Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Fuck you, Shingles, Fuck you, Bing.

Fuck you, Shingles bastards. You spend -- what? -- ten million or so pushing these goddamn commercials on us. Yes, I had fucking chickenpox. So now that means I have to let you scare me and give you money? Fuck you.

Oh yeah, I don't know if this is a statement of memory or not, but I don't remember a lonelier holiday season. I have the emotional stability of a dingy in a monsoon.

My dad was Bing Crosby. The rest of the world saw him one way. To me he was a monster. But I think I was wrong about that, too. He was just another challenge I failed to overcome.

I have a brand-fresh, brand-new love and respect for anyone who has gone -- or is going through -- separation and divorce from their spouses and life-partners. Thank god for friends.

I can't believe Winter just started.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Why The President's Gun Comments Are Brave

I think it is incredibly brave that The President commits himself to confront the NRA. Such a nutty bunch of well-armed people pose a credible threat. 

He just went in front of microphones and re-committed to examining gun laws and possibilities of making changes that might keep us all a little more safe from wild harvests of pain and confusion like Friday's mayhem in Connecticut. 

Let's remember that so far all that Mr. Obama has proposed are a discussion and a committee. 

NOT corralling all your guns. 

Not demanding background checks. 

Not ending sales of weapons and ammunition at gun shows. 

Not even mandatory background checks for ALL firearm purchases in the U.S.A. 

Gun owners define reactionary behavior. 

Take five or ten minutes in the next week and read some of the posts from people and groups that disagree with the idea of examining gun laws and possibly limiting public access to weapons.

We all need to calm down and remember the dead kids here, the aching parents and the fact that we all might be here next year. 

Do we really want to have another year like this last one? 

BTW All of these posts came before the Newtown shootings last week. 

4) "Obama hints at handgun restrictions"

3) "Take a look at Obama's Anti-Gun history, Then imagine what the future will be like with him in charge of your guns."

2) NRA Fact Sheet : "Why Obama Will Take Your Guns"

1) A top official with the National Rifle Association said Friday that President Obama will move to "destroy" gun rights and "erase" the Second Amendment if he is re-elected in November.

Read more:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I am Adam Lanza's mother - article response

I am Adam Lanza's mother - article response

No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, “Something must be done.”


This is an article that will make you uncomfortable. Either that, or confirm your zombie status. 

In it, a young mother tells of a few instances of violent confrontations with her thirteen year old mentally ill son. It is dramatic, and powerful and withering. She does not provide hope or answers. She only tells us how it has been for her for years.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Our Magic Planet

The very best thing for me is curiosity. When I am occupied in a search for answers I can endure anything and remedy most adversity. Currently lots of people are concerned with the end of the world due to one interpretation of one calendar. This is fascinating in itself and seems to lead down the same path that directs us to watch the building burn but not standing or being built; the car crash but not the physics and engineering of the highway. There is a part of us that wants or needs to see disaster and this part of our brain is in full flower now with this 12/21/12 thing coming up soon. But I am more occupied by something else that keeps jumping up to catch my attention while I chase these little disaster stories.

This world is impossible.

Take just a quick look at where we are.

For a very long time, we have lived here on this planet, knowing no other home. This planet -- a rock with a molten volcanic core we have never seen or measured -- has a strong magnetic field around it that we have used to our advantage, steering boats at sea. But that is a small part of the function of this field. Without it, we are not just lost, we are dead.

For we exist in a wobbling, spinning orbit around a constantly exploding bomb called The Sun that while it warms us and provides us with the energy we need to exist, also delivers a lethal dose of radiation with every sun warmed beach and picnic spread. This radiation is blocked by the powerful magnetic field created mysteriously within the pyroclastic flow far beneath the surface we rarely venture off of. We are so dependent upon this that we do not question it or deal with it much at all. But if it goes away or wavers for even a short time, we will be Ramen Noodles in the microwave.

And yet we worry about mortgages and sick pets; we save money for vacations and shiny new toys to buy ourselves. Weird, huh?


For more weirdness, catch Hard Work Hour with Douglas Douglas on Blog Talk Radio. Live Friday mornings, and archived on Itunes anytime.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Homosexuality is like Murder - Justice Scalia

“If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?

Okay, I just got off of Facebook (with great difficulty; I believe the disease is progressive) and find myself in conflict with my online buddy Justin Rosario. I have happily read his posts on Proud To Be A Filthy Liberal Scum for some time now. 

But I disagree with his current thread regarding Supreme Court Justice Antonia Scallia's comments regarding Homosexuality. 

