The Iowa Caucus

On the eve of the Iowa caucus four trends bother me greatly. One is the concentration not on what a candidate will or can do but instead on what they may or may not have done in the past. The second is the attempt at personal destruction of opposing candidates, even in your own party, with no thought of their need to be able to govern in the future. The third is the fact that most people seem to be voting on the basis of one or two issues rather than the overall future good of the country or ability to do the job. Fourth it appears to me that both parties seem to be running on a “take our country back,” platform when in fact neither seems to have any idea that our countries government was born of compromise and recognition of the power of compromise rather than the winner takes all position of modern politicians. An old saying says that a “real deal” is when both sides walk away happy or unhappy but not one of each. We are seeing candidates surge to the front that will deepen the divide rather than fill it in and that is not a good thing for any of U.S.

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Cause and Effect Has The Connection Been Lost?

Some things I have been thinking about in no particular order.

Hellman’s Mayonnaise advertises that it is made with “ real ingredients,” what would Hellman’s taste and look like if it was made of “ unreal ingredients”?

Does the cost of drugs in the US in effect subsidize the cost of drugs in foreign countries? If US drug prices were to drop would those in foreign countries drop or rise?

Does the relatively low cost of gas in the US drive the high price of gas in most other countries?

Does it really matter “when “ we run out of oil?

Do pipeline deniers understand that pipelines are probably the safest most efficient way to move almost anything liquid?

If dogs could talk what would they teach us?

Is it a fact that the only possible replacement for fossil fuels are nuclear ones?

Does the presence of student loans cause the price of college to rise?

IS there a cause and effect relationship between colleges building rich buildings and paying for them with student loans?

Does the presence of medical insurance drive the continual rise in the cost of medical treatment?

Does the power and expense of the American military in effect subsidize all allied nations who have a defense pact with the US?

On the immigration issue where is the line to be drawn between no immigration and open borders?

On gun safety is it possible that rather than registering gun sales and depending on point of sale control we should code drivers licenses social security cards, passport visas, green cards and other forms of ID’ to show if a person is not allowed to purchase weapons?

Were there more or less guns per household 100 years ago?

What would a moderate do if the presidential election comes down to a choice between Bernie and Donald?

Is it true that the problem is not with the Affordable Care Act it is with the “ends justify the means” way in which it was presented and passed?

Is it true that the ACA is out of the bottle and although it may be modified, no matter what the Republican candidates say, it will not be repealed.

Is it true that the words in No Child Left Behind and Every Child Succeeds have exactly the same meaning ?

Why do we consistently allow politicians, we agree with, to lie to us?

When did we forget the work of children is play?

Must we consider the real possibility that the next aggressive nuclear device will probably be delivered in a pickup truck rather on the head of a missile or dropped as a bomb?

Do we watch football and boxing in the same way that the Romans watched gladiators and is that a symptom of societal breakdown?

They shoot horses don’t they?

Why is there obsession with the whiteness of the Oscars but none about the blackness of the NBA All- Star game?

Why do states sanction the lottery while refusing to sanction other forms of gambling with much better odds for the consumer?

Will the 2016 election truly present a Hobson’s Choice i.e. a true lose-lose proposition?

Is it an indictment of our society that some words have totally lost their shock value while others have been banned?

If you get something for nothing do you get what you paid for?

If college becomes free will at least two things happen, will the value of a college degree decline while social security will lose 4 or 5 years of income off the top and the federal government will be paying out for 5 years of college and then receiving less back for the next 40 ( make that 50 because the retirement age is gunna go up ?

How many American children would or could walk 5 miles every day for water to drink?

How many American children would accept an outdoor privy in 5 below zero weather?

Why do otherwise intelligent people repeat posts on facebook that if they thought about it would realize that it is at best a half truth or unsourced?

Has facebook become the “back fence” of the neighborhood?

Is caring for an aging dog preparation for caring for an aging parent?

