Saturday, October 31, 2009

Blog # 112: Republicans Take Slumdog Approach to Health Care

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The “Slumdog” children at the Academy Awards. – “Slumdog Millionaire,” its director, Danny Boyle, and a producer, Christian Colson, helped establish trusts and find new homes for Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, 11, and Rubina Ali Qureshi, 10, who played the young incarnations of two of the film’s lead characters. But Noshir Dadrawala, who helps administer the fund, said Azharuddin was showing up at school 37 percent of the time, and Rubina had a 27 percent attendance rate. The trust decided that the children must raise their attendance above 70 percent or forfeit their monthly stipends of about $120. • Story and Photo – The N. Y. Times

Polls Show Public Supports a Public Option

From the latest polls we learn that a majority of Americans finally understands Einstein’s reigning equation on the health care situation: (chalk at the ready) “NO public option = NO reform”. PERIOD! You would think that message should be clear enough for even the more dense among the Senate’s Blue Dog Democrats to comprehend, providing the din of the Insurance companies’ money hasn’t clouded their hearing beyond repair. We Democrats are just too damn independent for our own good. It’s a damned shame that we can’t herd Democrats like the Republicans seem to be able to herd Repugnicants. “Hop to, little dogies, over here you go; just direct your feet to the people’s side of the street.”

However it is the Turncoat Democrat who seems the least receptive to the message being given by the American People. Our very special favorite Turncoat, cuddly old Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, has gone so far as to threaten to join Republicans in a filibuster if the Public Option is in the Senate Bill. He announced his intention quite proudly, in the face of a Poll showing 65% of the citizens of Connecticut support a public option. Of course, many of those insurance companies that are fighting tooth and nail to retain their obscenely high profits, and therefore are dead set against competition from a public option, also live in Connecticut. Good ole’ Senator Joe, he just keeps plugging away for his business homeys.§

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To Care or Not to Care?

As the health care fight keys up Republicans and other fiscal conservatives, and even an independent here and there, are beginning to get paranoid about America’s ever rising national debt, and the threat of Democratic spending to increase it. One wonders where their concern was during all of those dreadful free-spending Bush/Cheney years.

First thing out of that Supreme Court facilitated gate Bush/Cheney gave our most wealthy citizens a free ticket to pass go by way of their taxes. And then they went on to start not one but two corporate intensive wars, also not paid for by taxes, but financed on the dole, on the nation’s credit card as it were. Furthermore conservatives didn’t seem to give much of a damn back when B/C went on to rob many State National Guards of both their troops and their equipment.

Then the Bushies proved beyond a shadow of a doubt their complete indifference to the well being of the American people. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina they left hundreds of bodies of drowned American citizens rotting in the streets of New Orleans, a situation nightly witnessed by the American people on their television screens, and which showed a level of callousness towards the well being of our citizens unmatched in the history of American presidents. One can only smile at the thought of the reincarnation of Bush 43 hitting the lecture circuit as a “motivational” speaker. Motivating his audiences towards what? Incompetency? Bankruptcy?

Wouldn’t you just know, after 8 years plus of silence at that kind of financial abuse the fiscal conservatives have finally found their voice. And the ironic part of it is that, sure the Obama Administration is increasing our debt, but rather than throwing any more money than is necessary into conflicts, and conducting a saber-rattling foreign policy which spawns more conflict, the administration is endeavoring to promote peaceful solutions to the world’s problems so that it can invest money in the American people for a change.

The Obama guys are attempting to cure, or at least apply a band-aid to our completely out of whack health care system, and at the same time it is also funding initiatives which will help create jobs, etc. It is even attempting to curb corporate greed in the financial industry, at least among the executives of those companies on the public dole. But of course, there lies the Republican gripe. They don’t want a dime of tax money spent in the interests of you and I. They want every tax dollar to be spent enriching the wealthy and the big corporations. That’s who they work for.

And so the Republicans, to a man and woman, resist everything the Democrats propose. If the Democrats had pulled this kind of nonsense on the Republicans during those dreadful Bush/Cheney years, we wonder how much lighter our national debt would be now. BUT NOOOO! Democrats labor under the quaint delusion that they are working for the American people, and so held their noses as they dutifully played ball with the Republicans. This spirit is obviously not reciprocated by the GOP, as they turn every Democratic initiative into a political battle, indicating they answer not to the American people, but to their political masters.

However an angry voting populace finally resisted the GOP’s lies and malfeasance by voting their real interests which in turn returned Democrats to power. And now that they are back in power it looks like once again on matters that stand to benefit the American people the Democrats will have to stand alone. Want the latest odious example? Republicans are criticizing the Democrats for being slow in the deliverance of the H1N1 vaccine. But you know what, to a man they voted against funding the vaccine in the first place. Pathetic, what?

Republicans react in feigned horror at the thought of a public option run by the federal government, as if a bumbling, incompetent Fed was sure to bring the entire health care industry crashing down. The problem with that thinking is that Republicans are projecting their own leadership into the picture. When you have little or no respect for the federal government, when you actually have animosity towards it and staff it with incompetents, it is any wonder you look askance at the federal government running anything?

However, that is strictly a Republican fantasy. Bill Clinton was the last Democratic president to prove that a president could not only effect efficient rule, but he could do so without drumming up a war, and by being fiscally responsible, so much so that he ended his presidency with surpluses, not deficits. When has a Republican president been able to come anywhere near that record? Certainly not in your or my lifetime.

And if Republicans really have so little faith in a government run program, we would suggest they cancel their own government health care program and exchange it for one of these for-profit insurance programs which allow you to pay into the system as long as you are healthy, but which at the first sign of an illness cancels you. I’m sure the for-profit boys would love to have a bunch of dissident GOP Congressmen and Senators on their rolls, merrily contributing to their bottom lines until those infamous “pre-existing conditions” kick in.

In short, to hard-of-thinking Republicans we would say this: all the American people are asking is that they get the same kind of health care deal that members of Congress and the Senate have given themselves. No more, no less.

No wonder the Republican party is currently suffering the lowest ratings it has had in its entire history, with only 20% of the voting population, one in five, claiming GOP membership. Instead of serving the American people (which is what they claimed when they first sought election) they have abandoned our interests to solely focus on opposing the Obama administration at every turn. We are happy to see that the American people aren’t stupid, that they eventually understood when they had been incessantly lied to and had repeatedly gotten the shaft. ‘Tis sweet indeed that the American voter is no longer driven by fear-tinged Republican fantasy, but has learned to vote according to his real interests.§

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Liz Cheney Squawks about Obama’s Dover Coverage

On the heels of our former president of vice Dick Cheney’s accusation of Obama “dithering” on Afghanistan, Cheney daughter Liz squawks about the media coverage of Obama’s trip to Dover to honor our fallen. George W. wouldn’t do that, she said. Of course he wouldn’t do that, Bush banned cameras from Dover and avoided it like the plague. He wanted to take America’s minds off of war casualties. Now if we could only find something to take our minds off of the Cheneys.§

O’Donnell Answers Liz and Dad

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Bits and Pieces . . .

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Thanks to the Independent Sources website, we bring you the following mucked up urls:

1. A site called ‘Who Represents‘ where you can find the name of the agent that represents a celebrity. Their domain name… check this out… is:

2. Experts Exchange, a knowledge base where programmers can exchange advice and views at:

3. Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island at:

4. Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder at: However female users should show great caution when using this url.

Anyway, you get the idea. There’s even more of this madness, which you can find it by pointing your cursor and clicking here

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In all seriousness Google has a new tool which should greatly aid images seekers. It is called Similar Images. You can try it out by clicking on "Find similar images" below the most popular images in Google’s search results. For example, if you search for jaguar, you can use the "Find similar images" link to find more pictures of either the car or the animal.

So, let's say you want to find images of Ancient Egypt. Google Images will provide you with a rich variety of results, including pyramids, maps, relics, drawings and other types of images. You could narrow down your results to show you only the Great Sphinx of Giza. As below:§

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Three cheers for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the online legal entity which is ever looking out for our digital rights. They have started a new project called their Hall of Shame, where they are doling out Shame honors to companies and organizations which attempt to curb free speech by causing YouTube and other media outlets to pull material for bogus copyright claims.

”Free speech in the 21st century often depends on incorporating video clips and other content from various sources," explained EFF Senior Staff Attorney and Kahle Promise Fellow Corynne McSherry. "It's what The Daily Show with Jon Stewart does every night. This is 'fair use' of copyrighted or trademarked material and protected under U.S. law. But that hasn't stopped thin-skinned corporations and others from abusing the legal system to get these new works removed from the Internet. We wanted to document this censorship for all to see."§

Good for you EFF. For more of the story go here

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From the Borowitz Report: BULLETIN!

MINNEAPOLIS (The Borowitz Report) - Trying to make the best of what could be a public relations disaster, Northwest Airlines today unveiled a new corporate slogan, "We'll Get You Within 150 Miles of There."

According to Carol Foyler, a Northwest spokesperson, the new slogan "reflects our dedication to getting our passengers as close as possible to their intended destination."

UPDATE: MINNEAPOLIS (The Borowitz Report) - The mystery surrounding the Northwest Airlines flight that strayed 150 miles from its intended destination was resolved today as Northwest reported that the two pilots for the flight were never in the cockpit to begin with.

"We found them safe at home, hiding in a box," said Northwest spokesperson Carol Foyler. "We're just glad that this story had a happy ending."

To sign up to have the Borowitz Report sent to your very own email box, go here

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Welcome to My Last Hurrah!

After last week’s admission of my gigantic url misspelling, I decided it was time to do a little housecleaning around the old blog. And the next area of improvement has to be my bio, which sits to the right of the copy, just below the archive. I have rewritten it, which you are invited the check out forthwith. Not a basic change, I still managed to keep that smart ass attitude I originally created it with. Just added more of what I had done back when I was a productive member of society, which not surprisingly added dreadfully few lines.§

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Housecleaning Time on Our Blog

While browbeating my youngest son into reading my blog, I called it “my last hurrah!” Which actually it is. All of my life I have tried this and that, and when each little enterprise didn’t go quite the way I would like, I would pull back, do a 33 percent course change, and motor off in a different direction. As a result I have landed here in the Twilight Zone of my life with very little to show for it. And so as a matter of desperation I created my blog.

What is it supposed to be? Well, to me it is like that radio program I dreamed of doing back in the days when radio programs ruled. Of course you would have to call it radio for the deaf, Paul Simon’s sounds of silence rules these parts, as our blog consists of merely printed words, and even those are not printed on paper, of course, but exist as bytes on a computer screen. No trees felled for our ego, my friends, although let’s not talk about the carbon footprint we share with all other Google customers, which uses heavens knows how much energy to fire up their gigantic server complexes which they use to serve their corner of the internet. Not to mention what the one or two of you out there who seek us out use.§

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Should The Borg Change its Leadership?

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From John Gruber’s Daring Fireball:

“If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither on your side, pound the table.” — Legal Adage

The danger I see is in conflating cause and effect. Is the App Store popular because the iPhone is great? Or is the iPhone great because the App Store is popular? There’s a big difference between those two arguments. The latter is the argument Microsoft has long made regarding the advantage of Windows: Windows is great because Windows has the most software and most developers.

The iPhone has turned that around, and it’s driving Microsoft executives batty. The situation is so at odds with Microsoft’s view of the computing universe that Steve Ballmer came up with this cockamamie explanation: “The Internet was designed for the PC. The Internet is not designed for the iPhone. That’s why they’ve got 75,000 applications — they’re all trying to make the Internet look decent on the iPhone.” Pound the table, indeed.

In your experience, have you ever seen a chief executive of a major technology company (he would probably say THE major technology company) who has been so consistently wrong about a competitor’s product as has the Steve of Redmond & Microsoft about Apple and its iPhone? Rather than irritate the real Steve Jobs, I imagine it just makes the iPhone’s remarkable success that much sweeter for him. Balmy Ballmer. We won’t bore you with a history of his most grievous errors, but he recently made the above comment, and when TechFlash, which is a Seattle based aggregator of tech news, published that statement a reader calling himself Grand_Poobah commented that it was time for the Microsoft CEO to find another job. He wrote:

"Seriously, the iPhone is the first phone that made surfing the internet on a portable device EASY. I can pinch the screen, tilt, zoom in, zoom out, scroll with the touch screen ... it's just so easy. This is denial and he needs to be replaced badly. Microsoft can do so much better."

Well, whether the tech Goliath that fake Steve calls the Borg can do any better with a different leader is a topic for debate. But it sure would have a hard time doing any worse. Pound the table, indeed.

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And From our Fairness to the Borg Dept. Comes

The Bing Dance

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Peeling Back the Curtain on Children’s Camps

As ye olde bio alongside says, many of the best summers of my life were spent in three of the most outstanding children’s camp in New England. In fact, in those days I lived the life of the birds. By which I mean, I spent the cold months, the falls, winters and springs in the relative warmth of Houston, Texas, while spending summers working at the fore mentioned camps. In many of those years I made the trip by railroad train, specifically the historic train called The Southerner, taking the 3 day trip in the relative comfort of the Pullman Car. Eating my meals in the dining car, and catching up on my reading or my people watching in the coach car. It made a wonderful transition from what I had been doing to what I would be doing.

Why did I enjoy working in children’s camps, you might ask? Well, it was like a microcosm of the outside world, but one which was small, and one in which you had a chance to watch the budding human child as it develops. In the 1950’s a terribly depressing book about children living alone in the wild, Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, painted what was to me a terribly depressing picture of the human male child when left to his own devices. Working in the camps provided an excellent opportunity to test out the book’s theories in the field. Of course, the children in camp weren’t left totally alone as in the novel. But there were plenty of instances where you could let children lead and study their reactions. And the many years working in the camps proved for me the complete fallacy of the presuppositions of Golding’s book.

Of course there were many other reasons to spend the summers in New England. The weather was almost always pleasant, very few of those wiltingly hot days Houston experiences end on end. The living was mostly in the outdoors, rather than in the artificially cooled atmosphere of the indoors. And of course there were the lakes and ponds, the mountain streams and pools, and in the case of Blueberry Cove, the Atlantic ocean. Not to mention the activities. And there is one thing about working with children. No matter how overwhelming your own problems might seem, they evaporate completely the minute a group of children bursts into your life. That’s just the way it is, it comes with the territory.

I’m hesitant to say it, since both Killooleet and BBC were superbly run institutions, but my favorite parts of camp were the trips away from camp. It was an opportunity to get get a small group of children away from the rest, usually in a challenging situation. At Blueberry Cove I grew to love the mountain climbing trips. For one thing, I got a chance to confront one of my own personal demons, acrophobia, the fear of heights. However when you have a group of children to take care of your own fears get shoved far back into your unconscious.

I actually had my first real experience with a mountain while I was still at Killooleet in Vermont. I took a group of older campers on a hiking expedition to (if memory serves me), Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. There was a hiking trail up the mountain, the views were spectacular along the way, and when we got to the top there was a lodge, which served meals, although we didn’t eat there. We backpacked up our own food. Still it was rather of a shock to arrive at the summit of this mountain, only to find a lodge complete with comfy chairs, cozy fireplaces, and a working kitchen.

Getting to the top had been a compelling experience for me, for at one point we were climbing a rocky part that exposed our height and vulnerability, and just as my knees started to buckle and my body started to shake, one of the campers was having a similar moment, and suddenly my own fears took flight as I had to concentrate on talking him up that particular part. The entire experience turned out to be an exciting one and it hooked me into wanting more. After six years at Killooleet I began to hanker for a change, mainly I wanted more trips. There were only two trips per summer at Killooleet, and so I switched to Blueberry Cove Camp in Tenants Harbor, Maine.

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There was a little mountain near Camden, Maine which we at BBC called Ragged Mountain. It was near to the camp, and we made it a day trip. You could drive up the rear of the mountain, there was a road, but of course there was no fun in that. There was a lot more challenge in climbing up the face. It was steep, and all rock. There was no set trail going up, you made your own, which was very useful as it forced you to think as you climbed, to plan ahead. The angle was considerately less than 90ยบ, and it wasn’t really dangerous, but our campers learned to climb it with care, carefully considering their options as they proceeded up the face.

And acrophobia types like me got a chance to challenge our fears by helping the campers in their climb up. As I learned early on, of course, the real trick for a successful climb was to not look down. Take your mind off of your own uneasiness by concentrating on helping your campers.

The climb took maybe a couple of hours going up, we would take day packs along with our lunch in them, and eat and have a rest hour at the top. It wasn’t a tall mountain, but on a clear day you could see the ocean off in the distance. After lunch and rest it was time to carefully make our way back down the face.

A Canyon with Moon, Not Ragged Mountain

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The next step in my own personal mountain climbing regime was called Tumbledown Mountain. It isn’t on the internet’s list of Maine mountains, and so I guess it wasn’t high enough to make the cut, but it is named Tumbledown on the U. S. Geographical Survey map of the area, so I guess the name Tumbledown wasn’t merely a camp name, but an official one. Tumbledown was a mid range mountain in height, although it couldn’t compare to a man-sized mountain like Mt. Katahdin, which sits boldly to the north and forms the northern termination point of the Appalachian Trail.

Tumbledown offered a taste of a real mountain experience. It was far enough away from camp that a trip there would have to be a 2 night – 3 day affair. Much of the early part of the walk was in a tree covered path, which made for a very pleasant walk because you were in the shade, and because of the altitude the air was cool and crisp. There was a challenging rocky face to climb after you left the tree line.

As a general rule we stopped and rested for 10 minutes each hour. Whenever possible we would stop at a place affording a good view. The real fun of the climb began as we reached the end of the tree line. The trail up was clearly marked, and was well traveled. We mostly climbed an area which after a rain would be covered with flowing water. This water had long since dried up, but it had removed most of the organic matter which mother nature might have originally put there. When we approached an area which might have been a problem for some campers I would go to the front of the line, so that I could supervise their climb.

I found that most of our campers were inventive with their climbing, and didn’t need much in the way of guidance or direction. Of course, every now and again you had a camper who suddenly became aware of our altitude or the starkness of their position, and you had to do some fast talking to take their mind off of their fears, and get them scrambling to a point of safety. Once again, having to talk them out of their fears worked like a charm in taming my own irrational fears, shoving them deep back in my own subconscious.

Once we were above the face, we usually spent of few minutes of well earned rest taking in the view of the countryside, surveying where we had come from and thinking about the challenge that we had all just faced and conquered. The summit was high enough to afford good views of the surrounding countryside. And near the top was a large size pond which made for some excellent swimming, a fitting reward for those making the climb on a hot day.

After completing our climb we would have a period of free time, where the adventurous could explore the mountain’s peak and other points of interest, while the rest explored the beautiful pond, which was a bit lower than the peak, and which lay as a sparkling invitation to cool off after your sweaty climb up. If there were no others around most of the kids would go in skinny, which was the camping world’s rather quaint way of saying swimming a la bare.

And if you took a certain way back down the mountain a lovely brook paralleled your walk, a stream from which you could refill your canteen (with the coldest, best tasting water I have ever tasted), and which made for a grade A skinny dipping experience if your group was hot and sweaty and so inclined.