JR/PTBALS excoriates Scalia for equating homosexuality with murder. What follows is a long line of barely intelligibly harsh responses, mostly to whether Scalia deserves to live or not.  None address Scalia's comments in context or his logical argument. By that I do NOT mean that I agree with Justice Scalia. But ignoring his (and all The Court's members) high level of discourse and smarts is just lazy. 

My reading tells me that the Justice was expressing an opinion by asking a question: "If I can't have an opinion on this, what CAN I have an opinion on?" 

This is a grammatically correct question and deserves to be answered. 

However, it is quite challenging and has so far been ignored by all the people gathering wood to burn the Justice at the stake. 

I do not care to defend or explain much beyond saying that more reading is necessary and thought before you impress me. And isn't that what you all want?

My conflict reminds me of Guess Who's Coming To Dinner? and the shit storm it stirred up 50 years ago. In the climactic scene, Spencer Tracy makes first an overview of the situation and then picks one particular place to dig in. His skills of elocution and logic are sublime and he makes a compelling argument. 

So to, does Scalia.

No, I don't agree with him. But I did take the time to read most of his speech. I wonder if the many people posting harsh, negative, and often profane responses to the headline and not to Scalia's statements or his argument, read anything at all. 

I do not wish to silence anyone, just to make my contribution. Here is my suggestion (It is the same I give to all my students at some point) : Slow down. Read the problem.

Slowing Down would be the opposite of reading a couple of words and deciding what their meaning is and how you feel about it. Slowing down here would mean reading a little more of the speech Justice Scalia was making, and how his statements are couched. Also, since this comes not in the speech, but in the Q&A after, the question posed should be examined. 

I believe that my feelings could be loosely grouped with Samuel Clemens' on Last of The Mohicans when he disagreed with reviewers of the competing novel in this way: 

"It seems to me that it was far from right for the deliver opinions on Cooper's literature without having read some of it. It would have been much more decorous to keep silent and let persons talk who have read Cooper."
I feel the same about most of these postings. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Governor Romney

Governor Romney,

In my world, you have had a very soft life. I do not ignore the challenges your family has gone through, though I am ignorant of them. You have always had enough money. You have made your whole career about what to do with the extra money. You do not seem to be the least bit curious why someone would be so short of money. To you it is obvious: lazy, thoughtless people get less money than the working and planning do.

In my world, Governor Romney, you are a lost and desperate man, surrounded by wealthy people just as blind and just as scared. You lost my vote because you are a blind man telling me I can not see.

With sincere curiosity,

Douglas Whiting

Douglas Whiting
Discovery Learning Tutoring,
A California Institution for Learning
310 435 8477

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Prop 37 lives -- notes

Prop 37 Lives On

You are an organic farmer in Wisconsin, working hard to bring in your crop after a hot. dry summer. Fall has been a little wetter, but still this, your third year organic has been rough. The bank has been amenable so far, but you are way behind. It is three months since the credit accounts have balanced and the mortgage paid up to current.  One tractor is badly in need of maintenance. The other is up on blocks. The harvest crew account is zero, so the bulk of the work the next three weeks of harvest will fall on you, your wife and family friends as you bring in your bounty of leaf crops and herbs. Years of commitment to purifying your land and meeting the criteria required by your state and county to put that big O label on your produce. It is a tense time. You are perched on the threshold of disaster.

You return from a morning in town meeting with your lawyer to find your entire 10 acre field destroyed. Ruined kale and collard greens are strewn like dachow corpses. Trucks and machinery are scattered across the small field. Already some are making their way past you back to the highway. You have only begun to take in the nightmare scene when a group engages you. A well-shod, burly man is flanked by two guards in coveralls and clean, expensive hiking boots. He draws near, approaching you on foot, his two reinforcers half a step behind on either side. Walking straight towards you on your own driveway, he puts one hand up, prison-guard-like, in the universal gesture of : "stay right where you fucking are." No smile. No hurry. Authority and entitlement embodied. You think briefly of gunning the car and running him down.

You glance at your wife, who is reaching to open her door, but doesn't, quite. "Wait. We will find out more very quickly," is the unstated message in the air. You watch the man stride up to your driver door, alone, but watched closely by the men in the bulky coveralls.


For dozens of organic farmers not living and working in Oregon and Washington, this has become a nightmare and in some cases, a devastating reality.

Efforts to grow and sell organic, non-GMO produce have been met with harsh responses from powerful and in many cases, armed agents of the food industry.

Why do we feel powerless? If we just inform ourselves and then withhold purchase of contaminated products, all will be well, right?

Prop 37 was an effort to "force" food sellers to label products containing Genetically Modified Organisms

Reading and Link list

Organic Consumers Org.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Christo-Paganism XVII (notes)

Christo-Paganism XVII

Just saw a Joseph Prince ad for "The Spirit of Sonship." This, it seems, is a treatis on accepting god's love. "His only want is to shower his goodness upon you. So take it!" The message is provocative and compelling, which is why I hate it.

I -- as a pagan -- firmly believe in the abundance of the world and the universe. I like to take all the messages of the Christian faith and take the personal god out of them. Not to pee on the parade, but to add legitimacy to bullshit. Left to itself the christian party line attaches us to bullshit rules and is itself bullshit.

I was raised in the Christian faith and have come to learn that most of the behavior demanded from by the church and the followers has nothing to do with Jesus or the Bible. It has everything to do with fear, racism, greed, envy, anger, antipathy and arrogance. To use this great idea of teaching love and forgiveness and use it to conquer is so doublespeak as to be self evident.

I know I am throwing down a glove here, and doing it during our most hallowed, sacred, and generous holidays. but there it is. Love me, hate me, just let me know you're out there. And I do reserve the right to comment on grammatical and typographical errors as well. I work hard to make my message clear, and I ask you to do the same. That said, the message is the thing, and I do want to hear what you have to say.

Namaste from the West Coast and yes,


Douglas Douglas

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ohio Super-significance hides what voter reality?

Do the representatives from Ohio understand how elevated their state is right now? (I hope there is no collateral seismic activity.) Meet the Press this morning can't talk about anything NOT in Ohio. WTF?
Like ·  ·  · Promote · a few seconds ago near Hawthorne · 

What the fuck is this: Cynical for having been born and bred in a "learn and live in a what side is my bread buttered on?" world, we HAVE to wonder what is happening in Ohio:

Are the public servants of Ohio NOT using this rare point of national leverage to their own advantage? How? And if they aren't: why not?

Everybody is running out of money at the same time. Responsible leaders and representatives are looking ten years and more down the line and making severe cuts, adjustments, and adaptations. What is going on in Ohio right now? Are they securing a bigger piece of the federal pie from the administration? Or is private business handing our "Get out of poverty free" cards to voters and policy makers?

Just askin'.

Commander out

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Brad Pitt ain't shit: Will Chanel benefit from waves of derision to their latest ad?

Brad Pitt is a marketable guy for, like, thirty years now. He is sort of untouchable in the nice-hot-guy demographic. Chicks like his films and his ass and guys go to his movies 'cause he can read a little. He even did pretty good acting crazy in that pic by the Monty Python guy. Anyway, somebody took a call from Chanel and now there exists one of those moody, ridiculous fashion pieces shilling perfume. Nothing new there, but this one is going viral with spoof responses on TV and even Los Angeles radio.

My question is this: I know that somebody is losing their job because there is laughter in the air after Brad finishes his bovine-rumination-meditations on life, love, wife, (indecipherable), and, I guess, Chanel Number Five. What I don't know is this: Is this seen as a BAD THING? I mean, does this video bit going viral piss off Chanel execs and/or whoever runs the agency that produced this disaster? Do the rich guys still win? Or can we at the bottom laugh a little heartier, 'cause some moron with a checkbook stepped on his/her dick?

Commander out

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tenure for Bad Teachers?

Responding to the post at the bottom is easy for a teacher, but tough to read and process if you are not. I hear a lot of "but it's your JOB," responses bouncing back. And they are deserved. You tell me what you think.

A LOT of the teachers I know are either out of education due to stress, insecurity and layoffs or they have stayed and drank the koolaid. Thus to morph and go into the bunker posture of just enduring repeated disasters and attacks without adapting radical methods to save the kids. In their defense I would add this: Radical Anything = Administrative Hell.

Let's look for a parallel situation.

What do you know of the London bombing by the Nazis during WWII also known as The Blitz?

I was extremely lucky to know someone who endured that and to have heard of the suffering, the uncertainty, the cold fear that accompanied those days, firsthand.

You walk past piles of rubble that used to be buildings in your neighborhood. You get VERY familiar with which shelter you are going to use and how and what you take and what will happen if YOUR building is next. Life is moment to moment. Explosions are everywhere: random, close and far.

By far the worst moments are the silences AFTER a V2 rocket cuts out overhead. The silence means it's close. But they can only DESTROY a very small area; maybe one building. Still they are to be feared and not ignored. Sort of like school officials.

A Principal, Peer, Parent, Board Member, or Community Activist can be your V@ rocket, go silent and decide that your methods and your classroom are in a bad way, and you are OUT.

Obvious, right? That bad teachers should not be encouraged and rewarded. Nobody really disagrees on that. Just methodology. HOW do you get good teachers? Well I am here telling you that what is in place now is NOT working. What you get now are SOME good teachers and A LOT of durable bureaucrats that know how to survive during wartime.

What is in place now is a culture of fear and disbelief. "WTF is going to happen next?" Is what I used to hear myself say a lot in the various halls I patrolled as a public school teacher. At least with tenure, they can't kick you out into the street. It is not much. It may not even be a start. I just know that anything I can do to make teachers feel safe is SOMETHING. Whadaya think?

Doug Joyce David, education guru. Can you tell me why tenure makes for good teaching? Children get a better education because of tenure? Can you explain to me how?

Teachers (including me) have been hammered from all sides for as long as I have noticed. Students have somehow recruited Administrators and Parents and all three work together and independently to destroy 95% of all of a teacher's opportunities to TEACH. Ts are forced to be managers and guards for students who have never been exposed to a real school learning atmosphere. I don't blame the kids for being bored and rebelling. That has always been their role as long as I have been watching. I blame the rest of us, who are allowing our public education system to flow in a counterclockwisecorkscrew down the pipe and into the sewer. Uh, sorry for the rant, and back to your question. Tenure gives teachers a little safety. Hopefully with it, they will do a better job and not a Complacent Phone-In Effort. We have all seen that. More on my blog. Commander Nineteen on Blogger

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

McCourt Boycott

We as a country are acting just like those people trapped down in the Subway (same as the Lost crew). We are just biding our time, amusing ourselves, making do, and waiting for rescue. Why don't we take this opportunity to take back the reins of government?

GMA is reporting that "no republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio" and that President Obama is leading their Ohio polls by ten percent. To my Ohio family, friends, teachers and fellow humans, I say:

"Please do not take comfort from this; take heart. Take heart that with this small majority there is the opportunity to take a breath, and get back to the business of becoming cit
izens. We have so much work to do, it doesn't even matter where we start, or if we are organized. We have a 300,000,000 piece jigsaw puzzle to take out of the box and complete. Take charge of five or ten pieces and take it from there. Talk to your friends about the election, practice being a good opponent with those you disagree with, show respect, LISTEN and make your points respectfully. Prepare for the election. Learn how the ballot measures affect you, your community and the country as a whole. How about actually knowing one of the judges on the ballot this time? What is important is not in doing EveryThing, but in NOT doing nothing. Good luck, happy working, and let's kick some constituent ass before November 6 AND AFTER, TOO!"

Those people trapped down in the subway, is reference to the opening scene in a great series ("Connections," James Burke, "An Alternative View of Change, The Trigger Effect" 1977). In NYC in 1965, there was a huge power outage at 5pm rush hour. 100,000 people were trapped below ground in subway cars, as well as many more stuck in elevators and just stuck. Amazingly NONE of these people worked to free themselves or get themselves to safety. They ALL just sat on their hands and waited for help to arrive. What they didn't know was that the blackout ran from the Canadian border to south of Washington, DC and many miles west past the NY state border. Also that it would be 18 hours before power was restored in many places (six hours in Manhattan). Burke uses this urban habit of passivity that we all display to spur his series and to explore technology and urban life in fascinating ways. It is ten great stories, and very entertaining and informative, but I am more interested in it being an ALARM CLOCK. We need to act less like the passive passengers that waited, and more like Jason Bourne.

Can the citizens eminent domain the Dodger Stadium parking lot? How about a general boycott of everything that makes McCourt money, so he leaves LA, divests himself of all his local holdings especially including the parking lot at Dodger Stadium, and NEVER, EVER RETURNS, ever. Who's with me?
Ex-Dodger Owner Frank McCourt Back in Divorce Court | U.S. |
The ex-wife of former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt wants to set aside the couple's divorce settlement, claiming he vastly understated the value of a team that sold earlier this year for $2 billion, the highest figure ever paid for a pro sports franchise.

Unlike ·  · Share

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Libya attack 9/12/12

We need to have strong, growing, evolving, dynamic relationships with ALL countries and the more we do this, the less STUPID, violent people will be able to get enough chi to put together teams of STUPID and piles of STUPID money and STUPID bullets and grenades. We are STUPID if we think that this violence is far away or removed from our lives.

As a life-long republican, and the last one on The Hillary Bus, I would like to support her measured, diplomatic, yet emphatic response to the attack on our embassy in Benghazi. May we as a people draw TOGETHER here, across THE WHOLE PLANET, and work to make this sort of violence a part of our history and not our future.

"My Best Friend is Israel."

Big Picture:

In grade school, I had a best friend. I also had conversations about how and why I chose that person or another. As young adults we all learn how divisive these word choices are. "Best friend" is a pushing away term. For 65 years we have used this term with Israel. We need to have strong, growing, evolving, dynamic relationships with ALL countries and the more we do this, the less STUPID, violent people will be able to get enough chi to put together teams of STUPID and piles of STUPID money and STUPID bullets and grenades. We are STUPID if we think that this violence is far away or removed from our lives.

