Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hero Of The Week

Marine Cpl. Sean A. Stokes
Age:  24
3rd Battalion
1st Marine Regiment
1st Marine Division
I Marine Expeditionary Force
Died 30 July, 2007
Taqaddum, Iraq

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Due to circumstances beyond my control, there will not be a post today.  I hope you can all manage to control your disappointment.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Tea Party Hilarity

This one is worth watching multiple times. Freshman Congressman Curt Clawson (R-Idiot), sent to Congress from Florida to replace Trey Radel, who resigned after being caught snorting coke, showed his brilliance last week during a House Asia and Pacific Subcommittee hearing. Appearing before the committee were Nisha Biswal, Asst. Secretary of State for Southern and Central Asian Affairs and Arun Kumar, Asst. Secretary and Director General of U.S. Foreign Commercial Service. Both are fairly high ranking U.S. government officials and BOTH ARE AMERICANS.  Just look at the congressman's smug expression; they have brown skin and Indian names, so they must be from India.

 Obviously neither Mr. Clawson nor his staff bothered to read the agenda for the hearing or to even take a cursory glance at the witness list. This district in Florida first elects a coke addict and now this vacuous, condescending moron.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Another Responsible Gun Owner

Meet Chad Pickering of Bemidji, MN.  Chad likes to ride his lawn mower.  Chad likes to open carry his gun around the neighborhood.  When his neighbor's 17 year old daughter asked him not to continually ride his lawn mower in their yard, Chad wasn't happy.  Chad laid under a pine tree in the neighbor's back yard and when the 17 year old girl came on the deck to tie up her dogs he shot her three times with a .45 caliber handgun.

This is now how we settle minor disputes in America.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Basket O' Stuff

By The Big Guy
SeƱor Contributor

In no particular order:

I was at a Six Flags amusement park the other day. At this point in my life I am not there to ride but to chaperone, get my head sunburned and bruise the bottoms of my feet. Mission accomplished. My charges took off to enjoy something called Roaring Rapids, a large circular pontoon in which twelve seated passengers ride along a controlled water course constructed in such a way as to get most of them good and wet. There is a point along the ride where other park patrons can drop quarters into machines that let them send a fire hose burst of water in the direction of the pontoon riders to further enhance the riders’ wetness. Properly timed, college boys with pockets full of quarters have the ability to waterboard a four-year-old riding alongside her daddy who will spend the rest of the ride choking and gasping for air. Welcome to the real world, little girl. Enjoy your day at Six Flags.

By a 4-1 vote the fine Board of Trustees of Niles, Illinois has granted a special use permit for the building and operation of a combination gun shop, firearms safety training facility and indoor firing range. It will be located within a mile of five schools and more importantly within three miles of my house. There were, of course, representatives from both sides of the issue present at the vote. Interestingly, those opposed were residents of the neighborhood. Those in favor, well the closest one willing to give his location lives thirty miles away and says he couldn’t be more excited to make that sixty mile round trip to use the facility as soon as it opens. And so we move on, fingers crossed, hoping for the best. This is not about the second amendment which people continue to misinterpret but about our culture, and I for one would like to know when it was decided that if we turned America back into the Wild West we’d all be better off. Clearly, I missed that meeting.    

If you have the opportunity to attend a concert given by Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band, I urge you not to miss it. Gary, star of stage, screen (as Lt. Dan in the movie Forrest Gump, Ken Mattingly in Apollo 13) and television (Mac Taylor in CSI: New York), on bass leads a dozen talented musicians and singers in one of the best cover bands you’ve ever seen. Aside from being entertained you will also be pleased to know that your ticket money is going to support disabled American military veterans.

