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Aging gracefully, one skin-tag at a time

August 16, 2013

Aging gracefully, one skin-tag at a time

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C’mon, Mr. President…

September 25, 2017

it’s time to earn your keep….

One thing is for certain: President Donald Trump doesn’t give a northbound rat’s south end whether you and I approve of what he says or does, though I have to note that he hasn’t done anything except trade mother cuts out by the swing sets with his North Korean counterpart, and he hasn’t said anything of substance since he unpacked his toy box at the White House.

Today, I am taking aim at our bombastic head of state regarding his rather Narcissistic attempt at defining the who, when, what, why, where, and how of addressing the American Flag, and more importantly, his suggesting that those who do otherwise should be fired, et cetera.

First of all, the responsibility of the President is to carry out the laws of the land, not to supercede Congress and the Supreme Court to redefine or interpret them to suit his own purposes. He has alleged that the actions of some professional football players who were making a statement by declining to join in some patriotic rituals were inappropriate and against the rules.

I beg to differ, Mr. President. There are no “rules”, as such, nor are there prescribed consequences for failing to act as though there were. In fact, that flag that you so dramatically, yet I suspect insincerely, deify symbolizes the right to kneel, stand, sit, or whatever one chooses. In general, Americans have long established traditions and rituals regarding how our national icons should be respected, but they are not laws. Certain behaviors are considered rude in most circles, but in this day of everybody waxing indignant about one thing or another, being “rude” is the norm, a skill you aren’t shy about practicing yourself.

Our flag has meant many things down through the years, but regardless of the details, the greatest thing it symbolizes is that Americans don’t have to fear annoying the sensibilities of some power drunk monarch, pope, or duly elected CIC.

I respect the office of the President of the United States, whether it is occupied by an affable genius or a drooling mad-man, but my respect for that individual must be earned. The election of 2016 was a “no-win” showdown in my view, but frankly, I think it would have been worse had your opponent won, Mr. President. The downside is that, thus far, you have clearly demonstrated the symptoms of an emerging dictator rather than those of a leader of free people.

I keep hoping you will undergo some spontaneous metamorphosis and start working with your Cabinet Members and Congress to redirect the nation away from the collectivist precipice the Progressives and Neo-Liberals seem so enamored of. I can’t help but wonder if you intend to drain the swamp or develop it. In any event, I for one would like to see you take your job seriously instead of like some Reality Show or a pathetic sit-com.

 

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The Alpha Hominid Phenomenon

September 13, 2017

…..and eunuchs….


One of the first things the metaphorical first hominid did was to look around and decide that anybody not huddled under the same tree as him was a threat to his survival. This was how and when homicide was invented. Like the wheel, it is still with us, indelibly incorporated into our being, but with technical improvements and expanded utility.

One of the technical improvements has been that we no longer have a one book library and actual killing is not always deemed necessary or even to be the best option. Social, economic, physical, and several other varieties of isolation have developed into finely tuned art forms in their own right, as has simply tormenting those we don’t like until they go away or die, or until they obediently relocate to the only acceptable shade, which just happens to be under our tree.

This unique adaptation of the fundamental survival instinct is probably no more sophisticated than your basic “Alpha Dog” phenomenon or the serendipity of some plants pigging the resources thus ensuring that any potential competition becomes compost. Nevertheless, since we have long been self anointed as either indisputable manifestations of the Big Kahuna Itself or exclusive spokespersons for that presumed authority, plant life and dogs are irrelevant to the grand scheme of things and merely serve as food or amusements for Our Nibs. We wrote the rules, therefore we get to win the game by default.

That said, it might be interesting to examine the current state of affairs to see who is trying to make compost out of whom and who considers himself to be the alpha hominid right how. Hominids, of course, are as incapable of coming up with a simple answer to a simple question as they are incapable of forgoing some form of good old-fashioned homicide. In other words, anybody one asks is highly likely, as luck would have it, to be the indisputable Alpha Hominid in all matters tangible and intangible.

In the Survival of the fittest” game, with the outcome at any given moment decided by homicide or any of its rationalized and acceptable substitutes, the shared common goal is to disenfranchise, disinherit, discount, diminish, or literally dispose of all competitors in this perpetual game of King of the Mountain. It is the Way.

We aren’t completely intolerant, however. We tolerate, and sometimes even dole out carefully thought out words of pseudo-praise to acknowledge a perceived impotence of the nonaligned. Besides, they may serve as eunuchs for our allegorical harems of religion, politics, and tiddlywinks. Such acts of orchestrated decency are the full length mirrors in which we can admire ourselves, thus reinforcing our certainty of being right, and clarifying the prescribed pecking order.

 

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On doing the right thing…

August 15, 2017

.…in the wrong way

Perhaps it is not just that they were wrong, but that those who oppose them go about being right in the wrong way.

The “public” despises and holds in contempt the hatred in all of its forms, except their own.

It is important to point out that the “public”, if we are to defend the constitution, includes even those who are being despised and held in contempt for their creed and their words.  Not since the McCarthy era has our society been approving of trying to defeat hate with hatred, so adamant about promoting right in the wrong ways.

Are those who protest against bigotry and hate and intolerance somehow given license to practice same because their goals and ideals claim the high moral ground?  The moral high ground is a dangerous place, as history has shown so clearly on so many occasions.  In our own history, the earliest example of this was provided by the people who fled England to escape the turmoil and peril of religious intolerance in order to be free to practice their faith as they chose in a new land.  We proudly celebrate the deeds of those who colonized northeastern North America four hundred years ago, but we fail to teach how they immediately went about the task of setting up their own repressive, abusive, and sometimes violent hive of religious intolerance.

The same human failing has emerged at other times as well.  A more recent example would be the McCarthy era and its excesses spawned by the paranoia over the threats of Communism.

We are living in another time of extreme division and dissent, and the Satan of today is hatred, intolerance, and bigotry, an extension of the ongoing movement to more closely follow the spirit of our founding principles and the Constitution that was created to guide us, precisely at times like this.

Whether viewpoints are popular or considered reprehensible by the society at any given time, that Constitution, those founding principles, were established to remind us that if we do not protect the worst among us, the best among us cannot be safe either.  This is hard to do, but we must.

There is a dangerous and toxic atmosphere permeating our idealized haven of freedom and Democracy today, fed in part by efforts to mandate perfect yet selective adherence to those ideals.  The thing is, the forces demanding no less than absolute lock-step obedience to their ideological mandates of creed, word, and where and when and how those characteristics are expressed do not represent 100% of the “public”.  It wouldn’t matter if they did, not under our Representative Democracy.  Pure, 100% Democracy may be functional in a weekly Fraternity brothers’ meeting, but in a nation of 325 million people it would mean nothing less than mob rule and civil war.

What we witnessed the other day in Charlottesville, VA, and continue to witness as the nation plays Hide and Seek with the moral high ground again, is the never ending struggle to support, defend, and live by the principles of our Constitution without violating them.

Recent years have seen a trend towards more Liberal, Progressive ideals and practices, which is not necessarily bad unless one is aligned with Conservative leaning viewpoints and living in a particularly polarized, divided, angry time.  Such times of philosophical rigidity and absolutism are not exactly dripping with rationalism, and can be the birthplace of tyranny and dictatorship from either camp.  Under such circumstances, in a Republic such as ours, if one side wins, both sides lose, and this means that the people lose whether they chose to play or not.

In Charlottesville, VA a group consisting of various individuals and organizations opposed to the removal of an historic statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee arranged to hold a protest or vigil.  They were giving a permit and plan was put in place.  Meanwhile, a group consisting of various individuals and organizations opposed to the former and everything they believe in, gathered to protest the protest.  Nobody knows who broke ranks first, but fingers point in both directions, both factions came prepared for trouble, and whether that meant being prepared to defend against or to instigate trouble is pure speculation.

President Trump is a controversial and largely unpopular holder of that office, and that is a whole other issue, but his responses to the unrest cannot be separated from it.  In my opinion, his original response, during which he condemned the violence and lawlessness “on both sides”, was probably one of his more “Presidential” comments during his first few months in office.  Nevertheless, the sharply polarized atmosphere of the times demands finger pointing, and he was condemned for not condemning the original protesters by name, which would have, presumably, endorsed the counter-protesters as innocent and sole proprietors of the moral high ground.

For whatever reason, President Trump capitulated the next day and named names, condemning the KKK and other white supremacists.  He was criticized for doing so too late.  Subsequently, apparently having rethought the matter, he came back to defend his original condemnation of the violence and hatred generically.

Okay, although I dislike “labels”, calling them “lazythink” because they are often misconstrued shortcuts to complex matters, it is realistically impossible to avoid them when making public commentary.  That said, I am neither Republican nor Democrat, have followed Libertarian views for some decades, and tend to be somewhat of a Constitutionalist now.  Polarized thought would therefore cram me kicking and screaming into a Conservative uniform, not out of some desire for accuracy but out of a desire for convenience.

Whatever.

I don’t hold White Supremacist views.  I find such beliefs to be extreme, offensive, and to be based in personality disordered, ignorant thinking. Nevertheless, the Constitution guarantees their right to believe as they will.  We have other bodies of law that speak to disallowed behaviors, and they are subject to them just as we all are.

I don’t agree with the tenets of neo-liberal philosophies, either.  I find such a politic to be extreme, restrictive, prescriptive, and counter to the principles enumerated in the Constitution.  In some ways, I see the actions of the “Left” to be an example of trying to do the right thing but doing it in the wrong way.  Nevertheless, the Constitution guarantees their right to believe as they will.  We have other bodies of law that speak to disallowed behaviors, and they are subject to them just as we all are.

I don’t know who threw the first punch or swung the first bat, but I suspect it was the counter-protesters after the protesters were declared to have varied from the route plan agreed upon.  It doesn’t matter.  People were hurt.  People died.  Blame is infinite, multidirectional, and absolutely pointless.

The disease is right there in front of us, under spotlights, and all we seem willing to do is blame the wrong drug for not fixing it, or for making it worse, or for whatever reason we can think up.

Hate is hate.

Decide to stop.

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the Accidental F-Bomb

July 15, 2017

Shawmut F-Bomb_Redo2

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Stop asking what ails Trump…

July 4, 2017

start asking what ails US….

Politics, particularly Presidential politics, is multidimensional. I’m not talking about different viewpoints and so forth. I’m talking about actual dimensions, as in differing existential planes.

The one we are most familiar with is, of course, the political dimension we glean from the media. It’s amazing how much faith we all have in this political plane. Few of us have actually ever met a real live politician beyond the local Mayor, or the state legislators who knock on your door when it’s time to smile and kiss babies again. Nor have most people encountered a journalist other than the sports writer for the high school paper or the campus rebel from the college newspaper looking for fresh meat to declare fetid. Obviously then, most people acquire their knowledge base, form opinions, vote, and perhaps block traffic while holding hand-lettered posters aloft bitching about one thing or another, all based upon information from complete strangers. We read their bylines in the newspapers, hear their names on the radio, and see them on the evening news. We don’t automatically genuflect when they first appear, however. We do, after all, have a certain amount of independent brain power, don’t hesitate to dump those who offend, and channel surf in search of someone who more closely reflects our own pre-established ideas, especially if they are physically attractive, glib, and have “voice”.

Another dimension of political existence is the one that most blow off as pure fiction but others swear exists in the shadows while really calling the shots without our knowledge or permission.

Then, of course, there are the multiple variations and levels in between that which we think we know and that about which we most likely haven’t a clue.

And, yes, purveyors of popular fiction have capitalized on these factors for centuries, creating some of our favorite literature.

Selected politicians, their handlers, and their butt boys have done the same thing.

The bottom line is, I believe the extreme majority of us go about our daily business and political lives fairly sure we know that the candidates we don’t favor are manifestations of Satan and that our own choices are merely pending beatification. The only thing missing is a fancy round platform covered with red, white, and blue stars for us to stand on, and a large ball to perform tricks with at the behest of some invisible Ringmaster.

