Archive for July, 2010

It’s A Morning In Maine

July 30, 2010

Just a few comments on the irony and hypocrisy of our world.  Being in this small, remote and media-removed universe in Maine, perhaps I am even more sensitive and appalled at the outrageousness of the daily goings-on in the good ole’ USA.  In my very brief foray into current events, why is it that these two articles just slapped me across the face?  After reading these, I did not even bother delving any further into the day’s media events; my curiosity was quashed by the stark ugliness of our narcissistic political process.   Sarah Palin actually criticizing President Obama for appearing on “The View”?  Isn’t that rich?  The Queen of media overexposure, the epitome of irresponsibility (remember she quit her public service job as Governor of Alaska so that she could rake in the big bucks?) comes down on our President for taking on a venue that “everyday Americans” would tune in to watch?  I suppose Palin’s “hockey mom” aura is okay for her hokey image, but not for our President.  Silly Sarah: still a bag of mixed messages — certain standards for Joe and Jane America and definite other standards for our Sarah.

Charlie Rangel is in deeper that even he thought.  In response to ethics violations, he has agreed to a hearing in front of the Senate Ethics Panel.  Thirteen counts of alleged violations, and he still insists on his “day in court”, even though that day will be smack dab right in the middle of midterm campaign activity.  If he was being examined for one, maybe even two violations, I could understand his attempts to clear his name.  But thirteen?  Similar circumstances appearing over and over again.  What is his point?  Is he in cahoots with our Sarah in believing that his public service career voids any ethical missteps?  Is he stooping to that double standard that our Sarah has down so well?

When the sun comes up at 5:00 A.M., the dog is up and ready to roll.  Consequently, I, too, am ready to greet the day.  I got a very early start and set out to catch some Maine beauty with my camera.  I think I succeeded.  Feast your eyes.

Rushing to where?

Doesn't matter.

Permanence.

Hulls in the A.M.

Solidly abstract.

So I think I will stick with the scenery rather than the fun and games of those chosen to run our country.  Those “leaders”, quite frankly, do not have a clue as to what our country is all about.  To give them credence and consideration would be like multiplying zero times zero …. and we all know what the answer is to that problem.

A Quickie Maine Hello

July 29, 2010

This is just a quick Maine “Howdy do”.  I wanted you to share in my homecoming on Saturday night.  As we drove up at dusk, my wildflower meadows were resplendent with thousands of gloriosa daisies.  They appeared to glow in the evening, with their natural yellow, orange and red shading.  Interspersed with this sea of vibrant color were Queen Anne’s lace, a very delicate white flower.  This sea of color took my breath away, and I just wanted to share:

Glorious gloriosa daisies: my back yard.

Captivating color.

My side yard.

Queen Anne's snazzy lace.

Brooksville farmer's market.

What can I tell you?

Berry beautiful.

Four effin’ days of not being able to upload my photos on to this site.  All of a sudden, it decided to work.  Technologically stupid I definitely am, but my persistence is still greater than my ignorance.  Thus, enjoy the pictures.  Now if only you could hear the bees humming throughout my wildflower meadows!

Sarah Palin’s World, With Democratic Permission

July 22, 2010

Alrighty then.  This week we got financial reform and an extension of unemployment benefits for those in need.  Yet the perennially unhappy members of the Democratic party just cannot fathom the importance of standing up for their own; they would rather be right, rather piss and moan about what hasn’t been delivered as opposed to what has, rather open the door for GOP victories at the polls.  Imagine then what they would have to complain about!

Buck up!  Do not be counted as one of those people who are totally missing the connection between attaining long-term change and shooting oneself in the foot for short-term immediate gratification.  Look at what we could still have if all the bitching continues.  Couldn’t let the weekend arrive without sharing this with you.

Kudos and Catcalls: Mid-July 2010

July 21, 2010

It is once again time for praise for the wise and poop for the idiotic.

Yet again, Gwyneth Paltrow has bestowed upon us the travails of her body.  She says that losing her baby weight has been the most difficult thing she has ever done in her life.  Wow.  She must lead quite a charmed life, no?  Either that or perhaps the movie she starred in called “Shallow Hal” influenced her pretty dramatically.  Catcalls to  Gwynnie for placing such emphasis on her image, and the stupidity to publicize her “hardship”.

