Friday, August 28, 2009

On corpses, body parts, and poets

Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin was born in London in 1797, the child of writer William Godwin and the well-known feminist educator and writer Mary Wollstonecraft.

In 1814, Mary Godwin began a romantic relationship with the very dashing (and very married) Percy Shelley, a poet of the Romantic persuasion. They married in 1816 following the suicide of Shelley's wife.

That same year, the couple spent the summer with the poet Lord Byron in Geneva, along with John Willim Polidori and Mary's older half-sister Claire Clairmont. Claire was pregnant at the time with Byron's child.

Though she and Shelley would not marry until later in the year, Mary was already calling herself Mrs. Shelley. The friends spent their time writing, boating on Lake Geneva, and talking late into the night.

It rained a lot that summer and they found themselves confined inside, mostly at Byron's villa. During this time, the writers talked about many things, but one night the conversation turned to the supernatural. They talked of the poet Erasmus Darwin, who was said to have animated dead matter. They talked of "galvanism" and debated the feasibility of returning a corpse or assembled body parts to life. OoooooooEEEEEooooooo....

They began to amuse themselves by reading German ghost stories. Then Byron suggested they each write their own supernatural story, as a sort of competition. And so they did just that.

Later, Mary said the concept for her short story came to her in a kind of "waking dream":

"I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world."

Mary's story won the friendly competition. In fact, Percy thought it was so good he encouraged her to develop the short story into a full novel, which she did.

Thus, in the summer of 1816, conjured up in the mind of an 18-year-old girl, the story of Frankenstein was born. Or shall we say "re-animated."

So, the many movies that scared us as children in theaters and on television over the years of the dreadful monster Frankenstein (actually the monster had no name) turns out to be classic literature.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. The monster is closing in on 200 years old this summer.

[Thank you to Stephanie B for the sort of idea for this post. At least for making me think of Lord Byron.]
I recommend you the the dark gothic art of New Zealand artist Sarah Dolby.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fun facts!

People who live in Liverpool are Liverpudlians. People who live on the Isle of Mann are called Manx. They are not British and have no tails. People who live in Manchester are Mancunians. People who live in Phoenix are Phonicians.

New York is called the Big Apple. Philadelphia is called the City of Brotherly Love and has bombed its citizens. Chicago is called the Windy City. Vichy is a water and a city. Vichyssoise is neither.

Mozart was 35 when he died. Edgar Allen Poe died at 40. Marilyn Monroe died at age 36. Dylan Thomas died at age 39. Virginia Woolf drowned. Natalie Wood drowned. Dennis Wilson Drowned.

The state of New Hampshire is 1.2% African American. The city of Detroit is 81.6% African American. The largest city in Africa is Cairo. The population density of New York City is 27,440 people per square mile.

New York City citizens are the highest users of mass transit in the USA. As a result, NYC's gasoline usage is only what the USA's average usage was in the 1920s. NYC saves the equivalent of 1.8 billion gallons of oil each year because of its high use of mass transit. New York City is one of only 4 major U.S. Cities with drinking water so pure it doesn't require processing by water treatment plants (the water comes from the pristine Catskills and is naturally filtered on the way.)

The largest city in the Western Hemisphere is Sao Paulo, Brazil. Great Britain is the 9th largest island on earth. Iceland was called that to discourage possible invaders from trying to settle there in that beautiful land. Greenland was named for the opposite reason. Nobody was fooled.

The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, contains thousands and thousands of items on display: among them are the limousine President Kennedy was assassinated in; the chair Abraham Lincoln was sitting in when he was assassinated; a stoppered test tube containing the last breath of Thomas Edison (a best friend of Henry Ford.)

The mansion house of Robert E. Lee is still standing - in what is now Arlington National Cemetery. The Union took his house during the Civil War for back taxes -- they passed a law requiring the owner to pay the taxes in person. He didn't.

Edward M. Kennedy 1932 - 2009

The last of the 4 Kennedy brothers died late Tuesday night at his home in Hyannis, MA. Senator Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy (D-MA) was 77. His sister Jean is the last survivor of Joseph and Rose Kennedy's nine children. He will be buried near his brothers in Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday.

Senator Kennedy was the third-longest serving Senator in U.S. History. His constant cause through his political career was Universal Heath Care. He died just before the measure was again about to come to a Senate vote.

