Sunday, January 31, 2010

Random . . .

. . . Observations

Item: Mrs. B had her second (and final) cataract surgery on Friday. It was very successful.

Observation: It's amazing how someone can stick a knife in your eyeball, scoop out the lens, insert a plastic implant, and allow virtually perfect vision again.

Item: I do not own a snow shovel, as they are not needed in southern Virginia, and besides, I own a front-wheel drive SUV that does well in the snow.

Observation: We had at least 6" of snow yesterday, followed by freezing sleet. The Escape is in the shop. So much for logic.


Item: Barry O said that he would "rather be a good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president."

Observation: He's well on the way to the latter, and, with any luck, will be eminently successful at the former.

(Soto voce: Sorry, but comments on the most ineffective president since Jimmy C. are occasionally necessary, lest my head explode)

Item: Lisa, Ian and Brittany are coming to visit in 11 days.

Observation: I have laid in all of the supplies necessary for the visit.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Doo, doo, doo . . .

. . . Looking' out my back door

Snow is not rare in Virginia, but it is rather uncommon in Hampton Roads. We had a bit of a snowstorm last night, and it's still snowing pretty heavily at 10:45 this morning.

This is only the second snow accumulation we have seen since we moved here in 2002, and that was only a light dusting.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Immoderate moderator . . .

. . . put in his place.

When you MODERATE a debate, you need to be neutral.

Not a hard concept to grasp.

For some.

Not so much for others.
CNN senior political analyst David Gergen had to be reminded of this fact Monday as he moderated a debate between the two candidates for Massachusetts's open Senate seat. He asked Republican candidate Scott Brown whether he'd be willing to "sit in Teddy Kennedy's seat and [say] I'm going to be the person who's going to block it [liberal health care policy] for another 15 years."

But Brown, refusing to take for granted Gergen's blatantly left-wing premises, responded instead: "Well, with all due respect it's not the Kennedys' seat, and it's not the Democrats' seat, it's the people's seat."

When someone is that stupid, it's great fun to watch them have their ass handed to them on a silver platter. (I know, disturbing mental image - sorry . . . kind of.)

I should also remark that when one uses the phrase "with all due respect," the real meaning is that none is really due.

I've been trying to moderate (heh) my political opinions lately, but some issues just deserve a comment. Besides, issues rammed through by a supermajority have serious consequences, and Scott Brown can break that unfortunate situation.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Dingy Harry . . .

. . . apologizes.

No, not for being a total asshat, but for the following statement during the campaign:
WASHINGTON – Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid apologized on Saturday for saying Barack Obama should seek — and could win — the White House because Obama was a "light skinned" African-American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

Very sensitive, Harry.
Mrs. B . . .

. . . can see.

In September, Mrs. B had her annual eye test. The Optometrist did some tests, and advised her to see an Ophthalmologist to be evaluated for cataracts. The exam showed some cataracts, but they were apparently "mild" enough that immediate surgery wasn't necessary.

After being fitted for new glasses, her vision kept deteriorating, so in November, we went back to the Ophthalmologist. The cataracts had advanced rather rapidly, and the best vision she could obtain was 20/40.

On 30 DEC, she had outpatient surgery on her right eye. Yep. Outpatient surgery. Cut a slit in the eyeball, liquefy and suck out the lens, then insert an artificial lens. Thirty minutes and done. She went home with an eye patch and several comments about pirates and parrots.

The next day, we were back for a post-op checkup. When the MD removed her eye patch, she looked at me and said "I can see you as clear as a bell."

She has a little difficulty right now because one eye sees very well, and the other does not. That will be fixed on 29 JAN when the left eye is done. Technology is amazing, innit?

Demonstration below if you're interested.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Liar, liar . . .

. . . pants on fire.

January 2008: Obama said that his approach to health care talks would involve "bringing all parties together, and broadcasting those negotiations on C-SPAN so that the American people can see what the choices are."

January 2009: President Barack Obama pushed congressional leaders to fast-track health care legislation behind closed doors.

Joe Wilson was right.

Then, there's the "Cornhusker Kickback" and the "Louisiana Purchase."

There will be hell to pay in the mid-term elections.
Off to a . . .

. . . flying stop!

Today was to be my first day back at work in the new year. If the whole new year is like this, I'm staying home!

Since we intend to spend the next three years in Italy, and I'm neither hunting nor shooting much any more, I decided to unload (pun intended) a part of my arsenal. I went to a gun show on Saturday, took advantage of the "gun show loophole" (which is a silly misnomer, by the way) and sold a rifle that I had owned for quite a while. I got a good price.

Fast forward to today. As I was driving to a medical appointment, my car engine started missing. Then it REALLY started missing. Then it died. Steam was pouring from the engine compartment. I pulled into a turn lane, called Mrs. B. to come pick me up, called road service, called the doctors office to report in late, then waited for the tow. A few minutes later, a very nice lady police officer parked behind me with lights flashing because traffic was very heavy.

This afternoon, the garage called. Most of what I made on the rifle sale went right under the hood of my Corvette. A coolant hose burst, and several others were ready to go. This, two weeks after I changed all of the radiator hoses.

That was the bad part.

The really bad part is that all I'm doing is fixing it up for the next owner. When we set sail for Naples in the spring, the 'Vette is going on the sales block.

There was no good part.

We're expecting a fairly large tax refund this year. I'm almost afraid to take it for fear that another gremlin is waiting in the weeds.

Almost, that is.

I will accept the refund and take my chances.

Tomorrow is another day.

Monday, January 04, 2010

To the nines?

