Sunday, March 22, 2009

Place Blame Where it Belongs

I am as outraged about the AIG bonuses as the rest of the world. I'm sick about it. A company that was on the verge of economic collapse just 6 months ago can afford to pay out almost every dime of taxpayers money that it received? To many who were responsible for the dire straights to begin with? The entire country should be outraged, and we are.

But let's put the blame where it belongs. President Obama has taken responsibility for this debacle and I have every respect for that. But not only did his team not draft the contracts, he hadn't even been elected at the time AIG received the money! Is he responsible? Well, of course, he was, at that time, a United States Senator and did vote to approve the money. I know there were provisions for oversight in the original, but I don't remember when they were removed. Frankly, this, just like the entire economic meltdown, can be placed at the feet of the last administration (with a little help from their friends.)

Wouldn't it be a lovely idea to allow President Obama to actually get settled in the White House, in the Oval Office, before declaring

President Obama may not realize it yet, but his Katrina moment has arrived.

President Obama's KATRINA moment? Or just one more in the long line of those perpetuated by Dubya?

H/T to Mustang Bobby.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring with Lola

It has been difficult to keep Lola out of the pool all winter. SHE loves it; I don't like being sprayed with icy water when it is 55 degrees outside.

Today, though, it was beautiful outside, so when Lola stepped onto the top step of the pool, I let her jump right in (I had this planned already.) She swam for a bit (while I rid the yard of dog poop) and then she ran around the pool for a bit, then I threw the tennis ball for her for a bit. I tried to change it up, first throwing into the pool and then throwing it across the yard and have come to the conclusion that she doesn't like to put the dirty balls in her mouth. Crazy dog.

After a while, I was getting bored with the tennis ball thing and then I had the ingenious idea to get one of the 'noodles' out of the shed. It's pretty big, but so is she! Would she play with it?

I guess she would!

While I was in there I found one of those big balls that can be found in a big wire container in many stores. This one had been purchased in the summer of 2001 right after I bought the house. I have no memories of the last time it was actually played with and it was about 1/3 of the way flat. So, it became Lola's also.

We both had a great time and she was pretty amazing. At one point, both the noodle and the ball were in the pool and she had them both in her mouth bringing them back to the steps. I didn't manage pictures of that, but I did manage pictures. Which was great, since she managed to 'kill' the ball before the afternoon was over.

We had a great time and she had a great nap afterwards!

I hope your weekend is just as fun and as wet as you want it to be!

Friday, March 20, 2009

There IS Good News in the World

With everything going so terribly wrong in this country, horrifying job and home loss, crippled banking industries, starving children, it is nice to occassionally see something uplifting.

Jorge Munoz, Columbian born, U.S. Citizen, bus driver, spends 365 days a year feeding the homeless with help from his mother and sister.

Munoz began his unorthodox meal program in the summer of 2004. Friends told him about large amounts of food being thrown away at their jobs. At first, he collected leftovers from local businesses and handed out brown bag lunches to underprivileged men three nights a week. Within a few months, Munoz and his mother were preparing 20 home-cooked meals daily.
Numbers gradually increased over the years to 35 per night, then 60. In recent months, that number has jumped to as many as 140 meals a night.

This man is truly a hero.

And even Wal-Mart, who has had questionable business practices since the death of founder, Sam Walton, is doing its part to help its employees.

Retail giant Wal-Mart will hand out its largest annual award -- $2 billion -- which includes bonuses to every part-time and full-time hourly employee. The average cash bonus for employees will be $667.

In my own life, I received a summons for jury duty yesterday. While most people I know dread these things, I am very excited about it. This is the 4th or 5th one I have received since I turned 18 and I have never even made it to the Courthouse, I always get a cancellation call the week before. I hope I make to the courthouse this time, but, even more, I hope I get picked for jury duty. To me this is one of the more exciting things we, as Americans, get to perform for our country. And I want a chance to do my duty.

Six Years

Six years ago today, the United States of America attacked the soveriegn nation of Iraq with absolutely no reason, no cause, no anything, except the stupidity of a President who wasn't actually elected and a Congress who was afraid of appearing weak.

Six years ago today we were still a nation in mourning for those lost in the Twin Towers, in the Pentagon and in a lonely field in Pennsylvania. We were all Americans, not democrats or republicans, flying our American flags, beloved by 90% of the world who felt we had been persecuted. Until we decided to do the same thing to Iraq, albeit more publicly and with no stealth.

Six years ago today this nation made the biggest mistake in its history, in my opinion, even larger than the quagmire that was Vietnam.

My thoughts are with the families of those who have been lost, of those who are not home, of those who will never be the same. If there is a God, I hope George W Bush is one day held accountable for the murders and brutality that he has caused to be committed. I hope Dubya burns in hell for his actions.

Let's stop counting at six. Bring our troops home.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

There is no Title for this type of BS!

What is wrong with this country? People are losing their jobs by the thousands. In turn, they are losing their health insurance, then their cars and finally their homes. 1 in 50 children will experience homelessness.

And yet,

Former President George W. Bush is writing a book focusing on defining decisions he's made in his personal and political life, a publishing house announced Thursday.

Someone is PAYING Dubya to write a book. On the decisions he made that had brought this country to its knees?

While Chris Tucker received a swift kick in the back side after THREE tours of Iraq?

"I still have the nightmares and wake up and find myself downstairs and I don't know how I got there," Tucker said. "I still see and dream the same things. ... Faces. Kids' faces. People that you have engaged or you have had contact with. ... You see your colleagues blown up. Things like that."

He left the Army with a sour taste. He was sent back for his third tour despite the nightmares, depression, major hearing loss and painful injuries to his back and both feet. Then, the Army decided to give him a medical discharge for his back issues even though Tucker believes he could have recovered with rehabilitation. But he tries not to dwell on his frustration.


Troubled mortgage giant Fannie Mae planned to pay four top executives retention bonuses ranging from $470,000 to $611,000, according to a February SEC filing.

I wish I had something to say that didn't begin and end with FUs and more cursing than it normally seen at a Navy Diver convention. Let's keep it up, America. The rich get richer, the poor get screwed and, soon, who is going to clean house for the rich? Who is going to be waiting tables when they go out to eat? Who are they going to make money off of? There won't be a middle or poor class and there won't be a US of A.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Plus Number 300!

Pretty cool to post my 300th post just minutes after I post my Happy Blogiversary post.

I have plenty to say, but no time really to say it.

So I thought I would make this post special by adding a gratuitous canine photo!

That's my Lola. We should have named her M.J. for Michael Jordan, since she runs and plays with that tongue hanging out just like His Airness did during the great years. What a cutie she is!

I hope your weekend is wonderful, even if it is an hour short!

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

I don't think I spelled that correctly, but then, since it is a completely made up word, is there a correct spelling?

I was planning a post on Spring Break activities here in the Spring Break Capital (MTv, arriving soon) and how old they make me feel. Or possibly one on my crazy brother and his insane antics. (Sorry Mom and Dad, if you are reading, but, you know he isn't "right," don't you?)

But then, I realized that we have entered March and thought I would check to see exactly when I started this 'blog! And it was 2 years ago today!

Two years of my inane babbling.

It tickles me when I remember how easy I thought it would be when I started. Just sit down, type up some opinions and hit publish. How hard is that? Hard.

It also amazes me to realize how much has changed in the last 2 years. Dubya and Co. have left the building. The country is in a financial freefall that is unlike anything that has occurred in my lifetime. Our new President is working to stop the hemorrhaging from the very arteries that keep our country alive, but there is so much to do and he is only one man.

Hopefully in 2 more years we will have turned the corner and will be facing happier times. Hopefully, I will still be here then. And all of you who have read and commented and come back, or just read, or read and never came back will be around also!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Product Review: The InStyler

Two weeks ago my bff, P, called me and told me I had to turn the TV to a certain channel and watch the infomercial on the Instyler. "It is amazing!" she said. "It will work for both of us."

How is that possible? We have almost exact opposite hair. Mine is thick, coarse, full of body and FRIZ! Hers is baby fine, straight and difficult to style.* Plus, as I have mentioned before, I wasn't going to fight DSD for the remote.

So I looked at the Instyler website. Sure it looked nice, but they aren't going to show you how difficult it is. And they aren't going to show you the failures. And the blasted thing isn't cheap.

So I googled "Instyler reviews" and was amazed at the number which showed up. These reviews are EVERYWHERE. And most of them are great, although there were complaints about burnt ears, burnt fingers and HOURS of work for straight hair. Mainly I read of a revolutionary new 'flat iron' that left your hair staight, but with body, no friz. Then I went to YouTube and watched many people style their hair with the InStyler, leaving them with straight, no friz hair.

Finally I said, "Eff it" and ordered TWO from Ebay. (I owed P money, so I bought her one to pay her back). They both arrived on Wednesday.

Now on Wednesday I had worn my hair in a ponytail (as I normally do) and my hair was fairly straight except for the ends. I straightened the ends in less than 5 minutes.

On Thursday after work, I took a shower and let my hair air dry.

This was the result.

After heating the Instyler (about 5 minutes) I worked for 9 minutes and ended up with this.

Sorry the picture is a little fuzzy; the hair is obviously straight though.
I love it. I have never been able to get my hair straight.
The above picture is without any product at all, so there is still a little frizz. But I added product before going to bed last night and a little bit more this morning and there is very little frizz. Of course there is very little humidity right now, so that will be the next test!
Recommendation? If you struggle with too much POOF in your 'do, this product is for you!
*Most days I would prefer to have her hair.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I Love My Job, I Love My Job, I Love My Job

Ok, the title was supposed to be a little sarcastic, but I do honestly love my job. The people I work with are some of the best, smartest people in the world. They are hard working and dedicated and funny. Sometimes funny, ha ha, sometimes funny, strange.

The problem I am having, however, and have been having for quite some time is that I don't work FOR them. I work for a company in California. Virginia? New Mexico, according to my W2. Who knows?

I am a contractor. The big company contracts with my little (although not by much) company and the little company hires people to fill the positions. There are bonuses for both companies this way. The big company is not concerned about paying for my retirement, my vacation, my sick leave or any other fancy benefits. The little company gets to charge the big company my salary PLUS enough to cover all of that PLUS enough to make a tidy profit.

So, the people I work WITH work directly for the big company.

The problem is my immediate supervisor, called a Task Leader. When I first became a contractor (2000) I worked in the same room as my Task Leader. He was a great guy; he signed my timesheet. Really. That was it.

I, myself, was the task leader on a different contract from Jan 04 - Nov 05. I signed timesheets and kept up with scheduling. When I first became task leader, there were about 10 people on the task. By the time I was replaced (best thing that ever happened to me!) there were only 2 of us on the contract.

The problem is that our actual supervisor lives in Jacksonville and only gets over this way once in a while (not very often). This is obviously not an ideal situation. Plus she is an unknown entity. The man who was our supervisor before had been for YEARS and we all knew him. (Didn't necessarily trust him, but knew how far to go.) This lady? Who knows?

So, the problem is that the Task Leader has decided she is God, Almighty. Things will be done her way, even though her way makes no sense and she chooses to be out more than she is here. Plus she is trying to tell even those who are in charge that things are going to be HER way. Worse, they are LETTING HER GET AWAY WITH IT.

And I don't know what to do about it. While there are plenty of people whom I trust, they are not in a position to help get rid of her. And there are those who think she hung the moon!

So I come to work and I do my job (and a damn fine one, if I do say so myself!) and I try to keep my mouth shut. But it gets more difficult by the day. She changes things from week to week, or day to day, or sometimes minute to minute. She is trying to turn some of the others on our contract against me, I do.not.know.why.

Luckily, I have been here for a while and I am well liked. And my skills and the job I am doing is appreciated. I just wish there was something I could do to either (a) make her NOT the Task Leader or (b) just get her off of my back.

For now, I will continue to plug along.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

And Now, The Rest of the Story

How many of us grew up waiting for those words? How many of us spent time in the car, on vacations or short trips, praying for the legendary voice, many times just to get away from our parents music?

I could not come up with one specific bit of information I learned from Paul Harvey over the years, but there was plenty of it. Even as a child, I always looked forward to hearing his commentary, it was always interesting and informative and there was always that lovely twist at the end.

Mr. Harvey passed away in the hospital surrounded by his family. He was 90.

He will be missed, not just by those of us who learned so much from him, but also by generations who may never know, 'the rest of the story.'

RIP Paul Harvey