Sunday, December 07, 2008

Leaf blower, Contracts, Team of Rivals, Movie Reviews

When a neighbor uses their leaf blower where do the leaves go that they blow? Well I can tell you for sure they go to the only place possible for them to go, they go into the other neighbors yards, driveways, and curb drain areas. For seven years now I have watched my neighbor from across the street take out his magical blower, fill it with gas, mount it on his back and commence to blow the hell out of the leaves, dirt, weeds, and whatever else is in his yard to the other yards on the block. Of course one might say, “Well the leaves only fall in November so you only have to put up with this once a year for a couple of weeks.” Wrong, this goes on all year and in the summer due to the mowing of the grass and it happens right after I have gone on a long bike ride and would like to take a little rest break(nap) to help recover. As I lay down to take this break I hear the monster across the street crank up and then blow grass, weeds, dirt and whatever else is in his yard across the street to my yard. So, now I guess I have another irritating thing that goes on in my life that I really can’t do anything about and must endure to the end, while this stuff is blown into my yard. So, I have developed some possible solutions to the problem and will consider taking some action in the following ways: First, I could just go out and buy and bigger blower and blow it all back into his yard. After all that is where it all came from and belongs back with the original owner. Second, I could install a giant alarm signal, kind of like a fire alarm, and every time the blower starts blowing the stuff across the street from his yard this thing would go off. Third, I could have a big leaf burning party and just burn it off either in his yard or in my yard when it comes over(this one is not really a good idea, but just thought I would throw it in), Fourth, I could petition to the legal authorities that this is really a big nuisance to me and the neighborhood and I want it stopped, Fifth, I could present a resolution to the state of Texas that would require all blowers to have a permit and license when they are bought and before they can be used. Now the good news here is if this were to be done then the government could create a new agency under the Homeland Security Department of Justice, called The Leaf Blower Control Affairs. The other good news is that this would create a whole knew industry for the country and another place for the bureaucrats to work, since you would need a Secretary of Leaf Blowers and numerous assistants, plus a staff to watch over the vast abundance of spending of the $1 billion budget that would always go over to about $2 billion. The regulators would need to be trained, and new uniforms would have to purchase for them, plus some form of transportation and expense accounts would be needed. So, you see as my problem is solved and there will be many other opportunities come to pass for our economy, after all this is the land of the free and the brave and we thrive on the free enterprise system. Don’t be surprised if this doesn’t show up on Ophra and she champions all of the offended citizens of the world who have leaves and grass blown on to their yards. Well it is Sunday in December, just days before my birthday and guess who is across the street blowing leaves?

There use to be a time in history when a contract was made between people that just required a handshake and their word. But now a 20 page, single spaced contract written by a team of 20 New York lawyers is just a bunch of words printed on paper, signed by all parties concerned has very little meaning. A good example is the way big time major college football coaches receive the largest amount of money and the best contracts money can buy, but they invariably mean nothing. Fact is they are really just one sided for the coach, not the institution, students, authorities or anyone else on the other side of the fence. A coach can be given a multi-million dollar contract but if he decides to go some where else to coach he is let out of the contract very easily or he gets a raise and extension. Case in point is our local head football coach at Texas Tech. Due to the tremendous success of the team this year he was of interest to some other major schools, but of course he was under contract with two years remaining. So, in the olden days he would have stayed on the local campus until that contract was fulfilled. But, now what happens is he looks at another job, but is not offered the position, then Tech officials offer him a pay raise, a three year extension and his off and running with a $12.1 million package. Wow, what a deal!! But, I would like to take the time to congratulate the team on a great season and the job that all of the football staff and players have done to really put Lubbock, Texas on the map. Even though this will be short lived if they don’t repeat it every year, I promise!!

Team of Rivals is a great book written by Doris Goodwin that tells the story, in detail, about how President Abraham Lincoln put together his cabinet after being elected to the presidency. Since he was the dark horse in this election and was given very little chance of winning, the steps he took in assembling his cabinet were very un-conventional. He went to his biggest rivals and asks them to serve in his cabinet, then with his tremendous management skills he was able to have one of the most effective cabinets in the country’s history. These were the most prominent men of their time, which was quite the contrary when it came to President Lincoln. He was just the opposite, since most of these men had considerable wealth for the times and were well educated, again all attributes that the President did not have. But, by enlisting them to serve with him he provided the country with the best possible leadership that was available for the country. Especially with the future trying times that lay ahead, i.e. the slavery issue, possible war, the economy, etc. (does any of this sound familiar?). Now we have a new President Elect that is putting together a cabinet that is certainly non-conventional and is a reflection of his desire to provide diversified leadership for all the people of our country. While I did not vote for him, I do respect what he is trying to do. Today it was announced that he has ask retired General Eric Shinseki to serve as the Secretary of Veteran Affairs. While Mr. Shinseki served as the Army Chief of Staff during the Bush administration he was at odds with Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld on a daily basis. He got into hot water with the administration when he said they would need at least 200,000 soldiers to do the job in Iraq, so the administration paved the way for his exit. You know the deal, disagree with this closed administration and you are gone, but it turned out he was totally right and the egg is on the other face. So now let’s take a quick count on the diversity of the nominated members of the new cabinet: 2 white males, 3 women, 1 Afro American, 1 Hispanic, and 1 Japanese American. It even has some rivals in it!! This next year is going to be very interesting to say the least.

Movie Reviews: “Twilight”, **, If you like vampire movies you will probably like this, even though it is not really typical. It happens to be a love story between a human (high school girl Kristen Stewart) and a fellow classmate who is a vampire (Robert Pattinson, age not really known since they don’t age but he appeared to be 17 or so). This vampire family lives in the community as a fairly normal family and the story evolves around this mis-match of human vs. vampire. Then of course there are some bad vampires who come into to fill their tanks on human blood (the good vampires fill up only on animal blood). Worth maybe a matinee ticket or the dollar movie house. Rated PG-13 for some violence and a scene of sensuality.

“Four Christmases”, **, This comedy had some potential but really never hit the right spots. An age old subject of being around the families during Christmas and the drag it can be. Plenty of star power here with five Oscar actors, and two chart topping country recording stars, plus Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon as the couple who have created a plan to not visit their families every Christmas. Don’t let the star power draw you in, but I guess it is worth a matinee ticket if you don’t have anything else to do. Rated PG-13 for some sexual humor and language.

“Lakeview Terrace”, *--, Actually a terrible movie staring Samuel L. Jackson as a control freak police officer that doesn’t like it because an interracial couple move next to him. The husband is white and the wife is black, so the next door neighbor Jackson (who is black) does not like this and gives them hell until the movie ends. A waste of time and money. Rated PG for intense thematic material, violence, sexuality, language and some drug references.



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