Saturday, July 28, 2012

Games of the XXX Olympiad: NBC's epic fail...

The opening ceremony of the Olympics is something I look forward to every four years, it's a tradition, which is why I'm pissed off at NBC for messing with it. While the rest of the world enjoyed the live broadcast of the Opening Ceremony of the XXX Olympiad, Americans were forced to wait ill 7:30 p.m. in their respective time zones to watch the festivities, which were already over by then.  My friends around the world were tweeting the live events while I sat there for hours waiting to watch the taped version. I couldn't even livestream it because NBC blacked it out on their website.  It's all about the almighty dollar. NBC, who paid $1.3 billion for exclusive rights (and stated they would lose at least $100 million) decided to broadcast during primetime for revenue purposes, most likely because they needed to appease their sponsors.

The program began at 7:30 but instead of opening ceremony festivities, we were instead treated to boring commentary and interviews featuring Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, Bob Costas and Tom Brokaw. For thirty minutes we had to sit through first Costas interviewing Brokaw about security conditions, followed by Seacrest interviewing athletes. Finally around 8 pm EST, the actual program began and we were ultimately subjected to five hours of some of the worst commentary I've ever heard.  During the most interesting parts of the first portion of the ceremony I had to listen to Lauer and Vieira run their mouths. It really pissed me off when during the Frankie & June segment which featured some pretty awesome music, I couldn't actually hear the music because they wouldn't shut up.

Prior to the parade of nations, US viewers were robbed of six minutes of an important part of the opening ceremony: the six minute tribute to the 52 people killed in the July 2005 terrorist attacks in London which took place the day after London was selected to host the Olympics. The crowd and the audience worldwide were asked to observe a moment of silence to honor the victims. In the meantime in the taped version, US viewers were subject instead to Ryan Seacrest's rather boring interview with Michael Phelps. NBC reports that the reason they chose not to broadcast it because it's their policy to "shorten for both broadcast constraints and for the sensibilities of the local audience." The network states: "Our program is tailored for the U.S. television audience."

Seriously? Guess I should be thanking NBC for being sensitive to my sensibilities eh? Not!

Anyway, once the parade of nations began, Costas subbed for Vieira and things only got worse. Costas and Lauer inundated us with useless crap and annoying comments that never stopped. Some of their comments about the nations, and their dress, were downright ignorant and insulting.  I wanted to mute the sound but then I'd miss out on the crowd and the music. To top that, during the parade of nations, NBC cut to a commercial about once in every five nations and when they resumed,  they gave us a fifteen-second rundown of the nations we'd missed entering the stadium. I can't get over the massive numbers of commercials during the five hour spectacle. Every few minutes we were hit with another one and to be honest I don't remember a single one. So much for marketing eh?

Three-quarters of the way through the ceremony I was yelling at my TV and tweeting STFU to NBC. I couldn't take it. What kept me going was a friend promising me that the lighting of the torch (which he'd seen hours earlier!) would be worth sticking around. Of course when the moment of truth came, when the torch was to be lit, we were still bombarded with idiocy from Lauer and Costas. 

This experience, which for me has always been amazing and a tradition, was suddenly tarnished. I was pissed. I wasn't the only one either. Americans slammed NBC on both Twitter and Facebook. Interestingly enough, individuals from around the world who had already seen the ceremony live but who also chose to watch the NBC version with commentary tweeted that what they had seen earlier was a far more superior broadcast than that which we watched in the US.  

In addition to all of this, NBC is only offering internet livestream of the Olympics to individuals with subscriptions to pay-television service providers. This means a large number of Americans who have access to NBC's network, but not through a cable service provider, cannot watch the Olympics online.

What kind of crap is this? 

By the way, if you're hoping to catch the closing ceremony live in the US, don't count on it. NBC is doing a blackout, opting to offer the taped version in the primetime hours. Another major fail.

The Olympics is such an extraordinary event where people from over two hundred nations, from all walks of life, have the opportunity to set aside their nation's differences and participate in peaceful competition and sportsmanship, and it is very sad that our enjoyment of it is tarnished by the need to turn a profit. I know this isn't just limited to NBC, it's all networks. However, NBC didn't have to do it this way, they made the choice and so, I can guarantee you that if they get the contract in 2016, I sure as hell won't be tuning in.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Last night's dream...

