Is Twitter A Tool, Or A Useless Toy?…

I was reading one of the other writers I enjoy on WordPress…what’s that?…fine!…I was reading one of the writers I enjoy on WordPress this morning…happy now?…and she was mentioning how our Narcissistic Number 45 blocked her on Twitter after only 3 tweets, and let me say…job well done…signing up to follow him…then to have the stamina and the patience to read every tweet this loud-mouthed dotard types out…We the non-Twitter People only hear and see what makes it into the news, I’m sure he tweets other nonsense that’s just pure covfefe…

And that got me thinking…what?…no, it doesn’t smell like scrapple frying in a pan!…how many other members in the Trump Cabinet of Horrors have their own Twitter accounts from which to be blocked?…members of Congress?… Senators?… corporate C.E.O.s?…how many crazy-assed world leaders are there on this Planet who are currently on Twitter?…if Kim Jong Bad Haircut has an account, there has to be others, am I right?…

How much fun would it be to get Twitter blocked by Vladimir Putin?…by Kim Jong himself?…and what could you possibly say that would insult those guys and make them block you?…maybe you’d like to tell Syrian President Bashar al-Assad what a douche he is for gassing his own people…reach out to the leader of Nambia…how about commenting on the Queen Mother’s newest hat?…do it respectfully though, her country may be one of the last allies we still have thanks to Number 45’s U.N. speech…

Like our president, Twitter can be a real tool…and like WordPress, it might be fun to see how many people I can annoy with irritatingly snide comments…

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One of These Things Is Not Like the Other…

I got up early this morning to do some reading…keep up with current events, that kind of thing…I came across some headlines that for some reason I just felt didn’t belong together…

Miscommunication Is the Biggest Threat in North Korea-U.S. Standoff

or is it this…

N. Korea Claims It Tests H-Bomb That Can Fit On Intercontinental Missle

how about this one…

Why It’s So Hard For U.S. Spies To Figure Out North Korea

or is it this spine-tingling revelation…

A Wine Crisis Is Gripping Europe

With all due respect to the grape farmers…the wine makers and wine drinkers of Europe…KISS MY ASS! Kim Jong Bad Haircut says he has the ability to deliver a hydrogen bomb on the head of a missle!…

One of the largest cities in America has just experienced flooding described as “of biblical proportions”…and I’m supposed to be worried about whether Europe has enough wine to drink? I think you can tell my choice for silliest headline of the weekend, right?

And whoever placed these news headlines together, as if their somehow equally important…under the heading of  WORLD NEWS on the Comcast homepage this morning…your design page layout choices are Priceless …absurdly so…and you might want to find another job, or al least work on your sense of proportion…

A Presbyterian In Catholic Purgatory…

I didn’t know I could do this…as a Presbyterian, the last thing I thought I would ever find myself doing is bringing up the bread and the wine for Communion in a Catholic Church…I mean, is that legal or even covered under canon law somewhere?…I’m pretty sure over in South Jersey my long-departed parents turned over in their graves…don’t get me wrong, my parents didn’t hate Catholics…to be honest, they didn’t always get along with our neighbors who were Methodist…I think they just thought Catholics were a little too showy…too in your face…always the nicest church…a crucifix instead of a cross…the best carnivals…

Anyway, my wife and I (me?) went to the late Mass a couple of Sundays ago…and as usual, we arrived early…as we’re sitting there, my wife praying the rosary…me, using the time not to pray, but to stare blankly and judge the other parishioners now arriving in their best Sunday shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops…,at least I had the decency to rock a nice collared shirt…this guy comes up and asks if we would like to present the gifts for Communion…before I can tell him he’s got the wrong guy, my wife gladly volunteers us…

“I can’t do that”, I quietly protest to her after he leaves,”I’m not even Catholic.”…

…since mostly my wife, and somewhat me, have raised our kids to be good Catholics, which they make you do when there is a religiously mixed marriage…it’s become a standard excuse I Continue to use to get out of attending holy days of obligation…giving up cheesesteaks during lent…and working a booth at the church carnival….

“Won’t my Presbyterianism somehow spoil the Body and the Blood?”, I panicked. And my wife, in the snarkiest tone possible and with a look usually reserved for my 20-something year old son after one of his occasional transgressions says…”Don’t worry, the priest will transform it…pretty sure the congregation will survive you bringing up the wine.” It was about here that I realized we were doing this…so I chose this moment…this issue…to make my stand…”I’m not taking the wine…if I spill it on the rug, there won’t be a baptismal font deep enough for me to hide in.”

And that ended that…my wife had just gotten me to choose how I wanted to do the thing that I was fighting her about doing…

…after all these years…had she finally started me on the road to Catholicism?…and my eventual visit to Purgatory?

 

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What’s the Message Here? Get Off My Plane!

Saw this leftover Trump- Make America Great Again sign sitting in the trash at a home near where I live. And I wondered if the owner had tired of having the sign displayed prominently in his front yard?…has he tired of the president flopping on his campaign promises ?…has he tired of the administration’s inability to make him feel great again? I decided instead it was just something simpler…the sign was probably in the way when he cut the grass…and to be honest, displaying it from October to May was probably long enough.

With all of the negative news that surrounds the administration, I began to wonder about the next president, should Number 45 be sent packing (he won’t). Rather than think about a Pence presidency…or Paul Ryan or Orrin Hatch for that matter…I put my energies into finding the best TV/movie character president. One to make both Democrats and Republicans happy. Is that even possible anymore?

Here are my top 8 candidates worse to first, in order of my preference with no regard to their actual TV/movie accomplishment:

8.  Francis Underwood (House of Cards) Not really an option; murderer…dog killer…I think he even hit his wife Claire as well…probably should be in prison…”Lock him up…lock him up…lock him up…”…equally despised on both sides of the aisle…

7. Andrew Shepherd (The American President) Another long shot…dating a lobbyist?…a crime bill and a clean air bill?…way too liberal for the Right…looks the part and fits the suit…shame…

6. Benjamin Asher (Olympus Has Fallen) Let North Korean terrorists take over the White House…waits for Gerard Butler to save him…told Butler, “If it comes to it, I want you to kill me”…Butler should have killed him…

5. President Beck (Deep Impact) Kept country calm during catastrophic comet event…voice like God should appeal to Christian Right…ability to work with Russians to Detonate a bomb; destroying the comet and saving the world…he said this: “Cities fall but they are rebuilt. And heroes die but they are remembered. We honor them with every brick we lay, with every field we sow, with every child we comfort and then teach to rejoice in what we have been re-given. Our planet. Our home.”…should probably be ranked higher…

4. David Palmer (24) Definately has outside chance…greatest asset; friends with Jack Bauer…not every president can say that…unfortunately he’s married (watch the show and see what I mean)…could have been great hitter if only he could hit the curve ball…he said this: “I want them to see how we protect our citizens. We will not put up with racism or xenophobia. If this is where it’s going to start, this is where it’s going to stop.”

3. Josiah “Jed”‘Bartlett (The West Wing) Could pull upset with enough votes from the Right…even Conservatives liked his show…can sometimes be a bit of a know-it-all…he said this: “…If that angers you, if you resent me, I completely respect that. But if you expect anything different from the President of the United States, I suggest you vote for somebody else.”

2. Thomas J. Whitmore (Independence Day and Independence Day:Resurgence) Helped save the planet once…behind in the polls during re-election bid brings on another alien invasion; chance to be hero second time…possible collusion between Whitmore and aliens makes him a hero…only questions remaining are who knew what and when did they know it…he said this: “…We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive!’ Today we celebrate our Independence Day!”…hard to believe..

1. James Marshall (Air Force One) Prohibitive favorite…the only thing that could make him more popular is if he changed his name to Jack Ryan…military service appeals to both sides of the aisle…he said it: “…Atrocity and terror are not political weapons and to those who would use them: your day is over. We will never negotiate. We will no longer tolerate, and we will no longer be afraid. It’s your turn to be afraid.”

Now get off my plane!

Who Are You To Tell Me I Can’t Complain?

A look back at the week by a conscientious objector to two crappy candidates, and a look forward to a potential 2020 run for the big house.

With the general elections in the books, the country can now rejoice in the knowledge that our Sunday afternoon football games will no longer suffer the endless intrusions of political commercials. Hillary did this…Donald did that…and here in Pennsylvania, Pat Toomey and Katie McGinty will no longer poison our minds with their constant bitching and backstabbing during their contentious Senate race. From here on out, it will be up to NFL officials to ruin a good game with their constant throwing of flags. Come to think of it, they’re really not flags, more like little yellow hankies. Maybe if we required them to call them hankies, they wouldn’t throw so many. After all, flags are to be revered and respected, hankies are something you blow your nose into, which conveniently is also the universal gesture you make when something stinks. As in that call…

