Friday, October 31, 2008

Credit Card

We are all familiar with the run up of debt through the use of a credit card. There are many horrible examples of the ruination of people's lives through the use of a credit card. For me, this is not the case, it is freeing me from the need to carry change in my pocket and of having much money in my wallet. For many years I had change in my pockets, even to the point of wearing a hole in my pocket and losing change. (The answer to having a hole, merely shift the change to the other pocket.) Sunday, I needed a five dollar bill for a church breakfast. I opened my wallet and found I only had twenty's. How did I get so much money, I thought. The corner of one bill caught my eye, it had a large, purple, plain "5" there. Oh my gosh, someone has passed a counterfeit five dollar bill to me. I few other bills had a similar "5"; nuts. I knew twenties had the funny coloring but these counterfeit had the same coloring as the twenties. I saw a similar five in the deposit box and then knew a change had taken place in money about which I was unaware. My ignorance stems directly from the credit card. I use my card all the time and for everything. Now that McDonald's takes the card that is all they get from me. One day I purchased two apple pies for a dollar. Yep, paid with the card. Even better, Visa sends me a statement every month from which I can see exactly what all my purchases were for the month. Of course, I pay the full bill. It has been said that money is loaded with germs. A person with a severe cold can wipe their nose and handle the money given to the cashier. You then handle it, put it in your pocket or wallet and carry more germs around your person. Credit cards can therefore be thought of as a health safeguard. It was a great invention.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Teach To Love

During this morning's homily, the Priest said something that caught my ear like it was being bitten off. He was referring to some counselling that he was doing with an elderly man. He told the man that he had to teach his children to love. Teach to love, What!! He further stated that loving was not natural to humans. Since it is not natural then it must be taught. Wow, I quickly determined that I had never sat down to teach any of my children to love. Did I fail someplace? Teaching to hate I understood, the song from the movie: "You've Got To Be Taught To Hate" comes to mind. Also the recent clips of Palestinian children going through exercises to hate Jews, even to the desire to blow themselves up to kill Jews. Teaching to hate is clear to me. I am also seeing that some American mothers are teaching their children to hate strangers, out of a fear that strangers will do them harm. Teaching to love, now this is worthy of some thought. There was another line from the homily that came as a shock: "While Jesus requires us to love one another, it does not mean we have to like them." Not like them? In my uncritical thinking, I thought we liked a person and then escalated to loving them. I guess that is for people who become very close to us. Now loving people and not liking them, what would be an example of that? Again, something worthy of some thought. It has been a few hours since returning from Church and I am obsessed with these two lines. I don't know why.

Friday, October 24, 2008


My interest was peaked by Adrienne when she reported on the movie "W". I saw it yesterday and I must say that I was not disappointed. Some observations: 1) The Bush character was obsessed with eating. Usually coarse, disgusting, large bite eating. Further, the director has a fascination for close ups on W's mouth, while he is eating, so that the masticated food is evident. Also, he shows uncouth whipings of his mouth, at one time sticking his finger in his mouth to wipe out something between teeth and cheek. When served, he does not wait for anybody else but immediately starts to shovel it in. 2) During his younger years W is a heavy drinker. He appears in many scenes with a bottle in his hand from which he swigs often. Curiously, the bottle has a label that shows up from the beginning of the movie to the end....almost like the brand had paid for such notoriety. Even in the hazing scene this same bottle shows up. I don't know much about whisky so I was unable to identify the brand. 3) A major theme in this movie is that W seeks the approval of his father, but his father does not give it to him in the manner he desires. Also, there is intense sibling rivalry with Jeb for his father's approval. This is portrayed as extending even into his presidency. It is obvious that Oliver Stone felt that this was a major flaw in W. For most people, maturation brings these feelings to an end, but Stone's view shows this is not the case with W. 4) To my mind, the attraction Laura Bush has for the young W was idiotic on her part. Could she have found her prince charming in such a lout? This part does not ring true. 5) His conversion as a Christian is portrayed as a non-religious person believes conversions happen. In addition, W's minister is shown as a get along, nice guy but slightly confused in dealing with W. In one scene, that was meant as a window into W's quirkiness, W states that he has given up sweets until the war is won. It was reminiscent of Catholics giving something up for lent. I was disappointed that Condelessa Rice was portrayed as little more than a maid. Her face was just hanging out in many scenes. Adrienne was right, Dreyfuss was perfect for the Cheney charactor. Carl Rove was just laughable it every scene he was in. Now that we see him on the talk shows we see how far off Stone was in his depiction of Rove's character. Portrayal of Tenant may have been right on, a bumbling bureaucrat intent on protecting his hide when MSD's were not found. W was portrayed as a small man in a large job. He desires that everything go right but is confounded at many turns. He is confused to the end of the movie. It is my belief that the real W's personal flaw is in wanting the success of others. To be a team player and expecting others to be team players also. He has made many poor appointments but is loyal to them when they falter. The loyalty factor is a weakness. Examples: Brownlee in New Orleans, Bremmer in Iraq, do nothing Mukasy as Attorney General, Rumsfelt when a surge was needed, Paulson as Secretary of Treasury, and there are more. I was glad to see the movie, it was worth the money ($5.00) and the time.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fair Tax

