Things that have disappointed me lately:
1. The Democrats. I had hope that they would stand up to the Bush administration, finally, and start ending this misguided war of ours. (Remember Osama bin Laden? He’s still in Afghanistan. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. We attacked Iraq anyway. Saddam Hussein is now dead. Why are we still in Iraq? Why aren’t we going after terrorists?) People who know me know that I’m fairly patriotic. I love this country. I think our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are doing a helluva job. But I believe our government has put them in the wrong place at the wrong time – we’re fighting the wrong war.
2. The Republicans. Blindly following doctrine is not getting us anywhere. We cannot fight extremism with extremism.
3. Security National Bank. They’re tearing down the historic Williges Building to build a parking lot. Doesn’t our heritage mean anything? Our history is being lost at an extraordinary rate — in Sioux City we’ve lost the stockyards, most of downtown, the KD Station is scheduled for demolition… Now the Williges building. I find it shameful that we do not value our past. It’s where we came from.
4. Michael Vick. The Atlanta Falcons quarterback/millionaire is under investigation for dog fighting. Whether he’s guilty of the crime or not, he’s been hanging out with the wrong crowd. And you have to admit, it looks bad that they found 55 pit bulls and dogfighting paraphernalia at his house. And, you have to admit, it looks bad that they found the dogs while searching for illegal drugs. It looks bad. Bad. I am hereby announcing that Mr. Vick is not MY role model.
5. Alberto Gonzales. The more I learn about United States Attorney General Gonzales, the less impressed and more scared I become. His sneakiness started before he was crowned Attorney General when he pushed his agenda by going around Acting Attorney General James B. Comey (who had ruled against Mr. Gonzales) and pushing Attorney General John Ashcroft to sign a document while Ashcroft was in the hospital recovering from major surgery. (Can you imagine waking up from surgery to find people standing around your bed asking you to sign covert documents? Talk about taking advantage of a situation…) Mr. Gonzales has gone on to rule that torture is legal, citizens’ rights are mythical, and that lying to congress is perfectly okay — all you have to do is “not recall” anything.
6. Drug Companies. The only people greedier than big drug companies are big oil companies. People are dying because they can’t afford the hundreds of dollars it takes to buy a bottle of pills. Yes, I know… “We need to charge so much because we give free samples away, and it costs a lot of money to research new drugs.” Fine ‘n dandy. But you cannot deny that prices are out of hand, and that drug companies spend a lot more time researching drugs that people need to take on a daily basis than they do researching drugs to save lives. After all, if someone has to take a blood pressure pill every day, that’s steady income. But if someone pays twenty bucks for a single injection that saves their life, that’s only twenty bucks. Better to turn that single injection into a pill that they have to take every day for the rest of their life…
7. Oil Companies. I’m sick and tired of that Shell commercial that’s on TV 20 times an hour – you know the one — where some teenager is sucking his malted milkshake through a straw and his father, a big rich oil executive gets the brilliant idea that we can suck oil out of the ground. Brilliant. Show me a commercial where Shell unveils plans to make hydrogen and electricity available at their stations. Then I’ll be impressed. Honda has plans to release a hydrogen car next year. We’re gonna need hydrogen stations eventually. Someone’s gonna have to be a leader and actually start making the things, AND making hydrogen without burning fossil fuels in the process.
Oil executives are making record profits and ruining the American economy at the same time. I’m so proud of them! Does your shirt cost more? Well, that’s because it cost more to ship it from the factory. Does your milk cost more? Your beer? Your bread? It’s all going into the pockets of the oil men. And guess what? United States President George Walker Bush and Vice President Richard Bruce “Dick” Cheney are both oil men. Guess who has legislated laws favorable to oil companies? Guess whose friends are getting rich? Guess who will smugly smirk, throw his arms wide and shrug, saying “It’s the terrists fault” if you ask him about it.
We will be paying between $3 and $5 a gallon for gas until we change both our ways and our government.
8. Iowa. Why are we hiring people from other states to build coal plants in Iowa when we can hire our own people to build wind farms? Someone explain this to me.
9. Family Values. I’m really kinda getting upset at people who think Democrats have no family values. Look at the current presidential candidates (I’ll go with the top three in each party).
Democrat Barak Obama married his wife, Michelle in 1992 — nothing much there to talk about, really. Hillary Clinton and hubby Bill have been married for about a zillion years, overcame Bill’s “lapse of judgment” regarding a chubby intern and remained a stable couple throughout the turmoil. John Edwards and his wife have survived the death of a son and two bouts of cancer, and by all accounts have a very strong marriage.
