Leslie's Omnibus


While I find it amusing that the protest mob in New York is eating better than I am most of the time...
Hundreds of grimy protesters laying siege to Wall Street and stuffed into the now-smelly Zuccotti Park dine each night on gourmet meals prepared by a former hotel chef using only the finest organic ingredients.
...I can't find fault, because the food and the prep space is all donated.
Most of the produce, grass-fed meat and organic chicken is donated from small organic farms upstate, including Northland Sheep Dairy, West Haven Farm and Wide Awake Bakery in Ithaca, and several farms in Connecticut and Vermont.
As long as it's not on my nickel, why shouldn't they eat well?

In more Occupy Wall Street news, the protesters aren't much liking the whole involuntary redistribution of wealth concept when it's their stuff that's being seized:
Occupy Wall Street protesters said yesterday that packs of brazen crooks within their ranks have been robbing their fellow demonstrators blind, making off with pricey cameras, phones and laptops -- and even a hefty bundle of donated cash and food.

“Stealing is our biggest problem at the moment,” said Nan Terrie, 18, a kitchen and legal-team volunteer from Fort Lauderdale.

“I had my Mac stolen -- that was like $5,500. Every night, something else is gone. Last night, our entire [kitchen] budget for the day was stolen, so the first thing I had to do was . . . get the message out to our supporters that we needed food!”

Note that not one of these people sees the irony.

Giggle of the Day:

funny pictures - Occupy LOL Street: We Are the 99 Purrcent!
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Bumpy Ride

Oh, no! TOTUS got truck-napped:
A truck filled with President Obama's podiums and audio equipment was stolen in Henrico just days before his visit to Chesterfield.

We confirmed an investigation with the U.S. Defense Department. There are still a lot of questions. The biggest one being did the thieves intentionally target the President's truck or did they take advantage of a crime of opportunity and give a big "uh-oh" when they saw what was inside.

When you see President Obama speak, there is a pretty typical setup including the presidential seal on a podium, the see-thru Teleprompter and a portable sound system.

Thieves saw the truck carrying that equipment and couldn't resist the target.

And what does TOTUS himself have to say about all this?

I've been kidnapped, and if Big Guy thinks he can negotiate with these guys the same way he talks to the terrorists in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Egypt, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, the Philippines, Mexico, Venezuela and the House Republican Conference, he better think twice.

These guys talk a good game. Just last night, after Big Guy announced that he was re-submitting his rejected jobs bill, piece by piece, so that Republicans could understand it, one of my captors said, "Maybe we should send Him back his teleprompter piece by piece."

Frankly, given the lack of any good rhetoric lately from Big Guy, I'm not sure I want to go back. Republicans want to make America "dirtier"? Really? That's the best the speechwriters can come up with? Has Big Guy caught a whiff of what's down at Freedom Plaza near the White House or up on Wall Street? Now, that's dirty.
Stay tuned!



Why, ultimately, will Occupy Chicago not work?
“Are you here to occupy?” asks Tyler, 20, a young man from Tennessee with whimsical facial tattoos. I tell him no, I’m the media, and ask why he is here, standing in the rain.

“First of all, we’re changing things,” he says. “The people in this bank right here have to listen to the drums every day and have to see us every day, and sooner or later they’ll get real tired of it. We’re going to be here until something happens. Sooner or later, everybody’s going to get sick of it.”

No doubt, though when it comes to real change, I put my chips on “later.” I can’t see the economic order crumbling because those in power get tired of the drumming. Those who have in our society do not generally give up what they have unless forced, and when they do give, it’s symbolic — the bags of cash being handed out by the Federal Reserve at its lobby money museum are shredded, of course, and thus worthless. There is no free money.
Ah, yes! The bank will cease to do business, pack up its marbles and go home because the powers-that-be are sick of the drumming!

