The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Time to Think

In 6 days, a very important election will be decided. All elections are important but this one seems more important than we have seen in many years.

The question you should ask yourself before you vote is simple:

Do you believe that government should serve you or should you serve the government?

Now, maybe you think the government giving you assistance whenever you have a problem is serving you. Maybe you think being in the military is serving the government.

But think more deeply about it.

Oh, and Happy Hallowe'en!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mornin' muse

I was remiss this morning and had nothing to post. Or, to be more accurate, I was remiss yesterday when I should have written something to post this morning. Instead, I just lolled in my recliner and drifted in and out of sleep. I like to think of that as "recharging my batteries." I should stop that, it makes me sound like some kind of mechanical gadget.

When we sleep, we do not really invigorate ourselves, do we? Considering the way I feel after a night's sleep, I'd say it is more like over-exerting myself.... and then being pounded into submission by some bully. Even my mental cobwebs have cobwebs.

It now takes me two cups of coffee to get going in the morning. That's double my normal routine.

It sucks to get old...


Monday, October 29, 2012

Sorry, Leon, I don't buy it

I am suspending my self-imposed rule of "Saturday is politics day" for the next 8 days. Why, you ask? Because two or three of you may not have yet made up your minds and, despite my urging you to vote early, you might be looking for some opinions on who should be in the White House from 2013 to 2016. And my opinion is as good as anyone's... remembering that old joke about rectal orifices and opinions.

Leon Panetta, the Secretary of Defense, offered an explanation of why no help was sent in to defend the Consulate in Benghazi:
You don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on," Panetta said. "(We) felt we could not put forces at risk in that situation."

That struck me as odd. You see, I was in the US Navy once upon a time. Granted, it was a long time ago and strategies may have changed over the years, but at that time the attitude was still "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"

Can you imagine if the police headed for a doughnut shop rather than toward the gunshots? Or if firefighters stayed away from a fire because they didn't know what's going on? Especially when they know there are people still inside that building?

Sorry, Leon, you don't seem to understand your job. It isn't you that makes that decision, it's the CIC. You just make suggestions and recommendations and then carry out orders.

One other thing has come to bother me about this Benghazi thing. At one point, the two ex-SEALs (who worked for the CIA) from the Annex who risked their lives by allegedly disobeying orders to "stand down" to assist the Consulate personnel allegedly told their stateside handlers that they could "paint" the targets with a laser. Now, if help was two hours away at best, why would they even mention that?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Vote early but not often

I am voting today. We have early voting here in Paradise. It starts on the second Saturday before election day. I have come to enjoy this since where I go to vote early is closer than where I would have to go on election day.  If you have early voting available to you, I urge you to take advantage of it. You'll be glad you did. It rarely means a line and, even when there is one, it is usually quite short. Most early voting can be done on weekends which is helpful for those of you who work (that's 23 million less than 4 years ago).

It does not matter which party you are registered with, you can vote for the candidate of the other party and it will count. You do not have to tell your neighbors, your friends, or even your spouse, who you voted for. Therefore, you do not have deal with any peer pressure. No one will know who you voted for. I felt I needed to emphasize that.

I had a co-worker a number of years ago, a nice guy named Roger, who was quite conservative in his personal beliefs and life. He is African-American. He told me he is a registered Democrat. I asked him why he didn't register as a Republican because his positions closely resembled that party's. He said his friends and family would never let him forget it, that they would harass him and treat him as an outcast.

I just asked "How would they know?"

Who you vote for is your business and you do not have to tell anyone how you voted, what party you registered with (poll workers excepted), and so you can vote your conscience rather than your party.

This country is about to teeter on the edge of disaster. Your vote may be the one that keeps it from tipping into the abyss or pushes it over.

One last thing: I know a number of you do not trust the Foxnews channel. However, I urge you to watch that channel either today at 1 PM or Sunday at 3 PM or 10 PM for special reports regarding the attack on the Consulate in Benghazi. There has been new information that you are not reading in the mainstream press or hearing/seeing on the mainstream media TV. If you choose not to watch because you do not trust Foxnews, you are simply denying yourself information. If it is not true, you should be able to research it and find that out.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A `cane by any other name...

I scan the news each day with an eye out for items that would lend themselves to a rant blog post.

Not finding much. There's a hurricane named "Sandy" heading for the east coast. I am not sure a name like "Sandy" is appropriate for a massive storm that can cause billions in damage and kill people. I have known a couple of people named Sandy; only one was her real name, the other (a guy) a nickname. Neither struck me as dangerous.  Perhaps, whoever it is who think up these storm names should have something more ominous sounding... Like... well, I don't know, female names are, by design, non-threatening.

I went looking here, hoping to find something more fitting or at least more threatening, but came up empty.

The first hurricane name I ever heard was "Hazel" in 1954. That name reminded me of something called "Witch Hazel", an astringent, that my mother would put on my cuts and scrapes. It stung, it hurt, it smelled. That was fitting for a big storm.

How about Satana?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I guess I won't be working for 60 Minutes

I didn't have much to do so I decided to try an interview with a man in the street. I gave up quickly because I nearly got run over several times. I decided it might be safer to interview a man on a sidewalk.

I randomly selected a young man to interview. Maybe not exactly randomly... I chose a guy with purple hair and a number of piercings on his face. First, because he attracted my attention and, second, because he didn't walk or run away when I approached. In fact, he seemed quite friendly and greeted me with a smile, held out his hand, and said, "Got any spare change?"

I ignored that and just asked him if he minded my asking him a few questions...

Are you old enough to vote?

"I think so. How old do you have to be?"


"I'm pretty sure I'm older than that. Wanna see my ID?"

No, that's okay. Have you decided who you are going to vote for?

"Is there an  election coming up?"

Yes, the presidential election is in a couple of weeks.

"Wow dude!"

Yeah, wow... So, you decided who you're gonna vote for?

"Who's running? Not that Bush guy, I hope?"

No, nobody named Bush... Obama and Romney.

"A guy named Obama wants to be president?"

Uh, Obama is the president.

"Really? Wow dude, that's rad. An Irish guy is president."

Not Irish. His name's Barack Obama and he was elected in 2008.

"Cool! Weird name, though, you sure he's not Irish? I'm kinda Irish... on my mom's boyfriend's side. His name's O'Hara but I call him O'Tool. Get it?"

Yeah, well... no, he's African-American, his father was from Kenya. You didn't know who was president?

"Well, I haven't been around much lately...I just got out a few weeks ago."

Got out of where?

"Prison, dude... 3-5 for burglary."

Never mind... here's a buck, good luck.

I guess I'm not cut out to be an interviewer...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Money, cash, gelt, shekels, rubles, etc.

The best thing in life is free,
but you can give it to the birds an' bees
I need some money, need some money
Oh, yeah, what I want
Your love gimme such a thrill,
but your lovin' don' t pay my bills
I need some money, need some money
Oh, yeah, what I want
I need some money, honey
I need some money right away
I need some money bad
I need some money
Oh, yeah, what I want

 [John Lee Hooker- Money]

The other day I wrote a post that included a little bit about how I view the concept of money. I don't think I expressed it well because Tom (of Sightings at 60) thought I equated money and food.

Money is nothing more than a concept. (Here's a pretty good take on its history [link])  But it's a concept that permitted commerce on a larger scale than is possible with barter systems. In a barter system, people were limited to the immediate area. After all, anything you might have for barter (crops, livestock, etc) had to be transported to some other farm or a community. There were no refrigerated trucks, no railroads, no highways. You might have an ox-drawn cart to carry your extra crops or you could drive what cattle you could afford to trade.

Money facilitated trade between widely separated communities. It came to represent a value that could be exchanged. It's complex and simple at the same time. In some ways, it is like language. At one time, each tribe/community might have had its own language. Eventually, these languages merged into a common language. This had two effects. The first would be obvious: a sense of commonality, a kinship. The second is allowing commerce to expand. And commerce allows a community to grow and evolve.

I believe that towns grew out of marketplaces. People would bring their goods to a common place and barter their goods for the goods of others.  Some people saw opportunity in providing that common place and perhaps keeping it secure and safe while possibly providing some form of security for the traders. People would then move closer to these marketplaces to make it easier for them to trade, the paths trampled down by people walking or their beasts of burden eventually becoming roads. I would guess places where these roads crossed could easily become additional marketplaces.

