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

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Notes at the End of the Month

Apologies to those who looked in vain for a blog entry from me this week.  During the last two weeks, I have been home from work nursing what is now becoming an annual event: pneumonia.  The symptoms did not leave me much strength beyond coughing up brown (yes brown, not yellow) phlegm.  Parking myself at my computer keyboard for any length of time to write a blog entry was out of the question.

Not wanting to be left out, Warrior Queen is now battling bronchitis.  Her illness also came with the coughing, breathing difficulties, and brown phlegm.  The good news is we are now being treated with drugs and we each have our own inhaler to aid in our breathing.

The illnesses and cold weather also played havoc with our scheduled review of our taxes with our accountant. We were originally supposed to meet with her on the 20th, but the weather that weekend was too cold for man nor beast, let alone two middle-aged people who increasingly find the simple biological act of respiration a challenge.  We made another appointment for the 27th and hoped like hell that our health and the weather would cooperate.

The weather improved, but our health crashed.  No matter this time; we kept our appointment with the accountant.

Our accountant is wonderful and very helpful in explaining everything about our taxes. I truly believe all this despite her one flaw: she votes Republican.
At times like this I am reminded of the words of wisdom from the wise philosopher Joe E. Brown, who once said, “Nobody’s perfect.”

In our tax year review for 2015, our accountant went into great detail about how “your President would not allow this deduction,” and “your president would only allow you to declare this percentage of your medical payments,” and “your President, blah, blah, blah.”

Warrior Queen and I took all this veiled political baiting in stride.  For one, the accountant was good-natured about it.  For another, I know that “our” president could not have passed these tax regulations alone without the cooperation/advise/consent of the Republican dominated Congress.

I am also philosophical about my standing as a member of middle-class America.   We in the middle class have an understanding that tax laws will not always, if ever, break our way.

And oh, yes, I nearly forgot something else about our meeting which allowed me to be gracious in the face of pointed observations about my political leanings.  The accountant advised us that this year we did not owe any tax, AND for the first time in years we would actually receive a refund.  Joy! 

A refund? Okay, I can chuckle politely at your political barbs if you’re telling us we will get money back. Thank you, sign our names and date, swipe the credit card for the balance of your services, smile and wave, and see you next year!

Now, how much more gracious can I get?

(Thank you for reading. Sympathies to our accountant on knowing that she’ll be stuck voting for Donald Trump.  Ha, ha, ha…oh, wait, that isn’t funny.)

Friday, February 19, 2016

You’d Do It for the Gipper

It is now official: conservative Republicans have no desire to govern our country.  They only want to accumulate power and keep it.  Granted, many Democrats harbor the same ambitions, but I don’t recall any of them choosing to paralyze a full one-third of the federal government to achieve their goal.

This latest opportunity at recalcitrance happened last weekend when Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died at the age of 79.  His death wasn’t totally unforeseen; after all, he was an elderly man with health issues.   His death created a vacancy in America’s highest court and immediately the wheels of the Constitution were set in motion to choose his successor and ensure that the judicial branch of our government would transition smoothly for the court’s newest member.


Moments after Scalia’s death was announced, Republican leaders pulled the wheels out from under the Constitution, and stated their intentions to block any nominee President Obama named to replace Scalia. God Almighty, the body wasn’t even cold yet!   They maintain that the American people should have a larger say in who gets picked.  Therefore, they reason/conspire, the nominee and confirmation process should be postponed until after the Presidential election when Obama’s successor is chosen.

In other words, after seven years, the conservatives have still not warmed up to the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency.

The Constitution is very clear on what should happen next.   It allows that the president nominates a justice and the Senate weighs the nominee’s qualifications and consent to the presidents pick.  It does not allow for any procedural postponement when the president is not judged to be legitimate by the party in control of the legislative branch.

Unfortunately, there are a few things the conservative Republicans are forgetting about this whole business of smooth transition of government. I can understand how Republicans are weary of allowing Obama to make another liberal pick for the court, but let’s face it; 2016 is not going to be the best year for conservative Republicans.

First of all, your two leading contenders for your party’s presidential nomination (Trump and Cruz) are acting like two bullies in the elementary schoolyard.  These two should be thrown out of politics until they grow up!  I also realize that your pickings beyond these two are slim to none.  Now Scalia dies and your whole world is upended.

I know, conservative Republicans, it sucks to be you this year.

