Monday, July 25, 2011

Hey there Handyman

"Closing the skills gap doesn't just benefit future tradesmen and the companies desperate to hire them. It benefits me and anyone who shares my addiction to paved roads, reliable bridges, heating, air-conditioning, and, of course, indoor plumbing. Something for everyone to consider, perhaps, during their next bathroom break."

Mike Rowe,
Creator of Dirty Jobs

The oil kept coming up.

I'd pour it in. It'd pour back out. I'd pore in more. It'd spill out more. Finally, knowing this was probably a stupid move but out of options, I stuck my hands into the gas tank to keep the flap open and dumped in the rest of the bottle.

Maybe that would fix it. Maybe it wouldn't. At the time I had no idea. Now I know better.

It wouldn't.

Friday night, at the most inconvenient time possible, my Jeep started to cut out. Power there. Power not there. Power there. Power get the picture.

This, of course, happened a few minutes prior to 1 am while I'm on that particularly spooky stretch of highway that remains abandoned because monsters live there. And mosquitoes.

Perfect. Now I'll just get stuck on the side of the road and never be heard from again. Just perfect.

It was late. I was tired. And it just wasn't a particularly good time to get abducted. So, I got on my cell and called in the National Guard.

The next day, parked at pump 12 of a nearby QuikTrip, I was pouring a bottle of greasy gunk called fuel injector cleaner into my gas tank and giving my vehicle what felt uncomfortably like a rectal examination. And all I could think was, it sucks when a man's not around.

Don't get me wrong. Men are great human beings. Well...some are. Some not. Just like women. So this isn't to stereotype. Except, well, yes it is.

Men are valuable as human beings. But they're also just this incredible tool that's really handy to have around.


Men are like a life-sized Swiss Army knife. Except they're self-propelled.

Today, a friend of mine sent me a message on Facebook saying how thankful she was for men who are willing to do work. Hard work. Serious labor. To do the job no matter how difficult or dirty or beyond my realm of understanding.

Thus the reason I posted the brief Congressional testimony of Mike Rowe, creator and host of Dirty Jobs, who - with his usual style and wit - expounded upon the great need and value of skilled labor.

I listened and just shook my head.

Yes! Skilled labor! I need some of that. I have a light fixture that's hanging and a porch roof that's sagging and guttering that's fallen and that's just today.

We're only hours away from tomorrow.

My dad is a handy guy. He can fix pretty much anything. I love it when he comes over because in an hour's time everything from my couch cushions to my door stop perks up.

Maybe that's why I love men who can fix things. Or maybe it's because it is something I can't do. I'm pretty decent with tools, not bad with wood, and painting is like child's play. But anything requiring true skill, anything with electricity or plumbing or even a coil or tube or wiry something, well...I'm out.

This is how I ended up with my hand down my gas tank. Or how I found myself last week messing with my garage door and finding out I could have killed myself.


Or, and this is always part of it, maybe a man who can fix things is just exhibiting pure, undiluted masculinity. Maybe it's part of that ruggedness we rarely ever see. Maybe it's because, despite what popular culture says, society still craves a manly man with tools and rough hands and the tenacity to fix whatever is wrong in the world.

Even if that means one spark plug at a time.

Steven Crowder: Laugh, you politically correct clown, laugh

Anyone who likes Bill Maher shouldn't watch this.

Wait. What am I saying? No one likes Bill Maher. Silly Tara Lynn.

Watch and enjoy.

Friday, July 22, 2011

What about Watermelon man?

John says we're soft.

He didn't mention anyone by name. It seemed like a general statement, i.e. everyone. This he told me under the direct summer sun while shining each watermelon in the back of his truck.

He might have a point. At this moment, I'm sitting in my 76-degree home and eating apple sauce, which is the equivalent of apples post-chew. Before I even sat down to write this, I changed from a dress to shorts, so I could get cooler. Then I poured a glass of cold water, so I could be more refreshed. And turned on my ceiling fan, so I could labor under a perpetual breeze.

Too soft? Yeah, okay. You've got me there.

I've driven past John nearly every day for weeks. Through the excessive heat warnings, the temperature map plastered on Drudge, the dire predictions of death's imminence if you step outside, there's John. Sitting off SH 97. Waiting to grab customers leaving Sand Springs and heading toward Sapulpa. And hoping they might fancy a fresh watermelon.