I had this dream last night that I was living at mom and dad's house again and dad was still alive in this dream. I was getting ready for work, in my old room and going through the closet trying to find something to wear. Took me what appeared to be hours just to find the right outfit. I wasn't happy so I kept changing my clothes. Finally, mom came into my room and told me she had some of my jeans in the dryer so she brought them to me along with one of her pullover shirts. I put the outfit on but didn't like the shirt because it had a birdshit stain on it! I changed into a red top with shortsleeves and it kept pulling near the shoulders but I kept it on anyway.

I remember going outside to get in the car then going back inside the house to change again. My dad was getting really annoyed too that I couldn't make up my mind. I kept worrying about being late for work. Finally I decided on an outfit, then went outside to get in my car and realized it was at the place that changes my oil and does routine maintenance on my car. The car I was looking for though was a '91 Pontiac Grand Am (in reality, my former vehicle), not the 2004 Corolla I'm driving now. When I got out there there were several other cars, and I noticed one that I thought was mine ( I wondered what it was doing there considering it was supposed to be in the shop), but when I got closer I realized my brother was under the hood an some guy was on the passenger's side. When I got right next to it I realized it was a junk car, something that had no top on it and they had pulled out of a junkyard to mess around with.

I asked someone that was there, a woman I didn't recognize, if I could drive her car but instead of the nice one she had, she directed me to this old clunker that was the length of an old Cadillac but had the body style of a Buick. It was an old piece of shit and I asked her, "Does this run?" and she replied, "Oh yeah!" so I got in the car and proceeded to go to work.

I got into the car and proceeded down this dirt road, with her behind me. I needed to get off this dirt road to merge left onto the regular street. She was in her car behind me then wound up on the paved road I was trying to merge on, heading in the same direction. I can't remember anything after that.

There were some recurring themes here, things that occur in most of my other dreams:

  • can't find my car
  • late for work 
  • living at my parents house
  • no car for me to drive
    Sometimes the dreams have just one of the above, sometimes all three.

By the way if you want to read my other strange dreams, just click on the tag under this post titled "Strange Dreams".

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My thoughts on Jason Alexander's twitter piece on gun ownership, assault weapons and then some...

First let me say I wouldn't own an assault weapon. Why? No need for it. I also am not sure I'd mind if assault weapons were banned. That said, I really loathe the continued assumptions that everyone who owns guns, including assault weapons are a danger to society, and that people who own guns are right wing nuts. It's just as ludicrous as saying people who don't own guns are flaming liberals. It's.Just.Not.True!

I'm prompted to write this in response to actor Jason Alexander's second tweet in response to the shootings in Aurora at where he talks about his stance on gun ownership, particularly assault weapons, the definition of a well-regulated militia and also the responses he received about his statements.  I think Jason Alexander wrote a very well-thought out piece, on a subject he feels very strongly about. I simply disagree with him on a few points.

First, his statement:  "I'll say it plainly - if someone wants these weapons, they intend to use them. And if they are willing to force others to "pry it from my cold, dead hand", then they are probably planning on using them on people."   

He makes a pretty bold statement. If this were indeed true, that every person who owned or had access to an assault weapon were planning to use them on people, we would see a lot more mass murders going on in this nation. In reality, when it comes to gun ownership, there are many more law abiding than not. In my lifetime I've known a lot of people who own guns (I know just as many non-owners!), and I've known a few who had assault weapons and they were owned legally and for a variety of reasons, none of which included mass murder, self-defense or hunting. They openly admitted they liked to shoot them and enjoyed collecting them. Their hobby of collecting guns was no different than someone's hobby of collecting glass frogs. It's just a matter of appeal. I would not associate with anyone who is violent or who would use guns to intentionally murder people. I can say completely and without reservation that the motives of the people I knew, who owned them, were never in question, by me or anyone else. They were law-abiding, hardworking, decent people. I'd also like to add that they were from a variety of racial, religious, political and socio-economic backgrounds.

Second, his statements:  "Then there are the tweets from the extreme right - these are the folk who believe our government has been corrupted and stolen and that the forces of evil are at play, planning to take over this nation and these folk are going to fight back and take a stand....And amazingly, I have some minor agreement with these folks. I believe there are evil forces at play in our government. But I call them corporatists. I call them absolutists. I call them the kind of ideologues from both sides, but mostly from the far right who swear allegiance to unelected officials that regardless of national need or global conditions, are never to levy a tax. That they are never to compromise or seek solutions with the other side. That are to obstruct every possible act of governance, even the ones they support or initiate. Whose political and social goal is to marginalize the other side, vilify and isolate them with the hope that they will surrender, go away or die out. "

"These people believe that the US government is eventually going to go street by street and enslave our citizens. Now as long as that is only happening to liberals, homosexuals and democrats - no problem. But if they try it with anyone else - it's going to be arms-ageddon and these committed, God-fearing, brave souls will then use their military-esque arsenal to show the forces of our corrupt government whats-what. These people think they meet the definition of a "militia". They don't. At least not the constitutional one. And, if it should actually come to such an unthinkable reality, these people believe they would win. That's why they have to "take our country back". From who? From anyone who doesn't think like them or see the world like them. They hold the only truth, everyone else is dangerous. Ever meet a terrorist that doesn't believe that? Just asking."

Alexander makes it appear that this is an issue about politics and sexual orientation. It's not, never has been.  Also, why is it that this has to be a left vs. right issue? Listen, I wrote a piece a few days ago where I discussed the idea that one of the reasons so many Americans want to defend the right to own firearms goes back to the root of who we are as a nation. In my piece, I wrote: "...the deep-rooted belief that owning firearms is an American tradition, something that has been an integral part of who we are, from the moment this nation was founded. America was born out of the struggle to break free from English tyranny and the most basic means of defense since that time has been the use of firearms. The desire to be free and to protect ourselves from the tyranny of government has been ingrained in us for generations. It's just something that's been a part of our culture since our forefathers founded this nation. It's about survival and there's nothing wrong with it but it is important to recognize that it is an vital part of who we are as a people and a nation."

You don't have to be left, right, Democrat or Republican to believe in the possibility of one day having to protect one's self and community from a hostile, tyrannical government entity. True, there are whacked out conspiracy theorists who are constantly running from the invisible "black helicopters" but in reality there are just a lot of average, everyday people out there who believe it is a possibility. Honestly, we really don't know which elected officials truly have our best interest in mind and given the state of the world in this day and age, it's not unreasonable that people would feel this way. When judging this frame of mind, just remember how our nation was founded, what our ancestors endured, and why they fought to separate from England. It's neither right nor wrong to believe it could happen, it's just the survival instinct and the train of thought that has been passed down from generation to generation.  (I'll go one step further, consider this, either one believes the government is capable of turning on the people or one believes it is not. Both views could be considered radical, however neither is right nor wrong, it just depends on the person.) 

Third, his statement, "The advocates of guns who claim patriotism and the rights of the 2nd Amendment - are they in well-regulated militias? For the vast majority - the answer is no." Alexander attempts to define (as we have all done at one time or another) the term "militia" using the dictionary definition. He cites Merriam-Webster's definition which is: a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency, a body of citizens organized for military service, and the whole body of able-bodied male citizens declared by law as being subject to call to military service.

The Second Amendment reads: A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Scholars, gun advocates, anti-gun advocates and politicians have been attempting to define the meaning of the second amendment for decades. The problem is that not everything in the Constitution has a strict literal meaning and interpretation. If it were so, we wouldn't need a Supreme Court to hash these things out for us. Even the Supreme Court Justices have disagreed on whether or not the Second Amendment protects the individual's right or of that of the "well-regulated militia".  There are various interpretations of it including that the Second Amendment is irrelevant because the United States has no militia, that the individual has the right to bear arms only if associated with a state militia, and that the individual right to bear arms is a basic fundamental right as is the right to free speech. In US v. Miller, 1939, the SCOTUS upheld that the individual had a right to bear arms but only if those arms would actually be useful in a citizen militia.

If you look at the meaning of the Second Amendment from the Founders point of view, which you really have to do considering it was passed during their time and not ours, it is understandable that they would think it necessary that all individuals be allowed to carry arms for the purpose of enabling militias to fight tyrannical government entities and this was not just limited to tyrannical government abroad but at home as well. They feared an all-too powerful government within America's own borders. Now, many would say that more than two hundred years later, and with our current US military, we no longer need militias but one could argue that the all-volunteer military in the United States is not the same as a militia nor is it likely to be used as a militia for the purposes the militia may have originally been intended. Keep in mind that our military serves at the whim of the President and Congress, the very government entity which the Founders were concerned could abuse its power, thus fueling the need for a militia.

