Saturday, January 16, 2010

Blog # 123: Down to Seeds and Twigs

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Congratulations to Cheech and Chong

For advocating the use of marijuana for its medicinal properties in such areas as appetite inducer and mood elevation over all of these years. And congratulations too on their seeing their hopes fulfilled just in time for them to make good use of it in their own quests to stay well.

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Are Republicans Being Really Stupid?

Or Are They Just Pretending?

Are Republicans really as stupid as they are pretending to be? This business of trying to connect what Sen. Harry Reid said during the elections about Barack Obama, with what Sen. Trent Lott said about how he had voted for a Dixiecrat, and if the rest of the country had joined him all of those unruly civil rights demonstrations might have been avoided is pretty lame at best, and the height of stupidity at worst.

Reid had told the author of the book Second Chance about how Obama’s lighter skin and his lack of a dialect should bode him well with voting Americans, observations that turned out to be completely accurate, by the way.

Some Republican zealots are trying to contrast this with the reaction that followed former Senate leader Trent Lott’s words at a birthday party for former Dixiecrat candidate Strom Thurmond.

Lott’s implication was that if we had all followed his excellent example Thurmond would have been elected president, and we would have avoided all of those messy civil rights demonstrations, which was wishful thinking at best, as such a result would have undoubtedly intensified civil rights actions.

But in point of fact, Republicans were in power then, and it was Karl Rove who insisted that Trott be removed as the Republican Party’s Senate leader, Democrats had nothing to do with Sen. Lott’s subsequent removal.

Cheney’s observation was that the Reid episode highlighted a liberal double standard on issues of race. “One of the things that makes the American people frustrated is when they see time and time again liberals excusing racism from other liberals. And I think that, you know, clearly, Senator Reid's comments were outrageous.”

On the roundtable, George Will defended Reid against charges of racism and provoked a most spirited exchange with his fellow conservative Liz Cheney:

WILL: I don't think there's a scintilla of racism in what Harry Reid said. At long last, Harry Reid has said something that no one can disagree with, and he gets in trouble for it.

CHENEY: George, give me a break. I mean, talking about the color of the president's skin...

WILL: Did he get it wrong?

CHENEY: ... and the candidate's...

WILL: Did he say anything false?

CHENEY: ... it's -- these are clearly racist comments, George.

WILL: Oh, my, no.

That excellent example of good sense vs. Republican lockstep was found during Sunday Morning’s exchange between Liz Cheney and George Will on ABC’s This Week. It was incredible exchange, in which Will, by noting that “there was not a scintilla of racism in Reid’s comment” over Cheney’s loud recriminations otherwise, proves you can be conservative and honest at the same time, while Cheney got her undies in a twist by insisting on labeling Reid’s words describing Obama’s presidential possibilities as “racist.” We would have embeded it for you but we couldn’t find the necessary code. You can access it here, however be prepared to quit your browser and reconnect with us afterwards, as it does seem to go on to something else afterwards.

Of course 24 hour cable pounces on this kind of nonsense as a school of piranhas circles its floundering prey. And so the real question is, have Republicans completely lost their memory (and/or their minds), or do they think the rest of us have lost ours? And what’s with Wolf and the other anchors dutifully harping on it once an hour? Surely they know better? Please tell me, world, is Liz Cheney’s single minded persistence going to give this absurdity enough wings to fly? Or is she really just exhibiting how far out of the mainstream she and the others who would preach such a fantasy really are. Hey Liz, reason and logic are over here, in this corner of the room.

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The Last Supper, Hollywood Style.

Can you name these movie icons of the 20th Century? From left to right, Oliver Hardy, Stan Laurel, Elvis Pressley, Clark Gable, John Wayne, Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Humphrey Bogart, Fred Astaire, Cary Grant, Boris Karloff, Marlon Brando.

Haiti, Gateway to Hell on Earth

Poor Haiti. After already serving the distinction of being one of the poorest countries in the world, good old mother nature serves up the final whammie in delivering an earthquake of the power of 7, which further tore down the many of the island’s structures. CNN seems to have half of it’s working staff on the Island Nation, but it’s the type of story which no matter what is overwhelming in its negative vibes. No way anything positive or uplifting can come out of such reporting.

And how about those two quintessential Christians, Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh. Fire and brimstone’s Robertson’s assertions that God wreaked the earthquake on Haiti because many years ago the people of Haiti made a pact with the devil to overthrow French rule. And Limbaugh claiming that the only reason Obama is supporting aid to the stricken nation is that he is trying to get himself in good with our country’s black population. The most depressing thing about our so-called “enlightened” America is that each of those quacks have large followings and make tons of money. Is there no justice?

However one good thing had come out of this gigantic mess. A way has been found to allow all cellphone owners to make a quick $10 donation to the American Red Cross for its disaster relief activities. Anyone with a mobile phone and an account with a major wireless carrier can simply text the phrase “Haiti” to the number 90999, which will automatically donate $10 to the Red Cross.

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Coolness Through the Ages

Top row, l to r: Mona Lisa, Michael Jackson, George Washington.
Bottom row, l to r: Abe Lincoln, e.t., Albert Einstein

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Let me devote part of this post to apologize for my last two posts. Not only were they short and incomplete, but though I reported fully on my computer problems, I had neglected to mention my health problems which were running concurrently with my computer problems. But in truth they deserve an equal place, and I’ll try make up for that lack at this point.

In addition to diabetes I also have two other happy conditions of age which I would not wish upon anyone with the possible exceptions of a Robertson or a Limbaugh, acid reflux which gives you problems with your esophagus, especially in the downing of certain foods, and last, but surely not least, osteoporosis, which for those of you as yet to be enlightened, is a weakening of the structure of the bones.

About a month ago I tripped over a wire and fell. I usually fall pretty good, meaning I’m relaxed and fall like your favorite little girl’s rag doll, which makes for a great deal less bone breakage. This time I got away with only a cut on my left wrist, which I had used to cushion my fall, and a pain in my left chest. I figured the chest pain was from a pulled muscle and that it would go away in a day or two. Not happening. It’s been at least three weeks now, and the pain is as strong as ever, which pretty well points to a fractured rib.

Why don’t I call and make an appointment with my doctor, and get it x-rayed to determine if there is truly a break? Well, as my son Joel, the doctor-in-residence in Phoenix, AZ was quick to point out, my doctor couldn’t do much of anything to help it heal, since it is a moving part of my rib cage. About all he could do is give me some kind of new, super pain killer. I had already figured out increasing my nightly painkiller Aleve as a work around, and have been taking an extra pill in the evening, to help regulate the pain for my nightly sleep in.

Much of my time that was wasted last week was due to my unsureness as to which road to take in regards to my computer. Should I attempt to open the case myself, and drive the roaches out with cans of compressed air. Or should I forget the replacement of the power supply, and hope that my computer operates for years to come. I have to tell you making the choice completely tore me apart. For although the Apple Genius Bar gave me 10 pages of instructions for opening an iMac case, neither of the men here read English, which left little confidence on my part of the project’s success at their hands. After seeking, but not getting help in opening the case from two local computer stores, I eventually decided to do nothing and take my chances on the device’s eventual longevity, but there’s no way to truly assess the wisdom of my decision without being able to see ahead to what the future holds.

However, the good side of making such a decision has been being able to have my computer with me day and night. I can’t adequately emphasize how much being without it, even for those few days, set me off. I normally spend from six to eight hours a day on the computer. I use it to read the news, to write and collect materials for my blog, and also to listen to music and watch videos. The LCD screen is the absolute equivalent of watching a High Definition television, the screen is just not as large. Plus I have my collection of erotic fiction on my extra hard drive. All in all, without my working computer I am like the original chicken with its head cut off. Cable television just isn’t up to the task of keeping me fully occupied.

And though the computer's future is up to the techgods, I can report that each day I get a little better in the health department, and hopefully in a week or two I will be completely back to normal. And be back to working on my blog from five to seven days a week again, instead of the past week's one or two days. And so here I do flesh out the story of why my last two blogs fell short. And honestly, I’m afraid this week’s entry is not that much better, although by starting this week’s on Thursday I did manage to get one extra day’s preparation in. So it is somewhat better, but nowhere near where it needs to be if I‘m going to expand the blog’s readership to internet standards.

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One element I have missed these past couple of weeks is my page of children’s camp memories. I’m sure there are some out there who regularly skip over those, not seeing how they relate to them. On the other hand, I have it from two of my former camp associates that those memories are what is bringing one after another former counselors and campers coming back for more.

In any case, I’m going to delve back into that compartment of my memory banks again this week, as I try and justify a family’s willingness to invest in such an experience for their children in this day and age of economic hard times.

One quality that campers had which made them of extreme interesting to me, was the quality of spontaneity which we have so strongly as children, but which these days aging, education, and other factors slowly whittle away. That is a quality which runs heavily through childhood, and takes the form of creative game play.

When I was a child there was no air conditioning, and no television, and consequently afternoons were spent playing with the neighborhood kids. Creative play in games like “cops and robbers” and war, meant that we got lots of physical exercise as well as the creative use of our imaginations, as we gave form to these games.

These days it seems to me the modern growing child spends much of his day in the air conditioned comfort of his living room, watching television. If his reflexes are tested at all it is with video games, most of which do little or nothing to contribute to the exercise of his body, even though the Nintendo Wii platform does seem to be reinserting exercise into the gaming curriculum.

Which is exactly why children’s summer camps have taken on such importance in the development of the modern day child. For camps offer much of what todays home environment does not. Plenty of exercise, creative activities, swimming, hiking and other exploratory activities. Not to mention the art of living and getting along with our peers, which is simultaneously fostered in the modern camp experience. A child who gets seven weeks of a healthy outdoors lifestyle, and even one who gets a mere three weeks, is far better of that one who doesn’t get such a chance.

A Final Farewell

From Wikipedia: Tsutomu Yamaguchi (16 March 1916 – 4 January 2010), was a Japanese national who survived both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings during the Second World War. Although more than one hundred people are known to have been affected by both bombings, he is the only man to have been officially recognised by the government of Japan as surviving both explosions.
A resident of Nagasaki, Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima on business for his employer Mitsubishi when the city was bombed on 6 August 1945. The following day he returned to Nagasaki and, despite his wounds, returned to work on 9 August, the day of the second atomic bombing. In 1957 he was recognized as a hibakusha (explosion-affected person) of the Nagasaki bombing, but it was not until 24 March 2009 that the government of Japan officially recognised his presence in Hiroshima three days earlier. We made note of his distinction at that time, and wish him a final farewell here. He died of stomach cancer in January 2010.

And so the grinding wheels of our blog finally come to a halt for this week. We are sorry we are not back to our usual level, but approach the coming week with renewed presence.

It is with a certain amount of sadness that we note the triumph of the chin over the hair in NBC's late night wars. To paraphrase the words which summed up the original King Kong back in the early thirties, "It was greed that felled the giant late-night network. Greed and Ignorance."

Well, that does it for us. Surf back our way sometime next week and see what we come up with. Meantime, good luck to the Democrats next week in Massachusetts. It would be an unspeakable irony if the loss of Sen. Ted Kennedy's former seat would be the factor to undo healthcare for another twenty years. Bye, bye.

The Real Little Eddy §

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