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Archive for September, 2014

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A political campaign commentary by A. Munchkin

It happens around this time every year all across Oz.  The emerald green lawns stop growing as the nights grow colder, but something else sprouts up at night in full bloom. Campaign signs. Those unimaginative signs in truly patriotic colors that bear the name of someone running for one office or another.  One day you’ll drive by a green patch of land and see one or two of these signs, but by the end of the week you can’t even see the green patch anymore.

The only thing worse than those “clutterful” signs is television campaign commercials. They fall into one of two categories. You have the one kind that extols the virtues of the candidates. You know the ads I’m talking about.  The voice-over usually goes something like this.

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“He was born of a virgin in a stable. Wise men from super powers recognized him as the one leader ordained by a supreme being. These wise men traveled miles to present him with the gifts of brains, a heart and courage and he has used them to eradicate poverty, abolish the common core, provide free health care for every living creature, raise the minimum wage to $2,678.50 an hour, and reduce our carbon footprint by 600%.

From such humble buildings A. Hole has become a world leader that every gosh-darn citizen of mother earth loves and adores. As a junior state assemblyman he was the first to solve the great debate over plastic or paper.

And now he seeks your vote to put him in the White House where he can continue to work for you.

Vote for an A. Hole.

‘I am A. Hole and I approve this message.”

And then there is the other ad lovingly known as the attack ad.  It goes like this.

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“If you think we need another A. Hole in the White House, go for it. But before you pull that lever on election day, here are a few things you ought to know about him.

While in the state assembly, A. Hole voted 637 times to turn abandoned schools into casinos.

A .Hole is a member of a group of people who want to eliminate daylight savings time.

A. Hole went on record to say that anyone who disagrees with him is an ass hole. (Ain’t that the pot calling the kettle black.)

A Hole is pro anti everything and flip flops like a dying mackerel.

As the puppet of a CEO of a large toxic waste dump, A. Hole wants to turn dumps into play grounds.

If you want to poison the White House, A. Hole is your man.

Paid for by the friends of B. Shit.

Not only should we expect a lot more from the men and women running for office, we should demand it.  Don’t go to the polls on election day. Make your non-vote count!

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US-Constitution

A search of the Emerald City archives leaves us empty handed when it comes to any documents regarding the rights of the good people of Oz. No declarations. No constitution. How fortunate we are to have such founding documents because they not only allow us to express our differences of opinions, these documents encourage public debate because without active dialogue and open discussion, we are not really free.

September 17 has been designated as Constitution Day. The opening words should ring a bell of freedom:

We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Beyond those 52 words, I wonder how many of the full 4,400 words in the “ancient” document we aware of are.  When was the last time (or first time) you took the time out of your busy facebook selfie world to read the document that tells us how we are governed?

I just re-read the Constitution, but unfortunately it did not grip me the way it should have, or at least impress me as much as the words in the Declaration of Independence or Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address do. Shame on me. But, I don’t feel ashamed. Better to attempt to live free and fight for the rights of others.

I liken it to an office copier. I’ve read how a copy machine works…the technology, that is, and to be honest, it was beyond my pay grade. However, that didn’t keep me away from copy machines.  In fact, when I stand before a copy machine, I humbly submit to the power it has and appreciate the science that’s involved. And I will also admit that I can get very angry at a copy machine when it doesn’t work, when it eats my paper or flashes a signal to open door one, pull tab B, etc. And when I am completely frustrated…I kick the stupid machine.

That, I believe, is the average Americans relationship with the US Constitution. We want it to work, we expect it to work, and we don’t appreciate it when it doesn’t work.

Unfortunately we don’t need to have a real relationship with a copy machine, but we do need to embrace our Constitution because it supports and defends our rights to live free.

In all honesty I came away from my re-reading of the Constitution understanding one thing.  The cherished document of 1789 is filled with a laundry list of how things are to work. They delineate the structure of how we are to be governed. But what this document does not do is instruct us how to live.  That’s what we learn from the spirit of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

In order for us…as a people…to become a more perfect union, we have to place some trust in the US copy machine, aka, the US Congress, the Executive Office, and the Supreme Court.

When we go into the voting booth on Election Day and pull those levers, we are pushing the button on the copy machine that guides and governs. We can only hope and pray that the damn machine won’t jam.

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fifteen babies-LR

Yesterday  millions of Americans stopped what they were doing to remember the heroes and ordinary people who perished in the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and  on doomed flight 93. There were close to 3000 reasons why we needed to remember. But that was yesterday. That was 13 years ago.

What we don’t think about is that yesterday 13,238 newly minted teenagers blew out the candles on their birthday cakes. And while the names of those 13,238 babies born on September 11, 2001 were not announced yesterday, we need to focus on them because they carry with them a special burden. There’s no way they will ever escape the shadow of 9/11 because it will follow them all the days of their lives.

They were each given a their own name: Jennifer, Jeremy, Nicholas, Kieran, Bryan, Sarah, Courtney, Jillian, Brielle, Andrew, Landon, Addyson, Emily, Nora, Storm, etc. But they all have been given a coommon name, and that name is Hope. Hope that each of them will never take anything for granted.  Hope that each of them will be able to adopt one of the victims of 9/11 and carry them in their heart. Hope that one day they will be a reason why there is a little more love in the world. Let’s hope that they may be blessed with brains to do the right things, hearts that are filled with love for others, and the courage to stand tall against all obstacles.

Happy Birthday to the kids known as Hope. Instead of blowing out their candles, let’s keep them glowing brightly in the dark.

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.

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From early tothood I learned the difference between going #1 and going #2.  Isn’t any surprise I was puzzled when my mother gave me a #2 pencil on my first day of school. What was she thinking?

It took less than a week before the bottom of my school bag looked like a recycling dump.

When they handed our text books, I always seemed to get ones that were at least ten years old when the kid in front and the kid behind me got new ones.  It started my love of old books.

I mastered the art of covering text books with brown paper grocery bags by the time I was in second grade. I saw career potential in it. I was thinking of opening a text book covering business.

I always remembered to write down my homework in my assignment book. But, I usually left it at school.  I was known for making a lot of phone calls to other kids in my class.  That helped a little…until I learned I had left my text book at school.

My book bag always smelled like an old peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Not surprising when I finally cleaned out my school bag and found a five-week old PB&J sandwich.  I started buying lunch at school when I was in the third grade. I looked forward to Wednesdays because that’s when they served spam.

Hated writing with a fountain pen because my pen always decided to throw up on my essays.  I thought “ink eradicator” was a godsend until I realized too much of it ate a hole right through the paper.  Many of my writing assignments looked like they had been written on Swiss cheese.

My favorite subject in elementary school was astrophysics. Never took it, but I’m sure I would have loved it.

Played the clarinet in the school band. Belated apologies to my family…and neighbors who thought I was strangling ducks.

My best friend in elementary school was me. (I used to get a big kick out of me.)

I always wanted a pair of Keds to wear in gym. My parents told me Keds were too expensive, that’s why I got my sneakers from “Two Guys of Massapequa.”  Their sneakers cost three bucks.  I drew the Keds symbol on my sneakers to look cool.  That’s where my love of graphics started.

My first grade teacher was Miss Van (that’s what we called her because her real name was too hard to pronounce. I think it was Van DerWhistejammerheimer).  She was everything a first grade teacher should be.

My second grade teacher was Mrs. Marie Stamm.  She was 136 years old, walked with a limp and I think had a glass eye. She scared the #2 pencil out of me for the entire year.

I must have been in a coma for third grade because I have no idea who my teachers were.  Yeah. I had two of them.  The only thing I remember about third grade wash having to spell “Eisenhower” in a class spelling bee.  I spelled it correctly but was knocked out when I had to spell “boot.”  I added an extra “t.”

My fourth grade teacher was A for excellent.  My first male teacher.  Today his name would be cause for problems. His name was Mr. Dick.

My fifth grade teacher must have been cloned from Mrs. Stamm. His name was Mr. Alan. I think the only way to get him to smile would have been to stand him on his head.

I ended elementary school with a super teacher.  Mr. Gerald FitzGerald.  Gave me the gift of learning for a life time.

Although I was never elected to any class office, I was always appointed to two positions: Milk-hander-outter and Eraser-clapper.  I excelled in both positions. I never met a cow I didn’t like.

Junior high is a big blur.  It was like a bad acid trip.  I failed shop class. Surprise, surprise to anyone who has ever seen my handiwork around the house.

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