Thoughts & Observations on Life, Society, and the Times by Al E.

Archive for July, 2011|Monthly archive page

More “How did I get this old?”

In How did I get this old? on Saturday, July 9th, 2011 at 3:31 PM

It was interesting to read the comments I got after my first “HDIGTO” post.  I had planned that this category would be a regular post, as I’d decided not to shoot my whole wad at once – pointing out things that today’s parents – and their wimpy, over-indulged, little “darlings” would NEVER think of doing, rather doling out more memories as the mood struck.  Then the comments made me realize that while I had more to give, I’d forgotten plenty of things, and, as memories are jogged and comments continue to come in, I’d only noted the “tip of the iceberg.”

So here are some HDIGTO memories of  friends, and a few more of my own too.

Jarts – the back yard game we all played at a friends, on a family picnic, or at the beach, one time or another.  There were two plastic rings, about 18″ or so in diameter – that were laid on the ground about twelve or fifteen feet apart, and six heavy steel shafted – red or blue plastic finned – pointy “darts”, about 14 or so, inches long, each.  There were two “teams” of two players each – one of each team at each end of the range.  Each team took turns tossing their color Jart at the opposite ring, hoping to score a point.  (kinda like Horse Shoes, but with lethal weapons).

The scary part is, we weren’t wearing any “protective”: pads, helmets, gloves, shoes – actually we were usually bare-footed, or goggles – when tossing.  There wasn’t a bottle of “Purell” in sight, nor was there a prize, trophy or other “reward”, other than bragging rights, to be won.  I don’t recall hearing anyone was maimed or killed playing, needed counseling for loosing, or any cease and desist orders to stop the bullying.  We somehow just knew; to stay out of the path of the Jart; that there wasn’t anything to “win” and we’d have to endure the razing until a victorious rematch could be played.  How did we know these facts – well, I’m not sure, as I don’t remember any formal training, detailed instructions, or over zealous parental interference.

Anyone remember calling “shot-gun” when you went for a ride in the car?  You know the front-passenger-seat-side in the car.  Or even better, sitting on dad’s lapsteering, while he did the shifting and peddles?  What were our parents thinking??  No child proof door latches; window locks, or rear-facing – buckle me in like an Astronaut – safety approved, child-car-seat, properly installed by a professional.  Actually, there were no seat-belts for anyone.  Talk about taking your life in your hands!!  How did we ever make it to our destinations and live to tell about it?

As if going for a ride wasn’t bad enough – how about when you messed up at home, in a store, at a friends or just about anywhere.  You know, when you did or said any one of the ten-thousand “DON’TS” on Mom or Dad’s list – got “the look” – and proceeded to do or say it anyway?  At the time it never seemed to enter my mind that they – my parents – had weapons, legal, weapons that they had no qualm about swiftly welding, throwing or otherwise using to inflict pain.  If I had all the shoes, slippers, forks, spoons (wooden or metal), Melmac plates, bowls, cups or other utensils that were thrown at, or used on me as I grew up – I could open a department store to rival Macy’s.  Try that today – parents – and see where that lands you!

I once told my mother, when I was well into adulthood, even married, I think, that if we were kids today, and she tried any of her punishments on us, she’d have been in jail.  “Oh, really“, she said “and why’s that?”  “Well if we went to school and told the teacher or called the police and told them you’d have been arrested for ‘child abuse’” I said.  Without skipping a beat she said, “That’s all you would have had to do.  IF a cop came to our door with that information, I’d have beat you – again – in front of him, then I’d have said, now take me away, I’m guilty, and I could use a vacation from these effin kids!”  I somehow knew that’s how it would’a gone.

Wow, those were “fun” times – and I wouldn’t trade them for all the X-Boxes in the world!  See ya again – soon.


