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.

Tuesday, January 5

"Global Warming, My Well Insulated Posterior!"

A sampling of headlines on the Drudge Report - January 5th, 2010...

* "Winter Could Be Worse In 25 Years for USA..."

* "Britain Braces For Heaviest Snowfall In 50-Years..."

* "Elderly Burn Books For Warmth..."

* "Vermont Sets All-Time Record For Snowstorm..."

* "Iowa Temps A Solid 30 Degrees Below Normal..."

* "Seoul Buried In Heaviest Snowfall In 70 Years..."

* "Historic Ice Build-Up Shuts Down New Jersey Nuclear Power Plant..."

* "Midwest Sees Near-Record Lows, Snow Measure By The Foot..."

* "Miami Shivers From Coldest Weather In Decades..."

Sound like rampant and imminent "Global Warming" to you?

Yea, me neither...

Listen, fellow sojourners of planet earth, I am just as much in favor of doing my part to promote and secure the longevity of this small blue marble as the next guy. For starters let's all agree that we can adopt alternate means of transporting our grocery store purchased goods other than the ubiquitous plastic or paper bags, that the consumption of bottled water need not be in disposable plastic bottles that have the shelf life in landfills equaling nuclear waste, that recycling of our newspapers and the metal and glass containers that we so easily toss in the trash is easily achievable, and the continuing challenge to find and perfect renewable energy sources is a laudable endeavor worthy of our best and brightest minds. Hip, hip, hooray! I'm all in favor of these ideals and stand ready and willing to embrace any other reasonable suggestions that will render Mother Earth a sustainable clean bill of health.

However, like the proverbial rat in the wood pile, there is afoot a band of pseudo-scientists and ambassadors of the half-truth who have declared open combat on common sense that would declare the sole cause of the earth's alleged warming is due solely to mankind's short-sighted influence; that, in essence, the subject of global warming is "settled science." Such an egotistic and utterly unscientific pronouncement has about as much credibility and authenticity as (pick one) Harry Reid's previously declaration that the war in Iraqi was "lost," President Obama's promise of "open and transparent government," Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano boasting that the "system worked" after the on-board terrorist bomb failed to detonate over metropolitan Detroit, or Bill Clinton stating with a straight face that he "didn't have sex with that woman."

Enter the chief protagonist of plausible deniability, Albert - "Why Let Facts Stand In The Way" - Arnold Gore, former "Stand In The Corner" Vice President in the Clinton Administration, joint recipient of the "Sky Is Falling" category under the auspices of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, and last, but certainly not least, an Oscar for his much ballyhooed documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," which barely squeaked out a narrow winning margin over National Lampoon's remake of Animal House. Mr. Gore, whose Tennessee residence consumes more energy in a day than the entire country of Estonia, is finding it more and more difficult to find a pair of pants that fit him, so busy is he stuffing the pockets full of windfall profits from his venture capital firm that trades in carbon offsets; an elaborate scheme whereby the rich industrial nations are targeted to pay billions of dollars in reparation for callously spoiling the world's alleged fragile environment to the under-developed countries that burn cow dung for fuel. Nice work, if you can get it...

To swallow this line of subterfuge as "settled science" is to ignore the preponderance of data compiled and published by 31,468 of world renowned scientists aligned in the opposing camp who have willingly and enthusiastically signed a petition that emphatically contends that mankind's influence on global warming is minuscule at best. The global warming alarmist, however, would continue to chose to indoctrinate the children of the world to such falsehoods as the thoroughly debunked lie that the polar ice caps are melting at such a rapid degree that the indigenous, arctic polar bears shall soon be on the verge of extinction. Purposefully doctored photographs supposedly showing stranded polar bears perched on slivers of melting ice flows cannot alter the fact that the estimated polar bear population today stands at a robust 20 to 25 thousand - 5 times the population that existed 50 years ago.

The fiasco in Copenhagen further illustrated the degree to which Al Gore and his misanthropic minions are willing to venture in order to subvert the truth - the facts - that further refute the entire global warming myth, dismissing as unfounded the deliberate omission of untold hundreds of emails penned by the Climate Research Unit that revealed their clandestine attempt to silence contradictory scientific data that was not in agreement with their manipulated declarations. Subsequently confronted at a Chicago Boarders book signing with the mounting "Climategate" allegations, a very flustered and uncomfortable Mr. Gore had his personal security Gestapo forcefully remove from his presence any person who was forthright and bold enough to dare pose a question not in line with his well-crafted propaganda agenda. For Mr. Gore, his "Inconvenient Truth" is being fully exposed to be one profitable and convenient lie.

