School Kids Make Me Jealous

So I’ve had a fun couple of days down here in Florida playing with my sister-in-law’s kids. We’ve been staying up until like 2 am drinking coffee (don’t tell their mom), eating pizza, playing Wii, and talking trash about our skills.  It doesn’t hurt that the weather is perfect, so during the day we can go outside and hang out.

But all that ends tomorrow.  For me anyway.  Tomorrow it’s going to get really cold (in the 60s), and they are all going to the zoo.  That sucks.  For me anyway.  I have to work.  And it’s worse when you work remotely, because at least when you have an office to go to you can forget about the fun everybody else is having on your drive to work and see a bunch of other people who are at work while all the kids are having fun.

Those kids better be ready for some Rock Band tomorrow night…it’s on!

Best Thanksgiving List Ever

I’m not going to even begin to bore anyone with the old cliche’d things I’m thankful for. Family, health, friends, etc.–anyone can think of those. Besides, I wrote a nice Thanksgiving post last year. Nope, I’m going to get real. I’m thankful for a lot of things most people probably aren’t, so why not list those and make my Thanksgiving post a little different? Ok then, I will.

  • Nice ladies with coffee–I like nice ladies, and I like coffee, but when you put the two together you get magic!  Nice ladies with coffee just give it away sometimes (I’m still talking about coffee). Other times, they will break the rule that says “you can’t get $.59 refills in styrofoam cups” and let you do it anyway. This is especially helpful if you are driving to the ATL and are stopping for your 2nd or 3rd cup of the day.
  • Muscle memory–It’s frustrating to get older and not be able to the things you used to do as well or as fast as you could when you were younger. On the other hand, it’s nice to still be able to do them period.
  • La Gallina Turuleca and ZoboomafooLa Gallina Turuleca has been viewed 11.5 million times. I think I’m responsible for about 9 million of those.  It stops the screaming.  Zoboomafoo, while popular with the kid is actually a pretty decent show.  I was just saying last night while flipping through channels that Zoboomafoo is better than most of the other stuff on TV.  Which brings me to…
  • Rock of Love Charm School–I’m thankful for this show because it makes me thankful for so many other things. First, it makes me thankful for Rock of Love, without which this show would not be possible. Secondly, it makes me thankful for every ex-girlfriend ever. Yeah, even “that one” wasn’t anything like these chicks. And all those ex-girlfiends make me thankful for my current girlfriend. Sure, technically we’re married, but since we still like each other so much it’s more like dating, which I’m very thankful for.
  • WordPress–Not just WordPress (which is free), but all the free WordPress plugins and WordPress themes as well. What a great, easily extendible platform! I’m thankful more people are catching on to how flexible and easy it is for people to get things done on the web with WordPress. The more people are empowered, the easier it is for them to get information out, and we all win.
  • Free speech–I’m really greatful that we’re able to sit behind our keyboards and cry “Socialism!” when we see it closing in on us. I’m really not sure why we’re still allowed to do so. It’s probably because big government isn’t efficient enough to stop us yet–they’ll have to spend a few years doing a study, creating a department, hiring a huge staff, and creating some regulation first. Oh, and taxing the shit out of us to pay for it all. Of course, it’s entirely possible that they really don’t know that all this stuff they’re doing is socialism. I never considered that possibility until this week.
  • Space…Fight!–This is quite possibly the greatest Facebook app ever produced. It’s a game that has no apparent purpose and cannot be won. What’s the point? I believe the point is to see how long you can stand to play this game. Can you stand to play it longer than your friends? Out of spite, I believe I can. However, I’m getting some stiff competition from one Space…Fight!er who just won’t give up.
  • “Change”–This word has given me so many opportunities to laugh this year, and the hits just keep on coming.  Only in America can more of the same be marketed as change and be bought by so many. It reminds me of Mick Foley rasslin as Cactus Jack, Dude Love, and Mankind. He wore different costumes as each character, but once the bell rung you just had a crazy sumbitch dishing out pain, no matter the gettup. That’s change I can believe in.
Have a great, safe, and happy Thanksgiving!

Thank You Veterans!

That’s not really enough to show my appreciation for the job that you guys do. The best I can do is share one of my favorite stories my grandfather wrote down for us. I’ve posted a couple of things he wrote before in different contexts. This is a short one about two “feasts” he had while serving in World War II. Something for the rest of us to remember when we’re having an afternoon snack that trumps these meals.

It was a one-day trip from Finch Haven to Saidor and we got a1 day supply of “C” rations. As usual we didn’t leave Finch Haven until the next day and our food supply was gone. When we reached Saidor a little after night, the Japs had bombed a fuel (gas) supple and the place was lit up like midday. They ordered us back out sea so we wouldn’t be a lit up target for the Japs to bomb. We spent the night out at sea and came in the next day to land. We sure were a hungry bunch.

While on the boat, I saw a fellow lying on the aft deck under a workbench to shade him from the sun. He was lying on his back and had a can of corned beef setting on the deck right at the top of his head. I was starved which helped put my military strategy ticking. I got down on my stomach, crawled up there, got that can of beef, crawled backwards to where he wouldn’t see me get up and I sat down and had a feast.

