Beat the Clock

Five, four, three, two, one…We have a winner, oh, one moment, we don’t have a winner, we have a loser! I am so sorry, but you missed the deadline by one/half second. What a shame.

Shirley had so hoped that she would win the Samsung Washer/Dryer. She knew the capitol of Jamaica. Of course she knew the capital – she was born in Kingston. How could she possible lose? No way that she could lose. Oh well, the consolation prize was 6 months of free diaper service. Fortunately, Shirley still had an infant little girl.

But Michael, poor Michael, his tale of woe was much more tragic. Michael rarely played the lotto, but last week he decided to take a chance. The total power ball jackpot was 130,000,000 dollars. Unbelievable. Why not try. Michael decided to choose his numbers from the days and years of the birthdates of his wife and four children. He chose 7, 14, 32, 44, 56 and 64. For the power ball number he chose the date of his mother’s death, 16.

After work on Monday evening he went to the grocery store near his home. Unfamiliar with the deadline for buying the ticket, the grocery store lotto machine had closed just 5 minutes prior to Mike’s arrival. Somewhat dismayed, but one dollar richer, Michael went home. Later that evening while watching the late news, the winner numbers were announced. The spunky announcer shouted: 7, 14, 32, 44, 56, 64 and power ball number 16.

For a millisecond, Michael’s entire system went on off. Michael did not believe the numbers, but the numbers were in bold print on the t.v. screen. He immediately told himself that his numbers were different. He wished with all his heart that his numbers were not the same. Michael looked for the piece of paper that he had written his numbers. He couldn’t find the paper. Perhaps he was wrong. No he knew he was not wrong. He lost, but what a terrible loss.

For need of several more seconds, Shirley would be washing diapers in brand new machines. A few more minutes and Michael would be consulting with financial advisors, bankers, and long lost relatives. Deadline! Time’s UP! Pencils Down! And plain old STOP!!!

In Vienna, in the year our Lord, November, 2015, an international clock was ticking. For the first time, the Russians, Americans, Saudis, and Iranians were meeting to solve the Syrian devastation. The deadline came and went and bombs away.

White Rules

In the Blue and Red corner we have Latinos and Asian Americans and in the White corner we have WHITE Americans. In the opinion page of the November 20, 2014, Professor Zoltan L. Hajnal offered, “The democrats immigration problem”. Mr. Hajna’s basic theme was that President Obama’s proposed immigration changes would offer little electoral support for the Democratic party in subsequent elections.  How come? WHITE, WHITE,…. Mr. Hajnal is obsessed with the word WHITE.

The United States of America has many WHITES. The United States of America has lots of native born workers, that is WHITE workers. Mr. Hajnal suggests that due to the overwhelming numbers of WHITES in America, Democrats will gain little advantage gathering potential votes from Latinos and Asian Americans. Does that WHITE advantage bode well for Republicans?  That may be an electoral outcome, but of greater significance is that Mr. Hajnal has identified the malignancy that tortures our nation.

Mr. Hajnal, a political science professor, offers an analysis of voter dispositions, and in doing so, he highlights the constancy of the racial, and ethnic bigotry that exists as a national low-grade fever that in some unpredictable time frame erupts into febrile convulsions. WHITE used to describe a human is a clinical symptom of cultural illness.  WHITE as a description of a human is not only meaningless, but in fact ignores the actual properties of WHITE. WHITE is a color. WHITE carries every color of the spectrum. WHITE transmits all colors. WHITE is the blending of all colors. Does Hajnal’s WHITE American include all colors? Is that what he means by WHITE? It is time that we rid our descriptive vocabulary of humans as being WHITE, unless by that one means persons of all colors.

Speak in Tongues

Yesterday the Secretary of State Kerry was citing the success of the fight against ISIS. He stated that “thousands, single digit, of ISIS were killed.” By that I assumed he meant a digit from 1 to 9. Perhaps he had a number that would precede the ‘thousands’ but did not want to say it. I guess he could have said, “a hundred, times 10, multiplied by a single digit”  or “more than one thousand, but less than ten thousand” thus staying within the single digit concept. Instead he chose to speak in tongues. And speaking of tongues – here goes!

Some words are proper nouns. We might soon be informed that a ‘Mitt’ or a ‘Jeb’ might seek the Republican nomination for President. Truth be told, and I am one committed to the truth, Mitt Romney birth name is, Willard Mitt Romney, and Jeb Bush birth name is John Ellis Jeb Bush. Our history has had four Johns are President:  John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John Tyler (a mystery ) and John Kennedy. We have never had a Willard. Is it time for a Willard? Or should we continue the lineage of Johns? Or do we dare to break with tradition and go rogue with Mitt or Jeb.

Scene at Buckingham Palace and the introduction of the new President Jeb Bush to the Queen of England.

Prime Minister: Your Majesty, it is my honor to present the President of the United States, “Jeb Bush”.

Queen: President Bush. Jeb, What a charming first name.

Jeb: Thank you your Majesty.

Queen: I have never had the pleasure of meeting a Texas cowboy.

Jeb: Oh no, mam, I am from Texas, I’m no cowboy.

