Monday, March 31, 2008

An Exercise in Slothicity

Greetings from Nicaragua. Been a few days since the last post. Wish I could say I have been busy with all things exciting and new, but really mostly eat, swim, drink and relax.

That is good medicine actually. In the fast paced world of hurry up and wait, get there before anyone else, run them down and don't look back, this is heaven. No agenda, no time table, no need to run all over and see everything. No deadline.

This suits Bruce as well.

Yet behind it all, there are dark clouds. The place is getting expensive, just like at home, energy costs are driving prices up and up. And like home, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer.

Nicaragua has made little advance at infrastucture as well, the roads are a mess, the power flickers.... the casual visitors notice little, but the experienced know better.

Some even darker clouds are on the horizon, and some are here now. Of this I will write later. For now, my head in the sand, I relish the breeze, the rum and the smiles of those I think I know.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

San Juan del Sur...Birthday Girl

Well, back again in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. I have lost track how many times I have been here, but each time gets better in some ways. However, I still long for that time when it was new, unspoiled, unknown. My own private world, simple... Progress brings benefits yet spoils the innocence. Undoubtedly, it has brought some prosperity to this impoverished land. Jobs, infrastucture, investment and opportunity.

But the money is still in the hands of the North (many want to blame the US, but Canada and Europe have a huge presence among the land owners and profiteers.) and a few rich Nicas. There is little inbetween, you either work for peanuts, or you have it all.

But I am still enchanted by the charm of these people who smile and seem to be more relaxed and open than us in the colder world.

Last night, I went to a party for a lady I know who lives down here, it was a surprise party for her. As a lesbian, she has found a refuge from the repressions of the world and makes a good living as a fine chef. Someone shouted, "a photo of all the gay people here!! Spanish and English. Only a few stayed out of the huge photo. Not all were gay, but they did not care. Community, fun, brother and sisterhood and celebration of friends and life, that is what counted.

What a place.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

Happy Easter from Don (Pato) and Puggles (Her Majesty)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Random Notes

1) Bush started his illegal, immoral and deceitful Iraq war 5 years ago Wednesday. I remember where I was at. We had just cozied in the bar at the idyllic Hotel Paraiso in Omotepe, Nicaragua when the satellite TV on CNN international broke the news. The Nicas looked at us with disgust but said nothing. I was disgusted as well. 5 years later I still am, at everyone who supports this nonsense and those who do not a damn thing to stop it.

2) Fittingly, on the first day of spring, the last of the big pile of snow on the church parking lot next door melted away. May we see no more until winter.

3)Obama's "race speach"... left me cold. He goes to a church with a racist minister. If this were a white candidate, it would be a war. He thinks it is all ok now. I am as liberal as they come, but racism is racism. Coming together, not dividing is the key to getting this country back on track again. I am still not sure who I will support in the November election. I do not think I will vote Republican.. but Communist or Mickey Mouse look like viable alternatives. Rumor has it Puggles is contemplating a run for office...

4) I am heading off to Nicaragua for 2 weeks for fun and sun and a vacation away from all the mess here. This might be the last Puggingham Palace until I get there on Monday. If so.. see you on the flip side!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Red Light... Green Light

From the “we knew it all along” files, it seems Dallas, Texas officials have disconnected one-fourth of the now popular (among city officials that is) red light cameras they recently installed. Not because of technical issues, but because many of them failed to generate enough red light running fines to justify their cost.

Dallas Mayor Leppert stated: "The good news is it's having the effect everyone in this community wants: fewer red lights being run. The goal was not to make money on this, (where is Pinocchio when you need him??) but these are numbers and realities we'll have to deal with." He went on to say that despite this setback, he does not foresee reductions in the public safety budget, although the overall budget may not enjoy as much revenue, perhaps resulting in budget cuts elsewhere.


Ok, cut through all the BS.. these damn things are to make $, not for safety. Admit it. You hoped to make a mint off the damn things, automatically sending tickets out with out tying up police and personnel. Mail out a bunch of tickets, then wait for the money to pour in.

