Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's another Saturday Night and I.....

Went to the bookstore,

To let John Robison Look Me in the Eye.
(Sing along with me now!)

He was animated and very amusing,

He's really quite a guy!

Okay, enough of the silliness. Last Saturday night I ditched one of my cult meetings to go see one of my favorite authors - John Elder Robison. It was so worth it!

John is amazing. He talked for almost 45 minutes, digressing to tell stories along the way, and never once lost his train of thought or stumbled. He has an excellent command of the English language and is very entertaining.

I don't think the audience was prepared for John. There were so many people there with Aspergers or Autism in their families. I think he gave them a lot of hope, especially when he talked about the TMS study at Harvard and his successes in regaining some of his emotional intelligence.

I won't give away too much because everyone needs to hear him speak and listen to his message. He is dynamic and very interesting.

It was a great way to spend a Saturday night and I now have 3 signed copies of his book - the hardcover I won in a contest when it first came out, the hardcover I bought to lend out to friends and the paperback I bought Saturday.

I will continue to lend out the books because everyone who reads them is enlightened and impressed.

Thanks John for a wonderful experience!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Two weeks - I wonder.......

Just two weeks to go until I turn 60.

I wonder why we "turn" to the next age.

Are we supposed to physically turn around? If so, when are we supposed to do it? At the exact time we were born?

I was born at 3:33 am CST. I don't want to stay up that late just to "turn" 60.

If I must "turn" 60, how do you propose I do it?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I wonder if this would work?

A friend forwarded this - author unknown - and it seems like a great solution to me. What do you think?

I'm against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG.

Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a "We Deserve It" Dividend.

To make the math simple, let's assume there are 200,000,000 bonafide U.S. Citizens 18+.

Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up.

So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billon that equals $425,000.00.

My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a "We Deserve It" Dividend.

Of course, it would NOT be tax free.

So let's assume a tax rate of 30%.Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes.

That sends $25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam.

But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket. A husband and wife has $595,000.00.

What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?

Pay off your mortgage - housing crisis solved.
Repay college loans - what a great boost to new grads
Put away money for college - it'll be there
Save in a bank - create money to loan to entrepreneurs
Buy a new car - create jobs
Invest in the market - capital drives growth
Pay for your parent's medical insurance - health care improves
Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean or else

Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company that is cutting back. And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces.

If we're going to re-distribute wealth let's really do it...instead of trickling out a puny $1000.00 economic incentive that is being proposed by one of our candidates for President.

If we're going to do an $85 billion bailout, let's bail out every adult U S Citizen 18+!

As for AIG - liquidate it.

Sell off its parts.

Let American General go back to being American General.

Sell off the real estate.

Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up.

Here's my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn't.

Sure it's a crazy idea, but it can work!

But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party!

How do you spell Economic Boom?

I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion.

We deserve that dividend more than the geniuses at AIG.

Author Unknown - I salute you!

Monday, September 22, 2008

I wonder............

This was forwarded to me and it was too good not to pass on.

I'm a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight.....

If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're "exotic, different."

Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, a quintessential American story.

If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.

Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well

If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.

If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.

If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.

If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.

If your wife is a Harvard graduate laywer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.

If you're husband is nicknamed "First Dude", with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OK, much clearer now.

I wonder if I'll ever understand politics!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I wonder........

If I'll ever be able to retire. A year ago, I was on schedule to hang up my work mouse on December 31, 2014 - at age 66. Then I decided I could probably delay that until 12/31/15 because I love my job and waiting would give me even more social security income.

A year later, although I continue to force feed my 401k, contribute to a Roth IRA and have good investments, I'm almost $40,000 poorer. That's about how much I've lost due to the the Amazing George's financial crisis. I still have a good sized nest egg and lots of equity in my house, but this is playing havoc with all my financial retirement models.

I'm pissed and getting pretty cranky!

