Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Our Forefathers

You don't need to be a member of any specific political party to realize that our government is and has been for some time spending money just they way that the voters have been letting them.

It is our duty as Citizens to tell our representative what we want.

As Citizens, it is our civic duty to vote them out of office if they don't do it!

Our civic duty demands we risk of voting for what we want, rather than for a label. Too many people vote for a party rather than the candidate.

The Two Party system has the average person over a barrel. We fear voting for something else, which results in our representatives not bothering to vote Our Way. They don't need to! They realize that, once in office, they need never fear their own party ousting them.

If you’re dissatisfied with the current representation, find someone else to put on the ballot. Protesting in the streets is only as effective as its 30-sec sound bite before the sports & weather. Hit the streets and work for it.

Your voice only truly works at the ballot box. This is the ultimate place where you have the power to negate all of the obscene electioneering money.

It is our Civic Duty to be include the rest of America in our political decisions. Ourselves and our children. On Independence Day, we reverently read: “... Our forefathers brought forth onto this continent ...”

Each political decision should consider: "What kind of forefathers will this make us?"

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What kids hear

From Jr.Gopher#2 daycare:

I mentioned the other day that Jr.Gopher was mad because we were leaving
the zoo and still hadn't gone on the "green elevator". I had said
grain elevator.

Yesterday I told the kids we were going to Washburn library instead of
E. Lake. When we were leaving the library he kept asking, "Now are we
going to the wash (carwash)? When are we going to the wash?"

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

(almost) bumper sticker of the month

There are 10 types of people in the world:

Those who understand binary and those who don't.

... okay, it was on a T-shirt, but it would make a nice bumper sticker.

we owe them ... what??

The kind of politics that teaches us all we owe to those who came before us and those who will come after. That each of us has drunk from wells we did not dig; that each of us has been warmed by fires we did not build.
-- Mark Shields

The people running this country (the ones with political power every day, as opposed to you & me, who only get it on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of even numbered years) fail to get the part about "we owe to ... those who come after [us]."

I am sick & tired of hearing about how we owe all this to those who came before us, intoned in quiet voices of reverential awe, or strident ringing admonitions. That would be 'those who came before us' and bequeathed us a world riven with environmental destruction and economic disasters and globalization of war and the privatization of governmental ethics.

I don't care if the world does revolve around you - it's still there, and without anything circling you, you're just a useless point.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

[review] March Violets

March Violets, by Philip Kerr

Murder and disappearances are no surprise in the Summer of 1936, Berlin. These are the specialty of Our Hero, Bernhard Gunther. He’s a hard-bitten private detective who strategically quit the police force to set up business away from politics.

This is what it would be like for a non-American to read Ellory or Hammett. (I mean anyone not from here, regardless of their native language.) Kerr uses anachronistic/British English terms (braces, i.e. suspenders), as well as German titles (Hauptüberführergruppenvergnügen, you get the idea). These are both sparing. The military titles are generally irrelevant to the plot, so they provide a delicate spice you don't need to identify. However, the use of German slang directly translated into English is heavy handed.* These are frequent. Frequent enough to really interrupt the flow. This is my biggest compliant.

Famous people pop in and out both by name and in person. Again, a passing knowledge of German history would seriously benefit the reader. Goebbels v. Himmler? Sure, you recognize their names, but who are they?** One major (fictious) character is a steel magnate from the Ruhr, whose major competitors are Thyssen & Krupp - fine, but perhaps the story’s depth is more apparent if you know those 2 are the biggest steel manufacturers in Europe, rather than wonder why your coffee pot brand is misspelled.

Here and there the story seems to be steered from the passenger seat; driven more by the author than the inherent plot. One significant detour to Dachau is totally contrived to the point of annoyance.

Most of my complaints revolve around the author trying to demonstrate his vast personal knowledge of German history and geography. I’ve been to several places mentioned. Mentioning the burned out husk of the Reichstag is nice; I hadn’t realized it was destroyed before the war. Using major landmarks (Museum Island, the War Memorial, Unter den Linden, etc.) is enough orientation for the casual tourist or world-news aware. Anything more is too much.

All in all, a relatively ordinary detective-murder mystery set in a pleasantly different paradigm (not England or LA/NY). Nothing spectacular one way or the other. But the bumpy writing makes it ineligible for a rating better than "pleasant distraction".

*I was rather pleased I actually knew one of these (quite surprisingly, the slang for hangover).
No doubt my in-laws would be equally at a loss with bird, gumshoe, heat, sing (woman, private detective, police, confess).

**Sorry, in-laws & meine deutsche Freunde, but the vast majority of Americans
don't know who they are.

Healthy Gopher's rating: - if it's lying around your friend's summer cottage, and you're bored, might as well read it.

Monday, April 5, 2010

[prod. endors.] Complete for Cats

Complete for Cats, professional strength

Sold as an anti-stink spray for cat pee, one of the more vile natural odors one finds in the house, this is the only thing I’ll buy. This is not a ‘put supposedly-nice actually-revolting artificial stink on top of the cat pee stink and hope no one notices’. It claims to be enzymes, which my last vet told me was the key to feline anti-stink products. The bottle comes with a spray/stream option, like Windex, allowing gentle area applications to surfaces or the ‘just soak that puppy’ approach to furniture where the stink has seeped in.

I don’t know how good this is, if applied days after the pee application. Within 24 hours, it seems to work well. Now, the best part:

This also works on human bio-stinks. No, not the ‘oops I forgot to shower’ kind! Rather, the ‘mama, I peed in my bed’ kind. Seriously, what do you expect to do when your 5-year old forgets to put on a night pull-up, and soaks the mattress? The gentle surface mist just won’t cut it. And you can’t just hope to absorb the pee, since it's soaked right into the fibers of the mattress. And, while not nearly so vile, I don't particularly care for the ammonia odors of oxidizing amines.

This product results in a lemony smell, which decreases to an endurable level after about an half-hour and goes away after 3-4 hours. Yes, it has perfume, but its mechanism isn’t over-stink.

Target sells it in a standard household-chemical sized spray-bottle for less than $4. I’m hoping I can find it in industrial size, not just industrial strength. I don’t know how it deals with stains - if it stains, or if it causes other things to stain. The futon mattress is black, and the boys’ mattresses are already stained, but weren't white anyway. And, after all, who really cares if a mattress is stained? It didn’t seem to stain the bedclothes I used it on & I haven't tried it on clothes or the sofa.

Gopher Rating:
This is wonderful stuff.