Sunday, November 30, 2008

I Hate Those Cursed Decepta-Siths!

Personally, I blame Darth Vader and Megatron. After all, they have both spent the majority of their lives actively trying to mess things up for others!

I mean, just look at these evil freaks...

Have you ever seen a pair of freedom-hating scuzzballs as nasty as them? It's obvious just by looking at their manufactured mugs of malfeasance that they would happily take a can-opener to their own mothers just to thwart a random, helpless, and perfectly innocent blogger like (just to name one COMPLETELY at random) me!

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As you, my loyal readership have certainly noticed by now, I am nothing if not utterly and completely devoted to providing you all with your daily dose of Sage Words; so it would HAVE to be an insidious outside force acting upon my unwilling person that would cause me to miss yesterday's blog, and NOT my own propensity to be distracted by shiny objects and new toys!

So here's the skinny:

Back at the beginning of November, I decided to participate in NaBloPoMo, at the behest of Yarntangler and Geezerguy. After a few days of actually posting here every day (instead of my normal "whenever the heck I feel like it") I found out that NaBloPoMo actually stands for something! So I looked it up.

As it turns out, NaBloPoMo means National Blog Posting Month. It was started as a joke by a wonderfully talented writer (the preceeding is a shameless attempt at sychophancy. If you do not have a strong enough stomach for that sort of thing, please accept my apologies for the nausia and the dry cleaning bill) named Eden Mariott Kennedy who writes her own blog called Fussy which I find quite amusing. I suggest you check it out.

NaBloPoMo is essentially an exercize in writing discipline. Now as my close friends and family will all attest to, I am nothing if not in desprate need of dicipline, (I once put two milk cartons with pinholes in them under the back seat of a teacher's car, but not untill I had properly "aged" the milk!) and doubly so when it comes to writing! So this was a great opportunity for me to try to achieve some!

The rules were simple. Post to your blog every day in November. That's it! No ground rules, no pre-determined topics, no advertising for Simpson's Individual Flood Preventers, nothing! Just write!

Whatever comes to mind, any length, and topic, any time as long as it was posted before midnight! So here is a reminder of what I wrote about (see the archive links to read them over if you like!):

  • Four or five posts about writing
  • Four posts on technology and geek stuff
  • Four posts about politics (kinda low for me!)
  • Three posts about my friend Sid
  • Six posts where I mostly just slapped up a picture and called it a night
  • Two posts about my own laziness (there would have been more but, you know how it is...)
  • Two posts about our new house (none very detailed, or satisfying, I know!)
  • And four undefined (possibly deranged) posts full of gobbledygook
Now there was really only one way to screw this up which, at the eleventh hour, I did. I failed to post anything yesterday.

Now, truth be told, it would have been easy to slap something on here and change the post date so it would appear as if I had posted yesterday, but I would not be able to accept that (somehow I have to find a way to get rid of that dang Integrity Gene!). So here I am, laying it all out there for you. I missed a day and there's nothing I can do about it.

But I'm telling you, it was Darth Vader and Megatron conspiring against me!

You may recall me mentioning a certain Plasma TV purchase I was planning to make? (Go on, check it out. I'll wait.) Well, the sad truth of the matter is, I got it. It's a 42 inch Panasonic Viera and it is (as they say back in England) "real purty"!

Geek-Topia!


So I got it yesterday and set it up. And calibrated it. And tuned it. And admired it. And caressed it. And named a future child after it. Then I made an error; I decided to test it.

Now, I don't know about you (actually I do, and if you don't cut that out right now, I'm telling Mom!) but I firmly believe that all new Audio/Visual equipment should rightfully be tested by a viewing of "Star Wars". [That's just "Star Wars", not "Episode Four: A New Hope"! You got that Lucas?!?! I refuse to buy into your revisionist, namby-pamby, "Greedo Shot First" do-over mentality you weasel! NEVER!] So I popped it in. It was, if I may say so, freakin' awesome!

When that was over, I felt the need to try out something a bit more recent (actually, Chica wanted to see it too, so it was a way to score some cheap brownie points!) so I put in Transformers. It too, was awesome!

It was thirty minutes too awesome, actually. When it was over, and I checked my watch, it was half-past midnight! I had missed the 29th! I MISSED IT! And it's all because of Darth Vader and Megatron!

It has to be, right? It couldn't be me!? Sure, I love consumer electronics as much as the next guy (MORE! The next guy doesn't appreciate the difference between 1080i and 1080p, but I DO!) but that doesn't mean I would neglect my adoring fan(s) by leaving them hanging like that! Does it?

I'm so ashamed.

So I guess this is it. I failed the NaBloPoMo movement in its pennultimate moment. I let down the Legions of adoring fans I've accumulated (imagined) since the beginning of the month, and I must pay for it dearly.

My punishment? Well that's up to you! Comment on this post and tell me what you think would be the most appropriate way to atone for my careless indifference to your literary requirements. I'll publish them all in a future post and let Chica pick the winner!

Until then, sorry about yesterday. It couldn't be helped!




-Sage Words

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

Chica and I bought a washer and dryer and a new vacuum at a Black Friday sale this morning. By 0700 this morning we had spent $1300, made a deal to buy a $1300 TV for just over $700, and eaten breakfast.

Wow. I haven't been that productive in months!




-Sage Words

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Guess What?


May God give every one of you a reason to be grateful today!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!



-Sage Words

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hasta La Vista, Little Sid!

Well, Sid has taken off now, on his way back to England. Actually, he's just staying at a different friend's house tonight, but he flies out early tomorrow morning (Thanksgiving!).

So let me just take a moment to wish him a fond farewell...

Sid,

Thanks for the comic geek talk, and the movie geek talk, and the science geek talk, and the TV geek talk, and the Sci-Fi geek talk, and all the other geek talk over the past two plus weeks! Thanks for the help moving Chica and I into our new house, and thanks most of all for having a good time, and making us have a good time in the process.

Good luck when you get back to England!




-Sage Words

Not My Day

We got the Internet hooked up at the new house today. Then it stopped working before I had a chance to do my blog. So it's cell-phone blogging again today!


Woo!


Problem is, I'm too tired! So here's a bad joke to tide you over:


Two guys walk into a bar.

You'd think the second one would've ducked...

(told you.)

-Sage Words

Monday, November 24, 2008

One For The Road

 
What you see here is my final parting gift to the United Kingdom.  I did this mere hours before we left the country!
 
The brown sign on the left was discovered, half-buried, behind my shed in the Base-owned housing development where Chica and I lived.  The house you see in the background had actually caught fire and was gutted about a year prior, but they had only begun the demolition process three weeks before I left, and in that time, had only managed to dig up the yard a bit!
 
One of my eagle-eyed readers (not you, the other one!) noticed that I've used this photo as my profile photo, but pointed out that it was not clear what was actually in the photo!  Thus, I have re-produced it here in all its high-resolution glory!  I hope you like it!
-Sage Words

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I Am Wasting Your Time RIGHT NOW!

I was thinking about discussing Thanksgiving today, but I suppose I may as well save that for Thursday when it actually IS Thanksgiving.

However, I am still thankful today.  Tonight, Chica and I will spend our first night in our new house!  In fact, we need to get some stuff together and get over there, so I will beg your pardon and call it a night early on this one!

Besides, after the reactions I got to yesterdays blog, I think you might all need a short break from the Sage Words Mind!

We'll try again tomorrow!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Small Defenestration of my "Talent"

I didn't see anything interesting today. It's odd, because I find myself interested in SOMETHING every day.