While I may disagree with some of the points Jason Alexander made in his tweets, I defend his right to speak his mind. I think that he should speak his mind on this issue as often as he likes because that's what this country was founded on--debate and discourse.  I am disgusted and appalled at the way people have treated him, calling him nasty names and making threats. Now, Alexander thinks many of these people espousing their hatred towards him are right-wing gun owners and gun advocates (and that may be partly or completely true) but I think he would agree with me that ignorance and rudeness know no bounds and are not restricted to political affiliation or beliefs, race, gender, sexual orientation, education, religion or socio-economic background. Ignorance comes in all forms and because we have something called free speech in this country, we must allow even the ignorant to have their say.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I don't know if there is a right answer.

Right now a lot of people are asking the question of whether the Aurora shootings could have been prevented. The only answer I can come up with is I don't know.
So far we know the only run in the shooter ever had with police was a traffic ticket. Regardless of why he did it, the big issue that will be debated in the days, weeks, and months to come, will be the guns. We won't be discussing the psychological state of mind of the shooter, the security at the theater, or even violent films.  It will come down to the guns.  It can't be denied that this massacre will spark a political war that we've been through before, one that tears this country apart every time.

In regards to the guns, here are our options:
  • Ban all assault weapons for sale to the public. The problem with this is while it might curb massacres like what happened in Aurora and other cities but it doesn't prevent someone from taking rifles and handguns into a public place and shooting it up. Also, factor in whether or not banning assault weapons to the public would pass muster with the SCOTUS. Take into consideration too that the NRA is a pretty damn powerful organization and will fight to the death arguing that ownership of an assault rifle is every American's God given right.
  • Ban the sale of all weapons to people with criminal histories. Wait, don't we already do this? We do, unless one is disobeying the law and selling to criminals anyway. Also, what happens when the person committing the crime doesn't have a criminal background? There's nothing we can do to prevent a person with no criminal history from obtaining a weapon. While all we hear about are the gun related violent crimes, we don't hear about all the responsible gun ownership that takes place every day in America. We don't hear about it because it isn't news when someone uses their firearms responsibly.
  • Ban all weapons, period. Okay, this could be the one sure fire way to prevent massacres such as this. If we banned all guns, even by police officers, if we melted down every gun in this country, would that solve the problem? Would criminals find a way to obtain their guns? Do we think that it's possible that all gun owners in America would give up their weapons? Would this even pass SCOTUS muster? What would happen to the Constitution? The Second Amendment?
    In America, people own firearms for different reasons:

    • Protection of life and property
    • Collecting
    • Recreational shooting
    • Hunting
    • Required for their profession
    • Use in criminal activity

    All of the above with the exception of the last one are perfectly legitimate reasons for owning firearms. What is not listed is the deep-rooted belief that owning firearms is an American tradition, something that has been an integral part of who we are, from the moment this nation was founded. America was born out of the struggle to break free from English tyranny and the most basic means of defense since that time has been the use of firearms. The desire to be free and to protect ourselves from the tyranny of government has been ingrained in us for generations. It's just something that's been a part of our culture since our forefathers founded this nation. It's about survival and there's nothing wrong with it but it is important to recognize that it is an vital part of who we are as a people and a nation.

    In the end, we absolutely cannot predict human behavior with any certainty and the idea that our destiny could be left up to some psycho wielding a gun is incomprehensible to us. Since we cannot control human behavior, we can do the next best thing, we can remove the tools that help put that behavior into action. The desire to do this is not right or wrong, it too is about survival. However, the question I have is:  Is it the answer?

    Once again, the only answer I can come up with is I don't know.
Camden, New Jersey 1949
Austin, Texas 1966
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1982
San Ysidro, California 1984
Killeen, Texas 1991
Littleton, Colorado 1999
Blacksburg, Virginia 2007
Kinston, Alabama 2009
Binghamton, New York 2009
Fort Hood, Texas 2009
Aurora, Colorado 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

"Max the Girl" gives us her take on an Emmy-less House

Hugh Laurie made "House" a household word.  Phrases like "Seriously?", "Everybody Lies", "Oh Snap!" which are also known as "Houseisms"  have become a part of our daily conversations. Some of the funniest one-liners ever heard on television were emanated by Dr. Gregory House over the course of eight years.  House, M.D. is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most watched television show in the world. You just couldn't help but be captivated by the character and his interaction with Wilson, Cuddy, his fellows, and of course, his patients. honor of Hugh's brilliant portrayal of who is by far the most captivating and interesting television character of the modern era, my friend, writer Max Weiss, editor of Baltimore Magazine, and all-around awesome chick, wrote an incredible piece on the fact that despite his brilliant portrayal of the character, and six nominations, Hugh didn't win a single Emmy. We feel he was robbed, maybe not in the final season but certainly in prior seasons. Knowing Hugh, he'll just use this to fuel the self-deprecating humor he's so famous for.

