Saturday, May 23, 2020

A Day Late and a Dollar Short


This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandchildren (who exist), and my great-grandchildren (who don't) — the Stickies — to haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.

                                -Image from dracomania.org-
                  
Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and/or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering

                                                  Glossary  

                                                    About

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." -Thomas Edison


Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies (& Gentlereaders),

I've been thinking about karma lately and it's occurred to me that perhaps bad karma explains the fact that the phrase a day late and a dollar short neatly encapsulates a recurring theme in my life. 

I've also been thinking about the fact that a pair of large corporate entities, at whose hands I suffered, have gone out of business.

Are these two phenomena related?

Nah... Right?


Once upon a time, In Youngstown, Ohio, a man named Harry Burt, who owned a candy shop, invented what is now the world-famous Good Humor bar. Mr. Burt was a little known business genius who died when he was only 51 years old leaving his widow to fight his (patent) battles.

In the spring of 1981, a hippie with a job quit and became a Good Humor man on a whim. Like almost everyone who ever drove an ice cream truck of some sort, I stumbled into the business. I needed the cash.

The bad news is the business had already peaked and a long, slow slide had begun.

I loved the work, the money was good, and I was in and out of the business over the course of the next several years. However, I was involved in a business of slowly diminishing returns.

I was a day late and had accidentally entered the field when I was a dollar short.


Not long after my first foray into popsicle peddling, I found myself working for Kmart as an overworked, underpaid stockroom boss and then, briefly, a store manager trainee.

This was all about "getting straight" (which didn't mean then what it does now) to qualify for getting married to a blond girl next door type and making a baby, maybe two.

Neither I nor the Kmart corporation knew that they had peaked and were about to be destroyed by WallyWorld.

First, Kmart broke my heart, and then she did. I was training to become a computer programmer (the getting married thing again) when she started using my testicles as a trapeze.

This was just the first time Kmart would break my heart (more on that anon), it was the second time a woman did — there had been this hippie chick with a job...


Fast forward to our hero attempting to heal his broken heart via a geographic cure. When I came to I was managing a fleet of ice cream trucks in Austin, Texas.

As my dear Stickies know, I hired the woman who would shortly be my wife. She came pre-equipped with a ten-year-old who grew up to be their mom. Lured to Ohio by my late wife to meet her family, I got stuck and took up temporary residence.

We were supposed to return to Texas but 35 years later I'm still living here
temporarily. But the mountains of North Carolina are calling out to me in my dreams...

[Are they yodeling?]


Anyways, being an allegedly full-fledged grown up with a wife and daughter, I became an assistant warehouse manager for Toys Were Us. They eventually discovered that they had also peaked and would, in short order, also be destroyed by WallyWorld.

Toys etc. treated me even worse than Kmart had.

BIG BUT
There was a management buyout eventually and I had gone to a great deal of trouble (I had been tipped off) to be one of the folks invited to leave while not getting fired while waiting for the ax to fall.

This enabled me to buy an ice cream truck — almost an exact copy of the one pictured above — and start dreaming about becoming a goody bar mini-mogul.

ANOTHER BIG BUT
Life happened to me while I was making other plans and when I came to this time I found myself a widower managing a crew of 18 for a commercial cleaning contractor. We cleaned a hooge warehouse.

It was a distribution center owned by a much diminished Kmart.

Once again, I (and 18 other victims) were screwed over by Kmart Inc. and I found myself a fifty-something white, cisgender male without privilege at the height of the Great (so far, stay tuned...) Recession.

Hilarity ensued.

I limped — literally, I had what turned out to be a busted hip — to early retirement and was appropriately punished for my crime by the Social Security Administration.

I derive no joy from the fact Kmart and We Were Toys (effectively) are history. All those lost jobs... Nothing to do with me, right?

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

Please scroll down to react, comment, or share. If my work pleases you I wouldn't be offended if you offered to buy me some cheap coffee.  

                                                   *     *     *

Your friendly neighborhood crank is not crazy about social media (I am a crank after all) but if you must, you can like me/follow me on Facebook. 

Cranky don't tweet.




 











Saturday, May 16, 2020

Make America Polite Again


This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandchildren (who exist), and my great-grandchildren (who don't) — the Stickies — to haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.

