Posted by: Jeff | January 31, 2013

There I go…

…taking myself too seriously again…

too serious_450

Posted by: Jeff | March 28, 2014

Moronification…

and the lost art of thinking….

A coin actually has three sides, not two; heads, tails, and the edge, though it’s highly unlikely to land on the edge when tossed. Human intelligence and politics often seem to resemble the coin, with the well thought out and rational representing the edge. It’s not that human beings are stupid, any more than a 100 watt light bulb is dark, but each can warrant its negative assessment when used incorrectly or not at all.

The daily news is supposedly a condensed report of what has transpired during the preceding twenty four hours, but it can also serve as a telling caricature of who has been using the light bulb as a hammer, etcetera.

While remaining up to date on real world events may have suffered recently, the amusement and eyebrow-raising asininity quotient has been well served indeed.

Take the Breaking News thing, for example. As proof that the reference fits “like bark on a log”, to borrow a ruralism from an old Blue Ridge acquaintance of mine, I really don’t need to comment further, for most people to know exactly of what I speak and why.

…..But, I will. One would be hard pressed to explain why a global news organization would spend two weeks picking through a haystack in search of a needle and providing everything but DNA analysis of each sprig of dead plant life encountered. Jon Stewart’s parody of CNN’s tedious moronification of the Malaysian airliner tragedy serves as punctuation to that thought.

*****

In another case, it was the worm-brained precipitating event itself which provided sad evidence that the brains of some people in positions of authority are located in very close proximity to the pocket in which a guy usually carries his wallet. I’m referring, of course, to the hoity-toity Colorado school from which a nine year old girl was suspended for shaving her head in support of a friend suffering from stage 4 cancer.

An institution of learning supposedly aims to provide a child with knowledge and to foster growth of the wisdom required to use that knowledge well. I could not get beyond the question regarding exactly what that child must have learned from the unthinking, knee-jerk action by the school’s administrators when faced with the task of applying the school’s dress policy to the situation.

I envisioned the metaphor about a parent teaching little Johnny to not hit his little brother with the toy truck by whacking little Johnny with the toy truck.

Fortunately, the school (actually, the adult human beings running the joint) did what most reasonable people do when they walk face-first into a shit-storm; they turned around and went the other way. It remains to be seen whether the Board of Directors will change their thinking or will simply stick with an expedient change of direction.

*****

….Speaking of moronification, the “giant sucking sound” of today isn’t the rapid migration of jobs to Mexico of Ross Perot’s mid-nineties opposition to NAFTA, but the sound of the media collectively giving president Obama a hickey for his effort to promote the alleged healthcare plan bearing his name. The moronic quotient is kept aloft by the fact that people may actually be starting to march in step to some degree, and by the sycophancy of an institution historically known otherwise for its pedantic examination and assessment of government activities. While I’m sure the various editors are inundated with an endless cascade of “releases” issued by countless federal Obamacare toadies, I find it to be unforgivable that whether they bury an item in Journalism Purgatory or plaster it across the top half of Page One, none of the “attaboy” stories reporting how many people have “signed up” for the government mandated daisy chain happens to point out that it isn’t “voluntary” by any stretch of the imagination, or of the Orwellian Thesaurus, either, for that matter…

 

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Posted by: Jeff | March 16, 2014

Internet mine fields.….

…..and other lists of ways to cook rocks….

Much as I despise MSN, et al, I tend to emulate the other sheep and trot obediently to the website each day when I log on. There, I am (we are) anointed with inanities, interrupted randomly but frequently by pop-up ads and mouse-over triggered thinga-ma-jigs. Getting from one inanity to the next is like trying to race barefoot across a cow pasture on a moonless night without stepping in something.

I have been promising myself for the better part of an eon that I would dump the “cow pasture” and seek out a “home page” for those who might be above the average sponge on an IQ scale. Every time I dive into the process however, I run into a mine field of barriers, circular wild goose chases, and dead ends as I attempt to recapture my profile picture, shoe size, favorite vegetable, police record, seventh grade report card, and Santa’s other list, which I would prefer to destroy, if I can ever get my hands on it. Anyway, like most of us, I naively relinquished my birthright to my own business the very first time I followed the dulcet tones of the digital Sirens into Intellectual Let’s Pretendville. Pfffft! If I had been born a trout, I’d have been dinner at someone’s first cast.

Back to the issue at hand, or squishing up between one’s toes, or whatever one might choose to call it…..

*****

….So, on one recent morning’s regularly scheduled journey into the mindless void of the MSN cyber-pasture, I suddenly realized that something titled “9 daily habits that are affecting your health”, being one of the more idiotic sounding blogettes on the menu, begged derision. I decided to risk the cow patties and jumped the fence.

*****

I noticed that the list of “9 daily habits that are affecting your health” included ten items, but rather than stir that soup I moved on to the main course.

The Nine (sic) things were:

  • 1-Sitting with legs crossed at the knee can bump up blood pressure

  • 2-You stand with locked knees

  • 3-You sleep on your stomach

  • 4-You wear your belts tight

  • 5-You slouch

  • 6-You drive long distances without a break

  • 7-You stretch as soon as you get up

  • 8-You hold off on using the restroom when nature calls

  • 9-You chew gum

  • 10-You carry your purse the same way every day

1-The very first killer activity out of the gate was sitting with your legs crossed. The doctor whose “study” was referenced tilted his head forward, scrunched his eyebrows into a frown, and instructed Everyman to “avoid crossing your legs for longer than 10 to 15 minutes, and to get up and walk around every half hour or so.” I tried getting up and walking around every half hour or so back in 1959, which is probably, in part, why I got to do ninth grade twice.

2- The second epiphany, snagged from some journal article by an orthopedic doctor, instructs us to stand with knees slightly bent and not with knees locked. Heck, I learned to not lock my knees way back in AOCS so I wouldn’t do a domino drop on the Grinder in front of the CO. Other than that, though, I pretty much let my knees let me know what they prefer. When I try to stand around with my knees slightly bent, people scowl and tell me if I have to do that I should go outside or to the bathroom.

3- The third nugget of wisdom said one should not sleep on one’s stomach because that can compress nerves, causing pain and numbness. If I lay there worrying about neuroscience, I won’t get a pain in the neck but I won’t sleep either, which would be a real pain in the ass. Besides, I have no idea what position I sleep in because, well, I’m asleep at the time.

