June 25, 2008

Ashamed to be from Rockford.

I know I've said this before, but this time I'm really pissed off. It has nothing to do with the government or politics. It has to do with a group of people that live here in the city.

I was browsing the local rag newspaper when I saw the headline Neighbors worry about home intended for homeless veterans. It took me a second, I had to re-read the headline. I was sure that I misread that. No, it said exactly what I thought it did. Then I thought to myself, "Maybe, just maybe the Rockford Register Star is putting a spin on the headline to attract attention". So I read the story. Nope, the headline was pretty farooking accurate.

Carpenters Place closed Friday on the three-bedroom ranch home at 3426 Ridge Ave. It moved in furniture over the weekend, and on Tuesday, a group of employees and volunteers stood in a circle in the living room, held hands and prayed for the people who will live in the house and the neighbors.

The only thing missing now is the tenants, and thats what has neighbors worried.

Located in a quiet northwest neighborhood, the home will be used to house three military veterans who are transitioning back into society.

Its got the neighbors in an uproar, next-door neighbor Betty Percey said Tuesday afternoon. Theyve been exposed to war. What happens if one night one of them goes off the deep end? All of this looks fine and good now, but is it going to last?


Emphasis mine.

I know, maybe it was just one of the neighbors, there can't be more right? Wrong

Betty, and her husband, Curlee Percey, sat in their driveway Tuesday afternoon and watched a contingent of Carpenters Place workers tour the home. They were joined in their driveway by neighbor Oneal Tennial.

You see people who have had flashbacks or relapses, Tenniel said. A lot of people look normal, but theyre not.

Barbara Garrison-Harris, also a next-door neighbor to the veterans home, expressed her reservations as well.

First of all, if they dont have a problem why do they have to be put in a house and watched over? And why didnt they talk to us before they (bought) the house? And what about the senior citizens here who helped build this neighborhood? Dont they have any regard for them?

Holy cow these people actually think that they should be consulted before the sale of a house? Remind me of this the next time one of my neighbors moves out so I can tell them that they have to run all approved sales by me first. Since when do neighbors get a say in who buys a house or lives there? They don't get a say for rental properties either. It's kind of arrogant to think that they should.

Now I know some chuckle head is going to pipe off with "This isn't the same". The heck it isn't!

Located in a quiet northwest neighborhood, the home will be used to house three military veterans who are transitioning back into society...

...Through a special Veterans Affairs program, Carpenters Place was able to buy the Ridge Avenue home for $53,437, or half the market price. The only requisite is that the house be used for housing homeless American veterans. Because the home will house only three nonrelated people, no special zoning from the city is required and the sale did not have to go before City Council for approval.

Carpenter's Place, the group that bought the house, is basically using it as a staging point to help homeless veterans get back on their feet. It's no different than habitat for humanity giving houses to the homeless or renting homes for the homeless to live in. The only difference is that the men in this case fought a war for our country.

These are soldiers that at one time put their lives on the line because their country asked them to. They fought and bled for this country. They watched friends and colleagues get injured or even killed. These men did something that a lot of others have never done in this country, including probably the individuals quoted above. Don't they deserve us treating them with some kindness and thanking them for their service? Shouldn't we offer them any assistance that might be needed to help them get back into society? Isn't it our duty to help take care of and look after these heroes?

As for the comment about them being exposed to war... There are more mental issues out there than Post Traumatic Stress Disorder... or what ever the catchphrase for it is now. I know a lot of people that have served and fought in wars for this country. From World War 2 all the way to the current conflict. Most of them have returned to normal life with out any noticeable difference. The one that I have met that hasn't, I couldn't tell he was having issues until he told me about it.

Now if you'll excuse me. I'm going to go cool off.

Posted by Contagion at 06:26 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 28, 2008

Gathering at Macktown retrospective

We had a wonderful weekend. After receiving word that my mother was out of emergency surgery for her second heart attack, we headed to camp. Hey, mom told us to go! We were able to get set up in a soft drizzle with out any problems or issues. The new tent was a nice and easy set up for us. I'm really glad we decided to get it.

I did take some a lot of ribbing over the facial hair, not all the comments were as hateful on the ones left on my previous post. Some of you have a mean streak! Actually none of the comments bothered me, I figured that was going to happen. I just rolled with them.

The weather started off kind of crappy. Thursday when we set up it was drizzling a little with the occasional rain. Friday we had on and off rain through out the day. Sometime around 3:00 pm the weather started to get nasty. We had a severe thunderstorm blow through just south of us and the wind really started to pick up. At one point the rain was coming at us vertically. With winds gusting up to 30 mph we had some serious issues. Ktreva, the boys and I were standing under our friend Smokepoles 16 foot fly and the rain was coming so hard that my glasses were covered in rain as I stood at the other end.

Some of the campers that showed up late had to set up in the pouring rain. The wind never really died down all night. It blew hard and heavy all night long, which of course meant a lot of people didn't get much sleep. I have a hard time sleeping in high winds situation because I'm listening for ripping canvas and snapping poles. I know of at least 4 people that lost canvas that night.

Saturday morning a lot of campers just packed up in left, including some of the people that set up in the rain. We lost about 50% Saturday morning before the event even started. There was one well known individual trader going around telling people that the wind was going to get worse and we were going to get snow that night. A lot of people just took him at his word and started packing up. The booshway, event committee and staff kept telling people they were not canceling the event and encouraged people to stay.

Now I have a lot of re-enactors, living historians, etc that read this blog, so I'm not going to mention any individuals specifically, but I will say this. The bug out was really caused by one group of re-enactors that have absolutely nothing to do with the running of this event. I was surprised by the groups that did pull out.

Saturday after the event closed, even more people packed up and left. When we had the camp meeting I had been into my cups so when the topic of how to handle the situation in the future came up, I just started talking. I told them that I felt that anyone that left early with out a legitimate reason should not be invited back next year. I know a couple left because their ridge poles snapped and they couldn't fix it or their canvas was destroyed. Let them come back because they had a legitimate excuse for leaving. Most of the people still there agreed with me. Someone brought up that they needed those camps to demonstrate. I pointed out they weren't there anyways.

Since none of my friends in camp tackled me in the middle of the meeting I just kept shooting off my opinion. I did learn a valuable lesson this weekend. Never go to camp meetings half drunk. Definitely don't drink during the meeting. They are not asking me to be on the committee for this event. Yea, I told them no and that I didn't think it would be a good idea for me to join. I'd just be one more problem they had. Could you imagine my loud, opinionated self in a committee for something that I don't get paid to do? Yea, there's not enough sensitivity classes in the world to keep me from spouting off at every bad idea. I'm not a committee kind of guy.

The kicker to this whole thing is that the weather on Saturday was windy up until about 7:00 PM. Then it was just nice. We had no more high winds, no more rain. Sunday it was sunny and beautiful. All these people that packed up and left early, wasted their time. They missed a beautiful weekend.

Posted by Contagion at 02:18 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 19, 2008

More to fan the flames.

I was sirfing around the net and I stumbled across this clip about an "Art Show" and the University of Maine at Farmington's Student Center. Now, I think the clip would have been better with out the music, you might be able to hear what is being said better. I know it's not my usual lighter side to Saturday's, but I wanted to share this.

Besides the intentional disregard of the Flag, the disrespect of a War Vetern and the asinine comments by the professor/administrator about it being just a piece of cloth, the thing that really gets me is the kids standing on the flags with signs on their backs. Unfortunately the film quality isn't the greatest, but I do believe one said, "Future Teacher".

Yep, that explains why the future of America is screwed.

Posted by Contagion at 08:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 11, 2008

Response to comments on Travis Castle.

I had a couple of readers leave comments on my orriginal post about Travis Castle and the break in of Stillman Valley. I left this comment on that post.

Penny: There is a wrong and a right side to the story. Travis and crew were wrong for breaking into the house. I'm sorry, they were. I don't care how anyone tries to sugar coat that fact. He ought to have known that it was illegal. Two wrongs don't make a right, but killing someone to defend life, limb or property is not wrong.

A Friend: I never said Travis pointed a gun at anyone, just that he had a gun. But to be honest gun or not if it had been my house and he was in there, you're damn right I would have shot him. And no, I would not have "aimed to maim". I'm ex-law enforcement and I'm sorry, I know that tactic more often than not doesn't work.

I have a son that is with in months of Travis' age. And you know what, I can keep him away from friends I don't want him hanging out with. I have also instilled in him a serious sense of right and wrong. I may have my issues with him, but to this point the only criminal activity he's been involved in was damage to my property.

Travis wasn't murdered. He was killed while committing a felony in self defense. God gave man a brain and free will. Whether or not Travis and his friends used the first is questionable, but they definitely used the second.

Maybe, just maybe in this society of pass the blame if people would wake up and take responsibility for their own actions our country would straighten things up. But no, we are a victim society. Every time someone does something wrong, or every time something bad happens to someone it's somebody elses fault.

Travis made a decision. His decision was bad. As a result of that bad decision HE GOT HIMSELF KILLED. IE Travis killed himself. Don't blame anyone but Travis for the death. It's not being filled with hate, it's not being cold hearted, it's not being an asshole, it's just the way it is.

I thought my response, due to length, really demanded it's own post.

I know the family and friends are grieving. I feel for them and their loss. It is a tragedy, but this is something that Travis brought upon himself.

Also there is an update to the story in the Rockford Register Star.

"Moore drove Castle and the other two teens to what they thought was an unoccupied house in Stillman Valley to steal weapons, Ogle County Sheriff Gregory Beitel said Thursday.

Moore knew that there were firearms in the house; and Moore knew that the homeownder was hospitalized. He did not know that another person was staying overnight in the house, "Beitel said. Beitel said Moore was acquainted witht he family that owned the house. "

AND

"Other items taken from the house were found in Castle's jean pockets."

The article also states that the firearm that Travis was holding came from the house and that none of the individuals involved brought a firearm with them.

Again, to me it doesn't matter. Travis being in the house itself was room for self-defense in my eyes. The fact he was holding a gun just makes it more of a legally viable defense if the state decides to charge the House guest, which at this point doesn't appear they are going to.

Posted by Contagion at 07:53 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

April 10, 2008

Update in Stillman Valley Shooting.

There was a news conference today regarding the Stillman Valley home invasion where Travis Castle was killed. While searching for information on what was said, I found this following video clip:


I know this video was prior to them catching the other boys that were involved, but I wanted to share it anyway. The father is blaming the boys involved and not the yet to officially be identified House Guest. I applaud the father for putting the blame in the right general direction. Travis is still part of the blame, but there appears to be outside influence.

When I get the info on the news conference today, I'll share that with you all as well.

Posted by Contagion at 03:52 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

April 08, 2008

Tragedy in Stillman Valley. UPDATED!.

When I returned from my trip on Sunday I heard a news story about a 14 year old boy being killed during a home invasion in Stillman Valley. The kid was breaking into the house and a house guest who was house sitting for the owner that was in an accident a couple of days prior shot the kid. (Here are news stories about it from local news sources: Rockford Register Star, WREX, WIFR, WTVO). Tammi of Tammi's World has a post up about her reaction as she lives in the community shattered by this incident.

When I first heard this story, I told Ktreva I thought I knew the home owner from down at Fritz's. It turns out I was right, I had met him a couple of times when I was down there hanging out with T1G.

Today this was the big talk on the radio and news. I don't just mean the talk radio circuit either. The music stations where also discussing it. The big news today was that they announced the name of the 14 year old boy who was shot, Travis Castle.

This brought up a lot of different discussions, but the one that pissed me off was when people would say that the house guest should be arrested and sent to jail for killing the 14 year old boy. You know what, bullocks to that! The house guest, who was in the house legally heard someone breaking in, grabbed a firearm and chose to defend himself and his friends property. When he saw the 14 year old punk holding a weapon he shot him. This is a clear cut case of self defense if I ever heard one.

Now before I go any further I do want to give my condolences to the boy's mother and father. It's tough to lose a child. Yet, he shouldn't have been in the house. I don't know if this is the first time Travis got in trouble or if he had already started down the path to be a career criminal. Either way he chose the wrong day and the wrong house to break into. The kid brought it upon himself.

If anyone deserves to go to jail for Travis' death it's the two partners he had. I don't know if the kids are being protected, but I find it hard to believe that no one knows who Travis was hanging out with that night. If I was Travis' parents I'd be out looking for the two idiots, that along with Travis, decided to break into the house.

The police have not identified the house guest yet, so I'm not sure if I know the individual or not, but I really hope the State's attorney decides that he was acting with in his rights. If they don't I know I'll be donating to his defense fund.

The other thing that pissed me off about this is the number of people blaming the guns. "If guns were illegal, none of this would have happened. They wouldn't have broken into the house and no one would have gotten shot." Okay, were as if we lived in a world there were no firearms, that doesn't mean Travis would have been beaten to death with a baseball bat. The only way this whole thing could have been completely prevented would be if Travis and his friends didn't break into the house. The responsibility for the death lies solely at their feet.

UPDATE: (04/09/08) They caught the others involved.

UPDATE: (04/12/08) I created a new post based on my comment below. Also, here is an update in the RRSTAR on the story about the Three others involved and more details. It appears they specifically went there to steal firearms.

Posted by Contagion at 05:33 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

March 22, 2008

CBS Sucks!

CBS is canceling the show Jericho... again. They canceled the show last year, but an overwhelming response by fans brought it back.

I'll admit that I love this show. It's one of my favorites each week. I was upset when they canceled it. When they brought it back I was ecstatic. I just love the show, it appeals to my inner survivalist and contingency planning wackoness. GAH! Why do all the shows I like get canceled.

Posted by Contagion at 09:59 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 03, 2008

Rock River Raptors have angered me.

Tonight is the second Rock River Raptors home game of the season. And to be honest, Im not sure if I am going to go or not. The management and front office have really angered me to no end. It all started last year when the Raptors made it to the playoffs.

To increase sales the management and front office offered a package deal. If you bought all the playoff tickets and the 2008 season tickets they would knock 25% off of the total package and if the Raptors didnt make it to the next level of the playoffs they would refund the money for the tickets. It was a huge savings and well worth the money. I jumped on and purchased the tickets.

The Raptors were eliminated in the first round. Meaning that the second round of the playoffs and the championship tickets should be refunded to the ticket holders that purchased them. I kept waiting and calling about the refund only to never get it. The office would give me the run around about whose fault it is or just not return my calls. At one point I called the Raptors because I had heard that some of the season ticket holders that had pre-paid for tickets were not showing as paid.

When I called they told me they did have a record of my payment. I inquired about the refund and they told me they did not have me on the list for the refund. I was about livid. They added my name to the list along with the friends of mine and my father who had all prepaid. I still received a song and dance about when we will get the refund.

My tickets where paid for in June. The last playoff game was toward the end of July. It is now the beginning of March and I still dont have my money back. They where quick to take the money out of the account, but they sure dont want to give it back.

To make matters ever worse, they changed the league they play in from the UIF to the CIFL. When they did this they sent out a nice letter saying that they decided not to raise the cost of tickets this year, like they would have received another dime from me or I would have accepted anything short of the refund they owed me. Im still fighting to get my money when the schedule comes out. They shortened the seasons from 8 home games to 6 home games. In the past they were all on a Saturday night, now some are on a Friday night. Okay, its a little annoying as no pre-game partying, but I can live with it.

When I questioned the raise of ticket prices, I was told they didnt raise them. Yes they did! I paid for 8 home games, I got 6 home games. Thats when I was told that I still get two home games, but they are pre-season. Pre-season, thats right. To add insult to injury, one of the preseason games wasnt even held at the MetroCentre (The arena the games are normally played in). The night we were able to pick up tickets we had to go to this indoor sports center in Loves Park, fight with parking to get into a crowded arena to pick up tickets. Where they wanted me to pay an additional $5.00 for Clone (my four year old) to get into the game. Again, they are not getting anymore money from me.

