15 June 2007

Open letter

Dear Civilian Marksmanship Program,

Today is my birthday. I'm not going to be doing much to celebrate, but that's okay, because I'm kind of over the birthday thing, and next week I'm getting a new house. However, your organization is in the unique position of being able to give me something really cool.

All I want for my birthday, CMP, is a tracking number. I've been "processing" now for a day or so, so it should be just about my turn. Y'all don't have to wrap the box or put a bow on it or anything, just scan the barcode and put it in the truck.



This could have been me

providing I was a Lebanese news anchor, that is.

The NBN anchor, who has not been identified, did not realize her microphone was on.

"So, why did it take them so long to kill him?" the anchor asked a colleague on live television Wednesday, the same day as Eido's death. She begins laughing, and the colleague joins in.

We make fun of our media for being one-sided (and, oddly, there are people who think the MSM is entirely owned and a pawn of the far right - go figure), but ours at least pretend to be impartial. Most of the time.

14 June 2007


I haven't seen whoever lives in the room directly above me in Ye Olde Cheape Motel, but that individual...walks more loudly than anyone I've ever run across.

It sounds like a pissed-off teenager stomping across a basketball court in cowboy boots. And it seems he/she does a fair amount of lurching - this is not a person walking normally around a motel room. It also sounds like a large person person...

I just thought I'd share. It's the last thing I hear at night and the first thing I hear in the morning. Sometimes I like to give y'all a little sense of ambience...

13 June 2007

Tappin' my foot

...waiting on this house thing to go down. All day long, from Mr. Abby and a variety of real estate people, I receive documents. Big old honkin' documents. About 98% of them are "FYI," but there are always a couple that I need to initial and send back to someone.

How annoying. I don't remember doing this the last time we bought a house - I think there were just two, maybe three, big festivals of signing and initialing.

It doesn't help that every state is different. I received some 15-page monster when I got home tonight with the exceptionally useless message, "See attached your commitment for title insurance."

Huh. Well, sure. I see it.

Looks about seven times longer than the last set of title insurance documentation I remember, but whatever. I had to email it back to the sender with the message, "I don't know what, if anything, you need me to do with this. Please explain."

Good lord willing and the creek don't rise, I'll do the final walkthrough Monday and we'll close on Wednesday. That is, if the week in between doesn't drive me nuts first.

12 June 2007

Happy Dance1

I'm getting my carbine! My order is processing! The wait is ending!

[sorry - if you think this is annoying, you should have been sitting next to me when I checked E-store around lunch]

My glee is almost overpowering.

11 June 2007

The 51% minority

I grabbed a hard copy of the Fort Worth Star Telegram today to take to dinner. On the front page, a story about women in this next election. Women running for things, women voting, etc.

Hmmm, thought Abby. That might be an interesting read.

Interesting, yes. Interesting in an intelligent, thought-provoking sort of way? No. Seriously - somebody better tell me this newspaper hires "journalists" through some sort of help-the-special-kids program, otherwise there's no excuse for this shit.

Read the story in its entirety here. I, of course, shall selectively excerpt and rant.

Real quick, though, we're going to visit the U.S. Census Bureau for some 2005 numbers. At that point, we had 295,734,000 people in the U.S. 150,425,000 were female, and 145,309,000 were male. That's 50.86% of our population that's female. [please see note at end of post]

They are mothers, daughters, sisters and wives.

We can tell from the lead that this is going to be precious, can't we? They are also grandmothers, aunts, nieces, waitresses, actresses, people who are referred to "she," "her," and a variety of other feminine pronouns... Wading on through the curdling bits of triteness...

...candidates are already creating campaigns to woo the female vote and strategists are tailoring campaign issues to focus on women's concerns, including health care and education. [just for fun, I'm going to ask you to imagine some sort of dramatic flare of brass orchestral sound every time you see the word "women" in bold type - like Storm Trooper music]

Yeah! Nevermind security and immigration and government spending and the environment and civil rights and all that. Women don't care about any of that.

They will do whatever is needed to gain support with the one demographic large enough to swing the election, political observers say.

This is the part that makes me insane. Women are not "one demographic." Well, not anymore than...hell, tall people. We are slightly more than half the country, and there is some slight variety of opinion amongst us. Among the issues "we" care about, that is. You know, health care and education.

Further, the above is an entirely inaccurate statement. The margin of victory in the 2004 Presidential election was...3,012,497. But that's nationwide, and it's generally accepted (I think), that since Ohio was the last state to come in, Ohio was the deciding factor. Bush took Ohio by 118,599 votes.

So, looking at some Ohio demographics (from 2000), we can see that yes, seeing as women consitute 51.4% of the population, they could indeed "swing the election." However, since we assume monolithic demographic voting habits when we write for the Fort Worth paper, so could:
A) black people (1,301,307 of them)
B) asian people (but they'd all have to show up - there are only 132,633)
C) hispanics (easily - 217,123 of them)
D) the always-wild-and-crazy 85+ age group (176,796)
E) the "institutionalized population" (172,368), although I suspect that group is largely made up of those who may have lost their voting rights.

Yes - women can swing an election. But these days, so can pretty much any group. You get the over-90 crowd and the Pacific Islanders, and you're probably in.

Back to the World's Most Atrocious News Story.

