Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Something's Up, I Just Don't Know What

At some point over the now nearly seven year span of this blog, I'm sure I documented my laundry habits.  Namely, that I've been doing my own laundry since I was fifteen years old.  I wasn't happy with the way my mother laundered some shirts and so I took over my own laundry.  In retrospect, I'm sure my mother couldn't have cared less.  Nor did my first wife.  Less work for them.  One less chore.

I'm sure the current (and last) Mrs. Grumpy hasn't minded either.  For the 21 1/2 years of our marriage she has let me do my own laundry, in my own manner and on my own schedule.  Which is why the happenings of last Friday are so strange.  I had taken my nearly full laundry basket to the basement, but had only done a load of jeans and a few sweatshirts before the NCAA basketball games started.  Later that afternoon, while watching basketball, I see Mrs. Grumpy pass by with my laundry basket.  Whoa, where are you going with that?  I have at least another load to do.  "Oh, I did it."  Huh?  Why?  "I didn't have anything else to do and it was sitting there".  Ok, I see a lot of things that need to be done while I have nothing to do, but I never feel the urge to do them.  Not only was all of my remaining laundry done, but it was folded and stored in its' proper spot.  Not folded like I would fold it; it was folded like a professional laundry would fold it.  Neat.  Tidy.  Almost artistic. 

Over 21 years of never touching my dirty laundry and suddenly it's washed, folded and neatly put away.  This is unsettling on several levels.  Is it an indictment of my laundry methods?  Did she finally reach a breaking point after watching 21+ years of my sloppy folding?  Has she finally been driven mad by my insistence on mixing whites and colors?  I don't know what to think or what it means.  But I'm watching my six.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Discrimination Is Legal In Indiana

Years ago I had a boss who would sometimes accompany me on trips to Richmond, IN to visit an important account.  As we drove up US 27, just past College Corner, OH was a sign that said "Welcome to Indiana".  My boss would invariably say, on every trip, "Welcome to Indiana, set your watch back an hour and your mind back a hundred years."  Seemed funny, then.  Today, not so much.

It's no accident that the Ku Klux Klan was founded in Indiana.  The state has long held a reputation as a breeding ground for hate and bigotry.  But it's 2015.  I'm not so naive as to believe that hate and bigotry no longer exist in America.  Just turn on the TV; hate and bigotry and racism are alive and well everywhere.  It's just that one doesn't expect to see a state pass a law that allows discrimination.  However, that's exactly what happened in Indiana yesterday.  Euphemistically called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Republican controlled legislature, prodded by the would be presidential candidate, Gov. Mike Pence, passed the aforementioned Act.  The governor then quickly signed it into law in a ceremony from which the press was excluded.  He then went on camera to declare he wouldn't have signed it if he thought it was discriminatory.  What a load of horse shit.  Of course it's discriminatory.  It was written to be discriminatory by legislators whose intention is to discriminate.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act allows businesses in Indiana to refuse service to anyone whose views the owner or owners feel violates their religious beliefs.  The intent of the law is to protect a group whose beliefs and values are under constant attack, white Christians.  There's a War on Christianity, you know.  The original purpose was to protect those businesses, mainly bakers and florists and event venues who objected to providing their services for gay weddings.  But, since even bigots in the Indiana legislature can't write a law that specific, it was left intentionally vague and wide reaching.

As it's written, a restaurant, a bar, a hotel, a plumber, a dry cleaner, just about any business you can name, can refuse service to a customer if they feel that customers views or lifestyle violate their religious principles.  Let's call it what it is, state sponsored discrimination.  African-American?  Sorry, no service.  Jewish?  Sorry, no service.  Gay?  Sorry, no service.  Hispanic?  Sorry, no service. Muslim?  Sorry, really no service for you.  This is going to end up in court.  Likely be declared unconstitutional.  Still, while our infrastructure crumbles, cops and communities are at war and our public schools are a mess, this is what some state legislatures are focusing on.

When we saw this on the news yesterday, Mrs. Grumpy, a non-citizen educated in a foreign country turned to me and asked "What happened to the America I learned about in school, the home of the free and the land of the brave?"  What has happened, indeed.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Happy Birthday, Grumpy!

Yes, today is Grumpy’s birthday, which means most importantly that the office will be closed this afternoon!

Is Grumpy less grumpy celebrating his birthday? Probably not.

Is Grumpy less grumpy to have made it to another birthday? Probably so.

Here at The Dog as we like to call it, we’re all looking forward to the big party. Some of the staffers will get so loaded they won’t remember the tats that will be applied late this evening, let alone where they’re located.

And yes, come Friday morning apologies will have to be made around the office.

You can join in the festivities. Head on over to Dunkin Donuts and have yourself a bagel and cream cheese. Later on stop by McDonald’s and pick up the Grumpy Old Dog beverage of choice: a mocha frappĂ©! Tell ‘em Grumpy sent you. They’ll look at you weird but they’ll still take your cash. Nothing but fun.

To our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer we wish a very happy birthday. You deserve it pal, along with each and every candle on that cake.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Hero Of The Week

Marine Cpl. Bryan J. Richardson
Age:  23
3rd Battalion
25th Marine Regiment
4th Marine Division
Marine Forces Reserve
Died 25 March, 2005
Anbar Province, Iraq

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

And He Wants To Be President

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Batshit) announced on Twitter the other day that he is seeking the 2016 Republican nomination for President of the United States.  He and his staff have been contemplating this run for years.  You would think someone over there would have thought to secure tedcruz.com.  They didn't.
Let the hilarity begin.


Monday, March 23, 2015

I Have The Best Wife

You remember the saga of picking a new paint color for the living room?  After looking at numerous samples and painting multiple swatches on the wall, Mrs. Grumpy finally recognized my superior eye for color and decided to go with my choice.  Then, about two days ago, she started to waver.  "It's too dark", she said.  "How about this color", she said, showing me pictures used in a house we had visited in South Carolina.  At that point I told her I was done with it.  Pick whatever you like and I won't say a word.

On Saturday I had a social engagement in Columbus (no wives) and left home about 2:30 in the afternoon.  When I got home about 10:45 I couldn't believe my eyes.  All the furniture in the living room was moved to the center of the room and the entire room had been painted.  In my color.  She had done it all herself.  I felt a brief pang of guilt for not helping, but that passed quickly with the realization that I wouldn't be required to do any work.  I don't like physical labor.

So there you have it.  I got my color.  The room looks fresh and inviting.  I didn't have to lift a finger.  Win-Win-Win.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


By The Big Guy
Senior Contributor

There are those who choose early retirement. Others have it thrust upon them.

I worked with a guy, a very smart guy who got paid plenty more for his job definition than I did for mine. Whenever our company would have one of those days when they announced a number of our fellow employees had taken early retirement he would always say to me, incredulously, “What’s wrong with early retirement?” I would always respond by telling him, “Nothing, provided you want to retire early.” This week two young men made the choice to leave their professions quite early. That’s where the similarity ends.

Chris Borland is 24 and up until this week was a member of the National Football League’s San Francisco 49ers. He played college football for Wisconsin. His play this past season earned him a starting job in San Francisco and a salary for the coming season in excess of half a million dollars, part of a three million contract he had signed previously. However, Chris Borland has spent at least a year thinking about and the off-season investigating the nature of concussions as a job hazard and their relationship to neurodegenerative disease. His conclusion was that it was in his best interests to step away from a profession that for him and his future was not worth the risks.

Chris Borland did what he believes is right for him. He is planning to go back to school and pursue the study of sports management as a potential new career. I have no intention of discussing the pros and cons of his decision or the opinions of the head injury debate, although I will note that the NFL in a statement wishing the young man well on his future did take time to note that football has never been safer although there remains more work to do. I am sure the same can be said about disarming IEDs in the Middle East.

Aaron Schock is 33 and until the end of this month remains a congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives from Peoria, Illinois. Last November he was elected to his house seat for the fourth time. When first elected to the House at the age of 27 he was one of its youngest members. He is now and until the end of the month a member of the influential House Ways and Means Committee. This is because Congressman Aaron Schock has decided to resign his house seat come the end of the month.

Aaron Schock is not known for his committee memberships. He is known for his naked abs on the cover of Men’s Health magazine. He is known for his congressional office decorated to look like a room from Downton Abbey. He is known for trips in chartered jets for both himself and members of his staff and concert tickets and football tickets and charging his campaign for double the mileage that was on his car’s odometer when he sold it. And that last item did get Aaron Schock the notice of another committee: the House Ethics Committee, which is why he has decided to retire early from the House.  

I wish good luck to them both, one with a bit more enthusiasm than the other. The choice to leave was difficult for them both and surely not what they had planned. They will need to seek out alternate employment to occupy the rest of their adult lives, although one of them may have the opportunity to spend some of those years in a prison laundry or a prison cafeteria. I’ll leave it to you to guess which one. It’s all about choices.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Hero Of The Week

Army Staff Sgt. Ricardo Barraza
Age:  24
2nd Battalion
75th Ranger Regiment
Died 18 March, 2006
Ramadi, Iraq

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Must See TV

If you missed "Jinxed:  The Life And Deaths Of Robert Durst", a documentary recently run on HBO, you should see it.  I'm sure it's running multiple times on various HBO channels or can be found at HBO.com. If you don't subscribe to HBO then find someone who does. This film is riveting and fascinating.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Reason #3,242 To Pick iPhone

Mrs. Grumpy and I were due for our biennial phone upgrades from Verizon on March 15.  Since the 15th fell on a Sunday I had a sneaking suspicion that we might be eligible earlier.  I checked on Verizon's website on the 12th and sure enough, we were eligible immediately.  We drove to Target as fast as we could since they had both of our phone choices on sale last week and my choice even came with a $50 Target gift card.  Why Target and not the Verizon Store?  We gave up on Verizon's retail stores years ago.  They are always crowded, you have to sign in and wait to be called and their reps don't know diddly about the products.  The wireless guys at Target work for an outside vendor and are (in our experience) all tech geeks.  Just an all around better shopping experience.

But that's not my point.  I chose to stay with Apple and upgraded to the iPhone 6.  Mrs Grumpy chose to stay with her Android device and picked the Samsung Galaxy S5.  When we got home I took my old iPhone 4S and hooked it to our desktop computer, opened the iTunes application and synced it again to make sure everything was up to date.  Then I hooked my new phone to the computer and synced it through iTunes.  When I was done all of my contacts and apps had transferred to my new phone.  A few websites that I frequent and had added to the Home screen didn't, so I simply went to those sites and added them.  Overall set-up time:  approximately 5 minutes.

Mrs. Grumpy wasn't so lucky.  They guy at Target had supposedly transferred her data from the old phone, but a lot of her apps didn't make it.  She drove back and he fixed the problem by changing a setting and then transferring again.  All of her pictures transferred, but were no longer in albums.  She had to create albums and transfer all her pictures.  Then there are the settings on her phone.  To me, they are incredibly complex and not at all intuitive.  She had to go online to find the user's manual to figure out some settings.

Long story short, her phone was all set up to her liking, with everything in place, about 48 hours after purchase.  I think she now sees the difference.  I'm betting that in two years she will be getting an iPhone.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Shiny, Isn't It?

By The Big Guy
Senior Contributor

It was probably 1986, 1987. I had a Casio wristwatch. It cost I am guessing forty bucks. The whole watch and band was a grey plastic, with a metal back. It ran on one of those little flat batteries for five years. It had a standard size face with a liquid crystal screen where you could read the black letters and numbers. There was even a button to turn on a little back light for night viewing. Under the screen were twelve little keys, the first one marked ABC1, the second DEF2 and so on. If you wanted to type the letter B you hit the first key twice. If you wanted to type the number 2 you hit the second key four times. Eventually you could type out anything you needed. Besides telling you the time with very reasonable accuracy and in two separate time zones if you wanted, it let you enter a list of contacts and phone numbers, enter all your future appointments so it could sound an alarm, even warn you in advance if you set it up that way.

My Casio wristwatch with built in contact list, calendar and dual time zone was really quite remarkable for it’s time. There was no practical internet yet, no cell phones, no email, no social networks. Even America Online and the Palm Pilot were years away. Now, for better or worse we have all that stuff, the last two of which have already come and gone. We also have a new wristwatch: The Apple Watch. It is, among other things, shiny. For about ten times the price of my Casio it can do a wealth of things. It can keep track of your exercise regimen and your heart rate, it can find out anything you need to know from the internet. All you have to do is ask it a question. It can send emails and text messages, get you a movie review or a good restaurant, play games, get you to your destination, all on a beautiful face with bright, sharp images in the millions of colors of the rainbow and all while continuing to look quite shiny.

The thing is, at least for the near term, and that would be a number of years rather than months, you’re going to have to have an iPhone in your pocket or quite close by for it to do virtually all of those things. That would be the same iPhone that can do virtually everything the Apple Watch can do without the need of having anything close by. Without the iPhone the Apple Watch will still be able to keep time, probably in more than one time zone and give you access to your list of contacts and phone numbers and your future appointments at which time it will sound any one of a number of alarms from which you could choose.

 Oh. Well...it's uhhhhh...shiny.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Hero Of The Week

Army Staff Sgt. Donald D. Griffith, Jr.
Age:  29
2nd Squadron
14th Cavalry Regiment
Died 11 March, 2005
Tal Afar, Iraq