My fear of flying

stewFlying used to be fun. You could go a long way in a short period of time. As Louis CK says, it’s amazing. We are flying across country in five hours. Well, it used to be fun. It may still be amazing, but generally, now it sucks. We all want to blame 9/11, but that’s only part of the story. I blame a few other things as well, like the cost of flying and the general degradation of a polite society in general.

Security

I’m sorry, TSA people. I know you’re doing an important job and don’t get paid a lot. Get in line behind the military, teachers, cops, firemen, etc. I do my best to follow directions and get through the line. Try to do your best not to be miserable douche-bags.

Stewardesses

Yes, I said stewardesses. If you’re a flight attendant, sue me. If you’re a dude stewardess, I’m sorry. Stewardesses used to be polite, with a few that were rude. Somehow that ratio has flipped. Now, most seem to be rude with a few that are polite. For the most part they act like they can’t wait to get off the plane. Here’s my deal to you. I always try to be polite. If you’re not, that deals off, because here’s something you should remember. I’m paying to fly, you’re getting paid. I’m the customer, even though the industry seems to have forgotten that. If you don’t like it, get another job. Here’s another tidbit. If you’re rude to me, I’ll be rude back, and while I might not make it to the sarcastic smart-ass hall of fame, I’m pretty sure I could be a finalist. I probably won’t ruin your day, but you’ll spend at least of little of it wishing you were smarter than that smart-ass in 12B. Just show me how to work the seat belt and when the plane gets in the air, get my thimble of diet coke, please.

People

Speaking of 12B, let’s talk about people a little, because they really screw things up. No more polite society it seems. First of all, the overhead goes with the seat. If you’re heading back to 22A, don’t throw your luggage over 12B because you’re afraid there’s nothing left or you’re trying to be slick. It’s like putting something under the seat, the part under the seat in front of me is mine. So is the overhead for 12B. While we’re on overheads, if you fly, you know about how big one is. Bring something that will fit. If it’s too big, take something out. We’re all trying to get to our seats.

And while we’re on the subject, if the airlines really cared about getting flights into the air in an efficient manner, they’d seat people by rows in reverse order. Last row goes in first. Screw this nonsensical zone bullshit. You don’t care about passengers in any other way, why this? Last row goes in first. That way, I don’t have to wait for grandma from Omaha to stow her bag, drop her phone, pick up her phone, drop her phone, realize she’s in the wrong row, stop to talk to the baby…sit the fuck down, grandma.

When the plane lands and it’s time to get off, get your junk and move it. We all want to get off. Even today, there just comes a time when you should put your phone away for a few minutes. One of them is getting off the plane. Put your phone in your pocket, pay attention, grab your junk and get off. One of these days I’m going to punch someone that’s holding everyone up (because they are on the phone and not paying attention) in the phone. Which means in the ear.

One more thing, and I know this makes me sound like a bad guy. If you can’t fly without taking a dog, you shouldn’t fly. Stay at home. Yes, I’m talking about these ‘anxiety’ dogs.

Did you hear about the German shepherd anxiety dog that took not one, but two dumps ON THE PLANE? I owned a German shepherd once, and that had to be horrendous. The only thing that makes it remotely funny is that I wasn’t there. I’ll bet the anxiety caused by that event far outweighed the effect of having the dog.

I myself have developed quite a bit of anxiety on the take-off. Once we’re in the air, or landing, no problem. Just the take-off. It would really relieve my anxiety to have some gorgeous women sitting next to me holding my hand, stroking my forehead and telling me everything will be alright. But they don’t have that yet, so I do what everyone else does these days, which is get to the airport soon enough to have two double gin and tonics. Just do that. It’s a lot less hassle than a dog.

I have a favorite T-shirt. I don’t know exactly why it’s my favorite, but it is. It was given to me by the 142nd EOD in Portland, Oregon, when I taught there about fifteen years ago. It’s perfect to wear when I’m lounging on the couch watching Aragorn hacking heads off of Orcs. But there’s this…I WOULDN’T WEAR IT IN PUBLIC. Occasionally, I have to fly in a suit and tie. On personal trips, I go casual. But casual, for me, does not mean “house clothes.” I understand we don’t dress up too much anymore, we’re a casual society, and mostly, I like it. But there’s limits. Just yesterday, while waiting for a flight, two young ladies sat across from me in the terminal wearing shorts that should not be worn in public. And the one young lady had on a halter top. They were both 15-20 pounds over wearing anything like that in the first place, and I resisted the urge to tell them this wasn’t Wal-Mart. If someone came to my house that way I would tell them to go get dressed first.

I won’t even get started on guys. They are worse. I’ll just offer this suggestion. Buy stuff that fits, because that shirt didn’t fit 20 pounds ago. If it has stains on it, throw it away.

Speaking of guys and shirts that don’t fit, here’s another thing. Although, really, this applies to both men and women. If you can’t fit in your seat, you should have to spring for two. This may be offensive for some, but if you’re so big that people are looking at you walking down the aisle thinking “Oh God, no, not next to me please” then you should have to buy two seats. I recently had to fly cross country next to a ‘big ol-feller’ who was in the middle seat. I’m an aisle guy. Thank goodness. If I’d have had the window seat if would have been 3 ½ hours of sweaty claustrophobia.

Here’s one more message for the airlines. See, I hate going through drive-throughs. Maybe I’m a little hard of hearing, but I have a hard time understanding people through those speakers. That’s why airlines just need to hire the people doing the flight announcing that speak good English. If that offends you I don’t give a shit. I’m sitting in Reagan National in DC, waiting down by gate 35, a, b, c, where all the those flights are jammed in going to all the little places like Knoxville, and I can’t understand a damn word they’re saying. Accents combined with bad speakers wind up sounding like “eef you gone to ba-back-ville, you fite been du-lay-ud buh 4-I’ve meenute.” What? Is that me? Is that Jacksonville or Knoxville? Or Babackville? Are we delayed or betrayed? Then I panic when I hear “Fee-nuh cow-ell to bebuck-ville, gate-uh tree-five-uh see-yu, boading. Fenn-uh caw-uh.” What?! Damn did I miss my feenuh caw-uh? I’m getting pre-flight anxiety relief, and you just ruined it.

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The Taxman cometh…for about half of us, anyway.

The Taxman cometh…for about half of us, anyway..

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Ten life lessons from “The Walking Dead”

zappoc

Well, devoted fans, we’re on hiatus until October.

Until then, here are just a couple of thoughts that apply to life and politics that we could learn from our favorite zombie-killers.

1. Sometimes, life changes whether you want it too or not, and you’ll be faced with tough decisions.  You can have all the best damn plans in the world, but sometimes something out of your control goes haywire, and it effects you dearly. As has been said many times, it’s not what happens, its how you deal with it.  Once you’re in a situation, you sometimes find out that the “right” thing to do is difficult, and may be unpopular at the time. You may never have to face the zombie apocalypse, but bad things happen to all of us.

2. No matter how idealistic you are, there are always bad people in the world. Always have been, always will be.  You can paste all the “Coexist” bumper stickers you want, but some people are just bad. It’s one of the realities of life, and a staple on a show like this. The real drama on the Walking Dead is not the zombies, it’s all the other people you have to deal with. That’s a lot like real life. I can deal with the zombies, but bad people can get in the way all the time.

3. There are a limited number of people in your life that you can truly count on. The government doesn’t count as one of those people. Yea, Woodbury was lovely. Sure, the Governor cared about people. He cared about people that served his purpose.  There will always be groups. People are naturally ethno-centric. You can get people to form “Hands across America.” But just wait until the chips are down. They return to their people.

4. You can yack about diversity all you want, but when it gets down to it, no one cares. Sure, you can say it’s a diverse show. But the people in this show that bonded, bonded not because they’re diverse, but because they serve a purpose. In the end, you need people that contribute to the effort, and it doesn’t matter who they are or what they look like. If you want to call that diversity, go ahead.  Because the flip side of that coin is, if you’re worthless, it doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like either.

