Monthly Archives: December 2011

IMPARTIALITY

Shortly after the 2008 elections I was at a gathering where politics was being discussed. I made some comment that was critical of newly-elected President Obama that was overheard by a man standing nearby. He was either a campaign worker or an ardent Obama supporter because he came over to me and said, “Why are you criticizing Obama. We thought this is what you wanted.”  To which I replied, “You didn’t have to do it for me.”

Those of you that have read my previous entries might conclude that I am a Democrat. Absolutely not true. I like to consider myself an equal-opportunity political basher. I think both parties are so beholden to special-interest groups for campaign cash that if you don’t belong to those groups you can’t get a fair shake. The GOP is dependent on evangelicals (polite word for religious fanatics), anti-abortionists and big-money corporate interests. The Democrats on the other hand are totally dependent on unions and environmental zealots for their cash infusions. Not only that but the Democrats are such inept and incompetent politicians that when they have to run against Republicans it’s like the New York Yankees playing, not a triple-A, but a double-A minor league team. The only reason that Democrats win any elections is because of Republican wackiness in selecting candidates.

A good case in point is Obamacare. The Democrats held huge majorities in Congress after the 2008 elections and wanted to pass universal health care (certainly a laudable goal.) They could have passed a bill within months expanding Medicare to everyone, not just seniors. Those that couldn’t afford the Medicare premiums could have been put on Medicaid and they could have paid for it all by passing a value-added tax (sort of like a sales tax) the way it’s done throughout all of Europe and Canada. Voila, universal-health care.  The entire bill could have been written in less than 10 pages and could have passed easily within a few months. But that would have been too sensible.

Instead the Democrats screwed around for 2 years and wrote a 2600 page monstrosity  that is convoluted and virtually indecipherable, that the whole country hates, and that now hangs around their necks like a political albatross. And they have to go into the 2012 elections with this albatross

I think Obama has generally been an ineffective president. This is understandable since he had so little political experience. He was in the Senate for less than 2 years before he was running for the highest office in the land. Before that he was in the Illinois state senate for a short period of time. If he had to run for re-election against a sane, rational, pragmatic and mature individual of stature, he would probably lose in a landslide. Lucky for him though, he gets to run against one of those crazy kids vying for the GOP nomination. If he does make it ,with 4 years experience under his belt, perhaps he will be a better president.

As I’ve said, I think both parties are hopelessly compromised because they’re beholden to to special interests. Interestingly, there’s a web site called americanselect.org that is trying to find a middle way out of the morass we’re in. I know most Americans are more interested in who will be the next American Idol than who will be the next president but it still might pay to visit their site.

Anyway the latest news from the Republican foibles or follies as it where, seems to be that good old, lovable Newt no longer seems to be the flavor  of the month. Maybe people are finding out that he just isn’t all that cuddly anymore. In the meantime Ron Paul, the old crank, seems to be gaining traction. I’m told that Obama gets down on his prayer rug 5 times a day to plead for Ron Paul’s nomination. He should be so lucky.

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THAT OLD-TIME RELIGION

There are 2 things you have to know about religion:1) It is totally a man made invention, usually for men to exercise power and control over men and women, and 2) It really has nothing to do with the existence of God.

In 1844 a Baptist minister named William Miller pronounced that his investigation had led him to conclude that Jesus was returning to Earth very shortly and true believers had to get rid of all their earthly possessions and gather at an appointed place if they wanted to be swept up into the kingdom of heaven with God. A disciple of Miller’s named Samuel Snow divined that the exact date of this occurrence would be October 22, 1844. Thousands literally got rid of everything, met at the appointed time only to be rudely disappointed when nothing happened. Not to be  discouraged Snow said that he just got the date wrong and gave a new date for this “rapture.” A study of human behavior would find it fascinating that even more thousands showed up for the second event, only of course, to be disappointed again. Yet since reality and logic seldom have anything to do with human functioning, the movement behind these false predictions kept growing and growing. Today they are known as 7th Day Adventists and claim membership in the millions.

Although raised in a Jewish household I really have no affinity for any organized religion. I remember (about 4000 years ago) when I brought my soon-to-be wife home to meet my very religious parents. Since my beautiful wife looks nothing Jewish (you might compare her to a brunette version of Bo Derek) and had a very un-Jewish sounding maiden name, my mother was convinced I was marrying a “shiksa.”  She was already sticking her head in the oven ready to turn the gas on, before I could restrain her.

