Archive for May, 2010

A Vietnam Vet Looks at Memorial Day

Monday, May 31st, 2010

by Joseph Belle-Isle


When I was a kid, there was a fireworks display every Memorial Day.   The adults, many of them immigrants, were CELEBRATING the fact they made it through W.W.II and the Depression. And they proudly flew the flag because they knew it symbolized the fallen soldiers who made their survival possible.

Last night I saw an old photo of one of our soldiers’ cemeteries from W.W.II. There was a sea of perfectly-aligned monuments representing our soldiers who died in battle. Of course Christians got crosses on their stones, Jewish soldiers got Stars-of-David,  Muslim soldiers got symbols of Islam, and I understand, today the VA even has symbols for Wicans and atheists.  The point is, you don’t have to be a Christian to fight and die for America.  And I kind of think that’s what the country is always fighting for: Freedom for EVERYONE.

When I looked at that photo, I saw a lot more than orderly, clean head stones. I “saw” the screaming and the blood and the noise and the bombs and sometimes the lack of food and ammunition.  I “saw” the horror that each man under every symbol felt when he realized that ‘this is it – so maybe I’ll just charge into death for a cause – so someone else will be free’.

This year, when you fire up the grill and set off the fireworks, I hope you’ll remember to bow your head for a second and think about why your kids are playing in the glow of freedom. Maybe they’re even old enough so you can explain it to them.

Today let’s CELEBRATE and enjoy America’s freedom! And please remember the Vets who made it all possible for you – and for the people who forget why we’re celebrating.

Don’t Forget to Thank a Grill Today

Sunday, May 30th, 2010


Are you having a cookout Memorial Day? Many Americans do because it’s a tradition – and you “do” traditions whether you want to or not.  Some Vets tell me it’s OK to celebrate today – any way you choose.  This is America, they say, and freedom is the thing for which they fought (and for which far too many died). Most Americans “do” cookouts only once or twice a year.  Another reason to be thankful.

Typically, the Dad drags out the Webber grill, fills it with old charcoal (vintage: Memorial Day, 2009), dumps on too much lighter fluid (a definite lack of creativity naming this product), lights it, and then jumps back from the 2-foot flames.

“I’ll be ready for those steaks in about 10-minutes!” he shouts to his eye-rolling wife who is just thankful he didn’t set the house on fire. The kids groan when they see a backyard inferno like they haven’t seen since the California wildfires. Ahh, charred rawhide for dinner again this year. The charcoal briquettes might be easier to eat.

“MOM! Can we go to McDonalds?”

”No!” she yells back. “We’re a family – and families cook and eat outdoors together on Memorial Day. It’s important to your Father.”

Louder groans. “Why?” one yells.

“God friggin’ knows…,” she thinks as she scoops salads onto paper plates from plastic containers.

“Go set the table! Use the paper plates and plastic silverware.” More groans. Even before the kids find the long lost picnic supplies, the wind picks up and a new species of aggressive fly is attracted to the smell of burning meat. Finally the family is seated. Paper plates are held down by mayonnaise salads and one hand – as the other tries to shoo away the unrelenting pests.

And despite the fact that everything on the grill is now uniformly burnt to a crispy black, Dad asks the punch line question, “How would you like your steak?”

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Tomorrow’s Memorial Day post is by Joseph Belle-Isle, a frequent commenter on this blog and a Vietnam Veteran.  Joe always seems to have an “unusual” perspective on the world – tomorrow’s post is no exception.  I read it – and it’s good.  It will make you think too.
Joe, thank you for your service to our country.  It’s an honor for me to post your thoughts on this important day.

No Nudes is Bad Nudes

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Memorial Day traditionally has been the kickoff opening for nudist resorts in climate-challenged regions like ours. I’ve enjoyed nude sunbathing for years and, as others have told me, it’s no big thing.

The resorts have ranged from ‘naturist-primitive’ – like the one we have near Sodus, NY – to ‘pool side umbrella drinks’ such as a resort I know near Toronto. But whatever the location, nudists enjoy the sun and the freedom allowed by a clothes -free environment.

