Random Thoughts Part II

True story.  35 years ago I hadda supermarket job stocking shelves when one day while I was stacking canned green beans a guy comes along claiming he was the original Jolly Green Giant.  His wife/significant other reassured me that this was true but I wasn’t buying it although I nodded at ’em as though I was.  Can u blame me? How many people do u come across in life who claim to be the f#%@ing Jolly Green Giant???

Secondly, we’ve hadda few hits from Canada recently and I feel the need to give ’em a shout-out.  Yep, the next time anyone in the U.S. decides to call u a bunch of backwoods, syrup-slurpin, seal clubbin’ yahoos, rest assured I’ve got yer back.  Despite the many complex and almost desperate issues going on with the Mexican border these days it’s reassuring to know that NO ONE (not even Donald Trump) is planning to build a wall between the USA and Canada.  Why u ask?  The Canucks would rather freeze to death than associate with us and recipricuosly Americans aren’t that much interested in our northern neighbor seeing as we can freeze OUR asses off just fine in New Hampshire, Montana and Alaska when necessary.

The New England Patriots have suddenly decided to get all spooky again. NEVER count out Tom Brady. The Pats/Raiders and Eagles/Cowboys games are gonna be good watching this weekend.

Just a few thoughts and until next time keep a cold one in the cooler for me.

Jimmy

 

Let’s Just Forget it All Happened (’til Later)

“Sexual Harassment” has been a word being thrown around lately as though it’s a thing or even a crime.  Thanks to Harvey Weinstein, Bill Clinton (some time ago), Bill Cosby and previous president George HW Bush (tho on a way smaller scale) among many others, my morning weather and traffic reports are routinely followed up by some actress coming outta the woodwork accusing him of something that I’m not sure is even a crime.  Don’t get me wrong here, there’s sufficient, even abundant evidence that these guys are arrogant, narcissistic borderline perverts who take advantage of their powerful positions in order to satisfy their own sexual desires, but have they violated the law?

Fear not, for your not so indefatigueable journalist/blogger is on top of it.  In studying this matter I asked my three female bartenders to answer the question of “What IS sexual harassment?” (almost sounds like an NFL penalty when you say it enough times. “The offense is penalized 10 yards for sexual misconduct! The ball will be placed at the 34 yard line! Please reset the game clock to 2 minutes and 34 seconds!”).  The aforementioned bartendresses couldn’t quite come up with a definition themselves despite my lurid and depraved examples, but they all felt that they just know it when they hear or see it.

Fair enough.  So let’s delve deeper into this issue by searching the internet for an accurate, fair description…

“harassment (typically of a woman) in a workplace, or other professional or social situation, involving the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks.”

The EEOC (“you’re tax dollars at work!”) came up with an actual definition of the legality of this question:

“It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.

Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.

Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.

Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.”

AHA!! Now we have a clear definition!! Unfortunately, these rules would necessitate the incarceration of every male in the USA, so let’s probe further.  Let’s say that a guy who’s not so great lookin’ (let us call him “Gus”) busts a move on a way overly made-up, leopard-skinned clad, fake blond floozy of a woman while simply asking her out for dinner (let us call her “Wanda”) and gets rejected.  Is Gus guilty of “an unwanted sexual advance”? Next, let’s say a total douchebag of a moron named “Iggy” says the exact same thing to Wanda only this time she accepts.   Is Iggy off the hook here because Wanda accepted his advances while Gus is suddenly in trouble?

Here’s why I setup this example.  Gus apparently made an “unwanted sexual advance” simply because he got shot down by Wanda whereas Iggy’s cool insomuch as his advance was accepted by Wanda and  therefore must be considered a wanted advance.

Now let’s consider Gus to be outta the picture seeing as he may or may not have sudden legal problems requiring a lawyer under the rules previously mentioned and concentrate on Iggy. Taking this further, let’s also say Iggy is Wanda’s boss and could promote her career in ways that Gus never could leading to Wanda’s acceptance of Iggy’s advance.  Heh, heh, NOW WE’RE TALKIN’!

Here’s where Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, and every other self-entitled semi-molester in a position of power is gonna get it. Or so you would think…

The key here seems to be that the guy inflicting the harassment has to be in a position of power. A studio executive, a politician, a rock music star (funny that rock stars rarely seem to have this issue. Maybe their “aquaintances” don’t aspire to anything I guess) or a person of heavy influence over their targets careers.  Can Iggy and Wanda have a relationship just because they love each other and want to be together? What if it is at first and things go downhill inside of a month and they just break it off? Is Iggy guilty here?

If sexual harassment is so pervasive and so humiliating why does it seem to take forever for the victims to say something?  What changed after all these years? Were they too young and hopeful at the time or are they just looking to cash in on an opportunity to stick it to that guy?  Maybe the women were so humiliated that they felt ashamed and just wouldn’t admit it until they’d grown up.  To be blunt, are we talking about female golddiggers here or powerful, manipulative men taking advantage of vulnerable young women?

I still wonder how you define this. It seems to boil down to “he said, she said” and lacking Monica Lewinsky’s dress, how do you know for sure?

Please hit Mamemagazine.com when you have a chance.  Great writing and top-notch photo content.

Until next time,

Jimmy

 

We’ll Take the Bill Now Waiter

I love progress, I really do.  It’s gotten so dysfunctionally slick that instead of just getting an e-mail showing what I owe on my cable bill I receive a full-on, condescending video of what I owe with audio notes explaining how I got into this mess in the first place.

Being a forward-thinkin guy, I’d like to recommend the next step in our world of progress by suggesting that my cable provider invent a cartoon character called “Billy: Your Friendly Bill Explainin’ Squirrel” wherein Billy would explain to us how idiotic and self-indulgent it was to order “Wanda Does Walla Walla” in a moment of weakness last month, resulting in a “very reasonable” charge of $17.99 per viewing.  Billy could then step into the next phase of the billing process where he resolves absolutely none of our questions in the billing and tax phase of our bill to the point of imparting in an appropriately high, squeaky voice “HAHA!!! F*&# YOU and I’m NOT GONNA TELL YA!! or “GET A LIFE GOOMBAH!

Still, I have high hopes for our theoretical friend. Being cute and fuzzy can really take u a long way in this world, much like the Terrier outside my window who figures it sound thinking to bark his ASS off at 2:30 in the morning. Getting back to Billy, I’d like to see his lovability used as a force for positive change bringing love, peace, goodwill, free love, opioids and all the other fun stuff that modern society provides us.

To be honest, all I’ve been doing in the preceding paragraphs is running interference while waiting for Chuck’s response to this e-mail:

Me: “1st off, I went to Nick’s for a beef combo and gravy fries today cuz I just couldn’t take it anymore after 3 months of introverted denial (Evil demon on left shoulder: “get Nick’s roast beest w/gravy fries Jim, Chuck would WANT u to do it” while the angel on my right shoulder is saying “No, no it’s a sign of betrayal!”

Guess which side won.  Having just driven 8 hours up and 8 hours back to and between a wedding in Provincetown, MA I’da thought that a good post or two would be easy money, but no dice. As my sister so eloquently put it “I can’t believe we got thru that incident-free.”  (My family’s weddings usually qualify as some kinda spectacle that’d make the Cirque du Soleil jealous.)

Having noted all this I’ll take ANYTHING in the way of ideas for a post (it’s been a while, man.) including your scientific opinion on the preservation of mastodon fossils.  Lacking that, I’ll post this e-mail and WHATEVER thoughts on the subject of wooly mammoths as u may  be so kind as to impart.”

As fun and wonderful a writer Chuck is he can also be a surly, recalcitrant bastard when he wants to be. Fear not, for I shall harass him when/where necessary. This is my solemn promise to u.

Oh, Tom Petty died last week as most of us know by now.  One person fancied him an equivalent American songwriter equal to Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan (allow me to throw in John Lee Hooker) in a statement I’ll never disagree with. Once again lemme see if I can git this video goin’ (it always seems to be a challenge) If not, listen to The Travelling Wilburys “End of the Line” and “Handle With Care” on your own.  You’ll be glad u did.

Stay safe and be strong.

Jimmy

 

 

 

That Means WHAT???

Being a 53 year old guy who thought he was wise to the ways of the world (the English vocabulary in particular) and then some, I’ve recently found out how wrong I was when my daughter and I recently got into a friendly argument about the nickname of her targeted college, namely the University of Hawaii.

While she insisted the team nickname was “The Manoans”, I quickly and accurately corrected her with “Rainbow Warriors” as the school’s flagship moniker.  In order to settle our dispute I looked up the aforementioned Rainbow Warriors on Google and the first site presented was The Urban Dictionary, which gave a vastly different interpretation of the term than I was expecting:

Kate:  OK Dad! Look it up!

Me (while Googling): Yep. I’ll show you!

(momentary pause)

Me: What the hell is this???!!!

Kate (laughing): Dad, you clicked on The Urban Dictionary site!

