The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Archive for the ‘humor’ Category

EAT SH*T AND DINE

Every so often I need to take a break from the “news,” as we euphemistically term it, and turn my attention elsewhere.  This was one such week.  I’m not sure if the breaking point was that the final, final, final, deadline for caving into Iraq in the nuclear “negotiations” had come and gone.  Or was it Hillary’s hilarious declaration that “She had never received a subpoena from the House’s Benghazi committee regarding her submitting her emails,”  a copy of which Congressman Trey Gowdy held up before the camera for all to see and to which Ms. Clinton’s lawyers had filed a response.

If Ms. Clinton were an ordinary American business, had developed an advertising campaign and introduced her product in print and on the air with the same amount of truthfulness in which she expresses her past activities, there would be a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of all those who had purchased her product, relying on her statements about how her product works.  But sadly, far too many of us simply do not pay attention and are willing to believe and buy anything that our politicians, Ms. Clinton being the poster child for this example, sets forth and accept it, if they hear it at all, as Gospel truth – or whatever passes for absolute verity in  today’s society.  Regarding Clintonionism, this quote comes to mind:

“The only thing that sustains one through life is the consciousness of the immense inferiority of everybody else, and this is a feeling that I have always cultivated.”

– Oscar Wilde

It really is an amazing phenomenon that the masses hear constant homilies from the over-privileged and under-qualified, those who are at the top of the political and pop culture food chain about how they are under-privileged, victims of an unfair system gamed by those in power to keep them in total and permanent subjection and not realize that it is those who are speaking who are, in fact, the very ones who are doing all within their power to make sure that theses poor slobs remain in their lowly estate.  And in this effort, there is no more staunch or sycophantic co-conspirator than the media.

“By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.”

– Oscar Wilde

I believe that quoting Mr. Wilde is permitted under the current rules.  As we now know, he was a bisexual which is a state of being that is very much in vogue but to his discredit he was white, male and far too witty for most of his audience to truly understand his “bon mots”.  Well, the wonderful thing about freelance blogging is that I needn’t worry about the imposition of censorship by an editor or the opinion of the masses – at least for the moment.

But where is this all leading – and why the title for this post?

Perhaps you’ve heard about the ongoing taxpayer funded studies in which the government paid for professorial investigations into the causes of why it is that people die.  That would seem to be an admirable inquiry.  So they gave grants to a group of esteemed scientists to research this important issue.

These brilliant minds looked at the mystery of life and death.  First they noted that many of their parents and almost all of their grandparents had passed from this veil of tears.  And not one of them had a single great grandparent alive – and they further discovered there was no one living who had been born in the eighteenth century or earlier.  No, not a single one.

This, of course, caused a great deal of discussion over many bottles of Merlot as these intellectual titans tried to find a common thread which would account for all of this being born and then being dead.  And, in fact, they reached a conclusion.  What they discovered was that during the course of their lives, all of these people ate stuff, without exception.  And, without exception, all of them were dead.  Obviously, eating – or at least eating the things that we have for centuries – ultimately leads to death.

Well, even with as obvious a connection as this, only 97% of these scientists concurred that eating was the cause of these ultimate deaths, the other three percent apparently being so traumatized at this revelation that they were consigned to a lifetime regimen of lithium and sequestered away to one of our finer loony bins where they will ultimately not be cured of their delusions nor ever returned to society to mingle among the rest of us.  Nor will they be allowed to express an opinion which challenges the newly established orthodoxy on this subject.

This is far-fetched you food deniers might say.  But think about it.  It’s only been three years since Mickey D’s stopped using “pink slime” in the preparation of their hamburgers and, not meaning to take away anything from the controversy that Donald Trump has stirred up with his comments, why is it that virtually all Mexican  food has an appearance of something that has been pre-masticated, partially digested and then regurgitated to be consumed later by someone else?  Can eating that really be good for you?

