Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mission Accomplished

A single death is a tragedy. 4,300 deaths is a statistic

Birthday Celebration or Reunion: Today is March first. This is the fifth anniversary of “Mission Accomplished.” Exactly five years ago today our president dressed up like a fighter pilot – ironic since he dodged his chance to be a real fighter pilot – and had the military let him land on a ship that had been draped with a huge “Mission Accomplished” banner. Oh, that wasn’t the first April Fool joke he’d pulled. Uncle Dick, and Cousins Rummy and Wolfowitz had him tell the people that Iraq had WMDs and they posed a threat to us. Oh yes, and Iraq somehow had something to do with the 9/11 tragedy of the Twin Towers. And when we invade, our troops will be treated like heroes and don’t worry about the cost because the entire war will be paid for by Iraq as they sell their oil. Today 81% of Americans believe we should not be there – that the war was a mistake. It is bankrupting our country while some $ 70 billion in oil profits sit in the bank for the warlords, who are waiting until we leave. Happy Anniversary.

High oil prices are a bunch of crap: The price of a barrel of oil continues to set records daily. The price at the pump continues to soar. Soon it will take the entire tax rebate to fill up your car. Want to double the value of your gas hog? Fill the tank. However, the biggest impact of rising petroleum prices will come not on the highway. Cars can run on alternative fuel. Solar power from the Mojave desert alone could produce up to half the electrical power that America demands. The problem is fertilizer. Petrochemical-based fertilizer has become a worldwide necessity that has increased crop yields and quality. Fertilizer prices have as much as tripled in the past year, threatening to send tens of millions worldwide into malnutrition. Food riots have occurred in Haiti and the Philippines and even Costco and Sams Club have begun to ration rice. Bush blames Congress for the shortage. Another gasoline company this week announced record profits. Mission Accomplished.

We’re #1 in Housing Decline: The housing crisis is the worst since the Great Depression. Admittedly more people lost their homes during the Depression 75 or so years ago, but today’s foreclosure rate is nothing to celebrate. Many homeowners are taking desperate measures to keep the wolf away from the door. Some are paying mortgages with credit cards, which has caused credit card debt to spiral. Jobs continue to be shipped overseas, the stock market continues to slip. Airlines, banks, as well as other market sectors increasingly lay off workers in their rush toward bankruptcy. CEOs of the bankrupt corporations are rewarded with obscenely huge severance packages. The Administration decides to send the American public $ 600 tax rebate checks to stimulate the economy. The money will pay for 6 tanks of gas, paid to the record-profit oil companies. Mission Accomplished.

A little blogging music Maestro... From the Beatles, “Money Can’t Buy Me Love.”
Dr. Forgot

Let's Commence

You are not your own worst enemy when I’m in the room

Did You Miss me?: We took a few days off and went to Detroit, Dearborn, and Ann Arbor for graduation ceremonies. Mrs. Dr. Forgot has a dear friend whose daughter, Courtney graduated from the University of Michigan. We’ve watched Courtney grow from a toddler. I decided to reward her with dinner each term she received straight A grades. By the third grade my A-grade dinner tab busted but Courtney continued her straight A ways. She is also an accomplished artist. We went to her graduation at University of Washington a couple of years ago and this time is was for her Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. To all the Courtneys who graduate this year, a hearty congratulations.

A couple more Special K grads: Commencement is a great form of entertainment. Pomp and Circumstance, the enthusiasm of student speakers, the words of wisdom from learned speakers... In addition to Courtney a couple of Special K graduates in my circle of special people will graduate soon. A dear friend of the family has two grandkids leaving the nest – Kathy will graduate from American University with a major in International Studies and a minor in Arabic Languages (you think she might have a future?) and Kari graduates from high school and heads to South Carolina to major in Child Psychiatry. So once again, a tip of the mortarboard for all who have made it through successfully whether high school, bachelors, masters, or doctorate.

Meanwhile, back in Detroit: Detroit has plenty of news. The Tigers won a home game while we visited Greek Town. I had forgotten how it looks when thousands of happy fans leave a stadium celebrating. Celebrations are less evident with Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his alleged part time mistress and one-time Chief of Staff Christine Beatty. We haven’t heard so much sizzle over a politician’s sex life since the White House and talk of cigars and stains. The Mayor’s problems are more intricate than the text-message sex chatter, but guess what gets all the headlines? And although the weather wasn’t steamy it was nice to return home and go from 34 degrees in Detroit to 84 degrees in Las Vegas. Remember, home is where, when you go there they have to take you in.

Final Michigan Tidbits: The Governor of Michigan was rushed to the hospital Tuesday to have a bowel obstruction removed. Did you know the University of Michigan has three campuses? Flint and Dearborn students can attend in their locals but the biggie is at Ann Arbor, home of “The Big House,” UM football stadium, currently under construction to allow for mBoldore luxury boxes, press boxes, and handicapped seating. GMC lost $ 3.3 billion during the last quarter – and they aren’t even fighting in Iraq! Finally, the long arm of the law caught up with Susan Lefevre. She was a housewife for 32 years, mostly in an upscale San Diego neighborhood until she got outed by an anonymous tipster. Now she has to return to Michigan to finish out the balance of her prison sentence for dealing drugs. She escaped three decades ago. She ran but could not hide.

A little blogging music Maestro... Bobby Fuller’s "I Fought The Law But the Law Won.”
Dr. Forgot

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday's Follies

Laziness is the mother of all vices. Respect your mother.

