Monday, June 25, 2012

Mitt Romney – A.I.: Artificial Intelligence

A cautionary tale of science run amok

What Mitt Romney Says. What Humans Say.

“You're wondering who I am-machine or mannequin
With parts made in Japan, I am the modern man” – Styx

"I'm a normal person. I have emotions." - Mitt Romney

During some recent explorations, the crack research team here at “… and several butcher’s aprons” unearthed some long-forgotten notebooks, documents, manuscripts, logs, chronicles, records, diaries, scientific journals, cocktail napkins and matchbooks – lots of things with lengthy and considerably complicated writing on them, and lipstick-covered telephone numbers. By nature we are reticent to undertake such an overwhelming endeavor as it inevitably involves a great deal of reading, ruminating and comprehension; matters much more demanding, arduous and complex than simply watching television.  But curiosity conquered lethargy as we sought out an explanation for the heretofore unexplainable - how one man could be so awkward, so uncomfortable, so unnatural whenever forced to encounter a fellow human being or to appear in a public arena. Contained within these notebooks and documents and manuscripts and logs (see above for remainder of the register) is the shocking, staggering and stunning reality – the implausible, yet genuine, genesis of Willard Mitt Romney.

The Beginning
It was labeled, “Project Geppetto” and was the brainchild of the wealthy and influential George Romney, later Chairman and President of American Motors (best remembered for the phrase, “where’s the rest of your car, toots?”), Secretary of HUD, Governor of Michigan and GOP Presidential candidate. Perceiving himself, Poppins-esque, to be sans flaw, spit spot and practically perfect in every way, he entertained intense apprehension that his progeny would not be as utterly and completely without fault or failing as he. Consequently, the senior Romney convened the supreme scientific minds of this post-World War II era to ensure that he would have an impeccable and superior son.  Having freshly encountered  little George W, the unfortunate offspring of good friend, George Herbert Walker Bush,  Romney maintained no intention of relying on the limitations of nature, biology, genetics and heredity. Eight years earlier, Geppetto team-leader, Professor Phineas T. Horton had developed his first functioning android. Human in appearance, speech and most behaviors, the one defect in his otherwise remarkable creation was its tendency to burst into flames upon contact with ordinarily life-giving oxygen.  Eventually learning to control his blazing abilities, the humanoid vowed lifetime service to humanity, and lived a celebrated, but unfortunately, celibate life as the fearless and exceedingly frustrated, original Human Torch. The Professor’s second successful creation, and his opportunity at definitively achieving perfection is, of course, our current Republican standard-bearer.
Mitt Romney and Reed Richards:
 Look-a-alike fictional characters you never see together.

It's Alive
While undoubtedly impressive, the scientific advances that allowed for the manufacture of Mitt still had not reached the kind of technological genius that we enjoy and employ today. Although well-succeeding in having, so far, never spontaneously combusted, Willard has developed regrettable and proficient powers to humiliate, bully and harass – stealing from the poor to give to the rich (primarily himself), the jubilant torment of a family pet followed by the blithe dismissal of said devilish deed, and the physical assault of one he identified as unusual, effeminate and beneath his own station. Sadly missing from this hopeful Hall of President’s automaton are those very mortal and vulnerable traits that come only with a human birth and can never be artificially recreated or programmed – compassion, humanity, empathy, sympathy, and understanding.

Mitt Speaks
He’s made up more stories than Sherezade, bent over further for the Far Right than a call girl with severe scoliosis, has held more positions than a yoga-master in a threesome, has had more changes of heart than a Kardashian at the NBA All-Star game and is more uncomfortable with possible human interaction than Marcus Bachmann at a Sadie Hawkins Day dance. What follows are Mitt’s own words presented in pairings of authentic Romney quotes with phrases or opinions stated in a manner native to actual homo-sapiens. Through this direct contrast we see, although almost flawlessly human in both programming and hardware, it is concretely clear there is a missing heart and soul.