When I got off the ship and grabbed a duffel bag and took off, every way I turned that bag something would be resting on my shoulder. We went about 1-½ miles up through the Mott river bottoms grown up in Cuni grass about 12 to 15 fee high. The sun was bearing down 100+. When we got to a stopping place, I took my knife and cut the duffel bag open. It had a lock on it. There were 6 cans (2-½ size) of peaches in that bag. Where he got them I don’t know. Where they went he never knew but me and five of my buddies had a feast.

Vets have sacrificed many small things on a daily basis for us that we don’t even realize.  Again, thank you all for what you do.

More from Newscoma, TennZenn, Michael Silence, SayUncle,

I Don’t Feel Like Writing

But these people do.  So go read their posts.

LissaKay on how socialism works.  Notice the guy at the top pays the same amount either way.

BillyMac has fun playing with John McCain’s tongue.  Strange fetish.

Why Libertarians and true conservatives don’t win elections.  Duh.

Seth Godin writes a post about me–too small to fail.  If I had a nickel…

Jen has some thoughts on Warren Buffet’s recent op-ed piece.  My big problem with it is that Warren Buffet has a huge financial interest in bailouts and market recoveries.  Do it because you think you should, not because he thinks you should.

An Anonymous Idiot is begging for more chicks with tattoos.

Just Sayin’ has some ideas on Money and Power.

Stolen bases= free tacos.  Bet on it!  Why can’t someone do this with sub-prime mortages?  What a great way to give everyone home ownership!

If you’re going to be a criminal anyway, don’t pay for the privelage.

Irony–Labor Day Nixed By a Union

The blogosphere is abuzz about Tyson Chicken’s new contract with its labor union that eliminates Labor Day as a paid holiday and replaces it with a Muslim holiday, Eid al-Fitr for the plant in Shelbyville, TN.

How ironic that a union eliminated a union holiday!  On one hand, I have to cheer the fact that an employer will not be giving their people the day off in celebration of the labor movement.  On the other hand, I’m disheartened by the fact that they were pushed into this situation by a union.  I guess they could have negotiated this issue if they’d wanted, but then again, a day is a day to the bottom line…why should they care which day the plant is shut down.

As for the people that are outraged by this change in policy, Blue Collar Muse makes a great point:

Every business in America was forced by the government to spend money to comply with the ADA a few years back. The government is implementing “No Smoking” practices against the will of many businesses around the country. These are great examples of behavior we should be outraged with.

As for me, I’m far from a Muslim, and even further from a socialist, so I’ll be working on both Eid al-Fitr and Labor Day.

Was This Part Of The Dream?

I’ve wrestled for a couple of days on how to compose this post, and I’m still not sure I can do this idea justice.  I think the best way to frame it is to begin by quoting an email a friend sent to me on Saturday.  A little background–he has two small children who are enrolled in arguably the best pre-school in their city. 

When he picked up his kids last Friday and asked them what they’d learned, they told him about “Martin Luther The King”–very cute.  How sad it is that the lesson they learned about one of the greatest Americans in history is sprinkled with horrible ideas that totally contradict Dr. King’s message…

He helped black people. The white people weren’t nice to him. They put him in jail.  Yeah, and they killed him.
All black people are nice. White people are mean.
The white people hit him and wouldn’t go to school with him.

Those were direct quotes from the kids.   And as my friend pointed out:

By the way, before yesterday, they had absolutely no idea that
there were black people or white people.

There’s no better time than childhood to reinforce what kids already know to be true–that people should “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”  I realize they are kids, and they obviously get some things mixed up.  And I also realize that they still don’t really grasp who Martin Luther King Jr. was.

But I don’t think “All _____ people are bad and all _____ people are good” is what Dr. King had in mind.  Fill in the blanks with any adjectives you want–black, white, red, yellow, Christian, Jewish, pretty, ugly, stupid, smart, rich, poor, Mexican, French, short, tall, fat, skinny, etc.–and that statement couldn’t be further from the truth.

It’s shameful when a great message like Dr. King’s is bastardized to further an agenda.  Knowing no other details that what I’ve shared here, I can’t say that’s what happened in their school.  I doubt the teacher(s) told these kids directly that “all white people are bad and all black people are good,” but if that’s the message that was received, they might as well have.

Poker South Florida Style

The day after Christmas Bear Toe and I drove up to Dania from Miami to check out the Dania Jai Alai and Poker Palace (or whatever it is called). Our buddy BGE lives in Ft. Lauderdale, and he said this was the place to play. The poker room there is a decent size–probably 20 tables, but most of them weren’t used while we were there.

They run a tournament at 3:00 pm daily, and I signed up for that. It’s a $5 entry, winner take all. 2000 units, 50/100 blinds starting out, with increases every 15 minutes. While I was waiting for the tourney I sat down at a cash table–$1/$2 no limit hold ’em with $100 MAX buy-in . After about 10 minutes at that table, I wished I hadn’t bothered with the tournament.

It seems like there were two types of players there, pretty good and pretty bad, and the split was about half and half. I noticed when the tournament started that the pretty good guys at my table didn’t play in it, and the pretty bad guys did. I decided to just push all in every chance I got to possibly double up and get back to the cash table. There were 60 player in the tournament, and I wasn’t about to sit there for 3 hours for a chance at only $300, especially when there was easy money bleeding into the cash games from guys getting put out of the tourney. If I could pile up chips early, fine. If not, fine too. I think I was the 8th or 9th person put out. I think the wise locals show up just to pick off guys as they are put out of the tourney.

The rest of the day was pretty productive. My chip stack was swinging, but not too wildly and always trending up. As I built it, I’d open up a little and give guys action, hoping they’d stick around. By 10:30 I’d built it up to ~$700. Not bad for buying in at $100. My mistake was not leaving at that point. The poker room closed at 12:00, and people started getting really crazy as closing drew near. It worked out well for Bear Toe who won the final pot of the night (everyone involved pushed all-in) for about $500. I got caught with middle pair post flop countless times and was a little to liberal in giving other guys action.

I ended up leaving with $575 and a newly learned lesson courtesy of one of the pretty good players. It only cost me $65 for him to show me a big gaping hole in my game–pretty cheap!

Overall, a decent poker room. There wasn’t really any variety of games. A 7 card stud game was going on when we got there, but it ended and everything went to $1/$2 NL hold ’em. The dealers were fine on the whole. A couple were excellent, and one in particular was horrible. There were a couple of rules that some players had a problem with, but I didn’t think they were too out of line. For instance, if you show cards before the showdown your hand is automatically mucked. The service was not all that great, but I wasn’t there to drink and eat, so that wasn’t a big deal either.

I can’t wait to go back next year with a little knowledge going in!

This Thanksgiving Post Trumps Them All

Earlier today I started on a post about Thanksgiving, how it is my favorite holiday, a truly American holiday, etc. Then my aunt forwarded this little excerpt about Thanksgiving that my grandfather wrote a few years before he died. Boy did my post look stupid.

I’ll stop writing now. His words are much better than mine.

In 1944 as a soldier in the U.S. Army, we left San Francisco, California in February headed for somewhere in the Pacific Islands to do our bit as Air Borne Engineers to rid the islands of invading Japanese.

It was a sad sight as we stood on deck looking back toward the U.S. to see the Golden Gate Bridge sink slowly out of sight as the Pacific Ocean water raised in the horizon. I think our thoughts were unanimous that we may never see The Golden Gate again.

After 22 months of service in New Guinea and the Philippine Island, we had finally liberated the islands and the Japanese had surrendered and the Army began demobilizing.

On November 5th, I boarded the USS General Collins in Manila Bay to start the long journey home. We took the Northern route which according to the curvature of the earth was the shortest route. Somewhere around the Aleutian Islands, we hit a typhoon. Reports were that waves of 50 foot engulfed the ship and we were hold bound for a long period of time. This was the longest period of scare that I went through. Most scares were short lived. Here I was headed home but can we make it? Thank God, we did. It took us 16 days to get back to the United States.

The last day of our 16 day journey we were in the chow line for our Thanksgiving Day dinner with turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, a regular Thanksgiving meal feast. It was Thanksgiving Day, Thursday November 22, 1945. A call came down from the watchman in the crows nest that the Golden Gate was coming into view. The chow line disappeared. Remembering the time involved watching it sink, I knew I had time to eat so I went straight to the serving counter and had my choice fill.

I went out on deck after I had lunch and the Golden Gate was slowly rising out of the water. The closer we got to it, the higher it rose from the water. As I watched and my heart beat became faster and I became happier. It dawned on me that the majestic portals under the canopy of heaven which we must pass through was the reward of peace that we had victoriously won as victors of the “War to End all Wars, WWII.”

Dinah Shore was on the deck of the tug boat which met us to help with the docking. She sang and welcomed us back to the state side. We debarked on to a ferry which carried us to Pittsburgh, Ca. There, we were picked up by trucks and carried to Camp Stoneman.

For the dinner that night, we had steak fried to order with all the trimmings and all the fresh milk we could drink and all the ice cream we could eat. Quit a treat after 22 months in the tropics.

Thanksgiving has a lot of special meanings to me. A lot to be thankful for. I love to be with friends and family. I love to eat, hunt, relax and be selfish when I boast that Thanksgiving means more to me than any one else in the world!

This time of year is a very sentimental time for me. November 5th leaving Manila headed home, November 11, Veterans Day, November 22nd, landing in the USA. Every Thanksgiving is November 22nd for me. December 5th, I was discharged from the Army, December 7th reached home. Remember Pearl Harbor.

I really should post more of what he wrote in the future. This one little piece says a lot about him.

Remembering the time involved watching it sink, I knew I had time to eat so I went straight to the serving counter and had my choice fill.

If I’m lucky I’ll one day develop the patience and common sense that he had.