Now, you would think that in the absence of interesting external stimuli, a creative mind such as mine (if you can call it that) would simply manufacture something interesting. For example, I might imagine that a police car cut me off on the way to work and screeched to a halt, disgorging thirty nine rubberized ballerinas with badges and night sticks.



You would further suppose that I would go on to imagine that each of them flung their night sticks into the air where they underwent a metamorphosis into a hundred copies of Amazing Spider-Man #129 (First appearance of The Punnisher) printed on the head of a pin by a VERY patient calligrapher with a facial tick and poor euclidean geometry.

After a while, my mind would then generate a spontaneous concert of duets by Donnie Ozmond and Ozzy Osbourne, performing the haunting love songs of WHAM! in Gregorian Chant.  Naturally, the concert would be open only to direct descendants of the Katzenjammer Kids and their flamingos.

A huge success, the concert would eventually have been adapted into a mini-series on HBO, but re-imagined as a combination Western / Astrophysics Seminar starring Delta Burke and Delroy Lindo as a wacky husband and wife marionette team masquerading as secret agents and saving the world from the National Automobile Dealers Association.

?????????????????????????????????


I guess what I'm saying is that my imagination appears to be at a low ebb today.  Otherwise I could envision things like Ancient Egyptian professional wrestlers eating pie dipped in Pepto Bismol to save time.

I would conjure magical defenestrators who kindly clean up the tattered remains of fish suppers dropped from great heights.

I'd be able to fantasize about ping pong championships played on the moon where the competitors are so far apart they can't even see each other and the fans have to sit in orbiting bleachers with hot dog vendors with nine arms and a prehensile eye stalk growing from between their toes.


I might even be of a mind to fixate on the possibility of rust-colored windmills being sold at auction to fund an internal affairs investigation into corruption in the Cheeze-Whiz commodities market which has funded the processed-cheese-food-Illuminati for thousands of years and has only now been exposed for the inhumane dandilion-waterboarding monsters that they are; regularly knitting sweaters from non-hypo-allergenic yarn and maliciously donating them to Rambo impersonators with tragically sensitive skin.

?????????????????????????????????

But like I said, today I got nuthin'.  Sorry.




-Sage Words

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thou Shalt Honor Thy (Grand)Father...

I was reading Yarntangler's Blog today and one post in particular made me think about my Grandfather. The last time I saw him was this past May at my younger brother's wedding. He looked great, and had the energy of a man half his age. He danced with all the ladies at the reception and made most of them beg to take a break!

I have a lot of wonderful memories and stories of my Grandfather. From fighting with my brothers for the right to comb his hair, to helping him build a huge deck in front of his house (I was so proud to be allowed to use tools!). My Grandfather is a great man.

My Grandfather has done some awesome things in his life. He fought for his country in WWII, he knew JFK, heck, he sired my Mom! And while I understand that it's traditional to write a tribute to someone when they pass on, I think I'd rather do it now, while he's still alive and energetic and able to read it!

Ah but you see, there's the rub. The one thing my Grandfather has not been able to maintain like a man half his age is his eyesight. Oh, he gets by ok, but as much as he loves the Interwebs (and for an octoganarian, he's VERY computer savvy!) he can't read half of it because we all make things too tiny!

So I thought, instead of telling you a bunch of stories about us kids with Grandfather (although I will tell some of those eventually!) I have decided to craft my tribute to him in another way.

I have created a new blog to mirror this one. It will have all the same posts, all the same bad jokes, all the same amazingly innovative ideas, and all the same knee-jerk reactions to current events. And it will all be

HUGE!!!

I'm talking Big McLarge-Huge sized text so my beloved Grandfather, who has always encouraged my writing all the way back to my school days, can see just what a dissapointment I've become and how I've wasted what little talent God may have accidentally bestowed upon me in a fit of utmost optimism!

The bigger, badder version of this blog is at: bigdethwombat.blogspot.com and from now on, when I post here, I will post the same thing there.

Oh, by the way, I do want to tell one story about my Grandfather. I was young, so some of the details may be a bit off (I know my mom will correct me, God bless her!) but this is the story as I remember it and, therefore, this is how it happened!

I was just shy of eight years old, and living in El Paso, Texas. Gramma and Grandfather lived in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico (yes, it was named after the radio gameshow!) or perhaps Lubbock, Texas. Anyway, it's not important.

So one summer (spring, fall, whatever!) we went for a visit (or maybe camping) and Grandfather took me out to a lake (Crystal Lake?) to go fishing. To my knowledge, I had never fished before. For all I know, neither had he, but from my pre-eight-year-old perspective, he was the embodiment of all fishing acumen since the dawn of time (1950).

So there we were, on the shore (in a boat?) of the lake (or it could have been a stream) when suddenly I felt a tug (mighty heave!) on the line of my Mr. Popeil Pocket Fisherman (this part I'm sure is true!).

I was elated (or terrified)! I was about to catch my first fish, and it was a monster! Grandfather came racing (mosied) to my side, abandoning his own fishing line (putting down a sandwich) to join in the epic struggle! After many hours (seconds) taking turns at the reel of the Pocket Fisherman (he may have just done it for me) we landed the leviathan! It was ten feet long if it was an inch!

Actually, this part is clear. It was about four and a half inches long, minus an inch on either end for head and tail. It was a wide-mouth bass whose mouth should have been alowed to get a lot wider before he ended up in a skillet, but my Grandfather helped me clean that fish (we actually gave it to my Mom to do that!) and we cooked it and ate it. Both bites!

My Grandfather is a great man. He was an epic figure in my young eyes, and I was never above putting an elbow in The Lone Duck's ribs so I could be the first to comb Grandfather's hair when we went to visit. And I'm not above it now!

Grandfather, I love you! Please bookmark bigdethwombat.blogspot.com and visit it often. The posts may not always be about you, but every one of them is for you!

All my love!




-Sage Words

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Hath Wrote-eth Thy Blog-eth O Great One

Last night I dreamed that President-Elect Barack Obama called me up after reading my letter to him, and decided to make me his Blogger-Laureate.

I was actually less confused than you might think. This being 2008, it is only natural that we do away with the boring old Poet-Laureate position and create this position. Why would a hip, happenin' dude like Barack want to read some stuffy old poetry when he could read how to score major brownie points with Michelle on Valentine's Day (it's coming boys, get to work!), or study the economics of the Movie Exchange Rate?

So yeah, I think we do need a Blogger-Laureate position in this country. And come to think of it, I believe I may just be the right man for the job.

Now, if this were to actually come to pass, I suspect I would be the first ever Blogger-Laureate and as such, I believe it falls to me to define the position. After all, the first pilot got to make up the rules for his job (don't crash! Don't Crash! DON'T CRASH!!!) and that's working out pretty well (except when someone forgets that rule!). So I think I will do exactly that.

Now, in days of yore (your? you're?) the poet-laureate was employed by the crown (which is odd. You'd think the king would do the hiring and not his accessories, but I digress...) to ~ and this is the tough part ~ write poems. Now I know what you're thinking, "of course he writes poems, he's the POET LOAREATE!" Well, this wouldn't be the first government position to have a misleading name! Do you think the Secratary of State takes dictation? Or the Prime Minister presides over church services? I rest my case!

...hmm...lost my train of thought. Let me go back and re-read some of that, hold on...

(pilot doesn't want to crash...poet hired by crown...dictation...Ok, I got it.)

So the poet would write poetry. Not a lot, mind you, just enough to continue to amuse the King. And sometimes to amaze him! I believe the first dirty limerick was composed by a poet laureate, but I could be wrong. It may have been a poet leprechan. But, once more, I digress...

So the poet would write poetry and would be paid a stipend by the king. In 1638, Sir William Davenant was paid 300 British Pounds per year as the poet laureate. By my calculations, taking into account the exchange rate and the differing currency systems between 1638 and today, that works out to (without cost-of-living increases) approximately $915,283,084.42 per year. To show what a patriot I am, I'd be willing to do it for half that! God Bless America!

Anyway, let's just assume I've got the job, and that it will be at my patriotically-reduced rate. That's all well and good, but I need to define the work so now I give you:

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The Sage Words Guide for the Blogger-Laureate of the United States of America
(or: how to make a ton of moolah without all that pesky working)

Be it known by all: The position of the Poet-Laureate of the United States of America shall forthwith be eliminated in favor of the more socially relevant position of Blogger-Laureate of the United States of America, Keeper of Tangents, Purveyer of Prognistication, and Champion of Entendras (both double and single)!

Be it further known by all: The responsibilities of the Blogger-Laureate shall be as follows:
  • The Blogger-Laureate of the United States of America (BLOTUSOA) shall serve at the pleasure of the President (whomever THAT is!) and receive the stipend of $457,641,542.21 per annum plus reasonable expenses (beer)
  • The President shall grant the BLOTUSOA complete and dictatorial control over the editorial format and content of the Official Blog of the United States of America (OBOTUSOA), but the President can make suggestions
  • The President shall communicate requests for blog topics to the BLOTUSOA thusly: President - "Dude, did you hear about that crazy Economic Downturn? That would be great for your blog!" OBOTUSOA - "Whatever!"
  • The OBOTUSOA may blog from any National Monument he wants without catching a lot of crap from his readership (all seven of them)
  • Further rules will be made up as required
Be it lastly known by all: The OBOTUSA is appointed for life or until he gets fed-up with it.

$*$*$*$*$*$*$*$*$*$*$*$*$*$*$*$

It's funny. I spent all week posting lame blog entries and pictures and short apologies for my sloth-like work ethic, but President-Elect Obama still felt like he could trust me with this awesome responsibility! I promise, I'll work hard and be ever-tangental in an effort to retain his trust (and that paycheck!).

Heck, I might even write something useful again some day!



-Sage Words

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

You guys are really going to hate me soon!

So I have homework to do for a class I'm in for work this week. In the mean time, here's a picture of our house, which we FINALLY got the keys to today! Woo!

I swear, I'll write something worth reading soon!




-Sage Words

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Everybody was Kung-Fu Fighting!

I have always been a huge fan of kung-fu movies. I love Jackie Chan and Jet Li and Samo Hung and the greatest of them all, Bruce Lee; but I have found a new star to be amazed by. His name is Tony Jaa and he may be the best in the business right now.

I just finished watching "The Protector" (which you've never heard of!) and it was phenominal! The story was weak and the acting bad, but the kung-fu (or in this case, Thai boxing) is amazing! This guy can seriously kick butt!


Go see it. Watch it twice, and remember that this guy is NOT using wires!



-Sage Words

Monday, November 17, 2008

Photographic Evidence of Dedication to My Art

This is me, blogging for your enjoyment. Note the huge, gaping chasm in the background.

Click on the picture to see the full size (and very cool) version


I ignored said chasm (and the amazing sunset) while I finished up my blog for my loyal readership two days ago. You're welcome.



-Sage Words

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Two For The Price of Two

So I had every intention of putting together a big-time, whiz-bang blog entry today. It was going to be the all-singing, all-dancing story of our trip to the Grand Canyon, complete with (pretty awesome) pictures.

In fact, it was the very awesomeness of said canyon that has necessitated another trip to the dork-well for a second time. yes, I am once more blogging on my cell phone, although this time I'm in the car with my buddy Sid driving, passing through Phoenix.

So here's the thing with Sid. We drove about 30 miles discussing (are you ready for this?) typefaces!

That's right! That's right, typefaces! Now, in order to mount a little bit of literary tension, I'm not going to tell you which font came out on top just yet (although I WILL tell you that 'Comic San Serif was a tie!).

This conversation speaks directly to the reason Sid & I get along so well. Never mind the fact that we both love comics, movies, TV, obscure 80's songs, and chocolate; we can both be counted upon to speak intelligently about both standard and unique type styles. That is some SERIOUS geekage!

I know what you're thinking. ''You, Sage old buddy, are a whack-a-loon!''

Well, I can't deny my whack-a-looniness, but I will say there's something very comforting about having a friend who is wired up just as badly as you! I am quite happy to have him visiting.

Mind you, he's not perfect! He didn't like ''Men In Black'', he's too tall, he's British without being English (or maybe the other way around, I forget), and he hasn't picked up a single Depeche Mode reference all week (must be English without being British)!

Still, he seems to be a marginally competant driver and he speaks in a funny accent that amuses me when he swears. I guess that's pretty good.

So now the moment of truth; which fonts came out on top? Well, Sid prefers Palitino Linotype. He says it's because the ''S'' looks like a Klingon Bat'leth. This is a reason I can get behind.

Me? I prefer a good old Bauer Bodini. It's a strong, uncomplicated font with clearly differentiated '1s' and 'I's. Plus, it's named after Jack Bauer. Cool.

So I welcome young (relatively) Sid -- formally -- to my little corner of the world! I promise to keep an eye on him!


-Sage Words

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Isn't Modern Technology Wonderful?

Believe it or not, I am doing this blog entry from the rim of the Grand Canyon!

This may put me in the Dork Hall of Fame!

-Sage Words

Friday, November 14, 2008

Itinnerant Residency in the Grand Canyon State

NOTE:  I’m the kind of person who likes to try new things.  Sometimes I pick a different route home, for example.  Sometimes I eat a new dish.  Sometimes I even put on my right shoe before my left (this NEVER works out, and can ruin an entire day!)
Today I’m trying to literally “mail it in” (as opposed to doing it figuratively most days!) by using this blog site’s e-mail posting feature.  If it works, you may get overly excited, so please try to remain calm.  True, it may signal the beginning of a worldwide economic recovery, an end to wars and hatred, a return to moral thought and behavior, a chicken in every pot, the resurgence of the United States of America as the leader of nations, and restoration of “Doogie Howser, M.D.” to television as God intended!
But, it may not.
What it will do, however, is allow me to get to my point and get today’s episode of “Stupid Things Sage Words Will Try To Pass Off As Relevant” underway!  So without further shenanigans, I bring you:
Stupid Things Sage Words Will Try To Pass Off As Relevant
(or: how to share the bitter tonic of disappointment with as many people as possible, but cheaply)
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Today, Chica and I signed our names about 185,256,549,924.7 times and (allegedly) came away as proud new owners of a bouncing baby house!  Now, while this is cause for celebration in many primitive societies (England, Fantasia, or any Chevy Chase film), in our local Arizonan (Arizinian?) society it is merely cause for “not really getting what you want”.  Or more accurately, getting exactly what you want, but not being allowed to have it!
Howard Jones wrote a song back in 1986 (the only truly great music was in the 80’s) about unrequited love called No One Is To Blame.  It contains the line: “You can build the mansion but you just can’t live in it” and I’m telling you, that’s how Chica and I feel right about now!
You see, in this advanced Arizonnistic (or in Latin: Delayus Maximus) world we have moved to, there appears to be a cooling off period for home buying!  Now, it’s not what you think.  I’m not supposed to sit here and think really hard about what I’ve done (Mrs. Blackstone, my Kindergarten teacher, might disagree with that statement), no!  It appears this is the State’s chance to see if THEY really want to let you do it!
Actually, it’s just a state-mandated time for all of the paperwork to be properly filed.
And certified.
And gold-plated.
And framed.
And sold on the International-Paperwork-Preventing-Sage-Words-And-Chica-From-Occupying-The-House-They-JUST-FREAKIN’-BOUGHT market!
Not that I’m bitter.
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So technically, Chica and I are homeowners once more.  Sometime around Tuesday, we will also be homeoccupiers!
Dude.  I can’t wait!
-Sage Words

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Binomial Random Variables

You are all going to get pretty annoyed with these short posts after awhile, I'm sure. It seems like I have so much stuff going on that I just can't find more than ten minutes at a time to write. That's a shame, because I've found that it often takes more than ten minutes to write anything worthwhile (my average on this blog is four hours, including research and editing).

