12/31/08

Badge Of Honor




I'm an embarrassment to Barack!


I only scored 18 on the Obama Test

12/27/08

Another Step

OK, not much of one but I got my car started after the battery died. Some ice had worked its way under the trunk support rods the last time I opened it. When I tried to close it, the trunk stayed open just enough to keep the inside light on...for a week, effectively killing the battery.

Fortunately, a jump got her going again & a few minutes of tooling around in the parking lot to keep the rotors clean, brakes in working order & gears lubed helped out greatly. I bought some fuel stabilizer so the remaining gas in the tank won't separate on me.

After I can drive again, I'll get the oil changed (can't do it myself since there's no level surface to use here) & probably get the coolant system flushed, just to be safe.

Driving comes back about 3/10 or so, after the follow-up MRI with the doc in S. Carolina. After that, it's three months until I kiss this winter wasteland goodbye!

12/25/08

Wrong Wiener...

I guess it really depends on who you are.


video

12/24/08

Job = Motivation

I've come to a crossroads at work. It happened today.

You see, I work for a trucking company. For those of you whose only involvement with trucking is that big, burly dude at a gas station wearing the "Bubba Gump Shrimp" ball cap, let me tell you that Christmas is the most miserable time of year.

Imagine 3,000 4 year-olds, all wanting to go home for the holiday, asking collectively, "Are we there yet?!?!" & you have an idea of where the pain starts. Add to it that the "parents" (dispatchers, in this case) get just as whiny as the kids & well, let's just say I sympathize with you drinkers out there.

So, when one of the above managers decided to undo a couple of my plans & left one load uncovered just to get what he wanted without telling me, I was a little more "Grinch" than Santa...

At some point this just hit me: "USE IT"!!! Don't be pissed at one guy who's just thumbing his nose at the rules. He's been there for 17 years & is a lifer. This isn't conflict! No, in the big picture it's my continued motivation to move down to South Carolina & take on new challenges, experience new things AND breathe some life into, well, my LIFE!

It's just like HKD: Use the energy you're given by the antagonist. Let them provide what is needed to move the mountain, erode the obstacle or detour the path. Move beyond the obstruction, don't rest on it.

Or, as Dad puts it: "A bad day is like taking a crap: When you're done & you flush, do you really care about where it is or what it's doing? No! It's over & gone"

Whichever version you like best works for me. Either way, I'm getting a new toilet! :-)

12/23/08

Merry Christmas from HR

MEMO TO ALL EMPLOYEES
RE: Christmas PARTY ON DEC. 23RD
DATE: DEC. 1ST

I'm happy to inform you that the company Christmas Party will take place on December 23, starting at noon in the banquet room at Luigi's Open Pit Barbecue. No-host bar, but plenty of eggnog! We'll have a small band playing traditional carols...feel free to sing along. And don't be surprised if our CEO shows up dressed as Santa Claus! A Christmas tree will be lit at 1:00 P.M. Exchange of gifts among employees can be done at that time, however, no gift should be over $10.00 to make the giving of gifts easy for everyone's pockets. This gathering is only for employees! A special announcement will be made by our CEO at that time!

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Patty

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

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
TO: All Employees
DATE: December 2
RE: Holiday Party

In no way was yesterday's memo intended to exclude our Jewish employees.

We recognize that Chanukah is an important holiday which often coincides with Christmas, though unfortunately not this year. However, from now on we're calling it our "Holiday Party." The same policy applies to employees who are celebrating Kwanzaa at this time. There will be no Christmas tree present. No Christmas carols sung. We will have other types of music for your enjoyment.

Happy now?

Happy Holidays to you and your family.

Patty

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

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
TO: All Employees
DATE: December 3
RE: Holiday Party

Regarding the note I received from a member of Alcoholics Anonymous requesting a non-drinking table ... you didn't sign your name. I'm happy to accommodate this request, but if I put a sign on a table that reads, "AA Only"; you wouldn't be anonymous anymore. How am I supposed to handle this?
Somebody?

Forget about the gifts exchange, no gifts exchange are allowed since the union members feel that $10.00 is too much money and executives believe $10.00 is very little for a gift. NO GIFTS EXCHANGE WILL BE ALLOWED.

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

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
To: All Employees
DATE: December 7
RE: Holiday Party

What a diverse group we are! I had no idea that December 20 begins the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which forbids eating and drinking during daylight hours. There goes the party! Seriously, we can appreciate how a luncheon this time of year does not accommodate our Muslim employees' beliefs. Perhaps Luigi's can hold off on serving your meal until the end of the party — the days are so short this time of year — or else package everything for take home in little foil swans. Will that work?

Meanwhile, I've arranged for members of Overeaters Anonymous to sit farthest from the dessert buffet and pregnant women will get the table closest to the restrooms. Gays are allowed to sit with each other. Lesbians do not have to sit with Gay men, each will have their own table. Yes, there will be flower arrangement for the Gay men's table. To the person asking permission to cross dress, no cross dressing allowed though. We will have booster seats for short people. Low-fat food will be available for those on a diet. We cannot control the salt used in the food we suggest for those people with high blood problems to taste first. There will be fresh fruits as dessert for Diabetics, the restaurant cannot supply "No Sugar" desserts.
Sorry!

Did I miss anything?

Patty

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

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
TO: All Employees
DATE: December 8
RE: Holiday Party

So December 22 marks the Winter Solstice...what do you expect me to do, a tap-dance on your heads? Fire regulations at Luigi's prohibit the burning of sage by our "earth-based Goddess-worshiping" employees, but we'll try to accommodate your shamanic drumming circle during the band's breaks. Okay???


Patty

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

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
To: All Employees
Date: December 9
RE: Holiday Party

People, people, nothing sinister was intended by having our CEO dress up like Santa Claus! Even if the anagram of "Santa" does happen to be "Satan,"
there is no evil connotation to our own "little man in a red suit." It's a tradition, folks, like sugar shock at Halloween or family feuds over the thanksgiving turkey or broken hearts on Valentine's Day.

Could we lighten up? Please????????? Also the company has changed their mind in announcing the special announcement at the gathering. You will get a notification in the mail sent to your home.

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

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director
TO: All #%&$**@ Employees
DATE: December 10
RE: The %#*&^%@*%^Holiday Party

I have no #%&*@*^ idea what the announcement is all about. What the %#&^!@ do I care...I KNOW WHAT I AM GOING TO GET!!!!!!!!!!!! You change your address now and you are dead!!!!!!!!!!!! No more changes of address will be allowed in my office. Try to come in and change your address, I will have you hung from the ceiling in the warehouse!!!!!!!!!!!

Vegetarians!?!?!? I've had it with you people!!! We're going to keep this party at Luigi's Open Pit Barbecue whether you like it or not, so you can sit quietly at the table furthest from the "grill of death," as you so quaintly put it, and you'll get your #$%^&*! salad bar, including hydroponic tomatoes. But you know, they have feelings, too. Tomatoes scream when you slice them. I've heard them scream. I'm hearing them scream right now! > HA !

I hope you all have a rotten holiday! Drive drunk and die, you hear me!!!!!!!!!!!

The Bitch from HELL!!!!!!!!

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

FROM: Terri Bishop, Acting Human Resources Director
DATE: December 14
RE: Patty Lewis and Holiday Party

I'm sure I speak for all of us in wishing Patty Lewis a speedy recovery from her stress-related illness and I'll continue to forward your cards to her at the sanitarium. In the meantime, management has decided to cancel our Holiday Party and give everyone the afternoon of the 23rd off with full pay.

Happy Holidays!

12/18/08

Finally

I got the last of the gifts mailed out today.

All that's left is to endure the snowstorm we're getting tonight (& probably the next day) & three days of work before Christmas is finally here.

Speaking of work: my boss has been pointing the finger at me lately to blame for, well, random things that didn't directly involve me. Since there's no reason to his scapegoating, I think for Christmas I'd just like someone to point one particular finger at him...

12/17/08

Test

We had 3 candidates test for black belts tonight (Catie & JD for 1st degree, Will for recommended black).

Both JD's & Catie's technique were beyond impressive. All things being equal (which they aren't), each could probably take me in sparring. Both caught me once or twice in 1-on-1 but I still landed most of the hits. Still, the talent of these two make me feel like I've lost a step - but that says more to their abilities than anything.

Will has decent technique - he gets frustrated easily at 16 - and it's his power that does the talking. He's taller & stronger than the average 16 year-old...you'll know it when he hits you. Fortunately, for me, that power comes at the price of less speed. Once he starts throwing combos, however, you'd better watch out!

Self-defense was great for all of them. Catie needs to put more "oomph" into it, but she can still make you pay for grabbing her. Will was shown that he can't rely on power to get him out of every situation & adapted quickly. JD stayed cool under fire.

All three passed. We need to work with JD on terminology, Catie on power & Will on sharpening a few techniques. All are in great shape at their respective levels & there's plenty of time to get them dialed in with the above.

3 Months...

Since I had my head examined!

So far, so good.

12/14/08

Marine Speed Trap

Probably not true, but it delivers the funny...

Two California Highway Patrol Officers were conducting speeding enforcement on I-15, just north of the Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar. One of the officers was using a hand held radar device to check speeding vehicles approaching the crest of a hill. The officers were suddenly surprised when the radar gun began reading 300 miles per hour. The officer attempted to reset the radar gun, but it would not reset and then turned off.

Just then a deafening roar over the treetops revealed that the radar had in fact locked on to a USMC F/A-18 Hornet which was engaged in a low flying exercise near the location.

Back at the CHP Headquarters the Patrol Captain fired off a complaint to the USMC Base Commander. The reply came back in true USMC style:

~ ~ ~

Thank you for your letter.
We can now complete the file on this incident.

You may be interested to know that the tactical computer in the Hornet had detected the presence of, and subsequently locked on to your hostile radar equipment and automatically sent a jamming signal back to it, which is why it shut down.

Furthermore, an Air-to-Ground missile aboard the fully armed aircraft had also automatically locked on to your equipment location.

Fortunately, the Marine Pilot flying the Hornet recognized the situation for what it was, quickly responded to the missile system alert status and was able to override the automated defense system before the missile was launched to destroy the hostile radar position.

The pilot also suggests you cover your mouths when cussing at them, since the video systems on these jets are very high tech.

Sergeant Johnson, the officer holding the radar gun, should get his dentist to check his left rear molar. It appears the filling is loose. Also, the snap is broken on his holster.

Thank you for your concern.


Semper Fi

Wanted Review

Not bad at all.

I'm not a Jolie fan. She's pretty but even that is more related to her full lips than anything else (kinda skinny for my tastes). Still, she does a good job in this twist & turn action flick.

There's plenty of good humor in the right places & just the right amount of over-the-top stunts to prevent eye-roll strain. Lots of flipping cars, good explosions & some good gunfights round things out nicely.

An obligatory plot twist isn't the biggest surprise but it does fit the movie & sets it up for a clean, fun resolution.

Overall, I'd say it's well worth your time (as most Morgan Freeman movies are), especially for the jerks in the film habitually getting their comeuppance in amusing ways!

12/13/08

CSI: NY

I like the show & Gary Sinise is a top-notch actor. However, the episode I saw this evening - involving martial arts & chess - which should have been one of my favorites of all-time, left me a bit irked.

The chess part was fine. Sad ending, but very well done.

The martial arts part was a hodge-podge of stereotypical crap. It starts with one of the investigators declaring that because one suspect is a 4th degree black belt, he is "capable of murder". Hey, writers, let me tell you that anyone is physically capable of murder. Martial arts training doesn't by definition increase a person's predisposition to violence. People have been killing since Og the caveman first picked up a rock.

The second crappy thing was both Sinise & the 1st investigator trying to talk to a lady at her dojo. She "introduces" herself to a complete stranger by placing a side kick right at his face. Someone tries that at my instructor's school & I'd take them down myself. I've never seen - or even heard - of something like that happening.

Note to the public (potential jurors, in particular): Martial artists are not even mostly like those Cobra Kai jerks from Karate Kid. Black belts are not trained deadly weapons. To date, no state to my knowledge requires that black belts "register" as weapons. A black belt is simply a student who has proven he/she is capable of learning the basics of an art.

For those of you prejudiced into thinking that a black belt on trial for defending his/her person could have completely controlled the situation, do the person a favor & imagine yourself in that person's place. It's not so simple as saying, "I'm a black belt", and all the bad guys go away. Martial artists are simply people who, as a result of training, have a slightly better chance of defending themselves. Don't buy into the urban legend B.S. that they have this magical ability to destroy legions of muggers with a dirty look.

I have a friend who was attacked by two guys in Boston,MA. It was a case of mistaken identity. They pinned him to a brick wall without provocation & threatened him. One had his head introduced to said wall & the other backed off. The police said the two just picked on the wrong guy & let it go. If this had gone to trial, would he have been given a fair shot? I just don't know.

All I'm saying is if you're in a trial with a martial artist as the defendant, please don't let that cloud your judgement. If the person was attacked, consider that maybe - just maybe - the person was scared & defended themselves based on some useful training. Unless the person just went way over the line of reasonable force, there's no reason to judge them as an avaricious miscreant bent on destruction.

12/12/08

Bored

You know the mind-addling grasp of ennui has set in when you bother to actually check your work e-mail from home just to have something to do...

12/11/08

I remember when Jesse Jackson Jr. was...

Well Jesse Jackson Jr. finally made it to the big time. Read any News site and it should have at least some of the details.

I have a funny but true story about running into this putz when I was a young conservative lad.

Back in the late 80's, this schmuck came prancing over to my high school and the Principal had to show him around. I had been passing by and needed to say something to the Principal. The Principal did not appear to be enjoying his demotion to tour guide but that is not important. He stopped me in the middle of my opening comments and said. "Hey, This Jesse Jackson Jr." Like this guy was some kind of celebrity or something. I stopped what I was saying turned my head looked the guy up and down then looked him square in the eye and said: "Yeah. So what. ...Anyway..." and returned back to my conversation and totally ignored the doof. The look on the idiot's face was just priceless. [WAIT! I am somebody important! You cant ignore me.] The Principal hid the smile but not the amusement in his eyes. I can't remember what the topic of the conversation was but I definitely remember hanging up on a stuffed shirt wanna be celeb. riding on his father's coattails who was himself trying to ride on the coattails of another legend. It was not the reception that Jackson Jr. had counted on.

True story.

Martin Luther King Jr. There was a patriot. Jackson? Just a wanna be. Jackson Jr.? ditto. Even as a kid I could see that Martin Luther King Jr. was not just someone seeking the spot light and the camera time. King was a man I could respect. I am fortunate to have grown up in an era after his revolution.

12/10/08

Mea Culpa

I have to apologize for that last post. No, not because I was venting or upset or frustrated. My apology is necessary because I worried some very good people unfairly. Re-reading the entry, I can see how that was so easily misconstrued. "I give up" for me = throwing my hands up in resigned disgust.

Now, this isn't some "everything's all better" message - there's still plenty for me to sort out of all this - but I am sorting it out. It'll just take time & I ask that you all be patient both for & as an example to me.

Thank you so much for your kind words & concern. My promise is those both will not be in vain.

12/8/08

ARGGGGHHHH!

I H-A-T-E being trapped inside all day, every day.

No driving for 6 months (12 in SC) = no social life.

I didn't know what stir-crazy was until now.

Truly, this is a terrible feeling. I can't even get a ride to class.


I do have this Haiku, I guess.

My head examined/
Law says no driving for me/
Alone, here I sit

Norman Rockwell Moment


12/4/08

Black Belt Humility

Even when you think there's plenty of humility in your martial arts career, someone comes along to remind you...

I was working with a very nice lady in class today, who is also a white belt. She has a good attitude, keeps her mind open & listens to the instructors.

She's pretty & kind of looks like Catherine Bell (of JAG fame) but I digress.

We're working on the "statue" drill & I was showing her the footwork needed to coordinate this activity with both hands. Then, a compliment she gave me went horribly awry!

Her: "You're so graceful with those moves. It shows how much you've done this."

Me: "Actually, I haven't done this drill all that much." (Not false modesty. It's true.)

Her: "Oh, well it's obvious you're a trained dancer."

Me: ...

Her: "I'm a good dancer, myself."

Me: "Well, all I really do is Taekwondo..."

OK, ladies, telling a guy he's a good dancer is a compliment. No question about it. Telling a guy he looks like a trained dancer = telling him you question his masculinity. At this point, any guy worth the arrow on that circle will start talking sports, lower his voice an octave & make various grunting noises.

Of course, I was VERY polite - realizing that she's allowed to hit me in class without fear of retribution - and managed to steer the training conversation away from any accusations of me jumping around all nimbly, bimbly.

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