America – Of Thee I Still Sing

In A Refreshing Moment of Sanity on Wednesday, July 6th, 2011 at 5:50 PM

Just the other day there was a challenge in ‘The Daily Post’ asking what would be in my Constitution if I started my own nation.  I responded that our U. S. Constitution would be the basis for my country.  Elaborating on why, made me recall an email I’d gotten a while back from a concerned friend regarding the current deteriorating State of Our Country.  The basis of the email addressed some of the frustrating issues that effect every aspect of our daily lives in one way or another by “Quoting” comments attributed to a speech by Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard.  As the email did not provide any news source to verify its authenticity I did some research for this follow-up post and discovered this “speech” can not be confirmed via any resources.  In fact several references confirm that it is bogus in its crediting Prime Minister Gillard at all – she never made said speech.

As a result, while I can not credit these comments, beliefs and policy positions to anyone specific, someone in fact authored them, and while they may be controversial, they do have validity and merit.  Controversial or not, our leaders should give them some serious review and consideration toward improving our State of the Union.  They all make a point, and to me, are reminiscent of days gone by here, in America, when there was pride in our products and a strong work ethic.  Times were simpler, yet more prosperous and stable.

Please don’t miss-understand me and my feelings for our country, America.  I do believe America is the  Best of the Best and should be the model for the World.  We as a country, for the most part “get it”.  We “do” it fair, right and just.  But, no matter how good something is – there’s always room for improvement and while my comments may, at first glance, seem contrary to American ideals, they are not.  What they are, are the concerned comments of an observer, who remembers how it was, and while change is good, good change is better.  I’m not so sure all the changes we’ve seen have been for the better good.

For whatever reason(s) the author of the following “speech” – policies, chose not to take credit for his beliefs, rather attributing them to Ms. Gillard.  In an effort to legitimize and give them credence, I will gladly claim them as my own.  The “speech” is well written and, for the most part, clearly and succinctly sums up how I feel and what I truly believe.  I will proudly acknowledge and defend my position.

FACT:  “Our culture has been developed over two  centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.”  So, even though the retribution Our Leaders could be subjected to is phenomenal, at least They should be willing to take a stand.

The basis of this argument is, FACT:  “IMMIGRANTS, NOT AMERICANS, MUST ADAPT.  Take It Or Leave It.  I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture.  Since the terrorist attacks on 9-11, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of AMERICANS.”

Muslims who want to live under Islāmic Sharia law, or any of the myriad of radical groups should be told to get out of America if they didn’t agree with the government targeting radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.  Our people and our Leaders should support monitoring the nation’s mosques and other potential radical gathering places.

FACT:  “We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language.  Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society.   Learn the language!”  My grandparents did; all our grandparents did – every generation and influx of immigrants did – period.

FACT:  “Most Americans believe in God.  This is not some Christian, right-wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented.  It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools and Public Buildings.  If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.  We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why.  All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us.”

FACT:  “This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this.  But, once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge of Allegiance, Our Christian beliefs, and Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great American freedoms, ‘THE RIGHT TO LEAVE.  If you aren’t happy here then LEAVE.  We didn’t force you to come here.  You asked to be here.  So accept the country as the country accepted YOU.”

Now, after you rant and rave how Un-American, these comments are and how the policies to enforce them would be, cruel – stop and think about them.  Tell me where they fall short or are anything but positive and true.

Then, when you call your Congressmen or Senator to voice your anger, agreement, opposition or support and remember to “press 1 – for English”while you still can!

New Packaging for “Our own good”!

In What ARE they thinking?? on Saturday, July 2nd, 2011 at 3:29 PM

I’m not a smoker.  Tried it in high school, you know to be “cool” at $.25, yes 25-cents, a pack; didn’t like it, and realized I’d rather spend my quarter on a black & white – ice cream soda.  Yea, I had my vices, food beat nicotine; I’m not proud of it, it was just the reality.