Now, hopefully you’re still here and will allow me to vent my spleen about the results of this week. Did you know the spleen was the organ associated with ill humor and melancholy; don’t know why, I’m 56 years old and wouldn’t know what my spleen looks like if you breaded it, fried it in oil and served it to me with my favorite vegetable. Anywho, that stuff earlier about the NFL officials was just the tip of my  proverbial iceberg of complaints. My family and the two or three friends I have know that sometimes I tend to be a little cranky. Really, it’s true. But there’s something I hear constantly now, especially after Donald Trump’s improbable win over Hillary and it’s this…

…”If you didn’t vote, then you’ve got no right to complain about what happens to you.” Well now, ain’t that special. And pure bullshit. It seems some of you Constitution experts have forgotten just how this place works, not to mention the rights afforded citizens with the very First Ammendment to our Constitution…

Congress (nor my fellow citizens*) shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

*I put in this part.

Nowhere in that ammendment does the phrase “as long as you vote” exist. Putting our constitutional rights aside, how you vote, who you vote for, and if you vote, can also come down simply to your moral compass. And with Hillary and Donald, moral compass played a big part in how and who people voted for this year; or whether they chose to vote or abstain based on their own set of morals. And your fellow citizens certainly have no right to tell you which direction your moral compass should pointing. I have a friend (he would be 1 of the 3) and co-worker who is a Consevative/Tea Party/Dem hating Green Eggs & Ham guy (you know who you are), but he was kind enough to not look down on me in that Sean Hannity kind of way, but to understand and take pity on me and my reason for abstention. Questions for discussion: How does a fiscally responsible conservative vote for a guy who sits in a gold chair?, has filed bankruptcy no less than four times?, who so misunderstood the financial climate and downward spiral of Atlantic City and its casinos?, how could he have so overestimated the weight of his last name and his ability to secure bank loans for construction, forcing him to use high interest rate junk bonds to finance his erection…

of the Taj Mahal Casino?

But wait, there’s more. As a citizen, I’ve met most of the lofty expectations of We the People, which grants me the right to not only free speech , hell I can even begin my own 2020 campaign for the White House, thereby allowing me to pollute the landscape with signs heralding my candidacy. As a precursor to my potential 2020 run, and to save both the liberal and the conservative media time, I can at this time state that:

I pay my fair share of taxes (guess I’m just stupid); I make payment for the goods and services I purchase to the persons and businesses I purchase them from, at the agreed upon price and without the relief of bankruptcy to discharge those debts (can el-presidente elect say that?); I’ve committed no crimes (felonies) recently; unlike our elected officials I provide my employer a good day’s work for a good day’s pay (although we both might disagree on exactly what we provide each other); and I respect the rights of my neighbors to throw loud all-night pool parties to which I am not invited; I respect the rights of my neighbors dogs to do their numbers 1 & 2 in my yard (actually I really hate that one and once in the White House there will be no more of that); I’m not stingy giving out Halloween candy (I have the best chocolates); I drive responsibly but irritatingly slow; I give money to my church whenever I’m there; I donate freely to my favorite charities like St. Jude Children’s Hospital & Research Center as well as the Variety Club; last year I personally worked to raise almost $12,000 in support of the great work they do at St. Jude (I’m also back at it again this year); my wife and I have raised and educated two responsible citizens of this country; and even though I’ve not been called recently, I would be more than happy to serve on a jury that allows me to throw any of my current neighbors in the hoosegow, especially the ones with the loud pool parties and the dogs who seem to be suffering from irritable bowel syndrome whenever they walk by my house. (Once in the White House, they can then beg me for forgiveness and a Presidential Pardon. It won’t be anywhere near that easy.)

So my fellow Americans, I reserve the right to complain about our leaders, their policies, and their erections, regardless of my voting history and whether I chose to put them there or not (just our leaders and policies, once in office my first job will be to make sure our leaders are never permitted to have erections of any kind). Our Constitution and Country guarantee me those rights, and I will exercise them until they pull this iPad from my cold dead hands.

Lofty

Swapping Votes? That’s Really A Thing?

It’s finally here. Let’s just hope the outcome tomorrow doesn’t lead to a civil war.

When it comes to the rules of politics and voting in this country, I’ll admit, you won’t find many more clueless than I am. I don’t argue the 2nd Ammendment all that well, and I definitely can’t tell you how to fix the Affordable Healthcare Act. But this week I learned just how out of touch I am when I started reading about vote swapping and how that’s been going on since 2000. 

