Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson, born 266 years ago today, is different things to different people. I suppose his everlasting legacy will be, "All men are created equal." But of course we puzzle over his owning slaves. He opposed a strong central government, and had little or no say in the writing of the Constitution. Yet when he became president he stretched the powers of the executive branch many times, not the least of which was the Louisiana purchase, which doubled the size of the United States and used federal money to do so. He stated his discomfort with slavery, but unlike George Washington he did not free his slaves upon his death. He was an uncontrolled spender and left huge debts. He was a man of science and evidence, yet upon his wife's death he locked himself in his room for weeks on end and could not be consoled. He opposed organized religion and wrote of his disbelief in Jesus as the Savior, but proclaimed himself a Christian. So, in the end I view him as a great man... a man with the same failings as all of us.

And perhaps the model for all Americans.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Those without a soul

At last...Navy Seals rescued the American captain, killing three Somali pirates and restoring American pride! Not. How does this happen in the first place? What I think is wrong all over the globe is lack of respect. People have lost their soul, their greed has taken over from thought and reason. If you have no hope then I suppose the consequences of your actions have no meaning. Thus killing, robbing, and who knows what else does not bother you. There are what? 6 billion people on earth? That's a lot, probably more than the earth can realistically provide for in a meaningful way. Thus a large percentage are hungry, poor, and without hope. Now that doesn't mean they have all lost their soul, but when you have so many people and so many without hope, you are talking about so many without a soul, even though that may be too strong a way to put it. So you get 9/11, you get suicide bombers, you get pirates, you get American cities where there are at least one murder every day, and on and on. Is it any wonder that Palestinians throw rocks at Israeli soldiers, that Iraqis blow themselves and American soldiers to pieces, that North Korea and Iran want nukes, that a poor inner city kid kills someone for laughing at him?

Perhaps the economic slowdown will turn our thoughts back to where they should be, family, friends, and finding meaning within ourselves as to why we are all here.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


On April 11, 1945 American troops liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany. I cannot even begin to imagine what both the liberated and liberators must have thought that day.

Friday, April 10, 2009


It's sometimes really hard to believe how far down the scale America's reputation has fallen. Here's an American held hostage by four Somali pirates and they are very much laughing at us. It's humiliating. The world once looked up to us, but those days are long gone, and nothing has really changed since Mr. Obama was sworn in. Maybe in time it will, but Washington seems to be doing things as usual...which is nothing.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

We MUST have educated and healthy chidren

I returned home yesterday after an 11 hour drive from Slidell, Louisiana to Sebastian, Florida. During our stay in Louisiana we got to see some of the destruction caused by Katrina. Now interestingly enough, the French Quarter in New Orleans, at least the major streets that we saw, were in excellent condition and well worth the visit. But outside the tourist areas is a different picture. There are still entire areas that are nowhere near being restored. I can't imagine where all of those people are living now. But that is not my point. My point is: Why are we still sending money to countries that despise us, who hate America, and would like to see our way of life ended. There was a time when this sort of thing made at least a little sense. But it makes no sense to me when so much of our own country, and our own people, need help. President Obama promised change. Sorry dude, but I see the same old Washington throwing good money at bad. Why not help Americans? Why not say "Screw you guys who ruined GM," that's capitalism. You go up, and sometimes you go down. But the root of our country is the people. If people are not happy and healthy and have a decent job and food on the table then what are we?

Just last week I learned that our local public schools will be cutting back, way back. Lost jobs. Good teachers out of work. Can anyone justify giving billions of dollars to the Defense Department, almost by a ten to one over education? How many weapons do we need? We already spend more on defense than the rest of the world COMBINED! This has to stop.

The bottom line is that if we do not have educated and healthy children then we are a third world country. It is time to speak up. Write to your Senators and Congressmen and Congresswomen and tell them, "I'm fed up and I'm not going to take it any more." I have written to Senators Nelson and Martinez and Congressmen Posey here in Florida dn to a man they do respond. How about you do the same wherever you live.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run on April 8, 1974. To many folks this was sacrilegious, a black man passing Babe Ruth. Luckily today we seem to be past this, but now we get the Barry Bonds issue. Baseball just isn't the same anymore.

Also, one year later Frank Robinson became baseball's first black manager.

I suppose if we were all color blind none of this would matter.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tv and Fil imitate life

April 7, 1927, Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover read a speech in Washington which was viewed on television by an audience in New York. It was the first ever demonstration of long distance television transmission.

On April 7, 1862, two dozen men hatched a plan to slip behind Confederate lines, steal a locomotive, and run it north destroying track along the way. They actually pulled this off, and Private Jacob Parrott became the first recipient of the Medal of Honor.

Buster Keaton, my favorite comedian/director of all time made this into one of, if not the, best silent films ever made...The General.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Music Day II

Here is the second installment of my musical history tour.

As for most folks my age, The Beatles were number one. They were simply magical. Everybody else in rock music was a distant second at best. But this is not about rock. it's about jazz, or several permutations of jazz.

Most music fans think of fusion as some awful combination of muzak and pop. But way back when fusion was called jazz-rock. And many of my favorites were rockers crossing into jazz. I suppose the first band that I thought of as rock-jazz was Cream. Now maybe that tag doesn't really fit, but their improvisations playing live went into areas I was pretty much unfamiliar with. Wheels of Fire was on my turntable maybe more than any other recording of that time period. There were other bands more closely tied to rock-jazz like Blood, Sweat and Tears, Chicago, Lighthouse and one obscure band whose tunes stick in my head to this day...Battered Ornaments. Never heard of them? Yes, neither has anyone else. But it was cutting edge music back in the day. If you ever come across their second album titled Mantlepiece, do not hesitate. Chances are you never will. Their leader was Pete Brown who wrote many of the lyrics for Cream but should never have tried to sing. Speaking of Cream, Jack Bruce was in the forefront of many rock-jazz projects most of which hold up very well some 40 years on. Try to listen to Things we Like with John McLaughlin, and the 3-CD Spirit which has several BBC shows with Jon Hiseman and Dick Hekstall-Smith.

And who can forget Soft Machine. Their album Third is a classic of rock-jazz. I'm sure I'm forgetting lots of folks...

More next time on jazz-rock.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Tippecanoe and Tyler too

On April 4, 1841, William Henry Harrison died of pneumonia. He was our ninth president but only for one month. He is remembered due to his short stay in the Oval Office and for Tippecanoe and Tyler too. Actually the Battle of Tippecanoe did not take place at the Tippecanoe River as reported by Harrison. His most famour victory on the battlefront was the Battle of Thames but try rhyming with Thames. Harrison favored slavery, and fought hard for Indiana to be a slave state.

Harrison became quite ill about three weeks after the inauguration, thus putting the lie to his catching cold because he didn't didn't wear a hat or coat that day. Colds don't take that long to materialize. Anway, he was treated with opium, castor oil, and Virginia snake oil. Ugh. Anyway, he probably dies of a virus and the inablity to get any rest. The White House was a wide open public building in those days, and hangers on and job seekers were everywhere.

The interesting thing about his death was that it tested the Constitutional succession clause. Nobody was exactly sure that John Tyler, the VP, was actually next in line to become the permanent president. It was then decided that once he was sworn in he did indeed become the president.

Oh, and on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Cell Phones

On April 3, 1973 Martin Cooper made the first portable cell phone call. He worked for Motorola and invented this miracle that people now use to annoy each other all over the globe. Thanks a bunch Marty. I'll remember you the next time I'm in line at Wal-Mart and the lady in front of me is holding the line up by talking as loudly as possible about absolutely nothing.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Ponce Goes to Florida

On April 2, 1513 Ponce de Leon stepped onto a beach somewhere near present day St. Augustine and named the land Florida. He had been told by Indians in Puerto Rico that there was an island of gold and a fountain of perpetual youth. Had it been one day earlier perhaps Ponce would have taken this information with a grain of salt, but the pursuit of gold and youth was overpowering and off he went. His three ships sailed around the southern end of Florida but seeing no hotels in Miami they continued up the west coast. Since it was already April he figured that Spring Training was over so headed back to Puerto Rico.