Working past 2015 almost seems a certainty right now and that really sucks! I started babysitting at age 10. I had my first paycheck job at 13. I always worked during breaks in high school and I helped put myself through college by working part time the entire time. That means I've been working in one form or another for almost 50 years. and contributing to Social Security for so long the government will simply be returning my principal and interest until I die.

A friend asked my advice on what to do in the current climate - sell, buy, wait? I advised her to just sit it out and wait. It's too late to sell. Buying in such a volatile market doesn't seem prudent. My advice sucks - but it's fairly sound. So I sit and wait and dream of an amazing recovery when Obama takes office and reforms our government.

Barring that, maybe Sarah can teach me how to shoot and dress an elk so I won't starve after I retire in my 80's.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I wonder ......

This is from the Everett, WA Herald newspaper. It's about the town I live in. This has been in the news here for the last week and it makes me wonder -WTF were they thinking?

By Julie Muhlstein, Herald Columnist

Innocent children. No lunch money. Food denied.

What a perfect recipe for the heated brouhaha stirred up last week when the public caught wind of a new Edmonds School District lunch policy. Before officials changed their minds Thursday, the district had started the school year enforcing a pay-or-else practice that was nothing short of Dickensian.

Kids behind on bills had cafeteria lunches taken away -- and thrown away, because of food safety rules -- after they'd gone through lunch lines. A substituted cheese sandwich must have been cold comfort after a child was embarrassed in front of other kids.

Reading all that, I could almost hear echoes of Oliver Twist in the work house, holding his bowl for gruel and begging, "Please sir, I want some more."

A day after adding milk to the meager fare, the Edmonds district decided instead to suspend the new policy while seeking a better solution to the lunch budget crunch.

In Herald reporter Kaitlin Manry's article on the issue Wednesday, the money pinch hurting so many families was thrown right in our faces, particularly in the words of Hazelwood Elementary School cashier Barbara Burley: "Could you look into a kindergartner's eyes and take away their lunch and give them a cold cheese sandwich and nothing else?"

No doubt the district's lunch-money shortfall of $207,763 last year had myriad causes, from forgetful kids and irresponsible parents to children who brought sack lunches but decided instead to have cafeteria food. Part of it, though, is real need.

We all know that. Somewhere between paychecks many families bring home, even with several jobs, and the qualifying income for free lunches, is poverty in the shadows. With high costs for housing, groceries, gas and everything else, there is no question some families' cupboards and cash reserves are frighteningly bare.

Of course readers were disturbed by the lunch take-away policy, which put kids on the front line. Manry listened to callers and answered e-mail about the issue all week. What disturbed me was thinking that this is what it takes to stir people up about families in need -- an up-close scenario of a kindergartner being denied a school lunch.

We know there are poor families. We know there are kids living in cars in our own county. We know it, but rarely do we see it. Or think about it. Or get upset enough to do a thing.

Nina Mellish, of Bothell, was upset enough to contact The Herald. The 71-year-old has worked as a teacher's aide and a social worker. In Salem, Ore., she worked at a school in a poor neighborhood where the PTA helped pay for free breakfasts and lunches.

"A lot of these kids would come to school in winter with rubber boots and no shoes or socks," Mellish said. She's seen kids who've had nothing but potato chips for breakfast. "There is no way we should be penalizing a small child," Mellish said. "I really believe little kids should be cared for."

That's a simple statement, but a profound one. It goes way beyond lunches, to health care, educational opportunities and emotional needs. Yes, parents should be responsible. But no, sometimes they are not, for whatever reasons. And kids should be cared for. Period.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I also wonder......

Why people can't stand to just be quiet anymore? Everywhere I go, people are attached to either I-pods or cell phones or some variation thereof.

I know I'm getting old compared to the rest of you, but sometimes I like to turn everything off. Walking my dog and listening to nothing in particular, or driving in the car with the radio off, or sitting at home reading or cross-stitching with no TV or anything makes me happy and peaceful. I do my best thinking at those times.

