Archive for November, 2008

The Real Meaning of Thanksgiving?

Friday, November 21st, 2008

If your (American) family is long on tradition like mine, then Thanksgiving day is just an excuse to get together and feast with relatives, some of whom you prefer to see only once a year. This year I’m giving thanks for a whole new set of reasons, not the least of which is the resounding defeat of the McCain/Palin ticket. Yes, I’m still gloating!

If anyone still doubts that keeping Gramps McCain and his utterly bizarre and inappropriate choice for a running mate out of the white house, then watch this YouTube video of Sarah Palin back home in Alaska as she pardons a turkey from slaughter, while in the background other less-fortunate turkeys are mechanically executed by a very self-conscious farm worker.

It has to be one of the funniest yet most pathetic things I’ve ever seen, and I’m so very grateful that this woman is no longer just a hearbeat away from the presidency. Gobble gobble!

Bail Out the Big Three? Only if the CEOs Bail Out First

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

I almost wretched when I read that the CEOs for Ford, GM and Chrysler all flew on private jets to Washington DC this week to make the appeal for a government handout. Alan Mulally of Ford, Robert Nardelli of Chrysler and Richard Wagoner of GM all took their corporate Gulfstreams or Learjets or whatever at a cost of around $20,000 each (one way) to plead for taxpayer help in saving their bloated, top-heavy operations from bankruptcy. You talk about not getting it! That’s one mixed message they’re sending the shareholders and you and me. Ugh.

I’m really torn about the whole bailout issue for the Big Three. (I could care less about the banks and loan companies; greedheads whose “products” included the sub-prime loans that have undermined the entire US economy. Cars are another matter altogether.) My dad worked thirty years for GM, grinding out a career with barely adequate benefits and a minuscule pension. Now even the benefits are in jeopardy. Dad passed away almost ten years ago, leaving Mom as the sole beneficiary, and now she’s threatened with losing her health care coverage at a time when she needs it most. So now if I say to hell with the Big Three, I’m also saying I don’t care about Mom’s health care coverage. Lovely…

As to their collective futures, I’d love to see GM, Ford and Chrysler pull their collective heads out and show some real commitment to “ending our  dependence on foreign oil.” (That’s quoted in the same spirit as “keeping us safe from terrorism.”) But I’ve run out of sympathy for the CEOs.  The only way I’d agree to a Federal bailout is if they all bail out of their private jets — from 30,000 feet — without parachutes. Maybe with some younger, more open-minded leadership, they might even start making cars we’d want to buy again.

Who’ll Start the Rain?

Friday, November 14th, 2008

I’ve blogged before about the year-round fire season that we live in here in Southern California. If you ever needed proof that the global climate is getting warmer, move here. We haven’t had a decent rain spell in over three years, and even then, it was only during one month of the year. The part that really kills me is that you can count on the hated Santa Ana winds to kick in literally the day after the rain subsides. Thus, in the course of a few days, we go from drenched and muddy to hot and arid, even in the “winter” months. The rains now behave like ocean waves: They sweep in quickly and then just as quickly they recede, then the winds kick in and continue for a week and undo all of the good that the rain has brought.

As a kid, I remembered it raining periodically throughout the year. Not so anymore. My kids don’t even own raincoats. For them, a day of rain is a brief, distracting freak show.

I guess anywhere you live on the planet, the weather has its way of getting in your face. Ours just happens to be one of the more brutal ways: At this time last year we saw a wildfire torch parts of Malibu around Pepperdine University. We lost about 30 homes in that one. This afternoon I’m watching live coverage of a wildfire consuming Montecito, another beachside enclave near Santa Barbara. Over 100 homes have been destroyed so far and the pundits are saying it’ll be closer to 500 homes when the flames have subsided. God bless all those who lost their homes, and all the brave firefighters trying to save what’s left.

Seattle is looking better all the time.

Whew!!

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

That One

I don’t know about you but I’m still pinching myself to see if I’m dreaming. Can it be that our country’s eight-year nightmare is finally coming to an end? I stayed up until almost 2:00 AM this morning poring over websites and the TV news channels just to make sure. I think it’s now safe to say that Barack Obama really will be our President come January 14, 2009.

It was eight years ago today that my wife and I awoke to a very different and very grim reality. We were in Windsor, England, on the final few days of a long European vacation. We sat in our hotel overlooking Windsor Castle, watching British news coverage of the 2000 presidential election. Oh, what a sad day that was, knowing that the country we were returning to was about to take a very serious turn for the worse. If I had only known how bad, I probably would have figured out a way to extend our expat vacation another, say, four years!

Looking back on the past two terms, I realize that all my children have ever known about the Presidency and the US political process has been distilled through my mutterings and rantings over the idiocies and deceits of the Bush administration. Hopefully, my cynicism and disdain haven’t completely turned them off to politics, but they are still small children susceptible to the influences of their parents more than anything else. Perhaps now they’ll see a new side… They’ll see dad finally show some enthusiasm and pride in our government. And they’ll no doubt see me smiling while our new President gives his inaugural address next January. Now there’s change for you!

Election Day – High Noon

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

It’s high noon in Malibu on this November 4th Election day. For the first time since I moved here in ’93, I had to wait in line to cast my vote! If you believe the polls, this presidential election will have the highest voter turnout since ’68. Here’s hoping we get a different result (democratic!) than that one.

Speaking of polls, I find them completely confusing and arbitrary. If  you want to know who’s going to win, ask the bookies! There’s money at stake, so they always seem to get it right. Sorry, Gallup.

If you haven’t done so yet, get out there and vote! And while you’re at it, vote Obama for President!