Crash It! *Updated*

September 30, 2008 at 8:02 pm (Politics) (, , , , , )

I’ve been trying since 9:00 a.m. this morning to send an e-mail to my peeps in Congress. Seems like every other American is trying the same thing because they have this message posted: 

The House of Representatives is currently experiencing an extraordinarily high amount of email traffic. The Write Your Representative function is therefore intermittently available. While we realize communicating to your Members of Congress is critical, we suggest attempting to do so at a later time, when demand is not so high. System engineers are working to resolve this issue and we appreciate your patience.

I’ll only assume if I attempted to contact my Senators that I would get the same response. I say CRASH THE SERVER!!! JAM THE PHONE LINES!!!! LET SOMEONE IN WASHINGTON KNOW WE’RE PAYING ATTENTION!!!!

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and talking to people who have a better grasp on this situation than I do. I have a pretty good grasp. I know I had one table today… 1. Uno. One. Our crowd gets thinner everytime something else goes under. If you say it hasn’t hit Main Street yet, you aren’t looking in my bank account. Oh, I no longer have a bank account, so, guess you won’t find anything there. Well then, take a look at my paycheck.

However, from the reading that I have done, its apparent to me that Paulson, nor anyone on Wall Street needs a bailout from the American taxpayers. There are other avenues for solving this crisis. At least, they keep saying that. Obviously one of the biggest problems is the mortgage crisis. Another big problem are all of the corporate leeches who got us into this mess to start with, because they were given the rope to hang themselves by deregulation. What they have done is greedy, reprehensible, and irresponsible and if they walk away from Wall Street with anything more than a boot up their collective asses, I will personally march on Washington, DC with a sign and all.

Does something need to be done? Of course it does. However, I’ve read enough “rush to judgement,” “unknown impact,” and “there are other ways,” from The Washington Post to The Wall Street Journal to convince me that The House did the right thing.  The Irish government made a surprise move today in insuring all of of their banks (there’s four) for two years. Basically, the Irish form of FDIC. The reason banks fail is because some are stronger than others, and rather than risk your money in a weaker bank, you pull your money (or your company’s money) and put it into a stronger bank.

This leaves the weaker bank still weaker and they go under.  One proposal now is the raise the FDIC to $250,000 instead of the current rate. In Ireland, the investors were much happier and their stocks rose anywhere from 7 to 22 percent. I got this information from a gentleman mentioned in the WSJ, Mike Shedlock of Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis.  He breaks down the Paulson Plan fairly efficiently and reiterates a lot I’ve heard from other sources, and what I had figured out myself due to an incredible Political Science teacher in college (re: The Paulson Plan being unconstitutional and the government intervening in free trade amounts to Socialism).

I think this why a lot of those in Congress, including those running for President, and a lot that weren’t,  didn’t say, “Hell yes! Its the best plan ever!” They said they were inclined to vote for it, or that it needed more work, or if certain stipulations were met, they might vote for it. But, most seemed uncomfortable and even Newt Gingrinch said he would have “sadly” voted for it because it was the only thing Paulson would agree to.

Oh. Really?  Too bad Paulson’s position isn’t an elected one.

So, I’m feeling the crunch on Main Street, but, knowing what I know now, I’m glad the Bailout Bill failed in the House. Maybe it’s worthy for all of us to stop, take a breather, and look into this a bit deeper. If they raise the FDIC, it appears as though we can stablize the banks and buy the time we need for real change and boots up asses, not bailouts.

*UPDATE*  I was able to send an e-mail to both of my Senators, however, I’m still trying to get through to my Representative.

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So, This Is Why Economics Is Important

September 29, 2008 at 7:08 pm (Politics) (, , , )

Remember back on September 12th I wrote a post about my head hurting as I tried to wrap my brain around the economic packages that Obama and McCain were advocating?  I take that as my civic duty to inform myself of the issues facing this country and my fellow countrymen.

What I see are a bunch of billionaire fat cats who have stuffed their coffers and gotten the average Joe Blow and his pension plan into some extremely hot water.

