Clueless and Classless

I have a neighbor with a large green field where his cattle graze daily, lazily keeping the grass trimmed.

This neighbor has never gotten involved in any political campaign that I have noticed before but this year he was interested enough to put up some very large signs in his field for the candidate he supports.

Within a week, someone had gone into the field and torn the signs down.

Yeah, I know… You’re probably thinking it was those clueless and classless supporters of Trump who did the dastardly deed.

Except these signs were for Trump.

So it was a clueless and classless supporter of Hillary who did the crime.

Many times, especially in recent elections, we hear much about the veterans throughout history who have fought – and died – to ensure us the rights we have, like voting for the candidate of our choice as well as supporting that candidate.

Now, I will admit that I do not support Trump (nor Hillary, for that matter… preferring to throw my vote away on another) but I cannot imagine the mindset of a person who thinks it is quite all right to break laws in support of their candidate. Veterans fought for our legal rights, not the right to break into someone else’s property and damage their goods just because we disagree with them.

“Clueless and classless” seems to own neither party this election.


A Symbolic Event


Mars is in the news.

I don’t know if it has anything to do with what the latest finds coming from the red planet or if there is some other motivation but Dennis Tito wants to send people to Mars.

And he wants to do it in January 2018.

The news is very exciting for a lot of people and has garnered some interest.

What I notice is that he is claiming he wants to send a married couple, a man and a woman, for “symbolism” as well as for mutual support.

I guess that rules out any same-sex couples that might be chomping at the bit to apply for the grand adventure.

So, exactly what is the “symbolism” Mr. Tito wants to display?

One Among the Homeless

There was a job offer I received quite some time ago, through a friend from college, who lived in Los Angeles.

It sounded pretty good and so I packed a bag and moved to the coast.

Unfortunately, the job did not pan out, wasn’t as much of a sure thing as he had outlined it.

But Southern California was the land of opportunity and I went banging on doors. And pretty soon found myself out of funds.

The friend went north to work in the fishing industry in Alaska and I didn’t even have a place to stay after the funds I had brought dried up.

And that’s how I found myself living on the streets of Los Angeles.

It could have been worse. I could have been stranded in some city up north, New York, Chicago, Montreal, a place where the weather would be very hard on those living on the streets.

Living in Los Angeles was almost a picnic by comparison. The benches in MacArthur Park were not altogether uncomfortable and, when someone chased you off “their” bench, there was always the grass… unless, of course it had lately rained.

And I was astonished how many restaurants threw out food that was still edible. It was not what I preferred to do to live, but I had to eat somewhere, you know. And after a couple of weeks, your taste buds ignore the rather unpalatable features of the buffet.

Seeing some of the other homeless people panhandling on the corner, I thought I would give that a shot as well. Several hours later, I had enough to buy myself a hamburger.

Best damned burger I ever ate.

Then I started thinking… the pickings were a little slim around MacArthur Park, it being an economically depressed area and all, and I thought Hollywood and Vine might be a better locale.

A few hours walking brought me to the promised land and I was pleasantly surprised. I rather quickly had enough for dinner, today and tomorrow.

But then it all ended.

A guy came up to me and asked me where was my license.

“What?” I looked him over. He certainly did not look like a cop. He looked like another vagrant. “What do you mean, license?”

“This area is controlled by the Panhandler’s Union. You can’t work this corner except you got a license and you can only work at your appointed times. We all gotta take turns, you know.”

I could not believe this! In this country where you were free to do most anything, you could not panhandle a certain corner without someone else’s okay.

So, I asked him what areas were covered and I moved just beyond the “promised land” of the corner. I found another good spot about half a block down in front of the gay bar.

None of the fellows coming out of there asked me for any silly license.

At the end of the day, with the Sun setting in the west, I walked back toward Wiltshire Boulevard and my waiting park bench and I saw a fellow walking on the other side, parallel to my position.

It was the wrangler of the local Panhandler’s Union and he was counting a handful of cash, folding money, as he walked. He turned into and alley and got into his car, a new Porsche, and drove off.

Once I got over that shock, I walked to the bus station on Wiltshire and bought a ticket to get me back home.

Los Angeles just hadn’t grown on me.

My One Venture into Politics

Many moons ago… but – hey! – who counts in moons anymore, huh?

Before I became a little less naive about such things, I actually thought once of going into politics. I worked on one campaign in my youth and the local organizer admired my enthusiasm.

We talked quite a bit. About politics, of course. And after the victory celebration for our candidate we said our goodbyes with perhaps renewing the acquaintance in the next election cycle.

So, I was a bit surprised when he called me a couple of months later. He invited me to lunch and said he had an interesting proposition for me.

After I arrived at the restaurant, this gentleman said we were waiting for another fellow he had invited along. Seemed he had mentioned me and my enthusiasm for politics to this other person, hence the meeting.

A short time later, he arrived; one of our state senators. We ordered lunch and he outlined his proposition.

It seems there was a district where the representative had recently passed away and they were looking for a fresh, savvy, young man to take on the role.

No, there wouldn’t be any election, per se, as it seemed the district was so heavily saturated with one party that the opposing party was not even going to field a candidate. It would be a waste of time and money.

And they offered me the position. You know, something to wet my whistle on before attempting higher political office.

And I asked about the catch. There’s always a catch, isn’t there?

The senator chuckled and nodded to our mutual friend and said, “This young man catches on quick. I think he’ll go far.”

And the catch was that most the time I could vote any way I wanted on legislation but every so often there would be something come up that they would tell me how to vote.

“And that’s it, huh?” They assured me that was, indeed, it. Just vote the way I was told on a few items and otherwise I could be my own man.

I could have said, “Yes” or that perhaps I would think about it, but I didn’t. I told them “No, I don’t think I could do that.”

My guy said, “But how else are you going to get any of the legislation introduced that you would like to see passed. You can’t do that from the outside, you know.”

Probably true. I said thank you for the lunch and the offer but I would have to pass.

“A man of integrity,” the senator said, “I like to see that.”

I’m sure they found someone else to fill the position and probably before nightfall.

And I have never been sorry for that decision.

If you start compromising your morals to get ahead, you haven’t really gotten ahead.

The Terminal Terrifying Triad

I heard so many dire predictions about this year – mainly from the Mayan corpus and its present adherents – but it is a continuation of something that began before this century even started.

First, there was the anticipation of the first day of the new century: 1/1/1.
Thirteen months later there were omens surrounding 2/2/2.
And another baker’s dozen of months brought us to 3/3/3.

Every year, there was another one. April 4th, 2004, Cinco de Mayo, 2005, and so forth.

The only remarkable one to my mind was 8/8/8 when Clay Aiken’s son was born. Go figure. Nothing too demonic in that circumstance for most people.

And now we are at the final milestone in this bizarre pairing syndrome: 12/12/12. So, naturally, this thing is created to post to the net on 12/12/12 at precisely 12:12, Greenwich time, about 7:12am here on the eastern seaboard of the United States.

Fortunately we do not have thirteen months in our calendars or we could continue the insanity a little longer.

From the eleven previous non-events, I expect nothing of any great import to happen on this day, globally speaking, Mayan prognosticators notwithstanding.

It will probably just be another pleasant late-autumn day, chillier in some places – although relatively warm in my locality, I have heard predicted – and affording us another few shopping hours before the big day a little over two weeks away.

I hope 12/12/12 finds you well.

And have an enjoyable day.

And it will be a long century before we go through the triads again.