Obama's mouthguard

We are choosing in 55 days, between a man who at 50 years old, NEEDS AND USES a mouthguard during basketball games and a man who makes up shit about marathons he hasn't run. For me it makes an easy call even easier.

I guess President Obama gave a Vanity Fair writer open access for a piece and the writer is on CBS talking about it this morning. Everything I hear about Obama that is not inflammatory bullshit -- and some of that even helps -- shows me a man very appropriate to the task.

Romney failure to communicate 9/12/12

What we have here is failure to communicate!

Two things: Big Picture and Very Small One:

Big Picture: My Best Friend is ___________. In grade school, I had a best friend. I also had conversations about how and why I chose that person or another. As young adults we all learn how divisive these word choices are. "Best friend" is a pushing away term. For 65 years we have used this term with Israel. We need to have strong, growing, evolving, dynamic relationships with ALL countries and the more we do this, the less STUPID, violent people will be able to get enough chi to put together teams of STUPID and piles of STUPID money and STUPID bullets and grenades. We are STUPID if we think that this violence is far away or removed from our lives.

Very Small Romney is breaking ranks, following his anarchistic and divisive advisors and speaking in public before the president, even criticizing the administration. He is sending more signals to the world -- that he is a shoot-from-the-hip diplomat and that he has not done his homework. Oh, and that he has a Suttler-like disrespect for the political process. I wonder how a conversation between President Washington and Governor Romney would go. Let's listen in, shall we?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012



Doq on KROQ just reported that there are 270,000 students waiting to enroll in California Universities (Cal State and UC). Could this be right?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Zuckerberg and Facebook stock price means what?

Facebook stock price reflects integrity of Zuckerberg? 

Maybe, just maybe Facebook creator and Genius In Chief, 

Mark Zuckerberg has stuck to his guns to keep Facebook 

free forever. Like he has always said: "Always had it. Always 

will." Perhaps his new partners, the rich-since-before-the-

pilgrims class takes some exception to this "stand by your 

work and your word" policy of MZ. Maybe he is getting

hammered to charge fees and produce revenue now, in this 

quarter, by doing things he swore he never would. Social 

Network plotlines notwithstanding, those close to 

Zuckerberg since before going public have no response to 

allegations that large investors are pushing HARD to charge 

fees NOW. MZ's flat refusal may have prompted Peter Thiel, 

one of Facebook's early investors to bail and dump his 20M 

shares, settling for a mere +$400,000,000.00 sale price. 

News of insider trades dumping large holdings seem to 

support idea that Mark is not making the New Money happy 

on the business page, on the street, and in the board room. 

Cause for cheer? Well, like the farmer said, "Maybe yes, 

maybe no."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I love my family

Just now I was weeping for joy seeing the arc that has run from my grandmother through my father through me to my nephew. I always say that if just one person is changed by my work than all the sweat and confusion is worth it and right now I see that it is. Thank god for my family. Who knew?;postID=305422875730419129

Saturday, August 18, 2012

500 U.S. military bases in Iraq are ghost towns?

See, part of my struggle with stories like this is this:

I still feel like a passenger on a plane. I trust that the pilot doesn't want to crash, because he wants to go home and slam some Boone's Farm with his new boyfriend.

In the same way, I still trust that there are people in positions of power who do want the country strong and just. That our TREMENDOUS investment in Iraq and Afghanistan has not been totally insane. That some logic does apply. That we have done some good; that the world without this intervention would be a very different place. That we took a stand. I am done with most of my chest-pounding and flag-waving; I am much more curious and less trusting than in years past; I am actually working to get answers to my questions about military, economy, society, et al.

I have left the Republican party. I have joined Occupy. I am writing. I am blogging. I am broadcasting a weekly radio show on BlogTalkRadio. All these things come from my curiosity with the question: WTF is going on?

Please tell me what you think. Or tell a neighbor, family member or friend. We are going to need every resource we have to not only make a strong choice in November, but after that, when the work begins, to be vigilant and a little self-righteous. To see if we like the country the way the Constitution and founders intended it, or if we need to wipe clean the white board and start anew. Or something in between.

This is your reminder from me that it is all our work. And that there is no "them." We are all in this together, and if we want answers to why we build 500 military bases in Iraq, we have to chase them down ourselves. If we want to know if they are really ghost towns, we have to do some work.

I am going to start by reading this article.
 ·  ·  · about a minute ago · 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Paul and camping

Bob Schiefer (CBS news) says that Paul Ryan is a nice guy and is well-liked on Capitol Hill.

Well, that is great. I am all for civility in and out of the smoke-filled back rooms. Wait, IS there smoke in those rooms anymore? With Ryan being a listed power-player who claims to have eight percent body fat, I doubt it. Probably filtered water and bible verses for sustenance.

