Friday, September 28, 2012

The Dempire Strikes Back

This election is being fought the Chicago Way.

My brother, Gawd bless him, decided to out-of-the-blue tweak me today about the presidential race.

He's not a super-vocal righty, but he leans that way. I guess he passes for moderate compared to the rest of that bunch these days.

I've been thinking about this race for a while. It's different in a lot of ways. And nasty in most ways. In fact, this is the most low-down, dirty race I've ever seen. I guess that's a good thing. Here's why:

For years, the below-the-belt stuff was always initiated by the right. Willie Horton? That was the work of GOP operative Lee Atwater, a ruthless SOB if there ever was one. Karl Rove probably has a shrine to the guy, who, thankfully, is dead. Rove's Willie Horton was the Swiftboating of a war hero in 2004 with the disgusting attacks meant to discredit John Kerry.

Kerry was a lousy candidate. Dukakis, not so much. But Kerry went to Vietnam and actually fought and actually got wounded. Meanwhile, pussies like Rove, Five-Deferments Cheney and a "W" ol George Bush were never in harm's way. Kerry didn't deserve to be slimed like that. The only time Cheney ever shot anybody was when he blasted his rich friend.

I believe the 2000 and 2004 elections were fixed. The SCOTUS voted for W; Ohio was stolen with Diebold machine fraud. I guess, though, as bad as W was, a Kerry presidency would have meant the despicable scumbag John Edwards would be VP. Ugh. Talk about a lose-lose situation.

Dirty politics has always been around, but the GOP has always been better at it. Atwater and Rove are the masters of the dark arts. But it's come back to bite them in the ass. The GOP pretenders cannibalized each other during the primaries. Gingrich savaged Mittens. The GOP desperately wanted anyone but Willard. For once, Ann Goatler was right.

But the biggest difference this year has been the left has finally, finally decided to play rough. Obama's team is doing things "The Chicago Way." They've fought hard, and perhaps even a little dirty. It's the first time I've ever seen the Democrats come out swinging. They've always let the other side slag them and refused to muck it up like this.

I don't know if it's a good thing. But it's at least a fair fight now.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Radio Silence

It's been unavoidable.

Some random thoughts...

As some of you may know, we're leaving Gawd's Country. Heading off for a great adventure as the Little Achiever in the family has been promoted. We're going nearer to the Great White North; can't say for sure because we have to find a place to live!

So that's exciting.

I'm excited because we're going somewhere that is a real city with real employment prospects. I've been grateful for my PT gig, it's been a life-saver in a lot of ways. We've been able to build a little bit of savings which is going to come in handy when we move to Expensiveville.

A longer post has been brewing in my mind about leaving Gawd's Country. I need to go back and count the number of jobs I have applied for at Beloved State U. I felt triumphant to come back and complete my degree after a 24-year layoff; but my very own Beloved State U. has minimized its value by refusing to hire me. I've landed precisely ONE interview out of all the jobs I have applied for there.


Anyway, things are pretty busy right now. So I haven't had time to write. I'll try and correct that.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Let me reiterate: WOW!

OK, then, something huge happening. H.U.G.E.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Job Drama

There's been a little stress in and out of the JJ household the last week or so.

I'm not really ready to go into details. Mistakes may have been made. On the other hand, it's important to be able to maintain your standards. Time will tell.

Stay tuned.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Money Honey

It wasn't that I was necessarily bad with money, but I was careless.

I guess that was a nice problem to have. Once I got to a place in life where I could afford some things, it wasn't something that seemed to be a big issue. There was always enough money to go around.

Each year now the IRS sends out a history of your income. My first job, I worked at a Minyard Food Store in the summer of 1974, sacking groceries and carrying them out to the car of old ladies. Those "old ladies" were probably younger than I remember. I made $428 that year.

My first eight years of income, I earned $2,192. My first full year of "professional" employment, I made $14,840. I had a rent payment and a car payment. I don't know how I survived.

Living here in Gawd's Country, incomes are low, but fortunately, so is the cost of living. Still, before I landed this part-time job, my last full year of work (2010) saw my income only slightly higher than it was in 1994.

Clearly, that's an indication that the economy is still weak. The numbers bear this out. Check the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or this relevant story in the Christian Science Monitor. (See? There are some news sources you can cite that can't be dismissed as the "librul media.")

American earning power has been sharply eroded. Sometimes it feels like we're having to live on the equivalent of $14,840 a year.

Consequently, I've learned to be much more aware of my financial situation. Thanks to Al Gore inventing the Internet (NB: He didn't, and never said he did; that was BS perpetuated by wingers who hate him), you can check your finances several times a day. It used to be hard to stay on top of your finances; you'd have to call or go to the bank, or keep a ledger, or wait for a monthly statement.

Now, I am almost always aware of exactly how my bank accounts look.

That knowledge makes you more... accountable... and responsible with your money. It only takes a little effort to be able to successfully manage your personal finances.

And the best part is, through the hard lessons learned by a less watchful approach and carelessly falling into the temptation of easy credit, we are very fiscally solid these days. Our total "official" debt is the $2,900 we owe on our car. M has a credit card with a zero balance due. I don't have a card, although I'm considering getting one in a couple of months just to have around.

We have also managed to build a tiny nest egg. Now that I'm getting a paycheck, we're hoping to save $500 a month (or more) to stash a good chunk of money away for an anticipated move.

That's a big thing: saving. You've just got to do this. It not only gives you an emergency stash if you have an unexpected expense, but it also represents real freedom. Our goal is to put away $25,000 so that we can go when and where we want.


My overnights are a grind, and the last one ended Thursday morning at 5:30 a.m.

It's impossible to write during that stretch, and the past few days are somewhat of recovery/return to "normalcy" (always a relative term) mode.

For that handful who frequents the joint, my apologies for not giving you anything. For those of you who don't stop by, also thanks for nothing.

But seriously folks...