But there is another side to this… are you ready?

I can't wait for the lawsuit from a wreck where one of these lights was placed and not used. Can you hear the lawyer whining “if the city had used the red light cameras they installed and issued tickets this wreck wouldn't have happened. The city is responsible for not using the technology they had installed and then disabled. They failed to provide a safe and effective form of law enforcement, causing my poor client all this pain, suffering and expenses. Two million should cover it.”

It is bound to happen. Meanwhile, savor a small victory, they won't give up yet.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Life is Good!

It is St Patrick's day AM here in Kansas City. And life is good.

It is pouring down rain; forecast is for more of the same with thunderstorms likely. It is a cold rain, temps in the mid 40s, making for a chilly and unpleasant outdoor experience for all the drinking fools that will clog my neighborhood.

I am comfortably dressed in a nice orange shirt. No green in sight.

Just perfect! My revenge to Kansas City for ignoring Mardi Gras for this pseudo-holiday.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

All In A Name

We could hardly wait for the patrons of the opera to take their seats and for the doors of the patron's private lounge to close so we could attack the hors d'oeuvres. There had been few rich folk that night so there was plenty to choose from.

"Someone try the Salmon Cheesecake", pleaded Kevin, "no one got any".

"Sure, I'm game", as I stepped in to grab a slice.

I'll try anything once, even with a silly name. That is how I got so dang fat(not as much as I used to be) and became diabetic. That is also why I love almost every food on the planet and would not go hungry anywhere. Chocolate, soft cooked eggs and hard boiled eggs, peanut butter, most jelly except orange marmalade, sea urchin and squid guts are about the only things on the list that I have tried and usually avoid.

Alfred Hitchcock once served a buffet where all the food was blue either naturally or dyed, just for the shock value. I am sure blue mashed potatoes and blue dinner rolls were not as popular as any natural colored. Desperate to be creative, chefs are playing with colors, presentations and names of food left and right. It is all in the name of marketing, you know. But salmon cheesecake? Conjures up images of a deranged cook adding a can of salmon to cheese cake batter and topping it with whipped cream or chocolate. Are liver pancakes next?

The salmon cheesecake was quite good actually and it is fair to say no one ate it because of what the chef called it. My favorite bar/bistro used to serve an asparagus flan, another use of a dessert term for a non dessert dish. It was a fluffy light asparagus souffle, topped with wild mushrooms. It was wonderful, but many customers missed its delights, turned off by the silly name. Call it asparagus souffle or something like that. Same thing happened in a wonderful Chinese restaurant that featured "Shrimp with Fungus" as as special. Wonderful sauteed shrimp with musky, woody, aromatic cloud ear mushrooms. "They are not mushrooms actually", the owner said, "they are tree fungus." Sometimes, it is good to ignore the truth.

Chefs... please, enough with the fish cheesecakes, coulis of this and that(coulis is nothing more than French for puree), vegetable desserts and goofy shit combinations. I'll eat it, but you'll go broke waiting for me to show up.

I am dying, however, to try squid ink sorbet.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Great Temple of Materialism

They looked so great in the catalog and on line. A pair of light tan Land's End sandals with a touch of green, perfect match to my new swim shorts I also ordered from the same place. Would look great and be just what I needed for my upcoming Nica trip. So, the order was placed and after the delivery drama, I got to try them on.

Fit great, comfy as hell. But the color... a little too light tan and the green made them look...well feminine. I even looked back in the catalog to see if per chance I accidentally ordered a ladies' shoe, but no that was not the case. I kept them for a few days and decided that I just did not like the color. The problem with online buying is high cost of shipping returned items. I could take them to a Sears store to return but living in the middle of the city means no Sears right around the block.

Sometimes, you just gotta say WTF. It was time to get out of the Palace. So Thursday eve, Her Majesty and I got the Queen Mary fired up and headed to the mall.

