Thursday, January 31, 2013

Friday Funnies


I've not paid much attention to all the hoopla surrounding the nomination of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.  After all, the President, any President, usually gets approval for those he nominates for his cabinet secretaries.  They are all vetted very carefully.  They have to be qualified, right?  And the political climate is such that if the President has a majority in the Senate, they'll all go along like lemmings.  And I think that will be the case here.  But I ran across this analysis tonight.  I didn't get a chance to watch his hearings (I work for a living) but this review is pretty scathing.  The reason I think this is serious is because the guy who runs this blog is serious.  He is a respected voice.  So I started looking around at other web sites and blogs...lots of really bad reviews.  Lots of comments that reflected the first analysis.  So like I said, he'll be confirmed.  The Dems, as well as some Republicans, will fall in line.  After all, he was a member of the club.   But it does give one pause.  We're entering times of peril in defense spending.  Now more than ever we need a smart, measured, steady, consistent, strong SECDEF.  I'm just not sure Hagel is the guy...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Future think

I've posted here previously that I have a love/hate relationship with the author/columnist Thomas Friedman.  I think he's a brilliant guy but sometimes his writings don't resonate much with me.  He can be insufferable or think he's the smartest guy in the room.  But sometimes I read his stuff and think, "wow, this is so right".  Such is the case this week with his column in the NYT called "It's the P.Q. and C.Q. As much as I.Q".    I'm tempted to just copy the whole thing for your reading pleasure, but I think it's more fun if you go there on your own.

But here are a few teasers.  This column is all about the speed of change, the need to rapidly embrace it, and personal responsibility.  It's also about how all of these things will drive my Grandkids to be smarter, more flexible, and more inquisitive if they want to succeed.

Here is what he says about the speed of change,
In 2004, I wrote a book, called “The World Is Flat,” about how the world was getting digitally connected so more people could compete, connect and collaborate from anywhere. When I wrote that book, Facebook, Twitter, cloud computing, LinkedIn, 4G wireless, ultra-high-speed bandwidth, big data, Skype, system-on-a-chip (SOC) circuits, iPhones, iPods, iPads and cellphone apps didn’t exist, or were in their infancy.
Think about that.  That was 8 years ago.  What will we (I hope I'm still around!) see in 2020.  All this technology that results in a hyper connected world has practical impacts on all aspects of our lives.  This is one of those impacts,
When the world gets this hyperconnected, adds Mundie, the speed with which every job and industry changes also goes into hypermode. “In the old days,” he said, “it was assumed that your educational foundation would last your whole lifetime. That is no longer true.” Because of the way every industry — from health care to manufacturing to education — is now being transformed by cheap, fast, connected computing power, the skill required for every decent job is rising as is the necessity of lifelong learning.
And there is this,
In their terrific book, “Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution Is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy,” Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology note that for the last two centuries it happened that productivity, median income and employment all tracked each other nicely. “So most economists have had this feeling that if you just boost productivity, the pie grows, and, in the long run, everything else takes care of itself,” explained Brynjolfsson in an interview. “But there is no economic law that says technological progress has to benefit everyone. It’s entirely possible for the pie to get bigger and some people to get a smaller slice.” Indeed, when the digital revolution gets so cheap, fast, connected and ubiquitous you see this in three ways, Brynjolfsson added: those with more education start to earn much more than those without it, those with the capital to buy and operate machines earn much more than those who can just offer their labor, and those with superstar skills, who can reach global markets, earn much more than those with just slightly less talent.
So the upshot is that you will not only need education, but you need continuous education.  You  will not only need to be curious, you'll need to be continually curious.  And innovative.  And take chances.  And on and on.  Technology will make our lives easier in many ways, but it will bring new challenges, new pressures...and new opportunities.
It will require more individual initiative. We know that it will be vital to have more of the “right” education than less, that you will need to develop skills that are complementary to technology rather than ones that can be easily replaced by it and that we need everyone to be innovating new products and services to employ the people who are being liberated from routine work by automation and software. The winners won’t just be those with more I.Q. It will also be those with more P.Q. (passion quotient) and C.Q. (curiosity quotient) to leverage all the new digital tools to not just find a job, but to invent one or reinvent one, and to not just learn but to relearn for a lifetime.
So my Grandkids are going to have a challenge.  They can't just sit back.  They can't just get the right education and figure that the jobs will come.  Technology will force the world to speed up.  It will mean that to be successful, you must be plugged in.  They can't just sit back.  It turns out that, if he's right,  technology may be our savior from the Nanny state.  As Friedman says,
Government can and must help, but the president needs to explain that this won’t just be an era of “Yes WeCan.” It will also be an era of “Yes You Can” and “Yes You Must.”


