Monday, December 21

"I Suggest We Start Throwing The Jerks Overboard..."

The difference between the unfortunate souls who perished after the tragic sinking of the Titanic and we disenfranchised souls who are languishing under the Democratic controlled Congress is that the folks on the Titanic knew that they had a large gash in their ship, but couldn't do anything about it, whereas the elitist idiots in Washington not only know they have incised a gigantic economic hole in our ship of state, were themselves responsible for inflicting the wound, but don't give a damn about repairing it; determining instead that future generations will deal with the problem long after they have sunk beneath the waves of history's more despicable footnotes.

This band of fools is poised to inflict upon the American people the most expensive boondoggles ever conceived in the annals of American history, all in the guise of Health Care reform, which represents 1/6th of our nation's GDP, that clearly the majority of American people do not want and certainly cannot afford. To make a tremendously ill-conceived bad idea even worse (even for Congress), this bill doesn't come close to reforming out health care system; it merely rearranges the deck chairs on a sinking ship by forcing 30 million more people to buy into an already failed and broken system.

No one who has witnessed the cost of health care services and health insurance spiral astronomically upwards in the last decade can argue that our nation's health care system is not in dire need of revision, but blatant partisan politics, clandestinely conducted in the dead of night, is the not the method by which such meaningful and fair reform can flourish. Obama's promise of open and transparent government "in the sunshine" hasn't seen the light of day since he assumed office. The Democrats have literally seized control of the Halls of Congress, meeting behind closed doors without opposition party participation, and have refused to entertain even moderate Republican proposals that would enrich the proposed legislation to make it more palatable to the American electorate. It is an ever escalating "Us Against Them!" mentality that permeates both chambers of Congress, and the American people are the losers, facing the prospects of higher insurance cost, more taxes, and a limitation on what types of medical treatments we shall be entitled to receive. If this isn't elitist and arrogant socialism being paraded in the garb of serving the "greater good," then I don't what else to call it.

This has been a particularly difficult year for our nation. Unemployment overall stands at a disheartening 17% with no viable economic recovery in sight, although the liberal media would paint a far rosier picture that we have bottomed out and renewed happy days are just around the corner. If that is so, then why is American business not rushing to add more workers to their employment roles? Such are wise to hold in abeyance such expansion, knowing that Obama, Pelosi, Reed, et al. are not through with adding yet more overhead restrictions and tax burden to their costs; health care being the first, with Cap and Trade legislation waiting in the wings. Printing and spending more and more money that has less and less purchasing power and taxing America into prosperity is simply ill-conceived, if not diametrically in opposition to every heretofore proven economic model to the contrary. Why would Obama proclaim in panic stricken tones that unless America adopts his radical health care plan that the nation would soon be bankrupt only to several short days later pledge $10 billion dollars of America's tax dollars to combat global warming? Has the elevated CO2 emissions reached such stifling degrees in the Oval Office that his already previously displayed impaired ability to make rational decisions (although the Beer Summit was indeed an exception to the rule) become even more damaged, or is the truth of the matter that as a woof in thinly veiled sheep's clothing Obama is crafty enough to speak out of whichever side of his mouth that suits his lemming audience at the moment?

Obama prophetically said on the campaign trail that he would be satisfied if he only served one term as long as he made a viable impact in imparting his radical ideals for changing America. Of all of his pretenses to viability, I am happy to line up to vote for this one. But first things first... "We The People" now have the task of disposing all of the liberal jerks that think they know more than do we. Think again. Anyone who cast an affirmative vote for Health Care, regardless of party affiliation, and is up for re-election in this coming mid-term election, will soon thereafter be out of office and practicing the phrase "Would you like fries with this?" It's time to take names and kick butts. The ship is taking on water, but there's a helluva-a-lot more of us than there are of them. And after we lighten the load by throwing the bums overboard, we'll turn this freedom ship around and reclaim it again for the true liberty loving Americans. Be advised, if you're not willing to be part of the solution, you are the problem. If you can't push, pull. If you can't pull your own weight in this fight, get the hell out of the way. We're about to run over you.

Saturday, December 19

"Christmas Greetings..."

If the nation's economy has gone to the dogs, you couldn't prove it by me. I've ventured out on several errands these past few days, and if the full parking spaces at the local shopping venues are any indication that people are truly "cutting back" on their Christmas shopping, then there's a whole heck of a lot of folks who have either abandoned their cars or there is a bunch of window shopping going on. Fortunately, except for one quick jaunt into Target to pick up renewed supply of golf balls and to take advantage of the five pairs of frilly panties for twenty dollars, I have managed to purposefully avoid the "holiday rush and crush." Still, I must decide on what to get Judi for Christmas...

Seriously, due to our personal less than robust economic condition this year, Judi and I have decided to forgo our usual gifting to each other. Instead, we have applied what little extra money we can scrape together and purchased two airline tickets to spend Christmas week with our children. We fly to Chicago on the 23rd, pick up our rental car and drive with daughter, Megan and her boyfriend, Greg, to Cincinnati where we will spend Christmas with our son, Chris, his wife and our two granddaughters. I'm most looking forward to seeing our loved ones, but dread, as would any Floridian who goes instantly into shivering convulsions if the temperature drops below 70 degrees, the Midwest deep freeze.

In the interim, I've kept busy directing all of the construction requirements that is associated with our church's annual Christmas music celebration, the first of two performances is tonight and we are expecting 3,000 folks to witness the event over the two day run. Come Monday we take one day to tear down and store what it took the better part of a week to assemble, which includes two-four sectional 20 foot and one 18 foot electronic Christmas trees. You can see a small section of the three trees in the background of the photograph at right.

This photograph is of the members of our Men's Assemble. I sing lead tenor in this group of misfits. (I'm the fellow on the front row, far right sporting a new bread that makes me look like the fellow who hawks fish parts on the television commercials.) Yesterday we were the main entertainment for the Downtown Kiwanis Christmas luncheon, which should lead one to correctly assume #1) these folks were extremely hard up for program filler, and #2) we'll go anywhere for a free meal. Walmart was certainly glad we formed this group. We got real deal on all of those red sweaters.

I doubt I will have much time to compose another post prior to leaving for Chicago. So, I'll take this time to wish all of the dozens upon dozens of my faithful readers who have so unselfishly throughout the year financially underwritten my personal charity ("Help Support My Fallen Arches), a very Merry Christmas. See you in the New Year.

P.S. I don't care if it is becoming more and more politically unfashionable, I still wish to emphasise that at least for me and my family, "Jesus Is The Reason For The Season." If you agree then be truly thankful to God for Christmas.

Monday, December 14

"It's Official..."

This morning, bright and early, through a fog enshrouded Tampa landscape, departed our daughter, Megan, north for the snow bond, wind sweep, and bright lights of Chicago, 1oo5 miles away from the familiar and the comforting hearth and home she has known for the past 24 years.

It has been a whirlwind of time constrained activity these past several weeks since it was officially determined that the "love of her life," Greg, had been offered a leadership position at the national headquarters of his university fraternity, Sigma Chi. There were the daunting tasks of finding and securing a suitable (and affordable) apartment, completing the final undergraduate requirements for Greg's degree in elementary education, participating in the commencement ceremonies this past Saturday for the University of South Florida, hosting the graduation celebration, and yesterday's "all hands on deck" clearing our of Meg's and Greg's Tampa residence that entailed the packing of all of their worldly possessions into a rental truck packed to the gills in readiness for this morning's departure.