The concept is somewhat easy to understand, and now with the proliferation of social media sites like Facebook and the development of apps that can match you with a vote trading partner, it may actually someday, in some battleground state, make a difference. The idea of vote swapping emerged during the Bush-Gore Presidential Election of 2000, in where else, Florida. Democratic leaders in the state pleaded with followers of consumer advocate and third party candidate Ralph Nader to not waste their votes on Nader. As the election day got closer, websites promising Gore support in Florida in exchange for Nader votes in traditionally strong Democrat voting states started to pop up. 

Other than the obvious “make your vote count” argument, another part of these vote swapping agreements is in securing federal funding in future elections for a third party like the Green or Libertarian parties. The major party candidate gets a battleground state vote from a third party voter, and the third party candidate gets a vote in a state in which they wouldn’t have counted on one and which has no effect on the outcome of the election other than to help push the third party vote total to the 5% required nationally for the future funding. I can understand how this whole vote swapping process sounds irksome and a bit smarmy, especially to Donald Trump and his supporters who believe his arguments of a rigged election, the thing to remember is there are no guarantees the swap will be acted upon by both parties once they hit the voting booth. The swap is nothing more than an exchange of ideas and preferences on who and how the country should be run. It is not a contract and there has been no exchange of money or services (supposedly) between the individuals. And the opportunity exists for both candidates to take strategic advantage of the process. I’m guessing dating websites like eHarmony and Match.com might want to avoid offering future vote swapping services however for all of the obvious legal and social pitfalls.

I don’t know how many of these swap contracts were agreed upon for tomorrow’s election, or if they would even have any bearing on the results of the election, but with two candidates who are held in contempt by so many Americans, the potential is there for voters to want to make their vote count more than ever. It’s your choice.

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Irksome

Donald, Hillary & Just One Positive Thing

At the end of the day, did they make us believe their answers to a truly pointless question?

Anyone who chose not to or was unable to watch the 2nd Presidential Debate last night missed one of the more heartwarming moments of the campaign. It was without question however none of these…

No…Bill didn’t share an I’ve Missed You Hug with the targets of his former dalliances, conveniently seated nearby thanks to some last minute seating arrangements.

No…Grandmom Hillary didn’t invite the grandkids up on stage after the debate to watch their mother, Chelsea, reprise her role of the Favorite Aunt in Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker.

No…Hillary didn’t give a special shout-out to FBI Director James Comey thanking him for all of his years of service…and for looking the other way on all those emails.

No…Hillary didn’t invite all of Donald’s  Deplorables on stage to apologize and then send them lovingly away with a slice of Grandmom Hillary’s Apple Pie.

No…Donald didn’t promise if elected he would pardon away Hillary deleting those emails. In fact, he pledged to hire a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary and throw her in jail if warranted (much to the delight of his supporters I’m sure).

No…Donald didn’t invite all of Mexico over to his place for a Cinco de Mayo festival next year. Not even the good ones as he likes to call them.

No…The former students of Trump U did not come on stage to thank The Donald for the world class education they received at his university. 

And No…New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman did not step on stage to tell Donald it was all a big misunderstanding, that the notice to stop fundraising he sent to the Donald J. Trump Foundation was just for laughs.

What you would have seen and heard in this sometimes out-of-control town hall meeting was a question straight out of a marriage encounter retreat…or from my 4th grade school teacher after she broke up a fight between me and my no longer best friend Danny Kelly on the playground.

The final question of the night’s political pillow fight (you know what I mean, everyone swings real hard but nobody really gets hurt) came from Undecided Voter Karl Becker, who asked the two candidates;

“My question to both of you is, regardless of the current rhetoric, would either of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?”

Here is where Donald absolutely outshines Hillary. His answer, no matter how insincere it was, actually was mostly complimentary and somewhat thought out. Hillary on the other hand, refused to compliment Trump himself, choosing the more indirect route of saying he had great kids.

From Hillary:

“Look, I respect his children. His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald. I don’t agree with nearly anything else he says or does, but I do respect that. I think that is something that as a mother and a grandmother is very important to me.” Say what you want about her, but she didn’t fall into the trap of praising her opponent directly.

And then Mr. Trump dove right into the pool without his water wings:

“She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t give up. I respect that. I tell it like it is. She’s a fighter,” Trump said. “I disagree with much of what she’s fighting for. I do disagree with her judgment in many cases. But she does fight hard, and she doesn’t quit, and she doesn’t give up. And I consider that to be a very good trait.”

Trump then politely thanked Clinton for her disingenuous flattery of his children (it was that obvious), and Hillary then silently thanked Trump for supplying the next sound bite in her TV and radio ads.

 Flattery