A Waste

A friend posted this on Facebook today.  What a sad tale of woe.  Cruising along in your Vette.  Enjoying life.  Bulletproof.  And an instant...gone.  Think about this the next time you're cruising along and just have to send someone a text.  But above all, show this to your kids.  In an instant...gone.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Motivation Monday

I came across this about 30 years ago and kept a copy taped to the wall above my desk for awhile.  Lost it in one of the many moves.  And then stumbled upon it last week.  It makes as much sense to me now as it did then.  Maybe more...


Stumbled upon this web site.  Can't read a word.  But I know what I like.  And I like Aston Martin.  Or maybe I am consumed by the beauty of this car.  I know...weird.  I told my son the other day if he wins the lottery, I want one.  Again...weird.  But it is what it is.

Cool Pic

Friday, January 25, 2013

Women In Combat

Can anyone be surprised?  Of course the story was a big deal in the idiot media.  As usual, they are looking for controversy.  Women are now officially allowed in combat.  Big deal.  They've been doing that for quite some time.  This is, quite simply,


I mean, come on.  I hope we are either at, or close to being at, a place where gender, race, sexual persuasion, or some other class doesn't matter.  It just doesn't.  The only requirement is to set and maintain standards.  Then, if someone can meet the standards, train them and qualify them.  Full stop.  Anything else is unacceptable...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Friday Funnies

For my Navy friends.  They will laugh.  And they will think, rightly, that there is a lot of truth in it...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Final Chapter

Maybe Final Chapter isn't a great title but that's what it feels like.  I first wrote about the tragedy at Benghazi in early October in a post titled "Protecting Our Diplomats".  I also had a few other posts that you can search out if you're interested.  But with Secretary Clinton's testimony today, it feels like its over.  The whole episode will fade from view.  People will forget.  Bureaucrats will live on.  Nothing will change.

I thought Hillary's testimony was pretty genuine.  She was frustrated.  She took responsibility.  She endured endless grilling.  Of course, she now goes on to prepare for her run for the Presidency in 2016 with one of the final views of her people will remember being her "courageous" testimony before Congress.

But at the end of the day, no one is held accountable for failing to protect our diplomats in a dangerous place on the other side of the world.  That's my issue.  Not who said what or when.  Not who spun what on which talk show.  Not whether there was some video or not.  To me it is all about the complacency of the bureaucrats safe in their offices and ignoring Americans in peril.  There was a time that people were held accountable.  Especially in life and death situations.  But no more.  We have a compliant media, feel good politicians, and an uncaring electorate.  But...there was one guy who said what I feel.  I've never paid much attention to him but he certainly caught my attention today.  It won't matter but I think what he said was spot on.  And I'm going to pay more attention to what he says...

Monday, January 21, 2013

An Anniversary

January 22, 1973...40 years.  Roe v Wade of course.  That decision had profound influence on our culture.   The battles have been monumental.  Pro-life vs pro-choice.  The absolutism has always distressed me.  This is such a difficult, emotional, devastating, life and death issue that I just don't think one size fits all.  Each case is different.  Each circumstance heart wrenching.  I came across a short article that describes my feelings pretty well.  Read it and think about it.  Because this issue isn't going away.  And it's too important to ignore.  Repeal would be idiotic.  But the stats are scary.  Better solutions needed.  I didn't agree with Bill Clinton a lot, but I totally resonate with his comment that "abortions should be safe, legal, and rare".

Inauguration Day

Every American should honor and cherish what happened today.  The fact that every four years we either peacefully transfer power or reaffirm the power that is already resident, and that we limit the number of terms of the Chief Executive, is a wonderful testimony to our democratic experiment.  It is a great thing that hundreds of thousands of people can witness the event and relish in the orderliness of our republic.  Although some other countries have similar ceremonies, we were the first and ours endures through the decades and centuries.  It is really quite something!

The other half of the equation is the guy taking the oath.  The tone he sets, the direction he wants to go, the address to all the population of this day should be inspiring.  Now I know these speeches are tough.  Not many are rememorable.  In fact, really only two inaugural speeches have earned an immortal place in history...Lincoln's second and Kennedy's only.  Both were speeches for the ages.

But not today.  I'm glad I was at work and didn't see/hear it first hand.  When I heard him later in the day I couldn't believe how disappointed I was.  This was not a speech to our people.  It was a speech to his factions, his constituencies.  This was not unifying.  It was dividing.  I've thought that he spent way too much of his time and political capital in his first term dividing us.  Now he starts his second term with more division.  He had a chance to reach out, to say out loud that he wants to achieve consensus.  But no.  My way or the highway.  He could have been specific, but he was vague.  Grand ideas that mean nothing.  The thing that struck me was the reference to "social justice".  That is a code word for redistribution.  After this speech he's going to have a monumental battle on his hands.  Finally, nothing on national security or our place in the world.  Under his leadership we have lost our leadership position in the world.  I know most are war weary.  I'm not talking about war.  I'm talking about diplomacy, leverage, economics...really how we survive in what is a big, bad, ugly world.

I'm a guy who looks at things with an open mind and some optimism.  But not in this case.  I have to say that for the first time in my life I really fear for our future.  And for my kids and their kids future.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Friday Funnies

I'll probably get in trouble for this one...

Something...But Not Enough

After the disgusting and tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT there was an outcry to do something.  To start a dialog.  To institute some regulations.  To do something!  So VP Biden chaired a commission and came up with recommendations.  By Washington DC standards it really happened pretty fast.  And I've got to say, I think many of the recommendations make sense...or at least are not hurtful.  There is also a lot of fluff.  Things that are easy or inconsequential. The proposal is copied below with my comments.

As you will surmise, I don't think it's enough and is missing two key provisions.  Oh, the gun stuff probably is.  He's probably gone as far as he can given political resistance and strong lobbying from groups like the NRA.  As I've said in other posts,  I believe in the second amendment, but we need some sensible regulations.  These proposals start to move in the right direction.

But there are two things missing, or at least glossed over.  First is the mental health stuff.  What we do as a country to improve handling of mental health issues needs dramatic improvement.  All of the mass shootings were obviously done by guys with severe mental problems.  Not sure this is a federal issue, but the feds could provide some much needed direction and coordination.

Second is video games.  Some of these things are heinous.  They impact young minds in a dark manner.  Same with some movies.  These things cry out for stronger regulations.  But we all know Obama is in the pocket of the entertainment industry.  So maybe not a surprise.  But the omission is a big miss.

