Saturday, February 28, 2009
SETTTING: The workplace. Mrs. Chako and team. Mid-day.
Mrs. Chako: "Wow. I could use some Red Vines right now."
Team member #1: (Giggles, almost uncomfortably)
MC: "Anyone else want a Red Vine?"
Team member #2: "You have some?"
TM #1: (Giggles, again. Oddly.)
MC: "I have some in my car."
TM#1: "You have some in your car?" (Looks amazed. Giggles again.)
MC: "Yeah. I'll go get some if you want."
TM #1: (Giggles again. Almost hysterically. Mrs. Chako mistakes for excitement.)
MC: "You like Red Vines? I can go out to the car."
TM #1: "No, I don't like it."
MC: "I'll share with the rest of you then, if you want. I have some open in my car right now."
TM #1: (Giggles again.)
TM #2: "No thanks."
I left the room to use the restroom. When I came back, the entire team was laughing.
Apparently, Team Member #1 didn't know that Red Vines were licorice. She thought I said "Red Wine."
Ahhhh . . .
Friday, February 27, 2009
But it's also opened up the debate on some volatile topics. Entitlement programs. Taxes. The role of government.
I know. You're thinking "WTF? The Wife gets political? I stopped by to read about some shoes/kids/poker/hot men. Didn't expect political."
I don't usually take a hard line stance. Truth be told, I consider myself a fiscally conservative social liberal. I value things like education, health and human welfare, art, freedom of choice, accepting diversity. But I like to know money is spent wisely. By myself. My family. My business. My government.
Mostly, I just like to debate the issues. I like to hear other people's opinions. Logic. Passion. Illogic. I mean, let's face it. Political views are kind of like religion. A lot of faith and gut feel, a few pieces of anecdotal evidence, and a lot of unsubstantiated or unsubstantiable claims and promises of things to come. A lot of "I'm better than you." And hatred. Just like religion.
The other day at work I ended up in a discussion with some of the folks at work. Now I'm in the accounting field - as you can imagine, a significant portion of my co-workers are fairly conservative. The topic turned to entitlement programs and the tax hikes to come. The arguments were the typical ones heard in conservative circles:
- We should be entitled to keep our wealth
- Entitlement programs don't work; only putting money in the hands of business will bring us out of this
- Why should the wealthy be punished for making more money
- Entitlement programs create disincentives for innovation and progress
What surprised me most was the people making the arguments were 20-somethings. People who have likely been exempt from paying taxes for all of their few working years until now. People who have lived under the protective wings of parents for at least 80% of their life. People who may have voted for the first time in this election. Who . . . well, who really haven't lived at all. So I listened to them rant about how all entitlement programs were a waste, and that taxes were evil, blah blah blah. Being the senior person in the room and therefore in the highest income bracket, they turned to me and asked me how I could stomach that the current administration's plan was going to result in more taxes on me.
To be honest, I didn't have the answer they wanted. They wanted me to be up in arms.
But here is my take on things.
- I grew up on entitlement. We ate government cheese. I got free lunch at school. My dad got farm subsidies and all sorts of tax breaks. But it kept him working every day of the year for his whole life. It kept three kids in school. It kept us from taking other entitlements, like welfare and food stamps. It kept my dad paying a mortgage and property taxes and other things to support the system. It kept me from ever wanted to find myself in a situation where my kids had to eat government cheese and free lunch. Seems to have worked just fine.
- I have a sister who is a single mom with two kids - their dad walked out. She's accepted programs to help her with health care costs, and child care costs. Gets the earned income credit. But she's worked every day since he left. Paid taxes. Lives in an apartment, takes care of her family. The entitlements she took kept her from taking more.
- I've made more money every year since I started working. I've paid more taxes every year since I started working. But you know what? I still am pretty well off. Not just relative to the rest of the world - but here, too. I have everything I need, and a ton of things I want. And more.
- I have accepted and believe that there are certain things a society should provide its citizens as a safety net, for when things get really bad. There are true social and economic costs of not having some basic necessities for all of society.
- I have also accepted that some people will take advantage of that safety net and use it as an excuse to not have to find any personal motivation. Its a cost of doing business.
- I have accepted that our government may not (is not) the most efficient at administering the resources behind that safety net.
- The government is only as good as the people behind it. The same people who have to reimburse their state $7,000 for travel their family took on the state dime. The same people who can't accept cabinet nominations because they forgot to pay taxes.
- I also realize that corporate America has not proven itself the most efficient at redistributing the wealth and creating opportunities for people. Enron. Worldcom. Bernie Madoff.
- Trickle down economics didn't work for Reagan. Probably won't work for anyone else.
- Free enterprise is a good theory in a perfectly free market. But the free market is imperfect. Information needed to run a free market is imperfect. People are illogical and emotional. Wal-mart is free enterprise at work - they are more cost-efficient at supply and distribution, which drives small inefficient businesses out of business. We don't like that so much. But we say we love free enterprise.
