Goodbye Barry - Welcome Home AMERICA!

Saturday, December 27, 2014


I watched "The Interview" on 12/25 - SAVE YOUR MONEY! It didn't quite suck, but - at its best - I smiled several times at something I found clever. After all the hoopla surrounding this film, I didn't find anything really funny in Sony's "comedy". On a scale of 1-10 "The Interview" gets a miserable 3.5.

I feel sorry for those poor folks who stood in ridiculously long lines waiting to see this "comedy". The acting was acceptable - Seth Rogen and James Franco (and whoever played Kim) upheld their end of the bargain, and the concept was very good, but the execution of the comedy - with one or two exceptions that caused me to smile - pretty-much flatlined.

Apparently, there are those who disagree with me, as indicated in this excerpt from a news article - "An afternoon screening at the Van Nuys Regency Theatres in the city's San Fernando Valley was two-thirds full and drew a diverse crowd ranging from teens to senior citizens, who laughed loudly throughout at Rogen and Franco's antics."It was much better than I thought it would be," said Carlos Royal, 45, a professor." His statement indicates that professor's in California are easily amused by humor so long as it is presented at the grade-school level.

It's possible that I may have some heretofore unspecified "Asian blood" in my heritage, because the South Koreans seem to agree with my position. From the same article as above - "In Asia, online audiences seemed to find the movie tedious.
"There is no drama and not much fun," said a blogger in South Korea. "It's all about forced comedy that turns you off. Couldn't they have done a better job making this movie?"

TEDIOUS!! That's the word I as looking for! An hour and fifty two minutes of tedium. Rogen and Franco are capable of MUCH better. "The Interview" makes my list of MOVIES WELL WORTH MISSING!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Desiderata (Things Desired - "Welcome" in Latin)


Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.  As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.  Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.  But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection.  Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.  But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.  Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

 Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.  You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. 

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
Origin Unknown

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


This post is in response to a couple of inquiries from some friends in Facebook...

I "played" with a Ouija board a couple of times as a child, when I was around 12 years old (by the time I was 13, I found girls to be more interesting).  The few questions I posed to it garnered surprisingly accurate answers, when I verified them.  But, that was the kind of stuff kids did before there were video games and "personal computers". In my mid-teens, I had several extra-physical experiences - precognitive dreams (aka: déjà vu), a sighting of (what I call) a "sprit house" (possessing three dimensions [that's a long story all by itself], but had no physical presence) that was no longer on that site, and an OBE in my late twenties.

I joined the Navy eight days after my 17th birthday, experienced 13 weeks of Basic Training at USNTC Great Lakes, Illinois, where I was selected for training as a Radioman.  I was a part of a very large group called "Burke's Boys" - enlistees who are selected for a particular field in Basic Training, but who were assigned to general duty in the fleet for 6 months before attending that training.  My first ship was the USS Tidewater, a destroyer tender at NOB Norfolk, VA.  That was where I spent my time polishing brass in the passageways, chipping paint and repainting various parts of the ship, rebuilding electrical motors, and inventorying all sorts of things that were required aboard ship.

Radioman "Class A" School at Bainbridge NTC, Maryland, was my next assignment.  At Bainbridge we learned basic electronics, typing and International Morse Code.  I enjoyed being on dry land again, and this assignment (as I recall) lasted about 3 months.  Upon completion of the course, I was reassigned to the USS Mount McKinley, a Fleet Communications Command Ship as a Radioman.

About 3 months later (1967-68) the Mount Mac (as the crewmembers called her) got underway for a 6 month Mediterranean Cruise.  One of the guys on the ship had a Oiuja board, and pulled it out one day while we were crossing the Atlantic Ocean.  Those of us who weren't "on watch" thought it would be a fun way to break up the monotony, and another shipmate and I began playing with it.  A group of about six gathered around us to watch.

We both placed our hands upon the planchette (pointer), and it began slowly moving around the board (it didn't seem to have any discernable pattern to it's movements, the pointer just seemed to roam around the board as if it was familiarizing itself with the layout). After about a minute, the pointer made a couple of big, quick, sweeping movements around the board, like it was comfortable with the board and ready to "do it's thing". It paused with the viewer over the letter "H", then moved to "U", then "R" and "T", and then paused for maybe 10 seconds. Okay… HURT. It then moved again, this time pausing momentarily on "P", then on "A", then "I" and "N". We now had HURT and PAIN… and we stared at each other blankly, each shrugging indication it had no meaning. So far, the message meant nothing to either of us. After another 8-10 second pause, the pointer moved and paused on the "V", and then moved to "I", and took then another long break.

We decided to try it again, and asked the board "Who are we communicating with?" "V" and "I" was the response, spelling "Vi". At that point I asked the guy on the other side of the board if he knew anybody named Virginia, Violet, Virgil or Vincent.  He didn't… but, one of the people watching blurted, "I DO!".  I turned my head to look at him… his face was drained of all color, and his pupils were the size of saucers! And then he told us his story…

His family lived on a working farm, with all the usual animals, crops and farming equipment.  The tools and equipment were all kept in the barn when they weren't in use, and the fuel for the equipment (tractor, etc.) was stored in a large old drum outside of the barn.  The drum had a slight leak around the valve, of which the family was aware. He said his younger sister (named Violet but called "Vi"), was playing around the old drum one day… with matches (that nobody in the family had any idea she had found), when the fuel ignited and extinguished her young life. On that day, I became a believer that the word "impossible" no longer had much practical meaning.  It had been demonstrated, to my satisfaction that there was a potential power by unseen forces to - under the right conditions - reach out from the afterlife.


I know that - for myself - when I read something like this, I am almost immediately tempted to try it. Ouija requires no particular skill, no physical prowess, and can be navigated by even borderline idiots.  I would caution everyone who reads this - DO NOT run out to buy a Ouija "game".  Keep in mind that - as in the physical world - there are benevolent, neutral, and evil presences in the realm of "restless spirits".  The operators of the Ouija DO NOT get to pick and choose which type of "spirit" comes through the thin veil that separates the realm of our physical world from that of the non-physical world.  We were fortunate, in that this was a neutral spirit which was reaching out to one of our observers. There was no indication of malevolence in this instance.  I am not selling Ouija Boards, nor do I hold any stock in Parker Brothers… I am simply reporting a personal experience, and specifically NOT recommending anyone interact with a Ouija!  It's one of those "You pays your money, and you  takes your chances." things.  Personally, I have not touched a Ouija since that experience of over 50 years ago (but I also know that people will do what people will do). Should you choose to ignore my warning, I wish you the best of luck and safety. As a curious aside, I must note that Parker Brothers is located in SALEM, MA - "witch-hunt" headquarters in the time of the Pilgrim.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Are you enjoying the LOWEST gasoline prices in 5+ years ($2.399 at Sam's Club today)? Wondering how they came to be so low all of a sudden? Well, enjoy it while you can… here's the bad news.

OPEC recently lowered their price per barrel from $100+ to $65.33. That was nice of them, wasn't it? Maybe, maybe not.  There are two things driving the price down -
1.      Reduced demand, and
2.      "Fracking" (fracturing) in the USA

Now, think about this - you are OPEC and you have about half the money in the world to work with. Your production costs (I'm just guessing here, impossible to find online) run $15-$20 per barrel, and you're selling it to the world at $100+ per barrel. Half-way around the world, U.S. companies begin fracturing oil shale - "Fracking" - and are retrieving oil at a production cost per barrel of $70. Also, understand that the fracking business began with several trillions of dollars of indebtedness to stock and bond holders.

How do you - as OPEC - maintain control of the market for the long run? By lowering the cost of your oil to 93% of the production cost of the upstart's oil. You're still gaining over 200% above the cost of production, and simultaneously driving the competition out of business. You (OPEC) can afford to do that until the frackers collapse under the weight of their debt. When that happens, you (OPEC) push the price up to $150 per barrel overnight.

The window of rejoicing WILL be limited - limited by how long the frackers can keep their collective head above water. According to published studies, we have approximately 3X the oil in western North Dakota's Bakken oil fields than all the OPEC countries combined!  I'm hoping that if things get "dicey", there will be a bailout by our government of an industry that is truly DESERVING of assistance.  In the long term, we WILL benefit from a bailout of fracking by becoming "energy independent" of imported fossil fuel. Which is precisely why the CURRENT administration won't permit it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


North Dakota Names Landfill after Obama

The state of North Dakota has named a new publicly-owned landfill after President Barack Obama.

In an overwhelming 35-10 vote, the state Senate advanced a bill naming a 650-acre site currently under construction after the nation’s 44th president. Governor Jack Dalrymple is expected to sign the measure into law Tuesday.

When completed, the Barack Obama Memorial Landfill will be the largest waste disposal site in North Dakota, and the 17th largest in the United States. It will be especially rich in toxic waste from the local petroleum and medical industries.

“We wanted to do something to honor the president,” says Republican State Senator Doug Perlman, who was the lead sponsor of the bill. “And I think a pile of garbage is a fitting tribute to Obama’s presidency."

“We originally planned on naming it after a nearby mountain. But then someone jokingly suggested we name it after Obama. I never thought and idea like that would actually pass. But I was pleasantly surprised.”

The president is hardly popular in North Dakota (or anywhere else in the world). The most recent poll in December 2013 found that Obama has a 35% approval rating in the state, although that figure may have fallen further in the year since. Yet even considering the political climate, seasoned observers are surprised that two Democratic lawmakers voted for the bill’s passage.

“I supported Obama because I thought he would end the wars in the Middle East;” says Allison Mitchell, a progressive Democrat from Grand Forks. “But he decided to fight new wars abroad instead of fighting for single-payer health care and jobs here at home.  I guess people expected me to oppose this landfill thing because I’m a Democrat. But honestly I don’t really care anymore. Maybe this small act of protest will wake him up.”

Ordinary citizens in the state also seem to approve of the government’s choice. “I can’t think of a better name,” says Joe Blough, a plumber from Minot. “It’s darkly colored and it's full of shit. That pretty much sums up Obama.”