Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Obamamaniacs in the dumps

I read today in the Los Angeles Daily News that supporters of President Obama are disappointed and disillusioned. It turns out that he cannot in leap tall buildings in a single bound, fly like a bird, or stop speeding locomotives with his brute strength. It has been revealed to the Obamamaniacs that Mr. Obama is a (gasp) politician! And further, this pol from Chicago is a master at deal-making! (double gasp). These folks are so shaken by this according to the article (read the whole thing here) that they are visiting their shrinks to discuss their sadness over the turn of events. According to the reporter some of the clients of a valley psychologist are" ...expressing unhappiness over their unmet expectations of change under Obama." What, we haven't had enough change in our lives yet since President Obama has been in charge? I can't take any more change! I've got two issues here with the poor Obamaweenies mentioned in this article:

1. They are boo-hooing that their unreasonable and immature 'expectations' haven't been met after one whole year. I bet they were never told 'no' as children and always given a participation award for every activity too. No wonder they're unable to handle reality.
2. They are going to a psychologist to cry about their disappointment over Obama!? Are they serious??? This leads me to two more issues:
a. Who has a psychologist on retainer except well off liberal weenies in West Hollywood, Brentwood, and Bel Air? Raise your hand if you do. I didn't think so.
b. Who else but democrat weenies would go to a shrink when they are disappointed and let down by a political figure! Can you feature a conservative disappointed with John McCain or Sara Palin going to a shrink because they were disappointed by them? Of course not! They would go to the shooting range, or bowling, or the corner bar and down a couple shots-and-a-beer and voice their opinion loudly and get red in the face and then go home and pretty much get on with life.

It's going to be a long 3 more years....

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Watch out Los Angeles

The young son and I went driving today. I thought I handled it very well and only had to grab the wheel twice to stop the car from impacting the curb. Young son said later that I was not as relaxed as I told the Mrs and in fact I was somewhat loud and excited. The funny sight on the driving (we were going around and around the industrial center) was the other student driver going the other way past us. In the car was the driver (a teenage girl looking terrified), an adult passenger, and the car was going 28 in a 45 zone all telltale signs of a driver in training. By the end of the half hour of driving young son was actually doing not so bad.

As mentioned we watched "Downfall" last night. A long movie with subtitles, it was very much worth watching. A fascinating story, well done, and added more to my knowledge of the last days of WW2 in Germany. Some information about the movie here:
I highly recommend it to anyone. It is not only for those with an interest in history but it was also a powerful human drama. The scene of Magda Goebbels calmly placing cyanide capsules in the mouths of her sleeping children and killing them one by one was wrenching to see.

With that less than cheerful vision it is time for me to go to bed. A good week to all!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Grouchy updates

It rained buckets all week which eliminated my biking to work. Instead I walked from the train station in Glendale (about 3 miles each way). Let it be said that by Friday I was ready to get back on the bike. The walk was getting a bit boring. One afternoon it was raining so hard the streets close to the Los Angeles river were flooded over the kerbs. I had no choice but to wade through the water to cross each intersection. I was squishing as I walked! Fortunately my ACU gortex parka kept the warmth in and the rain out. Sunny and mild today, hurray!

We went suit shopping for young son today. He has the Winter Formal dance in two weeks and Confirmation coming up so we bought a black suit for him at JC Penny's. He looks pretty snappy in it. Things have changed from my day; back when the earth's crust was still cooling and I was in high school, if you invited a girl to a dance you paid her way. Apparently this isn't the case today since the happy couple both paid for their own tickets. I guess it makes it easier on the guy at least!

Overheard on the train this week was a group of ladies talking about the earthquake in Haiti and the relief efforts. The ladies could not understand - in fact were indignant - that succor was not present on-site as soon as the shaking stopped. Where were the helicopters to pluck people from the rubble? Where was the military? Why weren't medics parachuting into the damage within the hour? That's what we have an Army for! I was bemused and puzzled at their conversation and then realized why they were so indignant: their knowledge about such things is from TV shows and the movies. And what happens in a disaster movie? why, the helicopters show up bearing hunky paramedics and cute young blond women to save the day. They have no concept of the organization and preparation required to mount an expedition such as is underway now. They're not alone in this misconception - I hear this sort of stuff frequently from other people too.

Mrs Grouch is listening to some records in the other room. Chuck Mangione - any of you heard of him? He performed with her college band at a bowl game as a celebrity guest back when; she's had a soft spot ever since for him. I on the other hand didn't perform with him, but I did see him at O'Hare airport once using a pay phone. I dithered asking him for his autograph and while I hesitated he walked off. Oh well. I did get to shake Arnold Schwarzenegger's hand so that makes up for it.
(obligatory Arnold pictures)

This was 2004 and Arnold was still having fun being Governor. He doesn't look too happy these days. I'm guessing he will be happy when this gig is over.

