Archive for August, 2012

Tomorrow is my 78th birthday. Someone at the gym asked me if I was planning on putting candles on the cake. I responded, “Are you crazy? You think I want to burn the house down? I suppose if it was one of those institutional sheet cake pans which are about two by three feet, it could be done; however, I have to wonder how many friends it would take to blow out the candles on a cake that large. I don’t have that many friends left; most of them are sniffing the wrong side of the grass.

There seems to be a spate of celebrity deaths this year. It’s interest to note that when I mentioned to some younger person that Tony Martin had died, they hadn’t a clue. How about Ben Gazzara, Celeste Holm, Fred Willard, or Chad Everett? The last vaguely remembered Everett as Doctor Joe Gannon in Medical Center. Everett was only 75 at the time of his death. I say only because that’s only a three year difference. If I want to really frighten myself I could look at Sherman Helmsley who passed away earlier this year and was only 74. Willard was only 72, but he deserved to die young; imagine a man that age still playing with himself in adult theatres…shame on you, Fred…rest in piece [sic].

Welcome Back Kotter’s sweathogs didn’t fare very well in 2012 either. First, Robert Hegyes, or Juan Epstein as he was better known, died of a heart attack in January. He was only 60. Then, Ron Pallilo, a.k.a., Arnold Horshack passed away in August. Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, the third of the sweathogs, is now 56 and he says, “Just hangin’ out and livin’ the life. Once again, if you ask the younger generations about the ‘sweathogs,’ they’ll either give you that deer-in-the-headlights stare or say it’s a new group. Theirs was a great show with some extremely talented actors.

 I kid about my age, but truth to tell, I am getting to the top of the mountain sooner rather than later. Some say I’m already on the down side…to hell with them! I’m not really afraid of death; it’s the dying part that has me somewhat concerned. It would be nice to go quietly in my sleep as several of my acquaintances have done, but somehow, I just don’t feel that’s in the cards. I can see it now….my POSSLQ (person of the opposite sex sharing living quarters) rolling over and saying, “Hey, get up; time for the….oops, no gym no more!” Actually, that’s just about how she’d say it; I have a very cool lady living with me…oh, yeah!

Let’s be candid; no one gets out of this gig alive. Whether you drive off a cliff, drop dead of a heart attack, get shot in a drive-by, run over by a bus or die with a lingering illness, we’re all going to take that last breath. I’ve seen two loved ones die very slowly; it’s not a pleasant sight. I’ve seen a fatal heart attack, and while it’s not pretty, it’s fast. I guess the you only have to worry about two things when you die: 1) You go “up there;” you know what I mean…there…up there…with Him or Whoever…okay; now you’re catching on, or 2) You go down there…yeah, that’s the place; yep, the one where you don’t bring the winter clothes. If you go down there, you probably won’t have a worry in the world; you’ll be so busy shaking hands with old friends, you won’t even feel the heat. On the other hand, if you go up there, just think of all the people you will get to meet who you never would have me under ordinary circumstances. I’ll miss my wife, but maybe I can get a day pass or something. Who knows; who cares; It is what it is and there ain’t a damned thing we can do about it.

Read Full Post »

Doing God’s will

“Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done…on earth as it is in Heaven.” What “will” are we talking about? Oh, sure, it is God’s will, but can you define “God’s will?” Scripture speaks of “the will of God” in so many places that it’s easy to become confused about what the will of God truly is. In John it states, “Believe and you are saved…For this is the will of God that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” Sorry, can’t quite buy that. Ephesians, Corinthians, Thessalonians, First Peter, Colossians, Romans, Hebrews, Mark, Matthew, and more speak of “the will of God,” and each takes us off in a different direction. So, who do we believe? We, most assuredly, cannot go in that many directions simultaneously…we’d go nuts!

Here’s my take. God, Allah, Buddha, or whoever, supposedly created us in his image…sort of a bitch to figure that one out, particularly when you look at the people in your church, synagogue, or mosque…a whole pile of totally different individuals. It would appear that some mutations took place along the way, both in mind and in body. If you will allow, let me assume that the Divine Being painted “created in his image” with a really big brush because we’re all just like fingerprints; no two alike. That’s both a good thing and a bad thing. Certainly it’s good, because if we were all alike, can you imagine the boredom? We would stagnate and die; as extinct as the dinosaurs; probably shuffled off this mortal coil about a couple of million years ago. No, by image, it would appear that God cared nothing about physical attributes or skin color or anything like that. “Image” is probably more something along the lines of living harmoniously, caring for one another, and believing that this divine being will reward us for a job well done when we finally breathe out last. The fact that no two of us are alike can also be a bad thing, in part because some of us believe that our God is the only God and if you don’t believe the way we do, you don’t belong here; you belong dead! There are all sorts of bad in making us different, just as there are all sorts of good.