Allow me to withhold the definition of Urban Dictionary’s version of what “Rainbow Warrior” means (seeing as this is a damn family site) compared to what I thought it meant (brave Polynesian Warrior).  This got me to thinking what other interpretations of terms I thought I knew might be out there. This’ll require some investigative journalism on my part (or in other words “work”) but it’s a small sacrifice for you, our readers. Let’s begin:

“Afterclap”

What I’d guess it meant- noun; the fallout from a venereal disease

What it now means-verb; the last sound from a round of applause

“Yard Sale”

My thinkin’-A homefront where used junk is sold at dirt cheap prices

Alternative-Wiping out on a snowy mountain leaving gloves, poles, skis, etc…all over the place

“Unlightening”

Me: A light bulb blows leaving you in the dark

Actual-Somebody represents an idiotic and untrue theory as fact (I’ve gotta include this term in the website motto.)

“Beerboarding”

Me: (you’d think I’d know this one) Bringing a frosty alcoholic beverage up the gangplank

Actual: Getting someone bombed so that they spill the truth

This is getting so fun that I think I’ll make up a few of my own.  Lemme know what you think:

“Funselfish”- Buying the bar a round so you can keep the party going when everyone seems to be wrapping it up

“Steamed Clam”- A person who walks face-first into a glass door thinking it was open

“Kangaroo”- A person who trips on a crack in the sidewalk and has to hop in an effort to maintain some dignity

“Floon”-As Chuck knows, I’ve already tried this one out to no effect.  It’s intended meaning was to imply a screwup or mild mistake.  Shoulda gone further but the Catholic Church wouldn’t buy into it with the whole “forgive me Father for I have flooned” serving as quite the obstacle.  Worth a shot, tho.

This topic has above all proven to me how flexible, interpretive and stupid the English language can get.  See ya next time.

Jimmy

 

Excitable Boys

Last week, I asked Diane if she could spend time with any musical artist (dead or alive) who would it be? She said, “I really don’t know, but I know who yours would be.Warren Zevon”. Spend enough time with a person and they really get to know you. She was 100% right. Warren was uber talented (with a reputed genius level IQ), a brilliant lyricist (his lyrics often read like mini novels), a tortured soul (his demons had demons), but most of all, for me anyway, he was this different looking dude who made some of the best music of his generation. He wasn’t blessed with a great voice, but you always knew it was him even if you had never heard the song before. He wasn’t a chart topper, but record sales and musical genius are quite often mutually exclusive. He was equal parts funny, sad, brilliant, angry, romantic, sarcastic and wild. Warren left this world 14 years ago today. (You always knew he wasn’t going to grow old). But the legacy he left behind is astounding.

Chuck

Yep, this my kinda post.  The coolest story I know about him is that he hopped in his dilapitated car with his guitar and drove to California in the late 60’s/early 70’s, then supplied Linda Ronstadt with “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me”, one of her greatest hits.  Apparently Warren was headstrong enough and so contentious with music critics that one wrote a quick bio of the man (after he was dead, mind you) condemning him as a person while singing his praises as a songwriter/artist.  As Chuck pointed out, the man certainly had an impact.

If anybody had asked me which musician I’d like to spend a little time with, the answer “Ringo Starr!” couldn’t come out of my mouth fast enough.  He’s so humble and likeable that I’d feel actually feel comfortable asking him questions like “what’s it like to be a friggin’ Beatle, man???!!!” Beyond that, I love hearing him sing “A Little Help From My Friends”.  It picks me up when I’m down and that’s the thing music has done, will continue to do and should always be so.

Lemme attach a coupla videos featuring Warren Zevon’s “Lawyers, Guns and Money” plus Ringo’s “Photograph” (in no particular order).

As always, hit up Mamemagazine.com when u getta chance.  Plenty of great stuff to see there.

Jimmy

Wonderland

Time to swim against the current a little. I know at this time of year, most parents are overjoyed that the kids are heading back to school. Not this parent. I love all of the things that the girls and I do all summer long. I love being outside with them. I love game nights that start at 9 o’clock at night. I love heading to the local park to shoot hoops with them. I love taking them to baseball games. I love hitting the beach with them. I love attending outdoor concerts with them. But, mostly, I love the freedom that summer allows. Childhood races by at blinding speed, and childhood summers race by even faster. I, for one, am in no hurry to see them end.

Chuck

Yep, I have those memories too although I’ve hadda adjust mine to “stay the %#&* outta jail”.