U.S. President Barack Obama, vacationing in nearby Martha's Vineyard, was awakened at 2 am and informed of Kennedy's death, and spoke to Kennedy's widow shortly thereafter.

This blogger would find it hard to enumerate even one area of political agreement with Sen. Kennedy, but he respects that the Senator never wavered in his beliefs and personal causes.

Like two of his brothers before him, Kennedy ran for president (in 1980.) He was unsuccessful in his bid to unseat fellow Democrat Jimmy Carter. In the party disunity that followed, Ronald Reagan was elected that year.

Senator Kennedy's older brother Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles in 1968 during his own bid for the U.S. Presidency. His second older brother, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in Dallas in 1963. His oldest brother, Joseph Kennedy, an aviator in WWII, was killed in action in that war.

Thus does the final curtain ring down on Camelot.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Finding your purpose in life

I have always thought it a shame that we are often asked to decide what we want to do with the rest of our lives when we are 18 years old and have just finished high school. Looking back, what does an 18-year-old know yet of himself to make such a life decision? One is expected to enter college, and the college will expect one to declare a major before long.

Some people are lucky in that they are born knowing what they want to do with their lives; they know what they are. For many of the rest of us, it is only through years of trial and error that we discover where we fit in and what we should be doing. This type of life-experience comes long after college is over.

I'm guessing Mozart knew what he was as soon as he could think properly. Probably Picasso knew early on, too. I doubt if either considered going to college to learn how to be lawyers. These sort of people don't agonize over what they should be doing with their lives. They begin doing it naturally at an early age and simply never stop doing it. This is not to say training and practice are not required still.

I spent years, just like a lot of people do, researching the question of what I should be doing with my life - what it is that I was "meant" to do, what I do naturally, what I love to do. Although I eventually became able to articulate what that something was, the answer didn't come easily. Certainly I had no clue when I finished high school.

Like Mozart and Picasso, I believe that most of us - if not all of us - are truly born to be doing a particular thing. I don't mean you were necessarily born to be a machinist, but happy machinists were probably born loving to craft things with their hands. Generally.

Just as happy analysts love to clarify things.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Back again

I am back home after a long weeked away visiting in Michigan. I'm sorry you had to read those silly posts.

Just a side note, though. My sister tells me that Jim Bakker has been resurrected and has taken his new show to Branson, Missouri. True. Stranger than fiction. He even has a new woman to replace the late Tammy Faye. He has, I think, started up a new 700 club or the like.

He already has the startings of a new flock.

He must have liked prison.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The long and short of it

William Henry Harrison was president of the U.S. for the shortest time, but he delivered the longest inaugural address at 105 minutes. Unfortunately, he spoke so long he contracted pneumonia and died a month later.

He was president from March 4 to April 4, 1841. Nothing notable happened during his presidency (except that he died.)

His Vice-President John Tyler served out his term and then was defeated when he ran on his own. Tyler was the youngest president up to that point whereas Harrison had been the oldest.

Harrison may have been related to Count Dracula. Or Bob Crachit.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Whackjobs for Jesus

[above] Ummm... No, he's not the next Billy Graham. He wears spats and ties made out of the same materials as his suits. He is the next Benny Hill.

[above] Clockwise from top left: Benny Hinn (NOT Benny Hill - that's T.J. Jakes, above), some black guy, Joyce something - the one with all the property, and then the other obnoxious woman; then Rev. Crafty Dollar (or something like that) and, finally, of course! - Kenneth Copland who owns 5 planes and half of Texas. God is really blessing him.

[above] The inestimable Pat Robertson, digitally signaling his IQ.

[above] An Oral grouping. One time Oral clumb up in one of the towers at his University in Tulsa and refused to eat or come down until his flock mailed in a few million dollars. But I think he really ate. Oral has been around since the 1940s and is well-respected by insane folk. Here's an old joke for you: "Why can't anyone play Oral Robert's records?" (and then you are supposed to say, "I don't know. Why...) and then I say, "Because the hole in the middle keeps healing up."
Ah, yes. You have to be an Oralite to get that one. In the picture above, his son Richard (the guy in back with his hand up in the air whose skunk streaked hair has finally turned one color), Kenneth (jet lag) Copeland, and some other old preacher, and various miscellaneous women are praying for the elder Oral's healing. I think. Either that or Kenny is trying to rip Oral's ear off. And at this stage in life, Oral's ears are monstously big. Notice how God heals all their hair so it is bright red when they get old.

