Saturday, December 10, 2016

Spiders Need Love Too!

Lost amid the howls of outrage or joy over the election was a sad little story circulated by the Associated Press: “Tarantulas Looking For Love In California.”

Seems the mating season for the poor maligned tarantulas is now in full bloom. But, as usual, the male does all the blooming and wooing. While female tarantulas typically stay inside eating bonbons and watching “The View,” lovesick male tarantulas hike up to four miles through hostile terrain in search of a willing mate. Once he locates a lady tarantula's burrow, he does a little tap dance on the web strands outside her spider condo. That's a lot easier than dragging a bottle of Pinot Griego and a box of Whitman's Samplers to her in a harness.  Besides, I bet even lady spiders appreciate a good dancer.

So there's our eight-legged Baryshnikov dancing his heart out at the entrance of her underground grotto. If she's in the mood she might emerge to see if he has game. Then again she might not. Love is a crapshoot, even for spiders.

But at least lady tarantulas don't make a meal out of their lovers and have a cigarette after sex like Black Widows do. Okay, I made up the part about the cigarette. Spiders are too sensible to smoke. Besides, girl tarantulas already live longer than boy tarantulas, just like girl humans live longer than boy humans. Yup, it's true. Female tarantulas live up to 25 years while male tarantulas tend to croak after seven or eight years – probably from frustration or getting clobbered with a shovel by someone who never read Charlotte's Web. 

Now I know there are a lot of people who wish California would take its tarantulas and snap off at the San Andreas Fault and float away on the Japanese Current. There is even an organized movement to make California's secession from America a ballot issue. A group calling itself the Yes California Independence Campaign, or CalExit for short, told the Associated Press it plans to circulate petitions to get its secession plan on the 2018 ballot.

Such thinking is downright silly. Look, even if California became an island nation it would still have the sixth largest economy in the world. California has heaps of agriculture, industry, petroleum, and an abundance of low wage labor. Just ask anyone between Oregon and the Mexican border who eats burritos, loves lettuce, drives a car, has a computer, or been awakened by a leaf blower on a Saturday morning.

The upshot is America needs California more than California needs America. What's more, an independent California could wad the panties of conservative economists by slapping yuuge tariffs on its exports, like burritos, computers, petroleum and leaf blowers.

Anyway California is waaay too fragmented by social and political diversity to be a unified force for anything. Special interest pleaders would try to split an independent California into even smaller nation states.  That way isolationist groups with names like First Amendment First! would decriminalize rioting and looting and establish Criminacalia. The sex industry would push for a Calipornia, the vintners lobby will want to Make America Grape Again starting with Napafornia, and of course People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals would want their own empire, Calizooia, where even a heartbroken tarantula could hold public office.  

And why not? A skunk has already been elected president.


Send comments, compliments, critiques and hate mail to

Marvelous,  as always – Julisari

Merry Christmas Mike.  – FACS

Thanks Mike! – Bob G.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Under Joyce Maynard's Influence

Last Wednesday The Lady Karen and I motored to La Jolla where author Joyce Maynard was giving a reading at a Warwick's book emporium.  She is on tour to promote her novel entitled Under The Influence.  

I bought two copies of the book because (a) I wanted The Lady Karen and I both to have one, and (b) that was the only way Warwick's would guarantee reserved seating. Good thing I did. The storefront bookstore was filled to capacity with maybe 150 souls in folding chairs, although a contingent of teenage boys sulked in the back row and left early on.  Perhaps they'd been lashed into attending by their English teacher, or mistakenly thought the book was about bong hits and might contain some useful tips.

I haven't read the book yet.  According to a review by John Wilkens in the November 27th edition of the San Diego Union-Tribune:  "...the title means different things. The main character in the book. Helen, is a recovering alcoholic whose drinking ended her marriage and cost her custody of her 7-year-old son. She meets a wealthy couple who take her under their wing, exerting influence of a different kind that raises questions about the meaning of friendship."