I can’t say I am or was in favor of the bailout. At the same time, I can’t say I was against it. I read the layman’s HR bill online and I was happy to see that it had included some of the finer points that one of my Senator’s, Jay Rockefeller, spoke of, such as, not doling out $700 billion dollars overnight and making those with the purse strings accountable in more than one way.

What it didn’t speak of was making those responsible for this debacle pay any of the 700 billion dollars back. Of course, that could include several Presidents, one of which is deceased. It could have something to do with Reaganomics, it could have something to do with the creation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (even though they were created during a time of economic surplus), it could have something to do with the Bush Administration, and it could have a hell of a lot to do with GREED.

I vote we raid the bank accounts of those making 10 million dollars a year, and getting 2 million dollar bonuses, and see if we can’t find enough to fund the bailout with their money instead of ours. You know, us, the regular Joe Blows of the world. I’ve heard numerous people say, “If I fuck up financially, I don’t get a bailout and neither should they.”

I fully understand this and don’t think I haven’t thought it. However, this is not a single household, this is a country in deep financial crisis. What Paulson really said when asked about the banks was, “Their holding their own, but make no mistake, they could fail.” He just didn’t want to alarm anyone and make the situation worse by actually saying that. What he actually said was a non-commental, “They’ve stayed strong so far.” I wouldn’t be surprised if he weren’t crossing his fingers and toes when he said that.

However, some have cited some “bailout” strategies that ole Paulson may be aware of but has not utitilized. I mean, why put anyone making millions of dollars a year in a precarious position when instead you can ask the Government for a handout?

Some financial consultants are still concerned that the banks will either fail or just do a credit freeze. That means that small businesses, like the one I work for, wouldn’t be able to make payroll. Hell, we couldn’t even get product because its all credit based. It would mean that you couldn’t even use your ATM card. It would mean no buying or selling on the Internet except by cash or money order. Oy vey!

So, whether you were for the bailout or against, the ramifications could be far reaching if things get much worse. I have yet to see anyone propose any great alternative to a bailout except allowing those that formed this mess to go down with it. If it were that simple I’d be the first one to hold my middle finger in the air and say, “Suck it!”  If the government, and therefore, the People, bail out Wall Street and it works, I’d say we’ll all be a bit better off. If we bail them out and it doesn’t work or we don’t bail them out at all, well, I’d say you’d better have a crap ton of cash hidden in your mattress or in Mason jars buried in your backyard.

My dad once said that the next Civil War in America would not be over politics, but over money. That it would boil down between the “haves” and the “have nots,” as the majority of Americans were pushed further toward the poverty line, while an elite few were basking in their ill-gotten millions (or billions), snacking on caviar.

I guess money was the wake-up call that America really needed, not just in regard to the Presidential election, but in holding Congress, our state governments and our local governments accountable for their actions. Why did it take so long for so many to wake up?

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Let’s Go To Europe!

September 28, 2008 at 2:13 pm (International Travel) (, , , )

So much to write about…

My German parents just returned home from a three week trip to Croatia. Here are a few reasons to visit Croatia:

This is, I believe, Lake Garda, or Lago di Garda, as it is known in its home country of Northern Italy.

This is, I believe, Lake Garda, or Lago di Garda, as it is known in its home country of Northern Italy.

They also stopped in Mittenwald, or “Middle Forest,” in the German state of Bavaria, located in Valley of the River Islar, on the northern foothills of the Alps on the border of Austria.

I believe it may have been a bit nipply there.

I believe it may have been a bit nipply there.

My Papa also went on a very long bicycle tour earlier this year where he traveled 910 miles in 18 days through Germany, from Fuessen (where Neuschwanstein Castle is located in Bavaria – the Cinderella castle from Disney) to Sylt, the northermost German island in the North Sea. He traveled a great deal in the former East Germany on this trip as well. He took 1200 photographs, but I’m just going to post a few, LOL!  Somewhere, deep in time, Papa and I share the same genetics labeled: Crazy travel plans.

My Papa didn’t tell me where this was, but I’m betting Bavaria.

Again, Papa didn’t say where this was, but again, betting Bavaria.

Town Hall in Saalfeld.

Magdeburg: Hundertwasser Haus – Magdeburg was one of the most important medieval towns in Europe. This is part of the former East Germany. Its history is over 1,000 years old, so, I’ll not be giving you a brief timeline.

