Wednesday, February 24, 2010

More Blog Bling

So, yesterday evening, I get an email in my inbox showing I have a comment to moderate on the blog. It's from my most prolific commenter, GunDiva, advising me that she has an award waiting for me.

The award looks something like this.

In fact, you could say it looks exactly like that.

As I've come to discover, blog awards such as this one are not so much about any particular accomplishment but more about introducing other people to the blogs a particular person finds interesting. The fact that GunDiva has given me 3 of these awards must mean I've made an impression. Not sure exactly how or why, but she is well armed and not afraid to use her weapons. So, who am I to argue with her?

Inevitably, these awards come with strings attached in the form of rules for propagating the species. They are fairly simple and, in this case, are as follows:
  • Link to the person who awarded me the blog: GunDiva
  • Offer up 7 things about yourself
  • Pass it on to 15 bloggers you've recently found and followed

7 Things About Me (To Love or Hate)

  1. I am sickeningly, maddeningly, obsessively, overwhelmingly, passionately, and desperately in love with my wife. GunDiva has remarked on my oft stated love for The Queen. I'm glad someone noticed. I try to be a good example of what a husband should be.
  2. I am a Christian. Not long after I chose to follow a more religious life than I had previously, my mother commented that I had started to sound like a preacher. It's time that I embraced the fact that, just as my wife is The Queen, I am, in fact, The Preacher here at Preachers and Horse Thieves. I endeavor to live my life according to the example set for me in the Bible by the name sake of my chosen religion, Jesus Christ (after all, Christian means follower of Christ). Sometimes (more frequently than I care to admit), I stumble and fall short of that example as we all do. I try very hard to pick myself up again and do better next time so that I am not just saying, but doing as well.
  3. I am easy to get to know but hard to get to know well. My mother tells stories of how, as a child, I would go up to a group of kids and tell a few that I would play with them and tell the rest I would play with them tomorrow. Somewhere along the way, that all changed. I still make acquaintances fairly easily; however, I have very few close friends. The person closest to me is my wife, and even she occasionally complains that I do not open up enough with her.
  4. I envy craftsmen and artisans. I have a desperate desire to create and build which is going unfulfilled in my life right now. I have tried my hand at drawing, painting, woodworking and pottery as well as other crafts and arts with moderate degrees of success; but, someone who is truly gifted and can make something heartbreakingly beautiful where only a stick of wood or lump of clay existed previously is, perhaps, as close as one can ever get to the marvel and wonder God must have felt as He created the universe and the little ball of dirt we call home.
  5. In 14 days, I will be 40 years old. Without The Queen in perfect health, it does not seem to be anything worth celebrating.
  6. I have a morbid fascination with snipers.
  7. I am a conservative (NOT a republican) who feels that the horse thieves elected to public office have abandoned we the people in order to form a more perfect bank balance or power base. I am disgusted by what passes for leadership in this country, and I pray that God will remind them that He brought 'em into this world and He can take 'em right back out.

15 Award Winning Bloggers (...more or less)

In truth, I'm not sure I know 15 bloggers much less ones I've started reading recently. I guess that makes me a bad blogger buddy or something.

  1. Bob Hoover's Blog Bob is an interesting guy. He's a bit sporadic on his postings because he's dealing with cancer. Based on his writings and lack of response to comments, he's probably not big into this type of recognition; but, since this is about introducing others to blogs they might not find otherwise, he gets a nod.
  2. Crazy Texas Mommy I've nominated her before for one of the other awards GunDiva sent my way. A good read more often than not. Especially if you're from Texas.
  3. Flight Level 390 Captain Dave is a commercial airline pilot for an unspecified air carrier. Like Bob Hoover he does not appear to be in this blogging thing for the awards, but his stuff is very interesting to the pilot in me and would be of interest to any travelers out there looking for insight into the world of commercial air travel.
  4. Fresh Confessions of a Screwed Up Texan This girl shares my love of Dr Pepper and has promised to let me be her editor when she makes it to the big times as an author.
  5. Not So Humble Pie If you like food and especially anything baked, this is your place. Her science inspired cookies and other baked items are just incredible.
  6. Mary Witzl at Resident Alien I've mentioned Mary before as well. She's worth a read.
  7. Nathanael Rey at This Is How It Feels T!nk most definitely qualifies as the most incongruous selection in the list of blogs I follow. We have next to nothing in common, but his writing is strong and he's convicted about his opinions. Got to give him props for that.
  8. Shatner's Hall Shatner is definitely a recent addition to the list of folks I follow.

