Friday, July 21, 2017

I Forget

                                                                 

I harbor all kinds of little superstitions and phobias. I'll cross the street to avoid a black cat, I'll never walk under a ladder, and I'll always pick up a penny in the street...if it's heads up...tails up I walk on.  

And I have phobias to match....I get sweaty just looking at someone perched on the edge of Chimney Rock Mountain, their feet dangling over the edge from 3,000 feet in the sky.  And if I find a bug in the house I'll tear everything asunder to find the culprit.

But all my fears and superstitions and phobias pale in comparison to my current concern....and that is the fear that I'm getting senile. I really try to head off any onset of senility....I try to keep my mind active by reading, learning new things. I play little mind games to try and keep my thinking fresh. But still, in my advancing age, I'm becoming fearful that I'll end up in a home, someone spoon feeding me oatmeal and wiping my mouth for me, and changing my Depends at regular intervals.

You see, these days, I'm finding myself getting a little more forgetful. At least a couple of times a week I'll find myself, standing in the middle of the kitchen, staring off into space, and wondering what I came in here for. I'll actually get up from my chair, walk down the hall to the bedroom, and in the short half a minute it took me to navigate that distance, I can't remember what or why I came over there for.

At times I've driven up to the grocery store and, having forgotten to bring my shopping list, wander around the store and hope to remember why I came there. I play little product association games to jog my memory. I come upon a shelf of spaghetti sauce and say "did we need pasta?" "how's the ketchup stock at home?" "Were tomatoes on my list?" Several times I've made impulse purchases, then came home only to find the only thing I went to the store for was the only thing I didn't buy.

And even as my short term memory fades, my long term memory seems enhanced! These days I can remember something I did in 5th grade better than I remember what I did yesterday!

And with those short term memory lapses has come the troubling practice of "mind wander". More than once I have been driving along, look down on the floor board and see a fresh stick of gum down there. All of a sudden I want that stick of gum, more than anything I've wanted all day. So, I grab the steering wheel with the left hand, then try to scoot down to retrieve that stick of Wrigleys Juicy Fruit, while peering over a mere inch of dashboard to see where I'm going. Then, just as I've nabbed a micro-milimeter of one edge of that slice of gum, I realize I'm about to swerve into the back of a parked car, then leap back to a proper driving position and miss that parked Camry by less the length of a 12 inch ruler!

And, as the years go by, it takes very little for my mind to wander. I can become captivated at the sight of an unusual license plate. I can, in the space of a single city block, speculate on the cost of that digital sign they just put up, and wonder what happened to the old fellow who used to climb up a ladder and post that same sign in big plastic block letters....and wonder if the poor fellow has a pension!

I had a witty little thought to end this essay....some grand "bon mot" that would leave every one in stitches....but I forgot what it was.

Sigh.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Cable Hogs Back At The Trough

                                                                   

Last week I got an ominous email in my inbox.....as bold and brass as a Mafia Don telling me he's offering me a deal "I can't refuse".  Specifically, Cox Cable has announced that, under my 1 Terabyte per month cable plan, in the future I will be subject to a $10 dollar charge for each 50 Gigs I go over my plan limit.

While you might think that proposal reasonable, hear me out here.  My Cox Cable package includes both TV and Internet.  For those two services I am currently operating under a temporary grace period, paying $150 a month, with a big increase scheduled for next April.  In contemplating that, I've been thinking seriously about cutting the TV cord and streaming Netflix and Amazon Prime for my viewing needs.

Except that "Mafia Mail" I just received put a huge kibosh on my plan.  As of now, while paying for Cable TV, I'm using only a tenth of my limit.  That sounds good, huh?  After all, I only watch a little U Tube occasionally, and access my Amazon Prime an hour or so a week.  But, if I begin streaming Netflix in an effort to cut out my cable TV charges, Cox will simply gouge me with their proprietary internet surcharges...at $10 bucks a pop!  Plus, if I don't buy their TV package, Cox says my internet charge doubles!

Let's face it folks, if you're into media, Cable's got us all by the balls.

Sad.  Damned Sad.

Monday, July 17, 2017

"Devil's Advocacy For The Fruit Salad Set"

                                                                   

Ask any semi-literate American and they'll tell you our three greatest generals were Washington, Grant and Eisenhower.  However, having read thousands of hours in general history, and a dozen biographies of all three in that "Fruit Salad Set", I ask you to put on your cynic hat for a bit and allow me to play devil's advocate just a little.

Let's first look at Washington.  George Washington was something of a "British Lackey" for a good couple of decades before he was chosen to lead our revolution.  George was almost manic about wanting a regular commission in the British Army.  He never got it.  That didn't stop old George from "duding up" in the Virginia Militia.  George kept his British brokers busy sending him the finest of materials to fashion grand uniforms, even before he assumed American leadership.  The British failure to reward George in the French and Indian wars would cost them more than they realized.

Now let's look at Washington after he became our leader.  Was he a brilliant strategist?  Hardly.  After that first victory in Boston, George nearly lost the war on the fields of Manhattan a short time later.  Hobbling back to the wilds of New Jersey with what was left, the war was almost over before it began.
Oh, let us do give credit to Washington's perseverance, and his legendary bravery and he certainly stuck it out at Valley Forge.  But, if we study our history well we know that Washington's lieutenants in Georgia and the Carolinas inflicted far more pain to the British than George's troops.  And were it not for the French we might all be speaking cockney and eating steak and kidney pie.

So was George Washington one of our greatest generals?  Well, let's give him and "A" for effort and bravery and a "C" for strategy.  

Now let's look at U.S. Grant.  Grant was an abject failure in the beginning of his military career.  Graduating far down in his class at West Point, Grant seemed to be good at only one thing; horsemanship and drinking.  It would be the drinking that would eventually drive Grant from the Army.  While Grant served in the Mexican War he was pretty much relegated to supply officer duties and did little to distinguish himself.  After the war Grant was sent out west and became so bored he nearly drank himself to death.

