Another Option for Disney…

Whether you’re a fan of Disney or not, you’ve probably heard of The Hall of Presidents attraction in Walt Disney World in Florida. And maybe you also know it’s currently closed for refurbishment…the newest addition will be the bust of President Trump.

It might be the most controversial thing Disney has ever done…petitions have been signed asking Disney to exclude Trump from The Hall…or at least to not allow him to speak during the show…since 1993 the current President has always given a speech… 

Groups like MoveOn.org have been involved in the fight to exclude Trump from The  Hall, doing what they do best…starting petitions…with all due respect to their efforts, seems like they would have bigger issues deserving of their attention…and of course We the People argue the issue all over the internet…as mean-spirited and divided as ever…with little or no compromise to the debate available…

Well, let’s see if we can change that…maybe make both sides happy happy…it also has been announced that Disney will be changing its Pirates of the Caribbean attraction…again…this time to make it more politically correct. If you’ve been to the parks…been on the ride…you remember the part where your boat floats past a slave auction…all women in chains…to the chant of “We wants the redhead! We wants the redhead”, coming from the assembled pirates, cutthroats, and scurvy scum. Disney wants to change that…okay I get it. But just like The Hall, many have spoken out against the change…some still mad that Jack Sparrow has been added…here’s my suggestion…

Keep the Dems and groups like MoveOn.org happy and don’t add the bust of President Trump…instead, dedicate the Pirates ride to Trump and the members of his cabinet. IMG_0471The part of the ride with the slave auction…the slaves are now played by various We the People…the pirates…you guessed it…his various cabinet members…pirates all, and shouting in unison, “We wants the redhead! We wants the redhead!”, to President Trump, smiling and waving from a window in the west wing. And as a bonus…your boat will now Sail  past a  life-like crooked Hillary Clinton…(his words…not mine) now behind bars, trying to coax that little dog to give her the keys to the cell door…low-key chants of “Lock her up! Lock her up!”, in the background…remember this is a ride dedicated to President Trump…have to give them what they want…

and now leaving The Hall to the Democrats…once again dividing We the People as much as ever…this time simply over two damned amusement park attractions…

…we literally hate you, love Dropkick Murphys

The start of summer triggers an annual event in my life…something similar to changing batteries in your home smoke detectors every fall when we change the clocks…although not quite as potentially life-saving as that often neglected piece of home maintenance. That other important event?… adding and deleting songs on my summer music playlist.

 It’s not real hard since my choice of music skews heavily towards mostly rock songs released from the 1960’s through the 1990’s. With just over 100 songs on my playlist, it gets a little boring and too repetitive…having nothing on the list released post Y2K also tends to cut out some potentially great songs. So this year, I decided I would step out of my comfort zone and try something new and different…

Since surprisingly Disco is out now…and when the hell did that happen anyway?…I chose Celtic Punk Rock music. I could have chosen Irish Folk music, but to be honest, I preferred the attitude and energy of Celtic Punk over the…well, folksiness of Irish Folk. At my age, learning the Celtic Punk Rock genre would be hard…I wouldn’t know the sound of a tin whistle from a wooden one…couldn’t tell a Real McKenzie from a Dropkick Murphy if one of them walked up and punched me in the face…so I turned to the place most clueless people go for information …the internet. One quick google search and the world of Celtic Punk was on display…the history of…the bands of…and the greatest songs of…

6336E0EF-D360-4B7A-9AAF-0AD8694EF21D-21970-00000FB7AE2DFF2EThe choice of which band to start with was easy…The Dropkick Murphys. Something about the name… borrowed from the famous wrestler and sanatorium operator, Dr. John “Dropkick” Murphy…just screamed Celtic Punk Rock to me.

If you’re wondering about the title of this post?… it’s a portion of the response sent to Wisconsin Govenor Scott Walker (R) who used their song “Shipping Up to Boston” without permission when he took the stage at the Iowa Freedom Summit…to their credit, they weren’t looking to sue anyone…they just didn’t want their music used by someone who doesn’t share their political viewpoints.

I’ve added a couple other songs recently including the classic “Whiskey in the Jar” by the Killdares …easily my favorite version of the song…and songs from Flogging Molly and The Real McKenzies as well. The current list:

The Dropkick Murphys

  • I’m Shipping Up To Boston
  • End of the Night
  • Johnny Collins’ Wake
  • Rose Tattoo
  • Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya

Flogging Molly

  • What’s Left of the Flag
  • If I Ever Leave This World Alive

The Killdares 

  • The Queen of Argyll
  • Whiskey in the Jar

The Real McKenzies

  • Chip
  • The Tempest
  • Barrett’s Privateers

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!

It’s Been So Long Since I’ve Seen My Friends…

I grew up in South Jersey where I lived until 1995. Hung around with a pretty small circle of friends in the 70’s through the mid-80’s; got married in the late 80’s; bought a home; and in the early 90’s, through very little effort on my part, fathered a couple of great kids. My wife of course did all of the heavy lifting and required pushing to bring them out into the world. Since then parenting has been one long tag team event; we usually win, but once in awhile we let the kids have one just for their confidence. It’s also called picking your battles or the more graphic but appropriate…choosing which hill you want to die on.

