Friday, October 30, 2009

NYT Advocates Slavery... Brig Duped Out of Chance to Cash In!

In a radical twist of fate, I have decided [not really] to put in an application to work for one of the governments newly acquired companies.  I would generally not be interested in working for the government, but just this week, the government has made it possible for me to actually make a ton of money.  I might even join a union!

Many of you likely have followed the governments new Pay Czar, and many of you probably think curbing $20M paydays for bankers is a good idea.  I used to think cutting their pay was a really bad thing, however now that all of those people that were in line for a $19,500,000 pay cut have left AIG, Citi, etc.  There are a lot of good jobs opening up.

And why not me, I could use $500k/yr, and I have actually heard of all of the words that the "Political Class," "The Press," and the "Celebrities" have been fumbling over for the last year.  In fact, according to Hal Heaton, the Denny Brown Professor of Business Management Finance at the Marriott School of Management, I was numbered among the top 60% of students who managed to not drop his class in utter frustration after spending 3 straight days trying to bootstrap a yield curve.

So now that all of the competent guys are gone, I am entitled to my shot at greatness.  However if the good folks over at the New York Times get their way, I will be forced to continue eking out a meager existence on the pittance I call a salary.

If I fail to start rollin' phat on Wall Street, it is only because the NYT has convinced the government to stop bankers from leaving their current jobs to go work for companies that will pay them their filthy $20mm lucre.  This according to the Times, is unconscionable.  The people who made the mess should be forced to stay and clean it up, and that only 3 paragraphs after they got done railing these people as incompetent.

What?  Force them to stay?  Nice.  Slavery.  I would be more than happy to be a $500k slave.

I will get a nice shack in Connecticut, prolly roll a benz, and my kid will get to do Mike D/ Randy Walker impressions like this all day cause I can now afford to have him look stupid AND afford to buy lots of these lame flat brimmed hats.

Unfortunately I'm not smart enough to clean up the mess, and either is anybody else that would be EXCITED about taking the $500k to do that job.  Because if you are smart enough to clean this up, you are too smart to work for $500k.  I'm sorry, but if you can walk away from your $20M job, and just go get another $20M job across the street, you are probably worth somewhere around $20M to someone.

The only losers here are the taxpayers that will never see a dime from our $795B investment in AIG and the rest of the banks.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Brig's Blog Giveaway...Winner Announced!

It has been a busy week, which is my excuse for not posting to the blog for the last week.  In reality, I just had nothing to say [not true] but that may be a better excuse than pretending to be too busy.  I actually have a lot to say, but sometimes most of it is best left unsaid, in which case I make a concerted effort to say it even louder.  So lets just say I was lazy last week and leave it at the truth.

However, I am excited to post the winner of my giveaway last week!  And just to keep it honest, I used the totally unbiased Microsoft Excel Rand() function to choose for me. 

I was not shocked by the winner as she had her sister sign up so she actually had 4 chances to win (under contest rule 3 section 4 paragraph  So JENN, please send me an email at and I will arrange delivery.

In typical rollover nice guy (read: total sucker) fashion, since I happen to know most of you who posted comments personally, if you would like a diaper/wipes case, please send me a note and I will probably just suck-it-up and make a few more this weekend (though I could bounce that back to next week as we have a huge Halloween Bash at our house on Saturday, I think at last count we were going to have about 250 people stop by that evening, so there is lots of prep work to do, find big bowl, open candy bags, make sure that supplemental candy bag is available just in case I happen to eat most of the first one runs out mysteriously).  In fact, I will go ahead and make one for each of the next 3 people that sign up as followers to the blog, so if you have friends that would like one, just tell them what to do.

Apparently, on Etsy, you can get one of these for around $16.  I was online with my sister the other night checking out several of them, and was appalled by the lack of attention to detail you get for your hard earned cash. 

So I am going to note that the actual retail value of one of mine is somewhere around $320 (premium pricing, think of me as Baby Prada, although after hanging out in Chinatown last year in NYC, I may just go ahead and order tags that say Baby Brada and attach them to the case [not really]) 

Now all I need is that guy from the Sham-WOW commercials to pitch these for me. 

"I could give you not 1, not 2 but 3 diaper/wipes cases for the low low cost of 199.99.  But we're not done!  Order now and you can get not 1, not 2, yes 3, I said it 3 diapers with each case!  Our loss is your gain!"

Any Takers?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Brig Caught in Sewing Sting... Will Donate "Super Cute" Diaper/Wipes Case to Reader!

After my previous arrest yesterday and short incarceration, I thought I was in the clear.  However, earlier today I was caught by the paparazzi doing something especially heinous, I was targeted by the government in a sewing and arts & crafts sting operation.

