Friday, November 12, 2010

3159 The rich get richer and the poor, well, what do they matter?

Friday, November 12, 2010

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
-- Aristotle --


Piper and I have some social and political differences. He is Republican to the point of thinking Sarah Palin makes sense. When you get him started he rails against lazy people who don't work, don't save, and who are experts at "working the system". Yeah, I saw a lot of that when I was doing court and family mediation, and I don't like it either. Where we differ is that he wants to eliminate all government social programs. He doesn't seem to realize that there are people who are in honest need of assistance. He seems to think that it is always their own stupidity that puts them in that position, and he shouldn't have to pay for their lack of planning.

Here's where that kind of thinking leads:

The real 'death panels' are coming from the GOP

Read the article. It's frightening, and I believe it to be absolutely true. Giving tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations, and giving tax dollars to the military industry, creates deficits that some people, mainly the beneficiaries of those programs, want to use as an excuse to reduce or cut out social programs.

My tin hat is buzzing so hard it's giving me a headache.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

3158 Ocular/Ophthalmic Migraine

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer."


Just a note, for future reference. I'm having one. An optical/ocular/ophthalmic migraine. The third, I think, since the first one that scared me in 1996ish. A bright flashing circle of jagged lines, slowly expanding. No pain, but a heavy "solid" feeling in my right eye.

Very strange.

3157 Attention Civil War Buffs!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."
-- Thomas Edison --


The NY Times is doing a series on the civil war, started October 30, 2010, with the news of October 31, 1860. I got the impression from the introduction that there would be a weekly roundup of news articles from the New York Times and other papers from that week 150 years ago, with occasional essays, so I signed up for the RSS feeds through Google Reader - but it seems like some days I'm getting one, two, or three updates per day. Well, they're short, and so far fascinating. I am not a Civil War buff, but I'm enjoying the analysis.

If you are interested, the series starts just before the election, here:

To get to the next post in the series, don't go to "Next Post" at the bottom. Instead, you can step through using the "Related Posts" at the center bottom. They are listed sequentially.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

3156 Such a pretty table, but....

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."


Please, World, learn the difference between "peek" and "peak". They are NOT the same word!


Monday afternoon I headed north, and Monday night and Tuesday morning I loaded the van with more stuff to bring to the new house.

The first thing loaded Monday evening was the marble table. Other than the houses and vehicles, it's probably the heaviest thing I own. The top is somewhere around 42 inches in diameter, and 1.5 inches thick, and solid marble, colored marble inlay over a solid marble slab. It sits (rather frighteningly loosely) on a ceramic base. I want to use it as a breakfast table.
I suspect the base was once a plant stand, and the table once had wrought iron legs or something, and somewhere along the line they got married, as they say in the antiques game, and in the interests of liability reduction I may have to divorce them, but ... anyway ... back to the story, The Hairless Hunk wrestled it from my basement, around the corner of the house, up the hill, and to the van. Amazing.

So far, I've had three men help me move it. The first move was from the auction house to the Suzuki, where the top leaned on edge in the back seat for several weeks because I couldn't get it out of the car myself. The second move was from the car to the basement, through the basement SGD, when the auction house guy delivered a chest after the next auction, and I asked him to help me get it out of the car. It lived in my basement for a year or so. The third move was from the basement to the minivan Monday evening. The Hairless Hunk was working in his yard when I went past on my way to the old house, and I asked him if he would help me.

The flippin' thing must weigh almost 200 lbs. I can support almost 100 lbs if I can rest it on the top of my thighs, so with another person I can help to move it, and in every case I've asked these guys to help me - and in every case they've insisted on doing it themselves. Testosterone overload, I guess.

So, anyway, we laid it flat on the open center floor of the van, and then I packed everything else on top of it, and drove back to the new house last night. This afternoon Daughter helped me unload the van, but the table top is still out there.

