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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thomas Jefferson & Our Times

Poor President Jefferson must be wearing out his grave, from turning over so frequently.

Here's another quotation that speaks to our current times.

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.
Thomas Jefferson, Letter to the Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin (1802)
3rd president of US (1743 - 1826)
I admit this applies in a somewhat subtile manner, but this is too good to keep to myself.

We hold this truth to be self-evident: That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I am killing time while a contractor is fixing the fence, what better time is there for blogging?

In times like these, what better bromide is there than hackneyed old adages?

Ah one, ah two, and here we go!

It’s the end of the world as we know it, I feel fine.

The hens have come home to roost.

Bears make money, bulls make money, and pigs get slaughtered.

If you can’t see the patsy sitting at the table, it’s you.

Poop rolls downhill.

Neither borrower nor lender be.

If it’s too good to be true, it isn’t true.

The mule’s second kick teaches you nothing.

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Johnson & Boswell - Wisdom For Our Times

Boswell: I propose that America in this decade is the same as Russia in the 1980s.

Johnson: Russia had the brains to get out of Afghanistan when they went bankrupt. I refute it thusly. BahDing!

That's my story and I'm Sticking to it.

Spam You Can't Refuse

I found the emial copied below in my inbox Monday morning. I also found a glass of green koolaid sitting by my door. It was refreshing and delicious.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Here's the email.


Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship
with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country
has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of
800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it
would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my
replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you
may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation
movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need
the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these
funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly
under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for
a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the
funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund
account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to so that we may transfer your commission
for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will
respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used
to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully
Minister of Treasury Paulson

Monday, September 22, 2008

Listen to the Crow, Heed its Warning

This wise crow from Alaska has a message for us.

Although the crow speaks of only one candidate, we must apply its wisdom throughout the realm.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Gnocchi! Easier to make than to spell!

I had an urge to make Gnocchi last night. These turned out to be easy and good,although they don't make a striking photo.

Two large russet potatoes
1 Egg
1 cup flour
Salt and Pepper to taste

Peel and boil the potatoes until tender.
Drain and mash the potatoes in a mixing bowl.
Stir in the egg, salt, pepper and about ¾ of the flour.
Knead gently, adding flour as needed.
Roll into snakes, a la play dough, using flour to avoid stickiness.
Cut into 1 inch long segments.
Drop in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes, until the gnocchi float.
Remove with a slotted spoon.

I served the gnocchi in bowls in a light broth:

Olive oil
Minced garlic
Chopped fresh parsley,or whatever herb flops your mop.
1 cup chicken bouillon

Sauté garlic and parsley in some olive oil.
Add the bouillon and heat until simmering.

Serve the gnocchi in bowls with the broth.

Bon appetite!

Kennin's Tomb

A highlight from those crazy Russians. Read the whole story below.

Friday, September 19, 2008

South Park versus Gorky Park

It looks like those South Park (pronounced syout pyark) kids have done it again!

Once again , we find the dictators, despots and secret policemen of our world coming up a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic basket in the humor department.

The story started early in September, when a group of Russian bible thumpers asked the Government to ban Syouth Pyark

The Government responded by effectively banning Syouth Pyark,on the grounds that it promotes immorality, suicide, and debauchery in general. They used to call stuff like this counterrevolutionary. Big change.

And now, the punchline.

Not to be left out of the conversation, the Dork Party has taken to the streets to protest, producing these weird images.

Gyive me Syouth Pyark,or give me death! (or, at least, kill Kenny).

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

One Year of Slackerdom

I am nearing the anniversary of leaving my previous year of fulltime employment in Civil Service, after a year of fulltime consulting at a corporation. I can’t keep myself from looking back and weighing my life in this balance.

In the present moment, it feels like my life is in a holding pattern. I am not working on any great projects or toward any great achievement. I have taken up regular exercise, and I’m spending more time taking care of routine stuff and making music. I make just enough money tutoring on some weeknights that I am not a financial drain. I am President of a music society and a happy dude most of the time. People enjoy my company more these days, which is the best measure I have of my own happiness.

I left the fulltime gig without a concrete plan for the future. When I came to the opinion that staying on would make me a crook in my heart of hearts, bugging out for the dugout was the only reasonable option. Spending workdays engaged in dynamic inaction was more tiring than really working. I left betting that my creativity and other resources would be sufficient to develop a satisfying life, or at least more satisfying than working in a shady joint.

