Sunday, August 23, 2009

Fascinating Lurking on Twitter

As much fun as it is to participate in Twitter conversations (and I do, believe me), it's pretty cool to sit back and watch sometimes.

Recently, a group of neurosurgeons met at the Hotel Hershey for a conference. This generated interesting tweets from both conference attendees and Hotel Hershey employees.

From an employee:
"We had neurosurgeons visit us at work today. For being doctors, those people are really stupid...I mean no common sense or social skills!"

From a neurosurgeon attending the conference:
"Hershey Hotel isn't in league with Nemacolin. I'm back at Harrisburg Arpt to head home."

Maybe some employee training is in order, Mr. Kleisner. Or perhaps even a social media policy...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It Could Have Been Your Son

Well, it's happened again: Some guy has apparently wandered into the middle of an ice-encrusted Susquehanna River. What a nut, eh?

Well, no.

As it turned out, the man (who was rescued by a brave team from the PA State Police and Harrisburg River Rescue) has mental illness. In a time of rapidly diminishing resources for those struggling with mental illness (not to mention the families of those with mental illness), I can understand how this would happen.

What I can't understand is the drumbeat of ignorant comments:

"I for one wish he would have fallen in and just went on down the river. That would be one a**hole less in the world"

"What a waste of taxpayer money in our current economic climate."

[the fine] "ought to be sterilization. We don't want people that dumb reproducing."


Seriously, people. This is somebody's son. He could be somebody's brother. He could be somebody's dad or grandfather. He could just as easily be a member of YOUR family. Where is the compassion?

This hits close to home because my son has autism. And it wasn't that long ago that autism was considered a mental illness; some would still say it is a mental illness. And since autism, like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression, has its roots in the physiology of the brain, maybe it *is* a mental illness after all.

My point is that this could easily be MY son someday.

And I don't even want to tell you what I'd want to do to all the half-wits who had funny comments about today's ice adventure then.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Still "The One" to Many People

I am proud to be a citizen of the United States today. And it's not because I voted for Barack Obama (I didn't). It's because our country has such a grand tradition of coming together to support the president, even after a long and acrimonious campaign. There is a seamless transition of power and united front.

And I get that this is a transition more historic than most, as our country welcomes its first African-American president.

But -- and here's where the "miffed and vexed" part comes in -- I do *not* get those who would deify this man. It does him and our country a real disservice. Barack Obama is going to have a difficult enough time lowering the huge expectations placed on him in the coming months, and turning him into some kind of god (or at a minimum, a superhuman) makes his task harder. C'mon -- he's going to have to work with Congress. 'Nuff said.

Ah, maybe not *quite* enough said. The other aspect of this that I dislike intensely is the vilification of George W. Bush. For all the man's deficiencies, I believe he is a man who tries to do the right thing. And there's that working with Congress thing again -- Bush is not SOLELY responsible for the war in Iraq or the flagging economy.

And yet, I've read and heard a number of ugly things today:

"FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BUSH IS GONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"President Bush deserved to be booed...worst president in history U.S."

"I got the same feeling watching Bush walk away as he did when OJ left the courtroom, scott-free."

These people (and all those who jeered as President Bush was announced on the Mall today) are showing their ignorance. They disgust me.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

No Wonder He's Trying to Lower Expectations

I just read a local newspaper reporter's blog and found this:

...a couple of my neighbors put out white Christmas lights on small trees in front of their houses last night. It was Election Eve. Welcoming the One?

I'm not sure I've read anything more jaw-droppingly stoopid this entire election season. But it certainly illustrates the point in my previous post.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

It's the Stupid Economy

James Carville used to boil the issues down to one: "It's the economy, stupid."

And the economy is the main issue in most presidential elections. But it should be an issue in every CONGRESSIONAL election, too. Voters aren't giving Congress the blame it deserves. Because there's another saying I picked up during my life in politics, and it regards a voter's own representative in the federal government: "He's an asshole, but he's OUR asshole." So individual members of Congress are re-elected and the entire body keeps on keeping on...and doing horrific things to the U.S. economy.

But the real reason I wanted to vent here isn't the presidential race or even the pathetic U.S. Congress.

It's the voters. Us.

I am so sick and tired of people waiting for someone to ride in on a white horse and save the economy. At least in Hershey, the voters have an excuse -- we had a benevolent dictator rule our town for a long while, and that's the best kind of government, and we got fat, happy and used to being given things. But people in Hershey and everywhere else in the U.S. need to wake the fuck up.

Our economy is tanking because of US. Because of OUR actions.

We signed up for interest-only mortgages. We thought it was a great idea to shop at Wal-Mart. We took advantage of the great prices we got on Chinese-made goods. We planned parties for our kids with the crap in the Oriental Trading catalog. We didn't invent, create or start businesses.

The good news? WE did our part to screw the economy over, and WE can make a difference in the recovery, one person at a time:

We can hold our legislators accountable (OK, I went back to Congress again, so sue me);

We can buy products made in the United States;

We can support local businesses;

We can eat at locally owned restaurants;

We can stop buying plastic toys mass-manufactured in China;

We can buy local food (for God's sake, it took me 20 minutes at my local grocery store to find apple juice that was made from U.S. grown apples, and I live 30 minutes from Adams County, Pennsylvania -- a HUGE apple-growing area);

We can stop borrowing so much money (perhaps the banks will take care of that for us, at least).

This has been bothering me for some time, and it feels better to get it in writing. My fingers are crossed that it occurs to a few people that personal responsibility is cool. Then, when you're tired of blaming yourself and your neighbors, go ahead and read Ben Stein so we can point a few more fingers at Washington:

Monday, March 05, 2007

Short and Sweet

Everybody's mom has a few favorite sayings. You know--the ones that keep rattling through your head when you're 44 and have kids of your own. I have not yet shared a lot of my mom's wisdom with my kids (currently ages 6 and 1), but when they're old enough, you can bet I will grind these two expressions into their heads:

"An idea in an empty head has the time of its life."

"It's always darkest before it's completely black."

My mom is cool.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Back...with Bourdain

No elections to whine about. Jesper and Ian haven't been dressing up the links lately. So I am left to ramble about food. And the only thing I can think to say is: "What He Said." Nobody does miffed-and-vexed better than Anthony Bourdain. And today, I bow in his general direction.