Queen: Forgive me, but I remember one time viewing a film from the United States, and the sheriff was named,  Jeb.

Jeb: Well Your Highness, I assure you I never been in a movie, and my name is John Ellis Jeb Bush.

Queen: Oh, so many fine names. Is there a reason you are called Jeb?

Jeb: Well, your Holiness – excuse me  – your Highness. It is a long story, and I don’t want to bore you.

Queen: No, please. I am quite interested. Please tell me.

Jeb: Oh well. When I was just a whipper snapper…
(Queen interrupts)
Queen:  A whipper snapper? Pray tell, what is that?

Jeb:  Just a Texas expression. Nothing special. Just means pretty young – like a messin around kid.

Queen: Oh so charming. Fine, please go on.

Jeb: Well, one day I was out by our barn, and I was messin with a hog. Just trying to stick the hog with a stick. My Mom, saw me and hollered, “Jeb, stop messin with that hog!”

Queen: Oh, that messin once again. Your Mother said “Jeb”. Why would she say “Jeb”?

Jeb: Your Highness, I told you it is a long story, but I’ll cut it short. You see my mom was an expert in Civil War history. She loved the Confederacy, so do I. Well anyway one of the southern Generals was James Ewell Brown Stuart. He was real brave and charmin especially with the women. Kinda like me. General Stuart’s nickname was “Jeb”. That’s it, that the story.

Queen:  Well thank you. That wasn’t so long. I am sure you were pleased that your Mother didn’t call you “Ewell”, (Queen chuckles).

Jeb:  Yes mam. I sure am lucky she didn’t call me “Ewell.”

Queen: Well I must say that your family, especially your father President Bush, and your brother President Bush have “ done your nation real proud.” How is that for Texas talk, Mister Jeb?”

Jeb: Your Majesty, that was real fine. You’re a downright real fine Queen.

 

 

Will the Real Shrink Please Stand

My Aunt Alice asked me to speak to a group of Hadassah women. She told me that the payment would be seventy five dollars. I accepted the offer, although I was dismayed with the fee. Alice then informed me that it was traditional for the guest speaker to donate the fee back to the Hadassah. At that point I was livid, though outwardly quite calm. I agreed, as I frequently do despite my total commitment to the opposing point of view. She didn’t even wince when she asked me to agree to the charitable donation, as if she knew of my basic passive-aggressive character. Alice took advantage of me, her favorite nephew.

I entitled the talk, “Reflections of a Shrink.” When I told her the title, she remarked, “…but I thought that only psychiatrists were called shrinks.” That did it! I smiled, even laughed at her verbal abuse. My outrage was totally smothered in charm and wit. Of course I was a “shrink “. I had a Ph.D. and not an M.D., but nonetheless, at that time, I had been a “shrink “for 12 years. At that moment I was quite proud of the title, “shrink “.

My aunts’ naiveté was forgivable, but I was left with several revived, yet unresolved conflicts. Foremost was the desire for the real title of Doctor. By that I mean the Doctor of Medicine, i.e. M.D. I had been granted a Doctor of Philosophy in 1969. The title sounded grand, but I had never taken a philosophy course. Besides, everyone knows that the only Doctor worthy of that title is the M.D. type. Veterinarians, optometrists, psychologists and rabbis are granted the title of Doctor, but there is something almost immoral about their use of the title; “Thou shalt not call thyself Doctor, unless thou hast laid bare a cadaver, and/or written a prescription.” (Quote from Hippocrates).

Another stressful monologue that I recited behind my eyes, were the implications of the word “shrink “. Witch doctors, cannibals, and voodoo priests were my images of head shrinkers. If I did anything to clients, it was mind expansion, and character enrichment, and not brain shrinkage. How did the word “shrink “become part of the lexicon of psychology and psychiatry? Perhaps “shrink” is derived from the Chinese, as in shrunk, as in, “My shirt is shrunk “as in the hand laundry sense of Chinese. Nevertheless, my Aunt Alice unknowingly raised serious concerns about popular confusions regarding psychologists and psychiatrists.

The initial confusion appears to be due to the shared first four letters, p-s-y-c-h. Both professions borrow from the Greek word, psyche; that is breath, life or soul. The ” trist ” in psychiatrist is derived from the Middle English word for sad, and Middle French, triste. That leaves us with Psychiatrists who ponder, “sad souls “. The “gist “in Psychologist is derived from the Latin, jacere, meaning more adjacent, or the essence of a matter. Enfin, the Psychologist concerns himself with the essence of souls. The linguistic approach clearly suggests that both Psychologists and Psychiatrists do not engage in “shrinking “anything.

There are several differences between the two disciplines that are noteworthy. Psychiatrists usually charge higher fees for a therapy session. Psychologists sometimes refer to their patients as clients. Psychiatrists never refer to their patients as anything other than patients. Psychiatrists can admit patients to a hospital mental ward, whereas Psychologists usually cannot. Psychologists administer and interpret intelligence and personality tests, and Psychiatrists give drugs. They have more drugs to administer, then Psychologists have tests. Many psychologists would gladly turn in their test kits for the right to prescribe drugs, and watch the ‘ cures ‘ roll in.