But to believe that the main stream medium will report on this important topic is far from likely.  So, other than those who read this blog and spread the word, will the truth of the cause of man’s mortality ever be revealed?  Fortunately, I think it will – and the source will be one which is most unexpected.  It will come from some flash in the pan member of our pop culture – or so I predict.  Perhaps the vehicle for this revelation will be the twenty-two year old Ariana Grande who has already demonstrated an ability to put her tongue where it ought not to be.  And if not her, there is an ample supply of such people who might get the job done.

Perhaps there is someone even now in Hollywood who has had a Shirley Maclaine experience and to whom the truth has been revealed.  (Or perhaps they simply have taken some sort of hallucinogenic drug, got the munchies and in the process of crawling around their 23,000 square foot pied à terre happened upon their cat’s litter box).  And there, clumped in a bit of kitty litter, is the solution to mankind’s mortality and their craving for a quick snack – cat poop – and by extension dog poop.

Now think about it.  There are an estimated 160 million dogs and cats in the United States who regularly provide us with poop, which we have viewed, until now, as something that is destined for a landfill.  What a tragic waste of the perfect food substance – already pre-digested by another animal so we don’t have to put stress on our own bodies by attempting to extract all those elusive nutrients.  And in the case of cat poop, there’s also the added advantage of being able to ingest a bit of litter which provides our bodies with a bit of roughage.

This could spark an entire new industry, job growth and an end to poverty in the country.  And not only would this mean jobs and an end to hunger in America and ultimately the entire world, we could export our excess animal poop to Mexico, thus restoring the balance of trade in favor of the U. S.  But the best part of this is that our friends to the south might not even notice a difference in the appearance of the food they set forth on the family table.  No advertising campaign necessary.

America – Eat Sh*t And Dine!

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THE NUDIST REVOLUTION

Thankfully, we survived the dire warnings that there would be an ISIS strike against the homeland on the 4th of July weekend.  (Those in my former home town, Chicago, didn’t fare quite as well with fifty shot and ten killed there).  Perhaps the attitude of the gang members, presumably the ones who were the perpetrators of these crimes was that if ISIS is going to take a break from terror, we’re here to stand in for them.  As a side note, not one single NRA member was arrested in conjunction with any of those shootings.

Perhaps it’s one of those glass half empty/glass half full scenarios.  No reasonable or even anemically red-blooded American would hope that there had in fact been an ISIS related incident this past weekend.  But what is disturbing is that there was a bombast of information spread through the media that we should all be on our toes and report any suspicious behavior – although if this message were really intended for us to do that, one would expect that there would be some central phone number which we should call.  Most of us do not have the number for the FBI on our speed dial.  And while there was no ISIS incident this weekend, the unfortunate side-effect of that is that in the future we are more likely to be skeptical and less inclined to be vigilant should another such alert be broadcast.  Most humans have an attention span of a goldfish and at least some of us have read the story of The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf.

Perhaps our biggest impediment to defeating the potential of an ISIS attack, other than the present administration, is that a significant portion of our population, we’ll call them the far left, are more concerned with seeking political advantage than they are addressing real problems – and one of their most potent tools is trying to dissect the population of the USA by dividing us into preformed little cubby holes.  Among those are gender, race, sexual orientation, national origin – but the list goes on and on.  So as I was thinking about this I realized that there is one thing that is true of all humans, irrespective of any of the pigeon holes into which the left would assign us.  We are all naturally nudists – or at least we are all born naked.

Now I defy anyone to dispute that claim.  No, I don’t have a science background (which is to say I’m not dependent on a government grant to maintain my life style by coming up with “data” to support what the bureaucrats in Washington, D. C. want me to find).  And it’s true that I have not been personally present at the birth of every human child since mankind discovered whoopee and began making more of us.  But I’ve never yet heard of a later to be straight woman being born wearing an Hermès scarf or a future lesbian woman being born wearing a newborn-sized set of steel toe boots.

