Tuesday, May 17, 2011

On my soap box, again . . .

Wealth can turn otherwise reasonably intelligent people - men in this case - into blathering, blustering idiots. I've nicknamed the two gents of whom I speak The Dumpling and IMFunky.

At the very least, The Dumpling recognizes when he's gone overboard on his self-aggrandizing ego trips. IMFunky may never wise-up. Both are accustomed to being admired, feared, envied, and responsible for embarrassing and disgusting those around them. Being able to buy their way out of trouble requires lawyers on retainers; probably considered a legitimate business expense.

Wisdom doesn't come easily and must be sought. IMFunky seems not at all interested in wisdom, even as he considered running for president of his home country. Claiming to be a socialist, his latest escapade found him in a $3000 per night NYC hotel suite. Then, moments before his flight was to take-off, police removed him from a first class airline seat, hand-cuffed and hauled him off to court.

He had to have been one pissed-off guy at that point. Not only had the hotel maid he tried to seduce not cooperated, he left his cellphone in the suite and had to hightail it to the airport to ditch the U.S. when he realized he might be in trouble.

I can just picture him buckled into his leather, first class seat, smugly breathing a sigh of relief, perhaps sipping a glass of wine. I'd give two bucks to have seen his face when the cops boarded and arrested him!

The Dumpling has every right to spend his money however he pleases -- it's his. On the other hand, IMFunky is a disgrace to the organization he lead whose mission is to aid developing countries. Granted, his NYC stay was personal, but I would wager that official, business travel is no less luxurious. I think about the hundreds of thousands of dollars that could be better spent on digging wells so poor villagers could have a source of clean water or providing mosquito netting to slow down the spread of malaria.

Shame is a useful deterrent parents use to try to keep their kids on the straight and narrow. I feel that it has become so politically incorrect and "damaging to the psyche" that many no longer recognize behavior that would earn shame. Anything goes.

I'm glad The Dumpling has dropped out of a race he never intended trying to win. I hope not to see his hair face again for a long time.

As for IMFunky, I will try to avoid seeing his dour face though it will be everywhere for the foreseeable future. It's his anger at getting caught with someone he probably considered just another female body that really sets me off. I hope he fries!

I will be cheering on his victim who, by the way, has more courage than both these guys combined!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Civility Is Not Dead

The other day I followed a man, probably not much older than me, into an office supply store. He was terrible bent over and walked leaning heavily on a cane. It didn't bother me that he was slowing me down getting into the store. I was more concerned by the pain he appeared to be in.

We both found what we needed and stood in adjacent lines to pay. My old empathetic Peg-person came out and I had to speak to him. The cashiers were having some trouble with their machines, so we had to wait anyway.

When I made a comment about how beautiful the day was, he quickly turned toward me. When he raised his head there was a glow in his whole-face smile. I was completely taken aback by his obvious joy at making even a simple connection with someone else. My smile widened in response and we chatted amiably for several minutes.

I mention this because I've talked to strangers all my life. Growing up in the Midwest, it came naturally. When I moved to D.C. forty odd years ago it was a habit I couldn't break, no matter how many odd looks I got. In the late 1960s it was unseemly for a young white woman to speak to a young black man in passing on the street. However, my friendly "good morning" or "hello" nearly always was met with an equally friendly, if surprised, response.

In the grocery store, I sometimes regret my openness. Ever now and again I'll greet someone who desperately needs or wants a conversation. Spouse frequently gets bent out of shape because I cannot be rude, even to people who won't stop bending my ear. An appropriate opportunity will eventually present itself for me to escape.

Christmas Eve day two years ago is an example. As I was perusing cheeses, a young black man approached me and wished me a Merry Christmas. I returned the greeting which opened the verbal floodgates for him. He then proudly confessed that he hadn't taken a drink in 7 months and so many days. I enthusiastically congratulated him and wished him continued success. He then went on to detail how he had done it and even though people started to watch and listen us, I just smiled and nodded.

In the end, I offered him a handshake which he turned into a hug and we parted ways.

I believe that every human being has a personal story that they need to share. Now, I'm not sure I would share such a personal journey as this young man did with a total stranger, but it pleased me deeply to know he felt he could confide in me. Our conversation may not have changed his life, but it did mine. It reconfirmed my trust in people and the fact that civility is not dead.

Friday, May 6, 2011

I call it "Scarface"

I snapped this a few years ago in old Jamestown, Virginia. To me it's a metaphor for the will of the American People. This old tree survived a catastrophe and Americans will too. Now that a huge source of evil has been eliminated, our healing can continue, perhaps with renewed hope and less anguish. Amen.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

They're Teenagers

I'm talking about the Decorah Three: three baby eaglets born to a long time mating pair. What used to be gray blobs of fluff with sharp beaks are now awkward, bigger blobs of fluff interspersed with more mature feathers. Their feet are huge and as they stumble around the nest, they remind me of my younger sibs when they were teens, first waking up in the morning, not entirely sure of where they were. So much is going on in teens' bodies during those weeks (for eagles) and years (for humans). Sleep happens far more frequently than being awake. In this particular eagles' nest, finding a comfortable position seems to be no problem. The nest is huge, but those birds are growing fast. Spouse and I have always enjoyed watching the baby ducks and geese in D.C.'s Constitution Garden and the reflecting pool off the Lincoln Memorial. Even with all the crowds, the ducks nest in bushes and seem unafraid of taking their chicks out to feed. Truthfully, none of the birds around here are afraid of anything! Rather than migrating, they hang around all year. This time of year, there are always stories and photos in the newspapers about a mama duck and her ducklings striding right out into the middle of Constitution or Independence Avenues. Kind hearted drivers stop and occasionally, one will get out to hold back the rest of the cars. The really awkward situations are when mating ducks decide to nest in potted trees on the terraces of fancy office buildings or under cooling towers. There's no way to feed the babies because they can't fly down to a pond. Many building managers are frustrated by these feathered families because tenants get seriously goofy about those critters. "Oh, you can't let them starve!" or "Let's put out some water and bird seed for them." Of course that guarantees they will return year after year. . . The eagles are nesting in a perfectly reasonable place and I admire the guy who climbed high enough to install a camera so the rest of the world could watch them. P.S. I wonder how painful it is when those adult feathers start breaking through their skin. I suppose it might be like a human baby cutting teeth -- ouch!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

"Give him enough rope . . .

. . . and he'll hang himself."

I'm referring to a guy I've nicknamed "The Dumpling."

Being proud of oneself for insulting and imputing someone else's reputation and intregity seems to be a way of life for The D-man. He feels utterly entitled to express his opinions whenever and wherever he wants without regard to truth or context.

Taking credit for the work of others is also in his personal arsenal. He uses people like paper towels. Conscience and empathy don't seem to exist in his mind. If something is not to his liking or advantage, he has the means and chutzpa to attempt to alter whatever it is to the way he feels it should be.

A recent example of his gaucheness resulted from his distaste over a tent the White House used for a large formal event. It was tastefully decorated, lit and heated, and was budgetarily fitting. However, this uninvited guest decided it was completely unseemly. He tried to offer to construct a $100 million ball room to be connected to the White House for future events. At HIS expense, of course.

Is this a case of royal fever. That seems a kinder way of describing his self-centered-self-righteousness. He is toying with the idea of being King President of the United States. If it wasn't such a dreadfully stupid idea, it might be fun to watch him dangle in the winds of Washington.

What he seems to conveniently forget is that the FedGov has three, distinct branches: legislative, judicial, and executive. No one person or branch rules. This man would be frustrated out of his mind if he ever had to deal with Congress, Constitutional laws, lobbyists and international diplomacy.

The FedGov is a collection of agencies trying to protect and enhance life for every American from every imaginable angle. Any U.S. President has a huge juggling act that few are suited for. Negotiating business deals is not the same as negotiating the welfare of one group at the expense of another. Government by committee and negotiated consensus isn't at all the same as making an executive decision and sending it on down the line of command to be carried out.

I'd be interested to hear what makes some Americans think The Dumpling could or should be president. He loves to bluster and brag which seems to appeal to certain types, but he is in no way up to the task he mocks.

This whole act, in my humble opinion, is to regain the limelight he was out of for quite a while. Even he will get tired of seeing his face and quotes everywhere and return to his gold-leafed tower. The sooner the better.