4- Fourth came the pronouncement that chasing the innermost hole on your belt might keep your pants up, but it can also lead to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. That cracks me up. When I was diagnosed with GERD thirty-five years ago, my pants had nothing to do with it. However, there was a slight possibility that twenty years of hard drinking, a two pack a day smoking “habit”, and all of those jalapeño peppers and other gastronomic pleasures, some rivaling Naval Jelly and lye, might have been factors. I hiked up my drawers, cinched my belt to the point that I wouldn’t get arrested for indecent exposure or do an untimely face plant, and took my medications. I altered my diet too, but not enough to impress a blogging OCD gastroenterologist. So far, so good.

5- Don’t slouch. Good heavens, this is starting to sound like my mother on a bad day, may she rest in peace….(but not on her stomach).

6- Sixth on the menu was a little handwringing about “You drive long distances without a break.” So, some expert statisticator frets that a person driving 100-150 miles without taking a break could get leg clots. Frankly, I’ve always measured my journeys in increments of time, not miles. I was a salesman in Miami back in the seventies. Ever seen Miami traffic? If I’d gone by mileage, I’d still be there, clots, wet pants, and all. I take it the good doctor never drives farther than the local golf club, or else he doesn’t mind celebrating a few birthdays enroute on long trips. If people listened to their bodies they wouldn’t be reduced to learning the art of chewing food from a friggin’ blog. I always found it timely to take a break whenever had to drive with my legs crossed to keep from ruining the upholstery, or when “that funny noise” turned out to be the rumble strip on the side of the road. But, I digress.

7- I never stretch when I get out of bed, though not because some genius decided that is is a bad idea to stretch as soon as you get up. I usually get plenty of exercise trying to scramble to my feet so I can get rid of a leg cramp or to launch a slipper at the cat for leaping on my bladder at 4:30 a.m. Actually, the first thing most reasonably normal people do when their feet locate the floor in the morning is fart. For me, that activity is a hell of a lot riskier than doing calisthenics; I’m not twenty any more, you know!

8- Number eight on the list of this “YOU’RE GOING TO BREAK YOUR NECK!!!” list is why women shouldn’t delay using the bathroom when nature calls. I can appreciate the challenge that must present for women. How does one NOT delay the moment of “AHHHHH….” when in line at the grocery store, though, or on an elevator, or in the commuter lane during rush hour? We men face different parameters, the first consideration not always being the location of an appropriate place to relieve one’s self, but the second occasionally involving the odds of being arrested, or at least experiencing a little embarrassment. I could tell some stories.

9- I like Number nine: “Don’t chew gum”, obviously the edict of a dentist, a school teacher, or, once again, my mother. Everybody chews gum. The good Doctor sez “The jaw joint is designed to chew food, not gum…. ”. Cool. Ninety percent of the required ADLs and rituals of modern civilization are unnatural, for crying out loud. If we did what the body “was designed” to do, most of us would be in jail and the rest would still be on the lam. I chewed gum until I had to spend an hour trying to scrape the Chiclets off my new dentures one evening. “Gumming it” describes a whole new scenario now. Avid gum chewers don’t give a crap about jaw pain, doc. If they did, you’d be flipping burgers. Besides, the only pops and clicks I ever overheard emanating from my oral cavity were caused by a fist, not a silly little wad of synthetic rubber. That reminds me. When I was a kid, I actually worked in a chewing gum factory one summer, so I KNOW ABOUT THESE THINGS.

10- I can’t comment on number ten, “You carry your purse the same way every day”. I understand men carrying purses is accepted in parts of Europe, San Francisco, Key West, and few other enlightened milieus, but here in rural Maine the Enlightened Male is more likely to have a big black billfold stuck in his back pocket, attached to his belt with a chain. I have neither a man-bag nor a trucker’s briefcase, but I can still buy a cup of coffee when the mood strikes me or produce my driver’s license when someone in a uniform suggests I should do so. A physical therapist did advise me once that carrying my wallet in my back pocket probably contributed to my back pain and sciatica. I still carry my wallet in my back pocket, but the therapist managed to lighten it for me

I learned something by reading the MSN article, however. I learned that these medical professionals, most of who were still in diapers when I was flying barstools and Navy trainers upside down, read too much. My own doctor did, too, until I just sat there like a bump on a gurney saying nothing until he got his nose out of the computer and looked me in the eye. And then, at my age, I’m not paying him $150 plus per quarter hour to shake his finger at me and deliver some condescending oration about how to live a long and healthy life. I’m there for some magic potion to reduce the sensory consequences of having done pretty much what I damned well pleased for 70 years, a lifestyle I see no reason to willfully change at this point.

When my knees don’t want to walk any more, they won’t. I don’t usually stand around long enough these days for it to matter whether my knees are locked or not. When I’m on my feet, I’m going somewhere.

I haven’t slept on my stomach for decades. The laws of physics and a modicum of abdominal lard forbid it.

I may slouch a bit, but at least I’m vertical and on the sunny side of the lawn. Deal with it. The Drill Instructor said “At ease” fifty years ago, and my body agreed immediately.

I must concede that I don’t drive long distances without breaks anymore. First of all, I don’t usually drive farther than the local store anyway, but if I do I make sure I take a catnap every once in awhile. I pull over, most times.

I realize that the writer was probably focused on a woman’s viewpoint (after all, MSN is the twenty first century version of those sleazy tabloids sold at the grocery checkout or in the smoke shop next to where the men found their favorite skin mags), but neither the writer nor the physicians referenced seemed to have a practical understanding of male plumbing, especially that of a senior citizen. I rarely delayed decanting of the bladder as a pup, and I usually got away with it. After all, those truck drivers pulled off along the Interstate and standing on the grassy side of their rigs aren’t just enjoying the scenery. At this point, though, it’s not exactly a choice. Sort of like passing gas while standing in the checkout line at the grocery store. I never do that intentionally just to be funny, not any more. The fact that it is funny simply represents fortuitous happenstance.

I don’t chew gum anymore, as I explained earlier. It doesn’t matter that my jaw hurts anyway. Heck, everything hurts. You just have to learn to ignore it. If my jaw hurts, it’s probably hurts because my teeth don’t fit. That $3.50 tube of Super-Glue saved me $3,500, but there are some minor consequences, of course. Sometime I amuse myself by just taking them out and practicing wrapping my lower lip over the tip of my nose or doing a Moms Mabley shtick. Out of deference to my loving and tolerant spouse, I no longer do that in public restaurants or at the dinner table. At least not when we have company or when she is looking.

 

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Posted by: Jeff | January 14, 2014

Running the Gauntlet.….

on the way to 2016….

Like Rudy Giuliani of the post “9/11” decade, NJ Gov. Chris Christie is enjoying his own “fifteen minutes of fame” for providing a corona around his Hurricane Sandy responses. The Republicans took the rectal temperature of Public Opinion and immediately set about the business of grooming his persona with an eye towards the 2016 presidential election.

Just as quickly, the Democrats, and unaligned anti-Republicans, whipped out their Fine-Toothed-Combs and set about the business of mining for anything from misshapen dead skin cells to international sex scandals. It’s cumulative. The sooner they can pile up enough to make Christie smell a little too ripe for comfort, the sooner they can turn their attentions and faux passions to someone of their liking to beatify for 2016.

This is nothing new. Presidential aspirations come out of the closet and the first move of a pawn in the next round of political chess occur at the very moment a sitting president stands up to take the oath of office for his second term. Party affiliation has no bearing on the matter. Politics reminds of the mid-fifties when I tagged along with a pal as he did his weekly chore of cleaning a local horse stable for fifty cents. In addition to the requisite building of hay bale forts in the loft, we invariably engaged in brief but energetic skirmishes involving airborne shovelfuls of equine byproducts. The voting public thrives on this kind of behavior while feigning disgust, unlike our respective mothers, whose displeasures were clearly genuine.

The first volley of airborne political “stuff” ironically was launched on the rather thin ice of “political correctness” by attacking Christie’s girth. At the same time the word “fat” was being groomed by language managers as the next taboo “f-bomb” in the Age of Perceived Propriety (a vaudevillian form of communication), Christie was being enthusiastically caricatured as Dumbo the Republican by those whose primary objective for the next couple of years is to rain on all parades not of their own gestation. The rules of engagement for this quadrennial contest are both innumerable and vigorously ignored.

As a cartoonist, I cannot help but defend the Birthright of Caricature for unlimited levels of venomosity / hilarity because the underlying objective is to convey a message; to build a concept, perspective, or idea; to communicate with humor. Though “politics” is reputed to be the honorable process of practicing self government, it is, in practice, synonymous with character assassination and human demolition; to win by default by rendering any opponent impotent and / or toxic, rather than by promoting one’s own strategies for wise public administration and defense, etcetera.

To those ends, Gov. Christie has been firmly locked in the Democrats’ cross hairs. The “fat” man has now been splattered by “Bridgegate”, the ultimate impact, if any, to be determined more by the theater quotient of his responses than by any need for his detractors to transform the deftly fostered element of doubt by much theater of their own. Proof of complicity on any level would be neither the cake nor the icing, but simply sprinkles added for effect.

Additionally, political pedants from the counter-camp have raised questions about Christie’s alleged use of Hurricane Sandy disaster funds to put some juice into his reelection campaign.

It is an old but never tired or trite tactic of politicians and tabloid-style journalists alike to invoke the undeniable truism that “The best way to create a rumor is to deny that something is true”, thus putting the ones on the other side of the chess board in “check” by forcing them to prove their innocence.

Tit for tat has not yet made its inevitable significant and/or dramatic entrance because the Democrats, while enjoying the catbird seat for the present, have been preoccupied with looking for lipstick, bows, sequins, and Febreze to make Obamacare as pretty and stink-free as possible. Nevertheless, their turn is immanent.

Media snipers are, of course, ever-poised to pounce like trap-door spiders on any opportunity to stir up dust. Dust sells, not only for the media, but for the opponent of any player unfortunate enough to get caught with a finger up his nose or fixing his shorts while the cameras are on. If Christie survives this gauntlet, he may very well be a frontrunner for the final duel.

 

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Posted by: Jeff | November 7, 2013

Big Brother & the Borg…

…resistance is futile recommended

I had heard about it, and today there was an internet blurb about the construction of something the builder vaguely describes will be an “interactive learning center”.

Speaking of “Learning Centers”, over the course of my lifetime I have encountered and been affected by quite a variety. Some supposedly had a positive impact on me, while others I might have been better off playing hooky from. Still others were put into a “We’ll see later” bin for future assessment. I suspect that would describe the path of just about anybody, though.

The news item today was about two large barges being built by internet data sump Google, one on each coast, and it turned the lights on in a couple of my “WSL” files. I’m not yet quite sure what to make of it. The east coast behemoth, built in Connecticut, was parked off the coast of Maine. That got my attention, of course. Accordingly, it now appears to be “Later”, and I’m thinking I may not like what I am about to “See”.

On barges……..?

According to NBC News, Google is building the four-story tall west coast edition on San Francisco Bay to skirt mandatory inspections and other mainland regulations, though they still face certain requirements on the water. They have been secretive about the scope and purpose of the projects, but have now announced that they will be “learning centers” where people can learn about new technology. On a barge?

Paranoia or no…?

Here’s where my innate curiosity and propensity for asking more questions than are really necessary in just about any situation and often more than are tolerable to those on the receiving end. Some might suggest that my intractability indicates a certain amount of paranoia on my part, but I would argue that persistently asking “Why” and “According to whom” questions separates me from those milling around like sheep adjusting their courses according to the loudest bark regardless of where it comes from, and more often than not simply following each other. In this day of continuous media cascades designed to create the compulsion to take a pill for everything including deciding which pill to take, I think it’s important to ask questions. Even if it wasn’t important, I’d ask anyway because I like to know stuff and I am genetically wired to “question authority”, my first question usually being “Who made you the authority, and where did they get the authority to do so?”

sci-fi influence

I suppose some of my compulsion stems from my life-long love of science fiction, perhaps solidified by the Captain Video series of the late forties and early fifties and the weekly installments of Flash Gordon at the local movie theater where fifty cents would grant one admission and the price of some popcorn and a soda. There aren’t too many sci-fi shows and movies that I haven’t soaked up, in addition to reading some classic works by the likes of Jules Verne, George Orwell, Isaac Asimov, Poul Anderson, Piers Anthony, Arthur C. Clarke, Ayn Rand, Frank Herbert, Anne McCaffrey, and more.

Thus, when I read about the mysterious floating “things” that resemble Scrooge McDuck’s vault, visions of the BORG of Star Trek notoriety and the terrible socio-economic scenarios suggested by Orwell and Rand were immediately invoked. The more recent and unfortunately short-lived television series “V” also comes to mind.

