How Have We Lasted This Long?

Remember not long ago, I told you that Popeye’s had come out with a chicken sandwich that was said to be the equal of Chick-Fil-A’s?  I was happy to hear this, for I refuse to set foot in a Chick-Fil-A restaurant because of their overt bigotry, but I did like their chicken sandwiches long ago.  Well, before the girls and I got around to trying Popeye’s new sandwich, it was announced that they were sold out and would have more in the near future, so I rather forgot about it.  Apparently, though, the Popeye’s sandwich is … um … I don’t even know what word to use … controversial?  Worth risking life and limb for?  Just in the past week …

On Monday, the headlines read “Man Is Fatally Stabbed Over Popeyes Chicken Sandwich”, and on Wednesday it was “Driver Damages Own Car Trying To Jump Popeye’s Drive-Thru Line”Popeye-1.jpgThis post is not about those two events specifically, and I won’t waste my time or yours going into detail.  But rather, this post is about the thought that occurred to me upon seeing these two stories:  I wonder how the human species has managed to survive this long?

Ever since humans evolved from their simian cousins, it seems that they have been trying to kill one another, sometimes with cause, but more often for no good reason.  The more laws we make in our effort to establish a ‘civil society’, the more violent we become.  The more we enhance our education systems, the more ignorant we become.  The more we claim to care about others, the less we seem to care.

Part of the problem, of course, is that we don’t know when to stop reproducing.  The population on earth today is roughly 7.7 billion people, which is more than double the number of people on earth in 1972, just 47 years ago.  The amount of land on the planet, however, remains roughly the same, although with rising sea levels it is on the downturn.  The land on the planet is roughly 196.9 million square miles, which translates to .03 square miles per person.  But, of course, some of that is taken up by forests that are critical for the survival of life on earth.  The bottom line is that we cannot continue to double the population on the planet every 50 years and survive!  Maybe China’s ‘one-child’ rule wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

But, there is more to the problem than overpopulation.  I think that technology has a role in the way people treat each other these days, as well.  Mind you, I’m not putting down man-made technology in general … there have been many amazing inventions, as evidenced by the fact that I am sitting in my comfy chair, and within minutes I have discovered the amount of land and the number of people on planet earth without moving more than my fingertips. Then with a few more clicks of the fingertips, I was able to make the calculations I needed.  Now, I am writing words, again with my fingertips, and in a couple of short hours, people across the globe will be reading my words.  Back in 1972, nobody would have believed it possible.

However, in some ways I think that technology has made our lives too easy.  If the Internet died tomorrow, how many high school kids would know how to go to the library and look up the information I just found at my fingertips?  I’m betting very few.  And, technology has put distance between us – not physical distance, but we are emotionally disconnected from others as we text messages on our cell phones, play video games, watch movies, or troll the ‘net.  We have become emotionally isolated, and when we do have the occasion to interact with others, we have little tolerance.

We are easily frustrated by the actions of others.  Going back to the chicken sandwich example … a man was rude and cut in line in front of another, and the other was so frustrated that he pulled out his knife and stabbed the rude man to death.  Is this what we call ‘civilization’?  All species will kill if they feel their lives or the lives of their pack are threatened, but humans are the only species I know that will kill a person because of the colour of his skin, or where his ancestors came from, or because he was in a hurry to buy a sandwich.

At the same time as we are losing more and more of our humanity, we are also failing miserably to take care of the Earth on which our lives, in fact the lives of every living thing, depend.  The human species seems, as it becomes less tolerant toward one another, to either have a death wish or to believe that they are invincible – I’m not sure which it is.

There are those that will say “Well, species come and go, it’s the natural progression of life”.  Not true.  This extinction will be near-total, and it differs from the extinction of other species in the past because this one was completely, entirely avoidable.  Our fate was in our hands all along, yet we chose to take the path of least resistance, the path that gave us the greatest pleasure, but at the highest cost. It is the arrogance of mankind that has led us to the brink of extinction, and as I ponder it, the only real surprise is that humans have survived this long.

Afternoon ‘Toons!

