they cannot catch other food.  They have soft feathers, lay eggs, and taste good.  That’s all they’re good for.  Laying eggs and tasting good.  When they become predators that go out and catch rabbits and foxes, then maybe we won’t eat as many of them. 


Again, I digress. 


Luckily for dogs and cats and horses (and fat little poor babies, thank you Mr. Jonathan Swift) we have PLENTY of other options to eat.  UNFORTUNATELY for our dogs and cats and horses (and fat little poor babies, thanks again, Mr. Swift), that has led people to think that their pets are little human babies in strange animal skins.  That is where I cease to see eye to eye with some rescue/adoption types.  My dog is simply that—a dog.  Sit.  Stay.  Don’t pee on the carpet.  Good dog.  No, you cannot have a kidney transplant, sorry big fellah, but that’s not happening.  Get off the furniture, that’s for people and you are NOT PEOPLE.  Bad dog, don’t be people.  [Full disclosure:  we lost the “stay off the furniture” fight with our beagle.  Some fights are just not worth fighting.]


Needless to say, these rescue/adoption types do take their jobs seriously.  They think that animals need just the right homes; which is true because some animals have behavior problems that need to be worked out in just the right home.  My beagle was neglected and hyperactive because of that.  He needed a home with no kids to work out those neglect “issues” where kiddos wouldn’t get hurt by a hyperactive 35-40lb dog.  When we got him he wouldn’t even go outside on his own because he was worried he’d be left out there like he was with his former abusive owner.  We fixed that and now he’s a good inside/outside dog in a house with a little baby boy.

But some places think they need to be treated like equals in the family and coddled and blah blah.  Whatever.  You know what you’re getting into when you deal with these groups.  I told my people that I would take good care of my DOG and treat him with the respect a DOG deserves.  I also signed an agreement saying that if there was a problem with the dog and we could no longer care for him in the first 12 or 18 months, then I would give him back to the rescue folks and they would do what had to be done—either a new home or termination of the animal if it was just a psychopath.




But there are some people in the world who believe that the world should operate however they think it should.  I don’t know if Ms. DeGeneres is one of these people, but these people certainly do the things that Ms. DeGeneres does.  They go public and cry about the GREAT INJUSTICE done because THEY DIDN’T GET TO DO WHATEVER THEY WANTED TO DO and that the PERPETRATORS of this GREAT INJUSTICE were simply trying to PUNISH THEM.  Sigh.


Sometimes I wish I could be so self centered to think that everything was about me.


But seriously, I don’t know Ellen well enough to dislike her.  I don’t find her to be particularly funny in the contexts that I have come across her, but I can’t say that reflects negatively upon her as a person.  Clearly SOMEBODY thinks she’s funny, because she keeps getting television shows.  But I do dislike the idea of dragging this crap out in a quite public, pre recorded, tearful scene that she had plenty of time to edit out of her broadcast if she had ANY second thoughts about what it might do to the organization she was attacking.  And yes, I say attacking because her little bawl-fest painted the organization as the bad guy who was taking a little dog away from a little girl.


Get over yourself, Ellen.  You were wrong.  Admit as much, apologize to the organization, write them a check for the trouble you caused them, endorse them as a reputable shelter, be remorseful over being such a whiney little turd about this, and REALLY move along.  Simply keeping your mouth shut—which you have demonstrated is NO included in your skill set—will not reverse the harm you’ve already done to this organization.  For you it’ll just be another day.  For them they’ve had to shut down operations because you defamed their reputation.


Or maybe this whole episode should be a lesson to other non-profits about working with Ellen if Ellen doesn’t get her way.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


There are (at least) 2 very stupid things to say:

  1. Have a nice day
  2. Relax


1.  Really, do you think the person you’re saying that to was not planning on having a nice day?  I mean, do you think you gave him an idea he didn’t already have?  “You know, I was planning on having a crappy, horrid evening, maybe including a ticket and a wreck, but now that you mention it I just might have a nice day instead.  Thanks for the tip.”  It’s not rocket science.  People generally don’t plan on crappy days, so you’re simply telling them effectively the same thing as “eat something” or “breathe” or “wake up after you go to bed and sleep awhile”.  Really… I mean… sigh.  “I hope you have a nice day”, on the other hand, is different.  You’re confiding in them that you hope good things come to then, rather then just prattling off that the sky is blue.  Think about it.


2.  Relax?  Really?  You want me to relax?  My blood pressure is high, I’m stressing over 1000 different things, I’ve pulled a muscle in my back and I’m making it worse by carrying tension and I need to RELAX?  Why don’t you come over here and let me punch you?  How the hell do you expect me to relax after you’ve just told me my blood pressure is high and my tension has caused a freaking back injury and the longer I carry that tension the longer and worse my back will hurt?!?  I HAVE A FREAKING TEST TONIGHT!!!  I DON’T HAVE TIME TO REL…. ow… ow… my back… breathe…  breathe…  breathe… slowly… breathe…


So, I need to relax, huh?  Ya think?  Maybe a little?


Thanks.  Maybe I’ll heed that advice.  If you don’t think of “pink”.


Have a nice day.