Nudism could unite the country.  If nothing else, if we all adopted a nudist lifestyle, those of us – and I include myself in this group – who are a bit out of shape, could perhaps find motivation to eat more healthfully and perhaps get more exercise.  Think about the money that would be saved by not having to buy the latest fashion since there would be none.  Granted, we might cause significant damage to the industrious, hard working and underpaid people in Sri Lanka and other third world countries which manufacture the stuff that we find in our retail stores.  But that might encourage them to find new jobs in agriculture, turning previously unfertilized land into new and rich farm soil and increasing the rice crop which might go far in eliminating hunger globally.

The largest impediment to bringing about a nudist revolution in the United States is probably the airlines.  (But since they’re presently under the scrutiny of the Department of Injustice – their days may be numbered anyway).  No longer will they be able to gouge the flying public with outrageous fees for regularly checked or overhead placed baggage since all we would need for our trips would be a toothbrush and some mouthwash.  And as an improvement to national security, we would no longer be faced with the threat of some militant jihadist trying to get on board wearing an underwear bomb since Fruit of the Loom (a Warren Buffet company) would be a thing of the past.

You might think this idea farfetched – but rumor has it that if she’s elected our next President, Hillary Clinton plans to issue an executive order, mandating that all Americans go nude.  Of course, as is characteristic of Ms. Clinton’s past behavior – this newly enacted edict will apply to everyone else – but not to her.  And that would be a blessing.

FAREWELL, ALEXANDER HAMILTON

My interest in Alexander Hamilton began with my first summer job with the Wall Street firm, E. F. Hutton.  Their offices at 60 Broad Street were just a short walk from Trinity Church and its very old graveyard among whom was laid to rest the first Secretary of the Treasury of the then newly born United States, Alexander Hamilton.

There is no doubt that Hamilton was one of the most influential of the Founding Fathers of the nation.  Born out of wedlock, he was raised in the West Indies and was educated thanks to the beneficence of some wealthy islanders who recognized the young man’s brilliance and talent.  And for years, we have continued to honor his memory by ensconcing his portrait on our ten dollar bills.  But that is about to change.  A movement is afoot to replace the esteemed Mr. Hamilton with a person of the female gender – the left proclaiming that, “It’s time we finally had a woman on our currency.”  Like so much of the rest of the pother they put out they’re wrong as there has already been a woman featured on our currency – none other than the nation’s first First Lady, Martha Washington.

 

dollar

 

The notes, which were redeemable for one silver dollar, a sound fiscal policy which incidentally was abandoned forty-seven years ago today, continued to be printed for ten years when they were replaced with the famous “Educational Series” notes which bore portraits of both Martha and President George Washington.

 

educationalseries1896

 

Alright, having dispelled the notion that having a woman on U. S. currency would be a first, Treasury Secretary Lew has opened the public to offer potential nominees for the changeover which is to occur in 2020.  Among those who have been proposed by that esteemed publication known as, “Rolling Stone,” you’ll remember them for their publication of that fake story about a university rape without bothering to check the facts, is the singer, Beyoncé.  Other than the fact that as she is still reportedly alive, which would violate an 1873 law which requires that anyone featured on our currency be deceased, Beyoncé’s contribution to anything is, to my mind, fairly suspect.  But certainly there are some excellent candidates who actually benefited the nation by their lives and examples.  But it seems to me that the obvious choice for the liberal left is Hillary Clinton.

Now you may be saying to yourself, “Hold on, Juwannadoright.  Hillary is out of the question.  Remember that 1873 law that says only dead people can appear on our currency?”  To that I answer, “Hang on Bucko.  Have you seen her on the campaign trail?  And you’re going to tell me that this portly bit of protoplasm is alive?”  Do we not measure “life” by both brain and heart activity?  How can there be brain activity when all we hear is the same robotic monotony that sounds as though it is pre-recorded palaver, set on an endless cycling loop of “replay.”  And can there be a heartbeat when there is no heart to support it?

As you might have expected, I do have a possible explanation for Mrs. Clinton’s apparent mobility.  It has to do both with a thorough investigation into the concept of zombies and the transmigration of souls, the latter of which actually interests me.

Now all things zombie are big business.  They’re big box office, big Halloween costume business and an apparent requirement to work in the Federal bureaucracy.  As you know, zombies walk around, lurching this way and that and attacking all those who are actually alive, mistaking them for the drive in of a fast food restaurant.  We do not call them alive and yet they move and create traffic problems.

So you say that even though you’re going to spend your money to watch Hollywood’s latest zombie flick you don’t really believe they exist.  (You’ve never been to Haiti have you?)  But let’s talk for a moment about the transmigration of souls – a far more interesting concept.  And that brings us to a discussion of Chairman Mao Zedong, the late dictator of China who was directly responsible for the deaths, through his proclamation of the “Cultural Revolution” of at least one and one half million Chinese intellectuals and just plain ordinary folk.

Mao died in 1976.  At that time, Hillary was working her way up (somewhat infamously according to some) at the Rose Law firm in Little Rock.  She had been married to “The grass is always greener, Bill” for a year at the time.  So what happened to that Mao Zedong soul?  Clearly, based on the economic ruin he brought on the Chinese people and the misery and suffering he inflicted on his countrymen it was not ready to move on to a higher state.  And, according to some religious sects, it is possible for one soul to transmigrate into a person who is already living, forcing out that person’s soul and replacing it with their own.  Well, it’s a theory.  But is there evidence to support this speculation?.

BEFORE

 

mao headshot

 

AFTER’

 

hillary clinton cropped

 

Some things never change.  Taste in clothes might be one of those.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAH! RAH! AMERICA

For some reason, President Obama’s use of the “n” word during a radio interview has caused a brand new conversation about race,  racism and the inevitable segue into “white privilege” in America.  Why anyone pays attention to what the Klutz in Charge has to say is beyond me.  God knows the Iranians could care less and the Israelis cringe every time El Jefe speaks.  Well, perhaps America’s new found friend, Fidel Castro cares since that was a title that used to be reserved for him.

Perhaps I can lay my attitudes at the feet of my parents.  They taught me to judge people not by their race, nationality, religion, gender or anything else other than who they were as people.  And that judgment was not made until you saw how they treated other people.  If they were kind, considerate, generous – then they were good people and were the kind of folks that we would have over for dinner.  If not, then we would pray for them and try to encourage them to adopt the characteristics that I described earlier.  Well, it was a simpler time when we learned values from family and religious leaders rather than the internet.

During the course of many years in business I hired many people.  Furthermore, being in the business of executive search my staff and I referred many thousands of people as candidates for positions.  We did so irrespective of that person’s race, age, gender or anything other than their qualifications and ability to do the job for which they interviewed.  In the sweet bye and bye, the Federal government came along and told us that we should be doing just what we had been doing all along.  And caused us to fill out additional paperwork to prove that what we were doing was moral, ethical and legal.  I often wondered why they were the supreme arbiters of the first two of those items.

Now if everyone had my upbringing, this whole conversation about racism would be moot – that is if we all had parents like mine and we all had listened to them.  But obviously that is not the case.  And while I have heard arguments that racism exists worldwide, which is probably a true statement, that hardly mitigates its existence here.

If we want to look at one of the most obvious examples of racism we have to turn the clock back to February 19, 1942 when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 (he had a pen,too), which resulted in the internment of more than 110,000 Japanese resident aliens and U. S. Citizens as well as approximately 300 Italian-Americans and about 5,000 German-Americans who also were citizens.  Those of us who marvel that we were foolish enough not only to elect BHO in 2008 but to repeat the error in 2012 should take some solace in the fact that the country elected one of the most prominent racists in American history, FDR no fewer than four times.  (For those of you who are younger or got your American history via the public school system, Roosevelt was a Democrat).

It seems reasonable before we solve the world’s problem with racism we should first clean our own house.  After all, how can we, with moral impunity, critique the Chinese for hating the Japanese or the Indians for hating the Pakistanis, to cite only two of numerous examples, unless we set an example ourselves?  And I am pleased to say that I have a solution which I will be forwarding to my Representative in Congress and one of my senators.  (I’m not going to send a copy to Harry Reid out of respect for his eye condition and otherwise generally deteriorating health, physical and mental).

I am proposing that we establish a national program and create a new Cabinet level position which will be called the Department of RAH.  In this case, RAH stands for Rent A Human.  (Those of you who know how much I would like to reduce the size of the Federal government may be surprised at this proposal, creating as it were yet another bureaucracy.  But I have that covered.  We abolish the Department of Education thus making this a zero sum swap out.)

This is how it would work.  Any person would be able to rent any other person in the United States to be their “friend.”  But instead of this being a merely symbolic friendship as on Facebook and the rest of the social media, the person who wanted to befriend (or rent) another person, would pay a fee for that privilege, the price depending on the specific characteristics of the person to be rented.  Needless to say, the more characteristics which are currently in vogue, the greater the fee.  But the good thing is that the fee for renting people would go directly to the person so rented.  For some of the more popular categories, this might result in people being truly lifted out of poverty and the welfare rolls.

I haven’t worked out all the details (give me time), but as an example, if a white person wanted to rent a black person (your ordinary vanilla type individual), the fee would be, let’s say, $20 a month.  But if you wanted to add someone to your friendship list such as a transgendered black male who thought he was a lesbian and who happened to have an Hispanic surname and several felony convictions, well that might cost you a couple of thousand a month.  True, only good liberals like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Hollywood celebrities might be able to afford such a “friend” but hey, what the heck, they have the money to spare.

So, other than the obvious of doing good, what’s in it for the people of the United States and the country itself?  Quite a lot.  First, if we get enough of our citizens involved, and I’m banking on the fact that there is still a great deal of generosity in America, we might totally wipe out the need for anyone to be on welfare – which would be a tremendous savings to each of us.  And for the person who collects the most points for the greatest number of “RAH” members (weight adjusted based on characteristics) in any given year, I would propose that we put their likeness on our ten cent pieces, retiring Roosevelt from that coin along with the Confederate Flag to a museum and a place in racist history.

ONE NO TRUMP

As much as I’ve always enjoyed games of almost any variety, including card games, for some reason I never had any exposure to bridge when I was young.  That was rectified my first year at the University of Chicago when I encountered another freshman, Alvin Rosenblatt, a young Canadian student with a passion for bridge.

Now if you’ve never met anyone who is fanatic about bridge, you’ve truly escaped one of life’s great horrors.  Little did I know how deeply committed people become to the game until I allowed Alvin to convince me to teach me how to play.  I actually had less interest in the game than befriending Alvin whose manner was so abrasive and generally offensive that he might have caused Bernadette of Lourdes to begin swearing.  I felt sorry for him – and since I was generally pretty good at card games, I thought this would be a natural addition to my repertoire.

Well, it didn’t take a lot of time to round up two other students who played bridge and wanted to escape reading any more of the subtleties of John Locke or were tired of doing calculus so it wasn’t long before I played my first game with Alvin as my partner.  I could tell from almost the first moment of play that I had better do my best or my beloved partner would let me know that I had screwed up.  I think that outburst occurred in the fourth or fifth hand.

Now in bridge, partners play a “system.”  Perhaps the one that most beginners start with was developed by Charles Goren, the man who may have done more to popularize bridge than any other.  It’s probably the easiest for the novice to memorize.  But that basic system was far too simple for Alvin.  He played the Kaplan-Sheinwold system – which to me sounded more like a medical syndrome that had devastating implications for the gall bladder than it was a bidding system.  But I was a tyro – so what did I know.

Bridge comes in two very distinct varieties.  The first, the game that I began playing and which is usually played socially is contract bridge.  There is a fair element of luck in this game since being dealt extremely strong or weak hands greatly affects the game, far more than the skill of the player holding those hands.  The second version is duplicate bridge.  This is truly a game of skill because each pair of partners plays all the same hands as all the other pairs and depending on how well or poorly they play their hands is measured by a points system, ranking them accurately against all the other players.  My harrowing introduction to bridge, and my next several sessions, were of the contract variety.

I was already beginning to think that my compassion for Alvin and my attempt to befriend this young man were misguided.  Alvin never failed to let me know when I had erred but ignored offering any compliments when I had done something quasi-brilliant.  Of course, that second situation only occurred rarely.  I began thinking to myself, “Who needs this abuse?  I could just go to class and have one of the tenured professors insult me.”  But I confess that the game began interesting me so I suffered the slings and arrows with which Alvin’s quiver was overwhelmingly filled.

Things went along more or less in the same way through eight or ten sessions in our dorm’s rec room when Alvin pronounced that, “While I was still an incompetent ‘bumble butt’  I had advanced sufficiently that it was time for me to graduate to the far more sophisticated and challenging game of duplicate bridge.”  There was a duplicate bridge club that had a weekly session at the university’s International House and he expected me to attend with him the following Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m. promptly.  I acquiesced to his request and actually looked forward to the challenge, expecting to be competing against twenty other players or thereabouts.

When we arrived at the building we easily found the signs directing us to the appropriate room – which, as it turned out, was the largest meeting room in the building.  And it was filled to the gills with nearly two hundred bridge players.  Suddenly, remembering Alvin’s previous outbursts in our little social game, it occurred to me that I was likely to be embarrassed before several hundred people.  And that is exactly what happened – about one half hour into our play.  Which caused me to stand up from the table, direct an extremely crude expletive statement at Alvin and walk home.  And that was the last time I played bridge.

Well, speaking of bridge and bridge terminology, this past week, Donald Trump, a man whose ego makes Barack Obama’s look like one belonging to a mendicant friar, announced that he is entering the Republican race for President of the United States.  The speech proclaiming his bid reminded me both of Alvin and a papal encyclical – but without humility.  But I was particularly struck by his intent to bring Mexico to its knees and force them to pay for the construction of a wall which will keep unwanted foreigners from invading our country.  That would have to be one heck of a wall.

There are approximately 540 million people who live in Mexico, Central America and South America.  Granted, not all of them want to move here.  But still, that’s a lot of humanity, not to mention those who are participants in ISIS and might take the trip across the Rio Grande via Mexico.  And I thought, how likely is this wall to succeed in keeping them folks back where they belong.  I thought about this in the context of the Clinton Correctional facility in Dannemora, NY, a maximum security prison, from which two escapees made a getaway a little over two weeks ago and are still on the loose.

Now Dannemora typically houses between 2800 to 3000 prisoners.  Yet, with a little bit of help from their friends, two of these truly evil felons are roaming around free, at least for the moment.  So if we can’t keep people whom we’ve already captured under lock and key, what is the likelihood that we will effectively keep a swarming mass of humanity out?

As to the answer to that question, I bid, “One No Trump.”

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

If you don’t know who Dana Busbiber is, by the time you finish reading this post you will.  She happens to be an inner city public school English literature teacher in Sacramento, CA who believes that we should no longer educate our children by teaching Shakespeare because he is “a long dead British guy.”  Ms. Busbiber goes on to say that the only reason that “Shakespeare is great is because ‘some white people’ declared him to be.”  That’s an interesting thesis which unfortunately fails to reflect the fact that themes such as young love as set forth in “Romeo and Juliet” and honor and betrayal as written about in “King Lear” and “Hamlet” are as meaningful and important as they were four hundred years ago when the Bard first penned those plays.

A brief example of the “relevance” of Shakespeare comes from his play of the star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet.  The play is, of course, the inspiration for the 1957 musical, “West Side Story,” written by Arthur Laurents with musical score by Leonard Bernstein.  Without that “long dead British guy,” would these artists have ever thought to create a story about the Jets and the Sharks and would we have those liltingly beautiful songs, “Maria” and “Tonight?”  Quite possibly not.  And, for that matter, would I have the title of this post, lifted unflinchingly from that same play?

Now that we’ve dispensed with the Busbiber bimbo, let’s turn our attention to the real subject and the title of this post, what is in a name?  Apparently, quite a lot.

Whether it is Judaism, Hinduism or a number of other religious traditions, having the power to “name” things is to give the person possessed of that power control over the thing so named.  In Genesis, God gave man the power to name the animals, and that power conferred the ability to have dominion over them.  And mankind has been busy naming things ever since – including our offspring.  Sometimes with unintended but fairly predictable dire consequences.

One of my classmates at the University of Chicago had the first name, Nimbus.  A nimbus is a luminescent halo or gray rain cloud and we all thought that Nimbus’ name was a good source for a chuckle.  Until we learned that he had a brother by the name of Zippo.  Apparently their father had served in the U. S. Army during WWII and attributed his survival to the unfailing ability  of his lighter to light, allowing him to escape through a pitch black corridor of a burned out building and avoid a platoon of Nazi troops.  But on the scale of 1 – 100, by today’s standards, Nimbus and Zippo barely register.

Twenty-five years ago, I had gone to my bank to cash a check to replenish our small petty cash fund.  Because this was a “business” transaction, I had to wait in the far shorter line for business customers than the regular long line to which the hoi poloi were consigned.  This was a good thing.  Furthermore, wanting to cater to its business customers, the bank regularly assigned its best tellers to the business line to provide those customers with a better experience.  As I waited my turn I happened to notice that the window was being manned by a new teller whom I had not seen before.  I glanced at his nameplate which rested to the side of his window and restrained a deep-seated laugh as I read his name, “Epluribusunum.”

Normally, whether it is a bank teller or a wait person, I try to pay attention to their name tag and use their name in addressing them as a way of acknowledging them as an individual.  That just seems to me a matter of common courtesy.  But I knew that before I got out the last syllable of Epluribusunum I would be laughing and that would be rude, so I conducted my business with this very efficient young man and just wished him a good day as I left his window and the bank.  While I was in line I was trying to think what an appropriate nickname for him might be, which further added to my sense of laughter.  But then I still have difficulty understanding how we turn Charlie into Chuck or Elizabeth into Betty.

You don’t need to be an Einstein to know that when a person is named “’Nshaquetha” or “Latonyethia” or “Epluribusunum” there is greater than a 99.9% probability that she or he is darkly complected.  And while I applaud their mothers’ originality in coming up with these monikers, I really do believe that these uniquely individual names serve as a hindrance to many of these children in their growing up and in their adult lives.  There is a reason that in many countries, including France, Germany, Japan, China, New Zealand and Iceland, among others, names must be selected from an approved list or a name which is not on that list must be submitted for approval before the child can be called by that name.  The United States has few if any such restrictions.

While most of the western world uses a system of naming using surnames as an identifier, the Icelandic people use a rather different system which was common throughout Scandinavia and is again being reintroduced in several of those countries.  It seeks to provide family connection by using a patronymic and in some cases a matronymic system.  That is to say, there are no surnames but a child is identified as his or her father’s son or daughter (or mother’s) by adding either “son” or “dóttir” to their father’s (or mother’s) first name.  Thus, if Jón and Birgit had a boy whom they named Eifur, he might be called either Eifur Jónsson or Eifur Birgitsson.  In the case of a girl named Helga she would be either Helga Jonsdóttir or Helga Birgitsdóttir.

There is a charming simplicity both to having specific names which we may confer on our children and to the Icelandic system of providing relationship attribution through the use of one (or in some cases both) the parents’ names to the newborn.  But as I think about it, with the growing number of unwed mothers and hard to find fathers in the United States, it probably wouldn’t work here.

To those of you have earned it, “Have a Happy Father’s Day.”  And to those of you who contributed in that effort, enjoy Dad’s day as well.

VETERINARIANS AND IMMIGRATION

Every so often I get sucked into the manufactured hoopla of the day – and yesterday was one of those days.  It was Derby Day for the 141st time.  I used to enjoy the races until I saw one at Belmont in New York in which one of the horses broke his leg during the course of the race and was destroyed.  That soured me on the Sport of Kings.  But from time to time I have watched a leg of the Triple Crown and with nothing more important to do, I tuned in yesterday.

I had attended one of these events in person – the 100th running.  I had some friends who lived in the Cherokee Park area of Louisville who had kindly invited a friend and me to spend the weekend with them in their home.  It was a festive day indeed, with the ladies wearing outrageously bright, large hats and the mint juleps being poured with abandon.

Unfortunately, perhaps it’s a Yankee thing, but bourbon and I don’t agree.  I think it might be the high sugar content of the liquor – but even a small quantity makes me extremely ill.  But when you’re at Derby Day it’s an unwritten rule that you are expected to go with the flow.  So I accepted the julep after making an appropriate protestation and sipped at it very slowly.  And in the course of many hours at Churchill Downs sipped many more.  The result, of course, was predictable.  To borrow a phrase from Sir Winston, “I was drunk; I was horribly drunk; I was disgustingly drunk.”

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, I was able to hold on to the bourbon in my stomach throughout the Derby and the other races after which we returned to my friends’ home.  I teetered to the lavatory in my room and knew that I had to relieve myself of all those mint juleps.  Unfortunately, I was so blotto that I couldn’t distinguish between the toilet (which had water in it) and the aquarium which also had water in it and a fair number of salt water fish.  So I inadvertently lifted up the cover to the tank, thinking it was the toilet lid, and out came spilling many mint juleps.  The result was that I felt a bit better but the alcohol was toxic to the fish – all of whom I killed in this process.

That was the last time that I received an invitation to attend the Derby.  Actually, that was also the last time I heard from these friends.  Alas.

Back in the days when Dad and I would attend the races, I remember that there were some outstanding jockeys.  The names Eddie Arcaro and Willie Shoemaker come to mind.  And as I watched the hour long pre-Derby show, I was struck at how things had changed.  Back in the fifties and sixties, the vast majority of the jockeys were Anglos (although that is a term that wasn’t in common use at the time).  At this year’s Derby, I would guess that at least three quarters of them riding in the big race were Hispanic.

And this, of course, started me thinking.  Is the real reason for Obama’s non-policy on immigration and a refusal to tighten the southern border merely a ploy to get more future jockeys into the country?  Is he merely distracting the public’s eye with his golf games when he really is a horse racing aficionado?  While I don’t have a definitive answer to that question it is something to think about.

We are now all familiar with the term “vetting” as it applies to politics.  Simply stated, it means that the prospective candidate’s background has been thoroughly reviewed (though I’ve never been clear by whom) and that there aren’t any nasty little bits of past history which would disqualify her or him from the office for which they are either running or to which they might be appointed.  The term actually comes from horse racing.  Veterinarians were supposed to examine horses to make sure that they had not been given any illegal substances which would enhance their performance.

This first thought naturally led me to a second thought.  Thanks to our veterinarians and technology, we now have the ability to “chip” our dogs and cats so that if they get lost, there is a record of the person to whom they belong so that they can be returned.  It’s a simple and virtually painless process.  So that thought led me to a third thought.

How hard would it be not only to have an identification chip but to have a GPS chip implanted in our pets.  Rather than wait for someone to turn Hondo or Tinkerbell in, we would be able to determine where they were and go right out and bring them home.  And if it works for our pets, why not do the same for those who immigrate to the country illegally?

Statistically, we know that eighty per cent of those who come into the country through our southern border do not show up at their scheduled immigration hearing and just blend invisibly into the population at large.  We could fix that problem with the use of a chip such as the one I have described.  Don’t show up at your hearing and you get picked up and sent back to whence you came.  “Hasta la vista, Baby.”

We have always and should continue to welcome people to the United States who want to make a better way of life for themselves and their families.  And we should actively develop an immigration policy which favors people with special skills that would benefit the country and its people.  But seriously, how many jockeys do we really need?

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