Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ooops... Busted! *blush*

You may have noticed that the ads are gone from my blog. Turns out, AdSense gets a little suspicious when all the clicks on ads come from something less than ten computers. So today they have disabled my account for "click violations". Ooops.

I admit that I encouraged selected (liberal or liberal-tolerant) coworkers and friends to visit my blog, not to read the postings but to click on the ads. OK--I sorta wanted them to read the posts, too, but I really wanted them to click on all the ads. We saw it as a kind of payback for enduring ads in unwanted places. I had visions of retiring from my day job and living on my ad revenue.

The presence of the ads completely changed my attitude about blogging. Before the ads, I would sign on and write about whatever was on my mind. After ads, I was all about my Google Analytic statistics and various strategies for increasing visitors to my blog. I searched high and low for other blogs that I could post a comment on in hopes of luring visitors to my blog. Never mind that this mostly just raised my bounce rate.

Now I'm back to blogging for the pure enjoyment of it. The profit motive is gone. I'll probably get a lot more stuff done that doesn't involve a computer, too. And now that my dreams of an early retirement have been crushed, it's back to work.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

For the Love of Hate

When it comes to hate in this country, seems like things have gotten worse since I started blogging and following blogs. Or maybe I'm just getting a lot more information than before. Since stuff I read in blogs turns up in the national news several days after I see it on blogs, or not at all, I'm inclined to believe that I'm getting more information.

Prior to starting this blog, I watched NBC for national news and ABC for Atlanta news (which passes for local here in Athens) on television every day. I read the Athens Banner-Herald every day for real local news (well, for UGA sports and the blotter so I know who got busted). And I faithfully read my weekly US News and World Report (now a biweekly), just as I have for the last 25 years or so--even the articles about countries I've never heard of before.

One thing for sure, I get a LOT more news from gay sources now than before. That means I read all about the latest slights and perceived slights by mostly religious conservatives and the groups that use them to accomplish other objectives (i.e., to elect Republican politicians). Most of what I read appears to be fairly well documented, but I wouldn't call it balanced by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, reading some of these gay blogs is a lot like watching Fox News--you're going to get a particular point of view, period.

Anyway, looks to me like there is a tremendous amount of hate flowing around out there today. I think nearly all comes from the lunatic fringe. Whether we're talking about Nazi Baptists, radio pundits of both persuasions, the Gaystapo, PETA, skinheads, or Paul Broun, these folks really don't represent the views of most Americans. They get attention because their views are so extreme. After all, extreme sells--just ask the folks at Fox News.

Middle America (and I'm not talking geography) is boring. These folks go to work (or did, before they got laid off), do the best they can to raise their kids, and live paycheck to paycheck. If they hear about the drama around hate and haters, they shake their heads and go on their way. They are not terribly informed on issues that don't directly impact their day to day life. Mostly they don't care to be because they've got enough on their plates as it is.

All this to say that I believe much of the hate-filled rhetoric is way out of proportion. They aren't all out to get us, however you choose to define us. Yeah, hate crimes are up, and Barack Obama has received more death threats than any other president-elect in history. That's probably because 1) the lunatic fringe is larger because there are so many more people and 2) some people that lose their jobs through no fault of their own feel the need to blame someone. Would be interesting to examine whether there are any correlations between the increase in blogging and the increase in hate crimes.

I do what I can through my postings on this blog and the comments I post on other blogs to throw a little water on the flames. I see others that try to do the same. But mostly what I see are hotheads that fan the flames, or worse, fling gasoline on the flames. I don't think that's good for the cause--any cause, including those I'm for and against.

But what do I know? I'm just...

The Crotchety Old Man

Monday, November 24, 2008

One or Two Religious Conservatives at a Time

This weekend I happened to catch one of the more interesting episodes of Split Ends. In case you haven't seen it, Split Ends is a reality show where two hairdressers swap salons for a few days. Most of the time they swap someone from an upscale, hoity-toity salon with someone from a salon somewhere in Podunk. Yeah it's not the best show on TV, but Georgia didn't play this weekend so I needed some fillers.

This particular episode featured a hairdresser from Worcester, MA swapping with someone from Crescent Springs in rural Northern Kentucky. What made this show interesting was the fact that the MA hairdresser did drag, and the KY shop featured prayer several times a day. Talk about a culture clash....

