The Death Penalty

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VA Doctors Claim Immunity from Malpractice

Paid Student Loans

Shop is responsible for damage from botched oil change - Car Talk

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May I ask you a rather personal question?

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Criticism is welcome to me. Criticism is the honing stone upon which I am sharpened.

In reading the gospels we are reading something that somebody said to yet somebody else a very long time ago. As quoted in the bible, when Jesus spoke, logically and semantically, he was speaking to the person(s) standing immediately before him. But, if we take it personally, if we take it to heart, he is speaking directly to us (the readers), so that, when he said:

“…Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

(Matt. 5:48 KJV)

He was in fact speaking directly to us or, especially, to me – today.

In order to comprehend this, one must first accept certain premises:

1) One definition of father is as the originator, e.g., “George Washington was the father of our country.”

2) God is the Father/Creator of the whole universe, and you, as part of that creation, are thus, his child.

3) You accept Christ as your lord and you become subject to him, (i.e., as one knight accepts another as his overlord), his words become his will and thus a commandment directly to you.

Under these premises, when I read “ye” in the above quotation he is speaking directly to me.

On the other hand, whenever you read “ye” he is speaking directly to you.

Humanity seeks perfection but does it the hard way, pointing critical, accusing fingers at each other, instead of putting forth the effort of perfecting themselves. He did not say: “Make them perfect.” But, rather: “Be ye therefore perfect.”

I’ve given up on trying to make others perfect. It’s just not working. And this begs the question:

Is it even possible for someone to be perfect? And in what way?

I can’t straighten my crooked leg. There is no corrective measure for my lifelong amblyopia. Diet and exercise are hopeless against the ravages of old age. What can I perfect? What about me is perfectible?

Nothing, really, but I hit upon the idea that he meant logic and reason and the taming of the tongue – what pours forth from your mouth must be closely monitored; perfect in all cases. And what of the mind, purged of all sin, all hatred, and selfish motivation? Morally, as the Law is written, I stand condemned; and yet I still continue to strive for perfection. Why? Because God is my judge, and He being perfect, the closer I come to perfection the closer I come to Him. I gain assurance against that condemnation.

I invite you, as a friend, to criticize me:

criticize my spelling, my grammar, and my punctuation; but especially, my reasoning, that I make no error in the eyes of The Almighty.

In this life, on this plain of existence, perfection and it’s attendant assurance of God’s Love is the closest thing to happiness a man can find. So help me in my quest for my own perfection.

Your criticism is more than welcome here.

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state-of-the-art Slavery

Slavery has not gone away. Much depends on how you interpret “involuntary servitude”.

Amendment XIII

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

I refer to modern slavery as being state-of-the-art since these more subtle forms morphed or evolved directly sub umbra from that overt form of chattel slavery so familiar to public school students.

I do this only to provoke serious thought and earnest conversation.

Slavery has not gone away; but it is state-of-the-art.

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The Bubbler Question

I did some considerable research about the bubbler question. It’s called a bubbler because that’s what it’s called. A bubbler is that part of a public drinking fountain that elevates the water so as to prevent one’s lips from coming into direct contact with the fountain and thus prevents cross-contamination backwash and the sharing of germs. This device may also include an appreciable mouth guard to that same effect.

Over morning coffee I got to thinking about bubblers and how a bubbler is not the whole, but a part of the whole. I thought: “There’s a word for that” – but I couldn’t remember the exact term.

Throughout the day I subconsciously worked on the problem and finally remembered the term but forgot what it applied to. In the course of trying to remember the exact term (amid constant interruptions) I completely lost sight of the bubbler. Just before going to bed I finally consciously put the two words together. “Bubbler” is a highly localized figure of speech or literary device, a synecdoche, a part for the whole.

The term “bubbler” is linguistically a regional synecdoche for a public drinking fountain.

The terms “bubbler”, “water fountain”, and “drinking fountain” are used interchangeably and mean essentially the same thing.

While “drinking fountain” references the whole mechanism, the “bubbler” is a specific part of the whole.

A synecdoche (sih-NECK-duh-KEY) is a figure of speech or literary device substituting a part for the whole or the whole for a part, – e.g., asking a woman’s father for her ‘hand’ in marriage; a new set of ‘wheels’ for an automobile; ‘crown’ for a monarchical government; putting a ‘roof’ over your head; a hired gun; a ‘church’ may refer to a building or the congregants inside, etc.

The term “bubbler” may thus be construed as a localized synecdoche – a part for the whole.

The term Bubbler, n., a synecdoche of a public water fountain; actually names a specific part (the bubbler) for the whole assembly (water fountain).

As to the etymology and origin of the term;  some hold it was a cutesy misnomer spontaneously invented by a child; but the device must have existed (and already been named) prior to the child first seeing it. It seems most likely to have been called a bubbler by it’s inventor.

COPY and PASTE for future reference.


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Bernie Brewer II

My brother worked 15 years as an usher at Miller Park stadium, home of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball club. He claims there are two Bernie Brewers. He said one day he was sitting at his desk and Bernie Brewer was there, standing right next to him, when, down a long hall he saw yet another Bernie Brewer walk by. To this day he swears there are two of them. I told him no, there is one and only one Bernie Brewer -what he saw was just a slight tear in the Space-Time Continuum.

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The Manager’s Wife

Some things, even minor things, still stick in the memory like a dagger.

Once upon a time I found myself working a part-time minimum wage job as a groundskeeper and general handyman at a government subsidized low-income housing complex. It consisted of some 50 apartments divided among seven buildings. Some of the resident population was obviously and severely handicapped.

The new live-in property manager (they apparently burned through them quickly) felt he wasn’t being properly compensated so he decided to absorb my paltry and penurious position into his. But before he did that I had a chance to meet his corpulent wife. She was sitting behind a desk in a tiny office marked MANAGER pretending to be useful. I don’t know how far south of the Mason-Dixon Line she hailed from but she did have a most peculiar and memorable accent.

She was unhappy with her position and her fate. Grousing to me about this and that and everything under the sun and thoroughly worked up by her own diatribe she finally passed summary judgement on the denizens of the complex:

“They’s trai-ush. They’s all trai-ush“.

I kept my peace. I let it pass. I remained silent and let her keep her delusion.

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Life in The Fast Lane

The Griddler’s Café pipes in music from a local radio station. An old standard from the 1970’s: “Life in The Fast Lane” by the Eagles was playing. As I sat sipping coffee a very skinny old woman scooched slowly by with the aid of a walker. I figured she was probably old enough to remember that song. With the pounding beat and catchy lyrics in my ears I was suddenly tempted to spin about on the counter stool and ask her in passing if that was her favorite song.

I restrained myself.

The problem is, you people have no sense of humor; no sense of humor at all.

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Imagery and Implication

As a student of damned near everything including psychology, child development, mass communications and so forth, a single phrase in a newspaper article jumped right out at me.

The article is about a coming solar eclipse and includes the following simile:

“On Aug. 21, the moon will pass between the sun and Earth. Like a toddler standing smack dab in front of the TV, the moon will blot out the sun, plunging those on the other side into darkness.”

The ancients worshiped the sun. Perhaps because they so much enjoyed the warmth of the morning sun after a bitterly cold night, this phenomenon evolved into a god or gods, the Egyptian Ra for one.

But today we worship Hollywood idols projected into our homes via television and we are more than willing to sacrifice time with our children in favor of attendance upon those gods.

Between the toddler and the TV, it begs the question: Who really is eclipsing Whom?

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A Foot In The Door

Putting “a foot in the door” harks back to the days of cold call door-to-door salesmen. Salesmen would knock on residential doors or, if you were wealthy enough to have one, ring the door bell. The housewife would open the door a crack and the salesman would begin his rapid-fire sales pitch. If she wasn’t interested in what he was selling she would tell him so, bid him a good day and move to close the door. But a hungry, footsore and aggressive salesman would stick his foot in the door, thus preventing the busy hausfrau from closing it and allowing him to continue his high-pressure spiel.

The advent of television was evolutionary in that, it not only allowed a foot in the door but virtually the whole salesman, and worse, a whole troop of his loud and boisterous fellows as well. It is, in fact, a home invasion. Because you’ve allowed television in your home you’ve been overrun by a mob of aggressive, hungry and nefarious strangers.

Although you blithely treat them as such, the are neither kith nor kin and have not your best interest at heart.

As an exercise in the study of English composition we were once tasked to write an essay exemplifying personification. My instructor found my choice of television particularly intriguing.

Suppose for a moment your television receiver was a real, singular person. In a room full of other people he is just another person. In a word, how would you describe that person?

