Mar 272009

How is it possible that someone who was so likeable and so inspiring while running for president could, day by day, be so unlikable and so uninspiring as president?

That’s Ruben Navarrette, who is no GOP apologist, in an editorial today on

The piece includes an occasional conciliatory snippet, but for the most part, Navarrette is beginning to realize (and acknowledge) that a petulant, inexperienced child is occupying the White House.  Apparently, this is a man unwilling to delegate, unable to relinquish a campaign mindset, and incapable of doing anything but spitting venom when any conversation strays from his teleprompter.

The usual fawning sycophants—the Paul Begalas, the James Carvilles—are still toeing the line publicly, but I’m beginning to wonder how much of it is a brave face.  They’re not stupid.

Oh, and Zogby had Obama down to 50% approval yesterday.  I’m becoming keenly interested in doing everything I can to hand President Obama a Republican Congress next year.

I’m also beginning to wonder whether historians will ultimately say that Bush’s greatest failing is that the first bailout happened on his watch.

 Posted by at 4:49 pm
Mar 262009
  • I’ve been hugely and uncharacteristically sloppy in keeping up with our household filing, so of course this is the time of year that the devil calls such in.  I hope to get on top of the mountain by the end of the weekend.
  • Well, we’re two thirds of the way through Obama’s vaunted first 100 days.  I think I could stomach the arrogance if it were holding hands with competence.  Instead, his “handling” of the economy is frightening and ham-fisted (to be kind), and his to-date foreign relations are utterly disastrous.  I’m trying to be somewhat sparing with it all on the blog day to day, but I’ve already started the 100-day report card post.
  • GPS receiver tries to kill motorist.  Motorist arrested.
  • OK, just one now.  All of the hand-wringing and flagellation about “our standing in the world” is nauseating.  Bad men don’t cease being bad men because you sit for a photo with them.  Clearly, Obama doesn’t currently understand that there are a handful of countries in the world for which it is only important that they fear the United States.  I hope he learns that lesson as inexpensively as possible.
  • I continue to enjoy Halo Wars, though it’s not the consuming experience the “real” Halo games are.  I haven’t been in a hurry to finish it.  I’m about three quarters of the way through the campaign.
  •  I’ve made some ridiculous food items before, but this page trounces my comparatively meager efforts.  I think my favorite is the White Castle “casserole.”
  • Live in California?  Want a black car?  Better hurry.
  • It’s rained three inches in the past 24 hours.  Even if it weren’t going to rain that much again in the next 48 (which it almost certainly is), the soccer fields aren’t going to be in any kind of shape to play by Saturday, but Nathan’s game remains scheduled.  We’ll see.  Heh.
 Posted by at 7:45 pm
Mar 252009

So I stayed home today to make sure someone was here when the Sears repairman showed up to have a look at our treadmill, for which we purchased an extended warranty.  He arrived about 7:45 this evening, so I torched the leave for nothing.

This is not his fault.  I quite liked him, actually.  He was a kindly, 60ish gentleman, as witty as he was dexterous, and he solved our problem.  I don’t think he was here 15 minutes.  Plus, he did a hell of a Donald Duck voice for the boys.

He’s deployed in a system, though, that couldn’t even give us a general idea of an appointment time.  You know how the cable people or whatever tell you “sometime between 9 and 1” or somesuch?  Nope.  That can’t happen with Sears treadmill extended warranty repair people.  You get a specified day, and that’s it.

Moreover, this day—March 25—was five weeks and change out from Lea’s initial call.  Now my extended warranty paperwork makes no mention of when service will be provided, but I think most of a month and a half later is excessive by any reasonable definition, particularly with a daily use (stop laughing; I don’t, but Lea’s legs are like cast iron) item like a treadmill.

I am pleased that we’re finally getting the service we paid for.  Until our repairman called (apologetically) about a quarter to five and explained that he was going to be late, I was all set to call Sears in the morning and get our $149.99 back.

(I’m doing all right, but that’s still a lot of money to me, okay?)

I have a soft spot for Sears.  I don’t do a ton of business with them, but to me, they are the quintessential American retailer.  There’s something vaguely…I don’t know, comforting? old school? conservative? about them.  I think I shall, from that rhetorical position, write them a polite letter pointing out the shortcomings in this experience, and invite them to correct them.

By the way, when our repairman went back to his truck to get something, I checked to see if all of his tools were Craftsman.  They were.

 Posted by at 8:41 pm
Mar 242009

Uncle Larry was my mother’s younger brother.  He was killed in a car crash on Christmas Eve, 1983.

unclelarryI have many happy memories of the short time I had with him.  He took Jenny and me to DisneyWorld.  He’s there in all of my favorite childhood beach memories (I still think of him every time I shake some Sargassum weed into a pail to see if I can find a shrimp or crab).  I loved to go fishing with my dad and him in St. Andrews Bay.

It’s the so-called little things that have really stuck with me, though.  He’d eat my mandated squash casserole at Thanksgiving when no one was looking.  The first time I ever saw a praying mantis, it was crawling over his fingers.  I played Atari for the first time at his house (Air-Sea Battle, though his was Target Fun, which was the Sears Tele-Games rebranded version of it).

There was a lot of big kid in Uncle Larry.  He loved video games, science fiction, and fast cars, so it’s little wonder a 12-year-old boy would be particularly enamored of him.  I wish he’d been around long enough to play Halo, or see 600-bhp Corvettes, or experience The Matrix.

There was a serious man in him, too.  I hate that I never got a chance to have an adult-to-adult relationship with him.  He was a man of uncommon faith.  He loved Christ deeply, and led a ministry for the mentally challenged at his church.  His favorite book of the Bible was Daniel.

It’s fairly clear that he wasn’t altogether happy when he died.  His marriage had known rises and falls, and it’s difficult to determine what all happened.  On this topic and others, my mother and grandmother were both queens of misdirection (or, barring that, just plain old silence), and while some of their details seem trustworthy, I’m certain the story I have is incomplete and probably only moderately accurate.

I am reasonably satisfied, however, that he took on and kept more burden than he should have.  I would have sought and appreciated a grown-up conversation with him about that.  I suspect some substantial inconsistencies in our respective understandings of the concept of God’s will.

Nonetheless, I am grateful for the opportunity to look back at his giving spirit in the context of my life today.  I’m not sure how wise I am at this point, but I do think I’ve done enough living to start getting handles on some of it, you know?  Uncle Larry’s there for it.

I miss him.  I wish Lea could have known him.  I wish our boys could have known him.

 Posted by at 11:47 am
Mar 232009

What a marvelous day for a hike!  I went back to Caney Creek Falls yesterday with Terri, Saintseester, her daughter, Saintseester’s seester, and her daughter.

Couple feeding on the enthusiasm and knowledge of Saintseester and Terri with the fact that I actually remembered my tripod this time, and I’m pleased with these photos.  I’m getting considerably less timid about punching buttons and changing settings (after all, on a digital camera, it’s practically free; not like you’re wasting film).

Lazy shutter:


Speedy speedy:


Detail (full size):


 Posted by at 12:27 am