Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hey Brother, Can You Spare a Dime...?

I don't know about you but I think that Governor Rendell of Pennsylvania got it exactly right the other day.

He critcized the NFL for postponing the football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings on December 26th.

Why the postponement you ask? Ostensibly because of the snow.

Why, really, you persist?

Well Rendell thinks, and I agree, that it's because we, as a people, are unwilling to step up to the hard tasks that encumber our lives.

I'm not talking about all of the men and women who work their fantails off doing the country's business. They are much more the heroes of our culture than the overpaid morons on the field.

I'm talking about the deferring of responsibility and the denial of circumstance that plagues our society.

It's always someone else's fault and we are the victims. Nick Kristoff, in today's Times, writes about teaching our kids Chinese and Spanish as a way of preparing them for the realities of business and daily life that will be theirs in the future.

We don't seem to care about that. We don't see the necessity of being well educated and prepared. We postpone a football game because it will be uncomfortable (and between two teams that live in the snow belt, especially the Vikings to whom snow is a way of life...! Jeez!!)

What would it have been like in the past if people had postponed the chores of their lives because it was "uncomfortable?"

What would the settlers have done? Too hard to plant crops? No food. Too hard to chop wood? No heat in winter. Too hard to hew trees? No house. Too hard to travel over dangerous, uncharted territory to get to the West? No California as we know it.

Too hard to play football in the snow (John Madden, where art thou...?) Are you kidding?

Football is meant to be played in the snow and rain and mud. It's better that way!

Ever see the Mark Wahlberg portrayal of the Eagle's Vince Papale in the wonderful movie, "Invincible?"

There's a scene in which he is playing a pick up touch football game in a parking lot at night lit only by car headlights.

They're the rain! And, man, were they having fun. Anybody who has ever done that knows exactly what I'm talking about.

Given the mood of the NFL and the population in general...that pick up game would have been cancelled due to inclement weather. I wonder what Vince thinks about the postponement of the Eagles game. I wonder...

But that's who we have become. We sit on our aft section with a beer and chips and let the world catch up and pass us by because it's "too hard."

Too hard to tell the truth about war(s) and the deficit and health care and Wall Street and obesity and education.

We want everything right now with no personal effort. Push a button or, better yet, give a voice command, and voila...there it is...whatever you want. Without doing anything tangible or effortful to get it.

I walked 5 miles uphill... both ways, mind you... barefoot, in the snow to get to a one room school house so I would have enough learnin' to get out of this one-horse town and make something of myself in the big city. And when I arrived I only had ten cents in my pocket. And look at me now...!

In my dreams...!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


In the post, "Snow Kidding", I erroneously said that the snowstorm Sunday and Monday was not a blizzard.

It was.

I stand corrected.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Joe Miller.

Sore loser.

Lisa Murkowski lost to Miller in the Alaska Republican Primary.

Murkowski decided to run anyway.

She apparently has about 10,000 votes.

Miller won't concede. He won't say "Mazel Tov."

Sarah Palin endorsed him. Sarah Palin, you may remember, was, at one time, the Governor of Alaska. She quit to host her own "reality" show and run for President...and make a lot of money...and subject us to the shenanigans of her family.

Miller is acting like a little kid who can't get his way. Murkowski's name has to be spelled correctly in order for the vote to count. Imagine if someone had written "Milla" instead of "Miller." Would he be kvetching then? Doubt it.

It's all about "the integrity of the election."


Lisa won and Joe lost. End of story.

Get over it.

NOTE to my Non-Jewish readers:

Mazel Tov = Congratulations
Kvetch = Complain

Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow Kidding!

Ok, folks...let's get one thing straight (and this is meant for those of us who live where it snows)

It snows where we live...!

Yes, I know that it might come as a bit of a surprise to you the winter...above the 39th parallel...occasionally...once in a for


You would think that all of the hubbub about the weather was because we were experiencing some sort of a phenomenon...a once in a millenium, never to be repeated event...a cataclysm of epic, biblical, Noahesque proportions.

Holy Moly! It snowed! We had a bizzard (not.) Travel was disrupted (no...really?) Stores were out of shovels and rock salt (are you kidding me...?) School would have been cancelled (missed that one...darn!)

Roger Cohen had a wonderful piece in the December 23rd New York Times about the unacceptable response in Europe to the snow that has fallen on and off of the Continent. He was right on it.

What is the big deal? Is there no other news? Did nothing else happen? Is nothing else, a bit less Earth-shattering, going on...?

It's snows.

1) Leave a little early to allow for slower driving.
2) Get a winter coat and wear it oustide.
3) Get big, warm boots.
4) Get warm gloves.
5) Buy a good snow shovel.
6) Pump the brakes...don't crush them to the floor in an attempt to stop. You'll only skid.
7) If you skid, turn in the direction of the skid until you straighten out.

I certainly feel sorry for the thousands stranded wherever and the aggravation at not being able to get your car out of the snow...or the fact that the plows didn't come (and the tax money to pay for the plows/sand/salt/drivers, etc. is coming from where...exactly?) repeat...

It's snows.

Get used it.

Or move.

Which makes the most sense. Why do we live here in the first place? Did the Pilgrims, after experiencing their first winter say to one another, "Gee, that was fun...can't wait to do it again!"??

Why not Boca or Cabo...why Bridgeport and New Bedford?

Ahhhhhh...beach, warmth, iced tea.

But if you are an optimist just remember that it's only 190 days until the beginning of summer and 362 days until Christmas.

Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Shades of Gray

My daughter has a wonderful voice. She's been singing like a pro since she was a very little girl. This is not a case of PPS...Proud Papa Syndrome. I'm not waving her flag here. I do that enough. No, this is what I have heard, consistently, all throughout her young, beautiful life, from friends, family, teachers and total strangers alike. "Wow, she's great. Boy, can she sing!"

This was highlighted again this past weekend when she was invited to be the featured soloist at a concert of Christmas music held at a local church. What made this event even more noteworthy was fact that she had been invited by a congregation of Black Christians.

Here was this beautiful, young, white Jewish girl singing her heart and lungs out with a Black Gospel their request!

As I sat in the balcony and kvelled over my daughter I thought of the insane way in which President Obama has been treated by his opposition. It would be more tolerable if he were being criticized for his policies alone. But the fact that so many people on the conservative side of the American political spectrum have pilloried Obama not only for his political philosophy and legislative proposals but they have attempted to delegitimize his presidency because he is Black. And only half Black at that.

They should be ashamed. They represent what is so wrong with our culture, a culture of "us and them", of competition at every level.

It is also understandable why the right has taken this point of view. It is to marginalize Obama in an attempt to make him unacceptable to the American people. If they succeed then their candidate in '12 will prevail whether it is Romney, Huckabee or Palin.

Again, I say, they, and we should be ashamed. Obama is Black. My daughter is White. Jackie Chan is Asian. Alex Rodriguez is Hispanic. Beckham is a Brit. Kidman is an Aussie. Depardieu is French. Barishnikov is a Russian.

And so on as it has always been and will always be. And we persist in judging people by irrelevant characteristics...height, weight, hair, the color of their skin.

In this time of Christmas we should be reminded that Jesus was a Jew who was murdered because he was different.

As was Ghandi, both Kennedys, King and Lennon.

The new political party No Labels wants to be seen as a party of anonymous description.

"Can't we all just get along?"

We can start by being like the Black church that invited my White daughter to sing. They didn't invite her because, or in spite of the fact, that she is white. They invited her because...she can sing.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Anchors Away...

John McCain.

Two words that used to inspire admiration and respect. He graduated from the Naval Academy. He was a fighter pilot and then a POW in Vietnam. He has served in the Senate.

He was a co-sponsor of the visionary legislation referred to as McCain-Feingold that attempted to clean up campaign financing.

He represents Arizona which used to be a wonderful place both to visit and to live.

He has overstayed his welcome.

His opposition to Gays in the military is only rivalled by his ultimate gift to the country in the form of the irrepressible Sarah Palin.

First he led by example. He was a so-called "Maverick" willing to go up against his party on behalf of what was good for the country.

Now he panders and takes positions that are both unconstitutional and unconcionable.

What is wrong with Gays in the military, anyway? Are soldiers so insecure that the mere presence of a homosexual will cause them to lose their man or womanhood? If that's true then they are not what we really want on the front lines defending our country and our freedom.

We need real heroes with real bravery. Like the countless Gay men and Lesbians who tolerate discrimination and abuse everyday of their lives from their peers, their families and their bosses. They exhibit real courage by standing up to the endless taunts and bullying that comes from an uneducated and myopic society of narrowminded individuals.

Led by the likes of John McCain. And, for that matter, Sarah Palin.

And he says that we should not put the country through a huge cultural upheaval while we are fighting two wars. What about the cultural upheaval of the wars themsleves? What about the cultural upheaval caused by the Republicans over the past 10 years, in and out of office? Why is it okay to put the country through that Senator?

Don't Ask Don't Tell.

Change it to Don't Bask, Don't Yell.

Don't bask in the glow of this past election. It was a referendum on nothing. It was an exercise in anger and frustration. Voters don't like either major party. They don't even like the Tea Party. In fact they don't like anything or anybody.

And stop yelling about something that most of the country either endorses, is reconciled to or doesn't give a damn about.

Leave the issue of sexual orientation alone. No one cares anymore.

R & R. It was good for you when you were in Vietnam.

It would be good for you now. For a very long time...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hats Off To Harry

Ok...I admit it.