Then again, maybe this explains all behind that kind of magical thinking:

epic fail photos - Occupy FAIL Street

And then there's the brilliance of Occupy DC:
You could say they haven't harmed anyone here downtown, except that they have. In McPherson Square, where some two or three dozen of them have been camping out for the last week, they have already ruined a few newly sodded sections of the park.

The re-sodding of the park was completed this year as part of a $419,000 stimulus project to refurbish the square. The park, which is across from the Examiner Building in downtown D.C., was shut down for months during the project.

You could say they're stimulating the economy, because now taxpayers will have to cough up a few thousand more to fix the damage.
Wonderful strategy, eh?

Krauthammer sums it up beautifully:
To the villainy-of-the-rich theme emanating from Washington, a child is born: Occupy Wall Street. Starbucks-sipping, Levi's-clad, iPhone-clutching protesters denounce corporate America even as they weep for Steve Jobs, corporate titan, billionaire eight times over.

These indignant indolents saddled with their $50,000 student loans and English degrees have decided that their lack of gainful employment is rooted in the malice of the millionaires on whose homes they are now marching — to the applause of Democrats suffering acute tea party envy and now salivating at the energy these big-government anarchists will presumably give their cause.

Except that the real tea party actually had a program — less government, less regulation, less taxation, less debt. What's the Occupy Wall Street program? Eat the rich.

And then what? Haven't gotten that far.
Too right.

But maybe I was wrong about that free money thing after all:
Like many homeowners these days, Victor and Yvonne Delia stood to lose a lot — about $90,000 — when they sold their townhouse near Midway Airport five months ago.

Instead, the two retired Chicago police officers managed to walk away with a 23 percent profitthanks to property taxes collected from 61,145 of their fellow Southwest Side homeowners.
Ah! That's the Illinois way. And there's more:
Scanlan — a neighbor of Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, who helped enact the home-equity law — used the program to more than double his investment on the West Lawn bungalow at 6430 S. Keeler that he bought for $105,000 on Dec. 20, 2003.

He enrolled in the program and was given a guaranteed value of $263,000, according to an Aug. 31, 2005, appraisal.

He sold the home for $182,000 on Sept. 8, 2010, then got $81,000 more from the association on Sept. 20, 2010 — for a total of $263,000.

Scanlan moved to a two-story home in Burbank that he bought for $200,000.
And this:
The Suarezes bought their ranch house at 6221 S. Karlov in West Lawn for $135,000 on Sept. 22, 1998, enrolled in the program and were given a guaranteed value of $248,000, according to a March 2, 2005, appraisal.

They sold the house for $164,000 on April 8, 2011, then got $84,000 more from the association on April 20, 2011 — for a total of $248,000.

The Suarezes now live in a bilevel home they bought for $332,500 in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood.
The magic money machine strikes again. That is what you pay taxes for, isn't it?

Here's an article on how to fix some of the privacy issues with the new Facebook features. (If I hadn't just friended someone who I haven't seen or heard from in a very long time, I'd have deleted my page with this last round of changes. And I may do it yet. Ugh.)

This could almost turn me into a Katy Perry fan:



Just how gullible can some women be?
An 81-year-old man who posed as a doctor so he could con his way into women's homes and perform fake breast examinations has struck a plea deal with prosecutors, narrowly escaping spending the rest of his lief in prison.

Phillip Winikoff, from Coconut Creek, Florida, was accused of carrying out the pretence with a black doctor's bag in April 2006 at an apartment complex in Fort Lauderdale.

Two women are said to have fallen for his ruse and allowed him into their apartment.

The first victim, a 36-year-old, said once Winikoff was inside her apartment, he 'touched her breast'. She realised something was wrong when he moved his hand down into her pants and fondled her.

By the time the victim called 911, Winikoff had already found a second victim, the sheriff's office said.

