Thursday, July 28, 2011

Do the math

Remember < from math?  4<7?  We are now in a time of consistently being told USA <.  < What?  I'm not sure yet.

Go to any liberal hangout on the web and see grievance upon grievance against the USA.  Someone killed a wolf.  DEMONIC!  Now, that wolf might have been killed because the wolf population got so large it was threatening the very existence of ANOTHER wildlife population, but someone killed a wolf.  That person <.  And as a nation, we are < because it happens!

Someone poor is losing their house!  USA is < because everyone should get a house here even while there are tent cities in Africa.  They got the loan because we changed the policies because the poor person > the ability to repay.  Now we must make them = by paying up.

An industry is emitting CO2 into the atmosphere.  That business < now, even though they've consistently kept emissions standards.  It would be fine to move that business to a poorer country.  Employing near-slave labor there would = out their emissions violations.  At least the people would have jobs.  Here, though, the union > the individual rights of the worker.

Some people in country X are expressing concern about the actions of some Muslim immigrants to their country!  That country < because ALL Muslim immigrants are = or possibly >!  Just misunderstood!

A soldier becomes a conscientious objector.  That soldier > other soldiers!

An atheist gets upset because he/she's being exposed to people of faith.  Since that person is < in number, their opinion > in weight!

America, the young nation that elected its first black president is a nation of cowards in talking about race.  We are < France, < Sudan!  Some people should get to be > in order that all can be =.

The head of the UN calls us a deadbeat nation.  The HOME to the UN is < even in the midst of a huge crisis because he wants us to show him the money.  Who is greedy again?  But he's the head of the UN so his intelligence > ours.

We are < in education even though the per capita spending on students is > every country except Canada.  But we should spend more and if we question this, we are against education.  The liberals seem to feel that any student graduating the system and becoming a Republican is an indication that education <.  I would, however, say it's a sign that indoctrination <.

I think what's going on in America is a backlash from the gut.

Self-loathing doesn't suit a person.  To look in the mirror and be preoccupied with everything that's wrong.  How can it be a healthy prescription for an entire country?

We are getting tired of being told we are <.  We are beginning to see that it's just a way to destroy our sense of self and push an agenda we don't agree with.  We understand that in the eyes of some, if we feel a need to rein things in, we are not progressive, we are <.  We used to believe we were =.

Some people believe we, as a nation,  >.

Almost everyone's had a job where the motto seemed to be: "The floggings will continue until morale improves."  Now, from our gut, we feel that this is a national preoccupation and we're waiting for the one who will say, "You know, you're actually great.  You are not <.  You are certainly = to the task.  And in some respects, you really are >."

People are recovering their sense of selves and watching the government do more and more in the name of <.  We've begun to do the math.

Monday, July 25, 2011

"Do some firebombing"?????

Have a read  of a left-winger's comment on Reddit awhile back.  This person is well known on social media sites.

"The Republicans were so rabid against FDR, that they even went so far as to attack his dog, just like they did against Obama
The difference is this: FDR fought back, and he fought back hard. History (and the voters) reward real leadership, and Obama has been severely lacking. I understand everything you are saying, and know that perceptions matter, but in the end, who is playing who? The end result of this political theater is an ever increasing conservative position and the sacrifice of real change and reform.
Stand strong, fight back, do some firebombing. Progressives may take a temporary hit, but will send an undeniable message to the cons: they mean business and are willing to do anything it takes to support progress.
If the Republicans want to hold START hostage, so be it. Fight back and kill all highway funding to red states. Or better yet, start to play the media harder and get the message out. There has never been a better time for progressives to draw a clear contrast with the regressive right, we have the moral highground, and need to broadcast it."

Sometimes a person has to introspect.  Exactly WHAT SORT of radical is giving me my "talking points"?   This Reddit poster, Novenator, is also a blogger known as Ole Ole Olson at the far-left site "NewsJunkiePost."

The comment on Reddit is something I had not seen until today, but doesn't it speak volumes?

What's particularly egregious is that the author of the quote is someone who frequently sends up distress signals about the dangerous "right-wingers."  In addition, this person talks about language used by politicians as something that might incite those "right-wingers" to violence.

Do some firebombing for the progressive cause?  It can be a tendency on the part of some people to hold folks responsible for things they did not say... things that were said by people who shared their ideology, but here we have an actual encouragement to do violence from the horse's mouth.

You know who used to like to use fire-bombs?  The KKK.  

Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) Freedom Riders arrived in Anniston in May 1961.  The KKK threw firebombs on the bus, which forced the Freedom Riders out of the bus into the violent arms of the KKK, who wielded bats and chains upon the Freedom Riders.

What sets YOU apart from barbarians?  Are you "willing to do anything it takes to support progress"?  Well, are you?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Obamapologetics and the idea of patriotism.

When the president talked about American "arrogance" in Europe, it didn't bother me all that much.  I saw comments from older Americans, folks who remember wars who were deeply offended.  I didn't want to jump on the "he's an embarrassment" bandwagon because he also told Europe that they have had an insidious tendency to criticize America and overlook the good we do in the world.  That is true.

When I saw his comments in Turkey, however, I got annoyed.  Now, let me say, I liked the Turkish people I met in Europe.  Turkey IS one Muslim country that reaches out to be an ally to other countries that don't neccessarily share their religion.

But I really think Obama should have a meeting with the Pope.  He's an American.  And he's obviously feeling guilty about that.  So guilty that he has to announce the sins of the past into the winds of the future as though he's uttering a new truth.  Or maybe he's just trying to keep old vendettas unearthed.  No one in the USA is ignorant about our past.  We put ourselves under the microscope through our media and our art.  We try diligently to right wrongs and trudge onward to a destiny that is better than the sum of the wrongs of the past.

And we succeed.

Clearly he feels that he needs absolution for his nation's history.  It must be hard to represent a country that you feel has done so much wrong that you need to pronounce things already on the historical record from the podiums of the world.  Even though the nations you are apologizing to are not spit-shiny with their own histories.  In fact, some have far worse in their own closets.

I'm proud of my country.  I think Obama isn't. The more he pines for recognition of the manifold pivot points in American civil rights, the more he seems to somehow DENY they were pivot points.  That we, internally, did the right thing to rectify them and ... I'm not sure where he's going with this.

Are America's past sins so grave that She must proceed directly to Hell?  Must Americans give up liberty and prosperity because Her record isn't spotless?  At some point, does a generation that was NOT AT ALL involved in the troubled history get to live without the sins of the former generation visited upon them in the form of shame and guilt?

When will we be forgiven for what we didn't perpetrate?  When can our youth be released from the chains of the past and the scorn of people they never oppressed?  When will the ire of those who were never personally oppressed dissipate in the interests of uniting the nation and REALLY moving Her forward?

Where is the forgiveness after all of this confession?  What sort of atonement is required for people who never perpetrated the crimes?  Self-loathing is a ball and chain, but prominent figures espouse national self-loathing.  Bill Ayers, Ward Churchill, Reverend Wright, Louis Farrahkan...when are we allowed to say, "Shove  it.  You are not talking about me and you are mired in a kind of hate that I have no interest in embracing?"

I understand that I haven't even TOUCHED upon the sort of anger that people who have worked for human rights or fought in wars must be feeling right now as a result of the Apologist in Chief.  If we are going to hold ourselves to an impeccable standard and require that guilt becomes a suffocating blanket thrown over our entire population, then we certainly have the right to indict other nations that don't apologize and atone.

But we won't.  We are forgiving of other nations.  When do we get to be forgiven and when will the finger-pointing end?  When might we be allowed again to look at the stars and stripes and feel that pang of togetherness and pride?   As long as we remain divided by the moral authoritarians, we are easy to conquer and that's not the America I know.

That one time when I went to a Tea Party protest (April 15, 2009)

Overturned burning cars.  Broken windows.  Ok... actually there was a canned food drive and we were asked to bring some beans. Those insidious rapscallions!  We didn't carry our beans concealed.  Sometimes beans CAN be a weapon, if you know what I'm saying...

Being slackers like we are, we were late to the protest on account of a previous appointment.  We got there for the last half hour.

We didn't know if we'd find the event.  This is the mild midwest, not some right-wing terror state like Texas or Alaska.  How would we locate our fellow dangerous-minded people?  We thought maybe we'd join five or six revolutionaries, talk bad about the government for awhile and then disperse to go eat meat for supper, as we do.

Then we saw, like, a whole BUNCH of people!  Like four hundred or so. It's almost as though regular folks heard about this anarchist movement and actually decided to turn up and wave signs in an organized manner!
We parked across the road from the Congressman's office.  I guess he wasn't there.  Some people said they weren't letting protesters park in his lot, but then the media showed up and they decided to go ahead and let people park in their congressman's lot.  I can understand him not coming out to meet with or talk to people.  These people might not have voted for him after all.

We parked in the far end of an empty lot of a bank.  You won't believe what we found out next.  It'll scare you right where you are.
This guy is clearly a dangerous revolutionary.  You can tell by looking.  He said that the woman from the bank walked out and told people they couldn't park there because it's private property.  I can understand.  If sixty customers had showed up at the bank all at once, seven of them wouldn't have been able to park in the bank's lot!

Anyway, this guy told the woman that he'd move his car and withdraw his money from their bank the next day!  Turns out he is a customer and he actually THREATENED to stop doing business with the bank!  Can you believe it? 
Someone has to stop these people.  The woman was so scared that she went inside the bank and didn't come out again.
Oh no.  Clearly a shill for the military-industrial complex conspiracy type of guy!  Support the military?  You have to be kidding me.  Who do these people think they are.  Defense=war.  Didn't they get the memo?

What an angry mob!  Don't they scare you?  You're going to have nightmares about this aren't you?  Sue them for it, I say!

Ohmigosh.  These Nazis are actually laughing and smiling.  I can. not. believe. it.

No no newsguy!  Don't give media attention to this rabble!  It will just encourage them and they will tear America down!  They want to say stuff!  It has to be stopped.  It has to.

Get a load of this goon.  Sitting there all smug and smiling with her sign acting like she might have some wisdom just because she's 101.  Don't be fooled by the modest springlike jacket, I'm sure this plant is Leona Helmsley rich!  Those old people have to go!

My goodness.  These war mongers have no shame.  Obviously this deranged woman is PROUD to have a child in the military.  It just goes to show you how unhinged these folks are.

That is NOT funny young lady!  You clearly need to volunteer in the civilian youth corps and get educated properly.  Don't you know what 1773 led to?  It led to a war!  Yes, the country got its liberty...but there was a huge rebellion.  And it didn't STOP taxation!

I just don't understand the thought process of these people!  They are like another species!  Can you imagine wanting to take a photograph of that 101 year-old woman sitting all regal in that chair like she's the queen of the world and can't stand up like the rest of them?  It's like something bad out of Revelations or something.  Society has gone ca-raaazy! Anyway, it was clear that this was a totally insignificant completely staged event where people were utterly out of touch with reality.  Zombies. I mean, a centenarian protesting for the first time in her long life?  The country is going to Hell in a handbasket and the government had better do something about it.

This doggy knows what danger lies ahead.   Someone actually suggested that a uniformed police officer in an unmarked car drove by and discreetly gave the mob a thumbs-up!  We need to find out who that was and report him to Homeland Security!  And some driver rolled down his window and yelled, "Remember your freedom!  Remember your freedom!"  Like that bad guy in "Braveheart".

Rabble.  Anarchy.  Chaos.  It's all HERE.  Here's the pudding wherein lies the proof.

Fly the mighty (poem)

Dedicated to the Seals who were murdered.  May God hold you softly.

Fly the mighty
Into night
Over continental breeze
On a raft of silvery
To the home of family

Fly the mighty
Out of squalor
Into arms of evernever
Embracing stars
Endeavor peace and dignity

Fly the mighty
From the rubble
Of the trouble
Always spoken
To the land of whispery imagination blossoming

Fly the mighty
From the midst of petty
Thievery and drift on satin apron strings
To meditate on golden things won long ago before
The Earth shook angry because we looked down

Fly the mighty
With the innocents
To swoop and joyful shout
In aerial endeavors free from tethers
And, formerly mute, shout silently of liberty.

Proof of hollandaise.

My niece likes to ask me to make food.  I have mastered the Giouvetsi.  I made "those green dippy vegetables" (artichokes)...but I had not made the Hollandaise Sauce.

I told her that I wasn't really partial to Hollandaise sauce, but she wanted it.  So I cooked some fresh asparagus one night and made Hollandaise sauce to top it.

My Hollandaise sauce was glorious, but the others decided they are not partial to it, either.  So, it will be my last Hollandaise Sauce.

I took this photo a good half hour after the sauce was made.  It was lovely and stayed together all saucily.

Please to oooh and aaaah at my one and only Hollandaise sauce.

Good food...BAD fortunes!

We have a local Chinese place that is very good.  It's in a small town where, as far as I know, cats aren't disappearing.  You know how sometimes you go to a Chinese place and everything tastes the same?  Well, it doesn't at this restaurant.  This hole in the wall is really, really yummy!  But the fortunes in the cookies, frankly, stink.

This is W&F Fortune Cookie company outta Chicago.  They must have some very disgruntled employees.  Here are THREE fortunes that found their way into our hands.

1) 19,30,59, 22, 21...oops, wrong side.  I am SOOOO winning the Mega Millions.
But seriously,

"Money is the root of all evil and man needs roots."

THIS is supposed to be a fortune?  That is an anti-fortune!  "I would like to pay the bill, but your cookie told me not to. It might be evil."


"A good time to finish up old tasks."

