I subscribe to a newsmagazine called “The Nation” which, while having a decidedly progressive slant, does do its best to keep a somewhat objective tone. The essays and op-ed pieces are generally soberly written and well-considered, and frequently do the reader the courtesy of allowing that other differing viewpoints might very well have some merit. In the last couple of years, it’s been tough reading — largely because their contributors and columnists have a habit of ferreting out official misconduct, hypocrisy, etc., and it does make for depressing reading.
Once in a while, though, something appears that makes me laugh out loud. “Nation” has a very good columnist on media affairs named Eric Alterman. He’s titled his column “Liberal Media”, presumably because he (like many of us) is so tired of hearing this term used by the right wing as a pejorative. In a column that appeared in December (I no longer have the issue, and I can’t remember what the topic of discussion was), Alterman used the word “b******t”. In the first January issue’s letters to the editor, a reader took Alterman to task for it, closing his letter by saying that “the great journalist Izzy Stone declared during the turbulent 1960’s that shouting four-letter words is no argument, and calling cops ‘pigs’ is incivility.”
Alterman’s reply to this rather confused and confusing diatribe was beautiful, succinct and to the point: “B******t” has eight letters.” I laughed so hard I knocked over a glass of water. That was one neat takedown.
Just after Thanksgiving, I came across a story on Huffington Post that got my blood pressure cranking. I had heard rumors of this group of CEO's before, but this confirmed several things. First, that they’re totally oblivious to reality. Second, that as a group, Corporate America suffers from a ferocious sense of entitlement. And third, that they’re a body of gravy-sucking pigs (a deliciously descriptive phrase that came from actor/comedian Steve Martin’s stand-up comedy days, and one that seems to fit Corporate America like a glove).
According to the story, the CEO’s were working with groups that had respectable, concerned-citizen names such as Campaign To Fix The Debt and Center For a Responsible Federal Budget. These sound like people who care deeply about the country and all its citizens, and about how to best serve everyone, no? Well, as it turned out — no. These high-minded CEO’s (including Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs and David Cote of Honeywell) had no interest in the general welfare of America. Their interest was — shockingly — in amassing ever greater wealth for themselves at the expense of the welfare of most Americans!
Their main thesis was (and probably still is to this minute) that the only way the deficit could be resolved was to slash the social safety net to tatters. At the same time, they were advocating what the HuffPost termed a “territorial tax system” that would exempt foreign profits from taxation, saving them around $135 billion in taxes — money that would go a long way toward helping to reduce that deficit they’re so concerned about. Even more galling, the CEO group had no intention of foregoing federal bailout money (or as I like to think of it, “corporate welfare”), or offering to be taxed at a higher rate. Nope, no tradeoffs or givebacks at all. Just “gimme”.
Predictably, these guys are engaged in serious back-scratching with Congress. Campaign To Fix The Debt has one congressional leader who is actively employed by Goldman Sachs as an international adviser. Business as usual, at least at that point in time. Blankfein said in an interview that people needed to lower their expectations; that whatever people think they should get – tough beaners, you won’t get it. Cote said that the corporate tax rate should be zero. Zip, nada, nothing. Then Corporate America could get on with the business of creating jobs.
Wow. That really leaves my head spinning. And I have to ask: how much is going to be enough for these people? One gets the impression that they won’t be satisfied until this country becomes like feudal England, where the 1 percent sits comfortably in their castles on the hilltops, watching the 99 percent scrabbling around in the muck for scraps of food, and fuel to keep warm with. Hopefully, the results of the election will convince more in power that it’s way past time for Corporate America’s influence to die — before they ruin us all.
Well, after taking a hiatus from this blog over the fall (travel, a cat that had leg surgery and the consequent rehab, the holidays), here I am once again and ready to rant. The problem is – where to start?
I guess I’ll begin by addressing some of the things that went on over the months that I wasn’t writing. Hurricane Sandy swept through, leaving me with nothing worse than the frame of my greenhouse being knocked over. Thankfully, since it’s a plastic cover type of kit greenhouse, it only took us a couple of hours to right the frame, secure it back in the ground and rescue the cover.
