A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.
- Name: todd gunther
- Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States
Thursday, August 29, 2013
It had to have been hot and muggy; of course this was Washington DC in August. Organizers for the rally for equality and jobs on the Mall fretted that not enough people would show up. After all, this was 1963; there was no Internet, therefore no blogs, and no twitter. No way for people to hear about the rally except mail, phones, hand fliers, and word of mouth.
A lot of people must have done a lot of talking, because 200,000 people came by bus, train, and whatever they could to get to the Mall on August 28, 1963. There they gathered, mingled, heard protest songs, and orations of inspiration. And they didn’t seem to mind the infamous Washington humidity one bit.
The main attraction was the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., leader of the Southern Baptist Conference, who was already making a name for himself in the American civil rights movement. His performance climaxed a day of hope and the four words he used in his finale, “I have a dream,” have taken on a life of their own in American history.
Those words became the motto for the call to civil rights. Those words may have been a part of King’s repertoire for years, but they had never been spoken in front of such a large audience before. There were the 200,000 gathered in front of King in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial. Then there were the countless millions watching on television in the comfort of their living rooms.
During this week, when we marked the 50th anniversary of the rally, there have been some conflicting stories on the television coverage of the event. One report stated that only one of the three (yes, boys and girls, we had only THREE channels to watch on television in 1963) networks covered the rally. Other reports state that all three networks were there. In any event, at least one showed up because we have their videotape (quaint!) preserving King’s performance for all time. Also, President Kennedy watched the speech on his television - whether he saw it live or pre-recorded has not been revealed.
The mainstream media did not give the rally a prominent position on their front pages; several newspapers across the country printed their accounts “below the fold”. The thinking was that the rally would lead to a race riot. When violence didn’t happen, America’s newspapers shrugged, “Nothing to see here!” On the other hand, the African American press played the rally and King’s speech big. The Pittsburgh Courier printed his words “I have a dream” across the top of the front page, even above the title of the newspaper! They knew there was something to see here.
King’s speech began with an acknowledgment that they were in the shadow of the Great Emancipator, Abraham Lincoln, and drew the historical path between 1863 and 1963 when the nation defaulted on its “promissory note” of equality and justice to its African American brothers and sisters. He used a few other themes - “We cannot be satisfied…” and “Let freedom ring” - throughout. King had prepared notes for the first part of the speech, glancing down at them on the podium often during its first half.
The reverend established a rhythm and concentration as he spoke. His concentration did not break for cheers or interruptions of praise from the crowd. It didn’t even break when a hand reached in to adjust his microphones. Then he went into the “I have a dream” theme, supposedly egged on by gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. He knew these words by heart. From here until the end when he declared “Thank God Almighty, we are free at last" he kept constant eye contact on his audience. At this point, the crowd was at a frenzied peak, but King didn’t linger to bask in its glow like a superstar. There were no visible high fives or arms outstretched in a victory sign as he left the podium. Perhaps out of deference to Christian humility he exited the stage quickly and quietly, while the crowd roared its approval of his words.
This week, the occasion was marked with not one, but two rallies. One held the Saturday before the actual anniversary date of the event brought thousands to the mall. The actual anniversary date brought together prominent citizens and leaders to mark the anniversary, this time accompanied by light rain and not humidity. President Obama drew attention to the fact that the rally of 1963 began a slow change of attitudes and opportunity for African Americans at local and state levels, at the federal level, in Congress, and finally in the White House. Still, many observed that yes, progress has been made, but our journey is not complete and far from over.
This was a weird week for America. The past was marked with dignity. The present gave way to a mindless obsession with the whys and wherefores of a former child actress grinding her derriere on national television. The future is uncertain as always, with perhaps a new wrinkle of America entering a new conflict in the middle east.
In any event, America may not be in total post-racial mode yet. Still, at least 50 years on, we are moving forward.
(Thank you for reading! Twerking? Why, as in why are we paying so much attention to it?)
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Snort Bites – August 2013
NEW YORK CITY MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG OFFERS HIS ADVICE ON BEING SUCCESSFUL: LIMIT BATHROOM BREAKS
On his radio show, Bloomberg offered his career experiences as an example of his success. He recounted how he would be the first one in the office in the morning, the last one to leave at night and in between take as few breaks as possible for lunches and going to the bathroom. His call to spend as much time as possible at the desk while on the job contributing to long term success is a no-brainer. Still, his advice leads us to conclude one thing about Michael Bloomberg: obviously the man has no prostate.
Not take a potty break? Is he serious? How the hell did he ever get through middle age by limiting time he spent in the bathroom? The medical establishment advocates that you should not delay using the facility when nature calls. Delay can cause other ailments to be manifested later on.
Speaking of potty break, please excuse me for a moment…
Okay, I’m back! God, its hell to have a middle aged, overgrown prostate! Anyway, where were we…?
I know I could not get through the day without urinating at least 12 times a day, sometimes once an hour. Young people should take Bloomberg’s advice with a grain of salt, but not a pint of beer because you’ll just have to go more frequently. If you want to be as successful as Bloomberg, then by all means hold off going until your either absolutely have to go, or you have more free time to do all your business.
Weekends are a good time to urinate. Save it up through the week and just go on Saturday and Sunday. Sure, it’s uncomfortable! Sure, it’s painful, but hey, you’ll be in a better mind set for the harsh, bitchy, dog-eat-dog world of American capitalism. If you’re well fed and you feel no discomfort in any part of your body and you have an overall feeling of satisfaction, then you might not have the fire in your belly to make and close the deal. On the other hand, you’re hungry, your bladder is on the verge of bursting through the walls of your abdomen, and you feel like you haven’t known satisfaction in years, then it’s time to take no prisoners.
Don’t do as I do if you want to be successful. I’ve been urinating since I can remember. It’s too late for me. I’m hooked!
On the other hand, Bloomberg’s advice of urinating less dovetails nicely with his previous proposal to limit the amounts of soft drinks served to New Yorkers…hmm! OMG!
Excuse me, time for another potty break…
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE IS PLACED ON ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE WHEN HIS WEBSITE IS REVEALED TO CONTAIN RACIST CONTENT
Earlier this week, hate group watch dog Southern Poverty Law Center revealed that African-American government employee Ayo Kimathi has a website that advocates a coming armed conflict with whites. Despite the fact that Kimathi is exercising his First Amendment rights with his writings - despicable as they are - his embarrassed managers placed him on paid administrative leave by the end of the week.
Until Friday, Kimathi was an acquisitions officer for the Department of Homeland Security. In his off hours, Kimathi writes on his website War on the Horizon things like: “Warfare is imminent, and in order for black people to survive the 21st century, we are going to have to kill a lot of whites - more than our Christian hearts can count.”
And this guy works for Homeland Security. Boy is this awkward!
Even more awkward than a group dedicated to teaching tolerance in society calling attention to Kimathi’s writings is the fact that right wing commentator (and arteejee blog sex kitten) Sarah Palin singled out the story with her pronouncement that Kimathi’s employment with the federal government as “unflippingbelivable”.
Oh Sarah! We have talked about your potty mouth before! Again we must remind you that grown-ups use other words to express their disdain for a situation. Instead of “flipping”, you could substitute the word “fudging” as in “Unfudgingbelievable”. It works just as well, no one is offended, and, best of all, using the word fudge leaves everyone with a nice sweet aftertaste in their mouths.
Speaking of potty…please excuse me again!
SENATOR TED CRUZ ANNOUNCES HE WILL RENOUNCE HIS DUAL CITIZENSHIP STATUS WITH CANADA
Tea Party darling Ted Cruz made a step closer to making a run for the White House in 2016 by renouncing his dual citizenship status. It appears that Cruz, Hispanic in origin, was born in Canada to an American mother. This gave him citizenship rights to both the United States and Canada. This announcement happened a day after he released his birth certificate which clearly showed he was born in Calgary, Alberta.
Alberta, not in any way shape or form an American state. It is a Canadian province.
Now, there is nothing wrong in the fact that Cruz is foreign born. Fact is, we welcome all immigrants to our shores so they can contribute to the American Experience. On the other hand, his constituents have been making a lot of hay about Barack Obama’s birth certificate in an effort to delegitimize his presidency.
This poses a prickly situation for his Tea Party supporters. Technically, the Constitution does not forbid Cruz from being President due to these birth circumstances, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t give him any grief in the meantime.
Hey liberals! Did you feel left out of the birther certificate game that was played on President Obama for the last five years? Well, now it’s our turn! In the spirit of the old political axioms, “beware of the backlash” and “what goes around, comes around,” let’s get ready toooooo…(excuse me, potty break)…rummmbbbllleee!!!!!!
Okay, hoser, pull over to the side of aisle and show us your birth certificate, eh?
(Thank you for reading! Hey Sarah, here’s a factoid for you! Someone actually let a girl run the state of Alaska a few years ago. Talk about unfudgingbelievable…)
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Not Our Father’s Game
On Monday, I dined on shrimp kabob on flatbread, a nice chi-chi creation of tomatoes, lettuce, crumbled blue cheese, and tzatziki sauce served atop a toasted flatbread. In other words, a gyro with shrimp. I was served this meal at Citizens Bank Park, the major league baseball venue in Philadelphia.
The day before I had a pizza cheesesteak sandwich also at The Bank. Attending a Phillies game two days in a row is a new record for me. Also, the Phillies winning two games in a row is a new record for them in the second half of the 2013 season, but I digress.
Yes, these culinary delights which my blue collar family in northeast Philly would have dismissed as yuppie food just a few short years ago was offered in a ballpark. A ballpark where the native species of nourishment are hot dogs, peanuts, and beer. The other venues at Citizens Bank Park offer these traditional staples, in addition to hoagies, cheesesteaks, barbecue pork and beef, pizza, hamburgers, and salads.
Salads! Greens…at a ballpark! And I’m not talking about the green grass on the field!
This is nothing new: an entire generation has now grown up accustomed to these upgrades to the traditional entertainment known as professional sports. The game of baseball hasn’t changed that much - if you discount their sudden move to suspend drug-enhanced players recently - but the play in the stands has been substantially upgraded since I was growing up. I may be showing my age when I can remember going to Connie Mack Stadium and our food options consisted of hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts, and/or the candied combination of popcorn and peanuts.
Ah, but back then you actually paid money to watch a game being played. These days, the entertainment value has grown (along with ticket prices). Now, it’s watch a game (maybe), eat fatty style food, drink beer, eat, watch the team mascot cavort on the field and…did I mention eating? How could I have overlooked this aspect?
Truly, the game of baseball has grown up. Some sports geeks may still update their score cards when the home team scores, but many baseball patrons entertain themselves in the stands as if nothing is happening on the field. They party with food and beer, text their friends, and generally have a raucous good time and, oh, why is everyone else yelling? Oh, John Mayberry just hit a three run shot a few feet shy of Harry the K’s Bar and Grille. Good for him! Now let me get back to noshing on my dollar hot dog.
Even the mascot himself, The Phillie Phanatic, gets into the food entertainment game. Between halves of one selected inning, this overgrown, green furry refugee from (supposedly) the Galapagos Islands rides out on a motorized buggy with a weapon that is designed to shoot tightly packed hot dog sandwiches into the crowd. The food, wrapped in paper and what looks like duct tape from a distance, is loaded into the cannon and fired up into the stands.
Technically, this does not qualify as a food fight. This is more of a…what shall we call it…drive-by fooding?
Where else but in America could a large green furry creature who is possibly an illegal immigrant fire high-cholesterol threatening treats at a crowd that eats it up, no pun intended. Yes, entertain us some more! Throw more free food at us! We love it!