What Humans Say/What Mitt Romney Says
“Wanna’ bet? Come on, 5 bucks.”/“Rick, I’ll tell you what, 10,000 bucks? $10,000 bet?”

“I read it on the plane.”/“I read the article on the aircraft.”

“Thanks very much, these are great.”/"I'm not sure about these cookies. They don't look like you made them. No, no. They came from the local 7-eleven, bakery, or whatever."

“That guy’s tall, I wonder if he plays basketball.”/”I met a guy yesterday, 7 feet tall… I figured he had to be in sport, but he wasn’t in sport!”

“I’ve been fortunate in my life, but I understand the needs and problems of the hard-hit middle class worker.”/"Maybe I should tell my story. I'm also unemployed."

“I enjoy NASCAR”/”I don't follow NASCAR as closely as some of the most ardent fans. But I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners."

“We support and appreciate our dedicated and brave lifesavers, and our fine educators who help mold the future of our great nation.”/ He says (President Obama) we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message in Wisconsin? The American people did. It's time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”

“Government of the people, by the people, for the people."/”Corporations are people, my friend.”

“As a businessman, one of the hardest responsibilities is letting someone go.”/” I like being able to fire people that provide services to me.”

“A society is only as strong as it weakest members.”/"I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there.”

”$374,000!!?? Woo hoo!!!” /"I get speaker's fees from time to time, but not very much."

???????/“I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.”

 And now, remaining vigilantly quite on topic, Styx with “Mr. Roboto” -

Monday, June 18, 2012

Saturday Song Selection - Maybe I'm Amazed

A 70th Birthday Special Repost

“Baby I'm a man, maybe I'm a lonely man
Who's in the middle of something
That he doesn't really understand”

In celebration and recognition of Paul McCartney's 70th birthday, "... and several butcher's aprons" shares, for a second time, some music and memories of Paul, originally written to commemorate the 69th anniversary of his birth. A mere year hence the mellifluous and melodic mop-top remains as busy as ever having just performed a mini-concert for Queen Elizabeth's Jubilee, and coming up shortly in July, he will be participating in the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics. We hope you enjoy -

Happy 69th birthday, Sir Paul, millions of us owe more thanks to you than we could ever properly express.

I’m quite confident that there is no need to tell anyone out there who Paul McCartney is or what he’s accomplished. Consequently, this “Saturday Song Selection” will be more of a personal take on McCartney than a biographical treatise.

Memories of Paul -

The Beginning

“There are only four people who knew what the Beatles were about anyway.”

How important were the Beatles to a certain generation? Well, I remember my first Beatle’s 45, “Love Me Do,“ on Tollie records. I remember the other early singles I owned as well, “She Loves You.“ “I Should Have Known Better,“ “Please, Please Me,“ and on and on, released on a variety of sometimes unusual and rarely heard of labels - Vee Jay, Swan, the aforementioned Tollie and, of course, Capitol - all for legal reasons far beyond the scope of understanding of a 5 year old lad. Of course, reminiscing about these initial platters is quite easy as, 45 years or so later, they are still very much in my possession, un-played for decades, but well protected in the green and white, 45rpm case with the illustration of the dancing teens on the front, some in their original sleeves.

I clearly and distinctly remember the Beatles initial appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, and all the excitement and exhilaration leading up to it. I can recall the build up on WABC and WMCA radios and the anticipation generated by New York’s legendary disc jockeys like Murray “the K” Kaufman and Cousin Bruce Morrow. Then, there was the experience itself - plopped down, far too close, in front of that monstrous piece of furniture that housed a 25 inch television tube, while the boys themselves performed in all the grandeur and glory that black and white can muster. I still maintain that this is the very first, vivid memory of my childhood. Hopefully, there are no Roseanne-esque, toddler terrors quietly and mysteriously lurking somewhere in the deep, dark, recesses of my questionable psyche, waiting to emerge just when my collapsing career most needs the publicity.

