Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Presidents Day

Dear George,

Happy Presidents Day! Well here we are at your last ever Presidents Day. Next year you will have to give the holiday to the next guy (or gal). Don't feel too bad about that, giving up your own holiday is not so bad. After you retire every day will be a holiday. Just think of all the time that you are going to spend on the golf course next year. I know that golf is not nearly as exciting as landing fighter jets on aircraft carriers and telling the generals how to fight wars and spending time in the dungeons torturing people, but you can't be president forever. At least now the secret service might let you go hunting with Dick Cheney again.

You have left the next president with some pretty big shoes to fill when it comes to this holiday. I think that most presidents would have been cool with a backyard barbecue, possibly a ski trip. But not you; your Presidents Day celebrations had some serious festivities going on. Like games of hide and seek with weapons of freakin' mass destruction. Woot! No small stakes party games for you. There is no way a democratic panzy president can top that. What are they going to play? Find the tree hugger in the forest? They probably won't even let you use clearcutting.

I know you don't like to make your Presidents Day celebrations all that big of a deal. I'm guessing that is why you give so many people the day off along with you. That way everyone is busy enjoying their own ski trip or barbecue and don't pay so much attention to what you are up to. Good thing too, all those poor people and newspaper reporters raised an awful stink when no one found those WMD's. Sheesh. Just because they didn't find the big prize is no reason to get their panties in a twist.

So what are you planning for this year? For your last Presidents Day holiday are you going to have a big blow out with games of pin the terrorist to the waterboard and playing nuclear chicken with Iran? Or do you have in mind a quieter celebration with a few of your close oil buddies swimming in a big pool of money?

Whichever it is, I'm gonna miss your larger than life style. You have inspired me to live as if there will be no consequences. Enjoy your holiday.

Montana Jones

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Things I have learned volunteering at the food bank

  • You can usually get a little more if you just ask.
  • You can also get toothpaste, soap, diapers, deodorant, tampons and other stuff. But you have to ask.
  • Muffins tend to be more popular than doughnuts.
  • It feels good to give someone something extra that they did not ask for.
  • It is easier to give and to receive when you smile, are courteous, friendly and say thank you.
  • Most of the volunteers are retirees that need something to do, teenagers, or people that have used the food bank and want to give back.
  • In general, rich people tend to donate money, poor people give time and money, and middle class people donate food.
  • Some people have no qualms about donating food that they would not eat themselves.
  • I was surprised at how much meat is given out and how little rice and potatoes.
  • There is little to no effort put into choosing healthy foods. At the food bank edible is more important than healthy.
  • It is frightening how many people don't understand that dented canned goods can be dangerous.
  • It would be political suicide for the health department to audit the food bank. They don't go near the place.
  • The food bank is very clean anyway. Volunteers are constantly cleaning, raw foods are handled with gloves and there is easy access to hand sanitizer everywhere.
  • People with new and expensive clothing do use the food bank, but I have never seen the same person twice. People with worn and cheap clothing are the repeat customers.
  • Creating more rules and regulations with the intent to deter people abusing the system will stop some of the abuse. It will also stop some of the people that need help.
  • People that think the world owes them something are more likely to need a handout.
  • Some of the people that think the world owes them something don't need the handout, but they take it anyway.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Google mojo

Does anyone know how to do a Google search (or any other search engine for that matter) that will return a list of colleges and universities that begin fall classes in September?

I have pulled out every bit of Google mojo I know and I can't find what I am looking for.

I even tried using a SQL statement.

Your search - SELECT "Acedemic Calendar" FROM "United states colleges and Universities" WHERE "Fall Classes Begin" > "September 12, 2008" - did not match any documents.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

It's the economy...

you know the big media outlets. ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and so on. You know those guys.
Well, they have successfully predicted 40 of the last two recessions.

The mortgage crisis is not dying off, it is only going to get worse. You know all those international investors that bought the subprime mortgages, well, they are going to start suing. They were sold unsecured loans as though they were secure loans. They are going to sue the middle men banks to get their money back. These banks are going to get screwed from defaulted home loans on one side and get screwed by lawsuits from international investors on the other. There are some banks that will not exist anymore in a year.

Keep an eye on the real estate markets this year. Around June things will start shaking out and it might be a good time to buy that house you want.
I have been watching. I was doing a search last night in fact. I am starting to see the cracks in the ice. Six months ago I was seeing the $600,000 houses drop price to $500,000.
Big woopty.
Yeah, not very useful. But just now in the past couple weeks I have started seeing the $250,000 house drop to $200,000. There are even a handful for less than $200,000 come onto the market. We might just see the starter houses become affordable again this year.
That is what we need. Get those $250,000 houses back down to $175,000 and people might be able to afford to live here again.

I can't believe how short peoples memories are. I still remember what happened right after Vietnam. The economy was in the shitter. LBJ spent all our money in Vietnam and there was nothing left for ourselves. The same thing is happening in Iraq.
Only more so.
Yeah, more so. George is throwing money away in spades. Do you remember what happened back in the 70s? Back in 1978 and 1979?
Not much economically. The word stagflation comes to mind.
In 1979 the interest rate was 16%. No one could borrow any money without these incredible fees on it. The government had to do it, they had to charge these huge interest rates to try to make back some of the money that was thrown away in Vietnam.

I'm starting to change my mind about switching banks?
The big question right now is which banks are going to still be here in a year. Ever wonder how Glacier Bank got so big so fast? I bet they were dealing in those shady loans. If so, they are going to take it hard too. So I want to wait and figure out who is going to buy out whom and which banks will be left standing in a year.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, February 11, 2008


I have been three years in Montana. Three years in this apartment. The clutter stands as testament. That pile of consumed magazines has changed from a good intention to recycle to the spot that I toss the next magazine; and in my minds eye it is invisible. Along with the dusty crud on the floor by the fridge and the piles of office work and the piles of printer cartridges. It's like my home has become stale. Even the view out my window feels tired.

Part of it is the winter doldrums. That malaise that comes across me this time of year when it is dark and cold all the time and nothing sounds good. Another part of it is complacency. Three years in the same home is 1095 days and counting. When I moved in I had big plans, buying furniture, self improvement, lofty goals. Eleven hundred days later and I still don't have a couch or a bookshelf.

Complacency is not mustering the enthusiasm to recognize what I learned today. Complacency is not bothering to try a new recipe for dinner. Complacency is keeping all my books in boxes. Complacency is forgetting to notice when the world around me changes. Complacency is when I forget to enjoy my good deeds and just do them out of habit. Complacency is the dead bugs on the windowsill that I will deal with when spring comes or when I get that new vacuum cleaner or when I realize that they have been there for a fucking year and a half. Complacency is going through the same motions as last year.

Life is not bad. Things are going well in fact. I have just become complacent.

Labels: , , , ,