Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The State of the Union Speech and the Heartland

Somewhere out in the heartland today....at some Quicky-Mart, ten folks met around 7AM.  A journalist could walk in and interview the ten with two general questions.....did they watch the President's State of the Union speech last night, and how would they compare to past speeches they saw.

So Gus, the proprietor of the Quicky-Mart speaks first.  To be honest....Gus worked eighteen hours yesterday and was still on duty when the President appeared, plus he had the channel there in the Mart turned to CNN to view this.  But Gus was moving back and forth....making coffee, working the cash register, and didn't think he really saw more than eight minutes of the entire speech.  As for comparisons?  Well....he remembers one of the Carter speeches because his wife made him watch it one night, but to honest....he hadn't ever viewed more than ten minutes of any of these speeches.  Frankly, he didn't care much anyway.

Karl, the local pig-farmer, admitted that he did make it back into the house in time to watch the speech from the kitchen table.  But then he admitted that his wife wanted to discuss issues with the dishwasher....his son spoke of problems with his truck's transmission....and his daughter was hustling dad for $70 to pay for fancy shoes from Sears.  All total, he thinks that he watched ten minutes of the speech.  As for other comparisons....well....beyond George Bush and Reagan.....he couldn't name any of the previous presidents, and frankly didn't think speeches meant much.

Miss Tammy, the Baptist minister's wife admitted that she was leading prayer study with two women, which she named.....but most folks in the Quicky-Mart knew that both were out of town last night.....so Miss Tammy was likely have "relations" with some guy that wasn't watching the speech.  She said she had watched all of the Union speeches over the past twenty years....but no one much believed much on that either.

Bob, the Pepsi truck-driver, admitted that he watched about thirty minutes of the speech....mostly on mute....while he discussing septic tank issues with his cousin.  He did think the President dressed well.  As for previous speeches....well....he did note that he'd seen all of Bill Clinton's Union speeches....mostly because he was living in Grandma's house at the time, and she was an absolute supporter of Bill Clinton.

Tubby, the former union guy on disability at age 35, said that he had four TVs running and was watching the Union speech along with some basketball game, a World War II movie, and some Latino channel with lusty gals.  Tubby survives mostly on pain-killers.....so he didn't even remember previous Presidents or their speeches.

Marvin, the girl's basketball coach from the high school....watched the entire speech.  He cited quotes and appeared to know most everything that anyone could memorize.  Then he mentioned that he had a young lady from the team over at his house while watching this.....and the crowd got kinda quiet.  It was best not to ask further questions to Marvin.

Dan, the rural carrier?  He didn't even know the speech was on, and was watching a 1994 Chinese martial arts and disco movie that he'd found on NetFlex's list of international movies.  Dan then admitted that he didn't have a dish, a cable-TV set-up, or antenna on his roof.....and that he had been renting either Beta Videos, or DVDs for the past twenty years.

Jimmy, the retired pipe-fitter, spoke of watching almost an hour of the speech.  He wanted to compare to Reagan's 1984 speech, or possibly Carter's 1976 speech, or possibly Obama's 2009 speech.  He kinda admitted that he watches twelve hours a day of C-SP*N, and four hours of CNN, with an hour at the Quicky-Mart in the morning, and barely five hours of sleep per day.

Winslow, the retired Marine barked out that he'd been out in the pasture target-shooting at the time, and missed the whole speech.  He also admitted that he'd in military action for most of Bush's eight speeches, Obama's previous three speeches, Clinton's eight speeches, and Bush's (the Senior) four speeches.  In the Marines....watching speeches was for sissy-boys....as far as he was concerned.

So finally, they come around to "Flick".  "Flick" calmly admitted that he had viewed the speech and cited six major problems with the contents, then went to Obama Union speech version 3, where he cited nine problems.  Then he went to Obama Union speech version 2, where he cited five critical errors.  Then he went to Obama Union speech version 1, where he cited fourteen problems.  But he carried on....going down the list of how screwed-up all of George Bush's speeches were, those of Clinton, Bush (the senior), and even Regan's speeches.  Tears were shed as he portrayed these hour-long speeches as something of a worthless nature that men are called to perform year after year.  He gave woeful moments of the analysis conducted after the speech, and how some news folks were dimwits or idiots.  Then he finally came to true measure of the whole thing....that it's a speech that is forgotten in less than three days by most all who view it.

The journalist walked out at that point.  He couldn't use any of their comments because they were too realistic.....not meeting his expectations of people wanting political chit-chat from the local newspaper or news channel.  They could have all watched wrestling or Wheel-of-Fortune....and been just as entertained.  That's the sadness of politics...it just ain't the same as Hulk Hogan beating the crap out of some new wrestler called Dinky Dan.

Only in America.

A Life Change

In the last couple of days....I've awaken to realize that the PowerBall Lotto deal has gone from a buck a chance....to two bucks a chance.  I stood there in front of the Latino lady at the Pentagon in a state of shock.

Now, I admit....I am from Bama....from a dry county....and heavily influenced by the Baptist Church folks.  At some point, I drifted over to the dark side, and got into paying lotto on occasion (typically when it's more than $40 million.....$5 million just ain't enough to get excited about).  So I throw in about $300 a year on lotto.  Winnings?  Well....sadly, I've never won more than $12 off a ticket.  Maybe in a year....I might win $50.

