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Monday, December 31, 2012

17-year-old student suspended from school for her poem about the Sandy Hook Shooter.


Some authorities have decided that the pen of a student is deadlier than any firearm.  Read the story, and the student’s poem, HERE

How in all the midnight darkness of the valley on the west side of Sam Hill did those school-officials manage to perceive that poem as any kind of a threat?  How can they justify suspending the student?  Good Lord, people!  Please get a secure grip on your political correctness and then form a blue-ribbon committee to decide on a safe place where you can STICK IT!

I truly hope that the student’s mother sues that school district for double the amount of a King’s ransom and wins enough to put her daughter through a great college. 


Sunday, December 30, 2012

More waste of our tax dollars



There is no HOPE and there is no CHANGE.  Taxpayers are drowning in a septic field of unemployment and underemployment while it is business as usual for our sELECTED Officials.

Chicago Politics runs our nation.  “Ubi Est Mea?” Where’s Mine?”


Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Mayan Apocalypse took out one of our basement sump pumps.



(My daughter said this image reminded her of me.)

There was no damage or flooding to the basement; a foul industrial type of smell was the only clue that something was wrong; the house cats told me where the odor was coming from by shoving their noses under the basement door for a sniff.  I shut off all of the basement lights and, via flashlight, was able to trace the source of the haze in the air to the sump pit, which was full of oily, boiling water.  I found that the pump motor had kept running when the impeller failed, grossly overheating and blowing the oil out of the housing.

Eschatology aside, eventually all sump pumps will fail.  The 13-years 14-years that this one lasted is mildly exceptional. We have two sump pits in our basement.  The pump that failed on “Mayan Doomsday” was in the pit that serves the footing tile and window-well drains; as it should, it discharges to the yard, down hill, well away from the house (please don’t connect the discharge from this type of pit to the sanitary sewer; doing so overloads the sewage collection system and the treatment plant).  The other pit is sized for a domestic sewage pump in case we want to put a bathroom in the basement, but currently it only serves light-duty for the floor drains and AC condensate drain; as it should, it discharges to the sanitary sewer and its pump also is 13-years-old 14-years-old and likely to fail soon.  This pit does not serve a “heavy weather” function; I intend to find the time and energy to replace its pump at my leisure rather than waiting for it to fail, but there is always a chance that I will not get to it until motivated by a problem.

Had we been going through a period of heavy wet weather, this project would have been an emergency.  Our recent cold, dry weather made it favorable for me to take my time; things always seemed to jump ahead of it on the priority list but, fortunately, I was able to do it in increments.  Yesterday night I completed the job. 

The nastiest part of the job was using my 16-gallon wet / dry shop-vac to empty the pit; beneath the water, there was a (measured) 7-inch accumulation of sludge, much like the malodorous ooze you would find in a swamp bottom.  Putting a new pump into a dirty pit will shorten its life (if it does not cause it to fail immediately).  Other system components were also due for replacement; there is no sense in trusting a new pump to 13-year-old 14-year-old float controls and a 13-year-old 14-year-old check-valve. 

If money had not been an obstacle, I would have opted to install two pumps in this pit, one being a battery-powered backup.  However, I run a strict “pay as you go” budget and our holiday spending, along with a couple of years of sizable cash outlays to help out desperately needy friends and family, made an enhanced system unaffordable for now (CLICK HERE to read all of our sump pump adventures).


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I predict Illinois will opt to run its own Obamacare Insurance exchange


Only 15-states have opted in so far, but I believe that the Illinois politicians will find this an irresistible new frontier for graft and corruption.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Daniela, we will forever miss you.


The angel from next-door is gone.  Her smile gave light to our world and our world failed her miserably.  Watching her grow-up was one of the most blessed facets of my life.  Losing her is one of my darkest moments.

Her first leukemia diagnosis was at age 13 and the treatment lasted until she was age 15.  In early July of this year, at age 17, the leukemia returned with uncompromising vigor.  After courageously enduring 5-months of torturous hospitalization, which included removing both of her legs in a futile attempt to control rampant infection, she died on November 28.  Her funeral was on December 4. 

In spite of their complete spiritual faith and having a good income and health insurance, her family is emotionally and financially devastated.   In between bouts of the leukemia, Daniela’s father filed for bankruptcy in order to save their home.  Today, there may be little chance for him to save it again.  There are no food stamps available for this family and no government mortgage refinance, only the limited help from family and friends.  The bill collectors and the legal system did not wait for Daniela’s last breath to begin gnawing at the remains of her family.  

I will not be asking for Internet donations for Daniela’s family, but I do solicit your good thoughts and / or prayers.   Please give to those around you who are in need, whatever you can afford and whenever you can. 

The humble blogger at this obscure blog site is on hiatus until his enhanced seasonal melancholy clears.  Should I not return before then, have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A very classy Matt Del Fatti Rohrbaugh R9S pocket holster set is available




CLICK HERE to see if Matt still has the set in stock over there.


Your home state concealed carry permit does not mean a thing here in Illinois


On separate occasions I’ve run into three people this year sporting IWB holstered handguns in northern Illinois, all at local malls, two getting out of cars with Wisconsin plates and a third walking out of a store so I had no idea where he was from.  When I pointed out to all three that their shirts had ridden up over their iron (or plastic), they each looked nervously indignant and blathered, “It’s okay, I’ve gots me a permit.”  Not wishing to contradict well-heeled folks, I just smiled, gave a thumbs-up and went about my business.

Unless you happen to be an active or retired peace officer covered by LEOSA, your Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Minnesota, or wherever permit does not mean squat anywhere in Illinois.  If caught and you survive what could be an engaging encounter with our gang-crime-seasoned constabulary, the initial charge is a Class 4 FELONY.  If convicted of a FELONY, you not only stand to lose your home state permit, you could also lose your right to own firearms altogether.  CLICK HERE to read about an Indiana couple trying to conceal-carry a handgun into the Six Flags theme park in Gurnee, Illinois. If you have a charming personality and loads of money to pay for a top-notch barrister, you MAY be able to wiggle your way to a misdemeanor plea deal, but that is a bet you may not wish to place. 

If you have objections to Illinois having no provisions to honor your concealed carry permit, boycott Illinois and let our Governor know that your vacation and shopping dollars are going elsewhere, or be sure and bring your lawyer along for the ride.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Review of the PHILIPS 800 Lumens, 12.5w (60w) LED “Light Bulb”


With an advertised 22.8-year life expectancy (at 3-hours per day), this “light bulb” might just last longer than I will.  However, I have been using CFL lamps for many years and can testify that their advertised life expectancy and the empirical were vastly different.  To say the least, I am just a bit skeptical of the hype about LED life expectancy.  I did notice quite a savings in energy cost over the years by switching from incandescent bulbs to CFLs and I am optimistic that the LEDs will prove equal in that respect. 

At a sale price of $14.97, I decided to try only one LED.  It first went into a kitchen ceiling fixture but my wife did not like the color of the light it produced; she and I both prefer the color of the light from the “daylight” CFL lamps.  This LED emits a light that has the same sepia “soft white” hue that you would expect from a normal incandescent bulb or a normal spectrum CFL lamp.  Therefore, I moved the LED into the vanity fixture in the downstairs bathroom where we are not so discriminating.

I may hold off buying any more LED “bulbs” for household lighting until the technology can (hopefully) bring down the price a bit more and produce a color of light that is a bit more cheery. 


Monday, November 19, 2012

Knife used during bloody Magnificent Mile robbery attempt in Chicago



Chicago is the perfect breeding and feeding ground for criminals. Illinois law does not let honest citizens carry weapons of any sort for protection.   Illinois releases felons from prison early because of budget problems.  Chicago police are short handed because of budget problems. 

My ever-humble advice is to keep your tourism money out of Illinois (especially Chicago) and to go visit somewhere safe.


Bad guy killed during Florida ATM robbery


Dear dumbass knife wielding white-guys in Florida,


Targeting me for robbery at an ATM is a waste of your God given talents; I never have and never will possess an ATM card. 

Best wishes,

Zack


Sunday, November 18, 2012

The bulk of my petunias are still alive


That is very strange for northern Illinois in mid-November. 

Well, I’d say that the many nights this fall when the plants weathered temperatures in the mid twenties Fahrenheit rules out climate change having anything to do with their longevity.  The freezing temperatures burned off the flowers but the plants still look hearty.  To my knowledge, petunias were never a frost tolerant planting so I did some research for clues as to why these plants were so durable and came up with a possibility. 

In 2004, researchers came up with a way to make petunias tolerate temperatures as low as twenty degrees Fahrenheit by splicing in the gene of a cold-tolerant weed.  The plight of gardeners was not their motivation; the growers that supply all the garden centers could save millions of dollars in pre-season energy costs. 

Being as it is now eight years later, my guess is that this (or similar) research now has frost resistant petunias on the market and I have a crop of them hanging on until the bitter end.

(Photos below are from early July)


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Another example of sterling FBI marksmanship at body-odor distance


Once again, the FBI fails to live up to their Hollywood image. 

A 15-agent FBI Swat Team stages an early-morning no-knock search-warrant raid on a Maryland home.  Once inside, one agent spots an 18-year-old female standing outside her bedroom door and shouts, “She has a gun!”  She survives the ensuing gunfire, all of which was from the FBI Agent(s); neither she nor any of the other occupants of the house were armed. 

Thank goodness their shooting skills suck as much as their reflex-judgment.  I believe at least one Swat Team member deserves dismissal with prejudice and that federal lawmakers should investigate this incident.  Yes, I believe that the onus is on law enforcement officers not to screw up, and I am interested in voting for major-party politicians who share that belief.



Thursday, November 15, 2012

FBI Soft Porn


The full story is HERE at The Seattle Times.

Judging from the spread of the bullet holes in the dummies, our FBI agents don’t shoot any better than I do (and my shooting sucks).  Let’s hope that each agent was practicing from a substantial distance with his or her Seecamp hidey pistol, using his or her weak side hand, while swinging upside down from a rope.  THEN I’d opine that their gun slinging was mighty fine.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Garbage bags for preparedness and survival



I know the title of this post sounds more than a little silly, but from experience I learned to maintain a stock of no less than a two-year supply of the tall kitchen garbage bags, 1,000 or so t-shirt style plastic shopping bags, along with a couple of boxes of the large, heavy-duty, contractor style bags.  If panic buying before an impending catastrophic storm does not strip your local retailers’ shelves of garbage bags along with the food, water, batteries, toilet paper, etc., it is likely the supply will be gone shortly after the calamity.  From what we learned from Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, we cannot expect FEMA, under any President’s administration, to be sending in timely emergency shipments of anything.  The highly volunteer Red Cross does a much better job than FEMA does, but it is impossible for any organization to be 100% prepared for disasters of such magnitude.  Your larder, planning, and skills may be all that gets you (and your needy neighbors) through.

What I have found firsthand is that plastic bags keep things dry during a storm and are vital to have for the cleanup afterwards (or for tossing together essentials and sentimental items for a hasty evacuation). With some strategic slicing here and there, the larger sized bags become makeshift raincoats for your ill-prepared neighbors. 

An overabundance of bags is handy to have for reasons other than catastrophic weather events; they work great if you are moving to a new home.  A few years back there was an extended work stoppage by our regional refuse haulers.  When our curb-cans were full, we used the larger bags to store the smaller bags of household waste until they settled the labor dispute.



Friday, November 9, 2012

AT&T door-to-door sales has been a pain in my ass for years


This unflattering post will reappear as the lead entry of this obscure little blog site each time AT&T sales ignores my NO SOLICITORS sign and knocks on my door.  I am sick to death of AT&T.  Once or twice a year, since a little before the “do not call list” put limits on AT&T’s ability to invade the privacy of our home via telemarketers, AT&T sends door-to-door sales to my house.  They always begin by saying  (I am paraphrasing) “we are here to inform you of the work we will be doing in your backyard easement during cable upgrade.” THAT is a LIE!  The underground cables in our neighborhood have NEVER been updated and never will be.  The cables are state of the art.  I know this because I have asked many of the AT&T repairmen.  That opening statement by AT&T sales (I was told) gets AT&T Corporation legally around most NO SOLICITOR ordinances.  The salesman then asks who my cable provider is, etc., which is when I get cranky with them.

If EVER I do choose to subscribe to a cable service, it WILL NOT BE AT&T.  Further, I am so pissed off with AT&T that the next time I need to replace our family cell phones, I AM SWITCHING FROM AT&T TO ANOTHER PROVIDER.  After that, if AT&T continues to bully their way passed my NO SOLICITORS sign, I will switch my home phone and DSL to another vendor.

Go ahead, AT&T.  Keep on sending those asshole salesmen to my door and, for better or for worse, I will continue to give you all kinds of free online advertising.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Perhaps U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. believes that the best offense is an insanity defense


From his sanctuary at a major hospital, Jesse Jackson Jr. is negotiating a plea deal with the feds. 

Why is this news coming out AFTER the election?  There are no secrets in politics. There is more than a little “look of impropriety” by the press and federal officials on this. 

Political Corruption has not always been the equal opportunity employer that it is today; it once was the exclusive pastureland for male, white criminals of all political affiliations.  It is heartwarming to see that evil no longer practices bigotry.

I will wait in vain for an official statement from the Democratic Party expressing their righteous indignation and outrage over the behavior of this august member.  Regrettably, the most that we can expect will be the unarguable dodges that “Democrats are no more corrupt than the Republicans.”  Crime on our streets is quite understandable; people mimic the behavior of our elected officials.  Laws are made to be broken; rules are for fools.  The code of piracy is simple; the only shame is in being caught.

The citizens of the USA had HOPE for CHANGE long before this current administration and it does not look like CHANGE will be here anytime soon.  Neither of the two major parties will measure up to that task until voters hold their elected officials accountable each and every election day.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Republicans again try to steal an election


CLICKETY HERE to read about how a Chicago elections judge, wearing a Romney cap no less, gave voters extra paper ballots.

CLICKETY HERE to read about scary Philadelphia militant white supremacists standing vigil by a polling place entrance, and CLICKETY HERE to read how a Pennsylvania Judge ordered the reinstatement of a Democrat election monitor forcibly ejected by Republicans.

Damn you Republicans!  Damn you to hell! Where were those U.N. Election Observers when we needed them?


Politics in America does not have a prayer



Amen.


Presidents during my lifetime



Since I was born during the waning months of his presidency, I have no memory of Harry Truman.  Subsequent administrations did leave memories, many of them profound.  Which president will I nominate as the biggest economic control freak failure of them all?  Richard Nixon with his “wage / price controls.” Who was the most ineffective and uninspiring?  Jimmy Carter.

I guess what I am hinting at is that whoever wins this election probably won’t rock my world any more than did those who have gone before.  Once the tally sheets are in, I will shrug my shoulders and continue to sail my charted course whether the weather be fair or foul. 


Saturday, November 3, 2012

The storm devastation out east looks like the wastelands of a Mad Max movie


“Law” is just a hollow word during desperate times.  Yes, I have been through such situations on more than a few occasions during my tenancy on this earth.  It is tough and trying.  It brings out the best in many people while bringing out the worst in others.

Non-profit organizations, and the Local, State, and Federal Governments, cannot do it all. Prepare beforehand. Have supplies. Have a plan. During any emergency, and during disaster recovery, there is a good chance you will be on your own. Learn how to survive beforehand. Include plans and provisions to save your pets.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Whether you are PROBAMA or NOBAMA, do not expect the other side to stay home during this election.


Today was the first day of early voting in these parts and all I can say is “WOW!”  Today’s turnout was awesome despite a cold rain.  It was so exciting that I went to the polls TWICE today.  Well, actually my first trip went flat when, after standing in line for a half-hour, I discovered that I had forgotten my reading glasses and had to return home to get them.

In all of the years since my first vote, I have never seen such an army of citizens charging to a polling place as I witnessed today; the wealthy, the middle class, and the penury were there in a blend of the young, the old, every skin shade, and every ethnicity you could think of.  Most touching were the folks arriving in wheelchairs or hobbling around with the assistance of canes or walkers.  Today I saw the USA that I have always believed in.  I beheld a multitude of Americans declaring their diverse views with one phrase in a brash voice, “We have skin in this game!”  Today was as all elections should be.  Welcome home, America.  I’ve missed you.  Please stay for a while.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Obama is no longer on the Down Low




When it comes to the Second Amendment, voting is the only time your opinion matters.  You can stomp your feet, you can make threats, you can get Molon Labe tattooed on your face and ass so people see it when you are coming or going, but none of these theatrics amount to a durned thing unless you vote.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

The right to vote for 18-year-old U.S. citizens


The 26th Amendment was a success due to American grassroots hope-and-change politics at its finest.  I lived that ancient history.   I was there.  Things back then were certainly no less contentious than they are today; “politics” does not come from the word “polite.” 

I was older than 18 but younger than 21 during the 1972 Presidential election.  For me, that first vote was a serious obligation; it was also sweet and exciting.  Since then, I continue to feel that voting is an awesome responsibility but, like the thrill of a first kiss, the blush has faded to sepia over the years.  Still, I go in with the attitude that my vote may be the decision maker in a tight election.  Call me delusional, but I feel that our elected federal, state, and local officials are the EMPLOYEES of the citizens and WE control their hiring and removal; they are not the brains for the people, they are the voice of the people.  Voter apathy is the confederate of the corrupt and inept in government; look no further than Illinois for evidence.  If you are looking for a revolution, head on over to the polling place and plant the seed.

At least in this area, early voting starts in about a week and you can count on me being there.  My eyes have glazed over from so many years of reading the pro and con; I have put in my due diligence and I am ready and qualified.  For me, this campaign is over.


Friday, October 5, 2012

First autumn 2012 Chicago area freeze may be tonight



32 F predicted for tonight and again for Sunday night.  The bugs in the yard are already lethargic; yesterday I took this photo of a praying mantis hugging an iron table leg.  The critter was still there today so I took it over to a potted plant and blended it in.  Later I was pulling out some of the spent petunia plants from the front garden and came across a hummingbird moth.  It appreciated the warmth of my hand and did not want to let go.  I nested it into a healthy plant (far away from the mantis).  Later I saw the moth go airborne only to attract the attention of a late season robin.  Even as cold and lethargic as it was, the moth easily looped the determined robin and took sanctuary in a fully leafed scarlet dogwood bush.  In the back yard, blue jays were flitting from bush to tree and back again, feasting on the sluggish insects while rabbits ventured about, unconcerned with the yearling red-tailed hawk screaming from the nearby woods.

Without a doubt, I am still that little kid from so many years gone by, adventuring in the wonderful world of nature that exists in the tiny yard where I play.