Archive | January, 2016

We’ve Come a Long Way…Maybe

27 Jan

A 17 year old senior at Edmonson County High School in Kentucky, got in trouble last week for wearing a dress that did not meet the stringent requirement of the Kentucky high school she attends. The dress, was considered to sit too high above her knees. According to the high school’s dress code, dresses worn by young ladies at the high school must not be more than 6 inches higher than the knee.

You’ll notice in the picture below that the student in question was also wearing black tights beneath her dress but still she had to prove that her dress was the appropriate length by kneeling before her principal (a man) so he could measure its distance from the floor and then by walking around with her arms in the air (again in front of her principal) to see if her dress rode up any higher than previously measured.

 

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She failed her test…but only after walking around with her arms in the air. Otherwise she would have passed. Somewhere between 30 to 40 girls were sent home by the principal that day for similar violations.

Boys, in case you were wondering, have a dress code too but usually only get sent home if their clothing is ripped or torn in some way, as in ripped jeans etc. There was no mention as to how long boys had to wear their skirts when they wear them. This is 21st century America we’re living in isn’t it? So you know that boys get to wear skirts and make-up too… Don’t they?

But I digress because look at what girls in Kentucky high schools get to wear when they are not in the classroom… Here is the Kentucky high school championship Cheer-leading team…sans leggings…and you certainly wouldn’t want to use a ruler to measure their skirts distance from their knees. And are those skirts?

Cheerleaders competed in the KHSAA state championships Saturday.

Here’s a typical Kentucky HS field hockey team? Don’t they make shorts for girls anymore?

Oh…here are the Kentucky shorts…part of the typical girl’s HS volleyball team in Kentucky. They don’t look that comfortable to me, especially for running around and jumping and bending over,  but I’m a guy so what do I know about fashion…

Because here’s what the Kentucky boys wear when they play basketball. Their shorts seem to fall about 5 inches below the knee! Go figure!

What is appropriate for young women to wear in public high schools these days and why can’t they choose to wear what they like and are most comfortable wearing, like the boys do? As long as it’s not ripped or torn? Have we come a long way in our attitudes about men and women here in the United States or haven’t we?

I leave that question for the women to answer because I’m pretty sure that we men have absolutely no clue…oh we have a code…but I’m pretty sure it’s not for everyone.

They Came at Night…

26 Jan

 

 

 

This weekend we weathered the big snowstorm here on the east coast of New Jersey. We endured blizzard conditions with driving snow and high winds all day Saturday and try as we might, could not shake that “Hurricane Sandy” feeling left over from the fall of 2012.

Back then it was the wind that did the most damage where we lived, toppling trees and downing power lines all over Ocean County. When the power finally went out it did not come back on for 6 days…the first time! Then it was another 4 days without power after that.

And as we sat and watched the storm raging outside on this cold and snowy Saturday in January we felt certain that the power would go once again. But this time it was mid winter and not mid autumn. During Hurricane Sandy folks in the neighborhood had to eventually evacuate because the cold autumn nights grew colder. Without power there was no heat for most households and the nights became too cold to stay in a dark and frigid home.

But here in 2016, it was January not October and already too cold to stay in a house without power. So what would we do if the lights went out? We looked towards the driveway and our car and knew that we could not even drive to safety this time because we were not only snowed in…but plowed in too!

Just about the only people to be seen on the streets during this storm were those who were diligently working the snow plows. But with the cold and wind and wet snow our driveways were now completely sealed off by mini ice damns created by the plows that had been moving up and down our streets…And then, as fate would have it… the power went!

It was nearing dark and my wife and I looked at each other and decided that we had to go out and shovel and clear the car and break up that ice damn in case the power didn’t return within a few hours. We called the power company for reassurance but there were no human voices to ease our fears…only a computerized facsimile that promised that power would be restored to our area by 9pm on the 24th of January…but this was Saturday the 23rd!

So we called the police station to see if they had any information about the power grid to help calm our Sandy worn nerves, and alas were fortunate enough to reach an actual human being! But only to hear her terse and obviously Ad-nauseam and oft repeated message, “We’re the Police Station…not the Electric company.”

So out we went into the blizzard with our shovels and frazzled nerves and began to dig, just in case an emergency evacuation towards safety and warmth would be needed. And we weren’t alone… for as we glanced up and down the street it soon became obvious that everyone on the block was thinking the same thing. Shovels and snow blowers were everywhere, digging and digging, pushing and blowing, and moving up and down the street to assist one another as each driveway’s ice blockade slowly and steadily was broken down.

It was now dark, but fortunately the full moon behind the blowing clouds, provided an eerie illumination to the road and our combined handiwork. Our hard shoveling had paid off and our driveways were cleared to the road. We could take a breath and relax, and even though we were warm now from our hearty exertion, we knew that soon when that warmth wore off we would feel the cold again, and though retreating inside would warm us for a while, if the power did not return, we would have to leave our homes soon thereafter…But at least we now had a means of escape!

And so we all went back into our homes…and then we heard it… The distant rumble. And then we felt it…the vibrations in the street. And then we saw them…and their relentlessly glowing lights. They were the vigilant and the restless…and they were coming once again! The only life forms besides ourselves and our neighbors who would dare to venture down our street on this cold January night of Blizzard Jonas…and they had returned…

And then they plowed us all right back into our driveways!

(Fortunately the power returned 2 hours later)

 

To Have and Have Lots

22 Jan

Here on the East coast of New Jersey winter storm Jonas is about to hit! And what are we humans doing? Food shopping of course! The grocery stores here are so crowded that one would think that we New Jerseyans hadn’t eaten anything in 3 weeks and aren’t expecting to be able to go outside again or get near a food store for 3 more!

