PANACEA

If a drug company were to manufacture a genuine panacea which, by ingesting a single pill, could banish every illness now and forever, the price would be set so high no one could afford it.

No insurance company would pay for it.

1989 shot of earth’s arctic ice

The FDA would take 75 years to put it on the market, if ever.

Only the very, very rich would ever use it. Those clowns would not only be the worst people on earth, but the longest lived, too.

On the up side, maybe if they had to live with the results of not caring for the planet, they might change their minds about it. Someday.

IF NOW’S NOT THE TIME TO TALK ABOUT GUN CONTROL, THERE WILL NEVER BE A TIME – TOM CURLEY

I originally wrote this post when I was watching the mass murder in Las Vegas a few weeks ago. I’m now watching the news coverage of the most recent mass shooting  in Texas. It wasn’t as big as the previous one in Nevada. That was the biggest mass murder in US history. That one took the prize for body count, but this one is still pretty good.  The biggest mass murder in Texas. Go Texas! Many have suggested that offering prayers would be pointless since all the victims were already in church, praying as they were shot. Oh — and via the same gun, too. The fabulous AR-15.

Noticing a pattern by any chance?

 

Mass shootings are almost a daily event in the USA. Think about that. I just read an article from Newsweek that states there is a mass shooting in America almost every day.

This one was the largest and worst mass shooting in American history. And you have to work hard to get that kind of award in this country. The guy had more than 10 guns. At least one or more was an automatic rifle.

Another more accurate word for automatic rifle is A MACHINE GUN!! A machine gun has one purpose.  Kill large numbers of people quickly. It came into use on a large-scale in World War One.

It’s job was to mow down and slaughter hundreds of soldiers in a very short period of time. It worked really well. 50 to 70 THOUSAND soldiers would be killed in one single battle.

It worked really well in Las Vegas too. Over 58 people dead and over 500 wounded.

And of course, the first thing you hear from Republicans and NRA gun nuts is “Now is not the time to talk about gun control! We have to concentrate on the victims!” They said it when dozens of elementary school children were slaughtered in Newtown, CT.

They said it when a crazed right-wing nut job slaughtered nine black people worshiping at their church.

They said it when a nut job shot up a movie audience in Aurora.

And it goes on and on. And they’re doing it again. I have noticed that the NRA nut jobs haven’t trotted out their favorite piece of utter bullshit. “The only thing that can defeat a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

That one drives me  bat shit crazy. Maybe they aren’t dragging this one out this time because even if every person at that concert had a gun (and it was a country-music festival so you have to figure more than a few might have been packing) it wouldn’t have been much good against a guy on the 32nd floor in a hotel across the street.

Both Ellin and I took a gun safety course a few years back. It allowed us to buy a gun legally and register it in the state of CT where we live. It also allowed us to go to a target range and shoot our guns legally. Ultimately we decided not to get registered and get a gun. Why? Well, first, we realized we just don’t need a gun. Second, we learned from taking the safety course that guns are REALLY DANGEROUS. People shoot themselves accidentally all the time. The statistics would amaze you.

And third, Ellin was way too good at it. (Do not piss her off).

So, I am going to say it. I am going to commit heresy. THE SECOND AMENDMENT IS FUCKING STUPID. This almost religious obsession with fire arms is FUCKING STUPID.

The second amendment was a concession to the southern states because they were afraid that the federal government wouldn’t come to their aid when they had slave revolts.  It’s not that commonly-known, but one of  the slave states’ biggest problems was slave revolts.

They happened all the time. I can’t imagine why. So, these states wanted to be sure they’d have their own “Well-regulated state militias” to keep their “property” in line.

But here’s the thing. We don’t have slave states anymore, even though a few states still seem to think it would be a good idea. Why, then, do we still have this stupid amendment?

Did you know that it wasn’t until the 1970’s that the idea of the second amendment stopped meaning “A well-regulated state militia” and began to mean that you could buy all the guns you wanted — like hunting rifles, military assault rifles, silencers. Anything, with no regulation whatsoever.

Why? By the 1970’s the gun industry had sold all the handguns and hunting rifles they believed they could possibly sell. The market had been saturated. Sales were starting to drop. What did they do?  They started marketing assault rifles to the public.

After all, nothing takes a deer down better that an AK47 opening up on full automatic. You can pump forty rounds into that big bad buck in about 10 seconds.

That’s American!

The comedian Jim Jefferies does an iconic routine about gun control. He makes a lot of good points.

He mentions how about 10 percent of his audience is furious when he does the routine. One guy screamed at him after one show “You can’t change the second amendment!!”

To which he responds “Yes you can. It’s an amendment!”

He’s right. We had an amendment that made drinking alcohol illegal. Sixteen-years later, we added a new amendment to amend the amendment.

Now, the endless cycle will continue. Again and again. I feel sorry for the next mass murderer. He’s going to have to really step up his game to top this one. But this is America! I know we’re up to it.

Maybe gun control isn’t the solution. Maybe bullet control is. (Technically they are called cartridges. See? I told you I took the course.) Put a 5000% tax on every box of cartridges. If each cartridge cost about $100 dollars or more, it might help. A little.


After all guns, don’t kill people. The bullets coming out of the guns at 3,900 feet per second kill people.

Now is not the time to talk about gun control? Really? Bullshit. Now is exactly the time. And the next time it happens. And the next time after that.

Oh, and if anything I’ve said here has offended any NRA gun-toting “Merican”, or for that matter, anybody else? Fuck you. I don’t care. The first amendment gives me the right to say the second one sucks.

DRIP, DRIP, DRIP. GULP

Finally.

Indictments are coming down. Not, in my opinion, nearly enough of them. The whole heap of deplorables should be heading for jail by now. Garry and I were watching the news the other night — for the first time in months, watching more than the headlines. And smiling. Not yet rolling on the floor and laughing. But smiling.

Because we’ve been in the audience, in our seats. Waiting for almost a year for the beginning of this much publicized performance. Finally, the curtain is rising. Mind you, they have just set the stage. The main characters aren’t on the set, but I bet they’ve got their scripts ready and they’re memorizing their lines. Finding their marks. It’s going to be a hell of a show.


Spicer came, Spicer went. Bye bye Spicer.
Mike Flynn went. See ya’ around.
Then, Scaramucci or whatever his name was, came and went so fast, I didn’t get a chance to remember him as a face.
And of course, Steve Bannon left . Back to Breitbart. Ah the joys of being a public executioner. 
🎵 🎵 🎵 🎵
He never will be missed — NO! He never will be missed.

In case you’ve forgotten what this whole mess is about, it’s about Russia. Though I think maybe it has expanded and it’s about more stuff than it used to be. Because they’re talking about mobsters — international ones. Mobsters? Sure, why not? We’ve already got the whole damned Russian government, so why not international gun runners, drug lords and who knows what else? Whoopee, what a show!

Starting with the Russians, there’s this guy. His name of Sergey Kislyak. He is either Russia’s biggest spymaster, or possibly, merely a horrible guy. One way or the other, he’s not on our team and certainly isn’t anyone who should have been meeting with the president’s guys before the election. That was a probably a bad sign for the upcoming election, like maybe it was not entirely on track.

trump_nixon-800x430

So when this whole mess began, we wanted to know about Russians. How much the Russians knew and how they knew it. How much involvement did the Republican party have in whatever the Russians knew and was there official, legal collusion on the part of the president and/or his cohorts? Incidentally, to what degree was this election stolen by the Russians and how much did the massive assistance from Facebook and Twitter — who apparently thought money from Russia was more important than whether or not the U.S. could have a legal election — bothers me more than the original Russian connection. Because those greedy assholes knew what was happening and could have put a quick end to it. And didn’t. Getting richer was more important than anything.

For starters, Mueller nabbed Manafort and his patsy, Gates. Oh, and there is also Papadopoulos.

Who?

Manafort, Gates, Papadopoulos

He’s the kid who has been wearing a wire and ratting out the Republican Party. How much ratting he did we do not yet know because — rumors by Fox News to the contrary notwithstanding — this is the beginning. As a lot of other people have mentioned, if Trump was pissed off about everything before, he’s batshit wacko now.

Nixon was elected by a wave of Americans who didn’t like negative talk about Vietnam. He got in kind of like Scrotus. With a plurality in Congress and all that. But he had this thing hanging over him. Those little nothing burglaries at Watergate kept aggravating everyone. And Nixon wasn’t half as disgusting as Scrotus, but in his time, he was bad enough. (These days, Nixon looks damned good. That is ironic.)

If you don’t know the story, I’m not going to repeat the whole Watergate saga now. Look it up. There are movies, books, blogs … and people my age will happily sit you down and tell you the story. It isn’t the same as we are seeing now, but as they say, it rhymes (more or less) with our Watergate past. Especially now, with indictments coming down.

For the moment, the future is looking brighter. Hopeful. I know there’s a long way to go. I know it isn’t going to happen in a hurry … but I believe it might really happen. Patience, patience.


Drip. Drip. Drip.

One down, another to go. Two down, one on the way. Three down. Four down. Five down.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

We were watching NBC News and someone said if the GOP does not deal with “the Russian issue,” it will take down this presidency. No one will get the opportunity to do anything — which would be fine with me. Because it turns out that anything the Trump administration wants to do is bad for everyone who isn’t Trump.


