Category Archives: Front Page News
B and I made a weight-loss pact not to eat anything after 8:PM every night, not even a mini-Snickers bar sitting in the candy dish waiting for Trick-or-Treaters. Nope, no Snickers and I really mean it; no bite-sized, little bars of chocolate, no caramel, no nuts and no nougat, whatever that is.
But, there’s something funny going on around here. For one, I haven’t lost any weight, but that’s not that funny. The other day I noticed some of those Snickers were missing. B also noticed and, of course, you know who got the blame. So now, it was up to me to find the culprit.
During my investigation, I also noticed some ants trailing out of a crack in the screen door.
Ants are a resourceful lot and can lift something like 100 times their own body weight. To put it into an understandable perspective this would be like me lifting Michael Moore right after a pizza delivery to his house. Suffice it to say, these are strong little buggers. I totally believe a few well organized team of them could lift a mini-Snicker bar. I also know that ants love Snickers.
I checked the refrigerator and found a number of other sweet things missing, chocolate, for one and the lid on the jelly had been replaced crookedly. Someone must have been in a hurry, was my conjecture to B.
Then, B noticed that the TV remote was not where she left it last night before going to bed. In the sink we found a small snack plate with a few cake crumbs. We also found a small drink glass with a milk ring in its bottom. Demons! These ant fellows are clever, but not that clever.
Obviously, the ants have been having big parties while we’re sleeping. They watch TV, eat Snickers, toast and jelly and drink milk. Then they try to hide it all by cleaning up, but they forgot to put the dishes in the dishwasher, a rookie mistake for a midnight snack marauder.
They would have gotten away with it too, but I was too clever for them and we caught them. Didn’t we B? B?
20 February 1943 Journal entry: The sound of agitated parrots screeching from the jungle below startles me to a wide-eyed awakening. The morning sun is just above the horizon. I pause for a moment to get re-oriented to the surroundings that have been home for the last six months. Living on top of a mountain in the Solomon Islands may seem like paradise, but in these times, I must live like a reptile, below detection, going about my business, which is also the business of Her Majesty.
My vigil is on a tiny island of the Solomons known as “the Slot.” This island makes for the perfect ammunitions and refueling depot for the enemy, which also makes it the perfect outpost to warn the allies of the approaching enemy fleet.
My camp is high on an overgrown plateau, two miles from the bay. Each day I trek along a ridge where I can look northward, out over the south pacific. If an advance comes, it will come from out there, from the north, from Japan.
I travel light, and as far as I know, never leave a trace. I always take a slightly different route so as not to create a path. I also stage my movements to avoid a Zero who flies over on a routine patrol four times a day. As dangerous as this is and as insect-infested and uncomfortable as it is, I much prefer it to the desk job back in Auckland, where the pests are of the two-legged variety. Here I can make a difference.
There is one pest, however, who was always welcome at my desk, Kathleen O’Hara. She has crystal blue eyes, auburn hair, a face-load of freckles, and her uniform is always pressed to perfection. Oh Kathleen, if you were only here now, we would not get a darn thing done for the war effort. On the other hand, if you were here, I would worry.
But now, I need to investigate those parrots; parrots don’t just go loudly flying about the forest without being disturbed by something or someone. They are better watchdogs than watchdogs.
My camp is accessible only by scaling a vertical wall of rock. When I go out on patrol, I leave a knotted rope hanging over the edge; neatly tucked it into a crevice. The rope makes my return climb easier.
Down on my chest, I crawl to the edge of the drop-off, lie low, and peer over the edge. I look for movement and listen for the singsong of Japanese voices.
My best defense is camouflage. I have not had a real fire for weeks. To keep smoke down, I do all my cooking in a tin over a kerosene lamp and stay well sheltered under the cover of dense foliage where it is not possible for me even to stand. Still, you can never tell what a Zero passing overhead might see.
I would never be able to hold off a full-fledged assault if they discover my location. My carbine, grenades and a few well placed booby-traps would only tend to make them more vengeful if, and when, they did overtake me.
Well, I do have another weapon, a cyanide capsule. Actually, it was more of an order, than a weapon. I keep it as close as my carbine. I figure, I will take out as many of them as I can, set off the booby-traps, then take the pill.
