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, September 29, 2019

Sunday Morning Post (V.1, #36): And Then I Wrote….

From the Arteejee archives, circa August 2018:

"And now my big news: this week I will finally have my long-awaited hip replacement surgery.  The left hip will be done first, followed by the right hip eight weeks after.  All has gone well so far.  I’ve been cleared for surgery by my PCP, cardiologist, and Steven Seagal.  I’ve had another cardiac stress test and pre-admission testing in preparation for my procedure.  It has been a few weeks of one medical appointment after another.”

(EDITOR'S NOTE #1, 9/29/19:  the right hip arthroplasty - that’s the fancy medical term for a replacement - didn’t happen in eight weeks in 2018. Rather it is happening this week on October 2, 2019.   This year, I also had to get approval from my pulmonologist, but I didn’t have to have another stress test, thank God.  The reference to Steven Seagal in this excerpt is from last year’s blog entry where I made some pithy comments about Seagal’s consorting with Russian dictators.  Trust me, it was hilarious.  I guess you had to be there.)

“My goal is to gain a new pair of hips which will hopefully alleviate my arthritis, allow me to regain my ability to do day-to-day activities, and meet my out-of-pocket maximum before my health insurance benefit year ends on November 30.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE #2:  these are still my goals. Another change:  this year my benefit year ends with the calendar year, December 31.)

"Yay for meeting my out-of-pocket!"

(EDITOR'S NOTE #3: Double yay this year!)

"Anyway, I anticipate that my 3-4 weeks of recovery time will be restful punctuated by intense physical therapy sessions and perhaps more time to cast satirical notions on the world via this blog."

(EDITOR’S NOTE #4:  This sentiment hasn’t changed.  I will rest, read books and perhaps start a slide scanning project. More details about this project later.)

"I can hardly wait!"

(EDITOR’S NOTE #5: This sentiment has not changed from last year. Seriously, I can hardly wait.  I want to exercise, walk more without wincing and other daily activities that have become a pain in the ass/hip to do in recent years.  One thing I won’t be doing: emulating the Nicholas Brothers.  I was never in that good shape to do their moves.  Man, those leg splits make me cringe, but those guys had to be the most talented dancers ever.  See for yourself below.)

(Thank you for reading.  Man, those two cats were too cool for Hollywood!)

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Sunday Morning Post (V.1; #35): “Oh Freedonia, Oh Don’t You Cry for Me!”

Okay, let’s get this out of our systems.

The story so far:  a mideast nation which had a reputation for being problematic to American democracy agreed under a previous American administration to curb its nuclear ambitions.  This was a multi country agreement and everyone seemed satisfied that Iran was content to dial back its nuclear production.

Everyone was happy except for one reality TV star who has narcissistic delusions of world domination.  This person (heretofore known as The President Who Shall Not Be Named in This Blog) thought HE and only HE could get a better deal.  Naturally our allies balked when TPWSNBNiTB pulled out of the deal with Iran. The President, in a pique of imperialism, re-instituted sanctions against Iran in the belief that they would come back to the table to negotiate a new deal.  Some hawks inside the administration may have thought that the sanctions would encourage some rebel movement within Iran to overthrow the regime.

So, guess what happened?  Iran has not shown any interest in negotiating a new deal, no miracle revolution has erupted to change the regime in Iran, our allies are pissed off about the whole affair, and more recently hostile actions against oil refineries in Saudi Arabia (one of America’s allies) have been blamed on Iran.  At first, the President rattled his saber by declaring that America is “locked and loaded.”  His Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, declared the hostile action “an act of war.”  In short, no negotiation, no regime change, and a lot of angry Iranians!

Who knew that Iran would respond the way it has?  Apparently, everyone in the WORLD could have predicted Iran’s reaction, except for guess who?   The President allegedly made what has got to be the most naïve statement of the year when he said (or tweeted or both) that he doesn’t want to go to war with Iran.

Seriously, the leader of the free world with the mentality of a school yard bully doesn’t want to go to war?  He certainly fooled the hell out of us!  I actually thought the week was off to a good start when extreme hawk John Bolton was shown the door, but alas, the week went downhill from there.

Thus, in the spirit of “hope for the best, expect the worst” let’s enjoy the video below from the classic, Duck Soup.  We invite you to get up, sing, dance and laugh.  Lord knows we may not be laughing for long...

(Thank you for reading.  Let’s laugh while we can!)

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Sunday Morning Post (V.1, #34) - Outside the Comfort Zone of American History

It would be an understatement me to declare that history has always been my favorite subject: I believe history in ingrained in my DNA.  It’s a blessing and a curse.  A blessing because I know that history’s primary objective is to allow all of us to learn from our past mistakes and triumphs.  A record of what worked and what didn’t work.  It can be a curse when I’m able to see from current events that we’re on the verge of making the same mistakes again.

Such is the folly of the human race.

The problem is not American history itself, but rather that — in my lifetime — it has been taught with ulterior motives.  Yes, we have learned the timeline of events and many of us know them by rote.  1776 America declares its independence with the publication of the Declaration of Independence…1789 the US Constitution is written and adopted…George Washington was elected the first President of the new republic…1865 the American Civil War ends and President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated…and so on, and so on, and so on. 

Yes, we learned the important events, but it always had the underlying theme of making America look great no matter what we did.  And what did we do?  Well it includes slavery to sustain the antebellum culture of the American South and later on a genocide of the Native American culture, among other sins.  Oh well! These problems were identified, debated, dealt with and resolved within a few paragraphs in our elementary and high school history textbooks.  

There was a problem, we solved it. And everyone lived happily ever after in our great (read capitalist, non-Communist) American society.  The end!

One problem: many Americans are still waiting for the “happily ever after” part to happen.

Unbeknownst to us we weren’t getting the full story.  We weren’t usually told about the impacts and contributions of other groups to our story.  Women?  Okay, they gradually came around to the notion of advocating and fighting for a bigger place at the table of American history.  Immigrants?  Okay, many of them were Caucasian and many of them also helped build the country up to a pedestal of greatness.  Blacks after slavery?  The gay community?  Well, um, gee they don’t even rate a mention in most history books.  It’s as if the publishers of the textbooks simply said Harumph to any group that wasn’t white and male.

The good news: this method of teaching American history is changing.  I haven’t been able to see the change in history textbooks, but the change is happening at the sites where the history happened. The Washington Post (acting progressive again) has published a story describing how tour guides at nation park sites like Monticello are incorporating more stories about the “enslaved people” who worked the plantations. The article focuses on the response these sites are getting from the visitors. 

I would very much like to report that the incorporation of these stories is being greeted enthusiastically with overwhelming positive comments.  I would like to report that, but it wouldn’t be true.

The sites have received negative comments from people who are not comfortable hearing about these inconvenient truths of our heritage.  They seem to take the idea that our Founding Fathers, like Thomas Jefferson, were not perfect.   Yes, Jefferson was a major force of American independence, but he was still an imperfect human being.

There! I said it! 

We should agree that those of us living today have the luxury of passing judgment on those who came before us.  Whether it’s right or wrong to condemn or condone our ancestors is missing the larger point.  Passing judgement is human nature in action just as much as learning right from wrong about how we treat each other going forward.  Encountering a true reckoning of our past is just one small step towards the admirable goal of achieving justice and peace for all.

As Theodore Roosevelt might have said, Bully!

Thank you for reading.  Just remain calm and keep telling yourself, “It’s just history”.)