Any time I feel that I am looking a bit shopworn I just look at my buddy Bruce Willis and see someone who is younger than me and has a lot more money but is looking even older than the old Grouch if that is possible. Of course there is that issue of the money that he has. Maybe worrying about keeping the money safe is what is wearing him out.

I'm going to watch "Downfall" tonight, the dramitization of Hitler's last days in Berlin. I've seen numerous spoofs on you Tube that use a scene from the movie with english subtitles. They're pretty funny. I decided that I should see the real movie now. Nothing funny about it or the subject. Report to follow.

The job process is moving along. I am in the background check process now. Since this is a city government position, the city wants to be sure that nothing embarrasing will come out after I (hopefully) have been hired. The only embarrasing thing that will be uncoverd by this process are my high school and college grades!

Lastly it has been a year since my father's passing. I still miss him every day and I still think about picking up the phone and giving him a call about the good and the not so good things going on in my life. He was such a positive influence on me and his love and support over the years helped me to keep on keeping on. Thanks Dad.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bird Names on the Brain

The Grouch household has been busily passing names back and forth proposed names for the little bird. Finally the Mrs settled on...wait for it....Little Bird! But wait, there's more! Not just Little Birdbut Little Bird in Greek which is pronounced Poolaki. To see how it is actually written in Greek go to Yahoo Babel Fish. So, we now have a yellow canary with a scarred right leg named Poolaki. Life is good at the Grouch household.

We saw "Sherlock Holmes" the movie on Monday. Besides having two characters, one named Holmes and the other Watson there was little connection to the Sherlock Holmes of yesteryear. That said it was an enjoyable movie and probably the best adventure movie I've seen in awhile. Worth seeing. I was staggered at the prices at the snack counter however. Two small drinks, two small popcorn bags and a box of candy cost more than the price of admission to the movie.

It has been raining here since Sunday. No problems at the Grouch household since we are smart enough to live on high ground with no hillsides to slide on us or away from us (and taking Grouch estates with the slide) but others are not so fortunate. There was even a tornado in Long Beach today although it appeared more like a big wind but what the heck. When it is all over we are supposed to receive about 20" of rain which is unheard of for this area. Of course the Greenies will be telling us we're still in a drought and must all wear sackcloth and cover ourselves in ashes to atone for being modern folks and using water in our daily lives. It is also cold here and snow is covering the nearby hills. Al Gore will tell us that this is mearly global warming in disguise.

That is about all for now. I have to go talk to Poolaki

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Name that bird part two

We have received many suggestions for the bird's name and although all are unique none have yet made the cut. I suggested 'Ralph' but Mrs. Grouch did not accept that name so we are still taking suggestions. The nameless bird is certainly a singer and is loud enough to sing first son right out of his bed in the morning. It is hard to imagine a 5 oz bird having enough lung power to wake the dead, or in this case first son, but that is what he insists is happening.

On a different topic...Only in Los Angeles.....

A recent news article stated that 24% of college and university students in Southern California have mild psychopathic tendencies in that they feel that 'rules do not apply to them'. I could have saved someone a lot of money if I had been asked. Given the number of people around here that ignore every rule, law, and custom of courtesy I would have pegged the number around 60-70% which would include the parents, siblings, and cousins of the 24% of college and university students who ignore rules.

The Mrs and I witnessed a man on his bicycle flying through traffic at a very busy intersection. What is so Los Angeles-y about this you may ask? The man was laying down on his bicycle while flying through traffic. I wish I had a camera with me. At least he was laying with his head forward. Now that I think of it, his horizontal position was a pretty good trick! Maybe he was hoping to be recruited for a reality show - real morons in Los Angeles!

And for one last bit of news: young son has been fitted for spectacles! When he took the DMV eye test for his permit he had difficulty seeing the eye chart with his left eye. We took him to the eye doc and it was determined that he is 20/20 in his right eye and 20/40 in the left. He asked for a monocle but the Mrs insisted on traditional glasses. I told him that he should get some glasses like Cyclops in X Men.

Keep sending the name suggestions!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Name that bird!

Mrs. Grouch went on shopping spree today after church. We stopped at the pet store to buy some Nyger seed for the greedy finches and came home with the seed plus a canary, a house for said canary, food, toys for the canary, toys for the cockateil and treats for the dog. The poor bird is deformed; his right leg bears the scars from either an angry fellow canary or perhaps his poor leg got caught in the door of the cage. At any rate he was 25% off and never let it be said that we pass up a deal!

