Archive for November 2012

DIVINE ECCLESIASTICAL THOUGHTS

For those of you who follow the publication of books, there is a new one that you may wish to keep track of.  It is called “The Infancy Narratives,” and it was written by none other than Joseph Ratzinger, the head man of the Roman Catholic faith.  This is the third book in a trilogy having to do with the life of Jesus of Nazareth.  Now I say Jesus of Nazareth when it could also be Jesus of Bethlehem.  But that is a small matter about which Jesus calls his hometown.

It is a source of amazement to me that the Pope, now in his 86th year, could find time to write three books.  I suppose that he is required to look after the fortunes of perhaps something on the order of a billion Catholics and to care for their souls so that they will all reach Heaven.  But there you have it.  Joseph Ratzinger, the German Pope, has written a third book, along with all his other duties, in his 86th year, which makes him sort of a phenomenon.

In his third book, Ratzinger makes two or three claims that are unusual.  In the first instance he contends that in the sixth century, a monk or some other lofty preacher made a mistake in calculating the age of Jesus.  Ratzinger contends in his latest volume that Jesus is somewhat older than we have imagined.  I have not read the book, but off hand it seems to me that Ratzinger would contend that Jesus was as much as ten years older than we thought him to be.  I imagine that for the faithful this may come as shocking news.  But there you have it, coming from the highest authority in the Catholic faith.

But there are more subjects in the book that might also shake your faith.  In the first place, it is contended in the latest volume that the birth of Jesus did not necessarily take place in the winter.  Apparently it could have taken place any time during the year.  So the story about “away in a manger” may have no credibility.  It could be that Jesus was born on a warm spring morning or in the heat of a Palestinian summer.

Now comes a very shocking disclosure in the book.  It is contended in the Pope’s latest book that there were no animals present at the birth of Jesus, which means that for two thousand years the greetings of the animals may not have occurred at all, so says the Pope.  According to legend, there were oxen and asses present at the birth of Jesus.  But according to the latest version by the Pope, there were no animals present at the birth.

But that is not all.   The Pope does not mention the North Star guiding worshipers to the site of the birth of Jesus.  In addition, he does not mention the three wise men bringing gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.  These are significant omissions.

But then the book goes on to make another very dubious claim.  In this section of the book, it is contended that the birth of Jesus had nothing to do with sexual intercourse between his parents.  According to Joseph Ratzinger, Joseph and Mary lived together but they did not enjoy connubial bliss.  From what Ratzinger has to say, they did not ever consummate their marriage.

Can you imagine Joseph, ostensibly Jesus’ father, going to the marketplace and having friends and neighbors pointing to him and saying that he never consummated his marriage?  I suppose Joseph in refuting such a claim would point out that Jesus and James were his sons.  Beyond all of this debate, has anyone including the Pope, ever interviewed Joseph on the question of Mary’s virginity?  This is an area that needs much further investigation.

Presumably Mary was concerned, more than anything else, with the preservation of her virginity.  Sooner or later, even without the benefit of sexual intercourse, Mary became pregnant.  The usual suspects were named, including the Holy Ghost.  Did the Holy Ghost cuckold Joseph?  But according to Ratzinger, Mary, the mother of Jesus, must have continued to preserve her virginity.   So much so was this the case that a few years ago, the Vatican declared that Mary was “a perpetual virgin.”

The fact of the matter is that Mary had a second son named James.  Whether he proceeded Jesus or whether he was the second son is unclear to me.  But I am not a Biblical scholar.

It appears that, according to Ratzinger, Mary became pregnant by the actions of a divine creature such as the Holy Ghost.  Presumably she went through all of the pains of pregnancy, and at its end she produced Jesus.  The question that arises here is why the divine creatures required Mary to go through nine months of pregnancy.  Why could they not just produce Jesus on the spot as a miracle?

But if Mary was “a perpetual virgin,” we are left in doubt about whether or not she yielded her virginity to her lawfully wedded husband Joseph.  Is this where James came from?  I do not have an answer for you.  Perhaps if Joseph Ratzinger writes a fourth volume, he might tell us.  As it is, I am left in the dark.  Everyone knows that I am the ultimate ecclesiastical authority on these matters.

Mary’s giving birth to Jesus occurred more than 2,000 years earlier than the discovery of artificial insemination.  So we can rule that concept out and we are left only with the thought that Mary became pregnant as a result of the workings of the Holy Ghost or some other creature.

As you have imagined by this time, I am a skeptic on Mary’s virginity.  Why would a man marry a woman who intended to keep her virginity throughout her life?  That is not the purpose of marriage.

Now I have one more thought having to do with the birth of Jesus.  If the birth of Jesus occurred at some other time than December 25, why could it not be that the birth of Jesus took place in April, perhaps on April 16th?   The thought that goes through my mind on this subject has to do with the Pope’s birthday, which occurred on April 16, 1927.  If it could be argued that the birth of Jesus occurred on the same day as the birth of Joseph Ratzinger, could this not be an indication that His Holiness Joseph Ratzinger has a claim on sainthood?  Could this be his miracle?  I realize that this is a Machiavellian thought, but Ratzinger could well be a fellow given to Machiavellian ideas.  The Pope is now in his dotage and I would tend to accept the idea that Ratzinger has a desire towards sainthood.  This would be a way that he could leave his mark on the Church of Saint Peter.

According to the Vatican, there will be a million copies of this book printed.  So there is no need to rush to your bookstore before they run out.  As I said, I am a skeptic on the matters of perpetual virginity and the fact that Mary and Joseph lived their lives without ever enjoying sexual intercourse.  But I am a non-believer.  So those thoughts are not recognized by the deities such as Joseph Ratzinger.

The fact that the Church ascribes perpetual virginity to the mother of Jesus has always baffled me.  Why do they not ascribe it to Jesus himself?  Is it because of his involvement with Mary Magdalene?  Are there other signs that Jesus was married?  The celibacy of the Catholic clergy, I suppose, is a sign that the Church still worships at the altar of celibacy.  Mark me down as baffled as to why the Church ascribes perpetual virginity to Jesus’s mother but not to himself.

This, then, is my book report on Joseph Ratzinger’s latest volume called “The Infancy Narratives.”  I am at a loss to know why the superpowers did not merely invent Jesus.  They could have saved Mary the trials and tribulations of her pregnancy.  And it might do something – a very little something – to assuage my unbelief on religious matters.  So this is the book report that I have thought about for the last week or so.  Upon reading “The Infancy Narratives,” which I do not propose to do, I may have something further to say on this subject, but I doubt it.

 

E. E. CARR

November 27, 2012

Essay 720

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Kevin’s commentary:

I have a few thoughts here. First, I wonder who has written more — Pop or the Pope? They are of similar ages and clearly both are quite prolific.

Regarding the contents of the book, I have two major reactions. The first of these is positive. Scholars have known for a while now that pretty much every element of the Jesus birth story on the 25th in the manger with the north star etcetc has been lifted from other religious or pagan traditions. There is a pretty enormous corpus of evidence to this end. That’s all well and good, it makes sense that to spread a religion you sorta adapt it to the local belief system to make it plausible and then roll from there.  Lots of pagans liked the 25th because it’s near the winter solstice and it’s when they celebrated Yule, for example. Plus there are also lots of internal issues with the story, regarding shepherds deciding to tend their flock at night, the North Star not being visible from the Middle East in December, yadda yadda. So the good news is that all that’s out the window! Christianity’s a little more plausible! Huzzah!

The second major reaction is negative, in that if Christ’s birthday was off by 10 years then I was really born in the year 2000, not 1990. Every date ever recorded is wrong by ten years!

THE HONDA BUMP ENHANCER

About this time in 2009, it was decided that the 2001 Chrysler, which had given impeccable service over the years, should be traded.  I used to think highly of my skills as a negotiator but in this case we ran into an implacable enemy.  The implacable enemy was the salesman who sold us a new Honda.  When I tried to tell him that the car for trade-in had less than 30,000 miles on it and that it had given totally faultless service, the salesman of the Honda said, “You are still trading in a Chrysler.”  Now, remember, this was in 2009 when the fortunes of the American automobile manufacturers were as low as they could go.

My wife had her heart set on a Honda Accord.  It is a mid-size automobile, which is advertised as of “the sports variety.”  At that point, two years ago, I had no place to go as an alternative. So we agreed to take the Honda.  While we have owned the Honda, which has about 5,000 miles on it, we have used it primarily to attend medical appointments and to go shopping.  Long since, we have given up the idea of using the car for vacations in far-off places.  It just doesn’t happen any more.  So the Honda was delivered with the good wishes of the salesman from the Honda dealership in Madison, New Jersey, who still insisted that we were fortunate in finding someone to take our 2001 Chrysler.

The Honda sits in our garage and on Tuesdays and Fridays we take it on shopping expeditions.  Between times, we use the Honda to keep medical appointments.  In the two years that we have owned this car, there has rarely been a complaint about a failure to start.  In a lot of respects it is an excellent car.  But it does have one characteristic that I find annoying to the point at which I wish for the ride to be over.

The Honda, even on the smoothest of roads, gives a bumpy ride.  I realize that this is a so-called sports car, which is supposed to give a bumpy ride.  This is on the street where we live, which is a smooth street.  Nonetheless, the Honda produces a bumpy ride, even on the smoothest of streets.  My wife does not seem to notice the fact that the car is producing a bumpy ride.  She has the steering wheel to hang onto and she is consumed with driving this contraption.  I was not helped in my description of the Honda as a bumpy ride in terms of Bill Schmidt, who is the owner of a garage where I traded for the better part of 50 years.  When Bill took the car, he performed his magic and then brought it back.  He reported that the Honda was a superb machine, “gives a sports-car ride.”  A good purchase, but having a sports-car ride.  My wife is mostly oblivious to the fact that the Honda produces a ride that is turbulent.

I can only conclude that the manufacturers of Honda have a built-in bump enhancer.  Perhaps the Honda has square wheels, or even hexagonal wheels.  But the net effect when driving is that the passengers experience a bumpy ride.  When this car is on a smooth street, the bump enhancer goes to work.  It produces a series of bumps.  To me, riding in the jump seat, it is more than annoying.

I was not enthusiastic about buying a Japanese car, mainly as a result of World War II.  You may recall that in that war we were attacked by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor Day.  I am also not given to embracing German cars.  The same reason applies, as these were our two mortal enemies in World War II, a combat that resulted in their defeat.  In the 60 years since World War II ended, I have tried to make peace with myself.  I cannot ever be happy riding in a Japanese or a German car.  But nonetheless we bought the Honda.

If I could see, I would try to locate the bump enhancer which gives this car an ominous ride.  It is not a matter of having square wheels, I have come to believe.  It is a matter of Honda building in a bump enhancer in its automobiles.  It is a dependable car I suppose, but the riding qualities are obnoxious.  And if one of my comrades from World War II would observe me riding in a Japanese car, I am sure that he would expel me from their ranks.  But we have the Honda.  At the rate that we buy cars we should not come due for a car until 2018 or 2020.  By that time of course, I hope to be gone.  In the meantime the Japanese are getting even with those who triumphed in World War II.

In this car, they have made use of a bump enhancer which destroys any connection that a smooth ride is in store for those who drive it or who ride in it.  I want Bill Schmidt to know that his help is “unhelpful” in telling us that this was a great car with a “real sports-car ride.”  I suppose that it will be a long time before I enjoy a ride in a car.  That is because American manufacturers are now leaning toward producing smaller cars which have a sports-car feel to them.  But these cars are the antithesis of smooth riding.

As I grew up, I had two cars in the beginning, a 1931 Chevrolet and then a 1937 Chevrolet.  The 1937 Chevrolet produced a respectable ride because it had in the front wheels a device called “knee action.”  The theory was that when a bump was reached, the car would act like a knee and still maintain a smooth ride.  But I fear that the days of smooth riding are quickly coming to an end, if they have not already ended now.

But taking one thing with another, I will still look for the bump enhancer I know is part of the Honda experience.  It may give my wife and Bill Schmidt the sports-car feeling but it infuriates me; I am the one to whom it matters.  But I can do nothing until it is time for a new car.  That occasion will occur long after I have been cremated and spread to the winds.  In the meantime, I want Honda to know that I am in on their secret: they have produced cars such as ours which have a bump enhancer which makes even the smoothest of roads bumpy.  I expect no acknowledgement from Honda that this is the case.  But like it or not, that is the state of the record.  Honda produces reliable cars that are bumpy.

Every bump will tell Americans that we shall remember Pearl Harbor.

 

E. E. CARR

August 3, 2011

Essay 581

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Kevin’s commentary: okay, so the end of this one was pretty darn out of left field but I’m going to leave it be for a second because I feel compelled to come to the defense of the Honda Accord.

I own an Accord. There are few things that must be known about it. First off, it is about as far removed from a sports car as can be imagined. It honestly baffles me that this was the sales technique used with a straight face. Second, its ride is not, in fact, particularly bumpy at all. Just this month I have had multiple opportunities to pilot my boss’s BMW for significant amounts of time. It is a nice BMW that costs probably two to three times what Larry (my vehicle) costs, but to me its ride was not substantially smoother. I am forced to conclude that either Pop’s car has something wrong with it, or Honda messed up pretty badly between the model that he bought and the 2003 model which I own and love dearly.

