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.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Why I'm Voting For Trump

I was going to post this on Nov. 7th but since people (nearly a third of voters) will be voting early, I decided to do it now.

Is Trump a stealth supporter of Hillary?

I ask because, until a few weeks ago, everything he did has done nothing but help Hillary Clinton. Unless he's hoping for (or knows about) some miracle that will take her out of the race. But I do not see that happening. She is protected by the Obama administration and the media. But she was easily beatable!  However, he has ignored advice from all corners and committed numerous mistakes in his campaign.

Faye doesn't like Trump but not because of the usual reasons, she thinks the media selected Trump to run against Hillary. Maybe so, I can't say. All I can say is that it appears he is not planning on victory. She thought this about McCain also. And I tend to agree, the media played up McCain until he was the nominee and then went after him unmercifully.

Much of what he (Trump) says is in reaction to statements by the other side... which I think is a part of their strategy.

On the other hand, I am reminded of the lop-sided battle between Goldwater and LBJ and the joke that was big during the Vietnam War:

They said if I voted for Goldwater, the war would expand, we'd bomb North Vietnam, and we'd be mired in an Asian war. I voted for Goldwater and, sure enough, that all came to pass...

The Obama administration finally acknowledged that the $400 million paid to Iran was, essentially, ransom (they called it "leverage") for the Americans they were holding.

The choice couldn't be more simple:

If you are happy with the way things are, vote for Hillary (because she promises no change). If you want change, vote for Trump.

These people claim they are leaving the US if Trump is elected:

Rosie O'Donnell

Lena Dunham

Chelsea Handler

Jon Stewart


Chloe Sevigny

Elizabeth Moss

Lily Rose Depp

Miley Cyrus

Samuel L. Jackson

Neve Campbell

Raven Symone

Eddie Griffin

I could not find anyone who said they will leave the country if Hillary wins.

I think that says something: conservatives will abide by the outcome but liberals won't.

And I like what Obama said at the DNC:

"...and that is why I can say with confidence there has never been a man or woman more qualified to serve as president of the United States of America." [implying that she, not he, should have been the Democratic nominee in 2008.] And he ran a campaign of lies. You now have the opportunity to erase the last eight years and change the system that exists. Another thing I don't like is that the system is heavily weighted toward the Democrats and that is because the Democrats have made it that way.

If you are African-American then I ask you to think about what the Democrats have done for (and to) you. They have filled you with fear of Republicans yet they have destroyed your families and built the ghettos ("the projects") many of you might live in. They have been running the cities in which you live for decades and haven't improved them. Don't you wonder why?

And, remember, your vote is secret... if you don't tell others who you voted for then they will never know.
Sure, Trump is a risk but so is life. Ask yourself if you want this country to follow the same path it has been on or do you really want change?

If you want change and to shake up the government, you will do as I intend to do:
Vote for TRUMP.
Here's another point of view:


Monday, July 18, 2016

It's Over!

Yes, this is my final post.I wanted to make the 2000th post my last one but I must have miscounted (this is, according to the blog, 2003). All I can say is, "math is hard." That's a vague reference to a doll ad of some years ago, which few people might remember but which stuck in my brain.

I am ending this because typing has become a chore due to whatever is screwing me up. Maybe it is a result of my misspent youth or the many chemicals I abused over the years. I only know that everything is harder than it should be. I feel like a 90-year-old. I would like to continue to blog, boring anyone unfortunate to happen in here, but I cannot.

I hope that I have made a difference in my readers' lives and I hope that you have taken to heart my admonitions to be aware of your innate biases so that you may better understand and control them. We all have them and we must master them in order to have a peaceful and productive society.

Wish me luck, as I wish you the same. Good-bye.

Friday, July 15, 2016

I'm Back!

I still have problems with balance and dexterity but I did make it back from Georgia. I might not have mentioned that I was going there but I took a couple of weeks and traveled to Ringgold (a small town in northwest Georgia... just across the state line from Chattanooga, Tn.) The reason for my trip? To visit my wife's sister and others... her brother was visiting also, as were her nephew, her niece and her niece's husband... I was happy to see them all but was more glad we made it there without an accident or other mishap.

The drive up was nerve-wracking to say the least. We took our time, though, a nine hour trip we took in two days, staying overnight in Tifton, Ga. But it was worth it. The only real traffic was through Atlanta.

On the way back, we met with an old friend and co-worker, Mike, near Dallas, Ga on Friday. A nice guy who we stayed with the week after we married and moved to northern Virginia.

It was good to see him again and, hopefully, we'll get a visit from him next year for the races here next March (Sebring 12-hour). We took a night at a hotel in the area of Marietta (just north of Atlanta) to take advantage of the Saturday traffic in Atlanta. It was still bad, though, but I managed to get through it.

We stayed in Ocala that night and then drove home on Sunday... to find my irrigation pump had not run several times so the lawn was yellow in large spots. I managed to get it working the next day and also watered my thirsty(!) plants on the back porch.

Hope you all had a good week.

[Politics Corner]

There are reasons I am no longer a Democrat... many of them. I have come to view the Democratic Party as the Party of hypocrisy. I listened to Hillary's speech in Illinois the other day, she took a shot at Trump for being a purveyor of the politics of fear. I thought, "wasn't that what she was doing at that moment?" and "wasn't that what the Democratic Party has been doing for years? Sowing fear and hatred of the Republican Party?"
I have fear... fear of more liberal Supreme Court Justices like Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Fear of more and more debt. Fear of policies that will destroy this country. Fear of policies that will, not may, increase the prospect of terrorism in this country.
Yes, I am afraid.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Politics Alert

So if you don't want to read my take on the political situation, I understand.

Basically, it's a mess... we have a choice between a billionaire with weird hair, strange tan, and an over-active ego or a person who might get indicted for revealing top secret information. Essentially, a choice between a strange 1 percenter and a possible felon.

Not much of a choice, really. I don't much like Trump but I dislike Hillary more. I don't think the US can take another Democrat in the White House, especially when there is the possibility of 4 seats on the Supreme Court to be selected.

I have to say Milania would make a stunning First Lady but I am not sure the country would like a former model as First Lady... we're used to more matronly types.

On the other hand I am am not ready for Bill to be the first First Gentleman.. basically because I do not think of him being all that gentlemany.

I think I would rather not experience the next four years regardless of who wins.

On the other hand, this is going to be the most interesting presidential campaign of my lifetime... or yours, perhaps.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Words Are Powerful Things

As my ability to type deteriorates, I become more and more frustrated and angry at my inability to use them. "Words, words, words," a shipmate (a friend) said to me from time to time. He meant my words were meaningless in the context of our discussions. And they often were, I suppose. Now that they fail me and I struggle to type them out, I better understand that.

In a way, I am going through a thing similar to what my mother experienced as her Alzheimer's advanced. I know what I want to say but my ability to say it in the written word is failing me. I can hope that this isn't Alzheimer's but I won't know for some time, if ever. All I know is that typing has become extraordinarily difficult. It seems to be an inability to do some simple tasks, though not all the time, such as tying my shoes or buttoning my shirt or pants. I also have a great fear that I will drop a glass or cup.

It is, to me, an agony.

Friday, June 17, 2016


As I was pedaling on my way to the "Y" the other day, I passed a number of people walking or pedaling along the way. Of course, I acknowledged them by saying "good morning" or some such and that got me to musing about greetings.

We say things like "good moring" without thinking much about it. What we are doing, in reality, is wishing them a good morning or day, depending on what we say and what time it is.

We also ask "how are you doing?" To which... almost everyone replies (at least initially) "fine." Just to be ornery, I have replied "lousy" or "terrible" from time to time but people seemed to take me seriously and inquire further.

You can't win.

Politics alert:

Since the Orlando shooter was a registered Democrat and Democrats are concerned that we need more restrictions on whi can buy a gun... how about we deny the right to purchase a gun by any registered Democrat?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


As horrific as the attack on The Pulse was,concentration is now on the gun used. The rifle used was an AR-15. Despite being called an "automatic" (Geraldo Rivera, for one), it is, in civilian form, in fact a semi-automatic weapon. No different than any number of civilian weapons. Will there be a call to ban all semi-automatic weapons?

And the shooter was a security guard with credentials that allowed him to purchase weapons for use in his job... a job with a firm that had contracts to provide security for some government facilities.

And, it turns out, his wife, Noor, apparently aided and abetted his plans.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Gender Identity

This was planned before the news came out about the Orlando shootings at The Pulse. My heart goes out to the families of the victims in that attack. No one deserves to be inflicted with that horror.

I am not one confused about my gender but, apparently, a number of people are.

They say that all males have an "inner woman". As the old (and sexist, I suppose) joke goes, fortunately, mine is a lesbian.

A number of schools now are being urged to allow those who "self-identify" as a female or male to use the restroom and showers they self-identify as. This has, understandably, caused much consternation in parents and triggered some lawsuits against the US government. I am also going to suggest that no female is going to "self-identify" as male and try to use the boys bathroom or the boys' showers.

I sympathize with those parents, obviously, since I am writing this blog. But, just as "ms" has replaced "miss", I think this will be a battle doomed to be lost. Some have suggested that "xe" replace "he" but I cannot figure out how to pronounce that.

I am old school, I guess. When someone says "I always knew I was gay." I think, "That can't be so." We go through periods in our lives where we might question our sexual orientation, that's understandable. And I have had someone ask "Why would anyone choose to be gay?" I usually reply that, "Some women choose to stay in abusive relationships. Do you think they have no choice in the matter? That they're born that way? Do you think people do not choose to be criminals? That they are born that way? That they enjoy getting arrested and sent to prison?"

I get shouted down... fairly often.

I don't know whether people are pre-disposed to be gay or straight.

Personally, I think we make choices all the time we are growing up that result in our sexual orientation.

But I am glad I'm a raging heterosexual. Faye agrees.


Friday, June 10, 2016

I Really Want To...

Write about something other than politics but I can't. There is just too much going on in that world.

Donald Trump makes a stupid remark about a judge and chaos ensues.
Obama endorses Hillary (yawn... who else would he endorse?) and Sanders vows to fight on. Ho hum. I am not impressed by any of this; we know Trump makes outrageous statements, so that remark is nothing new, we know Obama would endorse Hillary so that is nothing new. But, assuming Bernie had actually won the nomination, would there have been such a ringing endorsement? I wonder...

I do know one thing: this is going to be an interesting campaign. Much more so than anyone alive today could imagine. And, yet, I wonder if... somewhere... there's a video endorsing Bernie.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


I was going to, and from, Wal-Mart yesterday when I realized something about traffic... we depend on all the other drivers to behave in particular ways. The other day, a friend's mother died in a car accident. She was 99 years old and was entirely at fault. She ran a red light and was hit so bad they had to use the "jaws of life" to get her out of the wreck. At 99, she shouldn't have been driving. But most here are well into their old age and there is no public transportation.

I have no problem driving, even with the current problems I have, but I wonder if I would react rationally in an emergency. A close friend is 87 and still drives. He also speeds a lot. I worry about him and those on the road along with him when he is out and about.

But it is the young who seem to drive poorly, they are the ones who slip in and out of lanes, trying to get through the traffic. I was once young and probably reckless. Now I am old and careful.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Life Goes On

I have no idea why, it just does. I am having great difficulty typing this. What is wrong with me, I have no freaking idea but, whatever it is, it is devastating. I made 5 typos just typing that sentence. Maybe the MRI will reveal something... I hope so anyway... but I won't find out until a week from Tuesday.
Today is Memorial Day.
Thank a vet... better yet, thank the family of a vet who didn't come back.
Meanwhile, life sucks.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Random (and probably stupid) Thoughts

I don't understand as much as I used to. Partly because of what has been happening to me the last few years and maybe that's due to the drugs I took as a young man but whatever the case I sit and watch the world and this country tumble into hard times.

Just today I saw a report of Venezeuela fast deteriorating into chaos. This is what socialism leads to. As Margaret Thatcher supposedly once said: "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money [to spend]." You cannot tax yourself into prosperity. But some keep trying. Eventually, interest rates must start climbing and that will start the ugly spiral of inflation.

Prices will go up and that will put pressure on wages which will result in higher prices... putting pressure on wages and so on.

My only hope is that it will not affect me before I die but I am no longer hopeful that will be the case. I have many regrets in my life but I mostly feel sorry for those who must go through the difficulties ahead. All I can do is say I'm sorry for what my generation has done to screw up this country and this world.

I do not worry about Climate Change because I think we will destroy the world's economy first. Sorry to be so negative.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


... is a set of beliefs and practices that aims at improving the genetic quality of the human population.[4] It is a social philosophy advocating the improvement of human genetic traits through the promotion of higher rates of sexual reproduction for people with desired traits (positive eugenics), or reduced rates of sexual reproduction and sterilization of people with less-desired or undesired traits (negative eugenics), or both.[6] Alternatively, gene selection rather than "people selection" has recently been made possible through advances in gene editing. The exact definition of eugenics has been a matter of debate since the term was coined. The definition of it as a "social philosophy"—that is, a philosophy with implications for social order—is not universally accepted, and was taken from Frederick Osborn's 1937 journal article "Development of a Eugenic Philosophy". [taken from Wikipedia, that font of all knowledge]

You know who practices this? Farmers and animal breeders; racehorses, dogs, and just about everyone. Secretly, we all believe in the concept. How else do we explain the successful careers of the children of actors, politicians, and athletes?

Sure, name recognition is a major factor... but it's not that much of a factor to explain those successes. And the failures must mean something. Often we blame the failures on some flaw in the genetic makeup (the mother, the extended family) that slipped in. Maybe we wonder if the parent (the mother) messed around. It is also the basis for aristocracies... enough said?

On another front, I am appalled at government. Especially in its failures. Take, for example, the recent problems with the TSA and the lengthy lines at airports. Consider the DMV.

Only government bureaucracies fail to deliver and then demand more money and more power. To fix those problems... they say.

Before you say "privatization is the answer," I know it also happens in large corporations. I've seen it myself. 

I don't have answers, just questions.