After leaving the Army Grant had all kinds of sky high aspirations.  Yet, he failed in business, failed in real estate and kept his family mired in poverty.  When the Civil War broke out Grant was a failing leather apprentice, working for his father.

So when war broke out it was almost a Godsend for Grant.  Securing a Colonel's commission, Grant helped to round up local recruits for the union, then was granted command of a unit...his bosses always reluctant to give him much to do, his penchant for drunkenness well known throughout the ranks.

Of course it was Vicksburg where Grant won redemption.  And it was Grant's perfect willingness to "churn flesh" that won him victories.  While Grant was not heartless, his lack of strategic brilliance forced him to employ concentration of strength to win victories...the Union seemingly always commanding overwhelming battlefield numbers supremacy.  Contrast Grant's "flesh churning" with other Union generals.  McDowell failed because he wouldn't fight, reluctant to endure "any loss".  And those generals who succeeded McDowell were equally reluctant to accept massive loss.  Grant had no such concern, as evidenced by his dispatching 7,000 Union boys to their death in 20 minutes at Cold Harbor.  Twenty years later even Grant would admit that being a mistake.

So read your Civil War history.  It's pretty clear that Robert E. Lee could "out general" Grant seven days  a week...Lee's only failure those disastrous charges at Gettysburg and the South's inability to feed and equip their Johnny Rebs.

So does Grant deserve being called one of our greatest generals, given the self-butchering of his own troops?  Could the Union have won that war with better strategy and less "sausage-factory" battle tactics?  While Grant was a good man, he had his share of military shortcomings and leaves a lot to ponder on superior leadership.  And, had it not been for Sherman, we might still be fighting that old war.

Let's look at Eisenhower.  How many of you realize that, when World War II broke out in Europe, Eisenhower was still a Lt. Colonel paper pusher in the U.S. Army?  At war's beginning Eisenhower had spent most of his career as a staff officer for higher-ups, including Chief of Staff for MacArthur in the Philippines.  Dwight D. kept getting shuffled between various Chief of Staff duties and manning a desk in war plans for nearly his entire career.  While serving in those posts, (Eisenhower never commanded a unit on the battlefront) Eisenhower sharpened his skills as a "diplomat"...smoothing the feathers of politicians and the general staff.  And that was fortuitous when America needed both a general and diplomat to cobble together cooperation between the allies battling Hitler and the Axis.  

Did Eisenhower's leadership win that war?  Well, I'd give far greater credit to America's miraculous war production.  Could we have lost fewer men at Normandy if we had listened to Churchill and massed our forces and driven up the Italian boot?  How quickly might we have reached Berlin if Ike had given Patton more rope and given him more fighting room?  While those questions might never be answered satisfactorily, it is my belief that Ike made a massive mistake in not listening to Churchill when he advised not to let the Russians into Berlin.  Consider the forty years of Cold War that followed that ill-fated decision.  And, even after the war, it is my opinion that Ike failed again in accepting that Korean truce a few years later.  We are still dealing with problems from that decision.

So were Washington, Grant and Eisenhower great generals?  Well, while I am more than willing to acknowledge the greatness of each man, it is my belief that these three dudes were three of the luckiest bastards on the planet...the times and circumstances perfectly aligned to raise them to greatness.  All three men had fatal flaws...Washington's talent for losing on the battlefield, Grant's willingness to "churn flesh" and Eisenhower's near fatal bad decisions that led to decades of woe to follow.

As a retired grunt myself, if I had to choose any general to lead the fight, I believe I'd choose old crazy George Patton. He was a brilliant tactician and a poor politician but he'd be the guy I'd most enthusiastically follow if I wanted to win and win quickly.

Would love to hear the thoughts of my fellow readers.

Friday, July 14, 2017

"Don't Need No Frickin GPS"

                                                                       

Of all the modern devices available today, the one I'd ban from use are those GPS systems.  Oh, I know I'm in the minority here....but hear me out.

I don't own a GPS for my car and have turned off "Maps"and SIRI on my iPhone.  First of all, I know how to read a paper map...even honed my map reading skills to a high shine while in the military.  And maps are quiet...no electronic voice telling me to "turn left in 3 tenths of a mile", then "well you fucked that one up so now go north on 103rd, then turn right on Grand Avenue, then proceed ten miles until you come to a closed-down Kmart..then make a U-turn and come back where you started..and listen next time!"

Anyone from California, whose driven through L. A. traffic, will know what a goat rope that is.  Well, whenever I plan a trip from Arizona to California I intentionally avoid L.A.  I head up to I-40, drive west until I get to Barstow, then pick up Hwy 58 West, and over the Tehachapi range and on into the San Joaquin Valley.  And I return the same way.

Except my wife has one of those portable GPS units.  And she carries it around like a third kidney.  As soon as we get in the car she takes out her cord, plugs it into the cigarette lighter, then taps in our California destination.  And for the next twelve hours I'm ignoring the feminine twit telling me to take I-10 to Pasadena, then hook up with I-5 North.  I get a similar digital berating upon my return.  As soon as I exit Hwy 99 and pick up Hwy 58 East the GPS bitch is telling me to turn back, access I-5 South and spend 20 hours navigating through L.A. rush hour.  I usually wait until my wife falls asleep over in the passenger seat (which she inevitably does with 45 seconds of fastening her seat belt) and unplug the GPS.

Now, if the GPS is your cup of tea, have at it!  I simply enjoy getting lost on my own.  And just how tough would I be if I didn't stumble into a freeway McDonalds and find the toilets overflowing with turds and the paper towel rack empty?  And, to tell you the truth, I have almost made a habit out of stopping at Indian and Pakistani managed motels and asking for a walk-through before handing over my credit card.  Folks, surrendering to your GPS masters have made you all wimps!  How long would Lewis & Clark have spent taking animal and plant samples back to Jefferson if they'd owned a GPS?  Were I either Lewis or Clark I would have been thrilled if an entire nation waited with bated breath for a couple of years to see if I'm ever coming back!