Glenn Beck has been doing commercials for a while now on a company that promotes gold investments.  I have seen this infomercial many times on television.  It scared the daylights out of me.  So why is it not a surprise that this company, Goldline, is now under investigation for fraud, having many clients who lost their pants after investing with this enterprise?  From mortgages that require no down payment to Bernie Madoff to an oil industry that is allowed to drill deep water wells without having sufficient technology or contingencies in case of a spill, the old adage, “If it is too good to be true, it is”, still holds.  My only question regarding these fraud charges against Goldline is: who didn’t see this coming?  Catcalls to Glenn Beck for going for the money instead of the cents (sense).

I am sure by now you have all heard of Sarah Palin’s penchant for creating her own vocabulary.  This week, she made up a non-existent word and used it on Twitter.  Then she had the gall to say that William Shakespeare also invented words!  Oy vey.  Let’s just allow her to keep talking.  The greater implication of her babble though, is that her speech faux pas are indicative of  a disorderly, undisciplined mind.  Her conceptual thinking, her attempts at meaningful ideas, are just as lacking as as her outward speech patterns.  No news there.  Some funny responses on Twitter have surfaced in response to our Sarah’s creative use of words.  The site’s name is Shakespalin:

http://twitter.com/shakespalin

Boos and hisses to our Sarah for her continuing lack of intellectual development, and her attempts to cover up that laziness by using bravado.

Of course, the apple does not fall from the tree.  Bristol and Levi have now demanded a full-season guarantee to a reality show being developed for this duo.  Crazy kids!  The hypocrisy, irony and plain old venal and mercenary intentions seem to run in the Palin blood.  Ruth Marcus, in the Washington Post today, lays out the excellent probability of Bristol following her mother’s illustrious footsteps.  This article is not only spot on about the pathology of the child-rearing practices of the Palin family, but also it is damn funny.  What a role model our Sarah is.  It is as simple as imprinting, “monkey-see, monkey-do”, and the most basic of urges for a child to want to emulate a parent.  Either our Sarah is oblivious to these most fundamental principles of human behavior,  or she chooses to just ignore them for the sake of financial lucre.  Thus, her Bristol is following suit.  Choices, my friends, are what makes up a life of worth.  Our Sarah has chosen despicable, contra-indicated family values to act upon and pass on to her vulnerable brood, although I must admit that Bristol is not an innocent kid anymore and should be using her own sense to weigh important life decisions.  Oh yeah: but look at whose knee she was at when learning valuable lessons.  Once again, catcalls to our Sarah for subverting her mantra of family values to the antithetical rout, as if her strict moral protocol does not apply to her personally.  Especially when money is involved.

Kudos to Senator Lindsey Graham for his “Yes” vote for Elena Kagan in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.  In this particular circumstance, Graham overcame his partisanship and did what he thought was right.  He refused to allow party politics to muddy the importance, and his gut feeling, about this Supreme Court nominee.  His comments:

What’s in Elena Kagan’s heart is that of a good person who adopts a philosophy I disagree with,” Graham said. “She will serve this nation honorably, and it would not have been someone I would have chosen, but the person who did choose, President Obama, I think chose wisely.

Compliments to the media for their insightful research on demographics and specific recommendations to bettering our citizens’  lives.  We all know how tough this recession has been, especially on the younger generation, just out of college and searching for jobs.  The Brookings Institute came out with a study of the most educated cities in the nation.  Likewise, Business Week unveiled a study of the best cities for the newly graduated.  If you pair these two articles, Denver or Minneapolis look pretty good for settlement and making your mark on the world.  Gotta leave the coasts.  There’s gold in that middle of the country!

I owe thanks and kudos to my friend Ms. Seven Striper for her impeccable sense of humor and insight:

OLD BUTCH



John was in the fertilized egg business.

He had several hundred young layers (hens), called ‘pullets,’ and ten roosters to fertilize the eggs.

