You're not going to believe this, but I've agreed to take Sandra to the NASCAR race in Fontana next spring. (this assumes we're still working at the paper) One of my pals at work, Mel, went this year in his 40' toyhauler that sleeps 8. Its a monster, that's for sure. Anyway, he told me that he parked in the overflow parking for $50 a night and they had portable showers and the portable potties as well. I know, $50 is a gouge for a campground, much less a parking spot. Nothing about NASCAR is cheap. I think we'll drive down on the Friday and home on the Monday. There's racing Friday night, Saturday day and the main event is Sunday day. I figure that if/when I get bored I can always retreat to the White House and watch tv while Sandra and Mallory are watching the car race. Sandra told me when we first started to date that she liked NASCAR. I don't understand it, driving around in circles. Both Sandra and Mel alluded to the number of cute gals that I can look at while I'm there. But I only have eyes for Sandra, so that won't do me much good. NASCAR, who would have imagined?
This last Monday there were nationwide pro immigration protests. As always, I have a few questions:
1) Why is there a perception that the US must let in everyone who wants to come here? 2) Why were the vast majority of protestors waving the Mexican flag? 3) When did the discussion of legal and illegal immigration become one and the same? 4) If amnesty is granted, what happens to the people who have waited, legally, to come here? Doesn't that reward those who knowingly break the law? 5) Why does asking these questions paint me as a bigot?
Let's look at my answers.
1) No answer for this one. Don't all countries have the right, in fact the duty, to control thier borders and who comes and goes? I think the answer is a resounding, "yes." I'm not against immigraton per se. I work with a number of first generation immigrants and they all waited their turn to come. Some of them have family in the queue waiting to come here.
2) No answer for this one either. If Mexico is such a great place, and you all have such pride in it, why are you here? I don't wave the Swedish flag, my paternal grandfather came from the old country. I wave our flag. We assimilated just fine. On my mothers side, we came on the Mayflower. The first of the invaders. I bet the native tribes wish they would have had better control of thier borders like we don't have now.
3) This is a curious point. Legal immigration is opposed by nobody I know. Wait your turn. Have a skill. When did opposing illegal invasion turn into anti immigration? I know, I already asked that.
4) Granting amnesty shows those who wait that they're suckers. Come on over illegally, we'll forgive you. Geez. What happened to rule of law.
5) Questioning any of this paints me with the brush of bigotry. That in itself is shameful and incorrect.
Mallory is in the 5th grade, and all the 5th graders in the district take a week every year and go to camp. This is done during the school year and is called "Outdoor Education." This week is the lucky week, and with Mallory gone we snuck off for a few days. Sandra and I went to Calistoga and stayed at the Roman Spa. This is a pretty cool place to go. They have a mineral pool that you can swim in, and two hot tubs to soak in. They also have a spa with mud bath and massage. Sandra and I took full advantage of the spa. Nothing I've ever done is quite like the mud bath. It looks awful at first, but once you get in all is well. Nothing warms you up and loosens up the tight back like the mudbath. The only issue is that you get mud in all your nooks and crannies and the shower and soapy mineral bath doesn't always get it all out. After the bath, we took an hour massage. Oooooh baby that was just the ticket. Once we took our beatings at the hands of the massuse we were ready for the pillow. Its a shame that we couldn't get the mud and massage at home, because our bed is the most comfortable one I've ever slept in. When I needed a bed, I didn't scrimp and bought a good one. Then I added a memory foam topper and all I can say is "oh my." Nothing prepares you for a good nights sleep than the bath and massage. That, and in my own bed would have been the topper. Still, Sandra and I slept like logs.
Nicole and Chuck got married last Saturday. We drove up to Reno on Friday night and it had been a while since I had the Suburban in 4wd. Though I'm not sure it ever was in 4wd. I pushed the 4-hi button and it didn't engage. You can tell becasue the steering gets a little heavy. Nope, nothing. So I put it in Auto 4wd where it engages on demand and hoped for the best. We got to the chain control just outside of Baxter and all was well. I drove between 25 and 30, the speed limit in the chain control area is 30. I saw a few idiots roar past me, one was passing on the shoulder in a jacked up pickup. (must have had LDS) Sandra accuses me of driving like an old lady, well tickets are expensive and stuffing the Burb into a snowbank would have been a trip dampener. We arrived at Circus Circus about 12:15 am and didn't have to wait in line to check in or anything. The next morning the three of us ate at Black Bear in Sparks before going to Antique Angel Wedding Chapel (link to right). Sandra took Mallory and Nicole to the mall and I took a nap. We all met back up at the Chapel and Nicole and Chuck got dressed and got married. It was just that simple. Chuck's parents and the three of us. Nicole rented her dress and it fit her like it was a custom dress. Chuck rented a tux. Y'know, the men have it easy. You fork out for a rented tux, a hundred or so dollars and you're set. If you have groomsmen they pay the same. Women, on the other hand, usually purchase their dress and it can cost over a thousand dollars, much less the bridesmaids having to buy a fitted dress that you only wear once. What a scam. Anyway, we all ate at Harrah's after the wedding. It turned out to be a nice and calm event. I forgot the camera so the pics are lacking. Sunday morning we ate at Black Bear again and made the 7 hour drive home. The chain control area was not as long as it was Friday night and again I didn't have any problems cruising at 25 in the chain control zone. Driving that slow for an hour or two really makes the trip a long one. The people on US-50 were dead stopped for over two hours when someone drove too fast for condtitons and crossed the center line, causing a head on collison. I'm glad we didn't sit in shit like that. So, I have a son in law and the baby's on the way.
