Thursday, October 27, 2005

Be Prepared

I am tired of hearing all the idiots in Florida complaining about the effects of the last hurricane. Some of these people don't have enough sense to come in out of the rain.

They are complaining because they have no food or water, and the "government" is too slow to provide them. These people are too stupid to survive. When a hurricane is coming (and they had lots of warning) and you plan to ride it out, then you prepare: you stock up with food (that doesn't require cooking) and water. You fill up your bathtub to you can flush your toilet.

What is really pathetic are the ones complaining because their car is out of gas. Oh, Dear Me! When a hurricane hits, you are going to lose electricity. Anybody with any sense would fill up their gas tank BEFORE the storm hits.

Some of these morons said "Oh, it's only a Cat 2. We won't have any problem."

I have been through a hurricane and two typhoons on land, and a typhoon at sea (on a destroyer). I have a great appreciation for what 110 MPH winds can do. I have no sympathy for the fools who did not prepare. Let them suffer! Maybe they will learn something.

But, that's the view of The Resident Curmudgeon.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Did President Bush cause hurricane Katrina?

The stupidity of people who write letters to the editor constantly astounds me. A recent one claims that President Bush caused hurricane Katrina. The logic of this is rather convuleted. The writer claims that since President Bush did not push the Kyoto Agreements on global warming, then the hurricane was the result of global warming; therefore it was the President's fault.

Global warming (according to some experts) has been around for many years. The Kyoto
Agreements go back into the 1990's, long before President Bush. So, it is a long jump from the present administration failure to push these agreements to the present hurricane season. But, the people who write letters are not too concerned with logic.

This writer also fails to read history. There were more hurricanes in 1933 than in 2005. Of course, 1933 was in the middle of the previous great warming cycle. That cycle was evidenced by the great nation-wide drought. The dust bowl of the midwest was but one evidence of this.

I suppose we should be thankful that some people can still write in English. It would be nice if they had some sense to go along with this ability.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Re-inventing English

The staff writers for the Asheville, NC Citizen Times must want to re-invent the English language. Apparantely they can't use the standard version.
In an article on June 18, a staff writer wrote a little article about closeing I-26 for repair of a bridge. He/she wrote "During the closure, signed detours will be in place to direct motorists..." Signed detours? What the hell is this? Did they mean detour signs? Why not say so?
Or did they mean a Department of Transportation engineer would autograph the detour?
English is a rich and expressive language, as it is. We don't need hack writers trying to invent new words.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A Strange Dichotomy

Here in the mountains of western North Carolina we are seeing the development of a strange dichotomy. Many of the natives of this region are true "yellow dog Democrats." The name comes from their long allegiance to the democratic party, often spanning generations. This partisan allegiance is so strong that it is said they will vote for a 'yellow dog' so long as it has a (D) after its name.

Many of these people also belong to very conservative churches, in particular Baptist Churches. For many years they enjoyed a peaceful co-existence. Their religious beliefs and their political beliefs were close enough that they could safely ignore the differences. The National Democratic Party was careful to downplay any differences, because it needed the 'Solid South' in order to stay in power.

In these troubled times, the natives are restless, because this strange dichotomy has developed. Their churches are becoming more activist, and more stridently espousing ultra-conservative causes. Too often these causes are diametrically opposed to the platform of the democratic party.

What are they to do? They love their church; they love their party but the two seem bent on divorce.
This most recently came to light when the pastor of a local Baptist Church attempted to oust members who had voted for the democratic Presidential candidate. This created national headlines.

Some of these people are suffering mental anguish. The hated Republican Party now seems to be pushing the causes they would like to support, but they have always voted Democratic. Their ancestors would probably roll over in their graves should their descendents vote anything but Democratic.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Religious Intolerance

A local Baptist Church is now trying to set a new world's record for intolerance. They have kicked out (the proper term is 'withdrew fellowship'; the local term is 'churched') all registered Democrats. Now that is a hoot! Apparently this church must believe that only Republicans are in favor of Mother, God, flag and apple pie, and against sin. All others must be the reverse.

The stated reason for this action was that the church (read the Pastor) decided that anyone not supporting President Bush 110% (and that would include most Democrats) must be in favor of abortion; gay rights; zoning; removing the Ten Commandants from Court Houses, and all other sorts of sinful things. Therefore they are not fit to be a member of this holy of all holy churches.

Hell! Back in Salem, they were only hunting witches. These bigots are after fellow church members and neighbors.

