Radloff Family

April 2002

November 2003

January 2004

September 2004

October 2004

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

July 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

June 2011

July 2011

November 2013

Andersen Family

Bouncing Around

Deeper End of Chaos


I Am Not a Mused

Gifts from a Broad

Lots Better Then Your Blog

Grant Miller Media

Human Voices

Passionate Dale

Skyler's Dad

Vegetable Assassin

Able Home Builders

Advanced Computers

Affordable Cars

Alchemy Trans. Svcs.

Bill's Urban Wear

Byron Kuehl

The Chesterfield

Enabled Vets Outdoors

Fleet US

Healing Run

Heartland Hearth

Hope Talks


Iowa Dual Recovery Anonymous

Knotty Pine Kreations

Leather 'n Hawgs

Magnificent Board of Directors

Midwest Pipe

Northwest Iowa ALR

Parrot Film Co.

RVP Sports Productions

Shesler Hall

Simply Staged for You

Siouxland Freedom Fest

Siouxland Honor Flight

Siouxland Sleep Out

Tall Paul's Pickled Asparagus

Tom Foolery's

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Untitled Rambling #6

A personal project

I've been keeping track of my e-mails, both at work and at home. I found myself curious just how many e-mails I got in an average week, and how they broke down according to category. (That alone should tell you how bored I get at work, thinking up cockamamie schemes like this...) It's been one whole day so far, and a bit more. Say, maybe twenty-six and a half hours.

Maybe it's just 'cause I'm paying attention, but it doesn't seem like I'm getting as much e-mail as I usually get. Or maybe it's just 'cause things are slow here at work lately.

So far, in the last 26 and a half hours, I've received 12 personal e-mails, 11 work, 8 jokes, 2 conservative, 1 liberal, and 68 spam messages.

I've been toying with the idea of writing to myself, just to skew the results. I'll resist that temptation, I guess.

Google Reader

I work on computers every day, day in and day out, all the time, constantly, both at work and at home. Some people think I'm a "computer guy" and ask me technical questions.

"Why am I getting so many popup ads?" asked my boss one day. "It could be because you spend so much time looking at dirty pictures," I told him. "Use Firefox instead of Internet Explorer, it has a built-in popup blocker."

The truth is, I really don't know much about computers. I know how to use them in certain applications, but I'm actually pretty confused as to how they really work. Look at it this way... You know how to drive a car. You've been driving cars for years, right? You drive a car every day. Wanna come over to my house and fix my transmission for me? No? Oh. Okay. Then why do you think I'll jump at the chance to go to your house and fix your computer? I have no more idea how to fix a computer than you do to fix my transmission. Honest.

"Does your e-mail work?" my boss hollered from his office. "I can't get my e-mail. Do something." "Did the cord fall out of the back of your computer again?" I answered. "Try plugging your computer into the network. That might help."

I have a basic knowledge of what goes on inside a computer, but just enough to be dangerous. I know that a 1.2 gigahoozit computer is probably slower than a 2.3 gigahoozit computer, but I'm not real sure why. I'm a fan of the Civilization games by Sid Meier. They just released Civilization IV a few months ago, but I haven't bought it yet. Why? I'd need to upgrade the video card on my computer, and probably add some RAM too. I don't know how to do that! I don't even know what a video card does, to be honest... I work on Macintosh's at work. You never have to mess with a Mac's innards...

"Our server's down again," said the boss. "I need you to fix it." "I'm a graphic designer, not an IT guy," I replied. "I didn't even know we HAD a server... What does it look like? Where is it? I'll go take a look..." You know, I think the problem is actually with the router, but what do I know?

I've been writing in this blog for the better half of a year now, and I've had the Radloffs site for over five years (the parent site of my blog). Throughout the years, I've designed amateur websites for every band I've been in... Big Lizard, Moana Lisa, Hippie Go Lucky, and the Smokin' Clams. You'd think I knew what I was doing by now, but I don't. I don't know how to code this stuff... To blog I simply go to Blogger, enter my password and user name (which I forget half the time 'cause I'm not the kind of person that remembers things like names, phone numbers, birthdates, passwords or what kind of car I drive) and start typing away. That's what I know.

Today I was poking around the Internet, visiting various blogs, checking to see if people have commented on my comments, and generally just trying to look like I was awake so the boss wouldn't hand me a broom, when it struck me. "Boy," I thought to myself. "I wish there was some kind of software that would keep track of all the blogs I visit." Hmmm... After a bit of poking about, I stumbled on Google's "Reader." Two hours later, I'm still struggling, trying to figure out how this works. They toss around terms like "Atom," "XML," "RSS," and "HTML" like they expect me to know what they mean. I have figured out how to subscribe to a few blogs, but other blogs don't seem to work that way - from what I gather they're not "syndicated," or something like that. In any case, Google Reader seems to be a pretty nifty thing, or at least it will be a pretty nifty thing if it catches on in a big way. Check it out. And if you figger out how to use the thing, lemme know.

Oh, and you can click on the little "Add to Google" button on the left up there somewhere to add this very blog to Reader. I think.

"What version of Windows are you using," asked the Tech Support Guy. I scratch my head. "I'm not sure, I think they're double-paned..."

Mr. Blouin and Co.

Yesterday I said something about the gubernatorial race here in Iowa. In the few scant hours since then, several things have happened... Democratic candidate Mike Blouin has announced his running mate, Dr. Andrea "Andy" McGuire. Ms. McGuire is a pro-choice insurance executive in Des Moines who used to work at a Veterans Administration Hospital. source Seems like a good choice - we'll know better in a few weeks, I'm sure.

In other goofy Iowa news, republican Bob Vander Plaats, who is running for Lt. Governor under Jim Nussle, wasted no time in embarrassing my corner of the state. I was worried about him doing that, you know.

"We are going to win, and the Democrats are scared of what Vander Plaats and Nussle are going to do throughout this campaign to win," - Bob Vander Plaats in the Ames Tribune

I guess they're planning a dirty campaign. Good to know that ahead of time, I guess... I'm not sure if the Democrats are necessarily scared of what Vander Plaats and Nussle are going to do, but I'm sure they're a bit worried. And, thanks to the warning, we'll be able to keep an eye on them.

This tidbit, by the way, was brought to my attention in another blog - Who's Makin' Bacon.

Adoptions in Ohio

This is beautiful. Republican representative Ron Hood introduced a bill in the Ohio House that would ban children from being adopted or placed in foster care in homes where the prospective parent or a roommate is homosexual, bisexual or transgender. In response, democratic State Senator Robert Hagan sent out e-mails to his fellow lawmakers saying that he's going to introduce legislation "that would ban households with one or more republican voters from adopting children or acting as foster parents." To quote the Beacon Journal:

"Hagan wrote in his mock proposal that 'credible research' shows that adopted children raised in republican households are more at risk for developing 'emotional problems, social stigmas, inflated egos, an alarming lack of tolerance for others they deem different than themselves and an air of overconfidence to mask their insecurities.'" - Akron Beacon Journal


Is it plagiarism if I copy something I wrote myself? Is it bad ethics? I hope not... I truly don't want to do anything immoral, but I wrote something kinda interesting, and I wanna share it. Lacking a refrigerator to stick it on, I shall stick it on this blog.

