Monday, January 28, 2008

Run for the border ... before I catch them

The Wife and I went to Taco Bell today. Haven't been there in a while. There's one close to where we often get gas. For the car. That wasn't a food joke. I was filling up the car, and she decided to go on inside and order lunch. When I was finished ... another $45 dollars spent keeping the House of Saud in power ... I pulled around and went inside. The Wife was still in line, but was at the front of the line by then. And still undecided on what to order. Cheesy Gordita CrunchLooking at all the fancy pictures of menu items ... the specials ... we decided to try the "Cheese Gordita Crunch". It looked good. The picture, I mean. Look at it. Packed with meat. Topped with lettuce. Cheese running out the side. It looked delicious. So, we ordered that. Cheesy Gordita CrunchWhat we got was a tablespoon of beef, some soggy lettuce, and a little bit of cheese hidden deep in the bowels of the flatbread. Sure, I know, the food you order never looks exactly like the pictures of the food on the posters. But, seriously! I figured it'd at least be close. Yeah, it tasted okay. Taco Bell always tastes okay. I wouldn't eat there every day, but I'll admit I like the food. It tasted fine. Just the difference between the poster and the real food that left a bad taste in my mouth.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Remember when History was history?

I like the History Channel. Have for a long time.

The Wife doesn't understand how I can go to sleep watching TV, much less, watching the History Channel.

One of her common complaints was "waking up at 2 o'clock in the morning and -- BOOM! -- explosions going off. Sure enough, it's you gone to sleep with the Hitler Channel on."

That was her pet name for the History Channel: the Hitler Channel.

Because of all the World War II shows they'd show. Yeah, I'm sure you had already figured that out.

But that's the old History Channel.

Now, when I turn on the History Channel, I'm finding things like the prophecies of Nostradamus. Or some show about Bigfoot. Or a bunch of UFO hunters.

At noon today, for example, there was an episode of the series Decoding The Past. That sounds all well and good. Except the name of the episode was Doomsday 2012: The End of Days.

Excuse me?

But 2012 isn't history. It's the future.

And now this TV show is telling me all about stuff that will happen in the future.

In other words, crap.

Like the shows about UFOs.

Some people believe all that stuff.

Me? I am aware that The X-Files was a TV show and not a documentary.

So why does the History Channel show things like Bigfoot, UFOs, and 2012?

Because people will watch those shows. And lots of folks believe that stuff.

And here's the scary part: those folks can vote.

Anyway, I think they need to start up another channel: The Suckers Who'll Believe Anything Channel.

And give me back my Battle of Britain.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

DHL Hell

My Big Sister (who's 5'4'') got a package from today.

No, that's not big news. Lots of folks get packages from

What's big news is that she actually got it. Because she finally got it. Two day express shipping only took three days from the date of shipment.

Here's what happened. At least, as best as we can figure it out.

An order of three CDs. Beatles CDs, of course. She likes the Beatles, too.

Anyway, records show that the order was placed on January 19, with "Two-Day Shipping."

Now, I know, and my Big Sister knows, that "Two-Day Shipping" means that the order will arrive two days after it's shipped, and not two days after it's ordered.

Apparently, DHL doesn't know that's what "Two-Day Shipping" means.

You see, the order was placed on the 19th ... and shipped on the 21st.

DHL picked it up at 3:22 PM, on January 21:
3:22 pm - Picked Up by DHL.
At 10:06 PM, it was "Processed at DHL Location" at "Allentown Hub, PA."
10:06 pm - In transit. - Allentown Hub, PA
10:06 pm - Processed at DHL Location. - Allentown Hub, PA
About 5 hours later, it left there:
2:58 am - Depart Facility - Allentown Hub, PA
Then, it got to Atlanta. And all DHL broke loose.
9:12 pm - Depart Facility - Atlanta Hub, GA
9:18 pm - Processed at DHL Location. - Atlanta Hub, GA
Yes, that shows it left Atlanta ... before it was processed at Atlanta.

And, eight hours later, it left again. That processing must have included a meal, a spa treatment, and relaxation exercises.

And, maybe a trip to Underground Atlanta to see the sites. Maybe a Thrashers game. I don't know what all.

Anyway, on January 23, the day it was supposed to arrive at my Big Sister's house (in southeast Georgia, 175 miles from the DHL Atlanta Hub), it left Atlanta:
5:20 am - Depart Facility - Atlanta Hub, GA
Where did it go?

Why, Huntsville, Alabama, of course. Which is a 415 mile drive for the DHL truck.

Yeah, it went to the wrong place.