The first thing I saw in the news this morning made my blood boil … the republicans in the House of Representatives are requesting that Hunter Biden and the whistleblower be subpoenaed to testify before the investigative committees.  First, Hunter Biden?  They have no reason to ask Hunter Biden to testify … that is harassment of a private citizen without cause.  But even worse, is their “demand” that the whistleblower testify.  That is akin to painting a big, red target on his or her back.  It would almost certainly be signing his/her death warrant, given the crazies in the Trump camp that are running around fully loaded for bear.  So, I knew that anything I would write at the moment would be a rant.  It’s Saturday, and this afternoon I will be going out for lunch and a bit of shopping with the girls, so I really don’t want to be in a growlie mood.  So, instead I decided to look at some of those brilliant political cartoons and at least maybe have a chuckle or two, at the expense of the idiots in Washington.


Lindsey Graham.  Sigh.  Lindsey seemingly has no conscience, is two-faced, and seemingly goes in whichever direction he perceives the winds of fortune to be blowing, even if it means stabbing a friend in the back, as he once did his ‘best friend’, John McCain.  More recently, ol’ Lindsey, who fully supported Bill Clinton’s impeachment back in 1998-1999, is refusing to even do his job, says he won’t even read the transcripts from the impeachment investigations.  

GrahamGraham-2Graham-3Graham-4

Graham-5


Since long before he took office, Trump has called climate change a ‘hoax’.  Since taking office, he has actively done everything in his power to add to the problem, to decimate and destroy our environment.  He has long said that he would take the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord, making us the only nation on the planet not committed to doing everything in our power to keep the planet from becoming uninhabitable.  Last week, he kept that “promise”, and took the first step toward pulling out of the Accord.  It was a sad day for the citizens of this nation, and one that will ultimately make us the pariah, the most hated nation on earth.  Climate change is real, folks … it’s Trump who is the hoax!

climateclimate-2climate-3climate-4climate-5Nick Anderson cartoonclimate-7


Trump recently announced that he is changing his state of residence from New York to Florida.  I don’t recall what b.s. excuse he gave, but the reality is it’s naught but a tax dodge.  New Yorkers cheered, while Floridians drowned their sorrows in either a bar or the rising sea tides.

Trump-floridaTrump-florida-2Moving to Florida

Trump-florida-4

I rather thought this looked more like Boris than Donnie …


There was some good news last Tuesday, as people in states like Virginia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania used their vote to tell the nation that they are fed up with the GOP corruption running rampant in the Era of Trump.

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And, of course, as I mentioned in my opening blurb, there is the whistleblower and the fact that the GOP is basically calling for his/her execution …

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And, of course, there is that proverbial ‘elephant in the room’, the looming impeachment, which I hope succeeds beyond our wildest dreams and that Trump is booted out of the White House before the end of the year!  Yeah, I know, I’m dreaming.

impeachimpeach-2impeach-3Attacking the CIATom Toles Editorial Cartoon - tt_c_c191103.tif


And, to offset any angst you might be feeling … take a look at this … guaranteed to give you a chuckle.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend, my friends!

♫ Easy ♫

It was almost too easy.  In a back-and-forth comment, Padre Steve mentioned something called “Sirius Radio 70s on 7”.  Now, I vaguely remembered hearing of Sirius Radio, but really had no idea what it was, or how it worked.  But, I decided to check into it, and I’m so glad I did.  It’s so easy that even I could figure it out, and while there are hundreds of different decades and genre combinations to choose from, I decided to stick, for my first foray into the unknown, with Padre’s recommendation.  Wow … better than my ipod playlist, more variety!  And best of all … it’s FREE! The third song I heard was one by the Commodores … surely I must have already played that one, right?  A trip to the archives, check, double-check … nope … I can’t believe I haven’t already played this one.  Almost too Easy!

Commodores lead singer Lionel Richie wrote this song, which became a crossover hit for the band, bringing them into pop and adult contemporary territory when they were previously pure funk.

The guitar solo, played by group founder Thomas McClary, was tricky business.

“When you have lyrics in a song that say, ‘Why in the world would anybody put chains on me? I’ve paid my dues to make it,’ you have to match the intensity of those lyrics to a sound and a feel that musically portrays the same intensity and the same context of what you’re saying. A lot of ballads, the song would just end, but we wanted the guitar solo to take it to another level of intensity. So that was basically the inspiration behind it.”

