Saturday, July 9, 2011

Charlie Rangel thinks that Jesus would get Caesar involved....

Here are some theological musings from noted tax cheat Charlie Rangel, via CNN:

Washington (CNN) - Veteran Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel made an impassioned plea to religious leaders Friday, calling on them to lobby members of Congress and the Obama administration to remember the "lesser of my brothers and sisters" during this weekend's debt negotiations.

"What would Jesus do this weekend? Or Moses. Or Allah. Or anyone else," the New York congressman said at a press conference on Capitol Hill. "I don't want this book (debt negotiations) closed without the clergy having an opportunity to forcefully express themselves as well as I know they can do."

The idea of Jesus getting his Galilean disciples to agitate for King Herod's favorite projects has always made me break out in giggles.  (Check out Jim Wallis and Sojourners to learn more about the concept.) 
To reach this level of gullibility, one has to assume that government is always good, and that stated intentions eliminate all other outcomes, and that the wisdom and administrative expertise of Charlie Rangel is enough to cancel the need for any other options for the "lesser of my brothers and sisters". 

Top congressional leaders and the White House have been steeped in contentious negotiations over raising the nation's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.Treasury Department officials, along with top economists, warn that a failure to raise the limit by August 2 could lead to a global economic crisis and dire consequences for the U.S., including skyrocketing interest rates and a falling dollar.

Rangel said he was stumped as to why Washington wouldn't be "besieged by spiritual leaders saying 'do what you have to do - but not to the homeless, the jobless and the helpless. Not to the sick. And certainly not to the aging that are sick or those depending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.'"

"And certainly not the 60,000 troops we have who aren't fighting the Russians in Europe, but are stationed there anyway.  Or the 45,000 we have who are not fighting the North Koreans in South Korea.  Or the hundreds of thousands of black males who are living in cages because they violated marijuana prohibitions, but whose feeding and maintenance and after-care supervision creates tens of thousands of government jobs.  Or the tens of thousands of bureaucrats in the useless departments of Education and Energy.  We want to decrease my grandchildren's debt, but not on the backs of those worthy people."

"I have not heard from those people who have been called by God to protect the poor. I haven't heard them," he said. "The issues that are going to be discussed this weekend involve spiritual, moral issues."

And Rangel's plea to the poor and helpless? Call your religious leaders and ask, "what is Medicare all about? What is Medicaid all about? Why do we have taxes?'"

Great question, Charlie.  Great question. We have taxes so you can take your cut off the top, and funnel the rest to your supporters in the name of helping "the least of these, my brethren". 

Here's my favorite song on the topic.  I really need to get the YouTube done on this thing. 

"Jesus taught the multitudes one day in Galilee,
Must have been five thousand, and they all got hungry....
Disciples came to Jesus, and said "Get those people fed.
Jesus turned toward heaven, and this is what he said:

(bass) And he said

Let's get Caesar involved !
Caesar will get your problem solved. 
Go away and let me relax, that's why I pay all that tax,
You need to get Caesar involved. 

Three men saw a traveller that thieves had robbed and beat.
Two men were too busy, but one man stopped to speak
"Buddy that looks painful, yeah sometimes life's a bitch. 
Samaritans no longer pull your ass out of the ditch....."

(bass) They just say...

Let's get Caesar involved !
He will get the problem solved.
I used to go the second mile, but in your case I think that I'll
Just try to get Caesar involved.

A wedding feast in Cana had just run out of wine,
The groom, he came to Jesus, and said make us some moonshine...
But Jesus had no permits, nor a license to distill,
So he said I can't help you, boy but I know one who will

(bass) And he said

Let's get Caesar involved !
The government will get the problem solved. 
Give to Caesar what is his, next you'll give him all their is,
So let's get Caesar involved.

So if you're on life's highway, burdened with sin and shame,
Just call on Big Brother, just call out his name....
Don't call out for your neighbor, or friends and family,
They will just refer you to Washington, D.C.,

(bass) And they'll say

Let's get Caesar involved !
The empire will get the problem solved. 
If you find that you can't cope, call on Mr. Change and Hope....
That you can get Caesar involved.

