Friday, March 27, 2015

Half a Mike Pence: Legislating Hatred for the Prince of Peace

The Case Against Religion: Argument Number 2,987,425

“Indiana wants me,
Lord, I can’t go back there.” – R. Dean Taylor

Indiana, that vital, vibrant state, the Staten Island of the Midwest, home of Forrest Tucker and Leon Ames (I have odd tastes) previously best known for its production of gap-toothed, late night talk show hosts, its yearly festival of race car crashes and as the largest supplier of caucasian basketball players to the NCAA, finds itself suddenly thrust into the national political headlines.

For as Conservative Christians continue their crusade to take this country ever backwards in time and tolerance, Indiana Governor Mike Pence made their destructive dreams come true by enacting an unconstitutional law allowing legal bigotry against the LGBT community. Thanks to Mike’s minute and malicious mind, businesses in the Hoosier State can now deny service to gays, lesbians, transgenders and members of the touring company of “Kinky Boots.” He, like so many self-proclaimed but ill-intended Christians, continues to demonstrate his complete lack of knowledge of Jesus’s teachings, philosophy, and charitable and beneficial beliefs. Further, punitive Pence proved he is also painfully deficient in his acquaintance with our country’s history, laws and Constitution.

Clearly missing from Governor Pence’s faulty civics education is this extremely well-known and popular gem from our Constitution - "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
Also unknown to this ignorant executive is this greatest hit from the Declaration of Independence – “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

But, as so many on the Right feel the Bible trumps any mere government documents, what of the figure for whom myriad GOP pols claim to speak? What are Jesus's thoughts on the subject? From John 13:34 -
A new commandment I give unto you. That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”

So, by all obvious and outward appearances, no matter how you approach fairness and equality, be it through the words of our Founding Fathers or the Word of the Biblical Father, Conservatives are wrong, wrong and, for good measure, wrong again.

 Some Practical Perspective on Piety

Not to cause great insult, injury or offense to any sincere believers who may have mistakenly stumbled upon this bit of blasphemy while trolling for a Kirk Cameron direct-to-video, but to my less than humble, and overly-opinionated, sensibilities all of your creeds are incorrect. And if the rest of mankind would just nod in agreement, after thousands of years of controversy, the divisive debate over the existence of divinities can be put to rest. Now we can stop hating over our love of god, and cease millennia of warring and bloodshed in disagreement about the accurate GPS coordinates and religious route as we’re buying a Stairway to Heaven.

Numbers Don’t Lie (But Political and Religious Leaders Do)

There are approximately 4200 religions in the world, worshipping around 2870 deities, each whose followers sincerely know that theirs is the one true faith and the one true god, resulting in distrust and animosity toward those who believe otherwise. But how logical or plausible is it that 4199 religions are erroneous while one is genuine? Maybe, it’s at long last time that someone admits that their faith is flawed; and as charity, and perhaps, truth telling begin at home, allow me the distinct pleasure to begin. 
When I believed in the Judeo-Christian god, and I celebrated Christmas, not as a festival of cheerful ditties, multi-colored strings of lights and entertaining animated television fare, but as the birth of a lord and savior, I followed my childhood indoctrination. However, just a few moments of research will reveal that, as Fred Flintstone is to Ralph Kramden, Jeb is to W, and Cheney is to Beelzebub, Jesus seems an imitation of earlier invented gods, primary among them, Egyptian deity Horus. The virgin birth, the three Wise Men, the twelve disciples, the crucifixion and resurrection, all of these biographical details, and more, were a part of the Horus mythology concocted sometime around the 31st century B.C.

The Big pre-Webber/Rice Savior
Denying others their freedoms and rights is not anyone's freedom of religion, it's simply bigotry and hatred wrapped in phony sanctimony. It's also vile and unconstitutional. Might I suggest that if what anyone derives from a book is to hate and hurt others, whether it's the Bible or a dime novel, one reject that book immediately? Unfortunately, until we reach a more progressive period when humanity supplants divinity and fact supplants faith, classes will always clash and the world will forever war.

