Another Write-wing Conspirator

Commentary, observations, musing, and ranting from the middle of the road (or just to the right of center. Usually.) featuring The Curmudgeon

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  • Welcome to The Curmudgeon’s lair

    Welcome to my curmudgeondom. As you’ll soon learn, your reactions to my missives here are likely to range from fear to loathing to tears to outright rage—and I just might even evoke from you an occasional sober nod or two.

    If you see a posting you like and wish to share it with others, by all means feel free to do so. I'd prefer that you send the link to your friends, but you're also welcome to reproduce anything here—as long as you retain my identity on the document. If you have a web site of your own and wish to post a link to this blog (or to a specific post), again, feel free to do so.

    The purpose of this blog is simple: to provide me a vehicle for sounding-off on whatever topic suits me at the moment. While there’s sure to be no shortage of politically-oriented palaver here, it is by no means all (nor necessarily even most) of what will be proffered to your discerning mind. You’ll also find that my personal politics, ethics, morals, and standards are pretty much “all over the map” (according to my mother-in-law)—so, don’t be surprised to see rants regarding, say, the interference of churches in politics, politically-correct anything, “nanny” laws, taxes, the United Nations, Congress, the Commissioner of Baseball, the State of Ohio’s speed limits, steroids, Jesse Jackson, the “mainstream” media, ultra-liberals, ultra-conservatives, the price of cigarettes, Obamarxism, regulating sales of alcohol, gasoline price manipulation, Muslim foot baths, illegal immigration, laws banning the sale of adult sex toys, cell phones, heavy-handed cops, meddlesome politicians, Hillary, Billary, our all-but-self-proclaimed uncrowned Queen Nancy, “W”, eminent domain, freedom of speech, and the designated hitter all in succession. It is, as I said, my curmudgeondom — and I have the credentials and bona fides to lay claim to the title of The Curmudgeon. So, there.

    Some of the postings you'll encounter may seem familiar—especially to those who know me personally. By way of explanation… I once had an ongoing relationship with a local newspaper, and had a number of published opinion pieces—some of which may be posted here. My arrangement was for a feature entitled An Opposing View; given that the editorial staff had a generally liberal, left-of-center view, it stands to reason that my "opposing" view would generally be perceived as coming from the right (in more ways than one, in my own humble opinion). These posts will be annotated as having been previously published.

    Comments, of course, are always welcome. You may agree or disagree with me. Doesn’t matter. Of course, I reserve the right to completely ignore you — but, feel free to let your feelings be known, anyway. And if you don't want to comment directly here, my e-mail address is: jimseeber@gmail.com .

    Oh, and…yes, I can spell. That "Write-wing" is only a play on words. So, there. Again.

    Welcome, once again. Strap in and hang on.

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  • About this “curmudgeon” guy…

    Armchair philosopher, politically-incorrect political commentator, raconteur, retired air traffic controller, dilettante truck driver, US Army veteran, recluse, sometime-writer, redneck convert neè Buckeye, ne'er-do-well, bon vivant, unrepentant libertine, unapologetic libertarian, and (of course) curmudgeon…

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Archive for November, 2009

Observations from the Middle of the Road

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 26, 2009

A meandering mini-manifesto from the mythical Middle Majority

Somewhere in the ether between the extreme-left-wing ultra-liberal socialist pinko left and the extreme-right-wing ultra-conservative Neo-Fascist right lies the legitimate majority of the population, that elusive 51% that most accurately reflects the prevailing opinions and sentiments of the nation; pinpointing this group, however, is often difficult. Party affiliation severely blurs the picture (yes, there really are pro-choice Republicans who play golf and buy beer on Sundays…just as there are pro-life Democrats who attend church three times per week without fail). The plethora of polls intended to locate this “Joe Six-pack” center–I think of it as the mythical Middle Majority–often serve only to muddy the waters (I figure that since college football was for years allowed a “mythical national championship,” I’m entitled to a myth or two of my own).

The way I figure it, both extremes collectively account for a relatively small percentage of the populace—but their inclusion can skew the middle, making it difficult to define what is “middle of the road” on political issues. I’d suggest that most…say, about 50%-60%…fall somewhere between center-left, center, and center-right on most issues—party affiliation not withstanding (don’t bore me with lectures about bell-shaped curves, statistical analysis, standard deviations and the like, by the way; this is my bailiwick–and my opinion–so, yes, you may wish to comment, but…it’s nearly impossible to reasonably assess a mere opinion as either right or wrong). Moreover, our views on specific “hot button” issues don’t always allow categorization along philosophical or party lines, either, and sometimes move otherwise middle-of-the-road or even straight-ticket voters to adopt more extreme stances—even to the point of rendering them one-issue voters who make a vote/no vote decision about a candidate based exclusively on that candidate’s position regarding a single issue of particular concern. And they cross party lines to do so.

Based on entirely un-scientific methods (unless one wishes to so classify my own gut feeling), I’ll toss out a few thoughts which I believe closely approximate the views of the Middle Majority:

We don’t like Congress. We see that band of ne’er-do-wells as a necessary evil. Period. We resent their “I’m-above-the-law” and “I-know-what’s-best-for-you” attitudes. They spend actually working only a fraction of the time the ordinary citizen does. They travel unnecessarily and expensively—and stick us with the bill for it. They’re currently trying to force-feed to the populace a mammoth piece of health-care legislation from which they expressly exempt themselves (as they do with any other law they choose to ignore). They’re crooked. Though there may not be a direct exchange of cash from one had to another, they buy and sell their votes in the form of support or obstruction based on—well, that seems to not have a lot of rules, either. We’re tired of congressional figures cheating on the very taxes they levy on us, too.

Huge volumes could be written regarding our dislike of Congress; the above offers only a few examples.

We want legislation we can understand. It should be clear, simple, in understandable English (not legalese)—and brief. The time-honored standard for marathon reading is Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. It took him years to complete. It is 1,225 pages long (1,475 pages, paperback). It takes the average reader…well, a long time to read. Congress is attempting to force passage of a bill that dwarfs Tolstoy’s masterwork at more than 2,000 pages—and it was assembled over a period of mere weeks. It would likely be months (if not years) before the ramifications of its passage–to say nothing of the hidden surprises–would be completely revealed. Coupled with the intense politicking on both sides…well, frankly, it scares Hell out of us.

What happened to “one issue, one bill, one simple vote”? Part of our dislike for–and mistrust of–Congress stems from its propensity for hidden agenda. What on earth has “hate-crimes” legislation to do with defense authorizations? Unable to ram-through that unwanted law any other way, however, they somehow attached it to funding for national defense—which few dared oppose. Politicians see this sort of thing as being business as usual and part of the political process; we, on the other hand, despise it as yet another means of forcing something on us that doesn’t belong.

We’re ready for term limits—and we’re really ready for congressional term limits. There’s a reason that House terms are set at two years. The Founders never intended for this to become job security. From the moment these people manage to achieve “incumbent” status, though, their first order of business is to work on their re-election…over and over again. For as long as the law will let them.

Yes, we hate taxes. But we know they’re necessary, so we pay them. What we hate more than taxes is a tax code so convoluted that no one understands it. If the tax code was worth a damn, all those tax-return preparation agencies wouldn’t exist; we’d be able to do it ourselves. Oh, and we don’t like cabinet members who are revealed to be tax cheats—and we really don’t like members of Congress who cheat on their taxes (especially the crook who chairs the committee that writes the tax code that bedevils the rest of us).

We’ve come to appreciate the wisdom of William Shakespeare—especially that bit about killing all the lawyers.

To be sure…when we need a lawyer, we want a vicious, ruthless, blood-sucking, cutthroat bastard par excellence advocating on our behalf; when the dirty work is done, however, we expect him to quietly crawl back under his rock where he belongs—not to change careers and run for Congress. (We’ve noted that the political process has been pretty well defiled at a rate that tracks well with the rising ratio of lawyers in Congress—which probably also explains that crap they try to pass off as legislation…which we can’t read because it’s all legalistic gobbledygook interlaced with hidden agenda items.)

We as a people champion the underdog. On the other hand…while we don’t feel quite right having to side with mega-corporations beset by nuisance lawsuits, we can’t bear to have our sense of fair play insulted, either. If you’ve genuinely been treated unfairly or wronged in any way, we want you to get justice—but we don’t like seeing the legal system subverted through your (more correctly: your lawyer’s) ridiculous demands that your stupidity be indemnified by the courts…no matter how hot your coffee was. We also cringe if your “just compensation” exceeds what we see as a reasonable amount; for you to be awarded twenty bazillion dollars in damages for having stubbed your toe while entering Megabuck, Inc.’s world headquarters seriously offends our sensibilities—and again forces us into the uncomfortable position of siding against “the little guy” (and his blood-sucking lawyer, of course).

Here’s an idea: after every civil suit, have the case immediately reviewed by a panel (preferably including at least one member who isn’t a lawyer) to determine whether the case should have been brought to court in the first place. If this panel concludes that it was a “frivolous” or “nuisance” suit (often little more than shakedown attempts) that should never have seen the light of day, the plaintiff’s lawyer then has to reimburse both the court and the defendant for all costs associated with the trial. Think that might cut down on the caseload? (Count this as an endorsement for tort reform.)

Apollo 11 went to the moon and back in 1969. The electrical power needs of the craft were met by a hydrogen fuel cell…one that even produced fresh water as a by-product—and one based on technology that had already been around for decades. Only a few years later came the Arab oil embargo—when we realized that our dependence on foreign oil jeopardized our national security. At about the same time, we also concluded that the massive amounts of pollutants being discharged into the atmosphere when we drove our cars were having a range of effects that we still haven’t entirely tallied-up.

…so, why–forty years later–are we still importing and burning that oil? Why haven’t we moved on to a better power source? (Yes, some fuel cells have finally become available—but relatively few, and much later than they should have been on the market. And there are other alternate sources to consider, as well.) If the Federal government–which clearly enjoys sticking its tentacles pretty much everywhere–really wants to do some major good, this would seem a logical area.

By the way…we’re not entirely in love with nuclear power plants, either—but we’d rather deal with those than kiss the backsides of a bunch of sheiks. Just don’t build any more of the damned things on known fault lines.

Saying “Merry Christmas” is a seasonal greeting. Christmas is, itself, observed in the United States as a traditional holiday—not a religious holiday. That some also link it to the birth of Jesus should be of no real consequence (and they’re probably a few months off, anyway), as it’s been suggested that the designation of December 25th to commemorate Jesus’ birth was deliberately intended to coincide with the winter solstice and the Roman festival known as “Saturnalia”. People should be no more offended by hearing “Merry Christmas” than they would be if someone handed them candy and hard-boiled eggs and said “Happy Easter.” And that thing’s called a “Christmas tree”—not a “holiday tree.” Raising a fuss about that just smacks of political correctness taken entirely too far (a rapidly growing –finally!– issue in many areas of concern, by the way.) Does the expression “Yuletide Greetings” offend you? It’s no less “religious” than “Merry Christmas”, inasmuch as “Yule” initially referred to a pagan festival—another of many traditional winter festivals of various names observed in cultures around the world for hundreds (if not thousands) of years.

Speaking of political correctness…we’re sick of it. We’ve quietly tolerated (foolishly) its gradual insinuation into our lives. We have at various junctures over the years laughed at its manifestations, ridiculed it, and shaken our heads in disgust; unfortunately, we also allowed it. Perhaps the recent massacre at Ft. Hood finally snapped us out of our complacency with the many references to the role political correctness may have played in enabling a terrorist to murder thirteen people. Whatever the case, voices are now being raised as never before–whether borne of outrage, fear, disgust, or exasperation–and the groundswell seems to be gaining momentum. Finally. We’ve grown weary of being dismissed as “racist” even for something as fundamental as criticizing the guy in the White House, we now cringe at the overuse of terms like “insensitive” and “inappropriate,” and we bristle at being labeled “homophobic” for having the audacity to oppose the promotion of “gay pride” rallies and parades—and become downright hostile at what we see as the brain-washing of the young via classroom indoctrination designed to compel acceptance of same-sex activities. (“Homophobe” is incorrect, anyway; there’s no fear–”phobia”–at issue. We’re fed-up…and that’s all there is to it.)

On a closely related matter…we don’t like the idea of having same-sex marriages sanctified by law. Of course, the days are long since gone when homosexual activity would likely lead to a jail cell; we have become much more accepting of what consenting adults do behind closed doors. There’s a reason, though, why initiatives to legalize same-sex marriage are batting zero on state ballots: adopting an accepting, laissez-faire attitude toward personal relationships is one thing—granting such activity an officially-sanctioned status (particularly with its concomitant implications for matters such as family health insurance coverage) is quite another matter. Furthermore, we don’t like the feeling of being compelled to embrace activities we view as lifestyle choices; we consider ourselves reasonable, fair people with a basic “live-and-let-live” philosophy—and force-feeding us anything invites resistance.

Back to those incessant claims of racism: give it a rest, already. The current climate makes us yearn for the relatively good old days (which we also detested, at the time) of “playing the race card” as a last desperate measure. We saw through it then, too. Now, the dreaded label of “racist” has become the first resort. We particularly object to such charges being leveled by those whose own actions reveal their racism (Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Jeremiah Wright, and Louis Farrakhan come immediately to mind). Political candidates running on this theme do so in a clear attempt to polarize, pandering to the minority vote. Time for them all to move on to another teat; this one’s been milked dry. No one outside the liberal media and those mental giants in Hollywood is buying it, anymore—while resistance within the populace is rapidly strengthening (again, long overdue).

We learned all about John Marshall, Marbury v. Madison, and judicial review back in about the sixth grade. We accept that as an established part of the system. We also know there’s supposed to be some reasonable limit to a judge’s authority—and we know judicial activism when we see it. We grow livid when some among us go through the trouble of having an initiative placed on a ballot, voted on, passed by a wide margin—then shot down in flames by an activist judge anxious to make his or her mark by discovering yet another Constitutional “right” neither conferred nor intended by the Founding Fathers.

…and we noticed that Sonia Sotomayor pretty much has all the bases covered: blatantly activist, racist, and sexist. And they say justice is blind.

Yes, we’re utterly convinced that the so-called “mainstream media” (which doesn’t represent mainstream thinking, at all) has a left-wing bias; hell, even they know it—and many of them seem mighty proud of it. We in increasing numbers have largely given up on the three so-called “major” network news bureaus and most of the print media in favor of Fox News and the multitudes of web news sources. Do we really believe that Fox is as “fair and balanced” as it claims? Hard to say. Some probably do. Without question, though, Fox does at least serve to balance-out some of the obviously slanted barrage of their leftist counterparts, anyway—and frequently brings to light stories that would no doubt have died quiet deaths in its absence.

We are especially galled by what Bernard Goldberg calls the “slobbering love affair” that ensued when media met Obama. The media’s traditional role has been one of probing and “vetting” potential candidates, to the point of knowing even how Jimmy Carter cleaned his teeth and how frequently Ronald Reagan’s wife consulted astrologers. Though there’s long been a generally more-favorable presentation of liberals than of conservative candidates, at least there was until recently a semblance of an effort to appear even-handed, anyway. No more. It’s astonishing how readily the media hopped aboard the Obama train—even going so far as to devour their own when there appeared among them a rare dissenting voice. The result? The ascension to the White House of a man whose obsession with secrecy surpasses even Richard Nixon’s—and about whom we still know precious little…and he sure as hell isn’t volunteering anything, either. Even more puzzling is the newsies’ tolerance for the obvious condescension served-up by the Obama regime on a regular basis when dealing with even prominent media figures.

The war(s) in Afghanistan and Iraq are causing the Middle Majority some pretty major angst. On the one hand, we see a need for military action in one or both; on the other hand, we’re concerned about the cost in lives, money, and political capital versus what’s been gained for our expenditure. The one uniting issue is our support for the troops—and we’re wary of seeing them largely abandoned to an uncertain goal.

Islam stands as one of the most troubling issues of our time. We absolutely and jealously guard our religious freedom, and are quick on the trigger when this fundamental right is threatened. We’ve also noted, though, how many acts of terrorism at home and abroad have been committed in the name of Islam—and the lack of condemnation within the Muslim population(s) of such acts (to the contrary, there are frequently indications of broad approval). Yet, we feel a need to tread carefully when mentioning Islam and terrorism at the same time. Or even on the same day. Contrast this treatment with, say, the Federal government’s handling of the Branch Davidians at Waco, who were dismissed as pretty much a fringe cult—and summarily crushed. The prevailing view is that speaking against Muslims in any way risks allegations of “hate speech”—and “hate crimes.”

Cries of “hate speech” and “hate crime” are not hollow complaints; they can subject the accused to fines and imprisonment for something as trivial as referring to a homosexual as a “homo” (while the shortened version of “heterosexual” is acceptable. Gee.). The steady designation of various groups as somehow endangered and in need of special consideration (as opposed to the legal standard of “equal protection under the law”) has pervaded society and the legal system. The Middle Majority’s view of such goings-on is mixed and complex; we believe in protecting those who are threatened and in short-circuiting routes that may lead to something akin to the Holocaust—but we’re not so sure about this practice of essentially conferring “endangered species” status on seemingly endless groups for reasons that aren’t at all clear. We regard the practice as unnecessary—and what exactly is a “love crime,” anyway?

We got very bent out-of-shape when Homeland Security announced which groups warrant close observation for signs of “home-grown terrorism” leanings—and which ones don’t. (The first two I thought of were the Internal Revenue Service and the National Education Association—but, that’s just me.) Apparently, a gaggle of senior citizens waving tea bags at protest rallies constitutes a greater threat than guys wearing turbans and shrieking “Allah u akhbar!” Who knew? The Middle Majority suspects this is related to the widely-held belief that dissent is only acceptable when it’s done by liberals and Democrats—who are clearly more experienced in such pursuits (“Don’t try this at home, kids. Remember: we’re professionals.”). And then there are all those returning veterans—who (presumably) somehow became radicalized while fighting those Islamic terrorists who (presumably) aren’t out to destroy us. Except the ones who hijack airliners and crash them into buildings. Or who blow-up buildings. While shrieking “Allah u akhbar!”

Abortion. Frankly, after more than four decades of hearing about this one, I wish it’d just go away. I’ll come out of the closet as pro-choice (much to the annoyance of many family members)—but I admittedly speak only for myself on this one. I do not agree with “late-term” abortions, however, except when the mother’s physical health is at risk—and only upon the advice of her physician; “partial-birth” abortions are simply murder. Note that this is not an invitation to debate the issue; I don’t even want to hear about it—let alone discuss it. It’s pointless, as virtually everyone is already firmly entrenched in his/her opinion and unlikely to be swayed. As for the how the rest of the Middle Majority feels about it…you figure it out. I’m tired.

Illegal immigration and border security are major issues for the MM crowd. They’re not “undocumented workers”; they’re illegal aliens. They entered the country illegally. And they’re aliens. What’s difficult to understand about that? We consider the term “open border” an oxymoron—emphasis on the “moron” part. We don’t think the economy will self-destruct from the reduction in cheap labor. We are very concerned about who else is sneaking across our porous borders along with the poor folks looking for work. We’re sick of a Congress that simply isn’t getting the message. We’re thoroughly disgusted with a government that refuses to discharge its most basic responsibility: securing and protecting the nation. Get it? Oh, and…amnesty? Don’t even think about it. Path to citizenship? Here’s one: go back to square one–that’d be where they came from–and start over again. And this time…do it legally.

The deficit. Hel-loooo-oooo? Twelve trillion. Depending on how it’s all computed, maybe eighteen trillion. And counting. It looks like this: $12,000,000,000,000 . What more needs to be said but: “Please, don’t tell Obama what comes after ‘trillion,'” and “Stop spending money you don’t have!” The rest of us have to balance our checkbooks; why doesn’t the government?

Health care reform. We don’t trust our health care to the Federal government—and certainly not to Congress (you know; those guys who’ve been busily cutting deals behind closed doors). Oh, and, by the way…whatever gave rise to this notion that anyone loves insurance companies? We’ve all spent more time swearing at them than Pelosi, Reid, and Obama combined. Get real. We see the current “reform” attempt for what it really is: a power-and-money-grabbing scheme that has nothing to do with reforming health care. We don’t want “socialized” anything. We don’t trust a Congress that compels us to accept a system from which it exempts itself. And don’t think we’re fooled by all those re-writes, either; they’re nothing more than thinly-veiled attempts to conceal items we’ve already rejected, sneaking them in via an esoteric Trojan horse that’s carefully crafted to be incomprehensible.

Gun control. We have it, already. It’s called the Second Amendment. Great reading. Somebody show it to Schumer.

