Friday, September 30, 2011

NOT Funny

First, something of redeeming social value, mainly to ease my guilty conscience and make me think EIP just ain't all about ME (even though it mostly is), from Steve Kelley at the Usual Source:

Thank The Deity At Hand MY performance reviews were never like that.


In other not funny news...  I spread my household furnishing dollars around and among three local bid'nizes, for no particular reason other than... well, for no reason, period.  Two of those three bid'nizes were quick and responsive, delivering the furniture I bought either on-time or earlier than expected.  The third?  Not so much.  I ordered my desk well over six weeks ago and was informed yesterday the anticipated delivery date is October 10.  Of this year, hopefully.  OTOH, I just might seek out alternatives but I'm undecided at the the moment.

We may not have a desk but we have a desk chair, said chair arriving via The Brown Truck O' Happiness yesterday.  That was pretty damned quick, seein' as how I bought (ordered) the thing at Office Max this past Tuesday.  I also received a 230-CD storage rack I ordered from Amazon on that very same Tuesday... and spent about two hours, give or take ten minutes or so, assembling both items.  Wonder o' wonders: both chair and storage rack went together easily (if not quickly) and I had NO left-over parts.  That's the good news.  The bad news is I seriously misunderestimated how many CDs I have and must order another rack of equal or greater capacity.  It's always sumthin'...

Further assembly news...  The carport assembly people are still assembling and they've been at this for a full week now.  The landscapers are done landscaping, at least in my general vicinity, and Boy Howdy! am I glad about THAT.  I have some major cleaning to do on the verandah now that the mini-dust-bowl generators are finished.  Well, they're not finished, they've just moved down to the other building... and I suppose there will be more dust, just not as much and not as up-close-and-personal.

I'll have pictures as soon as the carport is done.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


That would be us today... what with doin' three loads o' laundry before noon.  One consisted of a week's worth o' dirty clothes and two consisted of sheets and pillow cases which were ostensibly clean when I put 'em into long-term storage in El Casa Móvil de Pennington.  But that was eight years ago and rust dust never sleeps, so into the washing machine they went.

So... that's done and the results have been folded and put away.  I use the term "folded" VERY loosely when it comes to fitted sheets, which were more or less wadded up in a semi-methodical manner.  That's yet another skill I've failed to master in my lifetime: folding fitted sheets.  Not that it matters.

So, apropos o' linens... I noticed a couple o' things today, both o' which are related to Former Happy Days.  First:  all my linens are queen-sized; my new bed is full-size.  There's an inherent mismatch there that results in a less than tidy bed-making experience, but one that is well-concealed by blankets and the bedspread.  The fact I have overly large sheets hasn't affected my sleep in any way, shape or form... and I'm too damned cheap to go buy new linens.

Second:  SOME stains never come out in the wash, even if those stains happen to be well over 14 years old.  Yet SOME stains bring back happy memories... oh, yes, they most certainly DO.  I got a couple o' wry grins on my face while folding those fitted sheets this morning... 

Possibly related:  I suppose one of the benefits of queen-sized beds and bedding is neither of you has to sleep in the wet spot, provided said wet spot is dead center in the middle of the bed.  And that's exactly where those grin-inducing stains were, strangely enough.  I don't know if that strategic positioning was her or me, or if it was planned or accidental... but it certainly looked planned.  We're always thinkin', yanno?

Another Re-Run: Smoke 'Em If Ya Got 'Em

I went looking for something this morning (I found it, too) and came across this old chestnut from four and a half years ago... which I posted right at the time I quit smoking cigarettes.  It kinda rang a couple o' bells with me; I hope it works for you, Gentle Reader.  The post, in part:
It’s been a week today and I’m still off the evil weed cigarettes, still haven’t cracked the Partagas stash. It’s still very early days, but at least I haven’t done that backsliding thing immediately. Thank you, Nicorette.

So. Just by sheer coincidence (and thanks to the inimitable Lileks, he of the cigarillos taken under the gazebo in the summer), I came across a couple of items on smoking yesterday, wouldn’t you know. And they’ll continue to pop up just like clockwork for the foreseeable future, too. Life’s like that.

The first: Barack Obama is a smoker. No sh!t.
But Obama's semisecret weapon amounts to a double-edged sword. After all, what sort of successful Democratic politician smokes nowadays? Smoking is GOP old-school. House Minority Leader John Boehner regularly smokes cigarettes—which helps explain why he didn't hesitate to hand out tobacco-industry campaign checks on the House floor some years back. But Democrats shun the demon weed, at least in public. One of the first acts of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was to ban smoking in the Speaker's Lobby, long the haunt of nicotine-crazed legislators. (The most famous Democratic tobacco addict doesn't even smoke. Former President Clinton likes to chomp on cigars—and, as the Starr report detailed, to occasionally use them for other purposes. Sometimes a cigar is not just a cigar.)
So, it's understandable that Obama, according to his aides, has been trying to kick the filthy habit as he gears up for a possible presidential campaign. The senator is refreshingly honest about his penchant for cigarettes: When asked about it by the Chicago Tribune in 2005, he replied, "The flesh is weak." When asked whether Obama still smokes, his spokesman, Tommy Vietor, hedged. "I haven't seen him for a month, so I don't know," Vietor said in late December. Vietor later declined to comment for this piece. (emphasis mine)
That Starr report link is pretty danged graphic, but I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know. Back to Barack… I really don’t give a damn if Barack, or anyone else, for that matter, smokes. I don’t think most Lefties are that tolerant, however. Because they know what’s good for you, even if you don’t…and they’re not shy about telling you, either. Still and even, I think this just has to be the most unique, if not bizarre, reason to quit I ever heard… “Well, I decided to run for President, so I guess I better quit.” Takes the cake, that does.

The second item is quite old, a Times Online (UK) item from March of 2005 titled “Up in Smoke.” (No, Sparky, not that Up In Smoke) It’s a bit of nostalgia, and Boy-Howdy, do I ever relate.
Not very long ago, the whole world smoked, no room was truly furnished unless it contained an ashtray, and all of waking life was measured out in cigarettes. Doctors smoked in their consultation rooms. Chefs smoked in restaurant kitchens. Mothers smoked while dandling their babies. Mechanics smoked in oil-flecked garages. Athletes smoked on the sidelines. Teachers smoked in classrooms. Patients smoked in hospital solariums. Television presenters smoked on camera. Shoppers smoked in the produce aisle at the supermarket. We smoked in the rear halves of airliners, in the balconies at movie theatres, between courses at formal dinners, on crowded dance floors while gyrating, on elevators despite the signs, on the subway if the hour was late enough. We smoked in the office and at the beach, in the waiting room and at the hair salon, in the art gallery and at the stadium. We smoked in bed: just after waking and just before sleep, after making love and sometimes during it. We often smoked without being aware we were smoking.


In Europe - actually, in most parts of the world other than the US - everyone was perpetually offering everyone else a smoke. Sit down at a table with three people and instantly out come four packs, an expertly gradated trio of ends poking out of a corner of each, and of course you have to take one, even if it’s a brand you abhor, just as they must take yours. To refuse would be an act of aggressively bad manners, like spurning the proffered tea in an Arab country or the bread and salt in Russia. In America, by contrast, prison yard customs prevailed. The pack was kept in a shirt pocket and one pill was drawn out at a time and inserted into the owner’s mouth. This was not viewed as a breach of etiquette since, it was reasoned, everyone you encountered would already have his or her own pack. Keeping your pack to yourself was a sterling example of the American ethos, like fencing your land and shooting trespassers and considering that basic societal benefits belong to those who can afford them. (Ed: gotta get that snark in, doncha?)


Bohemians and intellectuals predictably went for Camels or Luckies. Raymond Loewy’s Lucky Strike package was a triumph of design, even after the green background was excised in the Forties so that the dye could be saved for the war effort. In the Twenties it was stylish for cigarettes to allude to the Near East, hence Murads, Fatimas - and Camels, now the last survivor of the trend. (Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade smoked Fatimas.) Supposedly, there were dirty pictures concealed within the image of the camel on the package, but though I nodded yes when they were pointed out to me, I was never able to make them out. Both Camels and Luckies appealed to a certain purism, to a nostalgia for fedoras and speakeasies, to a peculiar impression that the brands were so elemental as to be something like produce, not really commercial brands at all. Nothing was better at conveying cosmopolitan style and culture in America than possession of a pack of Gauloises, or Gitanes. The aroma of black caporal tobacco was so distinctive you didn’t need to flash the pack to stand out in a crowd. (Ed: You sure didn’t. Gauloises and Gitanes stink, in a manner that’s simply beyond the stink of an ordinary cigarette and is, essentially, indescribable. Anyone who has ever been to Paris, or anywhere else in France, knows this for a fact. It begins when you ask yourself “What the Hell smells in here?”)


Anyway you can’t smoke any more. You can’t smoke anything - not low tar, not Sher Bidis, not all-natural additive-free tobacco in unbleached paper. It’s not yet illegal to possess the materials and implements for smoking, nor to consume them in the privacy of your own home, but it is increasingly difficult to smoke in public places, even outdoors, even in Europe. It’s true that a certain dark anti-glamour lingers outside the restaurant doorway, as you and people you will never meet again enjoy the rough comradeship of exile, puffing away in your thin jackets in February as if you were doing something heroic. It’s true that in a few Western settings - student life, for example, or among fashion models - smoking remains almost normative. It’s true that if you produce a pack of cigarettes in the right place and at the right time entire roomfuls of confirmed quitters will line up to bum one. And of course everyone knows at least one defiant and unapologetic smoker. In general, though, and especially in prosperous suburbs, you can expect passers by to glare at you with undisguised contempt, however discreetly you light up.
Barack, take note of that last paragraph. Or perhaps he’s already read the article. At any rate, every single thing in the above paragraphs is true, with the possible exception of smoking during sex. After sex? Most certainly. During? I don’t think so.

I’m old enough to remember the days when smoking was cool, the days when, as noted above, everyone did it. I learned “British Rules” on smoking when I lived in London. Not coincidentally, The Second Mrs. Pennington’s and my consumption rate doubled or tripled, even, when we went out on the town or down to the pub. We realized this almost immediately and developed subterfuges to counter the expense, which could be considerable. There were nights when the two of us would go through five packs of cigarettes, simply because all our mates were eager to accept our cigarettes when offered. I would routinely pass on the cigarettes offered in return, having never developed a fondness for Players Navy Cut or Rothschilds. We figured out what the Brits didn’t like (Trues, IIRC) and we’d both bring a pack of those along to offer around. Naturally, the offered smokes would be declined. Thus: money saved. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but it’s true.

