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Archive for May, 2011

The Floodgates of Gaza

Israel is preparing for border clashes now that the floodgates of Gaza have been opened.  As you may or may not know, former Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, closed the Egyptian side of the Gaza after Hamas kidnapped Israeli corporal, Gilad Shalit in 2007.  He hasn’t been released or heard from since but is believed to be alive.

An Arab-organized Facebook campaign is calling for demonstration along Israel’s borders.  Let’s define their version of a “demonstration.”  Looting, shooting, rioting, throwing baseball-sized rocks at Israelis, burning cars, tires and anything else they can hold a match to and other forms of mayhem.  They are just like that; it must be in their genes.

I don’t know what I am more worried about, the opening of the Egyptian side of the border, which would let Hamas and other militants free to commingle and rage or the massive anti-Jewish campaign that the Arabs have waged which at times, I fear they may be winning.  The bottom line is that no matter what anyone’s grievances, they have no right to address them by blowing anyone up on a bus, launching rockets or by detonating explosives on a train or anywhere else for that matter. 

The only possible bright spot in the whole thing is that the Palestinians will treat the Egyptians the same way that they have treated the Israelis and the rest of the world.  And the papers will run stories and everyone will be horrified again until they play the victim card once again.

How Not to Buy a TV

 

I’ve never worked in consumer advocacy. The closest I’ve come is being a diehard consumer and an econ class in college (grade, b-). Other than that it’s been ;ifetime credits at Credit Card U and Hard Knocks U.

In spite of that, there are things we do have. I have a computer that is still working after I dropped it, typing skills that run around 40 words per minute when I move a few fingers and my thumb around the keypad, which makes it time once again for my shameless plug series.

It started with a simple trip to Best Buy to get a new TV. I won’t say what happened to my other TV except that I think I last watched it during a Bush administration.

But I had to dust it off because this was for a special occasion, Oprah’s final show. Someone said that Best Buy or Price Club would be the way to go, but I had to scratch Price Club because I would never buy a case full of orange juice at once and never joined.

So it was into my leased car and off to the nearest Best Buy where I bought something snazzy for a reasonable price. But then technology reared its ugly old head, making it a no-go for the following reasons:

1.) I never paid for cable.

2.) Being cheap, the management company never paid for it, either.

3.) Being thrifty, I had no intention of paying for cable, either unless it came as part of the privilege of living in my under water condo.

4.) I live in the inner sanctum of a concrete building where even cell phones often get cut off .

But my motivation to see the last Oprah episode was so strong that I forged on. Never mind that I missed the last few hundred ones. This was going to be special because it was a TV milestone, something that you could tell someone’s grandchildren when they feature your story in a museum. Because I couldn’t get a signal no matter what, I dialed the number on the receipt and got Best Buy’s Geek Squad. A very helpful gent told me to go out and buy a stronger antennae.

With thirty minutes to spare, I appear in the store for a high-definition antennae, thanking my maker that I live within close range of a store. I come in and out even happier that they have something in stock. I am not happy about having spent six more dollars, but that soon doesn’t matter.

I go home and try it out. But this batter up, strikes out again. I call the Geek Squad and am in the store for some TLC and reprogramming. The man in the store adjusts the bunny ears and sends me home. I drive like a maniac down Sherman Way where everyone else is blasting mariachi music and taking in the sights.

It is minutes into the show when I burst into my unit, and I am sure they are rolling the credits. I plug it in, play with those ears and nothing. I call the store back and they assure me the trick is in those ears. The trick is not in those ears, and they eventually crack off. I call the store’s manager on the way in my car where I am crying into the phone because I don’t want to have to pay for anything. It is now four o’clock, and the end credits are probably rolling.

The manager is a real customer-service specialist who lets me return everything. I leave the store in search of some watermelon. If I can’t have Oprah, at least I can have that.

Arriving home with watermelon in tow, I turn on the Internet and learn that the final episode will be aired on the following day, and the program will feature Oprah giving a recap of 25 years on the air. I already read about it, so I know what it’s all about. But at least I have that watermelon and my $200.00 back. It all goes to show that TV’s and watermelon are what happen when you’re making other plans.

