Category Archives: Blogs' Archive

An Accidental Discovery

Sometimes you screw up and sometimes it’s O.K., and I don’t feel bad because it wasn’t my screw up and we erred on the positive side, at least.
I was at home, it  was about 4 o’clock and, as Sam left for  football practice, he asked “What about Isabel?”  I thought ‘Yeah, that’s right, she should  be home by now but, whatever, she’s always got some after school activity or another or might be over at a friend’s house, it’s at least an hour, maybe two, before I start worrying,’ but I said “What about Isabel?” and he said “Aren’t you supposed to go with her to dance lessons today?”

Well, nobody’s said anything to me and, to be sure, I’m not clear yet on what her permanent dance schedule is going to be (its’ street dance), she’s only been to two lessons and one  was introductory.  But, I called Helena to check and she  said yes, you’re supposed to meet her in front of school at 5.  No problem, it’s only about a half hour to the school.  Isabel called me just as I was on my way out  the door, very good of her (I’m being sarcastic).

Anyway, on the  way there she told me she wasn’t sure if the lesson started at 5:30 or 6:30.  We got there about  5:15 and 6:30 proved to be correct.  So, we went out and  walked around the neighborhood a bit and discovered an absolutely delightful park.  Lots of  little  fountains which were like science projects, water wheels and screws and stuff; a windmill; lots of  adult  exercise equipment and some traditional kids stuff, too.  Plenty  of benches and a very high roofed, like 4 or 5 meters, light brown, wooden shelter.
From now on, I’ll probably wait there during her lessons, weather permitting, but we would not have discovered it if we hadn’t screwed up on the schedule.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs' Archive

An O.K. Sunday

Today was a pretty good day.  Of course, I spent  a  bit of time arguing  politics  with  people on Facebook, because  it is a day which ends in Y, but then about 10:30 I got drafted to take Isabel and  her two friends to a toy store.  Not just any toy store, they weren’t actually shopping.
Since I have been in Prague, nearly two decades, the biggest toy store has been Sparky’s, but this place puts it  in the shade, makes it look like  just a store (which, of course, it is)  Henleys, or Hemleys, or something like that, is  more like  a funfair that happens to sell toys.  There is a big slide from the second floor down  to the first, a full sized merry-go-round, a rally pit for remote controlled cars, drones flying around, and a huge statue, like two stories tall,  of some  comic book superhero I didn’t recognize, that’s how old  and out of  the loop I  am.
As soon as we got into the  shop, Isabel gave me directions to the  cafe, in away that made it  clear she  didn’t want me hovering over them, after all, she’s no longer 8 years old (she’s 9),  so I went to the cafe and had a seat and started a book I’d borrowed from Helena.  Really, we do not have the same taste in books at all, but at least it  wasn’t  Nicolas Sparks.  It  was John Green, Paper Towns.
Well, after about an  hour we went home, had burritos for lunch, I read a bit more, did a bit more Facebooking, and then went to Sam’s football game.  It was a bright, sunny day so I was very glad they played on the field where the bleachers are.  Kept half an eye on the game and got a bit further in the book.  No loss, I mean no loss for me not seeing every second of action in the game, the game was a loss, 7-1.
Came home, a friend was over for  dinner, and after he left I finished the book but it is now after midnight.  So, I guess that’s a sign of a good book, and although maybe it’s not actually intended for adults, I enjoyed it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs' Archive