Returning to our original theme of intolerance in Indiana, R. Dean Taylor performs his one hit wonder, “Indiana Wants Me.”

Any comments, questions, criticisms, candid confessions, cash contributions?  Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Revisiting Rafael - Ted Cruz, Ineligible Savior of the Senseless

“No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President” - Article II Section 1 Clause 5: Constitution of the United States of America

In light of today’s historic announcement by Canadian born Senator (of the Ottawa Senators?) Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz, foreign born and so thoroughly ineligible to seek the highest office in the land; we, unlike the Republicans who have neither knowledge nor interest in history, and so rather than learn from it, constantly repeat it; look back at an earlier blog post reflecting on previous puerile and damaging behavior from the carpetbagger from Calgary – primarily, his federal government shutdown, which cost taxpayers 24 billion dollars.

Curious, but not the least bit surprising, the Birthers, Tea-Partiers and Republicans are not questioning the legality, legitimacy or Constitutionality of a Ted “Poutine” Cruz run for President.  Sadly, and obviously, in the minds of Conservatives, any African-American born in the United States is less of an American than Canuck Cruz, or for that matter, those 2 crushes that make their hearts go pitter pat and their hormones dance to a Johnny Mathis melody, Vlad “the Impaler, if you know what I mean” Putin or Bibi  “Love, My Bibi Love” Netanyahu.

Originally posted on October 4th, 2013.

A Song of Rafael - Killing a Country on Cruz Control

"Okay, who hates America? Raise your hand."
“I got fury in my soul
Fury's gonna take me to the glory goal 
In my mind
I can't study war no more
Save the people
Save the children

Save the country, now” – Laura Nyro

As of the date of this publication, our government is still shut down and the minute minority of the regressive, radical-right remains ruling the roost, while Canadian Cruz continues as uncrowned, craven king of the crazies.

A tidbit of a taste of the consequences in merely these last few days; just some results of this repugnant Republican reprobation – 
800,000 government employees have been furloughed, while another 1.5 million essential workers must remain on duty, and in both situations, sans salary. 
In the sphere of safety there are some startling and concerning particulars as the FDA is cutting back on food inspections, the EPA can’t currently monitor pollution or pesticides, the Labor Department has curtailed enforcement of workplace safety regulations, and the Center of Disease control has ceased, well, controlling disease – now, take a nice, big healthy breath of fresh air, shake a neighbors hand, and dig into that apple.

New, more accurate party logo
But luckily, on the plus side, with this intrusive, socialist, expensive, big brother government on lockdown, we are surely socking away savings like Scrooge at a Costco. Well, perhaps on Fox News, but in this solar system, the government shutdown is costing American taxpayers 150 million dollars a day, all thanks to the largesse and illogical logic of Ted Cruz and the celebrated, and famously fiscally-conservative GOP .

For Cruz and Boehner and Cantor and those of their icky ilk, who detest our government and despise America in their current incarnations, and express such daily, in ways both direct and subtle – rather than serve people and institutions so abhorrent, why not migrate to a locale more suiting their repellant temperaments? As the GOP is so smitten and man-crushed with Vladimir Putin, and lovingly view him as such a worthy world leader and one who has so outshone and outclassed our President, may I suggest Russia – a Tea-Publican Wonderland who’s leaders  persecute and oppress the identical populace that Conservatives do.

Tea Party Pin-up Vladimir Putin
Sometimes you can just picture the Republicans twisting the ends of their big, black waxed mustaches and laughing loud with evil glee, as they tie damsels to train tracks, kick puppies and deprive children of food and needed medical care. Their masters, the Koch brothers, pat their heads, and smile wide in proud approval, and Ted Cruz, their most powerful puppet, destroys a Democracy, with delirious dreams of a purchased Pennsylvania Avenue occupancy.

