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.



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

No Good Falling Apart At The End Of The World


Funny Memories

We may only have a few days left and I want to offer my sincerest apologies to everyone because it is all my fault. You see, Farm Boy and I are scheduled to leave for Kauai on September 12th.

SEPTEMBER 12TH FOR GOD'S SAKE!

The day after September 11th, which is certainly going to be the day they will choose if they can for their HUGE terrorist attack on US soil. Of course I am perfectly aware if it DOES actually happen, we won't be going to Hawaii...but just the fact that we've scheduled the trip, and with the way my luck is, I will have personally caused an historic terrorist hit. I'll go to my grave knowing it was all my fault.

Shit.

But at least we will be here...on this side of the pond...where our kids and family are. Probably the ONLY reason I would NOT want to get stranded in Paradise would be under such circumstances. Think of the craptastic luck to be stranded in Hawaii and only want desperately to get home.

Of course, I'm assuming that I survive the attack. My luck, while crappy, isn't usually flat out shitty, so I'm counting on being around in the aftermath.  Whatever that might mean.

But...on the outside chance that my crappy luck has actually run completely out and I'm a goner because of barbarians and madmen (including our president), I feel nostalgic.

So here's a story out of my memory banks. 

Years ago, when I was working for Braniff and living in Boston, a girlfriend and I went out dancing and drinking. Michelle was a lot of fun -- a LOT of fun. WAAAAAAAY more fun than I ever was. So being around her was like being suddenly dragged onto a stage at a wild concert where you don't even know who is playing. Anyway, we shut down the place and were out in the parking lot in the wee hours...along with a bar full of others who had just been pitched out into the streets, and were stumbling drunk. So drunk, in fact, Michelle insisted that we stick around for the entertainment of watching drunks navigate their way to their cars. As the bar was especially popular and quite large, it had it's own parking lot, and it was packed full. Obviously some revelers had arrived late to the party that night and now needed to find their way through rows of cars to the very edge of the parking lot where it dead-ended into a frontage road that ran along the far side, rising above the lot by about 10 to 15 feet. It was a steep slope from the road down to the lot below and then the slope dipped below the level of the parking lot into a fairly deep ditch.




Oh...and don't mock the artwork. I can't draw any better than I can write...and you're here, aren't you? Standards, my dear. Standards.

One particularly loud group of stumbling drunks were headed for a car. Michelle had a knack for always picking out teh funny, and she quickly slapped me on the arm. "Look! Look! Look! This is going to be funny!"

Puzzled, I turned. "What?"

"Fuck, yes. These guys are waaaaay too drunk. This is going to be good."

"Dangerous, maybe. Good?"

She laughed. "Watch."

Within moments of her prediction the drunks were piling into a car. They quickly revved the engine and simply drove it -- right into the ditch. They just surged forward...right off the edge. We were hysterical, sitting on the hood of our car. They had dumped the car into the ditch so deeply that the rear tires were completely off the pavement and the front end was buried out of sight. The car burst open to spew forth all the drunks who were now staggering around with wild, loose, windmill arms, swearing and punching the car, which, in my opinion, was an innocent player in the whole mess.

The car was stuck. With its rear tires in the air, there was no way it was going anywhere. Period. They pounded on it for a little while, before deciding that they could figure this out. Okie. Dokie. Have at it, dudes.

Not surprisingly, their idea was worse than their driving. With a curious mixture of horror and side-splitting hilarity, we watched them get into a truck and drive it around to the frontage road, turning it to point down the hill right above the stuck car. We watched, but couldn't anticipate. We saw, but didn't believe.

They drove that truck, with all the conviction of drunken Pattons waging war, right down that slope and squarely on top of the stuck sedan. The force of the impact was so hard that it jack-knifed the hood, bending it into a "V" and driving the car even further into the soft dirt of the ditch. Its rear tires lifted ever so slightly higher in the air. I think Michelle and I were actually screaming at this point, we were laughing so hard.

Later, Michelle and I decided that they must have been trying to shove the car out of the ditch with the truck, but being drunk and stupid, had completely misjudged the speed, angle...well...frankly the whole damn thing.

I still laugh at the picture of that truck hurtling down on top of that poor, ditched car.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Okay...now I can die with a smile on my face.



End of Days

With a massive terror attack possibly only days away, I've decided that the only reasonable thing to do is fill my last remaining hours with happy thoughts and silly stuff. What, me worry?

And, for me, happy thoughts and silly stuff almost always involves horses.

So, first up is the adorable Princess Barret and her Wonder Pony, Velvet.




We have a pony that lives next door to us who, at least as far as this video shows, is just as sweet and long-suffering. Any child could climb all over Pony Boy, crawl under his belly, tug at his mane or tail or forelock or, unfortunately, bridle, and he would. not. move. EVER.

