2014 Flower Pr0n - A Rose by Any Other Name Edition

Sunday, April 20, 2014
So I was in Southern California last week on business, and we all know what that means - a visit with the Mechanickys!

It was cold and wet when I left, so I was happy to see the Mechanicky Gal's roses doing so well. And since today is kind of damp and overcast, I decided to liven up the joint with some Spring color.











C'mon, Spring!

It's Furry Scurry Time!

Friday, April 18, 2014
As you all know, we recently adopted a rescue pup named Jackson. She's cute as a button, and her manners are...coming along. 

Because we decided to adopt a rescue rather than buy a purebred this time, we're participating in the Denver Dumb Friends League's Annual Furry Scurry at Wash Park on May 3rd. The money raised from this fundraiser will go towards helping the DDFL rescue and place homeless pets with loving families.

We've set up a fundraising page for "Team Jackson," and are appreciative of any support we can get.

GO TEAM JACKSON!

Boxer Blogging Tuesday - In Which Introductions are in Order

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Several weeks ago I saw a post on Facebook about a young dog that needed a forever home. Her face was so sweet, I decided to try and find out if she'd been placed.



Hi.
Last week I finally had a chance to talk to her owner, and we made arrangements to go meet her last night. The result is that we now have a highly energetic, waggy pooch hanging around the house. 

Watcha doin'?
Her name is Jackson, and she's an 8 month old boxer mix. She has a few puppy behaviors that need some work (how to act around strange people/dogs, learning to "stay," etc.), but she wasn't surrendered because she was a problem. Her owners had to give her up because her dog mom developed an allergy, and they were very sorry to see her go. I really feel bad for them, but I also know that she couldn't have gone to a better home (if I do say so myself).

I must drag out ALL THE TOYZ from the doggie toy box.
The first night was pretty uneventful. When we put her to bed in her kennel, she cried for about 10-15 minutes and then settled down until morning. We've had our first walkies (about 50 minutes), and while she needs some training on-leash, she did pretty well for our first time out.

Welcome to the family, Jackson. You're going to be a good, good dog.

2014 Flower Pr0n - Now you see winter, now you don't edition

Sunday, April 6, 2014
So I was traveling for business last week, and left on Thursday morning. This was the view out the front window at the Big Yellow House about an hour before I left for the airport:

"Spring" in Colorado. Really?

When I landed in San Diego, I went to the Mechanicky Gal's house, because that's how I roll when I'm in Southern California. I mooch off my relatives for lodging, drink all their beer, and eat ALL the Taco Shop foodz.

After I was done working for the day, we took the obligatory tour of the property (accompanied by the fierce guard-cats), and I admired the flowers.




C'mon, Spring. I need some sunshine in my life.

And so the kleptocracy becomes our way of life

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
I'm feeling especially cynical today. I think that's mostly because I'm now living in a society where it really doesn't matter if you're a good person or not, it doesn't matter if you break the law or not, it doesn't matter if you're a good citizen or not. All that matters is how much money you have.

Case in point the first: Professional cretin Richard Roberts IV, heir to the du Pont fortune, was convicted of raping his 3 year old daughter. Let that sink in for a moment. He raped his 3 year old daughter. He was convicted of this crime. And guess what his punishment is? PROBATION. Because such a delicate flower would not, according to the presiding Judge, "fare well" in prison.


Case in point the second: The Supreme Court struck down overall campaign contributions limits this morning in the usual 5-4 split. So the Koch brothers (or Jeffrey Katzenberg, for that matter) are able to pour their fortunes into political contributions to ensure they just keep getting richer and richer on the back of the middle class and the poor. You know, just like now but at a much larger scale.

Yes, I am apoplectic with rage, thanks for asking.

I hate the fact that the country to whom I gave my service willingly and conscientiously is now a fully formed kleptocracy. I hate the fact that I have no way of being an informed and contributing citizen in the society where I live. I hate the fact that my country - the richest country in the world - is now barely in the "civilized" category due to the undue influence exercised by the very rich. I hate the fact that the Constitution, the same Constitution for which I was willing to give my life, has been subverted to serve the privileged, rather than every citizen.

Fuck you, judicial system. Fuck you sideways. You're now just as corrupt as the other branches of government, and I weep for the Republic.

Link Me Up, Scotty - Sticking it to the Man Edition

Friday, March 28, 2014
Hey look! It's Link Me Up Wednesday, two days late and a video short!
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It turns out that Amazon has a new program whereby they will donate .05% of your eligible purchases to the charity of your choice. .05% seems like a small amount, but when you consider the amount of money that makes its way through Amazon's coffers in a year, this is not an inconsiderable commitment. I chose the Parker Task Force for Human Services, and you can choose your own charity at Amazon Smiles.
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I love being American, but sometimes the narcissism of our political system makes my teeth hurt. All this sword rattling and carrying on as it relates to the tension in Ukraine is the current case in point. Because really -it's not about us.
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But I could be living in North Korea, which I'd dislike, because I would look terrible in this haircut. That place resembles nothing so much as some sort of satiric depiction of what a despot should be. "I'll buy that for a dollar!"
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Geologist, writer and all-around good egg Rachael Acks weighs in on why Hobby Lobby and its ilk need a big ole dose of the NUNYA. And probably a punch in the eye. That, too.
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A poignant essay by a mother who's living on the edge, and how public shaming of the poor is a societal failure of compassion and morality.
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 You mean autism isn't caused by vaccination? Whaaa?


Nunya

Monday, March 24, 2014
So, my 90 day probation period with my new employer is over, and I became eligible for benefits on March 1st. This new gig doesn't offer Kaiser as an option, so after 18 years, I actually had to "pick a doctor," and "manage my insurance."

Picking a doctor was not really an issue, as the woman who does my botox is also a family practitioner, and specializes in mood disorders.

But this "managing my insurance" is giving me high blood pressure.

I've never worked for a company that was nosier about my lifestyle and existing health metrics. They have a contract with a health management firm who pesters me about every aspect of my life. "What's your BMI? What are your metabolic health values? How often do you exercise? Do you eat vegetables? How often?"* 

They then use these metrics to assign you a "healthy living score," which they provide to my employer, while simultaneously swearing up and down that "We would never share your private health information with your employer, OF COURSE WE WOULDN'T."

Failure to comply with this rude invasion of my privacy and questionable workaround of the HIPAA laws results in a $250.00 monthly increase in my premium, in addition to the not-inconsiderable amounts I already pay for coverage and my Health Savings Account.

These shenanigans are supposedly used to help employees achieve better health, but anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of statistics and risk management knows where this is going. There's not a doubt in my military mind that my "healthy living score" will be used to set my premiums moving forward. A failure to control my weight, the emergence of a chronic condition, or poor metabolic health will result in higher premiums. And that whole "opting out" option? I suspect that will eventually disappear, and if you want health insurance of any kind, baring your medical record to some go-between who works for your employer and not you will be mandatory.

As a dirty, dirty liberal, I consider the whole "health care for profit" model to be deeply immoral, and I'm willing to pay additional taxes to nationalize our health care system. If everyone is guaranteed some minimum standard of care, there's no need to target those people who have Type 1 diabetes, or mental health issues, or a history of cancer in their family. You just provide the appropriate care for these conditions, and if people want supplemental insurance for a higher standard of care, they're welcome to purchase it.

But the idea of the health insurance industry - not my doctor, the industry - having unfettered access to my medical record chaps my ass. Because it's truly, fundamentally, NUNYA.

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*The only they didn't ask was how often I had sex, but I'm hopeful they'll include details on that next year!