Animals

In Pakistan, 145 students (mostly Muslim children) are slaughtered by the Taliban. And the civilized world calls the perpetrators “animals.” In Western Iraq, 322 men, women and children (all Muslim) are massacred by ISIS and dumped into a well.  And we call the perpetrators “animals.” In the Syrian town of Abu Hamam, ISIS assassins murder every male over the age of 15. More than 700 victims. And the media calls the perpetrators “animals.”  In France – Islamic radicals just murdered 17  And the world decries the “animals” who did this.  Thousands killed by Al-Qaeda in Pakistan.  Thousands exterminated by Boko Haram in Nigeria. And let’s no forget 9/11.  Mercy – when will this madness stop? 

When you read and hear – day after painful and sickening day – of massacres and horror beyond belief perpetrated by Muslim extremists (and their insatiable craving for more blood), one comes to the conclusion that some people really are “animals.”   Yet using that term is an insult to a lot of respectable dogs, cats, lions, frogs, turtles, porpoise, jellyfish and pigs.  These “people” are worse than “animals.”  These “animals” are rabid.  And we all know what we do with rabid animals.  They are destroyed.  I don’t think even the ASPCA or PETA would object. . . .   

9.5

Last Saturday, Donna asked if I would want to make dinner.   I was quick to say “sure.”   And I trotted off to Fresh Market to reconnoiter. The result was a 9.5.

I took flounder filets, rolled in gluten-free bread crumbs, basted lightly in olive oil and then baked for 14 minutes at 375.  Flounder is a buttery, tasty fish.  Hard to go wrong.  My vegetable medley was a take off on a prior theme.  Fresh shiitaki mushrooms, washed, dried and sliced; a sweet onion – sliced; and some organic carrots – chopped. All was put into a covered skillet, smothered in olive oil and nipped with pepper and turmeric.  After about 40 minutes (stirring frequently), I drained and added a wee bit of honey to caramelize. Finally it was my fresh guacamole (avocado, cilantro and lime juice) with gluten-free hummus chips.  And a few slices of fresh mango.  We enjoyed a Liberty School pinot noir and some San Pelligrino.   Dessert was a Talenti Sicilian pistachio gelato to which I added small chunks of 72% dark chocolate. 

It didn’t hurt that I hand crafted a menu with my usual art work, put on a little Gato Barbieri, lit a few candles.  And I did the dishes. 

I know what you’re thinking . . . .”Petersen – you &@^$x#!% – you’re making me look bad.” 

There Goes the Neighborhood

You live in a neighborhood where every time you step out the door, a group of thugs grabs you and take your money. They leave you a few bucks but they take much of it.  The same thugs dictate where you can go, what you can do, who you can hang out with and how you may spend your life. They are on top of you. Always.  Jamming new rules and demands down your throat.

And then someone from the neighborhood says “I moved to a new neighborhood. There are thugs but they’re not so bad.” And so what do you do? What would you do? Move?  Hmmm?   And so we have “inversions.”

The United States is one of the most heavily-taxed and heavily-regulated countries in the world (if you disagree – try Google).  The corporate tax rate is now the highest in the world.  And we punish and demonize the shrinking number of businesses and individuals who actually pay taxes (think Pareto’s Principle).  We are lurching toward the insidious social system that has wrecked Europe’s economy.   So you tell me — what is corporate America supposed to do?  American businesses are under siege.  Regulatory walls are closing in.  Roofs are collapsing.  The smart move is to get out of town.  So some do.  Moving operating headquarters overseas or at least to states which are conducive to business.   After all – why stay in a neighborhood that hates you?    

There’s a big difference between evading taxes and avoiding taxes.  The ignorant say that corporations (and individuals) are evading taxes.  That’s a lie.  Businesses take advantage of legal exemptions (do you cheat because you take a mortgage deduction?).  And they avoid taxes.  Legally.  If those in Washington were smart, they would revise the punishing tax code and make America competitive with the rest of the world.   But that’s expecting way too much.  Ideology and politics get in the way.  Great. 

The Lottery

In 1996, 14 members of my old law firm won the Illinois State Lottery.  All six numbers on a Wednesday night drawing.  $4.4 million over 20 years divided 14 ways.  I was one of two attorneys to participate (you can do the math).   No one retired. . . .

I still play a $1.00 Lotto ticket to the tune of $104 a year.  For yucks.   Same family numbers each week.  I win a few bucks here and there but so far, lightning has not struck twice.  Why?  The odds of winning are one in 20,358,520.  The odds of winning the Powerball are 1 in 175,223,510.

I’ve always thought that states could reap a huge windfall of tax money by taking a new approach.  Instead of picking 6 or 7 numbers (between 1 and 52 or whatever) – pick one single number between 1 and 175,223,510.  You’re gonna have a lot of people picking “711” or their birth year or their child’s birthday (1252007).  But how many people will pick 12 or 147,996 or 174,224,011?   You probably won’t have many who pick in the stratosphere of numbers.  And yet — the odds remain the same.  What will happen?  The quick answer — no one will win.  State coffers will overflow.  And politicians will have to think up new ways to waste money. 

As for me, I’m gonna play 106,228,003.  And take it to the bank.  Ka-ching ka-ching . . . . .

Favorite Movies

Okay okay!  All I had to do was mention a few of my favorite movies and I received perhaps 20 emails from friends  (all guys by the way) with their favorite movies.  “You gotta mention. . . ”  “The best of all time was . . . .”  “Don’t forget. . . .”   Soooo I will reference here my buds’ agglomeration of top movies:

“Bridge Over the River Kwai”

“The World’s Fastest Indian” (about a motorcycle – not a Native American)

“Revenge of the Pink Panther” (I love this one)

“Glory Road”

“Hoosiers”

“The Best Years of Our Lives”

“Ben Hur”

“Uncle Buck”

“It’s a Wonderful Life”

“Weekend at Bernie’s”

“My Cousin Vinny”

“Legally Blonde”

“Casablanca”

I have to confess, there are a few I have not seen.  So I’ve asked Donna to put them on our Netflix list.  Her response?  “We’ll see, Scott.  Maybe after “When Harry Met Sally” “Roman Holiday” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” “Gone with the Wind” “Shakespeare in Love” “An Affair to Remember” “Sleepless in Seattle” . . . .