Friday, May 25, 2018

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1949 The Recipe

Here’s what happens when the food critic writes a crime story for the newspaper.  First, the story has to happen.  In this case, it’s a bunch of hillbillies who build a meth lab and the cops bust them, and it.

Next the cops send a fax to the local paper, the Dogpatch Daily Dispatch.

No one’s around the newsroom to go out and sniff around.  The one remaining staff reporter is getting winded between stops on his daily rounds which include but are not limited to: the college football team, the opening of a new restaurant, the closing of an old restaurant. The closing of every road everywhere for construction.

Sounds like a busy schedule.  But today is a relatively light day because

--The congressman’s office is closed for memorial day.
--The county government leaders are away at a “conference.”
--Most of the cops are on DWI patrol even though it’s ten in the morning.
--The Mega Mart is closed because they couldn’t get enough temps to staff the place.
--All roads are subject to periodic closure due to construction.

So the paper calls on the restaurant critic, Lori Fresser, who happens to live next door to the meth lab and has a house covered roof-to-foundation in asbestos blankets and has the largest sprinkler system on the planet, just in case.

She ventures out of her asbestos-blanketed front door and rolls over to the neighbors who she does not know very well because they keep to themselves.  Perfect people about whom you can always later say “they were quiet. Kept to themselves. Never bothered anyone.”

Inside the home are the few cops who aren’t patrolling the roads no one can use, about four of them.  And there -- in all its glory -- stands the unexploded meth lab.

The reporter writes a note to herself “reminder: call some asbestos removal guys.  I won’t be needing those fireproof blankets anymore.”

None of the perps are talking.  Fine. They have a right to remain silent. So Ms. Fresser (the name means “eater” in Pennsylvania Deutsch, German and Yiddish.) So Ms. Fresser does what a food critic and recipe maven always does.  She lists the ingredients.

And she writes her story.  And she submits her story to the editor who is located four states away and is responsible for ten of the publisher’s dailies.

And the editor is distracted and doesn’t pay much attention to the story below the first paragraph which starts out “It was a dark and stormy lunchtime…”

The recipe gets printed.  All the ingredients you need to make a dangerous, addictive and illegal substance.

And now, the paper’s readers, all three of them, know how to make methamphetamines for fun and profit.

Next day, the publisher who is located three thousand miles west marvels at the amazing circulation bump for the Dogpatch Dispatch.

Word travels fast.  The locals have crowdfunded the sticker price and circulation has risen from three to 42,558.

Maybe Ms. Fresser should rethink calling the asbestos removal folks.

Questions on the trump-Kim cancellation:
-What happens to all those medallions commemorating the meeting?
-What will trump do with the replica Nobel Peace Prize he ordered from
-Will Kim rebuild the nuclear test site he destroyed on the eve of trump’s pull out?
-How will not meeting help the fetal peace process?
-Is Russian president Putrid involved somehow, and if so, how?

The dangerous thing about Trump’s fantasy world is not when it dissolves into nothing; it’s when he seduces the rest of us to move into it.” --David Brooks, New York Times columnist.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

1948 The Royal Divorce

1948 The Royal Divorce

GALWAY, IRELAND -- McCabe was in Murphy’s Pub hoping for a soccer game replay and a tune or two. It’s an old timers’ joint where you can nurse a Smithwick’s for an hour if you must, but don’t ask for ice in your Slane’s or out on the street will ya land.

No soccer today.  It’s the Royal Wedding. Every channel.  And on the radio. 

McCabe says to no one in particular “I give it five years.” Y.C. Wang, who was born on St. Patrick’s Day but hadn’t tasted a Guinness until she was well into middle age and hasn’t had one since, agrees.

“That Harry… he’s less British than I am,” says McCabe. “And he’s a playboy.  How long before he starts messing around?”

The bride, the new princess Markle of Hollywood is to the commoners, the new Princess Di.  She proved it by marching down the aisle with that 14-foot headgear wearing Diana’s ring, but without her father at her side.

How long until she finds her own Dr. Khan or Dodi Al Fayed. Tip to princess Markle:  You get into a car with some guy from Pakistan or Egypt and the driver is French and drunk, wear a seatbelt.

McCabe: “With Prince Dumbo and Diana, everyone knew it couldn’t last. Dumbs was smitten with that inelegant gin sponge Camilla proving that Britain is not the height of elegance, manners and taste it claims to be.”  This from a guy whose nickname at Murphy’s is “William of Orange.”

At the request of the footballers (that’s what they call soccer) Murphy turns three of the eleven TV sets to the replay channel.

But the chatter about the Royal Divorce continues apace.  The royals don’t have a lot of fans on the west side of Ireland.  For example, some regulars at Murphy’s have latched on to the notion that Prince Philip lied about his age to join the navy early and he’s really 112 years old, not 96.

Oh, by the way, Queen Liz and Prince Phil are distant cousins which explains a lot about Prince Charles.

Liz however is in fine shape for someone of her age (which we know is 92.)  She and Mama Markle wore similar colors.  How cute. 

The American African bishop who officiated gave a wonderful speech about love and no one fell asleep. Or at least no one fell asleep and was caught so-doing on camera.

So McCabe and Wang are on the same page about the length of the marriage.  But they are not on the same line in the Excel sheet about the projected timeline that builds toward the end.

One thinks Harry already has a girlfriend hidden somewhere in the palace.  The other thinks he’s on and hunting.

--WestraDamus predicted a chubby blonde woman would win the new low-rent version of American Idol and was, as per usual, at least partly wrong.  But winner Maddie Poppe is blonde, though in no way a flesh boulder.  And she’s dating the runner up who should have won, Caleb Hutchinson.

--Have you had enough of the award show overload run by each of the networks?  The website Axios says ratings are down for all of them. That includes the Oscars, Grammys, Tonys, Golden Globes, MTV, Billboard and SAG awards.

--The format itself remains viable as Danish National Television prepares for the first season of “The Nobel Awards,” where contestants audition before judges Queen Margrethe of Denmark, the Rev. Al Sharpton and Simon Cowell.  And here’s your host, Ryan Seacrest.

Additional reporting by Bill “William of Orange” McCabe in Galway.
I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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Monday, May 21, 2018

1947 Keep Our Children Safe? and Remembering Sam Hall

That’s what the Prez sez. And then there’s Sen. Cruz (R-Alberta) who wants you to know those slaughtered kids in Santa Fe TX near Houston are in his prayers. Fabulous, Raphael. How’s that worked for you in the past?

So another Friday morning at a little place named for the railroad that used to run through it.  A town of 12-thousand or so with a city hall in a cement plant, 15 bars and 21 churches, most on or near Highway Six.  Ten dead.  And the shooter, apparently a 17 year old didn’t have the grace to kill himself and save Galveston County the scarce chemicals they use to zap whoever is convicted regardless of judicial, prosecutorial and defense errors, pleas to the governor and serious doubt about whether the jury picked the right guy.

How’s this for TODAY’S QUOTE: “I always kind of felt like eventually it was going to happen here too.” --Paige Curry, 17, student at Santa Fe High School.

OK, Paige, you were right.  And the shooter raided daddy’s gun casket for the pistol he used and the shotgun he carried.

There was talk of pipe bombs.  There was worry that there was more than one gunman… well, gunchild. But young Ms. Curry puts a new kind of face on the story. It is the face of inevitability and acceptance.  Have we gotten so used to this that we just expect it to happen?

Apparently so.  It happens so often we soon will get to the point that when we see a screen full of kids marching from a school building, we’re ready to say “oh, what? Another one?”

The gunsels among us have framed these portable tragedies to have us believe that people who want gun availability shrunk want to get rid of all guns. While that idea has merit, that’s not the object. The object is to protect kids, not steal hardware.