Back then, and until fairly recently, at least in my life span, EVERYBODY smoked – on TV, at their desk at work, in restaurants – sometimes even while they were eating –  on a bus, in a school yard – everywhere.  No one really cared or waved their arms all over the place, made rude comments or carried on.  And, if they did care, they kept it to themselves, avoided the situation and went about their day.  That’s the way it was.  People basically minded their own business and went about THEIR lives – not trying to “Rule the world” and mind my business. 

Ah!  I miss those days!!!

Now today, not only do we have the Socially Correct Squad telling us what is and is not OK to think, say or do, but we have more and more Government Intervention into our lives telling us how to live, or die, for that matter, too.  I’m not surprised that they – the Government – has jumped on the band wagon, since everybody covets authority and power and seeks to gain it, and after all The Government is only “humans” unfortunately humans with power.  What does really surprise me is that the very people who fight so tirelessly to foist their opinions, values, morals on ALL of us, complain so vehemently when the government does it; “…too much government interference…”; that is unless it serves their ends – then it’s A-OK !

Let’s take a look at the new packaging requirements for cigarettes, soon to be mandatory on all brands and in all ads.  Pretty graphicright AbsolutelyScaryNo.  (Not in this day and age when EVERYTHING is “graphic” – anyone seen some of the most popular video games.) A deterrentmaybe for a new smoker, until that HOT boy that they want to date or the popular clique they want to fit in with – offers a smoke – then, “…those pictures aren’t real…” or “…that won’t happen to me…”, so I’d say – NO.  Does anyone really think this will work?  Well I hope it does, ’cause then we can solve a multitude of  Society’s problems with appropriate packaging.

Remember I said I’m not a smoker – but I am an eater, and yes, by many standards I’d be considered – weight challenged.  If you were to ask me I’d say, No, I’m plain old FAT, Obese a PorkerThere, I said it – I’m outed and free at last!  No more deceiving myself or any other sighted person by describing myself as pleasingly plump, chubby, or the currently acceptable – weight challenged.  That said, I’ll move on!

So, I’m thinking that IF the new graphic cigarette packaging works, and smoking is significantly reduced – we can solve the obesity problem plaguing America with adequate, strategically placed and appropriate signage and packaging.

We, the Government, could require all fast-food restaurants to have posters of those infamous Wal-Mart Shoppers we’ve all gotten photos of in an email.  (I mean REALLY what are they thinking?!?!)  You know, the fat old men and woman – hairy bellies hanging over belts, butt-cracks on benches, tight, tight, short, shorts with the thong string showing and gargantuan, flabby arms in halter tops, and hanging them where the enticing pictures of Thick, Juicy Burgers, Tacos, and Golden Fries once hung.  They could have captions like “Your prize after Only four regular visits!”  Or “The burger – $2.49; the fries a $1.00; the heart attack – Priceless.”  Maybe a picture of some clogged arteries or a surgeon with paddles shouting – “clear” could be on the wrappers, napkins and cups.  The kiddie meals could have pictures of grieving mourners walking away from a pretty grave side.  After all, we don’t want to unduly scare the little ones.

If that were the case, the next time I went into a fast-food restaurant – ready to down a 6,000 calorie, high sodium meal and I saw one those posters, I’d probably still order, but avoid looking at the photos; I’d sit with my back to them and vow to ALWAYS use the drive-thru, my usual route.  All that walking to the counter, the table and back to the car is really too much exercise anyway!

This approach could work at an all you can eat buffet or anywhere food is available.  Those little signs naming the various offerings could specify exactly what disease: diabetes, clogged arteries, etc; and the eventual medical condition you should expect: blindness, liver or kidney damage, stroke, hyper-tension, obesity.   The “sneeze guard” could have graphic photos of belly fat, cellulite and more Wal-Mart Shoppers.  That will make you think twice about dessert!

Another Problem solved – obesity.

While I do care about my health, and yours, to a point, I don’t think the quote – “you are your brother’s keeper” was meant that we should make all his decisions.  Do you??  I really believe advise, educate, support and hope for the best is really all we can do.

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