So, in order to accommodate my truncated timetable, I now present to you:

The Sage Words (Truncated) Guide to Writing Short Blog Entries
(or: how to meet a deadline without actually working)

In order to write a blog entry that looks like you actually put some thought into it quickly, with no preparation, it is important to have access to the following seven things:
  1. A propensity for making lists
  2. Low standards of overall quality
  3. An understanding readership (remind me to get one of those)
  4. A relatively well-maintained vocabulary
  5. An imagination with few guidelines about what's "appropriate" or "in good taste"
  6. A ready supply of junk food
  7. A better idea for your last item than this one
Once you have obtained those things, make up a quick (and hopefully thematic) title for your article. It's not terribly important to make the content match the title, it's just there for show. Put it in large, bold letters and change the color. That makes it look official, and implies that you did more than just start typing like an Infinite Monkey and pray for a good outcome. If you can come up with a pithy subtitle, so much the better.

Now, after jotting down a quick introduction, toss out a list. It can be numbered or bulletted, depending what you're writing about (if you even know yet!), but if it's numbered, use an arbitrary number (like seven) instead of an easy five or ten. Everyone does top ten lists, so stand out a little!

Now make up an explanation for whatever the list was about, followed by a brief transition. Once the transition is written...



...insert a random picture. In a case like this, the more random the better.

Next, knock off a quick summation of your points. Mention the list, the explanation, and try to make a clever remark about the picture. (If you have a hard time choosing between two clever remarks, try flipping a coin!)

Follow this with a "Big Finish". I picked this trick up by watching a lot of GI Joe and Inspector Gadget cartoons, where there's always a moralistic wrap up at the end to make up for the senseless violence. This part should speak to your reader and make them feel as if you actually had something to say, even if you made it up as you went along!

The Interwebs are full of a lot of things today. There are dirty pictures, murder plots, guides to fiscal malfeasance (and all that's just on Congress's site!); but there are still not enough actual resources. If you put some effort into it, plan your message, and craft it lovingly, you can put something really positive out there for people to react to. Something that could one day inspire or even amaze!

Or, if you're short of time, you can just make it up as you go along. Who's going to know?




-Sage Words

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Which Is More Plausable, Busy or Lazy?

Where does the time go? Here I am, promising a long discussion of philosophical differences between me and my friend Sid, but I just don't have the time!

Chica and I are swamped in paperwork today about our new house, so I'm going to leave you with the following ancient saying to ponder. It's profound, deep, and I live my life by it.

I'm also making it up as I type this. Here goes:

Life can not be one minute shorter or longer than it's supposed to be, but it can be made to suck less, but only by others. Make someones life suck less today and hopefully, they will make your life suck less tomorrow.

How's that for spur-of-the-moment ancient wisdom?



-Sage Words

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

All Part Of The Friendly Service...


Today is Veterans Day. I have seen a lot of exceptional men and women in service to their country over the years. Army, Navy Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard. Active Duty, Reserve, Guard.

Our nation and way of life are protected by volunteers who swear to lay down their lives for their protection. Those people represent less than 2% of the population.

If you see a veteran today, please do one of two things:

  1. Thank them for their service
  2. Thank them for their service
I know I enjoy living in a free society, so I'm taking this opportunity to say thanks myself.

Thank you, Honored Veterans.




-Sage Words

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pip Pip! Cherrio! Wot? Wot?

Perspective is a marvelous thing. And the funny thing is, it can sneak up on you.

My friend Sid is visiting from England, and it is a very refreshing experience for me. On the one hand, it's kind of like having a younger, British version of myself around to talk comics with. For those of you who don't know Sid (which is all of you!) I met him in the mid-90's when I was stationed in England for the first time. He worked in the comic book store where I fed my habit on a semi-regular basis, and every time we talked comics, I found his likes/dislikes/opinions to be very much like mine. In comics, this is a rare find, and I got along so well with him and Glynn (the owner) that I kept in semi-touch when Chica and I moved to Omaha.

When we returned to England for a second tour, Sid and Glynn were the first on my list of people to look up and, even though their shop was over an hour away, I still went to see them as often as possible (and spend a stupid amount of money on comics while I was at it)! Over the ten years (or so) since we first met, Sid and I still seem to share our opinions pretty evenly on comics, movies, popular culture, and even the weather (Arizona is HOT!)

Now he's visiting on my turf for the first time and he came here because, like a lot of people around the world, he was fascinated by the election. Unlike a lot of people, he had the time and inclination to come here and check it out for himself (which impresses me quite a bit, now that I think about it).

So we've spent some time the last few days talking comics and movies and TV like we always do, but also discussing politics, and that's where the perspective comment comes in. It's really interesting to hear his opinions on how our process has worked, and how we're reacting to the results.

Tomorrow, I'll tell you a little more about the substance of these discussions (summit talks?) but for now I just want to say "Welcome" to Sid, and thank you for being so interested in our humble little country!

Like we say here in America, "Mi casa es su casa!"



-Sage Words

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Wheatbugs Choosing Poorly

Wow. Today was just one of those days where, despite a lot of things happening and a lot of people saying witty things in my immediate vicinity, I have nothing to say myself.

It's not normal for me to have nothing to say. Many parents teach their children that if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all. My parents taught me that if you don't have anything to say, say something anyway (oddly enough, this lesson was taught more by example than by actually being verbalized. I find that ironic).

So here I am with nothing to say. Common convention would have me be silent, but my upbringing dictates the opposite. In fact, it is the very state of nothing-to-say-ness I am experiencing that has influenced my topic choice today.

Hmm...

This is getting us nowhere. Let me see if I can explain it in a different way:

Once upon a time, there was a little kid named Mandrake. Mandrake had a large head, three extra toes on his left foot, a dimple in his right cheek (but, sadly, not in his left), and had been awarded second place in the Branchtonville County hot dog eating contest of 1983. In his hand, Mandrake held a picture of a monkey. This picture had been taken not at a zoo, as one might expect, but in the frozen food section of the local Food Lion. It was wildly assumed that Mandrake had the one and only copy of this picture.

Hmm...

Okay, that tactic seems not to be working. Let me try this:

'Twas in the living room he sat
the man without an orange hat
he couldn't leave while raindrops spat
and so he stayed to pet his cat

Hmm...

Random thoughts are not an unusual occurance in my head. I once spent an entire day endeavoring to say at least one thing to every person I talked to that was utterly unexpected. I asked my boss if she could cut keys; I asked a coworker if he felt snails would pole-vault if they could; I even asked my doctor if he was getting enough fiber in his diet!

I'll tell you, that was an entertaining day!