I do believe there is a cosmological force out there that is greater than ourselves but I don’t know what that force is. Perhaps it’s the collective energy of all living beings in the universe. Remember if there is a God in the traditional sense He would be God of a gazillion other planets with a gazillion other lives, not just planet earth. But I don’t believe that God is an old man in a long white beard wearing a white toga and sitting on a golden throne somewhere out there. Actually I think that if God did have a gender it would more likely be female since that is where the birth of new life begins.

As for organized religion I have to agree with Christopher Hitchens that it has ruined just about everything. For centuries from the Roman Empire through the Renaissance the church played the dominant role in European society. Kings and Queens with few exceptions trembled before the power of the the church which was responsible for pogroms, anti-semitism, burnings at the stake and other all-time favorites. I always wondered at the anti-semitism part since Jesus was a Jewish rabbi and all his disciples were Jews. There was no Christianity in the time of Jesus. Of course I always felt the the Jewish hierarchy made a terrible blunder by not recognizing Jesus as at least a prophet if not  the messiah. I mean his teachings were very enlightened, such as-let him who is without sin cast the first stone. Because of this blunder they deprived me of all the fun stuff like presents the gentile kids were getting at Christmas. Even the Muslims recognize Jesus as a prophet in the Quran. And don’t get me started on the contradictions in the old and new testament. Is it an eye-for-an-eye or do you turn the other cheek. And the Green Bay Packers as good as they are would have a hard time repeating their Super Bowl win if they couldn’t touch the “pigskin” as admonished in the old testament.

Years ago I knew a man who was converting from Christianity to Judaism. (Usually it’s the other way around.) Seems he was marrying a Jewish girl and like my parents, her parents had a “thing” about that. I told him if he did convert he was entitled to 2000 years of retroactive persecution. Because the hallmark of organized religion or at least fundamentalist religion is intolerance. I guess fundamentalists believe that the only way to save your soul is to use coercion to force you into their belief system. Such is the state of the human condition in today’s world.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THE COMFORTABLE STATE OF DELUSION

Most people hate reality. It’s so discomforting, often painful and just ugly and messy in general. Therefor, a lot of people construct various layers of delusions under which they can crawl and become all warm and comfy.

Take Donald Trump. Please. (Okay so I’m not Henny Youngman. For those of you too young to remember, Henny Youngman was a comedian that opened each act with the line-“Take my wife. Please.”) Early in the Republican debates Donald Trump whose huge ego and narcissism makes the Grand Canyon look like a crack in the sidewalk shot to the top of the GOP polls. He did this by claiming “his people” had assured him that President Obama was not really born in the US and therefor not eligible to be President. Of course “his people” were affectionately known as the “birthers” and they were so far out in delusional space that even the lunatic fringe called them lunatics. So The Donald shot up in the polls briefly, and became the flavor of the week, as Sarah Palin so luridly put it. Of course he got shot right back down when Obama produced his birth certificate showing him born in Hawaii. Thereupon The Donald picked up his bat, ball and glove and said-the hell with you all, if I can’t play none of you can play-or words to that effect, withdrew from the GOP primary spectacle, and stormed on home.

From then on we’ve had different flavors(I assume Palin was referring to ice cream, but who knows) almost on a weekly basis. There was the bible thumper from Texas, Rick Perry who shot to the top of the charts only to mangle his stage performances so badly that he came crashing down. Now he’s pinning all his hopes on the fact that evangelicals will be so seduced by his anti-abortion, anti-gay rhetoric that he can somehow pull out a win in Iowa. The polls say no so maybe the evangelicals are not as delusional as he assumes.

Then there was good old Herman Cain who shot to the top because he was such a swell guy. He came out with his 9-9-9 plan which I assumed was 9 pizza toppings and 9 breadsticks for 9 dollars. What a deal. Imagine my disappointment when it turned out to be some cock-amamie economic scheme. Still Herman was flying high until a bunch of floozies ganged up to bring him down. The right-wing media tried to portray these women as the worst sort of lying floozies( such a fun word)  but it was enough to crash-and-burn his campaign. Herman you old devil you.

