If this, then that….

I’ve been working at avoiding politics because I think it’s getting toxic. I really do. I think I’ve gotten to the point where, as much as the President offered the rhetoric of “hope,” I’ve become more hopeless. He turned hard left and has essentially given the GOP a gift–but screwed everyone else. Because now, the GOP won’t have to work that hard to take back the House or the Senate in 2010. They just have to be a little focused on not taxing everyone, not wrecking the country–and providing a little bit of optimism. This, of course, will make them lazy and when they realize they don’t have to work that hard to take back the Congress, they simply won’t.

Consider: The President’s campaign rhetoric was a soaring panoply of hope, change, the future, and all of it. But now that he’s in office, he talks about how we’re in such bad shape, that no one can save us but the government. Hate to sound cliche, but if the only hope for us is the Feds…we’re doomed. Big time doomed.

So far, since he’s been inaugurated, every time the man opens his mouth, the stock market takes a dump of 100 points. Now, I’m not political genius and I certainly don’t understand the psychology of markets all that well–but I do know this: Markets are inherently rational. They do have their swings, yes–but ultimately, it’s a numbers game. If the numbers make sense, the markets like it. If they don’t–then the markets don’t like it. Well, I ask you to consider–whether you’re a liberal, a conservative, a libertarian, a green–whatever. Since President Obama became President–how come every single time he offers words on the economy–the market takes a dump?

Lots of answers. Markets don’t like socialism, markets don’t like uncertainty, markets don’t cotton to soaking the rich to give to the not so rich. It goes on.

I know–for some of you, I’m preaching to the choir. But I just have to vent this here if for no other reason than this: unless President Obama takes a tack to the right soon (yeah, right), you can count on two things as far as I’m concerned. 1) The economy will not get better under the plans he has laid out and 2) The GOP will take back the House, the Senate or both in 2010. Let’s just hope it’s not too late.

Tomatoes and Dogs

Sigh. A long day, gentles–a couple of deadlines to finish and I got to do some photography today of a hothouse/greenhouse that grows tomatoes…
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Pretty cool, eh? This place is here locally and produces 280,000 vines per 20 acre greenhouse and is nearly 100 percent sustainable. No ag. run off, no pesticides, herbicides–and really, the tomatoes are yummy!

I love writing about agriculture and this was such a unique story, a unique place and the people there so focused on what they were doing that it really stuck with me.

No more politics for now. I’m rather burned out on the subject. I know you’re burned out on my Scoop discussions. He’s alive and, we think, thriving. His personality has changed remarkably in that he is now completely food driven as a result of Prednisone, the last drug of the 7 he was on. He’s still on a very low dose of it for a little while longer–people and pets have to be weaned off of it.

So, he spends his days begging for food. He spends his nights begging for food that he didn’t get during the day and…well…being gaseous. He has an obnoxious farting issue that I could live without.

He no longer sleeps in our room all night. He gets up at night now and sometimes wants to go outside. This is problematic when I’ve locked the doggy door, as I did last night, and he let me know at 2:30 AM that he wanted outside…..by barking……at 2:30 A.M. Luckily, the girls slept through it.

So–yes, he’s my dog and I still love him. But the personality change, the total consumption of and by food and the nocturnal changes have not made me a happy pet owner. Though at this point, I suppose I’m just glad he’s still with us.

Returning to Principles

The Republicans are looking for suggestions about how to re-organize. They’re asking Republicans to tell them via this form which I offer here. You can put your suggestions here directly and hit send. They’ll get them. I ask you to be courteous, polite and honest.

For my part, I wrote simply that Republicans—and for that matter Democrats, too–should do only one thing: return to the Constitution. Talk about it, discuss it, share it, enforce it and quit trying to obfuscate it, change it, delineate it and generally ignore it. Stop taking money from special interests. Stop the corruption. Stop the largesse giveaways and do your jobs: Support, defend and uphold the Constitution. That’s all.

But hey–knock yourself out. Send them your ideas.

Phoenix

From Phoenix-I am here overnight to have a little Storer family get together. Drove over Friday afternoon and evening and got here about 9:30 AZ time. The drive took longer than it needed to or I wanted. Traffic on the 10 in San Bernardino.

