Archive for December, 2010

Libbey Bowl 360 degree Panorama

Time for another Libbey Bowl panorama.  This one was done on December 3. 

Click on the image and you will be taken to the pano host website.  Be patient while it loads, then scroll around the construction site.

Don’t forget your hard hat.


The best things in life…

Sweetie and I ran some errands yesterday.  Well, ran is a bit too strong for people our age.  Maybe shuffled some errands, or walked some errands, would be more appropriate.

While we shuffled, Bernie Sanders single-handedly filibustered the Senate.  He didn’t just threaten to filibuster.  He occupied center stage and spoke for over eight hours.  Even if he is two years younger than I am, that’s quite an accomplishment.  Unfortunately, no one seems to care.  The tax thing is a done deal and the rich get rich and the poor get poorer.  Too bad Jimmy Stewart isn’t around to do a real filibuster and bring Claude Rains and Edward Arnold to their knees like he did in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

But it was much too nice a day to worry about deficits, tax cuts, saddling our grandkids with our debts, or whether the Chinese actually believed they were fooling us by declaring their own peace prize while keeping free speech locked up in a dungeon.  It was a day that reminds me why people live here.  And, besides, I was getting hungry.

We had just dropped some mail at Attitude Adjustment and were walking past Vons.  “Wanna split a sandwich?”  Through the automatic doors we went.  In front of us was the refrigerated cabinet that usually contains the pre-made stuff.  Since it was after two, only the perfectly formed sushi packs stared back at us.  Nothing like gummy pre-made sushi to stifle one’s appetite.

I was ready to give up when Sweetie pointed to the young lady at the deli counter.  “She’ll help us.”  After a bit of arm wrestling we settled on the sandwich contents, had it cut in half, poured ourselves one large Sprite, grabbed more napkins than we needed, and paid the young lady $6.79.

We spied an empty bench strategically placed along the parking lot driveway and plunked ourselves down.  Carefully examining the cut sandwich, I selected the larger half and, in a display of uncharacteristic chivalry, handed it to Sweetie.  Two straws served as soft drink dispensers.  We sat, slowly ate our sandwich, sipped the sugary, iced Sprite and admired our surroundings.

The cars jockeying for position around the lot was as close as we’ll ever get to a NASCAR event.  Pedestrians, especially the young ones, seemed oblivious to the tons of moving mechanized metal as they strolled impassively from their parking spaces to the sidewalks.  Familiar faces appeared from time to time reminding me how small a town we live in.  And every now and then I raised my eyes to admire the crystal clear Topa Topas towering above us.

I thought about the folks passing us who might think that we were living on Social Security and couldn’t do any better than a parking lot picnic.  I thought about traveling to the far corners of the world, sailing aboard glittering cruise ships, flying over the Pole, crossing the International Dateline, and exploring deepest Africa.  And the more I thought, the more I enjoyed my $6.79 sandwich.

Just say no.

I rowed this morning.  Not on Lake Casitas.  On the carpet of my cubbyhole just off the bathroom.  With all the international, national and personal stress filling my head, rowing seems to focus the mind on something other than “how in the world did this happen!”

My endorphin infusion was interrupted when Mitch McConnell, the Michael Pollard look-alike of the Senate Republican minority, appeared on the TV screen eager to express his views to David Gregory, the latest incarnation of Meet the Press’  Grand Inquisitor.  “So”, David said, “do you think there will be a compromise on tax cuts.”   Responding with a smile, Mitch offered “I hope so.  We’ve had more discussions with the President in the last two weeks than in the last two years.  We certainly hope for a compromise.”

The reality of it is that by holding 98% of Americans hostage, the Republicans are likely to win a big one for rich folks and add a bizillion dollars to the migraine-inducing deficit.  Their strategy of resisting an extension of unemployment benefits and allowing tax cuts to lapse for the middle class appears to be working.  Obama is ready to cave…again.

Like the kid who, having placed a tooth under his pillow, expects to find that the Tooth Fairy has left a surprise, I look forward to each new day in the hope that Obama will shed his politically correct clothes and appear on TV with a big red S on his chest.  Announcing…truth, justice and the American way are here.  Beware all you who tread on me and the people who made this country a shining beacon in an otherwise cruel world.  I shall not be compromised in my quest to return this country to greatness.

Alas, as the clock ticks away, I fall further down the rabbit hole.  Expecting to wind up in the usual place, before the Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter.  My confidence in our leader wanes.  My belief that the forces of right will triumph over the Morlocks, the Dark Lord Sauron, and the Snow Queen ebbs with the passing of time.  I need something to shock my system.  Something that says now is the time to stand up and be counted.  The time for compromise has ended.  Two years of cowering over the lack of a Senate super-majority is fini.  Damn the torpedoes.  Rammmming speed.

Here’s what I suggest.  Refuse to extend the tax cuts for the 2% who’ll put in the bank anyway.  Let the Republicans continue to block the continuation of all the tax cuts.  Let tax rates go back to where they were when we had a robust economy, a surplus and full employment.  If anyone complains, blame it on the Republicans.  They did the blocking.  Take the additional tax dollars and reduce the deficit, invest it stuff that creates jobs, shores up our decaying infrastructure and restores our educational system to its former glory.

Bring legislation to the hill next year to a Republican House and a more Republican Senate (including my favorite Republican in drag, Joe Lieberman) that provides tax relief to those who most need it.  Let them vote it down because it doesn’t provide tax cuts to the 2% who don’t need it.  Keep pointing at Mitch, John and their cohorts as the guys who don’t care about the middle class.  Then do it again and again.  For two years.

I’m tired of bending over and saying “may I have more please.”   It’s time to stand up.  It’s time to say no…loudly.




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