Now then, I have a powerful aversion to chick lit and I'm against everything authors like Shirley MacLaine are for, but Joyce Maynard's work is neither chick lit nor festooned with New Age bliss ninny crystals in print.  Her prose is economical, clear, and free of diabetes inducing sentiment.

See, I first read her stuff in the early 1970s when she was an 18-year-old Yale dropout whose initial literary effort was an opinion piece in the New York Times, entited Looking Back, -- An 18-year-old Looks Back At Life.

Her style was far beyond her years.  It resonated with the authority of the inner voice my mind's ear hears when I read something, whether it's an essay by Montaigne or the Yellow Pages. I also heard Joyce Maynard's actual voice when she contributed to CBS Radio's "Spectrum" series when I was working for a CBS affiliate in Northern California.

Her Times essay evolved into a series of them in book form.  She also began a correspondence with J.D. Salinger, which also evolved into a May-December relationship between a teenaged acolyte and a 53-year-old recluse of a master.  I sometimes wonder if her Salinger connection was a boon or an albatross.

I didn't have the nerve to ask her that when she was autographing books following her talk at Warwick's.  I imagine she's tired of being asked Salinger questions. Anyway her work is just dandy on its own. "Salinger?  Salinger?  She don' need no stinkin' Salinger."


Comments, critiques and hate mail may be addressed to

Thank you, Tomato Mike.  And thank you, Karen.  I loved my trip to your beautiful city.  -- Joyce

Might have to get a copy of this book.  If she does have a similar style to Salinger, she's got to be good I think.  I haven't sat down to read a novel in quite a while, and the last one I read was a reread of To Kill a Mockingbird.  Seems I don't make time, but perhaps when I am unable to even amble around I'll do that, though I imagine myself writing short stories and poetry a lot more often then, or writing that book about my life I keep saying I will.  I've thought of the way I'd lay it out, and of clever chapter headings, and how many people will rush to deny something they read in it...heh...maybe I ought to write it and just leave it for possible publication after I'm out of the reach of upset individuals, sitting on a cloud with Jesus surveying the fallout.  Truth is sometimes kind of messy.  Hm.  Maybe I ought to just write the good stuff, though there may be some of that which would also bring denials amid the string of events I've hammered out in my life, and which stepped in my wiggly path. 

At any rate, thanks for the piece, good as always, and keep sending.  I look forward to every one. Be well – Zozo

I, too, will purchase the book. Thanks for the review and min-bio. Nice to see you back on the Times – Beaty

America First

"From now on, it's going to be America first. OK? America first. We're going to put ourselves first."   --   Donald J. Trump, 12/1/2016.

Apparently Mr. Trump does not realize that there were two America First political movements, one in 1944, the other an actual political party in 2002. Both failed.

The party's first incarnation was dominated by rural southern conservatives with Bible Belt backgrounds who later formed something called the Christian National Crusade which later morphed into America First. America Firsters believed in public prayer, no forieign commitments, limiting the size of the federal government and making the flag a religious icon. The latter actually happened in 1954 when President Eisenhower approved adding the words "under God' to the Pledge Of Allegiance.

The America First poster boy in the 1930s was Charles A. Lindbergh until he came under a cloud for publicly expressing admiration for Hermann Goering, the head of Hitler's Luftwaffe and second in command.  World War Two brought a temporary halt to that movement, as well as civil rights for over 100,000 American and American residents with Japanese surnames who were  imprisoned, or "relocated"  away from the west coast  for the duration of the war.  Well, the Pearl Harbor attack was very much on America's collective mind at the time.  Anti-Japanese propaganda saturated the newspapers, newsreels and radio.  Television had been invented in 1922, but was still a novelty in 1941 with few sets and fewer stations.  During the war television manufacturers were redirected by the government to develop radar and other electronic goodies.

I know, I know; I digress a lot.  It's a character flaw.  So, back to the relocation of Japanese-Americans:  One of its champions was a former Oakland prosecutor, state attorney general, governor, and eventually the Chief Justice of the United States Surpreme Court.  A fella named Earl Warren.  Surprised?  Well, he was a Republican.  But it was also the Warren court that desegregated schools with its ruling on  Brown vs.The Topeka Board of Education in 1954. That move, and pure cussedness, caused another America First offshoot and Tea Party predecessor, the John Birch Society, to try really really hard to get Chief Justice Warren impeached.  Didn't work.