While an Emmy is nice, it's just a statue that sits on a shelf collecting dust. The real prize is that the character and the actor who portrayed him will be remembered by millions of people long after the show is over.

Please, take a moment and read Max's piece here ---> "Hugh've been snubbed." 

Enjoy and let Max how how much you enjoyed it.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Government schools confiscation of school supplies for the purpose of "sharing" sends kids the wrong message

When I was in elementary school in South Miami in the 70's, our teachers did not confiscate our school supplies to put in a pot to share with everyone. Parents were responsible for seeing to it their children had the supplies needed for the school year. My parents worked hard to provide for us, their first concern was taking care of their own children first. This didn't mean they didn't help others in need, but their first priority was their own children. 

Now, for those who say the economy was different back then, well it was, but remember while things cost less back back then, people also earned less too. The economy of the 1970's was no picnic, there was a real crisis going on, not just in America but all over the world. I remember long lines at the gas stations, high prices, and inflation. My parents talked about the economy quite a bit when we were kids, we picked up on a lot.

We're told these days that throwing all the school supplies into one big pot teaches children the value of sharing but that is not necessarily the case. Actually, it teaches children that they are not allowed to have anything that belongs solely to them. They are taught they are not allowed to own property.  They are taught that it is wrong to own something if others do not own it as well. They are taught that it is wrong to have more of something than someone else. They are taught that the good of the many outweighs the good of the individual. They are taught that their identity is tied not to individuality but a group. Also, take into consideration that if these children grow up believing that as individuals they have no identity, that what is best for the overall group takes precedence over what is best for the individual, what does that mean in regards to accountability for their actions and behavior? If one is identified according to a group and not as an indiviual, who is accountable? Is anyone?

Despite the fact my school supplies weren't confiscated to be shared with my classmates, I grew up to be a pretty damn fine human being. I am compassionate, understanding, educated, hardworking, and law-abiding. I understand the meaning of sharing, I contribute to charitable causes, I help people and animals, and I do my part to be a productive member of society.

Sure, I started talking about sharing and school supplies but this is just part of a much larger problem with the younger generation. These kids are being raised in the mindset that the individual no longer matters, everyone is rewarded for everything, and everybody is treated exactly the same in every situation regardless of their individual circumstances.  They don't understand the difference between equality and equity.  Guess what happens to them when they grow into adults? They can't make their own decisions, can't balance a checkbook, don't know how to interview for a job, have zero social skills, think exceptions can be made for everything, and believe everyone should be praised even if they don't deserve it.

Perhaps the public school system should quit wasting kids time trying to teach them that they are entitled to everything and that everyone is exactly the same, and go back to the basics, you know things like...uh...this?

Monday, July 16, 2012

My successes and my failures are all MY OWN!

As if I couldn't be any more shocked at what comes out of the mouths of this administration. Excerpts from Obama's speech to supporters in Roanoke, to support his argument that tax cuts should be extended ONLY for people earning less than $250,000 per year:

“If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there."

“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen,” he said. “The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

Yes, my mom Naomi taught me to read at age three. Yes, two of my high school English teachers, one of which is Mrs. B, had enough faith in me to help me overcome the bullshit peer pressure I endured. Yes, Phyllis gave me my FIRST civilian job when I got out of the military (I love you Phyl!), Yes, one of my college professors, Diana, who is also a mentor for the past fifteen years has encouraged me to keep going in school even when I was overwhelmed with life. Yes, my pals Jenn and Deb have been there to support me with advice and encouragement when I needed a lift. A whole lot of people have been instrumental in helping me get to where I am.

How in hell does this translate into me paying higher taxes?

Where I am, I am because of the decisions I made, be they good or bad, where I am is NOT because of anyone else, just ME. That's not being selfish, that's taking responsibility for where I am at this time of my life. If I have to take responsibility for the bad, I damn sure am going to take responsibility for the good.