Not one to quit so easily, Ponce returned to Florida eight years later. Though there were still no hotels in Miami, at least with air conditioning, he was determined to establish a settlement and perhaps build a fancy hotel all on his own. He brought along 200 men, horses, cattle, and supplies, but no air conditioners. Little did he know that the land was already occupied. Early land speculators, also known as the Calusa Indians, did not take kindly to these fancy shmancy Europeans trying to grab up the good spots. And they meant business. One of the Indians, being known as On Target by his fellow warriors, struck old Ponce with a poison arrow and killed the dude. He was buried in Puerto Rico. Originally his tombstone was to read, "Here lies No Fountain No Gold" but they thought better of it and instead are inscribed the words, "Here rest the bones of a lion."

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Liberty Bell renamed!!!

Did you know that Wal-Mart today bought the rights to the Liberty Bell? It shall henceforth be named the Save Money Live Better Wal-Mart Liberty Bell.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

John Ford

On March 31, 1973, John Ford was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Nixon. This guy was a real American hero. Not only did he direct some of the greatest films Hollywood has ever made, he was also a war hero. Though he was already a famous Hollywood director, he joined the navy during WWII. He filmed the Battle of Midway from atop a primary Japanese target and was hit by flying concrete. He was later hit in the arm by shrapnel which tore a hole through the arm. He served in the Pacific, North Africa, and Normandy. He later held the rank of rear admiral in the U.S. Naval Reserve. When handed the medal, he accepted with the words, "God bless America."

If you've never seen any of his films, try "The Searchers" with John Wayne. They don't make them like that any more.

Monday, March 30, 2009


On March 30, 1981 President Ronald Reagan became the only president to survive an assassination attempt. Upon being wheeled into the operating room he asked the doctor, "I hope you're a Republican!"

On this date in 1858, Hyman Lipman of Philadelphia patented the first pencil with a attached eraser. Now that is something we should remember.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


On March 29, 1943, President Roosevelt and the United States government began rationing meat and cheese among other items. Roosevelt stressed that all Americans had to sacrifice in order to wim the war. It was a matter of fairness. I wonder how willing Americans would be today to adhere to a rationing program.

Today is John Tyler's 219th birthday. In case you don't know, he was the 10th president and half of the "Tippecanoe and Tyler too" campaign.

On March 29, 1999 the Dow Jones closed over 10,000 for the first time.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Dramatic change in life expectancy

If you were born in the United States in the year 1900 you could expect a life span of 47.3 years; 46.3 for a male and 48.3 for a female. Just 100 years later the life expectancy was 78.1; 75.4 for a male and 80.7 for a female.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I Am

I am part of the sun as my eye is part of me. That I am part of the earth my feet know perfectly, and my blood is part of the sea. There is not any of me that is alone and absolute except my mind, and we shall find that the mind has no existence by itself, it is only the glitter of the sun on the surface of the water.

D.H. Lawrence

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dr. Jonas Salk

I remember lining up outside Lamberton Elementary School and being given a small cup with some pink liquid inside. I swallowed it down. I don't really remember anything else. What was it? I remember giving small change to the March of Dimes. What was it?

On March 26, 1953 Dr. Jonas Salk announced to the world that he had successfully tested a polio vaccine. He first vaccinated himself and his family to show that it was safe. Dr. Salk never patented his discovery. He could have become rich but said, "There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?" America had taken on this task and won.

Polio has been virtually eliminated around the world.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fast diet

Want to lose weight quickly?

Your weight is the result of two forces, one pulling you down and one flinging you up. At the exact North Pole there is no rotation, so the flinging force is zero. The rotation at the equator is at its maximum. Therefore you will weigh less at the equator than at the North Pole! Fast diet.

A 200 pound person will weigh 2.5 ounces less at the equator.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My peace is there

my way is in the sand flowing
between the shingle and the dune
the summer rain rains on my life
on me my life harrying fleeing
to its beginning to its end

my peace is there in the receding mist
when I may cease from treading these long shifting thresholds
and live the space of a door
that opens and shuts

Samuel Beckett

Monday, March 23, 2009


On the first day, 'God' created the dog and said: 'Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years.'
The dog said: 'That's a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I'll give you back the other ten?'
So God agreed.
On the second day, God created the monkey and said: 'Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I'll give you a twenty-year life span.'The monkey said: 'Monkey tricks for twenty years? That's a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back ten like the Dog did?'
And God agreed.
On the third day, God created the cow and said:
'You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer's family. For this, I will give you a life span of sixty years.'The cow said: 'That's kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. How about twenty and I'll give back the other forty?'
And God agreed again.

On the fourth day, God created man and said:

'Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this, I'll give you twenty years.'But man said: 'Only twenty years? Could you possibly give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back, the ten the monkey gave back, and the ten the dog gave back; that makes eighty, okay?'
'Okay,' said God, 'You asked for it.'

So that is why for our first twenty years we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves. For the next forty years we slave in the sun to support our family.. For the next ten years we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren.. And for the last ten years we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone..

Life has now been explained to you.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Every Moment

"Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such." Henry Miller

"Above all, we cannot afford not to live in the present." Henry David Thoreau

"The world will freely offer itself to you unmasked, it has no choice." Franz Kafka

"Truth has no special time of its own. It's hour is now-always." Albert Schweitzer

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Recently heard being sung by B. Obama to Ahmadinejad

The color of your skin don't matter to me
As long as we can live in harmony

Why can't we be friends
Why can't we be friends
Why can't we be friends
Why can't we be friends

I'd kinda like to be president
So I can show you how your money's spent, ooh

Why can't we be friends
Why can't we be friends
Why can't we be friends
Why can't we be friends

Sometimes I don't speak bright, alright
But yet I know what I'm talkin' about

Why can't we be friends
Why can't we be friends
Why can't we be friends
Why can't we be friends

(Sung by WAR on their 1974 album of the same name)

Another "Just Asking"

A few years ago Martha Stewart was sentenced to jail time and was locked up, the Enron guys did time, Bernie Madoff has begun doing his time, and countless others either have or will do the same, including just about every ex-governor of Illinois. So why is AIG getting off scott free? Aren't they stealing tax payer money? Just asking. Of course when the people who are running the show claim they "forgot" to enter part of their income in TurboTax, hey who's looking. I guess they didn't read the "Checking for errors" screen in TT after they completed their forms.

In a completely different direction, have you ever noticed that it can take a week to get a letter from just down the street? I'm sure this has happened to just about everyone. Well, I placed an order for some electronics. They were shipped from Korea on March 18. The package was in my hands yesterday, March 20. So, I can get a box from Korea in 2 days but a letter sent from the next zip code can take a week. And the price of a stamp is set to increase once again.

Just asking.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The End of American Hegemony?

