Saturday, April 30, 2011

Your Pain is My Pain

My AOL desktop  banner has an icon of little greenbacks which, when you click on it, will  tell you where the stockmarket is at any given moment. I've programmed into it the two oil companies whose stock I inherited when my husband died four years ago and I check it frequently.

Exxon at this minute is at $87.98 a share and Chevron is at $109.44. Historically, the stocks split when they stay up near $100 a share. The dividends from these two oil giants make up a good part of my income. I'd like them to split. I'd like them to raise their dividends.

And I loathe them.

Especially Exxon, which is leading the way to fracking this country to rack and ruin.

Since beginning this journal, I have identified myself as a flaming liberal and an outspoken critic of religion. Beyond that, I am a tree hugger and, if I had the energy, I would gladly travel the world throwing red paint on anyone wearing fur, killing whales and seals, or abusing animals.

With this record, you can see my dilemma. I should be a flower child, independent of reality. Instead, I need to be pragmatic and consider that dependent on me are 100 llamas, 20 goats, five cats, two horses and a very big dog.

I know Warren Buffett is deviled every day by little old ladies wanting financial advice, so I am not hopeful of hearing from him.

However, if there is anyone out there a little more accessible, and as successful as he is, I sure would like to know how I can dump these damnable companies and find a  similarly sound and secure investment that does not make me feel I should commit seppuku.

Friday, April 29, 2011

It's All in the Genes

Ask me how much I care about the royals. Not a fig.

However, I did get trapped into watching a little of the recap of the wedding-do this morning; long enough to note that Prince Will is losing his hair, like his daddy. Prince Harry is not, like his daddy.

I am not moralizing. 'Twas ever thus. All the the royal beds of Europe have been very, very busy over the centuries with visiting layabouts. Extra-curricular shagging probably is the only solution to the perils of inbreeding.

But getting back to Harry, I was stuffing a turkey Thanksgiving morning in 1984 and listening to a chatty radio broadcast announcing the two-month-old princeling had little tufts of red hair.

This benign observation was fast followed by a list of justifications for this apparently innocent phenomenon. The assurances that red hair has, over the years, surfaced on the royal pates of family members on both sides had a salacious undertone in view of the unneedfulness of an explanation. Who needed to be assured that it was all right?

Not I. I didn't care. I still don't.

Ever since marriage was invented there have been those who automatically count out the required nine months when a couple reproduces in the first year. These same people also have an eye for discerning any lack of paternal influence on the looks of the newborn. Mama's baby; daddy's maybe?

The conjecture will always be there but today we have more than that, don't we. Science has prevailed and a lot of fun is done!

In these sophisticated times, combing and brushing one's pedigree can be a chancey, if not an iffy, thing in all quarters since DNA has reared its spoilsport head!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Matter of Convenience

A report just came across the bottom of the TV screen that the FDA has approved a robotic device that does hair transplant surgery.

My daughter, Paige, said it probably was adapted by Mattel from that antiquated technology that came from Con Ed - the Dig We Must electric company in N.Y. - that used jackhammers to perforate the city streets. Now they probably use robots that can handle plastic explosives.

Last week I heard some movie executive say the time is close at hand when actors will no longer be necessary for making films. Apparently Avatar has won over directors who don't like contending with prima donnas.

Now that I have quit, someone has invented smokeless cigarettes. Or is it cigaretteless smoke?

I don't have to shop for anything anymore....I just ordered an inflatable bed and a digital scale from with free shipping, and both should be here by Fed Ex or UPS by Monday.

And forget the library and the bookstore. Punch in some stuff on your computer and you have the newest bestseller on your electronic reader thingamajiggy. Ditto Netflix, that delivers your chosen film directly to your TV set.

I don't even have to count calories....Lean Cuisine does that for me.... if I feel like making  the effort to take the dinner out of the box and put it in the microwave.

Yesterday I saw a commercial for a doohicky that runs on a battery and you  put it in a pot of stew to stir it while you are busy doing........what? There doesn't seem to be much left to do.

It won't be long before they adapt robots  to do heart transplants and birth babies. That is, if the future populace exerts itself  enough to fornicate.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rise Above Superstition: Arrest a Christian!

A BBC report that Chinese police detained at least 20 worshippers from an unregistered Protestant church, amid a widespread stifling of dissent, elicited a comment from a fellow Facebook member who, beyond being educated, is well-traveled and well-read. I thought it worth repeating.
Says Matthew Reed Bailey:
I think they have good reason for doing so.

China has a rather large investment in halting superstition, which is rampant among the rural population, and even much of the urban population.

