Monday, September 29, 2008

Put Them All Against the Wall

What would really happen if the politicians didn't bail out who ever it is that needs bailing out?

I'm willing to be that the main portion of the economy, the daily life of the regular dude, would be normal in a matter of 2-3 months.

And just who is being rescued? My guess: the political leadership.

They, and their buddies, profited mightily while the doings were being done.

Franklin Raines, among the dirty thirty dozen, just for one example , is a close pal of National Savior,Barrack Obama.

And now the robber baron's want more?

Forget it.

Shoot them all.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Given what's happening with the economy these days, the Treasury Department has issued a new dollar bill.........

Friday, September 26, 2008


One of the nation's largest consumer banks has been seized by the feds.
I can't help but see a little irony in the collapse of Washington Mutual as a result of it's heavy investment in risky mortgage debt.

WaMu is/was very big in California. They had marketed themselves so as to take maximum profit advantage from the less financially reliable segment of the consumer market.
Among the marketing ploys: free checking. Anybody could qualify for free checking at WaMu, while in most cases another bank would require payroll direct deposit, or some other commitment of customer longevity to receive this benefit.

Although this privilege is a benefit to those who otherwise wouldn't qualify at one of the competitors, WaMu was also keenly aware that this more transient customer base is also more prone to overdrafts. And overdraft charges at WaMu where the highest in the land.
This was a extraordinarily high percentage of their operating profits.
(They were also accused by consumer groups of clearing large checks first so as to increase the chance of several smaller successive checks being returned NSF.)

Another of their marketing ploys was offering several branches. With a branch nearly every two blocks in the city, we jokingly refered to them as "McBank". This was convenient for their debit card holders looking for ATM's.
It was also convenient for foreign ATM customers who would run out of cash and just strike at the first ATM they see, usually a WaMu, at higher than average ATM fees.
And every WaMu had not just one ATM, but 3-4 of them. ATM fees were an extraordinarily high source of revenue, as well.

Also, if you were out of money and didn't know it, WaMu would still give you cash at the ATM, and charge you an overdraft fee.
Of course, this bit of info didn't come up on the screen. You saw it on your receipt after the transaction was completed.

In a wrap: Washington Mutual was a good convenient bank for those who had their act together. But those weren't the people they wanted. I remember a friend who was having money wired from out of state, and WaMu stuck him with a $40 wire fee. He never bounced checks, so I guess they had to bleed him anyway they could.

In short, they did nothing illegal. And it can be argued that they did some good by making low-cost banking available to greater numbers of people, as they were accused by consumer groups of being unethical, preying on the least reliable segment of the population. (They were also the first to accept 'matricular' cards, non gov't recognised identification used by illegal Mexicans in place of other reliable forms of identification.)

Washington Mutual grew big milking the weakest among us. Now, it looks like the weakest have struck back.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Post What?

"Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks.

Why does it seem that in the era of post-racial politics all the racial politics are coming from camp of the post-racial candidate?

I'm willing to bet anybody representing a Florida ghetto district doesn't give much thought to Whites and Inuits fishing salmon or working an oil pipeline,either.

But getting back to race, and the reports that Obama may lose this election to mystical White racism...

Most Whites, and this means the working class, blue collar Whites Obama needs, don't give a rat's ass about Black people. Not one way or the other. We, and I am among them, are too busy scratching out a living, dealing with our own day to day issues, to give Blacks much thought at all.
I don't mind breaking it to any Black folks out there, but as a group, you just don't register that high on our radar screen. It's not like all of us White guys held a meeting or something and took a vote to ignore you.
It's just that we are much too busy dealing with the state our own individual existences to worry much about the state of your collective one.
About the only time we ever notice your tribal existence is when we turn on our television and see some race hustler blaming us for a bunch of shit we had no part of.
And we are not buying it.

And don't go blaming Jeremiah 'God Damn America' Wright for turning some of us off to the Obama cult.
It was Obama, the post racial one, who sat in that pew, jumping up and down,clapping his hands for twenty years.
It was Obama who wrote the checks for thousands of dollars to that ministry.
It was Obama who declared Wright his spiritual mentor.
Whatever you may want to think Obama believes in his heart, his heart was obviously quite comfortable surrounding himself with that congregation, raising his children in that foul 'blame whitey/hate America' environment.
You see, it's not really about some loudmouth Rev. Shit Head spewing bile while making himself wealthy.
It's about a satin tongued Sen. Shit Head trying to pretend who he is not in order to lead a nation he may very well have disdain for.

Ask yourself, and be honest: if John McCain's church was pastored by a member of the Aryan nation who blamed The Darkies for all the ills of society, and "God Damn America, it's in the Bible", would you give him the same free pass?
Do you honestly think McCain would be polling 97% among Whites?

You know, and I know, he would have been drummed out of the race (by Whites) for merely sitting in the same auditorium as David Duke.

If I, and people in my social class, are racist for being just a little turned off by the asshattery and race mongering Obama and Crew are trying to get away with then one of us doesn't know what racism is.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's All Paper And Promises Anyway, Ain't It?

How much does it really matter?
I'm talking about this financial crisis, of course.

I'm not knowledgeable in the slightest about monetary policy, or how money works, the federal reserve, and what not.
What I do know, I learned the hard way:
I work.
I get paid.
I spend.
Spend more than I earn, and I'm headed for trouble that costs even more than I originally overspent with in the first place.
Don't buy shit you can't pay for, don't buy on credit, put away $20 every week and forget about it, keep your job, and the rest just kinda falls into place rather well.

I dumped my credit cards in 1999. Went 'BK', and never borrowed again, with the exception of things it's near impossible to save cash for: cars and houses.
And I did't buy the $35,000 car I qualified for when the $20,000 car will serve the same purpose with a smaller payment and last just as long and perform just as well.
(This logic also lowers insurance costs).
My FICOL score is near 700, but was told it should be much higher if I kept active revolving credit . No way.
689 is plenty to do what ever I want to do when I need to (rarely) do it; like get a competitive rate on cars and homes.
No need for me to give more money to the money lenders.
(You idiots with the 700+ scores can have them bragging rights that you paid handsomely for. It means nothing to me.)

Remember, I'm just a mill worker. No glamour. Just sweat, blisters and a bucket-load of overtime. I have everything I need, most of what I want, and can still spare a buck or two for the derelict in front of 7-11. Or more than a few for the irresponsible family member.

I do know how markets work.
I do know that a bunch of morons bought houses they couldn't afford with money lent to them by other morons.
As a result, the housing market has dropped allowing me into a great bargain I can afford that in an otherwise honest market I could never dream of.

I fail to see the crisis in this.

But if there really is a crisis, I fail to see how putting the same people in charge of fixing it that were supposed to be making sure stuff like this didn't happen in the first place.
It's not that hard. Even football teams fire the coach that blows it.

If there is a fault, it lies in the American voters who keep returning the same re-elected assholes to Washington time and again.
Of course, the re-elected millionaire assholes (with their fingers in the pie) want to bailout the millionaires who helped elect them who also 'lost' all this money.

I get the feeling a lot of little guys are gonna get burned through higher taxation. But not one politician will be giving up his salary or pension.
And everybody who was (ir)responsible for oversight will be re-elected.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Well, I got everything moved and in the new house.
Now, I'm in the process of getting some of the rooms painted, more boxes emptied and rediscovering my way around a region very much changed since I made it my home throughout most of the 90's, before settling in Anaheim 10 yrs ago.

I'm here, but rather pre-occupied at the moment.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Head Games

Today, I had my meet and greet with the man who would be sticking his fingers into my head*.
He mentioned the probability that this tumor may be a little more further up my skull than previously thought.
I likely will have one of two options:

#1. Go for the 'Home Run' as he called it. Remove all of the tumor. Good bye, and good riddance. The drawback is that it's riskier. I could very well have some irreversible nerve damage.
I told him that since I have a lot of nerve anyway, I may be able to afford to lose a little, and my social life may improve.
He then explained I could lose some abilities that I currently take for granted. Like swallowing, vision,whistling, control over one side of my facial muscles. Small stuff like that.
Not that these things will necessarily occur. It's just a lot more likely.

#2. Remove most of the tumor, and attack the remaining portion with gamma knife therapy. The tumor would still be alive, but no longer growing. I'd carry it in my head for the rest of my days.
Gamma Knife is some sort of radiation procedure where they are able to concentrate all the radiation into one target location. It looks rather involved (see link), but would be a one shot thing.
The drawback is that I would still carry some part of the tumor and enter into a lifelong relationship with my neurosurgeon that includes yearly testing, more MRI's and other fun stuff.

