Friday, August 31, 2012

Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition

Well the 2012 Republican Party Platform was announced. I was not expecting much in a rousing call for freedom, rights and future for the American people, but I must admit that I was shocked at the total ignorance and hypocrisy of this document. It must have been written  by a committee of Nazis, White Supremacists, Skinheads and the Klu Klux Klan. In other words the Tea Party. Instead of a plan promising a better life with more educational, economic and better quality of life opportunities, it does the opposite. It calls for tampering with the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence to deny equality and retract the rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

As expected it calls for a constitutional ban on same sex marriages, as well as a strong defense of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act). The document refers to gay marriage as "an assault on the foundations of our society." It is interesting to read later that the Republicans say "The Republican Party, was born in opposition to the denial of liberty, and stands for the rights of individuals and families..." What hypocrisy! Cherry picking what rights are given to which people!

The document goes on to defend the tax free status of religious institutions and their right to force their beliefs regarding traditional marriage and abortion. The document strongly supports freedom of religion, as long as that religion is the Christian religion of the majority.

I think the most disgusting part of this platform is that part which calls for fewer gun control laws and restrictions. It is amazing that in this month of August, where we saw 3 incidents where a number of people were killed by madmen brandishing assault weapons, these ignorant morons are calling for a reduction of the restrictions in the size and capacity of gun clips and magazines and a repeal of laws that limit the sales and possession of assault weapons. They also support people carrying had guns at all times. More guns, more bullets and more deaths. It is interesting to note that security personnel checked all convention staff and participants for handguns. Why did they not support their own members to carry concealed weapons? What were they afraid of?

Another controversial plank of their platform is the support of the rights of the newborn. It is definitely opposes abortion and the use of public funds for abortion and a woman's reproductive rights. It is very hypocritical for the GOP to protect the lives of the newborn in any way possible, but at the same time to allow an unlimited supply of guns and ammunition which kill and injure thousands of people every year.

Another aspect of the GOP platform is to protect the continuance of the Electoral College. This is no surprise as once or twice before the GOP lost the popular vote and won the presidency in the Electoral College or a conservative controlled Supreme Court. They are afraid of letting the majority of the American people choose our president.

For anyone who has not already made up his/her mind about who to vote for it is worth it to check out the GOP Platform here. Remember that this is 2012, not 1812 and if you vote for Romney, you, your family, your friends and someone you may know will have fewer rights and liberties than are enjoyed now. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Unconventional GOP Convention

First of all I am not a Republican, as anyone who knows me is aware. I, do however, tune in once and a while during the convention just to see what is going on. I find this year's convention to be unlike any I have seen in the past. The Republican party is split into  a number of extreme factions, all pitted against what is left of the old GOP,  a sane, rational opposition. Even though the religious nuts like Michele Bachman, ranted on about God bringing a hurricane of change to this country with the election of a new president, it seemed as though God had other ideas. Hurricane Isaac delayed the start of the convention and almost cancelled it. Bachman is fond of telling us that God speaks to her, but this time I think God was telling her and all of us something about the Republicans and their candidates.

Then I saw Ann Romney discuss how great her husband was. Having a candidate's wife address a convention makes as much sense as a screen door in a submarine. What wife would say anything negative about her husband at the national nominating convention? Her appearance reminded of a Barbie doll, with about as much heart and emotion. Then Chris Christie, the calorie challenged governor of New Jersey gave his keynote address. The cameras panned his family members and at first I thought it was the Pillsbury dough boy's family.  It was amazing. He babbled on forever and didn't mention Romney by name until after he was two thirds through his speech. What was really impressive was watching Romney's expression during the speech. He didn't appear to be interested at all in what Christie was saying. As a matter of fact he looked as though he would rather be at a Baine Capital board meeting, than running for president.

This convention, supposedly represents the heart of America, but in the past couple of days they have shown contempt for the supporters of Ron Paul and minorities. The GOP completely screwed over Ron Paul and his delegates. Then a delegate was thrown out of the convention for racial comments made against a black female  CNN reporter. And people wonder why Republicans are having trouble connecting with minorities.

There is still time left during the convention to insult and berate all other minorities, which I am sure they will. In the past candidates of the major parties attacked the President in power and offered alternative plans for the country. The 2012 Republican National convention has done nothing but spread fear, hate and lies, while at the same time offering no new policies or solutions to the nations problems. The Republicans of the Eisenhower, Regan and Ford eras have been replaced by a bunch of ignorant hate mongering racists and bigots. If by some horrible mistake Romney and Ryan are elected this country will lose all of the social and economic gains of the past 50 years, the middle class will disappear and we will have Mitt's millionaire friends and corporations running our lives, for their advantage.

Monday, August 27, 2012

RIP Neil Armstrong

I will always remember that July summer day in 1969 when I was sitting on the floor of our family's living room with my eyes glued to the television set. The Apollo 11 spacecraft landed on the moon. A short time later I heard Neil Armstrong utter the words "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind". I couldn't believe that people were actually walking on the moon. At that moment Neil Armstrong became not only an American hero, but a hero worldwide. He dedicated his achievements to all people of all nations, not just Americans. On that evening in 1969 I looked up at the moon and thought to myself that there were actually people walking around up there.I will always look up at the moon and remember Neil Armstrong, a hero for the ages. Rest in peace Mr. Armstrong.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

They Don't Make TV Shows Like That Anymore

Lately I have been seeing posts on Facebook with photos of old TV shows from the 50's, 60's and 70's, with the caption telling you to like if you remember it. I must admit that I remember all of these shows and become quite nostalgic when I look at the photos. I always "like" them and "share" the photos. So far I have seen "The Andy Griffith Show", "The Brady Bunch", "The Lucille Ball Show" and "Cheers".

Seeing these led me to reminisce about other old shows. Some of my favorites were "The Life of Riley", "Leave It to Beaver", "Father Knows Best" and "Our Miss Brooks" to name a few. There are many more TV shows that I and others around my age should remember. Not all are as old as the ones I just mentioned, but they are the ones I remember fondly.

When I think about watching these shows I think of a simpler time when I was younger than 12. I had nothing to worry about and nothing to fear, except for maybe not getting my homework done on time. I can remember sitting in front of the old black and white General Electric television in my living room and watching these shows with my parents and older brothers. The plots were simple, usually nothing more serious than getting a failing grade in school or not getting the chores around the house done. There was no sex. The parents slept in separate single beds and  heck I don't remember even seeing the parents' bedrooms until "The Dick Vandyke Show". There were no drugs, no swearing or profanity and no violence. The only gun play was in the westerns, but there was no gore or mass shootings. In all of these shows the neighbors were all friendly, well dressed and  well to do middle class people. They were nothing like my family, or the family of anyone else I knew.

None of these shows portrayed poor families, homeless people, handicapped people, Blacks, Asians or Hispanics. Everybody was white. No one was Catholic or Jewish and certainly not Muslim.  There were no gays or even people who could have been gay. Everybody seemed to be married or widowed. None of the mothers worked, even though the very young and  older women worked as either librarians or teachers. Even though these shows took place during the Cold War, there was no mention of it.  There was absolutely no mention of any social issues whatsoever. It was a perfect world of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Americans, undoubtedly all Republican too.

We may look back and think about the old days, when everything was peaceful and simple, with no problems and no worries. In reality though these TV shows portrayed an America where everyone was hiding their heads in the sand. The plights of minorities, such as Blacks and Women were ignored and not talked about in public. Children were going hungry and being physically and sexually abused and there was a great deal of domestic violence that was ignored by everyone, including the authorities. There was gang violence, there were drugs , race riots and all manners of discrimination that was legitimized by looking the other way. Everything was perfect only if you were White. The only reason life was so simple was the fact we did not know about all of the suffering taking place, not only in our country, but in our own neighborhoods of our home towns.

I look back at my childhood and have warm memories and feelings when I think about these old TV shows. I wonder if , no I hope, that all people my age can look back at their childhood, when also thinking of old TV shows and feel the same warmth as I do.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

As Time Goes By

When I was younger time seemed to stand still. It was almost like time was an enemy. I can remember waiting for Christmas to come and it seemed as though a one month wait seemed like a lifetime. Waiting for my next birthday was torture, as time dragged on. When I was younger my age was measured in years and months. I was six and a half before I became seven. The milestones, my 12th birthday, 16th birthday and then my 21st birthday, all came very slowly.