Anyway, Ryan is under the microscope and on the megaphone right now as his weekend announcement for vice-Mitt status is out and free-ranging the infonet.

I just bristle when I see his disturbingly blue eyes telling me that what we need now is another republican. That the guy in the chair is doing EVERYTHING wrong. That President Barack Obama has NO RECORD to speak of in Washington and therefore attacks Romney because of the vacuum that is his own resume. That Romney's public record is one of building hope for the common worker and their family. That Bain Capital's business statement was something like: "We will serve the common man even if we lose money." That Mitt Freakshow Romney is the proper choice for the lead-crystal-teeter-totter-high-wire balancing act that is the world economy right now. That Governor Romney has any idea of diplomacy, representing people he disagrees with, and not pouring petrol on pyres.

Representative Ryan is probably a good guy. I bet he is a hard worker, who pours himself into protecting the world he sees and the people in it. I bet he knows a lot of stuff I don't. He may even know about team-building and compromise. How else do you have friends on both sides of the aisle?

I bet he would be a good guy to have on a camping trip. He would have a good tent and his kids would be well-behaved. He would chop wood, haul water and lend a hand when needed. And this IS a camping trip we are all on. And we are all needed to make this a good process and a good camp. Campsite Pennsylvania Avenue is under siege within and without. Our president and our country need our support right now. And by support I mean we ALL should take five or ten minutes EVERY WEEK UP UNTIL NOVEMBER FIFTH, to be good citizens and really look at our choices and the recent history. Three and a half years ago we elected our first black president and he was given what is in an ordinary year the hardest job on the planet.

But for him it was worse. If it was a relay race he was a middle-legger with a bad handoff. Bad as in the baton was lit on fire and thrown out of the stadium bad. And what he did -- well spoken and with a big smile on his face -- was he got that baton, he put out the fire, he got on the track and he finished the race. I believe in a hundred years Barack Obama will be seen as one of our best presidents. I am not so sure of  his predecessor's status. And Mr. Ryan is telling us we need more republican ideology, whatever that is. I just know that I am going to pour everything I have into convincing anyone who will listen that he is NOT the best choice in November.

I am glad he is well-liked in Washington. I will dig a little and see what his constituents in Wisconsin have to say about him. Maybe he will be an easy target like the AWOL governor of Alaska was last cycle. But I doubt it. The race is tight, according to the polls, and the voters are scared. Many, MANY of them -- of us -- believe that President Barack Obama has been a terrible president and that ANYBODY would be an improvement. Given that AnyBodyButBarackdotcom mentality, Romney looks okay, I guess.

But I think Mitt Romney would be a LOUSY guy to have in your campsite. I think he would make stupid mistakes. I think he would smile and have a clean shirt and NO CLUE of what was needed in the camp. I think he would hurt himself chopping wood and have to be rescued. I think the water he pulled out of the river would need to be boiled twice. He would get blisters on the hike and have to turn back. Drop his food in the dirt and need to share yours. Nice but out of place. Just like he is on every stop on the campaign trail that isn't a board room.

Good luck Representative Ryan. You have hitched your wagon to an interesting horse. Good luck to both of you gentlemen. Please run the good race. Please understand and acknowledge that the guy you are running against has been in the chair for a long time now and we all are still here. Good luck Mr. Ryan. As far as I can tell, you are not off to much of a start. Good luck to us all.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Old Farmer Story

Leaning on the stone wall separating their properties, one farmer says to another:

"My son didn't come home last night." To which the neighbor responds, "That's terrible! I am so sorry! That is too bad!"

"Well, maybe yes, maybe no."

"What do you mean? You have no other workers! Without your son, you can't bring in your crop! You and your wife will starve. This is terrible!"

"Maybe yes, and maybe no. Hey look, here he comes now!" Son rides up on horseback with a bunch of other horses.

"Dad! Look at all this! I found seven wild horses! No brands or anything! I already checked the local stables, and no one is missing anything! They are all ours! We are rich! Isn't this great?"

"Well, maybe yes and maybe no."

"What do you mean, maybe?! This is amazing! We can sell two of the horses and pay for a new barn. We can rent out the others, or work our field in one day instead of one week! We can sell two and buy a new field! This is great! You see that, right, dad?"

While the farmer is answering, the son falls from his horse and breaks his arm BADLY.

Later, after helping to dress the wound, the neighbor and farmer are again leaning on their shared wall, ruminating on the day and the world.

Neighbor: "Well I am so sorry. Could be your son will never have much use from that arm again. At best, it will take weeks to heal, and he won't be able to help you on the farm much. This is really a terrible break for you."

