Saturday, December 31, 2005

Bloggin' by battery backup

Today has been a long day, and its not even 2:00 yet!

The rain woke me up around 4 AM today slamming into my southern facing window. The steady and somewhat rhythmic sound of raindrops changed into a crescendo of noise as the gusts picked up, driving the rain sideways until it became similar to the sound of a clothes dryer filled with BBs and marbles. I looked out from my window to survey the scene. My front yard drain had become clogged with leaves, turning my lawn into a fine place to throw a duck family reunion.

When the front yard goes under, that is bad news indeed. It is home to my septic system. I was now faced with a decision. Get dressed in the damp clothes from last night and hope that I am able to clear the yard, thus enabling the septic system to function and allowing me the chance to shower when I was done. The other option, take a shower now, hoping the drain did not back up into my bathroom. Being an optimist, I dressed in my damp clothes and faced the stinging rain.

Success, the front yard drained into the back yard, and all is well. Then I came up with the bright idea to return the cattle trailer I had borrowed to haul some cattle to the sale. My friend lives 10 mile up the interstate, so I figured I would drop off the trailer, get back home and take a much needed shower.

'Localized street flooding' is a term that is far too vague and up to interpretation. I discovered that the County road department, Cal Trans and the locals sheriff do not tell you where to go, they only post "road closed' signs and let the chips fall where they may. Being on a main road to the local Indian casino, the hordes of would-be casino patrons trying to find an alternate route to the casino is at best a small scale disaster.

Needless to say, I was able to find a few alternate routes around the road closures and drove through a few feet of water when necessary to return the trailer and make my way home. The 20 mile trip took an estimated 2 and a half hours to complete. But now I am home, do I take a shower now or get everything I need to do outside done first? I chose the latter and got out the ATV to survey the slough at the end of my fields and make sure the drains are open. After an hour of shoveling out and clearing the culverts, I finally get back inside. Whew! Done, now I can kick back and watch the news coverage of the flooding and relax.

Wrong. The power is out. No water, no shower and one hour of battery left on my laptop. What's a guy to do?

Blog about it I guess. So here is to all of you, who are having a much worse day than I am. If your house has been flooded, I feel for you.

From a somewhat wet and kinda stinky cowboy.

( Update, 4:02 the power has come back on. When the power went off I took the pot roast out of the crock pot and put it in my 12" dutch oven and threw some coals from the fireplace on the top to finish cooking. Oh well, I like cooking in the dutch anyway.)

Friday, December 30, 2005

America's juvenile boredom

Where did I leave that magic wand?

In an excellent piece, Victor David Hanson explains why America wants everything right now, and better than perfect.
What explains this paradox of public disappointment over things that turn out better than anticipated? Why are we like children who damn their parents for not providing yet another new toy when the present one is neither paid for nor yet out of the wrapper?

One cause is the demise of history. The past is either not taught enough, or presented wrongly as a therapeutic exercise to excise our purported sins.

Either way the result is the same: a historically ignorant populace who knows nothing about past American wars and their disappointments — and has absolutely no frame of reference to make sense of the present other than its own mercurial emotional state in any given news cycle.

Preach on brother Victor, preach on!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Santa sits down for a chat

Today we have special guest here at the Roughstock Journal, the one and only Santa Clause.

Thank you Cowboy, I am just winding down from Christmas. Its good to get away from the pole. It's been a rough year.

Santa, I guess my first question is, why are you here? I mean, you're not real and there is no magical land at the North Pole. Who are you fooling?

I never get questions like this when I go on Larry King. Why so hostile Cowboy. Is it the bike you didn't get when you were 8?

C'mon, that is just a lucky guess, your not real, you don't know who's bad and good or any of that stuff.

Really? Do you want me to tell your readers why you didn't get that bike when you were 8?

Uh, hello, because your not real.

No, because when you were 7, I gave you a pump BB gun, remember. Do you remember what you did with that BB gun?

I don't know what your talking about.

Let me refresh your memory, it has something to do with a pig. Do you remember shooting the pig in the butt repeatedly with the BB gun?

Yea, and my ol' man whooped my butt for that. So your telling me that for shooting the pig in the butt, I made the naughty list?

Oh not just for that, but that was the trump card. As a matter of fact, you're lucky you had nice parents, you made the naughty list in 71,72, 73 and 1976. If it weren't for them, it would have been coal city for you Cowboy.

71? I was six years old, what did I do when I was six to make the naughty list?

Do you really want to bring that up here?

Hm, maybe not, but I still have a problem with the whole North Pole, sleigh, reindeer, chimney thing.

Yea, I get that all the time.

So what do you have to say for yourself?




C'mon fat man, MAGIC. That's it?


What a load of manure.

See, that's why I don't do interviews.

Ok Santa, if you are real, what did I ask for Christmas this year?

Will you believe me then?

Yes Sir I will.

You wished for Arlen Spector to be replaced as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Holy crap, you are Santa!

Yea, that's what I said.

That's about all the time we have today, Santa thanks for your time and I hope to see you back next year.

Don't get your hopes up.

By the way, about 1971, I have this non-disclosure statement for you to sign. Am I covered under attorney/client privilege, or doctor/client privilege, how does this work?

I won't rat you out Cowboy, I like your hat.

Thanks big guy.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Daily Disappointment

It must be hard to write for a local newspaper. I guess that is why the Daily Democrat takes other newspaper opinions and publishes them under "Our Opinion". It's the lazy way to write a column or an op/ed. Find a piece that you agree with and change the sentences around, mix in a few lines of your own, and presto, you sound smarter that you are. Here is just the latest example of the lazy journalism practiced at the Daily Disappointment.
For immigration reform to work, it must seek to reduce illegal entries not only
through stricter enforcement, but by creating sufficient opportunities for legal
entry and earned citizenship.

That, in turn, would free up law
enforcement to focus its energies on criminals, gang members and terrorists. As
a matter of national security, it's simply unacceptable to perpetuate the
current system in which millions of people live anonymous lives in the shadows,
a system that rewards coyotes and leads to rampant exploitation.

House bill also fails to deal squarely with the key problem that bedevils local
and state governments: What to do with the 10 million or so illegal immigrants
living here who are intricately intertwined with their communities and the
nation's economy?

Here is the opinion piece is was taken from, can you see any similarities?

For immigration reform to work, it must seek to reduce illegal entries not only
through stricter enforcement, but by creating sufficient opportunities for legal
entry and earned citizenship.

That, in turn, would free up law
enforcement to focus its energies on criminals, gang members and terrorists. As
a matter of national security, it's simply unacceptable to perpetuate the
current system in which millions of people live anonymous lives in the shadows,
a system that rewards coyotes and leads to rampant exploitation.

The House bill also fails to deal squarely with the key problem that bedevils local
and state governments: What to do with the 10 million or so illegal immigrants
living here who are intricately intertwined with their communities and the
nation's economy? It's simply not realistic to think that the government can
round up and deport these people, many of whom have children who are American
Why not just re-print their opinion and call it "An opinion we agree with"

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Vexatious Litigant

Not being an attorney, I had never heard the term before. In my opinion, that fits Dixon resident Ron Wilson to a tee. On one side, Murillo's Mexican restaurant in Vacaville, which has fantastic food by the way, and on the other side, Ron Wilson.

But isn't Ron a champion of the disabled? Not a chance.
Dixon resident Ron Wilson, who is disabled and uses a wheelchair, sued Murillo's on Aug. 3, 2005, claiming he was discriminated against and the restaurant didn't comply with ADA rules.

Wilson has filed more than 66 ADA lawsuits since 2000.

..And many in the disabled community are outraged, because they believe the lawsuits tarnish their image. Money that could be spent on compliance goes to a few disabled individuals who file the vast majority of lawsuits and keep the settlement money for themselves.

Quite simply, people in both the business community and the disabled community say the current system to enforce accessibility for the disabled is broken.

Wilson knows a hole in the 'Feel Good' ADA law when he sees it, and seems to be on a quest to tear the hole open large enough to drive armored car through. The one he fills up with his out of court settlements. The good people on the Vacaville Chamber of commerce, and its task force have had enough of Wilson, they want him declared a vexatious litigant.

The task force hopes to have Wilson deemed a vexatious litigant, which is a person who files frivolous lawsuits. If it succeeds, Wilson would have to obtain approval from a federal judge before he could file future lawsuits in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California System, where the Murillo case is being tried.

If Wilson is deemed a vexatious litigant he will still be able to sue without a judge's approval in all other federal districts, according to Karen Stephenson, Murillo's attorney.
I will have to eat at Murillo's next time I am in Vacaville, I love to donate to a good cause, especially when they have such good Chili Verde.

The UN loves taxes even more than the Democratic Party.

Here's a shocker, Kofi and the gang over at Turtle Bay want all nations to follow, you guessed it, France's lead in establishing a tax on airline tickets. The proceeds go to developing countries.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has urged governments to follow France's lead after its parliament approved a tax on airline tickets to finance development aid for poor countries.

"The secretary-general warmly welcomes the adoption by the parliament of France of a levy on airline tickets issued locally that will benefit the health sector of developing countries," UN spokeswoman Marie Okabe said.

Why not just burn the money in your EPA approved fireplace insert. How much of that money will end up in corrupt UN officials pockets? How much 'slippage' and overhead is acceptable?

'Mexican' is a racial slur?

