Friday, November 26

"It Could Be Worse, I Suppose..."

Dateline: Topeka, Kansas. Traveling Salesman Killed Crossing The Street

Thomas L. Ledbetter was just steps away from entering the front door of his Kingsbury Heights apartment when he was killed while crossing the street Wednesday afternoon by a hit and run driver. Mr. Ledbetter, employed by Turner Tool & Die, had appeared earlier that day on a local Landover, Maryland television station, wherein he provided his personal opinions on the controversial new TSA security checks now being fully implemented in all the nation's major airports. A seasoned air traveler, having logged thousands of miles in the past 12 years on his company's behalf, Mr. Ledbetter was quoted as saying that he personally had "no problem with the full body scanners. I'd rather know I am safe in the air from any form of terrorist attack, and if a couple of more minutes going through the added security screening can better guarantee that, then I'm all for it." "Besides," concluded Mr. Ledbetter, "I could be run over by a truck just crossing the street." Police have few clues as of press time as to what type of vehicle may have fatally struck Mr. Ledbetter. He was 46.

Allegedly, the news media would have one believe that the majority of Americans were up in arms over the Transportation Safety Administration's newly rolled out screening procedures, being particularly alarmed and reticent in opposition to the "enhanced body pat downs." A major effort to have the flying public "opt out" of the screenings on the day before Thanksgiving, and thus snarl significantly flight departure times nationwide, resulted in very few observed oppositional demonstrations. Recent opinion polls illustrate that well over eighty percent of airline passengers, although somewhat wary of the residual effects of the x-rays being emitted from the full body scanners, still have little overall concern that the additional inconvenience out weights their overriding desire to know that they are safe while flying at thousands of feet above terra ferma. What ties the American public's undergarments in a bunch is what is perceived to be the flagrant violation of their personal space when indiscriminately subjected to the next level of the enhanced screenings; the enhanced body pat downs.

Whereas previous pat downs began initially with an electronic wand passing unobtrusively over ones outer clothing, which then over time graduated to a more hands on approach, whereby the individual TSA screeners gently used only the backs of his or her hands to rub perceptibly the passenger's outer apparel, has now evolved into a full assertive grope. Incident after disturbing incident continues to be reported daily whereby overly enthusiastic TSA screeners devoted to their charged responsibilities have taken the task of assuring that the individual before them in not harboring some type of device that could result in an in-flight catastrophe. Perception is reality and if a female perceives that a total stranger in a TSA uniform is fondling her breast, then it is difficult to convince her otherwise.

Some of the reported, no common sense, antics by TSA screeners boarders on the criminal. Now utilizing the fronts of their hands to run their probing fingers fully up, around and into a person's most private parts is an blatant invasion of one's person. I didn't manage to make such similar intrusive advances on selected members of the opposite sex until I was a sophomore in high school, which as often as not resulted in my getting my face soundly slapped! Such should be, at minimum, the similar fate of the inspectors who venture beyond the merely cursory determination that the person before them in not in fact an agent for Al Quida.

The fictitious Mr. Ledbetter is (was) right: the flying public entertains a far greater risk to life and limb while merely engaged in hailing a cab than logging in-flight hours above the clouds. Personally, therefore, I would rather be safe than sorry and elect to endure the extra minute or two that is required to have my person x-rayed down to my all of its glory...or otherwise. Mind you, however, I expect some minimum degree of discrete and professional decorum from the TSA when it is deemed necessary that an individual undergo an enhanced pat down. Perpetrating a third-degree assault in order to ascertain if such individuals really poses a perceived risk is totally unwarranted. All reported and verified fact based instances in which such a battery occurs should be investigated rigorously and the perpetrator of such an attack prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. A reprimand, a slap on the wrist, and a promise " to do better" will not suffice. The flying public has rightfully an expectation to know that they are safe from all potential terroist harm once they board the airplane. They should have the same expectation that they will also be safe from being sexually acousted by a misguided and overly zealous TSA employee once they cross into the land of the pre-boarding screening checks. That, in my opinion, shouldn't be too much to ask.

Tuesday, November 23

"A Good Economic Indicator..."

For the past ten days a St. Petersburg family and selected friends have been camping out in a tent, 24 hours a day, in front of the local Best Buy in anticipation of being the first in line come this Friday morning when the store doors open to snatch up whatever "special" bargains may be in the offing. To date Best Buy has yet to publicize just what exactly shall be included in their special bargains, but this small and determined cadre of bargain hunters are convinced that it will be well worth their time and effort no matter what merchandise is radically reduced for quick purchase.

According to specialized financial sources, who tract these sort of things, such unwavering exuberance is classified an indicator as to how strong the up-coming holiday shopping season may be. I tend to gravitate toward the conclusion that such folks as these need to get a life. What I do put a great deal of more stock into is the indicator that most likely will not get much print in Forbes Magazine. And that gauge is how well women's more pricier lingerie will sell this season.

Victoria Secret somehow has deemed it beneficial to their bottom line to include me in their weekly emails, which I am sure in an oversight on their part. But not wishing to offend them to request that they omit me from future mailings, I have decided to continue to receive their offerings...strictly for educational purposes only, mind you. (I previously used this same logic with my Mother when I explained to her that the stack of Playboys under my mattress was for the enlightening articles contained therein.) For those of you who are not privy to Victoria's emails, catalogues, and fliers, Victoria continues to be engaged in reinventing those dainty articles of women's minimum apparel that one would think could not possibly be reconfigured into a "must have" for every woman who otherwise would lead one to believe that selected buyers of this particular article of lingerie would have to jog around in the shower to get wet. "Oh contrair, mon ami." New this season, just in time for those dress up holiday party occasions, is Victoria's "Bombshell" push-up bra that is unabashedly advertised as being instantly able to "add two cups sizes." (Will man's ingenuity ever cease to amaze!?!")

So what's the link between Victoria's Secrets' latest effort to lure envious women (and some lascivious men) into their commercialized boudoir and pinpoint economic indicators for the holiday Christmas season? One publication suggests that when women spend money on themselves for items that are not classified as strictly pragmatic, it indicates that there is in the marketplace this year ample discretionary income to fuel a more robust spending outcome. Seems logical to me. With prices beginning at $49.50 and escalating upwards from that point of departure, one had best have more than a few unallocated dollars to dedicate to looking one's plentiful best in that little black party dress.

The article suggests that the best way to determine whether or not women's lingerie will be a "hot item" for optional cash outlays this shopping season is to frequent a local Victoria's Secret and see just how well the store is fairing. In past years I have been merely contented just to have an excuse to hang out in this man's fantasy land, repeatedly replying that "I'm just looking" to the sale's clerk inquiries as to whether or not I might finally need their assistance after observing that I had been fondling the selection of panties for the past forty minutes. Armed now with the ammunition that I am actually doing research on behalf of our nation's struggling economy, I can linger among the endless rows and bottomless drawers of unmentionables for hours on end.

I think it will be more convincing if I take a clipboard with me.

Friday, November 19

" A Completely Unscientific Survey..."

Are Conservative Women More Physically Attractive Than Liberal Women?