I wonder if this facet of entertainment ever occurred to people like Shakespeare. Imagine, if you will, the curtain coming down on Act One of Hamlet at London’s Globe Theater, circa 1604. As the theater goers mill around for whatever they did to pass the time during intermission in 1604, the curtains suddenly part, and a large green creature lumbers to the front of the stage and begins flinging fish and chips into the crowd.
Alas, history is cruel, for there are no such incidents recorded for our education. We can only speculate at this very early appearance of the Philly Phanatic.
Baseball is no longer our father’s game. Gone are the days of limited menus, smoking in the stands (I know secondhand smoke is very bad for my already diseased heart, but the stench of a stogie still brings back pleasant childhood memories of my father taking me to a Phillies game.) And sports writers looked the other way when the alcoholic and sexual appetites of the game's heroes became blatantly obvious. (Yes, this is a snarky reference to the Sultan of Swat!)
So eat up and cheer the home team. It’s all in the name of having fun and forgetting the stress of life for a few hours. Just try not to get mustard on your scorecard.
(Thank you for reading. I must now go entertain myself with breakfast.)
Friday, August 16, 2013
No Work Houses, But There Are Clinics
Earlier this week, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett made an attempt to break out of his Ebenezer Scrooge mold when he signed a law that is designed to bring health care to the “underserved” population of the commonwealth. I say tried, because the measure — when compared to other policy tools that are available today — falls a little short.
Corbett signed the measure - which will allocate $4 million into community health centers in rural areas of the state that are otherwise underserved by the health care industry — at a ceremony at Crozer Chester Medical Center in Chester. Officials proclaimed that the funding will increase access for residents in such areas. Corbett himself was quoted as saying that health care resources in the state “mean nothing if the citizens can’t get access to them.” I couldn’t agree more with this statement, but his following statement left me a bit slack-jawed: “This helps ensure medical access to tens of thousands of people.”
Tens of thousands of people? Really, governor? Only TENS (capitalization mine) of thousands, considering that there are 3.5 million people living in the state's 48 rural counties (the remaining 19 must be centered around the urbanized areas of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Scranton-Wilkes Barre, Allentown, and Harrisburg), which are theoretically part of the underserved. (Source: US Census Bureau, as cited on firstname.lastname@example.org). Did I say that the governor’s measure falls a little short? Perhaps I was just under-exaggerating a bit!
This anecdote makes me grateful that Corbett was never a firefighter. This guy would bring a small paper cup of water to a four alarm conflagration!
A union representing registered nurses, who were also in attendance at the signing ceremony, pointed out that the available federal money to expand Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act would ensure healthcare to HUNDREDS (capitalization mine) of thousands of Pennsylvanians. Okay, this is a little better, but it won’t happen as long as Ole Tom lives in the governor’s mansion. He has turned down expanding Medicaid in Pennsylvania.
Boo, nurses unions! How dare they ruin Corbett’s triumph? Boo!
News reports about the bill signing mentioned that Corbett has sought to close 26 clinics in the state because they served far fewer people. The state Supreme Court has stopped that action for the time being with an injunction brought on by a lawsuit filed by a nurses union.
Yea, nurses unions! Way to stand up to Corbett’s measly crumb throwing at the poor!
The governor maintains that his plan is better. It is part of an effort to streamline care in underserved areas through the use of health fairs and traveling nurses. I will admit that health fares are nice for taking vital signs and performing other preventative testing, but health fares are extremely temporary. They are open maybe one day a month. What about the other 29 days? What happens when Farmer Brown gets his forearm ripped out of its socket in an agricultural accident? Wouldn’t he be better served for emergency aid by a full-time clinic?
So, sorry, Tom, we can’t allow you to make a clean break from the Dickensian stereotype to which we have condemned you. Nice try though! You nearly had us convinced that you had the wealth-challenged close to your heart. You may want to try again.
(Thank you for reading. Yes, there are no work houses in Pennsylvania, but we do have a clinic…such as it is!)