Friday, December 24, 2010
Clark W. Griswold.
And, of course, for those who recall the original, and still official, reason for the season...
There is another name, though, that probably has escaped your notice through the years.
It is the name of a man whose invention has very likely been a large part of your Christmas tradition.
While, at the same time, being, in some measure, the "gift that keeps on giving the whole year through."
And if that's not poignant enough, how about the irony inherent in fact that this man who has become such a big part of our holiday lives is named Shepherd?
The "rest of the story" can be found here.
Thank you, John.
This salute is for you.
Do you wish a receipt? Y/N
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Admittedly, sometimes the "suggestion" comes in the form of something like "why don't you just shut the hell up and run for something".
But I digress.
And while it, just as admittedly, is flattering to think that something I've said has impressed people enough to make them think that I might be able to articulate and advocate their interests, I've known for a long, long time that tossing a hat into a ring wasn't my destiny.
I found out senior year of high school.
When I got back my S.A.T. scores.
The actual numbers long forgotten, suffice to say that their impact was felt in my freshman year of college as follows...
I was assigned to junior year level English.
And remedial math.
That pretty much ruled out me taking a run at running for something.
Because, while the old adage that "all politics is local" is true, I would offer you that there's an equally true adage riding shotgun.
All politics is mathematics.
As in, lowest common denominator.
I was reminded of that numerical nuance when I came across this story about the opposition to Michele Obama's support, and Barack Obama's signing, of legislation regulating nutritional standards in public schools.
Here's the phrase that thickened the plot for me.
According to a new Rasmussen poll, however, only 23 percent of those surveyed think the federal government should have a direct role in setting the nutritional standards for public schools.
This is, of course, the latest manifestation of the knee jerk reaction to any thing the Feds do to "infringe" on the freedoms, rights, prerogatives, yada yada of the notorious Mr. and/or Mrs. American People.
The very knees that delightful demagogues like Sarah Palin are counting on to get her a four year, option for four more, lease on a sweet little two story number on Pennsylvania Avenue.
What the knee jerkers are missing, and always miss, for that matter, is that pesky mathematical inevitability.
This country, and the government comprised of people that we freely elect to articulate and advocate for us, enacts legislation almost entirely on the basis of the lowest common denominator.
Or as its known more informally...
The really dumb ones.
No reasonably intelligent (now, there's an oxymoron waiting to happen) person can deny that the evidence is overwhelming that obesity in general and childhood obesity in particular are epidemic in this country, that kids are getting fatter and a fatter future means a more expensive future for everyone in the form of lost wages, health care costs, etc.
And no reasonably intelligent person with children is likely turning a blind eye or deaf ear to the physical condition of their kids or the nutritional requirements necessary to insure their kids a happy and healthy adulthood.
Legislation like the aforementioned isn't for those folks.
It's for the lowest common denominator.
You know, the really dumb ones.
The ones whose own lives are littered with extra crispy crumbs and powdered sugar sprinkles forming a light, but obvious, dusting on that treadmill that hasn't seen a pair of feet on it since it left the factory and whose own kids can probably recite the McDonald's menu from memory but wouldn't know a vegetable if it bit them on their abundant ample asses.
Put simply, the fat parents with fat kids who don't have the sense to take care of themselves or their own.
Or as they're more widely known.
The average Wal Mart shopper.
The knee jerkers who want to throw the chubby baby out with the bathwater by screaming "don't tread on me" are entitled to their resentment at being regulated but they're missing the big, big, I'm talking really big picture.
These laws aren't being written for them.
They're being written to account for the lowest common denominator.
And until some bright light figures out a way to write laws that serve all but only apply to some, those who don't need, want or deserve to be regulated are going to have to swallow the medicine as well.
You would think that intelligent people would understand that.
It's, like, two plus two, you know?
Then again, I had trouble with that one myself.
According to S.A.T.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
But at a time of year when a bright light shines on our humanity and we are moved in ways both beautiful and profound, I would offer that this is most certainly a song of the season.
Merry Christmas...and thanks, Eva.
Your gift continues to grace us all.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Blasphemy is about to be committed.
I got my very first guitar, a Sears Silvertone six string acoustic, for Christmas in 1964. I asked(pleaded)for it, putting aside Tonka trucks and baseball gloves, solely because of Paul and his mates coming into my living room via Ed Sullivan that previous February night and changing the history of pop music.
Forty six years, several hundred songs, a couple of hundred demos and a couple of dozen songs recorded later, watching the video of this performance (and other recent live appearances), I find myself reminded not of that time and that hero but another.
Babe Ruth. After he left the New York Yankees.
Old, tired, still giving his all to a worshiping crowd and, simultaneously, eliciting huge waves of love, respect yet a soft, unspoken sadness at the figure of a childhood hero who was doing his best to swing for the fences with a spirit still willing but a flesh obviously weak.
And leaving legions of once young, now grown up, fans with a memory not of a bright, blazing star, but a dimming,faltering light.
Thanks for everything, Sir Paul...
...most especially making good on the promise that "a splendid time is guaranteed for all".
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Your right to swing your arm ends where my nose begins.
This story about "to recline or not to recline" airliner seats caught my eye today.
Give it a quick read and then I'll share my two cents with you.
Ordinarily, this would be one of those stories that I would read, think about for a few minutes, ponder the possibilities and then put aside as I returned to back to back to back to back episodes of NCIS.
This issue rang a particular bell for me, though, because I just, a week or so ago, found myself knee deep (or more precisely, lap deep) in the issue.
Flying from Baltimore to Jacksonville the Sunday of the Thanksgiving weekend on a plane that was full (holiday weekend, duh), I drew the shit out of luck short straw by ending up behind the single individual (I did a quick head/seat count and verified that I was the lucky winner of the "sitting behind the guy most likely to be thinking 'fuck you, I gots my rights' " passenger award) on the plane who felt the need to take full and extended advantage of his "right" to recline his seat to its full, non-upright and unlocked position. Never mind that he was seated in an exit row which meant that he already had a good extra foot or two of leg room in front of him. He apparently felt like his comfort level would be inadequate unless he availed himself fully of the chance to recline as far as recline could recline on the plane.
As a result, the back of his seat and the top of his head were easily within butting, not to mention spitting, distance of my own and any attempt on my part to utilize my seat back tray resulted in said tray essentially becoming adjoined to my abdominal muscles.
Apparently, the majority consensus of those polled, in a poll associated with the CNN story I attached here, is that being able to recline one's seat on an airplane is a "right" that they have purchased along with their seat space.
Here's my carefully considered weigh in on that opinion.
I don't travel all that often but, when I do, I never recline my seat. And it has nothing to do with whether I think I'm "entitled" to do so or not.
It has to do with the fact that regardless of the best intentions of those who designed the reclining airplane seat, the inevitable and indisputable fact is that,given the crammed in a clown car atmosphere of most medium range commercial airliners these days, it is simply a physical impossibility to recline a seat and not interfere with the comfort of the person behind. And since my well being and happiness in this life don't hinge on being allowed to fly the friendly skies at a forty five degree angle, I'm perfectly willing to spend the flight time in an upright and locked position, preventing the possibility that the passenger behind me will be forced to endure the emotional equivalent of an unwanted lap dance at thirty thousand feet.
It's called courtesy.
And, where I come from, courtesy trumps "rights" on pretty much every level.
Since relying on good graces and common courtesy from people seems, these days, to be, at best, a fifty fifty shot, I would suggest that the airlines who are bleeding red these days and go way out of their way to often verbalize how grateful they are to have us aboard because they know "we have a choice when it comes to air travel" have their maintenance folks de-button those seats and make air travel a level, and upright, playing field.
If I want to pay to have someone spend two hours in my lap, I know a much more enjoyable way to go about it.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
I have, though, through the years, apparently acquired a knack for translation.
Stand by for a demonstration.
First, though, here's a clip of an exchange that took place on Hannity's show late last week.
Now, here's a wonderful version of a piece from "South Pacific".
Ann Coulter is, by any reasonable measure, a limelight fixated, one trick pony who continues to defy the odds makers by continuing to hold an audience's attention though her fifteen minutes were up years ago.
That said, Mr. Johnson's style of "debate" only fueled the fire while botching a wonderful opportunity to let Coulter further prove Mark Twain's observation... "better to keep quiet and have people think you stupid, than to talk and confirm it".
Spirited discussion requires both talking and listening.
These days, the goal almost always seems to be "oneupmanship".
Even when the most obvious strategy is allowing the opposition to make Mr. Clemens' point.
Political discussion in media is essentially oxymoronic.
What remains is "twin soliloquies".
Oh...and about my acquired gift for translation?
In most cases, when exposed to "discussion" like the one between Coulter and Johnson, here's, in fact, what most people hear:
Blah, blah...yada, yada....blah, blah....blah.
I'm thinking about applying for a gig with Rosetta Stone.
Say the first name you think of when I offer this clue.
Insightful, even prescient, political mind.
Who comes to mind first?
Scroll down for my answer.
Yup. The guy who created "The Twilight Zone" was not only a world class dramatist, he skillfully weaved his way in, out and around a wealth of politically thematic parables in the day.
From the overt brush strokes of "He's Alive" to the more subtle shadings of "The Obsolete Man" and "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street", et al, Mr. Submitted for Your Approval was, often, to politics what Noel Coward was to drawing room farce.
Watch this clip.
And we'll play another fun game.
Now, replay the clip, only this time, imagine....
The old, white haired, Moses looking dude is Common Sense.
The young traveler is John McCain.
And the articulate, charismatic pleading for access is....wait for it.....
CNN. Fox News. MSNBC, etc, when it comes to political punditry, move over, there's a new old kid in town.
The Twilight Zone.
(P.S....to those who are offended at the implication that Sarah is Satan, may I simply offer that you're missing the point. Please give your place in the blog read room to another and move along to vote/text and/or tweet DWTS on Bristol's behalf yet another time)
Saturday, November 20, 2010
The root cause, I imagine, being several elementary and secondary education year's worth of forced labor in the form of book "reports".
At a time in literary history when the only written words my peers and I coveted were the mysterious/misogynistic licensed to kill narratives of Ian Fleming, I really didn't give a shit about reading "Lord Jim", let alone wasting valuable weeknight TV time writing about it.
Add to that my intrinsic disdain for the obviously subjective concept of "review" in the first place (one man's poppycock is another man's Pulitzer,after all) and you needn't worry about finding blog space taken up with my bland efforts to become the cover to cover equivalent of Roger Ebert.
So when I share with you that I have neither the time or inclination to "review" Sarah Palin's newest collection of thoughts and theologies, "America By Heart", you can rest assured there will be no thumbs up or down to be found at the end of this piece.
Meanwhile, though, I would respectfully offer that there is an admittedly thin line between review and reflection.
And I do enjoy an opportunity to tippy toe along thin lines.
To wit, my reflections on the latest gospel according to Sarah:
In a chapter on faith and public life, Palin addresses at length John F. Kennedy's noted speech on religion during the 1960 campaign — a speech many saw as crucial to counter sentiment that his faith would hold undue sway over him if he became the nation's first Catholic president.
"I am not the Catholic candidate for president," Kennedy said at the time. "I am the Democratic Party's candidate for president, who happens also to be a Catholic."
Palin writes that when she was growing up, she was taught that JFK's speech reconciled religion and public service without compromising either. But since she's revisited the speech as an adult, she says, she's realized that Kennedy "essentially declared religion to be such a private matter that it was irrelevant to the kind of country we are."
She praises Mitt Romney, a Mormon, for not "doing a JFK" during his campaign for the 2008 GOP nomination. "Where Kennedy seemed to want to run away from religion, Mitt Romney forthrightly embraced it," she writes. She attributes the gulf not just to the difference between the men, but to the distance the country has come since 1960. Now, she says, America is "reawakening to the gift of our religious heritage."
The conventional wisdom in 1960 was that electing a Roman Catholic to the presidency would result in some kind of puppet government, the strings attached to the guy living at 1600 Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C, the strings being held by the guy living in Vatican City, Rome, Italy. Any full read of the text of Kennedy's speech on the matter clearly spells out, in some passages bluntly, that JFK believed the separation of church and state was, and is, a constitutional dictate and any violation of that should, and would, be considered an impeachable offense. In other words, elect me, you get a president not a pope lackey. The history of the Kennedy presidency bears out that he kept his word. Sarah's use of fifty year old hindsight is not only obviously out of context but an unmistakable example of the remarkable skill, if no others, she possesses: the ability to play to the crowd, in this case, the crowd being the hard core religious right or, as its known affectionately, the Republican base.
Palin, whose daughter Bristol is in the thick of a much-scrutinized run on "Dancing with the Stars," takes aim at another competitive reality show, "American Idol." She says the show's "talent-deprived" contestants suffer from "the cult of self-esteem" to the extent that they grew up convinced they could be stars like Michael Jackson.
But Cowell, the acerbic judge who left the show at the end of last season? He is "almost alone in his willingness to tell hard truths," Palin writes.
Is there any person on the planet wiling to consider a point of view even resembling objective that hasn't been scratching their heads wondering how a contestant who has week after week after week been at the bottom of the judges list but who continues living to dance another day?
And is there any person who, aware of Simon Cowell's "willingness to tell hard truths", doesn't believe that if Simon were a judge on DWTS, Bristol would have left the show weeks ago, if only in humiliation as a result of the hard truths Cowell would be willingly telling about her performances?
Palin praises "Juno," the movie where a pregnant teen chooses to carry her baby. "Most Americans, I think, are a lot like Juno," she writes — they may not be actively religious, "but they still want to do the right thing." She also likes "Knocked Up," in which a baby results from a one-night stand, and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin."
Conservative candidate for President of the United States (and let's cut to the chase, okay, she's running and we all know it) deftly sidesteps base line conservative values by momentarily wrapping herself in a loving mommy outfit just long enough to deflect attention from said conservative candidate's daughter who deftly sidestepped base line conservative values by getting knocked up in the year 2008, a year in which birth control is more easily purchased than a fishing license. In one fell swooped paragraph, she mollifies her followers by cloaking conception in courage, while calming the more liberal thinkers who fear she has a puritanical stick where sun shine is lacking. Seriously, is it just me or is this lady the real dancing talent in the family?
In fact, she says that if she had to pick a role model between Bristol and Murphy Brown, the 1990s sitcom character who chose single motherhood as a lifestyle, she'd choose Bristol. As for Brown, she laments that former Vice President Dan Quayle's criticism of the character essentially cost him the chance to be president. Quayle, she says, turned out to be right.
Let's just enjoy the laughter of the Murphy/Bristol comparison and move right along to considering the thought processes of anyone expressing regret that history and the American Presidency never had the chance to benefit from the once in a generation brilliance of J. Danforth Quayle.
I said, at the beginning of this piece, that I wouldn't be reviewing the book.
Turns out I wandered into a book report, though.
So, to honor the teachings of my assorted English teachers/professors through the years, let me wrap it up correctly.
The book is "America By Heart" by Sarah Palin.
If you find it interesting and would like to read more, I recommend another work in the same vein.
"Every Man A King" by Huey P. Long.
Now, there was a dancer.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Apparently, so much so that a lot of it is being purchased these days from the budget tables in the local discount store.
Or, more accurately, the scratch and dent table.
A few weeks ago, Sarah Palin lampooningly languaged that one should "refudiate" any false accusations levied or impressions impressed.
Now, the newest cast member of the reality show that puts them all to shame, "The Stepford Sarahs", Delaware's Christine O'Donnell, in one of her first public speeches as the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, told the crowd that she's going to champion, among other things, the protection of our "unalienable" rights.
And, of course, we could do a whole Catch A Rising Star set on the satiric syntax of George W.
Okay. First, let's not get distracted by the inevitable sidebar that starts out with something like "....well,I'd rather have someone who's not grammatically perfect but looks out for the everyday folk than someone who...."
And I'll concede that the inability to put together an articulate and cohesive sentence with both hands and a flashlight is not necessarily a deal breaker when it comes to choosing those whose advice and counsel we shall seek and/or follow.
After all, one of the smoothest public speakers of all time was Professor Harold Hill.
And we all know that the first trombone was a hustle, let alone the other seventy five.
I suppose it's just post traumatic stress disorder, resulting from the diligent professorial pounding I took forty plus years ago from some very dedicated English teachers, that makes me twitch a little when I hear people who are asking to be our role models make that request using words that I'm reasonably sure don't exist in any language, let alone English.
Which I really shouldn't have to press one for, by the way, but that's another blog for another day.
Zealous advocate for the rights of the opposition that I am, though, I began to consider the possibility that our social ills, rather than resulting from a defect in dogma or doctrine, per se' might be, in fact, the result of errors in expression.
And, with that light shining on the path of exploration, I discovered what I think might be the root cause of the whole systemic failure.
We simply didn't say it right, right from the start.
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
Well, the flies in that ointment are Claritin clear from the get go, wouldn't you say?
"We the people"...anytime you start out anything with the word "we", you're asking for trouble..."we" of course, being the collective of the word "I"...this puts whatever follows, at best, at risk of failure because you can't get a "we" to agree on anything...put four people in a room, take a vote on what everyone wants for lunch and starvation will occur before consensus...
"a more perfect union"...first, and English teachers and/or ghosts of same feel free to correct me but, isn't "more perfect" like saying "more pregnant"?...that bubble in the I.V. bag aside, you have to circle back to that "we" thing again..."we" is still debating Thai versus sushi, let alone getting about the business of forming unions, perfect or more so...
"establish justice'...this is one of those things that sounds flag wavy, but is, thanks to the way we oxymoronically provide criminals with compassion, pretty much a catchphrase as opposed to a catechism...
"insure domestic Tranquility"...first, I think capitalizing Tranquility shoves that definition off in the direction of an historic chunk of the lunar surface...second, if "domestic tranquility" is meant to mean nationwide peace, quiet and co-operation, then it's back to that "we" thing again....the neighborhood family can't get through the Christmas party without somebody getting pissed off, so what are the odds the national family will fare any better?...
"common defence"...Dan Quayle-esque spelling of the D word notwithstanding, "common" is just a semantic subterfuge to keep from overselling the "we" while still slipping it in there...
"general welfare"...SWDD....same "we", different day...
"secure the Blessings of Liberty"...again, not sure why this capital letter thing kept rearing It's Ugly Head....muddies the manifesto, in the first place (didn't Blessings Of Liberty open for Tom Petty in the 80's?)...and in the second place, this is really just an artsy fartsy way of saying freedom for all...which, as life teaches us, is an inevitable hair in the soup...the problem with freedom, the wise man once said, is that you have to give it to everyone...
"do ordain"...church and state...hellllooo.....
The more I think about it, the more I suspect that the cracks in our national bedrock might simply be the result of these flaws in the foundation.
Of course, the current wording provides you with the prerogative to refudiate my point of view.
Go for it.
It's your unalienable right.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Today, I am reminded of the horror.
Of the carnage and the shock, the body blow to our psyches, the assault on our senses amidst the confusion, the stunned disbelief that on such a clear, bright and beautiful day, our lives could be turned upside down by an insane act that would, without warning, irrevocably alter the course of our history.
And I am reminded of how we gathered together, huddled around radios and televisions, bonding together, family with family, friend with friend, strangers with strangers, as we absorbed the horrific details of that horrific day and, almost as a single voice, cried out that we would never, ever forget.
And, for a time, the wound would not, and could not, close, the process of healing denied, primarily the result of our adament and stubborn refusal to let it begin , as if our willingness to let it happen would somehow cheapen the sacrifice that had been made that day, would somehow lessen the honor we all felt was due the life lost, the pain suffered, the heartache inflicted.
With each passing year, the inevitable anniversary brought us around once again to the just as inevitable churning of raw emotion, the tearful return of harsh memories and the renewed passionate determination that we would never allow ourselves the selfishness of pretending that our lives could ever be what we once believed normal, in that time before our innocence was smashed, before our eyes were forced open to the harsh realities of this life by the heartless, hurtful, immoral insanity of this attack.
And on each of those anniversaries, the airwaves filled with tribute and remembrance, with minute by minute or hour by hour replays of the sounds and sights and screams of those terror filled moments of the day when death rained down on us from what had been, until that moment, just another tall building in an America filled with tall buildings, as if to not relive, through those sounds and sights and screams, every insane and gory detail of the horror of that day, we were somehow selfishly allowing ourselves to cheapen the sacrifice and lessen the honor due the life lost.