Need more? Just ask. Have opinion—will write.

 

Posted in deficit, hate crimes, hate speech, national defense, political correctness, terrorism | 2 Comments »

America’s Quarterback?

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 19, 2009


What’s not to like about this guy?

Having grown up during the era of Johnny Unitas and seen the comings and goings of such greats as Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Fran Tarkenton, Terry Bradshaw and a host of others (no slight intended by the omission of all those names here; there are simply too many to list) who’ve all brought to the game and to the quarterback position a level of performance–true greatness–that served to burgeon the record books and genuinely add something to the sport, I tend to be perhaps a bit overly critical and demanding of current players. I do not try to make that popular assessment of “Best Ever” in any sport because I don’t think it’s possible to reach such a determination (with the possible exception of the Cleveland Browns’ great fullback Jim Brown—who many of us believe must’ve come from another planet, anyway…like maybe Krypton). I long ago concluded that the closest one can come in trying to determine that exalted status is to say that an athlete was the best in his time; Eli Manning didn’t play with a leather helmet (and no face mask), and Otto Graham never had to contend with Lawrence Taylor. The game has changed. The rules have changed. The equipment, training methods…everything has evolved, and it’s as unfair as it is impractical to draw comparisons that span decades and generations.

Having said that, I give you Brett Favre.

Personally, I was unimpressed when he broke into the NFL (as were the Atlanta Falcons, apparently—their loss). Good, to be sure—but, as someone once pointed out, “these guys were all ‘full-ride’ in school”; trying to stand out amid such a wealth of talent is a tall order, as the difference between the best and the worst is often measured in fractions of a second—with dozens more sandwiched between them. However, Favre has grown on me over the years, and I have much more respect for him now that he’s nearing the end of his career (if there is such a thing).

Through the course of this season, I’ve observed:

a forty year-old QB jumping in the air, chest-bumping with linemen, and running downfield to embrace the receiver who just caught his zillionth (or so) touchdown pass with an exuberance rarely shown even by callow rookies (he already owns the record for most career touchdown passes, by the way).

a forty year-old QB completing a pass, then running twenty yards downfield to throw a block (yes, a real, football-player block—not the quarterback variation thereof) for his receiver.

that same QB completing a pass, then sprinting to the aid of the receiver who was injured at the end of the play—the first man to arrive.

that same QB, standing on the sideline while his team’s defensive unit is on the field, being the first to go down on one knee to assist an injured player from the opposing team.

…all this from a man who seems remarkably unjaded in his…what? Eighteenth season? Eightieth?

Much has been said and written about the complexities involved with acquainting a quarterback with a new team’s “system” upon arrival; this guy slips into a new system like most of us put on a new suit. Business as usual.

He’s that rare player who immediately makes the players around him better; the how of this dynamic defies explanation—but, it’s there. You can feel it.

We’ve suffered with Brett Favre through a litany of personal tribulations including pain-killer addiction and rehab, his wife’s bout with cancer, and the death of his father (who can forget that Monday night game?). Ever the gamer, he’s thrilled us all so many times that we’ve long since lost count of the dramatic comebacks; we now take note only of those rare occasions when he doesn’t pull a rabbit from his helmet. We’ve watched him bare his soul in his retirement announcements (secretly knowing, of course, that he’d be back; there’s still too much football left in him, too much fire in the belly—and a genuine love of the game. No “quit” in this man.). We’ve watched a consummate competitor immerse himself in charity work with the same zeal he brings to the stadium. We’ve watched him take bone-jarring hits, then pick himself up and keep going as if nothing had happened—and he’s never missed a start since first taking over the position in Green Bay in 1992 (another of his many NFL records).

And he’s done it all with class. No cheap shots. No lame excuses. No unsportsmanlike “in-your-face” antics. Just a man who gives it his all every time he puts on the pads, and with a comportment that we all wish could be more common—and, oh, Lord, will we miss it all when it’s finally gone. If he ever goes for good. (There’s never been a more certain lock for first-ballot induction into the Hall of Fame; all that’s required at this point is that he stay retired long enough to be voted in.)

No one will openly rejoice more at his eventual retirement, of course, than devoted Packer fans; they’ve been schizo ever since he left, painfully dividing their loyalties—especially now that he’s wearing that purple jersey that they think just doesn’t look right on him, anyway.

As noted above, I wasn’t impressed at the start of his career. I am now. So are many others. Even fans who don’t much care for the Packers, despise the Jets, and couldn’t care less about the Vikings keep tabs on him every Sunday afternoon. Probably the last aging QB to enjoy such universal adulation was George Blanda—and that was mostly because he made legions of middle-age couch potatoes feel good. We admire Favre’s hard work and passion—regardless of who he’s playing for. To win through actions respect from those who don’t give it freely is a major achievement; it speaks to the measure of the man. He was never fawned-over by college recruiters, and wasn’t taken in the NFL draft until the second round. Nothing was ever handed to him; he earned it. No one questions his greatness, anymore.

Long after his playing days are over, we’ll remember him not just for the records, but for that special something that he brought to the game.

We’ll remember–and revere–the man.

Posted in favre, NFL | 5 Comments »

To Bow—or Not to Bow

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 17, 2009

Okay, so I’m trying to understand this.

Mr. Obama raised quite a stir when he bowed to the Saudi king (he looked really oafish in the effort, by the way). His ill-considered kowtowing was never fully explained by his minions (who initially denied that he’d bowed at all, contending that it just looked that way because the king is so short. Ri-iiight. Anybody buy that one?), and immediately rekindled the familiar questions regarding his rumored Muslim faith. It was correctly noted by many that he hadn’t likewise bowed to Queen Elizabeth—of even more diminutive stature, by the way—who as a monarch of an allied nation shares at least equal status, diplomatically speaking.

Now, he’s gone and bowed to the Japanese Emperor.

Hmmm.

Let’s see; they’re all three monarchs…the King is Muslim, but neither the Queen nor the Emperor is…

…but the King and the Emperor are both male, the Queen female.

…(clicking, buzzing, whirring sounds of feeble minds at work)…

Could this be simple misogyny? Not likely. The political career of a black (well…half-black, anyway) Democrat would’ve been torpedoed long ago had he shown indications of merely having issues with women.

It has been asserted, however, that some of Obama’s unexplained past behavior could be indicative of his (rumored) Muslim faith. As an example: for him to show any degree of obeisance to a female would be unacceptable in Muslim culture.

…(more clicking, buzzing, and whirring)…

Which some will conclude (correctly or not) accounts for the disparity in deference to the aforementioned blue-bloods; i.e., he may bow to a man—but the Muslim culture forbids him from doing so to a woman. (“A-HA! You see? He’s a Muslim! Just like we’ve been tellin’ ya all along! Voilà! “)

This, coming from a man who has steadfastly denied any ties to Islam—and who would likely face political ruin should any such association be clearly established. A man who’s proved unable to dispel lingering doubts about his true beliefs—and who seems to deliberately shroud himself in mystery and uncertainty.

Unlike the narcissist-in-chief, I freely admit that I’ll probably never become widely renowned as the smartest guy on the planet; ergo, if I can connect these dots in something under five minutes, I figure it’s a virtual lock that many others will, as well. An Obama regime constantly surrounded as it is by rumors and allegations (from the legitimate to the borderline-loony) regarding Islam, birth certificates, education financing, home mortgaging, Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, hidden agenda, socialism, ACORN, “enemies lists” and so forth ad infinitum really doesn’t need to be heaping more fuel on the fire.

So, what the hell was he thinking?

All of which overlooks an even larger issue: the President of the United States shouldn’t be bowing to any foreign dignitary. Period. None of his forty-three predecessors did. None. Ever. They all understood the importance of protocol—and appearances. And the appearance of a US President with his face dipped to belt buckle-level is anathema to this nation—as it always has been. We can expect unconfirmed reports at any moment of all the Founding Fathers turning over in their graves in unison, so distasteful is the thought.

So…what the hell was he thinking?

Posted in bow, muslim, obama | 7 Comments »

"Shut up and drink the Kool-Aid."

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 15, 2009

The 2008 election swept into the White House a candidate promising ethics, bipartisanship, transparency, and a revived economy; thus far, we’ve been treated to cabinet members who don’t pay taxes, partisan authoritarianism, and behind-closed-doors skulduggery. And then there’s that rapidly-swelling deficit, prompting one to wonder how Obama plans to make good on his claim that he’ll lead us into prosperity and light “without adding a dime to the deficit”—or raising taxes.

We’ve already endured a steady procession of Obama appointees who seem only too eager to flaunt their socialist views—and agenda. Obama has himself spoken openly about “wealth redistribution.” The ongoing saga of promised health care reform has comprised a litany of contradictions and obvious chicanery. The auto and financial industries have already been placed in the yoke of the Federal government, and the same wonderful folks who brought us those fiascoes are hell-bent to insure that the throats of both the medical and insurance communities find similar residence under Obama’s boot. The newly-appointed FCC “diversity advisor” (the first ever; Obama simply created the position—along with an ever-growing list of “czars” equally exempt from the scrutiny of confirmation hearings) lectures about the need for government control of the media, extolling the virtues of that autocratic (and socialist) buffoon in Venezuela. We’ve seen a White House Communications Director who takes her inspiration from Mao Tse-tung (a warm, fatherly figure credited with responsibility for the deaths of 64 million of his own people). This administration hit the deck running, spending gobs of money and shaking up pretty much everything in sight within days of the transfer of power—yet can’t seem to arrive at a decision on troop requests for the war in Afghanistan (an engagement pronounced by Obama to be “a necessary war”) after more than two months. The long associations of Obama and many of his henchmen with allegedly corrupt organizations like ACORN have seriously called into question this “ethical” administration—and many other prominent Democrats.

Well, then…how about that promised “transparency”? Thus far, we’ve been allowed to see Harry Reid’s closed door–from the outside–while the details of sweeping health care coverage “reform” are hammered-out by a tiny cabal within. Obama campaigned on the promise that any such proceedings would be public, televised on C-SPAN for all to see; instead, he’s given us…well, Harry Reid’s closed door. When Helen Thomas (hardly an icon of right-wingery) took the White House Press Secretary to task over the administration’s tight control of information flow, it was a pretty good indicator that something’s rotten at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It seems almost impossible for a guy who spends as much time before the television cameras as Obama does (has he missed a day since taking office?) to spew so many words—yet tell us so little.

So…what happens when disgruntled citizens raise a fuss over any of this? Does this new, sensitive government sit up and take note, promising to address those concerns?

The basic response–in actions that speak far more loudly than words–has been: “Shut up and drink the Kool-Aid” (though some would characterize it as being more like “Shut up and bend over”). Obama’s consistent reaction to criticism–or even inquiry–goes far beyond merely adopting a defensive posture or issuing a blithe dismissal. He attacks. (Just ask reporter Barbara West of station WFTV in Orlando; she dared to ask Obama’s then-running-mate what was arguably the only question he faced during the campaign that wouldn’t be considered a “softball”—and immediately felt the wrath of Obama for her effrontery.) Simple isolation and vilification are merely his most benign methods. He brooks no dissent, and there appears very little that he considers “over the top” on the way to getting what he wants. Furthermore, showing the audacity to question anything that comes out of this White House (or Congress, to a slightly lesser degree) immediately subjects the skeptic also to charges from Obama’s legions of sycophants ranging from racism (the new first resort) to disloyalty to obstructionism to being akin to Hitler to killing Cock Robin.

By turns, both the House Speaker and the Senate Majority Leader declared that they couldn’t deliver Obama’s most coveted jewel–health care reform legislation–without including the “public option”; shortly thereafter, they both announced that they couldn’t get legislation passed with it included. Then they couldn’t get there without it. Then they couldn’t include it. Again. (Repeat as necessary; frankly, they’ve each changed their respective stories more times than most people can keep track of. That they’ve repeatedly changed what they’re going to call it–”public option”, “government option”, “consumer option”, etc.– in an attempt to sneak it in under the radar has further confused matters.) Finally, Queen Mum Pelosi managed to ram through a massive bill that no one really likes or even completely understands (even her fellow Democrats candidly wondered what manner of arm-twisting and deal-making that required—and the entire effort deliberately negated bipartisan participation). She and Obama both think we should all learn to love it. (Lord knows why they would expect us to; apparently, neither of them has even read the damn’ thing—nor, it seems, has anyone who voted for it.) The entire effort may prove moot, however, as indications are that the House measure won’t find sufficient support in the Senate—despite a strong sense of urgency among Democrats in both houses to get a palatable measure passed quickly, lest they all find themselves facing the music in next year’s mid-term election; delaying action beyond the end of this year would seriously threaten to derail the effort.

Is it any wonder that public confidence is rapidly deteriorating—not only in the Obama regime, but in Congress, as well?

After seriously depleting the treasury (and our wallets), this administration has achieved nothing that benefits the country as a whole; the economy remains in shambles, unemployment is rampant, our foreign policy is a puzzle even to our allies, and we seem a nation rudderless and adrift—one that can’t even balance its own checkbook (a concept foreign to both the White House and Congress, to be sure).

Obama’s answer to every problem seems to be: (a) spend more money (b) make another television appearance (c) blame Republicans in general and George W. Bush in particular–gotta wonder how long he’s gonna try to milk that one–or (d) take another trip (quickly, now: has Obama spent more time in Washington—or on his road trips? Has anyone tallied-up the cost of his seemingly-endless world tour?).

Oh, and (e) …

“Shut up and drink the Kool-Aid.”

Posted in obama, politics | Leave a Comment »

Heroes and…"Not exactly"

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 13, 2009

Has anyone else noted the disproportionate rise in the “hero” supply? Seems like we currently have a bumper crop. Has the population suddenly become more courageous? Are we more “heroic” than we were just a few years ago?

I suspect not.

A stretch of highway near my home was recently renamed. It’s now called “Heroes’ Highway.”

Which heroes?

Not to rain on anyone’s parade, but…I recently heard one time too many the people killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11 collectively referred to as “fallen heroes.” Excuse me? “Heroes?” Precisely what was heroic about simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time? While by no means attempting to mitigate the heinous nature of the attack (nor the horrendous loss that resulted), the question must be asked: Were these people heroes?

Borrowing a reply from a popular car-rental ad: “Not exactly.”

They were victims. Period. That some of those victims reacted heroically is unquestioned, and should be duly noted; however, merely being in close proximity to a disaster does not a hero make. The cops and firefighters and other rescuers clambering over the rubble qualify as heroes; victims do not. (Given the also-popular predilection for claiming “victim” status, this would seem sufficient—but, that issue is reserved as fodder for a separate rant.)

In a society that’s become increasingly obsessed with anointing heroes, we’ve lowered the bar. We now proclaim as “heroes” many that would not traditionally have been deemed worthy of the mantle. In a way, this is reflective of other segments of society; for example, recall the vignette from a popular movie wherein we hear the remark alluding to a marginally-athletic boy having garnered a collection of ninth-place ribbons and other “feel-good” awards. While such well-intentioned efforts may do wonders for a child’s self-esteem (though there’s doubt about that, now, as well), it also has the practical effect of diminishing the achievements of those who do deserve recognition.

It has become a common (and laudable) practice to hold ceremonies marking the return of local reserve military units from tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Frequently, these soldiers are regaled by dignitaries proclaiming: “You’re all heroes.”

No, they’re not.

Did they discharge their duties faithfully? Yes. Did they “give a good account” of themselves? Certainly. Are they deserving of our thanks for a job well done? By all means. Should we acknowledge and reward their efforts? Absolutely.

That said, however, they are not all implicitly heroes. Rarely can one truly justify the designation “hero” for each and every member of an organization. There are certainly some genuine heroes among them, of course, and they deserve that extra measure of recognition—recognition that’s effectively denied them by wrongly affording everyone else the same status.

Try telling every participant of an Olympic event “You’re all champions” and you just might get an argument from the legitimate gold, silver, and bronze medalists who worked so hard to distinguish themselves from the pack. Tell those few elite stellar college students that the entire graduating class will be designated Summa Cum Laude and see what kind of reaction you get. Inform the winner of a popular reality show (if you dare) that the million-dollar first prize will be split equally among all the participants, “because you’re all winners.” Tell the widow of a Medal of Honor recipient that the revered blue ribbon and white stars paid for in blood by her late husband will now be standard issue for all recruits “because they’re all heroes.”

In short, we’ve always drawn distinctions between degrees and levels of achievement, dedication, and valor; blurring those lines gains us nothing—and costs us plenty.

So, what does qualify as “heroic?”

If your car skids off a lonely stretch of road and ends up in a ditch, is the (increasingly rare, granted) guy who stops to help you a hero? No. A nice guy, certainly, and a fine human being. A Good Samaritan. But…not a hero.

Okay, now, let’s say that after your car landed in the aforementioned ditch, you were trapped inside. And you’re slowly freezing to death. Now, your Good Samaritan becomes something of a hero; though the net cost to him was the mere expenditure of his time–and his risk minimal–he has nonetheless pulled you out of a tight spot. Your rescuer would be rightly credited with saving your skin, and certainly deserving of the accolades he’d receive.

Now, let’s say that you’re trapped in your car and it’s caught fire. You’re in very real danger of being burnt to a crisp, and it’s quite possible that the fire will ignite your car’s fuel tank—with obvious results. Your Good Samaritan braves the flames and ignores the risk of explosion to extricate you from certain death. Not only did he save your neck, he did so with selfless disregard for his own safety. He laid it on the line for you–a complete stranger–potentially sacrificing himself for no other reason than because he encountered someone in imminent peril.

Now, that is a hero.

Why are we so anxious to manufacture heroes? Is it because there are so few real heroes to go around? Are we so accustomed to mediocrity and the “I don’t want to get involved” mind-set that even the most meager effort looks heroic by comparison? Has the concept of sacrifice–be it one of life, security, wealth, or personal comfort–become so foreign to us that we eagerly latch onto any perceived facsimile of heroism to exalt?

We used to think of others in terms of “He’s a stand-up guy,” or “She’s someone you can always count on,” or “He’s a solid citizen.” No heroics. None needed. We revered these simple yet admirable traits.

And when the occasional hero appeared in our midst, we rightly sang his praises.

We’ve heard countless comments over the years from World War II vets, for example, that went something like this: “I wasn’t a hero,” or “We weren’t heroes, just scared kids sent to do a tough job.” We appropriately recognized and rewarded such efforts (oh, and by the way…we really admired the modest, self-effacing manner)—while just as appropriately lauding the genuine heroics of those who did stand out.

The plain truth is that not everyone is destined to be a hero, anyway. Admiral William F. “Bull” Halsey said it best: “There are no extraordinary men…just extraordinary circumstances that ordinary men are forced to deal with.” How many of us will live out our entire lives without ever being thrust into such circumstances? A true hero, after all, by definition stands apart from others as a result of having risen to the occasion when faced with an uncommon–extraordinary–situation. Our ordinary lives simply don’t present many such situations in which to acquit ourselves.

It should be satisfying enough for most people to be known as the dependable neighbor that can be called upon for help at the worst of times, or as the “go-to guy” in the office. Lest it be forgotten, the extraordinary hero who courageously charged across a battlefield to attack an enemy machine gun emplacement did so with ammunition and grenades furnished via the very ordinary duties of a supply clerk—without whom there’d obviously have been no heroics to praise. Fate simply never placed the clerk on the battlefield; as we’ve seen, though, there’s no particular ignominy attached to not being a hero.

Concentrate on leading a good life. Do exemplary work. Help out others where you can. If you do all this, we’ll notice—and speak highly of you. Just don’t expect too big a pat on the back for common acts of courtesy and kindness, nor for merely doing your job; undeserved praise is hollow, anyway. Should you be placed in extraordinary circumstances–and rise to the occasion–we’ll notice that, too. Then, we’ll call you a hero.

The next time you assist an elderly woman across a street like a good Scout…or stop and help someone who’s broken down on the road…take a moment and ask yourself: Does this make me a hero?

A voice will answer from somewhere inside you.

“Not exactly.”

Posted in hero | 3 Comments »

I Nearly Killed You Last Week

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 13, 2009

I nearly killed you last week.

You, of course, didn’t notice—preoccupied as you were with that oh, so important phone call (though judging by your laughter and coquettish looks moments later…well, it seemed rather light-hearted).

I was driving a 78,000-pound tractor-trailer rig through Birmingham, barreling downhill and struggling to maintain control (the city’s government forbids the use of engine brakes, by the way—making things even dicier) when you made a U-turn across three lanes of traffic to plant your pretty self right in front of me—at a speed about twenty miles per hour slower than mine.