And, aside from just the immediate problems of superstition, there are many secondary problems that these groups create. Notably they politicize their faith.

Almost every one of these "unregistered churches" is a front organization for U.S. Evangelical operations in China who seek to undermine the Chinese Communist Party and the state. Every one of the U.S. organizations backing them has a rather confrontational and disruptive attitude that seems to disregard the stability to China, and of the success that they have had in modernization and economic progress. The U.S. groups encourage these churches to "Break the Law," using their Chinese congregations as political tools without the knowledge of the Chinese who are being so used.

The Chinese Christians tend to be innocent and naive to the real nature of the Evangelical Community in the USA, which is a HIGHLY political group. The Chinese Christians tend to believe that the U.S. Christians "Only have their best interests in mind." (as any "good" Christian is supposed to do).

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Real Easter Message

I don't know who RexHuppke is, and I haven't been able to link up to this link to establish an identity, but this is the most telling Easter message I received today and in the spirit of sharing, please do.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Gifted Saleswoman

I'm a fan of eBay. I discovered it last year and I have bought books, silverware, ceramic bowls and kitchen canisters.

This morning I thought I would look for summer robes. And I found a very pretty one....and then I read the seller's sales pitch.

"This would make a beautiful burial gown to lay a loved one to rest. It never hurts to have one around."

She made my day. My sides are still hurting.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Epitome of Smarmy

Is there anyone who epitomizes "smarmy" more thoroughly than does Congressman Eric Cantor (R-Va.)?

Cantor is what the GOPers identify as an "up-and-comer." His vaunted talent for raising money is much treasured by the wingnuts.

But what impresses me is his ability to be unctious and arrogant in nearly the same second. He can sneer without moving his lips, and he can rub his hands together while they appear to be hanging at his sides.

Wouldn't it be grand if some of the old-timey types of politicians - those who knew how to be graciously principled in their interactions with the opposite party without feeling they were compromising their own principles - could appear for an encore?

Instead we have the Cantor types who are masters at being maliciously demeaning and, among other efforts at disparagement, persist in saying "Democrat Party" and "Democrat President" because they believe it removes dignity from a liberal point of view.

I believe an objective apolitical person with any insights into human nature would come to the conclusion that these conservatives need to belittle and sneer and lie in order to feel like men, and that includes the women.

We can lay a great deal of this new kind of calumny on Newtie's doorstep. I remember reading a piece he wrote for Republican Party consumption where he recommended that all things liberal and democratic (big and little "d") be referred to in only denigrating terms. It has worked like a charm. The whole of the party, and now the witless teapartiers,  have adopted his tack.

But it only works among themselves. Imagine anyone believing that Barack Obama, the coolest  president since JFK, could  be seen being "dragged, kicking and screaming" anywhere. While Cantor would like that  picture to resonate, it ain't hardly likely.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Don't Get Diddled by the Gas Barons

While the raving loonies on the right are dogging the President with asinine questions about his birth certificate, we are getting fracked by opportunistic, blowhard gas bags of the Donald Trumpish persuasion.

Natural gas is vigorously touted as the fuel of the that saves us from the clutches of the Mideastern hold on our throats.

But the touters are simply greedy gas barons cum greedy oil barons.

The ONLY energy remedies we should be pursuing are those provided by sun, wind and water.

The following will introduce those of you unaware of it, to the process of mining for  natural gas.

If you Google the subject you will get some eye-openers. And we all need our eyes opened on occasion. Turn away from DWTS and American Idol and look around at least once a week. You, too, can see how life sucks in an idiot nation.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Quicky Addenda to WWII Years

When you start plowing through memories from the WWII years, as I did in the last post, funny things surface. Funny as in....awful!

A friend reminded me of those see-through bags (could they have been a forerunner to plastic?) of white lardish looking stuff that had an orange bubble embedded in it. You were meant to burst the bubble of dye, before opening the package, and knead the ghastly thing until it resembled butter. This was my first introduction to an obscenity called oleo margarine.

Speaking of bubbles, I remember when potato chips had little oil sacs (that were fun to nibble). Today, each chip is without blemish (and not nearly as interesting!).

And cereal....back then there were Rice Krispies (1928), Corn Flakes (1906), Wheaties, Shredded Wheat, Puffed Rice (literally shot from "guns" at the 1904 World's Fair) and "newcomers": Kix (1935) and Cheerios (1941). Maybe there were a few more I was not aware of, but I wanted to point out that by comparison, the contents of the football-field-long aisles in the supermarkets look like they were hatched in Bedlam.