Obama's statement implies that every single f'in person who is successful in regards to WEALTH owes the world something.  Seriously? Hate to break it to you but WEALTH doesn't define success, not by a long shot. And just because a person earns a lot of money doesn't mean they did it on the backs of other people, chained together with a whip to encourage them.

And BTW, the President is wrong, the Government did NOT create the internet so that companies could make money off it.

Don't believe the hype, people who earn more than $250,000 per year are NOT THE BAD GUYS here. Not at all.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Media bias gets in the way of the truth about Romney's speech

I'd been hearing all evening about how Romney was boo'd during his speech at the NAACP convention. In fact, if you google "Romney" and "NAACP" and "Boo" you'll get 1,640,000 results! Most of the  major news outlets are choosing to focus on the fact that Romney was boo'd (once) during his speech when said that if elected, he would eliminate ObamaCare as a means of saving money and contributing to job creation.

When I attempted to find the video version of the Romney speech in its entirety, it was nearly impossible. All I could find was the excerpt of the speech in which he was boo'd. Finally, via PBS I was located the speech in its entirety. I watched, I listened, and I found yet another example, a fine one at that, how the media distorts the truth. It's sad but it's true and it's no surprise that the all-powerful media has yet again filtered down to us only what they want us to see and hear. This means that we have to be more diligent about finding the truth.

I found the truth and I thought I'd share it with you.

In this complete video of his speech, Romney holds his ground and does not falter, rather, he sticks to his guns, tells the audience his vision and his plans, without being distracted. Overall it was a very good speech and he receives much applause. By the end of the speech, I'd forgotten he had been boo'd at all. Mind you, it's not so different from most political speeches in which candidates try to win over their audience (and it is clear in the end that Romney did just that), but nevertheless it is a candidate speech and it is important to watch and listen in this very critical election.

It would appear, that the mainstream media has engaged in yet another pathetic attempt to distract voters from a message it doesn't feel needs to be heard. However, that is not for them to decide, is it?

So, if you have twenty-three minutes you can spare (if you don't, you should find it anyway), you should watch so that you can judge for yourself whether or not the media, the entity we rely on for our daily news and information, did this speech justice....or not.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Parenting the Andy Taylor way...

Andy finds out Opie only donated three cents to the charity for needy boys. So he tries to teach Opie the finer points of being charitable...

Andy: Well...if it ain't Charlie Moneybags, the big philanthropist. How d'y' do?

Opie: What ya talkin' about, pa?

Andy: I'm talkin' about the underprivileged children's drive.

Opie: Oh, they collected for that at school, pa.

Andy: Oh I know they did. Oh, I know they did, and when they called your name you gave the large, generous amount of three cents. My! that 'as big of ya, Diamond Jim.

Opie: Did I give 'em too much, pa?

Andy: Too much?

Opie: I could ask 'em to give back two cents.

Andy: Now lookey heah! We better talk about this thing. Now, now, now look here, Opie, you-huh-you can't give a little bitty piddlin' amount like three cents to a worthy cause like the underprivileged children's drive. I, I 'as readin' here just the other day where there's somewhere like four-hundred needy boys in this county alone, or one-and-a-half boys per square mile.

Opie: There is?

Andy: There sure is.

Opie: I never seen one, pa.

Andy: Never seen one what?

Opie: A half-boy.

Andy: Well it's not really a half a boy, it's a ratio.

Opie: Horatio who?

Andy: Not Horatio - a ratio. It's mathematics, 'rithmatic. Look, now Opie, just forget that part of it. Forget the part about the half-a-boy.

Opie: It's pretty hard to forget a thing like that, pa.

Andy: Well, try!

Opie: Poor Horatio.

Andy: Now look, Horatio is not the only needy boy...son, uh, didn't you, didn't you ever give anybody anything just for the pleasure of it? Ju-somethin' you didn't want anything in return for.

Opie: Sure. Just yesterday I gave my friend Jimmy somethin'.

Andy: Now that's fine. What'd you give him?

Opie: A sock in the head.

Andy: I, I meant charity.

Opie: I didn't charge him nothin'.

Andy: I meant somethin' for the joy of givin'.

Opie: I enjoyed it...I don't like Jimmy no more; he makes fun of Charlotte.

Andy: Who's Charlotte?