Speaking of seriously, how has this managed to have gone unaddressed for so long?
Cook County Forest Preserve District workers soon will be getting e-mail addresses, performance reviews and clear descriptions of their jobs.
The lack of decent technology is bad enough, but the no performance reviews? No job descriptions? That's just plain nuts. (And that's government Chicago-style for you!)

For those of you that think Hillary Clinton running for Veep alongside Obama is a good idea, keep in mind her "good" judgment:
"I do not think it's even in the realm of possibility, and in large measure because I think Vice President Biden has done an amazingly good job."
That ranks right up there with, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."

I've been beating the drum on this topic for years.
In the movies, you know the seemingly mismatched couple are really soulmates when they perform karaoke and both miraculously know the words to some obscure song. All their problems melt away, and confessions of undying love and marriage on the beach swiftly follow.

The inference is that once you find your soulmate, there are no rows and you will be unquestionably accepted for who you are. No wonder everyone wants one — particularly this generation, many of whom had a front-row seat for their parents’ divorce.

Obviously, we need to believe that something will save us from repeating our parents’ mistakes — so the idea that soulmates exist is very attractive. Sadly, it’s totally devoid of realism.
Did they listen to me? Noooooooooooooo. And nobody will pay any attention to this article, either.

Lest you think I lack a romantic soul, however, keep in mind that several of my close friends also thought I was nuts when I arranged for two crazy kids to meet back in 2007. In 2008, those same friends had to eat their words. And guess what?

(Click to embiggen, and check the left hand.)

Nanny-nanny boo-boo to you!

In Dreams

I woke up this morning with this song on and endless loop in my head, thanks to whatever the heck I was dreaming about:


Update: This may explain the hows of why a song ends up one of my infamous ear worms... but not the whys of any particular one pops up out of nowhere.

From my travels on Sunday:

More to follow.

What's going on with the U.S. military? Between this news...
"There’s no one in the Defense Department with his hand on the network switch. In fact, there is no one switch to speak of. The four branches of the U.S. armed forces each has a dedicated unit that, in theory, is supposed to handle cyber defense for the entire service. ... In practice, it’s not that simple."
... and this news...
"Specialist Chazray Clark was dying due to politics, and the Army and Air Force pilots are very angry about this. Chazray’s is not the only such case. Army medevac helicopters fall under the Medical Services Corps, who mark medevacs with red crosses. Officers will tell you face-to-face that the Medical Corps does not want to give up its helicopters because senior officers want their own helicopters to shuttle them from here to there."
... several heads in top brass should be rolling. Our troops deserve much, much better than this.

Speaking of heads rolling, our Veep's should, also:
In Flint, Michigan, Vice President Joe Biden suggested that more rapes and murders could occur if President Barack Obama's jobs bill is not passed.
That's just unconscionable.

If you're into photography at all, whether rank amateur or income-earning professional, you need to pay attention to this:
[S]ince the advent of Homeland Security and the heightened sense of vulnerability to terrorism, many LEOs have quote the 9/11 Law as reasons to ask photographers from making images in public places in completely legal venues. There is no such 9/11 Law that prevents a photographer from taking images. There are certain places where photography may be limited for national security (certain areas of military bases, certain areas of nuclear facilities) but trains, bridges and buildings are not on the list. But photographers have been arrested for taking images of all of these. Almost all the charges have eventually been dropped and some of the people are bringing suit for false arrest.
Go read the whole thing. That's just plain scary, folks.

When she say's "mind-blowing," she ain't just whistling Dixie.

When you break it down this way, those housekeeping chores don't look so daunting.

Giggle of the Day:

Funny Pictures - Historic LOLs After Dark: This is Not Good...
see more ICHC After Dark


How major media in the U.S. reports the Occupy Wall Street mess:
So enthused about promoting the far-left protests, ABC anchor Diane Sawyer on Monday night's World News championed “the Occupy Wall Street movement” by ludicrously claiming that “as of tonight, it has spread to more than 250 American cities, more than a thousand countries -- every continent but Antarctica.”
How they look at it across the pond:
A very privileged protest: Wearing $300 jeans and from some of the most exclusive schools, the children of the one per cent out for a good time at Occupy Wall Street
Which do you suppose is the more unbiased reporting?

