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

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Get Out, 2015!

This will be a short entry, I promise. It will be short because it will not be long on sentiment. Don’t get me wrong, I did have a few fun moments in the year, but overall this year was the kidney stone from hell. Not that I’ve ever had a kidney stone, but I hope you get the idea.

Besides, the longer I write the less time I have to spend on more noble New Year’s Eve activities, like dipping nasty chips into freshly made California onion dip, or noshing on homemade hor derves, or derbes, damn, why can’t I write hors d’oeuvres…anyway,  noshing on toasted slices of rye and pumpernickel cocktail bread topped with pepperoni and melted cheddar or swiss cheese…ahh, who could write with those little treats waiting to be consumed.

Scram, 2015!

Your memory will linger long after you’re gone. In fact, your spirit of vile discourse will spill over into 2016 because the likes of Herr Donald will not allow the rules of etiquette to spoil his fun. On the other hand, Trump's pronouncements on everything he is not qualified to pronounce - which, come to think of it, is nearly everything - is a sure sign that there will be plenty of blog gold to mine in 2016.

Thank you, blog gods!

Leave already, 2015!

Ah, my snack plate is empty and I must refill to thrill my palate once more. So adieu, dear readers, for now! Go and frolic in the year's waning hours, eat, drink and be merry! Or is it make merry? Or is it make Mary? Oh, whatever! Laugh, enjoy, and feel free to kick 2015 in the keister as it departs way too slowly.

See you next year…

(Thank you for reading! Seriously, 2015, are you still here?)

Friday, December 25, 2015

Holiday Greetings from Tropical Southeastern Pennsylvania

Here’s hoping everyone has had a Merry Christmas and/or otherwise Happy Holiday so far.

This reminds me to post this message: Note to my fellow Christians who get besides themselves when people wish them Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. It is fine if you believe that the only holiday that matters is Christmas, and that you believe it is commemorating the birth of a spiritual leader who is the Son of God. That said, the first point is xenophobic, and the second point (like it or not) is a subject of debate for many others on this planet.

I believe that Jesus would not be offended if I wished Him Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas or, more appropriately, Happy Birthday. Or, even more appropriate for His beliefs, Happy Hanukkah.

So back on point, season’s greetings from a section of the world which should be experiencing temperatures in the 40s (F) and perhaps a dusting of frozen precipitation on the ground in keeping with the Currier and Ives/Irving Berlin romanticism of the Yuletide time of year. Instead, we have temperatures in the 70s, weeds poking up through the mulch in our garden, and friends reporting that flowers are sprouting three months early. Winter has just begun, according to the calendar, and so far it is a bust!

So the weather is not what it should be, but otherwise we’ve had a good day. Warrior Queen and I both slept in, leisurely pursued our usual morning routine of coffee sipping and newspaper reading, finally got around to the business of exchanging gifts at 10a, then had our Christmas feast at a local Chinese buffet. I was sorely tempted to greet my fellow diners with a lusty yell, “Yo! Hands off the peel-n-eat shrimp! They’re mine, bitches!” but I refrained. After all, this would made a mockery of the iconic sentiment assigned to this day, peace on earth, good will to men (and women). And the wonderful staff kept the shrimp piled high for everyone’s pleasure, so I had no need to fear that my appetite would not be satisfied.

The only glitch this holiday concerned a gift for our basement cat, Oreo. Since we brought her home, she has preferred to stay in our basement, and she enjoys relaxing in the window sill of the basement window well. This sill is about 62” from the floor, but Oreo has always been able to access it with a single jump from the couch (31” high), and bounce her hind feet off of the framed Mystery Science Theatre 3000: The Movie poster which is hanging on the way half way between the top of the couch and the window sill. To wit:

Recently, I noticed that Oreo has difficulty jumping up to her sill. This could be due to her growing older and a possible (unconfirmed) arthritic condition in her hind quarters. I thought that a cat tree/condo placed near the sill would aid her to gradually ascend the wall to her favorite spot. With this solution in mind, I traveled to the nearest cat supply emporium and purchased a cat tree/condo with two levels (35” and 51”) which should give her a more sporting chance to reach her rest area.

The first challenge was transporting the new piece of furniture home as it hung half-way beyond the back of my Ford Focus trunk. I drove slowly lest it fall out on one of several hills between home and the big box pet store. Fortunately, there was no mishap and I was able to walk it into our sun porch. The next challenge was to walk/drag the furniture from the porch to the basement without the other two cats (Nyla and Gigi) seeing it and thinking that Santa Cat had brought it for their exclusive use. As the photos below attest, I failed this challenge miserably.

Long story short, the upstairs cats discovered the cat tree and marked it for their personal use, basement cat be damned! This is the first time I have ever actually witnessed siblings stealing a gift from their sister. No matter. A second cat tree has been ordered via the Internet, and, best of all, it will come in pieces which will make its relocation to the basement easier to manage. It should be here by January 5, which as I recollect is the official end of the happy holiday season.

So, until then, Happy Holidays to all. You too, Jesus!

(Thank you for reading! And hey, let’s be nice to each other, okay?)