So here I am, with nothing to say. I have to let my mind decompress sometimes, so what better place than here on my blog! I don't even plan to go back and re-read this one! So until next time, Shazbot!


-Sage Words

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Greatest Thing Since The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread

Uh... If you click on the photos, they get bigger.










Technical Difficulties

Due to circumstances beyond our ability to control (Space-Time Continuum), tonight's blog entry is being entered remotely by my faithful assistant/Chica.

Any mispellings or inacuracies should be blamed on the Sprint PCS telephone network.
Any complaints about the humorous quality of this post should be addressed to the mayor of Stanfield, Arizona, since that is where I am as I phone in this entry.

Mind you, there are those who say I've been phoning it in all along!



-Sage (Rosemary) Words

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Holding Pattern

Wow. Not much time tonight, which is too bad. I had a very eventful day which included getting completely thwarted by a vacuum cleaner and watching an Oldsmobile vomit.

I have to get up early tomorrow to go to the airport, so I think I'll just leave you with the following awesome picture of a cyborg monkey fighting a robot. You can't get enough of that sort of thing in my book!

It was done by a very talented artist named Roberto Campus and you can catch his website <HERE>

Enjoy!


Fear the monkey!


More writing of substance (or not!) tomorrow! Until then...



-Sage Words

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dear Mr. President-Elect,




Dear President-Elect Obama,

CONGRATULATIONS! I am proud and honored to call you my next Commander-In-Chief, and I will be honest and forthright in my service under your command.

I have spoken (written) about you on this site before. I have hailed you as a leader and I have criticized you as indecisive. I have pointed out your ability to inspire, and I have called you to task for inaction. Now, less than a day after your historic victory, I'd like to take a few minutes to tell you what's on my mind, and perhaps make a couple of small suggestions. I will try not to take up too much of your time, as I suspect you may be slightly busy for the next four to eight years!

Oddly enough, it's those four to eight years that I'd like to talk about...

Sir, I don't need to tell you that we're in a bit of a pickle right now. You face an economic crisis of proportions that have not been hinted at since before your birth. You are tapped to lead a nation that is suffering a loss of prestige on the international stage and a loss of self-confidence at home. You are the (proud?) inheritor of two wars that will be presented to you in "As Is" condition and no Lemon Law protection! In short, you have already done something amazing and almost miraculous just by getting elected, but that was the easy part! Now is where things get a bit rough! Fortunately, I'm here to help! Please allow me to present:

The Sage Words Pre-Presidency Primer on Profoundly Perplexing Problems
(or: How to Use Alliteration to Authentically Assuage Astoundingly Aggravating Actualities)

This guide is not intended to actually solve the problems I'm about to ennumerate. If it could do that, you could've skipped the entire election and just slipped me a finsky and called it good! No, I just want to give you the common (my friends would say sub-common!) person's perspective of what's wrong with the world. I may have an idea or two to fix things as well, but I think I'll save that for another letter. After all, I expect us to become pen-pals after this!

So for starters, the economy is in tatters. But the problem is, our economy no longer runs on money, or production, or credit, or things; our economy is the largest faith-based program in the world! It's about confidence, faith, and a willingness to accept a little bit of risk. But no one will accept risk any more!

The only reason the mortgage crisis was able to drag our economy down so far is because we have bred the risk-takers out of our country. Every loan was packaged and sold with other loans for a profit. Then those packages were bundled and sold for another profit. Then the bundles were sold to the government (Fannie and Freddy were always govenrment, no matter what Donald Trump thinks!) for yet another profit! But the best part is, risk was eliminated! Fannie and Freddy bought anything and everything and didn't care what was in it! This taught the lenders that any risk was acceptable, because there was really NO risk! At least not to them! Couple this with an unregulated system of self-policing and you get rediculous numbers of rediculous loans for rediculous deals, all guarenteed by Uncle Sam!

Seriously Mr. Obama, find a way to restore confidence by restoring risk. The risk weeds out the greedy pigs and dolts and whomever is left standing, you can have more confidence in! Then you invest in them! Survival of the (fiscally) fittest! (As it turns out, Darwin was an economist!)


*****************************

We are at war. Why we are at war is not your issue, it belongs to history. Please keep this in mind as you plan your first steps into an arena that is, for the moment, beyond your experience. Listen to your troops and digest what they have to tell you. I promise you, an army enlisted soldier with three tours on the ground in Iraq and one in Afghanistan knows a lot more than they get credit for most of the time. Your Generals will all give you outstanding advice on strategy and tactics, but none of them has ever had to pour fuel-oil into a full latrine pit and stir it with a stick as it burns. Go find a couple of troops that have done that, and talk to them before you decide how to handle the Middle East. Perspective is a valuable thing.


*****************************

Cooperation. You said in a lot of your speeches that you were going to reach across the isle. I think this is a ridiculous concept. If you reach across the isle, and the Republicans reach across the isle, and Nancy Pelosi reaches across the isle, and everyone else reaches across the isle, you're going to all end up over balanced and falling on your faces (like that's never happened in Washington before!)! Here's a bit of free advice:

JUST GET INTO THE ISLE!

Get into the isle, Sir! Bring your friends! Bring your enemies! Bring a picnic lunch, but get IN there and quit holding on to the stupid, compulsive, selfish, and ignorant need to keep one foot firmly planted on "your side" of the isle! There are no sides anymore! We face too many really important challenges to hold onto our ancient, well-worn, classical, hand-tooled ideology the way we used to! If you have to be a liberal and someone else has to be a conservative all the time, you will never see eye to eye. The only true ideology for a President is service to the people. All of them.

*****************************

Use your resources! I may be a tiny bit off here, but while I was watching you and Senator McCain give your speeches on election night, I got the distinct impression that you two were up to something! I think one of the best things you could do going forward would be to offer the Senator a place in your new administration. He's a born leader, a master warrior, and the very picture of patriotism our nation still needs to be able to rally around. If he were in the comics, he'd be Captain America! Only, you know, not quite as muscle-bound.

*****************************

President-Elect Obama, you have just earned for yourself the world's second-hardest job (naked cat-hearding is the first). People will second- and third-guess everything you do (and that's appropriate), but if you plan your Presidency as well as you planned your campaign, you will find yourself appreciated more ofen than not. So keep your head up, your back straight, and march proudly into the White House on January 20th, knowing that you belong there, you are wanted there, and you deserve to be there. But also know that it was regular people who put you there, and who are counting on you to do right by them. From what I've seen so far, I don't think we'll be dissappointed.


Thank you for your time Mr. President-Elect. And thank you for your service.



-Sage Words

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

No, seriously! Here's what I REALY Think!

Okay, so I guess I teased you a bit with that last post! Naughty naughty me! So let me just get right to the point:

The (Actual) Sage Words Guide to the Political Opinions Within the Sage Words Mind
(or, how to actually agonize endlessly over your vote without really trying)

Let me start right off by saying that I think I am one of the few people who is NOT terrified by what's about to happen. I honestly believe that no matter who is elected President, our nation will be better off than it is right now.

I think the last eight years have brought us to a place we never really wanted to be as a nation. We no longer lead the world by providing a positive example, we lead by flexing our muscles. We no longer extend a helping hand, but a hitting hand, and we stubbornly continue to thrash about in the delicate china shop of international relations, pushing our allies and enemies alike aside whenever it suits us, while we allow our people at home to drown in floods, die in hurricanes, and be crushed under crumbling bridges. We create a climate that encourages huge corporations to amass vast wealth at the expense of most of our citizens, but refuse to require those same corporations to exercise what should be a civic duty to forgo some of those profits when times are tough! We encourage our banking industry to help more people own homes, but neglect to protect those same people from predatory lending disguised as "help".