How you could fail to notice a thirteen-and-a-half feet tall, eight-and-a-half feet wide truck lit up like Macy’s on Christmas Eve (though it was broad daylight) coming right at you is beyond me; as I said, though, your phone conversation obviously was mighty important.

Important enough to risk your life?

Well, you did.

Under ideal conditions with a relatively light load on flat, dry pavement, it takes a lo-oooong time to stop a truck; going downhill at nearly the maximum legal weight stacks the deck against you to a degree you can’t even fathom.

I noticed the temporary license tag on your car, by the way. Brand new. Very pretty.

Had I been unable to avoid you, the impact would’ve had the practical effect of dropping your pretty new car into a trash compacter—with you in it.

I suppose I should give you credit, though; at least, you weren’t “texting” (which is even more distracting—and appears to have been contributory to a significant number of fatal mishaps), you didn’t have a child in the back seat (unlike the woman in Dallas last month–also talking on her phone, by the way–who cruised right through a stop sign just as I started a left turn in front of her; she never did stop—though she did look directly at me and cringe when she saw the nose of my tractor dip as I hit the brakes), and you weren’t doing anything patently illegal (unlike the guy driving the Volvo station wagon near Town Creek, Alabama who was so concerned with the safety of the two kids he had securely strapped into their car seats that he purchased the vehicle touted by its manufacturer as “the safest car in the world”; Volvo, however, can’t indemnify idiots who try to pass trucks on the shoulder of a two-lane highway and manage to just miss a looming bridge abutment by a split second—though he skillfully continued his phone conversation throughout. He seemed to not even notice that I nearly rolled over my truck in my attempt to avoid him. I had to shake my head at the irony of the “CAUTION: CHILD ON BOARD” sticker that adorned his car’s rear bumper.)

Sadly, these are not fabrications; all these events occurred as described. Worse, they’re becoming more commonplace.

Ask any truck driver: when we see an expensive late-model car going usually five to ten miles per hour below the posted speed limit (as if you don’t have a cruise-control feature) which may or may not be weaving…five’ll getcha ten that when we pull alongside you you’ll be engrossed in a phone conversation. We equate this with the fundamental inability to walk and chew gum at the same time.

You, like increasing numbers of drivers, forgot that the single most important task facing you was to control the vehicle. And it nearly cost you your life.

Cell phones have become a part of our lives; they’re not going away—nor is talking while driving. If you can’t “multitask”, though…park the car.

I don’t need you on my conscience.

Posted in cell phones, driving | 1 Comment »

Veterans Day

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 13, 2009

Note: This started as a simple email to friends and fellow veterans. Owing to the response I received, I decided to spruce it up a little and include it here. —Jim

To my fellow veterans:

Perhaps it’s because of the times we live in, with troops in harm’s way. Or it might be the still-fresh memory of the massacre at Ft. Hood. Or it could be owing to recent communications with former brothers (and sisters) -in-arms. Whatever the source, I’m feeling particularly sentimental about Veterans Day—our Day—this time around. It always happens, but…for some reason, it’s a stronger feeling today.

Some of you I served with. Some, I didn’t. No matter. I’ve always felt that—regardless of our respective histories—we share something very special. I suspect you all feel the same.

Some time ago, I was seated at a blackjack table in Tunica, MS. I’d been engaged in sporadic conversation with the young man seated alongside me, and learned that he’d recently returned from his second tour in Iraq. I asked the usual questions (we all know them—right?) : Where are you from? What’s your MOS? How long’ve you been in?

This, of course, revealed to him (we all recognize the signs and subtle signals) that I’d spent time in the military, as well—and in fact we had Army service in common (like I said: we all recognize the telltale signs of a brother-in-arms). He then surprised me by extending his hand and saying: “Thanks for your service.”

Such a gesture seems to have become more common in recent years—and I kinda like it. However, no one had ever said it to me before; frankly, it caught me a little off-guard. Yes, I’d served. My military career was, however, decidedly unremarkable. No hero. Just did my job—like most of us. To be honest, I felt a tinge of humility hearing a “Thank-you” from someone so recently returned from the jaws of Hell.

Almost sheepishly, I grasped the proffered hand and shook it firmly. “No,” I said. “Thank-you. My time was long ago and a helluva lot easier.”

And then he said it.

“You served,” he said evenly, still gripping my hand. “That’s all that matters.”

And the steady, certain look in his eyes confirmed that he’d meant what he’d said.

He was right.

It doesn’t matter whether we were cooks, grunts, supply clerks, swabbies, wrench-turners, jarheads, or cannon-cockers.

We served—and that is all that matters. Many—most—didn’t. We did.

I’m reminded of a Marine recruiting billboard showing a split-view of a young man’s face. One half was the boyish look he’d borne before he enlisted; the other half was the steel-jawed look that Uncle Sam put on him. The caption was simple: “The change is forever.”

And it is. It changed us. All of us. And we’ll always be different for it. Regardless of which branch each of us served in or what we did.

How many times have you sat around swapping lies with other vets when you suddenly noticed the rapt attention being paid by one of them, those who never took our oath?

We share a common bond—one that will never be broken. It’s a special fraternity. It’s something that they will never have, nor even completely understand.

I pity them.

They’ll never know what it feels like.

Whether you did a two-year stint courtesy of your draft board…or had nothing better to do for a few years after surviving high school…or felt a call to duty…or made a twenty- or thirty-year career out of it…

You served. We served. And whether we like it or not, we still have feelings that stir themselves up from time to time.

We know what it feels like, and sometimes have to choke down some pretty strong emotions. They haven’t a clue as to what that’s all about.

They don’t know our friendships spawned amid shared adversity, our camaraderie forged by experiences they can’t even imagine. They’ll never know those memories that we won’t—or can’t—talk about except amongst ourselves, our brothers. They don’t understand that particular annoyance we feel when the entertainment superstar of the moment butchers the national anthem at a football game, or why we feel compelled to throttle those who fail to remove their hats or place their hands over their hearts or at least shut the hell up while it’s being played. They puzzle over why we rail against a giveaway to someone who earned nothing, but we’ll give anything—anything—to one of our brothers in need. They’ll never know that bittersweet tug on our heart-strings whenever we hear the mournful strains of Taps being played.

I’ve been waging a years-long battle to try to get people—them—to understand the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day. It sends me into a slow boil every Memorial Day when I see TV and newspaper ads proclaiming: “Thanks to all our veterans!”

I appreciate the sentiment, but… that’s not our day; that day is for those who didn’t return—and blurring the line between the two occasions cheapens their sacrifice.

I’ve probably aggravated a lot of people by correcting that misconception.

This is our day. This is the one we earned when we raised our hands and swore our oaths—when we entered that special fraternity…when we underwent that change that we’ll take to our graves…when we were all bound to one another forever.