Listen, I am more than glad to tote my groceries home in a reusable fabric bag, recycle my paper goods, and adopt any and all conservation efforts that promote the general welfare and longevity of this sphere mankind calls home. But I will not be duped into believing that mankind is the sole source for inflicting long-term and irreversible damage to an ecosystem that has been ebbing and waining to the laws of universal physics since its unknown inception. This is Florida, for goodness sake, and I'm wearing three layers of clothing to stave off the numbing cold. If this "unseasonably cold weather" persists, I am shelving my plans to construct a dock at my back door to take advantage of the predicted incursion of the rising Gulf of Mexico, and instead will build an impenetrable fence to keep the polar bears out of my yard. Sounds plausible to me...

Monday, January 4

Thoughts Along The Red Line...

We're back home in St. Pete after having spent a week in the frigid mid-west, although I think we brought with us on our coattails some of that cold weather we thought we had left permanently in our wake as we boarded our plane out of O'Hare.'s cold here in the Sunshine State.

Of course (and I purposefully digress), the head Chicken Little of Global Warming, Albert Gore, would profess that these abnormally cold temperatures being experienced all across America is nothing more than an anomaly and, much sooner than later, we nevertheless are doomed to have the shores of Lake Michigan lapping at the city limits of St. Petersburg. What I'd like to propose is Mr. Gore be staked, buck-naked, at the geographical center of these United States and let him stay there in all of his egotistical glory until the spring thaw...should be sometime around late May...and see if he can even pronounce "anomaly." But, alas, such a fondly held New Year's resolution on my part shall never come to pass. Pity...

Carl Sandberg was correct is his poetic description of Chicago as being the "City of the Big Shoulders." One cannot from a distant vantage point gaze upon the lofty and mighty towering spires of this city's magnificent, emerald skyline, or transverse as a mere mortal speck through the canyons of its bustling commerce, teeming with the multitudes of determined and purpose driven citizens awash in the business of their living and not join in like affirmation of Sandberg's declaration to "come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning." Chicago is all of that and more...

Including, but not limited to, a gigantic ego that is first and foremost propagated by it's long standing imperial mayor, Richard M. Daley. One cannot turn a corner in Chicago without being confronted with the fact that Mayor Daley is firmly and resolutely in control of the city's reins, his name being emblazoned on every city owned facade, beginning with each of the "Welcome To Chicago" portals to every trash receptacle that dot block after block of the city's streets. His father, Richard J., served as Mayor for twenty-one years and son, Richard M., is poised to equal and soon break his father's consecutive years as mayor while serving in his current term. Apparently, despite the many allegations of favoritism and charges of corruption, Chicago without a Daley in City Hall wouldn't be Chicago. The trash cans would certainly look less festooned without his stamp of ownership.

In the ironclad grip of winter, Chicago is bundled up in layer upon layer of heavy coats and gloves and scarfs, where the well-to-do appear no more distinguishable than the destitute, each and all on a determined quest to find shelter from the bitter cold, that after only a few moments of exposure turns any unprotected flesh into stinging reminders that an extended vacation in the Caribbean about now would be a fanatical dream come true. Standing on an elevated platform awaiting the arrival of the next scheduled train on the "L" is to confront the infamous "Hawk" screaming unabated from the land of the polar bears, whips across the frozen depths of Lake Michigan, and arrives like a hammer to drive its confronted huddled masses into clutches of shivering humanity. I cannot but applaud the truly hardy citizens of this city who regard this daily venture through the weeks and months of this relentless, bitter cold as the necessary price one must endure in order to be citizens of Sandberg's pride and joy. God bless 'em.

I am most looking forward to a return trip to Mayor Daley's playpen, but it will only be when the ice has disappeared from lake's edge, the trees are again in their full throes of summer finery, and Chicagoans have shed their igloo cocoons for less encumbering and freeing attire. In the mean time I'll just solider through this highly uncharteristic Florida flirtation with winter's deep freeze and look forward to Mr. Gore's perdiction that in short order all of God's children will be basking in the warm glow of Hell. It can't come soon enough to suit me.