Tuesday, January 13, 2015
It's been just over two years. We've held two more Rocky Russo Memorial Races, each one smaller than the last. Last year's had fourteen or fifteen participants, I forget how many. This year's had ten participants but only nine cars. Two guys shared one car. Last year, my friend Don Haase Sr won the race, after a ten lap race-off with me to break a tie! He beat me by five feet. This year, our friend, Mike Kelly, won and I took third place, with 737 laps, with our friend "Rapid Rob" taking second place with 744 laps. Mike Kelly had 751 laps. That was for a race of 56 minutes (seven minute heats), or c. one percent difference between each of the podium finishers. Close! Last year's race was a "4.1 second breakout" race, wherein your laps counted as long as you didn't lap quicker than 4.1 seconds. In fact, that is how Don Haase ended up beating me during the "race-off": with only two of us on the track, I had more trouble keeping under the 4.1 breakout. Midway into the ten lap race-off, I was THREE laps ahead of Don, because he got punked out by me on the first lap in the donut, then broke out twice. I laughed, then broke out myself, then he broke out again, then I laughed too much too soon and broke out three more times, evening us up, and he was, as I say, five feet ahead of me when the power shut off.
That's it for memories of slot cars during the last two years. I have many more memories, but nothing is going into this neglected blog.
I have several more grandchildren. Teagan (adopted by Jammon and Melanie), Caleb (Suzanna and James') and Corabelle (Alex and Tamara's). Cute!
I have new dentures, as of 5 December last year. Pretty used to them by now. Nine teeth survive, all on the bottom, all in front. They are what keep the partial lower denture fixed in place, thank God.
Last year was also the year from hell car maintenance-wise. Almost I regret having old vehicles. But when you have taken good care of the cars you've got, and know what has gone into them, and what is already taken care of, you do get to expect some higher costs. Well, we got really slammed last year, actually starting late in 2013. All through the year, right up to and including last week, hardly a month has gone by that we haven't had one or both vans in getting something repaired. Notably, both have brand new five year warranty batteries (not quite a year old yet). The Ford has rubber hoses replacing the pipes that went to the rear heater. New shocks and new tires all around (ouch!). A new starter motor. And the rest I forget. The Voyager has a new head (ouch!), new alternator and I forget what else besides. Anyway! Add just that up and you get the idea. Our savings got totally cleaned out. We had no Xmas to speak of. Oh, well.
Health remains good. "Everything works and nothing hurts", is my daily prayer of thanks. Everything else besides that one is extra bennies, really!
Sunday, January 6, 2013
Friday, September 28, 2012
One of the popularly-believed reasons why Congress has not impeached president Obama is because Joe Biden would then be in charge; an unthinkable situation to everybody. This is a sad condition for our Nation to be in: a deliberately feckless vice president selected so that all the focus, the chances for "victory", reside in the president. For the last four years, Joe Biden has been the quintessence of the invisible man; when he has spoken and been noticed at all, it is by the Right, making fun of him again for the silly and inaccurate things he says. Nobody on either side wants Joe Biden to be POTUS; so Obama is assured of increased support out of a shared fear that Biden is positioned by our system to take over in the event of a catastrophe overtaking our president.
"Our system": that is the central topic I wish to address. Back in 2000, when the whole election process hung on a few hanging chads in Florida: when the outcome so annoyed the losers that they accused George W. Bush and his gang of cheating; when Al Gore was considering taking them to court (he did barely get the popular vote, after all): when the entire edifice of our democratic election process was teetering, I got the distinct impression that the whole thing had been deliberately orchestrated to sow discord among brethren and a loss of confidence in "our system". Now, twelve years later, we are hardly less vulnerable. In fact, if the Islamist extremists or other enemies of our Nation are at all competent, as we fear, they could at this very moment bring the entire system and our nation and even the world down. How could it be done?
One scenario that could work would be for the terrorists to acquire the itinerary of the presidential candidates; then position themselves within range of the ends of the runways as Air Force One or Romney's airline are either landing or taking off. A direct hit with a tactical rocket such as a Stinger would result in the deaths of both president and his opponent. Thus Joe Biden would take over. If the terrorists could take out Obama and Romney, they could surely take out Joe Biden.
With the presidential campaigns suddenly bereft of their candidates; with the Speaker of the House now in charge of the Nation, what would be the general reaction of the American People? How many of us know who the Speaker even is? Is it Nancy or Harry? (Danged if I knew until I looked it up: it's John Boehner). The point is, who knows what should happen next? The man in the street, does he know what "our system" proposes as the best course to follow? Is "our system" even set up to deal with such a sudden catastrophe? Or would Congress have to agree to disagree and then improvise? Danged if I know.
So into the mix enter the distortions, assertions, accusations and lies. The Medía tries to run it all; this is their "heaven": endless sensational news stories, so many, so thick on the ground that the reporters cannot possibly begin to cover it all.
If the climate is fearful, feckless and disunited, that is the perfect recipe for anarchy. Once the rioting begins – the pretext being outrage against the Government, the "dominant paradigm" for letting this happen to us again – it is likely this time to spread far beyond the ability of the police to prevent it. If "our system" is broken: if the man in the street does not know who is telling the truth and who is making a power grab, in fact he doesn't know anything at all about what is going on or how we are supposed to proceed: he is getting is "facts" from too many equally clamorous and finger-pointing sources at once: he is going to be very afraid. And fear turns to anger when danger erupts in his neighborhood.
The "entitled" portion of our population is the most emotional and fearful: if the Government that feeds, clothes, houses, medicates and pays them is dying, what could be more terrifying to them? They riot easily enough. Even without Mitt Romney's "47%", that is still a huge pool of terrified people. A broken system that cannot very soon fix itself will savage itself to pieces.
Once the rest of the world sees the USA in meltdown, the vacuum left by the dying super power will be filled in by every tyranny under the sun. Welcome to the new Dark Ages.
Am I fear-mongering, or am I warning? That depends on how polarized we are as a people. If the last decade has truly separated us into camps of warring ideals: if from our camps we accuse the other side of trying to cheat, to destroy the Nation, etc., and a significant portion of our people believe it, then the danger of our weakness is very real. If, however, enough of us believe that our Congress can unite to arrest the situation, before any real damage can be done during such a hypothetical hiatus in the presidential election year, then we are not going to succumb to fear no matter what the terrorists do; no matter who they take out.
My hope is that both major parties will not play election games with "our system". No more Joe Bidens. The vice presidential running mates should always be the best men or women we can find; not people that instill no confidence….
Summary: Our Nation is vulnerable during a presidential election year. If terrorists managed to take out both the incumbent president and his opponent, and possibly even the vice president, what should happen next? What is the process established to restart the presidential election? Nobody “in the street” knows; that’s the danger. If it were asserted that “our system” is broken or being hijacked would the ignorance-incited anger and fear at such a time sabotage attempts by the government to proceed with the election? If “our system” was broken how should it be fixed? If our president, vice president and the opposing party’s candidates are all dead, the Speaker of the House is supposed to be in charge. Who is that? Most of us probably don’t know. Will most of us await events, or will the sizeable portion of our population that feels “entitled” panic, grow angry in the climate of a broken system, and start rioting? The danger is very real; that ignorance and fear could create widespread destruction, which like a maelstrom would feed on itself. If the USA went into meltdown mode, the rest of the world’s tyrannies would be strengthened in the vacuum. Welcome, to the new Dark Ages….
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Congressional Reform Act of 2012
1. No Tenure / No Pension.
A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office.
2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.
3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 12/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women.
Congress made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Monday, January 30, 2012
Sunday, September 26, 2010