Monthly Archives: September 2009

My Day

A little out of sorts, I was.  I’ve mowed all I care to mow for the week.  I told Dish Network to take a flying leap, I’ll spend that money elsewhere, thank you very much. But I needed some info on how to best wire the house for over-the-air reception, so I  decided to run my errands instead, and I made it a day chock full of encounters much like this one:

I believe I’m the only person in the world to be kicked out of Radio Shack.

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Democrats: Bruno Was Right

We pass health care reform without some form of public option, and anything resembling mandates, we deserve to lose control of the House.  As a friend of mine put it, imagine a House full of Michele Bachmans.

Part of me thinks the Right overplayed their hand, and did so too early.  That created an opportunity, and if we miss this, I’ve lost faith in the Democratic Leadership.  Whoever that is…

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A Survival Story

It feels like its been raining for a fortnight.  Yesterday, we got a bit of a break, and I was just about to head outside and climb aboard my trusty Ford 3000 Series tractor and bush-hog the holy hell out this property.  Thankfully, Travis Damn Quillen rang me up, and insisted I take him out and teach him a little more about the proper way to throw a disc.  I am conscientious about the chores here, but, being the friend that I am, I agreed to go and help him out.

We elected to travel to Gallatin, and play a course that I believe begins in Tennessee and then winds it way through Kentucky and perhaps parts of West Virginia before guiding you into a swamp that most Cajun trappers would find too dangerous.  The front nine was narrow and tree-lined, and I don’t believe there was a single hole that allowed a glimpse of the basket from the tee box.  A small creek runs the length of most of the fairways, and each of the baskets on the front nine were lovingly placed in areas that , regardless of approach, you must negotiate a minimum of three or four trees.  As difficult as this section of the course was, it was the garden of Eden compared to the hell-hole that is the back-nine.

As I said, the back nine is a swamp.  Sure, it looks like a series of lazy pastures separated by stands of protective trees, and, being adjacent to the parking area gives the player a false sense of security that civilization is at least nearby.  Hell begins at hole 11.  Just a few of the nice things that await you are 28 foot electric fences, topped with razor wire that I think was surplus from the Korean war, hornet nests the size of coffee tables, 40 pound rats, winged-insects with poisonous, 6 inch stingers,  pit-viper snakes, quick sand, Komodo dragons, and, I kid you not, trees that try to kill you by splitting in half and crashing to the ground as you putt.  I’m pretty sure I saw a few cast members from “Southern Comfort.”

Still, and this is easy enough to understand if you play regular golf as well, it was another great outing.  I won’t bore you with the details or the actual score, suffice to say a Man Rule forbids publicly embarrassing a friend like that.

But I feel the need to make the case for this sport again.  On the plus side, there is the fact that anyone can learn to play this sport.  Also, its free to play almost everywhere.  The equipment isn’t expensive.  You get a ton of exercise.  You are usually in a park-like setting, so its relaxing to just be there.  If you play alone, it is an awesome way to spend time pondering life’s big questions (which, by the way, I have finally answered.  Yup, all of em) or maybe enjoying the Steely Dan/Sade mix you put on your cheap-ass mp3 player cuz you wouldn’t spring for an Ipod.  Maybe you need to break in a pair of new shoes.  Or, maybe you need to spend a couple of hours away from the stress and noise of city-life.

Of course, it is even more fun to play with people you like, or, you know, family.  The etiquette involved is a lot like golf, and you can frequently hear exchanges like this between my friends and me:

“It seems you are away, my good fellow.”

“I am indeed, thank you Sir.”

“Shall I mark my spot and clear out of your way?”

“I wouldn’t have it, my friend, please proceed in my place”

“Oh, I wouldn’t dream of it.”

“Really, I insist”

So, another plus is that you get to work on your social skills.  Rumor has it that some people like to carry their favorite beverages with them to enjoy as they go.  One odd fact…I have yet to encounter a course where someone wasn’t roasting chiles nearby.  Seriously, every course I’ve ever played has just the slightest aroma of burnt peppers which wafts its way into pockets along the fairway.  This tends to make most players just a wee bit giddy.  Can’t really blame them, who doesn’t love the smell of roasted Habaneros?