It is the question that begs an answer, which members of the fairer sex are more physically attractive in the eyes of the beholder: conservation womenfolk of liberal womenfolk? Take a moment to review examples of both ideological persuasions and judge for yourself...

First, the liberal side of the aisle...

Senator Harry Reid

(Harry asked to be included in the survey just to assure all point of view would be fairly represented.)

Democratic Minority Leader of the House of Representative, Nancy Pelosi

Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano

Secretary of State, Hillary Rodam Clinton

Fox Television News Anchor, Megyn Kelly

The originators of this non-scientific survey realize that making such a determination is a daunting task at best, as no doubt each representative must certainly send a tingle up your leg, but give it your best shot.

Monday, November 15

Above Reproach?

Apparently the self-selected manner by which Congressman Rangle intends to demonstrate what a truly ethical gentleman he has been during his 20-term tenure in Congress was to remove himself from the very venue in which such a declaration would most logically be aired; the House Ethics Committee. Imploring the committee to grant him an additional postponement of the hearings, citing as justification that he had previously spent two million dollars on legal counsel (which subsequently had left his employ), he had exhausted his available personal financial resources and thus could not at this time employ new legal counsel. The committee, comprised of four Democrats and four Republicans, said "No," recognizing that the 2 1/2 year old case had languished long enough. The hearings on Rangle's 13-count misconduct allegations began immediately unabated with Mr. Rangle choosing to be absent from the proceedings.

The preponderance of evidence of Mr. Rangle's malfeasance in the handling of his personal financial and fundraising activities appears at this juncture to be a fate accompli, which if Mr. Rangle is found guilty of any or all charges would most likely result in a full House vote "deploring" his conduct. Such an admonishment would at minimum represent a most sever and public humiliation for Mr. Rangle personally and an equally embarrassing humiliation for his Harlem constituency. None of the charges currently being levied against Mr. Rangle appear to reach the threshold of being eligible for civil criminal prosecution. Committee Chief Counsel, Blake Chisam, stated for the record, "I see no evidence of corruption." Perhaps Mr. Ragle should be thankful and content to hold his breath, less the IRS determine that an investigation into any of his fund raising endeavors made their way into his personal finances without income taxes being paid...especially as it might pertain to his failure to declare rent income from a resort unit he owns in the Dominican Republic.

Although Mr. Rangle would put forth is "50 years of public service" as ample foundation to be accorded latitude in his seeking mercy if not forgiveness for his transgressions, I would contend that such forgiveness, if not total blindness, has been afforded him by the electorate of his Harlem, N.Y. congressional district. Why these good folks, who deserve a representative that should always be above reproach in any of their official duties, would chose to continually elect this unethical man for the past 40 years escapes my powers to comprehend. I can only pose conjecture that the Harlem electorate chooses to adopt the same mentality that was evident in the O.J. Simpson trail; "it's us against them and to hell with them!" The definition of insanity aptly may be applied here: "If you continue to do the same thing and continue to get the same results, etc." Mr Rangle may look good in a suit and he may continue to "bring home the bacon" to his home district, but the man at the end of the day really has only one overriding personal objective, to take care of Mr. Rangle. If the Harlem electorate is satisfied with such mediocrity, then you have it in spades for at least another two years. Congratulations.

Monday, November 8


Microsoft is introducing it's new "windows" phone with a television advertisement that depicts individuals so engrossed with their cell phones while each still remains engaged absentmindedly in other physical activities that otherwise would require some minimum amount of mental awareness. The results are deliberately predictable.

One scene has a woman adorned in alluring lingerie, whose mind is on anything but texting, only to observe contemptively that her significant other is more interested in his cell phone messages than in the overt, obvious fact that his wife is trying to send him her own message. "Really!?!

One dude can't even take time out from relieving himself in a public restroom before his lack of dexterity results in his precious phone falling into the watery abyss. Without missing a beat he quickly retrieves the instrument while the man standing next to him looks on in abject disgust. "Really!?!" Indeed..."Really!?!"

I'm all in favor of technology making our lives easier. The list of technological advances that have evolved since President Kennedy challenged our country to put a man on the moon is staggering, 99% of which I would hazard to guess have had beneficial impact upon how we humans live and conduct of lives. However, as is too often the case, advances designed to be of benefit can also produce contrary and non-beneficial results if the end user's misuse or abuse of the products produce an unintended and hazardous outcome. Microwaves are undeniably great for food preparation, but not to dry one's socks.

Let one person introduce a new type of mousetrap and no sooner has that product saturated the marketplace when another entrepreneur introduces yet another better means of accomplishing the same end result. "Bravo," I say. Microsoft obviously has determined that they can take their most successful "windows" platform and meld it into cell phone application, touting in their commercial that a user can "get in and get out" more quickly so each can get on with living their lives. What isn't suggested in this new version of the "must have electronic toy" is the fact that too many users will do anything but "get in and get out" more quickly, but will find even more reasons (excuses) to have their noses, eyes and full attention glued to that screen.

If the worse result is that some dude lacking in hygienic protocol continues to occasionally drop his new "windows" phone in a series of latrines, then society as a whole may, for the most part, avoid any detrimental consequence. However, there are still far too many people running around unsupervised in polite society who continue to still need prominent warning labels affixed to their coffee containers advising them that the liquid they are about to consume is "hot." These types of obsessed persons are the same gene deprived individuals who will drive unaware through an intersection and into the path of an on-coming vehicle. After the medics have transported their unwitting victims to either the hospital or the morgue, I'm betting that the investigating officer will have something more to say that just "Really!?!"

Thursday, November 4

A Few Parting Words...

On behalf of all Americans who find your voice to be as grating as nine-inch finger nails on a chalkboard and who, unlike you, choose to appear in costume only on Halloween, please let me impart some heartfelt departing words as you slither into the dustbin of obscurity...
"Shut the Hell up!!"
We're going to miss you like a bad case of intestinal distress.

Wednesday, November 3

The Battle Has Been Engaged...


(That's all I'm saying...for the moment.)

Tuesday, May 25

"Headed To That Point Of No Return..."

Here's a shocker... According to the latest Rasmussen poll released today, only 24% of the individuals surveyed "strongly approve" of the job Barack Obama is doing as president. Let me guess... Those would be the same people who have both of their hands thrust forward, palms up, looking for the continuation of their free ride at the expense of every other hard working, over taxed American citizen. Among this collection of hardcore free-loaders is no doubt the individual who, upon hearing that the health care bill had been passed into law, immediately rose from his second hand couch and rushed down to the the nearest walk-in clinic and demanded their free health care. "What do you mean I don't get treated for free? Obama promised!!"

This type of human sloth comprises the voter base on which Obama is counting on to stick with him come hell, high water, or massive amounts of oil sludge washing up upon the shorelines of our gulf states. These waste of human corpuscles, thank God, do not represent a sufficiently large enough number of potential voters to put this colossal mistake of a president back into office for a second term. But the millions of illegal aliens populating our fifty states might just turn the tide if Obama can somehow, with the help of his liberal Congressional acolytes, manage to ramrod an amnesty bill through Congress. Obama and his Democrat minions must lay awake nightly salivating like Pavlovian k-nines at the prospect of tabulating millions of pay back votes for granting unwarranted amnesty to the unimpeded tide of foreign rabble who have been suckling free of charge at our nation's social services breast. Thank God the clear-headed, law abiding citizens of Arizona had the fortitude to undertake the long over due task of exposing the current administration's obvious transparent scheme to look the other way while thousands more illegal aliens flood into their state and say resolutely "No More. The rule of law will be upheld and the inept federal government can 'Go to hell!'"