Role Model, Snidely Whiplash

 A Song of Rafael

He sallied forth from north of the border
With goals to create chaos and disorder
To break down a country
And rebuild it again
As a place only fitting for wealthy white men

Se nombre, Rafael
But he must go by Ted
Use his real Cuban name
His career would be dead.
In a Tea Party realm
For a Tea Party base
Where you’re only worthwhile
With a Caucasian face.
We must all be the same
No blacks, no browns, no yellows, no reds
Lest the Red Queen exclaim
Off with their heads

Palin can vouch for your brain and your wit
Congrats, you're endorsed by our land's biggest twit
You share the same loathing, you share the same scorn
You wish ill on others,
That is, once they are born.

So, he sneers, he scowls, he boasts and he brags
As the poor beg on streets, coins in torn paper bags
And the middle class fail, ‘til they owe so much debt
They may linger in jail
But he’ll feel no regret

The needy, the starving, the children, the ill
His Right will not pass a compassionate bill.
Best to shutter the state, best to close down the vault
They continue to say it’s the powerless fault

          The point of this pointlessness
The reason for pain
Only Rafael's selfish and personal gain

Presidential aspirations, political machinations, societal deviations
Until nothing but elites, Kochs and Romneys remain

"Say goodnight, Gracie..."

Now, enjoy the much missed Fifth Dimension with their recording of a Laura Nyro classic, “Save the Country.”

Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Man Called Kucinich!

Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich: A Marital Miracle in Ohio 

“There's no one more red, white and blue
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal” – Phil Ochs

And now, some shallow, vaguely politically related, pointless silliness.

The frequent MSNBC appearances of reporter and pundit Jackie Kucinich, daughter of former Congressman and White House hopeful Dennis Kucinich, freshens one’s stale memories of that electoral, romantic curiosity that is the Kucinich marriage, first brought to entertaining light during the 2008 Presidential campaign.  If I may, let me illustrate this wonder a mere 7 years passed its point of relevance.

This is Dennis Kucinich.

This is his wife, Elizabeth Kucinich.

Once again, this is Dennis Kucinich.

This is his wife.

For proper perspective, this is Dennis and Elizabeth together.

Dennis Kucinich was born shortly after the conclusion of World War II, during the Truman Administration, in an era when Big Band music ruled the radio airwaves and everyone began their sentences with a smart alecky, “say” or “why I oughta.”  

Elizabeth Kucinich first brightened this weary planet 4 years after the cease fire ending the Vietnam War, when Jimmy Carter lusted in his Presidential heart, and Saturday Night Live entered its third season of changing the landscape of inconsistent television comedy.

She’s a statuesque 6 feet tall (in her seamed, silk-stockinged feet), a specimen worthy of origin on the island of Themyscira. He is listed as 5 foot 7 (when standing on the Manhattan White Pages, sporting Elizabeth’s open-toed pumps, or following an elongating session on the rack) a suitable resident of Middle-Earth.

They’ve been betrothed for a decade now, clearly, it works.  So, who am I to question the vagaries, the mysteries, the majesties of love? Needless to say, surely many a woman is attracted to the thoughtful, intelligent man (or so we can hope) and not just the bad boy, after all, not every xy resembles John Stamos (or even Anson Williams) but still…

Dennis Kucinich

Elizabeth Kucinich

The Reason for the Squeezin’ - Love and the Liberal

Congressman Kucinich is a good man, a caring man, a compassionate and humane man, who has done much good in his lifetime, and surely, by obvious evidence, performed some amazing and outstanding deeds in a previous life as well (but I gush, did I mention her English accent?)

The most logical explanation for this fairy tale love story – it’s because he’s a liberal, of course. We liberal men, one and all, without exception, are legendarily good lovers. Tender, generous, concerned, selfless – the usual liberal traits apply as much to the boudoir as they do the ballot box.  It’s the conservative male who proudly calls himself a Minute Man, packs an AK-47 but a puny pistol.

Dennis Kucinich’s wife

Newt Gingrich’s wife

The upshot of all this inanity, the lesson to be learned – never give up on your dreams, never believe an aspiration to be out of reach, or in the wise words of sage and philosopher Casey Kasem, “keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.” Dennis Kucinich is the regular guy’s beacon of hope.

Today’s concluding song, is in reality, somewhat inappropriate as it ridicules those of us with progressive leanings. But, then again, everyone can use some deflation every once in a while. Phil Ochs performs his folk classic, “Love Me, I’m a Liberal.”

Any comments, questions, criticisms, candid confessions, cash contributions?  Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Hey Bartender – In Praise of the Neighborhood Barkeep

Bemoaning the Loss of a Bartender

“Hey drink up all you people
Order anything you see
And have fun you happy people
The drink and the laughs on me
Today we pause from the pettiness of politics to instead ponder a far more enjoyable and vital subject – the friendly, neighborhood bartender.

They stand behind the highly polished maple monolith, affable to all, judgmental to none. Kings and Queens of all they survey, and all things to all people – confidante, spiritual advisor, career counselor, relationship expert, sexual therapist, medical consultant (does this look infected to you?), sports bookie, entertainer and skilled dispenser of potent potables.

The one thing (or one of countless things) teetotalers misconstrue about the corner tavern is that it’s not the demeaning destination of decadence and debauchery they envision in their temperate minds.  It’s not a locale for tying one on (okay, although certainly not singularly devoted to that intent, it is indeed a suitable setting should that be your aim) but for those with a more social bent your bar is where you wander in to share news both bad and good, to feed a hunger or slake a thirst, to conquer boredom, to view a game with a convivial crowd or bring an awkward date so you can find a hint of relief and relaxation.

Discovering a saloon in which you find comfort and solace can often require a lengthy and legendary Holy Grail-like quest. But once your expedition culminates in success, you’ve found a precious, valuable and sometime precarious thing, necessitating strongly established relationships with that bar and most importantly its staff. For any structure can open up, install taps, purchase glassware and a selection of spirits, and christen itself with a random pair of nouns - The Rat and Parrot, The Whip and Viper, The Palin and Clown - but, it is the employees within who set the tone, establish the atmosphere and, with engagement and empathy, differentiate it as the inn where you want in. If you’ve never had a bar in which you feel you belong, as much a part of the environment as the Guinness tap and the buffalo wings then you, my friend, have truly missed something, a home away from home.

A few years ago, upon receiving the information that I required an operation (my first and so far only one) there was no question of where I needed to tarry and, it goes without saying, my cash was not accepted legal tender that day, as rejected as an immigrant at a GOP convention.

In my lengthy existence, significantly more than half a century, there have been but 3 watering holes to which I’ve felt such loyalty and had it returned in kind, the world famous McSorley’s Old Ale House, Ye Olde Tripple Inn (despite the name it did not require time travel to a past century), and currently, and in long-standing, the House of Brews. When traveling to other metropolises, an immediate exploration of that city’s hospitable public houses is always essential.

Gone, but not forgotten - Ye Olde Tripple Inn

“Pardon me but I got to run
The fact's uncommonly clear
I got to find who's now the number one
And why my angel eyes ain't here

They ply me with alcohol, (of course some are more pliable than others), earning my endless affection and devotion with the demon rum, and then, each and every bartender in his or her proper time, like Don Knotts departing “The Andy Griffith Show,” moves on in pursuit of a more satisfying dream, their own “The Incredible Mr. Limpit” leaving my now slightly less healthy heart in temporary tatters.

So, today we raise a glass to those who served and served well, their names famed, and very often Irish - Noreen, Jerry, Colin, Didi, Carol, Ronnie, and now Pat, the latest to follow his Yellow Brick Road (for those whose names I've missed, sincere apologies, but as you know, I'm generally drinking when we meet.)  I could go on at great and complimentary length about the beneficial contribution those aforementioned have made to the humble and needy life of this one barfly.

Some people have clergy, some psychologists, some of us, bartenders.

Appropriately, we end with the premiere saloon singer, performing one of his standard saloon songs – Frank Sinatra and “Angel Eyes.”

Any comments, questions, criticisms, candid confessions, cash contributions?  Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.