Saturday, May 30, 2009

Age Appropriate Television

Okay, so last weekend I watched a couple of shows a man of my age shouldn’t have.

And no, I’m not talking about SpongeBob Squarepants and Penguins of Madagascar (those are only with the granddaughter; I pinky swear). I watched the lumberjack competition and the Strongest Man contest on ESPN. You ought to have to verify you are under 30 before you can watch something like that.

I spend a half hour watching a group of guys throw around 4 and 5 hundred pounds like its nothing and then go cut the yard- with a pushmower, like I am a he-man too. Well, I ain’t. Anymore.

Toby Keith has a great song and video, As Good As I Once Was ( that I think has become the anthem of the seasoned gentleman, like me. Old enough to know better, still young enough not to care. Until the next morning.

The Computer in My Pocket

I will admit to probably being the only person in the world who consistently wears a pocket watch and carries an iphone.

I like the pocket watch; it was a gift from my Granddaughter, and it has a small picture of her inside.

I like the iphone too, although I won’t say it often; especially around my kids.

For years I carried an old Nokia. Greyscale screen, no pictures, no music, one or two crappy games, but it did what a phone is supposed to do- it MADE PHONE CALLS!!!

Then my kids started getting phones. They had all the toys on ‘em. And I would always comment- when they failed to call home or report in at the specified time- ‘Nice device. Can it MAKE A PHONE CALL!?!?!?’

And now I have an iphone, and it drives them crazy. I carry some of my favorite music around, take pictures of things I find interesting and have downloaded a few apps I think are neat. If I can’t remember some archaic factoid, I can Google it.

There are a couple of faults, and they are basically issues because this is an Apple product. Why can’t I get the Adobe Flashplayer? Why no verbal turn by turn directions? I mean, this thing can track me as I move around my backyard, for craps sake, why can’t it merge the directions and the GPS?!?!?

But, as they say, ‘There’s an App for that’. Yeah, for twenty bucks.

Okay, they do have some cool apps. I like the level. Yeah, like a real (and fairly accurate) level. I got the free one. I ain’t ready to cough up 2 or 3 bucks for the whole app.

Plus I got a couple of books in a kindle like app, but reading anything on this small screen is like trying to read a newspaper through a keyhole. A short story is fine, but War and Peace would probably drive me insane.

I also have an app that basically turns my phone into a transistor radio. For those of you too young to understand that concept a transistor radio was the first radio small enough to fit in your pocket. As long as you had a big pocket.

My son and I took a road trip the other day and we were running through the wilds of West Virginia, listening to a radio station from Atlanta, on the car stereo, through my phone.

That still blows my mind. I guess that means I’m old.

Oh, and I use it to make phone calls.

My eldest thought he would throw me a curve the other day by sending me a text. I blew his mind and sent him one back.

But I don’t twitter. I’m a little too verbose for that.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Another Letter From my Cousin

Dear Cousin Red,

I am a little worried ‘bout sumthin’ an’ I hope y’all can help me figur’ this out.

I hear tell that we have a new robot President. I am kinda glad we have a new President. I warn’t too fond of the old one. I mean hellfire, we ain’t had a real President since Reagan, and before him tha last real President we had was Jeff Davis.

Sorry ‘bout the break there. Talkin’ ‘bout Jeff Davis reminded me I had ta bring in the flag. Where was I? Oh yeah- the new robot President. What I want to know is this here. Can a robot be President? I mean hellfire, we start putting machinery in the White House I’d rather have John Deere in there than that Obama feller.

Look at it this way. All that Obama feller has done is take what I make. An’ so far I ain’t seen much of it back. My ol’ John Deere takes from me too, but at last I get a lil’ sumthin’ for what it takes. My A Model takes sum gas an’ oil an’ water and gives we a fair days work. That’s all anybody can ask fer- a fair days work for a fair days pay.

It looks like Obama wants to take my gas an’ oil, tax my water an’ leave me hopin’ for sum change back. (I heared that somewhere an’ have been dying for a place to use it for a week a’ Sundays.) An’ I don’t see nuthin’ fair ‘bout that.

Do y’all figur’ this robot President is gonna be differ-rent, or do y’all figur’ he’ll be ‘bout the same? Y’all know the one thing you can count on is the President puts his pants on one leg at a time, just like plain folks. But can this new President even put on his own pants, or does he need help? I hear tell he needs help with his speechafyin’, so maybe he needs help with his pants too. It wouldn’t be anew thing, now would it? I ‘member that that Clinton feller always needed help with his pants too -sum way or ‘nuther.

I mean, I watch tha robots on TV all the time and tha new ones can do sum purty neat things. But none of them ones on TV wear pants- y’all know what I mean? The one thing a man can count on is that his President has a lil’ sumthin’ in common with folks. Like my John Deere- we both love getting’ out in the spring and feelin’ the dirt in our hands. At least, I think my ol’ Deere loves doin’ it. I ain’t never heared him complain none.