This freedom comes from total body acceptance without regard to the ‘young, beautiful, slender bodies’ and ‘latest fashion’ pressures that dominate our culture. While getting a tan, I’ve seen the bodies of senior citizens, kids, mastectomy survivors, scar victims, fat people, skinny people, and just about everyone else under the sun. It’s hard to believe – but nobody really cares what you look like. For first time nudists, the naked novelty idea wears off after about five or ten minutes – really.

In this society, we associate being naked with sex – but nudist resorts are about as sexy as dog shows. There are no displays of physical affection, teasing bikinis, or “enhanced” SpeedO’s. Sun worshippers surprised me at first. Most are just average, tradition – bound Americans with this one rebellious activity which they do not consider rebellious at all.

Do they worry about skin damage from the sun? Oh please – virtually everything is relatively safe when done in moderation. And anything done regularly to the extreme is usually harmful – especially moderation.

Paterson Panics in Paolo Park Push

Friday, May 28th, 2010


For Immediate Release:

Albany, New York.  In a last minute effort to avoid a potentially negative confrontation with Frank Paolo and his loyal readers,  Governor David Paterson made an agreement with leaders from the New York State Legislature to open NY State Parks for the Memorial Day Weekend.

Paolo, in a strong blog editorial “They Can’t Just Close a Park” (May 25th), said he was going to defy the ban, go to a park,  and “enjoy a burger cooked with freedom from government lunacy”.  It is not known if law enforcement agencies had plans to arrest Paolo or his associates.

A spokesperson from Gov. Paterson’s Public Relations office denied Paolo or his blog “Everyone is Entitled to My Opinion” was the reason the park agreement was reached.  She said, “Gov. Paterson and the NYS Legislature just want what’s best for New Yorkers on this holiday weekend”.

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Bless Me Father for I Have Sneezed

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Bless me Father for I have sinned. Uh, maybe we’d better start on the small ones first. I’ve had some bad thoughts since my last confession. I’d kinda like to go in reverse, chronological order here – is that OK, Father? Thanks.

I got on the elevator this morning with a big basket of laundry and the bottle of detergent teetering on top. I hate doing laundry so I’m not in a real great mood anyway. The laundry and I are taking an elevator ride down to the ‘machines ‘o wash’ when we stop at one of the nether floors and this doofy guy gets in.

He looks at me, then down at my laundry and soap, then back at me and says, “Gonna do laundry?”

Now Father, I know ‘God works in mysterious ways’ – why he would put GOAT BRAINS in anyone’s head is beyond me. And right away some wise-ass answers popped into my head. I was tempted (and may I have the confession transcript underline the word ‘tempted’ here? Thanks, Father.) I was tempted to say,

“Nah, the dirty shirts and shorts were getting bored in the closet so I thought I’d take them for a walk in the park.” Or,

“Noooo. It’s my birthday and my dirty clothes are bringing me down to the lounge for cake and soda.”

But I fought it, Father! I think that should be noted here. What I did was, I tried to copy the nitwit’s dumb smile, nodded my head, and then said, “Heh, heh. Yup – laundry.” He nodded back in profound understanding.

So Father, I know mean, sarcastic thoughts are a sin – a venal sin, I might add. But since I fought them back and rolled around on this guy’s level, I think we could drop it down to a ‘Venal – 3rd-Degree ‘ – is that OK, Father? Maybe even ‘Venal -4th’ with an extra ‘Hail Mary’ on top…. OK, Father?…… Father?”

They Can’t Really Close a Park

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

In New York, we have some of the most beautiful parks in the United States.  This week we also have some of the most beautiful weather imaginable – Hawaii weather – hardly a cloud in the sky with high temperatures in the ‘80’s and no rain.

Families and couples should be flocking to our parks, right?  Wrong.   Many of our most picturesque parks and historic sites are CLOSED because our proudly-disfunctional legislature and tantrum-throwing governor can’t agree on a budget.  In New York, our budget BY LAW has to be agreed to by April 1st.  But, of course, April 1st is April Fool’s Day –  a traditional holidays for imbeciles, nitwits, pinheads, and members of the New York State Government.

We have a $9-Billion dollar gap in our bloated budget and closing the parks will save an estimated 1/2 of 1% of that.  Even politicians are smart enough to realize the cuts are more symbolic than significant but the Governor is snitting the parks closed anyway.