The second significant advent of an America First spinoff occurred in 2002. There were several insignificant ones prior to that, you can Google them, when conservatives preached re-instituting  school prayer, reducing the size of the federal government, no foreign commitments that did not benefit corporations, making the flag a religious icon, with an added proviso of banning federal funding for Planned Parenthood as a pro-life measure. Yet only three percent of Planned Parenthood's efforts are devoted to performing abortions. Most of its efforts are in providing information about sexually transmitted diseases and how to avoid unplanned – and unwanted – pregnancies, especially among young women whose parents got huffy about sex education in schools, and the wives of migrant farm workers whose spiritual leader is an elderly male celibate in a white skirt.

Anyway, the 2002 version drafted former Nixon operative Pat Buchanan as its presidential candidate. They advocated school prayer, reducing the size of the federal government, getting out of the UN, eliminating NAFTA, making the flag a religious icon, banning federal funding for abortion clinics and having the National Guard patrol the Mexican border.

The most prominent difference between the former and the present America First people is that the former ones don't wear red caps inscribed Make America Great Again. My view is that those caps should be replaced by tinfoil hats favored by people who think space aliens are trying to probe their alleged minds.

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Saw your piece on Making America Great Again. For what it's worth,  my late mother-in-law, and her family, were interned during WWII. Her brother was a member of the 442nd.  -- Brat.
The 442nd Regimental Combat Team  is an infantry regiment of the United States Army, part of the Army Reserve. The regiment was a fighting unit composed almost entirely of American soldiers of Japanese ancestry who fought in World War II. Most of the families of mainland Japanese Americans were confined tointernment camps in the United States interior. Beginning in 1944, the regiment fought primarily in Europe during World War II,[2] in particular Italysouthern France, and Germany.
The 442nd Regiment was the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in the history of American warfare.[3] The 4,000 men who initially made up the unit in April 1943 had to be replaced nearly 2.5 times. In total, about 14,000 men served, earning 9,486Purple Hearts. The unit was awarded eight Presidential Unit Citations (five earned in one month).[4]:201 Twenty-one of its members were awarded Medals of Honor.[2] Its motto was "Go for Broke"  -- Wikipedia.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Seaman Mike Browne - 12/62 -- recording the  Bob Hope show  -- USS Kitty Hawk, Subic Bay, Philippines

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 the guns of the World War One fell silent.  The following year Woodrow Wilson designated the day as Armistice Day. In 1954 President Eisenhower changed the name to Veterans Day, a day of celebration when a lot of aging vets squeeze themselves into their old uniforms, or maybe just put on an American Legion or VFW hat, and march in a parade.

Last year this old vet sat in a wheelchair on a San Diego curb and watched the parade rather than wheel in it, accompanied by two beautiful women, the Lady Karen Simons and Lady Sandy Burgess, the latter being a cousin from Alaska. Lady Sandy and her husband, Keith, were in town to visit their Marine son. Lady Karen had bought me a really fancy cap with Navy insignia. Later Lady Sandy sent me a t-shirt emblazoned with the name of a ship I'd served aboard.

During the parade I removed my cap when a color guard bearing the flag passed by.  I'm not all that patriotic about the flag, but I did get caught up in the martial music, the presence of all those impossibly young sailors and Marines probably bound for harm's way, and an ingrained sense of flag protocol acquired at an early age in a military academy and reinforced in the Navy. If you're a civilian wearing a hat, you take off your lid when the flag passes by -- or should.   For me, the gesture was not a tribute to a decorated cloth, but a showing of respect for American kids being shot at in foreign wars.

No parade for this old bat this year, but I did snag a free lunch. See, San Diego is a military town and some restaurants lose a bundle of money offering free lunches to active duty, retired, and former military people like me who never pass up a free meal. Sooo, I put on the Navy cap Lady Karen gave me last year and invited her to accompany me on my free lunch mission.

