Today’s Interview Went Well

For what’s it’s worth, I was the first candidate they saw who wore a suit and tie; my supervisor accused me of raising office standards!

The new company is impressed by all of us.  However, they can’t give us any job offers until the government contract for our location is officially assigned to them, so we’re not out of the lurch yet.  I’ll keep you posted.  Stay tuned!

What a Change in the Weather!

Last Friday it was 92 degrees, on Saturday it was 78, on Sunday it was 72, and on Monday it stayed in the 50s all day.  Since then the daily high has creeped back into the mid-70s, but we expect it to drop again by the end of this week.  At home the indoor temperature dropped so quickly that on Tuesday morning I switched the main floor thermostat from “cool” to “heat,” so our parrot doesn’t get too chilled.  We also got some rain over the weekend, though not enough to end the two-month drought; we may get some more later this week as Tropical Storm Nicole passes us by.

Have you noticed the pumpkins are out early this year?  September isn’t over yet, but since Sunday Leive and I have noticed pumpkins decorating people’s doorsteps.  In the past I don’t remember them appearing before October 1.  Is everyone else in a hurry to get to Halloween, Thanksgiving, and autumn in general?  I also heard on the news that last year’s pumpkin shortage is over, so there should be enough pumpkin, both fresh and canned, for everybody.  Even for the Aludium Q36 Pumpkin Modulator.

I mentioned earlier that we’re changing companies at my workplace, due to the federal government transferring the local contract.  The process is supposed to be complete by October 18.  For me the critical date is tomorrow; in the morning I have my interview, and in the afternoon is the orientation.  I get the impression it’s just a formality for 99% of the employees, since the company is new to town, but I’m a bit nervous nonetheless.  Pray that everything goes without a hitch, and thanks in advance.

And Now a Random Thought on the Economy

Last week the nation’s leading economists announced that the Great Recession started in late 2007 and ended in June 2009.  That’s right, June 2009, more than a year ago.  Who are they trying to kid?  Not only are there few signs of recovery, which aren’t visible to ordinary folks like myself, but the rate of unemployment has gone up in the past year, not down.  Normally we hear it’s bumping just below 10%; if you include the people who are underemployed or have given up looking for a job, it’s more like 17%.  And we have a government that is more interested in social engineering than it is in putting people back to work.  An unemployed person can’t eat healthcare, and punishing energy-producing companies with new taxes or drilling bans will make the economy worse, not better.

Of course, with an election only five weeks away, the Democrats continue to blame their problems on the previous administration.  Well, they have held the White House since January 2009, and Congress since January 2007; how long can it continue to be “Bush’s fault?”  For those who think we are better off now than we were under George W. Bush, Noel Sheppard of Newsbusters ran the numbers and came up with this comparison:

  • In January 2007, before the Democrats took over Congress, unemployment was 4.6 percent; now it’s 9.6 percent.
  • In January 2007 there were 7.1 million unemployed people in America; now there are 14.9 million.
  • In January 2007 the median home price was $210,600; today it’s $179,300.
  • In January 2007 the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 12,500; today it’s at 10,840.
  • In January 2007 the gross federal debt was $9 trillion; today it’s $13.5 trillion.
  • The poverty rate in 2006 was 12.3 percent; now it’s 14.3 percent
  • In the final budget created by a GOP-controlled Congress, the deficit was $160 billion; now it’s $1.6 trillion.

Add it all up and: there were half as many people out of work then; houses were worth 17 percent more; stocks were 16 percent higher; the federal debt was 33 percent lower; poverty was 14 percent lower, and; the deficit was 90 percent lower!

Unquote:  Recently I have learned that a lot of people see economics as a zero-sum game. They think that if a person enjoys success, somebody else has to fail; for every winner in life’s lottery, there is a loser.  The is why the Democrats are going back to using class warfare tactics.  The truth is that a successful business or organization can enlarge the pie so that everyone gets a larger piece of it.  To those who believe in the zero-sum game, I ask this: if you find a four-leaf clover, does that mean there is another clover somewhere with only two leaves?

In the current economy, the biggest winner is the federal government; because of all the new government jobs created by the Obama administration, Washington D.C. and nearby cities aren’t hurting as bad as the rest of the nation.  Therefore, if you want to see private jobs come back, those new bureaucrats will have to go!

I’ll finish with a glossary of terms I heard last year, that have been redefined by the recession.

  • Recession: When your neighbor loses his job.
  • Depression: When you lose your job.
  • Recovery: When Obama loses his job.

Random Thoughts on Last Week’s News

While giving family news and an update from Lexington on the eve of the World Equestrian Games, I was too busy to compose my thoughts on the news headlines.  Here is what I am thinking about them now.

1.  The Senate race in Delaware.  My, but non-conservatives are making a big fuss over Christine O’Donnell, the Tea Party Republican running for this seat.  Delaware hasn’t been very important since it became the first state to vote for the Constitution, so the folks in that state must enjoy the attention they are getting now.  Why are liberals and the media so concerned over an interview O’Donnell gave in 1997, where she admitted to dabbling in witchcraft in high school?  Normally that would be a matter of concern on MY side of the political aisle, not theirs.  And I thought liberals tolerated every religion except the fundamentalist forms of Christianity and Judaism.  They even tolerate Islam, though it is notoriously intolerant of them.  Don’t they like Wiccans anymore?

And if O’Donnell’s statement was a verbal gaffe, don’t worry.  She’s running for Joe Biden’s Senate seat, and because Biden held onto it for thirty-six years, it’s obvious that verbal gaffes don’t matter to Delaware voters.

Finally, should we really trust the media’s opinion of Republican candidates?  In 2008, they recommended that John McCain was the most electable Republican in the presidential race, but after McCain got the nomination, most of the media folks voted Democratic anyway.  A fat lot of good picking McCain did for us, don’t you think?

2. Last week saw Iranian President and former terrorist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad make his annual visit to the United Nations.  I wasn’t going to say anything this time (I gave my comments on his other visits), but President Obama got involved to express anger when Ahmadinejad suggested that the US government was responsible for 9/11.  Talk about delayed anger; where was Obama when his “Green Jobs Czar,” Van Jones, had to resign because we learned he was both a communist and a 9/11 “Truther?”  Either he’s lying about being angry now, or he didn’t know that much about Jones when he appointed him to his staff.

3.  Ahmadinejad’s annual visit makes me want to ask again:  Why do we keep the United Nations around?  It is clearly an inefficient, corrupt, anti-Semitic and anti-democratic organization.  Maybe it proved useful in the past, but it isn’t doing the United States any good now.  Alas, nothing made by man lasts forever, and that includes international organizations.  The Congress of Vienna kept the peace in most of Europe for a century after Napoleon, but the order it established finally broke down; we call that collapse World War I.  Then after World War I, the League of Nations was set up to prevent World War II, but it was a toothless organization; obviously it failed to do its job.  The UN has done better than the League, having lasted for sixty-five years, but now it’s time to get rid of it, too.  Last week Neal Boortz suggested replacing it with a similar organization, where only countries with free elections are allowed to participate.

During the Ground Zero Mosque controversy, somebody (I forget who) suggested turning the UN Headquarters into a mosque, instead of building a new one.  After all, it’s a forum for Moslem countries already, so all it needs is a minaret.  If any politician promises to get the US out of the UN, and the UN out of the US, he will have my vote.

Let the Games Begin!

I wanted to post this message yesterday, but the host of this blog, WordPress.com, was down at the time.  Don’t you hate it when that happens?

Anyway, after four years of promoting and preparations, the World Equestrian Games (WEG) begin today.  Hopefully the electronic signs in town won’t blow up, now that the countdown of days has reached zero (LOL).  Now we’ll see how good Lexington is at handling an international sporting event.  The first horsey events take place this morning, and the official opening ceremonies will happen tonight.  There was a concert downtown last night as well, but most of it was rained out.

Spotlight Lexington’s opening night a success despite the rain

The rain came from a cold front that passed through Kentucky yesterday.  It looks like it ended this month’s unseasonably hot weather and the two-month-long drought.  Well, we’ll have to watch and see; past predictions ought to tell you I’m no meteorologist.

However, judging from the reaction of my co-workers, I think a lot of the local residents are more interested in today’s football game between the University of Kentucky and the University of Florida, than they are in the World Equestrian Games.  The match between the Wildcats and the Gators is one of the most anticipated games every year, for reasons that shouldn’t surprise anybody.  Good thing it’s an away game; downtown traffic will be bad enough with just the World Equestrian Games in town.

On the news they were also talking about the end of an era, as the last incandescent light bulb factory in America is closing.  It has been 131 years since Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, but with all the patents he earned during his lifetime, I understand even he would be happy to see the compact fluorescent replacing his invention.  I remember when I first saw those twisted things in a Wal-Mart, they were just a novelty to me.  Then in February 2007, my pastor began a sermon on the topic of compact fluorescent bulbs, telling us how much electricity and money they can save.  Since then I have been replacing burned-out incandescent bulbs in the house with the newfangled ones.  Compact fluorescents last longer, too; so far I have only replaced two of those, and both of them did not burn out until this year.

Overall I have been pleased with the performance of the curly bulbs, but there is one room upstairs with a sliding light switch, so you can make the room brighter or dimmer as you like.  I tried putting a compact fluorescent in that light fixture, and it only goes on and off; you can’t slide the switch to the halfway point for a dim light.  Hopefully I’ll still be able to get incandescent bulbs in the future for that one, though I know they’ll cost more than they do now.

I’ll finish by moving from a dead product to one that came back to life.  Over the past few months, the Chevron gas stations in Lexington have been switching to other oil companies.  The one the way to work, for example, just became a Shell station; I’m watching to see if they can compete with the Shell on the other side of Interstate 75.  I heard something on the radio about the parent Chevron company moving to the Philippines, but I’m not sure what they meant by that.

Anyway, last night Leive and I went grocery shopping, for the first time in nearly three weeks.  Across the street from the second store we visited, I saw that the Chevron station was now a Gulf station.  GULF?  They were a common sight in the 1960s and 1970s, but in the 80s they got out of Florida (my home at the time).  I haven’t seen or heard from Gulf since then, so I thought for sure that company was out of business.  Now their orange ball logo is back, will wonders never cease?

Another Spelling Error From Somebody who Should Have Known Better

The above billboard went up last week to advertise the website for the public schools of South Bend, Indiana.  Maybe they should have called them “government schools.”  After all, it works for Neal Boortz.

The saddest part is that four employees of the firm that put up the billboard looked at it, without any of them catching the spelling error which should be obvious to you.

When he wrote “The Outline of History” in the 1920s, H. G. Wells predicted that universal education would solve most of our social and political problems.  Well, here we are almost ninety years later; we call this the age of information, but I doubt if we’re any closer to fixing the world then we were in Wells’ time.  For a start, we know more than ever about which foods are good for us and which aren’t, but a trip to the typical fast food place will show you we aren’t applying what we learned.  And in the case of the billboard, it looks like our universal educational system isn’t doing the job.  It’s not reaching enough of the right people, anyway.  Finally, our educators leave out the spiritual element completely, but that’s something we can write a whole essay about, so maybe I’ll write on that in another message.

Do We Really Need This Reminder of Summer?

It looks like I spoke too soon when I said a couple of weeks ago that fall is here.  Since Sunday the temperature has been climbing up to around 90 degrees every day.  Fortunately there is an end in sight–the long range forecast has temperatures cooling down this weekend.  It is also getting dry enough to cause some concern.  We were getting the normal amount of rainfall earlier in the year, but now it seems that nature shut off the faucet in the last week of July.  Since then we have received less than an inch of rain, so we’re six inches short now.