. . . Perhaps not

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was recently named the worst-dressed man of the year by the British edition of GQ magazine. No mean feat, since his primary competition was French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British comedian Russell Brand, and "Beautiful Leader" Kim Jong-il.

This in the land of Saville Row, bespoke suits and genteel living? Perhaps he should have taken a clue from . . .

Musings . . .
. . . on a quiet Sunday.

Item the first: It's been cold here all week. Not Omaha cold, mind you, but very chilly for someone who has been in Virginia for seven years. It's been around 30F with very high winds, and will drop to 20F tonight. Positive note - no snow.

Item the second: The guy sitting next to us at the movies last night kept bouncing his feet in time with the music, shaking most of the row of chairs. I hope he had restless leg syndrome or some type of palsy. That would relieve me of the necessity to think of him as a total dickhead.

Item the third: While waiting to pick up the new SUV on Thursday, I was killing time by looking over a $50,000 Mustang Cobra GT500KTR on the showroom floor. While I was standing there, a guy walked up and planted his coffee cup on top of the car so he could open the door and look around. Clod. Didn't your momma learn you no manners?

Item the fourth: I only had to work two days last week and three the week before due to the holidays. Because of Mrs. B's cataract surgery, I only have to work 2-1/2 days this week. I could get used to 2.5 day workweeks. Unfortunately, my bank account would eventually complain.

Item the fifth: Changing bank accounts is a PITA. Especially when one sets up the incorrect account number and one's mortgage agency receives a NSF notice. I fixed it with the bank AND the mortgage agency. No harm done.

Item the sixth: I have a total love-hate relationship with our government's so-called pay for performance job appraisal. Hate because it's an administrative nightmare. Love because I did exceptionally well this year. Hence the new SUV.

Item the seventh: Because it was very cold today, and because I had no errands to run, I made a conscious decision to lounge around in my pajamas all day long, and I did. Call me a layabout. I don't care. I still accomplished all that was necessary.

Item the eighth: I telework from home on Monday, so there's no venturing out in the cold tomorrow. Unfortunately, I'm only allowed one day every two weeks.

Henry the eighth: The last season of "The Tudors" starts this spring. Henry has only two more wives to cheat on. I can't wait to see how it turns out. I'm kidding, of course. I watch PBS, I read books, and I've discussed it with Ian. Although, come to think of it, Ian wasn't exactly straight on the relationship between Elizibeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots. We ironed that out over a half-and-half.

OK, I realize that breaks the sequence, but it IS my sequence after all.

Item the ninth: Captain Kirk, I am, I am. (with apologies to Peter Noone). Rember when Kirk - or one of the crew - would say "Computer . . ."? Well, I can do that. The new SUV has a voice-operated "Sync" system by Microsoft. When I punch a switch on the steering wheel, a conversation starts - hands free through a mic in the SUV:

Sync: "Please say a command"
Me: "Phone"
Sync: "Please say a command"
Me: "Call Home"
Sync: "Calling Home"

It connects with my Bluetooth phone and calls home. I converse hands-free, and never have to touch the phone.

Sync also uses voice control for USB devices and other inputs. Maybe I finally need an iPOD?

Item the tenth: Since my hair is practically non-existant cut very short, I bought one of these. Do you think it's too retro?

Tomorrow's a workday. . . and my birthday. Unfortunately, they coincide. Kirk out.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Sherlock Holmes?

. . . a pity, my dear Watson.

Mrs. B and I wandered out in the Saturday evening cold to see Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law make an attempt at Holmes and Watson.

Bad idea.

It proved a feeble attempt.

This Guy Ritchie film (didn't he used to be Mr. Madonna?) recast Downey's Holmes as a down-sized, Victorian Arnold Swarzenegger, and Law's Watson as a Kato-esque sidekick (pun intended.)

A shirtless Holmes in a bareknuckle pit fight? Kicking ass and taking names? Watson subduing a 400 lbs French giant with some type of Gracie juijutsu choke hold? Please!

Yep, it was all there - along with thundering explosions, slashing swords, gunfights, un-ending fisticuffs and a hand-to-hand duel atop the yet unfinished Tower Bridge.

I'm guessing our great unwashed, unread youth will flock to this one, but Downey is not MY Sherlock Holmes. In the great authors' home in the sky, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle must be mixing a 20% solution, for 2% will be much too weak to block this travesty from his brain.

The movie set itself up for a sequel, but I don't care. I won't be seeing it.

Basil Rathbone is MY Sherlock Holmes.

Robert Downey Jr. will never be.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Tailgating . . .

. . . redux?

A driver with a history of seizures crashed through a reversable-lane gate and hit a woman head-on. Both drivers died.

The driver of the van saw the car coming the wrong way, steered into the Jersey wall and was just sideswiped. Frances Wilson, following behind the van, didn't have time to react, and was hit head on at a closing velocity of about 120 mph. She didn't have a chance.

I guess I can't call this tailgating, and I'm certainly not faulting Ms. Wilson. Unfortunately, she was following a large van, and had limited vision ahead. I guess the object lesson is that one needs to be able to see hundreds of yards ahead when travelling at speed.

I NEVER follow anything that blocks my view ahead. If I can't see around it, I either pass it or drop way back.

It reminds me of a time years ago when Mrs. B and I were leaving Peoria, IL. As we crossed the 4-lane Illinois river bridge, a driver passed us going the wrong way. He WAS in the right-hand lane and missed us, but both lanes were SUPPOSED to be going the other way. The last I saw of him, he was heading off the bridge onto the downtown freeway.

I feel so sorry for Ms. Wilson's family. She was doing nothing wrong, but still was taken out by someone else's carelessness.

The fragility of life is scary sometimes.