This wasnt even a pre-season game; it was an exhibition game against some local iron-man football club. You didnt even get to see them play players of the same caliber. They had an away pre-season game against a rival team from the UIF. Then they scheduled a pre-season game on a Monday night. Monday night?!?!?! Hell, Ive given up NFL tickets because its a Monday night game. Ill be lucky if I get home before 11:00 PM tonight. Most of the people I know cant go because they have kids and its a school night, they have to work, they have weekday obligations or its just not feasible.

As for the regular season games, Im going to miss half of them because they are scheduled during re-enactments. Thats not their fault, but when you only have 6 home games, it decreases the chances of you being able to get to one if you have any other hobbies, kids or plans.

Needless to say Im a bit annoyed. I do know that Im not spending one dime more than I have to this year on this team until I get my money back. I also know that I better get a huge apology for the treatment Ive received. There are a lot of other fans out there just like me, I bet you see their support drop off this year. You dont treat your fan base like this and expect to keep them.

Posted by Contagion at 06:45 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

February 12, 2008

Loans on rebate?

I was talking to some of my peers at work today as we waited for a meeting to start. The rebate/stimulus package was brought up and of course someone made the comment, "I could use that money now." I knew they should be getting $1,200.00 back and I made an offer to them. "I'll tell you what. I'll give you $900.00 tomorrow and you can give me the $1,200.00 check when you get it." We all had a chuckle, but then it made me think.

When is someone legitimately going to do something like this?

Think about it. All of the tax places offer an instant rebate or refund anticipation loan. Basically they give you the money for your anticipated refund right there, minus some fees, charges and interest. Plus you have payday advance loans, car title loans, etc. etc. etc. You have large financial companies that advertise that if you have a structured annuity, won the lottery, have payments from a court case coming to you, they will give you one large lump sum today, and keep the rest. If they can do all of that, when is someone going to legitimately say, "Getting a rebate? Need the money now? Come see us at Givenudashaft and we'll give you your money today*" (*in fine print: minus a 20% fee)

The sad thing is that I can actually see people doing this just so that can have their money NOW. What bothers me the most is that I know a lot of people that fall for all of the above. Okay some might justify the refund anticipation loans because it's only $50.00 out of $3,000.00 and they get the money today. Yea... but basically if you were patient and waited for the money you'd have an extra $50.00 or however much you might get. Remember, it's already your money, you just gave away $50.00 to get it back today instead of in three weeks. That's like paying your employer to get your paycheck.

There are people that work for me that use the payday loan places all the time. I could see them forking over 20% of the anticipated rebate just so they could get the money today. It just amazes me how many people can be that financially irresponsible with their money.

I wonder how long before someone does start this scam. Hell it may have started already.

Of course I still think this whole rebate is a really bad idea that we all going to be paying for over the next 25 years. Sure I'm going to take the money, only a fool would not. I'd just rather they not do it in general. I'd rather they save the money, decrease taxes, remove federal regulations and restrictions and let the free market fix itself. If they are that worried about it, start putting more tariffs on foreign products coming to the US so that products actually owned by American based companies have a fighting chance. It keeps the money in America, not in China.

Roughly forty percent of the money we are borrowing to make this rebate happen is coming from China so that the majority of people can go out and buy a big ticket electronic item made in China. Who's economy are we trying to stimulate?

Posted by Contagion at 05:49 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

February 08, 2008

It's a war zone.

...thankfully I drive a tank.

The roads in Rockford,IL are getting worse by the day. The pot holes are starting to get way out of control. I really shouldn't be referring to them as pot holes, they really are more like craters. The prominent intersection of Alpine and Newburg/Broadway (East of Alpine it's Newburg, West of Alpine it's Broadway) is a prime example. It's not one pothole crater, it's close to a hundred of them, and they are huge! It looks like the intersection has been shelled by artillery. I kid you not, one of them is about two feet wide, twenty feet long and six inches deep. It's not just in the intersection it's bad, but in the roads leading up to it.

Traffic is horrible here as everyone has to do 5-10 miles an hour to keep from bottoming out or loosing a tire. It's gotten so bad between the potholes and traffic that I've taken to avoiding the intersection all together. Every time it snows it gets worse and the plows are pulling out more and more chunks of pavement. With all the snow we've gotten recently it's just killing the streets.

Now there are a lot of streets that are bad and maybe worse, but I travel through this intersection every day. Well I used to, now I go around it. I took a different route on my way to work today down 20th street. In the stretch between Broadway and Harrison by the train via duct, there is a pothole crater so big that I actually witnessed it swallow a VW beetle. Fortunately I had my spelunking gear and some tow chains with me or that poor lady would have been stuck down there for a long time. Okay, maybe I exaggerate a little, but I did see her bottom out and send sparks when she hit it.

I guess I could be like a lot of the people in my city and blame the government and their cronyism with Rockford Blacktop (The only contractor that does road work in the city), but it's really not their fault. The weather this winter as been farooking nutz.

It goes from unseasonably warm to really cold in short periods of time. We get snow, rain or sleet every time the temps change any. The roads falling apart is just a combination of natural erosion, wear and tear and plows digging them up. Until the weather gets warmer, they really can't fix them. It's just too damn cold, the patches won't stick and some of the roads, like Riverside, just need to be replaced in general now.

So my good readers, if you have to travel in the city of Rockford, make sure you have a vehicle with good suspension. I'm really glad I have a 3/4 ton Heavy Duty 4X4 pick up with off road package.

Posted by Contagion at 06:44 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 22, 2008

What, they can't work a full week?

Boopie had the day off of school today. Not for a holiday, not because he was sick, it was because the Rockford Public Schools decided to close today. Was it because of cold weather? Was it because of the snow? We don't know. When I woke up this morning, it wasn't that cold and the snow had stopped. Hell even the side roads were being plowed. His school doesn't start until 9:30 so it's not like they wouldn't have the main roads plowed.

The only reason I can think that the schools would close is the administrators wanted to make it a five day weekend. That's right, they haven't had school since last Thursday. Friday was an institute day, Monday was Martin Luther King Jr Holiday and today was a snow day.

The local rag newspaper, The Rockford Register star states that:

"The decision to close Rockford schools wasnt made until 5:45 a.m. today, interim Superintendent Linda Hernandez said.

She first talked with Transportation Director Gregg Wilson at 4:15 a.m. At that time, she said, both thought it might be possible to have a normal day. By 5:45 a.m., it was clear there were too many streets still full of snow to send out the buses, Hernandez said.

It was a late decision, and I felt bad about that, she said. But it was the right decision. There were too many streets that were not cleared.

Normally, the decision to close schools is made by 4:30 or 5 a.m., she said.
The missed day of school will be made up June 4."

I live on a street that seems to be one of the last ones plowed in the city. Yet we were able to make it out of our driveway and to work with no problems. Hell no one at work even called off for severe weather or being stuck in the snow. Sure, we got 8.7 inches of snow since yesterday afternoon, but it really wasn't that bad. Many of the school districts around us didn't close, even the rural ones.

Honestly, why do I even bother trying to send my kids to the local schools. I really need to move to a better district.

Posted by Contagion at 05:31 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 12, 2007

Annoyed

Spammers. They are really starting to piss me off. First off, I've been under a constant attack of gibberish spam for two weeks now. Checking out Munuviana I see other MuNu blogs are having the same issue. What particularly pisses me off about these is that there is no URL to block, it's all complete and udder gibberish. Sunday after Ogfest I spent 3 hours de-spaming here. Yes, that is annoying and every blogger has that problem.

But I have a new and interesting problem. It appears that some spammer is spoofing my e-mail address and sending out tons of spam under my handle. I started wondering about certain failure to deliver addresses I was getting and an angry e-mail from some guy I didn't know about sending him crap, but it all came together when I received an e-mail from myself regarding getting a new loan.

If I ever knowingly run across a spammer, I'm going to kick them in the groin until I sprain my ankle.

Posted by Contagion at 05:20 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

April 05, 2007

Cop blames the gun.

Shadoglare wants to get my blood boiling early this week. He sent me a link to a local story about a rash of shootings at a local housing project, including the first homicide in Rockford for the year. The Chief of Police Chet Epperson is quoted in the article saying:

Epperson believes the latest rash of violence can be attributed, in part, to the ease with which ex-felons can get their hands on guns. Two Blackhawk Courts shooting victims had been released from prison as recently as last month.

This is unacceptable, Epperson said of the string of shootings. Handguns are really the culprit of the degradation of this community.

What????? Ease in which ex-felons can get their hands on guns? The last time I bought a firearm in Illinois I had to jump through hoops and wait three days. In that time they did a back ground check and everything to make sure I wasnt a felon. Wait, I bought my firearm legally, thats right. The way Chet here is talking about must be illegal. That means that if Chet and his boys were doing their jobs then the felons would have a hard time getting firearms. So if there is an easy way to get them, its obviously his fault since hes the top cop.

As for handguns being the culprit of the degradation of this community, Im curious to how he jumped to that conclusion. If all three cases involved baseball bats, golf clubs or kitchen knives would he blame those? Probably not, but because he cant stem the flow of illegal firearms, then he has to blame the firearm not the individuals using them. Sure its easy to blame an inanimate object, it wont argue back. But lets put the blame were it really belongs: The individuals that pulled the trigger. I dont know what their up bringing was, and I really dont want to stereotype anyone, so Im not going to. But both my mother and father who were involved in my life and taught me right from wrong raised me. Ive never shot anyone with malice. Ive never used a firearm to solve a dispute between me and another person. And as much as I joke about, Im going to shoot, I dont follow through with it by actually shooting anyone.

Its the type of ignorance that Chet here uses that causes so much fear and mistrust of legal firearms and their owners.

Posted by Contagion at 04:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 07, 2007

Ignorance abounds.

On my ride home from work I heard a local news story that kind of grabbed my attention, Forreston Students Protest Suspension over Confederate Clothing. I obviously cannot link to the radio show, so Ill link to the article they where discussing. During the show they personalities and callers were going back and forth over the entire issue. Everything from freedom of speech (IE expression) to Hate Crimes (Displaying the Naval Jack/Rebel Flag the Confederacy is a hate crime).

I rolled my eyes so dramatically at one point I almost drove off the road. Not over the freedom of speech issue, mainly because I honestly believe that most Americans only believe in Freedom of Speech if the topic isnt controversial OR they happen to support the controversial topic. Yea, deny it. But Ive seen enough hypocrisy over it in the last two years that you wont change my mind. What made me roll my eyes was when one of the radio personalities made a comment along the lines of Its a flag of hate. Its anti-American and it cant legally be flown on federal property. They flag symbolizes, hate, bigotry and racism.

First, anyone that knows anything about history and the Confederate Flag knows that what people call the Confederate flag isnt the Confederate Flag. What every one is most familiar with is the Naval Jack AKA Rebel Flag, AKA The Southern Cross. This is a battle flag, well one of them. The actual battle flags were perfectly square.


250px-Conf_Navy_Jack_(light_blue).svg.png
Rebel Flag

200px-Battle_flag_of_the_US_Confederacy.svg.png
Battle Flag

Yes, this is a matter of semantics, but its important. There where three Confederate National Flags. The first being what was commonly called The Stars and Bars. Yes, again some people refer to the Naval Jack as that, but they would be incorrect. The original flag had nothing on it that even had the Confederate Union on it. Other then the colors, they really where completely different. It was changed because it looked too much like the American Flag. The Second National Flag, The Stainless Banner was a white field with the Battle Flag as the Union. This flag was replaced because when there was no wind it looked like a surrender flag. The Third National Flag, the bloodstained banner had a red vertical stripe on the end. This flag was adopted shortly before the end of the war and was the last national flag of the Confederacy.


StarNBars13Stars.png
The Stars and Bars

200px-Confederate_States_Naval_Ensign_after_May_26_1863.svg.png
The Stainless Banner

250px-Confederate_National_Flag_since_Mar_4_1865.svg.png
The Bloodstained Banner

So about now you are all probably wondering why I am boring you with a history lesson? Because it pisses me off when people say historically it represents hate, bigotry and racism. WRONG! Its a battle flag. Its a flag that armies rallied to during a bloody war. Its a flag that Americans fought and died under for something they believe. They rose up against a government they felt did not represent them, their interests and their rights. This flag wasnt even around at the beginning of the war. Its not like this flag was around for years flown over houses telling anyone that passed by that this plantation had slaves. It didnt. Maybe if they said that about one of the Confederate National flags I could understand it more, but they don't.

Sure someone will say that thats what people associate it with. You are correct, the ignorant, the un-educated and the stupid have over the years used the rebel flag as part of their idiocy. Okay, so since they use a flaming cross, crosses should be evil too. Oh, and since millions of people have been killed in the name of god, then god should be seen as evil. Yea, I know. Im going to extremes, but it just annoys me.

There is a historical and legitimate reason for the rebel flag. Some say to remember history; some to show southern pride, others because they do think it stands for hate. I have no problem with the debate over this flag. I just hate seeing it pigeon holed as something its not.

Oh and as for it not being allowed to be flown on Federal property. Ive been to many Federal monuments and cemeteries, including Shiloh this past year. Ive seen this flag at many of these Civil War sites and Im willing to bet I will continue to, including memorials.

I really wish the media would fact check before spewing forth BS.

Posted by Contagion at 06:58 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 02, 2007

Flat tires in the cold.

Do you know what sucks? A flat tire on your way to work sucks. Its worse when you have your wife and two kids with you when it goes flat. Fortunately we were only 6 blocks from home when the tire blew, so we were able to limp home and switch vehicles. No time to change the tire, I had to get to work. It would have to wait until I got home.

Thats what happened to me yesterday. Last night when I got home I changed into some rugged cold weather gear and headed out to change the tire on the van. People let me tell you something, changing a tire sucks, changing a tire when its 15 degrees with a wind chill that makes it feel like 5 degrees sucks even more. The metal of the jack, the irons and the tire is almost excruciatingly cold through the heavily insulated gloves. Want to make it even worse? It had snowed the night before, it was only a couple of inches, but that meant that I had to work in the snow. We have a narrow driveway and I ended up having to shovel and dig out a section so I could get the damn jack under the farking van. Then I had the pleasure of lying in the snow to crank the beast up.

When its that cold do you know what happens to your tires after they are flat? They freeze. It was frozen to the driveway. As I was jacking up the farking van the tire was slowing peeling off of the driveway. It only took me about 30 minutes to make the change. 15 minutes of that was trying to get he damn spare loose from the van. Its stored under the vehicle, and hadnt been used in 3.5 years. The damn spare rusted to the farking bracket that was holding it to the van. So the farking gobshite that decided that storing the spare under the vehicle has a kick to the dinglies coming from me if I ever meet him.

After getting the wheels changed, I was able to go sink a couple of hundred dollars into getting two replacement tires. You cant just buy one new tire, the vehicle wont ride right. Well I guess it could be worse. It could have happened today, when its 7 degrees with a 7 wind chill.

Posted by Contagion at 07:29 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 30, 2006

No Snow Day

Oh Glorious Day! The local news channels started declaring Gloom and Doom yesterday and by this morning it was full blown, worst storm in the last 12 months. Sadly enough people actually believe it. After living in Northern Illinois for 30 plus years, I know that whenever the local weather service calls for severe weather there is only about a 25% chance that its going to be close to what they call for. IE, originally it was supposed to hit at noon today, as of right now its not going to hit until after midnight. They are calling for 3-12 inches of snow. More like 2-3 with their record.

I already had employees ask me if they are going to close the office tomorrow. My standard answer was a resounding no. I even told my people that if they call and say they cant make it in, Id drive over and pick them up in the morning. However, I will charge them for gas. I have never missed a day of work in my life due to bad weather. Even when we did get a couple of feet of snow in one storm and I had a 45-mile commute, I didnt miss work. There has not been a situation that good safe driving cant get you where you are going.

Of course all the people are at the store buying bread and milk. I cant remember which blogger did a post on it, but every time they call for bad weather everyone runs to the store to buy bread and milk. Im not sure why, but they do. This means the roads are packed with panicked drivers trying to race and beat one another to the store. Right now the real threat isnt the possible snow covered roads, its the idiots out rushing around. I saw three accidents on my ride home tonight. The snow hasnt even started yet!

Personally, I would like to see 2-3 feet, yes feet, of snow. We havent had a good snowy winter in years. It could drop a foot of snow a week between now and New Years and Id be a happy man.

Posted by Contagion at 06:52 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

November 13, 2006

What's next, construction?

Dark times have graced the political front in my little city. According to local news sources the City of Rockford and Winnebago County have decided to get into the professional sports business by purchasing a minor league hockey team.

The public agency that owns the MetroCentre wants to buy the Rockford IceHogs and reinvent the popular hockey team as a minor league franchise for the Chicago Blackhawks. The transformation would be part of a long-discussed $20 million renovation of the aging big orange box in downtown Rockford.

~Rockford Register Star

The big orange box they are referring to is the Rockford MetroCentre. Its an arena that was opened in 1981. Its currently where the Rockford IceHogs and the Rock River Raptors play. Unfortunately in the last couple of years it has started falling into a state of disrepair and really does need a renovation. The seats need repair, and the plumbing in some of the bathrooms doesnt work. The last time I was there, the restrooms by the main entrance had no working sinks. It would be nice to see them actually fix up and redesign it. Its pretty ugly right now, and is pretty much an eyesore.

MC_Exterior_big.jpg

Personally I would have rather they closed it down and built a new one closer to the interstate. The MetroCentre is currently located in downtown Rockford and is hard to get to. The traffic is pretty thick going to and leaving any event. According to a local radio station 1330 AM WNTA (Yes, I was listening to talk radio) it would cost substantially more money. I cant remember exactly the figure they gave; I believe it was in the 9-figure range. Since they would probably end up having to increase taxes to pay for that, Ill take the renovations. According to the press conference the money that the City of Rockford and the County are investing into the new MetroCentre is not going to raise local taxes any, I like it even more. Then again in March they may try to raise the taxes saying that in order to cover the costs, they need extra money. I did hear they are going to try to get a referendum passed to do an overhaul on one of the main roads that leads to the MetroCentre. So I guess I will end up having my taxes raised either way. Yea, the voters might say no, but they wont. There isnt a tax this city doesnt like.

So what does this have to do with politics in the city? It seems the Mayor, the MetroCentre Authority, the city council and county board are adopting Chicago style politics to get this done. First they spent a year working out the details with the Chicago Blackhawks behind closed doors. The only reason we know about it now is because the local media caught wind of the story and broke it to the public. That in itself is not so bad.

Heres the problem. Currently two local businessmen that bought and brought them to Rockford own the Ice Hogs. They have been playing at the MetroCentre for 8 years and have a decent sized fan base. The problem is that they are part of the United Hockey League. The MetroCentre wants an American Hockey League Franchise and Chicago Blackhawks affiliate. If they finalize a deal with the Blackhawks, they are going to kick out the Ice Hogs and bring in this new team that they will own.

Wait, didnt the article say they want to buy the Ice Hogs? The way that is worded is kind of misleading. They want to buy the name and logo from Dr Kris Tumilowicz Dr. T and Craig Drecktrah, the current owners of the Ice Hogs. They dont want the team

Centre Events officials said more than $500,000 a year would be saved by combining hockey and MetroCentre operations. The front office staff of the IceHogs would be retained, but players and coaches would not.
Emphasis mine

Basically the local government is squeezing these businessmen out of their own team. If they dont sell, what are they going to do? They have been leasing the MetroCentre each year for their games. If the MetroCentre kicks them out, they will have no place to play that can hold an average audience of 4,400. If they sell, they are only being offered $540,000.00. Which according to the UHL and owners is far less then what the team is worth. Plus, he will no longer have anything to do with the team. Hed go from owner to spectator. Those are some pretty strong arm tactics. Im afraid this may just be the beginning this kind of politics in Rockford.

Im just glad Rockford doesnt have Home Rule. Id hate to see what these local politicians would do with that kind of power.

Posted by Contagion at 06:51 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 25, 2006

Politicing

As you all know political blogging is not something I generally do. Yet there is something about the up coming elections that really has me irritated. Its nothing new, you see it every election, but as I pay more and more attention to the candidates the more annoyed I become. Mud Slinging. To me this is the absolute worse form of campaigning a candidate can do.

Instead of trying to sell me on why a candidate is the best person for the job, they are trying to convince me that their opponent isnt worthy of the position. Mud slinging gives me the impression that the candidate has no good qualities and must hide their inadequacies by making their opponent look worse. Lets take the Gubernatorial race in Illinois. The two leading candidates are the incumbent Rod Blagojevich and the challenger Judy Baar Topinka. I have yet to see an add to tell me what each candidate offers or stands for, all Ive seen is how the opponent is corrupt or incompetent. Now to be honest, the Governor race is looking like Im going to write myself in. Neither of the candidates appears to be anything worth voting for. I dont trust either one to run the state any better then Clone could.

Now today in the mail I receive a flyer for a challenger in the State representative race. It tells me how the incumbent is a bad man because he wanted to allow concealed carry. Meanwhile, all the ads and literature Ive seen for the incumbent tell me what hes done for the state and what he wants to do. Since Im obviously pro-gun and anti-mudslinging, this little ad backfired for the challenger. Im going to be voting for the incumbent. Which up until this point I was still up in the air about.

Posted by Contagion at 06:07 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

May 05, 2006

That's the way it was.

Since Ktreva and I are huge history buffs as well as re-enactors, we enjoy a reality series done by PBS. They take people from various aspects of life, assign different roles and place them in a historical setting. The people are supposed to work together in their historically based roles to meet a pre-assigned objective. Frontier House was set in 1883 Montana Territory, the families in this episode where supposed to make a functioning community that would survive the winter. Colonial House was set in 1628 New England. The participants where supposed to make a colony that would not only survive the winter, but also be profitable to the company that funded the expedition. Texas Ranch House was set in 1867, post civil war, Texas (duh!). They where supposed to make a profitable functioning Texas ranch.

People were assigned roles based on this historical norm in their time period. They were supposed to live life and work as they would in the year they were portraying. This includes laws, social norms and tasks. As a re-enactor I would love to take the 2-3 months off of work to do something like this. Ktreva and I have both talked about it; unfortunately we have a family and just don’t see us giving up good jobs to go re-enact for 3 months straight. That and I honestly don’t think they would pick us. We have way too much experience in “primitive living.” The shows are great as you get to see people’s reaction to life in the past. We both have one problem with these shows.

The participants don’t seem to get the concept, especially the women. (No offense ladies, but they don’t.)

People have a hard time setting aside their 21st century beliefs to accurately portray their roles. Work doesn’t get done or projects are handled with a modern twist. This doesn’t bother me, but I feel they are missing out on the actual experience. What bothers me is when people want to shun the entire project. IE, you have people in 1628 refusing to go to church and admitting they are atheists, people admitting they are gay or women refusing to wear hats. It’s 1628; you would have been outcasts, severely punished and more likely executed for these transgressions. In all three you have women walking around in what would be their underwear doing daily tasks. You had men that would be disrespectful to people of higher station. They would take the women and children into what would be considered hostile situations, like negotiating with the natives.

What really bothers me are the women. In every episode it is the women that start the breakdown of the project. Why? Because they don’t like the traditional roles they had to portray. They get upset because the men get to ride horses, go hunting, wrangle cattle, and do all the other romanticized historical tasks. The women want to do these same things and feel it is unfair. They don’t want to do the cooking, cleaning, sewing, gardening, etc that was a common and necessary part of life back then. They complain that life isn’t fair and that the guys are being chauvinistic. They tend to try to take on more authoritarian roles in the communities and resent when they aren’t being listened to.

Well, I hate to break it to you ladies; life back then wasn’t fair. The point of these projects isn’t to give a woman a chance to experience life as a cowboy, explorer, soldier or hunter. It’s an exercise on seeing how life was like back then. Women at these time periods where chattel. Even in 1883 there was no equal rights for women. Now, before I have some of my female readers go off on me, I’m not saying this is right. It’s just how life was back then. Just like you’re not going to have a Black military officer in 1867 Texas, you are not going to have a female cowboy.

About now the militant panty brigade is going to say, “Well there where female cowboys, hunters, explorers etc…” To which I will respond, there are very limited examples of this. For every female you find in a non-traditional role, I’ll find a couple million examples of them being in a traditional role. These females are the extremely rare anomaly, not the norm. Triplets are more common then they were.

What I find most amusing is that I run into this problem when we re-enact. We’ve run across female warriors, soldiers, trappers, traders and craftsman (These examples do not include merchants that are selling actual wares to re-enactors and public, I’m referring to people that are trying to portray a historical character.) I was at a battle a couple years ago where there were at least 10 females on the battlefield (Not even plausibly disguised) fighting. They weren’t needed, they just wanted to get out there and every single one of them gave the same example of a documented case of a woman who disguised herself as a man to fight. What they left out was that she was hung shortly after being discovered because she falsely represented herself.

History isn’t pretty. In fact can be down right ugly, and I’m not even talking about Grau and I wearing kilts in a high wind. If you’re going to do something like these shows or re-enact, at least try to do it right. If you don’t like the historical role, too bad, you volunteered.

Posted by Contagion at 08:12 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 12, 2006

Paying to be taken advantage of.

Allegedly there is a union that is trying to set up shop in our office. The kicker is that they aren’t targeting just any employee. No, they are trying to recruit the white-collar employees in our office. That’s right, they want management.

Now I know I have some readers that are pro-union. I, however, am not. In my life I have been raped belonged to three different unions. The only thing any of them actually did for me was take a chunk of my paycheck, sell me out, have my work load increased, use my position as a bargaining chip in negations, take a chunk of my paycheck, and prevent me from getting a promotion.

There was a time in this country that unions were needed, under today’s labor laws I just don’t see a need. I’ve gotten further, made more money, and have better benefits with companies that don’t have unions then I ever did when I was in one. Why would I want to bring in an organization that is going to take money away from me, and (based on my experience) probably screw me in the long run?

I also love the strong-arm tactics unions use. If you work in a union office and don’t want to belong to the union, you don’t have to. Yet, you still have to pay dues and they pretty much make sure you get squat for jobs. Oh, and picketing, I love the picketing. Every time I see union employees picketing a business, it just makes me want to buy from that company. Especially when the idiots they get to do it start vandalizing the property or vehicles. Yea, terror tactics to scare people into either joining or using their services really convinces me they are a good organization. Now, not all unions do this, but I’ve seen/experienced enough to know it happens. And if I could have identified which one of those union pricks put a nail in my tire, I’d have pressed charges.

I really hope this is just a rumor, and there is no truth to it. If it is true, I pray that the people in my office have enough common sense to turn them on their heels. If they don’t, I’ll probably end up looking for a new job. There’s no way I want to work in another union office.

Posted by Contagion at 05:18 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 16, 2006

Shyea, right!

SNOW WARNING!

/O.CON.KLOT.WS.W.0001.000000T0000Z- 060317T0600Z/ WINNEBAGO-BOONE-MCHENRY- LAKE ILLINOIS-OGLE-LEE-DE KALB-KANE- DUPAGE-COOK- INCLUDING THE CITIES OF... ROCKFORD...WOODSTOCK...WAUKEGAN... OREGON...DIXON...DEKALB...AURORA... CHICAGO 408 AM CST THU MAR 16 2006 ...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT CST TONIGHT... A WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT CST TONIGHT. SNOW WILL DEVELOP OVER NORTH CENTRAL ILLINOIS AROUND SUNRISE SPREADING EAST INTO PORTIONS OF THE CHICAGO METRO AREA AFTER 9 AM. SOUTH OF INTERSTATE 88 AND THE EISENHOWER EXPRESSWAY... PRECIPITATION WILL BEGIN AS A MIX OF RAIN AND SNOW TRANSITIONING TO ALL SNOW EARLY THIS AFTERNOON. SNOW WILL BE HEAVY AT TIMES THIS AFTERNOON AND EARLY EVENING...TAPERING TO FLURRIES AROUND MIDNIGHT. SNOWFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 4 TO 8 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS THE WARNING AREA...WITH THE HIGHEST AMOUNTS EXPECTED NEAR THE WISCONSIN BORDER. SLIGHTLY LESSER ACCUMULATIONS OF 3 TO 5 INCHES ARE EXPECTED SOUTH OF DOWNTOWN CHICAGO. A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE EXPECTED...RESULTING IN HAZARDOUS TRAVEL CONDITIONS.
For the third time this year they are calling for a snow storm. Depending on which station/weather report you get depends on how much snow they are predicting. One station has even gone so far as to predict a foot of snow. Based on the accuracy of past predictions of the National Weather Service, NOAA, and the local media I’m going to go out on a limb and say not more then 3 inches and probably closer to one. I think that over the last four years they are 0 for 28 when it comes to predicting severe weather. When we do get hit by bad weather it’s when they predict either a light snow or rain.

BAH!

Posted by Contagion at 06:06 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

March 06, 2006

Let there be snow.

It has been snowing off and on yesterday and today. I believe this is only the third time we’ve had snow with ANY accumulation. It looks like we are up to a whopping 2 inches at this time. Yet all I heard today was people complaining that it is snowing. As I listen to these people complain, I just want to scream at them. My screams would remind them that we’ve in a drought for the last year and a half. We have hardly had any snow this winter, and that is vital to preparing the soil for planting. The much needed moisture the snow provides will be necessary for crops.

Yet these people don’t understand that. All they see is that they are minorly inconvenienced by having to drive on slick roads. Since they aren’t farmers and their jobs aren’t dependant directly upon a crop, they just don’t care. Many of them complained last year when it did rain. All they think about is how it affects their little world. Heaven forbid the farmers need the rain; it’s interfering with Dick and Jane’s weekend on the lake! I’ll admit I get irritated when it rains on one of my re-enactments. Yet I always seem to make the statement, If we didn’t need the rain, I’d be pissed. I admit we need the rain and accept it. Not these people, nope. They just complain that it’s interfering with their lives.

Personally, I would like to see a good 2 feet of snow fall on us. We haven’t had much in the line of snow fall all year. I miss the old winters when I could get lost in the snow banks digging forts.

Posted by Contagion at 04:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 01, 2006

Politness MIA

Does anyone teach manners anymore? When I ask for something I say “please”. After I have received what I’ve asked for I say “thank you”. If someone says, “thank you” to me, I respond with a “your welcome”. Unfortunately I’m coming to the conclusion that I am one of the last individuals in the world that does this.

This has always bugged me, but of late I’ve noticed a rapid increase in the lack of manners and common courtesy in people. On television shows, at the gas station and at work, almost everywhere I turn people don’t use it. I guess this really bothers me because I’m teaching my boys to say “Please” and “Thank you”. Even Clone will politely ask for a drink and say “thank you” when it’s received. Yet many adults just seem to think it’s a waste of their time.

Not that I want to be a politeness police and start correcting people. After a couple of incidents that happened today, I’m ready to stop assisting people that can’t ask me nicely. That includes some of my peers at work. How hard is it to say, “Contagion, could you please rerun that report for me?” Instead I got, “You need to rerun that report for me.” When I gave it to the individual I received the response, “I’ll look at it later when I have time.” At this gas station this morning I hear, “Give me two packs of cigarettes.” The cretin couldn’t add a “please” to the end of the sentence.

Maybe I’m being too nitpicky, maybe I should just realize that polite society is about dead anymore and give up my archaic ways.

Posted by Contagion at 06:06 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

February 22, 2006

She giveth and she taketh.

Yesterday Ktreva requested one thing from me, “Can I please have a half an hour to write a post about this weekend.” She knew that if I started playing my new game, the computer would be locked up for the rest of the night unless she said something before I started. Upon arriving at home I dared not start playing. There is a tendency of mine to get absorbed into the game and loose track of my surroundings.

Since I had to watch Clone, this would not be good. I could just see it now; I’m playing Age of Empires 3, absorbed by my marching ranks of musketeers, falconets and mortars against the French. Meanwhile Clone is trying to find out what happens when he sticks a fork in the light socket. I’m pulled away from the game in anger when he blows a fuse right as my attack was at its peak. After fixing the fuse, I go back to playing while my poor son is lying in the middle of the living room twitching.

As soon as Ktreva walked in the house, I had her dinner ready and told her the computer was all hers. She sat down and instead of posting, she started reading blogs! Okay, she was eating while she did it, so I didn’t count that time. However, 2 hours later she was still on there! I kept telling her that it was a moral imperative that she turns the computer over to me. The French were overrunning my forts along the frontier and I needed to defend them!

But did she listen to me? NOOOOooooooo! She had to sit there and continue on and on about how she wanted to see what you all wrote and still had to make her post! Did she ever consider the women that were being slaughtered, or at least rendered homeless? How about taking the time to think about how this is going to effect trade with the natives and the havoc it’s bringing upon my colonies? She didn’t even think about the poor innocent children that were being orphaned by her greedy need to deny me the computer! SHE DIDN’T THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN!

She gave me the game! Yet she won’t let me play it. Tell me, good contaminants, is this fair to me? To toy with my mental and emotional wellbeing? She asked for a half-an hour, I made sure she had it. I think it’s only fair that she turned over the computer as soon as those thirty minutes were up!

Posted by Contagion at 04:00 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

February 17, 2006

...And freedom for all.

Being an American Citizen, we all have rights that given to us by the Constitution of the United States. A lot of people take this freedom, this right, this privilege for granted. That is until something happens where it is taken away. Then they will scream about the loss of their first amendment rights.

Blackfive has a post regarding a University of Illinois editor being suspended. The student published the Danish cartoons that caused such uproar over the last couple of weeks. Many have voiced their opinions that what was done to this editor is wrong. Maybe I’m mistaken, but I think that the majority of my readers would agree that this is wrong. The student, Acton Gordon, is being punished for exercising his first amendment rights. I have strong issues with that.

Now, lets turn the table. Barb at Righty in a Lefty State has a post regarding the University of Washington student Senator Jill Edwards. For those of you that haven’t heard about this, it is where the Ms. Edwards made a statement along the lines

”…Whether it is appropriate to honor a person who killed other people. (I) don’t believe a member of the Marine Corps was an example of the sort of person UW wanted to produce.”

This has angered many people, and I think she was wrong is saying such things. But then in Barb’s post she states that Ms. Edwards is going to be forced to make an apology. She has the following excerpt from the mandate:

WHEREAS Student Senator Jill Edwards offended all members of the United States Marine Corps, past or present, dead or alive; especially those who were, are, or will be students at the University of Washington with her comment that she "didn't believe a member of the Marine Corps was an example of the sort of person UW wanted to produce." This commented brought shame and dishonor to not only the UW Student Senate, but also the University as a whole, all its members who have served in the Marine Corps and all Marines past and present.


BE IT RESOLVED BY THE ASSOCIATED STUDENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON:

THAT

Student Senator Jill Edwards will submit, in writing, a signed apology letter seeking forgiveness to all students, staff, and alumni who are now or ever have served in the United States Marine Corps. In said letter it will contain a formal apology and a recognition that her very rights and freedoms are guaranteed by such members of the armed services, to include the Marine Corps, Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard, past or present, living or dead. Additionally, said letter will be printed in all its form and substance in that day's edition of the UW Daily newspaper as well as being recited on the UW Radio station. To realize her mistake, she must acquaint herself with the history of the person she is so keen to dismiss, by reading Col. Boyington's book, Baa, Baa, Black Sheep. All of these requirements are mandatory, under pain of losing her seat on the Student Senate.


History of Legislation
02/15/2006: Submitted for consideration


Emphasis mine

The problem I have with this is not that Ms. Edwards is being asked to issue an apology. That’s fine, if someone actually managed to offend me I’d demand an apology too. Where I have an issue is that Ms. Edwards is going to lose her student elected seat on the student senate if she doesn’t. Apparently I’m one of the few people that see this as wrong. I’m not seeing too many of the blogs I read shouting out how this is wrong, even the ones saying that what is happening to Mr. Gorton is wrong aren’t touching this? Are the blogs I read that bigoted? Are they not saying something because they don’t feel this is wrong, or are they not saying something because they didn’t catch that part? Maybe I’ve been wrong and they aren’t as freedom minded as I had thought, only comments they agree with are allowed protection under freedom of speech. Personally, I’m hoping it’s just and over site.

Sure I may not like her statements, I may feel what she said was completely wrong. Ms. Edwards may not appreciate the fine men and women that served and fought to give and protect her freedom of speech, but she is still entitled to it. In this case if she feels strongly about her statement and decides not to apologize, she will be punished. Now in Barb’s comments she states:

I haven't followed the U of I story, and don't know anything about the circumstances there. However - I think that the resolution made by Ms. Edwards' fellow senators and peers, if approved as-is (highly unlikely) or even in a toned down form (still unlikely) is valid. They are a self-governing group, and should be permitted to censure their own - you and I have no right to interfere with whatever process they choose.

If she is forced to apologize, I believe that she will learn something - or she is lost already. If the senate backs down and nothing really happens - she will have learned that negative feedback is just fluff she can ignore. At worst (from her perspective) she will be forced to be more introspective in her manner of discourse, at best it will all quietly go away.


emphasis mine

Don’t get me wrong; I like Barb and her blog. Maybe I’m misunderstanding what she is saying there, but by her statement I’m under the impression that as long as it’s a self-governing group in the United States, they can do what ever they want. Well the U of I is self-governing, wait most corporations are self-governing. Hell, the mainstream media is self-governing. I guess it’s okay what happened to Mr. Gorton. Hey, for that fact any newspaper should be able to censor any story they want. States, cities and municipalities should be able to censor their senators, aldermen, council members maybe even their citizens. No, I don’t think so.

I think that the UW is just as wrong for threatening to take Ms. Edwards student elected seat away from her if she doesn’t follow their demands as much as it was wrong for the U of I to suspend Mr. Gordon. Wrong is wrong people; a violation of rights cannot be taken as a shade of gray just because you don’t agree with the message.

Posted by Contagion at 10:34 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

February 14, 2006

Stupid forced love.

About now all of my loyal contaminants, and some of you passer bys are probably thinking, “Where the hell is Contagion’s Valentines day post?” Well you know what, just like Birthdays, father’s day and sweetest day; I don’t celebrate Valentine's Day. It’s a manufactured BS holiday that is designed to make card companies, jewelers, florists and candy makers rich.

To be honest, I find this holiday pretty damn insulting. I don’t need some St. of frou-frou love telling me that I have to do something special for my wife. Isn’t that something I should do on my own and on a regular basis, not just once a year? Sure, some of you are going to smart off, well you do it on a regular basis AND on Valentines Day. Well Bullocks on you! If I’m forced to shell out money to buy a gift for someone, why the hell should I do it all the other days? You’ve already mugged me for a gift; I hope you enjoy it! If I give them of my own free will, then I’m more likely to do it again of my own free will. And not just when I did something stupid to get myself in trouble.

Plus, if the gift is obligatory, is it really heart felt? Think about it, did you buy your special someone a gift just because you wanted to or because it was Valentines Day. Some of you are probably lying to yourself and saying both. I call BS! Yes, I do! If Valentines Day was next month you wouldn’t have gotten a gift for your loved one this week. You would have waited until next month to do it. Admit it, it’s okay.

Today at work, I’ve been “volunteered” to hand out flowers at work. Yea, that’s right. Mr. Love and cheer here gets flower distribution duty for all the minions. This is part of someone’s plan to “soften” my image with the employees. They even wanted me to dress up as cupid. CUPID PEOPLE! Can you imagine me walking around work in nothing but a giant diaper holding a bow and arrows with heart shaped heads? (You’re welcome for that mental image!) Needless to say, I put my foot down and said, “I’ll wear a red shirt and tie, that’s as far as I’ll go.” True to my word, I’m wearing a red shirt… Blood red.

My ever so cheery smile will be walking up to people, dropping flowers on their desk. I’ve even written a little poem to recite when I deliver the flowers. “On this Valentine’s day, someone bought a flower for you. It’s not from me, because I don’t have a heart like others do.” Then I’m going to smile one of those forced smiles that looks like I’ve gone insane.

Valentines Day, Bahumbug!

Yes, I did get Ktreva a gift, I’m not that stupid.

Posted by Contagion at 12:42 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

January 17, 2006

Wasted Day.

Last weekend was a long weekend for me. I had Monday off work because of Martin Luther King Day. Now I appreciate the day off, and this year it was timed just right to keep me from blowing a gasket. However, I would rather have worked yesterday. I just had Christmas and New Years off; did I really need another holiday two weeks later? What am I going to do with this day besides sit at home? It’s the middle of January. I do NOT do winter sports at all.

We also have Presidents day in February. Both of these holidays irritate me. Why can’t they give us the day after the Fourth of July off? How about the Monday after the Super Bowl? Maybe even the day after Halloween. I feel like I’ve wasted a vacation day when these holidays come around.

Staffing ways for work, it is also a nightmare. January is typically our busiest month of the year, surprisingly the Tuesday after MLK day is our busiest day of the year. The whole week is busy because we are making up for having Monday off. That means long hours/over time for everyone to help cover the increased activity. Logistically speaking it would be easier on the staff to work that day.

Looking at my approved vacation for 2006, I can see numerous one-day requests. It would be better for me to have two floating holidays or two extra vacation days then for them to give me MLK and Presidents day off. At least then, I know I would be doing something I enjoyed on those days. I can make sure that they are days off that actually help me.

Yesterday, I spent the whole day playing with Clone (the grouch) while watching the entire season of Firefly. What else was I going to do? The wife had commandeered the computer to blog and play the Sims 2 all day. Over all it wasn’t a bad day, but I could think of better things I would rather do.

Posted by Contagion at 01:06 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

December 08, 2005

Fire, meet gasoline.

It’s been a while since I’ve done anything to piss people off, on here. Yet I can’t help but to bring up something that really annoys the hell out of me. It’s something that many of you do or have done in the past. What is it?

Guest blogging.

I can forgive typos, bad spelling, poor grammar and slang (Hey I’m probably the king of grammatically incorrect misspelled slang with poor grammar!). When I go to a blog and I see a post up by someone other then the blog owner, it irritates me. The reason I go to that blog is so I can read the posts by the normal author. If I wanted to read these other people’s posts, I’d go to their site. If they don’t have a blog of their own, then someone needs to twist their arm a little.

Now before you guest posters go off on me, I’m not saying I don’t like what you wrote. What I’m saying is that I go to that person’s blog to read their thoughts, not yours. Normally when I see a guest post, I just hit the back button and go on to the next blog as if the author has not made a post that day. What, I might be missing out on a great post? You’re correct I might, but I can honestly say I’ve never picked up a new read based on a guest post. I’ve always picked them up based on recommendations or links to a post on their own blog. When I hit my blogroll, I have a limited time to check them all out. When I’m finished, which is rare anymore, I go on to look for new reads. Seeing as I can barely keep up with my blogroll now, I want to make sure I hit all my regular reads before I start looking at new ones.

I understand that many people get guest bloggers while they are away just to keep traffic up. Admittedly, I am a statistic junky. I don’t know if you’ve noticed all the crap in my sidebar, but I’m tracking everything. Yet, I don’t see how you not posting for 1-3 weeks while your on vacation is going to hurt your overall traffic. Yes, while you are gone it is going to drop off. Nevertheless, your readers will return once you do. It has every time I left for a while.

I’m seeing this trend more and more often. In fact, I was recently asked to guestblog for someone while they where away. While I was honored that they not only trusted me with their blog, but that they also appreciated what I did here enough to ask me, I had to decline. In keeping with my beliefs, I could not guestblog somewhere else, while refusing to read other guest bloggers.

This is why I will never have a guest blogger here. Also, this is my blog; it is an extension of me. It’s where I spew forth my toxic and corrupting thoughts across the internet like a bad STD. If I let someone else post here, it would be like giving a piece of me up. This hastily assembled HTML island in the tumultuous sea known as the internet is MY safe harbor. When all else goes bad, I can come here and get away from all the other problems in the world, and focus on me. Why would I want to give a piece of that up?

I know not everyone will agree with me, but what are your feelings on the subject? Am I the only one that feels this way?

Posted by Contagion at 12:54 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

November 10, 2005

Is it bad to make money?

Oil Company Execs Defend Profits to Senate. Just reading that headline pissed me off more then I could fathom. Does the government not have something more important to look into? Wait, this involves money so of course they don’t. No matter what anyone tries to tell me, I have seen no proof in the last 12 years to prove that not all politicians are into politics just to make money for themselves and to spend mine for me.

So the oil companies made a huge increase in earnings?

ConocoPhilips earned $3.8 billion in the third quarter, an 89 percent increase over a year earlier. But Mulva (exec for ConocoPhilips) said that represents only a 7.7 percent profit margin.***”

*** Emphasis mine.

If I did my math correctly, that is a profit margin of $292.6 million dollars. Good for them and their stockholders! Since when is it wrong to make a profit in America? I thought that was the point of our society, the ability to work hard and make money. There are accusations that there was price gauging after Katrina and Rita to make this money. The companies are claiming they raised the prices to help reduce the length of time and the severity of oil shortages. I believe it was a little bit of both. I can picture an oil exec wondering what to do with the impending shortage of oil and deciding to raise the price. When the American public continued to pay the inflated prices, they just continued to let it sore.

Over the last two and a half months, I’ve had people ask me about my nonchalant attitude towards gas prices. While others where up in arms complaining about it, I just sat back and rolled with it. When others would complain how much it cost them to fill their tanks, I would think about my next oil change. How can I be like that? Simple, if I can’t afford to pay $3.75 a gallon, then I don’t drive… as much. Remember people, my vehicle gets 12 miles to the gallon. I thought about the gas mileage when I purchased it and said to myself, “If I can’t afford the maintenance/upkeep on this vehicle, then I can’t afford to buy it.” I knew what I was walking into. Okay, I didn’t know gas would rocket over $3.00 a gallon. Not everyone thinks like that? Tough. The poor didn’t buy a new car, right, but they didn’t need that 8-cylinder gas-guzzler either.

If the gas companies can get Americans to purchase gas at $3.75 a gallon, then I say let them charge $3.80! When the price of gas rises above what a reasonable person is willing to pay, the amount of gas purchased will drop. It’s supply and demand in action. Someone needs to explain to me why this is wrong other then, “The poor can’t afford to drive.” Hey, I’m not exactly rich, both my wife and I work to eek out a living. If they can’t afford gas, then maybe they need to look into cutting expenses elsewhere, cut back on driving or maybe start carpooling.

This leads me right into the next issue I have with this whole thing:

”Some Republican and Democratic lawmakers have suggested that oil companies should funnel some of their earnings to supplement a federal program that helps low-income*** households pay heating bills”

*** Once again emphasis mine

What you talking about Willis?! First off, if the government did decide to step in and prove that capitalism is bad, instead of doing something that benefits everyone, they are going to do something that benefits only a portion of the public. It’s nice to know that the lawmakers are thinking about all of the American public. Why is it that I highly doubt that most of the profits these oil companies made came from low-income households? Actually, I’m pretty sure that it’s those of us that have the bigger vehicles or do a lot of driving, and continued to do so after the prices rose, that those profits stemmed from.

This is bullshit! I am taxed to pay for welfare, Medicare, social programs, and social security. Then I’m basically forced to donate to charities at work. This is on top of my actually donating money freely to numerous charity organizations of my own free will. Yet, now they want to take the money that they say was wrongfully taken from me by the oil companies and instead of giving it back to me, they want to give it to someone else?

What the hell kind of restitution is that? That would be like having someone break into my house, steal my stuff and instead of my insurance paying me, they give it to the family down the street where dad hasn’t held a job for more then 3 weeks over the last 10 years. Why would they do that? “Because I have a job and can afford to buy new stuff and he is underprivileged.” That is essentially what the government is telling those that don’t qualify for these programs.

If the feds actually feel the need to do something about the oil companies, why not do something that would benefit everyone? Maybe instead of fining oil companies they should have them reduce the price at the pumps by so much over a period of time. This way those that actually paid for the profits can receive some of their “stolen” money back.

Some of you might think I’m being insensitive to the underprivileged. To those of you that believe that; I say, “Gum nudge my left testicle.” I worked hard to go to college, get an education and work my way up in a company that doesn’t appreciate anything I do… yet pays me decently. Others can do the same… and should have.

So what do you think about this whole thing? Discuss this over lunch and get back to me.

Posted by Contagion at 12:38 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 08, 2005

What's next, outlawing alcohol?

It must be “tell me how to live my life” day. First over at Technicalities we have a fisking of a campaign to keep people from eating hamburgers. Then I find this article about how Washington State is trying to pass the most stringent anti-smoking ban in the US.

How stringent is this ban? Check this out:


“Initiative 901 would ban smoking in bars, restaurants and other indoor public sites and workplaces throughout Washington. It also would prohibit smoking within 25 feet of doors, windows or air vents of public places."

***Emphasis mine

It’s bad enough you want to take smoking away in bars… but to make these poor people exercise walk what could end up being blocks in a city is just mean!

25 Feet from a door, window or air vent?!?!?! WTF? Maybe you don’t smoke, but maybe you have a friend who does. You all go out for a night on the town. After a couple of drinks, your friend decides he wants a cigarette. Wait… He can’t smoke in here because of the law. They head outside, only to be reminded they can’t just stand outside the door. They have to be 25 feet away from doors, windows (open I’m assuming or it makes this scenario even worse) or air vents. Now your friend goes walking looking for somewhere to grab a cigarette. Everywhere he turns, there is a door, window or air vent. After thirty minutes, he gets irritated and lights up anyway, only to get a fine/ticket/arrested for smoking. Hopefully by now you are wondering where the hell your friend is and go to find him. Both of you end up losing a good hour out of your night because of this BS.

Maybe you’re a non-smoker and your saying: “Contagion, he should just quit smoking. This will help motivate him to quit.” To which I respond, “Why don’t you get off your high horse and quit thinking your better then other people.” Why should he have to quit? He likes smoking, he knows the risk, (Hell since the 80’s everyone knows smoking is bad for you.) why should he have to quit? Because you don’t like second hand smoke… Ahhh, well now I understand. Since you can’t stay the hell out of a bar or restaurant that allows smokers, the smokers should be punished. Got it… dumbass.

Okay, I’m a smoker. I know it’s bad for me, I know it is slowly killing me. I don’t care. It’s my choice. Maybe I want to drink, eat red meat, smoke and die a slow happy death. I know the risks and I’m a big boy, let me make the decision for myself. When other people try to take away peoples ability to smoke, it makes me want to smoke even more… Just because I know it pisses someone off!

Hey, I’m afraid every time a loved one or I gets behind the wheel of a car they will be in a horrible maiming accident caused my a reckless driver. Maybe I should lobby to have cars outlawed since I’m worried someone might hurt my family or me. I can disguise it as a bill to help the environment and promote safety. Okay, I’m going to extremes, but I rank both scenarios as being on the same page.

I always felt it should be up to the individual business to determine if they allow smoking or not. It should not be the government dictating to the business not to allow people to smoke there. If Joe’s bar doesn’t allow smoking, then I don’t go there, I’ll go to John’s bar that allows it. For people that don’t smoke, they can go to Joe’s bar. If a non-smoker wants to hang out with the smoker, one will have to compromise.

Posted as part of Breakfast.

Posted by Contagion at 07:47 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

November 07, 2005

"My boobs, they are nice. Yes?"

This blog was part started as an outlet for various things; it seems as late it’s become an outlet for my frustration about people. Today I have another issue that has been bugging me about people apparent lack of common sense.

Guys, how many times have we heard a woman say she doesn’t like it when a guy is looking at their chest or behind? It seems to be a common complaint, and I agree that when talking to a woman one should look her in the eye. Some women don’t like to be “checked out” at all. They get upset if they find some guy giving them the once over.

Fine, that is their right. I’m not going to tell you not to wear clothing that compliments the shape of your body. It doesn’t matter because people will look anyway even if you wear a baggy t-shirt and frumpy sweat pants. Women are catty and guys just check everything out. Guys, you can deny it, but you know it’s true.

Just don’t wear something that forces the human eye to look at your chest or backside.If I’m not talking about figure enhancing cloths, then what am I talking about? Simple, shirts and pants with words on it. Over the last 6 months, I’ve noticed the trend of females wearing shirts that have phrases or logos right across their chest. They also wear pants that have logos right across their butts (usually sweat pants/shorts). If you don’t want people looking at your chest or ass, don’t wear items like that.

The human eye naturally is drawn to lettering to read it. It’s like a sign. I know personally I’ll see someone with a t-shirt that has writing on it, and with out thinking, I just start reading what it says. This gives the appearance that I am staring at their chest. No, I’m reading their shirt. When walking through the mall I see a girl wearing shorts that says something written across their butt. Before I can even think about it, I’ve read what was written, and to be honest in some cases I wish I hadn’t.

Not just guys do this either, women read what is front of them as well. Just the other morning I was at a restaurant with my wife. A girl came in wearing a white sweat suit. (BTW, what ever happened to proper dress when leaving the house? A sweat suit is not appropriate to go to a sit down restaurant.). After she walks by Ktreva says to me, “One should not wear turquoise underwear with a white pants.” I had no idea what she was talking about, so I reply with a “huh?” She tells me that the girl that walked by is wearing turquoise underwear under her white sweat suit.

Now here I am thinking my wife is displaying some lesbian traits and is checking out girls as they walk by. Fantasy time! Smirking, I ask her how she knows. She responds that as the girl walked by she looked up and she had “Abercrombie” across her butt, when she read it she could see the underwear. Fantasy denied! But it enforced the fact that if there is writing, humans will read it.

The manufacturers of these clothes know and understand that. They put the lettering and logos in those places for a reason, to help draw the eye there. This is fine if you accept and don’t mind people staring at our chest or bottom. If you mind, don’t wear clothes that have it. If you do mind and wear clothes like that, don’t get mad at me if I “read” what you are advertising. In addition, don’t wear the shirt that says, “Don’t look at my chest”, by the time everyone is done reading it, it’s too late.

Posted by Contagion at 12:49 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

November 03, 2005

True Colors.

Steve the Pirate talks about an interesting story where a black conservative Lt Governor (Michael Steele) is running for the senate in Maryland and the black Democratic Party is slinging racial slurs at him. The kicker is that according to the article, they feel this is okay… because Steele is a Republican/conservative.

I just want to know, does that mean its okay to refer to a white democrat/liberal as a cracker?

Posted by Contagion at 01:08 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

It's not *CENSORED*

I need to go off on something that has been bugging me for a couple of weeks now. It has me so pissed that it’s interfering with my ability to think logically and control my uncivilized impulses.

Why do people that claim to be using their freedom of speech get so bloody upset when you voice a dissenting opinion and claim censorship? The best example I can give that most people will remember is when the Dixie Chics made their comments about G. W. Bush about 4 years ago. They spoke their oppinions; they had every right to do so. I don’t agree with what they did/said but it is their constitutional right to do so. Where they pissed me off was when their fans and radio stations disagreed with what they said and spoke out against them.

When the public voiced their dissention of what the Dixie Chics had said, these “freedom of speech” fighters claimed that people where trying to censor them. BULLSHITE! Those people were exercising their freedom of speech to say they disagree or to tell the Dixie Chics they where wrong. Why is it when they said something against what the President was doing it was freedom of speech, but when their fans said something against what they did it was censorship? Isn’t that a huge double standard? I believe it is. If burning the American flag is covered by the first amendment as freedom of expression, then bulldozing thousands of the Dixie Chic’s CD’s is also a freedom of expression covered by the first amendment. This however is old news.

There have been a couple of incidents in the last month that really set my blood boiling. I feel people have the right to preach/evangelicalize/”spread the word” about their religion. This is part of freedom of speech. But when you start preaching at me and I tell you I’m not interested, and then you persist to preach at me; you are starting to cross freedom of speech into harassment. When I tell you to get off my property and not come back because I think your religion is nothing more then a glorified cult, that is NOT censorship. Just like you have the right to tell me that I’m going to hell if I don’t follow Jehovah, I have the same right to tell you that you’re a nut job and to get off of my property. It’s all covered under freedom of speech.

People that have political beliefs have the right to stand out in front of stores to promote their beliefs and hand out fliers. (If the store approves, it is private property) The other day walking into a local store some hippy love child… well I don’t know he was a love child, but he looked (i.e. smelled) like a neo hippy. He was handing out fliers trying to get people to join an anti-Bush protest rally in Rockford, IL. He was also trying to promote some local vast left wing conspiracy newspaper. (To be honest, I always thought it was the right wing that are the conspiracy theorists. j/k) He had the right to stand in front of the store smelling like patchouli and body odor to spread his message. I had the right to tell him I’m not interested and walk right past him with out hearing another word. Freedom of speech/expression does not necessarily mean words have to be involved. By my ignoring his presence, I “spoke” volumes. This is not censorship. Freedom of speech does not give you the right to sit there and hammer me with a barrage of words in which I don't want to hear. Freedom of speech gives you the right to talk to an audience, it does not mandate that the audience has to stick around and listen to the message.
There is a Green Bay Packer flag hanging off my truck antenna. It is my freedom of speech to support my team proudly. Living in Illinois, this does come with some ribbing. Freedom of speech gives the local Bear fans the right to do so. See, that is how it works. I’m promoting my team, which is my freedom of speech. A Bear fan gives me a hard time for living in Illinois and not supporting the Bears, that is his freedom of speech. Now when the militant Bear fan tells me I should take that flag down because “the Packers suck” and I remind him the Bears haven’t exactly been a stellar team over the last two decades, I’m still using my freedom of speech.

To be honest this cretin didn’t say I was trying to censor him, but he did verbalize a hostile retort about doing something unpleasant with that flag and my lower digestive tract. But, it helps to explain my point. Now we had a whole freedom of speech back and forth there, until he threatened physical harm… or I guess in Illinois that would be considered Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault. Then you get into other legal issues that have nothing to do with freedom of speech.

My whole point to this convoluted post is that if you are going to exercise your freedom of speech, don’t be surprised if someone else exercises their freedom of speech with an opposing response. That is their right. They are NOT trying to censor you.

Posted by Contagion at 12:45 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 28, 2005

Some days I wish I was still a cop.

This morning on the way to work, I was traveling at a very unrespectful speed of 55 mph in a 45. Yes, I acknowledge I have a speeding problem. On the stretch of road I was on, it is not uncommon for most of the traffic to be doing 55, with the occasional driver doing 50. Sometimes however, you get some jag off that feels that 55 is just too slow. These also tend to be the same dumbasses that weave in and out of traffic almost colliding with other vehicles. I had a run in with one of these rectal-cranial inverted wastes of space today.

I was in the right lane doing 55; there was a Lexus in the left lane just ahead of me, also doing 55. We came upon a slower moving Buick in the right lane. This is when I decided I was going to switch lanes and pass. As I checked my mirrors, I saw this green Saturn come flying up behind the Lexus. The Saturn didn’t slow down until it was right on top of the Lexus. They where so close I swear that the bumpers could not have been more then a foot apart at times.

After I had passed the slower moving Buick, I changed back to the right lane. The intellectually challenged driver in the green Saturn (With dealer plates) stayed on the bumper of the Lexus. At this point, I’m not sure if the Lexus driver was nervous or just trying to get the Saturn to back off, but they started gradually to slow down. Like by a mile an hour every 2 minutes. This means that I am now starting to pass both vehicles on the right. Just as I am almost right up to the Saturn, still inches away from the Lexus, the mentally myopic driver just whips into the right lane.

The flaming butt nugget was so close to me in my truck that I could NOT see the trunk of their vehicle. I of course slowed down to avoid an accident. But in a most uncivilized manner, I switched my headlights to high beams. At 6:30 in the morning, it’s still dark out here. My headlights are high enough to shine right into the back window. They are also bright enough to cause physical pain to anyone that is caught unaware by them. I left my high beams on for the next quarter of a mile until I turned off the main street. Part of me was hoping the driver of the Saturn would turn off to confront me; I really would have loved to vent some anger onto this asshole. My more responsible and civilized parts however did not want anything more to do with the dumbass.

Just in case any of the drivers involved actually find this post, I have this to say.

To the driver of the Lexus;

I’m sorry if I blinded you with my headlights. It was a very juvenile and assholish thing for me to do. I let my anger get the best of me and you innocently suffered. You handled this situation with more class then I did. My most sincere apologies.

To the Driver of the Saturn;

One day you will cause an accident, not just any kind of accident, but a serious one, possibly with fatalities. At the speeds we were traveling, there was absolutely no reason for your boorish behavior behind the wheel. There is no excuse for trying to squeeze in one car length closer just so you can get to work maybe 30 seconds faster. If you are running late, try to get your arse out of bed earlier, especially on days when you have to scrape frost off your windows. You are damn lucky I don’t know what dealership those plates belong. If I did, trust me, by now I would have called them AND the police to file a complaint. Even if that meant getting my own speeding ticket. If there is a hell, I believe there is a special place for drivers like you.

P.S. If you didn’t notice, the ¾ ton extended cab/extended bed Truck I was driving had almost three times the mass of your little four banger. If something had happened, I would have crushed you like the roach you are under my size thirteen shoe.

Posted by Contagion at 12:42 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 26, 2005

It's my turn.

Last week I received notice that I have been selected for jury duty. This has made me as giddy as a boy going out on a date with a girl that is a “sure thing”. For years, I have wanted to serve on a jury. It is something that I have always wanted to do, and I’m hoping that this will be my turn. At this point, I’m pretty sure most of you are thinking I’m rather insane. Most of the people that I have talked to about this don’t understand either. They would do just about anything to avoid jury duty. To them it is a burden and waste of time.

To me jury duty gives me a chance to see something I love in action and to be a part of it, the American legal system. When I worked in Law Enforcement, I loved court days. Sitting in the courtroom, hearing the cases, listening to the lawyers fight for their clients by presenting or spinning facts, just being a part of the legal system. Watching the judge and jury listen to everything and mull over the evidence. Seeing the beauty of years of defining constitutional rights and to see them applied to an individual case, was their fourth amendment rights violated, where they denied due process, etc.

Too many people I have talked to either view it as a waste of their time or, in a couple of occasions, a way to get out of work. I’ve even heard people telling each other what to do to get out of jury duty. This really pisses me off. As a citizen of the United States it is your duty to serve on a jury, it is an obligation and a way to uphold our way of life. How? When you sit in the jury box, and the lawyers present their cases, you are helping to enforce our laws and constitution. If Slick Johnny gets off on a technicality because Officer Jones performed an illegal search of his vehicle, hopefully Officer Jones learned from his mistake so next time someone’s constitutional rights aren’t violated. If Scary Bob is convicted of a crime due to overwhelming evidence, then you just helped uphold the laws of our country.

Think of it this way. If you ever had to go to court (innocent or guilty) who would you rather have on the jury, someone that is there wishing they where somewhere else or someone that is actually interested and excited to be part of the system? I know I would rather have someone that is paying attention to the case. That way I don’t have to worry about my fate being determined by someone with a “gut feeling”.

Now I have to sit and wait to find out if they will actually pick me to serve on the jury. The last two times I was called up I was dismissed. Once when I was in college, because I was studying law and the second time I was working in Law Enforcement. What I really would like to do is serve on the Grand Jury. In Illinois, it is a six-month assignment every other Wednesday. I’d be in heaven. To hear that many cases and to decide if there is enough to indict would rock!

Posted by Contagion at 01:15 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

October 21, 2005

20 rules for travel

What an interesting trip to Texas. I wish I could share everything I learned with you; unfortunately, some laws prohibit me from doing so. Since what I can share would turn this post into a novel to rival that of “War and Peace”, I’m just going to share the highs and lows with everyone.

1) You cannot bring a lighter into the airport. There were no signs stating such, so I didn’t think about it as I walked through the checkpoint with a lighter in my pocket.

2) Security does not appreciate when you try to bring contraband through a checkpoint. They tend to make quite a show of it.

3) If you put the lighter in your purse you can bring one past the checkpoint, you just can’t have it in your pocket. My traveling companion was able to get two lighters onto the flight.

4) Before you let the shuttle go that took you from the airport to your hotel, make sure it is the right hotel they dropped you off at and not the closest one. Some of those drivers do NOT want to drive any further then they have to.

5) It is cheaper for more then two people to take a Taxi from the airport to a hotel then to take the shuttle.

6) Having reservations in a hotel (Crown Plaza Suites Park Central in Dallas, TX Sucks) does not necessarily mean they will honor the reservations, even with a secured late check in. Everyone in my group requested a smoking room, and not a one of us received one. The day before we all confirmed we had one.

7) Just because you (your company) pay a lot to stay in a hotel, it does not guarantee that the service will be good, the rooms will be cleaned, trash will be emptied and the staff polite. (Did I mention the Crown Plaza Suites Park Central 7800 Alpha Rd Dallas, TX 75251 sucks?) Everyone in my group had the same issues with rooms not being cleaned and rude staff.

8) Restaurants in hotels that suck, like the Crown Plaza Suites Park Central in Dallas TX, also suck. Service was very slow, the food was inconsistent (They have a breakfast buffet, the food was good one day and the same style of items were horrible or bland the next.), drinks were weak/watered down.

9) You cannot smoke in Dallas, TX. This means that if you are stuck in a non-smoking room because the Crown Plaza Suites Park Central in Dallas TX sucks and won’t hold your confirmation, you have to leave the building in order to have a cigarette. You can’t even smoke in a restaurant or bar. This wouldn’t be a big deal if those ripe bastards had put you in a damn smoking room! However, if you smoke in your current room, they very rudely informed me, that there would be an extra $50.00 per day cleaning charge… and they don’t clean the room anyway!

10) If you smoke outside in some of the smaller communities you can get a citation for smoking in public… and you still can’t smoke in bars/restaurants.

11) Parts of Texas are dry, as in no alcohol. In these areas, the only place you can get a drink is in a club that you are a member. I.e., you have to buy membership to the club in order to go in and get a drink. Fortunately, these memberships are relatively cheap.

12) People in Texas like to water down their alcohol. Every drink I had down there was weak!

13) Texas has a concealed carry law; the people are allowed to carry guns if they have a license. This means there are alcoholics out there in desperate want of a drink, going through nicotine withdrawal and carrying a gun. Needless to say, I tried not to piss any locals off.

14) Texans get pissed if you start to emulate their accents, even on accident. However, they find it “cute” when a northerner says “y’all”.

15) Before riding in a vehicle that you don’t personally own, check to make sure the back seat is secured to the vehicle. Being flipped out of the back seat of a minivan as the NASCAR inspired driver makes a left turn at 70 mph is not a good way to start your morning.

16) The signs and displays telling you how big a carry-on bag can be in an airport are only for suggestion. No one that works for the airline will actually enforce how big an item can be. Therefore, if you take a full sized garment bag with what is obviously at least 4 days worth of suits, you can carry that on and cram it into an overheard compartment and no one will say a word to you.

17) People cannot count. When they say you can bring one carry-on bag and one personal item onto the airplane, that does not mean you can bring a three-piece luggage set AND your purse. I don’t care if your bags are smaller then the guy who just jammed a large suitcase into the overhead, at least he only brought one.

18) If you are turned back to check in luggage because it’s too big, you brought too many with, or because other people with large bags took up all the overhead space, don’t spend the rest of the flight complaining to me about it. I don’t care if you or other people can’t follow simple directions.

19) If you travel with me, inevitably you will have the parent with the screaming kid right behind you on the airplane. Why people think any child under the age of five will travel “nicely” on a plane is beyond me.

And finally:

20) You can spend 6 hours sitting on your arse (in the car, airport, airplane, bus, any combo, etc) and when you get home, you are seriously exhausted. I have yet to figure out why this is.

Posted by Contagion at 04:16 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

October 12, 2005

Talk about a double standard

People always complain about there being a double standard for different things. While over at Steve the Pirate's I saw him calling for a boycot of Cafepress. Being curious I went over to The People's Cube to see what was going on.

I have to side with them, in a humurious letter to the company you can see what is causing all the fuss and decide for yourself.

As for me, I think I'll avoid Cafepress for a while.

Posted by Contagion at 06:33 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 22, 2005

Donation or Extortion?

It’s that time of year again. Not fall, even though today is the first official day. No, it’s that time when companies across the country try to extort money from their employees to donate to the United Way. Why do companies force this issue so much? It’s because then they can say they raised so many dollars for them and get a special mention in next years drive. It’s all marketing that they don’t have to pay as much for… they make their employees do it.

I don’t mind charity drives, but I hate feeling forced into donating my time and money. Is it a donation then? Not in my mind, if forced to pay then I’m not donating money I’m a victim of extortion. I’ve worked for companies that keep track of donations to the United Way and if you don’t donate so much you won’t get a promotion or good review. They went so far as to tell the employees that. My current company is not that bad, however they do put a frown on a lack of participation, especially if you are management level. They do however hand out a sheet telling you what the recommended donation is based on your salary level.

My company makes a huge deal out of this drive. They put on shows, hold raffles, have fundraisers, and do what they call “Supervisor Stunts”. The Supervisor Stunts starts with a drive for money. They have cups set up with various peoples names on them and employees in the company drop money in to the cup to vote for which supervisor has to do a stunt. The four with the most money are the “winners”. The stunts are usually unimaginative things stolen from pop culture. A couple years ago, they did a fear factor take off where the individuals had to eat something safe, yet disgusting. In all actuality there was nothing all that disgusting about what they ate. Last year they did a take off of the old Nickelodeon show Double Dare. Each supervisor had to go through an obstacle course that was only designed to get them covered in slime, condiments, ice cream, pudding, etc.

This year they decided to open it up to all management and some of the support staff. I was strongly encouraged to participate in it this year. Why? Because with my position I am easily one of the top two people in the office that the employees would like to get revenge on. Thus, I would bring in a lot of money. Unfortunately, for them I had a different idea. Mine was more along the lines of, “I’m not donating one damn cent to the United Way and I’m not doing anything that might help raise a dime for them.”

See the extended entry for my reasons.

Some of you may wonder why I won’t donate to the United Way. It’s because I hate them. Actually, hate isn’t the right word; I loathe and despise them. I have no problems donating to charity; in fact, I donate my time and money to various organizations all through out the year. It’s just these arseholes that I can’t stand. As many of you may know, I’m a huge supporter of the Boy Scouts of America. I am an Eagle Scout with a Bronze palm. I’ve spent time as a leader and volunteer. Right now, I fill in when I can, but I donate money directly to them. However, the United Way in various states has started pulling their funding from the Boy Scouts, because of their position on homosexuals as volunteers.

Fine, they don’t want to help fund the Boy Scouts because of that, it’s their right. I agree with the Boy Scouts and will just give my money directly to them. However, I don’t think they have any right to try to dictate policy in these organizations they are funding. The money that was given to them was given with the belief that it was going to be spread amongst the various organizations they list, which still includes the BSA. However if they pull or cut their funding then they are misrepresenting where that money is going. Many of the people I spoke with here didn’t even realize the United Way was doing that.

The other reason I don’t like the United Way is that I know too many people that needed their help, swallowed their pride and asked only to be turned away. The excuses being anything from they made too much money to they weren’t in a dire enough position. The problem being is that every one of the people that was turned away all needed it badly. These weren’t short hardships, but long ones, including the loss of homes and family. Then I hear the stories from people here who did receive their help, including some of my minions, these people where in better conditions then the others I know.

I don’t know what their criterion is to receive help, but I’m thinking they may be a little bias. IE if you had a good job and life was good, then you where laid off, haven’t been able to find a steady well paying job in 2 years. The Department of Child and Family Services comes knocking on your door to take your kids. Not because you abuse them, but because you can’t make ends meet. You’ve given up every luxury you used to enjoy just to bring home food and cloth your kids. That wasn’t enough to keep someone for reporting you for neglect because little Johnny isn’t the healthiest looking kid in school. So finally in the last bit of desperation after being turned down for all the other assistance programs you turn to the United Way only to once again be declined… because you once made too much money. Does this story sound like BS? I thought it was, except I know the person it happened to and it is true.

I’m not even going to go into the mishandling of donations and funds that have been associated with the United Way. The first two were enough for me never to want to give them a cent. I’m not telling others not to donate to the United Way, that is your choice. I’m just telling you why I don’t like them and why I won’t. I believe that is a choice each individual person has to make.

Posted by Contagion at 12:54 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

September 07, 2005

What about the farmers?

On my drive to work every day I drive past cornfields. Every day I notice how short and sickly it looks compared to years past. The ears that have managed to form are small and under developed. The drought we are in is really taking a toll on the local agricultural industry. Some of the local media has run stories and interviewed multiple farmers regarding the status of the crop.

One of the farmers stated that the quality of the corn isn’t even good for silage and that he wasn’t sure if it was worth harvesting it from the field, with the price of gas being as high as it is. I knew it was bad, but not that bad. I figured they could at least use the corn for feed. I tried to find a link to this story; unfortunately, I was not able to find one. For you folks out there that don’t know what silage is, it’s fodder from plants converted into feed for livestock through a fermentation process in a silo. The farmers use this to supplement their livestock feed, especially in the winter months.

When the local farmers feel that it might be better off for them to let the crop rot in the field because they would go further in to debt just to harvest it, you know it’s got to be bad. They usually get some kind of return on it, but in the interview that I saw the farmer said in not so many words that harvesting this corn would be as smart as throwing money into a furnace. Even if they used the entire crop just as feed, at least they received something for it. Instead, they may have to purchase extra feed just to keep their livestock fed over the winter. Farmers make a living off their crops and livestock. If it isn’t worth it for them to pull the crops out of the field, what will they do? How are they going to pay their bills or provide for their families?

If the drought broke today and we received a good steady rain for the rest of the year, it’s too late to save this year’s corn crop. Maybe it isn’t as bad as that one report made it out to be, but looking at the cornfields I can’t help but to think it is. Growing up in Illinois and spending times on farms, I know what good healthy corn looks like. The corn crop in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin cannot be described as “good or healthy”. Even the sweet corn you get at roadside stands and in stores are some of the sorriest I’ve seen in years.

Since I haven’t seen a lot on this issue, maybe I’m in the minority that is concerned about it. With harvest coming just around the corner I suspect we all will start to hear more regarding this issue, then again maybe not. It seems that unless something happens to a large urban area, the national media doesn’t cover it. For now, I’m just going to hope that the farmers in this part of the country fair better then I think they will.

Posted by Contagion at 04:40 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 26, 2005

What would you have done?

Let’s say that you were driving home. On a backstreet, you are stopped by a school bus dropping off 12-14 year old kids from school. Shortly after the bus leaves you, witness two kids get into a fight. One kid is about twice the size of the other kid. This might be a serious issue if either knew how to fight, but most of the kicks and punches are hitting air instead of the other person. When they do land a blow it’s not a solid hit so no real impact. The bus is gone; would you step in and break it up and why?

This exact scenario happened to me last night. I was waiting at the bus stop for Boopie to give him a ride home. As soon as I went to drive off, I saw these two boys off Boopie’s bus throw down their books in the middle of the road and start fighting. I put my vehicle in park, jump out of the door and head toward the boys. In my “I’m a pissed off authority figure voice” (Left over from Law Enforcement days) I holler: “You two, knock it off! Over here, NOW!” While saying that I’m pointing at both of them and then point to the ground right in front of me as I am walking toward them. Not once through this whole ordeal did I lay a finger on either boy.

Both of the boys stop fighting and start heading my way. They give me the story they where just play fighting. Any male out there that was ever in a fight as a kid can tell the difference between play fighting and real fighting. Play fighting you don’t swing so hard as to throw yourself off balance, because you don’t know how to fight. I’m trying to get both kids to come with me to talk to their parents.

The older kid points to a house just across the street. So I tell him, lets go talk to his parents. Then he changes which house he lives in. Apparently, he didn’t think I was serious. The younger kid told me he lived a couple of blocks over.

I knew there was no way to get both kids to stay with me, even though I tried. Deciding that I was going to talk to the bigger kids parents for a couple of reasons, I follow him to his house. I believe that the smaller kid’s mother works with me and I can talk to her at work. Also he seemed scared witless and I think I did enough damage that one close call may be all he needs to go straight. The bigger kid coped an attitude and was blatantly lying to me. He also appeared to be the instigator. His parents needed to be advised.

Sure enough as soon as I started walking off with the older boy, the younger one took off. Ktreva saw which way he ran, we tried looking for him later but couldn’t find him.

On the way to the bigger kid’s house, the story changed from play fighting to him defending his country. Apparently, the boy’s parents are from Russia and the younger kid made some disparaging comments about it. Now I have confirmation that it was not play fighting. When we get to his house, he goes in while I stay outside. I figured he’d lock the door and I’d have to ring the bell to talk to his mother or father.

After a couple of minutes, his mother comes to the door. After speaking to her briefly, and she did have an accent, I got the distinct impression that she didn’t care that her little boy was fighting with a kid half his size or that he was fighting at all. Maybe I wasted my time, maybe not. Maybe she was just pissed and didn’t want to say anything in front of me, which I can understand. If my kid were fighting, I would want someone to break it up and tell me what was going on. Maybe I’m the last parent that feels that way. Then again, maybe I’m the last adult that gives a shit about the future of our country anymore.

Let me tell you this, if I catch that kid fighting again I will have one more talk with him and his mother. Then I’m going to the police about it. This little punk had bully written all over him from his attitude to his stance. Maybe if someone nips it in the bud now he can straighten out before he gets himself into serious trouble later on.

What really gets me about this situation is that there where other adults that saw this happen and live right there and they did nothing. Most of them just turned their backs or watched. That really pisses me off people! We wonder why our kids are becoming degenerates and delinquents, maybe it’s because no one cares anymore. People will bitch about violence and sex in the media being the cause. Maybe it’s apathy toward how the kids behave. Well I care, and I’m not going to sit by idly.

So tell me, do you think I over stepped my boundaries and why?

Posted by Contagion at 01:03 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

August 24, 2005

Game Over.

Video games are not a major part of my life. Where I do enjoy playing them, I don’t generally spend hours every day doing so. There may be times when I spend a couple of hours here or there playing a game, and occasionally when I find one I like I do dedicate a couple weeks of my life to the completion of said game. When I finally beat a game, I tend to get bored with it and quit playing it. Sometimes I will reload it and replay it, but not with the fervor that I had originally played the game.

Right now, I am in a quandary, I need to find a new game to play and yet I am unable to find one. Most of the games I prefer to play are strategy style games such as WarCraft, StarCraft, Age of Empires/Mythology, and Command and Conquer. Occasionally I find a Role Playing Game that I like, such as Baldur’s Gate, but those are few and far between, but I’m willing to give them a chance with a strong recommendation. Yet I can’t find a good game to play. None of them look interesting and the handful of ones that I might be willing to give a try all need to be played online.

I REFUSE to buy an online video game.

If I’m purchasing a game to play, I should be able to play it with out having to subscribe to the service. What is the point of buying a game that you can’t play with out purchasing time to play it? That seems like a waste. Plus what if you buy a game and it goes out of style or never takes off. Now you have the risk of a game that has no platform to be played on. Moreover, I don’t want to have to deal with other people, be it online dorks or the casual gamer.