And now, lurking just below the murky surface of the Obama White House, comes the latest miscalculation of this imperial presidency; the ever growing revelation that a potential bribe was in the offing in the form of a promise of a high raking position in the Obama administration, which would be forthcoming if Representative Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) would withdraw his Senatorial candidacy to unseat incumbent Arlen Specter. Sestak declined the alleged approach, defeated Specter in the Pennsylvania primary, yet has repeatedly maintained such an offer was on the table. Subsequently, however, Sestak has declined to be more specific as to the who, what, when and wheres of the contact from within the Obama White House, suggesting instead that the other person or persons involved "need to explain whatever their role might be."

As expected, the White House has initiated it's oft used full damage control, attempting to minimize the matter by offering the pretense that nothing untold ever transpired. "Lawyers in the White House and others have looked into the conversations that were had with Congressman Sestak, and nothing inappropriate happened." Thus spoke White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, with tale-tale feathers spewing from the corners of his mouth as he tried to dissuade members of the press from entertaining the possibility that his fellow band of ravenous wolves had been inspecting the hen house. At stake is the potential that the alleged job offer may indeed run afoul of federal bribery laws, which, if such allegations prove factual and reach to the utmost echelons of the Obama administration, including perhaps the President himself, could rise to the level of being a prosecutable, impeachable offense. We can only hope...

Obama has been quoted as saying "Plug the damn hole!," in response to his personal frustration that the thousands of barrels oil spewing into the gulf day after day is soiling and interfering with his agenda to remake American into a socialist style European country. "We The People" couldn't agree with you more, Mr. President. We, who comprise the 76% of Americans who believe you are doing a brilliant job of running roughshod over the constitutional rights of all freedom loving Americans are continuing to do our determined and unwavering best to "Plug the damn hole!" Come November 8th we will undertake our electoral form of affirmative action by retaking control of Congress, relegate you to a lame duck, one term President and turn you out of office to languish in the dustbin of deplorable American history. The day of the final Rasmussen poll on your job approval evaluation is fast approaching. It shall be your day of reckoning and it can't come too soon to suit me.

Saturday, April 24

"Do It Right Or Go Home!!

Obama... What do you not understand about the word "illegal?"

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer took a gigantic and courageous step to confronting the tsunami of illegal immigrants that have been and continue to flood into her state by signing on this past Friday a statue that gives authority to state law enforcement agencies to question persons of suspicion as to their immigration status.

The hue and cry from the vocal opposition centers around the contention that such a law will legalize rampant profiling. Since it factually calculated that tens of thousands of illegal immigrants - primarily from neighboring Mexico - already reside in Arizona, one could safely assume that even with an occasional spot check one would uncover individuals who have to date crossed into our country without benefit of proper documentation. Profiling? I would hope so. It is about time that some one took the long over due initiative to confront this problem that is draining and straining the resources of many local and state governments, especially those that are in geographic proximity to Mexico. Do I care that there will be individuals inconvenienced by having a police officer inquire as to their legal immigration status? Absolutely not. If you came into this country legally, welcome. If not, you are going to be arrested and deported back to your country of origin and I won't lose a wink of sleep over it.

Of course Mr. Obama was quick to decry the Arizona initiative by labeling it "misguided," and further commenting that such a threatening effort serves "to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans." Tell me Mr. Obama, what is inherently fair about having approximately 10.8 million illegal immigrants sucking off the limited and underfunded resources of the American tax payers who must underwrite the social service benefits that these individuals soak up without contributing on penny in recompense? Apparently you idea of fairness, Mr. Obama, has very little if anything to do with the established and long upheld laws that for decades have dictated the correct and proper manner by which a foreign national may solicit and obtain legal status in this country. Climbing over a fence in the dead of night is not, to my knowledge, a statue that is duly recognized as permissible by any of the current immigration law.

Illegal immigrants have no "civil rights" in this country. Mr. Obama can have the Justice Department delve into that issue all he wants. The fact remains that illegal immigrants lose their civil rights when they elect of their own free will to cross the U.S. and Mexico boarder without benefit of a valid passport. They maintain only basic human rights, which prescribes that if and when they are apprehended each shall be treated with dignity and courtesy...and then given a helping hand to board the bus back to Mexico. That is all they are due, period.

Once again Mr. Obama, your continuing misguided efforts to wrought change on America is woefully misplaced. Americans, for the greatest majority, are not bigoted or prejudiced people. But we are a fair minded people. We expect and now demand that our fellow citizens, and all those who would wish to be accorded that status, do things according to the established laws of the land...not by the whim of an unpopular president or hordes of Democratic adherents who seek to admit these illegal millions solely for the sake of better assuring their re-election.

Arizona got it right. Now if all of the southern boarder states would do the same this country will begin at long last to turn back the tide of illegal immigrants. Washington doesn't prescribe to fairness. It only prescribes to self-serving rhetoric. Mr. Obama, I ask you again. What part of the word "illegal" seems to be giving you the most difficulty? Do the country an immense more golf and stay the hell out of the American people's way!

Monday, April 12

"Another Milestone Achieved..."

Much to my chagrin, it's been over a month since I last posted to my blog. I've thought about doing so numerous times during my self imposed interlude, but every time the notion occurred that I was being delinquent in exercising what limited writing ability I may possess, I came to the conclusion that my subject matter would no doubt be centered around my continuing extreme displeasure with what is occurring in our nation's capital. I am reticent to belabor that matter at further length for no apparent benefit to anyone other than myself. In my opinion there is no endearing benefit in continuing to work myself up into a frothy lather. At least not until the latter part of this coming summer when it will be time to whip up the languishing discontent among my fellow citizens and join them in our gathering march to the polls in November to cast a landslide of votes in opposition to those who have so foolishly disregarded our demands for common sense representation. Let those who consider themselves intellectually superior to the common man enjoy their few remaining weeks to relish their short-lived victories. The bell of just recompense shall toll for them in due time.

For me life has continued on a leisurely pace unabated. My 62nd birthday arrived without major fanfare last Thursday. I am now officially eligible to begin collecting my monthly social security stipend beginning in June. I shall welcome the extra monthly income to help augment my part-time employment, which fluctuates between 20 and 30 hours a week. I'm not complaining. In fact I am most thankful that I have this opportunity to earn a weekly wage, as there are so many people in this state and tri-county area that have been out of work for months and, in many cases, a year or more without a single prospect of finding any type of job.