Now they are on their way... The plan is to travel to Cookeville, Tennessee today and spend the night with my life-long friend Dallas, before making the final leg of the journey tomorrow. They have a good 12 hours of driving today and another 9 0r 10 the following. Ahead of them lies the unenviable task of arriving at their final destination at who knows what hour of the day or night to unload the truck in Chicago temperatures that will undoubtedly be 50 to 60 degrees less than the tropical 80 degrees predicted for we south Floridians. I do not envy them the ordeal, but I do envy them the excitement of a new adventure in this new chapter in their lives together. God willing, they will do well.

The realization that our little girl is no longer within an arm's length of me and her Mom has yet to come to take up full residence in our hearts and minds. Megan has always been a self-determined young lady. From the time she resolutely set out as a four year old with an attache case of mine singularly packed with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, headed off around the corner to conquer the world, she has all through her developing and maturing years been in quest of embracing and shaping her destiny in her own terms. This is but a new chapter in that journey, for which I am very and unashamedly proud as I watch her go. I hold no fear or misgivings that she will embrace with limitless intrepidness all of the many challenges and opportunities that lie in her path. Chicago has no idea what it has in store when these two young people blow into town. A new chapter in the Windy City is about to be written.

Thursday, December 10

"A Subpar Performance..."

I don't wish to waste a lot of time on Mr. Tiger Woods and his precipitous fall from prominence, as I believe there are far more important and critical issues ensnaring this country and our world that deserve far greater dissection and discussion than the continuing despicable escapades of an individual who has a better than average knack of striking a golf ball with some notable consistency. The country is sinking deeper daily into the pit of socialist hell, but the media deliberately chooses instead to focus on the titillatingly sensational, fueling the 24/7 news cycle with a tireless onslaught of dirty laundry tidbits to feed the public's unquenchable appetite for scandal. I often wonder as a society whether or not we are capable of paying attention to or passionately being moved by anything of substance other than what we stuff into our addled brains in the form of mindless entertainment. I have my doubts...

That having been said, my personal reaction to Mr. Wood's many documented dalliances is that he has sullied so many beds in his past extramarital exploits that he will be indeed a very fortunate man if he is permitted again to occupy the marital bed in which he made a devout covenant never to defile. Mr. Woods would do well from this point forward to take an extended sabbatical from the game of golf and devote himself to the sole goal of salvaging his marriage. If that indeterminate amount of time required for such reconciliation amounts to months, if not years, then so be it. He owes such a tireless effort, not to his heretofore adoring public, but to his wife and their two children. His legacy as perhaps the greatest golfer the world has ever witnessed pales in comparison to the besmirched legacy that now hangs around his neck like an albatross. Whether or not Tiger can ever again trod the fairways as a redeemed man will depend on how the public receives him, proudly wearing the iconic "TW" on his golf cap or with a forever tainted scarlet "A."

The time for a forthright decision as to his and his family's future has been thrust upon him. It is time for him to tee it up and do the right thing... no errant shortcuts...just a determined deliberateness to remain on the straight an narrow. Failing that, he will be remembered not so much as being a great athlete, but as a failed man.

Tuesday, December 1

"Conspicuous Absence..."

The old saying, "You never miss something until it's gone," has plagued me for the past couple of weeks. Now that my eyesight has been surgically corrected, I have no need to constantly ask my wife, "Have you seen my glasses?" And I have managed to adopt a pretty fail proof method of keeping up with the keys to my vehicle; I place them next to the coffeemaker each night before I retire for the evening. Life overall can be pretty stress free if one applies oneself to either learning to regiment oneself to a set routine, or like me, just say "The hell with it!" and go with the flow. However, there are those times in one's life where no matter how carefully one plots out one's next move, everything goes to hell in the proverbial hand basket.

That was the case a couple of weeks ago when my computer decided to go on the fritz and left me abandoned and removed from access to the cyberworld of self-indulgent mass communications. Priding myself on being able to out think a stubborn piece of hardware, I made numerous attempts to eradicate the gremlins lurking deep within the bowels of the equipment only in the end to be time and time frustrated with the far less than satisfactory results. Finally the infernal machine decided "enough was enough" and refused to even provide me with a monitor screen from which I could further attempt to overcome its refusal to cooperate. With another mighty utterance of expletives deleted, I gave up on my quest to again prove that man could conquer machine and delivered it to my "on call" computer guru.

After initially enduring a prolonged and painful interlude of chastisement for my having waited until the problem became a whole series of potential problems, computer guru Rick performed a series of quick diagnostics and announced, "Why here's the problem," in that tone of voice that suggested that if I possessed even one ounce less of common sense I would be unable to extract myself from a broom closet. My response to him was something on the order that if everyone was as knowledgeable about how to fix their own computers he'd be out on the sidewalk selling pencils. He couldn't argue with that type of profound logic. So as to make his time and effort a paying enterprise, I acquiesced to computer guru Rick's suggestion that I leave the machine with him a couple of days so that he could "thoroughly tune up it's innars." Three days and $90.00 later, I am back in possession on my computer that now once again behaves like a well discipline child.

Hopefully the always demanding and time consuming holiday season that in now officially upon us will leave some personal time so that I may get back to the enjoyable routine of banging out a few post to this blog...for better or for worse. Now, if I could just locate where I put my wine glass, I'm good to go.

Friday, November 20

Self Evaluation..."

For the past several months Judi and I have been serving as facilitators for a weekly on-going, 13 week Divorce Care recovery support group. The purpose of the program is to provide for the men and women in attendance the guidance along the path toward healing after experiencing the emotional pain of separation and divorce.

Even though Judi and I have been married going on 27 years, we consider ourselves to be uniquely qualified to shepherd this group, as we both ourselves are products of previously failed marriages. We understand the physical, emotional and spiritual trauma that accompanies a marriage implosion. Just as there are predictable stages that an individual will traverse at the loss of loved one through death, so are these same phases applicable as the result of a failed marriage. What we watch for and attempt to evaluate in each participant, as they progress through the 13 week course (many of whom repeat the course several times and are always welcomed to be part of the group as long as they choose), is how well each over time is dealing with and evolving away from the emotions of profound anger, depression, and loneliness that are the earmarks along the guided path toward moving productively forward again with their lives.

The greatest majority of the new course attendees come through the door with their raw emotions displayed prominently on their sleeves. Many a box of facial tissues have been utilized in the initial weeks of a new divorced person's participation in the group as each begins in their own way and in their own time to "open up" and share about the pain they have suffered and are continuing to experience. As a rule, we have witnessed that as time passes and each person becomes more trusting of themselves and their fellow course participants, glimpses of the individual's unburdened personalities begin to shine through. It is not unusual for any number of weeks to pass before an participant will feel free enough to enjoy a touch of levity at themselves or in agreement with another's unbridled humor. We recognize that at that time such a freeing up of the spirit, is a most important milestone in the person's positive steps towards recovery.

