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.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Civil Unions vs Marriages

I think this whole gay marriage issue is being handled all wrong. The problem is that the state recognizes marriages at all. It shouldn't. Marriage is a religious institution. The state's interest in marriage is only in the handling of property and ownership of property by one or more persons. I don't know that it is possible but I believe that government should simply look at all current marriages as "civil unions". That is, as financial relationships or partnerships. It should purge the word "marriage" from its laws and legal definitions, replacing that term with "civil union." A "civil union" could then have all the rights and privileges under the law that "marriages" do today. If a couple still wanted to be "married" then they could petition any religious organization of their choice to bestow that status upon them. This solution is aligned with the concept of separation of church and state, and I think it can resolve all the related problems of medical consent, property rights, inheritance, and so on. It truly makes all people equal under the law in this regard. New couples wishing to be legal in the eyes of the state would merely have to register as a civil union, no formal ceremony would be necessary.

The concept of marriage has always been a religious one. Human beings have always paired up, for the most part, with a minority of societies advocating multiple spouses. Even within those societies, I believe polygamy was practiced primarily by the privileged, the elite. The vast majority of marriages have been between one man and one woman. The average man and woman view marriage as a partnership even though it was traditionally an unequal one. Religion defined the marriage contract for virtually all societies. Since governments were often partners with the societies' religious factions, marriage was left to the church. The merely recognized the union.

The U.S. was possibly the first to formally establish a separation of church and state by eschewing a state sanctioned religion. Over the years, we moved from a "wink and a nod" regarding the concept to court rulings essentially codifying it. Yet we did not truly separate the two when it came to marriage. We should. A marriage, so far as the state is concerned is a melding of two sets of assets. That is, a combining of the property of two people. The state's interest in marriage is also one regarding a stable society, the family being the basic unit of any society. However, this nation saw the individual as the basic unit and simply accepted the family on tradition. It may be the right time to change.

Having the state regard all current marriages as "civil unions" is more a matter of semantics than anything else. The church will still recognize marriage. the individuals can still refer to themselves as married. But the state doesn't need to. Its only real concern is the distribution of the common property if, or when, the relationship is dissolved. Renaming marriages as civil unions will not affect that. What it will do is bring the non-traditional social partnerships under the same rules as marriage is today.

[Addendum as of 11/16/08]
Other views worth reading which both argue against and help prove my point.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Snippets of Life - Being a kid in a small town

Memories of my early childhood home are sketchy. Little bits and pieces of my life in Farmingdale, New York. Our little house, the fruit trees in the back yard, the grape vine behind the garage. I only recall the cherry tree producing and we picked and ate them a bit too soon. I remember riding a sled down the hill we lived on. Not a steep hill but good enough for sledding in the winter and for riding my little red wagon down in the summer. One summer we put together a thick plank, some old wagon wheels, and some rope to make a summer toboggan to ride down that hill. It carried several kids. We weren't very good engineers and the thing had no brakes. It got out of control and we all ended up with abrasions and bruises.

I was not an athletic kid, skinny and undersized. I tried to play baseball but wasn't very good at it. I wasn't musically inclined either. About the only thing I was good at was climbing trees and I even fell out of those on occasion. I roller skated on metal wheeled clamp-on skates. You adjusted the length of the skates to fit your shoes, tightened up the toe clamp, and you were good to go. They worked well enough on concrete sidewalks and asphalt streets. Stopping was easy if you were on the sidewalk, you just headed for the nearest lawn. On the street you had a bit of a problem since we had curbs thus more skinned knees.

We flew kites a lot. My grandfather showed me how to build a kite from scratch. You took a newspaper, some paste, a spool of string, a strip of cloth for a tail, and some thin sticks, added a little grandpa magic and *poof* you had a kite. Kites cost less than 25 cents so I didn't build any when he wasn't around. One of these days, I'll try building a kite... just to see if I can.

I liked summer. Wild raspberries, honeysuckle vines, sitting up on the top of the hill at the edge of the Woods and looking over the whole town. We used to call it the "King's seat". It was an old stump sitting next to the drop off. Looking back, I figured this was where they cut into the hill when building the housing development I lived in. The Woods was an undeveloped area belonging to a fairly rich family. In those days, they didn't have to worry about lawsuits and let the neighborhood kids play there. It was an area maybe 4 blocks in size but it was Sherwood Forest or Indian Country or an island where pirates buried their treasure or anywhere a child could imagine.

Those were carefree days. It was a time when you could spend hours in a "Five and Ten" (aka "Woolworth's") deciding how to spend the quarter you found. Or, for that same quarter, you could spend an afternoon at the movies watching a double feature. And, if you had another twenty cents, you could have popcorn and a soda.

That was the upside of those days. The downside was the septic tank that had a very difficult time handling a house with 2 adults and 5 children, a house with only one bathroom, a house with steam heat using not quite enough radiators, no air conditioning except at the bigger stores and the theater. I'd add mowing the lawn with a push mower (no motor) but I was too young to do mowing.

All that disappeared from my life in the Spring of `56 when my family moved to south Florida.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I had a teacher in the 9th grade who would relate (it seemed like daily) about her college professor who always said "Well, Emerson said..." She never finished it and I never quite understood her point. Was her professor wise, in her mind, or a parrot? But it does relate to something I think about from time to time. I could never quite understand the quoting of famous people. Is it because the quoted person was so wise? Or is to impress the listener with the knowledge (and mental accuity) of the speaker. Politicians quote people, teachers quote people, your friends may quote people, ad nauseum. I don't. There's a couple of reasons why I don't. The first being that I rarely can recall what some famous person said, the second being that I don't think they are any more wise than the rest of us. If they can think of it, so can you.

There is something else about quotes by famous people; you can often find contradictory positions by just about every one of them. Of course, this makes it easy to find a quote by your opponent's favorite historical icon that will support your position and, hopefully, undermine his.

Here's a couple from Thomas Jefferson -

"Delay is preferable to error."

"Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you."

And these -

"I have seen enough of one war never to wish to see another. "

"Every generation needs a new revolution. "

Wisdom is found everywhere, we don't need to seek it just from famous people.

I think we like to quote the famous because their stature makes their words seem more important. It's not that they say anything more profound than any deep thought you might have had but it just appears to carry more weight. I came up with a couple myself just the other day...

"We all like to listen to those who say what we already believe."

" A wise man questions his own beliefs as deeply as he questions another's."

Now, is that any less valuable because it was authored by an unknown? My ego says no. I am sure someone else uttered the same thought only more eloquently or with more substance/authority behind it. So I did a little research and found:

"The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best - and therefore never scrutinize or question." Stephen Jay Gould (1941 - 2002)

"Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality." Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)

This is at the heart of why we quote the famous. A quote from a famous person carries the weight of that fame, that authority. We quote them because we borrow that underlying authority in the process. It allows us to be eloquent by proxy.

"When a thing has been said and well, have no scruple. Take it and copy it." Anatole France (1844 - 1924)

It may just be the oldest and subtlest form of name dropping.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A few questions

This is just a list of questions that popped into my mind over the last 60 years...

Why do the anti-nuke folks only protest against the western powers and not the Russians, the Chinese, or Pakistanis, or the Indians?

Why do most reports of the Amnesty International seem to concern complaints of human rights abuses from the western nations and not the Arab nations, North Korea, China, Cuba, Zimbabwe, and a host of other dictatorships?

Why is it an offense by men to leave the seat up but not an offense for women to leave the seat down?

Why are government funded programs touted as "free services?" Don't we all pay for them through taxes?

Why do people think that a government that couldn't operate the post office efficiently could provide efficient and cost effective health care?

Why does good news always seem to be reported with a "but" or "unless" attached?

Why is the most touted news item always the last to be shown and never seems to live up to the hype?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tax the Rich!

There is a hidden tax that comes with every tax increase. This is the increase in costs of products and services. Just as an increase in the cost of oil ripples through the economy, driving up other prices, tax increases spur a rise in costs. However, the price of oil can go down and that can result in lower costs and lower prices. But you won't see a reduction in taxes because Washington and your state capitol won't ever really lower taxes. What they do is shift the burden from one segment of society to another. So taxing the rich might save you from getting a tax increase, and may get you the vaunted "rebate" but it will cost you elsewhere. And you won't really get a significant tax decrease. Especially if you are in the lower 40% of working people. After all, you don't pay income tax anyway. But the taxes that get shifted to the rich will result in the rich shrinking their tax profile which will result in lower revenue for the government which will then raise other taxes to make up for the shortfall. Cities and counties raise property taxes to make up for the lower funding from the state, the state raises taxes to make up for the lowering of revenue sharing from the federal government.

I'm not rich. I've never been rich. I've been a working stiff who managed to save some money so that I could take advantage of an early retirement. I won't be hurt directly by a tax increase on the rich, I'll feel it elsewhere. I know this because I have seen it happen again and again. That tax rebate you are promised? It won't amount to much. It won't mean you can buy a new car or pay off the enormous credit card debt you've run up. It'll pay for a night at the ball park with your family where you can watch a bunch of men making 100 times what you make play a game you used to play in a sandlot. And the team will raise the ticket prices and the concession stands will jack up their prices to pay for the tax increase they were hit with to pay for that rebate you got.

But, hey, you get to feel good about the rich getting skewered, don't you? It's not about the money, it's about envy and anger. Be careful what you wish for.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Snippet of Life - The TV Set

As an early Boomer, I was part of the first TV generation. I remember when we got our first TV. Before that, and even after for some time, Sunday mornings would be spent lying on the floor in front of the radio reading (I just looked at the pictures) along as the comics were read by actors. We also listened to scary stories on "Inner Sanctum" and comedies like "Fibber Magee and Molly" and "Amos and Andy." The TV gradually became the main home entertainment system and those shows migrated onto that medium. Being within the broadcast range of New York City, we had a number of stations to choose from. ABC, NBC and, CBS operated out of NYC so we had them but there were a few independent broadcasters too. The TV introduced me to old movies, the ones from the 30s and 40s. The network news was just a 15 minute broadcast and we mostly watched John Daly. Mostly, in the evenings, we watched what my father wanted to watch whenever he was home. That meant Sid Caesar, Milton Berle, Red Skelton, and Ed Sullivan. It also meant "Our Miss Brooks" and "I Love Lucy."

I watched "Sky King", "Ding Dong School", "Dick Tracy", "Captain Video", "The Cisco Kid", "Roy Rogers"and other kid oriented shows. But I also watched "Playhouse 90", and some great dramas designed for adults (though quite mild by today's standards). TV introduced us to the world in ways our imaginations couldn't. It exposed us to a life outside of our small towns and fairly simple lives. It is no wonder that we became effectively addicted to it. I still played outside, still climbed the maple tree in front of our house, still explored the woods near my house but I also found myself in front of that TV a lot more than I sat in front of the radio.

While there are a number of shows on TV today that I like, my all time favorites will always be the ones that captivated me as a young boy sitting much too close to that old black and white TV.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Prince Charming

I was thinking the other day that it is tough to be a male in this culture. Women might disagree with that perspective. I can't say they'd be wrong. At least, not from where they sit. But it's not easy being male. First, we boys were fed the same moral tales throughout our early years that the girls were. Think back to them. What was the basic theme? The princess was (we are never told how) being held by some evil entity (dragon, evil baron, etc) and waits for her hero to arrive on his white steed to rescue her. The hero usually has overcome great obstacles to lend testimony to his bravery, strength, and cleverness. He will most often be a prince and, if not, will become one by winning the freedom of the princess. He will be as handsome as the princess will be beautiful. And nothing less than happiness and joy will follow, summed up in that famous phrase "They lived happily ever after."

So, we grow up believing we have to be handsome (flawlessly handsome), resourceful, brave, strong, and clever in order to win the hand of the object of our desire. Substitute a Corvette, a Porsche, a Cadillac, a Mercedes Benz, or whatever for the white charger. Have a profession which pays well instead of being a prince. And all you need is a damsel in distress. Unfortunately, I learned a long time ago that many princesses didn't want rescuing. All too often, they wanted to stay with the dragon. It didn't help that I was scrawny, not very brave, and only moderately clever. To be honest, I wasn't all that handsome either.

When I was in my teens, girls would tell me that guys had it better when it came to dating. Girls had to sit around waiting for the guy to call, they had little power to control the situation. They didn't quite understand it when I tried to explain the fear that had to be overcome just to dial a girl's number, much less actually ask her out. That made some of them feel a little better, I suppose, because they caught a glimpse of the power they actually had. Some already knew they had the power. I never had a chance with them. They dated the quarterback, or the star of the baseball team, or some other "prince."