I will pass on sharing the saga of the sad and unsuccessful quest to acquire a Beatles wig as, just a few years later, I was able to grow my own - an ability that unfortunately eludes me now.

The Breakup

“At the end of the Beatles, I really was done in for the first time in my life. Until then, I really was a kind of cocky sod.”

In 5th grade, we had a regular part of every school day that was set aside to first read, and then discuss, articles from that day’s New York Times - or as the Right would call it now, “Communist Indoctrination Time.” It was part of social studies, a way to comprehend current events, and perhaps something the Wasilla public school system could gain from instituting. The intent was to learn more about important topics of the day - the Vietnam War, the Nixon administration, the space program, I Dream of Jeannie (okay, maybe I imagined that, as Barbara Eden was my celebrity crush at the time. By the way, when these personal revelations become overwhelmingly pathetic, please feel free to alert me) - and that was how I first became aware of John, Paul, George and Ringo going their separate ways. For most of us this was an event whose possibility never even crossed our tiny, child minds. Like George W. Bush ascending to the presidency, like muffin-tops being a fashion choice, like “Pink Lady and Jeff” (I can hear the crickets chirping on that reference) actually being cancelled, it seemed implausible, impossible, and incomprehensible. To put it in context, while rock was not quite in its infancy, perhaps one could say it was still just in its ‘tween years, and we had yet to discover what happens when rock and rollers mature. In some sense, rockers weren’t even supposed to age, as expressed in the lyrics of the Who‘s “My Generation,” “I hope I die before I get old.” So really, fans had not yet experienced the break up of any significant rock band. I’m quite certain that my initial reaction was simply a refusal to accept the news. The Beatles disbanding would be as hurtful and unlikely to a trusting child as the idea of the Mets ever trading Tom Seaver (that one still stings.)

Paul confirms my belief that I’m fortunate to reside in the coolest place in the world

“I never look forward, because I have no idea about how any of it happened to getting here. I've no idea how the next five years are going to be.”

Much like Little Jackie Paper left Puff (say, wait a minute, that does sound like it’s about marijuana! For shame Peter Yarrow! Well, at least we know “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” couldn’t be about any illegal substances) we all eventually grow up and leave the trauma of such childhood trivialities behind. In the meanwhile, Paul continues to record and perform - and while nothing could ever surpass the historic, iconic phenomenon that was the Beatles - he’s produced decades of great and memorable music and, perhaps, my favorite and most unexpected McCartney memory of all. Imagine it’s a typical work day, you leave your place of employment; step outside into the evening’s bustling, rush hour city streets, only to find yourself somewhat shockingly and surprisingly, serenaded by the sounds of “Get Back” wafting through the New York air. And, most fortuitously, thanks to the advantageous and serendipitous location of the Ed Sullivan Theatre in relation to both work place and home, you get to enjoy McCartney’s live performance, as clearly as if you held ticket in hand, as you leisurely stride to your apartment. And in a sense, in that evening, it all came full circle - what began at the Ed Sullivan Theatre for a 5 year old, continued at the Ed Sullivan Theater for a 50 year old.

From, “McCartney,” Paul’s first solo album, released on April 17, 1970 - “Maybe I’m Amazed.”

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saturday Song Selection: Frank Sinatra – What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life

“I want to see your face in every kind of light
In fields of gold and forest of the night
And when you stand before the candles on a cake
Oh, let me be the one to hear the silent wish you make”

Since the last “… and several butcher’s aprons” post leaned, oh so slightly, to the cynical, sarcastic and somewhat spiteful, we return to the “Saturday Song Selection” series with, if I may borrow an over-used phrase from those who gave our blog its very title, “something completely different,” a mood change as dramatic as Mitt’s policy shifts from Monday to Tuesday and an opening sentence as lengthy as his list of lies. This Saturday, June 16th, nycityman gets sentimental, soft, schmaltzy and sappy, with a lump in his throat and perhaps even a tear brought to the eye and a wish that you may similarly react. Feel no embarrassment if you do, for it was Frank Sinatra with his raw, sensitive and vulnerable interpretation of ballads, particularly songs of heart break and regret, who showed that it was okay for a tough-guy to cry. After his meteoric rise and early big band, bobbysoxer period idolatry, Sinatra suffered a time of both professional and personal decline and turmoil, climaxing in the end of his marriage to Ava Gardner. Listen to the material he released after this period and you hear a singer who had matured into an artist, and one who openly expressed and exposed his emotions and experiences. 

“What are You Doing the Rest of Your Life” was recorded in 1974. In Frank’s “summer, winter, spring and fall” of his life, he was decidely autumnal, for although he would continue to perform for over 20 more years, that voice had seen a lot of life and was no longer quite as powerful or pristine, nor were the performances as consistent. But I have a particular fondness and emotional attachment to this period and the years that followed, as this was the Sinatra era I would get to experience live, and even if a note was a soup├žon uncertain, what remained unadulterated and untainted by time, cigarettes, or Jack Daniels was the evocation, the poignancy and passion, the life behind the song.  Seeing Sinatra in concert was permanently an event, no matter the actual number of times in attendance, each was a singular and memorable occurrence.  In the twilight of his journey you realized you were seeing history.

With lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, music by the wonderful French composer Michel Legrand  and an arrangement by frequent Sinatra collaborator, Don Costa, “What are You Doing the Rest of Your Life” is a true highlight of the latter part of Sinatra’s career – a moving, evocative, emotional performance from an expressive voice.  However one must point out that his recent habit of holding, twisting and exaggerating the ‘I” sound, as In “night” and “light” ending each with an overemphasis on the “t” – I suppose the spelling would be something akin to“lyeeett”- a staple to impressionists from this day forward, is certainly fully on display in this track. I myself find it quite enjoyable to do when indulging in the fine and respected art of karaoke, and think of it as a humble, reverential homage.
The composer, Michel Legrand has written over 200 film and TV scores, received every conceivable honor and award in the international music industry, and is known in the United States for such songs as the theme from “Brian’s Song,” the Oscar winning “Windmills of Your Mind,” “I Will Wait for You,” “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?” and today’s presentation. It certainly seems imperative that Monsieur Legrand must be the subject of a future Saturday Song Selection - tout de suite.

Saturday, June 16th Birthdays

1993 Alice Ann Newman – Today Randy Newman’s daughter turns 19. I post that simple fact purely to posit the question – why would I possibly know that?

1987 Abby Elliott – Third generation in a comedy family, Abby’s dad is Chris Elliott and her grandfather was the Bob half of Bob and Ray, legendary, incomparable and droll (yes, I said droll) radio comedy team. I feel a slight affection for this clan, as I saw Bob live at Carnegie Hall. I worked with Chris once, and I’ve recently seen Abby wearing naught but a smile and fortuitously placed soap bubbles in Maxim magazine.  There, Abby, you wanted attention, you got attention! Now go put some clothes on. What would your grandfather think?

1938 Joyce Carol Oates – I have to admit, Joyce Carol Oates has been included in a mistakenly vain attempt to try and present nycityman and this blog as learned and classy. I, along with everyone associated with “… in several butcher’s aprons,” blogspot, and the entire world wide web across this great globe of ours, sincerely apologizes and we will attempt to return to our television and pop culture references as rapidly as is humanly possible.

1937 Erich Segal – Love means never having to make but the most obvious joke.

1936 Fred Oster - Dutch Television host – see earlier entry: Alice Ann Newman

1907 Jack Albertson this man he ain't so hard to understand. Chico, if you try now, I know that you can lend a helping hand. But much more significantly, Jack Albertson was the postal employee in “A Miracle on 34th St” who, in a glorious display of the lethargy and slothfulness of the government employee and the fabled corruption and inefficiency of government agencies, reroutes all the “Dear Santa” letters to the courthouse where Kris Kringle is on trial for mental instability, and thereby saves our most beloved of holidays and rescues Santa from a lifetime of institutionalization -. and remember, Mr. Claus’ lifetime is multiple hundreds of years.