And DHL figured it out about an hour after it got to Huntsville:
7:41 am - Arrived at DHL facility. - Huntsville, AL
8:47 am - Shipment arrived at incorrect facility. Sent to correct destination. - Huntsville, AL
Then, it hit the Huntsville Hell portion of the trip.
4:46 pm - In transit. - Huntsville, AL
4:47 pm - Processed at DHL Location. - Huntsville, AL
9:08 pm - Depart Facility - Huntsville, AL
11:50 pm - Transit through DHL facility - Atlanta Hub, GA
Yep, after discovering at 8:47 AM that it didn't belong in Huntsville, they sent it to ... Huntsville. Then processed it again. Then a few hours later, sent it back to Atlanta.

Now, remember, this was due at her front door no later than 5:00 PM on January 23.

On January 24, it left Atlanta. Again. This time, for Savannah.
1:05 am - Depart Facility - Atlanta Hub, GA
9:08 am - With delivery courier. - Savannah, GA
The DHL place in Savannah is 87.2 miles from her house, by highway.

Yes, it took DHL 27 hours and 48 minutes to move it to a place 87.8 miles closer to her house.

And, finally, it arrived at her house.
10:59 am - Shipment delivered. - Savannah, GA
She wasn't actually there to sign for it. They left it in her garage, and scurried off.

I don't blame them. I would not want to have to face my Big Sister, explaining why I didn't know my Huntsville from my Savannah.

Update: By the way, my Big Sister (who's 5'4'') called me tonight to let me know that, although DHL emailed her to tell her they delivered the CDs ... by leaving the box in the garage ... there's no box there. She still doesn't have her package from

Oh, this might get ugly.

Update II: The CDs have been found. Or one of them has.

The empty box was found in her back yard. One of the CDs was found in the front yard. The other two are missing.

And now you know why I don't like dogs coming into my yard. 'Cause if I ever caught a dog tearing up my shipment from ... or from anyone ... I'd kill the damn thing.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Why don't somebody just step on them?

There are plenty of folks that just want to get attention.

Some cry "racism" every chance they get.

Some stage protests every chance they get.

Some start blogs...

We won't talk about that third group. :)

And, I really don't plan to talk about that first group. But you know who that group is.

It's that middle group.

Westboro Baptist Church in this specific instance.

They're all the time protesting. And blaming all the evils of the world on homosexuality. I guess they figure that God punishes by proxy.

One of their Websites is Visit the site at your own risk.

They'll protest a funeral at the drop of a hat. They've been protesting funerals of soldiers, celebrating the deaths of our fighting men and women ... because there are homosexuals in America. Go figure.

Well, they're going to protest the funeral of Heath Ledger. Not because he was homosexual. But because he played one on TV. Or in the movies.

I never saw Brokeback Mountain. Didn't see lots of movies that year. Didn't want to.

And now Heath Ledger is dead. And all the crazies come out.

Some didn't like the post I wrote about how screwed up our priorities are that his death was big news.

And now, that bunch of idiots of Westboro Baptist Church are feeding off our misplaced priorities by using media coverage of Ledger's death to promote themselves.


Oh, one other thing. Couple, actually. They call themselves "Westboro Baptist Church."

Them calling themselves a "church" implies Christianity.

Well, I'm a Christian. And I don't appreciate them associating themselves with the teachings of Jesus.

And the "Baptist" part bothers me, too.

I'm Baptist. Southern Baptist, in particular.

And I don't appreciate them clowns calling themselves "Baptist," either.

I really think they need to change their name.

And I got the perfect name for them. And they don't even need to change their initials: WBC.

Their new name?

What a Bunch of Cockroaches.

Fits, don't it?

Did Anna Nicole die again?

As best as I can tell, Anna Nicole Smith died again.

Only this time, she was a he ... and went by the name Heath Ledger.

Now, my intent is not to minimize the life and legacy of Heath Ledger ... or even Anna Nicole Smith ... but honestly, it's Heath Ledger.

It wasn't Laurence Olivier ... or even Laurence Harvey. Or Steve Lawrence -- who is still alive, by the way, and more talented than Heath Ledger and Anna Nicole Smith put together ever were.

If Heath Ledger hadn't appeared as Ennis in Brokeback Mountain, what would he be known for today? Other than being found face down, naked, in a pill-strewn room?

Hmmm. Now I see why the media is reporting this like another Anna Nicole death.

Wonder if Larry Birkhead will claim paternity of Matilda Rose.

But seriously, if not for the homosexual cowboy role, what would Ledger be remembered for? His role as Fr. Alex Bernier in The Order?


Look, it's a tragedy. Someone died young.

It happens.

And it's not worth all the air time and ink spent on it.

So, why am I spending time on it?

Good point.

I'll stop now.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Say "Hello" to my little friend

I hate spam. Not SPAM®, that wonderful meat product by Hormel. But spam. Unsolicited commercial email. UCE.

I hate the stuff.

I like my spam filters. I don't like that I need them.

On Windows computers, I've used McAfee, Norton, Computer Associates, and other software programs and suites that fight spam.