Every Psychologist envies the Psychiatrists prescription pad and the power it holds. One might ask, who came first, well I’ll tell you. At the beginning there were Philosophers, the likes of Aristotle, Descartes, and Kant. Following that philosophical tradition, the “science “of human behavior evolved to be studied by Psychologists.

The treatment of mental diseases has traditionally been the province of the medical profession that is psychiatry. Historical events, such as the World War II, prompted the rapid emergence of the Clinical Psychologist as a “shrinker.”  There now exists an uneasy truce between the two professions, and peace will reign as long as the number of patients and, or clients remains high. In recent years, the Social Worker has joined the fray.  The competition for “sad souls” will be fierce should humankind achieve a greater measure of self-worth and good will.

 

 

Whose on First?

Hadi al-Ameri, a leader of arab militia, said that he and his militia did not need United States help to take the city of Takrit. “We don’t trust the American –led coalition in combating ISIS. In the past, they have targeted our security forces and dropped aid to ISIS by mistake. We don’t need the American-led coalition to participate in Tikrit. Tikrit is an easy battle, we can win it ourselves. In fact he ordered about 10,000 of militia to leave the battlefield due to recent US bombings. “We have not yet decided if we will pull out or not.” I thought, “when you’re ready, just clue me in. In the meantime I just try and stay alive.”

One should not forget (if at all possible) that the Iraq’s are primarily Shia, and Iranians are primarily Sunni. The Houthi are Shiite, but they are Zaydi Shiite and they are not the same religiously as other Shiites. Actually the Houthi are closer to Sunni Moslems than other Shiites.

How is that for an opening statement. You and I might smile, or perhaps even sneer at the relationships and attitudes cited above, but to those Arabs the differences are matters of life and death, although not always. It so happens that lately, Sunni and Shiite fighters are engaging the ISIS and other bad guys in Yemen, Iraq and probably other places that are yet to be discovered.

An Iraqi leader  (the name is irrelevant) suggested that fighters should refrain from flying Shiite religious banners, suggesting that better efforts should be made to involve Sunnis in the fight. The American representatives suggested that they wanted to work with Iraqi forces they had helped train and insisted on “deconflicting” with the Iranian-backed militias so they would not bomb them be mistake. Fortunately, the Shiite militias have generally been on the east side of the Tigris River, so it should be possible to avoid any errors. “Errors” as in collateral damage, and “oh shit, no way”, and the inevitable “whatever.”

The American representative that generated the “deconflicting” term has since received offers from Webster’s Collegiate publishing house. Actually we all prefer, composing as against decomposing, generation as against degeneration, and certainly flowering as against deflowering.

 

So What’s New?

I’ll tell you what’s new. The shoulder carry cam recorder. The renewed, and advanced police dash board camera. The enhanced sound technology in each camera. And most importantly is the requirement that all active, on patrol police officers must be wearing their camera (turned to on). Dash board cameras must be activated.

What else is new? Videos of police car chases, horrendous car crashes, traffic stops, police wrestling offenders, offenders running down highways and into the woods, 3 or more police officers attempting to subdue an offender, several officers standing around watching the tussle, and so on. At times the video is accompanied by a sound track of grunts, heavy breathing, police demanding cooperation, victim gasping for breath, cries of innocence, etc.

In sum the television audience can now view a real ‘crime’ scene while enjoying a Subway sandwich, or washing the dishes. Cameras have always been able to capture the beauty of cherry blossoms in D.C. Now we can have a live second feature of death and dying in D.C.

What is my point? My focus is not the new, but the old. Old, as in biblically old. Old as in the dna of mankind. Bigotry, and racism! Racism trumps all technology. Racism trumps all verbal expressions of brotherhood, good-will, compassion, empathy, etc. Now that we see it, hear it, and before it didn’t exist? Now we are witnesses to the event, or almost witnesses to the event. Maybe we missed the scene prior to the captured event. Maybe the camera was off, and then on, or on and then off. Maybe the video was accidentally erased, or blurry. Maybe the voice heard was not who we think it was, or maybe, just maybe everything about the data is messed up.

Once again, my point is that technology is not a cure for the overriding existence of systemic racism in our nation. Racism that generates ignorance, ill-will, fear and all too often gun shots.

TO TORTURE OR NOT TO TORTURE- THAT IS THE QUESTION

The following conversation between the President, Vice President and the Secretary of Defense was revealed by appeal to the Freedom of Information Act.

President: I appreciate you coming in on Sunday. I know that you both had plans, so thanks.

Vice President: Mr. President, it’s no problem.

Sec. of Defense: Right.

Vice President: Mr. President, why are we here?

Sec. of Defense: Say, do we have any coffee?

President: Sure. Over by the bar. There’s instant, and some Coffee Mate.

Sec. of Defense: Right.

Vice President: So, what’s up?

President: I need your input on our Interrogation procedures. I’m supposed to decide on what to do, but it’s a procedure that I’m not familiar with.

Vice President: No problem. Say Rumsfeld, why don’t you give a brief run-down on our Interrogation procedures.

Sec. of Defense: Sure., but I think we should be careful what we say.

Vice President: Why? It’s just us.