Instead, today, that damned GPS takes the excitement out of setting off for somewhere.  Just last year, when my daughter and granddaughter came to visit, I checked out some nice eating establishments to take them to.  Scanned the menu, wrote down addresses...mapped them all out, and I'll be damned if my granddaughter didn't sit back there, in the back seat, activating SIRI so it could tell me where to go.  Fortunately, they being my guests, I didn't tell SIRI where to go!

Well, dear readers, that's my "snit-fit" for this week.  Hope I offended no one.  If I did just type my address in your GPS, come on over and we'll discuss it.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

"Visible Saints"

                                                                         

Well, our friend, and fellow reader, Jerry Carlin...from up north in Oregon Land, has kindly shipped me another book to read.  Frankly, I do not pretend to understand Jerry's motivation for doing so.  Either he spotted a quark in my religious study, or he just happened to come across a bit of eclectic prose that he thought might keep me interested.

Never mind the intent...I am now a third of the way into the book, and find it fascinating.  While a great deal of world religions survey courses occupy many of my 240 semester hours of college study, I have never delved deep into any of the serious studies of any religious cult.  If I had to choose one religion that thoroughly captivated my imagination for a time it would be the almost "non-religion" of Buddhism.

Still, as I received this book, I found the cover reminiscent of my elementary school history primer...and that's a good thing indeed.  Secondly, I found the book to be a pleasant re-visit of the scholarly texts of my college years.  And while both of those enticements got me to open the book, it was the content itself that kept me turning page after page.

In this first third of the book I am given an excellent prelude as to how Puritanism was spawned, back in the old country where the Roman influence on church ritual and liturgy was a tiresome thing indeed.  And it was fascinating to read how the various religious sects chose to deal with religious revolt, sometimes the absolute refusal by reformers to accept "reformed Catholic priests into their Protestant midsts, others willing to compromise, still others even more militant in demanding near perfection for their devotees.

And, in identifying the "revolutionaries" I was able to understand that, while OUR New England Puritans were sometimes hard as nails, they paled in comparison to those church followers who believed that you were either born pure enough for heaven, or you weren't..and, thus there was little hope for your sinful heart.  

Consequently, we Americans can be thankful that those militant European hardliners had no lust to sail the stormy Atlantic.  We had more than enough to deal with (both for the good and the bad) with those who did come.

So, again, I can thank Jerry for a thought-provoking book.  And indeed it is thought-provoking.  For example, after reading the first chapter, I had to set the book aside for awhile, and chew on that Puritan disdain for Catholic ritual....that seemingly always scripted Catholic Mass that leaves the soul hungering for something more.

For example, when I lost my son, I sought out the comfort of the church.  And since my wife is a life-long Catholic, it was to the Mass that we went.  Alas, those non-personal, ritualistic Masses simply did not give me the comfort I sought.  And since I was even more disdainful of those "fire and brimstone" sermons of the Baptists and such, I gave up on seeking comfort in the pews of a church after only seven weeks.  I finally decided the comfort of my soul would have to come from within myself.

So, yes, I could certainly empathize with those English Puritans!  Their souls needed far more improvisation within the church walls, and far less ceremony.

And, as I plow through this book, I know I'll have to set it down at times, for further pondering.  For example, in the larger sense, those Puritans proved to be both a blessing and a curse.  A blessing in that they fostered an American work ethic that propelled us to world leadership, and a curse when the churches of both today and yesteryear aligned themselves with the political fools who steer our destiny.

And it's interesting to note that, even as those ancient Puritans and Anabaptists decried the Pope's incestuous relationships with queens and kings, those English in revolt were more than happy to embrace a king or queen or two who might see things their way!

So, thanks, Jerry.  I'm appreciative of this scholarly text, and I'm appreciative of a friend who seeks to keep this borderline old senile's brain churning for a bit longer.


Monday, July 10, 2017

"Hands Down, A Hard Worker"

                                                                     

He sat at the only outside table at the Italian sub shop next to the post office. Defying the Sunday morning heat, he sat, smoking a Camel, his hands huge around that six ounce styrofoam coffee cup.
After I dropped my letter over in the weekend drop box I walked back toward my van. Offered another look at the old gent, wearing khakis and blue checked shirt, then said "aren't you hot sitting out here?"
"Nope", he said. "Grew up in West Texas where this would be called a 'cool spell". 
"That so?" "What kept you busy over in West Texas?" 
"Wildcatting on oil rigs." (I wasn't going to get much out of this guy).
I looked down at his hands. They were huge...scarred, battered....as big as a kid's catcher's mitt. 
"Been in Arizona long?"...the familiar greeting in a state that's taken in a couple of million transplants over the decades.
"Nope", he offered.
"Enjoying your retirement now?"
"Not quite", he said...as if every word cost him a dime.
"What kind of work you do?"
"Fix refrigerators", he answered.
I looked down again at those hands. And I believed him, the scars and cuts clear evidence of when the tin snips and cutters slipped.
I wished him well, climbed back in my van, grabbed one more look at him through my windshield. As I pulled out of the parking slot he lit up another Camel and raised that styrofoam cup to his lips....the white of styrofoam nearly lost in those big hands.

Friday, July 7, 2017

"When America Warred With Her Own"

                                                                         

It was the summer of 1932, in the depths of The Great Depression.  43,000 veterans, unable to get work, sorrowfully, so many of them incapable of work due to war injuries and disabilities, came to Washington D.C.  

Starving, many of them came with their families.  They set up tents, built shacks from scrap lumber, even slept under the open stars as they had done at Argonne-Meuse, that deathly battlefield in World War I France.  Some of them marched with two good legs, some of them marched with a wooden stump, and those who still had two good arms were designated to carry our nation's flag.

They came to ask Congress to finally honor the service certificates, the war bonuses promised them so long ago...when soldiers mattered only in war, then forgotten about in peace...just as every veteran of every war can attest.

So, they came to the nation's capitol.  And, not wanting to bother the silk-suited Congressmen over on Capitol Hill, they made their camp on the muddy Anacostia flats just outside the city.  

And in those camps they raised the America flag each day, played reveille, conducted themselves like good soldier should.  And, when night fell, they sat about the campfire and sang the old songs...the songs that helped them get through the savagery of war so long ago.

