Saturday, December 27, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
I see the bright lights in Congress have failed to pass a bailout bill for the auto industry. Nice to see that this historic election did nothing to cure greed, short-sightedness and placing ideology above actually helping people. Now to address a few myths.
- The American car industry did this to themselves by failing to make cars that people want. Horse hockey. The auto manufacturers have always done precisesly what the market dictates. Until this past summer when gas hit $4/gallon and above, fuel efficient economy cars only made up 4% of the vehicles sold in the US. This is not because consumers couldn't find economy cars, it's because they wouldn't buy them. Light trucks and SUVs, on the other hand, made up almost 50% of sales. This is why Toyota, Nissan and even Honda (the Ridgeline) introduced new and/or improved full-sized pickups and SUVs for 2008. If car companies could dictate what people drove, then everyone in the early '60s would have been driving an Edsel. Like every other business in the free market, the car industry makes what people want to buy. Period.
- The Big Three can't compete with Japan or Europe in making smaller cars. Two of the biggest selling brands in Europe and Asia are Ford and Opel, a GM brand. The best selling luxury car in Asia is Buick. Seriously. WAY more prestigious than a Mercedes! Europe and Asia have not had the luxury of subsidized petroleum prices, so they have been paying the equivalent of $5+/gallon for years. Therefore they demand more fuel efficient cars, and Ford and GM are happy to oblige. However, the price spike this summer took everyone by surprise and an industry as big as the Big Three can't turn on a dime. They need to shut down their North American manufacturing plants and retool them to make small cars, and that takes time and money. These would be very good loans to make (unlike the bailout of the financial institutions, which doesn't seem to have had any effect on consumers or taxpayers whatsoever) because there is every possibility they would be repaid, and that the taxpayers could even make money on the deal.
- Unions are the problem. Trust me, the current crisis is not because workers at the Big Three are seriously overpaid. The Big Three have inherited a lot of financial burdens regarding retired workers, especially their health care costs. Actual wages, worker for worker, are comparable to what the nonunion foreign car manufacturers pay in this country.
If you really want to help yourself in this environment, do yourself a favor, close your bank accounts and join a credit union. Credit unions are nonprofit. They don't charge ridiculous fees, and they are much more interested in individual account holders ("members") than they are in trading in shady mortgage packages or investing in credit markets that they don't understand.
Put your money in a credit union and let the banks go under.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Florida, though, has it all: Convicted felons being voted into office, occasionally while still in jail; dead people voting (Miami); legislators hiring hit men to take out members of another family; corruption; vote rigging; you name it.
Today the talk is about the soon-to-be-ex-Governor of Illinois who has been arrested and charged with trying to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder. What elevates this story to the stratosphere of stupidity is that he was already being investigated at the time FOR CORRUPTION. And he KNEW IT. What was the train of thought that lead him to say, "You know, I know that they're looking hard at me for corruption charges, so I think I'll make a phone call from my office phone and discuss the fact that the person Obama wants to succeed him in his Senate seat hasn't yet coughed up a big enough bribe." As BikerDude aptly pointed out: When you start taking bids for a public office, you have to know that the person who places the second-place bid is going to report you!
I agree with Molly that politics is the greatest form of entertainment that our country has ever come up with, and that we're going to have to pay for it anyway, so we might as well enjoy the show. Here's to Governor Blagojevich for providing this week's stunning entertainment.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Motorcycle passenger seats were clearly designed for women (and it is always women) who are not, shall we say, of my proportions. I am WAY too tall and WAY too heavy for what they have in mind! The way the pegs are positioned, I end up riding in a position that I rarely assume outside of an OB/GYN exam, which is not one that I intend to maintain for hours at a time. On top of that, I have a bone spur behind my left knee cap which makes bending my knee painful in any event. The problem is that in order to lower the passenger foot pegs (and preferably replace them with foot boards), we have to replace the exhaust pipes with ones that run lower along the frame.
One of the things I have learned in being married to a biker is that asking a biker to modify their bike is like asking 21 year old bride whether to serve the crab cakes at her reception with cocktail or remoulade sauce. Everything is drama! You can't just replace the exhaust pipes because the lower pipes now make the saddle bags look out of proportion, so now we must shop for saddle bags. And if we're going to get new saddle bags, there's no reason not to go whole hog (Hah! See what I did there?) and get a new seat. And really, wouldn't the whole thing look better with a ferring? Then we could install a stereo w/ CD/MP3 player, and how cool would that be??!!
So, anyway, three years later, still no footboards for me.
I did take a motorcycle safety course to see if I could learn to ride, too. Turns out that I can't. When you wreck-- twice-- in the safety class, they are reluctant to pass you. Go figure.
So I'm looking into the Piaggio MP3 scooter:
Note the two front wheels. This is a serious asset.
Let me say up front that she's remarkably spry for 14, and still has a bad attitude about being forced to do anything that isn't her idea. The toe looks better, but opening the wound meant that when she got away (inevitably), she left a trail of bloody footprints on my nightshirt, the sink, the carpet, the towels, a washcloth and my pillowcase, where she ultimately stopped to wash herself and glower at me. I also have fresh cat scratches on my neck from where she climbed me to get away.
How badly can a creature be hurt who can put up a struggle like that? From now on, BikerDude can take care of his own damn cat!
Monday, December 1, 2008
As I read it, I must admit to a tinge of schadenfreude, but that was quickly replaced by a feeling of sadness. All of the actions in the complaint took place in the last 5 years or so, and I left his firm 14 years ago, but I could have written the complaint. Same stuff, different names. Some were clients who paid him a retainer and he simply didn't do the work. The most egregious of these was a woman who hired him in 2005 to do a no-fault divorce and separation agreement, a procedure that should have taken 6 months to finalize. At the time that the complaint was filed in 2008-- three years later-- the divorce was still not final.
Others were clients where he took the case even though he had no expertise in the subject matter. There was an adverse possession claim, for instance. Trust me, this is a man who knows NOTHING about real property law! There were also employment discrimination, worker's comp, and other assorted claims that I sincerely doubt he knew anything about.
Finally, there was the mishandling of the trust account. That's what he got sanctioned for when I left his firm. Obviously he still hasn't learned how to handle that account.
What is missing from the report, though, is the underlying problem: He is bipolar, and he refuses to take medication or treatment for his condition. I don't know if he is in denial about how serious his condition is or his ability to compensate for it or if he doesn't like the side effects of the medication or if he just enjoys the highs from the manic side of the equation and doesn't wish to give them up. One way or the other, though, he shouldn't be allowed to represent anyone until he can demonstrate that he has this under control or the same thing will happen again and again.
I feel sorry for him, but I feel even sorrier for his clients. I really hope he uses the 18 months of his suspension to get his act together.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
13. Do you live in an area where there are coyotes, fox, bobcats, owls or hawks? (if you do not know have you called your local state Fish & Game department and Animal Control to ask?)This suggests a rather alarming sequence of events. For people with a hysterical disposition, these questions might cause them have to lie down.
14. Have you seen or heard the above wildlife in your area? If so, when and where?
15. In your search for your cat, did you come across any tufts of cat fur?
16. Did your cat disappear at dusk, dawn, or in the middle of the night?
19. Is this a solid black cat?Ok. Yikes.
20. Are you aware of any occult activity in your immediate area?
22. Are there any known cultures in your area known to consume cats (Korean, Chinese)?This seems... culturally insensitive, at the very least. But if you are not sufficiently alarmed, let's consider your neighbors:
26. Are there any suspected "cat haters" in your neighborhood? Has anyone complained about your cat? Are there any neighbors who are obsessed with their lawns, cars, or gardens that do not like cats going in their yard?Wow. Whoever came up with these questions certainly has a vivid imagination. On the one hand, they are certainly covering all bases. On the other, sensitive souls filling out this questionnaire are now sobbing into a Kleenex and/or taking slugs directly from the Wild Turkey bottle.
27. Any known "dog fighting dogs" i.e. skuzzy looking/acting gang-like neighbors with pit bulls?
28. Is there or was there at any time an abundance of loose cats in the area?
29. Have cats been seen but suddenly they have all vanished from the area?
Finally, there's this:
31. Do you have any neighborhood children who fit the following profile -- Caucasian male, age 10 to 17, introvert (loner) with a suspected history of cruelty to other kids, animals, bed wetting behavior, and/or fire setting?I don't know any of my neighbors well enough to answer at least part of that question, and for the life of my I can't figure out figure out how to raise it in casual conversation ("How's Joey doing in high school this year? Isn't he a sophomore? Speaking of bedwetting..."). Secondly, if you DO have a neighbor who meets these criteria, you have a much bigger problem on your hands than a missing cat. Seriously. Lock your doors.
I think my cats are conspiring against me.
Saturday morning my husband BikerDude had to go to work (as usual) and I had a choir practice at the church at 8:30. After choir I went to the grocery store. When I got home, it was around 1:00. It was pouring down rain and I was tired and hungry and ready to make myself some lunch and put my feet up for awhile. Hah!
The first thing I discovered upon opening the door was my floor lamp (note the past tense) laying in pieces on the floor. With the bulb still burning. Ok, we have five cats, three of whom are Bengals. Accidents happen. I spent a few minutes turning off the lamp and determining whether or not it could be salvaged (maybe), then went to finish unloading the car. When I was carrying in my last load, including two large bags of kitty litter, our year old former-feral tuxedo kitty darted out the door and danced down the sidewalk. I uttered a few choice words that would probably have gotten me kicked out of choir practice, grabbed a jar of treats and headed out in pursuit. Normally I’d just let her have her fun and find her way home, but Tweak’s update shots are overdue, so I didn’t want to risk her running loose with the neighborhood fauna.
She proceeded to lead me on a merry chase for about 10-15 minutes, even going so far as to climb a tree at one point, which was impressive when you consider that she has approximately the dimensions of fur-covered bowling ball. Once she got about 7 or 8 feet off the ground, she seemed to realize that this wasn’t a great idea, and that it had been a lot easier when she was, oh, half her current weight, so she gingerly eased down the tree. She kept galloping ahead of me, tail straight up in the air, ignoring the treats and clearly enjoying herself (did I mention that it was raining??) until I finally got her cornered in a neighbors back yard four houses down and scooped her up. She proceeded to growl and snarl and generally use all matter of foul language at me as I carried her back home (although she wisely didn’t try to bite or scratch me).
Once we got back inside and I had dumped her in the living room, she immediately began circling me and begging for the treats that she was so totally ignoring while we were outside, even when I was pinging them off of her head. I don’t think so, you little doink.
I went to the kitchen to begin to put the groceries away and discovered that I had been had. Apparently, Tweak was in cahoots with Kaos, one of my
I relieved him of his raw meat treat, cut the chewed end off and put the rest in the freezer.
Some time later, I went downstairs to do laundry and clean the cat boxes. I was introducing a new type of litter-- silica based. I forgot, in the heat of the moment, I suppose, Kaos’s attraction to bags and anything in a sealed container. When I came back downstairs after taking the dirty litter out to the trash can, I found that he had ripped open one of the bags of silica litter and was proceeding to make Navajo sand paintings on the laundry room floor.
Showing total disregard for his religious ceremony, I swept up the mess and sealed the rest of the litter in a Rubbermaid container. When I got upstairs, Tweak and Kaos were both curled up on the couch, looking totally innocent (the other three had wisely kept their distance during all of this). I informed both of them that while they were, indeed, beautiful cats, they would be just as beautiful stuffed and mounted on the mantle piece.