January 25, 2010

This is what our response should be, Part 2

The tragedy of the Haitian earthquake has been beyond words, but the responses to that tragedy have been, in some ways, similarly beyond imagination. One of the most conspicuous responses was Friday night's charity telethon - Hope For Haiti Now: A Global Benefit For Earthquake Relief. Artists who performed at the event included Wyclef Jean, Bruce Springsteen, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, Shakira and Sting in New York City; Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Dave Matthews, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Stevie Wonder, Taylor Swift, Stevie Wonder, Beyonce, Madonna, Neil Young and a group performance by Keith Urban, Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow in Los Angeles; and Coldplay plus a group performance by Bono, The Edge, Jay-Z and Rihanna in London. The worldwide broadcast was hosted by Wyclef Jean in New York, with George Clooney hosting in Los Angeles and CNN's Anderson Cooper reporting from Haiti.

As of now The Hope For Haiti Telethon has raised $58 million and still counting. The total released Saturday includes money raised by phone, text and the Internet. It does not include donations by major corporations or iTunes. You are still able to purchase individual songs from iTunes from the performances for 99 cent and the whole album for $7.99 all the money will go to Haiti relief. Perhaps instead of pirating these performances, one could purchase them to show your support.

Pointing out the Idiocy of the World, Part 2

At Countless Screaming Argonauts, the podcast of record, one of our mottoes has been this – “Pointing out the idiocy of the world, one idiot at a time. It has served us well as we have commented on numerous stories about drunk induced mishaps, crazy people doing crazy things and even our own internet meme, Dumb / Not so Dumb. However occasionally someone just goes beyond being an idiot, to a place where words no longer do the stupidity justice. This was the case last week with Pat Robertson’s commentary about the people of Haiti and their “pact” with Satan. Well, not to be outdone by a fellow idiot, Rush Limbaugh threw his own comment into the ring for consideration.

On his radio show Limbaugh said the earthquake in Haiti will play right into President Obama's hands by allowing him to play up his "compassionate" and "humanitarian" credentials, and that the President will use this crisis to "boost his credibility with the black community." And then, as if that weren't enough, Limbaugh commented on the fact that the White House had set up a link on its website to help people make donations to various relief efforts. Limbaugh used this fact to promote a conspiracy theory that finding these charities via the White House website puts your money at risk of not reaching Haitians. Limbaugh also said "We've already donated to Haiti. It's called the U.S. income tax.” Finally he reacted to former President Bill Clinton's appointment as UN special envoy to Haiti by saying "I'm just gonna tell you, if I was named envoy to Haiti, I'd quit government. Envoy to Haiti? You can't even pick up a prostitute down there without genuine fear of AIDS."

There is no deep, dark, fiery enough place in hell for a person like this. I think I will ask my podcast partner if we can create an “Ultimate Idiot” award for idiots who go above and beyond the normal idiocy that affects only themselves and name it after him, the CSA Ultimate Idiot award, “The Limbaughhhhhh!”

January 24, 2010

A few simple thoughts about retirement...

Back when I started working for the state of Massachusetts in 1983, I can remember
someone pointing out that they would retire in the year 2000. When I heard that I was curious, and looked at just how long it would be before I thought about retiring. I was at a real disadvantage however. Most of the people who worked where I did had started there when they were 18 to 21 years of age if you add 35 years to that you get the famous Massachusetts formula 55/35 which gets you a full pension. For me to get a full pension, I would have to work until I was 64. That was not going to happen. I started late working for the state but I was not working until I was 64 to be fully vested in the pension program.I wanted to have some fun when I retired. Take pictures, read, write, possibly play with my grandchildren. That seemed so long ago.