In this particular case, the vacancy was caused by an act of god.   This is the same God (I suppose) which the evangelical wing of the Republican Party worships and holds their elected officials beholden.  This is the same God (they believe) that tells them grown females are not smart enough to decide what they can and can’t do with their bodies, that same sex couples should not be allowed to be served wedding cakes, and everyone should be allowed to use their firearms wherever and whenever they choose.

The conservatives in Congress should also remember that the next President (whoever is elected in November) may get to nominate at least one, perhaps more, justices during their tenure.  They may have plenty of chances to stack the court in their favor (if a Republican wins) during those years.  So they should be patient and not be greedy now.

Oh yeah, like that’s going to happen!

Conservative Republicans have also forgotten who hired them in the first place.  We, the American people, are your employers!   We hired you to run and manage our government. We the American voter chose you to represent us - all of us.   We, the American taxpayer, pay your salaries and now you’re refusing to do your job?  This is insubordination!

It is prudent to remember what happened the last time a Supreme Court vacancy happened in the last year of a president’s term.  This would have been Ronald Reagan’s final year (1988); which was then as now an election year.  At that time, Reagan advised that the nominee should be confirmed with all expediency for the good of the country.  The Democrats had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the chamber for the final vote.


The Senate confirmed Justice Kennedy 97-0, and nobody gave a damn who was in the Oval Office.

Come on, guys!   Do it for the Gipper!

(Thank you for reading.  Here’s to the Constitution!)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Suggestions for How and Why Wonder Books

(Author's note: due to the negative reaction to my last posting, I will cease and desist all references to the Star Wars franchise for the foreseeable future, or at least until the next sequel is released. At that time, I may be compelled to write a review for a medium I love. In the meantime, I will attempt to entertain my blog readership with less controversial topics like politics and religion.)

In the 60s and 70s, American publisher Grosset & Dunlap published a series of paperback books for young readers which focused on science subjects.  The books were formatted as if a young reader asked a question (i.e., "Why do we see different colors when light refracts?” or “How do radio waves move through the air? or “Why is Donald Trump such a schmuck?”). Each question was followed by a paragraph or two answering the question between painted or drawn illustrations of the subject matter.  There were a few volumes related to history (Civil War, World War II), but by and large the subjects were science related.

Long out of the print, the How and Why Wonder books are now collector’s items on Ebay. On the off chance that the series is revived in the future, I humbly submit my suggestions for subject matter:

The How and Why Wonder Book of Star Wars (Author's Note: Okay, obviously I lied in the previous Author's Note.)

The How and Why Wonder Book of Abba (I know: cheap shot.)

The How and Why Wonder Book of Controlled Substances and Illicit Narcotics

The How and Why Wonder Book of Lobbyists, Super PACs, and Political Influence

The How and Why Wonder Book of Organized Religion and Ethnocentricity

The How and Why Wonder Book of The Duggars (On second thought, who cares?)

The How and Why Wonder Book of Stonewall

The How and Why Wonder Book of Belly Button Lint

The How and Why Wonder Book of Getting It On and Is There Enough of It

I may continue this in the future and am open to other suggestions.  Please keep in mind the suggestion that I not write about a certain film franchise has already been made.

(Thank you for reading. Oh the hell with it: Star Wars, Star Wars, Star Wars!)

Friday, February 12, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Did anyone ever wonder whatever happened to Luke Skywalker?  Of course we all wondered, and the latest installment of the Star Wars saga answered our questions with the first sentence of the crawling words that begin every Star Wars film.  Luke Skywalker has disappeared.

Thank you!   Any more questions?  Oh yes, what happened to all of those space vehicles - the freighters, the cruisers, the AT-AT’s, the would be Death Stars, the Tie fighters, the x-Wing fighters, etc - which were shot down/exploded/blasted from the sky in the first six Star Wars films?   Funny you should ask, because it appears that they have all ended up on the same planet in the entire universe! 

This galactic junkyard known as Jakku is a desert planet populated by scavengers who sell whatever space parts they find in all the wreckages for food rations.  It is here that a female scavenger, Rey (Daisy Ridley) meets a deserter, Finn (John Boyega) from the First Order (which was descended from the Galactic Empire, which was descended from Nazi Germany), and a resistance fighter, Poe Damoren (Oscar Isaac) who allowed his small R2D2 unit wander the planet with a map leading to Skywalker’s whereabouts implanted in its memory.

