The Republican Presidential version of “Last Man Standing”

I last wrote on this in early October, and had intended to revisit the Republican presidential field after the next major event, whether it was a major candidate getting in, dropping out, or the first caucus/primaries.  So I’m a little behind.  Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann have dropped out (and Gary Johnson… Who?  Yes, exactly.)  Iowa and New Hampshire have come and gone, and it seems the writing is on the wall for Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman.  Perry seems to know it, Huntsman not so much.

So here’s my take on where we stand going forward from here…

MITT ROMNEY:  I still think Romney will be the eventual nominee.  He keeps winning, and avoiding any major mistakes.
And I also think that Gingrich and Perry are abandoning principles and hurting the party as a whole by attacking him for being a capitalist.

Since when do Republicans attack other Republicans for having worked in the private sector, as opposed to being a career politician?  Seriously, WTH?

I can get behind Romney.  He wasn’t my first choice.  But I like him far more than the only other options who are still competitive (Newt & the Nut).  And the more I think about it, I can’t imagine Mitt Romney being a bad president.  At worst, he’d still be OK… and much better than the current occupant.

* * * * * * * *

NEWT GINGRICH:  I’ve always thought Newt had too much “baggage” to run for President.  But it seems that the not-Romney movement can overlook that.  Sorry, I can’t do it.  If we were just talking about the adultery while impeaching Bill Clinton, maybe.  There’s so much more.  And not all of it is in the distant past.

Sitting down with Nancy Pelosi for a global warming commercial?  Raking in $1.6M lobbying for Freddie Mac?  Calling the Paul Ryan budget plan “right wing social engineering”?  (Gee, I wish Congressman Ryan had run.)

For any of you in the not-Romney crowd who believe that Newt is the true conservative in the race, I need you to understand this — Newt Gingrich is a conservative when it suits him to be.  He’ll also jump on any “grand idea” that makes him feel smarter than everyone else, even if it’s far from conservative.
     That’s the key to Newt…  his sense of his own brilliance.  He’s absolutely convinced of it.  Republican voters, please beware.  This man is every bit as much a megalomaniac as Barack Obama.
Don’t believe me?  Try this:
“I have an enormous personal ambition. I want to shift the entire planet. And I’m doing it…Oh, this is just the beginning of a 20-or-30-year movement. I’ll get credit for it…As a historian, I understand how histories are written. My enemies will write histories that dismiss me and prove I was unimportant. My friends will write histories that glorify me and prove I was more important than I was. And two generations or three from now, some serious, sober historian will write a history that sort of implies I was whoever I was.”  ~ Newt Gingrich (1985)

* * * * * * * *

 RON PAUL:  Wow… where do I start?  As I said before, Ron Paul says a few things, mostly on domestic policy, that I agree with.  But there’s way more stuff that he says, or has said in the past, that gives me flashing red lights and alarm bells.

His anti-Israel stance comes across as anti-Semetic regardless of how many times he tries to explain it as a monetary (foreign aid) position.  There’s always just a little too much animosity sprinkled into his statements.

His position on Iran is non-intervention taken to dangerous extremes.  He tries to argue that a nuclear Iran would be no more a threat to world peace than the United Kingdom or France.  That alone, to me, means he can not be taken seriously as a presidential candidate.

And then there’s the newsletters…
Chock full of conspiracy theories and racists rants.
Not the “mainstream media” / Chris Matthews / Keith Olbermann definition of racist.  Seriously racist.
Paul’s excuses?  It wasn’t an official, authorized newsletter… and besides, he didn’t write the objectionable stuff.  Really?  That’s the best he can do?
It was published in his name and he occasionally wrote articles for it.
It was your newsletter, Dr. Paul.  Own it and everything in it.

And don’t get me started on the Alex Jones / prisonplanet.com / 9-11 “truther” connections.  No, no, no.  Another reason not to take him seriously.

* * * * * * * *

RICK SANTORUM:  I didn’t say much about him previously except that during his Senate time, I considered him a one-issue politician.  He’s still mainly known for social issues only, but I suppose he must have positions on the economy and foreign policy.  If he continues to do well, I might have to find out what those are. 

* * * * * * * *

RICK PERRY:  Still my personal favorite, but I think the fat lady is singing, Governor Goodhair.
The Texas economy and jobs record couldn’t overcome poor debate performances.  People got worried that if he couldn’t hold his own against the other Republicans, he’d be toast against Obama’s perceived oratory skills.  I don’t know if that’s accurate, but it seems to be over for Perry.

* * * * * * * *

 JON HUNTSMAN:  Former governor of Utah, Obama’s ambassador to China.  I keep hearing that his record in Utah was quite conservative, but that doesn’t change the fact that he chose to run his campaign in a very bizarre fashion.  Who is he trying to appeal to?

For awhile it seemed he was working hand-in-hand with the “mainstream media” to promote himself as the only “sensible” Republican choice.
Then he went out of his way to position himself as the only Republican who believes in evolution and global warming.
Whose votes is he trying to win?  Evidently not mine.
UPDATE:  Shortly after posting this, it was announced that Huntsman will drop out tomorrow.

* * * * * * * *

So…. that’s where we’re at right now.  I still like Perry, but here’s my prediction…
eventual Republican nominee and next President of the United States:
Willard Mitt Romney

And if you’re curious to know who I liked at this point 4 years ago?