Things started off fine. But Christian returned to the religious shop after lunch in drag, as Crystal Mess. Sparks flew. Heather, the ultrareligious owner freaked out. Get this--she said a salon was no place for a drag queen, and walked out. Now I don't know about you, but if a drag queen doesn't belong in a beauty parlor, I don't know who does.

The next day, all the other hairdressers were told they were not allowed to talk to Christian, who showed up to work sans drag. As an aside, he's adorable in and out of drag. He asked the owners (Heather and her husband, Fred) if he could talk with them. Heather was a bitch. Fred was uptight, but nicer. If you ask me, Heather was probably worried that Fred might play for the other team which looked like a distinct possibility.

On the final day, when the swappers get to run the shop with their rules, Crystal Mess shows up. Heather has a fit, but doesn't walk off. For his "final challenge", Crystal has to do makeovers for two of the dykiest looking softball players you're ever going to see. He agrees, with the condition that he also gets to do a makeover for Fred. The end result with the two girls is amazing--reason enough to watch this admittedly lame show.

Of course, Crystal puts Fred in drag for his makeover, and Heather cries. Then she prays and cries some more. Wah. Crystal takes her wig off, and apologizes to Heather saying he never intended to hurt anyone's feelings, and that it was all in fun. The icing on the cake was when Crystal asked Heather to pray, and all the hairdressers got together in a little prayer circle. What a gay!

The end of the show is Heather coming around to say that Crystal wasn't so bad after all. I don't think she's ready to vote for gay marriage, but she definitely had a dramatic change in perspective. That's the way we'll win our civil rights--one or two religious conservatives at a time.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Aunt Toodles

Everyone should have an Aunt Toodles. My mother (now 70) was the baby of 8. Toodles was the next youngest and four years older. She was fiercely protective of my mother, and from the time I was born, loved me more than just about anything else in the world. At least she always made me feel that way. I can certainly say that I love her more than anyone I have ever known.

Toodles was a large woman. Obese, really, but also pretty and outgoing. She was larger than life in just about every way. She always wore gigantic jewelry and carried huge purses because she felt like it made her look smaller than she was. Especially when I was kid, she usually wore flattering skirts and heels. She also wore Tabu perfume. If you've never caught a whiff of Tabu, it's not the least bit subtle. It hits your nose like a prize fighter.

My earliest memories are scented with Tabu. It's loud and obnoxious I know, but for me it's the sweet smell of love. Toodles was around a lot when I was small. She lived with us for a short time, and spent the night at our house often--into my teen years. She was single, 24 when I was born, and the kind of woman that tended to make a party wherever she was. I swear she lived with us for years, but Mom says it was only for a few months sometime before my sister was born.

I had my own room with twin beds until age four when my sister was born. Toodles always slept in the other bed when she spent the night. She told me about creeping in drunk trying not to make any noise, and of course, waking toddler me up. She'd fall in to bed and wake up with me beside her, and a wet washcloth neatly folded across her forehead. Eventually she found out I was dipping the washcloth in the toilet to get it wet.

For years before she died, we talked on the phone for an hour or so, two or three times a week. Man I miss those conversations! A sample.... Toodles knew that I enjoyed gay chat rooms. I told her it was a good way to meet people. She didn't like the idea of a chat room--couldn't see why anyone would ever want to do that. Now Toodles was about the most social animal I have ever encountered. So I just couldn't imagine why she was so cool toward chat rooms.

So one day I asked her what she thought a chat room was. Toodles explained that you went to chat rooms to sit around naked with other people to watch porn on the Internet. Even with that image of a chat room, she never in any way suggested or even hinted that going to a chat room was something I shouldn't do.

She thought my first ex, Tom, was someone I took on as a project. She felt sorry for him, but was never wild about us being together. I doubt he ever even suspected in the 12 years we were together that she was other than thrilled. She hated my second ex--though Kevin never knew it either. Turns out, she saw right away what it took me five years to figure out about Kevin. With #3--my current main squeeze, she was opposed at first because she was sure this guy half my age was just using me. Didn't take her long to come around. Before she died she told me how happy she was that I had finally found someone I deserved. Now that she's gone, I'm so glad that he got to meet her.

Everyone should have an Aunt Toodles. She loved me absolutely and unconditionally. I don't know what I would have done without her during the early years of coming out. In fact, I really can't conceive of how different I would be without this enormous love in my life. I'll have to blog about her again. There are a million wild Toodles tales to tell. She always wanted me to write a book. She would be thrilled to know I blog--if I could ever get her to understand what that means!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Oxymorons and Religious Zealots

I was reading about Elisabeth Hasselbeck of The View on Joe.My.God--one of my favorite blogs. The posting refers to her as a not-very-well-informed conservative. I don't know about you, but based on my experience, I'd say that "well-informed conservative" is an oxymoron.

Back when I was a kid, there were intelligent and well-informed conservatives. The focus then was on fiscal and monetary policy--not society and culture. They're spinning in their graves I'm sure about the crap being put forth as conservative today. But I digress....

Then I read on another of my favorite blogs (Margaret and Helen) that the Republicans have become the party of money, sex, and guns since that's all they seem to care about. I'm inclined to agree. And something about that post made me think of my first ex, Tom.

At the time (and I haven't seen or heard from Tom in at least 15 years so much has probably changed), his dad was the minister of one of those tiny little Baptist churches you find scattered across the south. The congregation, by and large, were other members of his family. Tom had 2 sisters, a brother who shot himself in his early 20s, and more stepbrothers and stepsisters than you could count.

The old man had a house full of guns and a swimming pool in his back yard. I was stunned when I found out that no matter their age, boys and girls were not allowed to be in the back yard in swim suits at the same time. Wasn't proper. Can you say pedophile?

Sex was not talked about, period. Abstinence was the family policy. Every girl in that household got knocked up before her 18th birthday. Sounds like the Palins.

At the time I thought it mighty strange that so much emphasis was placed on sex with so little real information. It occurred to me that the old man must be thinking about sex all the time. Much later I found out that every kid in that household was sexually abused by him. Praise Jesus.

Beware of these religious conservatives that get all bent out of shape about sex. I'd be willing to bet that like Jimmy Carter, they've "committed adultery in [their] heart[s] many times." I'd also venture to say that in many cases, the adultery wasn't confined to their hearts. Unfortunately, there are probably quite a few Tom's dads out there who acted out with children.

That probably explains all the hellfire and brimstone. If I had ever engaged in that kind of behavior, I'd be preoccupied with hell, too. I'd also want lots of guns around--just in case some whacko sex-crazed freak decided to molest me. I doubt Tom's dad believes in karma, but I do, and I hope he got exactly what he deserves.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Biggest Loser

I've been a fan of The Biggest Loser ever since it first came on. Season after season I fall in love with each and every contestant. At the end of the show each week I'm on pins and needles waiting to find out which of my new friends is going home.

I especially like trainer Jillian Michaels. She's just the right amount of tough balanced with just a dash of sensitive. In person she'd probably scare the hell out of me and make me cry. I'm impressed with the way she seems to get inside the heads of the fatties on her team. Her methods get results, too. I'm thinking about getting her work-out video game for the Wii, just to see how it would be to have her yelling at me.

This year there is a contestant that I absolutely cannot stand: Vicky. She is the most mean-spirited bitch they've ever had as a contestant. She has a nasty attitude, and is more into the game aspect of the show than anyone has ever been. I cheered when her husband went home last week. My only problem with him was that he's Vicky's husband. Nonetheless, it was great to see Vicky's alliance with Heba and her husband busted up.

Last night, after three commercials during the weigh in, we learn that Vicky was in the bottom two, and hence, up for elimination with sweet Coleen--the baby of the losers this season. She was in the bottom two because Michelle, the winner of the challenge, earned the right to give someone an extra pound. Vicky got it, and it made the difference.

For the first time ever, instead of dreading the vote to see who was going home, I relished it. The cards were stacked in such a way that Vicky's demise seemed certain. Amy, who Vicky had treated like dirt all week for breaking the alliance and voting her husband off the week before, was the deciding vote. After a few more commercials, Amy's vote is revealed.

Rather than voting off the Biggest Bitch, she sends sweet little Coleen (a former teammmate) home, pretty much guaranteeing that the black team will vote her off first chance they get. Having ticked off the blue team the week before, they'll vote her off first chance they get. She needs to stay above the yellow line or she's gone.

