This I believe.

I posted this on Facebook an hour or so ago (and one day soon I will get this damned blog and that damned site coordinated) and figure I ought to share it here:

The President of the United States today sat down for an exclusive interview with Chris Matthews, thus demeaning himself and his office. I guess I liken this to the way Dick Cheney played Tim Russert like a drum and that makes it ever more embarrassing.

Catching up with the movies everybody else has already seen.

I finally rented and watched four of the major 2014 movies this week: Birdman, The Imitation Game, St. Vincent and The Theory of Everything, in that order. Also,in that order, my impressions: not really impressed though I want to be; absolutely fascinating and especially surprised by the sad ending with which I was unfamiliar; the most enjoyable of the quartet on the most basic level, but that’s because it was written as a feel-good flick, and also fascinating, which would suggest that, here in my dotage, I particularly enjoy stories based on real events. The Hawking story was very well done although the ending seemed a bit abrupt.

Your comments invited. Don’t send me away in a pout again.

Why?

Friday, October 29, 2010. That was the date this blog first launched. It ran until Sunday, July 7, 2013 (scroll down the page a bit and you can see that supposedly final post. Not a bad run, that, nearly three years.

So, to answer the question posed above: calling it quits seemed like a good idea, or the right idea, at the time. Social media had already turned personal blogs into virtual dinosaurs and the capabilities offered at Facebook (the primary format that I used–and still do–and, yes, I know that makes me the Oldest Guy in the Room) simplified much of what I did in this space. For example, because I comment more often than I probably should on the current political scene, I would use excerpts, often long ones, from a particular news story, commentary or other online source and post a link for readers to go see the whole thing. At Facebook, I have only to post the link and some brief note of my own or, in many instances, nary a word. I reached a much larger and broader audience and inspire a lot more comments from those who agree, disagree or want to tell me about how they are making $500 a minute working at home.

Still, I never could bring myself to quit blogging entirely (my craft beer-focused Liquid Diet site continued apace) and, after a couple of efforts to do a more general blog such as this one under different names (see “Jack’s Other Blogs” in the right sidebar), I’ve decided to come back to where I started from. Things always worked better here and I feel more comfortable here. Simple as that.

There’s a bit more personal info and the complete text of the poem from which the site’s title was born on the About page linked up top. Also, every post here goes to Facebook and from there to Twitter.

And that’s enough about all that.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

The above is a much over-used cliche which is employed over and over again (probably won’t surprise you that such usage is mostly by political and sports journalists, the most un-inventive and cliched purveyors of words in the know universe), and it has been credited to everyone from Benjamin Franklin to Albert Einstein to Rita Mae Brown, a writer I suspect too many of you, to your loss, are unfamiliar with (hence the link because, lord knows, I was meant to serve).

But it is kinda true.

And I am arguably kinda insane.

I will explain later. Or maybe not. It is what it is (which is an even more awful cliche which essentially means, don’t ask, I ain’t tellin’).

Think of it as coming home, for me, and hopefully for you.

The Mermaid swims again.

And, boy, is she pissed.

Stay tuned (and tell your friends).

A funny, and true, story.

The person who cuts my hair on those occasions when I have looked into the mirror and been moved to do something about the condition of me is a young woman named Desirée (I am guessing on the spelling and accent).

I am, if I say so myself, the perfect customer because my basic approach is “I kinda want this but just do what you want and I will live with it.” It does cross my mind each time that taking the same approach with some other women in my past might have changed the course of history, but, you know, it’s all worked out okay. For me and for them.

I was a particular horror show this time around, have moved well past my expiration date for a trim and possible hosing down while attending to Buddy the Wonder Dog (he gets the staples in his stomach and that annoying cone thing removed tomorrow morning). To take her mind off the awful task of making me, if not presentable, at least bearable, she told me an amusing anecdote which I pass on to you because. Just because.

Desirée has a very small head and face. So when she was told in her senior year of high school that she needed glasses, she had to shop for a frame in the children’s section, where she choose a Spongebob Bob product. It wasn’t marked as such, she said, so she figured nobody would know. Came the day her glassed were ready, she and her mom picked them up on the way to school. That afternoon, a teacher opted to show the class a video and lowered the lights.

The frames glowed in the dark.

Now there’s the sort of experience that could scar a gal.

Maybe I shouldn’t let her so close to me with sharp instruments.

Which, it also crosses my mind, equally applies to those other women in my past.

A July 4 Reminder: the more things change…

Click Here (you know you want to).

Back in the golden years when a Real ‘Murrican was in the White House rather than a Kenyan Pretender, fine comics artist Rob Davis and I chronicled his unelected administration in a weekly series of cartoons we called The Dubya Chronicles. I thought it would be instructive all these years later to reproduce our 2006 entry because it is a reminder that, while things are surely better now, the fact is that whoever sits in the Oval Office (or the Veep’s office pulling the strings) is gonna use that power in ways many of us find unacceptable.

(The cartoon is animated so you have to click above to see it.)

Another example? return with us to the golden days of the Great Penis Hunt (though that’s not mentioned in the piece, which is one of my weekly columns for the short-lived Main Line edition of Philadelphia Weekly). From the content, I’d assume this was published in early 1995, not too long after the 1994 election in which the GOP took over the House and it appeared the Clinton Presidency might be a one-term affair.

There’s an ancient Chinese curse: may you live in interesting times. I don’t know who it was around here who irritated an old Chinese (though I have to suspect Ingram, when it gets right down to it), and I don’t know how interesting this era is, but damned if it isn’t annoying.

It has come to my attention, for example, that Rush Limbaugh, paragon of the new media elite, has some 20 million listeners daily. A recent survey of the American public by a British newspaper reveals the intriguing fact that there are also just about 20 million among us who do not believe that man ever walked on the moon. Could these be the same 20 million, do you suppose? Coincidence or confluence, you decide.

I have no polling data to support this one, but I’d think it fair to say, based upon all available evidence, that the “moderates” among the Anti-Choice folks are now that benighted few who still believe that a woman seeking an abortion is entitled to a quick trial before she is summarily executed. Everyone else who supports a woman’s rights should, of course, be shot on sight.

Down Washington way, the First Lady invited a whole passel of women writers over to the White House for lunch and–after ever so coyly allowing herself to be coaxed onto the record–asked them to help her figure out why folks just can’t get it through their heads that she’s really just the girl next door. Newt’s Mom was unable to attend, being busy running from talk show to talk show to blurt out the B-word again and again to prove how that nasty Connie Chung took advantage of her, poor doddering old soul that she is. Good heavens, the woman is all of 68; it’s a wonder she’s still walking.

Meanwhile, upstairs at the Presidential digs, President For Now William Jefferson (“Ich bein ein Republican”) Clinton is reportedly confused as to why so many folks can’t figure out what he stands for. Some days he thinks it’s because of this, some days because of that, some days maybe both. Usually the White House staff is around to help him, but they’re all busy searching high and low for whoever it was who had the bright idea that the Prez ought to be pictured holding up two dead ducks on a Georgia hunting trip. Brilliant symbolism that.

Of course, the First Family and their ilk are essentially the political fringe movement at this point. The real action is over in the House, where the Coronation of Newt set hearts a-flutter all over the land two weeks ago. I couldn’t watch the whole thing but I was lucky enough to catch Jon Fox stammering nervously on C-Span while he acted as the point man on the legislation to establish a “super majority” requirement for any proposals to raise income taxes during this Congress.

Since our very own elected representative was out front on this one, I figure we ought to stop here and take a look at it. It’ll now take 60 votes out of 100 to raise income tax rates. All other taxes, of course, can still be raised by a simple majority vote. Aside from the fact that this is probably unconstitutional, it means that the only tax which impacts on the wealthy as much as it does the poor and middle class is now a protected species. Don’t mention this in public, by the way, or you’ll be charged with fomenting “class warfare.” Then again, that three-fifths vote limit only applies to raising income tax “rates”; a simple majority can still vote to eliminate exemptions, or lower deductions, which would effectively raise income taxes anyway. Hmmm….

Understand, things aren’t all bad. Here, for example, is my favorite 1995 moment so far. Speaker Newt told the press last week that he and his acolytes should not be held to the “details” of the Contract With America. “We’re not going to be trapped into doing something dumb just so you can all say we’re consistent,” he said. He was unfortunately unable to stay around and discuss this interesting implications of this statement as he had to rush off and fire his very own personal historian who, it turns out, is on record saying that the Nazis and Ku Klux Klan haven’t gotten a fair shake in history. Somewhere, Pat Buchanan is smiling.

“Details” are on the mind of Representative Dick Armey as well. He’s the one from Texas who isn’t Phil Gramm, a proponent of a flat income tax and eliminating the minimum wage. Republicans don’t dare reveal how they might cut the budget to meet the requirements of the Balanced Budget Amendment, Armey says, because then nobody would vote for the Amendment. Makes sense to me.

Back before times got so interesting, we had that nice George Bush and his Thousand Points of Light. Remember? Well, as it turns out, according to an examination of the financial records of the Points of Light Foundation by the Los Angeles Times, only 11 percent of all the funds raised by the organization actually went to charity and volunteer work; the rest was eaten up by such important things as salaries, promotions, travel and consultant fees. And darned if more than half the overall budget, $26.6 million, wasn’t from federal funds. And liberals said private charity wouldn’t work.

Hey, wonder if they set up any volunteer orphanages?

…the more the stay the same. T’was ever thus.

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