Category Archives: Reality

How to fit on an airplane

Back before airlines gave up service and started playing at security, flying was more fun. Now they want to tell you how much you can weigh and whether or not you fit in the seat. My thought is that if you are sitting in the seat, you fit. If someone says you do not when you obviously do, they just want to find a reason to charge you more money.
Some people are fat and some are thin, some tip their seat in your lap, and some are holding a crying baby all the way home. Once I was on a flight to Berlin with a 6-year-old and an infant (both mine), and the flight was full of German tourists going home after a fun time in the U.S. The flight was the final fling, and they kept the stewardesses busy bringing them drinks. I understand a last fling. Who doesn’t? We need to have a little tolerance for other people.
What we do not need to tolerate is crowding and overbooking. On that same flight I was told to bring the car seat because regulations required the baby to be in the car seat with the car seat belted into its own seat on the airplane. I did bring the car seat. At the airport they put a luggage tag on it and sent it on with my suitcases and told me that they had no extra seats so I would have to hold the baby. I protested, and they were willing to let me file a complaint and take a later flight, or they said I could file a complaint when I got to Berlin.
So the airline charged for two seats, and then put me, the baby, and all of the stuff I had to carry for the two children in one seat. Believe me, we spilled over the armrests big time. And the tourist who fell in my lap fortunately chose a time when the baby was on my shoulder, and he did in fact apologize. It left me a little light-headed from the side-stream alcohol.

Occasional benefits

Once in a while there is something good that comes about because I have been around a long time, like becoming eligible for Medicare. It appears also that when I was in school in 1957 there was a strain of flu similar to H1N1, and people exposed to that one are immune to H1N1. Whether or not I was exposed to flu in 1957 would be one of the many things I have trouble remembering…

Now I know

I am a step closer to perfection because of a newsletter that came to my hand from the Human Resources Office. This is the office that used to be called ?Personnel.?
On the front page, half of the space was given to how to manage student employees. Maybe somebody already knows how I feel about the student debt culture and our over-worked stressed-out assessed-to-oblivion young people. If they work hard and get a scholarship, they lose their subsidized loan and work-study and get thrown to the loan shark pool. Oh, wait. That is a negative thought. I forgot what the whole back page is about.
On the back page under the title “The Power of Positive Attitude” is an extended message from Remez Sasson. I looked for this name in Wikipedia, and there was no entry. However, on a Google search, I got 14,800 hits in 0.11 seconds. So Sasson is around, just not getting any cultural definition.
The message from Sasson that Human Resources wants to convey is that if I want to be successful I am not supposed to think negative thoughts. I am supposed to choose to be happy, choose to be and stay optimistic, have faith in myself and in others, associate myself with happy people, read inspiring quotes, visualize only what I want to happen, look at the bright side of life, find reasons to smile more often, learn concentration and meditation, read inspiring stories, repeat affirmations that inspire and motivate me, learn to master my thoughts, and contemplate upon the futility of negative thinking and worries.
Now I know why the person who sees the problem becomes the problem. If it weren?t for people who see problems, there wouldn?t be problems ? duh.

Fox porn field trip

If your desk at work is as busy as mine, you need a field trip, but this one is not safe for work. So when you have a minute that is your own, take a clicky-mouse hike over to MediaChannel Dot Org and look at some of the video from the folks who watch FOX so you don’t have to!
What can you say?
Read the whole story and follow some of the links for interesting contrasts, like the interview with James Dobson. Maybe that is what they mean by “fair and balanced.”

Fiscal responsibility

Today in The New York Times, in a story “Republicans Join Vote to Override Water Bill Veto” By CARL HULSE, there is further proof that the horizontal hold on the reality tube appears to be out again. I don’t know if there are many people who remember what that effect did to the picture — it was a TV thing. Part or all of the picture lost the vertical line and turned into a wave pattern. You could watch it, but you couldn’t actually see it. If it was your favorite soap opera and the TV repairman was slow, you could listen to the dialog and just trust where the story was going based on what you heard. Only people who have watched soap operas know how risky that could be. For one thing, you couldn’t tell from the scrambled picture who overheard what was said, how they overheard it, or what their reaction was. In the soaps, as in politics, the dialog was one small level of a story with many hidden nuances, questionable associations, and subplots.
Apparently, the Bush base can accept a war that has lost millions in dollars and quite a few weapons and used borrowed money underwritten by us and our children to pay many times over for what they have not gotten once, but they are mad at Mr. Bush over his exorbitant spending on medical care:

Mr. Bush and Republican leaders are taking a harder line on spending out of a belief that voters in 2006 punished them for allowing federal spending to creep upward in the last six years and creating a costly new Medicare drug benefit.

Anybody up for comparing the cost of the drug benefit to the cost of the Iraq war? Who among Republicans is mad at the Bush II administration for creating a costly Medicare drug benefit? All of the profit goes into the pockets of his “base.” Remember, he let the drug companies make the plan themselves. That is like paying the fox to gather the eggs. The fox is complaining?
I am waiting for one example of the Bush II administration actually funding something that the people in the United States need. We need universal health care, secure retirement, disaster relief, roads and bridges, good schools, a safe food supply, a safe workplace, and energy independence. And we need a plan of action against terrorism that actually reduces the threat, not one that throws grease on the fire.

Religion and Politics

Some people believe in Hell, and others do not. I believe that Hell is just wishful thinking. For instance, imagine that you are George W. Bush, and you wake up one morning and realize exactly what you have done in the world. The first five seconds of that realization would be an eternity in Hell.
But, you say, he will never wake up to that. He should, and we would be better off if he did, but it is still just wishful thinking.

A New Direction in Iraq

In The New York Times, “Bush Plan for Iraq Requests More Troops and More Jobs” By David E. Sanger, January 7, 2007, some tidbits of the new direction in Iraq:

President Bush?s new Iraq strategy calls for a rapid influx of forces that could add as many as 20,000 American combat troops to Baghdad, supplemented with a jobs program costing as much as $1 billion intended to employ Iraqis in projects including painting schools and cleaning streets, according to American officials who are piecing together the last parts of the initiative….
A crucial element of the plan would include more than doubling the State Department?s reconstruction efforts throughout the country, an initiative intended by the administration to signal that the new strategy would emphasize rebuilding as much as fighting.

So much for the new plan for the war. More critical is the plan for how to make it look like a new plan:

When Mr. Bush gives his speech, he will cast much of the program as an effort to bolster Iraq?s efforts to take command over its own forces and territory, the American officials said. He will express confidence that Mr. Maliki is committed to bringing under control both the Sunni-led insurgency and the Shiite militias that have emerged as the source of most of the violence. Mr. Maliki picked up those themes in a speech in Baghdad on Saturday in which he said that multinational troops would support an Iraqi effort to secure the capital.

Somehow I am not reassured. I want to know:

  • How is more of the same a change in direction?
  • How is more of the same even a new plan?
  • And what did they talk about for four weeks while they told us they were formulating a new plan?

I saw Mr. Maliki on CNN, and he did say that the Iraq was ready to take up the challenge of policing the country. He also said that any one of his people who did not carry out his orders would be severely punished. That statement did not have the ring of a budding democracy to me.
And reconstruction comes after a war is over. I am sure that I have that sequence right. It is purely stupid to pour money into reconstruction while they are still blowing stuff up. Isn’t that a little like sending in a crew to repair the smoke damage while the building is still burning?

More Spam

Another 120 or so new spam messages in two days! I am finding that a lot of this comes from (or references in the source code) “theempirehost.com,” which appears to be something that is “coming soon.” Anyway, with the new messages the count is over two hundred. These include:

  • Wheel of Fortune Spin, 14
  • dish satelite TV, 3
  • Got2BeDish.com, 3
  • rewards gateway, 3
  • Pepsi vs Coke,Coke vs Pepsi 12
  • Home Depot, 10
  • Ebay Tools,Education,Trainers 14
  • Customer Center Walmart, 13
  • Customer Electronics Circuit City, 13
  • Target, 5
  • JC Penny, 3
  • PrizeDept (Walgreens) 2
  • Stop Smoking/SpecialOfferforSmokers, 6
  • Christians wanting to sell me something, 6
  • dating services (Catholic, black, Asian, Christian, etc.) 21
  • Car financing, 12
  • easy credit or getting out of debt. 25
  • Home Depot, 5
  • body image (breast enlargement, weight loss, grow hair, look younger), 18
    </ul
    These 200+ unsolicited e-mails have offered me everything from land in Costa Rica to ringtones, and one wanted to give me free Uggs. There were a lot of offers of affordable health insurance, toys, and best prices and dealz. Five just asked me "Deal — or no deal, Sarah?" Three addressed me as "Dude."
    I used to get a little spam e-mail, but a few weeks ago a relative posted photos to a site called Ringo, and I went there and logged in to see the photos. I went through 30 screens clicking "no" to offers, then logged out without accepting anything or seeing the new baby photographs. The next day the spam flood started. I have not been able to stop it since that time, even with blacklists for the account name I used there. So if Ringo didn't do it, it had the bad fortune to look like the trigger.
    Well, enough about spam. I'll empty my deleted items box and go have breakfast.

Don’t Like Spam

My service provider sent out a message that they are working on reducing spam. They have much to do. The count for November 30-December 1 is 162 spam e-mail messages, including:

  • Wheel of Fortune Spin, 9
  • dish satelite TV, 3
  • Got2BeDish.com, 2
  • rewards gateway, 3
  • Pepsi vs Coke, 3
  • Coke vs Pepsi, 7
  • Home Depot Offer, 6
  • Home Depot Gift, 4
  • Ebay Tools, 5
  • Ebay Education, 5
  • Customer Center Walmart, 9
  • Customer Electronics Circuit City, 9
  • Heidi French (Target), 2
  • Target Dealz, 1
  • Jennifer Patterson, (JC Penny) 1
  • PrizeDept (Walgreens) 2
  • Stop Smoking/SpecialOfferforSmokers, 4

December 1 is not over yet…
More Spam yet to come, I imagine.

Not to be too critical…

The sign has changed. It now reads “SIGN BROKEN / MESSAGE INSIDE THIS SUNDAY.” Now there is a message on the sign, so the sign is not broken. It seems to me that the sign genie is again asserting that something is so when it is obviously not so. I think I have spotted a trend.