Newly elected President George Bush proclaimed that America would not indulge itself in "Nation Building" when he took office. What he meant, and later ignored, was America would no longer be Imperialist. Today, not even ten years later, Americans are spread out all over the globe in the name of Democracy. Now spreading Democracy and freedom is a good thing, don't get me wrong. But only to places where we are wanted, and where it will not cost American lives. And we can no longer afford to give away billions of dollars in the hope that the recipients will welcome our way of life. This just does not work. Perhaps the economic decline we are going through will pull us away from American hegemony and back to the realization that Imperialism is a dead end. This was a lesson learned by the Greeks, the Romans, the Mongols, Spanish, English, and in more recent times by Japan and Germany. And it doesn't take much to bring Imperialism to it's knees. A Jew from Bethlehem began the downfall of the Roman Empire; a tall Virginia plantation owner began the dismantling of the British Empire; and a cigar chewing Brit refused to give in to the Third Reich. Remove Jesus, Washington, and Churchill from the history books and we live in a much different world. Who knows, maybe the history books of the future will look back on our time and someone from our era will have changed the world. Often times financial crises brings people back to reality, that worldly possessions are fleeting, and that the ties that bind us to each other are everlasting.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Today's Game: The DC Stimulants vs. The Middleclass OPMs

Maurice loves baseball. In fact he also loves baseball cards. He collects with reckless abandon, but only his specific favorite players. But his allowance doesn't cover his habit. In order to find cards of his favorite players he's got to buy lots of packs of cards. Sometimes he gets lucky and he'll find one in one pack. Sometimes he'll buy ten packs and not find even one favorite player. It's expensive, so in order to subsidize his habit he sells some of his older favorite cards to his Asian buddy Ker Lee. Ker Lee is kind of lucky because he's been wise with his cards and only buys the good ones. Now one day Maurice's friend Lawrence comes to him with a sad story. He, too, collects cards, but he owes money to so many people that he can't borrow any more, plus some of his friends are getting impatient and would like to put Lawrence out of commission for a while. He asks Maurice to help him out. So Maurice, being an altruistic buddy, sells some of his favorite cards to Ker so he can give the money to Lawrence to avoid broken bones.

Stay with me...

The next day he gives Lawrence the money, but a few hours later he sees him with a new carton of cards. "Hey, Larry, what the heck are you doing?" "Hey, Mo, I just couldn't help myself. When you gave me the money I was going to pay off those thugs but I went by the card store and couldn't resist the temptation." So now Larry is still in debt, Mo has cut into his collection, and only Ker Lee seems to have the upper hand.

But wait. Who are Mo's favorite players, the ones Ker Lee now holds for future gains when he sells them back to Mo?

Mo's favorite's: Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, Andy Pettite, Jose Canseco, and Alex Rodriguez.

If you aren't sure what the point of this tale is, here is a hint: Mo=?, Ker Lee=?, and Larry=? Refer to the title for more hints. Oh, and if you aren't a baseball fan (though baseball actually has little to do with the basic assumptions of my story), Google the names and you'll quickly get the point.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Stamp Acts, Bill Posey and Grover Cleveland, too

Most people I know are groaning about the state of the economy, and rightfully so. But like most of the generations before us, we simply take what we are fed and go on with our lives. But our history was not always so complacent. In fact, Americans once protested a tax so loudly that it was repealed. In 1766 the British Parliament repealed the Stamp Act on this very day. So wake up America and let your Senators and Congresspeople know that you are fed up and you're not going to take it any more. If you think they don't listen, think again. I have written and received replies from Florida Senator Mel Martinez, Senator Bill Nelson, and just today had an email from Congressmen Bill Posey which was well thought out and deserves praise from even a long time Democrat like myself. It was a rather lengthy reply but it concluded with:

"Lower taxes, not higher borrowing, spending, and debt, will put our economy back on track. I urge my colleagues to vote for lower taxes and against higher spending and debt.

Thank you again, Alan, for contacting me. It is an honor to serve you in Congress. If I may be of service to you in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Bill Posey
Member of Congress"

Also, today is the 172nd birthday of Grover Cleveland, the only President to serve two non-consecutive terms in office.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I Blame Diners Club

The biggest Ponzi scheme in history has been pulled off right in front of our eyes. A Ponzi scheme is where an individual or investment company pulls in money from investors, but uses that new money to pay previous investors without actually investing the money at all. The biggest, largest, most insidious Ponzi scheme of all time is...ta da...the United States of America Treasury!!! Yay! Here is the idea: Let's run this thing with OPM (other people's money). We can pull all sorts of shenanigans (see Iraq) and dump billions of bucks from the Treasury without asking anyone (except the clowns in Congress) if they think it's a good idea. We can spend spend spend and none of us ever have to worry about paying it back. It's like a credit card with no limit and no monthly bill. So we keep borrowing from the Treasury, sell the Treasury bills to China, owe them an unimaginable amount, and let the OPM take care of biz. Of course this makes the Chinese a little nervous about their rather large investment, but what can they do about it? Nothing really. If they protest too loudly then the Treasury notes fall in value and they lose money. They need us big time, and we need to keep borrowing to prop up the banks that started this mess to begin with.

I blame Diners Club. Back in the 50s they thought it would be a good idea to offer a card to diners. With that card you could eat dinner and pay for it later. It was a good idea because lots of traveling salesmen (remember them) were always on the go and treating their clients to dinner. This way they didn't have to have lots of cash and could pay the bill later. Then American Express caught the idea and the credit card miracle took off. Except the credit card companies were later deregulated (thank you Supreme Court) and charges and late fees took off. People started using their cards way beyond their means and defaults became a problem. On top of that the greedy banks gave out mortgages in the same way, beyond people's means.

Voila! 2009.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy Birthday James Madison, we owe you dude!

Madison, perhaps the most brilliant and undoubtedly the most widely read president, was born in Port Conway, Virginia, in 1751. Madison, though frail and a hypochondriac, was a tireless worker throughout his political career. He worked long and hard for the ratification of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Though he faced strong opposition from founders such as Patrick Henry, his dedication to the Constitution won the day. He later claimed it was almost the death of him. His brilliant essays, along with those of Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, can be read in "The Federalist Papers."

A few interesting Madison tidbits: He was 5'4" by far the shortest president. He weighed less than 100 pounds and suffered from bad bowels among many other ailments. He and Dolly were childless. He was criticized for America's participation in the War of 1812 when the British attacked Washington and burned down the Executive Mansion (now known as the White House). Madison and Thomas Jefferson, both anti-Federalists (the only powers granted to the Federal government were those specifically written in the Constitution...states by implication gained all other rights) strongly opposed Hamilton's attempt to create a National Bank. They feared that this power, not stated in the Constitution, would open the Federal government to unlimited power and violate the Tenth Amendment (they were right). Hamilton won the day, and ultimately the question of slavery came under Federal scrutiny. It's a long story, but one worth reading about.

A few books I would recommend with Madison as the "hero" or "villain" depending on the author's point of view: American Creation by Joseph Ellis, James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights by Richard Labunski, The Summer of 1787 by David Stewart, Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution by Woody Holton, Liberty's Blueprint by Michael Meyerson. All of these are in my collection and I recommend them highly.

Oh, and Hamilton, though never President (he was born in the West Indies and therefore not eligible) is on the ten dollar bill. Madison, sorry Jimmie, isn't on anything but the list of facts about presidents under "Who was the shortest president?" In fact, we owe as much if not more to Madison as any of the more famous Founding Fathers.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Has Our Political System Run Its Course?

The time may have come for Americans to think about a new Constitutional Convention. Why? The population of the United States in 1776 was about 2.5 million people. At the end of 2007 the United States prison population was almost exactly the same number. Think about that. About 2.5 million Americans were in prison at the end of 2007. The United States is fast approaching the 300 million population mark, one exceeded only by China and India. When our Constitution was written it was done so for a relatively small amount of people in a small geographic area. In other words, it was a controllable population in a confined location. Today you would be able to drive from the northern most point to the southern most point in perhaps 24 hours. But, to me the problem is that we have grown far too large for the type of government designed by the Founding Fathers. Such a huge population in the third largest land mass on Earth spells trouble. And trouble we have. Crime is out of control. We don't adequately educate a large percentage of our children. There is no health plan protection for many Americans. New Orleans is still a mess. We are bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan. And worst of all is Washington. Or actually it's our political system in general. Perhaps the freedoms granted us no longer apply. Maybe there are too many people to handle so much freedom. Let's face it, we are no longer a working Republic. In a Republic the people vote for a representative who theoretically has their best interests in mind. But how can this be when most Americans probably have no idea who represents them either locally or nationally. James Madison once lost an election in Virginia because he refused to hand out liquor to voters, he felt he would no longer have the where with all to vote for what he believed was best for ALL the people. Today in Washington they hand out billions of dollars to their buddies who run the banks, the same people who plundered the system to begin with.