The photo to the right is of a patient going through the gamma knife process.

Can't help but be reminded of a scene from A Clockwork Orange.
(I might like that.)

I already have enough useless mass in my head, so I really don't want to carry an extra load around.
But, I wouldn't want to lose my ability to cast the wife a flirtatious wink. Or to snarl at strangers.
Not yet sure what option I'll take. I still have more time to decide these things, as Mr. Neurosurgeon has ordered up another round of diagnostic studies. This means more delays.

The downside: it doesn't look like I'll make it to the O.R. in time to recover soon enough to make the hunt this year.
Some possible upside: I may be able to put this thing off long enough to make the season opener. Not my preferred time, but I'll take it.

I'll aim for the latter.

*Couldn't help but notice. This guy has some very large fingers. I hope he's not clumsy with them.


The wait time to see the doctor is inversely proportional to the quality of the reading material in the lobby.

Just A Tad Busy

The moving process has begun, and part of the drawbacks encountered in buying a repo property are starting to be realized.

Unlike most repos, this house has not been trashed. Except for a torn up patio door screen, nothing is broken or in disrepair. The place is still cherry. Nice. I like that.

Drawbacks: the previous owners, who bought the house brand new on 2006, decided to take everything that they had added with them.
That means there is not a window covering to be found. Or a yard hose. Or the ceiling fans that are now just holes in the ceiling. They even took the Doggy Door (but left the hole).
Of course, I knew all this when I first looked at the house, and inspected it pretty well prior to submitting my bid.

So, now I have the chore of getting window coverings bought and in place. I know how much this can cost from previous purchases of one or two rooms worth of coverings.
What I didn't prepare for: every window in the house is bare naked. I mean every window. Even the small tiny ones that are easy to overlook. Of course, I knew this, but still never thought to add up the potential numbers.
This is going to cost me. Damn, these things are expensive when you have to do them all at once, on a house as large as this one.

--Here's a tip: when shopping for wood blinds, or faux wood, check out ebay. Lots for sale, cut to fit, for 20-30% cheaper than Home Depot/Lowes/Wal*Mart. One such vendor will be getting a lot of business from me in the coming weeks.

The Good: prior to foreclosure, the previous owners tried to rent it out, without success. As a result, the place is clean. Very clean. Even the carpets and the walls.

I will be without internet service for a few days while I get settled in. Also have a couple more medical appointments this week. I'll be meeting with my neurosurgeon in a couple hours, and my SuperSpecialistExtreme ENT later in the week. Surgery is right around the corner.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Righteous Kill

You know what sucks? That I waited for this. The opportunity to see two giants of their craft together, I mean actually together, unlike in Heat, opposite each other in scene after scene.

Righteous Kill is a rather generic cop thriller/serial killer movie that burns up more than it's share of cliches.
Turk (DeNiro) and Rooster (Pacino) are two homicide detectives who've been working together for 30 years. Ready to retire, they've got this one last case involving a serial killer who targets some of the worst criminals who've been let off on technicalities.
At each murder, the killer leaves behind a poem explaining the justification for his actions.
A surprise plot twist at the end isn't really that much of surprise if you seen enough of this type of movie.

Along the way, Turk helps an attractive forensics detective, played by the breastigious Carla Gugino, live out some of her quirky bedroom fantasies. I'm not sure this did much to add to the movie, 'cept maybe provide a little eye-candy for a struggling story.

The movie is mediocre at best considering the promise of the lead actors. Both roles are too easy for them, so you don't get too much in the way of the solid character acting they're both known for. It was worth the price of admission, though it tended to drag along in a few places, easily allowing my mind to wonder. Almost like watching an expanded version of Law & Order, with gunfire.

Also stars Donnie Wahlberg and Curtis Jackson as two rookie cops, Brian Dennehy as the angry lieutenant, and rapper 50-Cent as a drug dealing kingpin.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Loose Ends

Last night we signed the closing docs on the house. We were supposed to do this nearly three weeks ago, but FHA is becoming a thorn in everybody's side. The last couple days were spent bickering over the property taxes.
In California, property taxes are based on sale price/value of the property. The lender was insisting on advance payment, six months worth, of the property tax, based upon the previous year's assessment.
Mindful that the house is a foreclosure, being purchased at nearly 1/2 the original sale price, we had an argument as to just what six months tax should be.
In the end, I decided to just pay them a couple extra grand to get the deal closed, and wait for money to be refunded by the assessor. It will be.

Two days ago, Wednesday, I had the last of several diagnostic tests my doctor ordered: an MRI. As previous attempts to MRI my face had not gone well (it appears that I am severely claustrophobic), it was necessary to knock me out to get it done. That was kinda weird. I took three breaths of the happy gas and don't remember another damn thing 'cept for waking up in another room, on another bed, as if nothing had happened.
If only I could sleep that way every night.

The 'wake up room' was rather cold. They must have had the a/c set at 58F or something.
Before I could leave, the nurse had to check my vitals, and struggled to get a good reading of my body temperature. They take temperature through the ear, and my ears were numb from the cold.

Keep in mind that I was instructed: nothing to eat or drink after midnight.

It was now 11am.
I am not just hungry. I'm in dire need of something to drink.

The nurse kept going from ear to ear to get an acceptable reading. Getting impatient with her, I offered:
"You wanna just shove it up my butt and be done with it?"
Your ears are very cold.
"My ass is warm."
She then draped a blanket over my head to 'warm you up'.
(Or maybe to shut me up?)

Next week I will be moving into my grand new home, and meeting with doctors, scheduling surgery, and hopefully wrapping up the last chapter of a year I would rather not repeat anytime soon.

Keeping fingers crossed that recovery won't prevent me from making deer season this year.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Why Chinese Don't Drive Nascar

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday it was "unacceptable" that there were so few black people like herself in the US diplomatic corps.

It always frosts me when I read about some over-educated out-o-touch complaining about the need for more racial diversity in whatever field they think isn't diverse enough for their preference.
Such thinking assumes that we are all created the same, with the same talents, the same values, the same desires, and the same goals. And if America was only fairer (by their definition) every economic and social field would have equal representation of every perceived, or self-perceived, ethnic group.

Life just doesn't work that way.
We are not all the same, with the same value systems, or the same interests, backgrounds,social pressures or upbringing.

What does matter, is if every door is open to whomever has the talents and the desires and the discipline to compete for what awaits on the other side.
Why is there no hand wringing over the over-representation of Blacks in the NBA, or Jews in the legal professions,Gays in performing arts, Germans in the brewing industry, Lebanese in textiles, or Southerners in country music (personally, they can have it)?

Does it really matter if not enough people 'look like me' (to use Condi's words) in the diplomatic corps, as long we got the better talent where better talent belongs?

Just maybe, not that many Blacks are interested in 'step and fetchit' government positions. Considering the flack Condi's gotten, from Black commentators no less, for being a high ranking black woman in Whitey's administration, how many others would want to go down that road and opt for something else instead?

Ultimately, American children, regardless of ethnicity, will enter the fields that they are taught to value according to the people who surround them while growing up.


Guess again.

Good to see the Bears pulling it together and routing the Colts. Here's to a great start for the season.

Will be avidly watching the Vikings take on the Packers tonight.
I'm sure you can guess who'll I'll be rooting against.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Bangkok Dangerous

(With so many close-ups of his brooding expressions I couldn't help but think I was watching a Kevin Costner movie.)
Not Nicolas cage's finest hour, and may be his worst. This says something about an actor who's one of the best in his craft, but among the least in picking his projects. Hard to accept this was the same Cage who gave us Wild At Heart and Captain Corelli's Mandolin.

Bangkok Dangerous is the anti-climatic tale of an anonymous international assassin who travels to Thailand to make a few last hits before getting out of the business.
In Bangkok, he starts up a relationship with a local deaf girl he meets behind the counter in a pharmacy. Sure, pretty Thai maidens just can't help but find an unwashed, depressing white dude with a greasy, goth hairstyle irresistable. Yeah,right. (This whole part of the story is really senseless, but it takes up so much of the film, I had to mention it).

The action is slow to come, and overly overdone when it does. Badly executed on all fronts, I was bored enough to notice Cage getting at least twenty-one shots off a 9mm before any possible chance of off-screen reloading. Pathetic.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Counting Blessings

As you all know, I've been lucky enough to have this tumor thing to deal with.
You heard me right.
I said 'lucky'.
I am lucky I have just a tumor, a benign lump of stuff in an inconvenient location.
Meanwhile, there are others not so lucky.

With that in mind, from this point I want to forward you to my friend Tracy.
"Just in the last year the treatments being used to treat those with breast cancer have changed dramatically and more and more breast cancer victims have been able to call themselves survivors."
Visit Tracy and read the rest of what he has to say.
Then, follow the link and do what you can.

I may not be so lucky next time.
But if somebody is willing to walk sixty miles to raise money in the fight against cancer while I sit in my comfy chair and poke incoherent thoughts into a keyboard, tossing a little jack their way is the least I can do.
I'm hoping you will, too.

Are any of us really going to miss a meal if a few extra bucks fell out our pocket this afternoon? I doubt it.
Go ahead and let it fall into an investment we may very well benefit from.

Friday, September 05, 2008

She's Even Got Oprah On The Run

It's kind of amusing to see Oprah trying to claim the higher ground:"I made the decision not to use my show as a platform for any of the candidates.", after already whoring out her show, and her celebrity, to provide Barack Obama with a platform she now denies existed.

Oprah, the Queen of Media, is stuck.
Wonder Woman Palin is the hot topic as we speak.
And Oprah's audience of weepy white women would be particularly receptive to a strong-minded, attractive woman such a Sarah, with her five kids (One is retarded. Brandish the hanky's, gals, while Oprah holds her hand), her ruggedly handsome husband and blue-collar background, while defying the odds and breaking through the 'Good Ol' Boys network of Alaska politics.(Actually, there are some gals in that 'Boys' network)
If this ain't Oprah material, I don't know what is.

The audience would want Sarah.
But, Oprah can't risk turning millions of woman viewers on to her after she's been trying to turn them toward Obama, after not 'using her show as a platform', of course.

Or, maybe Oprah can't handle the very plausible thought that Sarah doesn't need Oprah to hold her hand while she recounts her life story, and is likely to recoil from her grasp. (Hey, she can always blame it on racism).
After all, Oprah has no use for not-so-weepy women who seem to be in command of their surroundings.
That would be bad television, I guess.

This will be likely be the last commentary I post regarding the lovely, gutsy and beautiful Sarah Palin. Don't want to over it,ya know.
(Or do I?)

Unless, of course, she does something irresistibly sexy.
Like posing next to a steaming pile after a moose hunt dressed in a parka and mukluks. Now that, would be hot!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

When Politics Becomes Pop Culture

First impressions can define a politician's future. This is especially magnified in the case of sudden national exposure, when previously locally known politicians 'go big' fast, and can be near impossible to redirect.
Barack Obama built a presidential campaign on one nationally televised speech.
The script for Dan Quayle's entire political future was written in thirty-seconds, when George Bush named him as his running mate on live television. (Although, to his credit, he later did everything possible to perpetuate that first,second,
third... impression.)

Likewise, it may be Sarah Palin's turn next, as folks have positive fun with her Wonder Woman first impression.

Via Steve,at Careful Thoughts, some of these are pretty darn funny.

A few favorites:
Sarah Palin will pry your Klondike bar from your cold dead fingers.

Sarah Palin can win a game of Connect Four in only three moves!

Sarah Palin’s finishing move in the VP debate will be pulling Biden’s still beating heart from his chest & taking a bite.

Sarah Palin makes Andrew Sullivan regret some key life choices.


We'll have to see if she blows it, or holds it.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Souless Twits

I left the GOP back in 1996, and over the succeeding years Republicans have done their best to affirm that decision.

Seeing Joe Leiberman, with a voting record as liberal as Joe Biden, speaking before the RNC, getting all the applause he's been getting while praising McCain's very frequent turns to the left just proves that I didn't leave anything that mattered after all.

That party has lost it's soul.
Of course, I've known this for some time already, but still held out a faint glimmer of hope that something ideologically resembling limited government may rear it's beautiful form once again.

It is not to be. A 'conservative' party that will give prime-time to Joe Lieberman, while totally shutting out Ron Paul, is a farce. A charade. A big fat lie.

I'll be sitting this one out,too.

Google Set To Launch New Browser

Called 'Google Chrome'.

Anybody here gonna give it a try right away?