Finally, as usual everything Obama does has to be a campaign event.  The visual of him being surrounded by kids was unseemly.  It didn't work.  It was a mistake.  He needs to rethink some of these things.
Published: January 16, 2013
What’s in Obama’s Gun Control Proposal
The initiative to reduce gun violence announced by President Obama on Wednesday includes both legislative proposals that would need to be acted on by Congress and executive actions he can do on his own. Many of the executive actions involve the president directing agencies to do a better job of sharing information.
Proposed Congressional Actions
Requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales, including those by private sellers that currently are exempt.  A no brainer.  Of course this makes sense.
Reinstating and strengthening the ban on assault weapons that was in place from 1994 to 2004.  I have no problem with this.  But some will.  Makes sense to me though.
Limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds.  Again, no problem.
Banning the possession of armor-piercing bullets by anyone other than members of the military and law enforcement.  Of course.  Why would the average citizen need these?
Increasing criminal penalties for "straw purchasers," people who pass the required background check to buy a gun on behalf of someone else.  Yes.
Acting on a $4 billion administration proposal to help keep 15,000 police officers on the street.  Okay.  But not really a Federal issue.
Confirming President Obama's nominee for director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Fluff.
Eliminating a restriction that requires the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to allow the importation of weapons that are more than 50 years old.  Don't get this one.
Financing programs to train more police officers, first responders and school officials on how to respond to active armed attacks.  Good idea, but a Federal issue?
Provide additional $20 million to help expand the a system that tracks violent deaths across the nation from 18 states to 50 states.  Fluff
Providing $30 million in grants to states to help schools develop emergency response plans.  Federal issue?  I don't think so'
Providing financing to expand mental health programs for young people.  Absolutely.  But doesn't go far enough and is not specific enough.
Executive actions
Issuing a presidential memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.  Fluff
Addressing unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.  Fluff
Improving incentives for states to share information with the background check system.  Fluff
Directing the attorney general to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.  Vague
Proposing a rule making to give law enforcement authorities the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.  Good idea
Publishing a letter from the A.T.F. to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers. Good idea but minor
Starting a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.  Fluff
Reviewing safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).  Fluff
Issuing a presidential memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations. Obvious
Releasing a report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and making it widely available to law enforcement authorities.  Fluff
Nominating an A.T.F. director. Huh?  Why is this here?
Providing law enforcement authorities, first responders and school officials with proper training for armed attacks situations.  Federal issue?  i don't think so
Maximizing enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.  Fluff
Issuing a presidential memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research gun violence.  Fluff
Directing the attorney general to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenging the private sector to develop innovative technologies.  Fluff
Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes. Fluff
Releasing a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities. Fluff
Providing incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
Developing model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education. Not a Federal function
Releasing a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.  Has potential to help, but won't
Finalizing regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within insurance exchanges. Fluff
Committing to finalizing mental health parity regulations.  Vague
Starting a national dialogue on mental health led by Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, and Arne Duncan, the secretary of education.  Fluff

180 Degree Turnaround

Big couple weeks for the Chargers!  First what appears to be a great hire in Tom Telesco as new GM.      Then they hire another young, fresh face in first time head coach Mike McCoy.  And now they nab Ken Whisenhunt, former highly respected Cardinal coach, as Offensive Coordinator.  WOW!  The fans are buzzing, the team is eager, and hopefully we're on our way to winning seasons and at least the playoffs, if not the Super Bowl.  Now if the local government could just get off their a$$ and help build a stadium downtown, we'd be set!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Ran across this a while back.  Cracks me up!  Some people are very clever...


It's been cold in So Cal.  At least cold for us.  Lots of whining, complaining, and marveling at how cold it's been.  Of course, to the rest of the country (except maybe Floria and Hawaii) we are ridiculous.  This captures it pretty well...

I Hate To Say I Told You So, But...

Way back in October, 2012 when I started Mike's At The Beach and the election was looming I had a post titled, "How Dumb Do They Think We Are?".  It was all about Proposition 30, that fleecing of the taxpayers by Gov. Brown and his teacher's union cronies.  I speculated then that we can be pretty dumb, so it would probably pass.

Now we are starting to see some of the shenanigans that are typical of the teacher's union starting to emerge.   “Prop. 30s TOUGH FISCAL CONTROLS insure money is spent ONLY on schools and public safety.”  That's what all the ads said.  But not so fast.  Read this story in today's UT.    Turns out only about half the money is going to the classroom.  The rest is going to eliminating furloughs and pay raises.  You almost have to admire their audaciousness.  I mean it's only been two months and they are already sticking it in our eye.  I guess that's what you can do when you control the Governor's office and the legislature with a super majority.  

Back in October I asked how dumb they thought we were.  Turns out we were really dumb and they knew it!  

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Motivation Monday

Cars Again...

Here's another compilation of cool cars.  These aren't your everyday machines.  Imagine driving down the road in any one of these!  I like them all, but I just can't deny drooling for an Aston Martin...

Cool Pic

I come across cool pictures every once in a while during my periodic Internet surfing.  So thought I'd post the ones that strike me as "cool".  Won't declare a regularity...will just post them periodically.


Eleven years.  Eleven years going on twelve we've been at war.  Surprised?  But that's probably a misstatement.  It's not we.  It's the military.  The diplomatic corps.  The CIA, DEA, and all those who have supported the effort.  But not the population as a whole.  The vast majority have gone about their daily lives.  Climbing the to life.  But not that small number who have actually answered the call.  They've gone to the other side of the world to fight..and die for the rest of us.  And that's okay.  It's an all volunteer force.  They knew what they were getting into.  And what they were getting into was like nothing we've experienced before.  Asymmetric warfare.  Warfare among non-combatants.   Fanatics straight out of the seventh century who are willing, even eager, to blow themselves up to kill as many of us that they can.  It's been a tough fight that, no matter what we do, will continue.  We don't know when and we don't know how, but it will continue.  But now we are coming home.

We all know that we began the effort as retaliation for the Sep 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York.  I could go through all the details but we all also remember the words and images.  And they are enough.  Afghanistan, Iraq, back to Afghanistan, surges, Patriot Act, IEDs, mind-numbing heat, Abu Gharib, WMD, purple fingers, Guantanamo, renditions, coalitions, Shiites, Halliburton, Sunnis, Kurds, Black Water, SpecOps, drones, Wounded Warriors, corruption, Green Zone, palaces, Taliban, etc, etc, etc.  It just goes on and on and on.  But its time to come home.

Or at least that's what our Commander in Chief says.  Commander in Chief.  That is an interesting title for Obama.  I'm confident that there hasn't been a less qualified Commander in Chief in our history.  But it is what it is.  Comes with the office.  But if you're woefully ill-equipped to do something, normally you need education, or mentoring, or training, or...something.  But none of that is available, or at least he doesn't seem to have benefited from any of that.  It's the classic case of OJT...on the job training.  But it takes time.  Think of Lincoln.  He didn't get comfortable with his Generals until probably about 1862.  At first it was a disaster.  Or it takes mentoring.  Think of FDR and General Marshall.  Marshall clearly was the architect and leader of the military, especially the Army, in WWII.  But Obama doesn't have experience or mentoring.  He's too busy reworking health care, fighting with Republicans, pitting us against each other, or playing golf.

National Security isn't a priority.  Simple as that.  We are disengaging...pulling back...looking for a peace dividend.  Let someone else lead.  Brits?  French?  Germans?  I think not.  More likely Chinese, Iranians, and Russians.  And of course Al Queda and other fanatics.  But we need to pay massive social bills.  So let's turn inward.  Think 1947.  Or 1974.  Or 1992.  But things go in cycles.  Trust me that the bad guys aren't slinking back to their caves.  If we go the way it looks like we're going, we won't be ready.  And it will be painful.  Don't know when.  Don't know how.  But it will come.

So, it seems to me, he's following his instincts rather than any plan.  Get out.  Cut and run.  He said we would leave and now we are.  And earlier than we said.  But as the title of this post indicates, I think we're exhausted.  The people fulfilling the commitment are exhausted and the population just doesn't want to hear it anymore.

The thing is, there are ways to do this.  Announcing you're leaving three years before you leave was mistake one.  But now I fear we're going to do the same thing in Afghanistan that we're doing in Iraq.  Draw way down in a manner that seems, well...willy-nilly.  Don't leave any credible force.  Leave a vacuum that Iran can fill.  Same thing in Afghanistan.  The good guys there (and there are some good guys) need our help.  We had a plan.  That plan is now gone.  Too bad.  We're going home.  CDR Salamander has a really good reaction and analysis of what's going on.  I think he is spot on...
"If this is the level of commitment that the Commander in Chief has in AFG ... then we are way past any measure of morality in keeping people in harm's way."
Most Presidents at some point, or maybe all the time depending on the person (Bubba), think about their legacy.  Obama is no different.  I'm sure his view is that part of his legacy will be that he got us out of Afghanistan.  Again, I agree with the CDR...
This is ALL on President Obama's head. He came in to office with a OPLAN that at least had a chance through Shape-Clear-Hold-Build and a conditions based path to some type of acceptable resolution. Now? Nothing. This eventual defeat is all of his making.
Like I said...things go in cycles.  But we are exhausted and we have bills to pay.  So be it.  Just don't be surprised...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Blood

Chargers pulled the trigger on hiring a new GM today.  Tom Telesco, 40 year old VP of football operations for the Indianapolis Colts.  Widely hailed as a great hire.  Young guy.  Great reputation.  Eats, sleeps, breathes football.  Fresh face, fresh ideas.  Now they need a coach.  Some say that this hire give Bruce Arians, Colts offensive coordinator, the inside track.  Maybe (and I think that would be okay) but I've got a feeling this guy has his own ideas and could spring a surprise.  We'll see.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What Game?

It was billed as the National Championship.  Alabama vs. Notre Dame.  Classic matchup.  Hyped for weeks.  Of course, most college football fans, me included, think the BCS is ridiculous.  By the time the championship game arrives (which is way too late) it has become tiresome.  And the game really suffers.

Now I'm anything but a Notre Dame fan and I sorta knew they were going to get their butts kicked...still, it was painful.  And embarrassing.  And, well...ho-hum.  Most probably turned it off at halftime.  So what is a cameraman to do in such a situation?  Hmmmm, there must be a few human interest stories in the stands.  So maybe during a lull, when Alabama is scoring yet another touchdown, they scan the stands for interesting things.  So at some point last night they focused on the Alabama quarterback's girlfriend, Katherine Webb.  And focused.  And focused.  And returned to focus some more.  Turns out she is a stunner.  Miss Alabama.  Auburn grad but it won't be held against her.  Even the announcers got in the act.  Poor Brent Musberger got a bit caught up in it.  He's a 73 year old guy who can obviously appreciate beauty, but did gush on a bit too much.

Anyway, maybe this will be this stimulation to get the BCS guys to change their tune.  When the main story the day after the championship game is the girlfriend of the winning quarterback, then you should know you've got a problem.  It's way past time for a playoff system to be implemented!

Monday, January 7, 2013


Owing most likely to my age and experiences, I'm a big fan of many things I remember from earlier days.  Don't get me wrong, I'm also a big fan of all the modern things we see around us.  But there is just something about some of the things I remember from my youth, especially those that personify Americana in simpler days.

One of those things are Norman Rockwell paintings.  I've always really liked them.  Remember seeing them in the Saturday Evening Post when I was a kid.  Gave me a warm feeling.  This group of photos and the paintings upon which they are based are not only interesting, but really remind me how talented he was.  I like them all very much, but I think I like this one the best...

Motivation Monday

The older (and hopefully wiser) I get, the more I believe this

Sunday, January 6, 2013


I mentioned in the post immediately below the need for a simple explanation regarding our nation's fiscal problems.  I ran across this today.  While it's true that the problem is more complicated than get the point.

Random Thoughts

So what are we to make of all the stupid "cliff stories" over the past few days?  If you've read about my trials with my broken arm, you will know I've had some time in the past several days to watch an excessive amount of TV.  Talk about all over the map!  It's really crazy.  Who to believe?  What really is happening and is likely to happen?  To be honest, I think it's very difficult to figure it all out unless you're paying close attention.  And even then both sides make claims that are obviously B.S.  It reminds me of a quote in an old Dan Jenkins book called "Semi-Tough".  The hero gets caught by his wife in an obvious dalliance with a young beauty and as he rolls out all the explanations, at one point he says, "Are you going to believe me, or your own eyes?".  And, you guessed it, he gets away with it

Last week was surreal.  In the midst of it all Congress gets sworn in.  All smiles.  Families in attendance.  And now the vast majority will dig in.  Take the party line. They say they have to do better but I don't see any mechanism or forcing function to drive them to governing.  It's times like these that I see why tea party took root.  Massive frustration that nothing is getting done, that its business as usual, and it seems to be all smoke and mirrors.

There are so many stories of who's doing what to fix the problems.  The cliff was averted...or was it.  I think it was just delayed.  The Republicans caved on some tax increases (they had no choice), there were minimal spending cuts, they've got to go back and negotiate all over again to get anything substantive done.  So this keeps them employed, keeps their celebrity status, keeps them re-elected.  Because we seem to be too dumb to find someone new.

Through it all two things jump out at me.  First, the Republicans have to be unified (they haven't been yet) and they need to tell the very simple story that this mess is about spending (everything about this mess is too complicated).  Think Ross Perot and his white boards.  Come up with a simple story that most folks can understand.  Saying that we can't tax the rich enough to solve our problems (see Margaret Thatcher's quote at the bottom of my blog) doesn't resonate.  Obama has won the class warfare battle for now.  I simply don't think intellectual facts will work in the face of his class warfare methods.