Could I be wrong on my assumptions? Good Lord, I certainly hope so. I’m hardly a theologian. Ashamedly,  I have to admit that I’ve never read the Bible from cover to cover. However, in my defense, I believe the Bible was written by “the winners,” just as any historical information is written by those who win the final battle. To me, the winners are to be no more trusted than the losers. That’s another thing I have to take up with my God, if and when I ever get to see Him…why does man have this ability to lie. I’m not so certain that was a good thing to “put in” when he was creating man in his image. I get very red in the face when I lie; I know this and sometimes it’s just a bitch to have to tell the truth, but then… So, to me, the Holy Bible is a collection of stories told first about a vengeful God and then about a loving God – wow, we even get a choice of Gods; datsa nize!

God’s will, I believe, is that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Of course it’s the Golden Rule; please don’t tell me something I already know! The key word is that little word, “do.” Don’t sit around with your thumb in your bum and your mind in neutral. Don’t talk about doing God’s work; get off your fat ass and do something to help someone else. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. How about this: You’re walking around in your neighborhood. You see a newspaper just at the beginning of a walkway up to a house where you know an elderly couple live. Why not pick up the paper and put it on their porch, just so one of them doesn’t have to walk to the end of the front walk to get the paper. Of course, with your luck, as you walk up to the front door, the old man will appear with a shotgun and accuse you of trying to steal his paper. Hey, sometimes you win; sometimes you lose.

Sometimes – no, clarify that – much of the time you won’t see opportunities to help others; after all, you’ve got your own share of problems, but you’ll know when an opportunity comes along where you can make a difference. I’m not talking about pledging $19 a month to save a n animal or something like that. They may be fine causes, but if you’re like me, you have other commitments for that $19. Not to brag, but my significant other has a garden. This has been a good year…oy vey, what a year. We have so many tomatoes, we could feed an army. I bring them to the neighbors, to doctor’s appointments, to the gym, to anywhere I can, and our kitchen still looks like a food pantry. Am I doing God’s will? I don’t think about it in that way [at least I didn’t ‘til I started writing this]. My request of people is simple, “Take what you need.” Recently, I took a bag to one of my doctor’s offices. When we finished our business, and as I was walking out, one of the assistants said, “Go ahead, doctor, we have tomatoes.” He looked at me and asked, “Did you bring any Green Zebras?” I’m certain to his shock and amazement, I reached into the bag and pulled out a Green Zebra…last laugh’s on you doc!

How will you do God’s will today?

Read Full Post »

Remember when Frank Sinatra sang, “Love is lovelier the second time around?” Pat Boone sang it in the movie, ‘April Love,’ or one of those schmaltzy flicks of many years ago. “Just as wonderful with both feet on the ground,” and isn’t that the truth. The first love is the first love, and no one can deny the reality of it. For most boys, I believe, the very, very first love is often more like lust and therefore is not love at all. The first real love is something akin to that rollercoaster-belly-dropping-holy-shit-OMG-wow moment when you realize that this is the one; the one with whom you really do want to spend the rest of your life.

And you do…and she dies…and that wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. You were supposed to die first. She was supposed to grow old, with only a couple of wrinkles, and maybe silver hair, and maybe rocking grandchildren in her lap. And maybe she’d have a shawl around her shoulders in the winter, because old people don’t like the cold; and maybe, just once in a while, she’d watch the grandkids swim in the pool that one of the kids had…and she’d be wearing a wide-brimmed hat, but she wouldn’t stay out long, because old people don’t really like the summer heat. Then, suddenly, you’d be together again, and that would be how your lives would play out…together. But, as they say, “Man plans…and God laughs.”

After she dies, you’re lost…you really are. If her death has been a lingering one, you’re cried out by the time ‘it’ eventually occurs. You’re cried out, and you go through this barbaric process known as a wake, or viewing or whatever else they call it, and then the funeral, and the reception back at the house, and then everyone leaves and you haven’t a bloody clue what to do with yourself…and the hurt is so deep that you just know the agony of loss will never go away.

Day follows day; week follows week; month follows month; and year even follows year. You don’t forget. You visit the grave, even though you know that what is buried there is merely a shell, a vessel, but until the day you die, you can tell anyone the clothing that is inside that casket. You talk to her each night, reminding her that she is still loved and begging forgiveness for all of the stupid things you did when you were together. Time passes, and you wonder when you will be together again; then you wonder if you’ll be together again. You wonder if faith has moved her on to something better and if you would ever qualify to be as good as she was, as deserving as she was…and always your answer is, “No;’ she was that much better.