Windfall or Perfect Storm: Ok, let’s see if I’ve got this straight. I have to switch from Rice-a-Roni to stale baloney because Sam clubbed those who bought too much rice. I have to cancel my dinner delivery because the cost of pizza has skyrocketed blowing it out of my budget and even if I could afford the pizza I’d be unable to go pick it up because gas process are so high it would cost more to drive there than the cost of the pizza. Farmers are still being paid not to grow crops but our corn supply has dwindled due to ethanol production. Meantime corn prices are also climbing, as are bread, milk, pouty, beef, fish and all other staple prices. I’ll have to cancel my summer vacation because I can’t afford the increased airline ticket prices. The Iraq war is costing us billions which we don’t have so we must borrow it from China and the housing market is still in the toilet. But our president announced today that we will be receiving our $ 600 tax rebate sooner than expected. Whoopee!

Dead heat for a deadbeat: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are reported to be in a dead heat in the Indiana Democratic primary. But the Clinton campaign is reportedly in trouble financially. The most recent filing with the Federal Election showed Hillary with $ 9 million in assets and $ 10 million in debt. The debt does not include another $ 5 million loan from her and Bill to the campaign. Not including the $ 5 million goes against standard reporting practice, as Mitt Romney listed his $ 42 million loan from himself to his campaign. But fuzzy math extends to Hillary’s counting of popular votes, making her unpopular with the Obamites. Some reports Some reports have the Clinton campaign in debt to fired spin master Mark Penn to the tune of another $ 10 million. I hope she can balance the U.S. budget better than her campaign budget.

Cal Berkeley Grad Student Twitters: Teens and ‘tweens know everything there is to know about technology. Problem with your computer? Ask your kid or grandkid. Want to program your phone to play “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” when it rings? Ditto. Not sure of the difference between Face Book and your checkbook? The teen will show you that you don’t need a checkbook any longer if you bill pay online. So when Berkeley grad student J.K. Buck learned how to “twitter” on his cell phone, i.e. send short email messages. So when he got busted in Egypt he “twittered” a one-word message: “Arrested.” The message sailed from Egypt to Berlely and back and got him released. Ain’t that thweet?

Silver Anniversary becomes Golden at Nugget: For a quarter century Hawaiian Tropic sun screen has held a Miss Hawaiian Tropic International Model Search. Guess where it will be held this year? The downtown Golden Nugget hotel is where the silver anniversary will go Golden. Last year’s winner hailed from Estonia. The event will include a performance by the band Everclear. This is one campaign from which Demos, Repubs, and Indys can take a lesson.

A little blogging music Maestro... Anything by Everclear.

Dr. Forgot

Thursday, April 24, 2008

An Honest Politician is One Who will Stay Bought

My Count Is Bigger Than Yours: Are we seeing a new budding relationship? Is Karl Rove running Hillary Clinton’s campaign or is it just my imagination? The Rove method, which works quite well by the way, is to do something nasty or off kilter, then accuse your opponent of doing it. Case in point is “Low Road to Victory” that the NY Times so eloquently wrote. Hillary denied she’d taken the low road and accused her opponent of doing so. Next up is her most recent statement that she has more popular votes than her opponents. She neglects to mention that her count includes two states that all candidates signed a pledge not to include, and her opponent’s name wasn’t even on the ballot in one of the two. But I’m sure she would not acknowledge the misstatement as a lie, but rather a “creative truth.” Her popular vote count can be found in one of the chapters in her new book, “Bullets Over Bosnia.”

Weddings, Media, and Bush Babies: Hillary has brought Chelsea out of her New York closet to stump for Mom. It is not unusual for politicians to kiss other people’s babies and push their own in front to TV cameras to help them campaign. But Laura Bush and the twins have been doing the TV circuit. Why? Their Dad and hubby is not running. But the Queen and princesses appeared with the King on CNN and other media forums. Jenna, the Bush Baby who was announcing her wedding, made the startling statement that she might not vote for the Republican candidate. Wow!

Not For All the Rice In China: Condi Rice might still be the darling of the current administration but another rice is causing problems worldwide. On the basis of a few slanted media reports a worldwide panic is occurring over the food staple. As the cost of petroleum steadily increases the cost of food delivery does the same. Somehow the rumor mill transferred that information into a food shortage, especially rice, and the Run for the Rices began. Costco and Sam’s slammed the door on hoarders by rationing purchases. But officials assure us that no such shortage exists – yet.

A couple of funnies: We’ve been including way too many serious issues in our blog lately so we’ll conclude today’s with a couple of sillies: Seems that President Bush received word that three Brazilian soldiers had been killed in Iraq. He responded, “I forget. How many in a brazzillion?” The White House bartender has created a drink in honor of Dick Cheney. One shot of Wild Turkey and throw it in the face of an attorney. After Hillary was shown doing a shot and a beer Ted Kennedy switched his support to her. After Barack bowled a 37 he decided he’s better cancel his hockey camp. The three candidates have been arguing over who would be most effective with the 3 a.m. phone call. John McCain says he’s always up at 3, going to the bathroom.

A little blogging music Maestro... Anything by Bruce Springsteen because he’s the Boss.

Dr. Forgot

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Politics and Economy

If Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right, Try Three

The phone rings at 3 a.m. Did Hillary Still win PA?: The Pennsylvanians have spoken. Well, some of them have spoken. Those with a college education voted for Obama. Those without went for Hillary. Young lions: Barack. Old geezers: Hill. The 3 a.m. ad must have worked. Or not. See the spin. Spin candidates, spin. Hill says she now deserves to be the candidate because she won PA and if you count Michigan and Florida (forget that she signed an agreement to ignore them) she is ahead in popular votes. Obie’s camp spins, “Hey, we started 20 30 points behind and closed the gap to 10.” It makes my head spin. I’m reminded of the Shelly Berman monologue: “My tongue is asleep and my teeth itch. It is the morning after the night before.” Oh yes, we were glad to hear that Hillary’s great grandfather played football for Joe Paterno.