Finally, even though we are more than three months away from mid-term election day the television and radio ads have begun, not to mention the robocalls which I don’t even bother to pick up. I don’t remember the last time I saw a positive ad for any candidate. They have all been negative, with those special effects to make them black & white and all grainy and evil like some horror movie. I’m going to have to stay especially close to the remote. It’s going to be a long, painful autumn.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hero Of The Week

Army Sgt. Eric E. Williams
Age:  27
3rd Battlion
82nd Combat Aviation Brigade
82nd Airborne Division
Died 23 July, 2012
Pur-E Alam, Afghanistan

Monday, July 21, 2014

I'm Left To Mourn

I can remember the day about four years ago when the sign went up on the construction site near my home:  Five Guys Coming Soon !.  I texted Mrs. Grumpy right away.  The famous Five Guys was going to be a two minute drive away.  I'd read about it, heard people rhapsodize about it and seen it in the media, but had never had one of their famous burgers.  They had opened a location in our greater metropolitan area, but it was at least a half hour away and we hadn't made the pilgrimage yet.  Now we wouldn't have to.

I kept close tabs on the construction and was there opening day.  It was all I expected.  Made to order while you watched.  Unlimited toppings.  And the fries.  A small order was a drinking cup full of fries and then an extra scoopful thrown in the bag.  The fries themselves would have made a meal.  The cheeseburger was juicy, the cheese melting everywhere and the grease dripping with every bite.  I was in heaven.

Mrs. Grumpy not being a big burger person, I would usually get my fix at lunch, getting there at 11:30 to beat the rush and taking it home to savor.  The smell from that bag as I drove home was tantalizing.  More than once I would dip in for a few fries.  Five Guys lived up to all the anticipation and expectations.

Then last Friday, driving home through the main neighborhood business district, I glanced over and to my surprise Five Guys was gone.  Signage, fixtures, everything gone.  No sign that it was ever there.  It was as if they had just packed up in the night and left.  I was stunned.  Why would this happen?  I had noticed on recent visits that they weren't very busy and had seen a nearly empty lot around dinner time on more than one occasion.  Maybe it was the pricing.  A  double cheeseburger and a small order of fries would set you back about $9.25.  Maybe impatience in our fast food society; since everything was cooked to order, the wait for your food could sometimes be 10 minutes.

So my neighborhood is filled with impatient cheapskates.  I shouldn't be punished for that.

Friday, July 18, 2014

My Mideast Peace Plan

Simultaneously, Hamas or the Palestinian Authority (whichever is the "government" this week) and the Arab League release the following statement:

"We recognize the right of the State of Israel to exist."

Problem solved.  Killing stops.  You're welcome.  Have a nice weekend.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cleveland


By The Big Guy
Senior Contributor

I was born in Cleveland. Born and raised as a matter of fact. Cleveland was a great place to grow up back in the middle of the last century. It was a great place to grow up in and get out of also, which is what I did. I’ve been gone so long I have no idea if it's still a great place to grow up in but I have a feeling it’s still a great place to get out of. I know this because back there in the middle of the last century it was the seventh largest city in the country. Today it ranks forty-fifth. Of course I suppose it depends where you’re getting out to.

Back when I was growing up in Cleveland, the city had two well-known slogans. The first was created by the local electric company: “The Best Location in the Nation!” Wow. Six words that were at once both inspirational and aspirational. The second was the one you heard from your friends or your cynical Uncle Harvey: “The mistake on the lake.” Not exactly what the electric company was going for, but the one everyone would remember because Cleveland seems to be a city that wants to hold on to the bad stuff.

The city can’t shake its image as the place where the Cuyahoga River that runs through the center of town caught fire in 1969. Every industry, and there have been lots of heavy industries in Cleveland, used the Cuyahoga as their personal garbage disposal and oil slicks and other debris had been catching fire on the surface of the river for one hundred years prior. However, Time decided to make the river on fire its cover story in June 1969 and that was that. Clevelanders have been ashamed ever since, even though the notoriety led to the Clean Water Act becoming law three years later.

This week Cleveland was suddenly all over the news on a national basis. First, the Republican Party announced that their 2016 Presidential Convention would be held in Cleveland. Definitely a plus for the city, even if it is just a ploy to win the state for their candidate in the November election. Next was the demolition of a major interstate highway bridge in the downtown area via controlled explosion to make way for a modern, wider replacement. TV news shows just love their controlled explosions. Then there was the video of a lovely SUV lying on its side completely submerged at the bottom of an in ground home swimming pool, apparently the result of a loss of control on the part of the driver who was relatively unharmed. TV news shows love their submerged SUVs also. Finally but probably not least was that little LeBron James thing.

