A Quick, One Question Quiz

A Quick, One Question Quiz

Who is the author of the following definition of consensus?

Consensus: “The process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner: I stand for consensus?”

(No fair looking it up…..)

a. Ronald Reagan

b. Donald J. Trump

c. Margaret Thatcher

d. Franklin D. Roosevelt

e. Winston Churchill

f. George W. Bush

g. None of the above

h. All of the above

Answer: c       I look forward to your comments.


The White Castle Caper(s)

Warning: unless you have wolfed down at 6 sliders, aka “Whitey One-Bites,” at a sitting at least 12 times, you probably shouldn’t read this – it might be catching.

A few years ago – OK – over 60 years ago, some pals and I would buy 3 or 4 sacks of sliders for about 10 cents each, roughly 12 sliders, a sack, and sneak into the Southtown theater (63rd St., near Halstead, South Chicago). We’d set out sentries to watch for ushers, then when the coast was clear we’d escort the sacks, with the irresistable White Castle slider scent emanating from same, down the aisle until somebody asked “How much?”

We’d done it so often we had repeat customers.

We’d make about 15 cents a slider and use the money for popcorn, Pepsi, Charleston Chew candy bars, and more sliders when the show let out.

Today, happiness is finding a box of 6 White Castle sliders in the frozen food section at Aldi, then racing home to microwave and eat them while watching football and the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament.

Aside from concluding the women’s doubles championship was much more artistic and interesting than the men’s singles (blast the ball back and forth until somebody misses a shot), it was great.

Caution: you have to add your own dill pickle slice.

Social Media and the Wit and Wisdom on Facebook

Sometimes Facebook serves as something to occupy me while I’m on hold with my doctor’s office or waiting for a voicemail prompt that actually has something to do with why I’m calling.

And then there are those times when a Facebook post smacks me right in the area that is rumored to contain something capable of rational thought.  Two such posts just got me:

1)  Paraphrased: Those folks worried about destroying history by tearing down Confederate statues will be thrilled to learn about books, and 

2)  Also paraphrased: In July of 1776 a bunch of New Yorkers tore down a statue of George III, thereby making it impossible to learn who won the Revolutionary War.

This social media thing just might have a future……

Just Have to Laugh (or at Least Grin)

Read the comics in the newspaper? “Argyle Sweater” in today’s (July27, 2017) Raleigh News & Observer has a moth and a ladybug at a bar. The moth’s beer can: “Bug Weiser” and the ladybug’s: “Bug Light.”

Moth: “Ya know, contrary to popular belief, I’m really not drawn to the light at all.”

Ha! (Like a moth drawn to the light…..get it?)

And then there is this old chestnut, circa 1970, around Haloween time in Lansing, Michigan:

Two vampires sit at the bar.

Bartender: “What’ll you have?”

First Vampire: “Blood.”

Second Vampire: “Plasma.”

Bartender: “That’s a Blood and a Blood Lite, comin’ up.”

Ha! (Well, my kids liked it…..)

Two Irishmen leave a bar.

It could happen!

(And I’m half Murphy…..)

Attention All Hackers!

We now have a distinguished (“very distinguished”), appointed Presidential Advisory Commission on Voter Integrity.

I can’t help being surprised, very surprised, that our President is still claiming massive, very massive, voter fraud.  There are dozens of excellent, very excellent, studies and research papers on the subject.  A simple, very simple, search using the phrase “voter fraud” produced a large, very large, number of hits (6,080,000), among which are various, very various, conclusions that voter fraud is statistically insignificant, very insignificant.

But insignificance is not my main, very main, concern today.  I can only wonder what a group of appointed members of an advisory committee might do with the records of (200 million?) voters.  Send them a postcard asking for proof of life?  Ask the ones who chose to register as Democrats or Independents whether they might want to make a switch?  Make those records available to already drooling, very drooling, cyber crooks making plans to grab all that information for their new, very new, credit cards, bank accounts, etc.?

Can’t help being concerned, very concerned.  (And yes, I’m imitating the style of the almost daily, very almost daily, barrage of tweets from, well, you know…..)  Puts me in mind of “Rain Man,” who said such things as: “I’m a good driver. I’m a very good driver.”  Or Demi Moore in “A Few Good Men,” who, upon hearing the judge deny her objection, said: “But your Honor, I strenuously object,” which of course didn’t persuade the judge to reconsider his ruling.

Still, I strenuously object to creating a new and massive pile of personal, very personal, information in the office of a newly appointed advisory commission.  Do they even have an office?

Thinkin’ about stuff……

Just finished reading an article about the Old Post Office in Washington, DC.  I spent a few years in that building in agent training and later in the Washington Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Most of us took the buses that dropped us off and picked us up within a few paces from the entrance.  I recall the morning I arrived early, only to discover, along with a few others, the frozen body of a homeless man who often panhandled up and down the local streets.

The Old Post Office is now Trump International Hotel, characterized by author Alex Altman in the June 15, 2017, issue of TIME magazine as “The Suite of Power; Why Donald Trump’s Washington Hotel is the Capital’s New Swamp.” Save up for a 90-minute couples massage at $460 or a VIP package (a week?) in a 6,300 square foot townhouse suite on two floors overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue, advertised for $500,000.

Not quite causing the inspiration from our top civil servant that John Kennedy provided in his inauguration speech:

“Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans – born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage…  Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

More on the order of “Ask not what I can do for you, but what you can do for me.”

Too Many Words

A few years ago I came across a newspaper article titled something along the lines of: “Random Word Generator for Managers.”  The article included a lengthy table containing several columns of words one could choose to produce a phrase that sounded quite impressive but meant almost nothing.

In today’s world we are able to search the web using “Random Phrase Generator” and come up with dozens of entries claiming to produce intelligent-sounding phrases one might use to impress readers.

The late, great Elmore Leonard often advised aspiring writers to “Leave out the parts people don’t want to read,” and became successful doing just that in a long list of western and crime novels, many of which became movies.

I thought of all this a few days ago when I read this description in our local newspaper: “dynamic zero-depth aquatic play area.”  I am in awe of the skill it takes to use those six words to say “sprayground,” which is the word used in the master plan developed by the Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee I served on for a couple of years.

My vote was one of the unanimous cast by the Committee to approve, among many other things, “spraygrounds” (I think it was 3 or 4 of them).  A sprayground is a plot of ground outfitted with water jets that are programmed to go off at random.  The idea is for children to run through the plot to laugh, get wet, and cool off, in that order, when the water shoots out.

It’s a great idea, cheaper than a pool, easier to use, safer, and less expensive to maintain, and I probably would still have voted for it, but if they’d called it a “dynamic zero depth aquatic play area” I’m certain we would have wasted some time trying to figure out what that meant.  Really.