President: The VP is right. What we say here stays here.

Sec. of Defense: Yeh, I know that, but you never know who is bugging this room.

President: What the hell are you talking about? This is my office. I know if bugging is happening or not.

Sec. of Defense: Sir, you, yourself have ordered that all conversations in this office be recorded.

President: I know that. I’m the decider.  I have the right to erase any conversations that I want to.

Sec. of Defense: I know Sir. But before you get to erase, the content may be snuck out. It’s a possibility. I just want to be careful, that’s all.

Vice President: Mr. President, maybe he’s right.

President: Okay. Let’s get going.

Sec. of Defense: Well when we counsel with a terrorist, I mean client, we have many interview techniques. I’ll start with the easiest.

President: Great. Sounds real interesting.

Sec. of Defense:  Well, we start by getting some basic information.

Vice President: Like what?

Sec. of Defense: Name, address, race, religion, education.  Date and place of birth. Things like that.

President: Sounds good. Clients can’t mind that too much.

Sec. of Defense: Sometimes it’s a problem.

Vice President: Why?

Sec. of Defense: Many clients don’t speak English.

Vice President: But we have translators, don’t we?

Sec. of Defense: Well some, but not as many as we need.

President: I don’t understand. What’s the problem?

Sec. of Defense: Well we used to have a lot more translators, but many of them were American, but also Arab-American, and American Moslems..

President: So?

Sec. of Defense: Trust, sir. It’s a matter of trust.

President: Oh. Gotcha.

Vice President: Weren’t any trustworthy?

Sec. of Defense: Maybe, but then some were also Gay.

Vice President: Cut it out. Who cares, as long as they could translate.

Sec. of Defense: But sir, they were outspoken Gays. I had no choice but to dismiss them from the service. That’s the rule. You know, don’t ask, don’t show, don’t tell, and don’t touch. (giggle).

President: Whatever! Can you proceed anyway?

Sec. of Defense: We do out best Sir.

Vice President: What do you do?

Sec. of Defense: We draw pictures and sometimes the clients act as translators for other clients.

President: Sounds creative – real interesting.

Vice President: Can you trust one client with another?

Sec. of Defense: It’s a chance we have to take. Besides, who cares about name, address, religion or any of that stuff. That first interview is just to act friendly. Build a relationship. The facts are really unimportant.

President: I can see that. You’re right. Who cares how old they are. They’ll be dead soon (giggle).

Vice President: Sir, please be careful.

President: So what happens next?

Sec. of Defense: Then we take them to the Therapy room.

Vice President: What do you mean Therapy room? What the hell is that?

President: Relax, Dick.

Sec. of Defense: Yeh, relax. Therapy, as in personality change.

President: Gotcha.

Vice President: Sounds great, but any Water Boarding?

Sec. of Defense: You mean dunking, don’t you?

Vice President: No, I mean Water Boarding!

Sec. of Defense: Listen, Dick, we do not torture.

President: That’s right!

Vice President: Than what the hell is Dunking?

Sec. of Defense: Like Dunking at Halloween. You know for apples.

Vice President: Are you kidding. Dunking for apples?

Sec. of Defense: And sometimes when the client bites into an apple, there is a surprise.

President: Surprise. I like that. What surprise?

Sec. of Defense: Well it’s like a Gillette surprise.

Vice President: Do all apples have the Gillette surprise?

Sec. of Defense: You got it.

President: What do the clients do?  – Do they say anything?

Sec. of Defense: Some say Ouch!

President: Do they give any information?

Sec. of Defense: Some do, and others just keep eating the apple.

Vice President: And then what?

Sec. of Defense: Well what do you think happens? Come on Dick. Did you ever try and eat a Gillette?

Vice President: Sorry, but you then don’t have any information.

Sec. of Defense: Right, but we’ve got dozens of other clients, and some confess immediately. Intensive therapy is only a last resort. Some clients are so soft-hearted and foolish that they will admit everything, true or false. Others handle Therapy easily. Some clients are so stubborn, that all Intensive Therapy techniques fail.

President: What do you do then?

Sec. of Defense: Well, since all the clients are guilty, or they wouldn’t be with us, we just do the best we can.

Vice President: What do you mean?

Sec. of Defense: I’m glad you asked. This is the most interesting part of the Therapy system. You see, I have hired several T.V. writers from shows like CSI, and Law and Order. When needed they can piece together a solid story for a client. Then all we need is a signature. An X will do.

President: But what about the needed intelligence? We need the information.

Sec. of Defense: Look, Mr. President, relax. We are winning on the ground, right.

President: Right?

Vice President: And we have had no repeat of 911, right?

President: Right.

Sec. of Defense: So considering that we hardly speak their language, and we don’t torture I think that we are doing pretty damn good without any intelligence.

President: You may be right. Who the hell needs intelligence. Look fellows I’ve got to fix some fencing at the ranch. Keep up the good work.

 

 

THE ULTIMATE SOLUTION

The Federal tax code allows for unique deductions for persons who are married. There are also special tax deductions if one has children. The Congress of the United States agreed that it was necessary to allow for taxation allowance for such special familial circumstances.

