One objective of this blog is to encourage productive discussion and debate within the "comments" forum. Leaving comments has been made easier. No registration is required. Comments can be left anonymously. A Hassle free and easy forum to leave a comment. However, any inappropriate comments will be deleted by blog administrators. Thank you for commenting so your voice can be heard.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Autism is a developmental disorder that appears in the first 3 years of life, and affects the brain's normal development of social and communication skills.  It is a physical condition linked to abnormal biology and chemistry in the brain. The exact causes of these abnormalities remain unknown, but this is a very active area of research.

Children with autism typically have difficulties in:

•Pretend play
•Social interactions
•Verbal and nonverbal communication

The exact number of children with autism is not known. A report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that autism and related disorders are more common than previously thought.

If you or anyone you know has been impacted by Autism you know how life changing it may be.  A friend of my family has a new blog up:

Voices Found - autism and typing to speak

Check it out!

Constitutional Scholar - Christine O'Donnell

I have long been critical of the litany of candidates for the US Senates we have seen this year who seem to lack any real qualifications for what is arguably one of the most important positions in the world.

How important is the US Senate?

The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate is established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution (which does not use the terms "upper" and "lower"). Each U.S state is represented by two senators, regardless of population.

The United States Senate is often described as the world's greatest deliberative body. Many of the most influential political leaders in U.S. history have served there. A total of fifteen senators later became President. Fourteen incumbent senators were nominated for President. Twenty-two senators later served as Vice President. Twenty-seven incumbent senators were nominated for Vice President. Nearly one hundred senators later governed their respective states.

The United States Senate has also been called the most exclusive club in the world. It is an auspicious body with a renowned history.

I am not critical of anyone who chooses to run for office. What I am critical of, is that people who seem to lack a fundamental knowledge of issues which impact our lives have become serious candidates for such an important position.

And what might be more important to each of us, than basic questions of our Constitution. Enter Constitutional Scholar - Christine O'Donnell.

Mind you, I didn't call Christine O'Donnell a Constitutional Scholar, she did. When asked recently what qualified her for the senate, O'Donnell discussed her "graduate fellowship from the Claremont Institute in constitutional government."

Anderson Cooper, on CNN, recently took Ms. O'Donnell to task for her speaking of her knowledge of Constitutional issues and her apparent lack of any actual knowledge of what the Constitution says.

Check out the video:

The Quagmire of Real Estate - Sudden and Dramatic Drop in U.S. Home Prices - Deal of the Century?

Have you been looking to buy a home?  Are you being told that housing is a big gamble?  Is this the deal of the Century?

It sure seems as though there are some great buys.  I mean housing prices have tumbled, so why not buy?  Right?

Isn't home ownership part of the American dream?

I have people that tell me this is the best time ever to buy - you would be crazy not to buy now.  I also have a lot of people saying you would be crazy to buy - why put money in a sinking ship.

So what to do?  Well, some new reports have sounded another alarm as to buying now.  Is it really time to buy?

Clear Capital (, is issuing this special alert on a dramatic change observed in U.S. home prices.

“Clear Capital’s latest data shows even more pronounced price declines than our most recent HDI market report released two weeks ago,” said Dr. Alex Villacorta, senior statistician, Clear Capital. “At the national level, home prices are clearly experiencing a dramatic drop from the tax credit-induced highs, effectively wiping out all of the gains obtained during the flurry of activity just preceding the tax credit expiration.”
This special Clear Capital Home Data Index (HDI) alert shows that national home prices have declined 5.9% in just two months and are now at the same level as in mid April 2010, two weeks prior to the expiration of the recent federal homebuyer tax credit. This significant drop in prices, in advance of the typical winter housing market slowdowns, paints an ominous picture that will likely show up in other home data indices in the coming months.
2% drop in two months is HUGE.  Scary huge. 

And Clear Capital is not alone.  Gary Shilling (he of S&P/Case Shiller) says single-family home prices will drop another 20% over the next few years with number of homeowners underwater to rise from 23% to 40%.

