Thursday, October 23, 2014

Your Halloween Tablescape.

Just call me Martha.


This year we won't be in Hawaii for Halloween, but we still won't be home to have a ghoulish celebration. Damn! I'm beginning to feel the need for a real SPOOKTACULAR Halloween party, but it will have to wait for next year. This year we will be in Louisville, KY at the national convention for the FFA to watch the princess compete for the national title in Parliamentary Procedure. California is always a powerhouse in Parli Pro and the princess's team won the state title pretty easily, having only one loss the entire year, and that by only a few points. At nationals, California is always a powerhouse, being one of the strongest FFA states in the country. Soooooo.....


Keep your fingers crossed that they bring home the win!


Picking up the blue at State Finals. On to Nationals!!

Monday, October 13, 2014

RIP, Cigar. You're over the rainbow bridge now.

I've been busy and haven't had time to note the passing of a Thoroughbred legend. Like Secretariat, Cigar was larger than life, breathtaking in his athletic perfection.




Cigar, a two-time Horse of the Year who won 16 races in a row in the mid 1990s, died Wednesday in Lexington, Ky., according to racing industry reports.

Cigar, 24, retired as the leading money-winner in thoroughbred history with just under $10 million in winnings and, in 1995 and 1996, he became the first horse since Citation (1948 and 195) to win 16 races in a row against top competition.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Weekend Entertainment

We went to a horse show over the weekend, and apparently, I am behind the trend yet again. It seems that a new level of competitive stick-to-it-tive-ness has sprung up among the event crowd, and it involved the rather novel idea of tacking up (or, more precisely, tacking up again) while riding.

At the recent American Eventing Championships in Texas, a rider had a wardrobe malfunction.




But eventers are "never say die" types, so she simply put the hackamore back on and continued with her course.

Now, it seems, what might have remained a singular oddity has become a trend. At the show this weekend we saw another rider accept the challenge of tacking up while riding. She managed to pull it off (so to speak) rather nicely.




Friday, October 3, 2014

The OOOOOOONNLY WAY TO FLY!

Life has a funny way of slapping me around. This has always been the case, so you would think by now I'd have learned something. But nooooooooo....!

Just a few days ago I let go with a rant about crappy airline service and the utter destruction of the idea that anyone in a major corporation could give a shit about service. But apparently, Singapore Airlines shows me to be completely ignorant of the trend in travel once again.

Behold! The SUITE way to travel. And I do mean sweet!

WHAT IT'S LIKE TO FLY THE $23,000 SINGAPORE AIRLINES SUITES CLASS

 The world's best airline experience from Singapore to New York.

Leonardo diCaprio has enjoyed the suite life, in case you were wondering.

So there you are. I KNEW there was still an extraordinary level of service out there somewhere, I just suspected (rightly) that it had moved significantly beyond my income level. I'm always playing the wrong game at the wrong time...and for a lot less money.

Now it costs $23,000.00 to get a lovely meal and a quiet nap on a plane.

Okay...I'll just keep my mouth shut from now on. I'm going for a swim.

video



Monday, September 29, 2014

Perspective

This is too good not to share.

"3 men, A Frenchmen, a Brit and a Russian are at a museum looking at a portrait of Adam and Eve. The Brit says, “Adam and Eve are British. They wear fig leaves and blush so they must be modest.” The Frenchman says, “no, they are French because they are naked and in love.” The Russian said, “You’re both wrong. They are obviously Russian. They are naked, have only an apple to eat and yet they are told they live in paradise."


From Creaky Pavillion - Life's Residue.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Warm Nuts

A quick perusal of my recent posts shows an inordinate preoccupation with big bombs and apocalyptic Fun Times. So, in the interest of diversity, this morning's rant will be superficial, shallow, meaningless and without any redeeming cultural value.

Warm Nuts.


That is simply the nicest thing I can say about United Airlines' first class service to Hawaii. They give you a cup of warm nuts. And to let you know that I don't just fly off the hook willy nilly, I felt the exact same way LAST YEAR when we flew to Kauai, and I exercised remarkable restraint in not blogging about the utter disappointment of the entire flight.

But  I can not contain myself any longer.

I realize this is a definite First World Gripe, and therefore expect to receive absolutely no sympathy, but unlike most others who might complain simply because their every precious little need was not seen to IMMEDIATELY, I am complaining because of how horrifyingly depressing flying has become...start to finish. And because every precious little need was not seen to IMMEDIATELY!

Gone are the days when flying was FUN! When you could even dash through the airport like a pre-slashing, pro football player, gleefully jumping over luggage and gate seating as you raced for your flight. Now, it is slow, methodical, monotonous, and just deeply disappointing.