Hopefully, for you, as it has for me, the “second time around,” does occur. It’s not the same love; there is only one of those. It’s a different love, “Love’s more comfortable the second time you fall; like a friendly home the second time you call.” There is no question that it’s love because somehow it just feels right. It’s what you want and you know in your heart that it’s what she would want. You can actually feel that…and it’s a wonderful feeling. “Who can say what brought us to this miracle we’ve found. There are those who’d bet love comes but once and yet, I’m oh so glad we met the second time around.”

Thanks, Joan for our wonderful times, and thank you, Juli, for giving me that “second time around.”

Read Full Post »

David is someone I have never met.  The chances are pretty good that I will never meet him. That’s really not to the particular liking of either one of us; it’s just the way things are organized. You see, David is the brother of my significant other – ooh, nice ring to that, eh –and as such, lives as far from his sister as he possibly can! No, that’s not fair; it’s just that he prefers the sunshine and earthquakes of California to his sister’s “preference” for the blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes, and “whatevah” of New England. She likes a challenge; he prefers sameness. What can I tell you?

Distance, however, as we are all too well aware, is no long a problem in terms of communication. David and I have exchanged numerous e-mails. Among his most recent communications was one dealing with the etymology of words. Where did a particular word originate? From the time of our simple, “Ugh’s”  and “Ah’s,” How and where were  today’s ‘born?’ Take the word, “originate.” It could be French or Latin, but according the etymology dictionary, it didn’t appear in use until and around 1650.

David, with his usual dry, sarcastic wit and warped sense of humor pondered the meaning of such words as ‘expert,’ ‘consultant,’ ‘analyst,’ or even the phrase ‘expert consulting analyst’ might mean in today’s vernacular. To quote my distant contributor…”EX means to be a former person of the word, such as an ex football player or an ex President. Pert is short for the word, pertinent, – in combination with our ex – someone at some point in their life had a unique point of view, but just for that period of time that they were performing the task or doing the job.

“So, we now know that an ex pert is someone who at one point in time in their life was an important person or knowledgeable of the task at hand but only for that brief period of time that has since past, so now they are an expert.”

My own definition of that very word is somewhat less complicated. I choose to shorten the ex to simply ‘x,’ and as we all know from our algebra – an undergarment worn by mermaids – x is an unknown quantity. If we add the x to the pert, we arrived at a new word ‘xpert,’ pronounced ‘spurt,’ which is nothing more than a drip under pressure; as a consequence, my ‘expert’ is a drip under pressure who knows nothing. A ‘consulting expert’ is one who arrives at your company, tells you what you already know and gets paid big bucks for doing so. From my friends in the business world, it would appear that these consulting experts are more of a phenomenon in higher education where one might believe exists an entire faculty of consulting experts. I should note that faculty consulting experts are much too intelligent to consult in higher education; after all, the big money is elsewhere. Where “elsewhere” is, is a highly guarded secret.

As for ‘consulting,’ David believes the word “…is derived from two words [the first being] to “con” or to convince you of something that may or may not be true, but if you believe them then that is what they want you to do as the ‘con’ is their version of what occurred [or what should occur]. Personally, I’ve always looked at ‘con’ as being negative and the opposite of ‘pro’ or positive. You know as in ‘progress’  or moving along quickly toward the achievement of goals versus ‘Congress’ or attempting to find as many negative things as possible to keep everyone from achieving any goals.

Ah, but what about our third word, the almighty “analyst.” In the world according to David, the analyst is just what it sounds like…someone that has become anal or referring to your ass [and] a “yst” which is short for cyst,” so the analyst is “…like a cyst on your ass or a pain in the ass.” Ass, as we are all well aware, goes back to Biblical times; however, in those cases, it was referring to an onager or a donkey, and despite the number of puns that could be made here, David and I will both refrain.

Now, dear reader, you should, quite obviously, be aware that what you have just read is presented to you as the facts…or a fictional account credited to someone. Today, however, we think of a fact as something that is known to be true. Therefore, having been viewed in the past by some [very few, actually] as an ‘expert consultant and analyst, I think I’ll cast the entire blame for this article on my co-author, David and let the chips fall where they may…I wonder if that means cow chips, wood chips, or Chip & Dale, hmm?

Read Full Post »

There are many things wrong with joining a gym. If you join and you’re over 30…and this is your first genuine attempt at “working out”…hate those words, chances are you don’t even know what to do with half of the machines. Of course, should you join with a friend; you can both look foolish as you attempt to determine what all of the buttons mean on each machine…the key button being “on.”

On a more serious note, if you have to ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” What can you expect from a gym that you cannot get by a regular program of walking or jogging out of doors? In New England and any other northern state, jogging outdoors in the winter time can often be a “bit-of-a-bitch!” However, if those question pops up in your deliberations to join or not to join, don’t do it; you’ll waste your money and you won’t go. If you believe that because you’re spending money, this will be an incentive, let me tell you that you’re wrong.  I’ve found during my 18 years at several gyms that rarely is money a consideration unless you are considering an extremely high-end facility which, by my standards. I don’t need.

