I’m a “boomer.”  So are most of my friends.  They’re boomers too.  Boom boom.  But I have to admit to being a little dense about the other generational monikers that are assigned to different age groups. Soooooo, I figured that this would be a good opportunity to learn.   Since this is all new to me – and may be to you – here’s the scoop . . . .

Born between 1900 and 1924?  You’re in the G.I. Generation (not many of these folks left)

1925-1945 — You’re in the Silent Generation (endured Depression and war)

1946-1964 — You’re a Baby Boomer (off the charts IQ, multi-talented, handsome, suave, debonair, glib, trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent).

1965-1979 — You’re a Generation X (the “lost” generation.  First generation of latchkey kids.  Exposed to lots of daycare and divorce.  Lowest voting participation of any generation)

1980-2000 — You’re a Millennial or Generation Y (tech savvy.  Exposed to “it all.”  Very segmented, racially, ethnically diverse)

2001-Present — You’re a New Silent Generation or Generation Y (the jury is still out)

I would sure like to be a Generation Y . . . . knowing what I do today.

So this Guy. . . . .

So on Monday morning, this guy goes to work with a nasty-looking black eye.

What happened to you?” said his friend.

Geeesh. . . I was in Church yestereday. When we all stood up to sing a hymm, this old woman in front of me stood up. She was wearing this huge billowy dress and the back of the dress was stuck in her belt and in her rear end. So I reached forward and pulled it out.  With that, she turned around and smacked me.”

Gee that’s too bad,” said the friend. “You try and do a good deed and look what happens.”

The next Monday the same guy came to work – this time with the other eye all blackened.   His friend saw him and said “Wow! What happened to you?”

Guy said “So yesterday we go to Church. And we sit behind this same woman. We all stood up to sing a hymm and – just like last week – her big billowy dress was caught up in her belt and in her rear end. The guy next to me reached over and pulled it out. But I knew she didn’t like that so I just leaned forward and tucked it all back in. . . . . . “

Gambling – Part II

I had some gentle push back on my prior post from some on the point that people should have freedom – to choose – to go to a casino or not to go to a casino.   I don’t disagree.  Offering casino opportunities is one thing.  But 24 hours a day?  7 days a week?  On Christmas day?  On the 4th of July?  Again – who spends their days and nights at casinos?   We already know – and our politicians know – the demographics.  It’s mainly lower income people.  Our race tracks have a season – and hours.  So do bars.  Restaurants.  Stores.  Why not casinos?  The quick answer is that our politicians know that they can glean revenue in big buckets from casinos.  Sooooo, leave them stay open.  24/7.  365 days a year.  Oh – and let’s build more casinos.  To twist the knife into the belly of the poor while smiling and going “shhhhhh.”        

Our politicians know full well who’s spending their hard earned bucks – and welfare checks – at the all-night casinos and truck stop betting parlors.   These boys care only about money and power. And – as I said in my earlier post – they don’t care one bit who they grind into insolvency (or divorce or addiction or the other ills that attend).  Remember that next time you go to the polls. . . . .    


I’ve been to casinos and race tracks and placed a few bets.  It’s entertainment.  It’s fun.  But the last time was when I was on vacation a few years ago.   I’ll drop a few bucks on the Lottery.  When it’s big.   But in short, I don’t gamble.  And I don’t know anyone who does. It seems like the majority of people who regularly go to casinos or the race track are the people who work there.  And those who can least afford it.

Gambling is a cruel regressive tax which promotes social ills, bankruptcies, divorce and the blind addiction to hope.  Of winning.  And it targets the poor.  And Illinois leads America’s race to the bottom in this national disgrace.  Fleecing our own people.  Exploiting the poor.  And grubbing for money.    

I just read an article that Illinois is now considering a bill to allow the state’s ten casinos to stay open 24 hours a day.  The logic?  Recently 24 hour gambling was pushed — and passed — for truck stops.  Sooooo, we should now permit equal opportunity insolvency for all of our people.  Not just truckers.  Great.  And of course 24 hour gambling offers more distraction from “bringing home the bacon” (or even going home at all). 

In the year 2000, the bipartisan U.S. National Gambling Impact Study Commission (sponsored by IL Democratic Senator Paul Simon) found that 80% of all gambling revenue was derived from households earning less than $50,000 annually.  What’s the government’s “take”?  Low income gamblers had to lose $84 billion (that’s with a “B”) to casinos and lotteries for the governments to take in $24 billion in lucre.  And of course taxpayers often foot the bill for welfare checks to these folks.   

It’s not the doctors, lawyers, bankers, teachers or business people who are spending their days and nights gambling. Face it — it’s those who are struggling to survive financially.  And we all know how the odds are stacked.  So next time you hear a politician argue in favor of gambling initiatives, more casinos, and longer hours, know full well that he wants the poor and the destitute to get it in the neck.  And he doesn’t care one bit . . . . 

Talk Like a Pirate Day

I can’t wait! September 19th is “International Talk Like a Pirate Day.” Do you know about this special day? 

In 1995 two guys from Albany, OR (John “Ol’ Chumbucket” Baur and Mark “Cap’n Slappy” Summers proclaimed September 19th as the day everyone in the world should “talk like a pirate.” The whole idea stemmed from a racquetball injury. One of them reacted with an “Arrrggghhh” as he lay on the floor in pain – and along came an idea. For seven years, it remained an “inside” idea but in 2002 they sent a letter about their “holiday” to humorist Dave Barry.  Barry liked the idea, pushed it in a few columns and the rest is history.

Actor Robert Newton (who starred as Long John Silver in the 1950 Disney film “Treasure Island“) is considered the patron saint of Talk Like a Pirate Day.   So remember, on September 19th, when anyone says anything to you, tilt your head, give them the eye and say “Avast you scurvy lubber.  Prepare to be boarded. . . . ”  

I suggest writing your Congressmen and Senators to make this a national holiday.  Since nearly all politicians are scurvy bilge rats, this should be a natural for them . . . . .

The Great Hash Brown Cook Off

Donna and I spent a long weekend in Park City, UT with some good friends. One evening, we planned to make dinner and dine in. Soooooo I volunteered to make my world-famous hash brown potatoes. No big thing. Well, my friend Jack said “I make hash browns too. Why don’t we have a cook off?”  I thought hmmmm . . .  a cookoff.  With that, the gloves were down, the aprons on and the skillets ready. We went to Fresh Market where I bought some large (ideally organic) yellow potatoes (I used 8) and two large yellow onions. I was ready.  Jack bought similar ingredients. We went back and fired up the stove.

I halved, then thinly-sliced the onions.  I washed the potatoes and pitted any “eyes” or rough spots (gotta be perfect).  Then cut into small chunks.  I put the onions and potatoes into a large fry pan with olive oil then covered on low heat.  The object – to cook the potatoes slowly by steaming them with the onions.  I stirred frequently.  This is a slow process – taking 45 minutes or more.  Gradually the potatoes softened and the onions began to darken.  I added garlic powder, pepper, salt and a little Italian seasoning.  Then I tossed in a large spoon of butter.  Mmmmmmm . . . . When the potatoes were ready, I turned up the heat and took off the top to do a little pan roasting for perhaps six or seven minutes.  At this point, well done chopped bacon is an option. 

The result was wonderful.  Jack’s offering was a counterpoint to mine.  He first boiled the potatoes and chopped them small and tossed in with finely-chopped onions.  He used butter only.  His were more traditional flat hash browns with the delicious buttery taste.  Mine were chunky and more of a roasted potato dish.  The gathering happily devoured both.  No winner was declared.  It was a toss up!  🙂   

The 72 . . . or is it 73?

I find religion a fascinating topic.  I find it easier to talk about religion with Pakistani cab drivers than to talk about politics with those of other stripe.  Over the last couple years, I’ve posted on the Taliban (12/30/12); Islam, Judaism and Christianity (3/26/12); Ahl al-Kitab (8/23/12); and the archangel Gabriel — the amazing messenger of God ( 1/30/12).  Bottom line — Christians, Jews and Muslims all come from Abraham.  We believe in the same God.  We all read the Old Testament.  And the Archangel Gabriel – the uber messenger – plays a pivotal role in all three religions (as he does in the Mormon Church, the Bahai faith and others). 

But in the Judeo-Christian world, you don’t see Lutherans burning Presbyterian churches.  You don’ts see Jews killing Baptists or Catholics throwing rocks at Mormon temples.  There is no sectarian strife among Christians and Jews.  But just walk to the Muslim side of the world and see how Islam behaves.  Many of the 72 (I believe it’s now 73) different sects hate each other.  With fury.  With passion.  The Sunnis hate the Shiia;  Wahabis hate the Ahmadiyya.  And Salafis and Sufis hate pretty much everybody.  In Nigeria, the Hausa Muslims (Boko Haram) seek out and kill Yoruba Muslims – women and children – wherever and whenever.   

I continue to be bewildered and troubled by this much-vaunted “religion of peace” which has 1.6 billion followers.  All recite the same article of faith “La illah ila Allah Muhammed Rasul Alah” (“There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger“).  Yet the violence among them — for ostensibly religious (and often political) reason — is mind-numbing.  It is caused mainly by Islamic fundamentalists .(who frankly have no clue about the teachings of Allah).  What is needed are voices of reason and a true ecumenism among Muslims — and all faiths.        

Never Give In . . . .

Two years ago (August 22, 2011), I had a post titled “Calvin Coolidge.”  The post repeated Coolidge’s oft-quoted words which ended “. . . .Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

Winston Churchill was a pretty special guy and he brought these words to a whole new semantic level.  In 1941, during the dark days of World War II, Winston Churchill was invited to give the commencement address at the Harrow School. Known for rapier wit and great wisdom – Churchill addressed the young graduates.  But he spoke to the nation.  His comments concluded with an admonition to all – Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense.”

It’s often easy to give up.  Back down.  Throw in the towel.  But with words like Churchill’s – and those of Coolidge – we can’t help but be inspired,  How can one look in the mirror and say “it’s finished” when the specter of Churchill looms over one’s shoulder.  William Manchester’s trilogy The Last Lion chronicles the life of Churchill. It is the best biography I have ever read and one I would highly recommend. It might take a while to read (it’s over 3,000 pages) but don’t give up.  Press on.  Keep reading.  Never give in. . . . .