An aside here. Throughout mankind’s history canvas replications of the nude human body, particularly that of the female, were considered the pinnacle in artistic expression. For some strange reason much of our society today seems to look upon the unclothed human form as somehow obscene, or what is worse, pornographic. But fortunately for us, most of our camp’s parents seemed to have a more liberated view of bare humanity, and as for skinny dipping, the children themselves usually indulged in it with enthusiasm, and without hesitation. And this went not only for trips which were same sex, but also those of mixed trips as most BBC trips were. We counselors never tried to talk a child into shedding his or her clothes, that was always a very personal decision on the part of the child, and we felt their decision should come freely from them. Some of us counselors had been known to lead by example, however.

And to my mind the reward the child got if and when he or she indulged in skinny dipping was two-fold. First off they got that wonderful feeling your skin only gets when you have nothing between it and the sweet coolness of the water. Also in my mind being bare and relaxed in the company of others equally bare, serves to help prepare those who participate for whatever relations they might have with members of the opposite sex when they get older, as some of the mystery about the body of the opposite sex has been cleared away.

There were numerous other fine parts of away trips like Tumbledown also, two of which were in the preparation and the eating of meals around an open fire, and sleeping in the outdoors. Of course the food preparation for cooking on an open fire was relatively limited. But the reward was in the eating. Food cooked in the outdoors tastes unbelievably good, and if it comes at the end of a day which had been devoted to climbing a mountain, you are beastly hungry for it. And as anyone who has ever cooked and eaten in the outdoors over an open fire can testify, food has never tasted better.

The other high point in taking a trip away from camp was in the sleeping experience. Even if you lacked very much of nature’s built-in cushioning, as did I, still the outdoors became an ideal place to sleep. Some like the privacy of a tent, but I always preferred sleeping under an open tarpaulin, which let the night in with its soothing sounds and gentle aromas. Armies of crickets were inevitably serenading for a mate, and their collective symphony beats even the best of those modern sound sleep aids built into our digital alarm clocks. Rain during the night was rare, but in the case of rain the tarp usually kept you high and dry.§

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With memories of serenading crickets drowning out the artificially produced sounds of crickets on my digital alarm clock, so we bring to a close this week’s blog. We spend the week commenting quirkily on this and that, and in addition each week we try to bring to life some aspect of our days working at children’s camps.

We hereby offer a digitally engraved invitation to come back next week for more of the same. We write during the week, and post the results Saturday morning between 7 and 8 o’clock CDT. If you happen to recommend us to a friend or two, don’t forget to make note of our grammatically challenged url, which spells “little” with an extra “l”. As in: Easiest thing is to highlight the entire url, copy it to the clipboard, then paste it into an email or text message, or whatever, to friend and foe alike. Anyway. enough with this shameless self promotion. Have a good week, keep your eye on the prize, and as Pete Seeger used to sing with feeling, take it easy, but take it.

The Real Little Eddy §

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Blog # 111: Admitting a goof, praising pills

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Firstest With the Mostest!

Want a perfect way to start your day? How about this Annie Leibovitz portrait of the First Family? – Official White House Photo

This Week’s Illustrations Have Nothing to Do with the Content

Welcome to the Next Level

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Admitting the Obvious

I would like to start off this week’s blog with a . . . blush, blush . . . an admission. I have been known to make mistakes. I really have. I like to think they aren’t really mistakes, they are really the handiwork of my “inner being,” my all-wise, or damn fool “inner soul”, depending on how you look at it.

The basic mistake I am directing your attention at this moment consists of how I wrote out the url for my blog when I began it. Would you believe, I made a basic spelling error? Me, as well schooled as I am as a writer and editor? After all, I made my living for a couple of years back in the mid 1960’s as the managing editor of Sing Out! The Folksong Magazine. And those were the days when folkies like the Kingston Trio, the Byrds, and Peter Paul and Mary were leading our nation in song.

In case you copy and paste my url in and haven’t yet noticed, I misspelled the word little, giving it an extra L. As in littlle. It looks sort of cool lying buried in that url, for it continues a series of double letters. As in: Double t, double l, double e, and double d. You might even call it poetic, a possible improvement over the real thing. Then again, you might well not. That just might be stretching a stupid excuse a wee bit beyond its breaking point.

This error hit home several weeks ago when I was writing about Blueberry Cove Camp, and the former BBC director, Ann Goldsmith, who had just discovered I was still alive and had emailed me, sent the url around to former camp people. Ann instinctively corrected my mistaken url, typing the word little with the one L that God and the Merriam-Websters of the World had decreed for it.

She sent me a copy of the email, and being curious I clicked on the url to check it out. A blogspot titled Little Eddy came up alright, but it wasn’t my blog. It was a site with pictures of a baby named Little Eddy. And so I discovered that there is another child out there who will grow up with the name Little Eddy. Welcome to the world, my little friend. Do try to learn to spell correctly as you grow up. Take especial care with the spelling of the words in the url of your blog. After all, you wouldn’t want to end up red faced with a sh*t-eaten grin plastered all over it like the cyber world’s other littlle eddy.§

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Pied Piper, Anyone?

One Pill Over the Line, Sweet Jesus!

One characteristic of aging is our newly acquired dependence on chemicals, i.e. prescription drugs, which usually come in the form of pills. I’m not talking recreational drugs here. There’s nothing recreational about the Prilosec which I take for 14 days every now and again to tame my acid reflux; the gylburide I take daily 30 minutes before breakfast to curb my diabetes; or the Furosemide I take first thing every morning for edema, to remove the water in my feet and legs that my heart gave up on.

Sometimes these drugs cause unwanted side effects. For instance, I found out after the fact that Prilosec probably caused or aided in my getting osteoporosis, a deterioration of the bones which caused me to take injections from the Forteo Pen until the treatment drove me into the donut hole two years in a row, finally forcing me to quit it cold turkey.

The above mentioned pills are what I take each morning, I have seven more I take at bedtime. To avoid such excesses as high blood pressure – there is Lisinopril; to tame that nasty, heart damaging cholesterol – Pravastatin; to shrink an enlarged prostate – Finasteride; and to pass urine until, and/or if, the prostate shrinks – Flomax. Well you get the idea. Am I complaining? No, of course not. At the moment I am grateful for each and every one of these chemical concoctions for keeping me upright and still chugging along. And they are only costing me about $40 a month, which is reasonable enough in this day and age.

I am grateful to the pharmaceutical industry for their innovative research, but I decry the way they are making us Americans pay through the nose for their research costs, added on to their excessive rewards to their executives and equally excessive dividends for their stockholders. The right wing screams (should we say screeches?) competition. A couple of years ago when I was diagnosed as having leukemia, the only sure cure for this condition at the time was a drug called Gleevec which, would you believe, costs $3,000 a month? Which of course, priced me, as well as 99% of all Americans, right out of the cure. I ask you, what good does it do to have a cure for something if no one can afford it? The best healthcare on the planet? Well, the most overpriced, that is for sure.

Lucky for me the VA took another bone marrow sample and determined that I had been misdiagnosed. And so I got off easy. However a long string of very talented songwriters, musicians and performers, including Steve Goodman (who wrote the song The City of New Orleans), John Hartford, and most recently, Mike Seeger all died from leukemia. Goodman and Hartford probably died before an effective drug was available. But I wonder if in Mike Seeger’s case (he died only a couple of months ago) whether that miracle drug Gleevec could have cured him had it not been priced way out of his reach. Sure, we all have to die sometime, but the name of this game called life is to stretch out our stay as long as humanly possible. In our capitalist society it goes without saying that you make money wherever you can, but is it really moral for drug manufacturers to put heavy profits in the way of yours and my longevity? Do we really want to live in a society where only the rich can afford life saving drugs? I leave the answer to you.§

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The Borg Attacks Steve Jobs

The Guys Behind Steve Jobs

In January when Steve Jobs announced that his illness was worse than he thought, and he was taking a 6 month sick leave from Apple, Wall Street got its undies in a twist and Apple’s stock took a bit of a dive. Know-nothings like the Ballmers and other Apple bashing types kept predicting that Apple would suffer in his absence.

However, that turned out to be strictly wishful thinking on their part. The truth is that Apple did very well in the master’s absence. And in this year of a dreadful recession, Apple this past week announced its most profitable quarter ever. And the very next day they announced a new lineup of iMacs with wireless keyboards and a touch sensitive mouse, plus a new low end notebook, and even a much improved low level Mac Mini.

What is even more surprising, a trip to Apple’s website brings you to a short QuickTime video introducing the new line up of iMacs, and Steve Jobs is not among the presenters. Most important among the presenters is Jony Ive who is listed as Senior Executive, Design, and who is the soft spoken genius behind Apple’s incredible product designs. Others in the video include Bob Mansfield, Senior Vice President, Mac Hardware, and Scott Brodick, Product Manager, Mac. Evidently these are the gentlemen who led the team which made the new iMacs blossom, and rather than goof off during the masters’ liver transplant and recovery, they were busy as hell. Of course, it’s easy to speculate that no one working at Apple knows how to “goof off.” If they did they probably wouldn’t be around long enough to collect a pay check.

Together Ive, Mansfield, and Brodick take you on a stunning introduction to Apple’s latest goodies, introducing you to what looks like an amazing new iMac product line. You can see the video for yourself simply by moving your cursor and clicking here! The video sure as hell sold me.

And how could we possibly pass the opening day of Microsoft’s release of its operating system, System 7, without showing you the Mac vs. PC version of it.§

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– two loons on a lake –

Another Trip Down Memory Lane

A few weeks ago I told you about Feast Day and Lobster Feast at Maine’s Blueberry Cove. These were activities which engaged the entire camp for much of a day, and consequently were enjoyed by the entire camp together. All camps have activities like these. At New York’s Settlement Camp we had the nightly after dinner sings. Vermont’s Killooleet had a once a week, Friday night campfire sing. Blueberry Cove had its morning council at which the entire camp participated. And every afternoon the camp again congregated for what was called milk and crackers.

Killooleet had some very special all camp days, one of their favorites was the annual Capture the Flag game. Preparation for the game consisted of a counselor driving to a Vermont talc mine to get several large bags full of white talc powder. This is not the refined, scented talcum powder you would buy for your baby in the supermarket. But even in its unrefined state talc is a fine white powder.

Back at camp groups would prepare for the game by rolling up small amounts of the powder in strips of cloth cut from worn out sheets. Also paper bags were filled with larger amounts of the powder. The smaller missives served as bullets, if you were hit by one you had to leave the game and sit in the other team’s jail for a period of time. The larger bags were bombs, which could take out a somewhat larger group. I googled capture the flag and got the following description from a website called the Ultimate Camp Resource.

Divide the group into two teams; identify each by a set of arm or headbands. Set up a jail area (3- 4 square yards) and a separate hiding spot for each flag. Jails are set up at opposite ends of a 5 -20 acre area.

The object of the game is to penetrate the other team's area and capture their flag. A flag is "captured" after it has been returned to the captor's jail area.

Prisoners are taken by having their arm or headbands removed by an opponent. Prisoners are taken to the jail of their captor; they wait there quietly until they are released. Prisoners can only be released when a member of their team (with arm or headband intact) runs through the jail in which they are being held captive. After their release, prisoners are given free escort back to a central spot near their end of the area. Here, they are issued new arm or headbands. The game continues until a flag is captured, or the time is up, whichever arrives first.

Although Capture the Flag is a universally celebrated camp game, many feel that it was the addition of talc bombs as bullets which made Killooleet’s version so exciting. And of course, it is a non violent way of symbolizing our nation and its war games.§

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Alice with Fawn and Tea Cup

The Trips Were Where Real Adventures Happened

To me the best part of working in children’s camps were the trips. In the Settlement Camp trips were teeny weeny things for older kids only, and consisted of a one-nighter at a campsite up the mountain away from the camp itself. Not much of an experience really, but one which gave a taste of adventure. For me trips really began to make sense and become experiences at Killooleet, in Hancock, Vermont. Trips there were elaborate, lasting for several nights, and used vehicles like canoes and bicycles in addition to good old foot grease.

John and Ellie Seeger were masters at programing trips to reinforce one another other. I remember camping one night with a bicycle trip alongside a lake on a foggy night. We were just getting our fire ready for dinner when Ellie Seeger walked by, nervously looking for strays from her canoe trip which was camped a little up the lake from us. She eventually found all of her campers, and as a matter of fact, during the six years I was at Killooleet the camp never had a camper hurt on a trip, seriously or otherwise.

What a trip did is take the group of children out of camp for a few days, putting them in a new and challenging environment. Usually there was lots of swimming on trips, but in some there was also an activity to get you from one location to another. Although I went on many trips during my six years at Killooleet, the trip I remember most vividly and the one I would like to tell you about here was a bicycle trip I took with 14 year olds biking from an old Fort in N.Y. State to Montreal, Canada.

The trip began with us being trucked with our bikes to this old abandoned fort in Upstate New York, on the border with Canada. The fort was colorful, but what made it most interesting to the campers were the large pornographic drawings on its walls. Flashlights lit up large circles on the walls revealing line depictions of every imaginable sexual combination and position. There was nothing the least bit subtle about the drawings, it was a bit like taking a tour through some warped version of the Kama Sutra, but the illustrations did fill an educational need in areas where conventional education tends to short change kids these days. And since my trip was with 13-14 year old boys, you might say this experience was a sure way to activate the campers’ blood supply for the journey ahead.

The trip was ingeniously planned. The road to Montreal was mostly through French speaking country, and the campers were given money so that they could use the French most of them were learning in school to bargain for food and snacks for the midday meal along the way. I don’t remember much of that part of the trip, I guess because (in spite of the name) I don’t speak French and so I ended up bargaining in the time honored tradition of pointing and gesturing my way through my selection of snacks.

Two things really stand out about biking in Canada at the time. For one thing, the highway was littered with dead, bloated frog carcasses. I have no idea why, there seemed far too many for just an occasional kill during a road crossing, besides in that case they would have been flat rather than bloated. I finally speculated that frog legs being a delicacy in Canada, maybe these guys were the ones who managed to escape their culinary fate by jumping out of pickup trucks before they reached their destination. Not that it had done them any good, if that indeed was the case.

The other thing I remember vividly is how narrow Canada’s roads were, with our line of bicyclists riding as close to the edge as was possible. This was because at that time there was no speed limit in Canada, and cars would come whizzing by at unbelievable speeds. During a particularly scary drive by more than one of our bicyclists took comfort by leaving the road altogether for the safety of a roadside ditch. And heaven forbid that two cars would attempt to pass each other alongside our long train of bicycles.

Our highway paralleled the St. John’s River, and it had been determined that mid trip we would camp out on a small island which the best I remember had a name sounding like Elam Wah (although I have had no luck googling it for confirmation.) The island boasted a fort from Revolutionary War days as well as the public park in which we camped out. A small Ferryboat brought us and our bikes out to the island, and would take us back to the mainland the next morning.

Of course the first thing our group wanted to do was to explore the old fort, probably in hopes of more pornographic drawings. They were out of luck on that score, however, for this fort was actively kept up, there was a caretaker present (which was probably why it boasted no graffiti). One of the boys asked the caretaker who the fort was built to defend against. The caretaker smiled, and with a definite twinkle in his eye replied, “the United States.” The kid did a double take, as did we all. Somehow we don’t think of our country being militant and dangerous to its neighbors, although at many stages of its growth I suppose it must have been.

On the bike trip to Montreal, Canada, the same night that we camped on the island, a Killooleet canoe trip also pulled up to spend the night. A counselor name Bob Pollard was herding a canoe trip down river, one which would end up at the abandoned N.Y. State fort we had started from, the one with all the racy drawings. Kids from our trip were excitedly telling the canoe trippers what was in store for them. This turned out to be lucky scheduling for me, because it was after touring the old fort and while most of our kids were interacting with the canoe trip that I first noticed that a camper was missing. His name was Mort, he was a nice kid, Mort was actually the nephew of Moe of the Three Stooges, and he had a comedic flair about him and a lot of anecdotes about his famous uncle, who he vaguely resembled. He truly was a chip off the old block.

Mort was always spry and animated, but try as I might I couldn’t find a trace of him. I looked everywhere, I even went back and searched the fort, but in vain. Finally, I returned to our campsite where I noticed that one of the sleeping bags had someone inside. I unzipped the bag and there was my missing Mort. He was an incredible sight, it was just like looking at his reflection in one of those Fun House mirrors that distorts your image. His skin was yellow, his face and neck were horribly swollen. He looked like an apparition from some Grade B horror movie. I asked him what in the world had happened to him and he weakly let me know that he had been stung by a bee. He didn’t need to add that he was allergic to bees, that much was obvious.

I sent a camper to fetch Bob Pollard. Luckily Bob was a medical student and well versed in human allergy problems and their cures. And he just happened to have an assortment of miracle drugs with him. He took one look at the patient, and immediately gave him something to make the swelling go down. Fortunately Mort quickly improved, his color was back to normal and the swelling was completely gone by dinnertime an hour later.

Afterwards Bob told me I was damn lucky I had found him when I did, because the way his neck was swelling up, he would have probably had his air supply cut off before too much longer. I told him I was twice blessed that the trip had him stopping at the island too. I don’t know what I would have done if there had been no Bob with his stash of magic drugs. I suppose the only thing I could have done would have been to find the caretaker of the fort to see if he had a way to communicate with the mainland, so I could send for an ambulance and have the ferry come to get us.

These days campers who have life threatening allergies like bee stings hopefully come with pills to cure their reaction, and with instructions for their counselor as to how to administer them. I have no idea why Mort didn’t come so equipped, my guess is perhaps he and his family didn’t realize the extent or seriousness of his allergy. I sure lucked out having Bob on hand.

Our trip ended up in Montreal, where if memory serves, we and our bikes took an undistinguished but pleasant railroad train ride back to Vermont where we were picked up by a camp vehicle and delivered home.§

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How to End Camp with a Spectacle

An Ingenious Use of What Was No Longer Needed

A good children’s camp is thrifty and puts every last bit of unused scrap to good use. For instance, at Killooleet at the end camp one year one or more of the cabins got re-shingled, and the old shingles were carefully saved for some kind of an all camp project next year. The following summer they were utilized for a unique end of camp celebration. On the last night of camp an older group took the shingles to the lake and using carpet tacks mounted a candle on each shingle. There were enough candles for every camper and counselor to have one of their very own.

The air that night was extremely still, the lake itself was as smooth as glass as we assembled down by it. It was pitch black, there was no moon. The entire camp was lined up along the shore, and we watched intently as each candle was lit. Each of us came forward one by one to claim our candle. Candle in hand, we stood holding our candle and staring intently into its flickering luminescence as John Seeger pointed out how each candle symbolized the spirit of the person holding it, and then he announced that one at a time we were to carefully place our candles in the water, being careful not to place it in such a way as to cause it to sink. And so one by one we proceeded to do that, taking our shingle down to the lake, and carefully placing it in the water to float. Afterwards we all stood there spellbound, attempting to follow our own candle’s progress as long as we could as it mingled with all of the others, but soon of course we lost track of our own. In the black stillness of the night it became hard not to stare at the slow moving, flickering spectacle that was lighting up the night from the lake.

A nighttime candlelight ceremony is always a beautiful sight, but that night, all of those candles on that glass-like still surface of the lake, which in turn mirrored each candle in its reflection, made for one of the most breath taking spectacles I have ever experienced. It was like having a small galaxy there on our lake. The entire camp stood there for the best part of an hour, watching with patience until most of the candles had burned down to glowing globules of wax.

After camp I was told that thanks to the fall storms the shingles would eventually get waterlogged and sink to the bottom of the lake. I also assumed that the following spring when the lake was drained, the shingles would be properly removed so that the protruding tacks would not be a swimming hazard, but I have no way of knowing that for a fact. But what a great way to get the maximum use out of something which was no longer needed, and at the same time turn the event into the perfect ending as a cap to a near perfect summer.§

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And with visions of over a hundred and fifty Bush 41 type points of lights shimmering on our favorite body of water, we bring this week’s blog to a reluctant close. Little Eddy looks at the world through his very own admittedly skewered perspective, bent in an entirely different direction from the equally skewered ravings of the Limbaughs, Becks, Hannitys, Dobbses and O’Rileys. We like to think we offer a life-giving antidote to their humanity demeaning madness.

We pray that our observations are no more, nor no less controversial than those of the gang mentioned above. If we succeeded in titillating your interest we will pop our buttons all over our blog, trying our damnedest not to hit any unsuspecting reader in the eye whilst popping off.

If you saw anything here you can relate to do visit us again anytime next week. We post a new blog Saturday mornings between 7 and 8 am CDT. We hope you return, and meantime if you are so inclined, why not direct a friend: ? Be sure to copy and paste it, or if you must retype it make note of our misspelling as discussed at the beginning of this blog. Unless of course, you would rather your friend see pictures of a handsome newly born little lad, rather than reflect on this Little Eddy’s warped view of a people littered universe. Bye now, later gator.

The Real Little Eddy

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Blog #110: Sen. Rockefeller Roasts Health Industry

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Click below for the most honest, outspoken and important video concerning the Health Care Reform debate we have yet seen. You won’t believe such honesty spewing from the mouth of a politician, but as becomes clear as this interview by the Washington Post with Sen. Jay Rockefeller progresses, the Delaware senator is definitely NOT your ordinary politician. You can view it by clicking on the triangle below.§

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Photo from

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A Heaping Helping of Conservative Angst Anyone?

The reactions of the conservative far right, first by their cheers at the rejection of Chicago as the venue for the 2016 Olympics, and the following week, their shock and rage that our President received the Nobel Peace Prize “without having done anything yet,” just shows how supremely negative their thinking has become.

The Nobel Committee answered the critics as follows: “To those who say a Nobel is too much too soon in Obama's young presidency, we simply disagree ... He got the prize for what he has done," committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland told The Associated Press by telephone from Strasbourg, France, where he was attending meetings of the Council of Europe. Jagland singled out Obama's efforts to heal the divide between the West and the Muslim world and scale down a Bush-era proposal for an anti-missile shield in Europe. "All these things have contributed to — I wouldn't say a safer world — but a world with less tension," he said.

Nobel committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland proudly displays a photo of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner.

So who the hell does William Kristol think he is, advising Mr. Obama that he should have rejected the honor? What does he want, our president to commit an act of rudeness towards a committee which has extended to him the world’s most prestigious honor? Doesn’t that sound just like a conservative nay-sayer. And now Kristol is backing Liz Cheney in her efforts to lionize the behavior of her father and the Bush administration, and while they’re at it, they’ll attempt to tear down the Obama administration.

The problem with conservatives was summed up in a nutshell by Paul Krugman in his N.Y. Times column which we quoted last week. He noted, “The public no longer buys conservative ideology the way it used to; the old attacks on Big Government and paeans to the magic of the marketplace have lost their resonance. Yet conservatives retain their belief that they, and only they, should govern. The result has been a cynical, ends-justify-the-means approach. Hastening the day when the rightful governing party returns to power is all that matters, so the G.O.P. will seize any club at hand with which to beat the current administration.”

Already Republicans are smelling blood in the 2010 elections as they blindly scream NO! to health care reform. Well, their mentors, the Health Insurance Industry, just showed their true colors, and they aren’t the red, white and blue of America. Their true color is a dirty green, the color of money. Which is why, to a man, Republicans are bedding down with the American Health Care Insurance Industry, which seems to have bought and paid for their services, lock, stock and barrel. In short, Democrats serve the people, Republicans serve our would be masters.§

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Move On.Oprah – Steve Jobs is the new Teen Favorite

Steve Jobs with his game changing iPhone

And from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Tech Blog we learn: According to a recent survey of 1,000 teens by Junior Achievement, Steve Jobs is the most admired entrepreneur, ahead of Oprah Winfrey. Jobs garnered 35 percent of the votes ahead of Winfrey (25 percent), skater Tony Hawk (16 percent) and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (10 percent.)

Sixty-one percent of respondents chose Jobs because they said he "made a difference in/improved people's lives or made the world a better place," while 35 percent of respondents cited him for "success in multiple fields."

Kids have plenty of reasons to like Jobs, from iPods, Macs and iPhones, to all the assorted movies from his studio Pixar. It's interesting to see Jobs ahead of people like entertainers and celebrities like Oprah, Hawk and the Olsen Twins. It makes you wonder if kids will get excited about science and technology, not just for consumption but as a career.§

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Tidying Up an Untidy email Inbox

You can get your email in-box cluttered these days without half trying, thanks to that auto-generated email you mistakenly signed up for back once upon a time. I spend a few minutes every day deleting emails from the Washington Post, the Daily Beast, Version Tracker and the like, otherwise they will stack up and fill up my box. However, there are a couple of automated emails that I look forward to getting and which I actually read.

Most serious of the two newcomers comes from Michael Moore, the filmmaker who has started up a blog to run parallel to the opening of his new movie, Capitalism, A Love Story. His blog #1 is called “Pilots on Food Stamps,” and it certainly captures your attention with its assertion that more and more pilots these days are forced to take on a second job. Imagine, trusting your life to the hands of a pilot who is about to fly your eight hour flight after having come off of the early morning shift at your local Starbucks. Michael and Friends is a new blog site added to Moore’s website,

Humorist Andy Borowitz has a delightful free spoof email you can subscribe to. In a recent edition coming on the heels of President Obama’s winning the Nobel Peace Prize, you learn that Obama has won the Country Music Entertainer of the Year Award, with the sub headline, Surprise Selection Shocks Nashville

Barack Obama, Nashville’s Big Winner. The 2009 Country Music Entertainer of the Year Had to Leave the Award Ceremony early to accept the Heisman Trophy. Photo courtesy Andy Borowitz website.

Borowitz followed that with “GOP charges Olympia Snowe born in Kenya after she voted with Dems on Healh Care.” And the next day came “Balloon Boy Wastes Entire Fuxxing American afternoon.” Andy’s email publicizes his public appearances and also is one you have to sign up for, which you can do here

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How About This Possible Good News?

Monday morning brought some possibly really good news. According to the N.Y. Times the Fox Business Channel is interested in possibly acquiring the services of Obama administration critic Lou Dobbs. This would be a good thing for it would move him over to that congregation of vipers where also lurk the likes of Beck, Hannity, O’Reilly, et al. Birds of a feather, and all that. Fox News, also known in some circles as Loser Central, is headed by former Reagan era media mogul Roger Ailes.

The news about Dobbs possible move came to light recently after word leaked that Dobbs had dinner last month with Ailes, chairman of Fox News, according to two N.Y. Times sources. What would that do if it actually comes about. Well for one thing it would put all of the most virulent of the administration’s tv critics in one cage, where Obama and company can enter with chairs properly raised. (Perhaps they should also load their six-guns with some kind of soft bullets that sting.)

Would this bring back disaffected CNN viewers who moved away in disgust at Dobbs’ nightly tirades against the administration? Good question. For one, it won’t bring me back for I discovered a more interesting evening lineup over on msnbc: Ed Shultz at five, Chris Matthew’s Hardball at six, Keith Olbermann’s Countdown at seven, and Rachel Maddow at eight. (At nine msnbc begins repeating its programming.) And besides, the new NBA season is beginning, so we gleefully look forward to trading politics for N.B.A. basketball. Go Rockets!


Photo – Houston Chronicle

I further discovered by leaving msnbc on with the sound off overnight, an interesting new morning lineup, beginning with Morning Joe, and climaxing with the Andrea Mitchell Show at noon. And so about all I watch on CNN these days is Wolf Blitzer’s Situation Room from three to six. I am inherently a lazy, non adventurous man. And I do thank you, Lou Dobbs, for forcing me to find out what else there was out there.§

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Are you into late night talk shows?

Personally I’m not, I gave them up when ABC let Dick Cavette go. These days, though, you can access the pearls from Late Night without having to sit through hours of flotsam and jetsam. Sites like YouTube, Hulu, and the like, put the best of Late Night Talk online. And thanks to the fine art of embedding a video, you and I can embed the videos to run on our web pages and blogs, etc. For instance, take Conan O’Brien. He’s got a quirky sense of humor, one that is just south of David Letterman, which is one reason Letterman has inched ahead of him in the ratings. (The other reason of course, sex with underlings. Nothing sells quite like sex.)

Anyway, Conan is into technology. Imagine his surprise when in the Intel commercial Our Rock Stars are Different, he discovered that Ajay Bhatt, the co-inventor of the USB port on computers, was played by an actor. That inspired O’Brien to seek out and interview the real Ajay Bhatt, which is immortalized in the video below.§

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More Reflections on Children’s Camps

And now its time for some more of my reflections on the children’s summer camps, for which I worked during the best 22 years of my life. One of the first things I’m asked by people these days who haven’t as yet sent their child to a camp, is why in these hard times should a family fork over the kind of money these seven or eight week camps require in tuition these days.

Well, if you consider your child an investment there’s every reason in the world to sign him or her up. A few primary ones bubble up right off the bat. Kids these days tend to be overweight and sedentary. They desperately need exercise. The average child these days is nowhere near challenged either physically or mentally in the usual home summer situation. Children have in large measure forsaken outdoor activities, exchanging healthy outdoor interaction with the sedentary lifestyle of hanging in and watching tv, or playing games on the computer. If you send your child to a camp, you are sending him or her into a situation in which they will find very rewarding in both their physical and mental development.

Many children are overweight these days because the human child was not made to be sedentary, it was made to climb, and swing, to run and play games. Not to mention swimming and horseback riding. To me the most important thing kids get out of camp is the pure physical activity required to just keep up. Everything is a long walk, to the activities, to the lake or pool or ocean for swimming, and for the various other activities.

Camps do that for children. Kids get back in the habit of walking and running, and they reconnect with the outdoors. Even if it’s only for two months, that’s better than couch potato-ing the summer away in our very own air conditioned cocoon, either watching tv or playing computer games.

Just as important as the physical development the child gets to establish relations with their counselors, and what’s probably even more important, a chance to interact with their peers. In this world of ours as they grow up today’s kids have to learn to deal with all kinds of people, and a sleep-away camp gives a child an excellent opportunity to get new experiences and make new friends in a friendly controlled environment.

A Few Kids Do Get Homesick

An occasional child does get homesick at camp, a condition which makes them weepy and fretting to be elsewhere. I discovered this when I went from the Settlement Camp in Beacon, N.Y. to Killooleet, in Hancock, Vt. The Settlement Camp had three three-week trips, and we basically gave no time for homesickness, cramming almost the same amount of activity into each of those three weeks that a seven week camp offers their campers for the entire summer. It also helps that the child knows the camp is over in three weeks.

But I was surprised when transferring to Killooleet to discover that an occasional child there does get homesick. A clever counselor can usually make the child see that if he or she went home, all of their friends would be away at other camps, and they wouldn’t have anyone to hang with. However there was one camper my first year at Killooleet, his name was Andy G., who proved to be my introduction to a case of extreme homesickness. Andy was 7, and he had two sisters in camp, Dee 9, and Pru 11.

From the first day Andy had moped and cried incessantly. It was vexing to me, for I had never had to deal with a serious case of homesickness before, and hadn’t the faintest idea as to how to handle it. I tried reasoning with him, but you can’t really reason with a distraught, homesick 7 year old. Next I tried cuddling and warmth. That didn’t seem to change his mood either, if anything it seemed to entrench his homesickness all the more.

After a week of Andy’s non-stop fretting, it was his older sister, Pru, who righted the ship, perspective wise. She had come to bring Andy some news from home one day, saw him moping around and watched as I vainly trying to comfort him. She came over to me and said, “Don’t pay any attention to him, you’re just making it worse. He’s doing it just to get attention. You watch, at the end of camp he’ll be bawling just as hard because he has to go home.” Andy looked at her incredulously, but she had hit the ball out of the park, and she turned out to be absolutely correct. After that day Andy never let out another whimper until the last day of camp, at which time his tear ducts reopened, and his tears flowed like a river.

And so it was that I learned that homesickness does happen, but it is rarely anything to worry about. If it most always happens during a child’s first summer, and it only happens in a camp that affords enough leisure for a child to reflect on his condition. And that is also the type of camp situation most likely to promote true growth in a child. For its the reflection that puts the camp experience into perspective. And I can’t recall a single instance of homesickness carrying into another summer.§

Children’s Camps as Magical Places

Children's Camps are magical places, physical properties which take on mystical proportions at the outset of each summer, offering the campers developmental experiences that will shape them as they grow, and which there will be many that they will never forget. And a truly creative camp director goes with the flow.

Henry and Bess Haskell retired after my fifth year at BBC, after making arrangements for Ann Goldsmith, Bob Hellerson and I to run the camp. It was a little weird to find one’s self trying to fill the footsteps of so gifted a pair of leaders, but camp was important and we vowed to do our best. Maine’s summer weather is usually cloudy and cool, a mirror of England’s weather as Richard T., our English fishing counselor, reminded us. Deathly hot days are few and far between, but there was this one day in our first year that was a doozer, and to make matters worse the tide was low which meant there could be no swimming to cool kids down. And so I had one of those brain-dazzling mental inspirations which you get from time to time.

This one went as follows: what the camp needed at this moment was an All-Camp Muddle. “Muddling” was an activity usually done by one group at a time. It consisted of a camper decorating his or her bathing-suited anatomy with exotic designs of mud and sea-weed. It had never been done before by the entire camp all at once, but for sure this day seemed to require something daring if camper morale was to be lifted. It was a daring and ingenious move, and it turned out to be a very photogenic one as well. Children can be enormously creative with slabs of mud and hands full of seaweed. All sorts of monsters fresh from Davy Jones’ Locker took form in those sun drenched mud flats on that sweltering afternoon. I took many exciting photographs, and by the way the activity worked like a charm in boosting the mood of the campers, instantly catapulting it from bored frustration to adventurous delight.

However, there is always another side of the coin, and what followed served as a terrible strain on the camp’s showering facilities, as for the first time ever the entire camp needed a shower at the same time, taxing the hot water heater to new, untried heights. And a female counselor by the name of Mimi, whose memory will live forever in the Little Eddy Hall of Unpaid Debts, managed to score revenge on behalf of the entire counseling staff by shooing three naked nine year old girls into the shower where he was blindly shampooing his hair, ostensibly she said to hurry him along. And he has to blushingly admit, it worked like a charm. That was the fastest shower and shampoo in the history of fast showers and shampoos, although it did miss by a couple of minutes being not quite fast enough.§

Earth, No Wind, Much Fire

However, I have to concede that the ultimate example of improvisation on the part of a camp director belongs to Henry Haskell, founder and original director of Blueberry Cove Camp. One night back when the Haskells were still running camp, Henry awoke to a camp director’s most dreaded nightmare, the sight of bright red-orange flames lighting up a fog tinged night sky. The Foc’sle (short for Forecastle), a building which housed no campers but which served as the art studio, had caught fire in the middle of this night. (It later turned out that earlier in the evening some counselors had been having their very own lobster feast in the building, and one or more of them must have either been careless with a cigarette, or with the coals from their fire.) Henry immediately notified the Tenants Harbor Volunteer Fire Department, and then proceeded to go around waking up the camp.

The Foc’sle Fire, Not!

I want you to know that Henry went from tent to tent to cabin, waking up every last one of us, and when he was finished some fifty children and twenty or so counselors plus the kitchen crew all sleepily snaked our way down the hill to that burning building, watching in awe as its beautiful flames licked at the dew filled Maine night sky. The Firemen were already busily at work by the time a sleepy camp arrived, spraying water on the adjoining buildings to keep the fire from spreading.

We sat there, watching spellbound as every few minutes a can of paint or some other flammable substance would catch fire, shooting multi-colored streaks into the night sky. It was more exciting than a 4th of July Roman Candles display, as every now and then a multi-colored flaming missile would shoot out of the conflagration, striking heavens only knew where. As we campers and counselors watched (from a safe distance, of course) the Tenants Harbor volunteer fire department was toiling away to keep the flames contained, and the fire was successfully confined to that one building.

Although nothing could be done for the Foc’sle, luckily for Henry and Bess the Fire Crew was successful in keeping the blaze from spreading, with a big assist, of course, from a night with air heavy with mist, and not a whisper of a breeze. That combined with the crackerjack work of the Tenants Harbor Fire Brigade left no chance of that fire spreading.

It took several hours, but once the fire was safely under control (meaning no glowing embers left), Bessie Haskell and the cook and kitchen crew made coffee for the volunteer firefighters who had worked so tirelessly throughout much of the night. And in addition to cinnamon rolls the kitchen staff had prepared for the next day’s breakfast, the ever pragmatic Bessie chose that opportunity to serve the firemen some junk candy bars that a parent had donated to the camp, but which Bessie had deemed problematic for the health of the children, and so had escaped the fate of the daily milk-and-crackers table. The ever practical Bessie, I guess, figured that being full grown men, the firemen were tough enough to safely ingest that junk candy without sustaining internal damage.

It was a night short on rest, but incredibly long on spectacle, the likes of which none of us would probably ever get a chance to see again. How perceptive it was of Henry to realize that this catastrophic event would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for both children and staff. As Henry said the next day, it had been the greatest bonfire in the history of Blueberry Cove. And he had been dead right to wake us up so we all could experience it. And just for the record, the next summer’s campers were greeted by a brand new Foc’sle.§

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And so as the last glowing coal from the late Foc’sle fades to black, so this week’s Little Eddy Blog fades right along with it. We try our best to bring you a little something you will find nowhere else. Of course, as our favorite voice-devoid-of-a-brain, Rush Limbaugh, might say, “there’s a damn good reason you won’t find it anywhere else. So there!”

We write all week and put up our weekly musings on Saturday mornings between 7 and 8 Central Daylight time. We invite you to surf our URL again anytime next week. Meantime, watch what line you buy from that Fox News Gang. It’s all “doom and gloom”, it ain’t the least bit “sunny” over on the conservative side of the street. Bye bye.§

The Real Little Eddy –

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Blog. # 109: Telling it Like It Could Be

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A Lead In With a Punch!

What to do for a lead in to this week’s Little Eddy blog? How about leading in with Barack Obama winning this year’s Nobel Peace Prize? Take that you Weekly Standard blowhards who cheered when Chicago lost it’s 2016 Olympic bid that Obama helped plead for. And how does it feel, Rush baby, sitting over there in the Taliban’s corner, your microphone at the ready, desperately holding onto your bag filled with hot air as if it was something worth coveting? Your mouth spouting nonsense?

In our opinion the Nobel Peace committee awarded the 2009 prize to the only person who truly deserved it, citing many of his speeches reaching out to the enemies of the country, as well as it’s allies. "Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," the committee said. "His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population."

Mr. Nobel, who made his fortune selling gunpowder, and then left his fortune to be used to reward excellence in technological achievements and to reward those working for world peace, must be lying contentedly in his grave, happy that the committee he set up has performed so well in this momentous year. A few Republicans recognized the honor bestowed on our President and congratulated him. Others, like that Uncle Tom running the RNC tried to demean the honor by turning it into partisan politics. Hooray for the U.S.A.! The world has joined Obama's Hope Brigade.

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A Brief History of a Blog

The other day I got an email from my cousin who lives in Equador, who told me she especially enjoyed the piece in which I told of how I happened to choose the title Little Eddy for my blog. I had written that piece early on when I first began writing the blog back in September of 2007, and I reprinted it a couple of weeks ago figuring that since I was attracting new people these days, I owed them an explanation of why I was calling the product of my musings, Little Eddy. This week I plan to follow that revelation with my reason for signing off each week’s blog with the phrase, “The Real Little Eddy,” among other things.

At the time I began this blog one of the hottest bloggers online, whose real identity at that time was unknown, called himself Fake Steve Jobs. It was a must read for all of us with technology interests, Fake Steve was sounding off in words exactly what many of us imagined the real Jobs might use if he was writing the blog. (Fake Steve remarked that he once got an email purporting to be from the Real Steve’s daughter Lisa, who said he sounded nothing like her father, but she read him religiously anyway because he was funny.)

Illustration from Fake Steve Jobs website

Fake Steve’s popularity built to a high point after Apple Computer had bought one of its Fan bloggers out of the business of writing about the company, and Fake Steve dreamed up a scenario whereas an Apple attorney fictionally visited him to try and buy him out. This caused a minor sensation at the time when another blogger accused Fake Steve of pushing a lot of Microsoft causes, especially its animosity towards open source (“freetards” Fake Steve calls them). And it reached a crescendo at an All Things Digital conference, when at a joint interview Bill Gates was doing with the real Steve Jobs, Gates introduced himself by pointing out that he was not Fake Steve Jobs.

My idea for starting this blog was frankly, to give myself something to do to fill my days. My oldest son Daniel had wanted me to write down stuff for his sons, so they would have the benefit of my experience. I called myself the Real Little Eddy, because I thought it would be fun to write what I honestly felt, without worrying about who might read and complain. I am an unashamed Apple Fan Boy, although I do not own either an iPod or an iPhone. But I have used an Apple Mac since December of 1990, when I bought myself a Mac Classic, after having been introduced to computing by way of Coleco’s Adam, and a Commodore 64. I went through several updated Macs after that, closing out the twentieth century with one of the original all-in-one bondi blue iMacs, followed in 2001 by an Apple Cube, and finally in 2007 by a brand new all-in-one iMac with the computer’s guts hidden behind its liquid crystal display screen.

But the idea here is not to get carried away with my tools, although I marvel at the fact that everything I used to do as managing editor to produce Sing Out! Magazine, the typesetting, using electronic typewriters capable of printing out justified type, the paste-up boards, razor blades, and rubber cement, all of the necessary steps needed in the production of a magazine in 1965, can these days be done inside the iMac computer. And if I was interested in producing a printed publication I could simply copy the results of my editing and layout onto an especially treated metal plate, and have the printing company publish the results. That illustrates how the means of production has matured in the years since 1965, and how this ingenious invention has completely reinvented magazine production.

In 2003 Google bought a company devoted to blogging called Blogspot with the idea of providing a blog publishing service on its servers at no cost whatsoever to the bloggers. (Microsoft, which if it had its way would charge us for the air we breathe, instantly turned its hate machine from Apple to Google, for daring to offer its services for free.) When I got the urge to try writing a blog I very tentatively visited Google’s Blogspot site one day in September of 2007. After typing out my first blog using a text editor, I highlighted it, copying the text into the iMac’s memory, then I pasted it into the blogspot template. And after clicking on a button at the bottom of the page, I saw my very first blog published with practically no effort whatever on my part. It was as simple as copying, pasting, and clicking.

I am known to be highly opinionated in this day and age where the conservative right screams at anything differing an iota from their line. But whatever happened to a person’s desire to learn? And how can one expect to learn anything new if they only read those with whom they agree? And since when did being exposed to differing points of view become a dirty word? And folks, the Limbaughs, Becks, the Lou Dobbses, and Fox News types who are rooting against Obama succeeding are also rooting against you and I and the America we represent succeeding.

The idea of a blog is that anyone should be able to write something of interest if they were handed the tools which would make it easy to pull off. I have to admit that I arrogantly went a long time before I bothered to learn enough basic HTML to make my blog conform to the present day characteristics of blogs. However, my weekly hit rate has gone from infinitesimal to double and triple infinitesimal, and each week more people seem to be finding their way my page. And writing my next week’s blog does give me something creative to do to pass the time each day.

Of late I’ve learned to embed videos, which I fondly hope have added value to my musings. And my latest accomplishment was to teach myself how to upload photographs to my blog, which helps it to make more of a visual impression.

But the purpose of my blog is not to compete with the true news and tech blogs out there, the guys that run these are geniuses and know what the hell they are doing. My blog has several purposes. For one I try to see the world and politics through the skewed perspective of humor.

For two, I am what you might call a big government progressive, Republicans would call me a liberal, which to their ears is a dirty word.

For three, I honestly believe that the federal government should be run in the interests of as many of its citizens as possible, and not, as Republicans profess, run in the interests of the wealthy and giant corporations, who in their eyes seem to be the only people who matter.

Four, I truly believe that the richest industrialized nation on the planet should be able to come up with a system whereby all of its citizens are guaranteed access to care when they are ill, as does virtually every other industrialized nation on the face of the earth. It’s called “taking care of your own.”

And so go my rants. Like as not you won’t share my point of view completely, but hopefully you will allow me to own and express a point of view which differs from your own. If you read these pages regularly you have already stumbled upon my messages.

And the other thing I’ve been doing lately is reminiscing about the three sleep-away children’s camps I have spent 22 summers working for. They were three of the very best in New England, and I learned a hell of a lot about children and myself while working for them. From time to time I try reeling in these memories and attempt to recreate them with words, in the hope that you might get some pleasure reading about these past experiences of mine.

In summing up, I finally figured out what this blog is. It is a radio program, one completely without sound.§

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Paul Krugman, economics columnist with the New York Times

Telling It Like It Is

One of our favorite people whose writings we like to call to your attention is that of Paul Krugman. He teaches economics and writes a column on it for the New York Times, and what puts him in extremely rare company, he has won a Nobel Prize for economics. At any rate, as I prepared to begin producing this blog last Monday Krugman wrote what many of us had noted, but lacked the nerve to say out loud: that the Republican Party has become the party of spite.

What seemed to have put Krugman over the top was this: (At the news that the City of Chicago had lost its bid for the 2016 Olympics) . . “Cheers erupted” at the headquarters of the conservative Weekly Standard, according to a blog post by a member of the magazine’s staff, with the headline “Obama loses! Obama loses!” Rush Limbaugh declared himself “gleeful.” “World Rejects Obama,” gloated the Drudge Report. And so on. So what did we learn from this moment? For one thing, we learned that the modern conservative movement, which dominates the modern Republican Party, has the emotional maturity of a bratty 13-year-old.”

Mr. Krugman further notes, “the episode illustrated an essential truth about the state of American politics: at this point, the guiding principle of one of our nation’s two great political parties is spite, pure and simple. If Republicans think something might be good for the president, they are against it — whether or not it’s good for America.” Krugman further noted that the right likens their conduct with that of the Democrats when they are in power and the Democrats are crying on the outside. But he correctly notes: “Now, it’s understandable that many Republicans oppose Democratic plans to extend insurance coverage — just as most Democrats opposed President Bush’s attempt to convert Social Security into a sort of giant 401(k). The two parties do, after all, have different philosophies about the appropriate role of government.

”But the tactics of the two parties have been different. In 2005, when Democrats campaigned against Social Security privatization, their arguments were consistent with their underlying ideology: they argued that replacing guaranteed benefits with private accounts would expose retirees to too much risk.

”The Republican campaign against health care reform, by contrast, has shown no such consistency. For the main G.O.P. line of attack is the claim — based mainly on lies about death panels and so on — that reform will undermine Medicare. And this line of attack is utterly at odds both with the party’s traditions and with what conservatives claim to believe.”

Mr. Krugman then points out that since Ronald Reagan Republicans have been screaming about the evils of Medicare. Newt Gingrich even went so far as to try and shut down the government over Medicare funding during Bill Clinton’s administration, until Gingrich blinked first and the government remained open. So now, as they rail against Democratic attempts to enact Health Care Reform, now they are screaming that Medicare is untouchable. Would you believe?

Mr. Krugman summed up as follows: “The public no longer buys conservative ideology the way it used to; the old attacks on Big Government and paeans to the magic of the marketplace have lost their resonance. Yet conservatives retain their belief that they, and only they, should govern. The result has been a cynical, ends-justify-the-means approach. Hastening the day when the rightful governing party returns to power is all that matters, so the G.O.P. will seize any club at hand with which to beat the current administration. It’s an ugly picture. But it’s the truth. And it’s a truth anyone trying to find solutions to America’s real problems has to understand.”