Was it Oral who started his preaching-leaching career preaching from the top of the concession stand at drive in movies on Sunday mornings in the 1940s? Or was that the other guy - the one who looks like Bugs Bunny that owns the Crystal Cathedral? Maybe both. Drive in theaters must be pretty cheap to rent on Sunday mornings.

[above] Jimmy Swaggert.

I almost said "Jimmy Swaggert, 'nough said" but can anybody REALLY say enough about Jimmy Swaggert? Cousin of Jerry Lee Lewis and Mickey Gilly and a better piano player than either one of them, Jimmy - in his heyday - was a better showman than PT Barnum. I used to stay home from church on Sunday mornings just to watch him do his act. This guy could fill up any stadium ever made. His philanderings over the years have reduced his flock considerably, but the forgiveness crowd still earns Jimmy a tidy mail-in pension.
It was so cool how he got caught with that whore in the motel room that night. One of his rival evangelists was stalking him, and spied Jimmy's shiny Lincoln Town Car parked outside the motel and went over an let the air out of the tires and then called the tv station. So cool.
But Jimmy is a survivor. His wife is still with him and he has passed on the family business to his son Donny now. You may recall that his cousin Jerry Lee, at the peak of his rock and roll success in the 1950s decided it would be fine to marry his 14 year old first cousin and crash his stardom and lose all his money at his peak. That goes to show you the level of the gene pool in that family.

[above] Here's pastor John Hagee. John McCain lost quite a bit of the last election sucking up to Hagee and getting endorsed by him.

[above] I can't remember the above guy's name. Let's just call him "The Idiot" since he threw away thousands of prayer requests and letters from old ladies after taking out the checks. The IRS found them in a dumpster behind his office. Did I say "Idiot?" Well, I can't think of anything dumber right now, so we will leave it at idiot. Can you say f-r-a-u-d?

[above] A healer and his catcher go to work on a smiling dope. I think the healer is Ernest Angely unless that is Robin Williams trying to pick up a few extra bucks on the side.

[above] Don't laugh. HuyukHuyuk. This Porter Waggoner look-alike is one of the richest scammers in the religion business today. Multi-Multi millionaire. Together with his lavender-haired scary wife Jan, they own the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Worldwide calls for money, 24 hours a day.

[above] This here is the infamous Pakistani Poker, Bennie hinn. Him and Donald Trump's got the same hairdresser.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Baby. Baby. Baby.Bayyyy bee.

Ernest Angley Ministries spreads the Gospel into all nations by way of crusades, television, radio, and the printed page. Ernest Angley's Grace Cathedral, in Cuyahoga Falls, is their home base. All seats are free and everyone is welcome.
[For those few of you who are not an Ernest Angley afficionado, Ernest used to scream "Baby! Baby! Bayyyy Beeee!" into deaf people's ears right after he had double-popped them with his cupped hands. He would stand behind them to make sure they weren't reading his lips. Sigh.]

But if you weren't paying close enough attention as a person on the stage awaiting God's healing, Ernest would also cold-cock you ::smak:: in the forehead too, and just lay you out on your back, twitching in the name of Jesus. And of course your odd wheelchair-bound miracle.

Bye Bye Y'all. Jesus and Earnest are taking off in Ernest's jet now.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Kennedy Sister Passes

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of President John F. Kennedy died Tuesday morning. She was the wife of Sargent Shriver, driving force of the Peace Corps during the Kennedy administration. She was the mother of Maria Shriver, wife of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Mrs. Shriver was the founder of the Special Olympics, doing so in honor of her older sister Rosemary, who was mentally disabled and was institutionalized after a failed lobotomy. Eunice Kennedy Shriver died at Cape Cod hospital in Hyanis. She was 88. Her younger siblings Jean Kennedy Smith and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy are the last surviving of the 9 children of Joe and Rose Kennedy.

Mrs. Shriver is survived by her husband, 5 children and 19 grandchildren.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I always seem to do fine if I just make a general list of my ideas instead of going into detail about how to do things.

So here is a list of general things I believe in about government, taxes, and like that.