Sandy did leave one interesting thing in her wake – a surprising and welcome departure from the lockstep of the GOP just prior to the election. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie actually stood up to the party bosses and Fox News. Seems that he actually remembered who he was working for, and who gave him his job – the people of New Jersey. He was indefatigable, touring devastated areas all over the state, offering what aid and comfort he could. When asked in a Fox News interview if he thought that Mitt Romney was planning any relief events, Christie actually had the brass to say “don’t know, don’t care and oh by the way, President Obama has been great”. His reward for his unstinting dedication to his hurting residents, and giving props to the President? Sniping by the Romney campaign, who castigated Christie for not showing up at a Romney campaign event. While the Romney staffers seemed to feel that Christie didn’t have his priorities in order, I for one was highly impressed with the man – so much so that I began to think of him as a Republican that I could actually consider supporting as a presidential contender.
Alas, the romance for me was short-lived. Right after President Obama’s inauguration speech, Christie rejoined the lockstep brigade by denouncing the speech as a manifesto for a coming four years of “my way or the highway”. Really, Gov. Christie? As I recall, that’s how your party behaved during the last four years. Pity – I was really beginning to admire you.
Perhaps this is another of those signs of global warming, or an impending apocalypse or something, but I was struck recently by the number of bird species appearing in my yard this year. All the usual suspects (robins, chickadees, sparrows and other common sorts) are here, but there are also some rarities.
We were absolutely delighted when a pair of Baltimore orioles showed up in the yard and nested somewhere nearby — usually they’d show up for a day and then move on. I put out orange halves for them for a couple of weeks before they started nesting and lost interest in the fruit.
It was also fun to discover that red-bellied woodpeckers like oranges as well – and that the orioles had no issues with sharing the pergola while they all pecked at the citrus.
Bluebirds are always welcome visitors, but this year the bluebird saga was full of drama. A pair selected our house, set up housekeeping and laid their eggs. Unfortunately, the day after the babies hatched the mother was killed by some predator (we think a raccoon that passed through). I’m speculating that they were first-time parents, because the male didn’t seem to realize that the babies needed food and warmth; he just flitted around the back yard and ignored the kids. Not surprisingly, they all died in a day or so. But lo and behold, just a couple of days after I buried the babies and cleaned out the box, a new pair showed up! They took over the box, and their babies hatched about a week ago. It would be lovely to have a second brood, but we’ll see.
Other visitors this spring include several birds that typically disappear into the deep woods to have their families — titmice and nuthatches. We normally don’t see them from about April until November, but they’re at the feeder constantly now. There’s much hummingbird activity, which we just love.
A great moment came the other night when we saw a flicker banging away at something in the grass. It’s been years since we had a flicker in the yard! I don’t know what it all means, but I’m loving every minute of it.
The human mind and head contain so many mysteries, so very many of which have yet to be unlocked. Fragile and at the same time unfathomable, the mind has been a puzzle to scientists and learned folk for as long as humans have existed. I found it fascinating, then, to come across the following news item.
Six years ago, a man in Denver, Colorado suffered a very serious concussion after diving into the shallow end of a swimming pool. After he woke up, he found that he was able to play the piano, even though he’d never had a lesson! Not only that, he took up seven other instruments, became very adept and is in the process of recording a second album. Wow! According to doctors, the man has savant syndrome (extremely rare). This can cause people who have experienced head trauma to exhibit incredible musical or artistic skill. Some clouds really can have silver linings…
Well, the Michigan House of Representatives has managed to add another layer to the murky depths that men will go to these days to deny women any say regarding women’s reproductive health.
A bill was introduced in that body which would likely be one of the, if not the, most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the country. Nothing particularly new in that; Republicans all over America have been trying to overturn Roe v. Wade for the last couple of decades at least. The real kerfuffle came during what passed for debate on the measure. Two Democratic female legislators were shut down when they tried to speak against the measure (one actually had the temerity to use the word “vagina”, thus giving several of her colleagues the male equivalent of the vapors). Debate was abruptly ended when several other women who opposed the bill tried to speak. Unbelievable!
