Friday, September 30, 2005

Well, today's a big day

But not necessarily in a positive sense, depending on your perspective.

Nothing is happening to me, but today is the day the outsourcing plan will be announced...and about eight or nine folks will be laid off. I think most, if not all, of them will be offered positions in our restaurants, but that will still be a cut in pay even if they accept.

Anyway, since they're leaving and I'm staying, it'll make for an awkward day at the office.

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    Thursday, September 29, 2005

    Something must be wrong with me

    I sit here this morning unburdened by my normal load of snark. Where has my cynical muse gone today? No idiotic politicians (oxymoron) in the crosshairs (or, as they like to be called, The Angry Young Rabbits), no stupid commercials assaulting my sensibilities (or lack thereof), no witty verbal ripostes to relate.


    What fun is that?

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    Wednesday, September 28, 2005

    Just wondering

    if there would be any traction to getting the US Congress to adopt a motto. The US Motto is E Pluribus Unum, but I'm thinking the House and Senate need something a little snappier, and yet fitting.

    Maybe something along the lines of "Ignoramus Ad Infinitum". That'd look good on a seal, wouldn't it?

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    The news last night had coverage on the hurricane Katrina evacuees still in Dallas. It seems that some of these folks have used their $2,000 FEMA debit cards to purchase diamond jewelry, large quantities of alcohol and even lap dances at strip clubs.

    I'm sure that lots of folks who got these debit cards have used them for exactly their intended purpose. But in a population that contains a disproportionate number of folks who lack any money management skills to begin with, these things are bound to happen.

    And when they blow through the 2K, these same folks will be the first ones to blame the government and various relief agencies for not doing enough. Thereby ensuring their proment placement on various newscasts.

    Call me strange, but in a backwards way it IS a relief to know that human nature has not changed.

    (Which, by the way, is why the UN will never work effectively either, but that's a post for another day)

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    The blame game

    Now don't get me wrong. I think there's plenty of it to go around, including some for Michael Brown.

    But here's my little snippit of advice for Representative Shays, (Idiot-Connecticut):
    When accusing someone of looking like they're a deer caught in the headlights, try not to look like a deer caught in the headlights.

    "Because that kind of ... you know ... look ... in the lights ... like a deer ... tells me that you weren't capable to do the job."

    Somehow, when you have to fumble around for the phrase, instead of being the zinger you were hoping for it just makes you look ... you know ... like when the headlights ... and there's a deer ... and ... well ... it's caught.

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    Tuesday, September 27, 2005

    A gaggle

    I have to make myself scarce tonight. Mrs. A is hosting a little craftiness tonight and I'll have a house full of women. Normally I'm excited to have all that feminocity around, but since they're going to be, you know, doing stuff, I'm guessing it's not going to be all about me.

    Now all I have to do is figure out what I'm going to do. Given my wild proclivities, the odds-on favorite is hanging out at Barnes & Noble.

    Yessiree, I'm a wild one.

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    Let's recap

    Yesterday's post: executive summary.

    Friday night - football, blah, blah, blah

    Saturday - Gas station, WallyWorld, grocery store, home, recycle place, Sam's, home, football, birthday party, home, yada, yada, yada

    Sunday - Bells, Sunday School, church, home, football, church, home, etc., etc., etc.

    (Ad lib clever banter where appropriate)

    Basic gist is that even though the weekend was full of weekend-y activities, I felt like I was just killing time waiting for something big and/or important to happen. And, when nothing big and/or important happened, felt like the weekend was a complete waste.

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    Monday, September 26, 2005

    I just spent the last 45 minutes typing

    And this is all you're going to get.

    Stupid blogger.

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    Friday, September 23, 2005

    I lied

    Sue me.

    This is it for today. See you next week.

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    Talking back to the radio

    So, when I heard Ruth Bader Ginsburg's comment the other day about how "she doesn't like the idea of being the only female justice on the Supreme Court," my first response was...

    Your resignation is accepted.

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    Hurricane Rita

    Should not offer any difficulties for the Aardvark family.

    Our prayers, however, continue to be for those still in harm's way. Especially those who, in their search for safety, are involved in incidents like this mornings bus fire.

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    Thursday, September 22, 2005

    Busy, but good

    That's how yesterday was. I fully expect today to be the same. Lot's of work stuff to do, but it's the "mark it off the list" type of stuff, not the "do the background work so that someday you can mark it off the list" type of stuff. It's much more gratifying to actually have something completed.

    I expect that tomorrow will be a regular posting day (whatever THAT is).

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    Tuesday, September 20, 2005

    Well...that wasn't EXACTLY what I had in mind...

    But it did serve as, what I hope to be, a useful object lesson on how to deal with difficulties.

    I suppose it could be said that the Youngest Aardvark Child has some anger management issues. Mostly that she manages to be angry. A lot.

    And for the past several weeks, we've been regaled every day about how everyone at school has made her mad. And what she said. And what they said. And what she said back. And...well, you get the picture.

    So this morning I had planned on talking to her a little (little doses given frequently are more easily absorbed than BIG doses given all at once. The big one's just seem to bounce off her thick skull) about her anger and the negativity it brings. I didn't exactly know how I was going to bring the subject up, but I'm pretty good at winging it and creating opportunities.

    This morning was garbage day and so it meant THREE trips to the curb and back: Yard cart, Recycle cart and Garbage cart. Which meant six trips past my car parked at the end of the driveway. It wasn't until about five minutes later, when I went out to take the YAC to school, that I noticed something was amiss. As in "Where's my back windshield?" amiss. Oh, not to worry. There it is. In the back seat. In little pieces.


    That's not right, is it?

    Did this make me mad? Oh, you bet. Am I still mad? No. Disgusted, sure, but not mad. Which made a great object lesson for the YAC about how it's okay to GET mad when something bad happens, but you shouldn't let that anger control you the rest of the day. Staying mad at the stupid, cretinous, butt-faced, flaming goat kissers people that broke my rear windshield wouldn't make it any less broken. When anger controls us, it dictates who we are. Stay angry often enough and that is what people come to expect and that's how they treat us.

    "You don't want to be known as 'Angry Girl', do you?"


    "Then you have to look for something positive after you get mad," I said.

    "Like what?"

    "Well, I won't have to clean that back window now, will I?"


    "I'm not going to let that broken window dictate my whole day. Was it bad? Sure. Did I get mad? Sure. But I've already decided to put it behind me and not dwell on it for the rest of the day. See how that works?"

    (Next time, Lord, couldn't I just talk about getting mad when your team loses?)

    Well. I gotta go. Time to call the glass company.

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    Monday, September 19, 2005

    Which begs the question...

    What on earth would I be doing in Tupelo?

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    November 26, 2003

    That was the date I made a prediction that, some day soon, will come true.

    (Pay no attention to all those OTHER predictions I've made that haven't quite panned out...)

    I saw a commercial this weekend for the new Gillette Fusion razor...with 5 blades.

    Can this be far behind?

    Oooooo...I can see it now. Magazine stands at the check-out FILLED with my predictions...




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    Friday, September 16, 2005


    We don't need no steenking content.

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    Dragon tail

    Or, why I'm so slow this morning.

    Had a late night last night watching the schizophrenic Horned Frogs beat Utah in overtime.

    (So, that explains this morning...what about the previous four days?

    Just one of life's little mysteries, I guess.)

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    Oneupsmanship (or Sosyouroldman)

    Not content to let her father have all the spaz glory, yesterday the YAC fell UP the stairs at school and sprained her wrist. (That's the short version. Perhaps Mrs. A will write the long version later)

    Obviously, the Aardvark family has not been graced with an overabundance of coordination.

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    Thursday, September 15, 2005

    Rob Petrie - call your agent

    My daddy always told me, "Son, find something you're good at and then stick with it." (Of course, this is the same man who told me, "Son, I had to PAY my other children to be good, but you were always good for nothing.")

    If only I'd have realized sooner that what I'm good at is making a fool out of myself by falling down, I could have changed my name to Van Dyke and gone to Hollywood.

    (Cue theme music. Pan in to main character as he prepares to leave office.)

    Main character grabs cell phone and sunglasses and places them in shirt pocket. Picks up iced tea in left hand. Holds keys in right. Walks around desk to the tile hallway, which has just been mopped.

    (Zoom in to wet floor sign placed at the opposite end of the hallway, in the dark and not visible from where the main character stands. Switch view to main character's footware - cowboy boots with about a 1" heel)

    Character reaches intersection of hallways and moves to turn into the other hall.

    (Zoom in on right heel as it makes contact with a wet patch of tile. Pull back for a wide angle shot.)

    Hilarity ensues.


    No real injuries, and I never did fall down. My tea glass, however, was half empty by the time I came to a halt, most of the missing contents being upon my person (including some in my left ear). And the mirror in the hallway has now officially seen better days. I smacked it hard with my left elbow. Fortunately, I hit the frame and not the actual mirror, or my elbow would have more than a bruise and the tiniest of scratches.

    It really is too bad this wasn't captured on film. I'm sure I would win the $10,000 prize. Not to mention start a new dance craze.

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    Wednesday, September 14, 2005

    Adventures in copying

    Terry's not the only one who knows how to run a copy machine, you know.

    So, Friday, I'm in the middle of a large copy job (4 sets of 200 pages, single sided to double sided, on colored paper), when the copier stops. Needs toner. No problem, I'm sure we have toner around here somewhere.

    Foolish mortal.

    Call the copier people and they say they'll gladly ship me toner. To arrive on Monday. I need toner right now, not on Monday. So on a long shot, I start looking online. Staple's web site has the toner I need. But do the stores carry it, or is it a special order? Call up the closest store.

    Me: I'm looking for toner for a Canon ... blah, blah, blah. I looked it up on your website and the product number is ... blah, blah blah. Do you have that?

    Store guy: Uh. Hold on.

    Me: (Rocking to the hold music)

    Bossman: (walking by) !!!

    Me: (Shrug)

    Store guy: Uh. Could you give me that copier model again?

    Me: Sure. It's a Canon ... blah, blah, blah.

    Store guy: Ok. Hang on.

    Me: (Eyes glazing, drool beginning to form, confidence waning with every passing second)

    Store guy: We've got 'em. I'm looking at two right now.

    Me: Put one aside, I'm on my way right now.

    Arrive at store 10 minutes later. Track down store guy.

    Store guy:'re going to be mad at me...

    No, not mad. But not surprised either. I tell store guy what I need. Again. He looks at me like a chicken watching a card trick. I suggest we go to HIS computer and look it up on HIS web site. We do so.

    Store guy: Oh. I've never seen anything like that. We'd have to order it.


    Me: Okay, thanks anyway.

    Store guy: ...

    Call the office. Talk to bossman. Get phone number for copier people. Attempt to cradle phone and write number on tiny yellow sticky. Call the copier people. Can I pick up toner? Why sure. Where are they located? An hour away. Call bossman back for further input. Decide it's best just to go back to office. Call copier people. Again. Tell them I'm NOT coming to pick up toner, but I DO want it shipped. Back at office, bossman wants me to call other copier places. Call other copier places. They can all order it, but don't stock it. Refer me to copier people we already deal with. Waive white flag. Go to lunch.

    Guess what I get to do today???

    MORE copying! Wheee!!!

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    To the guy in the dress shoes, slacks, dress shirt and sports coat, topped off with a University of Texas Longhorn's hat...

    Dude, that look is just NOT working for you.


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    Where have I been?

    Here and there.


    To and fro.

    To London to visit the Queen.

    Hither and thither and yon.


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    Friday, September 09, 2005

    Friday Night Follies - Finale


    I should have known that the folks at Griff's were just the warm-up act. The real treat was waiting for me at the stadium.

    Right inside the gate, there was a table set up to recruit alumni for the Fall Musical. This is the 50th musical and so the theater teacher thought it would be cool to have folks from as many of the past musicals as possible participate in this one.

    Naturally, I signed up. Technically, I'm not a school alumni, but I am a MUSICAL alumni. They may use me as the narrator (the part must call for an old, fat, white guy). Or not. We'll see.

    We got to our usual seats around the 40 yard line, on the band side of the field of course. The stadium is general seating except for the section between the 40 yard lines. This section is reserved seating (football parents buy these tickets for the most part) and is separated from the other seating by a metal rail. I like to use this rail as part of my buffer zone and so I usually sit about 1 to 2 seats away from it. Which pretty well guarantees that it will stay empty (well, that and the habanero sauce I had for dinner) unless it's homecoming, when the stands are full.

    As luck would have it, this is also the approximate usual location of another family. Nice enough folks, I guess, but not blessed with an overabundance of brain power, if you get my drift. The son (we'll call him Truck) graduated a couple of years ago. He was on the football team, but wasn't a starter. His main job was to walk the sidelines yelling, "Ooooohhhhh, yeeeeeaaaaaahhhh!", a duty which he performed admirably. Even when it was inappropriate.

    Now he's back, but in the stands. He only lets out an "Ooooohhhhh, yeeeeeaaaaaahhhh!" occasionally, thankfully. Last week's game, being the first one of the season, revealed that this year we should expect him to attend with a larger group of extended family. I think his cousin plays in the band. So, instead of just having him (and his mother and sister) on one side to deal with, we also had an aunt and uncle and some cousins sitting behind us. Lovely.

    As in years past, these folks had their usual trouble following the game. They are the prototypical "homers". Our team can do no wrong and anything negative that happens is never the result of our poor play, but MUST be the result of the other team "cheating" or the referees not calling penalties. And they have no trouble whatsoever vocalizing this opinion. Loudly.

    I'm just glad we don't serve alcohol.

    The team we were playing is a 4A school. We're a 3A. That means they have a larger school. And more money for things like uniforms, drill teams, coaches, etc. We hung close until the kickoff. They had the ball first and called a real razzle-dazzler on the first play from scrimmage: a run up the middle off the left tackle. Yessir, a real tricky play. At least it fooled our boys. Nine seconds and sixty yards later it was 6-0.

    By halftime, we had manage to close the gap to 35-0. Final score 48-7. On a more positive note, the band marched for the first time at half-time. Unlike prior years, where I was looking at the formations, trying to keep an eye on the Eldest Aardvark Child, I had a much easier time of it. The Youngest Aardvark Child plays the marimba in "the pit". Which basically means they stand in one place on the sidelines the entire time.

    There was a little excitement afterwards, which meant we got to go home early. This week is Homecoming and the EAC will be there, so I expect it will be significantly later by the time we get home.

    It will take quite a bit to top last week's experience, though.

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    Thursday, September 08, 2005

    Filthy Lucre

    I took the batch of flood-soiled money to the bank. I had to carry it in a plastic Postal bin (don't tell the Feds) because there was almost $600 worth of rolled change. Do you know how heavy $600 of change is? Me either, but it was heavy.

    The change had been high enough in the safe to escape the nasty water. The bills were another matter. At least they were dry instead of the slimy wet state they were in on Tuesday. But they still stank of sewage.

    I parked my bin in front of the next available teller and began apologising.


    We decided to get the change out of the way first. That took about ten minutes since I had to pull the rolls out of the bank bag a handfull at a time and place them on the counter so she could sort them into counting trays by denomination.

    Then it was time for the bills.

    I told her that I had worn gloves to handle them, since they were contaminated. I offered her an extra pair that I had brought along just in case. (Although, why we even HAD vinyl examination gloves at the office still worries me) She politely declined and proceeded to dump the cash out on the counter. We had bundled things in groups of 25 or 50 as we could and so it wasn't very long before she had all the one dollar bills together. She took them over to the counting machine and began running them through, bundling stacks of 100. She made faces as the machine fanned the bills. I apologized again.

    Finished with the ones, she counted the fives on the machine. Since there weren't very many, the bigger bills she counted by hand.

    I cautioned her once again that she needed to wash her hands very thoroughly once she was done, as these bills had been sitting in sewage laced water. She assured me she would. She placed all the bundled bills in a box to send to the vault and then placed all the loose bills...IN HER CASH DRAWER!!!!! The one she makes change out of all day long!

    In hindsight, I should have said something else, but honestly, I was too stunned to speak.

    Consider this a warning the next time you get change. You have NO IDEA where that money has been.

    Excuse me while I go wash my hands. Again.

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    Friday Night Follies - Part II

    Part I here.

    I sit there for a minute, pondering the destiny of this girl. Will she be one of those that are still working at Griff's ten years from now? Still working from paycheck to paycheck? Still wondering why life never seems to give her a break? Will she ever realize her own role in determining her fate? Will she ever understand that behavioral patterns, once established, are difficult (but not impossible) to change?

    I'm distracted from these thoughts by an influx of people through the side door.

    Three of them come in and sit in the booth next to us. A cell phone rings and a bizarre conversation ensues. I can't recall any of it now, only the feeling that I really didn't want to hear it.

    One of the main reasons I can't recall the conversation from the next booth is the entrance of a young man and woman, both still in their twenties. Based on the number of tattoos and piercings, my guess is that they are customers from just up the road. He has long stringy hair, loose jeans and a T shirt with some slogan or other on it. She is wearing capri length jeans and a System of A Down T shirt. They slouch as they stand, waiting for their food. They're getting it to go. Pity.

    I wonder what drives them to get another tattoo or piercing. Are they angry? If so, at what? I wonder if they realize that with their tattoos and piercings that they have painted themselves into a small corner of their potential. How many doors will be closed to them because of how they look, how they dress? And does that feed the desire to rebel against the system by getting another badge marking their ostracism, which, ironically, makes it all the more complete?

    The girl on break is now trying to butt into the conversation of some folks sitting two booths down from her. They either don't hear her, or decide to ignore her. I can't decide.

    In the meantime, Mrs. A and I have finished the last of the SuperGiNormous burgers (with cheese) and fries and figure it's time to head for the stadium.

    To be continued (again).

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    Wednesday, September 07, 2005


    I can either use the next hour to blog.

    Or I can use it to work.

    And, since I spent the better part of yesterday on an unscheduled activity, I think I'll use today's time to work. Which means that yesterday's continuation will have to wait until tomorrow.


    That unscheduled activity?

    The owner of the company showed up yesterday with all of the money from the safe of our restaurant in Metarie, LA. Most of which had been underwater. Most of which was still dripping wet. Not to mention slimy. And stinky.

    Fortunately we had a blow dryer and a supply of protective gloves, so I didn't actually have to touch the stuff directly. Ewwww!! Got it all dry and counted and today I get to take it to the bank for deposit and tell them it's their problem.

    Anyway, as a result of spending yesterday with a batch of (literally) filthy lucre, I have WAY more to do today than I can possible accomplish.

    See you tomorrow.

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    Tuesday, September 06, 2005

    Friday Night Follies

    By the time I arrived home on Friday, Mrs. A had already delivered the Youngest Aardvark Child back to the school. I'm not really sure what the purpose is of making the band get there an hour and a half before gametime, but at least it keeps them off the streets. (Well, except for the drumline...those kids could be ANYwhere)

    Anyway, we decided that since the time was short, it would be a good idea to go grab something to eat instead of trying to fix dinner at home. Okay by me. We chose one of the fine dining establishments close to the house - Griff's Burgers.

    Griff's is one of those old-fashioned hamburger joints that has still managed to hang on. They make a decent burger, (duh!) but it's the kind of place where you don't want to know too much about the whole cooking and assembly process, lest you are forced to take them off the short list of "acceptable" eating establishments.

    The place is never dirty, but it's not exactly what you'd call "clean" either. I'm always wondering what the orange formica is hiding. Anyway, we order our two Giant Humongous Enormous Extra-Big Large Hamburgers, with cheese, and proceed to a booth, trying not to make eye contact with any of the other folks in the place. Being in a small town (which is completely surrounded by Fort Worth, so the whole small town thing seems odd, but is true nonetheless), there's just no telling who'll decide to come over and strike up a conversation. And since Griff's is sandwiched between (if you'll pardon the expression) a convenience store, liquor store and tattoo parlor on one side and a thrift shopping center on the other side, there is an endless variety of odd folks hanging about. (Which is probably what those folks are thinking about us, by the way)

    Griff's, being a central part of the local scene has decorated the walls with back-to-school themed stuff, among them some homemade signs with letters of the alphabet and words or phrases that start with that letter. Naturally, the words or phrases also promote Griff's. From where I'm sitting, I can see the "G" and the "H" signs.

    Good Food
    Hardy Helpings

    Well, that's about what you should expect, I guess. Hopefully, not too many children will adjust their spelling of hearty because they saw it on the wall at Griff's.

    Also, from where I'm sitting, I can see one of the employees on break, sitting at a table eating her dinner. After a few minutes, she gets up and throws her trash away and walks out the side door. A couple of minutes later, she comes back in with two one-liter bottles of A&W Root Beer and a half-dozen or so scratch-off Lotto tickets. She sits back down and begins scratching off the tickets. Finishing one, she places it to the side and starts on the next. She repeats the process until all of the tickets are in a pile. Since they're all in one pile, I assume they're either all winners or all losers. A trip to the trash can confirms my suspicion regarding her luck. I can only wonder whether she has just spent everything she was going to make that day on Lotto tickets and soda pop. Probably close to it. Her break evidently not over, she returns to her table and just sits.

    To be continued...

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    I know...I know

    I'm FAR too picky about these sorts of things.

    And I KNOW that the name of the show is "Monday Night Football", not just "Night Football" that happens to fall on a Monday.

    But doesn't it just seem fundamentally WRONG somehow to hear that this week we're going to have a special edition of Monday Night Football on Thursday night?

    Wouldn't that make it Thursday Night Football?

    It's no wonder I stay confused.

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    Monday, September 05, 2005

    Oh, did they play?

    How 'bout them FROGS!!!!!

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    Friday, September 02, 2005

    Fun with the YAC

    Some days it's tough being a kid.

    I'm not so old yet as to have COMPLETELY forgotten what it was like to be a teenager. And yet, not so young as to completely ignore bad behavior when it happens.

    Yesterday's crisis was when the Youngest Aardvark Child found out that, out of all the people in the play, she had been paired with the boy who is the biggest jerk.

    Drama ensued. Mothers were called. Feelings were soothed. (lather, rinse, repeat)

    Since she's done with play practice about the time I would be getting home, it's my job to swing by the school and pick her up. That's fine by me. I usually get there a few minutes early and so I listen to the radio and play around on my PDA. My cell phone is where it normally is when I'm in the car alone - on the passenger seat. (If it rings, it doesn't startle me with the vibration and I don't have to have an accident fishing it out of my pocket)

    So, the YAC gets to the car and opens the door, and before I can even say "Hi", she says "MOVE THAT!!!"

    I did.

    And after she was in, I told her, "You know, it's not a really good idea to piss-off the people in your life who are on your side and want to help you. It tends to be counterproductive." Perhaps I could have phrased it better. It did, however, make the point.

    It was a quiet ride home.

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    LittleA - Cabana Boy

    Well, we did it again.

    Dancing, that is.

    We signed up for another five week session of dance lessons at TCU. We wanted the Ballroom dancing class, but that was full, so we went with the Latin class instead.

    Last night was the Merengue, Salsa, and the Bachata. (With an order of rice and beans, it makes a complete meal!) The Merengue was just a repeat from our last class, so that was pretty easy. The Salsa stumped everyone at first, but the instructer finally figured out a way to explain it so that even the densest among us (meaning me) could understand. Then it was on to the Bachata (Bah-chah-tah). I told Mrs. A I think I am better at the baklava.

    Anyway, a good time was had by all.

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    Thursday, September 01, 2005

    When you start with the conclusion

    The rest is easy.

    As I mentioned yesterday, I've been listening off and on to Air America. I view it as the audio equivalent of DU (that's Democratic Underground, not depleted uranium).

    The last couple of days, as I caught portions of the Transference & Projection Without Reflection Show or the Speaking Truth To Power With A Glower Hour (I can't recall exactly) the hosts have really been lambasting GWB for his response to Katrina.

    He didn't act soon enough.
    He wasn't in Washington DC.
    He didn't act forcefully enough to evacuate prior to the storm.
    He didn't send enough military support after the storm.
    He didn't raise the levees.
    He didn't stop Global Warming.
    He doesn't have enough Guard personnel because they're in Iraq.
    He doesn't care about the people.
    He hasn't stopped the looting.
    He hasn't stopped price gouging.
    He hasn't nationalized the oil industry.

    You get the picture.

    Of course it wouldn't have mattered if he HAD done any of these things. If he had, the folks at Air America would just switch their complaints.

    He had no RIGHT to deprive people of their civil liberties by forcebly evacuating them from their homes.
    It was WRONG to bring in the military and declare martial law BEFORE anything had occurred.
    He is using this as his excuse to assume the dictatorial powers he has always craved.
    He is using the whole crises as an excuse to fix prices for his evil oil buddies.
    He is once again trying to bully people with a show of force instead of being more sensitive.

    I think, for my next job, I'll become a critic. They seem to have it easy.

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