Saturday, June 28, 2014


Well, us Democrats are starting to get close to the hour of decision. Will it be Hillary or the un-Hillary. We almost selected her last time then we went for exotic and got behind Barack Obama. Why not Hillary? One reason is that we know her too well. Most of us were first introduced to her when she made the remark that she had better things to do than sit around baking cookies. Then as a new first lady she threw a plate at dear Bill, not that he probably didn't deserve it.

We know her as the estranged wife, the feminist, the smart stock picker. The woman who went on a listening tour of New York. She went on to be a Senator, then a presidential candidate, then a Secretary of State. Her record isn't that bad but among men of a certain age, she doesn't pass the likability test. She reminds us of the sister-in-law who doesn't allow smoking in the house or the school teacher who keeps our sons from playing sports because she gives them C's instead of gentleman's B's.

There's also the question of which is the real Hillary. Is she the sincere but competent  person we see in her new book or is she the sarcastic boozer displayed in the New York Post favorite new title. The sarcastic boozer seems to be more fun than the dull narrator of her own book.

Oh what are we to do? Republicans like to nominate dull people, although Bob Dole and Mitt Romney never made it through a general election. Nixon did, but then that was the "New Nixon". He seemed so nice when he played the piano on the Jack Paar show.

The Republicans have some new faces. Christie and Ted Cruz come to mind. Rand Paul would shake things up. Democrats could live with them as opponents.

When we were in high school we didn't want the girls we knew from Kindergarten, we wanted the mysterious new girl who came in from out-of-state.  We don't usually buy the same model car. We want new.  I suspect this is because so many of today's problems are intractable that no normal person can solve them. Barack knows that by now. We want a wizard and one requirement of a wizard is they are new enough to us that they appear to have magical powers.  

The Democrats may well nominate Hillary. But if they are smart they will package her as the "New Hillary".  Dye the hair! Become a Seventh Day Adventist! Ditch Bill!  My political advice. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Warped tour

 I have a great memory for old rock and roll songs. Yesterday I went to an oldies show and I could sing along with almost all of the songs. I guess that's because when I was a youngster I listened to AM radio so much that the songs got drummed into my brain. I can remember all the lyrics to "Poison Ivy" but then why can't I find where I put my keys?

Memories aside, I am also curious what it is like being young, in an age where top 40 radio is in it's grave. In an attempt to try to keep up with what the younger generation is up to, I have been following the day to day adventures of Piddleass with her daily Youtube updates as she travels with the  Warped Tour troup of traveling rock and folksy singers through the country.  I get to watch the crummy bus she sleeps in, get to wander around the huge lots with food stands and outdoor concert venues. I get to see the backstage commissary for the "talent". Piddleass apparently is intoducing acts and talks to fans in the Youtube booth.

I suppose it would be fun being a traveling entertainer walking around in 90 degree fields full of young millenniums. Yesterday there was a dust storm. I guess the ghost of Woody Guthrie was there.  Some of the music isn't bad, but I don't recognize anybody.  I don't envy Piddleass the bus she has to sleep in or the dust, but I guess it is one of those experiences she will always remember.  I wonder when she will have an affair. It is inevitable, as inevitable as hangovers.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day

Father's Day is one of those minor holidays people don't really care about but celebrate anyway. You have to buy your father something  (a tie, deodorant, something for the garden) and your mother slaves over a hot oven and cooks a meal. Recently on the radio they were talking about what they learned from their fathers. I thought about it and came up with a few pointers I learned from the old man.

1) Working class Italian expressions: Hey gumba!  Capacole! Marone! "Gabbly gots" "Gots on gool". Well actually I picked up some of them from my summer job.

2) Gardening  My father liked to garden and I learned how to till soil, remove rocks from soil and how to garden. The secret of gardening is you have to water when you are tired and don't feel like doing it. Like having a dog, you have to take care of the thing even after the novelty has worn off.

3) How to avoid giving rides to people at work. I remember picking up my father with the Ford Falcon at his job in New York. He noticed one of the secretaries carrying a large plant. He grabbed me and brought me to the Audubon collection then we left after the coast was clear. My father was perceptive to the fact that his co-worker, carrying a large plant, could use a ride back to her home in Jersey City rather than having to deal with said plant on the subway and PATH train. He mentally added how long he would have to spend in Jersey City traffic if he was a nice guy and that is why he took up a sudden interest in Audubon. Learning to avoid giving rides home to people at work is something I became quite adept at over the years.  I stayed in an apartment in Watsessing for years in order to avoid moving closer to where the rest of the staff lived to avoid that task. Thanks, Dad.

4) Going to work when you don't feel like it. Watching your father trudge off to work every morning has a great impact on how dependable we will become in later life. People who's fathers ditch work will do the same when they have a job.

5) Learning that leadership involves negotiation. For a brief  period, my father was president of the Hackensack Democrat Club. 1968 was a divisive time for political parties. The New Democratic Coalition of Bergen County supported Eugene McCarthy for President and sat on their hands during the 1968 Presidential election that ultimately elected Richard Nixon.

The following spring some of the members decided to join the Hackensack Democratic Club. As a kid I got to listen to some of the phone calls the old man made. I remember he called people like Tony Andorra and said, "Well we've decided to let some of these young people join the Democratic Club but I thought it would be nice of some of the 'old timers' came to the meeting too." They would let the liberal wing in the club but he wanted a good showing among the old guard.

6) You should try to keep the family together even if it means visiting  sons and their new wives after they have eloped.

7) Men don't cook, do laundry, vacuum, shop at the grocery store, wash the kitchen sink or make beds.  Most men have had to change with time times on domestic chores but I still don't make my bed.

8) Don't spend more than you make. Driving an old car and not buying the latest gadgets may make you seem cheap but you'll be happier in the long run.

9) Driving a car. Most of us learn to drive from our fathers and that includes good as well as bad driving habits.

10) Picking up the check. Sadly, the oldest male at a table of relatives still has to pay for dinner. Among friends, the Dutch have great customs, ie. every man to himself.

Editor's note: My grandfather, father, and aunt.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Aunt Agnes on the Taliban exchange

I asked what Aunt Agnes thought of the Taliban exchange for Bowie Bergdahl.
Aunt Agnes: Well I needed to take another Demerol to get to sleep last night I'm so mad about this Taliban business. Here you have a traitor, Bowie Bergdahl or something like it. He got high on drugs, walked off his base and decided to seek out trouble in Afghanistan. Well I guess he thought those Taliban would hand him a medal but instead those old Taliban arrested that man. Served him right. For my money he made his bed and should have stayed right where he was and let the fleas have at him. 

But no, our president turns around and frees five terrorists from Guantanamo and in exchange we get that flea bitten patriot. Now Obama thought he was going to be a hero. Parades all over the place, good publicity but it backfired on him. Now everybody is mad at him. Well one good thing, we won't have to feed and clothe those prisoners anymore. They are off our hands now.

I'm sure in a few weeks Bowie, his parents who look like they never went home from Woodstock, and maybe a few of the Taliban will turn up on the Today show. I can see it now. Koda and Bowie like old friends. Not a barber in the house.

Editor's note: It's nice to hear from dear old Agnes again.