While we were seated in the waiting area of a restaurant crowded with service people and former service people along with their families and guests, a well buffed 20-something fella with buzzed hair, accompanied by two parent looking people, came up to me, extended his hand and said, “Thank you for your service.” He was gone before I could thank him for his. I guessed he was a Marine from nearby Camp Pendleton despite not being in uniform. The haircut was a giveaway.

Like many of us, I've been watching the behavior the president-elect with mixed feelings, none of them good. He talks so cavalierly about invading Iraq on the false premise that Iraqi oil is America's oil. Now this man never spent one day in the armed forces, and he's perfectly willing to send that 20-something Marine who courteously greeted me in the restaurant, along with thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of people in uniform into combat so he can Make America Great Again.

Excuse me, Mr. President-elect, but America is already great – and you sure as hell won't make it any greater unless you learn to play well with others on the international playground.

Me, I do not want to see photos of an airplane hangar filled with flag draped coffins flown in from the Middle East or anywhere else. I hope the young fella I presumed to be a Marine will one day be an old man who marches in Veterans Day parades wearing a silly hat.


Comments, anyone?

This response is full of Thank Yous:
Thank you for your service.
Thank you for thanking others for theirs.
Thank you for sharing your sentiments about the president-elect.
Thank you for your heart.
Hubba Hubba, sailor!


Thank you for your service, Mike  You are as handsome now as you were then.  Peace and love to you, my friend. – Peggy Hill

Oh stop. – MB

Re Trump never serving; Didn't you know? Donald Trump attended military school where he learned everything he needs to know about the U.S. military and how it should operate. (Don't you feel secure knowing this failed businessman is in charge of the country?) Three days later and I still have a knot in my stomach, waiting for the other shoe to fall. I don't want to have to listen to him for another four years. I miss George W. Bush already!

 – Brat


I love your snide remarks about Trump.  My serious side has emerged after my initial denial and shock and disgust. I wrote this little paragraph today:

Trump's appointment is a crisis that may serve to mobilize us to address the very real problems and big questions this society faces.  We have been missing serious Democratic party discourse about the effects of globalization on manufacturing sector in the US. Most people can only blame single causes, when in fact we need to think systematically. Are protective tariffs going to be enough?  Should there be a relocation program for those in dwindling cities? Or a [Civilian Conservation Corps] for the environment?   How does a nation gracefully decline? Does the UK's end of empire offer any insights?  Decades ago social theorists speculated about a leisure society and asked what meaningful activities might take the place of work.  Do we need a citizenship wage? Can we call upon the human potential movement to help people enjoy and share their inner resources?

-- Galen

Galen is right. We liberals have gotten politically and socially complacent and maybe just a little too smug. That made us a big fat target for the disaffected. – MB

A friend who worked for Homeland Security said, “I have a high security clearance and if I had done what [Clinton did with the classified e-mails] I would be spending the rest of my life in federal prison “

I am glad to see the GOP blown apart and the DNC likewise. Perhaps we can get someone in four years we can proudly support.  As for Donald, I hope he will fulfill his promises. I am willing to give him a chance. 

-- Charlotte

Thanks. This was most welcome today. – Sum

I too hope that young man will march in a parade one day.  We are opening a housing project for vets.  I think any president should visit there and hear the residents stories before considering war.  The president would also learn a thing or two about what vets need when they return home.  – Tammy

Thank you and your community for what I gather is a project for homeless or low income vets. -- MB

Enjoyable read, as always! Glad you got your free lunch. Re the election.... still in shock. – Lynda

First, I am foursquare against war - and just as surely know American humans will engage in it with noble and patriotic reason, and I honor them every Veteran's Day and any day I see an old vet with a hat on proudly depicting his military service, or a young man from my local Army base sporting his camo and name tag filling up his rig down the street.  I cannot, and will not, take anything from the courageous act of walking into danger in defense of a way of life I freely can live. Yeah, you can cue the anthem.  I love my country and I am safer because of the soldiers who are much more brave than I.