The Dumbness of Gary Johnson

If people are right wingers, I’d prefer that they vote for Gary Johnson over Donald Trump, just as I’d prefer everybody on the left to vote for Jill Stein over Hillary Clinton.  In fact, I’d love it  if everybody would suddenly realize that the media is lying to them, that they do have four candidates to choose between and not just the two who constitute America’s current nightmare, the one in which America is being chased by a monster but still can only run in slow motion, and millions of people would suddenly change their minds and Clinton and Trump would come in 3rd and 4th, which is which wouldn’t matter and democracy would be saved.
But, good grief, Gary Johnson is a moron.  He does agree with the legalization of marijuana, so he’s better than Clinton or Trump on that score, but I know lots and lots of not very bright people who are in favor of legalizing marijuana.  I love the stuff, truly, but it does not require intelligence to smoke it.
First, there’s the not knowing where Aleppo is.  That may be no worse than George W. Bush not knowing the difference between Sunni and Shi’ite, but it’s no better.  It shows basic ignorance of an  area where serious shit is going on.
But then  the  statement that global warming doesn’t matter because we’re all going to die when the Sun expands and swallows the Earth anyway – that is bizarre.  It means he doesn’t understand the difference between a disaster which may affect us next week -say, in the event of a major hurricane, or flooding – and will certainly affect us dramatically in the near future – and something that’s going to happen 3 or 4 billion years from now.  If somebody doesn’t understand  that difference, then they don’t understand much of anything at all.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs' Archive

A Strategic Suggestion for the Democrats

Dear Hillary Supporters: If this argument between us is just over who’s to blame for the increasingly likely Democratic defeat in November, go ahead. Blame us. We’re certainly going to blame you and I wouldn’t expect anything different.
But if it’s actually about how to defeat Donald Trump, I have a suggestion. Remove Hillary Clinton from the ticket. It’s not just that we Berners find her repugnant, although that’s a factor you might take into consideration; we feel about her as a victim of theft feels about thieves which, if you are paying any attention to the class action lawsuit by Sanders supporters against the DNC, you will have noted that they admit to being.
It’s that she’s just not physically capable of campaigning on the level it might take to win this thing. Videoconferencing isn’t going to do it, and she sounded absolutely terrible in that one she did with some union the other day. A few carefully scripted talk show interviews may help her a bit, I hear she did O.K. with Zach Galafanaikos (sp?), but they’re not going to put her over the top. A stellar debate performance might do it, but it doesn’t look like too many people are going to be watching the debates, unless Stein and Johnson are in them. Getting thousands of avid Hillary supporters going door to door encouraging independents to vote for her would be a reasonable tactic, if she had thousands of avid supporters willing to do that, or if she had support among independents.
Basically, though, she’s going to have to talk to large crowds at some point, she’s going to have to answer questions and not stay hidden from the press and the public, and I doubt she has the physical stamina to do that.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs' Archive

Lesson Plan

Today’s lesson plan was the  order of adjectives – you know, the reason why we say a beautiful, green lawn and not a green, beautiful lawn; why we say a small, Japanese car and not a Japanese, small car – because I find it fascinating how all native speakers adhere to this  rule automatically without even knowing there was a rule.  (the rule is opinion/size/shape/age/color/pattern/origin/material/purpose)
It went fairly well.  In my first class, which is the largest, I wound up just talking about it so much that as we got to the exercise portion, the bell rang and that was that.

In the second class, my most argumentative group (which is a good thing) I discovered that the problem is not so much that there are exceptions to the rule (there are almost always exceptions to the rule – it’s English), but that it very often is difficult to decide which of these categories an adjective falls into.  Is ‘fat’ a matter of opinion, size, shape, or condition?
The beautiful, shiny, metallic starship, however, led to a good discussion about the greatest TV show of all time, and, as I reflect on it now, it’s impressive that my trekkie student is a lover of the original series, as it was off the air decades before she was born.
By the 3rd class, I was getting a bit bored with  the lesson myself, but I’d still say the lesson was a success.  We talked about Moby Dick, and  how ‘interesting’ is definitely a matter of opinion.
In the last group, more than half the class was missing.  I’m not sure why, but I think this school is just way too lax on attendance.  So, I ditched the lesson entirely and just read Tarot Cards for everybody instead, which is always popular, and they learn a little bit of English vocabulary, but they’re an advanced group to start with  so I’m not too worried.
It was a successful enough lesson that  I’ll probably do it again some day, just not this year at that school.  Once is enough.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs' Archive

Trump and Hitler

I wrote a comment on Facebook, back in May or June, that if Hillary got the nomination all we were going to hear from August through November was ‘lesser of two evils.’  I have never been more right about anything.
I just read an article (from ‘CommonDreams.org) entitled “Vote for the Lying Neoliberal Warmonger: It’s Important.”
Well, that argument may convince enough people to vote for Clinton to make her  president.  Maybe not.  But, the point is, even some of the people who are voting for her admit she’s a lying neoliberal (I think that means ‘not really liberal’) warmonger.  It’s a hell of a thing.

Another aspect of this election (which I failed to predict) is that Godwin’s Law has  been so blatantly violated by both sides that it’s pretty  much meaningless any more (Godwin’s Law:  first person to accuse their opponent of being like Hitler loses the argument)  The Common Dreams article totally went there, and I’ve  heard plenty of other Hillary supporters comparing Trump to Hitler.

So, let  me  point out some of the differences. (warning:  Hitler generally comes off better in  these comparisons.  That does not mean I’m endorsing Hitler. I’m half Jewish, and I keep that fact in mind.)

  1. Trump dodged the draft with a bullshit medical excuse.  I don’t  blame him, actually.  I dodged the draft  by  just forgetting to register until after  it was canceled, which happened shortly after I turned 18.  Nobody wanted to go to Viet Nam.  But, Hitler served  in WWI.  He served in combat, he was injured, and he was one of those weird individuals who actually sort of got into it.  He was a war monger and an inhuman monster, but  he  wasn’t hypocritical or cowardly about it.
  2. Listen to  their speeches.  I don’t  even speak German, but I can hear the flow, the cadence, the way the words and the gestures go together in Hitler’s speeches.  As a speechmaker, he ranks right up there with Barack Obama, Winston Churchill, or maybe even Martin Luther King, Jr.  An artist.
    Donald Trump, on the other hand, has a smaller vocabulary than Kanye West.  He just repeats the same stupid shit over and over again.  He is so deep in  Dunning-Krueger territory that anybody with an IQ of more than two digits realizes he’s  a moron.
  3. Hitler did, once  elected, kick German industry into high gear.  He invented the Volkswagen, limited access roads, and made rocketry a big thing.  Everybody admits this – the  space race began with Hitler.  Donald Trump, on the other hand, managed to lose money running a casino.  A casino.  A  place where customers come in and put quarters into machines, one after another.  If Hitler had been Trump, his invasion of Poland  would  have wound up in Albania,  lost and wandering in the mountains.
    In short, Donald Trump is no Hitler.  More like  George W. Bush.  Which is pretty  horrible, but not enough to get me to vote for Hillary Clinton.  She’s the one I’m afraid of.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs' Archive

Not a Good Day in the World

Brad and Angelina are getting a divorce.  Nobody is particularly surprised.  Although they’ve been together for over a decade, and have kids, it is Hollywood, after all.  They have tons of money, jobs that allow them to meet lots of other hot people, the hottest people in the world, people who get paid excessive amounts of money for being hot.  Acting ability may play a part in it but, seriously,  Angelina Jolie is not Meryl Streep. She has the career she has because she’s hot.

They have options, they have temptations, and that’s the way it goes.  It’s his 2nd divorce, her 3rd.  It probably won’t be the last for either one.

In other, darker, more horrible, but equally unsurprising news, a racist cop has shot and killed an unarmed black man and been caught on camera.  As frequently as this happens, do you ever stop to wonder how often it happens off camera?  This time it was in Oklahoma, and the victim was on his way home from a community college class when his car broke down.  He could have used a bit of police assistance, he deserved a bit of police assistance, that’s what the police are supposed to do, but instead, the officer just shot him dead, while his hands were in the air, while he was posing no threat at all.
In a twist to the tale, it was a lady cop.  A young, pretty, smiling, white lady cop.  She should spend the rest of her life in jail, but probably won’t.
Actors divorce.  Cops get away with murder.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogs' Archive