Tuesday, January 01, 2013

The Geezer: Time for Mark's Holiday posting, 2012

Hard to believe, but several of my dear friends have been asking, "well, where is it", referring to my annual holiday-time random spew, and brain droppings.

Well, here ya go!

With the elections dominating the news the last year, it is hard not to do politics here, but I will try to keep it to a minimum. 

First up, I "unretired".  Yes, my dear friends who said retirement is "all that", well, folks I have to differ with you.  While it does free one up to do "other" important stuff, I really miss the colleagiality of the workplace, and seeing tangible results on a daily basis, rather than a longer term, like my volunteer advocacy work provides.   I am a Coordinator in deployment and administration of SharePoint servers for Microsoft internal websites, like law, human resources, finance, executives, and a bunch of other non-demanding clients (smirk mode off).  Contract job, through the end of the fiscal year, at least.

One of the boyz at work says, hey, put SharePoint in your resume, and they will be beating a path to your door, so I guess that is a prestigious job.  The good news is that it will be part-time soon, to keep the income low enough so as not to have Uncle Sugar repossess about 70% of my earnings in excess of what Social Security allows, and that I get to do it mostly from home!  Woo-hoo, only one commute a week.  But I will miss the MS cafeteria, which puts out a fine full meal for only $6.95 at lunch.

Working around smart, young people, learning from them, and getting paid for it is a high-life, in my opinion.

Went up to see sis and Ken-o last month, in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.  Thanks, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) for giving me free passage on the ferry.   Conclusive proof that whining pays, since I excoriated them for having all the ferry user groups meet on the west side of the pond, requiring the Geezer to shell out real money to attend.  To shut me up, they sent me a ticket!  Natually, wanting to give them value for money, I solicited my sister's concerns about the ferrys and articulated those concerns at the meeting for her.   Got to meet ferry uberguru David Moseley, the guy you see on TV falling on his sword about crewing issues and cancelled runs.   It is high fun to yell at him on TV, harder to yell at him in person.  Nice man, tough job. 

While on the WSDOT kick, you know I am a frequent critic.  Must have gotten to them, as Mme. Secretary, Paula Hammond,  had her pic taken with me, while expressing her opinion of the Geez. (check above my head, bad background, sorry)

Why do I mention this?  Because of my take on public servants, but more on that later, back to Sis and Ken's place.

Now, I am not certain I would enjoy the isolation, but they sure seem to like living up there.  Not to say it is out in the boonies, but you CAN see Canada from their kitchen sink.  Five miles away, and there is a rock that sticks up two miles out that belongs to Canuckistan, too.  All the Vancouver ship traffic goes by their house, and so do the whales.  In fact, the SJ County park is just to the north, which is where the whale watchers gather.  About three acres, top of a hill, or more accurately a rock, not much dirt on there, beautiful house, garage-workshop with a full apartment above.  Ken walked me around the perimeter, and there were six bambi-the-deers, and a fox den, with a freshly gnawed bone visible in it.  Yes, and dandy place.  Now I know why they call her street "Deerhaven".  Yeah, really.  Living out there, you have to like yourself/your partner, as it is 15 minutes to town, drive in to get your mail, garbage only every other week, and the UPS you have to pick up in town.  They do fly jets into the airport, and FedEx bases one of their planes there.  Friday Harbor Freight is your friend, if you need a refer delivered!

The other interesting thing about this trip--the joys of being uh, mature.  I get on the ferry in Anacortes, 20 cars, maybe, go upstairs, and there are not one but TWO fellows I know on the ferry.  Amazing that this is such a small place.  One I had not seen since I lived in Shoreline six years ago.

Speaking of Shoreline, I was down visiting my safe deposit box, and noticed that the old trailer park I managed is now flattened, including the fourplex.  Bare ground, save for the trailer pads, and in-ground infrastructure.  Good thing El Gato adopted me, eh, or he would be homeless again.  Golly, I do miss that cat.  I was thinking the other day, given that he lost his canine teeth a good while ago, I bet he was even older than I susupected.  Yup, miss that cat.

So, doing pretty good on the lack of political rants so far, but I cannot resist.

In my volunteer work with other volunteers, presenting plans and paths that are good for kids and parents, I notice that the room is full often of folks who my fellow sheyt-distruber, Chris Hupy, calls "folks who are not our friends".  Now, that is not just about opposing viewpoints, but vitrol-filled haters, paid to attend--often with public money--folks who are not about addressing problems, but about advancing a political agenda.  Heck, I wouldn't even mind that, but they are not honest that that is indeed the case. 

Worked on one state senate sponsored workgroup where the subject was using evidence in some hearings that have the effect of separating children from their loving, good parents.   Now, when I took civics in high school, we learned you get to confront your accusers, present evidence, and all sorts of high minded and fair stuff like that.   But nooooooooooo......those who oppose us want to preserve the ex-parte (you are not at the hearing) hearings, with not only no evidence required, but not even allowed because it is "too hard" for their constituents to present.   How can you propose/defend that position in our great Republic?  Well they do, and they attend on government grant funded paid time.  Nothing like lobbying against the interests of the broad public, with my money.  Makes me crazy.  And of course, they love to throw out the "you are just a bunch of angry men".  Hell yes, we are angry.  It is a war on men (and children when it suits their purpose) waged by Wimmin's Industries, Inc.

Ok, enough.

Can I say something nice about public servants?


Just as there are "state slugs", (what is orange, and sleeps three---a state truck) there are lots of fine folks who are in the gub'mint's service.  They are forthcoming, will engage with the sheeples, don't spin, will honestly accept your input and ideas, and just occasionally, may implement them.

Now, with the elections completed, some of these high level folks will have to re-apply for their jobs, and of course the new crew will want their own peeps working, even though the folks there, and who have served admirably, don't have a personal agenda, and could switch just fine.

Here is a shout out to some of them:
  • Janelle Guthrie--Rob McKenna (outgoing AG)'s spingoddess, as she likes to call herself, actually Communications Director and Deputy Chief of Staff.  Besides being a Coug, is always forthcoming, understands our issues, and even seems to try to turn the ship, ever so slightly. 

  • Chris Johnson--Another AG guy, this time policy.  A lawyer, geez, I hate saying nice things about lawyers, who "gets it", understands it, and does a great job listening to all and suggesting reasonable paths.  Rejects "bullshit", and is honest enough to know when he is being triangulated.

  • David Stillman, Assistant Secretary for DSHS Economic Services, and supervises the child support guys too.   This one is a two-fer, as I not only have to say nice things about a lawyer, but about a DSHS guy too.  I am certain to go to he-double-hockey-sticks on this one.  Stillman knows how to run a bureaucracy, knows how to turn the ship, again, ever so slightly, how to be PC when he needs to be, but can speak frankly to the likes of me.  When his took this gig, I told him of my concern about being basically a political appointee, and now of course is at risk.

  • Jeremy Bertrand--web guy at WSDOT, on the list not because his favorite thing is to say "go pound sand, Geezer" when I share my perfect wisdom with him, but because he delivers up what the sheeple (read: me) wants, often.  Gave me access to the Alpha traffic page, let me see how much snow is actually at Sherman Pass, and let me view the VMS (variable message sign) so I can tell how long it will take me to get to Northgate/Seattle without leaving the house.  Good job, youngster.

Above is said Jeremy with the Geezer, when he went to Olytown to lobby.
  • On the county level, two guys, Jim Bloodgood, Snoco roads guy, and a court guy, whose colleagues I generally excoriate, Bob Terwillinger, Snoco Superior Courts Administrator.  You call-- they listen, and not only that, actually deliver, without giving you chapter and verse about how there is no money in the budget, blah, blah, blah.

  • Lastly, a non-government guy, but someone who does a really good job for his team, write in an entertaining style, and has a hinky sense of humor, like me.  Spinmeister for the Washington State Labor Council, David Groves.  I get his daily newsletter, and frequently respond, and he is always gracious, and understanding, and willing to spar with me. 
Ok, what else. 

Re-imaging an old laptop that Pat gave me for young Scott, so he doesn't play with his momma's machine.  Don't you think 5 year olds should have one, these days?

Watching the garden and flowers decide it t'aint winter yet, Artichokes went down in their pots to the man-cave, but insisted on growing, so moved them back out in their pots, and they are turning green.  The one not in a pot, well, I put a flowerpot over it, stuffed with shredded paper, but twice it knocked the pot off growing so much, so took it off.  These things don't understand it is winter.  Still have carrots, beets, green onions and broccoli growing in the garden to eat.  Ate the last raspberry on Thanksgiving, and the mums are still blooming, and putting up new shoots, which they usually don't do until the 4th of July.  That long spell with no rain made for a fine garden this year.  And we still have the 7th wettest year on record, 45 inches or something like that was the final total.

The future--well, I sure like where I live, big, convenient, the lady-couple next door are good neighbors.  Workin', furshure, though I have to figure out how to keep the income under what I can earn without giving back.  Volunteer work, sure, can do with working half days from home.

Gotta get up to Whistler this summer, didn't go last year.  Did make it out to High Rock with Jennifer and Sam, the rottweiler, pix below.  Love that hike, you can see where you are going from the parking lot. 
Here is why they call it High Rock

But here is the reason you go up there, Rainier, up close and personal.

Aforementioned doggie, on his first hike.

And the doggy momma, who didn't have to work much going up, since the dog pulled her most of the way.

Ok, that is it for this year.  Comments invited and encouraged, if you made it this far.

Best to all, and remember, make it a great day.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

In Memory El Gato, a VERY special cat

In Memory

El Gato, a VERY special cat

????-April 5, 2012 approximately 15 years old

I was so very fortunate to have this fine kitty come into my life when I was managing the trailer park in Shoreline, about 7 or so years ago.

Gato was the “court cat”, without a home and quite feral. You would see him out and about, looked quite healthy for not having a home. A retired Navy Chief who taught at Diver’s Training Institute in Ballard and his wife were the only ones that I saw feed him, yummy salmon, which he still really likes to this day. But he must have found enough other food around.

In the summer, I got concerned about his access to water, so filled a container and kept it clean under the big fir tree out front.

Just would not come near folks, though. One day I was sitting on the edge of the raised flower bed, and he came by, and finally got close enough to present his butt for me to scratch, would not get close enough to pet his head, or pick him up. After a while, he let me pet his head and scratch his ears. Good enough. I don’t even much care for cats, I thought to myself, but this little guy was very likeable.

After a few months and one of our petting/scratching sessions, he followed me up the stairs! Interesting, I thought, so let him in the house. Obviously he had been inside before. Just hung around with me. At bedtime it was out the door.

When I got up in the morning, I was going out to the car, and who was sitting at the top of the stairs on the landing, but Gato! Came right in the house and made himself at home. What a sweet cat.

Since he seemed to like to hang around we kept this up, with him disappearing for a day or two, but not that often. I got to be concerned when he did so and started feeding and watering him inside.

My habit after work was to lie on the bed on my back, and he jumped up, and lay between my legs, all cuddled up. So, I bought him a fleece throw, and put it at the bottom of my bed. That was one of his favorite places, along with on my desk, next to my monitor, where he diligently held court, let me pet him while looking out the window at the trailer park, surveying his domain, while he watched me work.

When I had to leave for vacation, I didn’t know what to do, since he was used to eating at my house, so I put multiple bowls of food and water on the landing outside the front door, moved his kitty-blanny out there. He didn’t eat and drink as much when I was gone, but he sure was happy to see me return.

In fact, when I was at work and arrived at home, he would always be on the sidewalk at the head of my parking spot at 3 PM. Every single day, without fail. Even if I didn’t get home until after dark, the cat was there, every day, waiting to greet me. That is one faithful cat and very un-catlike.

So, he was still an outdoor cat at night, and they were closing the trailer park, and I had to move. Found a delightful place in rural Lynnwood, but what to do with my El Gato?

Since there are lots more critters up there than the ‘coon that came by the trailer park three times a year, I decided he would be an indoor cat, with many trips on the leash out to the backyard, for some yummy grass, and those kewel outdoor smells. The trip up in the kitty carrier was the first time in my time that he was in a car, and he didn’t particularly care for it. I let him out in the house upstairs in his new bedroom, where his carrier would be and his litter box, and he went nuts, of course.

Jumped up to the very high window sill and I feared he would try to go out the closed window. I cuddled him, showed him his litter box, which he took right to, never having an accident in the house. Well, a new foam kitty bed with two new fleece throws and one for his kitty night-night did the trick.

Still jumping up on the desk, watching me work. Basking in the window sill in front of my desk to take a sunshine treatment, seasonally, became some of his new favorite things. Sitting in front of the sliding door became a part of his life too. One happy cat, he!

Still greeting me at the door each time I came home, being on guard-kitty duty when I left the house and just catting around were part of his routine.

Now, when it was time to go on vacation or otherwise be gone overnight, I filled his multiple foods, and waters, set up another litter box, and he would be good for three days. But my, what a kitty-attitude he had when I got home. My oh my! And did he know when I was leaving? You bet, still does, even called me out the other day when I had to go to Olytown for a meeting. He did enjoy, though, my daily phone calls. See, his kitty bed was on my bed, next to the answering machine. I would call home each day, wait for the old-school recorder to pick up, and would talk to him through the speaker.

Lived here in Lynnwood peacefully for 4 plus years, but I noticed last fall he was not bulking up for winter, as was his habit. Ok, animals know more than we do about these things, so I figured we would be in for a mild winter. He became more morose, but I am unsure how you tell that in a cat, whose favorite winter haunt is in front of the wall heater. He appeared to get very skinny, so a trip to the vet confirmed that he was near the end of his very generous life. I kept him comfy, gave him his pills for fluid retention and blood pressure, but two weeks before the end, he quit eating and drinking, save for the syringes of water I gave him every few hours. He picked his own time, just as I would.

I found a very nice spot out back, in the wild area, just off the lawn, with a territorial view of the pastoral back yard. He got a last kitty brush, so he would look good in the afterlife, got wrapped in his favorite kitty-blanny, and I laid him to rest. Overlooking his resting place I put a foot high hand carving of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals to watch over him that my Dad made in 1975, 37 years ago. I made a trip to the store for some primroses and pansies, and planted them on top of his grave.

El Gato was an exemplary cat, and exemplary companion who gave me so much joy and comfort, and I will miss him dearly. No more “kitty, I will be right back” when I leave, and no more eager greeting when I would shout, “Gato, Daddy is home” when I returned. It sure is quiet in the house now, even though he never made much of a ruckus. Clear proof that the best things in life and the most precious gifts you get—aren’t “things”.

Hope you can read this ok, through the tear stains.

Rest in peace, my dear friend and companion. See you at the end of the road..

Mark / Yo kitty daddy

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Reflections from my Green Lake ambulations

So, once or more a week, I gather winter gear, and walk around Green Lake. Here are my random observations and obfuscations that amuse, or abuse, my mind, in no particular order.

Ready for the stream of consciousness?

Outside Starbucks, my mandatory stop for victuals, there is a nice wrought iron corral marked stroller parking. Yet, I have never seen a stroller in there. Dogs, yes, lots of dogs. Why is that?

So, I go inside and there are two professionals of somewhat uneven ages sitting at the bar, talking business. Not unusual, a. What was striking was the outstanding eye contact and engagement of the woman, as she spoke with the man. Girlz, listen up, and take a lesson. Put away your freakin’ dumbphone, and pay attention.

Back on the path, I observe Seattle impolite, with walkers three to four abreast with dogs and leashes, who were not about to split, yield, or in any way be courteous to those walking the opposite way. Not only that, but I feared serious flesh wounds on them, as it was obvious they broke a huge bottle of perfume and got it all over them right before commencement of said walk. Ladies, gents too, leave that crap at home, or at least scent, instead of drenching yourself. We don’t want to smell it.

I checked with my friends the trees and the small, younger ones knew spring was around the corner, and were starting leaf explosion, very nice, and confirming of the coming spring. I checked with the older ones, and they just reported that they awoke from their hibernation, looked around, and said nope, I’m rolling over for another month or so.

So, everyone comes to Green Lake for exercise and fresh air, what is up with folks circling the parking lot, or standing and waiting for someone to pull out so they can have a close-by parking spot. HELLO!!!! Park down the street, people.

Along with the trees, the older ones, like me, I can tell it is not spring in my world yet, as I am still checking out the dogs, and the kiddy-kins in the strollers, instead of checking out the hot semi-nekkid chicks, because they aren’t yet. There was one gal in a spaghetti strap top on one of the milder days, and to that I say, you go grrl. Hubba-hubba.

You yuppies with the five year old and his training wheels, give me your kid for under five minutes, and a patch of grass and I will teach your urchin on how to ride a bike without those infernal appendages. I didn’t even know there was such a thing, and even I learned with my Dad’s steady hand on the back of the seat (or at least that is what he told me, I don’t think he was holding on most of the time)

To the old codger feeding the crows bread crumbs, I certainly hope it brings you great joy. Not good for the birds, and since they know your gig, your fellow walkers must risk being shat upon (the past pluperfect of shitted, if you didn’t know) by the hoard when they walk past you.

Lastly, good luck to the couple that I presume proposed to each other. There is a huge stump cut about a foot above the ground on the west side of the lake. It was covered with rosebuds, in the shape of a heart, with other petals scattered about the ground. Either that or some folks have more extreme kinks than I do.

Thus concludes my report from Silly Seattle.

Geezer OUT!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Geezer: Time for Mark's Holiday posting, 2011

The Geezer: Time for Mark's Holiday posting, 2011

Time for Mark's Holiday posting, 2011

Well, goodness, that time of the year again, when the Geezer reflects on doins’ and dealins’, then takes electrons to fingertips to blather those observations and obfuscations.

So, sit back, and learn from my wit and wisdom. This should not take long, and no brain cells were destroyed in production of this spew.

This has been a four star year for me again. Most are, life is too short not to have it so.

This isn’t all commentary, but I have an idea to get our country moving. If you don’t have strict budgetary restraints, buy American! Be optimistic. Help your neighbors who may be suffering. Lastly, you have heard it before from others, but I am about ready to toss all the incumbents out! The politics around continuing the payroll tax cuts, the renewal of unemployment insurance, and the Keystone pipeline about tip the old Geezer over. Two months does not allow enough time for anything on UI and payroll tax cuts. The resistance to the pipeline is nutz, sends jobs overseas, increases dependence on “foreign” oil, and you greeners, are you nutz? You would rather have petrol refined in China, with no environmental regs, instead of Houston/Port Arthur where we have some. You ever see pix of the air in China?

Be mindful of what you read and hear. New unemployment apps being down is good, 100,000 new jobs is not, because it takes 140,000 just to absorb new entrants to the job market. Methinks it is a plot to protect the re-election of the guy I heard described as “a cross between Erkel, and the guy from MAD magazine (Alfred E. Newman)”

Holey-moley. ‘Nuf said.

The thing that was most often a consideration for me this year was that annoying schmooge on my vocal chord.

I was going to go to Dr. Zappem (Upendra Parvathenini) but the review physicians in Baw-stone said I should get surgery instead. So, ended up with Dr. Slicem’ (Tanya Meyer) who is about my kid’s age. Sheesh. But what an artist she is. The pics taken right after the four hour surgery showed nothing. I mean, nothing. You couldn’t tell anyone was in there slicing and dicing, at all. Truly amazing.

That was the good news, but she couldn’t get it all. So, back to Dr. Zappem and his magic machine and crew. 35 treatments, one a day, twice on Fridays! It is like a huge radio broadcast tower, RF energy. Folks, now I know why they don’t want you climbing up on those towers. At the end, the front of my neck had no skin on it, just white flesh. Yowsers. See it here

I was only concerned about it getting infected, but it didn’t and now is back to normal, as is my voice, save for the kewel “permanent tan” where there was no skin for a while.

Doc said, prior to last treatment, we got it all, interesting, because I thought they were not to speculate, and it takes a new CAT scan to confirm. He is going to confirm that next week in any event.

Cancer is really oversold, IMHO. It is sold on a scare basis, and this treatment place says they are the best another says they are, etc. etc. All accompanied by soothing music, and the soft verbiage delivery. Truth is, most of it they can get rid of these days. Really. Do you research, have a plan, get the best crew you can, and they fix you right up.

My technicians were nothing but the best, folks of good spirit. My dietician was a sweet young thing, worried about me losing weight, which is still a puzzlement to this day. Me, losing weight. Not on this planet. And the Oncology nurse was an ornery old cuss, who I called Nurse Rached, to her face. She took that well, and her colleagues chuckled and nodded their heads in agreement when I referred to her so. She is a weird bird and I think, mean. Found out she was a retired Lt. Colonel in the Army, so I changed tactic, and started calling her Colonel. After that, she seemed to like me better, go figure.

It never hurt; in fact, I can’t even say it was irritating. More like just an annoyance, like getting the goo they make you put on there on the collar of your t-shirt.

What did I do for fun? The annual pre-father’s day trip to Spokane. Went to Colville and took in a Washington Coalition for Open Government schmooze, put up the big letter M in front of the Sherman Pass camera, which is circled here:

Went up the Aenas valley on a forest/BIA road that was, uh, interesting. Including the creek that ran down the middle of the road for about 50 yards. No impassable trees across it, but it was, uh, interesting. Came out on the Sanpoil River, over the mountains to Welpinit. Across the excellent BIA furnished, Colville tribal run FREE ferry across the Columbia, which was a very slick setup, all mechanized docking, nice chat with the deckhand, a displaced logger and tribal member. It is so nice to talk with someone who really, really likes their job, even in zero degree weather with the wind blowing. Then on to SCC where we had our annual Father’s conference, with the usual suspects. Lots of good news there, most notably the DSHS program to have first choice of placement when a kid is taken from a home with their FATHER, which had not always been the choice before.

Another trip to Whistler with my road trip buddy, Pat, where I got up close and personal with one of the “resident bears” See the pix here:

They are sooooo cute, and friendly, from a distance. And no, there was no telephoto on when I took that pic.

Went on an adventure, trying to find this provincial park, only 6 km. the sign said. Only trouble was the forks in the road weren’t marked. I took the most ‘straight ahead’ and obvious branch but the road deteriorated greatly. However, soon there were “street signs”, very nice ones, along the way. After pondering a bit, I figured out I was on the cross country ski trails, and the signs were for the skiers. One place, well, it wasn’t quite like a Jeep commercial, but I did comment, we are committed now, no way am I backing up this hill. My road-trip buddy heard me say that before, a couple of years ago.

Oh, and even in mid-August, there was way plenty of snow left up there, see the pic here:

Yes, that is me, and I am 6’2” on most days, depending on what convenience store or bank I am leaving. (Props to Ron White for that line)

At the end of my treatment, another road trip to Spokane for a weekend. Stayed at Louis Davenport’s place. Do you know that the Davenport Hotel once had the largest PBX (telephone private branch exchange) north of SF? Or that the Crab Louis was created there and named for Mr. Davenport? Went up to my friend Jennifer’s place, met her boyfriend WE (gotta have a better word for male friends over 65 than boyfriends, methinks) I call him WE because I hear “we this”, and “we that”, and since her bro-in-law that lives across the street is named Steve also, like he is, I call him WE.

Never saw the place with the garden working in the summertime. Stuff sure grows fast over there. Her turkeys are—make that were (now eaten) -- funny, when the Rottweiler goes in the pen with them, they follow him around like he has food for them or something. Funniest thing I saw in a long time.

Not being employed is less than high fun. Doing OK, but Christmas presents are uh, modest this year, sorry gang.

El Gato is getting a bit older. Still jumps up fluidly, but sometimes walks like an old man. Still a faithful kitty, loves to snuggle with his daddy when I take a nap, and we watch O’Reilly with a bowl of ice cream each night, prior to bed.

The Evergreen State Fair which is actually the Snohomish County Fair, but don’t tell anyone, where I am on the board, had its best year ever, taking in max money, with great weather. Very proud of that. JP Patches did one of his last shows for us, well attended.

I am advising a new Domestic Violence accountability group on media, public records, and dealing with politicians and bureaucrats, the Washington Domestic Violence Commission, whose goal is to insure true victims get services, and to monitor the courts and their hangers-on who work hard (and spend your tax dollars) to separate good loving parents from their kids without justification while providing a good living to themselves and their consorts. So far, we have a Kingco judge on record calling one fellow “deranged”. Geez, I thought judges used to be lawyers, and they know better than to make records that can come back and bite them. We are having high fun keeping them accountable. Next up, we involve the She-riff (Sheriff Barbie, aka Susan Rahr) by making her investigate all the questionable accusations which all have sworn attestation that a crime was committed. I called the Barbie yesterday and gave her a heads up on that plan. When you don’t have power, and the other folks do, you have to go with guerilla tactics, and she understands that.

I wonder if that book I bought her for Christmas, or the following comment on her website that I made had anything to do with it? “Put Sheriff Barbie's pic back on the front page of your website. She is sorta hot, for an old broad.” You can put a uniform on the girlie, but you can’t take the grrl out of the uniform. For those of you who don’t know her, her pic can be found here:

Her reply was “How will I ever maintain my humility…” Flattery works, boyz.

Can’t finish without a shout out to my WSDOT friends. They said “no one will miss the viaduct”. Of course, they got it wrong again, I LIKE the viaduct. So, Travis Phelps, the viaduct teardown spinmeister, gave me a piece of said structure, inscribed “To the Geezer, for keeping us honest”. That I do.

I could tell more stories, but I won’t. It does remind me of the question……why do these folks keep doing business with you, when you always give them grief? Indeed, I just must be a charming cuss……or something.

Best to you all, thanks for reading, and look forward to another spew and blather next year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Two stories for you for Christmas

Somewhat unlike other years, I want to share with you some messages that I was fortunate enough to get.

The theme is basically this: Maintain hope, things will get better. Be kind to your fellow travelers on planet earth.

Miracles will happen.

Hope you enjoy these as much as I did.


Understand that things happen for a reason

The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry, to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn , arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.
They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc, and on December 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished.
On December 19 a terrible tempest - a driving rainstorm hit the area and lasted for two days.
On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high.
The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home. On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity, so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.
By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later.
She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area.
Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet. “Pastor,” she asked, “where did you get that tablecloth?” The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria .
The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten “The Tablecloth”. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria .
When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. He was captured, sent to prison and never saw her husband or her home again.
The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home. That was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.
What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return.
One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn't leaving.
The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike?
He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years between.
The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier.
He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman's apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.

Christmas at the Gas Station

The old man sat in his gas station on a cold Christmas Eve. He hadn't been anywhere in years since his wife had passed away. It was just another day to him. He didn't hate Christmas, just couldn't find a reason to celebrate. He was sitting there looking at the snow that had been falling for the last hour and wondering what it was all about when the door opened and a homeless man stepped through.

Instead of throwing the man out, Old George as he was known by his customers, told the man to come and sit by the heater and warm up. "Thank you, but I don't mean to intrude," said the stranger. "I see you're busy, I'll just go."

"Not without something hot in your belly." George said.

He turned and opened a wide mouth Thermos and handed it to the stranger. "It ain't much, but it's hot and tasty. Stew ... Made it myself. When you're done, there's coffee and it's fresh."

Just at that moment he heard the "ding" of the driveway bell. "Excuse me, be right back," George said. There in the driveway was an old '53 Chevy. Steam was rolling out of the front.. The driver was panicked. "Mister can you help me!" said the driver, with a deep Spanish accent. "My wife is with child and my car is broken." George opened the hood. It was bad. The block looked cracked from the cold, the car was dead.

"You ain't going in this thing," George said as he turned away.

"But Mister, please help ..." The door of the office closed behind George as he went inside. He went to the office wall and got the keys to his old truck, and went back outside. He walked around the building, opened the garage, started the truck and drove it around to where the couple was waiting. "Here, take my truck," he said. "She ain't the best thing you ever looked at, but she runs real good."

George helped put the woman in the truck and watched as it sped off into the night. He turned and walked back inside the office. "Glad I gave 'em the truck, their tires were shot too. That 'ol truck has brand new ." George thought he was talking to the stranger, but the man had gone. The Thermos was on the desk, empty, with a used coffee cup beside it. "Well, at least he got something in his belly," George thought.

George went back outside to see if the old Chevy would start. It cranked slowly, but it started. He pulled it into the garage where the truck had been. He thought he would tinker with it for something to do. Christmas Eve meant no customers. He discovered the the block hadn't cracked, it was just the bottom hose on the radiator. "Well, shoot, I can fix this," he said to himself. So he put a new one on.

"Those tires ain't gonna get 'em through the winter either." He took the snow treads off of his wife's old Lincoln. They were like new and he wasn't going to drive the car anyway.

As he was working, he heard shots being fired. He ran outside and beside a police car an officer lay on the cold ground. Bleeding from the left shoulder, the officer moaned, "Please help me."

George helped the officer inside as he remembered the training he had received in the Army as a medic. He knew the wound needed attention. "Pressure to stop the bleeding," he thought. The uniform company had been there that morning and had left clean shop towels. He used those and duct tape to bind the wound. "Hey, they say duct tape can fix anythin'," he said, trying to make the policeman feel at ease.

"Something for pain," George thought. All he had was the pills he used for his back. "These ought to work." He put some water in a cup and gave the policeman the pills. "You hang in there, I'm going to get you an ambulance."

The phone was dead. "Maybe I can get one of your buddies on that there talk box out in your car." He went out only to find that a bullet had gone into the dashboard destroying the two way radio.

He went back in to find the policeman sitting up. "Thanks," said the officer. "You could have left me there. The guy that shot me is still in the area."

George sat down beside him, "I would never leave an injured man in the Army and I ain't gonna leave you." George pulled back the bandage to check for bleeding. "Looks worse than what it is. Bullet passed right through 'ya. Good thing it missed the important stuff though. I think with time your gonna be right as rain."

George got up and poured a cup of coffee. "How do you take it?" he asked.

"None for me," said the officer..

"Oh, yer gonna drink this. Best in the city. Too bad I ain't got no donuts." The officer laughed and winced at the same time.

The front door of the office flew open. In burst a young man with a gun. "Give me all your cash! Do it now!" the young man yelled. His hand was shaking and George could tell that he had never done anything like this before.

"That's the guy that shot me!" exclaimed the officer.

"Son, why are you doing this?" asked George, "You need to put the cannon away. Somebody else might get hurt."

The young man was confused. "Shut up old man, or I'll shoot you, too. Now give me the cash!"

The cop was reaching for his gun. "Put that thing away," George said to the cop, "we got one too many in here now."

He turned his attention to the young man. "Son, it's Christmas Eve. If you need money, well then, here. It ain't much but it's all I got. Now put that pea shooter away."

George pulled $150 out of his pocket and handed it to the young man, reaching for the barrel of the gun at the same time. The young man released his grip on the gun, fell to his knees and began to cry. "I'm not very good at this am I? All I wanted was to buy something for my wife and son," he went on. "I've lost my job, my rent is due, my car got repossessed last week."

George handed the gun to the cop. "Son, we all get in a bit of squeeze now and then. The road gets hard sometimes, but we make it through the best we can."

He got the young man to his feet, and sat him down on a chair across from the cop. "Sometimes we do stupid things." George handed the young man a cup of coffee. "Bein' stupid is one of the things that makes us human. Comin' in here with a gun ain't the answer. Now sit there and get warm and we'll sort this thing out."

The young man had stopped crying. He looked over to the cop. "Sorry I shot you. It just went off. I'm sorry officer."

"Shut up and drink your coffee " the cop said.

George could hear the sounds of sirens outside. A police car and an ambulance skidded to a halt. Two cops came through the door, guns drawn. "Chuck! You ok?" one of the cops asked the wounded officer.

"Not bad for a guy who took a bullet. How did you find me?"

"GPS locator in the car. Best thing since sliced bread. Who did this?" the other cop asked as he approached the young man.

Chuck answered him, "I don't know. The guy ran off into the dark. Just dropped his gun and ran."

George and the young man both looked puzzled at each other.

"That guy work here?" the wounded cop continued.

"Yep," George said, "just hired him this morning. Boy lost his job."

The paramedics came in and loaded Chuck onto the stretcher. The young man leaned over the wounded cop and whispered, "Why?"

Chuck just said, "Merry Christmas boy ... and you too, George, and thanks for everything."

"Well, looks like you got one doozy of a break there. That ought to solve some of your problems."

George went into the back room and came out with a box. He pulled out a ring box. "Here you go, something for the little woman. I don't think Martha would mind. She said it would come in handy some day."

The young man looked inside to see the biggest diamond ring he ever saw. "I can't take this," said the young man. "It means something to you."

"And now it means something to you," replied George. "I got my memories. That's all I need."

George reached into the box again. An airplane, a car and a truck appeared next. They were toys that the oil company had left for him to sell. "Here's something for that little man of yours."

The young man began to cry again as he handed back the $150 that the old man had handed him earlier.

"And what are you supposed to buy Christmas dinner with? You keep that too," George said. "Now git home to your family."

The young man turned with tears streaming down his face. "I'll be here in the morning for work, if that job offer is still good."

"Nope. I'm closed Christmas day," George said. "See ya the day after."

George turned around to find that the stranger had returned. "Where'd you come from? I thought you left?"

"I have been here. I have always been here," said the stranger. "You say you don't celebrate Christmas. Why?"

"Well, after my wife passed away, I just couldn't see what all the bother was. Puttin' up a tree and all seemed a waste of a good pine tree. Bakin' cookies like I used to with Martha just wasn't the same by myself and besides I was gettin' a little chubby."

The stranger put his hand on George's shoulder. "But you do celebrate the holiday, George. You gave me food and drink and warmed me when I was cold and hungry. The woman with child will bear a son and he will become a great doctor.

The policeman you helped will go on to save 19 people from being killed by terrorists. The young man who tried to rob you will make you a rich man and not take any for himself. "That is the spirit of the season and you keep it as good as any man."

George was taken aback by all this stranger had said. "And how do you know all this?" asked the old man.

"Trust me, George. I have the inside track on this sort of thing. And when your days are done you will be with Martha again."

The stranger moved toward the door. "If you will excuse me, George, I have to go now. I have to go home where there is a big celebration planned."

George watched as the old leather jacket and the torn pants that the stranger was wearing turned into a white robe. A golden light began to fill the room.

"You see, George ... it's My birthday. Merry Christmas."

Friday, December 24, 2010

Time for Mark's Holiday posting, 2010

Well, goodness, that time of the year again, when the Geezer reflects on doins’ and dealins’, then takes electrons to fingertips to blather those observations and obfuscations.

So, sit back, and learn from my wit and wisdom. This should not take long, and no brain cells were destroyed in production of this spew.

This has been a four star year for me. Most are, life is too short not to have it so.

I got a job back in Everett, and enjoy my 8 minute commute; all are happy save for the a-rabs, because they sell me less gas. My new job is in HR (gasp!). My old peeps in South Park bet I would only go 2 months without getting a smackdown for being politically incorrect, but I made it 8 months without the written warning for (insert drum roll and rimshot) referring to myself as an old guy, and for having Ms. Wonderful, a talking doll given to me be a dear friend I don’t see often, on my desk. Been there the 5 years I have been at the lazy B, never been a problem. She says things you may hear about your house, like, “sure you want me to wash this shirt, you’ve only worn it a few times” and “let me take the garbage out, I need the exercise”. Really offensive stuff, but an anonymous complainant (I know who it is, a co-worker, who volunteers for Wimmin’s Industries, Inc., who is often on the other side of the issues I work for). Whatta beyatch. Anyway, got written up, with the notation that “HR must adhere to a higher standard”. Funny, heard that a couple of times, and asked where that standard is memorialized, so I can follow the rules. It isn’t. Same “higher standard” that was quoted when I wore shorts ONE day this summer. You know me, testing, testing. Yes, it is legal. Yes, the last two summers I wore them every day. Heck, my t-shirt was of the pocket variety, not that safety lime green one I have with the pic of the pole dancer on it, that says “I support single Moms”


I save that one for when I have meetings with misandrous judges from Hazard County (Thurston, to the uninitiated) or where representatives of Wimmin’s Industries, Inc are in attendance. Yea, the same cabal that refers to us when we walk into the room with a “here come the usual suspects”. Such respect they show for all.

On, whining mode off.

Made it up in the mountains a few times, nice hikes, nice days great company. Ran into one gent I knew from Tacoma, who I had not seen for 30 years. Good thing he had a name tag on! Been running into lots of folks, one just today that used to pour me coffee at Chez Denny at Island Crossing. I didn’t recognize her, and lemme tell ya, it is unnerving to have a woman come up to you on the street and say “I know you”, when you don’t at all recognize her.

Took a ride on a Zeppelin, the largest airship in the world. Cost an arm and a leg, but hey, it was fun. Happy Birthday, from me to me. Also rode on Mr. WSDOT’s snowplow when they opened the North Cascades Highway. That took two years of jonesing, and a kind and sympathetic newspaper publisher I know. They insisted that they only take journalists, so, I became one for a day. I promised the publisher pix and a story, and I got both front page, above the fold, with a byline. It amused and impressed my journo friends, who welcomed me as one of them. It bewildered my “regular” work colleagues that I was multi-talented, and it amazed me that if you go to plan B, then plan C, eventually you can get the bureaucracy to do what you want them to do.

Got to tour a Dreamlifter, a modified 747-400, with a bulbous body and cut off tail that swings open. It flies around the world to pick up parts, whole body sections, wings, and the like for our 787. Got to sit in the right seat, but nutz, can’t take pix on the Boeing property.

I did get a pix of me in the right seat of a 787, taken off the property, so legal to snap a pix. You can see me looking spiffily professional below.

In the political activity department, I have been trying to get appointed to the Evergreen State Fair Board (Monroe) for the last three years. Got some pushback from my County Council member, pushback from the appointing authority, the county executive's staff, so I got down to plan C, and found Aaron Reardon at a budget meeting. Chatted him up, as I am prone to do, and told him straight away that I wanted that appointment, and wanted an answer on my application. I reminded him that "Go pound sand, Mahnkey" is a legit answer, and just tell me that if that is the case. He was gracious, as always, said of course we want someone like you, that is a mover and shaker, and by golly, I got appointed.

In the disappointment department, I was jonesing for a chance to test the evacuation for the 787. They load it up with B employees, get some cabin crew from real airlines, turn off the lights, and we get to go down the emergency evacation slides, but only half of them work, and they t'aint telling which ones work, and which don't. Tried various types of contacts, no kewpie. After a summer meeting where Pat Shanahan, a V.P. of airplane programs spoke, I chatted him up, asked who I needed to talk to, and he gave me a name. Then I said, can I tell them Pat sent me, and he graciously said of course. However, they did the drill before that, so I didn't make that one happen. My work colleagues are aghast that I did that, but hey, he puts his pants on one leg at a time, and I worked briefly for one of his direct reports, so had some previous interaction with him.

So, those were the great adventures. Made it up to Whistler on Memorial Day, not much mud, no snow, and no people. Had one of the glass bottomed Peak-to-Peak gondolas to myself, a normally impossible task. Made it to the ocean last weekend, storms, hail, lightning, and yup, no people. 248 unit place at Long Beach and TWO cars in the parking lot. Not much problem getting an upgrade to a two bedroom suite, third floor, full ocean view. All for my geezer rate of $66. Saw-WEET.

Lastly, many have inquired about my “toasty” voice. Got some smooge on my vocal chord. Kewel full-motion video pictures in color, saw it myself. Of course to get the little camera thingy down there you gargle anesthetic, which you have to keep on your chords. They tell ya it will sound like you are talking underwater, but I think these guys inspired and prototyped waterboarding, because it felt like I was drowning, actually. So, I have this young surgeon, about the age of my youngest kids, who is going to dive in there and figure out what it is. Not to worry, easy to come out, but many have asked, so I am telling ya now. Don’t be going and taking out life insurance policies on the Geezer, I have too much more work to do, making bureaucrats and politicians do what the sheeples want, and what is right and just.

Gato and I wish you well, a bright new year, and prosperity, joyful delight, all that you deserve coming to you is my wish.

AKA The Geezer

El Gato Wishes you a Merry Christmas

Monday, March 01, 2010

Old, but still true

Recently, during research at my Crystal Falls laboratory, my ‘assistant’ DJ and I discovered the following element. I am reasonably confident that other like-minded individuals have uncovered this same truth. We have been able to publish our findings ahead of the rest. You may all use your own capable scientific minds in applying simple logic to confirm our results.

“ This is the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element, Governmentium (Gv) has one neuron, 25 assistant neurons, 85 deputy neurons, and 198 assistant deputy neurons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact.

A minute amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second to from four days to four years to complete. Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2-6 years, it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neurons and deputy neurons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium’s mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neurons, forming isadopes.

This characteristic of moron promotion suggests that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass. When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administration, an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons…….” Respectfully submitted: Dr. T. Geexer, and DJ “Honeycutt” MD (Moron Detector)*

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Keep officers’ deaths in perspective

From the Lynnwood Enterprise, a subsidiary of the Washington Post, published 12-30-2009

Keep officers’ deaths in perspective
By Mark Mahnkey

King County Sheriff Sue Rahr shared with me a very moving “In Memory” note about the recently fallen Lakewood Police officers.