Monday, May 23, 2016

One Wonders

I have a lot of thoughts about politics these days. But I shall not bore you with them... it's enough that Faye is sick of politics right now.

I was thinking about the little things that irk us every day. Why, you ask? Because we are in that period of the year, here in Paradise, when we get thunderstorms each day around 4-5 PM. Personally, I like thunderstorms.

When I was 7 years old and at camp in Massachusetts, we had a big storm roll through and the wind and rain was terrible. I had to help hold the tent flaps together (we were housed in groups of 10 in tents that were on wood platforms) as the storm was whipping things around. At one point, the rain was getting in under the sides and the floor was pretty wet. Anyway, there I was... trying to hold the main flaps together when I was almost knocked off my feet when lightning struck nearby. I learned later that the pine tree about twenty feet away was struck and that a counselor was within 10 feet of it when it happened. He survived (as did I) but was injured (I wasn't injured at all but my feet tingled for some time).

One might think I would be nervous around after that experience but I am not. In fact, I enjoy the buildup to a storm... the smell of ozone in the air, the distant rumbling, the excitement that builds.

Weird, huh?


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Waddya Know?

I ask you readers that (or something near to it) from time to time but I get few answers... this means you agree with what I wrote or disagree so vehemently that you're afraid to leave a comment.

I obviously don't have much today or I would expound ad nauseum. Tomorrow I get an MRI at some local imaging center and I'll find out if I actually have a brain. I am not having a good time with the medication one of my doctors has put me on. It's an anti-viral medication and it gives me headaches (one of the possible side-effects).

Wish me luck on having a brain!


Friday, May 13, 2016

The Bloom Is Off The Rose

So to speak... Remember when I wrote about some new toys I got? Well, it turns out that that iRULU tablet had no support. I went looking for a manual for it after buying a 64G microSD chip and I couldn't find the slot for it. When I couldn't find that manual, I tried going to support to get the link but that failed and all I got was a stonewall.

Here's a part of the exchange with their support:
I received the tablet but only found a "quick start" guide. I'd like a manual so I can install a MicroSD chip.

Hi,there is a TF card slot on the tablet, you could install a Micro SD card in that slot.Please see the slot in the attached picture.

Here's the problem: I cannot locate that slot. It is possibly behind a covering along that side (the one where you plug in the power adapter). If so, how do I remove that cover? There appears to be a symbol that looks like an SD chip but all my efforts have been for naught.

Hi,could you please tell us if you purchased WalknBook 1 Notebook Tablet? If not, please notice us the s/n number on the back of the tablet firstly?Then, we will help you to check.

I gave them the S/N and studied the picture they attached and then gave up. I chatted with NewEgg (who were very professional about this... as always) and got a return authorization and shipped it back. I should get a credit against my Discover card.

I do not recommend purcasing anything from iRULU!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

I Wish...

Dr. Oz would shut off his spam! No matter what I do, I cannot get that spammer to turn off the spigot.

Every few days, I get some stupid offer for weight loss or some other garbage that likely does not work and I attribute the spam to either the NY Times or Fields Mototors in Lakeland, FL since these are the only two entities I gave that particular email address to.


Monday, May 9, 2016

I Know, I Know...

I promised no more politics. However, I think the events of the last week make the subject important enough to break that promise.

I don't know if you consider yourself a Democrat or a Republican, if you consider yourself a conservative or liberal That is not important to me. What is important is whether you consider yourself an American (those who are residing outside the US can ignore this) and whether you think the US is in trouble.

How you think the US is in trouble matters also. Those on the left think the problems come from the right and those on the right think the troubles come from the left. I personally think the trouble is not a matter of left or right, I think the system no longer works because those who we've put in charge have figured out the system and taken advantage of it to enhance, expand, and use to seek power.

The Founding Fathers put together a system that avoided the corrupting influences of their time. Over the last 200 years, those influences have changed and we are possibly in more trouble than when we sought independence.

I don't much like Trump but I definitely don't like the direction in which this country is headed. I worry about this nation every time we have elections... what seems so clear to me is, apparently, not so clear to my fellow citizens.

Or, maybe, I am just getting old and cranky.


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day Post

My mother is slipping away. She's 89 and she hasn't been herself for many years. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in her sixties and was put on a wonder drug, of sorts, called Aricept. It held the disease at bay to some extent for decades. Her short term memory went first, of course. But Mom, a clever woman, saw this as a benefit. Every day was a new world, a new life. She always had an optimist's view of life. Now I don't know what she sees or hears or knows. This disease took away the woman who raised me. After my father passed away, I took her into my home. We tried to care for as best we could but the time came when we could no longer see to her needs. She has been in the care of some nice people out at an assisted living facility for several years now.

I go to see her when I can... and when I think I can handle it. It's hard on me. I remember her as a vibrant, cheerful, witty woman who was always there when I needed her. She could always cheer me up when I was down or life seemed bleak. Now she can't. Now I have to do that on my own. And the worst is after I have been to visit her. I look for some sign of recognition in her eyes and never see it. I visit just before lunch because she seems the most animated at that time. I try to think of things she used to say to me to cheer me up and repeat them to her in the hopes they'll somehow break through that fog in her brain. She seems loved by the ladies who tend to her needs. They all speak of her with caring and joy. Some are as sad as I am to see her as she is now.

My mother had a way of getting a point across with humor. She would admonish me to be careful by warning me that "If you break your leg, don't come running to me." Or, "If you drown, I'll never speak to you again." As silly as these were, they stuck in my mind. Nothing seemed serious with her while you still knew how concerned she was. Her humor has failed her now. She doesn't smile much and, when she does, there's no way to know why.

It doesn't seem fair that this woman should finish out her life oblivious to most of the things around her. She read, she painted, she wrote stories, she even invented childrens' games. Oh, none were ever published or developed but that didn't matter. Her paintings were always flawed in some technical way; shadows fell the wrong way, perspective just a little off. They were nothing you'd expect to find in an art show but her family loved them. Her stories were simple and naive. Her games too easy. But you could see her slight off kilter view of the world in them.

Because I didn't get along with my siblings, I spent many of my years far from my parents. I rarely wrote or even called. It was never my way. I took after my father in that regard. In the last couple of decades, I tried to re-connect with my parents. I think I did re-establish some relationship to my father, just a little, in the few years before he passed away. My mother acted as if I was never far away. Now I don't know if she knows I exist, that she had a son, what her universe is like. I think that is what hurts the most... to not be a part of her life anymore.

Mom passed away in July of 2008, I was by her side that evening. Give yours a hug for me if you can.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Accents And Me

It's a funny thing about accents and our biases. I wrote once about the British accent and how we Americans seem to be suckers for it so it's used in a lot of ads on radio and TV.

The southern US accent makes people think the speaker is ignorant (unless its a woman's then she's adorable) while a New York City accent makes us wary.

Southerners are as smart as anyone else but that's not the stereotype, is it?

Frenchmen are smooth and Frenchwomen are coquettish. New Englanders are subtlety wise but Texans all have a drawl... except they don't. So-called Native Americans (they aren't, they just immigrated here first...about 15,000 years before Europeans) don't use contractions (but the ones I've talked to do), a trait shared with robots and space aliens.

I am sure you can think of more but will you?

Monday, May 2, 2016

Weird Food For Thought

Believe in extra-terrestrial life? Well, you are not alone... and someone has even develope a formula that may help predict it. Fascinating stuff.

I believe that extra-terrestrial civilizations exist but just not the "better than us" type.


Friday, April 29, 2016

Bored With Me Yet?

I am having a lot of trouble typing  and wondering if that has something to do with what is going on in my life now. I have never been more than a "hunt n' peck" typist anyway but, lately, even that gives me a great amount of trouble. I have been, for the past several years, typing up the results of our Monday golf matches for one of the local papers. That is where I first noticed how hard it is to type things up. Fortunately, the guy at the paper, Jeff, proofreads my stuff and lets me know when I goof on something. I appreciate that. Sometimes, when I read a post I have done here, I'm appalled at the typos I have made. I try to emend the sloppy (to me) text when I see it, though.

Some of the typos are common ones: teh, double words, etc. But many are just what I call "sloppiness." You guessed it, I am a perfectionist, a flawed one but still... I still try to make 3 posts a week but it is getting harder all the time.

Tuesday, I drove up to Winter Haven for some tests at the ENT office there. The testing lasted an hour and, at the end of it, I was wobblier than I thought I would be... If it wasn't for the GPS system in my car, I would not have found the office (or how to get back on the highway (US 27) home. I even had to use that to find the VA admin office a few days earlier and that is local but I forgot just where it was (it turned out I thought it was on a street that was one mile further south)... silly me. But that happens to us all as we age. There's a joke that goes:

If you forget where you parked your car, that's normal, but if you forget you own a car... you are in trouble. Fortunately, that hasn't happened to me yet.

However, if my posting gets a bit haphazard, it is my problem. I am trying (as a friend says... You're very trying...) but my fingers and brain are not up to the job sometimes.

I am hoping to make 2000 posts soon and that may be the point I quit posting.

[18 to go]

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


That is both a question and the beginning of a statement. I am going to ask some whys and try to make some statements.

As most readers of this blog know, I profess to be atheist; not "an atheist" but atheist and unlike many who profess atheism, I have no problem with those who believe. That is because because I have not been, or felt, threatened by religion or the religious. Sure, I have had the religious knock on my door and proselytize, hoping to convert me or "save" me. I have had people do this at my work. Faye's family is very religious; one of my brothers-in-law has been a preacher. When we visit his home, there is grace said at the table. I respectfully remain silent and sometimes even offer an "amen" at the end of the ritual. It is, after all, their ritual and I, as I have said, respect their belief.

Now for my questions (you might consider them rhetorical... not needing an answer):

Why are you religious?

Why are you a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim?

Did you choose to be or were you raised to be one?

I firmly believe that we tend toward the religions we grew up with.

My parents were mixed, religiously speaking, my father was Protestant (Methodist) and my mother was raised Catholic. Religion wasn't important to them though I think they both believed.

I took a different path, I thought about the subject on an intellectual level and came to the conclusion that religion was a way to reject the concept of death. But I was taught to respect others and not to disrespect them or how they felt about things.

In New York, it wasn't much of an issue but once we moved to Florida, I found that prayer was how the school day began. I learned to tolerate that, that I didn't need to rebel against it. Instead, I just accepted the few moments when others prayed as a period where I could sit quietly.

I was not abused because I did not participate, nor was I bullied or ridiculed.

This is why I hold respect for those that believe. Sure, some are hypocrites and violate the very religions they profess to believe but, then, don't we all fail at times?

Monday, April 25, 2016

Sorry... Politics

I am not a Trump fan but he's right about the game being rigged. Not to keep him from being nominated but so the Party bosses control the process. On the other side, we see it again... Hillary has the super-delegates on her side, which is what the Party bosses want.

Update: it appears that Kasich and Cruz have decided to work together to "Stop Trump."

We know the game is rigged yet we vote for the nominees anyway, if we happen to be in a state that has primaries. They say the rules are known to the candidates and they know the states set the rules so there are many rules to know and work with. I think the parties should push for something more consistent, with primaries in each state, and let the voters decide who the nominees will be.

To be honest, I thought Trump would find his support shallow and he would disappear after the voters started voting but that didn't happen. He showed a passion that we haven't seen in a very long time and that got him a lot of fans.

I think Sanders was encouraged by the Party to run, thinking he would be knocked out of the race early and make it appear that Hillary didn't just get annointed. But he struck a nerve and got some (many) followers and has given Hillary quite the fight. He won't likely get the nomination but don't count his fans out, they are every bit as rabid as the Trumpies; I think we'll see that at the Democratic Party Convention.

As far as the investigations into Hillary's emails goes, expect an "October Surprise" in November or late October. She'll either get a blanket pardon from Obama or the Justice Dept. will not indict.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Lots To Pass On

Prince (the singer, etc) has died. And the government is desirous of changing the $20 bill.
I was not a fan of Prince's music so let's talk about that $20 bill... Seems like they want to remove Andrew Jackson and replace him with Harriet Tubman. Now Ms Tubman was a great historical figure, a brave woman, who deserves her place in American history and I don't want to diminish her in any way. But presidents are important and he was more than just a preident, he was an important figure in the War of 1812 (which he used in his initial campaign for president), and one who believed that states could not secede from the union.

On the other hand, he was a slave owner and master of a plantation which is probably why they want to replace him.

But slavery, as evil as it certainly was, is also a part of our history and perhaps had as much to do with our nation's existence as anything else. It shaped us, was a blemish on our nation, and caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands in our Civil War. We still tiptoe around it in conversations but it did more to shape us than any other factor, in my opinion.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Here It Is!

You have put up with me talking about my new bicycle... so I thought I would show it to you. Plus I am having a lot of trouble typing lately.
Do not pay attention to the messy garage.

Monday, April 18, 2016

I Have Some New Toys

I also have some new problems but let's talk about these toys.

First, I was having some problems with my phone (a cheap smartphone) that worked okay but had problems with updating apps. These problems were basically "insufficient storage" problems that I thought I could fix by adding a MicroSD chip... but no, that didn't work because the phone just didn't have enough native memory to handle the apps it came with. So the first toy was a new smartphone, a Samsung (Android, of course) which had plenty of native memory.

The second toy is a new 10" tablet that runs Windows 10. I like it but don't do much except play Freecell right now. It's an IURULU Walknbook and, of course, it was dirt cheap so I grabbed it up.

The problem is that I am getting too old to learn, I think, and having two devices to figure out is stretching my brain to its limits.

Now, back to my personal issues... I fell off my new bicycle a week ago (after running into some scrub palms) and managed to damage my wrist... nothing broken but it hurts, especially when I bend it (which I do more often then I thought I would). Old guys just don't heal as quickly as we once did. And typing is a problem.

Friday, April 15, 2016

What Is Going On?

As some of you know, I am a free speech advocate and I have to wonder if our universities and colleges are missing the point.
When I was in my teens, the ACLU went to bat for the American Nazi Party when Skokie, Illinois tried to tried to prevent that organization from holding a parade in the town. Skokie, at the time, had a large population of Jews who had escaped the Holocaust in Nazi Germany.

I sympathized with those Jews but I also sympathized with the Nazi Party in their desire to hold their rally in their desire to exercise their First Amendment rights. Eventually, the Supreme Court ruled in their favor and I gained a new respect for the Court and the ACLU.

But, today, we are hearing about colleges and universities stifling freedom of speech. They talk about how some speech offends some students, specifically "TRUMP 2016" being chalked onto sidewalks and walls. Do these schools understand that even speech that offends is protected by the Constitution? Are they teaching that concept?

I do not like some people who abuse freedom of speech but it does not matter if I am offended. Voltaire is commonly credited with saying, "I Disapprove of What You Say, But I Will Defend to the Death Your Right to Say It." But, apparently, he did not say it. Still, the principle stands and it is one I also stand by.

If you are offended by something someone says or stands for, you have 3 choices: ignore it, refute/rebut it, or repress it.

It appears that colleges are engaging in the third choice.

Friday, April 8, 2016

It's The Masters

I still love golf even though I'm not playing until I find and correct whatever is wrong with me. A doctor's appointment with an ENT (Otolaryngologist) might point me in the right direction. One never knows.

As I write, Jordan Spieth held the lead on the first day at 6-under. This guy is amazing to watch, all the pros are. It's amazing what they can do. I could never approach their mastery of the game. I resigned myself to being a duffer long ago. A duffer is someone who plays golf with luck sometimes, hitting the right shot only occasionally. Yet we play on, mostly pretending we know what we are doing. We're the people who keep the golf equipment manufacturers in business. We buy clubs in the hopes of hitting them farther and better than we can on most days and, of course, we fail.

Friday, April 1, 2016

What About You?

"People go to a particular [news] source to confirm their views, rather than challenge their views," he said. "That has a feedback loop, so our politics also are becoming increasingly polarized. I certainly think that’s affected the presidential race. I just don’t think the Republican race would have played out the way it did without that kind of polarized media environment. There’s a sense, I think, that journalism ought to be making people less committed to their ideas, rather than more committed to their ideas."
Said Jens David Ohlin, an associate dean at Cornell Law School. It's an interesting comment in response to President Obama's rebuke of the media. It is something I have been saying for years: "people hear what they want to hear, see what they want to see, and believe what they want to believe."

My observation has come about because of the my interactions with others over the years. Also because of my facination with the OJ Simson case. I watched as witnesses testified about events and wondered why they would see similar events in so different a light.

Upon those observations, I formulated my comment about how people understand things. People bring biases to their observations and try, I think, to understand the events according to those biases. I, myself, try to be as even-handed as I can be in understanding what I see. And, sometimes of course, I fail but I understand I pretty much why I do and often I tie my mind into a Gordian Knot trying to overcome my biases and wish for Alexander's sword to ease my dilemma.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

So Far, The Doctor Is Fine

I am not impressed by doctors... I consider them to be (smart) human body mechanics. And I think my doctor is a little intimidated by me for some reason, perhaps it's because of the exchange we had over how long I would wait to see one.

I make an appointment and I expect the doctor to adhere to it as I do. Therefore, I wait a half hour past the designated time. If I don't get in by then I leave and demand my co-pay (if any) back. I also tell the staff how long I will wait... after 15 minutes... mostly to "light a fire" under them. My first appointment was a touch over 20 minutes late and I let the staff know I would wait another 10 minutes... I was seen a minute later.

I consider my time to be valuable also.

But to get back to my theme: the doctor gave me a prescription for some pills that might help (basically, seasickness treatment), is referring me to an ENT,and for a CT scan.

We might make some progress.

Friday, March 25, 2016

My Life May As Well Be Over

I have had to give up playing golf. Something is wrong with me that's affecting my balance and it has become impossible to play the game. Hopefully, my doctor can figure out the problem and get me the needed treatment.

I suspect it is an inner ear problem but I do not know that for sure. I have been confused and addled more lately than I have ever been, leading me to consider the problem may be neurological.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


All I could think of for today was political in nature. But I wonder when some news outlet will begin to refer to terror groups as "death cults" since that is what they really seem to be... nothing else seems to fit the mindset of their purpose. And, certainly, the ones attracted to them seem bent on their own deaths and the deaths of others. All a death cult offers is a reason...

And I thought about the picture of the three men in that Brussels airport and how some speculate the third man (on the right) was thought to be part of the group and, possibly, the one who left a suicide belt at the airport. I considered that he might have been there to ensure the other two followed the plan and, when they did, dumped his belt.

Monday, March 21, 2016


Big things going on today: Obama heads to Cuba... along with a number of (no doubt) connected businessfolks interested in doing business on that island.

Also, Apple is announcing updated versions of the iPad and iPhone. This will be met with awe and wonder by Appleheads (who will form huge lines outside of Apple stores) and indifference by the rest of us. But phone makers all over the world will want to put out updated versions of their own phones to compete with Apple. Apple is, after all, the Big Dog in phones and tablets now.

But not so long ago there were in serious trouble and needed an infusion of cash... which they got from Bill Gates.

Funny how the world works...

Saturday, March 19, 2016


A lot of talking heads on TV are nattering about  "brokered" or "contested" conventions. They seem to be fixated on the Dump Trump campaign.. which is fine. But they don't seem to care about the Democratic campaign and its potential for problems at their convention. I understand the angst of the Republican establishment over the Trump popularity.

Sanders supporters are quite vocal and seemingly unwilling to shift their allegiance to Hillary. I remember the riots at the Democratic convention in Chicago in 1968 and think the Dems are more likely to create havoc at their convention this summer than Reps. Hillary has these "super-delegates" and Sanders has a real uphill battle overcoming them.

I guess we will find out in the summer.

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Bike Thing Is Okay

I wasn't sure the biking to the Y would work okay but it's fine. I am still a little shaky on the bike but no falls and no injuries... so far.

And the 10 minute ride to the Y is working out also. I don't need a warm-up before my exercises since the bike ride does that so I have cut out the warm-up on the elliptical machine and moved right to the exercising.

I'm not bragging since I have not increased the weights on most of the machines as far as I should have by now but that will come. It's not having much effect on my golf game yet but that, too, will come... I hope.

Life is good.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Thinking Back

I was contemplating all the falls, scrapes, and mishaps in my life when I was a young boy in Farmingdale.

There was the time my we (mostly neighborhood kids) took a plank about 10 feet long, put some little red wagon wheels on it and rode it down the hill in front of my house. I might have been 5 or 6 years old and I'm sure it wasn't my idea.

Anyway, my brother and sister were on it and everything went fine until it veered toward the curb... we had no way to steer it and, of course, no brakes so we rammed into the curb and everyone was thrown off and landed in the dirt and tar of the road. Of course we mostly sustained abrasions ("road rash") but no one broke any bones.

My brother, sister, and I ended up getting scrubbed in the family bathtub together and I am sure many of the other kids also ended up in similar situations.

Or the time my brother decided I should fight the youngest boy of the Joyce kids who lived down the block. We ended up fighting in the Joyce's driveway with his brothers and my brother egging us on. My mother broke that up, dragging me by the ear back home. I remember I was winning when Mom showed up.

Or the time my brother pulled me out of the maple tree in front of our house down to the ground.

Or the time he threw a rock at me from behind and hit me in the back of the head. Head wounds bleed profusely, don't they? No stitches, though, that would have meant a trip to the doctor and those cost money.

I only bring these up because I have a new vehicle now. I wanted something to take to the Y where I exercise three days a week. It's not far, about a mile, so I bought a used bicycle. They say you never forget how to ride one but I am very wobbly on it. It does get me there and I don't need a warm-up period anymore now since the ride is sufficient.

I can't help feeling that I am overdue for a mishap that results in more abrasions.

Friday, March 4, 2016


I was going to talk about time and, specifically, about wristwatches but I have already done that... just search this site for "wristwatch" and you'll see.

I get lots of spam. Not for my primary email addy and not for the one linked to this blog but for one that I use only occasionally. It is one I gave to the Mercedes dealer when I purchased that little beauty I no longer own. I won't tell you what it is but suffice it to say it doesn't get put out much.

That's why the spam is so noticeable and it started increasing heavily right after I bought the Mercedes... which likely means they are the purveyers of email address lists, that they sold my email address to spammers.

One of those spammers is called and they are scum. All spammers are scum, of course, but is the worst. They continue to send spam on the part of various companies (all scum also) and do not hopnor their alleged "unsubscribe" listing.

I finally got angry enough to open a Twitter account just so I could blast on it.

I won't go into what I wrote in that tweet but it contained language I would never use on this blog.

I cannot encourage you to do the same but I would hope you would... these scum do not deserve any respect whatsoever.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Another Week Rolls By

Time passes more quickly when you get old. I am reminded of a joke by Richard Pryor that goes:

I don't understand why old people move and drive so slow. I would be in a hurry to get someplace... since you don't know how much time you've got left.

I'm pretty sure he didn't say that last phrase, though, I just tossed it in for effect. I'm also reminded of a bumper sticker I saw when I was in my teens in south Florida:

When I retire, I'm going to move up north and drive real slow.

I am already driving slower than I used to, I used to zip around now I am more careful and deliberate. I have had a few accidents and Faye would never forgive me if I banged up the Lincoln. I can't blame her, she's only had one accident and that one was not her fault. She got hit from behind on I-5 in California going to Disneyland.

I would definitely be in the doghouse if I put a dent in the car so I am real careful. We have a lot of older drivers here in Paradise. It's to be expected since the average age of a full-time resident is around 55.

And then we get the snowbirds in the winter who seem to have forgotten where everything is and slow the effective speed on US 27 from 55MPH to 35MPH. That wouldn't be so bad except they also drive side by side and play "blockade."

The younger drivers zip around them when they can and scare me.

Friday, February 26, 2016

I'm In Pain!

No, I may be a pain but that's not what is happening. It might be a case of bursitis... which I had before and it feels like that this time. Before you recommend a cortisone shot, the last time I had bursitis the shot had no effect at all.

The last time I had bursitis, I was having to run down to my folks' place a few days each week in Hallandale from my house in Palm Beach County and the most efficient way to get there was on the Florida Turnpike. Unfortunately, it was before they had the Sunpass system and they still had tollbooths several miles apart where you tossed a quarter into a basket and the gate flipped up. Equally unfortunate, the bursitis was in my left shoulder so I spent the ride in agony. After it finally left my left shoulder, it attacked my right one. I didn't bother with a cortisone shot and that went away after a month, or thereabouts. Now I have it again... many years later.

Since the cortisone shot didn't help the last time, I have been applying ointments to my right shoulder after this pain developed. These ointments smell terrible so I looked at Blue Emu but the pain of paying so much for something that might not ease the pain anyway disabused me of that. I did learn something... do not put the ointments on after a shower... way too much pain comes from that.

I still can play golf (badly, as usual) so I am not completely impaired but I hope it does not move into my left shoulder this time.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

I Have Gas

I don't own a gas guzzler now. Seriously, who does? But I still pay attention to gas prices. Our current car gets lousy mileage in town but that's okay because it's only driven short distances. One of the places I visit, about every 5 or 6 weeks, is a gas station. Remember when they were called service station and they checked your oil and filled up low tires for free? Now they sell food and items you could get cheaper just about anywhere else.

It happened over a long period of time. But a lot of the changes came about with the 1973 oil embargo. Service stations gave way to mini-marts/gas stations and some added fast food providers... especially near interstates. All while the price of gas went up and up.

Now it's going down ($1.71 locally) but there are plans by OPEC to reduce supply so it should go back up. Meanwhile, people are happy and they will remain so until it climbs past $3.00 a gallon again.

The stock market is not happy with the low price of gas. The Market is down... I suspect they aren't happy because the low price of gas isn't making people buy stock.

The economy is truly weird, isn't it?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Nonconformists, Get In Step

I used to be as noncomformist as one could be... but that was long ago. Now, I am just another old white guy; amost indistinguishable from all the other old white guys in this city.

There's a standing joke at the golf course when someone asks, "Hmmm, don't know him, what's he look like?"

"Old guy, gray hair, wears glasses... you can't miss him."

I don't have all gray hair (but it's "salt and pepper") and I do have a gray, almost white, goatee. And, like most of the gentlemen around here, I have to at least wear reading glasses. And I dread the day I will need glasses to drive.

But, when I was in my teens, I followed my crowd and wore white dress shirts, black slacks, and black shoes ("Italian loafers" we called them). Now the "soshes" (short for socializers) wore pegged pants of various hues and tennies without socks and pastel shirts. We weren't much liked by them; they were the kids of professionals mostly or ones who were destined for college and a professional life. And we were mostly street thugs, at least by reputation.

I bring this up because of a cartoon strip I read on Sunday or Saturday:

Which, of course, got me to musing about conformity and how we look at it.

When I was in the Navy, conformity was mandatory... there's a reason they chop off all your hair, put you in ill-fitting uniforms, and demand you get into formations. They don't want you to be an individual.

There's a good reason for that, you need to identify as part of a team, loyal only to your outfit and your branch of the service. After a couple of years, you find you like it that way... call it "institutionalization." Like what happens to criminals in prisons after awhile.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Apparently Old Age Sucks

I'm old so I can say that with authority. It's a time in one's life filled with pills, medical procedures, and aches and pains. I can attest to the aches and pains. I don't take a lot of pills, just a generic, over-the counter, acid reducer which I take every night so I don't wake up in the middle of the night with heartburn. By the way, this acid reflux problem began for me in my early forties, not exactly "old age."

I took a friend to the hospital this morning so he could have a stent put in (they ended up giving him two so now he has10 all told). He'll be fine and he'll be back playing golf by Monday.

I have another friend who is 87 and has been suffering with Leukemia for the last 30 years, he's also doing fine and still plays golf occasionally. Leukemia used to be a death sentence but now it can be treated and cured or treated and maintained at a tolerable level.

When old guys get together, that's pretty much what we talk about: medical procedure and conditions, the pills we take, and the aches and pains we deal with. Many of us are on blood thinners or low dose aspirin which makes us bleed more than younger guys and clot less.

Another thing we do is talk about how much better we were at golf and other sports when we were younger. I was never very good at golf but I have gotten much worse the past three years... I like to blame that on an inner ear problem which is affecting my balance but that is assumption on my part, not confirmed by any doctors.

I hate doctors, by the way, and (like my father) avoid them as much as possible.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I Lost My Train Of Thought

I had an idea of what to blog about a little while ago but now I don't know what it was. I am sure it was something that would have been entertaining, interesting, or fascinating (pick one) to you readers but we'll never know now.

I was watching some shows that we recorded last evening and one of them gave me an idea but now I've lost the apperently tenuous hold I had on it and it is just gone. That's been happening to me a lot lately. I could chalk it up to old age... which reminds me of an old joke:

If you forget where you left your keys, that's normal.

But if you forget you own a car, that's the time to worry.

Of course, you'd have to have the presence of mind to worry, wouldn't you? And it isn't likely you'd have that at that point.

Oddly enough, I have not forgotten where I've parked my car in large parking lots but I know what to do if I ever do... press the "panic" button on the key fob, that sets off the horn and flashes the car's lights so you can find it. I suspect that is the primary purpose of that button and not to draw other's attention to you because you're being mugged or something.

My key fob has a lot of functions:
  • Start the car (lock it first, even if it is locked already) then press the remote start button twice (only had to press it once for my Lucerne).
  • Lock and unlock the doors.
  • Unlock the trunk. Also has to be pressed twice.
Don't know why Lincoln decided we needed to press twice for a couple of things but it is not a great inconvenience.

I need to test the GPS function but I don't have a need for it now. And it is hard to get lost trying to find how to get to a city, just hop on a freeway which will take you to it. A little too easy, if you ask me. I need to head north to I-10 to go west and that means I must find a route to I-75. But we haven't taken a long trip anywhere in a few years so it will likely never get used.

So, this is my post for today. Hope you enjoyed it. I would suggest you never get old but that sounds more like a curse.

Monday, February 15, 2016

This is Not Political

... though it might read that way. I want to talk about how we view the role of government in the US. It's important to me. Personally, I want government to leave us alone. Not completely, that would be more libertarian than I am willing to accept. I think the private sector does many things well and capitalism, while imperfect, demands more efficiency from private industry than government ever would. But there are some things best left to government... like the military, infrastructure (water, sewage, and zoning).

As you know, I spent some time in the US Navy and witnessed huge amounts of waste; from "float tests" (where we would toss a piece of broken equipment overboard) to stupid decisions about food by our disbursing officer (like serving liver and onions once every two weeks). Before the liver and onions lovers blast me over that, let me relate the story of it:

When liver and onions were on the menu, the cooks would also cook hot dogs. If you lollygagged a bit, or were on watch, and were not in the first group in the chow line, you got no hot dogs. They went fast because only a small number of the crew wanted liver and onions.

I asked the disbursing officer why he wanted to serve liver and onions.

He replied, "They're good for you."

"Not if you don't eat them," I retorted, "and I am not the only one who won't eat it. Most of the crew grabs the hot dogs."

"But they're good for you," he insisted. And I gave up.

We also stole food (mostly things like pepperoni and cans of peanut butter) when taking on provisions... which went to waste because we'd end up tossing it over the side after we got tired of it. The milk would go sour after 5 days at sea and end up being dumped. After that, we'd get "bug juice" (Kool-Aid) and powdered milk for our coffee (the Navy got me in the habit of drinking black coffee, no sugar once I got aboard a ship). Some of the crew persisted, though. I had had enough of powdered milk when I was a child (milk was expensive and Mom tried to be thrifty).

So I have seen waste in government and you have also... like when you see government work crews where only one is actually doing some work and 3-4 others are just there...

But even when work is contracted out, it seems like the contractors don't worry about the work as they would when hired by the public. I know that I insist a job be done right when I pay someone to do it and I am reasonably sure you do too.

And then there's waiting in line at the post office or DMV only to have a clerk go on break or to lunch when it is your turn next.

So I don't trust government to do most things efficiently. Unless we are talking about the IRS... they are relentless.

Friday, February 12, 2016


They are the future, are they not? Many of the politcians talk about them in terms of their future. When I was in my twenties (back in the late 60's), they were even held up as examples of tolerance and fairness.

Bunk! Or maybe the ones holding them up as shining examples had faulty memories. I recall my own youth and small children were mean, close-minded, and cruel.

It's true they were/are innocents in a lot of ways. But they are born selfish and demanding. We parents spend 4 years civilizing them so they can go out in public and not embarrass us. We send them to school by age 5 so they can learn how to communicate enough to carry on conversations with us.

Hopefully, they learn learn enough about how to get along with others to refrain from being menaces.

There is a popular saying that goes, "it takes a village to raise a child." It certainly used to. School, neighbors, the friendly cop on the corner were all part of the mix... helping to socialize children so they can become productive adults. But no more. Today the schools are failing to even educate them, the neighbors are afraid of them, and the cops are not respected by them or the parents.

Think about that baby you brought home from the hospital. He/she turned your world upside down, making you a slave to their demands. Your schedule became tied to their needs and desires. Feed me! Change me!Keep me amused... or I will cry and turn red in the face and cause you worry and frustration. And you did those things, probably happily because you thought it was a requirement of being a parent. That was what you learned as you grew up: it was expected. And, so, you tried to fill that role as best you could.

Kids were often afraid of you and you tried to ease those fears but you were also afraid of them. Especially as they grew older and started to gather in groups. They could be quite dangerous in groups. Mischievous and cruel in groups. They made fun of other kids (which you tried to curtail) and teased and ridiculed any kid that seemed different; smarter, uglier, messier.. whatever.

When they were little (pre-school), you felt only a little fear of them. And it was mostly fear of what others might think of your parenting skills or accidently hurting them. Your job, as I see it, was to civilize them enough to be tolerated in school. If you did your job well, they would not act out in class or bully other children. Children are, as I said, mean by nature and are natural bullies.

Some said (back in the 60's) that children had to be taught bigotry and prejudice. That's not so, not exactly. Other children would teach them those things but parents also would do it by example. In reality, we parents just reinforced those things and we used other children as examples of how to behave. We really wanted peace in our own houses so we did those things we thought we had to. We gave them adages to live by: dress nicely ("clothes make the man") and reinforced that by criticizing their choices in clothing and their friends' clothing styles. We judged them by their friends because we knew that others would.

But all we really wanted was for them not to embarrass us.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Most Of What I've Learned...

...Comes from crossword puzzles. It's a strange place to learn, I admit, but that has been the primary source of my vocabulary for some years now. I have learned new words, new definitions, and a bit of other things. How? Nice of you to ask... One of the first things I learned was that "Nice" usually refers to a city in France and that means the word is probably French. I did not know the French word for "head" until I started doing crosswords, though I did know adieu and a few others from osmosis, I guess, when I was younger. It's weird that I know how to say "thank you" and "good-bye" in several languages, I think but we pick these up easily enough. I have picked up a few Latin words (mostly pertaining to footnotes, it seems), some Greek alphabet, and the word for "tent" in Mongolia.

