The View From Here

musings by John The Irishman

College Football 2008

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No more needs to be said…


Written by johntheirishman

Saturday, 30 August, 2008 @ 9:39 at 9:39

Posted in NCAAF


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Update : No report on China’s official website about murdered American Tourist ( 9 Aug 08 )


Update : Article on International Herald Tribune ( 2 May 08 )

Originally posted in March 2008 : I tried to find a Chinese word for censorship, but it doesn’t appear to exist. Censorship exists – but there just isn’t a word for it other than “government”. This should surprise no one since the “People’s Republic”, at the end of the day, is a Communist state. And what do Communists do best ? Control virtually EVERY aspect of of their citzenry’s life. What they read, what they listen to, internet access – even the number of children you can have.

I think we all know what goes on in China – it’s only been happening since the “Republic’s” inception in 1949 (and before). Without going into every violation of human rights that the government is guilty of, I just want to bring up something I noticed on the internet. It should surprise, again, no one.

Tibet has been protesting against Chinese control for quite some time. Recently the Tibetan people, and especially monks in particular, have held large-scale protests that have often led to violence. This week is no different – two people were killed, cars overturned, fires set and people arrested. What was most surprising to me was that ALL the major international news agencies reported on the situation, and it was normally the lead story. After checking 3 or 4 CHINESE news agencies, I could not find a single story on anything related to the Tibetan conflict. Watch your back, Taiwan…

Written by johntheirishman

Saturday, 9 August, 2008 @ 7:28 at 7:28

Il Dolce Far Niente

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The Sweetness of Doing Nothing

Written by johntheirishman

Thursday, 31 July, 2008 @ 5:52 at 5:52

Posted in Randoms

Customer Service – Alive and Well !

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I journeyed to The Home Depot today in Rocky River, a CLE suburb that borders Lakewood on the West End.  I was just running in for a minute, but I had to use the little boy’s room first – when ya gotta go, ya gotta go.  What I witnessed was a classic moment in Big Box Store Customer Service.  It kind of helps one to understand why it takes so long to get phone help.

As I wandered back to the restrooms, I heard a guy on his cordless phone tell a customer “It was in this week’s ad ?  I’ll have to go look at it – please hold.”  He then preceeded to the restroom ahead of me (at least he washed his hands after), moseyed through the store with no sense of urgency whatsoever, and located the “ad rack” by the entrance.  He then – with the same lack of enthusiasm – meandering back to the Kitchen Department.  When he went to retrieve his phone from his pocket to address the customer’s question he dropped the phone, with the battery ejecting across the floor – dropped call !

Obviously I was shadowing him (from a distance – he didn’t know) to see how this played out, and it basically went exactly as I thought it would, except for the “dropped call” part.  Now I can better understand why it takes FOREVER to get telephone questions answered at these places – I really don’t think most employees care.  As stated, when ya gotta go, ya gotta go, but maybe they shouldn’t take the customer with them when they do…


Written by johntheirishman

Thursday, 26 June, 2008 @ 11:49 at 11:49

“I’ve Got Those Unemployment Blues…”

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OK – not really.  Oh, I’m unemployed right now, I just don’t have the blues about it.  I was actually going to start looking for another position in September, but once again “fate” played it’s hand.  My position was “eliminated by upper management” on Friday, June 6th.

I was employed by this company since April 2005 in Supply Chain Management and did not really enjoy my position, so I quit in July of 2007 – if you look in my archives I posted about it.  To make a long story short, they “hired” me back the next morning for a position in Facilities Management.  I actually gave them 6 weeks notice when I resigned, so I really never left the company.  I thought it was going to be a great situation but as stated earlier – I would be looking in the Fall.

This kind of thing has happened to me twice before, so it was old hat.  I was part of a large down-sizing in 1996 and again in 2004.  Ironically, if I would have still been employed by the company that let me go in 2004, I would have lost my job at the end of May as that company has closed.  Maybe I need to attract stronger companies !

My situation this time is a bit different than the previous ones too.  First off, the weather – then it was Winter, now it is Summer (almost) – YES !  I am also in a much better place financially as I had many more financial obligations and expenses than I do now.  As I have stated before in this forum, Slim and I try to live simple lives.  Society and marketing tries to tell people that they deserve the best, and of COURSE you can afford it.  Not falling “victim” to that logic helps a lot.

