Archive for March, 2009

‘Pumping Iron’ in the Golden Years

Monday, March 30th, 2009

     The projected life span of the American male is seventy-seven years; by those standards, people like me that are seventy-nine and going to be eighty, probably should not buy green bananas.  However, age is relative and when it became evident to me that my physical and mental problems, like high blood sugar, high cholesterol, obesity, and clinical depression were the result of an absence of exercise, the decision was made for me to join a ‘fitness center’ (a gym); I was determined that when I died, I would die a very healthy person.

     A week later, it became evident to me that simply ‘belonging’ to a gym was not enough and I would actually have to go to the gym and do ‘something’ for it to be beneficial; I acquired a trainer.  When asked if I had a preference for a male or female trainer, I responded by quickly saying, “Female!”

     I had visions of a macho male trainer, instructing me to pick up a treadmill machine and press it over my head, whereas a compassionate and motherly female jock would take pity upon me at my advanced age and allow me to tread ever so lightly smelling the roses along the way.  Then, I met my trainer, Chis!

     Chris is an adorable woman in her twenties and happily married to a burly U.S. Marine.  She has a perfectly proportioned body and I discovered, while watching her demonstrate how to use an exercise machine, that she is muscular and feminine and decidedly not soft and feminine.

     “You have beautiful triceps,” I complimented her, without thinking how utterly ridiculous that sounded.  It was simply an astounding observation of mine.

     “Thank you,” she responded without missing a beat or laughing out loud.

     During these first few sessions that I have had with Chris, she definitely impressed me; she is all business and is exceedingly knowledgeable and efficient.  At our first session, ‘we’ evaluated my potential and my goals.  I don’t think that this was supposed to be as hilarious as I found it to be; in addition to almost being an octogenarian, I have prosthesis knee replacements in both knees, I am obese by medical standards, and I am missing a very important muscle in my left thigh.  Other than that, I am a very healthy specimen with spectacles and hearing aids and take no medication other than a vitamin a day and an occasional glass of wine, ‘for medicinal purposes’.

     As for my goal, I told her that I hoped to lose weight, lose my big stomach, maintain low cholesterol and blood sugar, and not have any fits of depression.

     “You can do that,” she said.

     “Can I get rid of this pot-belly,” I asked again.

     “Yes,” she said with much more confidence than I was feeling.

     Then, I answered all the medical questions on an evaluation sheet and swore that I would not sue the gym if I dropped dead in the process of trying to make myself look like Governor Schwarzenegger. 

     Chris measured my ‘body fat’ by pinching the abundant fat all over my body using a plastic device specifically made for the purpose.  Then she measured other parts of me with a tape measure, including my ample girth and triceps flab; there was obviously too much to measure and no place for me to hide.  I closed my eyes and imagined being in the third pew from the front in the National Cathedral.

     My first exercise took place in the specified exercise area in the middle of the gym and in front of a thousand ‘sweaty’, grimacing faces; so be it.

     “Can you lie down on the floor?” Chris asked and she was serious.

      “Yes,” I answered quietly, noting that she hadn’t inquired about my ability to get up off of the floor; getting down was easy.

     She then advised me to put various muscles of my body on a plastic cylinder about ten inches in diameter and three feet long; I was directed to roll a specific muscle on the cylinder to mash and soften it.  It was surprisingly easy to do, however I had visions of myself looking much like a beached Beluga whale thrashing around on the floor.  When I finished, Chris offered to help me up and I had to advise her that it would be very dangerous for her to do so and that I had my own method.  Actually, I am very agile at getting up off the floor, rising like the Phoenix from ashes, yet, perhaps without a lot of grace and style, with legs and arms flailing the air like mad.

     After writhing on the floor with the plastic cylinder, I next became involved in a few exercises in which I had an intimate relationship with a huge plastic ball over two foot in diameter, doing a variety of exercises, some of which could possibly be misinterpreted as obscene.  However, I have a rather bizarre attitude about such things, I did not become emotionally involved, and I suffered no embarrassment whatsoever.

     For my next act, I had to do some exercises requiring balance on one foot; I do not do well when it comes to balance and actually I am fortunate if I can remain vertical utilizing both feet.  Chris assured me that my balance would improve with practice.  I was not convinced; I am still over six feet tall and as a matter of physics, I have a very high center of gravity.  As a young man, I had good balance and stability for a tall person but now, age has taken a toll; it is more a problem of balance in the head than on the feet.  There is always a potential danger that I could fall on somebody and injure them.

     The remainder of the workout involved pushing or pulling weights and I thought that I excelled at it for a person of my age.  Of course I warned Chris that I felt I shouldn’t try to handle too much weight and she honored my suggestion (it was actually a plea complete with tears in the eyes).  So, I pulled and pushed weights all over the place and rather enjoyed it at the time; I felt great accomplishment and worked off my aggression.

     “Do you feel this exercise in the muscles of the abdomen and legs?” Chris asked.

     “Oh yes,” I replied.  However I was really thinking that I felt it more in the hernia and hemorrhoids.

     All in all, the exercise session gave me a feeling of euphoria and I had feeling in every muscle in my body; it felt good just to have feeling, for a change. 

     About six in the evening that first day of working out, I felt very tired and thought that I would take a short nap before dinner.  I lay down, went to sleep, and awoke at five-thirty the next morning, eleven hours later.  I was not in pain, but every part of me did not want to bend the way it ordinarily does.  Originally, I had thought that I would try to work out in the gym every day, but wisely I decided that I would take a day off after that first workout.

     Chris is so knowledgeable about fitness; she suggested that I workout for thirty minutes twice a week and do thirty minutes on the treadmill three times a week.  That allows a recovery day for each workout.

     It gives me a real sense of pride, the way that I mastered the treadmill; I know how to walk.  I walk with head high at a lively gait and do not pay any attention to the teen–age girl jogging at twice my speed, showing off on the treadmill next to me; to each his or her own.

     After only a couple of weeks I have already felt the benefit of physical fitness; I no longer feel depressed because I am too damned tired.  As fate would have it, I am still obese and I am still old.  However, I am convinced that I am obese, old, and healthier.  Now if I can just keep convincing myself!

American Journalism Today; Purveyors of Misinformation and Propaganda?

Monday, March 30th, 2009

     Today’s New York Post headlines made me furious; they seemed to be the epitome of why a large segment of Americans are so damned ignorant compared to the rest of the world.  Too many Americans are apparently brainwashed by a renegade part of the national media!

     On Sunday, March 29, 2009, the New York Post headline read “‘FRIEND’ OF BIDEN’S DAUGHTER SHOPPING TAPE OF HER ALLEGEDLY DOING COCAINE”.  This is guilt by innuendo; the headlines cannot be proved or disproved.  But to the readers, Biden’s daughter is guilty of doing cocaine, whether she is actually guilty or not.  This is exactly the kind of tactic that Nazis and Communists use to brainwash people and it is the same tactics that Republican Neocons, Fox News, and the New York Post use; it is a tactic that the ultra-American John Birch Society admits using (See the John Birch Society Bluebook).

     In America, the Neocons, the John Birch Society, Fox News, and the New York Post defend this tactic pleading the First Amendment, Free Speech Clause (which is proper).

     Does this tactic have a place in the American democratic Republic?  Yes and no!  Yes because any law against it would be unconstitutional and because Americans enjoy liberty and free speech; no the tactic does not have a place in the American democracy, because Americans should be wise to this tactic, not be taken in, they should find it repugnant, and the New York Post would be, should be embarrassed to even use this tactic.

     Unfortunately, too many of today’s Americans appear to be naïve and totally unaware that these fascist elements in America are ‘messing with their head’!  Consequently, this is why polls indicate that large numbers of t Americans are brainwashed and believe media lies, such as, Iraq was responsible for 9/11 or that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and material to make nuclear weapons.

     Education is essential to democracy; Americans need to be taught from a very early age that not everything in print is true.  Americans need to know that the source of news is the most important factor in citizens being knowledgeable and an informed electorate.  For American Constitutional democracy to work, Americans need to be more than just literate; citizens need to know which news sources are reputable, dependable, and trustworthy and which sources are not.  It is a matter of considering whether a source has been accurate over a long period of time and what the reputation of the source actually is.  Just being literate is not adequate.

     It is obvious that neither the American public nor the New York Post actually knows whether or not Vice President Biden’s daughter has done Cocaine; in fact, it would not appear to matter to anyone except the Vice President and his daughter.  It certainly is equally obvious that the whole purpose of the New York Post ‘news’ item is to convince people that the Vice President, who is important, has done something wrong (begetting a daughter who ‘might’ or ‘might not’ have once done cocaine).  Put in that perspective, is the New York Post a newspaper that Americans should look to for becoming informed on important issues? Obviously, no!

     The ignorance of some of the American public and the New York Post newspaper are not something that America has to be proud of; most assuredly, ignorant Americans and the New York Post are two things that America’s enemies can feel good about.

Nationalize the Banks and pass the Bonuses!

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

     If the American banks in financial trouble that were ‘bailed out’ were to be nationalized, who would be blamed for bonuses?  If the banks were nationalized, who would get the bonuses?

     If American banks were nationalized, and belonged to the people, would all the people get bonuses?

     Let’s all have a revolution and nationalize the banks!  All Americans can use a bonus!

Depression in America, Wealth, Success, And The Demise Of The American Consumer

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

     Forbes, “World’s Billionaires 2009”, 3/11/2009 is an interesting read in the wake of the Depression of 2008.  Last year’s number two ‘Richest Person in the World’, Bill Gates of Microsoft, is 2009’s number one richest person, $40 billion despite the fact that Gates lost $18 billion last year. Gates replaced last year’s number one ‘Richest Person in the World’, Warren Buffet, who is now number two worth only $37 billion; Buffet lost $25 billion last year and consequently moved down to second place.  Gates and Buffet, of course, are Americans.

     One of the few corporations to actually make money last year was America’s Wal-Mart stores.

     It is not surprising then that number eleven on the list of ‘Richest Persons in the World’, is Jim C. Walton of Wal-Mart with a wealth of $17.8 billion and tied for twelfth richest persons are S. Robson Walton of Wal-Mart with $17.6 billion, Alice Walton of Wall-Mart with $17.6 billion, and Christy Walton of Wal-Mart with $17.6 billion.  Three of those Waltons are Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton’s children and Christy Walton is his late son’s wife.  Sam’s wife, the late Helen Walton, had an equal share ($16.4 billion) of Wal-Mart which she left to charity.  Then there is Sam’s brother and partner, Jim Walton, left his two daughters large parts of Wal-Mart; Ann Walton Kroenke has $3.5 billion) worth and Nancy Walton Laurie $2.3 billion worth.  All Wal-Mart Waltons are American.

     Purportedly, the cause of the current Depression of 2008 is the lack of ‘Consumer Confidence’ which can easily be translated into the consumers’ lack of money.  Does it follow then that American consumers have no money because the world’s richest people have it all?

     The lack of money among consumers could explain why Wal-Mart was the only business actually making money last year; the penniless consumers were forced to have to shop at Wal-Mart, since Wal-Mart and its bargain prices was the only store that they could afford.

     A person might even think that that someone who lost $25 billion, like Warren Buffet, or a person who lost $18 billion last year like Bill Gates, might also be reduced to shopping at Wal-Mart after loosing that much money?

     One can only speculate about the future.  However, with the Walton’s huge accumulation of wealth, they will have so much of their customers’ money that those consumers will not even be able to afford shopping at Wal-Mart any more.  The Walton family and their employees will be the only consumers left in America; of course, with no other consumers, how long will Wal-Mart need employees.

     Previous American, Wal-Mart consumers will be relegated to growing their own broccoli in their back yard, hunting game, fishing, and making their own clothes.  Cities will rot and decay and wigwams will be spring up all over America.

     A few fanatic Christians will become so desperate that they resort to terrorism and will perpetrate a terrorist attack on Iran because they, “Hate Iran’s wealth!”

     The United States will enter the “American Neanderthal Consumer Era”.

     But then again, the stock market gained three hundred points yesterday; could Wal-Mart stock have been responsible for the markets gain?

Truth and Consequences in the Media

Monday, March 16th, 2009

    Below are some comments I made about  the Washington Post article, “As Markets Fell, Pundits Came Down On Obama; President Gets Blame After Just 50 Days”, by Howard Kurtz, Monday, March 16, 2009.

     My comments:

     When will the American people realize that some media commentators appearing on TV, do not enlighten the audience but rather intend to scare the crap out of the people and turn people against elected officials that the commentators themselves oppose and despise; these commentators deliberately twist the truth, make insinuations that cannot be proved, and just outright lie.  They don’t seem to know anything; they are not capable of doing any research.

      I listen to the drivel and baloney that Fox commentators like Sean Hannity and Glen Beck scream and holler about and wonder if these idiots have any education at all.  So, I googled Hannity and Beck to find out; I wanted to see what fundamentalist, Bible university was responsible for producing these nuts. 

     Bingo!  They are self made men and have no university degree; there is neither ‘liberal’ university (that they condemn) nor fundamentalist Bible University to explain their ignorance of history and economics.  They simply don’t know anything and don’t have any idea about how to learn anything and they are the source of information for a wide American audience.  If they make statements that sound like they are ignorant of history, hey, they are; best of all, they do not use a script.  And Americans rely on this source for their news?

     If democracy is going to work, the American people need to be informed; if the people are going to be informed, they need to be taught in elementary school till graduation that they need to consider the source of any news that they plan to use for making decisions.

     There are no more Walter Cronkites or Ed. Murrows today, impartial sources to be trusted.  Instead America has Hannity and Beck to make outrages accusations based on their own reasoning out of ignorance, men who have no idea how to find the truth.

     A university education does not necessarily make a person competent; but if there are no other life experiences to substitute for a formal education, it is only proper to question the reliability of what they preach.  The only qualifications of Hannity and Beck, is their ability to get a job as a television commentator without any other qualifications.  No one oversees the veracity of their work; their employers only look at ratings and profits from advertising.

     Hannity and Beck are not investigative journalists.  Instead, they condemn the great newspapers of our time for having a liberal bias, when the New York Times or the Washington Post exposes the crimes of Republican Presidents like Nixon and Bush.  Of course, the Times and Post have proved to be accurate.  Sources become reliable not biased, when their reporting later proves to be accurate.

A Benefit of the American Depression of 2008 and the Consequential Effect

Monday, March 16th, 2009

     According to today’s newspaper, one result of the American financial crisis and Depression of 2008, has been that there is a dramatic decrease in the amount of garbage being sent to landfills, which ordinarily would be considered a positive; on the downside, if this continues, it would appear to me that there might be a lay-off of garbage-men not far behind.

The Depression, Wealth, Success, And The Demise Of The American Consumer

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

     Forbes, “World’s Billionaires 2009”, 3/11/2009 is an interesting read in the wake of the Depression of 2008.  Last year’s number two ‘Richest Person in the World’, Bill Gates of Microsoft, is 2009’s number one richest person despite the fact that Gates lost $18 billion last year. Gates replaced last year’s number one ‘Richest Person in the World’, Warren Buffet, who is now number two worth only $37 billion; Buffet lost $25 billion last year and consequently moved down to second place.  Gates and Buffet, of course, are Americans.

     One of the few corporations to actually make money last year was America’s Wal-Mart stores.

     It is not surprising then that number eleven on the list of ‘Richest Persons in the World’, is Jim C. Walton of Wal-Mart with a wealth of $17.8 billion and tied for twelfth richest persons are S. Robson Walton of Wal-Mart with $17.6 billion, Alice Walton of Wall-Mart with $17.6 billion, and Christy Walton of Wal-Mart with $17.6 billion.  Three of those Waltons are Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton’s children and Christy Walton is his late son’s wife.  Sam’s late wife, Helen, had an equal share ($16.4 billion) of Wal-Mart which she left to charity.  Sam’s brother and partner, Jim Walton, left his two daughters large parts of Wal-Mart; Ann Walton Kroenke has $3.5 billion) worth and Nancy Walton Laurie $2.3 billion worth.  The Waltons are all American, of course.

     Purportedly, the cause of the current Depression of 2008 is the lack of ‘Consumer Confidence’ which can easily be translated into the consumers’ lack of money; does it follow then that the consumers have no money because the world’s richest people have it all? 

     The lack of money among consumers could explain why Wal-Mart was the only business actually making money last year; the penniless consumers were forced to have to shop at Wal-Mart since Wal-Mart and its bargain prices was the only store they could afford. 

     A person might even think that that someone who lost $25 billion, like Warren Buffet, or a person who lost $18 billion last year like Bill Gates, might also be reduced to shopping at Wal-Mart after loosing that much money?

     One can only speculate about the future.  However, with the Walton’s huge accumulation of wealth, they will have so much of their consumers’ money that those consumers will not even be able to afford shopping at Wal-Mart any more.  The Walton family and their employees will be the only consumers left in America; of course, with no other consumers, how long will Wal-Mart need employees.

     Previous Wal-Mart consumers will be relegated to growing their own broccoli in their back yard, hunting game, fishing, and making their own clothes.  Cities will rot and decay and wigwams will be spring up all over America.

     A few fanatic Christians will become so desperate that they resort to terrorism and will perpetrate a terrorist attack on Iran because they, “Hate Iran’s wealth!”

     The United States will enter the “American Neanderthal Consumer Era”.

     But then again, the stock market gained three hundred points yesterday; could Wal-Mart stock have been responsible for the markets gain?

Remember ‘Protectionism’ Way, Way Back Before Clinton’s NAFTA

Monday, March 9th, 2009

     It appears to me that this global crisis might be telling America that perhaps a little ‘Isolationism’ might not be all that bad; it might cause all of America’s work force to reflect on the security of ‘Protectionism’, if they are capable of remembering what in the world it is!  May be that we should practice ‘Safe Trade’ instead of ‘Free Trade’?

Republicans Propose ‘Spending Freeze’ to Revive Economy!

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

The Republican response to the present financial crisis in America is for the government to engage in a ‘spending freeze’; the Republicans propose that their ‘spending freeze’ should remain in effect until the sun revolves around the earth 364 times.

Ken Starr is in the News Again

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

     Ken Starr, of Clinton impeachment fame, is in the news again because he is arguing before the Californa Supreme Court to uphold the vote banning gay marriage; Starr argues that in every gay marriage, someone is getting a blowjob.