Why does everyone need noise all the time?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I really wonder..............

How many politicians it takes to change a light bulb?

Personally, I'd say none. They would study the bulb until the building and fixture to which it was attached rotted and fell apart. Then they would bulldoze it, build a new building with new fixtures and pay several government employees to put in new bulbs at the rate of about one per hour to allow for plenty of breaks.

Bragging rights to the person who can comes up with a better answer.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Stupidity - I wonder....

I wonder how stupid people make it through life. Seriously! Some people seem so clueless it baffles me how they can even make it through a single day, much less a whole lifetime.

Any thoughts?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Recovery – I wonder….

I wonder how long it takes to recover from a broken heart? Not the kind where you break up with your spouse or significant other – the kind where you suffer a devastating loss.

I live in a friendly, stable, middle-class neighborhood. People who move here have a tendency to stay for a long time. We get to know each other but don’t intrude in each other’s lives. We watch out for each other when any of us are gone on vacation or when we see strangers in the neighborhood. We share gardening tips, talk about things going on in our lives and sometimes discuss the world situation. Occasionally we gossip about each other and we have gone through good times and bad together.

New York and Washington D.C. are far away from our comfortable little environment. On the morning of September 11, 2001, my alarm rang at 6 a.m. Pacific time. A song was playing and I was in a fog headed for the shower. Ten minutes later there was no more music and the normally light-hearted DJ’s were somber. It was obvious something serious happened, so I turned on the TV and saw the smoke and flames coming from the north tower of the WTC. No one was sure what happened, but the term “tragic accident” was used when -WHAM - at 6:03 a.m. Pacific time I witnessed a plane fly into the south tower.

I’m not often stunned, but I had to sit down because of the shock. I watched for a few minutes then rushed to dry my hair and get ready for work trying not to miss any coverage. The talk changed from tragic accident, but there were no real theories yet on what happened. The scenes from New York looked surreal.

Shortly after 6:37 a.m. the news the Pentagon had been hit was broadcast. Hijacking and terrorists were words used with increasing frequency. While we sat waiting for pictures from the Pentagon, at 6:59 a.m. the north tower collapsed. The scene on TV was utter chaos and it was apparent that even the newscasters were in shock.

Pictures came in from the Pentagon with smoke and flames, then the replay of the north tower collapse, then the news that Flight 92 crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside at 7:06 a.m. and just 22 minutes later at 7:28 a.m. the south tower collapsed in a huge cloud of dust.

I watched for another 10 minutes then left for work, not caring about running late. I listened to the radio all the way in and noticed the solemn looks on the faces of other drivers. People at work were shaken and we all had the news streaming on our computers. It was impossible to talk or think about anything else. We had jobs to do, but our hearts weren’t there. We ate lunch in the conference room with the TV and as soon as work was over, went home to turn on our TV’s.

I pulled into my garage then went over to my mailbox to grab the mail. I was in a hurry to get inside and watch the news, but my next door neighbor yelled at me. I didn’t want to talk and was a little irritated, but she insisted and what she said stopped me in my tracks.

My neighbors – a couple in their late 70’s at the time – their son might have been in the Pentagon.

No one was sure yet. There hadn’t been any confirmation, but his wife said he went into work that morning. He was only 30 days away from retiring from a long career in the Army and wasn’t supposed to be in his office that day, but he was trying to finish up some paperwork. He was a dedicated officer, a good and only son, had 3 children and a stable marriage. I met him a few times and he was a very nice person.

His office was directly in the path of Flight 77.

We spent that evening and most of the next day waiting to find out if he was in the Pentagon when Flight 77 hit.

He was there.

They never found him.

There was nothing left to find.

It was a sad time for all of us and though we were on the other side of the country, it made the whole tragedy very personal and real for us.

I took a pie because that’s how I was raised. When something tragic happened to someone, you took food. Olga told me later she was glad to have it because they had so much company. The flowers arrived, and arrived, and arrived and arrived. The official Army vehicles came and went several times. Friends and relatives paid their respects and gradually things got back to normal.