                        -Image by MorningbirdPhoto from Pixabay-
                  
Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and/or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering

                                                  Glossary  

                                                    About

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"The only rules: be charming, be humane, be smart, and never take yourself too seriously." -Jeffrey A. Tucker


Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies (& Gentlereaders),

Spread the word, King Crank has decided on his campaign slogan, Make America Polite Again (MAPA).

Uncle Joe and Uncle Bernie were more or less shunted aside when folks became preoccupied with surviving the plague. Uncle Joe is still shunted but apparently has secured the nomination as long as Tara Reade's charges don't stick, he doesn't drop dead, or isn't benched for dementia prior to the general election

Meanwhile, the Orange One canned the guy whose job it is (make that was) to keep an eye on how the $2,200,000,000 was spent.

Not to worry though, Aunt Nancy is creating a congressional committee to keep an eye on the checkbook while she's busy printing more money.


Not content to have spent all the money, and then some, and then some more, my fellow Boomers refuse to get off the field/leave the stage. OK, Boomer, retire for God's sake, if you can afford to.

There are three generations lined up behind you waiting for a turn. We need 'em to make babies and keep Social Security and Medicare afloat.   


At least we can take comfort from the fact that all right-thinking Citizens of the Republic have signed on to a provisional ceasefire, putting the culture war on hold...

Dana, what's with the cynical chortling?

[Sorry.]

And since the ravenous pack of professional pols at all levels of gummit, for the time being, are placing what's best for the citizenry ahead of what's best for the career of a given pol...

Dana, please!

[Sorry.]

Even though I'm running for king I shall remain remarkably restrained and not take advantage of the current crisis to attack my opponents for their world-class ball dropping.   

[Their what?]

I won't make much of the fact that the Donald and his minions have had three years to "restock the shelves," cleverly and simultaneously heaping scorn on both the present and the last administration (in which Uncle Joe played a minor role).

[Oh. Why?]

In times of trouble, we must all pull together as a team because when the going gets tough the tough get going, and as Winston Churchill said, "When you're going through hell keep going."

Etcetera.

[Oh. Absolutely. Right.]


Instead, I thought this might be a good time to introduce my campaign slogan, Make America Polite Again (MAPA), given that I've consciously decided to set a good example and not exploit the current situation.

I wrote a column or two now gone missing somewhere in the mists of time about STEM, no, not that STEM. STEM, in this case, is an acronym for strategic good taste, etiquette, and modesty.

In order to MAPA we must implement STEM.

[Impressive. First, a high ground maneuver and then you insert two acronyms into the same sentence, perhaps you're more of a politician than I thought. Pray continue your weaselness.]


I define being polite as an acknowledgment that since we have to share the playground with other kids we need to minimize friction to maximize everyone's fun.

Strategic good taste refers to the fact that what constitutes good taste depends on a given situation and what other kids you're sharing the playground with at any given moment.

Example: A good fart joke, while sharing a drink or two with a like-minded fellow sophisticate, may be just the thing.

Telling the same joke to the minister after congratulating him/her/them on a great sermon may not.


Etiquette has little or nothing to do with extending your pinkie while sipping your tea as demurely as possible. It's simply trying not to irritate/repulse others.

Examples: Chewing with your mouth open is repulsive. Setting your phone on speaker and holding it a foot from your mouth and yelling at it so that anyone within hearing can share in your fascinating conversation is irritating.

It may also result in injury or death — yours.


And finally, modesty. Everyone knows why, or should, that braggadocio is usually tacky and uncalled for. If you don't, ask your mum to explain it to you. Example: Forming a chorus line to celebrate scoring a touchdown.

Also, although the awokened have awakened us all to the fact that males reacting like feral, horny dogs to even the slightest visual provocation, intentional or otherwise by females isn't basic biology, it's toxic masculinity, there are limits.

You may (or not) be hot, but believe it or not, we don't all want to see your _______. We especially don't want our kids to see your _______.

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

Please scroll down to react, comment, or share. If my work pleases you I wouldn't be offended if you offered to buy me some cheap coffee.  