1890 Stan Laurel - brilliant, beloved, immortal – if only kids today would watch black and white. What’s to say about one half of arguably the greatest comedy duo in film history – and not really arguably? Just enjoy the clip below from the Laurel and Hardy classic, “Way out West.”

But first, Frank Sinatra, “What are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?”

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mind Games: Miniature Capo di Tutti Capis - Our Beloved Bosses

A Caustically Critical and Comical Contemplation of Those Who Would Be Corporate Kings
Mr. Mooney - Iconic Boss #1

“I wear the chain I forged in life. I made it link by link and yard by yard while on Earth and, now I will never be rid of it any more than you will be rid of yours!” – Jacob Marley’s Ghost

 “We all been playing the mind games forever.” – John Lennon

“(What they do?)
(They smile in your face)
All the time they want to take your place
The back stabbers” - The O’Jays

We’ve shared many a cantankerous and crabby, if not disparaging, derogatory and disapproving blog post in the notoriously unheralded history of  “…and several butcher’s aprons,” but this entry may be the Burj Khalifa, the Sancy Diamond, the Mount Everest, the Xaviera Hollander (what are things that are the ultimate in their categories, Alex?)  of self-indulgent, bitter, acrimonious epistles, because this time – it’s personal!  (hit menacing music sting.)

They go by an abundant multiplicity of professional titles – boss, supervisor, superior, manager, coordinator, bully, back-stabber, deviant and sexual predator. But despite this opulent variety of workplace monikers those fellow homo-sapiens, by birth and nature biological equals, who hold far too much say, sway and power over substantial percentages of our days and our lives, whether achieving such through hard work, talent and dedication or through nepotism, quotas or frequent favors of the flesh, often share comparable characteristics. The employer/employee relationship seems by its very make-up to be an unavoidably adversarial one. The relative positions and roles in society are opposite and counter to each other. But why do some (many? the majority of?) bosses behave the way they do? Does management training demand that this sultan of supremacy surrender his or her humanity and humility - those very traits that would permit them to more empathize with and understand those who report to them? Are bosses by necessity always the worst people in the world, is it a qualification for success in the endeavor? With just a minor adjustment in focus and attitude, and a little taken off the sides and back, would Charles Manson have been the best darn Chief Operating Officer the world has ever seen? Could Jeffrey Dahmer have saved Borders Books? Could Mitt Romney have parlayed the personal pain, financial ruin and joblessness of thousands of hard working , middle-class Americans into obscene and almost immeasurable riches for himself? Could he have taken Gerber out of the mouths of babes in order to put more beluga in his own? (Oh wait, that happened.)
Mr. Dithers - Iconic Boss #2

The large, multi-national corporation for which I toil is more top heavy than a Hollywood plastic surgeon’s client list, just chock-a-block with “senior-”, “vice-”, “executive-“, “chief-“ titles of all stripes, manner and ilk - and by that I mean, of course, as in the GOP, the Vatican and every late-night comedy/talk show writing staff, they are in great preponderance, white males. Many are reasonable, rational human beings taking no joy in correcting, chastising or cajoling. And then there’s Maude (the name has been changed for employment security and for easy 70’s sitcom referencing) my main muse for this installment and the person to whom it is dedicated. Maude has mastered the art of the mind game – warm, fuzzy, loving, caring, armed with hot from the oven, fresh, home-made baked goods, a moist munchie in one gnarled claw but a razor sharp saber in the other (perhaps I best borrow the King's food taster), an appealing smile, and a kind but unmistakably feigned encouraging word on Monday; while on Tuesday she is inaccessible, callous, unkind and imperiously aloof. Your days are spent in psychological dismay – which guise will be revealed this fine morning and in what manner should she be approached, if indeed she even allows any approachment at all. Most importantly, whether experiencing either the Jekyll or Hyde phase, you suspect that during both extremes she has been laboring behind the scenes to sabotage and undermine your career; yet it is done not out of a predetermined perniciousness or a particular abhorrence toward you, rather, it is the way she feels she can most effectively and efficiently advance her own. As with any good cult or terrorist organization leader her primary management approach is to break your spirit. Like a wild palomino in a sport jacket and chinos, once you’re broken and defeated, she has triumphed, and from 9 to 5, has wrestled complete control over your being. Have a nice day.
A Few Other Boss Types