5. Occasionally, you have to exclude someone or turn your back on them. You can only help people so much, then it’s on them.  Our society has decided we’ll help people whether they want it or not and whether these people help themselves or not. Eventually, people have to help themselves, or nothing will ever change. Sometimes you have to tell people to “Look at the flowers.”

6. No matter how much you think you should be able to get along, others may attack you anyway.  If you’re not prepared, you can lose what you have. Even if you think you live in a fortified prison, sometimes, people are just bad and may want to take what’s yours. (see number 2).  The Governor  and Rick’s group could have lived in harmony, but it just wasn’t going to be. The Governor was one of those guys.  To quote Alfred from “The Dark Knight”, “Sometimes, people just want to watch the world burn.”

7. Eventually, like Terminus, bureaucracies exist simply to support themselves.  They do not have your best interests at heart, no matter what the marketing campaign says.  I spent 24 years in the USAF. If I had a dime for every time some middle-aged civilian bureaucrat should’ve been kicked out of their job 10 years ago because they no longer cared about their performance, I’d have a truckload of dimes.

8.  Don’t judge a book, or a government organization, by it’s cover. Even if a pleasant lady greets you at the door “With a plate” it doesn’t necessarily mean everything’s ok. Sometimes it’s a plate of barbecue, and you’re next on the grill. “Come to Terminus.” Sure, these people one-upped the Governor. They invited people to their community. Why? Not to turn this into a long movie quote, but to quote Charlton Heston, “Soylent Green is people!”

9. Even if you’re the good guy, someday you may have to rip out someone’s throat to protect those you love.

10. In the end, the best you can hope for is to be with the people you love.  Even if you’re stuck in a train car.

And on the menu.

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April Fools, Obamacare, and BS

April Fools, Obamacare, and BS.

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Code words and a poverty of intelligence

Unfiltered and Unfettered

words

It started with Richard Sherman and his on-field remarks after the NFC championship game. Some called him a “thug” which was then labeled as a code word for the “n” word.

Now there’s another controversy involving “code words.”

This controversy began on Wednesday after Paul Ryan said on William Bennett’s talk radio show, “Morning in America,” that there was a “tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value of work.”

Representative Barbara Lee of California, extreme liberal and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, called Ryan’s remarks a “thinly veiled racial attack.”

“Let’s be clear, when Mr. Ryan says ‘inner city,’ when he says, ‘culture,’ these are simply code words for what he really means: ‘black’,” Lee said in a statement.

Um, really? You know what he “meant?” What, exactly…

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Latvia, Estonia the Chaos theory

Unfiltered and Unfettered

600px-Lorenz_attractor_yb_svg

Are we ready to make sacrifices for Latvia? Estonia? How about Albania?

How much are we willing to sacrifice? A lot?

Eh….probably not.

I’m reminded of that old Jay Leno bit “Jay Walking” I think it was, where Jay would ask pedestrians questions about history, geography, etc. I’d like to see the average pedestrian point to those places on a map. Scary. But it may affect all of our lives.

Do you know who’s in NATO?

For what would you consider risking  to avoid the start of WW III?

It’s funny how history works sometimes.

The oddest, and smallest, occurrences can sometimes start the biggest events. For the want of a nail, a kingdom was lost…that kind of stuff.  The Chaos theory in action.

An event that started as a complete failure was one of the significant events starting WW I, the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Visiting the Bosnian…

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Only Bullies Ban Words

Only Bullies Ban Words.

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Uh, yeah, please shut up

So, I write a political blog with my partner, Francis.

250px-Political_spectrum_horseshoe_model_svgWe used to be instructors in the NCO Academy in the United States Air Force. Sort of a serious job, almost. I took it seriously. I trained leaders who would be supervising America’s son and daughters.  One of the favorite things I liked to tell my students was  “Be interested or be interesting.” One or the other, but you’re supervising America’s next leaders, our sons, daughters, nieces, nephews. It’s important.

So, now I’m retired. I’m into social media. I think it’s great and horrible all at once. I’m also a far right conservative. A little different than some other far rights, I think.