I could go on like this for hours. The sheer number of things that push my political "ON" button is staggering at best, but I think I need to keep it a bit more topical, so let me leave this rant in favor of a couple of others. It's on to the candidates!

I'll start with the Elder Statesman of this race:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

John McCain. The Maverick.

Listen. I was totally in love with John McCain in 2000. I liked his message, I liked his style, and I liked the fact that, when he got caught being a dumbass like ALL members of congress eventually do, he didn't try to weasel out of it by questioning the definition of the word "is", he just fessed up, acknowledged that he did something wrong and/or stupid, and promised not to do it again. Not only that, he followed through on that promise. He became a champion of campaign finance reform, fighting to change a system that practically begged to be abused!

McCain 2000 was fearless. He stuck his thumb in his own party's eye on several occasions and his constituents in Arizona loved him for it. He would have made a thoughtful, decisive, effective President.

McCain 2008. Hmm...not so much. During his 2000 run against "W", there was so much animosity between them it was like a Tesla Coil when the two of them were in the same room! Heck, the same state! Then the Political Machine, owned and operated by "W"s old man, went to work for the youngster. McCain was shut out, and the farther right you were, the less likely you were to be on his side. Eventually, he had to throw in the towel.

This was an honerable loss. But my problem is, he followed his towel into the ring and began to use it to clean up after his hated adversary! He spoke at Jerry Fallwell's school, he towed the line, he went to all the right photo ops with "W" and he looked like he was swallowing camel dung the entire time. Ugh.

What happened to my Maverick!??!!? Where's my political man-crush gone to, and who is this ancient sychophant who has replaced him? McCain 2008. Not the man he once was.

However, in the long run, I still have hope for him. He has shown an amazing ability to bounce back from his mistakes over the years, so maybe he'll do it again this time. After all, I deeply believe that he is a man who literally LIVES to serve his country. I think it's the first thing on his mind in the morning, and the last thing on his mind at night. I respect and admire him for the things he's endured on my behalf and I think his integrity is unmatched in politics. God Speed, Mr. McCain.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Barack Obama. Holy moly!

I remember his speech to the Democratic National Convention in 2004. It was nothing short of amazing! Chica and I were speechless as we watched this political supernova being born right before our eyes! We both said, on that very night, "that guy will be running for President in 2008!"

[FULL DISCLOSURE ALERT] Actually, Chica said that. I said he'd come up short of the nomination in 2008 but win it in 2012. Chica always has been smarter than me!

So here we had this superstar in the making, building all this excitement and oozing charisma and pushing all the right buttons and utterly FAILING to do anything of substance! Many political junkies will be startled right out of their "New Camelot" fantasies by that remark, but I believe it to be true.

In four years, Obama has had an enormous impact on politics, but almost zero impact on policy! Where are your windmills, Mr. Obama, and why do you refuse to tilt at them?

Barack Obama has chosen not to vote 238 times out of 754 opportunities. That's almost 32% of the time! Don't believe me? Just look HERE.

What would happen to a postman who chose not to deliver 32% of the mail? Or a doctor who only accounted for 68% of the instruments he used operating on your liver? Okay, these are extreme examples, but the truth is much simpler; if you want to be my President, you need to show me some decisiveness! A flowery speech is a wonderful thing, but back it up with action! I'm glad Senator Obama could draw 100,000 Germans to a ralley, but can he feed 100,000 children living below the poverty line? Does he have a plan to bring 100,000 jobs back to America from outsourcing efforts? Let's have some substance, my friend!

Okay, but is he worth voting for? Absolutely! He brings some things to the table we haven't seen in a LONG time. He energizes young people to care about issues. It's about time, because we've depended on the Baby Boomers to run things for long enough! It's time for us, their children and grand children, to take a turn at the helm and give them a much deserved break.

Obama can also help to rehabilitate our reputation outside our borders. Those 100,000 Germans may not be able to vote for him, but they can certainly tell their own leaders to cooperate with him!

There's one other thing Obama can do for us; he can show us that we can look past the petty concept of race as a qualifying factor and make decisions based on a careful, studied examination of who someone is, rather than what they look like. To youalso, Senator Obama; God Speed.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

So I guess this is it. This is the part where I tell you who I'm for and why. For the record, I vote absentee in Washington State, and I filled out and mailed my ballot on the 29th of October. So without further ado (that's right, all that stuff above was "ado". Some might say "ado-doo") I bring you:

The No-BS Sage Words 2008 Presidential vote
(now with actual justification at no further charge!)

I cast my vote for John McCain. Chica will tell you that I had my mind made up a long time ago, and to an extent she would be correct. But I've had my doubts. Both candidates are worthy, but here's why Senator John S. McCain gets my vote:
  • Senator McCain has a mean streak a mile wide and he knows it. Some may think this is a handicap, but he's known about it forever and is still able to sucessfully serve his country. He's got fire and determination, combined with the control required to make it an asset instead of a liability. I feel sorry for our enemies if he gets elected! (That's a lie. I don't feel bad at all!)
  • McCain acknowledges his mistakes. He's admitted, several times in public, and in a book, that his first marriage ended because he was a cheating asshole. He has done right by his ex-wife, who get's most of his personal income for life, and he didn't need a judge to tell him to do it.
  • He has honor and integrity. I truly believe that his love for his country is immense and he will never knowingly do something that could hurt her. He'll do what he thinks is right, not what he is told by advisors would look good.
  • I don't think he ran because he wanted to be President. I think he ran because he felt a calling to serve, and that's a very powerful thing. It puts his mind right.
McCain is my choice. I'm proud to vote for him and I'm glad I did it early. As I write this, the polls are open. Returns will be coming in soon and we'll know in a few hours which direction we are headed. I will proudly, and without reservation, continue to serve my nation under the leadership of either man, and I will not allow harm to come to you on my watch. All I ask in return is that you vote your conscience as I have mine. Next thing you know, we'll see this:

and it'll all be over!

I'm excited! Are you?



-Sage Words



(Tomorrow: An open letter to the President-Elect!)

Monday, November 3, 2008

This is what I think...


They say it's not over 'till it's over. Seriously, they say that! I've heard them! Well, it seems as if it's over. Or rather, ALMOST over! I keep forgetting about that last little step...



Um...sorry. I guess that was a bit loud. How's this...


Better? Good. Let's move on...

I've been asked by many of my readers (both of you, at one point or another!) to expound on the current political situation. I have refrained from doing so until now for a couple of reasons:
  1. I am a procrastinator
  2. I am lazy
  3. I fear the almost godlike power of my lofty public perch as a blogger and did not wish to unduly influence any of my fellow voters because I happen to believe in freedom of choice and would never dream of trying to push my political opinions on another person without...
  4. What a load of crap. Just see #1 and #2
But now, at the eleventh hour (or pretty close to it!) I guess it's time to share my thoughts, so here they are:

The Sage Words Guide to the Political Opinions Within the Sage Words Mind
(or, how to agonize endlessly over your vote without really trying)

I remember my political awakening like it was November 4, 1980...

It was November 4, 1980, and I was watching the Television News Broadcast (these things were always capitalized back then) with my Dad. Jimmy Carter was President at the time, and was running for re-election against some guy who died playing football on TV and hung around with monkeys. In my great (Sage?) wisdom, I fully expected Jimmy Carter to win. When Dad asked me why, I gave him the most reasonable answers I could:
  • He's the President
  • He wants to
What could be more compelling? How could some football player with a monkey win? With this insight firmly entrenched across the normally quiet Western Front of my eight year old mind, I proceeded to watch my very first political slaughter!