Rise of the Machines. 


The computer kiosk greets you. Once upon a time, you checked in with a smiling agent. Now it's a computer kiosk. An agent won't even speak with you until you have dutifully punched the stupid screen with your confirmation number, bag totals, birth date of first born child, etc. Then the non-smiling, distracted agent weighs your luggage, checks your ID (that thing you don't need to participate in selecting the world's most powerful man), and waves past you to the next in line. Move on.

Of course, we all know by now that the next lovely experience in your flight will be the groping by the TSA agent. I refuse to go through their Radiation Ray Gun Machine, and besides, I find that there are entirely too many blue shirts just standing around doing nothing but wasting my tax dollars, so I always request that someone come over and do. their. damn. job. Which is to ensure that I am not carrying high powered explosives. Besides, it gives me the opportunity to have a discussion on the merits of Constitutional rights and the limits of federal power.

After that exciting interlude (if I shut my eyes and fantasize, it's almost worth the trip!) we are off to our gate to find our "lane" and line up under the correct sign, like the good little lemmings that we are.  Once boarded, I plunge into my seat, hand outstretched for that lovely, lovely cocktail -- and it is not there.

WTF?

And here I break into my "In My Day" rant.


In MY day, first class was an "experience." It was intended to be luxurious, not utilitarian; you weren't merely being transported somewhere when traveling first class, you were flying. And when you flew to Hawaii...well...all bets were off. You were greeted with a fresh flower lei, there was cheesy Hawaiian music playing, and the flight attendant had a drink in your hand as soon as your coat was off. Which he or she helped with and hung up for you. Now? There wasn't even a flight attendant in the cabin as the passengers boarded. They were both up front in the galley, probably warming their nuts. After we all stowed our carryons, found closet space to hang jackets, got into our seats...and waited...and waited...and waited...a flight attendant finally appeared with a tray of -- GOOD GOD! ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? -- water. Fucking water to sip as we waited on the tarmac for the rest of the flight to board.

I was holding it together. Still smiling. Mostly because my husband had a somewhat meaningful grip on my arm. Okaaaaaay! I'll be good.

In My Day dinner was served on white linen with linen napkins and china, crystal and silverware. Your tray was set for you and a flower placed on each place setting. Then you received your menu, printed on quality stationery with your various choices for appetizers, salads, and a main course. There was always a selection of meat, fish, or chicken.  Thankfully this was before the onslaught of the violent vegetarians. When your dinner was served, it was from a rolling cart, also draped in white linen. If you'd ordered chateaubriand, for example, it was carved for you at your seat. After dinner, the dessert menu was brought around, complete with a full selection of after dinner drinks. Lovely.

Shall I share with you what we were offered, kittens? Yes, of course I will.

Hoisin beef and vegetarian pasta. That's what they called the selections, anyway. In reality they were gelatinous mystery meat in brown sauce and Chef Boyardee. I ordered the pasta, because how can you screw up pasta? Well, there is one way, and they managed it. You don't cook it. Crunchy pasta with tasteless red sauce. I would have preferred ACTUAL Chef Boyardee. Then I could have stuck the soft, little round circles on my nose and had some fun.

There were chocolate chip cookies in paper baggies for dessert. Imagine my delight.

That was it. Other than the larger seats and the warm nuts we received in lieu of an appetizer, we arrived in Hawaii not one bit more indulged or spoiled than anyone else on the entire plane.

In My Day we were expected to meet your expectations...and we spent enormous money on raising them through advertising that promised a wonderful experience. You were treated as a special guest. Your comfort was a priority. Every possible detail was important to create an experience that left you feeling welcomed, refreshed, and even spoiled. Of course, I am perfectly aware of how seriously this idea has been degraded over the years, but I was holding out hope that on a vacation flight like San Francisco to Kauai, first class, there would still be a noticeable effort to offer something more than just a seat and a movie. Now, it seems, there is simply no amount of money that will get anyone to treat you as anything more than a warm body that is, frankly, cutting into their chat time in the galley. I don't suppose this is one of those rants that strikes a cord in anyone else, but having been a part of the industry when it was still vitally important that you made every flight a pleasant experience for everyone on board, and a LUXURIOUS experience for those few in first class, it just sucks that the loss of customer service as a true SERVICE has completely disappeared in flying.

I'm glad I worked for the airlines when I did. It was fun to treat people special. And people were sincerely appreciative of the effort. I don't imagine it would be much fun to hand out crappy beef in slimy sauce and cold, undercooked pasta and call it your best effort. I would be embarrassed.








