Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cole Porter tells the truth

It's hot. I don't like it.

If I weren't so friggin' cheap, I'd turn on the AC. But I'm cheap. So it's not on. So I whine, as if that's going to make it all better. And I'm going to be whining that it's too cold in a few months. What on earth is wrong with me?

Speaking of being cheap, have been scanning the 'net for deals and trying to become as frugal as possible. Gas prices, along with everything going up except my salary... well, we're all in the same boat, aren't we? I've always had a tendency to DIY and it's getting more and more pronounced.

Anyway, there's a million sites out there. Here's a few I like to read. I've been getting the paper and clipping coupons, writing for freebies, reading blogs, etc. One does wonder how much time I'll have for this when work kicks in hard in a couple of weeks...

Frugal Dutchess
Wise Bread
Simple Dollar
Apartment Therapy and related sites Freebies Coupons Frugal Living

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What can Brown do for you?

Oof. Why oh why did I volunteer to help my father at work? I ended up driving all over creation, making 6 deliveries for a total of 1000 pounds of lugging crap, not exaggerating. I'm not in pain; just freakin' exhausted. And dirty. And smelly. And hot. I have a whole new appreciation for folks who do this for a living. There's a lot to be said for an office job.

I don't ordinarily get like this, but I'm so proud of Justin (not Jason!) Morneau I can't even stand it. What a guy. 'Bout time he gets a little more credit. He's so unassuming, folks forget about him. But some of us know.

This time of year there's about a million little summer events and festivals. Summer's so short in the Midwest, we have to be outside when we have the chance. Went to yet another one recently. Love the things, really. You're outside, they're generally free, and as we landed free parking as well things turned out rather well. Concert was pretty good; food was overpriced. Some darn fine musicians.

Quote of the day from Twins manager Ron Gardenhire - I just love the last sentence: "We don't strike out. ... We're pretty good at putting the ball in play, shortening your swing, and understanding all of that. I think that probably bodes well for getting some hits. We chop balls, bloop balls. Put it in play and run like hell."

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I've been staying up way too late recently. I don't know why. This happens every summer - I hit a stretch where I just can't get to bed before 1. This of course makes the next day a little odd but there it is. Anyway.

This means I've been watching late night TV. I've decided I just don't like most of it. Leno's jokes are all the same, every night, and are all mean and mostly about sex. He panders to the lowest common denominator, and part of what bugs me is he never used to. Dave is much better, smarter, funnier, but I usually (there are exceptions) don't like his interviews and still there's this retread aspect to it. Easy for me to say - these guys have to be funny every night and in Letterman's case that's for a good 25 years - but it's mostly about sex and making fun of people. They take the easy road. Can't stand Conan. That's unfunny slapstick, with again the sex and making fun of people. And his band leader drives me crazy; good musician, but annoying. The interviews are all about shilling for some movie or book, and people - both the interviewer and the interviewee - are obviously going through the motions. Leno, Dave, and Conan - they don't trust their audiences to be smart. But what do I do? Flip around and try to find the good parts best I can and then get mad when I can't. Why do I do this to myself? I'm an idiot.

Until Craig Ferguson comes on. I like Craig. He's a little manic, a little weird, and I don't always like the sketches, but he's smart and he trusts the audience to be smart. His monologues are different every night, not just the same old retread jokes from the previous night. He seems to be actually interested in the people he interviews. He appears to actually think. He's willing to be brave and try stuff. Sure, there's some making fun of people, there's some sex jokes, but he has more than one note to play on.

So I was dinging around a bit last night and looked him up online to try to find biography stuff. Was wondering if he was a musician, truthfully, as I noticed in the credits he performed the theme song on the show (he has no band). He does play drums. Anyway, Google being the marvelous thing that it is, one thing led to another and I found a wonderful video on YouTube.

Craig, you see, is a recovering alcoholic. He makes no bones about that on his show, occasionally making cracks about his previous life and the things that happened before he got sober in 1992. One of the things about him is that going along with the willingness to be brave, the trust in his audience, and all that, he's also willing to be serious. This little clip dates from February 2007, during the whole hoo-ha over Brittany Spears and the whole concept of battering and making fun of those who truly need help.

What the hell is wrong with our society that we insist on stomping on those already downtrodden?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Various blather

Duh. Duh. And more Duh.


