Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 is over—Praise the Lord! or whomever.

Geez, what a year. At least there were no assassinations—here in America. I can remember a few from 1968, you won't see a year like that again, thank God.

But we had enough to wonder, quail and groan at.

The final year of a two year presidential scramble. Sarah Palin. Joe the Plumber. Huckleberry Huckabee (I like that guy, even tho he is opposite of everything I believe— one of the few Presidential wannabees who had a real sense of humor), Mitt the Haircut Romney, John Edwards of the $400 haircut, and mistress. Speaking of mistresses, lets not leave out former Gov. Eliot (Mr Clean) Spitzer.

And remember Hillary "I dodged bullets in Sarajevo" Clinton, and not to be left out, John "evermore removed from reality" McCain.

The Obamarama. I hope this guy comes through.

And then there is the economic tsunami, where your curmudgeon saw all his 401 gains go south this year so that he is left with what he started off with three years ago.

And we see the moronic congress give the bankers and stock manipulators oodles of dough without restrictions but then get all huffy over the needs of the auto companies (and especially the unions).
They get all concerned over people who actually produce something but the bean counters can do whatever they want.
What is wrong with this picture?

And in the last days of the year the Israelis are bombarding the shit out of Gaza, or, as they say, the Hamas leadership. Why do I feel like we've been here before and it didn't work then either?

I've always thought of myself as a friend of Israel, but I really have to wonder about what they are thinking with this latest action. Rocket attacks on nearby Israeli towns notwithstanding. Creating new Palistinian martyrs will not advance the cause of Peace.

One of the terrible legacies of the 20th century (up there in the top ten of "worst centuries in human history" category) is the disregard for non-combatent life. Okay, it wasn't that much better in the 18th and 19th centuries, but usually once you'd been raped and had your food stolen you were still alive. These days you don't even get that small and problematic blessing.
You just get death.

Am i depressing enough now?

Okay, switch gears. There is still a lot to enjoy about life. It's the beginning of a new year. Are you carrying a load of resentment and/or hurt, a sense of failure, a realization that life has gone in a different direction than the one you wanted?

It's not the end of the world.
A door closes, another one opens. If you stop feeling sorry for yourself long enough to look around to see it. You can move on.

This is the time of New Year's Resolutions. I should have done that in all caps to give that expression, New year's Resolutions, the false importance it aspires to.

What this time is, is a time to remember you have or had goals, and it's a time to reassess those goals, desires, hopes, to see if some adjustments aren't in order.

It's time to look over the top of your champagne glass to a) see your future if you continue with what you have been and done in your past, and b) if you have the fortitude to move past that and adjust to new realities, seek new opportunities, make something new of yourself.

Of course this isn't something you do tonight. but you could start a process that grows over the course of the new year to create a new reality, a new future for yourself.

Hey, maybe you don't need that. Maybe you are where you should be (are you REALLY sure?).
But most of us are still a work in progress, and that's not bad. In my deepest heart, I don't really want to find myself finished. I don't really want to reach a point where nothing else needs to change or be done.
This is earth, and as a Sufi sage once indicated, an apple with a worm in it is about the best we can do as a representation of heaven. We gots to enjoy that apple, we gots to respect that worm.
we gots to eat around that worm and still get our nourishment.

Anyway, to get back to where I started with switching gears— shit happens and it will happen to you and me, if it isn't happening now already. But life and its blessings are also already happening to you and me. It's up to us to see and go with the best of these options. And it will be hard sometimes. But in the end i hope you, and I, will find the joy in life in the midst of the sorrows and disappointments.

May you all (both of my readers) have a happy and fulfilling new year!

Ooops, I forgot to complain. Blame it on the holidays.

Happy new year to the world! And to each of you.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Where to start?
There's snow, all over the place and not stopping.
There's my cat, who will not go outside and expects me to fill in the entertainment vacuum.
And Barack Obama has asked Rick Warren, the evangelical, anti-gay right wing Rick Warren, to do the invocation at his inauguration.

I was hoping he would at least wait til he was actually president before he started disappointing us.

I expected some disappointment. As much as I admire the guy, he is a just-a-leetle bit too far to the right side of center for me. Of course, my center is probably just-a-leetle bit too far left for most folks. But I didn't think i would start to have issues so soon.