UPDATE! -- New Foreign Policy for ISIS

Send in the terrorists terriers.




Jacks. The original terrorists.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Boots on the Ground

Airstrikes aren't doing jack shit over in Iraq, perhaps by design, and now many are insisting that the only way to push back ISIS is with "boots on the ground."

But I remember another militaristic, brutal regime that promised to fight to the last man...and then said, "Uncle."

Hiroshima

So...I beg to differ.



Zombie Apocalypse in 3...2...1

So I'm back from Kauai, suntanned and water-logged from too much surf and waaaaaaay too many Mai Tai's, and the zombie apocalypse has begun.


Liberia: Dead Ebola Patients Resurrect?

Two Ebola patients, who died of the virus in separate communities in Nimba County have reportedly resurrected in the county. The victims, both females, believed to be in their 60s and 40s respectively, died of the Ebola virus recently in Hope Village Community and the Catholic Community in Ganta, Nimba.




And here I was thinking the End Times would start without me.


Friday, September 5, 2014

"...not even a smidgen of corruption."

Because this isn't a "smidgen", this is just reasonable technical difficulties. And if you doubt us, you are a goddamn slack-jawed, pigeon-toed, banjo-strumming racist and you're not worth arguing with anyway.

From the Daily Caller:

IRS: Five More Employees Lost Emails In Computer Crashes

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) lost emails from five more employees due to computer crashes, likely bringing the total number of computer crash victims tied to the IRS targeting scandal to more than 20.

The IRS added five more employees to its computer crash list Friday, the Associated Press reported. The new computer crash victims are linked to congressional investigations into the IRS scandal and include two more Cincinnati-based tax exempt agents who worked under Lois Lerner.

The announcement came just hours after new emails revealed that computer-crash victims Lerner and Nikole Flax were part of a “secret research project” that led the IRS to improperly demand donor information from nonprofit groups.
OOPSIE!

Computer go boom! All gone!

Of course, with the craptastic fuck-up that has been the Obamacare website, these jokers have seriously proven that they know jack shit about technology...so 20 crashing, shredded computers seem perfectly reasonable.

Riiiiiiiight.

Not. A. Smidgen.

You got it, Buckwheat. (wink...wink)

I swear to GOD ALMIGHTY! and ALL THAT IS HOLY! if I am audited by the IRS I will meet them at the door with not one goddamn receipt, and I will say that everything was lost in a computer crash.

SORRY!




Democrats investigate Democrats. Find Democrats did nothing wrong.


The IRS's internal auditor distorted the facts surrounding the IRS tea party targeting scandal, leaving Americans with the impression that the tax agency went after conservative groups without also targeting liberal groups, the Senate's top investigative panel said Friday.

Investigators said the IRS did mishandle applications for tax exempt status, including subjecting groups to years-long delays and "poorly coordinated reviews." But the report, written by Democrats who control the chamber, concluded that the IRS's "mismanagement" affected both liberal and conservative groups, clearing the agency of accusations of politically motivated behavior.

"The subcommittee found no evidence that political bias influences the decisions made by IRS personnel," the report concluded. "A review of nearly 800,000 pages of documents and nearly two dozen interviews produced no evidence of political bias influencing IRS decisionmaking about how to process [nonprofit] applications filed by conservative organizations, and no evidence that the IRS singled out conservative groups for harsher treatment than other groups."

The investigators said part of the proof was that "key IRS personnel" were registered Republicans or viewed themselves ideologically as aligned with the tea party.

Investigators also said the IRS must write new rules to push nonprofit groups out of political activities.

Of course there is absolutely NO reason to believe that Democrats investigating such serious charges of misbehavior by other Democrats might be influenced by the Democrats' shared desire to obstruct Tea Party opposition to the Democrats' political aspirations.

This simply would never happen. We're talking Democrats,remember.

We know there is not a smidgen of corruption in the IRS. We've been reassured of this by our Democratic president. Now we know that there isn't a smidgen of corruption in the ENTIRE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. And we are being assured of this by Democrats. Nice and tidy.

All saints, these guys. Knights on white horses.

Okay...that last one was obviously racist.

But I'm a Tea Partier...so of course I'm racist.

And now, it seems, I'm paranoid, too. Because I still believe that the IRS was out to get us.






Why The Irish Drink

Actually, this is sort of a "chicken or egg" question. Which came first, the drinking? Or the NEED to drink from horses like this?


To my mind, BOTH these men need a stiff one after this.

If you want the full experience...here's the video of this acrobatic performance.

video

This happened at the Irish Derby and the horse and rider continued on and raced...you would have had to sedate me after that.