Many things have changed in the years since I began working for the state. My health, is probably the most significant. Losing a leg four years ago changed every thing for me. One thing that did not change however was the desire to have some time to have fun. I would like to spend some time with my wife. I'd like to take some photographs. I'd like to write, this blog for example. I want to read more. I'd like to see new things. Have a few new beers, make some beer. Over the last few years I have tried some other hobbies to find things to fill what time. There were those classes where I worked with clay but I've never been good with my hands and I looked at that as an abject failure. Right now I'm on a kick to try and make some jewelry and I see a little more potential in this. My beer making experiment has been extremely successful. So much to do, not as much time to do it. I am always surprised when I hear people say that they are afraid they will be bored after they retire. I'm not sure if this is fear of the unknown or a revelation about the shallowness of some people's lives. It's like the person who wins a big lottery prize and makes that statement that they want to continue to work. It doesn't make sense to me. Why pass up the opportunity to enrich your life. There is so much out there. That isn't about money, it's about survival. I want to survive. I think retirement will be a sort of rejuvenation, like getting a second wind. so, in this blog I will continue with my random thoughts about retirement, my life planning and how I got where I am.

January 17, 2010

This is What Our Response Should Be...

As follow up to my previous post about Pat "Satan's Friend" Robertson, I give you this video...

Thanks Clairz and MillieJupiter for the inspiration...

Pointing out the Idiocy of the World - One Idiot at a Time

I cannot begin to tell you the range of emotions I felt this week. First I felt empathy for the people of Haiti who have experienced one of the greatest tragedies of our generation. The last news report I heard said that over 150,000 people were killed in the earthquake this past week. This empathy switched to abject horror when I heard the garbage that the right wing uber-conservative Christian movement was claiming about this event. Pat Robertson, one of the uberchiefs, had the balls to tell us that the people of Haiti were being punished for a pact they had made with the devil back in the 17'90's when they sought their freedom from French domination. A vengeful God was punishing them.

I cannot fnd the right words to describe the anger I felt as he spoke this garbage and I knew that we would be commenting on this issue in the next episode of our podcast Countless Screaming Argonauts. As I was doing research, I found an article on the NPR radio's website that quoted a news paper article from the Minneapolis Star Tribune. A writer published a letter from Satan, to our beloved evangelist regarding his comments that Haiti's troubles, including the earthquake, were due to the pact that nation made. This is what the author wrote:

Dear Pat Robertson,

I know that you know that all press is good press, so I appreciate the shout-out. And you make God look like a big mean bully who kicks people when they are down, so I'm all over that action.

But when you say that Haiti has made a pact with me, it is totally humiliating. I may be evil incarnate, but I'm no welsher. The way you put it, making a deal with me leaves folks desperate and impoverished.

Sure, in the afterlife, but when I strike bargains with people, they first get something here on earth -- glamour, beauty, talent, wealth, fame, glory, a golden fiddle. Those Haitians have nothing, and I mean nothing. And that was before the earthquake. Haven't you seen "Crossroads"? Or "Damn Yankees"?

If I had a thing going with Haiti, there'd be lots of banks, skyscrapers, SUVs, exclusive night clubs, Botox -- that kind of thing. An 80 percent poverty rate is so not my style. Nothing against it -- I'm just saying: Not how I roll.

You're doing great work, Pat, and I don't want to clip your wings -- just, come on, you're making me look bad. And not the good kind of bad. Keep blaming God. That's working. But leave me out of it, please. Or we may need to renegotiate your own contract.

Best, Satan


Personally I think she hit this one pretty well. The reality is my God is not a vengeful God. As I've said at other times on the podcast, when one of these right wing uberconservative "Christian" leaders spews some of this garbage and say something like this, they should have their license to preach taken away from them. They should be banned from speaking in public. They should get out of our faces. They should lose their tax free status. They should go the hell.

January 9, 2010

A committment for 20-10

This is what I said several 8-9 months ago...

"Well, I immediately broke my promise about writing more often but have returned to the scene of the crime once again in order to reaffirm my desire to write and post things more often than in the past.

I am going to focus on several areas; internet interests, my retirement, and "penguin droppings", those odd little bits about almost anything. I will twit when a new "PD" is posted and promise to make more of an effort in the near and far future. Thanks for putting up with me..."

I am terrible about keeping these promises but am going to give it another try for the new decade. Penguin Droppings is going to be about my own and mrsfabp's planning for our retirement. Sure, I will tell some family stories and such but mostly I am going to document the Great Re-Location Project, New Mexico Style (GRP-NMS or GRP for short)