Tag Archives: politics

Erratic Election

One doesn’t need to go into a poltical analysis or any of the traditional comparisons usually invoked in the process of deciding who to vote for.  Before debating issues & platforms, we first have to realize and understand that Donald Trump is a dick. That is inarguable and irreconsilable. We shouldn’t elect the first woman President in history because the other candidate is a dick, but it sure looks like that’s what will happen. Good thing too, because Trump is such a dick.

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CONVERSATIONS WITH MY FATHER – MAD MONEY

There were a significant number of conversations with my father that most people would agree usually occurs between father and son when the son reaches 20 or so.  They are the first man-to-man conversations where sire and offspring bond and where the proud papa gets to transfer his “wisdom” to his son(s), you know – man stuff.

I began these conversations, and the relationship that accompanies them much later; in my late 30’s.  It gave me and interesting perspective on parenting and living with other people on a planet and being a man.  This one, by far, is my favorite of all time.

I was maybe 40 or 41 years old and my Dad was visiting my house. Suddenly he says to me:  “Let me see your wallet, son.  Please.”  I don’t think anyone is ever prepared for that question.  I asked him why he wanted to see my wallet, to which he replied:  “If I don’t see your wallet, I won’t be able to share a particular thought with you that might be useful.”  So I handed him my wallet.  He looked into all of the slots and pockets or whatever they are called until he was satisfied and then gave me my wallet back without saying anything at all.   He then took out his wallet; a brown bi-fold leather wallet; simple, classic and practical.  He opened it wide to expose the two pockets that one accessed basically from the inside middle of the wallet.  A common place for business cards and such that one considers “wallet-worthy” but don’t require quick access.  He opened up one of those pockets and began to pull out a folded piece of paper, or at least that’s what I thought I was seeing.  Suddenly the gesture became familiar:  I’d seen him do this before; the folded piece of paper was money, usually a $100.00 bill.   He pulled out the bill and unfolded it, indeed it was a nice crisp $100.00 bill. Then he looked at me and his eyes became those of a mischievous little boy and he smiled his irresistible smile – whatever was coming next was going to be, if anything, fun.

Even though we were alone, he looked to his left and then to his right and lowering his voice a bit, said to me:

“Now listen up Son, and listen well.  This is what’s called “mad money” you should always keep a C-note in your wallet for mad money.  It’s important.  Do not forget this, okay?

I simply had to ask, so I did, I said:  “What for, pop?”  He grinned and let out a slightly sinister giggle as he looked at me and put a hand on my shoulder right before answering my question.  He winked at me and said:  “Because;… you never know!” and skipped out of the room, giggling all the way out the front door.”

As usual, pop was right.  I carried my “mad-money”, as my father taught me until we destroyed the function and concept of money, but during the years that I did, on more than one occasion, it saved my ass, got me out of a mess or was that which allowed me to ask the gorgeous blonde sitting on a buddy’s couch looking bored after everyone else lost their pocket money playing poker if she wanted to have dinner, or drinks.  Dad always said: “Never use mad money for anything that you should cover out of your pocket.  It will let you know when to pull it out of your wallet.  It most certainly did.

Mad money.  I would have never, ever calculated the enormous importance of that concept in my life if my father had not passed it down.  It may be one of the most useful tools I’ve ever had, because:  you never know!

That’s my pop

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CONVERSATIONS WITH MY FATHER – EXPECTATIONS

“This is the first of a series of posts with the same title:  “Conversations with my father”.  I like the multi-function use of the title:  It’s the title and the content.  Each post’s title will have the subject of that particular conversation with my father at the end of the title.  Enjoy!”

 

This was the last complete, coherent and contiguous conversation I had with my father; it was not that long ago. 

While visiting one Sunday, my father approached me and asked if I could spare him a minute or two.  My father was always the living example of courtesy and chivalry.  We sat in my study and he said;

“Son, I’ve come to realize and accept that you are a fully grown adult and have earned the right to be called a man.  That means that my job, the one I accepted as your father is complete and I am satisfied with the job I’ve done. Your job; the one you accepted, whether you like it not, is different, but that’s your road, not mine.  I’m just letting you know that you can start yours whenever you like, you’re ready.”

This was not not a typical conversation to have with my father and he was not one to say something like this as a prank, so I did what I usually did with anything my father told me:  I took it at face value and gave it due consideration.  Our conversations were not humorless, however; I took a moment to comment on how timely his announcement of my manhood was, after all, I was only 50.  We laughed for a moment and then I knew that he expected a reply from me.