I had not been to the great temple of materialism for quite sometime. Our local temple is Costco, certainly not as colorful as a big mall. We headed to Independence Center, out east of town, a mall I knew well. The last time I was at a mall was last November with my sister in Illinois, battling the crowds on Black Friday.

Back in the day, I spent a lot of time and money there. When the kids came to town, it was an obligatory visit to the mall to eat at the food court, shop, play games and waste time. Seems that 10 years later it is not much different.

Physically the place had not changed much, many of the same stores were there, some had left, the big carousel was still in the center. The Jones Store had become Macy's, another victim of the recent buyout when Macy's parent decided to trash local names like The Jones Store Company here in KC, Marshall Fields in Chicago and L. S. Ayres in Indianapolis, names synonymous with quality shopping.

Exchanging the shoes took less than 1/10th the time it took me to get to the place. Thus I walked the mall, watching the people, some shopping, others socializing. Like the central business districts of old, the mall is often a social as well as an economic center.

Wandering through Jones.. I mean Macy's, I avoided the roaming clerks as I was not in the market for anything. Nothing offered really interested me. I do not need watches, clothes, shoes, jewelry, accessories, etc like I used to accumulate. I would rather save my money and not accumulate so much crap that ultimately becomes worthless, the fabulous glass vase reduced to 25cents on the rummage sale table and finally sent to the Thrift Shop.

Thus a few circuits, I was done. Going home empty handed. Let the young pay jacked up prices for cheap made t-shirts at Abercrombie or whatever is hot today (see what I know??)or let the new home owner look at $1000 washer and dryers. Happy with my old Queen Mary and my dear Puggles, I headed back home. Everything I needed already there.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Take That, Class

From our local paper:

"A Kansas City School District music teacher has been accused of assaulting some of her students. According to media reports, the incident occurred Tuesday. The teacher became angry as students were talking near the end of school. Reports say the teacher threw several chairs across the classroom, some of them hitting students.

The teacher also has been accused of grabbing the ears of two students and dragging them out of the room.

According to media reports, police issued the teacher a citation for child abuse. The teacher is on leave while an investigation into the incident continues."

I remember as a grade school kid having a couple of teachers who were just nuts and threw things at us. My 3rd grade teacher especially loved to kick chairs around and throw things. I do not specifically remember much of what she taught us, but do remember her temper. Even if it was reported, I am sure it was not dealt with much more than to not have her back in the school.That may have happened as I do not remember her being there long.

NO excuse for this, period. I know kids today are unruly, schools are battle grounds and places of terror and hate rather than learning. But as adults and role models, teachers have to place themselves above the fray. This lady obviously need to do something other than teach. I hear the local correctional institution is hiring.

Both of my kids thought of teaching careers, Maria still is,but Daniel wised up and realized it was a nightmare.

I have no solution for the education mess and despite his chest thumping squawking, neither does GW Bush.

I just wish when I was in 3rd grade, the police came and arrested my teacher. That would have been fun!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Big Plane Over Illinois is an online service that allows you to graphically track commercial and private aircraft. It can be fun to watch your loved ones (or not so loved ones) plane inch closer to its destination, thus preparing you for their arrival.

It seems that a Cessna Citation X aircraft registered to Cessna drew a huge Cessna corporate logo spanned four states during a 4.5 hour flight. Wait! Or is it a Flightaware logo? it looks like the little logo that identifies on your address line or list of favorites on line. Was it a marketing stunt, done for a few aviation buffs who even look at Flightaware? Did they get copies blown up and mounted? Was it an accident? A hoax?

What is apparent is that the plane left Wichita, traveled across Missouri and when over Illinois commenced a flight plan that left a track resembling the Cessna logo over Illinois, Michigan, Iowa and Indiana before returning to Wichita.

Maybe the pilots had some time on their hands, maybe they were bored, or more likely were out on a proving flight and were just having some fun. Nonetheless, it is a neat image!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Blue Over Brown or Missing the Target

Although I am ranting about an incident with a package delivery service that features mouse brown trucks, my annoyance is actually with people, workers especially, who simply are too lazy or incompetent to solve a problem. It is easier to whine “I can’t do it”, or pass the buck to someone else and go about their merry way with a clear conscience that they “at least tried.”

I had ordered some items for my upcoming Nicaragua trip and received an email Friday that they had been shipped and would likely be here Monday. I dutifully tracked their voyage from Wisconsin, through Des Moines and then their weekend stay in Kansas City, KS. On Monday AM, I noted that the package was out for delivery. So I waited for the big brown truck to arrive. Around 12:30PM, while on the upper floor of the palace, I noted the big truck out front. JOY JOY JOY! I love getting packages. I made my way down and was surprised to not get a call from the delivery man. I got to the door, no truck and no package. No little slip telling me of an attempted delivery. Hummm? Maybe it was just stopped for traffic and they will come back. Nope.

So I checked the online tracking service and see the following note:


Doofus, we are a secure building like most condos and apartments in the city. We do not list our residents as John Doe Apt 1N, Bob Smith Apt 1S, etc. Their name and code to call is on a phone bank that even I with my poor eyesight can see. The genius also overlooks the note “ALL DELIVERIES RING 11”. It used to read “ALL DELIVERIES RING #11” but then some were interpreting the # as the # on the phone and not the abbreviation for number.

I called the 800 number and got nowhere. Not even an apology, but told I was out of luck and that I could go across town and get the package whenever it gets back there. They are the ones who are stupid and caused a ruckus, not me, therefore I am not going to spend my time and money to rectify their silliness. I fired off an email to them as well, and got a confusing response.

God knows when I’ll get my package.

So this PM, I get the hell out of the Palace. Things had to get better. I had a hankering for a Culver’s pork tenderloin so I headed out that way only to find the place crowded to hell. Sandwich was good at least but I beat a hasty retreat. I needed a new iron since my new thing is iron my own shirts to save some $. My old iron was rather nasty (bought it at a rummage sale for 50cents) so I headed to the near by Target.

Thinking, like a normal person, that irons would be with the small appliances, I was told by a nice stocker that in fact they were the only small household appliance not stocked with the rest of them and were across the store. My luck. I found one I liked on sale for $12.99 only to find at the cash register that they were in fact $29.99. Not wanting to pay that much for a damn iron I went back. The sign in front on them clearly said $12.99 but I assumed someone put them there, again taking the easy way out, and left it to us to figure it out. Wanting an iron that shut itself off in case I wandered off or Puggles knocked it over galloping to save her food from dangers real and imagined, I settled for one that cost $19.99. This time the check out said it was $14.99. Target must be playing “The Price is Right” or something with their customers, either you win the showcase, or go home broke.

I am now blogging and drinking vodka. I was going to swim tonight, but with my luck I’d drown....and then my package would never get here.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

HM, Puggles Queen of Pugs is NOT Amused

HM is threatening to move the Pug Capitol from Puggingham Palace and look for a new palatial estate in which to establish her seat of power. The current one has displeased her greatly.

On Friday, she was disturbed by the Roto Rooter man. The Palace was undergoing some maintenance and the Roto Rooter had to get in to the throne room kitchen to access a drain. HM was certainly on guard as the man and his noisy machine was perilously close to HM's supply of precious Purina. When he disturbed the Royal Dining area and upset the crown encrusted water bowl, thus spilling its contents, HM was more than not amused. The barks..I mean words... from her mouth were most stern and unpleasant.

HM was soothed, the evil Roto Rooter was displaced, the nice man paid homage to HM, new water was placed in the bowl, the Purina supply, although threatened, was found to be intact and peace reigned.

Until Saturday. Then two, count them, two invasions from the Most High Evil Vacuum cleaner ruffled HM's fawnny fur. That was the final straw.

If one sees a pug with a sack on a stick carrying a bowl, a bone and a 1/2 full 20lb bag of Purina 1, please send back to Puggingham Palace, Kansas City,MO. C/O the Royal Staff.

Thank you.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

2008 Auto Show Comes to Town

The 2008 Kansas City International Auto Show is in full swing at Bartle Hall. With the opening of the Power and Light District, the new Sprint Arena (any guesses as to the new name when Sprint goes belly up?) and the Auto Show, downtown was bustling for a change. Warm weather and more openings will make it even better, if Bush does not destroy the USA before he leaves office.

The buzz word was MPG, to the likes not seen since the 70's oil embargoes when Ford had a line of cars branded as MPG. Even the big machines were touting higher gas mileage. Hybrid trucks, SUVs, sedans etc. All strangely not available, coming soon or limited availability. With gas at $3 and more and politicians on both sides willing to let big oil rape and pillage, it looks like somewhat brisk business for the small car set.

But, big trucks with huge engines, big SUVs, big luxury cruisers were sill in evidence. And for all you US auto bashers, mostly from the imports. Size still matters.

Being the Midwest, the trucks were often center stage. Chevrolet and Dodge have new trucks, Ford seems to still rule the roost in the truck world. Frankly, I have no need for a truck, they do nothing to stir my blood so I avoid them like the plague. But the ones I saw are more luxurious than a Cadillac was 10 years ago, maybe even more luxurious than a current Caddy.

Smaller, family friendly "crossovers", SUVs and the like were in ascendance: Dodge Journey, Dodge Caliber, Ford Edge, Ford Taurus X, Chevy Tahoe, Chevy HHR, Saturn Vue,Toyota Rav 4, various Hondas and Subarus and so on; continuing for the rap star and big family set, the grandaddy Escalades, Suburbans, Durangoes, et. al. This market will continue to be big even as the gas prices rise.

Big luxury was evident in the new Lincoln MkS the only new Lincoln that would make me part with my 20 year old Town Car. Big sleek and sexy, looks incredible in black. Ford sill produces cars with the keyless entry pad on the doors, the new MkS has its hidden until pressed and then lights up; honestly the best thing since power steering and strangely not copied by others.

To me, the company with the best over all line up was Saturn. After a strong start and then the usual GM miscues, Saturn seems to have come into its own. The Vue is a strong contender in the SUV category, the Aura is a wonderful sedan, especially in blue with the natural brown leather interior. The new Astra is an Opel in disguise but roomy and functional. The Sky is a mini-Vette and more attractive and more fun for damn sure.

To me the cars that had the least appeal were Honda and Toyota, appliances all. Not much different than going to a blender show. People love them, especially the suburban soccer moms and such. Good for them. The Lexus and Infinity are in the same league for me, and remind me too much of Cupcake Land drivers. Buick and Pontiac were not far behind. Sadly, they seem to be anachronisms, both far from their glory days. I see GM soon as Chevrolet, Saturn, Cadillac. Mercury seems doomed as well.

The Dodge Challenger, soon to be available was garnering a lot of attention. A modernization of the classic 70s pony car (which was not a real success when it was in production) it looked great but was totally impractical. A niche market for Dodge and I understand they are almost impossible to get. On the other hand, the Chevrolet Camaro still seemed to be a teasing concept.

Greg and I strolled all evening long, he looking at the MPG figures on the HHR, Dodge Caliber, and berating the Toyota people for not having the Igo that is to be imported. Greg has a new thing for a small car. We stopped by the Smart car display, with many people crowded around the little micro cars. A fellow summed it up perfectly: "great in Paris, just not practical here". The Escalades would smash it and not notice it.

The auto industry is in for a rough ride, despite having some of the best looking, performing and best built cars ever. Everyone has incredible warranties that takes the fear out of repair. "Good God," I said looking at the engine compartment of a Dodge Journey, "where are the spark plugs and look where the alternator is!" "Who cares" said the sales kid... oh excuse me "Dodge Product Specialist"... with our 200,000 mile powertrain warranty and roadside assistance, who needs to know where they are?" "I might enjoy changing my spark plugs, ever think of that?" No...

In the end, the MkS impressed me the most, I wish it well and think the lack of a V8 may be a blessing in disguise despite the howls from the auto writers, who ignore the fact that most Mercedes and BMWs have sixes. I'd probably end up buying a Saturn Aura and a Sky if I won the lottery, but out of necessity will keep the Queen Mary going as long as I can. Greg decided as well to hold on to his 7 year old PT Cruiser.

I think we were in the majority.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Elevator Blues

This is an email I received from my bud David in Illinois. I thought it rather funny and since I had an elevator related encounter with an employee of this same company, I thought it a good story to share ~ Pato

"I was going along in my little delivery routine today and in one of my buildings I found myself in an elevator with a very angry lady. Let me explain.

You have probably heard of Paytime, they moved into one of the old Lucent buildings on my route back in December. It is a four story building with Paytime taking over the first and second floors. The mail room is on the first floor. Seems simple enough right? Not really. The first floor refuses to accept packages belonging to the second floor; and vice versa. Every package has to be checked to be sure I don't slip one over on them. The two upper floors are undergoing renovation, thus sometimes the freight elevator is tied up by construction workers.

This is a problem when I have my cart, so occasionally I use the passenger elevator. I try to be quick and hope no one sees me. Today I got caught big time.

I have never seen this lady before and probably will never see her again but what I saw of her for probably 30-40 seconds convinced me she was unstable.

“You know you're supposed to use the freight elevator." I tried to shrug it off and said “yes, I know.” Then she gets angrier, "What's your name?" I said David. "What's your last name?" At this point she is actually getting angrier, and scarier. I was not about to divulge my last name to this crazy lady and just said I was sorry. "You're not sorry at all; I'm going to file a complaint." The doors opened and she went left and I went right. I tell you, I have seen that look on someone’s face twice before and it was scary. She was visibly angry.

She probably told the building manager and that would be bad for me since he is wound pretty tight as well. I can work with him; his assistant is a real jerk though. She's another one who has to check all packages as well and gets mad if she has to sign for a package. I try to avoid her too.

Later I called the office just in case the crazy lady actually did call someone. At first my supervisor thought I might have cut someone off; that's probably a thing people complain about. When I told him my story and where I was he just laughed. Maybe the lovely people at Paytime do that a lot."

Yes David they do, here is another story about the same company and an elevator involving your dear Pato:

I think I know this lady..well, probably not, but she seems to be a typical Paytime employee.

I interviewed for a job with them in my St Louis days. For some reason, although the job was in St Louis, all the interviews were elsewhere. I went to Chicago for the first one and met a lady at the Hyatt downtown. It was a great interview. I had driven up from St Louis and was going to stop in Decatur to visit Donna for the weekend. I had not gotten to Decatur after the interview when the lady called me and said she was so impressed she wanted to schedule me to go to their HQ out east the following Tuesday. They overnighted a ticket and off I went.

I interviewed most of the day, and finally met the VP of HR. The haughtiest old bag I had ever encountered. In their HQ they had a huge glass elevator that was reserved for the big shots, or so I was told. Regular grunts took the enclosed ones on the side. When we left she told my escort, "take him down the glass elevator". Turning to me the escort lady said "this does not happen often". Woo hoo.

Got home... never heard from them again except for an unsigned form letter 6 months later asking if I wanted to continue to keep my resume active.

I concluded they were screwed up and had this thing about elevators. Your story confirms that and thus I urge you to avoid them at all costs. I think their entire staff is made up of nasty women with elevator issues. They are scary.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Happiness is....

Will, my next door neighbor here at the Palace, is a most interesting fellow. 70ish, a wicked sense of humor behind a boyish smile, he can be haughty and pretentious just as easily as he can be Kansas farm boy common. He waits impatiently for his monthly retirement check which he gleefully calls his "welfare check". Yet he rarely does anything without being dressed in a pressed Ralph Lauren shirt, sport jacket, Gucci loafers and silk scarf. His small apartment is quite elegant, full of antiques, books and a jar where he collects his pennies.

He is such a contradiction, I can't tell if he is rich or poor or in between. I think he is just comfortable.

Anyway, Will has an older car like mine. A 94 Lincoln Continental which is getting a bit ratty but has few miles on it. I don't think it has been farther than the Fairway Hen House Market in years. About a month or so ago, I watched him as he broke the driver's side door latch. He was tying to get the door open but the accumulated ice had frozen it solid. He found out the hard way that just pulling on it didn't work. I didn't think a thing about it after that until I watched him last week go to his car, unlock the passenger door, reach over and push the driver's door open from the inside and then walk back around to enter the car from the driver's door. He was mortified that I saw him.

"I have to get that fixed," he said with a grin.

Well yesterday he got it fixed. Took it down to the a shop and 2 hours and $40 later it was as good as new.

"Oh joy JOY JOY!" He smiled and waved at me. "I don't have to get in the other door to get in my car, and only $40 to get it fixed. I am just so happy now." He smiled contentedly as he bustled inside, off to iron some shirts or do something else that makes him happy.

This morning, as he went out to breakfast as usual, he chirped "no more contortions getting into my car, life is so good. Have a nice day....keep in touch now!" and off he zoomed into the city.

It is amazing what can make us happy.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The IRS and Obama

Obama's Denomination Gets an IRS Letter

This flew under my radar screen, until I had the chance to visit a wonderful United Church of Christ (UCC). Another example of right wing abuse of power and intimidation. Where are the investigations of the Roman Catholic Church as its leaders blatantly voice their opinions and enforce their dogma on their members and the public? The mega churches who produce their "voter guides" slanted towards right wing, Republican candidates? Where is the investigation of anything Romney said to the leaders of the Mormon church? What about Huckabee's church?

Well??? Where is it?

Won't be any soon. This was directed from the top. To muddy the water, to intimidate as best they could.

Bush just loves to support religious organizations that support his right wing agenda, thus paying back those that helped him steal the elections in 2000 and 2004. The Terri Schiavo circus in Washington was just one of many examples of that shameful political strategy.

Furthermore, the Bush administration also has pushed the envelope of executive power when it comes to meddling in all kinds of government departments to gain a political edge; just look at the Department of Justice scandal for one.

Someone high up has set the IRS loose, probing Barack Obama's church. UCC is a very liberal church, openly supports gay and lesbian members and clergy and whose members lean Democratic. Well I'll be damned, think that is just a coincidence?

Barack Obama discussed his faith at a large religious gathering during a campaign season. Just as George Bush and others have done.

Double standard, hypocrisy... Christ would be pissed.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Pato News is now Puggingham Palace

"Pato News" is now "Puggingham Palace". I got so tired of all the hits on the blog looking for news about the soccer star Alexandre Pato. It was fun seeing all the hits from Italy, Slovakia, Poland, et. al. But frankly, they could care less what I had to say.

So new name but same old Pato, ranting on about things and observing this crazy world.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Child-Like Behavior

Sometimes, even as I pass the half century mark, little child-like things can bring a moment of joy and peace.

One such event is the opening of a swallow-wort pod and letting the seeds float to their destiny on their silky parachutes. You have all done it once or maybe twice. The woody vines, wrapped around a tree or bush, leave their long brown pods long after the vegetation dies. Eventually they pop open and hundreds of little black seeds, each on a silky strand, propagate the species anew, giving us kids hope for the future.

Puggles and I pass a vine like this most days when we walk. Today was warm and windy, thus to our enduring joy 3 pods were released, joining the leaves and accumulated urban flotsam and jetsam in the stiff southerly wind.

Simple, satisfying, child-like. So much fun. These were the last ones, I guess I can only wait until fall.