A couple of weeks back a local company advertised that they were looking to hire a couple hundred people for a new construction project and over 7,000 folks showed up in the hopes of landing one of the offered positions. I couldn't help but be profoundly saddened as I studied the faces on the television screen who displayed so much desperate hope, yet knowing that for the greatest majority this effort would be but yet another disappointment in their struggle to keep mind, body and spirit afloat for yet another day. Yes, I am most fortunate and blessed to possess a marketable skill that affords me the opportunity to keep the creditor wolves away from my threshold.

My birthday was both a blessing and a curse. The blessing was having daughter Megan home from Chicago to spend 10 days with us. Our home was once again regaled with the laughter and spirited conversation that she and many of her friends re-introduced to our dinner table. Having her boyfriend Greg in her company for a shorter visit with us was also an added joy. We played golf together and renewed our fondness for one another.

The curse came with the realization that the gurgling sound emanating from the tub in the bathroom was most likely, as I suspected, due to the distinct possibility that the sewer pipe leading from our home out to the alley was most likely clogged. The tale tale odor that was turning the air blue around the old homestead was also an odious clue. So, rather than paying some day laborer to dig up the back yard, I spent my birthday weekend shoveling a trench three feet deep, following the uncovered sewer pipe section by section, knowing that sooner (I hoped) than later I would find the breach. What I discovered, much to my chagrin, was that the pipe I was laboriously uncovering was not in fact the actual sewer line, but had been abandoned years ago. I made this disappointing discovery when the last pipe I uncovered did not connect to another section. It just stopped! "Great!! Now what!?!" Since our home was constructed in the late 1920's, common sense dictated that somewhere beneath my feet was yet another sewer line or else, for all these many past decades, our waste was merely evaporating into the sandy soil to parts unknown. Fat chance...

Another hour and another two feet in the direction of China and I finally came across the heretofore illusive line and began once again digging my way toward the west side of the house where I knew I had previously replaced a bad section of line. About 9 p.m. I uncovered the broken pipe. "Victory!" However, repairs and replacement would have to wait until the following day, as I could barely drag my 62 year old body out of the ditch. Came too soon Saturday morning and once again I was back at it. A trip to Home Depot for PVC pipe and fittings and by noon all was repaired. Yelling out to Judi, "Let 'er rip!," she flushed in succession both toilets and I carefully inspected to make sure there were no leaks. Again to Judi, "If you'll pardonn the expression, 'We're good to go!.'" "Hurray!" came back here reply. By 9 p.m. I had again refilled the ditch and was left pondering if there is an unwritten Murphy's Law that states that "No matter how deep is the hole, them amount of dirt removed will not all go back into the same hole!" I'm left with two piles of dirt (make that sand...this is Florida after all) with no place to dispose of same. Alas...this conundrum must wait until next Saturday when I have allowed my tired old muscles the chance to recuperate. Maybe my neighbors won't notice that I've spread my wealth of good fortunes over their yards.

So...that's how I spent my birthday weekend. It could have been a lot worse, but I'm having difficulty imagining how.

P.S. If birthdays are regarded as achievable and celebrated milestones, how come the final destination is marked with a headstone?" Seems to me to be a matter of diminishing returns...

Friday, February 26

"Bite This!!"

"Charade" That's the word I finally settled on after contemplating the sum total of what transpired at yesterday's health care summit. "Charade: an absurdly false or pointless act or situation." Not unlike a fixed horse race, anyone with a shred of common sense knew before hand to bet the mortgage on the obvious result of this colossal waste of time.

The script of the proceedings was a predictable as a sunrise. The Democrats, lead by plaintive in chief, Barack Obama, opened the summit by reading excerpts from several letters forwarded to his attention that were employed to illustrate the dire straits of thousands of Americans who are allegedly suffering immeasurably from a lack of health insurance and thus emphasizing the urgent need for Congress to get down to the business of passing a comprehensive health care bill...the Democrats health care bill. Aside for stating the obvious, that the health care system in America is broken, this exercise had the underlying motive to set the stage to portray the Republicans in attendance as uncaring, heartless, "do nothing" bureaucrats, who collectively could give a rat's rear end about the plight of the average American. For the Democrats, this type of theater is, in the end, best defined as delivering heavy on assumption rather than clarifying substance.

Enter stage left, representative Louise Slaughter (Democrat - New York), who, in incredulous tones of shocked disbelief, delivered her singular example of why the Democrat's version of health care reform is the only viable means to extricate American from is current malaise. "I had one constituent - you would not believe this, and I know you won't, but it's true - her sister died. This poor woman had no dentures - she wore her dead sister's teeth, which were uncomfortable, did not fit. Did you ever believe that in America that that's where we would be?" I'm surprised there wasn't a dry eye in the room after that sob story. Assuming that the endless stories of gloom and doom are not in part total fabrications, the obvious answer that would be quickly attested to by everyone in that conference room and equally so by every citizen in America who heard this pitiful story is clearly "No."

That being said, here's the bottom line. Cut out all of the sob stories. Enough already! Americans are acutely aware that the sum total of health care in this country is completely out of control. It is either monetarily unobtainable for far too many, has too many restrictions, and is destined to bankrupt completely America's already floundering economy. We need health care reform...period. What we don't need is a bunch of entrenched demagogues sitting around a conference table or meandering the halls of Congress devoted to the unending quest of bolstering their own political partisanship and career longevity. This attitude of "Do it my way or else," has done nothing but enrage the electorate who have reduced Obama's job approval rating into the 40 percentile and Congress to the all time low of 10%. 49% of polled Americans have voiced the opinion that it would be better if the President and Congress did absolutely nothing than to pass the health care reform bill that is presently languishing in the Senate. Based on the outcome of yesterday's travesty, it appears that our so-called elected leaders are well on the way to accomplishing that goal. As a result the American people are the ultimate losers, being held captive by an ineffectual collection of bickering hostiles.

Given the opportunity to yet again witness another colossal waste of time as was the ultimate result of yesterday's health care summit, I'd sooner spend six hours glued to my television watching Olympic curling. That at least displays some semblance of dedicated activity. But to what end, I have no idea.

Friday, February 5



Dateline: Miami. An unexpected pall has today suddenly and most unexpectedly befallen the multitudes of heretofore rapturous fans who were in full party mode in preparation for this Sunday's Super Bowl. Cupid, the nymph-like mythological god of erotic love and beauty, was found dead this morning, shot through the back with one of his own arrows.

Miami's renowned Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) team, capably spearheaded (pardon the pun) by Lieutenant Horation "H" Caine, were immediately summoned to the crime scene to ascertain the particulars surrounding this most bazaar and heinous crime.

Mr. Wolfe: "Ain't this a kettle of shrimp!?! Cupid, dead as a carp!"

"H:" "Indeed, Mr. Wolfe. Your powers of observation become more acute with each new case. Alexx, can you pinpoint the T.O.D. and probable cause of death?"

Alexx Woods: "Well 'H,' by the amount of rigor that has set in and the temperature of his liver, I'd say the time of death was pretty close to 22 minutes and 16 seconds past the hour of 10 p.m. last night. As for the cause of death, I think we can safely assume it wasn't self-inflicted."

"H:" "Ah Alexx, let's be very careful to be guided only by the forensic evidence in the case. Remember last year when we assumed the Easter Bunny had been murdered by a disgruntled rival bunny trying to hone in on the Easter Bunny's territory, only to discover that our victim had choked on a wad of self-inflicted jelly beans."