I love hats. I have a lot of them. Baseball hats. Winter hats. A straw cowboy hat I got in Tulsa. A beret and a straw boater that my mother brought me from Paris.
An L.L. Bean crusher from my friend Mike. My father's old Coast Guard cap.

But, since it's winter, I've taken to wearing a favorite. It's a greenish beanie with a white pom-pom that I got in Amsterdam.

It was given to me by a client when I was doing a production job there a few years ago. Everybody who participated got one. They came in all colors (the hats, not the people, although, come to think of it, there were a few people "of color" there too...) It was a team building conference sponsored by my client who is an international consultancy. They gave out the hats because it is cold in Amsterdam in the winter and they were being climate and location appropriate.

I was glad because I had only brought one of my favorite baseball hats (It says "Padanaram" on it. Khaki with a green bill. A seaside community in southeastern Massachusetts) and the beanie was warmer when I went out for walks to the pot bars and red light district. I looked ridiculous but I was warm. None of the hookers in the red light district looked at me twice and I got some strange looks in the pot bars too. I don't smoke pot but I'm sure the patrons in the bars thought I did because of the hat. And the hookers probably couldn't get past the hat, thinking that a guy who would wear a hat like that wouldn't have much money.

There is something about the winter that allows people to wear really stupid hats. Hats with pom poms. Russian fur hats. Stocking caps with very long tails. Hunting hats with ear flaps. Hats with animal ears or antlers. Or lights.

Very silly hats. And the person wearing them looks equally as silly. But somehow, we don't care. It's winter. I'm cold. The hat keeps me warm. Period.

Now, I would never wear this green beanie with the white pom pom in the summer. I would wear a baseball hat to protect myself from the sun. The only thing worse than a sunburn itself is the accompanying feeling of nausea and fatigue. Better to wear a hat or sit under an umbrella. Any hat will do, really, but a baseball hat is best because it has a bill which is sort of like an awning. You can look out from underneath it and if you've forgotten your sunglasses or lent them to your friend the bill will provide just enough shade so you can see, even if you have to squint which might give you a slight headache which would be exacerbated if you had heat stroke at the same time...from not having worn a hat.

I would never wear it to the Opera. I would go uncovered to the Opera.

I wouldn't wear it to church, either. I would wear it in the car on the way to church but I would take it off before I went in. After all Jesus didn't wear a hat. He would have worn a beret if he had. He was that cool. And he would have had a goatee rather than a full beard. He was the original hipster.

So I wear this ridiculous hat out of necessity. Heat rises and so it does out of the top of my head. Granted I have a nice head of hair, or so I am told, so that provides some insulation but the hat keeps it all in. And I can get away with it because it's winter and I live in a cold climate and everybody else is wearing stupid hats too. This is one case where my mother's nagging maxim, "If everybody jumped off of The Brooklyn Bridge (I grew up in New York), would you?", holds no water.

In this case, it is because everybody is wearing hats like mine that I feel comfortable in putting the damned thing on in the first place.

Cold hands, warm heart? Warm persona.

So there!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Love Thy Neighbor...except...

"God Hates Fags."

Not your garden variety Christmas greeting. Not your average loving thought. Not your run-of-the-mill perspective. Brought to us by the lovely folks over at The Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, ministered by the Right Reverend Fred Phelps...Man of God.

Correct me if I'm wrong here but wasn't Jesus, whose birthday we're purportedly about to celebrate...wasn't he all about love and forgiveness and inclusion?

Wasn't Jesus the guy who said, "Turn the other cheek" and "Love thy neighbor as thyself" and other things in the same vein?

At this time of year we are brought to near nausea by the incessant preaching about Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men. But the men part only refers to real men...not quiche eating, dress wearing, men No they are not God's children. They are the children of the devil, of Satan himself.

Why, you ask? Because they dare to love one of their own gender (this is true of women too...Lesbians...but they don't get as much press. Probably because men still run everything and women with women is supposed to be erotic...)

Now...what's really wrong with that? It's supposed to be about love. We don't persecute people because they love their dogs or cats. We don't exile people because they love chocolate or Chardonnay. We don't murder people because they love cotton rather than polyester.

So why do we discriminate against people simply because they love another of their own sex?

It is none of our damn business what people do within the confines of their hearts...or bedrooms for that matter.

Imagine the shoe on the other foot. Imagine all of the self-righteous people who go around preaching "family values" being the minority, being the ones who are shunned.

Wouldn't that be a spectacle. All of the lily-white, self-appointed custodians of society's rules being the ones who are ridiculed and denied respect and value. All because they love one of the opposite gender.

It would be ridiculous. And so it is with the Gay population. It is ridiculous to cast judgement on a person simply because they feel love for one of their own gender.

Love, mind you. The thing we make this whole holiday season about. Jesus and love and peace and harmony...and the hypocritical position of Gay exclusion and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

We should be ashamed. What would Jesus do? First he would be ashamed of us and then he would extend his hand of love to everyone...Gay, Straight, Bi, Republican, Democrat, Tea Party...even Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck who so ruthlessly take his name in vain every single day when they marginalize and hate.

Which brings us back to The Westboro Gang. Who in the hell do they think they are anyway? God's Army? Not even close. If God gets wind of what they're up to he'll strike the church with bolts of lightning and the whole thing will burn to the ground and every one of the congregation, led by the cartoonish Rev. Phelps, will be led right to the Gates of Hell where a chariot will be waiting to take them to the fires of eternal damnation.

"Love Thy Neighbor."

All of thy neighbors. There is no asterisk. It's not "Love Thy Neighbor*"
Love everybody...even the Westboro Gang...

So there!

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I Love Sarah Palin

I've decided to love Sarah Palin. Hating her hasn't worked. She hasn't evaporated into history like so many other also-rans. Where are Ross Perot or Dan Quayle or Geraldine Ferraro these days? Haven't heard much about 'em, have ya? And thank God for that. They had a lot to say when they had the microphone and now that they don't they've decided that the better part of wisdom is to just shut the hell up and drift, innocuously, into retirement. Thank you.

But not Ms. Palin. Oh, no. Not her. We are treated, daily, to her shenanigans or those of her family. It is amzing how mediocracy has been elevated to high art. Out with PhD and in with in Elmer. And complete with the shotgun and earflap hat, no less! (Note to the costume department: No one looks good in those hats. Not even Marilyn Monroe would have looked good in that hat. I don't, you don't...NO BODY DOES!)

So I've decided to take a new tack. My new behaviors will be modeled on the time tested notion that too much of a good thing is too much of a good thing.

You know how when someone loves you too much, at first you are flattered. Then the love turns to annoyance and then you feel smothered and you recoil and look for the door?

Well that's what I'm going to do. I figure that we can just love the woman into seclusion.

Let's shower her with adulation and praise and be there for her at every turn and in every instance.

Let's camp outside her door and follow her everywhere. Let's write her fan letters and let's have Facebook pages devoted to her every utterance and whim.

Let's buy her presents and write songs about her. Let's start a nationwide poetry contest and give the winner a free trip to Wasilla and dinner with Sarah. Menu? You can pick either moose, caribou or halibut. No quiche on this menu, Bud!

Let's all be like the irritating kid in school who just won't go away on the playground. Let's offer to push the swing or let's clamor to be picked for dodgeball. Let's jump up and down and yell, "Pick me! Pick me!"

Let's be everywhere and always with placards that say stuff like, "I love you Sarah" and "Sarah Rocks" and "Sarah is the new Mary" and "Sarah for President."

Maybe then, she'll be so overwhelmed by the suffocating love that she'll retreat, just like most normal people do when bombarded by an unwanted suitor...or an Auntie with a handmade sweater.

Oh...that's what we're doing already? We're already showering her with affection and pleading with her to run for the Presidency?

Oh. I didn't know that. How's it going? Is it working?

Oh well. Back to the drawing board. Back to carrying an "I Hate Sarah Palin" sign.

And I had such hope. I was so uplifted.

But, as they say in Washington:

“This isn’t the politics of the moment. This has to do with what can we get done right now.”


“This isn’t the politics of the moment. This has to do with what can we get done right now.”

President Obama at his press conference justifying his deal with Republicans extending (temporarily...HAH!) the Bush Tax cuts.

Where I come from..."the moment" is equivalent to "right now."

What the hell is he talking about?!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wood That it Were...

It was cold here today. I lit a fire in the fireplace and sat back with my morning coffee contemplating the day to come. What would I do? Check the computer and write to some people with whom I hope to do business? Straighten up my shop? Run errands? Make lunch and tea for my ailing Missus? Probably some combination of things yet to be determined.

But before too long I would have to get more firewood. I have a pile in the yard, near the porch and some of the pieces are too long for the fireplace. I'd have to cut them up.

Easy enough to do. Get the sawhorses, plug in the saw (I don't have a chain saw. I used to...a good one...a Stihl... but it went the way of many things...broken and not worth repairing and not enough extra cash to get another...same old story)and away we go.

So I set about cutting the longer pieces into shorter ones, easier to haul and use.

And I have plenty of kindling. It's almost all from the trees in the yard. Little branches that fell off when the wind blew. Good and dry and perfect to start a fire. And I have a ton of old local newspapers. They come in the mail, unsolicited and unsubscribed. I never read them. I'm a New York Times kind of guy. International stuff is what interests me. And of course the crossword. Can't live without the crossword. Especially Sunday and always in pen. And never with a dictionary.

So I'm set. Newspaper, kindling and some good logs. And a comfortable rocking chair in front of a roaring fire.

On a cold winter morning. The same chair my father would sit in every evening after work with his pipe and brandy and book. I remember him reading "The Last of the Plantagenets." He loved history and I loved him.