Today, Orange Park had their Autumn Festival and I manned the Fair Tax booth for three hours. We had a listing of all Florida's US Representatives and their stand on the Fair tax to distribute. My congressman is for it, but the two senators from this State do not support it. Only a third of our representatives are for and we are trying to get help to sway the others. There are three Florida representatives that are against and they are all on the Congressional Black Caucus. While talking to people, I was amazed at how many people have listened to Neil Boortz on the radio. Those who have listened were all for the fair tax and wanted to help. In case you don't know who Boortz is, he claims to be a member of The Church of the Painful Truth. And that is what he sets out to deliver to his listeners, the painful truth. Neil wrote the book, "The Fair Tax." Some people had heard of the fair tax but did not know much about it. They were surprised when I told them that the State of Florida already has such a tax. That's right, we do not have an income tax in this State. We run this State on something else, a fair tax. None of these people had heard of the "prebate", a check given every month to all citizens no matter what their income. We did tell them that their paycheck would no longer have deductions taken out for: income tax, medicare or social security. They would get their whole pay. The mix of the people at the Fair were about 20% black; curiously, none of them stopped at our booth. An Obama booth was nearby, and some with Obama stickers on their shirts stopped to inquire and give support. Two couples stopped by and one of the guys said he was tired of paying an accountant so much money to do his taxes every year. He has a small exterminating business and said he has to keep too many records just to prove everything to his accountant. All four of them signed to support the Fair Tax. I mentioned he was just like Joe the Plumber and he said: "Yes I am." I was on my feet for over three hours and when I got into the car to drive home I realized how tired I was. My feet were hurting and it was a relief to sit. Strange how I can do an hour cycling, an hour aerobics and an hour of Silver Sneakers and not feel this tired. Then again, I get this tired when I go shopping with Pat.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Chili Cookoff

Today, the Y had a Chili Cookoff. I had attended one over three years ago, a Green Cove Springs event, and had tasted some very good chili. My anticipation was for pleasing tastes while sampling. The first one I tasted was made by Dorothy, one of my students. As I put some in my cup she asked if I wanted to add some sour cream. Sour cream with chili? Never heard of it. I said no and tasted the chili, it had a sour taste. I asked if she had already put some sour cream in it, she said no. I told her it tasted sour to me and she was surprised and said no one had ever said that before. The next chili I tasted had a lot of green pepper in it but did not have much strength, it was bland. The third chili was made by Terri, a Y office employee. I could see no chili beans in a most tomato filled sauce. It was heavy with a tomato paste taste. I asked Terri why she did not have beans in the chili. she answered: "Marcel, my kids do not like beans in their chili so I grind them up and add them as a puree. Also, it was kind of thin so I added more tomato paste to thicken." The next chili was labeled as "Texas Hot" and the cook was not there. I looked at it and could see no chili beans, it was mostly dark meat. I skipped it and looked at the next chili, which was a yellow cream color. Chili that does not have tomatoes, I think not. The next chili looked great, tasted good but was not hot enough for me. When I get chili at Wendy's I always add two hot sauces to it. That is what I needed for this one. The next one had macaroni in it. The lady behind it said she always makes it that way in order to fill up her children. Macaroni, not for me. The next one had some corn in it and I mentioned that it looked like Brunswick Stew. That lady said she makes it just like her Brunswick Stew but adds some cumin, I passed. Next came a friend of mine, who does not attend my classes because he has a severely crippled leg. He told me his was going to be the best. Also, he had onions, cheese and grated jalapeno to add as desired. I tasted his without adding anything and found it had good beans but was bland. He wanted me to add some jalapeno but all I wanted was just some good chili. I went back to the "Texas Hot" to try that. The pot was almost full, not many tasting it. I used a new cup and put a little into it. I got only a little sauce and a lot of meat. The taste was terrible and I wanted to spit it out. No way did this taste like chili. The meat was very dark, what could it be? Possum, armadillo, rabbit or deer, it was not anything I could identify. I threw my cup away. At the end of the event all the pots were empty except the Texas Hot, and the cook was nowhere to be seen. Be very careful when attending a chili cookoff.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Debate

What a joke and a waste of time. I watched the debate last night and waited for McCain to come alive, to no avail. He looked and acted like an old man. Every question or comment started with "My friends...." Only once is enough for that, yet he kept it up all night. He did not mention Bill Ayers, did not mention ACORN, did not mention Jeremiah Wright, did not mention Obama got much money from Fannie May, did not mention he voted for infanticide, did not mention he cannot admit the surge was successful. I heard a joke today, "What do Barrack Obama and Osama Bin Laden have in common? They both have friends that that tried to bomb the Pentagon." It is most discouraging to have such a poor candidate. How did we ever wind up with him? Is he really the best we could come up with from all the candidates who ran? He voted for the Bailout which was a sop to financial markets that should have been allowed to fail. My congressman, Cliff Starnes, did not vote for the Bailout and I called him to congratulate him on his good judgement. McCain probably thinks he is a nice guy but he must remember that Obama is the enemy and the enemy must be fought. The performance last night was just ho-hum, a snoozer.