Facebook is both a blessing and a curse. But let me just get right to the point. Because I’m into politics and political issues, I generally pay attention to those type of things. But a common thing I’ve seen on Facebook, both left and right, is the tendency to just post other peoples things, news items, memes, pictures, political cartoons, etc. and just tack on a name. “Liberal” “Libtard” “Conservatard” “Neo-con” “Global warming” “Woman hater” “Racist”

Here’s my point. I don’t care what your opinion is, but, do you have an original thought? Are you just going to post other people’s stuff and name-call? What do you think, exactly, you’re accomplishing? Anything, or do you care? Do you just want to point out what you think is the “idiocy” on the other side?

Let me give you a clue. You’re the same. Far left and far right. You call out your position so stridently, so opinionated, that you’ve become the town square clown. You’ve both bought into your arguments so blindly you don’t bother to embrace logic anymore. You’re Rush Limbaugh and Keith Olbermann all rolled up into one.

My mantra for the day. “Have an original thought.”

Or….#STFU

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A bear in a cage is still a bear (or, Crimea river)

Unfiltered and Unfettered

russian bear I have no doubt that being the President of the United States is a hard job. I also believe that running for president and being the president are very different tasks. In Obama’s case, he is very good at running for president. But, again, being the president is a very different thing. For one thing, being the president is so unique. There simply aren’t that many of them. And, I believe, there are things about being the president that you won’t know, and simply can’t know, until you are the president.

Foreign policy is an area I can imagine that this is true. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that once you get elected president, you start finding things out that, had you known them before, may have made you feel very different about your predecessor, or may have made you realize that things you were campaigning on weren’t…

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Richard Sherman, Michael Sam, and the new “N” word

So, after the Richard Sherman incident at the playoff game, where he went off between the lines, he, apparently, was called “thug” over and over again. Geraldo Rivera called him a thug. Richard Sherman said that he considered the word “thug” a “code word” for the “N” word. Geraldo Rivera later apologized, and said he agreed with Sherman, that “thug” was a code word for the “N” word. I never called Richard Sherman a thug. I called him a “knucklehead.”  Here’s the screen grab to prove it.

knucklehead

I was responding to a post my son put on Facebook. He didn’t call him a thug either. For me, “knucklehead” is almost a term of endearment. I routinely greet me brother with “Hey Knucklehead, what’s up?” I refuse for it to be classified as a “Code word.” Actually, I’ve done some research on the word “thug.” So far, outside of the Sherman situation, I’ve not found any references that indicate the word “thug” is a racial reference. So, Michael Sam comes out as a gay player in the college football ranks. Owners made some statements. A few of them said they probably wouldn’t draft him because it may be “disruptive.” Listening to sports radio, a radio announcer said “disruptive” is a code word for “I’m not going to draft a gay player.” I’m tired of code words and manipulating our language by people with an agenda. A few years ago, a movie called “Tropic Thunder” used the word “retard.” A few years later I saw the movie on TBS, I think. They had changed the word “retard” and dubbed it with the word “special.” As if that was better. Apparently the people dubbing the word didn’t understand that it was context that made the joke. Replacing the word with something more socially acceptable doesn’t change the joke, it just makes the new word the punch line.

Anyway, I just don’t agree with naming new codes words for other words. Does this mean I can’t say “thug” anymore?” That only rappers and Samuel L. Jackson can used the word “thug” now? Do I have to start referring to it as the “T” word? So, I thought I’d get ahead of the argument. I thought I’d come up with a list of my own code words. Maybe get ahead of things for some categories that don’t currently have code words.

Person Code phrase or word
Bi-sexual female   athlete She likes indoor-outdoor carpeting
Bi-sexual male   athlete Likes to double-up through the revolving door
Pre-op male gender   re-assignment Bruce Jenner
Pre-op female   gender re-assignment Rosie O’Donnell
Lesbian bowler She can pick up the 8-10 split
Gay bowler Aggressive on the head-pin
Gay Nascar driver Loves to start from the pole position
Lesbian Nascar   driver Likes to draft with Danica Patrick
Gay baseball   players Hits a lot of singles
Celibate badminton   player Likes to really whack the birdie
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