It caused me to reflect on how this tragedy was handled, and how it came to pass.

Now, let me be clear, I believe each man and woman, when they go out to work, deserves to come home in the same condition they left. Everyone has the right to choose their job, balancing personal interest, remuneration, safety and a host of other things.

There are many who “keep us safe” and die on the job, without fanfare or concern for their families. There is no balance, and no loss of life is worth more than another, no life should be celebrated more than for the least of us.

There are many who die daily “keeping us safe.” The devoted WSDOT folks, who are also public servants and keep us safe no less than the police, lost a fellow named Neal Richards clearing a landslide last month. There was barely a passing mention of his death, yet he too is a public servant survived by a wife and two kids. Isn’t Mr. Richards’ life and his family’s financial situation equally important?

And where is the judge’s name that let Clemmons out on bail? It is Thomas Felnagle of Pierce County. Just because judges wear robes, they are not saints. This same group, just a bunch of politicians, screams for keeping judicial discretion, yet fails to engage their brain in the bail discussion while serving up justice. Why is the media protecting his vapid decision to let this guy out, when he was facing life on a third strike? Then, the politician/judge hides when asked to justify his ruling. At least Gov. Mike Huckabee addressed his thinking on the issue of clemency…

There were so many issues to come together to form the perfect storm on this. Huckabee should have commuted Clemmons’ early sentence, rightly. A juvenile gets 106 years for a misdemeanor crime? But since then, where is the notice the cops broke a “Top 10 rule” to vary their routine? Where is the notice that Clemmons’ family had a chance in May to get him help and failed to do so? Where is the notice that his aunt called the police, rightly, and ratted him out, but who then got paid back by the city with having her house trashed when she was the responsible one doing the right thing?

If we are idolizing one public servant that keeps us safe, we should do so for all. And we should keep it dignified.

Sad, unacceptable things happened, for certain, but as a friend notes, “If my family were exterminated by a similar vermin, would the cops give the same attention to catching the bad guy?”

Sheriff Rahr is correct that we must ask “why.” What do these acts mean, and what must we do differently in the future? I plan on joining her in asking those questions.

Mark Mahnkey is public policy director at the Washington Civil Rights Council and was formerly on the faculty at Washington State University. He can be reached at 206-202-2272 or contact@wacrc.org.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mark’s Christmas Musings, also known as Mark’s blather and spew

Mark’s Christmas Musings, also known as Mark’s blather and spew

I had a bit of a challenge getting into it today. Started wrapping presents, and it just wasn’t as much fun as it should be. Forgot to put on the Christmas music, yeah, that’s the ticket. So, I did, my own little collection I made, and then all was good.

I do get such a kick out of getting stuff that is just right for my family. But, the jolly fat guy (me) had to cut back a bit this year. Longer commute, more expenses, loss of overtime just makes it more of a challenge.

But, you do believe in Santa, dontcha? I do. In fact I just went to www.noradsanta.org, where the Santa tracker is, and saw that Santa just left Brazil and is headed for North America, so I have to type fast. Do you know that the guy that got that phone call at the Air Force base in Colorado long ago, when Sears misprinted the “talk to Santa” number, and instead printed the “red phone” number and started the NORAD Santa tracker died this year? A shame. Story here: http://www.noradsanta.org/en/whytrack.html

So, I gave El Gato (click for picture) my faithful cat part one of his Christmas dinner. Steamed Wild Alaskan Salmon Appetizer (in a delicate broth, says the label.) I kid you not. Looks and smells like what you and I would eat. $1.29 per. Yup, nothing too good for my guard kitty, who keeps the house safe while I work. Tomorrow he gets the main course, Fancy Feast Elegant Medley, Tender Turkey Tuscany in a savory sauce, with long grain rice and garden greens. Also pricy, but he gets a big kitty attitude every day when I feed him his Purina One “Senior Formula” kibbles.

Such a great companion and joy he is to me, and I don’t even like cats.

Yes, Santa is still alive, and we see evidence all around. You ever have a “stretch present” you wanted—like a stretch goal at work, you probably won’t make it but just perhaps……..

I got mine this year courtesy of one of my wonderful kids. Got Dad a bunch of “boy gifts”. Wonderful!!!!

Cheech and Chong are right. Remember their bit, “Santa and his Old Lady”? It is about the question “is Santa still around”, with all the crap that goes on around us. Cheech doubted Santa still came around due to “too much recession, man”. “Too much repression, man” Tommy Chong replies. Yes, that is what we have, both recession and repression. My wish is that we have less of each, but each of us must work to make that happen. I believe, do you? Won’t you join me?

So, what is good? The Toys for Tots and other toy drives, including ours at the lazy “B” gave toys to foster kids this year. Good start, those kids didn’t choose to be where they are, and it is nice that everyone gets something.

How about that guy whose wife stole his kid, went to Brazil, then died, just got his kid back today that he hadn’t seen for 5 years. I call that a win.

I got to see the 787 make its first flight, a plane which I worked on the software for manufacture. Volunteered for duty that day, and was less than 75 yards from the runway just a few feet ahead of where the wheels left the ground. Now, that was tres kewel! Now, if I could just get on that team that does the evacuation test for certification, where they run everyone off the plane down those slides. I really want to do that, but not as the result of a crash. I think I finally found the lady that coordinates that, and she invited me to ping her end of January. That would be SAW-WEET to get to do that.

My boss-lady got a promotion, so I don’t know who I will be working for, and I am particular about my bosses. Perhaps I will apply for a position she will have in her new position. Back to Everett would be nice. Could go to South Carolina, I suppose for a couple of years. And I did apply for a position today in Grottaglie Italy with our partner. A two year gig, lotsa OT and no taxes on that income.

In the Mark the Media Whore department, I will have another op-ed published in the Enterprise next week (a subsidiary of the Washington Post, published weekly by the Everett Herald) And, I was interviewed by a chap for AOL,com-Finance, who was writing about the economic effects of false allegations of Domestic Violence.

In the keeping kids with access to both parents front, our bill is still alive this legislative session, but likely won’t see action. However, thanks to the Public Records Act, we showed Senator Hargrove (D) Hoquiam that the judges aren’t doing what he wanted when he changed the law, so we need a bit more data and a modification in a form, and he will have the evidence he needs to move our bill. Our meeting two weeks ago was warm, and he told us how much he appreciates our fact based presentation, instead of just whining. It is a long slog, but kids deserve both parents in their lives in a meaningful way even when the parents are no longer together. The social pathologies exhibited when that doesn’t happen are many, and the cost just to the state of Washington is $711 Million each year, according to a think tank study.

I am still movin’ and shakin’ instead of bobbin’ and weavin’. Still like to get outside, and up in the mountains, and have a list of places to go next summer. Of course, I have those irritating old folk’s things; wear a mucho sexy elastic sock on one calf due to circulation issues, but moving around solves that problem. Still go hard at projects for as long as it takes, I am energized by work, work with a great crew, and wake up 4 of 5 days without the alarm, ready to rock. That is a very nice thing!

Well, time to sign off. I just saw the Canadian NORAD CF-18s and the American NORAD fighter pilots in either the F-15 or the F-16 go by to meet Santa.

Best to all, I love all you guys and gals.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Holiday thoughts from the Geezer

This won't be one of those "holiday" notes, where I tell you about the $100,000 wedding of our daughter, or the month we spent in the south of France. Nor will it be "all the stuff I am thankful for".

I actually had some time to reflect today, and here are the results of that reflection. Yes, this is random thoughts, so don't look for consistency.

I was walking into the house, past the garden hose hanging by the garage. Nice hose, got it for Christmas last year. Was there anything wrong with the old one? No, shorter, smaller diameter, kinked up sometimes, but it was faithful in delivering water to the end of the nozzle. The boys asked what I wanted so I told them 75 foot, anti-kink, 5/8 inch flexible hose, and it showed up.

I looked over my list for this year, and I feel so rich and blessed that there is absolutely nothing I couldn't do without on that list, or frankly, anything I need. Nice to have stuff, for certain, but nothing I” really" need.

We are all so fortunate here. Even those with only a little in our great country mostly have food and shelter, there are few if any $750 annual incomes in the USA.

I have great friends. I have a great bunch of folks I do volunteer work with. It is a labor of love, brought about by personal experience. We will not benefit by it, but our families and our kids certainly will. And other folk's kids, and in the end, society in general, with better outcomes for kids, and lower taxes chasing the social pathologies we hope to eliminate.

We give our time freely, and for that great bunch of men and women I am thankful.

I have memories of some opportunities I have been blessed with I would like to share. This list is not exhaustive. The heck with meeting Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, Slick Willie Clinton and their ilk. I am more impressed with a little old lady in Mission BC that I had the fortune to visit with along with my friend, Sara on a few Christmas Days in years past, when our kids were with their other parents. It was her "extra" grandma. Nice old lady, told great stories, and she always referred to me as Sara's husband, so it was nice to get a promotion once a year.

She made blankets for the troops during the war, World War II for you younguns, had a sharp mind, could even remember her operator number that was sewn in each blanket. One time, we went up, without calling first (Sara used to roll like that, probably still does. She would have been comfortable being of age in the 60's) and the house was dark. I was fearful she may have died, but the neighbor confirmed that she fell, and was in a nursing home in Port Coquitlam.

Down the road we went.

She was there only a week, but could tell you how many minutes until the next bus came by, just from looking out the window during her week's stay. I want to be like her when I get old. Sharp as a tack. I really don't know why I am still impressed, but it was truly a blessing to be able to meet her, and to have a road trip with great company on a day that otherwise may have been a bit of a downer, without the kids.

When we had the grocery stores in Tacoma, all the big chains, and the small ones were closed, save for ours on Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was a "superette", which means a small supermarket, with meat and produce. It was such a delight to hear folks thank us for being open, with stories about relatives they didn't think would come, but did, and they, without proper holiday dinner food, but we provided for them, and contributed to their family enjoyment.

Yup, that is the sort of thing that I am thankful for, along with the fact I really have all I need.

My sincere wish is that you take a moment, and no matter what your station in life right now, find some simple things as I did, and reflect on their richness, and recall the joy that they brought you.

That is it; I said there was not a plot, or a start or end.

Best for the holidays, keep up the good fight, and be blessed with riches, as to your needs.

Monday, October 27, 2008

SnoCo DV shelter changes name, but not tactics

Now calling themselves Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County, instead of the Center for BATTERED WOMEN, becuase they want to serve men, yeah, right.

Note this from the business pages. Operative part below:

Cost is $15 plus an unwrapped gift or gift card for a mother or child

Guess the men and their children they now serve get bupkis.

Geezer OUT!!!!


Special eventsHelp the South Snohomish County Chamber of Commerce take a bite out of domestic violence with a lunch donated by Outback Steakhouse, from noon to 2 p.m. Nov. 19, at 10121 Evergreen Way, No. 15, Everett. Proceeds benefit Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County. Cost is $15 plus an unwrapped gift or gift card for a mother or child. For information, call Julie Martin or Vicci Hilty at 425-259-2827. For information about Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County, go to www.dvs-snoco.org.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

King County (Seattle) Sheriff Sue Rahr wants to hear from the sheeples, unless it is about DV

There was an article on Monday, in the Seattle P-I fishwrapper, about finding missing persons using cell phone records. Sorry, the on-line version was cut down and doesn’t have the quote about "we don't want to assist perps in finding their DV victims".

Now the story had nothing to do with DV, she inserted that little bait.

So, having a "relationship" with her Spinmeister, Sgt. John Urquhart, I wrote him a note, and copied her (text below) on what I thought of that.

I thought the note was fairly complimentary, but not the evil Sheriff Susan Rahr, who is in bed with the DV Divas, and their FLEAS© (That is Family Law Elitist Attorneys).

Bottom line, she thought she was replying to Herr Urquhart, but instead, sent it to the Geezer.

Now we know what the pols think of us, when we take the time to write at their invitation, and tell them what we think.

Oh, and that is really her desk phone number in her signature line.

----- Original Message -----

From: Rahr, Susan

To: The Geezer

Sent: Monday, May 05, 2008 2:06 PM

Subject: RE: Two things, two emails, this is the first

Who is this jerk?

Sue Rahr, King County Sheriff

516 3rd Ave.

Seattle, Wa. 98104


From: The Geezer

Sent: Monday, May 05, 2008 7:49 AM

To: Urquhart, John

Subject: Two things, two emails, this is the first

Your boss did a nice job with the press on the cell phone tracking article this morning. No doubt due to your working with her, to give her just the right words.

You can tell her that I said so.

And I don't say nice things about her that often.

However, (a good friend told me to always ignore everything before the words however or but) her dragging the canard DV into it really detracted from the piece......from memory.....'we don't want to reunite an abuser with his victim'.......

So, I can make a public records request, or you can just tell me. How may times, over what time frame (last year or last two years) have there been requests that you determined were an abuser chasing down the victim of DV requesting you track them down via cell records??

Yeah, that is what I thought.

The Geez

FLEAS © Lisa Scott

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Gasp! Did he really wear a pix of a pole dancer on his shirt to a public meeting?

Here's a pic of one of the guys who is very supportive of children as well as supporting changes in the Washington Child Support guidelines and custody arrangements in Washington state. Not quite wearing a billboard in public, but close to it.

Who is he anyway? Looks kinda like that Geezer guy that runs this blog.

WSDOT pisses away more of your highway dollar. This time to save the little fishies

Dem boyz at the Transportation Department musta got a new shipment of fine weed and been inhalin'.

Now they spend $300K on lighting the path underwater for the little fishies.

Yep, lights under the PT ferry dock (or at least when it runs ferry dock) to keep the little buggers from being scared.

Read it in the top link. Really, this is so weird I couldn't make it up, really.

Here is what I think about it, and my response to their crowing and spinning.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Seems the Geez outed some judges

Seems the Geez outed some judges


Stinky things been doin' in Snohomish County Courts.

Records kept in the Administrator of Courts, not in Clerks office.
Records deemed to be "administrative" and kept only 6 months, instead of six years
Records charged for as "real" court records, even though they claimed them to be administrative. They should have been charged for at "public records" rates, of a buck or two, not $25 each.
Records anointed as "not to be used as court records", yet the same court accepted them as court records.
Money for payment of copies (CD's) not receipted with numbered receipts--violation of state audit rules, and only cash taken
Handwritten petty cash fund checks written for "picnics", "camp fees", and "Nike athletic shoes", none of which is a legitimate expenditure of your hard earned tax dollars.
A commissioner's wife is the Court's public disclosure officer, and custodian of the CDs. No appearance of conflict of interest there, nosireebob.

Their response:

Ok, you caught us, we will move them back to the Clerks office and keep for six years.
No, we are not going to turn ourselves in for destroying court records without permission, and prematurely, tough.
We changed them back to be "real" court records.
We went neener-neener, and turned off the recording devices in the Commissioner's Courts, just for spite. No public policy reason, or no reason at all, or rationale, was given for letting the expensive recording equipment gather dust, instead of recording the public's business.
We have no concern about the appearance of conflict of interest in having the commissioner's wife be the public records office, and keeper of the CDs.
Important to note that they DO record Juvenile and Mental Health proceedings in front of Commissioners, but NOT family court.

Save for traffic tickets, the majority of Joe and Sally Sixpack's doings in the court are in family court. Yet your elected politicians will not engage with the great unwashed masses (me) in dialogue about their court administration, but instead send me to their patronage appointee who is the Court Administrator. He is accomplished at shoulder shrugging, and throwing his predecessor under the bus, but fairly worthless as to answering questions otherwise.

Do we not expect our friggin' JUDGES to follow the law? And to be accountable for their actions, and protect the public interest, by recording their courtrooms like thirty-seven out of the thirty-nine counties do?

I guess that is too much to ask.

Full letter to the editor published in the Everett Herald today, reproduced below.

The Geezer

Proceedings are no longer recorded

Jim Haley's excellent article on the issues in South County courts is only a part of the problem with Snohomish County courts. (Wednesday, "Court workers make discontent public.")

The same attitude is found at the Superior Courts, too. The Washington Civil Rights Council noticed that Commissioners Courts records were not being kept by the county clerk and were being destroyed after six months instead of six years, as required by law.

Several years ago, over Judge Wynne's signature, the court recordings were removed from the custody of the clerk to the court administrator's office, and deemed by fiat "administrative records" instead of the court records that they rightfully are.