An admonition to get back to the daily grind?  Just what I want while picking beef and peapods out of my teeth.


"Be moderate where pleasure is concerned, avoid fatigue."

Hum drum, much?  What if I already live a Spartan life devoid of much pleasure?
At least I had two Mountain Dews with the meal, so I can at least fulfill the last part of my mandated cookie fortune.  The Dews brought me pleasure, though, so uh-oh.

And the cookies were stale, too.

I had sushi at a buffet in Illinois

There's so much wrong with that statement, I know.  You're wondering if I'm on crack.  Actually, in Illinois, it would be meth.  From what I understand of meth, it's like Chlorocrack, made from stuff under the sink.  Every once in awhile a lab blows and knocks the trailer right off its cement blocks.

I have had sushi before.  It's okay.  I'm not averse to trying unconventional foods, but I don't have a sushi passion akin to the one my cousin has.  That ginger loves him some sushi.

Anyway, there are these Chinese buffets blossoming all over here, where "Old Country Buffet"s used to be.  They have an assortment of Chinese food, an American salad bar (with lychees on it) a Mongolian chef-y area and lots of seafood, with a sushi chef.

I decided to try the sushi.  To be honest, the sushi chef was looking kind of lonely.  I got a tuna roll and then something else with tuna and avocado in it, but he took the tongs and excitedly put some things with eel in them on my plate.  "Is eer, is good!"

I got my wasabi and soy sauce, but passed on the pickled ginger.

I dunked my tuna roll and put it in my mouth.  Ok, it's not BAD, per se...but it's not tail-waggingly good either.  I tried the other tuna roll and it was about the same, even with the avocado on it.  I tried.  Really.  Maybe it's Freudian (not that I go all in for that Freudian crap) but...I could not bring myself to try the eel.

It's all good.  My brother took the plate and finished the Sushi off and then we went to Wal Mart.  Only in America.

Sensational Headline Nation and crap journalism. August, 2009

THIS  is the story I want to blog about right now:  But make sure to do what most people don't do, and read it to the end.

Let me just say this to start:   Every morning my first prayer is for the safety of our president.  I loathe the idea of violent rhetoric.  If you want my opinion, and face it, you don't...but you'll read anyway, the man outside one town hall who had a sign that read "time to water the tree of liberty" and who also displayed a gun...though he broke no laws....he should have been questioned by the Secret Service.  Most of the Republicans that I know have had the intellectual honesty to call that guy an idiot.

I want to comment also and ESPECIALLY about the man in Washington County, MD with the horrible sign calling for the death of Obama and his family.  It looks like he ripped the top off of his 30 pack of Bud and scribbled the words, nonetheless, the Secret Service is right to question him.

When my parents relocated back to the States after our time abroad, they searched a long time for a house.  Finally, they found one that was perfect, bought it, and moved in.  I joined them there later.

It turned out that the town seemed quite unfriendly.  I overheard one local couple who owned a business in town saying terrible things about a black family walking down the sidewalk of the historic town.  It turned out that this couple was active in the KKK who, according to common knowledge, had a camp nearby in the mountains.  That couple was ardently and staunchly Democrat.  They displayed every Democrat's political sign proudly in their windows at election time.

The town was white.  The local Lutheran minister decided to challenge the problem by moving in and sponsoring one black family.  To be honest, I felt bad for those kids.  Shortly after this happened there was a credible rumor that the KKK was planning a march down Main Street.  The street where we lived.  I was horrified and told my father that if they came, I would be standing on our front porch with a sign repudiating them.

They never showed up.  I'm sure it's because they feared me. (I'm sure.)

What's the point here, you ask?  The town in which I lived was in Washington County, MD...a short distance from Hagerstown, where the "death to Obama" sign was displayed outside a townhall by what looks to me like a skinhead.

But on to this CBS story.  It's frankly, awful.  It is tying these townhall protests to white supremacists and making the health care debate story, once again, about racism, violence and fear.  The story is not about race.

I hope nothing happens to would be a tragedy and a disaster, but what you've got here is an insistence by some that the uprisings questioning the healthcare bill are, by some kind of corollary, tied to a dangerous racist & violent sentiment towards Obama.  This is crap journalism, that is also mongering fear.

You have to go to the very last paragraph to get what is INCREDIBLY relevant to interpreting the story.  To quote:
While officials told ABC News that the President's daily threat matrix has yet to reflect a sharp increase in threats, White House officials privately admit deep concern and have told the Secret Service to keep security tight, even if Obama objects. In short, the final paragraph reveals that the entire story is based on speculation and bunkum and that the official information shows that there isn't an increased threat.  I think my college journalism professor would have given this story an F and said it was deliberately misleading, unobjective and, frankly, crap.

And as to the final line of the story...Obama OWES it to every American to go along with the recommendations of the Secret Service in every circumstance.  No objections.

"This is when he poops his pants" .... Aug. 2009

My brother remembers me saying this.  Torture is once again (coincidentallly?) in the news.  I mean, I'd never think that because the health care bill's meeting with dissent and Obama's ratings are tanking that they'd put TORTURE back in the news cycle deliberately, or anything.

Am I the only one noticing that the torture story headlines are really sensationalistic and then the actual info is nothing new?  In fact, leftist sites and Seymour Hersh have said WAAAAY worse than these released pieces of information?

Did Al Qaeda sign Geneva Conventions and when they get one of ours, they give them marshmallows and let them watch Comedy Central all day long...or do they behead them on YouTube? Because I'm not sure what I'm supposed to think, here.

So far, according to official reports, we've got three or four top Al Qaeda leaders subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques.  AND NOT ONE OF THEM HAS HAD THEIR GONADS HOOKED TO BATTERIES!

Look, I'd love to be all - golly, Oreos and milk will get people to talk...but I don't know that.

You know why?  Because none of them talked after getting Oreos and milk.  They TALKED after enhanced interrogation techniques.  Hindsight eats sunshine and craps rainbows.  We are all idealistic...but what good is idealism, if you are dead at the hands of extremists?

Apparently, we got info about a plot to take down the Brooklyn bridge, explode gas stations, derail a train, crash planes into Heathrow and crash planes into a building in LA.  These are only the things released so far, that were prevented...and we're supposed to hate the CIA and the administration?

Which leads me to the title of this blog.  Obama hasn't reversed all those terrible Bush-era things, like renditions, the Patriot Act.....Guantanamo, still open!  I've been reading Nancy Reagan's book.  She talked about debates and how she hated them...why?  Because the incumbent is at a disadvantage .  They know all kinds of top secret info that they CAN'T mention, while the other party is attacking them on foreign policy.

That's really the dream of the naive.  The wishful hopeychanging of the situation.  The ignorance is bliss...

When Obama won and the news said that he was about to attend his first TOP SECRET national security briefing, I turned to my brother and said, "This is when he poops his pants...."

We're not stupid, stupid.

Time Warped.

I realized something last week when I bought a few light pop culture magazines to see me through the gap between dental work.  I was perusing them when it hit me:  I don't know who 20% of these people are.

I thought, "This has to be the beginning of the end."  I'd once kept on top of things like culture, music, technology.  I am now backwards.  It's only one short step to "Lawrence Welkville" for me if I don't leap myself back into the zeitgeist!

There will come a time that I will lament the loss of Facebook to Twitter.  I will bitterly cling to bands that play instruments.  When someone says "The Decembrists" I will say, "I remember when bands had GOOD names, like "10,000 Maniacs" and "The Police"!  I'll shuffle past you in my slippers muttering, "Computers were never meant to be held in your hand. I'll crochet you a PC cover!"

Whenever I have a "tech" issue, I will point at the problem and say to my niece, "You fix!  I can't get access to The Oatmeal!"
It was stark reality just today when I could not solve my music issue.  I had tweedled around and mucked with things and just couldn't sort it out.  I had to hand it over to the niece.  I still don't know what she did.

I'd better get myself a book about the new realities of life.  I should study up, although I kind of like the idea of a slow progression to codgerhood.  With age comes wisdom.  The wisdom to point at a problem and say, "You fix.  I watch."

Being American and being proud. May 25, 2009

I know.  I'm not supposed to.  Right now we are in the self-loathing cycle that is meant to keep us infighting and focused internally.  All the things we knew about from over three years ago, Abu Ghraib...waterboarding...are front and center on the debate stage being warmed over with spotlights like they are new and urgent things that require attention now.  I think this is a dangerous pathology.

We're supposed to HAVE this debate late and without all the evidence.  We know that after 9/11, the nation's intel was in some disarray.  There was talk of "chatter" and possible additional plots.  Those plots did not happen, but if you listen to the way some people talk, those plots against Americans should have been carried out.  There is evidence saying that interrogations led to thwarting of at least two terrorist attacks. (I mean, man-made disasters.)  One was a plan to take down the Brooklyn Bridge.  The other was the destruction of a building in LA.  9/11 style stuff.  And instead of saying, "Oh, thank you!"  People are saying, "You used waterboarding and we disapprove."  Apparently, there's more that we don't know...but people are racing to late and politically convenient judgment about something that we already knew about.