A "rewind button" for blurry photos? Ooooo! Faster, please! (Yesterday, if I had my druthers.)

Currently unemployed? Read this article (with an admittedly depressing title), for some good food for thought about how you may be sabotaging your own prospects... and what you can do to change.

One of the things I love about fall is the return of squashes in great quantity in my local supermarket. This article not only has great descriptions of all the differing varieties, it also has some great recipes for a slow cooker soup and two different stuffed squashes. Yum!

I was glad that Chris Christie declined to join the current presidential race because I honestly believe that he should at least finish his first full term in office before running for something else. Now that he's come out for Romney, I'm really glad he's not running... because it would have been more of the same thing Mitt's known for.

Quote of the Day:
"If the candidates are smart, they'll make it be 5, 5, 5, 5, and more 5." -- Ann Althouse
Damn straight, Skippy.

Teach your children?
With every passing hour, the meeting between Chicago Public Schools officials and the Chicago Teachers Union to discuss longer school days appears less likely.

Last week, CTU President Karen Lewis had said she and her union officers were ready to talk about the district's controversial plan, but suggested union headquarters as a meeting location.

CPS countered by suggesting the two parties meet at a school that has chosen to add 90 minutes to its school day.

And since then, the talks have stalled.

This morning, schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard suggested Brown Elementary as a meeting site.

CPS officials have not heard back from CTU, said district spokeswoman Becky Carroll. CTU spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin said she too does not know if a meeting will take place today.
It's called compromise or neutral territory, people, and you ought to learn how to find it. Both sides ought to be ashamed of themselves for the example they are setting for the very students they purport to care so much for.


Giggle of the Day:

funny pictures - several of them, actually
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Weekend Rambles

When my pal the Norwegian from the North Woods comes for a visit, it's always a cultural whirlwind.

  • Lunch at Jimmy's
  • Drive into the city and park in the West Loop
  • Walk from West Wacker Drive to East Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue
  • Walk down 3 flights of stairs to riverwalk level
  • Attempt to take the Architectural Foundation 3 p.m. river tour
  • Are informed that the next tickets available are for 9:30 a.m. tomorrow
  • Walked back west along the river walk under the Michigan Avenue Bridge
  • Stumble across the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum
  • Develop buns of steel and thighs like Tina Turner by climbing to see all six levels of the bridgehouse museum, then climbing back down again
  • Cool drinks and fruit plate at O'Brien's Riverwalk Cafe
  • Up two flights of stairs to street level
  • Back east, cross the bridge north and down two flights of stairs to the Wendella boat dock
  • River and lakefront architectural tour
  • More buns/thighs workout -- up two flights of stairs, through the middle of the Wrigley Building towards Trump Tower, back down three flights of stairs
  • Take the Water Taxi to Chinatown (What a cool way to get there -- and cheap! $4/person to get from Michigan and the river to Chinatown. It would probably be close to $40 by taxi!)
  • Dinner at Lao Shanghai (Try the most excellent... everything. There isn't a bad choice on the menu.)
  • Red Line train to State & Lake
  • Shorter than usual forced march to the parking lot
  • Crazy GPS-directed trip home (if there was a long way to be found, it found it)
I love being a tourist in my own back yard-- especially with a good friend who is undaunted by my singular ability to drag him from pillar to post and back again.

Book Your Ticket

September – 11/79

Blind Faith, C.J. Lyons[1]

The Hypnotist, Lars Kepleri[2]

The Mill River Recluse, Darcie Chan[3]

A Hidden Witch, Debora Geary[4]

A Modern Witch, Debora Geary[5]

Mercury Swings, Robert Kroese[6]

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

Wuthering Heights, Charlotte Bronte[7]

Kinflicks, Lisa Alther

Rick Perry and His Eggheads: Inside the Brainiest Political Operation in America, Sasha Issenberg[8]

The Second Coming, Walker Percy[9]

[1] Murder mystery with a better than average twist.

[2] If you liked The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, you’ll love this murder mystery/thriller.

[3] Just okay, with bog standard characters. With so many better books out there, don’t bother.

[4] This series is so much fun that I’ll probably end up reading them all. This is one you could share with your teenage daughter without a single blush, too.

[5] See what I told you?

[6] Short story falling between Mercury Falls and Mercury Rises, due out soon. Funny, funny, funny stuff.

[7] Who in the world came up with the cockamamie idea that this slog of a book is a romance novel? Miserable, selfish characters who continuously make bad choices. Ugh.

[8] Outtake from The Victory Lab.

[9] Classic Southern writing at its best.


Bus Fumes

Here's another dandy example of what's wrong with union work rules:
Robert Kelly, president of Amalgamated Transit Workers Union Local 308 representing motormen, said what Claypool calls “coffee time” is a 15-minute window to give motormen time to park sometimes a block away and get in the cab of a train before it’s scheduled to leave the station.

“If he wants to eliminate that, I’ve got no problem with that. But, that also means that train won’t go out at 8 a.m. It’s gonna mean huge service delays,” he said.
That's right -- Chicago transit workers get paid to park their vehicles and get to work on time.

More of the crazy?
  • Twenty-minute paid bathroom breaks for customer assistants with easy access to washrooms.
  • [L]imits on discipline built into union contracts that make it difficult to punish no-shows. For example, an employee can only be discharged for excessive absenteeism after seven occurrences while consecutive absent days are considered one occurrence.
  • Paying workers convicted of drunk driving to do nothing for 180 days while they appeal and attempt to get their driving privileges back.
  • Starting the clock on emergency overtime when employees get the phone call at home instead of when they arrive at work.
  • Paid holidays for birthdays and work anniversaries that guarantee bus drivers and motorman who chose to work on those days 2.5 times their normal hourly wage.
  • Forcing the CTA to run a normal schedule of buses and trains, even on slow days like the Friday after Thanksgiving and the week between Christmas and New Years, instead of “right-sizing” service to meet demand.
  • A “spread premium” that pays operators — who pick their shifts based on seniority — time-and-a-half for working more than 10.5 hours a day. They receive the extra pay even if they deliberately pick runs at the beginning and end of a day and take a 5.5-hour break in between.
  • A guaranteed, three hours’ pay for any work done outside a janitor’s normal hours, whether or not that janitor works more than eight hours in a given day.
It's amazing to me that union workers don't see any of this as a slap in the face of the rest of us working stiffs.

Bus Fumes

Well... fumes, anyway, and lots of them: Grau tops any of my own recent bizarre dreams, hands down.



Hank Williams... a smart-ass comment... and it seems I'm not the only one asking that question.

Molten Chocolate Cate with Maple Whipped Cream? Oooo.

In the news today:
If you're hoping for a reprieve from heavy snowfall in Chicago this winter, you may be out in the cold.

Meteorologists at AccuWeather.com predict that Chicago will get between 50 and 58 inches of snow this winter, on par with last winter's total of 57.9 inches.
Oh, goody. (I was afraid of that.)

Ear Worm of the Day:

Yes, Mike posted it first... but only because I planted the worm in his ear at about 6:00 a.m. today. I'm nice like that, you know.

Book Your Ticket

Got a Kindle? If so, Lendle.me is giving away one new Kindle Fire and one new Kindle Touch 3G. Sign up for Lendle.me using my referral code (QM5K9BIA) and I'm entered to win.

Then, send out invitations to all your own Kindle friends using your own new referral code and you not only get one contest entry for each friend who signs up, you'll also earn to free borrow requests for each as well.

I'm all for sharing!