Random Thoughts

Are we really this lazy??

You want to know what's wrong with this country? I'll tell you what's wrong. We've gotten fat, soft and lazy.

I found the proof in a catalog from a company that sells linens, kitchen gadgets and all other kinds of what-nots. It's a device called a "Roomba" and it's basically a robot that vacuums your floor while your snooze in your recliner.

Proof we've all gone soft...

...Proof we've all gone soft...

The danged thing costs close to four hundred bucks. What an outrage!

I'm telling you gang, if the day has come where I can't get my butt off the recliner and plug in the vacuum so my wife Annie can do the floors, this country is doomed.


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THE GREATER DEPRESSION CHRONICLES: Quote of the Week (March 22-28, 2009)

"…It is as if you were flying an airplane and the gas light came on and it said 'you have 15 minutes of gas left' and the pilot said 'we're not going to worry about that, we're going to fly for another two hours.' Well, the plane crashes and our country will crash and we'll pass on to our kids a country that's not affordable." - Senator Judd Gregg (R) New Hampshire on the budget blueprint released by The Obama Administration in the face of a mounting fiscal crisis.

...the pilot doesn't have enough hours in the cockpit.

"The practical implications of this [budget] is bankruptcy for the United States," said Gregg. (Source: CNN.com)

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WARNING FROM THE EDITOR ....

On more than one occasion, either in conversation or on this site, I've said that my characters call the shots and ... like my readers ... I'm just along for the ride.

True, I'm the ringmaster, conductor, field general ...use any label you wish to describe my role as the one who channels the story my characters are telling me.

But they call the shots.

Now most of the time, that's not an issue. On occasion, though, it puts me on the spot. I've arrived at just such a spot with No Cognitive Defect.

It seems Anita has a tendency to cuss a bit. A lot. Okay ...a heckuva lot.

While this might not be a problem for a traditional novel, it presents me with a dilemma. This novel is "on the web" and I try to keep my site clean. There is a smattering of mild profanity here and there, but I weigh carefully when to use it. And I long ago decided: "No F-bombs!"

And now it turns out the Anita uses the F-bombs freely. (I swear it's as much a surprise to me as it will be to Wilson, eventually.)

If I am fortunate enough to sell NCD one day, I'll deal with the F-bomb issue at that time. But for this site, I compromised. Wherever Anita drops an F-bomb, I've replaced it with a short F___ or longer F___ing or some other such device.

That being said, I'm going offer a list of substitute words you can use when you see one of these devices:

frog (but this only works for the short F-bomb. I don't think "frogging" is a verb.)

flip/flipping (a little nod there to the movie Napoleon Dynamite)

THE GREATER DEPRESSION CHRONICLES: Quote of the Week (March 15-21, 2009)

"…the first thing that would make me feel a little bit better toward them … if they'd follow the Japanese example and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say, I'm sorry, and then either do one of two things: resign or go commit suicide." - Senator Charles Grassley (R) Iowa

...do the honorable thing, gentlemen.

"…take your pick. Resigning? Resignation forms are on table one. Suicide? Try the poison on table two … slow but effective. Table Three: Wakizashi Hari Kari swords! Quick, messy and painful. But if you're really brave, grab a copy of the President's budget from table four. It's death by a trillion deficits."

Grassley blasted AIG Executives during an interview on Cedar Rapids, Iowa, radio station WMT. A Grassley spokesman said the senator isn't calling for AIG executives to kill themselves. (NOTE: Don't you hate it when a politician's handlers try to soften a clear, passionate message that isn't perhaps "politically correct" but fully expresses the sentiments of the American people?)

* * *

THE GREATER DEPRESSION CHRONICLES: "...Whoopsee Daisy!"

Oh, they're stomping mad in Washington about these AIG bonuses. Fit to be tied. Vowing to get the bonus money back any way they can.

But this never had to happen.

According to Senators Olympia Snowe (R) Maine and Ron Wyden (D) Oregon, their amendment to the bailout bill would have forced AIG to either repay any bonuses over $100,000 or face stiff taxes.

But someone cut the amendment from the final version of the bill. A cable news station reported early this morning that Democrats had no idea what happened. One minute it was there, the next it was gone. Kind of like my 401k.

Of course this begs the question: Did anyone read the danged thing before they voted on it?

Umm...actually...one guy. Senator George Voinovich (R) Ohio. And he only read the Senate version.

But some Washington insiders say this puts the responsibility for the AIG bonus fiasco squarely on Voinovich, who reportedly got a little fuzzy after reading about 400 pages of the bill.

"We tried to perk him up with some Cheetos and a couple cans of Red Bull, but his brain was pretty much melted," said a dejected aide on the condition of anonymity. "It was a pretty hard slog. He was tired, and just missed it."

THE GREATER DEPRESSION CHRONICLES: Timing is Everything!

Timing is everything.

Soon after I posted the "Quote of the Week" I read that White House Economic Advisor Christina Romer declared our economy fundamentally sound. That would have been a slam-dunk for the "Quote of the Week" a day earlier, but starting the week...with six days to go...it may not make the final cut. It doesn't help that what she said is getting all kinds of play in the traditional media, particularly because John McCain got pounded for saying it during the campaign.

But in politics...those are the breaks. And in politics, timing truly is everything. (McCain would probably be the first one to say that.)

So we'll see if anyone can top Christina for a quote this week, but she has to be an early favorite.

...Win some, lose some. Crap happens!
...Win some, lose some. Crap happens!


* * *

Have we "turned a corner?"

There's nothing I'd like better than to start calling these posts the "Pretty Darned Nasty Recession Chronicles." (I do think the current title is catchier, though!)

THE GREATER DEPRESSION CHRONICLES: Quote of the Week (March 8-14, 2009)

A Dubious Accomplishment...
A Dubious Accomplishment...

"...It is a wonderful accomplishment for the area." - Congressman Paul Kanjorski (D) Pennsylvania, commenting in a press release on the $6.3 million his district will receive from the $410 billion pork pie cooked up by Congress and signed by President Obama earlier in the week. Nearly 20%...a mind-numbing $1,248,000...is earmarked to Wilkes University for a "rural geo-spatial information systems program."

Among other "stimulating" projects in his district will be a $200,000 "surveillance camera system" for Wilkes-Barre and $95,000 in equipment and renovations for the Wyoming Valley Health Care System, which is in the process of becoming a for-profit entity.

There is no word as yet on how many of the district's growing army of unemployed will be put to work mounting cameras near Wilkes-Barre donut shops (to protect law enforcement's food chain) or flying Cessnas over rural areas to create aerial maps.

Perhaps a truly "wonderful accomplishment" for the whole nation would have been for Kanjorski (Chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises) to tell us all last year to get the hell off the tracks...there's a train wreck-a-coming.

THE GREATER DEPRESSION CHRONICLES: "...We're off to see the Wizards!"

If you read my post about skewering alive...sorry...about stigmatizing bankers, I suppose it sounds like I've lost all compassion for these poor banker folks.

That's not so. Let me clear this up right now. Bear with me.

The nation's financial and political landscape is kind of like the Land of Oz. But instead of the Emerald City there's T.A.R.P. City, where the Wonderful Wizards of the Treasury, Fed and Oval Office rule the land. There's also a Munchkin Congress ...largely useless and always up to some scheme or other to dip into the wallets of the citizens of T.A.R.P. City.

Instead of Good Witches and Wicked Witches, there's bankers ...those from the Good Banks, and the those from the Wicked Banks.

We're not on Wall Street anymore, Toto...
We're not on Wall Street anymore, Toto...

Now, I know what you're thinking: Wait a second. Back up. ...Did Jimbo say "Good Banks?!?"

Yes, Jimbo did.

Some Friday Night Fun....

Okay...time to take a little break from all the gloom and doom. I am bone-tired, feeling goofy, and I have a great big plate of bleu cheese chunkies and monterey pepperjack slices in my lap. I've had half a can of beer, kids, so watch out. I'm out of control.

For tonight's entertainment, let's have some fun with news headlines that made me go "Hmmmmm..."


From CNN Europe: British couple die at assisted suicide clinic.

Umm...wasn't that the point of the trip? Why is that news? They go to a suicide clinic and...ummm...they die.

Now this would be a worthy headline: Freak meteor strike destroys Swiss suicide clinic. Suicidal British couple, lone survivors, pulled alive from rubble.

Irony from the sky...
Irony from the sky...


From AOL: Bus Beheading Suspect Ruled Insane

Well, geeze, I'd certainly hope so. But this ain't exactly news either, is it? One would expect that someone lopping the heads off folks on a Greyhound is likely shooting pool with a crooked stick.

How about this for a headline: Crazed man with sword goes berserk on bus full of midgets. No serious injuries. 12 dwarves suffer bad haircuts.

THE GREATER DEPRESSION CHRONICLES: Let's open a can of Whoop-Ass Stigma!

Thou Shalt Not Stigmatize Thy Banker...
Thou Shalt Not Stigmatize Thy Banker...

Stigma (courtesy of yourdictionary.com): something that detracts from the character or reputation of a person, group, etc.; mark of disgrace or reproach.


Back in November of 2008, Bloomberg News sued under the Freedom of Information Act to find out who has received nearly $2 trillion dollars in emergency money from the Fed.

Taking a position I find absolutely stunning and appalling, the Fed refuses to divulge the information. According to a story by Mark Pittman and Craig Torres at Bloomberg, the Fed says revealing this information would "cast a stigma" on the folks who got our tax dollars.

I have to be just a tad vulgar here: This is the kind of thing that just flat-out pisses me off.

Our banking system is insolvent, and the Fed is worried about stigmatizing those responsible. Folks...it's going to be one long, long recovery.

So now we know the first of the Fed's 10 Commandments: Thou Shalt Not Stigmatize Thy Banker. (Commandments 2-10, refer to Commandment #1)

You know what I say?

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