Thank-you all for your service. Enjoy your day; you earned it. Go grab the free chow at Applebee’s and Golden Corral, and be appreciative that some, at least, acknowledge your service and sacrifice. Muster-up a dash of humility if a kid says “Thanks” today because a teacher or parent had enough class to instill that sense of values. Choke back your tears when the bugler plays Taps at The Tomb (or let them flow; you earned that right, too). Call an old Army buddy (or Navy; you get the idea). Shake hands with fellow vets you know; they’re your brothers-in-arms, and it’s their day, too.

Having now gotten all maudlin, I’ll leave you with one final thought expressed by Rudyard Kipling:

“I’ve eaten your bread and salt,
I’ve drunk your water and wine.
The deaths ye died I watched beside,
and the lives ye led were mine.”

Jim

“A veteran is someone who, at one point in his or her life wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America ‘ for an amount of ‘up to and including my life.'”author unknown

Posted in veterans day | 2 Comments »

Had Enough?

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 13, 2009

Consider the following scenario:

Let’s say that you and your family have retired for the evening. While you’re sleeping, your neighbor sneaks into your home and rummages around for your prized jewelry. You, however, have taken the precaution of locking away your valuables in a safe—to which only you and your family members know the combination to unlock it. His efforts awaken you, and you confront him with a weapon. You tell him on no uncertain terms that he must leave your home immediately or you’ll summon the police.

Frustrated and angry, your neighbor organizes a protest march, drumming up support from your other neighbors (some of whom have likewise attempted to relieve you of your valuables). They parade down Main Street, waving banners and chanting, complaining bitterly about your “unfairness” and demanding that you give them all access to your family jewels and other assorted goodies. Their effort garners considerable media attention, and they even manage to enlist the support of a number of political figures (many of whom—coincidentally, perhaps—see the protesters as potential voters). Before long, there’s a rising groundswell of demands that you unlock your safe and allow free access to anyone who breaks into your home.

Sounds a bit far-fetched, doesn’t it?

Or does it?

A recent article appearing in USA Today spotlighted the growing activism among illegal aliens. In much the same fashion as the aforementioned neighbor, they came to this country by way of sneaking across the border. Not content with what they’ve already gained by illegal means, they’re now demanding—yes, demanding—that they have open access to the nation’s goodies. Astonishingly, an alarming numver of politicians have taken up this mantle (re-read that part about “potential voters”).

Had enough?

Posted in illegal aliens, opinion | Leave a Comment »

About the Man Behind the Curtain…

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 13, 2009

As some of you may already know, I’m a truck driver. Sometimes. I used to have a career that was (arguably) a bit more prestigious and respectable, did reasonably well for myself, and retired a few years ago.

Until my wife told me to get out.

Actually, as I recall her exact words, she said: “Get the hell out of here. Go fishing. Get a job. Go play golf. I don’t care. But, get the hell out of here. You’re driving me nuts.”

And so, my seven-month retirement came to a halt. (Truth be known, I was getting bored, anyway; though the life of a couch potato has its allure, it can wear thin. And then there’s that premature heart failure thing to consider.)

In reality, I’d already considered the wisdom of having a fall-back occupation. You see, I’d only held basically two jobs in my entire adult life: the Army, and my recently-ended tenure with the Federal government as an air traffic controller. While I retired fairly comfortably, I’d also considered the possibility that I might someday need to acquire extra income—and would need some sort of marketable skill that would enable me to do so. Inasmuch as the sum total of my occupational skills consisted pretty much of shooting people and shoving airplanes around (neither of which I can do, anymore—at least, not legally), it was clear that I needed to expand my horizons. So, I decided to take the plunge into the world of trucking.

The most common reaction to my new career aspiration was: “You’re gonna do what ?!?!”

And then there was the doctor’s reaction when I showed up for the required physical exam: “Are you out of your mind? Do you know how dangerous that is?” This he asked a split second after he thumped me solidly on my forehead to get my attention (literally).

Actually, I never thought of driving an 80,000-pound missile as particularly dangerous (though truck-driving is consistently listed among the ten most hazardous occupations). And driving met my three primary requirements: (1) I refuse to be chained to a desk, (2) I refuse to punch a clock, and (3) I absolutely refuse to ever wear a necktie again as long as I live (a policy particularly worrisome to my potentially marriage-minded daughter, who no doubt cringes at the very real prospect of being given away at the altar by the only guy present without neckwear).

Anyway…for better or worse, I took the plunge, got my commercial driver’s license (hereinafter referred to as a CDL), and hit the road. Until a dispatcher aggravated me—and I quit. Then, I got tired of being retired (again), and started driving for another company—until yet another dispatcher didn’t take seriously my warning that my bullshit-tolerance capacity had long since been exhausted by the Federal government and I didn’t really need the job, anyway (is a pattern beginning to emerge?). So, I drive for awhile–until someone gets under my skin–then I retire for awhile. And so on.

I tell you all this only because some of what will appear on this site comes from my newfound occupational perspective.

Posted in intro | 2 Comments »

Introduction

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 13, 2009

Welcome to my curmudgeondom. As you’ll soon learn, your reactions to my missives here are likely to range from fear to loathing to tears to outright rage—and I just might evoke from you an occasional sober nod or two.

The purpose of this blog is simple: to provide me a vehicle for sounding-off on whatever topic suits me at the moment. While there’s sure to be no shortage of politically-oriented palaver here, it is by no means all (nor necessarily even most) of what will be proffered to your discerning mind. You’ll also find that my personal politics, ethics, morals, and standards are pretty much “all over the map” (according to my mother-in-law)—so, don’t be surprised to see rants regarding, say, the interference of churches in politics, politically-correct anything, “nanny” laws, taxes, the United Nations, Congress, the Commissioner of Baseball, the State of Ohio’s speed limits, steroids, Jesse Jackson, the “mainstream” media, ultra-liberals, ultra-conservatives, the price of cigarettes, Obamarxism, regulating sales of alcohol, gasoline price manipulation, Muslim foot baths, illegal immigration, laws banning the sale of adult sex toys, cell phones, heavy-handed cops, meddlesome politicians, Hillary, Billary, our all-but-self-proclaimed uncrowned Queen Nancy, “W”, eminent domain, freedom of speech, and the designated hitter all in succession. It is, as I said, my curmudgeondom — and I have the credentials and bona fides to lay claim to the title of The Curmudgeon. So, there.

Some of the postings you’ll encounter may seem familiar—especially to those who know me personally. By way of explanation… I once had an ongoing relationship with a local newspaper, and had a number of published opinion pieces—some of which may be posted here. My arrangement was for a feature entitled An Opposing View; given that the editorial staff had a generally liberal, left-of-center view, it stands to reason that my “opposing” view would generally be perceived as coming from the right (in more ways than one, in my humble opinion). These posts will be annotated as having been previously published.

Comments, of course, are always welcome. You may agree or disagree with me. Doesn’t matter. Of course, I reserve the right to completely ignore you — but, feel free to let your feelings be known, anyway. And if you don’t want to comment directly here, my e-mail address is: jimseeber@gmail.com .

Oh, and…yes, I can spell. That “Write-wing” is only a play on words. So, there. Again.

Welcome, once again. Strap in and hang on.

Posted in intro | 1 Comment »