I frequently read a blog called "Intellectual Insurgent," mostly because the people there make me think. The author of the blog posits interesting questions, theories, observations, whatever, and then people jump in with their two cents' worth. I'm flattered that they let me play - these are some smart cookies. Anyway, today's post asked whether history is cyclical or linear. There's a lot more to it than that - the question delves into religion and politics and all sorts of things.

My (slightly edited) response was:

When I read your headline, "Is History Linear or Cyclical" I had several thoughts flit through what I laughingly refer to as "my mind." The first was the long view - is the universe expanding or contracting? There are those that think that the universe itself is cyclical, that the force of the Big Bang will keep the universe expanding until such time that the gravitational force of everything within the universe will start things contracting again, until, eventually, everything will collapse in a gnaB giB (reverse Bang). Other people think the universe will expand forever. (Which doesn't take into consideration dark matter or Gamma Ray Bursts, but that's a whole different thing altogether.) I tend to believe the first view - that the universe is cyclical - it starts from a "cosmic egg," Big Bangs,expands a while, then will start contracting until it's a "cosmic egg" again, thus starting over. (I think Einstein postulated that at the point when the universe starts to contract time may reverse itself. I believe that's been refuted.)

The next thing that zipped through what foggy awareness I possess was the word "epicycle." Way back yonder in the olden days of yore, Ptolemy tried to describe the motion of the planets using epicycles. The Ptolemaic system accounted for the fact that people could track a planet moving across the sky one direction for a while, then it'd slow down, go backwards for a little bit, then resume it's course across the night sky again. People thus surmised that the planets followed little itty-bitty orbits within their major orbits, and they called the little itty-bitty orbits "epicycles."

I think history has epicycles. Cultures, civilizations, people, thought - it all goes forward for a while, then slows down and backs up a little, then continues onward. And, it's my contention that all the various cultures, people, components of history do NOT have their epicycles at the same time. While one culture goes through a difficult spot, another sails on ahead.

So, I guess my view of history is that it lurches a lot, but it always moves forward eventually. We're in a lurch at the moment. We've been bravely taking a step forward into the past for the past five-six years now...

I'm curious whether that makes sense to anyone but me.

Monday, February 27, 2006

...In a Handbasket


United States President George Walker Bush has been widely blamed for his lack of response to Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the Gulf Coast not too awfully long ago. Part of his reasoning was that our nation's resources have been drained by the war in Iraq, which is dragging out longer than expected. Why is the war in Iraq taking so long? Well, it's because we didn't send quite enough troops because we were committed to the War on Terrorism and we needed to have people in Afghanistan. Why do we have people in Afghanistan? Because terrorists killed thousands of American citizens in the September 11, 2001 attacks, that's why we need troops in Afghanistan. Why were we attacked in the first place? Many have said it's because Mr. Bush was caught unprepared and wasn't ready. The continuing trend here being "we didn't have enough people to do the job right."

Mr. Bush's response to all this? He's cut spending for the National Guard. source Makes sense to me. He's already crippled the regular military through budget cuts. (There's a good article in the Army Times about this subject - you can read it here.) In a time when we're seeing massive amounts of money flowing out of our pockets to feed the military machine it seems odd that our soldiers don't have adequate equipment (body armor, for example), military benefits are being cut, soldiers' pay is woefully inadequate, hazard pay is being cut, even funeral pay is being slashed. We need to take care of our troops.

I've said it before - I was against the war in Iraq simply because of the timing and the reasons given. (Had Mr. Bush simply come out and said, "Hussein's a bad guy - he's violating international law, we're gonna go get him, as soon as we get this bin Laden fella," I would have been okay with it. But instead we shifted our focus from the people who actually hurt us [al Qaeda] to Iraq, and went to war under false pretenses.) But we're there now. Our troops have been there for years. They're tired. They're doing their job. We need to take care of them. Our current leadership is creating an environment where Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay can happen. We need to stop abusing the Geneva Conventions, we need to start listening to the United Nations, and we need to start helping our soldiers. Sadly, I don't think it's going to happen under the current administration.

In an odd twist of events, and a slight change of subject, our President pushed through his infamous "No Child Left Behind" act, and simultaneously cut educational benefits for the children of our servicemembers (Impact Aid). source Aye, that Mr. Bush, he's got brass 'uns, I tell ya.

Closer to home...

My beloved Austrian bride, Dagmar, and I got to see our nieces yesterday (the nephew was off with grandparents somewhere doing something fun). To the right is a nifty photo indeed of my brother, Cory, hoisting niece #1, Peyton, and niece #2, Maddie (our beloved goddaughter) being whisked aloft by my Viennese snowflake.

The kids played in the little kiddie-zoo thingy playground doohickey they have there at the mall whilst my brother and I talked about guitars. I nodded knowingly every now and then so he'd think I knew what I was talking about. I don't think he bought it.

Then we carried/dragged/chased the kids to Younkers, where they rode the escalator for a bit. Up, then down. Then up again. That was fun. I'd be a bad parent - I was half-scared to let Maddie go on the escalator. So I just kinda carried the poor child half the way. I don't think she liked that much. I made it up to her, though, by letting her play with my hair.

We bought them shoes. If you look close, you can see Peyton's got her boots on backwards.

They're such good kids. I can't say enough about them.

Iowa Politics

Sioux City has a lot to be proud of - but we've sent several embarrassing politicians off to the state level lately. (Notably embarrassing Representative Chris Rants. As I commented on Who's Makin' Bacon [a good blog], it's my studied opinion that Sioux City elected Mr. Rants to the state legislature simply to get him out of town for a while. I can't think of any other reason he could possibly have been elected.) Steve Warnstadt's doing a great job, by the way, near as I can tell.

But the politician that currently worries me is republican Sioux City businessman Bob Vander Plaats. He's running as Jim Nussle's second for the Iowa Governorship. I hope he doesn't embarrass us. It worries me a bit that he's always referred to as a "Sioux City businessman," but from what I can learn on the Interweb, Mr. Vander Plaats is actually from Sheldon. I can't figger out how long he's been in Sioux City, nor can I pin down quite what business he's into. I've been in town long enough now that I've met, seen, ran into, or recognized most of the politicians around - Mr. Warnstadt, Wes Whitead, etc. But not only have I never seen Mr. Vander Plaats, I've never even heard of anyone around here talk about him. Eerie.

At this early stage in the game I'm leaning toward Mike Blouin for governor. This is strictly by hearsay at this point - I've heard some bad things about Chet Culver, good things about Mr. Blouin, and from what I've heard of Mr. Nussle (the republican) I would never consider voting for him, regardless of party affiliation. Again, it's all hearsay. I did notice, though, that Mr. Blouin went outside Iowa to find a web design firm. That disappointed me; there are a LOT of talented designers in the state that would have done just as good a job. Why not keep the money local, eh? Oh well.

Friday, February 24, 2006

If I were King

Here's a list of things I'd change, do, legislate, whatever if I were king... (Not the politician Steve King, mind you. I wouldn't want to be him. I'm just talking about being your regular "king of the kingdom" type king. With a crown.) None of these are particularly well-thought-out, it's just things that ran through my mind today when I was supposed to be working.