I know, according to the calendar, fall does not begin until today.  But I’ll venture that if we had our way, fall would begin in early September, on or near Labor Day.  Sometimes it even seems that September would be a more sensible time to begin the year than January.  Think about it; the kids are back in school, vacations are finished, the weather is changing, the end of the fiscal year is not far away, and on the Jewish calendar, the High Holy Days take place (Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, begins tonight).  Now it looks more like nature is reminding us that summer isn’t quite over yet.

On Sunday I mowed the front yard, for only the second time this month.  The grass doesn’t grow much without rain, and if it doesn’t rain soon, the lawnmower won’t be needed again until next spring.  I also noticed quite a few leaves falling already, before they have time to change into fall colors like red and yellow.  I have been told the trees do that to conserve moisture and energy for the winter months, so this year’s fall color may be a disappointment.

On the radio a talk show host commented that the dry weather may give visitors the wrong impression, when they arrive for the World Equestrian games.  Hopefully they’ll understand that Kentucky is usually prettier than this, with grass that is green or “blue,” rather than brown.

Good For the 2010 Season

Last August 9, 2009, I wrote that my brother was making the Seminole jacket that will be worn by Chief Osceola, the mascot at Florida State football games. FSU has a tradition where Osceola comes riding out on an Appaloosa horse named Renegade; when he throws a spear into the ground, that’s the signal for the game to begin. Now he just directed me to a video from last Saturday’s game, which shows Osceola wearing the same outfit. It’s good to see that my brother’s work is good for another year!

“Engrish” For Fun and Profit

Last year I found a music video entitled “Prisencolinensinainciusol,” by an Italian named Adriano Celetano. A combination of rap and disco, it was his idea of what English sounds like to non-English speakers. Yes, the results are pure gibberish, and at first I didn’t think much of the video, until I found out it was made in 1972. If you’re too young to remember the 1970s, this was before the disco era, which peaked in 1975-79. It was also seven years before the first rap song, and a full decade before MTV appeared and made music videos a common part of our culture. Thus, in more ways than one, Mr. Celetano was ahead of his time.

All this is a lengthy introduction to the funny list I just saw, of English signs seen in countries where only tourists use English much. Thanks to the success of several English-speaking countries (mostly the UK and USA, but Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India qualify as well), the use of English as one of the five official languages of the United Nations, and its overwhelming presence on computers and the Internet, people everywhere want to learn a language that is so useful. Unfortunately, English is not a phonetic language, nor does it have a consistent set of rules for grammar (if it did, the plural for “house” would be “hice”), so foreigners often make mistakes that are hilarious to anyone who can read this. For example, you may have seen Engrish.com, the funny and politically incorrect website that collects examples of improper English on signs, t-shirts, etc., mostly from Japan. Japan provides plenty of examples because they have been good trading partners of the United States for most of the past 150 years, so they consider knowledge of English important, but do not meet many English speakers at home.

Anyway, here is the list. I remember the sign on the Bucharest elevator from a travel guide written in the early 1980s, and some of the other entries must be just as old (note the references to Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, countries which no longer exist), but if you have a sense of humor, they’ll give you a smile nonetheless.

Strange Butchery of English,
Signs Seen Around the World…

In a Tokyo hotel:
Is forbitten to steal hotel towels please. If you are not person to do such thing is please not to read notis.

In another Japanese hotel room:
Please to bathe inside the tub.

In a Bucharest hotel lobby:
The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.

In a Leipzig elevator:
Do not enter the lift backwards, and only when lit up.

In a Belgrade hotel elevator:
To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order.

In a Paris hotel elevator:
Please leave your values at the front desk.

In a hotel in Athens:
Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 A.M. daily.

In a Yugoslavian hotel:
The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.

In a Japanese hotel:
You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.

In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery:
You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday.

In an Austrian hotel catering to skiers:
Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension.

On the menu of a Swiss restaurant:
Our wines leave nothing to hope for.

On the menu of a Polish hotel:
Salad a firm’s own make limpid red beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger; roasted duck let loose; beef rashers beaten up in the country people’s fashion.

In a Hong Kong supermarket:
For your convenience, we recommend courteous, efficient self-service.

Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop:
Ladies may have a fit upstairs.

In a Bangkok dry cleaner’s:
Drop your trousers here for best results.

Outside a Paris dress shop:
Dresses for street walking.

In a Rhodes tailor shop:
Order your summers suit. Because is a big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation.

Similarly, from the Soviet Weekly:
There will be a Moscow Exhibition of Arts by 15,000 Soviet Republic painters and sculptors. These were executed over the past two years.

In an East African newspaper:
A new swimming pool is rapidly taking shape since the contractors have thrown in the bulk of their workers.

In a Vienna hotel:
In case of fire, do your utmost to alarm the hotel porter.

A sign posted in Germany’s Black Forest:
It is strictly forbidden on our black forest camping site that people of different sex, for instance, men and women, live together in one tent unless they are married with each other for that purpose.

In a Zurich hotel:
Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.

In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist:
Teeth extracted by latest Methodists.

A translated sentence from a Russian chess book:
A lot of water has been passed under the bridge since this variation has been played.

In a Rome laundry:
Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time.

In a Czechoslovakian tourist agency:
Take one of our horse-driven city tours we guarantee no miscarriages.

Advertisement for donkey rides in Thailand:
Would you like to ride on your own ass?

On the faucet in a Finnish washroom:
To stop the drip, turn cock to right.

In the window of a Swedish furrier:
Fur coats made for ladies from their own skin.

On the box of a clockwork toy made in Hong Kong:
Guaranteed to work throughout its useful life.

Detour sign in Kyushi, Japan:
Stop: Drive Sideways.

In a Swiss mountain inn:
Special today no ice cream.

In a Bangkok temple:
It is forbidden to enter a woman even a foreigner if dressed as a man.

In a Tokyo bar:
Special cocktails for ladies with nutes.

In a Copenhagen airline ticket office:
We take your bags and send them in all directions.

On the door of a Moscow hotel room:
If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to it.

In a Norwegian cocktail lounge:
Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.

At a Budapest zoo:
Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty.

In the office of a Roman doctor:
Specialist in women and other diseases.

In an Acapulco hotel:
The manager has personally passed all the water served here.

In a Tokyo shop:
Our nylons cost more than common, but you’ll find they are best in the long run.

From a Japanese information booklet about using a hotel air conditioner:
Cooles and Heates: If you want just condition of warm in your room, please control yourself.

From the brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo:
When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage then tootle him with vigor.

Tokyo hotel’s rules and regulations:
Guests are requested not to smike or do other disgusting behaviours in bed.

Hotel Anders Rom, Rome:
All female guests are welcome. please bring own towels for morning show.

Hotel room notice, Chiang-Mai, Thailand:
Please do not bring solicitors into your room

Hotel brochure, Italy:
This hotel is renowned for its peace and solitude. in fact, crowds from all over the world flock here to enjoy its solitude.

Sign in Japanese public bath:
Foreign guests are requested not to pull cock in tub.

Two signs from a Majorcan shop entrance:
English well talking
Here speeching american

On the grounds of a private school:
No trespassing without permission.

In a City restaurant:
Open seven days a week, and weekends too.

In a cemetery:
Persons are prohibited from picking flowers from any but their own graves.

Barber-shop notice, Bombay:
Hair-cutter and clean shaver. Gentlemen’s throats cut with very sharp razors with great care and skill. No irritating feeling afterwards.

Hotel notice, Bulgaria:
The inhabitants of the hotel are kindly asked to keep clean. They are expected also to use the various objects in the rooms only according to their predestination.

Hotel bedroom notice, Rome:
FIRE! It is what can doing we hope. No fear. Not ourselves. Say quickly to all people coming up down everywhere a prayer. Always is a clerk. He is assured of safety by expert men who are in the bar for telephone for the fighters of the fire come out.