Friday, July 31, 2009
Like everyone else, I have my share of physical problems. Some of them are self-inflicted. Some are just my tough noogies.
But there is a young fella who comes to the physical therapy place where I try to work off some of the self-inflicted excess avoirdupois, and he's just a little, little guy. His life is in a wheelchair, except for when they take him to the p.t. place and he works with a physical therapist in the pool. I don't know the details of of his situation, and they are both not important here and also none of my business.
I see him being wheeled in and out as I work on the elliptical machines or the treadmill or the recumbent bike or the cable weight column or the stair-stepper, and it makes me so sad to think. This boy will never get to play baseball with his friends in some elementary school playground on a lazy hot July afternoon. Will he get to fall in love, will he get to be cool? The questions Neil Young raises are valid.
Another question: why on earth do I grumble over a gallbladder, complain about cartilage, beef about my back, fuss over my feet, kick about my kidneys, moan about my mandible, repine about my rotator cuff, sulk about my shoulder, wail about my wrist, or yammer about my yawning? I should not squawk about anything that life brings my way. I feel bad just thinking of times I did so, unfairly.
I see the boy's parents and I realize that God in his wisdom chose them carefully to take care of this child. It's plain to see that their lives pretty much revolve around him and always will. How inspiring to see that kind of love!
I'd like to tell them all I am sorry for their pain and trouble, but I have a feeling that they don't see it that way. Would that we all could show such forbearance in the face of obstacles one millionth the size of theirs.
If you think some football player or race car driver or movie actor is a hero, join me after work one day and I'll show you some heroes.
Remember the poem that was recited at Princess Diana's funeral?
Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone:
Kindness in another's trouble,
Courage in our own.
I feel sorry that it takes something like this to change my perspective, but I'm trying. Thanks for listening. Our regularly scheduled show, "Pickin' on Palin," will return at this time tomorrow.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
It's a business contact whom I have to phone every now and then. Well, it's her phone.
You see, when she is there at her desk, she answers the phone, "Mildred Shlabotnick...*," and we have our business conversation and away we go.
But when she's not at her desk, wherever it is she works, her voice mail comes on, answers on the second ring, "Mildred Schlabotnick...*" and I go "Hi, Mildred, listen, about those blah blah blah " because just then you hear that universal nasal operator-y recorded voice saying..."is not in. Please leave a message for (space) Mildred Schlabotnick (pause) at the tone. BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!"
Another thing about these new-fangled answerin' machines..ever notice how often people sound, when they record their name for the outgoing message, as if this is the first time they have ever said their name aloud? It's always like "MILdred SchlaBOTnick?!"
And of course I'm totally thrown off stride and I leave a message that, when Mildred gets back from Panera, she hears and immediately questions my sanity, the point of the message I had wanted to leave having been subsumed in the verbal equivalent of a man knocked off his feet.
Maybe I'll just quit leaving messages, because as we all have been told , one can do even more by quitting than by doing the job one was chosen to do.
Click here for message:
* not her real name. Nor hers.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Then, within the next few days, as long as you can keep the multitudinous street killings straight in your mind, you’ll hear that a suspect has been rounded up and brought in for arraignment on the charges. His attorney will address the media outside the great gray courthouse downtown and let us all know that the young man grew up in a tough neighborhood without a great deal of love in his life. Then, a reporter, brandishing computer printouts, will detail the lengthy arrest and conviction record of the young man whose life has taken so many tragic turns.
What’s always missing is the piece in which a representative from the National Rifle Association, great defenders of arms long and short, speaks up and decries the easy availability of handguns on the nation’s streets and highways. Even the most fervent defenders of their right to own a .22 to (choose one) a) protect their family from communists or bears b) plink tin cans or c) go a-huntin’ with Zeke and Big Shirtless Ron have no comment on the death toll brought to bear on the nation by the proliferation of handguns.
Now this from the New York Times, reporting that a measure that would have allowed proud gun owners to strut about from state to state while proudly toting their
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Because... I don't get this thing with people dancing their way into their wedding ceremony. It's the latest viral video and it's making me a little viral. No one asked me, and it's a free country, but to my mind, if you get married in a church, you do so because you wish to lend a certain holy solemnity to the occasion. A house is not a home, stone walls do not a prison make, and a church is not a discotheque.
