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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Miscellaneous December Thoughts

I'm Well-Rounded!

Geeze... I got up this morning, checked my e-mail and bathed as is my usual routine. I grabbed a pair of blue jeans fresh out of the dryer. I got 'em about halfway up and realized that there simply was no way I was going to fit into this pair. Chagrined, I trotted of to the bedroom to grab another pair. After a few minutes of wheezing and wiggling (which highly amused my cat) I admitted defeat. Looking at the label, I realized that this particular pair of britches happened to be several years old. Hmmm...

I reached for my "fat pants" - the pair my wife bought me by accident that's a size or two too big. I scrambled around and found my belt (under the bed) and put the jeans on. They fit perfectly. Uh-oh. I shrugged into my favorite T-shirt - it barely covered my belly. Hmmm... I put on my denim work-shirt. It, too, seemed to be riding rather high. No belt for me today.

How did I outgrow ALL my clothes overnight? Can that happen? Sheesh! I'm gonna go on a soup diet or something... Even my boots feel tight.


A Little-Known Fact...

Due to an odd combination of circumstances, it seems that 82-year-old republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska (famed for being named after the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport) is third in line to the presidency now. So, if United States President George Walker Bush and Vice President Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney were both incapacitated, Mr. Stevens would be President.

This scares me. Though a decorated World War II veteran, Mr. Stevens has done several questionable things in the Senate as of late.

He and Alaska Congressman Don Young managed to get several hundred million dollars earmarked to build two bridges in Alaska (one of which was to be named "Don Young Way"). One of the bridges in question would link an island to the mainland - an island with a population of less than 50 people. The other bridge would cross a bay, making access to a little-used airport more convenient. The consensus is that these bridges are NOT worth the hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars they'd cost. When asked if he'd be willing to use the money to help with hurricane relief instead, Mr. Stevens actually barked "NO!" and threatened to quit the Senate "if the Senate decides to discriminate against our state..." As I've mentioned before, Alaska receives $1.89 in government money for every $1 in taxes they pay. Discrimination? Hmmm... Mr. Stevens has since seen the money for the bridges get removed from that particular bill, though, from what I understand, an equal amount of money is going to Alaska under a different name. Seems that Mr. Stevens is very good at getting money for Alaska (being, until recently, the head of the appropriations committee), unfortunately it's at the detriment of the nation as a whole. I wonder how long Alaska would survive as an independent nation if the United States went broke...?

The next questionable thing Mr. Stevens did was to rudely forbid the Senate from swearing oil executives to tell the truth during some hearings. So of course people now believe the oil executives did indeed lie about certain points of their testimony. Now some members of Senate wants to recall the executives and have the hearings all over again, at taxpayer expense. source

Mr. Stevens is now involved in chairing Senate hearings regarding indecency and violence on cable television. While I certainly understand why people are concerned about such issues (there's precious little on television these days that I don't find offensive, to be honest) I do NOT want people of Mr. Stevens' ilk mandating what we can and cannot see on television. While I do think stricter guidelines may be in order, I don't trust Mr. Stevens to be in charge of such things. Why is Mr. Stevens interested in this, anyway? It could be that he has been lampooned mercilessly by The Daily Show (on the Comedy Channel) for months now. (As a side note - if you've not seen The Daily Show, check it out. It's the most intelligent show on television these days. And it's unfortunately on one of the worst channels, in my opinion.)

All in all, I encourage everyone to do a little research on Mr. Ted Stevens. In my opinion he's at best dangerously misguided, and at worst a threat to our nation.


Pet Peeves Number 473, 474 & 475


Sioux City has a law that says a person will be fined if their sidewalk isn't shoveled within ten hours of the end of a snowfall. Fine - I have no problem with that. The law is there so that the mailman (or in our case the mailma'am) will be able to do their appointed rounds without hassle. Fine - I have no problem with that. But if I have to, by law, shovel my sidewalk for the mailman, shouldn't the mailman, by law, have to walk on my sidewalk? Why does ours always tromp through the middle of our yard, leaving an unsightly path through the snow? Dagmar and I aren't the kind of people who go tromping through other people's yards; in fact, we both feel it's common courtesy to stay on the sidewalk or path or walkway until invited otherwise. It's not our property, you see. We have our own house, and our own yard to walk in if we want. That's our property...

I feel it's an invasion of my privacy every time I see those big footsteps through the snow. Someone was walking on MY yard. I paid good money for that yard. It's not a very big yard, but it's the only yard I have, and I like it.

Last winter I wrote four or five e-mails to the United States Postal Service (USPS) trying to get them to tell our local guy to quit walking through my yard. I left notes in my mailbox saying, "Thank you for using the sidewalk instead of walking through my yard." Nothing worked. Eventually, last February or March the daily footprints ceased. I gloated a little... "I guess my letters to the USPS have finally worked," I said. My wife asked what I was burbling about, so I explained my dilemma, and that I'd written to the USPS... "You're going to make de nice mail guy valk all de vay around in de cold? Dat's not nice..." Then I felt guitly. I felt guilty all spring, and all summer. I felt guilty about it all fall. Then when it snowed, there were the footsteps again, and I STILL don't like them.

I don't like footsteps through my yard, and I don't like my neighbors parking in my driveway. Call my silly, but I think they should park in their own driveway. They have one, you know, they just haven't shoveled it yet. Not once in the past five winters has anyone shoveled that driveway. Yet the neighbors persist in parking in MY driveway, and have even cursed at Dagmar when she asked them to move their van in a rainstorm so Dagmar could park in our garage.

I don't like footsteps through my yard, I don't like my neighbors parking in my driveway, and I don't like eighteen-year-old clerks I've never met before calling me by my first name. When I was young, almost everyone I met had one of two first names - "Mister" and "Missus." Oddly enough, most people older than I still have those two first names, as far as I'm concerned. (Friends and relatives excepted.) I always kind of expected to be called "Mr. Radloff" at least once or twice by the time I got to this age. We never said, "yeah sure," it was always "yes sir."

Guess I'm getting old. Oh well.

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