I've also used Microsoft Outlook's filter ... and it's pretty good ... as well as Thunderbird's filtering ... which is also pretty good, but, to me, not as good as Outlook's. And, yes, I'm talking Outlook, not Outlook Express.

I've also used the spam filtering that comes with Gmail and Yahoo! Mail (premium) accounts.

On my MacBook, though, I'm pretty limited. But, as it turns out, Apple Mail and Microsoft Entourage (Microsoft Office:Mac's email program; Outlook isn't part of Office:Mac) have good filters, and they seem to work as well.

But there's one thing about the spam filters I use that causes irritation.

Okay, two things.

First, and foremost, the fact that I need to use them. That's irritating.

Second, spam filters aren't perfect. They sometimes let spam through. And they sometimes flag some email as spam that isn't.

That means that unless I want to take the risk of missing an email that I really don't want to miss (and, yes, some friends to email me and get caught in the spam filter), then I need to have it keep the spam for a period of time before deleting it.

Gmail keeps spam for 30 days. Though I don't usually keep it that long. Because 30 days is about 6,000 - 8,000 spams. More than I want to go through at one time.

Gmail spamSo, for Gmail, I'll through the spam folder 5-7 times a week.

Usually, there's nothing there I want to see. But, I check anyway, just in case.

And that means that, for all the trouble I go through to avoid spam, I end up looking at the crap anyway.

Some are trying to sell me Windows Vista or Microsoft Office dirt cheap. Some want to sell me a Rolex. Some want to give me $50,000,000 to transfer from the East African People's Republic via Barrister Dewey Cheatham.

Then there's the spams that want to help me with my penis.

Okay, I realize I'm not John Holmes. Or Ron Jeremy. Never claimed to be.

But it seems that since the death of Holmes and the transformation of Jeremy to mainstream -- or as near mainstream as a porn king an be -- there's a shortage ... so to speak ... of large penises.

And, judging by the spam I've been receiving, I've been selected to replace them.

At least, that's the only reason I can see that I'm being bombarded with hundreds of offers to increase my "manhood" by several inches.

But I don't think I want the job. They might want to offer it to Smilin' Bob. He seems to have enough to go around.

Heck, if all those things worked and I took them up on all those offers, I'd be scaring elephants.

Seriously, though, I really don't like spam ... and I don't care for pecker pill spam, either.

Helpful Heather

Got another call from Heather today.

You know Heather?

She works for "cardholder services" and wants to talk to me about my credit card.

Yeah, "cardholder services."

And, no, there's not a problem with my credit card. Just that I'm "eligible for a lower interest rate" and I need to call her back quick, so that I don't lose out on this "opportunity." Oh, and I should consider this my "final notice" to "take advantage of these rates."

Now, I got a couple of credit cards. More than a couple, actually. Columbus Bank & Trust, Citi, Bank of America, CapitalOne ... yeah, more than I really need.

But, Heather may not know this, but I happen to know that Heather doesn't work for any of them.

First, it's obvious because it's an automated call. One of those "press one to be connected to a representative" kind of things.

My bank don't do that. None of the banks I have cards issued through do it either. At least, not to me.

And my banks don't show up on Caller ID as "Unknown Caller."

Anyhow, when Heather calls, it's a scam. What kind of scam, I don't know. But it's a scam.

I guess if I spoke with her, she'd tell me.

But there ain't no telling what I'd tell her. Probably something I couldn't write here at this little blog.

Maybe Susanne Jones has the best idea:

Every time I got one of those pesky calls, I went through the process to be connected to a representative. Once I had them on the line, I blew the whistle as loud as I could. For a while there I was even considering getting a foghorn to achieve a bigger effect.

I like the way she thinks.

Now, if you're a kind-hearted person, you might think that's a little mean. But, gosh, if the little minimum wage girls (like Heather) that are making these calls are just trying to make a living ... well, there are other ways.

There's burgers that need flipping.

And poles that need dancing on.

Never Say Never

Well, now. Fred Thompson ... my candidate since the day after the November 2004 election ... dropped out of the race today.

Oh, well.

Some -- not all, but some -- of Thompson supporters are sounding like some of the nuts that support Ron Paul:
  • I won't vote.

  • I'll vote for a Democrat.

  • I'll vote for a 3rd party candidate.

All because they'll "never" vote for Rudy. Or McCain. Or Romney. Or Huckabee. Or whoever.

Okay. Fine. Do whatever you think you must.

But I'm not going down that road.

You see, in 2000, George W. Bush wasn't my first choice. (No, McCain wasn't my first choice, either.) But, come general election time, it was easy to pull the lever for Bush.

In 1996, Bob Dole wasn't my first choice. (And, no, Buchanan wasn't my choice.) But, in the general election, I had no problem voting for Dole.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan wasn't my first choice. But I had no trouble voting for him in November.