I believe the the USA is a republic.

I believe republic means that the ultimate power rests with the people and not the government.

I believe the government exists to serve the people and not the other way around.

I believe the people have representatives for the purpose of telling government what the people want done and what the people's vision for the country is.

I believe it is the duty of the executive branch of our government to execute the will of the people and to work diligently to secure the people's vision.

I belief the people exercise their power through representatives they send to congress.

I believe it is the duty of Congress to pass laws which protect the interests their employers, the people, and which work to secure the vision the people have for their country.

I believe the House of Representatives represent the people directly and that the Senate represent the interest of entire states. States are made up of people, of course, but the Senate represents a larger concensus.

I believe everyone in the world is entitled to at least the basic necessities of life and that the people do not have to do anything to "deserve" these basic life necessities. The necessities of life should include clean water to drink, wholesome and adequate food to eat, clothing to wear, and a place to live to protect them from the elements and ensure a congruent family life. I believe all the people in the world should have access to a regular uninterrupted education. I believe all people are entitled to live unmolested by outside aggressors.

I believe everyone in the USA is entitled to sufficient food, clean water, adequate housing, access to a quality education, a place to live, access to medical care.

I believe all men and women are born to equal opportunity to make their way in life and to excel beyond that initial equality to achieve whatever personal or material success that is within their abilities to achieve.

I believe the governments of the United States exist to protect the rights and well-being of the citizens, and to facilitate the citizens' pursuit of happiness and prosperity.

I believe in the right of individual law-abiding citizens to be left alone by their government.

I believe the government is best that governs least.

I believe in compassion for our fellow brothers and sisters. I believe in charity and in good works. I believe in neighbors helping neighbors and, when possible, not abdicating that responsibility to governments.

I believe taxes are necessary to support our society and its protections and needs. I believe those with money should contribute money, and in proportion to the blessings of their individual prosperity.

I believe those not blessed with material wealth should contribute to their society by doing public works, that they may not feel left of that society, or suffer the humiliation of being supported by their neighbors.

I believe those who are sick, disabled, handicapped or otherwise not able to work, should be supported by their fellow citizens to the extent that they cannot support themselves, up to and including total support.

I believe all people are entitled to the dignity of honest work, the dignity of education, and the dignity and benefits of equal citizenship.

I believe in the right of society to protect itself and to establish rules to effect a peaceful existence.

I believe that society has the right to punish citizens who do not abide by the laws it has put in place to protect its citizens, including the absolute right to put citizens to death after due process of law.

I believe there should be levels of citizenship, and that the highest levels of citizenship, such as voting and the enjoyment of all freedoms specified in the U.S. Constitution, should be extended only to honest, productive, law-abiding citizens. I believe the rights of criminals and other troublemakers, including repetitive scofflaws, should enjoy only limited rights and privileges of citizenship until their reform has been honestly and truly effected.

(to be continued)

All is well

All is well in Chicaland. Her eyes and hair have returned to normal. Or normal for her, anyway. She has escaped harassment for the time being. You may go about your business.

Chica can't count the ways

Chica just said she was unable to count the ways she hated Relax Max.

I think it is time for a "character" assassination. If you know what I mean.

I wonder if she remembers Karen Price. I'll bet she doesn't.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Separated at birth

I found this site today and now I can't find it again. It isn't called separated at birth. It was something about New York City. Anyway, this is more fun that even 6 degrees of separation. You get two pictures you think look alike and then say they were separated at birth. Is this cool, or what? Here's an example.
How about this one?
This one is better:

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009

Here I am in downtown Havana: no more picture postcards for Americans

A lot of you have probably been wondering about the Spanish-American War. I understand this curiosity, and I understand the main thing you are curious about is Cuba. Cuba and communism. The Spanish-American War, Cuba, and communism. That shouldn't take too much time or space, so don't worry that this post is going to be long.

Spain had always been a world power from even before the New World exploration and colonization. Spain REALLY colonized the Americas, except for what is now Canada. Spain fought a famous naval battle with Great Britain during the reign of Elizabeth I, and lost. As a result of her explorations and colonizations, Spain had many territories all around the world by the 19th century. By the end of the Century, Spain's star was fading. Her fling had flung.

The Spanish-American War took place in 1898 and lasted perhaps 4 or 5 months. The U.S. picked the war with Spain for no particular reason that I can see. Cuba was fighting for independence and Spain wouldn't give it to them and so we used that as an excuse. I know, I know. Then someone blew up a U.S. battleship, the Maine, in Havana harbor and that was the last straw. I don't think it was Spain that blew it up, though. Probably some of the Cuban revolutionaries trying to get the U.S. to kick Spain's ass so they could be independent. Or not. Who knows.

After the "war," the U.S. was the proud owner of places like Puerto Rico and Cuba and, on the other side of the world, the Philippines and Guam. Guam, U.S.A. Where the sun first rises on America. Like that. And like we needed Puerto Rico, but that is 'nother story.

A sharp student of history might notice that all these places spoke mostly Spanish and the U.S. didn't speak any at all, but no matter, right? Our culture can become YOUR culture. And so we began to culturize Cuba as best we could without being able to speak Spanish, which was the only place we really wanted to take from Spain anyway.

Let me hurry. I still have to cover communism.

As usual, we plundered Cuba and supported fat-cat dictators who did what we wanted them to do and Cuba became a vacation backyard for the American wealthy. And gangsters. And people who liked to gamble and party with prostitutes. Las Vegas south. You get the picture. The last tin-horn dictator was a guy named Batista. A real sweetheart. The Cuban people adored him. Not.

Anyway, shortly after the war, in 1902, because Rough Rider Teddy R. thought they were plucky, the U.S. gave Cuba the independence they had wanted so much, except they had to put in their constitution that the U.S. could interfere/intervene in Cubas affairs pretty much at will. Oh, and they agreed to lease us a Naval Base at a place called Guantanamo Bay forever. But that was all, and in return Cuba got to rake in a lot of tourist dollars and all the common people had to do was bring the fat Americans drinks on the beach and smile a lot. And Batista took most of the money. Of course.

Communism didn't happen until 1958, and you are probably asking yourself why it took so long for the people to get pissed off enough to off Batista and throw out the gambling and prostitution and humiliation. And the Americans.

So Papa Fidel was welcomed by the compesinos as a hero, and rightly so. Fidel had started growing a beard during his time of hiding in the hills and swore he wouldn't shave it until the revolution was over. Citation needed. I just made that up. Although I think it is true. He still hasn't shaved, though. Fidel wasn't always a loco revolutionary, being a star baseball pitcher and a U.S. educated lawyer who speaks one hell of a lot more English than you think he does.

Where was I? Hurry, hurry.

But communism being what it is, the people it was supposed to save got the short end of the stick as usual and are still driving 1954 Chevrolets with hand machined replacement parts. To paraphrase my blogging friend Descartes about the Romans, Fidel just killed everyone who wanted to fight and then put everyone else to cutting sugar cane. And that was the name of that game. Yo.

I may have left out a piece here and there, but I am trying to be leaner and meaner with my blogging. I failed again with the leaner part.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Government is not necessarily the problem?

I have heard that as much as one-third of health care costs are for administration. Paperwork.

I don't know now where I heard that or if it is even true, but I saw a doctor being interviewed on TV last night (can't remember his name, but he used to be Obama's physician) and he said that he had two full-time employees whose job was just to fill out paperwork for the insurance companies.

Another thing he said, which I found very interesting, was that the time-consuming part was not really the government Medicare stuff, as one might think, but the private insurance forms. He also said the government/medicare pretty much left him alone, and that the harassment and pressuring to lower his standards of patient care were coming from private insurance companies too, and not the government.

Well, if true, that is an eye-opener because I had always assumed that any nightmarish paperwork and regulations would be coming from the government. Not so, this doctor says, and he also says (because of that fact) he has no fears of a national health care program run by the government.

I am still digesting that, and, of course, one of my digestive enzymes is that he was formerly Obama's doctor, so I'm guessing the good doctor was born loving big government. Still, it is food for thought. I may be won over to this national health care thing yet. Still many questions to be answered.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The "L" word

The word "liberal" originally was used to describe a person who espoused the political philosophy that championed individual rights and freedoms. It comes from the Latin "Liber" meaning free, or "liberty".

Honest. That's true. I just looked it up.

Much has changed.

The mark of a liberal thinker today is one who believes in the government taking care of the individual.