As for Trump, I am pretty sure one of the main reasons he was elected is that so many are so sick of politicians and their chronic inaction that they would elect a pompous ass instead.  I go with this:  In four years, maybe we WILL elect someone we can be proud of.  Time will tell,

Thanks for the piece, and thanks to you Mike, and to my brother, and every person who ever served, or still serves. – Zoey

Saturday, November 5, 2016

The following is by Garrison Keillor, author and host of A Prairie Home Companion on NPR, which appeared in the Washington Post, SF Gate, and which I filched from the whirled wide web.   MB

Let us be clear that if this election is stolen from Hillary by last-minute machinations, you Republicans are in deep trouble. We lefties are not patsies who you can play footsie with. Vengeance shall be wreaked.

We are taking names and we know where you live. If Hillary loses, your hairdresser Heather (a Democrat) is going to cut your hair with pinking shears and color it mauve and trim your eyebrows to look like Bette Davis. She will massage your shoulders and press hard on a certain nerve that makes your voice squeaky and trembly.

You drop by your favorite cafe and Hazel, a Democrat, will bring you coffee with cream though you never take cream but absent-mindedly you drink it and you wind up staying home for 48 hours, driving the porcelain bus.

Hillary has got this election in the can and if you and your KGB pals attempt dirty tricks like give Democrats pens with invisible ink to mark their Xes or jam the voting lever with wads of bubble gum or put our ballots in the fake box full of composting worms or use X-ray binoculars to see through our clothing and spot the ACLU cards in our pockets and hand us the trick ballot that goes blank when exposed to kryptonite, you will pay for this big time. Do not think otherwise.

Schoolteachers, health care workers: all Democrats. No more special help for your kids having trouble with algebra so give up any thought of college -- they are headed for jobs in the hospitality industry, washing dishes, scrubbing toilets. Your urine test at the doctor's will reveal a previously unknown strain of flesh-eating bacteria and you will wind up in long-term care, tended by -- you guessed it -- a woman named Carmelita who will not take you to the toilet unless you ask her in Spanish. ("Necesito el toilet, por favor.")

Did you know that 95 percent of all psychiatrists are progressive Democrats? If Hillary loses, you will be declared mentally incapable and put under the guardianship of your lesbian daughter who hasn't spoken to you in three years. She will bring her German shepherd Namaste who stares at you relentlessly and snarls if you pick up a telephone. Good luck with that.

As you know, we in the media are totally Democratic and when your wedding story appears in the paper, don't be surprised if the bride has a mustache and the groom's eyes are off-kilter. Your name will be misspelled and instead of "is employed as a data imaging specialist at NorCom," it will be "is currently doing time for wire fraud in a federal facility in Oklahoma." Send us your birth announcement and we will rename it Hillary and put "Stronger Together" on the onesie.

Your wife is a Democrat so I'd advise you not to eat home-cooked meals for maybe five or 10 years. And as for your little blue pills, your wife knows about identical little blue pills that will make a man suddenly interested in fabrics and interior decor.

I hope it does not come to this. Ours is a great country and we say let the candidate with the most votes win, but if you carpet-chewers want to play a different game, bring it on. Microsoft and Apple have come up with a powerful whammer-jammer that, should it come to this, God forbid, will shut down the ignition of every RV and pickup truck in America and make the radio play NPR at high volume and instead of the latest CD by your beloved Anthrax Fruit Bats or Demented Loners you will be listening to Ira Glass talk about hipster millennials and the cultural phenomenon of plaid shirts and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

My First Date

A friend asked for a juicy story, so I decided to relate one about my first date.  The event was not nearly as romantic as the one shown.  It was pretty far from being romantic at all, but it is juicy in its own way.  

