Paul’s Grab Bag

Unconnected thoughts and observations which don’t rate separate blog posts, but when aggregated together might just amount to something:

Much was made of Stephen Colbert’s rescue of the US Olympic speed skating team, and the Colbert Nation patches they were wearing in practice.  Has anyone seen a US speed skater wearing one in the Vancouver Winter Olympics so far?  I think NBC is hiding them; either that or Olympic officials are forcing team members not to wear them.

Speaking of NBC’s Winter Olympics coverage, could it be any worse?  Sadly, it could . . . they could totally show only events with US athletes in them, or continue to jack off over the video clip of the Georgian luger getting killed, or gloat even more than they already have over Lindsey Jacobellis’ fall in the snowboard cross (oh well, at least now they have a newer video to show over & over than the one from the Torino Winter Olympics in 2006).  Hurry up, internet TV, we’re starving out here!

A few months ago one of my sisters, no doubt suffering from an overdose of Fox News and AM talk radio, posted something on Facebook about taking pride in “white culture.”   Such talk makes my skin crawl, because Nazis & the KKK are always behind it. I reminded her that US culture, and for sure everything we learned in school in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, was white culture, and that to this day 90% of what you learn in school, see on TV, hear on the radio, or read is still white culture.  I should also have said, “Just wait a few months for the Winter Olympics and you’ll get all the white you can stand,” but I didn’t think of it then.  Okay, enough about the damn Olympics already.

Is it just me, or are Facebook phishing scams growing exponentially?  Lately, there’s been an onslaught of news feed advertising for Facebook fan pages making improbable promises.  They’ll restore your home page to an earlier version.  They’ll tell you who’s looking at your profile.  They’ll grant you free access to “premium membership” (psst . . . there’s no such thing, peeps).  The fan pages all have this in common:

If you haven’t learned how to spot scams & phishing attempts by now, I suppose you deserve everything you get. I know the owners of Facebook would like to figure out a way to make money off their universally-popular concept, but if this is the way they’re going to do it Facebook will be the next AOL, a has-been backwater populated with oldsters and small-brainers.

I’ve been wrestling with the notion of being both a gun owner and a card-carrying ACLU member.  A friend recently told me he was a big supporter of the Second Amendment.  I responded that I’m a big supporter of all the amendments . . . and now that I think about it, that’s the answer to my moral conundrum.  I’m finally at peace with myself.

It’s time for an update on my venture into activism. Quick summary: I sent a letter to the USAF chief of staff protesting the airing of Fox News on public area televisions on Air Force bases and the broadcasting of Rush Limbaugh on Armed Forces Radio to US troops overseas.  I never got a response, so I asked my congressional representatives for assistance.  My congresswoman, Representative Gabrielle Giffords, took this on and sent a follow-on inquiry to USAF Chief of Staff General Schwartz.  Now that my letter’s turned into what the brass calls “a congressional,” I’ll at least get an answer . . . no idea when, but it’ll happen.  By the way, neither of my senators, John McCain nor John Kyl, saw fit to acknowledge my letter.  Guess they’re too busy counting corporate donations.

Caught a few moments of Rachel Maddow’s show last night during Winter Olympics commercial breaks.  Rachel’s great strength is her investigative reporting, particularly her uncovering of the corporate sponsors behind anti-health care reform groups, the Teabaggers, and the Republican and Democratic senators who’ve been working together to block legislation.  But now it seems her producers want to jack up ratings by introducing personal feuds, à la Keith Olbermann & Bill O’Reilly on Countdown.  Big mistake, Rachel.  Please don’t go there.  You can’t win fights with the likes of Glenn Beck.  It’s like wrestling with a pig . . . you both get covered in shit, and the pig likes it.

There’s a church down the road called “The Cool Church.”  If you have to say you’re cool, you’re not.

Our pool is done.  We hired an unlicensed contractor to do the work . . . the licensed guys were way more expensive, they wanted to sub out a critical part of the work, and if we’d gone with them we’d probably be only halfway through the job by now.  Yes, we vetted the unlicensed crew first, looking at several local pools they’ve refurbished.  It’s beautiful, and we can’t wait to start using it again.  Some pix (click to enlarge):

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