Naturally, the Republicans are trying to say that this is all being done for the benefit of women’s health; that all the restrictions, requirements and regulations are purely in the name of safety. Well, to paraphrase an old advertisement, to that I politely say, bunk! If they were really interested in safeguarding women’s reproductive health, they wouldn’t be trying to force women back into the days of botched back-alley and self-inflicted abortions – they’d respect what has been settled law for over 40 years. And they’d remember that, until the great day comes when men can get pregnant, they shouldn’t try to legislate that which will never directly affect them.
The current issue of The Nation just arrived in the mail, and I was appalled to read an article on the overwhelming rejection by Europe of the proposed austerity measures. The appalled part came when I read what’s recently happened in Greece.
Greece, for anyone not familiar with World War II history, was virtually crushed under the Nazi heel. The people were starved and beaten into submission, and it was one of the Germans’ less benign occupations.
Now comes word that in the recent elections, Greece “became the first European country occupied during World War II to elect neo-Nazis – twenty-one members of the racist Golden Dawn party – to its Parliament. Their leader, Nikolaos Mihaloliakos, dedicated his victory to ‘the brave boys in the black shirts’. ‘Those who slander us’, he barked, ‘those who betray the fatherland should be afraid: we’re coming’.”
Golden Dawn apparently won votes throughout much of Greece, even in districts that experienced massacres during the Nazi era. More frightening yet is that much of this support was garnered from among young people – roughly one in ten who voted went far right.
Wow – Europe is beginning to look and sound much as it did in the early 1930’s, and that’s very worrisome. Turns out that Santayana may yet be proved right: “Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it”.
Facebook friends can often beget postings of things that I might otherwise never come across, and while it can frequently give me metaphorical heartburn, it can also occasionally delight me. Herewith, a few examples, all of which pertain to religious issues.
A sign saying, “GOD PREFERS KIND ATHEISTS TO HATEFUL CHRISTIANS.” I believe that’s true with all my heart and soul. I maintain that many people who call themselves “Christians” are anything but, and that they will be mightily surprised come Judgment Day to discover that they don’t stand nearly as high in the Lord’s estimation as they like to flatter themselves. Conversely, there are a lot of self-described atheists who are out there doing good works with no thought of reward; they simply consider it the right thing to do. I know who I think will be in line for preferential treatment in time to come.
An old Bible illustration of Christ preaching to a group of His followers. Someone captioned it as follows – Christ: “Here’s an idea. You love them like I loved you. Feed them, clothe them and shelter them, and let ME deal with judging them.” The Followers: “But what if they’re gay or worship other Gods?” Christ: “Did I stutter?” Absolutely brilliant.
A photo of some demonstrators from that repugnant religious group that protests at military funerals, with signs saying “GOD HATES FAGS” and other reprehensible statements. The person on the left in the photo is one of that group with the aforementioned sign. Opposite the demonstrator is a very young teenage boy holding up a piece of notebook paper that says “GOD LOVES EVERYONE”. Now that kid has his head screwed on straight!
I’ve gotten pretty honked off of late at the right-wing; not that that isn’t pretty much a constant state. However, the problem I’m having right now is that in several forums here on the interwebs, I see posters and commenters tasking the left with massive hypocrisy.
For example, a right-wing acquaintance of mine posted a story on Facebook about how someone on the left compared conservative pundit Ann Coulter to both Stalin and Hitler (which takes considerable mental gymnastics in and of itself). His comment following the posting ran along the lines of, “No agenda here. But let Ted Nugent make a comment, and the liberals go nuts”.
OK, here’s my problem with all this. First of all, Ted Nugent essentially made a thinly veiled threat of violence against the President, for which the Secret Service wisely had a chat with him. I remember back in Bush’s day that anything that even mildly hinted at criticism of the President had the right foaming at the mouth and excoriating that individual or group as “unpatriotic” or “dangerous”.