Things started changing in the 60s. Women's liberation was a boon to those of us who never fit the image of Prince Charming. It was also a problem because it took all the rules of chivalry we had learned as youths and tossed them out the window. It did not impress a girl or woman anymore if you held the door for her. It seemed to be taken as an insult. I see a change again, women seem to want that attention, that courtesy, that deference, they once enjoyed and ceded for the illusion of equality.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Political polling

Ever wonder about polls? I mean the ones you read about in the newspapers and hear about constantly on the news programs or the radio talk shows. The political polling. The polls are reported, discussed, spun, assessed, lauded and dismissed by various pundits and commentators. The only truly important poll is the one consisting of actual votes on election day. At one time, the polls were reported purely to give the public some idea what their fellow citizens thought. I think that purpose has fallen to the wayside. Now I think they are intended to sway public opinion. I also think they are skewed to return results favorable to the people requesting the poll. They have become a form of political advertising.
The reason I think this is because there are now what are called "internal polls". These are polls that have results you will never see. They are commissioned by political parties for their eyes only. They are meant to show them just how their candidates are actually doing and to see how new campaign strategies are being received. Why public and private polls? I think the answer is clear. The public ones are meant to influence, the private ones are to measure a campaign's actual impact.

Things I would do to improve the electoral system:

1. Require valid picture ID (provide state IDs for free, if needed)
2. Create a National voter registration database.
3. Any discrepancy in registration negates that registration.
4. Results of any election not made public until 24 hours after the polls close.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Snippet of Life - the Bike Shop

When I was about 4 years old, my father started a small business. He opened a bicycle shop in an old garage behind the stores on Main Street in the town we lived in. It was a small town, a bedroom community, a suburb far out on Long Island. The garage was not much to look at. If I recall correctly, it was a quonset hut with few amenities. It did not smell nice but it smelled like a place where work was done, honest work, mechanical work. It smelled of grease, oil, and sweat. It is a smell I still associate with work, real work. It meant working with your hands, building something, repairing something. He moved his business to a new location but that work smell moved with it. Fifty eight years later I can still remember it, still smell it, still associate honest work with it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Old Guys' Golf

I play golf twice a week. That is, I dress in shorts and polo shirt and spend a few hours hitting a golf ball somewhat aimlessly around a golf course. I do this with a few other men of lesser and greater talent at it than I. It only vaguely resembles the golf you might see on your TV screen. We do not hit those incredibly long drives, splash the ball out of a sand trap to within a couple of feet of the hole, or sink 65 foot putts. The courses we play are considerably shorter than the ones the pros play. And we don't even play them from the back tees. This is a bit demoralizing when I watch the pros at work. It's at that point that I realize I am not really playing the game. Any par 4 hole greater in length than 400 yards is, effectively, a par 5 for me. This is because it is extremely unlikely that I will hit two shots in a row that will total a distance of 400 yards. And I am not alone. The vast majority of us out on the courses are rarely breaking 90. We are basically just the cannon fodder of golf. Our purpose in the sport is to spend money on golf equipment and lessons in the vain hope that we might actually improve. It's how the golf industry survives and prospers.

I have to admit I am better than when I started. After all, I couldn't break 100 for close to 6 months after I first started and then it took me another year plus before I broke 90. And that's where my improvement slowed to a snail's pace. I am stuck in the mid 80s. I have only broken 80 twice; 31 years ago and this past year.

I have two golf "lives". I first started playing back in the mid 1970s when I was about 25. I started on little par 3 courses, moved up to executive courses, and finally went for the regular courses. Golf was relatively cheap back then. It only cost $2.50 to play the municipal course in San Diego. I bought a set of off the rack clubs for about $80 at some point. I played for about 10 years and just kind of gave it up. Life interfered, you could say. I had just gotten remarried and had moved to Virginia. I had other things on my mind and golf had been on the back burner for some time. The clubs sat in my garage until 2002. Realizing that I was moving toward retirement, that I needed some exercise, and that I missed playing golf, I decided to get back into the game. Ok, ok, I am sure Tiger Woods had something to do with it also.

I dragged out my old clubs and went down to the range and hit some balls. Surprisingly, I hit them ok. Sure, I messed up a bit but I hadn't picked up a club in 15 years (except to move them from one garage to the next). Still, the clubs were old so I needed to buy new ones. Not wanting to invest too much into it, I picked up a set off the shelf at a Sports Authority store. These turned out to be very well suited for me. At least for the next couple of years while I tried to regain my form of 15 years prior. It wasn't a very good form, mind you, but it served me well enough.