But how did money help? Ask yourself a simple question: Is it easier to bring a load of wheat or a pocketful of coins to a marketplace? And how much farther could you travel wit the latter than with the former? The farther away you go, the more exotic the goods you could find. You can then bring these back to your local marketplace and trade them for local goods or the monetary equivalent.

Trade (either straight barter or in exchange for money) allows people to specialize in what they produce. You no longer had to grow a variety of crops because you could trade the excess crop you grow to someone who grew some other crop. You could trade for hides which you might turn into clothing which you could then trade for food. Money became the exchange medium and made all this trade much easier.

I hope this rudimentary explanation helps clarify my earlier post.

It might also raise a question: Would we be better off with a common world currency?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Why is there nothing?

I intend no post today... or, put another way, this page intentionally left blank... I watched the presidential debate instead of doing what I should. Forgive me.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Gimme more

"Greed (for want of a better word) is good." said Gordon Gekko... a character in the movie "Wall Street."

Too many people believe that movie is an honest portrayal of Wall Street and capitalism.

It isn't. Gekko was right. Greed and capitalism are what has taken us from near starving wanderers trying to survive to civilization and plenty.  Let me toss out a few words and phrases...

Selfishness (perhaps enlightened self interest)
Paranoia (perhaps just heightened awareness)
Greed (perhaps just saving for a rainy day)

Greed is also providing for one's family. After all, that's why we try to amass wealth, isn't it? To make sure your family can get through the hard times? So that sons and daughters do not want?

There's another phrase I often hear... "money is the root of all evil." It's a distortion of a bible quote that takes it out of context. The actual statement is: "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." [Timothy 6:10]

It's an excessively pious statement, I think. The out of context version implies that money is inherently bad. That money is evil in and of itself. It isn't. It is, as Ayn Rand described it, just a tool that allows us to engage in commerce on a large scale. Before there was money, people bartered with goods. The wheat farmer traded part of his crop for other foods, for tools, for housing, for whatever he could get that he desired or needed. Money came to represent goods and could be traded for other goods.

Ah, but the love of money... that can be bad. If one loves money more than one's wife or family then one might neglect that wife or family in its pursuit. One might be tempted to do bad things in exchange for money. Money is only evil if one lets it be.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

What did he Really say?

I am sure you are fed up with the post-debate analyses by now. I am. If you are like me, you watched the debate and either ignored the talking heads who told you what each of the arguers participants really meant when they said whatever it was they said.

I chose to watch the debate on CSPAN. Others I know chose PBS. And I (and they) eschewed the post debate analysis. The headlines and the blogs and the reporting in the next couple of days happily (or angrily) pushed their particular slant and perceptions.

Much has been made of the "binders of women" mentioned by Romney. The Obama campaign is playing this up as big as the "Big Bird" remark of the first debate. And, like that "Big Bird" remark, it's a distortion and a loss of context. I was reminded of the "You didn't build that" comment by Obama. Also distorted and lifted from context for political purposes. Of course Romney meant "binders of resumes of women". Anyone with common sense realizes this. Just as I understand that Obama meant that the business owners didn't build the infrastructure they depend on. I would posit that the business owners did at least help "build that" as taxpayers and as the contractors who build the roads and highways, however, so I see more problems with Obama's remark than I do with Romney's.

This is why I challenge people to think harder about what campaigns put out. Consider the meaning, the intent, behind campaign slogans and strategies.

At dinner the other night,  a friend who supports Obama related a story about someone (also an Obama supporter) who was offended by the Romney/Ryan posters in a doctor's office on his first visit. The patient was so offended he argued with the doctor. One of his questions to the doctor was "Aren't you afraid of losing Medicare patients?". At that point, I asked her why the doctor should be afraid of that. Her answer was that the Romney camp wanted to get rid of Medicare, to turn it into a voucher system. I expressed confusion about that since they don't. What they want to do is offer those under 55 the choice between traditional Medicare and a voucher system. No one on Medicare would lose their coverage and, therefore, the doctor was in no danger of losing patients. Additionally, even those 55 or younger would still have coverage so he wouldn't be at risk of losing them either in ten years.

