Friday, June 17, 2016

I'm confused

Please enlighten me.  Homosexuality is a no-no, how come some muslims rape little boys?  Is there a little boy exception to that law?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Just and juster

Once a year the Athenians would meet and vote on exiling someone. If a simple majority voted yes, then they dispersed and reassembled two months later. They brought with them their ostracon (a fragment of pottery), on which they had scratched the name of the person they thought represented a threat. The man with the most votes lost. He was exiled for 10 years, They not only voted people into office, but they had a regular procedure for voting one person per year out of office. It was an option which could be exercised but did not have to be. The exile did not involve confiscation or any other punitive measures.

Aristides was known for his probity, and often called Aristides the Just.  On one occasion, a voter, who did not know him, came up to him, and giving him his shard, asked him to write upon it the name of Aristides. The latter asked if Aristides had wronged him. “No,” was the reply, “and I do not even know him, but it irritates me to hear him everywhere called the just.”

There's a moral to this story, but I don't know what it is.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Second rate movies

I love to watch old movies.  But once in a while you find yourself watching a real stinker.  How you can tell:

1.  The sets are crummy, look like they are made of cardboard, but the picture is really dark so you can't tell.

2.  All the police are old, way too old to serve on a police force.  Imagine one of these senior citizens chasing a criminal!  He would drop dead of a heart attack after the first 60 seconds.

3.Much staged business around smoking.  Like this:  "Mind if I smoke?"  "No, have one of mine."  "No thanks, I have my own.."  "Nice cigarette case."   "Got a light?"  "Thanks,"  Cigarette is lighted, and both characters inhale pensively, followed by silent contemplation as they stare at one another.  This interaction takes a minute or two, advancing the action not at all.  Unless the book of matches comes from a suspicious source, in which case the mystery is solved.  This action can be varied by offers of cigars, fussing around fiddling with pipes, or scrutiny of cigarette butts in an ashtray with lipstick on them.

4.  Similarly, but not as frequently, pouring and consumption of drinks, which are always on a handy table, complete with seltzer bottle, glassware, and a bucket of ice.  Drinks don't take as much time as smoking, so are less frequently deployed.

5.  Final scene, when the murderer is about to murder the heroine, so the police chief orders "Calling all cars," and all the elderly cops get in their cars and drive madly around, sirens screaming.

Now you know.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Hillary's wardrobe

People are saying mean things about Hillary's wardrobe, particularly the $12,000 coat she appeared in recently.  I  think that's a cheap shot.  The coat is not becoming,--she can't carry it off.   She looks like she picked it up at some store that features garments for older women.  I can just see some upper middle class woman wearing it to church or to a do at the Women's Club, and looking better in it than Hillary.

No kidding, I think I would look better in that coat than she does; she is not interested in looking attractive, and I am.  Surely the pantsuits she wore in office were dreadful, but so was everything she wore, including her ugly hairstyle, which made her look like someone who does not visit her stylist  often enough, or maybe doesn't even have a hairstylist.  She does not place a high value on her appearance, having more worthwhile things to concern herself with, like how many bombs to drop on ISIS this week or what to do about hunger.  I'm not saying she shouldn't spend a lot of money on her clothes; no-one expects a millionaire in public life to shop at JCPenney. (Sorry, JC, not criticizing you!)

Everyone was always sniping at Jacqueline Kennedy for dressing elegantly, but she was a delight to the eye, very pretty, very stylish.  She brought grace to the White House.  Michelle Obama always looks beautifully dressed, although every time she opens her mouth she utters claptrap, and aggrieved claptrap at that.  Silence would do her a world of good.

Hillary is not a good campaigner, unlike her husband, who clearly loves, loves, loves speaking to a group who adulates him.  His wife is more like Nixon; she understands that you can't get elected unless you campaign for office, so she does, but you can see it is not her metier.  Bill liked to show off, and he craved attention and admiration.  He had a raffish sort of charm.  People liked him.  If you were seated next to him at a dinner party, you would like him.  If you were seated next to Hillary, she would talk about day care or getting out the vote.  Trump is more like Bill, he glories in being the center of attention.  He takes great joy in shooting off his mouth and more, in shocking people like a kid showing off in class.