I began to do some furious math in order to reply properly; there was not a single moment during his life that passed without my wanting to make him proud of me.  After considering his statement as carefully as I could, I had a reply for him; I said;

“You know, pop, that’s a very important issue for me.  I know I have a job to do.   I’m not scared and I’m confident that I am well prepared for whatever it may be, but it is somewhat unsettling at times to not know what is expected of me.”

My father jumped right back into the conversation with a combination of wisdom and mischief in those hauntingly blue eyes of his.  He sat upright and said:

“Excuse me.  What did you just say?  Did you say you didn’t know what is expected of you?  That isn’t even a coherent sentence in English – and you’re supposed to be the smart one!  There cannot be any expectation of any person without another person to hold that expectation; it’s a strictly human concept.  Oh, shit!   Now I’m beginning to talk like you!  He giggled and continued. How can you tell me that you don’t know what is expected of you without knowing or mentioning WHO is the owner of that expectation?  Only people can have expectations of other people, so who were you referring to when you said you didn’t know what was expected of you, perhaps Society?  Society isn’t a person, it can’t have expectations of you or anyone else, but we can choose to believe it can and if you do; you’re fucked. So, Mr. Smarty pants, would you like to try that again?

I said, quickly:  “Wow, Pop, that’s good” Because it was.  It left me pondering (a dangerous thing to do.)

After a few minutes, I turned to face my father, who was sitting patiently, immensely enjoying the opportunity to watch me squirm and said.   You are, of course, right Pop.  I have to re-do all the math on that.  Thanks, Pop, if you hadn’t brought the point up, I could have easily screwed the pooch when the time came!  Then I had a thought a with it the hope of redeeming myself from the hole I had so easily fallen into during that conversation.  Almost immediately, I said:

“Hey, pop, may I ask you something, since we’re here and already talking?”

“Of course!”  He shot back.

I looked him square in the eyes, which was not an easy thing to do with him, and asked him:

“Indeed,  you have completed your job and have declared as much, but you are still my father, so I ask you; Father; what do you expect of me, Sir?”

I thought I had him for sure, but then I saw his mischievous grin begin to form and he sat back in his chair, crossed his legs, put his hands on his lap and very calmly and very matter-of-factually answered:

“Me?  I expect for you to change the world.”

What else can be said and what else can any man hope to know beyond what his father expects of him.

That’s my Pop.

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WORDPLAY REX

There’s a reason why I consider this post the “king” of the Wordplay Series.  If you continue reading and follow the math, you might just see it as you read.  It is what we all need to know but don’t really want to see:  an inarguable example of our self-destruction and probable demise.  I hope we all see it; we are capable of so much more.
 
As usual, it all starts with one little word, in this Wordplay example, that word is:

profit

prof·it

[prof-it]

noun

  1. Often, profits.
    1. Pecuniary (pecuniary: of or pertaining to money) gain resulting from the employment of capital in any transaction. Compare gross profit, net profit.
    2. the ratio of such pecuniary gain to the amount of capital invested.
    3. returns, proceeds, or revenue, as from property or investments.
  2. the monetary surplus left to a producer or employer after deducting wages, rent, cost of raw materials, etc.: The company works on a small margin of profit.
  3. advantage; benefit; gain.

verb (used without object)

  1. to gain an advantage or benefit: He profited greatly from his schooling
  2. to make a profit.
  3. to take advantage: to profit from the weaknesses of others.
  4. to be of service or benefit.
  5. to make progress.

verb (used with object)

  1. to be of advantage or profit to: Nothing profits one so much as a sound education.

Origin:

1250–1300;  (noun) Middle English  < Middle French  < Latin prōfectus  progress, profit, equivalent to prō- pro-1  + -fec-,  combining form of facere  to make, do1  + -tus  suffix of v. action; (v.) Middle English profiten, derivative of the noun

