Monday, March 25, 2013

The Long Lavender Look

The Long Lavender Look: Having read a lot of non-fiction [1] and heavier fiction [2], my mind was aching for something lighter and simpler.  So I dove back into familiar waters and read another in the Travis McGee series.

This one started out in a way that made me think I was not going to like it much.  Travis and Meyer end up stuck in a town halfway between nowhere and the swamp.  All of the characters looked to be the Florida equivalent of swamp people and I was not too excited.

Except that in the time it took me to make that discernment, I had read another page or two and MacDonald had me hooked.  I read the whole thing in three sittings and in the middle sitting I only read about fifteen pages.

The story is about small town people who live near the swamp in Florida, but the story doesn't actually go into the swamp and while some of the characters had clearly been there a time or two, MacDonald doesn't wallow in it. [3]

There's murder and unsolved crimes and the requisite "love" interest. [4]  Drugs, solicitation, misdirection and the hiding of a dead body.  Everything you'd want from the tale.

At a couple of points near the end the writing got a shade to "implying" the action and less "telling" the action. [5]  And the ending was kind of rushed in the way MacDonald endings sometimes are.  Sort of like he either was tired of the tale or had hit a page limit and decided to wrap it up quick.  But neither of those things can keep me from saying I was thoroughly engaged and very much enjoyed it.

So much so that I'm going to start the next in the series as soon as I post this.

The Long Lavender Look: A-

[1] - If you're lucky I'll write about it.
[2] - If I'm lucky I'll finish it.
[3] - Like Reality TV would have.
[4] - Such as they go with McGee naturally
[5] - Of course it is just as likely that I was tired.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cryptic #2

Sorry I haven't posted in a while.  Life is always busy and is even more so currently because of extra-curriculars.  And while this is technically a post, it probably isn't what you were looking for.

Anyone who cares to attempt solving it will be appreciated.  Please let me know of any errors and if you get stuck and need a hint or two, I'll be glad to help out.

Friday, March 1, 2013

I Didn't Want to Go Here, But You Made Me

I'm not sure how this post is going to end or even where I'm going to go in the middle, but I do know what started it.

Facebook started it.

Or more specifically, reading through the posts on FB by people who either clearly never took a civics/government class in high school or more likely paid no attention while they were in it and/or have simply forgotten what little they did learn.

I have to admit that I'm going a little afield of the stuff I usually post about.  This is not going to be rant on some movie, book or random food that I recently ate.  Instead I'm putting my foot in where I should probably not tread and I'm going to talk about politics.  But the completely stupid things that I see otherwise reasonable people posting is driving me up the wall.

Before you start predisposing yourself to disliking what I'm saying, let me get this out of the way.

I am not a democrat.

I am not a republican.

Instead, I'm one of those (evidently) rare people who actually looks at the issues and the candidates and then picks the best match for the job.

And if you just responded to that sentence by saying, "That's what I do too!  And the best candidate is always a [insert your political party here]" then think again.  Both parties have had their share of wonderful, brilliant people and both have had their share of dolts.

Anyway, back to where we were before, with you driving me up the wall with the stupid reposts of fundamentally retarded posts.  And if it looks like this rant is starting to lean a bit to the left, that's only because those of you on the right have lately been hogging the spotlight shouting out to everyone trying to prove your ignorance.

Let's start with this bunch of geniuses.

And while were at it let's throw in all the memes, pictures, posts and other FB flotsam and jetsam in the same vein.

Obama is the worst president ever?


And what are you basing that on?

Because it is clearly not your extensive knowledge of U.S. History.

Spending two minutes reading about Warren Harding and then get back to me.

Now I am by no means saying Obama is the greatest president ever.  He wouldn't even make the top ten.  But let's be realistic.  By any reasonable measurable test he wouldn't make the bottom ten either.  Not even close.

Again, go spend a few minutes alone in a closet with a book about the 43 presidents.  Then get back to me.  [1]

I think through a little arguing, debate and compromise we could probably agree that currently he's pretty solidly in the middle of the pack.  [2]

The new round of FB nonsense posts will inevitably be about the sequester. [3]  I've already seen one that has a banner essentially blaming Obama because the average American now has less money.

Again, go read a government textbook.  I bet probably has a Government for Dummies or something. I'll wait.  [4]



Okay, did you notice the part about the three branches and separation of powers?