I never knew, until tonight, how the Commodores got their name.  The seven original members each had a name they liked, so they agreed to throw a dictionary in the air and blind-pick a word on the page it landed on. That word was “Commodore,” which was a ranking in the United States Navy that is no longer used. They came very close to being “The Commodes.”

Easy
Commodores

Know it sounds funny
But, I just can’t stand the pain
Girl, I’m leaving you tomorrow
Seems to me girl
You know I’ve done all I can
You see I begged, stole, and I borrowed! (yeah)

Ooh that’s why I’m easy
I’m easy like Sunday morning
That’s why I’m easy
I’m easy like Sunday morning!

Why in the world would anybody put chains on me?
I’ve paid my dues to make it
Everybody wants me to be
What they want me to be
I’m not happy when I try to fake it! no!

Ooh that’s why I’m easy
I’m easy like Sunday morning
That’s why I’m easy
I’m easy like Sunday morning!

I wanna be high, so high
I wanna be free to know
The things I do are right
I wanna be free
Just me! Whoa, oh! Babe!

That’s why I’m easy
I’m easy like Sunday morning, yeah
That’s why I’m easy
I’m easy like Sunday morning, whoa
‘Cause I’m easy
Easy like Sunday morning, yeah
‘Cause I’m easy
Easy like Sunday morning

Songwriters: Lionel Richie
Easy lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Saturday Surprise — Wildlife and … Crocodile Hunter Junior!

Good Saturday morn, and welcome to the …weekendI have two fun things planned for today.  First, this may come as a big surprise to you, but Filosofa is a big lover of critters!  Shocked, aren’t you?

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the largest wildlife photography competition in the world. It is an annual international wildlife photography competition owned by the Natural History Museum.  The first competition was held in 1964, with three categories and around 600 entries. By 2008, the competition had grown to over 32,000 entries from 3100 photographers in 82 countries!

There are far too many for me to post here, so I have picked only a few of my favourites this year, but your can see more of the winners at Bored Panda, if you’re interested.

This first one is the #1 winner, titled “The Moment”, and taken by Yongqing Bao of China. 

"The Moment" By Yongqing Bao, China, Behaviour: Mammals, Grand Title Winner

This Himalayan marmot was not long out of hibernation when it was surprised by a mother Tibetan fox with three hungry cubs to feed. With lightning-fast reactions, Yongqing captured the attack – the power of the predator baring her teeth, the terror of her prey, the intensity of life and death written on their faces.

“Bee Line” by Frank Deschandol of France

"Bee Line" By Frank Deschandol, France, Behaviour: Invertebrates, Highly Commended 2019

Bees buzzed in the long grass around the lake as evening fell. To Frank’s delight, they were settling down in little rows along the stems. These were solitary bees, probably males, gathering for the night in suitable resting places, while the females occupied nests they had built nearby.

“Land Of The Eagle” By Audun Rikardsen of Norway

"Land Of The Eagle" By Audun Rikardsen, Norway, Behaviour: Birds, Winner 2019

Audun carefully positioned this tree branch, hoping it would make a perfect lookout for a golden eagle. He set up a camera trap and occasionally left road-kill carrion nearby. Very gradually, over the next three years, this eagle started to use the branch to survey its coastal realm. Audun captured its power as it came in to land, talons outstretched.

“Lucky Break” By Jason Bantle of Canada

"Lucky Break" By Jason Bantle, Canada, Urban Wildlife, Highly Commended 2019

A raccoon poked her head out of an abandoned car and paused to assess her surroundings, allowing Jason just enough time to use a long exposure in the twilight. The back seat was an ideal den for the raccoon and her five cubs as the only entrance – through a blunt-edged hole in the glass – was large enough for her but too small for predators such as coyotes.

“Portrait Of A Mother” By Ingo Arndt, of Germany

"Portrait Of A Mother" By Ingo Arndt, Germany, Animal Portraits, Highly Commended 2019

When you are eye to eye with a wild puma,’ says Ingo, ‘excitement is guaranteed.’ Tracking these elusive cats on foot meant lugging heavy gear long distances, often in freezing temperatures and unrelenting winds. Mutual respect gradually earned him the trust of a female and her cubs, allowing him to capture this intimate family portrait.

“Cool Drink” By Diana Rebman of the U.S.

"Cool Drink" By Diana Rebman, USA, Behaviour: Birds, Highly Commended 2019

Despite the bitterly cold temperature of minus 20 degrees Celsius, Diana spent hours mesmerised by what she described as the ‘well-choreographed dance’ of a group of long-tailed tits taking turns to peck at an icicle. With the fast movement of the birds and her fingers feeling like blocks of ice, capturing their behaviour was no easy task.

“If Penguins Could Fly” By Eduardo Del Álamo of Spain

"If Penguins Could Fly" By Eduardo Del Álamo, Spain, Behaviour: Mammals, Highly Commended 2019

A gentoo penguin flees for its life as a leopard seal bursts out of the water. Eduardo was expecting it. He had noticed the penguin resting on a fragment of broken ice and watched the seal swim back and forth. ‘Moments later, the seal flew out of the water, mouth open,’ he says.

“The Huddle” By Stefan Christmann of Germany

"The Huddle" By Stefan Christmann, Germany, Wildlife Photographer Portfolio Award, Winner 2019

More than 5,000 male emperor penguins huddle on the sea ice, backs to the wind, heads down, sharing body heat. ‘It was a calm day,’ says Stefan, ‘but when I took off my gloves to focus the lens, the cold felt like needles piercing my fingertips.’ Antarctic winters are fierce, with temperatures below minus 40 degrees Celsius.

“Big Cat And Dog Spat” By Peter Haygarth of the United Kingdom

"Big Cat And Dog Spat" By Peter Haygarth, UK, Behaviour: Mammals, Highly Commended 2019

In a rare encounter, a lone male cheetah is set upon by a pack of African wild dogs. At first the dogs were wary, but as the rest of their 12-strong pack arrived their confidence grew. They began to encircle and probe the big cat, chirping with excitement. It was all over a few minutes later, when the cheetah fled.

“Night Glow” By Cruz Erdmann of New Zealand (in the age 11-14 category)

"Night Glow" By Cruz Erdmann, New Zealand, 11-14 Years Old, Grand Title Winner

Cruz was on a night dive with his dad when he saw a pair of bigfin reef squid in the shallow water. One swam off but Cruz quickly adjusted his camera and strobe settings, knowing that the opportunity was too good to miss. He shot four frames of the remaining squid before it too disappeared into the inky blackness.

“Face Of Deception” By Ripan Biswas of India

"Face Of Deception" By Ripan Biswas, India, Animal Portraits, Winner 2019

Ripan was photographing a red weaver ant colony when he spotted this slightly strange individual. It may have the face of an ant but its eight legs give it away – on closer inspection Ripan discovered that it was an ant-mimicking crab spider. By reverse mounting his lens, Ripan converted it to a macro capable of taking extreme close-ups.

Some pretty awesome shots there, don’t you think?


And my second surprise … you all remember Steve Irwin, aka the Crocodile Hunter?  He hosted a television series that aired on Animal Planet, becoming the network’s highest-rated series at the time (1997-2004). 

Steve tragically died in Batt Reef, Australia, in 2006 when a stingray’s barb pierced his heart.  But, his children, Bindi and Robert, are both lovers of wildlife and conservationists. steve-irwin-kidsBindi is an Australian television personality and conservationist. When she was 9, she hosted Bindi the Jungle Girl, a children’s wildlife documentary TV series.  Son Robert is an Australian television personality and wildlife photographer. He hosts Robert’s Real Life Adventures, a program on his family’s zoo’s internal TV network. He co-hosted the Discovery Kids Channel TV series Wild But True and co-created the book series Robert Irwin: Dinosaur Hunter, and currently stars on the Animal Planet series Crikey! It’s the Irwins with his mother, Terri, and sister, Bindi.

In February 2017, young Robert, then age 13, made his late-night television debut when he appeared on NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.  This clip will warm your heart, make you say “Awwwwww”, and make you laugh, all at once.  Who could ask for anything more?  And my youngest reader, Benjamin, will enjoy this, for one of his Hallowe’en costumes was the Crocodile Hunter!

