I've also been told I have little tact, so if this offends you simply ride on.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Healthiest Cities horse crap

I saw this article on the Healthiest Cities for men in the US and had to chuckle.  Do you live in one of these cities?  I don't.  Like most of these studies, there really is not a lot of concrete evidence given to validate the assertions.  Research has not been carried on for years and years and, obviously, there weren't any blind studies completed.  All you have is opinion, and we know what that's worth.  I've never been to Boise so I don't know how good the cycling is there, I do know two things,  it's a conservative state and they get a lot of snow.  Oh, and a third thing, which may be more of an assumption, they have a lot of guns out there (that can't be too healthy).

Since I've always felt runners were outstanding candidates for knee replacement surgery in their older years I ride bike.  From what they say, there is a lot of cycling going on in Boise.  Geographically, I would suspect it to be rather hilly as well, which makes the cycling even better.  As for the snow, I always tell people it's free cardio, get off your ass and go out and shovel.  Every time I see some lazy ass out pushing a snow blower I can't help but think, 'hey, you dumb shit, if you shoveled that snow you'd have more muscle mass and your life expectancy would probably be a little longer.'

Hills are good.

Harrisburg, how healthy is it?

I live in Enola, a suburb of Harrisburg, PA which, itself, lies in the heart of the Susquehanna Valley.  What this means is you have flat land on one side of the east shore for about 1.5 miles and hills on the west shore starting about 500 feet back for the shore line.  I'm on the west shore, and I have hills.  This is the place to live if you don't like climbing.  We do get snow, six inches yesterday.  My dog loved it, so did I.  So, what I have going for me is probably the same as the guys out in Boise, except for the guns, though I suspect we have a lot more in Central Pennsylvania then I might want to believe.  This means Harrisburg is probably a fairly healthy place if you cycle (or run) and like to shovel snow.  I don't believe it was even considered when the Healthiest city list was being put together.  This is kind of sad.  If you're putting together a list you should include all cities.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The NRA wants to raise your taxes!

Now I know there are some few sitting out there saying, 'hey, wait, that's not true, the NRA is conservative, they back the Republicans and they will never raise taxes."  This is, of course, false.  Thanks to Wayne LaPierre there is a big debate raging over his idea of putting armed guards in schools.  There are those who are for it and those against it.  What nobody seems to be discussing is that if LaPierre gets his way, who is going to pay the cost?  We're talking salaries here, and they can't be minimum wage pay rates, and then there are uniforms to buy, and weapons, and ammunition and training.  Can you imagine how expensive the training is going to be?  I don't suspect there are many colleges offering a curricula in "School Armed Guard."  And face it, would you want someone with just a GED walking the hallways of your school with a loaded weapon?  Any person hired into this position would need to pass a battery of psychiatric screenings because no one wants a pervert prowling around outside the classrooms.  So, let's say the cost for two armed guards and all of the crap that comes with their hiring adds an additional 80 thousands dollars of expenses to the school district.  Of course, it would be the school district's responsibility because believe me, the NRA wouldn't even consider footing the bill.  Hhhmm, and yet they have no problem making the suggestion.  And how do you think the school district is going to handle this additional expense?  Why, they're going to raise your school taxes.  If you don't think this is how the cost is going to be taken care of, well, you're rather naive.

Do you think he really cares about your taxes?

If the monies don't come from the school district they'll be disbursed by the state.  Do the math.  Multiply the number of school districts  there in your state( 200, 2000, or ten thousand, maybe) by $80k per year.  Holy Mackerel!  That's a lot of moola!  If the NRA has their wish come true the additional taxes will slowly bleed you to death.  Why is it these groups have no problem spending your hard earned money?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Retail and the IRS

Yes, that time of year is approaching when vast numbers of Americans file with Turbo Tax as fast as possible in order to get their return.  Oh, yes, and quite a number of Americans do get refunds.   What do they do with those refunds?  Spend them! I can tell you, I work in Retail and Retail looks forward to Income Tax Time.  Why?  Because those checks are spent on things like, appliances, and x-box's, and carpet, and a host of other things people put off buying until they get that check.  Christmas helps grow the economy and so does Tax Time.  Which makes me wonder why the Republicans are so dead set on screwing over the middle class and their tax cuts in order for the wealthy to keep theirs.  Face it, the Koch brothers don't race down to Home Depot in order to take advantage of their $37 whole house installed carpet.  Yet, if you're a middle class home owner that is something which may be high on your refund spending agenda.  I know there are going to be people in my community who will go out and buy a new refrigerator, or washer and dryer, on mattress set.  They may decided to replace that sofa which, after ten years of kids jumping up and down on it, has no spring left.  Do you think the rich have to wait until income tax time to make these purchases?  No way.  It's almost as if the Republicans are expecting to hear "hey, let me drop the soap so I can bend over."

I always like getting the check.