In that vein, each week Judi and I make available one or two page handouts that correspond with each of the 13 discussion topics. This past Tuesday evening the topic was "New Relationships." For the newer group members to entertain the mere thought of developing a new relationship is sufficient to evoke gales of laughter if not groans of abject repulsion. The fact remains, however, that the greatest majority of individuals who experience a divorce will in the future venture into the establishment of a relationship with a person of the opposite sex and most will eventually remarry. The lesson to be learned is to not do so too quickly, as 76% of second marriages also end in divorce unless very careful consideration is given over an extended period of time to assure that the second person one marries isn't a carbon copy of the first. With that thought in mind, I distributed to the participants the following hand out that appeared on the Women's Day Web site, entitled "How To Find Out If He's 'Marriage Material.'" (My responses are in red.)

1. Does he make you laugh? According to Judi, that is one of the first things she liked initially about me and continues to appreciate after 26 years of marriage.

2. Is he mechanically inclined? Can I fix a car? No, but I can certainly remodel a house. I think that qualifies me, but that talent has also caused friction between Judi and me over the years.

3. Has he gotten over being a mama's boy? That stopped the minute I moved out of my parent's house at the age of 18.

4. Is he nice to his mother? I'm being honest much as I can tolerate being so without her driving me to regularly consumed strong drink.

5. Does he have a life independent of yours? Yes. Judi and I share many of the same interest, but are free to pursue other avenues that are unique to our personalities and talents. For me, it's golf...once a week if we can afford it and it doesn't interfere with a previous mutual obligation.

6. Can he remain romantic? On a scale form 1 t0 10, with 10 being "very romantic," I probably score a 3, if I'm lucky. My idea of being romantic is being attentive, but Judi keeps reminding me (and I'm still learning) that fixing her tea every morning like clockwork still leaves room for vast improvement.

7. Will he buy you personal items at the grocery store? Yes, if asked, but I would prefer not to. Once Judi sent me to the local drug store to pick up a particular box of hair color so she could highlight her hair. I finally found the right isle and was confronted with every imaginable shade of dye ever invented. To make matters worse, as I let my eyes scan row after row of this color and that color, there were two women next to me who were engaged in the same task. They appeared, however, to know exactly what they were in search of. I finally gave up and said, "Okay ladies, I need help. Can you find (whatever the color was ?") One of the ladies immediately reached down and choose the box I was searching for. "Here you go, you poor soul," she said. I expressed my appreciation to her and lamented, "I'm sure glad I wasn't sent here to pick up any feminine hygiene products." As this same woman began to walk away, I heard her mutter under her breath, "Men are so useless." At that particular moment, I had to concur.

8. Can he admit he is wrong? Yes, but I do so, admittedly, reluctantly. But that is a personality trait that stems from my childhood and is another story for another time. I'm still working on being in tune with Judi's expectations so I don't have to find myself in that predicament.

9. Does he compliment you in front to others? Yes, as well as brag on Judi when she isn't within earshot. This is a lesson every man should learn and practice. Still, as with every good habit, I could do more so.

10. Will he dance with you? Yes, but only after much prodding or after several shots of sarsaparilla.

This one handout evoked additional worthwhile insights and discussion among the group members...and no little opportunities for shared laughter. Divorce is a tragic experience, but it is not a life sentence. With the valuable tools provided by the Divorce Care curriculum and with God's spiritual leading, Judi and I have witnessed many previously broken lives cobbled back together once again. New hope and a profound sense of self-worth have been the end results for the greatest majority of individials who have choosen to be faithful attendees and who have endured the necesary time of required healing as they passed through the course to go out on their own once again to embrace a newer and more fuller life of promise that awaits each.

For those who may be at this time in the throws of a separation or divorce, or who may know of a person or persons who are experiencing the same trauma, please take the time to check out There you will find a fuller explaination of what the Divorce Care recovery support program encompasses and a location near you where a group is meeting. There is life after divorce. You just need to learn how to get there.

Thursday, November 19

"Let's Be Honest, Shall We..."

Newsweek magazine has stirred up a hornet's next this week by commandeering a previously published photograph of Sarah Palin that originally appeared in Runner's World, which, unless you are attempting to read this post in braille, shows her in a pair of black runner's shorts from which her very shapely and tanned legs are prominently displayed. Ms. Palin, upon viewing the re-published photo, declared it to be sexist. From a purely political point of view, I concur.

Mrs. Palin has been a lightening rod for relentless liberal media criticism since she first appeared on the national stage with then Republican Presidential hopeful John McCain as his fresh-faced Vice-President running mate. Sarah's propensity from the outset for being plainly spoken didn't then and doesn't now play well with the self-proclaimed intellectually elite who currently populate the progressive, socialist Democratic party, nor with liberal mass media outlets, such as Newsweek, who unabashedly kowtow to and promote this conceited brand of consolidate power by the few over the masses. Mrs. Palin doesn't play well with these types of people, and her willingness to recognize a pig adorned with lipstick when she sees one rubs these arrogant snobs raw. In a word, "Good."

Except for the other easily identifiable fellow travelers in the liberal media, it is obvious that Newsweek, in spite of its attempt at clarification to the contrary, deliberately selected this particular photograph in a thinly veiled attempt to depict Ms. Palin as processing a minuscule few recommending attributes other than an empty, albeit attractive, head attached to a very fit and trim body. Well, Newsweek, you got part of the equation correct. Mrs. Palin is indeed a very, very attractive lady. But to suggest that her appeal to the mass of newly rejuvenated conservative followers is based solely on the fact that she looks good in a pair of running shorts is, to coin one of Sarah's favorite epithets, ""Bull crap!" It's not that the liberal media doesn't "get" Sarah. They do, and her continuing plan spoken assault on their ivory towers of elitism scares, yes, the "bull crap" out of them. They know that she is and will continue to be a force to be reckoned with, even more so now that she has begun the much anticipated national tour promoting her number one best seller book, Going Rouge.

Whether or not Mrs. Palin will be able to sustain her present popularity with the conservative segment of the nation's populace and also attract a significant increase in the number of disenchanted Democrats and independents between now and the run up to the 2012 presidential election can only be speculation at this early juncture. Should she elect to toss her future ambitions toward a run for the nation's highest office will require that she make a deliberate and concerted effort to become more astute in the intricate nuances of national and international affairs. Given that Sarah is indeed easy on the eyes for those (me included) who recognize feminine beauty when it appears before us, the false portrayal that she is little else belies the fact that genuine gravitas is also among her appealing attributes, easily recognizable for those who would strive to be as serious in that pursuit as her equal rather than merely producing more paper good fodder that serves no other beneficial purpose than to line the bottom of a bird cage. Newsweek, you've found your calling.

Wednesday, November 18

"Let's Do A Little Catching Up..."

Admittedly I've allowed too much time to pass between posts over the last several weeks. So, I'll take this opportunity to catch all of my many faithful readers ("Okay guys...all of you come out the phone booth now.") on events that have transpired or will be on my plate in the coming weeks.