(Repeat chorus forever and ever, praising Caesar, King Herod, and Charlie Rangel, and thanking them for their great and glorious works.) 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Caption Contest - Sycophantic Laughter Edition

I need a caption for this picture:

Having great hair isn't enough

Texas governor Rick Perry has been getting a lot of attention as a potential Republicrat candidate for President of The United States.   

Unbelievable.  Just because he has wonderful, wonderful hair and he says all the right things about Jesus doesn't mean he has any qualifications to be president in these difficult times.  I can't remember anything in government that he has significantly cut, eliminated, or reduced. 

One other thing....Perry once served as Al Gore's Texas Campaign Manager.  If we had a reading, thinking populace, this factoid alone would give Perry the same electoral chances as Casey Anthony. 
 Here's Big Daddy John Spivey, chair of the Tarrant County Libertarian Party, on why Governor Goodhair isn't a good idea.  This is from the Spivey Facebook page. 

#1 Rick Perry is a “big government” politician. When Rick Perry became the governor of Texas in ...2000, the total spending by the Texas state government was approximately $ 49 billion. Ten years later it was approximately $ 90 billion. That is not exactly reducing the of government.

#2 The debt of the state of Texas is out of control. According to, the debt to GDP ratio in Texas is 22.9% and the debt per citizen is $ 10,645. In California (a total financial basket case), the debt to GDP ratio is just 18.7% and the debt per citizen is only $ 9932. If Rick Perry runs for president these are numbers he will want to keep well hidden.

#3 The total debt of the Texas government has more than doubled since Rick Perry became governor. So what would the U.S. national debt look like after four (or eight) years of Rick Perry?

#4 Rick Perry has spearheaded the effort to lease roads in Texas to foreign companies, to turn roads that are already free to drive on into toll roads, and to develop the Trans-Texas Corridor which would be part of the planned NAFTA superhighway system. If you really do deep research on this whole Trans-Texas Corridor nonsense you will see why no American should ever cast a single vote for Rick Perry.

#5 Rick Perry claims that he has a “track record” of not raising taxes. That is a false claim. Rick Perry has repeatedly raised taxes and fees while he has been governor. Today, Texans are faced with significantly higher taxes and fees than they were before Rick Perry was elected.

#6 Even with the oil boom in Texas, 23 states have a lower unemployment rate than Texas does.

#7 Back in 1988, Rick Perry supported Al Gore for president. In fact, Rick Perry actually served as Al Gore’s campaign chairman in the state of Texas that year.

#8 Between December 2007 and April 2011, weekly wages in the U.S. increased by about 5 percent. In the state of Texas they increased by just 0.6% over that same time period.

#9 Texas now has one of the worst education systems in the nation. The following is from an opinion piece that was actually authored by Barbara Bush earlier this year….
• We rank 36th in the nation in high school graduation rates. An estimated 3.8 million Texans do not have a high school diploma.
• We rank 49th in verbal SAT scores, 47th in literacy and 46th in average math SAT scores.
• We rank 33rd in the nation on teacher salaries.

#10 Rick Perry attended the Bilderberg Group meetings in 2007 and 2011. Associating himself with that organization should be a red flag for all American voters.

#11 Texas has the highest percentage of workers making minimum wage out of all 50 states.

#12 Rick Perry often gives speeches about illegal immigration, but when you look at the facts, he has been incredibly soft on the issue. If Rick Perry does not plan to secure the border, then he should not be president because illegal immigration is absolutely devastating many areas of the southwest United States.

#13 In 2007, 221,000 residents of Texas were making minimum wage or less. By 2010, that number had risen to 550,000.

#14 Rick Perry actually issued an executive order in 2007 that would have forced almost every single girl in the state of Texas to receive the Gardasil vaccine before entering the sixth grade. Perry would have put parents in a position where they would have had to fill out an application and beg the government not to inject their child with an untested and unproven vaccine. Since then, very serious safety issues regarding this vaccine have come to light. Fortunately, lawmakers in Texas blocked what Perry was trying to do. According to Wikipedia, many were troubled when “apparent financial connections between Merck and Perry were reported by news outlets, such as a $ 6,000 campaign contribution and Merck’s hiring of former Perry Chief of Staff Mike Toomey to handle its Texas lobbying work.”