It didn't take long to see that things were going badly for my main man Mister Ka-Tair! (<--Subtle 70's reference). He picked up a state here and there, but he was beginning to hear Howard Cosell in the back of his head, talking about Regan as the "Harmer of the Farmer"!
I was confused. I went back over my careful reasoning, checking my facts as I went.
  • Yes. Jimmy Carter was President (my Dad said so)
  • Yes. Jimmy Carter did still want to be President (my Dad said that too. If you don't believe him, I'll fight you after school, over by the flag pole!)
I started to cry (I think I only beat Jimmy Carter by about ten minutes). I didn't understand why they wouldn't let him be President any more! He was a Peanut Farmer! His brother was FAMOUS! It wasn't FAIR!

Life can be hard when you're eight.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So here we are, 28 years later. And here it is, about to be November 4th again. And we jump from one election to another without a net! Fasten your seatbelts!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This election has been going on for approximately two years! We've broken records in practically every state for voter turnout during the primary season. We've seen a paradigm shift in who is qualified to run for President, and we're poised to make history no matter who wins tomorrow's election!

I know a lot of you are worried and fretful over who's going to win. You may not believe we're ready for one candidate or another (although I've discussed this topic before, HERE). You may not think either candidate is going to take us in the right direction. You may not even be sure that there IS a right direction. Well, I don't know how to calm those fears, but I do know that we all have to do our part. Tomorrow, our part is to vote, so go out there and do it!




I know I promised you my political opinions, but I'm going to post this right now, without adding to it any further. I want you to think long and hard about your own political opinions and act on them. In a few minutes, I'll write about my personal thoughts and opinions in a new post. Maybe I'll even tell you how I voted!



-Sage Words

Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's the Circle of Thwartage!

I hate being thwarted! All day, lurking around every corner, has been a thwart-worthy event and I have HAD it!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Cooking pancakes today, the first one stuck to the pan. I took the spatula and proceeded to try to peel it up, but to no avail. In fact, not only did I not get an avail (is that the right way to say that? I never know...) but the pancake was destroyed in the process and the leading edge of a brand-new plastic spatula was melted! AAGHHH! Thwarted!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So I decided to go to the store to get a metal spatula. Naturally, in the process, I saw about four hundred other things I absolutely HAD to have because I went to the store hungry because my pancakes were ruined and I needed a new spatula!

$85 later, I leave the store. Yes, I remembered the metal spatula (eventually!) but I also remembered taco meat, hot sauce, kitchen knives, sandwich meat and any number of other things I would never have had to spend money on if only I had not been thwarted by the accursed pancakes! AAGHHH! Thwarted again!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Next, I left the store. Or rather, I tried to. Oh, I got out of the store all right. I even got into my car (not actually my car, but that's a thwart-worthy story for another day!) and pulled out of my space. I got in line behind two other cars waiting to turn left into traffic. And waiting. And waiting some more.

Turns out that the person at the front of the line had stalled out and couldn't move! So there I am, sandwiched between vehicles, trapped; like a rat in a PT Cruiser. GRRR! Thwarted Again!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Eventually, the three or four cars stacked up behind me got frustrated and, backing dangerously into the busy parking lot, they turned around and went to another exit. This freed me to do the same (only safer!) and I moved over to another exit to the right of where I had just been sitting for ten minutes. Just as I turned left, into traffic and on my way home, the stalled truck started up and, pulling in front of me, stalled again! OONGAWA!!! Thwarted once more!

Finally the truck drifted off to the side of the road, out of traffic, and I was able to continue home. What a relief!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Remember when I said I bought "any number of other things" while I was at the store because of the vicious thwarting I received at the hands of my pancakes? Go back and look; I'll wait...

====

Got it? Good. Well, one of the things I bought was a DVD. Now, Chica and I are living in somewhat austere conditions right now as we transition from England to Arizona, and await the arrival of our stuff. So the only entertainment device we currently have is my (VERY OLD) laptop. Still, it can be cozy to snuggle up and watch a movie on the small (seriously, this thing is SMALL and OLD!) screen. But, naturally, my DVD playing software doesn't work because the trial period has expired (I refuse to spend money just to watch a DVD on my own computer!). YYAARRRRGGGHH!! Thwarted!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So off I go, searching the Interweb for more free dvd player software. As an IT professional of sixteen years, this should be simple for me, right? My collegues would all tell you it should be a piece of cake.

I downloaded two non-working programs, one that requires purchase to hear the audio track, a Trojan Horse, and a second copy of the one that stopped working in the first place! NNNNGGHGHGH!!!!! More thwarting! Chica even suggested I call one of her Reserve coworkers in NEBRASKA for help! Multiple Twartage!!!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So here I am, writing a blog about being thwarted. I get it. Some days, you thwart, and other days you get thwarted. I know when I'm licked. Now I just have to switch over to the last thing I downloaded so hopefully I can watch my movie in peace. Boy, I really hope this one works; it cost me $14.95.

Don't tell Chica!



-Sage Words

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Scattered Musings (in no particular order)

So far today, I've seen the following interesting or startling things:

  • A man washing his dog in a car wash
  • A woman so keenly interested in the Titanic disaster, she has devoted an entire room in her house to it
  • Several melted "Twix" candies
  • The (brand-new!) radiator in my car wobbling like a Weeble-Wobble
  • A $37.95 shirt on sale for $8.00
  • Four generations of women from the same family
Here are my thoughts on these items (in no particular order)...

Man's Best (and smelliest) Friend:

So there we were, my Chica and Me, driving down the road on our way home from the Titanic Lady's house (I told you it was no particular order!) when she spotted this guy in the local Spray-N-Suds with his dog. I didn't see it at first because I'm a careful driver and I was watching where I was going. But she started laughing so hard, and managed to say what sounded to me like "dog...car...wash!", so I made an immediate U-Turn in the middle of the road to see what she was looking at. This, apparently, is an unsafe manuver and I was instantly in trouble. In my defense, however, I did glance in at least one mirror before I did it, (I think) so it was perfectly safe. And besides...

...but I digress...

So there's this guy, and he had the dog's leash in one hand, and the spray wand in the other just hosing the dog off. And the dog was LOVING it!

My Thoughts: It was quite amusing. Seven out of ten.

I'm Flying Jack!
:

Leo and Kate were only on the edges of this one, folks. This lady has a big-time fancy going on here. We were there for the Grand Opening of her Titanic Room. She had reproductions of a newspaper from shortly after the wreck, announcing the disaster and all the crazy stuff about "Men of Means" that were killed. She had a model of the ship, and a reproduction tea cup and saucer from the cruise line that owned the Titanic. And yes, she played the movie, but it was really only to add to the atmosphere and no one payed much attention.

My Thoughts: This nice lady was REALLY into her Titanic! But as odd as it may sound on the surface, it was something she and her husband had spent years together working on. It brought them closer and gave them something to share. Ten out of ten!

Is it hot in here, or is it just me?:

Good golly miss Molly! Here it is, the day after Halloween, and I'm just trying to enjoy one of the many left over bite-sized Twix candies I just happen to have in my possesion, when the Sun decides it would be better if it DRIPPED out of the shiny foil wrapper instead of remaining in one yumy, chocolaty good piece long enough to get crammed into my mouth!

My Thoughts: As it turns out, it gets HOT in Arizona! Who knew? Two out of ten!