Alexx: "True 'H,' but the fact that his bow and quiver of arrows is missing from the crime scene, I'd say the chances of Cupid, here, having the wherewithal to run himself through and through, front to back, with one of his own arrows is about as good as this show has of winning an Emmy. Of course, that's just my highly educated opinion."

"H:" "Careful there, Alexx. Let's try to keep in mind who is the undisputed star of this show. Mr. Wolfe, if you can wipe that horrified look off of your face, I want you to get back to the crime lab and see if you can lift any latent prints off of this note and the shaft of the arrow. And before you go, make sure you clean up that mess where you threw up. This ain't your first rodeo, buckaroo."

Alexx: "What do you think the note means, 'H,' 'No, I won't be your valentine?'"

"H:" "It means, Alexx, Love ain't all it's cracked up to be, but I'm gonna prove whoever did this dastardly deed wrong!"

Super Bowl and CBS officials have expressed sincere condolences at the passing of this well known and loved icon, but have vowed that the game will go on as scheduled. A CBS representative, who commented on the condition of anonymity, said that the NFL is taking "added precautions" to assure that no harm will come to the players, fans or dignitaries attending the game. "It never crossed our minds that we would cancel the game. Are you kidding me!?! We're charging 3 millions dollars for a 30-second commercial! We don't care if the President of Hallmark Cards chokes on chocolate covered bon-bons while sitting in his luxury box. The game is going on as scheduled!"

Miami P.D. has promised to release further details related to the continuing investigation of the crime as they become available. "We are confident that Lieutenant Caine and his CSI team will get to the bottom of this terrible incident before the last commercial break."

"Spoil Sport..."

"Well, excrement deleted!" (I am trying to stay away from the word "CRAP!!") Just when I was about to put a down payment on this little dingy pictured at left, along comes our imperial President, Mr. Obama, to put the squashola on that idea. Seems he is suddenly concerned that we ignorant folks out here in the hinterland, who lack the mental marbles to manage our personal finances, are prone to make impulse purchases when prudence (and a lack of a full time job) might dictate otherwise.

"When times are tough, you tighten your belts. You don't go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. And you don't blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you're trying to save for college." Thank you, Mr. President. Going to Las Vegas for a fun-filed week of uninhibited binge spending at the roulette table was the very next thing on my list after I made sure I had put enough money aside to purchase groceries this week.

Apparently Mr. Obama's attempt at making a cogent comment about personal financial responsibility was done so sans his usual reliance on a prepared text and his ever faithful crutch, the TelePrompter. I thought our last President had a sever case of foot-in-mouth, so regularly (and comically) inept was Mr. Bush in doing battle with the English language. But dear God in Heaven, at least George wasn't trying to deliberately impress everyone that he was the smartest and cleverest man in the room. Obama, on the other more disturbing hand, seems enamored with the illusion that he is not only the most intelligent and sharp-witted individual in the room, but that his espoused words are so eloquent and profound that they instantly turn tap water into vintage wine.

The last people President Obama should be lecturing about fiscal responsibility is the average Joe and Josephine American, they/we who can only stand by in abject disbelief as Congress raises the nation's spending debt limit to yet more out-of-this-universe heights and he puts forth a proposed Federal budget for 2011 of $3.8 trillion dollars, in spite of the fact that estimated revenues from collected taxes will fall 1.56 trillion dollars short of balancing the budget. Don't look now, but this continuation of spending money we don't have lunacy has already shackled every man, woman and child in this country to a personal debt responsibility of $10,00 per person! Buy a boat? Go to Vegas? Are you kidding me! If this keeps up, we'll all be lucky if the average middle American can afford to purchase a pack of chewing gum.

By all means, Mr. President, you keep climbing up on every available rostrum and use it as your bully pulpit to lecture America on what a terrific job you and the Democrat Congress are doing to be fiscally conscientious. I'm all ears...

Wednesday, January 27

"Thank You, Johnny Gilbert..."

There are current studies by the boatload that suggest numerous ways for older persons to remain mentally sharp and, therefore, delay if not forgo the onset of senility. Regularly scheduled physical exercise coupled with the frequent performance of gray matter taxing endeavors such as working on a New York TIMES crossword puzzle, reading War & Peace, composing a sonata, penning the next great American novel, or filling out one's Federal income tax form is said to assist significantly in keeping one's mental dexterity perking along like a Maytag washing machine. Or you can just jolt your acumen quotient, as Judi and I do, by merely tuning in nightly to back-to-back Wheel Of Fortune and Jeopardy games shows.

Wheel requires one to compute, along with the three on-stage contestants, what is the final selected phrase by mentally inserting into the obscured blanks the still remaining missing letters. I am convinced that some people have a innate gift for doing this. I'm not one of those individuals. Unless it is a simplistic phrase like "_EE D_IK R_N," I am at a loss to have any clue. Jeopardy, on the other hand, requires a participant to have more than a passing knowledge about a whole host of trivial information, to be able to recall same, and to pose the answer in the form of a question. Example: "In the category of Nursery Rhymes for $200.00, complete the phrase, 'Jack and Jill went the hill to do what?'' A possible answer: "Is that really any of our business, Mr. Trebeck?"

Jeopardy is contested by employing a wide variety of not necessarily related categories that run the entire gamut of human knowledge. I usually do fairly well in those areas that have to do with such sub-categories as American history, sports, geography, Old and New Testament, prominent names in the news, etc. However, there are some categories that I am as dumbfounded and as lost and as last year's Easter eggs! Poetry, English Literature, Math, Shakespeare, et. al., leave me with my usual blank look on my face. Sample: "In the category Japan for $1,000, what is the title of their national song?" Answer: "Who the hell cares, Alex?"

There is one segment of Jeopardy that I find particularly amusing and often time annoying at the same time. That is when Mr. Trebeck takes a few moments, after returning from the first commercial break, to briefly interview each of the three contestants, asking each to relate some tidbit of intriguing information from their checkered past. These good folks come from all over the place and relay a portion of their history that would cast an insomniac into an irreversible state of catatonia.

Mr. Trebeck: "Let's meet and get to know a little bit about our two new contestants on today's show. First, let me introduce you to Alexi Petrov, a recent immigrant from Kachkanae, Russia, a retired high wire performer in the Moscow Circus, who has an interesting story about how he met his wife."

Mr. Petrov: "Ya, Alex. I make misstep from wire, lose balance and fall on her. It was love at first sight. We consummate marriage after we both get out of hospital."

Mr. Trebeck: "Wow! That sounds like it left a mark on both of you for life. Next, let's meet our next contestant, Regenia Glassbender. She is currently a welder in the shipyard at Portsmouth, Virginia, and she has a very unusual hobby. Tell us about it, Regenia."

Regenia: "Okie-dokie, Alex. I'm pretty good with an arch welder, so my hobby is to take discarded beer cans and weld them together to make them into likenesses of historical personalities."

Mr. Trebeck: "What are some of the people you have sculpted, so so speak?