And that’s all I’ve got for this morning, my friends!  Go forth and have a wonderful weekend!  Enjoy every minute … remember, Monday is lurking right ‘round the corner!

weekend

separation of church and state

Separation of church and state … a simple concept, right? The government will not support one religion over any other. And yet, as Larry tells us, down in Florida (and other places as well) they are attempting to do just that, by trying to pass legislation that would make the study of the Christian bible mandatory in schools. What about Jews? Muslims? Atheists? Hindus? This nation is only about 70% Christian, so … why should they dominate? Please take a few minutes to read Larry’s excellent post. Thank you, Larry, for permission to share your work!

QUEST

Living as a Democrat in rural, Republican Florida challenges one’s sense of inclusiveness and social propriety.  A recent controversy in local politics regarding funding our library’s request to make the New York Times available online to library cardholders is a case in point. My friend at BY HOOK OR BY BOOK has shared a great post regarding this issue.  It is indicative of a population which refuses to leave the 1950s.

On Florida’s horizon is a bill filed by a State Senator which would require courses be made available in our public schools at taxpayers’ expense providing studies of the Bible.  The following is the letter which I have submitted to our local newspaper.

State Senator Dennis Baxley, a Republican representing the Ocala region, has filed SB 746 to be considered during the 2020 legislative session. The bill would require courses providing studies of the Bible’s Old and New Testaments…

View original post 364 more words

Snarky Mini-Snippets To Start The Weekend!

snarky-2Today, I had a bunch of snark-buildup, but all just little things, small thoughts (no comment from the peanut gallery about small minds –> small thoughts!) that only warrant about a paragraph each, so I went with calling them mini-snippets.  Besides that, it’s housecleaning day, so my time to write is somewhat limited … somebody’s got to keep this place from being condemned by the city!


What is this with the republican loons, from Trump and his family, to Fox News, to the republicans in Congress running around saying that the ongoing impeachment process is naught but an attempt to overturn the 2016 election???  No, dear misguided republicans, it is not an attempt to ‘overturn’ an election that happened three years ago.  It is an attempt to remove from office the most corrupt and dangerous president who has ever been in the Oval Office.  It is an attempt to restore some semblance of order to our federal government.  It is an attempt to save what shreds are left of our democratic system.  Got it?  Does that register?  I, for one, am sick and damn tired of hearing that sorry attempt at a defense.


Now it comes out that not only did Trump attempt to blackmail Ukrainian President Zelenskyy in order to force him to announce an investigation of presidential candidate Joe Biden, but also his former nemesis Hillary Clinton.  WTF???  Why Hillary Clinton?  My best guess is that he is still so embarrassed by the fact that she won nearly three million votes more than Trump did in the 2016 election that he will not leave her alone until he takes his last breath!  Vindictive, ignorant, jealous … what a waste of space on earth is Donald Trump.  If he spent half as much time studying the briefs his staff provide him, trying to understand how our government works, actually reading the Constitution, why we might actually have a president.  As it is, we have a very ignorant and dangerous juvenile delinquent in an old man’s body.


Trump has been ordered by New York Judge Saliann Scarpulla to pay $2 million in damages for misusing funds from a tax-exempt charity — taking the charity’s money to pay debts for his for-profit businesses, to boost his 2016 campaign and to buy a painting of himself.  A painting of himself?  Blech.  In addition to the $2 million, Trump also agreed to disburse the $1.8 million remaining in the foundation to a set of charities, and to shutter it for good.  Funny, isn’t it, that the man who claims to be president of the country, a man who holds our lives in his hands, bilked people out of millions of dollars, spent them on himself rather than such things as helping the poor, or veterans, and yet he remains in office.  What a low this nation has sunken to.


bloombergFormer New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is apparently throwing his hat in the ring for the 2020 presidential election, after saying he would not do so earlier this year.  Bloomberg is another billionaire businessman, folks … just about the last thing we need at this point.  At least he does have some governing experience and has a bit of a brain in his head, unlike the incumbent, but still … we do not need somebody with such great wealth that he cannot even begin to appreciate the problems of the average person struggling to provide for their families.  Not, mind you, that any of the top candidates in this race are living below the poverty level:  Elizabeth Warren’s net worth is estimated at $12 million, Joe Biden’s at $1.5 million, and Bernie Sanders’ at $1.9 million.  Still, they are peons as compared to Bloomberg.