Well, here goes. Please finish reading before you damn the concept. Finish reading and find it in your heart to agree with everything that I have suggested.

The Federal government should introduce tax deductions and other fiscal benefits to all persons who willingly intermarry. The intermarriages that qualify will be racial, and religious and across sexual proclivities.  The rational for such a legislative decision is the likelihood that only by the bond offered by marriage will we finally lessen the chokehold that bigotry holds our nation.

Only by the intermarriage of Black and White, Christian and Jew, Gay and Transsexuals, can we hope to progress beyond the destructive obedience to the mindsets of superiority, and ignorance. In time, but sooner than later, subsequent generations of children born of such marriages will be free of the hate that now pervades our nation.

Well – what do you think???

THE MASKED MEN

Why the mask? ISIS insurgents wear masks. Iraq police wear masks. Swat team members wear masks. African Boko Uram killers wear masks, Zorro is masked, and then we have had the Man in the Iron Mask. The news is so full of masked men carrying guns, that it is not easy to tell the good guys from the bad. Do all the bad guys sit in Toyotas, and Jeeps, and the good guys have tanks, or armored vehicles.

After the Civil War and during reconstruction the KKK wore masks, and some do to this very day. Syrian rebels wear masks, and it seems that some Syrian government soldiers wear masks. The Sleepy Hollow madman didn’t bother with a mask; he just took off his head. Killing or being killed does not require a mask.  US soldiers during all our wars wore no masks (except a gas mask), nor did the Japanese troops, and none were worn by the German soldiers.

Why now all the masks?  Were the masks meant to frighten people? The man manning the guillotine wore a mask, as did the musclemen who chopped off heads. Men who were to be executed by hanging or a firing squad were offered a mask. Was that to protect the victim or the executioners? What is the big deal about masking persons who are participating in killing, gruesome and other inhuman activity?

I recently had a conversation with a psychiatrist, and I asked him his opinion as to why these men (perhaps some women) wear masks. The physician suggested that the mask was worn because the wearers were ashamed – they were embarrassed. He offered a common hand movement of covering one’s face with a hand when we believe we have done something wrong, and we are ashamed.

I thought his comment was silly, but then I thought there might be some sense to the doctor’s explanation. If the masked man was dismayed about his action, and if under the mask, the true identity of the person was revealed what would we see. Would we then see that the mask hid the butcher, baker and candlestick maker of the local community? Perhaps the masked man was a preacher, banker, or unemployed rock star. Would the unmasked marauder be your father, brother or at worst a predatory scout leader?

We all admired the one masked man of our youth – the LONE RANGER. He always did good deeds, so why the mask. Perhaps just to frighten bad guys. We did not mind his wearing of a mask (not larger than cool sun glasses), and his credibility was enhanced in that his buddy was TONTO – a good spirited, non-savage Indian.

I just realized that absent a physical mask, we are all masked every day of our lives. The face we present may be a true representation of who we are at the moment, or just a mask that hides our pain, worries, fears and desires. When asked”how is it going?” Our response is typically, “o.k.” But are we “o.k.” You look okay, despite the morning’s news that you have terminal cancer. There are times when a mask protects the wearer and the viewer. There are times when who we are, what we feel and think are best kept behind a mask.

THE FIRST POST-PARTUM DEPRESSION

Cold, not just a typical winter night. Bitter cold, gale wind without pause, and snow so thick that only memory led Joseph to the pub. The fireplace was ablaze, and the warmth brought immediate relief to Joseph’s shivering body. The regulars were at the bar. Seated at one end was Rachel and her brother Issac. Samuel, the local butcher, and his wife Muriel were busy talking to Moshe the bartender. Joseph sat on a stool just alongside Samuel, and with his head in his thawing hands, Joseph was gently sobbing.

Moshe: Joseph are you alright?
(no response from Joseph – just muffled sobs)

Moshe: Joseph, Joseph what is the wrong? Why are you crying?

Joseph: (barely audible) He is not mine.

Moshe: What? What did you say?

Joseph: He is not mine.

Rachel: Say Joseph can we buy you a drink?
(no response from Joseph)

Issac: Joseph, what’s up?

Moshe: Joseph, please- please tell me what is the matter?

Joseph: My son….
(Moshe interrupts)

Moshe: A son. Joseph you have a son!

Issac: A son – did you say a son – you have a son.
(all gather around Joseph)

Muriel: Mazel tov, Joseph. Mazel tov.

Samuel: That is great. Wow, wonderful, wonderful.

Joseph: (shouting) He is not mine.

Moshe: What are you talking about? How is Mary?

Muriel: And the baby, how is the baby?

Joseph: (Plaintively) Please leave me be. My son is not mine – he is not mine!

Moshe: Joseph, you are not making any sense. Mary has given birth to a son. What are you talking about?

Joseph: Mary says that my son is not mine. Do you all hear me? My son is not mine.
(Joseph gets up from the stool and heads toward the door)

Samuel: (grabs Joseph). Stop. Joseph you are not going anywhere. Please tell us what has happened.

Rachel: Yes. We are so thrilled for you and Mary.  We don’t understand what you are saying.