Anyway, after our round we met up with The Primary Wife and the kids, who were on their way to run in a cross-country meet.  Both of them ran great races, and improved their time.  Afterward, we stopped at a business called Cloud Nine Disc Golf.  Tomorrow, I’d like to tell you about them.

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Can’t Afford To Wait

Been a loyal Democrat a very long time.  Heres the bottom line, at least for me.  If we get a Health Reform Bill that does not include a public option, and has mandates to purchase, I’m out.  I dislike drawing a line in the sand, but I can’t stomach this kind of self-serving leadership.  I have sick friends who don’t give a damn whether you get another term or not.  Sometimes, you use your majority and pass a bill that helps ordinary working folks, and then you stand up and take what comes.  Too many people gave their time, energy, and money to see that we got a majority, and to see it frittered away in the face of fierce opposition by a minority of disgruntled Americans is more than I can take.

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Ginger Kids Can’t Be Illegal, Right?

Good Lord.  People take this moron seriously?

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Man vs. Shoe

I love this so much.  Been there.  Don’t really get to anymore…and thats a shame.

HT/Andrew Sullivan

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Saving Where We Can

Regular readers here should know by now that I do the grocery shopping.  I’ve really tried to streamline the process as much as possible.  I go on the same day every week, with my list (though, I really don’t need a list anymore, since I buy the same things week in and week out) tucked into my back pocket.  I find a cart that doesn’t squeak too much, or wobble too much, and head to the back of the store.  I’ve been doing this for so long I know the store better than most of its employees.  So, I know what stuff costs.  I notice when eggs go from $1.08 to $1.28.  I don’t remember the name of the quiz show that used to ask the contestants how much store prices were, but if it was still around, I’d be a tough person to beat.

So I’m troubled by some of the prices I’m seeing lately.  One that bothers me the most is probably a pasta product available on what stores call their “ethnic food” aisle.  Its called fideo, and it is a small cellophane bag filled with tiny noodles.  It was a staple food for me growing up.  If money is tight, you simply brown these small noodles with garlic and onion, add broth or water, cover and simmer and you have a tasty, starchy meal.  For years this product stayed the same price: $.27 cents.  I never saw it go down to 23 cents, or up to 28 cents.  It was constant, reliable, and kind of comforting, actually.  Its now 50 cents a bag.  Double, if you round a little.  We are fortunate, an increase like that doesn’t really affect our food budget.  Some families run so close every week that an increase like that could adversely affect their finances, since it isn’t the only product that has gone up in the last year or so.

Remember when gas got to around 4 bucks?  Of course this was going to impact food prices, most of our food travels by truck, and trucks burn gasoline or diesel.  Only gas has come back down, and has remained pretty constant for quite awhile.  Many of the price spikes have leveled off.  So I don’t think the current increases are a result of transportation cost.

Since the kids were babies, we’ve done our best to feed them fruit and whole grains, and any vegetables that we could get them to eat.  Canned veggies have almost doubled in two weeks time.  In season fruit is pretty expensive, but, since we don’t buy very much prepared food, we can afford to eat fresh fruit ever day.  Still, there are far too many empty calories in our diet, mostly in the form of starches, our kids snack on pretzels or tortilla chips (potato chips are a rip-off, so we don’t buy them) but they will eat apples and carrots and celery if they are handy.  Anyway, prices have risen dramatically, and coupled with the fact that my kids eat like full grown men, our grocery budget has had to be increased a good bit.  I always wonder how families do it when both parents work.  My guess is that they microwave a bunch.  Or, they eat fast food.  I guess if you know those prices, you can feed your family relatively cheaply.

This seems like a good time to re-post this recipe for laundry soap.  I can’t tell you how much money we have saved by making our own soap.  It doesn’t take much time to make, it isn’t messy, and the soap cleans as good as any name brand, only costs around a penny a load.  Try it.  Let me know if you have your own recipe, or if you like this one.

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