Saturday, January 2, 2016

It's No Fun Having a Belly Brewery!

Good Day World!

Did the headline get your attention?

Whenever I find out about rare conditions experienced by people I like to share them. Got a good one for you today.

Have you ever heard of "auto-brewery syndrome?"

The term conjours up some odd images and even odder stories.

Like this one about a woman who was arrested for drunken driving with over four times the legal limit for blood-alcohol level - but had the charges dismissed in court.

Why? She had a rare condition that turned ordinary food in her digestive system into alcohol. However, and here's where it really gets weird, she wasn't drunk. She didn't even feel high.

It gets weirder. Some people do feel drunk and act like it with this condition. The good news; it's treatable with a special diet. 

Time for me to walk on down the road...  

Friday, January 1, 2016

A New Way To Live Day By Day?

Good Day World!

Alexander Pope, in his An Essay on Man reminds us that..."Hope springs eternal in the human breast."

Every year we like to believe that we're starting over. Erasing last year's mistakes. Getting a clean slate. Wiping away bad memories. Starting over.

We make resolutions that we may, or may not, keep.

What would we do if we didn't have our Gregorian 
 calendar to tell us this was the first day of every new year?

Would we wander around without hope of change in our lives because the days never turned into years? 

Would we have to stop having birthdays and anniversaries?

Would we defy Father Time and stay at one age? Forever frozen in a fantasy called life? 

Just what would it mean to stop marking time?

Would holidays fade away into tribal memories? 

Would our sense of time slow down? Would we count our days like pearls, valuing the here and now?

Just fleeting thoughts in an old man's mind on New Year's Day.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Thursday, December 31, 2015

9 Things I'd Like to See in 2016 - I Bet You Would Too!

Good Day World!

The New Year is lurking around the corner like an eager toddler. 

The following is a list of nine things I'd like to see happen in 2016. 

1) Donald Trump drops out of the presidential race when his wife Melanie runs off with Jeb Bush to Mexico.

(2) Warning devices on cell phones that alert users they are about to walk off a cliff, step in front of a car, or walk into an electric fence! Enough said!

(3) So-called "Affluence Teen" gets 10 years in Texas prison cell with Bubba (who really likes blond bad boys) when his case moves to adult court and he violates probation set down there. You know he will.

(4) Steven Colbert is appointed Special Ambassador to Russia. Putin laughs so hard at one of his KGB jokes that he has a stroke and Russia gets a new president.

(5) A complete overhaul of Congress in November, starting with a traditional tar-and-feathering ceremony for the outgoing clowns.

(6) Phone booths (sorta) make a comeback. They are re-named "Personal Spaces" and rent out for $5 an hour. You provide your own phone.

7) Headline: Trophy-collecting Gorilla (Bongo) bags two human hunters packing AR-15s in the Congo!

(8) Experts agree there is no curing stupidity and offer "safe houses" for Donald Trump's disenfranchised followers.  

(9) Bill Cosby does his famous Spanish Fly routine to a packed Pennsylvania court during his indecent assault trial.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What if the so-called 'affluenza' teen was an African-American?

There's no doubt about it.
The American justice system treats rich whites differently than poor blacks.
(Ethan Couch photo taken after his capture. He dyed his hair black to avoid detection.)
The case of Ethan Couch, who was sentenced to parole after a drunk driving incident that killed four people, symbolizes the extent to which class and race play a role in our justice system.

During Couch's trial, a psychologist dubbed his condition “affluenza” – a term he later regretted using – suggesting that the teen’s wealthy parents were partly responsible for an upbringing where he never faced real consequences for his actions.

The term struck a chord with Americans, with the case coming to symbolize the extent to which the justice system treats rich whites differently than poor blacks.

After breaking his probation and fleeing to Mexico with his mother, Couch was recently nabbed by Mexican officials who turned him over to Texan authorities.

What is the likelihood if this was an African-American, inner-city kid that grew up in a violent neighborhood to a single mother who is addicted to crack and he was caught two or three times ... what is the likelihood that the judge would excuse his behavior and let him off because of how he was raised?" Dr. Suniya Luthar, a psychologist who specializes in the costs of affluence in suburban communities, told The Associated Press in 2013.

While his mother may do some jail time, Ethan only stands to do some soft time until next April when he'll be set free.

A growing list of such disparities have affected how Americans think about how punishment is meted out in the United States. 

The Pew Research Center recently reported that only 32 percent of Americans think the country has made enough changes to its justice system, down from 49 percent in 2014.

Likewise, the percentage of Americans who say that more change is needed rose from 46 to 59 percent in the same span.

Such biases are notoriously difficult to weed out of a system that has tolerated them for so long. That doesn't mean the system can't be improved on.

We can start by treating all Americans equally. This will happen when enough people are educated about racial equalities and voters start electing officials (including judges) who are color-blind.

Time for me to walk on down the road... 

Letter from America to Donald Trump

Dear Donald,

Now that Christmas is over, we'd like to congratulate you! 

You have proven beyond all doubt that the theory of no limits to human stupidity is true.

We refer to your latest series of infantile belches of sub-moronic bullsh*t in which you have demonstrated, quite clearly, that there is no such thing as unutterable nonsense.

You're so vain and pompous that even when you're caught lying you don't admit it. Your elite lifestyle allows for any kind of matter how ugly, or stupid.

You've also managed to provide absolute proof of reincarnation, as no one could possibly become so completely and hopelessly stupid in just one lifetime; even with a team of special-ed tutors and first-rate lobotomy specialists, all working overtime.


Time for me to walk on down the road...

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Cow dung cakes are selling like...well, hot cakes!

Good Day World!

This photo is not a stack of hamburger paddies, despite how it looks.

No. These are cow dung cakes. No. People don't eat them. Yes, they are used for heating and ceremonies throughout India.

To our Western sensibilities the smell of burning poop is unacceptable. The folks in India like that peaty smell though. 

Why not some other animals poo?

Cows are scared in India. That includes their dumps. To many people it is a reminder of their good old days when the main heating source of the land consisted of cow droppings.

The cakes are sold in packages that contain two to eight pieces weighing 7 ounces each. Prices range from $1.50 to $6 per package.

Online retailers said people were also buying the dung cakes to light fires for ritual ceremonies to mark the beginning of the new year and for the winter festival known as Lohri, celebrated in northern India.

Thinking about getting someone a unique New Year's gift? Try ordering cow cakes, and be the first on your block to piss of the mailman!

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Monday, December 28, 2015

How to Cultivate a Political Cult of Paranoia

Good Day World!
Donald Trump is a demagogue with money who can mine fear, white identity politics and right-wing populism where spoils and rewards are given to good “real Americans” and the Other is, by definition, punished and excluded.

He's inspiring a gathering cult status among a fearful segment of society who are seeking deliverence from all of their woes. 
The Boston Globe explores the concept:Recently, a few political scientists have begun to discover a human tendency deeply discouraging to anyone with faith in the power of information.It’s this:
Facts don’t necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite.In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds.
In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation.Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger… “The general idea is that it’s absolutely threatening to admit you’re wrong,” says political scientist Brendan Nyhan, the lead researcher on the Michigan study.The phenomenon — known as “backfire” — is “a natural defense mechanism to avoid that cognitive dissonance.
Trump has become a hero for the angry and resentful white “silent majority” who feel that they are somehow being marginalized in their” country and that “the blacks,” immigrants, Muslims and terrorists are out to get them."

He is a carnival barker, proto-fascist reality TV show host turned Republican 2016 presidential primary leader. And he appeals to the low information Republican base.

This is how low politics have sunk.

A cult leader, carnival barker, and proto-fascist reality TV show host turned Republican 2016 presidential primary leader is being slavishly followed by a money-hungry media that records every hateful thing he says with glee. 

Will sanity win out in the end and send Trump packing in the Republican primary? I guess we'll find out next February.

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Getting Ready for New Year's Non-Resolutions

Good Day World!

I don't know about you, but I'm still recovering from the hoopla of Christmas.

As the saying goes, "There's no rest for the weary," because I have to get ready for my New Year's resolutions non-resolutions. You read that right.

I have a perfect history of never keeping my New Year's resolutions. After six-decades of such perfection, I have to be careful about what pledges I make.

The day may come and I'll accidently keep a resolution. (Horrors!) That would ruin everything! My one shot for perfection in this life would be shattered and swept aside in the overall scheme of things.

So, I have to be careful. After considerable thought, a few puffs of some very dank marijuana and a shot of 40-year old Scotch, I've come up with these three resolutions for 2016:

(For the record, this isn't my bucket list. Let's not get the two confused.

1) Go on a cruise.
2) Take a ride on the biggest roller coaster in America.
3) Go fishing in the Amazon.

You might be thinking "Hey! wait a minute Dave! You're comparing a cruise with two high adrenaline activities. What's with that?"

The answer: if there's one part of the planet I never want to's the sea. Going out on a ship is the stuff of nightmares for me (I should have never seen JAWS!).

I think I'm safe with these three pledges for 2016. 

Time for me to walk on down the road...

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...