I can't wait to see if this makes the national news. The press will have a field day!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Media Stupidity

Once again some of the national media have demonstrated their total incompetence. They either will not read; cannot read; or just refuse to pay attention to history.

There was a picture over the weekend showing President Bush and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia walking along holding hands. The media went into a frenzy! They reported all sorts of dire and dark interpretations of this.

BALDERDASH! Don't these idiots ever read? If they bothered to read anything except their own columns they would know this is common practice in Arabian countries (also in Asia). I saw this many times in Vietnam and also in Taiwan. It is common for men to hold hands while walking with a good friend. There is no homosexual connotation here. It is just what they do. The same is true for Arabian countries.

But, some of the national reporters tried to go 'balls to the wall' on this. In most cases, they have been exposed to be extremely stupid, and have been slapped down.

Yet the national media wonders why they are so often ignored.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Jane Fonda

Dear Hanoi Jane is back in the news, promoting her new book. The Gospel according to Jane is that she was just "misunderstood." She realizes now that she should not have had her picture made, sitting in an antiaircraft gun smiling for the cameras. Poor thing, the nasty press is picking on her.

I have only one question for this stupid bitch. Why the hell was she is North Viet Nam in the first place?

I was in Nam. And Jane Fonda is a stupid, arrogant, unmitigated treasonous slitch who should have been hung from the yard arm. I hope the nasty press runs her out of the country, because she doesn't deserve our rights and privileges.

My real complaint is that I can't tell her to her face what I think of her.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Stupid Caps-2

I hate to get on my soapbox again, but stupid, boorish people who wear ugly caps indoors really yank my chain.

Tonight we went to the theatre. Saw The Cocktail Hour by Guerney, a delightful production. However, my enjoyment was greatly diminished by the sight of one yahoo, sitting there with his stupid cap on his head. My God! Even in the theatre these people wear their caps. To make it worse, this idiot was the husband of one of the performers. You would think that anyone that close to the theatre might have a little bit of good taste.

Maybe this proves what I have often suspected: those caps are glued, rivited, stapled, nailed or otherwise permanently fixed, and cannot be removed. I wonder if these people sleep wearing their stupid caps?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


There's an ad running on TV that really shows the stupidity of some (most?) advertising people. This one is by Mercedes-Benz and ends up with the line "introducing the 4 door coupe."

It's a real shame that they didn't take some of their ad dollars and buy a dictionary, and then hire someone who can read. By definition, a 'coupe' is a enclosed vehicle with 2 doors! An enclosed vehicle with 4 doors is a sedan.

These idiots are trying to reinvent the language.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

School Zones

There is a middle school a block away from my house. I drive that street several times each day on my way to and from town. The posted speed limit is 20, and and clearly marked. I take an exquisite pleasure in slowing all the vehicles following me. Apparently, many drivers on that street are just too stupid to realize it is a school zone, or else they just don't give a damn.

Last week, as I approached the school, I was slowing, doing 25, when I saw a pickup coming up behind me. I guess that idiot thought he was in a hurry, because he was doing at least 40. Just as he came roaring up right on my bumper, I hit the brakes to get down to exactly 20. HAH! Stood that red-neck sucker on his nose. Watching through the rear view mirror, I could see the contortions of his face, and imagine the blast of profanity. I didn't give a rat's ass. He had to follow me, and we were going all the way through that school zone at 20, whether he liked it or not.

I have driven that street many times, and have had students run out into the street several times. So, I am careful. But damn, that felt good to make that idiot blow his cool.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Congressional Stupidity

The US Congress is at it again. I guess they are not getting enough publicity, so they resort to stupid actions.

First, they have decided it is imparative that they 'investigate' use of steriods by baseball players. From the way they are jumping into the spotlight, you would think this is crucial to national defense! I wonder under what Constitutional authority they are conducting this essential investigation? Is this a part of interstate commerce; collecting import duties; establishing Post Offices; declaring war or or maybe punishing piracy? Just where in Article II of the Constitution is the power given to Congress to meddle into how a sport is played? Any scholar will say this is far beyond the reach of Congressional authority. But, it's a slow time, and some of the committee members have not been getting the publicity they crave. So they waste millions 'investigating' baseball.

If that isn't enough, the House tried to subpoena a 'dead person.' The person is question has been in a total vegatative state for 15 years. And the House wanted her to come and testify!!!! Is that not a hoot?