But our delightful little neighbor is one of those ponies who has learned that children pose no threat whatsoever that he might actually have to DO anything, and so he will happily submit to the ministrations and equestrian dreams of wee tots. Have a kid on him that is old enough to think they can ask for so much as a trot, and Pony Boy brings out his full bag of tricks...and none of them are nice. You're going to get either a rank buck, a nasty swerve, or, if he is particularly annoyed, a wild gallop before ending with either a buck or a swerve...or, on the rare occasion...both. But you are not going to win. Or stay on.

Pony Boy is a nasty little shit.

But he is as good as gold for the little ones who aren't capable of more than smearing themselves around on his back. If he can get his head down for a bite of grass while they're doing it, then they are safe for hours. There's no better babysitter.

More horse stuff.


This says it all. Horses, like dogs, have strong social instincts. But, unlike dogs, they know they are prey and that they taste really good. This makes them skittish, to say the least, and desperately in need of a strong leader to feel safe. Proving your leadership, however, requires convincing the horse that you are better, stronger, faster, smarter than he is, otherwise why would he turn over his very survival to you? This isn't always straightforward, considering that most people are none of those things.

And most people show just how stupid they are when they try to treat horses like big pets. That's not what the horse is looking for and it isn't going to convince him you know shit about survival.  A horse needs your leadership far more than he needs your affection. Period. This does not mean that you can't, eventually, have an amazingly strong relationship with a horse. You can - and should. But you must start with leadership. Once that is decisively settled, then you can safely treat your horse like a big dog and get away with it. Unfortunately, too many people in horses nowadays have come from a background completely devoid of farm life and have not one freaking clue about how dangerous horses really are. They skip right past the whole leadership issue and jump right to feeding carrots and kissing them on the nose. Not smart. In fact, often dangerous.

Some horses, without proper leadership, are mean. Many are scared shitless. All are dangerous. But a horse who understands you are his leader and trusts that you are in charge of his survival, will literally go into battle for you.

They are incredible creatures.


This is my baby. He has had the entire summer off due to an injury to his left front leg. And now the world is ending and I haven't ridden in months. Of course, we just put in a tremendous arena, and laid down serious bank to do it...so having the world go down the toilet now is just about standard for my luck.

And to finish off this equestrian-themed post is the official dressage test for horses unsuitable to become anything. Study it well. I expect good things.


When my daughter was quite little, probably three or so, we attended a horse show where a lovely large pony entered the dressage ring with a young girl. The pony was flashy, a black and white paint with incredible markings. Lovely. Well, Daughter fell in love. She immediately began squirming and climbing on the railing, too overcome by her emotion to stand still, begging me to buy her a pinto JUST.  LIKE. THAT. ONE.

I could see trouble, though. The pony, while definitely fancy, was tense as a coiled spring, and almost immediately upon entering the ring at C, began to whinny. Well, whinny is an understatement. This pony was screaming. The visual was somewhat disconcerting, as the outline of the pony never changed. He LOOKED entirely correct, except for the obvious tension, but the SOUND was unnerving. It portended bad things.

The tension increased. The screaming increased. And, by the look of horror on the young rider's face, the firm conviction of impending disaster increased  for her as well.

When she tentatively tried to pick up the canter, the pony accepted this timid request with all the explosive capacity of a Widow Maker. He SHOT across the ring, swerved to continue galloping in a large circle, picking up speed, until she was flung like a sling-shot from sheer centrifugal force and landed in a heap far outside the dressage court.

My daughter stilled, watching this. As the dust settled around the young competitor and the pony gleefully disappeared toward the barns, Daughter flatly said, "Don't buy me THAT pony."

All righty.

Anyway, let's all keep our heads about us in the coming days. Oh...and if you haven't done so already, stock up on toilet paper. You'll thank me for that suggestion. Guaranteed.










Monday, August 25, 2014

Only horse people will REALLY understand this.

I find this enormously funny because every single one of these "sayings" is absolutely spot. on. If you ride, you've either heard them or said them and no one blinked...or giggled...or even reacted, except to nod in agreement.

But from now on I will never be able to shout at a student, "Don't let him get his head up! Keep it right there and be soft with your hands so his mouth doesn't get hard."

Good Lord.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Apparently I am stark raving mad.

However, I'm incredibly lucky I wasn't born in the 1800's because I could have been committed under at least 30 of these categories...I know Bad Whiskey makes me NUTS!


I particularly like "Gathering in the Head".

WTH???

THIS is why we have mass shootings now and we didn't then. All these crazies were safely locked away.





Anyone Else?



Does anyone else think the word "kumquat" sounds positively nasty? Like what you might call Nicki Minaj?

Or is it just me?