Now the Rev. Warren has some good qualities. But no one is all bad. Heck, even Hitler wanted his country to produce a car everyone could afford. That's a good thing, right? The fact that the Beetle became wildly popular among people who stood against everything Hitler was for is just ONE of life's little ironies.
Still, Rick Warrens' opinions about gays and abortion and his endorsement of the usual evangelical sex hang-ups don't show any understanding of the reality of people's lives. And they certainly don't reflect the ideal of inclusiveness which animated this country from its beginnings (well, except for the slaves), nor do they relate to the radical inclusiveness of Jesus's teachings. What would Jesus think about "megachurches?"
There is a large group of people, of all sorts, who feel that scripture is a dead document. That is, it must be accepted as written without any thought to the times in which it was written, and how times might be different now.

I'm a person who thinks that you can glean a lot of understanding and enlightenment about the human condition and our relation to "the divine" thru reading of scripture. But I cannot leave out trying to understand the times in which the various parts of scripture were written.

Is contemporary America in any way analogous to the struggles of a small group of people trying to survive in a hostile environment with the possibility, and at times, the actuality of slavery and extinction of their clan, beliefs and way of life?

Physically at least, people who have had to depend upon God for manna are in a different existential sphere than people who can run down to the local Stop and Shop for their daily bread.
When a tribe depends so desperately upon reproduction for survival, it could be natural to have rules against masturbation, abortion, homosexuality. Also rules about keeping the women in the house, not only to assure the proper paternity, but also to try to keep the death at birth rate down. Not saying that's right, just saying I can see the reasoning there.

But we have 300 million Americans. How many more do we need? I'm just bringing that up because I think our present situation means we should look for more timely and relevant guidance in scripture than rules about reproduction. And I am not making a blanket endorsement of abortion as birth control. Women close to me have undergone abortions, and with good reason. And not just because they were too feckless or irresponsible to use other birth control options. I'm just throwing this in because this is one of those hot items the evangelical right likes to jump on.

What I mean is that if you look at scripture in general, and the life and teachings of Jesus in particular, you could find a more practical, responsible guide for living. And if one follows that guide, a lot of these other issues become moot. Not that, say, unwanted pregnancies wouldn't happen, but they might be dealt with in a more honest and humane manner.

We are not the ancient Hebrews (nor the ancient arabic tribes, for that matter) and we shouldn't try to be them, think like them or act like them.

My rant for the day.
How'd I get here? Oh yeah, I started with Obama. He's got my support so far, i hope he doesn't ef it up.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More Asshatery—It's Bleeping Golden

Ahh, Illinois. Just when things were slowing down Gov. Blagojevich comes to the rescue. With actions so blatant he makes Elliot Spitzer look positively discreet.

I mean the man was ALREADY being investigated—and he still talked on the telephone. Hello? As Peter Sagel said on Wait, wait don't tell me,"We in Chicago weren't surprised at the corruption. We were surprised at how stupid he was."
Indeed. He was outrageously stupid. Not only by trying to sell a senate seat—did I mention 'over the phone'—the tapped phone—while already under investigation, but the seat wasn't just some schmoo's from downstate who didn't have much national presence. It was the president-elect's seat fer pete's sake! You have to wonder how he got to be governor, even in Illinois. He must've been more discreet in his perfidy, previously. No doubt the trappings of power got to him, like it has to other governors in Illnois and lately in New York. Something about high office must just make certain men feel that they're too big to get caught.

But how did he hide the stupidity?
The hairdo should have been a giveaway. No one willing to keep THAT thing on his head is to be trusted.

Anyway, the curmudgeon is pleased to see a good old-fashioned scandal in the news again—the money and corruption kind. No four-thousand dollar hookers, no sex or kinkiness, this one is rated PG. Some foul language.

Monday, December 15, 2008


That's me. Ten days since I last posted. Call it post-election ennui.
When did I start this silly thing? A year ago? Immediately it was Clinton-Obama-McCain, Clinton-Obama-McCain. With a Mitt and a Huckleberry thrown in once in a while. Every day another opportunity for humor—or anguish.

I feel like a junkie who just got locked up in rehab. Where's my fix!?
Watching Obama pick his cabinet is about as exciting as watching barnacles adhere to the bottom of a boat. It sort of looks like Clinton Administration redux. But then, there haven't been a whole lot of Democratic administrations since 1980, so where you going to find people? At least a couple of them seem to be Washington outsiders, which is good.

I can't wait til he becomes president—and fair game.