That’s what we put in the dictionary; its definition, but what about the word’s meaning? A word’s definition is not the same as its meaning.  A word’s meaning is determined by how we use the word in our everyday lexicon and many times, the meaning we give to a word is not even remotely related to its definition.  Or is it?  We are the designers and builders of our own reality, so to distort a word’s definition to give it a meaning that yields some kind of benefit to someone is both wasteful and absurd. We created words and language, assigned the definitions and the meanings; why go through all of the trouble to alter a words definition to achieve a particular meaning as subtly and clandestinely as we do?  It’s almost as if someone or something else had created language and definitions and “we” were purposefully altering something that “they” established as a rule.  Who are “they”?  We’re only fooling ourselves and cheating ourselves and in the end we really can’t, because our sense of self-preservation doesn’t permit it.  We end up facing ourselves in a mirror and the person looking back knows what the deal is.  Let’s start the sequence.  Look at the very last listed definition of the word “progress” above; it says ‘to make progress’.  Progress; isn’t that what life is supposed to be all about?  Making progress?  Improving your ‘station’? Making a better life for our children? You know, progress:  We make progress by making money which is also how we believe our ‘station’ is improved and making money is pretty much the only way that anyone believes they can make a better world for their children.  Progress.  Progress IS profit, according to our own dictionary.  To progress is to profit, also defined as ‘making money’ (definition #1) and that’s how we ended up where we are.  We succeeded in creating a world where the entire point and purpose of a human life is to ‘make money’.  That is what we believe.  Still doubtful?  Okay, let’s continue the sequence.  Given the established and formal definition of the word ‘profit’ just examined, it would be correct to state that since the point of it all is to “profit”, then by definition, all of us would be “profiteers” and the definition of a profiteer should be something to the effect of “a person who works or labors specifically to make profits” or at least that what the rules of linguistics yield.  Let’s see.   Following is the definition of “profiteer”.

profiteer

prof·it·eer

[prof-i-teer]

noun

  1. a person who seeks or exacts exorbitant profits, especially through the sale of scarce or rationed goods.

verb (used without object)

  1. to act as a profiteer.
 Confused yet?  You should be.  If this is the definition of profiteer, then the definition of profit must be “the EXORBITANT pecuniary gain…..”  and “the EXORBITANT monetary surplus…”, but it isn’t, so once again, according to the rules and language and linguistics, by including the word “exorbitant” (defined as “exceeding the bounds of custom, propriety or reason, especially in amount…) a distinction is made and therefore “profiteer” doesn’t mean ‘everyone who benefits from any kind of profit in any way’, it means ‘a person who abuses the practice of profiting’ (because that’s what a person is doing when they make an exorbitant profit).  That slight distinction (sigh of relief) is what lets the vast majority of us off the hook, right?  Please.
 
 Isn’t making exorbitant profit(s) (something that results in a condition called “being rich”) the most celebrated, venerated and admired thing that anyone can accomplish?  It is what everyone strives for today.  It is the goal of every college student, businessperson, worker, unemployed person, housewife and even children.  What is more admired and desired than to be the person who finds a vast quantity of the THING that everyone wants to buy and which sells for $100.00 everywhere, at a cost of $.05 (five cents) and sells a gazillion of them.  Even more admired are those who accomplish this with a THING that is commonly known to be a bauble, or a useless and gimmicky gadget that no one should waste their money on but everyone does anyway.  So powerful is this accomplishment that it overcomes human EGO – it may be one of the few or even the only thing than can do this; the human ego is virtually unrivaled in its power of human behavior.  How, you say?  That’s easy; of all the people who have actually done what is described above; the thing virtually everyone dreams of and strives for, how many have become famous?  Can anyone name just one of the people who have “accomplished” this?  Their names are not generally known and purposefully so, if we attach a name to the act described above; we have identified a crook, but by keeping names out of it, what’s left is the act alone: the practically effortless, virtually immediate and gargantuan accumulation of money achieved by exploiting a systemic defect, in this case popularity and desirability; each a result of the use of human judgment, which may just be the most defective of all systems of any kind.  This has become humanity’s “golden fleece”, it has replaced any and all other purposes or objectives in life, it is what everyone desires (secretly or openly) and it is all that matters.  It is also fraud.  Still unconvinced?  Very well, let’s proceed.
 
Look at the definition of ‘profit’ again; it’s at the very beginning.  Notice how many times the word ‘advantage’ is used in the definition ‘profit’?  It’s even the 3rd literal definition of the word.  As a noun and in the company of ‘benefit or gain’, it’s rather inoffensive and even permissible, to a degree, but it’s also a verb and here things change.  We think that “advantage” is a good thing and a good word.  It’s good to have an advantage in everything and anything; it increases the chances of success of winning exponentially.  It’s even better to have an advantage in any given situation and that no one know you have an advantage, that makes it even sweeter, doesn’t it?  It lets us say things like “They never saw it coming.” and “They had no chance.”  Definitely an advantage is a good thing, perhaps that’s why it’s considered a profit.  Let’s look at the word ‘advantage for a moment.

advantage

ad·van·tage

[ad-van-tij, -vahn-]

noun, verb, ad·van·taged, ad·van·taging.

noun

  1. any state, circumstance, opportunity, or means specially favorable to success, interest, or any desired end: the advantage of a good education.
  2. benefit; gain; profit: It will be to his advantage to learn Chinese before going to China.
  3. superiority or ascendancy (often followed by over  or of  ): His height gave him an advantage over his opponent.
  4. a position of superiority (often followed by over  or of  ): their advantage in experienced players.
  5. Tennis. the first point scored after deuce.verb (used with object)
  6. to be of service to; yield profit or gain to; benefit.
  7. to cause to advance; further; promote: Such action will advantage our cause.
  8. to prove beneficial to; profit: It would advantage him to work harder.Idioms
  9. have the advantage of, to be in a superior or advantageous position; possess an advantage over: By virtue of independent wealth, he has the advantage of his opponents.
  10. take advantage of,
    -to make use of for gain: to take advantage of an opportunity.
    to impose upon, especially unfairly, as by exploiting a weakness: to take advantage of someone.
  11. to advantage, to good effect; advantageously: The paintings were arranged to advantage on one wall.

Advantage  (etymology)

early 14c., “position of being in advance of another,” from O.Fr. advantage, from avant “before,” probably via an unrecorded L.L. *abantaticum, from L. abante (see advance). The -d- is a 16c. intrusion on the analogy of Latin ad- words. Meaning “a favoring circumstance” (the opposite of disadvantage) is from late 15c. Tennis score sense is from 1640s, first recorded in writings of John Milton, of all people. Phrase to take advantage of is first attested late 14c.

Wow!  That’s one powerful definition!  Other than its use in the game of tennis the word advantage defines a characteristic, trait or situation that everyone desires.  It’s the closest thing to a “sure thing” that we can get away with.  It’s also the result of Wordplay of the word “cheating”.  The line between having an “advantage” and plain out cheating does not even exist, we just choose to believe it does so we don’t have to face the fact that it’s CHEATING.
 
Now, let’s do the math.  When you correlate the definitions and meanings of the words “profit”, “profiteer” and “advantage” and factor in the word “exploit” (a word inexplicably absent in the morphology of this entire analysis.  A word so abusively Wordplayed that it is defined – IN THE DICTIONARY – as a “striking or notable deed; feat; spirited or heroic act” AND “to utilize, especially for profit; turn to practical account: to exploit a business opportunity, to use selfishly for one’s own ends”, simultaneously.  Talk about irreconcilable, that’s probably why it’s been eliminated from the definitions of ‘profit’, ‘profiteer’ and ‘advantage’ – it would be a dead giveaway.) an inescapable conclusion is reached:  We have molded ourselves into a world where the driving force behind progress is fraud.  We reward the profit achieved through fraud but not the people who achieve it because we would then need to rewrite the definition of “hypocrisy”.  The money accumulated by profiting from an opportunity where one has the advantage, which is the same exact thing as saying ‘the money that one can accumulate by cheating in business and exploiting the flaws in human judgment in an unfair and biased way without remorse or regard for any consequence’ has become the highest possible achievement in today’s world.  It has become the point to anything and everything, the reason for living, the reason for getting up in the morning, the reason to do anything at all and that to which we owe our time and lives and existence to; it has become humanity’s new religion and money our new diety. 
 
In the end, it’s still fraud and a lie, neither of which work.  After all, everyone knows that the exploitation of a systemic defect is fraud, but it’s still what we want.  At least that’s what most of us choose to believe.  If you are still skeptical, just look in a mirror, no one can lie to the person looking back and that person can’t lie back.
 

Stop believing it.

 

We can do better.

 Citation list:

 American Psychological Association (APA):

profiteering. (n.d.). Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 04 Jul. 2013Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved July 04, 2013, from

Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/profiteering

Chicago Manual Style (CMS):

profiteering. Dictionary.com. Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 04 Jul. 2013 Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/profiteering (accessed: July 04, 2013).

Modern Language Association (MLA):

“profiteering.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition.  HarperCollins Publishers. 04 Jul. 2013. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/profiteering&gt;.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE):

Dictionary.com, “profiteering,” in Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 04 Jul. 2013 Dictionary.com Unabridged. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/profiteering. Available: http://dictionary.reference.com. Accessed: July 04, 2013.

BibTeX Bibliography Style (BibTeX)

@article {Dictionary.com2013,

title = { Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition.},

month = {Jul},

day = {04},

year = {2013},

url = {http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/profiteering},

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Political Wordplay

The systematic destruction of language and linguistics, particularly of the English language continues to progress and has recently made an appearance in the political arena.  Recently the political issues regarding gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and trans-gender (also known as GLBT) rights, in particular the legality of same-sex marriage, have taken center-stage in the political news arena in the U.S.A. after a landmark decision by the Supreme Court.

In many of the seemingly endless and redundant articles and posts on the matter of the Supreme Court’s decision and the same-sex marriage controversy, the word homophobe has been used regularly, in fact, in terms of linguistics; it’s a wonder why homophobe hasn’t been officially categorized as a neologism yet.  It’s been used as to describe a person who dislikes, hates or is otherwise biased towards the GLBT community in general and any individual member of that community in particular for a long time.

Let’s look at the term HOMOPHOBIA.  It is made up of two root morphemes:  homo-, in this case used as a common vulgar prefix referring to a homosexual (which is such a vulgar word) and the suffix –phobia which means -an extreme abnormal fear of or aversion.  If we were to apply the rules of language to this combination, the term should mean someone who is afraid of homosexuals instead of a categorical title used to identify people who dislike, disagree or are biased towards the GLBT community.  I guess nobody reads the dictionary anymore.

One more thing:  Technically, a homophobe is a person who is afraid of anyone who is gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or trans-gender. To be scared of someone who is GLBT; isn’t that kind of totally gay?

Human beings are a trip.  When will we learn that we are all we have and that we are a planet of humans and not a world made up of different kinds of people.

We can do better.

ctwfrank

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Simple Math

If it only makes me feel good; it’s not love.

We can do better.

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More Wordplay

I haven’t posted anything in the Wordplay series in a while.  Here’s one that’s right on target with the moment.  Enjoy!

MISNOMER [mis•no•mer]

noun

Etymology:  From Anglo-Norman mesnomer, noun use of Anglo-Norman and Old French verb mesnomer (“to name incorrectly”), from mes- (“mis-”) + nomer (“to name”) (from Latin nōmināre).

The Wordplay:

Misnomer  is a  rarely used yet very relevant word in today’s world. In spite of a very popular definition believed by many, a misnomer is NOT the placement of the wrong kind of yard decorations (the ones with the pointy hats).   The actual definition of the word is:  incorrect or unsuitable name or term for a person or thing.

Examples: “failing bank” or “failed bank” “cash wealth” “borrowed money” “a loan” “credit card” ‘credit score” “fiscal responsibility” “economic recovery”
See also: contradiction,lie, fraud.

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This morning….

This morning; February 16, 2013; I went for a walk.  Yes, I said a walk.  I actually walked a whole 6 blocks, just enough to reach a street near my home with a small shopping mall that includes a quaint little outdoor cafe-type place, but where people play Sudoku and a host of other modern-day activities that are still alien to me.  I had come to think there weren’t any of these left, but it was nice to see, just as it was nice to see the two little old ladies sitting at a table in the cool morning air – oh wait, is “little old ladies” still the acceptable term?  I’m not sure if it’s already evolved linguistically, maybe the proper term now is “GILF” (you figure it out).  In any event, the two gray haired ladies were having coffee, coffee!  They were also expertly and furiously manipulating their I-pads, or Galaxy tablets, or any of the devices that we can’t live without.  They were reading the news: the Google news app, yahoo news, etc.  As I passed the cafe, not more than 3 feet from where they were sitting; this is what I overheard one of them say as she read the news app:

-”Oh great!  Shit!  As if all the crap that’s going on nowadays isn’t enough, now we seem to have developed meteors!”    

The walk back home was priceless; I had the biggest smile I’ve had in weeks.  We humans are outrageous, fickle, self-centered and even idiotic at times – but we are also spectacular!  We can do so much with what we have.  I don’t know if we actually will or not, in the face of what’s ahead, but no matter what happens, I love all of you;  all 7 billion of you – after all we’re all we have!

ctwfrank

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