Don’t join a gym until you see your doctor and go through a thorough physical. A number of people I know take issue with that statement. “I’m just workin’ out.” “I’m not training for a marathon.” These are all wonderful statements, but they don’t mean a thing.  How’s your blood pressure? Do you even know what it is? How are your knees, back, shoulders, neck? What are your cholesterol numbers? There are all sorts of things that your doctor can tell you about beginning an exercise program, and let’s face it, if you go to a gym and begin by trying to bench 100 pounds, you are guaranteed to hurt yourself.

Don’t join a gym if you’re trying to impress the girls. I could be wrong, but the women I’ve met at gyms are there to sweat and could care less about some idiot who is a muscle head or trying to act like one. In addition, the women I know are in so much better shape, I don’t even try to compete. The camaraderie that develops at a gym doesn’t take long to develop but it’s just another social group that have an interest in one thing…staying physically fit.

Don’t join a gym if you expect that just by joining you will become fit. Ask yourself, “What do I really wish to accomplish?” If you answer that you wish to lose weight, you’re in the wrong place. Go call Jenny Craig or join Weight Watchers. A gym is not the answer to your problem; your diet is the problem. Oh sure, you can sweat away some pounds, but if you continue with your diet, the weight will stay right where it is. If, on the other hand, you answered that you want to improve your cardiovascular system, welcome aboard. Do you want to tighten or build a reasonable amount of muscle? Glad to see you. If you believe that you can achieve you goals by going once a week, goodbye.

I’m writing this having just returned from workout out at the gym. I spent 45 minutes on an elliptical machine. Before surgery, I was doing an hour on that machine, but it bothers my shoulder after about half an hour and I don’t want to push my recovery too far. Following that, I spent 15 minutes on a bike to warm down. No weights; I won’t be doing any weights for easily another two weeks, and even then, they’ll be pretty darned light. I do this workout five or six times a week. I feel great. Even though I have COPD and emphysema, I continue to do this. I’m retired so I could exercise any time of the day; however, I prefer to go in the early morning. Most of the folks who go at that time also have to get to work. They’re all friendly, but they all know their time constraints. They work hard but they also take some time to socialize…not too much; just as long as it doesn’t deter from their exercise program.

Yes, there are many things wrong with joining a gym, but there are so many benefits to doing so that they far outweigh the negative aspects. In addition to the benefits of physical health – you soon learn which machines are best for you and even how to turn them on – you are exposed to men and women from a variety of fields; from police officers to neurosurgeons; from nurses to human resources directors, from high school and college students to CPA’s and housewives. If you’re looking for a wide variety of wonderful folks, you won’t find a better place…but don’t forget, socializing is only one percent of the reason you’re there. The other 99 percent is sweating your butt off by “working out”…still hate those words!

Read Full Post »

Brace yourselves; there are only too many weeks left that you will have to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous political advertisements before we have a new or old President and Vice President of the United States. We will also have a bunch of new/old Senators and Representatives in the United States Congress…whoopee-fucking-do!

Once again it will be the same old or new, depending entirely on your viewpoint, nonsensical approach to governing our country. I have an idea; let’s bring back Bill and Hillary Clinton as benevolent dictators. Blow jobs for everyone; fast food whenever you want it and to hell with this obesity campaign. Okay, so it kills a few million idiots who walk around with bulging bellies and butts that are about six axe handles across. Give ‘em all a carton of unfiltered cigarettes and we’ll shrink the gene pool even faster…hey, let’s get it on and watch ‘em drop on the street; just so much black, white, brown and other colors you may want to watch hit the pavement with a thud.

Why Bill and Hillary you may ask? Who else could you want?  George the First is too old and George the Second is…oh, come-on; if I have to explain that to you, here, have a carton of Luckies and here are some coupons to MacDonald’s. Why not Romney or Obama, you ask? Well, Romney wants it to much and he would be anything but benevolent. If your net worth isn’t in the seven figure range, Mitt would classify you as a serf and have you working around his castle or that of one of his billionaire buddies. Obama’s problem is that he doesn’t know when to put his foot down and tell his opponents to climb on board the hayride or get trampled by the horses. Nope, it has to be Bill and Hillary. He’s the epitome of arrogance and she’s the epitome of tolerance. He can balance a budget and she can deal intelligently with foreign heads of state…although I think she might be getting just a wee bit pissed at some of those idiots in the Middle East.