Filth! Flarn! Filth AND flarn!:

I (allegedly) bought a 1998 Oldsmobile Achieva on 27 September. I've had possession of it for barely two weeks of the 35 days since then! Things keep breaking...it keeps...I can't...AAAAGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!

I will address this issue in its own (future) post. I'm too emotional right now! Chica is the only thing keeping me sane!

My Thoughts: A bit like Showtime's "Dexter", I'm afraid. Negative twelve out of ten!

Taking the Bear (market) by the horns:

Mervyns Department Stores, like so many other businesses right now, is going out of business. The up side to this is that I get to buy a $37.95 shirt for eight bucks! The down side is, it's just another symptom of our struggling economy.

My Thoughts: Three more days folks! Let's try to hold on for three more days! Then we can begin complaining about how the new President-Elect has completely failed to magically solve all of our financial problems, end (or not! Your choice!) the War, buy us all houses, make nice with Europe, get tough with China, or wash our dogs for us in a car wash! That's what we do, right? Blame our elected leaders for everything and refuse to take responsibility?? Oh, it's not? My bad. Three out of ten. Or seven. Depends how you look at it.

The Well-Tended Family Tree:

Four generations of women in one house at the same time! The Titanic lady's Grand Opening was attended by her mother, daughter, and grand-neice (her sister's kid)! That is phenominal!

My Thoughts: Family is so very important! Sometimes we forget that it's our family who makes us, molds us, supports us, loves us, grieves with us, and sometimes saves us from the pitfalls of the world. I saw a very close-knit family today who didn't even know they were inspiring me! I love them for that! Several million out of ten!

Scattered Conclusions:

Sometimes we face challenges we can quantify (A dirty dog, a 1998 Oldsomobile Achieva, you know how it is!) and sometimes ones we can hardly fathom (Jack floating away in "Titanic", political and financial anxiety in a shakey economy, melted candy: like that.) but it's our family that helps us get through it all.

Wife, husband, parent, sibling, child, cousin, God-child, God-parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent, step parent, step child, priest, coworker, old friend, pet, social worker, foster family. Everyone.

It's all about family people. Love them. Be good to them. Share your candy with them! And remember that you are never alone, never forgotten, and never unloved.

After all, if you're reading this, you're part of MY family! And in my family, that's how we roll!

Until next time...



-Sage Words

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Playing Ketchup





Ketchup

Okay, I know. I've recently been reminded that I'm supposed to be writing about the stuff from my challenge post from wwaaaaayyyyyyyy back in June! I should be writing about:
  • Anger/Happiness/Monkeys - The first response I got was also the most difficult. I know what I want to write, just not how to say it. But it's coming, be patient!
  • Dialysis - Mostly just a lot of research to get this one right. When I (foolishly?) made the challenge, I guess I didn't take my impending move into account! Working on it!
  • The reactions of several historically significant monkeys to the current political climate - Odds are, they would have all just flung poo at all the candidates, but I think I can do better than that! Gimme time!
  • TWO illustrated (and monkey-laden) sequels to the movie "Unbreakable" - This dude is just plain weird. Still, it will be fun to do, so count me in (eventually)!
  • Another political piece, this time about racially motivated voting - easy to do, hard to do right. I have a lot of political opinions and history to get straight in my head before I do this, but I think it will need to be first (after this!) since the election is coming up so quickly.
  • And finally, my moving adventure - Coming soon to a blogosphere near you! But not today!
Today, what we're going to talk about is money.

Kiz-ash!


Now, it is imperative that you all understand that I am NOT an expert in any way shape or form about money. I know it when I see it. I'd prefer to have more of it. But I'm not in any danger of having a nationally-televised program explaining all the ins and outs of it either. Maybe that's the problem.

I've been watching the news, listening to the radio, reading the paper, eavesdropping on people's private conversations, and even examining cloud formations for secret messages and very nearly every word you hear from any source is about the economy.

It's clear to me that someone is going to have to straighten out this mess. We've read about bailouts (er, "rescue" plans!) from the government for everyone from giant insurance companies to huge segments of the population who are already doing fairly well for themselves. We've heard about the government giving more money to banks so they'll stop hoarding the money they already have. We've heard about new rules for how CEO's are paid and how loans are approved. What we've heard has so far cost us $823,000,000,000.00 or so.

Eight
Hundred
Twenty-three
BILLION DOLLARS!

And it's not going to be enough. Not by a long shot. In fact, that giant insurance company I mentioned before is now asking for another hand-out! Also in the billions!

Okay, let me see. I'm 36 years old, and I've had a job of one sort or another since I was about 15. Some were part-timers, some temp stuff, and full-time work since I was 19 or 20, so figure about 20 total years of work. Considering what I make now, and generously doubling my salary every year (thank you!), I should be able to make that up in about 180 years. So don't worry folks, I got this! I hear the first billion is the hardest.

Okay. Perhaps that won't work. Here's a better idea...

WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!


Now, that comment is not directed at you, my dear (and limited!) readership. Rather, it is intended for all the moorings on Wall Street, those idiots. In fact, here's another little message for those dolts:

There is no such thing as money or profit. It is all imaginary. The whole thing is a confidence game, and I don't mean an "Ocean's Eleven" confidence game, I mean a game of confidence. In other words, if you think you're going to lose money, YOU WILL! You're all idiots! If you would just kick back and calm down for a minute, this whole thing would stop spiraling down around us!

Didn't you learn anything from "It's a Wonderful Life"? During the depression, it was only George Bailey and Mr. Potter who made it through the runs on the banks, because they were the only ones to be reasonable and calm! This is NO DIFFERENT! Calm down and stop trying to pull out every time there's a tiny uptick in your stock prices. Your desperate attempt to make a tiny profit and get out quick just forces the whole mess to perpetuate! How can you be so smart and so stupid at the same time?
Okay. That's enough for those idjits. Here's something for the rest of us:

Sage Words' Guide To Financial Well-Being
(or: how to not get poor without really trying)

As I stated before, I'm not an expert. But I have a rudimentary intelligence which has so far kept me out of jail and non-murdered, so it's at least possible that I could make some sense here. But I also have to keep my lawyer happy by warning you that anything I advise you to do may be complete hogwash and if you follow my advice, it's your own fault, whatever happens.

And in the interests of full disclosure, my lawyer is a small, 1/2 Burmese cat with two missing teeth named "Gizmo". If you anger him, he will leap up, rip out your eyes with his mighty claws, and feast on your brains! Or he may just get cat hair all over your best suit. Whatever.

So here we go. Financial advice:
  1. Know how much money you have
  2. Spend less than that
Uh, that's all I got. Not very helpful, I'm afraid.

Pollyanna used to play a game called the "Glad Game". No matter what happened, she tried to be positive. When it rained, she would be glad that the plants would be getting a drink of water. When Gilligan and his friends got marooned on a desert island, she would be glad that there would soon be many new coconut-based technologies for the world to share. When Timmy fell down the well, she was glad Lassie would have something to do besides sniffing other dogs' butts. When she fell out of a tree and became paralyzed, she was glad that she'd never wear out another pair of shoes. Okay, so maybe Pollyanna was a bit extreme in her application of the "Glad Game," but the idea was a good one.

Listen. I don't have all the answers. No one does. I know times are tough out there for most of you and I know what it's like to be unsure about how you're going to pay for something you really need. But I also know that panicking is NOT going to fix anything. Try to keep your head during all of this and don't despair. There's enough despair in the world as it is, so let's not add to it, okay?

And if we start to go hungry, we can always eat the koalas.



-Sage Words