When things don’t work out as planned, the Shirts exude moans of betrayal and confusion, while the Skins sneer and sniff “I told you so!”

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As a voter in the recent election, I don’t think I’m any exception, other than having briefly been the campus rebel from the college newspaper looking for fresh meat to declare fetid fifty something years ago.

Like many, I was a little surprised, but not much, by how divided the nation has become in the last few years. This is above and beyond traditional Party Politics, which can get pretty wild in its own right, but I don’t believe anyone has yet figured out exactly who was running the show this time around.

Most of the media was, and still is, as suspect of shenanigans and incompetence as the elected officials, their minions, and camp followers.

I, for one, favoring conservative and Libertarian viewpoints, found myself between a rock and a hard place. I had seen eight years too many of Statist philosophies continuing the efforts to build a prescriptive federal government while adding caveats and yeah-buts to the concepts of liberty, rights, responsibilities, and more. The very thought of Hillary Clinton setting up her unmentionables in a White House drawer again fed my paranoia and I kept my Nitro handy for the duration.

Obviously not a Democrat, I don’t think I’ve ever registered as a Republican, either, though I will often vote for their candidates. I was a registered Libertarian for a number of years, starting in the late seventies. I watched the debates and was disappointed in the showing of those I favored. “Politics as Usual” was a profanity, which eliminated some of the most experienced and qualified. I was underwhelmed by Rand Paul. I kind of rallied behind the Libertarian candidate, though I wasn’t as enthused about him as I would like to have been.

Donald Trump was an amusement, but for some reason, he took hold and there was no stopping him. It was a draw in the final stretch and “undecided” people were left staring down at one of the worst ballots in my memory. Accusations of fraud, corruption, and so forth are still falling out of the air like embers from a distant forest fire.

I don’t expect any peace, quiet, or civility for a number of years to come, and I don’t think we’ll find the source of our festering socio-political lesions until we dare to look in the mirror. We have become a pampered, entitled, and elitist population that doesn’t play well with others unless we get to rewrite the rules and make team assignments. We have made a habit of entrusting our liberty and freedom to those who prefer to give orders rather than to take them, volunteering to serve as their cattle in exchange for flattery, perfumed atmospheres, and free lunch paid for by someone we don’t have to play golf with.

The two party system has been incrementally nudged along to provide us with choices that make for a colorful display of appearing radically different while doggedly continuing on the same path to some sort of authoritarian collective existence. Same team, different uniforms, taking turns.

I’m sure Donald Trump has an admirable IQ, but that doesn’t make him “smart” in his current field. The White House isn’t a “Hobby Farm,” after all. While I imagine things “get done” in the political arena much like they do in the high end construction and development business, politicians are supposed to be especially adept at staying out of view in the process. Trump, on the other hand, tends to parade around stark naked, metaphorically speaking, at least for now.

The apt metaphors regarding his Presidency, obscene and otherwise, run in the streets like the Monsoon rains, but the bottom line is even Trump’s own party leaders are begging him to shut up. The man has demonstrated over the past six months that he has the social skills of a feral child, except he should know better and the feral child draws no such expectation.

I don’t think I’m alone in having droned “Give it a chance,” “Wait and see,” and the usual. I have come to the conclusion, however, that we are pretty much where we were last November. We want change, but the unknown is a bit scary at this point.

I have no doubt in my mind that President Trump has a generous cross section of personality disorders in his profile, but that’s neither unusual nor is it necessarily undesirable with the likes of those who win at King of the Mountain. However, I’m beginning to listen to rumblings about suspected deeper psychological issues. Sane or otherwise, the man is becoming a liability to the country, not because of the things he says he wants to do, but because he can’t say anything without insulting or offending the world.

In short, Donald Trump may be intelligent, he may be a billionaire, and he may be President of the United States.

Nevertheless, He is proving himself to be a consummate ass-hole as well, and that designation tends to trump the rest.

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Cliché II

April 28, 2017

UpShitCreek_final

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March 3, 2017

lemons_final