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Stealing the Golden Egg

When you illogically and indescriminatly demean a whole group for the actions of a few, soon the only ones still in that group, because they don’t care, are the ones who deserve to be demeaned. Schools of education enrollments are down, police academies are unable to fill their rosters. The good ones on the job will get old and retire. What then of their replacements? Would you pursue a job that is constantly reviled? What is the alternative to teachers and police officers, it would seem to me that ignorance and chaos are the most likely successors. It is not our educational system and the police departments that trouble our society, in fact it is exactly the opposite

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How To prosper, be Happy and Find The Perfect Man According to the Hallmark Channel

1. You must be divorced, been jilted or your husband must have died
2. You must have worked in a high stress job in the big city or you are homeless
3. You must have at least one living relative that is either a precocious or special needs individual
4. You can only find happiness by moving back to your home town or a small town in the country
5. If you receive an inheritance property you must not sell it for any reason although you must consider selling
6. All good looking men run tree lots, Christmas Shops, or are handi-men.
7. True happiness only occurs after a terrible mis-understanding
8. The men who run the tree lots, Christmas shops or work as handi-men almost always still have an ex-girlfriend hanging around ( in some cases an unknown sister)
9. Become friends instead of romantically involved.
10. Pay attention to your girlfriends they know more than you do.
11. To find the perfect man you must at every opportunity go walking with one while big flakes of snow are falling.
12. If your flight is cancelled, invariably handsome men in the same situation will fill the airport and there will only be one rental car or one hotel room available in the town.
13. Your boss does not understand your need to be humane but you will be anyway.
14. If you don’t leave the big city the only way you will meet a good man is to start laying off employees.
15. You will either drive a Mercedes or a pile of junk.
16. You must have long blonde hair.
17. You must accept men with a two day beard and short hair as handsome
18. Your perfect man will always be understanding even when you are a jerk.
19. At some time you will either decorate or pick out a tree.
20. Pay attention to the slightly pudgy waitress at the local café she knows best.

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Mixing Fire and Water ( A study in Sarcasm)

fire hydrantThe local fire and rescue department is taking a proactive approach to the problem of frozen fire hydrants. A perennial problem in northern climates the uncertainty of finding a frozen hydrant in the face of a major fire often causes many professional fire fighters many sleepless nights.  The helplessness and frustration associated with finding a frozen hydrant after already stringing two blocks of line has caused some brave fire fighters to consider counseling.  Clyde H, whose red hair and dog like face, make him a fire hydrant expert, notes that it is very difficult to push frozen water through canvas hose even after the hydrant is opened.

After much research into building a small centrally heated house over each hydrant or installing water heaters on each block in the city,  The solution came from an unusual source.  The F.D. auxiliary was shocked to discover that everyone at the Thanksgiving left over pot luck was wearing a knitted cap and they realized that the answer to this hairy problem  was right there, in or perhaps  on , everyone’s head.   F.D. Auxiliary head, Tessa S  noted that the answer to the frozen hydrant catastrophe was as simple as providing knitted woolen stocking caps  for each and every needy hydrant in the city. Proudly she noted that the caps would be knitted by the auxiliary in many bright festive colors.  The hydrants would then bask in the warmth of having a good woolen cap but also feeling the love from the auxiliary.

A test program has been instituted on Woodfield Road and so far has been proven quite successful as no frozen hydrants have occurred since the program began November 1st.  Expansion to the whole city is planned for later next year as soon as the auxiliary is able to complete their knitting. In a positive  aside others have noted that in the test area where knitted caps are already providing warmth for the hydrants dogs no longer soil the hydrants as frequently as they used to, apparently either confused by their change in appearance  or  assuming that they are alive due to their festive hats.

Neighborhood activist  Millie S  points out that test is somewhat inconclusive at this point  as  the temperature has not dropped below freezing during the test period and no fires have occurred  in the test area,  But ex-drug company executive  Rezulta Warp of “We Get Your Results Labs,”  who is overseeing the  historic hydrant testing,  notes that lack of freezing temperatures,  just doesn’t matter because with global warming, historic data cannot be trusted to determine any future situations, Rezulta also  strongly and correctly  pointed out that no matter what the temperatures have been, no one can deny that there have been none, absolutely 0%,  frozen hydrants since the inception of the test.