And I like to see people dance. Most tragically, I am not able to dance due to a horrible industrial accident involving a freight roller, a quart of Pennzoil and a foolish bet, but I love to see people who can really cut a rug get out there and cut one. (Pause for cheap laugh.) We've been to weddings at which the bridal party dances into the reception, and loved it! That's where the dancing should take place, unless you're also going to have a martini fountain and a huge lasagna at the church vestibule.
I dunno; that's just my take on it. I have to go listen to The Great Gildersleeve anyway.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
PS Today's title about the Aztecs came from the Firesign Theatre's brilliant album "Everything You Know Is Wrong." It's great! I know it is. Uh-oh!
Friday, July 24, 2009
But the point of the show is the advertising business in the Golden Age of Madison Avenue: in the early 60's, having an ad agency and a few successful accounts was a license to print money. Look at all the slogans and images we can recall even now from those halcyon days:
"We try harder," "The Pepsi generation," "Please don't squeeze the Charmin", "Ring around the collar," "Let Hertz put you in the driver's seat," "I want my Maypo," "Take it off... take it all off with Noxzema Medicated Shave," "Ajax cleans like a white tornado!", " In the valley of the jolly (ho ho ho) Green Giant," "Ajax Laundry Detergent is stronger than dirt."
Ah, yes. Words that ring true, even today. The beauty of a great slogan is in its simplicity. You'll find no Winston Churchills among the men and women who sell Winston cigarettes and Churchill luggage. The last thing they want to do is overload their message with ponderous prose and turgid treatises, no matter how attractively alliterate or coyly clever. Nope. "I want my MTV!" were just four words that worked because they recalled our youthful cry of "I want my Maypo!" No need to write sonnets for a 30-second spot about hemorrhoid medications. Just sell the product and have another martini.
Which is why I am bringing to your attention a slogan which makes up for in honesty what it lacks in comfort. The good people at Saddleback Leather sell what looks like a fine line of durable goods...wallets, messenger bags, pouches, satchels and what-all. They seem to have two slogans:
"Quality Built to Last"
"They'll Fight Over It When You're Dead"
Now that second one just sings to you, doesn't it? The very thought... the image... of the kids...Jim Bob and Lurleen...bickering bitterly over poor departed Uncle Nabob's leather valise is the stuff of Norman Rockwell, Jr., if there had been one.
But when you reach the mid-August of your years, you do think about such things. I like to tell the story of the ophthalmologist who told my terminally-ill father that he was developing the early warning signs of glaucoma and would likely need treatment for it in 6 to 8 years. This was like 6 to 8 months before Dad crossed the bar, so he was able to tell the young doctor that it wouldn't be a problem.
If you're 87 and you buy a new Buick, do you gamble on the extended warranty? Even if you realize that Jim Bob and Lurleen will be packing your valise to go to Twitty City on a vacation in your Buick which outlived you because you didn't get the extended warranty on your hypothalamus?
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I'm talking about the refuse collectors who come to your street and haul away the trash and the recycling. This is not a sweet gig, but it's honest work; can you recall ever seeing a trash truck come down your street without the crew hustling to your driveway or sidewalk, grabbing the cans and bags and bundles, tossing them into the great yawning maw of the diesel-belching truck, and then signaling to the driver to pull up to the next house? While they walk to the next can or bag or bundle. All day long, and in the heat, not much fun.
My buddy did this job one summer between semesters in college. The other summers, he worked in a photo lab - and by the way, he wanted you to know that when you send your "special, private" photos to a photo lab, people who work in the photo lab make five or six copies of your special, private pictures of your special privates and trade them around like kids with a pack of Jose Canseco rookie cards. The one summer he couldn't get that job, things just didn't develop for him and he wasn't in the picture. So he worked in DC for a trash hauler in swanky Georgetown, where he was obliged to go into the backyard of these richguy joints and haul the trash around, thereby saving that good-for-nothing Von Snobsworth boy from having to get up and do something besides being corpulent all summer. My friend told me that, usually by 2 pm every day, he was used to the rotten stench and foul miasma of waste.