Republicans have their own spin: The other team – you know, the one that is not infighting at the moment, must be having a great time watching their adversaries do their best to self destruct. Says one Repub pundit: “Let’s look at the choices, on one side we have our choice of a lawyer married to a lawyer or a lawyer married to a lawyer. On the other side we have a nice old guy married to a beautiful blond who owns a brewery. Is there really any choice?” Who said those Republicans don’t have a sense of humor.

The Case of the Missing $ 20 Million Fence: “Yesterday upon the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there. He wasn’t there again today. Good grief I wish he’d go away.” One of the hot topics during any election year is illegal immigration. Some government genius, Homeland Security boss Michael Chertoff, approved $ 20 million to have Boeing build a fence that wasn’t there. They call it a “virtual” fence and it included towers that let the border patrol know when anybody crossed the border if they should not have. The problem seems to be that illegal crossers can’t see the fence so they ignore it and, well, the fence that isn’t there doesn’t seem to be stopping illegal crossings. So the GAO stepped in and scrapped the process. Mission accomplished.

Psst, Buddy, Can you spare $ 100 for a cup of Joe and a fill up: With gas topping $ 4.00 per gallon in many parts of the country it is not unusual for an empty tank to cost a C-note to fill. So buy a Prius? It will still take over $ 40 for a fill up. Although the candidates were too busy answering “debate” questions about who loves America more, had they been asked about this problem the answers might have been, Hillary: “If you can’t stand the heat get out of the air conditioning.” Barack: “People who cling to their gas guzzlers are bitter.” Johnny Mac: “We’ll be buying expensive gas for the next 100 years.”

A little blogging music Maestro... “Money’s Too Tight to Mention” by Simply Red.

Dr. Forgot

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pennsylvania Primary

Campaign Rhetoric: Baloney disguised as food for thought

Branding, bantering, pandering: Election time is heaven for media types. Newspapers love it because it gives them something to write about rather than the mundane topics such as murders, rapes, robberies, and lootings. TV and radio love it because political ads bolster their budget. Pundits love it because finally they get a few rating points, and wannabe pundits love it because it gives them a chance to get their sometimes not so pretty faces before the camera. Trite expressions are coined by a particular media person and spread like wildfire among their fellow spreaders of gossip. “Branding” is the latest term. Watch for its use among bantering, pandering pundits.

Why we see sound bites instead of issues: Let’s face it. The American public is just not sophisticated. Karl Rove figured that out and put a dodo in office twice with the help of plenty of form and little substance. Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and the like figured that out and are making millions providing the unwashed remote-toting masses with items that have to do with parsing words rather than examining issues. ABC News produced the George and Charlie Comedy Hour and passed it off as a debate. And the Average American thrived on it. A man’s preacher is more important than the Iraq war. A female candidate’s cry is more important than the economic perils of the country. Whether or not a candidate wears a lapel pin determines his patriotism while 4,000 dead troops are mentioned only in passing and tens of thousands of maimed soldiers and hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis get hardly a mention. No wonder American Idol feeds the American Idle.

Pillory Hillary, Bury Barry, Attack Mack: That is not to say the candidates can’t get sucked into the eddy of mundane verbosity. Of the three front runners only Senator McCain has the temerity to say “Screw you” to an obnoxious little twerp of a pundit who would ask an out-of-bounds unrelated non-issue question. Hillary would not answer the question but respond with why she is the best candidate running and Obama would respond with a clear cut analysis of the question and a well thought-out logical response. Hannity would say that Obama’s response has racial overtones, and O’Reilly would say that McCain is the only one with cajones (look it up in your Spanish-English dictionary), and Saturday Night Live will spoof Hillary’s answer.

For whom doth lie a victory: Today is the culmination to six weeks of being inundated with news media that has enriched their coffers by millions. Some pundits say if Hillary does not win PA by a substantial margin it is curtains for her. Others say Obama might pull an upset given the vote of the young people. As for Senator McCain, he is probably sitting in a cabana by a swimming pool, lovely young wealthy wife at his side, enjoying a Mai Tai and reading some book or other – perhaps “101 Ways to Ignore the Media.”

A little blogging music Maestro... Today why not do the University of Michigan fight song, “Hail to the Victors!”

Dr. Forgot

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday's Follies

Politics: Poly (Many) Ticks (Bloodsucking Parasites)

A Debate or a Commercial: We are now a day or two away from the so called "Democratic Nominee Debate” on ABC. Maybe I’m a bit out of touch but I seem to remember the definition of debate as: “A discussion of both sides of an issue.” Issue is the key word here. What ABC News considered issues were more like the George and Charlie Comedy hour. “Does Rev. Wright love America as much as you do?” and “Do you love the American Flag?” Can you say “Packaged for our sponsors?” How about a different term? When a debate of issues is absent issues, it goes one step beyond yellow journalism and becomes an amateur hour that trapped two professionals. Such a blatant commercialization with little substance might work as a radio call in program hosted by a host with slanted points of view, but to tout it as a debate is shameful. ABC News earns a royal flush for that farce.

