Friday, August 31, 2012


I have become critical, cynical and apolitical after a lifetime of witnessing the costly machinations public office wannabes perform in their pursuit of an office. It has been said that, in America, anyone can become president. The missing ingredient in that Pollyanna aphorism is that wealth - personal, family, or acquired - is necessary. We have become instead of a Democracy (actually a Democratic Republic), an Oligarchy.

The Oligarchs treat us as their minions instead of as their employers. We’ve become little more than feudal serfs gifted with the illusion that voting will allow us to have some influence over how they do things. Hogwash!

The verbal sparring between Democrats and Republicans or Liberals and Conservatives serves only to dilute whatever wise thinking might otherwise be brought to an issue, any issue. The fervent use of labels as epithets seems to confirm Emerson’s philosophy that, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.” Labels obviate the need for thinking.

Intelligence and statesmanship seem no longer prerequisites for viability as a candidate for President of the United States. I’ve grown weary and disgusted at having to choose the lesser of evils rather than for the one who is eminently qualified.

Alfred E. Neuman (What, Me Worry?) seems of like mind. Perhaps I shall write him in.

"How come we choose from just two people for President, and fifty for Miss America?"
— Alfred E. Neuman, MAD magazine mascot

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Toxic Friendships

    After spending many years investing in what I thought was a growing friendship I have to admit, finally, that it wasn’t friendly. It was toxic. I met this lady in a neighborhood tavern I used to visit with a former girlfriend and thought she might have come back from Florida to visit her friends. It wasn’t her. This stranger and I got along well enough to plan a sight-seeing trip the next day before she returned to her home in New York.
    As weeks passed and additional weekend visits occurred it became evident that this lady needed a good Samaritan. Voila. To the rescue I came galumphing in. Before long her move here to share my apartment “until she could get her feet on the ground” revealed a seriously troubled young woman. I saw the inside of more emergency rooms and police stations that first year than I had in all the rest of my life.
    As time passed the tempestuousness of her life calmed somewhat, she got her own place and managed to maintain employment with some regularity. I continued feeling responsible for her well being, though, in the way John Steinbeck noted in Travels with Charly - if you save a creature’s life, you are responsible for that creature for the rest of its natural life. So I maintained my Samaritan status until she met and married a man who I assumed would bear the responsibility for her and I relaxed a bit. I moved to another city to accept a job there and we lost contact for several years. This was her third or fourth or fifth marriage and it failed.
    Not long after, she allowed her fingers to do the walking through the white pages and discovered I was listed. She called me and the semi-friendship resumed. This whole saga began in 1976 and slowly I’ve discerned that what I was seeing as a brotherly/sisterly type of friendship was (and probably had been from the start) toxic. There was never any romance. If there had been it would have been over a long time ago.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bimbo Bartenders

I dislike when barmaids blatantly display their femaleness without any pretense at femininity. They provocatively package and prominently display their physical features which developed through their genetic luck of the draw. Too often they seem to lack bartending talent, business acumen or spontaneous sociability which are all necessary ingredients of a professional bartender. They expect inordinately large tips simply for their very presence with no regard for whether they do a good job. They capitalize on their features taking credit where none is due.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


It's been a while since I've added anything to this blog. Without a firm schedule of obligations, semi-retirement can present a seemingly endless parade of distractions. Maybe this time the continuity will be a bit more frequent.

During a recent visit to a local watering hole, I was struck by the changes now available to those who prefer to ignore the suggestion, "Don't break a silence unless you can improve on it". The mood destroyer on this occasion was a performance of RAP sounds. (I refuse to call it music.) After some reflection these thoughts occurred: 

Rap! What’s the appeal? It isn’t music. It’s merely rhythmic talking accompanied by one or two, possibly three, notes continually repeated. I don’t get it. It seems to approximate the sounds of tribal drums of native Americans or Black Africans. True musicians have taken the time and energy to learn about chords, chord progressions, triads, diminished sevenths, the circle of fifths, et cetera. A microphone, a loudspeaker and appropriately vulgar, anti-social words are all that’s needed to become a Rap star. Overnight, you’re a sensation and rich. (Roll over Beethoven.)

Why are the sounds of Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Satchmo and a host of others including Elvis and Elton pushed aside by those who choose noise over melody? Even Gene Krupa’s drum solos had a melodic nature. Don’t forget about Dave Brubeck and Henry Mancini. And movies would not be the same without John Williams’ compositions. With today’s so-called jukeboxes, anyone with a dollar can fill a room with the boring repetition of sounds accompanying antisocial vulgar rantings which if spoken by someone in person would earn them an invitation to shut up or leave.

A response I got from one Rap fan was that, "There are good words in a rap presentation. You don't need melody or harmony." I replied that there are good words in the Constitution and the Sermon on the Mount but I wouldn't want to find those words on a jukebox in lieu of music.