There I was, minding my own business, when all of a sudden this guy breaks into my "studio" and busts me red handed making a baby diaper/wipes case.

I don't know if the government objected to the fact that I used the pattern fabric on the inside and the solid color on the outside, but the government cannot make policy based solely on what Coach is doing this season.  And anyway, I'm not even all that happy with Coach for the last few years because of their schizophrenic styling.  You may need to cater to people with ADHD, I get that, but for the rest of us, we just want simple classy styling 'everywhere' bags [for our significant others].  Sorry wife, Year 3 of no new Coach handbag.  Maybe next year, don't hate the "Playa," hate the Game.

Anyway, I again would like to apologize to anyone that is offended by the fact that I do indeed delve into the sewing trade now and again.  It is a medical condition for which I will soon be seeking treatment in some lavish rehab center that looks suspiciously like a country club, as one of my other medical conditions is a really high handicap.  I would also like to apologize to my family for the embarrassment that I have caused them.  That said, I am going to donate the case I was caught making to one of my followers that leaves a comment on this post.

If you are a casual reader and want a shot at this, maybe you have a new baby [...ahem... Jenn, tell Erin] [Randi, did Turbo show up today yet?]or maybe you have a baby shower coming up and you don't want to take a crappy package of pacifiers and generic hair ribbons, but would rather take something original and "super cute" but don't want to try to figure out how to make one of these yourself [it is really hard], just click the "follow" button here to the RIGHT and then come back to this post and leave me a comment and one of you will win this case. 

Comment as many times as you want to increase your chances to win, however only substantial comments will qualify!  Go look at other blogs like Dooce and SeriouslySoBlessed for examples.  Basically clicking follow just makes this show up in your Google reader.

If this goes really well and I get more than a total of 30 comments from a minimum of 10 followers, I will make a few more and do this again.  So tell your friends, if they become "followers" and note that you referred them, you get an extra 3 chances to win!

Good luck!

Brig Offers Public Apology... Context Debated.

"For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm proud of my son."  No, this is not a quote from First Lady Michelle Obama, she is finally proud of America and she doesn't even have a son, these words are my words.  Now, this is not supposed to mean that I have never been proud of my son, even though that is exactly what I said, you must have taken that out of context.

For any of you that took offense at my words, my agent told me that I  have to apologize to those of you that are so emotionally sensitive that you took offense in the first place. 

I love public apologies, they are always so liberating, and useful, very very useful.  I was finally relieved to get apologies from that governor guy that took a weekend soul mate getaway to Argentina, I was pretty shaken by that incident but was comforted by his kind words toward his mistress despite the public humiliation of his wife and children. 

Oh, and when Mike Tyson apologized to me for his behavior after biting off Holyfield's ear, I hadn't been able to sleep in days until his calming words assured me that I took that out of context.  Please leave me a comment if you have any particularly memorable public apologies.

However this weekend was a good weekend for me.  Let me explain.  Little Guy and I decided to get all religious on Sunday and go to church, well at least after I lost the "Who gets to stay home from church with the snotty nosed little twins" game.  I thought I had it in the bag, but lost at the last second, I had the sun in my eyes and my shoelaces had come loose, it wasn't my fault.  I even requested best of 3, but the ref denied my request and my fate was sealed.

So Little Guy and I got loaded up in the car and head of to church.  The route to the chapel winds around the greenbelt, and it would be a lot of fun to take some of the corners at high speed if it wasn't for the perpetual presence of cops in the neighborhood.  Total buzz kill.

Anyway, we came around one corner and all I hear from the back of the car is "Dad, Dad did you see that?  That was awesome!"  "What" I asked, thinking the kid some some crazy Area 51 style UFO alien kind of thing.  He answered, "Did you see that '68 Camaro?"  "Where?" I asked.  "Right back there" he said.

I had missed it, but in total disbelief that he could recite year and model of a car on the street, I stopped the car, backed up and no joke.  There was a white with black stripes 1968 Chevy Camaro sitting in a driveway.

Now this might not seem like a big deal to a lot of you.  But I love American muscle cars, now I say that and I still can't tell you what MOPAR stands for, I just know that lots of guys that know how to use a wrench get really excited when they get near one.  I met a lot of these guys at a place I used to go to in high school called Carneys, a drive in diner that hosted an impromptu car show on Friday and Saturday nights in a town about 50 miles south of Cleveland.  I have even been known to stop by Hot August Nights in Reno every once in a while for an evening of watching the parade of cars.

Most of all I love cars that don't have computers under the hood, just engines, motors and transmissions (I'm pretty sure all 3 of those are different things).  I love to admire their beauty, simplicity and raw power.  Don't get me wrong, if you put a Bugatti in my garage, I am not going to light it on fire, but I love the lines of a nice muscle car.

