Regulars

Half Baked

Petit Tyrants

HOUSTON HUBBUB

         It’s funny how stories get garbled in the retelling. Someone asked me the other day if  I had heard the news about the City of Houston passing an ordinance requiring all clergy in the city to file copies of their sermons with City Hall.
         That sounded pretty preposterous to me. Certainly it would be an ordinance which would be challenged by the ACLU.  And by just about everyone else. If there is any place where freedom of speech should be sacrosanct, it would be in the pulpit.
         It turns out that the facts are not quite so far off the wall. Here’s what happened: The Houston City Council passed an ordinance they call the HERO – an acronym or Human Equal Rights Ordinance. It contains a long list of categories which may not be discriminated against in places of public accommodation. Included on the list is a category called ‘gender identity.’
         The ordinance bans discrimination in the use of public toilets, showers, dressing rooms and the like. Needless to say a number of the folks in Houston took issue with the wisdom of HERO in that regard, and they promptly circulated petitions asking for a referendum to revoke the ordinance.
         The City fathers, and mothers, pushed back and refused to put the issue on the ballot, claiming that the petitions were irregular for various reasons.  In essence, they claimed that the petitions were forgeries, or were not properly certified by the people who circulated them.
         Predictably, the petition circulators started a lawsuit asking the court to require the city clerk to put their issue on the ballot. This is where the story gets garbled. The city attorney apparently believes that the petitions were fraudulent, that they were manufactured by a few dissidents who signed multiple voters’ names illegally. He also believes, so it seems, that a number of local pastors not only preached against HERO, but actively encouraged their congregations to circulate petitions and perhaps to manufacture illegal petitions.
         And so the City subpoenaed the sermons, writings, letters, notes, etc. of number o activist pastors, in the hopes of turning up evidence that the petitions were forged.
         Frankly, that was not a wise or even practical thing to do. Checking the validity of petitions is essentially footwork or clerical work. It involves comparing the signatures on the petitions with the signatures of the voters in the City Clerk’s office. If they don’t match, you go out and ask the voter if he or she signed the petition. If they didn’t, you get an affidavit and take it to court.  
          Anyway, the demand to hand over the text of their sermons gave the opponents of the HERO a First Amendment issue which quickly went viral as conservatives delighted in telling how liberals were thwarting the First Amendment.
         It seems that, in these partisan times, there is an oversupply of credulity toward anything that, if true, would embarrass or diminish the other side.
         I recently received an email asking whether a story published by the Daily Currant to the effect that a Muslim shopkeeper in Dearborn was requiring his employees to wear hijabs and threatening to cut off their hands if they steal any of his merchandise, was actually true.
         I had never heard of the Daily Currant, but the story seemed so egregious that I looked it up. Turns out the Daily Currant is a satirical newspaper that delights in making conservatives look foolish.
         I should have known.  The word “Current” is often connected with newspapers, since they report current events. A currAnt, however, is just a kind of fruit.
         The latest fruity offering from the Daily Currant is a satire describing an executive order by New Jersey Governor Chris Christy imposing a “Holloween Quarantine” based in the ebola scare, threatening to arrest kids who go begging tonight.

         Funny stuff, especially if you are a Democrat. Funnier yet when some of your Republican friends believe it.

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MY BACK ACHES

Just finished a Spider Solitaire game. It must have taken at least an hour. Leaning over a computer so long makes my back hurt. But, hey, I finished the damn thing, and once you get into a Spider Solitaire game, you have only two choices: beat it, or start another game.
It’s a numbing way to spend a Sunday evening. The girl of my dreams is upstairs watching football. She has become an NFL junkie. I can’t eat that much popcorn.
The day began well enough. Sunday Mass, then to Stafford’s for their marvelous Sunday brunch. After which I promised her a surprise. Polly loves surprises. Keeps asking questions, looking for a hint. I don’t budge. Just grin and say, “You’ll see.”
Stafford’s is closed. Breakfast only at this time of the year. We go to Pallette Bistro, which lets you make your own Bloody Mary. Back on track, we talk some politics, prompted by the church bulletin, which reminds the faithful that good citizens always vote. Still no hints from me. She’s like a college girl on a date. I love it.
About twenty minutes drive in the Autumn countryside, and I turn onto a driveway that leads to a charming farmhouse. It’s obviously a working farm. Chickens, horses, a big red barn plus three or four assorted outbuildings. Everything as neat, clean and untidy as country living requires.
One knock on the front door is enough to bring Doug Melvin and his wife Carol, smiling to greet us. Introductions all around. Polly still doesn’t know the surprise.
It only takes a minute. Doug leads us through the house, identifying the many paintings and other works of artistic skill that adorn the walls. All the while, we are bantering about our mutual enthusiasm for the Spartans of Michigan State. Doug and Carol went down to East Lansing for the Big Game yesterday. We couch potatoed on the fifty yard line.
Portraits, landscapes, a couple of slick, professionally designed and constructed soap box derby carts, even a small painting done with Q tips, merited oos and ahhs from my date. Soon enough, Doug was showing us the barn, a magnificent structure built exactly as the red barns of the nineteenth and twentieth century were structured. Except his is new.
Then came the piece de resistance – the junk sculpture. Not quite finished, this one, but a dawning beauty it is. A horse, actually a Shetland pony, made entirely out of scrap metal. A shovel blade here, an old pipe there,  some rusty scraps of this and that, somehow bent and shaved and twisted into the recognizable features of the animal.
Doug has made a number of them, a couple proudly displayed on the front lawns of upscale suburbanite homes in Bloomfield hills. I can see why they call it art.
That was most of the surprise. The rest of it was that I want Polly to pose for a portrait. Doug says he doesn’t do many women’s portraits. They’re never satisfied, says he. Something about the variance between image and self image.
I told him I thought he could do something she would be pleased with. At least it’s worth a try. I have a number of treasured pictures of my darling wife, one a chalk drawing done by a sidewalk Rembrant in Florida maybe fifty years ago. I remember that beautiful woman.
Still, she has a charm in these later years that deserves being memorialized. Her grandchildren call her Pookie. She’s the one who knows all the birthdays and sends them each a dollar on Valentines Day. I want very much to give them a portrait of the lady they have known so well and loved so much.

She’s calling me for dinner. Wants to talk about the portrait. Sounds like cold feet. We’ll see.

Continue reading MY BACK ACHES

MY BACK ACHES

Just finished a Spider Solitaire game. It must have taken at least an hour. Leaning over a computer so long makes my back hurt. But, hey, I finished the damn thing, and once you get into a Spider Solitaire game, you have only two choices: beat it, or start another game.
It’s a numbing way to spend a Sunday evening. The girl of my dreams is upstairs watching football. She has become an NFL junkie. I can’t eat that much popcorn.
The day began well enough. Sunday Mass, then to Stafford’s for their marvelous Sunday brunch. After which I promised her a surprise. Polly loves surprises. Keeps asking questions, looking for a hint. I don’t budge. Just grin and say, “You’ll see.”
Stafford’s is closed. Breakfast only at this time of the year. We go to Pallette Bistro, which lets you make your own Bloody Mary. Back on track, we talk some politics, prompted by the church bulletin, which reminds the faithful that good citizens always vote. Still no hints from me. She’s like a college girl on a date. I love it.
About twenty minutes drive in the Autumn countryside, and I turn onto a driveway that leads to a charming farmhouse. It’s obviously a working farm. Chickens, horses, a big red barn plus three or four assorted outbuildings. Everything as neat, clean and untidy as country living requires.
One knock on the front door is enough to bring Doug Melvin and his wife Carol, smiling to greet us. Introductions all around. Polly still doesn’t know the surprise.
It only takes a minute. Doug leads us through the house, identifying the many paintings and other works of artistic skill that adorn the walls. All the while, we are bantering about our mutual enthusiasm for the Spartans of Michigan State. Doug and Carol went down to East Lansing for the Big Game yesterday. We couch potatoed on the fifty yard line.
Portraits, landscapes, a couple of slick, professionally designed and constructed soap box derby carts, even a small painting done with Q tips, merited oos and ahhs from my date. Soon enough, Doug was showing us the barn, a magnificent structure built exactly as the red barns of the nineteenth and twentieth century were structured. Except his is new.
Then came the piece de resistance – the junk sculpture. Not quite finished, this one, but a dawning beauty it is. A horse, actually a Shetland pony, made entirely out of scrap metal. A shovel blade here, an old pipe there,  some rusty scraps of this and that, somehow bent and shaved and twisted into the recognizable features of the animal.
Doug has made a number of them, a couple proudly displayed on the front lawns of upscale suburbanite homes in Bloomfield hills. I can see why they call it art.
That was most of the surprise. The rest of it was that I want Polly to pose for a portrait. Doug says he doesn’t do many women’s portraits. They’re never satisfied, says he. Something about the variance between image and self image.
I told him I thought he could do something she would be pleased with. At least it’s worth a try. I have a number of treasured pictures of my darling wife, one a chalk drawing done by a sidewalk Rembrant in Florida maybe fifty years ago. I remember that beautiful woman.
Still, she has a charm in these later years that deserves being memorialized. Her grandchildren call her Pookie. She’s the one who knows all the birthdays and sends them each a dollar on Valentines Day. I want very much to give them a portrait of the lady they have known so well and loved so much.

She’s calling me for dinner. Wants to talk about the portrait. Sounds like cold feet. We’ll see.

Continue reading MY BACK ACHES

I Made a Parody Of the F Bomb Dropping Feminist Princesses

Posting it here… Thank you so much to everyone who has shared it. I really appreciate it.

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Ron Paul Interviewed Me. What. The. Heck.

Unbelievable. I don’t know. I don’t even feel like this is real. I was so nervous. What is happening? Watch …

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Lower the Drinking Age to Combat Campus Rape

The legal drinking age in the U.S. is 21. That’s ridiculous. It hasn’t stopped underage college students from drinking. It’s …

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