Texas is doing well because our state constitution limits the power of the governor, and our legislature only meets every two years (they somehow managed to write 1500 laws while in session last time, but you get my point). 
Rick Perry is at least smart enough to ride the wave without screwing it up. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fred The Dachshund's Excellent Adventure

I recently got a call from the Cleburne Texas Animal Control Facility. They were asking if they could remove Fred, my dachshund, from their “Most Wanted” list. There’s a story there, of course.

It began several months ago when my friend Tanya called, inviting me to “Dachshund Day” in Cleburne. She knew that my back yard was full of the little beasts, and she thought I would enjoy the dachshund races, the dachshund costumes, and all the other events ill-suited for that particular breed.

First, some background on Tanya. She is probably the worst person I’ve ever known. Within six months of my starting a website, she dreamed up a parody site complete with caption contests, ill-tempered rants, and all the other things that I was doing online at the time. She posted under the name “Fembuttx”, probably because the name “Demon Spawn From Hell” was already taken. She and her band of harpies commented beneath every post that I wrote, doing their best to shift any discussions to their own voracious, perverted appetites.

That’s what she did when she was sober. Whenever she was in her natural drunken state, she posted countless pictures of male butt cheeks.

Although we no longer work for the same company, she now stays in touch by sending me unspeakable insults on Facebook Chat.

Tanya is also a Methodist grandmother.

For Dachshund Day, I selected Fred from the pack of varmints in my back yard. Fred has a good disposition, doesn’t bark much, and is named after the great French Economist Frederic Bastiat. Fred was the dachshund most likely to enjoy Cleburne.

For reasons that now elude me, I also took The Aggie’s yellow Labrador, Kevin.

Now a few words about Kevin…. Kevin is the only reason that I don’t believe in Darwinian Evolution. I refuse to believe that the collection of fur, slobber, enthusiasm and urine collectively known as “Kevin” is the end result of millions of years of natural selection, survival of the fittest, or gradual improvement. I think God created Kevin as a joke.

Maybe I thought that Kevin and Tanya would be a nice match for each other.

Kevin, Fred and I got in the truck and headed to Tanya’s house, where we were supposed to meet briefly before going to Dachshund Day. When I got there I discovered that…. a) there was a box truck in Tanya’s driveway because she was in the process of moving to a new home, and b) most of the people there were already drunk. I had anticipated the drunkenness, but not the moving van, and immediately wrote off all hope of making it to anything other than Tanya’s driveway.

I put Kevin in Tanya’s back yard, where he amused himself by marking every vertical surface as his territory. Since Kevin can climb a standard chain link fence in about three seconds, I was lucky that Tanya’s back yard had a very high wood fence - probably so her family can throw her back there to recover from serious drinking bouts, a safe place where Tanya won’t hurt herself or anyone else. Near the back door there was a concrete slab with a water hose, perhaps so they can strip her down and hose her off before allowing her back in the house to sleep it off.

Kevin kept trying to get through the fence to join us under the carport. He eventually wedged his head between some of the planks and got it stuck there, looking exactly the way he’s gonna look after he dies and I have his head taxidermied on a wood plaque over the television.

I met Tanya’s boyfriend Shawn, a nice guy who could probably do better. I met Tanya’s oldest son Jeffery and his wife Ashley. Jeffery is a bassoon player. (More on that later.)

Tanya’s youngest son Trevor was fascinated with Fred, so I told him they could go for a walk. As you might expect from a dachshund named after a libertarian demigod, Fred can’t stand being on a leash and doesn’t like being restrained. Trevor and Fred went off on a long, long walk. (Trevor’s walk was going to be a lot longer than Fred’s. More on that later.)

Tanya spent the next thirty minutes insulting me (unjustified) and Kevin (totally justified) because he had his head stuck in the fence.

Eventually Trevor wandered back up to the carport. He was holding Fred’s leash and Fred’s collar, but not Fred.

“Fred didn’t like the leash and he slipped out of it,” Trevor said. “He’s somewhere out in THE FIELD.”

At this point, I had been trying to catch up to Tanya’s and her moving crew’s beer consumption for at least 30 minutes. Catching Fred seemed like an easy task, best delegated to the young. I told Little Trevor that Fred was scared and that if he watched carefully, Fred would come back out, assuring Little Trevor that the dachshund’s loss was not his fault, but that God and all the angels would be very angry if Fred wasn’t located soon. Little Trevor ran back to THE FIELD to wait on Fred to appear.