When the Civil Rights Council brought this to their attention, the judges rightfully turned them over to the county clerk and pledged to keep them for the mandated six years.

The last few years of records were destroyed, contrary to state law, but the court is not concerned with this, according to a conversation we had with court administrator Bob Terwilliger.

In what appears to be retaliation, Judge Wynne turned off the recording machinery in the Commissioners Courts last month, leaving the good people of Snohomish County severely restricted in their ability to appeal the decisions made in Commissioners Courts. Upon inquiring of the judge why he did this, he did not have the courtesy to admit to receiving our communication.

Their hubris and lack of respect for folks who put these politicians in office, and their desire to keep their rulings in the dark and unavailable to the citizens, is repugnant and indefensible.

When added to their failure to issue numbered receipts when taking cash, as required by law, and their payment of public funds for disallowed uses such as picnics and athletic shoes, we also have serious doubt as to how these courts are run.

The Geezer

Director, Public Policy

Washington Civil Rights Council


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Everett Herald lies about gender pay differences, AGAIN

So, a year or so ago, the Everett Herald spins that tired old story about wimmin' being paid less than men.

I went after them, they finally tell me that since it was a Job Fair section, it was advertising, not news, and that the content was written by Everett Community College.

Sheesh. So, they blow the Geez off, fine.

Now again, they see the AAUW report in the link above, and start salivating all over again.

Editorial opinion is opinion, fine, but I do expect those folks who buy ink by the barrel to do some research before forming their opinion.

So, the Geez takes electrons on fingertips, and writes some eloquent sheyt, as he is prone to do from time to time, to smack them down.

The editorial editor says, no, Geez, we have very important op-ed pieces coming up, and so you have to write a 300 word letter.

Their very important op-ed pieces included a verbatim Governatrix press release, which is spun daily and available on the Guv's website and a breast-beating puff piece by the Prez. of the Edmonds Community College. Either he is an illegitimate son of someone down at the Herald, or has some mighty fine pix of their dalliances, because he sure gets his oar in the water with his self-serving crap.

So, I write the publisher, who doesn't even give the courtesy of a reply. Just get a reply from the editorial editor that says you were way over in words.

Well, hell.

So, I thought you may enjoy that note to the publisher, which is below.


The Geezer

Sent: Monday, May 07, 2007 9:16 PM
To: Allen Funk
Cc: Bob Bolerjack; Carol MacPherson; Elisa Teague-Cooper
Subject: Editorial policy at the Herald

Hello, Allen--

First, my bonafides.

I have been reading the Herald since there were block letters on top of the building, no Sunday paper and a row of VW Beetles out in front. Cruise the hallways, and you will see the picture still hanging in your building.

Second, you should know that I have been certified as a political gadfly by the King Co. Sheriff's Dept.

Occasionally I have a lucent and cogent thought.

The other day, after reading your editorial about women making 75 cents to a man's dollar came out was one of those times.

I fired off a smarmy letter, as is my habit, to Mr. Bolerjack, who, apparently in need of a round of verbal sparring, was considerate enough to ring me up.

As is my style, I suggested that his, and yours, by extension, analysis of the AAUW report was wrong, misleading and downright the result of drinking too much Kool-Aid from the misandric and hate-filled Wimmin's Industries.

I offered to write an op-ed, and was told, no, no, booked far in advance with too many very important articles for that. He did invite me to write a letter, which is very constricted to try and develop the issue. Nonetheless, I enlisted my colleague from the Washington Civil Rights Council, Elisa Teague-Cooper, and we knocked one out. It was not published.

I noticed over the next week that those very important pieces he had scheduled included a darn near verbatim press release from the Governatrix (new press photo here), which is available daily on the Governor's website and another breast-beating puff piece from Jack Oharah, who must be a stepson of someone down there, or if not, I want to see those pictures he must have of someone in your company!

Not what I would consider urgent issues of the day.

This is the second time the Herald has printed that (un)factoid. The first time was in a Job Fair supplement shortly after Ms. Iverson came on board, and when I tried to track that one down, the ad department didn't want to respond, and when they did, through Ms. Iverson's assistance, the deferred responsibility because that article was written by ECC folks. Of course, no where in the tab was there a disclaimer that it was a production of the ad, rather than news department.

So, turning smarmy mode off for a moment, hoping you are still reading, and understanding my warped sense of humor, let’s analyze that AAUW article that was used as the basis of your corporate opinion.

First, let’s apply Mark's acid test, shall we? If true, that you can pay a woman 75 cents to get the same work product you would pay a man to do, why hasn't an entrepreneur fired all the men, hired only women, and by the labor savings kicked the competition's ass?

Because, it 'taint true, Mr. Funk!

Now, running down the article, I offer the following, some of which I stole from those more articulate than I.

Equal Pay Day has become one of our annual rites of spring. This year the gender victimologists came armed with a new report from the American Association of University Women, Behind the Pay Gap, which purports to show that one year after graduation, women are paid 80% of what men earn.

The AAUW’s press release featured this startling statement: "Women earn less even when working in the same career field, likely due to sex discrimination." So no surprise, you trumpeted the 80% figure like it was revealed truth.

But women who are familiar with the AAUW’s long-standing gender agenda began to question the study.

Mary Kay Ham sardonically wondered why she, as a highly-educated columnist, should be paid less than a dime-a-dozen brain surgeon. To settle the issue, I suggest you download the report and see for yourself. I quickly noticed that the 80% figure is deceptive because it doesn’t take into account differences in work hours, occupational choices, commutes, danger (hence pay) of the job and other key variables.

When you do that, the wage gap shrinks dramatically. As the AAUW report finally admits on page 39: "The regression analysis of earnings one year after graduation for the combined sample of women and men shows a gender pay difference of 5 percent, controlling for educational and occupational choices as well as demographic and personal characteristics."

But it turns out the AAUW study omitted a number of important factors in its analysis, so even the 5% figure is exaggerated.

For example, many men coming out of high school enter the military and later go to college. These men command a bigger paycheck upon graduation. Likewise, men tend to accept big-city jobs with longer commute times. But the AAUW glossed over those facts.

Of greater concern is how the AAUW shoe-horned the many thousands of jobs into 11 broad occupational categories.

For just one example, take the medical profession which is evenly divided between the sexes, compared to nursing which is overwhelmingly female. The AAUW lumped all doctors and nurses into the same "medical professions" group. So you guessed it -- doctors are paid more than nurses, and that’s discrimination!

And women who major in business administration gravitate to HR, while men often specialize in finance. Employees who manage a corporation’s financial lifeblood tend to be paid well. But the AAUW put both groups into the "business and management" category. Yikes, more discrimination!

This isn’t the first time the American Association of University Women resorted to smoke-and-mirrors research to further its political agenda.

Back in 1992 the AAUW published the report, How Schools Shortchange Girls. The report purported to show that American schoolgirls were being kept down by the ever-present patriarchy. Man, they make those guys sound so powerful, I want to go to their meetings, and join up, but I just can't find them anywhere.

Diane Ravitch, former assistant secretary of education, took issue with that conclusion, saying flatly, "The AAUW report was just completely wrong. What was so bizarre is that it came out right at the time that girls had just overtaken boys in almost every area."

To redeem itself, the AAUW finally came out with a second report. Gender Gaps: Where Schools Still Fail Our Children had to admit that "National data indicate that girls consistently earn either equivalent or higher grades than boys in all subjects at all points in their academic careers."

But that oops-I-goofed document could not reverse the hysteria generated by the first report, which fueled the passage of the Gender Equity in Education Act in 1994, a law that contributes to the boy crisis I first saw near the end of my 13 year service as a school board member, and that we’re now seeing fully developed in education.

Again, this pay gap myth is perpetuated by your editorial, as it was with the Job Fair insert. You demonstrated the same tactic that the misandric and hateful Women's Industry always uses, repeat the same lie, over and over, and eventually it becomes accepted as the truth.

See: Superbowl Sunday, Rule of Thumb, Hospital Emergency room admissions, the whole Title IX issue, and the like.

Is it too much to ask that you take more care in analysis and conclusions in your editorial positions?

And I know you buy the ink, not me, but is it unreasonable to expect that when a local boy has facts and figures that shine some light on the darkness of your conclusions that you do not print even a letter to the editor? A letter signed by me and my colleague from the Washington Civil Rights Council?

Thanks for listening.