Archive for November, 2009

Rather Fight ‘Em Over There Than Over Here

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

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Out of all the excuses we’ve used to continue these hopeless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to me, none is sadder than the one cited above.  Despite warning signs of which we should have been aware,  America was shockingly unprepared for the terrorist atrocity committed on September 11, 2001.  Today, after 8-years of wars, over 5000 US troops dead, and a TRILLION-dollars spent, I’m not convinced our country is much more secure.

An easy analogy to make is if your family and home were under attack from a band of raging maniacs who lived in a lousy neighborhood in a distant town.   Which would be better to do?  Fortify and guard your house, educate your family   to defend themselves, and continually stand watch – or – race to the faraway town and try to chase down and kill the enemy despite the fact they keep changing neighborhoods and even towns? Of course this is a simplification but doesn’t it make sense?

There was so much more we could have done to make America safe these years: adopt Israeli airport and transportation security strategies, fortify our water, food, and power facilities, increase internal antiterrorist intelligence, educate our people to be constantly vigilant – the list could go on. But we didn’t because we spent virtually all of our money chasing the maniacs through distant towns.

I voted for Obama – the first time I voted for a mainstream candidate in 40-years – because I thought he was more than just a political hack who’d juggle the lives of our troops for some starry-eyed objective.  I was wrong. I voted for him only to get McCain’s war policy which was a stale leftover from President Bush. As the French say, “The more things change, the more they remain the same.”

But not for me. Tuesday will be my last post on these stupid wars and then I’m getting back to the rest of my blog and the rest of my life. I’ve done my part. I’ve annoyed enough people by posting the facts about our war dead and war costs.  Nothing from me will ever again be misconstrued to be disrespectful to our brave fighting forces.

You go ahead and listen to Obama – maybe he’ll come up with something new.  And maybe I’ll get out the tux, flap my arms to fly to Washington, and get invited to the next state dinner after I win the lottery. Hey, you never know……

The Beautiful Beads in Each of Us

Friday, November 27th, 2009

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A year and four months ago,  my Lady Friend Becky’s Mom was getting ready for the Park Avenue Festival – an arts and crafts street show held here every year. She made bead earrings that never sold very well – but they were beautiful – and she loved making them. She really thought they were “something” – although she probably hadn’t sold three dozen of the damn things in all the years she crafted them. We kidded her about that but she just laughed.  Connie had a great laugh.

On a warm summer night around that time, Connie felt a little dizzy, couldn’t walk quite right for a few minutes, and seemed confused even though she felt fine. It was no big deal but her family insisted she go to the doctor. Doctor ordered some tests – brain tumor – inoperable –maybe four months to live.

“Pardon me? What was that you said? I don’t think so. I feel fine – and I’m only 60-years old. You see, I make these bead earings….and teach my Sunday school classes…and…the Park Ave Festival is coming up…….”

Four months later, almost to the day of her diagnosis. Connie died.

We all know we’re going to die someday, don’t we? Naw, not really. Really can’t imagine it. This lack of true belief in our own death is probably necessary for us to live. And that’s OK. But maybe today – for just a few moments – we can look at the beautiful glass beads in each of us – and love them – even if no one else realizes how very valuable they are.

Food Coma Survivors Demand Change

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

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In my building’s lobby, there are a few human left-overs wandering around in various stages of fully-stuffed shock. Their eyes are half closed, their mouths still open, and they hold various parts of their abdomens trying to relieve the pressure. Their moans are mixed with words like, “I can’t eat another thing – and I’ve got two more dinners tonight . Ooooh.”

Ah, Thanksgiving – the Great American Pig-Out.  Today  you’ll eat between 4 and 5-thousand calories (a normal, 2-day input for an American adult) IN ONE MEAL.  A great holiday devoted to unabashed gluttony. (And I’m too polite to remind you that 1/2 of the world’s population will go to bed hungry tonight.)

Unbridled face stuffing is kind of funny in this country.

You see, America is the land of Pilgrims, Puritans, and Prigs. Gluttony is a sin – one of the biggies in the litany of “The SEVEN DEADLY Sins.” Why a nation founded by religious zealots would choose one of the seven deadly sins as a way to celebrate is a little strange. It’s also tough on turkeys. So I came up with an idea to make us appear less mindlessly traditional.

For a national holiday, maybe we could change it up a bit featuring a different deadly sin every year. I went through the list of the others – greed, sloth, wrath, lust, envy, and pride – and I’d like to nominate for next year’s star sin: lust. Lust has kind of a bad reputation in America but that’s why it needs a national holiday. Gluttony is frowned upon every other day of the year but celebrated on Thanksgiving. So our country can still look down its prudish nose on sensual pleasure and recreational sex – except on   Lustmus Day.

Imagine the possibilities! A day of leers, kisses, and lechery. Drooling old men and excited young boys! Women dressing in provocative clothing being tramps for a day. Conversations filled with suggestive remarks, X-rated movies on every TV channel, raunchy songs on the radio, and double entendres all day long.

Obviously I don’t have all the details worked out yet – but I’ll get back to you on it.  I’m bored with non-thinking tradition – how about you?

Was Jesus Marching?

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

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I don’t hate haters. Friends have wondered if I hate people who are militant anti-abortion protesters, racists, or anti-gay activists. I don’t hate anyone. Hatred is ugly; it’s based in ignorance, fear, anger, and intolerance. Although every person has those emotions at times – civilized people do their best to control them. Why do I feel so strongly about this? J. and her daughter are one reason:

J. is a woman who’s had a life that’s “colorful”. She came from a broken home – in a small town – became a “dancer” in the city – and took a dive into a world of drugs and decadence. Today she’s beautiful at 45 – when she was 20, she was stunning. You don’t need a calculator to figure out that sex, drugs, money, and a beautiful woman are going to add up to trouble. J. was racing a Corvette-of-a-life towards an abyss-of-death. Until her daughter was born.

J. quickly gave up drugs, dancing, easy money, and dedicated her life to that child. She bought a small house so her daughter could have the security she never had growing up. She took a series of mundane jobs that were respectable – but paid about as much in a week as she used to snort up her nose in a night. It didn’t matter. Her child could honestly say ‘Mom is a 911 Operator’ instead of ‘Mom is a stripper’. J. had every middle class American dream for her daughter – especially the one about a beautiful bride in white, happily walking down the aisle, and giving her wonderful grandchildren.

But that dream exploded when her daughter told her she was gay. “Say what? Gay? GAY!?!”

Did J. immediately resign herself to that fact and accept her daughter’s sexual preference? Like hell – she was DEVASTATED. She cried and prayed and denied it and begged her daughter to seek “help” and prayed some more. She tried that sad route for YEARS! But in the end – it didn’t matter. Water is wet – the sky is blue – some people are gay. You can pound the ground all you want but in the end – it really doesn’t matter much – that’s just the way it is. Finally J. accepted what she could not change. To express her love and acceptance of her daughter, she agreed to march with her in a Gay Pride Parade.

“Franco,” she said, “I was shocked! We walked by a group of militant Christian activists who – pointed their fingers at us and started chanting ‘You’re going to hell! You’re going to hell!’. There was hate POURING out of their eyes and mouths!”

“I was overwhelmed! I felt angry and afraid and very protective of my daughter when she grabbed my arm in near-terror. And then a strange thing happened. I immediately calmed down and started saying, ‘I love you’ to the protesters. I don’t know why I did it. I just kept making eye contact with every one of those poor people and kept repeating, ‘I love you,’ ‘I love you.’ But that seemed to make them angrier still! We finally finished the parade and I knew those people brought my daughter and me even closer.”

When J. finished her story, I had a strange thought. I wondered what if Jesus walked in that Gay Pride Day parade and passed those protesters? Would He thank them? Would He be angry? Would He be embarrassed that some people use His name to hate? Does Jesus ever get embarrassed?

I told this story and my strange thought to a friend who’s a believer. She just shook her head and looked at me like I was an imbecile.