There are many times that I think I would like to have some of whatever it is our
congressmen are smoking.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Highway litter

America-the land of the free and the home of the slobs.
I took a trip last week, from here in western North Carolina to Jekyll Island, Georgia. Since I get bored with interstate highways, I went down through the middle of Georgia, through Athens, Millidgeville, Dublin, Videlia, and Waycross.

I was appalled at the amount of litter along the highway. All the good 'bubbas' there just throw everything out the car window. The roadsides are littered with beer cans, styrofoam cups, napkins, paper sacks--you name it is there. In those rural counties, nobody ever picks up anything.

Here, at least we make an effort. We have a minium security prison, and we put the prisioners to work along the state roads. Where they can't work, then various groups work at picking up the litter. It's a never-ending job, as a lot of slobs live around here also.

I guess if you are accustomed to living in squalor, as evident in many of the house around here where the 'bubbas' live, then litter along the road doesn't bother you.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Minding my own business

Nothing yanks my chain worse than people who who consider themselves so perfect they can afford the luxury of letting their own business go on automatic so they have the time to worry about my business. I know many of these people think it is their God given mission on this earth to reform others, in particular to reform me.

I encountered one of these today. I was in the grocery store, and my cart was loaded with several brands of beer, as I was stocking up for a party. This little old prim, pious and petulant lady in line behind me sniffed a few times, put on her most holy face and said "I think it is just scandalous for you to waste your money of those vile things. Your body is a holy temple, and you should respect it. All that is the work of the Devil!" You can see immediately what kind of 'kook' I was dealing with.

Up until then, it had been a nice day. I didn't want to spoil the day, so I was tempted to just ignore the sanctimonious old bitch, but decided she needed to be zinged a bit. So, putting on a sweet smile, I replied "Madam, I sure you have many virtues, and I am equally sure I have many faults. But, I have one virtue that goes far to atone for my many faults. On the other hand, you have one fault that totally wipes out all your virtues-real or imagined. Do you know what that is? My one virtue, Madam, is that I mind my own business. I wish the hell you would also."

With that, I went about my business of checking out, and let her standing with her mouth open. God, that felt good!

Friday, February 25, 2005

Butchering English

English is a rich and powerful language. Left alone, it has the capability of expressing a vast range of ideas and emotions. But some people just insist on 'butchering' it. One thing that really yanks my chain is misuse of the verb 'see.' The verb see is very simple and regular. I see; you see; he/she/it sees;we see; you see; they see. The past tense is 'saw' with no changes. i,you, he/she/it,we/you, they all saw something. The past participle is 'seen' and must be used with have or had. But listen around you. What you will hear is "I seen it last week," or "As soon as I seen the sign, I knew I was lost."

Here in the mountains of North Carolina I expect to hear such abuse of the language, since the way many of the people speak reflects their unique heritage and the poor educational system. Here you will also hear "I ain't saw him for a week." These people are really mixed up.

But listen to television news. You will see people, being interviewed all over the US, and saying "I seen it." These are not mountain people. Many of them have good educations. But somehow, they all can't seem to understand or remember this simple thing: the past tense of the verb see is saw, not seen. For God's sakes, this is not rocket science.

Whenever I hear this, I want to scream at the TV: "No, you idiot! If you ca't speak simple English then shut up!" But, as a true curmudgeon, I have never been know to be lenient about other people's mistakes.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Stupid caps

The wife and I went to dinner tonight. It was not the fanciest restaurant in town, but even so, I was offended by the 19 males wearing their stupid caps while eating.
I guess a lot depends on how you were raised. Had I ever dared to sit down at our table wearing a cap, my Mother would have hit me up the side of the head with a plate. To sit down in a restaurant without removing my hat/cap would have me banned to the outhouse. In my time, gentlemen or any sort did not wear a hat while eating. Even the cowboys, in town on Saturday night for a decent meal and some fun, removed their stetsons when they came into the cafe (cowboys didn't eat in restaurants.) These were men who put on their stetson as soon as they got out of bed, and only took it off when they went to sleep, but they didn't wear it while eating in public.
I am retired from the US Navy. A naval person never wears a cover indoors except when in a duty status. Had I entered the wardroom of my ship and sat down to eat wearing my lid, the other officers would probably have thrown me overboard. It wasn't done!
So, when I see a man or boy sitting down to eat in public, wearing their stupid cap advertising fertilizer or tractors, I immediately think "stupid, red-neck, hill-billy, poor white trash." If this offends you, tough! I'm offended by your stupid cap.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Really Stupid Ads

There's a lot of advertising floating around the media. There are a lot of people paid big bucks to write this stuff. Many of these ad writers are blithering idiots. But the sheep who read or hear this stuff just don't complain.

