Thursday, December 24, 2015

I saw a coyote Wednesday

I saw a coyote loping across the golf course in Carter Lake Wednesday, heading south. It looked pretty healthy and graceful. It seemed to glide across the ground, lightly touching down rhythmically, launching itself forward with the slightest of effort. I've seen foxes and geese there and hawks and bald eagles, and moles and possums, squirrels, rabbits, large carp washed up along the shoreline after a fish-kill, and even a horse on #17 fairway once, but never a coyote. We managed to start at about 2 pm as the snow/rain waned and finally ended; we were able to play 13 holes, and by the time we finished the sun was shining and setting fast. Today, it is snowing heavily. I'm glad we were able to play what might be our last round of 2015.* * * * * * * * * I've been thinking of creating my first annual Dickhead of the Year Award. Dick Cheney is always a strong possibility because of his namesake and his status as a war criminal. Other candidates are Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Donald Trump is the strong front runner at the moment bolstered by his "Hillary got schlonged" comment. "When I said Hillary got 'schlonged', that wasn't a sexual thing. It's the same as saying 'She got bitch slapped,' or 'She got f***** in the a**'," Donald Trump explained. "She's just a big pussy. She can suck my d*** and then go f*** herself. It's not sexual. That's just New York." The next day, Donald Trump responded to Hillary Clinton's charge that he uses too much sexually charged language: "In the spirit of Christmas, I'd just like to say to Hillary: ho, ho, ho." Carly Fiorina could have been a strong contender, but she has faded to the point where she is barely visible. Chris Christie could surge if he punches out a 5 year girl, but it would have to captured on camera. * * * * * * * * I went to the Bernie Sanders rally the other night at Iowa Western Community College. Very impressive guy. There is a great deal of overlap in his positions and mine. And I've always appreciated that he routinely shows up union rallies to support workers all over the country. Almost got a handshake. Today is one of those rare days when I wish I was an Iowan so I could caucus for him! I like how he, toward the end of his speech, would puff out his cheeks and exhale, preparing for the next topic in his speech. The guy's got stamina. * * * * * * * * * * * Dec. 21 was my 65th birthday. I share this birthday with Jane Fonda, Joe Paterno, Joseph Stalin, Phil Donahue, and Frank Zappa, and my great nephew Anthony III, to name a few. That we were all born on the shortest day of the year, the first day of winter, the winter Solstice, with all its ancient and Druidic, pagan, and festival notions, always struck me as a nice coincidence. All these associations give it a special flavor -- I'm sure that somewhere in the distant past, various vicious tortures and sacrificial killings of goats, dogs, snakes, servants, and slaves all made this such a special day. Now it all blends in with the various religious traditions and holidays, Christmas, Hannukuh, Kwanzaa, and Walmart Day. I appreciate the notes here and cards from my family and friends reminding me of the cruel and relentless passage of time on my journey to eternity. For some reason I like sharing this day with Frank Zappa and Jane Fonda the most. Joe Paterno and Joseph Stalin are more of a curiosity. I'm pretty neutral about Phil Donahue. Frank Zappa's band does a nice version of Ravel's Bolero, by the way.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Disney Strikes Back

Movie Review - no spoilers: I went to see The Disney Strikes Back, er, I mean, the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, this morning. It is definitely Star Wars-esque. I found it to be a mix of nostalgic memories, surprises, stupid stuff, an even bigger better badder Death Star, dumb jokes, more Freudian/Jungian father/son sh**, plot twists aplenty, endings, beginnings. I thought about sitting through it twice, but I was getting hungry. Some sample dialogue: "Escape first; hug later." Other thoughts: Empire storm-troopers have the worst body armor ever invented. One shot from even the miniest of light blaster pistols and they are toast. With all that power of the dark side, you'd think they'd have better protection than that white flimsy plastic junk they wear. Plus, they are really bad shots. * * * * * * * * I saw an internet list of things more likely to kill you than a Muslim terorist: 1. brain parasites 2. your bed pillow 3. toddlers 4. lightning 5. your bath tub 6. furniture 7. deer 8. aspirin 9. drunk drivers 10. elevators. I've added my own list of a few more things more likely to kill you than a Muslim terrorist: lawnmowers, jello, toothbrush, tire pump, music stand, toe nail clippers, exercise equipment, Big Mac, scuba diving, cauliflower, cheese crackers, dental floss, rocking chair, dumplings, toilet seat, airline food, chocolate chip cookies, spatula, mylar balloon, carp, 7 iron, encyclopedia, breath mint, plastic fork, Coke machine, roller skates, chess board, potato, aardvark, plastic bag, flower pot, toaster, popsicle stick, Pringles tube, wool socks, donuts, bookcase, pliers, bed sheet, silk underwear, tooth pick, Necco wafers, paper cut, fried chicken, toilet tissue, dandelion, stained glass, laundry detergent, anything in the garage, drunk neighbor, piano, neighbor kid with a gun, Donald Trump supporter. This is not an exhaustive list. * * * * * * * * * * * * Carly Fiorina stood by her charge that President fired Generals Grant and Eisenhower even when it was pointed out that Grant died in the 1800s and Dwight Eisenhower died in 1969. * * * * * * * * * * There has been a dramatic increase in terrorist attacks against Muslims in the United States. Even Nebraska liked Muslims until Ameer Abdullah left. It's very troubling.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Certain religious groups need to renounce radicalism in their midst

Religious leaders across the country are being called upon to renounce radical extremists in their midst. "The vast majority of us are devout individuals who go about our business in a peaceful way. We are a peace loving people trying to do God's will. Our religion is a religion of peace. But every faith seems to have a certain number of extremists who become radicalized who must be identified and neutralized or eliminated. Certain individuals, even those from wealthy families, like Osama bin Laden of Saudi Arabia, are susceptible to radicalization. "We are investigating our excommunication provisions at this time," said one church spokesperson. "We are calling for those across the country to monitor the actions and words of its radical extremist members and to be aware of possible sleeper cells," she said. "When we hear certain individuals spout messages of hate and fear, we must stand up to them and take the appropriate actions. In our case, as Presbyterians, we have among us one such radicalized man calling for discrimination against others and inciting violence against others, and he is Donald Trump. His radical un-American, unconstitutional messages of bigotry must not go unchallenged. Other signs to look for include acquisitions of weapons and ammunition or extremist literature received like NRA membership leaflets. The tendency to walk public streets with automatic weapons can be a sign of trouble. Apocalyptic beliefs and stockpiling of canned goods and water in underground bunkers can be an indicator as well. If you see church members exhibiting any of the signs, please call the local authorities. And please be mindful that it's only a very small minority spreading these messages of hate." * * * * * * *
In other news this week, noted theologian and Biblical scholar Sarah Palin shared her insight on one of the pressing issues of the day: whether Jesus would support concealed carry laws - she says he would. Known for her careful exegetical interpretation of ancient Hebrew texts, fluent in the hermeneutics of Friedrich Schleiermacher, Wilhelm Dilthey, Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricoeur, Northrop Frye, Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida and Fredric Jameson, Sarah Palin applies her thoughtful and cogent Biblical scholarship to another contemporary issue of our time........"Jesus was a piece maker not a peace maker," she said. "The Bible may have said to pound swords into ploughshares, but it didn't say nothin' about AR-15s." * * * * * * * * *

Friday, December 04, 2015

New Flag Regulations

In recognition of the frequency of mass shootings occurring on a daily basis now, the US Congress is revising the Title IV United States Code regarding the flying of the US flag at half staff. “Mass shootings have become so frequent that the flag has flown at half-staff continuously for nearly 250 days now,” one Congressman said. “We need to adjust our statutory framework to accomodate the modern weaponry anyone can own now. We are past the days of lever action repeaters or the six-shooter. Therefore, we must distinguish between the every day ordinary mass shooting and the special extraordinary mass shooting. Just because a bunch of innocent people are gunned down in broad daylight by mentally deranged people carrying AR-15s doesn’t mean we need to fly the flag at half staff. I think we need to quantify these daily events with extra points for slaughtered children or the involvement of radicalized Muslims. In addition, the percent of women v. men could be a factor and the age of the children. Five dead 8 year olds equals one dead 12 year old. The metrics of this can be worked out - a carnage point scale. And, of course, the religion of the killer{s) should always be considered. So for example, the murders of those at the Planned Parenthood office in Colorado would be considered an ‘ordinary’ mass shooting, whereas the mass shooting in San Bernadino would be an ‘extra-ordinary’ mass shooting because of the terrorism aspect involved.” He went on: “Some may want to include radicalized Christian mass murderers, but there is less support for that. Perhaps we can pro rate two radicalized Christian mass murders will equal one radicalized Muslim mass murder. One other possibility in this revision is to redefine a mass shooting from one where 4 people are injured or killed to one where the threshold is 10 people killed or injured.” He went on to say that the revision may need to include an automatic escalator clause as nearly 2 million assault weapons and billions of rounds of ammunition are now in circulation and are being seen on city streets on a regular basis. “What that means is that in the event that large scale mass shootings like the one in San Bernadino are more or less commonplace next year, which is quite possible, then we need to index the criteria for the half staff flag provision. We would also need to index the slaughter of innocent children in these mass shootings upward as well. Perhaps we’ll require a body count of 20 young children. And index this upward each year so that by the year 2025, 50 dead children would be required. We just can’t be flying the flag at half staff every day. I mean, what would that say about our country? And regular handgun mass shootings should not qualify at all.”