The one thing these antique cereals had in common was color. It ranged from off-white to a healthy looking brown.

I started this note to correct my April 14 post. We did not have ration cards back then; they were ration books that were issued periodically and you tore out the stamps for the appropriate week or month and handed them over to the butcher, baker and candlestick maker.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

We Did it Before and We Can Do it Again

For those few of us who were alive and aware during World War II, this current hysteria over the financial crisis that is turning the preponderance of Conservatives and Progressives into a mob of angry two-year-olds with diaper rash must have all of us dissolved in disbelief.

Granted, I was pretty young during the war years, but the memories are indelible.

Things were scarce or not available at all. Everyone had a ration card and if you used up your sugar allotment for the month and you wanted to bake a cake....tough!

Most of the young and youngish men were in uniform.  Today, except for military career officers, those defending us are the poor or the Pat Tillman-like patriots. Back then, everyone was a patriot.

If anyone complained about something, the standard observation was: "Quit your bellyaching. Don't you know there is a war on?"

Birthday presents were almost always War Bonds or  a book of U.S. Savings Stamps which you saved up to buy a  Bond in support of your country.

Sacrifice was made without question. Everyone, even kids, did their bit...even if it was just collecting the tin foil from cigarette packets and rolling it into a ball that got sent....somewhere, I never make bullets or something the soldiers needed.

Making do was done with a kind of pride that would truly flummox today's citizens who have indulged themselves to capacity and beyond.

When the worst deprivation in your life is having to pay income tax to support everything that makes living in this country worthwhile, it is impossible for anyone who survived "the War" years to feel anything much beyond contempt.

Pull up your socks, American citizens. Put your heads down and press on, regardless!We successfully kept  the foreign enemies from our front door; we can defeat the domestic wolves  that are trying to beat down our back door.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Liberal's Dilemma

A friend sent me a diatribe against President Obama. It was by someone named Glen Ford and it said:

"There is nothing left of Obama, except the "moderate Republicrat corporate lawyer" that he has always been. He refuses to fight in the people's interest, because he is not interested in the people - only in his foolish dream of a grand alliance with the GOP in service of Wall Street."

This is why I am not into politics right now.

I hate the Republican point of view. And, if the truth be known, I probably would dislike on sight anyone who is socially conservative because their convictions are  anathema to mine in every way.

But, heaven help us, these people make up about half the country. I can't see any way to ignore them.

Sure I wish Obama would push to rid us all kinds of stuff that sometimes makes me want to leave this country and live on an island. I wish he would not ever compromise because the GOP mindset is steeped in pond scum and I wish it would disappear forever.

There seems to be a total invasion of mindless nincompoops foisting their narrow-minded, ultra-religious views on the country.

Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin and their ilk make my skin crawl, and if it weren't illegal, I'd use their guts for garters.

But I have to trust that our President's instincts are right. He's a good man and he knows what the problems are. I don't think this is all self aggrandizement. So what is it? Maybe he's right to compromise. I don't know. That's why I have withdrawn from reading a lot of political opinions.

I was up early reading my mail and worrying about this because I was jolted awake with one of those nasty stinkbugs crawling on my face. Ugh! Between them, the ladybugs and those black and orange beetles, my house is invaded! And I hate to further pollute the environment by using bug spray.

Feels almost like my political dilemma!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Biggest Losers - Us

I am sure all my friends have seen this, but I am hoping for a wave to develop. An absolute tsunami of consciousness, awareness, thoughtfulness....intelligence, even!

This is a remarkable "essay" and I hope against unreasoning hope that posting this  will ultimately filter into lots of someones' sensibilities.

First, someone who will pass it along to someone who will wake up and tell  someone else who in turn can shake someone awake who will then shake someone else who will change his mind about what next idiocy will be invented to AMUSE us.

And then the sun will come up like thunder (drums here) across the Bay and we will be free - free to open our minds and let that sun in. It is, after all, the universal disinfectant and if ever we needed a disinfectant to fight the foolish fatuousness of our society, it's now, please.!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Minor Pensees

My cats' litter box is in my bathroom. As I was brushing my hair this morning, I
watched Maggie, my elderly female kitteh, pee. It caught my attention because it sounded like an impressively functioning renal system as she flooded one corner of the litter.

She then moved to the far  side of the box and, with one quick and completely ineffectual swipe, managed to cover nothing. With a satisfied expression, she left the room.

I was laughing at myself in the mirror because the first thing that came to mind was this year's Republican congress.

The mind really is like a box of chocolates.