That’s all for today, folks!
If you agree or disagree
(and want to debate)
any of these opinions…
hit me up in the Comments!
I’ll be glad to play some more.

            Nick

Sportsmanship? Character? … WIN AT ALL COSTS! … (Part II)

Nick’s note:  Wow… my last words at the end of Part I were ” Read on in Part II… to follow very soon.”  “Very soon” turned into six weeks.  Oops.  In a nutshell, a week of job-related training, a week of being sick, a week and a half of my laptop being sick (had to go get professionally debugged), Christmas hullaballoo, and Ryan coming home on leave led to an extensive delay.

*                                                  * * * * * * *

Penn State. 

I want to write about this… and I don’t.  The whole, horrible story makes me sick.

Where to start?  The victims.  I pray for the victims to find peace and healing, and if that requires money, Penn State should pay through the nose.  It’s going to be expensive.  That’s called chickens coming home to roost.  Karma.  Justice.  The coverup always does more damage (at least in the university’s case) than the offense.

Unfortunately, because there is going to be money paid out, there will be false “victims” seeking a slice of the pie.  It always happens in prominent scandals like this… another sad statement on the sickness of our society.  I hope they get caught, humiliated, and prosecuted if possible.

On to the enablers… the numerous, nauseating enablers who are the real heart of what makes this sad, horrifying situation the story that it is.  After all, predators like Jerry Sandusky are a dime a dozen.  Unfortunately, they’re so commonplace that, by themselves, they’re hardly news.  What makes this story stand out is the sheer number of supposedly good, professional, respectable people who looked the other way while this monster committed his foul deeds… including one who was frequently referred to by many people as “the great man”.

Joe Paterno… “the great man” [another stellar example of the need for a sarcasm font] … should go to prison.  I don’t care if he is 85 years old.  And I don’t care for any of his other excuses put out by him or his many apologists.  The notion that he did the bare minimum he was required to do — that he was just an employee who reported to his superiors and therefore had no responsibility or capability to do more — is, pardon my language, bullshit.  “Joe Pa” was, for lack of a better term, a god at Penn State University.  He could’ve handled it any way he wanted to.  He chose to protect the program and his reputation.  He should go to prison for his criminal negligence in failing to stop Sandusky.

All the other Penn State officials that knew and did nothing should also go to prison.  They made their choices when they participated in the coverup.

Mike McQueary … wow, I can’t despise this man enough.  His statements to the press and public have been constantly shifting, and don’t match his official statements to the police and grand jury.  “I did stop it, not physically, but I made sure it stopped.”  Sandusky stopped because he realized he had a witness, not because of any action taken by McQueary… who then ran to his daddy to ask him what he should do.  McQueary’s constant whining that, despite all evidence to the contrary, he “did the right thing” is the desperate cry of a deservedly guilty conscience.  He witnessed a 60 year old man raping a boy that he himself described as appearing to be 10 years old… and did nothing.  Prison?  Absolutely.

And what of Dottie Sandusky, the wife?  If the testimony of Victim # 9 is to be believed, Mrs. Sandusky had to have known of her husband’s activities.  (# 9 testified that he screamed for help at a time that he knew she was in the house, but no help came.)  If she knew, she’s as guilty as the rest.

Jerry Sandusky… what can I say… I’d wish this monster a long and nasty prison sentence, except that I wouldn’t mind at all if another monster cut his life short in prison (à la Jeffrey Dahmer).  After that… burn in hell, Sandusky.

For anyone still doubting his guilt, consider the following:  In addition to the accounts of the victims, you have the eyewitness testimony of McQueary and others (there was another criminal act witnessed by janitors).  To listen to this man proclaim his innocence while attempting increasingly implausible explanations for what others have described (“wrestling”, “massages”, “horseplay”, “blowing on bellies”, “teaching poor kids how to wash themselves properly”) is to wish the scumbag would shut the hell up and find it in himself to end his miserable, worthless life.

Sportsmanship? Character? … WIN AT ALL COSTS! … (Part I)

Nick’s note:  I started writing this blog post before the Penn State story broke.  Talk about sadly ironic timing.  I think I want to continue to write the blog post I intended to write, because it’s important, even if it’s not tragic on the scale of the other story (and by tragic, I refer to the victims, not the predator or his numerous criminal enablers).  Then I’ll write on the really ugly story.  No funny pictures to go with this one… it has me in a somber mood.