She wasn't happy I pointed that out and dismissed my response to continue her story about how the patient told the doctor he wouldn't ever be back. I agreed with her that he had every right to do that and to express that sentiment. I didn't mention that I thought the patient was being incredibly stupid by basing his medical decisions on the political leanings of his doctors. The point would have been lost on her and just created acrimony.

It struck me then (and as it has a number of times before) that people often do not actually research the claims made by campaigns and find out the facts, they just accept what the campaigns of the politicians they supports say about their opposition's positions.

And I was saddened.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Bright Lights and Nothingness

The most enjoyable experiences I had in the Navy were nights at sea. Especially cloudless and moonless nights. You are a thousand or more miles from the nearest bright lights and there is nothing to interfere with the incredible sky full of stars.

I know next to nothing about astronomy. About the only constellation I can recognize is the Big Dipper. I never really had an interest in that field, never learned much about constellations, never studied celestial navigation. I left that to others. My job in the Navy was concerned with sound propagation and things under the surface of the sea, others took care of figuring out where we were and how to get where we were ordered to go.

But the sky was amazing at night. Even as a child, back before light pollution became a major problem, I saw nothing like the night sky at sea. One could easily become lost in it. And I did. Often. I spent many nights topside, just sitting or lying on the deck and looking at the stars. You don't have to have knowledge of astronomy to be overwhelmed by the bejeweled beauty of such skies.

A full moon, reflecting the light of a blazing sun warming the other side of the planet would blot out the starlight in that section of the sky. Beautiful as such a sight is, I was always saddened that it diminished the effects of the tiny points of light that dotted the heavens.

You can climb high into the mountains or deep into the desert and almost experience the same thing. I have done both but it isn't the same. Perhaps it's the lack of the hum of the ship's engines and the hiss of the water cleaved by the bow. I don't know. I only know there is nothing, anywhere, that compares to being under that sky.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A bit of internal babbling

Sometimes I wonder if it is all worth it. By "it" I mean blogging, of course. Does it matter what I write? Does it make a difference to anyone? But that's just my ego yapping away like  a vicious Chihuahua. A pesky, annoying, tiny part of my mind that I cannot seem to quiet no matter how many treats I toss it.

To be brutally honest, blogging (for me) is a combination of a cry for help and a scream for attention. Oh, there are talented bloggers out there who seriously entertain but these are few and far between. I try hard to read as many of these as I can but I fail to get very far. I am lazy and easily distracted. Being lazy, I tend to look forward to sitting in my recliner and doing nothing more strenuous than playing freecell on my tablet. Being easily distracted, just about anything can interrupt even that fascinating pastime.

So, from time to time, I question just why I am maintaining this blog. There is never a rational answer.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I wanna glide down, over Mulholland
I wanna write her, name in the sky
I wanna free fall, out into nothin'
Gonna leave this, world for awhile

And I'm free, free fallin'
Yeah I'm free, free fallin'

[Tom Petty]

There was a somewhat notable movie many years ago (1976) starring David Bowie.  It came to mind as I was reading about a man who literally fell to earth a few days ago.

As I watched the video, a weird thought entered what passes for my mind...

The Earth's, um, edge can be seen in its entirety from the height he jumped... I wonder if he wondered..."What if I miss?"

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Truth is not Always What it Seems

I am interested in tales of injustice and of crimes. Especially ones that involve both of these and apparent racial prejudice. I have my own reasons for this which I won't go into because even I do not really understand them and, therefore, cannot explain them adequately to you.

One such case involved a man named George Whitmore Jr. A man accused of murder, rape, attempted rape, and assault back in 1964. George, an African-American 8th grade dropout with an alleged IQ of 90, was horribly mistreated by New York's police and its justice system. I came across this case through a story in the NY Times, an opinion piece actually, about his plight.

Reading the Op-Ed piece, a few things bothered me. One of them was the mention of his asking about choices for execution....

Depressed, frightened and alone, he pondered his imminent demise at the hands of the state. He asked other inmates: “If you were going to be put to death, which would it be? The chair? Lethal injection? What’s the least painful way to die?”

In fact, he wouldn't have asked the questions. Lethal injection wouldn't be an option until well after 1977 [link]. Therefore, it would not have been an option available to him (or anyone else) which means the author made it up. I dislike when authors make up "facts" because I then begin to wonder just how far would the author go to advance whatever agenda he or she might have.

So I dug a little further and found this. It's interesting though difficult to follow because it covers more than Mr. Whitmore's case.

Why do I relate all this to you? Because I want you to view everything you read or view with the eyes of a skeptic. Because I believe we are always being manipulated and because I think the best way to counter that manipulation is to be a skeptic.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Brings a Tear to the Eye

This Land, Part 1: Donna's Diner

Melancholy is the feeling that came over me as I read this article. I grew up for an important part of my childhood in a small town on Long Island. The beautifully written article brought back memories of the many Mom&Pop businesses that dotted Main Street, including my own father's bicycle shop. We moved south, to the warmer climate and hopefully better life of south Florida in the mid-50's. From there I set out on my own to live in big cities and small, to see some of the world, to "make my fortune" as the fairy tale protagonists always did. I now live in a small city where nostalgia is the principal atmosphere. A small city much like Elyria but without the crumbling industrial base. A base dependent upon seasonal visitors.

I have read the comments and seen the blame that Donna doesn't assign. Life is full of ups and downs. We blame politicians, Big Oil, corporations but none of these caused the problems intentionally. None of these can flip a switch and make the economy return to what we thought it once was. Life was a struggle for my parents but I did not know it then, seeing only what a child sees. But it was not a struggle for me as it was with many of my contemporaries. I was fortunate, I lucked into a good job (one I enjoyed rather than just put up with) in an industry that survived and prospered through the economic upticks and downturns that seem to roll through every decade. I stayed employed, I earned enough, I had security. I still do.

I have come to believe that we have more control over our lives than we know. We define our lives by how we view the world.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Dustup in Danville

Ok, I watched the argument that was called the Vice Presidential Debate. Most of it anyway. It got late; I'm old, and I just can't take silly arguing as well as I used to. So I went to bed.

I thought the debate would be entertaining. I was wrong. I am not entertained by people calling each other a liar without ever using the word. Well, not anymore. I used to enjoy the clever ways in which humans can insult each other while sounding polite. Heck, I used to do that myself.

But The VP Debate was not that clever. It was poorly done. Depending upon your political ideology; it was a tie, Biden "ate Ryan's lunch", or Ryan "outclassed" Biden.

Who votes for a ticket because of the Vice Presidential candidate anyway?

Some links to analyses of the debate:,0,743796.story

A couple of things bothered me, though. Biden was asked about the Benghazi Consulate attack and stated that (a) "we" (presumably meaning the White House) weren't told there was a request for more security prior to the attack and (b) that blaming it on the video was because that was what the intelligence community led them to believe.

When Romney came out with a statement on the day after the attack, the White House ridiculed him, saying "Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later." In retrospect, it appears that Romney's aim was much better than the White House's. 

And one has to wonder why the White House continued for 8 days to blame the video without getting to the heart of the matter with the intelligence community?

Friday, October 12, 2012

All will be revealed at 10 to the hour

I watch way too much TV. It's not my fault...nothing is ever my fault, by the way... My parents took advantage of the one-eyed babysitter when I was a small child and gave me the "habit." As long as I was watching TV, I wasn't jamming chisels into my fingers or trying to slice my finger off while making a sandwich. No, I was just burning out brain cells on mindless drivel.

But it turned me into a keen observer of some constants in TV programming.  The bumbling dad, the clever teenager, the way all things are resolved at the end of the show and a moral of the story is blatantly obvious.

And the killer is revealed in crime shows. This, of course, comes at a specific time. Just after the commercial break that comes at the time noted in the title of this piece.

There is one other constant... What I call the "wrap up." it occurs after the final commercial break of the show. And it usually contains the "punchline" to the show and an explanation of how the killer (if a crime show) was unveiled.

If only life was as predictable.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

More fun than the Watergate hearings

Tonight we will be treated to what I think may be the most entertaining 90 minutes on TV in many years. I am, of course, talking about the debate between Congressman and GOP VP nominee Paul Ryan and the incumbent Vice President Joe Biden.

Why do I think it will be so entertaining? Because of Joe Biden. Our current Vice President does not appear to think well on his feet. Possibly, he does not think well when sitting down either. I don't know.  I do know that the potential for almost unbelievable gaffes is highest when Biden is speaking and especially when he is speaking without a prompter.

