Amazing Start to Today

So I’m on my way to Milwaukee for a trade show, and as usual, flying anywhere is a less than pleasant experience these days. Oddly enough, today seems to be the exception to this dismal rule and has changed my expectation not just of the day’s travel, but of the nature of people.

As I’ve said before, people generally suck. So when so many things come together as they have so far this morning – and it’s not even 11:00 yet – it contradicts my usual pessimistic observation about people and gives me hope that there are still decent human beings to be found in the wild.

First, and absolutely the least important, is that not only was traffic sparse on the trip to National Airport today, but no one cut me off. Score one point for the day.

Next, I found a parking spot without a great deal of wailing and gnashing of teeth. No profanities either, which if you’ve experienced me behind the wheel of the Prius or any other vehicle, is unusual under even routine circumstances.

After a short walk from the parking garage to the terminal, I was greeted by an energetic man behind the AirTran counter who checked me in. He asked how many bags I had and I told him two. After poking around the computer for a few minutes, he asked, “Would you like to upgrade to first class? Baggage is free in first class, and with the cost of your coach bags, I can upgrade you to first class for just four dollars more. Would you like to do that?”

This is something I hadn’t considered. But it took less time to whip out the Visa card and agree to these favorable terms than it usually takes me to sneeze. So I’m upgraded to first class for four extra bucks over what I would have paid for my routine coach ticket.

Nice.

VERY nice.

Bags checked, I headed over to the security line in Terminal A. People had gathered there waving flags in anticipation of the arrival of their travelers. I waited and watched as two or three World War II veterans in wheelchairs came down the aisle and applause broke out among those anticipating their arrival.

This made me smile broadly. I had the good fortune to be assigned to the Department of Defense World War II 60th Anniversary Commemoration Committee, and I know and appreciate the heroism and sacrifice of these fine veterans of Tom Brokaw’s “Greatest Generation.” So I took the liberty of joining in the applause.

And my smile widened.

Proceeding to the large rotunda which serves as Terminal A, i discovered a celebration in progress. Non-stop applause filled the echoing rotunda and there was music in the air. A planeload of WWII veterans from Wisconsin had just arrived and were being greeted by a very appreciative crowd, what appeared to be a political figure, and an older gentleman who played various patriotic songs solo on his French horn. (And he was pretty good, too!)

I stood and watched the joy of the veterans as their heroism was being recognized by the crowd and joined in the applause for these fine people and those who gathered in support.

As I type this now, the French horn player no longer knocking out repeat performances of “On Wisconsin,” I am still smiling. Yes, people apparently do have the capacity to be good and kind and all things the evening news reports that we are not. To see such joy and pride in the faces of both the Wisconsin veterans coming to DC to celebrate their service together and the people gathered to welcome them is the perfect beginning to what could have really been a crappy day. Though I gained personal satisfaction and a good mood from this morning’s experience, I find it more important to note that Americans haven’t forgotten the service of their veterans no matter their age.

To the veterans from Wisconsin and your families, thank you for making my day.

 

Some Dad Stuff

As my regular reader knows, (yes, just one and it’s me, thank you very much) I don’t post here as much as I should, but I think it’s time I buckle down, throttle up and post a little more often.

Since it’s just past the anniversary of my Dad, Lt. Col. (Retired) Robert D. Wolfe’s passing, I thought I’d post a photo of Lieutenant Bob (doesn’t have the same notoriety as “Lieutenant Dan” does) from my Facebook photo collection.

So here’s Lieutenant Bob, or as I like to call him, Lieutenant Dad:

Pet Peeve for the Day

Coworkers who go to the bathroom and use the sink to wash their face, their hair, the family dog or coffee pots and leave the counter top with large puddles of nasty stained water and soggy pieces of hand towels.  I’ll bet they don’t do that at home!

Jerks.

P.S.  Thanks to Bill Jones for the cool Pet Peeve photo!

Sing Along with Dan!

 

Sung to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus.”

The Dow Jones Av’rage Goes down, down, down.
Down, down, down.
Down, down, down.
The Dow Jones Av’rage Goes down, down, down,
And investors frown.

The U.S. Debt goes up, up, up.
Up, up, up.
Up, up, up.
The U.S. Debt goes up, up, up,
China squeals with glee.

Congress doesn’t seem to care.
Why should they?
They’re not there.
Congress doesn’t seem to care,
‘Till two thousand twelve.

I Want My Friggin’ Lamborghini!

What am I missing?

OK, I admit I’m not the most educated guy on the planet. Far from it. In fact, I hate school so much, I’ve withdrawn from every school in which I have enrolled myself in the last 20 years under the horribly mistaken impression that it would be a good idea. The only ones in which I’ve enrolled and actually completed were those schools I was unable to avoid. Like those fun Army schools. Yeah, I’m the only person I know who took nine years to complete a three-year Army correspondence course.

I’m just a regular college grad. And it wasn’t even an Ivy League school. And I was lucky to make it out of there alive. After flunking out of both the math and physics departments in my senior year, I graduated half a year late with a Speech degree. Now THERE’S a rigorous major if I ever heard of one. (Sarcasmatron decisively engaged.)

But I’m not an idiot. As my friend Steve Rowe, a fellow retired Army colonel and one helluva smart guy, said on numerous occasions in his Owensboro, Kentucky accent, “Mama didn’t raise no fool. A couplea ugly kids, but there ain’t a dumb one in the bunch!” This applies to my situation as well, though my siblings would debate the appearance clause of Col. Rowe’s quote in our case.

So why don’t I get it? Am I that uneducated that the debt crisis “dialogue” is incomprehensible? Here’s an appropriately uneducated observation: WTF?

I can’t be THAT out of touch, can I? I mean, I carry a Mensa card, which means I take tests really, REALLY well. But it also means I have some (albeit limited) analytical and (possibly) critical thinking aptitude.

So why don’t I get it?

I know governments play by different rules, but here’s the thing: If I can’t pay my American Express bill because I’m over committed, is it likely that Visa is going to give me an increase in my credit limit so I can pay my American Express bill?

Wait. Don’t answer yet. Unless you’ve tried this like I did early on in my adult life, you won’t have the personal experience to answer definitively.

They won’t. Trust me.

So why do I keep hearing that this is a good idea for the federal government?

What am I missing?

The laws applying to individual finance here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. do not reward those who don’t pay their bills. There are lawsuits, judgments, repossessions and garnishments in store for those who don’t square up whether they are unsecured credit card bills, or mortgages. (Wait… I’m not so sure they can do that anymore for defaulted mortgages.) If you don’t pay your child support or alimony, you don’t get to put it on a newer charge account with a new, higher limit and introductory interest rate. You’re screwed if you don’t take care of business. Royally screwed. Personal experience talking here. Don’t pay your bar tab at the end of the night? The big, burly bouncer will see you now.

As I said, I know governments are different, but money at the individual level is a fixed resource. I can’t print my own currency to bail my sorry butt out of a financial jam. That’ll put me in jail. (No, this is one that I haven’t tried. Yet.)

So why do I keep hearing that printing more money is a good idea for the federal government? (Though just once, a trillion-dollar coin WOULD be awesome, right?)

I dunno. I guess those people in Washington who are supposed to be leading us to wealth and prosperity must be WAY smarter than me. They gotta be freaking Poindexters one and all. Einsteins even.

I dunno. I guess even with my big ass brain, I need more education to figure this out. Maybe I need to go back to school and learn how this all works. Maybe a degree in economics or political science would help me to understand that which eludes me. Maybe I just need more education.

Maybe I need a hole in the head, too.

But I DEFINITELY need a Lamborghini.

An Open Letter to our Politicians in Our Nation’s Capital


Dear Federal Politicians:

Hey folks! Hope you’re all enjoying your recess – I know the FAA isn’t, but that’s another story.

I’m writing to you because I have two small children with whom I reside, and their behavior has too many disturbing similarities to you folks to ignore anymore. Let’s face it, boys and girls, you’ve been bad, bad politicians. Shame on you! How would your mothers feel if they knew you were behaving like preschoolers?

Since you’re all running around the house screaming at each other just as my preschoolers are, (except for Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who is my new hero – she’s got more guts than all of you put together) I’m going to take this opportunity as your American “parent” to correct your behavior and remind you how people are supposed to behave.

(Imagine be standing over you shaking my finger at you while reading this. Good. Thanks.)

Stop calling each other names! Ok, I know that it’s easy to point fault at your playmates, but really, even though “stick and stones may break my bones…” and all that, it’s petty, accomplishes nothing and makes you and the rest of our American family look bad. Knock it off. Now.

My mom and dad always taught me that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. Here’s another one upon which you will be able to rely as you go through this developmentally awkward period: “Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.”

Stop the finger pointing! I don’t like tattletales and I don’t care who did it first! I want it to stop and stop now. ‘Nuff said about that one.

Stop blaming your playmates for your bad behavior! When you try this hard to blame someone else for your goofs and gaffes, it’s very clear that you’re just doing it because you feel guilty and just want that bad attention on someone else other than you. If you screw up, admit it. Your American parents (i.e. the electorate) will go much easier on you if you just admit that what you did was wrong than if you try and blame your playmate or hide it.

Absolutely NO playtime until your homework is done! Your “school” gives you way too much time for recess. While I know that you and your playmates need to go outside and play for awhile, (it’s supposed to build social skills and teamwork – how’s that working out for you?) you really shouldn’t go outside and play until all your work is done. Your American parents aren’t allowed to leave their work until they’ve done what their bosses have assigned them. You and your playmates shouldn’t either.

You’re spending your allowance on all the wrong things! If I could take away your allowance, I would because you’ve been particularly careless. I know that you and your playmates all love to run to the corner store and buy things like wax lips, those little candy dots on paper and comic books. And I know how yummy and fun those things are, but really, you can’t spend all your allowance on those things. A little bit’s fine, but not ALL of it, for goodness sake! Now, I know you and your playmates are too immature to understand even the basics of how to handle having an allowance. But in the long run, if you learn now how money works, you’ll be much better off, instead of just looking forward to your next candy fix (election.) I’ll try to teach you, but you have to be willing to listen a little bit, ok?

Kids, what I guess I’m trying to tell you is best summed up by the lesson from “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” a cute little movie that you can see when you stop behaving like toddlers: “Be excellent to each other.” Yeah. That’s always a good rule of thumb.

Now do you understand what I’ve just said? You sure? Good. Now go sit in time out for fifteen minutes and when you’re done, you can go play with your playmates again.

Don’t cry – it’ll be ok. Want a juice box?