Changing Names to Protect the Innocent?

 

I have never considered myself thin-skinned, but I am sensitive to those words that cause distress to others.  Lately, I have focused on the long-simmering dispute about whether the Redskins (That’s a football team out of our nation’s Capitol, which will probably lack your attention until they start winning more games), and whether they should change their name to something that is more politically correct.

 

America Needs a New Party

While Congress has decided to shut down government and cater to both extremes in the Democrat and Republican parties, I have taken this pause in rational political news to ask you to consider an important question:

“If the Republicans are now considered the conservative party, and  the

Democrats are now the liberal party, who represents the vast majority of

                                                                                      Americans who are stuck in the middle?”

Find Jimmy Hoffa

Find Jimmy Hoffa

When I was a college student in Michigan in the 1970’s, there was a bumper sticker on thousands of American cars tooling down the road in the Detroit area.   “Where is Jimmy Hoffa?”  It was big news back then:  The pugilistic head of the Teamsters had disappeared after a meeting with the Detroit Mafia at a fancy restaurant named the Machus Red Fox, never to be seen again.

The bumper stickers didn’t help.  Jimmy was never found.  This powerful union leader, who had clashed with the Kennedys, done time in prison, and emerged from the experience in a return to the power he had enjoyed in his heyday, never came home for dinner.

Bradbury’s Legacy

Ray Bradbury was the writer who allowed me to escape the realities of childhood and explore uncharted parts of my imagination.  I have read many authors, but he was the only one who challenged me to turn the page.  I would try to predict the next scene, and he would mess with me every time.  It was almost like he wrote his prose to lead the reader into a mental dead end, and when the page was turned, he created a “Wow!”  I would imagine him sitting in the shadows of my bedroom, watching me read.  I would turn the page, and my mind would picture the great author, arms crossed, smiling and smirking, leading me on.

No Alarm Clock

Bradbury ideas

Rubio Has Drinking Problem

If you are a political junkie, or if you happen to enjoy the pain of watching a political speech, you watched President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address.  If you have reached the point of subjecting yourself to punishment that may require professional intervention, you stayed tuned to what followed.

Marco Rubio, the junior Senator from Florida, followed with the Republican response, and he stole all of the attention with an act that most of us perform on a daily basis:  He paused in the middle of speaking to take a sip of water.  You would have thought, from the visceral reaction of many who don’t agree with his political views, that he had substituted vodka for spring water and loaded a semi-automatic weapon with a high-capacity clip in the middle of that speech.  Again, all he did was take a sip of water from a bottle.

Translating Politics

When politicians say:  ”We need a balanced budget.”

They really mean:  ”China is offering great deals on loans to cover our deficit spending.  No worries.”

 

When politicians say:  “We need to address the budget deficit.”

They really mean:  “We will put off the decision to cut spending until after I leave office.”

 

When politicians say:  “We need to avert the looming fiscal crisis.”

They really mean:  “Someone else needs to deal with the fiscal crisis, so I can get re-elected.”

 

When politicians say:  “We can’t afford to go off the fiscal cliff.”

Great Libraries Lead to Great Reading

            How many people have a sanctuary in their home that they can call their own? I am a strong advocate for having such a place. For dreamers and thinkers, this refuge is essential for peace of mind. It is a place where creativity can thrive, and the seed of a thought can lead to great things.

The Reality Police

Sometimes, I need to remind myself about my age.

Christmas Moved to China

This year, I decided to refrain from putting up any Christmas decorations that were made in China. I don’t know why, really. I don’t have any lack of like for the Chinese. It just seems disingenuous to display depictions of Santa and his reindeer, angels, the Wise Men, and Baby Jesus in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes, all manufactured in a country composed of a billion people who don’t practice Christmas.
I didn’t know what I was getting into until I began the yearly ritual of climbing into the attic hauling down the multiple boxes of wreaths and bulbs and knick-knacks that only see the light of day for the month of December, but my parents practiced the same ritual before me, and their parents before them, so it must be tradition that makes me do the same thing this time each year.
It could be an instinct, like the migration of Monarch butterflies to Mexico, or the annual one of whales to breed in the warm oceans near Baja, California. I considered it for a moment while I was opening the boxes, and almost discarded the comparison until I realized that my parents, and my grandparents, too, had made the pilgrimage to semi-tropical Florida every year of their retirement, and at the same time of year, too. The only significant difference I could discern is that the whales and butterflies do it for breeding, while humans do it for tanning.
Lacking an anthropology degree, I left the deeper meaning of the annual urges to the experts. Maybe the Christmas urge is part instinct and part tradition, and doesn’t usually involve migration, which appears to be optional. I’m certain that scientists have a complicated explanation for the whole experience that includes complicated words that they made up for the occasion, but their take on Christmas traditions will probably have no effect on the annual obligation of Christians throughout the world who are in the process of hauling boxes out of the attic to prepare for a visit from Santa on the birthday of Jesus.
I was intent on eliminating every ornament, every decoration and bulb that displayed a Made in China sticker. I began with the Santa in an alpine forest with the hook that my Son’s stocking would hang. I turned it over. Made in China. I placed it in the Made in China pile, and moved on to Santa hugging a reindeer. More China. Undeterred, I moved on to the Christmas lights that have hung on my tree for years. China again.
I know that the tree is made in America. It grew on a tree farm not far from my home. I refused to think that the saw I used to cut it down was made anywhere but the Good Old USA, and moved to the bulbs. I finally had a success. Made exclusively in Gastonia, North Carolina for Walmart. I was beginning to feel patriotic. At least I had bulbs, shiny glass ornaments made exclusively for the largest seller of Chinese goods in the free world.
When my family asks what happened to the rest of the decorations, I will tell them the truth: “Christmas moved to China.”