Bill’s first presidential proclamation would be to freeze the assets of all the lobbies in Washington. Let’s see, that could bring about seven billion into the coffers. My bet is that if you looked hard enough, you could probably scrape another five or more billion out of those sleaziests as I like to call them. Just think, no more Congressional junkets; Congress might actually accomplish something. You see, I’m not setting Bill and Hillary up as absolute monarchs; oh, no, we need checks and balances here. Bill’s primary job, in addition to achieving a balanced budget, would be to depolarize Congress; to look for what is good for the American people and to let Congress know in no uncertain terms why whatever is being proposed is not good for America and its folks. No more of these piddly-assed arguments about Democratic wording versus Republican wording…get the damned ‘I’s dotted and the ‘t’s crossed with a minimum of fuss and bother and let’s get on to the next thing.

First, we put America back to work. Forget about making the electronic gizmos for the young, hip, cool, and trendy; let Samsung and others take care of that. Let’s put Bill Gates and his team together to look down the line and see what products will be required in the 23rd Century and start working on them now.  Let’s sterilize welfare mothers whose sole purpose in life appears to be getting pregnant and living off the government teat. They want money, they work for it. As far as their kids are concerned, they go into a government-sponsored day care facility and a part of momma’s salary goes into the funding of such a facility. Let’s create jobs that will help to rebuild America’s infrastructure; repairing roads and bridges; strengthening railroad beds and developing high speed trains that can travel these beds without fear. Where does the money come from? Equalize the manner in which everyone pays taxes; no more hiding assets, Swiss bank accounts or funds hidden in the Cayman Islands. Le’s “Make America Honest.”

Let’s talk about gangs for a minute. We double our personnel in Homeland Security and in local police departments. Instead of soldiers fighting abroad in countries where we don’t stand a snowball’s chance of pacification, let’s raise the pay of those soldiers and give them jobs back home as law enforcement officers. Granted, many of them came from gangs and escaped by joining the military; many others did not and they become the leaders. Let’s go out and mop up the streets with these bastards; build border walls that make it damn near impossible for them to get into this country. We aren’t killers or hate mongers, but we’ve had enough of this nonsense with drive-bys and gang activities that we are no longer going to tolerate it. If we could design and implement a plan that could take out Osama, we can design and implement plans that can eliminate gangs.

I honestly don’t know what to do about our homeless population. Maybe Bill or Hillary already has some ideas. Maybe someone else, far more intelligent than I, has a solution in her or his pocket. Some of these folks are homeless by choice…I don’t know why; some are homeless because they are mentally impaired…I can understand that; some are homeless because they’ve lost hope…and that’s our fault as a nation. How can we help them…Oh, how I wish I had an answer.

We are America, the greatest, proudest, most wonderful place on planet Earth. We are blessed with natural resources that include some very highly intelligent people. We are blessed with millions who are altruistic and have the welfare of everyone in mind. We are also cursed with the greedy whose only god is mammon, the greenback, the almighty buck, and to hell with how they get it. We need both of these kinds of people. They are another check and balance in keeping our country awake and aware.

I’m not asking for Utopia; I’m not that stupid. However, I think we’ve reached the point where we must try something radically different from our current system of government. The Constitution is a brilliantly conceived document. In this world today, a world that is changing so rapidly that if you blink you miss a hundred new inventions, we need to take a step back and ask if the Constitution is complete. After all, it wasn’t until the 13th Amendment that slavery was abolished. Doesn’t that tell us that the original document was incomplete? Still don’t believe me? Ask any woman of voting age what the 19th Amendment is and you’ll learn just how incomplete the original Constitution was for all citizens. Come on, my fellow Americans, let’s get together and tell Washington and its leaders to stop the baloney and get on with moving our country forward.

Read Full Post »

Whatever happened to electing decent, intelligent, respectable people to the United States House and Senate? Aren’t these the people who are supposed to be held to a higher standard than the average “man on the street?” Isn’t it true that the men and women who comprise our Congress are the people responsible for writing, proposing, and passing laws that will be in our best interest? If that is all true, then why do we have people in these positions of power who want to legalize dog fighting; who believe that a woman can just shut down her body during a rape so that she doesn’t get pregnant, or; another idiot who is sufficiently disrespectful of a body of water consider holy that he decides to go skinny-dipping.  

I agree that Michael Jackson was probably some kind of a good performer, but to offer up a House Resolution to honor him? Wait a minute; how about working on a jobs bill instead; doing something that will help the economy. Why do we need House Resolutions to honor Arnold Palmer or to approve the building of a statue to pay tribute to Ronald Reagan…yes, this is what the Congress means when it says that it’s busy working for the taxpayers. What a crock of crap. But…WE ELECTED THESE IDIOTS. It’s not their fault; it’s ours.

When Senator Todd Akin was asked about allowing abortion in a rape that result in pregnancy, his answer was, “It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.” What was he thinking? What could that poor, uninformed man possibly be thinking? Perhaps he was thinking of female ducks or insects that can allow the sperm of one male to be washed out by another to avoid unwanted pregnancy.