By the way, the years I left off, my vote went to the incumbent ... or the near-incument: 2004, Bush; 1992, Bush; 1988, Bush (the "near-incumbent," having served 8 years as Reagan's Vice-President); 1984, Reagan.

So, other than the sitting President (or Vice-President, in 1988), the person I ended up voting for in November wasn't my first choice.

And, so it appears, that will be the case this year.

Fred Thompson was my guy. From a long time back.

So, now that Fred's out, it looks like I'm going to end up voting for someone who wasn't my first choice.

I've done it before.

And maybe that's why it'll be easier for me than for others.

Or, maybe -- just maybe -- it's because I'm an adult, and know how to deal with things if I don't get my way.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Nothing says "I love you" like telling her she needs a bath

Why don't men understand women? And why don't women understand men?

Because we think different.

Gift soap, for example.

Women seem to love that stuff. Otherwise, there'd be no such thing as Bath and Body Works or Bed, Bath & Beyond.

The other day, The Wife and I were in Hell-Mart, and I saw some Valentine's Day gift packs.


Yes, soap.

When I get soap, I get Lifebuoy or Safeguard or Dial or something. I don't know. It's soap. It's used for bathing. Or showering.

It's soap.


Nothing more than soap.

But, I think that because I'm a guy.

Gals don't think that way. They like stuff all smelly and perfume-y and such.

I don't get it.

If someone gave me soap as a gift, I'd think they're trying to tell me something. Like I need to wash my ass.

But give a woman soap, and she thinks it's sweet.

Unless you give her a bar of Lifebuoy.

I don't think I'll give The Wife a bar of Lifebuoy. Unless I want to wind up face down in a tub of water.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Meet the Beatles

I used to have all the Beatles records.

Well, their albums, anyway.

Their American albums, that is. The ones released by Capitol records, at least.

My Big Sister (who's 5'4'') had a full collection of Beatles records. She had many singles, too. I didn't. Just albums.

If you aren't a Beatlemaniac, you might not appreciate this. But, since I am, it means something to me.

You see, she had Introducing... the Beatles, which was their actual first album. It was on Vee Jay Records, a small label out of Chicago that was known primarily for jazz and R&B artists.

Back in 1963, Capitol Records, who was the American affiliate of EMI, passed on EMI's new pop group from Liverpool. So, EMI contracted with Vee Jay Records to distribute the Beatles in the USA.

Because of financial difficulties within the company, they ended up losing the contract. Mostly because Capitol could out-lawyer them. So, Vee Jay only had one album: the afore-mentioned Introducing... the Beatles.

And my Big Sister had a copy. And, she had all the Capitol releases, as well as the United Artist soundtrack to A Hard Day's Night.

I had all their Capitol releases, plus A Hard Day's Night.

Oh, not original releases, like my Big Sister had. I had the Apple re-releases.

I did have an original mono Capitol Meet the Beatles, their first Capitol release, though. Second-hand, because I didn't have the money to buy an album in 1964. Few first-graders did. But, when I did get the money, I bought all the Beatles albums that were available.

Now, in case you interested ... and actually, even if you're not, it's still so ... Capitol didn't release the same records in the US that Parlophone (EMI's label in the UK) released in the UK. For a couple of different reasons.

For one thing, in the US, it's common that albums include recent hit singles of an artist. Not so in the UK. When the Beatles released a single in the UK, it generally was left off their upcoming album. They'd release singles from an album from time to time, but albums didn't often contain singles.

In the US, Capitol Records put Beatles singles on albums. And, since US albums often had 10-12 songs, instead of the 14 or so that the UK put on theirs, Capitol Records managed to get about three Beatles albums for every two Parlophone albums.

And, the fact that Capitol could squeeze more sales out of the same number of songs made the re-arranging of albums an easy decision.

So, I had all the US Beatles albums. Not the UK albums.

And, in case you hadn't noticed, I've been saying "had." Past tense.

A divorce will wreak havoc on a record collection.

I've been without Beatles records ever since.

Until recently.

This fall, on the way back from a visit to Athens to visit The Little Princess, I bought a Beatles CD. A Hard Day's Night. The UK version. With 13 songs. Seven from the movie and six other songs.

Sat in the Wal-mart parking lot, added it to my iTunes, moved it over to the iPod, and listened to it on the way back. Over and over.

It was great.

And I knew that I wanted more.

I wanted my Beatles albums. But that wasn't possible.

But a new CD collection was possible. All I had to do was get the rest of their CDs.

Only, the albums I used to have aren't available on CD. Not all of them.

Before Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the US and UK albums were different. Very different. Different songs, different song order, different album titles. Even when the titles were the same, like Rubber Soul and Revolver, the songs were different.

Even after Sgt. Pepper, there were two US albums that didn't correspond to UK albums: Magical Mystery Tour and Hey Jude (AKA The Beatles Again). But the rest of their later albums matched.

So, I could get some of the same albums ... as CDs ... as before. But some, I couldn't.

Anyway, I decided to make the best of the situation.

And so did The Wife.

For Christmas, she gave me a lot of Beatles CDs. Not just the Red and Blue collections (actually, 1962-1966 and 1967-1970), but the White Album (actually, The Beatles), Abbey Road, Revolver, Rubber Soul, (the UK versions) and others.

We also picked up a few, like the Anthology and Live at the BBC sets, just after first of the year.

But the final step was a gift certificate from that my Big Sister gave me for Christmas. I used it to finish up my collection.

Yes, I now have the Beatles collection. Their entire CD catalog.

I've even put some of the songs in iTunes twice.

The songs from the US versions of the albums, I've added again, putting them in US album order for the iPod.

Now, even though I don't have, say, Beatles '65, I do. Sort of. I just scroll down to Beatles '65 on the iPod, and hit play, and No Reply starts playing. Then I'm A Loser, Baby's In Black, Rock and Roll Music, I'll Follow the Sun, Mr. Moonlight, Honey Don't, I'll Be Back, She's A Woman, I Feel Fine, and Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby. Just like it really was Beatles '65.

Same thing for The Beatles' Second Album, Something New, Beatles VI, Yesterday... and Today, and all the rest of the US albums.

No, I don't have my old albums. But I have all the songs from them.

It's great.

I've had the chance to Meet The Beatles all over again.


Got a new car back in December. I like the new Chevrolet. It's what I wanted in a car. So, we got it.

It's the first car I've had with a CD player built-in. So, that tells you about the level of importance ... or lack of importance ... I put on the music system in a car. I mean, after all, it's just a car.

Oh, sure, I've upgraded car stereos ... or added where one didn't exist ... in the past. Lots of times, in fact. But this one came with CD, AM, FM ... and XM.

Now, I've looked at XM in the past. Decided against it. I mean, after all, it's just radio, right? I get John Boy and Billy in the morning on Columbus' Rock 103. And, since they play songs by folks like Linkin Park, Pantera, Foo Fighters, Papa Roach ... well, you get the idea. Not my kinda music. Sure, some Pink Floyd or Aerosmith, too, but too much of that other crap for me to listen regular.

Boomer 95.3 is more my taste in music. So, as far as I was concerned, I was set in regards to car radio. And having a CD player was a bonus.

Of course, I have an iPod that I got in August. Been adding songs to it along and along. Got over 1000 now.

And, a few months ago, I got one of those FM adapters for the iPod. You know, the kind that sits in the cup-holder and plays the iPod through the radio. Like a Mr. Microphone. (Remember? "Hey, good looking! I'll be back to pick you up later!")

I know, not the best way to listen to songs, but at least I could play my iPod in the car when I wanted to.

But, darn it, the new Chevrolet -- it replaced an older Chevrolet -- had the cupholders in a bad spot for the iPod-radio thingy.

But, it does have an aux input.

But, there's no convenient place to put the iPod where I can glance at it or hit the "next" button without taking my eyes off the road for too long a period of time.

So, what to do?

Well, I decided to try that "XM" button. I mean, we got three months free, so why not?
I've discovered "60s on 6," "70s on 7," "The Heart" (23), "Deep Tracks" (40), "Top Tracks" (46), "Big Tracks" (49), "Soul Street" (60), and others.

Lots of songs I like.

The other day, I was in the car with The Wife, listening to XM. And they played a song I liked. And had on the iPod.

"You know," I told her, "if I had the iPod hooked up, I could be listening to this very song right now."

She gave me the look I expected.

It became a running joke. Every time XM played something I had on the iPod, I'd say, "If I had the iPod hooked up, I could be listening to this very song right now."

And I said it a lot.

I'd still be looking at ways to mount the iPod without cutting a bunch of holes in the dash. But I'd still be hearing songs on XM that I had on my iPod.

So, now I'm trying to decide if I want to spend the money for a different hookup for the new car so I can play the iPod. Or if I want to pay $12.95 a month for XM.

I'm leaning towards paying the $12.95/month.

That way, in addition to hearing the same songs that are on my iPod, I'll also hear other songs I forgot about, and can go buy them from iTunes to put on my iPod.

After all, spending money to find other ways to spend money is the American Way.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


You know what's funny about the New Hampshire primary results?

All the polls showed Barack Hussein Obama leading Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton in that state ... and Clinton up and beat Obama.

Okay, I'll admit it. The conspiracy theorist in me says it was all a setup to make Clinton "the comeback kid II." But that's silly.

Here's what I really do find interesting, though.

The polls were wrong. Very wrong.

And all the Democrats seem okay with that.

But I wonder ...

Suppose it was November. And suppose the Democratic nominee was leading the Republican nominee in the polls. And suppose the Republican ended up winning.

What would happen?

I think you'd hear all the Dems calling "fraud" and saying all those polls couldn't have been wrong, so the election must have been stolen.

Today, though, the silence is deafening.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Iowa Stubborn

In The Music Man, Professor Harold Hill, after escaping the other salesmen on the train, arrives in River City, Iowa. And discovers that he's not exactly welcome. And that the characters are stubborn, as they sing the lyrics to the song Iowa Stubborn:
And we're so by God stubborn
We could stand touchin' noses
For a week at a time
And never see eye-to-eye.

And, so it seems, is the rest of the country. About Iowa, anyway.

Folks seem to think the Iowa Caucuses mean something.

Heck, maybe it does. After all, in 1980, Jimmy Carter won the Democratic caucus, as did Walter Mondale in 1984, Bill Clinton in 1996, Al Gore in 2000, and John Kerry in 2004. They all went on to win their party's nomination. Of course, Carter in '80 and Clinton in '96 were already President. And Clinton was unopposed in '96.
But, guess who won in 1972? No one. "Uncommitted" took top spot, Ed Muskie came in 2nd, and the eventual nominee, George McGovern, came in 3rd.

In 1976, Carter (the eventual nominee) came in 2nd, behind "Uncommitted." And in 1988, Michael Dukakis (who was nominated) came in 3rd, behind Dick Gephardt and Paul Simon. Oh, and in 1992, Clinton (who took the nomination) came in 4th, behind Tom Harkin, "Uncommitted," and Paul Tsongas.

So, excluding sitting Presidents, the nominee was the Iowa winner 3 of 7 times.

Oh, and on the Republican side? Well, in 1984, 1992, and 2004, the sitting President was unopposed. And in 1996 and 2000, the eventual nominees, Bob Dole and George W. Bush, won.

But, in 1980, Ronald Reagan came in second to George Bush. And in 1988, Bush came in 3rd behind Dole and Pat Robertson.

Which means, excluding sitting Presidents, the Iowa winner was the nominee half the time.

With that in mind, just how big were the wins by Barack Hussein Obama and Michael Dale Huckabee?

I'm thinking not all that big a deal.

I mean, you think for one second I'm going to let someone in Iowa influence how I'm going to vote?

No way.

Of course, on the other hand, there are plenty of people who do what they're told.

Maybe this country could use some Iowa Stubborn.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Georgia's three governors

I saw a story about the mayor of Anderson, Indiana, losing an election, but refusing to leave office.

The deal is that there's a lawsuit filed by some folks that worked for sitting mayor Kevin Smith (no, not Silent Bob). The suit charges that Kris Ockomon, who won the election, didn't meet the residency requirements to be elected mayor. So, Smith is staying in office until it's all settled. Or that's his plan, anyway.

This brought to mind the old story ... a true story, to be sure ... about the time Georgia had three governors.

You say you didn't know about that? Well, it's always been a favorite story. And it gets better every time. Because little bits surface here and there -- some true, some maybe not true -- that just make a ridiculous situation even more ridiculous.

Seems that back in 1946, Georgia went and held an election. Seems this new State Constitution had gone in that prevented a governor from succeeding himself. That meant that, in 1942, Eugene Talmadge, who had up an got himself elected governor twice, couldn't succeed himself, and turned the office over to Ellis Arnall, who served the first 4-year term.

Arnall couldn't run again in 1946. But Talmadge could. But no one else did. Republicans didn't stand a chance in Georgia politics back then, so they didn't bother.

The new State Constitution had created this new job called "Lieutenant Governor," and M. E. Thompson ran for the job. With no Republican opposition.

Now, you gotta know that Eugene Talmadge was in poor health, what with being old and a drunk. Which was ... and still is ... common in Georgia. But even more common then, because even an old drunk Democrat could ... and did ... get elected Governor in those days.

Now, the Old Man had a son. Herman Talmadge. You may have heard of him.

Anyway, supporters of Herman mounted a write-in campaign for him for Governor. And, sure enough, when the election was held, Eugene Talmadge was elected Governor, with Herman Talmadge running a distant second.

Oh, and this is important: M. E. Thompson was elected Lieutenant Governor.

The reason it's important is that the Lt. Governor became Governor if and when the Governor died.

Funny thing, though. When they wrote that law, they didn't specify anything about Lt. Governor-elect becoming Governor-elect if the Governor-elect died.

And Eugene Talmadge, on December 21, 1946, after the election but before being sworn in, passed from this world.

He passed on! This governor was no more! He had ceased to be! He'd expired and gone to meet his maker! He was a stiff! Bereft of life, he rests in peace! He was pushing up the daisies! His metabolic processes were now history! He'd kicked the bucket, he'd shuffled off this mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible!!

Yes, you may have figured it out. Eugene Talmadge had died.

So, who became Governor?


Well, the State Constitution said nothing about Lt. Governor-elect becoming Governor-elect.

But, it did say that the State Legislature had to certify the election results. Which they didn't do. Instead, they picked a governor from the top living vote-getters for the office of Governor.

Which is to say, the Legislature elected Herman Talmadge as Governor.

M. E. Thompson sued.

So, now two folks are claiming to be Governor.

Then, the outgoing Governor, Ellis Arnall, said he'd stay in office until it was decided.

After several Talmadge changed the locks on the office, Arnall set up a desk at the information booth at the Capitol, and more legal maneuvers, the Attorney General swore in Thompson at Lt. Governor, then immediately recognized him as Acting Governor.

Finally, a court ruled that Thompson was governor, and everybody went away. Until the special election in 1948 to fill the remainder of the term. Then Talmadge beat Thompson clean.

Just another example of politics at its finest.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Mother-in-law's underwear

Sometimes, you find yourself looking for things you never expect. Like recently, before Christmas, the Wife and I were doing some shopping. In Wal-Mart, of course. Because the Wife likes Wal-Mart. I don't, but she does. She'd take a vacation at a Wal-Mart if she could. Anyway, while finishing up shopping, or trying to at least, she said, "Hey, let's go get some underwear for Mama." She's talking about, of course, her mother. My mother-in-law. Talking about me going to pick out underwear for my mother-in-law. Maybe it's just me, but I'm not picking out underwear for any woman. Except for my Wife. I'd pick out underwear for my daughter ... when she wore Pampers. Or Underoos. But not since then. But, there I am, and the Wife just told me "Let's go get some underwear for Mama." So, we start down the aisle, heading toward that section of the store. At the place where we turn right, we turn right. She says something, and I'm talking, responding. Not saying much, really, just talking. Because when I'm talking, I'm not thinking about my mother-in-law's underwear. Walking and talking. Talking and walking. Through the ladies' underwear section. When suddenly I realize I've passed the underwear section. So I stop, saying, "I think we've gone too far," and turn around. She's not there. No sign of her. I do get an odd look from the ladies who were behind me and who kept walking past me. The two ladies I had apparently been talking to since the Wife veered off somewhere, looking for underwear for her mother. I quietly walk back down the ladies' underwear aisle, looking for the Wife. She's not to be found. So, I break out the trusty cell phone and call her. "Where you at?" I ask, even though we don't have Boost Mobile. "Where are you?" she responds. "I walked all the way down the aisle, and am backtracking now, looking for you." "I'm over here, looking at underwear for Mama." "Well, yeah, I figured that," I said. "But where are you?" "Come on down about half-way past the center, then turn to the left," she tells me. Um, okay, I'm thinking. "How far down?" "Where are you?" she asks again. "I'm going down the underwear aisle, looking for you." "Come off the aisle, and you'll see me," she says. I hear her voice from ... somewhere. Somewhere other than from the phone, I mean. "Keep coming and you'll see me." I continue walking. "Right behind you," she says. I turn around. And there are thongs staring me in the face. No. No, no, no. Not thongs. I don't want to be shopping for underwear for my mother-in-law. And I sure don't want to be looking for underwear for her in the thong section. This has got to be a nightmare. Really, it does. But, it's not. And, it turns out it wasn't as bad as I thought. "I'm down here," the Wife says. I look down. And there she is. Sitting on the floor. Sifting through long johns. "I think Mama'd like these," she says. I still don't know if she got anything or not. I'm assuming she did. I was just so relieved that I wasn't participating in a thong purchase for my mother-in-law that I'd've agreed to anything. And, for all I know, I may have. I'm actually sort of glad I was sick and wasn't able to participate in the gift exchange at her mother's house. A silver lining, after all.

College football playoff still a good idea

Last month, I listed my plan for a college football playoff. After the bowl games so far, it still looks like a good idea to me.

The winners of the 11 major conferences would take the top 11 seeds, just like in the NFL. Then, 5 wild-card teams are added to the mix, making a field of 16. The seedings would be by BCS standards. Conference champs not listed in the the BCS ratings (Central Florida, Central Michigan, Florida Atlantic) would seeded by winning percentage.

Again, conference champions are seeded first, then the wild-card teams. This will produce some odd seedings, but we're giving added importance to winning a conference, just like in every other sport, at every other level.