--Many who use motorized carts supplied by the grocery have spent a lifetime eating Quarter Pounders and have grown into quarter-toners who are too big to walk. Some of us who use them are injured and here’s a plea to the flesh boulder crowd: When you’re finished with the machine, please plug it in so the rest of us can use them without running out of juice in Aisle Three.  And someone get hold of the Energizer Bunny or Elon Musk and see about a battery that lasts more than ten minutes on a charge.

Sam Hall

There’s a folk-ish song about a guy named Sam Hall, a misanthrope who is hanged in the final verse.

But there also was a real “Sam Hall.”
His real first name was Hugh.
And he has died.

We worked hand in glove at WOR and at the RKO and UniStar radio networks.

He was a lunatic. A lovely and loving lunatic.  Did magic with words. Looked a little like Ichabod Crane, but with a bushy beard. He was so tall, people wanted to charge him for using air space when he walked on the street. Drove an ancient VW van, “Dixie the Wonderbus.”  Supplied plastic leaf bags for your lap because the windshield wasn’t quite attached and the rain would come in and soak you. 

Sam was a beautiful man. And as good as it gets on the air.

Now he’s gone.  

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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Friday, May 18, 2018

1946 ReXXon 2.0

1946 ReXXon 2.0
When the guy lecturing you on truth and ethics headed an oil company worth more than the gross domestic product of Pakistan something seems off kilter.  But that’s what former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did the other day and he had a point.

ReXXon, as he’s known to readers of this site, addressed graduates of Virginia Military Institute and warned against ethical failures and made up facts, something he was forced at times to do as CEO of ExxonMobil and then Secretary of State working for The Man he’s said to have called a “F***ing moron.”

Take your wisdom where you find it. ReXXon was not the captain of his company ship Valdez, the one that set bird life back to the stone age and turned Prince William Sound into Prince William Silence. So you can’t blame him for that.

Here’s the single most important part of his speech:

If "our leaders seek to conceal the truth, or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom."  

ReXXon’s mistake in accepting the job of running the State Department was that he thought he was going to run the State Department.  He was a guy used to having his orders followed. Why not? He was more important than Pakistan and dozens of smaller countries. But that job, like every other post in the trump cabinet, is only a placeholder so the Don of the crime family has someone to blame when things go wrong, which is most of the time.

Plus, at State, there were so many empty parking spaces it looked like the building was closed.  Which it pretty much was. So, who was going to follow those orders, Jared?

Who was it said during the JFK years the country’s focus was on seizing the future, while most of the time since it’s been about keeping our noses above water?  ReXX wants facts.  After all, they’re harder to twist than whims, which is how we’re being governed now.

You may hate Big Oil.  But you can’t argue with this:  they know how to get the stuff out of the ground and ship it hither and yon.  You may not like it.  But they get the job done, largely because they understand the job.

If ReXXon boned up on the way his predecessors got things done, he was misled.  If he thought he could stand up to the White House buzz saw and direct the department more or less as it should be directed, he was delusional.

Still, it’s nice to hear that he’s come around.  Or at least says he has.

And Rex, about that speech:  All your own work?

--ReXXon was not in charge at his company during the Valdez mess. So it’s unfair to blame him, and we don’t. But the corporate culture at ExxonMobil is another story.

--Tillerson came out from under the trump appointment cleaner than he went in.  This speech gave him the chance to say something important.  Had he said this stuff at this volume in his days as a government worker, he would have been put out to pasture before anything grew there.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

1945 The Old College Try

Many of us enjoyed and profited from our college years... to a point. But it’s hard to understand how some people who go to a school, any school, just can't let go.

As the football season approaches, look at the people who come to the games. Middle aged and older guys and gals in RVs with banners in school colors, gathering to watch a bunch of knuckle draggers dragging their knuckles into combat that's not nearly as exciting as a low level video game, and waaay more expensive.

But it's not just the football crazies.  It's the frat boys and sorority girls who never let go of their I Phelta Thi sweatshirts and microskirts.  

They all look like the "before" pictures in the Nutrisystem ads.  They come on crutches and in Hoverounds, dragging their mascot flags, their dogs and their grandchildren behind them.
The hierarchies and cliques they either joined or formed as kids are still the templates for the ways they relate to the "outside world."

And then there are the ones that later get jobs at the school.  They run for seats on boards, they show off by how many buildings or events are named after their money.  

They join the faculty where they serve until they're numbed by tenure and write papers that the peer reviewers review and no one else reads.
They put out books no one buys except their students who have to and which are published by the (insert the name) University Press.

Later in life, what makes them think anyone will care where they went to school 50 years ago?  Oh! I went to Michigan State or Harvard or the London School of Economics or that great medical and baking school in France, the Sore Bun?

No one cares because you’re same schlump now as when you entered the class of 61. But you don’t have to act like it.

Sure it’s nice to reminisce about the good old days of beer pitchers at Ye Olde Watering Hole and arguments about capitalism v. socialism and cutting class to be with that “special someone” or studying like mad eight hours before the Lithuanian Literature 134 final.  

It is said that the “great universities” are where future leaders and forward thinking are formed.  If so, how’s that working out for us?

--The US Embassy to Israel has moved to Jerusalem.  It’s trump’s way of sticking it to the palestinians.  The net gain for the US: forcing the ambassador to commute to Tel Aviv where all but the ceremonial still is done.

--Ivanka attended the ribbon cutting and all the photographs show her standing there smiling like the Stepford Daughter.  Meantime, bullets are flying and blood is running in the streets.  It’s hard for this space to sympathize with the palestinians, but in this case we gotta.

--Guatemala has follow the US lead and moved its embassy to Jerusalem. Huh? Who even knew there was one?

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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Monday, May 14, 2018

1944 There's an App for That

Soon we won’t have to do anything for ourselves anymore.  There’s an app for it.  Something on your smartphone that will do something you have to do and don’t like or want to do or couldn’t.

Let’s say you live in a high crime area and you’re out for dinner. All the neighborhood burglars are wise to your lights turning on and off at various times.  So they know when your living room light goes on automatically at sundown.

You no longer can fool them with a timer that turns your living room light on at a certain time. But now’s the time to go high tech.  What if the lights in various rooms went on and off at random times.  TV sets blared sounds first in the living room, then shut off and went upstairs where your bedroom TV went on and blared loud?

There’s an app for that.

You can be sitting at ringside at the Hotsy Totsy Strip Club … or the prayer meeting at church and using your smartphone turn your house lights on and off, ring your home phone seven times, run the “tub clean” cycle on your home laundry machine and even mimic the sound of a barking Irish Wolfhound, a dog no one who hears would dare to mess with.

But let’s not remain simple.  How about an app for washing the dishes, cleaning the oven, doing the laundry? Of course that would require the assistance of a robot or two.  So you may have to wait. Siri, Cordoba, and Google Assist aren’t that able.  Yet.

But wait. There’s always iLevitate. Yes!  So far it’s exclusive to Verizon customers with the iPhone XXIII.IV.  But soon it will spread to the other carriers.  The laundry will levitate its way to the washing machine.

And of course, you can control your washing with your smartphone anywhere there’s cell or wireless service. No problem.

Did you turn the coffee maker off before leaving the house? You can check.

There’s an app for that.

Of course new apps bring with them new hackers.  

How do you know your apps have been hacked?

Well, let’s say it’s mid February.  You come home, find the house at 28 degrees.  There are two possibilities:

1.    The furnace died.
2.    You’ve been hacked and some kid in Bulgaria turned your AC on or opened your electronic windows.

When the robo caller rings, wouldn’t you like to strike back?  Maybe play a Sousa March or send a loud and shrill tone back over the phone?

There’s an app for that.

Got a nasty neighbor?  Want to send a flurry of weeds to grow in his lawn?

Did you forget your anniversary or someone’s birthday?

Want to send a little 5,000 volt jolt to the guy who keeps talking or phoning when you paid 40 bucks for a pair of movie tickets?

All together now:  There’s an app for that.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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Privacy Notice

This blog complies with all the new hoo hah  about privacy, or at least Google Analytics says it does.  Here, to reiterate, is our priva...