When Representative Steve King answers a question about dog fighting with, ““When the legislation that passed in the farm bill that says that it’s a federal crime to watch animals fight or to induce someone else to watch an animal fight, but it’s not a federal crime to induce somebody to watch people fighting, there’s something wrong with the priorities of people that think like that.” Perhaps the Congressman doesn’t understand that the loser in a dog fight is executed or that the winner does not receive the “big payday” that could be in terms of millions for a boxer. Of course, Representative King is already known for his stance against animal rights. My question is, “What the hell is dog fighting doing in legislation about farms?”

Freshman Congressman Kevin Yoder apparently didn’t understand the significance of the holy implications of the Sea of Galilee when he decided to go skinny dipping in spot where Christians believe Jesus walked on water. While other members of the delegation walked into the water – one representative holding his daughter’s hand – recognizing its significance, Representative Yoder seemed to regard it as just more fun on their Congressional boondoggle. I recognize that they don’t have large bodies of water in Kansas, Congressman, but you might wish to consider asking what is and isn’t appropriate when you take your trips…at lobbyists expense.

Between sex scandals and just plain downright stupidity, is it any wonder that this Congress contains about as great a bunch of losers as was ever assembled as a legislation-enacting body. Of course, they cannot even pass impactful legislation because they’re so damned polarized…AND IT’S OUR FAULT! We, the American people elected these fools. “Oh, but we didn’t know they were that way,” is not an excuse. It is incumbent on us to research, to educate ourselves, to become informed voters and not just listen to the political platitudes that these people spout during election campaigns. If the Representative from your particular district proves him or herself to be an idiot while serving in the House of Representatives, that actually reflects poorly on the people of his or her district. You are the idiots who chose to be represented by one of your own kind. Hmm, what does that say about you?

Many people feel that their vote doesn’t count. Many don’t even get out and vote. We accept the fact that if a Congress man or woman has not turned into a radical jihadist, then things are okay. They are not.  We are responsible for who sits in those 485 seats in Washington. It’s not them; it’s us. We vote to put them in those seats. Isn’t it also important that we know who is sitting there, passing laws that we may or may not agree with?

The apathy of Americans is appalling when it comes to who represents us in Washington. How many of our representatives are alcoholics, sexual predators, merely there to line their pockets? How many of them don’t represent you at all but rather, they represent the small moneyed group who bought and paid for the integrity of their representative. When you look at it in that fashion, it’s rather disgusting, isn’t it? Okay, so now, what the hell are you – yes, you – going to do about it?

Read Full Post »

It seems to me that the term, “melting pot,” should be eliminated from our language. There was a time when a group of malcontents from across the pond came over to this new found land and began to civilize it. All of this was done with a grant from King George II who believed that Britain had the right to control everything that went on over here…sorry, George. Then some of those malcontents – we might refer to them as pure malcontentists – broke away and settled elsewhere. Like so many people of the time, they had their own religious beliefs, and they didn’t quite conform to the first malcontents.

Are you sufficiently confused that I might move along or do we need to go back and read the first paragraph again? No, good, because I’m still confused. Anyway, as time went on – and this is like a century or so – more people from more countries decided that this place by then called the United States of America offered more promise of getting rich than their own country. The Chinese came…and they were hated, kept in menial positions until they finally set up their own culture in various parts of the country. They were hard-working and they made a difference. The Italians came and were treated by those already here in much the same way as the Chinese, but they, too, became absorbed into the land mass. Before you say anything about the Italians bringing the Mafia to this new land, you might be interested to learn that the Tongs had already made a similar impact on the Chinese population. The Swedes and the Dutch had already been here for a while and had already been absorbed…almost. The  Irish, Jews, Greeks, Armenians, Russians, Germans, and a whole pile of malcontents made their way to American shores and guess what happened? They were absorbed. Yes, they had their own culture, but they also created what is today the culture of America. Some parts we all understand; other parts still confuse us and that’s good. Just think what it would be like if everyone of us came from the same “situation;” what a dull and boring place this would be.

It’s dissatisfaction that has made America great. Whether it’s been a Black man inventing an automatic oiling system for railroad cars, a German inventing automatic clinical chemical analyzers, or an Irishman who developed improved versions of the phonograph – that’s an Ipod with a needle, kids – foreign born Americans are the sauce that has made this country a good part of what it is. People have come to our shores and worshipped as they wish, sometimes with prejudice, sometimes without. It seems to me, however, that things they are a-changing.

