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 purpose...to 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... No...it'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.

Tuesday, September 1

Finally...An Employment Opportunity..."

For months I've been searching for just the right type of employment opportunity and finally I've hit upon it: photography. Not just any kind of photography, but the kind like those really creative and talented photo-journalist from National Geographic. They get to travel to some of the most exotic and glamorous locations all around the world. That's for me.


So, I signed up to become a photographer for a company called Up Close And Personal Photography. My eventual assignment will be to travel to the the wilds of Afghanistan. But first I must endure a six month tour of duty in Iraqi, where I will be photographing those still pesky insurgents who still seem hellbent on raising cane in that god-forsaken country. Below is the special tripod I purchased in order to assure that my photos come out dead-on crystal clear. What do you think?


Unfortunately I ran out of space on my self-lettered means to advertise my services, otherwise I would have added a line that read, "And kiss your scrawny, flea-ridden butt goodbye!!"


P.S. I heard an inner-company rumor that a franchise may be opening up really soon in Washington, D.C. Sounds plausible... You know how those bleeding heart liberals just love having their photographs taken at a drop of a hat.