The people we think are important - the A-Rods, the Johnny Depps, the Simon Cowells of the world...if they all packed it in and stopped working, somehow, life would go on. And quite frankly, if Jon & Kate were to sell their mansion and move back to Oblivion, we'd all be better off. But ask anyone who's been in New York City during a sanitation strike, as the potato peelin's, banana skins, steak leavin's, and chicken bones pile up and shimmer in the summer sun, and they will tell you that the smell is not quite like walking through Lavender Fields.
Right about now, you might be asking yourself, why is he making this point? I'm just saying, there are far worse things in life than to have the local trash guys on your side, and one of the wise investments I make every so often is to get a cheap styrofoam cooler, ice down a six pack of something cold and refreshing, toss in a chaser and leave it for the guys. (Wintertime alternative: a little "toddy for the body.") Then, when you want to get rid of something that might be a little bulky or large or otherwise just outside the guidelines, you sleep tight because you took care of the guys who take care of you!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Lawsuit: dentist dropped tools down man's throat
Sun Jul 19, 8:39 AM EDT
A Florida dentist is being sued for allegedly dropping tools down the throat of an elderly patient — twice. Relatives of 90-year-old Charles Gaal Jr. recently filed the suit in circuit court accusing Dr. Wesley Meyers of negligence. An answering message at Meyers' office in Winter Park said Saturday that he was on vacation. He did not reply to a message from The Associated Press seeking comment.
The lawsuit says the doctor dropped an "implant screwdriver tool" in 2006 and a "mini-wrench" in 2007.
The suit also says Gaal underwent several medical procedures to remove the tools but never fully recovered. He died in 2007.
Meyers was fined $17,000 by the state a year later. The dentist was found negligent in a settlement.
Information from: Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com
Gee, do you think we could get an appointment with Dr. Wesley "Butterfingers" Meyers any time soon? Of course, this could all be balderdash - made-up nonsense filed by an overly avid attorney to try to wring money out of an honest, hard-working dentist!
Uh-oh! Now you have to worry about lawyers! Where does all this end, I ask you? Now, where's my mini-wrench?
Sunday, July 19, 2009
It was just before the Summer of Love in '67 that I fell in love with traditional country music. Ms Harriss encouraged me to interview some of the country stars who came to town. I might not be so bold today as to ask Keith Urban to talk with me about his life for publication in a high school newspaper, but armed with BIC pens and a pad, teenage brashness and her encouragement, I took the #8 bus to the Baltimore Civic Center. I inveigled my way past the dozing security guard, who wouldn't have likely noticed had I walked past him carrying a machine gun, a Molotov cocktail and Judge Crater's robes, and knocked on the bus door of the great Ernest Tubb.
Bus door. Because the country stars did not perform in the usual Las Vegas-New York- Los Angeles circuit, but, rather, the Conway, Arkansas - Chicamauga Falls, Georgia - Yazoo City, Mississippi circuit, and there were generally no airports at their ports of call. So they traveled with their bands in converted Greyhound buses.
Bus door. I knocked, someone answered, and I asked if I could speak to Mr Tubb. At length, the great man stepped off the bus and spoke to me then and there in the indoor parking area of the Civic Center, weaving the tales of his life and career and showing me his ring, with "E T " spelled out in diamonds. Again, he had no need for the sort of publicity that an article in the Towson High School Talisman would bring him, but he talked to me as if I were Walter Cronkite or something.
I wrote the article - can't say for sure that it was ever published - and cherished my fleeting brush with fame at his bus door. Mr Tubb was known as "ET" and "Ol' Ern, the Daddy of 'em all," in his day, and Lord, couldn't he sing! I mean it. He always said that the secret to his success lay in the fact that all over America, guys would drop coins in jukeboxes, punch up his records ( "Walkin' the Floor Over You", "I've Got All the Heartaches I Can Handle","Waltz Across Texas" and "Do You What You Do Do Well" among them) and tell date, "I can sing better than that guy!"
"And 95% of the time, they were right!," Ernest would always confirm.
