Friday, April 25, 2008

Guilt by Association

As I have watched the political campaigning, I had almost convinced myself that it could not get any lower. I can certainly see how people in other countries, watching the our political shenanigans, could easily be led to believe that all Americans are sleaze-balls, unfit to associate with other civilized tribes. But, recent events now convince me that yes, it can get lower.

Politicians have rediscovered the concept of “guilt by association.” If you know someone who turns out to be a crook, then you too are guilty. The fact that you might not have known of his/her illegal actions, and that you thoroughly disapprove of those actions makes no difference.

The Republican Party here in North Carolina have invented a new and sinister twist to this concept. They will put this on the air in a TV ad. So far as I can understand, their (the Republicans) rather distorted logic is as follows:

Barack Obama attended a church in Chicago where the Pastor preached inflammatory sermons.

Because Obama attended that church and knew the Pastor (guilt by association) therefore he must agree with that Pastor.

Obama is a Democrat.

There are two candidates in the primary election for the office of Governor in North Carolina.

These two candidates are Democrats.

Therefore, they must also be guilty of something (guilt by association). Are they also to be accused of agreeing with that Pastor, whom they never met or never heard? Apparently so!

When I was in college, I took a course in Logic. Examples of this kind of reasoning were shown, always to great ridicule.

The Republican Party plan to start running this TV ad next week. John McCain, the presumed Republican candidate for President, has told them not to run it! The state party nabobs refuse. They say, with great pomposity, that these facts need to be before the public. BALDERDASH! What they will do is make any voter like myself say “You people are total idiots, and I wouldn’t vote for any Republican candidate in the general election, whether for the office of dog-catcher up to President.”

Like I said, the tactics can get lower, and probably will.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A polygamous ranch?

The “lamestream” media has done it again. These clowns are notorious for their misuse, misapplication and misinterpretation of the English Language. English is a noble language, rich and full, capable of expressing the most profound meanings when used properly. The national media certainly do not qualify for this.

I am sick and tired of hearing or reading about the “children removed from a polygamous ranch.” Sorry, lamestream media! There is no such thing. As usual, you are guilty of a heinous crime against the language.

A ranch might be arid; desolate; prosperous; abandoned; scenic; run-down; cattle; chicken; dude; large; small; hobby; working or even tax loop-hole, but it cannot be polygamous. There is a very simple reason for this injunction. Ranches don’t get married!

If the lamestream media had bothered to have a short consultation with Mr. Webster, they would have found the following definitions:

Polygamy – n the practice of having more than one wife or husband at the same time;

Polygamist – n one who practices polygamy;

Polygamous – adj pertaining to the practice of polygamy.

Notice that all of these definitions pertain to people, homo sapiens, not to property, acreage or even miles of sagebrush.

The national media seem to have, as a governing concept, the idea that one word, either misused or fabricated, is always better than 3 or 4 words used properly. . It often seems that this same lamestream media are paid, not by the word, but by how many words they can avoid.

They could have said “children removed from a ranch where polygamy is practiced” or “children removed from a ranch where the adults practiced polygamy” or “children removed from a ranch where the adults were polygamists.” Any of these would have been correct. But, the fabricated term “polygamous ranch” is a flagrant foul against the English Language and should be punished accordingly

I often think we need a new law. The lamestream media should be required to hire an English major, and buy a dictionary. The English major will check the dictionary, and then advise the journalists which words they can use, and which misuse of words they should forget. This would make for more serene and restful reading and listening for the rest of us who have some idea of how to use the English Language.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The American Craze for Speed

Is there a strange twist in the American psyche that requires some people to automatically go into hurry mode as soon as they get in their car? There must be such because anyone who drives will very often see this speed craze in action.

Recently I saw a good example of this. I was heading out the expressway, driving a couple of miles over the 60 MPH speed limit. I was certainly not in a hurry as I had lots of time to get to my destination. Right behind me was a lady in a big SUV. She hung right on my bumper for at least a half mile. Then as we were within 100 yards of the next off ramp, she speeded up, blasted around me, suddenly cut back in front and slowed so she could take the off ramp. “Stupid, idiot!” I thought “There is not another car behind us for several hundred yards. Since you had to slow down for the off ramp, why didn’t you just stay behind me?”

Since I was getting off the same ramp, I ended up at the stoplight right behind her. She had used extra gas, made a rather dangerous maneuver, and had gained maybe 10 feet on me, but was now zero seconds ahead of me. Didn’t seem like a smart move. But I decided I would give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she was going to the Hospital, or to a Doctor’s office, and this was an emergency. But no, she was headed for Walmart. I followed her into the parking lot, thinking that maybe she was rushing in to have a prescription filled for her sick children. Wrong again! She finished her cell phone call, and leisurely strolled into the store. She seemed to have followed some ingrained rule. She wasn’t really in a hurry, but she was in her car, therefore she had to drive fast. I was in front of her. Therefore, she had to speed up and pass me.

There must be something in the genes, the water or the climate that makes people drive stupid. I see it every day, as drivers speed down congested city streets, zip through school zones without slowing, and run red lights, just trying to save a few seconds.

I would hate to think that my life was so disorganized that arriving somewhere 20 seconds later was going to ruin my whole day.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008



It seems to me that some young males in Western North Carolina now undergo a secret ‘rite of passage’ that was unknown when I was growing up. Sometime between the ages of 11-14, maybe earlier in some cases, a cap is permanently affixed to their head. This may be a baseball cap, but more often it is a ‘gimmie’ cap, one that advertises John Deere tractors or Southern States Fertilizer or perhaps their favorite NASCAR race driver.

These caps must be glued, welded, stapled, nailed or otherwise solidly attached, because they are never removed. It is now common to see caps worn in church, at funerals, or even at weddings. In one case, I attended a wedding where the groom wore a cap emblazoned with a big 3, the late Dale Earnhardt’s racing number. At the time, I thought that qualified as the ultimate in tackiness, but I have since been proven wrong.

On another occasion I took the wife to a very elegant restaurant to celebrate our wedding anniversary. It was prom night, and a couple of the local swains were treating their dates to a fancy dinner before the dance. The young ladies looked very lovely, in their formals and corsages. The young gentlemen were somewhat ill at ease, not accustomed to being dressed so fashionable. But they were doing their best to appear suave and debonair in their rented tuxedos. Unfortunately, their caps spoiled the effect. Now, any fashion expert will tell you that a top hat is the only proper head covering to be worn with evening clothes. A cap advertising fertilizer just doesn’t cut it! I had to wonder did they wear their caps while dancing?

I spent many years in the US Navy, which is a rather formal service. One of the absolute dictums of the “Senior Service” is that you uncover as soon as you come into a building. Never, never, never would a naval person sit down to a meal while wearing a hat. Aboard ship this would probably get you thrown overboard. These rules were so drilled into me that now, to see someone wearing a cap indoors is rather shocking. To see a person in a restaurant, eating a meal while wearing a cap, almost makes me ill! Yet, this is an every day sight. Have you noticed that most restaurants no longer have a coat rack near the door? In the old days, this is where you hung your coat and hat. But, since apparently caps cannot be removed, these racks are no longer needed.

Recently, I saw the ultimate in cap stupidity. While swimming at the local recreation center, I saw a young father, with his cap on, come in with his small children! Now, wearing a cap at an indoor swimming pool surely must rank among the top of the all time list of really dumb actions. I will be charitable, and give this individual the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he was totally bald, and didn’t want anyone to see his lack of hair. Maybe he had some horribly disfiguring skin disease on his scalp, and was keeping it covered to shield us from seeing the ugliness. But if not, then he proves my point. Those caps are permanently fixed, and cannot be removed.

But then that’s the view of the Resident Curmudgeon.