Baby’s First Teacher

 

I once saw a sticker with a slogan that should be plastered to every maternity ward and nursery in this country.  Parents should copy it one-hundred times the way the teachers used to make us to in school when we forgot our PE clothes.  “You are your child’s first teacher.”

And this is why the jails are overcrowded because too many parents think that their children’s teachers are their first ones so that they can get promoted to that cushy place called BFF or buddy.  If there were ever a sure-fire formula for jail, this is it.

When I was teaching, there were parents who came to school not only with tattoos, missing teeth and beer bellies, but with brass knuckles for fireside chats with the administration as well.  One boy told his mother to shut up during a meeting with the dean, but rather than letting him have it, she sat there and smiled.  He later pierced his tongue and came to school higher than a space shuttle.  I’d be surprised if he made it through high school.

It starts earlier than that.  Once when I was in line at a grocery store, I had the misfortune of being behind a woman with two kids under the age of ten.  When she came up short of cash, she turned to her children and said that the cashier wouldn’t let them have the groceries, as it were management’s fault rather than a bookkeeping glitch on her part.  Sans a credit card, I’ve come up short at times, too but never thought that it was the cashier’s fault.  While I have no way of tracking what happened to her or her kids, they probably never did anything all that meaningful with a lesson like that.         

So rather than letting the inmates out of jail and sending California further down the gulch, the state should practice a little prevention and send notices to each parent upon leaving the maternity ward letting them know that they are their child’s first teacher and have mandated parenting classes with lots of role playing.  And they shouldn’t stop there.  They should spread the word far and wide and send it to all clergy so they can promote the message from the pulpit.  

We should plaster it on billboards across town and send copies to lawyers thinking about taking a case from any parent insulted enough to sue.

Land for Peace Again? Oh, Pullease

The experts predicted that Obama’s surge in popularity after bin Laden’s demise would quell like the waves at low tide.  And on the heels of his latest Middle East announcement, the experts were right. 

Now Obama is giving the old land for peace routine to the Israelis.  The last time they tried that, the Palestinians turned their vacated synagogues into garages and everything else into rocket launching pads.  So much for that brilliant idea.  

The bottom line is that the land was won in a war, though the president and much of the world refer to it as “occupation.”  For anyone else it would be “annexation,” even for the Hutus.  Though for the Israelis, and by extension all Jews, it is an “occupation.”  And don’t bother confusing anyone with the facts.   

If the president wants us to all get along, then he is going to have to try another tactic.

Categories: Middle East Tags:

Arnold the Terminator

When some people do things, they go whole hog and do them big. Ex-California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is the most recent specimen. It would have been bad enough had he cheated on his wife. But to have one of those romps lead to unprotected sex and an illegitimate child? What was he thinking?

By way of excuse, he said that he sometimes does bad things. Now, there’s an understatement. Add poor impulse control and feelings of invincibility to that list and you start to get a reading on this man.

Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that he yawned and told the father of a murdered girl that he was “boring” him when asked about the commuted sentence of Estevan Nunez, the son of former Assembly Speaker, for his role in the 2008 murder of the coed? This man had to bury a child and the best our ex-governor can do is tell him that he’s boring him? How sensitive.

I long ago heard that he had trouble controlling his impulses from a neighbor who worked with him on a movie set. Her only comment after watching him grope women was, “Where’s Maria Shriver’s self-esteem?” Maria, who surely knew of his indiscretions, may have had her reasons for staying this long. Being Catholic, it was probably traumatic for her because they don’t believe in divorce, though now we at least know where her self-esteem is because she did what any self-respecting woman would do by leaving.

It’s been said that those who dance to the music must always pay the piper in one way or another. If I were Maria Shriver, I would sue Mildred Patricia Baena, their retired housekeeper and the mother of Schwarzenegger’s child. How they had the temerity to look Shriver in the face everyday for twenty years is beyond me, though barracudas aren’t known for being the most introspective animals on the planet. Even so, I believe that Shriver will take the high road and say as little as possible while she and her children heal, though public damnation may be enough for Baena.