So, since the system may have run its course, what we need is change. Where have we heard that before? From the same clowns who now run the show. Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss. We are too large for a political system based on a world view 230 years old. It's time for a modern Constitution, or at least some change in the way we do things. Real change, not Obama-change (which is really no change at all). We are a one party political system run by a two headed monster.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Madoff Smirk

Maybe it's just the pictures, but it always appears to me that Bernie has a smirk on his face like the cat that ate the canary. In his smugness I see a guy who thinks by pleading guilty to his crimes he has saved his family and friends. Maybe he thinks he has redeemed himself from the wrath of heaven by not revealing who aided him in his Ponzi scheme. Maybe he thinks this makes him a good guy in that by pleading guilty he does not have to expose himself to a public trial. And since he is actually being sentenced to death he can lie at will. The guy is 70 years old and will never be a free man again. So it will be a death sentence for sure.

But, Bernie, by not telling what you know you really are exposing everyone who ever worked for you to guilt by association, whether they were guilty of wrong doing or not. You may be protecting family and friends, but you are making life far worse for the people who worked for you, who pushed papers around in fear that if they didn't they would lose their jobs. By not exposing your accomplices you condemn everyone.

More shame Bernie.

Dear Mr. Cheney...

A friendly note to FORMER Vice President Dick Cheney: Your eight years in Washington were quite enough, thank you. Now, please just shut up and go away.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bernie and the Tooth Fairy

So now Bernard "Ponzi Scheme" Madoff is locked up. Madoff made off with countless billions of dollars, or so we are told. The man pleaded guilty and said he was sorry. Nice guy. The shame here is that by pleading guilty there will be no trial.

My question is, what might the SEC have had to do with his plea? He did not get a plea bargain. He gained nothing by pleading guilty. He doesn't seem to me to be the kind of guy who would plead guilty without getting some kind of deal or avoiding telling the entire story. I have to believe that there is so much more to this than a simple guilty plea. How could the SEC, which was warned time and again about Madoff, simply ignore this house of cards?

Last, and I've said this before, I do feel sorry for the charities and non-profits that lost all their money. This would include Elie Wiesel and his Foundation for Humanity. However, it is difficult to feel anything for the millionaires and billionaires who lost money. To me, they are as greedy as Madoff and believed in him only because they looked to profit from his outlandish claims. You'll only believe in 46% return on your money if you also believe in the Tooth Fairy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Can You Grow a Bigger Brain?

A study was conducted measuring the brain size of London cabbies. Why cabbies, why London, you might ask.

Cabbies have a very brain taxing job, despite what you may think. This may be even more so in a large city such as London. Cabbies must memorize the complex layout of the city and be able to figure out the fastest routes between thousands upon thousands of starting and ending points. They must do so quickly and under a certain amount of pressure. This study showed that the cabbies with the most experience, which would also be the most innovative because they have come up with all types of ways to innovate, were continuously challenging their brains so that they could survive in a very competitive industry. These cabbies had larger than normal right temporal lobes, ie bigger brains since they used them so often in so many challenging ways.

So if you want to grow a huge brain, and be extra intelligent, get a job as a London cabbie. But be sure to buy a new hat!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mr. Watson, Come Here I Want You!

With these words, Alexander Graham Bell successfully tested his invention, the telephone. On March 10, 1876 the first words were transmitted by Bell to his assistant, thus opening a new era in communication. Bell, a native of Scotland, launched the Bell Telephone Company in 1877. He became an American citizen in 1882.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Daylight Saving Time Say Wha?

When told the reason for Daylight Saving Time the old Indian said...

"Only a white man would believe that you could cut a foot off the top
of a blanket and sew it to the bottom of blanket and have a longer blanket."

Sunday, March 8, 2009

This IS Your LIfe

Many people believe that life holds no meaning, and that we are adrift in a meaningless vacuum of neither here nor there. Others believe that this life, the one they are living, is but a prelude to another better life after this one. But as you read this you have meaning, you are you. And this life IS your life. It has meaning and hope for a better afterlife makes no sense in the reality of the present. If you live to make money, then your life has no meaning because money is a transitory and a man made illusion, a thing. It is here one day and gone the next, as are all possessions. They only have meaning to people who can find no meaning to their lives within their own mind. Focus on the self and your relation to other people. We are small organisms in the cosmos but we are conscious entities. So do not think that this life is a practice round for the next life.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Words, Words, Words...Hamlet

Did you ever think about how many words you know? Well, here is a way to find out. Not very scientific, but what the hey.

First, get a dictionary. Second, count the words in the dictionary. Huh, hard you say? Not really. Do this: Count the number of entries on a page. Take a couple of samples and get an average. Then multiply that number by the number of pages. The result will be close to the number of words in the dictionary. Third, and this is the fun part, look at the first word on the page. If you know the meaning give yourself a check. If you don't then give yourself an x. Fourth, repeat this 100 times. If you get 50 right, then you may know about half the words in the dictionary. The more times you repeat this, say 1000 times, the more accurate this will be. The % you get will probably be on the high side, since you may come across some words that are stems of other extended words. But that's okay.

Try it!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Remember the Alamo

March 6, 1836, Mexican dictator General Santa Anna and his army of about 5,000 overwhelmed the defenders of the Alamo. The fort in San Antonio, an old Spanish mission, was occupied by 189 men under the command of Colonel William Travis. Every man was killed that day, but Texans under the leadership of Sam Houston struck back on April 21, routing the Mexicans with the battle cry "Remember the Alamo!"

John Wayne made it into a movie, most of which is pretty accurate.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Here Now

"We are here and it is now. Further than that, all human knowledge is moonshine."

H. L. Mencken

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Bernard and Mrs. Madoff

I have continued to follow the Bernard Madoff case as he approaches being sentenced or facing a Grand Jury. Recently his wife has claimed that her fortune, some $50 million or so, is separate and apart from her husbands, that she somehow was able to accumulate this wealth outside of Mr. Madoff's Ponzi scheme. Okay, if she says so. But what strikes me about all of this, and Mrs. Madoff, is the complete lack of a humility, sorrow, and conscience these "people" possess. Now, as for the alleged vicitms, do they deserve the public's sympathy? I am not referring here to the charities that invested in Madoff's investment and securities firm, but rather the millionaires and billionaires who are no less dispicable in their dealings than is Madoff. How exactly did most of them obtain their bulging bank accounts? And perhaps if they weren't so suseptable to collecting even more money they would not have invested with him in the first place. His scheme was to present his investment firm as an exclusive club. Only the high and mighty were allowed in this club. In the end most of them got exactly what they deserved. Greed is a mighty thing. So I don't picture myself shedding a tear for the victims, but I am outraged that the SEC could allow this to happen. Not surprised, mind you, but outrraged.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Florida!

March 3, 1845, Florida became the 27th state in the Union.

Monday, March 2, 2009


Some time or other boredom may occupy your mind. Today that happened to me. So I began to think (always a dangerous thing) about breathing. Yep, breathing. At the same time my bored mind drifted to James Madison, probably due to reading, "James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights." So, I wondered about Madison and tried to calculate the possibility that the same molecules that Madison breathed, or at least a couple of them, may now be inside my lungs. Is this possible to calculate? Hmmm. Let's think about this. First one must accept the fact that the Earth's atmosphere contains the same molecules that it did during Madison's lifetime. That is a fact, since everything on the Earth is recycled, even the air. Next, one would have to know how much air there actually is. This is not easy to do, but it can in fact be done. The volume of the Earth is 4 pi r squared. That's about 200 million square miles. The atmosphere is not so easy since it thins out as you go up. But through a little searching I found that the volume of the atmosphere in liters is 5,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 or 5 times 10 to the 21st power. If the capacity of a lung is one liter, then the amount of atmosphere in your lungs is 1/5,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Now, how many molecules are in that amount of atmosphere? One liter of gas contains 27,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 molecules. So it would be 27,000,000,000,000,000,000,000/5,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 or 5.4. So one Madison breath would be 1/5,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 of the atmosphere. On an average there is the possibility of breathing in 5.4 molecules that Madison breathed out.

