Friday, June 29, 2007

What a Wild Ride!

As I have mentioned before in this space, football is my game. While I didn't play, I have always loved it and it has grown into a full blown obsession. Well, college football. Ok, ok, University of Florida college football.

So while it isn't my favorite, and I don't go out of my way to watch it, I have mentioned that I have been very impressed with this year's (and last year's) National Championship winning basketball team. They had already made history by being the only team to ever win back to back titles with the same 5 starters. Now they have made history again by being the only school to have 3 members picked in the first 10 picks of the first round of the NBA draft. WOW. These young men have just started on their lives and have already broken records. I hope they continue to make their dreams come true!

Congratulations to Al Horford, Corey Brewer, Joakim Noah, Chris Richard, and Taurean Green. You managed to bring the trophy to Gainesville twice and, hopefully, get an education in the bargain. The Gators will never forget you!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pet Peeve of the Moment

Why can't bicyclists follow the rules of the road? You know the rules, move with traffic, not against, use turn signals (ok, so I am the only person in this county who uses them), stop at traffic signals.

Friday after work, I went for drink. I was only there an hour, so I had one mixed alcoholic beverage, one diet beverage and a glass of water. (Yes, I peed three times). The point is, I was not intoxicated, not even close. As I left the restaurant, turning right onto a divided highway, I looked to my left, had plenty of room and turned onto the road. I missed a teen age girl on a bike by less than a foot. She was going east in the west bound lane. But what if I had hit her? Who would have been at fault? I didn't even look to see if anyone was there, because who the hell would have been there?

I do not have a problem with cyclists who follow the rules of the road. I give them a wide berth just to be on the safe side, but I do feel that they have every right to be there and I admire their dedication to fitness, or whatever it is that puts them out there. But I think it is ridiculous how many of them travel in the wrong direction and whizz in and out of traffic without looking or pass by stopped cars because they can. Frankly, I wish the cops would do something about it, but we all know that isn't going to happen. And if something happens to a cyclist, who is going to pay? I am not talking about a fine or jail time, I am talking about nightmares the rest of a person's life.

Parents take some responsibility and teach your children the correct and legal way to ride their bikes.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Where is all their STUFF?

My fiance' and I were invited to a lovely dinner party on Saturday. This is fairly unusual for us, normally the gatherings we attend are BYOB (and don't forget a plate of something) so to actually go to someone's house without a cooler in tow felt strange. There was a total of three couples, us, the couple providing dinner, and another. The other invited couple was our age, early 40's* but the couple who had issued the invitation is much older, almost 20 years. They are actually the same age as my parents, but very young at heart so we enjoy their company quite a bit.

Now he is actually a retired civil servant, pretty high up in the food chain. He has a nice retirement and he is enjoying it by playing a lot of golf. She has a part time job just to get out of the house and keep busy. Their house is amazing. Probably because their kids are grown, graduated from college, on their own. This is not a house that I can even begin to dream about for at least 10, possibly 20 years. I have a nice place, middle, middle class neighborhood, 3 BR 2 BA with a pool, but I do not have a formal living room or dining room or a chandelier in my bathroom.. either of them.

My confusion comes from the fact that I have piles of stuff.. everywhere. Bills that need to be paid, papers that need to be filed, but can't be because the filing cabinet is full, books, everywhere on every single possible surface, enormous piles of paperwork that needs to be shreded because I like to be the only one with my identity. Am I the only person with these huge piles? Am I the only person in the world with this problem? My house is clean, I scrub counters and I dust and my bathroom is cleaned regularly. Why can't I deal with the clutter?

I even peaked into their spare bedrooms, nothing. No crap piled on anything. How do people manage this?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Dick is a..dick

I am a big believer in rules. I like them, they make me comfortable and happy. What I don't like is when the rules are applied haphazardly or are bent because of who you are, who you know or how much money you have. It especially bugs the shit out of me, when it is a politician who makes up the rules as he/she goes along and then dares anyone to criticize them for the job they are doing (or aren't doing).

Dick Cheney has twice been elected Vice-President of the United States. This is a publicly held, voted in by the masses, paid for with my tax dollars office. He is supposed to work for ME (whether I voted for him or not). He is not supposed to be sitting up there in his office in the White House telling the American public to mind our own damn business. Apparently Dick (can I call you Dick?) has decided that he is not part of the Executive Branch of our government and, therefore, the agency who oversees classified documents has not business overseeing him.

Is this the same guy who has claimed Executive privilege in the past? What are you trying to hide Dick? We all know that you are still in bed with Halliburton, that is not a secret. We all know there were no WMDs in Iraq, not a secret.

On top of all of this, just in case the agency DOES have the right to oversee him, he is trying to get the agency abolished.

This guy has creeped me out for years. Right after 9/11 I was convinced he was dead, does anyone else remember NOT seeing him for months on end? I am still not convinced he is not a fembot. Frankly, I hate Dubya, but I would throw myself in front of a bullet for him, because even if he is actually running the country right now, I do not want Dick Cheney to be President.

Friday Round Up II

Since the birth of two sets of sextuplets less than twelve hours apart (and the subsequent death of three of them) I have wanted to do a post what I feel about the entire situationa and what I feel should have been done. Posting on the subject is tricky and so I have written posts in my head, but have not managed to type anything. This morning I realized I didn't have to because everything I was thinking and feeling was already posted. Erinberry says:

The conclusion I've come to is this: I believe that once a woman makes
the decision to carry a pregnancy to term, she has a moral duty to do
what is best for the fetuses that will become children.
And that is what I would have said if I had been even close to as eloquent as she is.
Another thing on my mind this week is "Paul Hill Days" being held from 26-29 Jul in Milwaukee, WI. I can't even begin to understand how a person/group could celebrate the life of a blatant murdered and claim to be Pro-Life. I normally like to right up my own opinions, but again, someone has done it better than I ever could over at archy. He has several posts on this subject and, frankly, whenever I think about it, I just want to hit and throw things, so that is not very conducive to blogging.
I don't see what the big deal is on Hillary's new commercial. I never watched "Sopranos" so I didn't get some of the references, but it was cute. That does not mean that I would vote for Hillary on the basis of that commercial. I screamed about the SwiftVote commercials and the fact that some voted for Dubya on the basis of the lies told about Kerry, so I am not going to vote on the basis of any commercial. I don't know why people are complaining about it, however. It is a way to get people's attention. I have not even seen it on TV, only on the 'net, so why are you looking for it if you don't want to see it? Just one more reason to complain about Hillary?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Confusion Factor

Ok, I am lost and confused and I hope that someone can pretty, please explain this to me. I think I have above average intelligence and yet for some reason, I really can not figure out what the big deal is as far as Florida's property tax issues. I know there is a special session going on in Tallahassee right now because property taxes in Florida have gone sky-high and there is talk about reducing the money spent on education (Helloooooo! We are 47th in the country). But, MY taxes are not sky-high. While they dropped by over $100 last year because my county rolled back its millage(sp?) rate, they were only going up by $25 or so. I can't see how paying another $25 a year is going to an enormous amount of harm to me.

My understanding is that IF you own a house AND you live in it (making it your primary residence) AND you claim the $25,000 Homestead Exemption, THEN your property taxes can not go up more than 3%. Obviously if this is your vacation home or a rental property or a business that 3% cap does not apply. (Feel free to correct me when I get something wrong here, I have no doubt I will) I know there were plenty of SnowBirds screaming about how high their taxes are back in the winter months and I work with a man whose tax bill went from approximately $1600 to approximately $6000. Forgive me if I do not have any sympathy for these people. Maybe I am jealous because I can not afford a second home or rental property, but I don't understand the hoopla. People are screaming about how this is going to break them and yet, isn't property tax deductible on the federal tax form? Mine is. How many people who own rental property don't pass the additional taxes (and insurance) onto their renters?

Now I live in the NW section of the state. In a town that used to be lovely & tacky and we all referred to it as 'the Redneck Riviera'. Now the town has lost its tackiness and is just a place with condominiums. But I have a friend whose parents live in the Tampa area. Her parents own their home and have (I think she said) 15 rentals and they are not complaining about the rising cost of property taxes, because it has only risen slightly for them, but the entire state is screaming.

I do feel bad for the small business owner because if a person owns the building, he/she could taxed until the business fails, but if rental properties ARE your business, isn't this just part of the cost of doing business?

Frankly I am much more concerned about the high cost of hurricane insurance. There is no cap on how much that can go and mine is going to be as high as my payment soon, but that is another post altogether.

So, please, if anyone out there can explain this to me in simple, one syllable words, I would greatly appreciate it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Is This Supposed to be Funny?

I normally eat lunch at my desk. This is mainly because I am cheap, but, lately this has given me an added bonus of not having to give up my parking spot. For some reason there has been an explosion of cars in the parking lot and coming back from lunch at 1:00 can almost guarantee the loss of several gallons of gas to find a spot.*

Anyway, I didn't manage to make my lunch last night because there was too much going on. So this morning, I decided to take make a run to the local deli and grab something and come back. My plan was to do this EARLY so that I could get back and get my parking spot. Great plan, right? Well, it didn't work, I wasn't even completely out of the parking lot and my spot was gone, but parking is NOT the point of this post.

As I drive, I listen to NPR. I enjoy the news and human interest stories on NPR and I feel like they are as unbiased as anyone else (and less biased than A LOT). I really only listen to the radio in the car. There is no way I could pick it up in my office and someone always has the TV on at the house. So there I am, driving to get some lunch and hear the news or possibly be a little entertained. Instead I get an interview with Roy Blount Jr. I had personally never heard of this guy, so I am listening, listening and frankly, I am thoroughly offended.

I am not easily offended. The only thing that will make me lose my mind, normally, is racial jokes or slurs (and Dubya, but that is for all sane people). But this guy is an ass. From what I have read on Wikipedia and then on the NPR website, the guy was born in Indiana and grew up in Georgia and, apparently, spends all of his time making fun of the south. This isn't your garden variety "You Might be a Redneck" stuff. I am not and never have been offended by Jeff Foxworthy. Some of his stuff is funny, some of it is stupid, but none of it is offensive (and some of it reminds me of portions of my family).

Blount, however, makes sweeping generalizations about the south and southerners that have nothing to do with the region. I can't quote him here, but he seemed to believe the south was responsible for neo-conservatism everywhere, that the south made fun of the north but not the other way around, that we were the only obssessive football fans in the nation and the comments he made about the Civil War were just assinine. On top of that, he sounded like a moron, uh, uh, uh, um, uh. A moron with a southern accent.

I like a good laugh as well as the next person, but do we have to make fun of people for it to be funny?

*Sadly, I had a very shady spot this morning. It isn't about how close you are, but how many trees you can park under.

EDIT: I forgot the part about the U.S. going to hell in a handbasket. That is the result of Southern Presidents, starting with Jimmy Carter, in case anyone was confused.

What do we have here? A Constitution?

Here is a concept that some of us had forgotten: We have a US Constitution and a Bill of Rights guaranteeing us certain things, certain, well, rights. Now this administration has kept us so hopped up on what I like to refer to as "terror blasts" over the last 6 years that some members of this country had forgotten about those rights.

"What? That guy wanted to blow up a plane with his shoe? Fine, let's keep people locked up indefinitely in jail."

"What? Those people were thinking about blowing up a plane? Fine, we are banning all liquids from aircraft, even those purchased inside the security gates."

"What? Those people wanted to blow up a military installation, even though they had no weapons and only a vague plan? Fine, let's listen to the phone calls of anyone we want."

And on and on it has gone.

Well, finally a court has said, "Enough". The New York Times (and almost every other site I have looked at this morning) has the story.

The federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., ruled yesterday
that the president may not declare civilians in this country to
be “enemy combatants” and have the military hold them indefinitely.
The ruling was a stinging rejection of one of the Bush administration’s
central assertions about the scope of executive authority to combat terrorism.

This poor man has been in jail since Dec 2001 where apparently he was charged with credit card fraud and lying to federal agents. Those are crimes, he should have been arrested. But just before he was to go to trial he was moved to the Navy brig and has just been sitting there, with no charges, no anything.. FOR FOUR YEARS! IN AMERICA!

Is this guy an al qaeda operative? I don't know, but he was in this country legally and should be given the courtesy of being charged or being freed. If he is charged and found guilty, then he can be deported, can't he? Then he won't be here. Maybe the evidence was a little thin. Maybe someone, somewhere honestly feels he is a threat. But we do have laws, a Constitution and a Bill of Rights in this country and while Ali al-Marri will not being released anytime soon because the government will appeal and this will go to the Supreme Court, it is nice to know that some people still believe our Constitution stands for something.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Why Can't We Elect Jed Bartlett?

Mustang Bobby over at BarkBarkWoofWoof addressed the issue of gays in the military during his Sunday Reading section. It is a great post, actually it is a really good blog. I think he was slightly off base on the West Wing quote he used, although it was a great quote, I just prefer this quote on homosexuality in general:

"President Josiah Bartlet: Good. I like your show. I like how you call homosexuality an abomination.
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: I don't say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President. The Bible does.
President Josiah Bartlet: Yes it does. Leviticus.
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: 18:22.
President Josiah Bartlet: Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I have you here. I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be? While thinking about that, can I ask another? My Chief of Staff Leo McGarry insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself or is it okay to call the police? Here's one that's really important because we've got a lot of sports fans in this town: touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? Think about those questions, would you? One last thing: while you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tight-Ass Club, in this building, when the President stands, nobody sits. "

Why can't we find someone like Jed Bartlett? Someone with a brain and a heart and a backbone? Maybe there is someone out there like this, I am reserving judgement on who my vote is going to at this point. I sure would like to find a Jed Bartlett or Andrew Shephard clone, though.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Welcome Back!

A huge welcome back to University of Florida's National Championship winning coach Billy Donovan. We will probably never know why he changed his mind, but I am glad he did.

I wonder if I should call my brother and let him know it is ok to stop wearing black and that the mourning he has been in since last week can be officially over?

Friday, June 1, 2007

Friday Round Up

Just a few quick points that I would like to address on this lovely Friday...

There is a new theme park opening in Florida in 2009. I am certain it will be picketed by the neo-cons as something brought to us live, by Satan, but I would bet my savings that 99% of them have not read the books or watched the movies. I, personally, am opening a new vacation account so that I can be the first in line to visit Hogwarts. Yes, I am 40 years old, and I love all things Harry Potter.

Dr. Kevorkian left prison today after 8 years. I am amazed that he served anytime at all. It amazes me in this country that we will allow our pets to be put out of their misery and allow them to die with dignity, but we won't allow the same for our parents. Isn't something wrong with that?

Billie Donovan has accepted a job as head coach of the Orlando Magic. He is going to be making a lot of money, but he was already making a lot of money. I don't follow basketball like I do football, so I have no idea how well coaches transition from the NCAA to the NBA. I would like to believe that Coach Donovan has left the University of Florida to go to the NBA because that is the natural progression of his career. (If it was all about the bling, wouldn't he have gone to UK?) He has done an amazing job with the Gator basketball program and he will be missed, but I would like to send him my congratulations and a Huge Good Luck for the future!

Thank you Coach, you will be missed!

(Coach Meyer, don't even think about it!)

The thought of Fred Thompson attempting to run our country makes me sick to my stomach, but Libby over at TheImpolitic explains much better than I ever could how a vote for Fred Thompson is just another vote for Dubya!*********************************************************************************

Hurricane season is upon us. A moment of silence, please, hoping that Mother Nature will be kind this year.


Happy Friday, Happy Weekend!