...and, I'm out. There are other blogs that I follow, and it's not that I don't think they are worthy of mention here. It's just that they are either very sporadic in their postings, already have big followings and don't need my help, or are not personal blogs.

That, and the fact that I must go spend time with The Queen

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Signs You Are Going Completely Mental

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I don't know exactly who they are, but they've never spent much time in the Erickson household. While it is true that trying to get a different result by doing something the same way can be described as being a tad mental, you must find ways to do things completely differently and expect the same result to be truly touched in the head.

It's only 8:30 AM; and, already, I've managed to make a running start at going
completely insane.

My normal day starts when I wake up between 6:00 and 7:00 AM depending on how tired I was the night before and how late I got to sleep. I usually have great intentions of getting to bed by 10:00 on work nights; but, in this house, I'm usually lucky to be dead to the world by 11:00 or 11:30. In the mornings, I have about a half hour to an hour and a half before The Queen awakes. Since The Queen is more or less bedridden, that means someone (that would be me) has to fix her breakfast which consists of a vegetable and broth soup with meat thrown in for protein. This has been the way of life in the Erickson household for several years now. You would think that the routine would be hard wired into my brain by now.

Oh, you would be so wrong.

This morning started out normally and innocently enough. After yet another post 11:00 PM bedtime, I arose at my somewhat normal 7:00 AM. The cats get fed before anything else happens unless you want to listen to them complain loudly and/or claw at your face (if you're lying down) or try and trip you (if you're standing up).

After taking care of normal morning constitutionals, I stumble into my office to fire up both computers and see if the world is still there. At 7:30, The Queen calls to let me know she is awake and in need of food. This should have been my first warning that things were amiss. She rarely wakes before 8:00 and can sometimes sleep until 9:00. Normal SOP is for me to start fixing her soup at 8:00 so it will be ready for her by 8:30.

So, I stumble into the kitchen to fix her the mystery soup of the morning (we try to vary the vegetables involved so she doesn't get bored - this morning was green peas, spinach, onion and radish). Things went well until I poured the soup into the blender to puree it. Despite the fact that I was holding the lid of the blender down and it was only 1/3 full, I was rewarded with hot soup belched in every direction when I hit the button. Strike one for today's amusements.

As an aside relevant to this story, I normally go ahead and fix myself some breakfast while making The Queen's soup. Usually, it's either fruit or a bowl of yogurt with granola and chocolate chips. This morning I did both.

Unfortunately, I left my yogurt bowl right next to The Queen's empty soup bowl. I have no idea what my eyes were seeing at that particular moment as my brain has failed to record the images for posterity; however, once I had successfully finished pureeing the soup, I somehow managed to pour the hot soup into my cold yogurt. Yogurt and granola mixed with green veggie soup is in no way, shape or form appetizing. Strike two for the morning.

Next up, The Queen needed her water bottle refilled. This is normal on any given morning. The water is in the kitchen where most sane people would expect it to be. So why, for the love of monkeys flinging poo, was I merrily trotting off to my office to refill her water bottle? What the Hell????

As a side benefit, The Queen laughed so hard she almost blew soup out her nose when I told her that one. It would have been funny to get a picture of her blowing technicolor snot out her nose. But, I digress.

Anyway, as I now attempt to start my work day without further disaster, all I hear in my head is the song "I'm Going Slightly Mad" by Queen. And, because I am the sharing type, I will leave you with the lyrics so you too can hear the softly crooned words of Freddie Mercury gently bouncing around the inside of your head for the rest of the day.

When the outside temperature rises
And the meaning is oh so clear
One thousand and one yellow daffodils
Begin to dance in front of you - oh dear
Are they trying to tell you something?
You're missing that one final screw
You're simply not in the pink my dear
To be honest you haven't got a clue
I'm going slightly mad
I'm going slightly mad
It finally happened - happened
It finally happened - ooh oh
It finally happened - I'm slightly mad
Oh dear!
I'm one card short of a full deck
I'm not quite the shilling
One wave short of a shipwreck
I'm not at my usual top billing
I'm coming down with a fever
I'm really out to sea
This kettle is boiling over
I think I'm a banana tree
Oh dear, I'm going slightly mad
I'm going slightly mad
It finally happened, happened
It finally happened uh huh
It finally happened I'm slightly mad - oh dear!
I'm knitting with only one needle
Unravelling fast its true
I'm driving only three wheels these days
But my dear how about you?
I'm going slightly mad
I'm going slightly mad
It finally happened
It finally happened oh yes
It finally happened
I'm slightly mad!
Just very slightly mad!
And there you have it!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Global Warming My Frozen, Hairy Butt

The Queen once commented about how lucky I was to have a job which involved some out of town travel. I think her exact comment was something like, “I would love to have a job that involved travel.” I, the one who is “lucky” to have such a job and is the one tasked with accomplishing said travel, have a slightly different opinion on the subject. She thinks I’m being curmudgeonly when I repeatedly argue there is exactly zero glamour or fun involved in getting up before the crack of dawn of time, going out into the cold, harsh world (yes, the longer I work from home, the more of an anti social hermit I become), board a plane breathing the same air as 100+ strangers carrying God knows what germs only to arrive in a city where I have zero chance of 1) getting any productive work done, or 2) getting out to see any of the town’s attractions. My reward for putting up with this supposed benefit is spending the day at the destination de jour stuck in an office or conference room with a marginal view (at best, sometimes you get stuck in a windowless room) and no entertainment amenities like internet access or television (or worse, year old People magazines) so that I can attempt to negotiate a reasonable settlement with (more often than not) unreasonable people or (worse yet) review someone else’s files.

Yesterday was one of those days The Queen seems to feel I am lucky to have. I arose at 5:00 AM after getting to bed way too late the night before. I woke up with a headache which was temporarily beaten into submission with two Tylenol and copious amounts of caffeine (which I will pay for later today I am sure). The only saving graces are that the claim (which has been hanging around for five years and several adjusters) settled and I caught a flight home leaving 30 minutes earlier than my originally scheduled flight which was delayed by weather in parts unknown. All in all, I probably got home a couple of hours earlier than I would have otherwise. Southwest airlines rocks.

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to write something about this whole Global Warming/Climate Change brouhaha for sometime now. It may come as a shock to those who know me, but I have a rather straight forward but, nevertheless, strong opinion on the subject. I just haven’t found the impetus necessary to take the time to put fingers to keyboard and go to town on it. Well, yesterday was my lucky day.

Just before boarding the plane to return home from another exciting day spent in an attorney’s office in San Antonio for mediation in one of the claims I inherited from someone else, I checked Drudge Report on my iPhone and saw a headline which gave me pause (and a profound sense of amusement when I followed the link) as well as the requisite justification to waste some time on this subject.

Senate Global Warming Hearing Cancelled

After all the news about the Climate Change email scandals, the record low temperatures, the cries of tree hugging “preachers” everywhere that I must save the polar bears by trading in my perfectly functional 10 year old, 300,000 mile Nissan Maxima for a powder blue Toyota Prius that might or night not kill me with a gas pedal that sticks…after all that, the fact that the Senate’s hearings on "Global Warming Impacts, Including Public Health, in the United States." are brought to a screeching halt by a blizzard of monumental proportions is just too priceless a moment to pass up.

The irony is just overwhelmingly delicious. I mean, really, who is the Ivy League educated staffer who thought it would be a good idea to schedule a hearing on GLOBAL WARMING in the middle of WINTER in Washington, D.C. when a BLIZZARD is forecast. Brilliance. HelloOOOooo???? Is anyone in there?

If you want to make political noise about global warming, you don’t hold hearings in the dead of winter at a northern location. You hold them in Death Valley in the middle of the summer. Can’t you just picture it now?

Senator: So, Mr. [pick your most hated industry and insert here] Lobbyist, you’re telling this committee Global Warming is not real. If that’s the case, please tell the committee if it’s hot enough for you outside yet.

Lobbyist: Well, Senator, we are in the middle of a desert…

Senator: (yelled in an accusatory tone for emphasis) A desert caused by greenhouse gases emitted by your industry’s manufacturing processes and products no doubt.

Lobbyist: Senator, our industry does not now have, nor has it ever had, production facilities in Death Valley.

Senator: I’m sure the polar bears are glad to hear that.

Lobbyist: Senator, there are no polar bears in Death Valley.

Senator: Why not? Has your industry killed them all?

I’d better stop now before I give someone ideas.

Before I get too much further into this tirade, I feel compelled give you, the intrepid reader, a brief disclosure notice. Specifically, I think the idea of manmade global warming is a marketing ploy cooked up by the makers of compact fluorescent light bulbs, deep cycle NiMH and Li batteries and hybrid vehicles. There, now that the conspiracy theory is fully disclosed, we can get on with our story.

So, is there really such a thing as climate change? To be perfectly honest with ourselves and the available, reliable, scientific evidence, I think we must concede that, yes, in fact, there is such a thing as global climate change. There are a few wooly mammoths still frozen in glaciers like giant, Neolithic, TV dinners who might have a word or two to say on the subject to any naysayers. That is, if they could be thawed out, resuscitated and gifted with the power of human speech.

The bigger questions are whether or not mankind has contributed to, accelerated or otherwise caused the latest round of climate change and whether or not mankind can do one blessed thing about it. Based on the information I have come across, there is no way to definitively answer those questions.

That is not to say, however, we can not come up with some a fairly well educated and logical but still largely hypothetical statements on the subject.

First, man has had an impact on the environment. This one is pretty much a no brainer. If you break wind, take a shower, build a house, drive a car, fly on an airplane…basically, if you are born, live anywhere and eat anything on the planet and then die, you are impacting the environment. Being born? Medical waste has to be disposed of somewhere. Living and eating? You’ve got to cloth your naked body and consume food more or less daily which, by the way, creates waste in one form or another which must be dealt with. Dying? If you are cremated, guess what? Carbon emissions. If you get planted, think about all the trees killed and/or factory emissions that went into even the simplest of caskets. The Muslims might have it right after all: wrap your carcass in a sheet and dump what’s left in an unmarked hole in the desert to rot in peace.

It stands to reason that more people on the planet means more environmental impact, and there is a point at which the land will not be able to produce enough food to sustain the population. The term for that is “carrying capacity”. Once the carrying capacity of the land is reached, someone is going to go hungry. Guess what happens when there is not enough food to go around? Riots, if you’re lucky. Full blown war, if you’re not.

If you are a Christian, you can go read the book of Revelation chapters 6, 8 and 9 to get an idea of what that’s going to look like. If you’re not a Christian, I’d point you in the direction of the news footage from Ethiopia, Haiti and just about any where else in recent times which have undergone food shortages for whatever reason.

So, is there anything we can do about climate change?

I’m of two minds about this question. On the one hand, I believe in God. I further believe He has a plan for mankind and the earth, and there is not a thing mankind can do to change that plan. If climate change happens to suit His purposes, guess what? We’ll have climate change.

On the other hand, we shouldn’t be poor stewards of the world God left in our care either. That’s not to say we all need to give up our cars, homes and laptops to be tree hugging, tent dwelling hermits. We need to be mindful that actions and choices have consequences. Do you really want to use longer lasting compact fluorescent light bulbs? That’s great. Do you have any clue how to properly dispose of those little gems which are filled with toxic mercury when they quit working? I didn’t think so; and, yet, Congress has passed a resolution encouraging the use of CFLs. Do you want to drive a fuel efficient hybrid vehicle? Excellent. More power to you. Just one thing though: what are you planning on doing with the 1000 pounds or so worth of batteries that will lose their ability to recharge after about 100,000 miles? Are you planning to make it someone else’s problem by trading it in for another life limited hybrid which took a significant amount of resources to build? Doesn’t sound like such a good idea now after all, does it?

Can we and should we all make better choices and actions which are more environmentally sound? Absolutely. Do we always know the full consequences of those choices and actions? Not likely. We’re not that smart, and the environment it too complex. Should we force everyone to “do the right thing” (whatever that is) through legislation? Are you kidding me? Have you been paying attention to the crap Congress has been trying to do lately? Did you not catch that they weren’t even smart enough to schedule a hearing on global warming when there wasn’t a blizzard forecast?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to freezing my butt off in this era of “global warming.”

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday Funnies

They say laughter is the best medicine; and, sometimes, they are right. There is supposedly even a laughing clinic somewhere in Hawaii. My guess is that you follow the signs way back into the island and find yourself standing in front of a door at the edge of a volcano. When you open the door, there's a cardboard cutout of Wile E. Coyote holding a sign which says "You paid how much to get here?" You either laugh or jump into the volcano. Either way, you're cured.

Anyway, it all started out innocently enough the other day. The Queen and I were on our way to one of her seemingly endless doctor's appointments when I tried to make her laugh with a lame joke. I don't recall which one it was, but it might have been the one about the pregnant prostitute and the can of beans. I've been telling that one a lot lately.

The Queen rewarded my feeble attempts at humor with a small smile and then started riffing off an old joke that I had told her years ago. It's a stupid bar joke that goes: "Three guys walk into a bar. The fourth one ducked."

Most people, when you tell them that joke, look at you and say either "I don't get it." or "What's the rest of the joke?" I tell it more for the reactions I get out of people than any humor value to the joke itself. What can I say? I have to find ways to amuse myself sometimes.

Back to our story, the Queen starts off the laugh in with: "Three ducks walk into a bar. The fourth on ducked." Subtle, yet refined.

Needless to say, we started beating that horse to death for the next half hour of being stuck in traffic. Some of the better ones were:

Three hamburgers walked into a bar. The fourth one had to catsup.

Three hotdogs walked into a bar. The fourth one relished it.

Three rabbits walked into a bar. The fourth one had a wild hare up his butt.

There were others, but I can't remember some of them and some of them should probably be forgotten.

Ooh. I just remembered the joke I told The Queen. An acquaintance posted this as his Facebook status:

A wealthy man, a cowboy and a drunkard go into a bar. All three order a beer. When the bartender returns with their drinks, all three beers had a fly floating in the brew. The rich man politely asks the bartender for a replacement, and politely begins sipping from the new mug. The cowboy pours out just enough beer to get rid of the fly and calmly begins quaffing the remainder of the beer. The drunkard plucks the fly from his beer, holds it by the wings and starts yelling "SPIT IT OUT! SPIT IT OUT!".

Wile E. Coyote Would Be Proud

From the wild and wooly world of our main stream news media. Somethings really need no additional comment.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Little Something About Something

I've been feeling very guilty about not having posted anything recently. I have absolutely no excuse. Actually, I do have excuses. But this isn't the excuse hotline. For those who were concerned, I've gotten over the garden variety crud with which was I was quarantined for a week or so.

So, now, to reward my loyal followers and let them know they are not forgotten, I feel compelled to write something. Ready...wait for it....


Good night.