I suggested that maybe when Hercules got home from work, the three of us could bring it into the house, but she said no way. Without having heard my experience with men "helping", she, being smarter than I, said that if we involved Hercules, he'd insist on doing it himself, and she's not too happy with that idea. He's strong and healthy, but he's a marathoner-type athlete, not a weightlifter. He sits at a desk when he's not running up and down stairs. But being idiot male, he'll try anyway.

Yeah, that's the way it seems to work.

I need to find several people, all at once, either all females or a group with a minimum of two males. At the moment, I don't have the faintest idea who or how. I think I'm going to be hauling it around in the van for a while.


Sunday, November 07, 2010

3155 Wrecking wrapping

Sunday, November 7, 2010

"If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month."


Sometimes some small thing will get stuck in my head, and I can't get rid of it. Like an earworm song, but different in that it's something I want to do or say, but I know I can't, and it just gets stuck.

And that's one of the reasons I have this journal. I can say stuff here that I can't say out loud or to whomever I want. That's also why very few people who know me know where this blog is, especially not people who might know the person I want to complain about or to. (There's exactly one of those - and I trust him to not spread what I'm about to complain about now.)

There's a woman in Mensa that I find very difficult to take. She's actually an innocent soul, not a bad person, but she's a drama queen. Fakes an asthma attack at the sight of an electronic cigarette, or real cigarettes across the street and downwind. (Fake because it stops when she wants to say something, then starts up again.) Believes that no one should have children, and wanted to deny financial assistance to another member because he had children. When another woman and I were in menopause and having hot flashes, she decided she was in menopause, too, even though it was about 15 or more years too soon for her. She just didn't like sharing the spotlight (or heat lamp, as it were).

She sets up one of the group annual scholarship fund money makers - gift wrapping at Barnes & Nobel, sometime in early December. There have to be two people at the table at all times. I had volunteered for the full day for many years, most other people would put in a 4-hour shift, and then one day I decided I wasn't going to do it any more.

My reasons were many, but I never really expressed any because I'd get the reaction, "Well, then, why don't you just do it yourself?"

One complaint is that we wrap purchases for free (materials, table, etc. provided by B&N) but there's a donation box, so people know they are expected to donate a dollar or so. Now, people who will pay to have a gift wrapped with store wrapping are usually getting a last-minute gift. So scheduling the gift wrapping three weeks before the holiday doesn't work as well as doing it three days before. This woman also schedules the same wrapping gig for Sierra Club, and I noticed that Sierra Club always gets better dates.

Second, she always comes for a four to six hour shift herself, but she's NEVER on time. She is consistently one or two hours late, and I have occasionally had to cover that time alone, skipping lunch. Usually the previous person stays over, and once they see how she wraps, they stay the full time.

Third, she is the sloppiest wrapper I have ever seen. We're wrapping books and boxes, for Pete's sake! There's no excuse for not having sharp neat corners. But she just pokes and bunches and scrunches the paper at the ends, she tears the paper unevenly, the "wrong side" of the paper sticks out from the scrunch at the ends, she covers the gifts in so much tape it's like she plans to mail them --- they are messy! I've seen six-year-old children do a better job. I am embarrassed for Mensa that we're handing that mess to a customer. I and others at the table, many of us, have offered to show her how to measure and cut to fit, how to center the seam, how to trim the ends and crease folds, how to use at most three tiny strips of tape, but she simply says "Oh, I can't do that" and flatly refuses to learn.

She sees nothing wrong.

We've tried edging her out, getting the packages before she can destroy them. But she's enthusiastic and leaps, elbows flying. She wraps very quickly, and grabs the next. She never notices the dismayed look on the face of the customer when she hands them their gift. You know that the customer rewraps the book after they get it home.

That embarrassment and her refusal to learn was the reason I quit. I no longer wanted to have anything to do with it. I was tired of cringing. Of not being able to look customers in the eye. Others who have refused to go back have said the same thing.

So, a few days ago she sent out a call for volunteers for this year's wrapping. In the email, she says, "And believe me, you don't need to be an expert at wrapping; heaven knows I'm not."

You have no idea how much that pisses me off. She complains that she can't get volunteers, and I want so very very badly to tell her why!