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Showing posts from October, 2012

Should Have Done It Sooner

I finally started blocking Facebook friends who post extreme political views. They have the right to say whatever they want to and I have the right to ignore them.

The first one was easy … a DJ I used to work with who I don’t really care all that much about anyway. The next one was more difficult … husband of a good friend. I only wish I had sent him a picture of my Obama yard sign before deleting him. Third one was tough … an old friend from twenty five years ago who I only reconnected with in recent years. The next few will be more challenging because their views are closer to mine, but they’re getting blocked too.

I respect people whose political views are radically different from mine IF those views are well-thought-out. But I have seen more stupid, mean-spirited commentary this election cycle than at any time since the late 1960s and early 70s when race and war were the issues. Some of the comments attempt to make Obama supporters seem unpatriotic. Others are racist while others …

Didn’t See This One Coming

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Wow, a hurricane at the end of October. That rarely happens and most drift out to sea. But Hurricane Sandy has her sights on the Mid-Atlantic states, with her center predicted to hit Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York.



Earlier today the forecast map had a line right through Washington DC but the latest line crosses further north, closer to New York City. Sandy is ‘only’ a category 1 or 2 storm right now, with sustained winds around 75 miles per hour, but it’s a big storm dumping plenty of rain and it is likely going to merge with another weather system in a couple of days. The potential for flooding is high and power outages are likely.

Storms like this are dangerous and exciting at the same time. My media job includes helping to get useful storm preparation information out to the public, which adds purpose to the excitement and danger. I was in two different meetings today in which various staffers outlined storm plans and I am in awe of some of my co-workers for the great lengths t…

Remember Blogs?

I was going through a few old links to blogs tonight and realize many of them, including some I’ve listed on this blog, no longer exist. A few years ago there were many blogs out there but it seems that social media sites have begun to fill that need and blogging is less popular. Or maybe it’s just less trendy. People write creatively in short bursts to their ‘friends’ on Facebook or Twitter instead and of course we all read along.

Blogging is a creative outlet for me and I still enjoy doing it. I do not write for an audience; these posts are mostly random thoughts and topics that interest me and this hobby feeds a childhood fantasy I had of being a newspaper columnist. Yes, I realize that is a bit odd but I’m OK with that.

This blog has software and counters that tell me how many visitors I get and what countries they are in. Hope that doesn’t feel too creepy to you. I get between one and ten visitors a day, on average. Most are from the United States but some are from places like In…

‘Tis the Season, Almost

It is mid-October but I’m already thinking about Christmas season. And I’m not alone, am I? Many stores are already decorating and my boss is already asking if my department is covered for the holidays. And my most pressing personal question: to road trip or not? My original plan involved staying here for the holidays but I’ve changed my mind. I’ll be on the road again.

I have more days off this year so I might add a stop or two to my usual places. New Orleans is the main destination, of course, and Asheville NC. I usually also stay in Birmingham because it’s convenient but I might add another city like Nashville or Memphis … or maybe a beach place like Pensacola or Biloxi.

More details later. Hohoho.

Guys and Shopping

I went to a nearby outlet mall today and realized I have a shopping pattern that works for me, more or less. I am a focused shopper. I nearly always know exactly what I want, I know my sizes and I have a clear idea of what’s already in my closet. I go into the store, head straight for what I’m looking for, try stuff on if I see my targeted items, decide right away whether or not to buy and I’m done. I give myself a little room for spontaneity but I don’t do a lot of random browsing.

My clothing is neither in style nor out of style. I buy clothes that fit my own sense of style and that I can wear for years. I think I dress like a ‘casual Friday’ 45 to 50-year old and you and I both know I’m older than that. If you know me in person you also know I don’t especially care. I do like to dress appropriately for various situations and most of my shirts go with most of my pants. I actually like dressing up but I don’t have much reason for that so I don’t own a lot of dressy clothes.

When it c…

Randomania 2

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Well, it’s fall. Leaves are turning but it is not at the pretty stage around my part of Maryland yet. Hey, Mother Nature, my camera and I are waiting.

I bought Diana Krall’s latest CD today. She is hard to define, isn’t she? She’s young but plays old music or music inspired by old music. Her style is old-school jazz, unlike the music of her husband Elvis Costello.

I accepted an invitation to a Halloween party next week. I haven’t been to a Halloween party since the mid 1990s, when I was the DJ at a Halloween party at a nudist club. I’m serious. Now THOSE are some creepy costumes … the woman dressed as Lady Godiva was memorable … actually she was wearing only her long hair and gold body paint … but I digress. Not sure what I’m wearing to this one, however. I only know the host and her husband, I might be going alone and I don’t really have a costume. Suggestions?

You know those signs on the Interstate that read “Slow Traffic Keep Right”? Shouldn’t they really say “Get The Fuck Outta Th…

I Identify With This ...

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Last Time, I Hope

I plan for this to be the last commentary I make about Presidential debates. Wish me luck.

Who won the debate tonight? Dems think Obama did, Repubs think Romney did. I think Obama did a great job and more than made up for his poor performance in the 1st Presidential debate. I think Romney more or less held his own. Neither of them did a great job of actually answering the questions that the audience of undecided voters were asking.

But here is what really pisses me off … some people actually believe what extreme political commentators say.

A Facebook “friend” clicked like on a very stupid commentary by Rush. The commentary claimed Obama was lying. Instead of ignoring this, I chose to actually click on the link to see more. Of course what I saw were the thousands of Rush lemmings diving off the cliff with Rush. How can somebody with any intelligence at all believe that Rush is anything but a clownish blowhard? Rush doesn’t represent anybody but Rush. In real life, away from a microphon…

Habits

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I am a creature of habit. Many of us are. Habits and patterns can be helpful paths guiding us in life or destructive behaviors blocking our journey.

