On 25 Things about Me

Although I write about a variety of topics, I hope to take a break from politics. Well, that is assuming Congress doesn’t do anything abnormally stupid (but odds are they will do something stupid). So hopefully this will be the first of some political-free topics … well, with the exception of next Friday’s Opinions in the Shorts.

I’m not in Facebook at this time, but thought I’d join in on the lead from others.

  1. I qualify for Italian citizenship.
  2. My left hand is prosthetic because my original hand is in a jar as it touched by Shania.
  3. I delivered a sermon at my mother’s funeral. A future post anyone?
  4. After winning a game with a shot at the buzzer of the third OT, a group of us (in high school) were attacked by others and ensuing events totaled my car.
  5. While on a state board for a professional association, a colleague told me I was the best devil’s advocate she’s known … of which I respond, “Devil’s advocate my #**, I’m just being myself.”
  6. I love red wine, especially zinfandel and malbec.
  7. After a meal at a restaurant the manager came over and asked if there was anything else he could do. So I asked, “How about free dessert?” The first time response: “I can’t do that.” (Me) So why did you ask? …. I tried it again years later (to the surprise of 2 friends), and it worked … a large piece of cake with 3 forks!
  8. I played baritone in high school … including 5 years in college marching band. Now I play in a bell/chime choir at church, but we’re not the Raleigh Ringers.
  9. I don’t understand how anyone could not appreciate the drumbone.
  10. I prefer reading professional journals, nonfiction, or food/wine magazines over fiction.
  11. Sometimes something is so funny, it’s difficult for me to stop laughing. The last time was when TCP posted this video from YouTube.
  12. I’ve always owned a GM Car, starting with a 1965 Chevrolet Nova … sorry not the SS.
  13. I have played curling, and it is harder than it looks.
  14. I been interviewed by TV stations in Cincinnati and Houston , plus appeared 2 live radio interviews, was part of a podcast interview, a guest on Blog Bunker on Sirius satellite radio, and Al Roker stood in front of us doing the weather.
  15. We are approaching the end of year 2 of ballroom dance lessons.
  16. I sat through the entire coldest game ever in the NFL.
  17. I saw Mark Whiten’s 4 HR, 12 RBI game – those were four blasts!
  18. Many don’t understand my sense of humor.
  19. The Amalfi coast may be the most beautiful place I’ve visited, but Hubbard Glacier and Kauai’s NaPoli coast were awesome sites of nature.
  20. I hate caraway seeds.
  21. I watch the Food Network, enjoy cooking, and will provide my special spaghetti sauce recipe in the future.
  22. I love this saying: Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like banana.
  23. I love playing and watching golf – one of the few sports with no defense.
  24. I would eat at BEEZE’s restaurant if he owned one.
  25. Oh crap … Many times I find myself relating to Mo’s overall view of the world.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 9

On Politics
I had a hard time getting past William Kristol’s Will Obama Save Liberalism, but I successful read it the next day; only to discover an interesting nugget at the end.

Senator McCain proclaims he won’t be a rubber stamp for the President. Oh really! Are you expected to be? Does your party apply any pressure to its members in either chamber for rubber stamping its agenda?

Sometimes in life its best just to sit back, be quiet, and let others have their way; after all, give them enough rope and they usually hang themselves. I wonder if Capitol Hill Republicans considered the idea after get smacked in the November elections. Bob Herbert had a stinging opinion on the GOP’s current behavior.

On the stimulus plan, have greater respect for the 11 House Democrats going against the grain than the entire House GOP — yet I’m hopefull that both sides in the Senate will be less divided.

Since AIG is paying bonuses, no more bailout money … None!

Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins delivered a wonderful sermon at the National Prayer Service the day following the inauguration, and here’s the text.

I’m touched by my honorary membership in the American Hearland Party.

On Sports
Many regard Ray Guy as the best punter ever, but he’s not in the HOF. Here’s a great post about him, which includes a few other names from that era.

Now that NCAA hoop season is finally into league play, sure seems that the big basketball schools have borrowed a page from BCS football: play as many home games against lesser competition as much as possible. How many nonconference games do they need? Oh I forgot … it’s all about the money.

On Films
Last weekend we saw Oscar nominated Frost/Nixon. A must see for boomers! Frank Langella does very well portraying Nixon’s qualities: brilliance, calculating, controlling, & paranoia.

On Stuff
Have you ever thought about this question: What does life ask of us? With that thought in mind, see this nonpolitical column by David Brooks.

I enjoy using iGoogle for daily pictures as the National Geographic Picture of the Day, Places to See Before You Die, Most Sacred Places, Funny Cat Photos, and my favorite – Moon of the Day. Also with iGoogle, my settings automatically and frequently change the banner – It’s interesting.

Seems Cindy McCain interviewed with Dancing with the Stars, and then hubby nixed the idea, which is not being mavericky.

We love soup in the winter, and discovered a wonderful cookbook (with soups) for pressure cookers: The Pressure Cooker Cookbook (Taula Patsalis). Best of all, we found the book at our local Half Price Books.

Here’s a good one: a list of 10 things we should say more often.

From Things to Ponder Gadget
If pro is the opposite of con, is progress the opposite of congress?

On a Grocery-Store Experience

There’s nothing like a trip to the grocery store to witness the diverse nature of our society; variety of shapes and sizes, varying socio-economic circumstances, varying dress, different behaviors, and countless of other human traits.

While entering the parking lot I see a car cutting across the lot. As we approach one another, I slowed down to prevent being broadsided if I turned down the wrong row, and then noticed the driver is also talking on their phone.

As I start turning into a prime parking spot, a loose shopping cart was also there. Of course it’s very close to the cart corral.

I move the cart to the corral, only to notice that other two carts were just outside the corral. How hard can this be? Maybe the prior shoppers lacked the ability to push their cart into the stall.

As I’m walking toward the store, a lady exits her car talking on her phone, and continues as she walks toward the store. Since she’s still babbling while I’m in the produce department, I quickly get my items and change my shopping route.

In the serenity of my next aisle I encounter a deliberate shopper – the one standing beside their cart and in front of the items while blocking the entire aisle. Since I’m the patient type, I determined what I could get in that area without taking my cart.

Able to move on, I rounded the corner toward the next aisle and saw the lady still on the phone. I come to a screeching halt, and off to another aisle.

Fortunately, an aisle with a clear path; unfortunately, an aisle with nothing I needed. Knowing my needs are in the next aisle, I turn the corner to be confronted by a two-shopper blockade holding a social court. No problem, off the next aisle where a shopper studying a kitchen gadget label is pondering her decision. This time I politely say, “Excuse me”

Time to go back an aisle – Oh no … she’s still talking! Since she lacked Secret Service Agents, she can’t be that important, so I got my items, and pass her (while mentally mumbling to myself).

In the next aisle I encountered a leisurely shopper slowly strolling aimlessly down the center of the aisle; meaning I can’t pass on either side. Since I needed items here, fell in line behind the parade’s Grand Marshall.

After two more stops I move toward checkout. While passing the express, self-check lanes I noticed the clueless shopper who thought the sign said, “Express Checkout for Shoppers 12 and Over.” The good news is that it wasn’t the lady with the cell phone.

Finally, I’m out of there; bags in the car; cart in the corral; and driving down the row, but not home free because as I drove in front of the store, I waited on the person slowly crossing at a diagonal because they don’t know the shortest distance between any two points is a straight line!

Yes, this all this happened on the same day. Yes, we encounter situations like this everyday. Yes, I too can (sometimes) be the cause. Today though, I wish I had some of Bill Engvall’s signs to distribute. So I leave this post with three thoughts and a very short closing.

Principle 1: Life isn’t about us as individuals.

Principle 2: The little things we do in life don’t take that much extra time and effort. Smiles, greetings, a multitude of niceties, and even putting shopping carts in parking lot corrals, go a long way. Many years ago, a friend of mine would say, “It doesn’t cost much more to be first class.”

Principle 3: Be aware of your environment, because every decision we make as individuals impact others – even those little things.