Joseph: Mary tells me, not once, but over and over again that my son is not from me – he is not mine.

Moshe: What happened? Why this crazy talk. You are not making any sense.

Joseph: And there are men in the stable, and camels. Big smelly camels, and three men with funny costumes, and weeds or plants that stink. The camels are stomping on our things. I cannot understand what the men are sayings. And Mary greets them as if they were our family. She is acting like they are kings – some kind of royalty.

Samuel: Did they talk to you? Did they introduce themselves?

Muriel: Is Mary save with them? Should we all go to the stable? I am worried for Mary and the baby.

Joseph: Mary says that I could go and not worry cause she was expecting the men. They came from far away, and followed a star to the stable.

Rachel: The more you talk, the crazier it sounds.

Moshe: Joseph I want you to sit down, and let’s go over all that occurred tonight. We are your friends, and we will help you, Mary and your son.

Joseph: Moshe. You do not understand. The boy is not my son. Can’t you understand?

Rachel: Look Joseph. Mary is your wife, right. Mary was pregnant, right. Mary gave birth this night, right.

Muriel: You hear Rachel. Is she correct?

Samuel: Joseph there is no need to talk anymore. We are going to the stable and find out what is happening.

Joseph: We can’t go back. Mary says she is fine. Not just fine, but perfect. She told me to go, and not to worry.  She told me that tonight is the most special night for all mankind. She told me that she loves me.

Isaac: Okay, so what is the problem?

Joseph: Isaac what is the problem? Are you serious? How would you feel if your wife told you that your first child – your son was not yours. How would you feel?

Moshe: Joseph, my lovely dear friend Joseph. I feel so bad allowing you to suffer so much. At times my memory fails me. My dear Joseph you have nothing to fear or worry about.

Joseph: (stunned) What are you saying Moshe? What do you mean I have nothing to worry about?

Moshe: Everybody listen up. Our dearest Mary is just depressed. Simply depressed. She means no harm. She is just suffering a POST PARTUM DEPRESSION!

With that pronouncement, all gather together and hoist Joseph on the shoulders of Isaac and Samuel and they joyfully head to the stable.

WRONG SIDE OF THE BED

Many years ago, the wrong side of the bed was clearly marked by the presence of a “pot de chambre,” that is a chamber pot. Upon awakening during the night, a careless move to the floor on the “wrong side” of the bed resulted in disaster. With the passage of time and the introduction of in-house plumbing, the chamber pot has been transformed into a planter, or flea market novelty.

The pot may be gone, but the expression “wrong side of the bed” has endured as an explanation for annoying personal behaviors. Getting up on the “wrong side of the bed” is now considered to be the cause of grouchiness, moodiness, depression, lethargy and a host of other regrettable feelings and behaviors, not the least of which is “feeling lousy.”

Perhaps there is a “right side” of the bed, which if located and used will ensure vigor, good will, affection and sex. The physical structure of most beds offer few cues as to the right or wrong side, let alone the good or the bad side.  Beds with a headboard, and/or a wall behind the bed offer just three possible “right” sides. One might eliminate the foot of the bed as an escape route, and thereby enhance your chances of choosing the “right side” by 33 percent.

The prospect of having just two choices to select the “right” side might be too risky. One might move the bed to the center of the room and then have four sides to choose from, or at least three sides with a rotating `foot.’ For the avid gambler, a circular bed would offer a limitless search for the “right” side.

It’s possible that the number of bed sides and their locations will not solve the demand for a splendid morning personality. We must hit the floor on the “right side” and the design of beds offers no help.

The presence of a bedmate insures a forced choice of the “right side.” In a bed with a head board, foot and partner, the “right side” is most likely your own side. Whether such a choice ensures a personality change is a much more complex issue, and never under your direct control. Furthermore, the sleeper is never concerned about the side of the bed to get up on. Sleepers just get up after a nights sleep. They could, if asked, describe their mood. It is the observer, that is, spouse, friend or `other body’ who feels compelled to identify a cause for the sleeper’s mood.

“Boy, I see that you got up on the wrong side of the bed today.”

With that pronouncement, the sleeper quickly surveys the bedside looking for the infamous “pot de chambre”. Not finding any, the newly awakened must assume total responsibility for the mood in the bedroom or immediately leap to the other side of the bed with the hope that there lies the “right side”, and acceptance.

OVERWEIGHT IS A FAMILY AFFAIR

Let’s face it! Millions of people can and do lose weight. On the other hand, millions of people can and do gain weight. What else is new? Our body weight varies during the course of daily living. Most often changes in body weight are unintentional, resulting from changes in eating habits, exercise, health problems, emotional stresses, aging, genetics, and other causes.

We gain and lose weight at some “natural” rate. At some point in our lives we are told, or we determine for ourselves that we are overweight. If not overweight, we are at least fat, or stout, chubby, heavy or perhaps obese. At that point we might make an intentional decision to lose weight, get slim, diet, trim down, get lean, reduce or shed pounds. Unfortunately, the decision to lose weight is usually characterized by several other demands. The demands are that the weight loss must be rapid, painless, enduring, and inexpensive.