And his rocking chair and fireplace. He used a Cape Cod lighter though. It was much easier than the rigamarole of kindling, etc.

I have reached that part of my life now. Here I am. Older and in my slippers in front of the fire.

Life is grand.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

And By The Way...

President George H.W. Bush lost his re-election bid in '92, in part because he reneged on his campaign slogan, "Read my lips. No new taxes."

President Barack H. Obama seems to have reneged upon his campaign slogan to "Roll back the Bush Tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans."

Will history repeat itself in '12? And will Jeb be Bush III?

Stay tuned...

Bad To The Bone...

In the movie "Crazy Heart", the protagonist, Bad Blake, played by the Oscar deserving Jeff Bridges, bottoms out, loses his girlfriend and, in an alcoholic stupor asks his friend, played by, the always terrific, Robert Duvall, to help him get to rehab and recovery.

He is successful in sobering up and, while he doesn't get the girl back, he gets his life back and, in so doing, gets on the track to a fulfilling and satisfying comeback and the creative well that was the foundation of his nearly bankrupt career.

President Obama, in a bid to save the unemployed and maybe his presidency has done us no favors.

I sympathize with the millions who are out of work and in jeopardy of losing their homes, health insurance and way of life. I really do. It is frightening and debilitating, to say the least.

But we are addicted, in this country and culture, to denial. We refuse to accept the fact that the choices we are making are ruining this country.

We pay little, or no attention to education and, as a result, we are being overtaken by the Indians, the Chinese and the Brazilians.

We pay little, or no attention to pollution and we are being sickened by bad air, bad water and bad food.

We pay little, or no, attention to the rampant greed that has come to define Wall Street and we are being overrun by the new billionaires in their diamond studded Rolls Royces.

As with most addicts, we apparently haven't quite hit bottom yet. We still think we can have that "social" drink, that "one for the road." We see the bartender as our friend, the jovial guy quick with a joke and a free beer every fifth one. What a pal...thanks Joe!

So what could President Obama have done instead of making a deal with the Republicans?

He could have shown true leadership and selflessness and he could have stood tall and tough on the Bush tax cuts and said "hell no" to giving the wealthy even more money. (The Republicans, cowards all, would have, more than likely, caved in the face of Obama's challenge because they would have seen the negatives involved with being associated with a stance that would have put millions of Americans further into the toilet...)

Sure, plenty of people would have suffered. They would have blamed him for their misery. But he could have turned around and said that it was, in fact, the Republicans who were in the way of their futures. It was the Republicans who were advocating on behalf of the despicable "One Percenters" who are only out for themselves, apparently, and don't seem to give a damn about the country and the hardworking, ever-shrinking, so-called Middle Class.

He would have, more than likely, forfeited his, probably doomed, second term, but he would have done the right thing and, as a consequence, helped put the country on the road to its' own recovery and renewal. He would have secured a place in history not only as the first Black President but also as the one who refused to play politics and, as a result, saved The Republic from the Barbarians inside the gates.

Maybe the intense collective pain would have awakened the near-dormant American consciousness and yanked us into reality.

We can no longer sustain the idiocy that has become our legislative process allowing demogogues to hold hostage anything and everything that could right this sinking ship.

Maybe if we, as a population, actually bottomed out, maybe then we would take the painful steps needed to get back on track. Maybe then our children and theirs would get the country back that our parents and grandparents fought wars to protect.

But maybe that's as much of a pipe dream as hoping that President Obama will actually become the man we thought he was, full of intelligence, compassion and vision.

So, while we're waiting, how about another drink? But this time, make it a double and leave the bottle. It's gonna be a long night.

Monday, December 6, 2010


"I'm so dissapointed in you Donnie."

That was the line that Al Pacino's "Lefty" delivered to Johnny Depp in the wonderful
Donnie Brasco.

It happened when Brasco is co-opted by Sonny Black in Miami after Lefty had set up a party for the local mob boss. Donnie had no choice but to go with Sonny but Lefty was hurt and felt betrayed by Donnie.

"I'm so dissapointed in you Barry."

That's the line the country delivers to President Obama in "My Country 'Tis of Thee, Sweet Land of Poverty and Lost Opportunity fed by Greed and Malfeasance at the Highest Levels of Government", the new movie playing at a theatre near you (if you can find one with tickets for less than your monthly mortgage...and that's before the popcorn and soda and candy...)

It happens when Obama is co-opted by Wall and K Streets and Corporate America. Regular America is left holding the bag as the wealth of this, once great, nation goes to the highly "connected" and insatiably selfish "One Percenters."

President Obama has let us down big time. And please spare me the rap about all of the good that he's done and the frustrations of dealing with the Republicans. Obama is no better then they are...actually he's worse...because he let us believe he was different and did nothing to disabuse us of the misunderstanding. At least we know where we stand with the Minority Party.

We would have been much better off with Hillary. We knew where we stood with her as well. We knew, up front, that she is a shrewd, calculating and ambitious woman who wants what she wants, regardless of who gets stomped along the way...and, no, I don't think she had Vince Foster murdered. It served no good purpose. It only made her look even more suspect. I think he committed suicide or was killed by either a Republican Hit Squad or the CIA.

And she's as tough as nails...without the polish. Rip your throat out...she'd know what to do with the G.O.P. She knows how Washington really works. She'd be getting the job done...not just talking about it...endlessly!

The President is just another thinly clad politician out for himself and the people who funded his campaign. It is apparent that he couldn't care less about the American people or in fulfilling the many promises that he made during the campaign.

And he has no guts whatsoever. He stands up to no one and for nobody. And if he thinks the Republicans will ever "play nice" and aquiesce to compromise he is completely delusional.

How do you think you can negotiate with people who have stated publicly that their primary goal is to relegate you to the status of a one term president? Are you out of your over-analytic mind?

The only answer is that Obama doesn't care. He's out to satisfy the needs of his puppetmasters and the country be damned.

The United States of America is going down the drain and Obama is waiting for the Republicans to meet him half way.

Let's review:

1) John Boehner
2) Mitch McConnell
3) John Kyl
4) John McCain
5) Karl Rove
6) Glenn Beck
7) Rush Limbaugh
8) Sean Hannity
9) Dick Cheney
10) Michele Bachmann
11) Roger Ailes
12) Sarah Palin

The Twelve Daze of Christmas.

Happy New Year...!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Remember When...

When I was a little boy the only tennis shoe, which was referred to as a "sneaker", was a U.S. Ked.

You always got a new pair for school.

A new pair of Keds was like getting a new laptop or iPod or iPhone now.

One color...really two if white is a color. Black. With a white rubber circle at the ankle bone.

Then came red and then white. On my first day of second grade I went to school in my brand new, white Keds and some asshole kid...who probably grew up to be an asshole adult...stepped on my sneakers. On purpose.

I cried. When I went home for lunch I told my mother. She was angry but didn't do anything. What could she do? Call the school? Call the other kid's mother? Demand satisfaction on my behalf?

Yes. But she didn't do any of those things. Which is ultimately ok. It was just a pair of sneakers. Not the end of the world. Nor life or death.


But then...Holy Cow! It was the end of life as I had known it.

My sparkling clean, new out of the box, wonderful, coveted Keds.

Asshole! really only had three pair of shoes if you were a boy...two if you don't count the boots, known as galoshes...or rubbers to protect your shoes.

The shoes were brown or Cordovan, whatever that is. You had a little tin of shoe polish and you had to shine your shoes or you looked like a schlump. And your father shined his shoes so you wanted to be like Daddy. With the same haircut too. A crewcut. On Saturday morning. With the combs in the bluegreen jar with the mystery liquid that made the combs do magic.

But the shoes were from Buster Brown. Period. Not from some other place. Buster Brown.

Not Thom McCan. And what was up with that spelling anyway? Thom?
It's Tom. And McCan? No, it's McCann, thank you very much. No "H" and two "Ns". Tom McCann.

And then there were those galoshes. Galoshes. What a great word. Galoshes. Big black affairs with silvery metal buckles that you never buckled and then paid the price for that negligence by having snow fall into your galoshes making your thin socks all wet. And then cold and very uncomfortable.

Keds. Buster Browns (with accompanying rubbers for rainy days.) And Galoshes.

That was it. That was the extent of my shoe inventory.

Simple and to the point.

Ahhh...the good old days.

Before color TV. All in Black and White. And not half bad at that...

Remember When...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Because I Said So...!

Rumor has it that if you say something enough times it is accepted as fact.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is 5 feet tall.

President Obama's trip to Indonesia will cost $200,000,000.00 per day.

The Jews killed Jesus.

No matter what fiction you suggest, if it is repeated enough times in the general population, then it is accepted by everyone as a done deal...a fait accompli...

So with that in mind I thought I would like to start a rumor...right here...right now!

A certain politician, who shall remain nameless, who may very well run for the presidency in 2012 and who is a very polarizing figure and who dominates the conversations and writings of the Punditocracy...hates cheese. He/she doesn't like any kind of cheese. Neither Gouda nor Cheddar nor Swiss nor Blue nor American. Unbelieveably, not even American, contrary to popular belief and counterintuitively (great since he/she wants to be President...of America!

Now, once this rumor (you heard it here first), this complete and absolute, groundless fabrication, starts to make the rounds, it will, of course, pick up speed, gather momentum and could possibly derail his/her chances at the nomination and, if that doesn't happen, possibly the election victory he/she and his/her supporters so desperately crave.

And this might happen how, you ask, dear reader?

Well, think about it.


It's everywhere.

What's a cheeseburger without the cheese. A hamburger.

What are nachos sin queso? Corn chips.

What are cheese fries absent the cheese part. Potatoes (or potatos...where is Dan Quayle when you need him...?)

What would quattro formaggi be without the quattro formaggi? Just dough I think. And tomato sauce.

And a cheese plate that contained no cheese would just be China...

And a Philly Cheesesteak...and cheese and crackers...and a grilled cheese sandwich...and no more cheesy jokes...and don't get me started about toe cheese or cutting the cheese...don't even go there!

The list goes on and on and you may see where I'm headed.

His/her lack of cheeseability will offend almost everyone. From the Vermont and Wisconsin dairy farmers to the Germans (Limburger), Italians (Assiago, Parmesan), Dutch (Edam, Gouda),
Greeks (Feta), Danes (Havarti) to so many Americans (Cheddar, American, Philadelphia Cream Cheese...what's a bagel and a schmear without the schmear...ergo the Jews and New Yorkers and wannabe New Yorkers...)

No cheese voter positivity...get my meaning...?

So...again...I say...

"So and So" know who he/she is...HATES CHEESE!

He/she is un-American...and anti-Global...

He/she is bad for the country and bad for our children's future.

But he/she is good for our hearts. He/she promotes a low-cholesterol, fat-free, cheese-free diet.

He/she is into Soy cheese...which will garner him/her, at least, the soybean farmers.

And the hippies, which is a voting bloc anathema to his/her entire political ethos.

That will make for another very interesting election.

Vote for "So and So."

Tofu in every pot (and pot in every tofu...)

Vote The Soy Vey!!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Check out the wonderful article about Dario Sattui and Il Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, California at

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Beluga Anyone...?

People who actually earn money, who really work very hard for it, are usually more apt to appreciate its' value and are less inclined to sqaunder it.

On the other hand, people who are given that same money by virtue of inheritance, are less likely to value their largesse and are more likely to spend it, often on nonsense and whim.

In that light I would like to propose a bullet-proof way to reduce unemployment and decrease the deficit and national debt.

But there's a catch. We'll have to wait a generation.

The solution is right there before our very, tired, web/tv-coma-induced eyes.

All of the gabillions of dollars that have been earned over the past few decades have found their way into the pockets of a very small percentage of the population. Some say it's 1%. Others have a different number but the basic idea is that a precious few of us have most of the wealth.


A lot of those people, whether they earned the money legitimately or by virtue of fraud (contradictory language there but rather Virtue...Fraud...same thought, same sentence...but...whatever...) have children and those children are probably going to inherit the fortunes that their parents made.


But here's the "save the country" catch part:

We will have to wait a few years until the kids have gotten their folks money and then we can sit back and watch the fun. Because you know that kids are very good at spending their parents money. They are professionals!

Yachts (a lot of good paying jobs in the boat-building sector), expensive cars ( a rejuvenation of the auto market), McMansions ( a surge in housing starts and an increase in high paid construction jobs), more designer clothes (ok...this one won't be as good for us Americans because the clothing will be made in third world countries like South Carolina and California) and furs (not only good for mink ranchers but also for gun and bullet manufacturers and camping supply companies, not to mention a resurgence of Hummer orders to ferry the new crop of hunters to the wilderness...or what will remain of it.)

So...extend the Bush Tax Cuts. Please! Give the wealthy all of the money.

Wait a few years. Make some popcorn and grab a chair (or a log if you've sold the chair, or a piece of ground if you've burned the log or just stand over there if the ground has been foreclosed...)

The party will just be getting started.

Beluga anyone...?

Friday, November 19, 2010

All Together Now...

And once again the holidays are upon us. What to do.

They really begin at Halloween. Buy this thing right now or else...

Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve.

We feel such pressure to act, to spend money.

On All Hallows Eve if you don't have the right candy, not only do the kids feel robbed but you feel like a jerk. You bought the cheap stuff thinking no one would notice but when they did you feel terrible. How much more could the little Snickers have cost than the stale store brand whatevers? Not much and the little hobgoblins would have been happy and you would have been able to enjoy the leftovers rather than throwing them to the birds.

And Thanksgiving. Holy Moly is that a charged holiday. First off you don't feel at all grateful. You don't have enough money to pay the bills let alone buy all of the food you need to entertain the family. You're just pissed. And the concept of family is everchanging.

Where do I go this year? Do I go to Mom's or Uncle Joe's or which inlaw gets the pleasure of my company? And what if your toting a stray around. You know, the person who lives too far from their home to be able to go yet really has no where else to spend the day. You want to invite them but you're afraid. "What will Mom say? What will my family think if I bring an outsider? I can't let them spend the day at McDonald's."

And then the mother of all holidays, Christmas.

Now, I know there's Chanukah but really folks, isn't that just a competitive holiday?
Isn't Chanukah simply the Jewish answer to Christmas...from the "greatness" perspective.

I'm certainly not diminishing the significance of Chanukah in the Jewish tradition but I've always been led to believe that it wasn't always a big deal.

A few candles, a gift a day for a while and some chocolate in hard to open gold foil.

No one seemed to care about it until Christmas became such a commercial powerhouse and the Jewish kids saw their Christian friends having such a good time and getting so many cool gifts...all at once.

So...Christmas. Do we get a tree and how much should we pay? It used to be that you could get a nice, full-size tree for $10. Now the parking at the tree lot costs $10 and you're lucky to get out with spending $100. And that's for a table topper.
Unless you go to a tree farm. Then you get a good tree for much less...a full-size for maybe $30. And you and your kids get a ride on the tractor with the farmer. More fun then that you can't imagine.

And what to buy. Everyone you know has everything they need. Sweaters, ties, socks not to mention all of the gadgets and technology. They already have the iPod and the laptop and the flat screen TV.

And you are just throwing your money in the toilet if you think anything from Brookstone or the catalogues will last more than two days. Just check out any tag sale anywhere, let alone the town dump, if you think anyone really wants any of the crap from gadget shops or mail order. They don't. You might as well give the money to a homeless person. It would be much better spent.

And let's not forget New Year's Eve. A very good friend, a restaurateur and executive chef (you know who you are...) once referred to it as "Amateur Night", the one night of the year that the old man dusts off the leisure suit and drags the battle ax down to the Legion for a few belts, a dance or two, Chef Boy-Ar-Dee on a plastic plate and a lame rendition of Auld Land Syne.

So...once again...the holidays. The word derives from the words Holy and Day.

It is supposed to be a day of quiet reflection and worship.

Ah...the old days...the Stone Age...paganism...purity of purpose.

One can only yearn for the simplicity of days gone by.

And no one would complain if Mom served a Wooly Mammoth or a Sabre-Tooth on the big day.

I hear they're good eatin'...

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Addendum to "What The Hell?"...

The Sixth Commandment reads, plainly and simply and unambiguously,

"Thou Shall Not Kill"

King James Version of the Bible...Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5 and other places.

There may be asterisks in baseball even though there is no crying (see: Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own) but there are no asterisks in the Ten Commandments.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What The Hell...?

Here's a philosophical question:

Does God differentiate between honor and truth on the one hand and malice and lies on the other?

When you get to the Pearly Gates does St. Peter, God's doorman, direct you to Heaven if you did a really bad thing but clothed the deed in the cloak of "it was the best remedy for the situation?"

If you kill someone who is about to kill you or your family, is the killing justified or does the Sixth Commandment nullify the justification?

With that in mind, one can only wonder what is going to happen when Bush, Jr., Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle and Wolfowitz get to that final choice point.

What will St. Peter say when confronted with people who either perpetrated the horror of war or championed it?

These people all purport to be religious. They are all God-fearing, church-going, Bible-thumping adherents to the Judeo-Christian ethic. They all recite the Ten Commandments and preach family values and the words of Jesus.

They advocate sending our children to war and sanction torture all the while justifying their actions by asserting that they are necessary in order to "save the country" and to "preserve democracy and our way of life."

But...back to the original question. Is it wrong to kill or is killing ok if you can justify it? Will God make a distinction and send the offender to Heaven? Or will the killer go straight to Hell?

The abovementioned believe in Heaven and Hell. They believe they have lived good lives and that they will have a place at God's right hand listening to harps and being served cool drinks by floating angels.

What if God interprets his commandments differently? What if God thinks that killing is killing no matter what the excuse?

I wonder if they ever thought about that possibility?

I wonder if they've packed for a warmer climate?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Palin by Comparison

Here's a warning based on a hunch predicated on intuition:

Sarah Palin will announce that she is a Candidate for President in 2012.

She will run and she will win.


1) Obama gets his act together.

2) The economy recovers.

3) Republicans can't get "it done" between now and then.

...and here's the fun part...

4) People who threaten to leave the country if she is elected actually get involved with the effort to get Obama re-elected.

There will be intra-party squabbling among traditional Republicans and the Tea Party.
There might even be infighting among Democrats if Obama is sufficently weak (see: Carter/Kennedy, 1980)

But Palin, who will prevail, will present a formidable challenge from the right for exactly the reasons why Obama is so potentially great.

Obama is smart and well educated. Palin is neither. Obama is truly an "everyman" having succeeded by virtue of his own intellect and hard work. Palin is not an "everywoman" no matter how hard she tries, her "reality show" notwithstanding.

But Palin's campaign will continue to excoriate Obama and label him an elitist and one who is out of touch with the American people.

You heard it here first Dear Reader.

Unless those people who don't want a President Palin become energized and involved....just like the people on the far right do...Sarah Palin will be sworn in as the 45th President of these United States on January 20th, 2013.