                                                   *     *     *

Your friendly neighborhood crank is not crazy about social media (I am a crank after all) but if you must, you can like me/follow me on Facebook. 

Cranky don't tweet.
 








 



Saturday, May 9, 2020

The New, New Normal


This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids (who exist), and my great-grandkids (who don't) — the Stickies — to haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.
                  
                              -Image by Jessica Crawford from Pixabay- 

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and/or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering

                                                  Glossary  

                                                    About

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"I believe that starting any business should be as easy as a 10-year-old starting a lemonade stand." -Mark Cuban


Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies (& Gentlereaders),

When I was a kid, normal, if you could marshall the resources and secure mum's permission, was setting up a Kool-Aid stand and investing the profits, if any, locally. That is to say, by purchasing baseball cards and comic books. 

[Profits if any?]

Yes, Dana. Drinking or giving away more Kool-Aid than you sold was not unusual.

Until this year, the new normal — once it warmed up to the point that kids started setting up black-market, locally sourced organic lemonade stands to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital or the like — was news stories decrying The Man showing up and shutting 'em down.

I predict there will less of the new millennial version of this rite of summer this year given that nowadays when we look over our shoulders to see if someone's following us we're as concerned about whether or not they're maintaining a safe following distance as much as we are about being raped, robbed, or murdered.

[What's that got to do with...]

Oh, before I forget, a public service announcement. If you, like me, still use snail mail from time to time and find return address labels useful you can ensure a lifetime supply of free ones by donating to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital occasionally.

They do much good and work many wonders. By sending them a few bucks whenever the goddess Philanthropia nudges you, seasonally themed labels will continue to appear in your mailbox for the rest of your life, perhaps beyond. Win/win.

Anyways, for your viewing pleasure, Flyoverland Productions presents the following mind movie titled The New, New Normal.


A hot day. A quiet street in a relatively new, treeless (with the exception of the occasional sapling) suburban "development."

On a choice corner lot two siblings, Ludwig and Cornflower, are standing behind a large, plastic, Little Tykes "Old Fashioned Lemonade Stand." Both are wearing N-95 face masks and are staring, slack-jawed, at their smartphones. They are scrolling through their favorite social media sites while listening to different songs via earbuds.

There are no customers as all the other neighborhood kids are inside their comfortable, climate-controlled homes staring, slack-jawed, at their smartphones. They are scrolling through their favorite social media sites while listening to music only they can hear while simultaneously basking in the warm glow of 60" televisions.

Some parents, the laid-off ones that work in meatspace, are also sitting there and doing the same thing. Family time.

Other parents are working remotely in home offices, real or virtual. There are tax deductions available if you follow the rules (or don't get caught).


Back outside, a caravan consisting of an SUV (with police car package)...

Followed by a white, Sprinter style van that says _______ County Health Dept. on both doors...

Followed by an SUV that looks exactly like every other SUV in the world (except for paint color and trim package)...

Followed by another SUV (with the new and improved police car package)...

Pulls up and stops in the middle of Oakview Drive so as to block access to the scene of the crime till the situation can be resolved to the satisfaction of the Health Commissioner, the Police Chief, and the Law Director.

Cornflower texts her mom, who's in the bathroom washing down a Xanax from a flask of Vodka that she keeps hidden there. Not sure what's going on she launches an emergency text that brings members of the neighborhood watch and/or homeowners association running to the scene.

In short order, everyone is yelling at and recording videos of each other — while standing six feet apart. Most of the people in the crowd are wearing face masks of some sort and giving the stink eye to those few that aren't.

Several trendy teenagers, members of the Oakview Posse, who are wearing matching yellow bandanas and yellow Playtex gloves are standing off to one side taking selfies and posting them on their favorite social media sites.


Two hours later, the situation has been resolved. The cops are loading the confiscated lemonade stand into the back of the health department van; the crowd has thinned out; mom is in the middle of an intense, three-way call with her estranged husband and a lawyer.

Suddenly, from opposite directions, two large vans bristling with rooftop dishes, antennas, and other technical-looking stuff converge on the scene and a helmet haired, overly made-up, immaculately dressed reporter from two rival local TV stations jumps out of each van holding a microphone, each followed by a scruffy looking cameraperson.

