Reason to quit
Some eight hundred thousand unemployed persons will soon stop receiving unemployment compensation.

Naturally there is pressure from certain quarters for Congress to find some way to extend this compensation.

The first instinct of fiscal conservatives and libertarians would be to attempt to persuade the public that this extension of benefits would hurt the economy. Let me suggest an alternative.

Pressure Congress and the White House to offer an escape hatch. Go ahead, offer an extension of benefits, but with a catch. In exchange for accepting the extended unemployment compensation, the unemployed person agrees in writing to be exempted from all future Social Security benefits of any kind, and will no longer have FICA collected from him or her.

In short, "if you take The Package, it's over. Ninety more days, then you're out for good, no coming back. No paying into it either. Deal? Sign here."

Update: did I mention that anyone taking The Package also receives a handsomely-framed certificate stating that future employers of said person will no longer collect from nor contribute FICA for that person?
Been through this once already
After reloading this template, then adding my blogroll back in, then Sitemeter, BlogHop, and Enetation, I figured I had WeckUpToThees back on line and fully functional again after some sort of terrible hacking.

How mistaken I was. Less than one day after things were restored, whatever hosed me up in the first place hosed me up again. All links in the template have lost their href arguments. Every g*****ned one.


Holidays make me think about such things
While preparing our large list of Christmas cards, Mama-san and I were faced with the grim task of reprinting several envelopes. Divorces and separations, in addition to a death, have caused several "Mr and Mrs" to become just "Mr" or "Mrs."

Being an INTP, it struck me that one's way of dealing with that event would be useful as a personality type indicator. Expect to see the following question on a Meyers-Briggs test someday.

Do you:

  • strike through the "and Mrs" with a pen,

  • cover the whole address with an adhesive label, and fret that the thin paper label still allows one to read the mistake (and the strikethrough) through it,

  • ask Mama-san to print a new envelope (only two or three left!),

  • kick yourself viciously for having let the mistake through in the mail-merge stage?

  • All of the above.

I am not a number! I am a free man!
One of my Christmas gifts arrived already, but was not gift-wrapped inside the shipping carton. So I feel guilty that I know what it is already: a boxed set of the first three episodes of The Prisoner. Mama-san, aka Barbaloot, will not let me watch it until Christmas day.
Mooooore sugar!
Nineteen liters of wheat beer are fermenting in a carboy in the guestroom. They will be bottled on New Year's Eve.
Merry Christmas!

We hope this letter finds you well.
Boy is a two-year-old Force of Nature, who is growing into his maternal grandfather’s physique.
Middlechild wears glasses now at age four, and is doing well at school. She is daddy’s girl.
Firstborn reads very well at six, and enjoys learning Spanish. She has tried climbing an indoor pinnacle at the local REI shop, and has expressed an interest in skiing. She is a self-described chatterbox.
Fuze is back from a year of active duty with the Air Force, serving in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Qatar. He returned to regular work with a systems integration firm, but this job takes him away from home too much.
Barbaloot participates in a mothers’ group, Bible study, and the choir. Until recently she signed regularly for some deaf people in our parish. She is the center of our home, and still manages to give time and attention to church and neighbors.
We are thankful for everything we have, and all we would ask is more time with each other.
Please enjoy your Christmas season, and may this time renew your faith and energy for the coming New Year.