But those Congressmen over on Capitol Hill didn't like having those veterans so close by....they made them nervous...too many reminders of political promises to soldiers broken without conscience.  

When the day came for Congress to vote on payment of those war bonuses the veterans gathered around  a roped off White House, and a roped off Capitol Hill, then just stood outside...waiting to hear if Congress would pay their bonuses so they might eat and have a place to stay.

Sadly, Congress voted no on early payment of those bonuses.  Seems the government could pay farmers not to plant, and could pay construction tycoons to build skyscrapers and roadways and government buildings...but they just couldn't spare any money to pay the promised war bonuses.

As the politicians voted no, they cocked an ear, awaiting the din of rioting outside.  Instead, they heard those old vets break out into song.  And the song was "America".   As the vets dejectedly retreated from Capitol Hill, back across the Anacostia Bridge, to their tents and shacks built on muddy flats, all that could be heard were the sweet notes of "My country tis of thee....sweet land of liberty...of thee I sing".

The old vets didn't riot....but the politicians still didn't like having them over there.  So the government ordered them rousted out.  

And that would be the job of the Generals, the men with half a yard of colorful ribbons adorning their chests.  So Douglas MacArthur suited up and so did George Patton.  And they rounded up some army units, fired up the tanks, wheeled out the cannon, and paraded out to those muddy flats where the veterans camped.  When the old vets first saw them, they cheered, thinking their fellow soldiers had come out to honor them with a parade.
                                                               
Sadly, no parade.  Instead the tanks came...and the tear gas, and they plowed their way through the crowd, trampling innocents, rolling over make shift tent and shack alike, injuring many, even taking the lives of a few.

Those old vets, who had won a war for freedom of the western world, could not win this one.  Instead, they hobbled back out to the hinterlands, marching on stumps, catching an empty box car when one was available, left to starve from all those broken promises.

One vet stayed just long enough to confront George Patton, a fellow named Joe Angelo.  Angelo had earned an audience with General Patton...since Joe Angelo had once saved Patton's life on 26 September, 1918, during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.  So, when the two men came face to face, Joe Angelo asked "How could you do this to us, General?"  And Patton stood unfazed, untouched by the sentiment, quickly dismissing the old vet who had once saved his life.

Though it was never recorded what Joe Angelo felt on that sad day, every veteran, of every war, knows exactly how he must have felt.  For we have all been forsaken, with many promises made in the fog of war, forgotten....from Bunker Hill to Appomatix, from the Chosun Reservoir to Khe Sanh...forgotten.

Sad.  Damned Sad.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Breeding Children For Fun and Profit

                                                                         

Each Sunday morning the liberal Gannett owned Arizona Republic publishes a sob story.  It is always at least a two page spread that begins on the front page.  One week the story's about an illegal Mexican family of six, just trying to make it in hard-hearted America.  The Mexican family bemoans the fact that the family breadwinner is forced to use a stolen Social Security Number, that he's forced to take his salary in cash, that the family has to make do on only half of a citizen's food stamp allotment because only half of their children are anchor babies, and that they are forced to go to the local Hospital ER for their medical needs.  And, worst of all, the food banks often run out of their favorite tortillas and salsa.  The illegal Mexican story is our newspaper's favorite.

Today's paper was a slight bit different.  The two page spread this week was a sad story about a single mother of four who is trying to find acceptable housing after receiving her Section 8 voucher.  The paper bemoans the fact that her $1800 dollar per month Section 8 voucher, that her $925 dollar Food Stamp allotment, and her $2500 dollar per month welfare check simply does not stretch very far when you're trying to feed and shelter four children.....even as those children are given free pre-school, all day kindergarten, free school breakfasts and lunch and a Medicaid card that requires not even a $12 dollar co-pay for a doctor visit.

Well, being accustomed to these sob stories, I took all of this in with a measure of calm, without a single pull on what hair is left on my head.  But then the sob story mentioned that this lady is pregnant with her 5th child....without a father in sight to support his spermal offal.

It was at this point when the hair started falling like rain from my gray old head and I wondered when this liberal rag would gin up a story some day about a working blue collar family whose paying the freight for this huge army of gravy train riders out there.

And I wondered about that inevitable day when China cuts off our line of credit by ceasing to purchase $2 trillion dollars of our government bonds...where then will we go to fund that long gravy train?

My guess is ...never.

Sad.  Damned Sad.

Monday, July 3, 2017

"If This Old 'Wise Ass' Could Deliver Only One Sermon To The Young"

                                                                     

"If This Old 'Wise Ass' Could Deliver Only One Sermon To The Young"

If I could deliver only one sermon to the young, before I ride off into the sunset, it would be "don't take yourself, or your cultural icons too damned seriously".

And my "sermon" would employ the parable of "The Summer of Love" of 1967. Let me tell you kiddies, I was there, out on Haight Ashbury when that first generation of hippies were openly smoking dope, fornicating in the park, and deriving more meaning than was intended from the hard metallic rendering of Jefferson Airplane and Janis Joplin and Big Brother and The Holding Company.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Deciphering The Healthcare Debate

                                                                       

Sigh. There are so many lies, so many media obfuscations about Obamacare, one needs either a college degree, or natural intellect, and absolutely must be willing to study if one hopes to understand the problem. To wit, I cite a few facts:

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

"Great Scott!"

                                                                       

Going criminally unreported by the liberal mainstream media, someone in Washington stood up on his hind legs this week and did something for the little guy.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Why No Trump Commentary For Weeks

                                                                     

Dear Reader,
There have to be those among you who might have a passing interest as to why I've not written a single thing about Donald Trump for weeks.  Here's why.  Talking about Donald Trump these days would be like giving a graphic description of my morning bowel movement.  

Here's the way I look at it.  If you think the libs are in pain over Donald Trump's election, just try to imagine what it's like for those of us who knew Trump's assuming office would not go well...yet held out hope that The Donald would once again arrive and surprise us.....in this case, for the better.

