Sunday, February 28, 2010

Big Earthquake

As a Southern Californian, I have been through several earthquakes the have been in the 6.0-6.5 Richter scale range. On the other hand, I have never been really close to the epicenter when they happened. Some of these earthquakes caused quite a bit of damage but there was never a huge loss of life.

A lot of long time Southern Californians are pretty smug about earthquakes. They have been through some and been alright. They believe that the building codes and regulations in place are adequate to insure that any earthquake catastrophe will be limited.

The Earthquake in Chile the other day was 8.8. That's more than a thousand times more powerful than anything that has happened around here in my lifetime. There is no reason that an earthquake of that magnitude couldn't happen in Southern California. In fact, it's likely that one will, sooner or later.

Not only will a lot of people die right away in something like that but utilities and water supplies will be cut off indefinitely. There are about 25 million people in So Cal and almost no sources of naturally occurring potable water that you can drink directly from.

It'll be interesting when the big one hits.

You're Dead To Me Fredo. Not A Brother. Not A Friend.

An interesting development in American politics is the complete non cooperation of every Republican Congressional member with the Democratic majority from day one of the current administration. Absolutely nothing is likely to happen legislatively, for the rest of the Obama administration, whether it's three more years or seven.

I wonder if they have considered that when, at some point in the future, the Republicans gain control of Congress and perhaps even the Presidency, there is likely to be a similar lack of cooperation on the Democratic side. They will need to have a greater than 2/3 majority in the Senate to pass even a single piece of legislation and they will need to maintain that majority forever. They will have to maintain the support of every single Republican legislator on every piece of legislation they hope to pass. How likely do you think that will be?

I, for one, couldn't care less if Republicans have good ideas or valuable legislation to offer. As long as they offer even the smallest amount of lip service to the fundy, Christer cranks, I will support a policy of complete non cooperation. I will support any disruptive and blatantly false neo birther, slur campaigns against whatever Presidential candidate they might elect. I will agitate for the non acceptance of any Supreme Court nominee that President makes, no matter how moderate they may be. I will bend over backward to support the most odious and corrupt Democratic factions, even to the detriment of the nation, in order to stop the Republicans from gaining any legislative success.

It's the same as they have done. It's the only fair response.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Your Bible Lesson For Today

Christians get a bad rap a lot of the time. Just because Christianity has been a dominant force in Western society for two thousand years, people want to blame Christianity for everything bad that happened. If that were really the case, then Christianity is also responsible for everything good that happened.

The truth is, that it's people that made everything happen, good and bad. People are also the ones that made up Christianity in the first place, to help them make things happen. Not God, Jesus, his mother or any of the hundreds of saints that have been proclaimed had anything to do with anything and if they did, it was because they were people acting the way people do and not divinely inspired in any way.

I'm not saying that a lot of Christians, especially the leaders, aren't total assholes because they are but they are assholes first and then become Christians when they realize that Christianity can help them to be even bigger assholes than they already are.

So, what do Christianity really mean, Mr Natural?

Don't mean shit, Kid.

Maple Leaf Forever

The Canadian Women's Hockey Team won the Gold Medal in Vancouver yesterday. After they won the final match, they squatted down on the ice, smoked cigars and drank champagne until they were shit faced.

Some people are saying this was in poor taste. Some are pointing out that it's illegal in Canada to drink in public and smoke indoors.

I'm guessing these girls are mostly in their early to middle twenties. They probably haven't done anything much for the last couple years but play and train to play hockey. They probably could have just as well showered, changed clothes and gone someplace else to get shitfaced after the game, if that was what they wanted to do.

What the fuck. They were in the moment. It will be a great story to tell for the rest of their lives. It's what I would have done, probably you too.

As Long As Your Enemy Is Beating A Dead Horse, He's Not Shitting On Your Door Step

Last year I declared the abortion war over, at least for me. I am satisfied that a woman's right to abortion will not be threatened, at least in my lifetime. You may not notice because of all of the continuing rancor but it's true. The anti abortion movement has changed. There is no more talk of reversing Roe and recriminalizing abortion, except in their fondest fantasies. The movement has been toward keeping federal funding of abortion out of health care and making sure all women have the appropriate information available to make an informed decision about abortion. I'm living with that OK.

The Gay rights movement is also coming to an end. Most people in this country are perfectly happy to coexist in every arena of society, with a Gay community that is out in the open about their sexual preferences. Every legal barrier that the Gay community used to face and there were many, has now come down. It didn't take long. Why should it. Gay people are the same people that they have always known and interacted with, in the neighborhood, at work, at church, in the family. The only difference is that now they can openly be who they already were. This can only be an improvement. I don't know how Gay marriage will come out. I've never been friends with anyone that was Gay married. I've only met a few people that say it is something they think they might like to do. I think in the end, if Gay society really embraces the ideal of Gay marriage it will become a reality, at least most places.

