Friday, October 30, 2009

The mouths in the bus . . .

. . . go "YAP YAP YAP"

Maybe it's because it's Friday, and everyone is happy to be off work.

Or, maybe they're just clods.

I'm sitting about three-fourths of the way to the rear of the bus. One lady sits in the seat in front of me. One lady sits a row behind me on the other side of the aisle. The guy sits in the front.

This is all nice, except they want to talk to each other for most of the ride. By talk, I mean YELL, because the bus is noisy, and they can't hear each other unless they YELL.

So, they YELL.


And YELL some more.

Which would have been fairly excusable for a pack of teenagers, except all of these people were grown adults.

Clods it is.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Progress . . .

. . . report

I received an email from Naples today. Salary action is complete - although I don't know what the proposed salary is - and my paperwork is at the head shed to be signed.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Barry O . . .

. . . socialist extraordinaire

Exact quotes:

The so-called Founders did not allow for economic freedom. While political freedom is supposedly a cornerstone of the document, the distribution of wealth is not even mentioned.

And one of the I think the tragedies of the Civil Rights movement was because the Civil Rights movement became so court focused I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change and in some ways we still suffer from that."

If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to vest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples so that, uh, I would now have the right to vote, I would now be able to sit at a lunch counter and -- and order and as long as I could pay for it I'd be okay. But the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.

2008: I think when you spread the wealth around it's good for everybody.

So, if you're having trouble distributing YOUR money to folks who think they need it more, Barry's your guy.

Don't yell at me. YOU elected him. I didn't.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Just Mahvelous . . .

Lisa and Ian know what I'm talkin' about.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How to build . . .

. . . a six hundred forty-dollar toilet seat.

Well, not exactly.

You remember that, of course. Along with the $436 claw hammer.

Examples of government waste in the 1980s.

In that vein, the government have (BrE plural used because this was too big a deal to be singular) stopped that, with the National Security Payroll System - or, as we refer to it, the N.S. f***ing P.S.

Another brainchild from Donald Rumsfeld. You also remember him from his magnificent strategy during . . . well, nevermind. If I have to explain, there's no point.

In essence, this was an attempt to institute a pay-for-performance system in the Department of Defense. Over the last several years, 200,000 DoD personnel have been dragged, kicking and screaming enrolled in this system.

All those people were required to take three days of training. Assuming eight hour days and about $30/hour salary (full salary, including benefits), that was about $144,000,000 in lost time. Add the millions for the computer system, consultant fees, etc., and the total cost must have been somewhat north of a quarter-billion dollars.

What was gained? (He asked, rhetorically)

- An annual performance review that takes about 18 pages to print out.
- An additional $100,000,000 or so each year in time spent completing and discussing the aforesaid form.
- "Measurable" objectives defined by government-speak that nobody can understand.
- A distribution of salary increases that were not measurably different from those paid under the old GS system.

Would anyone have expected less from Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz?

Not I. (He stated, a prescriptivist by nature )

Fortunately, they are gone.

Unfortunately, NSPS is not gone until 2012.

Fortunately, it's on its way out.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday . . .

. . . senses

1) Sight: The picture on our 46" LCD TV (only two years old) went blank last week. $295.00 got it running again, but the picture was terribly dark. The only way we could see anything was to turn the brightness and contrast up to 100%. I talked to the repairman, who kept claiming it was fixed - even after a second trip. I was preparing to call him again, so I ran through the on-screen picture menu and wrote down everything I could to help explain the problem. As I was exiting from the menu, I saw an option called "Energy Saver." Guess what "Energy Saver" does. Yep, it turns down the contrast and brightness to save power. Guess what the repairman set it on. Yep, "Maximum." When I reset it to "Normal," everything was fine.

2) Sound: None of the fighter squadrons from NAS Oceana are deployed, so there are lots of F/A 18 Hornets wandering around our part of the sky. Many around here hate the sound. I do not. Those are the men and women who go in harm's way for us. What's a little noise in exchange for that?

3) Smell: There's a new rider on the afternoon bus, and he always sits at the front. I did too, until a little breeze came my way. This guy smokes so much that he positively reeks. He polluted the entire front half of the bus. I now sit in the back.

4) Touch: I had several hands and an unknown number of tools in my mouth on Thursday. I had to have a wisdom tooth pulled. The DDS had to do a surgical extraction because of the size and tenacity of the roots. He also had to remove a little bone to get it out. Since I have had to rely on small doses of "Mother's Little Helpers," I couldn't go to work today. Without a little C18H21NO3 in my system, it hurts like hell.

5) Taste: Because of #4, I'm not eating much. But a soup and ice cream diet isn't all that bad.

6) Accomplishment: According to an email I received Tuesday, my appointment to a 3-year assignment in Naples, Italy is being typed up. It will still take a couple of months, as the wheels of government grind slowly. (Yeah, I know that's not a bodily sense, but I'm really happy about it.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Pope . . .

. . . named five new saints.

Strangely enough, Obama wasn't one of them.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Nobel Peace Prize . . .

. . . is now officially a joke.

It was bad enough that Al Gore won the prize for making a movie. But now it's given to someone who has accomplished absolutely nothing. Zero. Zip. Nada. Well, except for his apology tour.

Ghandi never won, and Barry O does? Who's next? Michael Moore?

Of course, since Algore won for a movie, Peanut Carter won for a bunch of failed peace efforts, and Henry Kissinger won for ending the war in Vietnam - a year or two before the North Vietnamese stormed the south and took over the coutry, why am I surprised?

The Nobel committe has effectively demeaned every past winner with this insane choice.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Saturday night . . .

. . . at the Irish Rover

My jones for a good plate of fish & chips had reached critical mass. Previously we had tried Finn McCool's, which advertises Atlantic cod in a Bass beer batter sauce with chips and tartar sauce.

Tartar sauce?

That should have been a clue.

They did have malt vinegar after all, so I ordered the fish & chips. The fish was undercooked and soggy, and I couldn't get a black and tan.

Scratch off Finn McCools as a bunch of poseurs.

Last week, Mrs. B put on her internet search hat and found Conklin's Irish Rover. Bless her little heart.

She ordered some non-Irish baked fish, and I ordered the fish & chips.

Real fish in Guinness batter. Chips, not potato chips.

"Malt vinegar, or tartar sauce?" says the serving wench.

"Malt vinegar, of course!" says I. "My Riley ancestors would haunt me otherwise"

So, it was fish & chips, a half-and-half (Guinness & Harp) and a fine little slice of Irish soda bread.

Very nice.