Aren't you happy to know this? I am.

See what your mind can do when you are bored.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Music Day

Around the first of each month I plan to say a few words about some of my favorite music and musicians. I have been a jazz fan for many years, going back more years than I care to or can remember. But there will always be the first listen that sticks in my mind.

Back in the day everybody, and I do mean everybody, read Rolling Stone. So, when I read a review about an album, actually a double album, called Emergency by the Tony Williams Lifetime, I bought it. Played it. Hated it, thinking WHAT IS THIS?

Well, some time in '70 or so I picked up a copy of Rolling Stone and read about a new Miles Davis LP called Bitches Brew. So, being curious about this highly praised work, but being totally clueless about jazz in general other than the Tony Williams Lifetime Emergency LP, I bought it. Played it. Hated it, thinking WHAT IS THIS?

To make a long story short, 40 years later I still listen to these two groundbreaking works. First impressions aside, Bitches Brew is and probably always will be my favorite jazz album. It has perhaps gained in stature for me over the years. Jazz fusion's major artists were all part of this classic music: John McLaughlin/Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report with Zawinul and Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea/Return to Forever, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, Bennie Maupin. Years later my interest was renewed when I heard Bobby Previte and his band "The Horse" playing Bitches Brew, similar to the original but with a modern edge to it. It had been a few years since I listened through to all these great compositions, but to me they sound as fresh as when I first hated then loved them.

Now there is a Tony Williams Lifetime Tribute band with Vernon Reid, Cindy Blacman, John Medeski and Jack Bruce. Bruce was a member of the original band, and appears on the second Lifetime LP, Turn It Over.

It's good to know this music is still around and appreciated by fans like myself. Too bad that Miles and Tony aren't around any more.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Everything's good...

"Everything's good...Everything. Man is unhappy because he doesn't know he's happy. It's only that. That's all, that's all! If anyone find out, he'll become happy at once, that minute."

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

"To wake up to
who we are
what we are here for

To make all life
more poetical, more sane
more living, loving

To experience
the true of all things
this moment...
this moment...
this moment..."

William Segal

"When will the kingdom come?
It will not come by waiting for it.
It will not be a matter of saying 'here it is' or 'there it is'
It is spread upon the earth mbut men do not see it"


Friday, February 27, 2009

Just the Facts

Fact: Your eye color is mainly dictated by where your ancestors lived. People from sunny environments had dark eyes which helped block out the sun. People with blue or light eyes lived in darker environments with less light.

Popeye has better eyes than Bugs Bunny because the lutein in spinach is better for yor eyes than beta-carotene in carrots.

Setting your computer monitor lower on the desk will reduce eye strain because the opening between the lids will be reduced, which prevents dry eyes.

To save money, instead of buying bottled water just drop a piece of cut fruit into a glass of filtered water.

We all produce one to three pints of gas daily. Less than 1% of it smells.

Why do we yawn? The body senses a dip in the oxygen level in the blood, so you yawn to take in more oxygen.

It is a myth that we use only a portion of our brain. In fact, the entire brain is used, thoug not all at the same time.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


"There are two ways to live your life: One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."

Albert Einstein

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Amistad Case

On February 24, 1841, an aged John Quincy Adams began arguing the case of the Amistad before the United States Supreme Court. Adams had thought himself too old to argue the case on behalf of 53 African slaves who seized the Amistad. Spain had demanded the return of their "property (the kidnapped captives)" and President Martin van Buren had agreed. The captives, led by Cinque, insisted they were not property at all, but human beings who had been kidnapped. Adams argued that, "The moment you come to the Declaration of Independence, that every man has a right to lfe and liberty, as an inalienable right, this case is decided. I ask nothing more on behalf of these unfortunate men than this Declaration."

Adams won the case. The court ruled that since the transatlantci slave trade had been banned, the Africans were free men. A blow had been struck for liberty!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Happy Birthday George!

Today is George Washington's birthday. He would be 277 if he were still alive, but he isn't so let's not go there. We Americans consider George to be the father of our country. There is good reason for this on three counts: He led the Continental Army to victory against the strongest and best equipped army on earth, he presided over the writing of the Constitution, and he served as the first president of the new United States. Without his leadership it is doubtful that the colonies would have united. Many members of the Constitutional Congress openly stated that Washington was the one and only reason they agreed to attend the Constitutional Convention. His leadership of the Continental army inspired the recruits to continue the fight when the odds were against them. As the first president he set the example for all who followed.

Without Washington there would be no United States.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Today is your lucky day

"Forget mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you are going to do now and do it. Today is your lucky day."

Will Durant

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Bad Day for Japanese-Americans

Suppose you are of Japanese descent, an American citizen, and alive in 1942. On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt just signed Executive Order 9066, which basically robbed you of all of your rights and property and sent you to an internment camp for the remainder of the Pacific War. Loyal Americans were locked way for years simply because of who they were. That was a sad day for all Americans and we should be diligent that this sorry affair never happens again. President Reagan signed an apology in 1988, which also gave each survivor $20,000.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dear President Obama

Dear President Obama: Thank you very much for the "stimulus" package. But, I do have one question, "Where exactly is the stimulus for the millions of Americans that filled the US Treasury with the trillions of dollars you are now handing out to the exact same poorly managed companies that caused all of this in the first place."

Perhaps you may not have noticed a few things that took place prior to the collapse of the economy. I would like to point one important one out to you. In 2001 my wife and I purchased a home in Coral Springs, Florida. Though it was a bit expensive we thought it was a good investment since it was in a good neighborhood, had good schools, was near shopping, etc. Well, we didn't realize that it was as good an investment as it turned out to be. It doubled in value in less than five years. The problem was that so did everything else in a comparable market. Looking back on this as a reflection of market conditions in general, it's rather easy to see that mortgage lending was a major cause of this problem. Home values were skyrocketing, loans were easy to obtain, brokers and lenders were making lots of money. But this was a market built on air. And noiw we are seeing the results. The values have gone back to where they should have been back in 200X. The market has not had it's bubble burst, as we are told by you and others who would like us to believe in your scary stories. It has merely adjusted to normalcy.

Why should the US Treasury, our money, save the robber barons. Let them fail. Let GM go under, because surely someone will buy it. Let the lenders go under, they dealt in robbery and deserve what they get.

If you want to stimulate the economy, stop telling everyone had bad things are. You ran for the presidency on a platform of hope but have done nothing since taking office but tell us how bad things are. Poor sportsmanship I say.

Last, thanks for the $250 that will go to social security recipients some time in 2009. That sure will stimulate the economy. NOT!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Free I.Q. Test Online - Free I.Q. Test Online - How Dumb Are You?

