Saturday, April 29, 2006

Most Unsexy update

Rosie O'Donnel, one of my "Most Unsexy Women" on TV (this post), has been added to the cast of "The View."

Of course, the creator of "The View" Barbara Walters is also on my list.

Somehow I don't think I represent the key demographic for this show.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


The other day, I made this post remarking about how bizarre my bad days are.

Well, I just suffered through another pretty rough couple of hours, and it has occurred to me why my mother's funeral is really turning up the emotion meter.

At the end of my Dad's service a couple years ago, I was sitting between my Mom and Suzy. I remember breaking down at the end, turning and putting my head on Suzy's shoulder to cry. And I remember later thinking to myself, I bet Mom noticed that. And I bet that, at the moment, we both knew that I belonged to Suzy more than to she.

Saturday, I will have nobody to turn to, no shoulder to cry upon. I am on my own, but I will carry all their memories forward. I hope my mother, father, and wife are all looking out for me somewhere. For this week, I am lost.

Out of Town

I am traveling to my Mom's funeral this weekend, so blogging will likely be spotty, unless I can wrest control of my brother's computer from my nephews. Or Cousin Don's muse goes into overtime.

On the upside, I plan on stopping in Jacksonville, NC for another USMC regulation haircut.

It's Like Some Sick, Twisted Lottery

The government tragedy payout system has reached a new low.

Lose a relative in the World Trade Center? (A)n unprecedented federal compensation fund could pay families of the dead and injured more than $1 million each."

Lose your house in a hurricane? (T)he federal government issued more than 10,000 debit cards to Hurricane Katrina refugees in Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. Each card carried a monetary value of $2,000.

Now we are treated to the ultimate, condescending financial slap-in-the-face from our friends in Washington. Apparently, the act of gassing up the sedan is now an excuse for another income redistribution program: Most American taxpayers would get $100 rebate checks to offset the pain of higher pump prices for gasoline, under an amendment Senate Republicans hope to bring to a vote soon."

Note this little gem: the "rebate" goes to "most American taxpayers." Live in New York and don't own a car? $100. Work at home and rarely drive? $100. This is welfare for all and it is being proprosed by the REPUBLICANS!.

Who, pray tell is there left to vote for?
Cousin Don is worried how he will explain to his little one how Melissa Etheridge is having children.

Putting aside for a moment the biology of the situation, consider trying to explain her choice of fathers:

Talk about the shallow end of the gene pool!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Weird and Unpredictable

That about sums up my life these days.

I have been doing pretty well most of the time. This morning I woke up with intestinal cramps, and called into work that I would be there as soon as it passed.

That was followed by a string of bizarre dreams and an intense, palpable sensation that I was asleep once again with my Suzy. I rode that train as long as I could out of loneliness and desparation, finally climbing out of bed at four this afternoon.

Don't know what triggered this bizarre little episode, though I suspect my mother's upcoming funeral is in the mix somewhere. Hopefully I can put in a normal day at work tomorrow. What a ride this is.

More Good News

Here's some economic news:
Sales of new homes soared in March by the largest amount in 13 years, reflecting a rebound from bad weather in February. [...]

Home sales were up in all areas of the country led by a 35.7 percent surge in the West. Sales rose 10.9 percent in the Midwest, 6.9 percent in the South and 4.7 percent in the Northeast.

In other economic news, the government reported that orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods soared by 6.1 percent in March, the largest amount in 10 months, as heavy demand for new jetliners by foreign countries helped boost the manufacturing sector. [...]

The manufacturing sector has been powering ahead in recent months, helped by efforts to restock lean inventories and a desire on the part of many companies to purchase new equipment to expand and modernize.
That's all good news, and it seems people are noticing.
U.S. consumer confidence rose in April to a four-year high as optimism about job prospects overshadowed concerns over rising gasoline prices, a survey showed Tuesday.
Meanwhile, today the Dow hit 11,350 a six year high, and oil prices fell for the third straight day.

So I linked to all those articles on the New York Times webpage, right? That would be wrong. Searching for any good news, all I could find was a small report under Business about Boeing sales. The Times is entirely silent about all the rest. No media bias there.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

A house combining two of Kurt's hobbies

In an architectural stunt a man is building a house from a 747, and it is pretty cool looking.

Via Yahoo!

Most unsexy women

The Boston Phoenix, Beantown's poor attempt to copy the Village Voice, has published a list of the 100 unsexiest men.

A poster named Simon over at Ann Althouse's blog ponders the question what would happen if someone posted a list of the most unattractive women.

I decided to make a list of the 5 most unattractive TV actresses and TV news personalities. I'm limiting the category mainly to avoid a long list of WNBA players. So, here it goes:

1. Rosie O'Donnell - I mean, come on, her head is square.
2. Roseanne Barr (formerly Arnold) - I find her funny, but, unlike women's opinions of men, a sense of humor doesn't help.
3. Helen Thomas - not just because she's annoying but that doesn't help
4. Barbara Walters - even young she wasn't eye candy
5.Judy Reyes as Nurse Carla Espinosa - maybe it's the character she plays, but there's just something shrewish about her.

More interesting happenings in grade schools

Lexington, MA finds itself in the news again for reading a book about a prince who marries a prince. This is of course legal in Massachusetts if you are a resident of the state.

Now I don't give a hoot about what two (or more) adults do in the bedroom, but I'm not looking forward to explaining how gay men give birth to babies or how Melissa Etheridge sires babies to my children when they get to grade school.

I better figure out what to say or I guess there's always Catholic school, where I'd have to learn how to explain what the word pedophile means.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Oh, Please God, Make it So

This headline is on Drudge tonight:

Tony Snow in active negotiations for job of White House press secretary . . .

We saw Tony speak a couple years ago at Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach. He would be a breath of fresh air and a slap in the face at the same time. He is affable, humorous, bright, quick-witted, and unapolagetically conservative. My take is that he would rip the press corps limb from limb in such a way that they would smile and beg him for more.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - II

My Harley has been spattering oil down the right side of the engine, so I took it to the shop today for a look-see. Apparently, this is not an unusual situation. Here's my understanding, based on an hour of Google searches.

Many large v-twin engines lubricate valves via oil blow-by, which allows small quantities of oil into the cylinder heads. In the good old days, this oil was diverted through breather tubes that discharged harmlessly to the ground.

Harmlessly, that is, until the Imperial Federal Government caught wind of the situation. Since discharging small mists of oil is an environmental no-no, the motorcycle manufacturers devised a system by which the blow-by oil is diverted by a breather kit to the carburetor, where it is injected back into the motor and burned. Unfortunately, this system doesn't always work very well.

The result is that some blow-by oil collects in the air cleaner and eventually drips out the bottom, to be sprayed in the wind across the pipes, crankcase, and in my case, saddle bag. If not for the forward foot controls, I imagine my pants and boots would be casualties by now.

I am taking it back for service in case the integral flapper valve can be replaced. One "solution" I have seen is to adhere a maxi pad to the bottom of the air cleaner cover and replace it once a week. If my late wife knows that I am now willing to buy maxi pads for my motorcycle, she is cursing me for sure; I always balked at buying them for her!

I am not by any stretch of the imagination a mechanic. Any reader additions, clarifications, or corrections to the above analysis would be much appreciated.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Hats Off to the Old Pervert

You know, he's pretty creepy, but on some level you've got to give credit to this codger:
APRIL 19--Meet Philip Winikoff. The 76-year-old Florida man was arrested this morning and charged with sexual battery after he posed as a doctor and went door-to-door -- black doctor's bag in hand -- offering women free breast exams. According to a Broward County Sheriff's Office report, two women--ages 33 and 36--fell for the scam, which Winikoff allegedly ran in Lauderdale Lakes.
I guess when your a 76-year-old entrepreneur and don't know where you will find your next gratification, you find a way to make it happen. Hmmm. Where does that leave me? I guess I'm not much of an entrepreneur.

Interesting insight into the twisted left

Clear and present has excerpts of a article by Nina Burleigh that illuminates just how evil some liberals feel the military are.

Too bad, the author doesn't understand the very same military people from Narrowsburg, NY (whose values she doesn't approve of) are protecting her and her family everyday.

Nina should learn to appreciate wearing the red, white, and blue a little more lest one day she will be forced to wear a bhurka and be unable to go out in public by herself.

