Happy Birthday, Kiddo.

My daughter turned 11 today. That’s 11-going-on-22, for those of you keeping count. She is my primary source of constant amazement. I am perpetually blown away by how grown-up she is, how articulate, how smart, how funny, and how sweet she is. Every now and then, she’ll do something that reminds me that she’s actually still a kid, and not an adult. But more often than not, she makes me think that there’s an adult inside there, wearing a kid suit.

We’re doing the birthday party thing today – schoolmates, cake, movie, popcorn, et cetera. Not much time to write. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t brag on her a bit, and wish her the Best Birthday Ever.

You go, girl.

Recession-(80)Proof.

Adult Beverages, anyone?
Adult Beverages, anyone?

While visiting my father in Shreveport last week, I took time out to have lunch with a friend/former student. I asked him how the “mortgage crisis,” “economic crisis,” and “banking crisis.” He said he’s not really seen any ill-effects. That’s largely due to two factors – first, the recession is not nearly the “crisis” that the ObamaNation would have you believe it is (remember what Rahmbo said, “you don’t want t let a crisis go to waste”), and that my buddy owns a chain of liquor stores.

Beer, wine and distilled spirits are the original recession-proof commodity. Beer is “nature’s off switch” for millions. Tough day at work? Hit the off switch. Need to relax? Off switch. Wanna party? Off switch. Wine is generally thought of as a more sophisticated drink, usually a lubricant for dining. Then there’s the distilled spirits group. If beer is nature’s off switch, then liquor is the go-to beverage for just about any extreme emotion. Lose your job? Get a raise? Bad news? In these situations, beer is for amateurs. Liquor, ounce for ounce, packs more punch for less swallowing. And unlike beer (which comes only in “beer flavor”), you can get hooch in a wide variety of flavors, everything from mouthwash flavors (schnapps) to paint stripper (scotch) to drinks that will blind you in one eye and make you say “arrrggh” a lot (rum). Continue reading Recession-(80)Proof.

I Didn’t Watch the Oscars.

The little gold bald guy.
The little gold bald guy.

Couldn’t care less, frankly. Hard for me to get interested in a bunch of self-centered, egotistical, spoiled brats, running around and playing dress-up, slapping each other on the back for how “naughty” and “provocative” they were over the past year. Think of it as a video documentary of detention at an overpriviledged high school, on an afternoon when the entire Drama Club has been nailed for cheating.

However, I digress. Back on Valentine’s Day, I stuck my neck out, and for the first time ever, made Oscar predictions. Today, children, we’ll review my predictions, the actual results, and how well I did.

CATEGORY MY PREDICTION THE WINNER… COMMENTS
Best Picture Slumdog Millionaire Slumdog Millionaire Told ‘ya.
Best Actor Sean Penn for Milk Frank Langella for Frost/Nixon Prooving conclusively that Hollywood’s first allegiance is to gays, second to liberals. I’ll know better next time.
Best Actress Meryl Streep in Doubt Kate Winslet for The Reader Missed this one. But you gotta admit, by my logic, it’s hard to count out the Alar Queen. Don’t know much about Winslet’s politics, but she had that “often a bridesmaid, never a bride” thing going for her.
Best Supporting Actor Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight Told ‘ya. Everybody loves a talent, especially when they tragically assume room temperature before their time.
Best Supporting Actress Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona A toss-up Okay…I weasled on this one. But seriously…did anybody care?
Best Director Danny Boyle in Slumdog Millionaire Danny Boyle in Slumdog Millionaire Another slam-dunk. No way they’re gonna give Opie an Oscar this year, and they probably still hold a grudge against Gus Van Sant for the remake of Psycho.
Best Original Screenplay Milk Milk Hey…In Bruges lost. I’m happy.
Best Adapted Screenplay Frost/Nixon Slumdog Millionaire A triumph for liberal principles over conservative bashing. Who woulda thunk it?
Best Animated Film WALL•E WALL•E The film with the most progressive theme – humans are evil, and are destroying the planet. Especially those evill Walmart guys. A valentine to the Greenie ecoNazis.