Intelligence is Over Rated

A friend of mine has a life saving tool that cuts through a seat belt if she gets trapped in the car. She keeps it in the trunk???
”What’s Wal-Mart? Do they like make walls there?” Paris Hilton
“It was God who made me so beautiful. If I weren’t, then I’d be a teacher.” Linda Evangelista
My friend and I saw a woman walk by with a nose ring attached by a chain to an earring. She said that would be a problem because the chain must rip out every time she turns her head???
Someone I know could not locate her luggage after waiting at the luggage kiosk. She told the clerk at the lost luggage office about her problem. The clerk asked, "Has your plane arrived yet?"???
So, where’s the Cannes Film Festival being held this year?” Christina Aguilera
While waiting in line at Subway, I heard the clerk ask if the customer wanted his sandwich cut in two pieces or one. The customer replied, "Oh, just one because I don't think I could eat two."
“Is this chicken what I have or is it fish? I know it’s tuna but it says ‘Chicken of the Sea’.” Jessica Simpson
“Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,” –Mayor Marion Barry, Washington, DC.
“Half this game is ninety percent mental.” –Philadelphia Phillies manager, Danny Ozark
“It isn’t pollution that’s harming the environment. It’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.”–Al Gore, Vice President
“If somebody has a bad heart, they can plug this jack in at night as they go to bed and it will monitor their heart throughout the night. And the next morning, when they wake up dead, there’ll be a record.” –Mark S. Fowler, FCC Chairman
Question: If you could live forever, would you and why? Answer: “I wouldn’t live forever, because we should not live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever,” –Heather Whitestone Miss Alabama in the 1994 Miss USA contest.
“Smoking kills. If you’re killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life,” –Brooke Shields
Lawyer: "Was that the same nose you broke as a child?"
Witness: "I only have one, you know.

Monday, February 16, 2009

President's Day Part II "The Not So Wise"

Richard Nixon (1969-1974): "Well, when the president does it that means that it is not illegal."

William Jefferson Clinton (1993-2001): "That depends on what your definition of "is" is."

Ronald Reagan (1981-1989):"One problem that we've had, even in the best of times, is the people sleeping on the grates, the homeless who are homeless, you might say, by choice." --

Dwight Eisenhower (1953-1961):"Things are more like they are now than they ever were before."

Gerald Ford (1974-1977): "If Abraham Lincoln was alive today he would roll over in his grave"

But deserving of a book all his own is "W."

"We're all capable of mistakes, but I do not care to enlighten you on the mistakes we may or may not have made."

"I am not part of the problem. I am a Republican"

"I stand by all the misstatements that I've made."

" There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says, fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again."

"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."

"And there is distrust in Washington. I am surprised, frankly, at the amount of distrust that exists in this town. And I'm sorry it's the case, and I'll work hard to try to elevate it."

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

President's Day Part I "The Wise"

Today we salute all 44 of our Presidents, good or bad.

Here's some food for thought from a few of the best and not so best:

Herbert Hoover (1929-1933): "Prosperity cannot be restored by raids upon the public treasury."

James Madison (1809-1817): "Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christianity, in exclusion of all other Sects?"

James Monroe (1817-1825): "The earth was given to mankind to support the greatest number of which it is capable, and no tribe or people have a right to withhold from the wants of others more than is necessary for their own support and comfort."

Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809): "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal..."

William Henry Harrison (1841): "There is nothing more corrupting, nothing more destructive of the noblest and finest feelings of our nature, than the exercise of unlimited power."

Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865): "Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877): "I shall have no policy of my own to interfere against the will of the people."

Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909): "A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car, but if he has a university education he may steal the whole railroad."

William Howard Taft (1909-1913): "The President cannot make clouds to rain and cannot make corn to grow, he cannot make business good..."

John F. Kennedy (1961-1963): "I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House—with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."

George Washington (1789-1797): "Happiness depends more upon the internal frame of a person's own mind than on the externals of the world."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The DC Virus

So, if you are keeping score:
Senator Roland Burris of Illinois, the one appointed to the seat vacated by the election of Barak Obama, has now"recalled" that he did indeed have more contact with people from ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich's office. Remember that Rod B was removed from office for soliciting bribes for appointing someone to fill that chair. Burris seemed to have a lapse of memory, a malady that seems to spread like a virus through Washington.

If you are keeping score, that virus has infected Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner who forgot to pay his taxes, Tom Daschel who forgot to pay his taxes, Hilda Solis's husband caught the virus as he also forgot to pay his taxes...

So, be warned...stay out of DC or the virus will get you, too. You'll forget to uh...what was I saying?

Oh, and let's not forget A-Rod. What does he have to do with this. He's got the virus and I can prove it. Last year the Yankees brought in a pitcher named Jonathan Albaladejo. They picked him up from the WASHINGTON NATIONALS. Ta da!!! A-Rod completely forgot about those Texas Ranger years when he was young and foolish and under so much pressure. Sure, $275 million isn't quite enough to pay all those bills, Alex. You want pressure, how about the guy who lost his job at Piper Aircraft in Vero Beach, Florida on Tuesday and can't pay his mortgage? That's pressure. I hear some people say that at least A-Rod admitted his illegal activity. Uh, not until he was caught.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saint Valentine

Today is St. Valentine's Day. Whoopee (or so says Hallmark).

Do you know the origin of St. Valentine's Day? What's that? You have no idea? Then why are you buying so much candy, so many cards, and flowers, and jewelry? Oh, guilty conscience.

Well, if you don't know the origin, here is the story:

Yep, that's it. Nobody else does either. There is no one St. Valentine to pin this on, and no distinct origin for this "holiday." So there. Next year keep this in mind and your dollars in your pocket!

Friday, February 13, 2009


Friday the 13th. Freddy returns.

Why is Friday the 13th considered a bad day? Most researches believe it is a combination of two elements: first, Jesus was crucified on a Friday. Second, though 13 is considered a lucky number in China, it is an unlucky number in the west.

The unlucky day received little notice until early in the 20th century, though it had long been held as an unlucky day. The tradition gained popularity when a book, cleverly titled Friday the Thirteenth was published in 1907. That seemed to solidify the tradition, that and Freddy!

BTW, Paraskavedekatriaphobia is the fear of Friday the 13th. Anybody know the name of the spelling bee phobia?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy 200th Abe!

Today we honor Abraham Lincoln on his 200th birthday, though I'm not sure if he is aware of the honor. But here are a few words to think about:

Lincoln was not an abolitionist as we think of him in 2009. I say this because of his exact words, "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the union, and it is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing and slave I would do it, if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that."

And save the Union he did! Even while wearing that big hat.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My Sweet Anna

Is there anything that touches a father's heart more than a great daughter? I have to brag. My daughter Anna, who is pictured to the left, will be her school's "Principal for a day." She wrote an essay explaining what she would do for her school if she were principal for a day. She won the contest! I am so proud of her. She will spend this Friday the 13th being principal, assisted by Mr. Dugan, the "other" principal. My hat is off to Treasure Coast Elementary School and to the great staff of people at the school. Special thanks to her wonderful homeroom teacher Mrs. Stull, and to Mrs. Loomis, Mrs. Staples, Mrs. Johnston, Mr. Hall, Mrs. Berg and to all those I have missed. Thanks for a wonderful school experience for Anna. As a retired educator with over 30 years of teaching, I don't think Anna could have gotten a better school experience anywhere.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"Say It Ain't So, Alex"

There is a baseball myth that goes something like this: After the trial of the eight players accused of throwing the 1919 World Series, also known as the "Black Sox" scandal, a young boy walked up to Joe Jackson and said, "Say it ain't so, Joe." It probably never happened, and actually the jury found in favor of the players, who, nevertheless, were banned from baseball for life.

Well, here we are 90 years later, and I ask, "Say it ain't so, Alex."

Roll models in the tank. Roger Clemens, A-Rod, and who knows how many more. If Joe Jackson, perhaps the A-Rod of his day, was banned for supposedly "cheating," what is any different for the "cheaters" of the modern era.

Are these players so arrogant, so spoiled, so rich, that they just don't care? The only solution for this problem is banishment.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Does anybody have a clue?

This stimulus package bullying and threats seem out of character for Obama. Do they feed the president some special food at the White House that inhibits their ability to think? One basic question: Do you have even the slightest clue if this billion dollars will do anything to help the economy?

To me, just your average American, wouldn't it make more sense to eliminate the wasteful spending that we all know will happen, and just give the American people BACK their own money? I sure could use it, couldn't you?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Robert Lincoln, Man of Mystery, Or Was He???

On Thursday, February 12, we will celebrate the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln, perhaps our greatest president (okay George we know all about you). There are many unusual things about the man, the biggest mystery being, "Hey, Abe, what's under the tall hat?"