“He was there, Franco,” she said. “Why on earth do you think J. answered hate with love?”

Have it Our Way, Oddballs

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

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In 1998 Burger King took out a full page ad in USA Today announcing a “Left-Handed Whopper” specially designed for left-handed Americans. The new burger included the same ingredients as the original Whopper but all the condiments were rotated 180-degrees to accommodate left-handers.

Lefties were delighted! Finally – the world was recognizing that not all people are right-handed and the other 11% of the population was getting some respect. Thousands of ‘right – as a second hand’ customers rushed into BK’s across the nation requesting the new sandwich.

But there was no new sandwich. Surprised at the overwhelmingly enthusiastic response, a sheepish Burger King was forced to issue a press release the next day admitting the whole thing was a hoax.

Left-handers were not amused. Now, instead of being ignored, the overly-sensitive paranoids thought they were being mocked and ridiculed by a national restaurant chain. Of course they were “right” – 90% of us know they’re genetic mutants, not ‘getting with the program’ for their entire lives.

Did Castro Kill Kennedy?

Friday, November 20th, 2009

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He certainly had enough reasons to. When John Kennedy was President, there were at least SIX attempts on Castro’s life. From shootings to poisonings and even an exploding cigar (thought up by the CIA) the U.S. tried everything to kill Fidel. Of course, this was all secret at the time – even from then Vice-President Lyndon Johnson. When Johnson took over and found out about it, he bellowed, “They (the Kennedys) were running a goddamn ‘Murder Inc.’ down there!”

Around noon in Havana on November 22, 1963, Castro was having lunch with a well-known French journalist. Midway through the meal, one of the dictator’s aids rushed in and whispered something in his ear. The journalist later reported Castro “turned white” and said, “Jesus! They killed Kennedy and now they’ll blame us and invade!” He immediately left for his office.

Castro had good reason to be paranoid. He was only 90-miles away from the world’s largest, nuclear superpower which was trying its best to get rid of him. Cuba could have been obliterated in less than 20-minutes. Would the young Communist be dumb enough to give us a reason for doing that? Hardly. Castro was a lot of things – but he wasn’t stupid.

Years later, yet another ‘60’s plot against Castro was discovered. The good folks at the CIA – who probably watched too many James Bond movies – were going to ‘emasculate’ Fidel in front of the Cuban people. Their chemists came up with some bizarre powder that was supposed to make his beard fall out!

This strange scheme may actually have come closest to killing the dictator. When he learned about it, aids said Castro almost “died laughing”.

Sunday is the 46th Anniversary of John Kennedy’s Assassination (In my opinion, the day this country started going to hell.)

Rock Hotel Rocks!

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

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If God took a vacation in Southern California, He’d stay at the San Diego Hard Rock Hotel. The place is futuristic, chic beyond belief, fun, loud, and, in some places, burst-out-laughing tacky. In other words, Rock and Roll Heaven!

My client was cool enough to book me a small suite and I loved the place as soon as I walked through the lobby filled with loud rock music and a subtle sixties light show. The staff was friendly, funny, and giggled out loud when they had to say “How may we rock your world?” It was like kids playing ‘hotel’ but somehow it all worked. And young? Each of the staff had to be born 20 years after the Beatles broke up – retirement age looked to be about 28.

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My suite featured two huge TV’s which hung on the wall of each room, a large, walk-around shower, a great stereo system with a free disc, bold colors, and a pricey, mind-blowing mini-bar. Why was it mind-blowing?

bongvodkaThe star of the drink show was BONG Vodka, a large bottle of which invitingly sat on the counter. The room service guy kindly pointed out that when the bottle was done, the medallion on the bottom could be pulled out to make (are you ready?) a Bong. Price? $150.00. Yikes!

Oh yeh, the prices. In every hotel, my first ritual is to order a room-service cheeseburger. Hard Rock Hotels’ cheeseburgers are among the best I’ve ever eaten anywhere – and they should be. With fries and a Pepsi and a delivery charge ($4.00), sales tax (8%), hotel tax (17%), and tip ($5) . . . the burger cost $31.20.