Rude? Loud? Aggressive?

Repetitive? Indifferent? Aloof?

Boorish? Insensitive? Selfish?

Attention-grabbing? Domineering?

Sadistic? Cruel?

All this and more, actually.

As a “worst case scenario” ripped from popular culture suppose you were alone with your TV, had a bout of syncope, fell and broke your hip, right there in front of the TV (and neither had nor could afford the services of Life Alert). You can’t reach your telephone either. You’re in agony so you plead with your television:

“Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

There is no one else within earshot of you except the TV, and friends and family aren’t expected for days.

How would your television respond? Hour after hour, perhaps even for days, you lie there – helpless. (this HAS happened)

What would your TV do for you then? Ignore your plight and ignore your pain? Change the subject? Talk about sports? Sell you more stuff? While you lie there dry-mouthed and thirsty he might offer you the image of a cool beverage. Hungry? How about the image of a big slice of pizza? Can’t taste it virtually, now can you?

While throbbing thrombosis sends waves of pain through your body and you grow progressively weaker from the swelling and internal bleeding he might show you a rerun of Lassie; where little Timmy says excitedly:

“Lassie! Go home girl! Get help!”

And the bitterly ironic realization that no help of any kind, not even from Lassie, is forthcoming, sends you into an hysterical paroxysm of weeping. Dry your eyes – no one can see you – no one can hear.

But you love your entertainments don’t you? So he, your beloved TV, turns to some lighter, comedic fare. The happy folks on the screen stand over you and seemingly laugh about your tragic fate with that hideous, sadistic canned laughter of theirs. They are indifferent. And what about the Nightly News? Well? What about it? It’s never about you, now is it?

In cogitating this topic two of my late uncles came to mind. Uncle Walter, despite being a former MP, was a genuine sweetheart and generous to a fault. To us kids, he was the next best thing to Santa Claus – in fact, he WAS, to us, Santa Claus. He was by no means easily provoked to anger. Then there was his brother-in-law, Uncle Ed. Uncle Ed was a modestly successful used car salesman. It was my understanding that Uncle Walter had purchased from Uncle Ed in the past. The only time, and I mean THE ONLY TIME, in my recollection that dear Uncle Walter ever lost his temper was in dealing with Uncle Ed. You can only push a man so far. And some things are, as the saying goes: “Enough to Piss-Off the Pope”.

The gist of the confrontation went something like this:

Every damned time you walk through the door you try to sell me another car! Get the hell out!”

And he proceeded to throw him out of the house.

Americans have an infinite tolerance for this virtual flogging; projected, broadcast, disembodied and agonizingly repetitive A/V psychological abuse.

Your grandparents were enthralled with this novel sound and image projecting device and you and I grew up assuming he/it was part of, or even HEAD, of the family; taking priority and precedence over all and everyone. Americans haven’t the guts, the gumption or enough spine left in them to throw these arrogant strangers and salesmen out the door.

Uncle Walter, old, obese and diabetic, died of a massive stroke while watching television.

I could pretend scholarship and say: You, King Odysseus, and your son Telemachus, have a manly duty to rescue poor Penelope from her relentless suitors and drive them from your castle – your home. Or I could say that the television is now the head of your house and your slave master. I ask the cosmos: how many millions of American women divorced their husbands only to run off with the TV? What is it you’ve gained, and what have you lost, just by having that device in your home?

There are strangers in your home. Do you know their names? Do you know where they live? Do you know anything at all about them? They force a smile at a camera lens in an empty room and proclaim themselves your “friends”. But is “friends” a word you yourself would choose to personify them? Do you know anymore who your real friends are? Now, with cell phones, these strangers ride along in your pocket listening in on your every conversation and tracking your every move.

So enthralled are we with this modern technology that we think, just to have one, as a status symbol – a mark of superiority – a mark of success. So much so that burglars steal them and fence them to those who can’t afford them. But status symbols of all kinds cut both ways, and having a large television antenna on your roof, or a satellite dish, a cable feed, a big screen TV and the latest programming on your lips, in some quarters is considered the mark of a fool.

How many ways are there to describe this, your idolatrous and adulterous, and altogether unnatural relationship you have with your television? Ignorance is the bedrock foundation of capitalism.

We depend on ignorance.

It is not merely a foot in the door – it’s a jackboot up your ass.





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