During the past twenty years an entire industry has developed to service the intentional goal of weight loss. We have weight loss workshops, clinics, centers, spas and institutes in all but the smallest villages. Weight loss programs are housed in churches, hospitals, schools, motels, hotels, private homes, offices and some are available through correspondence courses. There is no human condition that has the services of so many varied techniques including; meditation and hypnosis, drugs, intestinal bypasses, surgical closure of the mouth, guilt and self-hate tapes, reinforcement programs, acupuncture, fat farms, prayer, food supplements, diets from A to Z, and fasts. Not a day passes that doesn’t announce the birth of a new weight loss program.

Despite many significant differences in the various programs, the primary focus in all current programs is the individual. The overweight person is responsible for the success of the program, and as such, all the instruction is designed for individual performance. Each approach to coping with overweight requires the individual to be self-disciplined, self-determined, self-motivated, self-controlled, self…. self…. self…. The “self” is overworked, overwrought, overwhelmed and of course, overweight.

In a recent issue of a local newspaper the messages to the overweight person were: The bottom line, of course, is that the person must do for herself…use the same kind of willpower…and make up your mind in advance…firm up your will power…where there is a will there is a way to stay slim.

To the millions of persons suffering from overweight, the word diet has come to mean many things beyond losing pounds. Successful dieting has come to mean the return of self esteem, pride, acceptance and personal freedom. The loneliness and despair of the overweight person is a private torment with a unique language system. A language full of self criticism, e.g. “I was bad today”, or “I’m ugly”, or “I’m weak and worthless”, or “I have no will power and I hate myself for it.”

As a society, we have made lepers of the overweight person. They are scorned, criticized and laughed at, while at the same time we demand that the overweight person overcome our ridicule as well as shed poundage. The overweight person is not invincible. He or she is no stronger willed or weaker willed than anyone else.

How many of the “normally” weighted population could intentionally lose weight? How many persons of “normal” wills eliminate sugars, salts, and starches from their diet? How many of us could put down the fork and leave the table when “full” or almost “full” or not quite “full”? How many of us could initiate an exercise program and complete it regularly? Try avoiding alcohol, sodas and treats. How many of us could withstand the constant slander of our appearances, willpower and self-esteem? Are we demanding from overweight person more than they can produce alone? Are we demanding more than most individuals can produce?

Assuredly some persons do lose weight through individual effort, and their weight loss may even be maintained; nonetheless, one must question the prevailing attitude that the overweight individual must be solely responsible for their own weight loss. Considering the increasing problems of obesity in our population, despite the numerous weight control programs, it is doubtful that most individuals can lose weight and maintain that loss when the focus remains on individual compliance and self-willed must approach the problems of weight control from a social perspective.

We must view “overweight” as a family and/or peer group problem. The overweight person is not solely responsible for weight gain, nor can he/she be solely responsible for weight loss! Eating began as a social experience. In infancy and throughout childhood, adolescence and on into adulthood, most people eat in a social environment.

Whether it is a family or peer group, eating is a social experience. Our eating habits, tastes and attitudes toward food have all derived from a social learning experience.  A social learning approach to weight control would involve the immediate social environment, e.g. spouses, children, relatives, and even friends. Many overweight persons live in homes that ignore the family responsibility for eating, nutrition and weight control. The dieter” is scorned for weight gain, and praised for weight loss.

The “non dieters” assume the role of evaluators of the “fat” family member. Will he or she control themselves? Will self-control prevail? Will the dieter be “good” or “bad”? The inevitable resentments smolder and the tensions increase. Eating becomes a test of will and a commentary on one’s character. Is it any wonder that eating and stress are so interrelated? The families and associates of the “overweighed” must commit themselves to weight control. The mutual concerns and bonds of our social relations must be identified and focused upon controlling weight.

Each “Normally” weighted person must assume the responsibility for eating, nutrition and diet. The overweight person cannot do it alone! The volume of research findings is clear and repetitive. Many persons can intentionally lose weight, but most regain the weight, and many even increase their weight.

Weight control programs that emphasize the individual and neglect the family and other social support systems will probably fail in the majority of cases.  Overweight is emotionally, socially and physically crippling. We cannot stand by and allow the overweight person to “go it alone”. We must take the control from the “overweighted self” and do our share. The task is actually the responsibility of the group. Only by assuming the responsibility for weight control, will “normally” weighted persons control the problem of the overweight.

WE LIVE IN A CUCKOO’S NEST

“For a long time, the negotiations went nowhere. The diplomats spent months simply arguing over the shape of the negotiating table. The US wanted to have two sides: US and Saigon on one side, Communists on the other. The Communists wanted to have four sides: 1) the US, 2) Republic of Vietnam (the Saigon government), 3) the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (the Hanoi government), and 4) the guerrilla movement in South Vietnam which had originally called itself the National Liberation Front and was by this time calling itself the Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG). Many people have criticized this as a remarkable piece of stupidity, a case of diplomats wasting time on trivialities. They are mistaken; the debate over the shape of the negotiating table was perfectly rational.

The US wanted a peace settlement in which the Saigon government would win full control of South Vietnam. If this happened the PRG, and the South Vietnamese Communist apparatus which formed the guiding core of the PRG, would be wiped from the face of the earth. What the US wanted was, in effect, an agreement under which the North Vietnamese Communists would sell out their southern comrades.

The PRG was not likely to approve of any such agreement. As long as the North Vietnamese were demanding that the PRG have its own separate delegation at the conference and speak for itself, rather than being included in a combined Communist delegation where the North Vietnamese could speak for it, it was obvious that the North Vietnamese were not willing to sign an agreement satisfactory to the US.

On the other side, the Communists were determined to get an agreement that would bring South Vietnam under Communist rule. If the US were not even willing to have a separate delegation of South Vietnamese Communists at the conference, the US was obviously not willing to sign any such agreement. It would have made no sense for either side to accept the other’s view as to proper shape of the conference table and then expect anything useful to come out of the conference.

A compromise was finally reached involving one large circular table and two smaller rectangular ones, arranged in a way that the United States could interpret as representing a two-sided negotiation, and the Communists could interpret as representing a four-sided negotiation.” (quote from a Google site)

The latest “perfectly rational “diplomatic distress involved the “hand-shake” between Obama and Rouhani. Fortunately, an aside from one of the kitchen staff of the White House was heard to say, “why doesn’t the Man make a call?” After the cook received a brief reprimand from a Secret Service officer, the President’s press secretary was informed of the notion. Carney liked the idea but then he was concerned about NSA and Wikileaks and at a minimum Verizon long distance operators.

Into the breach came VP Biden. Good ole train riding, home lovin Biden immediately contacted his staff – obtained the telephone number of the Iranian president and made the telephone call. When Rouhani answered, Biden told him to” hold on. “Translated into Farci, the words “hold on” meant, “touch me.” Rouhani, somewhat confused about the phrase, but curious held on. Biden’s staff contacted the President who was playing the revised corporate Monopoly with his daughters (and losing!!).

The President’s initial response was total disbelief. “Who the hell made the call?” The President was informed that VP Biden did. “ That ADD icon! I can’t believe he did that. Who the hell does he think he is.” The President arose quickly and accidentally tipped the table holding the Monopoly board. The pieces went flying. His daughters began to cry. Michelle ran into the room and seeing the girls in tears, she reached out and held them close to her chest. “Obama, what did you do- what did you do.?” With a wave of his hand, the President dismissed Michelle, and picked up the infamous RED phone.

What a mistake! The  RED phone was connected directly to the SAC bomber group in Utah. Still upset about the VP insolence, the President said, “Hello, Rouhani, this is the President.” The response from Utah was simply, “the code – state the code.” Understandably, the President did not know the code for Iran, and he said, “the code, what code.” The voice repeated, “the code – state the code.” Between the VP behavior, the destruction of the game, the girl’s tears, and the clear damnation stare from Michelle, the President was PISSED! “I don’t know any code – just get me the President, and now.”

Least we forget.  President Obama made is obliged apology to Netanyahu after speaking with Rouhani. When is the President going to learn that 99% of actual, full term Americans (excluding all Latinos – legal or otherwise) do not give a damn what the Israeli Prime Minister thinks, eats or fucks! Are we to go down the tubes on the back of the Chosen.

Oh one more concern: When the government closes (amen), the persons most effected in a very painful way are the hot dog, pretzel, soda, ice cream and statue vendors that populate the streets, or entrances to all the monuments, parks, etc. (are there any vendors at Monument Valley ?– you know where all the heads are carved in stone.).

 

MY VOTE

Many persons have asked me who I was voting for in the upcoming presidential election. I have been hesitant to tell my choice for fear of getting into an argument. After much reflection, I am voting for Donald Trump. I taped his last speech in Atlantic City. It was so convincing, heartfelt, direct and meaningful. Here, let me play it for you.

TAPE VOICE OF DONALD TRUMP…

Folks, thank you for coming today. Thanks for the thousands of you who came out today, to hear me speak. It is just so great, and we are having so much fun. Thousands of citizens, thousands of people and thousands of you all having such fun. Wow. All the love in this crowd. Are we not going to get America great again? Are we not going to have a great nation again, like the great country we were?

We are going to be so great, that even being great will not be enough. We will be so good, so strong, so great, and so special that everyone will feel great. When I say that we will be so strong, I mean so strong that no one will even understand, or think about how strong we will be. So strong – oh so very strong, and don’t forget great. We will make America great again.

We will begin with the wall. Oh what a wall. No one will have ever seen such a wall. If you thought the Berlin Wall was great, wait until you see our wall. Oh what a great wall. I mean greater than the Great Wall in China.

Sorry, speaking of China. No worry. When the Chinese see how strong, powerful and great our military will be, even the Chinese will think we are strong. Maybe not great, but surely strong. Isn’t this fun. What a crowd! What a great day for America, and actually for the world. Finally, the whole world will see the America that we once were. They will see the Reagan America. Strong, powerful, brave and once again rich. I almost forgot about becoming rich again. We will bring back all the money from everywhere, and we will be rich again. Not only great, but rich. I love this crowd. Don’t you love this crowd?

TAPE OFF

Now you know why I am voting for Donald Trump. Wasn’t that just great!