On the job front, I received my full time contract yesterday. So I'm OK. Still don't know exactly what I'll be doing in a couple of months, but I have a full time job for certain. I cannot begin to communicate the feeling of relief when I opened my mail yesterday afternoon.

Went serious power shopping yesterday with M to help her get ready for her cruise. We stopped at three places before we even got to the mall, and then we went hard core. My dogs gave up barking a long time ago in order to lay down and die. Happily, I have finally managed in my old age to get the concept of window shopping. I got out of this deal about $3 poorer - a lunch bag, as the old one is finally trashed after about 8 years. Am rather proud of my new-found frugal ways. Here's hoping I can manage to hang on to them; with gas prices the way they are, everything is increasing except my salary.

Thursday, July 03, 2008


“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” - Mark Twain

I know I've posted parts of this before, but I believe it's the sort of thing that it is impossible to read and reflect upon too frequently. Happy Fourth - and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd - of July.

Among the units at Gettysburg on July 1st, 2nd and 3rd, 1863 was the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. Minnesota governor Alexander Ramsey happened to be in Washington at the time South Carolina seceded from the Union, and was the first governor to offer troops to fight; therefore the First Minnesota was the first volunteer regiment of any state to be offered for the Union cause.

On July 2nd, during the battle at Gettysburg, the First was ordered to fill in a gap in the Union line until the area could be reinforced. Of 262 men who were ordered to attack, 215 ended the day killed, missing, or wounded. The following day, this same unit helped to repel Pickett’s Charge. The First Minnesota has the highest losses in any one battle (by total number of men) of the entire Civil War.

General Winfield Scott Hancock later said of the First,
“I had no alternative but to order the regiment in. We had no force on hand to meet the sudden emergency. Troops had been ordered up and were coming on the run, but I saw that in some way five minutes must be gained or we were lost. It was fortunate that I found there so grand a body of men as the First Minnesota. I knew they must lose heavily and it caused me pain to give the order for them to advance, but I would have done it (even) if I had known every man would be killed. It was a sacrifice that must be made. The superb gallantry of those men saved our line from being broken. No soldiers on any field, in this or any other country, ever displayed grander heroism.”


Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Happy freakin' fourth

Whoever decided that fireworks should be legal really should be boiled in his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. Not professional shows; those are amazing. I mean amateurs. I hate amateurs. It's a combination of being afraid someone is going to blow something up (or set something on fire) that will affect me somehow, and the idiots shooting things off when I'd really rather be sleeping. Some folks are inconsiderate, brain dead morons.

I love professional displays but am generally afraid to go out in public to watch them. Why? Drunken idiots who seem to feel they need to set off bottle rockets into the crowd and hand sparklers to 3 year olds. I've been to fireworks displays in multiple cities, in multiple states, and anywhere with legal fireworks, it's always the same.

The closer we get to the 4th, the worse it gets. Night after night, boom boom crackle crackle, from as soon as darkness falls until 10:30/11. Generally speaking, I see the point of personal rights and the government staying out of our hair but all too often these people are so busy asserting their rights that they don't grasp how they affect other folks' right to personal safety, a reasonably quiet sleep, and people just plain leaving us alone. One of the scariest things I ever saw was at the house of some friends. One of the folks there was peeling back the paper on the fuse of a soon-to-be-airborne shell, cigarette dangling out of his mouth, beer in his other hand. All I could think was, thank God there's a lake in front of us I can dive into if I catch fire.

If people were safe about it and considerate, than I wouldn't really care. But it's apparently too much to ask.

Speaking of considerate folks, the elephants upstairs are back. The pounding is pretty constant. I hadn't heard them for a while and had hoped that meant they'd moved. But no. Thumpthumpthump squeaksqueak thump. Runrunrunrunrunrunboom. Thump. Elephants: the most likely conclusion. Interior designing elephants who are constantly rearranging their furniture in new and exciting ways. Nothing else could possibly explain it.

Downstairs this evening there were a bunch of folks singing in Spanish at the tops of their lungs. It sounded like it could have been a religious service - I don't know much Spanish but thought I caught something about Jesus. I'm holding out hope for an isolated incident. If I have elephants living above me and Bible thumping revivalists below I'm never going to make it through the summer.

My kingdom for some soundproofing. Or at least quieter neighbors.