Opie: My girlfriend.

Andy: Yeah...well I, I just don't see how anybody who has got as much as you could care so little about others.

Opie: I care about others, honest.

Andy: Not when you give a little piddlin' amount like three cents, that's bein' selfish. You shoulda given at least a half-a-dollar or a dollar.

Opie: A dollar. Gosh, pa. I only have two dollars an' twenty cents in my whole piggy bank, and I'm savin' it to buy Charlotte somethin'.

Andy: Well now, that's dandy. That is just dandy. Whole dollars you'll squander on your girlfriend Charlotte, but when it comes to the underprivileged children's fund you've got only three cents.

Opie: I wasn't gonna squander it, pa. I wasn't gonna squander it.

Andy: Yeah.

Opie: What's squander?

Andy: That's throwin' your money away foolishly.

Opie: Oh, but pa, I wouldn't be throwin' it away.

Andy: All I can say is if your head can be turned by a pretty face at your age, heaven help you when you're grown up.


Wednesday, July 04, 2012

The significance of the Declaration of Independence

It was a hot and balmy summer of 1776 when a group of fifty-six delegates from the thirteen colonies convened in a meeting hall in Philadelphia to discuss, among other things, the drafting of the Declaration of Independence. This document was the formal declaration from the colonists to the King of England, stating in no uncertain terms, their intent to form an independent and sovereign nation. The delegates chose five men to write this document; Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, John Adams, Robert Livingston and Thomas Jefferson and it took nearly one month to come up with a draft to present to Congress and several days to amend and eventually ratify it. To show a unified stance against the King, the ratification of the Declaration had to be unanimous. In the end it was all or nothing, there could be no dissenters. When the fifty-six delegates signed their names to this document, they essentially placed a bounty on their own heads for they knew should the war for independence be lost, they would surely be hanged.

The Declaration of Independence is often criticized because of the alleged hypocrisy of the statement "All men are created equal" at a time when slavery was prevalent and women's rights did not exist. However, this document cannot be judged by applying modern standards. A good historian knows that historical events must be viewed within the context of their time thus while the Document may seem incomplete, hypocritical, or flawed in 2012, it was not necessarily viewed as such in 1776. To understand the significance and impact of the Declaration of Independence, one must take into account the events of the time in which it was written. Take for example the issue of slavery which is one that is brought up time and time again when discussing the Declaration.

The Declaration of Independence initially included a paragraph related to slavery however in order to ensure ratification by the Southern colonies, Jefferson had to remove it. While slavery was an important human rights issue, independence was an even greater issue at that moment and needed to be addressed first. There is no question however that while the Declaration did not address specifically the issue of slavery, it was symbolically important in later years in the quest to abolish slavery in the United States.

The Declaration of Independence is a testament to the human spirit and man's desire to be free. Consider for a moment the Continental Army which was essentially a ragtag collection of poorly trained and under-equipped men who left their jobs, farms, and families behind to fight against the most powerful military force in the world, knowing full well the odds against them. They fought tirelessly in the worst conditions, thousands died from pneumonia, malnutrition and disease. Despite the odds, they persevered. This was not just due to amazing leadership, it was that the desire to be free was so overwhelming, it gave the men something to fight for. So much was at stake that losing was not an option.

The Declaration of Independence and the brave men who risked their lives by signing it and the sacrifice of the brave men and women who gave their lives and fought for the principles outlined in the Declaration still continue to serve as an example to millions of oppressed people around the world who yearn for freedom. Two hundred thirty-six years after the signing, the significance of the Declaration has not diminished. If anything it has only become more important.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Because one of the biggest issues facing women today is not knowing how to greet socially prominent government, military, and religious officials...

I came across this piece of pure gold today. I just had to share it with you. The people of the 22nd Senate District of New York must be mighty pleased that their taxpayer dollars are being put to such good use. 

Senator Martin Golden invites you to:

Refresh your Business Etiquette and Social Protocol Skills!

Senator Marty Golden  is proud to present the “ Polished Professional”  summer series to his female constitutients in the Bay Ridge area.   Throughout the borough of Brooklyn, professional women will meet during the summer of 2012 after work for a chance to enjoy a wine and cheese reception while they ‘refresh’ their knowledge of what’s new in 21st century business etiquette and social protocol.   Presented by Phillipa Morrish, Certified Protocol Consultant and President of Etiquette Training International, the sessions are interactive and fun.