I recall hearing about a man over in the Albany area who appeared in a shopping mall wearing a T-shirt that merely stated his dislike of Bush – no threats, no slanderous comment, just basically saying that the end of Bush’s tenure wouldn’t come soon enough. He was told to remove it or leave the mall, both of which he refused to do, as he was in a public place and well within his rights. He was arrested!
Yet the current President has endured lies, slander, egregious and frequently racist insults, and the left is called hypocritical and overreacting. Go figure.
However, when it comes to genuine hypocrisy I have two words for the right: Newt Gingrich. The man is a serial adulterer, not to mention an outright cad, having unceremoniously dumped two wives — one on her deathbed. Yet when the left brought these serious character flaws up during his campaign, the response from the right was pretty much that this was his own private business, and a non-issue. However, when Bill Clinton peeked up an intern’s dress, the right wing was willing to destroy the country and make us the laughing stock of the world in their never-ending quest to have his head on a pike.
Well, if that isn’t hypocritical, then I don’t know what is.
When I read Benjamin Wachs’ latest column in the Messenger on the increasing loss of freedom of speech in this country, I was struck by his reference to the gag rule that’s been imposed on physicians in Pennsylvania regarding the chemicals used in fracking. One of the comments in the online section led me to search out an article on the website of the environmental group EcoWatch concerning the gag rule.
In part 2 of a three-part article, the author told about the Pennsylvania legislation. What happened is basically this – the Republican-controlled General Assembly made a change to their Oil and Gas laws, and buried this gag rule deep within the bill, and it’s a total absurdity. The law does require the gas companies to register all the chemicals they use in fracking with a state agency. However, the agency does not have to disclose this information to anyone who asks for it. What’s really absurd (and chilling) is that if, say, a doctor suspects that a patient’s cancer is caused by fracking chemicals he may or may not get that information. And even if he does get a list of chemicals, he’s forbidden by this law to inform anyone about it – not public health agencies, not cancer specialists, and certainly not his patient! This means that a cancer patient in a fracking area probably wouldn’t get the care they need, because the right course of treatment couldn’t be prescribed without breaking the law. If a doctor put his patient first and broke the law, he could be sued to Kingdom come. Absolutely unbelievable.
Not only is this an outrageous violation of freedom of speech, it speaks to the greed of these gas companies. That they would put making a profit ahead of the health and welfare of everyone in fracking areas is sickening.
And I’ll tell you something else – I totally agree with one online commenter who said that anyone who thinks that the gas companies aren’t frantically lobbying our legislature for that same deal is delusional. I’d like to think that they wouldn’t cave in to the lobbyists on this, but I’m cynical enough to believe that if the right amount of silver crossed the right palms, we’d be sold out like Pennsylvania in a New York minute.
Recently, a friend sent me a cartoon about a clueless moron who couldn’t spell or use grammar correctly who was driving his friend crazy with all the errors. I can relate, because I’ve always been a stickler for both, along with the correct pronunciation of words. Reading the cartoon started me thinking about some of my favorite pet peeves on these (and other) subjects.
First of all, spelling. Now, throughout most of America’s existence, it’s been considered both important and necessary to spell correctly. It just boggles the mind that the current thinking is that spelling just doesn’t matter at all. Especially since it’s coming from what is arguably one of the most ill-educated generations in the nation’s history. However, I must remember my blood pressure and stop beating this apparently dead horse. We’ll move instead to grammar. Although that may be every bit as moribund as spelling these days.
All right then – onto pronunciation.
So many words these days are mispronounced, I hardly know where to begin. One word that immediately comes to mind is “temperature”. This doesn’t seem to be a particularly difficult word to say, but you’d never know it when you listen to anyone doing a weather forecast. Those people seem utterly incapable of saying the word properly – what you get instead is “tempachur”. Three other frequently mangled words are “realtor”, “jewelry” and “nuclear”. Once again, if you look at what you’re saying, it doesn’t seem difficult. What you actually get from many people, however, is the following: “ree-la-tor”, “joo-ler-ee” and ‘nu-ku-ler”. Aaarrggh!! It’s probably just as well that I never followed through with my original plan to become a teacher — my students and I would have driven each other around the bend — it would have been endless war.