"Well, maybe yes and maybe no."

"Oh, come on, sunshine! You are just trying to get under my skin, now! There is NO WAY that this is not bad news for you! I mean, I am sorry, I will help you all I can, but this is the worst news a father can get, right? Really?"

As the father is responding in his typical way, an army of men on horseback enters the little valley.  It is the king's men. They arrive in force and announce that " royal decree, all healthy and able young men must come immediately and join the royal army to fight a distant war. Few will return. All must serve."

Predictably, the neighbor is aghast. "Oh my god! This is terrible! The village will lose a hundred young men! How awful!"

You know what the farmer said?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Skunks almost never get used for Satanic ritual killings

Okay, I am just going to blurt it out and be done with it.

Every year, thousands -- maybe millions -- of pet owners worry about their black cats around late October. Black cats are stolen and tortured by the score and that may not change for a while. Instead of putting a lojack on your animal, or sending them to Gstad for the season, why not dress them up for a party and save the drama?

Imagine you are a skinny, whitey, trashy, stupid shit looking for a black cat to grab for your latest misguided adventure. You see a jet black animal with a bold, dramatic white stripe all the way to the tip of the tail. Whadaya think?

Run for the tomato bath! It's a skunk!

Who cares that you don't smell anything. Get the hell out of there and do it quick!

It's okay, it's okay. None of them can read anything but emo-posts and hate mail.

So as to the how to get a real-looking stripe on your pet that won't let you get withing 10 feet, I dunno. To quote Murray in Scrooged : "Have you considered staples?"

Now get back to work!

Facebook at 22 and climbing!

Facebook's latest stock climb may not be the "dead cat bounce" that doom and gloomers were forecasting for Mark Zuckerberg's little start-up business.

Full disclosure: I do own Facebook stock.

More disclosure: You should buy some right now. It opened at 38 and was so wildly popular that they broke NASDAQ, the market they were sold in. This is the same portal through which sail Microsoft, Apple, Intel, Sun, and every other tech stock that has made more instant millionaires in the last twenty years than the earth has ever seen. It is sort of like having a concert at the Coliseum so popular that the stadium is in ruins after the show. Pretty freaking hot. Now, months later, you can pick it up at 22 (that is $22 per share). Do it. Be a leader and not a follower.

And talk about "too big to fail." This shit is EVERYWHERE! I am watching the KTLA morning news. Most popular local news in the biggest and best city on earth. Bottom right corner, and what is there? FB logo. Turn on the Olympics, more. Go to ANY popular (or not) website and there it is, a link to Facebook. Now I know that they haven't figured out how to get money from you, but they will and the stock will shoot way past 60. Don't be on the sidelines for this story. Oh, by the way, there will be no story. This will be one of those quiet, tiptoey trips up the charts for Mark and his partners. Today you can be one for $22.

Another reason I push this on all my students, is that this (or any stock) is a great way to stretch your perception of saving money. Now I know I am pissing in the wind a little here, but you should be saving more money. Most of my students save zero. I myself am deep in the red due to the worst timing in the history of real estate. But I am digging my way out, and trying to save anybody that will listen from suffering any more than necessary. Put some money away somewhere.

Whether you are the "bury it in the mattress" type, or you like a savings account that you can get to any time you want, do it. Put some money away somewhere so it will be there tomorrow. And if you can wait until next year, maybe it will be more money. In the passbook a/c you can get 1% or so, so for every dollar you put in will gain a penny by this time next year. I know it doesn't sound like much. Fact is, as any old fuck will tell you, time just keeps going by faster and faster. Where were you last September? Anyway, with a stock purchase or interest-bearing bank account, while that time is rocketing by, you are making money. Who cares if it is only a little?

Oh, and more disclosure: Stock prices can go down, too. That is why the people that bought FB at 50 are sore now. A share of stock is a share of stock is a share of stock. When you buy a share of FB that is what you get. Whether you pay $22, $50, $38 (or $80 in a year), you will have a single share in your hand.

Most of my people are not too comfortable with that, but just wait till one of your friends quits his job and buys a Bentley 'cause he bought the right stock at the right price and cashed in. You will get comfortable real quick. And baby steps DEFINITELY count. So google "stock broker your zip code" and grab your phone. In a few minutes you will have found somebody that will take your $30 and give you a $22 share of Facebook (fees and transaction charges get smaller the more you trade). Don't use online services and credit card numbers until you KNOW you are dealing with someone you trust.

Oh, and "dead cat bounce" refers to a stock that drops in value and then gains value unexpectedly. Just because a dead cat bounces when you drop them on the floor doesn't mean they will jump up and get in your lap and make you happy. FB is NOT a dead cat bouncing. It is a wounded, but healing super beast!