And we doubters did have initial hope that a surprise might be in the offing!  After all, Trump did appoint many capable and talented to his cabinet!  And he did pick the Supreme Court nominee of our liking.

Alas, we didn't know then that Trump would not listen to those talented folks he surrounded himself with.  Instead, Trump sought out "instant gratification" with his idiotic tweets, poisoning the well for every well intentioned pol and citizen who held out hope that we might live with Trump if he'd only give us a border wall, tax reform and the dissolution of Obamacare.

With respect to the Muslim ban, and the wall, Trump has given opponents all the ammunition they need to oppose him, using his tweets to justify an open invitation to radical Muslims...sanctioned by, and approved by the courts as they used Trump's own words to strike down his ban.  That's bad, both short and long term.  Bad because it sets judicial precedent for taking the power to control immigration and keep us safe from the Presidency.

And just last week, as the Republicans were scrambling around, trying to find a way to remove that dreaded "mandate" from Obamacare, Trump is quoted as saying "the Republican plan for healthcare is mean".  That little one line response will be used time and again come the next election.  "Trump himself declare Republican care 'mean'!" will be the "bon mot" of the 2018 elections.

Also last week we had Trump declaring that Qatar promotes Muslim extremism in the same week the State Department and Defense Department agrees to a multibillion dollar weapons deal with that country.  Who makes who look stupid with that, folks?

Can we assess much of the blame for our current chaos on the Dems, who will simply not accept the decision of the electorate last November?  You damned right we can!  However, I really believe the Dems absolutely love losing that election!  They rightly assume that, as I said well before last year's election, if the Republicans elect Trump we can pretty well kiss off the conservatism forever.  

Alas, Trump emerges a dozen times a week with those idiotic tweets, and the Dems are transcribing them as quickly as Trump issues them.  Those tweets will be used for the next decade to demonstrate just how idiotic conservatives "really are".

Well, I'm sorry that I have indeed performed the equivalent of describing a graphic bowel movement today.  But I suspect there are at least three groups of conservatives these days....a group of hard core right who will blindly follow Trump as closely as liberals worshipped Obama, the second being folks like me who will try to be as honest in criticizing Trump as I was with Obama...and that final group; the group who feel like their vote for Trump was the equivalent of issuing  a foul wet fart at a formal dinner.

Sad.  Damned Sad.

Friday, June 23, 2017

"Food For Thought"

                                                                   

Last Friday morning, when it was announced that Amazon is buying Whole Foods, all the other grocery chains stock prices crashed.  And for good reason.  Amazon, with founder Jess Bezos spurring them on, has transformed retail.  We see it in the declining prosperity of shopping malls and, for the good, surviving retailers working hard to no longer ignore us.

I've been a fan of Amazon for more than 20 years now.  Have bought books, video, Kindle reading devices and a whole plethora of other things.  And, in those 20 years, I've never walked away from a consumer purchase dissatisfied.  Yes, I've bought some "duds" from Amazon, but in every instance they've gone out of their way to make it right....either through a credit, a return, sometimes even giving me something extra to soothe my concerns.   

I just happen to love Jeff Bezos' favorite saying; "the customer will, in all instances, expect more than they deserve, and it's up to us to make sure they get it!"  

Now, with Whole Foods, Amazon gets a slightly snooty grocery with good organics, and stores stocked with stuff likely good for you.  The problem is that their prices are too damned high.  Bezos will fix that.  Using Amazon's gigantic supply chain and massive buying power, they'll have those prices lower than Trump's poll ratings in a couple of years.  

And, within that two years, you'll find that you will have several options for shopping at Whole Foods.  Using Amazon's proprietary purchasing technology you'll be able to order online, or if you want to drive to the store and pick it up, already bagged and waiting, you'll have that option.   Or Amazon will deliver your goods right to your door if that's your want.

Amazon, since its founding, has bought more than a hundred companies....to either enhance their retail technology, or to expand into other retail and service lines.  So, yes, Walmart and Target and Sprouts and Albertsons LLC, and all the other grocery chains should be worried.  

There are those who say "when a company gets too big they eventually begin crumbling from within, unable to manage an entity too large."  That will certainly prove true for Amazon too...their very name perhaps predictive of that inevitable decline.  But they're not there yet.  And they can stave off failure as long as they keep giving the customer what he wants and doing it at a competitive price and with a pleasing means of delivery.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Glory To Those With Their Hands Up

                                                                         

One of those beautiful "light bulb over the head" moments came to me as I read my Saturday morning paper this weekend.  Three little news tidbits provided lots of thoughts about our modest roles in society.  

The first bit of revelation came in the form of a little block on the business page.  Seems some survey wonks took a poll of recent college graduates and found that 54% of last year's college graduates cannot find a job that matches their university degree.  Being kind today, I won't editorialize on that particular fact.  Suffice to say that a Philosophy degree will not get you into the door at Qualcomm.

The second newspaper item came in the form of a letter to the editor.  The author, a retired gent, now serving as a volunteer for the Salvation Army, was decrying the cruelty and snark that exists in social media these days.  Seems the gent was on Facebook, offering his personal opinion about a community issue.  Within minutes someone had scanned the gent's profile and wrote:  "oh yeah, brilliant wisdom from someone who works at Salvation Army".  

The third newspaper article involved a two page spread, alerting the community to the impending high three digit temperatures arriving in Phoenix this week.  The article warned newcomers to limit their exercise to early morning and advised everyone to stay hydrated.  The article then went on to talk about how difficult it is for the homeless to avoid the heat and find enough water to do so.

Well, my aging brain began to collate all of that information.....the disparity between Philosophy degrees and engineering jobs, that harsh criticism of one who does volunteer work, and then the seemingly unconnected stuff on worrying about "watering the poor".

And, the results of that collating was this.  That Salvation Army volunteer is going to be busy this week.    Seems the Salvation Army is collecting huge truckloads of donated bottled water and have set up more than a dozen "watering stations" around the county for the next week.  They'll be passing out water from morning to night to those who own no personal source to keep cool and avoid heatstroke.

So I wondered just whose fulfilling a more valuable role among the players in this little scenario.  The "Philosophy graduate" flipping burgers and living in Mom and Dad's basement?  How about the snarky fellow who looks down at Salvation Army volunteer work....will he be occupied bettering the lives of his fellow men...or too busy keyboarding social media snark to get involved?  I'm betting the gratitude is going to go to that Salvation Army volunteers that's passing out water this coming week.

Just a few musings on Father's Day weekend..........to honor men who strived to do good...whether it be CEO...or Salvation Army volunteer. 

Added note:  I have a friend who reports to the local animal shelter each morning...to walk pound dogs and pick up dog shit.  I admire him more than almost anyone I know.




Monday, June 19, 2017

On Choosing The Kind Of Day To Die

                                                                     

This may sound a bit maudlin but, given a choice of what kind of day I'd choose to die, it would have been yesterday...not because of Father's Day, but because of the sense of peace I enjoyed.

I awoke at my usual 5AM, put on the coffee, checked my email and Facebook postings, posted a comment or two of my own,  then went out and retrieved the Sunday paper.

So I sat down to read my paper, coffee mug close at hand, and just decided I'd skip over the Trump stuff, ignored the liberal editorials, and, instead just stuck to the sports, the Arts page, and the human interest stories.

And the pickings were golden.  Over on the Sports page my Diamondbacks were racking up more victories on the road, nose to butt, one game behind the Rockies and those dastardly Dodgers.  The U.S. Open was prominent, one of those sport-shirted young men having shot a historically low 63 in Saturdays round and the paper even featured a nice little spread about father-son athletes.

What brought the most joy on this morning were the human interest stories, the most delightful being a recount of two middle aged women who had been corresponding with each other for 37 years but had never met.  They finally did, over in Scottsdale on a fine, recent June morning and it seems that 37 years of correspondence had served well as the foundation for friendship that had the two ladies thick as thieves at first meeting.  It was superbly delightful to read how, as children, they had shared secrets, seemingly made safe in knowing that, in living so far apart, there was no risk of being judged.

After finishing up the morning paper, and making a second cup of coffee, I re-visited Facebook and found that my daughter, Crystal, had written such a lovely tribute to me, accompanied by an old pic, that I found myself reaching for the Kleenex.  

So, dear reader, as I sat there on Sunday morning, totally immersed with a sense of peace, and a sense of being loved, and owning a kinder, gentler sentiment regarding the state of the human race, I would have been more than happy to drift off to the afterlife.  Rest assured, I'm not advocating for an early demise, nor even "booking passage", but if I had my druthers my last day on Earth would be a day just like yesterday.

A belated Happy Father's Day to all those men who understand that fatherhood is far more than getting your name put on a birth certificate.


Friday, June 16, 2017

On TV; The Great Wasteland

                                                                   
Dear Blog Readers,

Don't know about you guys but my TV viewing in the last couple of decades is somewhat eclectic.  I find myself somewhat like a junk yard dog, picking through a huge mound of garbage to see if I might find something digestible.  That problem is compounded because, having lived for a decade in Saudi Arabia, I pretty much missed the TV of the 90's.

While missing an entire decade of TV brilliance, I have to admit to having discovered little pockets of brilliance long after they entered "re-run land".  For instance, my wife and I, for two solid years, ate our dinners on TV trays while watching re-runs of "Everybody Loves Raymond".  Between Raymond and Seinfeld we pretty much did the 90's in the first decade of the new century.

Then, a few months ago, I was channel flipping and came across a charming little show called "Picket Fences".  I fell in love with that wild and wacky show and had to order previous seasons on Amazon to get my full fix.  And it was only last year that I discovered that Tim Allen has grown up, become conservative, abandoned those three boys for three luscious, sexy daughters and a sassy wife, and is even funnier as Outdoor Man than Tim The Tool Man.  Alas, Tim Allen was hitting liberals where they hurt on his nightly "Vlog", and the liberal masters at ABC cancelled his ass, even as he rode the top of the Friday night ratings.  I'm now relegated to watching the 97th viewing of each episode over on the Hallmark Channel each evening.

Other than an occasional Andy Griffith, or Perry Mason over on the retro channels, I pretty much stay with C-Span Book TV, baseball games and "Film Noir" festivals over on Turner Classic Movies. But I do keep finding little nuggets of brilliance while channel flipping.  Just last month I discovered a quirky little fellow named "Monk"...a man who suffers more OCD symptoms than seemingly possible, whose escorted around San Francisco by a pretty nurse who fills out the seat of her Levis in spectacular fashion.

Any of you also suffering from enduring The Great Wasteland?  Anyone a bit saddened that 80% of today's programming is comprised of graphic autopsies, singing and dancing wannabes and Black mob bosses?

Anyone got some bootlegged "Amos and Andy" that they wanna share?

Sigh.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Time To Take Down The Lincoln Memorial

                                                                   

In an era where men, dead for two centuries, are now judged not by their own era, but this one, we need to reevaluate those we revere in marble.  

Thomas Jefferson?  Perhaps the most brilliant human that ever walked this continent has had his name dragged through the mud for two decades now.  George Washington?  The fellow whose every move as President was plotted out...his intent to to set a noble example for every President to follow...Washington...hero of Valley Forge and Yorktown...was a slave owner, ergo...a demon.  

Isn't it remarkable these days that America raises a small army of Black thugs to the highest pedestal, then denigrates our nation's founders.  Somehow it has become more noble to attack cops and burn town centers than it was to write the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, or suffer through a bitter winter at Valley Forge.

By all rights, Abe Lincoln ought to be next to have his memorial removed.  After all it was Lincoln himself who said:  "I will say that I am not, nor have I ever been in favor of bringing about, in any way, the social and political equality of the white and black races".

Lincoln also said on several occasions, most particularly in his letter to Horace Greeley, "If I could save the union without ending slavery I would do so."

That statement alone ought to warrant having Lincoln's memorial dragged into the Potomac muck...right along with Jefferson and Washington's monuments as well.

