Sunday, March 28, 2010

Then and now...and kites!!

How do you know when you need new shoes? After walking around the Tidal Basin and part of the Mall your legs feel like someone went after them with a bat. Thankfully, that's why god made analgesics.

You know what time it is, right? It's time for these:

I'm no expert, but I'd say the cherry blossoms were about at about 60 percent this past weekend. For what the experts say check out the bloom watch page of the National Cherry Blossom Festival site.

First off, let's get the rules straight. If you're thinking about doing this:

Or this:
Don't! This just annoys the crap out of me. Basically, the trees that are big enough to climb or hang off of are some of the oldest and really don't deserve being abused by idiots.

Now, on to the fun stuff. Remember Dec. 19, 2009? Let me refresh your memory. It was the first day of our first big snow storm. That Saturday morning I headed out for a trudge around the Mall and the Tidal Basin. Remember how everything looked that day? Here, let me jog your memory:

That's how the Tidal Basin looked on Dec. 19. This is how it looked on Saturday, March 27, 2010:

I did my best to replicate the angle and view of the first picture. In fact, I was looking from a print of the snowy picture to the viewfinder and back just to make sure I got the blossoms right. Here's another one from Dec. 19:

The thing I find amazing is that the snow was coming down so hard you can't see the Washington Monument. Thankfully, it decided to show up on Saturday:

With another week or so of blossoms left, I'm sure I'll be back out there with my camera again soon.

Another big event on Saturday was the Smithsonian Kite Festival. The skies around the Mall were alive with color zooming this way and that. Here's a couple of shots of the skies over Washington, D.C.:

And, finally, one last shot of the Tidal Basin:
More to come, after I buy a new pair of shoes.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Forthcoming thoughts

Hey everyone! Yes, I'm still alive and kicking, but terribly overworked and without time for anything but working for the man, eating (barely), sleeping (a few hours a night) and drinking tequila (not nearly enough).

What is it, you ask, that could consume a man so entirely? Well, you see, I work in field known as health care...Ahhh, there it is. The last couple of weeks have been, well, interesting.

Trust me, I do have thoughts on the big happenings of late, but I don't feel comfy writing about them at work and I wasn't kidding about the lack of time for other endeavors. Hopefully, one of these nights soon, I'll be able to scrape together a few moments (perhaps from the time allotted for sleep) and scribble down what I think of health care reform.

That said, I did stay up way too late Sunday night watching the vote in the House. Kinda like the way I stay up to watch election returns - exciting like a grass growing competition or a paint drying marathon. But still important.

Coming soon: Thoughts on the people rallying against and for health care reform, where I think it's going in the future and Texas Rep. Randy Neugebauer. Quick preview of the last: Classless liar.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Don't know if it's true or not...

My boss often forwards along to me interesting little tidbits he gets. Here's the one he just sent me. I don't know if it's true or not, but it's funny enough to brighten a dreary, rainy Monday morning.

The conversation went like this...

Iranian Air Defense Radar: "Unknown aircraft you are in Iranian airspace. Identify yourself."

Aircraft: "This is a United States aircraft. I am in Iraqi airspace."

Iranian Air Defense Radar: "You are in Iranian airspace. If you do not depart our airspace we will launch interceptor aircraft!"

Aircraft: "This is a United States Marine Corps F/A-18 fighter. Send 'em up, I'll wait!"

Iranian Air Defense Radar: ......... (no response .... total silence) .........

Almost definitely apocryphal, but still funny.
For those of you wondering, this is an F/A-18C (probably), although it's (probably) a Navy Hornet and not a Marine one, but they look pretty much the same:
Loaded for bear the pylons under it's wings will carry six missiles and, when those run out, it has a 20mm cannon. It's a pretty formidable foe (and when one's about, you can be sure there's at least one more lurking around).

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Equal time for mocking the left

Don't ever let it be said I'm afraid to dish it out to stupid democrats.

Have you seen the footage of Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) ranting on the House floor yesterday? The first 45 or so seconds of this clip are pretty funny, he really goes a bit insane:

So let me get this straight Mr. Kennedy you, a member of Congress, are ripping the media? You, a member of a profession - if you want to call politics a profession - held in lower regard than the media, are ripping them for giving ink and air to another lying, disgraced, former member of your august body? You who have admitted to abusing illegal drugs and recently crashed your car into the anti-terror barriers of the Capitol while under the influence of prescription drugs then avoided responsibility by running off to rehab? Why should they bother taking anything you say as important and then wasting their time reporting it?

I'm willing to bet that while there are only two members of the media in the House chamber, they're probably not outnumbered by elected officials by very much. In fact, I'd bet that besides you, Mr. Kennedy, there may, may if you're lucky, be two or three other House members in that chamber.

And, if you didn't notice the little AP bug down there, The Associated Press was there. It covers you and your colleagues for the rest of the media so they don't have to waste their time listening to useless speeches. So you're just playing to the C-SPAN and Associated Press cameras, and you know this you coke-snorting, pill-popping drama queen.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Well, they are now

I rarely, if ever admit to reading celebrity news, but the headline “Lindsay Lohan suing E-Trade” caught my eye. What, I wondered, could this be about? Did they cost her the rest of the money she hasn’t metabolized yet?

Turns out the world’s most famous Lindsey (at least that’s what she’s claiming) feels that E*Trade is profiting off her life story by portraying a baby named Lindsay as a milkaholic in its Super Bowl ad. Lohan is looking to score $100 million in damages.

To tell you the truth, I never would have made the connection between Lohan and the milkaholic Lindsay in the ad. But, now that she’s filed suit and
an article’s been written, that’s all I’ll think about whenever I see the babies trading stocks.

According to the article, the former child star, who herself has had an issue or two with controlled substances and hasn’t done anything of note in a very long while, filed a lawsuit in Nassau County (I’m guessing NY) Supreme Court. I guess it’s easier to sue a company than it is to actually get a job. The article goes on:

“The actress’ lawyer, Stephanie Ovadia, claims Lohan’s first name is just as recognizable as other single-word monikers used by stars such as Madonna and Cher. Ovadia says, ‘Many celebrities are known by one name only, and E*Trade is using that knowledge to profit. They used the name Lindsay. They’re using her name as a parody of her life. Why didn’t they use the name Susan? This is a subliminal message. Everybody’s talking about it and saying it’s Lindsay Lohan.’ ”

Apparently it’s not recognizable enough since her own attorney needed to identify her by her first and last names in an article about her and her stupid-ass lawsuit.

A spokesman for the Grey Group, which created the ad, said they picked the name because it was a popular baby name and it’s the name of someone on the account team. They better hope to God the second part is true.

According to a couple of baby name sites I checked out, Lindsay (with an "a" not an "e") doesn’t make the top 100 for the last year. In fact, according to it’s ranked #696 in 2010 and hasn’t been in the top 150 in the past decade.

Either way this turns out – and I’m rooting for the big, bad corporation with a staff of in-house, flesh-eating lawyers they use to hire outside, mutant flesh-dissolving-and-the-eating counsel – it’s going to be stupid. Personally, I'd go with the "we spelled it with an "e" defense.

Note: I was going to include a picture of Lindsey Lohan in this post, but then couldn't decide among a flattering pic (she can be quite beautiful when she tries), a drunken pic (too easy), a flashing pic (available in abundance) or one of her with herself in The Parent Trap (much too cute and a little creepy at the same time). Sorry I couldn't decide, you'll just have to go to her fan site on your own.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The shallow end of the N.C. gene pool

I generally read/glance at the headlines of a couple of newspapers Web sites every day. A couple of the papers are ones I’ve worked for, others are from places of interest in my work and the others are from places I’ve lived.

It’s this third group, as an adopted son of the Old North State, I’m going to address today. Here’s a headline I was greeted with at

"McHenry's initiative: Put Reagan on $50 bill"

Yes, yes my friends, Patrick McHenry, another Reagan-worshipping legislator has weighed in. Instead of President Ulysses S. Grant who, you know, LED THE GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC TO VICTORY IN THE CIVIL WAR!, McHenry would prefer our 40th president, Ronald Reagan.