Yes, next questions?   Haven’t we been here before?  As a matter of fact, yes,   especially that part about robots having messages important to the plot stored within their systems.

The villain this time is  Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) , grandson to Darth Vader, which means his parents are none other than…oh,  what’s the use of spoiling this plot point when everyone else on this planet (except Warrior Queen) has seen the movie.  The grandson is so much like granddad; he goes about behind a mask not to hide a disfiguring head trauma, but to conceal pimples; has a temper that matches Charles Foster Kane, and the Dark Side is strong with this one.  Grandpa would be proud!

His back story should be good for two prequels, but that would mean that we’re getting behind ourselves.  Please, one plot point at time!

Ren works for the First Order, a nasty bunch of intergalactic bullies who do not tolerate a difference of opinion of any sort.  This group has outgrown the old technology that vaporized one planet at a time.   They have now developed a much larger weapon within its own planet that can take out multiple planets at one time.

The old Death Star?  Please!  That is so long ago and so far away in Episode IV.

The First Order is opposed by the Republic, which is led by Ren’s mother, Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher).  It really is a small universe after all!  Rei and Finn escape the desert orb Jakku by commandeering the Millennium Falcon, which by this time is a very old rust bucket.  The Falcon is in turn recaptured by its former owner, Han Solo (Harrison Ford), who along with Chewbacca, are more than game to hyperspace into the fight again.  Solo schools the young ones on the ways of the force and reveals that he personally knew Luke Skywalker.  Up to this point Rei and Finn thought Luke was just a legend.

Seriously, just what do these millennials know?

Ultimately the dizzying, vertigo-inducing space chases/battles, the stopover at a cantina where Luke’s light saber is preserved much like our world would have preserved the Holy Grail, the heart stopping race to destroy the death planet before it destroys again, the fateful meeting between Ren and his dad Solo (in which Ren ensures he won’t have to be bothered sending any more of those pesky Father’s Day cards ever again), is all leading to finding Skywalker.

Along the twists and turns of the story we learn that Rei was torn from her biological family a long, long time ago, in a montage of nightmarish images when she touches Luke’s light saber.  She is also revealed to possess the Force.  At one point she makes good her escape from the First Order by using a Jedi mind trick.

Hmmm?   So from which branch of the Skywalker family tree did Rei fall?  And will Luke literally take the light saber from her hands at film’s end, and figuratively save the universe again?

We’ll have to wait until 2017 for the answers to these questions, when the next chapter of this grand franchise (which will outlive us all) is released.  Then, as now, a fun escapist time should be had by all!

(Thank you for reading. Spoiler alert: the force will return!)

Monday, February 08, 2016

Me Happy?

Recently, Warrior Queen noticed something different about my demeanor.  She said that I appear to be more relaxed than I have been in the past.  She has even dared to say that I…are you all sitting down for this, readers…happy!   She actually used the word “happy” and my name in the context of the same thought.

Truth be told, I have been feeling more carefree; my overall mood has been lighter since 2015 ended.  One reason for my mood enhancement could be that I had been working for a very complicated, work intensive, difficult client for the last four years or so. That client terminated their contract with my company as the curtain rang down 2015.  My company, which had been losing money servicing this client, was relieved that they had decided not to renew.

I can’t think of any other event which could have lifted my spirits, and no, spirits themselves have not been involved in my overall outlook on my existence.  So I will accept the reasoning that the adjustment to my tasks at work is making me more cheerful. 

Today I am starting a mid-winter vacation. The day has already begun with momentous news. My number was picked out of a Viking hat at Spo Reflections for a handmade Hawaiian shirt!  I’ve always wanted a Spo shirt and I was happy to hear the news from Warrior Queen, who viewed the video on Spo Reflections and screamed for joy!  And that’s how I found out that I was a winner.

I have nothing elaborate planned for the week. We were hoping to go to Rehoboth Beach for the Valentine’s Day weekend.  Now that won’t happen because the forecast temperatures (as of today) will prove to be too low for Warrior Queen to be out and about gallivanting around beautiful, downtown Rehoboth.   So we may end up having a nice quiet Valentine’s Day at home.

Otherwise it will be a staycation, organizing and cleaning my room (a constant struggle since childhood), inventory four more boxes of my mother’s Christian Science books, see at least one movie (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), and any other project that happens to cross my horizon.  And the week will end and most of what I set out to do will not get done.

But at least I’ll be happy!

(Thank you for reading.  Carolina lost the Super Bowl!  Drat!)