I am reasonably sure that even the casual sports fan can remember the uproar from the mistake on the lake four years ago when a certain basketball player, a native of the regional metropolitan area, decided to do what many professional athletes do, which was to find a place to play where he felt he could win the league championship he so seriously desired. It was as though LeBron James had personally called each and every person in Cleveland just to personally give them a two word message, the first word being a verb and the second a pronoun. There were jersey burning events, all televised. The owner of the team posted a letter to Clevelanders that remained on the website for years. It used words like “betrayal” and “cowardly” and went on to make a promise to fans that could not and would not be kept.

And now? The letter is gone from the website. Cavalier tickets are sold out. People stand in line waiting to buy new jerseys and tee shirts. All is forgiven. In fact, one very popular tee shirt available for sale just has a large “Forgiven” across the front. So just who is doing the forgiving and who is it that requires to be forgiven? Perhaps it’s time for the residents of Cleveland to knock it off and remember that once upon a time they lived in the best location in the nation.           

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hero Of The Week

Army Spc. Nicholas A. Taylor
Age:  20
81st Troop Command
Indiana National Guard
Died 16 July, 2012
Jannan, Afghanistan

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I Am Depressed

A couple weeks ago I detailed my decision to binge watch Breaking Bad.  The show ran for five seasons comprised of 62 episodes.  In the space of two weeks I watched 61 of those episodes.  As Peruby noted at that time, it became an obsession.  I mapped out my watching schedule, usually two episodes each afternoon followed by two more after dinner and the evening news.  If Mrs. Grumpy interrupted during my Breaking Bad viewing I got pissed.  I was hooked and couldn't wait for my next fix.  No pun intended.

The characters were finely drawn and superbly acted.  I can't think of a single performance that I would find fault with.  The story lines were incredible; many nights I would lie awake thinking about the plot lines and how they intersected with each other, often not fully understanding the twists until I had replayed them in my mind.  Probably the best series I've ever watched.  I never thought anything could surpass The Wire, but Breaking Bad does, by just a nose.

Note how I said I watched 61 episodes in two weeks.  For two days I put off watching the finale.  I didn't want it to end.  Ending would mean not just the end of these characters and their part in my life, it would also leave a big chunk of time to fill in my day.  On Saturday I finally watched the final episode.  Many times the finale of a series will disappoint (think Seinfeld, Dexter).  This one didn't.  Debts were paid.  Revenge was taken.  There was even an act of redemption.


Now, also as predicted by Peruby, I'm depressed.  I want those people back in my life, to have their lives go on; I want to see how it plays out for the survivors.  It has been announced that in 2015 there will be a prequel, Better Call Saul, featuring the sleazy, amoral lawyer, Saul Goodman.  Featured along with Saul will be his fixer, Mike Ehrmantraut.  I hope they bring back Saul's bodyguard Huell.  This time I think I'll watch it week to week.

Monday, July 14, 2014

I Won't Be There

Over the July 4th weekend friends who now live in Las Vegas came to Cincinnati to visit with their 4 month old son.  The paternal grandparents had people over Saturday night to meet the baby and congratulate the new parents in person.  Really cute kid, very photogenic and nary a complaint while being passed among strangers.  But here's what I was thinking:  In 18 yrs., when Jake graduates from high school, I likely won't be there to see it.  It's simple math, really.  It's how I've started to view the future, by doing the math.

During what little of the World Cup that I watched they talked about the 2018 World Cup in Russia.  I did the math.  The 2022 World Cup in Qatar.  I did the math.  My favorite NFL player is 32.  If he plays five more years and then has to wait the mandatory five years to be voted into the Hall of Fame, that's ten years before he's inducted.  Do the math.  My granddaughter turns 21 this week.  Probably don't need to do the math on that one.  But what if she gets married some day?   Just thinking about the possibilities gets me started on the math again.  Same with my grandson's high school graduation, now six years away.  That makes his college graduation ten years out.  Do the math.

