arteejee

A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Roy Clark


A childhood memory surfaced to the front of my consciousness this week when I heard that entertainer Roy Clark passed away.   The memory was the first time I heard his version of Yesterday When I Was Young.  I was in the back of my father’s station wagon returning home from the Spectrum (Philadelphia) where my parents had taken us to see the Barnum & Bailey Circus.  I remember this day well, because I think it was the only time my parents took us out of school to do something together.

Anyway, I remember hearing the deejay say “Here is something new from Roy Clark.”  This would place the event somewhere around May 1969. I remember that the words resonated within me as I listened to them coming from the car speakers.

This is strange because I was not yet 10 years old and yet I could relate to a song regretting a lost youth and living empty life.  Wow!  Talk about being sensitive…

I remember seeing Clark perform on television.  He had just started hosting CBS’s rural focused answer to Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. They called it Hee Haw.  It was a variety show with short skits, blackouts and lots of musical interludes by the top artists in the country and western genre.  I remember Dad reminiscing about seeing Clark perform when Dad was stationed in New Orleans some years before.

I think this performance of Yesterday is from Hee Haw.


Yet Clark’s was widely respected as a guitar virtuoso.  I think this performance of Malaguena shows Clark in top form.

 
 

Sunday, November 04, 2018

There Was A Time When Strangers Were Welcome Here*


(A NOTE FROM THE EDIOTIRAL BOARD: This entry was originally published in 2006.  Some of the references are both dated and timely.  It just goes to show how little progress we have made in 12 years. I will amend the entry this year with a video of Neil Sedaka’s The Immigrant.  The video has historic photos of immigrants coming to America, historic photographs of our ancestors.  God help me, I think I see us in their eyes.)

Dear Prospective Citizens,

Yes, this means you, hiding in the ditch along the southwest border while you wait for your smuggler's signal to dash into the United States.  It has come to our attention that America’s open arms policy towards immigrants has been taken too seriously.  Admittedly, in the past we have welcomed all comers regardless of their origin, their race, or their language.  In fact, we embraced this tradition so much that we accepted a gift from France – back when France still liked us - which became an international symbol of hope and freedom for strangers coming to our shores.  We were filled with pride as we read the inscription on the base of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.”

Well, forget all that.  It turns out that we were just kidding.

I don’t why immigration became an issue now.  It’s not like it hasn’t been smoldering underneath the surface for years.  It could be that someone in the Bush administration or the GOP-led Congress is concerned with their poll numbers, oh I mean the immigration problem.  We have dealt with this issue before, but apparently our efforts have not been good enough.

Congress is now hashing out a series of bills designed to address the problem.  One extreme idea calls for every illegal immigrant – and those that helped him or her enter the country – go to jail.  As I noted earlier, this idea isn’t practical.  We would need more prisons built, which would require money, which would add to the national deficit.

The other extreme, endorsed by the President, calls for amnesty of all illegal aliens.  This idea won’t fly either.  Bush’s idea is a sweep-it-under-the-carpet-and-we’ll-work-out-the-details-later solution.  Blanket forgiveness for all who came here illegally, to hell with those who lawfully applied for citizenship, and all businesses get to keep their cheap labor.  Huh-uh!

Another proposal calls for a fence to be built along the southwest border to keep you from coming in illegally.  Tensions are so high that I wouldn’t be surprised if someone proposes dismantling the Statue of Liberty as scrap metal to help pay for the new fence.

Oh yeah, I can see that now.  We could replace Miss Liberty with a ninety-foot tall image of a snarling Lou Dobbs.  The new inscription could read, “Enter at your own risk.”

The point of all this is to give you something to think about before you run into our country.  Keep in mind there are many trigger-happy volunteers massing at the border who are eager to convince you to go back from where you came.  The days of the great land rushes are over.  Those were the days when people would line up and, when a shot was fired in the air, everyone in line would run to settle lands in the west.  Today’s shots will no doubt be aimed in a different direction.

I’m just using the term “trigger happy” to describe people who like shooting at anything or anybody.  Just a friendly reminder, that’s all.

So, please keep all this mind as you prepare to walk, run, skip, jump, hop or crawl across our border.  Of course, you can always become a citizen of the United States legally by filling out the necessary paperwork and waiting, and waiting, and waiting.  Then, one day, you’ll be granted American citizenship.  This would be a proud day, a day which you won’t have to tell your grandchildren about, because they will already be here when you get your approval. 

Did I mention the term “trigger happy”?   I can’t emphasize that concept enough.
 
 
*The Immigrant - Neil Sedaka

(Thank you for reading.  Please excuse me now while I find a quiet place to be alone and mourn for my country.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A Tribute to Open Enrollment


The editorial board has reminded me that it has been a few weeks since I have written a blog entry.  So, with apologies I humbly submit a health update and the state of my job.

To be fair, I am still working on getting back to 100% health wise.  I still have a few more weeks for physical therapy, but I have all but abandoned using the cane for most of my walking.  It was a busy week last week: a birthday and an anniversary in the same week. Fortunately, these events only come once a year.

Speaking of annual events, my employer is having its open enrollment season.  It’s not simply open enrollment for my company, but its also open enrollment for about a gazillion other companies which has hired us to answer any and all questions about their health insurance offerings in the coming benefit period from their employees.  And guess who gets to answer the calls from these employees?

Stress at work is an understatement for my job at this time of year.

It would not be so bad if these callers did not wait until day 13 of their 14-day open enrollment period to call in and ask a question about their coverage that requires (at minimum) at least two days of research to answer.  And God help us all if we can’t answer their question RIGHT NOW.  President-size hissy fits ensue.

I figure we have three more weeks to deal with these people before we can get back to our day-to-day working of other client’s cases. Traditionally two things happen at open enrollment at my job: it slows down by Thanksgiving which this year is coming early on November 22, and the days of the month of November race by in a blur.  Once it is all said and done we have no memory of the month.

Management does their best to keep everyone’s spirits up.  Last week we had a free pizza lunch on a few days, and they bring in dinner for those who work extra hours after their usual 5:00p leave time.  A pot luck is scheduled for this Friday.  

It may not be much in the grand scheme of things, but it does help a bit.

Anyway, I don’t think these mere words (392 so far) can fully convey the raw passion of open enrollment.  I’ll leave that to Sam Kinison.   You may remember his misogynistic comedy from the 1980’s, and I am in no way, shape or form celebrating that aspect of his work.  However, he did have a unique way of expressing mankind’s basest forms of frustration which I think sums up this whole open enrollment business quite well.  To wit:

 
Any questions?

(Thank you for reading and thank you Sam, wherever you are.)