 

TO GIVE ONE BIG FAT RAT’S ASS

Over the years I have been a big consumer of sports news.  Specifically, I have followed the fortunes of the New York Mets and before that the St. Louis Cardinals.  When the fall and the winter came, I followed some of the St. Louis college teams but after the war, I was much interested in a hockey club named the St. Louis Flyers.  As a matter of interest, you may like to know that the nickname for the St. Louis University college team was called the “Billikens.”  I wish I could tell you what in the world a “billiken” is.  But that is beyond my comprehension at this point.  Besides it was the name of college teams and I did not progress to that level of education so it is no wonder that I do not know what a “billiken” might be.

But those musings are behind us now.  In recent days the headlines involved pro-football.  Apparently there is an income of something like $9 billion to split up and the owners were in a dispute with the players.  A week or so ago the owners and the players reached an agreement and we were assured that the pro-football season would take place.  I imagine that sports fans who are nuts about football heaved an immense sigh of relief.  But that sigh of release did not involve a contribution by myself.

For several years I have maintained the attitude that I would not give a fat rat’s ass to the pro-football coffers.  I don’t go to the games and I rarely read what the results are.  I do not follow their fortunes on the radio because none of the names make sense to me anymore.

Now I find that the New York Jets have hired an ex-convict to be their wide receiver.  His name is Plaxico Burress.  Plaxico embodies what has caused much of my disinterest in pro-football.  Plaxico is a big man, over 6 feet 5.  He is 33 years old, yet more than one team has sought him out after his prison term was finished.  That is because he is mean and he can dominate most defensive backs.

Now, apart from wide receivers such as Plaxico, I find that in recent years a lineman who weighs less than 285 pounds is sent to put on some more pounds.  I suppose my disinterest in the fortunes of pro-football started with an incident shortly after my arrival overseas in January, 1943.  After about four weeks on the troop ship, we landed at the port of Dakar in Senegal.  You may recall one of my essays in which I said that the captain tooted the horn so loud that every spy in the neighborhood came running to the port to question us about where we had come from.  The spies concluded that we had left from an eastern port of the United States and their pronunciations of Boston, Charleston, and so forth were of great interest to me.  But among the GI troops I believe that on no occasion did any American soldiers reveal where we had come from.  Actually the port that we left was Charleston in South Carolina.

In any case, after our arrival, we were gathered into groups and taken to an American facility north of Dakar called Rufisque.  There was a little time to kill and it was decided that we should play a bit of football.  Miraculous as it may seem, one of our troops had a football.  He was automatically the quarterback.  I was assigned as a lineman, weighing about 150 pounds.  Opposite me was a former standout with the Chicago Bears named Coddington.  The dirt on which we played was red sand and it blew very easily.  I learned a good bit about that dirt because Coddington rubbed my face in it for all of the game.  So I guess my views on professional football are biased.  And if you asked me, I would say, “Damn right, they are biased!”

As the time has gone by, the players have become bigger and taller and meaner.  And the fans, of which there are millions, demand rough play.  As you can imagine, when two 250-pound people running at full speed collide with each other, the only word is mayhem.  But that is the essence of pro-football.  And the coaches demand that their players outmuscle and outwork the opposing teams.  Pro-football is not a finesse sport.  It is a sport where might makes right.  And the collisions result in concussions.  The inevitable result of concussions is damage to the brain resulting in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  I cannot be happy with a sport that produces concussions, dementia and Alzheimers.  And so it is that I do not give a fat rat’s ass for what will take place this fall ending in February with the Super Bowl.

I deeply regret that come October or early November the baseball season will end.  Baseball has room for finesse and its players are graceful.  Football players on the other hand are crude.  Plaxico Burress set the example of all that I find repulsive about pro-football.

I used to be a great hockey fan, primarily of the St. Louis Flyers, then later of the Chicago Black Hawks.  Hockey players these days practice being as mean as possible and the fans seem to enjoy fistfights.  In point of truth, pro-football fans and hockey fans are much like the Romans who fed human beings to wild animals in the coliseum.  Pro-football fans want mayhem as do the hockey fans.  And the pro-football coaches as well as the hockey coaches demand mayhem from their players.  Only now in 2011 are the governing bodies of pro-football looking into the fact that repeated concussions produce Alzheimer’s and dementia.  I can only tell you that when two 250-pound people run at each other and collide, there is going to be a concussion or two.  But until now, every year the authorities of football have elected to ignore this evidence.  The fact that a pro-football career averages only three and a half years ought to tell the authorities something.

But youngsters still aspire to make their college teams, which are the breeding ground for the pro-football players.  It is of some significance that pro-football conducts a draft of college players.  This is a remnant from the experience of operating a minor league system.  The colleges provide that service.  But when a youngster becomes a star in college, he can look forward to a career of – on the average – about three and one half  years before he is discarded and new people take his place.

So I hope that by this time you have concluded that your Uncle Ezra will be working on essays and reading – hearing – books.  I am old enough and big enough that any taunts that I am a softie will have no effect upon me.  So I say that when hockey and football scores are announced, I must say that I won’t give a fat rat’s ass for any of the results at the end of the schedule.

 

E. E. CARR

August 4, 2011

Essay 582

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Kevin’s commentary: Usually with this commentary I try to add insight or at least find a point of contention, but here there simply is none. I have never and will never understand professional sports, I don’t think. The only thing remotely resembling a sport that I “follow” is a competitive video game called Starcraft that I suspect 99% of the population would not consider to be a sport in the slightest. But it is pure competition and skill and to my knowledge nobody has sustained any concussions while, say, micromanaging a flock of mualisks.

WHY DID SAVITA HAVE TO DIE LIKE THIS?

This essay has to do with the very recent death of an Indian woman who had moved to Galway, Ireland.  Her death has bothered me greatly.  The fact of the matter is that she did not have to die.  As it turns out Savita is dead and the authorities are doing nothing about it.  During her illness, which resulted in her death, both the Catholic Church and the Republic of Ireland are complicit in what many of us regard as her murder or needless death.

Let us start at the beginning.  Her name was Savita and her last name was Halappanavar.  Savita was a beautiful Indian woman who was 31 years of age at her death.  She was married to an engineer from India.  Savita was a dentist.  Sometime in the past, she and her husband concluded that they should reside in Galway, Ireland.  All indications are that she was enjoying her life among the Irish.  She had established her dentistry practice and was pursuing that occupation at the time of her death.