He kept records, and any rooster not performing went into the soup pot and was replaced.

This took a lot of time, so he bought some tiny bells and attached them to his roosters.

Each bell had a different tone, so he could tell from a distance, which rooster was performing.

Now, he could sit on the porch and fill out an efficiency report by just listening to the bells.John’s favorite rooster, old Butch, was a very fine specimen, but this morning he noticed old Butch’s bell hadn’t rung at all!

When he went to investigate, he saw the other roosters were busy chasing pullets, bells-a-ringing, but the pullets, hearing the roosters coming, would run for cover.

To John’s amazement, old Butch had his bell in his beak, so it couldn’t ring.

He’d sneak up on a pullet, do his job and walk on to the next one.

John was so proud of old Butch, he entered him in the Saint Lawrence

County Fair and he became an overnight sensation among the judges.The result was the judges not only awarded old Butch the “No Bell Piece Prize,” but they also awarded him the “Pulletsurprise” as well.

Clearly old Butch was a politician in the making. Who else but a politician could figure out how to win two of the most coveted awards on our planet by being the best at sneaking up on the unsuspecting populace and screwing them when they weren’t paying attention.

Vote carefully this fall, the bells are not always audible.

And last but not least, my friend Lilleyhope sent me this video on the essence of a Yiddishe Mama, a Jewish Mother.  Kudos to this charming oldster for being so honest:


I am off to the “woods” for a couple of weeks. I promise you some great photo essays, as well as typical Yo Mama words.

Garden Update: Dog Days

July 20, 2010

Balbatish: The Art of Decent Living

July 18, 2010

My mother had a yiddish word that she used only for very selective people.  The word is “balbatish” and it translates into the English adjective of meaning quiet, respected and well-mannered.  My mother would roll over in her grave if she could witness the continually shrinking pool of people who today, could be considered the balabatim.

We have politicians, national leaders no less, calling each other such derogatory names.  There are no limits to what political mouths will spout when it comes down to winning at the polls.  Both parties are guilty of this shame.  Perhaps Lesley Gore had it right:

The Republicans and Democrats alike should be sobbing in their soup for deserting the high road when it comes to personal and professional behavior.  Not only are these actions just downright base, but they prevent these public officials from doing the jobs they were hired to do.  The month of July holds a huge agenda for Congress.  But why should this month be different from any other month?  Congress took over a year to pass some semblance of financial reform.  Just last week, the Senate Judicial Committee put off the vote on Elena Kagan.  They said they needed another week to read all of the information on her.  Puh-leese: the GOP needed another week to pool their venom against President Obama, market it and apply it to Kagan’s nomination.

Have you noticed that when faced with major legislation, such as health care reform, financial stimulus package and new financial regulation, the GOP always says “We need more time”, as if delaying the vote would make people forget about our urgent need for the new laws?  This week the GOP made their hypocrisy as obvious as the nose on their face when they, in their supposed antipathy for budget deficits, took a hit.  It appears that the extension of unemployment benefits are poison for our deficit, yet the reduction/elimination of  the Bush tax cuts are not really important in reducing the deficit.  Furthermore, the cost of  unemployment benefits is just a fraction of the amount of the Bush tax cut cost.  Their agenda exists singularly to promote the rich.  The GOP, saddled with no real agenda, resorts to those historical principles that they have always embraced: advantages for the rich and no riches for the disadvantaged.  The Republicans are ideologically broke.  They got nothing.  As a result, they turn to mean language, using such terms as Nazi and Socialist, to personify their opponents.  They stoop to the lowest common denominator in their political repartee.

The Democrats are no better.  They have not supported their President because the believe that the new legislation does not go far enough.  Hey —- remember the citizens for whom you work?  Quit your dicking around and fulfill your job descriptions.  Our leaders of both parties show no signs of being balbatim.