20% further decline!!!  That means if you buy now and put 20% down, YOU WILL BE UNDERWATER in the next few years.   You will loose everything you put down!  

But even worse, that 20% decline is based only on real estate prices returning to the norm (the average historical norm for house prices).   Excess inventories of 2.1 million are the "mortal enemy" of prices says Shilling. "A 20 percent decline would bring us back to the long-term trend, all the way back to 1890. I am a great believer in reversion to the norm".

What does Shilling mean by "the norm."  The norm is the average historical price for homes SINCE 1890.  And current prices are still well in excess of the norm. 

More importantly, a 20% decline just brings us back to the norm.

A lot has been said about home prices falling and how the decline is "as great as the Great Depression."  But that is misleading.  Housing prices during the 1920's were not as high as we have recently seen.

How bad could it be?

The Case-Shiller Index in its entire 110-year history had never crossed 140 until the recent bubble. In 2006, it reached 210. Every single real-estate bubble in the past has at best been followed by a fall back to at least the 110 level in the postwar era, although the bubble preceding the Great Depression witnessed a fall to 60.


So historically, a fall of 20% doesn't even look bad!  What about a decline of another 50%?

Yes, if prices were to do what they did during the Great Depression, prices could fall a lot more.

When you look at the graph of the Case-Shiller residential real-estate index, an index dating from 1890 to the present and an index which measures the cost of housing in comparison to other goods, the first thing you see is that the 2001 to 2006 bubble stands out like the Empire State Building in a patch of daisies. There simply has never been anything like it before.

Where will prices go?  I have no idea.  But I also have no idea if now is a good time (or a really horrible time) to buy a house.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dawn Of The New Fascist - Alaska Senate Candidate Joe Miller

The Anchorage Daily News reports that Tony Hopfinger, who founded and edits "Alaska Dispatch," was handcuffed and detained arrested by Alaska senate candidate Joe Miller's private guards at an Anchorage school. The senate hopeful was on hand as part of a town hall event and Mr. Hopfinger was there to try and interview the candidate.

The reporter was on public property where a public event was being held at the time of the incident.

Hopfinger had been trying to ask Miller questions when two or three guards told him to leave or risk being charged with trespassing. When Hopfinger continued to try to ask questions, one of the guards put the reporter in an arm-bar and then handcuffed him.

Hopfinger was released after police arrived.

The "private security" guards claim that Hopfinger shoved a man, but Hopfinger claims that he only pushed back at a guard after the guard began pushing him.

I am not sure why the "private guards" didn't call police. But I am sure with their expert training they figured why not detain someone on public property that you don't like. Too bad it that might constitute kidnapping or false imprisonment. When you are above the law you do as you will. It is good to hear Joe Miller has his own private SA, SS or Stassi or whatever we call them today. [What do you think the SA was about? Exactly this, those who questioned Hitler during his rise to power (but before he got it) would be attacked by the SA who would beat them, kidnap them, and sometimes make them disappear permanently.]

But just because Mr. Miller may be kidnapping his detractors is not why I think he is now a leading candidate for Fascism. No there is another position of Mr. Miller's that I find more disturbing.

Recently, Mr. Miller abruptly announced that he would no longer answer questions from the press. "We've drawn a line in the sand. You can ask me about background, you can ask me about personal issues, I'm not going to answer them. I'm not," he said at the time.

He is running for US Senate and he refuses to answer questions!! Why should anyone vote for a candidate that refuses to answer questions? Does Mr. Miller believe that he is above answering questions? Does Mr. Miller believe that he is so superior to us dumb Joe's that he need not explain himself?

Is Mr. Miller waiting to be anointed Führer und Reichskanzler?

Seems very convenient that someone trying to ask Mr. Miller questions needed to be arrested by Mr. Miller's private guards. Perhaps Mr. Miller if you answered questions no crimes need have been committed.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

State of the Economy

It has been some time since I have commented upon the economy or the stock market.  There simply hasn't been that much that is different than what has been going on in the past several years.

I think there are serious, fundamental issues with our economy which are likely to lead (actually continue) to great despair for millions.