On the first anniversary of the tragedy, I took some flowers and a card to let them know I was thinking of them. They showed me a wonderful portrait someone had painted of him after his death. They were so proud of him. We all were.

September 11th is always a sad day in this neighborhood.

Today it’s even sadder. Last November Olga died. She never really recovered from his death. In June, Lee died too. He was an ornery old cuss, but he needed Olga so he went to find her.

The house is sold and soon new neighbors will settle in.

Olga and Lee never recovered from their devastating loss.

I wonder if they ever would have had they lived longer.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Countdown begins

One month from today - October 10th - I turn 60. The countdown begins! As I reach this new milestone, there are many things about which I wonder, so I shall share them with you as we progress to the big day.

Today, I wonder why there were so few comments on the last post. I know almost 100 people read it, but only a handful commented. This is an important topic and whether you agree or not with Ms Steinem, surely you have an opinion. So, thank you to those of you who replied and to those of you who didn't - why not?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Palin - WTF?

Opinion Palin: wrong woman, wrong message
By Gloria Steinem
September 4, 2008

Sarah Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Hillary Clinton. She isPhyllis Schlafly, only younger. Here's the good news: Women have become so politically powerful that eventhe anti-feminist right wing -- the folks with a headlock on the RepublicanParty -- are trying to appease the gender gap with a first-ever female vicepresident. We owe this to women -- and to many men too -- who have picketed,gone on hunger strikes or confronted violence at the polls so women can vote. We owe it to Shirley Chisholm, who first took the "white-male-only" signoff the White House, and to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who hung in there throughridicule and misogyny to win 18 million votes.

But here is even better news: It won't work. This isn't the first timea boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him andopposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for womeneverywhere. It's not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too manyof us for that. It's about baking a new pie.

Palin appears to disagree with McCain on sex education

Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, "Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs."

This is not to beat up on Palin. I defend her right to be wrong, even on issues that matter most to me. I regret that people say she can't do the jobbecause she has children in need of care, especially if they wouldn't saythe same about a father. I get no pleasure from imagining her in the spotlight on national and foreign policy issues about which she has zero background, with one month to learn to compete with Sen. Joe Biden's 37 years'experience.

Palin has been honest about what she doesn't know. When asked last monthabout the vice presidency, she said, "I still can't answer thatquestion until someone answers for me: What is it exactly that the VP does every day?" When asked about Iraq, she said, "I haven't really focusedmuch on the war in Iraq."

She was elected governor largely because the incumbent was unpopular, andshe's won over Alaskans mostly by using unprecedented oil wealth to give a$1,200 rebate to every resident. Now she is being praised by McCain'scampaign as a tax cutter, despite the fact that Alaska has no state income orsales tax. Perhaps McCain has opposed affirmative action for so long that hedoesn't know it's about inviting more people to meet standards, notlowering them. Or perhaps McCain is following the Bush administration habit, as in the Justice Department, of putting a job candidate's views on "God,guns and gays" ahead of competence. The difference is that McCain isfilling a job one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency.

So let's be clear: The culprit is John McCain. He may have chosen Palin outof change-envy, or a belief that women can't tell the difference betweenform and content, but the main motive was to please right-wing ideologues; the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or ever has been a supporter ofreproductive freedom. If that were not the case, McCain could have chosen awoman who knows what a vice president does and who has thought about Iraq;someone like Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine.McCain could have taken a baby step away from right-wing patriarchs whodetermine his actions, right down to opposing the Violence Against Women Act.

Palin's value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about everyissue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes thatcreationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only"programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases andabortions; she tried to use taxpayers' millions for a state program to shootwolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state schoolsystem with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.

