Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Too Much Pork

I have to say that, as much as I disagree with President Obama's policies and ideas, I think the real problem is Congress. It's the Congress that allocates funding, right? It's the Congress that raises/lowers taxes (usually more of the former than the latter). Why do we continue to put up with the shameless porkbarrel spending in budgets? Why does an economic stimulus package have $400 million in it for climate research? Why is there funding for contraceptives (to President Obama's credit, I heard today he had the sponsering Congressman pull that bit of pork out--following Republican complaints).

Have Americans become that self-centered and that selfish? Are we a bunch of self-seeking individualists who "want ours now?" What about the common good? We are partially to blame, I suppose. We continue to elect Congressmen and Senators who, "Bring home the bacon." The incumbent has a huge advantage each election, riding the wave of public sentiment that a tenured member of Congress "knows the ropes" and "how things are done in Washington." It's a never ending cycle. For example, would we re-elect someone who fights building a Navy base in his home state of Iowa?

Just a few thoughts I had today driving in to work. Move along...there's nothing else to see here.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Few Of My Number Ones

Driving along yesterday evening listening to the radio when a classic song came on, one of my favorites. Bruce Springsteen's "I'm on Fire" has to be the ultimate nighttime cruising song. Love the beat. Perfect for riding along with the top down on a warm summer night. The fact I was in a hardtop rental in January only slightly diminished the effect. Anyway, it got me thinking about songs I've grown to love over the years and how some songs are perfect in various situations. Here's my list:

- Best Song to Sing at the Top of Your Lungs With All Your Buddies: Boston's "More Than a Feeling"
- Best Cruising Country Song: Dwight Yoakam's "Thousand Miles From Nowhere"
- My All-Time Favorite Song: Police's "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"
- Best Album To Go Along With a Little Wine and My Lady: Soundtrack to "Sleepless in Seattle"
- Best Cruising Song at the Beach: Jimmy Buffet's "Grape Fruit Juicy Fruit"
- Best Song Guaranteed to Make Steve Cry: "My Little Girl" by Tim McGraw
- Must-Have Songs to Listen to When Jogging: "Panama" by Van Halen, "Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash, and "Synchronicity II" by The Police
- Best Song to Transport Me To the Great Outdoors: "Rocky Mountain High" by John Denver
- Best Album to Listen to By the Pool: Jimmy Buffet's Greatest Hits
- Best Christmas Album That Always Puts Me in the Holiday Mood: "When My Heart Finds Christmas" by Harry Connick Jr.

Do you have any songs that bring back a memory or that seem perfect for a particular situation?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Back Home and Resting (Kind of)

Got back home Wednesday night. This was a bit unexpected. We were scheduled to drop off some cargo at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, but had to divert here for a maintenance problem. One compensation from flying on a mission and being gone is that after the mission we are afforded Post Mission Crew Rest. This is a chance to unwind and take care of any neglected business which for me is the "Honey-Do List." This mission ended at the perfect time to coincide with the MLK holiday. I received two days of PMCR lasting through Friday night. Monday is a holiday. Folks, that's a five-day weekend. Me likee.

Now, what that really means is that my wife has five days of chores for me. Yesterday she floated the "Soooo, what are you planning to do today?" question at me. This is a trick question to which there is no acceptable answer. It's like the, "Honey, do I look fat in this?" question. I blinked several times, my mind wildly racing for something, some chore that would give the semblance of activity yet allow me to lounge carefree on the couch for the rest of the day.
"Uhhh, the dishes?" Arrggghh! That sounded too much like I was reaching. Have to do better than that, Steve.
"What does 'Hmmm' mean," I ask. [Hats off to Caryn--one of the funniest comeback questions on a post I've seen. ] There is often a whole conversation wrapped up in one "Hmmmm."
"That means you really need to put together these chairs I bought the other day," as she walks out chuckling.
I toss out a feeble, "Now, don't feel like you have to fill up my day with activities." I hear her laughter in the next room. Foiled again. PS3 will have to wait.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Full Circle in Turkey

Coming up on a week on the road for this trip. I'm sitting in Turkey right now, in the same place I was a year ago. It's hard to believe the year went by so quickly. We flew into Baghdad last night to drop off some cargo and got here about 2 in the morning. I forced myself to stay awake until about noon and then slept until 7:30 in the evening. Talk about your clock being screwed up.

Two things I'm sorry I'll miss here on this trip are the pistachios and a haircut. The base commissary is closed on Mondays and I'm not sure I trust the pistachio vendors off base. I'm a big fan of pistachios and have got to say that the ones here are delicious. I already got a haircut in Germany, though the thought crossed my mind about paying for another one here. Like most things the Germans do, it was very thorough and basically flawless, though it lacked a certain...je ne sais quoi. I posted about these haircuts about a year ago. The alcohol rub and massage on the back of the neck is great. I think American barbers could take a few pointers from the Turkish ones.

We're on the road again in a few hours. Just enough time to swing by the chowhall for some cheesey grits and hash browns soaked in grease. My fav!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Back in Deutschland

I'm back at Ramstein AB, Germany, sitting and waiting for a mission to drop down. We flew out from Seattle on Tuesday, picked up a load of HUMVEEs in Texas, quick gas stop in Maine, then off to Germany. It's nice coming back for a visit. Place looks about the same as I left it. Today was pretty glorious; crisp, cold air and blue sky with not a cloud in sight. I've been up since 4:30 this morning--my clock is so screwed up now. It's pretty tough trying to align sleep patterns with when you fly. When you pull a 21-hour day, it kind of makes it tough. This is definitely a young man's game.

I've got to type fast. I'm at the base library and they've got a time limit on the computer. The internet Nazis will come in and haul me away if I stay on it too long. Funny, but adding the extra descriptive term "Nazi" takes on a new meaning here in Germany. They really don't like it...believe me. I made the mistake of renting "Schindler's List" once over here. They don't care for that movie either. Let bygones be bygones, or so they say.

One of my goals for this year is to buy an older pickup truck for my sons and I to work on and fix it up. I leaning towards a late '60s Ford F150. It has to be driveable as, I'm afraid, the limit of my car fixing skills ends with changing the oil and rotating tires. It's something for us to learn to work on together. My oldest's vote was for a Dodge Charger. I think he has delusions of fixing it up and then actually getting to drive it to school himself.

"That would be pretty cool," he says.
"Yeah, that's a pretty fast car," says I.
"Yeah," he says.
"That's why you're not getting it."

Pickup it is.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Senator Franken

Alright, I'm willing to get past the whole Republican/Democrat, hope/change, raise taxes/cut taxes, debate. Obama won fair and square. He's going to be our President in a few short weeks...I get it. Free elections are what make our country so great. I have to say, though:

WHAT IS MINNESOTA THINKING???!!!! I mean, come on, Al Franken for Senator? I know he's at least 30 and is an American citizen--he meets the criteria. But really, Al Franken? He's about as far left as they come. Can anyone tell me this isn't a vote for a democrat as much as it's a vote AGAINST Bush? Very short sighted, Minnesota.

Maybe all those daily affirmations made the difference.