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I haven’t been promoting my campaign for a while.  Let’s face it, there’s so much no one is bothering to talk about because no one has a clue what’s going on.  Well, I’ve come up with one important foreign policy rule that I would encourage.  When sending anyone to Russia to negotiate with or even just stand next to Vladimir Putin, make sure they are less than 5′ 5″.  I am not the first to notice that his petite frame might be the cause of his determination to take over neighboring countries.  

This is more important that we might think.  Looking at history, which I do most of the time, one realizes that those other short megalomaniacs, Napoleon and Hitler, were defeated by the Russian winter.  Well, Putin has that one licked already.  Therefore, I say, be sensitive to his feelings.  Put him among other short people.  Show that a smaller leader and a smaller Russia are good things to be respected.  Stress quality over size.  Maybe Vladimir will become happier with himself and go back to hang gliding rather than invading.

If I’m elected, I’ll do my best to arrange photos of politicians by height, maybe putting the shorter ones on boxes to even things up.  I’m going to stand next to the biggest person I can find, because I’d rather feel less conspicuous.  Hmmm… not a good trait in a politician.  Good thing I’m only running for the perks.

I was suggesting to a friend the other day that she should have a will.  Like many people, she was resistant.  Then I pointed out that if she died without one, a lot of her money would go to the courts and the government.  That got her attention.

The other candidates in this election seem to think that it’s about a choice between Big Government, telling everyone what to do and regulating people to death and Free Enterprise that will return us to the days of child labor, sweat shops (yes, I know they still exist) and no health insurance.  When did everything become so polarized?

Personally, I think we should have a constitutional monarchy.  I’ve been practicing my queen wave.  Somehow I don’t think that’s going to be an option, darn.

However, what fascinates me is how many of us have forgotten the preamble to the Constitution.   The whole point of our republican democracy is that the people decide things.

 WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT.

 So, if we don’t like the way things are going, we can get rid of the bums without resorting to riots or siege warfare.   We can also convince the people we elect to change their views.  One of the few things I like about Republican Rome is that no one could run the Senate for more than two years.  (Bread and circuses were nice, too.  I suppose they were the equivalent of Food Stamps and NPR, both of which may be on their way out.)

I have lots more opinions for my platform but I’m overwhelmed by the rest of the media.  One thing I’ve decided to change is the much beloved Grammar Police.  I always felt it was a bit too authoritarian and I don’t want to live in a dictatorship, even if I’m in charge.  A friend suggested another term, “lifeguard”.  I like that.  Adults, especially those on news programs and other media, may need a strong hand but wouldn’t it be lovely to have a group of people spreading across the country to schools, meeting rooms, offices, even bars, ready to save those who fall into verbal confusion?

If you don’t vote for me, vote for the establishment of the Grammar Lifeguards!

Thank you for your support.

In my water aerobics class the other day, we did an unplanned regression.  We played.  We sang ‘Farmer in the Dell’, did the Hokey-Pokey and giggled rebelliously when asked to tone it down. We were still giggling when we went out to face the day.

After consulting with friends on Facebook (where most comments on my blog are made) I realized that this needs to be another plank in my platform.  Congress, lighten up!! You guys are suffering from lack of play.  Now, getting in the pool every day probably isn’t a good idea, especially considering the problems so many have with sexual stimulation.  But there’s no reason why we couldn’t have a nice game of dodge ball, or red rover to get out aggressions.  And teams would not be allowed to form on party lines, except on Friday when there would be a weekend to heal.

Afterwards, everyone would go in for milk and graham crackers, followed by a nap or at least quiet time on our own mats.  If anyone thinks it would be impossible, I have some kindergarten teachers for you to meet.  Once we institute REAL childlike behaviors, maybe Congress will grow up.  That’s what I shall propose when you elect me.

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What Ever Happened to Critical Thinking?

I recently have been put to a great deal of trouble based on information that someone got from a website that I hadn’t updated in over two years.  It would have taken less than five minutes to find out if the information was accurate but the person took the page as current and never bothered to follow up, even though logic would have told him that it put me in two places at the same time.

This was annoying but it also brought home to me how much we believe these days from only looking at single sources.  Part of this is, as someone explained to me, “People like to believe things that confirm their prejudices.”  If what you read does, why bother to check further?

One result of this is that people are happy to base their votes on the certainty that Mitt Romney personally hired Chinese peasants to take jobs from Americans or that Barack Obama is on the payroll of the Israeli government. (I’ve heard both of these. DON’T cite me as a source)  Which you believe depends on how you already feel about these men.  How many of us are happy to hit “share” without finding out if there is any truth in the statements?

We have always been inclined to do this.  Word of mouth has been a source of “accurate” news for thousands of years.  Advances in the means of communication has only accelerated this and not just recently.  As I say in THE REAL HISTORY OF THE TEMPLARS, King Philippe IV had broadsides read throughout France telling of the crimes that the Templars confessed to.  These were so successful that some people still believe them. 

But now anyone with internet access can find both totally unsupported gossip and also, with more work, the facts behind it.  The problem is that few people bother.  One of the things I notice most, as an historian, is the way in which myths root themselves like stinkweed and can’t be eradicated.  I know for a fact that there are people who believe everyone in the Middle Ages was five feet tall, didn’t live past thirty, thought the earth was flat, never bathed, put women in chastity belts and believed everything the pope told them. (Of course my readers are smarter than that)  All of these things have been proven many times to be false but, because so many people WANT to believe they’re true, they never bothered to find out.  Even worse, they are sure that historical and archeological reports to the contrary must be fabricated.

Why is it that so many people thought/think that the Mayans predicted the end of the world?   How many are certain that aliens have visited earth?  All rich people are heartless and greedy.  All poor people are lazy and don’t want to work.  We love thinking in generalities.  I include myself in this, but I have also been trained as an historian and that means finding more than one source to prove my assumptions.  It also means being able to accept that my first impressions and preconceptions might be wrong.

I’m posting this on both blogs and my fan page.  It covers everything.  I suppose it’s a sort of manifesto against fuzzy logic.  Along with the grammar police, I intend to submit a bill in the Senate requiring schools to emphasize analytical thinking.  I shall also establish remedial classes for anyone entering politics.  Any out-of-work historians or experimental scientists like to apply to teach them?

Agatha and I thinking analytically.Image

 

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international humanity

Back from my fact-finding tour of Europe. Did anyone miss me?  I was in Paris for the inauguration of Francois Hollande as president of France.  So far, France hasn’t changed dramatically but he does seem willing to put my “trickle up” plan into effect there so I feel I’ve done well.

Italy was more interesting.  I know the economic situation there is dire but someone is still building offices and the major sites are well maintained.  Also, children seem to be treasured, not just by their families, but by everyone.  Unlike the United States, cutting child care and education aren’t on the table for Italian politicians.

I do have some suggestions for helping the Italians balance the budget.  The first is for everyone to stop smoking.  Smoking is forbidden in most public buildings restaurants and shops but outside, my goodness!  What they spend on cigarettes alone could feed a family for a month or pay for new clothes and gadgets.  As a substitute, gelato is a good choice.  It can be found everywhere and provides oral satisfaction almost equal to nicotine.  And think how that would benefit the dairy industry.

The friend I was traveling with felt that Italy has so much ancient/medieval/early modern/contemporary art that selling off a few pieces could bring a lot into the treasury.  So someone in the 1% gets Michelangelo’s David or a chunk of the Coliseum, at the least money might help the 99%.  And the Coliseum is really big.  A few sections might not even be missed.

The last thing I discovered is that, contrary to our convictions, Americans can’t be picked out from the rest of the world.  At least not until they open their mouths and, unless one listens very closely, Canadians might be mistaken for us, although they try very hard not to let that happen.

As proof of this, I enclose a photo I took on the Spanish Steps in Rome.  Only a small fraction of these people are from the United States.  Can you spot them?  I couldn’t.  I conclude that it’s just possible that we’re not that different from everyone else after all.

I shall bring these deep insights to my role as Senator-at-Large when asked to vote on foreign policy.  Gelato, anyone?

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Well, as Terry Prachett says, “This is a turnip for the books”.   I was going to write about my plans for a truly defensive army but that will have to wait.  I’m going back to my sister’s platform that Medicare should start at birth, or before.  This has always seemed logical to me.  The sooner people get good preventative medical care, the less likely they’ll need horrendously expensive care later.  My experience with National Health programs in other countries has been very positive.  Yes, one has to wait for elective surgery but that’s the same here.  And, with that little health card, one can go anywhere in the country and get care.

Why am I mentioning this?  Because, after waiting nearly a year for knee replacement, Kaiser just sent me a letter cancelling my policy.  The reason?  I wasn’t in their service area any more.  Huh?  I’m in the Oregon/Washington Kaiser.  I live in Oregon.  I called them and was told, “Oh, we don’t really mean that.  You’re only covered in the Portland area.”  Right.  So why do they call it Oregon/Washington Kaiser?  While dealing with this bureaucratic enigma, which may raise my blood pressure to uninsurable levels, I keep thinking, “(a) we need a better system. And (b) I need a job with a good health program, no worries about pre-existing conditions and no heavy lifting.”

Once again, I’m asking for your vote for Senator at Large!!!

 

Next time: Why we can’t be a world power unless we have a Secretary of Culture (with Grammar Police)