1. No honking. I keep odd hours. My neighbors across the street work nights and sleep days. It never fails to irritate me when someone pulls up in the street and immediately starts honking. If you're supposed to pick someone up, for Pete's sake, please get your lazy butt out of your car and go knock on their door. Or at the very minimum, wait for thirty seconds before you start blaring away with the horn. Don't sit in front of my house honking at ten o'clock at night. Or at ten o'clock in the morning. Or ever.

2. Don't park in my driveway. It's my driveway. Go park in your own.

3. Politicians should get paid the annual salary of their constituents. (I know, I keep harping on this one, but I really think it's a good idea.) That's one sure incentive for them to keep the economy moving... And I'm not talking about "we'll just pay them the median salary," I 'm talking about "everything they earn above the median salary gets donated to charity." No fancy speaking engagements for lots of money, no accepted donations... You gets what you gets. Around these parts, you gets about $37, 429 - IF your spouse works too. That's the median household income for Sioux City, and I don't know of anyone who has a single-income household.

4. If you catch someone dealing drugs, their banker goes to jail with them. That'd stop the major dealers, anyway. If they're banking overseas, well then, we go overseas and get the bankers.

5. Nicorette, the patch, hypnotism - they should all be government-subsidized so they cost the same as a pack of cigarettes. A few years ago I tried Zyban to quit smoking - it cost several hundred dollars. That's criminal. I remember back a few years thinking, "Gee, I wish I could afford Nicorette, I'd really like to quit smoking." It's easy to fund this program, just tax tobacco a bit more.

6. Make meals smaller. I don't really need a two-pound hamburger. The fries at McDonalds are great - but do you know how many calories are in a super-jumbo extra-large bucket of fries? Ye cats! We have salary caps - why not a calorie cap? No fast food joint shall be allowed to serve a customer more than 800 calories per meal... If society holds bars and bartenders responsible when people drink too much, doesn't it follow that we should hold restaurants responsible for people who eat too much? Generally I'm a staunch advocate of taking responsibility for your OWN actions, but I might make an exception in this case and make the grease-slingers quit handing out five-pound sandwiches.

7. Tax gas. A lot. Like, two bucks a gallon. This sounds goofy, but as was pointed out in the Woodbury County Democrat's blog, it'd do us wonders. Figger your average family would spend an extra $4,000 a year on gas with this tax. We simply give it back to the family by cutting their payroll tax by $4,000. So, the family comes out even in the end. But suppose that the family should happen to switch from a huge gas-guzzling SUV to a nifty little hybrid, suddenly they'd be money ahead in the deal - and as a bonus, the environment is happy and we're not as vulnerable to overseas oil prices. It's all been worked out by people much brighter than I about thirty years ago, but the politicians will never go for it.

8. No family shall have more working cars than they have drivers. If you want to have an extra car or truck, fine, but you're gonna pay an extra tax for it. The tax money will go towards developing a hydrogen economy and supplying inner cities with bikes.

9. Term limits. A politician can be re-elected twice (making a total of three terms). After his three terms, he has to step aside for at least two years.

10. Policemen should live in the neighborhoods they patrol.

11. Politicians should, by law, go to two randomly-selected bars in their constituency every month, and announce that they're a congressman (or whatever). They then must sit there and listen to the people for a minimum of three hours with no news media hanging around.

12. Everyone who gets paid by the government should, by law, go work in the factory or packing plant or whatever one day a month so they know how the rest of us poor schmucks live and how hard we work. Maybe that'll make the grouchy lady at the driver's license place show a bit of respect. The point being that our lawmakers are horribly out-of-touch with the rest of us.

13. Churches are subject to the same financial laws as everyone else.

14. Separation of church and state means just what it says. If your faith in God is so thin that you need to see His name on a dollar bill, you need more help than you realize. (If you think about it, and stretch the logic a bit, isn't putting God's name on our money against God's will anyway? Doesn't that lead to us worshipping money? What about that whole "Thou shall not have any idols before me" thing?) The state should be completely neutral as far as religion goes - open and accepting of all.

15. Religious leaders shall not have political opinions in front of their people. They can spout their opinions all they want on their own time. Separation of church and state runs both ways.

16. "The Daily Show" and "Boondocks" should be mandatory viewing.

17. Lawsuits should be limited to damages and repairs only. No million-dollar settlements. If your lawsuit is judged to be frivolous, you shall be held up to the ridicule of your peers, and you shall pay all court costs.

18. It should be illegal to get more than one Visa (or MasterCard or American Express) application in the mail per month.

19. It should be illegal for anyone to charge more than 10% interest on anything, ever.

20. If you get money from the government, you should do the government some good. If you get foodstamps, you should have to spend ten hours a week cleaning garbage out of the parks, or participating in a government works project, or something.

21. Courtesy, politeness, and manners should be the norm, not the exception. It should be taught in school.

22. "Oh, you're anti-choice? How cute. How many children have you adopted?"

23. All factories shall have their water intake pipes located downstream from whatever it is they're dumping in the river.

24. No one in the company, including the owner, should make more than five times the amount of the lowest-paid employee. If the boss wants to get paid more, well then, give the janitor a raise.

I know, there are good arguments against everything I've said. But this isn't meant to be a rational, well-though-out list, but rather a list of things that flit through my mind from time to time.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


So many things half-thought-out

So many things to think about, and so little time to gather my thoughts. What first? Abortions in South Dakota? The mess with our nation's ports? The fact that they may have found a cure for diabetes and that our president, G. Walker Bush may make the cure illegal?

No. That can all wait. There are more important things on my mind today.

My Trousers

I had to wear fancy pants today. Fancy pants and black socks, with uncomfortable shoes. I even wore a shirt with buttons and a collar. (It tucked into my pants. Fancy.) Normally this doesn't bother me one whit. I'm naturally a T-shirt kinda guy, but I really don't mind playing dress-up once in a while, especially when getting a free lunch out of the deal. The problem is that it's been a while since I've had to play dress-up.

"Honey, what's wrong?" asked my beloved Viennese bride, the concern apparent in her delicately accented voice. "Did you step on a mousetrap or something? Vhat's mit de jumping around like that?"

"I can't get my pants on," I wailed. "They must have shrunk in the wash!" I continued the struggle, valiantly huffing and wheezing and hopping about until I got the errant britches up around my bulging midsection. My wife watched with what I can only call amusement. "Ha!" I said. "The hard part's over. Now I just gotta button 'em up..." At that point I realized that button and hole were a good four inches apart, if not more. I couldn't tell for sure, as I couldn't see what I was doing due to the overhanging flab that had appeared overnight. I started pulling. My Austrian snowflake gave up stifling and engaged in an old-fashioned bout of chortling, complete with guffaws and finger-pointing.

"OH MEIN GOTT!" she cried. "That's funny!" She collapsed back onto the bed, wheezing. "Your belly - it jiggles. That's funny! I mean, that's not funny... Quit trying to button up your pants, you're going to hurt yourself..." I ignored her, sucked it up, and gave my britches a valiant pull. Success! The pants were buttoned!

"HAAA HAA HAAA!" howled my wife, holding her sides. "Your tummy - it's poking out over the top... You look like you've been stuffed!" Off she went into another paroxysm of glee. I looked down and gave myself a critical assessment. My feet didn't look fat. Neither did my legs. My waist looked a perfect 32 inches, just like in college. It's just that right above the waistband of the britches hung a 36 inch belly. It didn't look too bad when I put a shirt on...

"Husband," said my wife when she could catch her breath again. "Do you vant me to go buy you some new pants? You can't be comfortable wearing those... It looks like it hurts." I assured her that I was fine, and that all was well with me. Except for the black socks. I couldn't find them. I knew I had them in the top drawer under the toy handcu... um, other socks. But they weren't there. In desperation, I grabbed a new pair of winter socks.

You know, winter socks are thicker than summer socks. Not by much, but a little. Unfortunately, my shoes fit just perfectly with normal summer socks. Ah, well... With a bit of pushing I managed to get both feet covered with the proper amount of leather. Snug.

"Are you going to wear your nice coat?" asked my bride. "I'm not sure where it is... You poor man, let me buy you some new pants."

"No, I'm already late," I said, hobbling towards the door with my regular old coat.

Ten minutes later found me at work.

"What's up with the pants?" asked the nice office lady. "Boy are you gonna take a load of guff today!" She was right. Everyone in the plant managed a snide remark. "Boy you sure are pretty, har har har! What, do you have to go to court or something? Har har har..." I told 'em I had a job interview. That shut 'em up.

The good part was that my buddy Drew had to wear his fancy pants, too. I took a picture of him. He'll like that when he sees it on the 'net. I bet his shoes fit, though. The bosses had their pretty britches on as well, but they usually do. They get to go out in public almost every day, whereas Drew and I are shackled to our computers in the dank, dark windowless dungeon from sunup to sundown. They don't even let us have a clock. Being in the basement, out of sight of the general public, we're safe with the good old fashioned T-shirt 'n blue jeans look.

Finally, the bosses wandered past. "Time for lunch," they said. "Come on." Off we trooped, headed to the fabled "business lunch." Drew said he's seen one before - I thought they existed only in books. But lo and behold, within minutes we were being led to a table in one of the newer, fancier joints in town. I tried not to boggle at the finery. I'm not sure I succeeded.

I knew I was in trouble when I sat down and saw there were two forks in front of me. You don't need a fork to eat chicken gizzards, and that's generally the type of food I eat at restaurants. (My idea of fine food is that which I don't have to unwrap myself. Pass the ketchup, please.) A quick glance at the menu revealed my salvation. "Ha!" I thought. "I'll just get a clubhouse sandwich. No fork needed." About that time the waitress-lady popped out of nowhere at my boss' elbow. "The special of the day is teriyaki chicken pizza," she said. I'm sure she said things after that, but I often find myself slightly dazed whenever the word "pizza" floats past my ears.

Needless to say, I ordered the teriyaki chicken pizza. Small talk ensued, both with people I knew and people I'd never met - all nice. The pizza arrived. I saw it coming from across the room. I was ready - atremble with anticipation, napkin in lap. The waitress-lady plopped it in front of me. I took one glance and stifled a forlorn wail - they put BROCCOLI on my pizza. Big, green broccoli branches. On my pizza. Geesh!

What can you do but eat it? Arrrrghhhh!

Eventually the "business lunch" came to a conclusion and they let us leave. I was so happy I took a picture of us leaving. I'm the one behind the camera. You can't really see me.

Feeling distinctly green due to the broccoli, I was happy to stagger to the front door and stand in the refreshing Iowa gale for a few minutes. Thankfully the packing plants were all downwind.

By the time we got back to the shop, I had to pee. My feet hurt, and I had to pee. I forgot all about my woes with the britches until it was too late and I had the button popped. Great. Thankfully I had at least taken care of one immediate problem (peeing), but now I'm standing in a restroom the size of a midget's closet (with sore feet), trying valiantly to struggle my swollen belly back into my shrunken fancy pants. It was trying to shovel six pounds of pudding into a five pound bag. Something's gonna pop, and I was hoping it wasn't me. But, miracle of miracles, I got my pants buttoned and was able to stagger back to the dungeon and shackle myself to the computer again.

Nothing much exciting happened after that, really. I got an e-mail. That's about it.

I really kinda wanted to write about politics - there's lots of stuff happening, and not much of it good, but I'm almost forty years old now and it's after ten at night. It's time for me to go gum my prunes and head for bed.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

A Short Photo-Essay by Me

Oh boy! A new toy! Lookie all the neat things I can cook!
Just looking at the box makes me hungry...

Okay, What first? Hmmm... Looks complicated.

Step 1. Take the grill out of the box. Okay...

Step 2. Employ all them "hunter-gatherer" genes
and go find yourself victuals to cook up. Okay...

Step 3. Throw raw protein at the grill.
Wait a while. Serve with cheese.

Step 4. Eat. You may want to give the paramedics a "heads up"
about that pesky heart condition...

Yes, in case you're wondering, that's a couple sandwiches.
Fried ham with a fried egg on top with cheese and bacon on English muffins.
Oh boy! Mighty tasty indeed!

The more I read...

The more I read other people's blogs, the more I realize that I spend an inordinate amount of time sitting unshaven in my bathrobe taking pictures of the cat. There are intelligent people out there that are really and truly thinking, using the gray matter, writing things that make my brain sweat. Conversations are being held about issues that really matter. It's a beautiful thing! And here I sit in my bathrobe...

A few things I've read lately that have left me scratching my head in bewonderment:

The great psychologist Abraham Maslow developed this hierarchy of needs based upon observations of monkeys. Simply put, he noticed that some needs take precedence over others. If you are hungry and thirsty, for example, you will tend to try to take care of the thirst first. Because you can do without food for weeks, but you can only do without water for a few days, thirst is a stronger need than hunger. Likewise, if you are very thirsty, but someone has put a choke hold on you and you can'’t breathe, which is more important?

Maslow took this idea and created his now famous hierarchy of needs. Beyond the details of air, water, food, and sex, he laid out five broader layers -- the physiological needs, the needs for safety and security, the needs for love and belonging, the needs for esteem, and the need to actualize the self, in that order. - Intellectual Insurgent, in the post Maslow'sHierarchyy

The author of the above-mentioned blog went on to describe Maslow's hierarchy in depth, then took it a step further and applied those five layers of need to society in general. In part two of the blog, the author relates this to self-actualization. It doesn't sound like politics, but we need to be aware of this sort of stuff in order to vote intelligently. And it's just plain fun to read, to be honest.

Or, something completely different from The Daily Curmudgeon:

When Muslims are murdered by Muslim suicide bombers at mosques, funerals or markets not a word. No riot. No bounty. No nothing. When a guy draws a bad cartoon in an obscure Danish newspaper - death bounties are issued, violent riots (as opposed to peaceful riots) lead to death and destruction all to protest the cartoons which depicted the religion as condoning violence. Makes sense to me as much as a country producing nuclear weapons that can't feed, educate or care for its own people. - Crankyboy, in the post Nukes Before Toilet Paper

Both of the posts listed above have intelligent comments to read as well. And most of the people who leave the comments have intelligent blogs to read, too. Just follow the links...

But the must-read, in my opinion, is a rather longish article (not blog) that was first seen in Esquire, believe it or not. A few paragraphs:

And, finally, in August, the cover of Time - —for almost a century the dyspeptic voice of the American establishment - clears its throat, hems and haws and hacks like a headmaster gagging on his sherry, and asks, quite seriously: "Does God have a place in science class?"

Fights over evolution —- and its faddish new camouflage, intelligent design, a pseudoscience that posits without proof or method that science is inadequate to explain existence and that supernatural causes must be considered - —roil up school districts across the country. The president of the United States announces that he believes ID ought to be taught in the public schools on an equal footing with the theory of evolution. And in Dover, Pennsylvania, during one of these many controversies, a pastor named Ray Mummert delivers the line that both ends our tour and, in every real sense, sums it up:

"We've been attacked,"” he says, "“by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture."

And there it is.

After a few more paragraphs, the author continues...

How does it work? This is how it works. On August 21, a newspaper account of the "“intelligent design" movement contained this remarkable sentence: "They have mounted a politically savvy challenge to evolution as the bedrock of modern biology, propelling a fringe academic movement onto the front pages and putting Darwin'’s defenders firmly on the defensive."

A "politically savvy challenge to evolution"” is as self-evidently ridiculous as an agriculturally savvy challenge to Euclidean geometry would be. It makes as much sense as conducting a Gallup poll on gravity or running someone for president on the Alchemy Party ticket. It doesn'’t matter what percentage of people believe they ought to be able to flap their arms and fly, none of them can. It doesn'’t matter how many votes your candidate got, he'’s not going to turn lead into gold. The sentence is so arrantly foolish that the only real news in it is where it appeared.

On the front page.

Of The New York Times.

Within three days, there was a panel on the subject on Larry King Live, in which Larry asked the following question:

"“All right, hold on. Dr. Forrest, your concept of how can you out-and-out turn down creationism, since if evolution is true, why are there still monkeys?"

And why do so many of them host television programs, Larry?

The article isn't all about Evolution, though...

First, he [U.S. President George W. Bush] compared the violence surrounding the writing of an impromptu theocratic constitution in Baghdad to the events surrounding the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787. Undaunted, he later compared the war he'’d launched in Iraq to World War II. And then he compared himself to Franklin Roosevelt. One more public appearance and we might have learned that Custer was killed by Hezbollah.

Finally, we saw the apotheosis of the end of expertise, when New Orleans was virtually obliterated as a functional habitat for human beings, and the country discovered that the primary responsibility for dealing with the calamity lay with a man who'’d been dismissed as an incompetent from his previous job as the director of a luxury-show-horse organization.

And the president went on television and said that nobody could have anticipated the collapse of the unfortunate city'’s levees. In God's sweet name, engineers anticipated it. Politicians anticipated it. The poor bastards in the Ninth Ward certainly anticipated it. Hell, four generations of folk singers anticipated it.

The article, written by Charles P. Pierceb, can be found in its entirety HERE. It's well worth reading!

You see, these people think. It gives me faith in America. We are more intelligenter than some peepul think. Freedom of the press is only true when you own the press. Newspapers can't really write everything they want to - they need to cater to those that pay their bills. Same for TV. But the Internet, now... That's a different story altogether. When you see something intelligent on the net, pass it on - Lord knows you won't see it on Fox News, and you won't hear it from Scott McClellen, either.

Okay, I'm done now. Anyone know how to get down off this soapbox...? (And yes, I really am in my bathrobe. And no, it's not a pretty sight.)

Friday, February 17, 2006

A Day Off

The Obligatory Goddaughter Picture

Yep - Dagmar and I got to see our happy little goddaughter, Maddie, again this week. Maddie is starting to look a LOT like her older sister, Peyton. Nephew Hunter is growing up quickly, too. Small children and teenagers change from week to week, it seems, and Dagmar and I often don't get to see the kids but once a month, if that. Suddenly Justin's taller than I am, and Torrey somehow turned into an articulate adult. The world happens whether we want it to or not, I guess.

Cheney's Got a Gun

It's been all over the news. Republican United States Vice President Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney, 65, shot millionaire republican lawyer Harry Whittington in the face with a shotgun, sending Mr. Whittington to the hospital. The two men had been hunting tame quail at a ranch in Texas. Mr. Cheney, a Yale dropout, neglected to inform President George Walker Bush for quite some time that he'd shot a man in the face with a shotgun. In spite of Mr. Cheney's two drunk-driving arrests and the fact that beer was involved in the incident, the official line is that alcohol was not a factor in the shooting. Evidently, aim was not a factor, either... Mr. Cheney may have had more control over his firearm had he any military service. (In the 1960s the Selective Service declared that married men with no children were eligible for the draft. Nine months and two days later, Mr. Cheney became a father. Hmmm... In fact, he actually applied for the "fatherhood deferment" when his wife, Lynn, was only ten weeks pregnant.) source

Should Mr. Cheney be asked to resign his position as Vice President of the United States of America? No. Absolutely not.

I can see you out there, scratching your heads... "Did Radloff just say that a Republican should be allowed to stay in power? That's odd..."

Reason it through with me.

First off, no one in the Bush Administration has taken any personal responsibility for anything. Mr. Cheney admitted in an interview with Fox News (the unofficial propaganda outlet for the Bush Administration) that he did indeed shoot Mr. Whittington in the face with a shotgun, and that he takes full responsibility. It's easy to say, "I take full responsibility for shooting a man in the face with a shotgun," when the only ramifications for that action are saying you're sorry and paying a seven-dollar fine for having the wrong hunting license. Had Mr. Cheney been faced with a prison term, arrest, etc., I doubt he would have stepped up to the plate. It's not in his nature. His first reaction, actually, to shooting Mr. Whittington in the face with a shotgun, was to blame Mr. Whittington for being in the wrong place. So, asking him step down from his post as vice president isn't going to get us anywhere, nor is asking the President to replace Mr. Cheney going to get any results.

Secondly, and this is the big reason, Mr. Cheney is unelectable. He's an elderly gent who's had four, possibly five heart attacks and one bypass operation already. He's shown the wonderful judgment to shoot a man in the face with a shotgun. His approval ratings have always been in the cellar. He has experience now as vice president, but no one trusts him. Why would we want him to step aside so the Republicans can put a more effective person in his place, grooming him or her for the presidency? Dr. Condoleeza Rice (who has an oil tanker named after her) has already held two top spots in the baffled and befuddled Bush administration - why give her a chance to add "Vice President" to her list of titles? That would only bolster her chances of giving the democrats a hard time when the elections roll around in a few years. No, we should leave the Mr. Cheney where he is - he has no credibility and is therefore no longer a threat to America.

The only time we should ask for Mr. Cheney to resign would be if President Bush were to be impeached. Mr. Cheney should under no circumstances be allowed to govern.

Should we replace Mr. Bush? Absolutely. He must be impeached. He has lied, cheated, manipulated, spied, misled... The litany goes on and on. The government he has in place condones torture. We have secret prisons hidden around the world. We're being spied upon by our own government. The economy is in trouble. The country owes massive amounts of money. This is a very dangerous situation. Mr. Bush must be removed from power. The elections are coming up in a few years, though. If we start impeachment hearings now, would they be finished by election time? Do you see where I'm going with this? I think that the best strategy for the democrats, libertarians, and greens would be to mount a simultaneous attack - bog down the administration with impeachment hearings so they can do no more damage for the next few years, and at the same time position candidates to take advantage of the confusion in both the 2006 and 2008 elections.

Them's just my thoughts.

Closer to Home

Yep, the rumors are true. I am no longer a Smokin' Clam. I love the guys to death, and I've had a LOT of fun being in the band the past two years. It's just time to move on... Why? I quite simply want to play a little more often than the rest of the band, that's all. I certainly have no hard feelings towards anyone in the band, and I encourage everyone to go see them play! They're a good band, and good people, too. You can tell just by lookin' at 'em. (For some reason I don't have a picture of everyone with the elusive Miss Amy. You can see a picture of her here.)

Monday, February 13, 2006

King George


I was pondering the vagaries of politics this afternoon and ran across an interesting article by a guy named Charlie Reese. The following three paragraphs, in particular, stood out.

That every tyrant who ever lived rationalized his abuse of power by claiming to be protecting the people or the empire or the country is kindergarten basic civics. We should know better at this point in our history. We are a nation of laws, not an empire and not a monarchy. Our Constitution deliberately created a weak chief executive.

The president, for example, is not our commander in chief. He's the commander in chief of the armed forces. As far as we civilians are concerned, he is just the administrator of laws passed by Congress. He cannot make laws. He cannot assume powers not given to him by the Constitution or by Congress. He must obey all the laws just the same as you and me.

A problem for many Americans is that they have never lived in the free republic created by our forefathers. We became a war state during World War II, and the Cold War was used as an excuse to maintain a war state and to expand it. We are spending more on defense than most of the rest of the world combined at a time when the only threats we face are isolated attacks by a loosely organized band of criminals. The government in Washington has become as secretive as the old Soviet Union.

That our president is, in theory, following the same laws as the rest of us is nothing new - I've been hollering about that for years. (Our current president, Mr. George Walker Bush, simply ignores the nation's laws and does what he wants. He's done it time and again, most recently with spying on United States citizens.) The fact that we've been in a "war state" for the past 65 years or so is a fact that I've forgotten. It's been pointed out to me before, but I didn't really understand the implications. I'm not sure I do now, to be honest.

I do know that we keep giving our government more and more power, more and more control. Do I want the government to provide me with policemen and firemen and sewers that work and make sure my food is safe to eat? Of course! Do I want the government to be a big bully about it, spying on people and starting wars over personal vendettas? Of course not! We need to let our government know that they've gone over the line. In fact, we may need to re-draw the lines altogether.

The article concluded thusly:

I would like to see all Americans send the president a simple message: "With all due respect, sir, obey the damned laws or resign. Both the law and the Constitution require warrants for domestic spying. Get them. Both the law and the Constitution require that Congress exercise oversight. Cooperate with Congress. You are a public servant, not a God-anointed ruler of a kingdom."

You can read the entire article by clicking here.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Distracted Sunday

The Wakeup Call

Usually I wake up with a big smile on my face, which is quickly replaced by a scream of horror as I realize that I have to go to work. Today's Sunday, though, so I woke up gently, sans scream. Until I remembered that Mr. Al Gore lost the election in 2000, even though he won. Then I screamed.

After all this time it still doesn't seem real.

Mr. Gore has probably written more books than the man who assumed office in his stead, Mr. G. Walker Bush, has read. We should all be happily working on solar-powered Macs and riding around sunlit avenues on Segways, not wondering why we're paying the Saudis record prices for oil and wondering if our money is being used against us.

Whups - sorry about that...

I just heard that U.S. Vice President Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney shot and wounded one of his buddies this weekend with a shotgun. Apparently 78-year-old Harry Whittington must look a lot like a quail, as that's what they were hunting at the time. Whittington is in the hospital, from what I've read on the 'net, and is doing fine after being "peppered" with shot on his right side.

I'm not sure what to think about our Vice President playing with guns in the first place - here in Iowa we don't let people handle firearms unless they're responsible enough to handle it, and, quite frankly, I'm not sure Mr. Cheney is up to snuff. Thankfully for Mr. Whittington, the limit on shooting millionaire lawyers is one per hunter...

All kidding aside, I hope Mr. Whittington is okay. And, against all odds, I hope that Mr. Cheney is responsible enough to take the consequences of his actions. When my neighbors start shooting at each other, someone's going to jail, and it usually isn't the person who got shot. Unfortunately, Mr. Cheney has never held himself responsible for much of anything, other than lining his pockets with our money through Haliburton's government contracts.

So, we've got a Majority Leader that's in legal problems, a gaggle of legislators caught with their hands in Jack Abramoff's cookie jar, a president that's illegally spying on his own citizens, and a vice president that's taking potshots at his buddies with a shotgun. Hooray for us.


You just gotta read this.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


What's it like where you live?

I had a person e-mail me recently from the left coast asking what it's like in the Midwest.

The one-word answer is "windy." The weather is windy, and thanks to a steady diet of steak and chops, the people are a bit windy too. Scientific fact: most of the methane in the atmosphere comes from cow toots. There are a lot of cows in Iowa. Lots of hogs, too. And I'm seeing more llama and buffalo as well these days.

The winters have been getting easier lately - we just had one of the warmest Januaries on record. Growing up on the farm often meant being snowed in several days every winter. It really seems to me that we're not getting the same amounts of snowfall we used to get... I remember as a child climbing on the roof of the house and jumping off into the snowdrifts. I haven't seen snow deeper than six inches in quite a while - let alone snow deep enough to make a snow fort. (Not that I'm complaining, mind you. I'm perfectly fine NOT shoveling my sidewalk three times a day.)

It's dark when you go to work, and the sun is down before you get home. 'Tis the season of depression for me. My wife loves it. Winter is her season.

It's the winters that make Midwesterners what they are, methinks. The salt they dump on the roads rusts your cars. The wind comes across the plains with a ferocity that's just plain scary sometimes - we have winter days (though not often) with fifty-mile-per-hour winds. You spend fifteen minutes scraping the ice and frost and snow off your car every morning so you can make the five minute commute. And of all of this you complain mightily and loudly - that's the fun in winter. If you take winter away, what would we talk about? Taxes?

The spring thaw comes towards the end of March, for the most part. In Iowa we generally go from frigid January to snowy February to muddy March, muddy April and muddy May. It seems like it's cloudy and dreary and rainy (and sometimes late snowfalls enter the mix) from March into May. Things seem wide open somehow - the spaces in the countryside seem bigger - no snow, no weeds, no crops, no leaves on the trees - just space. (If you click on the photo and look at the larger version you'll see my father, brother and nephew flying a kite in an Iowa field in late March last year. In the distance you can see the naked trees from the next farm over the hill.) You need to have a large spirit to fill up all the space, and Iowans do indeed have large spirits and generous souls.

Generally I start thinking of getting my bike out of storage in March. Realistically I'm lucky if I get to ride more than a few hours before mid April. By the second week in May there are leaves on most of the trees, the grass is green, and its warm enough to leave your coat behind. In spite of the lack of football games, life is good in Iowa in May.

By June summer's here. It's warm enough to plan outdoor events, the grass is green, the crops are cropping. People take vacations. It's daylight until after nine at night.

In July it's hot. The corn is getting tall, people go to ball games, life is good indeed.

August is hot and dusty and (for me) sad. Through the heat shimmer of the 90+ degree days you can see the end of summer - things aren't so green any more. This is when people start panicking - everyone takes every last second they can to be outside. Sitting on a friend's deck drinking beer in the evening, listening to the cicadas chirp and whirrup in the trees, August brings a sense of tranquility and apprehension at the same time.

This is when long motorcycle trips happen. It's warm, and the chance of rain is slim.

Fall in Iowa is busy time. Crops need to be harvested, children go back to school, print shops are busy for no apparent reason... The past few years fall has lasted well into November, but many years as children we had snow by Halloween. The days are getting shorter.

We have a few weeks of spectacular leaf colors, then the trees start shedding.

For some reason, fall is when Dagmar and I spend a lot of time outdoors. (I guess it's because I don't like winter and she doesn't like hot summer and spring is too muddy.) You see lots of wildlife in the fall. Once the farmers harvest their fields all the little critters that were living and hiding in there have to find new places to hide. So fall is when you see pheasants and deer and whatnot.

All in all, Iowa's not a bad place. There are a lot of smart people here - there's a college in almost every town with a population of over 10,000. There are lots of pretty places, and even museums and art and music... Not bad at all.

Unfortunately, the state voted for George W. Bush last time around, which kind of ruined it for me for a while.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Friday Friday

Slow Day

I hate blogging at work. It's hard to keep my thoughts in order when I keep getting interrupted by pesky bosses and customers and such... But there's nothing much going on today at the print shop, so I keep playing around on the Web, one eye looking over my shoulder to make sure the bosses aren't watching...

It's 10:30 in the morning. Still an hour before I can reasonably go to lunch. Then a whole afternoon to kill before I can go home and get ready for the half-gig we have at the Chesterfield tonight.


I've been thinking about welfare lately, for no apparent reason. I left a comment on another blog a few days ago on the subject - that's probably why it's on my mind. My thoughts run thusly:

I have no problem with welfare, in theory. Everyone needs help once in a while, and I'm happy to lend a hand. No problem. But I think that if a person gets welfare (or food stamps, or any kind of government assistance) they should be required to do some service for the government in return. You get welfare? Great, it's your turn to go pick up trash in the ditches for a few hours.

I know, I know... "You can't expect me to work, I don't have any education, and I have kids." Simple. If everyone who's on welfare (or whatever) is required to work, say, fifteen hours a week, then some of those people could put in their fifteen hours by watching other people's children. The disabled could do whatever they're capable of doing. I can think of lots of things that need to be done, too. Shovel sidewalks for the elderly. Pick up garbage in the parks. Paint over graffiti. Help with Katrina restoration. Teach someone to read. Help at the soup kitchen. Mow vacant lots. Can you imagine how much better life would be if all these things (and more) got done? And it wouldn't cost us a penny - we're already giving the money away, we might as well get something in return.

I'm not talking about humiliating people by making them do work no one else wants to do - I'm simply saying that if you get money from the state, you should earn it somehow. A side benefit would be to give people in the program a sense of purpose and some pride.

Take responsibility for once...

The Bush administration has set new records on ducking responsibility. The latest is former FEMA director Michael Brown, the one who was in charge of emergency management when hurricane Katrina blew half of Louisiana off the map. He's already testified before Congress once, and said that he thought he did a bang-up fantastic job. If I remember right, his exact words were something like, "I get it. I get emergency management and I'm good at it." Now he's been called again to testify in front of Congress. This time it seems he's wildly pointing fingers at everyone else, claiming that this person lied and that person didn't do their job.

Well, the point is, Mr. Brown, that you may indeed have done a wonderful job yourself, but the administration you were managing fell flat and was caught looking like the Keystone Cops. Being the head of that administration means more than a nifty title and a HUMONGUS paycheck - it means that you take responsibility for that administration's success or failure. In this case, it failed, and you were in the driver's seat. Quit making excuses. If FEMA needed more money or manpower, tell Congress. But don't point fingers.

If I were in a position to hire Mr. Brown for his next job I wouldn't. Not because of the FEMA failure, but because of his personal failure to take responsibility. 'Nuff said.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Been Bizzy

The Blogger's Excuses for Not Blogging...

I'm used to sleeping a lot more. Maybe it's a sign of age. In any case, I'm tired. Tuesday we took the cat to the vet for a checkup (he's fine) and went to the tax guru (he's fine too). Have no fear - we took pictures of the cat's reaction to the whole "vet" experience. I'll post those later...

Wednesday I met a buddy of mine and went to the Chesterfield's weekly jam session. That was a lot of fun! Heard quite a few local musicians, some of whom I'd never seen play before. In a market the size of Sioux City it's always surprising to find new talent... There just ain't that many of us. There were only three bass players there, though, so I ended up playing a bit more than I had anticipated. It's always fun trying to jam with people you've never met before - a lot of "what, you don't know Metallica?" and "anyone play blues?" and "how about we just play something funkish in E?" before every song.

Tonight I have rehearsal with the Clams. We have a half-gig tomorrow at the Chesterfield. Randy's coming back from Washington State for a visit, so we're gonna have a reunion of sorts and make him blow into the business end of his sax in public again... We're opening for another band, and we'll play during their breaks too. It'll be fun to see if we remember any of the songs we used to do when he was in the band, oh so long ago last June.

Whoops, the boss just wandered past. I'd best pretend to be working or something... With any luck I'll write more later!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Random Outbursts


In the past few weeks there have been several cartoons that have pushed the boundaries of good taste.

The Washington Post received a letter from the Joint Chiefs of Staff (signed by all six of 'em) saying that a cartoon previously published in the Post of a soldier who had lost his arms and legs in combat was "beyond tasteless." I have not seen the cartoon, so I'll refrain from saying if it was tasteless or not (though I think it probably was), but I will say that those in our government should NOT be trying to influence our media. If they want to write to the editor as American citizens, that's fine and dandy. But don't be trying to throw your weight around. And besides - if they didn't want people printing political cartoons of the soldiers they've sent into battle, well then, they shouldn't have sent the soldiers into battle in the first place.

The next incident was the infamous "Mohammed" cartoon published in a Danish newspaper. I have several observations about this... The first is, yes, the cartoon is offensive. But I also find people who burn the U.S. flag and cut people's heads off offensive as well. The second observation is that the cartoon was published months and months ago. If the Islamic world had simply ignored the cartoon, no one would have seen it other than a few Danes who probably don't care much anyway. Now, though, since they've made a big deal out of it, millions and millions of people have seen the cartoon. I have no doubt that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are nice, easygoing people, but they're letting the minority speak for them. If you get upset because people equate your religion with violence (and this goes for us Christians, too), well then, police yourselves. Make your religion the most tolerant, rational group around - a paragon of virtue. Then no one will offend you by drawing nasty cartoons.

If you don't think the "Mohammed" cartoons are inflammatory, by the way, simply think of your reaction if you'd see a cartoon portraying Jesus in such a negative light. Think of Pat Robertson's reaction - he goes ballistic at the slightest provocation. Now think of what would happen if Pat Robertson were influential in our government...

The world's a delicate place, people. We need to work together on this stuff. We can't afford to stifle free speech, and neither can we afford to overreact to those who think differently than ourselves. ("If there's one thing I just can't stand, it's intolerance.")

Them's just my thoughts.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

A New Look

Now I'm scared...

In the past few hours I've read a bunch of stuff on the Internet about the Superbowl. Unfortunately, what I've been reading hasn't had much to do with the Seahawks or the Mighty Mighty Steelers, but instead people are talking about the chances of our elected government bombing Ford Field during the game.

Let me repeat that.

People are worried that our government will set off a bomb during the game. Here's one link.

What kind of world do we live in where thoughts like that even cross our minds? And what kind of government do we have where I can read stuff about them bombing American citizens and think, "Oh, geeze - they might actually do something like that."

I am NOT saying that I think our government would actually bomb the Superbowl. But I am saying that it's very, VERY sad that our government is so sneaky and greedy that people believe they would. Sad. We have to remember this stuff when we go vote!

New Things

Not being a web-guru type guy, when I started this blog I used a "canned" template. In other words, I took someone else's design and put my words in it. The template was available through Blogger, so it wasn't sneaky-plagiarism or anything, but as a graphics guy it bugged me. So, as I'm sure you noticed, I finally changed the look of the blog a bit.

Aesthetically, I changed the powder-blue picture of a lighthouse to a pretty picture of our motorcycle. Then I took out the powder-blue clouds at the top and made the background red. That's about it, actually. Like I said, I'm not all that web-savvy. I just got tired of feeling, well, a bit feminine whenever I read my own blog.

The other major change is the little bar at the top. You can search my blogs now, and there's a neat little "next blog" button on the right that will take you to someone else's randomly chosen blog. (I didn't do this, it's something the Blogger people offer. I just pushed the "yes" button.) It's kind of fun, but I can't guarantee that if you go to someone else's blog you won't be offended. There's a lot of strange stuff out there. Good stuff, too. Sometimes it's hard to tell one from the other.

What do you want?

I've only had a few people leave comments on my blog, but they seem to be equally distributed between three major categories - funny stuff (like Dagmar's Operation), political stuff (like my Grassley Rant), and personal stuff (like the time I reminisced). What do you guys wanna read? E-mail me or leave a comment if you have an opinion... (My e-mail address can be found somewhere on my regular website HERE, just in case you don't already have it.) If you don't tell me, I'll just continue rambling and babbling at random.

No one's ever commented on the photos I toss up on the blog every now and then. I'm gonna keep doing it, though. I like pictures. Especially when they're pictures of my beloved wife Dagmar playing with the nieces, Peyton and goddaughter Maddie. (Looks like Maddie's stuffing her hand in Dagmar's mouth for some reason. Strange kid.)


A nice blog lives HERE. It made me smile. Well, it's only five or six hours 'till the Superbowl starts. I'd best kick the cat off the couch and reclaim my spot and get all my accoutrements in order (remote, chips, salsa, popcorn, Tootsie-Rolls, lollipops, crackers, phone to call the pizza, etc.). Pre-game started last week already, so in a way I feel like I've already watched the game, but the commercials should be good!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Updates from Yesterday...

Puppy Dogs

You gotta be kidding me... Yesterday I wrote about the neighbor's dog (you can read it here), which has been crouching in a pickup topper they've got lying in their back yard. (If you click on the picture you can see the poor pup.) We called the Animal Control people when we first saw the dog there. They said they'd send someone out to check on things. We called them the next day, too. Twice. After the third phone call they finally came out to see the dog. (I have to admit, I'm peeved that it took them so long to check into things.)

"Well, he's got food and water," the guy told me on the phone when I called to check on the situation.

"But the dog's been in there for three days now," I said. "He can't even stand up - he has to crouch in there. And who knows when the owners are gonna come home?"

"Well, he's got food and water," the guy said again. "He seems healthy. There's nothing we can do."

So the dog's still in the topper. He's been lying down for the past day and a half, not moving much. I'm worried. I really, really hope the neighbors come home soon!

The New Van

I mentioned yesterday that the company bought a new delivery van. They decided to go with a flame motif for a paint job. It's certainly eye-catching! I had something completely different in mind... Oh well. My buddy Drew did a good job with the flames, though! They're pretty.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Life in the Hood

Dog Daze

Yesterday as I was walking home from work (all good hippies walk to work you know) I heard a yowling in my neighbor's yard. I stopped and peeked around, but other than the three piles of garbage, two garbage cans laying in the mud, five flat basketballs, kitchen chair, grocery cart and the pickup topper laying in the corner I didn't see anything. I shrugged, looked at my privacy fence (which the neighbors have broken several times) in dismay, and went on inside.

Today, on my way home for lunch, I heard the same yowling. This time I spotted the yowler. A pair of forlorn eyes gazed at me from inside the pickup topper laying in the corner. Yep, my neighbors put the dog inside the topper, which is sitting on a patch of mud in their yard, and blocked it shut with bricks. The poor pooch doesn't have enough room in there to stand up, so he's just sort of crouching there, yowling and staring at the world.

I called the Animal Control people. They said they'd send someone over to investigate. I'm curious whether the doggie will be there when I get home or not.

The sad part is that the dog belongs to a little kid, I think. The boy doesn't seem to have much, other than five flat basketballs and a mother that yells a lot, so I hate the thought that the adults in that house are not only being such bad role models that they abuse dogs, but through that action they're going to cost a boy his dog. It makes me sad. But not sad enough to let the dog be neglected.

That reminds me, I have to change the kitty litter tomorrow, no matter what! The poor cat's about at wit's end, and I'm out of fresh sand for him...


The bosses bought a new delivery van today. For the past few days I've been mentally designing the paint job... I finally settled on something, and e-mailed them my proposal this morning. Somewhat subtle - press gears on the side, our logo, and our phone number. On the other side was pretty much the same thing. It had a neat graphic on the back... My thought was to go with something catchy, but classy. The graphic didn't really need to be recognizable as a printing press, but something that indicated sophisticated machinery at work.

The bosses decided to go with flames. "Hot off the press." Catchy. Or is that kitschy? So they're getting flames painted on the van. It doesn't look bad - just not what I had in mind. (The photos here are my proposals. I'll see if I can get pictures of the flames later...)

"Too bad we can't park it here at work," the boss said. "We're going to let the delivery guy take it home with him at night." I asked why. "Why?" I asked.

"The first delivery van we had, we parked it here by the loading dock at night. Within a week all the hubcaps were stolen..." (Does anyone know why people steal hubcaps? When's the last time you bought a hubcap from a guy off the street?)

In the past few years, the company van has had the hubcaps stolen, we've caught a homeless guy pooping behind our loading dock, the side door's been jimmied, I saw a cop chase a robber through our parking lot, and we've been hit with graffiti four or five times. It's a good neighborhood to raise a family in...

Copyright 2001-2010 | Designed by Chris @ HippieBoy Design | Contact Chris | Contact Dagmar