Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hittin' the dusty trail

I’m off again tomorrow. I’ll be heading down to hill country for a mini-vacay. We’re going to get some barbecue in Lockhart, or maybe Kyle, then head to the Aquarena in San Marcos for a little picnic and gawking. They have glass bottom boats. How frickin’ exciting is that? I’m down like a circus clown for the glass bottom boats. Though, evidently, because the Aquarena was taken over by Texas State University, they no longer have mermaids swimming under the boats, like they did when I was a kid. How very, very sad. Now they do some sort of eco-tour, and talk about fish or some crap. What!? No girls with fish tails swimming under the glass waving to me as bubbles come out their noses? What is the world coming to? We live in degraded times.

Anyway. Then it’s off to New Braunfels and Gruene Hall for . . . wait for it . . . yes! A Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers show! Come on. You knew it was coming. And the Gruene Hall show last year was among my favorite Texas experiences of all time. Wood floors, neon signs, screened windows and a great band. What more could you ask for? And this time since it will be early fall, in stead of the dog days of summer, it will be 65 degrees or so at night, rather than a godawful 102. Sounds like a dandy excuse to bust out the jean jacket. Sweet.

Then on Saturday, it’s off to Wimberley. Where they’re having a trade days. “Trade days” is the Texas lingo for a flea/farmer’s market. And this looks like a big one. I have great hopes of finding a trove of homemade pumpkin butter. I love a good pumpkin butter. And there’s a really good restaurant there in town. I can here their house taco calling me right now.

So Mo and T are along for the ride. And I have a cousin down in San Antonio who may run up for dinner. Sounds like a little bite of heaven, don’t it? Y’all have a great weekend. I’ll see ya Monday. Asta la heuvos, rancheros!

Go ahead, make my day

Do you suppose Joe Biden is just sitting there like a spider at the center of a web, just waiting for Sarah Palin to compare herself to Hillary Clinton? That would be the biggest debate mistake of ALL time. Cause you know he's dying to say:

"Governor, I know Hillary Clinton. I've served with Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton is a friend of mine. And you, Governor, are no Hillary Clinton."

Then he yells, "Boo-ya!" And dances around the stage, spiking microphones and doing the funky chicken.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ah, the Paris runway . . .

From the Rick Owens runway show.
Damn. Just when I got rid of all my wimples. And let my eyebrows grow back in.
You've heard of the "naughty librarian" look? Now there's the "haute nun." "Screw the poverty vow. I want couture!"

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dark Clouds and Silver Linings

So the bailout plan failed its first vote. Not a washout or anything. Pretty close. But of course people blamed it on “partisan politics.” Which is so not true. Partisan politics is what got us into this mess. What killed the bailout plan was that there were a bunch of congress people (on both sides of the aisle) who knew the constituents back home are pissed, and they were scared to vote for something that voters perceive as letting the financial industries off scot free. Cause if there is one hallmark of this entire lending fiasco it’s that people are pissed.

It doesn’t matter who you talk to. Republican or Democrat. Rich or poor. We all feel like we’re getting hosed. And we’d really like for somebody to pay. Yes. We all know that something needs to be done to fix things before we’re all standing in a soup line. But it hacks everybody off that in order to save the country we also have to snatch the finance industry’s bacon out of the fire. I don’t want to save them. I want them to be miserable. I want them to suffer. I want them to be punished. I want to resurrect debtor’s prison, just so they can be sent there to eat gruel and sell pencils from tin cups for the rest of their lives. Instead, we’re going to hand them more money, and say “Don’t do that again.” Oy.

On the bright side. I’ve complained as loudly as any one about the degraded, materialistic age we live in. Possibly louder. Maybe what this country needs is a recession to set our values back to zero. Maybe kids today will get a dose of the real world at the right time. Maybe they’ll learn the strength, courage and practicality that got our grandparents through the Depression. Maybe the will be another Greatest Generation. It’s nasty tasting medicine. But it may be just what the doctor ordered.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Street to Hell

You know what I think would be the best thing to come out of this whole financial crisis? If Wall Street got a big fat black eye. Truly. Why does a bunch of pirates like Wall Street traders get to have so much say about corporate America today?

Here’s my point – Wall Street has become the be-all-end-all for the majority of corporations. How much is our stock worth seems to be the only way they can judge whether their doing a good job. Which is basically like a chicken asking a fox how her eggs are looking. Don’t trust the answer. “Oh, terrible. I don’t know why you’d even bother with those eggs. Here. Let me take those off your wings for you.”

Ever since every company started going public, and driving all their attention to stock price, corporate America has gone to hell in a hand basket. All they worry about is impressing financial analysts, or “beating the Street” on financial predictions. And what do most financial analysts know about running a company? Dick. All they can do is add up assets and income. And the things that build a company aren’t either one of those. So all they want is for a company to make short term/quick cash decisions that won’t invest in the long term prospects of a healthy business. You don’t invest in R&D, because that’s money that won’t come back to you for years. You don’t invest in your people, in fact you fire half of your people, because you can reduce your payroll expenses that way. And older, experienced workers cost more money. You forget quality. You forget reputation. Because you can’t take them to the bank. All in an effort to boost the stock price. Well, how’s that been working for you, America?

So, frankly, I hope that people just stop listening to the foxes. Or at least stop listening exclusively to them. There have to be CEOs who stand up and say that they are building a company with a future. That they aren’t going to be pushed into making decisions that endanger that future. And they are going to build a business that will be here and still strong 20 years from now. And damn the stock price.

Sitting Pretty

Okay, I think it’s time to crow a little. I made a good decision. I was a little worried. I thought I might have been foolish. But turns out, not so.

I bought an ergonomic seat and back support for my office chair. The office chair that I refer to as a tool of Satan, a medieval torture device, the Marquis de Seat. My nemesis. I have pissed and moaned about this chair for about, what? 4 years? 5? When I come in to work on Monday, after my weekend break from the iron maiden, I feel fine. But by my second cup of coffee, I’m all crooked up. I’ve even contemplated buying my own chair to replace this thing. But then you get into the whole “not office standard” battle, and I just didn’t think I was up to that. And have you seen how much a decent secretary’s chair costs. Yeouch.

So I open my Tuesday Morning weekly e-mail, and danged if there wasn’t a picture of my exact chair in the advertisement, with this Obus Ultra Forme seat cushion strapped to it. Like even Tuesday Morning knows that this chair comes second only to waterboarding. So the 2 bits together come to $50. That’s a lot of money. But I’m desperate. I go to check it out. They have one at my local store, set up as a tester. Not bad. Cushy. But not too cushy. Me likes. I bought.

And after most of a day sitting in it, I’m pretty comfortable that it was money well spent. In fact, I did the numbers and amortized over a year at work, it actually works out to be about $.21 per week day. Believe me. I’ve spent money on far sillier things.


is a good office desk chair.

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