Islamic militants are arriving on our shores with their own idea of what laws they should obey and what laws they can make on their own. From the “20 Point Plan for Conquering the United States by 2010” to the number of huge Islamic centers being built, these folks just scare the living daylights out of me. It was Islamic extremists who were responsible for 911; yet we have turned the other cheek and welcomed tens of thousands of them into our country as refugees. Tennessee appears to be ground zero for a number of Islamic “centers” being built. Yes, the state does have a large population of Muslims, but I don’t personally believe their requirements are as great as they are being portrayed. In addition, Sharia Law, which is anathema to our Constitution, seems to be dominating thoughts of some state legislators.

Let me just cite a few of the “20 points” designed to bring the US to its knees:  1.“Wage a war of words using black leaders like Louis Farrakhan, Rev. Jesse Jackson and other visible religious personalities who promote Islam as the religion of African-Americans while insisting Christianity is for whites only. What they fail to tell African-Americans is that it was Arab Muslims who captured them and sold them as slaves. In fact, the Arabic word for black and slave is the same, ”Abed.”  2. “Nominate Muslim sympathizers to political office to bring about favorable legislation toward Islam and support potential sympathizers by block voting.”  3.’Terminate America’s freedom of speech by replacing it with statewide and nationwide hate-crime bills”. 4.“Yell ”foul, out-of-context, personal interpretation, hate crime, Zionist, un- American, inaccurate interpretation of the Quran” anytime Islam is criticized or the Quran is analyzed in the public arena.”

Frankly, I don’t care if only a small part of this is true. If it is a part of a plan to subvert America and our heritage, my reaction is that we need to do something now. We are currently engaged in open warfare against Muslim extremists and Islamic fundamentalists. Wouldn’t this be the equivalent of allowing the Japanese to build air bases in Nebraska prior to WWII. It makes no sense. We have already seen too many home grown terrorists trying to disrupt this or that. I’m sorry but if you don’t like us, stay the hell away. We already have enough problems without having to worry having to be eaten from within.

Do I sound like one of those conservative zealots who are always ranting and raving about this or that? I hope not, but I just see something that really bothers me and I wish a few more people would look at it from my position. I’ll be dead by 2020; I know that, so I really don’t have to give a damn. However, my children and grandchildren will still be alive and worshiping at their local Catholic church…until they’re told they can’t!

Read Full Post »

I’m old, ornery, set-in-my-ways, and very stubborn about any number of things. For instance, I get really upset with people who allow their dogs to crap on my lawn, and then look around, and if they don’t see me, don’t bother picking up the mess. I can’t tell you the number of folks I’ve called to come back and clean up after their animal. Doesn’t bother me in the least to embarrass them, although some don’t appear embarrassed, more pissed off at getting caught.

One of my biggest “pet peeves” is bicycle safety. I’ve probably ranted about it before, and if I have, feel free to tune me out and go somewhere else; however, if you have seen the same idiotic behavior that I have, read on.

Bicycle helmets range in price from $40 to $200. Figure that outfitting a family of four could range from $160 to $800. Now figure the cost of a human life. To you; to me; to almost everyone, the cost of the life of one we love is inestimable.  Actuaries are able to put a statistical value on human life. I guess that’s just a part of their job. In the month-long court case where I was one of the jurors, we had an insurance agent who did the statistical analysis of what we should award the plaintiffs. Yes, it seemed rather ghoulish, but it had to be done. Thankfully, he had the expertise to come up with a realistic figure.

 In speaking with Life’s Little Mysteries, Professor John Mueller, “…a political scientist at Ohio State University, said, ‘you can’t simply say that every life is infinitely valuable. That’s just not the way the world operates.’” Mueller, “…whose work focuses on national security and risk analysis,”  indicated that because everything, particularly in the United States, has to be measured in monetary value, the going rate for a human  life is somewhere around $5 million. Don’t tell that to the insurance companies, their actuaries or even to uninformed jurors.

Natalie Wolchover, a Life’s Little Mysteries writer, stated that, “If $5 million seems low to you, it’s worth noting that safety analysts value lives more than most private companies. If faulty vehicle manufacturing leads to someone dying in a car crash, for example, “you can look how much will be paid to the family. That’s usually much less than $5 million,” Mueller said. Likewise, when a soldier is killed in Iraq , “the government pays the family $600,000. I guess that’s what they think a life is worth.”

If you strongly object to this whole concept and think that every life is priceless, you might consider this: Around 30,000 people die in car accidents in the United States each year. Close to zero would die if the government reduced the speed limit to 13 miles per hour. But do you want that to happen? Probably not.

“Then you’re basically saying that driving faster than 13 mph is worth tens of thousands of lives,” Mueller said.

But we’re not talking about a soldier on active duty in a war zone, nor are we talking of automobile fatalities. We’re talking about something much more preventable. How many fatalities is it going to take for Massachusetts – where I am  – to change its law from requiring passengers under 5 and riders under 17 to wear helmets while allowing adults to go without. The stupidity of it is astounding. What a scenario it would make for Dad to be out riding with the kids, take a tumble and spill his brains all over the pavement.  Does it happen? No, not as often as you might think. In 2009, there were only six bicycles deaths in Massachusetts. Is that enough to change the state law? How many deaths does it take to get the law changed?  There is no federal law and that’s probably just as well. More federal regulation, particularly on this issue, is something we definitely do-not-need!