Inevitably, in time, the process of healing, as it always does, overcame our best efforts to prevent it and, at some point, the once almost instinctive need to relive the sounds and sights and screams, was gently and compassionately usurped by a sense that while we should, and would, never let the sacrifice made that day fade completely from our awareness, the raw reliving must come to an end, replaced by respectful and reverent remembrance, honoring life lost by lighting it up and not dredging it up; paying tribute by not screaming our pain but by sharing our passion, a passion for a way of life and adherance to principles that evil, in whatever form it takes or horror it inflicts, simply cannot, in the end, overcome.
On that day, our innocence was brutally taken away, our eyes forced open to the harsh realities of this life. And death rained down from a tall building that had, until that moment, been just another tall building in an America filled with tall buildings.
The Texas School Book Depository.
In time, the raw re-living of that day came to an end, replaced by respectful and reverent remembrance. A remembrance that, to this day, does absolutely nothing, to diminish or denigrate the honor due the life lost and sacrfice made, nothing to trivialize the horror that must cruelly be a part of every futile attempt that evil makes to overcome us, be it the brutal destruction of a naval base in the Hawaiian Islands on a peaceful Sunday morning...the cold blooded killing of an American president on a sun drenched Dallas street...or the obscenity of our own airliners used as weapons against us.
Today, I am reminded of that horror.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
That aspiration started to lose its appeal around the time Nixon walked out of the Oval Office on his feet of clay and climbed aboard the chopper.
Hopes of finding show biz fame were big in the day, too. Dreams of becoming a movie or, at the very least, TV, star very nicely filled in the other forty six weeks, give or take, that weren't reserved for visions of sugar plums dancing.
Making it in show biz still ranks pretty high, but with the advent of Idol, America's Got Talent, So You Think You Can Dance and all of their offspring, fame and/or noteriety are more easily acquired.
Fact is, You Tube technically makes a "star" out of anybody and everybody who's even remotely interested.
So, since the once lofty dream has now become a more down to earth possibility, the bar has naturally been raised on what's required to achieve genuine immortality.
Frankly, it's simply become too easy to clock in for fifteen minutes of fame.
You want forever, you gotta become an eponym.
(n); the name of a person, whether real or fictitious, after which a particular place, tribe, era, discovery, or other item is named or thought to be named.
Becoming part of the culture is fleeting. Becoming part of the language is eternal.
A hundred years from now, a lot of people will either forget Kardashians ever mattered or, at the very least, will confuse them with the Kardassians that gave Picard and Riker such a hassle.
But do something inappropriate a hundred years from now and chances are your name will still be mud.
As in Dr. Samuel Mudd who, without knowing who he was treating, set the broken leg of John Wilkes Booth on the night of Lincoln's assassination and was tried, and later posthumously pardoned, for conspiracy in the killing.
Examples are many and memorable.
When somebody offers up a solution, how often do we say "way to go, Sherlock"?"
A person who is disloyal is still called a "Benedict Arnold".
Some well known epppies have lesser known origins.
You've likely never heard of Ernst Grafenberg. But ladies appreciate him even if men are vexxed by his claim to fame.
The G spot.
And let's not forget the veritable plethora of "-esques".
As in, "Capra-esque", "Reagan-esque", "Beatle-esque" and, the king (or more precisely, the queen) of all left handed compliments, "Ruben-esque".
Here's a more recent arrival that pops up with increasing frequency.
"the next Susan Boyle".
Unless you've been living just west of Andromeda for the past few years, you know the Susan saga. (If not, Google/You Tube away, it's a very touching story...in fact, it is, I daresay, Shakespeare-esque..)
Individual perceived to be average or less in ability blows the audience away with a totally unexpected world class performance, creating a buzz heard round the world.
Here's the latest buzzee.
His name is Carlos Aponte.
Okay. Credit where due.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Hot enough for ya?
Almost anyone and everyone who might be inclined to be reading what I'm writing here has already experienced some of the hottest weather in recent years.
And sparing you the tempting "Al Gore dun been warnin' us" schpiel, suffice to say that we have already come through a chunk of a pretty hot damn summer.