New digital age & new socio-political climate

I look back at history and consider the sage observation by George Santayana that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” and ponder what other forces must come into play to make that such a truism. The answer, of course may be that such a self-defeating path is almost a predictable one for humanity, akin to the “early bird gets the worm” and it’s multiple variations. For a number of reasons, we seem to be blind to lessons hard learned by those who preceded us, as exemplified by such iconic claims as “That was different” and “It’ll never happen to me.”

Knowing that, and already having described my affinity for tales of dire plots disguised as benefits (see “Trojan Horse”), my brain vibrates with political cartoons, impending bouts of impassioned Blogarrhea about the inevitable Virgin birth of a real life Big Brother, and/or its identical twin perpetrated by the Digital Autocracies of today such as Google. The only precedent that comes to mind would be the rogue European internet group known as Pirate Bay, regarded as People’s Heroes by some and cyber-criminals by others. That was a private venture created in resistance to government regulations and controls, but the Google creation is being created quietly in broad daylight, apparently with the endorsement of government, without really telling people what it’s all about. That’s an oddity in this time of rabid competition for cyber-dollars when companies are far more likely to drive us all to the brink of madness with the din of exaggerated boasting and bragging about every little variation of last month’s favorite doo-dad they might plan to release any moment. That tends to raise an eyebrow and unhook the restraints on a few hounds in my “Something’s rotten in Denmark” kennel of questions.

Experience, seven decades of social conditioning, and a bit of good, old fashioned “I don’t want to deal with it” denial tell me that this view of mine is actually quite funny. But, it also tells me that it is all quite plausible, perhaps even possible…perhaps even…..

 

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Posted by: Jeff | November 2, 2013

Good intentions…

…trumped by gravity

The struggle to put some sort of form to what so many of us find objectionable about the direction in which our country is heading may very well be due to the possibility that “it” has no form to begin with. Yet, definitions and descriptions require “form”, reference points, presenting a weird paradox akin to the “ends of infinity” conundrum of Null Physics.

The sense of differing social-economic-political opinions is quite palpable, yet when challenged to explain them, their apologists more often than not retreat into polarities and absolutes that are self defeating, or at best not clarifying.

I was thinking about the emotional responses people have to the phenomenon of “Obamacare”. Some are ecstatic about it and support the entire idea wholeheartedly with a blind eye to any faults real, imagined, or contrived. Others dislike it to the point of being angry, sometime projecting their uncertainties into complex conspiracy theories. I don’t know if anyone knows the true state of affairs, if there even is one. As with definitions and form, perhaps in this case, a true state of affairs doesn’t exist. What does exist, however, is high level of energy as we individually, and collectively, try to sort it all out and arrive at positions we can believe in without dragging remnants of Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny into the mix.

From my perspective, Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny remain a significant presence, along with the influential weight of my own pet polarities and biases.

Rather than try to explain – a potential impossibility due to the factors offered earlier– perhaps a series of vignettes will at least provide a thumbnail sketch of what rumblings take place between my ears.

***

Opportunists versus conspirators

First of all, I’m not a big believer in conspiracy theories on the political scene. I won’t deny that small, disconnected, and random mini-plots of evil-doing occur. They obviously do happen, much to the relief of investigative reporters and back-fence know it alls. These are byproducts of opportunity, though, rather than of design. People who are innately possessed of selected pathologies certainly plot, and execute, evil deeds, but those innately possessed of more positive traits tend to be opportunists more than plotters or conspirators.

The angst we feel in response to what may be viewed as shortcomings or excesses today, then, is more likely to be triggered by the ways in which those broad fields of opportunities that have been created are capitalized upon and exploited, and our frustration that we don’t know how to dismantle them.

Another thought I have about conspiracy theories applied to the tides of government, in a “Cliff’s Notes” version clearly influenced by some of the pet polarities and biases mentioned earlier, is that government conspiracy is an oxymoron. Restated, I don’t believe it is possible for government, at least our form of government, to carry out a conspiracy. Human nature itself dictates that, while a handful of individuals may build and execute a conspiracy, the very numbers involved in a government such as ours that is not one of unyielding autocracy, presents far too many “opportunities” for those who might endeavor to plot a screwing of the public to instead seek ways to screw each other. Disobedience, disagreement, and discord in an autocracy are easily handled with executions and the fear thereof. The same dissonance in America simply results in a conference or study group, which isn’t particularly threatening.

***

Good intentions derailed by human nature

While our government structure and its Constitution are certainly not perfect, I believe those who managed to put the whole idea together two and a quarter centuries ago were very aware of the need for harmony between the guarantee of opportunity and the need for an equally iron-clad system of checks and balances. I believe they were also quite aware of the human compulsion to discover ways around, under, over, or through any and all barriers. We have certainly lived up to expectations, and every stone taken out of the foundation has carefully and intentionally been removed with good intentions and a denial of potential negative outcomes.

The welfare presence we have today was not put together with the goal of messing up the economy or of having negative social or cultural consequences. Early programs to aid the underprivileged were surely started with a mindset of aiding the underprivileged. Nature is funny, however. When a farmer carries a bale of hay to a small gathering of livestock in the middle of the pasture, those that are not included, but that observe the delivery, will mosey on over to join in the feast rather than continue grazing or wait for a delivery of their own. People are no different.

We are, by nature, opportunists as well as innovators. When opportunities are not provided, we tend to create them. The old saw “Necessity is the mother of invention” was an observation of fact, not just some clever pap. Thus, this country was created and built into an icon of productivity, liberty, and self-won success by a people who had only the opportunities they created on their own or simply took for themselves without waiting for permission.

One of my concerns is that, in the effort to remove barriers and provide opportunities for those who, for several reasons, were physically, mentally, or culturally barred from enjoying life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to their full potentials, our society has fallen victim to some of the basic assets of human nature. Our human history is rife with wise sayings, parables, and allegory describing the consequences of removing “need”, which is the wellspring of “drive”, and an important component of daily living.

  • “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

  • “A good thing is all the sweeter when won with pain.”

  • “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp.”

This derailing of good intentions occurs not because of evil intent but due to the natural forces of psychological/social/cultural “gravity” as illustrated by the livestock with the bale of hay scenario.

***

Control of the money system

Mary and I were talking earlier today about such things during our daily coffee and newspaper time. I remember the post World War II forties and the fifties, and then the notorious sixties which escorted me into adulthood. I had no Social Security Number until I got my first job at the age of fourteen. I also opened a bank account at that time, and I needed only my name, address, phone number, and ten dollars to do so. Today, children are assigned a Social Security Number when they are born, and without one, access to the economic opportunities of our country such as banking, credit, and so forth are closed to a person. This rule was put into place before the age of 911 and our obsession with terrorism developed, ostensibly to prevent money laundering.