I’m not about to say that we’re on Easy Street, but we’re OK.  I will continue to cut coupons, shop for food bargains, hit the ethnic markets, and buy inexpensive cuts of meat that I can prepare using methods that make them fabulous !  We will curtail some spending, but for the most part we will not really have to change our lifestyle since we practiced these habits already.  I also have close to a month of my normal salary & benefits, and there is always unemployment benefits.

As for my job search – I’m not, really.  At this point in my life, I want to do something I will enjoy, not just collect a paycheck.  I am working around the house and yard, completing projects and keeping up The Estate.  I’m riding my bike more, working on my jump-shot & walking about town.  I am not planning to put the financial burden on Slim, just taking some time off to figure this all out.  God knows what He’s doing, and also what I’ll be doing – I just have to find what it is…



Written by johntheirishman

Wednesday, 18 June, 2008 @ 8:43 at 8:43

Posted in 1470, blah-blah-blah...

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Time…to plant !

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As many of you know, I LOVE to be in the kitchen.  And you may also remember my love of gardening – this year is no exception, with almost everything in the ground already.  We even had some plants survive the Winter, which for NE Ohio, was very mild.  Now, on with the show !

Surviving for a first time were two of the three Rosemary plantings.  They normally perish under cover of snow, but these hearty fellows made it through !  So did some Parsley, Oregano, Lemon Thyme and Sage.  I’m not saying they grew back this Spring – I was able to use them all Winter !  Not bad when you can cut fresh herbs in the middle of “The Off Season” as I call it.

Returning for yet another year also are Chives, Leeks, Green Onions, Mint, Strawberries and others.  We were also pleasantly surprised to see that our Mesclun Mix (salad greens) came back – right now we could probably make side salads for ten, and we’re just getting started !  Slim planted a “Butterfly Garden” last year, and the Lavender is doing well, along with Chamomile and other fragrants.

Along with the typical crops : Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Squash, Zucchini, Peppers, Eggplant & Basil, we have added Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts – yep, Brussels Sprouts.  I put my own twist on Sprouts, so don’t cringe just yet.  I don’t boil them or steam them like our ancestors – mine are excellent !  I cut them in half, saute them in Peanut Oil with Salt & Pepper until the outside begins to carmelize, then finish them with Butter – Yummo !

We are also adding Grapes this year.  Eventually I’d like to make wine, but for now they’re just for eating.  I plan on trying my hand at cheese making, sausage making and Charcuterie (dry curing meats – think Salami and Sopressata) at some point.  It would be amazing to serve our friends & family a complete non-vegetarian meal “made” entirely on site, but currently Lakewood does not allow livestock within the city limits.  Hmmm…maybe I should run for Mayor…

Written by johntheirishman

Sunday, 18 May, 2008 @ 10:12 at 10:12

Posted in 1470, Eats

Job Security

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Update :  In a “surprising” turn of events, Vladimir Putin named Prime Minister of Russia

Originally posted in March 2008 : As some of you may know, there is a very important transfer of power about to take place in the former Soviet Union. They are holding “elections” today to elect a new President – how exciting ! When Russia, China and others hold elections for top leadership there are worldwide ramifications. A superpower having a changing of the guard is normally a big deal, but not this time. It seems the resurgent Russian Bear is back to her old ways.

Vladimir Putin, the current President, basically hand-picked his successor – Dmitry Medvedev. Medvedev is “running” for President, and has the “support” of Putin. If Medvedev wins, he will appoint Putin as his Prime Minister, thus leaving him in power. Most agree that the President will basically be a “figurehead” – as is the case in this country – and that Putin will continue to wield vast amounts of power in his new role as PM. It’s no secret that Putin is power hungry – this just confirms it beyond the shadow of a doubt.

The Putin administration “allegedly” oppressed (suppressed ?) the competition to the point that labor leaders are making their members phone in after they leave the polling places to confirm that they voted for Medvedev “or else”. Children were sent home with literature to help persuade parents to vote for Medvedev. Opposition party workers were harassed to stop working for their candidate. The government has raided campaign offices, closed newspapers, and frozen bank accounts. Looks like an old dog “has returned to it’s vomit”. Welcome to Cold War v. 2.0…

Written by johntheirishman

Wednesday, 7 May, 2008 @ 8:08 at 8:08