Perhaps we can scrap the statues and memorials of all these dead white men and erect statues of an angry black with looted boxes of Michael Jordan basketball shoes in their place?

Last month, when I saw the political lackeys down in New Orleans haul General Robert E. Lee's statue from the public square I was both saddened and angry.  I wish they knew General Lee as well as I do.  I wish they had read about how General Lee wept when he heard of Southern Secession, how he mourned for his country and why he resigned from the Union Army, his heart just not into turning a sword against his beloved Virginia.

Sadly, the brown shirt liberal savagery of the day precludes the study of history...both the bad and the good....or of the nobility of judging our forebears by the times in which they lived.  Someday these same ignorant thugs will be judged too....and I don't believe they'll be regarded very well when the history of these times are written.


Monday, June 12, 2017

A trillion here, a trillion there....

                                                                   

Try to imagine the biggest turd that ever dropped from your ass to the toilet bowl.  Now imagine someone taking that turd and hanging it from the top of your head, then forcing you to walk around with that scat hanging right in your face twenty-four hours a day.

That is exactly how Americans should feel about our $20 trillion dollar national debt.  The debt is now so massive, even the concept of $20 trillion dollars so vastly unimaginable, we simply ignore that huge turd hanging in our faces.

In order to grasp just an inkling of how our debt became such a mountain one need only look at our last two Presidents.  George Bush, on two major shopping sprees; the more than $3 trillion spent trying to democratize the Middle East, accompanied by his liberal-pleasing prescription drug bill, spent some $6 trillion dollars less than what the government took in revenue.  Barack Obama went Bush a bit better...spending $8 trillion more...on massive expansion of welfare, food stamps, and in making disability a virtue.  

So, let's give old George and Barry credit where it's due...more than two thirds of the entire national debt was rung up by those two in 12 short years...accomplishing what 40 plus previous Presidents were able to do in the previous two hundred plus years.

You might be interested to know that Silent Calvin Coolidge was the last President to preside over an America that was debt free.  The Great Depression of course ended that, and Franklin Roosevelt used that Great Depression to run up a government tab that first lit the fuse that would eventually lead to the massive explosion of federal debt ever since.

I find it interesting that liberals continue to revive the old charge that Ronald Reagan ran up the national debt.  And he did!  But Ronald Reagan at least got something for his spending....the build up of a military in disarray and the complete dismantling of the Soviet Union.  And let's face it; Reagan's $1 trillion dollar debt is chump change in comparison to the last two Presidents.  Ronnie's debt reminds me of the fellow who found out his wife's credit card was stolen and was glad about it...saying "the thief is spending less than my wife so I'm miles ahead!"



Retired Senator Tom Coburn, (R), Oklahoma, spent his entire Senatorial Career trying to curb spending; citing specific programs where the fraud, waste and abuse was rampant.  Colburn paints an even darker picture....the $120 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities (Social Security, Medicare, Military Pensions, etc).  No one listened.  No one's listening now....and we have that giant turd hanging in front of our nose...and we just keep ignoring it.  

We can't ignore it much longer.  The interest on that debt will soon force America to make hard decisions...decisions that will force our government masters to cut spending on social programs just to make the "minimum payments" on our debt burden.  Given that fewer Americans these days are willing to actually work for a living that's gonna result in social chaos such as you've never seen.

Sad.  Damned Sad.


Friday, June 9, 2017

Dear Facebook,

                                                                     

Dear Facebook,

I just read that your IT folks have something like a million algorithms designed to make my Facebook viewing a more enjoyable experience.  Might I suggest a few more?

1) Please don't show me posts by my friend Marsha's third cousin's neighbor.  I do not know him and have no interest in hearing about his gall bladder surgery.

2) After an animated cartoon, or cartoon joke has appeared on my timeline for the twelfth time, please do not allow it to be posted ever again.  

3) FB, please let me choose my own friends.....I do not need your suggestion that the 2,000 people who know Jenny's daughter, Cindi might be a good FB friend.  And you may automatically delete "Friend Requests" for me from Islamabad, Manila, Bangkok or any other distant archipelago in the wide, wide world.

4) Please DO allow posts to my timeline from my friends.  I am always astounded that I get posts about things and people whom I have zero interest in....posts that clutter my Facebook wall and crowds out those posts from some of my closest friends.  I should not have to go hunt on my friend's timeline to see how he/she is doing.

5) Regarding your "news feed", please use your brilliant algorithms to eliminate any news articles from "The Huffington Pissed", any news article that mentions the word "Progressive",  any article that expresses extreme joy about the Obamas' new $10 million dollar Washington estate...in fact any thing that is about Obama, Hillary or Bill Clinton, Nasty Pelosi or Kathy Griffin.  And while I'm at it, I don't care when George and Alma Clooney's baby is due.

6) Re your ad feeds, please limit any ads to dog food, Bacardi Rum, and high fiber nutrition.

7) Finally, when I post a photo of myself, please use your photographic filters to make me look more like Brad Pitt and less like Homer Simpson.

Thank you.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Machettes 55 - Innocents 0

                                                                   

Machetes 55-Open Carry 0

Seven people dead, 48 wounded over the weekend as Islamic terrorists crush fellow humans with their van, then get out and begin hacking to death late night revelers in London town.

None of the victims, or anyone nearby were openly carrying a persona firearm because firearms are not allowed. As helpless victims ran for their lives there was not one person available to lift their Glock and stop the madness.

London is not alone. Many of America's liberally managed cities have the same stringent gun laws, making themselves vulnerable to further mass massacres in the future.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan insists that all of his Muslim constituents are peaceful and should not be "marginalized" by having their personal lives intruded upon and insists the three attacks in three months should not stop Britain from importing more Syrian refugees.

Sadie says he'll look into banning knives and vans in an effort to quell the violence. As Sadiq spoke he was surrounded by a heavily armed security detail.......a privilege not available to the folks he was speaking to.

One person...one personal Glock might have prevented the slaughter.

ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! I have no more tears, nor sympathy for those who tolerate Islamic terrorists in their midst and stand by like lemmings as their politically correct leaders lead them to slaughter.