Let us not forget Michelle Bachman who at one point was at the top of the charts. Talk about the delusional state she inhabits which is where the Tea Party crackpots hangout. Earlier in the year when they had that budget crises fiasco, she pronounced that she would fund the Government with only tax receipts and absolutely no further debt. Never mind that tax receipts fund only 60% of Govt. expenses while 40% has to be borrowed. She said that there would be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Defense and interest on the debt which already well exceeds 60%. She still wouldn’t borrow. But I found out how she would fund the rest of Govt. Being in the delusional state she’s usually in, she would simply sprinkle pixie dust on the unfunded part and viola, it’s taken care of.

Leave us also not forget Mitt Romney who will likely be the eventual nominee. What Rick Perry tried to say in an earlier debate but horribly butchered it was that: Romney was for legalized abortion before he was against it, he was for universal health care before he was against it, he was for gay rights before he was against them, he was for government assisting the poor and elderly before he was against it, and on and on. But you get the picture. The Obama camp should run TV ads called Romney versus Romney showing his different positions on all key issues. He has the core beliefs of a fruit-fly but as Rick Perry said-he’s one good-looking dude.

Last but not least let us not forget Sarah Palin. Although she said she’s not running she keeps making tantalizing statements that she may jump in after-all. In case you’re sleeping too peacefully these days just picture her shrill voice lecturing you for the next 4  years. I can’t help think however, that she’s secretly rooting for Obama to win. Then she can sweep in, in 2016, still a young woman, pick up the pieces and go on to the Presidency. Sleep tight folks.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

PUBLIC PERCEPTION

There used to be a show on TV called Candid Camera. Perhaps it’s still shown on some cable channels. The major premise of the show was that people would do the most absurd things if they were told it had been ordered by some authority figures. Call it gross gullibility. For example they put a sign on a major highway where you could turn around saying-“Delaware Is Closed For Today.” Sure enough almost all motorists would make a u-turn and head the other way.

My favorite one was at the airport. When people got to Security there was a sign saying that the metal detection machine was broken so they would have to lie down flat on the conveyor belt that they put their carry-on bags on and pass under the X-ray machine(a phony of course) that their carry-on bags went under. Lying flat as they they passed under the phony X-ray machine the phony “technician” who was peering at the phony machine would make comments like-“That was quite a donut you had for breakfast,” or “If I were you I would get that gallbladder checked out.” (Whenever I need a good laugh I still think of that stunt.) Anyway the point I’m trying to make is that 15 out of 16 people agreed to go through this ridiculous charade because it was required by the “authorities.” Talk about gullibility.

Which brings us back to the Republican primaries. The latest polls are saying that Newt Gingrich is leading for the Republican nomination. Over in the White House they’re doing a rain dance praying for this to come true since they view Romney The Dishonorable as the more formidable candidate. Newt used to be quite the firebrand when he was Speaker of the House in the mid-90s to the point that his own party finally booted him out of Congress. Now he’s trying to portray himself as all mellow and cuddly and grand-fatherly. Good ole lovable Newt.

Back in 1995 he caused the Government to shut down for 3 weeks, by not allowing the requisite appropriations bills to pass through the House. This was supposedly because Bill Clinton dissed him on Air Force 1. Clinton hung tough and eventually Newt caved in and the Government was back in operation after 3 weeks of stand-off. By 1996 when Clinton ran for re-election Newt’s popularity was roughly the same as Saddam Hussein’s ratings. When it became clear that Bob Dole(a decent enough fellow) was to be the GOP nominee the Clinton camp started running TV ads showing Gingrich giving one of his firebrand speeches with Bob Dole and some other Senators lingering in the backround. In effect Clinton was running against Gingrich with Dole being the unfortunate bystander. From that point on Bob Dole’s goose was cooked. He hadn’t been formerly nominated yet buy he already lost the election.

As I’ve said, now Newt is trying to appear all mellow and lovable but the old Newt still erupts from time-to-time. He’s already said that child labor laws should be repealed so poor young children can go to work cleaning toilets.( What he really meant was that  poor kids could go clean rich kids toilets so they can learn at an early age their proper role in our capitalist system.) He also threatened to fire judges and abolish entire courts like the 9th circuit court of appeals because he didn’t like their decisions. And here all along I thought we were living under a constitutional system of government thingy. With statements like that you can understand the rain dance going on in the WH on Newt’s behalf.