With not that much effort, these principles not only would improve our life, but just as important, they would better the life of others – and that’s what life is about.

On the New Cabinet & Advisors

A new administration means new people on the inside.

On Hillary Clinton (State): No problem; but I wouldn’t have nominated her because she also brings a gorilla into the room that easily raises questions.

On Timothy Geithner (Treas): So we now have a Secretary of the Treasury who had a tax issue leading a department that includes the IRS.  First of all, it seems many Americans would support his “don’t pay” tax plan … (Thank you Jay Leno) … and the ultimate trump on GOP tax cuts.

Although he paid his obligation (and hopefully with interest), I have one question: Where was the IRS during this? Gosh knows they’ve inconvenienced me on more than one occasion over issues stemming from they (the IRS) losing forms that I sent – and on one occasion, one that I personally delivered.

On Ray LaHood (Trans): Here’s a guy with 2 reputations: a bipartisan and a pork spender. Both are good: bipartisan solutions are necessary and he’s no longer in Congress.

On Tom Daschle (Health & HS): Yes, he has passion for health care reform, but who and the heck would want to tackle that mess! If a proposal comes forth in the first 100 days, that’s a bad sign because of the enormous nature of the problem.

On Arne Duncan (Educ): So the Supt of Chicago is reform minded. What does that mean? Doing something different in an outdated system with outdated standards or gutting the system to take it into the 21st century? Ooops … I forgot, the public won’t allow the latter.

On Bob Gates (Def): A good choice, yet my hunch is he is a transition choice; thus serving 2 years then stepping aside.

On Janet Napolitano (HL Sec): Although a former border state governor, she not tough enough for me.

On TBA: (Commerce): I want a business person, not a politician getting a political favor.

On Advisors: Using George Mitchell as special envoy to the Middle East is a great move. I hope President Obama doesn’t forget to use some distinguished, respectable, knowledgeable Republicans. What can Colin Powell, Chuck Hagel, James Baker, and others do? Thanks but no thanks, no Donald Rumsfeld.

On an Economic Stimulus

Although House leaders Pelosi and Boehner continue to be the poster images of what is wrong in Washington, I’m not limited to one ideology. I’m not subject to party pressure. I’m not subject to K Street power. I’m not out to block or best the other side. I’m not a rubber stamp, nor an automatic drummer of descent. I only offer grounded points for the economic stimulus.

An upcoming economic stimulus plan is getting a lot of buzz. I know there are ideological differences between the major parties; that’s the nature of politics. Taking care of special interests and pet projects is also the nature of politicians.


  • Have a clear focus and will all dollars directly related upon that focus.
  • Address both the short term and the long term.
  • Zero pork. I know one’s pork is another’s program, but no money to anything as studying the sex life of boll weevils.
  • No stretching the dollars into other programs. No to agency computers. No to family planning and school lunch programs. No to renovating K-12 school buildings. That’s no to anything not fundamentally directly related to our economic situation.
  • No individual stimulus checks to individuals. The last $500 was a poor investment and don’t do it again. Postage alone is a saving.
  • Do tax credits to individuals for doing something. Buy a car, get credit. Buy a car made in the U.S., get a credit. Buy an alternative fuel car, get a credit. Buy an American car made in the U.S., get a credit. Buy an American car from outside the U.S., sorry.
  • Do tax credits for companies who expand the American workforce. Sorry, no credits for U.S. companies expanding employment elsewhere.
  • Do get the banks lending.
  • Do rebuild infrastructure.
  • Do invest in new energy technologies, including funds to colleges and universities to produce capable workers.
  • Do attach conditions and demand accountability to business seeking/receiving funds.
  • Don’t lose slight that the global economy is more interwoven than ever.
  • Do make organizations disclose their intent for using the funds and include accountability. Nothing hidden or private because the financial sector snowed us once, but not again.
  • Do help states desiring help, if and only if they request for, can justify, and be held accountable for their decisions.
  • Don’t lose slight that the global economy is more interwoven than ever.

Since all sides use many statistics to reinforce their position, remember this – it’s easy to take a stance and then find the supportive stats.