Crossword clues can be vague and misleading, though, one must be very careful when doing them in apps or online where you are penalized when entering the wrong letter (A good tactic is to check the clues for other words that will make up the word you want). That can still mess you up, though, but I don't have to tell you that.

I learned that crossword puzzles-makers seem to use similar clues and words on the same day. This helps in solving them. Especially when you attempt to do several puzzles each day, as I do.

I have told you previously about the app I use on my tablet, "Shortyz", which collects and provides several crossword puzzles each day. Prior to finding that app, I started doing some online crossword puzzles when I started into dealing with the internet back in 1994 or 5. I have used the internet's research functions (mostly Google) to find answers. I have learned that there are those who make money of of crossword puzzlers by being the sources of words that stump some.

I have this notion that I can help keep my brain healthy by doing crossword and jigsaw puzzles and that both are as highly addictive as cigarettes. I am probably foolish to think that.

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Apocalypse Is Coming!

...Soon... I'm sure...well, fairly certain anyway... maybe... I dunno... could be. To watch the news, you'd think it's very soon. Especially since it is a presidential election year. Doom and gloom is the message everywhere, it seems. Global climate change, giant meteors maybe hitting the planet and triggering a mass extinction event (these have allegedly happened in the past); this time wiping all life from the planet. Not just humans but all life.
Think about it: the final retribution, not just paving the way for far in the distant future fuel sources being set up but total and complete annihilation. And, of course, the entertainment industry is taking advantage of the possibility (as they always have). I am talking about "You, Me, and the Apocalypse", of course. Sorta...

As a child, I fantasized about such an event. As I reached my teens, the fantasy grew larger but, somehow, I would survive it. In my daydreams, I would roam the country looking for clusters of survivors and living on my wits (and canned food from supermarkets), somehow I would not contract some disease from the multitude of corpses that would surely be scattered throughout the land. I didn't think about the horrible stench that would fall over the land. But I would contemplate how to get gasoline from pumps that had no electricity (all that stored energy pretty much unusable without energy to deliver it). I would have little competition from other humans, of course, but there would be dangers galore that I would have to avoid or overcome. In my fantasies, I would always (especially once I reached puberty) find a girl (or several) around my age that had, like me, somehow survived.

But the TV show is more about the events leading up to the mass extinction than the aftermath.

We humans are both fragile and resilient, some of us will survive the event... possibly only to die in the coming years of starvation or whatever. Think about it, something as minor as as a disease could become as deadly as the plagues of olden times. A broken bone might easily lead to your death, as it likely did for many who ventured out into the wilderness just a few hundred years ago.

I once wrote about surviving in the not so distant past when there was no indoor plumbing, no anesthesia... little of the modern amenities we depend on today. But we are a tenacious species and some would survive and learn to cope with what is left. Maybe that is why we love the Mad Max movies.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

But How Do You Feel About It?

Life is, as my mother often told me, unfair but it is the only thing we have. We are pretty much stuck with whatever it dishes out to us. As I grow older, I have added a corollary to the old saw that "life sucks and then you die"... "first they take away your dignity and then they kill you."

I am talking about doctors, mostly, but there are more forces out there than just them. As you get older, you will learn this too, I think. Maybe not, maybe you will have a more optimistic outlook. I run into that outlook a lot but it is mostly "what other choice do you have?" thing. It is often phrased this way, "it beats the alternative," life, that is. To which I usually answer "how do you know?" or "are you sure?"

You see, very few have been dead and then came back. So how do you know if death is worse? Maybe if you believed in Hell and know you have sinned often, you can be fairly certain and I, being atheist, don't believe in either Heaven or Hell so I am pretty much doomed according to the believers I know. There is no chance I could end up in Heaven. And Hell? Well, most of my childhood friends would be there (or soon to arrive) and I am looking forward to seeing some of my old girlfriends should I be wrong about Hell. I would be greatly disappointed if they got to Heaven somehow.

But I am committed to the idea that when you die, your body rots (like meat left out) and you just cease to be.

Frances (my late sister-in-law) believed and I can hypocritically hope that it's true and real for her. She certainly deserves a Heaven, she had a tough life.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Robots, Friends Or Foes?

I watched a movie I hadn't seen in years the other day. It was called "A.I. Artificial Intelligence". I like to watch movies again after a few years because I often see things I hadn't seen the first time around and come away with a different impression of the film.

One of the things I newly noticed was that it was about the relationship between a boy named David (a "Mecha") and his adoptive mother. A kind of love story. the boy searched for the "Blue Fairy" who, he thought, could make him a "real boy" that his mother could love, maybe more than her own son (Martin) who had been in suspended animation because they had no cure for his disease. Toward the end, we learn the head of Cybernetics built him modeled on his own son who had apparently died years earlier (I do not know why he died or how). Anyway, he finds the "Blue Fairy" (a character in a fairy tale called Pinochio) but since he was made as a child, he believes the statue underwater can do what she did for Pinochio and spends the next 2000 years waiting for the miracle to happen. Along come some space aliens who find him and the statue and build a clone of his mother from the hair he once clipped from her head. The clone only lasts one day (which one alien warns him will happen) but that one day is the best day of David's life.

A truly satisfying ending and one which almost brought a tear to my eye.

Interesting sidenote: The head of Cybernetics is played by William Hurt, who also had/has a similar part on Humans.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Just One More Political Note

I am sure you are all tired of the political circus afoot. Yet, I want to ensure that you are completely fed up with it by explaining my thoughts about it.
Sometime ago, I left a comment somewhere (perhaps on "THE VIEW FROM OUTSIDE MY TINY WINDOW"):

"As you know, I agree with you about our prejudices but my take is that we have only one instinct and that is the survival instinct. I believe that atruism is an extension of that... in terms of giving one's life to save another, for example. I also agree with you about politicians and was reminded of what a wise (though young) man once told me about the 1964 presidential election: he was Black and I asked him who he was going to vote for (he was 21, I was 17). I was taken aback when he said "Goldwater", he said he knew who and what Goldwater is but that he distrusted Johnson. I learned 2 things: that all black people didn't fit my stereotype and that some were wise beyond their years. I differ with you on our problem with people who firmly believe some things. Yes, Trump is echoing the psyche of many of us but I think we desire such, we want someone to not only believe something great about us but who convinces us of that greatness."

I think that is what Trump has been doing and why he is popular. He is not only playing to our fears but he is clever. As a showman, he understands that there is no such thing as bad publicity. So he says outrageous things and that gets newsprint and commentary... free publicity. His most recent trick of refusing to show up at the final debate before the Iowa Caucuses will likely be seen by historians (if he wins the primaries) as pure political genius. He also seems sincere in what he spouts on the "stump." Bernie Sanders also does this, maybe to a greater degree because I think Sanders truly believes what he says. I wouldn't vote for him but that is because I find socialism to be abhorrent.

I think we are constantly looking for a savior, a "white knight", to come to our rescue. And that is what Trump and Sanders represent to many.

We want someone who seems sincere and says things we want to hear. These two do that. As did a certain dictator who started World War II. Not that I think either of these two will start the next worldwide conflagration but that there is a strong similarity.