Today I saw an article at Some Assembly Required which summed up so well what I feel is going on.

From Some Assembly Required:
First Principals: In the US, housing is central to the economy, to the financial system, and to the society. It has failed. And with it the consumer economy has lost its main support, so, too, have employment, taxation, the social contract and governance. The replacement, in each case, is fear. And not far behind the fear is the gathering recognition that doom, that collapse is just off stage, waiting.

There is no rational way to discuss one aspect or another of the hydra facing us. Yes, fraudulent affidavits were used to keep foreclosure mills running. Why not? The mortgages were frauds at inception – deceitful loans made to deceitful buyers. The fraudulent mortgages were quickly passed on to the slice and dice middle-men who knew what they were cutting up was fraudulent but didn't care as long as they could pass it on – nudge, nudge, wink, wink – as MBS given fraudulently high ratings by firms that were no better than houses of prostitution. A “service” industry grew up that was designed to keep all the players fat, dumb and happy until they were starved, very unhappy, but still greedy, still dumb.
The housing market has disappeared into the hated federal government – no one else would lend money into such a market, nor offer MBS stuffed with fraudulent documents and backed by no-loss covenants. All the banks do is collect fees and distribute bonuses.
The rule of law disappeared along with the magic of deregulation – what are laws except inconvenient constraints on profits? Common sense left town years ago. Readers ask why I've not written about the 'foreclosure fraud', this is why: It is too big to grasp. We are living in a world made by fraud and it cannot but all fall down. Anyone who thinks this is all trivial technicalities is wrong.
I truly thought our doom would flow from the increasing decline in petroleum production, years from now. I was wrong.
Yes it is a very depressing assessment of our current state.  But I ask you, do you feel that we, the people of the United States, are doing the best, electing the best and doing more than what we have done in the past?

It is not enough to simply complain (Tea Party) and wish for things to go back to some hypothetical place that actually never existed.

We need real leaders.  We need real vision.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Carl Paladino - Being Gay Is Brainwashing But Bestiality Involving a Horse and a Woman OK?

Carl Paladino - If he wasn't running for Governor of the 2nd most populace State it might be comical.  However, New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino is embroiled in a controversy over a series of emails containing pornographic images reportedly forwarded by the Republican hopeful to friends and colleagues within the last several years.

Note these are items which he took the time and energy to forward.  Not only that, he also added notes and comments to many including "awesome," and "for andy this is better."

What are these "awesome" images?  According to they include:
- Ahead of Obama's swearing-in ceremony, Paladino sent around a video entitled "Obama Inauguration Rehearsal." The video shows an African tribesman dancing, and is apparently popular among white supremacists.

- An email with the subject line "Proof the Irish discovered Africa" containing a video of monkeys that appear to be doing a Riverdance-style jig.
- A video of a naked woman sent from a government email account.
- A bestiality video involving a horse and a woman.
- One image passed along by Paladino featured President Obama and the First Lady made to look like "a pimp and a ho."

This is the same Carl Paladino who just said "We must stop pandering to the pornographers and the perverts, who seek to target our children and destroy their lives."  Of course he just meant all those gay perverts, not good, normal men who like beastiality videos involving women.

And Carl wants you to know he is a good guy, just a regular Joe.  "I'm not politically correct and never have been." He added, "I'm not perfect. But if the worst I ever did was send out some non-politically correct e-mails, my God."

Yes, exactly "my God."  You blast people for being gay but see nothing wrong with racially charged videos and images and images of beastiality.  And you want to be Governor of New York.  Seems perfectly sensible to me - not.

So lets look at what Carl considers awesome.
“Sensacional Zunga….XXXX” Carl Paladino: “awesome”  So “sensacional” (Paladino must have been so excited he forgot how to spell) that it was given not a three, but a whopping four-x rating by the email’s progenitor. Carl? He calls it “awesome“.
Many of the rest are just too disgusting to post.  Here are a couple of e-mail titles given to them:
Russian treasure xx open in private 
2 Chicks Turning up the heat – XXX Carl Paladino: “awesome” 
I found my retirement job! XXX
 Chiquita Bananas XXX … careful  
 The pornographic emails, which contain graphic images, can be found here..

You cannot claim that gay marriage will cheapen or harm the institution of marriage if you, yourself, have carried on an affair and fathered a child out of wedlock.

You cannot claim that you are opposed to pornography when your email inbox and outbox is so jam-packed with it.

You cannot claim the moral high ground whilst crawling through the gutter.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gay For Pay - Carl Paladino and Ron Paladino

Actions speak louder than words.

Huffington Post is reporting that State liquor license records show that New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino had once collected rent from two gay clubs located in buildings he owned in downtown Buffalo, according to a published report.  And more revealing, so to speak, a club named Cobalt, run by Paladino's son, William, operated as a gay bar in 2004 and most of 2005. It was housed in a building owned by one of Paladino's many companies, Huron Group LLC.

Liquor license records also showed that the other club, Buddies II, operated under the name Queen City Entertainment in another Paladino building in 2005 and 2006.  Buddies II described itself as a "bar where anyone and everyone is welcome (and) prejudices are left at the door."

The report in the Daily News on Wednesday comes just after Paladino told a group of Orthodox Jewish leaders that he opposed schools for what he called "brainwashing" of students into thinking that being gay is just another choice and "not the way God created us."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ann Coulter: A Disgustingly Slimy Human Being (Perhaps Giving Her Too Much Credit)

Ann Coulter - even the name gives me creeps.  Does she hate gay people so much because she looks like a transsexual?  Loving American's would still embrace her if she just admitted she has had a sex change.

Poor Ann Coulter. It’s gotta be hard being ‘her’! Ann has now gone on record being against full body scans because she believes it goes against our privacy and because she knows the full body scanners won’t be able to "find a bomb under a foreskin" or "stuck up someone’s ass".

Ironically, the only time that Ann Coulter actually likes lesbians and gays is when they are shelling out a lot of money for her to lambaste them in some masochistic ritual. The rest of the time, she is just another homophobe like her good buddy Carl Paladino. She has proclaimed that same-sex marriage is not a right because lesbians and gays are not black. She has, of course, felt compelled to defend her homophobe buddy Carl Paladino and try to spin his words as if they were something less homophobic and more, well, acceptable- at least to the non-Liberal LGBT Community.

Coulter told Bill O’Reilly, who is if not an ally of LGBT at least not a virulent homophobe, that Paladino was attacking only “gay left-wing activists” when he warned against gays “brainwashing” children. She noted that he did not read “the Leviticus part” of the speech, as she put it. She even tried to define how this was good politics after O’Reilly challenged her on it by stating “I think everybody but you in the world agrees this isn’t going to help the guy.” She replied that the audience didn’t “want to hear about the fiscal issues. They want to hear about the moral issues.” Though, he may have won the roughly twelve votes of the people there, he likely lost the votes of the majority of Manhattan, Albany, Buffalo, and other LGBT enclaves in New York.

Not that Paladino was likely to win anyway. He is currently trailing Andrew Cuomo by double digits in the polling.
And I get tired of hearing about Leviticus.  Rabbi Brad Hirschfield has a very insightful article in Huffington Post concerning the significance given to Leviticus 18:22 (   The words of Leviticus 18:22 read as follows: "Do not lie with a male as one lies with a woman; it is an abomination" (sometimes rendered as "abhorrence"). 
The Rabbis points out:

Why are those who hold it to be legally binding so obsessed with this prohibition? Is it a reflection of the prohibition's being somehow unique by virtue of being abominable? Clearly not. If something being an abomination were our concern, then we would also be equally concerned about the other sexual, ritual, and ethical transgressions that are also described as such.
For example, I don't see people losing sleep over the consumption of pork, also prohibited by the Bible. And the same can be said for the relative calm over those who wear garments that weave together strands of linen and wool, also biblically prohibited. People do not make up ugly terms of derision for those who commit these transgressions as they do for gay people. Nor do they ask that the government intervene in limiting people's freedom to do these things as they do when it comes to providing full legal equality for gay people.
I am not suggesting that for one to be a good and compassionate reader of the Bible, one must let go of the notion that homosexual sex is biblically prohibited. I am simply suggesting that our culture's obsession with this issue probably says more about us than it does about either the Bible or our commitment to honoring what we see as its demands.
So when Ann stops eating shell-fish and pork, and just comes out as the Gay Man she was born, let me know.  And Ann you better ditch all those fancy linen and wool suits you own.

Devil Worshipers Beware - Southern Baptist Seminary President Albert Mohler Knows You Do Yoga

Is it just because Halloween is near?  Seems witchcraft and devils are everywhere these days.  Christine O'Donnell best get her cauldron warmed up as Southern Baptist Seminary President Albert Mohler calls for all good, God-fearing, Christians to avoid yoga.

Yes  Yoga.  You know, that devil-worshipping ritual where some satanic leaders, called "Gurus" (we all know that is not a good God-fearing Christian word), leads their followers into contorted positions.  I mean look at the "positions" these people take during these coven rituals, which could only be for the purpose of self flagellation or to perform oral sex on one's self. 

I mean why else would a normal and rational person put themselves in such gumby-like positions?

Southern Baptist Seminary President Albert Mohler, agrees, saying that the stretching and meditative discipline derived from Eastern religions is not a Christian pathway to God.

Mohler said he objects to "the idea that the body is a vehicle for reaching consciousness with the divine." "That's just not Christianity," Mohler told The Associated Press.   The body should only be used as an instrument of war to to bring Christianity to all those heathen nations and peoples throughout the world (not that he said that, but I guess that is what he means).

Bet he agrees with O'Donnell that masturbation is the Devil's hand at work, so to speak.
And it is a growing problem.  Yoga fans say their numbers have been growing in the U.S. A 2008 study by the Yoga Journal put the number at 15.8 million, or nearly 7 percent of adults.  Look around you, almost 1 in 10 people are performing these sick rituals.
In 1989 and 2003, the Vatican issued two documents: Aspects of Christian meditation and A Christian reflection on the New Age, that were mostly critical of eastern and New Age practices.  The Vatican warned that concentration on the physical aspects of meditation "can degenerate into a cult of the body" and that equating bodily states with mysticism "could also lead to psychic disturbance and, at times, to moral deviations."
Moral Deviations - Listen All.  Priests know all about moral deviations so we better take them seriously.  God’s Lunatics: Lost Souls, False Prophets, Martyred Saints, Murderous Cults, Demonic Nuns, and Other Victims of Man’s Eternal Search for the Divine.
Not to be outdone, other Christian leaders have said practicing yoga is incompatible with the teachings of Jesus. Pat Robertson (who said the people of Haiti made a pack with the Devil and that is why they deserved the earthquake and said 9-11 was the result of American's heathen ways) has called the chanting and other spiritual components that go along with yoga "really spooky."   Pat, have you looked in the mirror lately? 
The heart of any yoga practice is the performance of yoga positions (called asanas), each of which has specific physical and and mental benefits.  Just look at those satanic names, like Red Indians who named themselves Sitting Bull or Galloping Horse. The poses bear names like The Boat, Crow, Peacock, Lotus and so on.

Of course it is against this guy's idea of Christianity, because yoga encourages people to be flexible.  We all need to be rigid, stepford-like followers of God's chosen Priests and Preachers who can do no wrong.  I am positive that Baptist megachurch leader Bishop Eddie Long was certainly not coercing young boys into having sex with him during hotel stays on out-of-state and was merely showing them the ways to be more subservient to God and his messengers on Earth.  Gives a new meaning to taking the "body of Christ."
And what did happen to the notion "Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit" thingy that's in the bible?  If yoga is so bad, then what about our obsession with eating fast-food, fatty hamburgers, fried chicken, french fries and mounds of sweets, many of which are being passed around the table every Sunday after church?
But seriously if more people would abandon Christianity in favor of Yoga, the world would be a better place.  I've never heard of a Guru commanding a squad of suicide bombers, burning down a gay bar, or shooting an abortion doctor.
And as to the claim that yoga in American is some eastern- mysticism, there might be some legitimacy if it wasn't for the fact the modern yoga has hardly any of the deep seeded religious practices or understandings that it contained at it's origin. I think though to say that it's contradicting Christianity is like saying if you wear a scarf, you are Muslim, or if you sit in silence for a while, you are Buddhist. Doing these things does not necessarily associate a person to a religions, nor make it a contradiction of another religion.

With all of the hate being espoused in the name of God (Christian, Muslim, Jewish, etc.), is a little self-meditation and awareness of the wonders of the body and means to make a person healthier and happier really "un-Christian"?   Angle, Miller, O’Donnell, Beck, Palin Speak Of God - But Are God And The Devil The Same?

And then we have Glenn Beck.  Pope Glenn Beck To Restore Christianity To The Huddled Masses.

Why don't we focus on starvation, malnutrition, infant mortality, teen suicide, etc., etc., etc.  There are so many pressing issues, should we even devote a second to calling yoga Un-Christian?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lou Dobbs - American Hypocrite

When Ranting And Raving Isn't Enough - Lou Dobbs Hires Undocumented Workers.

The Nation is reporting that Lou Dobbs, who made a big name for himself on CNN with his nightly rants against illegal immigration and companies that hire undocumented workers, may not be so opposed to the practice in his own home. The Nation investigated Dobbs for a year and found that the former TV anchor has long relied on such workers to take care of his multimillion-dollar estates as well as the horses he keeps for his daughter, Hillary, a competitive show jumper.

Each November, all five of Dobb’s show-jumping horses are shipped to Florida, and the workers tag along. Undocumented Mexican immigrant Marco Salinas worked in Dobbs’ stables for two years. Pedro Gomez, also illegal, has worked for Dobbs in Vermont and Florida. So has Marco Esperanza, another Mexican worker. Rodrigo Ortega, who’s worked in America 14 years, tends to Dobbs’ garden. The workers report long hours, low wages, and no overtime pay.

I am shocked - just shocked.  Actually I'm not shocked at all.  I always found him to be the most pompous nincompoops on TV.  I can't stand the man.  Another blow-hard who cannot practice what he preaches.

What is worse is that Lou Dobbs took advantage of people.  They are the very same people he rants and raves against.  Have you no shame?  Guess not, because even Lou says that such employers are scum.  According to Lou: "the employer who is so shamelessly exploiting the illegal alien and so shamelessly flouting US law" is vile and Lou even proposed, on one April 2006 show, that "illegal employers who hire illegal aliens" should face felony charges.

Turn yourself in Lou.  Prison may do you some good.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds ("L S D")

Do you like to travel by plane? I can never decide if I like it or not, especially now with all of the new travel restrictions. It seems to take forever to get checked in and through security. And then you never know with whom you will sit. Will the people sitting around you be interesting? How about the Flight Attendants?

Last night, I was flying back from Miami where I had been for some business meetings and boy did the flight ever become interesting. If you read my blog you know I recently rescued a dog, George. It was the first time I had taken George with me on a flight. (we both get separation anxiety when we are apart, or at least I do). Since George is only 9 pounds he gets to fly with me and is small enough to fit in a cool carry on bag so it is easy. Turns out that he is a great traveler. He loves hotels and room service. And many of the cooler non uptight flight attendants will let George out of his bag when we are in the air and I try to buy the seat next to me so as not to disturb anyone.

I am a big guy, tall with long legs, and traveling in small seats is tough. So, and not to sound pretentious, I try and only travel first class so I can stretch out. Goal before I turn 45 is to have my own jet. Shallow maybe. Eco friendly, not. Fun, for sure.

Well on my leg back from Miami I had a small obstacle. The airline had goofed and put me in the front row, the bulk-head row. Problem is, there is not a seat in front under which I can put George in his bag for take-off. You all know the drill, everything has to be stowed under the seat in front of you for take off.

I was heading back to my desert vacation home so there were quite a few older and, seemingly, uptight people in this small first class - only like 5 rows.

The flight attendant told me that sadly the rules demand George be put under the seat otherwise they'd have to put him under the plane. Obviously that was not something I'd do to George.

So the flight attendant asked me to nicely ask if anyone would switch with me. So I stood and asked everyone up front if anyone would switch. I said hey you'll get two seat and the leg room is fine. I just need to be back so I can put the dog in a seat in front of me.

I was kind of surprised as I received nothing back but sour faces and grunts. I asked, "is that a no?" "Anybody?"

People just avoided eye contact. So I told the flight attendant and she said she'd try. She was very nice and reminded me exactly of Kristin Chenoweth, the actress who is so hysterical.

So as everyone was seated she nicely asked again if anyone would switch. The couple right behind me said "why should we have to move?" "Ask someone else."

I found myself getting angry and wanting to smack the husband for his spoiled, crotchety attitude.

So still no one agreed.

I started getting agitated and said well maybe someone from coach would like to switch.

But, right then, a lovely woman in her late 80's took out her earphones and asked what was going on. She said, " Oh for heaven's sake of course I will switch." Then the lady next to her said, "Oh no I'll switch I'd actually like to sit alone up there."

So George and I moved and sat next to the nice 86 year old woman, Lucy. We hit it off immediately. I don't usually like to talk to people on flights at all. I like to have my two drinks and then fall asleep.  Lucy was a stylish red-head, wrapped in Hermes scarves and draped in enough diamonds to give Elizabeth Taylor a run for her money.

Lucy was so full of life and so kind. She started speaking loudly saying why are people so uptight. Life is short why do people take things so seriously. Why can't people help each other more . I started to really like this woman.  Lucy had that vibrant, Lucille Ball, red hair and at 86 years was now a desert snow bird. She was heading back to her golf club home for the season. We started to learn a lot about each other and we dove right into religion. As an Irish, 86 year old, I was certain she'd likely be catholic. But I learned fast she thought all that was a "bunch of baloney. "

I thought, "wow, I'm really liking this woman now!"

Then we jumped right into the bible and she said she thought it was just one big fairy tale, which as you know is exactly what I believe. At this point we are on our 3rd glass of white wine.  Lucy kept joking this is only the first glass we have had right? At the 5th glass I was still agreeing it was only our first.

We'd do a toast and laugh and I said, "I'm glad I had made a new friend." She said. " Oh I hope so" and invited me to Monday night football at her community golf community.   " We all love to party," Lucy exclaimed.  I also learned she had fought to have a 9 hole putting green built in her community because 18 holes were getting harder at her age. I said, "damn, glad to see you fight for what you want."

She told me she had been married twice and that both husbands are now deceased. All her siblings had passed and she was the only family member left except for some cousins. She smiled as she said that her last husband was her true love. She said he owned a plant and had patented 25 famous tools which are sold at Home Depot and the like. She winked and said selling the pattens was very profitable. We toasted again with another glass of wine

The flight attendant seemed to become more and more fun as the time went on, with the three of us laughing hysterically as she filled our glasses.

But at that point we were all becoming distracted by a very odd looking man. He had one of those neck pillows around his head and he left it on around his head as he got up and walked down the aisle to the bathroom. What made it really strange was that he had now gone to the bathroom what seemed like a dozen times, so we were all slightly concerned.  Also, our great flight attendant was concerned because she said the woman who was sitting next to the odd looking man had told the flight attendant that the man was showing off his finger nail clippers which had a sharp knife in it. These days, that is cause for concern for anybody.

The flight attendant asked me to help keep an eye on him. So one time he got up to go to the bathroom and I got up and stood behind him and said "excuse me may I use the bathroom?" He seemed drunk and chatting up the flight attendants at the front. After I went to the restroom, he was waiting to go into the restroom again. When the odd looking man finished and came out, he whispered to the flight attendant that I should sit down when I go to the bathroom because "I had peed everywhere." He then told the flight attendants that he was a pharmacist and he'd prescribe me Flomax.

Our new friend, the flight attendant, came over to tell the nice red-head and me what pillow man had said and that she was nearly wetting her pants with laughter. Soon the rumor had flooded all of first class. Everyone thought he was insane, Funny thing was I had only gone in the bathroom to blow my nose. We later realized since he had been so many times that he must have had a real bladder problem and he must have really lost control the last time in.

Anyway this brought up the topic of terrorists with my new friend. We both agreed that the guy with the neck pillows was just off a little and not really a threat.

We laughed some more.

So then I don't remember if Lucy or I brought up President Obama. She said "well you know I am a conservative." I was somewhat surprised, given our conversation of religion as well as her having spoken of gay rights, saying "who cares - people are born the way they are." When I asked she said that she was socially liberal but conservative in all other ways. To which I replied, "well I can respect that." She reminded me again of coming to Monday night football, telling me that they start drinking early but that they go to bed at half time so the night would be over by 4pm. Laughing, I said I couldn't wait, as I have always had an affinity for older people.

That is when she said," that terrorist, Muslim, sneaky, Obama would never get her vote." I laughed assuming she was kidding. Lucy said, "oh no, I'm very serious." I told her I was a big fan and think he is fantastic.

Wanting to learn more, I asked why she thought Obama was a Muslim. She said," that not only did she think he is a Muslim but also that she thinks he is not a US citizen." Laughing she said "you watch." "It is all part of a terrorist plot."

Since we had become friends I didn't want to be overly antagonistic with my new friend and simply said, "I disagree with you on this one." Not to be deterred, she then told me "why his birth certificate is hidden and that the one everyone has seen is a fake." She also told me "that his college records are locked because he was actually an exchange student from another country - a Muslim country." I had never heard the story about the college records (which I am fairly certain is simply not true in any respect) and wasn't certain to laugh or cry at the outlandish accusations (but I guess lots of people today believe that shit). 

With all the conspiracy theories Lucy was talking about it was beginning to feel like an LSD trip (or at least what people say they are like).  Did someone slip something in my drink?  Pillow-man was a pharmacist.

I did tell Lucy I was surprised she was so caught up in the Muslim thing with Obama given that she had expressed her views that religion was stupid. She said that yes religion is a "bunch of crap" but she thought the Muslims "stoop a bit lower than the Christians" and that Muslims have wars over their religions. I said so do the Christians - consider the crusades, but she just thought that the Christians had grown up since then. I said what about all the new right-wing, ultra-conservatives out there today - Palin, O'Donnell, Miller, Angle, etc?

That is when Lucy's humor came streaming back through. "I would never vote for those dumb asses" she said, also adding that she would not vote for Hillary either. And despite what I thought were some crazy ideas, I really liked her. I considered that I might blow off the Monday night football, but decided instead that it would be a great opportunity to try to learn from one another.

Lucy and I agreed that our differences over these issues would not get in the way of our budding friendship and we would not bring it up on football night. But we did agree we'd each look into the issues more and bring our research to the table for our second meeting.

I carried her bag into the terminal and she got to meet George out of his bag. George had been blissfully unaware that anything was going on. No crazy pillow-man. No Flomax. No secret birth certificates. George just slept. But I realized I had a great time and made a new friend. We gave each other a hug and I said that I was looking forward to meeting her wild and crazy party group at the seniors community center on Monday.

And in out last laugh I said lets punk your friends and say I'm your new boyfriend. And showing that wonderful spirit she said that she would love that, but ... just please shave. She said I don't like facial hair or tattoos.

So you just never know when you fly what might happen and who you might meet. But I did learn a great lesson about just enjoying people's company and not worrying over every detail. We all have so much more in common than we do differences.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Social Network - Facebook - Veni, Vidi, Vici!

The movie Social Network was just released and is receiving rave reviews.  Interestingly enough the main actors do not have Facebook accounts and don't use the site.

Seeing the movie helped reconfirm my decision never to join Facebook.  It seemed like it was populated more with people wanting to "belong" as opposed to simply a means of communication.

More questions about Facebook, just check out Facebook - Veni, Vidi, Vici!