The year was  1959 and I'm a skinny 15-year-old boy getting ready for a blind date, a double date with a worldly neighbor of 16 who has a drivers license and a '51 Ford. He's been going steady with his girl for six months, which in that Happy Days era qualified them as an Old Married Couple. Me, I'm full of hormones and smelling of too much Old Spice cologne with an underlying scent of Clearasil acne paste I've dabbed on the zit that always blossomed just prior to a crucial time.  My neighbor was not encouraging. "Oh man! Your face is breaking out! That looks terrible! he said. "And hey, I told your date you're 16, so try to act like it, dig?"

How? Suck in the remaining baby fat in my cheeks? Wear a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes rolled up in a t-shirt sleeve? Make awkward physical moves like James Dean and mumble like Marlon Brando? I'll do my best.

His date is a slightly chubby good natured blonde girl with a loud musical laugh. My date is a thin Mexican girl with beehive hair and great big hoop earrings who, upon seeing me, got a very laughless frown on her exotic dark face. She got in the back seat of the Ford with me with all the enthusiasm of a juvenile delinquent on her way to an appointment with a probation officer.

The date was at the El Monte Drive-in just off the San Bernardino Freeway where there was a double bill of B-grade horror films which allowed girls to fake clingy fear and be closely comforted by their boyfriends' hands, lips, and who, if they were an Old Married Couple among their peers, by a comforting index finger slipping under the elastic band of her Capri pants or working the buttons on the back of her blouse. Maybe. 

My scene in the back seat proceeded in the accustomed manner of the time. Arm on the back of the seat over her shoulder. Arm drooping to the shoulder. A little scoot closer to her. No resistance so far. Up front the Old Married Couple are lip locked in what appears to be a desperate attempt at mouth-to-mouth first aid.

As for us in the back, so far so good. Then I reached over to turn her face toward mine for a little of the same first aid on that hot airless night -- and snagged a hoop earring. Needless to say she had pierced ears. Also needless to say her reaction was not one of unbridled delight. "Shit!" she yelled.

The up front couple separated. "Something wrong?" my neighbor's date asked. "This jerk almost tore my ear off!" my date said. 

After several awkward moments while I contemplated life in the French Foreign Legion, my neighbor's date rescued me and -- and my date. "Let's swap!" she cheerfully suggested. My date didn't even get out of the car. She hurled herself over the front seat like a paratrooper out of a burning plane.  The neighbor's date used the door to get in back and snuggle close to me in a sympathetic manner. Oh, we did wind up kissing for little while, but the only juicy part of this story is that she was chewing Wrigley's Juicy Fruit Gum.


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At least you got something, that's a lot more than most guys get on a first date - even if was juicy fruit gummy. - Beaty

A "gum job" does not seem vary appealing. MB
Aha! So that's where you got the name Mike the Mauler. And now we know the REST of the story.  Page 2.  -- Linda

Oh no. Not at all. I was a reformed mauler by that time. I'd gotten beaten up fighting for a girl's honor. She wanted to keep it. And I see you're of an age, like me, to have a Paul Harvey radio moment. MB

My first "date.”I was twelve.  He was eighteen, and worked  for my father.  My older brother orchestrated this event.  "Dad, Sis and I are going to the movies."  Uh huh.  So,  Farm Boy Billy met my brother and I at the local drive-in, and he quickly made his way to the outside seating to meet his friends.  Billy and I were in the back seat of my brother's car.  I knew as much about anything that might happen that night as my grandfather knew about Maybelline eyeliner. 

Billy and I kissed.  What it really was, I remember vividly, was him showing me what kissing was, and I'll swear to this day it was the best kiss I ever had.  And then there were more of them amid a lot of awkward conversation that I can't remember at all.  I was wearing a white button-up, Peter Pan collared blouse, and he found a couple of buttons and touched me under a white lacy Junior High bra, and commented that he liked what he was touching, though in retrospect I figure he hadn't a whole lot to compare it to.  Then we kissed some more.

My brother came back to the car with his buddies.  Billy's hand moved away from my girl parts faster than a rocket, and we drove home, the three of us figuring out what the movie was about since none of us had watched it.  This was tradition, you realize, for teenagers - and those not quite there yet - to go to the movies and never watch them, so we had to make up a story detailed enough to be convincing with room for elaboration if need be under Dad's watchful interrogation.

Oh, youth, Mike.  Those were the days – Zoey

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Caution:  Foul Language And A Dead Fish

University of California President Janet Napolitano appeared on Tavis Smiley's PBS program last night touting UC's efforts to recruit and even seek out minority applicants for admission to both student and professional positions since the passage of the Proposition 209 in 1996, a ballot initiative that established racial diversity in state run schools, agencies and among state government contractors. 

Oh please. Not again. See, what Dr. Napolitano and other well intentioned ninnies mean by diversity mainly refers to black applicants, as were the kids shown in Dr. Napolitano's video clips during the Smiley broadcast.  Hispanics were included as a seeming afterthought.  As for white kids?  Pfft. They were shown as exclusionary frat rats.

Dr. Naplitiano sure as hell wasn't referring to Asian kids, who already comprise about 40% of the undergrads at Berkeley and UCLA, and whose numbers are legion in all of California's universities and colleges. 

Prop 209 was not really intended to foster racial inclusion and “level the playing field” as its disingenuous supporters claimed. It was nothing more than sanctioned prejudice in the name of slavery compensation.  

I was goddamned tired of the misnamed Affirmative Action nonsense long before I was passed over for hiring and promotion because, as I was told by the chief of staff to Jerry Brown during the weird bastard's first gubenatorial incarnation: “You're a white male.” On another occasion I was asked by a middle-aged female personnel officer when I called about my interview results, “You're the older Caucasian man we talked to, right? Well, we'll keep your application on file in case we need you.” Gee, thanks.

Another time I was told by a nervous barely 20-something Asian female: “You're overqualified.” I guessed the poor kid had been sent out to talk to me by her boss who was too cowardly to give me the bad news herself once she saw me through the office window, even though that boss and I spoken on the phone the night before. She'd said she looked forward to meeting in person, but instead sent this Asian kid who had not even seen my resume.  The poor girl looked so uncomfortable that I sympathized with her. “Look, I know someone put you up to this. So let's make the best of it.  You go have a nice cup of chai tea and I'll quietly open a vein in the men's room.” She almost cracked a smile.

Finding a job these days can be discriminatory hell. Just fill out a printed job application anywhere. There's always a tear off section for the applicant to check off his/her ethnic background. I suppose this is intended as evidence an employer can use if challenged by the Affirmative Action ISIS when bidding on a government contract.  If you don't fill it out someone will fill it out for you, or mark you down as an unemployable troublemaker and all around smartass who probably does weird shit in secret, like read books or listen to classical music, and who should be medicated up to his antisocial eyeballs and locked in a padded cell  -- but not hired.  Ever.

Thing is, I have just enough Native American in my familial wood pile to count, but it's not my primary genetic heritage and my advanced age tends to cancel it out.  I know, I know, age discrimination is illegal in hiring, but proving it takes more time and legal hassles than I can afford.  Anyway, going where you're not wanted is not a good career move.

Look, I'm a commie socialist pinko knee jerk liberal and life-long Democrat of Medicare age who wants to tax everyone to the tits so politically enlightened local governments can declare eminent domain over every goddamn golf course in America and replace them with subsidized housing for unwed crack whore mothers, especially those gated communities occupied by annoying old farts who tool around in golf carts and complain a lot.

But goddamnit, Dr. Napolitano, your university affirmative action program is nothing more than bigotry dressed in a graduation gown with a mortarboard hat.

Worse yet, thinking like yours is just the kind of well-meant social justice bullshit that's given rise to the right wing basket of deplorables who believe that a blow-dried serial bankrupt with the family values of Caligula is presidential material. 

Seems that we liberals have awakend the hungover sleeping giants among the loudmouthed yahoos who let an OxyContin addicted gasbag with a radio show and a skinny blonde shrew of a right wing author do what little thinking they do for them. And the bastards actually vote while too many of us smug liberals get complacent and do not vote at all.  Or if we do, we vote against someone we deem toxic instead of voting for someone we deem beneficial.  Even many women who tell pollsters they're voting for Clinton are ambivalent about her, citing the trustworthiness issue.  

So basically we're voting from reaction and not reason.

That reaction is so pervasive it even got to my goldfish.  After seeing last night's Trump-Clinton debate from the privacy of his fishbowl, he made a suicidal leap from his watery balcony during the night.  I found his stiff little body on the floor this morning. There was no note.


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Well, there’s just no way of getting around politics and the commensurate emotions. Some things just can’t be allowed to pass. The NAFTA deal cost millions of jobs and Hillary backed it. She has touted the TPP as the “gold standard” of trade deals which she has now flipped on. She will likely amend it in some inconsequential way and back it again if elected. The TPP, which Obama is pushing with all his might, gives some unelected multinational corporate entity the power to decide our laws on labor, trade and manufacturing. Which brings us to the crux of the matter. Hillary and Obama are globalist lackeys.  What comes next, authority over more of our laws? This is our sovereignty folks. You really need to think about this. -- Wht

Jesus! One email and I've been reading ever since.  All your Times piled one after another.  Great.  -- Thea

I was once told by a high rise law firm's hiring partner, "Oh, yes-- you're the one who fits the profile that we used  to be looking for."  -- Trog

I couldn't stomach listening to the debate last night. I'm not fond of Clinton, but Trump makes me want to throw things.  I read all about the debate in several articles in The Washington Post.

Thing I don't get, Trump wanting to keep bringing up Bill's infidelity and actions he took as President. Has no one told him it's Hillary running for President? She's not the one who had the affairs. She's not the one who signed trade agreements. He can try to rattle her, but he should have asked Ivana for her opinion. She could tell him that, after publicly experiencing the pain and humiliation of something so publicly exposed, bringing up the subject again, bringing those women into the debate room wouldn't rattle Hillary.

If Donny Boy wants to bring up infidelity, well... Marla Maples comes to mind. HE is running for President. -- Brat

My dearly departed goldfish and I didn't watch the entire debate either, and look what happened to him after what we did watch.  MB  

When I apply for a job, I PRAY for paper applications. As it stands now, most places with corporate offices, want you to apply on line. If you can remember your last job, when you started (day/month/hour) how much you were making when you started and how much you were making when you left, you're gold. Well, silver. Then try to back up from there until the blanks run out. If you get through the remembering part, you get to take a half-hour test about how you'd handle this if this happened, of this if that happened, and then they ask it again in a different form to see if you were paying attention. Aaargh! So stupid if you're an elder soul, just looking for a few part time hours to supplement your paltry Social Security. I don't know who to blame for that. Progress, I guess. Thanks for making me angry again! (Seriously, glad to see you venting. Saved me the trouble). – Beaty

Well, maybe getting angry over a blog post is healthier than getting your blood pressure up with a double espresso latte or an 8-ball of speed. MB  

Sigh.....I read this piece with great understanding.  Here I am, and have been for decades, just wishing everyone was treated equally.  You know, equal pay for equal work, don't care what color you are, or where you're from or what your gender is.   It has seemed odd to me that in order to get more diversity into the work force the solution has become to limit how many of this heritage or that gender or whatever other lines are drawn with crayon and we've all gone mad.  Why (yes, I'm still Pollyanna here) is it so hard to just hire somebody who applies for the job and has a bit more savvy than somebody else, and maybe who isn't wearing a foil hat?   Why doesn't everyone just require himself to be colorblind or culture-blind or...oh never mind.  Young black men are getting shot by white officers in the street, middle-eastern men are shooting people by the dozens in malls, Natives drink too much and Asians are...taking up a lot of space in colleges.   And white people....well, maybe I ought to stop writing things like this because someone will think it's easy for me to say anything since I'm white.  Why do so many insist on reporting things that incite and not mention the people from all over the world in all walks of life who live here peacefully and want no harm played out on anyone?  Humans are missing the important stuff, Mike.  Pardon me for humming Kumbaya, but I would just like a better line drawn - one that happens to curve around us in a circle and nobody is left out.  Maybe it's the hippie in me.  -- Zoey