Nixon hated the press, but at least he didn’t go out of his way to make all of them hate him at the same time.


I remember the breaking of Richard Nixon;s presidency. The story was on ongoing event. It was in the papers, on TV. It was what everyone talked about. ALL the time. I bought a tiny radio and I listened to the hearings in the Senate, even while I  worked. Not just me, either. We all were listening. When I got home from work, the TV went on and I watched. I came back from work and planted myself in front of the television.

The story kept going.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

Sergey Kislyak and Jeff Sessions - Photo: CNN
Sergey Kislyak and Jeff Sessions – Photo: CNN

Then, suddenly, Nixon found himself surrounded with nowhere to turn. He resigned. He wasn’t half as bad as Trump. He was merely drunk, depressed, and hated everyone — especially the press.

Nixon taunted the press– an incredibly stupid thing to do. Trump has done much worse Although the American press doesn’t have quite as much power as it did in the 1970s, it is still the press, Frankly, we citizens are due reparations for how wretchedly they covered the last election. They did a terrible job. They owe us. Give it your best, guys and gals. This time, you need to do it right.

The thing is, snooping is not only what the press does. Where there’s a story, they will find it. The press corps lives for exactly this kind of thing. It’s the blood of life to any reporter who can get his or her teeth into it. Mueller doesn’t look likely to give up. Neither will our press people.

Drip. Drip. Drip

YIDDISH: THE LANGUAGE I WISH I’D LEARNED – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I grew up in a bilingual household. Everyone spoke both English and Yiddish. Both my parents and both my grandparents. It was spoken all the time in my home.

My grandfather actually spoke and read four languages, Russian, Yiddish, Hebrew and English. My grandmother spoke Russian and Yiddish in addition to English but not Hebrew.

My dad spoke German, Yiddish, some French and English. He had a knack for languages. At one point in his life he got into studying ancient cultures. He decided to learn the dead language Sanskrit, so he could read some ancient texts in the original. This is one of the things that most impressed me about my dad. His boundless curiosity, his drive and his perseverance. How many people would actually do that? How many people would even want to.

As an aside. In the 1930’s, my father didn’t like the way the wood floors were laid when he was building his house in Connecticut. They were laid with pegs, not nails, an old-fashioned technique. So he learned how to correctly lay the floor boards and redid it himself.

Anyway, my mom just spoke English and Yiddish, but a lot of conversations between the ‘grown ups’ in my family, were conducted in Yiddish. Unfortunately, no one tried to help me learn the language. In fact, they used it primarily to talk ‘over my head’ about things they didn’t want me to know about.

Me and my parents when I was about 8 years old

Early on I figured out when they were talking about my bedtime. One of the only phrases I learned in Yiddish is “I don’t want to go to bed”. It’s a pity that I never learned to speak a language that I heard every day growing up.

For years I didn’t even realize that Yiddish was a separate language. I was often confused about which words were English and which were Yiddish. For example, there is a large, spurting fountain or aerator near my house in Connecticut. My grandfather always referred to it as the “Shpritz vasser” or spraying water in Yiddish. I thought that was its English name and was surprised when no one knew what I was talking about when I used the phrase.

The Yiddish newspaper my grandfather always read

My mother always used the Yiddish word for tush or butt, “tuchas.” Again, I thought this was an American word and I used it all the time. My friends thought I was crazy.

I thought they were ignorant.

Yiddish is not a very useful language to know these days, but I think it would have been wonderful to have grown up speaking it, like everyone else in my family. It might even have helped me master other languages at school.

I took French through junior high and high school and I loved it. But I was better at reading than speaking. This is common because of the way languages are taught in America. I spent time in France as an adult and got a little better at speaking and understanding the language. But I could never really carry on an intelligent conversation.

I always regretted not being fluent in at least one other language. I’m surprised that my family didn’t want to pass down the tradition of speaking Yiddish. But they obviously didn’t care. That’s really a shame – for me.

THE BROWN MONTHS, THE BROWN LEAVES

When the bright leaves of autumn have fallen, been collected and carted off or tossed into the woods to add to the humus in which everything grows, that’s when the green leaves of the oaks suddenly change — in just one or two days — to brown.

In sunlight, they have a hint of golden bronze, but in the gray light of most November days, they are a dull brown. Soon they will fall and the cleanup of last week will need to be done again.

The oaks are huge and there are so many leaves up there. Millions, really. Just a couple of days ago, there was still some yellow and red with the oncoming brown wave. Today, the trees are more bare and only a little bit of yellow remains along the very tops of the woods.

Winter is coming.