The daily fishwrap, as well as the rest of the Knight Ridder chain was sold to McClatchy on Monday. At first this was good news. McClatchy is 26% unionized and isn't afraid of a unionized paper. Well, hopes were dashed as McClatchy announced they were selling 12 of the KRI papers, 9 of which are unionized. This includes the Mercury. So, we're in limbo for a while longer. My opinion is that my job is at risk. The bigger question is who is going to buy us. There are a couple of front runners. 1) Media News. These assholes have put me out of a job once already, when I worked at the Daily Review. If they buy the Merc, we'll all be out on our asses. They're an anti-union, anti-employee operation that will bust the union sure as shit. In buying the Merc and the Contra Costa Times, Media News would have the upper hand in Contra Costa, Alameda and Santa Clara Counties. This operation would be a formidable competitor for the Chronicle. 2) Gannett. They publish USA Today and don't have a large presence in California. They subcontract out the USA Today to the Marin I-J, a paper they used to own. 3) Tony Ridder. The hopeful rumor in Tuesday's fishwrap was that Ridder himself is going to put together a package to buy the Mercury. Ridder cut his teeth here at the Merc and it is claimed he has a soft spot for his baby. 4) The Newspaper Guild. Here's a good hope for us. The Guild wants to buy the 9 unionized papers. They're getting the funding together as we speak. I'd like to see the Guild buy the Merc. What better way to put up or shut up for the Unions to run the paper. We can all see first hand if the union way is the best way or not.
I decided to ride it out however it goes. I've got a few ideas for life after the Merc. I can't recall if I wrote about this or not, but the last time I drove past both Safeway and Yellow Freight in Tracy, they had the "now hiring" signs up with phone numbers. Safeway is a 24/7 operation and getting any time off close to the weekend is highly unlikely. I don't know if Yellow works on Sundays or not. I'll guess I'll ask that at the interview. My pal Tex left the paper to drive for a place in Stockton. They pay by the load and are a real trucking operation, though not in the Teamsters. He claims to take home more now than he did at the paper. He works a lot more hours, though. However, he does work M-F with Saturday work if he wants it. This is a desirable component to staying happily married to Sandra, having weekends off and working mostly days. But I wouldn't be in the Union and not contributing to the pension. That reminds me, I need to find out if Safeway or Yellow is in the PEER 80 or not. (That's the rule that let's us retire when age and years in equal 80 (or 82 or 84, depending)) This turn of events is sure interrupting the plan on retiring and full timing in the rv. I really don't want to work much after 55, those prospects are looking awfully bleak.
The divorce between Church and State ought to be absolute. It ought to be so absolute that no Church property anywhere, in any state or in the nation, should be exempt for equal taxation; for if you exempt the property of any church organization to that extent you impose a tax upon the whole community. — James A Garfield, 20th U.S. President (1881)
I haven't blogged much about Nicole, my oldest step daughter. She just turned 18 last month and announced that she's getting married Saturday in Reno. That, and she's pregnant. Yes you wise asses, she's marrying the baby daddy. Sandra's grandmother said once that "babies are always good news." Both Sandra and I are looking forward to the baby coming. We figure that this is a grandchild that we'll get to see, play with and not get taken away from us, unlike the precious Cecilia who we're not allowed to see anymore. We're going up for the wedding, the three of us and Chuck's parents. That's it. I may have a picture or two to post.
Well, American Movie Classics did a better job on MASH than they did on Animal House. For some reason you just can't say "goddamn" on regular tv. "Damn" is ok, go figure. Still, one of my favorite movies. I remember when I was young going to see MASH and Patton on the same bill. Two of my favorite movies.
1800 "Gentlemen, we are not, nor have we ever been, a Christian nation ...The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or Mohammedan nation." John Adams, second U.S. president. 1801 "I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned …" Thomas Jefferson, third U.S. president, in a letter to William Short.
This blog is for me (Joe) to keep in contact with my friends and family who I don't see too much of because I work nights. If you're wandering by checking out the blog from the Internet, well, you're welcome too, I'm 50 years old and live in California. I'm married with two bonus daughters and three grandchildren. I write about sports, scooters, vacations in the RV, my atheism, funny pictures, and pretty much anything else I can think of. I welcome all opposing views as long as you can keep it civil, my mom does come by on occasion. And, as always, the true focus of my life is my marriage to Sandra and fulfilling The Plan. Though the blog is in the top 5.