Now I am retired and officially a senior citizen. I see time in an altogether different light. Time is different, but it is still the enemy. When I was a child I had decades of time ahead of me, but now it seems as though time is quickly slipping away.  I can remember thinking about retirement, as if it were something so far ahead in the future that I had all the time in the world to think about it. Well now that time is here. It seemed like it was just yesterday when I started working and the day before yesterday when I entered college. What happened?

I have been retired for about 5 years now. I can remember thinking about what I would do with all of my new found spare time. In scary moments I thought about myself just sitting and waiting for time to pass, as I did not have enough to do to occupy my time. Now I wonder where the hell all of that time has gone. I don't work for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. I don't have a schedule of when to grocery shop or run errands or walk the dog. I go to the gym, run a few errands and I write my blogs, but sometimes there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to do everything.  When I have a party to go to, a special event or a vacation I am excited abut going on, it seems as if they come and go in a snap of the finger. I went back to the US one year ago for a 3 week vacation, but it seems as though it were only a couple of months ago.  I am planning my next vacation to the US for next year and I am sure it will be here before I know it.

It's really strange that time becomes a completely different concept the more we age. Maybe it's because at birth we have no concept of time and in our youth, time is measured in anticipated pleasures. While as we grow older we measure our achievements, our hopes and dreams, what could have been and what can still be, in the terms of how much time we may have left, rather than having all the time in the world. As time goes by we can't worry about losing it, we have to concentrate on living for the moment and making the best of time, without measuring it.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Is This Gym Etiquette?

I, like most people I know, go to the gym to exercise. The gym I go to has a section for free weights, a cardio area with numerous treadmills, stationary bikes, rowing machines and cross trainers. A room for classes such as yoga, pilates, etc. is available. There is an area for stretching, using kettle balls and using the TRX. Finally there is an area to rest, read newspapers and magazines, have something to drink or just chat with friends.

Since there are quite a few cardio machines there is never a wait to use one of them. Sometimes the free weight area gets a little crowded, but people are always polite and allow others to work through. Because there are not a lot of machines to do chest presses, pull downs etc, there sometimes is a short wait to use the machines. Because I don't like to waste my time waiting I usually go to the gym in the late morning hours, when there are fewer people there. In the past couple of weeks, however, this plan of action has not worked.

For the third time in two weeks I have had to wait for some inconsiderate idiot sitting on one of the machines. Today, for instance, I was able to finish my routine on three machines, while this moron was still on the machine I was waiting for. What was he doing? Exercising very slowly? No. He was texting and giggling and having a great time. Since the machine he was on was the last one I had to use I walked around waiting to see if he would do anything that resembled exercising. After about 5 minutes I had had about enough. I went over to him and asked if he planned on using the machine to work out or if he was using it to sit on while he texted. He acted extremely indignant and responded that he was resting between sets. I then responded that he had been sitting there for a long time and hadn't worked out anything but his thumbs. He got up, gave me a dirty look and sashayed off still texting. I then finished my workout while he sat at another machine and continued texting.

I never bring my iPhone to the gym, primarily because I don't want to be bothered by anyone while I am working out. I go to the gym to exercise. If someone wants to get in touch with me they can wait a couple of hours. I realize that some young people can't go to the bathroom without bringing their cell phone with them, but I would ask them to be a little more considerate to those who go to the gym to work out instead of chatting with friends.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I've Joined the Raspberry Ketone Craze

I'm not one to quickly fall for the latest fads, either diet fads, food fads or gadget fads. I am especially suspicious of diet fads and usually view the people giving professional medical testimonials as quacks. When I start seeing a lot of publicity regarding diet products I begin researching the products and usually after only a few minutes I can ascertain that they are scams. Recently I saw a video where Dr. Mehmet Oz, on his own television show, was touting the benefits of raspberry ketones. Since I know that Dr. Oz is a well known cardiothoracic surgeon I paid a lot more attention to this product and spend more time researching it.

Four years ago I retired and moved form Boston to Malaysia. Five years ago I quit smoking. The combination of those two events led to quite a bit of weight gain for me. As everyone knows when you quit smoking you gain weight, which I did. Living here in Penang, Malaysia I am subjected to a variety of Chinese, Indian and Malay food, which are the local foods of the area. It is all remarkably delicious and irresistible, at least to me, who loves food very much. When I lived in the US I ate a lot of salads, vegetables and broiled fish and meat, which helped me to control my weight somewhat. I also went to the gym regularly, which I still do here. The big difference is that living in Malaysia rice is served at breakfast, lunch and dinner and in between.

Most of the people here eat in local eateries, known as coffee shops or food courts, where there is an abundance of rice served. Vegetables and meat accompanying the rice is used sparingly. If you don't eat rice, you eat rice noodles or rice in some other fashion. The average serving of rice is about 2 or 3 times as much as a Westerner would normally eat. The dishes are usually deep fried or cooked in a lot of unhealthy oil, which piles the calories on. In order to eat salads or healthy vegetables you usually have to prepare them yourselves, as salad bars are almost unknown, and would be a bit expensive. So in this atmosphere I have really packed on the pounds.

Even though I go to the gym regularly, I cannot lose weight. As with most of us older folks our metabolism continues to decline. The only remedy is to exercise strenuously most of the day, while only drinking water! As I have breathing problems I find it very difficult to do hardcore aerobic exercises. So facing the choices of either starvation, hours of exhaustive exercises or becoming fatter and fatter, I decided to give Dr. Oz and raspberry ketones a try. Naturally though I couldn't find them here in Malaysia, so I ordered them from the US. I started taking them a few days ago, along with a regimen of increased gym activity and a reduction of rice and carbs. I also ordered some for my neighbor, who also wanted to try them. Unfortunately she developed a rash, itching and swelling as a result of an allergic reaction. I admit that I feel a bit stupid for getting on on a band wagon of another "miracle fat buster", but if I lose a few pounds taking raspberry ketones, what the hell. Wish me luck

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fanning the Flames of Hate

Not long ago  there was a cowardly attack in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. The perpetrator was a mentally unbalanced person armed with an arsenal of assault weapons. Yesterday a white supremacist armed with a semi-automatic handgun shot and killed 7 people in a Sikh Temple near Milwaukee, Wis. The motive behind the temple attack was most likely that Sikhs are of a different religion and a different race. At times like this, living in Malaysia, I am embarrassed to be an American because I cannot explain to my friends here why it is so easy to get guns that are only meant to kill as many people as possible.

Nothing much was said about gun control after the Aurora tragedy and I am sure nothing much will be said after this recent racist attack. Our presidential candidates and our members of congress are too cowardly and don't  have the balls to go against the NRA. The NRA strongly bankrolls the campaigns of the GOP and some Democrats from the so called redneck states, where people care more about having their guns than they do about human life. I don't know if it is a matter of ignorance, lack of education, hatred or just plain stupidity.

The ability to purchase all kinds of assault weapons in this country, combined with the bigoted and hateful rhetoric of many Republican Conservatives and Christian fanatics signal a dangerous future for our country . Politicians identifying themselves as Christian Conservatives spread hate about other religions, especially Islam and call for a Christian country. The same idiots who think that Obama is a Muslim also don't know there is a difference between Muslims and Sikhs. Sikhs are not Muslims. The religious right doesn't care about the truth. They only care about spreading hate about anyone or any group that is of a different religion, a different race or a different look. These times are reminiscent of pre-WWII Nazi Germany. The difference then was that the Jews were demonized. There is absolutely no difference between Islamic terrorists, such as the Taliban, and Christian extremists of the religious right. They both espouse hatred and violence.

Since Obama was elected President Republicans have vowed to destroy anything he attempted to do. Republican and Christian Conservatives have increased their bigoted and hateful rhetoric and are working to elect politicians who will force their intolerant and evil views upon the rest of us Americans. The US is a country of different religions, races, nationalities and is tolerant of all physical and sexual differences. We cannot let these people turn our country into Christian theocracy based on hate.

Ablog about liberal politics andsocial issues