If you are going to play online, you pretty much need to be in from the beginning and be able to spend hours everyday playing in order to make your character formidable enough to withstand attacks from other players or get the limited items. Some people tell me that the new games aren’t like that, so that might be one issue they have resolved.

There is the fun of trying to find a group of like-minded players to go around to gather experience and equipment or complete missions. And you all have to be on at the same time. Eh… that’s too much work. I want to play, when I feel like it. Following my own schedule and not having to rely on anyone else or have anyone waiting for me.

Personally, I would rather load a game on my home computer and not have to worry about renting time or dealing with other people. I want to play at my pace and have my own fun. Yet, I seem to be the only one that wants to be that way. Maybe it’s time for me to give up on finding any game that is worth my time to play. Does anyone feel the same way I do?

Posted by Contagion at 04:36 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

August 23, 2005

Wait... there's a war?

I try to stay away from posting on my political position or beliefs. There are many others that post on their beliefs, similar to mine, better then I ever could. Sometimes I leave a comment on someone else’s political post either agreeing or disagree with them. My beliefs run the full gambit of liberal and conservative, depending on the issue. I do tend to lean a lot more toward the conservative side. Some people, especially those who like to label, call me a republican. That I am not. I am an independent. My beliefs are more along the lines of individual rights of American citizens. Since my position on various topics doesn’t follow any party lines, I have no desire to delve into these controversial topics on my blog.

You can’t imagine how surprised I was when I opened my e-mail this morning and saw this simple e-mail:

”I am glad you are having fun now, because if we have a war, us young people will probably be drafted to fight for your oily waste”

That was it; there was nothing else to it. I wasn’t even sure what this was in reference. After some reflection, I figured that this person must have read a comment I had made on another blog regarding my love of driving my truck that averages about 12 mpg. Why this individual chose to single me out, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I was specific with the exact gas mileage I receive. Then again, maybe it’s because of my charming personality. Perhaps it’s even because I honestly love and enjoy my truck, and possibly this individual has a crappy hybrid that can’t haul crap or go on long highway trips. (To this day, I’ve never seen a hybrid on a major highway) Either way, they choose to e-mail me to complain.

Let me respond:

We are at war. I don’t know what hole you have lived in for the last 4 years, but we’ve been at war. Some people scream it is for oil, some say it’s for freedom. Personally, I like to believe that it’s because there are a bunch of people that just need to be killed over there. That’s right, I said it. I don’t care. I’ve believed for years that the Middle East should be turned into a giant sheet of glass. Those have been my exact words since I was in high school and old enough to have my opinions actually matter. Hell, we don’t even have to drop the bombs, we can pull out of the Middle East and when the Arab nations overrun Israel, then the Israelis can drop their own nuclear weapons.

Draft? Draft? Get out of the 70’s you hippy! There is no draft and there won’t be a draft. I’m sure you are referring to the mass e-mail that has been going around for months now regarding two bills being passed through congress. S.89 and H.R.163. First off, if you take the time to read these bills you will notice that it doesn’t require military service, just national service and it specifically states it does not have to be military. These bills were introduced by Democrats, not Republicans as many people believe, as a kind of anti-war protest. Secondly, these are old bills and old news. H.R. 163 was defeated in the house last October by an overwhelming number. In addition to that, many in the military do NOT want a draft. We currently have a voluntary military force, thus these are people that want to be there. They are highly trained and a high quality of soldier. You won’t get that in a draft. There is no reason to worry about being drafted. If you are still concerned about it, contact your religious leader and fill out a conscientious objector letter. On the off chance that a draft is actually called, you will have that to fall back on.

I am not an environmentalist. I half jokingly say my stance on the environment is, “Ignore it, it’ll go away.” I’m not going to waste my time nor insult your intelligence by explaining that joke. I am a conservationist. When I go camping or do outdoor activities I will leave the spots I was at in as good of condition or better then before I arrived. However, I like eating animals and burning wood. Realistically I understand that sometimes in order for the world to handle the population there needs to be urban growth. It is nature that will suffer when that happens. My “Oily Waste” doesn’t bother me. Why? Because enviro-nuts that do drive their hybrids, ride bikes or just plain walk everywhere make up for what damage I do. Moreover, for what I use my truck for, there is NO other vehicle that would get the job done. At least now, I’m only driving one vehicle to many of my re-enactments instead of two. Since you don’t know why I bought my truck or how I use it, you may not realize that in all actuality I’m saving on gas. This last weekend I drove a round trip of about 300 miles, I burned 23 gallons of gas. If I had my old Ford Ranger that received about 20 mpg with a load and my Minivan that receives about 26 mpg with a load, I would have burned 27 gallons of gas; not counting wear and tear on an extra vehicle. Damn those annoying facts always come back to bite you on the ass!

Most of the time my truck is driven maybe once or twice a week. I’ve owned it for 5 months and I have just over 2000 miles on it now. It was not purchased as an everyday vehicle; I even use synthetic oil in its large engine. It costs more, but I do that for the protection of the moving parts, not the environment.

For those of you that want to argue with me about my beliefs or stances on things. Waste your time. I’m pretty much set in my ways now. I’m a stubborn son of a bitch, I don’t see me reading something you write and saying, “Wait, you’re right… I’ve been wrong all these years.” Wings would sprout out of my ass and I’d fly around my office sprinkling the workplace with joy and love first.

Posted by Contagion at 06:27 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 05, 2005

Why blogs suck

When I first started this blog, I did it for three reasons. One of them being an outlet for just general crap that I have going on. Over the last 8 months, I’ve found this a good place to spout off on the occasional thing that bothers me. Unfortunately, I have a post I wrote that I really want to publish, yet I can’t. There is an issue that I really need to get off my chest, yet I don’t dare post it. Why? Because I’m afraid of three things.

A) That someone will read it and think that I’m talking about them, and I’m not. A mistake like that can damage a relationship be it friend or family. This post is about a very specific set of people. I can’t get into too much detail because it’s just not necessary and I don’t want to list specific names. However depending on how an individual reads it, they could very easily slide themselves as one of the persons of my ire. Even you casual readers that accidentally stumbled on this page while looking for the phrase, “Squirt my wife.” (I’ve been getting a crap load of hits for that)

2) The persons that I write it about will read it and know it is about them. I’m not about to say anything to these individuals, it’s not my place; I just want to vent. As it stands right now, I’m not sure if all of them read this blog on a regular basis let alone know of its existence. I believe that one of them does and reads it at least 3-4 times a week.

D) Even if I am wrong and they don’t know of this blogs existence, someone who knows them and me will say something to the individuals about what I wrote. Thus, it gets back to them. The last thing I need at this point is anymore of a strain in the relationship I’m having with them.

All I want to do is really vent at this point, yet I can’t. That really pisses me off because it defeats the purpose of having a blog. Where I am not a person that lets anything bother him for long periods of time, this has been eating away at my soul like a cancer for the last three weeks. There hasn’t been a loss of sleep over it, just a lot of daytime pondering.

I thought that if I wrote the post, and just saved it, that would do the trick. Nope, not at all. There is no satisfaction in that. It’s like buying the car of your dreams and leaving it in the garage, never taking it out and never going for a ride. You can look at it and know it’s yours, but you don’t actually enjoy it. My rant is written, linked, and saved in a safe place. The thought of saving it as a draft crossed my mind, however I was afraid I’d accidentally post it. GAH! (Bangs head against the desk).

This must be one of those problems that I need to hold in to make it go away on its own. Just push it down deep into the recesses of my soul that I save for other issues I have no way to cope with. Not having had to do that in over 8 years, I don’t know if I can do it again.

Posted by Contagion at 06:30 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

August 04, 2005

Karmic Revenge

The karmic wheel of justice came around and slapped me with a practical joke last night. Yesterday I had to cover the evening shift, meaning the earliest I was able to leave work was 6:10 pm. Usually I go home around 3:30 pm. I ended up not getting home until well after 7:00 pm due to an incident that happened at work. On my home, some girl who looked to be between the age of 12 and 19 driving a small mid-90’s Honda pulls out in front of me. Not going in the same direction, but perpendicular to me as if she was crossing the street. I had seen her pull up to the intersection and stop, for some reason I kept an eye on her. I was on a four lane main road, and she was coming off a side street. When I was about three car lengths in front of her, the stupid girl tried to commit suicide by Silverado. She pulled out, I slammed on my brakes, and my truck came to a bouncing stop. If you have ever driven a truck with no weight in the bed, you know what I’m saying. The back end bounces when you stop hard. The stupid girl slammed on her brakes too, stopping right in front of me. The car that was in the lane next to me also stopped hard, poor lady looked like she was about to have a heart attack. When all vehicles where stopped, I could not see the girls face. She was so close to me that she could reach out her window and easily touch the grill on my truck. When someone in a little Honda is that close to the huge front end of my truck, I can barely see the roof of the car.

Two things crossed my mind the second this girl pulled out. First being, “She’s not going to survive this.” The mass, angle of impact and speed of my truck versus her car would have sent her rolling down the street like a freshly kicked soccer ball. The second was, “I don’t even have 2,000 miles on this truck yet!!!!!” I wasn’t worried about any physical injury to myself. I’ve investigated enough accidents between vehicles of comparable size differences. The bigger vehicle always wins, always. Fortunately, it was a near miss and I only lost some of the life span of my brakes and tires. Although, since my windows were down, the girl did learn some new colorful phrases and words. Then, to top things off, the stupid little git just drove off with out even an apologetic wave or mouthing, “I’m sorry.” On the off chance you find this post and are reading it, I hope you loaded your pants!

When I get home, I’m now hungry, tired, irritated and annoyed. There was a minor snafu with dinner, which didn’t help my mood any. Since we are leaving for Kansas on Friday, we have not done a lot of grocery shopping; we don’t want food spoiling in the house. By the time I found something to make for myself and start cooking it, it was almost 8:00 pm. That is where the huge karmic practical joke kicked in.

I’m at the stove cooking when all of a sudden the lights dim. Not a slight dim, but to the point that you can see a faint glow from the light bulbs. Our electric stove shows that it is on, but the burners aren’t on. Laughingly I make a smart arse comment about how it figured we’d have a brown out that night. Then we notice that all the power in the neighborhood is on and we really have partial power. In the kitchen the refrigerator, microwave work fine, the stove kind of works, the lights are dim and nothing else is working. In our office, I can turn on the computer, desk lamp and window fan, but the overhead light doesn’t work. In the living room, the window fan and desk lamps work, but nothing else does. Upstairs the window AC unit and TV work, but the overhead doesn’t. It was sporadic and didn’t make any sense. Most of these items are on the same circuit with something that is working. My wife says she thinks it’s the fuses. I tell her if a fuse goes out, then you have no power not a trickle of power. Moreover, we have circuit breakers.

To appease my wife I head down to check out the power box while I send her to make sure the neighbors aren’t having the same problem. I had contacted ComEd to report the brown out earlier. In the basement, I’m looking at the circuit breakers and they all look fine. Just to make sure I start flipping them one at a time. My wife is telling me which lights are going off and coming back on. After finishing that, any lights working before still worked, however anything that was “browned out” now was dead. WHAT THE HELL!?!?!?!? Roaming around the house, I’m trying to figure out what is going on. This makes no sense.

Back into the dark depths of my basement I go. Now I need to give you a little background on my house. It was built in 1912; originally, it did NOT have plumbing and electricity. Electricity was added sometime in the 1920’s. In the 70’s a new furnace was put in to replace the old gas converted coal furnace. When they did that, they updated the electrical box in the house. Instead of taking out the old one, they put a second one in at that time, which brought it up to code. Our electricity flows through two boxes. It’s goofy, it’s illogical, but it’s not unheard of and it does follow the electrical code. Electricity flows into my house first through the old box, then the new box, then to the various outlets. Opening the cover to the original box, I look at the old screw in fuses in there. They all are okay, nothing wrong. I flip the lever on the main line in, killing power to the entire house. When I flip it on, no difference then when I turned it off.

By now, my anger level is reaching a peak. None of this makes any sense. I call my father who is a plumbing and electrical engineer to come over and give me a hand. While he is on his way over, I go back to the old power box. Reopening the cover, I take a second harder look at it. Right above the fuses there are two black squares about 4 inches wide and 5 inches tall each. This time I notice on each of these ancient electrical artifacts it says On and Off, except the off is upside down. There is a metal handle on each one. It is a handle, NOT a lever. After a quick inspection, I realize that each square is actually some kind of cartridge that is meant to be pulled out and flipped over to turn on/off power to the house. I’m not familiar with this electrical lay out, but at this point I figure there isn’t a whole lot more damage I could do. Grabbing the handle of one of the cartridges, I notice it feels hot. That’s not right. Bracing myself for a jolt of electricity and using more muscle then I thought I would need, I pulled the cartridge out…

Sounds… Funny sounds… it sounded like… like… the scene in Ghostbusters when they shut down the containment field on the ghost storage unit. I was waiting for there to be a green glow and the dead guy from the wall (That is a story for another time) to come out and tell me it was about damn time I freed him from his prison. Then my wife yells down that there is no power in the house. My flippant comeback to her was, “No shit, really?!?!” I hear her smart something off, but I couldn’t quite make out what it was. Then it was silent, eerily silent. I’m in this old limestone basement of a house with no power, a dead guy in the wall and I’m by myself. Talk about being a happy man, I was in my element! However, I was hungry.

Looking behind the cartridge, I see there is two huge cylinders about 5 inches long and a little thicker then my thumb. I’ve seen these before… IN FRANKENSTEIN MOVIES FROM THE 50’S! There is no way to tell if these ancient fuses are blown by looking at them. My father finally arrives and we flip the fuses. When I plug the cartridge back in, the parts that had electricity was dead, the parts that didn’t now do. It’s now 10 minutes to 9 pm. We quickly run to the hardware store and pick four of them up. I figured I should change the two in that cartridge at the same time and have two extras, just in case. We get home, change the fuses and plug in the cartridge. WE HAVE POWER!

My father looks at the electrical in my house and confirms what I had been thinking. My electrical is damn goofy. That fuse should never have blown. Sometime, probably in the 50’s or 60’s they reworked the interior of that fuse box. The power to my house actually goes in through these tube fuses, then through the screw fuses, and THEN through the circuit breakers. I have a triple redundant fuse system. They installed the screw fuse portion so they wouldn’t have to deal with a blown tube fuse. Then we have the circuit breakers so we shouldn’t have to worry about blowing a screw fuse. That means that I should trip a circuit before I blow a screw fuse, and I should blow a screw fuse before I blow a tube fuse. At least that is the theory of it. What is sad is that I’ve tripped the circuit breakers before and never had this problem. I guess the fuse just got old. It was pretty late before I actually got to eat dinner last night.

Posted by Contagion at 01:11 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 21, 2005

Stupid drivers!

Yesterday I saw something that really made my blood boil. The family and I where driving to KFC after picking up my wife from work. We came across a motor vehicle accident. There were multiple squad cars and an ambulance on the scene. As we were approaching, it appeared that they where almost done cleaning up. A Flatbed tow truck pulled away carrying a Dodge truck with severe front-end damage. At that point, I noticed that the front end of the ambulance was also severely damaged. It pissed me off to no end to see that. Why? What if that had been your Husband, Wife, Son, Daughter, Mother, Father, etc in the back of the ambulance?

People, driving is not a constitutional right, driving is not something you can do half-assed, driving is not a game. Daily I see idiots that make “brilliant driving maneuvers” such as making a left turn from the right lane, weaving in and out of traffic doing 15+ over the speed limit, cutting people off, and just plain not paying attention to their surroundings. That type of driving behavior is what leads to most accidents. These are also the same people that when an accident occurs are the first to yell, “It’s not my fault!” Do you want to know something? It is your fault. The majority of it is your fault. Sure, the other driver should be paying attention and have escape routes just in case of idiots like you. However, if you weren’t driving like you have cranial-rectum disease it would have happened either.

What makes this worse then a regular accident is that it involved an ambulance. You know the big boxy things that drive down the road usually painted in easy to see colors and with lights for even greater visibility. Just in case you are blind they have this loud handy device called a siren, but you might not hear that due to the excessively loud music you’re blaring out of your speakers. Some people may be willing to give the benefit of the doubt and say that either the ambulance was empty, not running lights and sirens, or caused the accident. I tried to find the local news source for this story online, unfortunately I couldn’t find one, so I’ll paraphrase from the local rag, er newspaper that has the story. The ambulance was rushing a patient to a local hospital when the driver of the truck ran a red light and struck the ambulance. The driver of the truck was ticketed for failure to yield to an emergency vehicle and a red light violation. The patient in the back of the ambulance had to be picked p by a second ambulance.

I worked in law enforcement for many years. After working in that field I’ve come to the conclusion that lights and sirens on emergency vehicles are a waste. Many people just do not pull over for emergency vehicles. It doesn’t matter if it is a fire truck, police car or ambulance, they just don’t care! People are more worried about getting to their destination faster, then the rules of the road. On numerous occasions, I’ve actually witnessed drivers using emergency vehicles to help themselves get through traffic. When others pull over, the asshole drivers speed around them. Then there are the ones that just blatantly ignore the emergency vehicles. Every one else has pulled right, they however have to make a left turn half a mile up and continue on their merry way to their turn. Then because of traffic in the oncoming lane, they can’t move and end up blocking the road, slowing down the emergency vehicle.

Personally, I would love to see them install cameras on all Fire Trucks, Ambulances and Police Cars just to track the vehicles around them when they are running lights and sirens. If someone is driving like an idiot, the owner of the vehicle gets a $200.00 to $5,000.00 fine (Depending on the nature of the response and number of offenses). Make it so these tickets can’t be removed from your record by going to traffic court. Maybe I’m being too harsh, but all I can think of is if it was my loved one that needed help and that help arrived just seconds too late because of idiots not getting out of the way.

What do you think? Do you have this problem where you live, or is this unique to Northern Illinois/Southern Wisconsin?

Posted by Contagion at 04:21 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

July 18, 2005

At least they are not inbred.

On Saturday for my wife’s birthday, I told her I would take her to do anything she wanted to do. I had a sitter arranged from noon until 8pm. I was hoping she would want to go to a hotel for an afternoon of wild, kinky sex. Instead, she decided she wanted to go see some movies and then go to one of her favorite restaurants for dinner. She wanted to see War of the Worlds and Fantastic 4, so that is what we saw. Prior to the movies starting they have this slide show ad/trivia to keep the huddled masses entertained so I, er we, er they don’t start picking the stitching out of the chairs in some strange obsessive-compulsive disorder boredom avoidance habit. Whoever created this slide show had some serious issues. They had two different trivia questions that had NO follow slide with the answers.

One of the two trivia questions was “Which two good ol’ boys are playing brothers in the upcoming Dukes of Hazard Movie?” There was a picture of the General Lee with the actors leaning up against it cut out. My being a Dukes of Hazard fan knew the answer was Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville. Being in an extra butter and salted popcorn haze didn’t notice the wording problem with the question. My beautiful and observant wife did. From the picture it was obvious they where referring to Bo and Luke Duke, however Bo and Luke are not brothers; they are cousins. My wife and I discussed it for a little bit and it started me thinking on what a screwed up family they came from.

Okay, you have Bo, Luke and Daisy that are all cousins. Jesse is not one of their fathers as they all refer to him as Uncle Jesse. Now, Jesse raised all three of them. What happened to their parents? Was there some terrible moonshining accident that killed three sets of parents leaving Jesse with their children? Is this why Jesse never had kids of his own and if he did, where the hell are they?

Now when Bo and Luke left to try their hand on the NASCAR circuit (The season that Tom Wopat and John Schneider left for contract reasons), Cousins Vance and Coy came to live with Uncle Jesse. These are two more cousins, Vance and Coy referred to each other and Bo, Luke and Daisy as cousins. Jesse was again their Uncle, so neither could be Jesse’s kids. Now I know is some of the other episodes they had other cousins that popped in for one episode (I know because I just saw those episodes in the last couple of months). The English one was a cousin by marriage, but the other didn’t say that. We now have six cousins, different parents.

Using deductive reasoning, we can come to some conclusions. Grandpa Duke was a busy man! He had at least seven boys. How do we know this? They all have the last name Duke. Meaning that Jesse had to have six brothers in order to have 6+ nephews and nieces with the last name Duke. Sure, he could have had a sister that had a child out of wedlock, but this was during the late 70’s and early 80’s on TV. They had yet to address that issue and I could be wrong, but I don’t think the networks at that time would allow it. But back then, when the child was born, wouldn’t the child still have the father’s last name, not the mothers? Okay, maybe the mother didn’t know the father. Now we get back to the networks not allowing that story line.

Where the hell are all the parents of these kids? Not once do I recall seeing a one on any of the episodes. Is there a Duke family curse? If you don’t run moonshine you will die and the creepy confirmed bachelor uncle that does make moonshine will take raise your children. What the hell people? In addition, if grandpa duke was producing children like a madman, did his children not breed? There is not one sibling amongst any of the kids that where on the show? Does this mean that their parents had just enough genetic material to breed once and that was it? Maybe moonshining has other side effects besides going blind; maybe it makes you sterile! I honestly don’t know.

Coming to the realization that I have already spent excessively too much time contemplating the genealogy of the Duke of Hazard I’m going to wrap this up. However, I know at one point I’m going to loose sleep on this. While laying in bed staring at the darkness, I will start pondering where all the Duke spawn came from. I’ve already been obsessing on this for 2 days and it’s only getting worse.

Posted by Contagion at 06:40 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

July 13, 2005

You've got to fight for your right to get drunk!

Fri, July 8, 2005 AP

A man arrested when police showed up to break up a New Year’s Eve party at a friend’s house has filed a lawsuit, arguing he had a Constitutional right to get drunk on private property as long as he didn’t cause a public disturbance.

emphasis mine

After reading this article I read through the Constitution and it’s Amendments to see if I felt this guy has a leg to stand on. The first thing I noticed is that there is nothing in the Constitution regarding the right to get drunk anywhere. Of course there is the 18th Amendment banning Alcohol and then there is the 21st that repeals the 18th, but other then that I saw nothing that actually said someone has a right to get drunk.

As I first read this, I thought he might be covered by the fourth Amendment, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” I quickly changed my mind after reading the following:

Laverriere said that he drank several beers, but wasn’t drunk, when officers arrived at his friend’s duplex saying someone had thrown bottles at a passing police cruiser.

That means that the police where investigating the crime. If the owner of the dwelling had any common sense he would have exited the house, closing the door behind him baring the police from access to his home. If had denied them access to the home, then this may not have been an issue. It’s hard to tell what they would have saw while the door was open, however according to the article it seems that most of the problems started once the cops where in the house. I don’t think the fourth Amendment is going to help anyone out here.

(I’m not a lawyer, I do have a law degree and worked in Law Enforcement, I never let a cop in my house unless I called them there or they have a warrant. Even if I call them I tend to talk to them on my front porch. I’m not about to give up my fourth Amendment rights for anything. Even if they do enter or as in one case they searched my vehicle, I keep telling them that I don’t want them in my house, searching my vehicle, etc. I’m sure some of the lawyers out there will tell you this may not be the best strategy, but it’s what I do. )

After ruling out the Fourth Amendment I then decided to look at what else could be out there to help this poor lad out. It was then that I thought that maybe this would fall under the little used and rarely cited ninth Amendment. “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain right, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” I’m sure some of you are asking yourselves, “What in the hell does that mean?” After looking through my legal books and various opinions online, to paraphrase, it basically means that “the number of rights listed in the constitution shall not be the only rights kept by the people and that these other rights shall not be degraded, or depreciated or negated by refusal to accept the truth or existence thereof. “ – Chuck Klein. Guns & Ammo Magazine 12-99.

I think here we have a base for a decent argument here. Do we as citizens of the US have the right to drink, let alone get drunk? I think we do. If we didn’t have a right to drink alcohol they wouldn’t have repealed the 18th Amendment. Thus it doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to come to the conclusion that if it is a right to drink, then as a side effect of drinking, we have a right to get drunk. If we have the right to get drunk were should we do this, in public or private? I would have to say you have the right to get drunk in both. However, when you are in a public location others now scrutinize your actions. If you are perceived as a threat or “danger” to yourself or others then it is up to the police to intervene. If you are in someone’s private home and you are doing nothing that is a crime, then I feel the police should stay out of it. If this guy was in a bar, drunk off his arse and the police hauled him away, I don’t think he’d have a case at all. HOWEVER, he was drunk in the privacy of a friend’s home. Sure maybe his right to privacy is subject because he was not in his own home, but he was in a friends home and in my opinion that gives him a reasonable expectation of privacy. I will also concede that if a bottle was thrown at a police cruiser that the gathering wasn’t all that peaceable.

What was this guys threat to him or others? Was he so heavily intoxicated he couldn’t remain conscious? Not according to the article. Was he flashing a weapon about? If he was, the press didn’t mention it. Did he try to drive off in a car? According to the article he was planning on staying the night. At worst, from what I’m getting from the article, is that he was uncooperative with the police. Is being uncooperative with the police a danger to yourself or others? Based on that and what I wrote earlier in this post. Let's say I’m at my house having a small party; we’ve had a drink. One of my neighbors gets the nerve to call the police to complain about noise. When the police come to my door I stop out on the front porch and close the door behind me. They ask if they can come in, with respectful, “Hell no” I decline to invite them. They can smell alcohol on me, and decide to arrest me for “My own protection”. Because my drinking led me to be uncooperative and one of the cops is getting pissed, his anger has caused the urge to beat the ever-living snot out of me, thus putting me in "danger". They surmise that if I had been sober I would have let them in and all would be well. When in reality I had only just started drinking so I wasn’t drunk and I wouldn’t let them in no matter what.

What worries me is that this law in Massachusetts pretty much gives the police carte blanche to just arrest anyone they feel is intoxicated and is a “Danger to themselves or others”. I know many people that are a danger to themselves or others sober, let alone drunk. Add a beer, and a cop using this law, could just arrest that individual. What is next, it is illegal to have an IQ below 120 because you may endanger yourself or others?

Yes, I went to an extreme there, but I agree with this kid. I don’t feel that he should have been taken into custody. I could just see something like this being used against my friends or me, especially around a campfire at a re-enactment with all the black powder around.

With the Blogcrawl coming up shortly I was wondering what my reader’s opinions on this is. Please don’t be afraid to speak up, even you shy ones that read here and for some reason don’t comment. I’m really curious as to what everyone else’s opinion is.

Posted by Contagion at 04:46 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 15, 2005

Incredible inconsistencies

I’ve been planning many trips this week and I’m about flabbergasted at the hotel industry. I have three different trips I worked on this week and all with varying levels of complexity and pricing. Now I can understand the regional price differences, but some of these are just horrible and in one case, I nearly started a boycott of a hotel chain.

I have a business trip next week in Chicago. I will be spending three days there. Company policy states that if I have to travel three days in a row to an office that is not my own, they will put me up in a hotel pay for meals and limited entertainment. Yes, I live only 90 miles from HQ, but I have to be there by 8:00 AM and stay until 4:00 PM. That means I’m driving through rush hour, which means I will have a 2 to 4 hour drive each way. Since corporate will pay for me to have a hotel, then I’m going to use that benefit. I called corporate travel to make reservations. We have to work through them; we are not allowed to book our own. I ended up getting a room at the luxurious Fairmont Hotel in downtown Chicago. It is with in a couple of blocks of our corporate headquarters right off Grant Park. I’m glad I’m not paying for this room as they are charging $189.00 a night. Now I know Chicago is expensive, but for that price, the room should come with a complimentary blowjob from a cute maid. Booking the room was easy enough, no hassles. I just think their nightly rate is a little excessive.

I have tickets to the Packer home opener September 18th in Green Bay. Once I went to book the hotel for the night and discovered this was more of a hassle then it was worth. I knew where I wanted to stay, and I knew that I had waited too long, so getting a room would be difficult. I had to try anyways. I called Best Western; they have a hotel right by the stadium that I like for its location. After telling them what nights and where I wanted to stay, along with other logistics, they came back and told me they could only put me up Friday night there and they could put me up in a neighboring town for the next night. At first, I was polite and explained to the guy that I was not going to move hotels in the middle of my trip. He then tried to tell me he could put me up for two nights somewhere else. I didn’t want to stay in Oshkosh, which is about an hour away. I tried to end the call by saying I didn’t want to travel that far and I was going to look elsewhere. He was insistent in getting me to stay with them and tried to explain that they would transfer my luggage. I just didn’t want to deal with that kind of hassle. Then he told me it was $500.00 a night for Saturday. I went dead silent for 15 seconds before asking, “Did you say $500.00 a night for Saturday? This is Best Western isn’t it?” The guy became indignant with me so I went off on a miniature rant. Something along the lines of, “You guys need to get over yourself. I just booked a room in a luxury hotel in downtown Chicago for three nights at about the rate you are charging for one night. I’ve stayed with you before, and you’re rooms are not that nice.” After that, I ended the call. If I had gotten a room there and paid $500.00 a night, Brett Favre himself had better come over and at least fluff my wife for me. I ended up getting a room at the Wingate Inn in Appleton Wisconsin for a combined $210.00. I could not find a hotel w/in Green Bay that had two nights together. Appleton is about 25 minutes away, It’s my own fault, and I should have booked a room sooner.

We have a vacation coming up in August. Well, it’s a vacation in the loosest sense of the word; we are spending a week with my mother-in-law in Wichita Kansas. My in-laws can see the boys and my wife can show me where she grew up. The big deal with this trip is Clone, That boy does not like to travel in a car. We’ve tried many different things, all to no avail. I have 14 hours one way of driving ahead of me. I’m looking forward to that drive about as much as a kick in the nuts. At least with a kick in the nuts the pain goes away after a couple of hours. We ended up getting three different hotels. We used the same program that found us the Wingate for the Packer game. For the trip down, we are staying at the Super 8 in Williamsburg, IA for $62.88, and a Days Inn in Kansas City, MO for $62.09. On the trip, back we are staying at the Ramada in Des Moines, IA for $104.00 a night. Now I’m confused as to how all these places can charge such a varying difference in such a short period of time. The program we obtained these hotel rooms through is supposed to secure us rooms of equal quality at each of our stops.

I am finding it hard to believe that if these rooms are all of equal quality that they would vary that much in price. First off there is no way Des Moines is a more expensive region than Kansas City, MO. In fact, I have a hard time buying that Williamsburg, IA is a more expensive region then KC! IT’S IOWA PEOPLE! There is nothing in Iowa, especially the heart of it! Now some of you may be from Iowa and are starting to get a little offended. Just wait! I used to do a Highland Games in the Quad Cities. Where we saw people wearing t-shirts that read: “Proud member of the Iowa Head Injury Association.” and, “IOWA: Idiots Out Wondering Around”. Now, you Iowans have a reason to be offended!

Back to my rant, how is it more expensive to stay in a Green Bay, WI then Chicago? How do they determine the rates? Why is there no consistency? Now before you start to explain taxes to me… No prices quoted include taxes. That’s right, that is the straight room rate! I can understand up to $70.00 a night. After that, I start to wonder about these places. I mean, c’mon. I really would like to see the breakdown of expenses on these hotels to see how much of those rates are profit. I’m figuring between 50% to 100% depending on the room.

Also if anyone is looking for some company next Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night in Chicago, drop me a line. I’ll be there and alone. No business companions on this trip. I could use the company, as I don’t have a laptop to blog from while in the hotel. Left to my own devices in a city like that could be bad for me... and the city.

Posted by Contagion at 03:27 PM | Comments (12)