I’ll be here through this afternoon then turn around and head back home. 80 degrees in Phoenix today–in the 60’s back on the coast. Curious indeed how that all works.

Nothing much to report. Mom has a comfortable guest bed and I partook of it liberally. She even had Dunkin’ Donuts coffee this morning waiting–and a grinder and everything. Life is good.

Raining and Pouring

My work has been cut out for me, gentles, and I am on three different deadlines–thus the silence from the blog. Apologies. Oh–and I teach, too. Oh, and Sue got the flu and strep throat from Peanut and me and hers has morphed into a weird sinus infection thingy, so she has not been at her best. It’s been another tough week, I suppose.

As for political news, I have a notion to start writing more here about the silliness that is the Obama administration, but it makes me too sad. I just cannot believe that in less than a month, the man has done little more than piss people off, create an atmosphere of doom, gloom and crisis and extend his own inability to understand the seriousness of the war on terror even as apparatchiks in his administration seem to be more deft in that department, thank God. But, enough.

I spent the afternoon at the absolutely fascinating Houweling Nursery and Greenhouses here in Ventura County where they have 125 acres under glass and grow predominantly tomatoes with the odd cucumber and such thrown in. It’s an amazing place, all indoor veggie growth and done in the most sustainable fashion ever. I’ll post the piece I write on them here after it comes out in March in Central Coast Farm and Ranch.

I’m off to Phoenix this weekend–alone, unfortunately, leaving my wife and child behind to spend the day with my dad and my Aunt in honor of their collective birthday (same day, 15 years apart…). I’m way too swamped to go and had to give up one story in order to make the trip–but, it’s probably the right thing to do.

Alas.

What I feared.

So, London bans Geert Wilders from coming to the city ostensibly because of their fear that he will incite “unrest” from the whacko Muslim population that lives there. As the article above points out, it’s not enough that London is now a home-grown haven for Islamic terrorism–they now have to protect their whacko Muslims from having their feelings hurt.

Free speech is now in retreat across the west as too many cave in to demands by Medieval sword wielding men in turbans whose idea of modernity is beheading a woman. The most frightening thing is-those who have done the caving, have done so in the name of “tolerance.” So many of my left-leaning friends, some who read this blog, wonder why I’m conservative: It’s precisely because of situations like this. “Tolerance” in the west is no longer tolerance at all, but acquiescence. We will be the author of our own demise if we give in to such thuggery.

No-that’s not the biggest issue. Nor is it the biggest issue that now an area of Pakistan will be under Sharia law, the most brutal kind of dictatorship yet known to mankind–in the latest of acquiescent moves to these robed thugs.

The biggest issue for Americans is this. And no, the MSM didn’t bother to talk about it much. I originally found it under the title “No Comment” on Powerline (thanks, men). They later linked to Mark Steyn’s commentary on the issue in NRO.

That is the worst thing, friends. This guy started a television station whose purpose was to show how good and kind and wonderful Muslims in America were. Then, upset with his wife for wanting to leave him, he severed her head.

So, I’d really like to know. When do the pansies and panty-waists get serious about the threat to mankind that is Sharia law? This is my “I told you so” moment, personally. I had said all along I’m a one issue voter and John McCain was the right man for the job because the issue that matters isn’t the economy-it’s Whacko extremist terrorists of the Islamic ilk.

If President Obama doesn’t know that now–he never will. And that could cost us all.

I'm inclined to agree…

With Kathleen Parker. She wrote this piece and I think she’s right. I’m the guy on the right who said, “OK-he’s our President, let’s give the man a chance.” And while a couple of weeks may or may not be a chance, so far, as Parker, says, it looks like amateur hour at the White House.

Clinton went through this, too. Remember, there was all that talk of “gravitas” in the 90’s and how Clinton didn’t have any around him. What he needed, pundits said, were a few more “old, balding guys who kind of knew what they were doing…” and Clinton, ever the quick study, complied by putting in a few more veterans on the staff instead of rewarding the latte drinking, bagel munching 20-somethings who peopled his campaign. Obama needs to learn that lesson, too.

And as for Geithner, who I admit I thought might have been a good choice at Treasury–well, his news conference yesterday was nothing more than, “Hi, I’m Tim Geithner and I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing here. I’m not really sure I’m going to be able to fix this mess–but, I’ll try. In a couple of weeks, I may be able to tell you how…”

Nice. Inspires confidence, yes?

Look, I have a lot of lefty friends and they take great pride in chastising me all the time–before the election and now. But I’m going on record–so far, I’m not impressed. The only thing that did impress me was that the President’s justice department did the exact same thing the Bush admin’s justice dept. did when it came to terrorists. The fawning NPR hoped that it was just a rookie mistake. I’m inclined to think it wasn’t because unlike the Treasury dept. apparently, the President did have the foresight to put smart and serious people in charge of National Security.

It will be some time before we know more. But so far, I’m inclined to agree with Ms. Parker: It’s amateur hour at the White House–and this isn’t the right time for it.

Cover me. I'm goin' in.

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I have written previously about the downstairs privvy and won’t bore you again, gentles. But, as I am awash in the continued glow of the illness that’s swept the house this week, I shall now tell the tale of the upstairs privvy–and with it, the sordid mess that has been the last two homes I have owned.

Make no mistake, I’m a lucky man. I own a home. It’s absurdly expensive and really, I have no business living here–but, such were the heady times of cheap money and a housing market that “will always go up” that I simply jumped in with both feet–and no head.

Speaking of heads, the downstairs was the scene of manly triumph not too long ago when I, along with my noble and good friend Dave, repaired the rather unseemly habit of the toilet to rock like Old Ironsides on the bounding main whenever you graced it with your presence. It was annoying and had to be fixed and within the space of two hours, Dave helped me not to simply fix it, but to earn my wings as a man, stop the water from flowing, unscrew bolts that were meant for longer stays and move porcelain equipment, cementing and replacing it with new parts. I salute your noble tutelage, sir.

Well, now the upstairs is rocking. No, it’s not so much a ship at sea, it’s more subtle. It’s rather like whenever you go there and….well, go there….you sit and feel a subtle nagging, a gnawing that something isn’t quite right here. You cannot at first put your finger on it, but you eventually become aware that whatever book you’re reading, thought you’re entertaining, magazine you’re perusing, is not sitting as still as you’d like. It’s got motion and it’s not a lot of motion, but enough to draw your attention and maybe even make you have to….well, stay longer.

So then you put your piece of printed matter, or what have you, down and prepare for your exit. That’s when it hits you. Your final act before exiting is met with a rhythmic sound, an unnerving and most unwelcome accompaniment to your denouement. And you’re now simply miffed.

Yes, the toilet is loose at the floor. And I must fix it. I’m not ready to fly solo yet and Noble Dave has said again he will help. I say from experience, greater love hath no man than that he give up his Saturday morning to help fix his friend’s toilet. God smiles on the kind.

It’s a new ballgame, though. We’re not on solid ground-but the second floor. There’s plywood to consider, the possibility of seepage and dry rot. There’s the very irrational and unrealistic fear that in the midst of moving the toilet, I’ll crack a floorboard and simply fall through, landing me, I think, in the laundry room. I’m putting a cushion there just in case. The variables are many–but I am weathered by experience, bolstered by the courage of a noble companion and, hell–it’s a lot cheaper than calling the plumber again.

I swear, this beautiful house I live in, and I do love it, was put together my McGyver. The previous owners were, well–frugal and apparently, they didn’t pay to have anything done professionally. It’s too bad because the work they did was far from professional, really it was far from amateur–more like, monkeys with sticks and leaves–and the fact that the edifice is standing is a miracle. Our first repair upon moving in during the now infamous summer of 06, was the electrical system. That’s because if you ran more than one appliance in the kitchen at a time, all of them simply shut off. When we got an electrician here, he found frayed wires in the wall, lovingly arcing from one beam to the next like a friggin’ Disney fireworks show. “Number one cause of home deaths, you know,” said the intrepid Eddie the electrician. “Arcing wires, starts in the wall while you’re upstairs-and by the time it’s really going–you’re trapped up there.” Nice, yes?

Our most recent tragedy was a slab leak that only cost $4,000 to fix. It’s OK–we’re made of money mostly and the fact that we’re upside down on the house by about 100K really isn’t important. I could go on, but why belabor the obvious?

So–Noble Dave and I will once again tread the waters of home plumbing and hope for the best. As always, though–one prepares for the worst–and has a case of beer standing by.

Barbarians at the Gate

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Whew! What a couple of days. I just read the two posts. Incoherent as they could be in a strangely uniform way. I was similarly bad on both days. Now that’s something to be proud of.

Poor Peanut got the brunt of it, now. She’s got either strep throat or tonsilitis. Her fever was 101 and change this morning and that was too high for mom. Oh, yes I know how many of you will guffaw. “She’s a child,” you say. “That’s what children do–they get fevers!” Except when they don’t. Peanut’s never been one for high temperatures. The one time her temperature got very high was when she was a wee 3-year old and had double ear infections. Her temperature registered 103 by our thermometer, but the doc’s had her at closer to 101. Either way, it’s high for her–she’s just never really run that high. So–in to our good doctor she went and a good thing for her, too. Strep’s making the rounds at her school and it’s not an infection to take lightly in littles, so he gave her the meds and we fed her soup, kept her home from school and made her drink fluid. A lot of fluid.

I don’t think I have appropriately updated Scoop. He is…well, he’s alive. And he’s fat. I mean, really fat. The main pill they gave him out of the 7 medications he was on was Prednisone. That’s a steroid and he’s being weaned off it as I write this. But if you know anything about this drug in its human form, you know it gives you the appetite of a fargin’ horse. The dog thinks nothing but food. And, he cannot handle all that food very well, so he farts a lot. Nothing like dog farts wafting across your nose in the middle of the night as you lay sleeping. Needless to say, junior has been banished from the bedroom at night, much to his chagrin.

Look, the dog was on his death bed and we’re glad he’s better. We have one more blood test to do to make sure all is well. We’re grateful and it’s prepared us for when the real day comes for him, whenever that may be.

OK, enough of that. So, did you see this? I don’t know what to make of it all. You’ve read comments by big brother Jerry. His mind is very clearly made up and I can see why. Look, I didn’t vote for the man, but still, I don’t want to get into hyperbolic apocalyptic discussions about him. But–he’s been in office for two weeks, and he’s already making large power grabs that are…well…disconcerting.

But to be fair, I also agree with pundits who say it was President Obama’s predecessor who led us down this path. Look, I’m trying (and it’s very hard by the way) to look at this through the lens of how history will see it. I really believe that the Roosevelt Administration made a lot of the decisions it made because they didn’t know what else to do. There were literally people dying daily of starvation in the U.S. and the number was increasing rapidly. Something, anything, needed to be done. The benefit of hindsight has revealed that FDR’s decisions probably prolonged parts of the depression. But, it did stem the dying and people got help they needed–immediately.

That said, we’re not in a great depression. And this stimulus bill doesn’t strike me as a wise decision in any way. It isn’t really stimulus in the pure sense of the word. What it is is a pork bill for Democratic pet projects and it isn’t a wise route. I just want to go on record with that, that’s all.

However, the Visigoths are again at the gate of my nasal and sinus passages and I must arm the peasants to prepare for battle. I bid you all good evening–and beg you to remember, life is good.

Yet another short post.

It appears as though the fever has hit the road, thank God. I don’t do fevers well, did I mention that? Actually, I don’t do sick well. I’m a big baby. But the combination of untenable bodyaches, headaches, joint pain, restlessness, sweats–and then the uncontrollable bouts of coughing and the nose-blowing that goes on endlessly…well, it’s more than I can take to be honest.

So, tonight won’t be a late night either, I’m afraid. I do feel better as I think the fever is going and gone, but I’m still congested and sleepy and all. Blech…

And that, therefore, is all I have to say. No earth shattering news. We got a bit better news from the Tax Man than we thought, so that was a help and we’re glad that it’s over. Tax season is just such a pain.

OK, time for some Nyquil and a bit of sleep….