After a few months, my game started to improve a bit. My handicap dropped from a 20 to 22 then to a fairly solid 17 or 18 and stayed there. When your game stagnates, a golfer's natural reaction is to blame everything else but his natural ability. This is when the buying begins. A new driver, new irons, new putters by the truckload. This is the period in a golfer's life where he is most valued by the golf industry. They can now sell him lessons and new equipment, each of which will tease him into thinking he can actually get down into the 70s even as he's getting older, less limber, and (face it) weaker. As this happened to me, I remembered a man I played a few rounds with when I was a young man. He was 90 years old. He could hit the ball maybe 120 yards with a tail wind. But he could shoot his age and he was happy just to be upright, mobile, and out on a golf course.

My advice, which I have taken to heart, is learn to accept your innate ability and go back to loving the game itself.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Herd Mentality

I sometimes wonder about how people behave in groups. We are, after all, herd animals. We don't see ourselves that way, we think of ourselves as individuals who make our own decisions. Yet we almost constantly engage in a "herd mentality." The essence of advertising is the manipulation of that mentality. Fashion trends, fads, the lifeblood of the film and TV industry, are all examples of herd mentality. We call it "peer pressure" when we talk about kids but we all engage in it. It is a rare individual who does not .Advertising is all about exploiting that behavior and exploiting the desire to be perceived as a leader even if one isn't.

Think about it... Who starts fads? We've all been caught up in one or more in our lives but do you know who actually started any of the fads you followed? I know of only two and they were very localized fads. One used a sketch drawing of a mouse, similar to Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's Ratfink, and spread it all over my junior high school. I was one of the three who kicked that off. The other was a dress fad that lasted only a few weeks and was actually a practical joke on the principal of that same school. Other than that, I have no knowledge. Who kicked off the bell bottom style of the 60s and 70s? I haven't a clue but I wore a lot of bell bottom jeans in those years.

I think a lot of fads are kicked off by ad campaigns. Ipods, for example. An over-priced piece of technology that has become essential to teenagers and twenty-somethings. No one was clamoring for these until it somehow became associated with being cool or hip or whatever term is used for the people you wish you were but fear you could never be. In school, kids gather into groups or cliques or (the new term) posses. Even the perceived "losers" of the school group together (much like the brainiacs of my day). I say it is all part of the natural urge of the human animal to belong to the herd.

And, finally, this is what happens in election campaigns. Why are you inundated with poll results? Because enough people will follow the trend, succumb to the peer pressure of a poll. I am afraid that fewer and fewer people think for themselves. Fewer and fewer people can actually explain or list the policy positions of their candidates. People follow the lead of their peers. The leader of whatever group is likely just following the lead of his/her parents or some person they admire.

And I think this is a very dangerous trend.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Big Crunch

Hey, I am losing money, how about you? Mad at Wall Street? Angry at rich corporate execs? Furious at the Bush administration? How about incensed at Congress? You should be. On the other hand, you (and I) are pretty much powerless to do anything about it. No matter who we elect, the economy is going to be rocky for some time. I don't have a lot of my assets in what are laughingly called securities. I did have but I lost about a 3rd of my old 401K back in 2000 when the tech bubble popped. Easy come, easy go. I still had more than 40% above my total investment of cash into it. I just failed to time my exit from a couple of funds. The stock market is all about timing, so is life.

Timing is everything in life. And it is the one thing you have almost no control over because it is timing of the unknown; the future. Sometimes, we just get lucky. Sometimes not so lucky. Ever come upon a traffic accident that happened just a few minutes before you arrived? That was lucky. Just think back to the things that held you up before, or during, your trip to that point. Some you had control over, others you didn't. Sharon Stone (among many) might call that karma. Others might refer to it as fate, or the Will of God. I just call it "life as we know it." I take an extra couple of sips of coffee and I miss getting crushed by a semi running a red light. Or maybe I get crushed by that semi. Who can say?