Entrance tower in Tangermuende – Also in the former East Germany, also has over a 1,000 year history.

Not exactly sure where this is, Papa didn’t say, again.

Papa tried to tell me – in English – that these are “reet” covered roofs near the coast of the North Sea. Love our hearts, sometimes our German and English get mixed up as these roofs are “reed” covered.  I call that “Germanglish.” Where you take German and English and then you mangle it to get your point across.

Although difficult to see, this is the German version of a wind tower near the coast. They build much prettier wind farms near the coast.

 The North Sea.

A stormy North Sea. My Papa said the last three days of his trip he had 30 mph headwinds.

If you travel to these beautiful places you may run into these fantastic people:

 That’s my host parents enjoying their breakfast on the terrace of their apartment overlooking the sea in Croatia.

Hopefully, one day, you will find me there.

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Me Me Me Meeeeee….

September 25, 2008 at 7:23 pm (Uncategorized)

I was over at Mahala’s and she had a meme posted, which looked sorta fun, so thought I would try it out.

4 things I did today:
* Drank coffee.
* Wondered if our sous chef has a crush on me like my manager thinks he does. The jury is out.
* Turned down the position of full-time office girl at the restaurant to stay on the floor. I just like serving, folks.

* Wished by 11:00 a.m. I could have a beer before the doors opened.

4 things on my to do list:
* Make some jewelry!
* Clean the house. Oh joy, always at the bottom, but always on the list.
* Get laid by someone I actually like. Body hair optional, facial hair would be nice, and, uh, nice teeth, decent physique, likes to cook me breakfast after morning sex, and then wants to have more sex. What’s the question again?

* See a freakin’ concert already!
4 of my guiltiest pleasures:
* Sex, when I can get it. Wait, I don’t feel guilty about that. Ummmm… taking a spoon to the mixing bowls for our desserts at work. I don’t feel guilty about that either. Okay, maybe I do feel a bit guilty about imagining sex with a few of our guests.
* Sitting on the porch reading the newspaper in the sunshine while I should be cleaning house.
* Doing anything other than cleaning house.
* Taking long drives when the gas prices are insane.
4 random facts about me:
* Tequila is my favorite liquor.

* Eichbaum is my favorite beer. 
* German Reisling is my favorite wine.  

* I can hold my liquor, my beer, and my wine, and I’m a lot of fun when I do!

Normally you’re supposed to tag people, but like Mahala, I’m just not into that. Do it if you want.

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Nanner Goes to Middle School

September 23, 2008 at 10:35 pm (Uncategorized)

I had the day off today so I packed up my beading supplies and headed off to Nate’s middle school to give a talk on beadwork. His art teacher is new a sent out a letter asking parents or other relatives to offer to give talks and demonstrations on various forms of art. I was the guinea pig.

I spoke to all of her art classes, not just Nate’s. Girls are naturally drawn to my work because of the jewelry aspect of it. I drew the boys in by talking about how I came to start beading, which included the story of shooting my buck, and how I wanted to decorate the antlers. One young man’s hand shot up in the air and I answered, “It was a five point.” He didn’t even get the question out of his mouth.

Even those young men and women who acted disinterested were out of their seats just as fast as those that asked questions and were attentive to touch and examine my beadwork and the components I had laid out. They especially liked the antique beads and how miniscule they were in comparison to the other beads I had there. I had also taken the 100 year old French steel cut beaded purse that I’ve been trying to work on restoring.

A young man was sitting in a front seat, looking very dispassionately at me the entire time as I explained the significance of the beaded purse. I walked over and asked that he hold his hands out, which he did with some reluctance, but as I placed the heavy piece over his hands, his eyes lit up and he smiled, definitely in spite of himself. 

I have to say, they were all very respectful and even the boys were inquistive, especially when they were allowed to touch and handle the pieces. Nate even rubbed his head on my shoulder a little to show his pride.

