Month: August 2011

Vote Somebody Off The Island?

I have always been curious why reality show writers and producers stage the action around voting somebody off the island. I think it gives the show a negative flavor, and the writers and producers seem to delight in all the negative ebb and flow generated.

It makes so much more sense to vote for those whom YOU WANT TO STAY ON THE ISLAND TO HELP YOU SURVIVE! It is more realistic, and you would still get people voting AGAINST other people, but I think this method would give these shows a positive flavor, and would make them more realistic.

But then, I am a positive person.

If I were in a do or die situation where others can help me survive, I will be looking for the people who can help me do just that. I would be willing to pay less attention to my dislike of a person who is skilled at, say, hunting or nursing than I would their sour personalities. You can always murder them, later.

So, how do you feel about it? Live or die, how would you approach keeping good folks, or just throwing out those you don’t like? How would it work?

Capitalism Is A Moral System

I have always been fascinated by the subject of economics. Some of my most enjoyable graduate school classes were in economics, and I pay rapt attention to economic news and Federal economic policy. The interview linked below is with John Allison, former CEO of BB&T, who articulates what has gone wrong with the US financial system, and why we are not in free market. His conclusions are compelling.

Mr Allison is now on the faculty at Wake Forest University. The interview is by Glenn Reynolds, Law Professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Allison Video Link

H/T to Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds blog.

Coupon-osis Strikes The Nation!

It had to happen. As soon as I get interested in something, somebody has to ruin it for everyone else.

Fox News in Atlanta reports that an area Kroger store manager refused to accept coupons from Khadijah Herring, a woman known as a devoted, frequent couponer. When Herring asked about his decision,  the manager said, “…because you are a habitual coupon user”.

Wow! A new disease is threatening society, extreme couponing!  You just think you have had heard of everything. Just wait until our government hears about this new threat.

There will be Congressional action to stop this horrible trend. They will establish couponing as a hate crime, and impose extraordinary punishments for these egregious infractions against our fellow man.

Out of work scientists will make studies of couponing habits, and will establish a pathology and a name for the disease, couponosis. The studies will not contain actual mathematics or data. Like many government funded scientists they will make it up as they go.

Now that we have a crime and a disease, we have to have a cure. That, boys and girls, will be a new, gound breaking, bank disolving procedure, the couponoplasty. It will consist of inserting large objects into the nether orifices of taxpayers.

But, wait! They are not through. Those bogus studies will be siezed upon by the National Science Foundation as an indictment of the American health care system. The Federal Government will be impelled to act quickly because things will be worse than they thought.

Look for a new entitlement system for those habitual couponers. A special issue of food stamps will be legislated. There will be big, perforated sheets of coupons called buckoffs. These will be clippable, crisp, one dollar coupons redeemable for food, rent, fuel, booze, and breath mints.

Problem solved.

My New World

One of my duties as the man of the house is to do the grocery shopping. Yes, I know. That is a role normally reserved for the little woman. About the time that the last kid left home, my wifey-mate decided that she was retiring from the shopping and cooking thing.

Don’t worry. It’s OK. I have discovered a new world in grocery stores. Wednesday mornings are particularly good for shopping because several stores give a 5% senior citizen discount on that day. On Wednesdays, I believe the shelves are loaded with merchandise that is old enough to be pulled from the shelves. That is why there is a discount, and old folks are less likely to complain to management about green meat and purple tomatoes, especially those like me that are color blind.
All of which makes Thursdays a wonderful day for shopper watching. You see, housewives have broken the code that the good stuff goes on the shelves Wednesday nights, and are likely to do their weekly shopping on Thursday mornings, right after their tennis lessons or gym workouts. Those tennis skirts and spandex tights vouch for their devotion to athletics and strenuous shopping.
Coupons are getting my interest, too. When I was young, rich, and working I pretty well ignored coupons because they rarely applied to stuff I liked. Plus, my wife does not use Tide detergent or other popular, coupon generating products. I have been stuck on Campbell’s soup all my life, along with Peter Pan peanut butter, Keebler saltines… Well, you get the message.
There is a program on one of the cable channels called, “Extreme Couponing“. The program features different fanatical coupon clippers who sit around all day, every week going through newspapers for their gold. They will find coupons for, say, 50 cents off on a bottle of aspirin, or $1.00 off on a bottle of detergent. They will get as many newspapers as they can from neighbors, friends, and recycling companies. It can take a ton of papers to get a good coupon harvest.
On double coupon days at their local grocer, they will combine the local store sale price, online coupons, and newspaper coupons to convert some items into cash positive transactions. They will clean the store out of that item as in one episode where a woman bought over 100 bottles of pain reliever, which gave her over $50 cash credit to cover the grocery items for her family’s consumption. 
The problem is that you have to have the 100 coupons to do this, and they cannot be expired. Coupon organization and management is a big thing with these thrifty souls.
It was not unusual for some people to ring up almost $2,000 in grocery items, and pay less than $10 cash for the whole kit and kaboodle. For example, they would use their Kroger card to get the store sale price, and various coupons for others. Occasionally, somebody would wind up with a week’s groceries and not pay at all, even receiving some cash in return.
My question is, where do they find all those coupons? I looked in the Sunday paper, and didn’t find squat. Maybe I am not looking in the right places. When the paper advertises that it has $200 in coupons that day, a lot of them seem to be for stuff you don’t always want to buy, like garage doors, carpet, or other major household items. There are no double coupon days for those things.
I guess there is a lot to learn from my fellow shoppers. Maybe I should spend more time talking with the ladies than gawking at them. 