My best examples of such idiocy is automobile ads. Listen to what they say. Almost every TV ad has the phrase "the all-new 2005 Belchfire Super" I don't want an all-new car! That sounds like they started from scratch and re-invented the wheel. What I hope the manufacturers do is keep the things that worked from last year's model and fix the things that didn't work. Instead, they make it sound like they threw away even the good parts in their effort to be 'all-new.' I call this 'all-dumb.'

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Writer's Block

I seldom suffer from writer's block. Usually if I sit down and start wrtiting something, it will flow. This past week has be the exception. It's not that I can't write, it is that I just have not been able to sit down and start. Guess there are two many things on my plate at the moment.

I have lots of work I should be doing. There is a novel still in need of more edit and revisions, and the semi-autobiographical history of early data processing that needs to be completed. There is also another small collection of newspaper columns and essays that is 99% ready to go to the printer, if I can just make up my mind to do it. I keep putting it off, not yet ready to take on the job of marketing it.

It must be because it is February, a really blah month. Thank God it only comes once per year.

Monday, February 07, 2005

A computer dinosaur

I have been in the computer business since 1963. I often feel like a computer dinosaur. Some events really reinforce that feeling.

Last night, during the Super Bowl, I was running one of the monthly jobs I do (for free) for various organizations. This job, the monthly meeting notice for the local Medical Assistants Association, involved printing continous form postcards. As the 88 required cards clanked through my trusty Okidata 320, I had to wonder: how many people out there still have a dot matrix printer? One thing for sure. You can't print continous form postcards on either a laser or an ink-jet printer!

After the cards were printed, I turned them over, ran them back through and printed the addresses. For this I used another dinosaur program, called dBase3. I use this old but reliable program because making Microsoft Access print to a dot matrix printer requires more fiddling around and tweaking drivers than I care to tolerate.

I'll need a new computer soon. This one is getting as flakey as Grandma's pies. The new one will come with an abortion of an operating system called XP, which does not support DOS programs. So I will have to find an old 386 or 486 system that I can plug my printer into so I can do the 3-4 jobs each month that require that printer. Yes, I know I can print address labels on my laser printer, but printing them 2-up on continous form is much less expensive. And, that laser printer will not print postcards.

Isn't progress wonderful?

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Dumb letters to the Editor

If you read letters to the editor of any major newspaper, you soon realize there are a lot of people out there who have opinions, but absolutely no facts.

A recent one really amused me. The writer, surely a die-hard Democrat, was re-beating a dead horse about how Kerry actually should have won Ohio in the national election. His argument was that some of the 'provisional' ballots were not counted. As he said, "Many of these were not counted because the voters were not registered." How dumb can a person be? Of course these ballots were not counted, if the person was not registered to vote. That's the law. If you don't register, then you don't get to vote.

Apparently this person had no clue as to the use of a 'provisional' ballot. This is used when there is a question about a voter's eligibilty. A provisional ballot is used, and then it is checked with the election board. If the person is not registered, or is a convicted felon, or for other reason is not eligible, the vote is not counted.

But, this writer was convinced that all those provsional ballots that were determined not elgible to vote would have been votes for the Democratic candidate. I don't know how he thought he knew this, so this is a secret ballot, but I am sure there would no way to convince him that not only was he wrong, but also that he was pretty damn stupid.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Super Bowl Dumbness

There were articles in today's paper about football fans in Philadelphia who took out home equity loans or put their house up as collateral for loan to pay for a trip to the Super Bowl. The cost for a package trip was about $4,000. One guy needed that much. Another needed $8,000 for him and his wife. These people are out of their ever-loving, blue-eyed minds! Where are their priorities? First of all, there's no football game in the world worth that kind of money. Second, anyone who has to borrow money to go to the game has no business going. These people are all employed, but their credit cards are maxed out; they have no savings; they can't afford this, but they want to go to the game. So they are willing to take the chance (very slight) of losing their house to appease their desire to see the game. They are willing to pay the high interest on the loan. They are willing to go even further in debt for the short-term pleasure. The are also dumb!

I guess this is all part of the I want it now, instant gratification, to hell with tomorrow culture we have created.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Redundent adjectives

Here in the South, (and also in the South West) you will often hear redundent adjectives. For example, someone will say "I did enjoy reading this here book" or "He takes a lot of pride in that there dog." This book or that dog is all that is needed. I often wondered from where came this predeliction to emphasis the idea by adding another,unneeded word?
Do you suppose this is just another example of our southern tendency to let our mouth run before our brain is engaged?

Thursday, February 03, 2005

State of the Union #2

True to my prediction, all day the pundits have been telling me (in great detail) what the President said. That, in itself, would not be so bad. The problem is so many of these so-called "experts" spent much of their time bemoaning the fact that "the President didn't say this" or "he should have said that" or "he said this wrong/" Well Duh! It's his speech, he can say whatever the hell he wants to. If he didn't say exactly what some highly paid but stupid journalist want him to say, well tough!

There is one truly amazing consistency about many of these "experts": they can't see their nose in front of their face, yet they all have 20-20 hindsight.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

State of the Union

For many years now, I have elected not to listen to the President's State of the Union address. Why should I? All day a legion of reporters, analysts, and self-proclaimed 'experts' will tell me what the President is going to say. Then tomorrow, these same pundits will tell me what he said. Why should I bother to listen?

After all, I have a large group of very well-paid consultants who are eager to insure that I understand exactly what will be or what was said (at least their slant on the content). Should I presume to interpose my meager knowledge against this collected wisdom?

As a matter of fact, YES! Forewarned with the knowledge that each of these national personalities have their own private agenda, I can filter through their blatherings and usually determine what was important.

Often it is more important to listen to what not is said. What these 'experts' do not comment about is sometimes the really crucial meat of the address.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Be careful with words

James Kilpatrick recently wrote a wonderful column about the dangers in using foreign words and phrases. Writers must be careful to insure they understand the meaning of the word, and that they spell it correctly. Otherwise embarrasing errors can happen.

One example he gave concerned a reporter who used a Spanish phrase to (he thought) wish a Happy New Year to his Hispanic readers. The Spanish word for year is año (with a tilde). Either the reporter didn't know the difference, or his typesetter did not have the proper character. What he wrote was "Feliz ano neuvo." The word ano (without the tilde) means anus. You can imagine his consternation when he was told he had wished his readers a "Happy New Ass."

Monday, January 31, 2005

A Great Description

An apt phrase.
What's in a word? As a writer, I am always looking for words or phrases that really ring my bell.
I recently read a column by (I don't remember and can't find it now) who was talking about how so many of the TV networks so easily cave in to the dictates of "political correctness." He described this trend as follows: "The major networks have adopted a policy of preemptive surrender." What a marvelous and apt description!

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Social Security

Never have so many been so confused about so little. If you read the Letters to the Editor, or some of the op-ed pieces in the local papers, you soon realize that most of the people writing are either totally stupid or they have an agenda to push.
The suggested modifications to SS were actually rather simple. Some people (not all, but some) would have the option (not be forced to) to invest a small percentage (not all) of their SS account into selected mututal funds. The underlying idea is probably sound. This would motivate some young workers to think about saving for their retirement, rather than just blow it all on non-essentials and then have to exist on SS as their only pension. SS was never designed as a retirement fund. It was always envisioned as an emergency measure, to provide some support for those who had nothing else.
But if you read the letters and the editorials, you see things like "President Bush is going to force everyone to dabble in the stock market" or "The Republicans are in cohoots with the Wall Street Brokers and will steal all your money."

The really dumb thing about some of the letter writers is their total misunderstanding of how the system works. There is no big pot of money called the Social Security Trust Fund! Too many people have the idea that every month the government stuffs $20 bills into a big box someplace in Washington. It doesn't happen. There is not a vault full of money. Payments come out of the Treasury general account.
Whether SS is in trouble now or in 2018 or 2042 depends on which study you want to believe. One thing is sure---there will soon be more people drawing out than people paying in. A smart person would take action to make sure they have something else besides SS.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Resident Curmudgeon

cur mud geon [origin unknown]
Archaic: a crusty, ill-tempered old man.

Modern: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner.

I have often been asked how I became the Resident Curmudgeon. It is simple. This is an elected position, but it requires only a plurality of votes. I didn't tell anyone when the election would be held. That way, I was the only candidate, and my vote was sufficient. Now, as the incumbent, I hold the position for life. I have rewritten the by-laws to now stipulate that if there is an incumbent, he will determine when a new election will be held.

Guess when that election will be? That's correct. When I am cold in the grave, then everyone can fight over the position.

If you want to be the next Resident Curmudgeon, get in line, but prepare to be patient. I ain't dead yet!