And, as always, they want entitlements on the table (define entitlements as social security).  Do you really think the wealthy are worried about paying their bills in their retirement years?  Are they concerned about whether their social security check will cover all of their medications and still let them put food on the table?  Of course not, but somebody needs to pay.  They prefer to penalize the middle and lower classes then those upper crusters who seem to have them on a very short leash.  I don't think they comprehend that stability is only maintained when there is a balance to the structure.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wayne LaPierre, loon at large

I could not let the chance to mention Wayne LaPierre slip away, even though so many others have already made their voices known.  My first reaction to hearing what he said at what he called the first Press Conference by the NRA after Newtown was to burst out laughing.  Someone should have gingerly pulled him aside prior to his making an asshole out of himself and told him he was going to sound like a jerk.  Evidently nobody did.  Let's be honest, Wayne just doesn't get it.  Guess what?  He never will.  He could have tried to be slightly human, maybe could have said "one of our own used some bad judgement and trained her mentally handicapped son how to use an assault rifle, and for that we are sorry."  Instead he advocated beginning a police state.  You know, start with armed men in schools, and after a while they could have armed men in office buildings, and post offices, and supermarkets.  I think this says it all:

You need to remember the New York Post is owned by that ultra-conservative Australian Rupert Murdoch.  What does this mean for the NRA?  First of all they need to learn that just because an individual is a member his political vote is his / hers, not theirs.  Secondly, they need to begin to learn the art of the soft sell if they're going to survive.  This relying on a dead Charlton Heston cold, dead hand threat just doesn't work well little children have been murdered.  I doubt very much if they will change their attitude or belief that more guns in America, means a better America.  However, I wouldn't be surprised if in the not to distant future we see a new spokesperson. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Cleavers out live their welcome

A few weeks back I was watching the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and had a really good laugh at a piece in which he showed a clip of Bill O'Reilly lamenting the passing of family values as depicted by the Cleavers in Leave it to Beaver.  I suppose Mr O'Reilly doesn't understand this show was a sitcom and that it included a laugh track because producers felt they needed to tell the American public when they should laugh.  People were being told to laugh at a white, upper class family.  Where as the majority of Americans worked in manufacturing (because those jobs were still in the United States), Ward Cleaver worked in "an office."  He carried a briefcase.  June Cleaver always wore a dress, and those pearls.  Real pearls are expensive, maybe that's why she never took them off.  I've seen the show in repeats and while the episodes are humorous, they are not hysterically funny.  In fact, compare the show to those on air today and they seem more then a little lame.  Yet this is a family, both Mr. O'Reilly and quite a number of conservatives, want to set up as the inspiration of Family Values.  To be honest, the show was popular but never made it into the top ten during its five or six year run.

Soon to be forgotten

Let's be honest, this show would never make it on the air today without it undergoing some massive changes.  To begin with, June would have to start wearing slacks, maybe even jeans, and the pearls would have to go. Oh, and she'd need to get a job.  Ward would have to worry about his job being outsourced to Poland, or Hungary, or Lithuania.  The cast would need to include a Latino and a black and probably a gay or lesbian neighbor.  Beaver and Wally would need to deal with some serious issues, nothing as mundane as getting "C" on a report card, perhaps a friend might be arrested for possession of a controlled substance.

The show was popular and still is to a small group today.  One needs to understand, however, the world is never going to return to the simplicity of the late 1950's and early sixties.  It's time has passed.  This is why, when the show went off the air, it was not replaced by some clone.  People and their attitudes changed and because of that sitcoms changed.  To pluck out a show from the past and say "this is how we need to be" is walking down a dead end road.  As time moves on, and the generation which watched Leave it to Beaver die off, this will become more apparent to everyone except those who live for TV Land.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The hell of holiday retail

As someone who works in retail, I can tell you the holidays bring mostly hell.  First of all there is the merchandising: somebody in corporate always knows the best way to merchandise no matter whether you are a high volume store or a low volume store, or even where the store happens to be located.  After you do you Christmas set you hear from two kinds of customers, those who love it and those who hate it.  A classic example is "every year it gets earlier."  These complainers don't seem to understand that if people didn't come in and shop the merchandise it wouldn't be displayed.  If they don't like this they need to start throwing bricks as those customers busily browsing away.  This year there were some customers who couldn't wait for the display to be set.  If they buy it early, it will be put out early.

If doors are open, they will shop
This year a lot of people pissed and moaned because some retailers were open on Thanksgiving day.  This is America and American Capitalism rules supreme.  Blame the shoppers, not the retailers.  If a Wal-mart or a Target opens their doors and customers show up, those doors are going to be opened.  If the doors are open, they will shop.  All you need to do is look at history.  At one time all of these United States had what were called Blue Laws.  Stores were not legally allowed to be open on Sundays.  Then supermarkets started staying open.  After a while large retailers began to take notice, Sears and Woolworth's and Montgomery Ward's and they thought, hhhmmm, if the supermarkets are making money then so can we and their doors started opening on Sundays.  Nothing is going to change.  This is America and Americans want to make money.  If that means retailers are going to need to be open on Thanksgiving, they are going to be open.  Americans also like to shop.  They like to think they are getting a good deal.  There is no going back to the way it was.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Just For Men, unyielding color

Every now and then I like to read blogs so I can get an idea as to what all those voices out there on the Internet are saying.  Sometimes they're political but not always.  I have a great interest in health and well being, especially now that I'm passing through the prime years of my middle age.  Last evening I stumbled upon the writings of some poor gent who, to be blunt, had a problem with older people whom he described as "fat and grey."  He also claimed to be 46, which puts him on the precipice of falling into that age group.  If he doesn't think so, he should ask a 25 year old.  He also needs to understand the older some people get the lazier they become, hence the weight gain.  As for turning gray, unless you're a woman there's little you can do.  Oh, sure, there is this, but there are a number of problems.

But it only comes in five colors and you adjust the shade by timing how long it's on your beard, mustache, or sideburns.  How do I know?  I tried it.  So, even thought the box above states the color is "light - medium brown,"  wait too long to wash it off and it's dark brown.  Oh, and the color is exactly that, dark brown, there is no shading.  I suspect that for most men who try it, the result is usually darker then they expected since you can't tell how dark it is when it's gooing up your mustache, beard or sideburns.  For me the end result was something which looked nearly as artificial as the mustache on Groucho Marx.

He put his on with grease paint.  Just For Men dyes, or colors, the skin beneath your mustache, sideburns or beard too.  I suppose it's just part of the process.  Anyway, I thought it looked faked as hell.  It was so not me.  While I have some salt and pepper on my temples, most of the hair on my head is very dark brown.  There was no match.  My mustache looked like it belonged to somebody else.  After trying it twice, I threw it away.  Thank goodness it was only the hair roofing my upper lip I was concerned about.  Have you ever seen the guys who use this shit on their head?  They might just as well buy a can of black, or brown spray paint since it does the same job.  As for the guy who whined about older people?  I think his real problem is his own aging process.  I wouldn't be surprised if he is one of those people who is already on his way to being fat and gray.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

From Secretary of State to Office Manager

I saw where the GOP has named Candice Miller to chair the House Administrative Committee.  This is a more then a bit funny.  There have been complaints for years, in fact there are some who feel it's one  of the reasons they lost the election, their women representatives have always been relegated to token status.  After Romney's loss, Fox News actually had three women on to skirt around the issue.  One of them made the point that they're only brought out when they're needed for a photo op.  That was not a very nice thing for a loyal Republican to say.  However, it is as true now as it was when McCain chose Palin for his running mate.  Of course now they say Palin just wasn't vetted correctly.  I think that's horse shit.  I'd say you can bet your bottom dollar the GOP high command gave McCain their approval.  I'm sure they thought she'd be like all Republican women, you know?  Keep their mouths shut and do as they're told.  Unfortunately for them Palin chose not to follow the script.

Candice Miller, Chairperson for the House Administrative Committee

Now they've taken the former Secretary of State for Michigan and made her, for all intents and purposes, Office Manager for the House of Representatives.  What's almost hilarious about this insult is there are a lot Republicans out there who will point to Ms. Miller and say "See, there is a place for women in our party."  You can bet those white guys in their navy blue suits who run the party are no doubt smirking to themselves, muttering, "there, that should keep them satisfied."

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Blinded by the Right

So, it looks like the honeymoon is over.  How do I know?  The GOP is beginning to dig their heels in becoming, once again, the most divisive political party in American History.  They don't understand that when you lose an election you need to learn to compromise.  Instead they seem cluelessly intent on catering to a shrinking base without even considering how bad this looks to the majority.  You don't win people over to your side by handing them what they know to be a plate of shit.  For example, take John McCain.  After losing his bid for the presidency, he should have sat out that last term as a senator and retired.  He would have earned so much respect traveling the country and become "the dignified hero."  When you chose a seriously flawed vice presidential candidate, and lose a seriously flawed campaign, you need to quietly step out of the limelight.  He must have slept through that lesson in school.  Now, he has basically become the unruly guest who will not leave the party.

Sadly, his only appeal seems to be to the right wing crazies who helped Mitt Romney lose his bid for the presidency.  I understand this January, McCain will no longer head up any committee and will be relegated to, if at best, a secondary position.  He is in his decendency and hates it.  As a result he will dig in his heels and say, and do, what ever it takes to get his name in the press.  Translate this into "he will not compromise."  This is exactly what the GOP is beginning to do because they also are in their decendency.  After the election there was all of this chit-chat bullshit about how they would need to re-evaluate, how they would have to compromise in order to broaden their appeal.  Of course, we all know that is never going to happen.  For this to occur they would need to admit they were wrong, that their political drift to the far right does not appeal to the majority of Americans.  I suspect they will continue to be an obstructionist party until they split themselves asunder.  Even then they will cry out and try and blame someone else.