Today in the New York Times, Frank Rich (Who would have thought that he was a Member of the Tribe?!) addresses this meanness of purpose by writing about the pathology of Mel Gibson.  The man is a bigot and a total mental case.  That said, his shenanigans of the last decade ultimately served a very good purpose: to shed light on the repulsiveness of those ideas, make Americans realize how offensive, divisive and ridiculous such ideas are and then finally, to spur us on to act differently.  Gibson’s film “The Passion of Christ”, along with his verbal outbursts against Jews and African-Americans, has shaken us to see just how senseless such beliefs and behavior are.  I find some solace in these off-balanced people’s recurrent tantrums.  Gibson is finished in his profession.

Sarah Palin is another example of using her strongly held, immoveable beliefs to hypocritically raise herself above others.  Her stance on teenage sexual abstinence, her contention that she is just a regular Mom and her steadfastness to family values is just a bunch of hooey.  Eventually, these hurtful, bigoted beliefs of Gibson and Palin came back around and bit them right in the ass.  Moreover, their verbal assaults on those that disagree with them only serve to drive home even deeper the foolishness and small-mindedness of their ways.  So ignorance and rash prejudice does have somewhat of a purpose.

In fact, one of the only persons who has exhibited a certain savoir faire, a definite flair for being balbatish, is Barack Obama.  First and foremost, he has a deep respect for himself.  Along with his huge intellectual capacity and his obvious dedication to his family (He actually sits down to dinner every night with his daughters and wife, unlike our Sarah who is gallivanting across the globe to keep herself garbed in designer fashions.  Actions speak so much louder than words.), he would never stoop as low as his GOP and Democratic rivals have to denounce an administration that currently holds power.  Some believe President Obama’s mien is elitist, too regal, even too emotionally removed.  They are wrong in their interpretation.  The President just has a very healthy dose of an accepted, admired and correct personal code of behavior, and he lives by that code.  He might not be able to reform Washington in all of its unbridled and proud dysfunction, but he sure as hell can set the example of what a leader should be and how he should comport himself.  This is called decorum.  This is called, in the vernacular, being a mensch.  Barack Obama is the picture of balbatish.

Thank Our Lucky Stars

July 16, 2010

Well, the earth moved for me this morning in the form of a 3.6 earthquake.  On a more spiritual scale, do you think the Deity was praising or condemning the Senate’s passage of the financial reform bill?  If he is a Democrat, he was probably trashing the legislation, a practice that is only superceded by the GOP patent “No” platform.

Stephen Pearlstein of the Washington Post wrote today specifically about this new bill actually fostering a safer, more responsible economic climate.  I especially liked his last words, which laid the blame for abuses at the feet of the business lobby, which in turn has created a hostile environment for political solutions.  As if our nation is not partisan and divided enough without the influence of special interests to spur them on:

The problem in Washington is not that President Obama and the Democratic Congress have created a hostile regulatory environment for investment and job creation. Rather, the problem is the hyperbole and poisonous rhetoric from the business lobby that have created a hostile environment for political compromise. Over the years, Americans have shown that they can respond creatively, even profitably, to reasonable regulation. Apparently our business leaders have lost faith that we can do it again.

Applying this poisonous influence to our political process as a whole, there was finally, a piece of writing that hits at the heart of what I have been trying to say for the last six months: President Obama is doing a fine job of fulfilling his campaign promises, undoing the damage of Bush/Cheney and setting America on a course that fulfills our needs and repairs our reputation.  Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post today wrote an Op-Ed that called out the Democrats for their whining disappointment of their President and suggests that the fulfillment of Obama’s promises, be it that they are not as pure as originally stated due to our overwhelmingly partisan form of government, is right on target.  My favorite part is:

After rising from the ashes of 2008 by uniting in opposition to anything Obama and the Democrats tried to do, Republicans are defined more by the word “no” than by anything else. They have a rallying cry but not a program.

That’s a lot for Democrats to work with. I happen to believe that Obama and his party have established a remarkable record of achievement. Many Americans do not agree, however, and the thing for Democrats to do is not to sulk and feel mis-understood but to go out and change people’s minds.

Democrats need to get over themselves. And then they need to get busy.

Robinson is correct in calling out the Democrats for their purist Progressive funk.  We should be glad for our leader and that he has been able to deliver major legislation at all.  What astounds me is the fickle loyalty of the Democrats; if they do not get the policy changes characterized totally and unanimously by the liberals and progressives, they turn around and withdraw their support from the President.  Gee …… I guess that strategy will get us to the place we want to be at on Election Day.

