Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Political Editorial

How can you tell when a politician is lying?
His lips are moving

Today we will depart from our usual format and write an editorial about the sad state of our country. I do not profess to be a political scientist. Perhaps I am na├»ve regarding the give-and-take of political gamesmanship. I was shocked a decade ago when voters of my country elected a president that in my mind was an ex-drunk, ex druggie, millionaire playboy who had accomplished little in his lifetime. Leaders with such qualities are elected in banana republics but not in America, or so I thought. When our country was attacked we lost all reason. Had the administration said we should drop 99 hydrogen bombs on every country east of Germany, they would have had a 99% approval rating. Congressmen from both parties stumbled over themselves to get to vote “Yea” for anything that was proposed in the euphoria that followed the attacks on the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers. So we attacked a sovereign country who had never attacked us, was not a part of the bombing in New York City, and whose vaunted “Republican Guard” spent most of its time with its hands in the air – not giving thanks, but surrendering.

The Administration had no plan, no exit strategy, and not much of a standing army to invade. Thus with grossly inadequate numbers in our standing military our National Guard and Reserve Army were pressed into service. Of those two entities the Guard is designed to help with domestic crises like floods, tornado cleanup and such, and the Reserves are former active duty soldiers on standby. Both groups are weekend warriors with lives far removed from formal military action. Several months later a made-for-TV ad complete with the president flying a fighter jet onto an aircraft carrier and a “Mission Accomplished” banner welcomed him. Yet our troops continued dying and being crippled and our country continued spending billions of dollars into that military black hole for nigh a decade.

The hope of change came with a bright young man not soiled by years in politics who came suddenly on the scene and pledged to counter everything the “ins” were doing wrong. He would focus on the future, not the past, bring our troops home, get rid of the vermin in the nation’s capital who call themselves lobbyists, improve job numbers, and save the nation’s economy, bringing it back from the brink of ruin. Although members of the opposition followed the path that Karl Rove and hatemonger TV and radio pundits blazed, the fresh young voice of hope prevailed and a new leader was elected.

It is now nine months since the election and the new president has accomplished some things. His first 100-day report card showed improvements at Health Care Reform, more open communication, the Department of Transportation approved 2,500 highway projects, a $2,500 tax credit for those seeking a college education was passed as well as energy stimulus and funding for anti-gang initiatives. He engaged world leaders and their populations in an effort for peace, and made strides toward reduction of greenhouse gasses. Those are all good things, of course, but the specter of politics has begun to raise its ugly head.

An astute scholar such as the president should have learned from the blunder of one of his predecessors whose famous line, “Read my lips. No new taxes,” came back to bite him on the buttocks. During the campaign he hammered his opponent on taxing health care benefits but it appears he’ll have to do that, he seems to be backtracking on his anti-NAFTA stance, his pledge of openness and transparency is becoming blurred, and pork barrel projects continue to slip into legislation as easily as before his election. Lobbyists still rule their addicts by keeping them hooked with money. Some of his faux pas might be the politics of survival but no matter how pretty you dress up a pig, teach it to sing or to dance it is still, after all a pig.

I love my country. I’m not one of these ultra-right wingers who say, “My country, right or wrong!” And I’m not one of the blindly fanatic groups that considers themselves ultra-patriotic and claim the U.S.A. is the best country in the world. Quite simply, we aren’t (pause for gasps from the right). From a recent newspaper report: "U.S. Teens Trail Peers Around World on Math-Science Test." Of 30 industrial countries we ranked 16th behind Finland, Japan, Canada, and Korea among others.

The U.S. ranks 34th in infant mortality behind Croatia, Poland, Cuba, and Estonia among others.

Of the world’s 30 richest nations we have the highest percentage of children living in poverty and the most people in prison. We have 5% of the world's population but 24% of the world's prison population.

Overall life expectancy in America ranks behind Australia New Zealand, Canada, Japan, all Western European countries as well as Israel, Greece, Singapore, Costa Rica, and South Korea. We spend twice as much money on health care as any of the 41 countries ahead of us but live shorter lives.

