Wednesday, January 28, 2009


[Also posted yesterday at Down With Absolutes.]

I have always enjoyed the hilariously demoralizing insights from our friends at Despair, Inc., including the following one which, though timeless in its applicability, is particularly a propos for our present time:

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Bush Legacy and an Ungrateful Nation

[This is a duplicate of something I posted at Down With Absolutes. The reaction received was all too predictable.]

At noon on January 20, 2009, President Bush will leave office. Though his approval rating has risen recently to as high as 34% (it was in the 20’s), he leaves office as a largely unpopular president.

Part of his disapproval rating stems from a rough third of the nation on the left side of the political spectrum that George Bush would never please, even if he had been unbelievably successful in keeping this nation prosperous and peaceful at home and abroad. Bush began his presidency wanting to change the tone in Washington, perhaps naively thinking he could repeat as President of the United States what he accomplished as Governor of Texas, overcoming visceral political hostilities with good will and an outstretched hand. But while he was extending an olive branch, the entrenched political left in Washington was sharpening its knives.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Senator Roland Burris

[Originally posted at "Down With Absolutes" on January 12, 2009]

Congratulations, Mr. Burris. I understand that the conscientious Democratic leaders of the U.S. Senate have decided it is okay after all to admit you to their august body. I really don’t know much about you. I can give you the benefit of the doubt despite the fact that you were appointed by a governor who is under indictment. I have no right to associate you with the alleged actions of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, and that is even assuming that Blagojevich is eventually found guilty. I must keep in mind that:

  1. “Alleged” is the operative word. Yes, there were some recorded phone conversations that were pretty damning, containing a lot of talk about asking for remuneration and other favors in exchange for a Senate appointment. But talk is cheap. Bottom line: was the dirty deed ever done? I think not.
  2. Under indictment or not; guilty as sin or not: Mr. Blagojevich is still the Governor of Illinois, and it is therefore his right—indeed his duty—to name a successor for the good Senator Mr. Obama. The people of Illinois have every right to full representation in the world’s greatest deliberative body.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

"Whole Lot of Things I Ain't Never Done"

In my previous post, Pourquoi blog?, I mentioned that I am a late comer to the blogosphere. Truth be told, I am a late comer to lots of things. For example, though I have enjoyed and generally not shied away from the benefits of information technology, each and every computer purchased has typically been a year or two behind the state of the art models and has lacked the latest gadgets. Perhaps this is due to my being a cheapskate or, more specifically, because I ask questions such as, “Do I really need that writable DVD drive?”
It even took me a long time to purchase my first cell phone but, when my daughter got her license, my stubborn resistance was overcome by the fear of her being stranded on the highways. But even with my baby steps into the information age, examples still abound where I seem to be the only Neanderthal that has never experienced or acquired any of the following:

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Random Thoughts on Resolutions

For more than two decades, my wife and I have lived in a wonderfully secluded neighborhood. All the neighbors know each other and we are seldom bothered by outsiders. The downside to this bucolic serenity is that the service sectors of the county and municipal governments don’t take much notice of us either. We are technically under the jurisdiction of Prince George’s County but literally surrounded by the City of Bowie, which has annexed every new subdivision built around us. This puts us in a bit of a no man’s land.

So last fall (2007), when I saw some bright ground level signs in the neighborhood indicating that county trucks would be coming by to vacuum any fall foliage raked up and piled to the curb, I was skeptical to say the least. For two decades I had gone through the arduous task of gathering and stuffing leaves into non-environmentally friendly plastic bags to be hauled to the county landfill. But skepticism notwithstanding when the signs went up in 2007, I decided to pile the leaves onto the curb. And lo and behold, I was not disappointed. The trucks came, albeit a few weeks later than promised. So when the signs went up again this past fall, I expected pretty much the same.

Well, it’s New Year’s Day 2009 and the leaves are still at the curb. To be precise, many of them have blown back into the yard. I am not a happy camper. The irony is that I never really expected this service in the first place. I would have been much happier if they never promised anything than for them to promise and not deliver.

It reminds me a little of New Year’s Resolutions: made with the best of intentions and even kept for a period of time, but they don’t last very long. That’s one reason I don’t make resolutions or certainly don’t announce my intentions publicly. Out of curiosity I Googled “New Years Resolutions” and got several hits listing some of the most popular resolutions. Most of them were predictable, and my feelings about their otherwise noble aspirations are decidedly mixed. For example: