Friday, February 28, 2014

This is NOT good

Russian troops are apparently moving into the Crimea, though thus far, I've only seen this on Fox News.  I don't see anything on CNN, MSNBC, CBC or the BBC, at least not yet.  If it is true, it is ominous and shows that the Russians are indeed intent on reviving their empire, and note how they waited until after the Olympics to make their move.  Unfortunately, I don't think that there's a damned thing that the West in general and the United States can do to stop them............and the Russians are fully aware of that fact.  Russia will take whatever it wants of the Ukraine, if not the entire country.  Certainly, the EU won't do anything, given that it is dependent on Russian gas to heat the continent in the winter.  Hope that the Ukrainians enjoyed their brief 20 years of independence, because I have a hunch that those are about to come to an end................

I love my smartphone

That's the problem.  I love it to a fault.  I am one of those who is guilty of the annoying habit of immediately whipping the phone the second I feel it buzz.  It's rude and I wish that I could stop.  The flip side is, it is through that same phone that I am linked to my co-workers and my work e-mail so, as often as not, if it buzzes, it means that something important is happening.

What to do, what to do.........................

Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Sports Thought? Okay............

If I have any readership left (doubtful), they will know that I am a die-hard Montreal Canadiens fan.  Being a Habs fan, at least these days, is challenging.  It's been 21 years since the team won the Stanley Cup, and Montreal remains the last Canadian team to win the coveted prize.  This year's team?  Meh........I don't hold out much (okay, any) hope of that streak being broken.  There are some good young players on the team--Carey Price, PK Subban, Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, Michael Bournival, Jared Tinordi, but there are also a lot of stiffs (Hello, Rene Bourque) and players who would at best be fourth-liners on most other teams.  As well, the team remains too small, and unless you're the Chicago Black Hawks, who are small but who at the same time are incredibly skilled, you're not going anywhere.  My thought is that the over the next few season, the team should shed the dead weight by whatever means it possibly can, and PLEASE, can we call the Michel Therrien experiment a failure and move on?  It's like watching the second coming of Jacques Martin out there.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to my first ever NASCAR race.  What can I say, I now live in "The South", which is very much NASCAR country.  Yes, I watched cars go vroom vroom in circles for a couple of hours. Gotta be honest, though:  It was actually a lot of fun.  Granted, the people-watching was even more fun, but once can't but be impressed with the skill with which these drivers operate their cars at speeds around 200 miles per hour.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Over Four Years Later..........

...............I decided to finally write another post.  It's been an interesting few years, to say the least, and I make no promises that I'll blog again "full time".  It's just too time-consuming, and there is too much going on in life for me to devote all that much time to this (not that anyone is paying much attention, anyway!).  Let's see, where to start?  Well, for one thing, I am no longer a resident of the Garden State.  Last year, I moved from New Jersey to Florida.  Timing is everything, and I'm missing the worst winter in my old state in close to 20 years.  Still, I really miss my friends and the familiar sights from my old stomping grounds, and I wish that all of those friends were down here with me.  Love the weather down here, but I have to say, southern hospitality is largely a myth.  Yeah, sure, the people are friendly to your face, but that's about the extent of it. We've been here for eight months, and no "real" friends yet.

What else?  After 15+ years at my old firm, I left that job in April of 2010, and went to a firm that specialized in commercial litigation, bankruptcy and foreclosure work.  I don't know that that was such a great decision on my part.  In any case, I left THAT job in June of last year, before moving down here and taking a new job doing what I used to do at my old firm. So far, so good, as far as that's concerned.

Politically, I have done the proverbial "about face".  I left the Republican Party in 2012, mainly because I couldn't stand its positions on social issues or guns.  Very simply, I am "pro-choice" when it comes to abortion.  While I am personally opposed to abortion, I do not believe that I have a right to enforce that belief on anyone, and I don't think that the government should be in the business of banning it, as many Republicans seem to want.  I am also pro gay marriage.  Basically, if two people love each other, what business is it of mine to tell them that they shouldn't get married? Go, be happy--it has no effect on my life if two homosexuals tie the knot.  On guns, well, the Republicans seem to be completely beholden to the NRA. I am NOT a fan of that organization.  Maybe it's my Canadian upbringing, but I think that the prevalence of guns in the United States, and abject failure of our legislators to do anything about the level of violence that flows from these guns is completely unacceptable.  I had thought that maybe the massacre of 26 people, including 20 children, in Newtown, Connecticut, in December of 2012 might represent an opportunity for real change, but even that didn't do anything to change the attitudes of our government officials.  Hell, they couldn't even agree on background checks, which is something that the NRA itself favoured as recently as a decade ago (like the Republicans themselves, the NRA has grown more radicalized over the past decade).

And, then we get to the unemployed, for whom the Republicans, at least at the national level, seem to have utter contempt.  Full disclosure:  My wife lost her full-time job near the end of 2012, and was ardently looking for work from that point on.  While she looked, she collected unemployment benefits, but yes, she never stopped looking for jobs.  Unfortunately, she didn't get one (though I'm happy to say that she now has a job, and an exciting one at that).  In late December, her unemployment benefits were cut off, leaving us in a very precarious position financially.  We rode it out, but it for January and much of this month, until she landed her job, it was truly "touch and go" for us as to whether we would be able to make it.  Those benefits were the only "buffer" for us, and yet when they ran out, the Republicans started playing least where they weren't expressing outright contempt for those who were collecting them (I won't forget or forgive Rand Paul for his asinine comments that the people collecting those benefits were "lazy".  Yeah right, Senator, because my wife WANTED to make 70% less than she was when she had a job.).  They demanded that before they would agree to a three-month extension, the extension had to be "paid for" (i.e., extending them would not add to the absurdly large and still-growing deficit).  That had never before been a demand when any benefits program was extended or enacted, but fair enough, with the deficit being as large as it is, I can understand that.  To their credit, the Democrats figured out a way to do it, and then the Senate Republicans STILL wouldn't let it come to a vote.  Bottom line, the Republicans don't want anyone to get these benefits.  Period.  Well, screw them.  This has a real world impact, and people are now losing their homes, or getting evicted, etc., because of this decision.  That was the final straw for me.

So, where do we stand now? I'm not a Republican anymore, but I'm not a Democrat, either, mainly because the Obama Administration's foreign policy is so horrendous that I can't ever see myself supporting it.  That foreign policy can best be summed up as follows:  Treat your friends/allies like crap and treat your enemies with deference.  So, that's why we have the Administration sucking up to Iran, letting Syria gas its own people and treating Israel and the UK with utter contempt (if not outright hostility).

I suppose that going forward, I'll pick and choose the people for whom I vote based on how they stand on various issues.  I don't really know what else to do.  I'll save the sports commentary for another post.............