"Women will have a critical role in the upcoming election," said Michael Dimock, associate director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. "They are a huge segment of the public."

Please tell me that this doubtlessly bright man didn't say anything this inane. Yep. Hugest segment of the public, really. Moving right along...

Although some may be influenced by their sex and thus likely to vote for a woman on the ballot, others are just as likely to vote for a man, observers say.

I can't really figure out the meaning of this sentence, which is never a good thing in a "news" story, but no matter how I look at it, I want to pound my head on the table. Notice there's no mention of anything other than gender that might influence the voting choices of women.

Then come many, many paragraphs of "you go, girl!" type stuff. Suffice it to say that while I'm sort of neutrally pleased to see women in government in increasing numbers, it's the same sort of pleased I am to see someone from Michigan become a stunning success. Yeah, it's the home team, but...there are other, stronger allegiances. At least there should be. One would hope. [shudders]

I'm almost too irritated to continue with this, but there is one really choice quote from Sen. Obama's wife.

"My husband is a man who understands the struggles of women and families," Michelle Obama has said. "This campaign believes in the women of this country and envisions a government that doesn't just encourage women to dream big, but to know they have the support and the resources to pursue those dreams.

"I want that for my daughters. I want that for your daughters. And I want that for this country."

You know what I want for all our daughters? I want them to have opportunities. And I want them to have encouragement. I want them to have options. I do not want them to have the sort of "support" and "resources" we saddle every "disadvantaged" group in this country with, the sort dooms them to generations of suspicion about whether they attained their positions through talent or through unearned handouts.

I'm all about women. I is one, you know. I like us (in theory. In practice, I find many of us catty). However, I resent any attempt, at any level, to treat us as one giant single-minded Borg. I also resent any attempts to put half the damn country in the "oppressed minority" bin.

And this sort of drivel in a major metropolitan newspaper...as well as making it seem as though they're letting high school sophomores write A-section stories...it's just idiotic.

Phaaa...[spit]. I'm done.

** NOTE: Incidentally, this appears to be a fairly natural distribution, and hold true in much of the developed world. It seems, however, that China's "one child" policy has skewed this distribution slightly in recent decades. Interesting, but not germane to today's discussion. **

Post 9/11 annoyance

We've all noticed the big changes afterward. The airport security idiocy. The requirements to present 47 pieces of ID to open a bank account. Etc.

But...until today, I didn't notice one of the other, insidious anti-terror measures that seems to have been implemented just to annoy the shit out of me.

They took the mailboxes away. It's damn near impossible to find a regular, blue, freestanding mailbox these days. And that, when you have paychecks but your direct deposit hasn't yet kicked in, is annoying.

I know it's evil to take other people's mail from their mailboxes, but do you also go to Hell if you add your mail in with theirs? We may find out...

Promising Week

Some weeks loom ahead with little or nothing to offer, just five days of stupid followed by two of naps.

Not this one, though. This week shows potential for being chock full of meaty goodness. Or something.

1) We're getting close on the M1 carbine. The CMP is processing orders from May 2, so I'm hoping they'll hit mine in the next day or two.

2) We've got the house appraisal on Wednesday. It's not very exciting, but it's one step closer.

3) Mr. Abby is lobbying hard back in Florida to get his household goods pickup date moved up - he's got nothing to do, the house is too small, and I'm bored out here. So we're trying to see if we can get him and the Pack here sooner.

So by the end of the week I could have assurance that closing will go off, a new rifle (or at least a FEDEX tracking number), and the promise of my Spider Killer In Shining Armor showing up in short order.

Or I could have all of those things go badly, but I think I'm going to err on the side of optimism just this once.

10 June 2007

So there I was...

...having a nice, scorching hot shower this morning.

There's a little sign on the wall here at Ye Olde Cheape Dive, and it says, "When taking a shower please turn on your bathroom fan to avoid setting off your smoke alarm from steam."

So. I was taking a scorching hot shower. I had the fan on, but because I am an idiot, I also had the bathroom door open.

I was fully soapy when the alarm started shrieking. I launched myself out of the shower and dragged a chair under the alarm so I could fan it with a folder. I was busily doing that when it occurred to me that the alarm might bring some sort of hotel maintenance people. I realized that I didn't want to be naked on a chair should a band of heroic Mexican housekeepers come through the door.

Then I realized that there was a .45 sitting on the little table by the laptop (gotta be a close at hand if the goblins come). Which I figured might be awkward if the purely-theoretical-hotel-rescue-squard showed up. So I picked it up, and looked for a spot to stash it and for a towel to wrap around myself.

I ditched the gun in my sock drawer and found a towel, then managed to shut the alarm up. No Mexicans showed up to see if there was indeed a fire, and I finished my shower with the door firmly closed.

But for just a second, I was wet, soapy and buck naked, with a pistol and a postage-stamp hotel towel. I'm not sure how I would have explained that to anyone who showed up to check on the alarm.

"I don't know what this looks like, but whatever it looks like, that's not what it is." Only in Spanish.

Things I've learned

Venturing into a nice, cool, dark bar in the early afternoon for a couple of beers has a way of turning into a monster hangover.

Why is it that a "couple of beers" tends to turn into "many, many beers" whenever loud country music is present?

Ugh. I'll be back later after some more coffee.