Hello! Something is moving through the palmettos and along the ledge just below.
I pull some fallen palm fronds over my head and leave just enough opening to see out. Suddenly, I hear that approaching Zero, off schedule. It passes over, low and banking. Confirmation: a search party is on the prowl. They’re onto me.
How could they have seen me? I am well concealed. Did they smell me?
I don’t have the luxury of bathing often; they, on the other hand, are obsessed with it. Every evening they go to a makeshift bathhouse in their camp. They marinate themselves inside and out, all in the same effort. They are either clean or drunk or both half the time. That will change when the lads of 3-Division land on the south side of this rock.
It doesn’t matter though, if I am fragrance-free or not; something has stirred them up and they are going to keep searching until they find something.
Maybe HQ will call me in, now that I am compromised.
My only escape from the island is by way of one of the Yank subs in the area. I don’t know exactly where they are, but I have seen three Japanese transports explode as they approach the island.
It must be the Yanks out there stirring things up; that’s gotta be why Tojo is searching now. If I can make it through this day, I will radio for help tonight while the Japs are busy with their compulsive bathing.
What was that?
Something just came up hard against my foot. This is it, Jesus save me, and God save King George.
I look back slowly to my feet, expecting the worst. Lying on my foot, I see it, a snake the size of a bloody goat. It would be better if it were a goat, but it is better a snake than a spider. The big serpent must have dropped out of the palm tree that shadows my camp.
Now then, darlin’, what’s a nice reptile like you doing in a place like this, the highlands? You are supposed to be in the damp jungles below, hissing off the Japs. Instead, you decide to drop in on me now, of all times, when there are so many uninvited guests snoop’n about.
When I was a wee lad, I was once startled by a snake in my grandmother’s garden. I ran to granny. She said to me, “Oh go on with you now, Patrick, the snake is more afraid of you than you are of her.”
I have always trusted my granny’s wisdoms and now is as good a time as any, but this snake is a huge, old girl and she is tonguing my shirttail. I move not a muscle as the snake snuggles up to my armpit.
She is the proper lady: not biting me, I mean, so far. A proper lady needs a proper name. But, what should it be?
I hear voices of the scouting party below discussing something I don’t understand. I’m a recon radio operator, not an interpreter. I am supposed to see things, not hear them, and what I see is one reluctant soldier beginning to scale my doorstep.
The affectionate serpent is on the move again. Her body undulates as she slides alongside mine. Her tongue samples the air as she moves forward on a search of her own. Her head reaches mine; she stops, we look eyeball to eyeball. She blinks, almost knowingly, and I swear, the corner of her mouth is turned up. Smiley, that’s her name. Smiley is good, as long as she doesn’t bit me. She moves away, over the edge of the cliff.
Then, I hear loose pebbles tumbling from the side of the cliff as the climber makes his way higher. Then, “Eee ah!” a scream comes from the climber followed by the sound of more falling rock, followed by more Japanese voices yelling excitedly.
Reluctant Climber meets Smiley, eyeball to eyeball. I’m amused, “She is more afraid of you than you are of her.” Didn’t your granny tell you?
Again, the Zero passes over, this time letting out a burst of cannon-fire; bullets explode the ground on each side of me. He banks for a second pass.
He won’t miss this time; it looks like I won’t need that pill after all.
Rolling over on my back, leveling my carbine, I take quick aim at the cockpit, and pull the trigger. Instantly, the Zero explodes into a thousand pieces and flames.
Wow, what a shot, I didn’t even feel the recoil.
Looking at the carbine in disbelief, the bullet is jammed in the chamber. It never fired. Then the familiar roar of a two-thousand horsepower Pratt and Whitney engine shakes the earth as a U. S. Marine Corsair passes overhead. It was his cannons that blasted that Zero. He is followed by two more Corsairs, and now two more. They must be advance air support for an impending Operation Toenails. I may make it after all.
I should apologize up front, but Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, there’s something about that name…that makes many of us want to puke and yet, I exposed it to you three times, without anesthetics.
“Why?” you might ask.
In many of the ancient Hebrew texts, it was common place for the writer to repeat a key word whenever they wanted to make a really important point. It was a signal to the reader to pay close attention to the text. In this case, I didn’t repeat the name once, but twice, because I have really, really important point to make.