Contrast this with the Republican candidates, all of whom tout the “party of family values” line. John McCain had numerous extramarital affairs, eventually leaving his crippled wife to marry one of his mistresses. Rudy Giuliani left his first wife to marry his mistress, then left her to marry his other mistress. Mitt Romney is married with five children – no scandal there.
So, of the six candidates, two of them — Democrat Obama and Republican Romney — have stable, rather unremarkable family histories. Two of them have overcome remarkable obstacles in their relationships – Democrats Clinton and Edwards. Two of them have numerous past infidelities – Republicans McCain and Giuliani.
Seems the party of values doesn’t value the values as much as they seem…
10. The Weather. Geeze, has it been a crappy couple of weeks or what? Oh well, it’ll get better eventually, I’m sure, as soon as the local weather patterns stabilize again after the whole Global Warming thing runs its course. I sure hope we can still grow food after that. But I guess that new coal plant in Eastern Iowa is worth it – what’s a little extra carbon in the atmosphere gonna do?
Things that have made me happy lately:
1. My Wife. The American Legion Riders (ALR) were invited to participate in the opening ceremonies and halftime show at the local arena football team’s “Salute to Veterans” night last Saturday night. It makes me exceedingly happy and proud that my wife not only approves of me participating in these things, but she comes along and takes an active role herself! She roamed around the arena, taking photos for the ALR’s web site and generally being helpful. It was yet another reminder that we truly are a team, me and she. I’m lucky and blessed to have her with me. (To see the photos, just click here or here.)
2. Honda. Finally, someone’s putting a hydrogen car into production! This 70-mile-per-gallon car does not burn gas, and the only emission is water vapor. Wondrous! The only problem is that there are no hydrogen filling stations around here (there are about 60 nationwide — 50 of them in California). Honda, however, is also developing a device that you can have at home that will not only produce hydrogen for your car but will also heat and power your house. YAY!
The only problem is that the gadget that makes the hydrogen and heats and powers your house burns natural gas. To be honest, I’m not sure how that affects global warming, but it doesn’t really sound so good… But it’s a start!
3. The Dollar Tree. It’s nice to have a dollar store nearby. We spent twelve bucks on toys and made three children happy. With the slow blight and destruction of our local neighborhood stores we’re grateful to have a thrift shop close at hand. Now if we can just get a local neighborhood grocery store to come back…
4. Bicycle Paths. Shortly after we moved into our happy little house in the hood the city came along and tore out all the trees in our neighborhood. Turns out that the little babbling brook that meanders behind our across-the-street neighbor’s house had flooded back in the 1950s, and the city was just now getting around to fixing it. So they tore out all the trees, straightened and widened the stream bed, lined it with rocks, built a bike path along the bank, and have now planted new seedling trees to replace the big huge old-growth trees that used to be there. Overall it’s a good project and needed to be done, but we were horribly distraught that they took so long to get our section of it done, and they tore out ALL the trees. But the other day I was able for the first time to walk along the new bike path for a few blocks. It was nice. I hope the new trees and other flora grow quickly. My mother-in-law has given Dagmar and I her old bicycles; we’re taking them to the bike shop today to see if they can be refurbished.
5. Google. I use Google stuff quite a bit. I have a gmail account, I use their photo software, their word processor and spreadsheet software, their web design software, their calendar, and this blog is done using Google stuff. I’m continually surprised and happy that Google is slowly but surely turning my lowly little PC into something more and more useful every day. Using computers is starting to be as I imagined it would when I was in college, lo those many years ago. And they do it in an environmentally friendly manner — I hear they use only recycled electrons.
6. Mustang Seats. If you have a motorcycle, get a Mustang seat. They’re kinda spendy, but your tuckus will thank you! Very much worth the cost.
I’m kinda sad – I came up with ten things that irritated me without a problem. But when I tried to think of things that have made me happy lately, I kinda ran out of steam after number three. I’ll keep going, though. I’m sure there are other things that make me happy (other than puppy dogs and beer and flowers and mushy stuff like that).
7. Puppy Dogs.
8. Beer. Boy, if you ever get the chance to try 1554 or Abbey, both brewed by the New Belgium Brewery, DO IT. You won’t regret it… Don’t be afraid of dark beer – these are both tasty, vaguely sweet beverages. (Abbey is brewed in the Belgian Ale style, while 1554 is based on a recipe the monks used to brew back in ye olden year of, well, 1554.) Good, good stuff! And what’s best is that the brewery is very environmentally friendly. They even give their employees bicycles so they can ride to work if you want. If you work there long enough, they send you to Belgium. What’s cooler than that?
9. Pot Stickers. (Bet you thought I’d say “flowers,” didn’t you.) Pot stickers make my tummy happy.
10. Weekends. Some day I’m going to find me a job that lets me get outside once in a while. Until then, I’m gonna love the heck out of weekends.