Friday, November 28, 2008
If I had the floor at the auto rescue talks
By Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press columnist
November 23, 2008
OK. It's a fantasy. But if I had five minutes in front of Congress last week, here's what I would've said:
Good morning. First of all, before you ask, I flew commercial. Northwest Airlines. Had a bag of peanuts for breakfast. Of course, that's Northwest, which just merged with Delta, a merger you, our government, approved -- and one which, inevitably, will lead to big bonuses for their executives and higher costs for us. You seem to be OK with that kind of business.
Which makes me wonder why you're so against our kind of business? The kind we do in Detroit. The kind that gets your fingernails dirty. The kind where people use hammers and drills, not keystrokes. The kind where you get paid for making something, not moving money around a board and skimming a percentage.
You've already given hundreds of billions to banking and finance companies -- and hardly demanded anything. Yet you balk at the very idea of giving $25 billion to the Detroit Three. Heck, you shoveled that exact amount to Citigroup -- $25 billion -- just weeks ago, and that place is about to crumble anyhow.
Does the word "hypocrisy" ring a bell? Protecting the home turf?
Sen. Shelby. Yes. You. From Alabama. You've been awfully vocal. You called the Detroit Three's leaders "failures." You said loans to them would be "wasted money." You said they should go bankrupt and "let the market work."
Why weren't you equally vocal when your state handed out hundreds of millions in tax breaks to Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Honda and others to open plants there? Why not "let the market work"? Or is it better for Alabama if the Detroit Three fold so that the foreign companies -- in your state -- can produce more?
Way to think of the nation first, senator.
And you, Sen. Kyl of Arizona. You told reporters: "There's no reason to throw money at a problem that's not going to get solved."
That's funny, coming from such an avid supporter of the Iraq war. You've been gung ho on that for years. So how could you just sit there when, according to the New York Times, an Iraqi former chief investigator told Congress that $13 billion in U.S. reconstruction funds "had been lost to fraud, embezzlement, theft and waste" by the Iraqi government?
That's 13 billion, senator. More than half of what the auto industry is asking for. Thirteen billion? Gone? Wasted?
Where was your "throwing money at a problem that's not going to get solved" speech then? Watching over the bankers?
And the rest of you lawmakers. The ones who insist the auto companies show you a plan before you help them. You've already handed over $150 billion of our tax money to AIG. How come you never demanded a plan from it? How come when AIG blew through its first $85 billion, you quickly gave it more? The car companies may be losing money, but they can explain it: They're paying workers too much and selling cars for too little.
AIG lost hundred of billions in credit default swaps -- which no one can explain and which make nothing, produce nothing, employ no one and are essentially bets on failure.
And you don't demand a paragraph from it?
Look. Nobody is saying the auto business is healthy. Its unions need to adjust more. Its models and dealerships need to shrink. Its top executives have to downsize their own importance.
But this is a business that has been around for more than a century. And some of its problems are because of that, because people get used to certain wages, manufacturers get used to certain business models. It's easy to point to foreign car makers with tax breaks, no union costs and a cleaner slate -- not to mention help from their home countries -- and say "be more like them."
But if you let us die, you let our national spine collapse. America can't be a country of lawyers and financial analysts. We have to manufacture. We need that infrastructure. We need those jobs. We need that security. Have you forgotten who built equipment during the world wars?
Besides, let's be honest. When it comes to blowing budgets, being grossly inefficient and wallowing in debt, who's better than Congress?
So who are you to lecture anyone on how to run a business?
Ask fair questions. Demand accountability. But knock it off with the holier than thou crap, OK? You got us into this mess with greed, a bad Fed policy and too little regulation. Don't kick our tires to make yourselves look better.
I just want to add, the auto industry isn't looking for a free ride, just a loan to help get through this restructuring time. Loan is the operative word.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Me: "Tell me what the error is, I'll g00gle it for you."
My offer to g00gle for him somehow gets twisted in my brain.
Don: "IE has stopped working ... blah blah blah"
Me: "It says right here backup [snicker] blah blah blah click tools [snicker] blah blah blah changes will take effect [snicker]"
As I began to read the whole Microsoft page of instructions on how to correct the problem, I couldn't stop laughing.
Never have I read such smut! These IT geeks are incognito.
Restricted Zones, Privacy Tabs, Pop-Up Blockers, Special Cookie Handling, Size Setting, Active X Controls, Extensions,Restart to Restore , Re-enable Add-ons ..... and my favorite Reinstall Hardening!
We never did get his computer "up and running".
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
My sister and I went to a pre-release screening of "Four Christmases".