My success rate was 5.5 out of 9 (I’m giving myself a half-point on the Best Supporting Actress), or just under 66%. That’s better odds, by the way, than you’d get from a stockbroker, weatherman, or Vegas handicapper. I think I’m on to something here. In fact, with just a couple of minor tweaks to the way I interpreted the data, I would have gotten 7 or 8 out of 9. Ah well…there’s always next year.

On Hospitals.

There’s a certain amount of irony in any hospital stay. First of all, what sadistic bozo invented hospital gowns? I’ve seen thong bikinis that afford more modesty, and as far as comfort goes, the idea of a permanent draft down your back is not my idea of a good time. Of course, hospital gowns are the least of your worries if you’re admitted to one of our temples of healing. As I write this, my sister and I are sitting in what is quaintly referred to as a “pre-op” room, waiting for our father to be wheeled into surgery. He’s gowned up, with the IV drip at the ready, all undressed, with nowhere to go. Apparently, Thursday is the “All You Can Sew” day in the operating room, so they’ve got victims patients stacked up like cordwood, awaiting their turn under the knife. This wouldn’t be so bad, but when you’re to go under a general anesthetic, you can’t eat for at least eight hours prior to surgery. In a show of solidarity, neither my sis nor I ate either, so between the three of us, even hospital food is gaining a certain, desperate appeal. Continue reading On Hospitals.

The Crisis President.

The Annointed One
The Annointed One

Every President eventually gets known as the “_________ President.” (Fill in the blank.) Most Presidents start their term wanting to stand for something, and then find that they get pegged with something else. For instance, think back to the days before 9/11. George Bush entered the White House wanting to be knonw as the “Education President.” It’s actually a little soon to know exactly how he’ll be remembered by historians, but right now, I’d vote for the “War on Terror President.” That brings us to the White House’s current occupant…

If I was going to guess about a title for The Big O, it would be “The Crisis President.” Not, mind you, because we’re in bad shape. Quite the contrary – if you look at inflation, unemployment, the stock market, gas prices, et all, Ronald Reagan took office at a time where our country’s situation looked a lot worse. As in much, MUCH worse. But Reagan got tagged as “The Great Communicator” because he both knew how to speak, and because he knew how to make people proud of their country again (after four years of “The Morass President,” Jimmy Carter).  No, I suspect Obama will be known as The Crisis President, because he uses the bloody word in just about every sentence in every address, every time he speaks publicly. Continue reading The Crisis President.

Handicapping the Oscars.

Do you love movies? I used to. Hooray for Hollywood and all that. It used to be our best export – American culture via movies was the original nation-building exercise. Even countries that hate us loved our entertainment. Today, things are different. I’m ashamed of most of the America-bashing, far-Left ideology-spewing, self-absorbed naval gazing, crapalicious dreck coming out of Hollywood nowadays. And I’m not alone. Movie attendance is way, way down in the so-called “Red States,” and the number-one with a car bomb objection raised by Islamic fundamentalist nutjobs is the “decadent” entertainment designed to break down traditional cultures – like theres. I used to enjoy watching the Oscar ceremony, pulling for my favorite movies, directors, actors and actresses. Not anymore. I haven’t watched – or cared about – the Oscars in years. Between Hollywood nominating a bunch of movies I wouldn’t see on a bet (movies that mock my values, like Brokeback Mountain) and nominating a bunch of actors and actresses with little talent, less common sense, willing to loudly bray their opinions about George Bush, the Right, and how everything wrong with the world is Halliburton’s and Chenney’s fault. After a while it gets old.

Then I realized that I had the perfect formula to predict who would win the Oscars. Continue reading Handicapping the Oscars.

The Decline and Fall of the American Family.

Right up front, lemme say that I’m on the side of those that treasure traditional values – family, religion, country…that sort of thing. I’m a huge believer in the sanctity of the family. In fact, I believe that the family answers to God first. I believe that the government is supposed to work for us – not us for them. And I believe that Parents are the ultimate authority (after God) over their kids – not the State.

Unfortunately for all of us, that is directly opposite from the philosophy of our new President and his administration.

