1) ??? 2) ???

(Monday is myrln’s day to blog here at Kalilily Time.)
1) ??? 2) ???
There are two items that could use some attention since both involve our tax dollars and in some ways, they point out just how ignorant we may be about the use of OUR money by the feds.
First off, for the past how long, we’ve been endlessly bombarded about the primary contests being waged to help find our candidates for the next president. We can’t escape the news about them — which in truth is good. It reminds us that our government is our choice and ultimately our responsibility. So far, what we’ve been seeing is a number of senators and congressmen mostly out campaigning, trying to whip up votes. Day after day they’re out “on the stump,” working hard to make their points to the potential voters.
Only, when you look a little harder or just sit and think about it, you come to realize something they don’t mention very much. Consider: for months they’re out there somewhere in the country and moving from one locale to another, days on end. What they are not doing during this time and in those activities is their job. Remember, they were elected to go to Washington as representatives of their state or district. Yet here they are anywhere but D.C. — while still getting paid, still getting health care (the best in the nation), and still piling up credits toward their pensions. All of it paid for with OUR tax dollars.
Doesn’t bother you? No big deal? It’s the process? Oh yeah? Try getting the same deal from your boss.
Item 2 is different. It’s this: why do we have an FDA, a Food and Drug Administration? At least as far as concerns new drugs coming into the marketplace? Without FDA’s approval, no new drug makes it out for sale here. Good idea, a watchdog for our protection against the release of dangerous substances. Oh yeah? Then why in this flood of TV commercials for new and existing drugs does every one of them finish off with someone sounding like a shady used-car dealer talking a mile-a-minute and warning us, almost unintelligibly he’s talking so fast, about all the potential dangers of the product?
If it’s so dangerous, why was it approved by the FDA for sale in the first place? Hm-m. Good question. Our tax dollars going to approve drugs that in normal use could harm us, even kill us.
A great service, huh?

Nader’s nadir

(Monday is myrln’s day to blog here at Kalilily Time.)
Once upon a time there was a man named Ralph Nader, a tireless champion. He spoke up on behalf of the American working class by taking on industry and big business and government. He ceaselessly showed up their shortcomings, their lack of concern or care for consumer’s safety and pocket books. Product after product, business after business, government policy (or lack) after policy put the almighty dollar ahead of people. So Nader took the abusers on.
And he so rallied the working class to his side that he actually forced Big $$$ and government to make changes. Changes that actually benefited consumers — meaning all of us. He was a hero and deserved all the credit in the world. The big shots hated him.
Today, there’s still a Ralph Nader. But it’s a different story. He still takes on the power elite, tho’ with much less success. He is particularly critical of politics and government failures — all good intentions and a necessary voice (tho’ largely unheard). Only now he’s complicated matters: he insists on running for President as a third-party candidate. Some would say he’s obsessed with it. Others that he’s delusional, which may be nearer the truth because when he’s reminded his last run likely cost Al Gore the presidency and stuck us with what we got (remember Florida?), the current Ralph Nader disagrees and denies. What about the Democrats and Republicans, he asks, and their support of war, attacks on freedom, and free-hand function for big business? All valid points — but whose hopeless candidacy gave us George W. Bush, Ralph? (Remember Florida?)
But he insists on running yet again — even tho’ he makes no inroads toward valid ends, even though he holds such huge responsibility for the presence of the incumbent in the White House. If he can’t see that, he indeed at least borders on the delusional.
Ralph: REMEMBER FLORIDA? Apparently not. Too bad. It fries all the respect he once attained.
Nader’s nadir.

going where?