It releases this Wednesday, November 26th.
Vince Vaughn (swoon) and Reese Witherspoon (perky as usual) are an unmarried couple who have been able to escape celebrating Christmas with their families.
Until this year.
Both sets of parents have divorced, therefore, they have four stops to make on Christmas day.
I love a good comedy, and you may hear a chuckle or smirk out of me, but I'm really not one to laugh loudly in the theater. This movie was an exception.
Sandi and I were laughing out of control, [snort] nonstop, tears rolling down our cheeks,[snort] throughout most of the movie. We left with black mascara raccoon eyes, seriously.
Not so much the rest of the theater. Other reviews may label this, meh, another cutesy Christmas movie.
Sure, it was funny and laughter came from others at the appropriate times, but us?
We lost it.
I think my family should get royalties from this movie.
Have the writers been peeking in on our families lives? I'm sure of it.
Best line (delivered by Vince Vaughn) used to justify their decisions:
"You can't spell families without lies"
Friday, November 21, 2008
It’s the picture meme, and here are the rules:
* Go to your Sixth Picture Folder then pick your Sixth Picture.
* Pray that you remember the details.
* Tag Six others. (really it said tag 5, but huh? I see a 6 theme here, so I changed it)
So here is my photo, from BlogHer 2008 San Francisco:
I explained to Heather, Dooce, that my boss has seen the "Daily Chuck" photos and bet me that I couldn't get Heather to pose ala Chuck with something on her head. She graciously played along. Not quite prepared for the yes answer, I didn't have anything corny to put on her head. When I handed her my sunglasses, she said "I'll place them upside down so he doesn't think it's just a photo with my own sunglasses on my head." She's nice like that.
Oh yea, she's pregnant. She just announced on her site that her baby is due June 14th. Congratulations!
Now for tagging:
Captain Obvious ('cuz I know you have so much spare time, lol)
Fightin' Mad Mary (I know you don't do meme's, but you have fun photos)
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Ree, The Hotfessional, picked a great place for us to meet in the local college town of the Michigan Wolverines. While waiting in line to get into a parking lot, I spied in my rear view mirror, The Hotness herself, pulling right up behind me. Perfect timing.
Ree and I walked into the pub with that "wonder if anyone else is here yet" look all over our faces as we stretched our necks, looking over bar tops, tables and into booths. The pub is a series of doorways, leading to other bars/rooms. Since we were the first to arrive, we picked our table and sat our butts down.
The waiter came by with a puzzled look and asked if the hostess left us menus. Oops! We were supposed to check in at the hostess station, get a "vibrator" and wait our turn for our buzz.
Fast thinking Ree, "Uh, she was pretty busy, must have forgot the menus."
^5 Ree, thanks ... I don't really like waiting, I'm a snob like that.
Mommy's Martini showed up shortly after.
We sat there and talked about you, and you, oh and you too. But all in a good way! Singing praises to favorite bloggers and dissing some programs that put glitches in our attempts to pimp our sites.
Good food, good beer and wine, good times. I look forward to doing it again.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Spoken in "Jerry McGuire" by the adorable Ray, (Jonathan Lipinski).
That's been the latest movie line that I keep quoting.
Then there is:
"Did You Know?" ... 2008 Globalization & The Information Age 3.o
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I was invited to the Detroit Opera House for this Friday's performance of "Madame Butterfly".
Formal, black and white, and box seats.
Unfortunately, I can't go.
I'm missing my moment to recreate the scene from "Pretty Woman".
Doris (stuffy old opera going lady) to Vivian, (Julia Roberts):
Did you enjoy the opera dear?
Vivian: Oh, it was so good, I almost pee'd my pants.
Doris: (shocked look) What?
Edward (Richard Gere): She said she like it better than "Pirates of Penzance".
You know I totally would have said that and then watched as my host fumbled to recall Edward's saving lines.
FYI, the opera that was playing in the movie?
An Italian opera about a prostitute that falls in love with a wealthy man.
Come to think of it ...
"Wicked" ... would probably be more my style.
Monday, November 17, 2008
1 whole turkey
1 large lemon cut into halves
salt and pepper to taste
butter or olive oil, which ever you prefer
Heat oven to 350 degrees
Rub the butter or olive oil over the skin of the turkey, completely coating it. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you prefer.
Using a knife, gently separate the skin from the breast meat.
Slide the lemon halves under the skin with the peel side up, one on each side. This way,the juice from the lemon will release into the breasts.
Cover and bake 30-45 minutes.
Remove cover, continue to bake, basting until juices run clear.