ABC might have to rename their hit show, how about "Desperately bigoted Housewives?"
Naw, it just doesn't have a ring to it.
Desperate Housewives television star Eva Longoria has denied making racial slurs after a car in which she was a passenger was stopped by police.

Longoria was in a car driven by San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker when the basketball player was cited for impeding traffic and failing to produce a valid Texas driver's licence.

A bicycle police officer saw the car stopped late on Saturday and indicated that it was impeding traffic. When the car did not move, the officer rapped the hood with the palm of his hand, according to a police report.

Parker, who was behind the wheel, questioned why the officer touched the car, and the couple "began screaming in a verbally abusive and demeaning manner", police said.

The officer who wrote the summons said Longoria shouted from the car: "He's just a Mexican bike cop. He only wants your autograph."

Mexican is a racial slur? If she said 'Canadian bike cop', would that make the papers? She goes on to state that she is Mexican also. Tony Parker, the driver of the car is French, I'll bet he has been called 'that little French point guard for the Spurs' many times, should he be outraged? Or are we just looking to for a reason to be outraged these days?

Friday, December 23, 2005

A Hollywood heavyweight title fight

I would first like to thank both our guests for coming in today. First, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, thank you for taking time away from your busy schedule Governor.

No problem, glad to be here. I like your hat.

Thank you Governor. Also joining us is actor and activist Mel Gibson. Mr. Gibson welcome to the Roughstock Journal.

Happy to make it in, and may I say, I like the hat too.

My thanks to both of you.
Governor,lets start with you. The press has been writing about an internal feud among the GOP here in the Golden State. You announced you were bringing in a former Davis staff member, and by all accounts, a very liberal activist to be you new Chief of Staff. Governor, do you see any problems with appointing Susan Kennedy to your staff?

Yolo...Mr. Cowb... What should I call anyway?

Cowboy will do just fine Governor.

Great. Well Cowboy, I have to say that I have never felt threatened by a strong female viewpoint, even one I don't always agree with. Have you seen my wife?

Yes I have, she seems to be quite a nice lady, but what about those in your own party who think this is a conformation of your rather liberal social views coming home to roost? And that this is just the first sign of a full scale retreat to the center-left in this up coming election year?

I am not really worried about the in-fighting. We are a diverse party and the GOP in California will be behind me when the time comes.

You mean like they were in the special election?

That was unfortunate, I would like to have seen a ground swell of support among the Republicans, but for the most part, they sat on their wallets and the 'get out the vote' effort was like Red Sonja, it sucked bad.

Now lets get a view from someone who has the rumor mill working overtime. Mel Gibson. Mr Gibson,,

You can call me Mel.

Thanks, Mel, what do you say to those who are trying to draft you as a possible replacement for the Governor. Is there any truth to those rumors that you will be running in the Republican primary?


Governor, that question was for Mr. Gibson.


Mel, what about it?

I really don't have any desire to get into the political arena. From what I see on the outside, it looks worse than Hollywood. I mean, if someone mis-quotes me, I refuse to speak to that reporter, end of story. When your in Government, you have to give press conferences with people who just hate you for what you believe in.

Don't forget your crazy father, the press would hang him around your neck like an anchor.

Governor, please, can we leave families out of this?

Yea, I wouldn't be talking Governor. Not with a family like yours.

What's that supposed to mean?

You brought it up.

Well isn't your Dad nuts? I mean he doesn't believe the holocaust happen?

Look Arnold, my father is an old man, and he says some things I wish he didn't but at least he wasn't a Nazi.

Those are lies! Everyone in Austria joined the Nazi Party or you didn't get a job.

Gentlemen please, can we take a deep breath and get back to the issues?

Sure. Sorry.

Me Too.

Great, lets end with a question for both of you. What is the one major obstacle that this state must address in the next few years? Mel, you first.

I would say that the biggest obstacle in our state is the striking lack of value placed on human life. I mean, if you think that abortion on demand at any stage of pregnancy is fine, what value do you place on those who are living? That lack of respect for human life is a terrible filter to view life through.

Mel, thank you for your views.

I would just like to respond to Mel's statement because I am pro-choice and I don't think I have this 'bad filter thing' Mad Max is talking about.

Didn't you just execute someone last week Conan?

I didn't throw the switch or anything. I just signed a piece of paper, and he was guilty as hell. What about Conan? You freakin Crocodile hunter.

Boys, lets settle down.

Tell that to Nazi boy over there.

You want to start something anti-Semite?

Bring it on, in case you haven't looked in the mirror lately, you aren't in very good shape fat boy.

Who are you talking to?

Man-boobs over there.

That's it Gibson, outside right now!

Fine with me, cupcake.

Yea, you'll be thinking cupcake when I kick the livin crap out of you, Aussie.

Well, that about wraps up our first, and probably last, sitdown interview here at the Roughstock Journal. ( No wonder Hogue sticks to the radio, much safer)