Thirty minutes later, Trevor reappeared in the driveway, Fredless. But he had a little girl named Alissa with him. I patiently explained to Little Trevor that Alissa looked nothing like Fred, and described what type of animal I needed him to be looking for.

“This is Alissa,” Trevor said, looking at me like I was unworthy of dachshund ownership. “She lives near THE FIELD and she’s going to help us find Fred.”

Since we had recently spent a large chunk of money getting Fred fixed, and since the rest of my family claim that they can distinguish one dachshund from another, I decided I’d better go help Trevor and Alissa find Fred. To prepare for the journey I filled two hands and two pockets with Bud Lights so Tanya wouldn’t waste them on her own selfish self. I thought Fred might come out of hiding to see Kevin, so I undwedged his idiot Labrador head from the fence and let him come with us on the Fred hunt.

We walked several blocks and then we got to THE FIELD. THE FIELD is an unlikely 8-acre piece of land in the middle of Cleburne, covered with briars, weeds, stickers, brambles, impenetrable vines, and enough sand burrs to fill up a grain bin. It's not that different from the rest of Cleburne, really. There was a tree line on the far side of the field, and I knew that if Fred made it to those trees we’d never see him again. We went stomping across the devastation, calling Fred. Kevin was overjoyed to be in an unmarked 8 acres, obsessively urinating on every weed. I started cussing Tanya, Fred, Fred’s collar, dachshunds, Cleburne, Kevin, and THE FIELD.

We searched the whole thing as best we could, and then started criss-crossing all of the residential streets between THE FIELD and Tanya’s Den Of Iniquity, calling for my little dog. No luck. No dachshund. And my socks collected every cocklebur and sticker that they touched.

Trevor, Alissa and I gave up and went back to Tanya’s. Tanya had reached the bottom of the beer bins, but thankfully everyone was still fully clothed. I explained that we still hadn’t found Fred. Trevor looked like he was about to cry. Alissa told us how she would be willing to look for Fred all night if necessary. Tanya made snarky comments about what kind of person can’t come to Cleburne without losing his dachshund, but she eventually agreed to start a new search party.

“Allen….” Tanya said, with an evil twinkle in her jaundiced eye, “I hate to ask this, but….where is Kevin?”
I looked around, mentally going through every old Anglo-Saxon curse ever hurled onto a small Texas town. I had no Kevin. How in the heck was I going to explain the loss of not just one, but two dissimilar dogs under different circumstances within an hour and a half?   Don’t get me wrong….when The Aggie first told me that she had acquired a yellow Lab puppy (because no Texas A and M dorm room is complete without one) and then when Kevin wore out his welcome at every residence in College Station, and then when Kevin had to come stay in Fort Worth and live in the bathroom because he can climb fences, well….I’ve survived the loss of better things than Kevin.

But how was I going to explain to The Aggie that Kevin had gone to live with Puumba? (Read the Puumba story when time permits. If you’ve made it this far, you probably won’t mind wasting more of your life on the Puumba story.)

I did the only thing possible under the circumstances. I started rummaging through the empty beer coolers, looking for something, anything, anything alcoholic at all to take the edge off of the day. Against all odds, Tanya’s house was suddenly under Shariah law, with not a drop of alcohol to be found. I would’ve done the 1930’s wino trick of straining a bottle of shoe polish through a couple of loaves of bread. I would’ve fermented some persimmons if drinking the stuff could take me out of that horrible place and that horrible moment.

Alissa saved me from sniffing some cans of paint thinner. “There’s Kevin !” she said proudly.

Yep. There he was across the street, frantically writing “Kevin was here !” on all of my truck tires.

Alissa involved, problem solved.

So Tanya the nemesis, Alissa the little girl, Jeffery the bassoonist, Ashley the bassoonist’s wife, Trevor the Tanya larvae, Kevin the Labrador and I went back out into THE FIELD looking for my dachshund. If memory serves, Shawn the boyfriend followed behind us in his pickup, like the guy who walks at the end of the circus parade, cleaning up behind the elephants. If he was walking with us, I doubt that he admits it. I can’t remember.