I was so proud, I called my dad immediately and told him about it.  I forgot that he was in church at the time, but this was a pretty big moment.  My dad talked my ear off at length about hot rods when I was a kid.  I know that he had a '55 Chevy, and that his best friend drove a '69 Chevelle.  Those are sweet cars.

Little guy can correctly identify just about all of his Matchbox cars, but this was the first time he correctly identified anything other than a Porsche Carrera on the street.  Proud indeed. 

Good Work Little Guy Man, Good Work.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Kid Lacks Brain Bucket... Brig Gets WSJ Front Page Perp Walk!

Well, it looks like I am going to be doing some hard prison time here pretty soon.  I just wanted to let you all know that I appreciate all of the support that you all provide to me and will thank you all in advance for the love and support and home made shivs that I look forward to from each of you over the next 10 years. 

I expect that the Feds are going to show up at my door sometime this week so that I can get my Wall Street Journal front page PERP WALK (Dramatic Pre-Creation pictured to the left, also note how freaky it is that Jeff Skilling of Enron and I have interchangeable bodies) and then charge me with Conspiracy, a felony; contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a felony; attempting to influence a public servant, a felony; and false reporting to authorities, a midemeanor.

Let me explain.  I didn't think it was a big deal at first, I just wanted to tape a quick video to send to all of my friends and family, even post to my blog and maybe get a few "extra" hits from people that will actually click on the ads on my blog so that I can make like 4 cents this month from Google Ads.  I knew it would probably be wrong, but not this big a deal.  I think I really screwed up by involving Wife, (hence the conspiracy charge) she had some reservations, but thought that it might be funny and in the end harmless.

Long and short of this, I let the twins ride a bike without helmets on.  The police got word of it, and now I and possibly Wife are going to be charged, with Felony Conspiracy, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and since I told Oprah (in an email I sent her last night) trying to influence her to not bash me too hard on her show on Monday, they added this sweet little gem; a felony charge of attempting to influence a public servant.  What the heck?  Public Servant just because she gave a free FloBee to each member of the audience when she did her Rod Blagoiavich show?

Just kidding...  Hopefully you already knew that.  But Do you think this could happen in real life?

Let me first state that I could care less whether this crazy weather balloon family in Colorado goes to prison for life or not.  I'm not going to get all Nancy Grace on you, you know add a bunch of outrageous hyperbole to make a point.  Wait, now I'm being charged with making untrue statements on my blog?  Whatever, with that out of the way I would like to address the government in this case because you need to understand that you could go to prison for just about anything.

The government has had probably 30 lawyers working for 5 straight days and nights trying to come up with something to charge these people with.  Apparently they tried to get some publicity for a possible reality show by pretending their kid accidentally whisked away in a homemade weather balloon. The sheriff even said that he was working with the district attorney to try to find something with which to charge them.

Now don't get me wrong I think jaywalkers should rot in prison, but if it takes the entire legal prowess of Colorado and the US government a week of research to find an crime who's technical definition may include some obscure act wherein it could be construed that you may have run afoul, In my mind this should be a huge red flag that what happened was probably more entertainment than it is crime.

So my understanding is that the district attorney is going to charge this family with Felony Conspiracy to committ a crime, which was filling a false police report.  Wait, back up.  They are charging Felony Conspiracy to committ a Misdemeanor?


Also apparently they are going to charge them with attempting to influence a public servant, so Larry King is now a 'public servant'?  More awesome.  Oh, and there goes everyone who has every made a campaign contribution, Felons, all of them.

Sorry Oprah, you are a criminal, and we all knew it.  Yeah, you Oprah, don't think we don't know how you tried to influence Barack Obama to join your book club, or that little stunt when you influenced the Obama's into going to Europe to shill for the Olympics so that she could get lots of doped up athletes to come on her show for a few weeks giving a huge boon to her ratings and netting her another cool billion duckets.

Contributing to the delinquency of a minor? I would pretty much think that until The US Attorneys have finished arresting everyone that has ever sent in a video to Bab Saget on America's Funniest Home Videos, they shouldn't spend extra cash on working harder to discover crimes.

So next time you tell your kid to climb half way up the White House fence for a picture, just know that you are 1 step away from needing a copy of Prison for Dummies so that you can learn how to fashion a shiv out of a bar of soap to protect yourself from some psycho serial killer that made a "special request" to have you as a bunk-mate in the joint.

Friday, October 16, 2009

President Bribes Old People to Support Healthcare Reform? At Least Have the Decency to Lie to Us!

Do you remember back when Congress used to meet in the middle of the night and cram billions of dollars of pork into obscure bills regulating the size of the font that had to be used on the pages of news papers to announce changes in government regulations?

