Saturday, December 31, 2011

Help Wanted For the New Year

AD commonly refers to Anno Domini, Latin for "In the Year of (Our) Lord", and applied to years following 1 BC in the Julian and Gregorian calendars signifying the date of the birth of Jesus Christ.

I've never known why "our" Lord is added to this Catholic interpretation of the date since the "Lord" that is referred to is a Jew, and there is no record of the date of his birth. So why should Catholic clergy from  the Dark Ages be given any credit for veracity much less accuracy in establishing a timeline for the world?  Or for anything, for that matter?

Besides, 1 AD is not the beginning of recorded history even for the poor lost souls who believe every word in  the bible....words that have been misspelled, misinterpreted, made up and changed by monks and  others who added their own flourishes and "corrections" to the "holy word".... so it's irritating to have to calculate backwards to get dates for important things that happened before Roman Emperor Constantine decided to invent a form of Christianity for  his own purposes. 

This is just one of the inanities found in religion. And not limited to the Christian variety either. Jews and Muslims are equally misled by the unscrupulous, the ignorant and the fanatic feeble-minded to whom anything they can't understand is beyond the pale of  reasoned interpretation.

I have probably erred in recounting even this minimal religious history, and I'm certainly guilty of mocking things that many good people believe is gospel. I am not schooled in any religious dogma. What I know is what I have learned through sharpening my own intellect and the borrowing from others whom I trust and admire and find more credible than priests and adherents.

What I know in the very fiber of my being is that fundamental  religions are not just idiotic, they are evil.

My greatest hope for the New Year is that the populace will dismiss the ravings of the religious right and restore to office a man of reason,  intelligence and good will.

And after that, my hope is that we can begin to dismantle  all the trappings of evangelical lunacy in this country and help young people release themselves from ignorance and superstition. 

Sixty-three percent of Americans do not believe in evolution. How the world must laugh at us,  a country famed for its achievements in science and literature. We MUST remove ourselves from the mindless and deadening thrall of religion if we are to be great again.

We can start by seeing the following is relegated to the dustbin of history:

and this

Scientist Colin Blakemore visits a creationist museum in Kentucky.

(The first you must copy and paste; the second is a live link.)

That old smartypants, Kierkegaard, said:

"There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what is not true. The other is to refuse to accept what is true."


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tongues in Need of a D and C

I'm no prude, but I was born in an era when "vulgar" words were not used in "polite society." They were around, and generally overheard, but not employed by women or children.

Today, however, they are not just used, they are all but tattooed on the tongues of both.

Rummaging through  Face Book entries this morning, I found one posting that recounted the Twitter comments of the younger generation expressing disappointment in their Christmas presents.

See:  (I don't know how to give you a live link but the above url should get you there.)

Not only did the sentiments shock me, the verbiage and the attitudes  made me want to vomit.  It spewed from the mouths of youngsters who, it appears, have never known discipline or been taught manners or been exposed to culture of any kind, except that which litters the streets of city, suburb and Internet, and resides in the homes of the morons so prevalent in our society.

It inspired in me such a wave of fury with this country for allowing this to happen, I wanted to grab them and their parents by their hair, along with all the conservatives who want to deny expenditure on  education and culture, along with the ACLU nutcases who have made teachers afraid to correct their students, and lambaste their heads on some sidewalk.

Since this is an impossible dream, I won't apologize for it. However, failing such violent measures, there must be some way to raise up our children, and ourselves, into some more graceful plane of existence.

As I said in the beginning, I am not a prude. I have been known to use some colorful expressions.....but there are some that are raunchy beyond description.

I am disturbed that so many women regularly and frequently say and write the noun (or verb) in WTF. Why is that necessary? Is it a way to assert yourselves? If so, believe me....there are much better, more effective ways to do that. 

Used sparingly, I have to admit, it is an expression that can be quite effective. But any effectiveness will disappear as it becomes the accepted form of disdain.

At the risk of invoking a tiresome trope, shouldn't we all "think of the children" and try to raise the standards of  not just the words they use, but the sentiments they convey.

Perhaps one New Year's resolution in this direction might lead to more. Let's teach the children to raise their sights and help them to acquire a measure of gentility instead of allowing them to expel  mindless filth, just because they can and we are too lazy to reprove them.

Ours is a language so rich it is more than capable  of communicating every nuance of emotion and activity that exists. Let's share it with the young.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Big, Bad Bulb Bashers

The Guardian newspaper is reporting that China has announced plans to phase out domestic incandescent light bulbs within the next 5 years. The Natural Resources Defense Council has estimated that this measure will reduce China's CO2 emissions by 48 million tonnes per year.

I have no clue how much volume 48 million tons of anything might be, but it sounds bloody big. I know a normal amount of CO2 is  beneficial to trees and plants (a farm journal reports that even they can get too much), but I don't know what good it does us. In fact, isn't that the stuff we breathe out as fast as we can?

Lately, an old beau (a REALLY old beau) has been writing to me. I have been horrified to discover he is living his twilight years as a hidebound conservative.

I, on the other hand, am so open-minded I fear my brains may be falling out. Further, I am not grumpy and carpy about the world going to hell; I've become a fighter for, and a happy-go-lucky acceptor of, all things new - if they sound useful, kind or productive.

Let us consider this matter of incandescent  bulbs as opposed to the newfangled twisty ones. My OLD beau is almost apoplectic when discussing them. And nothing I say will dissuade him from his scathing criticism of their proposed phase out.

He is so adamant that  I almost started questioning my own eyes...and checkbook.

About five years ago, my daughter replaced all the light bulbs in seven of our barns. Except for our high wattage security lights, the barns used 25 watt incandescent bulbs. They have been replaced by a similarly "dimmish" CFLs that are never turned off. Only two of about 25 have gone bad in five years.

In the house, I have replaced all my incandescent 100 watts with 26 watt CFLs. Same good light to read by. Two of them are on continuously. They have not been replaced ever.

Yes, it does take a few seconds for the light to come on full power, and yes it has been necessary to change the harps on some of the lamps, and yes, they are more expensive.

But, not to have had to buy and change a bulb in five years (some barn bulbs require ladders to reach) - that's a pretty damn good exchange! Besides, they are not a cold light...they are a warm and cheery illumination.

I must admit that the ultimate inspiration for writing this screed is a video I just watched of John Stossel's barbed criticism of the  mandated use of the new bulbs. Now I know for sure they are some kind of  wonderful, and the mandate will prove beneficial to the planet and its inhabitants.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Let Reason, Reason, Reason Replace Holy, Holy, Holy

In honor of the passing of Horrible Hitch (we're talking Christopher Hitchens of nastiness fame here), I picked up his 2007 god is not GREAT.  Even after the  first page I marveled, as I did at my first reading, that anyone whom I despised so thoroughly was capable of making me want to cover his pasty, alcohol fumy, dormouse-like face with kisses.