What a blessing it is in these times of screeching politics to find that the N.Y. Times carries the resonating words of such a reasonable man, a man unafraid of calling the shots as he sees them even in these dark times. For Mr. Krugman’s complete thoughts on the subject move your cursor and click here

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Settlement House Children

As I explained two weeks ago, my first job working with children took place at the University Settlement Camp in Beacon, N.Y. That first summer went by a mile a minute, virtually every minute of every day was filled with new, explosive experiences. It was only after camp that I was able to ply my new found trade at a slower, more measured cadence. I spent the next two years working in the Settlement House itself, located in lower Manhattan at Rivington and Eldridge Sts. Remember, I had never experienced working with children, except for that first hectic summer at the camp in Beacon.

I found the Settlement House’s staff skilled and caring. We had day camp type activities for any children who were interested after school each day. Most of the winter staff did not work summers at the camp, understandably preferring to take their summers off. And the biggest difference between the summer camp and the winter after school group was that in camp a majority of the children were of the middle and upper middle classes, whereas in the Settlement House itself generally economically deprived neighborhood children prevailed. But the biggest surprise to me was how lively and outgoing the neighborhood children really were. There was no subterfuge, no attempt to be anything other than who they were. They were warm and outgoing, and were always direct and straight forward in their dealings. During the years that I worked at the Settlement House the neighborhood children came predominantly from older groups like Russian Jews and Italian, with a healthy dash of newly arrived Cuban and Puerto Rican children thrown in for good measure.

A typical kid’s drawing.

Although at the Settlement Camp I had primarily been a song leader, at the Settlement House I found myself leading a wide variety of activities, including games, reading, and art. Although I have not an iota of talent as either an artist or teacher of art (although I feel I can take a mean photograph on occasion), I did believe in a child’s being able to express him or her self to the fullest. And so I handed out encouragement along with the paper and crayons, and at the end of the day collected their artwork. And the best of it we hung on the walls.

And what struck me immediately was the children’s different uses of color. For instance, the Russian-Jewish and Italian kids had lived in the neighborhood virtually all of their lives, and they favored dark colors, particularly reddish-browns. And their drawings were invariably of many windowed houses, colored reddish-brown, with maybe an occasional child’s face looking out a window. The Puerto Rican children on the other hand were relatively new arrivals to the neighborhood, and they favored the vivid colors of their origins, particularly greens and oranges, and their pictures were of the outdoors with generous splashes of color, their pictures were populated by both animals and people.

Later that year I attended a show about children’s art at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, a show which urged art teachers to not interfere with the child’s expression, but to encourage its development and applaud the results. Isn’t it odd that with the art work of the children of the Settlement House although operating in almost total ignorance I was able to do exactly that which MOMA had directed the skilled art teacher to do. None of their pictures would ever hang in a museum, sure, but they were a true, if somewhat elementary, expressions of their life and experience. And under the direction of a truly talented teacher, I have no doubt that one of more of the visually inclined could over time be directed towards producing museum caliber art.§

What the Hell is a Humanist?

Most Americans are some flavor of Christian. I was raised a Presbyterian, and grew up attending Sunday school at Houston’s Second Presbyterian Church, but I left the church at age sixteen after attending the dullest Easter service I could imagine, made bearable only by a fellow sitting in the pew in front of me, holding a large drawing pad in his lap, and drawing cartoon-like sketches of the backs of ladies heads featuring their various Easter bonnets.

These days I consider myself a non-believer, an atheist if you will, although I have had Catholic priests tell me I cannot possibly be an atheist, as I cannot say for sure that their conception of God doesn’t exist. I point out that in the same way they cannot call themselves Christian, for they cannot say for sure (other than using their faith) that the God they profess really exists. And so I suppose that what it all boils down to is that what I really am is a humanist. I might not be able to call the status of the Deity, but I can say for sure that you and the other people in my life exist. Consequently I believe in and respect the humanity of my fellow human beings.

Let me give you an example. These days David Letterman has come into a lot of grief after admitting that he had “blush, blush,” sex with females who worked for him. Conservatives immediately cry “sin” and predict dire consequences down the road, even though a good many of their own leaders have sexually fallen by the wayside of late. Even the good ladies of N.O.W. are screaming for Mr. Letterman’s head to be served up in pink, as in slip. However, Mr. Letterman has so far handled his situation deftly, resulting in his ratings shooting above those of NBC’s Tonight Show for the first time ever.

David Letterman – photo from

We humanists don’t consider sexual transgressions as sin. We view them as perfectly natural human traits, which are bad only if force and coercion is used in obtaining sexual favors.

For instance, let me reflect on a couple of anecdotes from the Settlement House I was talking about earlier. When I was newly moved into the House one of the other counselors, George H., was showing me around. We had taken a set of back stairs from the fourth floor up to where there was a swimming pool on the fifth floor. As we drew closer you could hear some wild playing around from the twenty or so 14 to 16 year old boys who were skinny-dipping (swimming naked to you non camping types) in the pool. Suddenly ahead of us we saw a woman in her thirties standing in the shadows intently watching the boys as they swam.

My friend stopped me, whispered that perhaps we shouldn’t go any further, and as he led me away he explained that the lady was the mother of a seven year old girl named Jody L., who was a regular in our after school groups. George further explained that the mother made her living as a prostitute, and then he smiled as he remarked, “she must really love her work, several times a week you can find her standing in the shadows on the fifth floor, watching groups of boys as they swim naked.” My first thought was, how come they let her? George seemed to catch my drift, shrugged, and said, “she isn’t hurting anybody, the boys don’t even know she’s there, so why prevent her from having whatever pleasure she gets from her strange activity?” Or, in the words of that ancient proverb, if it is doing no harm, “live and let live.”

The question that next came to my mind was whether the lady’s daughter, seven year old Jody L., was headed for the same destiny as her mother? Who among us is capable of truly seeing into the future? Jody was a pretty little 7 year old, with blonde hair and a pale complexion running to pink. However, Jody had very little money for clothes and material things, as her mom probably spent much of her meager income on the drugs which help a person in her position deal with the many unpleasantries inherent in a lifestyle such as hers, and so little Jody was pretty much left to her own resources. She collected bottles which could be turned into cash at the local store. Andy O’B, in his late sixties and as Irish as they come, was well aware of Jody’s pressing need for bottles, and rather than throwing away the empties dispensed by the soda machine with the trash, he diligently saved them for little Jody.

Once a week Jody would come around to collect her bottles. One day I happened onto the two of them as Jody came to collect her loot and saw Andy lead the child into a utility closet, closing and locking the door behind them. The errand I was on took me away for about twenty minutes, but it happened to bring me back to that closet just as the door opened and Jody and Andy came out.

Jody was all smiles as she gleefully clasped her paper bag full of bottles to her chest, bottles that she could turn into hard cash. And Andy left the closet with a twinkle in his eye and a fresh bounce in his step, indicating that perhaps he had somehow tapped himself into his own personal version of the fountain of youth. “Ours not to reason why” says the time honored poem, good advice for the humanist who must not be judgemental, and so I concluded that whatever transpired in that Utility closet was none of my business. Or anybody else’s. But I have to admit that from the looks on their respective faces, those 20 minutes must have indeed been beneficial for each of them.§

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Parting Shots

Kaspersky Labs' cybersecurity blog Threatpost wrote today about the booming malware economy and highlighted the premiums and features of one particular botnet kit called Adrenaline as an example of the sophistication of the criminal business underworld.

Roy Firestein, a security consultant at Digital Defence and a malware expert, said the toolkit "sells for $3,500 right now and can be customized to suit the needs of even the most demanding attacker," Threatpost wrote. "Adrenalin includes 24x7 technical support, built-in exploits, the ability to steal digital certificates and the option to encrypt the stolen data."

Seriously? 24x7 Tech support? I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I imagine malware phone operators standing by 24/7. – Posted By: Alejandro Martinez-Cabrera (Email) | Oct 06 at 05:43 PM

Absolute worst pun of the week in a headline!

And from the FBI's website comes what we consider the absolute worst pun of the week: One hundred linked to an international computer hacking ring charged by US and Egypt in Operation Phish Phry! Uuurrgh!!!§

And so with our ridiculous meter topping 110 we leave this week’s edition of Little Eddy. As we prepare to leave you, I think I’ve finally figured out what’s with Rush Limbaugh. If he really has an audience hanging onto his every word that his ratings would suggest, this country is in big trouble folks. However, there is a brighter side. He is a comedian who forgot to learn how to be funny. His hook is his outrageousness. People tune in to find out what drug inspired nonsense he is going to come up with next.

So there you have the Rush Limbaugh puzzle solved. We do more of this kind of nonsense each week at this URL, and extend to each of you a non-engraved, digital invitation to return again as your heart may desire. And if you have a friend or two, please recommend us to them. If we had a friend we certainly would.

Meantime, you know what it is they say about wooden nickels? Don’t take ‘em. Nickels aren’t worth a damn thing unless they are made of metal, and these days I don’t think even metal nickels are worth worrying about. And never nickel and dime your fellow man or woman, and least of all the readers of this blog.

It has been a good week overall, but the menace never sleeps. So hang in there and hold your pitch forks and flaming torches at the ready. Beware, Dr. Frankenstein’s Limbaugh/Beck/Dobbs Monster is on the Loose, shuffling along in a neighborhood near you. Keep a sharp eye out for it. See you next week. Bye now.§

The Real Little Eddy