The mark of the liberal in olden days (like before the 1970s) was, according to the dictionary-encyclopedia that came with my computer, a willingness to think new thoughts and a willingness to question the old ways things had been done in the past. The word "progressive" was often used for such a liberal thinker, meaning such person was in favor of "progress" and betterment - defined as progressively more and more individual freedom and personal independence.

The idea was that the liberal was not afraid of change, as the old stuck-in-the-mud conservatives were. The goal of the liberal was ever more individual liberty (from the government, one assumes) through progressive new ideas. The thought of the individual citizen being subjugated by a government, or TO a government, was unthinkable to a liberal.

What used to be a quest for equal opportunity for all men as supported by liberals of old, has today "evolved" into a quest for equal access to material things. Before, the desire was for equal access to a good education, equal access to jobs. To a liberal, equality meant opening doors of opportunity.

When did that change? When did liberalism (which I would have been proud to have been a part of) change to material "things" being given to certain citizens (whom the liberals of today label "disadvantaged") instead of teaching them to fish and making sure they had equal access to the big lake?

I'm not talking about the sick and people with disabilities. I'm talking about people who just don't have a high income.

Today, the liberal no longer fights for equal opportunity and equal access. Rather he is concerned with finding ways to get "stuff" for people who don't have as much "stuff" as other people have. This "stuff" is taken, of course, from people who HAVE "stuff". Sorta like Robin Hood, don't you know.

Am I the only one in the world who thinks this is wrong?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

From each according to his ability, to each according to his need

According the author of this blog title, Karl Marx, every person should contribute to the society they live in to the best of his ability. Everyone should consume FROM that society only what he needs (not in proportion to his contribution.)

That doesn't sound bad. Communism is deceptively attractive to the people in any society who feel "left out"; who feel they never seem to be getting a piece of the pie. It is easy to look for quick fixes. It is easy to blame others for your own failures or for where you are in your life.

The French communist Morelly wrote 'way back in 1755:

"I. Nothing in society will belong to anyone, either as a personal possession or as capital goods, except the things for which the person has immediate use, for either his needs, his pleasures, or his daily work.
II. Every citizen will be a public man, sustained by, supported by, and occupied at the public expense.
III. Every citizen will make his particular contribution to the activities of the community according to his capacity, his talent and his age; it is on this basis that his duties will be determined, in conformity with the distributive laws."

Even the New Testament seems to teach the validity of the above concept.

"32. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
33. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
34. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
35. And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need."

The above is, of course, at the heart and soul of socialism, or, more specifically, Communism. The title to this post, in fact, is probably the most famous quote that ever came out of Karl Marx' mouth.

And yet, through the years, we have seen there is something lacking in this seemingly utopian prospect of how people should live and interact with one another.

If you understand what that ingredient is that is missing from the communist credo, then you at the same time will understand why the United States of America, until recent history, has been a consistent producer of excellence rather than mediocrity throughout its relatively short history. Western Europe, Notably England and Germany, too.

Have you ever noticed how some theories look very good and reasonable on paper and sound very good in speeches, but when they are tried out in real life they just don't produce the expected end result? This is because something has been overlooked in the formula.

I ask you to take a look at two neighbors: North Korea and China. The one has a history of determined text book communism and the other has had a recent epiphany and no longer follows the road of intransigent subjugation of the personal spirit. I never thought I would say that of "Communist Red China" but it is true today.

China has discovered what the USA discovered in its early beginnings. But China has the advantage of knowing the mistakes the USA made along the way.

At the same time China is going through the birth pangs of a vibrant new future - surely within just a few generations from being the new leader of the world - at the same time we see the USA forgetting the thing that caused its own greatness.

Also ironically, the fall of the USA is due to its abandonment of what it once knew and practiced so well, and its not-so-slow conversion to the silly, always-failed, past forays into socialism. The USA is a little behind its European counterparts in this foolish slide into socialism, but catching up fast.

Monday, August 3, 2009

This one was told by Ray Stevens on the Mike Huckabee show the other night on Fox News in between songs but I tell it a lot better than Ray can

I walks into a pet store the other day, looking to see if they had something I could use as a birthday present for my crusty old grandfather and I sees this GORGEOUS multi-colored parrot in a huge gilded cage and I asks the shopkeeper how much and he says $1500. I says no, no thank you, that's too much but then HE says it's a steal at that price because the parrot speaks six languages and fluently, every one and I say well yeah, that DO make a difference and so I buys the parrot. I takes him to my crusty old grandfather and I says to him happy birthday grandpapa and I gives him the GORGEOUS multilingual parrot and he says tanks. My crusty grandfather says that I mean.