Which brings me to the second point.  Obama.  I'm sad to think he's going to be foisted on the country for another four years.  He is not only a disaster, I just don't think he cares very much.  The class warfare thing is a good example.  How many other Presidents have resorted to pitting Americans against each other?  And he's doing it for a principle that he knows will not make a difference.  Or how many other Presidents either don't know how or won't negotiate with Congress?  I mean, that is the fundamental quality that a Chief Executive needs.  How embarrassing that his VP had to go negotiate with Congress.  And now he wants more tax revenue (from somewhere), the ability to raise the debt ceiling, and a "balanced approach".  To quote Biden, "what a bunch of mullarky".  No matter what, they can't give this guy control of the debt.  It would be the disaster of disasters.

So what else have I observed as I sit here being waited on and healing (slowly).  The media is not serving us well.  They love the battles, the bickering, the tension.  You can almost see them salivating over it.  But I think there is something a bit different.  The stories coming out are so convoluted, so complicated, so he said, she said, that its almost like they are trying to confuse the public by not telling a simple description of what is going on.  It contributes to the public's frustration.  At least it contributes to my frustration.  But thru it all, I still come back to two things.  The Republicans have to become united and tell a simple story...and Obama is a disaster for the country!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Not what you're thinking, but rather drugs for medicinal purposes.  If you read my post about breaking my arm on New Year's Eve, it's probably no surprise that I'm on a cocktail of pain meds and  Antibiotics.  Thank goodness for these drugs but, as in most things, there is no free lunch.  I would be much worse off without the pain meds and suspect that the Antibiotics are protecting me from some dreadful infection.  But they come with nausea, dizziness, sleepiness, and a general inability to focus.  It's a weird feeling.  I have never taken these things before so it comes as a bit of a surprise.  You read about side effects, but it doesn't hit home until it hits you.  Now don't get me wrong...I'm very thankful that modern medicine has developed such wonderful and critically helpful drugs.  But at absolutely the first opportunity, I'm off these things!!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Friday Funnies

Don't know what they are looking at, but they all seem surprised...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


It's been an interesting few days...with many more to come.  We decided to have a nice relaxing New Years's Eve after a quick, but tiring, trip to Boston to see our son and his family, otherwise known as the East Coast Jungle (our daughter and her family live in SoCal and are known as the West Coast Zoo.  It's a funny little family thing.  Don't know why.  Just is.). So anyway, it was going to be quiet.  We had scrumptious grilled Salmon, baby potatoes, and one of my wife's signature salads.  All good.  I decided to spend some time out in the hot tub, enjoy the view, and soothe away some of the pains of spending a few long days on the plane.  My wife was too tired so it was just me.  As usual, it was great...very relaxing.  Spent about 20 minutes out back which is about right.

And then it happened!  I was stepping out of the hot tub to get a towel, must have hit a wet spot on the slate patio, and went down...hard!  Very hard.  Through instinct I put my hand down to brace myself.  The good news is that I didn't hit my head, hip, or other part of my body.  But boy did I do a number on my left arm!!!  I looked down and it was badly deformed.  It had broken about an inch above my wrist.  And then it started to hurt...and not just a little bit!

So I go running in the house, sopping wet with a deformed arm and say (or maybe screamed) we need to get to the hospital. Oh yeah, about this time we discover I'm bleeding from the underside of my arm.  And it wasn't just a little bit.  We run upstairs, I struggle mightily to get into shorts, tee shirt, and flip flops.  It was the best I could do.  Luckily the weather here in So Cal wasn't too bad so I wasn't too cold.  We get back down to the garage for the ride to the hospital and the garage door opener is broken.  We knew that but had forgotten.  My wife had back surgery a few months ago and I have been doing all the heavy lifting around here.  So I get in the car and she lifts the door, backs the car out, and then lowers it.  It was very difficult for her.  Oh yeah, as I came raging into the house my wife was talking to our daughter so she knew about the fall, but no details.  So she naturally starts to worry.

