Friday, April 13, 2018

Leaning on something

You all know I broke my foot.  This led the doctors to give me various assistive devices, including a cane and a walker--not simultaneously, the walker came first.

  I can now report that walking with a cane makes you look ten years older.  Instantly, even if you have just undergone a facelift.  A walker adds another  ten years, plus the suspicion that you are either deaf or senile.  So people enunciate carefully, making sure you are looking them straight in the face.  Ugh!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

What makes activists tick

I can remember protests in the late sixties--we were protesting the Vietnam War then.  Lo and behold, the war ended, not necessarily because  of the protests.  But the protestors thought it was caused by them.  By God, it felt good.

  The cessation of the war made people hungry for more..  It was like a drug,  It gave them a sense of control.   People missed the excitement, the crowds, the festive air, the fresh air.  So everybody started protesting something, or everything, or nothing.

  The environment was the next Good Thing.  And, boy, did everybody crumble.  Nobody stood up for pollution.  It was a heady success.  We were reminded of that success every time we went to the store and nobody gave us a plastic bag.

  Lately, there has been some pushback, but the protesters chose their targets carefully.  If anyone protested the efforts for gun control, you could shut them up by telling them they had the blood of children on their hands.  It turned out, no-one wanted to kill a child.  Of course not!  But some people still wanted to keep their guns, the murderers!   Not that they had killed any children with them, or even any adults; they just refused to give up guns no matter how passionately the protesters argued. 


It's poetry month

I've always liked this one.  I like gloomy poems.

Th' expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murd'rous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
Enjoyed no sooner but despis├Ęd straight,
Past reason hunted; and, no sooner had
Past reason hated as a swallowed bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad;
Mad in pursuit and in possession so,
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
    All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
    To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

My gofundme project

The news of Andrew McCabe's Gofundme project upset me until I came to my senses.  The man is, like me, a retired civil servant who has only his pension to rely on.  How can he afford legal fees?  True, his wife has money, and they live in a multi-million dollar home, but the man says he needs money for legal fees and who am I, whose relative had to pay a lawyer $50,000 to get out of a contract, to doubt him.  Andy--if I may take the liberty of calling him that--is a good example of a retired civil servant making lemonade out of lemons.  He has inspired me to start my own gofundme scheme.

  Naturally, I want the money for a worthwhile cause.  I don't want diamonds or European travel or anything like that.  But, looking through the New York Times magazine, I came upon a project which would certainly improve my mental health--a luxury condo in Florida.  You see, it really snows very hard up here in Delaware, and my doctor has forbidden  me to shovel snow.  So far, my neighbors have helped me with this, but it is really not fair to them to have this extra burden.

  So it would improve the morale of the whole neighborhood if I were to spend the winter in Florida, leaving the snow to pile up in my driveway until the crocuses and daffodils come out.

  I know asking people for a luxury condo is a bit much.  The optics, you know.  So I wont ask for a luxury condo in Fort Lauderdale, which is what was advertised in the Times.  I'd be satisfied with a modest--but not too modest--little pied a terre on the West Coast, even as far north as the panhandle.  I think I will ask for $400,000 , $350,000 for the condo itself and $50,000 to furnish it. That seems eminently reasonable.  I will even pay the monthly fees and airfare to get from here to there.  I could raise a little money from airbnb to supplement my very modest  income.

Friday, March 30, 2018

You go, Pennsylvania!

A Pennsylvania law that gives tax breaks to farms--and also golf courses and lavish private homes--is being criticized by the people who actually pay taxes.

Supporters say Clean and Green has helped shield millions of acres of farms and other pristine lands from being turned into strip malls, warehouses and Levittowns. The lowered assessments, they say, are a bargain compared to the expense of development and the strains it places on schools, roads and public services. Backers also insist that any problematic properties represent a tiny portion of the lands enrolled.

Under the program, qualifying properties — those with at least 10 contiguous acres or that generate $2,000 in farm sales annually — are assessed on what the land is worth as a working farm or woodlot, and not its value on the real estate market. State officials estimate that on average, that works out to a 50 percent reduction in assessment, though the numbers can be as dramatic as pennies on the dollar.

The hardest hit communities were in rural school districts such as Northwestern Lehigh and Bangor Area. Last week, the presidents of each school board said they support the tax breaks for farmers, but feel it is unfair to the average taxpayer to provide them to mansion owners with large estates.
“Somebody has found a loophole in my humble opinion,” said Bangor Area’s Michael Goffredo. “You just got a bargain somebody else isn’t getting.”
Like others, Northwestern Lehigh’s Willard Dellicker called Clean and Green a well-intentioned law producing unintended results.
“Some leniency is needed for farmers, but I don’t believe that we should be giving millionaires property tax reductions because they own 10 acres to get into Clean and Green,” Dellicker said.
Why do they want to prevent development of land that would lead to more young couples owning their own homes  and raising children who would attend local schools?  There's an erroneous belief in this country that the population is too large and that people should avoid having children.  In fact, the population is becoming grayer.  We need children and young people to support us old people who are on social security.  Also to power the factories, to invent and create and think new things.
  Look at Delaware--a potentially nice area of the country which is covered with hospitals, nursing homes, and senior living facilities.  Is that what we want?

  Nursing homes or schools, which do you prefer?  Because you can't have both.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Summer soldiers and sunshine patriots

It was a fine day for a parade Saturday, and the summer soldiers and their buddies the sunshine patriots made a fine display all over the country.

  I wonder how big the turnout would have been if we had been experiencing some of the weather we have been getting lately: snow, high winds, hail, and power outages?  But none of these happened, and if they had, the turnout would have been close to zero.  There was no price to be paid for protesting in the fine weather, aided by some  corporations who, as Kruschev said, would sell us the rope to hang ourselves.  Evil, evil corporations!  Or maybe just stupid, or cowardly like the Broward Cowards who didn't want to enter the school while the shooting was going on--man, you could have got killed out there! Better to hang out behind your cars until the danger has passed.  First responders, indeed!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Advice you can use: How to get anemic

When I was a kid I always fantasized about being able to eat anything I wanted to, whenever I wanted to.  My fantasies in those days ran to Wonder Bread--which my family would never buy, preferring challah or rye--non-Kosher lunch meats, and Heath bars.  I offer these memories to those who think that kids would eat healthy if you just let them choose what they would like to eat.

  However, in the middle of my journey, I found myself alone.  No one to cook for.  No one to share meals with, unless I wanted to.  So I started eating anything.  Or everything.  If I had a pound of macaroni salad, I would eat as much of it as I chose, maybe the whole thing.  Or Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and lots of butter.  Hard boiled eggs.  A baked potato, or two.  Yogurt with fruit.  Fruit alone, some days, in the summer when fruit was bountiful and available.  Meat was a great nuisance to make, the stove got dirty, and I had to turn on the oven fan.

  I don't want to exaggerate, I sometimes but not too often, made myself a nourishing soup or stew, generally in the crockpot.  I figured it would even out, somehow. 

  Then I found out I was anemic.  Now I have to take iron pills, which you can't take with meals or with other medications.  This means I pop one in my mouth when I think of it.  Or whenever.  This averages out to three iron pills a week, because I am usually either eating or taking pills, instead of the two a day I am supposed to take.

  Instead, I make healthy meals and have to clean the stove frequently, like a normal person.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Short memory

The Florida school shooting has raised everyone's consciousness about gun control.  That's because school kids are appealing victims.  It's great theater when kids walk out of school for 17 (get the symbolism?) minutes all over the country.  These appealing youngsters are featured on television news, looking young, vulnerable, and as if they know what they are talking about.  Which they don't.

Much is made of the police officers' caution, or cowardice, in staying in the safe haven of the parking lot, hiding behind cars for good measure.  I, too deplore it.  I mean, what are we paying them for?  They are supposed to keep the children safe.

But did anyone notice that when a gunman shot up a gay nightclub, with the shooter actually on the phone to authorities, that it took them almost three hours to arrive? Perhaps  they thought that by then the gunman might be out of bullets?  I guess these gay men and their friends and families were not as cute as the Parkland high schoolers, although they were just as dead.

There was the usual formulaic handwringing, but nobody's heart was really in it, and it blew over quickly.

  I guess it's really about the children.