Former LA Mayor Richard Riordan said that if he were in the Terminator’s shoes, he’d tell people that he wanted to be judged only by what he did today, tomorrow and with the rest of his life. I wonder what he would have said to bin Laden.

As for Arnold, not only will he probably have to say auf wiedersehen to his family and his relationship to his children as he knew it, but probably to his movie career as well.

One thing is certain in all this. He wasn’t kidding when he said he was the Terminator.

Finders, Keepers

 

He said he was looking for someone who’s more organized than he is.  It was a definite strikeout because my disorganization has reached a new wave.

After some research, I’ve learned that organizational skills come from the same place that administrative skills do, on the 22nd chromosome.  In my case, that chromosome either shriveled up because of too much sun or I got a small dose to begin with.  It may also explain, for example, why I never kept an administrative-type job for more than six months. 

It wasn’t so much that I typed with only two fingers and a thumb, (chromosome 42.3).  It was my accuracy and proofreading skills that killed it. 

One of my first jobs after graduating from college was at a fish brokerage firm that sold fish and lobsters to restaurants.  My job was 1., to look presentable everyday, 2., to sit in a little booth, route phone calls and 3., to type orders and how they were to be paid for, either by pick up or by COD. 

One day after typing and proofreading the order form, I noticed the office busybody going from desk to desk with a piece of paper while everyone laughed and tittered.  I soon found out why.  Instead of typing “pick up” on a form, I’d typed “dick up” and handed it in because proofreading (chromosome 46) never was my bag.  I should have given myself a gold watch for reaching the six-month mark at that place.       

And this is related to being organized, too because the best administrative assistants have desks that would pass an army inspection any time of day.  While I’ve always lost things here and there, due to some mutant chromosomes, lately, it’s been getting worse.  In no particular order, here’s a partial list.  I would share the complete one except I don’t know where it is. 

Checks for Deposit.  This is probably my worst one because some people got mad at me, while others talked to me like I was lame.  I think I put it in the checks in the same bag as some old newspapers and drove everything to the pound for my monthly Newspaper Charity Giving event.  It almost happened with a tax return as well, though I retrieved it in time.  Looking at the silver lining in all this, the minute I get anything, off to the bank it goes.   

Soy Sauce.  How a 4 oz. bottle of soy sauce can separate itself from the other groceries and disappear is beyond me, but it happened. 

Necklaces. Unfortunately, they weren’t the cheap nickel variety, either, but the real thing from a goldmine somewhere; but now they have upped and disappeared along with some of the nickel ones. 

Chargers for Bluetooths.  Through a mysterious circumstance, all the ones in my tool basket are the same.  Maybe I should sell them on Ebay.

Yoga Stretch Pants.  Lost then found them.  Now one has gone AWOL.  Maybe it’s in the great yoga retreat in the sky because it certainly isn’t anywhere in my house. 

About the only things I haven’t lost are some solid oak bookcases and my computer.  Maybe I could google retreats and spas to find ways of peaceably living with some mutant chromosomes.

Happy 63rd, Israel

 

Happy Birthday, Israel.  My ancestors and my ancestors ancestors ancestors ancestors never thought that I, their descendent, a simple woman in an under-water condo, would ever be able to say that.  But then sometimes there are miracles.

Of course your presence doesn’t erase anti-Semitism in the world, but it is a start.  Anti-Semitism is as old as the hills, or maybe even older.  Maybe it’s within their genetic coding.  Or maybe it’s because we’d otherwise forget.   

But a Jewish state means that we at least have a safe haven, a place to run to when times get tough.  Had here been an Israel there wouldn’t have been a Holocaust.  Of this I am sure.  Had there been an Israel, there wouldn’t have been the pogroms in Russia because we would have had a place to go, and had there been an Israel, there wouldn’t have been the Spanish Inquisition.  Of this I am sure. 

Your presence doesn’t erase anti-Semitism, but it provides a buffer, a place for us to be proud and a stronger ethnic identity.  Happy birthday, Israel.  May you live long past 63.

Categories: humor, general nuttiness Tags: