31 December 2009

Another year passed...

Happy New Year, ever'body! It's New Year's Eve here-and I think we'll be staying in this evening. I hope, however, that if you do go out, you all will be safe and smart with your revelry.

My plans for New Year's Day involve a fair amount of college football bowl games-there are a bunch scheduled over the weekend. The only bowl I have a deep interest in is played on Jan. 5,  when the Iowa Hawkeyes play Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl.

Your assignment is to pull for Tech's Yellowjackets in this match-cheer on The Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech (and you can learn the fight song here so you can sing along during the game)! I have the same amount of love for the Hawkeyes that I have for the St. Louis Cardinals-that is to say, none.

Go 'Jackets! After that I don't need to hear any more about Atlantic Coast Conference football.

All the best for New Year's! And stay hydrated-the key to dampening them pesky hangovers!

yankeedog out.

26 December 2009

Holiday Post-Mortem

I hope all of you enjoyed, or at least survived, Christmas, and that all of you received good gifts and tidings-or that you got what was coming to you.

Also, thanks to everyone that showed up at YD's Holiday Bash, which due to circumstances beyond my control didn't quite get the attention from me it should have. Oh well...maybe next year.

The day here wasn't too bad. Having divorced parents complicates the travel planning a bit, so I ended up having to go back to the old hometown on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Now we're hip deep in plates of cookies and leftovers. The Better Half's sisters are coming to town from Ohio over the next couple of days. When TBH's mom passes on, I suppose we'll go there for a day or two and ease the logistics problem for them. Besides, there isn't a bloody thing for them to do out here.

Of course, I did the usual 'ate too much' thing-try going to three places for meals and see how that works out for you. Most of my family have given up exchanging gifts-why pass the same $50 back and forth?-so at least we've eliminated a lot of pre-holiday shopping.

I did pick up the usual swag, which I'm quite happy to get-a 'Golden Age of Flight' desk calendar with all sorts of cool warbird pictures, and gift cards for the two Major Bookselling Chain Stores here. So some of you need to get writing (Looking at you, Birmo and Murph). Also got a couple of Starbuck's cards. Caffeine is the gift that keeps giving the whole year through.

I also picked up a copy of Trainz Railroad Simulator-a nice program that in effect allows one to build their own model railroad on the computer or run the scenarios on the disc. I ran a Queensland Rail engine (Trainz is a Australian product) into a turntable pit on the first try. I guess QR will want me to pee in the cup and suspend me pending a review of the incident.

The big thing we have to deal with now is TBH's elderly aunt. The dementia is kicking in a bit now. We saw her at the nursing home and she was pitching a fit and trying to remove her clothes and tossing books around in the common area. Sad when the mind goes and the dignity is gone. How fortunate that we place so much focus on the sanctity of the physical part of existence and can't muster the resources for proper end-of-life mercy. Well, I suppose that's a debate for another time. But we do hope that The Powers That Be issue the recall order for her sooner rather than later.

And if you're feeling cheery and bright, I recommend a visit to your local nursing home to experience the place. That ought to bring you down some. The people that work there don't make anything like enough money to compensate for having to work with the people that inhabit the home. I'm not sure people were meant to end like that.

So. Enough of that, then. How were your holidays?

yankeedog out.

20 December 2009

The family newsletter

Many of us this time of year get a newsletter from certain families inside the Christmas card they send to us, which outlines said family's accomplishments and achievements over the past year. Sometimes the letter's interesting, sometimes not so much. I guess it is a convenient way to get the news out.

So here's my family newsletter. Enjoy!

Hello all! My, is it the end of yet another year? Time does indeed fly!

It’s been a very eventful 2009, full of magnificent accomplishments by our family, and of course a few pitfalls as well.

Where to start? I suppose I should mention that we’ve redecorated our estate. The family has switched its loyalty among the racing set, and we’ve changed over from the Jeff Gordon look to a more updated Dale Earnhardt, Jr. d├ęcor. The wife, bless her, made our Earnhardt window curtains out of some fine material we bought at the local discount store. We donated our old Confederate flag draperies to the Salvation Army, so those less fortunate than ourselves can enjoy them as much as we did! The boys even donated their Lynyrd Skynyrd posters and Harley Davidson window shades. Yes, we have the true spirit of the season.

Our children had a fantastic 2009! Our oldest, James Robert, won first prize in the deep fried Twinkie eating contest at the county fair. Also, he passed his eighth grade English course and can now go on to high school. Not bad for a boy of 19! He took his first steps into the world of work, obtaining a position at a prestigious local eatery. After only four months, he went from third assistant janitor to French fry preparation specialist! We’re so proud of the boy! He plans on saving his money and purchasing a fancy 1987 Sunbird he’s had his eye on. That’ll make FIVE cars we’ll have located in various areas of the yard.

Our daughter, Roberta Susan Desiree, also sparkled this year. Last March, she got the most fabulous tattoo. It’s a geometric design that adorns her lower back! An outstanding display of art. And our little girl has found her first love. His name is Biff and he has a good lower-lower-lower-middle management position at the pallet factory. I expect our girl will be marrying an industrial baron someday! He did have a very minor scrape with the law-enforcement community back in June-totally mishandled by our police-and we expect that in a month or so, he’ll have his freedom all the time-not just when they let him out to go back and forth to work.

The youngest, little Yankee, Jr.-he’s a little hard to figure out. He just isn’t like anyone else in the family. Perhaps the missus had the mailman in when I had my hunting expedition with the old crew-ha, ha. It’s sad in a way. He has this compulsion to bathe every day, or nearly so. And he always has his nose buried in some book. We had a conference last month with his teacher, and she said that he is on a pace to finish school in half the time that his siblings did. I had to sit him down and tell him not to embarrass or show up his brother and sister. Everyone in the family has feelings. I don’t mind telling you that at times I just don’t understand him. But we love him anyway.

Some sadness in our lives as well-Grandpa died back in April. We think he overexerted himself. You see, every year he had the most delightful flower garden, which he would plant in a toilet bowl and set on the front veranda for all to enjoy. Evidently removing the bowl from the bathroom and carrying it out to the veranda was too much for him this year. Very sad. Grandma is taking it well. She mourned, and then took a long recuperative tour of the riverboat casinos.

Uncle Walter held his annual family barbecue, which is always a big hit. This year was an exception for a couple of reasons. First, Walter bragged that this year, he actually bought the meat. Usually, we partake of the results of his various hunting trips and roadside cleaning jaunts (he’s very ecologically minded). Second, some member of local law enforcement usually shows up at the party. Our family lets its collective hair down at Walter’s picnics and sometimes the boys get a little bit rambunctious or the music gets a bit loud. Not this year, though. Strange. But a good time was still had by all!

Of course my career keeps me on the road a lot, especially during the summer months. This year saw me get a promotion to Master Tilt-A-Whirl Assembler, a great responsibility-and a raise in pay. I took the family with me on the company’s tour of Arkansas as a working vacation. Everyone enjoyed themselves tremendously, and the people there all made us feel right at home.

So that’s been the recap for our year. We hope that you all are doing well and hope for all the best for you in the upcoming year!

Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes,

YD and family

15 December 2009

We have guests coming to the area!

It's been all over the news here.

My very own Northwest Illinois will become one of the homes for the guests of the nation currently housed at Guantanamo Bay! Lucky us, hmm?

Back in the early 2000s, the state built a prison at Thomson, which is only about 10 miles south of where I grew up and 60-some miles north of where I live now. After the prison was built, it was discovered that no one had bothered to allocate money for staff. Since 2001, the place has set largely vacant as a monument to Governor Ryan's corruption and shortsightedness.

Evidently, since President Obama calls Chicago home and possibly he felt the need to toss a few federal dollars back here, we will become part of Guantanamo North and receive about 200 of those worthies pulled in from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other delightful garden spots. The federal government will buy the prison from the state and run it as part of the federal system.

On one level, it does make some sense-we DO have an empty, fairly stoutly built facility sitting empty. Might as well use the place. And they have to be stored somewhere. We appear to be stuck with them, since not too many countries have expressed the desire to take them, or in some cases, take them back.

I have serious misgivings about giving these people constitutional rights and trial in the civilian court system. The civil courts have a lot of legal niceties and procedures not found in either the Military Code Of Justice or in frontier justice (a convenient battlefield 'disappearing'). If we have a terror suspect who confessed to certain acts under duress or enhanced interrogation, then his confession is inadmissable in court. I think there is a distinct possibility that some of these people could walk if tried in civilian courts.

I see what our government is trying to get at, I think. They want to treat the detainees as criminals and try them as such, instead of giving them military tribunals and giving them 'status' as 'warriors'. Will it work? I dunno.  I'd probably lean toward the Mafia mathod if it were me having to make a decision on their status.

We do get the 'carrot' of jobs, though. And there will be a few jobs created in the logistic chain supporting the prison. I'm not sure it's going to help all that much-Carroll County is a rural county and most of the people living in it won't qualify for a lot of positions at the prison.

Some of the local talk-radio personalities have railed about the danger of having the detainees in the area. Amazing that people who talk about carrying guns and not taking guff from the 'guvmint' are afraid of having Middle Eastern low-grade terror suspects around. So let me figure this out-the same gun and bunker that will protect you from the 'Guvmint thugs', backed by the preminent military on the planet, won't protect you from a brace of addled terrorist wannabes that might want to liberate their brothers? C'mon, man!

Are they dangerous? Possibly. So are a lot of the Chicago gangbangers in the prison system. Is there an increased risk of terror attacks here? Again, possibly. That's a hazard we've all faced. Americans faced down worse than this bunch and survived.

When Thomson Prison was being considered, I thought that a better location might be 17 miles farther north at the Savanna Army Depot, which was being closed at the same time. The location had existing infrastructure, lots of room for expansion, and was a bit more isolated. Given recent events, I would appear to have been correct.

The SAD had barracks, family housing, and facilities to house a military police company, which would have been a plus had we wanted to close Gitmo and operate an SAD-located prison as a military facility. Now the government will have to spend $125 million to upgrade a state prison. What's a few mill among friends, though?

We'll see how everything plays out, I guess. All I know is that I may have to start my catering service just outside the prison perimeter, specializing in bacon, bratwurst, and barbecued pork. Welcome to America, guys. Get a load of those pig vapors!

yankeedog out.

09 December 2009

Trans-Siberian Weather

So, Yankee-what's been going on?

We got our first big winter storm of the year-right in the QCs we only got about 6" (15 cm) of snow, but to the north of us those folks got around 10" (25 cm) of the white stuff. It started on Tuesday and the temperature was above freezing. Tonight it's supposed to get down to -2 (-19 c) and thanks to the wind blowing off the snowfield it's going to feel like -20 (-28). Brrr! Typical Midwest winter weather.

I see we have enough stuff around the house for a big pot of chili-and this is the perfect weather for having it. I rather wish I didn't have to go out in the snow, but that's the way it goes. Winter is a season for the young. I remember being all excited back in the day when it snowed. I'd listen to Radio Free Savanna to see if school was canceled. If it was the neighborhood kids would get together for a day of sledding. Now I just wish I could curl up under a big blanket, books and pine-smoked Russian Caravan tea in hand, and hibernate.

What's it look like around those parts? Go here and pull up some snapshots.

Meanwhile, go and read about gift-giving.

At the Bash.

yankeedog out.

02 December 2009

Come to the Dawg Pound!

I was reading Birmo's blog the other day and I see he's got a get-together planned for some of the local 'burgers and fans down Brisbane way. You know, that's pretty cool. You wouldn't probably see a major author here do anything like that-too busy being too good for the great unwashed.

Got me to thinking, though. The holidays are approaching like an inexorable tide, and a very mixed 2009 is coming to an end. We need a Christmas party here as well. Anyone that shows up here is invited, of course. And tell friends about this.

Stop on by http://ydholidaybash.blogspot.com/. Last one there gets the vodka in the big plastic bottle from Osco Drug!

yankeedog out.