What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Greece. What’s the problem? You ginned up a mountain of bills and now suddenly don’t want to pay because it’s too hard. It’s unfair. The big countries are picking on you. God it sounds so familiar – like exactly what happened when so many people in this country found themselves in homes they couldn’t afford “through no fault of their own.” Except see, there is fault. There is definite fault when you spend other people’s money without any reasonably expectation of ever being able to pay it back. Putting your financial house in order is painful. It sucks. All the free stuff people thought they were entitled too is suddenly not free – or not there because you can’t afford it. And the only way the economy keeps on working is if people who loan money can expect to get that money back. It’s a loan, not a gift after all. I feel ever more strongly that the US is headed in a similar direction to our Greek friends. $18 Trillion in loans aren’t going to pay back themselves – and they’re certainly not going to get paid while we continue to add more debt to the pile. If Greece’s gnashing of teeth is any indicator of the howl that will go up when the US realizes we can’t afford to be all things to all people, we’re in for one hell of a rough ride.

2. Negotiating with terrorists. According to the US government it’s now OK for our fellow citizens to negotiate with terrorists. While I won’t pretend to imagine the nightmare that is having a family member or loved one in the hands of ISIS, I can tell you that I wouldn’t want my family to be responsible for providing aid and comfort to the enemy in the form of a substantial cash donation on my behalf. What I would like, on the other hand, is for the armored fist of the most powerful nation in the world to come crashing through the terrorist’s front door in an effort to a)rescue me and b) eradicate the terrorists who believe kidnapping an American citizen will end well for them. If Option A and Option B are mutually exclusive, please feel free to exercise Option B with as much lethality as necessary to get the job done. And then drop a few more 1000-pound bombs just to stir up the dust and make the rubble bounce a bit for good measure.

3. The joys of home ownership. Don’t get me wrong, I love the house. It crossed off just about every feature I had on my list. Having been in it now for three months, though, some of its warts are showing… and by warts I’m referring to the perpetually moist basement / piss poor foundation grading and drainage / sieve-like window well combination that I’ve been fighting since spring time turned into Maryland’s version monsoon season. Between the landscape contractors looking at fixes to my own modest efforts at improving the around-the-house drainage situation trying to get a grip on the underside of this not so old house has become something of a second job. Now I know it’s mostly just a function of sealing up the window well, correcting the drainage, and adding on a secondary source of electricity to keep the pumps chugging along… but just now, with another couple of days of rain in the forecast, my patience – something never know to be in vast supply – is wearing even more thin than usual.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

Europe. Since the time of Charlemagne, and Augustus before him, otherwise bright people have been trying to figure out a way to bind Europe together into something that approximates a single political entity. Charles V made a pretty solid showing during his reign. Henry VIII harbored his own dreams of European empire. Napoleon tried twice and Hitler damned near accomplished it. What do all these incredibly successful historical leaders have in common? Oh yeah, they all failed to unify Europe. By that light, I’m not sure why anyone is particularly surprised that a group of less inspiring bureaucrats in Brussels are having a tough time holding together a European Union. In the long run I think they best they can hope for is coming up with a dignified exit strategy. Even if the EU isn’t finished, it’s bound to look a lot different than the one they dreamed up at Maastricht in 1992.

Burger King. I love bacon about as well as anyone I know, but I’ve never sat here at home eating a bowl of ice cream and thought to myself, “Self, you know what would make this ice cream better? Bacon bits and a crispy slice of fried goodness.” I’m sure my fellow Americans will line up to buy this new bacon sundae, but as much of a glutton as I am, I’m afraid I’ll have to take a pass on it. It really just sounds like one of the most god awful ideas ever.

Drones. I’m tired of people spazzing out about unmanned aerial vehicles being the next wave of big brother keeping an eye on everyone. If Uncle Sam was really that interested in knowing what we’re up to, don’t you think maybe he has more sophisticated methods than sending a remote controlled helicopter to give you and me the once over? It’s cute when people are so paranoid that they can’t see the forest for the trees.