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, March 18, 2018

Why America Can’t Have Nice Things #1

I may be mistaken but the current regime in the White House may be setting a record for the number of minutes/hours/days since an employee of the West Wing was fired/dismissed/resigned/position terminated/quit in a huff/walked out/or otherwise dragged out kicking and screaming. 

This weekend’s firing of Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe doesn’t count; he worked for a different branch of the US government.  Consequently, this other branch is a circus all onto itself!

The news coming out of the Beltway is always surprising anymore, because it’s always new.  New as in everything happening in Washington now has never happened before.

Example #1

A porn movie actress had an affair with the current President about 13 years ago just after the current President had married his current wife.  At the time the actress was paid off and signed a non-disclosure agreement which (theoretically) would keep her mouth shut for in perpetuity.   Fast forward to today’s #Me Too cultural movement and the porn actress suddenly starts talking about the affair because (Question #1):

(a) She got caught up in the moment of women coming forward to voice their experiences of sexual harassment.

(b) She wants more money to keep quiet.

(c) She forgot the meaning of the concept of in perpetuity.

(d) The current President neglected to sign the non-disclosure agreement.

(Answer key below.)

As a follow up, there are now rumors that the current President is threatening to sue his former mistress if she doesn’t shut up.  A sitting US President has not had to do this since (Question #2):

(a) Never, because all previous occupants of the Oval Office had enough self-respect for themselves and the office that they never got themselves in such a predicament.  Well, maybe everyone but Bill Clinton…

(b) Not since ever.

(c) Nada.

(d) All of the above.

(Answer key below.)

Ironically, this whole story of the affair, the non-disclosure agreement, the reneging of the non-disclosure agreement, and now the threats and counter-threats does not matter.   The current President has set such a low standard of morality and standards that no one (least of all the Evangelicals who would be outraged if Obama had been found with a mistress) seem to be upset about this story.

Example #2

Russian leader Vladimir Putin is expected to win re-election as dictator since all other opponents are prohibited from running against him.

See, America!   See how easy democracy can be!  If a former communist country like Russia can get it right, then why can’t…oh, wait a minute.

This is why America can no longer have nice things: we don’t deserve them because we’ve become a nation of hypocrites.   Sad!

Answers to quiz:

1. d. Officially, although any one of the others are also acceptable scenarios.

2. d. Wasn’t this the easiest quiz you ever took?

3. m.  Don’t feel bad if you didn’t get this one.  It was a trick question.

(Thank you for reading.  Question #3 may appear in a future post but could be fake news.)

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

A Floating Holiday and Other Moribund American Observances

I am taking today off from work as a “floating holiday”.  My reasoning for taking today is a practical one: the east coast of the United States is having its second nor’easter within a week, with the predicted snow accumulation in my part of the state to be 8-10 inches.  This is not conducive to driving to work and returning home later in the day when roads are slippery, trees and power lines are falling, and the usually defensive driver throws caution to the blizzard winds.

All in all, a nice day to stay home, hunker down with some hot cocoa, and pray that the power doesn’t go down.  I had a few days notice about this week’s blizzard and I promptly applied for it as one of my two floating holidays for the year.

The term “floating holiday” got me thinking.   

I’ve always looked upon the concept as a day (or two) offered by employers during the calendar year because they don’t have the cojones to close up shop for all of the other Tom, Dick, and Harry holidays that have been thought up, celebrated, and fallen out of favor in this country.  The employee can take the holiday any time they want as long as they request it in advance.

And what of those other holidays?  The federal government currently designates 10 federal holidays when “official” government workers are permitted to take the day off and not do anything.   I say “official” because the stereotype persists that most employees of the vast US bureaucracy don’t do much beyond biding their time until retirement when they are at work.  It’s an unfair stereotype, but it does exist.

Those federal holidays are: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Washington’s Birthday/President’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas.   State and local governments can pick and choose which federal holidays they observe.  It’s usually a given that banks, schools, liquor stores, and the US Post Office will also close on these days.   Employers can also pick and choose which holidays to observe.

My official paid holidays are New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Day after Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.  That’s it! 

I used to work in a union shop where the other federal holidays were negotiated into our contract. Those days are long gone for me and are disappearing fast for the rest of the country.

When I was growing up we had separate holidays to celebrate the birthdays of Washington and Lincoln.  At some point they got combined and renamed President’s Day, although the actual day set aside for observance is closer to Washington’s birthday then Lincoln’s.  No matter, since January gained a federal holiday with the addition of Martin Luther King Day.  No one seemed to mind slighting Lincoln.

This still leaves our nation’s history littered with the memory of other days which may still be celebrated at the state and local level, but have for all intents and purposes, fallen out of favor or forgotten.  Such days as:

  • Arbor Day – probably still celebrated in many states with the intention to plant a tree.  No precise date has been set on the calendar in more recent years, although it may have been folded into in what is now known as Earth Day, which raises awareness about climate change and pollution issues.

  • May Day – traditionally May 1 when schools and institutions would stage pageants in celebration of the spring season.  My guess is that this fell out of favor when various communist dictatorships throughout the globe would use this day to display their ideological pride (read military might).  Aw, a victim of the latter 20th century Cold War, comrade!

Well intentioned holidays meant to celebrate various ethnic heritages but have devolved into excuses for gluttony and public drunkenness:

  • St. Patrick’s Day; Cinco de Mayo; and Columbus Day.  I don’t pay much attention to ethnic holidays.  My own ancestors, the Germans, ruined it for me.  Many may well remember the fiasco that happened the last time Germany celebrated its ethnic pride.  Historians have named it World War Two.  ‘Nuff said.

Well intentioned holidays to celebrate national figure birthdays and occasions of national historical importance which has devolved into an excuse for the American auto industry to sell more cars: (subject to overlap with other holiday categories)

  • President’s Day; Memorial Day; Fourth of July; Labor Day; Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day; etc.

Well intentioned religious holidays which have become excuses for feasting and gluttony:

  • Easter and Christmas Day. These preferences show a definite bias towards Christianity.  And the evangelicals have the nerve to cry discrimination towards their beliefs because there was a trend towards extending civil rights to the LGBQT community in recent years?  They still get their major religious observances recognized by the federal government while other cultures are left to fend for themselves!  What nerve! Harrumph!

Well intentioned holiday set aside for everyone to express gratitude for the harvest and everything else in the materialistic culture which has devolved into a day of gluttony and sports watching: Thanksgiving.

Well intentioned non-holiday set aside for consumption of junk food, sports watching, consumption of more junk food and nothing else:  Super Bowl or Big Game Sunday.

I could go on, but I think this will suffice for now.  Besides, the snow outside is getting thicker and I am behind on my hunkering down with hot cocoa.

(Thank you for reading and enjoy the day, everyone, where ever you are! Oh, and plant a tree this spring!)