Those were the good old days.  Today, they don't even worry about putting lipstick on the pig, they just bribe people with Cash.  Remember the $600 bribes checks from Bush to get us to look the other way when he invaded a couple of countries?  That was awesome, not awesome enough to get me to vote for him, but really really close.  Make it an even grand, and I'll vote for you twice.

Congress, however, had some "think tank" recently do a quick study about how effective that pork is in getting people to support their idiotic ideas and also get them re-elected.  Apparently 90% re-election rate wasn't high enough as congress is losing faith in their 2 centuries of gerrymandering to ensure that new-comers to politics can only get in if a Mafia Don or a Kennedy approves.  Additionally, they are also getting very very afraid that the majority of people are freaking out over their idiotic healthcare bill (which I have now read in its entirety) and have all but completely lost the support of old people.

So, in light of the new findings, the President announced that he was just gong to bribe, I mean give cold hard cash make warm hearted $250 payments to old people.  Why not everyone like G. W. Bush did?  Oh, because W. needed ALL Americans to be a little distracted when he spent a couple of trillion on a war.  A more targeted approach will probably work better in this case, and it is a little bit cheaper too, who said that Democrats have less fiscal restraint than Republicans. 

The President doesn't need everyone to support his takeover of healthcare, he only needs old people that he can parade in front of the press and say look, this old guy likes it, so it must be good.  Also, since he is going to be mugging that same guy after the press conference by cutting off a good chunk of his Medicare benefits, this is a good strategy to distract the guy while he puts his hand in his pocket.  Good plan because you know there is cash in the guys pocket, and since you watched him put it there, now you know which pocket he keeps all of his cash in, so you can reach in and take like $300-$400 all while the guy is smiling for the cameras!

So the Democrats went after old people, a very reliable voting block, and one that has been especially hurt as pension funds are drying up and social security payments will not go up next year.  What was that?  The payments are not going up?  No, since inflation is 0 or slightly negative, social security payments will stay flat next year as they are pegged to inflation.

Why do I care about this?  Easy, it is FINANCE, and that is what I do way better than the vast majority of the people on earth (see picture of Finance Guy to the left).  So when I saw this I quickly ran the #s in my head and figured out that the $6,000,000,000 (that is $6 Billion) that this is going to cost is kind of misleading.  Like all other government deficit spending, we have to borrow this money to make the payments.  The actual $ cost of this (like figuring out that you will make about $430,000 in payments on your $200,000 house over 30 years) is going to be about $23 Billion.

I have a better idea.  Everybody that has a job of any kind as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just go find an old person and give them $38 and we can save ourselves a whole world of hurt down the road.

So, as a country we need to stop looking the other way just because some politician is handing us someone else's cash.  We need to learn to say "no-thank-you."  Because believe me when I say, the government just floated a $7 TRILLION treasury offering and the Chinese fliched, when they flinched, the dollar started to tank,  fortunately the Chinese manned up a little, bit the bullet and bought some of that debt knowing full well that if the Russians and Saudis make good on their threat to stop denominating oil transactions and contracts in US Dollars, there is a good chance they will never see a dime to a dollar on their gamble. 

If this spending madness does not stop soon, we are going to be in a world of hurt.  Call your congressman today.  Stop pretending that your congressman is the only SAINT among THIEVES.  Your guy is as guilty as mine.  And to those that made it this far, I apologize for posting this here rather than at Knee-Jerk Reaction (my politics and finance blog that I am playing with and will hopefully officially launch with some really good regular commentators soon).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Good Parenting = Energy Drinks for Toddlers

I used to shun sports drinks. I figured that they were just the product of good marketing that educated consumers should be able to see through. That was until about 8 years ago, and it was reconfirmed last week.

Back in the day after I finished my undergrad, I moved to Houston, pretty close to my parents. My dad and I used to go mountain biking together on a fairly infrequent basis in those days, but we did get out every now and then. For most of that time we would just take water with us thinking that water was the best way to recover after a few miles of biking.

Then my little brother came along and introduced us to a whole new way of life. The sports drink, he said, is way better than water. Seeing that we didn’t have any water left, and he had a cooler full of the salty stuff, my dad and I figured it was better than nothing. IT WAS AWESOME. Normally we would have headed back to dad’s house and crashed out dead tired for the rest of the afternoon. What we discovered was that these things really worked, they help you recover. I was hooked.

So lately Wife has been buying me Gatorade/PowerAde every week for my post lawn mowing recovery. I could tell from her glare that if it would get me off my butt to help around the house, she would buy me a recovery drink for every time I made the significant effort to put my clothes in the dirty clothes hamper, rather than just “close to the hamper,” as if 1. I needed the incentive and 2. That it was a strenuous enough activity for which I would need to recover.