First... My candidate for the next mayor of St. Petersburg, Bill Foster, won the city-wide election on November 8th, beating his opponent, Kathleen Ford, by a margin of 53% to 47%. Not that my impassioned editorial diatribes in opposition to Ms. Ford's candidacy played even a minuscule role in Bill's ultimate victory, I am nevertheless very pleased that the majority of my fellow citizens recognized that a steady and proven conservative approach to running the fortunes of St. Petersburg is more desirable than Ford's offering of progressive upheaval. But as the St. Petersburg TIMES pointed out in a past editorial, it is far easier to get elected than is the task of actually governing the city. Bill will have his hands full as St. Pete's third strong mayor in addressing (read: appeasing) the expectations of the 47% who voted for Ford, who have legitimate, if not narrowly defined issues, that lie still bubbling beneath the surface of discontent. I am confident that Bill will give a fair hearing to all of these issues and will do his best to achieve a consensus of diverse opinions that will continue to move this city forward through this difficult and challenging economic climate.

Secondly... Daughter Megan and her main heartthrob, Greg, will be moving to Chicago on December 14th. This turn of events has come as a result of Greg being offered and accepting the position of Director of National Leadership Training for his college fraternity, Sigma Chi. Now the crisis de jour in our household is helping to get these two young folks prepared for this new chapter in their lives, a task that at the moment involves daily lengthy phone call from Megan to Judi, who listens patiently as Meg describes the myriad of details that must be attended to prior to their scheduled departure, most of which presently sound to me to be at loose ends. I'm sure, knowing my daughter's tenacity, all will be resolved in due course.

Judi announced has that in lieu of exchanging Christmas gifts this year, we would instead fly up to Chicago on Christmas eve and spend the holidays with Greg and Megan. Being the dutiful father that I profess to be, I've agreed to this plan, although I do not look forward to the bone-chilling wintry weather that I am sure will envelop us upon arrival. I haven't bothered to wear socks since last February and the idea of having to wear a heavy winter coat for any other reason than as part of a Halloween costume is repulsive to me. Still, I'll soldier on for the good of the order.

Judi, who is somewhat geographically challenged I've learned, was talking with her brother in Columbus, Ohio, filling him in on the pending move of Megan to Chicago. Don mentioned that he and his wife had visited Chicago and enjoyed the beaches there. This apparently threw Judi off her kilter, as she couldn't imagine that there was any body of water anywhere close to Chicago that would require a beach. Judi had the mistaken impression that Chicago is located somewhere in the middle of the state of Illinois and she knew for a fact that there couldn't possibly be a beach in that location. Two words: "Lake Michigan." This prompted Judi to find an atlas and low and behold, not only is Chicago not situated in the middle of the state, it boarders one of the largest of the great lakes. "Who knew?" she proclaimed. "Exactly," I replied. I have a pretty good sense of direction, being able to navigate where I want to go by having an awareness of compass headings. For us, the beaches on the Gulf of Mexico are west of us. I just point the car toward in that direction and know that sooner or later we'll run out of road. I may go around my elbow to get to my thumb, but I sure know that Chicago is northwest of St. Petersburg and it has a few beaches along a by-way known as Lake Shore Drive. I'm glad Judi isn't going to fly the plane when we travel there next month. God knows here we'd end up. Later...

Friday, November 13

"Just What We Suspected..."

For those who have been bothered by or even noticed that I have been absent from posting anything new to this blog, my apologies. There's been a ton of things that have crossed my awareness that otherwise would solicit a comment on my part, but, alas, they, for the most part, have had to do primarily with the continuing derogation of our nation at the hands of our elected Washington officials. As my father was so fond of repeatedly saying to me, "There comes a time when you have banged your head over and over again against a brick wall that you realize there isn't any future in repeating the practice." It, therefore, appears that no matter how much I rant and rave at the total lunacy continuing to be propagated by the arrogant elitist in our nation's capital, I, at this time, can do little to stem that relentless tide. So, I'll do my best from this point forward to pick my battles where I believe they can best serve a greater cause.

Just so you don't fall under the mistaken impression that I have forsaken all interest in the politics of the day, I am providing for your viewing enjoyment and scrutiny the photograph above which was only recently clandestinely smuggled out of the White House. Here for the first time is a photograph taken at a staff party of all of Obama's czars. Sleep well tonight, fellow citizens... We are in safe and capable hands.

Sunday, October 18

"Just Say No."

The editorial page of today's Sunday edition of St. Petersburg TIMES featured a three-quarter page endorsement for Mr. Bill Foster, mayoral candidate for this fair city. While extolling Mr. Foster's civic qualifications, past city council leadership accomplishments, and detailed plans and proposals to move our city steadily forward in these uncertain economic times, the editorial board depreciated (one might say eviscerated) opposing candidate Kathleen Ford's lack of comparable attributes.

It serves no viable purpose to reiterate within this opinion piece the detailed examples of Foster's pro leadership style that were at length fairly articulated in the endorsement. For those fellow citizens who may yet be among the classification of "undecided voter," I would encourage each to read for themselves the TIMES carefully reasoned support for Mr. Foster's candidacy, and by doing so, reject, come election day, the audacious assertion that Ms. Ford past behavioral shenanigans in city government portends anything less if not more of the same. Like the emperor who paraded around his kingdom with no clothes on, attempting, if you will, to pull the wool over the eyes of his skeptical subjects, we, Ms. Ford, who otherwise possess clear vision and an ample reserve of discernible perception, see you for who you are and we are not fooled.

We clear thinking citizens who truly realize that this city must be governed by a rational leader who understands and evaluates the problems and difficulties facing our city today yet each must be carefully weighed against the scales of future consequence, who invites and embraces differing opinions in the search of common ground solutions, and who has the moral and ethical fiber to withstand without malice the slings and arrows of those who seek an opposing course, this is the type of leader the City of St. Petersburg must elect as our next mayor. That candidate can only be Mr. Bill Foster.

Come election day, cast your ballot for Bill Foster, and by doing so, tell Ms. Ford in no ambiguous language, "Thanks for playing along, Ms. Ford. Here's a copy of the home game. Your time is now up."

Saturday, October 17

"Okay, Now It's My Turn..."

I've been "out of pocket" for the past couple of weeks, unable to find the time nor the motivation to sit down and compose another post to my blog. Not that there hasn't been an inexhaustible range of topics on which I could espouse my views...unfortunately mostly political in nature. But after a while even I get tired of ranting on continuously about what an empty suit Obama is and how thoroughly appalled I am with the myopic antics of Congress. More and more I just want to pull the covers up over my head and not get out of bed again until I can awake on the morning of election day in 2010 and add my vote to what I hope and anticipate will be thousands of other disgusted and disgruntled citizens who join together in mass to throw these elitist out on their ears.

What has been the biggest news in our family has been my wife Judi's decision to get a tattoo in celebration her 63nd birthday. I kid you not! And with every enterprise my wife undertakes, this decision was not entered into lightly. Having assured that I had no objections - (Remember the old proven axiom, "If Momma is happy, everybody is happy!") - she went on-line for hours pouring over sites that featured anything that had to do with tattoos, asking me what I thought of this one or that one. Playing it safe, I told her that what ultimately floated her pontoon would be okay by me. Next, she purchased a couple sets of stick-on tattoos that she pasted on various parts of her anatomy, again asking my opinion as to type, size, color and location. For my part, that was an interesting exercise in self-restraint. Step number three - take a couple of days and visit several local tattoo parlors to ask a ton of questions to further solidify her final determination. Finally came the day of "go or no go."