(Monday is myrln’s day to blog here at Kalilily Time.)
One day soon, Spring will show up, and our attention will begin to turn to summertime travel…just getting us out of the grime and racket of the city or the cheese of suburbia. But sometimes, even just the shore or the mountains — customary destinations — seem not as inspiring as usual. We feel the need for something even more different. And there’s real possibility as an alternative. How about trips to weird? No, not weird events but weird in an unexpected way. How about we go to places with weird or hooting funny names. The country’s littered with them…honest.
For example, we could go to BIRD IN HAND, Pennsylvania. Or better yet, how about that state’s INTERCOURSE? (Yeah…honest.) Or maybe to Massachusetts for BRAINTREE (don’t you just wanna see that?) or TINKERTOWN (do they makes toys or pots and pans there?). Or maybe to New York for CAHOONZIE and CUDDEBACKVILLE…which are not far from each other. Or SHINHOPPLE. Or another two towns not far from each other: SURPRISE and CLIMAX. (They could do an exchange program with INTERCOURSE — see above). If you prefer the west coast, then try Oregon. They’ve got SWEET HOME, and BEND, and IRONSIDE (no, Raymond Burr doesn’t live there). They even have LOOKINGGLASS and LOOKING GLASS, one near TENILLE (not Toni) and the other near TOLLGATE on opposite sides of the state.
But the champion state for weird place-names is New Jersey. It’s as if they had a competition or something. Some are not weird names but unusual sounding, probably directly from original native American tribes or places — like MAHWAH and HOHOKUS. But the later settlers went to extremes. You can visit KITTATINNY LAKE, if you want. Or take trip over to FORT NONSENSE or MILLSTONE (which might weigh you down). Or maybe try HOPTCONG or NETCONG (neither of which has Viet Cong). If you get hungry, you can go to CHEESEQUAKE or BIVALVE or CINNAMONSON. Shopping? Try BARGAINTOWN. Wanna meet some new women? Spin over to NORMA or SHIRLEY or DOROTHY. But somebody in Jersey had the good sense to remember all that driving around often leads to serious bodily needs. So they’ve thoughtfully provided a LEEKTOWN…which could go with the food group, yeah, but….
You don’t need to stay at any of the towns listed…just drive on through. You can also find your own weird additions to the list. But take pictures of the roadsigns that announce where you’ve arrived. Otherwise, nobody back home’ll believe you when you tell them where you went.
Going my way?

bank on it

(Monday is myrln’s day to blog here at Kalilily Time.)
In a bit over two weeks from today, on February 26, a new bank is opening on an island near the Arctic Circle. Unlike other banks, though, it won’t offer cd’s or checking or savings accounts. So we won’t be offered mp3’s or toasters or anything at all in return for new accounts. In fact, this bank doesn’t even want us there to poke around, which is why they put it in such a godforsaken place (or devilforsaken, depending on your inclinations).
You see, this bank is of a kind that illustrates a rarely-seen side of the human species: foresight. This bank, a product by Norway, will be a storage site for over 200,000 varieties of plant seeds from all around the world. That, in effect, makes it a gene bank for crops of all kinds, like oats, peas, beans, and barley (grow), and rice, wheat, lentils and so on. The Norwegians undertook this “doomsday vault,” as it’s been called, as a service to the world: the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.
The point of it is to preserve agriculture in its myriad forms in case some manmade or natural disaster should destroy it, in part or in whole. This seed vault is said to be capable of preserving the vitality of the stored sees for thousands of years. That means they might well outlast the human race itself which has a greater predilection for destructive — rather than preservative — endeavors. Hey, we built the atom bomb, didn’t we, and then of course had to use it to see how well it worked?
But this Norwegian gift to the world is a truly admirable effort — something the rest of us should consider as a model to emulate for saving us from ourselves.
Thanks, Norway.
*** ***
Now that the politicos have agreed on terms for our tax rebates (and making it seem as it we’re getting a gift from them), here’s something else we can look forward to: starting in May (the month after we’ve just paid our taxes) when the checks start finding their way into our mitts: the price of everything will go up.
We can bank on it.

thissa and thatta

(Monday is myrln’s day to blog here at Kalilily Time.)
Thissa: Moving into a greener world (as the term goes) is an urgent matter. But as we make that move, we ought to be careful about choices and making them fixtures. And speaking of fixtures, one of the green decisions is that which will move us from incandescent light bulbs to screw-in fluorescents to reduce energy consumption. A commendable objective to be sure, but is this a really good way to go?
It’s no secret (or shouldn’t be) that the fluorescents contain mercury, and we can only wonder what happens when — after they burn out — we start dumping millions of them into our landfills. Where do we suppose all that mercury’s going to go as the bulbs get crushed? Into our environment, that’s where. And a recent item in Parade Magazine this week also noted that the fluorescents with their barely noticeable flicker can cause migraines or seizures. They also can aggravate skin rashes for people with lupus, eczema, and other skin conditions. The makers say the new bulbs have been improved so we don’t have to worry. Wanna risk it?
It was also noted what to do if a bulb breaks. Don’t vacuum it up cuz the debris can spread toxic dust into the air. Nope. Leave it where it lies and depart the room for 15 minutes. Then with gloves on, put the “fragments into a plastic bag, seal it and take it to a recycling center.”
This is progress? Sounds more like stupidity. The neon manufacturers must have a good lobby.
Thatta: Speaking of a greener world and good lobbies: Exxon Mobil reports a profit this past year of $45.6 BILLION dollars. That’s pure profit. Aren’t you pleased at how much you helped the company by paying their higher prices? Now we have to root for them to get a really good tax rebate from Dumbya and Darth…both of whom have been real good to the industry they have big ties to.
$45.6 BILLION in profit.
Oh, and while we’re on the oil business, some folks buying new cars to improve their gas mileage have found they’re getting much worse mileage than they’re supposed to be getting. Why? Cuz it turns out that E-gas — which includes the corn-based ethanol — doesn’t burn as well as plain gas. But let’s remember, ethanol’s our savior. And will improve the profit line of oil companies as we spend more cuz we burn more.
Be less corn on the cob next summer, too.

your country ’tis of thee

The following post is by MYRLN, a non-blogger who is Kalilily Time’s guest writer every Monday.
The original version of the movie “Rollerball” with James Caan, ostensibly about that mad, violent sporting event, actually depicted a country wholly under the control of big business. “Just a movie,” people said. Oh, yeah? Perhaps you missed the news last week that IBM had settled a suit filed by its employees. The company agreed to finally pony-up overtime pay it had been withholding from workers. “So what do you want?” you might say. “They’re paying it. Case closed.”
Not quite. You see, in order to pay the withheld monies, IBM decided it needed an infusion of fresh cash. So what’d it do? It reduced employee salaries by 15% in order to pay for the settlement. Honest.
*** ***
Then there’s the newly agreed upon rebate of tax monies announced the other day. To fix a lagging economy and avert a recession, we are told. How? Well, you see, the idea is for the government to give back some of our tax money to us. Then we’re supposed to go right out and spend it, thus infusing the economy with fresh cash. In other words, “Here’s your allowance, go spend it in as many places as you like, only spend it. Right away.”
In further other words, go get that money in the hands of big business so they get richer, even though they’re getting their own kinds of rebates in tax reductions and are already subsidized by the government at our expense. But what’s really important for us is to be sure that CEOs get their multi-million/billion bonuses so their families don’t suffer any inconvenience. Boy, are they breathing a sigh of relief that we care so much about their welfare…oops, forbidden word.
*** ***
Hillary-ous says South Carolina picked on her by defeating her so badly. Now she’s vowed to cry throughout Super Tuesday to be sure she gets a fair shot.
Wonder why our national media have daily focused our attention mainly on Clinton and Obama, deciding they’re the only viable candidates in the Democratic Party? Easy, they provide fodder for tabloid-like sensationalism: first woman prez or first black prez. The hell with the real issues. What matters is media deciding who’s important and who’s not.
Your country ’tis of thee.

word surgery

The following post is by MYRLN, a non-blogger who is Kalilily Time’s guest writer every Monday
In curious ways, words contain surprises we don’t always (if ever) notice — some of them can break down into two or more words having no relationship to the original word’s meaning. In the previous sentence, for example, the word “relationship” can be broken into two words: “relation” and “ship”. But words with certain suffixes, like “-ship” or “-ion” or “-tic”, “-ant”, and “-able” make
finding breakable words easier and thus a little less fun in the finding. But sometimes they’re fun, too, especially when finding the more difficult kind becomes frustrating.

Indeed, the same applies to many words sharing particular prefixes like “in-” (as in “in-deed”, “in-tent”) or “be-” (as in “be-have”, “be-rate”). Also less fun and too easy to identify are those long-ago manufactured compounds, like “fare-well” or “eye-sight.” But again, they can be fun to recognize, too.
The real gems, however, are those words that have none of the above characteristics and at first glance might be unrecognizable. They’re the ones that break down into fun, surprising, and often funny new words with no connection to or sometimes totally opposite in meaning or sense from the original. Sometimes one comes along that requires a surprising piece of punctuation, say an apostrophe, to make the split work. So have some fun, find the kind of words in your life that break into new words.
Below is a list to demonstrate some oddities of our words (including, as examples, a few with the kinds of prefixes, suffixes, and compounds mentioned above): understand… information… basically… cinematic… imaging (apostrophe required)… advice…supervisor… outage… season…mattresses… archbishop… miserable… realtor… forgotten (2 or 3 new words there)… tomcruise (:-))… protestant… manhattan… belong… designate lobby… candidate… cowardice… support… forage.
But one of the best of all: therapist.
Have fun.

MYRLN’S Monday Meme

Ah….Paris Au Printemps!

Yes, Paris in the Spring…or the springing of Paris…or Paris reslammered.

Yeah…that Paris, the Hilton one, not the worthwhile one.

A friend of the lesser one points out, “It was so cruel what has happened to her. She wasn’t allowed to wax or use a moisturizer. Her skin is so dry right now!” My god, Paris with dry skin! Leg stubble! Returning bikini-line hair! How dreadful! “She’s had an awful five days,” the friend goes on. “She wants to see her friends and have fun. She’s been punished enough already.” Five days without a party? My god…cruel and unusual punishment! California’s Guantanamo!

And well-heeled, high-powered defense attorneys to a person cry out that she’s been singled out only because of her celebrity. Right. And those same attorneys say nothing about how their butter’s breaded by the rich and famous.

But you know what? What happens to Paris Heirhead is not the important story. What is of relevance is the national obsession with her and this event. Every t.v. station covers it incessantly, even cutting in for “breaking news” about it, lest they lose advertising revenue if they ignored it as they should. Newspapers are adorned with the story. They’ve reached tabloid heaven. And why is this obsession important? Because it shows us loud and clear and in no uncertain terms just how shallow America has become. Paris Hilton drives all else out of the news of the day! Paris Hilton!…who’s not worth a rat’s aspersion of our time or interest, yet here we are, dominated by her.

If we asked that friend of hers what the american military death toll is in Iraq, do you suppose we’d hear from the friend that it’s over 3500?

If we asked what help she and her friends have given to the poor, or homeless, or an ailing parent, think we’d hear about any meaningful humane efforts?

If we asked about what’s happening in Darfur, think we’d get a knowledgeable answer?

Of course not. Those events detract from party time. Please…all we’d get is more drivel about “poor Paris.” More petitions to “save her.” More websites crying out on her behalf. Or another fan yelling, “She’s America’s Princess Di!” (Another pitiful obsession inexplicably rampant.) All of it is hard evidence of precisely where we’ve arrived in this country: in the shallows of monumental stupidity.

Oui…pauvre Paris au printemps.

Et pauvre l’Amerique.