I’ll be going back in a few weeks, before the end of the nine weeks, to help them make their own polymer clay pendants. A lot of the kids are really going to miss the teacher and taking art, as they are only allowed to take it for nine weeks, which I believe is an atrocity.  Some of those kids, and you can tell which ones, despite their flippant attitudes, truly enjoy art, if not just the acceptance of the art teacher for their individual gifts and abilities. It may be the only class where they’re graded on how far outside the box they can travel.

Never doubt that teachers work very hard on very small budgets, so if you have a child, volunteer to help your child’s teacher in anyway you can. Its very rewarding.

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Clueless

September 22, 2008 at 9:06 pm (Alice in Chains, AZ, Black Stone Cherry, Friends, My Travels)

Last night, my good bud, Beanie and I went to one of my favorite haunts, The Point. I think she’d had a bit to drink or wasn’t paying attention or both, because it took her about 45 minutes of driving in the dark on a two lane highway before she asked, “Dude, where are we?”  Clueless was she.

I kind of didn’t tell her where we were going, just asked if she wanted to take a drive.  I distracted her by listening to Black Stone Cherry’s new CD and telling her twice why I love Alice and Jerry and why AZ is still stuck in my crawl. Then I spent some time laughing at her as she told me how creepy The Point is, which I already know. Except, well, The Point is not so creepy for me anymore. I’m pretty convinced that The Point sits on converging lines of energy and the reason I am drawn there is due to that energy.

I love the riverfront there. I know I’ve been there so many times and have never taken pictures. Maybe someday. I can see that they are working on the murals again and the 7th annual Mothman Festival was this weekend, which I missed… but I much prefer The Point to myself.

Happened to talk to AZ while I was out there. Beanie was witness to the ultimate humiliation of hating someone and loving them all at the same time. I think somewhere in the rant afterwards that I, or we, came to the conclusion that he’s a big pussy and completely and utterly, fucking, clueless. CLUE. LESS.

I said, “Well, you and the wife have almost been married a year… how’s that workin’ for ya?”

He said, “Its had its moments. We were actually talking about that the other day and she said, ‘I didn’t think we’d make it a year’ and I said, ‘Me either, but there’s still time.'” See, clueless. I mean, if I’m going to go through all of this turmoil, then at least put your back into it! Dumbass.

Ya’ll are so right. I need someone with a little bit more of a clue! What a waste!

I think Jefferson Airplane said it best:

When the truth is found to be lies
and all the joy within you dies
don’t you want somebody to love
don’t you need somebody to love
wouldn’t you love somebody to love
you better find somebody to love

And they’d better not be fucking clueless.

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The Bitter End

September 21, 2008 at 8:15 pm (Alice in Chains, AZ, Black Stone Cherry, Crazy Shit, Music, T-Bird, Work)

Thank you for all of your comments and support. I’ll not try to kid myself nor any of my readers about my state of mind right now, which has some to do with not going to Arizona but has more to do with my life in general.

They say like draws like, so I try to keep a positive attitude and regularly give myself pep talks. It wasn’t lost on me that I was where I was supposed to be, and that wasn’t in Arizona, but catering a party for 100 people and making enough money to buy Nate’s medicine this week and have some left for cat litter, gas, and eye makeup remover. Although the reason for being here instead of there has not yet revealed itself, unless the real reason is that the Universe is truly trying to make me as fucking miserable as possible before revealing this “big thing.”

For some reason, my thoughts have been on AZ, not the state, but the person, a lot this morning and afternoon. Perhaps the reason being that his first wedding anniversary approaches and with it, a lot of baggage I wish I could just stop, drop, and roll on. A part of me wonders if I should tell him how I feel and have felt for a long time. Just get it over with and have my say. I’m not sure what that will accomplish. However, one of the new Black Stone Cherry songs covers my feelings on this subject. Its from the song “The Bitter End” –

I will never forget
All the things you said
I never heard you say you’re sorry
I hate you for leavin’ me dead

I did see T-Bird at her son’s birthday party where I was inundated with negativity and a list of her ongoing medical problems, and the inevitable embarassment of half the people in our group using some of the seven bad words in front of other families in a packed house of the kid’s restaurant with the rat for an icon. Oy vey. Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve been away from someone or something for a while, and then you’re around it again, and realize how much you don’t miss it? Kind of how I felt last summer when I went back to being a paralegal again for two days and I was ready to have my head examined?