If you follow these steps correctly, your turkey should look like the one below.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Many warned me not to look.
Those warnings made it all the more tempting.
I was told it would freak me out.
Almost nothing freaks me out any more.
I had to look.
I guess I'm a masochist. I couldn't resist the temptation.
They were right.
Nail. Head. Right.
I can't deny what I saw. It's right there.
My 401-K .............. losses.
I still have weekly deductions going into my
Should I halt them and stash them in my
Should I keep my investments as is? Not change a thing?
What are you doing as you watch your 401-K go down the pooper?
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I can't find anything that helps with my bags, puffiness, and dark circles.
I opened the cabinet in my bathroom to put my new eye cream in and staring back at me was this:
This is just part of my effort. Monthly, I pitch a couple products that either irritated my eyes or just doesn't work. Not that any of the other stuff works, but the older ones have to go to make room for the newer "miracles".
So, as I photographed the lot, I spied something else in the cabinet.
Perhaps my eyes are all messed up because these creams are just getting a contact high from this lotion.
::: curtsey's :::
Val, I loved you as the Iceman and swooned at your portrayal of Jim Morrison. You were still in great shape in Batman Forever but not so much lately. Now I understand why you were behind the scene as the voice for KITT. You have a couple new movies coming out soon, I hope to see "less of you".
John, Vinnnnnnieeeeee, what happened? That famous Saturday Night Fever pose won't fly with this middle age spread. Actually, you were still hot looking in Michael. Even with a few extra pounds,Vincent (another Vinnie?) Vega in Pulp Fiction made a tempting bad boy. Sigh, just like Val, you've hidden behind the screen with voice overs. But, I do love your new shaved, no rugs or plugs look. Way better!
Saturday, November 8, 2008
So many stories of where I've been
And how I got to where I am"
The Story Video
"But these stories don't mean anything
When you've got no one to tell them to"
We all live a "story", yes?
Friday, November 7, 2008
Seen through the eyes of Bruno, the 8 year old son of a Nazi commander of a concentration camp, is the story of his innocent friendship with an 8 year old Jewish boy, Shmuel.
They were separated by barbed wire, yet completely accepting of each other, as if they were living and playing on the same street. Sharing conversation, food, and games, they formed a bond.
When Shmuel reveals to Bruno that his father is missing, Bruno sneaks into the camp, disguised in "striped pajamas", the issued prisoner pants and shirt, to help his friend find his father.
A most powerful ending. Another reminder of the millions of innocent victims of the Holocaust.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
The line snaked back and forth with just about a foot in between each row. Wow, ya'll never showed up like this for other elections I've voted in. Welcome, glad to see you.
Good morning Mr. Nice Black Suit standing in front of me talking on your Crackberry, thanks for smoking that big fat doobie before you came in. I think the second hand smoke is the inspiration for this post.
And Mr. Yellow Teeth behind me, it would have been swell if you could have taken a quick shower and brushed those babies before walking out the door. I'd even settle for some Old Spice and Listerine!
Dude! Yeah you with the baggy ass jeans down to where your boxers are showing. Yeah, you with the piercings in your nose and a disc hole in your ear ... you rock. I don't care what you look like, that was awesome of you to offer your very-close-to-the-front place in line to the pregnant lady that looked uncomfortable and ready to burst. ^5 dude, she appreciated it and so did I.
Um, Little Ms. Shocking Pink Hair? Your skirt is waaaaay to short and your knee-high socks don't match. Your gobs of Goth makeup is a wee bit much for me but, you were so sweet and polite talking to the old lady standing in front of you. Helping her with her I.D. and explaining how the line snakes around three more times before she can vote. I am glad to see your young-self voting.
How nice of all the elderly volunteers helping at my precinct. 'Cept, most of us had to get to work and even though it's a grand social time for you, it would have been nice if their were younger FASTER people peppered amongst you to speed things along. Jim? We really didn't need to hear about your Sunday golf game. You stopped checking people in while you told the story. Either multitask or shut the pie hole.
Gramma? Was that a "poof" ripping between your cheeks or did you just shit your pants? Either way, glad you are behind me .... errr, until the line snakes past you.
Hey Young Mom with a toddler and a screaming baby, (((HUGS))) I don't care that one kid is running around and the other one is crying. Screw the nasty looks from the impatient people that forgot what it was like to have little ones. I'm just glad you are here voting!
Me? I'm finally next to vote?
shit-fuck-damn-sonofabitch-grrr, I can't believe I left my glasses in the car.
But I was able to vote OBAMA, no problamo!
Thank you all for such a memorable election day 2008!
God Bless America,