Anyway, the point of this post is in response to an old friend of mine that was looking for suggestions as to how to keep her kids from climbing up on chairs and tables etc. I just replied Duct Tape, as in just duct tape your kid to the chair. I don’t think she is going to take my advice, nobody like the practicality of the obvious answer, everyone wants to strain their brains over the “legal” or “moral” answer, to that I say, “To each their own!”

But after careful consideration, and remembering this picture I took a couple of weeks ago, I must come clean with what we actually do in my house.

We just leave snacks and sports drinks up on the table in the hopes that after expending the effort to climb up, they can take a nice break and refresh for the decent, while we take pictures of them and then go back to playing Pocket Tanks on the iPhones. We are considering providing them with Sherpas for future assents, like if they find a way to get on the roof, and freak out when I laugh at them for not thinking about how they were going to get down, but for now this is what we do.

She got other answers like, put the chairs up on the table, or lock the chairs in a separate room until needed. These options would require effort and dedication and caring, all things that are not likely to exist in our home any time soon; we are a live and let live kind of family. Following that philosophy I give our kids a solid 50/50 shot at making it to 5 years old.

However, as you can see from both of the pictures above, drinking sports drinks means that your kids will be uber-successful athletes. Notice the changes already occurring to Twin # 1 due to his consumption habits, he is BALD, exactly like Michael Jordan is BALD. Sprinkle a little orange juice on his head and we are as good as gold for the NBA.

Because of new Federal FTC regulations, I as a blogger am required to maintain standards not even the New York times is required to follow. I must tell you that Gatorade/PowerAde has not paid me or in any other way remunerated (that is a stupid word) for naming their products in this post and giving them a favorable review. The NYT doesn't have to tell you that, they just get freebies and give them good ratings regardless whether that bag of glass they recommended as a good stocking stuffer a few Christmases ago was a good idea or not.

However, I am not above being bought off. If these companies would like to send me about 100 cases of sports drinks each (any flavor will do) I will claim that I have gone from being a couch sloth to barely missing the Olympic qualifying times in the 100m, and that my children went from practically brain-dead to just receiving scholarships to MIT for next fall at only 2 years old. Call Me! Seriously, lets do a deal, I also accept cash.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Twins First Conversation… Interpreted

The twins had their first conversation yesterday, it required a bit of translation, but I think this is a pretty accurate record of what occurred.

Twin # Trouble:  (Hushed Voice) Hey, Twin # 1, wake up!
Twin # 1:  (annoyed) Shhhhh, I’m still sleeping, leave me alone.

Twin # Trouble:  Seriously, my diaper is totally soaked and if we both scream mom will kick dad out of bed and send him up with milk!

Twin # 1:  Leave me alone, I’m tired, remember you kept me up all last night droning on and on about how dad let you sit on his lap while he worked, it’s like you believe he actually wanted you there.  He spent the whole time trying to keep your grubby little mitts off his keyboard.

Twin # Trouble:  That’s not true, I was really helping!  One time after he forgot to close the door to the office, I went in and climbed up on the desk and started typing like dad does, and when he came in said ‘oh nice, you’ve been helping again, you “filed” all of my email somewhere super safe that no one will be able to hack into it, thanks.”

Twin # 1:  Dad was being sarcastic, I think you screwed up something bad on his computer because he used the d@mm!t word again after he told you to go ask mom for a treat for being such a good “helper,”  what was funny was watching you run out there like you were actually going to be able to explain this to mom.

Twin # Trouble:  Mom knows what I want, 'she gets me!'

Twin # 1:  Um, she throws everything in your general direction to see what will shut you up.  Seriously, I know you think that mom and dad are really impressed by your vast vocabulary, but I think dad is mocking you.  When he yells ‘O-H”, you are supposed to yell “I-O” not “O-O.”  And when Dad yells “Buckeyes” you are supposed to say “Touhdown” not “O-O.” 

Twin # Trouble:  You think your artistic pronunciation of “Touchdown” is getting you extra cookie points?

Twin # 1:  Oh, now I’m not articulate, wonderful why don’t you just sit over there and say “Shoes” about 4 million more times today, that would be just wonderful.  Oh, and every time you say shoes, mom thinks it’s cute and puts those stupid hand me down sandals from Little Guy on me.  That kid had some fat feet, he stretched those things out so bad I’m thinking I could make a go-cart of one of them that we could both fit in.

Twin # Trouble:  Yeah, what is with that kid?

Twin # 1:  I don’t know, he thinks he deserves a parade every time he goes poop.  I go poop like 3 times a day and mom always tries to avoid me, as if she doesn’t know, until dad comes home.

Twin # Trouble:  So will you start yelling or something, I’m starving!