Savita

A few years back Ireland passed a constitutional amendment which is very much like those proposed here in the United States involving the so-called personhood amendment.  In Ireland, the fetus – not a human being – under the personhood amendment has all of the rights accorded to citizens of that great republic.  The physicians who attended to Savita told her that as long as the fetus had a faint heartbeat, nothing could be done for her.  Savita told the Irish authorities that she was neither Irish nor Catholic.  This made no difference at all.  The fact is that she was in a Catholic institution in a Catholic country and there would be no abortion.

After a time the heartbeat of the fetus stopped and it was finally delivered.  With all of this delay in starting the abortion process, septicemia had set in.  The terminal delay that accompanied this case has resulted in Savita’s death.  Septicemia is a deadly disease.  Obviously, septicemia was a function of the dithering that took place because of the Irish Catholic prohibition of abortion.

When Savita presented herself to the hospital authorities with the bleeding from her fetus, every civilized county would have prescribed immediate abortion.  The fetus had no chance at life because it was bleeding to death at the 17th week of pregnancy.  But the Irish are slaves to the requirements of the Catholic faith.  Similarly the legal authorities in Ireland are also enslaved to adherence to the Catholic faith.  So that is why I contend that the Catholic Church and the Republic of Ireland are complicit in causing the death of Savita.  I am outraged!  In any civilized country, Savita’s life would have been saved had she had an abortion when she reported to the hospital about her back pains.  But as the authorities at the hospital told Savita, she was in a Catholic institution in a Catholic country.  Thus Savita must die at the tender age of 31 years simply to satisfy the requirements of the Vatican.

I am assuming that the readers of Ezra’s Essays know of the fact that I am the descendant of Irish people.  Over the years, I have been quite proud of the fact of my Irishness.  Not only that, but my wife traces her heritage through her mother to County Armagh, an adjoining county to Donegal, where my people came from.  But in this case, every Irish person must be ashamed of what has been done to Savita.  We don’t treat people like that in Ireland, in what I have always assumed was a civilized country.

If Savita were a resident of other Catholic countries such as Italy, Spain, or Portugal, she would have been granted her desire to have an abortion to save her life.  There is no question about that.  If she had been a resident of Mexico, also a Catholic country, there would have been no problem about the abortion.  Ah, but this is Ireland, and rules are rules.  In this case, the rules resulted in the death of Savita.

Until recently, a Bishop in the Catholic Church was about as high as a man could go in the Irish Republic.  Over the past year or thereabouts, there have stories of pedophile priests violating their young altar boys.  So much of this was true that it resulted in the resignation of one of the leading Bishops in Ireland.  But the civil authorities in Ireland have not gotten the message.  When a Bishop of the Catholic Church wishes to have something done, the presumption is that it will be done because we are dealing with a Bishop who controls our eventual destiny.  How ridiculous can you get?

I told you at the outset of this essay that I was angered.  I am still angered at the thought of Savita losing her life because she went to a Catholic hospital in a Catholic country like Ireland.  This was a needless death as protesters will be quick to remind you.  But appealing to the civil authorities has no hope of help.  The government of Ireland is helpless when it comes to abortion just as they are helpless when it comes to occupation of their country.  It need not be this way, but that is the way it is.

As of 1922, when the Republic of Ireland came into existence, the British laid out a claim to six counties in Northern Ireland.  For the 90 years since that treaty was concluded, there have been troubles.  Basically the troubles had to do with a foreign entity, England, occupying a significant portion of Ireland, including its second city of Belfast.  Had we heard any whimper of throwing the Brits out?  The answer is a resounding no.

And have we heard any whimper of any descent against the Catholic prohibition of abortion. The answer to this also is a resounding no.

As I said, this essay was constructed because of my outrage because of Savita’s death.  I do not know whether Joseph Ratzinger, the current Pope, is aware of Savita’s demise.  In any event, Ratzinger will conclude that the directive not to provide abortion services comes from God.  And the Republic of Ireland will not need to interfere in the workings of the Catholic Church, which meant that Savita’s life would not have been saved.  This is a sad situation.  But I regret to inform you that that is the state of the record if you need an abortion in a Catholic hospital in Galway in the great state of the Irish Republic.  How sad!

 

E. E. CARR

November 20, 2012

Essay 718

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Kevin’s commentary: This one is sorta hard to comment on other than to say that it’s clearly unacceptable. Religion is often at its ugliest when it imposes itself on those who do not subscribe to its bizarre stipulations.

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Traveling! More essays upon my return. Pop’s cranked out a TON of new ones.

TOO JUST RIGHT

At this point I have written a few essays beyond the 700 mark.  It is possible that it is a repeat of an earlier essay, but I doubt it. And in any case, it is a pleasant memory which obviously bears repeating.

In 1955 my employer decided that he had a promotion for me and I should leave the confines of Chicago.  And so it was that my wife at the time and my 14- or 15-month-old daughter arrived in New Jersey.  We had determined that New Jersey would be the place where we would live.  Our want ad was answered by a fellow who owned a five-acre farm.  As it turned out, he was leaving to pursue divinity studies and he wished to keep the farm under his control.  The farm was a well-known establishment called the Rickenbacker Farm which abounded in berries of all kinds and outbuildings that were in good shape.  My daughter, known as Blondie, alias Ellen Maureen, took to farm life with great enthusiasm.  The house was a bit old.  It had a large room on the second floor near my daughter’s bedroom.  There were a table and some chairs in this room.  Immediately Blondie decided that she would have endless tea parties.

Now, the tea parties were not totally tea parties but they consisted of a pot of water filled from the tap, which she considered her tea.  A good many people were invited to Blondie’s tea parties.  I remember a woman from Chicago who had worked with me in Chicago Traffic visiting the home.  Her name was Ann Hincks, who was then about 58 or 60.  Ann Hincks was an Irish woman who fell in with Maureen’s tea party idea with great gusto.  She stayed on the farm for perhaps two or three days, long enough for her to be inundated with tea parties.  Ann Hincks was a good Irish woman who spoke tea partyese.

When Ann left, there was a neighbor named Jesse Neilsen, who lived on the next party south of us.  Jesse and Blondie formed a bond.  Jesse had a picnic table on her back porch where she often canned vegetables.  Jesse was very much like Ann Hincks in that she could talk to Maureen, her discussions being interspersed by salvos of laughter.  Jesse’s husband, Chris Neilsen, sat on a stool behind Maureen and from time to time he laughed so hard that he had to steady the stool.  Now mind you, all of these discussions were of a very serious nature.  As I reported in an earlier essay, it was Chris who cut a path with his scythe so that Maureen could traverse our home to Jesse’s place.

Now that I have told you about Ann Hincks and Jessie Neilsen, where do I fit in?  When Maureen’s mother tired of Maureen’s tea party activities, I was often drafted to be a recipient of the tea being served.  Remember, this tea came right out of the spigot in the nearby bathroom.

But I was not an easy customer to satisfy.  When Maureen served me a cup of the imaginary tea, I often would tell her that it was too hot.  She would take a sip and say, “It is not too hot.”  Then on another occasion when Blondie would serve me a cup of tea, I would announce that it was too cold.  By this time, Blondie knew that I was just a trouble maker.

Then there were other occasions when I would sit at Maureen’s table and order a cup of tea and, when it was produced, I would announce that it was “too just right.”  At this point, Maureen gave up all hope of my eternal salvation.  We both knew that I was just kidding but at Maureen’s tea parties this was a serious business.

Well, time has gone on.  At this juncture, Maureen is flirting with her late fifties in terms of age.  I would suspect that our good friends Jessie and Chris and our great friend Ann Hincks are probably no longer with us.  But before these essays are finished, I wanted to establish that there was a time when the phrase “too just right” was in vogue.  In spite of our being moved from Chicago to New York, the years on the farm were happy years.

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, the farm was located next to a Catholic church.  By this time, nearly two years after we arrived in New Jersey, Maureen had a sister known as Spooky Suze.  One day there was a knock on our kitchen door and when it was opened, a priest from the church came in.  His mission was to tell us that the church had acquired the property that we had been renting.  He was a very nice fellow.  He played with Maureen and also held her sister.  He wanted to make it clear that we were under no pressure to move out of the house and find other quarters.

As it turned out, there was a new development in this town of New Providence which appealed to us and we bought a home there.  I shall never forget the decency that the priest of Our Lady of Peace showed to us.  It is one of the high points as I recall the events of that time.  Good old Blondie did not invite the priest to have one of her cups of tea.  I am quite certain that if she had done so, the priest would have announced that it was “too just right.”  He would have joined me in that assessment.

But the fact is that gregarious Blondie did not offer the priest a cup of tea.  If she had done so, perhaps we would still be living on the farm.  So that is the story about “too just right.”  I hope that it brings gladness to your heart or to your esophagus or some other vital organ.  Always remember that the tea from the tap could be too hot or it could be too cold or probably it may be “too just right.”

These events happened sometime in the 1955 – 1957 time period.  I wanted to record my observations in an essay before I grew too old to remember them.  If you order a cup of tea somewhere and pronounce it “too just right,” do not expect that the waitress will be pleased with you.  And so, on that note, I conclude this essay about Blondie, Ann Hincks, Jessie and Chris Neilsen, and, regrettably, the priest from Our Lady of Peace who did not share in the tea drinking.  Maureen lives in New York now and the next time she comes around here, I will remind her that she owes a cup of tea to the priest from Our Lady of Peace church.  I suspect that she will be pleased.

E. E. CARR

October 22, 2012

Essay 709

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Kevin’s commentary: Another favorite, easy.  First off, the idea of my aunt being anywhere but New York city, much less a farm. I probably could not think of someone less suited to a farm if I tried, but apparently she did it. Beyond that, it brings me some weird happiness to think about Pop playing with his kids who are now in their fifties. Or mid thirties, in the case of my mother, according to her.

HAVE AMERICANS GONE SOFT?

In the late 1940s, I found myself in Boston.  I had always thought of Boston as being among one of the cooler climes.  But this was in August and I found myself sweating profusely.  As a final resort, I repaired to a movie theater that offered some sort of cooling.  I am not sure at this time whether the term “air conditioning” had been invented.  But at any rate I found myself trying to be cool and watching a movie called “The Babe Ruth Story.”  You will recall that the owners of the Boston Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees.  Bostonians have always contended that that [sic] is why they won no pennants for something in excess of 50 years.  But the air conditioning, such as it was, in the movie theater was not much help and shortly thereafter I returned to the hotel, which was also without air conditioning.

Before we go further, it might be helpful to deconstruct the term “air conditioning.”  It was a term that came into general use, according to my memory, sometime in the 1930s.  Basically it applied to fans that moved the air, which was a bit better than nothing.  The fact of the matter is that if we refer to heating in the winter, why should there not be a word called “cooling” in the summer?

It was in this period of time when there were movies that were shown to people in automobiles.  There was no such thing as an air-conditioned movie theater at that time, so the next best thing was to go to movies whose patrons never left their cars.  Similarly, there was widespread eating in automobiles.  Rather than going into a restaurant on the hot days in August, people would gather at drive-in restaurants to consume a meal.  I have had some of those meals and I must report that they were a bit less satisfying than the meals served in restaurants.

The United States is not a tropical country yet a part of it has sections where the temperature will reach the upper nineties Fahrenheit during the summer.  And so a lively business had sprung up post-World War II in the so-called air conditioning business.

Now before we go further, I have no great quarrel with the term “air conditioning.”  It seems to me that if we have heat in the winter, why do we not have coolness in the summer?  But we are stuck with the term air conditioning.  So much so is this the case that any house offered for sale need only use the initials AC to announce that it is air-conditioned.

Europeans for whatever reason have determined that there is not much of a need for air conditioning.  Over the years I have spent several summer weeks in Europe and I tend to agree with the Europeans.  Not long ago I asked my great and good friend Sven Lernevall to take a look at the houses that were offered for sale in Stockholm.  He reported back that of 33 or 34 residences offered for sale, none of them advertised that they were air conditioned.  But the fact of the matter is that Americans do not wish to be troubled by high temperatures.  They insist upon having their homes and offices cooled.  I suspect that there is a reason why Europeans advertising a house for sale for example in Stockholm would not offer air conditioning whereas in this country in Texas and in some sections of Florida the heat becomes insufferable and air conditioning is a must.

Now, look at it this way.  To use myself as an example, I grew up in an un-air-conditioned home and had no idea about air conditioning until I bought a new house in New Providence, New Jersey.  The house cost $26,000 in 1957.  It was a new home and I thought that even here in New Jersey, which is above the torrid zones, I could escape without air conditioning.  But nonetheless, after a few years I thought that it was necessary to air condition the house.

Now, as I say I grew up in homes which were un-air-conditioned.  I attended schools that were un-air-conditioned.  I went to doctors’ offices that were un-air-conditioned.  In short, until after I returned to this country in 1946 or 1947, there was no such thing as air conditioning.  Once the move started to air-condition homes and offices, there was no stopping it.  I suspect that today, if a home were offered for sale with a sale price being above $20,000, it would have no takers without air conditioning.