In the, aghast, triple digit temperatures.

When I asked him how he handled the heat, he simply said, in this very country boy voice, "I'm use to it. I didn't have an air-conditioner until 2009."

And there you have it. John's tough.

He is, by the way. Quite so. I don't know if he's a man of integrity or honor, of intelligence or information, he could be all of those things. Or none of them. I only spoke to him for a quarter of an hour, and that included getting interrupted by customers and losing my pen twice.

He is, however, a worker. When I asked him why he does it, he simply said, "You've got to do something."

That you do.

John use to lay cement. He still does to fill in the payroll gaps. It's work few people want because, and we come back to this, they're soft. And he isn't. Not a point he makes for vainglory sake. Just a reason why he can always find work.

He sells watermelon in the summer, hay in the winter and spring and fall, and works a few cows in between time. That all came after a short duration of hauling. It didn't, however, pay the bills and so he had to move on.

No nest egg. No unemployment benefits. He just moved on to whatever work was before him.

"Are you making money selling these?" I asked this after one of John's customers asked me if I like watermelons and I accidentally answered honestly. No, not really. I should have used more creativity to get out of that one.

Yes. He's making money. He's sold 1,025 watermelons in five weeks. Or, another way to look at it, he and his business partner have sold 38,700 pounds of watery fruit. To put that in other terms, John has sold the weight equivalent of 500 books, four SUVs, and two killer whales.

That's a lot of fruit.

He drives 350 miles one way to Texas to pick them up, and then all the way back to sit in the brutal heat. Within weeks, or even one, John says there won't be any more watermelon. So he's got only days to turn his last load around.

"If you'd wear a green-stripped t-shirt, we could sell these in an hour," he told me.

Aww, shucks. Thanks. But today I wore red.

John is one of those rare breads in American culture. He works without complaint and does whatever needs to be done. And doesn't believe life is unfair, he's been short-changed, and someone owes him recompense.

Though, if you wanted to buy him a cold beer, he'd drink it.

"I have to do something."

He didn't take my compliments easily. I admire that kind of tenacity, that kind of work ethic, that kind of pioneer spirit. When I told him I saw that in him, he just did more hemming and hawing and a little grin here or there.

"So, what do you do with your down time out here?"

"I just sit," he said, back to polishing those money makers. "I figure out when I'm going to go bankrupt and how long before I'm living out here in my truck." Then he laughs. "Nah, I'm just kidding. I'm going to be just fine."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Monkey Who

The green ones aren't ripe. The yellow ones are.

Is this helpful or insulting? You tell me.

There's helping customers understand your product. And then there's treating your customers like four-year-olds, no offense to four-year-olds. I think they even know a green banana is yucky.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

This time it's Russians in Ohio.

Oh my. James O'Keefe, the boy who took on ACORN, has done it again. This time with two young men posing as Russian drug dealers. What are they after? Why, Medicare, of course. And help funding their underage sister's abortions after giving out sexual favors to their clients.

It's icky. It's horrific. And, surprising, it doesn't seem to phase the Medicare personnel in Ohio.

You drive a million dollar car? We'll just not mention that on the paperwork.
You're pushing child prostitution? We'll call it babysitting.
You hide your drug stash in the floorboards of your home? No worries. We won't be doing any inspections.

Watch the first ten minutes. The rest is O'Keefe adding the uncut video to the end so he can't be accused of tricky editing.

But then, he'll still get accused, now won't he.

Love him or hate him, he's doing the job the media refuse to do. Investigative journalists everywhere should be mortified that a kid, his friends, an inventive story, and a video camera can outdo their best efforts.

Good golly, spunk makes for good video.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursday Irony: Let Him Eat (B-day) Cake

It’s on Aug. 4. The president is turning 50. He’s decided to have a quiet celebration with family and a few close friends.


Instead, the president is planning an extravagant fundraising bash Aug. 3 at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, including a birthday concert teeming with celebrities and – for couples contributing $35,800 – a private dinner with the president. All this just one day after the government is scheduled to run out of cash!

How dire does Obama say it is?

He can't guarantee checks on August 3. But for $10,000, he can guarantee a picture of himself and a piece of cake. Maybe even some of those pasty, pastel peppermints.

Reality about Social Security here.