If you’re a parent, please consider bicycle safety paramount in protecting both you and your children. If you’re a grandparent, this is just another way in which you can harass your son- or daughter-in-law. If you’re in law enforcement, start enforcing the state laws regarding who should be wearing helmets. If you’re an educator, promote May as National Bicycle Safety Month. Helmets protect heads; it might just protect the head of the next President of the United States or the inventor of a cure for cancer. What do you say, helmet up!

Read Full Post »

Who has the most well-constructed furniture at the best price?

In your price range, what is truly the best automobile for you to own?

Given the variety of food stores in your area, which provides the greatest bargains on a continuous basis? Don you always shop there?

What advertisers tell the entire truth about their products?

Do Congressional, Senatorial, or Presidential candidates always tell the truth about themselves? Do they really see some of the ads that berate their opponents or glorify them?

Has America become a land of, “Whoever has the most believable whores is the big winner?” That’s not original with me, I should say. A prosecuting attorney once said it to me about a case where so-called experts in several areas were going to be called. “The judgment,” he said, “will depend on who can afford the best whores” – in regarding to these experts.

The answer in every one of these scenarios mentioned is that we really don’t know. We don’t know who makes the best furniture. Define best; does it mean the longest lasting, the most comfortable, the most inexpensive? Is it the store with the greatest number of gimmicks to draw the prospective buyer into the store and then hard sell that customer into buying?

What about cars? My personal price range could put me in a Kia, Honda, Toyota, Saturn, Hyundai, and others of that ilk. I was liveried in two types of Cadillac’s last week; comfortable as all-get-out, but not in my price range. I suppose it could be if I felt like pissing my money away on something that I don’t really need. Someone else with my income might be sufficiently enticed that they would be willing to make that sacrifice, but would it really serve them better. Is it practical?  Yeah, yeah, I know; sometimes practical is overrated.

Forget the grocery stores. I know the answer to that one. Today, store loyalty is a thing of the past. What is on sale is where the consumer goes. Loss leaders are growing in number in an attempt to draw customers back or to keep current customers.

What advertisers tell the truth? That is also relatively easy; all of them and none of them. Everything is the best at this or that and their competitor isn’t as fast; isn’t as effective; doesn’t stop this or that. It’s a great game. So who do we believe?

I have spent more than half a century listening to politicians, from drunks to womanizers; from slanderers to philanders; from cheaters to wife-beaters continue to get reelected by people who voted for them because they represented the party offered more, or voted against them because their avowed values were in contradiction to what that particular voter wanted.

The average American cares a great deal about where and how his or her tax money is being spent. However, they have too many other things on their mind to read the over 60,000 pages of the U.S. Tax Code. In other words, the average American is fearful of that much bullshit because it might just smother them to death. In your city and my town, the big dog in the room is education. It has the biggest bark as well as the biggest bite. Short-changing our kids is treasonous. At the Federal level, the big dog is quite different. It’s the defense budget. We don’t wish to be caught as we were in 1941 with obsolete weaponry, planes, ships, and tanks. Frankly, I think the money could be better spent on homeland security rather than on the anticipation of war. Total, all-out war is so frightening as to be inconceivable because the next world war will be the last one and it will leave no man standing. The average American, I fear, doesn’t think that way…and that’s just too damned bad.

We are lied to day after day by our leaders and we take it.  We take it, quite frankly, because we know no other way. We listen to one whore after another tell us that this is wrong and this is right. We listen to people who don’t really have our agenda at heart. Nancy Pelosi’s agenda is a far cry from that of Scott Brown. It’s the small agendas of people in Congress that stall progress for our nation.

What are our biggest problems? We want to get people back to work; each candidate running for President agrees on that. The incumbent tried to get a jobs bill passed but because the other party controls part of the Congress, it was shot down. The pretender also has a plan; should he get in, the chances are good he won’t get it through Congress. What happens then? Stalemate, because a bunch of children claiming to love America won’t band together to fix a major problem. We want to rebuild our economy. One person says to increase the taxes on the rich, but the rich poor money into the other person’s campaign in an attempt to head that off. Once again we have a stalemate, and once again we can lay the blame at the doors of Congress.

There is very little truth left in America today. Truth in any kind of advertising is twisted, including who is best for leading the country and legislating for Americans. What a tawdry state of affairs we find confronting us, but as long as we, the sheep, do nothing; don’t confront; don’t ask direct questions requiring direct answers, we will continue to receive the short end of a very filthy stick!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »