Archive for October, 2014

YBR capsules

Other than the aromatic poppy field in Oz, there is no mention of any prescription or over-the-counter medicine. Unfortunately that’s not the case on network television where the number of prescription drug commercials outnumber both car and beer commercials. And while the miracle drugs that promise users the world, it’s the side effects that boggle my mind. A drug to alleviate heartburn can cause heartburn, a pill made to reduce cholesterol can cause bloating, fatigue, nausea and loss of appetite. Sometimes the supposed cure can be worse than the illness.

The Emerald City Drug Co., ECD, just introduced a new pill called YBR for everything that ails you in life. You take one pill daily with the beverage of your choice.  Those amazing panacea does, however, have some side effects:

Taking YBR might cause moments of exhilaration, unexpected joy, bouts of giddiness, hours of awe, an unexplained sense of purpose, a belief in self, a desire to help others and an overwhelming belief that everything and anything is possible.

Users should also be aware that YBR can cause moments of sadness, heartache, hurt and some nagging doubts about the purpose of it all.

For a smile that lasts longer than four hours, share the joy.

YBR: It’s just what the doctor ordered.


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If you have a mailbox, own a phone, or drive around town, you know that it’s election time. And unlike Christmas, it’s not the most wonderful time of year. The political campaign “literature” is cheap, pathetic, tasteless, and worst of all, bull shit. It’s a shame that our politicians, both the home-grown variety and state and national candidates, only reach out to us when they want our vote. Following is the text of a speech given by the Cowardly Lion who is not afraid to speak his mind on political manure:

“Candidates of all parties, gender, race, creed and color, lend me your ears. What the hell is wrong with you?  Do you think we’re all stupid?  Your flyers, mailers and television ads are an embarrassment. Maybe blind political party followers believe the crap that you are shoveling, but the majority of us say enough is enough!  If any of you office seekers actually did a small fraction of what you claim you did, then why are we stuck in a quagmire? And, if your opponents only did a small percentage of the things you accuse them of doing or failed to do while in office, why aren’t there more investigations and arrests?

When are you going to get it through your thick, manicured heads, that in the end, the winner is sent to represent “all” of us…not just those people who voted for you.

Don’t you realize that every slur you make about your opponent might come back to haunt us if he/she wins? If you have done a job convincing the electorate that your opponent is an idiot, but you didn’t do “a good enough job” to get elected, you have essentially sent a jerk into office.

Do us all a favor. Be honest and avoid slinging the mud. Let us decide.

I approve this speech.”

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Fork in road

Whoopi Goldberg, the host of ABC’s “The View,” opened today’s show (10/10/2014) by making a simple, straightforward statement. Since I never intended on quoting her, I can only hope my capsule summary of her opening remarks retains the spirit of her actual words: We have hundreds of good cops all across the country doing a good job. But there seem to be some cops who are not doing a good job.

Whoopi went on to explain that there have been a number of videos catching bad cops in action and that these cops are making it bad for good cops.

Whoopi Goldberg is one of the few celebrities who makes a concerted effort to be “fair and balanced.”  She has some strong opinions, but she always expresses them in a way that you can see where she is coming from.  Unlike the Wizard of Oz who was ultimately unmasked , Whoopi would, in my opinion, make a good Wizard of Oz.

If I could have a conversation with Whoopi, I would hasten to bring up a point we sometimes forget as we approach a forked road on the YBR.

There is no denying that bad cops are making big, bad headlines. Not only that, but their antics are being broadcast on television and uploaded to YouTube. Though only a small percentage of cops ever make the headlines, they are creating a tsunami of sorts that is racial by nature…and perhaps, design.

Whoopi’s remarks and the view-versation that followed reminded me of the Tolstoy line in Anna Karenina:  “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Now, you might be wondering, what does that quote have to do with Whoopi’s remark about good cops/bad cops.

Now, you might be wondering, what does that quote have to do with Whoopi’s remark about good cops/bad cops. Think about it this way: All good cops are alike; each bad cop is bad in his/her own way.

To make it more relevant, think about this.  When you pick up a newspaper, go to your favorite internet site for news, turn on the radio, or catch the broadcast news and what do you find?  If there was an accident, there will be a story about it.  But will there be any stories about the drivers who didn’t have an accident? If a cat gets stuck in a tree and is helped down, the story will find its way into print. If the cat got down on his own power…you’ll never read about it.

Get my point?  Bad news sells. Good news, doesn’t.  On the same day that one bad cop somewhere out there takes the law into his own hands, there are hundreds of cops stopping crimes, making legal arrests….and in short, protecting us by doing what they swore they would do when they became cops.

Unfortunately, good cop stories rarely, if ever, make headlines.

Bottom line: Bad cops make good copy. Good cops make pr, and we all hate pr because it’s so contrived.

So, when a really bad cop-story takes the nation by storm, we all join in and voice are opinions, especially if it involves a white cop and a person of color.  Because such stories get so much press, we seem to forget what Whoopi said about all the good cops out there.

There is no room in any police force for a bad cop. And the law should be upheld when it has been proven…in a court of law, not the court of public opinion, that a bad cop has violated the rights of a citizen of any color.

We are at a fork in the road. Our heads are being filled with stories that seem to force us to take sides. Too many of us go blindly down one road because it fits the story we want to believe.

Let’s not forget that there are far more good cops than there are bad ones. Let’s also remember that we can never make excuses for a bad cop doing bad things.

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If the tension in the Middle East, the barbarism of ISIS, the world economy and the breakdown of security in America weren’t enough for us to deal with, we can now add Ebola to our plate of concerns. While Oz was known to have its problems…houses fallng from the sky, bad witches making serious threats, flying monkeys, etc., our problems are weighing down our fragile spirits.

What we are in desperate need of is a hero. Perhaps more than one is needed, but other than going to our favorite deli and ordering one, where in the world are we going to find the perfect hero? In the White House? In the halls of Congress? In the corridors of the Fortune 500? Among religious leaders? In Hollywood?

You know the lyric from the pop tune “looking for love in all the wrong place?”  Well, if we going looking for a hero in some of the aforementioned places, we’ll be looking in all the wrong places.

It’s very important to understand that while we think of our times as “the best of times and the worst of times<” we are not alone in our thinking.  There has never been a time in human history that did not try men’s souls. Humanity seems to have a pretty crappy track record in many regards.  In the last century alone there were over 270 wars, civil and otherwise, around the world, with a los of over 77 million people.  How many of those who were casualties of war might have been the hero the world was looking for?  And as fearful as we are of the possible spread of Ebola, consider the millions of people who died during the raging spread of the Spanish Flu (1918/19). How many heroes did we bury in early graves?

Today Americans are looking to the man in the White House for the hero we want to save the world.  Guess what?  The hero we need is not living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And that’s not meant to be an attack on President Obama. Considering the number of problems he’s facing at home and abroad, it is totally unfair for us to expect him to wave a magic wand and make all our problems go away.

Diseases, a bad economy and internal strife can all be dealt with if we put aside our prejudices and political beliefs. We can help turn the course of humanity in the right direction if we follow the yellow brick road…a raod paved with kindness, consideration and compassion.

But, it’s going to take a lot more than that to end the hatred the seems to be growing like a cancer around the world.  We will not find a cure for this cancer if we attack it with closed minds.  That doesn’t mean we have to condone any of the heinous acts committed in the name of religion. What we have to do is face some hard, cold facts.  Religion is, in my opinion, the cause of most of our problems. Not that religion is wrong, per se, but it is the stringent list of doctrines and sometimes archaic beliefs that instead of opening our hearts, bind them with heavy chains.

People are continually debating over wether or not the Koran calls for the blood of infidels. The debate is futile, because if even only one person is a “believer” of such an inhuman doctrine, there is a chance that such a belief will be embraced by hundreds, thousands and even millions.

Wanting a hero is a noble belief, but we have to be careful for what we wish for, because the perfect hero might not necessarily be an American, nor might such a fantastic hero actually be on board with everything we believe.

Alas. Our journey for the perfect hero is more than likely going to end up the way it did for Dorothy when, with the help of Toto, unmasked the less than great and powerful Wizard of Oz.

The real hero is inside each and every one of us. Every opportunity we have to be selfless and act for the good of others with no expectations, is one small step in finding the perfect hero. – Eleanor Roosevelt

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