Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cranium Drainium 12: Book Reading, Swag, and Pork

It's been a strange day here in Virginia Beach when it comes to weather.  While just North and West of us, there are many suffering with severe ice and snow storms, and power outages, we hit 68 degrees F today.  Nuts!  It's 56 F right now (8pm) and supposed to drop into the low 30's later tonight.  On top of that it's been raining on and off all day and windy, with a few gusts.  But inside our house it's been quiet.  Unusually quiet.  A family with four kids is rarely quiet.  There's always something going on, usually involving dangerous toys, cats and cooking utensils.

I had a rare window of time to sit down and read again.  I haven't had quiet time to read in, well, over a year.  I can't even remember the last time I had that luxury.  So I scanned our book shelves and pulled out The Great Shark Hunt, by Hunter S. Thompson.  A collection of his works, narrated by himself.  Fantastic and funny stuff.  The very first chapter discusses the fall of the Nixon administration, and it struck me just how similar that period was to the end of the recent Bush administration.  Almost word for word in some cases.  He highlights Pat Buchanan's involvement in that saga in much the same way you could paint Karl Rove today.  Very similar indeed.  The word is irony.   I was pretty young when Watergate was unfolding in the news, but I vaguely remember the cast of characters and Nixon waving goodbye as he borded the helicopter on his final day.  I must say, Buchanan's PR folks have done an outstanding job of distancing his past from his present.

Earlier, I was doing laundry and chores, and I ran across a pile of baseball caps, polo shirts and t-shirts from former employers.  Without hesitation I threw them all out, as if it were leftover pizza boxes laying around the den floor.  I didn't even think about it until after I walked away from the trash can.  I had to smile for some reason.  I still don't know why.  It might be worth noting that we donate a significant amount of clothing, bedding, towels and so forth to Good Will and Salvation Army every year.  Yet I wouldn't think of punishing someone with wearing that stuff.  The trash can was a better place.  If only I had a wood stove...

Reading through the details of the $816 billion "stimulus package" pushed by the new White House administration.  Wow!  Pork Central.  I would expect to hear Mel Blanc's voice doing the introductions of the bill on the floor.   I think that the only reasonable excuse is that the perpetrators of much of this corrupted shopping list assumed it would be rubber-stamped so fast that not even the press would have time to digest and analyze it all.  No shame at all, on either side of the political divide.  If you have only listened to the "news" reports, you're cheating yourself of some real entertainment.  It always amazes me how party-folk line up to defend or attack the exact same crap when it comes from a different side of the aisle.  Nothing new here.  Same crap, new name.

And speaking of "pork", when will the porn industry crank out a video using the "stimulus package" phrase in the title?  They've really been pounded hard by the economy.  Oh, did I just say "pounded hard"?  How juvenile.  :)

CNBC was talking up education stocks tonight.  A lot of discussion was focused on how great of a value that market is right now.  Um.  How can that be?  Where exactly are all those graduates going to work when they finish up?  Roubini was on and delved into the absolute horrors he insists are heading our way in 2009, with a noticable portion of pain coming from student loan defaults.  So, I'm not a financial or investment expert, but how can both of those scenarios work together for a mutually beneficial outcome?  I'm not seeing it.

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