Now get back to work!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Kings / U.S. Open

Make sure you DVR the U.S. Open today before you head out to the King's parade. There is a 14 year old chinese kid named Zhang you have got to see. Oh, and Tiger and Phil, Bubba and Aaron, Johnny Vegas a guy who last time was sweeping toilets in Sydney and it is at Olympic and there is no more hockey, and, and, and...!

Saturday, May 19, 2012


I paid for my lunch today and left no tip for the staff, and I'd like to explain why.

Maybe it was the ubersweet way the vote recruiter spoke to me on the telephone. Or maybe it was me making the mistake of actually looking THROUGH the ivy and seeing all the clean bodies walking around the range at LACC, instead of averting my eyes and making do with the public pitch 'n putt that I have loved for 40 years on MY side of the fence in Holmby Hills. Nevermind. It could also be that I made a mistake choosing a hot Saturday in May to visit the Natural History Museum downtown. But I am going to lay the blame at Hooters on Figueroa. For when I got there, I was REALLY READY for some pampering, but after 90 minutes with the girls in orange, I was thinking I might head under the Chavez Bridge. I figured “...well it really couldn't really get any WORSE!


I was surprised to find a Hooters south of Staples. The neighborhood still drops off pretty fast between the new beating heart of downtown and the Trojan campus, but there it was. Loud, raucous, and stuffed with hot chicks stuffed into their trademark tangerine skins and tightey whiteys. Optimism spiked in me as I found a spot at the bar, and saw the Clippers were actually ripping San Antonio by twelve early in the second half! The bar was filthy, but who cares? It's a BAR, right? Let me scrape away a clean spot, hunker down, and soon a hot chick will kiss my ass and bring me shit. Well, not so much.

After fifteen minutes I am confronted with the deadeye, level stare, and flat, monotone utterance a trolling shark might make : watkanigitcha? (this with just the right heavy pause before it) It lacked the cocked neck and hand on hip, but you could hear it. It was there. My contribution, my pissing her off seemed to be a mix of “He showed up,” and “Do you have any idea of how big I was in Glenley? I shouldn't even be doin' this shit!”

I ask for a bar menu and was immediately told with shaking head that it will be “twenty to twenty-five minutes to get an order into the kitchen.” Right. She didn't say the food would take a while. She just told me with a straight face that it would take her half an hour TO TELL THE KITCHEN I WAS HUNGRY. I smile and say “no problem!” It takes her fifteen minutes to come back and add (with a slightly longer stare this time) “wood u like anything to drink.”

My order of iced tea thrilled her, but she contained her elation and HANDED me my glass after yet another doll-eye (Jaws doll-eye, not Barbie) stare, arm extended, no comment. I set the glass on the filthy bar, and dreamed of kinder days, as the Clippers began to let their lead slip away.

Her partner, or replacement, came behind the bar after a half hour or so, and she was an immediate upgrade. As I gave her my “Fried Pickles, Please,” order, she burped liquid onto her amazing belly. It wasn't gross until I typed it out. Actually, it was kind of hot until she accused me of spitting on her. I am not making this up. I laughed and ignored her and she left as the Clippers gave up rebound after rebound and missed shot after shot.

The pickles came and suddenly I wasn't a fifty year old child raper anymore. I was a mark.

She comes around the bar and gives me an adrenaline pumping stare and says, “Wow. Those smell really good.”

I don't THINK I blacked out, but I may have. What I remember is guffawing part out of shock by finally being spoken to by one of these maidens directly with something other than scorn, and partly out of amazement that she thought I was going to feed her my fucking food after being treated like a leper for most of an hour. I put my head down and let out my only belly laugh of the day.

I look up to see that San Antonio has caught and passed the Clippers. Later I would hear that LA rolled over and put their face in the pillow for a twenty four to zero run that they never recovered from. The pickles did smell really good and they tasted better. I make a mental note to find and grow the most earth sensitive home grown cucumbers and pickle them in my own vinegar, breaded with sugar and cheese and cracker crumbs and never have to succumb to whatever kind of humiliation I was being subjected. But they tasted really good. Especially with the tan table sauce.

The clock was running down and I gave up the ghost. I had to BEG her to get my check and when it finally arrived, I shoved a twenty in her hand after a glance and got another binocular peer. The change came after five minutes and I took every single and every coin from her, jammed it all in my front pocket and left straight out onto Figueroa, shaking my head at all of it. At the shitty service, the empty beauty, the thin, harsh LA sun, and the spreading ooze of red shirts birthed out of Staples, seemingly indifferent to the loss occurring without them in front of their empty, cheap seats.

My intention is for this letter to reach every server that has ever been stiffed and didn't “get it.”
...and that they read it, and get it.