Her voice is not passionate or persuasive.  It's not even pleasant.  That midwestern croak!  Crows could take her seminar and benefit by it.  She does not love her audience and they don't love her back.  As for her ideas!  She, like Muhammed Ali, keeps talking about fighting, but unlike him, she does not put on the gloves.  Her ideas are shopworn and have no substance.  Sincerity also is not her metier, unlike Bernie Sanders, who clearly believes every crackpot idea he so passionately advocates.

What Hillary clearly believes is that it is her turn to be President.  She earned it!  She's a woman,   She was gracious about losing to Obama, so she is now entitled to the presidency for being a good sport, and  it is her turn.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

How to be Republican

I changed my party registration when I lived in New Jersey and someone I knew was running in the primary for some office.  Later I tried to change it back to Democrat but for some reason that option was not open to me on this particular day.  So I stayed a Republlican--it was easier. There were so few republicans in the district that I was asked to be a district leader, not because I had any value to anyone but simply because I was living and breathing.

This happened around the time Jimmy Carter was president.  I actually started disliking Jimmy when he decided to carry his own suitcase into the White House. What a tiresome person he was, chock full of false humility!   Him and his sweaters!  He was such a loser that I voted Republican in the next election and Ronald Reagan won.  Ron wore a suit and tie, not a cardigan like a Man of the People.  Good enough for me.

I became a staunch Republican.  At every subsequent election I voted for the republican candidate. Some of them were not so hot, I admit.  But probably no worse than their opponents.

This brings me to Donald Trump.  I plan to vote for him because he won the nomination fair and square.  I would rather vote for Abraham Lincoln, but he is not on the ballot.. I have two choices, and all the finely reasoned objections to him by highly educated intellectuals are so much hot air.  There is not going to be a Third Party candidate.  When I get in the voting booth there will be two names on the ballot and I am a Republican.

Vox populi vox dei, I always say.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Handling charges

I've noticed for a long time that when you order tickets for a concert or play over the Internet you don't pay just the ticket price.  Something else is added:  a "handling charge," presumably for the insult of ordering tickets or the inconvenience of the organization having to maintain a website for dolts like you, or possibly to cover the cost of the oxygen you are likely to consume at the venue.

So I ordered two $20 tickets for Tanglewood, and received a $17 handling charge.  Why not just charge $57 in the first place?  There are no good tickets for sitting in the shed, since there is no way you could actually watch the orchestra play because of the configuration of the shed.  You actually watch the live performance on enormous television monitors, which is much better.  The camera or cameras zoom in on the performers, shifting the focus from time to time: first the violinists sawing away, then the horns perhaps, then the soloist.  It's a wonderful experience:  the coolness of a breeze,  the clarity of the music heard in the night air, and of course the excellence of the performers and the beauty of the music.  I've never heard a bad performance, although the weather is not always clement. Sometimes umbrellas, raincoats, or even blankets come in handy.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The curse of electronics

When e-mail started to be accepted by everyone, I was thrilled.  I could keep up with my friends without writing letters or even calling them on the phone.  When someone died, I just had to post regrets on the funeral home's website instead of struggling to write a letter which is really hard to write and takes you half a morning to compose and then you have to look for a stamp and an envelope and put it in the mailbox, not forgetting to write your return address in the upper left hand corner.

So I was happy to have e-mail.  Until I started to get hundreds of e-mail messages every day from every retailer I had ever bought anything from and many I had never bought anything from, not to mention begging letters from Nigeria.

When I got stuck in California for 8 weeks I came home to find 7,000 e-mail messages on my server.  It took me quite a while just to erase them and I've been grumpy about it ever since.

But e-mail is not nearly as intrusive as the ads on my iPhone that keep popping up with gross pictures of women with black stuff on their upper lip or big fat stomachs or ads for first, second, and third mortgages.  I'm getting to hate my phone as it takes me half an hour to read a paragraph or two.

Facebook was a nice alternative for a while, until cute cat videos started popping up.  I don't want anyone to send me pictures of their cats, dogs, or even horses.  I'm also tired of elephants.  If you are a Facebook friend of mine, please no Fauna of any description.  Flora yes, fauna no.