HANDSHAKES AND INTRODUCTIONS:  The rules have changed.  Correctly introduce self and others to: religious leaders, politicians, military and other socially prominent officials.  Differences in American and Continental rules governing handshakes and introductions.  The pros and cons of ‘mirroring’ during introductions.  Handshakes as a business assessment tool….and much more.

POSTURE AND DEPORTMENT: Walking with books on the head is outdated.  Our certified consultant will be demonstrating walking in a way to emanate a powerful presence and much more.

Date: Tuesday, July 24th, 2012 Time: 6:00pm – 9:00pm Venue: The Bay Ridge Manor, 476 - 76th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11209

Who is Phillipa Morrish? 

According to her website: Mrs. Morrish is a certified Protocol Consultant who has successfully taught business and social etiquette programs to adults and teens since 1999.  She has taught a wide cross section of society, ranging from professionals such as Federal Correction Officers in Brooklyn, New York, to tweens and  teens in Clermont, Florida.  She has also conducted workshops for private clubs such as the Ladies Hibernians group in Brooklyn, New York as well as for public audiences on Brooklyn's BCAT television, sponsored by Councilman Mathieu Eugene.  Mrs. Morrish teaches etiquette to high school seniors at private schools such as the Fontbonne Hall Academy and has also taught at Adelphi Academy, Brooklyn, New York.

Anyone else wondering why Correctional Officers would need etiquette training? LOL

Maybe when the Senator is finished putting on a seminar teaching women how to walk, he can host one that teaches the men how to keep it in their pants.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Last night I had the worst dreams I've ever had....

Last night I do believe I had the worst dreams I've ever had in my entire life. When I say that, I mean it because I have the unique knack (or so I am told it is unique) to remember dreams vividly going back to my childhood.

Last night's dreams were beyond anything I've ever experienced. I just don't feel I can express them all here but I will say that I "woke up" which was really in itself a dream, and from that point terribly weird and frightening things began happening. In the dream, I would wake up and go through things only to find out it too was a dream. It was like a sequence of bad dreams back to back within one.

It was like a series of dreams, I would wake up and think everything was normal and then it wouldn't be. But I would never wake up in my own bed, I'd wake up wherever I was in the dream, always in the same bed, same place but with a terrible feeling. I'd go through all this bullshit in the dream only to find out it was a dream and I wasn't awake yet. It was just horrible.

The very last dream was me sitting in this room on a floor with two old ladies and they gave me this bottle to drink. It was a bottle of liquid within a bottle of liquid. I could only drink the liquid in the inner bottle. It seemed as if they were trying to help me. But I recall that as I sat there I began to experience things, in my head, almost as if I was in another dream within a dream. Lots of blood, a hospital room, my sister there talking, and in the end while I sat with those old ladies my belief was that the person in the hospital room was me, I'd been shot or something, there was blood everywhere and they were trying to bring me back. When I drank the liquid, somehow it made me have to choose between life or death. But when I thought I had saved myself, somehow I find out my mom was there and it was her in the hospital bed, I think.

I wish I could explain what's in my head right now but I can't because it's jumbled. I remember every part of the dream but not through words, through pictures which I can't figure out how to get into words, at least not coherently. All I can tell you is that in all my years I have never ever had that experience which tells me something somewhere is very wrong. I don't know what or who but something doesn't feel right. 

When I woke I felt drained, like I hadn't slept and I had one thing on my mind...something bad has happened. Someone close to me has died. The only person who kept going through my mind was my grandmother. Since I still have both my living grandmothers, I will tell you it was "grams" my mom's mother who lives next door to her. I woke up and said these words, "grams died in her sleep last night." Then I cried. In my head, the voice kept telling me she was dead. It was beyond certainty.

At the time I write this, it's just after 4:30 a.m and I have not called mom to wake her up and ask her to call grams and check on her. I suppose if it's true there's nothing I can do but if it's not true it will be a relief.

Before you ask, no I did not watch or read anything unusual, the last thing I watched last night was M*A*S*H and it ended at 7:00. I did not eat anything unusual yesterday, my meals were light and my dinner consisted of steamed veggies, a sliced tomato and a baked potato. I didn't take any prescription meds or any other drug before going to sleep. It was all "me".

And now I am left to deal with the images of this dream and figure out what they meant because something tells me they meant something.