Don’t get me wrong, the Great Communicator wasn’t a bad president in my opinion, and I should know. Unlike the gentleman (using this term ver, ver loosely) from the Tar Heel state (yep, two words: Tar Heel), I was able to read when Ronnie was elected in 1980.

Reagan’s presidency lasted from years 5 through 13 of the 34-year-old McHenry’s life. So it may be understandable, although not really since he's a fucking U.S. representative, that he wouldn’t know that while Reagan was a good president, he doesn’t come close to being a great president. Grant wasn’t a great president either, but he was a much, much more important figure in American history.

In McHenry’s own words: “Every generation needs its own heroes. One decade into the 21st century, it’s time to honor the last great president of the 20th and give President Reagan a place beside Presidents Roosevelt and Kennedy.”


The N&O points out: “President Franklin Roosevelt’s likeness is on the dime, and President John F. Kennedy’s is on the half-dollar.” I feel I should point out that both of the presidents he mentions here died in office, so Reagan does have that in common with them. Oh, wait a minute. I meant their brains stopped functioning in office, so that’s the common factor. (Also, strangely, they’re both democrats).

Basically, the guy’s too stupid to pull the names Jackson ($20) and Franklin ($100, and not a president Rep. McHenry in case you’re reading) off the top of his head.

Among things named Reagan are a building, aircraft carrier and an airport. I don’t think we need to slap his face on the fifty.

The genetic wading pool is warm for a reason
Another of North Carolina’s mentally challenged reps, Tim D’Annunzio, has laid out a platform that calls for abolishing much of the federal government. According to the N&O: The plan states, in part: "Abolish the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Energy, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Transportation, Treasury, and Home Land [sic] Security. Any duties remaining that are Constitutional should be rolled into other Departments.”

I was all set to mock him, and then I found his blog. So, so much material here that I can’t go on. I only took a glance, but I’ve gotta read through it to do it justice.

But here’s a preview from D’Annunzio’s blog, “I don’t just hope the Obama fails, I pray many times a day for it.”

Classy dude. Pray for the failure of the president. And you call yourself an American.

I can’t wait. I’m feeling my political mojo returning.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

You get what you need

I was searching all around my house Monday night for a couple of books that absolutely refused to be found. Makes me wonder if I’ve loaned them out and now forget just who the hell I gave them to. This really annoys me, almost as much as the tool I loaned a book to back when I was in the Marines. The jackhole didn’t dog ear pages to mark his place, but folded the whole damn page over from corner to spine.

Did I mention it was a hardcover book?


In the course of my futile search I did find two things. One I’ve been looking for more than a month, and the other I’d forgotten I had.

The first thing I found was my 2010 alumni association calendar buried under a pile of papers I’d moved in January. May not seem like much, but just the other day I was looking how much a replacement would cost (btw, $15). Now, without spending the money, I get to look upon the beautiful vistas of Chapel Hill every day. Win-win for me. Almost makes me glad I couldn’t find the book.

Almost, but not quite.

The other thing I found, which I actually found first, was a 2004 world atlas. It was tucked into the corner of my bookshelf, kinda-sorta behind a couple of other things, but not quite totally hidden. Almost as if it was waiting to be found. The atlas was a gift from an old girlfriend, one of those little things you pick up for someone you love that has a special meaning just between the two of you.

In this case – the short version – there’d been an epic day-long road trip involving what may or may not have been an underestimation of the time and distance involved.

When I pulled the slim, blue book off the shelf and flipped through its pages, two sheets of yellow notebook paper slipped out.

Have you ever found an old love letter? I mean finding one by accident when it just kind of pops up unexpectedly? It’s an interesting experience. For me, it brought back all the memories of the time spent with a woman I loved and, to tell the truth, someone I still care very, very deeply about.

More than half a decade down the road, well, I’m still smiling a little after reading, rereading and, yes, reading her words again.

Monday night was a good night.