Well 5 days go by and I stop by to say howdy to my crusty old grandfather and I look around and I don't see that GORGEOUS parrot anywheres, so I says grandpapa, I says, how was the parrot and did you like him? And grandpapa says he was right DELICIOUS. Well! Holy Hopping Hanna don't you know? I says, what you mean grandpapa? How could you up and EAT him and him speaking 6 languages and all? And grandpapa says well he shoulda SAID something then.

I swear.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Health care

This is not a post about Obama's national health care bill that is now working its way through Congress. That was so hastily put together that it probably won't pass. (I don't know if that is a good or bad thing, because nobody seems to know the particulars or fine print of that bill - only that, like the infamous "stimulus package", Obama wants it rushed through immediately one way or the other.) I am not one who believes that ANY health bill is better than NO new health bill. So we will have to wait and see on that.

The talk about a national health care program, however, has prompted me to give it considerable thought. I have seen interest in my blog travels to other blogs, for example on the blog of Stephanie B, so I am apparently not alone in my pondering.

As usual, I clarify my thinking (for myself, in my own mind) by writing out what I am thinking, and I am now in the process of trying to put in writing what I think is a workable solution. This is certainly not the the place that bit of writing, but I will link to it when it is finished. Right now I just want to throw out an outline of what a good health care bill should include, as well as some of the obstacles or problems that I see. Here are my initial observations. Some are obvious, some may not be.

1. Everyone who lives in the USA should have access to adequate and quality health care. (Everyone in the world should too, but this post is about U.S. health care.)

2. Not everyone can afford to buy private health insurance.

3. History (especially recent history) shows us that large private corporations are often dishonest, lazy price-fixing entities which defeat the concept of honest competition.

4. History shows us that the Federal Government is good at doing certain things, but are often not the most economical or fast-responding people in the world.

5. Although our Federal Government is corrupt to varying degrees in every branch, Congress is the real obstacle to getting a GOOD health bill passed, because they are just too beholden to special interests.

My own version of such a health bill would HAVE to include AT LEAST the following points, or I wouldn't support it.

1. Everyone would have to be covered.

2. Everyone would have to help pay for it (although perhaps with their labor or service instead of money.)

3. It would have to be administered fairly, effectively - and as economically as practicable while still providing the proper coverage and level of service.

Must stop here or I will break my shortness rule, if I haven't already. But if I WERE to continue, I would talk about how I want to see GOOD SERVICE, MORE HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS, BETTER FACILITIES, AND WELLNESS CARE INSTEAD OF JUST EMERGENCY CARE.

Angels in the architecture. Call Me Al.

A man walks down the street
He says why am I soft in the middle now
Why am I soft in the middle
The rest of my life is so hard
I need a photo-opportunity
I want a shot at redemption
Don't want to end up a cartoon
In a cartoon graveyard
Bonedigger Bonedigger
Dogs in the moonlight
Far away my well-lit door
Mr. Beerbelly Beerbelly
Get these mutts away from me
You know I don't find this stuff amusing anymore
If you'll be my bodyguard
I can be your long lost pal
I can call you Betty
And Betty when you call me
You can call me Al

A man walks down the street
He says why am I short of attention
Got a short little span of attention
And why are my nights are so long
Where's my wife and family
What if I die here
Who'll be my role-model
Now that my role-model is
Gone Gone
He ducked back down the alley
With some roly-poly little bat-faced girl
All along along
There were incidents and accidents
There were hints and allegations

A man walks down the street
It's a street in a strange world
Maybe it's the Third World
Maybe it's his first time around
He doesn't speak the language
He holds no currency
He is a foreign man
He is surrounded by the sound
The sound
Cattle in the marketplace
Scatterlings and orphanages
He looks around, around
He sees angels in the architecture
Spinning in infinity
He says Amen! and Hallelujah!

If you'll be my bodyguard
I can be your long lost pal
I can call you Betty
And Betty when you call me
You can call me Al
Call me Al


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