Sunday, March 28, 2010

Microfiction Monday

The picture below is the inspiration and a 140 character limit sets the parameters. Susan at Stony River is the host of this Microfiction Monday. Please click here to check out Susan's excellent site and learn more about Microfiction Monday.

Here is this weeks Microfiction Monday picture and my 'micro' short story.

Do you remember when our eyes first met below this bridge Rita? Of course Hank, I remember it nine months to the day before Jake was born.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

a remedy in hand is worth two in the bush

If ticket sales are down on Broadway the economy alone may not be to blame. The political landscape of this nation provides nearly all the theater that I need. So much so that sometimes I have a difficult time keeping abreast of the leading players and the key elements being presented. But I feel a sense of comfort knowing that the triggering event behind Tuesday’s signing of health care reform by President Obama was one of my perennial favorites. Once again, irony has ruled the day.

On January 19th, Scott Brown, the Republican challenger, defeated Martha Coakley, the Democratic hopeful, and won the privilege to represent ‘The People’ of Massachusetts in the United States Senate seat long held by a legendary Democratic Party icon, the late Ted Kennedy. It was a resoundingly jubilant moment for the whole GOP, and the far right party members were especially inebriated by the victory. The Democrats came off looking sloppy and careless.

All that in the past, on February 24th, I presented a post and my hopes that a sensible agreement on health care reform may somehow follow President Obama’s summit meeting at Blair House on February 25th. But I, like many others, considered the chances of success to be extremely remote.

The gridlock seemed insurmountable, the right wing radical rhetoric and ploys demanding to laughably restart this arduous process from a clean slate bombarded the airwaves. But like a great quarterback reading an overconfident defense, President Obama began to calmly call his plays and moved the ball down field. By the time the Republican Party sobered up, the House Democrats were standing on the 1 yard line, ready to hold an up or down vote on the health care bill that had already passed the Senate back on Christmas eve. This past Sunday, the Democrats walked it in for a touchdown. The Senate filibuster threat, resurrected along with Scott Brown’s victory, by cutting down the Democrat’s size from the crucial 60 to 59 seats was side stepped. And the Grand Old Party, not yet done celebrating their victory in Massachusetts, had their turn looking slipshod as they relearned the old lesson to ‘be careful what you wish for because it might come true.’ They are now treating their hangovers-thank God for health care.

Even though I loved the drama and triumph I don’t want to get overly excited about this reform myself, as some elements are still left unknown. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that over the next ten years the anticipated costs to the government will round out to about $938 billion dollars. But increased revenues and cost cutting are expected to reduce the Federal deficit by about $130 billion over the same decade. However, much remains to be seen on the ultimate accuracy of this guess.

I think a more positive sign is that Wall Street doesn’t seem to be bothered by the signing of this reform. Evidently, the prospect that 32 million new customers will be coming through the doors of the system has its merits. The markets also like certainty. Passage of reform provides assurances that now that we know what the rules are we can play the game. Capitalism is intact and to think otherwise is irrational.

Besides all that, our dysfunctional system of skyrocketing renewal premiums, many millions without coverage, benefit limits, pre-existing condition traps and job loss gaps had already landed us on the rocks. The status quo was not an option. But to do nothing has been the Republican Party’s whole strategy. I think their thought process is that if they do nothing then they can’t be blamed for anything. Subsequently, they hope to win back seats and perhaps capture the majority in Congress during the mid-term elections this November. I would advise caution though on this tactic as well. The daily dose of baseless rhetoric needed to sustain that degree of immobility may be hazardous to their political health.

Spilling over from these events we have sadly seen the news clips depicting the incidents of spitting, taunting and bigotry directed at Democrats leading up to the vote. And now we learn of ten or more lawless and ignorant acts that followed the vote. I would need an entirely separate post to explain my views on this matter so I will avoid a lengthy recap. Both sides need to continually condemn and refrain from this repugnant behavior.

The Obama Administration scored a big victory, and I think the American people will be better off for it in the long run. But Obama would be wise not to savor it for long. There will be plenty of time for reading about it in history books. My advice would be to take the field again and try scoring some points for jobs. More likely than not, the people who have the security of jobs and health benefits will want to maintain that status quo.

© 2010 Christopher’s Views

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Microfiction Monday

The picture below is the inspiration and a 140 character limit sets the parameters. Susan at Stony River hosts this Microfiction Monday. Please click here to check out Susan's excellent site and learn more about Microfiction Monday.

Here is this weeks Microfiction Monday picture and my 'micro' short story.

Guys, it’s the final hand of poker night. Loser gets to stand in Times Square wearing a full size replica of these Navy lady playing cards.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

at the dashboard and out of control

At the outset, I need to apologize for the jargon within my title today. I am aware that some non-blogging visitors who read this post may initially feel a bit left out. I cannot turn back though, as I fear my editor-in-chief status is in jeopardy and I must move swiftly.

My home office has been seized. I have been working feverishly to retain a scant hold on my keyboard and I may lose that control momentarily. Last week I participated in a higher than normal amount of grammatically ghastly e-mails and it has triggered a very powerful response. I really didn’t think much of it at first. Misspellings are quite commonplace throughout my archives. I would hasten to wage a bet guessing precisely how many times ‘the the’ would appear in a search, or how many plurals are misplaced.

But holy hell, disguised as the Holy Ghost, broke out when spirits of some of my passed on college professors led by my second grade teacher, Sister Mary Joseph, showed up at my desktop work station a few days ago. Evidently, like a patient no longer able to tolerate penicillin, Sister Mary, though buffered by another realm, couldn’t stomach any more excuses. The rampage began with print outs being tossed in my face. What is wenzday (Wednesday)? Do you forward an amending confirmation for an event scheduled in Febaury (February)? Or, did you just wimp out and auto date a reminder for 02/15/2010! We also reviewed a correspondence that you had with someone requesting a paiyne of you. Rest assured Christopher, we have a team working on that one as we speak.

In addition to pitching papers all across the room, Sister Mary is organizing the revival of a long defunct council made up of departed faculty members from around the globe. She calls it, ‘Spirited Followers of the Great Beyond’. This could be my last post if I’m not careful. I hear the whispering of words. I think they need a vessel and a medium of some sort. I can’t be sure.

Oh no-I think this is it! I knew I had cause to fear this celestial fly by. The council has now taken reign of my body. Here comes Sister Mary.

Christopher, the bygone followers have discovered that you enjoy spending some time blogging. We have seen your case of double word trouble and we would like to return the extra letters you left behind in comment boxes last month. The infrequency of your posted views also reminds us that you still have work to do on your tardiness issue. And we know about your long gap away from writing. Do you wish for me to replay the video depicting your grand idea to switch colleges? The entire reel has been converted and digitized. Maybe we can start our viewing on that fateful freshman day when you abandoned your English major in favor of psychology and child development. Be advised though, we have deleted all links to the marketing and business environment you have since called a career.

Nevertheless, we may be able to overlook a few mistakes and some rusty syntax. But unless you want us hovering over your head for the rest of your earthly life you must consider our list of appeals on behalf of the late scholars.

We can start at spelling. And perhaps we can end at ‘spell check’. But of course that would be dreamy, as the final edit involves reading. Careful reading can pick up the words that pass by the spell checker under pretense. We often find their and there or feel and fell going where they are uninvited. Words of incorrect tense also like to slip by the sender. Says and said along with asks and asked frequently win the slippery word award. But, whenever we see anyways in place of always, we know that you have fallen asleep at the wheel.

Go on the offensive occasionally and deploy tricks of your own. Big long words can be scary. Massachusetts is one of those words. Politicians running for office, within this blue state, have even been known to stub their toe here. Try tweaking out a simpler substitute, as in the ‘Bay State’.

Next on the check list is punctuation. An errant comma can alter your message entirely, as displayed by the next two sentences. There are some folks on the far right who think, for example, Sarah Palin is a ‘hottie’. There are some folks on the far right who think, for example Sarah Palin is a ‘hottie’. Please note the difference in meaning.

But mostly we recommend keeping it simple when it comes to punctuation. Sentences should end. And unless exempt by poetic license, they should end with a marker. I’m thinking periods, question marks and exclamations! I will clarify semi-colon usage upon our next visit; I believe it is a skill of a lost era.

Meanwhile, your capitalization seems to have taken on all the attributes of road kill. We find it all over the map. Christopher, you seem to be in conflict here. We notice that you have your name properly uppercased when inserted in bodies of work, but lowercased when commenting. Is this some e-mail corollary or just confusion on your part?

And as you know, parenthetical thoughts should be in parenthesis (or so I think). When quoting someone or some group, someone or some group should be identified. When identifying someone, their name should be spelled correctly. Remember, spell check will allow that party crasher to get by undetected as well.

Other than that Christopher, it’s all good and upon relinquishing command we sincerely hope you will keep us on your recommended reading list.

Yours forever in spirit,
Sr. Mary Joseph
President, S.F.G.B.

P.S. Christopher, on a less humorous note, spread the word that our board intends to ratchet up the negative karma against lifting material without permission. Thanks for lending us a hand, or two. We will be back to visit, but we must now beckon the call to scan the files of some journalists who allegedly think that the copy and paste method of reporting is something other than plagiarism. Blog on!

© 2010 Christopher’s Views

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Microfiction Monday

This is my first attempt at posting a 'microfiction' story. The picture below is the inspiration and a 140 character limit sets the parameters. Susan at Stony River hosts this Microfiction Monday. Please click here to check out Susan's excellent site and learn more about Microfiction Monday.

Here is this weeks Microfiction Monday picture and my 'micro' short story.

He plans divorce proceedings, post election, so they’ll be free to wed by the sea. Her e-mails, cell calls and videos are due out tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Manuka honey

I need to commend and thank a very dear and occasional visitor to this site-my sister-in-law. Recently, during a gathering at her house, she introduced me to the wonders of Manuka honey.

I take some basic vitamins, and I suppose I would characterize my diet and nutritional intake as good (very good and excellent being better). My excellent marks come more naturally at keeping up fitness routines and giving myself extra rest when needed. And so I have never given any sustained consideration to what purchases I make regarding my foods, supplements or even indulgences.

Two days ago, however, I was nursing a nagging cold that perhaps was bordering on sinusitis. My sense was that it didn’t warrant a visit to my doctor, but it certainly was a deterrent for any quality time with my wife. Knowing that I needed to take some kind of action, I reflected on the tea spoon of New Zealand nectar that I had skeptically sampled several weeks ago.

I still really knew nothing about Manuka honey other than it could be purchased at WHOLE FOODS. So, at 8 pm Sunday I made the trek. That time of night is usually my dessert hour and the twenty seven dollars I was about to pluck down could have bought a bountiful chocolate concoction, but I remained open to conversion.

Once home again I promptly opened the jar and two teaspoons became my treat. Monday morning, somewhat in disbelief, I woke up with much improved nasal passages. And so it made sense to me to down another teaspoon. All day long I had clearer sinuses and a livelier step.

I just took another teaspoon along with some tea. I am hoping to be officially rid of this bug by tomorrow. I am not sure if my cold was nearing its end, if I am under a placebo effect, or if this honey is the cure. But my prospects of moving from the downstairs sofa back to the upstairs bedroom in the next twenty four hours are looking much brighter.