Twin # 1:  Whatever, I can’t get back to sleep now anyway, I hope mom puts you in the guest room during nap time so I can catch some Z’s

Twin # Trouble:  No, I learned to climb out of the porta-crib, you are stuck with me.

Twin # 1:  I can’t wait to get my own room.

Twin # Trouble:  Just start yelling!

Twin # 1:  Whatever, AAAAAAAAAHAAAAAH

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

President Obama Mandates Higher Education… But Does he go Too Far?

In a close vote late last night in the Senate Education Committee, legislation supported by the Obama administration is approved 13-11 on a party line vote to move the bill to the full Senate for a vote.  This new legislation called the Education Reform bill includes a contentious public option much like the one the president championed in his health care legislation.

Like the healthcare bill, this bill requires all Americans to have a college degree, or be enrolled in college, or pay a fine of about $75,000, which could be structured as a low interest loan from the government.

This appears to be a good first step as the President has noted that a lack of education is one of the biggest problems in America today.  He cited study after study that showed people with a college degree are a much smaller burden to the country than the uneducated.  Degree holders contribute more in taxes, are generally healthier and are much less likely to be poor and uninsured.

“It is a shame that a country with our resources fails to adequately educate each and every citizen, so this legislation will be a new vote of confidence in the intelligence of America.”  He further noted that for those citizens that don’t have college degrees, like many senior citizens and children, there would be special programs set up to help them attain one.  “Children,” he said, “Will not be required to start their college degrees until they have shown adequate knowledge, we want to ensure that all children graduate in the top 10% of their class, as these children generally do the best in college as shown by numerous studies.”

As expected, Republicans are mounting a huge backlash against the President.  Many of them have sarcastically called the legislation the “No Bill Gates Left Behind Act,” after the controversial “No Child Left Behind Act” that Former President Bush signed into law, because Bill Gates never graduated from college and appears to have done fine without it.

Republicans also note that many Americans simply would prefer not to go to college as they see it as a waste of money because their chosen professions do not need it.  Democrats maintain that they will “fine” anyone who does not enroll as a way to encourage participation in order to avoid a situation where someone may need a degree, and it would be unfair and pose an undue strain on the system to let them into college only when they need it badly, as that would drive up cost.

They also criticized the Presidents push for significant subsidies in the legislation.  For instance, one of the more contentious subsidies was that no person would graduate with less than a 3.5 cumulative GPA, and for people with grades lower than the federal mandated 3.5 would have their grades “increased by an amount necessary for them to achieve the minimum federal requirement.”  Conservatives hounded that this amounted to nothing but a giveaway to the “Stupid People Lobby.” 

The President’s supporters noted that the additional points would be taken only from the top 5% of grade earners as their AP courses, unavailable to “less smart” individuals, provide them the ability to get 5 points for an A, instead of the regular 4 points for an A in other courses meaning that they would not even miss the points and it is their duty to sacrifice those points to disadvantaged students who couldn’t earn them.

The legislation required significant federal funding increases to the teachers unions as they complained that nearly half of all students have grades that are below average and the increased work load to subsidize those grades would be too much of a burden as many teachers would be required to work past 3 pm, and possibly have to show up to school every 3rd Friday for Teacher Work Day.  The additional funding however would alleviate this problem by mandating that each school hire 1 grade inflator for every 3 teachers.

By far the most criticized part of the legislation is the public option being pushed by the administration.  Conservatives noted that there is already a another college education system run by the states.  Liberals however want a federal option, and note that they will get most of their funding by cutting waste out to the state university and community college systems.  Senator Rangall said, "the system we envision is much like the University of Phoenix, it is available and flexible enough to encompass all Americans, we anticipate that only about half of the students from public universities like the University of Michigan and UC Berkeley will move to this system, the rest of the students will be able to keep their current enrollment, assuming their universities meet the minimum federal requirements yet to be determined."

Private school students, many of which are children of politicians, will likely be able to keep their current enrollment but may face a significant tax on their tuition as a way to help pay for the Presidents plan.

I could do this all day!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Nobel Shock # 2... President Donates Award to Real Peace-Makers

In radical turn of events, President Obama, late Saturday night, decided to hand over his Nobel Peace Prize to someone who actually has created peace, tangible peace. Shortly after the President received a report from Secretary of State Clinton that a treaty, now being referred to as the Austin Peace Accord, was just finalized, Obama immediately called for a press conference to announce his decision to give the Award to Brig and Wife.

The main stream media is refusing to acknowledge the event in their attempt to bury any story of anybody accomplishing anything to spare the president's feelings that were "significantly hurt" after last week's Saturday Night Live skit. This bold move by the MSM is the latest attempt to lighten the blow and stop the free-fall in the presidents approval rating in hopes that it will not drop significantly below W’s, weakening his attempt to take over the clothing industry and handing all fashion decisions to Michelle, who in his words, “has great arms.”

