Friday, November 26
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 epidermis...in 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
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
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
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
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.