Furthermore, Politico came out with an article holding that, due to the partisan political underpinnings of our government, even when President Obama wins, he loses.  Here is a response to that theory, including links to the original article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/15/politico-obama-loses-by-w_n_647749.html

For those selfish, over-expectant and two-faced Democrats who withdraw their support from their President, the series of events since Inauguration Day 2009 tells quite a different picture.  President Obama has delivered on his platform of change: we have a new health care bill, we have financial reform  and we are damn well headed towards a sounder climate/energy policy.  And yes, even though Arizona forced us to make a move on immigration reform, we are also headed in that direction.  The federal government now knows that the reason Arizona passed that immigration act was because of the vacuum of effective immigration policy by the federal government.  President Obama has had an incredible number of successes during his first 18 months in office.  Each and every piece of legislation, given the dysfunctional, divisive and selfish structure of government, still upheld the integrity of the changes that were proposed during the campaign.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/16/business/16assess.html?hp

I am no politico, and I have no answers as to why President Obama’s job satisfaction numbers keep falling.  However, I do hold his fellow Democrats partially responsible.  They must extend their loyalty to him, keep the faith and understand that this country is so evenly divided between the right and the left that they must accept successes in matters of degrees, not absolutes.  Why has the President’s poll numbers sunk right after the stimulus was enacted, after health care was passed and now, immediately following financial reform?  I don’t know why, but our support, coupled with a longer outlook, is mandatory now.  This is not the time for the Democrats to place a higher value on “being right” than supporting their leader.  Talk about narcissism and ego-fulfillment.  I daresay that as soon as the unemployment figures go down (and they will, but it will take a good while longer), President Obama’s numbers will start rising.

Eugene Robinson is absolutely correct in calling out the Democrats for their cry-baby behavior.  Instead, they should be out there talking up all of the President’s successes.  Might they acknowledge the degree of compromise that was necessary to pass this legislation?  Of course.  Then, they should go right back out there and praise the bills that we did get passed.  After that, they should thank their lucky stars for President Obama and his efforts to set a firm foundation for significant change.  Finally, the Democrats should sing the President’s praises because, ultimately, everyone loves a winner.  To follow any other strategy would be an immense help in getting another Bush in the White House —— remember Jeb?  Wouldn’t that be a kick in the ass?

Dance!

July 15, 2010

All is not a bed of roses, but semi-good things are happening.  We need to take whatever good, in whatever degree, comes our way.

Today the Senate passed the financial reform bill.  While it does not prevent corporate pirates from ransacking and looting our financial structure, it does provide some protection for consumers.  As Paul Volcker commented, even if we do pass tight legislation to prevent a similar financial meltdown as we experienced two years ago, the investment wizards will just come up with different vehicles to slam us:

“There is a certain circularity in all this business,” he concedes. “You have a crisis, followed by some kind of reform, for better or worse, and things go well for a while, and then you have another crisis.”

I said it before and I will say it again: a sound country with a sound government based on a sound economy goes back to the underlying ethics, and the willingness to value the right thing over the mighty buck.  That said, any new regulations will be of help.

Also today, it appears that BP’s new cap on the oil spill is working.  Let’s not hold our breath, but let us be grateful for small favors.

We haven’t had this much “joy” in a long time.  So celebrate ……. and dance!

Is this the absolute sweetest picture in the entire world?????

Unemployment as a Means to Success

July 14, 2010

Here is an article that appeared in the New York Times last week.  It is about the now-common practice of kids moving back in with their folks, the dilemma of not working while waiting for the “perfect” job to come along,  and the parents supporting this decision.  Is resume-building idleness a viable reason for not taking an actual job?   I have been thinking about this 24-year-old kid and his parents, and the decisions each has made:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/07/business/economy/07generation.html?pagewanted=1&ref=general&src=me

Please read it and give me your feedback, judgments and all.  My feedback will follow yours.  Thanks.