The habit I am thinking about right now is neither, but it is formerly a rock solid milepost in a typical Bernie week. It's my Sunday Routine. In years past I began nearly every Sunday with coffee and a daily newspaper. The habit began in my 20s with coffee and chickory and the New Orleans Times Picayune. My Sunday Routine moved across the country with me ... Milwaukee Journal, Chicago Sun Times, Dallas Times Herald, Baltimore Sun and Washington Post. The coffee part varied but eventually became mostly Starbucks.

My life got busy and complicated in recent years and my Sunday Routine evaporated (except for the coffee). I cancelled newspaper subscriptions in favor of reading online, but that is a pain in the eyes so I eventually stopped reading. I get basic news from TV and radio and deeper details via occasionally checking web sites.

A…

Debatable

Some random notes about the VP debate this week:

Looking at Facebook posts by friend of various political beliefs, it is hard for me to believe we were watching the same debate. So many diverse opinions about who 'won'.

I'm close to deleting some of my Facebook friends because of the incredibly derogatory remarks about the various candidates.

Maybe the reason Congress is so deadlocked along partisan lines is that we all are. That is sad.

Considering my own Democratic views on most issues, I am surprised by how many Republican friends I have.

Obama, Biden, Romney and Ryan are all very intelligent people. I disagree with Romney and Ryan on many issues but I give them credit for their well-thought-out beliefs. That is more than I can say for one previous President (Bush 2), one previous VP (Quale) and one previous VP candidate (Palin).

People who are comfortable in the spotlight sometimes show subtle signs of mild nervousness during moments when the stakes are high. Biden'…

Typos Clarity and Verification

I am somewhat obsessed with clarity in life. I do not like ambiguity. In the same breath I can tell you that sometimes I confuse people and occasionally seem to send mixed signals.

When it comes to directions, however, I am usually clear and I expect (or hope for) geographic clarity. I also usually verify directions with a map. Usually.

Washington DC is a confusing place until you understand how the streets are laid out. I've lived around here long enough to have a clue but that doesn't always help. And one letter difference in an address makes plenty of difference in where you're going and how you get there. Directions I received for a meeting in DC this morning said 3rd Street SE. That seemed odd because most government buildings are SW. And this time I did not verify; I merely looked up the address I was given and located the nearest Metro Rail stop. It seemed odd that this building would be in a residential neighborhood near a school but I've seen stranger things.

Texting

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OK, So Maybe I Am One

It really bothers me that ultra-conservatives use the term ‘liberal’ as a curse word. I usually describe myself as liberal-leaning moderate, partly because some of my views are more conservative and partly because the term liberal implies some kind of negative.

Look through history, however, and many of the greatest achievements of our government and politicians were at one time considered liberal. Here are a few examples:

- Thomas Jefferson, main author of the Declaration of Independence, and the noteworthy idea that all people have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

- Abraham Lincoln and his Emancipation Proclamation.

- Susan B. Anthony and her radically liberal idea that women should have the right to vote.

- Theodore Roosevelt and his liberal anti-trust laws, assertion of the right for workers to form unions and the eventual formation of the Food and Drug Administration.

- Franklin Roosevelt and Social Security.

- Lyndon Johnson and the Civil Rights Act, the…

Ever Hear of this Guy?

For many years Chris tried to convince his government leaders they should fund his crazy idea. He knew there would be significant scientific, economic and social benefits from that kind of exploration he wanted to do, not just for his country but for the whole world. Completing successful missions would raise the standing of his country in the world view, which of course would benefit the government. He had a few points to prove but he needed his country’s help to accomplish his goals.

His country wasn’t interested, however, so he pursued other governments, some established, some emerging. One of those countries, an emerging one, understood his vision and agreed to fund it. They knew that his mission would result in a shorter path to prosperity and there could be many side benefits from things he and his crew would ‘invent’ to make their mission possible.

Chris was a bit of a daredevil and wasn’t afraid to explore new places, even very distant ones that others said couldn’t be reached…

Debatable

One thing that bothers me about Presidential candidate debates these days is that neither candidate answers the moderator’s questions. Each candidate works their talking points. They spew statistics ‘backing’ their positions. Fact-checkers plow through the ‘facts’ and generally report that each candidate gets some of them right and some of them wrong.

What this election really comes down to is this … will a new guy be any better than the current guy? My own cynical question is this … can any President create jobs and fix the economy? Sure, a President is a leader and leaders have influence on people, therefore a leader can make things happen even when he or she doesn’t actually control events first-hand. But does that influence create jobs? Does it make the economy better? No, at least not directly. There are many other factors. If you believe a President has that much control, then you better be blaming the previous President for getting us into this mess in the first place!!

Being a…

Learning from Dogs

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I am beginning to buy into the idea that everything important in life can be learned from dogs. I saw this on Facebook and decided to share. So much of this is true. Live like a dog and you’ll be a happy human.

01. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.

02. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be exhilarating.

03. When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

04. When it's in your best interest, always practice obedience.

05. Enjoy it when someone wants to show affection.

06. Take naps, and always stretch before rising.

07. Run, romp, and play daily.

08. Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.

09. Be loyal, filled with grace, and grant unconditional love.

10. Never pretend to be something you're not.

11. If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

12. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

13. Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

14. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

15. On ho…