Saturday, October 27, 2007

What's Wrong With This Picture?

So it turns out that I'm not the only one who considers it impossible that October is nearly over. Check out the "hot deal" on this screen capture from the online edition of the local rag...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I Have No Idea What This Means

Add to my puzzlement over what "Christian" electricians, contractors, lenders, and so on might be (would a "Christian" lender, for instance, not charge me interest?), here's this that appeared on my screen today:

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Yes, Christian Health Quote. Again, I have no idea what to make of this. But I have some questions:
  • Only the quote is "Christian"? What about the insurance itself?
  • Every insurance company or agency on the planet seems to brag about its "100% Free Quote": are there any, anywhere, that charge for quotes? If so, do they run ads touting their "75% Free Quote" or something?
  • Is it not interesting that following the link on the ad takes one to a company of a different name that says it's "dedicated to addressing the consumers growing need for information and education about life, health, auto and long-term care insurance"--but doesn't use the word "Christian" except in its banner and copyright line. But they "provide a "one-stop-shop" for consumer's to shop for all their insurance needs." Not their punctuation needs, however

Well, I know nothing about these people (they sell Aetna and AIG and Blue Cross-Blue Shield, so it all seems on the up-and-up and everything, as much as one can expect where insurance companies are involved), and I'm sure they're fine folks. But I have no idea how working with a "Christian" insurance agency would be any different than working with my current insurance agent (who is, after all, a Christian himself, even if he doesn't go around thumping his chest about it). And experience teaches, alas, that them what go around bragging about what fantabulous "Christians" they are need to be watched with hawklike vigilance.

Ditto for drivers who have those fish symbols (ichthys, if you like) on the backs of their minivans. It seems to be the universal symbol for bad drivers. I appreciate the warning, however; that seems a very Christian thing to do!

Water Shortages: Who's Responsible?

This came awhile back from

In today's excerpt--Groucho Marx writes the opening words to his 1959 autobiography "Groucho and Me," and, as is his wont, instantly digresses into a pique:

"The trouble with writing a book about yourself is that you can't fool around. If you write about someone else, you can stretch the truth from here to Finland. If you write about yourself, the slightest deviation makes you realize instantly that there may be honor among thieves, but you are just a dirty liar.

"Although it is generally known, I think it's about time to announce that I was born at a very early age. Before I had time to regret it, I was four and a half years old. Now that we are on the subject of age, let's skip it. It isn't important how old I am. What is important, however, is whether enough people will buy this book to justify my spending the remnants of my rapidly waning vitality in writing it.

"Age is not a particularly interesting subject. Anyone can get old. All you have to do is live long enough. It always amuses me when the newspapers run a picture of a man who has finally lived to be a hundred. He's usually a pretty beat-up individual who invariably looks closer to two hundred than the century mark. It isn't enough that the paper runs a photo of this rickety, hollow shell. The ancient oracle then has to sound off on the secret of his longevity. 'I've lived longer than all my friends,' he croaks, 'because I've never used a mattress, always slept on the floor, had raw turkey liver every morning for breakfast, and drank thirty-two glasses of water a day.'

"Big deal! Thirty-two glasses of water a day. This is the kind of man who is responsible for the water shortages in America. Fortunes have been spent in the arid West, trying to convert sea water into something that can be swallowed with safety, and this old geezer, instead of drinking eight glasses of water a day like the rest of us, has to guzzle thirty-two a day, or enough water to keep four normal people going indefinitely. ..."

Groucho Marx, Groucho and Me, Da Capo, Copyright 1959 by Groucho Marx, renewed 1987 in the name of Arthur Marx as son, pp. 3-4.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Okay, SOME Conservatives' Hatred

It is one of the oddities of this little blog (perhaps because it's not "really" a blog but rather a, well, eclectic collection of whatever happens to strike me occasionally; and perhaps because it is only an occasional thing) that no one ever comments on it directly. I know it is read by a few people, at least, for every so often one of them will see fit to offer a comment--but never here, only via e-mail. I've reproduced one or two of them in these pages; the vast majority of them are usually so brief--"I agree" or "I don't agree"--that it's hardly worth the copy-and-paste time to put them here.