Happy Birthday Little Adopted Girl: Kids can be cruel. No, kids ARE cruel, and when they grow up they are often still cruel (note the poison that comes from surrogates of candidates). My eldest sibling was born in January. The second was also born in January as was I, the third of four. But the youngest was a surprise to the folks and was born April 18. The older three teased the youngest unmercifully about many things, not the least of which was her April 18 birthday. In fact, we told her that she wasn’t really a member of the family, that she’d been found wandering the streets and adopted. Since she didn’t have a birthday we celebrated her birthday on a national holiday (In case you’ve forgotten, today is the date of Paul Revere’s famous “The British are coming” ride). To make up in small part, “Happy Birthday little sister. Sorry I couldn’t afford a preset.”

FLDS - Finally, Let’s Do Something: The raid on the polygamist complex and subsequent 24-hour cable news coverage gives one pause. The rehearsed responses to reporters’ queries (Question: Are children being married off to older men? Answer: I miss my children) remind me of how politicians and lawyers sidestep direct questions. Perhaps we are seeing some budding (no pun intended) politicians being created here. But on a serious note, memo to the “faithful:” Child abuse is not protected by the U.S. constitution on religious grounds.

Friday quickie News Summary: Some of the sillier items in the news include the five university students who got busted for trying to steal an alligator. Clearly they weren’t University of Florida students. They have a campus full of gators. An Oregon imposter lived with a family for weeks until he was discovered. Actually, the imposter was the family dog who had been accidently switched at the kennel for a lookalike. The first clue was the dog’s “personality change.” Finally, remember the scene in “Back to the Future” when Biff’s car crashed into a load of manure? It really happened in Indiana when a truckload of human excrement overturned on a highway. The investigating officer said, “I hate it when this happens.”

A little blogging music Maestro... What else but Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “That Smell.”

Dr. Forgot

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Lost Wages in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Variety

A Day at the DMV: Today we are going to talk about life and visiting in Las Vegas. Today I had to go to the dreaded DMV to register a car. Normally I’m savvy enough to register online and avoid the crush. Nevada provides a pretty hip set of options of not only renewing your car’s registration but renewing your driver’s license. But today I had to go to the DMV. It is on my least liked things to do list, right below getting a shot and having a root canal. The lines are horrible, the customers are frustrated and often short tempered and often slobs. The employees are nearly always on the defensive after being shouted at, threatened, and even spat upon. So with trepidation I entered the DMV, dodging the petition signature requesters. The information line took about 15 minutes to negotiate and I was out in 30 minutes flat. A speed record.

A Fluke or a Sign: I could not help but notice the emptiness of the DMV. Could it have been because it was Thursday around noon? Could it have been because it was the middle of the month? A fluke perhaps? Or could the reason have to do with the economy? MGM Grand just laid off a gaggle of people, restaurants seem to be not as full, those who work for tips complain that that tips are getting smaller. The days of 5,000 – 6,000 new residents per month moving to the Valley of the Dollars may well be behind this fair city.

Shuffle Into a Deal: The slowdown may also have benefits. Every zig has its zag and every ping has its pong. I remember after 9/11 the economy slowed to a crawl and hotels offered fantastic deals. Mrs. Dr. Forgot and I stayed at the Ritz Carlton for a week including meals, free valet parking and an upgraded room for about $ 500.00. Things aren’t that bad but The Wall Street Journal reports that deals are abundant along the Strip. Gamblers are becoming more frugal, conventioneers are cutting their stays short, and leisure travelers are staying home. The result is room rates cut up to 25%. Now is the time.

You’ll Never Take Me Alive Copper: As the economy tightens people become more creative in ways to survive. Copper theft from homes under construction or abandoned foreclosures or even public sources such as light poles and school air conditioners have become rampant. The thefts have cost the city millions in repair plus the danger posed when streetlamps are out. During a recent theft of 30,000 feet of copper the thief stole a city truck to transport it. Mayor Oscar went to court as a victim advocate The crook got 18 months and a big fine. The Mayor also suggested that taggers who deface public property have their thumbs cut off. You’ve gotta’ love Mayor Oscar.

A little blogging music Maestro... One more time.... Elvis doing, “Viva Las Vegas!”

Dr. Forgot

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Money Makes the World Go Round

The Buck Doesn’t Even Slow Down Here

We Have All the Money We Need For Life: Provided we die tomorrow. When Europe first rolled out the Euro there were hues and cries that it was a mere pittance against the mighty Dollar. At one point it was worth around 80 cents. My how the worm, if not the Euro, has turned – it is now worth $ 1.60. That means it will cost $ 1.60 to buy one Euro. Since Euros are probably not the preferred currency in your neighborhood Wal-Mart, 99-cent store, or even Starbucks that economic fact might not make you quiver. The British Pound is worth nearly U.S. $ 2.00. If you’re planning a European trip, brace yourself.

Spiritual Fruits & Religious Nuts: The Pope is Roamin’ the streets of D.C. Papal representatives stress that this is not a political trip. Right! How many other dignitaries have been picked up at the airport by the President? The Pontiff’s visit to White House during the season of presidential campaigning has caused some pundits to wonder if the goal is to make His Holiness an honorary Republican. The so–called “Catholic vote” typically goes to the Democratic candidate. Some say the timing of the visit changes the White House motto from “In God We Trust,” to an election year, “In Pope We Hope.”

Getting Hot Under the Collar: Between visits with the Pope and other White House visitors President Bush finally has taken a pro-active stance on global warming and the greenhouse effect. I’m not sure if that means he now is in line with almost President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore. After years of belittling the presidency-loser-by-a-chad, the Bushman has now done a “Whoops. My bad.” Perhaps this is a signal that the soon to be exy Prexy will rethink some of his other positions like stem cell research.

Rollin’ the Dice ‘n Doin’ His Ricin: Dateline Las Vegas. Usually getting busted in Vegas means you either got too many cards at the 21 table or the slots ate your last quarter. But today, 2 ½ months after Ricin was discovered in his room the Feds announced that the puffed Ricin man who rented the room is sooooo busted. Other cluse from the room included a “Ricin for Dummies” equivalent book that showed how to cook up various poisons. Cooking Ricin crispies can not only get you in hot water but get you up to 30 years in the hoosegow. If the concoction kills its creator, as this one nearly did, the sentence is waived.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire: has released the five most commonly told lies by employees. They include: “I’d be happy to.... I have no questions... My alarm didn’t go off... I’, not sick, its allergies... and for when you are on deadline, I’m right on schedule.” We have a few to add: “This rubber chicken is the best... That secretary? I barely know her... You are the best boss I’ve ever had... and finally, Didn’t you get my message? I put it right on your desk.”

A little blogging music Maestro… Johnny Paycheck’s “Take This Job and Shove it.”

Dr. Forgot

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ticks Tax Talks

Golf and taxes: Drive hard to get to the green. End up in a hole.

Truth doesn’t hurt except on a 1040: Today is the day. Poor Richard’s Almanac 2008: The taxman cometh. Behind every successful man stands a good woman and the IRS. One takes all the credit and the other takes all the cash. A harp is a piano after taxes. Being poor is no guarantee you won’t be audited. If the meek inherit the earth I’m sure it will put them in the 40% tax bracket. Can you imagine Patrick Henry alive today? He’d see real taxation without representation. Finally on this topic, remember the old saw, “A penny earned is a penny taxed.”

The old high school reunion: Every five or ten or perhaps 20 years many Americans go back home to attend their high school reunion. We are always shocked at how old everybody else is looking, how the high school foxes now look like armadillos and the former geeks make you wonder why you didn’t notice them in high school. A friend of mine tells me that at his reunion his wife commented on a frumpy looking gal sitting alone at a nearby table drinking like a fish. His wife asked who she was and my friend said she was an old flame of his who took up drinking after they’d broken up and had rarely seen a sober day since. The wife commented, “My God! Who would think a person would go on celebrating so long?”

Dad, Can I drive the Popemobile: Seems like “W” doesn’t have much to do around the White House these days. Johnny Mac isn’t exactly bombarding him with requests for appearances at fundraisers and he can only go over to Putin’s house to play so often before he wears out his welcome. So Uncle Dick or Condi or whoever is in charge of such things had a great idea when they told him to take the limo and go pick up the Pope at the airport. I wonder if he plans to look into Pope Benedict’s eyes and see his soul.

Records are made to be broken: Today is tax day but that is not the only reason to say “Ouch!” At this writing oil prices have set another record at $ 113+ per barrel. That is neither light nor sweet but it makes a fellow want to say something crude about oil. Not only will that cause another jump at the pump but the bump will trump airfares. Stock prices will slump. Portfolios will dump. Employees will grump. We’re being played for a chump. Meanwhile Exxon and their pals continue to stump for more tax breaks.

Up up and Away: Southwest Airlines looks like it will move from the 6th to the 5th largest U.S. Airline without adding a passenger. If Delta and Northwest merge as expected, there will be one less company to rank. The merger will catapult the new airline (Nelta? Deltest?) to the #1 slot. Passengers will now have a much larger ogre to abuse them.

A little blogging music Maestro… anything from Air Supply would work.

Dr. Forgot

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday, Monday

A Drop of Ink Can Make a Million Think

Where Have All the Daddies Gone: The raid on the polygamist colony in Texas showed an interesting side of the practice. More than 400 children were rescued (yes, I use the term literally) and scores of adult and not-so-adult women were led away. But where were all the Daddies? And how do they support themselves? Simple! They do it the same way every despot does it – the “church” owns everything, all income is handed over to the “church,” women and children are kept in poverty, and when boys become “of age” they are often tossed out to eliminate competition for the middle age child rapists. Yet nary a word about this from any of our presidential candidates, not even during the “Compassion Forum” held last night.

One Less Iraq Attack: Richard Butler now counts himself among the fortunate. The British journalist for CBS had been captured by insurgents in Iraq but was rescued by Iraqi forces after two months of captivity. Upon his rescue Butler thanked his rescuers profusely. VP Dick Cheney responded, “Hold a reporter incommunicado? Why didn’t I think of that?”

The Odd Couple Revisited: You remember Oscar and Felix. They made a funny movie and funnier TV series, but now the concept has moved from the studio to the bedroom. As if sexual incompatibility, finances, and child rearing differences aren’t enough for couples to squabble over, a marriage counselor in Chicago now lists neatness as a top source of couple problems. A new broom might not sweep as clean as needed. I guess it is a good thing that Pigpen and Lucy from the Peanuts comic strip never dated.

Adam & Eve vs. Adam and Steve: In the good old days the adage was “The only sure things in life are death and taxes.” That might still be true but today’s tax burden is unequal for different groups. Tomorrow might be D-day for filing your 2007 taxes, but if you are a gay couple you will likely pay a higher tax rate than a traditional couple since some deductions are only for “married couples.” If the gay couple lives in a state that recognizes domestic partnerships or same-sex civil unions, same-sex couples could be required to file three sets of taxes. That means that some couples might be gay but they are not happy at tax time. (if you don’t get that one, ask your parents)

Don’t Trust Muggles Over 30: Harry Potter had a difficult time with wizards and even moreso with his adopted Muggle family. Now his creator, J. K. Rowling is having her own legal Muggle battle. She is suing a publisher of “Harry Potter Lexicon” over copyright agreements. The publisher defends the book as simply a reference guide. The publisher must be careful of being turned into a toad. (if you don’t get this one, ask your children)

A little blogging music Maestro… an oldie from the Platters, “Could This Be Magic?”

Dr. Forgot

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Two Aspirins and a Call in the Morning

I’m Getting Older But Refuse to Grow Up

Charlie Revisited: In yesterday’s post we shared the adventures of Charlie, Jeannie, and Mr. Nasty. We are not sure what happened to Mr. Nasty. He is probably back home happily torturing the family pets. But we did hear the epilog to Charlie and Jeannie upon their return to Hurricane, UT (uh, that’s pronounced hur’ kun for you non-Utahns). Their identical luggage was returned to them but alas and alack, after three weeks on the road they returned to an icebox of a home. Seems a neighbor had moved during their trek away from home. The utility company got addresses mixed up and guess who’s utilities were shut off by mistake? Things that go bump in the middle of the night are exacerbated when no utilities are available to warm you up. Sorry, Charlie.

Memories of Clairton: I’ve written before about Pittsburgh suburb Clairton, PA. I was born at home in Clairton because I wanted to be near my mother when it happened. My parents were in the iron and steel business. My mother would iron and my father would steal. I entered a contest once. The winner got to go to Vegas for a week and the loser had to go to Pittsburgh. Locals rode a Noble J. Dick bus to “dawntawn Picksburgh.” The population didn’t change much – every time a baby was born some guy left town.

Clairton in the 1950s: On a more serious note, Clairton was a Norman Rockwell kind of town – at least in my memory. Set along the Monongehela River the mills made the coke that made the steel that made Pittsburgh Steel City. With a population of about 20,000 Clairton boasted at least three movie theaters, a dozen or so car dealerships, and a swimming pool in the high school. There were at least four doctors: Dr. Rascatti, Dr. Wright, Dr. Trunzo, Dr. DeEmidio, and Dr. Cutuly. I believe they are all gone now – except Dr. Cutuly.

A Most Unusual Man: Dr. Eugene Cutuly got his medical license in 1948 and began to practice in Clairton. Office visits cost $ 3 and home visits cost $ 4. He was one of the old time physicians who took care of children and adults. His telephone number was listed and it was not unusual for him to see patients at his home, especially during the past several decades when his office was a room in the home. Dr. Cutuly counted among his patients both my parents (who passed away at ages 87 and 90) and he was several years older than they!

A Career Ends: It was neither frailty of the mind nor body that made him decide to retire from practice. A slight case of vertigo and a tad less agility were the factors that made the 97-year old practicing physician decide to finally hang up his stethoscope. He is one in a million – a model of how America used to be and an example of what modern technology has cost. Count me among the legions of former patients who wish Dr. Cutuly a long, healthy and enjoyable retirement.

To read more about this special man see the following link:

A little blogging music Maestro… The Theme from Dr. Zhivago.

Dr. Forgot

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Friday's Follies

The Gene Pool Could Use a Little Chlorine

Here, there, and everywhere: Years ago I went to a conference in San Francisco. The conference ended about 10 a.m. and I’d made flight reservations for 5 p.m. so I could see some of the tourist attractions. The Hilton had a pen for storing luggage. Apparently I’m not the only visitor who needed storage. A fertility conference followed ours and early arriving doctors had stored theirs and also did some sightseeing.

With bags safely stored I visited, had lunch, walked the waterfront, and returned to pick up my bags and head to the airport. At home Mrs. Dr. Forgot opened my luggage and opined as to why my bag was filled with ladies undergarments and “dirty pictures.” I was confused until I picked up notes (not mine) for a lecture on “Human Fertility Among Pre-menstrual Asian Women.”

I phoned the hotel and the doctor who was to have given the lecture the following day was in a panic looking for his notes. I took his bag to the local Hilton and it was delivered by courier in time. All’s well that ends well. That had been my best travel story until now.

Friends, neighbors, and friends of neighbors: I live across the street from Bob and Sally, the world’s best neighbors. They watch the house, feed the cat, and bring over fresh fruit from Bob’s fruit trees. They have friends, Charlie and Jeannie from Hurricane, UT who drove to their house then caught a flight to Kalamazoo, or Tippecanoe, or Timbuktu. Upon their return Charlie exclaimed how fortunate he was to have gotten his bags among the first to be regurgitated by the baggage monster at the carousel.

Good flight. Bad after flight: After a 14-hour day they finally arrived home in Hurricane to find their phone with a dozen irate messages from the same person - the one whose bag looked exactly like Charlie’s and who was at the hotel without appropriate attire for his breakfast speech the following morning. Charlie is what we used to describe as a mild-mannered man. His new wardrobe-less friend’s demeanor sat somewhere between the average inflictor of pain in the Third Reich and Osama bin Laden’s enforcers.

The voice on the phone demanded that Charlie immediately drive back to Las Vegas to return the bag. Charlie explained that Hurricane, UT was nearly a 3 hour drive from Las Vegas and although his Hybrid Prius sipped gas at about 50 mpg, he was exhausted and in fact the drive would be unsafe this time of night. Was a fresh shirt more important than life and limb? “Yes,” came the reply. “Drink some coffee and get your butt to Vegas.”

Jeannie then reminded Charlie that a shuttle left St. George (a mere hour’s drive from Hurricane) at 5:00 a.m. So they caught a few zees and at 4:00 the next morning drove in the dark to St. George and discovered the shuttle driver to be most accommodating, especially after Charlie offered a little grease to the palm. Once the suitcase was aboard and en route Charlie phoned Mr. Nasty to advise him. The snarly response was something to the effect that, “It damn well better get here on time,” and “You’re gonna pay my cab fare to and from the airport.” Bag delivered. Mr. Nasty off to his breakfast meeting.

Mr. Nasty sounds like the kind of guy who would off his parents and plead for mercy because he’s an orphan. Charlie, on the other hand, has much more patience and caring for his fellow man than most. Call me Mr. Lucky – living across the street from the world’s best neighbors and having met the Prince of Hurricane, UT.

A little blogging music Maestro… Duane Eddy’s, “40 Miles of Bad Road.”

Dr. Forgot


A Closed Mind is a Good Thing to Lose

Where no man has gone for days: “Into the air junior birdman.” So starts a spoof of the Air Force anthem. However these days if you are scheduled to fly American Airlines you will be more like the line from the musical Cats, “.... they sit and sit and sit and sit, and that’s what makes a Gumby cat.” The airline has made scores of travelers, well, un-American. Now I’m no mechanic, nor do I play one on TV, but somehow I am unable to understand why putting plastic ties around a strand of wires and spacing them 1 1/4” apart makes the airplane less safe than if they are spaced 1” apart. Next they will probably turn first class into no class. Oh, sorry, they already did.

How could that have happened: In what must have been a moment of brain lapse the Senate actually did something that seems to be of benefit. The housing crisis has been bungled (Don’t even mention Katrina, or Mission Accomplished) but the squabbling children from both sides of the aisle actually got together and passed a bill 84-12 that is designed to help... Of course the help will go primarily to businesses and not people losing their homes to foreclosure. But it is a start. Those who buy foreclosed homes will get a $ 7,000 tax credit and homebuilders will get tax breaks. $ 4 billion in grants will be available for communities to buy and fix up abandoned homes. Now the House has its turn to attack the bill.

1,2,3 the problem is not me: What goes up is not American Airlines MD 80s. The airline for the third day cancelled flights – more than 900 by some counts, stranding another 100,000+ passengers. Of course the airlines blame the FAA and the FAA says, “What, me worry?” It is a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, especially inside terminals in Dallas, Chicago, New York, Florida, California, etc. Alaska and Midwest joined in canceling up to a dozen flights each. Sounds like the FAA who ordered the inspections, not for safety but to verify “technical compliance” are the ones who (mis)handled Katrina. I’m waiting for a high government to come out and say, “Brownie’s doing a heck of a job.”

The Devil probably did it: New hail storms and twisters have pounded Arkansas and surrounding states. Homes were damaged, roads flooded, and thousands were without power. It hasn’t happened yet but I’d not be surprised if some religious zealot said it was God’s punishment for Arkansas sending two presidential candidates – one from each party – to Washington.

Getting slapped silly: By now everybody who has a digital TV set (since they are the only ones that work now) has seen the videotape of girls gone wild, free-for-all boxing division. The eight Florida teens, six powder-puff and two hombres ages 14-18 will all be tried as adults. Charges could include kidnapping. The irony is that the idiots taped the beating to show the world on You-tube. They got their wish for notoriety. One was to have said, “I guess we’ll miss spring break.”

A little blogging music Maestro… Nancy Sinatra’s “Something Stupid.”

Dr. Forgot

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Hell No, We Won't Go

A budget: Go Without to Stay Within

Iraq Budget Buster: If Iraq becomes America’s Hundred Year War as Senator McCain once suggested, not to worry. It won’t last that long because America will be bankrupted by then. Economists tell us that the war is costing every man, woman, and child $ 100 per month and with the cost of aftercare for our troops the cost will jump to $ 200 per month or $ 2,400 per year per American – but we’re getting a $ 600 tax rebate. And while America is borrowing to pay through the nose for the privilege of occupying a country that did not attack us, billions of Iraqi dollars sit in banks garnering interest.

It only gets worse: While the current corporation, uh, administration is doing a fine job of enriching Iraq while draining our resources, they are also bribing militants to not fight with us. And it is working. As long as the militants are receiving their bribe money, the fighting has lessened. In the meantime, more than 4,000 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis (but who’s counting?) have lost their lives during our occupation, an estimated 60,000 or more American have returned home maimed, and an estimated 160,000 or more have returned home with permanent psychological disabilities. All this while Exxon and the gang post their largest ever earnings.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch: On the home front (pun intended) record numbers of homes are being foreclosed and the lenders are admittedly jumpy. Hence, in a normal knee-jerk reaction, money has tightened so those who would normally qualify for home loans are not being funded. Bad loan tentacles reach beyond the housing market. Car sales are down, gasoline prices are at record highs, and even financial aid for students has been impacted. As many as 30 lenders of college loan money have ceased lending students’ money for college. Comment to the current administration: “Fine mess you’ve gotten us into this time.”

Flaming activity in San Francisco: While our favorite buffoon is a good target for poking fun, he is not the only one. The Chinese Olympics are having a rather inauspicious beginning with the torch run ceremony. Protestors have tried to extinguish the flaming torch in France and other European countries, and in San Francisco, home of the drive-by slappings, protestors climbed the Golden Gate Bridge to announce their displeasure to the world. Meanwhile, the torch is being held at an undisclosed location (Code for Dick Cheney’s cellar) until it can be spirited through the streets. Organizers hope they can complete the ceremony without singing, “I Left My Flame in San Francisco.”

Who Can? American’t: We will close with the news item that American Airlines has stayed true to the falling ratings of U.S. airline companies by removing their MD-80 planes from service for government required inspections, causing 1,000 flight cancellations. No known connection but American Airlines shares the same acronym (AA) with Alcoholics Anonymous.

A little blogging music Maestro… “Up, Up and Away” by The Fifth Dimension.

Dr. Forgot

Monday, April 7, 2008

Mmmm-mmmmm Good

A bicycle can’t stand alone because its two tired.

I missed you: Seems like a very long time since we’ve electronically interacted. Lots of national and international things are happening. The Olympic torch run is being protested. For some reason people seem to be pretty upset with China. You’d think they’re water-boarding their prisoners or locking them up without charging them or wiretapping their phones. We heard from a most reliable source that one unnamed country will skip the Olympics this year. Seems that everybody in that unnamed country who could run, jump, or swim is already in the U.S.

Psssst, buddy, could you buy a fella a drink: The water bubbles and flows outside the Bellagio but inside fine wine flows. And in order to have fine wine, you need one of those folks who know how to make the presentation and be able to tell the screw tops from the corked bottles. Bellagio has just added a fourth Master Sommelier to their uh, stable of cork poppers. In a city where we are used to seeing records set, Bellagio has done it again. No other property in the world has four Master Sommeliers on property. Congrats.

Fine wine (belch) good food: For two decades one of the highlight events for those “in the business” has been The Annual Epicurean Affair. That’s the gathering in which attendees get to sample the best food and drink to be had at more than 100 bars and restaurants around town. This year it will be held poolside at the Flamingo May 1. For more info visit

I’m on a seafood diet. I see food and I eat it: If you are a longtime local you’ll remember some of the seafood buffets around town. Word about them would go through the community faster than a needle scare at a local clinic. Usually held on Fridays and Sundays, lines would always form for the good stuff. The Rio has decided to bring it back with the Village Seafood Buffet. Prawns, salmon, crab, lobster and the like are flown in from around the world – more than 200 tons of it each week. Oh yes, they pair drinks to the dinner. For more info ask Celine at

Prefer your food fast?: Just in case you’d like to not eat healthy at any of the above venues, or if you need to grab something on the run, how about a few facts on the calorie count of some fast foods. According to Fast Food News the Pizza Hut’s new Double Deep Meat Lover’s Pizza offers you 580 calories, 330 from fat, PER SLICE! Jack in the Box sells their new Sirloin Steak Melt with 640 calories, 360 from fat. Carl’s Jr’s Huevos Rancheros Breakfast Burrito weighs in at 660 calories and 34 grams of fat. But Quizno’s wins the prize with their Tuna Melt. The large has over 2,000 calories and 175 grams of fat, the regular has 1420 calories and 118 grams of fat, and the small has 770 calories and 60 grams of fat. Bon apetite.

A little blogging music Maestro… “Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard.

Dr. Forgot

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Guess What?

Nominations finally settled: In a move that stunned members of both parties Hillary Rhodam Clinton today announced that she is dropping out of the race for presidential nomination of the Democratic party. The deal that has been kept under wraps for weeks came as a complete surprise to Senator Obama as well as Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean. Senator Obama was quoted as saying, “I wish the Senator from New York success in all future pursuits.” Howard Deans commented, “This came as a complete Surprise to me.”

An even bigger announcement: A reporter from the New York Post broke the story of Senator Clinton’s dropping out of the race. Harvey Rhodam-Mudd claims to have had an exclusive with the former first lady. On his blog, “” Rhodam-Mudd wrote, “Hillary will be the presidential candidate on the Independent ticket. Ralph Nader has agreed to run as her vice-president.”

“This,” said Rhodam-Mudd, “Is the dream ticket.

Republicans respond in kind: “I’ll show them a dream ticket,” said Vice President Dick Cheney. We have just confirmed that our ticket will feature Senator McCain as president and Dr. Kavorkian as his Veep. It will be a nightmare ticket.” The 2008 race certainly looks to be one of the most memorable in recent history.

President Bush Ends War: The President has vehemently denied that he caved into pressure by ending the Iraq war. “It just came to me while I was reading “Mt Pet Goat,” said the president, “If farm animals like pigs and chickens can live together in harmony so can we.” Vice President Cheney called the plan to make Iraq our 51st state “Brilliant,” and added, “We will be changing the name from Iraq to Exxon. It just sounds more American.”

Big Mammal on Campus: Washington University is under siege. Students and faculty are being attacked in growing numbers – by squirrels! Dozens of students have reported being victimized and hundreds have been threatened by the rodents. Studies are underway to assess the impact of the trauma caused by the attacks. When asked why the attacks with such impunity, Professor Hazel K. Chu said, “They must think we’re nuts.”

New Calendar to be adopted: Scientists who have been studying the earth’s rotation have come up with a novel way to end global warming. Dr. Tu Hott, director of the $ 1.3 million National Science Foundation grant was quoted in a recent news release. “We are concerned that global warming is melting the icebergs and stuff, so we simply will adjust the calendar. Starting next year there will be only April, May, June, July, and August will be calendar months. If there is no winter, the polar ice cap will not have a chance to melt” The plan will begin in 2010.

A little blogging music Maestro… “Time is on My Side.” April Fool.
Dr. Forgot