Friday, July 24, 2015

Why don't we just quit this "dog and pony" show called Democracy?

This morning I read that President Obama feels "most frustrated and most stymied" by the failure to pass "commonsense gun safety laws through Congress, even in the face of repeated mass killings.  He blamed it on the political clout of the NRA. 

Does the NRA have more political clout than all of Congress?
Yes it does.  It has more political clout than the 100 Senators and the 435 voting members of the House of Representatives.  The NRA and most lobby groups have way more power than even the president of the United States of America.

What does that mean?
It means the National Rifle Association can bully 100 Senators and 435 voting Members of the House into voting for its interests even though the outcome fuels senseless and heartbreaking mass murder.

How can that be.  I didn't elect the NRA.  You mean the NRA is more powerful than my precious democratic government?
Yes.  And not only the NRA.  The Dairy Lobby, The Phramaceutical Lobby.  Big Agra. Big Pharma.  AIPAC.  Almost every industry or special interest group has a lobby and all have political clout.  They can and do bully the congress into doing what they want.

Are you saying  that although billed as a democracy, the USA is run by a shadow government that is killing its citizens with guns, with antibiotic infested chickens, with radiated milk, with high fructose laced food, with plastic water bottles that leach poisons into our bodies, with drugs that create more havoc than they alleviate disease.

Don't we rail against governments that kill their own people? Aren't we trying to sell them on democracy?
Yes.  That's our mission. 

Why aren't the citizens outraged by this shadow government?  Why isn't there an outcry?
Because the press and elected officials keep the citizens in a frenzy over things like animal rights, transgender rights, racism, inane political correctness, abortion, immigration, the Kardashians.

But aren't those issues important, too?
Of course, but if the press devoted one tenth the media attention to the totalitarian bully tactics of the shadow government of unelected thugs that run the Congress, as the air and print space they allot to Caitlyn Jenner, we would be raging at the door of the Supreme Court to outlaw lobby groups or impose campaign spending limits so we can make this obscene rape of our government a punishable act.

How do the lobby groups get so strong?
They dangle a lot of money in front of the Senators and Congressmen.

Whuck? You mean they buy them off?
Yes.  They buy their allegiance.  They buy their vote.

Are you saying my elected congressman and my elected senator are not really working for me but they are working for the NRA and the Dairy Lobby, and big Pharma and Big Agra and AIPAC and god knows who else?

Then what's the sense of having elections and spending all that money.  Why don't we just quit the dog and pony show and call ourselves a totalitarian government.
There is no sense.  No sense at all.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

There is a purity of intent in our president.

Yesterday I changed my mind about two things:  President Obama and sports.

Normally, I would not watch a presidential news conference in the middle of the day but it interrupted one of my favorite game shows (yes, I know, you think less of me now).  Instead of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" there was our fabulous looking president telling us in a sure, strong voice why the Iran deal is much better than no deal because the alternative is to blow Iran up into smithereens (little bits and pieces.)  The president didn't say that last part.  He said war was the alternative.
The president also mapped out all of the safety nets that were in place in the deal in case Iran wanted to sneak around and build nuclear weapons behind our back.  The president also said that a nuclear plant is not something you can put on a dolly and wheel out of sight.  I was astonished at the reasonableness of his remarks considering that this initiative is a major game change in the way we deal with the Middle East. 

There is a new note in our president's voice. He is calm and sequential.  There is a purity of intent that comes across when he lays out his reasoning.  There is a purity of intent when he challenges the opposition to be courageous enough to embrace the alternative view which would be war. 

Normally, given my penchant for grand irony, I should have been madly in love with a president named Barack Hussein Obama II.  Holy Toledo, is this a joke?  In the early years, I was not a fan. I didn't mind that he was not as pure as advertised.  I didn't mind that he was backed by Wall Street money or had to repay lobbyists like the unpure presidents. Remember the $536 million sunk into that trainwreck Solyndra? I particularly didn't like the stealthy way the health bill was passed, cobbled together with possibly non-constitutional legislative tricks. I didn't like the way the press was slobbering (yes, slobbering) over him because I considered it democratically unhealthy.  I had a hunch that Michelle had a chip on her beautifully toned shoulder.  After all, she was a brainiac, too, and why should she be demoted to issues like childhood obesity instead of making the big decisions.

My respect for this president grew slowly and is now complete.  I began to pay attention toward the three quarter mark of the first term. He was publicly stubborn.  He would not be bullied by the press to provide answers before he was ready.  He had his own way of dealing with the world outside of the USA.  We didn't have a puppet in the Oval Office.  Maybe the president grew, too, and I'm appreciating the man he has become.  Either way, we are the luckiest country on earth to have this intelligent man who has nothing political to lose, leading this country as best he can.

My second awakening is about sports.  I have only a passing interest in sports.  I know from the headlines that sports figures sometimes do very dumb things.  Two of them blew off a finger over the July 4th holiday.  A couple of them have shot people.  Dead. Many of the men marry gorgeous women and then divorce them.  Those were my default thoughts about sports but last night I changed my mind.  I watched the entire Espy awards show and not for the reason you think.  I did see Caitlyn's good speech but that came late in the proceedings.  I watched the entire show because I was riveted to the men and women who received awards. The clips of their feats were fantastic and showed tremendous physical talent.  The recipients were modest, thoughtful, grateful and gave short interesting speeches. Two of them made me cry.  Yay sports!

And by the way, have you noticed what a brilliant and interesting man Mike Tyson has become?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Three Daughters paperback 40% off now to 8/13

Are you one of those people who still likes to read a physical book?

Yes.  And I object to the phrase "one of those people."

Calm down.  I have good news.

I doubt it but go ahead.

If the price point for paperbacks has kept you from reading my bestseller, Three Daughters,
Amazon has reduced it by 40%.

If I had wanted to read Three  Daughters I would have bought it by now.

Some reviewers say it is one of the best books they have ever read.  It has over 800 5-star reviews.

Are you talking about some of the nut jobs who review on line?

I guess so.  But the Washington Post also gave it a good review (and that was before Jeff Bezos bought the paper).

If you stop pestering me right this minute, I might go over there and take a look.


Monday, June 29, 2015

One important point I missed.

This morning, I was taking a bath and I thought of something I missed in yesterday's post on Dr, Oz, perhaps the most important point of all.   Here it is.  When a group coalesces with the intent of punishing someone who holds an alternative view, especially if that group represents an event approved by the government, it makes Uncle Sam (the government) look thuggish. 

I can take you down.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Something's up in the Land of Oz

There's a gang of ten MD's who are hell bent on discrediting Dr. Oz and getting him kicked off the Columbia University faculty.  They claim that Oz is manifesting an "egregious lack of integrity" and practicing quack medicine and shows "disdain for science (GMO's) and for evidence-based (Big Agra, Big Pharma) medicine."

Dr. Oz was the man who used to bring dried out lungs and disease-ridden livers to Oprah's old show and make her handle them.  He would present the organs as if he were offering her a muffin.  Oprah would eye-roll but played along.  Oprah always hauled out the good doctor  to answer questions we were too embarrassed to ask our own doctor:  malfunctions going on below the waist which are plentiful.  Dr. Oz would lay it all out matter-of-factly and give us a diagram of our plumbing.  He is a mild mannered man in uniform-catalog clothes and a bad haircut.

After a while, Oprah gave Oz his own show just as she had done for Rachel Ray.  Oprah chose these two non threatening regular people with regular faces and bought them shows. They didn't disappoint her.  But now a bunch of doctors signed a letter asking Columbia University to throw Oz off their medical roster.  Is it sour grapes?  Dr. Oz makes money being on television and also makes money being a doctor.  So what?   He is trying to help us, the viewers, have a better experience in this vale of tears.  He uses  normal life situations and puts out mostly good information.  Does he sometimes give air space to "miracle" cures for weight loss? Garcinia Cambogia. Raspberry Ketones..  Sort of.  But the majority of his advice has to do with recognizing serious illness, avoiding serious illness and  swapping bad food and habits for decent food and habits without too much sacrifice.  But the gang of ten isn't focused on green coffee extract for weight loss.  They are focused on "baseless and relentless opposition to the genetic engineering of food crops."  Whuck?????  They are mad at Dr. Oz because he has said on the air that GMO food should be labeled for what it is.  Not forbidden.  Just labeled.  It's worth noting that the doctor who signed the letter, Dr. Miller, used to work at the FDA reviewing genetically engineered drugs.  

Are you a GMO?  No. I'm Lutheran.

I would bet the doctors that signed the letter have no qualms about giving their patients expensive drugs that the drug companies tout and probably make people sicker but because they have the imprimatur of the FDA - the laziest and most compromised agency in the govt. -  they are integrity covered.  I have no basis to make this assumption but I will make it anyway.

This is off subject:  once, I bought the green coffee extract pills.  They were 9.99 at CVS.  I took them for two days.  When I didn't lose twenty pounds in those two days, I lost interest.  Here are some typical Dr. Oz attention getters: "Cut your heart attack risk in half by this one simple rule."  The rule is usually to take some baby aspirin daily.  Or "How do you know you are having a stroke?"  A couple of clues are to smile and/or give your address. (By the way, recently they added the tongue as a clue.  If it's listing to one side, not a good sign.)

Anyway, I'm team Oz.  Of all the bad things, he isn't so bad.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Clotted cream, crème fraiche, chagrinned and Andy Warhol

(reposting this from Feb. 21, 2014 because I love Andy Warhol's diaries)
Clotted cream, crème fraiche
Last night a friend brought a dessert that was everything that I find delicious.  First it had lemon in it and also cream and it was all real (home made) no funny stuff.  I think the cream was what the British call clotted.  If you want to sound smart and sophisticated in any conversation just use two phrases.  Even if they make no conversational sense and you are eating a pork chop say, “clotted cream” or “crème fraiche.” Those around you will start re-computing your IQ and EQ.  You can also throw in “chagrinned.”
As for my love of lemon, once I made rice with only lemon juice and no water.  Don’t try this at home because you will get rice gum (it tastes fantastic to a lemon freak but your guests might pause or even leave).  Lemon tends to gelatinize things I found out.  Oh, and by the way, I finally learned something useful from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa.  She said that using mustard in salad dressing helps to emulsify the lemon and oil.  I tried it and it is true.  Previously, I couldn’t get the lemon and olive oil to end their stand-off however mustard does the trick.
And Andy Warhol
A person I would be happy to live with full time would be Andy Warhol.  I was reading his diaries as I often do for inspiration and comfort.  I realized that we share the same blurty, ADD, hard to follow thinking process that makes perfect sense to the speaker but annoys and confuses those around us.  Here are a couple of examples from my favorite book The Andy Warhol Diaries.  Andy dictated the diaries every morning to his assistant to keep a record of his activities and the expenses they generated.  His assistant compiled all the entries into the Diaries.
The entry below is from May 22, 1984. 
“Jean Michel came down to the office early.  He was reading his big review in the Voice.  They called him the most promising artist on the scene.  And at least they didn’t mention me and say he shouldn’t be hanging around with me the way the New York Times did.
I opened up one of the boxes in the back that’s being moved and it had ……letters from Ray Johnson the artist and I think my bloodstained clothes from when I was shot.
I realized the reason Tony Shafrazi hasn’t gotten even one of the artists in his gallery into MOMA is because Tony’s the person who defaced Picasso’s Guernica.  But that’s not fair.  Keith Haring isn’t at MOMA.  And they have just one thing of mine, the little Marilyn.  I just hate that.  That bothers me.
Then in the afternoon I went to Doc Cox’s (cab $7) and I protested over the thermometer that they used because it just sits there in water and everybody uses it, it’s not right.  And Rosemary took my blood pressure but I have a feeling they just throw these tests out.  And they have a new heart machine so now I don’t have to run up and down the stairs in the hallway to get my heart going – it’s a big improvement.  And Freddy won’t take your blood if she doesn’t know you.
….After dinner ($120) at Hisae and drinks at Jezebel’s we went over to Stuart Pivar’s because he was having people over and I wanted to learn about art.  I brought a small bronze and Stuart said it was a piece of junk, so tomorrow I’m returning it.”

An Amazon reviewer gave the book one star and commented “Incoherent ramblings for 1,000,000 pages.

They are perfectly coherent to me.

Another one-star review called it “Boring and Self Indulgent.” 
“Warhol's prose is horrible considering the creative mind he posseses (sic). I bought it used (thank God) and was bored to tears reading about taxi rides and what so-and-so was wearing. It was like reading a dreadfully boring gay man's blog. A bio on this character would be much more enlightening and a much less waste of time.”
A wise patient person commented on the bad review and said, “This isn't a bad book, you just weren't sure what to think of it: it confused you, so you don't like it.”

Monday, June 8, 2015

One of those frozen, hectic instants that you just know has a whole happy life attached.

 (I wrote this post three years ago.  I think I was smarter three years ago because this short post is more thoughtful and necessary than some of the drivel I write today.  A snipet of clarity is far better than five paragraphs of whining.  Jennifer Egan's writing is chock full of snipets of clarity therefore, I'm re-posting this)

I've gone nuts over Jennifer Egan. I want to share some of her smartness with you from her novel, A Visit From the Goon Squad

Jennifer:  One of those frozen, hectic instants that you just know has a whole happy life attached. 

Consuelo:  I do know. I've seen many of those moments and I think:  "Oooh, happy life attached."   

Jennifer: “I felt no shame whatsoever in these activities, because I understood what almost no one else seemed to grasp: that there was only an infinitesimal difference, a difference so small that it barely existed except as a figment of the human imagination, between working in a tall green glass building on Park Avenue and collecting litter in a park.  In fact, there may have been no difference at all.

Consuelo: This seems harder to believe but I believe it. Comparisons are all in the internals, after all.

This last revelation can be used to dismantle almost all of the values hogging airspace today that most fail to grasp.  If you study the internals and discount the prevailing agenda, there is almost no difference between telling the truth and lying, between being generous or stingy,  between living a life of virtue or one of sin.  Almost no difference between sin and good works.  There was a book written a long time ago titled, It's All Zoo.  It is all zoo.  Don't take this to mean I'm a pessimist.  The opposite.  I am childishly optimistic.  I expect miracles every day.  There is an abundance of miracles.