Next time I promise to talk about Michelle Bachman, Ron Paul  and the bible-thumper from Texas. They’re all such a fun group that I could write a blog longer than the dead sea scrolls about them. In the meantime we could all break in into spontaneous singing. Again I ask where’s Herman Cain when you need him.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

So, did you here the one about the zombie that wanders into a Tea Party rally. Somebody stops him and says “Wait a minute, don’t zombies eat other peoples brains?” “I would” says the zombie “if I could find any.” Okay so maybe the joke is lame but it gets me into my next topic. That would be the latest version of the Ringling Bros. Barnum&Baily Circus better known as the the Rebublican debates.

Like many Americans I’ve been watching these debates on and off. As far as I can tell they all stand for exactly the same thing-tax cuts for the rich, cut Government benefits to the poor, anti-abortion, anti-gay rights and guns, guns, guns. Each one is trying to prove  their holier-than-thou purism and go further right-wing than the others.As I said their positions are identical but each one tries to prove they’re better residents of right-wing looney-tunesville that the other guys.

Watching these debates I felt if I were up there on stage with them, I could out-extreme everyone of these candidates. If they were merely extremists I could be an extremely-extreme-extremist. If they’re talking abortion and said life begins at conception, I would say that life begins with the Big Bang Theory. Extremely-extreme-extremist. The others would just be pikers. Once I get going nobody can out-extreme me.

It appears now that Newt Gingrich is leading in the polls for the Republican nomination. It seems to me that Newt has gotten, shall we say, more portly with older age. I always felt that Newt would do himself a lot better, if,instead of running for President he just started running. In the end though I think a majority of Republicans will come to their senses and nominate Romney. Not that Romney doesn’t have all the honor and integrity of a crabcake, doing a complete 180 on what he stood for when he was in Mass. But at least Romney is tall, distinguished looking, and looks like a President, versus short and overweight Gingrich.

My theory as to why Obama won in 2008 was that here was this tall,athletically good looking guy running against McCain who was short and dumpy looking.Of course younger better looking people who were generally under 50 would vote in large majorities for the guy that looked like them. Interestingly, among the short, fat, dumpy looking crowd, which was mainly seniors, McCain won the majority vote.That’s why I feel that even Republicans residing in looney-tunesville will have to select Romney.

Next time I’ll talk about Michelle Bachman and the delusional state she lives in. And Herman Caine said before he dropped out that God told him to run. I believe he got an e-mail from God or maybe it was a tweet on Twitter.Yes I believe it was on Twitter. In the meantime lets be of good cheer and break out into a song for the holidays. Where is Herman Caine when you need him.

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Follow-up

Just a couple of points I wanted to make regarding my previous blog. Since this was going to be a classy affair my wife convinced me to wear a suit and tie. I had to wear a suit and tie every day that I  worked which was for many, many years so when we moved to Las Vegas I was determined to rid myself of that. And indeed the only times I dressed like that since being here was for weddings and funerals and fun stuff like that. The only problem was that the one usable suit I had no longer fit. In my case it was the opposite of what usually happens to men. Most men gain too much weight but in my case I lost too much and the suit was “swimming” on me. But we found a useable sport outfit and with a refreshing at the cleaners and a spiffy new shirt and tie my wife bought me, we were off.

When it comes to attire, at least here in Las Vegas there are usually two types of men-those that are overly formal for most occasions and those that dress like slobs. The overly formal type will wear a suit and tie to play ping pong, go bowling or eat at the counter in Big Al’s Sloppy Joes Shack in one of the casinos. They’re usually seniors who were alive during the Depression when men stood on bread lines but still wore at least sport jackets.I guess it’s a holdover type thing.

The informal types will wear shorts a t-shirt and sandals under any condition.They’re usually younger men and tourists but include some seniors too. They’re attitude is that since Las Vegas is in the desert where it’s always sunny and hot, shorts and t-shorts will always be their standard attire. Actually there are more than a few days in the winter here when daytime temperatures don’t climb above the 40s and nighttime temperatures drop into the 20s but that doesn’t dissuade them from the shorts and t-short routine. Their lips may be turning blue as they cruise through the casinos but, hey, thats a small price to pay for being cool.