I’m not going to lie and say I can’t use all of the seven bad words in one coherent sentence, nor am I going to lie and say I haven’t, however, when in a crowded, kid-friendly environment, I’ve been known to watch my mouth. Some people, including T-Bird, her family, and some of her friends, obviously don’t give a shit and they’re not quiet about it.  So, that situation is still squating there like a toad.

My friend’s relationship with the Greek Adonis is progressing. Guess he decided the “male code” did not apply (and it doesn’t). I’m pretty surprised at how much hearing her talk about it is bothering me. I guess a year of noticing all of his fine qualities, like his manners and kindness, in addition to his good looks, hasn’t really gotten me anywhere. My reciprocation of his manners and kindess didn’t get me anywhere either. That’s a bitter pill to swallow.

I’m sure I’ll have a dose of bitterness tomorrow also over one of my co-workers. I have a great deal of affection for the young chef – not the aforementioned young chef that went back to culinary school, but the one who has been there since I started. He turned 18 last Tuesday. Last night at the catering, he was basically head chef, as he was our only chef, taking direction from owner chef, but then left on his own to woo and wow the masses. As his helper, I took direction from him and I was pleasingly surprised at his maturity and grace under pressure. (Especially when one lady, not happy with the ginormous portions of grilled flatbread and the ackee dish we had on the tables, decided to help herself to the salads and fruit we had covered on the table.) Ackee, by the way, is the national fruit of Jamaica man. It is de-lish!

Not that I haven’t flirted with him before, because I’m not bashful, but I honestly have a lot of affection for him, which everyone frowns upon because I’m 20 years older than he is and because I chose to treat him like the mature young man he is, versus my child or kid brother. I may be no Demi Moore and he’s no Ashton Kutcher, but I have a feeling I’ll be telling my co-workers to butt the fuck out of my friendship with him. I have no vile, evil intentions and they can just get over it.

And that prayer thing that Vince mentioned in my last comments, yeah. Well, I can’t say my faith hasn’t been shaken quite a bit in the past 22 months. I’ve prayed a lot, and I’ve told them and myself, that I know there is a purpose for everything that has happened. I’ve told myself that “God doesn’t like a quitter,” nor anyone who sits around waiting on life to happen to them, that a knight on a white horse isn’t going to show up and rescue me and all rescues should be self-induced. Sitting around in my house isn’t going to accomplish anything so I make that effort to go somewhere other than work and home, whether it be here or beyond. And, there’s the whole positive-attitude-white-light-projecting-pep-talks and the vile job of shaking off negative baggage and dealing with crap instead of just stuffing it further into the deep confines of my heart and psyche.

I mean, who wants Mr. Right to show up and me in the Wrong Place emotionally?

In as far as Mr. AZ, well, I learned a lot from that whole bullshit. I’ve definitely learned that I do have the capacity to hate someone with every sub-atomic particle in my body. The problem with that, is that you have to really care to hate someone and I really do care. The rest of the lyrics from “The Bitter End” tell a tale of love and hate.

(Through these times)
I’ve always held your hand
(By your side)
Everyday you couldn’t stand
(I’ll hold on) to see you rise again
(I’ll still love) You ’til the bitter end
‘Til the bitter end

I’m ready for the bitter end, okay? I know why I haven’t moved on past this yet and its because I had a huge emotional investment in AZ. I spent a greal deal of time walking around indifferent and numb and now I’m just pissed. I am very angry because I feel as though he took advantage of my love for him and used me at his discretion. I hate the fact it still bothers me. I hate the fact I fell for it. Its EMBARASSING to be played so fucking hard and buy into it with your whole fucking soul. Which is exactly what I did.

After Kevin died, he and I spent a lot of time together and on the phone. She wasn’t around and he and I did what couples do to console one another, emotionally, mentally, physically. And later he said, “I asked her not to be there and she said for me to take my time and she would be there when I was ready,” like she was some kind of saint. Oh, after I get him through the screaming, crying part of it, she can take the spoils of war. I told him, “Its not about whether she’s willing to be there for you, its about how much you’re willing to let her be there for you…” and he looked at me and the “like you are” was spoken.

