Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A little something in our pockets

I was watching the Today show this morning, getting ready for work. Matt Lauer was interviewing this video blogger person that I missed the details of. The premise of the story was people were upset that a candidate for the prize of Miss USA answered a decidedly loaded question in a way that was offensive.

She was asked by Perez Hilton if she supported gay marriage.

To the politically correct hypocritists, there really is only one correct answer to this question. The art of this answer is how you get to "let everyone be".

Just let it be known for the record that I will probably never tell anyone what my opinion of gay marriage is. This post isn't about the answer. It's about the response to it. What she said wrong was she had an opinion that the Establishment has deemed incorrect. She has offended people that believe differently then her, so by offending someone has performed act considered deviant.

So, why is this hypocritical? Isn't marginalizing her opinion the same thing they are complaining about? The interviewee on the Today show said something that surprised me in it's blatant hypocrisy. He complained that she talked of her Christian values and was all "Jesus this and Jesus that". Why was he complaining? Because that was offensive to the Jews and the Muslims of the world.


Why is the expression of one religion bad when the expression of the other religions good? Herein lies the problem with political correctness. Political correctness dictates that no group should be marginalized by another group. The only way that it is possible to enforce this is to marginalize someone and thus hypocrisy.

In British Columbia, Canada, an employee of McDonald's decided to sue the company because their hand washing policy violated her human right not to wash her hands. That's a link. You can read about it in great detail there.

Yes, it's more important that this one woman feel good about herself then it is for you to eat at McDonald's and not come down with whatever that was Bevis and Butthead were scratching. Who's hungry?

I found an article from a writer at the Campbell River Mirror, Sean Smith, called Everybody should have pocket copy of the Charter. He calls to action us common sense folks to do something extraordinary. Now, he's Canadian, they have a Charter, I'm sure that's more similar to our Constitution then it is to my Whiskey Club's rules, let's hope, but we could apply this to our Constitution and Bill of Rights as well. He suggests we carry a copy with us, a pocket version, and when someone complains about their rights being violated, whip that thing out and ask "Which one?"

Deafening silence.

I don't like hypocrisy. It's ugly. It's uglier then anything I can think of. Am I guilty of it? Sure. Is it impossible to avoid, maybe. Should we legislate it? How about we try not to. The funny thing about all of this is I really don't care about what her opinion of gay marriage is. She has one, she expressed it. Some people didn't like, others did.

We've come full circle in this nation. It once institutionalized bigotry and hatred. That was a horrible thing. Let's remember what Martin Luther King, Jr. said August 28, 1963, 

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I wonder if people really understand what that means. It seems to me, that today, we're only exchanging the 'color of the skin' concept and inserted other superficial traits. The content of the character is what's truly important. Not judging people by anything other. Alas, today, we judge people for all kinds of things, character is rarely one of them.

I'm guilty of being a male of nothern European decent. I'm also Irish and a geek and I paid my own way through college. I also speak a foreign language and I have a $5 bill in my pocket. I think woman are pretty. I don't like vegetables. I eat meat. I drink pop and beer and ethanol distillates. I break wind in public places. I'm sure I offended everyone by now. I represent all the evil in the world. Get rid of me and all will be better. You see, I'm neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I'm most definitely not the status quo.

Perez Hilton asking that question is almost a vetting process in itself. It helps to discriminate against people based on their moral and religious beliefs. A candidate for Miss USA must accept certain moral and religious beliefs or at least tow the party line in order to win the crown. There was only one right answer to the people responding to her answer, but she stood by her beliefs.

Where do we want this nation to go? In British Columbia, McDonald's can no longer force an employee to wash their hands. It's offensive. What about the people who find dirty hands handling food offensive, who do we sue? My right to a life without food poisoning is being infringed.

I want to live my life in peace. Please respect that. Suck it up, turn the other cheek and move on.

Thanks to NapWarden at NapWarden Designs for the custom soap box graphics! You're awesome!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Don't Buy Stuff You Can't Afford - Duh!

Who knew?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Getting foodie on a Sunday evening

How was your weekend? As you could probably tell, our date night ROCKED! Heart was a fantastic concert and I couldn't have had better company. OhCountess and I shared one of those rare evenings spending a little time alone together. You see, time has become very scarce.

OhCountess is counting the days to graduation. She's got 19 day until graduation. W00T! W00T! Unfortunately, that means everything is due. We get what time we can from her right now and enjoy it as much as possible.

Last night, we had a family wedding to attend. Today, OhCountess has been working hard on finishing her last paper. HER LAST PAPER. To cap off our weekend, we spent the day letting mom write the paper and dad and the kids cleaned the house. Our reward at the end of the weekend was preparing a feast suitable for eating on a blanket in the living room while watching one of our new favorite movies, Bedtime Stories.