I will say it's more than a little annoying that the producers stretch what could easily be a one-hour show out to two hours. To get around TiVo, they have commercials for various products integrated in to the show, along with a regular commercial break any time something interesting is about to happen. Like that's not enough, they repeat the minute or two that took place before the commercial break immediately after the commercial break. Those kinds of tactics are standard with reality shows now, and will likely lead to their eventual demise. Or at least, I hope so.


The Crotchety Old Man

Monday, November 17, 2008

Corporate Bail-Outs

I'm starting to think that corporate bail outs are the new welfare. We've always heard the right complaining that the folks on welfare shouldn't be compensated for not working, etc. I don't agree with that necessarily--poverty is an extremely complicated issue.

By comparison, business is a pretty straightforward. You develop a product, market it to consumers, and if it's something consumers want or need, they'll buy it. If they don't buy it, then you're probably going to go out of business. Businesses fail every day. Life is hard.

So now we're talking about bailing out the big three American automakers. Seems nobody is buying the products they're producing. Wah! For at least the last 20 years, foreign automakers--many now with plants in the U.S.--have been gaining market share because they are selling products people want to buy. It's not just fuel efficiency. Check the dependability ratings provided by Consumer Reports. Many foreign-made vehicles simply do not have the problems of their American-made counterparts.

Fuel efficiency has driven a lot of the switch to foreign made cars. It's not like rising gas prices came out of the blue. We've known for quite a while now that sooner or later, oil production is going to dry up. With China, India and other developing countries exponentially increasing their desire for gasoline, the shortage is probably going to come sooner rather than later. Even if supplies last, increased demand is going to mean higher prices. Have American automakers responded? Nope. And now they want a bail out. Wah!

Helen and Margaret (a very popular blog and one that I follow) today suggested that perhaps the oil companies should be the ones to bail out the auto industry. Great idea! They've been in bed together for decades anyway. While we're at it, why don't we let the sleazy hedge fund managers that made billions of dollars just last year bail out Wall Street? A thorough study of where and how dollars flow would likely turn up lots of other good sources for bail out funds other than tax payers.

The emerging pattern is that corporate entities that failed to exercise due diligence and continued to operate under lousy business plans are getting bailed out with tax payer dollars. What kind of incentive is that? To make matters worse, the same logic is being used to save homeowners that bought more house than they could afford and over-leveraged with home equity loans putting them underwater or upside down on their loans. Wah!

The mantra for welfare reform was making work pay. The new mantra for corporate welfare reform should be about rewarding businesses that succeed. If you don't have a good business plan and you can't move your product, you shouldn't be rewarded with tax payer dollars. That this appears to be happening all over the place keeps me...

The Crotchety Old Man

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Movement

I've been watching the news and checking blogs to see if anything bad happened during the simultaneous rallies around the country yesterday at 1:30 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Savings Time). Given the incidents that have taken place since the election and passage of Proposition H8, I was worried. I haven't seen a word about the rallies, and I'm taking that as good news.

I have to say that I am very impressed with the way the simultaneous rallies came together. It was a modern protest, communicated across the Internet at lightening speed. It was not organized by any existing protest groups. It was a more or less organic spontaneous event. To my admittedly limited knowledge, it's the largest such demonstration that has ever taken place. We even had a gathering here in Athens! I hope someone is tallying up participation so we find out how many people were involved nationwide.

I assume by the presence of directions and guidelines about how to (and not to) act at the rallies that I was not the only gay man disturbed by the thuggish behavior we've seen replayed all over the Internet. That makes me feel good, too. For a few days I thought I was a lone voice calling for more civil behavior.

I tuned in the Today Show this morning expecting to hear a report on the rallies. Not a word. Not one single word. There was a short article in the Athens Banner Herald this morning, but no mention of the gathering here in Athens. As of a few minutes age, there is very little on any of the blogs. I've noticed that most of the gay bloggers I read tend to take weekends off, so maybe I'll see more starting this evening.

The one piece of good news I glean from the absence of coverage is that there must not have been any significant thug behavior. If that's the case, it is GREAT news. It demonstrates that we can be sane and rational when voicing our concerns, and that means those concerns are more likely to be heard. It gives me hope that maybe this time, we'll succeed.