Pretty powerful shit there. Don’t get invested in that. It didn’t mean shit, at least not to him, because two weeks later, he asked her to marry him. That’s what I meant to him – nothing. To believe anything else, regardless of what he did for me after the fire, regardless of all of the talks we had, the porch time, the backrubs, the blowjobs, the pussy lovin’, the laughter, the blood, sweat, and tears, the hugs and kisses, to believe anything other than it was a big fat fucking head game and that I EVER meant anything to him is detrimental to my recovery.

Given that I would rather not make this mistake again, and given that I would prefer not to carry this sort of baggage into another relationship, I’d better get crackin’ on making this the end. I’d like to truly get to the point where I am indifferent, not numb indifferent, just indifferent, because the opposite of love isn’t hate, its indifference. Its past time for the bitter end.

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Trying Not To Think

September 20, 2008 at 12:58 am (Alice in Chains, Attitude in Overdrive, Black Stone Cherry, Friends, Music, My Travels, Work)

About NOT going to Arizona this weekend.

How I feel like there’s something out there, but I don’t know where to find it.

About my GM putting her dog down today. It was about the same thing that happened to Hermione, but her dog had a tumor on her liver.  It breaks my heart for her, especially since I’ve been in her shoes too often.

About Not going to Arizona.

About the catering I’m doing  tomorrow, and I really like the guy who is having the party, except, he gets touchy-feely when he’s had too much to drink. I figure he’ll have too much to drink and I hope I can find a place to hide, like behind my co-worker, who is tall and manly and won’t put up with much touchy-feely stuff.

About wasting my life. I love WV and I love the mountains, but its the same old tired stuff, every damn day.  Except, I’m not sure if its me or WV or both. Its not that I can’t handle the hustle and bustle of the big city… I just don’t like to. I’ve put Columbia back on the 10 year plan. It gives me something to look forward to.

Feeling bad that I was jealous that my friend got to make out with the Greek Adonis and then all of that went to hell in handbasket because of the stupid “male code.” Then we both felt bad because he really is a good guy and showed that even more by being loyal to his friend. But, the “male code” still sucks and we don’t believe he really had a reason to implement it. Its very confusing and I don’t feel like explaining.

About going to bed… not in Arizona. Not seeing Black Stone Cherry tomorrow. Not seeing Alice in Chains. Not being in Arizona.

Can you tell I feel really shitty about NOT BEING IN ARIZONA?!? I know, I’m being selfish about it, when there could be worse things than not going to Arizona, like losing my house (again), or having 3 or 5 feet of flood waters or (insert horrible thing). But, I use my concerts and traveling to keep myself going for me. Not for work or for Nate, but for me.

I’d really like to take some dance classes again, just not sure where I’d fit it in and how I’d pay for it. Maybe I’ll ask for dance classes for Christmas, along with an iPod. Yep, still don’t have an iPod. Still not going to Arizona.

So tired of being here, wherever “here” is.

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FUBAR

September 15, 2008 at 9:33 pm (Attitude in Overdrive, Crazy Shit, Memories)

As usual, I’m here to piss people off… so let us commence with the golden showers:

1.  Folks of Texas and Louisana that refused to leave and now need rescuing – I heard the reports all the way in WV that things could be obscene down there. I mean, OBSCENE. I mean, “Certain death if you stay” obscene.  Why did you stay? I haven’t heard one of you say, “I didn’t have any transportation,” I have heard you say, “I didn’t think it would be that bad.” What part of “certain death” and “18-22 foot storm surge” and “massive power outages” did you not get? For those sitting in their attics watching TV running on generators and don’t want rescued, well, good for you.

2.   For those concerned, despite the recent meltdowns of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Bros., and Merrill Lynch, with AIG teetering on the great abyss, the potential for thousands of jobs to go down the drain, etc., well, don’t worry, the economy is fine, its merely “sluggish.”  Unemployment is at its highest level in 5 years, but still relatively low according to history, and in the past year the number of unemployed people in the US only rose by 2 million. And don’t worry about the ever spiraling debt and ever growing trade deficit, we’ll have years and years to pay all of that back.