I often check in on the online Messenger opinion page, and I’ve been struck by the nasty tone of some of the back-and-forth that goes on. I’m sorry to say that most of the bile seems to come from people who lean distinctly rightward in their politics. One recent session drew my attention: a column by Benjamin Wachs entitled, “So Much for Freedom of Speech”, which discussed how this concept that is so integral to our democracy is slowly being eroded away in many arenas.
As near as I can tell, most people on the left in this discussion were trying to get a handle on why the right thinks as it does. For instance, although somewhat off topic, a poster named “plantaholic” took someone named “pogy” to task on the subject of why he and some others are so disrespectful of President Obama, and why they hate him so much. As “plantaholic” pointed out (and it’s a view I happen to share), Obama basically has followed all of Bush’s policies, so you’d think the right would approve of him more. Yet even though he does exactly as Bush did, he’s always wrong, and they vilify him for it. The question put to “pogy” was, why? “Pogy’s” response was to call “plantaholic” a racist. Huh????
My own opinion is that perhaps “pogy” doth protest too much. I happen to think that the single reason that the right so despises the current president is exactly because he isn’t white. I’ve seen this kind of dialogue in other forums, and what I find striking is that when this point is brought up, the right-wingers never address the accusation directly. Instead of saying, “No, I’m not a racist – I have other issues with the president, but that’s not one of them”, they act like someone farted in the middle of silent prayer in church and the only thing to do is to behave as if it never happened! Well, in my book, silence implies acceptance – if you’re not going to defend yourself against the accusation, then there must be at least some truth to it.
I see where Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio is at it again. Last month he issued a press release to the effect that there is “probable cause” (once a lawman, always a lawman) to believe that President Obama’s long form birth certificate is a forgery. Really.
Seems that an official document from the state of Hawaii just isn’t good enough for the pack of looney-toons otherwise known as the “birthers”. They know, they just know, that the President is a pretender to the throne. He wasn’t born in Hawaii, but in Kenya. He’s not and never has been an American citizen. The whole thing is a fraud, and they are trying desperately to prove it to the rest of us. Arpaio and others have gone to court to challenge the birth certificate and other verification that the President has issued over the last four years. Nothing, it seems, will satisfy them except Mr. Obama’s admission that they were right (and presumably, his immediate resignation).
Of course, you could say that at least these folks have the courage of their convictions, however fantastic and misguided. I do get more than a tad annoyed with the Republicans in Congress who will say piously that they “believe the President if he says he was born in this country” or that “they take the President at his word when he says he’s a Christian”. Clearly, they don’t believe a word of it, and the hypocrisy is a real irritant. It’s hard to say which group is worse, but I will say this to both of them: asked and answered. Repeatedly. Get over it and move on.
On Sunday, April 1, I was in the car listening to WXXI radio’s “Sunday Baroque” program. Prior to playing a piece by Handel, the announcer told the amusing story of a trick that was once played on Handel. There’s no way of knowing if it actually did happen on April 1, but if it didn’t, it should have.
Apparently, one of Handel’s pet peeves was hearing an orchestra or other musical group tuning up. It really got on his nerves and was pretty generally known, so anyone playing with him made sure to get their instrument tuned up well before Handel showed up on the premises. Well, it seems that on the occasion in question, someone sneaked into the performance venue and un-tuned (not sure what the actual word I’m looking for is; this will have to do) every single instrument after the musicians had tuned them. When Handel arrived and they began playing – well, I imagine words like “cacophony” and “dissonance” were probably pretty accurate. Handel was said to have been in a towering rage. Epic!
Every once in a while, it’s fun to see that it isn’t just this country that has people who are dumber than dirt. And of course, the law of unintended consequences is also pretty humorous when viewed from a safe distance.
Apparently, a German data recovery firm recently developed an ad campaign wherein they sent 40 packages out to major German companies. Said packages contained hard drives with alarm clocks glued on them, accompanied by a note reading “Your time is running out”. Well, you can imagine how spectacularly that backfired! It was pretty much mass panic, what with bomb scares in several major German cities. The hapless data recovery company issued a statement saying that the idea had been “to symbolize the fact that time is running out on data safety”.