The World Health Organization ranked the U.S. 37th in the world in overall performance of our health care system behind (in order) France, Italy, San Marino, Andorra, Malta, Singapore, Spain, Oman, Austria, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Monaco, Greece, Iceland, Luxemburg, Netherlands, UK, Ireland, Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden Columbia, Cypress, Germany, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Republics, Israel, Morocco, Finland, Canada, Australia, Chile, Denmark, Dominican Republic and Costa Rica.

We rank 39th in Environmental Performance, 31st in gender gap economic performance, 46th in suicides. We rank behind Denmark and Sweden in technology.

We are not a perfect country. Our leaders have made mistakes and there is no shame in apologizing for those mistakes. I do not purport to be able to solve all our problems, but to my mind this would be a start:

1. Recall all U.S. troops from around the world. The Middle East, Europe, Asia.... bring them all home. The military budget has nearly doubled since 1991 to just under $ 1 TRILLION!
2. Increase the size of the Peace Corps. Export peace around the world instead of war. It is cheaper, more effective, and teaches young people values and thrift as they lead by example.
3. Put the world on notice that we will adopt an Israeli-style defense plan. If Americans anywhere in the world are molested, abused, imprisoned, or tortured, the offending group or country will have 72 hours to make things right or we will unleash a force that will obliterate them. It matters not if the offending country is Iraq, N. Korea, China, Russia, or Mexico. Our goal is peace, but inside our velvet glove is an iron fist with a nuclear warhead.
4. The days of ground troops fighting are behind us. We need to develop more drones that will patrol our interests abroad.

Today we are a country divided and on the brink of bankruptcy. But with a few adjustments we can be on the road to recovery.

A little blogging music Maestro... “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge

Dr. Forgot

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Las Vegas Legend

Eighty and still going strong

Its better that the birthdays don’t stop: We’ve gotten several emails lately about the good old days. Of course, that is the topic of many of my own blogs. As humans we tend to reflect on our past with a nostalgic pleasure, remembering mostly the good times and perhaps a few of the traumas that tend to live in the recesses of our mind. There are no more Civil War wives left and the number of veterans from World War I has dwindled to a handful. Those of the so-called “Greatest Generation” are dying daily by the thousands. Even kids who will start college this fall don’t remember the day Magic Johnson announced he had HIV, the Chunnel under construction, Exxon Valdez oil spill, Tainanmen Square, or the downing of Pan Am flight 103. So imagine the memories an eighty-year-old might have that the rest of us do not.

Memories of an 80ster: Over the past couple of years we’ve attended birthday parties for a few octogenarians. Our neighbors Bob and Sally were recognized for hitting their 80th and last night we attended a surprise party for Theron Goynes, who just turned 80. If you do not live in Nevada or Texas or even Nashville, Arkansas you might not know much about the birthday boy, so let me share a little about this amazing man. Theron lost his Mom recently. “Mother Goynes” passed away several weeks ago just months shy of her hundredth birthday. She was fit, spry, and alert right up to her final day, so it is no surprise that her number one son fits those descriptors as well.

Young at heart, then and now: Theron Goynes was always special. At 5’7” he was unable to dunk a basketball but he exuded leadership and charm. While attending Prairie View University he was not only one of the snappiest dressers on campus but he took leadership roles as well in his fraternity and on campus. He lived through the Great Depression and came from a good family. Those are but two experiences that shaped who he would become. As a young math teacher in rural Nashville, Theron dated many of the local belles, but the one who caught his eye – perhaps through his stomach, was a young Home Economics teacher named Naomi, whose duties included cooking for the football team as well as for community events. Naomi also earned degrees in Chemistry and Music, but the chemistry between she and Theron would spark for more than a half century.

A more genteel time: In those post-World War II days in the Deep South, manners and etiquette were accepted as part of life. Even single adults did not date without meeting the parents of their dates, and beautiful Naomi had plenty of beaus to take home to Mama, including strapping young laborers, and football players. But Mama said, “Girl, I like the little guy. He will treat you best.” And Mama was right because 51 years, three children and a passel of grandchildren later Theron still treats her like a queen. The two schoolteachers married and moved away, taking jobs on an Indian Reservation then moving to Las Vegas in 1964 as the community and school system began to grow. They moved into a red brick house with a picket fence and began to change the community.

A social phenomenon was Las Vegas: As the community grew so quickly many people moved to Las Vegas and of course had no local family. Scores of young people came to Las Vegas during the ensuing years and became part of the Goynes extended family. Their door was open to serve as surrogate parents, brothers, sisters, and cousins to newcomers they met in church, at work, and socially. They became stars in the local school system. Naomi retired as an assistant principal and Theron served as a principal before his retirement. Hundreds of people have reflected on how the Goynes family impacted their lives in what could have easily been a scary, desert town, especially for those who were restricted to living, shopping, working, and even performing in certain areas of town. As recently as the early 1960s Sammy Davis, Jr. performed on the Strip but was not permitted to live there. When Theron and Naomi arrived in 1964 they were told by a realtor that there are some fairly nice houses “where you people live.”

Movin’ on up: As times changed and the community changed, the Goynes remained constants in their red brick house with the fence whose gate was always open and whose front door was rarely locked. Naomi juggled household chores with her career as she reared her children and was active in her church and the community. Theron was not content to be a principal for 30 years and community spokesperson so he ran for elected office and served as councilman and mayor pro-temp for 22 years. He was the first African American in Nevada history to so serve. When he was diagnosed as diabetic he researched the disease and discovered that diabetes in African Americans and Hispanics often went undetected so he campaigned to educate the community about early detection. He was instrumental in the effort to eliminate housing discrimination in his community. He retired from public service more than a decade ago and has since been recognized, as a 5’7” giant in the community.

A few signs of his legacy: He was recognized in 2008 with a Channel 8 television Spirit Award, a city park was built and named in his honor, he was recognized by Nevada League of Cities as Public Official of the Year, has been recognized as a mentor by his college fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi, and has been recognized hundreds of times by dozens of organizations for his good work and unblemished political record. But the crown jewel of his and Naomi’s recognition is the Theron H. and Naomi Goynes Elementary School, rated by parents as a Five Star School. A happy 80th birthday to Theron and best wishes to Naomi, their family, and on behalf of the thousands of lives they’ve touched, may there be many more.

A little blogging music Maestro... “Happy Birthday to You” by All Your Friends.

Dr. Forgot

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Silly is as Silly Does

A Silly Weekend Blog

Just got back from the ocean, Son of a Beach: For those of you who don’t keep track, I try to blog weekly. I usually gather material for the blog during the week and put it together on the weekend. But last week I took a vacation to the sunny climes of San Diego. More precisely, La Jolla, the home of Dr. Seuss, and one of the most beautiful beach towns in the land of fruits and nuts. Thank you for not burgling my house while I was away, but had you attempted to do so my watch cat would have hidden. Back in the days when I had a watchdog it would have pointed out the good silver. (Stupid dog. The silver is fake). So today’s blog will be mish mash and silliness.

My cousin Vinnie, er Steve: Before I left for my vacation I had an interesting week. My cousin Steve had gone to New Jersey for his annual vacation. (Don’t ask. I don’t know why). I promised him I’d water his veggie garden a couple of times during the week namely Tuesday and Friday. As I was having breakfast Tuesday the phone rang and it was security telling that I was listed as his emergency contact (I already knew that) and that water was leaking from under his garage door. “I broken water heater” I assumed so I called Steve but apparently AT&T does not work in New Jersey. So I drove to his house, opened the door and stepped up to my ankle in water. The entire house was flooded six inches deep. The culprit was a flex pipe under the toilet. I couldn’t reach Steve and had no clue with whom he was insured. Finally got it all figured and Steve (slosh, slosh) returned. So while I was in La Jolla Steve was staying in the flea bag motel that his insurance company paid for. My vacation was better than his.

Email gone mad: While I was gone Dr. Jerry emailed me a lesson on mathematics… or maybe it was on effort. You decide:

“Here is a little something someone sent me that is indisputable
mathematical logic. It also made me Laugh Out Loud.

This is a strictly mathematical goes like this:

What Makes 100%? What does it mean to give MORE than 100%? Ever wonder
about those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We have all
been to those meetings where someone wants you to give over 100%. How
about achieving 103%? What makes up 100% in life?

Here's a little mathematical formula that might help you answer these


is represented as:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26.


H-A -R -D-W-O -R -K
8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%


K -N -O -W-L -E-D-G-E
= 96%

But ,

A-T -T -I -T -U -D-E
1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%


B -U -L -L -S -H-I -T
2+21+12+12+19+8+9+20 = 103%

AND, look how far ass kissing
will take you..

A-S -S -K -I -S-S -I -N-G
= 118%

So, one can conclude with mathematical certainty, that While Hard work
and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, its
the Bullshit and Ass Kissing that will put you over the top.”


1. The nicest thing about the future is that it always starts tomorrow.

2. Money will buy a fine dog, but only kindness will make him wag his tail.

3. If you don't have a sense of humor, you probably don't have any sense at all.

4. Seat belts are not as confining as wheelchairs.

5. A good time to keep your mouth shut is when you're in deep water.

6. How come it takes so little time for a child who is afraid of the dark to become a teenager who wants to stay out all night?

7. Business conventions are important because they demonstrate how many people a company can operate without.

8. Why is it that at class reunions you feel younger than everyone else looks?

9. Scratch a cat and you will have a permanent job.

10. No one has more driving ambition than the boy who wants to buy a car.

11. There are no new sins; the old ones just get more publicity.

12. There are worse things than getting a call for a wrong number at 4 AM. - Like this: It could be a right number.

13. No one ever says 'It's only a game.' when their team is winning.

14. I've reached the age where the happy hour is a nap.

15. Be careful reading the fine print. There's no way you're going to like it.

16. The trouble with bucket seats is that not everybody has the same size bucket.

17. Do you realize that in about 40 years, we'll have thousands of old ladies running around with tattoos? And rap music will be the Golden Oldies!

18. Money can't buy happiness -- but somehow it's more comfortable to cry in a Corvette than in a Yugo.

19. After 60, if you don't wake up aching in every joint, you are probably dead!

20. Always be yourself. Because the people that matter, don't mind. And the one's that mind, don't matter.

A little blogging music Maestro... “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” by Freddie Fender.

Dr. Forgot

Friday, August 7, 2009

Its a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

It is better to keep your mouth shut and let them think you’re a fool, rather than open it and prove them right.

News you can use, not: Today’s blog is motivated by silliness. People are fighting over healthcare reform, fights are breaking out in town hall meetings, one group of politicians feel that rescuing two American journalists from North Korea was a bad thing. It all reminds me of an old Kingston Trio song that captured the state of the world nearly half a century ago but could be equally appropriate today.

“They're rioting in Africa, they're starving in Spain.
There's hurricanes in Florida, and Texas needs rain.
The whole world is festering with unhappy souls.
The French hate the Germans, the Germans hate the Poles.
Italians hate Yugoslavs, South Africans hate the Dutch.
And I don't like anybody very much!

But we can be tranquil, and thankful, and proud,
For mans' been endowed with a mushroom-shaped cloud.
And we know for certain that some lovely day
Someone will set the spark off, and we will all be blown away.

They're rioting in Africa, there's strife in Iran.
What nature doesn't do to us, will be done by our fellow man.”

Real news of the day – Hero gets detention: Fifteen year old Amanda Rouse started her school day like so many others, crammed with 40 of her closest classmates on a big yellow Bluebird on her way to school. Later in the day she was again on the bus. But this was no ordinary day. As the bus rounded a bend the driver fell out of her seat, hit her head and was rendered unconscious. The bus careened out of control. That is, until Amanda quickly jumped into the driver’s seat and applied the brakes before any injuries could occur. Problem was, the California gal was not supposed to be on that bus in the first place. She had asked the driver for a ride home because she was feeling ill, but neglected to follow protocol for leaving school. Thus, her heroism was rewarded with a Saturday detention. She’s lucky. Given the financial state of the Land of Milk and Honey she could have been charged for the gasoline she used before bringing the bus to a halt.

Peel away the outside and a potential criminal walks: James Gallagher must have been a shifty looking person. Somebody allegedly observed him walk into a place of business and walk out with property that did not belong to him. The sleuths called the police and James was arrested for theft. As was his legal right, James requested a jury trial. The prosecution made their case and the defense made theirs. Both barristers were eloquent and the jury had a difficult decision to make. But after deliberating for a short time James was adjudged to be not guilty and released. The trial cost the courts about $30,000 but justice was served. Some say James got off Scott free but there will be no appeal. He was innocent any way you slice it. And the object he was alleged to have stolen? A 25-cent banana. The court prosecutor released the following statement: "It is not the cost of the item that determines whether we proceed with a prosecution, but whether there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest. "In this case, we felt that there was sufficient evidence and it was in the public interest for the prosecution to proceed." Apparently justice is not only blind, her judgement is impaired.

If you give a mouse a 20 he’ll want a handful more: One of my old psychology professors used to say that we must take care when extrapolating data from rat behavior to human behavior. “We must remember,” he would say, “Rats aren’t people, although some people are rats." He never spoke about the behavior of mice, but a bank in La Grande, Oregon probably feels qualified to speak on that topic. Seems a mouse somehow found its way into an ATM machine at a local bank. The little rodent made a nest with shreds of twenty-dollar bills. Everything was going fine for the little hickory dickery dock. No cat burglars approached the ATM and the clock didn’t strike one. But gas station employee Millie Taylor happened by to lick up some cash and she screamed (Eeeek, I suppose), as she opened the ATM door, then slammed it shut. An investigation showed that two bills were totally destroyed and another 14 were damaged. The mouse was trapped but set free outside the Chevron station. He was last seen looking for three blind buddies that were known to be his associates.

Oh where oh where has my little leg gone: If it weren’t for bad luck some guys wouldn’t have any luck at all. Jerry Ray Brock of Nashville, TN is apparently a career criminal whose specialty is burglaries. But it seems he’s not very good at it because he keeps getting caught and thrown in the slammer. He’s been unlucky outside of jail as well, having lost a leg which was replaced with an artificial one. After Jerry’s last burglary he hid out in Georgia but was caught and extradited back to Tennessee. That’s where his heartache begins. Jerry Ray was tossed in the slammer in Davidson County to await transfer to the big house while wearing an old wooden leg. He had a new one but claims the county mounties wouldn’t let him do the old two-step switcheroo. By the time he got to the State Penn (not Penn State) his new leg was nowhere to be found. Jerry Ray then turned jailhouse lawyer and sued the penal system for a half a mil. He’s discovered crime doesn’t pay but is hoping the state will.

A penny for your thoughts – without a thinking cap: We’re taking our annual vacation this week in San Diego, so this next item caught our eye. A luxury resort in nearby Rancho Bernardo usually sells its rooms for hundreds of dollars per night but is running a special. Rooms as low as $19! If you’re thinking, “There must be a catch,” you’re right. The resort that includes three pools, a spa, and a golf course will sell you the room on their “Survivor Package” that charges less than the rack rate based upon the number of amenities you are willing to sacrifice. For $19, guests give up breakfast, air conditioning, lights, sheets and even the bed. Staff will remove the mattress and headboard and leave a small tent instead.

Oh, and bring your own toilet paper. The manager says he hopes guests will return and pay full price on their next visit. No fair using soap and shampoo confiscated from prior visits.

A little blogging music Maestro... “Crazy World” by Ladyhawke.

Dr. Forgot

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Reading Today's Blog Puts You in the Catbird Seat

Look What the Cat Dragged In

The Cat’s Pajamas: Today’s blog is all about cats, and is dedicated to the good folks at Cats Rule. Let me first tell you that for many, many years I had no real opinion about cats. As a youngster I had a dog like so many other boys. I remember Old Yeller and “Lassie Come Home.” Don’t recall many movies about cats. I grew up in the city and didn’t have gerbils or ferrets or fish or fowl as pets. There were cats in the neighborhood, I guess, but I never gave them much thought. As an adult there was always a dog in or around my house. Most of them just happened into my life. So I totally missed the dawning of the cat generation. It sneaked up on me one cold winter morning in the desert. A black cat approached Mrs. Dr. Forgot and I as we strung Christmas lights. It meowed, she picked it up and we brought it into the house “just until we could take it to the vet” the following morning. That was about a decade ago. We have since joined the 21% of American households that include a cat.

Look what dragged the cat in: The vet’s announcement was, “Congratulations, it’s a boy! He’s not chipped but he’s neutered and about 18 months old.” Then the vet asked where his cage was and I said, “Huh?” I just slung him over my shoulder and drove him to the vet. He was fine with it. First rule of cat safety: Whenever you travel with a cat it must be placed in a cage. Safety rules for cats in the house are pretty much the same as for other pets. Keep lilies, azaleas, philodendron, and potted plants in general out of reach. They can be toxic. Cats are very sensitive. They can feel the electricity running through wires and might like to chew them, so decoy live wires in tubes and unplug electronics when not in use.

Felix the cat by any other name doth act as sweet: Because his coat was shiny and jet black I named him “Licorice.” But it was soon evident that this cat book was not to be judged by its cover. He was such a lover; cooing, being cute, and generally capturing our hearts that his name was changed to Casanova. But in case you are not a cat person I must warn you that spending too much time with a cat can cause ailurophilia in humans. It is a medical condition defined as “the love of cats.” Symptoms include adults making fools of themselves over felines of any sort. Should your cat be charged with a crime, simply have the local CSI detectives take nose prints at the scene and compare them with the pattern of nose ridges on your kitty because each pattern is as unique as a human fingerprint.

Let the cat out of the bag: Upon adopting my first cat, or it adopting me, I learned many truths about the species. The first clash came when I remembered a short verse by one of my favorite poets, Ogden Nash. “The trouble with a kitten is that… It eventually becomes a cat.” That verse demonstrated that even great poets can err. The domestic world cat population is estimated to exceed five hundred million and 33 different breeds. America’s cat population is estimated to be more than 75 million, which translates into a half billion catnaps per day. When holding the furball against your chest, do not think it is anxious because of a fast heartbeat. Cat’s hearts beat about 120 beats per minute, about twice as fast as their masters (or more precisely, their staff members). And to answer the next question, the largest breed is the Ragdoll. Males often exceed 20 lbs. The tiniest is the Singapura. Females weigh about four pounds. Calicos? They are almost always female. If you’re used to getting a rush because your dog wags its tail at you, then be equally happy when your cat’s tail is quivering, as that is their greatest expression of love. However, if the tail is thrashing, it is time to step away. If the tail just wags, they are in a state of conflict, and of course, when the tail stands tall, the cat is boasting. Cats knead their paws when they are happy.

Be sure to be a responsible cat owner and spay. A cat couple and their offspring can produce up to 420,000 kittens in seven years. If you choose to let your cat roam outdoors through a cat door, thank Sir Isaac Newton who invented it. But be aware that the average life span of an indoor cat is 15 years, while the average life expectancy of an outdoor cat is 3-5 years. Your cat will not only give you years of pleasure but will add years to your life. The average pet owner lives longer, has less stress, and fewer heart attacks than those without.

Separating fact from fiction is like herding cats: The information above is thought to be accurate. There are also many myths about cats that include “Cats always land on their feet.” Cats instinctively fall feet first but broken bones can result. Balconies should be screened. “Cats need milk every day.” Too much milk can cause diarrhea in cats. Milk should be given infrequently if at all. “A cat’s sense of balance is in its whiskers.” Cats use their whiskers as feelers but not for balance. “A cat should have one litter before being spayed.” There is no benefit to a cat having a litter before spaying. Indeed, that one litter can result in unwanted kittens. “A purring cat is a happy cat.” While this one is partly true, cats may also purr when they are injured, ill, frightened, or stressed. “Cats steal the breath from babies.” There is no truth to this myth. Finally, personal experience has shown the myth “Black cats are bad luck,” is absurd. Since Casanova entered our household, we have considered ourselves most fortunate.

A little blogging music Maestro... Since we are writing on a kid-loving topic, let’s do “The Cat Came Back” by The Muppets.

Dr. Forgot