I stopped worrying about such things a long time ago. I have basically floated along in life, not doing a lot of planning, and managed to get by. I once tried planning but found I couldn't controll all the variables that pop up or even anticipate enough of them to insure my plans (or their backups) would work out. That doesn't mean I don't plan out little things, it's just the big things I don't worry about, like that semi I mentioned. I plod along, putting away what I can, hoping I won't need it for a long time. A few years ago, after losing that chunk, I quietly moved all my stocks and mutual funds over into what was a guaranteed interest investment. It paid a bit more than any CD available but not a whole lot. Of course, a financial adviser told me I wasn't being smart. That 401K is back up and safe even after the last few days. I wonder what he's saying now? I am still dabbling in the market but carefully, very carefully. There are some bargains out there, some solid companies that will weather this storm that are cheap. It just might be 5 years before they pay off. I can wait.

But I feel for the people who are approaching retirement in the next few years, and the ones who bought a house a couple of years ago and had to take on a big mortgage, and the ones who are in a shaky industry (which may be quite a number of them theses days). These folks are going to see some hard times. The strong ones will make it through; the ones with a skill or trade, the ones who set aside cash for a rainy day, the ones in good health, and especially the ones who can adapt.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Politics and Us

I didn't watch the last McCain-Obama debate. Well, I did watch the first question. After that, I decided I had seen enough. After all, neither candidate actually answered the question. I have seen enough political debates to know that candidates do not really answer questions but use them as springboards to launch talking points. Sometimes the points are related tangentially to the question, I suppose, but they rarely go to the heart of the issue or provide any real insight into the candidates' policies or plans. Besides, I have already decided who I won't vote for.

Isn't that what US politics has become? Figuring out who to vote against or, at least, not vote for? Some call that "voting for the lesser evil." I get a kick out of the so called "undecideds" the media talks about and the candidates are supposedly targeting.
The campaign has been going on for over two years now, how can anyone really be undecided unless he/she has been comatose until a week ago. Are there really people who pay no attention at all to politics until the last few weeks? Oh, I can understand not paying much attention to the city council race in your town up until the last few days but this is the presidential campaign, for Pete's sake. [Quick aside: Who is Pete and why do we care about him anyway?]

I was raised in a lower middle class family with conservative parents. So, naturally, I went liberal in my late teens and early twenties. At one point, I was fairly radically liberal. But time and circumstances (and my persistently analytical mind) moved me toward a conservative point of view. I guess I fit that old saw that says:

If you aren't liberal at age 20, you don't have a heart.
If you aren't conservative at age 40, you don't have a brain.

"Conservative" and "liberal" have become insults in the last couple of years. While "moderate" has become the thing to be. I don't know, I think "moderate" means you are afraid of offending anyone by actually taking a side. My ex-wife used to get angry at me for arguing for both sides of an issue. She objected to my strong sense of objectivity. My current (and future, she warns) wife objects to my lack of desire to make a decision. She's wrong about that, I make decisions all the time. I just don't care about what we eat or where we eat, or what movie to watch, or any of the little things in life. I figure those things tend to take care of themselves. And they do.

What worries me most about this presidential election is that we have become more and more divided and emotions are getting stronger. That scares me. It portends chaos and unrest. The intensity of emotion pushes the unstable to action. And, trust me, there are a lot of unstable people out there. Timothy McVeigh was unstable, Osama bin Laden is unstable, and there are a heck of lot of other unknown (at this time) unstable people who may feel that whoever wins the election is the Anti-Christ. The extremists among us are lauded and praised. These are dangerous times, folks, very dangerous. And this election, regardless of who wins, won't reduce that danger.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I am just an aging boomer. That is, I was born at the beginning of the Baby Boomer generation; in the summer of 1946, to be exact (almost). I might not have been born had there not been a World War II and the draft. My father was drafted in 1944 though he never saw combat. In fact, he never left the States. He basically did his time as a projectionist on an army base near San Francisco. The reason I was important was because, after the war, those with enough dependents got released. Viola! I was a welcomed baby. My mother told me I was a bit late in arriving, about a month. I was named after the nurse's boyfriend because my parents couldn't decide on a good first name. Being born at that time gave me some advantages. First, there were to be a lot of us and that meant that society would do its best to accommodate us. They built schools, roads, parks, libraries, and so on. They studied all kinds of things to make sure we were raised right and would be productive members of society. Of course, all that went wrong in the 60s but who knew that would happen?

I am going to try over the life of this blog to help those of you who came before and after the boomers to understand what life was like for us and how it shaped the world. I'll probably fail but at least I will have fun trying.