Off we go to the hospital.  It's about a 12 mile drive but feels like 120.  We remembered to get some ice in a bag for the trip but it wasn't helping much.  Plus I was still bleeding and the only thing I had to wipe it with was the Red Sox tee shirt I was wearing.  It was a long, long ride.  We pulled in to Emergency about 9:00 pm on New Year's Eve.

When we walked in, expecting the worst, it really wasn't too crowded.  Walked up to the counter and the check in nurse said "it's a 4 hour wait".  Then I unwrapped the ice from my arm and he took one look and said "but you're going to be fast-tracked!".  So i got taken back to xray and on to a treatment room.  The P.A. was a real comedian.  He took one look at the xray and started chuckling.  I think I heard him say I did a real number on my arm.  But he was a nice guy.  Retired Army.  Lots of experiences and stories.  But my pain was increasing and I didn't see any action to give me something for it.  He said it was my lucky day because the Head of Orthopedics was on call and would be seeing me.  And literally everyone i talked to the rest of the night told me the same thing.

So the Doc came in a little while later, took a look at the xray and said the first thing he had to do was reduce the injury.  Now, I haven't spent a lot of time around doctors or hospitals (they are the natural enemies of Naval Aviators) but I thought I had heard the term before.  But just to be safe I asked what that meant.  So he said something like, "i pull on your elbow and the P.A. pulls on your hand until the bone pops back in place".  Another comedian!  But he actually did do that, after filling my lower arm with lidocaine, and it wasn't too bad.

But then he discovered that the break was so smooth that it wouldn't hold in position without inserting some pins.  And he was worried that the bleeding might be coming from another problem he couldn't see and wanted to thoroughly clean it to prevent infection.  This guy was very thorough...and very good!!  So now it's about 1:00 am and they wheel me over to the operating room.

These folks were very impressive.  Here it is 1:00 am on New Years Day, the surgical team had been called in, and you'd have thought it was just another routine procedure.  I'm a big fan of seeing professionals at their best, and that's what these folks were.  Of course, I didn't see much of it.  The Anesthesiologist was waiting for me and said he was going to give me a shot and I would be out.  He also was going to give me nerve block for my arm and it would be numb for 12-16 hours.  Huh?  Don't know how that works but it does.  My arm was like an unfeeling wet noodle for about 16 hours.  Amazing!  Anyway, he asked if I was ready and of course in my most manly voice said yes so he pushed the plunger...and I was gone.

Don't remember a thing until waking up a few hours later in recovery.  They took up to a very nice room overlooking the golf course where I stayed until about 1:00 pm and went home.  My wife had gone home about 5:00 am, got a few hours sleep and came back to get me (and brought better clothes than I arrived in).  Before I left the Doc came in to give me the low down (and he looked surprisingly refreshed!).  Turns out the Radius bone was not only completely severed, it had moved over and jammed the ulna.  That's what caused the puncture and bleeding.  Oh yeah...I also ripped the major muscle in my lower arm.  To repair the damage, he had to insert pins in the bones and then to insure stability he has some pins and a stabilizer bar on the outside connected to the pins on the inside.

Of course, I can't see any of this stuff because I've got a huge soft cast covering it all up.  And I've got to keep it on for 6 weeks.  And I have no idea when I can go back to work.  And I can't drive.  But I do have a little bottle of Percocet that keeps me relatively happy!

Lessons Learned?

  • Slate is good looking stuff but can be slippery.  Will get a mat before we go back in.    
  • There are some incredibly talented and dedicated professionals in the medical field.  I suspect that most know this, but having an experience like this really makes it hit home!  
  • It sure is great to go through life with someone you love and who is there when the chips are down!  I took care of her after her back surgery, and she is helping me now.  
  • People are fundamentally nice and caring.  I've had a ton of folks reach out to wish me well.
  • Percocet is a good thing!  But not too much.  I couldn't get thru this without it, but I'm already reducing the amount i take.
So that was our New Year's Eve.  There will probably be some interesting days to come.  But nothing we can't handle.  As our Daughter used to say when she was a little kid and we'd ask her how something was, she'd say, "it was fun and hard...but not too hard".   Finally, I typed this with one hand, so give me a break!