I did get a little political fix today. An Iraqi reporter threw his shoes at Pres. Bush. Of course such an overt sign of disrespect by a foreigner is to be deplored. Are you properly deploring?
This is the kind of thing we want to reserve for ourselves.
Gotta admit, that guy had more cojones than the Congress had in the last four years.

In the meantime, here on the home front, we've had a major ice storm in New England. Yrs truly was out of power for about 30 hours. Not too bad since some people are still waiting, four days later. I got to experience the fine old 19th century tradition of reading by candlelight.
I'm telling you, it was hell not being able to use my computer.
What a freaking geek I've become.

With the new DSL connection I have I have been able to enjoy the Daily Show and Rachel Maddow. This is both an enhancement of my entertainment options and also a major time suck. And a big downside, I am getting to see commercials again.
If I have to watch the ads for "Yes Man" one more time, I will hire a squad of crazed ninjas to take out everyone associated with that movie.
It's like having sex with someone you realize you don't really like.
"I enjoyed it the first time."

And that weird toilet paper commercial…
some of you may wish to skip this part—

A mother bear chases a baby bear who has little white specks on his butt. The point of the ad is to sell a tissue that won't leave debris in your nether regions.
I dunno, I've had maybe over a dozen sexual partners (hey, I was a late starter) and I never saw this as a problem, nor did any of them, perhaps being too genteel, comment about any litter on my anatomy. Nor have I heard any jokes or comments from my guy friends about this. And you know guys, with their partially developed, puerile brains, wouldn't pass up a chance to joke about this.

My conclusion is that it is a nefarious plot to create a new fear among consumers so that they will buy that particular brand of TP. It's pointless to try to create a need, everyone is aware of that (God, I hope so), and I believe the desirability of softness has been, er, thoroughly covered. So all that's left is to create fear.

Don't fall for it.

Keep reading my blog. It will wipe the offal from the daily news off your brain without leaving any evidence of thought behind.


Saturday, December 6, 2008


Geez. I had thought that with the end of the election campaign (I survived, no thanks to the aliens who refused to kidnap me) the curmudgeon could hang up his hair shirt and lay around in the sun in his Obama T-shirt.
There is a recession going on (of course you and I knew this, but it took some academics with slide rules to convince the gov't), the so-called Big Three automakers are looking for help, the price has gone up from 25 billion to 34 billion—I guess it costs a bit more to run those hybrid cars they drove to Washington this time—and since they have untold thousands of subsidiary companies and their employees in thrall to their needs— they have a good chance of getting help. The last I heard this was coming as a loan. And if this scenario is good, they will start facing reality and producing useful vehicles and repaying us, the taxpayers (let's not look at the question of how I will know that my taxes are reduced because of this payment), our loan to help them stay afloat.

Take a deep breath now and hold it until they pay us back.

By the way, it's not the auto WORKERS who are responsible for this mess. Management always likes to blame the people who actually do the work for any price increases or problems. It just boggles the mind to consider how well this works. Joe, the car assembly line guy, wants more family time—that's socialism to give it to him (horrors).

Hey, it's not the millions we spend on bonuses for our middle and upper middle management guys which are creating this problem. It's those guys who actually put the cars together and who want decent health insurance who are the problem. They want adequate compensation for their efforts. Obviously Communists.
Anybody here remember what Communists were?

In the meantime, George phone-the-job-in Bush admits that well, the Iraq thing has cost a bit more and taken a bit longer than expected. Yeah, it's cost over 4 thou American lives (and we're not considering the larger number of Iraqis here), is draining our treasury of money we need here, but hey, it's mostly a success.
Saddam is dead, isn't he? That's worth 4 thou grieving families.

Okay, I'm 63 years old, or young, compared to how old you yourself are. but I don't think I have ever seen anything as bad, financially, as this.
I've been out of work since February, and another 500 thou people got laid off just last month.

Guess how much hope I have of ever working again. The competition, where it is not steep, is certainly numerous. In any job you or I apply for, assuming there is such a thing out there, the human resources person will be so overwhelmed that unless you or I are in the first ten our chances are about as good as the survival of a North Vietnamese in a Rambo movie.
Change your name to A. Aabababa as soon as possible. If you're not on that first google page, you are toast.

Politics—screwed up.
Economy—screwed up
Recovery—screwed up

Seems like this place is a winner.

Bye, bye.