Regenia: I've got one of George Washington crossing the Delaware, one of Paul Revere on his horse, and my favorite is Lady Godiva in all her natural beauty." Mr. Trebeck: "My, that must take a lot of beer cans."

Regina: "Yep...that's my other hobby. Drinking like a fish!"

Mr. Trebeck: "Moving on...let's get reacquainted with our returning champion, whose two-day earnings totals $10.95, Mildred Saulesbury, a librarian who hales from Lac-qui-Parle, Minnesota. Mildred too has an interesting hobby that her fellow Minnesotans are fond of pursuing in the cold months of winter. Tell us about it, Mildred."

Mildred: "You bettcha, Alex. When I'm not patrolling the stacks of the Lac-qui-Pale Municipal Library on the look out for vagrants, I spend my off-time ice fishing."

Mr. Trebeck: "And how's that been working out for you? Have any fish stories to tell us?"

Mildred: "You bettcha, Alex. I am credited with catching the largest walleyed pike ever recorded in Minnesota. A two-hundred and twelve pounder that took me two broken paddles, a busted ice-cooler, a chainsaw, a fifty foot length of rope attached to my '57 Buick, and three hours to land, but I did it!"

Mr. Trebeck: "Sounds like a pretty big fish story to me, there Mildred."

Mildred: "Are you suggesting that I'm making this story up, Alex!?!"

Mr. Trebeck: "Okay contestants, grab your clickers and let's play 'Double Jeopardy.' Mr. Petrov, you have control of the board."

Mr. Petrov: "Okay... Let's start with myths and fables for $400.00."

(So, we who are advancing toward octogenarians that wish to keep our minds supple and nimble have a multitude of choices we may pursue. You can waste a whole bunch of hours trying to become the next Rembrandt, Hemingway, or Mozart...or you can do what Judi and I do; get yourself comfortable in front of the television and for one hour every night fill in the banks on Wheel and answer the questions on Jeopardy.)

Mr. Trebeck: "Today's Final Jeopardy category is Mathematics. Mr. Petrov will not compete in the Final Jeopardy round, as he is $25,800 in the red. Milred, our returning champion is in second place with a grade total of $15.00 and an I.O.U., and in first place is Regenia, who is a buck and quarter ahead of Mildren. Okay, Mildre and Regenia, make your wagers and mark down your repsonse to this Final Jeopardy clue. 'In Euclidean geometry, the realtionship among the three sides of a right triangle.'"

Come on dwebs... You know the answer to this.

Tuesday, January 26

"Put Your Money Where Your Ovaries Are!"

Let me open the following salvo by stating that I am pissed! As a professing and practicing Christian, I'm not suppose to reach such a state of personal dissatisfaction. I am suppose to be only mildly annoyed when confronted with an issue of conscience. That variety of countenance appears to be the only permitted means of expression that a Christian is to display, so intent is the secular left on marginalizing Christianity in America today, preferring that we keep our opinions to ourselves and, like unruly children, permitting us at best to reluctantly be seen, but not heard. Screw that!

Here's what's royally pissing me off! The young man pictured above is Mr. Tim Tebow, he an honor graduate of the University of Florida, an All-American quarterback who lead his Gator football team to two consecutive national NCAA football championships, the winner of the Hesiman trophy in 2007 for being recognized and honored as the best collegiate football player in America, and an unabashed, professing Christian. It is superfluous in the scope of this dissertation to go into greater detail about the accomplishments of this young man when such information is readily available in source materials published on the WEB. Suffice it to say that Tim represents what is genuinely good and decent in a young man for which Americans should justly be proud and celebratory. Unfortunately, for a select few malcontents, being a good and decent human being is to be ridiculed when it is coupled with a professing faith in Jesus Christ.

Throughout his football playing career, Tim has withstood resolutely the slings and arrows of criticism by a minuscule collection of narrow-minded sports commentators who verbosely protest his personal pronouncement of his Christian faith by displaying Biblical scripture references within the confines of his eye black, and for having the audacity to publicly proclaim his allegiance and thanksgiving to God for his life's accomplishments; his unrelenting critics pompously stating that such public displays of personal religion is offensive and has no place in organized sport. Where the right to free speech is still - for the time being -constitutionally protected - these moaners and groaners have the right to their obviously biased opinions, although I find their constricted attitudes that clearly lie outside the boundaries of sport to be pitifully laughable and equally offensive to me.

Now Tim and his mother, Pam, find themselves embroiled in another bubbling controversy, both of whom are slated to appear in a 30-second television promotion that is to be broadcast in the up-coming Super Bowl on February 5th. The spot, sponsored and underwritten by the Christian advocacy group, Focus On The Family, is an expected testimony by Pam Tebow, entitled "Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life," that shall recount her troubledpregnancy when she became dangerously ill while on a mission trip to the Philippines, she choosing to ignore the strenuous counsel by her attending physicians to abort her anticipated fifth child, Tim.

Entering on the far left is the shrill protest of the New York based Women's Media Center, collectively representing the National Organization for Women, the Feminist Majority and other out-spoken right to abortionist groups, lobbying CBS to cancel the ad based on the proclamation , "An ad that uses sport to divide rather than to unite has no place in biggest national sports event of the year - an even designed to to bring America together. Unable or most likely reticent to articulate its own position on their long staked out territory of a woman's right to choose, the letter of protest elected instead to suggest to CBS that their present decision to air the ad could inflict immediate and long term detrimental consequence. "By offering one of the most coveted advertising spots of the year to an anti-equality, anti-choice, homophobic organizations, CBS is aligning itself with a political stance that will damage its reputation, alienate viewers, and discourage consumers from supporting its shows and advertisers." Feeble, but nice try ladies. If that is the only argument that you can concoct to justify your displeasure, then be assured that the only hot air being bellowed about is the inconsequential breeze blowing up your collective skirts!

The rule of law, established via the landmark case Roe v. Wade, has established since 1973 that a woman may abort her fetus for any reason up until the "point at which the fetus (read: infant, baby, human child) becomes viable." That is 37 years of unfettered license to choose to live your lives without the unencumbered responsibility to otherwise alter your life style to accommodate the consequences of your choosing with forethought to be an equal partner in a complicit sexual act. You are holding all of the judicial precedent cards, but that, in spite of the fact that the latest national survey ( clearly documents that Americans as a whole regard abortion to be "morally wrong," you, who are in the increasingly minority opinion to contrary, still feel threatened by a 30-second ad that dares celebrate the blessing of family and life. If shallowness is a virtue, you women have the market cornered.

Still got a prickly burr under your saddle? Here's the solution. Take up a collection among your sisterhood and raise the going price of 3 million dollars to voice your opposing position. Put your money where your ovaries an ad. Otherwise, switch the channel or shut up!

I told you I am pissed...

Saturday, January 23

"Learning Not To Sweat So Much..."

I discovered anew, among my many "Books I Intend To Read," a copy of Henry David Thoreau's "Walden," which I am trudging through with determined difficulty; laboring to become more at ease and adept at understanding his New England, 19th century style of prose. I thought I was the champion of run-on sentences, but Mr. Thoreau has repeatedly left me scratching my head in confusion when I finally come to the end of one of his disjointed thoughts. Yet the intent of this particular volume rings clear, learning and being comfortable with having and doing less. In a nutshell, reducing one's desires and expectations to the lowest, sustainable denominator, i.e., a simple and uncomplicated life. As I daily grow older, his exhortations for that type of lifestyle beckons me more strongly with each passing day.

