Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Standoff

We have apparently adopted a stray kitten which showed up on our doorstep the other day. It arrived with some company which I accused of bringing the kitten; which also they adamantly deny. Getting our dog and kitten to cohabitate peacefully is our chief concern right now. The dog is impressively obedient as evidenced by the fact the cat is still alive. But for the most part we have to keep them separated.

The 2lb kitten shows no fear of the 90lb., African Lion Hound. Yesterday, due to the kids inattention to keeping doors shut, the two critters had their first face to face encounter on the ground. The kitten sat in the doorway like a Spartan holding Thermopolyae. She just sat there and stared at him as he edged closer and closer but never got near enough for her to swipe his nose with her claws... again. They both stood there, frozen, for nearly five minutes. It reminded me of this image:

I guess the analogy would be closer if the man was holding an RPG instead of a bag of groceries (Seriously- that's a 36 ton tank and he's got... groceries???) But kitty (possible name is 'Claire de lune', French for moonlight. The kids named her: not me.) stood firm and I finally ended the standoff because I didn't want to clean up fur and blood and have to console crying little girls that evening.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I understand the concept of "supply and demand" and think that it is generally true. However, I don't feel it is adquate to explain this:

I'm sure people were driving less when gas was well over $4.00 / gal, but with current prices as low as they are the national daily miles has certainly picked back up. Yet there seems to be no end to the bottom of the gas prices- just the same as the stock market. I have a really hard time accepting that current gas prices are driven purely by market forces and are not the result of external manipulations- that doesn't add up. Perhaps the government is driving gas prices downward in order to defribrillate the market and stave off a depression? Perhaps Lindsay Wiliams is right and the World Bank is driving this. The World Bank would, after all, have a vested interesting in halting a global recession/depression. Whatever the cause, simple market forces don't seem to add up here.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Sheesh! What a season of business. Things are chaotic at work. I have three major projects, all stopped and pending... I don't even know what for. Leadership, maybe? The lady of the house is dissatisfied with the state of the bathroom and today I emptied a new bucket of drywall mud prepping the walls (bathroom, closet, hallway and our bedroom, all have first coat). I also picked up some surprise side work to develop a lease management program for buses that needs to be wrapped up by the end of the year. Our church is stepping up it's data management efforts which has generated a 'to-do' list for me. Somehow I have become the point man for organizing coaches for a wrestling club at Westport HS. It's a tremendous opportunity and a chance for our church to have some solid ministry with at least eleven young men. I pray we don't drop the ball here- that will be very, very irritating and disconcerting. I am willing to help out; but all I can really do is PT them until they wretch and then PT them some more. All this on top of the holidays and our Community Team getting ready to split and probably still be too large. Oh yeah, I've got to get our house at least presentable before January as well. I can manage the stress, but the persistent feeling of nothing being complete is very bothersome.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Lock and load!

Yesterday, the wife and I went shooting with a friend of ours at The Bullet Hole to try out an assortment of handguns. We've been seriously considering getting a gun for home protection over the last few weeks. Thankfully Neufunk, who has a great student and fan of the firearms and a fellow history geek, has been our principle advisor through most of this. (Props!) But there is safety in a mutitude of counsellors, so we've been asking around also. Our shooting partner was a former SWAT member and gun enthusiast friend of ours.

We sampled a 9MM and two Glock .40cals, one with a shorter grip. My first shot hit the target in the groin, even though I was aiming at the chest. My wife's first shot was dead on in the chest. *gulp!* Between the three, I liked the .40 with the long handle best: more boom and easier to manage. I think my wife liked the 9mm the best but was okay with getting a .40.

On our way out, some other shooters let me try a .45cal. Wow! It has a nice punch and I would not want to be on the receiving end of one of those! Or any of them, really...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


1 hour 40 minutes. And now the line is super short- the wait is probably only 30 min. Yikes!!!

10th in line

Did I remember my license? Yes! I did.

Had I not, I would have had to seriously consider not voting. But if others aren't disqualified for stupidity then I suppose I shouldn't be either.

More drama

At about 50' from the door, a lady poked her head out from the building and shouted an anti-light rail message. I was already conversing with the ladies in front of me and they were visibly aghast. I commented to them that I'm pretty sure that was a felony. Then another lady came down the line from the front passing out pro-light rail pamphlets. A minute later, the first lady came outside with an election official to chase down the flyer lady. Assumably this was because of improper electioneering: being too close to the door. Several people noted the first ladies' hypocrisy in this.

The line inside is not being managed at all and people keep packing in. Our voting system is apparently fill-in-the-dot ballots, like the standardized tests. People are filling them out at tables, on furniture, at chairs- whereever they can. I'm about 30th in the L-R line and getting very, very hungry.

Some entertainment

After 25 minutes, a committee of four women was finally able to unlodge a small car from a moderately difficult parking situation. As I thought about maybe jumping in to help them solve this vehicular rubix cube, the lady behind me jokingly chided several youger men standing behind her: 'why don't you go help her? You know any one of ya'll could get that out of there!'. After some head wagging and laughs we continued watching. One of the ladies was finally able to break free and returned the car to the driver who crept through the mix of cars and people to the sound of applause and laughter.

The line has shortened somewhat and I have moved halfway from where I started.

Standing in line

I awoke ten minutes before the alarm went off at six today from the anticipation of voting and the elections. I was amazed to pull up to a full parking lot and Blue Ridge being temporarily jammed with people trying to figure out where else to park. After finding a place, it was a quarter of a mile walk to the line. I have never been in a line longer than five or six people to vote. This one is literally hundreds of people. A steady trickle of people is arriving, like drips in an IV that never looks more full or less emtpy. My initial reaction to this was disappointment because I know 85% of them are voting for the greater of two evils.

The line has hardly moved for the last ten minutes. The flush of red light has washed out to a brighter hue of yellow. The faces of my fellowcitizens are plainly visible now. The anticipation of the crowd has cooled to resignation. Clearly we will be here in the autumn chill for a while. We have all shared a common mistake in thinking we'd "beat the rush". Hopefully that's the only mistake I share with this crowd today.

Wow! This guy just went through the line handing out a voting guide- to all the black people! He looked right past me as he walked right past me!!! But it's okay, he's black, so it's not racism...