I think that is probably enough on the subject of cooling our homes and offices.  We turn now to the heating side of this equation.  Apparently Europeans and Israelis, to name two examples, are much hardier folks than the average American.  I offer two examples.  Sometime in the late 1970s, I was invited to a new home to attend a party with several of my colleagues from the Irish Telecommunications Authority.  As the end of the evening approached, we were seated in the living room around a small small small peat fire that projected no warmth to the inhabitants.  But the Irish paid no attention.  Apparently they had come equipped with sweaters or perhaps they are simply tougher than Americans.  I remember to this day the cold creeping on my shoulders and hoping that soon the evening would come to an end.

Similarly, on another occasion I was invited to a home in Israel.  That home was in Jerusalem.  Apparently, as in the case of the Irish home, it had no central heat.  My teeth did not really chatter but they were within one millimeter of chattering.  In this country, the question would have been, “Shall we set the heat at 75º or a little higher?”  That was not the way it was done in Ireland or in Israel.

So as I said, I was raised in a home without air conditioning and as far as the heat went, it was a function of our well being.  We were well enough off to buy coal, which tended to last all evening.  But when we had to depend upon wood, the fire in the furnace would peter out about midnight.

And so I do not recall “the good old days” when it comes to heating and cooling.  Even here in New Jersey, which is well beyond the torrid zones, I have found it necessary to air condition my homes and to provide them with furnaces that are in good order.  But if we are to take the examples of the Irish and the Israelis, who seem to have no central heating in their homes or offices, it appears then that the Americans have indeed gone soft.  If the rest of the world challenges us on our alleged softness, I would remember the cold nights in Missouri, where I was born, when the fire petered out at about midnight.

In the summer, the temperatures in the great state of Missouri would often approach 100ºF.  Because St. Louis is under the influence of the humidity of the Mississippi River and the Missouri River as well as the Merrimac River, all of which contributed to misery for its citizens.  Taking one thing with another, I do not long for the days of summer when we had no cooling devices.  I am glad that those days are gone.

Similarly, in the winter I do not long for the days when it was necessary to stoke the furnace in the hope that it would not run out before daybreak.  It is alleged that this country has an endless supply of natural gas so the winters are pretty much taken care of.  Electricity feeds our air conditioners in the summer, so that is taken care of too.  But whether or not Americans have gone soft, I plead no defense.

I suspect that visitors to our homes and offices in this country might think why we make such a big deal about our heating and cooling.  On the other hand, if we can cool our homes and offices, it lends much to the effort to make our lives a bit more pleasant.  So with that thought, I conclude that it may be that Americans have gone soft, but what are you going to do about it?  When the temperature reaches 100ºF in the summer or when the temperature goes to 20ºF in the winter, I am greatly pleased by the sound of the air conditioner in the summer and the furnace in the winter.  If that makes me a softie, I would say, “So be it.”   I am comfortable and that is all that matters.

E. E. CARR

October 22, 2012

Essay 708

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Kevin’s commentary: Man, as an essay-categorizer this one put me in a bit of a pinch. I have a tag for these essays that I really enjoy using called “Objections to Modernity” but this one is just the opposite. However, celebrations of modernity isn’t going to be nearly a big enough theme to merit its own topic, so I guess in the end I will file it under the “objections” tag anyway but have this little clarifying note to explain that decision.

Meanwhile I always appreciated the value of AC, having grown up in a part of Texas that routinely hangs out at over 100 degrees for several months at a time. Until I went to college in the Midwest, I actually had no idea that buildings without AC were even things that existed.  The notion of one had simply never occurred to me. The other side of this coin though was that heating was pretty much unnecessary, but just under three weeks ago I moved down to a house in Mountain View whose owner does not believe in turning on the heating. Turns out that a 63 degree house is pretty miserable, so I’m now the proud owner of a space heater and I too could not be happier with it.

GETTING KISSED

As soon as I could after the war, I returned to work for the AT&T Corporation in St. Louis.  It may not have been the wisest move I ever made but Congress had passed a law that provided that those of us who had worked in industry prior to military service should be reinstated.

AT&T rented quarters from the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in the headquarters building at 1010 Pine Street in St. Louis.  Across the street was a small delicatessen operated by three Greek fellows.  The father was a man in his late fifties or sixties who had completed the immigration requirements.   Two of his sons worked the counter of the deli.  Because it was so close to the telephone company, it did not lack for business.  My recollection is that this delicatessen did not serve dinners.  It started early in the morning, and somewhere around 4:30 or 5:00 o’clock they were done for the day.

The sons who worked the counter of the deli were engaging men.  They were both about my age, which would have been 23, 24, or 25 years.  Both of them had served in the United States armed forces during the Second World War.

The elder son was a husky fellow who did not waste much time with customers if they did not know what they wanted.  After a short time, he and I became good friends.  An incident took place between the elder son and myself in the early months of 1946.  At that point, the Second World War was very much on everyone’s mind.  Certainly it was on the minds of myself and the man who worked the counter at the deli.

There came a time when during a lull in the business at the counter the elder son turned to me and asked a personal question.  He knew of course that I was away during the war years.  He looked directly at me and said, “You were in the Army.”  I told him that I had so served.  He then asked me, “Did you ever get kissed?”  I knew exactly what he meant.  He was asking whether I had ever been shot during my service in the Army.  I told the older son who worked at the counter that as a matter of fact I did indeed get kissed.  I explained to him that it was not a bullet that got me kissed but an anti-aircraft gun spraying white hot flak during the bombing raid on Ancona on December 8, 1943.

Flak is an acronym.  I do not know what the initials F L A K stand for anymore.  After all, this was about 70 years ago.  When the German gunners shot at us flying overhead, the shells would explode and flak would go in every direction.  I suppose the German gunners on the ground hoped that the flak from their shells would kill or injure us.  Secondarily, they hoped that the flak from the bursting shells would cripple an engine.

Flak was a continuing worry for all of us.  When a shell exploded, small segments heated white-hot would penetrate the surrounding air.  I was “kissed” by one of these elements of flak.  When I answered the question about being kissed, the man who worked at the deli counter told me that he had been shot in the foot or leg.  So here we were, young men less than 25 years of age, discussing how we had been kissed.

But it seems that even after the passage of 65 or more years, I was glad to be able to answer the fellow who worked the deli counter, letting him know that I understood what getting kissed really was.  From that date forward, he and I enjoyed a close relationship.  I suspect that if he has survived he would be, like me, in his nineties.  I would not be surprised if for the bulk of his life he was running a restaurant or a deli somewhere.  But wherever he is, I hope that he is alive and, more than anything else, I wish him well.  He was a hard-working fellow as were his father and his brother.  When you ordered a cup of coffee, at least for me he would keep the cup filled until I showed signs of leaving.

That is my story at this very late date about getting “kissed” and about the existence of flak.  I suppose that flak would kill as many soldiers as bullets.  Obviously I don’t have an account of that relationship.  But they shot at us and we shot at them in the nature of war.  Those days are gone now and I wish that they would never ever return.  If you are ever asked about getting kissed or about flak, you now have the necessary ingredients to formulate a comprehensive answer.  As for me, I am pleased with the fact that “getting kissed” is no longer a concern of mine and that is the way I like it.

 

E. E. CARR

October 20, 2012

Essay 707

Postscript: Flak is an acronym for the German word Fliegerabwehrkanone.  Even Hitler himself would have trouble spitting this word out.

~~~

Kevin’s commentary: One of Pop’s recent favorites, and for good reason.  You can check out a quick video on Flak weapons in Europe here. Having watched it I think of the phrase “getting flak” for something and immediately hope that I never get to experience this in a literal way. Simultaneously I can say that I’ve never been kissed and I’m rather happy about that.

 

PURGATORY

This essay about Purgatory comes about because of my insatiable curiosity.  It is not meant as a diatribe against the Catholic belief.  On the other hand, it is meant to determine what is meant by Purgatory and what we must do while we are here on Earth to enjoy the benefits or lack of benefits of Purgatory.

There was a time about eight or nine years ago when on Monday evenings Miss Chicka, my wife, and I would watch a program on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN).  I suppose that we watched this program on Monday evenings for about four years or thereabouts.  The main attraction was that the EWTN program featured a woman called Mother Angelica who was entertaining in herself.  We were primarily interested in a news program run by Aaron Brown who was an erudite fellow who came on after Mother Angelica.  As far as I know, Mother Angelica never met Aaron Brown but it seems to me that they were a duet made for broadcasting.  Mother Angelica was a glib spokesman for the Catholic Church who attracted viewers such as myself because of her Irish wit.

Unfortunately Mother Angelica had a stroke that deprived her of speech.   She was succeeded by a strict constructionist named Johnette whose last name was of eastern European origin.  Johnette was very much like Antonin Scalia of the United States Supreme Court in that she wanted to know exactly what the writers of Bible verses really meant.  The fact that we are more than 2,000 years past the writing of the Bible made very little difference to Johnette.  She was still looking under every nook and cranny to determine the true meaning of every word in the Bible.

Remember we only watched this program on Monday evenings.  During the time that Mother Angelica ran the program, it had two priests who discussed various interpretations of church doctrine including Purgatory.  Clearly they accepted the idea of there being a Purgatory at the end of the line.  But they were not enthusiastic about discussing the virtues of Purgatory.  They more or less said, “Here it is.  Believe it or not.” Clearly they were not endorsing spreading the gospel about Purgatory.

All of this happened when I could still see, which was under the reign of the previous Pope, preceding Joseph Ratzinger.  I believe his name was John Paul.  For more than seven or eight years, I have been pondering the doctrine of Purgatory.  When Joseph Ratzinger assumed the Papacy, he announced that he wished to take the Church back to the second century.  It is possible that in the second century of the Common Era, Purgatory was not a doctrine of the Catholic faith.

In any case, during the reign of Joseph Ratzinger, there has been much less attention paid to the prospect of Purgatory.  So before the idea of Purgatory goes by the boards, which it may never do, I wanted to hear of the virtues of Purgatory.  I had thought that under Joseph Ratzinger who seemed to want to take the Church backward, we would have more concentration on Purgatory.  Ah, but that is not the case.  Ratzinger is a fellow fairly high in his eighties who may just have forgotten this doctrine of the Catholic faith.

But no matter.  My curiosity led me to question what Purgatory is all about.

Apparently, Purgatory is a step short of Heaven.  If I understand correctly, once a person is good and dead, he will proceed to Purgatory where his sins will be purged from him.  This of course is the reason for the title of Purgatory.  The question then follows.  Suppose that the Pope or some other high official in the Catholic Church expires so that he winds up in Purgatory.  Let us also assume that he has kept the vows of celibacy for his entire life.  He has not even winked at a comely girl.  My curious nature demands to know how long such a person would serve in Purgatory.

The next question involves who administers Purgatory.  Is it God Himself or has he delegated this to Jesus?

The next issue involves me personally.  If a non-believer such as myself gives up the ghost, is he floating around until his fate is ultimately determined?  I know that some of my readers would say that Ezra should proceed directly to Hell.  But that is not a charitable view.  To whom should I present my case for going directly into Heaven?  I do not subscribe to the idea of Purgatory.  I would cite that lack of belief for my entry directly into Heaven.

Now according to the priest on EWTN, there have been cases where souls have lingered for many many years in Purgatory.  Presumably these supporters have been so conflicted and have not prayed hard enough or have not supported the Church in its holy works so that the person incarcerated in Purgatory should be released.  I am wondering whether or not there is a list of those in Purgatory and the number of days or years or millennia along side their names to show how long they have been in Purgatory.

As you can see, my curious nature was aroused by Mother Angelica.  If she believed in Purgatory or not is open to dispute, I suppose, because Mother Angelica, as a result of her stroke, can no longer speak.  But for me, as part of my continuing education I would like to know what the virtues or non-virtues of the doctrine of Purgatory are.

Now there is one other aspect of Purgatory that has to do with semantics.  Prior to my leaving to serve in the Army from 1942 to 1945, I did not know of the existence of the word laxative.  The word that we used in those days was purgative.  Later on, when I returned from the Army I suppose that I was corrected by a female in the family who said that the proper term for a purgative was now called a laxative.

When I was a small child, my older sister Opal and I attended a baseball game at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis.  As part of a promotion project, handfuls of a laxative called Feenamint were passed out.  Feenamint came in very small tablets coated with sugar.  They were much like the so-called P K Chewing Gum that existed for a long time with the rest of the Wrigley products.  My sister Opal let me have a Feenamint and I barely made it home, thus avoiding a colossal disaster.

 

Well, this is the end of my inquiry into Purgatory and purgatives.  As I stated at the outset, I do not mean for this inquiry to be anything more than an attempt to satisfy my own curiosity.

For all the years of my life, curiosity has led me to attempt to educate myself.  And so it is that if there are those of you who read these essays who are so inclined to educate me on the virtues or even the non-virtues of Purgatory, you will find me a willing listener.  Again, my intention is not in any way to demean those beliefs.  My intention is simply to learn.

And now, having stated my case, both for curiosity and learning, I will retire to my chair in the living room and await the responses from those who are more accomplished in the field of religious belief, particularly Purgatory, than I am.  I am willing to listen to all comers.

 

E. E. CARR

October 20, 2012

Essay 706

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Kevin’s commentary: First essay published after the storm! This essay and eight of its brothers were held up by Ms. Sandy.  I am no more experienced than Pop is, here, I’m afraid.

My question about Purgatory has to do chiefly with timelines. Since those who die live on eternally in the afterlife, and eternity is a rather long time, and Christians probably don’t subscribe to ideas like the heat death of the universe and even if they did I’m sure heaven would be exempt… I simply wonder whether Purgatory works on astrological or human timelines. If a trillion trillion years is an infinitesimally small slice of eternity, who is to say that even a minor sin won’t land me in Purgatory for some insanely long, yet finite amount of time? I guess that it’d still be decently interesting though, since you’re in the only place where the whole population is gradually rotating through. In heaven and hell you have new entrants, sure, but there aren’t really that many other places to go. Unless there’s like, social climbing in heaven? Heaven’s heaven? Concentric circles, dante-style? It’s all unclear.

I’ve always wondered too, what happens if an asteroid or something hits Earth, or there’s a nuclear war or something of insanely epic scales that kills all humans and almost eliminates all life on the planet. After a few hundred million years, lets say the life that survived whatever happened is in a position to re-evolve sentience. Now, such creatures would at least be DNA-based and a little bit like us. They would probably re-derive arithmetic and calculus and physics and whathaveyou but what they almost certainly would not re-derive is the story of Noah’s ark, Adam and Eve, and especially not the magic man from millions of years ago and his book that tells you how to get into heaven.  Would the criteria for heaven change to accept these new creatures? If not, would Puragatory just gradually empty into heaven, and then that’s just locked in for the rest of time? Who is the last person to leave purgatory? Does he lock the door on the way out?

 

 

GOOD JESUS!!

That miserable bastard Cheney is at it again.

This essay is going to be dictated on the afternoon of August 27th.  We await the arrival of Hurricane Irene.  Awaiting the arrival of the hurricane is a far from happy test.  My mood is not made any more benign as we wait for the first raindrops by the fact that the former Vice President of the United States, Richard Cheney, a miserable bastard, has written a book.  Yesterday, he was interviewed by an NBC reporter named Jaimie Gangel.  Miss Gangel was solicitous and quite polite.  Cheney, who had sought the interview to promote his book, was impolite to a fault.  His answers were short and conveyed the thought, “You must have known this anyway.”

In the event that you have forgotten, there was a period between the year 2000 and January of 2009 when we were burdened with the presidency of George W. Bush and the vice presidency of Richard Cheney.  During his vice presidency, Richard Cheney exposed a woman named Mrs. Wilson as a secret operative of the CIA.  He made elaborate plans to cover his tracks, but in the investigation by a Republican special counsel, it was discovered that there was a handwritten note in Cheney’s handwriting about the exposure of Mrs. Wilson.  As a matter of fact, there is no doubt but that Cheney led the effort to expose Mrs. Wilson’s undercover activities.  But he let Scooter Libby take the consequences.  The consequences were a conviction, a federal trial of Scooter Libby; he was saved from going to jail for about two years with the intervention of George Bush.  Bush contended that Scooter Libby had been punished enough.  That is a preposterous conclusion.

At any rate, it is quite clear that the Republican special counsel should have indicted Cheney as well as Karl Rove, the executive assistant to the President.  The special counsel interviewed Cheney and interviewed Rove on at least five occasions and it was widely predicted that they would be indicted.  In the end, they were not indicted, largely because of their political connections.

But at any rate, in his interview with Jaimie Gangel, the former vice president contends that he has written a book about his experience in the White House in the vice presidency.  Whether he wrote the book or not is largely beside the point because celebrities of the stature of Dick Cheney are able to hire people to write for them.  But in the interview with Miss Gangel, we are treated to vintage Cheney.  In his book, Cheney defends the invasion of Iraq.  If there is anything in the world that was a bigger mistake than the invasion of Iraq, it would have to come to the attention of the American public.  Down to the bitter end, Cheney defends the invasion of Iraq.  Secondly, Cheney defends the use of torture.  He terms it “enhanced interrogation.”  Every other impartial observer, including myself, calls it torture, not enhanced anything.

Everyone should know that when we engage in torture, it  exposes every American soldier to the same sort of treatment from our enemies.  Clearly we were guilty of the torture of our prisoners in the Iraq war.  There is absolutely no question on that score.  And here we have some years after the war, the former vice president defending the use of torture.  This is a bizarre circumstance for which Cheney must have his intelligence or his sanity questioned.

During the reign of Bush and Cheney, we were frequently treated to the ministrations of his wife and daughter.  Nobody anointed Cheney’s wife or his daughter as experts.  Seriously, his daughter is a lesbian and to his credit, he defends her.  And remember, his defense is confined just to his daughter; he is not inclined to give the lesbians as a class any compassion.  I guess this amounts to “lesbians are no good” except for Cheney’s daughter.

I have no intention whatsoever to read Cheney’s book.  Between Cheney, George W. Bush, Cheney’s wife and daughter, I have had all of the Cheney family that any man can stomach.  As the Iraq war now tends to become a thing of the past, we have Cheney writing a book in which he defends the invasion of Iraq, the torture, and all the rest of the American excesses.

In point of fact, when it was Cheney’s time to serve, he took five exemptions and managed not to serve in the Vietnam War.  The fact of the matter is that when the country calls, the common answer is to go.  And the further fact is that once in the army, one should be protected from torture.  But that is not the case in the Cheney viewpoint.

As you can see, on this gloomy afternoon as we await the Hurricane Irene, my mood has not been improved in any degree by the thought of Dick Cheney’s book.  I am not quite sure what this term means, but I believe that Cheney is what the English would call a “rotter.”  According to the dictionary, the word “rotter,” coming from the originators in the language, is described as follows: “the word is chiefly Brit and means a worthless, unpleasant, or despicable person.”

I believe that the English appropriately named Dick Cheney.  I am sorry that I did not think of that term earlier in the proceedings about his book.  But as I indicated in the title, my reaction is, “Good Jesus! That miserable bastard who is also a rotter is back at it again.”  I believe that this sentiment wraps up my view of the Cheney family and of his vice presidency of the United States.  Perhaps the book could be turned into a movie that would give us some enjoyment as a farce.  But aside from that, I leave my thoughts which are reflected in the title to this essay.

 

E. E. CARR

September 4, 2011

Essay 596

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Kevin’s commentary: hurricanes are still happening up on the East coast, Cheney is still an asshole, and Karl Rove’s defense of it has stuck in my mind for years as being uniquely upsetting. He’s proud of it, and it’s here: http://crooksandliars.com/john-amato/karl-rove-proud-using-waterboarding-and

But the worst is Sean Hannity: you can watch Olbermann on it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzK5FNjBsrA

 

Extra note: It’s now 2:12am and I’ve been learning everything I can about waterboarding for an hour and change now. It has been an upsetting hour, and I do not recommend that any readers do the same.