Tuesday, December 01, 2015


9/11 really was a turning point in world history.  Since that event, security has been strengthened everywhere.  The watchful eye of Big Brother has become ubiquitous.  No matter that the methods become intrusive and violate everyone’s personal rights, so long as thousands of lives are saved.   Those in charge of our security—whether elected or not—can also count on using this argument to further their own agendas.

It is here that our favorite super spy from the Cold War era, James Bond (Daniel Craig), still finds himself tugged in several directions between the old and new ways.   The old traditions of going into the field and killing the evildoers, or not, is dying hard. Then there are the new ways of posting cameras everywhere so that not even a terminally ill criminal can commit suicide in peace.

The theme of SPECTRE—the conflict of the old and the new—is carried over from Skyfall.  In the old corner, we have Bond, M and the rest of MI6, clinging to tradition of traveling the globe and personally dispatching the bad guy.  In the new corner is an ambitious bureaucrat called “C” (Andrew Scott), who is eager to shut down the OO section and establish a global surveillance network that could ultimately merge with SPECTRE, which is headed by a sinister looking figure by the name of Blofeld.

Ah, but the merger is stymied when one nation votes against the idea, defeating a motion which requires total agreement among the participants.  Oh, what to do?  Launch a furious propaganda campaign designed to convince the people that their errant leaders made the wrong choice?  Or launch a terror attack, dramatizing the need for global, omnipresent surveillance?

The first option takes too long and the results are unpredictable. The bureaucrats sneer at democracy, and create a crisis to justify their ends.  Ciao, Cape Town.

Blofeld (Cristoph Waltz) is charming and comes complete wearing Nehru jacket and his white Persian in tow.   (It is so good to see the white Persian on the big screen again.  When we last saw him in For Your Eyes Only he was scampering for his life while his wheelchair bound owner was dumped into a very tall factory smokestack.)  Now Blofeld is on a first name basis with Bond and (hint, hint) treats him like a despised little brother.

Okay, let’s get this straight, Blofeld.   All of your dastardly plots from the 60s, which included hijacking nuclear missiles, blackmailing the entire world, or an intergalactic laser beam to destroy nuclear arsenals and further your ambitions for global domination from a base inside a volcano, was all due to the worst case of sibling rivalry in human history?   Seriously, Blofeld?

Although Bond has to endure yet another torture episode (a holdover from the original Fleming novels), things end up badly for Blofeld.  As we all know by now, Bond tends to leave death and destruction (see the urban renewal project he completed in Mexico City in the film's prologue) in his wake.  Blofeld fares no better in his encounter with Bond.

I’ll admit I’m a bit slow on the uptake, but why did it take me until SPECTRE to realize that the opening credit sequences in the Bond films are surreal dream sequences plumbing the depths of Bond’s psyche.  D’oh!  How else can I explain the image of Bond meeting one of his Bond girls beneath an octopus that is easily fifty feet high.  Imagine an octopus that tall and no humongous deep fryer and fifty gallon drum of cocktail sauce to be found anywhere!

This latest Bond installment carries the tradition of thrills and satisfying cinema experience.  From the vertigo inducing helicopter flight fight over Mexico City to the final pursuit down the Thames, there is enough eye popping and ear drum splitting explosions to satisfy the hardest Bond fan.  Yes, the story does lose its way (where exactly have we met the terminally ill Mr. White before?), and the end is not necessarily a clear win for the good guys.

Skyfall was a game changer for the franchise; SPECTRE changed it further.

For one, Moneypenny gets a life!  Moneypenny has been sighing over Bond for over 50 years!  Bond, ever mindful of the perils of on the job romances, would be flirtatious, but never took her loaded suggestions/advances to first base.  In SPECTRE, Bond contacts Moneypenny while dodging assassins in a high speed chase through the streets of Rome late at night, and determines that she is NOT alone in her London flat when he calls.  Way to go, Moneypenny!   Of course this leaves Bond free to pursue romance elsewhere.

Also, M and Q get more involved in the field than ever before.  M (Ralph Fiennes) fights for his career and the future of the OO section against the previously mentioned formidable figure known only as C (or, as M pegs him, cocky as in cocky bastard).   Q (Ben Wishaw) is a bit of an anomaly.  He is loyal to M and the old ways,  yet always has his laptop at the ready, prepared to take down surveillance networks nearly - and let’s emphasize the word nearly - as quickly as Bond can draw his Walther PPK.

For another, the Bond girl lives beyond the closing credits.  This was unheard of in many of the previous films.   This was tradition dating back to the first Bond novel.   Not this time: at the end of SPECTRE Bond and his newest love (Lea Seydoux) drive off in his fully rebuilt Aston-Martin into the sunset.   Now there’s a scene on which to end the franchise.  Oh, but how can we just end the greatest money-making film franchise in history?

It is in that end that we find the conflict is compromised.  Old edifices implode and the villain is not entirely vanquished, allowed to face justice and die another day.

Okay, Daniel Craig gets to drive off into the sunset and perhaps a second career behind the camera (he is listed as co-producer for SPECTRE), but what about us?  Those of us who sat through the credits—there must have been hundreds of stunt extras—were rewarded with the four words we longed to see:  JAMES BOND WILL RETURN.
Whew, that was close!

(Thank you for reading.  Bartender, a round of vodka martinis shaken not stirred, for everyone!)