But occasionally a couple of my far-flung correspondents sees fit to forward something I've written to HIS far-flung correspondents…which sometimes generates a worthy comment that my far-flung sends back to me. It's all very complicated, so I appreciate the far-flungs' efforts.

One of them sent my musings about conservatives' hate-filled existences (okay, make that some conservatives') to a right-of-center friend, and then forwarded back this thoughtful response:

    I agree this is worth the read. Not because I agree with much of what is written, however. I am a conservative. I don't hate Al Gore – I applaud him. I believe the climate is warming abnormally and that there is a real human component. I also believe that the actual function that would model the climate is far from known. As one data point to this I offer the average 7-day forecast that is usually only accurate for about two days. I think highly of much of what the Kennedy's have done for America. I also think that if Joseph K were alive and doing business in the 1990's he would now quite likely be in the cell next to Jeff Skilling. Even today, it can be truthfully said that Ted Kennedy has killed more people ( or is that mistresses ) with his car than I have with my gun, and I was in the military for 20 years. I believe for every Rush Limbaugh there is a corresponding Al Sharpton. Ask your contributor to review some of "reverand Al's " comments about the Duke lacrosse players. Have you seen any apology from him yet? I haven't. I find him just as hate-filled and divisive as Limbaugh.

    I strongly resist broad generalizations, but I guess if one had to be made then it would be - Republicans lust for power ( Nixon / Bush ) while Democrats just lust ( JFK / Clinton ). At some point in time, don
    't we have to let the center of the country try driving for a while?

Well, it's fun to get something--even round-aboutly--that someone has actually put some thought into. And I appreciate the writer's abstention from making his disagreement personal (you'd ba amazed--or maybe not--at how many people can't manage that level of maturity). But I'm afraid the writer--let's call him "Bob"--never addresses my point., viz., why do so many conservatives seem to run on an inexhaustible supply of hatred. Why do they hate FDR 60 years after his death? JFK 40 years on? When Al Gore receives the Nobel Prize, why do they attack not just Gore but the Prize itself (to say nothing of fellow Nobel recipient Jimmy Carter, dissed on Fox Noise as "that crazy Jimmy Carter," showing the high regard and respect they have for presidents of these United States. To say that Al Sharpton has said some things as negative as Rush Limbaugh doesn't address the question. To say "I'm a conservative and I don't hate Al Gore" doesn't address the question. (Interesting that "Bob" can't resist taking a couple of swings at the Kennedys, thus illustrating my original point about conservatives' deeply held loathing for that whole family, no?) I'll give "Bob" the benefit of the doubt--and agree with his point about the dangers of "broad generalizations" (except, evidently, where Kennedys are concerned) (and when, by the way, was the last time you saw a narrow generalization?)--and assume that he is one of the exceptions to what I perceive to be the norm of venom-filled conservatives. But much of his rebuttal (reproduced above in its entirety) is of that familiar well-your-guy-is-even-worse variety, which gets us nowhere.

Keep in mind: I am genuinely puzzled by and interested in this phenomenon, especially in the context of so many of these right-wingnuts who trumpet about what almighty great Christians they are even as they wallow in the bottomless pool of their hatred for anyone with a contrary point of view. I literally am at a loss to explain or understand them and their attitude. And I'm afraid "Bob" sheds no light.

I may in these pages have mentioned a friend of mine from college, a young woman of the Republican persuasion, whose standard response, whenever someone in those immediate-post-Watergate days would mention Nixon's transgressions, was "Kennedy was even worse." Pressed for details, she could offer none; it was just that JFK HAD to have been worse, since he was (a) a Democrat and (b) a Kennedy.

"Bob" is probably correct when he suggests that it might be a good thing to let moderates take the wheel for awhile. But I'm still left to wonder why so many on the right wing carry so much hatred around with the.

Where do they get the energy?