Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Day tradition

We have a New Year's Day tradition in the South of eating black-eyed peas for good luck and cabbage for money. I cook the peas with sausage, and bake cornbread and also cook some rice (Louisiana tradition). Damn! that's good eatin'. I don't like the taste or smell of cooked cabbage so I eat cole slaw. Maybe that's why I'm broke.

It appears this tradition in my family will die out with my generation. My kids do not really like black-eyed peas. My oldest daughter cannot even stand the smell of them cooking. I don't have a problem with the tradition dying out. I'm not superstitious about luck or money; I believe you (usually) make your own of each, unless you manage a large bank or insurance company or a hedge fund, or you're a politician, in which case you rape the working class for your money.

The sense of loss I feel is that future generations will miss learning the history of these and other traditions, and passing along the traditions and the history to the next generation. For example, black-eyed peas were a staple crop of the agrarian South used to feed cattle and slaves. Many Northerners (polite euphemism for damn Yankees) refuse to eat black-eyed peas to this day because they are still considered animal feed. Same with catfish, a Southern-fried delicacy, though I hear catfish is becoming more popular in the north. They probably don't fry it properly, though. It must be fried in corn meal, not flour. Anyway, it's too damn cold there now for me to go find out for sure.

The tradition has, however, served me very well. Though I've been through all manner of ups and downs, I am lucky to the point of feeling blessed. I have a beautiful, intelligent, sexy wife; my children are happy and healthy; our grandson is happy and healthy and a true joy to have with us; I have a great job and usually have money enough to pay the bills. I wish for my children to feel as blessed as I do, no matter how their lives unfold.

To a happy and prosperous 2010!

Monday, December 28, 2009

One tough cold

The little one is home from the hospital and had a wonderful Christmas. He is well and full of energy. The adults, however, now have what he had. I expected to come down with it as he and I often share a fork at dinner and we all wipe his little nose. No big deal, I thought. A head cold, I thought. But damn, this is one bad cold virus. For anyone with little ones who reads this, do your research on RSV, and do not hesitate to get the younger children to a hospital if you see symptoms of labored breathing or high fever.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

CINO's, the modern-day Pharisees (Matthew 23:13)

Note: After I began writing this, we had to take our grandson to the hospital. I will post a new blog regarding this experience. Until then:

I'm usually optimistic, tempered with a strong sense of realism and a healthy dose of skepticism. Seldom am I pessimistic. However, I'm beginning to think we may be seeing the beginning of the end of the American Democracy Experiment. The end is being brought on by immoral actions of a group of people who think themselves religious even to the point of being superior. This self-righteousness stinks of hypocrisy, and this is what is bringing this country to the brink of implosion.

Of course, I'm talking about Christians. I'm not referring to all Christians, just those modern-day Pharisees, the vocal asshats who value Law above Mercy. You know, those sanctimonious people who the founder of their religion railed against even to the point of his own death. I call them CINO's, or Christians In Name Only.

We can see the effects of their piety on the national level, where Congressmen and Senators argue over health care reform, when they're not having extra-marital sex or collecting payoffs from the very industries they are supposed to regulate. There are CINO's in both political parties, though the majority of these are Republican, with majority being determined by noise volume. The Republican CINO's seek to stop any sort of health care reform, regardless of the effects this will have on both the nation and its inhabitants, simply because they are obstructionists who would rather see the nation suffer than support a Democratic president and his policies. They scream and lie and rant about cost, despite having colluded with the previous administration to start a costly war against a nation who posed no threat to us but did sit atop vast reserves of oil. Millions of people - innocent people, men women, children - have died or have been maimed and displaced because of this war. Those responsible are war criminals and should be tried as such. These same CINO's condone the use of torture against those who are different from themselves. These same CINO's, and here I refer especially to tea-baggers (many of whom still do not understand the absurdity of using that name) have cheered for those in power who trample over the Constitution under the guise of protecting the people from terrorists, yet this is alright with them because those in power were Republicans. These CINO's protest against socialized medicine, ignoring the fact we already have socialized medicine in this country in the VA programs, in Medicare, in Medicaid.

Generally speaking, Republicans are assholes, while Democrats are pussies. The Democrats have been given power they are afraid to wield. They are the majority political party in both the House and Senate, yet cannot accomplish the change they were elected to achieve. Yes, they are, as a group, as corrupt as the Republicans. They are just as deep into the hip pockets of the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry as are the Republicans, but at least the Democrats paid lip service to wanting to reform our present health care system, to allow more people to obtain health care, to prevent the insurance companies from practicing the worst abuses in the name of corporate greed. However, they have failed, they continue to fail, and they will fail in the future, because they do not have the balls to get the job done. There are exceptions in people like Alan Grayson but the exceptions have not yet managed to strengthen the spines of people like Harry Reid. Meanwhile, Aetna publicly announces they will raise the rates they charge people for insurance so an expected 650,000 people will drop their coverage so the company won't have to pay out on claims so they will make even more money next year because 2009 profits were below goal. Note the company did make a profit in 2009, just not as much as the executives wanted. Note also this company spent over $2,000,000.00 in lobbying in 2009.

Oh, as for Independent Joe Lieberman? I wish there was a Hell so he could burn there forever.

Meanwhile, 48,000 Americans die each year because they do not have health insurance and do not seek timely medical care. With the primary vector for health insurance being a person's job, the toll of our high unemployment rate is exacerbated even further. And people who at one time had insurance but then filed a claim for a healthcare benefit now have a pre-existing condition. This means if you change jobs or for any reason want to buy insurance on the open market you may be forced to pay higher rates, if you can get coverage at all, because of your pre-existing condition. Another insurance industry practice is rescission, or dropping coverage after a claim has been filed. Google it. You'll find some powerful stories. Ignorant people talk of health care rationing under a government plan. We already have rationing now, under the banner of corporate profiteering.

Democrats have so far failed miserably in their promise to bring about change, especially in the field of health care reform, I expect they will be defeated in the 2010 and 2012 elections. Republicans will return to power in both the House and Senate and very possibly the presidency, although another possible scenario involves Republicans taking over Congress in 2010 and pissing off enough voters because of their jackassery that a Democrat could win the presidency in 2012. Regardless, the American Democratic Experiment will continue to suffer. There are already so many disillusioned potential voters not voting, or potential voters in a place like my state of Texas where a Democratic vote is a wasted vote, or potential voters who could not stand to vote for the poor caliber of candidate regardless of political party, that continued fuckups by our current crop of Democrats is going to send a majority of CINO's back into power. I'm not sure the Republic could survive another 8 years of Republican rule. We could end up with a plutocracy or even something closer to a kleptocracy. Indeed, some would say we already have one.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Sunday I put $15.00 worth of gas in the van. That filled it half-way but I only had about $18.00 to last until payday on the 15th (today). I haven't been this broke since my kids were little...didn't have 2 nickels to rub together some days then. It's kind of invigorating to make it through until payday after running out of money - reminds me of the old days.
OK, that's enough invigoration.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It took 50 years but... finally happened. I received a mailing from AARP.

Fuck. Me.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

What a jerk!

A situation happened the other day that made me realize I'm not exactly the same person I was 25 years ago. We were meeting the baby's other grandparents to deliver him for their weekend custody. They get to keep him the 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends of the month, as per court order. As I was standing in the parking lot holding the baby and making small talk with the other grandfather, an ignorant East Texas redneck conservative Christian-hypocrite jackass, he reaches up and yanks the pacifier out of the baby's mouth, saying something to the effect of no baby stuff allowed here. The child immediately began wailing as if he'd had his feelings hurt terribly, and clearly he had. I could not think of anything to say or do to that jackass as he walked off to place the baby in his car; anything, that is, that would not have made things worse for the baby.

When I was about 25, I and my young son, just a few years old at the time, went to a local hardware store on the town square. As I was getting him out of the car, a large pickup truck pulled sharply into the open space next to me, almost hitting my still open door. I put my son down on the seat and started beating the side of the truck with my bare hands, leaving a dent in the sheet metal, and yelling at the driver that his driving endangered my child. I might have beaten the driver too if he hadn't had the good sense to go inside a different store.

Sometimes I think I should have beaten that jackass grandfather for taking the baby's pacifier and making him feel so bad, but that might have killed the old man, who just last year suffered a near-fatal heart attack. And, for those who have never tried this, trying to reason with an ultra-conservative redneck asshole is entirely futile. Members of this species are never wrong, and unable to reason well enough to adopt new positions. They only understand force. Whoever screams loud enough must be right. I usually simply refuse to engage them because I've learned it is a waste of time.

One thing about me that hasn't changed is I will not tolerate bullying behavior. We pick up the baby from them tomorrow evening. I intend to take him in my arms and immediately give him his pacifier, in plain view of the jackass. I dare him to say anything about it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fall in Texas

The baby is napping so I grabbed a cup of coffee and stepped out on the front porch to watch the new lizard hatchlings trying to catch mosquitoes. Yes, it's Fall in Texas! Mosquitoes aplenty, reptiles hatching (real ones and politicians), and Oh! the colors. The reds, the golds, the oranges. By that I mean the red necks of the redneck hicks, the gold lame' pants that don't entirely cover the Walmart shoppers' butt-cracks, and the orange of the undefeated University of Texas football team, who have beaten such powerhouses as Louisiana-Monroe, Texas Tech, and UCF. WTF is UCF? University of Canada at Farnham? I thought they only played hockey up there. Ugly College Females? I wouldn't bet against some of those gals. Union of Collective Farmers? They wouldn't allow a bunch of hippie-commie types like that in Texas. Must have been an away game.

Good hunting, lizards. I hope you eat all the mosquitoes. I commented to my wife this past summer how mosquitoes represent one answer to counter those who favor Intelligent Design. I mean, why would an omniscient God create mosquitoes and other such pests to wreak havoc upon His creation? My wife, far more clever than I, answered that the folks who propound the theory of Intelligent Design are the best arguments against it. So true. These people actually believe the earth is about 6000 years old, Adam and Eve lived alongside dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden, and not only is there a Hell but I'll be going there.

Well, folks, The Flintstones is not a documentary. A text written 2500 years ago based upon 5000 year old tales and allegories passed down from illiterate desert nomads and shepherds should not be taken too literally, especially by hypocrites who pick and choose which verses they want to apply at that given moment while ignoring the contradictory verses.

Oh, for those loyal American tea-baggers who insist upon making English our official language, learn to spell. Get a Brain! Morans