President Palin.

Get used to it.

Or learn to speak Spanish...the kind of Spanish they speak in Spain.

Leaf Me Alone!

I've made an executive decision.

I'm not raking leaves this Fall.

I'm just not going to do it.

And it's not because I can't or I don't have the tools. I can and I do.

I have rakes and a leaf blower (actually two but one doesn't blow very well...) I have not one, but three wheelbarrows (Definition of "Barrow": a flat, rectangular frame used for carrying a load in case you were wondering...extrapolate the use of "wheel")

I also have tarps to haul them to the woods and they didn't cost $700B a piece.

I refuse on several pun intended.

1) It is a stupid thing to do...very Sisyphusish...

2) My property looks better with leaves all over it because I really don't have much grass and the leaves cover the dirt patches.

3) It is hard work and I can't prevail upon my teenage daughter to help...

4) It is a stupid thing to do...

Now what I may do however is blow the leaves up against the foundation of my house.

This would serve three purpi. Purpi is plural for purpose. Why not...? I can invent a word just as well as the next guy. It sounds like its' roots are in Latin and it makes sense. Alumnus...Alumni...Purpose (sounds like

Anyway, as I was would serve three purpi. One is that they would insulate the house and keep the very expensive heat on the inside. Another is that I can use the leaf blower and, in so doing, save my back and help my daughter with her "I didn't help Daddy" guilt as only one person can use the leaf blower at a time and I have already acknowleged that the other blower doesn't blow very well and one would be supremely frustrated in trying to use it and may abandon the job altogether...either one of us. But maybe, most importantly, it would reveal the copius amount of dog doo-doo that has accumulated from my dog and the neighbor's dog into which I have been stepping all to frequently as of late. raking of leaves this year...and maybe never again.

Plus, leaving them on the ground provides a mulch for the yard and maybe next year I'll have grass. Maybe monkeys will fly out of my...

I apologize to my more anal-retentive neighbors and those others who are simply more yard neat than I.

I'll make some cookies and bring over a plate.

Maybe that'll help soothe their flustered emotions. won't help them rake their leaves either.

Well, maybe. That way my "not raking my leaves" guilt may be assuaged.


Which reminds me. I'm not sending out Christmas cards this year either.

So advance...from the bottom of my heart...

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Another Wisecrack...

I'm not sure how important this is on the global agenda (only around $300B worldwide, but who's counting...)but I find myself scratching my head about modern fashion.

I was sitting, recently, in a cafe in a mall. I watched the comings and goings of about 100 people during the time I was there.

I saw all kinds. Men, women, boys, girls, babies, college kids, workers. All colors and sizes, everyone was represented.

One thing seemed prevalent. Most people, in my opinion, looked ridiculous.

I admit that I am no fashion plate. I could use to lose a few pounds and I haven't changed the way I dress since I was a schoolboy. My father dressed in a traditional manner ( an interesting concept because it refers to what is considered to be "classical." By this measure we should all be wearing togas or less, dependent upon where you draw the line...)...coats and ties for work, khakis and a pocketed shirt for recreation or around the house chores.

I dress much the same. Ties for a business meeting and a polo shirt and slacks for an evening out. Tee shirts and jeans/shorts are my uniform for chores.

But what I saw during my little cafe respite left me laughing.

Young women stuffing a size 12 rear end into a size one pair of pants...or worse a pair of tights. Eek!

Older women (over...)with enough breast volume for two women in fitted shirts or tube tops and Spandex.

And don't get me started about the shoes. Oy...the shoes!

Older men (over 60...)in tight jeans with backwards hats and tee shirts that said stuff like "I Love Rock and Roll and Babes" or "Harley's Rule" or "Golf is God."

And if you can tell me the fashion significance of wearing a baseball hat backwards I'll endow a chair in your name. I understand it for a catcher...the mask thing...or a welder...again, the mask thing...or a sailor who doesn't want his hat to blow off when the wind gets under the brim and launches the darned thing. It's hard to turn a sailboat around in a stiff wind or during a race. It's easier in a powerboat but it's helpful to have a mate or a boathook to snag it as you pull alongside. Be careful not to run it over because the propeller with shred it and then you'll be down one hat, inevitably your fave, the one you got on Nantucket or found in the median strip on 95 in the Bronx during rush hour...

Why backwards walking down the street or sitting in a bar? The logo is on the front.
Now they put stuff on the back so if you're wearing it backwards people can still see that you are a Red Sox fan (or Yankees...I know...) But then, if that's so, your hat would no longer be backwards. It would be like a firefighter's helmet and protect your neck from water or falling beams, embers or other firefighters.

I always thought it would be a moneymaker to have a two-billed hat, a la Sherlock Holmes, with a Yankees logo on one side and a Red Sox logo on the other. It would be for all of the folks who were born in one place but have settled in the other. One team is in your bones and the other is in your head and maybe your heart. You can never decide, especially when they are playing each other. It's easy when they are playing someone else. Not so easy when they are both in the same ballpark. You can take your life in your hands at that point. (If you capitalize on this idea I will be glad to receive residual checks. We can work out the percentage and the mailing information...)

And pants, with no belts, worn below the waist, actually below the ass. I understand the genesis of this choice. "Back in the day", if you went to prison, they took your belt and it was a badge of honor to have your pants falling down because you had no belt. It showed you were cool and stood up to "The Man"...and, oh, incidentally...lost!

But why do young men/boys, and some young women/girls feel compelled to emulate society's losers? Not only are we treated to their choice of underwear but sometimes we get to enjoy the crack between their butt cheeks.

In the construction world this phenomenon is referred to as a "Plumber's Crack", born of the fact that plumbers are often bent over, on hands and knees, attending to some problem.

For the uninitiated, this is not a thing of beauty. Especially when the plumber weighs 300 pounds and has an ass to match as opposed to Mr. January, who most women and some men (who are usually not construction workers but might be) would be interested in beholding.

I may be revealing my age here but I will go on record by saying,


Backwards hats. Falling down pants. Spandex.

What's the world coming to, I ask you?

What has happened to us?

"The End is Near!"

And it ain't pretty...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dear John

This is an open letter of thanks to Senator John McCain.


We met, briefly, on the campaign trail in 2007, in New Hampshire. You may remember me as the CNN cameraman who shook your hand at a rally. I told you that I had gone to the University of Arizona at Tucson and we talked for a minute about football.
"Go Wildcats!", you said.

We spent New Year's Eve together at the home of one of your supporters in Concord. You gave my sound person a big hug. Actually you did that every time we saw you those few days. Fortunately my sound person is a woman otherwise people would have talked. "Don't ask don't tell" you know.

I want to thank you for your service to the country. You have shown admirable ability both as a Navy officer, POW and a United States Senator (really, especially the POW joking here Dear Reader...) You have been a maverick, which, incidentally, was one of my favorite TV shows growing up. I liked the James Garner character. I also liked him in the movie version more than Mel Gibson who I liked in Braveheart but not so much in What Women Want which I thought was silly.

But most of all I want to thank you for Sarah Palin. The service you have given to the country and its' future by elevating her to national prominence through her nomination as your vice presidential candidate is only paralleled by your service to the country by pushing for campaign finance reform with, the now newly defeated, Russ Feingold.

But your signature contribution has got to be Sarah Palin. She is terrific. I saw Tina Fey last night at a premiere in New York for the new animated film from Dreamworks called "Megamind." Ms. Fey and Ms. Palin don't really look that much alike when Ms. Fey isn't wearing glasses, which she wasn't. Ms. Fey is adorable and smaller than I expected. But she was wearing black stiletto heals which made her seem tall enough I guess.

Sarah Palin. Pretty, smart, (those two adjectives work well together in that order don't you think...?) funny, insightful (or is that inciteful..."Spellcheck" anyone?), wise and an inspiration to all Americans no matter what border they live near and no matter what country they can see from that location. I can see Massachusetts from where I live and it is not as beautiful as I imagine Alaska to be except for The Berkshires in winter and fall and The Cape in spring and summer. There aren't any polar bears but there are raccoons which can make good hats and are cute except when they are mauling helpless infants.

So, sir, because of all you have done for this country I salute you. Actually I "hand over heart" you as I never served in the military and don't have the right to salute even though it feels cool to do so. But a real salute. Not the two finger job casually delivered to a friend or a person with whom you think you have something in common because you are both wearing Red Sox hats (or Yankees or Giants or Orioles or...)

Thank you for giving us Sarah Palin. We will never be the same as a result of your generosity and foresight. You will definitely have a prominent place in history which is what everyone strives for. Everyone wants a legacy.

Be well and best regards to Mrs. McCain. I hope she's feeling better.


A Devoted Arizona fan, except in the summer when it is too damned hot, albeit dry, but very hot nonetheless...especially in Tucson which is further south than Phoenix where you have a house which is air-conditioned and where you have a pool which can provide much needed cooling when it is as hot as it is in the summer in Arizona which is near the border with Mexico and has a lot of Hispanics only some of whom look Asian.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Civic Doody

I voted.

I went to the local polling place and I voted.

I went through the gauntlet of candidate supporters without making eye contact.

There were a lot of people there. Old people, first time voters, windbags and kids.

It was a beautiful day. It was like a town picnic but without the fun.

No one seemed happy to be exercising their right to vote though...their "franchise" as the punditry calls it.

They were solemn. But I suspect that the mood was less out of respect for the process as it was about the idea that the process no longer seems to matter.

Right, Left, Democrat, Republican, Tea Party, Green...all of the choices seem to be flawed...except maybe the Green one. That seemed to sum up how most people felt...around the gills that is.