So I got all curious....why double up the cost of one ticket?  Well....these PowerBall guys got smart.  They did a few changes and now say that they will likely have a $200 million winning situation monthly....which drives tons of folks to toss $40 a week into PowerBall.  In the old days....you had a $200 million chance maybe twice a year.

This is kinda like an addiction.  Guys stand around during these weeks when the PowerBall winnings were around $200-$300 million, and talking how they'd buy this and that.  We probably waste four hours every week....talking to our co-workers, wives, husbands, strangers on the street, and ministers....over this possible winning situation.  So to double up on this....it means a constant fantasy situation where guys talk almost daily throughout a month...over what may or may not occur.

This may not be a good thing.

It was already bad enough that we talked constantly about NCAA football or basketball, or American politics....but now a continual talk over how you'd live the life of a wealthy millionaire?  I've got a bad feeling over this.

The Bigfoot Dilemma

Over the past couple of days....there's this topic that has drifted around the internet....from a show that features the hunt for Bigfoot.  The topic?  If  you spot Bigfoot....should you shoot him?

It has been taken as a serious topic by some, with vast discussions over the reason to fire away, or just wave at the big fellow.  Some folks believe a dead bigfoot....even if it's the last of the breed.....is good to help prove a point.

I pondered over this topic.  I personally have zero belief in the Bigfoot legend now.  As a kid, I watched the tape of the Bigfoot walking through the woods over a thousand times.  I think for twenty years....I wanted to believe in the legend.  Then eventually, some guy came out and admitted that this was a commercial effort to sell a video to TV stations throughout the 1970s.  It was simply a guy in a guerrilla outfit.

So back to the topic of firing away at Bigfoot.  Here's the issue.  On any given day in America.....there are probably a dozen guys on the run in the woods....wearing guerrilla outfits, and pretending to be Bigfoot.  They are trying to scare up some tourists, relatives, or teenagers.  If we all start firing away.....we will end up with a hundred dead guys, whose wives are demanding to know why Karl was dressed up in a guerrilla outfit, and if he was skipping work or fishing to play some game.  Eventually, a bunch of Senators will have to convene and offer up legislation making it illegal to shoot a Bigfoot.....just to save a hundred white guys a year from certain death (note: no black guy would have dress up in a Bigfoot outfit, nor would a Latino guy).  The sad thing is that folks would jump on top of this legislation and say it was a government cover-up, paid by Bigfoot millionaires, and it's even more reason to shoot to kill Bigfoot.

Luckily, we haven't gotten around to finding Loch Ness Sea Monsters in the Tennessee or Mississippi Rivers.

Just Observations

The State of the Union speech.  I watched about twenty minutes of the "show", and then flipped it over to some basketball game.  I've probably watched a dozen of these speeches over the years, and they are mostly all boring speeches, without anything of substance.  Folks clap and occasionally stand up.  The networks try to pan the cameras to catch Senators falling asleep.  At the end.....a bunch of commentators come on and try to explain what the guy said....because you mostly didn't grasp anything (by their belief).  I personally think it's a waste of time for a citizen to watch this "show".  Up until the 1930s....most regular people in America never heard or watched the State of the Union speech....then radio came along, and we've been stuck listening to it for the past eighty years.  All in all...a bunch of words that you really can't say much about.

The warships.  If you notice naval movements over the past couple of days....we've put an aircraft carrier down against Iran.  Basically....nothing much should happen.  Course, Iran would love to fire off a dozen missiles and hope that the carrier would sink....it'd be like a five-star moment in Iranian history if they could accomplish such an effort.  The odds?  One in a million.  And the base where the missiles come from?  If I were an Iranian military guy on the installation....I'd be in my car leaving base the minute that the missiles were fired.....the carrier isn't going to stand down and let your missile game be played out.

The encryption case.  There was an interesting case that came up yesterday out in Colorado.  Some gal is up on bank fraud charges, and she's got a laptop with lots of data on it.....all encrypted.  The judge ordered her to turn off the encryption so the cops could view the data.  I'm guessing that it'll go up the next step, and likely to hit the Supreme Court within weeks.  I can understand the motivation of the attorney general and the cops....but frankly, I can't think of any Constitutional law that says you aren't allowed to encrypt anything.  Up until five years ago.....most encryption that a typical citizen would buy....was beatable.  Things have reached a point now.....where you could pretty much lock down a laptop entirely, with no hope for the cops.  I'd even say that within five years....your teenage daughter or son will have cheap or free encryption abilities to deny you use of their home laptop.  It's a trend that simply isn't going to be reversed.

Finally, the Sundance Fest.  This is the fancy movie fest that's held out in Utah....run by Robert Redford.  Basically, Mr Redford came out yesterday and said that the fest is supposed to be for the "99-percent" (referring to the Occupy folks and their agenda of the regular citizen).  I paused over the commentary....wondering how anything related to the fest got paid for, without the 1-percent crowd paying for it.  Everything, from the fancy parties, to the dinners....is mostly all covered by rich folks....the 1-percent folks.  So you've got some idiot like Mr Redford who wants to make a political statement....grinning at the camera...while he still kisses up to the 1-percent who deliver the $15k of fancy wine from California.  And for you folks who have various fests and special functions in your cities....you might want to examine who really pays for these (it's not the 99-percent....trust me).