That movie is just hilarious. I've always been an Adam Sandler movie fan, never seeming to get sick of watching Billy Madison, but Bedtime Stories is one of the few movies we can watch with the kids. Explaining why Chris Farley is kissing a giant penguin or why a guy with a potty mouth just punched Bob Barker can be so hard.

I would like to warn the vegans, those that are offended by SPAM or people thinking all foodie posts should be fine dining. The rest of this post is not for you. We are about to make an old OhCaptain family recipe - Spam Burgers.

When I was a kid growing up, there was one dinner that my grandmother would make that made my brother and I go crazy. We begged her to make us them when ever we were visiting.

Both of my parents grew up in Spamtown, USA. It wasn't until later in life that I actually found out that some people just don't get spam. To us, it was the main ingredient in one of our favorite dinners.

During the getting serious phase of dating my wife, she at first told me she would never eat these little round slices of goodness. Of course I talked her into trying one (I used the "you made me eat squid" line - they told me calamari was onion rings. That one still hurts). Her love for me grew. After eating her first, she too became a fan.
There was a time when my mother-in-law and sister-in-law (she was 9 or 10 at the time) had come to live with us. OhCountess was working evenings and I decided to make my favorite childhood dinner. It's impossible to make a single serving of these, so a batch was made. I put 2 on a plate and brought them to our house guests. At first they said, "You're kidding, there's no way we are eating these."

I left the plate and told them to throw them away if they didn't want them but this was all I was making.

5 minutes later, my SIL returned the now empty plate and asked if I could make them some more. The rest is history.

You see, these aren't the prettiest things in the world and I'm quite sure they aren't health food but making them and eating them is always really easy. Here's the recipe:
  • 1 can of Spam. We prefer the lite or low sodium varieties.
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup. Again, the light or low sodium is preferred. There will be plenty of salt...trust me. Besides, it's not a true Minnesota recipe without cream of mush.
  • 1 6-8oz (170-225 g) brick of medium ore sharp cheddar cheese.
That's it. To prepare them, preheat your oven to 350° (177° C). While the oven heats up, put the spam and the cheese through a meat grinder. This is mostly to just schmooyee them together.

Once everything is ground up, add a can of cream of mushroom soup to the meat and cheese and stir until well blended. Spread on burger buns (we prefer the cheap ones, fancy ones just don't get crispy...go figure)

Bake for 10 minutes or until the spread starts to get gooey.

This is both OhPrincess1 and OhPrincess2's favorite dinner, just like their dad's and their uncle's. We have yet to serve these to anyone that have tried them and really didn't like them. A couple of vegans looked at them and thought we were the devil incarnate, but I could have served them a slow cooked slab of prime rib and got the same response.

The best part of spam burgers is we can do them together. I operate the meat grinder and the kids are in charge of spreading the love.

You know what, I think this is the first post I've ever done in the "Food Porn" category. hehe. 

I leave you with the only Heart video I could find from the last 2 or 3 years. Just in case you didn't know who they were...

Friday, April 17, 2009

What a show...here's the pics!

We posted pics to here and to Twitpic. Figured I'd also put up the pics we took with the better then our phone's camera camera.

Enjoy! (We did!)

Magic Man

Out on a date: Heart in Concert

The blue is the stage. The band will be Heart. Our 5 year old was
actually mad we didn't take her too. "Mom! They are one of my 2
favorite bands!"

Perhaps, Dad is play a wee bit too much Guitar Hero.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tea Parties: Do the politians get it?

I've been watching the reactions to the Tea Party Day celebrated across our country. Reactions to the event have been quite surprising to me.

I've made no secret that my biggest issue in the last election was the economy. I watched President Obama make promise after promise and all just seemed to add to our nations debt. To me, this isn't a partisan issue. George W. Bush wasn't afraid to run up a debt either. He spent plenty of money on some truly horrible ideas.

So, on my local newspaper's website today is an article covering the local Tea Party gathering at a local park. Our newspaper is usually pretty balanced in their coverage. It's a fairly tech savvy group of writers over there. Several of them are active twitterer's.

One thing that struck me in the article, in some of the comments and from other areas of the US, is how this issue can be so blindly political. Pretty soon, this issue needs to move from partisan bickering to just plain mathematics and economics. Regardless of your political views, eventually, you can only spend what you make. Period.

But Olmsted County DFL Chair Lynn Wilson said the tea party was clearly a partisan event for economic conservatives.

"I wish these people had shown so much interest back during the last eight years when our budget deficit skyrocketed," Wilson said.
From this quote pulled from the above mentioned local article, I gather that the DFL just doesn't get it. I don't think they realize that people were upset about the spending during the previous administration, but the resposne we were getting from their party was "Tax cuts for 95% of Americans and free healthcare!" What?

