Wednesday, March 25, 2009

AIG AIG EXEC: What part of BROKE don't you understand?

I can't believe the AIG employee who resigned in the New York Times this morning and is donating his bonus to charity (tax write-off) and quitting in disgust. He was whining about how his bonus was promised to him, and that Ed Liddy had mischaracterized the bonus payments as "distasteful." Guess what Mr. Ex-Exec: Your company is broke. It is kaput. I don't care if it wasn't your fault. Your company has no bonus money to pay. It's not fair to the employees of GM or the airlines either that some idiots have run their company into the ground and they've lost their pensions, their salaries, their health insurance, and their jobs, but that's life for us working folks.

This is what happens when companies fail, and you are really far away from Cruel Reality when you think your circumstances should be any different. This is how the rest of us live honey. I'd look up your name, but you are not of that much consequence, frankly.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tidy Cat

This is Marco Polo, who will climb into any space. He is the embodiment of the old adage of "curiosity killed the cat." Once he got the register cover off and he and a couple of his buddies headed under the floor for a tour of the ductwork. I was quite amazed to get out of the shower and hear meows not from within the vanity, another prize spot, but under the vanity. Here we have Marco Polo shrink-wrapped, and it kind of looks like Nutro has created a new and interesting form of dog food. Cats. They're not just for breakfast anymore...

Monday, March 23, 2009

How Can You Sleep When the El Zagel Temple is Under Water???

I have been watching the Red River Valley flood news with interest. I lived in the valley for 20 years, 5 in Fargo in the second half of the 1970s, and then the rest in Grafton, about 120 miles north, so it is a lot like hometown news from a distance. Fargo is expecting a river crest around 40 feet, so they are busy sandbagging like crazy. Even CNN is paying attention. They are showing North Dakota on the weather map instead of going straight from Chicago to LA like they usually do, without acknowledging the majority of the country outside of the coasts.

It flooded in Fargo 3 out of the 5 years I lived there, and as an intrepid college student, I spent some cold nights filling and lugging sandbags. The one place I remember in particular had huge windows facing the river to the east, and while we froze and sweated and lugged and puffed we could see the residents therein having lovely snacks and drinking nice hot coffee, and when we figured out everyone who lived there was inside having a party, we abandoned them for a more worthy venue. What we didn't think about at the time was that they had been living with this mess for weeks and were probably exhausted and perhaps thankful for the break. But dammit, they weren't thankful enough to bring us any coffee or at least step outside the door and give us a wave and say thanks, which would have been nice, regardless of the level of sincerity, so off we went.

The only occupants of a house near the river who made any sense to me were the family of a professor at NDSU whose first floor was basically concrete with roll-up and moveable wall and floor coverings. Move the furniture and throw a few sandbags around the house, and if the river gets in, grab the garden house and a little bleach and you're set to move back in. If I remember correctly his name was Vincent D-something Italian. I'll have to ask Bonnie next time I talk to her.

My friends were a bunch of night owls in the Department of Architecture,and once spring hit I could expect a phone call at any time of the evening or night: "How can you sleep when ____ (fill in the most low-lying landmark) is under water!!!" and off we'd go on Flood Patrol, which usually ended up at Perkins Family Restaurant for breakfast. When El Zagel Temple, the Shriner's lodge, was under water, we knew it was a baaaad flood. When you could stand on the Main Avenue bridge and watch the water literally under your feet, it was a bad flood. The sound of the river and its movement in the moonlight were mesmerising. Add to that the smell of spring at the end of a long, dark, frozen winter and just the general fact of being young and care-free, we were intoxicated with life.

Its probably not politically correct to look at floods so lyrically, but North Dakota doesn't have these flash floods that kill people unawares. Everyone knows these are coming, so they take precautions. Even during the flood in 97 I think only 2 people died, and they went across a bridge they shouldn't have been on and were swept away in the water when the river was coming up rapidly. We might lose stuff here but people are generally safe during floods. And I have to say, I can't really feel sorry for people who have had a major flood every decade out of the last 50 years and still don't a) have a flood control plan; and/or b) have sense enough not to build next to a cranky river on a big giant pan-flat ancient lake bottom.

I don't have a lot of sympathy for people whose pain is self-inflicted, myself included. Fargo needs to consider a flood contingency tax, and if you are stupid enough to build on the river, you put your money in a pot to pay for the cleanup. You could invest it with some nice solid insurance company, and when you need it ... oh never mind. Put your basement right on the bank.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Yes, I realize I am shouting!

As an avid quilter and an irreverent sort, I spend some of the time I am supposed to be working, as in right now, at the blog of the editor (Mark Lipinski) of my favorite quilt magazine (Quilter's Home"). Recently Quilter's Home published some art quilts that would not generally be seen at our local quilt festival, and JoAnn Fabrics refused to carry the issue. Anyway read the article referenced above. A professional has put together a better synopsis of the magazine, the article, and the "controversy" than ever I could. Mark Lipinski's magazine reminds me of why I miss my gay friends from college so much. Its basic message to me is that it is good for me to be me not only as a quilter, but as a human bean. Anyway, back to work!

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I know Runch Limpballs was looking straight into a full-length mirror when he thought this one up.

I've had it with the talking heads (sans their brains mostly) who are talking about "the failed Obama presidency" and counting down the fabled 100 days as if everything is going to be fixed at the end of 100 days. They have to stop it already.

I had to get a new keyboard and the one I purchased sucks. I'm used to a split keyboard and this is called a "wave" keyboard and the letters are much to close together. Oh well. Try, try again.