Having selected the parlor, the tattoo "artist," and the tattoo of her liking, she requested that I accompany her for the fait accompli. I arrived just as the proprietor of the establishment - he himself a walking billboard for Oriental rugs - had applied the stencil over which the inked-in tattoo would be applied. Twenty minutes later and there in front of God and everybody was a smallish, multi-colored song bird perched on her upper right shoulder blade with a little sixteenth musical note being expelled from its yellow beak. As far as unobtrusive tattoos go, this one was a winner. I've got no complaints. She likes it... I like it... Everybody is happy.

As for me, I have no desire to festoon myself with anything that requires a repeated application of needles. I get queasy whenever I get stuck with that prerequisite pen prick to determine if I can give blood every eight weeks. No, I'll pass on the opportunity to join my dear wife in adorning myself with body art. I did decide, however, to do something as a now empty-nester family that will prove beneficial to more than my desire for self-gratification. I decided we should become foster parents. Below is a photograph we took last week as we were bringing the little fellow home for the first time.

I'll be letting you know in future posts how this act of kindness is working out for all parties concerned.

Monday, October 5

Why Not Ford?

The St. Petersburg TIMES published an article this Saturday entitled "This Ford Projects A Softer Image." The subtext posed the rhetorical question of speculating whether or not Kathleen Ford, the oppositional candidate to Bill Foster's bid to become elected mayor of the City of St. Petersburg, will overcome her past "reputation of blunt divisiveness." Having read the article and agreeing, for the moment, that Ms. Ford appears to be making a concerted attempt to project a far less controversial persona in her current continuing attempts to persuade the citizens of this fair city that should she become mayor her well documented savage bite shall be less frequent than her infamous bark, I am still, nevertheless, not willing to concede that this dog is yet capable of being untied from her leash.

The determination of whether Ms. Ford has the intellectual acumen and credentials to assume the mantle of mayor need not be in question. At issue, however, and perhaps currently the central lightening rod in comparing the two candidates in the campaign, her temperament for the position is. As Attila The Hun's well earned reputation proceeded him as he relentlessly pillaged and plundered those unfortunates who would oppose his quest for conquest, Ms. Ford's biting tongue and unquenchable ego has laid waste many an unwary person who would dare by omission or commission contradict her will; from fellow council members to staff clerk typist, Ms. Ford's quick temper recognized no boundaries as she repeatedly issued forth her visceral onslaughts. Even in Saturday's article, Ms. Ford issued a thinly veiled threat to those who, in her well ordered, score-keeping mind, "mislead" her, and further fanned the flames of divisiveness in the corridors of City Hall by urging city employees who allegedly support her candidacy "to keep quiet because they could face retaliation from the Rick Baker administration." Does this type of inventiveness sound even remotely like an individual who wishes to mend fences, seek common grounds of agreement, and move this city forward, or an individual who is paranoid, has an axe to grind, and a gigantic chip on her shoulder?

Citing her reliance on technology to solve social issues, Ms. Ford is apparently quick to dismiss Mr. Foster's moral compass that believes in the inherent good of mankind based on his Christan faith. Preferring to wield a quarrelsome litigious club, Ms. Ford would shelve constructive dialogue to resolve issues of city import and demand an allegiance to the letter of the law as she would chose to interpret. If conquering by division is one's idea of a progressive leader, then Ms. Ford is your girl.

I, on the other hand, regard Ms. Ford's candidacy as the serpent in the Garden of Eden, who slithered forth to convince the inhabitants of that fair burg that he alone could place them on the true path of wisdom. "Trust me," he entreated and soon thereafter all hell broke loose. Could the good citizens of St. Petersburg endure and perhaps even prosper with Kathleen Ford at the city's helm? Probably. But why in the world would one want to invite that same self-serving serpent back through the garden gate?

Recognizing how unfashionably incorrect it is to utter anything even remotely tinged with religious connotation, I will nevertheless venture out onto that precarious limb and offer a caution to those stalwart individuals who are looking for Ms. Ford as mayor to be the savior of their pet peeves; "For they sow the wind and they shall reap the whirlwind." Elect Kathleen Ford as your next mayor, if you must. But be prepared to hang on, dear hearts. It's going to be a very bumpy ride.

Friday, October 2

"I Fail To See The Humor, Dave..."

I'm not a fan of kicking a person when they're down, but when a particular type of person, who happens to make a sizable living ridiculing other defenceless people for fun and sport, then it's time once again to drag out my trusty avenging skillet and whack the jerk with a resounding hollow "bonk" across the back of their empty cranium!

Last evening, David Letterman, the sophomoric comedic shill for the liberal left, jokingly confessed (if one can label his adolescence mea culpa a confession) that as a result of his admitted sexual infidelities with apparently several female employees on his Late Night Show staff that he had been the target of an extortionist scheme, to the tune of allegedly 2 million dollars, not to go public with the irrefutable evidence of his repeated indiscretions. As for the perpetrator of the extortion, that individual was arrested yesterday morning, as he deservedly should be and shall hopefully be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the judicial system. Mr. Letterman, on the other hand, chose to make a sad, pitiful and protracted joke of the incident in the hopes, I suppose, that the laughter he managed to solicit from his unassuming audience would somehow garner him sympathy and a free pass to whitewash the despicable affair into an obscure and soon to be forgotten news story. The sad just might; so gullible is the star-starved and idol worshipping public of anything or anyone associated with the mass media.

I'll be honest, would it not run the unnecessary risk of exposing to public scrutiny the women whom Mr. Letterman admittedly bedded, who may or may not have succumbed to Letterman's sexual advances willingly and without coercion, nothing would delight me more than to have the "evidence" that the extortionist allegedly possessed released in all their lurid details to every media outlets that traffics in that type of expositional bile. It would so justifiably serve him right to have his character - or obvious lack there of - besmirched and ridiculed in the public cauldron, just as he has made an unrelenting practice of belittling and degrading a host of other individuals whom he considers to be his ideological inferiors (read: conservatives).

I hope your your wife and son are proud of you, Dave. I'm sure your dear old Mom will bake you one of her special pies to make you feel better. Most likely there will be no serious repercussions for your dalliances and you will get to keep your little late night T.V. shop open for business. And no doubt your adoring public will turn their other cheeks and just caulk up your deplorable behavior to just another personality making a forgivable fool of themselves, they being so easily distracted and entertained.

As for me, Mr. Letterman, I wouldn't walk across the street to spit on you if you were on fire! I don't have much patience for an arrogant ass who has a penis for a brain!

Wednesday, September 23

"A Shameless Plug..."

The "Happy-Go-Lucky" looking fellow in the photograph at left is Dr. Stephen Updegraff. He's the dude who performed cataract removal and lens implant surgery on my right eye yesterday. To merely say he does pretty good work is like suggesting that Rembrandt is pretty handy with a paint brush.