Sigh.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Kathy Griffin's Impoverished Victimhood

                                                                     

The pics above are of "comedienne" Kathy Griffin's Belair, California $10 million dollar estate.  She has accrued a fortune criticizing, demeaning, and making fun of conservatives and conservative politicians.  She is a millionaire a hundred times over from the simple means of tearing down.

So, on Friday, when Kathy appeared before the cameras and began sobbing about Donald Trump destroying her, I was a bit taken aback.  Hmmm...did Trump force her to hold up a bloody Trump head for all the world to see, including the President's rather gentile wife and eleven year old son?  How in the world did Griffin turn from "aggressor" to "victim" in two short days?

Well, folks, we know the drill.  If you're a liberal, and you screw up, and if enough decent people turn on you...enough to affect your income, you immediately claim "victimhood".  That old 'victimhood' saw has always been the "free pass" that liberals give themselves whenever they act up.  And it doesn't much matter the act...whether it was Barry and Hillary's allowing Americans to die in Benghazi, or Michael Brown's convenience store robbery and follow on attack of a police officer, or the hundreds of Hollywood drug busts that get swept clean each year.

Conservatives, when they screw up, may as well make a will...cause their dead forever.  Liberals, on the other hand, need only plead any number of excuses, claim a newly discovered self-redemption, and can rake in more millions with next year's "redemption tour".  

Even as we speak, Kathy Griffin is lining up a team of high powered Beverly Hills lawyers and a small army of publicity agents who promise to have her reputation scrubbed clean within 12 months...or her money back.  And thanks to the vast decline in American morality, and the penchant for liberals to forgive their fellows, look for Kathy to sign a one year gig at Caesar's Palace by this time next year.

Sad.  Damned Sad.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Cialis Laced Condoms?

                                                             

How many of you people know that television ratings rarely have anything to do with how many people are watching? Nope, it's not how many are watching but Who is watching. I learned that years ago when they cancelled Gunsmoke while it was still in the Top Ten in the ratings.
You see, the TV bigwigs have a little thing called "Demographics" that they most rely on. It seems that advertising big wigs studied the hell out of this and determined that the age group of 34 to 49 were the biggest "suckers" for buying a product advertised on TV. 
They also tailor particular programming to income group, but I'll get to that later. 
Back to the "age demographics". I found out about this age demographic thing when I was about 40 years old. And damn proud to be in that age group that ruled the roost on programming!
Then, when I turned 49, and was unceremoniously kicked out of that prime age group, I was angry as hell! What right did they have to kick me out...after all I was still falling for those rotisserie oven ads! "Set it and forget it"...hell I was as dumb as everyone else! Hell, I kept those "As seen on TV" gadget companies in business in my heyday! 
Alas, when I turned 50 I was relegated to the Hallmark Channel. I'd watch The Waltons, then suffer through three minutes of pharmaceutical ads that pimped catheters and meds for Metamucil and hearing aids. I looked longingly back at those ads over on "Glee" and "Big Bang Theory" that were promoting Trojan Condoms and Strawberry Greek Yogurt and Maidenform Bra commercials.
Thankfully, our TV masters also take into consideration income groups. While they are unbelievably wrong, they deduced that only rich people watch golf on television. So those golfing tournaments are rife with Cadillac and Viagra and Cialis commercials. They know their audience is older, and often need that Cialis, but they also know the average golfer has a higher income than those 34-49 upstarts!
Back to Gunsmoke. I can still flip over to ME TV and catch Matt and Miss Kitty and Festus, but, again, I'm inundated with ads for denture creams and penis pumps and catheters. By the way those catheter ads scare the hell out of me. I have no idea how they are used but I remember having a catheter put in my "special purpose" post surgery, then whined to the male nurse for days about taking it out. So I shudder at the idea that someone has to poke a catheter up their penis on a regular basis.
Alas, I long for the days when I was relevant to those TV advertisers. I wish I was as stupid as those 34-49ers who'll buy a product at the drop of a hat. 
There is hope though! Every marketing study is indicating we Baby Boomers are retiring and have more time to watch TV. Maybe that will spur those advertising big wigs to skew control back to us! Then again, they'd probably just be pimping more catheters and denture creams, two products that, thankfully, I still don't need.Who knows? Maybe they'll come up with Viagra laced Trojan condoms! Or catheters with injectable Cialis! ...."peeing strong with a big old "woody!"

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Getting Weary of NATO

                                                                     

I get utterly weary of hearing Canada and the European members of NATO bragging about their "free health care".  Well of course they have better health care...they ain't paying for their own defense.  Take a look at that chart up above.  The U.S. has been paying for the defense of NATO countries for years, and by the trillions of dollars over the years.  When you got a sucker willing to pay half the freight on your defense you can afford to spend on "goodies".  Secondly, those countries are not forced to feed, medicate, educate, and incarcerate some 30 million illegal Mexicans!

Case in point, the chart above shows that we pay far more ($650 billion dollars) for the world's defense, more than the other 27 members of NATO combined.  And don't use the argument that we make more money.  We don't....we are borrowing from Japan and China to fund our defense needs.  And, if you total the GDP for the other NATO countries they actually exceed the GDP of the United States.

Remember when The Donald hit that fact on the campaign trail?  Hit it hard!  Then, just a few weeks ago, now that he's safely ensconced in the Oval Office, Trump backtracks and says "aw...NATO's okay after all.  Damn, that sad!



                                                       
As you can see by the chart above, the UK, France and Germany are by far the biggest moochers....and one of those three absolutely hates Americans.  (Parlez Vous Francais?)  Those three countries have immensely healthy GDP's, but simply won't pay for their own defense.

Now, here's the real cruncher.........almost every one of those NATO countries are not making payments to NATO, even for their tiny mandated contribution!

So, boys and girls, the next time Canada or any of those other NATO countries begin to look down their nose at us, and start bragging about their health care, tell em to grab a gun or a knife, and start defending themselves.   We've had to repeatedly save their asses in our World Wars, and protect their asses for far too long.