In physics, as well as accounting, one law that never changes is the idea of balance in the system. In physics it's the law of conservation of mass/matter. Matter is neither created nor destroyed in a controlled system. It's only converted from one state to another. 

In accounting, 
Assets = Liabilities + (Shareholders or Owners equity)
So, OhCaptain, what the hell are you talking about?

Hopefully soon, our nation realizes that we need to live within our means. From what I've read, this was what the Tea Party movement is all about. We are increasing dramatically the Liabilities part of the equation without regard for what this does to the equation.

I took this chart from the Tax Policy Center website to show you the number that we really need to be thinking about. Our national debt's annual interest payments are now at 9% of our total budget. For every dollar you pay in taxes, 9 cents goes to interest.

Let's remember what interest is, it's money down the toilet. We pay interest because we borrowed money we didn't have to buy things we didn't need.

Our government has become a spending machine. George W. spent like a crazy man on "The Global War on Terror". A valiant effort, except for the fact that they have no idea where billions of dollars went.

One the economy tanked late last year, The Department of the Treasure was given a $700,000,000,000 to help save the financial sector. The most amazing fact of this bill? It has almost no oversight. The Treasury Secretary has final authority over its disbursement. That's $2,303.96 for every man, woman and child currently a resident in the U.S. and this wasn't even the beginning of the spending.

The stimulus bill passed by Obama and the Democrats totaled $819,000,000,000 and change. Running the math again (damn math), that's another $2,695.63/person living, right now.

Anyone think it would be a good idea to just right a check to everyone for $5,000? A check to a family of 4 would be $20,000. Not too shabby but quite possibly the dumbest idea ever.

This process is like a college kid getting a couple of credit cards. Sure, they have $10,000 in available credit and they will spend it, but come the 15th of the month when the bill comes, they still don't have a job and can't pay the bill. Spending this kind of money is just hitting the ATM every month with your credit card and living outside your means.

We have to quit spending. Period. Tax cuts won't help this problem. Bailouts won't help this problem. Spending less will.

I just don't see how someone thinks that because I want the U.S. government to live within it's means, I'm a radical right-wing extremist. I'm not. I'm a guy that wants a future for his kids where they can afford to enjoy themselves and not be burdened with the bills of our generation. The waitress is coming with the check and some one's gonna need to pay it? Who should it be?

Weather Conditions from The Weather Channel

Temp: 66F
Feels like: 66F
Sunny and Windy
Humidity: 29%
Wind: SSE at 20 mph
Last Updated: 4/16/09 12:25 PM CDT

That's so beautiful, I'm tearing up.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Prepping for Easter: Community Ed Delivers

The lives at the continue to just be busy. OhCountess has just past the 4 weeks to go mark for her Masters degree. While it's great she's ALMOST done, it also means that everything is also due. 3 years of work. We are so very proud of her and we miss her.

Our community education programs are fantastic. There are many interesting choices for both personal and family time activities and learning. This past Thursday night was family time for us. I got to snap some pictures of my girls at work decorating stuff in preparation for Easter Sunday.

This class worked out great. It was egg decorating time. For our price of admission, each kid got a dozen boiled eggs. Then they had several tables set up, each with a different egg decorating kit on it. Wow. Was this fun. Here's the highlights in photos.

OhPrincess2 getting the stripes on this egg just right.
It was fun to watch them work so hard on getting each egg just right. OhPrincess1 had a plan for this green and blue one.
This table featured metallic paint. OhCountess and OhPrincess2 went to town making shiny eggs.
You want to see a 5 year old focused...I'm so proud of her getting this one just right.
One of the best things about being a dad is watching your kids grow creatively. OhPrincess1 did this one with blue polka dots and red dots made wispy. So COOOL!
One of the other projects was to decorate cloth "baskets". The hot glue guns were operated by grown-ups and the kids arranged the decorations.
The last activity of this class was an organized egg hunt. Not the ones we just decorated, but a whole new set. Each child was told that there were 13 eggs they could collect, but the catch was they could only collect only one egg of each shape/color. There were 3 different sized blue eggs, for example.

This event was a lot of fun for all of us. Everyone is still working on getting the dye off their hands. If this class is offered again next year, you can count us in. Tomorrow - we eat. Nummy hard boiled eggs.

Have a Happy Easter everyone!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Play Ball!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

A rite of passage for a little girl

I've written about this before. In our house, we don't believe that you do things like pierce the ears of a child without their desire.

Our 9 year old has had her ears pierced for a while. Her mom was really excited when she wanted to get them pierced. For some reason, I wasn't. She passed the test which means she came to me on her own and had to ask me if she could get her ears pierced. I then proceeded to grill her with a series of questions that are both scary (Do you know that this will hurt?) to showing signs of resposibility. When she succeeded, I knew my baby girl was growing up. I hate that.

Our 5 year old has been asking to get her ears pierced for a while now. She's even passed the interview with daddy. Finding the right time to do it was proving to be a challenge.

For little girls, it was suggested that we do this at a time when the store had two staff available. That way, each ear could be pierced simultaneously. Not a bad idea.

Now - a rite of passage for a little girl: in pictures

This week was spring break. Mom had a lighter load at school and the local Claire's had 2 staff working Friday afternoon. The chair you see here was ready and the time was right.
She chose her big sister as the person she wanted to hold hands with. She was a little scared but to say she wasn't excited would be a colossal undersatement.
Her hair was pulled back revealing the smile that had been on her face since we told her where she was going. She so wants to be a big girl.
She was really trooper and just sat so still while the clerk marked the spot. It took a couple times to find the right spot everyone agreed on. She didn't wiggle a bit. I didn't even know that was possible.
There's that smile. I think she's ready!!!
All done! Look the smile is still there. All looks good.
Well, she held her smile for a minute. And that's the full 60 seconds, but the waterworks did finally start. She was so brave for sooo long! My heart broke.
But in the end, my baby girl became a little girl. She's really happy with the results and has been going out of her way to make sure everyone knows. She's a big girl now...look! Can't you see my ears?

Awards: Yeah!

Back on November 17, 2008, WeaselMomma, Father of Five and Dmarks took the time to remember me and listed me as the recipient of several awards. I had written these up, but never got to posting the nice pictures that go with them.

Having a memory that's some where between a sieve and a steal trap. I had never forgotten that I had these pictures out there that needed posting.

This time, I think the steal trap was working because I just really didn't want to forget. They are pretty cool.

Michelle, from over at Confessions of a Desperate House Wife, list me on as a Kreativ Blogger Award recipient.

Now, this was from a post on April 1. There is a chance that his is an April Fools joke, and I'm the butt of said joke...but I'm running like I ain't.

The rules:

1~ I share with you seven things that I love

2~I nominate seven other bloggers for the honor

Seven Things I Love:
  1. Dancing with the devil in the pale moon light. No, wait, that would be the Joker from the Tim Burton "Batman" movie. I know...I love movies! Not slasher movies, or movies that involve entirely too much romance. Good movies. Funny movies. Movies where things go "BOOM!" I'm also a sucker for really good animated kid movies.
  2. Music. Need I go on here? If you read any of my tweets on Twitter or random posts around here, you'll find out, I love music.
  3. Hugs.
  4. Quiet walks holding hands with my wife. I know, I'll go get a room.
  5. Being amazed by my kids. They amaze me all the time, but I never get sick of it.
  6. Laughing with friends. Be it hanging with the guys over a card table, stinking up the burban on the drive back from the cities...Laughing is great.
  7. I love my family. My wife, my kids and the rest of the people that share our bloodline. You know who you are :-)
Now, who to list that doesn't already have this? I'm gonna have to research this a little. Or, I could just assume that since you read this, you have to be a kreativ blogger. I know you come here to make sure your blogs are better then the worst of them...I set the bar soooo high :-)
  1. MumblingSages: great guy and I bet he's never been memed.
  2. Carrie: she tells great stories of her kids.
  3. Reggie Girl: She averages about 10 pictures per post. Seeing her hometown through her eyes is a blast.
  4. Tom: Being Michael's Dad
  5. Father of Five: You had better already be reading him
  6. Gail: Squared off yet curvy - she's across the pond and busier then me.
  7. YOU - go tag yourself! You know you deserve it!
There are so many deserving blogs, really, if you see your blog in the blogroll on the right...your tagged. If I'm missing your blog...let me know.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Taking a break

OhCountess is giving a presentation at work today, so for an hour, I
got play with the kids. I love working :-P

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Need more time? Gmail to the rescue!

I've really been struggling lately to find time to do anything. My blogs need attention. My camera and photos need attention. I don't remember the last time I got my sock drawer organized. I think my kids have grow, I wouldn't know if they have. I just don't have time!

When I opened Gmail this morning, I got the best present a busy professional, father, husband, blogger and social networking guru could ever ask for.

I've got a new assistant!

Gmail introduces Gmail Autopilot. This is from the announcement:
The easiest email could possibly be.

As more and more everyday communication takes place over email, lots of people have complained about how hard it is to read and respond to every message. This is because they actually read and respond to all their messages.
Yes folks, they were listening. Epic Win! Truly intelligent auto-responding email that's even adjustable. Personalized, computer generated responses to email.

You've got to check it out for yourself. Could it be too good to be true?

Thank you Google!

BTW - Happy Day After March 31st!