What can we do about it?  I can’t tell YOU what to do about it – but I’ll tell how I’m going to enjoy this holiday weekend: a friend and I are going to a CLOSED park and grill some burgers and maybe go swimming!  We’ll have someone drop us off so cops (on double-time holiday pay) can’t give us a parking ticket. We’ll pick up our own litter and make sure our fire is out when we leave.

Will cops and State Troopers organize patrols to find us in the picnic areas and beaches?  Probably not.  What will they do if they catch us?  Give us a ticket for trespassing in our own park?  I’d proudly hang it on my wall and send copies to my friends.

Do you know what will bother me most about my anticipated adventure?  I don’t really care for the outdoors all that much and don’t like eating outside at all.  But something tells me a burger cooked with freedom from government lunacy might taste pretty good.

Hope to see you out there!

Have a Nice Trip – See You Next Fall

Monday, May 24th, 2010

I tripped on a piece of sidewalk yesterday but I didn’t fall.  Since I’ve gotten used to walking more, I rarely land on the concrete.  But I still have memories of a few nasty falls from last year.

Falling isn’t nice – remember? The awkward clip of the trip, then the concrete rushing at supersonic speeds towards your face, then the thudding crash (pause for a split second) then … PAIN! The shooting joint rips, the scraped hands, knees, and elbow skin tears, bruises – then the quick jump to your feet and the MANDATORY downward look of revulsion at the evil piece of concrete which chose YOU (out of all the other idiot pedestrians walking that day) to make stumble and look like a spastic imbecile.

Almost all sidewalks in Northeastern US cities are potential land ‘on-your-ass’ mines. The reason is simple: the changing seasons. When rain and snow freeze under and between sidewalk slabs in winter, the ice expands and cracks or makes uneven the concrete. When spring rolls around, the ice melts and sidewalks look like miles of crooked, broken teeth.

Shouldn’t the city fix the sidewalks and even them out? Well of course they should. Just as soon as they fix all the potholes and clear all the fallen, soaked leaves and trash from the streets – which will be about the twelfth of Never.

A few years ago, New York City came up with a genius solution because they have more sidewalk problems than any other city which resulted in injury lawsuits costing city taxpayers over $50-million a year. They simply passed a law saying it wasn’t their problem anymore. Property owners are now required to carry liability insurance for personal injury and property damage in sidewalk accidents.

And what happens if you fall on a sidewalk in front of say a city park? Officially: not the city’s problem. Unofficially: you’d better crawl your sorry, broken ass to a sidewalk in front of private property before you begin hollering and threatening to sue. I heart New York!

I Root for the Bull – Ole!

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Is there any crueler sport than bullfighting?  Even the horrors of disgusting dogfighting cannot compete.  Here’s a piece from the “New Statesman”, an English newspaper, describing the sport.

“The show begins when a bull is forced into an arena confused by the large ring and the deafening roar of a bloodthirsty crowd.  Then the hapless animal is approached by picadors, men on horses, who drive lances into its back and neck muscles. The subsequent loss of blood impairs the bull’s ability to lift its head.  When the banderilleros arrive on foot, the bull can expect further pain from the banderilleros – spiked sticks in bright colors, being stabbed into its back.

Now weak and disorientated, the bull is encouraged by the banderilleros to run in dizzying circles before finally, the matador appears and, after a few forced charges, tries to kill the bull with his sword. If he misses, he stabs the submissive animal on the back of the neck until it is paralyzed. The idea is to cut the animal’s spinal cord, but if the matador botches the job, the bull may be fully conscious while its ears or tail are removed as trophies. On many occasions, the bull remains alive until it is dragged out of the arena to be slaughtered.”

That’s the way it goes most of the time.  But last week, Spanish matador, Julio Aparico, stumbled and received a bull horn through his throat exiting his mouth.  The bullslitter was rushed from the arena to a hospital where he is now barely alive.  That only makes me a little sad.  I am terribly saddened by the bull which was slaughtered because he could not be tortured enough to die a natural bullfighting death.

Looking for Coregasms

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Nice Trunk. 1976

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

In the ’70’s, I used to collect trunks.  A lot of people don’t know that steamer shipping trunks in the 17- and 1800’s had rounded tops so sailors couldn’t stack them on top of each other. Now you know.