Dispatch From the Religion of Peace

Practitioners of the R.O.P. are outdoing themselves.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Militants broke into two schools in a mainly Shiite district of Baghdad and "slaughtered" two teachers in front of their pupils, the Iraqi government said Wednesday.
Don't you love the way Reuters puts "slaughtered" in scare quotes? As if that's what the Iraqis call it, but Reuters isn't so sure that's the appropriate word.

Update: Here's MSNBC's report on the incident. You can decide for yourself whether "slaughter" works for you:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Separate groups of gunmen entered two primary schools in Baghdad on Wednesday and beheaded two teachers in front of their students, the Ministry of State for National Security said.

“Two terrorist groups beheaded two teachers in front of their students in the Amna and Shaheed Hamdi primary schools in Shaab district in Baghdad,” a ministry statement said.
With a firm grasp of the obvious, we are treated to this bit of high-end analysis:
A ministry official said he believed the attacks were aimed at “intimidating pupils and disrupting learning.”
Yeah, having headless teachers does tend to disrupt learning.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Shoulder Pain - Resolved

Over the past couple months, I have been nagged by pain in my right shoulder. Nothing major, just a low-grade ache. This weekend, I figured it out.

I used to throw my left arm across Suzy to snuggle in my sleep. With her *sob* gone, I am throwing over with my left arm and rolling past where Suzy would have caught me and further onto my right shoulder. Now I have piled up some pillows where Suzy slept to catch my arm, and that has helped my shoulder. This widow thing sucks.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ford has announced the 2008 closing of the Norfolk Assembly Plant, which manufacturers F-150 trucks. With 2400 employees, local angst is running very high.

Governor Kaine arrived today, promising "to persuade Ford executives to reverse, or at least delay, their decision to close the plant in 2008."

We all know that will be fruitless. But a discussion I listened to this morning on local talk radio shed some light on the root causes of the situation.

The substitute host, trying to generate call-in discussion, noted that he knew people working at the plant that are pulling in between 60 and 70 thousand dollars a year for the solemn task of driving a couple screws into a door panel over and over again. Where, the host wondered, would these people make that kind of money with such a limited skill set.

To which I would ask, why was this task "worth' so much in the first place? The real tragedy of this plant closing is that unions have created thousands of very highly paid unskilled workers.

Approaching Hit 10K

Normally, I pay little attention to the web counter near the end of the right sidebar. We are, however, approaching a milestone. Hits will likely roll into five figures someday this week.

Small potatoes, I know, and most of it is probably me, Don, our families, and friends. Still, we do receive the occasional random comment, and the visitors list (also linked in the sidebar) indicates hits from all over the world. They are probably stumbling through and most likely never come back. But still, I thought it a milestone worth noting.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Good Friday was Bad. I can't put my finger on anything specific, it was just bad. I couldn't get Suzy out of mind for even a minute, I couldn't escape the sadness of missing her, and I couldn't concentrate on my work. I felt sorry for myself all day long and was miserable.

So Saturday I overcompensated.

I got up at nine, drove out to the Virginia Beach oceanfront, and ran 7.5 miles up and down the boardwalk. The salt air, surf, and cool breezes helped clear my head. But I wasn't done.

Upon returning home, I showered and headed out on my motorcycle, hitting the road around 12:30. Headed north across the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel and on up to Yorktown. From there, I took the Colonial Parkway through Williamsburg to Jamestown. Then, across the Jamestown-Scotland Neck Ferry to Surry County, and back through Smithfield and Portsmouth to Norfolk.

I returned home around 6:30 completely exhausted and sunburned. Easter Sunday it was all I could manage to go grocery shopping. I did slip in a 6 mile run late in the afternoon, but other than that I was whipped.

Now it's back to work. I hope my weekend activities worked to settle my sensibilities.

Sheepish Confession

I am a 46 year old man. I hold a Master of Architecture degree. I studied in Europe. I worked in New York. I have built in locales ranging from Eastville, Virginia to Monterey, Mexico. I was married for many years to the love of my life, though am now a widow.

And I am in love with Chloe O'Brien from the Fox series 24.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Ace hits the nail squarely on the head:
I had no desire to gratuitously insult Islam until I was instructed by its clerics/mob bosses that I must not do so, on pain of death. Now I am compelled to.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Who Are You

I see from our Visitor's List that we have a reader in Ridgewood, NJ. As both my wife and I grew up in Ridgewood, I would appreciate a shout out from you. Email me at kflechtner-at-hotmail-dot-com.

Cornell adds another silly course

At Cornell, an Ivy League University famous for seniors taking such gut wrenching courses such as Wines, Understanding Wine and Beer and Sex, they are offering a seminar on Intelligent Design.

The Phillies' Phollies

My hometown team the Philadelphia Phillies are sitting a lowly 2-6 in the NL EAST.

They traded away one Jim Thome in the offseason to the Chicago White Sox because they had found the first baseman of the future in Ryan Howard, who is having a fine start himself.

And in a rare insanity spell I found myself whishing the NL had a Designated Hitter so the Phillies could have kept both Thome and Howard.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Kurt: What are we going to do tonight Don?
Don: The same thing we do every night,
Kurt: try to take over the world!
Don: And with this blog we're doing it one reader per year!

hat tip IMDB for the Pinky and the Brain lines

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Trivia for the Day

Through the years, I have always thought that my name was simply a variant of "Curt," which is often short for "Curtis." Same name, same origin in my mind. But no!

Curtis is an English derivation from a French surname meaning "courteous."

Kurt is a contraction for the German form of Conrad, meaning "bold counsel."

In an interesting coincidence, my mother, Barbara, was named for the patron saint of architects.

Cousin Don is, not surprisingly, the ruler of the world.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Which Perky-All-Liberal-Middle-Aged-Lady will be Fired First?

Will PALMAL Meridith Vieira or Katie Couric lose their new job first?

My bet is Couric gets dumped first around August 2008, when nobody's watching.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

It's All About Suzy

This Friday, my college friends MIke and Marion stopped by for a visit with their daughters Alison and Sarah. I did my best to show them all a good time.

We made a run up to Colonial Williamsburg, dashed back for a tour of NAS Norfolk aboard the Victory Rover, and ended up with a baseball game at Harbor Park. The whole time, all I could think of was how much Suzy would have loved to have been with us.

Today, I got up at 8 to see them off, then went back to bed. The thunderstorms arrived, I snuggled in, and didn't get out of bed until 3 PM.

Hosting friends is fun, but widowhood sucks.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Man, FrontPage magazine is off the hook today.

Lowell Ponte blasts Katie Couric
Katie Couric is not the girl next door. She is wealthy, powerful, and according to critics a temperamental diva. In a March 18, 2004, profile titled “The Cruella Syndrome” in the Left-leaning webzine, Rebecca Traister details the stories of “Queen of Mean” Couric throwing temper tantrums on the set, bullying her staff and using her influence to get people fired, mailroom boys and network executives alike.
Ben Johnson looks into the Capitol Police and Cynthia McKinney:
The police have apparently learned a lesson the Left has never apprehended: apologizing and retreating in the face of aggressive and illegal behavior causes that behavior to multiply and intensify. After backing down months ago, the Capitol Police have referred Cynthia McKinney to a federal prosecutor. An arrest may come as early as next week, when Congress recesses. (Of course, none of us would roam free for a week after assaulting a police officer; even anonymous Representatives are not without their perks.)
Jamie Glazov interviews an author who thinks the Clintons should be locked up:
I can go on and on about crimes committed by the Clintons, but you should just read my book. The Clintons are not in prison because they are clever lawyers who amassed a team of lawyers, public relations spinners, and media consultants to con the American people. The very fact that Ken Starr was vilified by the Clintonistas for simply doing his job, while Bill Clinton turned the White House into his personal house of sexual infidelity says it all.
And Dick Morris speculates that Al Gore is positioned to challenge Hillary:
Now she is in a fix. If she retreats and retracts her support for the war, she will become the ultimate weather vane, shifting with the political wind. If she adopts a pro-peace posture, she undoes all of her work to position herself as a hawkish female, able to overcome the stereotypes that hamper women who wish to be commanders in chief.

But if she stays in the center as the Democratic Party falls off to the Left, she could find herself with a deadly primary challenge from her husband’s former running mate.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Usually, sports analogies are used to explain life's lessons. So what do baseball managers use to explain sports lessons? They make an odd analogy to high school:
"It's like having calculus first period," (A's manager Billy) Beane said. "You are not real happy when the alarm goes off, but by second period it's already over and you are running off to wood shop."
So, for the Oakland A's, the Yankees are to calculus as the Mariners are to wood shop.