These three Al Qaeda members aren't misunderstood petty thugs.  They are Bin Laden-esque leaders of a death cult pledged to destroy America.  Most people want Bin Laden dead.  I say most, because there appear to be quite a few who think we had 9/11 coming, so Bin Laden should get a lawyer and a chance to explain why American needs to be destroyed.  He may, after all, have a point?

And it would get great ratings. *fist bump*

We're the most bizarre of cultures.  We have a guy on tape saying, "We did it and by the way, death to America!"  Eight years later Jesse Ventura's on a radio show suggesting a conspiracy.  Jesse Ventura?

Down in Tennessee they had a conference to talk about slavery and reparations a couple of months back . Now, I know about slavery in the USA.  It is indeed a dark chapter in our history.  But having a conference now is like taking a dog and sticking its nose in a poop on the carpet that it didn't make. 
We're supposed to be forgiving and "progress"... but we're talking about making people who didn't commit sins pay for people who weren't the victims of the sins?  Progressives really seem to focus on the past a great deal.

I'm a woman, and we didn't get the vote in the USA until 1920.  There has been sexism in America...but I'm not about to demand some kind of late attrition from my country. I can think of quite a few places I'm thankful that I DON'T have to live and none of them are in the USA.  In fact, I feel privileged to live in this country.  There is nothing to be gained by unceasingly flogging a nation that has self-corrected and moved itself forward and strives to be the most fair and most free nation on Earth.

Here's Iran hanging some gay people recently.

And if you snicker at that, you are dangerously jaded.  Try another country for awhile.

I am proud to be American.

In these current times, I believe more Americans need to look to the immigrants to our nation.  They come from the war-torn, poverty -stricken places and flee to our society.  They choose the USA for a reason and they do not complain when times are hard.

Let's look at the international stage and the USA's place on it now.  Some of our allies have been offended by this administration.  We've accused Canada of letting terrorists cross THEIR border, even though evidence suggests otherwise.  We've tightened THAT border.

We went behind our NATO allies' back to offer Russia the favor of not pursuing a missile shield in order to get their help with Iran.  They slapped us.

The administration reached out to Cuba and got a clenched fist in return.

Hugo Chavez stole an American factory in Venzuela and we've heard nary a peep.

Iran's pursuing nukes.  They launched a missile.  It won't be long 'till those missiles have nuclear components.

North Korea also fired a missile and now they've done their underground nuke test despite the UN.

The UN is good for nothing.  The usual suspects have decided that our government is now unresolved, crippled and broke.  I'm sure they laugh as the White House dictates a news cycle on "torture" and they get to ramp up their defenses/offenses unchecked. 

Everyone said electing Obama was going to make the world safer.  People wouldn't defy the UN because it was somehow the fault of the US that they were doing it in the first place.  This is clearly bullshit.  Tyrants can smell weakness.  Obama's powerless at negotiating with rogue nations and there's no one else willing to step up to the plate, it seems.  These are the perfect conditions for the next world conflict.

If it happens, I hope that people will finally realize that the US loathes itself while other nations laugh.  We should not be this stupid.  The generation that remembers world wars has been telling us for a long time that our naivete is dangerous.

So I call bullshit.  It's time for the media to do its job and not be a tool of the administration.  Times are too dangerous for a non-free media following a stupid agenda.

Now, I'm going to have a good Memorial Day, thinking about the USA and the soldiers who have died in various conflicts and wars.  These heroes are equal patriots and matriots, all deserving of my respect and thanks for fighting under the flag of the nation I adore.

Some observances over a few days. May 28, 2009

I had to go and get my driver's licence renewed.  I thought they expired every five years, but they expire every four years and I'm willing to bet they used to last FIVE years until someone said, "We could generate XXXXXXXXXXXXX amount of revenue if we make licences last four years as opposed to five."

So, the guy I approached at the DMV was wearing a beret, and doing a crossword and he looked like Conrad Bain from "Different Strokes".  He did not smile and he spoke in a monotone.  He asked me all the questions and then had me step over to the machine to test my vision.  I had never done this before.  Really.

I looked into the machine as he said, emotionlessly, "Read the top line."  I said, "I can't see anything."  He said, "Activate the machine by pressing your forehead against it."

So, I pressed, and there appeared four lines of numbers.

THE TOP LINE WAS REALLY ITTY BITTY.  So I had the interior monologue, you know.  "Oh $hit!  My vision is failing.  I'll squint but they are" then out loud, "Four, eight, six?"

Then he said, "How 'bout I use the right slide?"  And the machine changed to a new screen and the letters were MUCH bigger and I read them with ease and now I wonder if he is just slightly sadistic.