I like and greatly appreciate people who exude a profound excitement about life, and their uninhibited exuberance is clearly illuminated as they embrace their chosen field of work. Dr. Updegraff is indeed that type of personality. He literally bounds into an exam room like a child in awe and wonder on Christmas morning. One would think each patient he greets has just won the Powerball Lottery and he genuinely wishes to share in their good fortune.

"Good morning, Jim. It's great to see you!" Considering the reason I am sitting before this gentlemen is that I couldn't see very well in the first place, my only honest response had to be, "You have no idea how great it is to REALLY see you."

Dr. Updegraff's obvious enthusiasm isn't restricted to just his countenance, but permeates, like a warm blanket, to envelop his entire staff. There is a constant beehive of activity of staff members going hither and yon, each wearing a warm smile and expressing a genuine concern and interest in each person they encounter. This is a most welcomed and appreciated attribute to the experience that goes along way in helping to offset the fact that Dr. Updegraff keeps the air conditioning set so low in his offices and surgical center that if he would merely throw open a few windows and a door or two this whole issue of global warming could be permanently eradicated. I haven't seen so many sweaters being worn by patients and staff alike since Macy's has their last annual sale on fall and winter clothing.

And the results? Superb! To say the difference between how I was viewing the world before Tuesday's procedure and what I am able to see today is literally the difference between dusk and dawn. The colors are explosive. With my left eye covered (still to be surgically corrected) anything beyond 10 feet is blurred and has a dull muddy tan tint. When only looking through my now surgically repaired right eye, God's heavens are truly blue, the weeds I euphemistically call my lawn are a vibrant green, and I can see on the front off my shirt each of the purple stains I spilled from my jelly and peanut butter sandwich last evening. Life is truly good...

Tomorrow I am playing another round of golf. I can't wait to determine how well I will be able to see my golf ball as it goes sailing towards environs uncharted. Will my golf game improve exponentially as a result of having this marvelous surgery? Potentially perhaps...especially after I have my left eye corrected as well, but I'm not counting on it. Even Dr. Updegraff isn't capable of performing that type of miracle.

Monday, September 21

"Who Invited Him To The Party?"

Tell me that lurking in your family tree you don't have a relative that embarrasses the crap out of you every time he or she shows up at a family function and I'll say, "Lucky You," you haven't met everyone in your family yet. He's an uncle or she's an aunt, a cousin, a brother-in-law or sister-in-law, or worse yet, a brother or sister that some how in their misspent youth managed to evolve into an adult devoid of all common sense. No matter how clandestine the rest of the family makes their attempts to keep the next scheduled family gathering a secret from this individual, he or she somehow manages to ferret out the location and soon after their arrival, much to the obvious chagrin of all other attendees, there transpires a sure fire submission to America's Funniest Home Videos. And if you think your family has issues, let me introduce you to the class clown of American politics...

Perched on one of the limbs of the heritage tree of U.S. presidents, squats the 39th occupant of the Oval Office, James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, arguably the worst and most ineffectual president these United Sates has ever had the misfortune to install into the highest public office in the land. And we thought his brother "Billy" was the one totally out of touch with reality. Hardly...

Initially it appeared that President Carter, once he was soundly defeated for a second term by Ronald Regan, would quietly retire once again to the peanut fields of Plains, Georgia, never to be heard from again except for those rare perfunctory occasions where formed U.S. Presidents are expected to make dutiful and respectful appearances. Jimmy, being a restless and enterprising soul, abstained from such constricting isolation and favorably reinvented himself as an ambassador for Habitat For Humanity and as a world statesman respected for his efforts to broker fair and impartial election proceedings in fledgling third world countries. That is certainly all well and good and an arena in which Mr. Carter should have been content to restrict himself. But, bless his little peanut pickin' heart, Jimmy just can't pass up an opportunity to thrust himself into the national spotlight in which to interject his personal opinions that are neither solicited nor appreciated. Case in point...

This past week during an interview on NBC, Mr. Carter opined, in essence, that the American citizens who vocalize their differing opinions to President Obama's stated policies and programs are motivated to do so out of a thinly veiled persona of racism. Let me clarify further that statement: we folks, who number in the hundreds of thousands, who are jumping up and down in protest of Obama's quest to take this nation down an irretrievable liberal and socialistic path are doing so because he is a black man. Who knew? Thanks Jimmy, for clearing that up for us. I thought that I disliked President Obama just because he has the audacity to take off his suit jacket and roll up his shirt sleeves when he pontificates before large, pre-selected groups of adoring worshipers. How narrow-minded of me.

Listen Jimmy, even though I vehemently uphold your constitutional guarantee to exercise your free speech right to express any vapid opinion that comes into your head, you might want to take a clue from the current administration, which without hesitation fell over backwards distancing itself from your comments, and do us all a most appreciated favor by heretofore refraining from expressing any additional musings that venture beyond the limited scope of selecting the best type of fertilizer to be utilized on virgin peanut seedlings.

In America, everyone has the right to be stupid. Like that distant uncle who insist on donning a lampshade at every gathering of the family clan, such antics grow tiresome very quickly. That having been said, "Thanks for coming to the party, Jimmy. Now go home."

Tuesday, September 15

"The Fact Remains..."

As children we all no doubt heard the Hans Christan Anderson fairy tale entitled "The Emperor's New Clothes." To refresh your memories, this is the story of a very gullible ruler of a very prosperous kingdom that was obsessed with the notion of not only being the king, but always looking and acting the part. The king's fixation on appearances lead him to be duped by a pair of crafty swindlers who promised the king that they would fashion for him the most superb suit of clothes, the likes of which had never been seen before by man nor beast, fashioned out of the very finest and rarest of cloth. So extremely fine was the cloth that it was invisible to the naked eye (I couldn't pass up that comparison) to anyone who was either too unintelligent or unworthy to hold such an esteemed position as did the king. The king, bless his impressionable heart, could not himself see the cloth, but feared making that observation known to his alleged tailors would place himself in the category of lacking the requisite acumen and thus be deemed an interloper to the crown. Fearing the wrath of their employer, the emperor's attendants also squelched their personal observations and went along with the ruse.

Within due time the swindler tailors proclaim that the garment was finished and ready to be proudly displayed before the emperor's loyal subjects. With a trumpet fanfare the king assembles his entourage and proceeds with head held high to walk with much pomp and circumstance through the streets of his kingdom. As the course of the fable goes, it wasn't too long into the procession before a small boy in the crowd makes the obvious discernment that the good king was as naked as a jaybird and shouts out, "Hey y'all, the dude ain't wearin' no clothes!" (or something to that effect). The crowd must come to grips with the fact that out of the mouth of this mere child comes the stark realization that the king indeed literally has nothing to hide. Most people with a shred of personal awareness would have come to the painful and embarrassing realization that indeed the child was speaking truth and beat a hasty retreat. Not so this emperor. Continuing undaunted along the avenue amidst muffled laughter, the emperor's indomitable pride refused to allow him to face the painful fact that his credibility was literally hanging out.