We do expect Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh to publicize the event heavily on Monday in their continued push to disparage the president and deflect his ability to make them get “decent non-used car salesmen like haircuts” as well as force them to dress in a fashion befitting someone that makes $20M/yr.

In his address the President said, “This accord, negotiated in mere minutes after fighting broke out, is truly worthy of an honor like the Nobel Peace Prize as bestowed by 5 self absorbed Norwegians.”

He went on to say that he is truly humbled and honored that he could present the world with an example of collaboration that reaches across the world and back. He described this act as one of “international cooperation, from the height of American consumerism to the lowliest worker in the dregs of China’s toy factories.”

He went on to describe the events surrounding the Peace Accords. “There was an incident recently, which many in the international community have overlooked or pushed under the rug, which today I would like to bring out of obscurity and into the light of day. Earlier this evening, WIFE, brought home a Fisher Price tricycle hybrid in Yellow, Blue and Red. The tricycle was presented to the Twins. This set off a chain of events that would reach the other side of the world.”

He continued, “Twin # Bike Hog immediately grabbed the tricycle and began to ride around in a state of bliss. Twin # 1 was temporarily excited, but when he approached the trike for his “turn” he was rebuffed with the strongest language possible ‘nnnnnnnnt, nnnnnt’ .”

“The heads of household immediately began to confer as to what could be done to temper the situation. Their staffs provided them with several options including taking the trike away from them for the evening and sending them to bed, this however would have only been a temporary cease fire as we have seen fail time and time again in Israel.”

“Working and debating for minutes, the diplomats decided that real collaboration was necessary.They loaded the troops into the Cruiser and headed to the nearest Kohl’s, where only weeks ago a shipment of trikes was received from a sweatshop in China.”

Obama continued, “After waking him up I conferred with “Jeff,” a junior procurement clerk at Kohl’s headquarters, I learned that this clerk had anticipated the need for significant stocks of trikes as “Jeff” noted ‘kids love these stupid things, they ride them all over the store bothering people, so we try to keep lots of them in stock, can I go back to sleep now?’”

Obama noted further that the trike was purchased and when the peacemakers returned to the scene of the carnage, the trike was quickly assembled to the satisfaction of the warring parties. Both factions “mounted up” in the words of the President, and rode peacefully together from the living room to the hallway without incident.

On a final note President Obama said, “Although this sensitive situation is being monitored for any further conflicts, it appears that peace has been achieved and will last, according to my advisors, until at least Christmas.”

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Tom Ford Steps Down From Gucci...Replaced By Twin!

Tom Ford left Gucci a few years ago, and we haven't seen anything important come out of that place since.  I certainly haven't bought any Gucci since then, I've even switched my aftershave to Prada (which I highly recommend as it meets my 3 requirements for aftershave as well as coming in a balm rather than a splash):

1.  It comes in a really classy glass bottle.
2.  It smells incredible.
3.  It makes my face sing!

So maybe I'm an aftershave snob,  but I am also a sewing machine snob.  You may have your multi-thread embroidery machine, or your belt driven Juki.  Good for you.  I roll Bernina, and not just any Bernina I drive a 930.

I had no idea that good taste was genetic, however after watching a Nova special last night on Darwin's Darkest Hour, I have a renewed respect for the man's life work, and just earlier in the evening I found additional proof for the power of genetics.

I walked into my office, that had been temporarily converted into my "studio" as I refuse to use the term "Sewing Room," and found Twin # Designer (I've been advised that continuing to refer to him as Twin # Trouble would leave lasting emotional scars requiring years of expensive therapy) working away at my Tool.  Now I didn't tell the wife, but in addition to admiring the splendor of the 930, he was playing with a seam ripper, quite possibly the most used and most important tool in my studio.

My Bernina snobbery comes from my mom.  She is also a Bernina snob.  I grew up watching my mom use a 930, so when I went to buy a machine, that it what I went with.  I saw her beat the crap out of her machine for 20 years, so I think I'll get at least 5 out of mine.  So genetic proof # 1.  Then Twin # Designer picks up the trade, proof positive.

Since my wife outed me last night at a baby shower, I guess I could just come out of the closet here again.  I made another Diaper/wipes case as a last minute baby shower order.  For some reason these things are really hard to make, even though after the first screw-up, they only take like 10 minutes.  The difficulty comes from the fact that there are no visible seam edges, even on the inside. This may have been my "cutest" one yet.  Pink with White Polka-dots on the outside, and silver on the inside.  I totally should have taken a picture of it.

Monday, October 05, 2009

God’s Love Hate Relationship w/ Texas… Sends Noah!