Or maybe I'll watch the football game.

It's a tough choice.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Outlooks and attitudes

Life is full of ups and downs. How we view our lives depends, I think, on which we experience more. Or maybe how we categorize the events in our lives in those terms.

A friend of mine just got two more stents put in. He had been running short of breath while working out at the local YMCA. These two bring his total to 10, I believe. These two were put in Thursday and he was back out on the golf course on Monday. He told his doctor that he won't talk bypasses until the stent count reaches at least twenty.

The man is 75 and he plays golf, mostly, better than I do. But he's a lot of fun to be around so I can overlook his beating me on the course.

He also inspires me. He's active, he's optimistic, and he's enthusiastic about life in general. I am just hoping to be above ground when I reach 75.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sliding Doors

It was an average afternoon. A typical October day in Southern California. Not warm, not cold, just somewhere in between. I had come home from work, packed some things in a bag, and headed for the freeway.

North. Toward Monterey. On  multi-lane freeways and rural highways, only one of which I can name today. In my defense, I saw little outside the narrow beam of my headlight as my motorcycle throbbed through the night. That BSA didn't roar, it sounded more like a steady, loud, hum that filled time and space and blotted out reality.

The sun was setting as I passed along the coast near Ventura.  I rode mostly on US Highway 101. The song  about "the terror of Highway 101" kept rattling around in my head.

Cheers - Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots

I didn't think I could go a "thousand miles before the sun can rise", I didn't need to. It isn't much more than 350 miles to Monterey from Long Beach. But that's a long way on a narrow seat... in the dark... in the late evening chill.

I stopped a few times for gas along the way, possibly 3 or 4 more times for food or  coffee. After each stop, it was a little harder to get back on the bike, kick it into life, and get back on the road. Once I did, however, the details of the stop left my mind as the details of a dream does after you awake. There was only the road and the bike and the drone of the exhaust and nothing else.

I began to ache maybe 2 hours into the ride. You feel it in your shoulders and your lower back first. Your hands are already numb and stiff, something you only notice when you make a stop and find yourself prying your fingers off the grips. But I just kept going. Just kept telling myself another half hour, another 40 miles maybe, and then another stop for coffee. But I really didn't want to stop at all.

I am sure I thought deep and meaningful thoughts as I rode through the darkness, I just cannot recall any of them. I remember only a few things about that trip.

The sunset along the highway. A stop at a bar where I got coffee that was more sludge than anything recognizable. And the two by four in the road.

I was doing 80 to 85 (MPH, not KPH) most of the way, slowing only slightly for the tighter curves, when along an especially dark stretch, my headlight picked up the object in my path. It was a piece of wood, a 2x4, maybe 3 or 4 feet in length. It lay at an angle in front of me. Like this: \  It was too late to slow down or to try to go around it. 

Maybe that was why it didn't have much of an effect when I rode over it. I was going too fast, I made no attempt to avoid it, just met it as best I could... prepared to have my handlebars twisted out of my hands and crash. And then I was past it with only a modest bump.

Some days I think about that event and wonder if we do not exist in multiple universes. In one I passed safely over the piece of wood and in another I crashed and died on a two lane highway somewhere north of Santa Barbara.

Monday, October 8, 2012

If you have to explain a joke, don't bother

 My humor, I admit, is about as clear as a good London fog. But it reflects the murkiness in my mind. Most people do not understand it. I can't blame them for that. As the purveyor of such drivel, I must take responsibility for any lack of perception on the part of my audience. Like the salesman at a used car lot, I must get my "customers" to buy it.


I wrote a piece about being invisible once. It wasn't especially humorous except as I was writing it. Re-reading it today, I realized how poorly it was written. Even found a typo. It didn't adequately describe what it is like to feel invisible in everyday life. I am sure a few people "got" it but most, I think, hardly noticed the underlying joke of a blogger struggling for recognition.

In actuality, I am not struggling for recognition, I am just trying to stay afloat. Which should explain all my thrashing about.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Maybe they'll flip a coin at some point

Well, the first of the presidential debates has come and gone. It seems to be a consensus that Romney won. The Democrats are unhappy, the Republicans are happy, and the undecideds are still clueless.