This is the Totie Fields or London Lee of supervisors (no, how about the Rusty Warren or Mickey Manners of supervisors? Okay, we’ll go with Sarah Silverman and Patton Oswalt) always on, an apparently frustrated stand-up comic with a confrontational Catskills comedic repertoire. The result, he/she frequently embarrasses themselves in hallways, in lunchrooms, in elevators and most often and most damaging, in department meetings. Unfortunately and through no fault of your own, as all injurious jesters require a foil, you are often drawn downward into their dungeon of disgrace. And, once again, as it has on so many previous occasions, your mind queries, “I report to this person?!”

The whiner, verbalizes only through the nasal cavity, rarely through the mouth, while taking credit for other people’s work. His desktop is covered in pharmaceuticals, vitamins and supplements of every variation, next to the super-sized box of lotion-enhanced facial tissues. This archetype seems to constantly fall ill when exceptionally loathsome assignments appear. Suddenly you’ll be entrusted with unprecedented  freedom and responsibility, but fear not proper due recognition, as he’ll be receiving all acknowledgment and praise for your 5 consecutive nights spent slaving until the witching hour, while he remained at home, reclined on the settee, Chivas Regal,  Primatene Mist and Afrin in hand, convulsing at the Big Bang Theory reruns on TBS. This boss has perfected a management method combining the most irritating elements of Gary Cole in “Office Space,”  Garry Shandling and Quinn Cummings (see Wikipedia – annoying child actress “The Goodbye Girl” and “Family.”)

They don’t have a life, so why should you? This administrator is hermetic, lacking in humor or imagination and possesses awkward social skills, consequently, they subsist on cubicle and coffee machine. They work nights and weekends (and Christmas and New Year’s and especially Valentine’s Day night) so why shouldn’t you? All is not gloom and doom, however, as you will receive one day of recreation while under their vocational jurisdiction, that being, of course, the sad anniversary of the occasion that Captain Fluffy Paws left us for the great scoop-able litter box in the sky.

While culled from individual experience with an extensive degree of embellishment and exaggeration for entertainment purposes - so don’t try this at home - perhaps among the satirical specificity there is some universality to be found. If you are a boss yourself, take no offense, as surely you don’t recognize any semblance of yourself amongst this collection of ogres and miscreants. And although an envied, flourishing leader of men you may be, somewhere there is someone even you have to answer to. So, here’s to those who have attained bountiful business brilliance. Here’s to the winners. “Here's to the winners, lift up the glasses. Here's to the glory still to be. Here's to the battle, whatever it's for.”  But, keep in mind, while you may have achieved exalted ambitions, remember that no one, save his indistinguishable cloned progeny, not even his most ardent supporters, hold any real affection for Mitt Romney. So strive while you may for Willard doppelganger-hood and its accompanying formidable fiscal feats, in reality, humanity and compassion are true traits of the winner and demand a distinctly dissimilar skill-set.
And finally, a question - is it worth the possibility of jeopardizing one’s livelihood just for the juvenile, enjoyable, and spiritually and psychologically satisfying opportunity to expose and ridicule one’s supervisors, especially in such obvious and identifiable ways? When having wine with dinner, it certainly, at least momentarily, appeared so.

We conclude with an “… and several butcher’s aprons” first – 3 classic songs in commentary of the current topic featuring John Lennon, The O’Jays and Frank Sinatra.