Maybe so — but unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 20 years, you should know that sending things that closely resemble bombs through the mail is pretty generally associated with terrorism. Is that really your target demographic? Sounds like that particular marketing department needs a supervising adult, PDQ!
I’m beginning to see some worrying trends in our country of late, and I don’t like what I think I’m seeing.
The biggest concern to me right now is this – well, let’s call it what it is – a war against women being waged by the right wing in this country. Goodness knows, they’ve been itching to repeal Roe v. Wade ever since it came into being 40 years ago. And we also know that they’ve been chipping away at abortion rights little by little in the intervening decades. Now, however, they’ve started going after contraception. And women should be very, very worried by this.
It all came to head a few weeks ago in the Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke kerfuffle. That made it apparent that doing away with abortion isn’t going to satisfy the right. No, they want to drag women back into the 19th century where we were all barefoot, pregnant and dependent on men’s whims and good graces for our very survival. And if you weren’t married, or your husband died and left you with a ton of kids, you sucked it up and took in washing and resigned yourself to poverty. After all, women couldn’t own property, vote or have anything that amounted to rights – except being kept pregnant constantly and/or being beaten. Those were two rights that were pretty well guaranteed. Sadly, it seems that there’s a certain faction in this country that thinks it would be dandy to go back to those days. And they’re trying to restrict access not only to abortion, with invasive and unnecessary procedures, they’re also trying to make birth control inaccessible even to women who have a serious medical need for it! Unbelievable. Hopefully, this trend will get beaten back – pray that it does.
Another trend that sort of goes in tandem with the first issue I mentioned is a seeming nostalgia for the 1950’s and early 60’s. The TV show “Mad Men” has enjoyed huge popularity, and I’m sure it’s very well done – but it also represents a time when the majority of women stayed at home with their babies, and those who needed to work faced massive sexism and discrimination. It seems to embrace a resurgence of very regressive attitudes toward women – and again I ask: do we really want to go back?
Now that the Academy Awards are over and done with, some of the contenders are now popping up on pay-per-view and movies on demand on cable. My husband and I had been wanting to see “Hugo”, and the other night were able to do so. What a wonderful movie! Now, I’m not here to give anything away; no spoilers. I’m just here to say how much we enjoyed this absorbing film, and why.
To begin with, it’s just plain good storytelling. Based on the book, “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick, it’s the tale of a young orphan boy, trained in clock repair by his late father, who attempts to rebuild an automaton (a human-like figure run by clockwork mechanisms, gears, etc.). All the acting is good; a special surprise (and treat) is Sacha Baron Cohen of “Borat” fame as a gendarme crippled during World War I. The surprise to me is that he is capable of real acting. I’ve never been a particular fan of gross-out, simplistic humor ala “Borat”, but if Cohen did more of this sort of work, I could be interested. The story is well-crafted, and director Martin Scorsese did a fantastic job with it. Best of all, it truly is a family film.
And why do I say that? Simply because of the things that weren’t in the film. No sex, no violence, no cursing and foul language. Just a great story that captures your attention and draws you in. Imagine – nothing but a crackerjack story and fine acting performances. What a concept! I’d put this film in the same category as ones such as “The Wizard of Oz” or the Harry Potter films; a movie that today’s children will be watching with their grandchildren decades from now. Please Hollywood – may we have some more?
