Monday, November 7, 2011


          Yesterday I watched a TV report on sleeplessness.  It was the typical "Wow, big discovery" report the media just adores.  In two minutes or less you learn something you never needed to know.  This big discovery was one of those "mostest" things.  Louisville was named as the city with the most insomniacs.  This was not a scientific study, but rather the result of some questionnaire that probably came in the Cheerios box. 

          I just go nuts with the time these studies require of me.  This is completely my problem because I can't not listen or read the results of a study.  I always take the little quizzes in magazines and newspapers.  You know those little "Take This Quiz" to learn whether "You're Ripe for a Reinvention of your Life" or "Will the Young Man with the Low Riding Pants Trip First on His Shoelaces or His Pants?"  The insomnia number was particularly seductive because I am a high ranking amateur insomniac.  Sleeplessness studies are a kind of challenge to me.  Someone who hasn't slept well in a month is fodder for my smirking cynicism.  "Ha," I think, "I haven't slept well for years."  I'm bragging about my problem.  That's what sleeplessness does to an insomniac pro like me.

          Now like all "serious" studies, an expert on sleeplessness explained why she and the other experts thought some people slept better than others, were more successful at sleeping.  Happily married people slept pretty well unless one of them was a major irritant, e.g., snored.  She then went on to tell us how unpartnered people slept.  Unpartnered?  What in the name of blue blazes is unpartnered?  I tuned in very closely – full attention.  Apparently, unpartnered means sleeping alone. 

          What a dreadful term.  What if the unpartnered loser is sometimes partnered?  What about the unpartnered isolationist who prefers to sleep alone regardless of marital status?  How about the unpartnered who sleeps with a pet?  Laugh if you must, but plenty of people sleep with pets, toys even. 

          Why didn't this "expert" use the terms sleep alone or sleep with others.  Gosh, that would have covered the mattress. Right?  If I hear this term again or, even worse, read it somewhere, I will probably never sleep again.  Undressed, unloved, unlovable, uncompromising, undeserving, unrepentant, unatural, under the sheets – whatever!  For all of us unpartnered sleepers, I suggest a small discreet campaign of describing the unpartnereds' ability to read in bed, eat in bed, phone in bed, compute in bed, watch movies in bed, hog all the blankets, sleep in the middle of the bed, buy sheets that please us alone, etc., etc., etc.  Unpartnered indeed!  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Best Reality Show

         I'm not a fan of reality shows except this one, the Republican debates showcasing the primary candidates for president.   I use the word primary advisedly because as you undoubtedly know, there are candidates who are not invited to participate in this most riveting of all contests.  There's Buddy Roemer from Louisiana who has a great deal of elective experience having served as governor and a four-term representative.  And there's the chap from Michigan, a guitar-strumming representative.  Sorry, but I've forgotten his name.  Of course, these so-called debates give Republican voters an idea of whom they would prefer to run against Obama, and that event is called a primary also.  Unlike the great big popular reality shows, this one does not have exotic settings, improvised unlikely situations, or alligators and worms.  But it does have improvisation aplenty and a sufficient quantity of terror.  Imagine if one of these candidates actually made it to the presidency of the USA.   (Deep breath, deep breath.)

         So let's take a look at these folks, the intrepid eight entertainers posing as possible presidential contenders.  I feel rather warm towards them.  It's the audience that terrifies me as they cheer for the execution of criminals, cheer for the inability of the unemployed to find jobs, and exhibit very strong feelings against namby-pamby feel-good Democrats, a designation I embrace. 

         Only one of the cast members will make it onto the national ticket, but all of them are in line for book deals, public speaking, and a shot at being a Fox News "commentator."  Look at Herman Cain.  No staff, no comprehensive policy document, nothing but 9, 9, 9, a plan developed by a Wells Fargo employee.  Does any of that matter?  Of course not.  Herman is selling his books and filling speaking engagements all along the campaign trail.  His day job is motivational speaker, and he gets big bucks for inspiring people.  He hasn't been involved with pizza in years.  Herman has no intention of limiting his income by becoming president.

         Rick Santorum should leave his family, become a Roman Catholic priest, and throw his hat in the ring for cardinal.  I predict that he will write a book that will be given to every RC couple as a wedding gift.  Go, Rick, go, you pious rascal you!

         How about Newt, the man who brought us the War On America?  He sure knows his stuff, and he's willing to trot out his knowledge regardless of his current position on any issue.  And there's his razzle dazzle wife, too!

         Scary Perry does more than scare me; he frightens me more than Freddy Kruger does.  Good grief, the man is ready to deal out harsh Texas justice wherever he spies arguments against his simplistic notion of how to run a country.  Is he following the news?  Can he assemble more than his own opinion?  Can he assemble?  I get the vapors just listening to him.  I won't even go into his extremely limited knowledge of U.S. history.
I thought he was going to haul off and punch Mitt Romney last week.  Wow!

         Punching Mitt is something many people would like to do.  Well, at least pinch him.  He's so very, very dull, and those of us gobbling up current TV entertainment want some action.  We got a little bit when Perry opened up the book on illegals and Mitt's role in "hiring" them.  I thought it was a farce, a joke, nothing to get riled up about, but Mitt didn't see it that way.  I guess he's going to be the GOP presidential candidate, but he's no match for Obama.  Now those debates should not be missed.  Talk about entertainment!  Emmys?

         And what do you think of Ron Paul?  Besides demonstrating that there is more than the Perry brand of Texan, he's against the Iraq war.  Imagine that!  I think he's against all war, but he can't win with that attitude.  The USA is always at war.  It must drive him nuts that Obama is pulling our troops out of Iraq by the end of this year.  There goes his campaign.

         Let's move on to Jon Huntsman, and then let's move right over him.  He may be the choice for Democrats, but he's too intelligent, experienced, and thoughtful to ever make it on to the GOP ticket. 

         Now my personal fav, Michele Bachmann.  Ooo, this woman has given me lots to think about including, but not limited to, the terrible state of private evangelical education, the notion that a person of such limited intellectual resources was actually allowed to raise foster children, the taming of the gay horde, and (for Pete's sake) that husband!  She's plucky and she never deviates from spewing her ignorance.  I have to give her credit, though, for dressing very nicely, finally figuring out how to gaze into the distance for those presidential-type photos, and dancing.  (Don't you just know that Mitt can't dance?)  She ain't going anywhere, my friends, but I'm sure we'll get books from her (and a stable of ghost writers). 

         Here's a sample of Bachmann's deepest thinking:  "If we took away the minimum wage – if conceivably it was gone – we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level."

         Bet you can't wait to read her book.




Monday, August 22, 2011


August 22, 2011

Dear General Electric,

          I recently heard Mitt Romney tell us all that corporations are people.  Supposing that he is the closest Republican candidate to the ideals of GE, I’m concluding that he knows what he’s saying.  In other words, Mitt, at least to some extent, reflects the thoughts and ideals of a grand corporation such as yourself.  In a world fraught with uncertainty and unsympathetic people, I take great comfort in Mitt’s words.

          Of course, a related conclusion is that GE will support the GOP candidate in the next presidential election.  I have noted that your druthers regarding tax policy and the GOP’s undying devotion to Grover Norquist are similar.  I don’t know who elected Grover, but he sure does carry a big stick!

          Here’s my proposal.  I am sincerely seeking your hand in marriage.  It may be somewhat against the grain for a woman to propose marriage, but you are both a long-term and a contemporary company, and I think you can deal with my forwardness. 

          Here are few of the particulars.  Naturally, you can choose some of the nuptial details.

While there is no tax savings for you with me as a dependent, maybe you can take on my relatives and save them all those taxes, too.  We all admire your steadfast devotion to tax avoidance and similarly we stand in awe of your clever manipulation of various tax credits. 

 I agree, and so does my family, to stock our homes exclusively with     GE appliances.  We’d want the GE Profile series if that’s not asking too much.  We’ll take anything else you manufacture as long as it’s appropriate for a home.

I will continue caring for my dog, Mitzi.  You don’t have to walk her, feed her, or play with her unless you really want to.  I would expect you to foot any bills for her feeding and care because, like me, she’d be your dependent, too.

My last point may be sticky for you, but it’s realistic, and, boy oh boy, you are one realistic company.  Getting to sit right next to the president and give him advice about job creation was one swell move.  Is he going to help you create more jobs overseas?  With your smooth talking ways and overstuffed wallet, I wouldn’t be surprised.  But you have to agree that I can continue to support my leftie ways.  I’m just one person, and even though Mitt says you are a person, too, you cast a somewhat larger shadow than I do.  For instance, I’ve flown first class only few times and then just because the flight attendant needed someone to keep company with a small child flying alone (and there was an empty seat).  You have your own fleet of aircraft.  Goddess, I am so impressed!

So what do you say?  Shall we meet at city hall and formalize this arrangement?  I’m waiting by my email in basket.