In 1995 we moved to Southeastern PA; the move necessary due to the constant consolidation in the drug industry. I should probably clarify that by saying we didn’t lose our corner to a rival drug gang, it was the consolidation in The Big Pharmaceutical Industry. The guys who sell the drugs with the incredible side effects which seem to be worse than the actual ailment your treating with their product. You know, the really big drug gangs.

It has been a long time since I’ve seen or talked to any of my friends from South Jersey, We need something like this back home between us and the Mittlebeelers!apparently crossing the Delaware River is every bit as daunting a task as climbing up and over the Great Wall of China. But then that goes both ways, doesn’t it? It also put us in the geographical center between our two families. Closer to her family; but farther from my family with the…been nice knowin’ you attitude.

I tried thinking about some of the changes in my life since I’ve seen any of my friends (still can’t bring myself to call them former) which I estimate to be September of 2001 or just once since 1995; changes in my personality, family changes…what my kids do now…called parental bragging if you will; changes to technology, things like that.

I have a much different personality than I did in 2001. A change in jobs from a comfortable middle management existence to a failed entrepreneurship with FedEx has made me much more cynical when it comes to the motives of corporate America; I now understand that I wasn’t a partner with Fred Smith and FedEx, I was a business model that saved them millions upon millions of dollars in employer taxes, insurances, and employee benefits. And stupidly, instead of putting FedEx in my rear view mirror, I’ve chosen to stay on and now drive for the company that owns my former route. The owner is a good guy and probably one of my three or four friends, but like my friends from Jersey…would I ever here from him again if I were to leave? Cynical…angry…distrusting…grumpy…sober…old man. Much different than the often intoxicated, lovable loser my friends knew. Sometimes I really miss beer.

And that may be one of the biggest changes since I last saw my friends. Beer! Growing up cash strapped and in need of a couple of beers, often me and the friends would settle for anything cheap. Genesee Cream Ale, the disgusting, but affordable King of Beers, Budweiser, and whenever possible a cold Carling Black Label, free from mom and dad’s fridge. Not only do I no longer drink, I wouldn’t know what the hell to drink anyway. With all of the craft beers and small micro-breweries around, simply choosing a beer would be enough of a chore to turn me sober. The last time I had a beer with my friends, not one guy said it was too hoppy or too wheaty or whatever. You just twisted off the cap and talked or argued about sports or girls or cars. 

The last time I saw my friends, my daughter was in elementary school and my son was just beginning kindergarten. Actually, he was in kindergarten twice a day, once in the morning in daycare and then in school in the afternoon. He really hated that. Since then, my daughter has graduated with honors from an expensive liberal arts college that my wife and I probably couldn’t afford, and my son will be graduating very soon. My son has earned his Eagle Scout rank from the Boy Scouts and my daughter has moved to Florida where she works for the House of the Mouse. All of this…since I last saw my friends.

The last time I saw any of my friends, I didn’t own a cell phone. The only two people I know imagewho had cell phones were Gordon Gekko and Maxwell Smart. I had never sent a text message, never skyped, opened a Facebook account, tweeted anything, or created and saved anything to the cloud. I didn’t know I would one day own something called an iPad; never created my personal playlist of music that I could save on a SmartPhone and play over a Bluetooth wireless speaker…none of these things were mine the last time I saw my friends.

The last time I saw my friends was September 9, 2001, when we watched the first game of the Eagles season. And just two days before the terrible events of 9/11, a day no one should ever forget. Since I last saw my friends hundreds of thousands of lives have been changed forever because of the War on Terror. Why do the wars on our societal issues never seem to have a solution…a compromise; how long have we been fighting the War on Drugs…On Cancer…On Poverty…On Gangs…and even on Christmas? 

Since I last saw my friends, the country was once swept up in the great secrecy around Ginger, an invention many thought would change the world, an invention that would change the way cities are laid out, an invention that ended up being The Segway. An imageinvention that nobody thought to ask one simple question, “Where the hell can we use this thing?” How cursed was this invention? The owner of The Segway Corporation drove his off a 30 ft. cliff and into a river below. Irinically…he has seen his friends for the last time.

The last time I saw my friends, Peter Jackson had yet to send Frodo, Aragorn, and the rest of The Fellowship to return The One Ring to Mt. imageDoom…They had yet to prove or dis-prove anything on The Big Bang Theory…Jack Bauer still hadn’t killed anybody on 24…Colonel Jessup had yet to order the Code Red for Private Santiago in A Few Good Men…Sean Bean still had numerous death scenes to play on TV and in the movies…The Philadelphia Eagles still haven’t won a Super Bowl, and the Flyers haven’t heard the ovation that comes from parading Lord Stanley’s Cup down Broad Street in over 40 years.

A great many things have come and gone since I last saw my friends from South Jersey; I often think about them and their families, wonder why they haven’t called, or why I don’t pick up the phone and call them. I guess the real reason is because I don’t want to think of those friendships also as come…and gone.

Ovation

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.

image

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