Understandably, the government saw justifiable reasons to improve control over the money supply and its movement. Unfortunately, locks keep everyone out, not just selected “bad guys”. Thus, while money laundering and the economic impact of the world drug trade may or may not have been affected, the rest of us have been. How? First of all, the Social Security Number issue just cited. Additionally, the SSN has left the restricted province of government and been transformed into a universal component of ID required by anyone and everyone who can come up with a reason. Consequently, what started out as an emergency post-Depression construct to ensure that funds were set aside for the elderly, has become a universal identifier of virtually everybody residing legally within the United States, whether old or young, employed, unemployed, or retired. It’s like we are required to have a license plate now.

I remember the fad of “dropping out”, living off the land, and so forth from the seventies. As a matter of fact, with an agreement to pay the owner $100 per month, I bought 11 acres of woods around 1983 a half mile from the nearest paved road and built an 8 X 12 cabin out of salvaged materials to try my hand at the “Grizzly Adams” lifestyle. That was interesting, and I gathered some great memories, but I sold it all a few years later in favor of electricity, indoor plumbing, and so forth. The IRS had taken an interest in “let’s go raise goats” culture as well, and had fiddled with ways to tax the non-monetary exchange of goods and labor. The door to invisibility and self-sufficiency was fast disappearing. And of course, the more functions the government was given, or simply assumed to serve, the more people it took to operate things and the more necessary it became for government to control all factors contributory to the task at hand.

I remember back when I started working, coins were still made with silver. I remember when they stopped using silver. Finally, our money supply was no longer based upon any tangible value such as gold or silver, and the “worth” of the metal slugs and pieces of printed paper provided to facilitate the exchange of goods and labor ebbed and flowed entirely according to the decisions of a political entity rather than being tied to the people creating the conditions of supply and demand.

Other ways government has tightened the restraints on the people in the name of freedom and liberty for all include the perennial game of blackmail that has been used many times over before our own solons and bureaucrats thought it would be a swell idea.

In the civilian world, blackmail works like this: John tells Pete he’ll tattle on him for something bad he did unless Pete pays John “hush money”.

In the government version, Senator Putzwadd and Company enact laws that establish a policy or procedure that must be followed, ordinarily a perfectly reasonable set of standards designed to address some issue of concern such as environmental problems, transportation concerns, or something that almost always warms the cockles of the national heart, educational reforms. The problem with such centralized thinking partnered with the compulsion to control is that what makes sense in one location may not in another. Though the Founders had no vision about the way the world would be 200 years hence, they were aware of the advantages of decentralized power and made their point by insisting on the principle of “States’ Rights”.

My late cousin attended a rural, one room schoolhouse. That’s the truth. I went with him one day when my family traveled back to New England to visit and school was not out for the summer yet in that area. A brilliant man, he breezed through MIT and only stopped short of his PhD in chemical engineering because he was too busy working and raising a family.

Schools today are a far cry from the ones we attended fifty and sixty years ago, or the ones that educated our parents and grandparents. Education in America is micromanaged by the federal Department of Education, and it seems to me there is more emphasis on creating the appearance of providing a superior education that of actually doing it. Things have to be done in the nationally prescribed way, funds are provided to enable communities to comply with the law, and any time somebody flinches and threatens to bolt, the Big Guns threaten to withhold the money that keeps the local schoolmarm from being designated a Criminal.

Education is designed around statistics rather than the students and their needs. If the teachers have enough wall hangers and gold stars on their refrigerators, the kids by extension are presumed to be properly educated. And the schools I attended would most likely be illegal today for a boatload of reasons. Nevertheless, I went on to earn a college degree and a military commission. I’m not sure the grand edifices they construct today are doing as well. Again, success is measured by level of compliance with federal standards and statistics, rather than on the realities of performance and achievement.

The same process played out with Transportation. I remember when they started building the Interstate Highway system when I was a boy. Over the subsequent years, as the population and number of vehicles on the road doubled, the federal highway system, originally created to facilitate the movement of the military and supplies around the country during the Cold War, became a necessary part of civilian life. Consequently, when government interests wished to create and enforce some new federal regulation, the incentive to play along quietly was the bag of money dangling from the stick, a stick that could also serve as a crop if need be.

The bottom line is that the people no longer have control of economic aspect of their lives, which by extension connects to most other aspects of their lives. Government taxes what they create, what they do, what they own, and what they exchange among themselves. Additionally, government has rationalized exercising authority and varying levels of control over what the people are allowed to create and how they do that, where they do that, what they own and how they own it, and what they exchange among themselves and how they go about that. In addition to control over our economic lives, government has also assumed authority over just about everything else as well.

***

The subjectivity of “too little” or “too much”

Whether the government does more than it should for the people or not enough is a matter of opinion. At least one generation has grown up in a time of increasing government involvement in the activities of daily living and sees that state of affairs as the exemplar of “normalcy.” Again, it is by evolution, rather than by long term intent, that government has acquired excessive “control” over the individual. The lack of an adequate force of opposition to influence a change of course is probably due to the fact that the “intrusions” came with the packages of good intentions. Political influence has been ever present, of course, and sops have been dealt out prolifically where and when needed.

It has been observed that people who are well fed and comfortable present little interference to the engine of state as long as that entity continues to see that they are well fed and comfortable.

Those who think as I do, hold that the government has provided enough to ensure the implosion of our society and economy if the elements of necessity and control are not returned to the province of the people themselves.

Our ancestors succeeded because their government kept them safe while they pursued their goals. My grandson was born into a society where the government will keep him dependent and obedient to its demands. That frightens me and makes me angry.

***

Obamacare, a fraud in good intentions’ clothing

And now, the parade and balloons are all about the next package of good intentions, the so-called “Affordable Care Act”, more commonly known as “Obamacare”.

The economy in a nosedive, President Barack Obama didn’t have his sock drawer organized at the White House yet when he bulldozed the largely unread plan through Congress. When I see a politician hit the ground running with a pet project like that, instead of focusing on the issues at hand, red flags go off all over the place.

The times were right for Pres. Obama to accomplish a number of important milestones for our country. He had become the first person of African heritage to win the office of President of the United States. As such, he had an unprecedented and unique opportunity to mend fences and unify the people after more than fifty years of struggle, strife, and bitterness that had marked the transition of African Americans from second class, back-of-the-bus residents to fully enfranchised citizens of this country. Instead, he was obsessed with his nationalized healthcare plan and what he intended to be his eventual Legacy from the very start.

As we all know, it was passed into law, and the country is now engaged in the process of mashing square pegs into round holes so that the appearance of success and functionality may be created.

Cutting to the chase, in my opinion, The Affordable Care Act is anything but “affordable”. It is not “Care”. Any scope or nature of “Act-tivity” remains to be seen. Obamacare is about Obama first, and if there is anything left over, some “Care” might happen as well. In the meantime, the insurance and healthcare industries are in a flux, caught between the Law and the Reality, with the Law winning by virtue of force. Those who don’t comply will have their money and permissions confiscated.

As I said in the beginning, this has not come to pass as the culmination of any conspiracy. I defy the government to cooperate internally and stay on task long enough for any conspiracy to take root. Can’t do it. Impossible. On the other hand, by incrementally removing control and choice from key aspects of everyday life on the street, we have come to the precipice of a singularly skewed political and social philosophy with crucial checks and balances either removed or manipulated to serve a relatively unchallenged purpose.

***

Gun control controversy

While it may not seem related, the matter of the Second Amendment is very much a part of the changing landscape of the relationship between government and the people, if perhaps for no other fundamental reason than it provides one more area where control could be shifted or removed. The selling points and leading arguments of the opposing viewpoints on this issue do not vary, but an underlying characteristic of the issue itself is rarely addressed. Those who raise the subject are usually dismissed as extremists or nutballs, which I’m sure some of them are. Their mirror images enjoy a similar status in the opposing camp. The point I wish to raise is very strongly tied to my statement that our state of affairs is a function of societal evolution rather than a result of any focused conspiracy or intent.

It has been observed that in the process of a system of government becoming oppressive or totalitarian, history has demonstrated that three constants exist: (1) the people are rendered dependent upon government, (2) the government wrests away control over the exchange of goods and services by manipulating the monetary system, and (3) the government disarms the people.

The driver sliding sideways down the icy highway at 70 MPH did not have that as his goal or purpose when he began his day, but his decisions and actions created the environment of circumstances under which his predicament was inevitable. All of that is irrelevant, however. The only questions remaining would be how and where will he end up?

The only question remaining in our own situation, from my point of view, is can we make the choices and take the actions in the near future that can bring about the necessary course correction to put our society and our nation back on track? Whether the People succeed or fail in this crucial task will be demonstrated by whether or not Congress abandons its extreme polarity and reapproaches open discourse and compromise to be visibly engaged in serving the best interests of the People.

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Posted by: Jeff | November 2, 2013

obamacare

Posted by: Jeff | October 29, 2013

Capitalizing on toadyism…

one boot lick at a time….

Having finally bitten the bullet and dived into the new techy digital age of wireless Doohickies and Thingamajigs I’ve invented a new machine, although I suppose that’s a technical misnomer for an electronic device. Whatever it might be called, I need to get hold of the patent office first thing in the morning.

The idea came to me one recent evening while struggling through yet another news (sic) clip about another someone with a hair trigger Butt-Kiss response prostrating himself on the Altar of Politically Correct Shame for an allegedly dissonant public occurrence. In fact, the anguished entity, none other than broadcast network ABC, didn’t even commit the beastly sin, but a CHILD on one of their shows made an unscripted faux pas and the execs couldn’t pass up a golden opportunity to hijack accountability and publicly munch on crow.

Is this a fad? An addiction? A personality disorder? I don’t know, but I have assaulted this keyboard on more than a few occasions over the past couple of years when anyone who was well known, or liked to fantacize that he was, moped with lightening speed to the nearest microphone or TV camera to confess his inhumanity. In some cases, those who allegedly had been offended either hadn’t even heard the good news yet or weren’t more than mildly annoyed, and perhaps needed a nudge from some volunteer whipping boy to get the ball rolling.

So, once again, Duty Calls!

There are headlines to write, pages to fill, boats to rock, advocates to validate, and points to be won, so ABC took the bull$hit by the horns and bared their corporate soul with the enthusiasm of Dobby the House Elf of Harry Potter renown reaching for something to bash himself in the head with.

Apparently, during a comedy skit in which kids were interviewed about their take on current events, one child served up an unscripted and politically incorrect quip with the potential to fire up some of Asian heritage with Al Sharpton-like intensity. (No kidding, I once wrote a blog about chocolate and Sharpton threatened to camp out on my lawn for using the word “brown” without his permission). Well, not really, but as I was saying, an oriental version of the good Senator from New York whined to ABC and the rest is….whatever one wants to make of it, I suppose. Granted, what the kid said wasn’t very nice, but if I said something that wasn’t very nice when I was a kid, I got a punch in the nose at recess, or had my mouth washed out with soap, and that was the end of it. Today it can lead to three and a half new laws and a spike in the median income of attorneys (hence, the grovelfests). As for deciding what to make of it, how does one make something meaningful out of something nonsensical?

Once again, I am moved to comment on the modern compulsion to self-flagellate anytime anyone not located on the same portion of the bell curve as the alleged violator of some implied social fiat raises a disapproving eyebrow. As most will recall, over the past several decades, there has been a lemming-like stampede to Uncle Sam’s apron strings of folks seeking their Membership Cards and Magic Whistles for the Victims Club. In order to qualify, one has only to prove that he or she was neither a Republican nor a Mayflower Descendant, had been associated with the “wrong side of the tracks” at some point, had ancestors who landed at Ellis Island or on the banks of the Rio Grande, or who had a funny name, marched to the beat of selected drums, or simply thought they might slip in under the tent flaps. The motivation for this unusual form of magnetism was access to programs and other special benefits created for the Allegedly Oppressed and taboo for everyone else, who were doomed to not only have to pay for their own stuff but for that of the privileged underprivileged as well.

It was a good idea when it started out way back when. There really were some who were required by law or convention to settle for the short end of the stick, and steps were taken to improve their lot. Unfortunately, the whole idea got out of hand. Now, instead of an over worked and understaffed sub-bureaucracy ensuring that the truly oppressed and disadvantaged had food, clothing, shelter and equal protection under the Constitution of the United States, we have a swollen public payroll feeding hundreds of thousands of workers who’s job it is to see that nobody with a Membership Card and Magic Ring wants for food (including potato chips, Twinkies, and lobster), clothing (“good” stuff….being out of style lowers the self esteem), housing, education (college entrance handicapped like golf, grants, loans written off), transportation, yadda, yadda, yadda. Oh, I almost forgot, ….and to ensure that NONE so qualified gets called rude names or has his or her feelings hurt.

So, to get back to my invention, I sort of sympathize with those who find necessary to publicly munch crow whenever someone on The List gets a tic or looks like he might if the mood strikes him. The consequence, in most social circles, is like a twenty first century version of drawing and quartering. Nevertheless, toadyism is repulsive regardless of the reasons cited, so in honor of those who soak up shame like Aruba sunshine I created a device that will take any remnants of ambivalence out of the process and kick-start the requisite self flagellation display automatically.

I have tentatively decided to call it the A.S.S.H.O.L.E. , or the Apology Simulator for $hit Heads Offended by Literally Everything. As the name implies, it will be a device that monitors various neurobiological functions to sense when any qualified individual is insulted, called a name, or given the finger by one who is not qualified. Those not qualified will be monitored through their cell phones, computers, refrigerators, teeth, and pets for untoward words or evidence of intention to utter such words. The device will then use a form of automated neuro-stimulation to trigger an Apology Response in selected individuals or their proxies.

All I have to do is figure out how to hack the NSA so I can access the data and I’m golden. I’m going to make a bundle.

 

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Posted by: Jeff | October 20, 2013

Deer season…..

Deer season.....

Posted by: Jeff | October 14, 2013

TV brainsuck.….

there’s a pill for that…..

I’m not so stupid as to believe everything that oozes out of my television, but I have to wonder what the future must hold in store for those of fewer sunsets who were perhaps raised with a remote in one hand and a cell phone in the other instead of a chocolate bar and a toy truck. The little time I spend watching the damned thing tends to be taken up by the evening news and a couple of things on the History Channel, Discovery, or the Public Broadcasting Network, so I have no idea what transpires during the daytime or after 9 o’clock or so at night.

What I have noticed, however, is the nature of the advertising. The nice lady in the apron holding up a box of laundry soap and saying “This is laundry soap; buy it,” disappeared before gasoline hit 25 cents a gallon, and as recently as 2009 (latest figures found) every hour of programming contained 10:35 minutes of commercial advertising and another 13:54 minutes of network commercial blather. No wonder the US has an obesity problem. Americans spend 41% of their leisure time waddling to the refrigerator and back. I’m on a great diet, though: I eat whatever the hell I want, but I only watch an hour or so of TV in a day. Besides, at my age each trip to the refrigerator usually translates into a trip to the bathroom, so it’s best to economize.

But, back to the issues that concern me about the 34 hours of brainsuck the average person subjects himself to each week. I’m not on a mission or anything here. My sole purpose is to dish out ridicule, and I seem to have a limitless supply of seed stock to work with. Today I just want to focus on the commercial and infomercial side of the equation. The actual programming content, to use the term with great license, is another matter and cannot be approached without benzodiazapines, the likes of which I eschewed decades ago, or a Black Belt in Yoga. Perhaps I’ll have to sign up for a class. If I attempt such commentary without proper preparation, I’m liable to put a box of .357 reloads through the Toshiba. I did that once, but it was a GE and I did it at a local gravel pit, not in my living room. That sort of behavior is no longer environmentally permissible, however.

So, as those of us who played with stamped steel toys, raced barefoot and bareheaded on fenderless rusty bicycles down tarred streets bubbling in the summer sun, and played Cowboys and Army with BB guns or .22 birdshot enter our senior years, the electronic snake-oil salesmen are singing our song; if it can be described pharmaceutically, it has a permanent place in the Top Forty. I enjoy a certain amount of immunity however, because, first of all, I don’t spend much ass-time watching the crap that’s on, and secondly, because I’m already on a boatload of pills that taste bad, look funny, and have names I can’t pronounce, none of which apparently merit epic productions recorded in exotic places. Cheap generics to keep me from keeling over in the grocery line while trying to buy Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup on the sly on the way home from Cardiac Rehab. Nothing sexy or exciting about that.

I have to question the mean intelligence of my generation, because obviously enough of them buy into the horse manure being pitched over the airwaves to justify the incredible amount of money that the prime time ad campaigns must cost. I don’t waste any adrenalin on the younger generations who are targeted by the OTHER ads, those that feature hormone dripping post-adolescents piloting skateboards upside down or their counterparts of the redundant chromosome variety who model bathing suits they can carry to the beach in an ear ring and wear skirts the size of a fan belt for a go-kart. These lost souls grew up playing with OSHA certified toys they couldn’t cut themselves on, choke on, absorb some toxin from, or hit younger siblings over the head with; they were brought home from the hospital in padded Brink’s trucks, and have worn helmets and knee pads to do anything more vigorous than taking a crap. These future people of note and influence have been groomed to sprinkle prescription substances on their genetically modified, organic breakfast cardboard, and took Assertiveness Training in Pre-Pre-Kindergarten while Mom got her nails done and the Dad With No Name did time. Theirs has been a lifetime of subliminal messages. By the time they can drive, they are fully programmed to suffer every disease or malady known to pharmaceutical science and to treat each and every self-diagnosis religiously with the recommended products.

When I do my quarterlies at my doctor’s to have my database tuned up, I get fifteen minutes to answer questions about what medications I’m on (he prescribed the damned things in the first place and should know. I should start charging him for the information), hear about his kid’s latest football game, and if there’s any time left I can try to tell him stuff on the way out the door like I coughed up my left kidney a week ago last Tuesday.

Medicine is in for some major changes in a few years. These kids are going to make appointments for their physicians to come see THEM on a regular basis, during which time they will educate him/her about the latest pharmacology and place orders for prescriptions they need to treat self-diagnosed maladies real and imagined, mostly the latter.

Anyway, selecting any program after the six o’clock news constitutes de facto subscription to an evening of medical indoctrination interrupted by brief spurts of programming. There is no “opt out”. The typical “message” opens with a brief drama, comedy skit, or heads up to some impending doom, any of which might be set on a tropical island, dangling from the battlement of a castle, or just about anyplace else real or imagined, followed by a brief mention of some biological misfortune, which is in turn followed by a “Let There Be Light” moment during which the selected Miracle Cure is introduced. The remainder of the piece consists of a rapid-fire recitation of every possible “side effect” one might receive like some kind of Cracker Jack prize when they ingest the stuff, up to and including the statistical probability of being run over by a boat while shingling the garage roof.

Frankly, I’d rather put up with my lower back pain than have my lips fall off.

Me, I take generics when I can, and I argue with my doctor instead of trying to lecture him about the pharmacology I learned between cartoons or America’s Funniest Disembowelment re-runs. I never did understand that crazy come-on: “Tell your doctor about…. ” These drug companies are out of their minds, or more likely my peers are for supporting such scams. I pay my doctor to tell ME what’s wrong and what he thinks I should do about it because he went to school twice as long as I did and he studied real science, not Keg Tapping 101. I’m not some trained monkey who can be conned into playing Detail Man for free to my physician on behalf of some pill company while paying the guy $160 for fifteen minutes of his time, ten of which he spends updating my file on a laptop computer before making eye contact. If they want me to sell their crap and blow in my doctor’s ear so he’ll prescribe it to me, I want a fat paycheck.

Perhaps you have noticed. It has been determined that there now is no activity of daily living not accompanied by a diagnosis and referral to either a pharmaceutical product, a lawyer, or both. One has to wonder how the human species made it thus far on its own. Madison Avenue has pulled off the ultimate coup by convincing a nation to be obsessed with each and every body part and function, and that there is a designated pill, tonic, salve, or therapy for every real or fantasized malfunction of each.

If a man happens to inadvertently lose his focus on the dispenser of parmesan cheese and is observed momentarily studying the backside of a passing waitress, his name is destined to be Mud, among other things. Yet, he can sit in the comfort of his own living room and join the rest of the viewing public in learning everything one might (or might not) want to know about her bodily functions, specialized potions, appliances, garments, personal care products, and more. Similarly, should Little Miss Muffet, aka Honey Boo Boo, stay up a few commercials past her bedtime, she’ll know everything one might (or might not) want HER to know about erectile dysfunction, so she can discuss it with her Kindergarten teacher in the morning and sit in on the subsequent Department of Human Services interview with her parents.

Who would have thought millions of decidedly macho American denizens of the gym, Mt. Everest, and other venues of sweat, spit, and gore limped humbly off to their family doctors for prescriptions enabling them to participate in an activity every living organism from the amoeba to the elephant taps into simply by virtue of taking up space, chewing its own cud, or exchanging gases? And none of them look a day over forty. And, not only that, but when “the urge strikes”, these guys do things like go to the movies, light a campfire, drive around in the mud pulling a horse trailer, or taking a bath!

It would all be incredibly funny except that it is non-stop, it is repetitive, and one has to suspect a lot of folks have been seduced into stupidity for the advertisers to continue running this foolishness day after day.

Sad.

 

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Posted by: Jeff | September 22, 2013

Treatise on Being Offended.….

or: BFD….

Human behavior, whether individually or in groups, fascinates me, which, I suppose, may have contributed to my having selected psychology as a college major. Admittedly, the fact that the field delved heavily into the sciences of the mind and minimally into the sciences of numbers may have had something to do with it as well. Although interesting, math and physics have never been my forte.

Which leads me into this morning’s commentary about some of the stupid things my planetary brothers and sisters do.

Today’s rant was inspired by an NBC News item regarding the rising angst among those with judicial responsibilities and those with goiter-eyes and constricted sphincters regarding the enthusiastic use of the name “YID ARMY” by Jewish fans of London’s Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. The “Y” word is under fire by those who would make the world a better place, whether you like it or not.

***

To synopsize the issue at hand, the Brits are struggling over what to do about use of the word “Yid” and its allegedly illegitimate kin which have enjoyed a lusty revival by local Jewish (soccer) fans cheering on the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club as it does battle on The Footy Pitch. It reminds me of the ongoing contest in the United States over who is allowed to use certain terms and when, a sport currently dominated by those who would wax pedantic over spoken references to fellow human beings of melanin enhanced skin and black, curly hair whose ancestors hailed from Africa. One man’s “Honey” is another man’s “Bitch”. Apologies to the American Kennel Club.

In the long run, it really doesn’t matter who is offended by whom, or by the lexicons of various “whoms”. Being “offended” by the speech of others is merely one of countless expressions of humanity’s innate game of “King of the Mountain”. There are no permanent winners and no permanent losers, which tends to leave us as a species in some sort of ongoing flux over who gets to be the referees and judges. Followed to its logical (sic) conclusion, regarding differences of opinion, and more importantly, how they are worded, human beings have carved as many as an estimated billion notches designating duly slaughtered erstwhile friends and neighbors on their gunstocks, spear handles, and rocks while trying to decide between SHIT and SHINOLA.

Think of the lives that have been ruined by untimely utterances of such shots across the bow as Hgrmmmm…. instead of the preferred Hggrmmmm…. ; eh?… instead of huh?…..; meat instead of boeuf; Yo instead of Sire; Bob instead of Robert; ain’t, and a veritable database of mouthfuls and brainwaves condemned to ignominy by some puckerbutt control-freak with a “thou shalt not.. ” rubber stamp and a name tag.

So, the British sports fans, some shellfish eaters and some not, are embroiled in a slap fight over what should be the “proper” way in which to refer to their favorite football club. Over on this side of the pond, fans who cheer the Redskins aren’t allowed to date the daughters of those who would change the team’s name to the Squirrels, or something like that. As for the Brits, I could suggest a dozen or so alternatives to “YID”, but each would be horrifically life-changing to someone, somewhere, I am certain.

Funny. When I was Social Chairman of my college fraternity back in the early sixties, responsible for hiring the bands and ordering the beer, there was a popular combo who called themselves The Ten Screamin’ Niggers. They were always booked up by the second day of any semester. Go figure. Today, they’d have to be called The Ten Acapella African Americans, or some such soporific but temporarily PC moniker; day job mandatory, of course.

Ever since our forebears crawled out of the primordial ooze, stood upright, evolved from spinach, or were created on a Tuesday morning by some magical dude in the sky with a sense of humor and a mean streak, or whatever reference will be least likely to find me beheaded in some dumpster with slogans carved into my butt, people have been coming up with ingenious ways to piss each other off, filled libraries with various and ever-changing Rules of the Mouth, and invented barbaric ways to punish those who piss us off personally.

One of the first things that happened when a group of optimists penned the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech a couple of hundred years ago was the simultaneous establishment of at least thirteen Blue Ribbon Commissions to concoct an applicable yet unsolvable rats nest of rules, regulations, and exceptions.

No sweat.

Same excreta, different mound over there, I guess.

“Go YIDs!”

…..or something like that….

 

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