I, for one, held my nose as I voted for the candidate who seemed the less worse of the choices. I couldn't imagine voting for one of them however the other one, the one who got my vote, is an arrogant, boring jerk who misrepresented himself during the run up to the campaign and lost all of the respect that I had had for him, which was plenty.

But I held my nose and I voted for him.

I voted because I can, because I have the right to and because I still believe in our form of government and in the possibility, even remote as it is, that my one, solitary, God Damned, measly little vote actually might count for something.

Most of me doesn't think it does any more...but I did it anyway...and I held out hope.

And I voted because it gives me the right to complain. I took part in my Constitutional civic duty.

I did the American thing. I voted.

But I didn't take the little "I Voted" sticker though and do you want to know why?

Because the privilege of voting shouldn't be reduced to a decorative element. It shouldn't be a fashion statement.

It's more important than that and if more people took it seriously then maybe, just maybe, things might be different and maybe things might be better.

So there!

I voted.

I just wanted you to know that. I sure hope you did too.

Good Eatin'

On a lighter note...

I have a friend who is a food writer (1). He's really not a critic...he never really has anything negative to say about the restaurants he reviews.

He really just writes about the experience and is always positive.

Not only is it good to be positive, it is less negative to be that way.

In that vein, I thought I would try my hand at writing a review of a restaurant that I love.

The place is called Nick and Tony's and it is located on Route One in Guilford, Connecticut just off of Exit 59 (Goose Lane) on Interstate 95.

But before I talk about Nick and Tony's, I would like to recommend the Rhode Island style chowder at The Swan Oyster Depot on Polk Street, just off of California, in San Francisco, operated by the sons of the founder, Sal Sancimino, a terrific guy. And, while you're in town, don't forget La Cumbre, on Mission, if you'd rather have a burrito. But just order one...they're really big! (another time I'll tell you about the time I fell asleep after eating two burritos from La Cumbre with my friend Mike after working really hard in Oakland doing tree work one afternoon.)

The Swan Oyster Depot is as wonderful, but for different reasons, as Il Violino in Manhattan, on Columbus @ 67th Street, on the West Side. Their Pasta Arrabiata is "to die for" only rivaled by their Gazpacho.

And while you're in New York, go to The Bronx and see Pat at Dominick's on Arthur Avenue. Family style Italian. But please don't tell many people because we don't want the Little Italy of The Bronx to become the Little Italy of Manhattan...too many tourists and not enough five star restaurants. "Welcome to New Hampshuh. Now go home", if you know what I mean...

Now, while you're at it, the French Toast at The Roadside in Belchertown, Massachusetts is unbeatable. Homemade bread and real, local, maple syrup. Delish...

And please don't pass up an opportunity for great barbeque at The Knotty Pine on the North Side of Tulsa, Oklahoma. This place really does make the best barbeque, despite the claims of other joints.

Or the seafood sampler at Le Murat on the Boulevard Murat in Paris, right near the Boulogne-Billancourt line, near the Roland Garros. Truly remarkable.

Or the patisserie at the Cafe Bayon in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, in the Haute Loire (Le Massif Central) region of south central France. OMD! (Oh Mon Dieu!)

Or how about the Gnocchi at Bardessono in Oakville, California in The Napa Valley. You don't get many but each one is like paradise. Extraordinary.

And while you're in Napa head a bit further north on Highway 29 past St. Helena to Il Castello di Amorosa, on the left. Taste, and buy, the '07 Chardonnay. Superb with just enough fruit and a hint of honeysuckle. And a beautiful, velvety finish. And say hello to Dario (2), the owner, a truly inspiring guy.

But enough of the tour. Back to Nick and Tony's. Not much decor and no fuss and bother. Just wonderful Italian food prepared by a real Italian from Italy. And great service.

The best thing on the dinner menu is the baked ziti but you can't lose with the steak and cheese on a hard roll. It's is no Philly Cheesesteak, like the ones from Pat's on Passyhunk (as opposed to, figuratively and geographically, Geno's...) in South Philadelphia, who invented the thing, but it's a close second. And be sure to have a Foxon Park soda (grape...or orange.) Locally made and much better than the international brands...hands down.

So...if you're ever on 95 and hungry, pull off at Exit 59. Head north, up the hill, on Route One about a 1/4 of a mile and Nick and Tony's will be on the left in a small strip mall next to Enterprise Car Rental.

You will not be disappointed. And, in this case, tell everybody you know. He could use the business.

(Notes: 1) My friend's columns appear at
2)To learn more about Dario Sattui at Il Castello di Amorosa, check out the clip of "Behind the Seeds with Spencer Christian" at

Monday, November 1, 2010

Self Righteously Speaking

Ok, I know this is going to sound a bit self righteous but...

What is everybody so angry about this election?

The culprits seem to be (dependent upon your socio-political persuasion) 1) Obama, 2) Wall Street, 3) Nancy Pelosi, 4) Glenn Beck, 5) Sarah Palin and/or all incumbents, including, but not limited to, John Boehner, Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer and Lisa Murkowski.

But the real reason for all of this anger should be self-loathing on a gargantuan scale.

We rant and rave about conditions in Washington and the straits this country is in. We blame "the other guy" for all of our ills.

"It's the Demmocrats!"

"It's the Right Wing Fundamentalists!"

"It's The Yankees!"

It's always someone else. It's never us. We are never to blame.

Lost your job? Maybe you were unskilled, lazy and a drag on the company.

Lost your home? Maybe you shouldn't have bought it in the first place.

Not enough money? Maybe you should have listened to your parents and done your homework as they begged you to.

What the hell happened to personal responsibility?

We complain about the government yet the only thing most of us do is vote and a shameful few of us at that.

We are not involved. We sit around the cafe or stand around the watercooler and bitch and moan about the state of affairs that confront us every day. But most of us do nothing whatsoever to change what's going on.

The reason that lobbyists are so powerful is because they are a part of the process. They buttonhole politicians, they raise money, they buy influence...they are PARTICIPATING!

Now, I understand that there is is an overwhelming amount of corruption in politics and in government as a whole.

But the people who are taking advantage are at least playing the game. They aren't playing fair, I'll give you that, but they're playing just the same.

We have no right at all to whine and complain if we are not going to be involved enough to do something about it.

We are the reason that we are in the mess that we are that was a poorly crafted sentence if I ever read one...but you get my meaning.

This is all our fault. We are responsible.


So when you go to the polls think about what you're actually doing. You are participating in one of the greatest rights that we have. You are partcipating in the process of electing people to representative government so they can make your lives better.

MAKE THEM DO IT! Don't just vote and then hibernate for another few years...and then emerge from your sleep pissed off because you don't like what happened.

Take charge and place blame where it your own two feet. It's not "their" fault.

It's's's all of ours.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's Not Too Late

It's not too late to change your mind.

You still have the power to make a real contribution to the process.

Your vote can still matter and make a difference.

Unfortunately, many of you who are reading this basically agree with me politically.

You are probably mostly left leaning, progressive, liberal Democrats and don't have much affection for the Republicans and the Right. Or you consider yourselves to be Independent and usually vote Democrat.

But some of you are disaffected, disappointed and generally just plain pissed off.
And well you should be. High unemployment, war, global warming, an energy crisis, outsourcing, foreclosure...myriad reasons to be really angry.

Add to that Wall Street bailouts, Goldman/Enron style greed and the seemingly deaf ear that Washington has turned to the average American and you are possibly buying bullets and/or thinking of moving to Brazil.

But guess what. If you put down your hot, foaming cup of cynicism and take a deep breath you might actually remember that, "in this country", (Jack Nicholson in "The Departed")we do have the privilege of electing our leaders and making them accountable to us for their legislative records.

We can "throw the bums out." Sure...

But we don't have to replace them with idiots. We can replace them with people who, at the least, understand the system in Washington and have the intelligence to come up with solutions to our very difficult problems.

We should be celebrating excellence not mediocracy. We claim to value education and want our children to learn and become powerful partners in an increasingly diverse and competitive society.

But we will be paying nothing more than lip service to that ideal if we allow ourselves to be bamboozled on Tuesday. The likes of Sharron Angle, Carl Paladino, Linda McMahon and Christine O'Donnell do NOT have what it takes to repair the damage that has been done to this country. They will only make matters worse and we will all pay the price.

VOTE FOR INTELLECT! Don't vote from a place of anger and frustration. Vote for people who can actually get the job done and then keep at them until they do.
Be a part of the solution...don't add to the problem. Get involved. Write letters. Send emails. MAKE EM' DO THE RIGHT THING!!

Otherwise we will have nothing but empty rhetoric and our problems will only get worse.

Healthy debate among intellectual equals from differing political points of view. Wonderful! That will produce solutions. And if the Republicans just say "no" to everything then make sure that everyone knows that they are "obstructionists." Don't let them get away with it!

The Democrats are no better than the Republicans. They are all bad. Make no mistake about that. That's clear.

But this is no time to hand the keys to the car to someone who not only can't drive but who can't even reach the brake let alone the gas pedal.



If you don't, this could be your last chance to do so.

No kidding...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Nimby Pimby

Not in my back yard. NIMBY. You know...those people who rail against, for instance, Walmart being located in their town, but have no problem patronizing it when it is located in the town next door.

This attitude is pervasive. What's isn't good for me is fine for you.

Wind Farms? No problem...great solution to the energy crisis we're in but don't even think of putting them where they may mar my view.

Disposal of nuclear waste? A much needed part of the effective use of nuclear energy. But don't bring it here! Don't even run the trains carrying it through my town. Put it over there and figure out another way of getting it there. OK?

Need more prisons? You betcha especially with foreclosures and high unemployment driving people to commit crimes. But if you dare build it in my town I'll just move depriving you of much needed tax revenue and the quality of life in this town will tank. Don't think I won't do it Bub. Just watch me!!

All over the place people live as if they are the only people on the planet. We purport to be a generous society one that cares for it's members, especially the downtrodden and helpless.

But from a distance and almost never face-to-face really. Sure there is the occcasional Good Samaritan...the rare person who will give you the parking space when you really arrived a few seconds after he did.

We love our kids and our folks and our family and our friends but the operative word in that sequence is "our." Not "your" too. Only mine. It's mine...all mine and you can't have a matter of fact you can go to hell my friend.

What would it be like if we thought of the other guy as our brother, our family?

Would we then subject him to the abuses of society? Would we put the landfill in his backyard? Would we put the prison next to his kid's school? Would we pave over the farmland in his community and erect a big box store?

Or would we say "Wait a minute. Wait just a God damned minute here!"

Would we endeavor to find an equitable solution to our problem, whatever it was?
Would we take our neighbors into consideration when we made a decision that might have a negative effect on the quality of their lives?

I think we might.

I think we might not push legislation that could hurt the vast majority of the population simply because it will benefit some fat cat donors.

I think we might not manufacture products that could hurt the consumers that bought them.

I think we might not say some of the things that we say...about the people with whom we disagree.

I think we would be more loving and caring and sensitive.

I think if the Chairman of Smith and Wesson thought about the fact that his product has only one real application, which is to kill people, and that one of those people
could be his daughter, he might think twice about what he makes. He might choose not to make it. He might quit.

For example.

Now what are we to make of this? I suppose that one could say that we are doomed as a society. That we are through.

But maybe we'll pull it out at the last minute. Maybe we'll stop just short of the edge before we go over.

Stranger things have happened.

"It's the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded. The score is 5 to 2. It's a full count. The pitcher goes into his windup and delivers. CRACK! It's a high fly ball to left. It's going, going,................."

Friday, October 29, 2010


There is almost nothing that ticks me off more than following someone who doesn't use their directional signal when making a turn.

Jesus H. Christ! (What does the "H" stand for? Harry? Herman? Herve?)

How friggin' hard can that be? Just push the lever. Up for a right...down for a left. Period!

No classes needed here. No tutorial. No advanced degree.

Just a little move of the wrist. The lever is right there. They designed it that way. On purpose. Can you believe it? On purpose. To be conveniently located for ease of use.

It's not in the back seat where you would have to turn around, take your eyes off the road and contort your body to reach and then use it.

Nor is it in the trunk where you would have to stop the car, get out, maybe even turn off the engine so you could take the keys to open the trunk to access the lever unless you had the kind of car with a lever inside to open the trunk or a key fob with a button for that purpose, in which case you could leave the engine running but not for more than 60 seconds at which point you would be using more fuel than if you had shut the engine off (how about that for a run-on sentence...?)

No...the lever is attached to the steering's usually on the left...I suppose because most of us are right-handed...which only makes sense within the context of keeping your dominant hand on the wheel while you make the incredibly difficult maneuver of operating the directional signal with your, normally, weaker left hand, unless of course you are left handed which affords you even less of an excuse for not using the damned thing.

COME ON! What's the problem? Are you so distracted with (pick one...) 1) your coffee, 2) your cell phone, 3) your Blackberry (iPhone, Droid, iPad, laptop, iPod), 4) paperwork from your job, 5)the latest bestseller, 6)enjoying your girlfriend,
7) putting on your makeup, 8) food (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack...fried chicken is the worst because it is messy and makes your hands greasy and you inevitably get some of that grease on your shirt and now you've got a stain that you can't hide as you are about to go into that, all important, meeting or meet that new person from the Internet or the referral from your soon to be, former friend...or a Gyro is messy the car...or a Philly Cheesesteak from Pat's...not Geno's...never Geno's? (why the question mark there? Because the entire preceding sentence began as a question. Let's review..."Are you so distracted with..." That's a question, hence the question mark as appropriate punctuation. OK!?)

So...can someone please tell me why we can't all use our directional signal, affectionately known as a "blinker", before making a turn?

Can someone explain that to me?

Or is it indicative of a larger problem in society? The problem, affectionately known as SYS.


Screw You Syndrome.


There must be a pill for that.

That's a peeve of mine. I am going to produce a TV show called "Leave it to Peever" in which the protagonist is always doing stuff that pisses other people off and has to endure the taunts and jeers everytime he ('s a he...women are guilty here too but I don't want to get into that much trouble) goes out in public.

"Hey there's the Peever! Hey come you didn't turn on your blinker?"


"Hey Peeve...why didn't you put the toilet seat back down...or lift it up before you peed because now it's wet and/or my butt is wet because I sat down on the toilet BOWL instead of the seat because you were so insensitive?"


"Yo...Peevie, my man. You ate the last cookie.
You are one selfish MF SOB...!"

Must see

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Too Funny

Ok...enough politics for a while. Enough ranting.

Let's talk baseball! But before we do that let's talk memories.

Let's talk Moose and Squirrel.

There has been a fair amount of much deserved press over the past couple of days concerning the death of Alex Anderson, the original creator of the Rocky and Bullwinkle characters.

I am on record here and anywhere that records are kept that, as far as I am concerned, in my, not-so-humble, opinion, and according to me, and only to me...Rocky and Bullwinkle is in the top 10 of any TV show ever produced.

I know...I know...I Love Lucy...The Honeymooners...The Sopranos.But come on...Bullwinkle...Rocky...Whassamatta U...Peabody & Sherman...Boris and Natasha?? Are you kidding? Simply and utterly one of the BEST!!

When I was younger ("so much younger than today, I never needed anybody's help in anyway..."...sorry...had to go there...couldn't "help" myself...) I couldn't wait to watch Rocky and Bullwinkle.

I loved everything about it. The stories, the voices, the music, the characters.
It was the highlight of my week. To hell with Bonanza or 77 Sunset Strip or even The Ed Sullivan Show (my parents were devotees of The Lawrence Welk Show so I was forced to was either Myron Floren and Bobby Burgess or nothing...or worse...bedtime!)

It was Rocket J. Squirrel for me!

And the humor! It has been said that it was over the heads of the kids that Spongebob or Ren & Stimpy or Family Guy.

But I'm here to tell you that I got it. Not because I'm so smart but because it was funny and somehow appealed to both me and my parents.

And topical. Boris and Natasha and Fearless Leader...all at a time when we had real fears about Russia and the Bomb. To this day, whenever a TV show is interrupted with a breaking news story (referred to in my childhood as a "Bulletin") I get a feeling in the pit of my stomach that this is it...that "this is the big one Elizabeth...!"

But it wouldn't have mattered that much as long as I had Rocky and Bullwinkle and the gang.

They were wonderful. I miss them. I now know who invented them and, while it is sad that he has died, I am grateful to Alex Anderson for having been creative enough to imagine Rocky and his friends and to put them onto paper. Without that burst of creative genius my childhood would have been a bit drearier, a bit darker...a bit less fun.

"Hey me pull a rabbit out of my hat!"


Would that Rocky and Bullwinkle were on TV...again. Not on Cartoon Network. Not on Nickelodeon. Not on Youtube.

On TV. Every week. Brand New. More fun.

Would that a lot of things were here...again.

Would that they were...

Oh...sorry...The Rangers. I think the Rangers will win The World Series. They want it more. There...enough baseball for you...?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Right Cross

Correct me if I'm wrong here but it does seem as though political violence seems to go from right to left.

Abortion clinics are bombed by right wing lunatics. Churches that are pro-life are NOT burned by pro-choice activists.

Some gun owners will shoot you if you look at them cross-eyed. Pro gun-registration lobbyists don't mow you down if you are a member of the NRA (or the NHRA for that matter...The National Hot Rod Association, of which I am not a member)

Tea Party Storm Troopers who don't like your political position will stomp on your head at a political debate (...Rand Paul supporter...Kentucky...yesterday...) You don't see Democrats punching warty-nosed witches in the nose for masturbating near a school full of Hispanic-Asian Nazi Cross Dressers now do ya...PUNK?!

Conservative loudmouths plan to use surveillance at polling booths on November 2nd to catch allegedly fraudulent asking them to prove they are eligible. When was the last time a Liberal asked a voter to "birth certificate up?" Uhh...NEVER!

But this is the America we live in today. Violence on the right. Violence in the Tea Party which purports to want to "take the country back." Violence everywhere.

From whom, exactly? The non-violent protestors on the Left? The Peace Corps?? Mother Theresa's Missionaries of Charity???

Not a chance in Hell. It all seems to come from the right hand side of the socio-political spectrum.

And violence seems to be the order of the day. Two wars. The NFL. Cyber-Bullying. Linda McMahon's treasured WWE.

Don't like his point of view? Hit him in the head.

Don't agree with her position? Punch her in the jaw.

Don't think their solution will work? BLOW 'EM UP!!!

What the rabble-rousers don't seem to appreciate is that they have created a, sort of, Frankenstein's Monster. Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Karl Rove, Roger Ailes, Michele Bachmann, Sharron Angle, Rand Paul, Christine O'Donnell, Carl Paladino...all of them, and many more, spew hatred and vitriol day after day and this is what we've got as a result.

