Archive for the ‘The world today’ Category


this is your FOURTH notice….

September 22, 2012


It was a pretty intimidating envelope. It was an Official Looking Blue, and the face side was all window. Other than my name and address at the lower right, in an unobtrusive plain vanilla font, the majority of the available acreage was devoted to a LARGE, BOLD, ALL-CAP finger pointed right between my eyes informing me that THIS IS YOUR FOURTH RENEWAL NOTICE.

Son of a Bitch! I figured life as I had known it was about to cease and desist momentarily, and the only thing I could do was pray, which I haven’t done since the Big Bang, or do EXACTLY as I was told, which isn’t my style either. What a quandary!

I opened the envelope to learn the nature of my impending doom, resulting from my having failed to renew…..obviously…..some #@&% magazine subscription before the ink was dry on my check paying for the FIRST go-around. Amazing. Neither my father, my commanding officer, nor many of my former employers ever got beyond ONE in a three-count to death and dismemberment. This magazine was already up to FOUR.

What dumb asses.

I mean, what are they going to do? Stop sending me their rag, which is paid for through next February anyway? I breath oxygen, not high gloss paper. Not to mention, it is I who does THEM a favor in this trade agreement, not the other way around. It’s not like they are CHINA, y’know.

I pondered my dilemma for a nanosecond and made the sentinel decision to file my FOURTH notice right there with notices ONE, TWO, and THREE in the shredder under my desk. Except for the self addressed, postage paid envelope which they had graciously enclosed. I have plans for that. A copy of this little essay. Too bad the envelope doesn’t have a nice big glassine window. I’d gladly decorate the address area with a digital representation of my derriere. Even I wouldn’t want to see that coming at me!


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…August my arse….!

August 16, 2012

the new month of mildew….

I remember August. It was always one of my favorite months, even way back when it meant the end of summer freedom and the impending start of a new school year. There was something about the smell of the air, and the feel of it, that was both invigorating and restful at the same time.

August first was the day we changed the page on the calendar and the day Mother Nature flipped a switch and changed the air.

It always seemed that August brought an end to the humidity of July, but the days remained hot enough for the beach, pool, or swimming hole. The clouds always looked different, and the sky took on that crisp decidedly blue color, replacing the ambivalent haze that often added to the discomfort of July.

Cicadas marked the afternoon. Crickets and fireflies owned the night. At fourteen, I’d take my sleeping bag to the woods, find a clearing, and go to sleep staring at the absolutely unhampered night sky, watching shooting stars and exploring unknown galaxies.

I don’t think there is an August anymore. The sound of the summer afternoon seems to be more about thunder and rain than of lawnmowers and kids. The dew point is where the temperature should be, and the temperature should be in Georgia, not central Maine. My driveway is sprouting moss. A deep breath is taken, not out of appreciation, but at the mercy of air conditioning and Combivent.


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a case for civility….

May 19, 2012

and for civil unions as a starting point….

Cultures are identified in part by their mores, but the fact that a culture is characterized by its traditions doesn’t mean that everybody in that culture agrees. This creates some of the stumbling blocks being encountered in the ongoing redefinition of rights in order to remove alleged violations of the Constitution against groups that don’t occupy the crests of various bell curves.

In the movement to extend the traditional and culturally accepted meaning of the concept of “marriage” the basic struggle is NOT over civil rights but is instead an effort by one group to force the other group to accept and endorse it’s commandeering of and restructuring of a cultural more.

Many who oppose the statutory establishment of “gay marriage” would have no problem with acknowledging the “right” of two people to establish a committed relationship resembling traditional marriage in the civil sense. The fact that the opposition is so passionate demonstrates that the conflict is over the word, not the relationship, and over demands that the nontraditional relationship be accepted and endorsed by those whose values and preferences preclude their accepting or endorsing it.

Want to make it all go away so everybody can go back to more mundane activities?


Establish a legally acknowledged civil union that doesn’t infringe upon the traditions and cultural mores of the traditional marriage defenders, yet still provides the same “civil” rights and responsibilities provided by the traditional marriage.

Cultural acceptance and endorsement of “change” must evolve and develop over time, perhaps more than a generation or two. It has been proven many times that such things cannot be legislated. The society as a whole will decide issues of attitude and belief, issues very enmeshed with basic language itself.

Without the perceived assault on the integrity of a “word” that many hold to be quite sacred, I don’t think this issue would ever have made the front page in the first place.


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Out, out, damned dress!…..

April 25, 2012

Tennessee school officials teach conflict resolution “cat-box” style ….

How can a dress cause racial tension? How about a shoe? Could that be responsible for social discord as well? Well, I understand the shoe bit, at least in situations where one might be thrown at a visiting head of state. But even then, it is the one committing the act of assault that is guilty of an offense, not the shoe.

In the case of the Tennessee teenager who was banned from her school prom for wearing a dress made in the image of the Confederate Battle Flag, I question the allegation that her clothing could create “racial tension”.

I wonder if it would have been ok had it been a “hoodie”….

I once had the crap beat out of me because I was wearing a jacket with a fraternity emblem on it when I walked through an alley some State College “townie” had decided was his personal property. In today’s climate, I wonder if it wouldn’t be I who was in court and my assailant viewed as the victim of some injustice.

Both the public and judicial courts will most likely rule that it is the human actions taken with or without the presence of a “hoodie”, Confederate flag, or any other symbol, and those committing those actions, that bear full responsibility. When someone causes harm to another because of his or her clothing, race, creed, gender, gender preference, or favorite vegetable, those alleged contributing factors are irrelevant. Only the behavior is at fault. The ethic du jour of the legal profession seems to be bottom fishing for secret entrances to other people’s wallets, and I don’t think society is better off for the effort. It has contributed to a paranoid society, fearful of marching out of step lest they be sued or something. It’s political correctness gone rogue.

Some elements of any society can be reasonably expected to exhibit no higher intellect than basic brain stem activity, but public school is the last place such a vacuum should be created and fostered. In addition to learning essential useful knowledge, such as the traditional “readin’ writin’ and ‘rithamatic”, by the time one reaches the final years of the required twelve, emphasis should be on critical thinking and creativity as well, and I don’t mean parsing the same comfortable classics their grandparents groaned over and providing the same canned analyses. Educators who are locked into the unfortunate one size fits all mind-set so characteristic of public school today are slamming the all too brief window of opportunity to put the minds of tomorrow’s leaders into gear, instead guaranteeing a surplus of “followers”.

The administrators who couldn’t think beyond the horizon of their next evaluation when addressing the Confederate Flag issue could have, and should have, used the situation as fodder for lively group discussions, both among those they projected would create discord if they saw it, and among those who thought it was a clever idea. Instead of hiding the very real potential for inappropriate behavior, educators owe it to their students and to their communities to teach the adults of tomorrow how to meet conflict head on, not how to bury it and just pretend it isn’t there and doesn’t smell bad.


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