Friday, November 14, 2008

How Much is Enough?

Today I read about the five hedge fund managers and their testimony before Congress. They made a little money, too. Philip Falcone made $1,700,000,000 managing hedge funds that made tons of money for his co-conspirators...err investors. George Soros and Jim Simon made $2,900,000,000 last year managing hedge funds. John Paulson made $3,700,000,000 last year managing hedge funds. Poor little Ken Griffin only managed to bilk us out of a measly $1,500,000,000.

Criminal--absolutely criminal. Is it possible for someone to make this kind of money without somehow ripping off the rest of us? I don't think so. One way or another, they are stealing us all blind. The financial services industry, the media (or the multinational companies that own them), and the politicians are all in bed together, and we're paying the bill--to the tune of $700 billion plus. Watch how much of that $700 billion ends up in the pockets of folks like Falcone, Soros, Simon, Paulson and Griffin. Nice work if you can get it.

Maybe I'm a socialist--or a Marxist--call me whatever you like. I think that income beyond a certain level should be heavily taxed. Surely a few million a year is enough for anyone to live on. If not, you need some budget counseling and I'd be happy to provide it. In fact, I would be more than happy to provide these hedge fund managers with counseling and I wouldn't charge more than $1,000,000--I promise.

Yeah I know. Taxing the rich quashes productivity. I think that's just a line of bull we've been sold. I say give it a shot and we'll see. It might make some of these greedy bastards find a real job creating value for someone other than themselves and their already wealthy co-conspirators. I think they're all sociopaths with absolutely no regard for the rest of us.

I pay my taxes. I pay my bills. I've never borrowed money I couldn't afford to repay. And today, thanks to the hanky panky of these dudes and others like them, I'm watching the value of my retirement portfolio drop a few thousand dollars every day. Totally pisses me off, and just another reason I'm...

The Crotchety Old Man

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Militant Morons

Yesterday I wrote about my shock and dismay at the attacks by loud-mouthed gays on anyone who disagrees with them. Today I'm going to write about it again. Only this time, I'm starting to get pissed.

I heard that members of the gaystapo (with a tip of that hat to Colbert who I first heard that term from) turned on some blacks at a Proposition 8 rally somewhere. Said it was their fault Proposition 8 passed, and then called them the N-word. The victims here were also gay.

Joe.My.God posted Sir Elton John's views on gay marriage and Proposition 8 today. In essence, Sir John thinks the problem is the word "marriage." The UK has a "civil partnership" which is a legal union as opposed to marriage, which is a religious union. Pushing for gay marriage agitates the Christian fundamentalists, and they react. I'm inclined to agree with him.

Here's a sampling of the comments directed at one of the first openly gay public figures in the world:
"Thanks for the advice, idiot who stayed a closeted queen until he was 50. He's such a fucktard!"
"Mr. John is rooted in the past, as are his music and his influence."
"This queen is so out of touch. Go. Away. Elton. You do not represent the gay community in any way, shape or form. Go. Away."
"Old and in the way."
"Elton John had great music in the he is an old annoying queen. Go to bed, Elton."
"Elton John is a left over 20th Century Uncle Tom who's obviously happy with the scraps mainstream society has thrown his way. Pity that."
"This shitface has no idea what he's talking about."
"Fuck that fat Queen and the shit that spews from her fat mouth."

That's right, go ahead an turn on your own kind.

I guess if you are African-American and gay, you should probably avoid the big rallies planned around the country for this Saturday. You wouldn't be welcome, anyway. It is apparently your fault that gays can't marry in most states.

Keep pushing, you militant morons. In a world of laws and majority rule, you're inviting the kind of push-back that will only make things worse. Keep giving the opposition video clips to incite the masses against us. Go ahead and attack African-American gays and blame them for the way things are. Keep calling anyone who disagrees with you, or perhaps holds a wiser, less combative view nasty names. Go on discrediting the leaders and public figures who can help to make a difference.

I thought this kind of attack politics and negativity was soundly defeated when Obama won the race for President. It may have worked for the Republicans (Bush/Cheney) in the short run, but in the end, it bit them in the ass. The same thing will happen to us. It will unify the opposition and they will push us all the way back to the closet.

Gay pride? Not today. I'm just ashamed, annoyed, and frightened about the future you are creating for me.

The Crotchety Old Man

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Gay Rights Movement

I will admit that I was disappointed, and even a little hurt, that gay rights propositions were defeated in California, Florida, Arizona and Arkansas. I wasn't, however, surprised. I've been out for almost 30 years now which is long enough to see how far we've come. It also makes me old enough to know that this kind of change happens over a very long period of time.

I'm shocked and dismayed by the words and deeds of some of my gay brothers and sisters in response to these defeats. I understand their outrage. But in no way does that justify the hateful comments appearing on many blogs. Hatred toward Mormons and others that campaigned for Proposition 8 is over the top. Hate breeds hate, and is born out of fear and ignorance. I really thought because of our own experience we were better than that. Apparently not. It's like Karl Rove is now in charge of the gay agenda.

I was appalled by the treatment of the little old lady who foolishly ventured into a gay rally bearing a cross. I don't agree with her beliefs, but she is entitled to them and has every right to voice them. Rude and obnoxious behavior by the big gay bullies at the rally does not help our cause one little bit. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that footage will show up in churches all over the place. Thanks guys. Trampling crosses and roughing up old ladies is going to win us a lot of friends...NOT!

I'm stunned by the hateful and racist comments that are posted on Joe.My.God in response to an article by Jasmyne Connick that dared to suggest equal rights for African-Americans are more important than gay rights. Let me be very clear here--the fact that I am gay is not a choice. That I choose to let others know that I am gay IS a choice, and that's what makes gay rights very different from civil rights for African-Americans.

Other than not being able to marry (and missing out on the privileges that go with marriage), I have never, ever been discriminated against because of my sexual preference. I venture to say there are very few African-Americans who can say that they have never, ever been discriminated against because of their race. It's apples and broccoli--not even in the same food group.

It's interesting to me that the reaction to the defeat of Proposition 8 in California is so much more than any reaction to the losses in Florida, Arizona, and especially, Arkansas. The Arkansas initiative that outlawed adoptions by gays and lesbians was really a much bigger deal because gays and lesbians have been able to adopt and serve as foster parents in many states for a very long time. In my view, it represents a bigger step backward than the marriage initiatives. Why isn't there more of an outcry from the gay community?

Because Arkansas is not California, and doesn't count. I hear a lot about stereotyping--that gay white America is largely affluent. I don't know if that' s true or not, but it sure looks that way. How else do you explain the obvious air of privilege and the strong sense of entitlement that pervades the movement? Much of what I read sounds like something I'd expect from Republicans. Being sore losers is not attractive, and it won't help us move forward.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It's the only way to gain respect, and with respect, rights. Strident, bitchy, over-the-top rhetoric isn't helping. It just makes us all look bad.


Monday, November 10, 2008

On Turning 50

For as long as I can remember, folks in my family have said that life begins at 50. By then you're financially secure (or never will be and have accepted it), wise enough to avoid a lot of the crap younger folks step in, and more or less comfortable with who you are. Rather than being depressed, I was excited about turning 50 earlier this year.

The first big gift comes by mail. At long last, I'm finally eligible to become a member of AARP. That used to stand for the American Association of Retired Persons, but now it doesn't stand for anything. It just is. The fun part was requesting a card for my partner who hasn't hit 30 yet, just so he could show it off to all his friends. I've yet to get a discount but carry my card, just in case.

The next big gift, if your smart, is the colonoscopic exam. Let me tell you, I was VERY apprehensive. My mother told me what to expect--only she's a little prone to the dramatic. So my apprehension was way out of proportion to the event, including the day before which by all reports, is the worst part. The main thing you need to know about a colonoscopic is that you want someone with you that you really trust. Turns out, they fill you full of air as part of the procedure. So when it's over, you fart like there is no tomorrow. Interestingly enough, you tend not to remember that part thanks to the drugs they give you.

During my colonoscopic, they removed a polyp and biopsied a lesion. The lesion turned out to be cause for concern, so I had surgery about a month ago to remove it. Found out last week that the lesion was cancerous. That's the bad news. The good news is that they got it all, and I don't have to go through chemotherapy or radiation treatments.

Since then, I ask everyone I know that's over 50 if they have had their colonoscopic exam. I'm frankly amazed by the number who have not. I let them know about my experience, and how if I was their age, I'd either be dead or on chemo. I'm proud to report that several have scheduled their exams. If you're over 50 and have not yet had a colonoscopic, I hope you'll call your doctor today to set one up. It's not that big a deal, and it could save your life.

Because I did, I can keep blogging as...

The Crotchety Old Man

My Blogging Experience...2 Months In

OK. I've now been blogging for about two months. During that time I have visited a lot of other blogs. Between what I've seen on other blogs, what I have read about blogging, and what I have figured out on my own, I have learned quite a bit about what it takes to be a successful blogger. Enough to know that this blog will probably never be all that successful.

The main problem is the lack of graphics. This is a text-only blog. For my own reasons, it's probably going to stay that way. I can tell, however, that the lack of graphics is a problem because of what I see on google analytics. The bounce rate for visitors from some sources is 100 percent. That tells me they come, see that there are no graphics, and leave. Fair enough.

Another problem is that I have drifted from my original purpose. The Crotchety Old Man is supposed to be about things that piss me off. Though current events have dictated that I write a lot about politics, those rants are rarely as clever or entertaining as what I write about less serious topics. With the election now behind us, I hope to get back to more humorous rantings.

I'm pleased to announce that I have received (or soon will receive) my first payment from AdSense. I was wrong--they don't hold it until you earn $100. They send you a check any time you reach $100 or at the end of each month, whichever comes first. I'm looking forward to my first payment--a bit less than $7--and know it will come in handy as Christmas approaches. Thanks to any of my readers who click on the ads. It's a bit like wealth redistribution, and if I ever become wealthy, I promise to give back, abundantly.

Forever yours,

The Crotchedy Old Man

Friday, November 7, 2008

Letters to the Editor

What's with the people who write letters to newspaper editors? In all my years I have never found it necessary to put pen in hand for a letter to the editor of any publication. Some of it has to do with the kind of work I do and my desire to keep personal opinions and views separate from the education I provide to the public. That's also why I hide behind "The Crotchety Old Man" rather than post these rantings using my real identity. But I digress...

Leading up to the election there were countless letters warning of the horrible things that would happen if Obama was elected. Now that he is our President-Elect, the letters predicting total devastation and annihilation have started turning up. Hard to believe they are serious--but I know that they are. The letters come from the usual suspects who feel inclined to show the rest of us just how stupid they really are.

Take Andy Totten, of Jefferson GA. Who is this guy? He writes in to the paper all the time, with each letter more ignorant than the last. I should offer to let him take over this blog because he is a LOT more crotchety than it's in my nature to be.

Jeffrey Moss of Winder, GA is another raging lunatic. His diatribes also appear often enough that I recognize the name when I see another letter from him. He and Andy should hook up. They have a lot in common and I think they would make each other very happy. Both are predicting the end of the world as we know it--and not in a good way.

I think Barack Obama is the most intelligent and capable President we've had in a very long time. I'm sure he'll make some mistakes. But I'd be willing to bet his worst mistake will pale in comparison with the long list of mistakes made by George W. Bush--probably the dumbest and least capable president this country has ever seen.

I'll be watching the letters section of the paper. It will be interesting to see how Mr. Totten and Mr. Moss deal with any success. Obama may not solve all the problems the Bush administration has left for him, but I feel certain Totten and Moss will be much better off four years from now than they are today. Or I'm not...

The Crotchety Old Man

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Republican South

I'm hugely relieved that Barack Obama won the election. What a breath of fresh air! His acceptance speech (along with many of his other speeches) made me feel like it is once again possible for us to work together to solve the problems we face as a nation.

I also find myself somewhat embarassed to live in the Republican South. The good news is that Athens is one of 32 blue counties (out of 159) in Georgia. I was frankly surprised to see so many blue counties. Looks like most have fairly high percentages of African-American residents.

The way the final map played out as far as red and blue states, I started thinking about the Republican Party and what they stand for. Frankly, it's hard to come up with much that they are for. Mostly I thought of things they are against.

Republicans are against African-Americans. The McCain gathering on election night was about as white as it gets. Just a glance at the McCain counties here in Georgia and the McCain states in the U.S. suggests to me that racism played a large role for many white voters. Instead of red states, they are really more like redneck states (and counties).