I struggled with anger, flat-out outrage and frustration recently as the whole contraception/insurance coverage kerfuffle spiraled out of control in Congress and in the media. The frustration is obvious: after nearly 40 years of settled law in the matter of abortion and contraception, we still have men who think they know better than women about what’s needed for women’s reproductive health. Witness the farcical “hearing” in the House of Reprehensibles on women’s reproductive health in which no women were allowed to testify. No physicians, no law experts, not even a young woman from Georgetown Law School who wanted to tell how a friend of hers was unable to afford birth-control pills that, if they’d been covered by insurance, would have prevented a ruptured ovary. Oh no, none of that was deemed necessary. Instead we got a panel of male religious leaders squawking soberly about an imaginary assault on religious freedom! This isn’t that at all. It’s an assault on women and their right to have safe, affordable and available reproductive health choices. There’s a faction out there who would like nothing better than to force women back into the 19th century in every aspect. Back to being barefoot, pregnant and completely dependent on men’s good graces for their very existence. That’s where the anger comes in. After all, regarding the insurance coverage issue, most insurers cover Viagra and other ED drugs cheerfully. But birth control and abortion? Why, those are purely lifestyle choices, not medical issues. I could go on and on, but I’ll move on after being reminded of a sign from the pre- Roe v. Wade days: “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be safe, legal and federally funded.” Boy, if that isn’t the truth.
The flat-out outrage occurred when that bloated drone, Rush Limbaugh, ripped into Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student who finally got to testify in front of a small hearing held by the Democrats. It was bad enough that he evidently couldn’t be bothered to invest in some Q-Tips to clean out his ears so that he could accurately hear what she said. Worse still was his inaccurate tirade, in which he called her a “slut” who wanted the government and insurance companies to pay for her to have risk-free sex on demand, and told her that if she’d film all her encounters and make them available to watch, he’d consider it! Of all the arrogant, slanderous character assassinations that have come out of his snout, this really takes the cake. Long story short, it took several big advertisers pulling out of his circus to prompt him to offer a half-assed “apology” to Ms. Fluke. Can it, Rush. We can only hope that you’re finally beyond the pale, and that you’ll soon fade into oblivion and trouble us no more.
Before this last significant snowfall, when the ground was bare, I was out looking around my yard to see who was brave enough to start poking their snouts out of the ground. Much to my surprise, I discovered that I have two different flowers blooming already – winter aconites and snowdrops.
It’s certainly not unheard of for these two bulbs to flower in February, but I do believe that this was the earliest appearance ever recorded here at the homestead. Prior to this, the earliest I’ve seen my aconites was 10 years ago, on February 9. My mother had died in Pennsylvania on the 4th, and we returned from the funeral on the 9th. On a trip out to the car to bring in some stuff, I was astonished to see some aconites blooming under the dogwood tree along the driveway. This year, the aconites appeared on February 6!
As for the snowdrops, I can’t remember ever seeing any before the end of this month. And now they’re smothered under soggy snow. The other day when the mailman handed me my delivery, he said that he had noticed some flowers beginning to emerge in his yard, and bewailed what it might do to them down the road.
“Don’t worry about it”, I replied. “They’re tough. They may look a little bedraggled when they start putting on growth, but they’ll be fine. They know what they’re doing."
My real concern is – are we finally going to have winter from now until the end of March, or will we end up with winter in April and May, when we don’t want it? After all, we never seem to escape it. We just postpone it.
He seemed to feel that this was an unduly pessimistic viewpoint. Not pessimism, I said. Just realism...
In a recent post entitled, “Strange Bedfellows”, I stated that Scotts Miracle-Gro is owned by Monsanto Corporation. This is incorrect, and I want to take this opportunity to set the record straight. Scotts and Monsanto are completely separate entities. The only connection is that Scotts has U.S. distribution rights for Monsanto’s Roundup household weed control. My apologies to all for the inaccuracy, and my thanks to Elizabeth DeAvila for pointing it out to me.
In this age of acceptable standards pretty much meaning “close enough for government work”, it isn’t often enough that a) people point out errors and b) that the person(s) responsible for the error make the effort to correct it. Just as an example, I can remember when you almost never saw a correction or retraction in either Time or Newsweek; their journalistic standards were that exacting. Now, however, it seems that every issue has multiple amends to make. Certainly, mistakes occur from time to time. People are rushing to meet deadlines, or misread or take out of context things that are said. Unfortunately, mistakes don’t seem to be considered a big deal any more. I guess it’s just one more sign of how our standards and expectations get lowered every day, in just about all walks of life. It makes me feel sad and old – I can remember a time when it was otherwise.