Go back and reread that part.  In particular look and see if says anything about who in our government spends the money and who sets the taxes.  It'll probably use some phrases like 'appropriations bill' and 'revenue bill'.  Go ahead.  I'll wait again.


Did you find it?

In case you were having trouble locating it, I'll go ahead and spell it out for you here.

It's Congress.

That's the House of Representatives and the Senate.

In other words the Legislative Branch of the government.

More importantly, it's not the Executive Branch.

Also known as the President.

So, if you find that your paycheck is suddenly short a few or even a lot of dollars, or perhaps completely gone because of government budget cuts, then the people to blame number 535 and not 1.

Perhaps some of the more astute of you kept reading in the book and got through the part on checks and balances.  And now you're throwing back at me that the President actually is involved because he can veto anything he doesn't like.

I might even agree with you IF, and this is a big if, IF Congress had actually passed something that he vetoed.

But they haven't.  In fact, the sequester happened because Congress continues to do what it's been doing for the last four years.  Which is essentially, "nothing".

It's no defense to say, "Yes, but if they did Obama would just veto it."  Well, if that did happen then you could rightfully blame him.  But blaming him because he might do something, if Congress ever actually tried to do something is like saying your not going to apply for a job because they might not hire you, or your not going to ask out the girl you like because she might say no or your not going to turn on the light switch because the bulb might burn out.

Give it shot!  It might work!  If it doesn't then you have a gripe.  Before then, you're just somebody that never bothered to try to do anything.

And let's be clear that this isn't a problem with just the Republicans or the Democrats.  It's both.

Neither party is willing to compromise at all.  And so instead of trying things that might be solutions, they stand around arguing while the house burns down around us.

Oh No!  I've once again used that dirty "C" word.


It's seems to me that lately, both parties feel like compromising at all is akin to death. [5]

Check that book again, this country was founded on compromise.

And if you just responded to that by saying something along the lines of, "No it wasn't!  This country was created by people standing up for what they know was right and then laying down their lives to make sure that happened", let me fill in a few blanks for you.

First of all, after the Revolutionary War [6] we created a country based directly on the ideas that they were fighting for and guess what?  It didn't work.

It was called the Articles of Confederation.

Then when it became clear that the Articles weren't going to work, we scrapped them and wrote the Constitution.

And then we immediately compromised to get it ratified.

Go ahead, check that book again.  Look for the part about the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists.  I'll wait.


You done?

See those two groups were essentially our first political parties.

And they couldn't agree. [7]

The one side wanted this.  The other wanted that.  It was a mess.

But then, after a lot of discussion and debate, they Compromised. [8]

To get that new Constitution ratified, the Federalist gave the Anti-Federalist some of what they wanted so that the Federalist could get what they wanted.

What did the Federalist want?

The Anti-Federalist to sign on to the Constitution.

What did they give the Anti-Federalist?

Not much, except the Bill of Rights.

So when the Republicans say that they aren't going to budge.

And the Democrats say that they won't give in.

It just makes me want to sigh and tell them both to remove their heads from their . . . [9]

Okay, I seem to be losing steam here.  I could go spend a few more minutes on FB and get riled up again, but it's late and I'm tired.

I'm not sure what you'll take away from this post, but if it is anything hopefully it's something like this:

Don't post and/or repost political nonsense that you really have no idea about.  Especially when, if you did have some idea, you wouldn't be posting it.

Better yet, in all seriousness go buy a book or two and read up about our government.  You might find two or three [10] of other Compromises we've made along the way as well.

Seems like it might be time for another.

[1] - Someone out there is currently saying, "Shows what he knows.  Obama's the 44th president."  My response: Yes genius, but Cleveland served twice.  So if you want to read the chapter on him twice be my guest.
[2] - Granted in four years he could have moved substantially in either direction and in twenty years some of the longer reaching effects of his actions and policies might move him further.  But how about let's wait for some evidence.
[3] - If you don't know what that is, then why are you posting about Obama making you poorer?
[4] - A quick search of Amazon finds several.  If you aren't comfortable calling yourself a dummy.  There's an idiots guide to government as well.
[5] - Seems like not compromising might just get the country there quicker.
[6] - During which a lot of people did lay down their lives for their beliefs.
[7] - Sound similar?
[8] - Big 'C' intentional.
[9] - Well, you know.
[10] - Or 50 or 400 or who knows maybe even thousands