                                                ********  

  A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook that her 10 year old son was playing his final Pop Warner football game of the season.  A championship game.
  The other team showed up and it was discovered that the other coach had “padded” his roster with the best players from a few other teams.  Of course, they had to forfeit the game; after the other coach tried unsuccessfully to lie his way out of it.  Then he allowed his players to talk trash to the team that followed the rules.
  It’s sad to see how often children’s sports are ruined by adults who don’t understand that when all is said and done, it is just a game.  Whether by cheating, or otherwise displaying poor sportmanship … or by sacrificing the happiness of what should be a fun experience by an over-emphasis on excellence, “adults” are ruining kids’ sports and teaching them all the wrong lessons.
  Before I go any further, let me say I’m not one of these ‘self-esteem’ yahoos that believe there should be no winners and losers – no keeping score, even – so that everyone can come out a winner.  Far from it.  Life has winners and losers,  and that’s a lesson that should be learned early.  Otherwise, your children might wind up in an “Occupy” protest, sporting dreadlocks, pounding on tomtoms, and whining about how unfair life is.
   I should also be up front about my sports experience.  As a child: one or two seasons of Little League baseball, one season of soccer, football in 7th grade, a few boxing lessons.  Not very extensive compared to some kids.  As a parent: one season of Little League and a “season” or so of karate lessons.  Still, you don’t have to be an expert to see the problems. 
   You hear about stories like my friend’s.  You read about them in the news if they’re notable enough.  And you see the parents at the games, usually the dads, but not always (and the parents I’m talking about here are mostly in the minority, but they’re the ones ruining it for everyone). 
   You see the fathers screaming at their sons… demanding perfection… defining their father-son relationship, and their son’s sense of self worth, through their ability to throw, catch, or hit a ball.  You see the parents who yell at the coach for not playing their child enough.  You see the ones who run their mouths at the children on the other team.  Sad, and so immature.
   Or you find it in more subtle ways.  I was reading an online forum some time ago where baseball dads were writing about the difference between open leagues and select leagues.  For those of you that don’t know, open leagues are like the Little League we grew up with; everyone can sign up (whether everyone plays is dependent on the coach and his attitude on the whole fun vs winning issue).  Additionally, these leagues tend to operate a little closer to home and are thus more community-oriented. 
  Select leagues are more “professional”.  The kids have to try out, and only those who those who have the skills make the cut.  Also, it  can be quite expensive (entry fees, equipment, travel costs, etc); some boys could have the athletic skills, but be excluded because their parents don’t have the financial means.

  Anyhow, it fascinated me… in a bad way, like a train wreck.  Here’s why: 
  Almost unanimously, the baseball dads agreed that open leagues were more character-building.  I see where they’re going here.  Kids of different ability levels, you’re going to win some and lose some, but if the coaches have character, the kids will have fun and learn teamwork despite the different skill levels.    
   As for select leagues, the dads agreed that they were better for the developing their boys as players, honing their athletic skills by playing with and against superior athletes.  I understand this point too.

   Now here’s the part that really bothers me.   I saw the same pattern repeated again and again in these comments, until I quit reading in disgust.  These men repeatedly said that the open leagues were better for building character and that the select leagues were better for developing athletes… and almost all of them said the preferred the select leagues. 
   REALLY?!?
   Really?  That makes my heart hurt.  In so many words, again and again, most of them said that it was more important to develop their sons as baseball players than to build character.  Where are their priorites?  Oh, I’m sure that if confronted with the shameless irony of what they had just said, they’d hem and haw and find excuses.  They teach character themselves…. in other ways…
   Wrong.  They’d be lying to themselves.  And they do it because they know, deep down, that these are the lessons they’re not supposed to be teaching their children.  But they go against what they know to be right because they get all caught up in winning and being the best as the only things that matter… most often driven by the desire to live vicariously through their sons. 
   The win at all costs mentality teaches the wrong lessons and the exact opposite of sportsmanship and character.  Want proof?  Penn State.
   Read on in Part II… to follow very soon.

Defend yourself… defend the Constitution… defend your treehouse.

   A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
– 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution –

  I read an article recently telling about the press conference of Chuck Wright, a sheriff in Spartanburg, SC, who expressed his frustration after the attempted rape of a woman by a criminal with a long record of violent crimes.  The thug in question, Walter Lance, has a police record of over 20 charges since 1983 with a definite pattern of crimes against women.
  Selected quotes:
  “Our form of justice is not making it.
  “It just struck me wrong that we keep telling everyone ‘trust us, trust us, trust us,’ but in reality, you need to protect yourself. If you are not a convicted felon or someone who causes trouble or don’t have any mental issues, buy a weapon to protect yourself and get some good training.
  He said several times, “I want you to get a concealed weapons permit.
  At one point, Wright held up a fanny pack and said, “They make this right here where you can conceal a small pistol in them. They got one called The Judge that shoots a .45 or a .410 shell. You ain’t got to be accurate; you just have to get close.”  
   Wright said, “I’m tired of looking at victims saying, ‘There’s life after this’ … I’m tired of saying, ‘We’re sorry, we can’t keep them in jail.’

  It’s a sad fact that our criminal justice system has reached the point where our law enforcement officials are (…if they’re honest…) saying, “We can’t protect you.  We can show up afterwards, write the reports, and if we’re lucky, make an arrest.  But we can’t keep them in jail and off the streets.”

  The system is flawed in many respects.  When our Constitution was written, the Founders wrote in many protections against an oppressive goverment.  Those protections are important for their intended purpose, but unfortunately they have been twisted and distorted over the years to the benefit of predators like Walter Lance.
  I’m sure I’ll have more to say about issues of crime and punishment in future posts, but for now I want to stick with Sheriff Wright’s point.
  Most of the time, the police cannot be there to protect you when you need them most.  But you can protect yourself and those you love.  Respect and make use of your 2nd Amendment right to protect yourself.  Buy a gun (or two… or three).  Learn to use it.
  I haven’t gotten my Concealed Carry Permit yet, but I’m making that a near-term goal.  Walter Lance, and others of your ilk… be warned.
  The United States Constitution is a wonderful document.  Its protections have been distorted by some, to our detriment, but it still protects the most basic elements of the precious gift of Freedom.