Well Cousin, I guess that’s about it. I hope to hear back from you as soon as y’all is able.

Best wishes from all of us in the Holler,

Throckmorton Q. Sheisseschnitter

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Why does this not make sense to me?

I just have to ask. Why are GM and Chrysler cutting dealerships?

It seeems to this Redneck that the fewer outlets I have, the less available my product is, and the less I can effectively sell.

I mean, for cryin' out load; will I sell more widgets if Wal mart distributes them or Kmart?

Where has all the money gone?

Something I have been thinking about for awhile now that I just have to get off my chest.

I read a few years ago that war was a way countries burned off excess production. The context was the Great Depression, and the world-wide cause was an excess of production capability.

We have had a similar problem the last 30 year in this country, probably since the Carter Malaise in the ‘70s, but instead of using the excess capability to make things just to blow them up (except for the Gulf Wars), we have hired that excess work onto the government.

As usual I can’t find the link I want when I need it, but I heard a few years ago that in the ‘60’s one person in 10 worked for the government at some level (municipal through Federal levels) and now that number is up to 1 in 4. Part of the problem is the expansion of women into the workforce (think about the last time you contacted a government office and had a man answer), part is the complete shutdown of manufacturing, and part is a credit market that demands everybody have the latest everything, forcing more couples to become two income households so they can have the plasma TV and the Bahaman vacation.

The trouble is that somebody has to pay all of these wages. A short term expansion of government payrolls to work through a crisis is one thing- think FDR- but we cannot continue to borrow the pay the bill for 30 years like we have done.

There is only one entity in the world that can borrow money without proof it can pay it back- our Federal government. Most states have balanced budget amendments, requiring all levels of government to avoid or restrict their debt. But how any of those same entities have a portion of their budgets paid by Uncle Sam? Not just the State, county and city budgets, but also the schools.

Finding stats for this thesis has been tough. I would love to support my thoughts with facts. Just try to find them. The Bureau of Labor should have the breakdown readily available, but I can’t find it. I did see where in 2006 over 19 million people worked for the government, but there is no breakdown of what they consider as a government worker. Do teachers count? What about civilian DOD employees? Cops and firefighters?

I have gotten bit off my point, but here it is. For the last thirty years governments of the world have spent money on employees instead of war. In some ways I’m grateful, but what is the end game. I can see a temporary increase during an economic downturn, but 30 years? When does a temporary fix become a way of life?

And more importantly- how do we end it now, without another complete worldwide economic crash? We need to wean people off the govern payrolls, but how?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Should I waste this weather?

The weather has been so perfect lately that I have been spending less and less time at the computer, unless I’m working.

Tonight I am supposed to be working, but took a minute’s break to play a little. I feel guilty for it too. The whole reason I’m not out in the yard is because I had real work to do, and here I am playing on blogs instead of getting some work done.

Oh well; I’ll get over it.

I don’t mind missing a good day this time of year; I know we have 3 or 4 months of them coming on behind. What I hate is missing a day like this in October, when the next time we may get a good day is 3-4 months away.

Screw it; I’m turning off the box and heading out to play in the yard for an hour or so. I do have a few tomato plants I could transplant; and the grass could use another cutting…

Thursday, May 7, 2009

As Popeye Says

As Popeye always says-“I’ve had all I can stands and I cain’t stands no more”!

How much longer will we be tortured by the Swine Flu?

This in not even an epidemic, much less a pandemic. What do we have? 400-500 cases? In a country of 350 MILLION?

I’m not enough of a mathematician to give you the odds against getting Swine Flu (yeah I know it’s now House 1; Bettors 0 Flue or some such crap officially, but I knew the Flu back in the day; it will always be good ol’ Swine Flu to me), but a rough guess would be about 1,000,000 to 1 against getting it, and 350,000,000 to 1 against dying from it.

That doesn’t seem like a big risk to me. What are my odds of dying from ANYTHING in the next year? Apparently your friendly neighborhood Federal Government wants to know as well. They compiled a chart and published it on the internets back when the illiterate GW Bush was in the White House. The new guy apparently thinks you don’t need that information.

But I did find the chart on another blog – if I knew how to do all the fancy stuff I’d do it: (

One thing that struck me was the idea that I only have a 23 to1 chance of dying in my lifetime from anything?!?!?!?! WTF!?!?!? Does that mean I’m only going to die AFTER I’m DEAD?

And what about all of those “unintentional” things? Does that mean people actually get bitten by Hornets INTENTIONALLY?

This may not be a complete list; I don’t see the flu on here at all, and a normal flu bug kills 30,000 people a year in this country. Swine Flu? MAYBE (and that’s a BIG MAYBE) – Drum Roll Please--- 2.

I’m done with this garbage. Drop the Swine Flu Hype already.