When we interviewed citizen Shadow S who lives near one of the test subjects, she was concerned that the presence of the knitted caps on the hydrants may lead to an increase in the spread of head lice as everyone knows that stocking caps are a meaningful vector.  Test leader Dewey Screwem was quick to respond that all hats had been treated with anti-lice, but ecologically safe chemicals.  and the lice danger  to hairless fire hydrants was entirely overblown.

Zeke S and Carly S concerned parents noted that many of the hydrants were located near school bus stops and as the leaders of the local neighborhood watch organization how would they and others  be able to determine if the hat wearing  hydrant was a real person in dark, foggy, or blizzard conditions.  “How can we tell,” they said if the cap wearing  object is a real person who might be  bent on some perversion or just a hydrant?  Legal counsel for the city noted that although that determination between hydrant and person might be difficult for many voters, all of the fire hydrants had been vetted and that in the recorded history of America no hydrant had ever committed a crime against children. Lawyer Cheatum noted that in fact many hydrants provided safe and cooling entertainment for children every summer.  He did advise Mr. and Miss S that if the same person appeared near the bus stop every day but never moved that it was probably a hydrant.

When asked about when this whole frozen hydrant problem began, local Mayor Blowback stated that it was  during the neglectful years of the Regan and Bush Administrations that this whole hydrant issue began, and  while President Obama had promised to fix the problem during the last election cycle he had  not yet acted on this pressing problem. Blowback   noted that the city was researching  a provision of the Affordable Care Act that may allow federal funding of the cap program.   He said they were parsing carefully the   Resource Availability and Needy Water Hydrant  provisions found on page 1452, Chapter 7 , Sub-chapter III, item 3.E.2.a.IV  of the AFC to see if funding was possible.  Mayor Blowback also has magnanimously agreed to donate all the woolen yarn needed  for the hydrants,  if his name is knitted into each hat in  color  contrasting letters, as hats he noted were not  in his opinion, covered by  city or political signage ordinances.

His opponent in the upcoming election, Stu Pideau, when asked for comment  said  he applauded the hydrant support and comfort  program but wondered who was going to pay for the expense of , “ Hatting the Hydrants.”

This  reporter is pleased to report that no eminent domain issues appear to be a concern primarily  because, although nobody knew it the easements already crossed their property in perpetuity  although the possibility of a water main pipeline break and the inconceivable havoc it would create has been a topic of discussion for the local homeowners association.

Archie H. recently terminated from Penn Tennis Ball Company and now in charge of public relations for “We Get Your Results Labs” announced in an open letter published in the  local Shopper  that  study results will be released  and questions will be taken at a public meeting to be held at 9:00 AM Easter Sunday in an ice cave  on Little  Attu island in the Aleutians. People wishing to speak may register at that same site (on-line registration is not available)  between the hours of 3 AM and 4 AM on January 1st, 2016.



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Carving Pumpkins A Growth Activity?

When I was a kid carving pumpkins was almost a right of passage. Picture the kitchen with me! It has a yellow Formica covered table with chrome legs and matching plastic seats on the metal framed chairs . Linoleum on the floor, a hulking refrigerator that was mostly insulation, coils and motor, and small gas stove all this accessorized by painted cabinets and linoleum counter tops with metal edges. No TV and No dishwasher and always a window over the kitchen sink. A door leading outside to an enclosed back porch and probably another door into the single garage. kitchen table

Pumpkin carving was a part of Halloween and 50 years ago Halloween belonged to the kids. A pumpkin was selected. usually at the grocery store, I always looked for one with a good slightly flat side to make carving easier, we bought at the grocery store because we didn’t have pumpkin patches, corn mazes and businesses that survived by exploiting Halloween.