The Hard Rock Hotel isn’t cheap – but it’s an adventure and fun and funny and sometimes tacky. Tacky? Large sign on the snacks:  EAT ME.

Ah, rock my world!

“Yes You’re Going. There’s a Nurse There.”

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

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My Mom was  a walking encyclopedia of common sense.  I don’t know how many times I heard her say the words above when I felt sick and wanted to stay home rather than go to school. Or telling my grade school teachers, “If he misbehaves, make sure you punish him. Then call me and he’ll get it twice as bad when he gets home.”  Can you imagine a parent saying that today?  She’d be in court the rest of her life.

When we were kids,  Mom would take out her ‘wooden spoon’, wave it around, and let us know we’d meet the business end of it if we didn’t straighten up. She also told us the spanking would hurt her more than it hurt us but she’d have to do it because she loved us. We never doubted either premise for a second. Now – I never remember actually being spanked by the wooden spoon, but it wasn’t the worst punishment anyway.

The worst punishment was disappointing my parents.

Being sent to the principal’s office or getting a bad teacher’s note never resulted in any loud theatrics in our home. But the hurt looks and gentle shaking of my parents’ heads were enough to make me melt into the floor. A rotten report card was put on the kitchen counter to “talk about after dinner.” It sat there like a turd and I just picked at my food during those sad, quiet meals.

What was my Mom like? When the heavy duty discussion led by my Dad was finally over, she’d quietly say, “Let’s go back in the kitchen. I kept your dinner warm in the stove.”

“The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling!”

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

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I’m getting really bored with neo-nasty alarmists trying to get everyone up in arms over baloney.  I read many papers-on-line and saw some very strange comments last week from people who are walking around without taking their medications.

One goofus said Obama might really be working for Osama Bin Laden!  Another knew O was a part of a world conspiracy by showing a graduation photo with him giving some “secret handshake”.  One said he was the Anti-Christ.  Many redirected their accusations from O to Muslims in America who are trying to wipe us all out because we’re “infidels”.  Some suggested we put Muslims in detention camps ala the Japanese in WWII. And most believe that ‘political correctness’ is a huge cover-up by the government and the media to hide this whole “Marxist-Muslim-One World Government conspiracy”.

I’m glad these people don’t believe in political correctness because now I can name them for what they truly are: alarmist whack-jobs.

These are chicken clones of the same dimwits who warned us against communists and fluoride in the ‘50’s, the collapse of America’s moral order in the ‘60’s, the complete wiping out of the human race from Aids by the year 2000, millions of kids kidnapped for Satanic rituals and kiddie porn and ‘End-of-the-World’ predictions by Biblical prophecies and Nostradamus.  Did any of these things ever happen?  Certainly we could document some cases for each example but REAL threats that might have toppled America?  C’mon!

So now – before everyone hides under their beds to protect themselves from crazed Islamic terrorists running through the streets killing everyone in sight, let’s take a deep breath of rational reality.

Are there nut fringes of Islam?  Of course.  They probably account for 1 or 2% of that religion.  Probably pretty much the same percentage of Christians who murder abortion doctors and start “Christian” sects of their own like David Koresh and Jim Jones.

Does the Koran declare a holy war on infidels?  Sure – outdated sections of the book thousands of years old, when “infidels” were in the minority.  Kind of like passages from our own Old Testament which demand stoning to death of adulterers, no beards shaved, and permission to have slaves. Only a few nuts believe this junk today.

Will there be isolated terrorist attacks against which we can do nothing?  Sadly, yes. In a country of over 350-million people, we’re probably lucky we didn’t have more from all extremists.  And yes, we should be vigilant and security conscious.  But we shouldn’t be afraid of “bogeymen” falling from the sky who exist only in the minds of whackjobs.

What America Tells Its Kids About Sex:

Friday, November 13th, 2009

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“Sex is a dirty, shameful thing. Make sure you
save it for someone you love. Any questions?”