Pouting: a viable political strategy


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

They love us. They love us not. They love us. They...what?

The United States is viewed less favorably in much of the Arab world today than it was during the final year of the Bush administration, and President Obama is less popular in the region than Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, according to a poll released today by the Arab American Institute, a nonpartisan research and advocacy group.

Have they not looked at the color of his skin lately? Have they not listened to him read a teleprompter?

Hello. What more do they want? We elected the first black President. He gives good speeches. If that doesn't bring peace to the Arab world, I give up.

Wednesday Irony: Black is the new Green

The German government wants to encourage the construction of new coal and gas power plants with millions of euros from a fund for promoting clean energy and combating climate change.

And in other parts of the same world...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Whoopi Rant Explained

Dana Loesch has an excellent piece today explaining how Whoopi Goldberg's anti-Michelle Bachmann, pro-single-parent home, generally anger-over-everything-a-conservative-does rant yesterday wasn't clear but did achieve hysteria and inaccuracy.

Also, and I think this one is important since she's a comedienne, it wasn't funny.

For bitterness, I have to admit Whoopi has some real talent. Way to go girl! Get your gripe on!

Here's Dana's money quote
Also, as the product of a single parent household, I think Whoopi needs to stop universally speaking for all children of single parents. You know what? It sucked. Many of us are lucky to have turned out well in spite of it — and children from single parent households sure as hell don’t need enablers like Goldberg ranting and raving about how it’s okay when it isn’t.
Read the full story here.

And, in case you were wondering, no. I don't watch The View. I do catch video clips from time to time, each one giving me a rash. I think the show is funded by a group of men angry with their wives who thought the perfect revenge would be highlighting the worst of female stereotypes Monday through Friday on daytime TV.

Do you really think women would be behind a one-hour show of preachy, biting, motormouth nags?

I also think these men are behind the faked Apollo Moon landing. And they're hiding Elvis.

Red Skelton said it best

The Obama Legacy: How you like me now?

The reality gets stuck in your throat. The music helps it go down.

Quote Them: It's for your own good

"We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money."

Energy Secretary Steven Chu,
defended the incandescent light bulb ban

Right after slapping your wrist for spending your money without government approval, Chu is sending everyone to bed without dessert.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Quote Them: the gender gap

"Men think everyone notices them until someone tells him otherwise. Women, on the other hand, think no one notices them. "

My male friend,
who explained this phenomenon last night over dinner

PS Any thoughts? I assume he's accurate from the male perspective. Not being a male, I can only surmise. As for females, he's got it about right. Most women believed it takes partial nudity to get noticed. And the culture confirms it. But the culture is rarely right.

I say keep on the clothes, lift your chin, walk through life and prove the lie wrong.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The world's first human record player

Scientists have been testing the theory for years. Could a record player be made out of a human body? How would this revolutionize the digital world? How would this revolutionize science? How would we tell them apart from politicians?

What a success! They did it. A flesh and blood record player with lifelike mouth movement and stereo sound. It looked exactly like Ed Miliband, leader of Britain’s Labour party. To provide a demonstration, the record player was interviewed by BBC's Damon Green.

Too bad it started skipping.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Magician Named Gob

For Christy, who needed a theme song. And for me, who needed a laugh.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Lt. Dan! the band, the movie, the movement

Good golly I love Gary Sinise. Principled, talented, humble. Dare I call him a perfect male?

I took it one step too far. I know that. He's just so cool he inspires hyperbole.

This documentary wasn't Sinise's idea. According to Christian Toto's Big Hollywood article today, Sinise decided to do it for one reason only: the troops.
Actor Gary Sinise didn’t jump at the chance to be the subject of a documentary feature.

The “Forrest Gump” star works relentlessly on behalf of the troops via his rock outfit the Lt. Dan Band, but he’s much less willing to toot his own horn.

Director Jonathan Flora convinced the stubborn star that a documentary could help spread the word to people and places Sinise would otherwise never get the chance to visit.
The movie launches via live streaming this weekend, on July 4th, with $1 of the $3.99 viewing fee going toward The Gary Sinise Foundation.

The most active, relevant, and sincere actor formed foundation out there? Maybe. Hyperbole again? Watch the movie to learn what Sinise does for the troops and decide for yourself.

"I've gotta say, I'm very amused."