I don't doubt her sincerity. As a lifetime member of the National RifleAssn., she doesn't just support killing animals from helicopters, she doesit herself. She doesn't just talk about increasing the use of fossil fuelsbut puts a coal-burning power plant in her own small town. She doesn't justecho McCain's pledge to criminalize abortion by overturning Roe vs. Wade,she says that if one of her daughters were impregnated by rape or incest, sheshould bear the child. She not only opposes reproductive freedom as a humanright but implies that it dictates abortion, without saying that it alsoprotects the right to have a child.

So far, the major new McCain supporter that Palin has attracted is James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Of course, for Dobson, "women are merely waiting for their husbands to assume leadership," so he may be voting forPalin's husband.

Being a hope-a-holic, however, I can see two long-term bipartisan gains fromthis contest.

Republicans may learn they can't appeal to right-wing patriarchs and mostwomen at the same time. A loss in November could cause the centrist majority of Republicans to take back their party, which was the first to support the Equal Rights Amendment and should be the last to want to invite government into thewombs of women.

And American women, who suffer more because of having two full-time jobs thanfrom any other single injustice, finally have support on a national stage from male leaders who know that women can't be equal outside the home until men are equal in it. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are campaigning on their belief that men should be, can be and want to be at home for their children.

This could be huge.

Gloria Steinem is an author, feminist organizer and co-founder of theWomen's Media Center. She supported Hillary Clinton and is now supportingBarack Obama.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I apologize for the lack of posts lately, but I'm busier than that one-armed paperhanger we all hear about. To prevent you from abandoning me completely, here's a little something that made me snort.

Fall Classes for Men at
by Friday, September 12th 2008

Class 1 How To Fill Up The Ice Cube Trays--S
tep by Step, with Slide Presentation.
Meets 4 weeks, Monday and Wednesday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.

Class 2 The Toilet Paper Roll--Does It Change Itself?
Round Table Discussion.
Meets 2 weeks, Saturday 12:00 for 2 hours.

Class 3 Is It Possible To Urinate Using The Technique Of Lifting The Seat and Avoiding The Floor, Walls and Nearby Bathtub?--
Group Practice.
Meets 4 weeks, Saturday 10:00 PM for 2 hours.

Class 4 Fundamental Differences Between The Laundry Hamper and The Floor--
Pictures and Explanatory Graphics.
Meets Saturdays at 2:00 PM for 3 weeks.

Class 5 Dinner Dishes--Can They Levitate and Fly Into The Kitchen Sink?
Scientific proof against this theory.
Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM

Class 6 Loss Of Identity--Losing The Remote To Your Significant Other.
Support Groups with hotline available to participants.
Meets 4 Weeks, Friday and Sunday 7:00 PM

Class 7 Learning How To Find Things--Starting With Looking In The Right Places And Not Turning The House Upside Down While Screaming.
An entertaining presentation with moderated discussion--bring paper and pen for notes.
Monday at 8:00 PM, 2 hours.

Class 8 Health Watch--Bringing Her Flowers Is Not Harmful To Your Health.
Power Point Presentation.
Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.

Class 9 Real Men Ask For Directions When Lost--
Real Life Testimonials.
Tuesdays at 6:00 PM Location to be determined

Class 10 Is It Genetically Impossible To Sit Quietly While She Parallel Parks?
Driving Simulations.
4 weeks, Saturday's noon, 2 hours.

Class 11 Learning to Live--Basic Differences Between Mother and Wife.
Online Classes and role-playing
Tuesdays at 7:00 PM, location to be determined

Class 12 How to be the Ideal Shopping Companion
Relaxation Exercises, Meditation and Breathing Techniques.
Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.

Class 13 How to Fight Cerebral Atrophy--Remembering Birthdays, Anniversaries and Other Important Dates and Calling When You're Going To Be Late.
Cerebral Shock Therapy Sessions and Full Lobotomies Offered.
Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.

Class 14 The Stove/Oven--What It Is and How It Is Used.
Live Demonstration.
Tuesdays at 6:00 PM, location to be determined.

Upon completion of any of the above courses, diplomas will be issued to the survivors.