And it's just now the first week of July.
Can't wait for August.
Having lived most of my life in the South, though, I, like many of you, am fully aware of one's of life's most set in stone maxims.
It ain't the heat, it's the humidity.
Anyone who lives or has lived in a tropical climate knows the drill.
A 95 degree day, with a moderate percentage of humidity, is a warm, but arguably delightful, summer day.
An 85 degree day, on the other hand, can deplete not only one's energy, but their will to go on living, should the humidity be up there in the " man, are you kiddin' me with this muggy thing?" range.
And I've never once, honest efforts notwithstanding, been able to find anything redeeming about high humidity.
It is simply one of life's little inevitable miseries.
Like mosquitos, the stench of garbage and any TV show whose title starts out "The Real Housewives..."
Here's an interesting fact, though, that I have stumbled across after years of witnessing and/or experiencing the cause and effect of high humidity.
It makes people stupid.
Allow me to elucidate.
So many times, over so many years, I have witnessed seemingly intelligent people, people who are blessed not only with a far above average intelligence and endless supply of common sense but also a near pristine social and moral conscience morph almost over night into stammering, stuttering, confused and confusing candidates for the not so coveted position of village idiot.
For example, an individual sees a simple problem that requires a simple solution. They study and research possible solutions and find there are several available. They put themselves into a position to be able to implement those solutions and begin what, by any reasonable definition, is a generic and basic process of applying the simplest available solution to said problem.
When suddenly, as quickly as the process begins, it begins to unravel in direct proportion to the rise in the ratio of the partial pressure of water vapor in a parcel of air to the saturated vapor pressure of water vapor at a prescribed temperature.
Or as we non-Weather Channel geeks say, "damn, it's muggy out here, aint it?"
From there the process of problem solving rapidly deteriorates as the problem solver not only becomes incapable of simple implementation, but compounds the problem by allowing themselves to be drawn into useless and counter productive debate with fellow problem solvers who are both distracted by detractors opposing the original solution for reasons both selfish and self serving as well as finding themselves drawn, as if unable to resist, into the black hole-ish definition of insanity...doing the same futile thing over and over and over again and expecting a different end result each time.
The sad, said end result is, inevitably, in fact, the same each time.
The problem goes unsolved.
The solution remains unapplied.
And seemingly intelligent people who were blessed with a far above average intelligence and endless supply of common sense, not to mention a near pristine social and moral conscience morph into stammering, stuttering confused, and confusing, candidates for the not so coveted position of village idiot.
To wit; high humidity makes people stupid.
While admittedly, to my knowledge, there is no scholarly, let alone empirical, data to support this theory, I would offer that unimpeachable evidence exists and said evidence validates one of the most accurate of metaphoric axioms.
"Proof's in the puddin".
Because, as it turns out, the highest number of recorded instances of common sense solutions to simple problems evaporating as if they had never existed has been documented, time and again, as occuring in a place almost continuously subjected to high humidity.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Envelope pushing in this life is a lot like drugs or booze, et al.
The more you do, the more you want, or even have, to do in order to achieve the same effect.
In this instance, the desired effect is rattling people's cages.
Ladies and gentlemen....the comedy stylings of...
That paragon of conservative values, Comedy Central, is working with some folks on an animated series about everybody's favorite Savior (well, everybody except those who embrace any of the world's umpteen other recognized religions and, of course, that one group that seems unable to express the beliefs in any other way than flying innocent passenger filled airliners into innocent office worker filled skyscrapers).
Here's the link to the the scoop, if you're interested and, ergo, likely a heathen, a Democrat or a seven year old.
I've never had a problem with satire.
I'm one of those people who think that our sense of humor is legitmately one of the tiles that God uses when he puts together the mosaic that is our being.
Humor is, like almost everything else though, a subjective thing.
I, for example, appreciate what the gang at Monty Python has done through the years while, truth be told, honestly remember only ever laughing out loud at something they did a couple of times...including the first time I saw the Dead Parrot Sketch.
And despite the tendancy to romanticize all of it a brilliant, hilarious, cutting edge comedy, my instincts are that if you took every single bit that SNL has done in almost forty years of on air work, the acutal belly laughs would take up less than twenty minutes total, give or take.