I didn't watch the debate. I had more important things to do... playing Freecell on my tablet, for instance, and watching a couple of shows previously recorded. If I didn't have those things, I'd have sought out something vaguely interesting on some obscure cable channel.

I had no need to watch the debate. It wasn't going to change my mind about who to vote for (or against). I cannot imagine how anyone could be aware he (or she) has a navel and still hasn't figured out who to vote for in November.

Seriously. Are you so-called undecided folks completely oblivious to the world around you?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Can we start over?

Do you believe in The Apocalypse? No, not the movie with Marlin Brando playing a megalomaniac AWOL colonel, the one predicted in Revelations. Scary stuff, that. I only ask because I am reading a Koontz book and Odd Thomas seems to be involved in one. Perhaps preventing one from happening... it's not clear to me yet.

I am fascinated by the prospect of Apocalypse. Having grown up on cheesy science fiction movies, I do not see an Apocalypse as a bad thing but as an opportunity. So did, I suspect, the producers and directors of those cheesy science fiction films.

Maybe it's just human nature to fantasize about just erasing civilization and starting over. Think about it, we have these idyllic childhoods (well, most of us anyway) followed by the angst and drama of teenagery after which we are crushed by the reality of adulthood. Most of us anyway, I have a few friends who have yet to grow up but are collecting Social Security. I often think of them as the lucky ones.

I suppose an Apocalypse is too much to hope for.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Golden Years

I didn't write anything for yesterday. Don't worry, it's all part of my masterfully devised plan. Or I forgot... I am not sure which.

I am puzzled like that on a regular basis. I just do not understand the world around me. It's not my fault, the world tries very hard to remain mysterious and is successful at it. At least, as far as I can see.

The world was much simpler when I was a small child. It wasn't much bigger than my little town, the sky at night was a black sheet with little holes all over it, cities were kept far away, and a quarter in my pocket made me feel rich. Occasionally, I found a dollar and then I really felt rich.

The toughest decisions I had to make were what kind of candy to buy.

I miss those days.

Everything was provided. No rent to pay, no mortgage to worry about, no car to put gas in, and  (best of all) no job to go to each day. I am mostly living that same dream today, you'd think. After all, I have no job to go to and no mortgage or rent to worry about. But I still have a car and it needs just as much gas as it did 4 years ago... it just costs twice as much to buy it.

These are my golden years, they say... they just didn't tell me it means I won't have enough gold.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

There's nothing to eat!

The title is the lament I made daily (more often, actually) each time I would open the refrigerator door when I was a teenager.

I came home from golf today and was hungry. So hungry that after I ate the leftovers we took home from the steakhouse we patronize every Sunday, I then nuked a couple of hot dogs and munched down a dozen pretzels.

I hope spending 4 hours in the heat and humidity counteracts whatever excess calories those snacks gave me.

I miss those heady days of my youth when I could devour 18" hoagies and be hungry enough in a couple of hours to eat a Whopper and a chocolate shake. And without gaining a pound.

When I enlisted in the Navy, my official weight was 133 lbs on a 5'11" frame. It has taken me a lot of years to get to 170 lbs.

I may have to skip lunch tomorrow, though, so I can keep it under 170.

Monday, October 1, 2012

How do you say that in proper English?

Each evening, I slip into bed and pick up a book (or bring one up on my tablet) ad read until I am sleepy. Sometimes this takes only a few minutes and, other times, it takes a half hour or more. This mostly depends on how tired I am when I get into bed but, now and then, it can also depend on what I am reading.

I have found something which might induce sleep quickly. This article may be better than any other sleep aid I have come across to date.

I admit I am a bit pedantic when it comes to grammar and spelling. I do not see myself as obsessive, however. I feel special irritation when I read (or hear) " try and", for example. I strongly believe that it should be "try to" and never "try and" but that has become accepted. I read the phrase in novels and hear it in movies and TV shows among other venues. I gnash my teeth in semi-conscious psychic pain each time but I know I cannot do anything about it. Being powerless possibly adds to my frustration. I have written about this before.

I am not so pedantic, however, to correct all my own quirks of speech. In fact, I do not even try.