Obama campaigned on change. Ok...he hasn't delivered enough of it fast enough for the Twitter generation and those with the attention span of a gnat and the patience of a child.

His bad (and ours for being so GD impatient and amnesic.)

Ok. Agreed. We're disappointed. Got it.

But violence? Not the way to go Old Friend, Old Pal (...paraphrasing Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey in Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life"...which it is...or could be...if we would only let it...)

Unclench your fist. "Love Thy Neighbor."

If you don't, then soon there won't be any neighbors left (or right...)...only people on the other side of the fence with a Howitzer pointed at your head.

Monday, October 25, 2010

"That's Entertainment!"

You know that song...right? Now imagine it playing in the background as you read this.

But first, a word from our sponsor...

You can put diamond studded hubcaps or gold pinstriping on a jalopy all day long but it won't prevent it from being a clunker and breaking down on the way to the store.

If the political situation in this country is so dysfunctional and we are doomed anyway, we might as well have some fun on the way down. No?

So I propose that we look at our current candidates in that entertainment.

Christine O'Donnell. What a funny lady. Really...witches, masturbation (no laughing matter if you're single, mind you...), etc. She's so funny. She upstaged Bill Maher...not an easy thing to do as he is one of the funniest people in the business.

And, Holy Cow...Carl Paladino. He is central casting. Can't you just see him in an episode of the Honeymooners where Ralph schemes to take over City Hall by dressing like a politician and promising a meatloaf (presumably made by Alice) to every voter. Paladino is his rival who promises a baseball bat to the first hundred people who vote for him. In walks Norton who wants to be the Commissioner of DPW and we're off to the races...the fun would be too much to handle. Mayor Paladino...or Mayor Kramden. You choose!!

Sharron Angle! Too much to take...I can't catch my breath! Asians! Please...stop! You're killing me! Please...I can't take anymore. Sharron!! I'm not kidding. Lay off. Not me from my job...just with the highjinks. I'm on the floor!!

And Lady Sarah. You absolutely slay me. You are sooooooo pretty, much prettier than Ann Coulter, and would be fun to date, maybe, like W would have been fun to have a beer with. And I love your monologues. You make me laugh but you also make me think. You are sort of like Mort Sahl or George Carlin. Very funny but also very politically saavy. What you don't know ain't worth knowin' (emphasis on "ain't" and "knowin'" ...without the "g") I hope you run for President. That will be four years of nonstop, madcap, hysterics...or unbelieveable run...sort of like Seinfeld but without the Upper West Side Jewish slant. More of an Alaskan, "lost in the wilderness" kind of thing. And the clothes will be great...plaid shirts and hunting vests...but designed by Dior for the city girl...wonderful!

And let's not forget Mr. Iott of Ohio. He could reinvent Sgt. Schultz from Hogan's Heroes. He could wear his uniform when he is proposing legislation and we could all watch him on C-Span. Now that Hogan's Heros is in reruns, we could get our fix of Nazi humor on a daily basis...maybe even on our Smartphone. He would bring totally new meaning to the wonderful phrase, "I now NOTHING!"

And Linda McMahon would be the only politician in Washington who would not be lying when she says she's "wrestling" with a decision. Wow...finally...honesty in politics!You sexy bitch you... comedy! We will all need a very good sense of humor once the election is over.

You can bet your Tea Party on that one!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Son of a B*&%#!


read Frank Rich in today's New York Times...on the Opinion Page...

"What Happened to Change We Can Believe In?"

Published: October 23, 2010

It is an incredible article about the corruption on Wall Street and the enabling of that corruption by the Obama White House.

I wrote, in an earlier post, about the lack of investigations that have come out of this White House. I wrote about how surprising it is that, after all of the allegations of malfeasance that were leveled during the Bush/Cheney administration, there have been no commissions, no investigations, no trials and certainly no convictions.

Maybe none of the allegations would turn out to be true. Maybe they would all be found to be false.

In this country we are presumed to be innocent when charged with a crime. We are only guilty if we are convicted by a jury of our peers.

The unfortunate truth, grounded in human nature, is that once someone has been accused of something they can never redeem their reputation, never have their good name back.
Richard Jewell anyone...?

But not insofar as these allegations go. Not with these people. Not in this case.

So all we have are allegations of wrongdoing. We have Prosecutorgate and Abu Ghraib and Blackwater and WMD and the subprime bubble burst and AIG. We have charges being made but never being brought.

Holder is silent. Obama is mute. Waxman is MIA.

And after you read the abovementioned article you will probably want to scream. And if you don't, go and read Maureen Dowd, also on today's Times Op-Ed page. Her column about the Thomas-Hill affair will leave you speechless.

Where's the outrage? Where are the demonstrations? Where is the Populist rage?

All co-opted by Sarah Palin and the Tea Party in the name of "change."

Change. Where have we heard that before? Oh, I remember now...2008.

The place? Denver.

The event? The Democratic National Convention.

The speaker? Barack Obama.


I believed him. My little daughter believed him. He brought my wife to tears.

Now we're all crying.

"It ain't over 'til, 1) The Fat Lady sings, 2) 'til it's over, 3) the people who are in charge say it's over."

The people who are in charge will not say "it's over" until they have stolen every last cent from the Treasury, every last cent from every citizen, every last acre of land and every last ounce of dignity we have.

Well guess what my dear reader.

It's over.

Darwin Was Wrong

The basic principle of Darwin's Theory of Evolution states that the strongest member of a society, the so-called "fittest" will be the one who will outlast his peers or "survive", as the saying goes.

What seems to be happening in modern society is the opposite. The weakest among us are the ones who are winning the race. We have jettisoned intellectual curiosity in favor of mindlessly following rules created by a select few. Maybe those few could be construed as the fittest but it seems to me that the rules they play by have changed and are substantially different from those of Darwin's time.

It is no longer the one with the better idea or the one who works the hardest. It is now the one who can game the system or manipulate his neighbor or just plain cheat the best who wins the game.

Someone tells a patent lie and we believe him. Someone endorses another or a product and we tag along. Someone defames another and we say, "where there's smoke, there's fire."

We don't investigate nor do we question. It is ludicrous that an athlete or a performer is paid millions to lend his/her name and/or face to a product or a cause and, simply because that person is adept at their sport or has created a wonderful character, we follow their recommendation.

We make them authorities on washing machines or cars or global warming or what qualifies a candidate to represent us in government...never mind making them our representatives (Murphy, Reagan, Eastwood, Ventura, Franken...and maybe that other comedienne, O'Donnell.)

We shun the advice of those who have studied or have actually written "the book." Instead we are guided by those we admire because they do things we can't. Very few of us will ever be Michael Jordan or Mia Hamm or Meryl Streep or Robert De Niro or even Paris Hilton...let alone Snooki (hmmm...might have to retract that one...a bit too close for comfort...)

But we invest in these people, and many others like them, the power to influence our decisions...the decisions that will affect our lives for years to come.

If Peyton Manning tells us he drinks Coke and that we should too, we do just it. Never mind that Coke will take the finish off a fender if you leave it there long enough and that the sugar content, alone, can kill you.

If Lady Gaga eats McDonalds then everyone who buys her music will be buying a Big Mac too. Never mind that too many Big Macs can make you very fat and stop your heart cold.

Never mind that Jon Voigt's endorsement of Republicans or Sean Penn's endorsement of Democrats could lead us down some very dangerous roads to places from which we may not return (obviously this one invites a choice on your part dependent upon which way you lean...I happen to prefer Penn because I do my crosswords in Penn, not's more funner that way...much more funner...sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard doesn't it...funner...eeeeek!! Which begs the question...remember "Blackboards?" They were black...not green...and definitely not white. Chalk, yes...and erasers...the best job in school. No markers. No. Blackboards. Otherwise we'd have "Chalkboard Jungle" which is just plain wrong. Not good at all...) continue... (I'm bored now but I will soldier on...not for me, but for you...)

Do we make these judgments for ourselves? Do we read anymore? Do we research the issues that confront our daily lives, our very existence on the planet?

The answers seem to be "no." We rely on others to tell us what our opinions are.

The headline in today's Times reads, "GOP is poised to seize the House, if not the Senate."

Says who? Says the Times? So? What do we think? Have we formed a point of view based on rigorous investigation? Are we influenced by that line?

Yes we are. And why? Because we don't take the time to find out ourselves and simply accept, as fact, the statements made by others.

(I'm in the spirit of this post...)

No, we trust other people to make up our minds for us. We let others tell us, not only what to do but what to think.

We are too busy Facebooking or Tweeting (what a perfect name for that do know what a Twit is, don't you? Need I say more...?)
or talking endlessly on our cellphones about God knows what (what can possibly be so damned important to be on the phone about all day long...? Jeez...!)

Miranda Priestly had it just right in "The Devil Wears Prada" where she tells Andrea that the decisions about fashion were made by a very few people.

Exrapolate that thought. We eat and drink and buy and vote based on the manipulations of a very few because we are too lazy and uninformed to make the decisons ourselves.

So...after all...maybe Darwin was right. Maybe his theory does hold water. Maybe it is about the "survival of the fittest."

Unfortunately the fittest seem to be taking us "over the cliff." And we're oblivious to all of it. Like the frog in the pot as the water gets hotter and hotter.

But the bright side is that frog's legs are very good. Did you know they taste just like chicken?

And by the way, Goldman's ROE (Return on Equity...not caviar or the abortion question....which is akin to ROI...Return on Investment...not Rhode of Island or the word for "king" in French) was off by about a third last quarter. I can't get over how sorry I feel for them. Imagine what their bonuses will be at this year's end.