My niece talked me into getting a pedicure.  It's not that I'm at all self-conscious about my feet.  My feet are great.  It just seems really indulgent to have somene else do what you are capable of doing yourself.  I know that's the point.  I never said my brain worked correctly.

I picked out a bright, but not garish rose-colored polish and then the woman ran the water and told me to put my feet in.  The water was coldish.  I said so.  She stuck her hand in and said, "You think?"  I still put my feet in and said, "It's ok."

There's a massager in the chair, too.  You can make your butt vibrate.  The shiatzu function on the lower back nearly pushes you out of the chair.  But who knows how to work all those buttons.  I just pressed them until something, but not too much, was happening.

She reached in the water to start on my feet and said, "Oh, water IS cold!"  Then she did all the things they do for a pedicure.  I would give details but you don't need them.  At one point she was knocking on my shin bones so hard I am still worried I will have bruises for my cousin's wedding.

When it came time to do the polish she said, "You want decoration, like flower?"  I said, "No, thank you."  She said, "You booooooooooooring."

I said, "I'm ooooooooooooooold."

I have pink toes without decoration.

Feng shoe - versus storm and bang. (older writing)

It is good to take quiet time away from the false busyness and informational pelting that modern technology demands of us.

I can tend to be a natural multitasker.  I don't know what it is about this brain that demands many channels of activity at once.  The TV is always on while I'm reading.  That's just STUPID, but in my world, that's the way it is.

If you factor in the internet, 24 hour news channels, chores to do and other people...I suppose any person would feel somewhat splintered.

I've gotten to have some quiet time.  I read some books I've been waiting for.  I read Edmund Morris' "Dutch", the official biography of Ronald Reagan.  I recommend it to everyone.  Morris was unconventional.  He wrote himself into the narrative in a fascinating way, but the history is pretty exhaustively referenced and reliable.

In this book, Reagan isn't lionized.  Often, when I read biographies...they remind me of bronzed baby shoes.  Something's taken and made immutable and shiny.  Bronzed baby shoes show that your feet were little once, but you can't tell, through the bronze, where the little cracks in the leather were....or, how you wore the sole of the shoe in certain places more than maybe you were a tip-toe toddler.

They are just a testament to the fact that baby you existed...not WHAT baby you was like.

And sometimes biographies are like that.

I couldn't escape the Jackson coverage.  The Jacksons themselves seem to be courting the coverage.  A lot of what I've seen has made me appreciate what a gift obscurity really is.

And I've been contemplating my living space.  And, of course, cleaning it.  And wondering over the fact that I have a lot of stuff that I don't need.  I have some stuff I don't even LIKE.  THAT is definitely going.  I donated around 20 books to the library and Goodwill is going to get a visit, too.

Slowly, though...I'm wading through the sturm und drang and getting to uncover the actual SPACE.  Space is nice, clutter is bad.  This is my new mantra.  I'll never get rid of ALL the clutter, though...because of the actual THINGS I like.  They need a place to be.  And there's a little part of me that's cluttered.  What I DON'T own, are a pair of my bronzed baby shoes.  

AgriCULTURE: (photographic proof of)

To get to the corn boil, we took the road less traveled.

This is the international symbol for agriculture.  I have a thing for barns.  (Insert joke comparing me to farm animal here.)

I think we found the corn boil.

Many of our neighbors aren't so young.  Actually the woman there across the table was a grade school teacher of mine.  I told my niece, "That's one of my schoolteachers, but I can't remember which one, oh no!"  Turns out it was Mrs. Holstein (real name, I'm not just making that up to make her sound farmery) the woman who called me "Honeychild" and taught me fonnix.

This is my niece's food.  Corn, brat and melon.  I had corn, grilled chicken and melon. My niece was supposed to be deployed, but during training she hurt her ankle quite badly, so they had to decide to send her home to recover and deploy her later.  She was bummed, but a corn boil and an ice cream social make up for these disappointments.

Obligatory corny photo.  My niece took it.  She said, "You can totally tell you're cracking up."  I was.  Sometimes when I look at pics of me ... my mother is there in my eyes.

Does it get any better than this?  America's best writers scribble about perfect rural summer days enjoying community rituals.  Except for Steven King who wrote "Children of the Corn" and we will have noneofthat here, thank you very much.

Hope you enjoyed this bucolic respite.

A poem I wrote for a friend's birthday.

A smile, a sigh
and ancient eyes
Not lacking spark
not lacking beat

And separate from walking feet

All traveling miles
And sporting styles

The curious of now and then
The casual observant zen
from port to port
a hi for sport

a mystery to me and thee
A birthday for the birthday tree

Gypsies are as gypsies want
Drinking from life's errant font

But staid, too and too much there
The younger boy with chocolate hair

And liquid eyes of honest earth
A mouth acquainted with true mirth

Quakes of ground won't matter here
For going, you know how to steer

And all the pathways traveled less
Are graced with the celestial kiss
Go in rhythm dearest one
At end of road is blessed sun

Housework never ends.

Whenever I show up at the pearly gates, I think that George Carlin will be staffing them that day and he will say, "Welcome....but first, there's some dusting for you to do and a little vacuuming...maybe pick up Jesus' dirty robes and take them to the dry cleaner...God heard about your skills in the kitchen and really wants your seafood chowder and London Broil...we don't have a dishwasher, but you might be able to talk someone into helping you with clean up, I mean, this is Heaven.  People are nice."

Sunday, July 3, 2011

When you know you are in the "good stuff."

There's much cynicism in America today.  There's the constant woodpecking about needing "fundamental change."  Youth sometimes seemed soaked in the suck.

When you want to talk about America's history, there's always some sour-tongued pedant to complain about the treatment of the Native Americans.  To complain about the period of slavery.  To complain about civil rights.  To talk about dropping bombs on Japan.

As much as folks claim they are "progressive"...they seem to dwell an awful lot on the past.

I know our history and everyone should.  We need to know all of it.  We also need to know that ... compared to other countries, we have self-corrected the grievances in a remarkably short period and we've often led the path that other (much older) nations decided to follow.

The beauty of America is the beauty of life.  No person is perfect and no nation is.  Every person will make mistakes and learn and grow.   And when people have made mistakes and corrected them, they deserve to be forgiven.  It is only through forgiveness and understanding that people AND nations can grow and thrive.

America is big and mighty.  We know it.  It is brash and bold and shiny and colorful and diverse...and it's NEW.  It's a new thing.  Speaking in relation to the world ...  America's an infant.

Do not mistake my appreciation for my land of birth to be some kind of disrespect for other countries.  I have lived and seen many great places.  I remember my great-grandfather, Axel Anderson.  He came here from Sweden and I traveled to see his place of birth and stood inside the church he attended there when he was just a boy.

There are terrific countries in the world and all sorts of fascinating cultures.

This holiday weekend I got to spend time with the family.  The GO TO tradition is grilling out and my brother was perfecting his ribs.  See, ribs are an American thing.  We take the part of the animal that no one wants and we turn it into manna from Heaven.  Oh, my brother had the good rub and had expended the effort to bake the ribs and then was slowly smoking them in his grill as I pulled up into the driveway.

I had stopped at the fireworks tent to buy a packet of legal Illinois fireworks.  My six-year old great-niece needed to experience the tradition of lighting a fuse on something.  I had no idea WHAT to buy because I was under the impression that they would all suck ... so I just got the "Carnival Pack."

The family gathered, chattering, around the table and feasted on the delicious pig flesh and salads.  It's impossible to shut my great-niece up and, personally, I like that quality in her.  I believe she takes after my dad.  My grandmother tells me that my dad used to talk all through dinner and sit there and finish his plate after everyone was done.  This certainly happened yesterday, but the great-niece ripped through her food in record time when I told her I was going outside to light smoke bombs.

After all had eaten we congregated outside for the fireworks show.  We started with the small stuff in the pack.   The minor child enjoyed the sparklers, especially when I gave her two at a time.  I don't care who you are, it's fun to see someone scream, "Wheeeeeeeee" and mean it!  There were these things in the pack, about twelve of them...that looked about the size of a AA battery and when you lit the fuse, they spun around and made different color displays.

There was domestic tranquility with arm chairs and the neighbor's cat lying peacefully on the grass until one of the things I lit decided to emit a high-pitched scream.  The feline, like a bullet, flew behind the garage.  I have to say I was surprised by some of these legal Illinois fireworks.  They were shooting colored sparks and exploding and squealing.  A couple gave me a good bang for my buck.  All in all, they really DIDN'T suck.

And of course,


After the fireworks were done, we stayed in the back yard and invented some game that eventually involved three balls and kicking and throwing and even a hula hoop.  Good times.

Finally, it was dusk and perfect for watermelon.  My brother invited the neighbor, a nice widow lady, over.  It turned out to be a pink, sweet, juicy and cool melon that would require my great-niece to be hosed off before she went back inside.

As it was getting late ... I headed home.  I reflected on a day full of the good stuff.

I remembered good times when *I* was a kid and thought about sitting on the back porch of my great-grandpa's house.  He called me Svenska flikka and he would put me on his lap in a wooden rocking chair he made and we'd listen to THIS!

Thank you Axel.  The good stuff is still here.