Monday, June 4, 2012

I, Magoo

The Perils and Foibles of Being Simultaneously Nearsighted and Farsighted
Aging in an Age of Aging
Writing Subtitles Even When the Thesaurus Tool is Malfunctioning

“Oh Magoo, you’ve done it again!” – Quincy Magoo

“I Can’t See Nobody
No, I Can’t See Nobody” – The Bee Gees

Despite the best efforts and intents of resveratrol, CoQ-10, fish Oil, flavonoids, beta-carotene or any other of the seemingly infinite, and completely unregulated,  anti-oxidants and natural supplements we devour desperately - individual Ponce De Leons all, in a quixotic quest for our personal fountains of youth – each and every one of us, mortal to our very core, will inevitably succumb to nature, aging and maturity and their inescapable consequences  (Benjamin Button – a curious case, Joan Rivers’ eyelids, and the GOP policy towards women’s health issues aside.)  As I ascend through the furtively fleet passage of time, I fear that the illustration of Mr. Magoo, presented here, represents a fairly accurate depiction of the current and future states of nycityman - and not only in appearance and stature, but even more so in terms of awareness, alertness and overall general behaviors. I’ve become as myopic as Michele Bachmann’s matchmaker, as Donald Trump’s hairstylist, or as Cardinal Timothy Dolan at the annual gay rights parade.

Being nearsighted is far from a new development, gold aviator frames with brown-hued, gradient lenses (scoff if you wish, but it was the era, they were the trendiest of all spectacles and coordinated brilliantly with the quiana shirts and platform shoes – we were stayin’ alive) were indispensable accoutrements beginning in high school. My ocular acuity decreased as persistently and precipitously as an abstinence pledge in Wasilla, Alaska, and if not for the astonishing advances in lens technology, I’d be sporting glasses that look like 19thcentury stereoscopes. But, alas now, thanks to the generosity, gifts and good graces of Father Time (whom I think of more as a neglectful, if not abusive, step-father) I am also farsighted, and that condition too is deteriorating as rapidly as a Fox News viewer’s useful grey matter. Ponder the reality – if one is farsighted, and one is also nearsighted, what category of “sighted” remains? Through laborious and ceaseless scientific study and inquiry (lying in bed, sans corrective lenses, periodical and ruler in hand) I recently ascertained that the area I can see clearly, the entire distance in which I can discern the visual variation between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito,  totals 5 inches! From about 12 inches to 17 inches away from my eyes, words and objects are distinct and distinguishable - before 12 inches and beyond 17 inches, my sense of being, life, humanity and events is perceived through the same camera filter that was used to shoot Doris Day on the old television series that bared her name. When prepping for slumber, and therefore lens-less, the cloudy, amorphous, shapeless blob lurching toward me in the gloom of darkness could be anyone from, optimistically - winsome, Welsh warbler, Katherine Jenkins (temporarily replacing Barbara Eden as the current, comic, childish crush reference) to, more pessimistically, renowned cinema villain, Kane Hodder, cleaver at the ready.
Katherine Jenkins

Actually experiencing life as a Mr. Magoo is not minutely as amusing in reality as it is in the animated realm. For example, driving into a fire hydrant has very little actual comic value, even if a chicken inexplicably appears upon the scene and is thrown into the air upon contact. Similarly, should you find yourself driving off of a cliff your vehicle will not defy gravity and stay aloft in the air as you register a triple take to camera before plummeting.  And, it’s best if we spare the details of the actual aftermath of an anvil dropping on a head. Needless to say the body does not transform into a whimsical accordion. 

Once upon a time I could see.  I was a sharp-eyed, alert, hormone-driven youngster who could spot VPL and muffin tops and most urgently, adam’s apples on people whom in every other aspect appeared wonderfully womanly, from a football field away. I could see near and far, hither and yon, fore and aft, and even Shields and Yarnell.  I could see fire I could see rain. But now, I have to give serious, thoughtful and even lengthy deliberations to concerns like – if I were to be in a plane crash, would it better if I were wearing my contact lenses or my glasses? I’m still debating that.

The Bee Gees, and “I Can’t See Nobody”