My original idea was to talk with folks in my field in the few local companies, and try to figure out some part time way of working. Before I got this effort started in earnest, the contacts got fired from the two local companies, in a couple of strange corporate bloodbaths. So far, all these guys except one are still more or less hanging out. The one guy who found work is now living in Singapore, his wife’s country of origin. All this baggage has dimmed my enthusiasm for getting actively back into the profession. However, I have kept my qualification and continuing professional education up to date.

Through the year, I have enjoyed doing morning yoga classes, going for a hike or bike ride in the wild areas near the river whenever I want to, doing the necessary shopping (mostly groceries) during the day when the stores are uncrowded, and butchers are willing to do custom work.

So I haven’t really done anything of note this year. I remind myself that the same was true for almost all the years when I was working fulltime. Sometimes the best thing to do is to just keep on going. I have a friend who looks at these times in light of ancient Egyptian history. Egypt had generations of dynasties that fill the centuries between the dynasties we view as great. Although not great, these dynasties were needed to hold civilization together between the great moments.

That being said, I am starting to feel it’s time to get off my backside, and expend more energy toward living a more interesting life. I have been warming myself at whatever fire I find near. Now it’s time to light my own fire. Step one is looking inward and outward to figure out what I am not doing now that I want to do. Burn Baby Burn!

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Mr. Sulu Gets Hitched

George Takei got married today,after about 20 years with his partner.

The LA Times’ Blog has this lovely short article,fo all us wanabees who weren't invited.

Note,on the utube video, Lt. Uhuru acting as an attendant. How cool is that?

I have trouble imagining anyone thinking this is a threat to their marriages, since I watched the entire video,and I felt absolutely no urges to dump the wife and run off with the guy next door. But I feel happy for Mr. Sulu.

However,we may see a majority of my fellow Californians vote a referendum (referendumb?) attempting to revive the previous ban against same sex marriages into law this November.

If there's a sucker born every minute, there's a jerk born every second.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Bulletin Board Fodder for Unengaged Students

I just pounded this out using Powerpoint,the springboard of small minds everywhere.

This comes from The Joy of not Working, the world’s most constructive manual for slackers, written by Ernie Zelinski. Zelinski,at age 29,asked his boss in an engineering division of a Canadian public utility for three months time off,and was denied, as you would expect. Zelinski quit his job and vowed never to work full time again.

My motivation is that I see a consistent lack of engagement in my students,especially the boys. It doesn't concern me when kids aren't really engaged in their Math studies. After all,high school Algebra I is not the most seductive material in the universe. What does concern me is the passivity some kids seem to apply to every aspect of their lives. Thirteen is a rather young age for ennui to by the major force in life. Ergo, I attempt to influence (OK, I nag) via the bulletin board. I often posts clippings from comic strips, so the little lords and ladies actually look at the board.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Money Happiness and Deep Thoughts

This article in Slate about money, health and happiness spoke to me.

From life experience I could do without, I relate to the warning that money buys you happiness only up to your physical ability to enjoy your days. However,it certianly takes a lot of weak intellectual tripe to say what can be better said in only two words, Carpe Diem.

That's my mildly pathetic story, and I'm sticking to it.

More Chatter about The Dude

Where Hangininsac stops,the professional chattering class takes the baton and blathers on.

Slate Magazine jumps on the Hangininsac bandwagon today. Remember where you heard it first.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Importance of Careful Editing

Looks like them feriner hating Republicans have hired my copy editor!

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures

Winners and Losers – Follow the Money

Since the start of my years as big money world of consulting actuaries in the 1990s, I heard a constant stream of complaining by people in households earning well over $100,000 per year. The complaints were about people feeling poor. One actuary once confessed that “It’s too hard to raise two kids on $150,000 annual income”. It seemed so strange. What is going on here?

How do people decide if they are happy with the money they have? I recall that in the 1990’s someone at the University of Illinois did a study that that showed people in the upper middle class actually less happy with their financial status than people in the lower middle class. I am too lazy to find a citation, so trust me or don’t believe, I don’t care.

However, this interesting factoid comes from This source . This ain’t a primary source,but I am not digging further today.

Percentage of Americans who say they have achieved the American Dream:
Those earning less than $15,000 a year: 5%
Those earning more than $50,000 a year: 6%
I have heard similar observations elsewhere. In short, a lot of folks with more money don’t feel richer than folks scraping to get by. Could this be an expression of some kind of mass hysteria? I doubt it.

This picture tells the thousand word story:

Perhaps we Americans are a little into social climbing, ambitious for increasing our social status. If that’s the case, than we’d be rational to evaluate our well-being by looking at the next highest rooster in the picking order. The corporate drone in the cube asks how is he doing compared to the guy in the side office. The side office guy measures himself against the guy in the corner office, who grovels at the feet of the guys upstairs.
If that is the case, you can see how the gap between the upper reaches of the middle classes and the richest 20% has exploded in our lifetime. The most recent data I could find only runs up to 2001,when the federal Government got serious about supercharging more tax breaks for the rich. The gap has only gotten bigger.

Therefore, you must pity your poor boss, whose must suffer the indignity of working for a boss so rich he treats everybody like servants (trust me I’ve been there). I am tsk tsking as I write this.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Dude: A Hero for our Times

This year marks the 10th anniversary of The Big Lebowski’s release. Apparently the dude has become a cult figure, with midnight screenings in some local theaters replacing Rocky Horror Picture Show (that counts as a mercy killing in my book). What’s the big deal?

Jeff Bridges did an interview in Rolling Stone, and that subset of the chattering classes is going nuts about The Dude. After enduring season after season of action hero movies (c’mon, how many thousands of movies can be made from the same story arc?), where the toughest – shelled hardass always saves the world, The Dude takes a refreshing and more realistically approach to wearing the hero’s cloak. The dude abides. Iron Man just wraps himself up in a shell and blows everything up.

Back to The Dude. The Dude has the qualities we need to save America. I wish The Dude was running for president. I’m thinking Walter for Veep. Actually he somehow reminds me of Guvpalin. Some quotation’s from The Dude’s platform:

On getting tough on terrorists:

Donny: Are these the Nazis, Walter?
Walter Sobchak: No, Donny, these men are nihilists, there's nothing to be afraid of.

Note - the key that there's nothing to be afraid of.

On foreign policy:

Walter Sobchak: Whereas what we have here? A bunch of fig-eaters wearing towels on their heads, trying to find reverse in a Soviet tank. This is not a worthy adversary.

On the economy & foriegn policy:

The Big Lebowski: Are you employed, sir?
The Dude: Employed?
The Big Lebowski: You don't go out looking for a job dressed like that? On a weekday?
The Dude: Is this a... what day is this?
The Big Lebowski: Well, I do work sir, so if you don't mind...
The Dude: I do mind, the Dude minds. This will not stand, ya know, this aggression will not stand, man.

The Dude is willing to stand up (Okay, slouch on the couch) for America!

The Dude: Yeah, well. The Dude abides.
The Stranger: The Dude abides. I don't know about you but I take comfort in that. It's good knowin' he's out there. The Dude. Takin' 'er easy for all us sinners. Shoosh. I sure hope he makes the finals.

The Stranger: I guess that's the way the whole durned human comedy keeps perpetuatin' itself.

That’s my story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Shanghai Noon in Sacramento

We went to Gold Rush Days in Old Sacramento this weekend. We do this almost every year, since it’s fun to see people dressed to the height of 1850’s fashions, horses and all the historical recreation stuff.. E_Clampus_Vitus , and mountain man types in general were conspicuously absent. No Indians, either. However, one of the musicians who played hurdy gurdy looked like a clamper to me (Drunk guy with a long beard).

Every time we have gone, we always get the story from someone from the Sacramento Chinese American Council. I don’t know why this keeps happening to us. It feels like we’d be rude to cut anyone short, because they all seem so nice. The guy who pulled us in this time is the author of the book this website is pushing. I didn’t realize that until I looked at the picture on the website. Modest guy, I guess.

I suspect we get drawn in because we look like we’re both either dentists or accountants. The Chinese seem to have an affinity for those professions sin these parts

The folks in the society must have a huge need to tell the story, which is actually pretty interesting. Anyway, they gave me some dried plum candies that weren’t bad.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

About Me

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I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.

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