Pumpkins were carved on the back porch, in the garage or in my case on that yellow Formica kitchen table covered with lots of layers of newspapers. The tools consisted of a large spoon and a “Sharp “knife. There were no cute purchased patterns to follow you drew your own pattern or you just started carving and you had two choices! You either made a fierce pumpkin or a friendly pumpkin. They were not pieces of art nor were they painted of partially carved to let light through. Fierce pumpkins had pointed teeth and a frown while happy ones had square teeth and a smile, eye shape optional for both but sometimes evil pumpkins had slanting eyebrows carved in. happy


But for a kid the key thing is you got to use a sharp knife and you learned on your own that if you didn’t angle the top the lid would fall in. You learned that in order to make a pumpkin you had to get your hands dirty and slimy getting all the goo and seeds out of the inside. You learned that sometimes the price of creating something came with some pain when you were a little too aggressive with the knife. Often times the kind of pumpkin you were making changed mid-stream because it’s hard to erase mistakes you make on a pumpkin although sometimes you could stick missing parts back on with toothpicks.

And even better when you were done you got to play with fire. Pumpkins were powered by warm flickering candles not a cold sterile battery powered LED. Candles could burn you when you tried to light them from the top of the pumpkin and I guess many of us learned that heat rises from that.

Candles also warmed the pumpkin and gave it an unusual smell not necessarily bad but certainly unique. No matter good or bad, like burning leaves it was a smell forever associated with fall in my mind.

Fire, Sharp knives, Candy Halloween was kid Heaven in the 50s. Please don’t buy a pattern from the store for your kid’s pumpkin, hand the kid a pencil and a spoon and a knife, advise but don’t control what they do, let them make Halloween their own again. Trust them to do their own work, let them do their own work, let them get dirty and even cut a finger or slightly burn themselves lighting a candle, in the long run it will be good for them.

Incidentally I heard that old lady Sloan three blocks over was going to be giving out popcorn balls again this year so let your kids go, follow at a distance if you must but let them go and grow. Halloween should belong to the kids. ( I’m not talking about letting three year olds or costumed dogs do it on their own because in my opinion both should be on a leash)

Oh and lest I forget let your kids have the experience of picking up a rotting pumpkin two weeks later and having to throw it away, the soft noxious mass probably frozen a couple of times carefully taken to the garbage to avoid leakeage, That is unless some teenage hood has already disposed of it in the center of the street which provides the opportunity for another life lesson.

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Elbert Hubbard Not Just for Historians

Elbert Hubbard is a little known American writer who died in 1915 but his writings still provide a window on modern America. Here are some selected Hubbard quotes that I feel provide instruction for living even today.

Old Age: Do not take life too seriously you will never get out of it alive.

Genius: One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men, no machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.

Understanding: He who does not understand your silence probably does not understand your words

Success: What I aspired to be and was not comforts me.

Principal: To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.

Freedom: Responsibility is the price of freedom.

Heaven: God will not look you over for medals, degrees or diplomas but for scars.

America: The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home and these are ignorance, superstition and incompetence.

Politics: Never explain – your friends don’t need it and you enemies will not believe you anyway. And If you can’t answer a man’s arguments all is not lost: you can still call him vile names

Reality: Every man is a damn fool for at least 5 minutes every day; wisdom consists of not exceeding the limit.

Memories: A retentive memory may be a good thing, but the ability to forget is the true token of greatness.

Friendship: In order to have friends you must be one.

Application: A man is not paid for having a head and hands but for using them.

Failure: The line between failure and success is so fine that we scarcely know when we pass it: so fine that we are often on the line and do not know it.

Change: The world is moving so fast today that the man who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.

Injustice: Reversing the treatment of the man you have wronged is better than asking his forgiveness

Education: The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without the teacher.

Character: Many a man’s reputation would not know his character if they met on the street.

Political Correctness: The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: Be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge and an idea that is not dangerous is unworthy to be called and idea at all.

Religion: Christianity ( and other religions my addition) supplies a Hell for the people you disagree with and a heaven for your friends.

Attitude: We awaken in others the same attitude of we hold toward them.

Science and Religion: The church saves sinners but science seeks to stop their manufacture

The Media: Editor is defined as a person employed by a newspaper, whose business it is to separate the wheat from the chaff and to see that the chaff is printed.

Truth: Genius may have its limits but stupidity is not thus handicapped

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