Asking Marines To Withstand The (Abdominal) Pressure

We ask an awful lot of our Marines who are serving in Afghanistan.  They are working in brutally difficult conditions that may include searing heat or frigid cold.  We want them to encourage democracy while at the same fighting terrorists who are perfectly happy to hide among civilians and to put innocent lives at risk when they attack.  And now we have asked our Marines to — stop audible farting when they are in the presence of Afghans.

According to the Marine Times blog Battle Rattle, some Marines have been told to stop any audible flatulence because the Afghans find it highly offensive.  This directive comes on top of the request that Marines not curse or discuss potentially controversial topics, like politics, religion, or the opposite sex.  Heaven forbid that we would do anything to offend those tender Afghan sensibilities!

Isn’t it a bit ridiculous to ask a bunch of tough Marines to avoid farting aloud, even when Mother Nature commands the opposite?  Have our Leathernecks been trained to determine with certainty which bloated feeling might produce a silent but deadly emission versus the echoing whoopie cushion ripper?  And are we at least helping them out by serving meals that don’t include the traditional gas producing foods like, say, refried beans or White Castle sliders?  Is Beano stockpiled at every American base?

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A Sidewalk Story

If you’ve been to downtown Columbus, you know that Gay Street is a place to go for lunch, dinner, or a drink.  Will Columbus city workers allow it to stay that way?

From Third Street to High Street, Gay Street is filled with restaurants.  Most of them have outdoor eating areas defined by wrought-iron fencing and decorated with bright umbrellas and flower pots or hangings.  Stop by on a reasonably warm day and you’ll likely find those outdoor areas filled with patrons.

Lately, city code inspectors apparently have been hassling restaurant owners about the patio areas, saying that umbrellas block city airspace and flowerpots violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, and apparently threatening to revoke permits.  Owners say they are trying to be compliant and just want a dialogue.  One problem is that the Columbus sidewalk code was written in the 1950s, decades before statutes like the ADA were enacted and patio areas became popular.

I’ve eaten outdoors at the Plantain Cafe, the Tip Top, Due Amici, and J. Gumbo’s.  All of those outdoor areas are well-defined, well-maintained spaces.  They don’t seem to block anything, and they help to make Gay Street one of Columbus’ most successful streets, with a true urban feel.  I’m hoping that the city inspectors, code writers, and restaurant owners can resolve these issues without interfering with the bustling spirit of Gay Street.  Columbus shouldn’t mess with a good thing.

What in the Heck is Going On ?

Look  (both hands chopping in a downward motion) – I’ve recently retired and figure I have done everything right okay – never carried any debt except for an occasional credit card bill and my mortgage payment (considered good debt). Always lived well within my means – paid cash for all of my cars – sold my house for a good price and traded down to a small condo back in 2004 which I recently paid off.

A week or so ago the Federal Reserve released a statement saying that they are keeping interest rates at or near zero through at least mid – 2013. So basically what they’re saying is this is a great time to buy or re-finance a house – thanks Ben (Bernanke) but you see I don’t need a house right now, I have one that is paid off ! Keeping rates low means interest rates on credit cards will remain low – thanks again Ben but I don’t use my credit card except when I am taking a trip or in case of  an emergency and I always pay the one credit card I have off every month.

YOU SEE BEN WHAT I WOULD LIKE IS SOME KIND OF RETURN ON MY MONEY FOR CHOOSING TO SAVE AND IT LOOKS LIKE I AM NOT GOING TO GET A GOOD RETURN FOR AT LEAST THE NEXT COUPLE OF YEARS. BEN, I DON’T WANT TO INVEST TOO MUCH OF MY SAVINGS INTO A RISKIER INVESTMENT LIKE SAY THE STOCK MARKET BECAUSE I AM RETIRED AND I AM GOING TO NEED THE MONEY SOME TIME IN THE NEAR FUTURE – I MEAN A BIRD IN THE HAND IS WORTH TWO IN THE BUSH ISN’T IT ?

So yesterday I’m opening my mail and I come to an envelope that says – Important Information About Your Property Value 2011 Reappraisal. I’ve read numerous stories on the internet about home values dropping like rocks and of course Columbus Ohio is no different right, so I open the envelope and WHAT – my condo is now worth 25% less than what it was in 2005 the last time my property was appraised.

THIS REALLY SUCKS ! Ahhhhh – they say that blogging is therapeutic and you know what I think it is, I feel so much better now ! I wonder what tomorrow will have in store for me !!