3.   Gas has only gone up $.20 to $4.05 a gallon. WOOT! Even though our local refinery is only an hour away, we get our crude oil from the Texas pipeline. Regardless of the fact that the price of oil has fallen, the price of gas keeps rising, and not just because of Ike. This happened before Ike, like two weeks ago. Yep, it was $3.73 and then it went to $3.85 even though the price of oil fell.  The good news is, I got a gallon of milk today for $2.99!!!  Now, if my car ran on milk, I’d be a little better off.

4.  Remember the Greek Adonis from the engagement party last year?  Yeah, you know, I’ve had a mad crush on him ever since. I’ve seen him quite a few times since then and he’s always just as handsome and courteous and sweet and tall as he was then. And I always want to smooch his face and a few other things. So, someone I know, she got to smooch his face and a few other things. And she said he was a good smoocher and his other things weren’t anything to snicker at either.

You know that shitty feeling you get when someone gets something you’ve wanted and you kind of hope it wasn’t all that so you don’t feel so bad that you didn’t get it, but then you find out it was all that and a bucket of peaches and it just makes you feel shittier? 

Yeah, that’s kinda where I am right now.

Oh, and I’m not going to Arizona either… so, the week is off to a great start already. Now, I’m going to wander over and make a donation to the Red Cross. I’m not entirely heartless.

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Locking and Loading the 2nd Amendment

September 13, 2008 at 12:30 pm (Uncategorized)

I was over visiting Jeanette and in her comments was Naomi (OldOldyLady of the Hills) who directed Jeanette to a post written by a lady named Dianne who had written eloquently about 9/11. (I didn’t link Jeanette because she’s linked on my sidebar and she’s password protected.)

Dianne’s post made me cry. I can’t even begin to wax eloquently about her post, so just go see for yourself.

However, I also read her most current post and felt compelled to address an issue that she brought up in regard to Sarah Palin. It is no secret that I’m not a Sarah Palin fan, however, I am a hunter, like Sarah. Dianne made the reference that Sarah “loves to kill innocent creatures.”  (She also called Sarah “a dangerous, medieval nut case,” which I applaud, even more so given that I had trouble getting the spelling of medieval correct.) I digress.

I started hunting when I was young, but didn’t kill anything because I was scared of the kick of the gun. It wasn’t until later in my life, at age 31, that I actually picked it back up after years of thinking about it. My dad was an ATF certified gun dealer, so having guns around was a normal part of my upbringing. I live in West Virginia and hunting season is as big as NASCAR and WVU football, if not more so.

From the hunting perspective, I don’t actually enjoy killing another creature. The thrill of the hunt, for me, and I know for many others, is not the killing, but the hunt itself. Its about pitting yourself against the terrain, the elements, and the intelligence of other mammals. Its also about how full my freezer will be in the coming summer months when work dips off and I’m struggling, like now, to pay my bills, and having a little extra deer meat to feed myself with can be a really good thing. I don’t shoot squirrels because I won’t eat them.

Aside from a food source, there is another reason that I hunt, and that is herd control. A good example is the shopping center that was built about 8 miles from me. I guess no one took into account how much wildlife they would be displacing with the Hell*Mart, Targay, and the other stores and restaurants. A big problem with that is also that this land abutts incorporated cities that have no hunting allowed. Now, the townships complain about deer damaging their yards (and their vehicles) and the influx of raccoons is astounding.

And while said wildlife could travel a few miles south to the unincorporated area so they could be controlled through hunting, they aren’t stupid. Why give up the succulent gardens and tasty trashcans of humanity to return to a life of foraging for food in the deep forest? Of course, one must also blame the humans in this matter for thinking raccoons are cute and feeding them. Raccoons are NOT CUTE! They are mean little creatures who carry rabies. Intelligent, yes, cute, NO. Feed a ‘possum! They’re a hold over from the Ice Age because they don’t contract rabies nearly as easy as raccoons do! Its a rare sight for a ‘possum to carry rabies!

Now, we have a coyote problem. Coyotes breed like rabbits, are sly, shy, wily, and will eat your cat before you can say “meow.” Yet, someone thought it would be a good idea to reintroduce the coyote to West Virginia. Guess they never thought about how to control the population of said coyote in the incorporated areas and the protected State Forest they introduced it into, which, by the way, abutts the Capitol City. My boss, who lives in said Capitol City, can hear the coyotes howling at night.