Republicans are against immigration and a path to citizenship for migrants that are already here. Kiss the Latino vote good-bye.

Republicans are against gays and lesbians. I'm still surprised by the apparent joy--make that downright glee that many Republicans expressed when rights were stripped from gays in California (Proposition 8) and other states.

Republicans are against education. The fact that Obama has a Harvard degree made him part of the liberal elite. You don't have to have an Ivy League education for Republicans to be against you. If you get information from any source other than The Bible or Fox News, they are against you. It's in their best interest to be against an educated public, as only the ignorant are fooled by their hateful rhetoric.

Republicans are against abortion and choice. Nope. Republicans don't trust you to make your own decisions. They prefer to mandate the behaviors they find desirable. Anyone that believes the Republican leadership gives a rat's ass one way or the other about abortion or gay marriage is naive. These issues enable them to have a grassroots effort to get out the vote without ever having to go to the trouble of organizing and setting up operations on the ground. All they need to do is push these hot buttons and ignorant religious freaks do the rest.

Obama's big victory, I hope, is the direct result of a country that is sick and tired of hate, ignorance, and fear dominating the national agenda. The Republican pundits are in a tizzy now, and they vow to make life miserable for Pelosi, Reid, and Obama over the next two years. Sore losers once again. Instead of working to be part of the solution, they'll continue to be part of the problem.

In the end, if they keep going down that road, I think they'll eventually self-destruct. They aren't far from it now. And that makes me anything but....

The Crotchety Old Man

Monday, November 3, 2008

And the Winner Is...?

No matter who wins elections at the local, state and national level tomorrow, the big winner will be the media. How many millions of advertising dollars have they received over the last 12 months? There are so many Martin/Chambliss and Obama/McCain ads running on every station now that the networks barely have time to get their programming in.

What's going to happen after tomorrow night? With the economy in the dumps, are there enough advertisers out there to keep the television stations going? Or are we going to see another sector of the economy take a dive? Hard to imagine a media bail-out package.

No doubt the 24-hour news channels will lose viewers in droves. Who will watch once the election is over? Barring a natural disaster, there won't be a reason to tune in to hear what the pundits have to say. Maybe we'll get lucky and Fox News will go broke and close up shop.

After a few days of joyous posting (I'm being optimistic here), what will we write about in our blogs? I never intended for mine to be so political. I'm sure that's true of many others as well. For me, I guess I'll have to look around to find things to bitch about so I can remain...

The Crotchety Old Man

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Who Should (and Shouldn't) Vote?

The Tibby-lama, morning DJ on Magic 102.1, went on a rant this week when he found out that someone dragged an old lady with Alzhiemer's from the nursing home to the polls for early voting. The patient's daughter was concerned since on any given day, the alleged voter doesn't even know her own name. Tibby's position was that it shouldn't be allowed.

Today in the Athens paper was an editorial from John Stossel about how the ignorant and uninformed should not vote. He was a little more reasoned in that he acknowledged how difficult it would be to put forth a litmus test. He suggested that the ignorant and uninformed opt to stay home. The problem with this argument is that in my experience, the ignorant and uninformed are the least likely to believe that they are either ignorant or uninformed.

I think about the old couple I ran into at the doctor's office that got all pissed off when I told them they were wrong about Obama being Muslim and Arab. Or the folks I know at the bottom of the economic ladder that won't vote for Obama because they worry about a tax increase. Or the lady I work with who insists she is neither Democrat nor Republican, but Christian. I venture that any of these would say that I'm the one that is ignorant and uninformed.

I do think it would be interesting if we had a Christian political party. Some would say that we already do--the Republicans. It's more accurate to say that the religious right has been used--raped even, and they're too ignorant and uninformed to even know. Guess that's what happens when you get all of your information from the Bible and/or Fox News.

Unfortunately, there's no good way to screen voters to make sure they are at least moderately informed on the issues. Any test is subject to political manipulation and abuse. That's why we no longer have the poll tests that were once used to keep African-Americans from voting.

I will say this, if the ignorant and uninformed put McCain-Palin in the Whitehouse, I'm going to be one very...

Crotchety Old Man
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