But, his son Robert has a couple of things to answer for, too. Robert was the only offspring to live to adulthood of the four Lincoln sons. Hmmmm. But wait, there's more. Robert thought Mary, his mom, was nuts so he had her arrested and committed to a mental institution. She swore he was a bad son. No wonder. But here is the weirdest thing about Bob. He played in politics but never got very far. He was president of the Pullman RR car company. As an emissary of the government he was scheduled to meet President James Garfield at the Washington railroad station on July 2, 1881. As he approached Garfield, Charles Guiteau walked up to the president and shot him. Garfield lingered for over two months before he died. But that's not the weirdest part (remember that Bob's dad was the first president to be assassinated, Garfield was second). On September 6, 1901 our friend Bob was attending the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, NY. As he was approaching President William McKinley to speak to him, Leon Czolgosz got there first and shot McKinley in the stomach. He lingered for a few days then died. I don't know about you, but I think Bob has some things to answer for. Or maybe....

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Hefty payout deal draws public anger

Sound familiar? Sure, except keep reading...
The main target of a public outcry is Guotai Jun'an Securities Co, one of the largest brokerages in China, which is reportedly ready to give its executives hefty pay rises for 2008, when the financial services industry suffered major losses and the company itself saw a 24.24 percent decline in net profit, according to the Securities Association of China.

Guotai Jun'an announced it would earmark 3.2 billion yuan ($470 million) for "compensation and welfare expenses" for the past year, 57 percent higher than its compensation budget at the beginning of the year.

The decision, pending approval from its board of directors, was immediately chastised by the Chinese media as a move State broadcaster China Central Television described as "causing harmful social influence".

Friday, February 6, 2009

US Senate TV

Watching the Senate TV station is not very different from watching paint dry. The Senate chamber is mostly empty. The speakers appear to be speaking to their colleagues, who of course aren't there. And, for the most part, you have to ask yourself how these boring people ever got to this position of power.

A couple of exceptions: John Thune, senator from South Dakota actually made some sense. His amendment to the Obama economic stimulus package was to take the 900 billion dollars and give it directly to the American people. What a concept! Imagine giving to the people and letting them decide how and where to spend the money!!!

Then there was the senator from Rhode Island, Sheldon Whitehouse (yes, really). He went on and on about how unfair it was to eliminate from the package millions of dollars to repair the zoo in Providence, Rhode Island. Now I may be crazy, but it seems to me that better housing for PEOPLE should take priority over better housing for, oh, elephants. Mr. Whitehouse, please shut up.

Then there's Arlen Specter. Gotta love the guy. 79 years old and sharp as a...well, maybe at almost 80 it's time to retire Arlen. Magic bullet indeed.

Last, Jim Bunning. Hey, Jim, pitching a perfect game was great. It was awesome, and it was Father's Day. You are in the Baseball Hall of Fame. But you seem to have forgotten how to read. Better luck next time.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

No Fuel for the Anti-Semites

The list of people scammed by Bernie Madoff consists of 162 pages, 80 to a page. Amazing. But there is at least one positive note. As I read through the names it became apparent that those wanting to use this for their anti-semetic rants would have a hard time justifying taking that position. Good old Bernie made sure that many, if not most, of his "victims" were among the chosen people. Clearly Bernie himself is not prejudice. He ripped off his own people, and others of all races and religions.

And why is he still in that apartment?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tom and Bernie

In the news today, Bernie Madoff had a visit from Tom Daschel. The two have decided to write a book together, tentatively titled: How to Swindle Your Friends and Relatives Out of Their Life Savings and Not Pay Any Taxes On the Money.

Daschel told reporters that he was quite impressed with Madoff. However, when Madoff asked if Daschel had any cash on him, the newly non-appointed Obama team member quickly hid his wallet.

Daschel had lunch in the Park Avenue apartment, which also serves as Madoff's prison cell. When Bernie could not get four people to sign a bond for him, the judge ordered Madoff to be held under house arrest. Poor Bernie has to hang out in a $7 million Park Avenue Apartment. As for the lunch, the Chinese delivery man was heard to say, "Cheap b_____" when exiting the apartment building. Phone calls to the restaurant went unanswered, but a patron overheard that a charge card belonging to a Mr. Ponzi was rejected by American Express.

When told of the meeting, former SEC Commissioner Christopher Cox commented: "Um, uh."

Newly appointed Commissioner Mary Schapiro had no comment other than to say she hoped that the Chinese food did not contain any peanut butter.

A New Washington Era?

From President Obama, something we never heard from the previous administration:

“I'm here on television saying I screwed up. And that's part of the era of responsibility, is not never making mistakes, it's owning up to them and trying to make sure you don’t repeat them and that's what we intend to do,” he told NBC.

On CNN, he went a little further: “Look, ultimately, I campaigned on changing Washington and bottom-up politics. And I don't want to send a message to the American people that there are two sets of standards, one for powerful people, and one for ordinary folks who are working every day and paying their taxes.”

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Received from Senator Bill Nelson

Dear Mr. Kayser:

Thank you for contacting me about the economic stimulus package.

The American people are hurting. They are losing their homes, their jobs, their businesses and their life savings. Economists across the political spectrum agree that the government needs to take bold and immediate action to stimulate the economy and curb the risk of a protracted economic recession.

The economic stimulus package will provide critical tax relief, shore up unemployment benefits and food stamps, improve access to health care, and promote energy independence. I believe the stimulus package is narrowly targeted to spend and invest in ways that will get the economy moving again.

I understand your concerns about the stimulus package. Last year I voted against spending $700 billion to bail out Wall Street because the bill lacked meaningful relief for homeowners facing foreclosure and didn't include adequate protections for American taxpayers. I am committed to reducing wasteful spending and improving transparency in Federal funding. For too long have we ignored the consequences of a burgeoning Federal deficit.

As Congress considers measures to put the economy on the right track, I will be sure to keep your views in mind. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future.

P.S. From time to time, I compile electronic news briefs highlighting key issues and hot topics of particular importance to Floridians. If you'd like to receive these e-briefs, visit my Web site and sign up for them at

Monday, February 2, 2009

Michael Phelps "Apologizes"

"I engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment," Phelps said in a statement released by Octagon, his management firm, and posted on his Facebook site. "I'm 23 years old, and despite the successes I have had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner that people have come to expect from me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public -- it will not happen again."

Michael Phelps we hardly know you. Once again we get an apology from a knucklehead who didn't have the sense to say NO! Yes, Mike, you are 23. But you are NOT just a youthful 23 year old. You are an Olympic icon and with that comes responsibility. You should have known better than to expose your reputation for a couple of hits on a bong.

We live in a culture where anything goes as long as you announce an apology when the deed is done. When Mike says it will not happen again, does he mean he won't smoke dope again or he won't get caught on camera again?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Frank Buckles, Happy Birthday to the last vet of WWI

Three New Stooges

Tom Daschle
Timothy Geithner
Rod Blagojevich

The only "CHANGE" I see coming out of Washington (and Illinois - Obama's home turf) is the coins falling out of the pockets of these guys.

If Mr. Main Street pulled the same shenanigans as these clowns he'd be wearing an orange suit at the local hoosegow(?).

I swear to uphold the....maybe there was a reason those lines got screwed up at the inauguration. Nobody believes it any more.

Okay, once again my New Year's Resolutions have been flushed down the Krapper.

Saturday, January 31, 2009


What? This is from The New York Daily News, January 31, 2009:

A Georgia drowning in medical bills for their two disabled kids put everything they own - except for their house - up for auction on ebay. Last week, Gregg and Brittiny Peters accepted a bid of $20,000 for all worldly possessions - but it came with a catch. The winners, a Texas couple, want the family to keep the money and their stuff. "They've worked really hard to get those things and we're in a position to help them," Donnia Blair told The Associated Press. In a strange twist, though, the Peters clan isn't happy about the bid. They said they were looking for a fresh start - not charity. "They are apparently not willing to take our stuff," Brittiny Peters said. "They're purchasing them to give them back to us."