I was never good at math, but I'm becoming a whiz at doing addition quickly.

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

A neck holding up nothing but air
Whatever you may think about Sarah Palin, the half-wit, half-term former governor of Alaska, you have to admit that she is an endless source of amusement.  I guess we all owe a debt of gratitude to Sen. John McCain (R-State of dementia) for making her a national figure.  Whenever she opens her mouth you can count on her to a.) Say something stupid b.) Show her ignorance c.) Lie.

Her latest beauty is a column for Breitbart.com in which she calls for the impeachment of President Obama because of, among other things, his handling of the current immigration crisis on our Southern border.  She once again shows she doesn't understand the grounds necessary to bring articles of impeachment, doesn't read any more papers or news than she did in 2008 and is still a liar.

If she picked up a paper or checked online news sources Ms. Palin might know of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization  Act.  The act mandates that undocumented immigrant children from non-contiguous countries (that would be anywhere but Canada and Mexico, Ms. Palin) must be handed over to the Dept. of Health and Human Services for care and are entitled to legal counsel as well as an advocate to explain asylum options and other ways to remain in the U.S.  Again, minor children who enter America without documentation are required by law to be cared for by an American agency.

What Ms. Palin either doesn't know or chooses to lie about is that this act was signed into law in 2008 by President George W. Bush.  So when President Obama provides food, water, medical care and counsel for these children, he is following the law.  The other thing about this issue that Ms. Palin fails to mention or willfully ignores is that President Obama is trying to get the law changed so that these undocumented children would be treated the same as undocumented immigrants from Canada or Mexico who are caught; they would be detained and sent back to their country of origin. 

In reality, President Obama has deported more undocumented immigrants than any president in U.S. history.  In spite of that truth, we have Ms. Palin and Gov. Perry of Texas implying that the president is purposely encouraging undocumented immigrants to come here, toward what end only their tiny, bigoted brains can know.  Endlessly amusing.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Imagination

By The Big Guy
Senior Contributor

Okay, so the other day I’m at the gym (yes, really) and I’m listening to Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar on my device. It’s a radio program from the 1950s. Johnny was an insurance investigator who traveled around to investigate cases where big payouts were made under suspicious circumstances. The show was on five nights a week for fifteen minutes. It took all five of the week’s episodes for Johnny to solve a case. In this one he was trying to find out who murdered a kindly, gentle woman from a tiny little Vermont town in her own living room. Turns out it was her neighbor. I figured I didn’t have to worry too much about a spoiler here.

The thing that was so enjoyable, so refreshing about this radio program that was over sixty years old was that it provided me with an opportunity I have less and less often. It allowed me to “see” things however I chose. Whether the town was one of those places with a single flashing yellow light where two roads crossed, whether there was a railroad track that ran parallel to Main Street, whether there was a public green with a gazebo at one end, was all up to me. Was Johnny tall or short? Did he wear a hat? Did he blink his eyes more often than most? My choice. Everything and everyone looked just the way I expected them to look. That’s the best thing about imagination.

When we’re kids people are always telling us to use our imagination but I’m afraid that when we’re kids we don’t really understand the concept. We learn to read from books with pictures and it feels like the day we get handed a book without any pictures is the day reading becomes drudgery. We don’t see it as providing us the opportunity to use our imagination.

Now I’m not saying that people don’t read books anymore or that anyone who chooses to find themselves amidst a work of fiction can go anywhere they want in an instant. I’m just saying that somewhere along the way our lifestyle or our technology or the combination of the two began to pair up virtually everything we do, everything we encounter with a specific visual component. And with that pairing the image in your mind’s eye is defined for you. Imagination is no longer required.

Do you have a favorite book? Was it made into a motion picture? Did it live up to your expectations or did it take the wonderful images you had created for yourself and burn them to the ground? What if The Cat in the Hat or Horton Hears a Who, as wonderful as they are, didn’t come with pictures? Do you think your imagination would be up to the task?