So, grab your barf bags, because Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, from a story teller’s perspective, makes the plot-perfect client for a “Perry Mason” episode, with one exception. Perry Mason’s clients were always innocent. In countless episodes of “Perry Mason,” his client is set-up as the killer because the client is the target of blackmail with a motive to kill the victim, the blackmailer.
In the current situation with (barf bag alert) Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, a great deal of suspicion is raised when she, for no apparent, even contradictory reasons, continued to pay her staffer, Imran Awan, even though he did not show up for work, and he no longer had access to work-related servers or data. How did this staffer amass a net worth of millions during his employment? Why were so many of his family members employed by the DNC? And now, why is a Clinton very expensive criminal lawyer, taken the case of a lower level staffer?
And why, when the rest of the DNC are distancing themselves from him does (barf bag alert) Wasserman-Schultz come to his rescue portraying herself as a minority redeemer of a persecuted Muslim?
Again, from a storyteller’s perspective, it’s a plot-perfect case of extortion. She’s hiding something and he knows about it. She’s been paying for his silence but now, it’s about to be uncovered, his golden goose is about to be cooked, he’s grabbing the eggs and heading for the border. Too bad, he was caught on his way out of the District of Corruption and now they’ve to bring in the Clinton legal team.
Time for Terry’s Take on the Movie, a review. I am nearly chagrined, perhaps embarrassed, to confess, I have never read the book, nor seen the movie, until just recently, “Ship of Fools,” by Katherine Anne Porter, published in 1962, a twenty-year-long endeavor. It, immediately, was so well received that it became a screen play by 1965.
As a writer, I’m chagrined for not seeing it, when it is so frequently referenced in numerous, other literary materials. In other words, those in the know, when it comes to know about writing, should know about “Ship of Fools.” So, now, I’m making up for my literary deficiency regarding this work. There is also another play, “Ship Of Fools,” by Plato; you may have heard of him, but this is not that play.
After watching to movie, I read some reviews, analyses and plot summaries to see what I may have missed. It turns out that the I missed little, but the old reviews missed plenty. In fact, the reviews are a classic case of “missing the point.” So, prepare to enlightened, but not by the nose. Sorry, I mixed a metaphor.
The setting is a trans-Atlantic voyage from Vera Cruz Mexico to Bremerhaven in 1933 and based on the writer’s own voyage in 1931. Not to be a spoiler, but the movie is the antithesis of an action thriller; the movie is cerebral. There is virtually no action aside from a few too many Flamenco dances, George Segal gets punched, and Vivien Leigh whacks Lee Marvin with her shoe. There are no car chases or shoot outs, though a threat of violence looms and some people die. And, I have to add, the constant droning of German waltzes is tiresome, perhaps for a reason. I’ll let you decide, but there is a constant political undercurrent of German superiority, which is nearly the point and the prime cause of hypocrisy and it seems to be supported by the ever-present waltzes.
The only break away is the Flamenco which has its own competing redundancy. Interestingly, if you pay attention to music in movies, one can hear the Arabic influences in the Spanish music. Then, it seems not to be an accident to me, the main antagonist, Jose Ferrer, in a moment of faux-reflection says, “I’m not anti-Semitic, I lived with Arabs for many years.” I think most of us today would not understand the accuracy of his statement. We don’t understand Arabs as Semitic.
The keys to understanding this classic are the title, and the opening and the ending lines that are book-ends the story. Michael Dunn is the narrator, a charismatic dwarf who says, (paraphrased) “I am a fool, and this ship is full of fools and you will see them along the way. Maybe you will even see yourself. And the last line, (paraphrased) “What does this have to do with you? Nothing at all.”
One thing you must keep in mind with this dialogue, the things that are actually said and the things that are meant are frequently not the same, but you don’t realize it until a little action or time passes.
B’s favorite line was, “There are over one million Jews in Germany, what are they going to do, kill us all?” This is a poignant indictment on today’s head-in-the-sand PC culture that will become deadly, if we don’t wake up.
My favorite scene was the discussion between Bill Tenny, a washed up major league baseball player, played by Lee Marvin, and the Dwarf. In this scene, there are two pregnant pauses that make you wonder, what the H is going on, “Say something,” you’ll be thinking. And in both cases they finally do say something and it is over the top simple, yet unexpected.
Finally, the best line [SPOILER ALERT] the dwarf says to Tenny, (paraphrased) “I think, you’re being a bit harsh on yourself; I would estimate there are eight-hundred and seventy-three million people on this earth who do not even know what a curve ball on the outside corner is, and it’s a bit excessive for you to say you’ve muffed your whole life because you couldn’t hit it.” Tenny’s comeback is beautiful, but I won’t spoil that one for you.
In summary: See the movie, and see if maybe you see yourself somewhere along the way, but, of course, it has nothing to do with you. – Terry
I write this elegy to “Chair,” because I know so many “Friends” (2-3) out there, really care. Trust me.
Just for background information, my chair’s proper name is “Chair,” (not to be confused with Cher.) It’s not “a chair” or “the chair,” and it’s not nutty to give names to certain objects, everyone does it. We name all kinds of things like boats, bikes, cars and robots, because they are functional; they do stuff for us and in that way have an identity of their own.
We, you and I, and Chair, have endured a lot together, two terms of Obama, two elections, primaries, scandals, phony scandals, investigations and then there was the Clinton “matter.” We had FB, Google and the NSA monitoring and filtering our words and our news, while providing us with their subliminal advertising. While all these things seem more internet related, I submit, if I didn’t have Chair, and you didn’t have your own chair, no matter its name, the internet would be useless to us.
Think about it, chairs are important. In fact, I would bet that if we would give every member of al Qaeda a chair to sit on, instead of the floor, there might even be peace in the Middle East.
Chair has been with me through it all, rolling around on all five wheels, back and forth from dust covered printer to cat hair covered keyboard. As you know, Chair has suffered some injuries, you’ve seen pictures. I started with using clear packaging tape on his wounds, then duct tape, then some racing-striped tape, just for looks. Chair came through like a champ. And then there was that “five-bean salad” incident. We both suffered through that one.
Eventually came duct tape failure and when my forearms started sticking to the arm rests, I knew, Chair’s time had come.
So long, old friend, this may be the end, but you’re not through, I have a new job for you.
I am promoting Chair to “G-Chair,” which means, “garage chair,” because I always need a chair in the garage, where I can sit and work on fishing tackle etc. Like a passenger on Southwest Airline, chair now moves about the garage freely.
Now, we begin a new era. It’s time to unveil the new chair, picture included. Please note the tropical teal color and beach sand-white arm rests. You can even see through the see-through back rest, which is why they call it “see through.” It is specifically designed for typists in the tropics who type at the break-neck speed of 12 words per minute.
Like a little old lady protecting her couch, I kept the plastic covering on my new chair for weeks, but now it’s time to unveil and admire.
I am so excited that I not only put on a baseball cap backwards, I also cleaned-up my office, as you can plainly see from the photo. If you cannot see this, you didn’t see it before.
During clean-up, I found all kinds of forgotten stuff. I found an old pair of boat shoes back under the desk, under the dust. A lizard was no longer living inside, but he was still there. I found three pairs of reading glasses, one behind the monitor, one in a drawer and one stuck in a coffee cup that I had been looking for, for the last six months. I cleaned out some files as well, finding old articles I had written. One I had written for a friend’s on-line magazine was about Kansas City style BBQ.
There was also an old sit-com I had been working on, and a script from an episode of Frazer I had written for my “Sit-com Writing Class” at USF.
Then I came across an original script from an episode of the sit-com, “The Office,” which had been signed by the cast members, including Steve Carell. I got this through my “Half-Hours” instructor at USF. She was a staff writer on “The Fresh Prince of Bellaire,” and the “Rosanne Bar” show. If you’re unfortunate enough to watch either of these shows, look for her name in the credits, Lisa Rosenthal. I’m such a name dropper, but she’s a liberal and we’re not really friends.
Covered in dust behind the computer, I found three dust clothes, imagine the irony. Also, under layers of dust, I found my only heirloom from a distant relative, a sea-going uncle from days of yore. It is a small monkey, from Madagascar, I think, intricately carved from a walnut shell, by a native with a bone in his nose, or so the family story goes.
Then I found an old brass field telescope, carried by one of the Harrison’s (William Henry Harrisons, POTUS) at the battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. Think about that for a moment, an historical American artifact, lying around on my desk, covered in dust. Of course, I can’t prove it now, but that’s what my Grandmother, a descendant of Harrison, told me.
And, I discovered an “HP Officejet 6700” printer under another pile of dust. I swiveled my new chair to my keyboard and pushed the print button on a document. Sure enough, with a belch of dust and a hardy “Hi-ho Silver,” some printing came out.
Have you noticed the common denominator here? DUST.
Before “they” come up with another electronic gadget, the geeks in Silly-cone Valley need to invent office furniture that is electromagnetically charged to repel dust, especially from printers and cat hair on keyboards. (That sounds kind of like the old song, “Cat hair on keyboards and rain drops on roses.”)
You know what I’m talking about. Look at your printer right now. It’s covered in dust, isn’t it?
I know, all this is hard to believe, but I am not making it up, except the part about the five bean salad, it was really three bean, but just as toxic.
Using the true premise that a country is better off when its populace is better educated, makes for a specious argument when it comes to “free education.” Those who argue for free education have neither taken the trouble to look beyond “free” to understand what makes this argument specious, nor would have the ability to do so, nor benefit from a free education if it were given to them.
First, nothing is free. If one gets an education and does not pay for it himself, he is “free-loading” his or her education. Someone else, probably you and me, is paying or it.
Second, things that are “free” are less appreciated, meaning they are given less respect and less commitment. It’s a generalization, but think about it, if you spend time and money on something and lose it, you spend more effort to retrieve it than if it was free anyway, “no big loss.” One is more likely to burn the midnight oil to make the grade, if there is a cost involved. When there’s no cost, no big deal, just another way to kill some time. This is why the argument is specious, in most cases. There are exceptions.
The people who have not in some way made a sacrifice for an education are more likely not to get a real education; they will just under-perform and end up in the same place in the end, or worse yet, in a government job managing a line you and I have to wait in.
But, there’s more. If the “free” education is granted to the undeserving or worse, the undisciplined, the quality of the product goes down. Consequently, with poor results, less funding is available. The tempting, real, solution is to lower standards, in which case everyone becomes a loser, because the accountability is limited to zero.
The added negative is that the so-called “education” has become an indoctrination with schools, such as the University of Missouri, where freedom of speech, and diversity of thought are inhibited, even banned, from “safe spaces.” How is this an education?
Universities merely become incubators and fertilized hot beds for the breeding of more intolerant Leftists, will go out and become indoctrinated, not thinking, poorly equipped voters who don’t even know the history of this country. We’ve seen it time and time again.
No wonder Bernie and his Marxist bears want free education. It controls the thought and ideology of a dependent, enslaved class that keeps them in power. The tragedy is that those who are deserving and those who have paid their own way, through currency or scholarships, are limited by and exposed to only the liberal drivel taught on these campuses. There are limited and few opportunities to hear another opinion.
So, while an educated populace has merit and worth pursuit, “Free” is not an answer, at least not outside of some other qualifying performance and discipline.
Carson way head of the curve. To clarify our dilemma:
The inevitable show down that has been brewing for generations is coming to a boil. The American people do NOT have clarity on this issue and what is equally as troublesome is neither do the pundits on Fox.
The Founders Fathers assumed Christianity in some form, but they wrote the Constitution broadly enough to include, rather exclude, religions of any sort from being mandated or excluded from Constitutional consideration in the application of the laws.
On the surface (superficial analysis is part of our problem), it appears that Carson may have erred with his comment excluding from consideration a Muslim as the President. On the other hand, he may have been ahead of the curve.
There is more to consider, which is what Carson, not being a seasoned politician (i.e., professional, PC practicing, liar), was doing.
The key to the analysis lies squarely on the subversion and perversion of language, in this case one word, “religion.”
The erroneous assumption made by Carson’s critics, including all those on “The Five” and other Fox shows, is that Islam is just one of many “religions,” as we know them, and as such, can be subordinated by Muslims in the execution of their duties of public office.