So, what's this fairy tale of old got to do with the price of bagels in Queens? Follow the comparison... It's been but a mere three days since the tax payers march on Washington, and the current topic de jour is not what the gathering was all about, but how many people actually participated. Somebodies, a lot of somebodies, are missing the point. Many media outlets are now disputing the number of people who actually took part in the rally, suggesting that the numbers were grossly inflated by the employment of photographs showing huge throngs of people in the streets of the capital that were actually archived photos from previous marches. If indeed some conservative celebrators of the effort grossly overstepped the bounds of truth by deliberately misleading their audience with falsified documentation, then indeed they should be chastised for having done so. To stoop to that type of unnecessary persuasion doesn't elevate the worthy purpose of the march, but hurtfully degrades it.

But here's the point... Whether 50,000, 500,000 or a million plus, the fact remains that the folks who did take part, from every corner of these United States, were there for a reason...and it wasn't because they had accumulated stagnant air miles that were about to expire and a September weekend in Washington, D.C. seemed like a good idea at the time. These folks came with a determined proclaim, to shout , if you will, that their President in Chief and his minions in waiting in the west wing of the White House and the Halls of Congress are parading before the very wise and insightful American people with no clothes on. We see you, Mr. President, Harry Reid and Nancy Polesi, and we aren't at all enamored with the view.

And here's the even larger point... Set side, if one must, this past weekend's March on Washington, the undeniable fact remains that there has been fairly and accurately documented the hundreds and thousands of every day American citizens that packed Town Hall meetings all across the country throughout the month of August to voice their united disapproval of our government's liberal and socialistic tract, yet the powers-that-be still refuse to acknowledge their existence. Like the emperor in the fable, they choose to see only what they perceive to be the facts that match their narrowly defined ideological and egotistical agendas. They stand naked before the American public and insist that it is they alone who possess the intelligence, power and position to discern and emanate truth. We would laugh out loud at them if we weren't so afraid that their antics could be the imminent downfall of us all.

Mr. President, your creditability is showing, and it ain't a pretty sight. It is past time for you to realize how vulnerable your present intractable position really is. The American people will tolerate only so much insensitivity and smugness directed at "we the people" before we take matters into our own hands and relegate you and your liberal compatriots to nothing more than a forgettable footnote in history. A naked buffoon or a servant of all the people. It's still your choice. Put some clothes on and choose wisely.

Monday, September 14

"Speaking Truth To Power..."

Do you know what an anomaly is? It is an irregularity, something that deviates from the norm or from expectations. Something strange and difficult to classify. Apparently that is how the national media outlets and the Obama White House is classifying the 9/12 march on Washington that occurred this past Saturday.

White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, parroting the befuddlement that is the hallmark of the current administration, when asked to comment on the throngs of protesters who populated the street of the capital right outside his office window, said, "I don't know who this group is." As disingenuous as that inane comment is, the response doesn't really surprise me, as I have serious doubts that he or any of his fellow Obama acolytes have even a clue as to what day of the week it is.

A most ridiculously low estimate of the number of persons who participated in the people's rally was placed at 50,000. The majority of the recognized liberal media outlets would only be so bold as to suggest that the number was in the tens of thousands. The real estimated number is placed between 500,000 to 2 million. Whether the low end or the high, the fact remains, there were a helluva lot of people who showed up with protest placards in hand to let our current leaders know in no uncertain terms that they are fed up with being taken for granted. I would suggest that Mr. Gibbs remove his head from his posterior and smell the roses; your boss is losing, as the weekly popularity polls indicate, what little credibility he may have possessed when he entered into the Oval Office with his grandiose promise of "Change we can believe in." We ain't buying it no more, bub.

That first citizens march on Washington represents a ground swell of dissatisfaction with the status quo that shall continue to evolve into what will become a tsunami of politically motivated citizens who will flood the voting booths in 2010 to re-establish the conservative, constitution based principles on which this country was founded. The liberals may be hold sway today, but their day of demise is looming on the horizon. There also awaits another election date in 2012 that will find Barack Obama, a beleaguered one-term President, relegated to nothing more than a regrettably sad note in America's history. That day can't come soon enough to suit me.

The only anomaly in this deplorable chapter of America's continuing strides to being a God-fearing, republic was Barack Obama's misguided election. This mistake is correctable and, in due time, so shall it be.

Friday, September 11

"Call It What You Will... It Was Still Murder!!"

We live in an age of rampant and unapologetic political correctness. The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, unabashedly entered that well varnished arena when she stated that the term "Islamist terrorism" would be excluded from the current administration's lexicon to describe such wanton acts of savagery and the term "man-caused disasters" would be employed in its place. How unfeelingly convenient...

In 2008 this nation, by the slimmest of margins, elected an "apologist-in chief," Barack Obama, who has globe trotted through the middle east proclaiming that America was herself to blame for the inestimable ire of the Islamic world. How arrogantly egotistical...

The unidentified man in the photograph, falling to his death from one of the mortally crippled Twin Towers in the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001, might, had he lived, beg to differ with Napolitano's assessment that this willful act of terrorism, that resulted in the loss of 2,974 innocent souls, was nothing more than a mere "man-caused disaster." Whitewash it as much as this administration might wish with less offensive language, the fact remains that what occurred on that day that should live in infamy in the hearts of every patriotic American, was nothing less than murder.

On this Saturday, September 12th, thousands of Americans will assemble in mass in Washington, D.C. to protest, as our constitution guarantees, yet another clandestine atrocity that is being perpetrated upon the American people: the systematic takeover of our institutions by a collection of bureaucrats who believe America's heritage is to be muted in revisionist history and we are not to continue on the path of benevolent greatness, but to be kowtowed into mediocrity and acquiescence. We are at a crossroads in this country. One which every American needs recognize and to rise up to question and to protest. For it is true, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

Never forget 9/11 as long as you live. Let every 9/12 that follows be a renewed quest, a rebirth of an indomitable spirit, in each American's heart to uphold daily the principles of liberty and freedom that is America. Failing that, we have failed ourselves.

Thursday, September 10

"Here's Looking Up Your Old Address..."

Here's the deal... If I'm going to continue to spend my time and money pursuing a little white spheroid over some well manicure cow pasture for alleged fun and recreation, I at least want to have the satisfaction of knowing that when I tee up that little white ball of frustration and strike it with immeasurable force that I can actually watch it go kaplunk into yon lake. Heretofore that has not been the case. When I play now I must do so in the company of an individual, unlike me, who can actually see beyond their shoelaces.

It is also a newly minted goal of mine to be able to again read the directional highway signs so that I don't inadvertently end up headed to Birmingham, Alabama when my intent is to arrive somewhere in the general vicinity of Atlanta. And just for kicks, I'd like to again be able to watch a sporting event on television without having to have my nose planted snugly against the screen to determine the score. That is why today I bit the bullet and decided to go for my initial exam to have Laski eye surgery.

Thankfully the two and a half hour exam was relatively painless...not unlike the infamous colonoscopy exams I've endured where, as the syndicated Miami Herald humor columnist, Dave Barry, so eloquently described as not unlike having a long, slender tube inserted up one's hinder regions that when extended to full length would uncoil from the city limits of St. Petersburg, Florida to somewhere just south of the North Pole.