You don't have to be one of the flock, though, to see what's coming if this series makes it to the weekly roster.
Cries of foul from every single being on the planet with a fish on the back of their Camry.
Personally, my problem with the idea isn't so much about the Lord. (Although, Lord knows, it probably should be...)
It's about the Lazy.
For a long time, the path of least creative energy effort has been T&A.
When you can't think of anything sincerely funny or clever or witty, you can pretty much get people's attention with boobs and butts.
And, of course, anything and everything scatalogical comes right out of that same folder.
Admittedly, at least from a dollars and cents point of view, there's no arguing with the success of that approach.
Fess up....take the high gloss shine of "quality actors" like Jon Cryer and Charlie Sheen out of the equation and isn't the ragingly successful "Two and Half Men" just a twenty three minute weekly potpourri of T&A/fart jokes?
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
It's just lazy.
And it's lazy of us to laugh at it.
Because that kind of humor requires no thought, no education, no sophistication, no finely honed and/or tuned sense of wit or wisdom to agitate and fire off the funny bone.
And, fair being fair, who wants to do all that brain work after a hard day at the nine to five anyway?
But, let's not fool ourselves, either.
It's nothing more, or less, than the middle aged equivalent of the kid in the back of the class who always got us to laugh when he made fart noises with his armpit.
When we were six.
Given that this project is coming from the same network that brings us the one show I'm pretty sure has never showed up on the Sarah Palin family flat screen, South Park, I think it's not a stretch to assume that the show won't be offering weekly lessons and morals of the story in the spirit of say "Highway To Heaven" or "Touched By An Angel", for example.
It will most likely be more of that kid in the back of the class making fart noises with his armpit.
Only the kid will be wearing a long robe and bear a striking resemblance to an animated version of Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees. (I've always wondered why the touchy type Christian faithful haven't raised more Hell about that very common depiction...)
And the inevitable result will be that heathens, Democrats and seven year olds (of all ages) will laugh and laugh and laugh.
Ratings will zoom and "JC" will be around just long enough to put all of us in increased danger of looking around one Tuesday prime time evening to find that we've been "left behind"
The thing we seem to forget, as we grow older, is that laughing at that kid in the back of the class didn't result in better, wittier, funnier material being offered us.
It just encouraged the kid to keep flapping that arm and abusing that pit.
It isn't in my character, flawed or un, to be offended by much of what TV spews out.
That's always seemed like giving in to their desire to rattle me.
So, view and let view, I'd say.
On the other hand, if , just once, I stumble across a clip of little, stocky folks scurrying across the animated screen yelling "they've KILLED Jesus", I'm gonna reconsider my no letters to the FCC policy.
My fear is that, given the apparent taste of the general viewing public, the show will not only succeed, but flourish, resulting in a cottage industry, T Shirts and all.
Even a bumper sticker hyping the next week's show.
What WILL Jesus Do Next Week?
As for me, I've already got a plan.
Continuing, while "JC" is airing, to be safely tuned to USA to enjoy back to back to back to back episodes of NCIS.
While tightly gripping the shirt tail of any sincerely devoted Christian who might be in the room at the time.
Just in case.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
where do we go from here?"
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Panda Express Orange Chicken with Fried Rice
38 g fat (7.5 g saturated)
1,540 mg sodium
SAVE 510 CALORIES AND 8 GRAMS OF FAT.
Jamba Juice Peanut Butter Moo’d (22 oz)
20 g fat (4.5 g saturated)
108 g sugars
SAVE 620 CALORIES AND 20 GRAMS OF FAT! Make this smart swap just a couple times a week and lose more than 15 pounds a year!
The article has some other examples...you can check them out here...
Good intentions notwithstanding, I find that as I get older, I'm less informed by these kinds of articles than I am amused.
First, there's that pesky common sense thing.
The more fat, grease, sugar, etc we eat, the less "good for us" it is.
I don't think you have to be a registered dietician to figure that one out.
Second, if all other information doesn't put the whole "eating at the food court" thing into perspective, I'm thinking that there's a pretty obvious clue right in front of our proverbial faces.
Two words, Benjamin.