By taking this position one, especially Greg and Dana, have lost the clarity for which they are otherwise known. They have unwittingly become subscribers to the “PC Agenda,” (a widely circulated publication, which does not print any offensive words).
The error is the assumption that Islam would be subject to the concept of “separation of Church and state.” Such a concept is the antithesis of Islam. Islam demands all things are subordinate to the “religion.”
As it turns out, the “religion” is a misnomer for a sociopolitical ideology. Under Islam, there is no room for freedom of thought, speech, or actions. All things must work in perfect submission, compliance, and coordination for the bloody execution of those who step out of line.
Islam, as practiced by a “true believer” cannot allow, and must destroy, any teaching contrary to its teaching.
Christianity also has some strict disciplines, but does not mandate the destruction of others who do not agree. This is the difference between a comprehensive ideology and voluntary religion as understood by the Founding Fathers.
It would be constitutionally consistent to approve of a Muslim as President if he or she could and would treat his “faith” as a subordinate “religion.” But, Islam has no such admonishment as does the Bible which says, “yield unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.”
Carson, operating on the evidence of behavior by both “radical” Islam and complicity of “peaceful” Muslims has assumed that a Muslim cannot adapt or operate under the principles of the US Constitution. (There are a few, however, who are striving toward this goal.)
Is there evidence to support Carson’s assumption?
This will bring up another entire debate, but the answer and evidence is, yes, “Obama.”
Whether a Muslim or not, Obama has arguably set-aside the Constitution to pursue his own agenda based on a personal ideology of his own, whatever that is.
Do we want a person with a questionable ideology making policy from a personal agenda?
It is bad enough that our policies are and have always been subject to any personal agendas, but a perverted ideology that allows for an “end-justifies-the-means” (tenet of Islam) tactic will result in a perverted Administration.
Do we not have this already? You already know the answer.
Unfortunately my arguments only push back the issue one more step.
What happens when the government itself becomes perverse and immoral for whatever reason? Are Christians compelled to “yield to Caesar?”
This then is the very same with which our Forefathers and Church leaders have struggled down through the ages. I direct you attention to a historical figure, Alvin York, and a literary work, “Murder in the Cathedral,” by T.S. Elliot.
No answer supersedes the moral base of the citizenry, hence the confusion, hence Carson’s insightful replay.
The 2016 GOP Presidential Debates
The Second debate on CNN
The discussion on the debate can be broken in two parts: The Venue and the Participants.
This post discusses The Venue.
Summary: Too long, too many, too off-point.
A three-hour debate by two participants is a strain on the bladder, but between eleven simply makes no sense and conveys less than no information. What can you learn about a candidate when he has less than nine minutes to respond to challenges on at least four or five issues? Candidates were not cut-off midsentence and had to force their time in order to finish a thought. There was no buzzer.
I suspect that someone must have had a “Catheters-R-Us” concession out in the lobby of the Reagan Library. If not, they missed an opportunity.
Then, for the first hour, there was little to no air conditioning.
Furthermore, what can you learn about the legitimate issues when the majority of the questions and challenges to the candidate are more related to what Donald Trump said, or didn’t say about one’s face, hair, or butt size. CNN attempted to make this whole thing a sensation over substance, but the candidates, for the most part did not fall for it.
CNN’s objective was obvious to anyone except other members of the media, trash the GOP by throwing them in a ring together for a fight to the death. The moderator pitted one against the other for a kind of Roman Circus. The only things missing were the starved lions.
What about the moderators? Yes, “moderators,” that’s plural. Yes, there were supposed to be three, but Hugh Hewitt, asked only four questions, as I recollect. Where was Dana Bash, on a coffee break? Jake Trapper seemed to be obsessed with the time keeping that he didn’t notice the candidates were speaking at will, whoever “Will” is.
It would have been so much better to have a weeklong series of debates, with each aired at two different times of the day and with three or four candidates at a time. There should be some kind of rating system and at the end of the week; there is a debate among the finalists. The issues to be addressed should be clearly stated at the beginning of, or before each session. This idea that the POTUS has to respond to issues extemporaneously has always been an ill-conceived idea. It’s not reality. This would take the sensation and name calling out of the equation and provide a better platform for substantive material. Amen.