Being the good Bohemian I aspired to be in my youth, I began with Luckies. I even did the James Dean thing by rolling them up in the sleeve of my tee shirt while on the job as a landscaping contractor’s assistant in high school. Yes, I began in high school. We all did the JD thing, and we all smoked Luckies, too. It was the thing to do. Over the years I moved from brand to brand, changing about every ten years or so. At the end (last week, ha!) I was smoking American Spirits, one of those “all-natural additive-free tobacco in unbleached paper” brands described above. Well, the paper is bleached, I think. And the damned things were still killing me, in spite of their “naturalness.” God willing, I’ll make it stick this time.

Even though I’ve excerpted from the article heavily, there’s much, much more. Here’s the closing graf:

Maybe there are ex-smokers out there who feel uncomplicated relief at having quit. I doubt there are many, however. Your cigarette was a friend - the sort of friend parents and teachers warned you against, who would lead you down dark alleys and leave you holding the evidence when things went wrong - but a friend nevertheless. It’s terribly sad that you can’t enjoy a smoke now and again without tumbling into the whirlpool of perdition, the way you can take a glass of spirits on the weekend with no danger that by Monday you will end up filtering the shoe polish after exhausting the cooking sherry. But just as an alcoholic remains an alcoholic even after decades of abstinence, so a smoker is a sinner forever after. You have breathed fire. You have experienced one of the deepest satisfactions of life: the first cigarette of the day in tandem with the first cup of coffee. (Ed: Or the two glowing cigs in the dark after wild, wild sex!) You have felt that knee-trembling rush upon taking the first drag after suffering an enforced separation from cigarettes - after a trip to the moon, for example. Your friend has come running to your side in the worst moments, and has been there to cheer you on in the best. You have tasted of the fruit of good and evil. Now that you have chosen the path of righteousness, can it be that the decision is fixed and irrevocable? Is it possible that smoking will be legislated or taxed out of existence? Is it possible that the Earth will be wiped so clean of tobacco that, like opium, it will be difficult to find without undertaking hazardous journeys in troubled regions? Is it possible that you will never again be able to enjoy the comfort of knowing that you have traded five minutes of life for five minutes of serenity? We may all have stopped smoking, but we continue to burn.

If you’re a smoker, or even an ex-smoker who doesn’t mind a trip back to Former Happy Days, go have a read. And smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em! Uh, no. Don’t.
The pic is one of the very few I could find showing me with a cigarette, which is passing strange, mainly because we almost always used ciggies as props in the way-back... before smoking went out o' style.  True confession:  I still miss the damned things.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tonight's ADWH Soundtrack

New to me... Ryan Bingham:

I've lived without bread and I've lived without water,
Stuck outside the middle of the desert wishin' I was home.
Long way from no where, wishin' I was somewhere,
Sangre de Cristo to the Devils Backbone.

I've been to California and North Carolina,

Hung with the hippies in Austin and the cowboys of Mexico.
I've laid up in Fort Worth with beautiful ladies,
Hitch hiked on down 281 and hit the rodeo in San Anton...

In the back of a Ranchero, I rode down to Laredo,

Had a good time at the la posada, yea you know I was left alone.
On a rig out of El Paso, rainin' down in Houston,
Told the truck driver put the pedal to the metal cause Houston gets me down.
On down to Louisiana, Whiskey River Landing,
Crawfish pie and eat jambalaya with a big ole coon ass smile.
There are a lot o' reasons to like this song, beginning with that immaculate slide guitar.  But it's the lyrics that struck a (heh) chord with me coz they pretty well mirror my year on the road in the near wayback.  All those places Young Ryan mentions?  Been there, done that, bought the tee shirts... lots of 'em, too.

And speakin' o' road songs, there was this from Robert Earl Keen:

Drove from Albuquerque to Ft. Smith, Arkansas
Then all the way to New Orleans in time for Mardi Gras
You should have seen... the craziness down there
What I really mean... I wish you were here


I'm sending you this postcard
To tell you that I'm fine
And let you know wherever I go
You never leave my mind

That last verse (or the chorus, whatevah)?  That was my mantra while I was on the road; I saw SO many things that should have been shared.

The Latest Installment of Get OFF My Lawn...

... even if we have no lawn.  But ya get the point, dontcha, Gentle Reader?  Let us proceed... eight days ago the city of Portales set a dumpster down in front of the Inmóvil Casa de Pennington and life got better, in that we finally had a place to dispose our trash, which was mounting up at a rather alarming rate.  Things went well the first day and we divested ourselves of our trash and a small amount of moving detritus.  But things took a decided turn for the worse on day three when I made another trip to the dumpster, only to find some dirtbag had filled it nearly to capacity with moving boxes... which had been tossed into the dumpster without being broken down.  I thought... briefly... about pulling the boxes out of the dumpster and breaking them down myself.  That thought hit the wall when I noticed said boxes were filled with dirty disposable diapers and other rather obnoxious stuff.

So... fast forward five days or so... the dumpster is filled to capacity and my co-tenants in the apartment complex continued to pile their trash on the filled-to-capacity dumpster, having no other option.  Well, except for me...  I held my trash, waiting for the city to come by and empty the thing.  The city came by today and dumped the contents of the dumpster into their garbage truck, EXCEPT for about six boxes and a couple o' garbage bags which spilled out on to the street, one of the boxes hitting the garbage truck driver in the head and upper body as he dumped the dumpster.  And then the asshat pulled away, leaving the street littered with boxes and trash.

So, YrHmblScrb went outside and cleaned up the mess, mainly coz no one else was gonna do it.  I've made FOUR calls to the City to complain and each time the call rolls to voice mail, whereupon I'm informed that "this line does not take messages."  We will persevere and I WILL make my displeasure known.

In the meantime... we got in first this time around, unburdening ourselves of four bags of cast-off stuff from the office and three (broken down) boxes.  I'm keeping an eye out for the dirtbags and their boxes and they will get an earful from me if they persist in throwing unbroken-down boxes in the dumpster.

Yeah... Get OFF My Lawn!

Still After It

Carport Skeleton
Things are coming together at the new place... a construction crew was on-site yesterday and began building our carports, which look pretty substantial.  There were lots o' heavy liftin' and gruntin' involved yesterday and LOTS o' welding, too.  I'll be glad when they're done, for a couple o' reasons.  First, The Green Hornet will be able to relax in the shade while bein' protected from Ma Nature's other perils (it'll be nice not having to brush snow off the car this winter).  Second, the landscapers will return to finish up their work and eliminate the mini-dustbowl that is my yard at present.  The landscapers began their work on Monday by planting four trees and six spiky plants (some sorta southwestern flora) but had to quit before they put in the ground cover... mainly coz the construction guys littered the yard with I-beams and other assorted pieces o' steel.

Things continue apace indoors, as well.  I went over to The Big(ger) City™ yesterday and finished my furniture shopping.  We shall have a couple o' bar-stools and a book case delivered before the morning is out, to be followed by a desk chair, file cabinet and CD rack sometime in the near future, depending on when Office Max, Amazon, and UPS get their stuff together.  Our desk still hasn't arrived and its status is unknown, even as I stopped by the place where I bought it yesterday to ask oh-so-politely "Where in the Hell is my desk!?!"  I'm gettin' pretty tired o' workin' on the laptop in the living room and my back is beginning to complain about that, as well.  We are NOT ergonomically correct at the moment.

So my office... the last remaining piece of unfinished work... will remain unfinished for the foreseeable future.  My books and stuff will be stored neatly and the CDs will once again be accessible and alphabetized by the end of the week, though.  Progress... slow but sure.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Green... More and Less

First... Jerry Holbert, from the usual source:

I liked that more for the light bulb than the Green jobs thang. 

And then there's this, a love note I received overnight from Gen. Mike Dunn:
AFA members, Congressional staff members, civic leaders, DOCA members, there is much news on activities in Washington – especially about the budget.  What strikes me is that to decipher much of it, one has to be almost an insider to understand the numbers.  Here is the simple version:

President Obama has directed the Department of Defense to cut $450B+ over 10 years starting with its FY13 budget.  [This will cut the base defense budget – and was part of the 2 Aug deficit reduction agreement with Congress.]  It looks like the cut will be laid into the budget on a more or less flat line basis, e.g. $45B per year.  The Air Force portion of that is not yet fully known, but if trends continue, it will be $11B - $13B per year – perhaps more.  Once again, this does not include wartime spending – which is still off-budget.

The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is tasked to come up with $1.5 Trillion in cuts over 10 years.  If it fails, then an automatic cut kicks in which will cut $1.2 Trillion in spending.  Half of this must come from “national security” accounts – DOD, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Energy, and a bit from the State Department.  I estimate DOD’s share would be about $450B+.  This is in addition to the $450B+ in the paragraph above.

A few observations.  First, the $1.5 Trillion to be cut is only a cut in the growth in spending.  The federal budget is expected to grow – during the next 10 years – by about $12 Trillion by some estimates.  Thus a cut in the growth in government of $1.5 Trillion is only a cut of 12%.  At the end of 10 years, if nothing else is done, the US debt will still grow from about $15 Trillion to $25.5 Trillion.

Secondly, to take almost a trillion dollars out of defense spending in the next 10 years would call for draconian cuts.  It would gut many programs; throw tens of thousands of troops out of work; cause major force reductions; and necessitate closing bases.  Our allies would begin to question our commitments in both conventional and extended deterrence realms.  And … according to some experts result in a “new isolationism.”  I do not need to remind this group that defending our nation is job one for any government.  In fact, the Preamble to the Constitution says:  “… provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare … “ – and not the other way around.  And … base defense spending in the 2012 request amounts to 3.5% of GDP – almost a record post-WWII low.  In the aggregate, the defense budget is clearly an affordable investment.

Finally, DOD base defense funding in the FY12 request was $553B.  [The Senate Appropriations Committee has marked it to $513B.]  The Administration request for HHS was $893B – 1/3 of a Trillion more.  This gap is projected to double by 2014.  It is interesting to note that HHS spending was $47B in 1977 – just one-twentieth of what it is today.

For your consideration.

Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association
I don't normally post these things in their entirety but this brief piece needs to be complete for the point to be made effectively.  I didn't know that half of the Select Committee failure mode "trigger cuts" were coming out of "national defense accounts," to include DHS and other agencies.  I thought ALL of the half of that 1.5 trillion were coming out of DoD's hide, based on the way the media are reporting this.  But you can bet DoD will bear the brunt of the cuts if the Select Committee fails its task.  The other thang that amazed me is the amount of money Health and Human Services gets.  I know all of THAT money ain't goin' into cancer research.

Related:  The Army announced an 8.6% troop reduction (50,000 heads) yesterday.

The House Armed Services Committee released analysis detailing the effect of the "trigger cuts" on the armed services.  That's some pretty scary stuff... but then again, it was meant to be.

Monday, September 26, 2011

More Thievery Just Stuff (edited)

There used to be an animated gif here but I took it down...mainly coz it didn't work and apparently was hosing the blog's response.  My apologies.

In other news... Yucca Telecom showed up right on time this morning and installed their premise equipment in the apartment.  Now I have to wait for the outside plant guys to tunnel-bore a tube from my place to the fiber backbone, about a half-block away.  It's pretty cool the way technology changes things... back in my day the outside plant guys would have used a trencher to dig a ditch for the conduit, pull the fiber, and then back-fill the whole mess.  These days?  Ya just use a small tunnel boring machine.

Well, check my last.  I just wandered down to the end o' the block to get a picture of that cool boring machine at work and saw this:

It turns out there are way too many buried utility runs in poorly marked places to use the boring machine.  So Yucca is gonna do it the old-fashioned way... by digging, trenching, and a LOT of hand-work.  I may not have my fiber connection by the end of today, after all.  So like this Ol' Boy I know sez... "It's always sumthin'!"

Update, Part II:  So... our fiber connection went live at 1600 hrs.  Those Yucca guys are good!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


... of a sort.  I've arrived at the conclusion there's not much else I can do until I get my desk (hopefully it will arrive this week), filing cabinet, and bookcase.  But we did what we could:

 Before - 1

Before - 2

 After - 1

After - 2

You'll note I've been doin' some industrial-strength shredding.  That's due to two things: (a) I save every-got-damned thang and (b) my old shredder went belly-up three or four years ago and I just didn't have the space to replace it.  So... old receipts, credit union statements, and other such detritus is now in teeny-tiny pieces.  That took quite a while, especially since the thermal overload on my spiffy new shredder would kick in about every half-hour, like clockwork.  It took half an hour to cool down, too.

So there's my day so far.  I think it's beer-thirty.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tonight's ADWH Soundtrack... and Other Stuff

Crosby, Stills, and Nash:

Holding you close undisturbed before a fire
The pressure in my chest when you breathe in my ear
We both knew this would happen when you first appeared
My lady of the island
The tune is a long-time favorite and carries many, many memories... happy and otherwise... from Former Happy Days, but those memories are mostly happy. Mostly.


Today was a typical Fall Saturday which is to say it's been mostly all football, all the time.  We watched ND pull one out on the road and go to 2-2 on the season.  That game was a near-run thang and it's gonna be a rare win for the Irish this season, methinks.  We then watched Moogie's Hogs lose to Alabama... and they were never really in that game.  I had flashes of hope but Bama was just too, too strong.  And now we're watching a contest featuring another team from the Supremely Egotistical Conference, which is to say LSU-West Virginia.  There were times during this game when I thought about turning it off, simply coz it looked like the Mountaineers were outclassed.  But those West Virginian guys refuse to give up and the game is still in doubt as I type (with 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter).  So I'll stay tuned to the game as I construct this post...

We took care of other bid'niz before we settled in to an afternoon of football indolence, which is to say we went out to Cannon Airplane Patch earlier in the day to re-stock the likker-locker and do a commissary run.  About the commissary: shopping takes on a whole nuther meaning when you know you (a) have a big-ass fridge and freezer and (b) have about six times the cabinet space you used to have when you were mobile.  So... we now have three different varieties of Häagen-Dazs in the freezer and about as many different cuts of meat.  And we won't go into what's in the crisper nor on the shelves of the fridge. Suffice to say we are well-stocked and we are MOST happy about that.


We mentioned in passing that we would begin to actually cook again, once thangs got back to normal.  Well, we're not near normal as yet but we HAVE begun cooking.  We broke the seal on the oven this afternoon, constructing one of our favorite dishes... Viva La Chicken, about which there are several recipes extant on these here inter-tubes, this bein' just one.  I vary considerably from that recipe, using about two dozen tortillas, one whole HELLUVA lot o' green chiles, two cans o' mushroom soup, and about two pounds of shredded jack cheese in my variation.  Let's illustrate:

Note the big-ass pile of boned and shredded chicken at left and the big tub of Bueno brand green chiles.

The casserole just before goin' to the oven.  I ran out of Bueno chiles and had to substitute Ortega brand chiles to top off the casserole.  Note the left over tortillas on the cutting board. 

You can't imagine how GOOD the premises smelled after I (a) boiled the chicken (with lotsa spices... primarily bay leaf, oregano, thyme, and basil, along with half an onion and three cloves of crushed garlic) and (b) took the casserole out of the oven. 

And so dinner was served.

The next culinary project will be a London Broil, assuming I can find a good flank steak.  In the meantime this casserole will feed me for about the next three days.  Anything worth doin' is worth OVER-doin', no?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tonight's After Dinner Whiskey Hour* Soundtrack

The asterisk means it was actually After Dinner G&T Hour, mainly coz we're fresh out o' whiskey and haven't had time to make the journey out to Cannon Airplane Patch to re-supply... said circumstance which we'll prolly rectify tomorrow or Sunday, depending.  But we digress.  I heard this tune from Blind Faith this evening and it's a recent re-run but I don't care... coz I really like the song and it really fits tonite:

Come down on your own and leave your body alone.
Somebody must change.
You are the reason I've been waiting all these years.
Somebody holds the key.

But I'm near the end and I just ain't got the time
And I'm wasted and I can't find my way home.

We've found our way home in the purely literal sense but we're definitely "near the end and wasted" in a psychological sense.  Sorta.  I'm not gonna try and put my finger on exactly why I'm feeling this way, I'll just fall back on the ol' "it is what it is."


In other news... So, there I was, sitting on the porch in the early afternoon today, taking a break from unpacking, enjoying a beer and a cigar, reading the WSJ, and generally mindin' my own bid'niz when this lissome blonde approaches from about two o'clock high and announces her presence thusly:
She:  Hi!  Do you live here?
Me: (With my patented Dumb Look) Yup!

She:  Well, I'm your neighbor... my name is Linda.
Cutting to the chase and making a long-story short...  Linda sat down with me for about 20 minutes (mebbe longer) and we traded the Reader's Digest version of our respective life stories.  It turns out she's a new member of Eastern New Mexico U's faculty and is a speech pathologist, most recently from Newport Beach, California.  We're reasonably close in age* and appeared to hit it off pretty well for a first meeting.  I'm thinkin' there MIGHT be some potential here, with the caveat that I always think that way whenever a pretty girl smiles at me.  Yeah, it's a weakness of mine.

*I will NOT speculate on the woman's age in this space, and will only say she appears to be a fetching late-40s or perhaps slightly older example of Southern California's finest, which is to say blonde, tanned, trim, and NOT hard to look at... at all.

What's Missing In This Picture?

Well, I suppose that's an obvious question of the first order, innit?  We moved ECMdP off to granddaughter Felicity's place last evening, turned in our mailbox key this morning, and even got a lil bit o' money back as the combination of monies paid in advance for space rent plus my deposit exceeded the cost of electricity consumed this month.  That was nice.

I'm gonna miss Happy Hours and After Dinner Whiskey Hours in that small space and I'm also a lil bit wistful about making the break from what was a most interesting period of life.  But the break is clean and somewhat overdue.  On to the next phase... whatever that phase may be.

So now it's back to the job at hand, which is putting the office in some semblance of order.  While this ain't exactly the Fifth Labor of Hercules it's pretty damned close.

It's Always SUMTHIN'

From Dow Jones News Service:
NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--U.S. stock futures dropped Friday morning in what's expected to be another volatile session, as fears of a Greek default and the U.S. economy spiraling into another recession continued fueling investor trepidation. 

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures reversed overnight gains and recently dropped 38 points, or 0.4%, to 10612, although futures recently moved well off earlier lows. The Dow has plunged 675 points in the last two sessions and is on pace for its worst weekly drop since the depths of the financial crisis in October 2008. 

Standard & Poor's 500 stock index futures lost 4 points, or 0.3%, to 1120 and Nasdaq 100 futures declined 5 points, or 0.2%, to 2170. Changes in stock futures don't always accurately predict stock moves after the opening bell. 
The DJIA is down 78 points as I type (0823 hrs MDT).  Aiiieee... my poor 401(k)! I'd been planning to withdraw a few pennies from my 401(k) before the end of the year to cover some discretionary purchases, like a new big-ass teevee.  It looks like I'm gonna have to re-think that.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I Have 'Net... Sorta

The good folks at Yucca Telecom loaned me one of their 384 kbps "wireless" modems (which is actually an RF modem, but who's to quibble?) so I have a half-assed inter-tubes connection.  It's amazing how spoiled we can get... I lived with one of these modems for five years while I was waiting for fiber to be laid out to Beautiful La Hacienda Trailer Park.  I didn't like it all that much, either, as there's a big difference between a four megabit fiber connection and 384k wireless.  Just sayin', and all that.

But Hey!  Slow net is better than no net at all.

Anon dropped this comment on the post immediately below...
Very nice. I imagine that various wall hangings/ pictures will be gracing the walls in the future. 
Well... yes and no.  We're decidedly short on suitable stuff to hang but we do have one or two thangs, this being one:

That's an 18th century Ottoman Turk cavalry sword that I inherited from my father.  Dad picked up this sword and two other blades when he was stationed in Ankara, Turkey in the late '50s.  The other two blades are a ceremonial dagger and another knife which was described as a "working" weapon, or the 18th century equivalent of a sidearm.  I don't believe he ever had any of the blades appraised, but he was informed about the history behind the stuff by the antiquities dealer from whom he bought the blades.  That's the story I got from Dad so that's the story I'm telling you, Gentle Reader.

And here's a longer view of where the sword is hung...

And there we are... tapping out this post on the laptop.  That's because the desktop is still in pieces, as is the whole damned office.  It's gonna be at least a week before I get that space sorted out.  

I could go on and on about this move, which is still a work in progress.  Suffice to say El Casa Móvil de Pennington is all cleaned out, cleaned up, and will be moved off to storage at granddaughter Felicity's house this evening.  That particular chore was the long pole in the moving tent and I'm glad it's over.  The rest of the project is small stuff compared to cleaning and moving ECMdP.

Now it's off to see what my blog buds have been up to and then it's back on my head.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


We’re making progress, but I’ve learned one thing: this moving gig was a LOT easier before the maid quit. It was also easier back when either the Air Force or my civilian employer picked up the tab for a turn-key move… but that was then and this is now. So… the kitchen is pretty much done. My furniture was delivered yesterday and we’ll have our satellite teevee installed by the time you read this (I’m writing this offline for posting when I get me some wi-fi). The bedroom is half complete; I’m gonna need to buy a chest of drawers as the dresser I bought is filled up with clothes already and I have yet to unpack my winter stuff. The office is a freakin’ MESS, virtually nothing has been touched in that space.

Which brings us to the post title… I’m putting EIP on hiatus until I get my innertubes connection next week. I’ll be moving ECMdP off to storage either tomorrow or Thursday and I’ll lose my spiffy fiber connection once she leaves Beautiful La Hacienda Trailer Park. There’s that, but more importantly… I just have too damned much to do to pay attention to the blog. Priorities, yanno?

I’ve been reading your comments on my phone(e-mail) and I appreciate all the good wishes and nice things all y’all have said. I’ve gotten so far behind I can’t reply as is my habit, but know that I appreciate all y’all’s visits. I really do.

Lastly… a couple o’ few pics I took last evening:

A quick lil view of the bedroom.  The mattress is NICE.

Sofa, lamps, and coffee table... which will NEVER look this neat again.  Ever.

Another view of the LR, featuring the ever-popular love seat.  The apartment is a LOT smaller with furniture in it... and it's a good thang I decided to wait on a dinette set, coz there's no room for one.  Bar stools at the counter, here we come.

The entertainment center... or whatever ya call it... which almost worked, which is to say the compartments aren't deep enough to hold my stereo equipment and close the doors.  Oh, well... it's always sumthin', innit?

It’s coming together.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Moving Day

We changed plans yet again and moved all our stuff from El Casa Móvil de Pennington to the new, non-móvil casa today.  Granddaughters Natasha and Felicity, assisted by Diego, Felicity's significant other, were the prime movers (heh) in this deal.  I mostly supervised and unpacked stuff, given my infirmities and all.  So, we are moved.  The whole moving thang took exactly four hours and 15 minutes, which is two hours and 15 minutes longer than Lis estimated.  "You have a LOT of stuff," said she in something like wonderment that all this shit could fit in such a small space.

Diego, Felicity, and I sat out on the porch after the moving was completed and knocked back a beer or four while I had a cigar.  Then Felicity and Diego were off, leaving me to deal with this:

We put the kitchen in some semblance of order and then called it a day and returned to El Casa Móvil de Pennington, mainly to tap out this "better late than never" post... because we still have innernets at the Casa Móvil.

Tomorrow we'll clean up the rat's nest that is ECMdP and continue to put things right at the new place.  And we'll prolly not spend much time on the 'net as we have other stuff to do.

Friday, September 16, 2011

O, Ye Me of Little Faith

I just got back from Homespot Properties with an executed lease and keys to the new apartamento in my hot lil hand, by way of the new place... where I took photos.  Real photos, using my camera and not that sleazy lil cell-phone camera.  To wit...

 The kitchen, shot from the living room.  That big-ass fridge has an ice-maker!  Yow!!

 Another kitchen shot.  Note the GREEN covering on the dishwasher is gone.  Thank The Deity At Hand for small favors.

 The living room, shot from the kitchen.  An area rug will be required and I might have one picked out.  We're still shopping, though.

The bathroom off the master bedroom.  Note the French doors.  Me likey.

I didn't take pictures of the empty bedrooms because they are... empty.  Nuthin' to see there; move along.  But we will take pics at a later date once the furniture is delivered, yadda, yadda.

So now we wait.  Is it Thursday yet?


In other news... Andy the RV Doctor stopped by El Casa Móvil de Pennington today to tie up a loose end and do one final repair for me, that bein' replacing a broken latch on one of my downstairs storage bins.  Andy couldn't find a replacement latch anywhere so he fabricated one on the spot and installed same.  When he was done I asked him what the damage was and he replied "No charge.  You've been a great customer, so just consider this a going-away gift."  And then he left.

I'm gonna miss that guy... A LOT.  He pulled my tired ol' ass out of a lotta fires over the course of the last seven or eight years.  He's a REAL good guy, and there's your understatement for the day. 

Well, I MIGHT...

... buy this:

I thought WTF!?! when I first opened the message and saw the price on this package.  That's a considerable chunk o' change for a re-mastered album and a new live CD of DSotM's songs.  But then I went to Amazon and looked at what's included in the package... and found out there's yet another CD of unreleased material, two DVDs, and a BluRay disc, as well.  From the ad copy:
Immersion Editions present the complete artistic experience.  Lavishly packaged in a sturdy 29cm square box, the sets contain remastered, previously unreleased and audio-visual material, plus much additional content – reproduced memorabilia, brand new graphics, art prints, collectors’ items, lavish booklets and more.
I suppose the question I should ask myself is "Do I REALLY need a fourth copy of DSotM?"  I already own two vinyl copies... one original and one half-speed mastered (currently in SN2's basement)... and a "normal" CD.  I'm thinkin' the answer is "yes," based on my experience with the Beatles re-mastered CDs I bought last year.  I'll wait for the package to actually hit the market and read some reviews before I drop the money, however.

Finally... what's with that "29cm" shit?  This is AMERICA... and we say "11.5 inch square box."  GOML!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What's a Body To Do?

Our weather just went all to hell overnight, as far as the temperature and our normally brilliant blue skies go.  It's pretty chilly out (about 55 degrees or so as we type, with 100% relative humidity) so that precludes any sort o' outdoor activity for YrHmblScrb, seein' as how we are soft in our old age.  Yeah, I COULD put on a sweatshirt, dump the collected rain water out o' the camp chairs (we did get some a lot o' rain, which is a great good thang), and sit outdoors for Happy Hour... but the only thing I would get out of THAT would be a wet ass and a bad disposition.

So we had a better ideer.  We mashed up four avocados that hit their ripeness peak just today, sliced and diced half a sweet onion (and that dicing was finer than frog-hair), squeezed half a lime's worth o' juice into the mix, and finished it off by adding two tablespoons of El Pinto Green Chile Sauce, after which we mashed some more.  The result went into the fridge so the various ingredients could become acquainted with each other.  That was two hours ago, this is now:

Some Happy Hours are better than others, Gentle Reader...  this one's pretty good.

Scary Stuff

Three items from the Usual USAF Source that should concern every American... the first is from this past Tuesday:
Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.)
Gutting US Military Capability: The Air Force is flying "at the ragged edge." The Marine Corps is not equipped to handle a contingency if it were to arise in the Pacific theater. And, the Army doesn't even have enough resources to fulfill some of its "most basic needs," warned Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), House Armed Services Committee chairman Monday. "These problems will rapidly intensify as projected budget cuts start to take their toll," said McKeon during a speech at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. "Even more dangerous is the sword that is hanging over the Congressional super committee," he added. The newly formed committee has until Thanksgiving to come up with $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion in savings or an automatic cut will kick in that will decimate the US military, said McKeon. "Fifty percent of the mandatory cuts associated with the [automatic] trigger are from the Defense Department. Fifty percent. That's a deeply unbalanced number with defense accounting for less than 20 percent of federal spending," he said. "If enacted, the trigger would not just cut our military, it would close it for business."
—Amy McCullough
And these two items from yesterday's AFA Daily Report:
Carter Goes Before SASC to Discuss Nomination: Ash Carter, current Pentagon acquisition executive, told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday he'd be willing to consider relocating and re-stationing overseas-based US military forces, including moving some back the United States, if he becomes deputy defense secretary. This would include addressing the proposed realignment of US troops on Guam and Okinawa, Japan, he told committee members during his nomination hearing for the Pentagon's No. 2 post. He also said he'd work with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to find across-the-board savings for the Defense Department, including potential cuts to military personnel accounts and healthcare. Carter said the Pentagon would submit a plan to Congress this year outlining areas where DOD could absorb cuts so that the new Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction could take it under advisement. If that panel fails to reach a consensus and, instead, the Budget Control Act of 2011's automatic cuts kick in, Carter said those cuts would "devastate" the military. "Just the scale of it alone would lead us to have to consider truly draconian things—abandoning major weapons systems, furloughing civilian employees, and abruptly curtailing training because we couldn't pay for fuel, and so forth," he explained. (See also Carter's response to advance questions.)
Passionate about Defense: The Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said the fiscal situation faced by the Defense Department is so dire that he may even consider voting for a tax increase for the first time in his political career. "I have never voted for a tax increase. I don't ever plan on voting for a tax increase," Rep. Buck McKeon (Calif.) told an audience during his speech Monday at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. "But if it came down that I had only two choices: one was to make a tax increase, one was to cut defense over and above what we already are, I would go to strengthen defense." The six Republicans on the new Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction likely will press for cuts and stand against a tax increase, while the six Democrats on the panel likely will argue that one is not possible without the other. The challenge will be reaching a compromise before the automatic cuts outlined in the Budget Control Act of 2011 kick in and the Pentagon's budget is slashed beyond repair, said McKeon. (See also the joint committee's new website.)
—Amy McCullough
I don't think Rep. McKeon or Mr. Carter are being the least bit hyperbolic with their statements.  It is to worry, especially now that Obama wants the Joint Select Committee to fund his latest round of Stimu-less.   "Interesting times," as the frickin' Chinese say.