It's also very true that when I heard, in the early 80's that Steven Spielberg was producing a movie about ET, I got all worked up and couldn't wait. I was even at the stage of envisioning just whom to get to play the lead role, and it was down to George Hamilton or Rock Hudson, in my mind, when the bad news arrived. The film came out and it was about a little green space alien.
But Ern did play himself in "Coal Miner's Daughter," the biographical movie about his former duet partner Loretta Lynn. My friend Lisa tells me that it was at Loretta's insistence that the great ET, from Crisp, Texas, assayed his own role. Good for her. Country music radio has jettisoned all the Tubbs and Joneses and Wagoners for the Urbans and the Paisleys, two names that sound like pages from GQ's Fall Fashion Preview to me.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
I bet Mashhad is really pretty at this time of the year. That was my first thought when I read that it was his birthday- actually, heard Mr Keillor talk about it. It was hardly shocking news a month or so ago when the rigged elections in Iran turned into street riots. People will only stand for so much oppression before they will rebel. *cough 11/4/08 USA * cough* But for crying out loud, I heard of an American woman who was injured in those fracases, and the news report indicated that she was "on vacation in Iran." Now, I don't know how to say this without sounding provincial, jingoistic and so hopelessly middle-class, but can anyone tell me any good reason for going to a corner of the globe that is usually identified as "war-torn" for a vacation? I just do not understand. My idea of vacations is all about surf 'n' sun, also surf 'n' turf and surf 'n' suds. We like the ocean, and relaxing around in Cape May, and reading out-of-town newspapers (me) and arcane Eastern philosophical books (not me.) But vacation in Iran? Help me understand.
Mr Keillor went on to say about this Grand Ayatollah (which sounds like a sporty Hyundai to me) that it is against the law to criticize him in Iran. Well, there's another reason for me to avoid vacationing there and stick with the kind of resort town where college kids bring you stacks of golden pancakes, all steaming right off the griddle, the sunlight dappled off the rich maple syrup tapped right out of a tree by a guy wearing one of those wool red-and-black plaid baseball hats with ear flaps, and with butter - great scoops of dairy-rich creamery butter, melting sweetly and forming little rivulets as it runs down the side. Down the side of the stack of pancakes, that is, not the hat with flaps.
I have always enjoyed having the freedom to speak my mind, what there is of it, and would be vexed, miffed and peeved to find that I no longer had the right to do so. What's more, even though I heap disdain on fellow Americans such as George Bush 43, Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove, Bill O'Reilly and others, I cherish the right to do so, I respect their right to vehemently disagree with me (and oh Lord, do they ever!), and I would never willingly relinquish their right to free speech, nor mine.
Years ago I met a couple of friends who had an interesting habit. Any time they found themselves criticizing a person, they turned to each other and made it a point to say something good about that person. In that vein, there is something that I learned from reading about Bush 41 - George H.W. Bush, the "older" Bush. He made it a regular part of his day to carry around little note cards and dash off quick thank-you notes to people who had been especially helpful, or kind, or had just done something that called for a little pat on the shoulder. I think that's great. No one ever got vexed, miffed or irked because someone else sent them a thank-you note, and to be commended for being commendable is just a good thing all around.
And, one good thing about Bush 43 is, he never tried to talk me into vacationing in Iran. There you go!
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Ernest Hemingway, later to gain fame in those "Know what I mean, Vern?" commercials, brought this Spanish silliness to worldwide attention in his first novel, The Sun Also Rises, or Look Homeward, Angel. (He was quite indecisive.)
You see it every year: it's like a worldwide convention of drunks and daredevils, rakehells and ne'er-do-wells, all soused up and ready to run rampant while quite possibly being rammed in the pants. Not to be gore-y. It is dumb, but people show up for it every year, just like a Bret Favre comeback.
And so the world's photojournalists have to spend precious dollars sending precious reporters and hard-bitten camerapersons to this small Spanish town up in the north of Spain, far from the rainy plain.
And heaven knows they are busy at this time of year! Somewhere - like lately in Dallas and Phoenix - there is an extended heat wave every summer, and that means the deployment of still more cameras and journalists as they vie for the new angle on polar bears looking miserable in zoos until some kind zoologist tosses in a gigantic iceball with frozen fish in it for the burned-up bruin, and then of course they have to cover the people frying eggs on the hoods of their cars or their sidewalks, kids opening up fire hydrants in the streets of the city as firefighters fret over lowered water pressure, and guys working as tar-spreading roofers or asphalt-pouring roadway builders.
My solution? Just keep using the same video, year after year! I mean, who the heck will know the difference anyway? Polar bear clothing styles never change: it's always a porkpie hat and a tie, collar optional.
You're welcome, CNN. Got to keep Anderson Cooper home and prepared for his street-sign hanging-onto-during tropical storm schedule. Man, I hope not, too!
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Man, that was a long way to go for a cheap plaisanterie, no?
But…the French celebrate the storming of the Bastille annually on this date, and it’s sort of hard to imagine a huge revolution taking place over two hundred years ago, before people had mass media pundits (aka “pundints”) to tell 'em where to direct their outrage. And it really mattered not that there were only seven people being held in the French prison, which had once held many political prisoners, when the time for action arrived. Actually, the Bastille held people of explosive thought, held for being enemies of the monarchy, as well as large caches of ammunition and battle supplies. During that tumultuous summer, King Louis XVI (best known for the biographical song "Brother Louie" by Stories) had convened an assembly to listen to the citizens and better understand their pleas for democracy and an end to the monarchy. One group – members of the Third Estate (peasants, the lower working class bourgeoisie, and vodka drinkers) - took what became known as the Tennis Court Oath that 20th day of June, when they vowed to see the revolution through to its end because they loved to see what the King would serve up next and what sort of net profits they could win from all this volleying.)
To celebrate the first anniversary of Bastille Day a year later, the French decided, why not just make it all official? And so they threw a huge party known as the Fête de la Fédération (literally, Feet Federated, a popular dance troupe.) There were fireworks, plenty of wine, and naked crowds line-dancing in the streets.
In Baltimore, this is known as Fells Point on a Friday Night. Vive le revolution!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Previous data have indicated that the left anterior temporal lobe contributes to the retrieval of familiar people's names, and that the extended network including the bilateral anterior temporal lobe plays an important role in the retrieval of newly learned people's names. However, there has been no direct evidence for time-dependent change in brain activation in face-name associations. In addition, previous studies have demonstrated that emotional information such as emotional faces may contribute to the organization of long-lasting episodic memory. In the present study, we investigated the activations related to the recognition of people's names in the context of emotional and neutral face-name associative learning. Before fMRI scanning, subjects learned face-name associations that included emotionally positive and neutral facial expressions. In immediate (5 min later) and delayed (2 weeks later) recognition with fMRI scanning, subjects were presented with studied faces with two names, and were asked to choose the correct associative name learned previously. Recognition-related activations were identified in the anterior part of bilateral temporal lobe for immediate recognition and only in the left temporal lobe for delayed recognition. Further analysis confirmed the time-dependent change in activation of the right anterior temporal lobe. Activation related to the processing of faces with positive expressions were observed in the left periamygdaloid area and temporal pole, although emotional information did not have an influence on task performance in this study. These findings suggest that the neural network involving the bilateral temporal lobe contributes to the retrieval of newly learned people's names, and that the left temporal lobe has a crucial and stable role in retrieval of people's names from faces, whereas the role of the right temporal lobe in retrieval of people's names may decrease with the time course.
I'm sure you recognize this as being from the world-famous treatise, Time-dependent neural activations related to recognition of people's names in emotional and neutral face-name associative learning:: an fMRI study by Takashi Tsukiura , Masayuki Namiki, Toshikatsu Fujii and Toshio Iijima. You know these guys better, of course, as "The Four Seasons." They sang "Sherry" and "Dawn" and "Rag Doll." They don't explain why I would remember your name more easily if I had met you twenty years ago. Guys named "Glen" whom I meet today are "Buddy-boy" tomorrow!
I guess I could dig a little deeper into the Googleopolis and find out more about people's impressions of certain names. I know I heard about such a survey somewhere along the line. "Mark" is regarded as a spoiled kind of guy, and nothing could be further from the truth, and if anyone thinks so, well they just can't come to my fabulous yacht party next week, because in actuality, "Mark" is the name for the kind of guy who sits around wondering why a word that looks like it would be pronounced "YACH-'ed" is said like "yot." And he wonders why the framers of our language, all those weeks ago, didn't say "What's a word for a fancy boat? A YOT?!?! Y-O-T! perfect!"
You meet a guy named "J. Worthington Stufflebore III" and you know he will not be wearing a NASCAR T-shirt. You meet "Jimmie Earl," and you know he has a favorite driver. Not to stereotype, but some things do fall in line. You wouldn't want to have brain surgery performed by someone known to his friends as "Poopferbrains" any more than you would expect to get a good transmission overhaul by a guy in a spotless white linen suit.
Down to cases: I never met a Donna or a Christie (Kristie, Cristi, Kristi, Kristy) that I didn't like a lot...someone named Rhonda will always be helpful...any "Abby" is always dear..."Dawn" is an early riser and you can always meet "Barbara Ann" by learning to dance.
And one final thing about names: please...if you are in the position of naming a young 'un...and your last name is size-related in any way, e.g. Short, Little, Long....please do your son-to-be a "big" favor and don't name him Richard, or Peter, or Johnson. Trust me. I have been in 5th grade and it's not getting any easier.
In case you're going to have a daughter, whatever you name her...if she complains about it at 14 (and she will), tell her the original plan was to name her "Ophelia," and she will feel much much better.
Furthermore, my left anterior temporal lobe is NOT bilateral, I'll have you know.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
You can read all about it here, how she married a local businessman and moved in down the street a bit and off the main road, to Huntsman Rd. At 12 or whatever I was, her presence in the 'hood hardly caused the stir with me and my posse that would have ensued had, say, Sandra Dee moved in. Ms Lamour's younger stepson was in my grade at junior high, and he was far from a popular lad, owing mainly to his annoying speech habit of starting every sentence with, "Well, my stepmother is Dorothy Lamour and she..." Bang Zoom! A kid in my class, fella named King ( for real! first name! oh it was a regal neighborhood!) popped him right on the beezer after a couple of weeks, and after that he become more like one of us, just with a sore nose.
The local papers got all into the frenzy for a minute, with articles about Hollywood Royalty Moving In and pictures of her chomping on a hot dog while riding in the aging Studebaker of her older stepson, Ridge, who joined the local fire company for a spell.
The times being as they were, the daily activities of current, future and former movie stars, television performers, musicians, singers, and carnival sideshow attractions were not chronicled on fourteen daily 30-minute shows, as we enjoy now. It was actually possible to be still thought of as a pretty big deal in "the biz," although, if you've finished reading the Wikipedia article and have rejoined us, already in progress, you see a ten-year gap when Tinseltown was not hoisting her name on too many marquees. Besides occasional glimpses of riding in automobiles, my main memory of living in proximity with a woman who wore a sarong (and what sarong with that?) in movies with Bob Hope and Der Bingle was walking in to the Food Fair at Towson Plaza on that freezing day in 1966 when Walt Disney "drew" his last breath. Ms Lamour was on the pay phone in the Food Fair, making a long distance call to the Coast to try to get in touch with someone who would accept her condolences on the passing of the creator of Mickey Mouse. Had some film producer been on hand to see her emote that day, right there by the rental rug shampooers and free-for-nothing sales pamphlets, she would have once again starred a movie and my little neighborhood would have been bereft of the glitz and glamour in which most of us didn't even know we were luxuriating.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Paul Cummins from the Huffington Post for his list of things for which you CAN blame Bush, and take note: this list was compiled while the ol' bronco buster from Yale had three years left in office!
The following list is, in my opinion, the Bush legacy. It is offered without footnotes, without elaboration or argument, but simply as a list. Perhaps by gathering together these twenty disparate (yet, I believe, related) items, the legacy will be seen for the mean-spirited, unenlightened, arrogant, plutocratic-cronyistic agenda that it is. Never in American history, I believe, has such a disastrous set of principles been enacted. Each of the twenty has far reaching, negative consequences.
1. Tax cuts leading to massive, unprecedented deficits
2. Preemptive wars against non-aggressive nations
3. Sanctioning of torture
4. De-regulation of environment protections
5. Weakening of the separation of church and state
6. Exempting the gun industry from lawsuits
7. Weakening of individual privacy protections
8. Rejection of international organizations - U.N., World Court, etc.
9. Increased hatred of the U.S.A. in Islamic countries
10. Increase in terrorist attacks since 9/11
11. Neglect of poverty in the U.S.A. and abroad
12. Shifting the tax burden from wealthy corporations and individuals to wage earners
13. Reducing (hoping to abolish) estate taxes thus creating "a permanent aristocracy" in America
14. Furthering anti-intellectualism - a president who admittedly does not read and is embarrassingly inarticulate
15. Increased military spending; hostility to spending for social services
16. Increased number of Americans without health care
17. Rejection of minimum wage increases - five consecutive years
18. Applying the principle of awarding lucrative contracts to crony companies without competitive bidding
19. Attempts to privatize Social Security
20. Four consecutive years of increases in the percentage of Americans living in poverty
And he doesn't even mention the horrific death toll - our side and others - of these insane wars and incursions and invasions of sovereign foreign nations. You'd be plenty steamed if Afghan marines landed on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, but Bush sent our troops to invade other countries over less than nothing. He was going to have his war, by Crackey. Or, by Cheney.
To me, this whole thing of "my responsibility is over when I walk out of here" is pure nonsense. It's like the old thing where someone is an utter bore, or boar, or just a nasty old offensive, foul, hateful, contemptible, unpleasant fool. They do something like toss a punch bowl at the host, throw food at a ball game, throw invectives in a food store, or I don't know what-all else, and their friends will always say, "Well, that's just the way Percy is. You gotta take him as he is." No, you don't. I mean, take that to its extreme. Berlin. Spring of '45. "You must follow...that's just the way Adolf is!" Nein.
And I'm sorry, but "I'm sorry" isn't always good enough right away. "Uh, sorry I busted your punch bowl/retirement savings/heart. I didn't mean it. Huh." does not make it all better. Yes, we forgive, but not right away. And not Bush, not yet.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
The Customer Service lady told us that people were ripping off WalMart by buying a new computer, then going home and putting their old junky computer in the new computer's box and bundling it all back up, then coming in for a refund by saying "This computer is no good!" Of course it's no good! It's like 9 years old and riddled with viruses from all the porn sites you surf! But, without checking these returned machines over, the WalMartians were getting burned.
Reminds me of another scam that a guy pulled when I worked at the A&P. This guy was actually one of my high school classmates and he should be ashamed of having stolen from the Tea Company, but here's what he did. Thanksgiving time, he's running a register, and he'd see a woman approaching his register with a turkey in her cart. He (let's call him "Bob," for that was his name) would tell the lady to just leave that heavy old bird right in the cart. Then he'd ring up the order, bag it all, and just as he finished loading up the cart again, he'd say "Oh! Forgot to charge you for the turkey...what's that price on there (leaning over, all gallant)..ok, that's $10.29" or whatever. The customer then would hand him money and he would ring up "No Sale", tender the loot, make change, and bid them a good day. Then when he balanced out, whatever he was over was his pure profit, his ill-gotten gain.
He got caught when a lady brought her bad turkey back right after the holiday, said it was awful and the manager cheerfully offered a cheerful refund. He just cheerfully needed to see her receipt. "Funny thing about that," she said, "when he rang it up, he rang up a no sale. There was no receipt." Nor cheerfulness, any longer.
The boss, who had been around the fairgrounds a time or two in his years with A&P, knew at once what the deal was. He had the lady point out the crooked cashier, who was summarily fired on the spot...turned in his red apron and name badge and banished. Gone.
I've heard more than one cop tell me that if only crooks, blessed as they are with inventive minds, organizational skills and the ability to act like they're right while they're wrong, would try functioning in the lawful segment of society, they would likely do well, because of their abilities and talent. Maybe they like the thrill of being bad.
But how do they sleep?