Monday, June 01, 2009

Post #227: Random Thoughts

The following are a series of thoughts that I posted on other websites or had scribbled in my note book. Here they are, slightly edited. Happy June, everyone!

It's all about the money. Our representatives don't give a hoot in hell about their constituency. This is true, of both parties. The Democrats have forgotten that they are the party of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Hey Dems! The next time you have a chance, read a little book called, "Profiles In Courage". It was written in 1956 by a little-known senator from the state of Massachusetts named John F. Kennedy - his friends called him, "Jack". By all accounts, he was a pretty smart fellow.

Were he to rise from the dead tonight to do a little research on a possible sequel to the book that won him a Pulitzer Prize, where might he look for inspiration? He'd have to write a chapter on his kid brother Ted, no doubt about it; but then the Right Wing would accuse him of nepotism. Russ Feingold would certainly be worthy of a chapter and maybe one or two others. Unfortunately in the end he would be forced to condense it into a magazine article. The sad fact of the matter is that the House of Representatives is nothing more than a glorified whore house. The late Frank Zappa put it well:

What they're doing in WashingTON
They're just looking out for Number One
And Number One ain't you
You ain't even Number Two!

Well said, Frankie!

Here's a prediction: If the GOP insists on continuing this stupid fight against Judge Sotomayor's nomination, by the end of the summer we'll be reading their obituary. What the hell is the matter with these people? They've already alienated the majority of that silly, moribund party - now they want to offend the few Hispanic women that remain lounging on the deck of that rapidly-sinking ship? This is too good to be true.

"Blessed are the peace makers,
For they shall be called sons of God"

Jesus of Nazareth
from the Sermon on the Mount

I wonder how George W. Bush would have reacted had Donald Rumsfeld sent him those biblical verses in his morning briefings? He probably would have fired him.

I have always had this quaint hope that one day people who identify themselves as "Christians" would start living the teachings of Jesus Christ. Our former president was the most self-identified "Christian" chief-executive in American history. He was also - beyond a doubt - the least "Christ-like" one. Jesus was all about love and mercy - concepts that didn't play too well during the age of Dubya.

Lenny Bruce once said, "Thou Shalt Not Kill means JUST THAT". Lenny was an agnostic, and yet he understood some simple truths. So many so-called "religious people" just don't get it.

Read Thomas Merton. Read Dorothy Day. They got it.

The sleeping giant of the Religious Left is awakening. Maybe someday soon Christians will finally go back to Christ. It's a nice thought, isn't it?.

Elvis Presley was the most overrated performer in the history of western civilization.

It just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser. Eventually they will uncover the horrible truth of this administration's (excuse me - I meant, "that administration's") crimes against humanity - but it might take years. This much is certain: it is obvious that the Bush Mob is starting to panic. In the months and years to come, that wall of silence they were justly famous for will start to crack like a fungus-filled saltine. People will need to white wash their place in history while making some cold, hard cash in the process. Oh, brother! I can't wait for those memoirs to come out!

Doodles Weaver was the most underrated performer in the history of western civilization.

So, you thought that Dick Cheney would just fade away, huh? Think again, Buster! The old freak is going to keep us rolling in the aisles for some time to come you may be sure. This may be pure paranoia on my part, but could it be that Cheney, as a result of his former position, received official intelligence that another attack is just around the corner and that he is positioning himself to say, "I told you so!"? Don't put it past him. Don't put it past him.

Good 'n' Plenty candy tastes like crap.

Many years ago I was visiting my father at his apartment in New York City. He gave me a bottle of wine and asked me to deliver it to his friend, a man named Alan Bisk, who lived about fifteen floors above him. When I arrived at Mr. Bisk's apartment, he invited me in and made me a drink. After talking over all range of subjects, I casually mentioned that I was being bombarded with offers from several different credit card companies enticing me to sign up. Since I respected his opinion, I asked for his advice:

"Which company do you recommend, Mr. Bisk?" I asked.

"None of them", he replied.

"Tom", he said, "I have never, even during my lean period, had a major financial problem. One of the reasons for this is because I have never owned a credit card - and I strongly suggest you never own one either."

Another man whose opinion I respected, the late, great Jazz Swanwick (the father of my pal Kevin) was fond of saying, "If you can't afford it, don't buy it." Those words were quoted at his funeral last year.

I took their advice. I have never had a major financial problem.

If you haven't caught The Ed Show yet, you really should. It's hosted by a Progressive populist named Ed Schultz (or "the fat red head" as he likes to call himself). He's on Monday through Friday, 6:00 PM (EST) on MSNBC. He's great.

Bob Hope should have retired in 1950.

Jack Benny should not have died in 1974.

Too many people on the Left are starting to turn on President Obama. Yeah! Yeah! I know. He's starting to piss me off, too. But my disappointment in him is somewhat tempered by the fact that he's been in office for less than five months, and by the knowledge that we don't know what he knows. In other words, he is probably acting on information that he, for whatever reason, can't make public. Remember that the stock market is so damned volatile at the moment, any public statement (or misstatement) on his part could send it tumbling. For the time being we should give him the benefit of the doubt.

My advice? Before we cast all hope to the wind, let's give the guy at least eighteen months. By then we should have a better idea whether or not he really is the angel of change he portrayed himself to be during the campaign - or if he is merely Bubbah Lite.

Being a tad crazy myself (in a fun and lovable way, I assure you), I have this gift: I am able to pick up on the crazy vibe. Some people have a subtle form of craziness. Some people have crazy to spare.

Glenn Beck is in the latter category. A blogger on AlterNet who goes by the name of "Izzy Stoner" put it well. He described Beck as "Ted Baxter trying to channel Josef Goebbels".

Most of the people on the Far Right are not the brightest bulbs on the porch - no doubt about it. Some of them have the I.Q. of a half-eaten box of Milk Duds. But very few of them could be described as certifiable.

Our man Glenn is as crazy as a bed bug. He likes to think of himself as the modern day equivalent Howard Beale, the character from the 1976 film, Network. It really is an apt comparison when you think about it. He's mad as hell.

Lima Beans taste like crap, too.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


My friend Rady Ananda, formerly of OpEdNews.Com, has gotten together with a few other progressive-minded thinkers and has started a site called COTO (Coalition Of The Obvious). WARNING: These people take no prisoners. Here's a link:

Happy reading!


At 1:59 PM, Blogger Ehkzu said...

Write tighter. I wrote and edited for magazines for over 20 years, and it's great training. You absolutely positively have to get to the point and stick to it or your potential readers will just flip the page.

Take the central point in this entry--I assume it's about the Demos starting to pave the way for the GOP to eventually resume control, & thus to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Toss the rest or make them into other blog entries.

And--it's not cute to wave a cigarette anymore in pictures. Back in the '50s, thinkers smoked. This ain't then.

You'll thank me later.


At 2:06 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Thank you for the critique, Ehkzu. Actually, these were just a series of random thoughts I had in my note book so there's really no single point to be made - but a series of them. But I concede your point. I'll try to keep 'em tighter.

As for the cigarette, that is the first and (I promise) the very last time I'll post a photo of me holding one. I'm going to quit soon. I have to. That and drinking.

All the best,

Tom Degan

At 2:45 PM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

1. You're right, Tom. They're all (save, maybe a couple...or three) a bunch of miserable corporatists. As I've said in the past, and I'll say once again, there's only one major political party in this country. It's composed of two wings -- the Democratic Wing and the Republican Wing. That's why real change -- change you can believe in, isn't a possibility under the current structure. If you believe it is, you've been hoodwinked again.

2. Be careful and watch what you wish for, Tom. An unpredictable, and unexpected, turn-of-events could put the Republican Wing back into power again. It doesn't seem plausible, or even possible, but it could happen very easily.

3. Organized religion is the bane of humankind's existence. Over the course of civilized man's time on this planet, I believe any positive benefits derived from the organized nature of a belief in God have been outweighed by far too many instances of needless pain, suffering, and cruelty.

4. Let's hope so.

5. Truthfully, I believe he's running scared. He's trying to get the bloodhounds off his trail. Let's hope he's not successful.

6. Agreed, Tom. I, also, have always lived within my means -- during bad times and good. I've had just one credit card during my fifty-six years, and that mostly as a convenience since cash doesn't seem to be the preferred mode of payment for many transactions (and I've always paid the balance due each month). Living off of credit is a false way to live. It's not real -- it's an illusion.

7. Yeah, I've been catching "Mr. Ed" about three times a week. His show is a good antithesis to the fat-tub-of-lard who's the apparent leader of the GOP. I concur -- it's a great show.

8. Maybe. Actually, wasn't he always retired?

9. True.

10. "Ten?", you ask. There isn't a "10"! No, there isn't. Just wanted to mention to watch your mail. I'm sending you something in memory of your late doctor. Oh, and speaking of doctors, and as Ehkzu alluded, get off the tobacco. There's way too much evidence supporting the conclusion that it'll kill you. (It was tobacco, right? ;-)

At 3:08 PM, Anonymous Green River Rider said...

Hi There Tom and greetings from Vermont

I haven't visited your blog in a while and if I were pressed would have to say this is among your best posts yet. Great collection.

No only don't I give a shit that you're smoking a cigarette, I hope you too can ignore prissy superiority of some stuffed shirt that might criticize you for it. Don't smoke myself by the way and don't care to be around it either anymore; but that's my preference.

And I hate Lima beans too. Absolutely hate them.

At 3:45 PM, Blogger LCS said...


Yep, you're right. Lima beans are downright awful. Yeech!


At 3:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

not an elvis fan? you must recognize that elvis's popularity was (and remains) a testament to his status as a metaphor for our wonderful country. he grew up poor and with tantalizing promise, he made a dazzling splash and he quickly and pathetically toppled over, right?

how could you not love the very embodiment of the system under which we live?

viva las vegas, baby.

At 4:20 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Actually, I think the records that Elvis made between 1954 and 1958 were some of the best rock 'n' roll ever made. After that, though, his catalog is pretty weak. Have you ever heard the soundtrack to Harem Scarem? Painful!

Thanks for the kind words, Green River. I'm sure that Ehkzu meant well, though. I am fifty now and shouldn't be smoking at all (or drinking for that matter) I plan on quitting both by the end of this month - high blood pressure is forcing my hand.

Jeff's Guard:

A seafood cracker! Thanks, pal! I just got it in the mail. My thanks to you and the Mrs.


Tom Degan

At 2:32 AM, Blogger PetitPoix said...

Ehkzu, it depends really. This type of writing appeals to me. It is numbered, there are some shorter ones. Even the longer ones are easy on the eyes and amusing. A whirlwhind of emotions are released, happiness to anger to sadness to outrage as you agree and disagree going down the list. I am enfuriated by number eight. I do not intend to remain silent about such blatant, unbridled bashing!

At 9:16 AM, Anonymous Lindsay said...

Sorry Fabianna, I'm with Tom on #8. Thank god, I thought it was just me that hated them.
Jeff, thumbs up on your #3. Have you seen Religulous?

At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool post Tom. I predict that it was terrorism that brought the Air France down into the Atlantic...just a hunch..I hope the masterminds behind this mess get a fair trial in a court of law. I just want Anna to be happy...I also hope that i'm wrong.

1. Agree with you 100%
2. What should the GOP do? should they throw a festive "Salsa" bash on her first day of work? Tom, lets see her get grilled a little bit and see what she's made of in front of the country...She needs to explain her racist comments. Also, it's a perfect spot for the coincides with the upcoming appeal of the white New Haven firefighters that got shafted by this Monster.
3. It's just "W" being "W"
4. Would that make Elvis the Joe Namath of music?
5. Where is the panic Tom? As long as the Liberals have scum like Pelosi, Holder & Reid fighting this cause then the previous administration has nothing to worry about. I got news for you Tom.... Start focusing on how O-Shit is ruining things now. Nothing will happen to "W". There is a better chance that Michelle O will lose 15 pounds from her hips.
6. Don't know much about him...
7. Dick Cheney's approval ratings will be higher than O-Shit's by October!
8. It's trash..
9. The wife and I pay the bills with the AMEX and close it out at the end of the month for the's worked....been doing it for years. However, there is nothing wrong with getting advice from your fathers friend.
10. I've asked Verizon to cancel MSNBC on my cable until Olbermann drops dead..
11. Agree
12. Agree...Olbermann should have gone before him..
13. The Audacity of Failure...words can't describe how much I despise this man. 18 months?
14. I love all veggies man...put a little salt on it and mix it up with some fancy spicy sauce.

Harry from Mass

At 10:25 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Thanks for the tip, Harry. I'll have to try the salt/spice/lima bean combo. Maybe that's what it has been lacking.


Tom Degan

At 4:25 PM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Good afternoon, Tom. I see that you edited your original article and added a few more "random thoughts". Please indulge me while I chime in again.

I totally disagree with your assessment on "thirteen". The time to react is now -- not long after Obama pulls a boner. He has to be made aware of the times when he has pulled-a-fast-one, otherwise he'll think "Hey, this is easy, maybe I should try...". By then, for us, it's too late.

Tom, don't lose sight of the fact that Obama's a politician, albeit an intelligent and very likable one (despite Harry's viewpoint), with his own agenda in mind. Please focus on the policy; not the personality.

By the way, I love lima beans (or just about any vegetable), and "Good 'n' Plenty" (or anything made with black licorice). The best black licorice I've found locally is from, of all places, Trader Joe's. It's the gooiest, stickiest, nastiest licorice I've ever eaten. I think you either love licorice or hate it. There is no middle ground.

At 2:32 PM, Blogger charles moore said...

Hi Tom,

For once, I can't completely agree with you, at least with respect to Elvis.

But there is one further thought to add to this; if there really was a God, Elvis would still be alive and all of the Elvis impersonators would be dead.

At 4:07 PM, Blogger Ehkzu said...

Re: Lima beans.

My mother inadvertently trained me to hate veggies. She'd pour a can of, say, green beans, into a pot, boil 'til gray, pour off the water (containing the last smidgen of nutrition left in the beans), then plop the remains on the dinner table.

I assume other raised by, um, distracted parents have similar training in hating many vegetables.

Abetting this unwitting campaign is the common belief in gilding the lily. Even people who think they're astute foodies fall prety to this. They season stuff to a fare thee well, and it's often tasty, but leads to the thought that the food itself isn't.

It sounds like you've given up for good, but I urge you to try this experiment:

Buy some frozen baby lima beans--make sure it's baby. Don't even add the salt the package recommends, and nuke it until the beans are barely cooked; not al dente, but not that washed-out out somewhat post-green color they get when they're overcooked.

Eat them unadorned. And see if the flavor isn't a lot better than you remember.

I learned to like zucchini the same way. Fork, nuke, eat plain. They have a wonderful natural flavor and the nuking preserves that flavor, along with all the nutrients.

Don't give up. I don't like olives, but I still try them at least once a month.

At 6:10 PM, Anonymous John said...

> I hope the masterminds behind this mess get a fair trial in a court of law.

It is beautiful when our nation practices the ideals of the Constitution.

By 'this mess', were you referring to Iraq?

At 11:36 AM, Anonymous CarolAnnB said...

Love your tenacity and "rant." Keep up the good work. ;)

At 9:11 PM, Anonymous John said...

I don't find myself agreeing with HFM on too many issues, but the comment 'lets see her get grilled a little bit and see what she's made of in front of the country...' is on target.

No justice should be elevated to the Supreme Court without their track record and character being thoroughly examined with respect to the Constitution.

Our presidential elections have evolved into a farce. The media is largely responsible for this. If some fool pushes stupid or irrelevant issues regarding a court nominee, again it is the media that allows such issues to maintain traction. Of course this occurs because the corporate powers behind most of the media outlets push have their own agenda which generally trumps those of the majority of citizens.

At 11:59 AM, Blogger Dearest Friend said...

I'm with you on numbers 6, 8, and 11...being crazy in a lovable way is very important!


At 2:44 PM, Anonymous Jack said...


you have just done to lima beans what George Bush Sr. did to broccoli!!!


At 12:03 AM, Blogger Dearest Friend said...

Geez, all this talk about lima beans...obviously none of you are from the beautiful "heights and Alleghenies of Pennsylvania" which are proudly known as "Pennsylvania Dutch Country - Bucks, Montgomery, Lehigh, Lancaster Counties...where
succotash is its own food group! Corn and in mid-August where both can be bought from local farm stands - you gotta shell the limas yourself and boiling 'em right with the fresh off the cob Silver Queen corn - white and sweet...a little bit of Keller's butter (the best butter - and local besides - and I'm proud to say - part of the family through a great-great aunt who married happily and wisely!) - man, that's good eating.

Okay - back to politcal ranting...

At 5:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

tom i think you are a typical new york liberal idiot


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