- We'd love to believe that giving the money to American businesses creates more jobs for Americans. But chances are, it will reward businesses who find a way to be more profitable - not necessarily by creating jobs for Americans, but by shipping jobs to where labor costs are less. So how do you make sure those companies spend their money on American jobs? Government intervention.
Any way you look at it, there is a flaw in every argument. Even mine.
I lived in Germany. Paid German taxes. Which sucked a hundred times worse than mine do right now. And the government services weren't so much better than I can get here. So I live with our imperfection here, because at the end of the day, I am living the American dream. Got my education, I worked my way to where I am, and financially, today, I am better off than every day before today.
Only time will tell if we can pull ourselves out of this economic quicksand. Taxes, no taxes. Entitlements, no entitlements. Government, no government.
All I know is for now, I will pay the taxes my government asks me to pay. And if I decide I don't like it, I have the choice to elect different representation. And I will give our new president and his administration a chance to do their stuff - because no one in the last decade has proven they had a better plan.
Oh, and I might buy an iPod. I'm hoping the next time 20-somethings start ranting about something they don't know anything about and haven't lived enough to experience, and want my opinion . . .
Talk to the ear buds.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
In a tribute, I give you ten things my favorite Betty has taught me in the last year of our friendship:
- Write, and let the world hear your inner voice. Or all seven of them.
- Men are a constant source of drama.
- Drama is not always good.
- Some women are CRAZY. Some are not. Most are somewhere in between.
- Sometimes cute boys drive big trucks.
- Sometimes brown things without horns are not another female elk.
- Jeans, tank tops, and a hoodie. All you need.
- You can never go wrong with another pair of cute shoes, especially if they are on sale.
- Your camera can paint a picture, tell a story, or just help you see the world differently.
- Never forget your fake name.
Happy Birthday, Hot Stuff!!!
(a.k.a. Jayne C.)
As a witness to the life lesson conversation he refers to, this is the ACTUAL transcript, which I find even funnier.
- Dr. Chako: What do you call it when someone does something nice for someone and expects nothing in return?
- Son #1: Uh, is it stupid?
- Dr. Chako: Noooo. It's called altruism. Do you understand what that word means?
- Son #1: Is it kind of like retarded?
Ken P nailed it on the head.
Except for that cheap shot about auditors.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Not opium. OPM - Other People's Money.
After dragging my butt out of bed too early (too much to drink, too much staying up late, too much . . . well, we'll leave it at too much . . . ) and trying to quell the shakiness with water and some Excedrin, I went out to make myself whole.
Got the nails and toenails done, like a self-respecting wife should do. Can't wear your Choos with chipping paint. Yikes!
I had planned to work in the afternoon, but was completely unmotivated. So on the way back to the Venetian, I stopped in the TI poker room. Played a little 2-4 limit.
I hadn't been there too long when I was dealt QQ in early position. Now, not having much experience with the table, I would normally be a little timid and would rather slow play this one. But I raised, like I should, and got about 6 callers, including the blinds.
The flop came out Q-6-4 rainbow. (Cue choir of angels) Now I want to make money, but the board is so random . . . I feel like I need to make continuation type of bets here. So one of the blinds bets, and when it gets to me, I raise. I got 5 of the people to stay with me.
On the turn, the dealer flips over the case Q. (Cue bigger choir of angels. QUADS!!!!!) This time, the guy under the gun leads out the betting. Betting into my QUADS! Did I mention I had quads here?
So now I don't want to scare the fishies. I just call him, and the guy down a the end to my left RAISES!. Girl to his left calls, and the guy to my right calls. Now I re-raise and get called by all.
River is a 5, and puts a third heart on the board. Guy to my right checks, and I bet. Guy at the end raises, and the girl to his left calls. Guy to my right wises up and folds and I re-raise. Guy at the end says "she got the boat - I call" and still the girl to his left calls.
Dealer says "show me a winner, miss" as the guy at the end says "Show me your boat" . . . as he flips over the nut flush. He'd gone runner-runner to hit his heart flush. I said "I"ll do you one better," and flipped over my quads. Groans, all around.
Not only did I rake a monster pot, quads at TI, when you hold a pocket pair, pays an extra $100!
Well, net, net, I think OPM is just making up for last nights deficit that ended up . . . who knows where.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
If you want to have eight babies, who am I to say no?
But if you want to have eight babies, and you have to PAY to have those eight babies (in vitro was not free, the last time I checked), then I, or any other tax payer, should not have to pay to support them.
Instead, in addition to receiving food stamps, etc., California will be picking up the hospital tab. And now she's asking for donations from the world, at large.
You know, part of deciding to have a kid (read, ONE kid) was a discussion about finances. How was the birth going to be paid for (thank you, military . . . I believe the deployment was payback for our medical care . . . we're even), how we would afford food, diapers, baby clothes, baby accessories, diapers, . . . diapers . . .
I am not taking a moral stance on anything but this - if you are going to choose to have babies, PARTICULARLY when you actually have to employ science to do so rather than the old fashioned way of "I hate the way condoms feel . . . what are the odds", don't expect me to pony up.
And we wonder why the state of California might be on the verge of bankruptcy.
Lunacy, people. Someone needs to give this girl a little reality Koolaid.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Instead, I'm doing this . . .
Oh well . . . he was the cutest one . . . and having met the real man, in real life, I'm ok with this result.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
And rightly so. I mean, I have raved about some non-husbandly touches recently. But these are special cases. These are men either PAID to touch me, and therefore obligated to pretend like they couldn't think of anything better they'd rather be doing, or they are men doing it for free with the expectation of reciprocity. Because we sucked at that round of poker. Its a consolation prize.
And I am working 14, 15 hours a day. I come home from the office after everyone is in bed more than I do while they are still awake. So not so much touching going on.
I've had migraines for the past few days. Which means that I go to bed medicated and am not lovey dovey.
And when I want to be touched, I pay for it. Not because he sucks. He's actually very good. And if you ever need an adjustment to some out of whack muscles or vertebrae, he's AWESOME. But I'm demanding. I'd rather pay for my touches, and be able to critique them as a professional, than risk offending the guy I gotta live with every day just 'cause this isn't his day job.
So please remind him that:
(a) He touches very nicely.
(b) We all still love him.
Now, will someone touch my husband, please?
PS: Don't do it too hard, he's got sensitive skin.
Monday, February 9, 2009
I would miss his hands.
I still had Tom. But he's not as consistent. Just cheap.
I needed a replacement.
RT. I scoffed at his name. Well, his initials. What's up with a guy who goes by initials? My experience with guys with initials is kind of hit or miss. Love 'em or leave 'em.
But I was in a bad way. I needed someone. So I said yes. Sight unseen.
He walked in promptly at 8:30. A strapping, compact wall of black muscle and shaved head. Two gold earrings, like a pirate. Reached out to shake my hand as he introduced himself.
"RT." Squeezed my hand firmly. I gave in and followed him.
An hour later, I was in love.
He punished the bad muscles. Smoothed away the aches and pains. Made me sigh. And almost cry.
When it was all over, he told me I was a delight, and had a beautiful body.
As if I needed any more convincing to be in love . . .
See you in a couple weeks, RT.
PS: For the record, MHG is still my favorite free masseur . . .
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Nope, hugging the person to your right doesn't hurt . . .
Little bit of a stretch . . . but nothing I can't handle . . .
Nope, this didn't hurt me at all . . .
Uh, what do you think your are doing?
Hmmm . . . nose to the ground . . . this could be painful . . .
WTF???? What's with the tongue?
Pirate Lawyer decided to leave the comfort of pacifism and socialism and recycling and liberal thinking and head down south of the border to Seattle. Where we embody the best of American ideals . . . like pacifism, socialism, recycling and liberal thinking. What can I say? We're a blue state.
Thanks to MHG for hosting. It was a perfect low-key evening marked by lots of fun poker, Wii, a couple push-up challenges (no wonder my arms are sore), and massages . . . you know you're having a good time when all of a sudden its past 2 and you're not even tired (unless you've had too many Makers and Diet Cokes . . . not to mention any names . . . ).
Memorable moments include . . .
- Shrike being the Gigli in the first tourney like two hands into it when his 96 club flush when down in flames to MHGs K3 club flush (Shrike did have the gutshot draw to the straight flush, to his credit)
- Zeem's laydown in that same hand, with the QJ of clubs after the betting and raising and all-in . . . you da man . . . best hand not played. Ever.
- Me trying my one bluff of the evening, failing to convince Matt, and then sucking out on him anyway.
- Cayne sucking out on me and knocking me out of the tourney.
- Finding out I SUCK at Wii.
- Learning how to play Wii baseball lefthanded 'cause I'm too lazy to play with a different Mii than MHG's lefty guy.
- Realizing that I gotta save the cleavage factor for the real casinos. These guys actually came to play poker and does not appear to be a distraction to them at all. Either that, or I gotta step up the distraction factor.
- Finding out I suck at Chinese Checkers head to head with MHG.
- Finding out I suck at pushups.
- Finding out my camera freezes when my husband tries to take cleavage shots of me doing push ups.
- Finding out I can still give massages.
- Remembering I like getting massages even better.
- Remembering that I like getting massages from adorable 26 year old guys even better. Sue me.
The evening was full of great quotes as well, a significant portion attributable to Zeem. I'm sure they'll all come back to me soon. I just remember being in a conversation with the group about some topic of social importance, and someone made the comment about 14-year olds losing their virginity. I piped in "Hey, it took some of us another 4 years to get there . . . " to which Zeem replied . . . "Hey, some of us are still working on it!"
It's a close tie for favorite with "You know, I'm not used to giving massages with clothes on." Funny thing is, I'm not used to getting massages with clothes on either. We can negotiate, next time.
I'll post more later, but all in all, it was a great night. I think we forgot to hot tub, but I'll just have to save that for a next time. If we're invited.
I promise I'll trade massages.