Walter Becker of Steely Dan recently passed away so lemme see if I can hook you up with a good number here (below). Becker w/b the guy playing bass and singing in the background by the drum kit. He and singer/keyboardist Donald Fagen pioneered a lot of the music we hear today and yes, that’s Jeff “Skunk” Baxter on guitar for you Doobie Brothers fans.

Jimmy

 

Gimmee a T for Texas

I originally wrote this piece prior to the devastating hurricane and ensuing flooding that our friends and countrymen/women down in Texas/Louisiana now have to contend with.

I guess we all’ve found about where to donate but I’d like to recommend some others if it suits ya:

Actor and Philly native Kevin Hart opened his heart, wallet and a website for donations at https://cdn.crowdrise.com/o/en/team/kevinhart

Next, there’s always the good ol’ Red Cross at www.redcross.org/Disaster-Relief/Hurricane

Here’s the intended post:

As I dragged my sorry ass out of bed one morning last week, clicked on the TV, slumped in my slightly stinky, cockeyed yet noble comfy chair and reacquainted myself of the surroundings here at The Ponderosa I became aware of a news story whereby ESPN allowed itself to reassign a perfectly good and talented man from broadcasting the upcoming football game between the University of Virginia and William & Mary University. All because his name is Robert Lee (see link here…http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/ncaafb/espn-moves-announcer-named-robert-lee-off-virginia-game/ar-AAqz0tG?OCID=ansmsnnews11).

Thru a series of rhetorical questions, historical quotes and sensible thinking I shall now attempt to make some sense of this…

First off, here’s a pretty good profile of Confederate General Robert E. Lee (from 1856, 5 years prior to the Civil War) in a letter to his wife and his attitude towards slavery…

“… In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil in any Country. It is useless to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race, & while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things. How long their subjugation may be necessary is known & ordered by a wise Merciful Providence.”

— Robert E. Lee, to Mary Anna Lee, December 27, 1856

 

From Wikipedia I found this (https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_E._Lee): “Lee inherited a number of slaves with Arlington House.[12] He proved not to be a very good slave master.[12] He tried kindness and refused to use torture. But the slaves knew their freedom had been granted them in the will and refused to work.[12] Lee wanted to grant them their freedom but needed them to help him see out the work at Arlington House.[12] Personally, Lee hated slavery calling it an “evil” to both blacks and whites.[12] But he tought (sic) it had to be ended gradually or the economy of the South would wikt:collapse. (sic)[12] But Lee did agree with other Southerners thinking that blacks were inferior. He believed God would work out the problem in his own time.[12] Lee, like Thomas Jefferson had mixed feelings about slavery.[12] ”

Considering the momentous issues of that time period, four years of war resulting in over half a million casualties, half the nation thrust into poverty, the resulting Jim Crow laws, the Civil Rights movement plus our current struggle over which monuments come down and which remain, I got a question…

How does Robert Lee, ESPN broadcaster, get dragged into this? Are there people who can’t tell the strategically, tactically brilliant yet clearly morally conflicted Confederate general from a modern day guy who calls football games? Besides that, there’s gotta be a million guys walking around with the name “Bob Lee”.  Are there really people who would demand that others with a similar name be subject to a lifetime of social semi-banishment?  Now how about other Confederate leaders names? Apparently they’re less offensive insomuch as they tend to be less monumented and therefore less well known. That’d mean we also have to shun anyone currently named Jeff Davis, Tom Jackson, Al Johnston, Jim Longstreet, Dan Hill, Harry Heth, Joe Johnston, Bill Pender, Bill Rhodes, Dick Ewell, Ike Trimble, Jim Kemper and Dick Garnett among many others.

What I’m getting at is simple enough.  How far do we want to take this?  As far as I know, any community in the USA can erect or take down monuments at it’s own discretion.  While we ALL have the right to freely assemble and exercise our right to free speech at such an action, that community is also entitled to be free from violent activities under both state and federal law.

One more thing.  The National Civil War battlefield parks (Gettysburg, Antietam, Spotsylvania, etc…oh, and wonderful places to visit btw) host voluminous amounts of statues and monuments, so that we can learn about American history and teach our kids about how this country got to where it is and hopefully inspire them to meet the ideals that we always aspire to. Do we tear them down too?  Luckily, the history has already been made as Lincoln said:

“But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. ”

In short, we can do what we want but the the land won’t forget.  Like Edmund Burke once said “those who forget history are doomed to repeat it”

Sorry to be preachy.  It’s normally not the way I like to write but sometimes things need to be put back in the prism of history.

What I’ve written here is no reflection on anybody on this blog but me.  It’s just the way I think sometimes and I take full responsibility for it.

 

Jimmy