Thursday, April 30, 2009

Why Can't I Marry My Brother?

I love my brother and I want the world to know that I love him by having the state legally recognize that love and commitment.

We are both sterile so children would not be a problem. But we not only want that legal recognition of our love for each other but we also want the benefits that married couples have. One of us is unemployed and the other has a good job with health insurance so we could take advantage of that benefit. It would be good for the state because then the unemployed spouse would not become a public burden by going on Medicaid.

We know that this is not a traditional marriage but times are changing and the definition of marriage as being only between people who are unrelated needs to change as well. We all need to be treated equally before the law and love should be the only requirement that is needed for a marriage license. 

You might find this morally offensive but I should not have to live by your morals. In other words, keep your morals out of my private life. You can live the way you want to and I can live the way I want to. I am not hurting you by marrying my brother.

So, should I set a date?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Should Swine Flu Be Politically Correct?

This needs to be filed under "do people think when they open their mouths?" Apparently the name of this recent outbreak of the influenza virus has some folks concerned that the name "swine flu" might cause offense. 

The Israeli deputy health minister Yakov Litzman has proposed the name "Mexican flu" because Muslims and Jews consider pork to be unclean. OK. I always thought that the eating of pork was prohibited but I guess I was wrong. Apparently merely saying the word "swine" will doom you to eternal damnation. Litzman obviously did not think that the Mexican government might be a little irritated at his suggestion, which of course, they were. The Israeli government retracted the proposal.

But we need to follow this line of reasoning. Are we going to rename the Hong Kong flu? How about the 1918 flu pandemic? That was called the Spanish flu. US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack also does not like swine flu because it might hurt the pork industry. So we should then rename the bird flu as well. Why don't we just call the disease by its medical terminology - "Influenza A (H1N1) virus, human." Not nearly as easy to remember ("hey how about that outbreak of the Influenza A (H1N1) virus, human of 2009. That was a hell of a thing.") but at least the only species that would be offended would be humans. Pigs would be safe from defamation and Muslims and Jews would not have to worry - well, about what it is that they were worrying over.

The WHO has objected renaming the disease because that is what it has been called since the outbreak and the name is consistent with scientific naming convention. After all, it did come from a pig.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Noticing Small Things

It is raining this morning. That is very good. Looking out the TV room window I noticed the puddles forming in the yard. In particular a puddle at the base of the playset slide. It brought a smile to my face because it reminded me that four little feet made that puddle possible (and maybe a couple of big feet!)

Happy sliding! 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

FedEx and USPS - Reality Check!

On April 9th I ordered two pair of Crocs from their online store. Because I went over $50 I qualified for free shipping. A day later I get notified that my Crocs have shipped and I get the tracking number for FedEx. When I go to the FedEx site it states that my Crocs will arrive at my house by April 16th.

Here it is - April 16th. No Crocs.

My order sat in the sortation center in Dallas since the weekend. I am guessing that because it was sent by the cheapest method possible that there was no sense of urgency and it got put in the "Don't touch until the last possible moment" bin at their facility. Having been at the facility in Irving when I was truck driving I can testify that it was a most frightening place because the fork lifts zip around there with such speed that if you happen to get in their way you run the risk of getting scooped up and put on the next truck. But apparently I did not see the dark dusty corner where the unworthy packages get sent. I have visions that the guys back there sit around in plastic chairs, slugging Cokes out of bottles, eating cold pizza, watching a black and white TV with a rabbit ear antennae and talking about how they once were masters of the universe when all was right with the world and Eisenhower was president. When a package got tossed their way they would flip it over their shoulders and hope it landed in a bin. Except for Vinny - he would stand at the 3-point line and scream out, "Watch this guys, nuttin' but net!" (Vinny is not from Dallas.)

So my unimportant little package sat in the unloved section of the FedEx facility in Dallas. 

This morning I get up and check to see if my Crocs were on their truck in Austin just waiting to be joined up with their happy new owner. But wait - my Crocs will not be delivered by  a FedEx driver. No, No - they will come via the always dependable UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE - Answerable to No One Since 1775. I go to the USPS site, plug in my number and it says that the electronic information has been received but that does not mean that they are in receipt of the package. Translation - "we don't got it, we don't know when we are going to get and stop botherin' us. And another thing, we hate this internet tracking thing because people now think that they are supposed to get their packages in a reasonable time period. In the old days you get it when we get it to you!"

A few years ago I went to check my mailbox and there was one of those little dreaded yellow slips in the box that said "We attempted delivery of a package but there was no one at home so we have taken the package to the post office and it can be picked up anytime between 4:15 pm and 4:18 pm. If you do not pick up your package at this time we will attempt delivery two more times. If delivery is not possible we will send the package back to the sender and you will never see it again. It is up to you to contact the shipper and try in vain to get the package re-delivered or get the charge reversed on your card. Good luck with that! Thank you. Your post office - ready to serve. (OK, so it does not say that exactly but it should.) But here is the most odd part of my story - I was at home. I was not asleep, showering or in some far off corner of the homestead. No, I was in the house. The weather was pleasant so I had the front door open. My dogs like to lay there where they can see out the screen door.

This is what the dogs do when they see something out the door:

Butterfly lands in the driveway - Alarm level meant for us humans: "Invasion is imminent. Take cover!"

Squirrel in a tree - "The entire Chinese army is at the front door. Secure the dog food! (Not that Wolfie would care.)

Car drives up and someone is standing at the front door: "The comet will make impact in 15 seconds. Uh-oh, better make that 10 seconds."

Well, I am finding it a little hard to believe that a "delivery was attempted." Yes, I live in a rural area but I can see the mailboxes from my house. It takes me under a minute to walk to the box. Here is what the little yellow slip should have said, "Carrier is too lazy to drive down your road, get out of the car and make the delivery." I called the post office and asked why I did not get my delivery and she ran down the list of what she is supposed to say. After I responded to each of the reasons she finally ended up with "the driver was probably running late and did not want to take the time to go to your house." (oh, is that on the list?) To which I said, "And you're OK with this?" She responded, "well, you know, they have a certain amount of time to make all their deliveries." In my alternate universe brain all I could think of saying was "so if your driver was a nurse at a hospital and she were running late it would be fine with you if she did not give a patient their medication?" I went to the postmaster the next day and he was not so OK and promised me he would talk to the driver and remind her of her responsibilities. He then asked me if I wanted a job. At that point I felt I was in some weird Woody Allen movie where it was completely acceptable for people to say very odd things. I declined the offer. Could not have done it anyway - my vehicle did not have bench seats and it was a standard.

Here I am at the end of my story. It is 2:10 pm. No Crocs. Mail has already been delivered. No yellow slips in the box. Maybe tomorrow.

And maybe I will make more that a once-a-year post.