Ludwig, alerted by his phone that it's time to take his meds, looks up in surprise and says to no one in particular, "Wow, like, what's goin' on man?" 

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

Please scroll down to react, comment, or share. If my work pleases you I wouldn't be offended if you offered to buy me some cheap coffee.  

                                                   *     *     *

Your friendly neighborhood crank is not crazy about social media (I am a crank after all) but if you must, you can like me/follow me on Facebook. 

Cranky don't tweet.


 

Saturday, May 2, 2020

The Return of the Perenniall


This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandchildren (who exist), and my great-grandchildren (who don't) — the Stickies — to haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.
                  
                              -Image by JacLou DL from Pixabay-

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and/or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering

                                                  Glossary  

                                                    About

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries." -Winston Churchill 


Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies (& Gentlereaders),

Better warm up that coffee, campers, it's a long one.

The universe began with a big bang, and nothing was suddenly something. The Perenniall returned with a muted pop on Tuesday, 9/9/41, one day behind schedule. They were supposed to be here on Monday (the Bernies B-Day) but had spent a much needed mental health day at a day spa on the planet Tralfamador.

The Perenniall hadn't been to the Earth since 1917. The seed they had planted,  here (Socialism) had sprouted (the Communist revolution) and it was time to hit the cosmic road to plant more seeds, nurture more sprouts.

Mad Vlad Lennon (not the Pooteen, the current Mad Vlad) who had lost its last meat-based vessel in 1924 and had been trying to catch up with them ever since had only recently finally found them.

Somehow, its file had gone missing and the Perenniall  — always busy planting seeds, nurturing sprouts — had lost track of it.

While Mad Vlad is/was a RBFD here on Earth, to the Perenniall it was/is just another RS (revolution specialist), second class.

It was not authorized to foment revolution, not even pointless violence and disruption without specific orders. Dutifully following standing orders, it had been trying to check back in ever since.

It filed its report and then headed for Tralfamadore for psychological BC&R (bloodshed cleansing and realignment) and a bit of R&R while awaiting its next assignment.


Myriad myths and legends abound throughout the universe as to the origin of the demigod Perenniall.

I personally believe they were created from the combined energies of idealistic, adolescent and post-adolescent members of various and sundry species who have achieved self-consciousness from here, there, and even way over there.

It turns out that it's quite common in our universe for individuals at this stage of development to take a fresh look at the culture their parental units take for granted and exclaim, WTF!

[Wow! So F-bombs are exploding all over the universe at any given moment? I wonder if...] 

It's more nuanced than that, Dana. The F-bomb you're referring to, or at least the local equivalent (there are a lot of species out there) is often a sign of cultural decline.

There is, broadly speaking, another version, the one I prefer, wherein the local version of WTF is equivalent to Wow! that's freaky!

[Po-tay-toe/Po-tah-toe.]

Hardly, but it would take an entire letter/column to explore that one.


Anyways, at some point over the course of the last million years or so the idealistic energies mentioned above, magnified by usually short-lived but powerful youthful optimism hit critical mass and the Perenniall was born.

[Where did the name Perenniall come from?]

They have many names. Perenniall references the fact that even though the utopia promised to the followers of the Perenniall has never actually been achieved, believers, especially fresh converts, cling to the notion it can be.

A significant cohort of disillusioned believers maintains their faith by adopting a canonically approved rationalization: Once, inevitably, socialism or communism is properly implemented — somewhere, somehow — a social and economic utopia will dawn.

The fact that democratic socialism (socialism light) exists helps them to keep the faith. Unfortunately, they tend to downplay or ignore the fact that such a system requires a vibrant, profit-hungry private sector to finance it.

The "Nordic countries" that the Bernie likes to point to learned this the hard way. Even he admits that the middle class foots most of the bill via high taxes. The poor have no money and there just ain't enough evil billionaires to cover the tab.

So that they don't feel marginalized, thus damaging their self-esteem, the poor, along with everyone else, pay high sales taxes.

These taxes are paid by the manufacturers and distributors, who then include them in the prices of their products. This helps to protect everyone from realizing how expensive all the freebies actually are and making them grumpy.

[Works for me, I think I like democratic socialism. We should try that here.]

Works for them, too, but it's not socialism. It's the same system as ours but with a much larger safety net and much higher taxes. 

[Po-tay-toe, Po-tah-toe.]

Hardly, Americans, as George Will has pointed out, want a dollar's worth of services for 80¢, thus the popularity of the let's eat the evil rich meme.

Also, we're already up to our necks in debt, and, unfunded debt obligations so...

[What are...]

Current debt, and, well... let's put it this way. "Vote for me now and I promise that you'll get a check later — paid for by your kids, grandkids, their kids, etceterids — after I'm retired or dead."

[Why ya gotta be such a Debbie Downer alladamntime?]


The demigod Perenniall — not unlike what happens, over time, to the individual psyches and personas of which it's constructed — changed as they aged.

Once (if) an individual entity matures, that is to say, reaches the equivalent of roughly the age of a thirty-year-old H. Sapien and is no longer a callowyute, they take high roads and low roads.

Sometimes they find a comfy chair and stagnate (which is not necessarily a bad thing, it's very complicated).

However, individuals, although not necessarily easily, can change more easily and much faster than a demigod when circumstances, experience, and maturity calls for a change.

As you know, or should, Lord Acton pointed out that, "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

To which I would add that the limited but substantial power of a demigod, in this case, power fueled by a seemingly righteous ideology and new believers (callowyutes) constantly coming online is hard to keep under control, nearly impossible to kill.

[Kill the demigod Perennial!]

You can't, and that's a good thing (HT: Martha Stewart).

[Huh?!?]


The universe, this one at least, is one in which everything contains/generates its opposite, that whole yin-yang thing.

Bad craziness ensues whenever opposites get out of balance and stay that way for too long.

[O-kaaay, but you're already out of allotted words.]

Patience, grasshopper (fading Boomer cultural reference).

A policy of more or less free markets leads, and has lead, to unprecedented prosperity on the planet Earth, even the need for a weight loss industry.

BIG BUT: Despite the claims (and fever dreams) of your friendly neighborhood anarcho-capitalist, free markets not balanced by the right mix of ethics/real social security/the rule of law/spirituality/etceterality, are a recipe for disaster.

ANOTHER BIG BUT: Socialism, or socialism light, or communism — advocated by well-meaning, usually young idealists unaware of how and why better than 100,000,000 souls were murdered in the last century in the name of social justice — is also a recipe for disaster.


What we need is a hybrid system that harnesses the power of competition and the free market. That's what I mean by Real Social Security. The city-state of Singapore, as your probably tired of my pointing out, already has such a system that we could adapt to our needs.

It's based on actual money in real-time, works better than ours, and, the people, not just the bureaucrats, decide how their money is spent. Imagine what might happen if the healthcare/health insurance business was as lean and competitive as the car/car insurance business.

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

Please scroll down to react, comment, or share. If my work pleases you I wouldn't be offended if you offered to buy me some cheap coffee.  

                                                   *     *     *

Your friendly neighborhood crank is not crazy about social media (I am a crank after all) but if you must, you can like me/follow me on Facebook. 

Cranky don't tweet.





















.














Saturday, April 25, 2020

While You Were Self-Isolating...


This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandchildren (who exist), and my great-grandchildren (who don't) — the Stickies — to haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.
                  
                             -Image by Mylene2401 from Pixabay- 

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and/or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering

                                                  Glossary  

                                                    About

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"If isolation tempers the strong, it is the stumbling-block of the uncertain." -Paul Cezanne


Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies (& Gentlereaders),

Most of us, my fellow Citizens of the Republic (CORs) — with certain exceptions like the brave young scholars who participated in the nation's annual Beach Bacchanalia and some undeterrable members of the clergy and their flocks — have and are self-isolating as best we can to "flatten the curve."

Unfortunately, the Purple Press has pivoted from All the Donald All the Time to All the Donald and COVID-19 All the Time.

Much important news floats by like wispy clouds on a summer day, barely noticed. Infotainment rules.


Prior to the pandemic, the primary focus of the All the Donald All the Time coverage was about busting, and busting on, the Orange One.

The FBI was manipulated into a high powered and secret investigation authorized by the FISA court (that's supposed to be on our side) by a country run by a dick tater who enjoys posing topless and has a GDP roughly the size of the state of Texas (Russia).

-Image by Ирик Яров from Pixabay -

The FBI then manipulated the FISA court (created by the Foreign Intelligence Survalience Act) into authorizing the secret investigation of the Trump campaign.

Let the games begin!

Our nation's top law enforcement agency, an arm of the Justice Department of the United States of America, played the part of the kid that can be counted on to show up at the "my parents are out of town for the weekend" party with hard liquor and primo weed.

Result?

A global investigation by a special prosecutor that went nowhere. Price tag, $32,000,000.

Three years of congressional investigations that resulted in the Donald's impeachment — for something else. Verdict, acquitted.

Three years of Purple Press click-baiting and hysterical talking heads and hysterically hilarious press conferences and briefings.

[You have a keen eye for the obvious, your crankesty, tell us some more stuff we already know.]     

A solid foundation is crucial for a well-lived life and a well consturcted column, Dana.


While you were self-isolating the Justice Department's Inspector General...

I wonder if he has a cool uniform that he can wear on special occasions? Sorry.

The JDIG, Michael Horowitz, the gentleperson who released the big fat report in the old days (last December) detailing how the FBI had played fast and loose in FISA court to get permission to spy on the Trump campaign, has released the results of a more recent investigation.

This particular wispy cloud (see lyrical simile in paragraph three) lasted about a half a minute before it was overwritten by a virtual skywriter. Message: Isolate, Eat Right, Exercise, Die Anyway.

[There's something really, really wrong with you, you know that?]

The results of this new investigation? The FBI is a hot mess (forgive the technical jargon).


Very long story short...

[Thank you.]

The FBI is supposed to follow a process called the Woods Procedures. These rules, created by the FBI, were put in place back in 2001 when the FBI was called out for submitting a bunch of applications for FISA warrants that contained bogus information.

Another very long story short...

[Thanks again.]

Multiple people within both the FBI and the Justice Department are supposed to sign off on the information submitted to the FISA court to prevent illegal snooping. All aspects of this system of checks and balances are supposed to be kept track of in "Woods files" in case of problems.

[Sounds good.]

Indeed. However, after taking a careful look at a random sampling of 29 FISA warrant applications submitted between 2014 and 2019, the Inspector General discovered “errors or inadequately supported facts" in 25 of them. 

[Well, at least four of them were legit.]

Nope. The Feds can't find the four missing Woods files and can't verify that three of those four ever existed in the first place.

[Hoo-boy.]

It gets better. Yet another long story short...

[On behalf of your tens of readers I thank you yet again.]

Lawyers on The Fedrl Gummit's payroll are supposed to annually review a sampling of FISA warrant applications in every FBI field office.

[Lemme guess, this is bogus too.]

Yup. The field offices get advance notifications so they have time to clean up their applications. Lots of "errors" are discovered anyway and reported to headquarters. The FBI places the reviews in a virtual drawer and orders lunch.

[So the whole process is nothing but procedural masturbation?]

Yup. If ya didn't know better you'd think that the Feds and the news media belonged to the same exclusive Country club and the CORs are paying the membership fees and the bar tabs.

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

Please scroll down to react, comment, or share. If my work pleases you I wouldn't be offended if you offered to buy me some cheap coffee.  

                                                   *     *     *

Your friendly neighborhood crank is not crazy about social media (I am a crank after all) but if you must, you can like me/follow me on Facebook. 

Cranky don't tweet.



Saturday, April 18, 2020

Random Randomnesses


This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandchildren (who exist), and my great-grandchildren (who don't) — the Stickies — to haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.
                  
                           -Image by sarajuggernaut from Pixabay-

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and/or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering

                                                  Glossary  

                                                    About

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"Expose yourself to as much randomness as possible." -Ben Casnocha


Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies (& Gentlereaders),

I recently checked out the reviews of a series currently running on and produced by, Amazon Prime Video, Hunters. Happily, It's not just me, it is yet another drama with a comic book sensibility. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

If you like the show, I can state with confidence that it’s me, not you. I'm old. In my defense, when I was a kid I loved comic books till just shy of my thirteenth birthday whereupon I lost interest for some reason. 

Having learned cynicism at me sainted muthers kneeit had already been a few years since I had turned my back on pretend wrestling but I've never given up on the possibility of waking up a rock star one fine morning, although I’m starting to have my doubts. 


I have this Hotmail account that I’ve had forever, my first foray in fact, into the wild, wacky, wonderful world of email. Nowadays, I use a couple of Gmail accounts for most of my email heavy lifting.

Hotmail, as you may know, seems to have a much tougher time blocking spam than Gmail does. Since I use my Hotmail account relatively lightly, this doesn’t bother me. 

In fact, it provides an ever-changing snapshot of what’s going on in the world at the moment, it also serves as a measurement tool. The hotter a given topic the more spam.

It’s not just that I’m receiving plenty of spam related to COVID-19, the overall volume of spam has increased noticeably. I wonder if spammers, aware that so many folks are self-isolating, have cranked up their spam generators.    

I’ll bet there are all sorts of Ph.D. thesi out there being written by wannabe doctors of economics/sociology/etceterology even as I write. If I were a more responsible columnist I’d go a-googlin’ to find out.

[It's theses, not thesi, there's no such word as thesi.]

Are you sure about that, Dana? Theses sounds like feces. Could it be thesises?

[Could we move on? Please?]

Certainly. As for me, I’m currently contentedly self-isolating as I'm a semi-self-isolator by nature. Given that I’m a prime candidate for the Boomer-B-Gone bug (did I mention I’m old?) this is all for the best. 

Also, I’m in possession of a little known sacred salve developed by a secret sect of Himalayan mystic masters that is protecting me from deletion.

It's starting to burn though...


Apropos of nothing above, I would like to recommend an article I recently read on the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) website to all of the many Millies and Zoomers out there. 

Note: If you have any interest in a website that will teach you the fundamentals of free-market economic systems (what we, more or less, have here in our prosperous little republic) in plain English (mostly) this site can do the job.

The article is a clear, well-written refutation to a statement made by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “An entire generation, which is now becoming one of the largest electorates in America, came of age and never saw American prosperity.”

The refutation, penned by one Alyssa Ahlgren, can be summed up via a quote from Ms. Ahlgren's article.

“We don’t have a lack of prosperity problem. We have an entitlement problem, an ungratefulness problem, and it’s spreading like a plague.”

To which I would add that we have congresspeople playing and promoting the currently popular reality show, Who's the Biggest Victim problem.  

Her article explains why this is true. More importantly, it has relieved me of the burden of writing about the same subject.

See, I’ve contemplated writing something similar for quite some time. I even had a title, America is Suffering From a Prosperity Epidemic. But considering the current popularity of the Me and Mine are Victims/Let’s Eat the Rich movement I suffer from a lack of motivation.

In my defense, I’m genetically predisposed (I've been tested) to both Procrastination and What’s the Point? syndromes. Also, as I may have mentioned elsewhere, I'm old. The older one gets the more careful one is about choosing one’s battles…or should be. 

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

Please scroll down to react, comment, or share. If my work pleases you I wouldn't be offended if you offered to buy me some cheap coffee.  

                                                   *     *     *

Your friendly neighborhood crank is not crazy about social media (I am a crank after all) but if you must, you can like me/follow me on Facebook. 


Cranky don't tweet. 











Saturday, April 11, 2020

May You Live In Interesting Times


This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandchildren (who exist), and my great-grandchildren (who don't) — the Stickies — to haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.
                  
                                                       (Meme by Weibo)

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and/or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering

                                                  Glossary  

                                                    About

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"China is trying to become America without democracy while America is trying to become France without cheese calories." -P. J. O'Rourke


Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies (& Gentlereaders),

Obligatory disclaimer:

"May you live in interesting times" is apparently not an ancient Chinese curse. Many have investigated the origins of the phrase; a consensus remains elusive.

I begin with a digression by the garrulous geezer that authors this column, a question:

If labeling the new bug on the block that's currently causing such a cacophonous kerfuffle the Chinese virus (I much prefer Wuhan flu) is racist, why aren't the woker than thou whining about the ancient Chinese slur above?

Could it be because they're too busy trying to keep Asian kids from making everyone else's kids look dumb by hiding behind diversity quotas for college admissions?

But that's not what I'm on about at the moment.

[Pray tell us then, your crankesty, what are you on about at the moment? Your tens of readers are waiting to exhale.]

The World Health Organization.


In a column that I wrote in the distant golden age before the Wuhan flu took over our lives, the first week of last month (3/7/20), the WHO received a passing mention.

The column — Lies, Damn, Lies and statistics — was about how Cuba uses lies, damn lies, and statistics to present themselves to the world as a medical utopia that the supporters of socialized medicine love to point to and that their foes love to debunk.

The WHO...

[You just like typing that, don't you? Every time you type, the WHO, you grin like a schoolboy. It's all you can do to keep from adding a question mark every time you do it, isn't it?]

We must do our best to maintain morale in these difficult times, Dana.
Positivity is very important (even for those of us that think the word itself is very ugly).

I mentioned in that column that Cuba rents doctors out to other nations, pays 'em next to nothing, and turns a nice profit. I linked to a New York Times article that points out that the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), a division of the WHO, gets a cut for brokering the deal.


The WHO continues to cover itself in glory.

Our World in Data, a "...scientific online publication that focuses on large global problems such as poverty, disease, hunger, climate change, war, existential risks, and inequality." (phew!)... 

published by Oxford University, has decided that the WHO is not to be relied on according to an article on the FEE (Foundation For Economic Education) website.

[Speaking of phewness...]

Point taken. The bottom line is that almost a dozen reports by the WHO about the Wuhan flu betwixt 2/5 and 3/16/20 not only contained errors, the WHO corrected the reports without bothering to tell anyone, sowing confusion.

And then there's the senior official of the WHO (a Canadian) who accidentally stumbled into his 15 minutes of infamy by singing the praises of Emperor Xi's China and blowing off embarrassing questions by a reporter about Taiwan.



But I guess, now that I think about it, what I'm really on about...

[OMG!]

What I'm really on about, is China.

[Could you be a little more vague?]

I could indeed. I could point out that vaguer, like the equally ugly positivity, is an actual word.

Instead, I'd like to express my support for the Hong Kong dissidents and those folks calling for America to uncouple from China as much as is practically possible. To reassess all aspects of our relationship. Particularly with Emperor Xi and his minions.



As a self-identified wild-eyed free marketeer, my usual knee jerk position is that anyone in the world should be free to trade with anyone in the world as long as the rule of law in general, contract law specifically, is in place and enforceable.

Despite acknowledged problems and awareness of the law of unintended consequences many folks, including me, hoped that inviting China to participate in the economic system that reduced the number of folks living in extreme poverty by 80% from 1970 to 2006 would be a, good thing (HT: M. Stewart).

That it might help loosen the fingers of the fascists who call themselves communists — perhaps more accurately labeled as a 21st-century version of a bloodthirsty Chinese emperor and his minions — from around the throats of the Chinese people.

BIG BUT,

In consideration of the ongoing rape of Tibet, the rounding up of a 1,000,000 or so Uyghurs and placing them in concentration camps, the social credit system, putting Hong Kong booksellers on trial for selling books, being the world's number one source for the precursor chemicals the Mexican cartels use to create fentanyl, intellectual property theft, declaring the South China sea to be their private swimming hole, loaning money to other countries using the same methods and with the same intentions as the mob, pumping money into institutions of higher learning all over the planet bristling with attached strings, deliberately deceiving their own people and the rest of the world about Boomer-B-Gone... inhale (hope you're wearing your mask).

And,

Now that they're reopening the "wet markets"...

Fresh bats! Killed while you wait!

I must admit that I may have been wrong.

It's a Sputnik moment America, wake up and smell the disinfectant. 

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day    

Please scroll down to react, comment, or share. If my work pleases you I wouldn't be offended if you offered to buy me some cheap coffee.  

                                                   *     *     *

Your friendly neighborhood crank is not crazy about social media (I am a crank after all) but if you must, you can like me/follow me on Facebook. 

Cranky don't tweet.