I can only imagine what the neighbors thought, with that crew walking down their streets screaming “Fred, Fred, FRED !!!!” at the tops of their lungs. Night Of The Living Dead, but with less graceful zombies. Tanya continued her insults about dachshund loss and Kevin’s danger of dehydration from over-urination. I tried to insult her back, but throwing vitriol at that woman is like throwing snowballs at Frosty. It only makes you tired, and your victim grows stronger.

I was incredibly frustrated. I needed to be somewhere else in a few hours, I couldn’t find my dachshund, and it was all beyond my control. I couldn’t take it out on Tanya, for the reasons stated above. I couldn’t pick at Trevor for losing my dog – he was already in a blind panic. So when the going gets tough….pick on the bassoon player. I dipped into my deep reservoir of musician jokes.

Hey, Jeffrey, do you know the difference between a bassoon and a clarinet? No? Well, bassoons burn longer.

We got to THE FIELD and fanned out, trying to cover as much ground as possible, stumbling through the wasteland calling Fred. Bear in mind that this patch of Cleburne real estate was covered with briars and weeds and stickers. To avoid ripping our shins to shreds we had to lift each step about twenty inches off the ground. Cleburne looked like it had been invaded by Monty Python’s Ministry Of Silly Walks.

Tanya made fun of my walking method. I responded like the Communists did, not by attacking my enemy, but by attacking the children.

Do y’all know the difference between a bassoon and a trampoline? People take off their shoes before they jump up and down on a trampoline.

Neighbors started showing up with 4-wheel drives and pickups, leading me to believe that the Fred Hunt might be the highlight of the Cleburne Social Season. Tanya would introduce me as her co-worker who couldn’t keep up with his damn dachshund. Lord have mercy, she is one tiresome woman.

Do you know what you call two bassoons playing in unison? A minor third.

Jeffery the bassoonist took it all in stride, but seemed to be wondering what sins he’d committed in a previous life to deserve that kind of abuse. Ashley looked at Jeffrey like she was expecting him to do the right thing and kick my ass all over THE FIELD.  Little did they know that “the sins of the Mothers are passed on to the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:7) It was all Tanya’s fault.

What do you call a professional bassoon player who has broken up with his girlfriend? Homeless.

What’s the first thing a bassoon player says after he starts work? “Would you like fries with that?”

How do you make a bassoon player’s car more aerodynamic? Take the Domino’s Pizza sign off the roof.

How do you get a bassoon player off of your porch? Pay him for the pizza !

We walked THE FIELD a few more times over the next couple of hours. Kevin was joyfully urinating everywhere, claiming land like Columbus claiming the New World for Ferdinand and Isabella. Tanya never ran out of ways to enjoy my dilemma, or insult my dachshund containment skills.

How do you get two bassoonists to play in tune? Shoot one of them.

Define “perfect pitch”: The ability to throw a bassoon through a basketball goal without hitting the rim.

We got into nests of briars that could slow down Sherman tanks. Various Cleburnites criss-crossed THE FIELD in their SUV’s and pickups without luck. Because of them looking and sounding like a Mad Max dress rehearsal, and Frederic Bastiat’s legit fear of going back on a leash, I figured that Fred was putting as much distance between himself and that Methodist Scavenger Hunt as he possibly could.

It didn’t matter. Osama Bin Laden, a 6-foot, 7-inch diabetic Muslim in a turban, could’ve been sitting in the middle of all that Johnson County devastation, and we would’ve driven, hopped, stumbled and leg-lifted right past him.

We eventually abandoned THE FIELD in favor of canvassing the neighborhood some more. (If this had been an episode of “24”, we’d be at about the 2:30 mark.) I went up and down the residential streets hollering “Fred fred Fred fred! Fred!!!” with no luck.

And then I saw not one, but two dachshunds. Two of ‘em. One had a collar, and one didn’t. They were playing in a yard about three blocks down from Tanya’s house of ill fame. I sprinted down the block before they could run out of sight. One of them (the one with the collar) looked almost exactly like Fred, but on closer inspection, he wasn’t. Dang it.

But both of them were males! I could remove the collar from the brown one, Fred’s near-twin, put it on the blackish one, and take this brown one with me back to Fort Worth!!! I was sure that after a few days this beautiful new dachshund could be taught to answer to the name “Fred”.  If the real Fred were to turn up someplace in Cleburne, I was certain that he would eventually be taken to this lovely home since they would be the only people in Cleburne looking for a lost brown male dachshund. Fred would be joyfully accepted there. I almost got teary-eyed thinking of the possible ecstatic reunion this fine imaginary Christian family would possibly have with a dog that they had never seen before.

Hey, I don’t usually think that way, but at this point there was lots of beer involved.

That’s the plan that was going through my head when a pleasant elderly lady walked into the front yard of the dachshund house. The two of us shared an awkward moment, like when Cindy Lou-Who goes downstairs and catches The Grinch stealing all the Christmas presents. We discussed the merits and demerits of dachshunds for a few seconds before we got to the inevitable topic of why my shins and ankles were bleeding so badly. I gave her a capsule version of the Fred story, a shorter version I wish I could remember because it would’ve saved me from pounding most of the previous 2,715 words of this story (so far) into a laptop.

I limped back toward Tanya’s, totally defeated until some helpful soul told me of a rumor that Cleburne Animal Control had picked up a brown dachshund. This was great news. But until that moment, I had forgotten all about it being Dachshund Day in Cleburne, Texas. With my luck, there could be multiple lost Freds running around the Crystal Meth Capital Of North Texas, each with a Grinch-like owner more than willing to take Fred as his own.

I swapped numbers with The Dachshund Search Team, thanked them for their help, and Kevin and I drove to the Cleburne Animal Control Department. After a few minutes talking to the girl in charge, I understood that Cleburne Animal Control hadn’t picked up any lost dachshunds, despite it being Dachshund Day. No dachshunds. They had a ridiculous assortment of Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Great Danes. The rumor of Animal Control picking up dachshunds was obviously a clever ploy to get relief from searching THE FIELD, to get me out of Tanya’s driveway, and to make the bad bassoon jokes stop.

I imagined Tanya loitering around a replenished beer chest, bandaging bleeding shins and laughing at the thought of Kevin and me looking on the far side of town for a lost dachshund on Dachshund Day. After giving the Animal Control girl a description of Fred that was probably interchangeable with half the dogs in town, Kevin and I made the lonely trip back to Fort Worth. Fortunately, I was the only one home and didn’t have to explain my Fred deficit. I went to a party that night, totally distracted by thoughts of Frederic Bastiat lost and lonely in wilds of Cleburne.

Sunday morning, 7:00, Tanya left a message on my answering machine.

“Hey, douchebag ! Alissa found your damn dog. Call her. You won’t see my ass there because I’ll be at church.”

I called Alissa’s house and got her father. “Yessir, you wanting the dog that all the fuss was about yesterday?” he said. “She was up half the night trying to call him in. That’s a whole lot of work for not much dog. Yessir, Alissa’s got him for you.”

I thanked him at great length and told him that he had raised a fine daughter. Kevin and I got in the truck and drove back to Cleburne. Tanya’s house looked as empty and dark as her blackened soul, so we drove on to Alissa’s place. She ran out to meet me in her yard.

Alissa waited until I had thanked her multiple times before she let loose this bombshell: “I don’t exactly have Fred anymore. I caught him last night, but he didn’t like the collar I put on him and he got away again.”

How much of my weekend was going to be tied up in locating a dachshund? How many people were going to devote the rest of their lives to this project? It was amazing, simply amazing. My face probably betrayed my internal cussing, prompting Alissa to hurriedly add….

“But I know exactly where he is,” she said. “I’ve seen him twice this morning.”

“Wonderful. Thank you so very very very much. Where did you see him?”

Alissa glanced toward the undercarriages of all the vehicles in the yard, as if Fred might crawl out from doing an oil change. She gave a looked toward the house, an old pier and beam affair that might have a Fred-sized crawl space under the floor. She looked at a tree in the yard, as if Fred might pop out of the trunk like Minerva squeezing out of the mind of Zeus. Then Alissa proudly looked at me and said….


There comes a point in every difficult event in my life when I give up on accomplishing my goal, and concentrate on remembering all the details of the downward spiral so that they’ll make a good story. This was that moment.

Alissa, Kevin and I, the three remaining hardcore Fred hunters, went back into THE FIELD. All I wanted was my little dog. Keeping company with Kevin for 24 hours had confirmed Fred as my favorite. I knew that if Fred was nearby he could see me, even if I couldn’t see him. But he was afraid of the leash and wasn’t coming out. We spent another hour combing the Cleburne devastation, and then sat down on a fallen tree to take a breather.

That’s when I saw a brown spot bobbing up and down in the brambles off in the distance, 75 yards from the treeline. Could it be? I yelled for Alissa and Kevin to follow me and started running through the Johnson County wilderness toward the tantalizing little ball that was expanding and contracting over the tops of the vines and weeds. Every few feet, one of us would step off into a hidden stump hole or ditch and go tail over teacups into the vines and stickers. We didn’t care. It was Fred!!!

Do you remember the old cartoons of Snoopy jumping above top of the high grass, taking a quick look around, and then falling back to earth? That’s how Fred was negotiating the impenetrable vines and weeds. He was taking a running leap at each row of plant life, flinging himself over the top like a pole vaulter, snagging himself in the upper reaches of the vines and then falling to earth on the far side of the obstacles. He was getting closer and closer to the treeline, where he knew that his liberty-loving soul would be safe from the restraints of the Statist leash. We Three Amigos were at least 75 yards away.

I was stumbling every few steps and leaving Alissa behind, but didn’t care, closing the gap between The Quick Brown Dog Jumping Slower Than The Lazy Old Fox. Kevin was so excited that he kept up with me, which means he was leaving some tree stumps unmarked. But there was no way I could catch Fred in time. No way. I felt years, briars, and Bud Lights dragging me to earth. There was no way I could catch him.

We were 30 yards from Fred, but Fred was just 15 yards from the treeline and freedom, executing flawless weiner dog high hurdles. I was totally winded, thinking about giving up, and then….

In my mind, time slowed to a crawl. All I had to do was control the time/space continuum long enough to catch a dachshund. I could see individual gnats and mosquitoes hanging in the air, and if someone had fired a bullet in my direction, I could’ve reached out and grabbed it.  I was The Redneck Keanu Reaves in The Texas Matrix.  I saw Fred in slow motion, thrashing through the final row of briars, just a few feet from open territory in the Mythical Free State Of Cleburne. I went horizontal and launched myself at him with one final adrenalin-fueled effort, slowly floating above the stickers as they clawed holes in my shirt.

I reached for Fred’s back legs and caught them.

Time immediately shifted from “slow-motion fantasy” to “210-pound guy thumping to the ground” with his arms cradled around a dachshund. I pulled Fred to me and he gave me some obligatory licks on the face. He was covered with sand burrs and stickers, with a few vines were wrapped around his neck. The final indignity was a tiny wreath of vine “crawlers” perfectly wrapped around his little dachshund manhood.

I just deleted 4 consecutive bad puns about the wiener dog’s wiener. Be grateful.

By the time I carried him out of THE FIELD, Fred was asleep.

I thanked Alissa profusely, loaded my two mismatched dogs into the truck and headed back to Fort Worth. Unlike a lot of my favorite stories, this one doesn’t have a good punch line. I got my little dog back.

Well, there’s this. Flash forward about 6 months. One night Kevin and I had a running accident. Here’s what I posted on Facebook the next morning:

I took my daughter's idiot Labrador, Kevin, on my run last night. He saw another dog, tangled the leash in my legs and skidded me down the road about 5 yards. I've got road rash on both legs and I think I broke something in my left hand. Anybody want a dog?

This was Tanya’s immediate response:

At least when you don’t let go of Fred's leash, he just slips it and runs into briars. You have at least two stupid dogs. Was there a bassoon player?

I’m so sick of that woman. It’s too late now, but if I’d thought of it, I would’ve responded with the following:

Hey, Tanya !! Do you know why the Labrador and the Dachshund crossed the road?
To get away from the bassoon recital.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How to stop Global Warming

Global Warming Skeptics (and even some foot-washing snake-handling True Believers) have noted that there hasn't been any increase in earth's temperature for about 10 years. 
It's been incredibly frustrating for those who are trying to make money off of fluctuations in the weather. 
The planet just won't cooperate with the computer models. 

And now we know why....

Here's Gerard Wynn, writing for the Reuters news service:

Reuters) - Smoke belching from Asia's rapidly growing economies is largely responsible for a halt in global warming in the decade after 1998 because of sulphur's cooling effect, even though greenhouse gas emissions soared, a U.S. study said on Monday.

The paper raised the prospect of more rapid, pent-up climate change when emerging economies eventually crack down on pollution.

Where to begin, where to begin....
First of all, we have the National Academy of Sciences acknowledging that Climate has stopped Changing, and that the Globe has stopped Warming. 
Next, we have a theory that pollution is helping to solve the problem. 
Let's complicate matters further by acknowledging that emerging economies take care of their own pollution problems once individual income hits the $6-$7,000 per year level. 

World temperatures did not rise from 1998 to 2008, while manmade emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuel grew by nearly a third, various data show.

Wait a minute....What? 

World temperatures did not rise from 1998 to 2008, while manmade emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuel grew by nearly a third, various data show.

Wait a minute....What?

World temperatures did not rise from 1998 to 2008, while manmade emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuel grew by nearly a third, various data show.

I thought that's what they said.  Just wanted to be sure. 
The researchers from Boston and Harvard Universities and Finland's University of Turku said pollution, and specifically sulphur emissions, from coal-fueled growth in Asia was responsible for the cooling effect.

Sulphur allows water drops or aerosols to form, creating hazy clouds which reflect sunlight back into space.

"Anthropogenic activities that warm and cool the planet largely cancel after 1998, which allows natural variables to play a more significant role," the paper said.

Natural cooling effects included a declining solar cycle after 2002, meaning the sun's output fell.

So should we encourage 3rd world countries to continue pumping sulfur?  It seems cheaper than giving Al Gore tax money for perpetual motion machines, cheaper than giving tax breaks for painting machinery green, and cheaper than godawful carbon rationing schemes. 

The study said that the halt in warming had fueled doubts about anthropogenic climate change, where scientists say manmade greenhouse gas emissions are heating the Earth.

"It has been unclear why global surface temperatures did not rise between 1998 and 2008," said the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States.

It's also unclear why Jesus didn't return to earth on May 21st, despite Harold Camping doing bulletproof interpretations of ancient prophecy.  Harold Camping took another long look at his failed prophecies and kicked the can down the road to October 21st.  He's still in business, and he's still respected by his followers.  His revenue stream survived the May 21st disappointment.
Whether or not the Climate Change Cult can last remains to be seen.  I hope so, because as long as they don't get too much power, they increase my website traffic without doing too much harm to anyone else. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

How well do you know the Declaration Of Independence?

I only got 9 out of 12.  This thing is tough. 

Happy July 4th !!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Independence Day !!!

Our president has blown 3/4 of a trillion dollars in a failed Keynesian scheme (pardon the redundancy) to create employment.  The enterprise cost $278,000.00 per job saved, according to White House economists

The TSA, which for some reason I don't understand is providing security for private companies, recently made a 90-year old cancer patient remove her adult diaper before she could complete their security check. 

Because of minimum wage requirements, black teen unemployment has now hit 46%.  See previous post. 

I can't find anywhere to purchase gasoline that doesn't contain somewhere around 10% ethanol (which is required as a fuel additive not for environmental reasons, but for early Iowa caucus reasons). 

I can't stop purchasing an employee's labor without proving that I didn't do it because of his racial, demographic, political or sexual identity or preferences. 

Our president is illegally bombing Libya. 

Your newborn children are already $47,000 in debt.  That's $129,000 if they're dumb enough to contribute to the economy by becoming a taxpayer. 

The QT convenience store where I purchased gas last night had at least 20 "permits" on the wall, proving that our government has graciously allowed them to sell certain products and perform particular services. 

Gay and Lesbian marriage is still illegal in Texas. 

Marijuana prohibition is working exactly as planned.  We now have more black males in cages than The Confederacy every dreamed of.  A vast host of jailers, counselors, cops, narcs, border patrol agents, soldiers, pilots, prison-builders, union guards, drug-testing companies and other leeches are profiting nicely from their misery. 

Happy Independence Day !!!