The other point I wanted to make is what I call the-“I-will-never-be the-first-one-to break-up-the-party” syndrome. I don’t recall this syndrome existing in my earlier years, although maybe it did and I can’t remember(that senior thing again.) Anyway it certainly exists today. It consists of an overwhelming fear of letting on that you’re bored, tired and dying to get out of there and go home but can’t show it by being the first one to leave. Since I have little patience it usually falls on my shoulders to perform this. I often wonder at how they break up at functions that I don’t attend. Maybe they should hire me to do this for them.

I remember years ago being invited to a New Years Eve party at someone’s house. Although we were all seniors we were determined to stay up and at least see the fireworks from”the Strip” at midnight(which is usually an impressive display.) After viewing them on TV you could sense that everyone was dying to get out of there but no one would make the first move. Guys were lolling around with their hands in their pockets as if to say”Oh yeah, I could hang around here until 5 in the morning,no sweat.” Finally at about 12:20 someone(probably me) said maybe we should call it an evening. The next thing I knew I was being overrun by a stampede of thundering buffalo or so it seemed as people rushed by me into the bedroom where their coats were piled up on a bed. So it was at the birthday gathering. One could sense everyone wanted to leave but we all just sat there. Finally I stood up mainly to stretch my back which becomes sore if I sit too long(again the senior thing.) Suddenly it was kissy-kissy, huggy-huggy and we were out-of-there. Thus ended the event.

In future blogs I’ll probably talk a lot about religion and politics subjects generally verboten among seniors. If you try to discuss these topics with seniors they hastily make a sign of the cross and look for a wooden stake to drive through your heart figuring your at least a vampire ready to sink your fangs into their throats. Until then don’t take things too seriously, it’s not worth it.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

TRIALS & TRIBULATIONS

The thing to know about about me is that I’m a senior that retired to Las vegas to live in an all-seniors community. Yes I know, I’m a gluten for punishment. I retired here for the sun and warmth but as I get older the winters seem to be getting colder and colder.

The thing you have to know about seniors(if you’re not one) is that they are generally oblivious to everything that doesn’t directly affect them. If it’s not about Social Security, Medicare, going to the doctor, or booking their next cruise through the Panama Canal they generally couldn’t care less.

I was reminded of this last Saturday night because we were invited to a friend’s 80th birthday party. She is actually more my wife’s friend but we go out with her and her boy friend every so often. (I know it’s vaguely disturbing to use 80 years old and boyfriend in the same sentence  but such is life among the seniors community.)

This woman who is 80 looks more like 70 or younger obviously is the inheritor of cast iron genes.  The dinner which was for 11 family and friends was booked at a small restaurant in a major hotel on the Las Vegas strip and was to start at 7PM. This meant having to negotiate “the Strip” sometime between 6-7PM. For those of you unfamiliar with Las Vegas, being stuck in traffic on “the Strip” between 6-7 on Saturday night makes you deeply regret you didn’t bring along a cyanide pill to bite down on and end it all in seconds. I’m talking bumper-to-bumper traffic, clogged intersections, honking horns the whole 9 yards.

Being a shrewd Las Vegan(that’s anyone who has lived here more than 45 days) I found a way to avoid actually getting on “the Strip” by parking in a different hotel. However that meant hiking with my wife(both of us in uncomfortable shoes) a distance approximately the the length of the Gobi Desert. Now there are plenty of upscale restaurants here in the ‘burbs” where we and she live that they could have had the event but hey, where would the challenge have been in that.

As I said the event was to start  at 7PM.  The only problem was that while everyone was there on time the birthday girl didn’t show until about 40 minutes late. Her excuse was that she was looking for the right restaurant but in the wrong hotel. When she finally realized her mistake she had to schlep back to the right hotel. Hey, nobody said that being a senior was easy.

It was now past 8 and no food in sight. I usually eat light dinners early in the evening(that senior thing again) so my blood sugar was plummeting faster than Michelle Bachman’s ratings in the GOP primary thingy.  But what was on most on every one’s mind was taking endless pictures with every photography  device known to man.  I’m still seeing purple dots before my eyes from all the flashes going off.

We will leave at that for now(actually it’s time for my nap) and the subject of the dinner itself and the parting of the ways will be posted on my next blog.

P.S. Greatly saddened by the passing today of Christopher Hitchens, the author today. Not only a brilliant mind but he was truly one of the good guys.

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.