So, the bird needs a name. I suggested a couple politically incorrect names which I will not post here. Mrs. Grouch did not accept those names. We're open to suggestions.

As I am writing this the bird is he stopped. I will tell him that in this house the birds must sing for their supper.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ghost of grades past

I've had reason to find and read my high school transcripts recently. I looked at the high school transcripts with trepidation. I don't remember being a stellar student and given the ongoing struggle to keep young son on track in school I probably don't want him seeing my grades. I was surprised to see that except for Algebra 2 I didn't do all that badly. Well ok, except for Algebra 2 and Chemistry 1 I didn't do to badly. I did manage to squeak out a (C) in German 2 much to my surprise. I also did well in Military History (B), Frontier Movements (A) and European History (B) - a pattern was established for the balance of my life. Wonder if these would be dummy or advance placement equivalents today? Data Processing got me a (B) mostly because I could type the punch cards accurately. I never did manage to write a program that worked.

Oh the nostalgia!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year!!

Whew! It has only been 7 days since my Christmas day post but it has been a whirlwind of activity. Where to begin?

Let's see...a developing tradition for me is the Christmas sickness which held true again for me. I have been resisting a cold for a couple of weeks. I made it through Christmas but by Sunday it was starting to hit me hard. I had a desert trip scheduled for Monday and I was considering wimping out and skipping it but in the end I went. Monday a.m. I really felt rocky but I tanked up on Contact cold remedy and we set off for the Mojave. Another Jeep with Dad and son accompanied us. A friend from the shooting range rode with me along with my young son. I used my new GPS on the trip and lo and behold the trail we crawled along 'Last Chance Canyon' showed up on the map as a road! Maybe it was a road in the 20s but anyone who found themselves on it now with anything less than a trail-ready 4x4 was in for a world of hurt. My friend looked a bit apprehensive as we banged off of various beer keg sized rocks and clawed up and down hills. He judged the trail to be a bit 'sporty'. We visited Burro Schmidt's tunnel

After this we traveled to Walt Bickel Camp the site of a gold miner's cabin left pretty much as when he lived in it from the 20s to the 80s. It was at this point that I realized that my Jeep's left front fender had hit a rock and two of the plastic rivets were sheared off which left it a bit loose and flapping about as we drove along. About this time my cold was returning with a vengeance. We drove on to an appropriate place to do some safe shooting and while doing so we also got to watch two fighter jets from Edwards AFB doing mock air combat overhead. I managed to make it home before collapsing in a heap from the effects of 150 miles of driving and the onrushing cold/flu

Tuesday I was in bed all day. It was not a fun day. I was supposed to take our house guests to the airport for their trip home but at 6 a.m. I was unable to move so Mrs. Grouch had to do the honors. Sorry Daughter!

Wednesday was recuperation. Mrs. Grouch's brother and family stayed with us that day and spent the night. The girls were fascinated with our dogs and the dogs loved the attention. I was exhausted.

Thursday was maybe going to be the Grouch's New Year's eve party but instead we called it off and Mr. and Mrs. Grouch were collapsed by the fire while the young son went to his girl friend's house where people know how to have a good time. We retrieved him at 12:30 a.m. and fell into bed.

Friday was a big day with New Years dinner at our place with Chee-Chee and Mrs. Grouch's NC brother, the Grouch #2 daughter and #2 son and the young son's girl friend attending. All went well, the dinner was excellent and everyone had a good time. Mrs Grouch and #2 daughter whipped up a batch of New Years cookies for desert - yum!

Saturday was important business for the Grouch - gun trading all day on the other side of L.A.

Sunday - today - the temperature was 70F and the sky was sunny. I did my favorite thing for this time of year and visited the rich side of town with my Jeep and trailer and filched the giant trees put out for recycling. I brought them home, cut off the branches for recycling and cut the trunks up for firewood. I only did 8 trees this year. On my second pass through the best neighborhood (my little trailer will only carry two of the giant trees at a time) the neighbors were outside seemingly discussing the Christmas tree bandit when I showed up again! I smiled at them as I rolled passed, pulled over and grabbed another tree from the sidewalk. They observed me and huddled closely as they conversed in hushed tones. Maybe they thought I was going to get their BMWs next! The trees that come from the rich neighborhoods are truly amazing - these things must be 12ft tall. They have to be $150 trees. No recession on that side of town. Conversely in our neighborhood the pitiful 5ft trees that are left forlornly on the sidewalk aren't even worth my time stopping to pick up. It is tough to be middle class these days.

Happy 2010 everyone. Here's hoping it is better than 2009!