Sunday, July 17, 2011


Dear Dave,

Graduation from high school is a big deal, and I’m glad to be here today watching you make the formal leap from being a child to being a man.   Any fellow who survived a jellyfish attack can survive whatever comes after that.

 Now you’re beginning a new phase of learning, one where you must be more independent.  I have confidence that you will ace this new challenge and go on to a job you like.  It’s important to like your work - really, really important.  Don’t settle for less.

Be sure to get out of town when you can.  There’s a lot of world outside Monona, Wisconsin.  Traveling is almost as important as the work you do.  You’ll be a better person for it - more compassionate, thoughtful, and much wiser.  Remember that most of the world doesn’t live in the USA.  Also remember that most of the world’s people would prefer to live in the USA so take care of your country.  It’s a terrific country.  Learn about it and keep on learning.  The USA needs good guys like you.

I love you.


June 2008


           It was only 6:30 on a quiet weekday morning, but he couldn’t wait to look at the marigolds he planted two weeks ago.  “I don’t understand it,” he said to himself.  It was a fair bit of puzzlement.  He planted the 8 inch tall marigolds in a strict geometric pattern, his favorite pattern: 6 rows of 6 plants each.  This pattern pleased his sense of order.  In fact, he made a wooden spacer for planting this particular arrangement.  Now the plants were no longer strictly geometric but rather strayed from the preordained pattern into a mishmash of rows that were no longer straight and orderly.  The plants did not actually move, but they sent out shoots that failed to maintain the orderly planting; they failed to follow orders.  “That’s Mother Nature for you,” he thought, “Just one big mess.”

          He heard his name.  His wife called from the door.  “Come in and have coffee with me.”  Turning from the troublesome marigolds, he went indoors.  He enjoyed his first cup of coffee with great pleasure, and he was pleased that his wife finally learned exactly how he wanted it prepared.  Training her was not easy; he had to reject many cups of coffee improperly prepared.  Now there was no debate, no sabotage, no trying to convince him that there was more than one way to prepare coffee.  Oh, no, she finally toed the line and made coffee his way, the right way.

          He had to compromise somewhat by drinking that first cup of perfect coffee with her when he’d rather be drinking it by himself while going through the morning newspaper.  But he acknowledged that some compromise was necessary, and in this case, far easier than endlessly going through the proper coffee making routine.  Besides, he thought he loved his wife.  At least, he was used to her.  He opened the paper.  He was the first reader, the primary newspaper decider.  In other words, he decided which section she could read first. She succumbed to his infallible logic on that score, too.  Why should he deal with a newspaper that was already read or, more specifically, rumpled and disordered?

          “What are you going to do today?” she asked.  “She should know,” he thought.  “It’s Thursday, and I always mow the grass on Thursday.”  He responded by saying that he was going to do what he did every Thursday – mow the grass.  “Oh,” she said, “I was hoping you’d let the lawn service do it this week.  They are doing a good job on everyone else’s lawn.  I wanted to visit my sister.”  These remarks were more than irritating.  She knew that the lawn service was not adequate to his sense of order and visiting his sister-in-law and her left wing husband was his idea of nothing to do.  As if that were not enough, he knew that her sister had dogs, big sloppy dogs.  He couldn’t deal with that today.  Today was the day he mowed the grass.  Already, he began to think about the pattern he’d use for mowing, e.g., what strip should come first.  This thought pleased him.  Visiting the sloppy yard, sloppy dogs, and sloppy thinking sister-in-law and her husband didn’t present one single pleasing aspect.

          His wife dealt with his inflexibility for many years now, and she had an idea he’d find hard to resist.  “If you do the mowing now, we can still visit my sister.  If we leave by noon, we’ll have time to detour to your favorite garden center so you can look for new garden products”   He immediately discerned a workable compromise and agreed.  He was addicted to garden centers, the big ones, because he was convinced that there were products that would help him eliminate weeds from even thinking about invading his closely-controlled yard.  He didn’t care what  environmentalists, the greenies, had to say about chemicals; he knew better.  A pristine yard outweighed any damage chemicals could do.  “Better living through chemistry,” he thought. 

          And so it passed that our hero mowed his yard (in a chevron pattern), took a shower, had an early sandwich, backed the car out of the garage, and began the hour long trip to his wife’s sister’s home.  They would stop at the garden center first and, with a little bit of foot dragging in the pesticide aisle, he could limit the time at the green lefties.  “This will work,” he thought.

          As his wife chatted, he drove noting the road repairs, successfully maneuvering through the gravel bypass lanes.  He hated this time of year because the roads were always under repair, and his car needed washing more than once every two weeks.  No matter how slowly he drove on the gravel parts, he couldn’t avoid the dust.  It was a significant burden, almost as bad as the winter salt that had to be washed off frequently.  “But that’s life,” he mused, “Just one big mess after another.”

          Parts of the road were marked in a confusing series of signs, cones, and warnings.  He took it slow, but there was no avoiding the gravel and the dust.  “At least we’re driving in daylight,” he thought, “This would be hell at night.”  He struggled to remain alert even though his distress was increasing.  This road was beyond messy!  It was a disaster!  He thought of his lovely lawn mowed in a complicated pattern of perfect rows, and he looked at the road.  “I wish I could control road repairs,” he thought, “I’d eliminate all this dust.”  As he negotiated the endless series of bypasses, he became convinced that he could do a much cleaner job than the state highway planners and their lazy crews.  He drifted into his happy place where he brought order out of chaos, where his needs for regimentation, habit, and pattern were met, and where he fashioned his surroundings into a neat Playskool kind of world.  He took a deep breath, smiled, and missed his wife’s scream.  He missed the warning, and he missed the gravel bypass lane.  He missed the gravel truck dumping its load on a new bypass lane, and he missed the road crew shouting at him.  He missed everything including all future messes.




Wednesday, May 4, 2011

H.R.3 & Moral Repugnance

The House passed HR3 which is proposed legislation designed to make the Hyde Amendment permanent.  Currently, that amendment must be renewed every year - which it is.  Vicky Hartzler of MO said that taxpayers shouldn't have to see their taxes go for something they find morally repugnant, i.e., abortion.  Of course, no federal funds go to abortion services.  That's what the Hyde Amendment is all about.

I found the invasion of Iraq morally repugnant, and I find the U.S. role in policing the world morally repugnant.  I'm getting close to finding Hartzler's views morally repugnant.

Fortunately, Pres. Obama has said he'd veto the bill if it reaches him.  The Senate intends to ignore the bill.  I find that morally correct.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


         A party in the United States, for the United States, and celebrating a wonderful accomplishment or a hero is long, long, long overdue.  I challenge you to recall a celebration that engaged our entire country, a celebration, not a wake.  No wonder we all watch the royals put on a wedding.  Forget the details which were stunning enough; Brits were happy.  We’d like to be happy, too.

Our nation rarely gets to celebrate.  Sure, after a national election the winning party celebrates, but it’s a celebration for some, not all.  The Super Bowl?  Forget it.  Compare the revelation of Janet Jackson’s breast to Catherine Middleton’s wedding dress.  No contest.   More people watch one of the Windsors tie the knot than watch the biggest advertising day of the year here in The States.  Watch what happens when Queen Elizabeth puts on her diamond jubilee party next year.  You’ll see it again:  demonstrable happiness.

         The United States needs a celebration.  We need to tell the all the political pundits, analysts, forecasters, charlatans, and blowhards to be quiet, to shut up because we’ve had enough, really too much. Let’s tell them that we’d like to do our own thinking for the time being. 

We need to have a celebration built around unity instead of carping on divisiveness.  Let’s opt for decency instead of meanness.  We need to dance in the streets, wave our American flags, and cheer for a joyous occasion.  Instead of mining our hatred of anyone who isn’t “just like me,” we’ll have a parade with everyone marching in it.

         We danced in the streets when World War II ended, but later wars didn’t get so much as a little party.  Veterans were often ignored or treated poorly.  Now with wars in three countries, we are broke, embarrassed, and depressed.  Do you think we’ll cheer when these veterans come home? 

Neil Armstrong’s moon landing was a cause for national elation.  We watched on TV because it was a Big Deal.  We’re a nation built from pushing frontiers, and Armstrong crashed through the space frontier and landed on the moon.  Besides, it proved beyond any doubt that we now led the Soviets in space exploration.  That was 1969, and we had a ticker tape parade in New York City.   We also went gaga when Mark Spitz won seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympics.  Not quite up there with the moon landing and no parade, but nevertheless a very good win on an international level.  We don’t like being second best.  It’s not the game that engages us; it’s the winning.      

As much as I long for a national celebration, I can’t think of what event or person could kick off that celebration.  I’m dry from years of national celebration-lessness.  My best shot is to keep up with the Queen’s plans for her Diamond Jubilee.  I’m not a monarchist, a royalist, or a reader of royal family exposes, but I do love a celebration.