Saturday, January 28, 2012

Mom

My Mom would have been 97 today, however, she was, as we say in my family, 86'd at 86. That phrase is said with honor and reference in our family…but it doesn't matter what one might think of it, she is dead (we don't use euphemisms in our family).


 

I've a candle out to light later and she more than crosses my mind on a daily, if not hourly basis, as does my Dad.


 

She was a grand broad; a psychiatrist with a great zest for life and adventure; and an empathy for others that I've yet to see in someone else.


 

I love her and miss her. I'll raise a glass to you tonight Mom, and Dad, and think of all the good times…I don't think there were any bad ones.


 

Thank you for all you taught and gave me.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Is Jan Brewer Nuts?

Well, you've probably seen it already, or at least heard about it: So-called Arizona Governor Jan Brewer shaking her finger at President Obama and apparently chastising him on the tarmac at the Mesa, Arizona airport.

Okay, politicians criticize the President regularly, but generally they do it solo. But this broad, in public, like an old time school marm. Maybe she doesn't keep track of the numbers but the latest available show that Arizona residents, governments and businesses received $64.4 billion in federal money in fiscal 2010, more than double what the state received in 2001. That translated into federal government spending of about $10,080 per person in Arizona, just under the national average of $10,460.

Maybe Congress approves the budget and state allocations, but it's the Executive Branch that has the power to do those special things for states and politicians; everything from dollars to appearances when needed.

Among stupid politicians, Brewer wins the award for today; and notwithstanding the increasingly silly things the GOP candidates are saying, as well as Congressmen from both sides of the aisle in Washington, she may well hold that "honor" for a few weeks.

And it's all about politics these days, but the "new" politics; those that get nothing done. I read in The New York Times this morning that "President Obama's call for "tax fairness" and Mitt Romney's tax returns have catapulted the debate over tax increases on the rich to the top of the political agenda. But with even some top Democrats hesitant, the prospects of a so-called Buffett tax on high-earning households remain uncertain, if not remote, for the immediate future. What is left may be only politics, at least until after the November elections."

That is, indeed, a "sexy" issue, but more importantly, there's still no talk of a Jobs Bill, or anything that might help the Middle Class. As the kids say today, "Oh well…" and I add to that, "We did it to ourselves."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Maggie Redux

For some reason, I haven’t written anything for a bit…perhaps there’s nothing of value. However, a scotch prompted me to wonder about Maggie…It is hard to believe that I have no idea where she is, or if she’s even alive.
Just a thought.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Etta James: 1938-2012

Etta James, whose powerful, versatile and emotionally direct voice could enliven the raunchiest blues as well as the subtlest love songs, most indelibly in her signature hit, “At Last,” died Friday morning in Riverside, Calif. She was 73.  Click here for the New York Times story.     

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Small, Insignificant Post

Independents leaving Obama. I do not see much of an improvement anywhere. My day, a dull one. Life appears dreary on an increasing basis. On the other hand, I do like television.

Monday, January 16, 2012

King of All Nations

The following op-ed article was in The New York Times this morning, lest we not forget what this day is about: "AMERICA remembers the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a national champion of civil rights. But he was an international icon, too — and like many icons, his legacy was used for a range of purposes that moved far beyond, and even ran counter to, his famous dream. "

I also recommend Paul Krugman's piece, "How Fares The Dream?"

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Moving


It is, indeed, Saturday…and I will spend my day cleaning house – I'm good at it and it takes my mind off life itself.

It has not been an especially good week, as we are going to have to find another place to live. We were able to get rid of our house and get out whole a few years ago, just as I saw the market beginning to crash. We had overpaid for the house and were lucky to get out just slightly, and by that I mean maybe a grand, more than we paid for it.

I've owned four houses in my life; the first in Washington, DC and that was quite nice, a three story Georgian that I bought in the 70s. Then one in Mission Viejo, that was the "youngest" house I'd owned or lived in to that date, but part of a "development." Often I'd find myself pulling in the wrong driveway; everything looked so much alike.

Later, there was Mandeville Canyon in Brentwood, my favorite:




I had to sell it after my second divorce. Then there was the "development" house I got rid of three years ago.

I am, indeed, a renter. Perhaps that's from being born in New York City. As an investment, well, there are better things in which to invest, in my view anyway. But to own, I don't want to have to do the work. I'd rather rent a house and have the landlord handle it.

But there is a downside: The lease is up, as it is next month on this house and we're going to have to move. The good news there is that because of the market, rents are way down. The bad news is that we have to move…and we've got a lot of, as George Carlin called it, "stuff."

Moreover, it's kind of expensive to move. We can rent a truck and use our gardeners to move us, but it's still going to be several hundrend bucks. And then there's the packing and unpacking.

What happened in our current place, which is just fine, is that it was sold and the new owner isn't going to rent it again. So, we've got about a month or six weeks, but it shouldn't be too bad.

On the other hand, it does drive my wife nuts and I'm hoping not to drink. But she'll have fun decorating the new place.

I do hope we can find a place with a three year lease owned by an "investor" who wants even a longer lease. And now to housecleaning.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Casey has struck out

To paraphrase Ernest Thayer:

"Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;

The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,

And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;

But there is no joy in Mudville - mighty Casey has struck out."


 

Though I'm any longer sure that anywhere in this "favored land the sun is shining bright," save on those 1% we increasingly hear about.

I look at the GOP and have to wonder who these people really are? They seem beyond heartless, soulless. And that was before the campaign started…it's gotten worse. Who the hell cares about how Mitt made his dough, or any of them for that matter? Yet, that now seems to be the greatest debate among these cannibals. Oh, yeah, occassionally one hears about abortion. I'm not going to discuss my views on that (you probably know them anyway), and frankly, I'm not sure that's even an issue for these folks: It's a Supreme Court issue.

There's a lot of talk about taxes, or how they should be reduced. Please. Enough already. Don't tell me that lower taxes will increase jobs. It doesn't work that way. There's no debate here.

One of these days these guys are going to have to come up with an argument, a positive argument, a strong argument and a strong program for creating jobs. They're not doing it. I'm not certain the guy in the White House is doing much of a job either at solving this awful problem.

I certainly you're not listening to the so-called "pundits" on either side of the aisle – they have no idea of your situation, or mine or anyone's but their own.

We need to find some true legislators, great thinkers and great politicians (and, that doesn't have to be a dirty word; it's an honorable profession of service, or was anyway) to bring our nation back.

While I'm a die-hard Democrat, I really don't care where they come from. But I will tell you that I am so tired of this garbage coming from the campaign and out of Washington that it's beyond even my comprehension.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Cell Phones Redux

Okay, so they've become a replacement for landlines in great measure. I guess I understand that, though I don't use mine for that purpose. As I've mentioned in the past, it's not a comfortable instrument on which to talk and I dislike "Bluetooth."

Perhaps that's progress. Well, more than that. Remember back to the old days when sitcoms had teenagers on the phone for what was portrayed to be hours on a 30 minute show? Parents would holler to get them off the device. I'm wondering if we haven't reverted to that.

After all, as in my recent post regarding Facebook, what compels us to have the need to be so well-connected; more than that: So constantly connected. 

Have we come to a place in our lives, or to some extent, society in which everything, no matter how minute, requires sharing of some sort? More importantly, do we ever consider that, perhaps, this sort of minutiae is just plain boring?

"Hi, I'll be there in five minutes," someone told me on my cell the other day. "You'll get here when you do," I responded, "Why the hell are you calling me? I don't find it a courtesy and personally, I think the fact that you're late is discourteous."

The point is that at the end of the day, we're not that important and very few of us are that interesting. If you haven't realized it by now, your friends, close and good as they may be, often simply endure this foolishness.

I think it's time for all of us to become more thoughtful, not in a "courteous" manner, but rather, in the vein of thinking about things: life, the world and so forth.

We've done far to little of that and look at our human condition, to say nothing of social and national conditions.

Facebook?

For a variety of reasons, not the least of which is privacy, I've removed myself from Facebook, which is a challenge, as I'm sure you've read.


 

But that's not the point of this post. Watching my wife on her Facebook page, I noticed no fewer than 18 posts by one person and 15 by another: All in ONE day.


 

First, what the hell do these people do for a living. Well, that should be "Second." "First" should be, why the hell does anyone care if "so and so" was at the corner of 1st and Main at 10:04 AM, getting gas at 11:12 AM, saw a chicken cross the road at 11:18 AM and had a good bowel movement at 12:08 PM?


 

This is not, in my view, a form of communication, but rather a display of inanity and severe cases of egocentrism.


 

Perhaps it is age that is upon me. I think that if you want to share some good (or bad) news with a friend (and believe me, no one really has 100+ friends in this world), it's more effective and intimate to pick up the phone or have a drink to do so.


 

Beyond that, think about it: This material is there forever. Believe me, no matter how innocuous something someone "posts" on these sites can come back to bite them at some level and probably will.


 

I believe it was Huey Long who said something to the effect, "If you can call, don't write and if you see 'em in person, save the nickel and buy the vote." It's a metaphor, obviously, but you get the point.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

National Health Care: For Those Right Wingers Out There -- Get Real!


I am so tired of the Right Wing slamming the National Health Care Act and Medicare. It is not "Obamacare," as that bitch Bachmann tagged it: It is National Health Care. This is a heartless, dogmatic and borderline evil element of our nation to believe that we should not share in the help of others. Yeah, sure, there are problems with the new legislation; and there are clearly problems with Medicare, but they can be resolved. Right now, they're all we've got and it makes me so angry when I hear this rhetoric on the part of those "haves" who simply don't care about those less fortunate.

It is so extraordinary to me that we have become a nation so full of those who believe that G** is driving their thoughts and that those who can't work or afford health insurance should just be left out or even discarded.

So let me tell you, this is an angry morning for me and for those of you who care to debate the subject, there is no debate. We take care of our own, and in many cases, those who are not our own. If it's a religious issue with you, then forget it: It's not. If you think G** should be delivering messages on how our government should operate, well, He has better things to do.

This is up to us and if you're not willing to help your fellow man in this most appropriate manner, then it's time for you to learn to or just keep your bloody mouths shut.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year’s Day

There are those who believe New Year's Day is one for reflection on the past year. I am not one of them. Last year was what it was and will always be so. It is past, never to return.

Perhaps I'll have a thought or two about some of the events that occurred, but generally speaking, what's done, as is so often said, "is done."

Those things that might be considered interesting might make a story or two, but aside from that . . .

This year, 2012, I suppose I'll be at least pleased to get out of bed; after all, in a few days I'll be a year from seven decades.

I have, indeed, seem much in my life, maybe too much; I've done a lot, maybe more that most, but certainly less than many. In retrospect, I think of it all as a series of stories that might be recounted orally or by written word.

How odd that the most perplexing issue for me these days is Maggie. Most of those whom I've known over the years I can still contact; I pretty much know what they're doing, assuming they're alive. But Maggie, well, I've written about her quite a bit.

It is modestly disturbing not to know if she's dead or alive. If I put on my old reporter's hat, I could find out. The fact that I don't could mean maybe I just don't really care; or maybe it concerns me that I'll find she's dead (in my family we don't use euphemisms like "passed on.")

Today I'm spending watching old movies and I hope you readers are having a pleasant day.

As to 2012, I hope brings you what you desire…but remember the old saw, "Be careful what you wish for…"