I will say again that I am in no rush for the rancor on the Right Wing against both abortion and Gay rights to quiet down. They may think they are doing themselves some good with it but they are not. It uses up a large portion of their available supply of both human and financial resources. It rallies only the unsavory, intolerant and ignorant to their ranks. Just as many people on the Right have abortions or are actively homosexual as on the Left. Everyone realizes this and also recognizes the terrible hypocrisy involved in the never ending fight that the Right constantly puts up about them.

Getting Back To Scratch

From the Ascension of FDR to the Presidency in 1932 until the end of the Eisenhower administration in 1960, there was a consolidation of power within the Federal government in America and an increasing acceptance of this power by Americans. Also during this time the population of America became more homogeneous. The waves of immigration that had characterized American growth for the previous century slowed, replaced by the pattern of undocumented demographic influx that we see today. Large, active population shifts, within the country were completed. The movement from rural to urban areas was completed and the movement from urban to suburban areas was established as a large demographic trend.

What's been happening since 1960 has been interesting. While the Federal government has remained strong, confidence in it has slowly ebbed along with economic strength and productivity. Social class distinctions re solidified. Regional cultures have strengthened.

It seems to me that America is on the verge of some new changes. We have the strongest military in the World but can't maintain its cost. America is losing the World leadership position that it has held since the end of World War II. The Federal Government is about to lose its vast powers. It will lose these powers not because the populace takes them back but because it can no longer foot the bill for them. It cannot maintain the infrastructure, it cannot continue to fund the vast bureaucracy it has amassed, it cannot subsidize the social safety net that the populace has come to depend on. The next period of American history will be characterized by the deterioration of the military establishment and all of the other institutions that the vastly powerful American federal government has built up to sustain itself.

People think that America will be able to reform and rebuild the institutions that are necessary to continue on as a premier state. There is no unity of purpose among the people to do this and even if there was, there is no vision of what a new America would look like and how it would function. There is no immediate potential for the generation of revenue in the amounts that it would cost. Currently all anybody is interested in, is how they can salvage or patch up the individual elements of the government that benefit them the most. That is not a recipe for growth or renewal.

Big changes ahead. They will be interesting to see. If you are a big tea bagging fan of the return of governmental function to local control, you may be very happy. More control may be returned to local governments than you like.

America may become a great nation again. Probably will but it may need to be rebuilt from scratch. Getting back to scratch is going to be a very interesting chapter in our history.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Child Sex Tourism Recommendation

If you're one of those people that like to have sex with twelve year old children, you should go to the Vatican. Twelve is the age of consent there, so it's perfectly legal.

The Vatican is so much nicer to go to than Zimbabwe, Angola, Mexico or the Philippines, which are other places in the World where sex with twelve year old children is legal. Don't go there if you're a homosexual pedophile though. That's not legal. That's nasty. Jesus doesn't like it, although a lot of Catholic priests do.

Gold Update.

Gold and gold stocks have been in the doldrums and trending vaguely lower since Thanksgiving. I tell you what though, given the weakness of other markets and the strength of the US Dollar, gold and gold stocks have both held up much better than I expected. I thought back at the beginning of December that gold might eventually sink to around $900 an ounce on this leg down and I thought that if it got to $900, then it could go lower.

I don't think that gold is going anywhere near $900 anymore. I may start buying next time it gets much below $1000. I do think that it might not bottom before sometime in May, so I'm in no big rush.

I'm no currency and central bank maven but I have not changed my mind that most of the World's currencies are in big trouble and that eventually they will all be caught in a World wide inflationary cyclonic storm of huge dimension.

The place to be long term is precious metals and the most basic and necessary large consumption commodities. Energy, cereal grains, and fertilizer would be my three favorites. If you can afford to buy farm land, now's the time. I'd recommend North Dakota. Precipitation is up, growing seasons get a little longer every year up there and the mean temperature is down. I don't give a shit about the politics of Global Warming or whether we need to control green house gases. It's a documented trend. It's good for the farmers. Go with it.

It's Official

The Catholic Church is run by crazy people. At least in the PI it is.

The PI without prostitutes is like a day without Sunshine.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Long, Long Trail A' Winding

I read another article today about the passing of one of the last few WWI veterans. He was 109 years old. The ones I knew are all long dead. I knew a lot of them decades ago. I liked a lot of them. They were men who knew hard times for a lot of their lives. They were a lot less likely to be judgmental than some who were of a younger age. I don't mean to say that they were men who rewarded or respected failure. They just realized that a man who failed after giving it everything he had, maybe didn't have the intelligence or personal endurance to prevail. They weren't so likely to kick around and make a joke of someone like that. They realized that the failure itself was usually more than enough punishment for a man who had gone through it. A lot of them had maybe gone through that kind of experience and lived to play the game again another day. Maybe even chalked up a win or two before they turned out the stadium lights. I find no fault with that kind of thinking.

A lot of the WWII generation have little tolerance for failure. They like to think of themselves as get it done at any cost or die trying kind of guys. Hard men for hard times. They don't have any time for those that don't measure up. There's something to be said for that but I always found them hard to take and still do. I won't miss them as much when they are gone. I probably won't have to. Many will undoubtedly outlive me.

Investment Advice

Give it to me. If you're making money off something, tell me what it is. I don't see anything I like. I'm sitting in dollars and I hate dollars.

Stocks, bonds, commodities, real estate, precious metals all look like shit to me, at least for the foreseeable short term.

For now, the best I can come up with is dollars.

Something Fishy

When I was a kid, small cans of tuna were 8 ounces, cost about 8 cents and there was a little bit of oil in it. Mix in a little mayo and you could make a couple of sandwiches out of one can. I just noticed today that the small can of tuna is 5 ounces. When I opened it, there was closer to 2 ounces of water in there than one. I cut a slice of bread in half and made a half sandwich. There was enough for that.

So now, for 79 cents or a dollar, you get about 3 ounces of actual tuna.

At what point, I wonder, does the tuna content of a can of tuna become nutritionally insignificant?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Dream Shattered

When I joined the Navy, it had just become the "All Volunteer" Navy. They had raised the pay for enlistees, a lot. It still wasn't shit. I'm not complaining. I knew what it was when I signed up. I'm just saying how it was. How it probably still is. Married guys did better, especially with kids. They were really trying to attract family men and change the public's image of those in the Armed Forces. It was still tough, even for those guys. Inflation was rampant and prices went up every time you turned around.

It was during those years that I started going to Long John Silver's Fish and Chips. Whenever I was hanging out with my married shipmates and going off base for a meal with their family, there was a good chance it would be to a Long John Silvers. It was about the only place at the appropriate price point that wasn't sandwiches. I ate at a lot of Long John Silver's. A person misses family time when they're in the Navy, even someone like me. I had good times eating greasy fish and chips at Long John Silver's. I get a warm feeling when I go in one, even today. It helps that they haven't built a new one or renovated the old ones in thirty years, so they all look just the same as they did then, only even seedier and with more cockroaches. I still like to go there sometimes, even though the closest one is several miles from my house.

They have a big TV ad campaign right now. You get two crunchy breaded fish with fries and hush puppies for $3.99. How can you beat that?

So I convince the old Lady to go with me. It's not that easy. LJS doesn't give her any warm, fuzzy feeling. We drive over there, even have to go a couple miles on the freeway.

They don't have the special on the menu and deny any knowledge of the TV ad. I have to pay a dollar more and all I get for it is a scoop of their runny, guaranteed diarrhea inducing coleslaw.

Fuck it.

Chosen Folk

Here's a real interesting chart from Arianna. Jews, Hindus, Eastern Orthodox and Buddhists are the wealthiest faith groups in America by far. Way better than faith groups with bigger demographics. Muslims don't do very good at all, neither do Atheists. The biggest losers are members of traditionally Black churches and Evangelical Christians.

Does anybody see the hand of God in this anywhere? I don't but I'm an Atheist and that's about all you could expect from a guy like me.

I gotta tell ya. I was surprised the Mormons weren't doing any better. They are an abstinent, thrifty and hardworking bunch. Not a lot of brainiacs there though, you gotta admit.

Most of us can at least be grateful we're not Jehovah's Witnesses. That would really suck. They must get mostly Food Stamps and crushed aluminum cans in the collection plate.

Glass More Than Half Full

I look at this a different way. 65% of Americans now have high speed internet access at home. 20 years ago most people didn't even have a computer at home and there was no internet to have access to.

Couple of more years, why so many people don't have high speed internet isn't going to be the big question being asked.

We Won't Be Back For Years And Years And Then

I see it here in the Navy Times. They're finally doing it. Women on Subs. We'll see how that goes. I don't think it matters whether it works out good or not. Once they change over, they will never be able to change back, it's a matter of political correctness.

Sub sailors are pretty adaptable. They'll probably make it work.

With "Don't ask don't tell" set to fall, that pretty much brings the Navy into the modern age. It only leaves one group of Americans shut out of the opportunity to serve their country, without discrimination, in the Armed Forces.

You know who I'm talking about, too. Us, old people. The Navy used to be a life long endeavor. There was an overgrown old cemetery on the South end of Mare Island, where I was stationed, that dated back to the middle of the 19th century. I was amazed by how many sailors buried there, died on active duty in their 80s and even a few in their 90's. I'm only 58. I might could do another hitch. Maybe two or three. I can still move pretty good if I need to. I'd be glad to take GCTs again. I'm sure I'd do better than most of the young whippersnappers. I've got useful skills and experience out the ass, unlike the last time I was in and I don't drink nearly as much. Be a good deal for everyone.

I'd love to go to sea again. What about you, Old Gary? Up for another WESTPAC?

Everybody gets a private jet

The President rides around in a huge private Boeing 747. I think the President has had his own private airliner since Truman. Admirals and Generals often ride around in private jets. Congressional bigwigs get private jets.

I think it's a stupid idea, even for the President.

Has anybody here seen the TV show "Criminal Minds"? In this show an FBI team that investigates serial murders around the country, routinely travels around in a luxurious private jet. The fact that this is portrayed as a routine occurrence on the show makes me really mad for some reason. What the fuck is that all about? They could get wherever they need to go just as fast flying economy or even business class, if economy isn't good enough.

I always travel as cheaply as possible. Everybody should, especially civil servants, unless it is some kind of real national emergency. If the FEEBs need to get somewhere quick they can bump me off my economy flight out of Dulles or JFK. I'll understand. They'll get wherever they're going just as quick as on a private jet, 9 times out of 10, without the extravagant expense.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I Used To Know These Twins Named Fatima And Yasmin, They Always Knew What The Other Was Thinking But Nobody Else Ever Did

Turkey is an interesting country. It is the most stable, secular country in the Middle East and at least nominally, a democracy. The reason for this phenomenon, in the Middle East, is that in reality, the country is controlled by a military junta. This has been the case for more than a hundred years, when Army officer Kemal Ataturk led a military coup that dismantled the remnants of the Islamic Ottoman Empire. Whenever things get politically out of whack, the military steps in and restores order and balance. It's often been bloody, even genocidal. Hey, welcome to the Middle East.

The Turkish people have now elected a strong majority government that is Islamic fundamentalist. The government is starting to roll back some of the secular freedoms that Turks have long had. This would normally be the time that the military steps in, makes some religious leaders disappear and scares some secular tolerance into the government.

Maybe it won't happen this time. Over the last few days, the government has placed dozens of highly placed military leaders and their influential civilian supporters under arrest. There may be no coup this time. Islamic fundamentalism may soon get a grip on secular Turkish life.

Most of the reason that Turkey is prosperous is that it is a secular outpost in the Middle East. One where Western businessmen are comfortable doing deals. That may soon no longer be true. Turkey is a strong Allie of the United States for the same reasons. That may be coming to an end as well.

Turkey will be fun to watch for awhile. The geopolitical life of the Middle East is fascinating. Nothing is as it seems and not too many people understand what's really going on, even the major players.

Church Burning Gay Commandos Nabbed.

You probably saw in the news that they arrested a couple of young guys for burning down all those Thumper churches in East Texas. I saw pictures of them. They looked like the same kind of black dirt ignorant, meth snorting, redneck scumbags that Texas is full of. The kind whose parents go to exactly the type of churches they are accused of burning down.

You can never tell about these things though. There's been a lot of speculation that these guys are members of the same Gay Liberation Commando organization that burned down Sarah Hivehead's church in Alaska last year and everyone knows they are wicked clever with disguises and such. It's easy for them. They all have advanced degrees in cosmetology, hairstyling and urban warfare from various Commie beauty schools of the Castro district in San Francisco. There's thousands of them training there to terrorize our homeland and force everyone, even your old white haired mother, to become analsexuals. Mexicans help smuggle them to their terrorist targets, because they hate us almost as much as Homos do. How can you guard against something like that?

I'm sure when the full truth comes out, everyone will be surprised and God's good traditionally married, heterosexual, White people, will rise up and reclaim their birthright of a young Earth, creationist paradise. It'll happen. As sure as the Earth is flat, Mary was a virgin and God has a long white beard.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ron Paul

If you want some idea of where the Republican Party is going, you need to look at last week's CPAC convention straw poll for Presidential candidates.

Last year, Mitt Romney won, as he had other times in the past. This year Romney tied for third with Sarah Palin, down in the mid single digits. Dr Ron Paul from Texas, was the head and shoulders winner with an astounding 31%, largely unsolicited popularity overall.

Google the results, they will blow you away.

Part of the so called conservative movement in America is fixated on bigoted and exclusionary Christian fundamentalist social issues, reminescent of the 1950s Red and race baiting mix of super patriotic nationalism. More and more, the educated, thoughtful members of the Right Wing are moving straight toward positions based on small government Libertarianism.

The party leadership and the Christers have been jeering at and denigrating Dr Paul for almost 30 years. They have done everything they can to deny that he has any mainstream appeal. Dr Paul is now in his late seventies and the activity level required to maintain his seat in Congress and lead his national movement is taking a toll on him. He gets no money or support from the National party structure.

There he stands, the most resonant Republican voice in America today. I'm not suggesting he will be the Party's candidate in 2012 or ever. I am saying that the Republican party is heading for a change.

Differently Abled

I've always tried to be honest, at least with myself, about myself. There may be advantages in lying to others at times but what good does it do to lie to yourself? Realizing that you have certain strengths allows you to better use them to your advantage and admitting your weaknesses can keep you from being taken advantage of by those who are, for the most part, inferior to you.

A person reaches a certain age and begins to realize that they aren't as strong, in many ways, as they once were and that these developing shortcomings are going to be progressive, not a pleasant realization. There are a lot of areas of life where competitiveness becomes only adequacy and some where adequacy becomes a pattern of intermittent failure.

Age has it's compensations. Even a chronic loser builds up, over time, a wealth of experience that allows him to not fall helplessly into some of the traps that life sets. It's not the same as actually prevailing against adversity but it's something.

I wonder sometimes if it's not better for the maintenance of mental health, to just ignore the fact that you're getting old and failing. People that do that often seem to get the most out of their later years or maybe some people simply retain more of the nimble grace of youth much longer than others. Neither of these things is true or possible in my case, so I guess it doesn't matter.

I try to go about my business the best I can and keep a good thought. If I no longer have some of the attributes I once had, I console myself that I have developed some different skills and abilities that allow me to compensate.

An older person needs to be careful though. Differently abled is the euphemism we have come to use to describe the mentally retarded. A person needs to keep that in mind too.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Alexander Haig Is Dead

Some people didn't think much of Alexander Haig. You have to evaluate him from the context of him being a military guy. He might seem to most to have been a fascist but in the context of his military background he was a relative moderate

When Watergate broke, Alexander Haig was working in the White House, very close to President Nixon. To many in the White House at the time, it didn't seem like that big a deal. He understood the situation right away. He got the Hell out of there quick and he took his friends with him.

Never waste time fortifying an indefensible position. You never leave a buddy behind. The rules of a soldier are simple, what's hard is remembering to follow them in a crisis.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tiger Says He's Sorry

Tiger Woods is going to apologize to the American people on Friday. Do you feel you deserve an apology from him?

I don't. He didn't do anything to me.

I guess he could buy me a drink, if he wanted to but I don't drink. He could introduce me to some of his pretty young friends. That would be even more of a waste of time than buying me booze. I don't think his friends would like me.

I'd kind of like to meet his Mom. Do you think he'd like to introduce me to her?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Who Gets The Second Chance?

I know a lot of guys who maybe had a little problem when they were young. Maybe drug smuggling, maybe robbing a liquor store, maybe just a lot of drunk driving within a short period of time. The point is that these guys weren't hardened criminals, they weren't prone to violence, they weren't security risks but for the rest of their lives they never could get a civil service job, bonded by an insurance company, a security clearance to work in the defense industry or a lot of other stuff. They're screwed.

Amy Bishop never had any of those handicaps to overcome. She had a clean record. She was dangerous though. She was a serial killer and mad bomber. There were people in authority that knew all about it and just let her slide along with a clean record. She not only had a second chance, she had a third and fourth. There were people not nearly as much a threat to society as her doing life without parole under the three strikes provision.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Flying Circus

There is a lot of discussion these days about air travel. Who should be allowed to fly and under what circumstances. I've always been a pretty good traveler. Not much bothers me. I took a short flight a few days ago on a very small commercial jet. The pressurization system didn't function very well. There were fluctuations.

A couple rows behind me a young couple was traveling with a little toddler girl. I probably wasn't seated more than four or five feet away. The little girl probably had an ear infection involving some kind of inner ear blockage and inflammation. From takeoff on, this little girl started to emit a series of piercing screams, increasing in volume. Shortly after that she voided her bowel and bladder, then projectile vomited. In the enclosed passenger compartment, the stench was unbelievably foul. I thought to myself that it was remarkable one small child could contain that much bad smell.

I have spent a lot of time in places where strong excretory smells abound. It didn't bother me that much. I just block that kind of stuff out. I could tell it was getting to a lot of the other passengers. A lot of seat creaking, coughing and audible gagging.

The flight had been delayed, as is often the case these days. It had been a long wait at the airport. I was just glad to be on my way.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Irresponsible Journalism

The New York Post sent a reporter all the way to Las Vegas, to review the services of the first male prostitute at a legal brothel. She paid $500 dollars for the two hour deluxe and then just moped around refusing to have sex with him. In the end, she gave the guy a bad review and dissed him because he felt like he had failed her somehow. This is like paying for a deluxe sushi repast, refusing to eat any and then writing about how you're not willing to consume raw fish.

They should have sent a girl that really likes sex, had her buy the 40 minute standard offering for $200, go in, lay down and say "go boy, we haven't got all night". Then do an objective write up of value received for money. 40 minutes should be plenty of time to establish exactly what this guy has to offer.

It's whores, not E Harmony. Am I wrong here?

Child Sodomy In The Land Of Der Volk

It's acknowledged by the Catholic Church that sexual abuse against children and young adults has frequently occurred within institutions where the Church was acting in loco parentis for minor children. It has happened for as long as anyone now alive can remember and likely much longer. Maybe hundreds of years. Maybe a thousand.

With each new revelation of large scale abuse, the Church claims that it has admitted the problem and will no longer shield abusers, lie about the occurrence of abuse or cover up past abuse. The Church claims it has instituted reforms that will effectively stop the cycle of abuse. They have claimed this in many countries around the world, over more than a generation now. They have claimed this to be true in America, only to promote high Churchmen who covered up abuse and who may even have been part of it to higher positions within the Church. Most recently they claimed this in Ireland where the most extensive and grievous culture of child sexual abuse yet revealed, existed unchecked for generations.

Now, just weeks after they claimed to have come clean about Ireland, reports of widespread, systematic sexual predation in German Catholic institutions are starting to leak out. The cases reported so far, while in excess of a hundred, some of which were quite recent, may only be the tip of the iceberg. If the pattern with which abuse has been exposed elsewhere is any indication, it almost certainly is the case. It is all the more damning that this is the home country of the current Pope, who has repeatedly expressed ignorance of priestly sexual abuse and profound anger at hearing of it for the first time. It is all but certain that with Pope Benedict's intimate contacts, high and low, within the German Church, that he knew of this abuse, it's nature and prevalence for thirty years or more. Who can the people trust once they know the Pope is a liar?

How long will Catholics tolerate a clergy that repeatedly engage in this kind of behavior?

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Mexican Girls Were Cheap And Plentiful

I knew this guy one time, hot shot surgeon. He was Chinese, well, kind of Chinese. One of his ancestors had come to California during the Gold Rush from Canton. The family lived for several generations in the San Joaquin Valley. In the old days, a Chinaman had a hard time getting a wife. Chinese girls were few, expensive and even those of poor provenance cost a lot of money. Getting a White girl wasn't easy and would be the same as committing suicide, in any case. The original old guy wanted to get married, so he got a Mexican girl. Worked out OK for him. Nobody seemed too offended.

As the family settled into California life, it became a family tradition. The girls married Chinese. The family got good money for them and valuable family alliances were made. The boys married Mexican girls. They were cheap and plentiful, hard workers and it didn't hurt to have family in the Mexican community.

So my friend grew up in Fresno. He spoke Spanish, English and Cantonese. He was an athlete, played the piano and a good student. Things had changed from the old days. He got a scholarship to UCLA and stayed on for Medical School. He was a very good surgeon. He's not so good anymore but still does it. Surgeons never quit while they're ahead. His Mexican wife is very nice and their three sons are the smartest Chinamen you'll ever meet and their wives the hardest workers.

He told me the story about his family early one morning. I had called him in for a surgery and it was too late to go home when he had finished. I always called him in if I could find an excuse to, no matter who was on call, or one of the duffers in his group and then called him to assist. Self preservation. Nobody wants a belly gone bad in their ICU in the middle of the night, if they can help it. He always came and never complained. He came by my office to shoot the breeze and get a cup of coffee. Tickled me. Everybody thought he was Chinese and he was 63/64ths Mexican. His sons are 123/124ths. When people see other people, they see what they want to see, in every detail. Every time. No matter what is really there. It makes me wonder sometimes if anybody ever sees what's really there, no matter what they're looking at.

Mrs Tebow and Little Timmy

I'm not a big fan of Dr Jim or his Focus on the Family ministry. That said, after watching the Superbowl ads, I didn't see anything wrong with them.

They may be pro life but they are also very pro choice. I'm not a huge proponent of abortion per se, I just think women get to choose. Seems to me all they are doing in these ads, is promoting motherhood and encouraging women to have their babies if they can. That's OK with me. Who doesn't like motherhood and babies?

I don't think the real hard core anti abortion types are going to like these ads at all. They'll probably think they are a big waste of money.

These ads are likely to be really good PR for Focus and convince people that they aren't really hard line Christian wackos after all. In that sense they are false advertising. Maybe that's all they wanted out of them, good PR. If so, they are pretty smart.

Rich People, Go Figure.

There are very rich people that live completely anonymous lives. I knew this very old man once. When he was a little boy, back before World War I, in New York City, he was a street urchin, scrambling for money. One of the things he did was hawk bags of peanuts at Yankee games. He got the idea that he could sell other stuff and made a deal with the management to do so. He started out with team pennants on bamboo canes, which he had made up at a local sweat shop. They sold well. He hired other little kids to sell them and gave the management a cut. Eventually he was selling all sorts of cheap shit to the fans. He made a decent living for several years. Other teams soon copied what he did and he was never able to cash in on his imitators.

He started to get rich when pro football started up. He managed to convince the NFL that they should only allow the sale of "official" curios and got the contract to be the sole provider. Eventually, a large proportion of the profits of NFL teams came from his operation. He also pioneered giveaway nights, where attendance could be boosted by giving everybody some piece of shit souvenir.

As the decades rolled by, all of the professional sports leagues had official products and he became the official provider for all of them, pro, semi pro, even some college sports. A lot of these products, jerseys, hats and warm up jackets, bobble head dolls, became so popular that they were sold in huge volumes at special stores in the stadiums, off site, and through mail order. Eventually, he became one of the richest men in the country and nobody ever heard of him. He was able to keep his competitive edge by going overseas for production and direct shipping to distributors. No infrastructure, few employees, the cheapest possible crap. He never had any plan to pass the business on to his children. He didn't think they could hold on to it. He was probably right. He sold out in the early Nineties to Nike. They paid top dollar. He was a Billionaire. More even than that.

I met him after he had got the cancer that would kill him. He donated a wing to the best cancer hospital in SoCal. He had his own suite and they kept him alive a long time. He would go home as much as possible, long weekends, holiday seasons, special occasions. His wife would bring him home late in the evening and I would often go out from the Visiting Nurses Association, to get him set up. I liked visiting him. Rich people are more demanding and his was always an inordinately long visit but he was an interesting guy. I'd do the assessment admission packet. Get him into bed. Clean him up. Get his Gastric tube feeding going and he'd be good for the night. They had a home aide that would come in the morning.

They lived in a relatively modest one bedroom townhouse in a Newport Beach golf course community called Big Canyon. As those kind of places go, it's OK but not nearly as expensive or exclusive as the top tier. The golf course didn't have country club amenities. It wasn't close to the water or even in a really nice area. I was surprised that people with that kind of money and such a limited end of life horizon would choose a place like that to live. I thought it was cool. They were a cute old couple, both in their nineties, very independent. I liked to think I was their friend. I got a kick out of it.

So, one time I'm out there really late on a Friday night after the wife had brought him from the hospital. He was getting sicker and wasn't really doing very well. I probably spent 2 1/2 hours there. $35 flat rate visit, not even worth my time. He probably shouldn't have been home at all but I knew he really wanted to be and he was going to die soon anyway, so I took my time and made sure he was OK. I set the feeding rate a little lower than was ordered because I didn't want it to back up on him, give it time to absorb. I was on call weekend nights so I gave the old lady my home phone and beeper number so she wouldn't have to go through the answering service if there was an emergency. She seemed relieved and very grateful.

Just before I left I got a beep from my boss at the office in Irvine. That meant he had someplace else for me to go. I asked the lady if I might use her phone to call in and she said certainly. I didn't have a cell phone. They were a new thing and the VNA was too cheap to reimburse the cost, so I just had a beeper and a company phone credit card. So I called in, got the info on the next visit and was off to put a new dilaudid cartridge into the portable IV pump of a malingering junkie woman, abusing the home health care system in Dana Point.

My supervisor told me the next week that the wife had called to file a complaint against me for not using my credit card on the phone call. Newport to Tustin, 35 cents. I got mad but I was embarrassed too. I should have used the credit card. You had to go through a whole routine and punch in about twenty digits. It never occurred to me that they would care. I guess it should have. They still needed evening visits and sometimes even late night visits after that, he didn't die for a few more months. I would never go. I made Gerald, my supervisor go. I never got along with Gerald that well. He was afraid they would give me his job. Let him waste his time for no money with the old rich people. It wasn't out of spite. I knew if I went back, I would give the old lady a buck to reimburse her for the call and a little extra, for the trouble I put her through and that would just be mean.

Friday, February 05, 2010

The Greatest Healh Care System In The World

Why does everyone whine about the health care system in this country? If you get real sick, you only have to pay everything you have, then you can wait six months to get on Medicaid and the absolute worst doctors will misdiagnose you and treat you in hellhole hospitals, absolutely free. What could be fairer than that?

Go To The Superbowl?

This might be a good year to go to the Superbowl. I hear you can get shitty tickets, last minute, for about $1400 dollars each. Figure two people, coach tickets across the country, a motel for a few nights and expenses, prob'ly wouldn't cost you more than $5000, $6000 if you live it up. That seems cheap compared to what it's been in the past. I think the Superbowl isn't what it once was. Besides that, it's stormy down in Florida right now. Neither the Colts or the Saints are exactly America's team but there ought to be enough guys my age or older still out there that remember Johnny U in Baltimore and would shell out some money. It's like the American Haj, everyone needs to go at least once before they die.

I'm not lining up for tickets. We're going to Mac World in San Francisco next week, four days worth. Plane tickets and hotel from Priceline, a little pocket change for Bart and the Metro, eat a little dim sum in Chinatown, bowl of spagetti in North Beach, won't set us back more than $6-700. More my speed.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Waiting For The Storm

Is anyone besides me wondering why the Bible thumpers and rednecks aren't already screaming bloody murder about Barry's plan to abolish don't ask don't tell? Since homosexuals are abominations against God and criminal perverts to boot, you'd think they'd pipe up right away.

It's gotta be a tough call for them. I'm sure they don't want to be seen as doing anything that didn't "support the troops". Everybody knows there are lots of Gays in the military. It was never any secret on my boat who was Gay. They're a little different. Even the tattoos. Never was a problem that I could see. I knew a couple of Gay guys that I considered unsuited to military service but not because they were Gay. Besides that, deciding who was suitable for military service was never part of my military qualifications.

This has been a long drawn out transition, nothing like when Truman racially desegregated the military, at least on paper, overnight. I doubt there will be a lot of problems.

One thing I would really like to see changed in the military is the officer/enlisted divide. It isn't the fact that it perpetuates an antiquated class system that bothers me. The system enables people in both sides to reach positions of authority for which they have no aptitude and were never competent.

He Never Traveled With A Board. He Just Carved A New One, Wherever He Was.

So Fuckin' Cool.

Duke Kahanamoku was born 120 years ago. He was still alive when I was a young man. He was famous like a rock star in his day. He is one of my favorite Americans.

He was hands down the best in the World at what he did, for a long time. He enjoyed being able to travel the World, see new sights and meet different people. These were the things his fame brought him. I don't think he was ever poverty stricken but he never had or saved any money. He could have. I guess it never interested him.

The things that impressed me about him were that he was a friend to anybody that wanted to be his friend and an enemy of no one. After his fame had passed, he never became embittered, reclusive or a drunk. He lived his life the same, doing the things he liked with his friends, from the time he was a little boy until he was an old man. He lived in a racial time but he was never a racial man and did it in a seemingly casual manner. That can't have been easy. He was one of the heroes of all the little boys in my area. Everybody wished they could live their life like Duke.

I'm not going to go into all the stuff he did. It wasn't that earthshaking. The stuff of boyhood heroes. The impressive thing was that it was all good stuff. Greed, anger, envy, lust, he didn't seem to be touched by any of them and he had ample opportunity to become intimately acquainted with all of them.

There's a lot I don't know about him. I don't know if he was religious. I don't know his sexual orientation. I don't know about his political views. I don't know if he was what a lot of people like to call "a patriotic American". He served as a military policeman in World War II, whatever that's worth. He had to be in his fifties at the time. I like to think Duke didn't care about any of that shit but I don't really know.

He must have been quite a guy to know. If I could pick any person to get to be, it probably would be him. He had a great life. He had a lot of great times and never got caught doing anything bad, as far as I know. I wish I could say that.

Scott Brown Believes In God

Scott Brown, the new Republican Senator from Massachusetts goes to this Church.

Doesn't sound that bad to me, if you want to go to Church. I don't but a lot of people seem to find some comfort there and I think that's a good thing.

They say they fall somewhere center right on the political and social values spectrum but it also sounds like they leave the specifics of how you live your life up to the individual.

The Pope recently said that no dissent from the church is allowed and that Catholics should think, act and vote exactly like the church says, otherwise there is no place for you at the potluck in the basement or Heaven up above. Even James Dobson over at Focus on the Family isn't that strict. Jimmy really isn't so terrible when you put him in perspective. He does say that an important part of raising a son is making sure he sees your penis a lot. That kind of puts me off. Seems kind of creepy. At least he's honest and open about his sexuality. He claims to be hetero and no meth snorting Gay hookers have shown up out of his past to besmirch his escutcheon yet. I wish the Pope would be more honest about his sexuality. He needs to discuss openly and often exactly what his sexual orientation is and how he expresses it in his activities of daily living. Everyone should, don't you think? The World would be a better place. I know it always makes me feel better and it helps the people around me to know what they're dealing with. I'm real shy about who I show my penis to, I think it's real brave of James Dobson to tell the truth like that.

Maybe I'm just old fashioned.