Trump, by the way, has already picked his nickname for Bloomberg:  Little Michael.  He says Bloomberg won’t do well because he has “some personal problems”, and that there is nobody he’d rather run against.  Personally, I think he’s jealous because Bloomberg has more money, with a net worth of $51.5 billion, than he does.


Ol’ two-faced Lindsey Graham is back on the radar (did he ever leave it?)  Lindsey is so certain that the impeachment process against Donald Trump is without merit that he now says he will not even bother to read the evidence, the pages of testimony that has provided proof that Donald Trump broke the law.  Talk about hypocrisy!  Look what Lindsey had to say back in 1999 after Bill Clinton had been impeached by the House and was facing trial in the Senate:

“So, the point I’m trying to make is: You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic, if this body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role … because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”

Yes, Lindsey … let us ‘cleanse’ the Oval Office, let us restore some honour and integrity to the office.  And speaking of honour and integrity, Lindsey … where is yours???


Seems that there are millions of people out there, mostly republicans, who claim to think that everything Trump has done is ‘okay’.  Obstruction of justice in trying to shut down the very legitimate Mueller investigation into Russian interference in our 2016 election.  Obstruction of justice in refusing to allow government employees to honour subpoenas by the House investigative committees.  Blackmailing the Ukrainian government to help him against a competitor in the 2020 election.  Threatening and bullying political opponents.  Removing almost every environmental protection that was on the books and selling off our national land to the fossil fuel and logging industries. Lying on a daily basis to cover his own a$$.  And much, much more, yet all of it is ‘A-okay’ with those 40% or so of people who still sing Trump’s praises.  Let me just throw out a single question here:  What if it was President Barack Obama who had done even a small percentage of those things?


Well, those little mini-snippets should give you something to ponder on this weekend, eh?  And to start the weekend off on a humorous note, here’s Seth Meyers …

This Cannot Become “Normal”

I came across this OpEd in the New York Times by one of my favourite opinion writers, Nicholas Kristof, earlier today.  It is a prescient warning that I think is worth sharing.


Don’t Let Trump Make You Numb to What’s Unacceptable

Our species has an ability to adapt. Now’s not the time.

nicholas-kristof-thumblargeBy Nicholas Kristof

Opinion Columnist

  • Nov. 6, 2019

The problem with being a frog in a beaker is that you may not notice the water temperature rising to a boil.

Humans, too. In New Delhi, people get used to air that is filthy. In Syria, to checkpoints. In Angola, to corruption. In China, to propaganda. And in America, we risk becoming numbed to a political, social and moral breakdown.

Scandal and dysfunction dribble out from Washington day by day, numbing us so that we may forget just how unprecedented and outrageous the trends are. It was only five years ago that Fox News was deploring a “shocking” and “desperate” presidential scandal that Republican Representative Peter King described as inexcusable: Barack Obama wore a tan suit! Now we can’t even keep track of how many countries President Trump has asked to do him political favors.

I’ve been traveling abroad, so I’ve been asking journalists and officials how they see America, and from a distance they offer blunt assessments. “If your president isn’t a Manchurian candidate,” one senior European official said, “he’s doing a pretty good imitation of one.”

In 2016, Obama’s passivity and Republican intransigence may have allowed Russian cyberattacks to swing the presidency to Trump (there’s no way to be sure, but that’s what the forensic work of Kathleen Hall Jamieson suggests). Yet despite improvement, the United States still doesn’t have an adequate strategy to foil Russian or Chinese interference in the 2020 election.

Trump is a hero of many evangelical Christians who previously emphasized the importance of personal values and restoring “honor and dignity” to the White House. Meanwhile, he is on his third wife, has cheated on all three and has been accused of sexual misconduct by 25 women. And Trump tweeted a supporter’s praise likening him to “the second coming of God.”

Since taking office, Trump has made more than 13,400 false or misleading statements, according to a Washington Post database. The Post found that he has recently accelerated his falsehoods to a rate of 22 per day, more than one per waking hour. (I’ve covered many world leaders, and the only two whom I consider pathological liars are Trump and former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.)

Trump has declared “I am the chosen one.” His press secretary last month spoke of “the genius of our great President.”

Trump, who according to a Times investigation is wealthy partly because of fraud, pledged to fight corruption and “drain the swamp.” Since then, he has lost more first-term cabinet members to scandal than any president in history.

 “I’m not going to have time to go play golf,” Trump said before his election. In fact, he has visited golf clubs approximately 224 times since taking office, including more than three months in total at Mar-a-Lago. These vacation trips have cost taxpayers more than $100 million.

Trump’s mother was an immigrant, as are two of the women he married (his current wife may have been undocumented). Yet he has ripped children from parents at the border, and his administration has argued that detained immigrant children do not need soap or toothbrushes.

We haven’t even gotten to Trump trying to buy Greenland, marching into women’s changing rooms to admire undressed teenagers, borrowing Stalinist language to denounce the press as the “enemy of the people,” claiming that climate change is a Chinese conspiracy, banning Muslims or diverting money to build the wall that Mexico supposedly would pay for.

Oh, and that multibillion-dollar wall is now being cut open by smugglers with $100 saws.

Yet America’s dysfunction goes beyond Trump, and it will outlast Trump, even as it is aggravated by him.

American kids ages 1 through 19 are 57 percent more likely to die than those in other advanced nations, according to a study in the journal Health Affairs. That’s partly because the United States is virtually alone in failing to provide universal health coverage: Trump didn’t create that problem, but he did magnify it so that the number of uninsured children is now increasing.

Longstanding economic inequality in the United States, exacerbated by Trump’s tax cuts and other policies, is staggering. A single hedge fund tycoon, James Simons, made $1.6 billion last year, or more than $4 million each day — yet the United States has 100,000 children who on any given night are homeless. Since 2000, 61,000 foster kids have simply gone missing. Girls and boys are sold by pimps for sex in every American city.

America is not, as President Trump once called it, a “hellhole.” It is a nation of enormous strengths and resources, but we need to muster them now. A merit of our species is that we are adaptable and resilient and can get used to almost anything.

But we should never get accustomed to all this. Let’s not let ourselves be numbed by the daily drip into accepting a level of Trumpian dysfunction that should always be unacceptable.

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♫ You’re The One That I Want ♫

I really, really wanted to play Stevie Wonder’s A Place in the Sun tonight.  So much so that I nearly cried when I saw that I played it just a few short months ago, back in May.  I will play it again one of these days … and tonight I listened to it not once, but twice!  But, in the interest of keeping up the momentum here, giving you all some variety (you know — the spice of life?), then I went in an entirely different direction!  Please welcome, John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John!

This plays at the finale of the movie Grease as John Travolta (Danny) and Olivia Newton-John (Sandy) overcome the social constraints of high school and declare their lust for each other. Like the title track, it was not in the original stage musical of Grease, but was written specifically for the movie. Also like the title track, it was a #1 hit in both the U.S. and the UK.

John Farrar wrote and produced this song. His choice gave Olivia Newton-John, who was very nervous about appearing in the film, a familiar collaborator who helped ease her fears. Farrar had written and produced many of her previous hits, including the US #1 Have You Never Been Mellow.

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta were an interesting pairing for the film. Newton-John was a global singing star, but had little acting experience and was nervous about playing a high school girl at age 29. Travolta was a rising film star whose starring role in the 1977 movie Saturday Night Fever made him a sensation. He had done some singing, most successfully with his 1976 single Let Her In, which went to #10 in the US.

I goofed and hit the wrong button … this is tomorrow’s song, so if you’re seeing it tonight, please forget you saw it and come back in the morning!

You’re The One That I Want
John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John

I got chills
They’re multiplying
And I’m losing control
Cause the power you’re supplying
It’s electrifying!

You better shape up
Cause I need a man
And my heart is set on you
You better shape up
You better understand
To my heart I must be true
Nothing left
Nothing left for me to do

You’re the one that I want
You are the one I want
Oh, honey
The one that I want
You are the one I want
Oh, honey
The one that I want
You are the one I want
Oh, the one I need
Oh, yes indeed

If you’re filled
With affection
You’re to shy to convey
Better take my direction
Feel your way

I better shape up
Cause you need a man
I need a man
Who can keep me satisfied
I better shape up
If I’m gonna prove
You better prove
That my faith is justified
Are you sure
Yes I’m sure down deep inside

You’re the one that I want
You are the one I want
Oh, honey
The one that I want
You are the one I want
Oh, honey
The one that I want
You are the one I want
Oh, the one I need
Oh, yes indeed

You’re the one that I want
You are the one I want
Oh, honey
The one that I want
You are the one I want
Oh, honey
The one that I want
You are the one I want
Oh, the one I need
Oh, yes indeed

You’re the one that I want
You are the one I want
Oh, honey
The one that I want
You are the one I want
Oh, honey
The one that I want
You are the one I want
Oh, the one I need
Oh, yes indeed

Songwriters: John Farrar
You’re The One That I Want lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc

A ‘Letter’ From Trump to MAGA’s

These days, we often find ourselves saying, “You have to laugh about it, else you’ll cry”. Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters has written a great bit of satire in the form of a letter from Trump to his ‘fans’, that I think will give you a chuckle … at least until you stop and think about it. Thank you, Jeff, for adding a bit of humour to our day!

On The Fence Voters

A confidential letter from Donald J. Trump to his supporters … P.S, please don’t tell the fake news.

Dear MAGA’s,

Hello everyone. As you know, in a few days we’ll be celebrating the anniversary of the most miraculous day in the history of modern civilization. That’s right. Thanks to all of you and my pal Vladimir, I was elected to serve as your President of the United States of America. Almost instantly, our country went from being the laughing stock of the world, to well, a bigger laughingstock of the world.

Soon though, our calendar will switch to a new year, 2020. And you all know what that means, right? Yes, your favorite little President is running for reelection, and I’m going to need your help again to stave off the radical socialist Democrats. I know I can count on you.

From time to time over the next year, I’m…

View original post 1,184 more words

♫ You Gotta Love Someone ♫

I’m sitting here, really thinking it is past time I went to bed for a bit of reading, maybe even some sleep, but see … there’s this sleeping kittie in my lap, he’s purring his contentment with every breath he takes, and I cannot bear to disturb him.  It is, of course, Oliver, aka Ollie … the only one of our Feral Five who actually likes me!

So, since I will be sitting here for a bit longer, I might as well play a tune, don’t you think?  This one has been in my head all evening, since I was talking about it with a friend earlier on …

According to SongFacts …

“You can take on the world, go forth and conquer, but first, you gotta love someone. It’s a simple but eloquent lyric written by Bernie Taupin, and one that proved prescient when Elton John got his life in order a short time later. By 1990, Elton had spent years suffering from bulimia and cocaine addiction. When he finally decided to take action, it was prompted by his new love, Hugh Williams, who convinced him to go to therapy together. At those sessions, they were asked to list each other’s faults. Williams cited Elton’s bulimia, alcoholism, drug addiction and fits of rage. Elton flagged Williams for not putting away his CDs properly.

This got through to Elton, and in the summer of 1990 he entered a hospital in Chicago where he was treated, emerging six weeks later sober and determined to make positive lifestyle changes. His relationship with Williams didn’t last, but the sobriety stuck and Elton enjoyed a career revival, returning in 1992 with his hit album The One.”

You Gotta Love Someone
Elton John

You can win the fight, you can grab a piece of the sky
You can break the rules but before you try
You gotta love someone
You gotta love someone

You can stop the world, steal the face from the moon
You can beat the clock, but before high noon
You gotta love someone
You gotta love someone

You’ve got one life with a reason
You need two hearts on one side
When you stand alone and there’s no one there
To share the way it feels inside and baby

You can cheat the devil and slice a piece of the sun
Burn up the highway but before you run
You gotta love someone
You gotta love someone

When you’re gonna play with fire
You let someone share the heat
When you’re on your own and there’s no one there
To cool the flames beneath your feet and baby

You can win the fight, you can grab a piece of the sky
You can break the rules but before you try
You gotta love someone
You gotta love someone

You gotta love someone
You gotta love someone

Songwriters: Elton John / Bernie Taupin
You Gotta Love Someone lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management