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conspiracyI love a good conspiracy theory, and fortunately for me, this country generates a boundless supply of them: Obama isn’t an American citizen, NASA faked the moon landings, Elvis is still alive and living in Area 51, and of course, Michael Jackson faked his own death. In fairness, the last one doesn’t really qualify as a true conspiracy theory, because the Weekly World News prudently put a question mark at the end of “Michael Jackson faked his own death?” Asking the rhetorical question introduces just enough doubt to make it a conspiracy hypothesis than a theory. Conspiracy theorists  appreciate the subtle difference. The rest of us don’t.  I’m not being an elitist, here. Conspiracies are great fun. Anything is possible, nothing is too improbable, and there are always people gullible enough to give the most bizarre ideas traction.

Conspiracy theorists share some common beliefs: nothing is as it seems, nothing happens randomly, there are dark forces too clever for us to detect, and the lack of evidence of the conspirators is proof of their evil cunning. Conspiracy theorists are adept at seeing connections between events that escape the rest of us.  Conspiracy theorists feel sorry for us mere mortals who are too blind to see the Truth. Conspiracy theorists know that the simplest, most likely explanations for an event are never true because that’s what they want you to believe.

Conspiracies that end with someone’s death (JFK, Elvis, Michael Jackson) are especially fun because the principal isn’t alive to refute them, so nothing is too incredible. When you have someone like Elvis and Jackson who had “issues,” then the conspiracies take on the extra quality of tragic victimization. Elvis was a victim of his manager, Michael was the victim of money-hungry parents who made their children lie in court, JFK was a victim of the Mafia and Fidel Castro.  Whole media entertainment groups have sprung up around these beliefs.

To the true believer, there’s never enough evidence to disprove a conspiracy and the absence of evidence is compelling proof of the conspiracy’s existence. To those who still have a shred of rationality, conspiracy theories induce eye-rolling laughter and a fervent hope that these crazy people don’t live next door. Well, they do.

And they’re watching you.


geezerI announce my surrender to the inevitable. I can no longer avoid the truth.

Ich bin ein Geezer.

I am old and eccentric. It is the only explanation for the fact that I am untouched by Michael Jackson’s death and cannot understand why it is still at the top of the news cycle. He was OK until he just got weird.

I must be a geezer, because while I’m sorry that Billy Mays is dead, I am grateful that I won’t have to listen to him shouting any longer. Louder does not mean, “more believable.”

Only a geezer would like to choke that little prick who does the Free Credit Report.Com ads. As a geezer, I would probably get away with it.

Being a geezer explains why most actors under the age of 30 look alike to me and are equally forgettable.

We geezers don’t  give a rip about who marries whom, as long as we don’t have to buy a gift and attend the reception.

Geezers do not watch romantic comedies. We know from experience that “romance” and “comedy” rarely occur together in real life. Usually it’s “romance” then “mind-numbing ennui” followed by the sweet release of dementia.

Popular culture is mostly a yawn to me yet is thrust in my face at nearly every turn. Therefore, what I cannot change, I must embrace. Not only will I embrace it, I will grab it, grope it, and squeeze it. I will wear my pants up to my armpits, held in place with suspenders and a belt. I will  let hair sprout from my ears, wear plaid shirts with a bow tie, and yell at those kids to stay off my lawn.

And if it takes me longer to pee than it used to, well that’s just part of geezing.  I’ll bet it takes Mick Jagger longer, too.

no_musicWell, it’s not here yet, but keep your fingers crossed and your ears plugged for just a little longer.

Per the 2/10/09 WSJ: “Muzak, the company that provides the soundtrack for our elevator rides and grocery-shopping trips, sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
Tuesday. The 75-year-old Fort Mill, S.C., company is seeking to restructure a heavy debt load that includes about $370 million in bond debt and a term loan of $105 million. … the company’s soft-rock, pop and instrumental sounds reach 100 million people each day, according to its Web site.”

Imagine, a company that gets paid to create noise pollution that affects a third of the American public each day.

I was shopping recently when I heard Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” in bland, syrupy Muzak format. It was sad. Sort of like Rod Stewart’s decline into singing old love songs.

Sigh…

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” (Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina)

Some years ago the Admiral and I lived next to a family we referred to as “the Clampetts.” If ever there was a hapless collection of individuals, it was they. We loaned them our lawnmower, they put in the wrong kind of gas and ruined it. We loaned them a ladder, it mysteriously disappeared. Their 14 year old daughter got pregnant. He lost his job. She was too distractible and unstable to work. And yet, somehow they maintained their good humor, kept plugging away and all things considered, we liked them and admired their perseverance.
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News Item: Focus on the Family Action releases it’s annual “2008 Christmas-Friendly Shopping Guide” which advises us which greedy commercial enterprises “embrace Christmas,” and alerts us to those who have “purged or marginalized Christmas.”

angry-santaAhh, the Christmas season. Peace on earth, goodwill to all men, except to those of you who don’t think and behave the same way the self-appointed Guardians of the holiday spirit have deemed worthy. For several years these folks pummled Wal-Mart, which certainly deserves to be pummeled for many secular reasons, for saying “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.”  Now the Guardians bring us a brand new naughty ‘n’ nice list that includes:

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Egg SeparatorThe afterglow of the election is fading, the economy bites, money is tight, and the holidays are just around the corner. It’s time to be thinking about gifts for friends and family. For those of you at home who are struggling to come up with an affordable gift that says, “I couldn’t think of anything better to get you,” you’re in luck.

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mary-kayJust when you think you’ve witnessed the last possible foolishness from McCain-Palin, along comes Lipstick Gate.

What are we to make of a campaign that, with a straight face mind you, declares itself the party of “Joe Sixpack” while snatching up $150,000 worth of clothes and almost $23,000 worth of makeup consultation? Why would a former beauty contestant even need makeup consultation?

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Palin
(pay-lin). From the Greek, pathos, the Greek root for suffering. (See also pathetic).

Palin
v.

1. To attempt to impress another by feigning knowledge.

Example: “I didn’t study for that Poli Sci essay test and had to totally palin it. But the prof saw that I was clueless and I got a D+.”

2. To be fooled by another’s superficial qualities.

Example: “I met this really hot guy at a party, but he palined me when he said he was a doctor. I learned after we hooked up that he was a clerk at Walgreen’s.”

3. To promote an unqualified person to a prestigious or challenging position.

Example: “That guy in the mailroom married the CEO’s daughter and got palined to assistant VP for sales. But he got fired after six months because he couldn’t palin his customers.”

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