Coyote hunting is not as simple as sitting in a tree stand waiting for Bambi to wander by. It involves calls and howlers and sometimes dogs, much like coon hunting or bear hunting.  I don’t know anyone who knows how to hunt coyotes. While calls and such are used for turkey hunting and deer hunting, your success is not completely dependent upon it, like it is with coyotes. So, we have all of these coyotes with only a select few who actually know how to kill them to keep their population in check, and even if we do learn, the worst of the problem is in the big city where you can’t hunt them! Ugh! What a disaster!

And so now we can wander into 2nd Amendment territory. As some of you know, I lived in Germany for a year as an exchange student and went back in 2000 to visit with my family and friends. Germany has very, very strict gun control laws. Your regular police officer on the street does not carry a weapon, at least they didn’t when I was there, and as of 2000, they still didn’t. The interesting thing is that my ex-boyfriend is a detective with the German police and he outlined all of the testing (psychological, practical, etc.) that he had to undergo in order to carry a firearm.

The gun control laws came under scrutiny following a school shooting in Germany. You do have to have a license in order to own a weapon, following a three day course and test, and hunters have to take a year long course on gun safety with an exhaustive test before obtaining the right to hunt. While the laws are strict, it is still possible to own a weapon in Germany and many do enjoy that right.

And while it may be noteworthy that Germany has lower homicide rates than the US of A, so does Switzerland, and they have liberal gun laws, a very high weapons rate per capita, and yet one of the lowest gun releated crime rates in the world. One individual in the comments of one crime rate website I looked at stated something to the regard that America is violent because the immigrants are violent and raise our crime rates. In regards to that statement, I can say I believe it to be an oversimplified explanation of crime rates and violence in America.

That’s not to say that it doesn’t have merit. Its also difficult given that I live in the insular mountains of West Virginia, which ranks around 39 or 40 of the 50 states for violent crime, and while we have a variety of immigrants here, the vast majority are hard-working, tax-paying families. Although I have travelled to over half of the states of the United States, my experiences with immigrant populations in those cities including NYC, L.A., New Orleans, and Houston, have been limited at best. Most of the violent crime in West Virginia exists due to the drug trade and the family feudal system of domestic violence.

There were 75 murders in WV in 2006. Our population hovers around 1.8 million. I’d say those numbers are pretty good for a bunch who are well known for our love of hunting and firearms. Unfortunately, I don’t have any data that shows if those 75 murders were committed with firearms or in another fashion.

This post doesn’t have any great insights into the American culture, nor gun control, or hunting. I support hunting for the control of animal populations and to put food on your table. Sometimes those things don’t coincide, because while I would kill a coyote, I doubt I would eat it. Same thing for a raccoon. I’m not sure whether stricter gun control laws would reduce violence in America. I can’t say I agree with folks toting around automatic or semi-automatic weapons for the hell of it or shooting big game from helicopters, but, there’s always a grey area.

In every big social issue in America, there’s always a big grey area full of caveats and a hope for common sense. You have the scare tactics of those who believe a ban on certain automatic weapons and add-ons and modifications will lead to an outright ban of firearms in general. They hear the word “gun control” and freeze up without bothering to read the fine print, to educate themselves about proposed gun control laws before hiding their weapons in the attic or under the floor boards or simply position themselves on their front porch with their shotgun, ready to mow down anyone who disagrees with their right to bear arms.

I think a more important question is, why are we killing each other? This doesn’t have anything to do with guns or lack thereof, it has to do with a societal mindset. Why does the US have a higher rate of homicide and violent crime than other industrialized (and armed) nations? Is it legal/illegal immigrants?  Is it poverty? Drugs? Education or lack thereof? A “take no shit” attitude that has prevailed since the Minutemen were called to duty in the Revolutionary War?

This hasn’t been the most thoroughly researched post I’ve ever published, but I do hope it has helped you think about some of the issues facing American families, which may or may not come up in the political race, and those things that influence our perceptions of others, for better or worse.

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