Proper Language: The Tool of Understanding and Promoting Peace

July 12, 2010

I do have an appreciation for idiomatic expressions and local language accents.  They are personal, regional methods of expression.  Since language is a reflection of our minds, these variations in speech inject color and meaning into our speech.

On the other hand, I have come across some real mistakes in speech and, after my laughing subsided, I decided to share these repeated errors with you.

This first one occurs frequently.  When one person is relating a story about another person loaning them money or any other item, they often use the phrase, “He borrowed me money”.  No, no!  It should be “He loaned me money” or “I borrowed some money”.  This is not an idiomatic expression: it is incorrect English.

And puh-leese —- with the overuse of the word “basically”, you would think that we are so damn basic that we have returned to the primordial soup from whence we came.

Secondly, mispronunciations are also examples of massacred speech.  The practice of using soft sounds instead of the correct, harder sounds demonstrates a tendency towards language laziness, and this pronunciation laziness implies mental, intellectual laziness.   Instead of saying “I supposedly thought, etc.”, a speaker will say “I supposably thought…”.  I guess substituting the “p” with a “b” is easier to say, being a much softer sound.  Other examples of lazy English pronunciation are “prolly” for “probably” and “bidness” for “business.”  Sorry: no brownie points for chickening out of the English language.

Another mispronunciation involves the phrase “et cetera”.  We all know the common abbreviation for this term is “etc”.  However, many people (dyslexic?) think this shortened version is “ect.”.  Thus, when they pronounce the word, they spit out “ec cetera”, making the first “c” have a hard “k” sound.  The word is not eK cetera, but rather, eT cetera.

The Queen of Language Decimation is still Sarah Palin.  Her speech is not a reflection of regional idioms or accents, but rather it is usually a reflection of her ignorance.  You can tell this is so because her utterances do not make any sense. Meaning and communication are the gold standards for acceptable speech.  It is fine and dandy for speech to be local and colorful, but it must ultimately convey an idea.  Her sentence structure is still nonexistent and she consistently takes nouns and turns them into verb forms or transforms verbs into other parts of speech.  When commenting on the trial of the young man who hacked into her computer during the campaign, she emphasized the importance of punishment for this fellow by hacking the English language, turning a noun into an adjective:

While testifying in court today, Sarah Palin came up with a brand new excuse for the losing the 2008 election to Barack Obama. Palin stated under oath that the hacking of her email account cost her and that guy John McCain the election. She said, “I don’t think an illegal action like this is a prank. Not when you consider how impacting it was on a presidential election. It went beyond a prank.”

It has been my experience that a wisdom tooth can be impacted, but not impacting.  Thus, how in all Tarnation can a presidential campaign and Sarah Palin’s life be “impacting”?   No way.   This language usage of Palin is not even an idiomatic expression; rather, it is an idiotic expression, emblematic of her confused, ignorant, untrained and lazy mind.

Even a member of Palin’s own Republican clan, Rep. Bob Inglis, has spoken out on her lack of leadership skills resulting from her use of demagoguery:

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/07/09/inglis-goes-after-palin-lowest-form-of-political-leadership/?fbid=GLZbSVJ46Aq#more-112469

The latest news on Palin is that she is writing an autobiography aimed at nine- to twelve-year-olds.  I certainly hope she had good editors to ensure the book demonstrates proper grammar.  I guess Palin thinks that these young kids are a perfect audience for her lack of intellectual rigor.  Big mistake.  Pity the children!

On the other side of the coin, take James Carville.  Yes, he is a man, often times a real blow-hard, with a strong, regional dialect.  However, no matter how outrageous his speech is at times, his syntax is intact, he gives proper attention to correct pronunciation and thus, the meaning he wishes to convey is also intact.  I assume the reason for Carville’s proper speech is due to his wide and deep reading activities, something that I doubt Palin has engaged in.

The politics of fear, propelled by ignorance, are no substitute for reason and knowledge.  Palin’s language is a mess because her mind is a mess.  The GOP’s strategy is aimless because their chatter is devoid of any substance.  Language is important because it is our best shot at communication, and communication is the most basic building block of understanding and peace.