Included in my exam was an array of tests to determine just how well I can see at this particular time. The standard eye charts were employed with rows of letters and numbers that the attending technician asked repeatedly, "Tell me what you see?" Unless the letters and numbers are as large as the font on your standard billboard, my response was, "Speak a little louder so I'll know where you are." This was followed by trips to different exam rooms wherein there are tabletop gizmos into which one stares intently at a focused light so bright that it rivals the noon day sun. "Don't blink!" instructed the technician, as a river of tears washed across my face. "Now the other eye... No sir, the other eye! Put your chin back on the support cup...'s to your left! A little further left... You've almost got it!" My response, "Keep talking... I'll get it in a minute."

Finally the last procedure is initiated. That's where they dilate your pupils to the size of trash can lids, place a clear plastic cup filled with water over each eye and tell you again not to blink and to sit very still. If this is anything like water-boarding, then I can understand why I was ready to give up the number to my checking account just to get this procedure to come to an end. Now that my eyes were as wide open as the Air Force One hanger doors, I was given a sliver of dark opaque plastic to place between my nose and my eye glasses so that I could walk out into the ultra bright Florida sunlight to accomplish to reasonable goals: #1) to find my vehicle and #2) to not stumble through and tramp down the landscaping in the process. Success on both counts.

So now all that is left is to decide which of three lens options I prefer (and can afford). The first choice is to have an optical lens implanted in each eye that will restore my distance vision, but I'd still need glasses to read. The second option is to restore my distance and intermediate vision range, but reading glasses of a lower magnitude would still most likely be required. The third option - and most expensive - would be to restore my distance vision so that I can see the island of Cuba from my back yard and my up close vision to the point where I can accurately identify atomic particles. I'm toying with either option one or two.

Hopefully in about a month I will say goodbye to my cataracts and hello to the pin on the 4th hole, 460 yards away. A looped advertisement was playing in the physician's wating area that featured endorsements from several prominent public figures, one of which was Gary Player, the South African professional golfer. He attested that before he underwent the corrective Laski procedure, he struggled to break par. After the procedure, Mr. Player entered a tournament and, at the age of 71, posted a score of 79. That's my goal. I am hoping that I will now be able to post a round of golf that is equal to my age. I currently average 91 strokes per round. That means in thirty more years I should indeed be able to shoot my age. FORE!!

Wednesday, September 9

"A Double Standard, To Say The Least..."

I took the time to read the speech given yesterday at noon by President Obama broadcast to the school children of America. I gave it an "A." It was well prepared and well presented. Based on the innocuous theme of the speech, I could have written and delivered that same speech with the same equally anticipated results. In other words, had the White House and the Department of Education restricted themselves initially to merely occupy the bully pulpit of the presidency for the admirable purpose of inspiring our nation's primary and secondary students to strive to obtain the best for themselves from our free educational system, the hubbub that preceded the speech could have been avoided. Where they ran afoul of public opinion was their thinly veiled attempt to utilize the speech as a means to ingratiate the impressionable minds of our youngsters into becoming cheerleaders for President Obama in particular and not the office of the presidency in general.

In other less contentious times, it would be laudable that the Department of Education would wish to assist our nation's school teacher's by offering a themed lesson plan in conjunction with the President's speech in order to make the experience truly a "teachable moment." However, these are contentious times and the mood of the public is one of vocalized distrust and wariness of the executive and congressional branches of our government. When we adults are being bombarded by ceaseless attempts to overly regulate our lives by our government leaders with little if any viable counter intuitive input on our part, we remain on our collective guard to filter very closely every utterance emanating from Washington with a heaping table spoon of salt. The last thing a skeptical public wants to occur is to have the elected leader of these institutions the opportunity to spoon feed our children with unfiltered biased and self-serving propaganda. Perhaps the pro-offered lesson plan would have been benign in content. But even if one chooses to grade on a curve, with the President's and Congress's approval ratings dropping precipitously below fifty percent, on any one's scale these are failing marks. Therefore, is it no wonder that the parent's of America's school children were literally up in arms to permit President Obama to have unfettered access to the minds of our children?

I applaud the President for making the valid and much needed point that each child has a personal responsibility for the degree of learning each derives form their educational experience, emphasizing that success shall only come if the child exercises a determination to become self-reliant and actualized in setting realistic and obtainable goals for their lives. I couldn't agree more. Sad and telling, however, is the fact that the same standard is not equally applied to how our Federal government views our nation's population as a whole; choosing to legislate allocations of trillions of dollars in tax money to be underwritten by the productive members of our nation who do support such self-reliant standards in order to provide a fee ride to those individuals who do not. To say the least, there is a disconnect between what the President embraced in his school house speech yesterday and what he no doubt will likely advocate in his national health care speech before a joint session of Congress this evening.

Wouldn't it be nice if, like the many school districts that granted an excused absence to students who chose to opt out of viewing the President's school house speech yesterday, we too could obtain an excused absence to opt out of the President's speech tonight? The difference is that if we don't pay close attention to what the President says tonight and what Congress may legislate in the days to come, we could all end up in the dog house. Be, therefore, vigilant, dear hearts. The future of our country depends on it.

Monday, September 7

Friday, September 4

"Upon Further Reflection..."

I received a comment from one of my respected blog readers who expressed disappointment in my pronouncement that I was personally glad that the former senior senator from Massachusetts had passed away. Upon further reflection, I too sincerely regret that comment. It was unnecessarily vindictive to say the least.

This statement of apology does, however, in no way diminish my personal adherence to the long standing belief that I had no personal use or an ounce of respect for Ted Kennedy, the public man. I am most profoundly elated that he can no longer assert his personal influence upon the deliberations of the Senate in particular or national policy in general. Kennedy achieved his position and notoriety while alive not by strength of character, but by merely being the third brother to Jack and Bobby. Still the undeniable fact remains, despite all his many flaws and lost battles of character, he was certainly to his family, his many friends and fellow government associates a man that was dearly loved and admired. He deserved those accolades while alive and he most certainly deserves that legacy in death. Wish, do I, that he had merely voluntarily retired from the Senate and lived out the remainder of his a life in blissful peace (and enduring silence).

That having been said, neither do I wish for New York Congressman, representing the congressional district of Harlem, Democrat Charles Rangel, to assume room temperature. I just want him to go away...preferably to jail. Seems Mr. Rangel can take care of everyone's business but his own; he having managed to conveniently forget to list $75,000 in rental income per year from his tropical villa he owns in the Dominican Republic. Mr. Rangel, the Chairperson of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee (which, by the way, writes and oversees the U.S. Tax Code that you and I must live by or face punitive consequence) has offered a number of implausible excuses for his omissions of accounting, including an allegation that the on-going probe into his obscure financial affairs is racially motivated. Sorry Charlie...that test balloon won't fly. You can cry "race" all you want, but the tax code knows no color but green. So, I do not wish Mr. Rangel an untimely demise, just eventually a very timely sentence for tax evasion...the sooner the better.

And, while I'm at it, I also wish long lives to some of my other favorite political miscreants: Nancy Polesi, Harry Reid, the entire Democrat members of congress and, while I'm at it, Borack Obama. Here's hoping that come their next election that the American people shall see the wisdom of sending each into protracted retirement...never to be heard from again. I'm sure we can clean up the mess they've made and put this country back on the road to making it again dedicated responsibly to "we the people" who still believe that this nation is to be faithfully governed for the people and by the people. If that's being vindictive, I can live with it.