Even worse, there’s been a group actively working on softening us all up, in preparation for the Obama administration’s big push towards Socialism. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…Hollywood. Continue reading The Decline and Fall of the American Family.

The Annointed One’s Disciples.

Well, it looks like being one of The Chosen One’s Disciples (a.k.a. Obama’s Cabinet Secretaries) is not the kind of gig that either everybody wants or everybody is qualified to take. Keeping score?  So far we’ve had one flameout due to a criminal investigation (Sect. of Commerce), two flameouts for taxes (Health & Human Services, Government Efficiency Czar) and another tax cheat who made it through comfirmation to head the Treasury (including, ironically, the IRS) and one flameout today, for an inability to violate his own beliefs in order to get behind Obamas.

What’s a poor Savior to do? Continue reading The Annointed One’s Disciples.

Shaken. Not Stirred.

Treasury Secretary Tim “I didn’t cheat on my taxes…I just didn’t understand the tax code” Geitner was on the Hill yesterday, waxing semi-eloquent regarding the second half of the bank bailout, a.k.a. “TARP II: When Markets Bite Back.” By all accounts (both liberal and conservative), Geitner’s performance was, at best, underwhelming. He appeared nervous and ill-prepared (note to Tim: the unbuttoned shirt collar under the tie didn’t say “man of action” as much as it said “I’d rather be having a root canal than be here today”). Geitner looked, well…shaken. Congress was not stirred by his performance.

If the Obama administration is going to persist in shoveling this kind of pork at us, they’re going to have to find some much more convincing liars to sell it.

The deal here is that no thinking person believes this “stimulus” bill is about stimulating the economy. Everybody knows that it’s a wish-list of the liberal left, masquerading as stimulus or order to get it passed. Evidently, 30 or 40 years of yearning has the Dems throwing caution to the wind, in order to fund their pet projects. See the problem is, in order to stimulate the economy, it’s necessary to do but two things:

  • Spend less money
  • Reduce taxes

Neither of these strategies holds much appeal to the tax and spend crowd. 800 billion dollars is one HELL of a lot of money, and the real scandal is that over 3/4 of the money won’t see hit the economy until well after the first year. Stimulus, shimulus. It’s all shuck and jive to me.

Here’s my idea of a stimulus plan:

  • Reduce EVERYBODY’S tax rate by 20% for the next year
  • Reduce every department (other than the military’s) budget by 20% for the next year
  • Cut all non-essential spending (National Endowment for the Arts, Mohair research, etc.) by 50%

That’s it. The whole thing. And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is how you create a stimulus plan that works. To do something like that, it would help to have people that put the public’s interest ahead of their own. Oh, and maybe put somebody in charge of the Treasury Dept. that understands enough about the tax code that he can pay the taxes he owes, and not duck his responsibilities. I can’t see any Democrat doing this, because they are the party of bigger – not smaller – government. There’s not been a Republican since Reagan that had the cojones to even so much as propose this. Pity. We need leaders that will do what works, rather than try and game the system to serve their taste for pork, earmarks, and pet projects. Cut the waste, and the public would grant them a license to thrill.

When Marketers Attack!

I’m in Dallas tonight, an overnight stop on a trip home. I went to Stonebriar Mall to find a replacement case for my crapalicious Window Mobile phone (Never again. Just trust me on this…you do NOT want a Windows Mobile anything. Ever). So I’m walking along, minding my own business, and suddenly I’m accosted by a mall cart sales rep, offering me a free sample of something I don’t want and don’t need. I wave him off. Not to be deterred, he says “can I ask you a question?,” and starts to invade my personal space. Oh, but I’m ready for him this time. “Nope. Sorry…In a hurry…gotta keep moving…thanks anyway,” I say, as I power walk away. You see, I’ve been here before – literally and situationally. The mall cart salesreps are the slimy underbelly of live sales. They prey on people who respond to a question like that with a naive willingness to answer what they think is a reasonable request. If you’re the type that doesn’t wish to offend, you’ve got “sheeple” written all over you as far as these jackals are concerned.

I hate that. Continue reading When Marketers Attack!