Thursday, December 26, 2013

Breaking news from 1935

I found the following valentine to Obamacare above the fold in the Delaware newspaper:

Health woes just part of history
Popular federal programs were target for early criticism, too
Although multiple problems have snarled the rollout of President Barack Obama's signature health care law, it's hardly the first time a new, sprawling government program has been beset by early technical glitches, political hostility and gloom-and-doom denouncements. President Franklin D. Roosevelt faced heavy skepticism with his launch of Social Security in 1935-37. Turbulence also rocked subsequent key presidential initiatives, including Lyndon Johnson's rollout of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, Richard Nixon's Supplemental Security Income program in 1974 and George W. Bush's Medicare prescription drugs program in 2006. Yet these programs today are enormously popular with recipients. ... After FDR kicked off Social Security in 1937, Washington's pre-computer age bureaucrats faced enormous hurdles enrolling people for the old-age benefits. Many had the same or similar names. Not all employers kept detailed records on employees and how much they were paid, further complicating the process.
The online version of the News Journal has scrubbed the story, undoubtedly feeling embarrassed, and they ought to be. If readers don't know what happened in 1935, this is not the place to learn it today. I found it on Newsbusters. It was written by some clapped-out AP hack called Tom Raum. And appeared above the fold! Words fail me.Even this failing, unreadable rag has exceeded my expectations.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Still more about Hannibal

Did you know Hannibal practiced diversity? No kidding. His troops included Carthaginians (Semites), Numidians (black, I think), Gauls, and various Italians he picked up during the course of his long rampage, and God knows what else. This multicultural gang enjoyed pillaging, raping and enslaving their enemies in perfect harmony, without a cross word. And they killed them in large numbers. Of course, their enemies would have done it to them if they could. So that makes it all right.
Anyway, that's the way business was conducted in the ancient world.
I just finished reading about the Battle of Cannae. What a bloodbath! And to think the Romans came back after that. But Hannibal certainly gave them something to think about.
My apologies to those of my readers to whom this is all old stuff.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

More about Hannibal

By chance I acquired an atlas of the ancient world. I was particularly interested in tracing Hannibal's route to Rome. I didn't even know exactly where Carthage was. What a brilliant feat of logistics! I know, everyone else knew all about this and I am just catching up. But what a military genius he was! It was not all about the elephants, of whom there were 37. It was about finding enemies and allies along the route. And crossing rivers with the aforementioned elephants. And don't forget the Alps. And deceiving the enemy about his route. Don't tell me how it turns out; I haven't finished reading the book yet. I know he spent 17 years away from home.
I'm only reading this in short bits, because I am concurrently reading a book about the Pope and Leonardo da Vinci and the Sistine Chapel.

My dad's painting

 
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Euphemism

Words are used in such a namby pamby way nowadays! I was looking up a nursing home today which provides memory care. They don't care for your memories, or restore them. They take care of those who have lost their wits and cannot care for themselves. What they do is laudable and worth doing, so why hide behind a euphemism?
Why are personnel departments human resources? Is working in a personnel office something to be ashamed of?
What about school resource officers, known in the real world as cops?

My father's paintings--and mine

My father took up painting in his latter years, and he was pretty good, too. He liked to paint urban scenes. But when he died in 1911, only a few of his paintings went to family members. For one reason, most of them were very large. So dozens were left, and his wife had no room for them in her new apartment. So she proposed to put them in her daughter's attic. It is amazing how many people think paintings, furniture, and musical instruments don't need special care, such as climate control. Someone donated a piano to our library, which gussied up the place no end, but was almost unplayable because the sounding board was warped. But I digress.
I took a few of dad's paintings, gave one or two to my kids, and hung two in my house, where looking at them gives me great pleasure. But the disposition of the rest made me think about my own paintings.
Not all my paintings are great successes, although I work hard on them. Some are boring or banal. Those I either put aside for further work or discard. Some I paint over. One or two I have managed to sell, or give to friends.But the vast majority, the ones that came out well, are mostly hanging on my walls. And my walls are full. Adding a room is not an option--I already have 8.
I often see paintings by unknowns, like me, in my favorite retail outlet, the Good Will. Some of them are very good and are worthy of more that the $20-50 that they fetch, mainly for the frames.
So, except for a treasured few, I would like to sell or give away my paintings.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Hannibal

I buy lots of books at the Good Will, my favorite hangout. In fact, I buy better books at the Good Will than I often get at the local public library, and I don't have to return them, either. Sometimes I find something really good, or something which I like to read, which is not necessarily the same thing at all.
Here are a couple of books I found recently at the Good Will: War of the Worlds, by H G Wells, which looks interesting at the very least, and a biography of Hannibal. I thought it might be interesting to know something about Hannibal, in case he comes up in conversation some time, which is very likely, don't you think? I don't know anything about Hannibal, but then I don't know anything about the people I read about in People Magazine, except those named Kardashian.
I would be ashamed to pass myself off as an educated person without knowing anything about Hannibal, who I understand came over the Alps with elephants to attack the Romans. Or maybe not. All my knowledge of Ancient Rome comes from novels by Stephen Saylor, Robert Harris, or John Maddox Roberts, except for a furtive look into Everyday Life in Ancient Rome while at the reference desk, and somehow I failed to obtain the facts about Hannibal from these sources.
So onward and upward with Hannibal, in case there is a quiz.