Fandango’s Flashback Friday — September 17th

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 17th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on September 17, 2009 on my old blog. I read this old post, which was written just eight months after Barack Obama was sworn in as President, for the first time since I wrote it a dozen years ago and was amazed how little, politically speaking, has changed. Actually that’s not true. It’s gotten even worse!

Fractured American Psyche

It seems that our national psyche is so fractured today that no matter what one side does, proposes, promotes, or suggests, the other side reacts vocally and violently against it. While this antipathy is not exclusively the domain of the Republicans and conservatives, they are the most vocal and organized in their opposition to any initiatives that promote progressive changes of any sort to the status quo. I guess that’s why they’re called conservatives.

As I think back at landmark social legislation of the 20th century, I wonder how many such programs would have succeeded if the technology we have today existed back then. Would FDR have been able to get the Social Security Act approved by Congress back in 1935 had the blogosphere existed?

Would Social Security be there for America’s retirees if conservative talk radio pundits filled the airwaves, and if 24-hour cable news channels provided a national soap box for anyone with a high Q-Score (high IQ score optional) from which to spew his or her partisan venom? I doubt it. After all, the Social Security Act is the very definition of socialism, is it not?

What about LBJ’s landmark Medicare/Medicaid legislation from 1965? Or how about the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Would Congress have been able to enact 1974’s Employee Retirement and Income Security Act (ERISA), or even the more recent Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA) and 1996’s Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)?

No, I don’t believe any of these programs could have stood the onslaught of instant analysis and intense partisan scrutiny available through the Internet and the plethora of talk-radio shows and cable news networks.

I believe that our nation’s political and legislative system is functionally disabled. There is so much acrimony emanating from each side of the aisle toward the other that little to nothing of real value can be accomplished from either the Executive Branch or Congress.

Our health care delivery system is in dire need of a major overhaul, but real reform won’t happen because of the special interests and self-serving ideological differences that get in the way of progress. If anything does come out of this, it will be a watered-down, toothless compromise that doesn’t effectively address any of the underlying issues that plague the health care system in this country.

Conservative politicians and pundits are using misinformation and scare tactics as they preach their gospel from their 24×7, technologically enhanced pulpits and stand in the way of needed reforms and societal progress.

And now these obstructionists are organizing efforts and encouraging parents to keep their children out of school on the day of Obama’s video cast so that they don’t even have the opportunity to hear the President encourage them, our children, to work hard and stay in school.

Unbelievable.

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — September 10th

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 10th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on September 10, 2010 on my old blog.

Hoax or Not: Really Bad Taste

I occasionally turn to Google Images when I want to find a picture to illustrate a point in one of my blog posts. You type in a topic in Google Images and hundreds of pictures or images will be presented.

For a previous post on this blog, I typed, “What were they thinking” into the Google Images site. I didn’t actually find what I would have considered to be a suitable image to use for that post, but what I did find was this:

UNBELIEVABLE! I was floored by what I saw, which seemed to be a print advertisement for a flavor of Breyers ice cream. What were they thinking? What incredibly bad taste and amazingly poor judgment! I couldn’t believe it and wondered how a company that makes, arguably, the best ice cream in the world (or at least in my freezer), specifically, Breyers Cookies & Cream with Oreo (yummy!), could publish an advertisement as tasteless as this.

I was relieved to find out that this remarkably crude ad, apparently first published in 2005 or 2006, was a hoax and not a real advertisement from the folks at Breyers. How do we know it was a hoax and not a real advertisement? Well, first of all, the ad copy reads as follows:

Luscious, smooth, sweet and fun. These are just a few of the words we used to describe our new Vanilla Orange Sherbert Creamsicle. These words also aply equally to America’s 2005 Olympic Rhythmic Gymnastics Team and the beautiful young ladies that comprise it. In responce, Breyers has created a flavour inspired by the sassy metallic orange leotards of our young feminine gymnists who are eagerly busting their fresh asses to make every American proud. And of course, our RGT themed Creamsicle is as fun to eat as the girls are a pleasure to watch! So come join in on the action. All proceeds to sales from the Vanilla Orange Sherbert Swirls line go to help sponsor our young ladies in competition against other rhythmic gymnists from around the world.

Notice the misspellings: “sherbert,” “aply,” “responce,” “flavour,” “gymnists.” This ad seems to have been written by a Brit who is also an incredibly poor speller, which may be redundant.

And what about how are “our young feminine gymnists [sic] who are eagerly busting their fresh asses….”?

I guess someone thought it would be funny to show two young girls in tight orange leotards bent over in such a way as to highlight their “nether regions,” with the tag line “lickable.” The bogus ad is disturbing for what it suggests, not for what it actually shows.

Sorry, but this bogus ad, even as a hoax, is in really bad taste (and that’s not a play on the “lickable” theme, by the way).

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — September 3rd

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 3rd) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on September 3, 2017.

Speak American

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I love this photo on so many levels.

First, being the grammar and language pedant that I am, there’s the misuse of the word “your.” I don’t need to tell you that it should read “You’re in America.”

And, of course, there should be some punctuation between the first line and the second. A period, a colon, a semicolon. At the very least, a comma.

But it’s the irony of the message that is priceless. Telling someone to speak English because he or she happens to be in America and, while doing so, displaying a complete lack of mastery of the English language. How exquisite is that?

Gee, I wonder if whoever put that decal on the car window is able to speak the native tongue of any non-English speaking country he may visit.

“You’re in Mexico, gringo. Speak Mexican!”

“You’re in Canada, sir. Please speak Canadian, eh?”

Nah. That Yankees fan probably has never even been outside of the five boroughs of New York City. Well, maybe he’s been to New Jersey.


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “priceless.”

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — August 27th

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 27th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on August 27, 2014.

Age is Just a Number

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Last month, one of the WordPress Daily Prompts said “age is just a number” and then asked whether it’s a number I care about or ignore.

I responded to the prompt with a somewhat tongue-in-cheek post about the wonderfulness of senior discounts. Don’t get me wrong; senior discounts are great. But I avoided answering the question.

What I am finding out is that, while age may just be a number, it is also a label. It labels me as part of a group. I’m a Baby Boomer. I’m a Gen-Xer, a Gen-Yer, a Millennial, a Gen-whatever.

I’m a child. I’m an adolescent. I’m a young adult. I’m middle aged. I’m a senior citizen. My age categorizes and classifies me as something. But is that really what I am? Is that all I am?

Okay, so based upon my age, I actually am a “senior citizen.” But what does that tell you about who I am? What I believe? How I’m supposed to behave?

One blogger on whose posts I comment frequently was blown away when he found out how old I am. He had no idea that I wasn’t around his age — and he’s a whole lot younger than I am. I mean, seriously, a lot younger.

That made me feel good, but at the same time, it saddened me. I guess the expectation is that because I’m a senior citizen, I’m supposed to act and sound and even write my age — simply because I am that age.

But while my hair may have turned gray and then fallen out never to return to its former glory, and while my vision isn’t as good as it used to be, and while my hearing is not as acute as it used to be, and while I have wrinkles where my skin was once smooth, and while I can’t run as fast or sleep as well or eat all the crap I used to be able to eat without repercussions, in my mind I don’t feel a day older than I did when I was a “young adult.”

But because of my age, because I’m identified as a senior citizen, people’s expectations of me are different from those for people who are a different age than am I.

And I guess, just as I do with my tinnitus, my failing hearing, and my balding head, I will just learn to live with it.

Age is what it is — a label to which people attach meaning.

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — August 20th

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 20th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on August 20, 2017.

Ignorance and Apathy

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I walked in a few minutes after the first speaker at the conference started making his presentation. I found an empty seat near the back of the large meeting room and worked my way over to that seat and sat next to a guy who was busy texting on his smartphone.

“What’s the speaker discussing?” I whispered to the guy.

“He’s talking about ignorance and apathy,” he responded, without looking up as he continued his texting.

“Did I miss anything important?” I asked.

The guy, clearly annoyed, finally stopped texting, turned his head toward me, and said, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”

*****

Okay, you got me. That was a joke. But with everything that is going on these days, ignorance and apathy are serious concerns.

Ignorance is the lack of knowledge or understanding, whereas apathy is the state of indifference due to a lack of interest or an emotional connection.

Ignorance either exists in a person or it doesn’t. Once a person becomes educated about a topic, the state of ignorance on that topic is diminished, if not gone. It’s generally understood that an ignorant person would do something different if he or she knew better.

Apathy, on the other hand, is more a state of mind that comes and goes with inclination and emotion. Thus, even with an increase in knowledge, an apathetic person may continue to exhibit indifference.

“Ay, there’s the rub,” as the bard would say. Author J.K. Rowling once stated, “Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright ignorance.”

I believe that it’s more difficult to overcome apathy than ignorance. You can educate someone about a topic, but you can’t make that person care about it. That must come from within.

I am concerned that apathy may be the largest problem we face in our society today. Apathy fuels a number of social, political, economic, and environmental challenges that confront us.

If we are to preserve our way of life, we need to figure out how to get people to give a shit.