The mom of three - who has one child with autism and another with arthritis - said she may accept the cash but donate the auction items to others.

Now maybe I'm being a bit cynical, but WHAT the heck are these people thinking? They put their crap on ebay, somebody bids on their junk, GIVES them $20,000 and they are not the least bit grateful??? If that's me, I'm taking the money back and finding someone else who might at least say, "Thanks." But that's just me.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Senator Martinez

I received Senator Martinez's response to my question about the new "Stimulus" package.

Below is a response to the recent comments I received from you:

Dear Mr. Kayser:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the United States economy. I appreciate hearing from you and would like to take this opportunity to respond.

In February 2008, the Congress, with my full support, passed the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008. This legislation was designed to jump start our slowing economy and encourage job creation. Included in the package was direct financial relief for individuals and families, as well as tax incentives for businesses aimed at stimulating investment.

As you know, our economy is facing a number of serious challenges--many of which involve housing, an acute issue in our state. As the Senate considers additional proposals aimed at growing our economy, including the possibility of a second stimulus bill, I will keep your thoughts in mind. I will continue to work with my colleagues to find ways to use the resources of the federal government in a reasonable and responsible manner in order to mitigate future losses and put our housing and financial markets on the pathway to recovery.

Again, thank you for sharing your views with me. For more information about issues and activities important to Florida, please sign up for my newsletter at


Mel Martinez
United States Senator

Thursday, January 29, 2009

RIP John Martyn

Sad news today, the passing of John Martyn. His unique guitar sound, voice, and sense of humor will be missed by his fans. RIP John.

Random stuff from history

On January29, 1900 the American Baseball League was formed in Philadelphia.
On January 29, 1936 the first five inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame were named: Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson and Honus Wagner.
William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States, was born on January 29, 1843. He was assassinated in 1901. If you ever get to see a $500 bill, you will see a picture of him. He was a Civil War Veteran, and a very popular president. Upon his death Theodore Roosevelt took office, and remains the youngest person to hold the position.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stimulate What?

I am sorry to say that Washington is back to politics as usual. President Obama is pushing through his"stimulus" package with the same zeal and rhetoric as Bush.

Mr. President, your sense of urgency is unfounded. TARP did not work. The tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 did not work. The Senators and Representatives in Congress need to read the 650 page document and digest its proposals. Rushing this through with the cry of "the sky is falling" is what we got from Bush. And now you.

Borrowing money, creating more debt, is the wrong way to go.

I am reminded of the Who, singing "Won't Get Fooled Again." "Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Huge Ponzi Scheme

I would advise everyone to read Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution. You will be surprised. You can find the Treasury information on their website.

I suggest we all write to our Senators and Representatives recommending that they actually read the proposed "stimulus" package and that they read the Treasury report.

Common sense tells me you cannot keep borrowing money today to pay back money that you borrowed yesterday. Eventually you will not be able to pay back anything. Just reference Bernard Madoff. I think what we have is a government foisting a huge Ponzi scheme on the American people.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Year of the Ox

Say good-bye to the Year of the Pig and hello to the Year of the Ox.

Happy Chinese New Year to one out of every five humans living on our planet.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Something warm and something cold

On this day in 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman in America to receive a medical degree. She received her degree from Geneva Medical College after being turned down by more than two dozen medical schools. She had been accepted by the school due to the faculty and students, all male of course, thinking her application was someone playing a practical joke. She graduated with top honors.

Today, half the medical school graduates are women.

On January 23, 1971, a temperature of -80 F was recorded in Prospect Creek, Alaska. That's the lowest temperature ever recorded in the United States.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Sad Commentary

The United States spent almost 800 billion dollars on defense in 2008. It spent 67 billion dollars on education. I suppose the intent is to keep the population uneducated enough that they don't even question this out of balance spending.

In fairness, individual states also contribute to education. But still...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama

Most of us over the age of..., well let's say most of us, never thought we'd see this day.

But I am somewhat put off by political commentators who claim this to be a great day for African-Americans. Surely, it is a great day for them. And a proud moment for all Americans. But more than that I believe it shows that Americans are just tired of the Washington status quo.

Here is hoping that Mr. Obama is not just another political hack making empty promises.

Monday, January 19, 2009


On this day in 1977 it snowed in Miami.

Robert E. Lee is 202 years old today.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Timmy, maybe you need TAX CUT software

Soooooo, here is the change we are getting in Washington from Mr. Obama (yes, I voted for him). Newly nominated and about to be appointed Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner not only will head the Treasury but as such will oversee the Internal Revenue Service. Ah, the IRS. Now there is one itsy bitsy problem with Mr. Geithner. He has, over about a 15 year period, neglected to pay HIS OWN self-employment taxes, as well as the taxes for an employee who was NOT LEGALLY in this country. Mr. Obama, give me a break. This is CHANGE?

I may be crazy but I'm not stupid!

We are seeing the same old Washington games. Yes, he made a mistake but he's cleared it up and no problem. So, if I "forget" to pay some of my taxes I can simply rectify it by claiming to be, in my case, bordering on senility.

Oops, I forgot my New Year's Resolution to not be cynical. But, after all, they are telling me that despite his forgetfulness he's the best man for the job. Hey Homer, if you lose your job at the plant maybe you can be Secretary of the Treasury. Paulsen, Geithner, Homer Simpson!!!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Ben!

January 17, 1706. Benjamin Franklin is born in Boston.

January 17, 1806. Thomas Jefferson's daughter Martha gave birth to James Madison Randolph, the first child born in the White House

Friday, January 16, 2009

It Is Happiness

"Do you see O my brothers and sisters?
It is not chaos or death - it is form, union, plan -
It is eternal life - it is Happiness."

Walt Whitman

Monday, January 12, 2009

Happy Birthday John Hancock

Happy 272nd birthday to John Hancock. Perhaps the only man to be remembered solely for signing his name. But he should also be remembered as a great patriot who risked his life and considerable fortune for the cause of liberty.

In 1932 Hattie W. Caraway of Arkansas became the first woman elected to the US Senate.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Happy Birthday Alexander Hamilton

On January 11 of either 1755 or 1757, Alexander Hamilton was born. The exact year is unknown. He was born in Nevis, West Indies. He was an aide-de-camp to George Washington and a Revolutionary War hero. He was a member of the Continental Congress. He helped create America's financial system as the first Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton favored a strong central government and became the leader of the Federalist Party. Along with James Madison and John Jay, he wrote the Federalist Papers, urging the ratification of the Constitution.

Hamilton was killed in a duel with Aaron Burr.

You will find his picture on a ten dollar bill.

If you would like to find out more about this great Founding Father, read Ron Chernow's biography.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What Hath God Wrought!

With those words Samuel Morse tapped out the first message sent from Washington DC to Baltimore in Morse code on May 4, 1844. Earlier, on January 6, 1838, Morse had demonstrated his invention near Morristown, New Jersey by sending the message "A patient waite is no loser."

January 6 is also the 250th wedding anniversary of George and Martha Washington.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Idaho, Alaska!!!

When was Alaska admitted to the Union?

Idaho, Alaska! (get it)

January 3, 1959. The first new state since 1912. It is by far the largest state, more thantwice the size of Texas and almost one fifth the size of the rest of the USA. And they have Sarah Palin, too.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Here are a few New Year's Resolutions that I know I can hold to:

I will stop smoking
I will stop drinking
I will stop gambling
I will support President Bush
I will not be cynical

Okay...for those of you who know me personally, go ahead and laugh.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year.

This year will bring a couple of memorable birthdays:

My daughter Anna will be ten years old.

My Jeep Cherokee will be 20 years old.

Keep a happy face this year. From all indications you will need it!