Here are the seeds, with their conference, their record, and final BCS standings:
  1. Ohio State (Big 10; 11-1; #1)
  2. LSU (Southeastern; 11-2; #2)
  3. Virginia Tech (Atlantic Coast; 11-2; #3)
  4. Oklahoma (Big 12; 11-2; #4)
  5. Southern California (Pacific 10; 10-2; #7)
  6. West Virginia (Big East; 10-2; #9)
  7. Hawaii (Western Athletic; 12-0; #10)
  8. Brigham Young (Mountain West; 10-2; #17)
  9. Central Florida (Conference USA; 10-3; NR)
  10. Central Michigan (Mid American; 7-5; NR)
  11. Florida Atlantic (Sun Belt; 7-5; NR)
  12. Georgia (wild card, Southeastern; 10-2; #5)
  13. Missouri (wild card, Big 12; 11-2; #6)
  14. Kansas (wild card, Big 12; 11-1; #8)
  15. Arizona State (wild card, Pacific 10; 10-2; #11)
  16. Florida (wild card, Southeastern; 9-3; #12)
Now, what would have been the first round games?
  • (16) Florida at (1) Ohio State
  • (15) Arizona State at (2) LSU
  • (14) Kansas at (3) Virginia Tech
  • (13) Missouri at (4) Oklahoma
  • (12) Georgia at (5) Southern California
  • (11) Florida Atlantic at (6) West Virginia
  • (10) Central Michigan at (7) Hawaii
  • (9) Central Florida at (8) Brigham Young
Of those 8 games, 5 would have been good games. 3 would likely have been blow-outs. But this year, you never know.

After the January 1st games, some say that Georgia and Southern California made the case they should have played each other. Guess what? In my playoff setup, they would have.

I figure that in most cases, the higher seed would have won. Of course, I figure Georgia would beat Southern Cal. And maybe Kansas beating Va. Tech. Maybe. I'd have figured Florida over Ohio State, too, until they lost to Michigan.

And, if you don't like my seedings, you could have the BCS seedings take priority, but still put the 11 conference champions plus 5 wild card teams in the mix:
  1. Ohio State (Big 10; 11-1; #1)
  2. LSU (Southeastern; 11-2; #2)
  3. Virginia Tech (Atlantic Coast; 11-2; #3)
  4. Oklahoma (Big 12; 11-2; #4)
  5. Georgia (wild card, Southeastern; 10-2; #5)
  6. Missouri (wild card, Big 12; 11-2; #6)
  7. Southern California (Pacific 10; 10-2; #7)
  8. Kansas (wild card, Big 12; 11-1; #8)
  9. West Virginia (Big East; 10-2; #9)
  10. Hawaii (Western Athletic; 12-0; #10)
  11. Arizona State (wild card, Pacific 10; 10-2; #11)
  12. Florida (wild card, Southeastern; 9-3; #12)
  13. Brigham Young (Mountain West; 10-2; #17)
  14. Central Florida (Conference USA; 10-3; NR)
  15. Central Michigan (Mid American; 7-5; NR)
  16. Florida Atlantic (Sun Belt; 7-5; NR)
That would have produced:
  • (16) Florida Atlantic at (1) Ohio State
  • (15) Central Michigan at (2) LSU
  • (14) Central Florida at (3) Virginia Tech
  • (13) Brigham Young at (4) Oklahoma
  • (12) Florida at (5) Georgia
  • (11) Arizona State at (6) Missouri
  • (10) Hawaii at (7) Southern California
  • (9) West Virginia at (8) Kansas
Not as many good games, is it? Arizona State at Missouri would be good. So would West Virginia at Kansas. Florida at Georgia should be good, but the Bulldogs whipped the Gators soundly in November, so another 2-3 touchdown win isn't all that exciting, unless you're a Bulldog fan.

Either way, after the first round, you have nothing but good games. Even with upsets, an "even" match-up is replaced by a match-up between a good team and a surprisingly good team.

Oh, and first round losers still get to go to a bowl game. Lots of bowls would like having one of those teams in their game, I'm sure.

So, despite all the little things folks might not like about my playoff setup, it does have one redeeming factor:

When the last game is played, there's no doubt about who is the best team ... on the field ... in college football.

Flu Christmas

Lots of families have Christmas traditions.

I'm thinking I've developed a really bad one. Again this year, I was sick Christmas. And am just now recovering, although I haven't fully.

A last-minute change in plans meant that my daughter and son weren't able to come here for Christmas Eve, as was the original plan. So, I headed their way.

As I mentioned earlier, my son has moved into his first apartment. In Brunswick. And my daughter went shopping in Brunswick. So, we did a mini-gift exchange at his place on the 23rd.

I'm guessing a busy week prior to the trip, plus long, late drives there ... and back ... put me susceptible. And, sure enough, by the time I got back to the house the morning of the 24th, I was sick.

For the last week, I've functioned as well as I could. I don't function all that well anyway, but being sick made it worse.

Nearly over it now, so I've got some serious email catchups to do, among other things.

Almost back to normal now.

Or what passes for normal around here.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year's Resolutions for 2008

I hereby resolve to:
  • Vote for conservatives
  • Watch TV
  • Kick the neighbors' dogs
  • Throw rocks at the neighbors' cats
  • Eat three meals a day
  • Be a pain in the ass
  • Spend lots of time on the computer
  • Not get fired
  • Apologize when I'm wrong
  • Never be wrong
Happy New Year!