My wife Judi is a doer, a list maker, a purpose drive life that must include some measurable end result for every activity in which she elects to become immersed. As nature abhors a vacuum, Judi loathes a free moment that is not replete with a decisive plan to move forward to a greater end. I find no particular fault with this means and method of transversing through life, except when she finds my means and methods of ordering my life to the contrary as unacceptable...

"How can you just sit in front of that computer all day? Can't you find something more constructive to do with your time?"

"Yes, as a matter of fact, I suppose I could, but I chose not to. I am doing what I deem beneficial to the well-being of my mental and spiritual health. I am reading and writing, because that is and has been my life-long passion."

I think I would have been a soul mate of Mr. Thoreau had I been born in his era, so intent am I in my desire to continue to order my life to its most simplistic elements. And the ever deepening depressing news of our nation's fortunes serves only to further convince me that jousting at heretofore productive windmills that are continuing to be stilled by the downturn of our economy serves no viable purpose. The nation's unemployment rate stands unsteadily at a near historical high, with my home state of Florida reporting 11.8 percent unemployment, and the Tampa Bay area jobless rate is even higher at 12.4 percent. Am I throwing in the towel and giving up? No. I am fortunate enough to have a part-time, on-call position that has thus far kept the majority of the wolves away from our doors. I am determined, however, that I am not going to succumb to the temptation of allowing my BVDs to become all bunched because I am not fully employed. What I have done or what I may again do in the future in the way of employment, if anything, has never ever defined who I am or what I am as a person.

To quote Mr. Thoreau... "In short, I am convinced, both by faith and experience, that to maintain one's self on this earth is not a hardship, but a pastime, if we will live simply and wisely; as the pursuits of the simpler nations are still the sports of the more artificial. It is not necessary that a man should earn his living by the sweat of his brow, unless he sweats easier than I do."

Today I read another chapter in "Walden," wrote a little, and sorted through all of the dozens of t-shirts I have accumulated over the years that Judi has been after me to accomplish. Score: Judi is appeased (for the moment) and I never broke a sweat once.

Tuesday, January 19

"A Beacon Of Real Hope And Change..."

After a series of defeats from Dunkirk to Singapore, Winston Churchill could finally announce to the House of Commons on November 10, 1942 that "We have a new experience. We have a victory." Generals Alexander and Montgomery had turned back the forces of Nazi Germany's foremost field general, Rommel, at El Alamein in "The Battle of Egypt", thus winning what Churchill recognized as the first major decisive victory for the British. Still, this was only one battle with three more bloody years of sacrificial battles yet to be fought; their ultimate outcomes yet to be determined. Churchill understood the magnitude of the daunting task that lay yet ahead for his country and the free world allies when he tempered his celebratory speech with these famous words of restraint. "Now this not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

On Tuesday evening the voters of Massachusetts, a state that has been a generational liberal Democrat strong hold, voted decisively 52-47 percent to reject the hand-picked and previously touted "shoe-in" Democrat candidate, Attorney General Martha Coakley, electing, by a margin of 120,000 votes, Republican Scott Brown. Declaring the heretofore sacrosanct "Kennedy Senatorial Seat" as the "People's Seat," Brown parlayed successfully a savvy grass-roots appeal to the disenfranchised and dissatisfied independent-minded Massachusetts's electorate, thus sending an undeniably shrill clarion message to the Washington's governing elite that their unfettered progressive, liberal efforts to steam-roll this nation into generational bankruptcy shall no longer be left unchallenged.

Before the final votes had been tallied in Tuesday's election, the spin misters of the liberal press were feebly attempting to provide rationalized cover for their Washington darlings, suggesting that the outcome was not a referendum of President Obama's misguided "hope and change" visions for this country, but was merely an anomaly of minuscule irrelevance that would be over-ridden and soon forgotten once the universal health care bill is passed and the American public began to benefit from its provisions. President Obama, offering his own narrow perspective on the election, failed to grasp the underlying message of dissatisfaction with his policies and program initiatives, declaring that the Massachusetts voters were merely continuing to voice their unrequited disgust with the Bush administration's record of escalated spending that Obama had inherited and was forced to "clean up." The Democrats and the Obama administration's thinly veiled facade of wishing to whistle pass the grave yard as a result of Tuesday's election cannot alter the fact that they are now poised on the precipice of a yawing political abyss that liberty and freedom loving Americans stand ready to welcome them over the edge.

Thomas Paine, with an impassioned intent to invigorate anew the flagging and bedraggled spirits of the patriot army under the generalship of George Washington, penned the following inspiring words that echo forth just as eloquently and purposefully today.

"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in his crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman, Tyranny, like hell, is nor easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing value."

Should Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts be regaled and exuberantly celebrated as a welcomed wedge of restraint inserted into our nation capital's business-as-usual excesses? Absolutely! But this unique and special election represents only the very first definitive shot of many that must be hurled across the the bow of those of the Washington elite who have yet to fully comprehend that the nation's business is to be fully articulated, controlled and arbitrated by "we the people." The enemies of conservative, common sense governance yet today remain entrenched, but their flanks have been exposed. The fight to take back our government has won its first decisive victory , but there are many battles that lay still ahead. We who love the tried and proved traditions of a free, representative government, that listens to the heart and drumbeat of our people, must remain engaged, committed and ever vigilant to see this rightful quest through to its proper and fitting conclusion. "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in..." - Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

Monday, January 18

"What Are The Chances?"

Dateline: Vaxjo, Sweden - "Floor Collapses At Swedish Weight Watchers Clinic.

In what might otherwise would make for an entertaining skit for Monty Python's Flying Circus, can only be described as comedic irony when the second floor of the Vaxjo Weight Watcher's Clinic collapsed beneath a group of 20 program participants on Wednesday. The participants had gathered for their scheduled weekly meeting to determine how much weight each participant had shed since their last gathering. As paradoxical coincidence would have it, the participant's weight wasn't the only thing to fall that day.

"I had just stepped on the scales," said Ebba Gustavasson, a veteran attendee of the group, "when I heard a loud crack. I instantly jumped off the scales thinking, 'Dear God! What have I done!?!'" The cracking noise Ebba heard was the sound of the floor beneath her feet beginning to give way.

According to Ebba's fellow horrified Weight Watchers who were witnesses to the event, the floor in one corner of the room dropped several inches and was followed by a continuing separation along the room's walls. "Everything just sort of flew up in the air" continued Gustavasson, "and all I could think of was getting out of there."

Fortunately, the floor failed to collapse completely, allowing all of the participants to escape to another part of the building where, undaunted, they continued the evening's weigh-in. "I wasn't about to let a little thing like the floor dropping out from under me to keep me from showing that busy-body Helga Johansen that I'd lost more weight than she had," continued Gustasson. "All she does is brag brag, brag about how her deadbeat of a husband looks at her differently now that she no longer has to sleep in her garage."