We barely got in a soccer game (if that is what you want to call 10 little 3 year-olds running around in a big disorganized pack with no clue as to what to do with a soccer ball) when the heavens opened up and we got the first glimpse of the apocalypse to come.

Sign of the times #1, Little Guy scored 2 goals. This was before he got disoriented and started kicking the ball in the wrong direction. My guess is he felt bad that it was 7-0 so he would lend a helping foot to the other team, including when a little girl on the other team picked up the ball and threw it into the goal and the crowd went wild with clapping and encouragement and the ref counted it as a goal.

Do you think I am the only one who was clapping politely while thinking I should run out there like a crazy man pointing at the little girl and yelling "hands, hands! You can't just throw the ball into the goal, this is soccer, not some sissy anything-goes no score keeping public school feelings based self-esteem building do-gooder ball!"

The second sign was more subtle, it was drip drop, drip drop. Then it was patter patter patter, and then when I didn't put two and two together, I turned around and saw some ridiculous looking guy in a robe with a beard to his gut and I'm thinking Bin Laden in Texas? He obviously didn't do his homework, but them I'm like holy crap... Its Moses! You know, the guy with the Ark! Wait, is that right?

Then I thought it was one of those guys you see over at, you know the homeless guy that walks around your Walmart all day because, you know, he has nothing else to do while he’s waiting for the front end manager to take a break so he can snag himself one of those brand new shiny shopping carts to haul around his lifelong collections of antique stereos and empty peanut butter jars.

But this was no homeless guy. I could tell because he was standing on what appeared to be a houseboat. So worst case scenario, he was “in transit” or between land based homes. The worst part was he was trying to get Riley and Koa to get on his boat, but as you may know from previous posts, Koa wants nothing to do with white guys, guys with sunglasses, and has a specific distaste for guys with facial hair. I think his pre-shelter owner was a kind of hippie version of the uni-bomber, you know, Jerry Garcia.

All I know was this guy was prepared, at first the house boat thing in the middle of the street seemed like overkill, but then the rain came down in sheets. We had a river flowing in the backyard, and our spillway started to fill up fast. I took the little guys out to take a look, but when I saw how bad it was, I knew only the Man of Steel could prevent any serious problems, so I found the nearest phone booth (Chicago) and changed.

We had a blast splashing in puddles, and trying to keep the twins from getting swept away into the gutter and down the drain. Basically, while Mr. Garcia was hoarding cats and dogs onto his boat, we were defying the signs and enjoying it. I guess when the heavens found out we wouldn’t just drown like in previous attempts, that action got shut down, because about 2 hours later, it was bright blue skies and sunny.

Moral of the story, don’t build an Ark, Home Depot marks up that wood way to high! Get a little rubber raft, a little hibachi grill, some sausages and an umbrella and eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we… Go back to work. Happy Monday!

Friday, October 02, 2009

US Olympic Bid Fails... Twin Falls Off Bike!

Many of you have probably heard that the US city of Chicago lost it's bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games. This is a tragedy, as it will now push the US to the brink of 3rd world status, as we now only get to host the Olympics every 12 years, instead of every 4.

The biggest problem with hosting the games in Brazil, is that it now leaves US children exposed to all kinds of maladies and danger. As you can see in this picture, Twin # Trouble has now lost his ability to learn to ride a bike.

In hearing the news that Rio won its bid to host the Olympics, Twin # Trouble immediately fell off his bike and scrapped his knee, in part because of his deep emotional connection to Chicago (I'm sure he heard me say "Chicago" at some point, and he is only 16 months old, so pretty much everything is a deep connection as he is not old enough to have many of his experiences diluted by others) but also in fulfillment of a prophesy by First lady Michelle Obama. She noted:

"We need all of our children to be exposed to the Olympic ideals that athletes from around the world represent, particularly this time in our nation’s history, where athletics is becoming more of a fleeting opportunity. Funds dry up so it becomes harder for kids to engage in sports, to learn how to swim, to even ride a bike."

Michelle was going to buy all American children tickets to the Olympics. It was the least that she could do as her "sacrifice" of going all the way to Denmark [with Oprah on a private jet] was all for "the [American] children"

We can only hope that the spirit of the Winter Olympics that was hosted in the US recently will continue to bolster the confidence as well as the balance and coordination of our youngsters. It is only that memory that helped Twin # Trouble have the courage to smile through the pain and get up on his bike again.

Hopefully the International Olympic Committee will see this great tragedy and "know" that the Children in the US have more of a right to learn how to ride a bike and swim than any of the children in Brazil. In fact Brazil is so un-important that the bureaucrats and unions that directed the curriculum of my public school education determined that it was wholly unnecessary to show me where Brazil is on a map. Proof positive that America Rules!