Saturday, January 06, 2007

The AMIGO Course

Lempio means “Clean”

I spent the early morning hours doing some design sketches for the next theater set I’m working on and watching FOX news with one eyeball.

A commercial for something called the “Amigo Course” just came on and I'm forced to ask…

"Why the heck should I buy some language class named “Amigo Course” that purports to teach me, a native American and English speaker for a little over 45 years, to speak Spanish by reading words that have been re-spelled so that they read in English like they are pronounced in Spanish?"

Am I missing something here or WHAT?

If this method of language instruction is truly effective, and IF anyone needs to learn anything regarding linguistic skills in this country, THEN I want to come out with my own language class called the “Friend Course” that would teach all of the wet backs illegal immigrants guest workers to speak the King’s English.

After all, it is still the United States of America, not Mexico North right now, isn’t it?

Well...I'm waiting for you to answer...

If I developed such a course, here’s an example of some of the curriculum:

Deodorant = Deodorant

Clean = Clean

Sanitary = Sanitary

Fresh Towels = Fresh Towels

Extra Soap = Extra Soap

No Room Service Needed = No Room Service Needed

Mop = Mop

Broom = Broom

Lawn Mower = Lawn Mower

Go back home = Go back home

Get out = Get the #@&%* out

Stay Out = Stay the %$&*#@ Out

I don't know for sure, but it seems to me that we're all being forced to bend over backwards (or sometimes forwards, grabbing the ankles) for the accommodation and benefit of the masses of our south of the border friends when in reality it should be the invaders that are doing the learning.

For me personally, it makes my head explode when I have to search the box or the instructions contained therein to find the English language description of what I am buying or trying to put together after I get home.

I've got to go now and do some more drawings, thinking about this makes my head hurt...

Friday, January 05, 2007

Strap Me In Mommy

I’m Going Home To Jesus…

Take a look at this AP news article talking about most infant car seats miserably failing a recent Consumer Report’s crash test:

YONKERS, N.Y. - Most of the infant car seats tested by Consumer Reports "failed disastrously" in crashes at speeds as low as 35 mph, the magazine reported Thursday.

The seats came off their bases or twisted in place, the report said. In one case, a test dummy was hurled 30 feet.

Of the 12 car seats tested, Consumer Reports said it could recommend only two, and it urged a federal recall of the poorest performing seat, the Evenflo Discovery.

Evenflo issued a statement disputing the tests' validity, saying, "The magazine's test conditions and protocols appear to conflict with the collective experience of car seat manufacturers, NHTSA (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and the scientific community."

To be sold in the United States, an infant seat must perform adequately in a 30 mph frontal crash, and Consumer Reports found that all but the Discovery did so. But it noted that NHTSA crash tests most cars at higher speeds — 35 mph for frontal crashes and 38 mph for side crashes — so the magazine tested the seats at those speeds.

Is anyone else but me not surprised at this revalation?

Leave it to the government to demand that cars pass tests at 35 MPH, while seats designed to hold the next generation of citizens are tested at only 30 MPH--and even the passing results of those tests are now suspect.

Heck, I grew up traveling to California and Utah on extended summer vacations LAYING ON A BLANKET IN THE BACK OF A 1968 CHEVY NOMAD STATION WAGON (with all of the luggage lieing unrestrained in a carefully constructed pile behind me.)

In the event of a head on collision, I would have been crushed between the luggage and the rear passenger seats. I didn't worry, because I call that kind of travel a real adventure. Who needed DVD's and video games back then any way?

I honestly believe that the key to my longevity was the fact that my test pilot father didn’t drive like a maniac. No fancy air bags and car booster seats could have defended me from the other idiots on the road that my dad couldn't avoid. In fact, my dad never had an accident in his entire driving career (if you don’t count the time the Brahma Bull ran into the side of that same Nomad station wagon--don’t ask…)

Remember a few years back when everyone was apparently strapping their little bundles of joy into an infant car seat in the front passenger position and having the airbag snap their limber little necks?

Government intervention ensued and the media crapped their pants and had written conniption fits about the hazards of technology, but in the end I think that only a few dozen kids and short adults were killed by the “mutant homicidal airbag phenomena.”

I find it incredibly stupid that you and I can get a ticket for driving around without wearing our seatbelt/shoulder harness, yet every single school day in America almost 100 percent of the school aged kids that ride public school busses sit on metal framed seats in a giant metal box which hurtles down the road at 55 MPH, only occasionally stopping for RR crossings and liquor stores...without seatbelts?

And another thing...

What about all of the families traveling on commercial airliners?

How many times have you had to sit a seat or row or two from somebody’s sweet little drooling darlin’, with the parent choosing to SAVE MONEY BY HOLDING THE LITTLE TURD FACTORY IN THEIR LAP RATHER THAN SPRINGING FOR THE COST OF AN EXTRA SEAT in which they can strap the little bugger down in?

Let’s see, 30 MPH in a car is illegal unless you use an approved device, but 500 MPH at 30,000 feet is just fine with the public, the media, and the government because, like school busses, it’s an expedient solution that the Volvo- driving, tree-hugging , kum-ba-yah singing crowd can deal with.

I personally, have my own unique solution to the problem, and you can acquire the materials to build your own version of my “child restraint system” at your local UPS store or U-haul dealer.

The good news is that it works on planes, trains, and automobiles, and it’s cheep!


Duct tape and bubble wrap…three layers of each. Just cut a hole near face level for a straw or sippie cup, and then hose the whole thing out when you get to your destination…no diaper changes in route.

I know, I know, I know...It's so simple, the government would never approve it.

(Dang I’m insensitive, aren’t I?)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I'm Tired

Roof Clean...Surprise Birthday A Success...

OK folks, let's take a look at my New Year's holiday scorecard to date.

One clean roof and set of rain gutters.
One new floodlight timer on out buildings.
One new security timer in main house.
Two new sections of wooden board fence repaired after removal of fallen pine trees (I got to use the chain saw.)

And finally...

One extremely surprised Mother (mine) who at 6 PM this evening walked into a room of 24 close friends and relatives, not having a clue as to our intentions.

She was almost speachless, but not quite. Two hours later everything was loaded into our car and everyone sped off into the evening.

Tomorrow we head back to St. Simons. It's a good thing, because I'M TIRED.

(Photo's to follow)

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year

Same Old Football Team...

Well, Georgia Tech managed to do it once again...take an 9 & 2 win loss record and turn it into 9 and 5.

Their latest effort involved sqandering an 18 point lead--TWICE--to lose 38-35 to a sluggish West Virginia team at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville.

I was tempted to delay my trip to Alabama to stop by the stadium to attend this afternoon's fiasco, but then my better judgment took over and I decided to not waste my time and money and just watch the game on TV.

I trust that everyone's New Year's celebrations were as quiet and satisfying as ours spent at a friend's home throwing darts and talking until about 2 in the morning.

A couple of more days are to be spent down here in lower Alabama, then it's back to our little island to try to figure out what to do with the rest of 2007.

Regards Y'all...

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Reflections On The Old Year

Hopes For The New One

Well, here we all are--posed at the end of the old year, looking at the beginning of 2007.

If you’re like me, you’re sitting there scratching your rear end head and wondering where most of 2006 went. I guess that the old adage really is true that the older you get, the faster time seems to fly.

Doing a quick calculation, I just figured out that I have thus far lived 17,274 days, so surviving another 365 sunrises and sunsets keeps getting incrementally smaller and smaller in the overall total of things.

For me, the year 2006 saw some fairly substantial changes in the planet in general and in my life personally--many good, and some bad.

The lowest point came in April when my Father’s Mother, my beloved 93 year old Grandmother Bessy, passed away after a short illness. In one day, with the passing of the woman who was married to the man I am named for, my immediate family went from four generations to three.

Then this summer my childhood friend, former Air Force fighter pilot and American Airlines captain Mike Parker, died of Stomach Cancer. I traveled back to southern Alabama from the Georgia Coast to celebrate his life with my friend Mark with several dozen of my high school classmates in attendance at the graveside ceremony. I guess that it is true that “only the good die young.”

On the personal health front, I managed to avoid spending any time in the hospital this year, after nearly buying the farm in August of 2005. That’s most definitely a GOOD THING. This fall we purchased two new Electra Townie bicycles and, while Pat is several hundred miles ahead of me on the odometer, I think that as the weather improves and the days get longer we’ll both see the health benefits of riding on an almost daily basis.

I wish I could just turn off the TV and let the world take care of itself without commenting because I am so tired of yelling at the TV picture tube while I watch highly paid STUPID PEOPLE say STUPID things that at least 51% of the population takes at face value. For that reason, I’m quite happy to have never reproduced and be closer to 50 than I am to 25. I’m just gonna die some day within the next 30 or 40 years and let the rest of you worry about things from there on out.

It looks like that the year 2007 will see my reentry into the engineering consulting business in a substantial fashion, with design opportunities coming at me from all sides. I hate having to admit that I’m excited to go back to work at the expense of my beach bum lifestyle, but a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

Later this morning we’re heading over on I-10 to southern Alabama to celebrate the New Year with some old high school friends, then we’ll move on to the northwest to spend most of the week with my mother while I do a little work on our farm. The cool weather will hopefully allow me to crawl around in the attic to replace a fan that’s been dead for years and do some work on outbuildings without dieing of heat stroke.

I guess that it is appropriate that I begin the new year in the area of the planet where I began my life--I’m very comfortable there because everything and everyone is so familiar. Best of all, it’s generally a low stress environment, and that’s my number one priority these days…

Avoiding unnecessary stress.

Here’s hoping you can do the same in YOUR New Year.