Local building inspectors were on scene Thursday morning to try to determine the cause of the collapse. Asked if the failure could in any way be attributed to the fact that the local Weight Watcher's Chapter had been utilizing the facility at the time of the incident, Chief Building Inspector, Valborg Loonroth, declined to speculate. "We're looking into every possibility," said Loonroth. "We're not ruling out anything at this time. The building is not that old and should have carried any reasonable amount of weight. However, we have asked the person in charge of the Weight Watchers program to provide us the individual participant's weights that were recorded last evening, just to cover all of the possible causes. We're hoping we don't have to acquire a court order to do so."

The Vaxjo Weight Watcher's chapter is currently seeking a new location for their weekly meetings, preferably somewhere on the first floor.

Friday, January 15

"Who You Gonna Call?"

On Tuesday of this week all hell broke loose when an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Ricter scale unleashed its catastrophic fury on the Haitian nation's capital city of Port-au-Prince. The resulting devastation wrought by this monumental seismic event is incalculable by even the best estimates. The International Red Cross conjectures that three million people were immediately affected by the quake. The final tally as to the loss of life may never be fully known, but ultimately it will be in the tens of thousands. Thousands upon thousands died instantly, entombed under the crashing crush of tons of concrete. Death patiently waits in silence for thousands of more unfortunate souls that will most likely succumb to their untreated mortal wounds. And thousands more may be additionally lost without the immediate and wide spread delivery of life sustaining food and water. The violence of mob rule, fueled by the instinct of survival at any cost, potentially threatens to add yet more victims to the death toll.

A nation widely considered as continuing to be among the poorest countries in the western hemisphere, it's population of 8.7 million inhabitants live a daily hand-to-mouth existence, attempting to survive on the average per person earnings of two dollars a day. With a history of frequent coup d'etats, control of the country has continued to be plagued by one more corrupt government after another; thus rendering the Haiti government officials impotent to initiate even the most rudimentary response to this horrific, beyond mortal comprehension, national disaster.

Even before the concrete dust clouds had settled the world heard the anguish cries of the Haitian people and began to formulate action plans to lend immediate aid. Those humanitarian efforts are even now pouring into the country, slowly but steadily reaching the body strewn streets of Port-au-Prince and the surrounding countryside with medical teams, rescue personnel, and subsistence supplies. Forging the lead in this gigantic humanitarian effort is the powerful and highly capable armed forces of the United States.

So much of the world is quick to condemn our nation for is supposed imperialistic intent. But when the gates of hell open up and swallow the unfortunate victims of wide-spread disaster, who first do these malcontents immediately turn to to bring order out of chaos? America. No nation in the history of nations has sacrificed more, accomplished more, or provided more humanitarian assistant than the United States of America. Our country has earned the right time and time again to proclaim itself to be a proud nation of caring citizens that upholds and honors its heritage of selfless humanitarian service.

The world of envious despots and ideologues may continue to chose to selfishly criticize our motives, but they dare not criticize our deeds. America is on the ground in Haiti and we will remain there until we have accomplished all that is humanly possible to ease the pain and suffering of the Haitian people. We ask nothing in return. Our thanks is deeply embedded in the knowledge that as Americans, we can do no less.

Indeed, when the crap hits the proverbial fan, who else but America would you call? Without hesitation or reservation, we always answer the call. And, Lord willing, we always will.

Saturday, January 9

"It's Raining Iguanas, Hallelujah!"

Dateline - Key Biscayne, Florida. "Cold Snap Causes Frozen Iguana Shower"

As a result of this past week's bitter cold temperatures, hundreds of tree-dwelling iguanas began falling from their lofty perches to litter the ground like discarded kumquats. A warm-blooded reptile, use to the more temperate and balmy climate of South Florida, the iguanas are not dying from the cold, but have merely entered into a state of "temporary suspended animation, much like the members of Congress." So said, Oscar Robenowich, assistant manager of Everglades Wildlife Preservation Society. "I've been in this business nye on 22 years and I've never seen anything like it. You can't take two steps in any direction without tripping over one of these buggers." Mr. Robenowich was engaged Thursday morning with the task of visiting a half dozen of the neighborhoods in the Key Biscayne area in order to count and attach identification tags to each of the dormant lizards. "It's like shooting fish in a barrel," he said." I usually have to chase them through the tickets of sea grapes with a net. This way I just attach the tags and stack 'em up like core wood."

Mr. Lenard S. Mollusk, a twenty year resident of the Balmy Breezes Second Chance Salvage Yard and Trailer Park, reiterated his personal alarm when he and his Bula, his wife of 35 and 3/4 years, were startled just after midnight by loud crashes emanating from the top of their double-wide. "Me , Bula here, and our six dogs - Pete, Patch, Gimpy, Fang, Ladybelle and our last dog with a bad case of the mange we ain't named yet - were all snug in bed watching a rerun of The Dog Whisperer, when all of a sudden we heard a loud bang right over our heads. Bula, here, thought is was our neighbor, Billy "Winky" Limpwish, cucking oranges at us again. 'Nah,' I said. 'Couldn't be dipweed Limpwish. He's back in jail again for violating his parole for indecent exposure at the Walmart.' No sooner than I said that there came two more loud bangs and then another. 'You'd better get up and see what the heck's goin' on,' said Bula, here. 'I think we're under attack!'"

"Well, I could see right off that it weren't gonna do me no good to try and weather the storm, 'cause the dogs was by then yelpin' like their butts were on fire and a rippin through the pots and pans in the kitchen like a hurricon. I grabbed my pistol and huntin' knife and proceeded to throw on one of Bula's, here, flannel housecoats and went out in the side yard to investigate. 'Good gracious!', I yelled to Bula, who by this time was takin' no chances at what I might run up on and had taken cover behind my Easyboy with her fry pan skillet."

"They're every where, Bula!', I shouted. "Oh dear God... What's every where?," I heard Bula, here, whimperin. "Lizards! Lizards are all over the place...deaderen than a tree stump! Grab me a tote sack, woman. I'm a gonna gather up a bunch of em and we'll fry 'em up for supper tomorrow night.' And we did too. Wouldn't recommend them as a steady diet. They're a little gamy to the taste. Although when stirred in amongst some hamburger helper and chili peppers, it's pretty tolerable.

Asked by the reporter, who was interviewing Mr. Mollusk, if he thought his sudden windfall of groceries had anything to do with Al Gore and Global Warming, Mr. Mollusk said that he'd never heard of Al Gore, but he sure would like to know how to get in touch with him. "Somebody needs to be payin' me some cold, hard cash for all the dents in my trailer's roof, and a little extrie for the mental anguish and trauma that Bula, here, suffered that night...and the dogs ain't been themselves since."

Advised that the weather forecast is calling for even colder temperature this coming weekend, Mr. Mollusk opined that he "hadn't moved from the north woods of West Virginia to Florida to be pelted by fallin' reptiles." "If I still owned a snow shovel, I'd be inclined to smack this Al Gore square in the mouth!"

Come to think of it, I'm guessing that all of the comatose iguanas would be very much in favor of that as well.