The Mouths of Babes

You have to watch yourself around your grandchildren. I have a 3 year old grandson, Miles, and a 16 month old granddaughter, Georgia. At their age their little brains are like sponges, soaking up all that wisdom for which grandparents are noted.

Some time ago, we were discussing the upcoming one year birthday for Georgia, and I made the statement that I didn’t know what to get her for the occasion. Miles, having had two of his own birthdays and a couple of other parties under his belt, quickly made sense of the situation and solved Georgia’s birthday present problem.

Cake!”, he yelled. You have to admire the potential of someone so young who has their priorities settled.

As in all families, we worked hard to come up with easily pronounced, cute grandparent names for both sides of Miles’ family. My wife didn’t want “mammaw”, or some other traditional grandmother names. She wisely decided on “Mimi”. It works well, and both kids can now pronounce her pseudonym.

I don’t care what the kids call me. I offered up my name, Bob, but my daughter said it  did not give me respect, as if she ever did.  So, I became Bob-Bob. It works, and both kids can say it.

The recent discovery is that Bob-Bob is the good granddad. Whenever Miles does not approve of my conduct, he truncates the cute little name to just plain, Bob. My daughter’s concern is coming to life, probably because whenever she speaks ill of me, she calls me Bob, clearly disrespecting her old man.

Last night while babysitting, Miles wanted a cheese snack. I found Kraft American cheese slices in the fridge, peeled one out of its wrapper, and dropped it on a plate in front of Miles. The problem is that Mimi had been feeding him a snack of vegetables and ranch dressing. The cheese slice plopped right in the middle of a puddle of dressing.

Instantly, Miles made known his disapproval of my service. He doesn’t like certain things, and one is the combination of cheese and ranch dressing. I can’t blame him, there.

Bob threw it!”, he told Mimi. This told me three things. First, you can’t get away with anything less than the slavish service his mother gives him. Second, the little tyke is quick to voice his opinion of less than acceptable conduct. Third, I had been demoted to something less than grandparent du jour.

Thank God for two of them. Georga didn’t seem to have a problem with ranch dressing on American cheese. She ate every bite.

Afterwards, she raised her little arms for me to hold her. That just melts me like ice cream in July.

The Climate Change Chant

Global Warming is real
But it’s no big deal
As any plain fool can see
The waters go up
The waters go down
The levels stay the same at the sea

When I go swimming
I keep thinking
It’s the heat of the day for me
We know it’s not smart
In the pool to fart
Or to jump in the water to pee

The temps go up
The temps go down
I think we can all agree
To shut the hell up
About the climate
It’s as good as climate can be

Somebody’s Got To Do It

With retirement comes opportunity. Suddenly, like it or not, you have the time to take on some pretty important tasks that you have left for others. It is a time to exult in freedom, and watch bad movies on weekday nights.

You can go to bed at three o’clock in the morning, sleep until ten o’clock, and not worry about somebody (except your wife) beating up on you for your much deserved slothfulness.

It is my turn to contemplate faster than light (FTL) space travel and other as yet undiscovered principles of physics.  I know it sounds a bit like science fiction, but I have been watching the History Channel, and not only do they show some pretty good stuff on UFO’s, but they are also solving the problem of traveling at sub-light speed. If you really want to go somewhere, 55 mph won’t get it.

Of course I don’t plan on solving all these problems by myself. I intend to do a study of Tennessee sipping whiskey and light speed drives for space ships. Now, hold on a bit. This is not a joke. I have to make up for lost time, and the squandered opportunities of my youth.

It is time to squander my retirement years. Why else have I worked so hard?

When I was young man, I was taught to work for my money, and everything else that came along. My family was a big family, and the folks could not afford to pay anything on my college education. Indeed, none of my siblings at the time had a college education. I was the first.

I worked my way through engineering school at radio and television stations as a broadcast engineer, and I didn’t have time for all the dope smoking, free sex, and general debauchery of the Viet Nam war generation. If I had been caught doing drugs, I would have been thrown out of school, and fired from my job. Plus, future employment would be jeopardized because of a criminal record. It happened to lots of kids.

Now that I am retired and have lost my baby face and some of my incredible sex appeal, I am forced to spend time improving life for others. Yep, FTL is the way to go, and I anticipate my inspiration from Tennessee whiskey; Jack Daniels, to be sure.