In this treatise, he was so logical, so effortlessly reasonable, so totally in tune to every fiber of my thinking being, that I  regretted his untimely departure. 

I was particularly attracted to this sentence which encapsulates the whole of the secular doctrine I have adopted:  

"We do not rely solely upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or  outrages reason."

Just so!

In this strange season of greed and goodness, loving homes and homelessness, holy rhapsodies and hypocrisies, it would be good for  us to consider if, instead of wallowing in sentimentality,  we shouldn't somehow help our neighbors to find their way out of darkness and into the light of reason.

Let reason, reason, reason replace holy, holy, holy....and then there will be light.

Thank you, Christopher Hitchens. I send you on your way with my thanks and my good will in whatever new adventures await you.

While there may be no virgin mothers or virgins in heaven waiting to be deflowered by noble assassins, no magical healers or whales or bread or lamp oil, no talking snakes, no god or gods of any kind, there is, in my mind, certainly evidence of life everlasting. And we are not required to kneel or worship or prostrate ourselves - nor go forth and spread religious bile on innocent others.

While I have always felt that it is a good thing not to do bad things, I believe it is, in the end, simply a matter of opening our hearts and minds and embracing the glorious mystery of life by allowing it to live within us for however long we are fortunate enough to be host to it.

I wish everyone health, happiness and whatever joy the season holds for you.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Schmaltzy Christmas Stuff

Some parts of our society - even among those without wealth and also among those with upper class scorn for convention - seem to be trending away from marriage and, thereby, divorce. Seems practical. But what do you do with the kids? Especially for the holidays.

* * * *

My mother and father divorced when I was nine. A year after that, my father remarried. The following year my mother remarried, and I was sent to boarding school. 

Almost everyone at Rose Haven School for Girls in Rockleigh, N.J. had divorced parents. I suppose that was Rose Haven's reason for being.

The "overseer" - Miss Van Strum - and her head honcho, Ms. Carlsen - terrified me. Accustomed to affectionate parents, I found these two not-so-young/not-so-old women cold and distant disciplinarians of youngsters who probably could have used an occasional lap, or at least a hug.

Neither hugs nor laps were on offer - but after a sharp rap on my shoulder, I did learn to say "excuse me" when it was my turn in line to pass in front of the overseer as she stood in an open doorway like an expectant hawk waiting for an unmindful pigeon. This was her method of providing a useful lesson in good manners, if not good will.

The only things that saved me that bleak autumn were my two  roommates. One was a tow-headed imp of a girl called Ann Kniffen. The other was always good-natured Michelle Farmer, 11-year-old daughter of Gloria Swanson. We three were 11 years old and, like most 11-year-olds, we did a lot of whispering and giggling in our beds after dark.

Beyond fun, Michelle was an "old girl" who knew the ropes at the school. She took her oddly manufactured punishment for any minor infraction - circling mindlessly around the driveway for some specified time - with equanimity. And because I saw she was a self-sufficient, independent stoic, whose manner led me to understand she thought crybabies were a useless lot, my pride demanded that I emulate her. I didn't  cry.

Michelle never bragged. She didn't have to. My imagination was sufficiently fertile to conjure up visions of her glamorous adventures with her famous mother. It was clear to me her life was dazzling compared to mine.

Then, because we giggled after dark once too often, Miss Van Strum assigned Michelle to another room and installed in her vacant bed a decidedly less appealing roommate called Frances who introduced Ann and me to the theory of human copulation when she revealed that to make a baby a man puts his "teapot" inside you.

In youth, you don't have to look for education. It falls from the trees.

When Christmas holidays arrived, I went first to Manhattan to stay with my father and his new wife in their upper east side apartment.
My stepmother had a silver fox jacket and a mink coat. My mother said she wouldn't wear dead animals. I felt I was in no man's land....without even knowing what that was.

I really missed my mother but when my father put me on the train for Long Island on Christmas Day I pressed my face close to the dirty train window to keep him in sight as long as I could.

As the cars rumbled and swayed down the tracks toward my mother's new home, I realized this was to be the pattern of all my young Christmases to come.

I thought of Michelle with envy. It was easy for her not to cry and carry on. She was secure, sophisticated and pampered. She wasn't traveling alone on a nasty train on Christmas Day. I wallowed in the misery of it all.

One of my presents that year was a plush "sleepy monkey" with a zipper down his back where I could stuff my nightie. I  took him back to school with me, more for cuddling than for stuffing. When Michelle and I were reunited, we found we each had a sleepy doll. Hers, however, had no zippered pocket.

She thoughtfully assessed me and my monkey and then handed me a gift card that had come with hers. "Keep this inside your doll for me," she said. "I don't have a place to put it." I read the card as she watched. It said, "Michelle, darling. Why haven't you written."

I must have looked puzzled. Matter-of-factly, Michelle explained:  "I can't write to her. She never sent me her address."

She turned away but not before I glimpsed an unaccustomed brightness in her steady dark eyes.

Whenever Christmas weltschmerz overtakes me, I remember Michelle.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Radio and Religion as Red Ink Removers

When I was a little girl, many late afternoons and early evenings were spent facing the radio in rapt attention. Seems stupid, in retrospect, since there was nothing to see except, sometimes, a little green light that would occasionally change shape. (Funny....I still don't know what that was for.)

One of the radios I remember was quite large and stood on legs. I recall lying on the floor and resting my feet on the frame as I listened to the Lone Ranger, The Shadow, Captain Midnight or Bulldog Drummund: Tracer of Lost Persons. 

The pictures were always vivid and I had no trouble seeing the one-dimensional action play out on the screen in my mind. No question - radio was the theater of the mind. And possibly still is.

Now, in the 21st century, radio exists only in my car. I am hardly aware of it unless someone I am not related to accidentally moves the dial to a station Limbaugh is on, or, not quite equally chilling, until the day after Thanksgiving!

The calendar is still reading November and I find we have wall-to-wall, 24-hour-a day, non-stop Christmas songs ringing out across the ether. Was it always thus, and I've been unconscious? Or perhaps I just will myself to have amnesia once a year.

It's bad enough to have a whole month of listening to sappy lyrics like You Better Watch Out and Frosty the Snowman, but hearing Oh Holy Night and The First Noel in daytime traffic seems as though someone should complain about the sacrilegious aspects of using the baby Jesus, innocent angels and the unlikely virgin Mary for subliminal prodding to shop, shop, shop.

It would seem to my age-created caustically critical soul a better use of the predictable Christian bitching about people saying "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas" if they would instead object to this manifestly avaricious use of  "holy" music to help line the pockets of the commerce-driven.

But I shouldn't quibble. Anything these soldiers of god do would irritate me. This is just one of the pleasures of being an atheist.

Incidentally, my favorite Christmas "carol" is: Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer. What are the chances?


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

When You Mention Turkey, Dennis Comes to Mind

I was just watching our President pardoning the Thanksgiving  bird. It's name - "turkey" - has a comedic connotation since our society has dubbed losers as turkeys, and therefore an object of derision or pity.

Politico had a story today about Dennis Miller chiding Jay Leno for being an Obama admirer, and as I read it, "turkey" came to mind even without the reference to the holiday. Mainly because  Dennis Miller has peculiarly awful timing and, for a comedian, that's turkey territory.

Do you recall when he was almost shockingly liberal? The emphasis was more on "shocking" than on "liberal" since he seemed to revel in more than clever-by-half,  over-the-top riffs and truly mean comparisons of people and their beliefs.

Of course, comparisons are usually mean but he was, and is, able  to make them particularly odious.

He was obvious in his quest to be seen as a cerebral liberal...a thinker with a quick wit and a funny but "thoughty" approach to the  vicissitudes of an increasingly combative  political climate.

And then, lo and behold, one of the biggest turkeys of all time, Georgie Porgie Bush, secured the election and became our fearless leader. And dopey Dennis must have read some dodgy goat entrails and decided his best bet was to put his butter on Bush bread.

For someone who wants to be seen as an intellect, maybe even more than as a comedian, this leap still mystifies me. I think he would prefer to retrieve his niche in the liberal camp, but he appears to be trapped into wearing his contrarian credentials like a gravy-stained tie.

Go to it, turkey. You won't get such an easy pardon as Obama's "Liberty" did today.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Here Comes Newtie, Again

While Newt Gingrich looks like a pudding on the outside,  I picture his interior  resembling that charcoal grey skein of wool my cat played with for a week.

Over a long life you encounter a panoply of personalities. And, if you are paying attention, you find that they can be categorized and pigeon-holed for future reference.

I recognize Newtie, I've met him before. Always under compromising circumstances.

For this reason, and others, it's useful to pay attention....but it takes its toll. If you aren't careful, you tend to get a little jaundiced in your assessments and you have to keep reminding yourself that stereotyping is a very, very bad thing. But irresistible, nevertheless.

In the instance of Newtie, I can read him like the funnies, even though I still can be surprised by his gall. I find him endlessly entertaining because he is so incredibly predictably a clown. Not a conscious clown, but one who takes himself so seriously he can't  contemplate that when he opens his mouth, in his studied verbose, but oddly  laconic fashion, he looks and sounds like a complex electronic toy that got its wires crossed.

Yes, he is a ninny, but still a source of fun because he is so clueless about his nakedness.

While I have not yet relinquished my front seat at the Cain Train theater, and still get an occasional kick out of the pray-away-the-gay duo, plus that prettier version of Georgie Porgie, I am gearing up for the media feast on Newtie's previously picked-over, hypocritical carcass.

I am so glad he is running.

Schadenfreude is one of the most useful words I have ever learned. Beyond being voluminously expressive, it has explained (and therefore excused by dint of it being a universally shared emotion)  my ungenerous reactions to the discovery of a fellow human being's clay toes.

As Rachel would say, "Where's the popcorn?" 


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pollutants On the Air

Even an accidental hearing and viewing of Limbaugh holding forth conjures up all manner of things I don't want to see, hear or smell:

Dirty underwear, him, slime mold, flies on garbage, sour milk, rotting meat, dog poo on my shoe, gingivitis, flatulence, predator priests and coaches, stoning women, and now, menstruation.

One elegant fellow, isn't he?

Making that list was totally effortless! It sprang to mind in six seconds. Because he assaults our sensibilities so thoroughly, he writes his own description.

We know why he is successful. He is an avatar for the basest emotions of the ignorant, frustrated and powerless.

The great unwashed and largely uneducated in our society attach themselves to this overweight, over-sexed, under-endowed buffoon because by attacking their opposite number -  intellectuals and the egalitarians - they are provided  with a false assurance of their own worth. And he has the reach they will never have to give voice to their  envy and frustration.

The loss of his voice, and that of his little dog, Glenn, would certainly help green up our world.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Love in the Time of Circuses

I just saw side-by-side photos of Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter  - two of the most offensive harpies in the GOP offensive arsenal.

Their blondness, juxtaposed to pictures of the two blond accusers of Herman Cain, struck me as relevant. I'll be curious to see if Cain's two other, shyer, accusers are blond, as well.

What is it about Republicans and blonds? Is it something visceral that they connect with money? I keep seeing a vision of Marilyn Monroe, blond and bedecked in diamonds. Maybe that is the key to the attraction of so-called conservatives - both those who make themselves blonds and those who covet them.

I sure do hope the on-the-record accusers join the two onstage now and pull the curtain all the way back to allow us to watch Herman explain them away. His baritone delivery of denials is going to be so much fun to replay after he is well and truly outed.

It's hard to conceive that either Ingraham or Coulter would be Herman's (or anyone's!) idea of a wet dream, but maybe that's their role for more cerebral members of their species.

Whatever, or whichever, all of these bit players have sure made this a fascinating spectacle for those of us who just watch and wait.

However, is this the time in our country's history that we should be addicted to spectacles? Is "spectacle" pro forma for Roman-style collapse?

I saw someone used the headline "Bread and Circuses" on either a newspaper story or a TV segment. I'm sorry I don't remember who.  It's a good one. 


Monday, November 7, 2011

You Don't Playa the Game - You Don't Makea the Rules

Some may recall that Earl Butz, former U.S. Agriculture Secretary, lost his job because of the joke he made referencing the Pope and his edicts.

While it was pretty tasteless joke for a Cabinet member to recite publicly,  I always thought it was funny - and fair. And I am feeling more and more like defending that premise.

U.S. Wages Today

("Today" is used advisedly; they regularly vote themselves rises.)

Salary of retired U.S. Presidents..................$450,000 FOR LIFE

Salary of House/Senate members................$174,000 FOR LIFE

Salary of Speaker of the House....................$223,500 FOR LIFE

Salary of Majority/Minority Leaders...........$193,400 FOR LIFE


Average salary of soldier deployed to Afghanistan......$38,000

Average income for seniors on Social Security............$12,000


What is your guaranteed income for life?  Is it fair?  Is it safe?

The argument against "means testing" has always been a democratic one - (big and little "d" democratic). If they paid into the system, it is decreed: They are entitled to partake of the benefits.

I'm a little "d" democrat, and I'm not sure I agree at all.

What have all the above-noted political swillers at the public trough paid into "the system"?  In far too many instances what they have paid in is a small portion of the loot garnered from the benefits of their office.

Magicians - and pickpockets - are masters of deception. They have you looking at their left hand so you aren't aware they are bamboozling you with their right hand.

Class warfare? Yes, I'll sign up for that. We need to develop a battle plan to defend ourselves. But first we need to find out who the enemy is. Could it be the "politician class" in league with the "oil/industrial military/banking/investment class against us - we  who just want a nice house, a well fed family and a productive job with adequate security. 

How many of us have a $200,000 a year pension FOR LIFE?

Maybe we need to get our attention redirected to the source of our trouble. Those guys who make the rules may need a reality adjustment. 

When you go to the polls tomorrow, keep in mind the fact that the guy or gal you are voting for is on your payroll FOR LIFE!


 Above figures published by Keith Olbermann

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Frickless Frack Skating on Thin Ice

The much anticipated divine event of having your naked ass hauled up to heaven, as foretold by Harold Camping, seems to have fizzled - twice.

But....let us not forget that the supposed prophecy of an Apocalypse by the Mayan soothsayers is scheduled for 2012. We are almost there.

After listening to Brian Williams' new show last night which featured an implied go-west-poor-man urging to get jobs galore in North Dakota where fracking is one of the newest insults to the planet, I am beginning to attribute some veracity to the belief that we are nearing the end.

Surely everyone knows now what fracking is. Driving some force...air, water, gas - all under pressure - deep into the ground (in this case, two miles down)... to dislodge and liquify all the oil-containing shale going to waste as just part of the earth's composition, structured over eons.

I believe the billionaire oilman, who is  overseeing and perhaps financing the "project," said 60 billion barrels of oil await our eager gas tanks, plastic dishware factories and divers other industries panting to convert this liquid gold  into stuff that poisons our air and our water, but helps to see we are never inconvenienced in any way.

The availability of jobs, even in North Dakota, sounds good - very  good, since they said they were looking, among other things, for 500 truck drivers, a job most men and women can do.

But "very good news" can sometimes mean unintended consequences are part of the package.

North Dakota is a whoop and a holler from Wyoming. It is, in fact, essentially juxtaposed to Yellowstone Park,  home of Old Faithful - the geyser known worldwide for its uncanny predictability and to its attachment to even greater forces that lie unseen beneath the surface. Probably two miles beneath the surface.

Yellowstone Park is a disaster waiting to happen. Don't believe me. Check it out here:

Additionally, I found an ominous-sounding observation from someone posting on describing a 1959 earthquake in Yellowstone, felt in North Dakota:

"The one and only earthquake I ever felt was the Yellowstone Earthquake in 1959. And I was north of Dickinson, North Dakota, reading in bed at the time. At first I thought something was underneath the bed so I looked. Nope, no ogre there.

"Then I thought the heifers must have gotten out and were rubbing against the house. Looked out the window, no cows. Earthquake never occurred to me. Was totally mystified until the next morning when we heard the news on the radio. My parents and brother slept through it, and didn't believe me until we heard the news!"

Read it and worry. And remember, all you frackers, it's not safe to piss off Mother Nature.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Seven Billion and Counting

Well, isn't that special!

The number of people on earth just hit seven billion. And the putative seven billionth is an undernourished looking female from an undernourished family in an undernourished country. 

And here we are, the fattest country on earth, agitating for person status for little clots of bloody protoplasm only seconds old.

Are we the stupidist people on earth?

You betcha!

If you have any doubts that religion has reached its slimy tentacles up to stratospheric heights of idiocy, shouldn't the push to make a woman's miscarriage an object of legal investigation in order to impute manslaughter, if not murder, to her carelessness the final straw?

I am ashamed to say I'm from the United States of Christianity. 

After we symbolically cut off the greedy hands of the Wall Street crowd, do you think we could cut off the actual testicles of the evangelicals?

I probably can't convince anyone to really do this, but in the time span of one generation we might improve our chances of survival from this cesspit of religious fervor.

And what makes the religious frenzy even more shocking is that all the priests and imams and rabbis dispensing this ordure probably don't believe any of it. They're just gifted salesmen.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Enter Watson, Stage Right

Oh for the days when men were men and disputes were settled with clubs. Maybe then we would be able to say, "The best man won!"

Listening to some of these candidates weasel their way out of misstatements and outright lies, and covering their tracks afterwards with accusations of  having had to battle "unfair" gotcha questions, makes me want to commit all manner of mayhem - or maybe just puke.

Do you remember the last debate Georgie Porgie submitted to? I think it was the one where cameras detected a Charlie McCarthy wire under his jacket that many have alleged was the source of his ability to survive even those softballs that were allowed to be tossed at him.

The debates of today are total frauds. Even without the successful cribbing W is suspected of, the tortuously contrived set of parameters that each side demands insures the public will never know the real measure of any candidate

In September 2004,  reporter Connie Rice filed a story with NPR outlining 10 things the political parties don't want the public to know. She wrote: 

"The League of Women Voters ran these debates with an iron hand as open, transparent, non-partisan events from 1976 to 1984. The men running the major campaigns ended the (LWV) control when the League defiantly included John Anderson and Ross Perot, and used tough moderators and formats the parties didn't like. The parties snatched the debates from the League and formed the Commission on Presidential Debates — the CPD." — in 1986.' 

Among some of the other things that are now forbidden are any back and forth communication and the audience must be divided with equal numbers of "soft supporters" who can't make approving or disapproving noises. They even have made agreements about what can be mentioned and what must be avoided.

Maybe the public needs to do a little rabble rousing when it comes to these debates. One of the most effective things would be to have the veracity of candidates' statements confirmed - on the spot - while the horsepucky is still hot.

While it might be impossible for the questioner(s) to have the information at hand to do so, IBM's super computer, Watson, who more than held held his own with Alex Trebeck's contestants on Jeopardy, certainly could.

It might even add some interest to these stultifying affairs and maybe, just maybe, we could end up with some useful information that was not canned, prechewed and predigested for our voting pleasure.

And if we like the results of that, we can hire Watson to check every idiot utterance a candidate makes throughout his or her  interminable campaign.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Son of Tom (Uncle, that is)

I'm a firm believer that too many of the least well informed and the least well financially endowed among us have been artfully convinced by Conservatives to support politicians who do not represent their own best interests.

The have-nots who have attached themselves to more liberal representatives are called "brain washed" by one of our more unlikely GOP candidates.

No question, Herman Cain is a smarty. I'm trying to determine if "patina" or "veneer" best describes his intellect. I make the differentiation of  the two by how recent is the acquisition and how deep it goes.

He uses his basso profundo voice to good effect. By enunciating carefully, clearly and in unhurried fashion, he gives off the tonal clues people attach to education. But he is glib, not truly educated.

I believe the impression he is giving to the hoi polloi  has evolved from his learning how useful mimicry is. Mimicry is used most successfully in the insect world where edible insects mimic the patterns of the poisonous ones.   

In other words, he sounds good, tastes bad.

Perhaps this is too harsh an indictment. And I probably wouldn't have made it so quickly had it not been for the interview Lawrence O'Donnell conducted with him last week. An interview that was criticized, even by brilliant liberal intellectual Melissa Harris-Perry, for being unfair because of O'Donnell's apparent premise that because he was black he was required to participate in the civil rights movement.

O'Donnell asked him why he did not. That he was in high school at the time was a credible excuse, if one needs an excuse. But his further explanation that he was following his father's advice to keep his head down and not get in trouble was a less convincing and viable reason. His description of his father's credo was unfortunately reminsicent of Uncle Tom.

Keeping your head down, working hard and not asking for help is an admirable formula for success. He can't be criticized for that. However, he is succeeding because braver, more visionary activists risked everything for his right to succeed in a white world.

And succeed he has. Unfortunately, his current sympathies still do not lie with those who laid down their lives so that he might bloviate on the merits of capitalism.

He should be on the griddle tonight. I will be interested to see if he maintains his equilibrium now that he will be a target of his political  peers.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Down With the Ipse Dixit Ditzes

While we are on Wall Street trying to right our ship of state, maybe we could expand the parameters to include ridding ourselves of those insidious, mind-rotting, soul-searing, science-denying peddlers of faith and self-styled morality.

Preachers, priests, shamans, witch doctors and, particularly, evangelical pastors should have preceded the Dodo bird but, unfortunately, superstition appears to have the upper hand.....still! 

Did you see and hear that little Texas pastor, Rev. Robert Jeffress, who addressed the gathering of the GOP faithful yesterday where he self-righteously made all those definitive declarations about faith and god?

His god. The god he is convinced is the only god. The god that he insists must be believed in before you can be elected to any office,  including dog catcher, or even before you can be considered a "bona fide" person. 

Who the hell ever wrote this on any rock, or edifice, or beating heart, or on a mind that contains all its working parts?

Unfortunately, it's hard for me to defend the obvious object of his criticism - Mormon Mitt Romney. While Jeffress is, to me, a vulgar, soulless little man who doesn't think Romney can be considered for office because of his cult membership status, I have my own criterion for a leader: a man who believes in magic underwear has an intellect that must come in for a fair share of examination.

I think I would crawl naked over glass if it would help to free mankind from this idiotic attachment to worshiping at the altars of man-made codes that have proved themselves fallible, evil, cruel, stupid and bloody at every instant of our history.

Further, the religious zealots appear to be getting dumber and meaner. Not to mention how many, on close examination, are sexually deviant.

What is it about the fundamentalist faithful that makes them so far from god-like, but so convinced that they can tell us - with no empirical proof - that they know what we must believe?

Resist,  thinkers of the world. We must overcome.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Thick Plottens....and Well it Should!

This is the first illustration I have used on my blog. Why? I didn't know how to put one here. But this blew me away sufficiently that I figured out how to copy it and install it. Millions won't see it here, but I hope whoever does will pass it on.

You can talk about the disparity in compensation, and you can talk about class warfare, and you can listen to the sages on wages.....but, as they say, a picture is worth billions of dollars.

How can anyone defend this? How can any of our elected politicians sanction this? How can this stand? Why aren't the sanctimonious clergy up in arms? Why isn't every citizen in the country outraged?

There is a kind of sickness running through a part of our population that will not heal until we rid ourselves of the idea that greed is goodly and wealth is godly; that the poor are poor because they are lazy; that because luck allows even one idiot to rise to the top without having to do anything onerous, that this is manifest destiny.

Of course there will be a revolution. Let's hope it doesn't include bloodshed. If ever there was a reason to shed  blood, this blind worship of the almighty dollar might be it.

Let's take the Kochs and the Cantors, the Norquists and the Know-nothings, the Mitts and the Mitches, the Becks, the Rushes and the rest of the rats in the political sewers, out to the woodshed and convince them of the error of their ways.


Friday, September 30, 2011

Pleasure Can Be Perverse

Back in the 40s, when radio was the only source of live audible information and entertainment, my mother would listen to a program called "Breakfast with Dorothy and Dick."

The "Dorothy" was a gossip reporter and columnist named Kilgallen who became more famous a few years later as a panelist on what seems now to have been a delightfully innocent example of programming called, "What's My Line."

Kilgallen coined the question, "Is it bigger than a breadbox?" when trying to elicit from a guest what it was they did or produced for a living.

At night, over dinner,  mother frequently scoffed at some inane bit of radio intelligence she had received earlier in the day, such as: Dorothy Kilgallen uses only candles to light her bedroom to keep romance alive in her marriage. 

The impracticality of such a daily time-wasting, and possibly hazardous  routine for a busy woman, and the likelihood that it was all hogwash designed to impress suburban housewives with her sophistication, was not lost on my mother.

When I asked her why she listened to someone she obviously disliked, she said, it was for the pleasure of the irritation.

I suppose that doesn't make much sense to most people, but I have come to understand it. And I am my mother's daughter. I watch at least a part of Morning Joe every day just to delight in the irritation produced by watching Mika Brzezinski's constant, embarrassingly narcissistic, mugging for the camera. She never fails to produce!

Are there any psychologists out there who can explain why it can feel good to be annoyed?

* * * *

(According to a story titled Who Killed Dorothy Kilgallen by journalist Sara Jordan, Frank Sinatra loathed her, too, and called her "the chinless wonder." Maybe the candlelight was more effective than a paper bag over her head.) 


Friday, September 16, 2011

Going Forth and Being Fruitful

 There was quite a little tizzy in the press about 10 days ago when it was reported that one man was the source of donated sperm that have materialized into 150 children.

I don't think this was all in one helping, if that's what it could be called. It may be that women found the outcome so sublime they came back for more...and maybe did testimonials, as well.

Said one commenter:

"It's kinda irresponsible to have so many people be able to use one donor, since it could accidently [sic] cause inter-breeding or something else."

What could possibly be the "something else" that could happen? I'd be fascinated to know.

But maybe even more fascinating is the consternation suddenly besetting those who have availed themselves of these wares. Had the possibility of incest never occurred to them when they purchased an off-the-shelf commodity?

Now, apparently, they are developing some kind of number alert system that can be used to determine communal fatherhood. But surely some of these children will come from families who have not advised them of their status, leaving them vulnerable.

And even if they can source their forebear, it would seem a little previous to check the books when they first meet someone. But if they wait until after they have fallen in love, that could lead to heartbreak or, as the commenter said, "something else". 

It seems to me this whole petri dish method of propagation is better left to fruit and vegetables. 


Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Ties Have It

It's a little after 5 p.m. and I am staring at a frozen TV screen.  The phone rang and I had halted Chris Matthews mid-mouth. Now I am examining the motionless split screen and see that Matthews is wearing a red tie, its knot skewed a little to the left, and Ed Rollins is wearing a navy blue tie; his twists a little to the right. How appropriate.

I've been noticing ties a lot lately. I'm not sure if I ever remembered seeing so many of them looking so untidy. Either the knot is off center or else it isn't fitting tight up against the collar button.

I've also noticed that men's ties swing around a lot more than I've observed in the past. A TV host seems to have to hold the thing close to his chest when he bends down to sit...or if a guest sits in a chair next to the host and doesn't unbutton his jacket, the tie often is left peeping from below the button....looking a little like something is out that should be in.

And the colors. When President Obama addressed the combined House and Senate this month, he was wearing a pale blue tie. His Veep was wearing a lavender one and the Speaker was wearing a pinkish one - all watered down colors that we identify with a statement of neutrality.

It's starting to look like ties are now the only thing that a man can rely on to say something about himself. Every other garment is pretty much the same (look at the row of navy blue suits lined up at the recent GOP debates). 

I missed the second and saw only clips so I didn't really mark what the "suits" were all wearing. But at the first one, I noted Huntsman was wearing a nicely knotted yellow tie with his blue suit...and looked quite splendid. Cain, too, wore yellow... departing from the obligatory blue, red and in between colors. But it wasn't the standout Huntsman's was.

If ties are doing the talking, one of the clearest, neatest, smartest man on the public stage appears to be.....(wait for it)......Keith Olbermann! He is the epitome of sartorial splendor. His tie is always knotted correctly and centered under a perfect white collar...and the designs are bold and strong.

In the land of "ties talk" he is clear winner. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

So Perryesque As To Be Grotyesque

Texas has a lean, mean, well-barbered governor who calls it like he sees it - and he sees only guilt where the incarcerated are concerned. You get arrested - you get justice: Texas justice. Rapid and uncompromising "justice" with no room for doubt, nor consideration for error.

This Texas style of dismissing any weight given arguments for the possibility of sending the innocent into oblivion, came to mind last night when I heard that Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, has said that shoe removal at airports may be a thing of the past. New technology for apprehending potential mass murderers is on its way.

Gone will be the naively inconvenient ways to discern if shampoo is combustible, or if there is explosive material in someone's belly-button lint. Cutting edge technology will prevail.

It reminded me that I had heard of a new technology last year that was reported by the Israelis. They are developing an airport security device that eliminates the privacy concerns that come with full-body scanners at the airports.

It's a booth you can step into that will not X-ray you, but will detonate any explosive device you may have on you. They see this new instrument as a win-win for everyone, with none of the whining about racial profiling. It also would eliminate the  costs of long and expensive trials.

Justice would be swift indeed.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Getting to Know You (and Like You - Maybe)?

This past Sunday's Meet the Press had Tom Friedman discussing the expansion of worldwide inter-connectedness. He pointed out that Facebook didn't exist for most people when he wrote his flat earth book seven years ago (I can never remember the title, even though he mentions it every time you see him).

I joined the social network a couple of years ago in an effort to put myself where people from the way-back-beyond past might find me. No one from my childhood has, but I've made a number of new friends.

(You can tell when you have a good selection of new friends on Facebook -  the old ones start poaching them, and vice versa. Therein lies the interconnected value of idea exchange.)

In the last year, Facebook has become important to me in the main because friends - those who are active contributors - will find something interesting and post it where I, and the rest of the world, can find it - and then it gets  passed on again and again and again.

I've seen breathtaking photographs, videos of gloriously silly things, nostalgic pictures and prose, alarming news and careful research compiled and shared by accomplished people who I would never otherwise know. And, of course, there is always the up-to-the-minute political insanity of our times.

And I haven't moved anything except hand and eye.

Thoroughly amazing, what?

But even with the availability of this rich fare of information, still the uninformed thrive; multiply, even. It's almost as if they are being nourished by snapping up the scraps of misinformation that spill off a banquet table that has room only for facts, and this detritus  becomes soiled and even covered with the spittle of the curs who inhabit the underside of everything, and chew with open-mouthed avarice.

And I it different? Have people become dumber and dirtier since I was a girl, or is it that each aging generation is critical of the mores of the new one? Aren't there lyrics from the musical Flower Drum Song  that tell us that?

Is that all it is? Or is it something more sinister?

Yes, I think it is much, much more sinister. And, because of our inter-connectedness, it is going to travel faster and faster and faster.

It's going to be a bumpy ride.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Smarter, Smaller and Secular

Wham! Bam! Thank you, m'am! An earthquake and a hurricane in the same week in Virginia. Phenomenal.

My aversion to Augusts is well-founded.  Nothing good ever happened in any August I recall.

The 5.9 earthquake and its subsequent aftershocks didn't do much here on my little patch of earth except get my adrenaline going; and, if the truth be known, neither did the hurricane. At least not in view of what it could have done. 

Bewilderingly, the much vaunted rage of Irene caused no loss of power.  We weren't totally unscathed since we lost a decoratively placed, 24-inch diameter tree that took down a 14-foot gate, nicked the corner of the roof and left a big mess. However, that big mess is - three days after the event - being cleaned up with dispatch by a man and a machine that chews up and spits out branches with  authority. 

What did people do before we had machines? 

With no fossil fueled mechanical power, there was nothing in past millennia  that could make our modern world go. Horsepower and manpower have been left in a ditch.

With the lack of the Internet, television, movies, rock stars, NASCAR, speedboats and jets in the ancient world, there was hardly a single time-wasting thing to do except burn witches, torture heretics, lynch whomever and make babies.

Although, the advent of all this labor-saving and entertainment-producing machinery doesn't seem to have hindered that latter pastime because the world appears to be crawling with humanity - all of whom claim to be out of work.

Maybe we need to set aside all our labor saving devices and support ourselves by the sweat of our brows.

Amend that. Only the Republicans with their high-finance puppet-masters and their theocratic fundamentalist overlords should be set to manually laborious work - when it's scarce and when it's abundant - and maybe this will conjure up a bracing jolt of self-awareness when it comes to their lack of interest in making the populace better educated, scientifically prepared for a productive future, and providing a safer place for all those children they would force us to have.

I'm pretty sure that with a smarter, smaller and secular population this country would be some kind of wonderful.    


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Brain Freeze

I see I've had a few visitors since I was last here. My apologies to anyone who may have stopped by to fuel up on a little home-brewed vitriol.

I loathe the month of August and cannot wrap myself around anything to love or to hate.

Oh, sure....I equally loathe the religious right; hypocrites; life-blood-draining, mind-rotting ideas; liars; political pimps; pissant officials and the Texas school board. And I love small and large animals, bees, lemon-meringue pie and English films.

But I'll have to wait until September to regale you with this hate-nourishing, love-spilling spew. August days are the horse latitudes for me

Stay cool and out of stagnant waters.


Friday, August 12, 2011

The Idiocracy is at Your Door

My last child was born in 1968. I was a merry little homemaker then; oblivious to any untoward signs of national insanity.

Life was good. Religion was in the churches, and politics pretty much stayed in Washington, D.C., or in the local village and state government houses.

Except for the rotten residual of Viet Nam, the crazies who said Apollo 11 was a hoax and the singularly fascinating presidency of Richard Nixon, there was a normality about the times that seems eerily archaic. 

Little did I dream that was the beginning of the end of an entire era of rational thinking.

The late '60s and early '70s marked the beginning of a new form of life for America - the land of freedom of (and from) religion was exiting and those favoring a  Theocracy were (unbelievably!) gaining a foothold.

This is when televangelism reared its ugly heads - lotsa, lotsa heads: Jimmy Swaggart (the sexual deviant), Jim Bakker (another one), Pat Robertson and James Falwell, et al. 

The immoral Moral Majority took off on the wings of TV, the Charismatic Movement, unspeakable greed and the naivete of "just plain folks" (the heart of America) who believe anyone who can memorize and launch full throated homilies from the Christian Bible, often while weeping,  is to be believed about any aspect of life.

Especially when they tell you all you have to do is pray for the material things that every good Christian deserves and God, or Jesus, or the televangelist will provide them.....just send cash,  keep going to church and vote against anyone who wants to give your tax dollars to the undeserving poor.

And therein lies the genius of these forerunning foot soldiers of God: It's all in the voting. Who'd a thunk it?  Starting with school boards, community projects, village and state positions and ultimately the state houses, the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate and, holy Nellie, the Presidency of the United States of America. God in his wisdom is running the country....right into the ground.

Back then I didn't pay much attention to the televangelists bleating for money and agitating for governmental representation. I figured every normal person was ignoring it. Maybe they were. But maybe we are now in a vast left wing minority of normality - and we ignore this at our peril.

Beware, normal people. The Apostolic Reformation has begun and it promises to take us to an Idiocracy the likes of which have not been seen since the Inquisition.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

And For My Next Act....

I caught the tail end of an interview Piers Morgan conducted with Bob Woodruff - the ABC newsman critically injured in Iraq five or six years ago.

The subject appeared to be his perceived life-after-death experience. Unfortunately I  missed the Nightline program alluding to this phenomenon. 

I'm not going to offer any enlightenment on the discussion; only the part where Piers commented on Woodruff's belief that he had died and then saw his body from above. He said he felt he chose to come back from what looked like a nice, bright and safe place.

No argument from me. I believe this is entirely possible. What I have a quibble with was Piers' observation that this would flummox  atheists whom he maintains are at odds with any notion of life beyond death.

As an atheist, this assertion mystifies me. Even if one does not believe there is an old man with a white beard hanging out in the sky and decreeing who will "live" in heaven or hell, this does not mean that all atheists deny the possibility of life after death. Why does such a belief have to come with a side order of gods and demons?

I am in constant awe of life, the universe, nature....all the mysteries that dance in our heads. Never will I believe anything of life is really lost. We should know from our experience on Earth that all things live and die and recycle. It can be a messy process and create massive pain (as in the Texas-size mess of man-made crappy  plastic in the Pacific), but ultimately Nature finds a use for everything.

Even us.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gather Ye Values While Ye May

"Pepsi Cola hits the spot, 
12 full ounces, that's a lot,
Twice as much for a nickel, too,
Pepsi Cola is the drink for you."

Catchy jingle that played from the 1930s to 1950. I found it on You Tube. Can you believe a bottle of Pepsi cost 5 cents? Can you believe there was a time you could buy anything for 5 cents? 

I'm not sure if you can today. In fact, I don't think I remember the last time a saw a nickel. Dimes and quarters and pennies seem to make up the contents of my change  purse.

Having looked up the former price of the 12 oz. of  Pepsi I buy today and pay about 35 cents for in a 12-pack, I thought I would check out what gas cost the same year. Google says 18 cents a gallon!

Back when Pepsi was five cents for 12 ounces, a gallon (128 ounces) of gasoline cost a little more than three bottles of soda.

I filled up the gas tank today. Each  gallon cost $3.40.

I'm as horrified and a little scared as the rest of the world's non-millionaires are. But even when it was cheap, why did we ever think a gallon of colored water was worth more than a gallon of gasoline?


Monday, July 25, 2011

Verbal Tschotskes

I remember back to the first Bush presidency when the word "demagogue" came into vogue. A newsman was interviewing Barbara Bush and she was criticizing the demagogues. "What is a demagogue," asked the reporter. Babs looked non-plussed   and then, honestly, said, "Well, I don't know." Maybe, for effective communication,  we should go back to grunts. 

Kicking the can down the road
 Just running up the credit card
Holding a gun to our heads
Don't tax the job creators
Making cuts on the backs of the poor
Time to take our government back
Global warming alarmists
Short term political gain
Cut all the waste and fraud in the government programs
My way or the highway
The government is broken
Put God back in the schools
Gay bashing
Play the race card
From day one
I don't answer hypotheticals
Homosexuality is a lifestyle
The lame stream media
We have to get ourselves on a tax trajectory
Get the government out of our lives
The American people have spoken
The government is broken
Guns don't kill people, etc., etc.
Waiting for the other shoe to drop
Death panels
Pray away the gay
Pro abortion
Zero tolerance
Life begins at conception.
Think outside the box
Homeland security
Writing checks our grandchildren can't cash
Spending our children's inheritance
Fair and balanced
Not equivalent
Mission accomplished
What would Jesus do?


Friday, July 22, 2011

He's Got his Panties in a Twist

Perhaps I missed something in a story I just read on Huffington Post where "my" (SIGH) governor, Bob  McDonnell, is running around like a goose in a windstorm because Virginia's credit rating is going to be in the tank.

I recall he stated some months back that he didn't see any point in raising the debt ceiling. A kind of "let 'em default" attitude which seems to have changed now that it is apparent Virginia will suffer.

McDonnell (or is it McConnell?....I can't ever remember anything about him except his cute and tidy little pompadour) a proud grad of Falwell's Liberty U. That should tell you all you need to know about his qualifications for anything.

He  and his AG,  Cuccinelli (who calls himself "Cooch") - are the Mutt and Jeff of Virginia politics. Both have attempted to carve out a national image, but they are dull blades, indeed.

As I was falling asleep last night, some commentator was remarking about how the GOP thought they had a winner with McDonnell and gave him the honor of presenting the Republican response after Obama's State of the Union address. 

He and the State Assembly House were all gussied up....with a liberal sprinkling of "types" know, black, brown, Oriental, young, old, civilian and military, male, female. It looked like a stage set for a propaganda commercial. Oh, right. That's what it was. 

Unfortunately for him, the boost didn't result in a demand for his brand . He is a drab little man with nothing to say.

If he hasn't distinguished himself, his attorney general has. "Cooch" is recognized far and wide as a horse's ass. He has fought "Obamacare" and climate change and he is anti-gay and anti anything that smacks of progress or humanity. 

But he outdid himself by trying to cover up the left breast of the Roman goddess who is on the Virginia state seal.

Where do these people come from? Do they spring whole from the hole in Zeus's head? 


Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Hound or the Fox or the Skunk?

Smug and unctuous. Those are Eric Cantor's two expressions.

I first thought he simply was Boehner's dogsbody since I never saw a photograph of the orangeman without this smarmy little terrier glued to his hip. But it is apparent that he is not supporting  his leader, he is snapping up scraps from the table.....smiling all the while.

This whole debt ceiling thing is starting to appear more like a peeling  plaster ceiling piling on the panicky GOP. However, Cantor's plastic expression reveals that one way or another he will be top dog.

Capitalizing on Boehner's unrepublican reasonableness, Cantor looks like he is going to succeed in wresting the low ground from the party and come out of this briar patch looking like Br'er Rabbit and leaving the Speaker looking like Bugs Bunny.

In the larger scheme of things, maybe his ambition is irrelevant. And maybe Boehner will be able to survive just by refusing to engage in a peeing contest with a skunk.  


Sunday, July 10, 2011

You Live and Then You Don't

Death is life's greatest mystery.

Check that! Life is life's greatest mystery. The end of it is just another part of it.

I'm always a little bemused, and sometimes amused, by the myriad ways people react to it. It's certainly not an event that is generally welcomed but, on the other hand, it's hardly surprising except, sometimes, when the timing and the circumstances are awful.

I was still awake Friday night when Betty Ford's demise was announced. Andrea Mitchell appeared on air looking devastated and haggard and revealed the "sad" news.

Holy Nellie, Andrea....she was 93 years old! and I am sure you haven't been spending so much time in her company that her absence has left a hole  in your life. 

Maybe it's a function of my great age that I find her departure evokes just a little nostalgia for the '70s (ugh!) and the acknowledgement that she made a number of useful contributions to society, but I found it hardly devastating news. 

However, maybe that's what Andrea is paid to do. Be devastated on cue. Not much of a leap since she and her husband almost always look mournful.

One reaction to death  I found less amusing and more revolting was Rush Limbo's statement that liberals wouldn't have cared about Caylee's fate if she had still been in the womb. Of course not, you dumb ass. She wouldn't have been a person.  She wouldn't have known what it was to laugh and cry and do. People wouldn't have seen her and held her and loved her. Absolutely no loss to her or anyone else.

When I started life as a journalist I was given the job of editing the birth and death announcements for the paper. After a few months of total boredom, I asked my editor if we couldn't change the hed on it to Arrivals and Departures. 

I guess my views haven't changed that much.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Change is Enough to Gag a Maggot

Back in my salad days, I dated a young man who was an officer of a small Long Island bank. We often went to cocktail parties at the Garden City Hotel given by the Young Republicans - a group of affluent college men and young executives, in the main, who probably were destined for great things.

The parties and the pursuant conversations were convivial and ecumenical in nature. It was a happy and carefree time of my life since I was not then possessed of a point of view that seemed very different from that of my companions.

Now, recognizing that I have become a flaming liberal, I wonder that I ever had a sense of camaraderie with the people with whom we frequently dined and shared pleasant evenings.

This morning, thanks to David Brooks, I have discovered why I have become so hostile to Conservatives over the past few decades. It has finally dawned on me that I have not become anything different from what I was - an essentially benignly liberal thinker attracted to intellectual pursuits - and happy to live and let live.

What has changed is the Republican party. Its members are not normal. 

Of course! And here I thought I had become "difficult."


Monday, June 27, 2011

Finding Fun Where I Can

 Does anyone besides me recall a time when it was a rarity to find an error in a book or a newspaper? It just didn't happen.....much.

Nowadays, - even with magical spell checking abilities -  it seems to happen all the time. Either those who deal in words are getting careless, or they are less well-educated or there is just so much more verbiage floating around, not only on paper but sent into the ether, that it overwhelms human capacity to handle with care.

I usually enjoy finding some of the errors - such as those found in directions for a product that is supplied by a manufacturer in China or Japan.

Small and gentle amusements, these. But amusing nonetheless.

Today I found a bonus in a review published in the Daily Beast discussing Frank Schaeffer's new book - Sex, Mom and God.
While the title of it indicates it may tell me much more than I want to know about his father, sex and fundamentalist crazies, I did so enjoy reading what some truly clueless person typed, and even more fun was imagining the perplexity of that person in trying to figure out what it was that was being said, and interpreting it according to his or her fund of information. Herewith is the paragraph.
“Who was Mom as she might have been if part of her brain had not been crippled by her missionary parents’ indoctrination of her, just as the bones of the feet of little girls in China were once deformed by food-finding?” he wonders.

Thank you Daily Beast proofreaders. I am so pleased you didn't find that before I did.

Hell, forget proofreaders; how about a fact checker?


Friday, June 17, 2011

The 'Rime' of the Political Pundit

Do pundits ever apologize for proffering predictions that don't pan out?

I don't think so. Or at least I don't recall any. Not surprising, considering that knowledgeable sounding  opinions falleth like rain from the sky...and runneth into the sewers where most of them belong.

These political nabobs should have to wear their pronouncements around their necks for several days after their guesses have not materialized as the punishment provided in the Rime of the Ancient Mariner .

I am hoping so much criticism of Obama will light a fire under complacent voters. I would like to think that all the negativity coming from Progressives is intended to worry the lazy liberals and blot out the apathy of the sometimes-voter. We need all the bodies warmed up, armed and ready. Armed with good information, that is.

There is no one in the current lineup that worries me. Well, that's a lie....they all are worrisome in that they are all either God driven or ego driven or just plain wrong-headed. What gives me pause is that I never believed  Georgie Porgie stood a chance, and even though he didn't win, he got enough idiots to vote for him that the GOP godfathers could use the supremely unsupreme Supremes to  pull his fat from the fire.

However, what I've seen of Huntsman is concerning. He looks good, he sounds good and he is a new flavor. He could be trouble. I hope the media are committed to searching for truth, not looking to fall in love.

Thank goodness Keith will be back by Monday....this Monday, Current TV. And he will have David Shuster, a bulldog reporter who has similar integrity and great energy.

And away we go......................


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

23 Sons And She Named them All Dave (Seuss)

The most adamant and the most frightening and offensively determined Right-to-Lifer at the GOP debate in New Hampshire last night was Michelle Bachmann, who established her bona fides with dispatch.

She told the cheering audience that in addition to giving birth to five children, she fostered 23 others. In case you  missed it the first time, she said it at least once, maybe twice, again. She obviously considers it a badge of honor. And I guess it is if you consider most of us normal women are lucky if we live through the raising of our own. Yes,sir, she deserves props...for something. Maybe a very big house and nerves of steel.

In my view, there wouldn't be much of a  need for anyone to take in 23 foster children if unfortunate women, who have been blessed with little but a fertile womb, were allowed dominion over their bodies. 

Google provides the information that she sheltered as many as four teenagers at one time. What altruism. I've had two in the house at one time and could barely live through the noise and the laundry.

Of course, since she didn't adopt these children there was a bonus to giving them houseroom. Minnesota pays foster parents about $25 a day per teen, plus a clothing allowance. 

Close to $1,000 a week would be a very welcome addition to any household. But surely she refused to accept payment since keeping alive all eggs that have encountered a sperm, and cutting money from  federal and state budgets represent her almost manically stated raison d'etre.