********

  1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
  2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
— 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution –

  Speaking of distortions of the Constitution, some are downright silly… except when they get taken seriously.  Somehow I don’t see this one going very far. 
  This particularly silly story is brought to us by that entertaining but silly organization PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

  PETA has filed suit against Sea World accusing them of violating the 13th Amendment (the prohibition against slavery) by “enslaving” five killer whales at their parks.  Obvious to everyone, including PETA, this case is going to hinge on whether animals have the same rights as humans.  I expect that the judge, or the jury if this case even makes it to trial, will have the common sense to say otherwise.
  By the way, when Tilikum (one of the five orcas named in the lawsuit) killed his trainer last year (this was the third trainer Tilikum has killed), did PETA speak up for his “right” to be tried for murder?  Because if he has the same rights as a person, shouldn’t he be held to the same standards in other regards?  Silly.

Yes, I couldn’t resist posting this… admittedly I’ve never had orca steaks on my grill, but if I did, what crime would PETA consider me guilty of having committed?

********

   That’s all for today, y’all.  Remember, there are goblins out there. Take care of yourself and those you love.  If you haven’t already, get the proper tools and learn how to use them.

~ Nick

Beretta Px4 Storm … mine is in .40 S&W caliber.

Randomosity

Given the title of this blog, it seems appropriate to start off by saying…

“Hello, Ashley!”  

 

 
****  Random Times  ****

  I had already named this blog post “Randomosity” before this next event occurred, so file it under random coinkydinks. 
  Tonya and I had a late lunch at Chinatown Restaurant (near 82nd and Slide).  I had the House Chicken, which was chicken, black beans and jalapenos in a black bean sauce.  Yummy, but scorchingly hot!  Left the insides of my cheeks feeling toasted.   
  Anyhow, to make a long story short, as we were leaving, Tonya glanced at the Business Hours sign on the door and this is what she saw:

  Now, that’s a little arbitrary, don’tcha think?

                                     
 ****  Random Movies Thoughts  ****

   What upcoming movies interest you, random reader?  I think Tower Heist looks hilarious.  Hopefully it gives Eddie Murphy and Matthew Broderick a career boost and gets them making funny movies again.
   However, the movies I’m most looking forward to right now are adaptations of books I’ve read.
   The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo opens on December 21 with the tagline “The Feel Bad Movie of Christmas” — funny line for some dark subject matter.  I’ve been writing about Steig Larsson’s Millenium trilogy as I’ve been reading it and want to see the movie adaptation of the first book.  I’ve heard the Swedish (subtitled) original versions are excellent and wouldn’t mind checking them out as well.  As with the following series, I expect that we’ll see movies made of all three books.

   The Hunger Games opens March 23, 2012.  I read this trilogy after Ryan and Jake told me how good they were.  It will be interesting to see how Hollywood handles this series.  It’s pretty dark but marketed at teens.  It is set in a future where a repressive Capitol annually chooses a boy and a girl from each of 12 districts to fight to the death in a televised event.  Like the Millenium trilogy, it has a very unique young lady as its main character.

   The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is scheduled for release Dec 14, 2012, followed by The Hobbit: There and Back Again on Dec 13, 2013.  Obviously, this is J.R.R. Tolkein’s “The Hobbit” split into two movies.  I am a huge fan of Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy of films.  I can’t understate that.  I’ve read the books more than once and the movies exceeded my expectations.  So, not surprisingly, I’m really looking forward to seeing what he does with “The Hobbit”.  Just so you know, Ryan and I followed the casting of Bilbo Baggins with great interest and were very happy to see our first choice get the role (Martin Freeman of “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”).  Can’t wait!

****  Random Joke  ****

Two rednecks decided that they weren’t going anywhere in life and thought they should go to college to get ahead.

The first went in to see the counselor, who recommended he take a history or logical thinking class.

“What’s logical thinkin’?” the first redneck asked.

The professor answered, “Let me give you an example. Do you own a weed eater?”

“I sure do.”

“Then I can assume, using logical thinking, that you have a yard,” replied the professor.

“That’s real good!” said the redneck.

The professor continued, “Logic will also tell me that since you have a yard, you also own a house.”

Impressed, the redneck said, “Amazin’!”

“And since you own a house, logic dictates that you have a wife.”

“That’s Betty Mae! This is incredible!”

The redneck was catching on.

“Finally, since you have a wife, logically I can assume that you are heterosexual,” said the professor.

“You’re absolutely right! Why that’s the most fascinatin’ thing I ever heard! I can’t wait to take that logical thinkin’ class!”

The redneck, proud of the new world opening up to him, walked back into the hallway where his friend was still waiting.

“So what class are ya takin’?” asked the friend.

“logical thinkin’ class!” replied the first redneck.

“What the hell is logical thinkin’?” asked his friend.

“Let me give you an example. Do ya own a weed eater?” asked the first redneck.

“No,” his friend replied.

“You’re gay, ain’t ya?”

<LOL… sorry, that was bad wasn’t it?>

********

That’s all for this one, y’all… I hope to be back real soon.

~ Nick 

From Zombie Madness … to Rube Goldberg machines… with a Gummy Worm snack in the middle

****  The Walking Dead  ****

   On Sunday night, Jake (big ol’ younger son) and I watched the Season 2 premiere of The Walking Dead on AMC.  I had heard great things about this series during its first season, so I picked it up when it came out on DVD … Jake and I gobbled it up like, well, like hungry zombies!  Since then we’ve been eagerly awaiting Season 2. 

   The first season begins with Rick Grimes, a Sheriff’s Deputy in Georgia, taking a serious gunshot wound while responding to a call with his partner, Shane Walsh.  He later wakes up (comes out of a coma?) in a deserted hospital after ‘the zombie apocalypse’.  He is helped by a father and son who have survived, and finds evidence suggesting that his wife and son have also survived.  This sets him on the road to Atlanta and a rumored refugee camp. 

   I won’t reveal much more except that that this series takes the typical zombie movie format and by stretching it to series length allows for a great deal of character and plot development, including the trauma of living constantly in a state of traumatic stress. 

   So far, the series features excellent writing and acting, and the production values are movie-like.  I will hope the series survives the departure of its creator, Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile).  Based on the Season 2 premiere and upcoming previews, everything looks great for a strong second season.

    Trivia:
*  The word “zombie” is never used.  They are referred to as “walkers” by the main group of characters, “geeks” by a gang in Atlanta, and “test subjects” by the CDC (Center for Disease Control).
*  I went through the entire first season without realizing that Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick Grimes, is British.  He really does a great job on the Georgia accent.  Now that I know, I listen… and hear the occasional glitch in his accent, but not often.

****  Gummies!!!  ****

   I love gummy worms! 

   Not just any gummy worms. 
   Trolli Sour Brite Crawlers® gummy worms!
   My favorite are the green and orange ones… what’s yours?

 

 

****  RANDOM THINKAGE  ****

Really, y’all… I do want some input on what to name this random section…

    I’m bad enough about making up words when I’m awake, but recently I woke up from a dream with a word in my mind… nothing else about the dream, just one word… applefarians.  I immediately wondered what it meant.  Extreme vegetarians that eat only apples?   
   This morning, as I thought to blog about this, I googled the word, just to see if it was real.  It turns out that one other person has used it… some guy on Twitter was trying to come up with a word for people obsessed with Apple computer products.  He also considered maclems and iPhonistas.
   Wanna share some other made-up word stories?  I love me some wordplay.

****

    Remember Harold Camping?  He’s the radio preacher who made all the news with his end-of-the-world prediction back in May.  Yeah, that guy.  Evidently he’s fired up his Rube Goldberg Apocalypse Prediction machine and has come up with a new date… October 21, 2011… today.  Hope you didn’t have anything planned for the weekend.
    Somebody get this man one of those cube blocks of Post-It notes to jot down his future doomthoughts.  That’s about what his prophecies are worth.

****

    In that last bit, I googled “Rube Goldberg machine” to make sure I had the name right and learned that such devices have different names around the world.
* In Great Britain, the concept is exactly the same, but they are known as a
Heath Robinson contraption.
* In France, it’s called usine à gaz, or ‘gasworks’.
* In Denmark, Storm P maskiner, (Storm P machine) after a cartoonist and inventor named Robert Storm Petersen. 
* In Japan, “Pythagorean devices” or a “Pythagoras switch”. 
… and …
* In Germany, such machines are called  “Was-passiert-dann-Maschine”
(“What happens next machine”).  I particularly like that one.

 

 

 

   The “Self-Operating Napkin” is activated when soup spoon (A) is raised to mouth, pulling string (B) and thereby jerking ladle (C), which throws cracker (D) past parrot (E). Parrot jumps after cracker and perch (F) tilts, upsetting seeds (G) into pail (H). Extra weight in pail pulls cord (I), which opens and lights automatic cigar lighter (J), setting off skyrocket (K) which causes sickle (L) to cut string (M) and allow pendulum with attached napkin to swing back and forth, thereby wiping chin.

********

That’s all for now… see you again soon!      

Nick                                                  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

OCCUPY the Treehouse!

****  OCCUPY the Treehouse  ****

  That is, occupy the Treehouse if you’re a hard-working American who believes in the values that this country was built on.  On the other hand, if you’re one of these sign-waving knuckleheads “occupying” our cities with your list of demands for endless freebies (provided by leprechaun shops and powered by unicorn farts, no doubt)… if you’re one of those guys or girls, you can come in too… provided you’ve had a bath recently and that you’ll keep your mouth shut unless you have something intelligent to say.
  I’ve been meaning to write on this for a week, and keep having trouble knowing where to start because IT’S ALL JUST SO FREAKIN’ RIDICULOUS!!!


  Many in the media have been equating the “Occupy” movement as the liberal equivalent of the Tea Party.  Really?  Really libs, you want to claim this whiny rabble?  They’re all yours!  Congrats!

  I’ve seen some of their “demands”.  Granted, none of these demands are official, since this movement is supposedly leaderless.  But, still…  Wow… here are some examples:

  1.  A living wage, to be attained by raising the minimum wage to $20 per hour.  Clearly they have no understanding of economics and the rampant inflation that would follow this.  And if the guy flippin’ burgers gets $20/hr, what do you pay the kid standing behind him making sure he’s doing it right?  And get ready for that burger to cost $17.
  2.  Single-payer 100% government run healthcare.  Didn’t we reject this not too long ago?  But we’re just getting started on bankrupting the country…
  3.  Guaranteed living wage regardless of employment.    Please… read that again, in the context of #1.  A guaranteed living wage (of $20/hr, right?) REGARDLESS OF EMPLOYMENT?!?  $20/hr is over $41,000 per year.  And someone really believes every person should be entitled to $41K whether they work or not? 
  4.  Free college education.  Sure, why not?  And while we’re being so magnanimous, it would be terribly unfair to put any limits on that.  You know, grades, attendance, switching majors, etc… Skippy could stay in school FOREVER if that’s his dream.  And who are you to tread on Skippy’s dream, you meanie?

  They go on and on… one trillion dollars spent immediately on infrastructure… one trillion dollars to spend converting from fossil fuels to solar and wind power… another trillion spent planting trees and restoring wetlands.  These “Occupiers” sure are generous with those trillions of dollars from taxpayers who are too busy WORKING to join in their silly little movement.

  Another thing they want:  Immediate across-the-board debt forgiveness, from international debt to your mortgage, car, and credit card debt.  Yeah, that would be sweet… so would a Beautiful Weather Law… ain’t gonna happen.

  Some of these yahoos are even calling for an end to money and a return to the barter system.  Please, kid… attend a Renaissance Faire, feel medieval for a few days, crap in the woods (instead of on a police car) and then come to grips with the realization that it wouldn’t work in the modern world.
  Feel free to disagree with me, but the problem with way too many young people these days is that they think they’re too special for a crappy job.  They’re unwilling to start at the bottom and work their way up.  They expect to start at the middle (or higher) and rise quickly to the stratosphere.

  There’s something deeply ironic – starting with their failure to see the irony – about these kids with their iPhones and iPads protesting capitalism and corporations.

  May I have your attention, kid? … No, you can play
Angry Birds in a minute. …
Listen carefully… it takes a corporation to make your iPad.  The village blacksmith can’t do it.  That’s a free lesson on The Industrial Age from your Uncle Nick.

  I could just keep going and going and going on this like the Energizer bunny, but seriously, kids… you’re making the hippie protesters of the 60s look like rocket scientists.  Go home until you have a clue what you’re talking about.


 

****  WHAT I’M STILL READING … AND WHAT ELSE I’M READING ****

  I’m now reading the third and final book in the Millenium trilogy, “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”.  There’s a slightly unusual set-up with this trilogy: 
  The first book in the series, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” pretty much stands by itself.  The plot does carry over into the next two books, but the story does stand alone, without reading the others.  With the second and third book though, it’s a two part story.  “The Girl Who Played With Fire” leads directly into “Hornet’s Nest”.  I haven’t finished it yet, so I’ll save a final review until the end, but there’s definitely a reason these books have sold millions of copies around the world.

OK, now… Something You Didn’t Know About Me… I’m usually reading more than one book at a time.  I TRY to limit it to two – one fiction and one nonfiction – although I find myself breaking that rule every now and then.  And I must confess, I’m notoriously slow about reading the nonfiction books.  I enjoy them, and I learn things from them, but all things being equal, I tend to pick up the good novel I’m reading more often.  In other words, I’m eating dessert or junk food before eating my meat and veggies!

  Now that you know a little more about my reading habits, I’ll tell you that I’m also reading “Decision Points” by George W. Bush.  And because of the slowness factor I mentioned above, I’ve been reading it forever.  (I’m almost to the end, really!)  But it has been worth reading.  You get a real feel for his perspective from the decisions a President must make and the consequences of those decisions.

  The book also contains a lot more information on events that the media largely ignored during the Bush years, notably the really impressive gains that were made in slowing the spread of AIDS in Africa.

  It’s interesting to note that despite the really negative tone and personal attacks that were a political constant throughout his presidency, in my opinion, W only gets really negative in his remembrances of two people in this book.
   

  The first is Kathleen Blanco, the governor of Louisiana at the time of Hurricane Katrina.  Bush has taken a lot of criticism on the federal handling of the disaster response, but the book details how Blanco repeatedly refused federal assistance.  Ultimately, Bush had to send in military personnel without law enforcement authority as a means to get around Governor Blanco’s refusal of assistance.

  The other person who merits an intensely negative description is Jacques Chirac, then President of France.  Bush’s problem with Chirac could be summed up as Chirac being the epitome of the stereotypical snotty anti-American Frenchman. I’m probably over-simplifying that, but that’s about how Chirac comes across.


  Anyhow… good read so far.

********

  

  OK, y’all… adios for now.  I will try not to take 9-10 days between posts in the future. 

Nick

 P.S.  If there’s anything I write about that you’d like to hear more on, just let me know in the comments.  Likewise, if there’s anything you’d like less of, same thing.
Feedback is always very welcome.

 

Sophomore Jinx? …. Let’s hope not.

   Welcome back!  I’m glad to see you came back to the Treehouse.  I want to thank everyone for reading and for commenting.  And now to the meat & taters…

    ****  POLITICAL PUZZLING  ****   

   The Republican nominee for President…
who’s it gonna be?  Two weeks ago, I’d have said it was absolutely going to be Rick Perry.  Now he seems to be fading back into the pack.  If I was guessing now, I’d say Mitt Romney will avoid saying or doing anything too controversial and will eventually be the nominee.  This seems even more likely now, since in the last few days both Chris Christie and Sarah Palin have said “Nope… not this time.”  My thoughts on this crew:

 

Romney:  Probably the safest bet.  Looks presidential… for whatever that’s worth.  Many in the GOP still seem to be looking for someone else.  Why?  Probably over concerns that he’s a RINO (Republican In Name Only for y’all who might not be as immersed in politics as your faithful blogger).  I was concerned over whether he’d be too cautious and unwilling to attack Obama on issues where he’s vulnerable.  I’m a little less worried after some comments he made in the last debate.  The Mormon issue doesn’t bother me.  Just try to be a little less… mannequin-like… OK, Mittster?

Perry:  Still the guy I like the best.  I think Obama is very vulnerable, but we need a candidate to go on the offensive and not be afraid of the media or of being accused of racism at every turn.  Perry and Obama seem to genuinely detest each other.  Perry would play hardball, and that’s what is needed.  I also love his stance on the 10th Amendment (more on that in a future blog, friends).  And he goes jogging locked and loaded… a true Texan! 

Herman Cain:  I like him, but I don’t know enough about him yet.  Many of us seem to like the idea of someone who is not a politician getting in there… but then we worry about whether an amateur can handle a modern presidential campaign.

Michelle Bachmann:  Unelectable, in my opinion.  There are things about her that the media would have a field day with.  Also has a tendency to verbally shoot from the hip with little or no regard for actual facts.

Ron Paul:  Has great ideas on a few things… but then he says things that make you think, “Get Grandpa back to the home and on his meds!”  
However, he has the “tin foil hat” vote locked up.

Newt Gingrich:  Unelectable.  Too many negatives.  Too unlikeable.  Too… “newty”.

Rick Santorum:  Zzzzzzzzz… Primarily a one-issue guy when he was in the Senate.

Gary Johnson:  Who?  Exactly.  He did have the funniest line in the debate I watched: “My dog has created more ‘shovel-ready’ jobs than this president.”

… anyone I’ve forgotten?… oh, yeah…

Jon Huntsman:  RINO.  Seriously… RINO.  Seems to be the Republican candidate for Republicans who don’t like Republicans.  Did I say RINO?   

 

 

****  AND NOW TO COMPLETELY MESS WITH YOUR HEADS ****

 

*** PIGSKIN PONDERING ***

OH NO, ROMO!    I still don’t know what to say.  But since I’m blogging about it, I have to try.  Against the 49ers and Redskins, Romo was brave and brilliant.  Against the Lions, great… for about 2 1/2 quarters.  Then… what th’ heck!?!?!? 
Cowboys, my Cowboys… you have got to learn to put games away. 

Jason Garrett?  I think you’re going to make a great head coach, but when you have a lead, run the ball!  Kill the clock!  That’s Football 101.
And back to you, Tony Romo… I’ve supported you more than most…
but THINK, Dude!  Stay focused for 60 minutes!  Please!

BIZARRO SEASON so far… Honestly, Cowboys… you’ve won the games you were supposed to win and lost the games you were supposed to lose.  But you’ve done it in the craziest fashion!  You had to come from behind in the games you were expected to win, and gave away the games you were expected to lose. 
No more ROLLER COASTER! OK?!? I’ve had enough!

And just because I’m a nice guy and not a sore loser…
a King-o’-the-Jungle CONGRATS to the Detroit Lions for an amazing comeback!

 

BECAUSE THE LAST FUNNY PIC REFERENCED
STAR WARS, HARRY POTTER, & LORD OF THE RINGS
(You got that, didn’t you?)
BUT NOTHING FOR THE TREKKIES… I GIVE YOU THIS:

 

 ****  RANDOM THUNKS  ****

[This is going to be a little section for short random thoughts of whatever.  Still not settled on the name for this part.  Options considered have included Random Thunks, Tidbits, and To-Go Menu.  Like those or got any of your own?  Let me know... maybe we'll vote on it.]

  • I have this Barcode Scanner app for my phone.   Is it just me,
    or does it look like a barcode wearing a thin pair of red panties?
    Probably just me…  maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned it.  

 

  •  “Dolphin Tale” is the No. 1 movie in the country. It just goes to show what dolphins can do if they don’t play football.   ~ Jay Leno   

 

 

  • Jake and I have been watching “Terra Nova” on Fox
    and we’re really liking it.  Also, since we got into “The Walking Dead”
    via the Season 1 DVD, we’re really looking forward to Season 2
    starting soon on AMC.

  

 

That’s all for now.  See you again soon!
Thanks for all the advice & encouragement!
~ Nick

Welcome! … to my first “official” blog post.

**** INTRO ****

Hello,

  This is the official launch of my new blog, Nick’s Treehouse Café.  I encourage you to immediately page over to the ‘About’ tab and read what this is all about… it would be silly to repeat it here.  Or try to say it all again, only differently.  So go there… now… and then come back.

   OK, did you go there and read?  If so, welcome back.  If not, what are you waiting for?   …  Hurry up!  … I’ll wait!  … … …  OK, moving on.

   But I do have some more thoughts on why I’m doing this.  First of all, sometimes I see or hear or read something and I ponder on it a bit, and then I just want to tell everyone else my opinion.  Sometimes just to share… sometimes to ventBecause I’m right, y’know?  LOL!  Or as I said to my buddy Matt the other day, “I’m just egotistical enough to think everyone needs to know my opinion.”  He told me the word I was looking for was “narcissistic”.  

   Also, I just love to write.  The more I do it, the more I want to do it.  I think this endeavor is going to help spur even more creative writing.  Wish me luck.

   NOTE:  I apologize in advance for any awkward changes of font.  This whole blog editing process seems a bit persnickety… several times it changed font on me from one paragraph to the next and doesn’t seem to want to let me change it back.  Subject Matter Expert advice is welcome.

********

   The name… I wanted a cozy, welcome feeling, and I’ve always liked the treehouse idea.  Many Calvin and Hobbes (“The Greatest Comic Strip EVER”) cartoons featured the treehouse.  A treehouse is shelter, it’s a place to hang out, relax, and have fun… and it has a kid feel… you don’t have to “act your age”.  But as I thought more about the name, I also got this mental image of me standing behind a bar, wearing an apron, sleeves rolled up, maybe grilling a steak and pouring an icy cold one from the tap… and, of course, expounding upon my many opinions.  :-D  So I combined the two ideas, and there you have it… Nick’s Treehouse Café!

The full Treehouse picture from the Header.

 **** By the way… ****

  In case you didn’t know, I’m kicking this thing off “officially” on my 44th birthday. 
Seemed like a good place to start!           

****  What I’m Reading Now  ****

  I’m currently reading “The Girl Who Played with Fire” by Stieg Larsson.  It’s the second book in the author’s ‘Millennium’ Trilogy.  The first is “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”; the third is “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”.  

   Since I’m smack-dab in the middle of “Fire”, I’ll primarily make this a review of the first book.  Let me start by saying Stieg Larsson could WRITE!  This man knew his way around a plot.  It makes me sorry to know that there will only be these three books.  (Mr. Larsson died in 2004, shortly after turning in the manuscript for the three novels.)  

   Both the first and second novel take a while setting up the various plot strands, but when they’re all in place, the story kicks into high gear and RUNS at a pace you can’t imagine being sustained for 400 more pages.  But it does.  As I said, the man could write!  You may guess at the answers to the plot twists, but the fun is in getting there.  By the way, some of these plot angles are not G-rated.  You’ve been warned. 

   The main storyline – there are several – involves a mystery about a young woman who vanished, presumably murdered, forty years previous.  But the primary strength of the novels lie in their unique heroine, Lisbeth Salander, a mysterious young antisocial computer hacker, and her relationship with the journalist Michael Blomkvist.  Lisbeth is one of the most original protagonists you’ll ever meet. 

    A recurring theme in Larsson’s novels is male violence towards women.  (The original Swedish title of “Dragon Tattoo” was “Men Who Hate Women”.)  The author divides the world of men between relatively “good” men and men who are various degrees of bad… ranging from merely obnoxious to truly evil.  In Larsson’s world, the bad guys seems to vastly outnumber the good.   
Your friendly blogger is not so sure he’s wrong.
  

   Overall:  Highly recommended!  

******** 

 Trivia:  These books made me think about what other books I’ve read that are translated from other languages: 

  • The Bible
  • The Iliad ~ Homer
  • The Count of Monte Cristo ~ Alexandre Dumas 

…….. I think that’s about it!

 

 ****  MUSICALITY  ****  

Fun songs that you might not have heard:      

  • Into Action ~ Tim Armstrong
 
  • Boom Boom Goes My Heart ~ Alex Swings Oscar Sings

  • Life, Love, Laughter ~ Donavon Frankenreiter

**** Pigskin Ponders ****     

   I love football, but I’m more a fan of professional football (the NFL) than of college football.  So on one level, I haven’t worried too much about what appears to be the impending demise of the Big 12 (temporarily on hold as of 4 or 5 seconds ago).  As an NFL guy, I don’t really understand the concept of rooting for a group.  Know what I mean?  Like someone yelling, “Woo-Hoo!  SEC, Baby!” I mean, my Cowboys play in the NFC East, but I don’t root for the NFC East.  On the one hand, there are my ‘Boys.  All the other teams are hated rivals.  (How’s that empty trophy case in Filthadelphia, Eagles fans?!?)  

   That being said, I do have an opinion on it.  It seems to me that the great state of Texas … and even Okieland and parts North… have a strong enough football tradition that we don’t need to look to the east or west coast in search of college football significance.  Too many uppity folk on each coast like to look down on us as “fly-over country”.  We don’t need them!  Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska have great football traditions.  Why should Tech want to play in the Pac-12?  Lubbock is over 1,000 miles from LALA-land. 

   C’mon guys… hammer out the differences and keep the Big 12 alive!  Either that or scrap it and rebuild the Southwest Conference! 

     **** NFL snaps **** 

  • Over the last two games, Tony Romo has demonstrated what leadership and courage are all about.  Leading a team chock-full of injuries and inexperience, and playing in a world of pain, he has pulled off two consecutive wins, seemingly by force of will.  Don’t be a hater!  This kid has the determination and guts that legends are made of.     
  • The Dallas defense has played well (some times better than others) in spite of significant injuries at the corner position.  Deserving exceptional praise are DeMarcus Ware (Ryan once described D-Ware as playing like “a bulldozer with a jet engine”!) and Sean Lee (the 2nd year middle linebacker was recently honored as the NFC’s Defensive Player of the Month).
  • I like underdogs and “Cinderella stories”, so I’m impressed with the 3-0 starts of the Lions and Bills.  I think they’re for real, and hope they keep it up!  (Except for the Lions… this week… against Dallas…. y’all can stink it up like old times!)    ;-)
  • In case you hadn’t noticed, former Red Raider Wes Welker of the Patriots is on pace for a record-setting year for receptions and receiving yards.  Go Wes!  Represent!

 

 ****  Things I Don’t Have An Opinion On  ****
(Either because I haven’t looked into it… or just don’t care to.)

  • The trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor.
  • The trial/appeal/whatever of Amanda Knox
  • Glee

THAT’S ALL UNTIL NEXT TIME, FOLKS!  
Hope you enjoyed my first effort!  Comments very welcome!
~ Nick