After all it’s only going to snow for about 8 to 10 hours and most of that will happen over night when most of us usually do our sleeping. And then we’ll get up and shovel our driveways and the temperature will rise above freezing and…we’ll be free again! Free I say!

But why take chances? There’s nothing like the threat of snow to bring out the gluttony in everyone! What if we are trapped inside of our houses for most of the day and have to eat everything in our cupboards just to keep warm? Then what will we eat tomorrow? Is 10,000 calories enough? 20,000?

What if we humans lived on the planet Venus where it storms all of the time? We’d all be in a perpetual state of food shopping and living in fear of going without cupcakes! Just Imagine how happy grocery chains would be in a place where there was always the threat of bad weather…but it never came?

Now just think about how awful it must be to live in a food desert? You know, one of those places here in America where it is unprofitable to run a supermarket or grocery store because the people there don’t have enough money to shop… until they drop. Grocery chains don’t really care what the weather is like in the inner cities I suppose. And the poor people there must spend a lot of time praying for sunshine… and manna to drop from heaven.

But that’s life here in the states. If you’re not busy indulging in gluttony then you’re probably busy going hungry. Just as long as you’re busy doing something…otherwise the government will probably cut your food stamps again. It’s gonna cost millions and millions of dollars you know, just to plow all of this snow…

So we can go out in our SUVs… and get some more food.

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Wouldn’t It Be Nice…

20 Jan

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Beyond Belief…

19 Jan

FILE - In this Sept. 2, 2015, photo. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley speaks at the National Press Club in Washington. Americans should resist "the

I usually like to watch the Republican rebuttal to the State of the Union Address but this year I missed it, so I have had to read about it. Once again I am completely stumped as to where the Republicans find their rebuttal-ists… and what planet they find them on.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley gave this year’s Republican rebuttal and in it for some reason, she decided to make references to Donald trump and his proposed policy to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. Coming from a family of immigrants herself (who hasn’t?) she said:  “No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws, and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country.”

That makes sense. But then the next day, when asked to elaborate on her comment by reporters, she concluded:

“After all, when you’ve got immigrants who are coming here legally, we’ve never in the history of this country passed any laws or done anything based on race or religion. Let’s not start that now.”

Good grief! I’m wordless… Can anyone please tell me…Do Republicans go to school? Ever?

 

 

 

 

Anchor President?

17 Jan

Here’s an interesting possibility. Senator Marco Rubio, from Florida, is running for the Republican nomination for President of the United States. He was born in Miami, Florida in 1971 so he is an American citizen. However, his parents were not citizens of the United States at the time of his birth and didn’t become citizens until 1975.

So for all intents and purposes, Marco Rubio can be considered an “anchor baby” which is a term used to refer to a child born to a non-citizen mother in a country which has birthright citizenship, which many folks (namely Republicans) view as providing an advantage to family members seeking to secure citizenship or legal residency.

In fact Republicans in Congress have supported bills that would deport immigrants and their anchor babies regardless of the fact that anchor babies are legal citizens under U.S. law.

Now imagine that Senator Rubio wins the Republican nomination and then the presidential election and becomes the next President of the United States. Then imagine that Congress passes a law deporting non-citizens and their natural born American babies. President Rubio could be the first president ever to be deported by Congress!

Pretty silly huh? And ridiculously unlikely…but this is why one doesn’t entertain proposals that fly in the face of morality and U.S. constitutional laws. Why or how would it be fair or just to deport U.S. citizens today under different rules while still allowing the U.S. citizens of yesterday, who became citizens under the same conditions and rules that have helped them to obtain citizenship and even rise to the Presidency of the United States, to remain here as U.S. citizens?

Maybe we should just deport everyone? America has always been a nation of immigrants. And we former immigrants need to stop listening to all of the complaining and useless rhetoric and just get used to it.

Debtor’s Prison

14 Jan

This just in! Total student loan debt in the US has reached 1. 3 TRILLION dollars…and that starts with T, which rhymes with P and that stands for Payments you’ll never finish Paying.

Because according to the Associated Press Americans who are between the ages of 35 to 50 still owe as much money on their student loan debt as new graduates do! Thanks to interest… and not the kind that the bank pays you but rather the kind that you pay to the bank when the bank loans you money from the pile of depositors money that they are not paying interest on to depositors… a college loan is the gift that you keep on paying for!

There is even a website that you can go to now to watch the U.S. student debt rise as it happens in real time… at a rate of $2,726.27 per second!

But Huzzah! The Federal government is stepping in with a plan to cap student borrowers monthly loan payments at 10% of their discretionary income. And since discretionary income is the money you have left after deducting taxes, other mandatory charges, and expenditure on necessary items. (loan payments are now even surpassing groceries as the biggest monthly expense for many households) Which begs the question: Are groceries necessary?

So in any event…you should be repaying that loan…forever! Or at least until you check into that nursing home, at which time the Nursing home and your Alma Mater will have to duke it out to see whose debt trumps whose. Or is that whom? Which rhymes with tomb…

College debt is becoming a veritable debtor’s prison, where you get to stay at home, but only if you can afford one, that is.

So parents, when your kids grow up and start to inquire about college you might want to trot out a new twist on an old phrase…”Ignorance is cheap. ‘Tis folly to be wise!”

 

 

 

 

Some Sobering Facts

13 Jan

Here’s something new that I just learned. In Iran the drinking of alcohol is prohibited. As a result Iranians drink an average of 60 million liters of alcohol every year. That’s 16 million gallons of booze to us here in the States.

Which is roughly the amount that Wisconsin drinks in a year…not the state but the people in it…and we have 49 other states, many of which I do believe are thirstier than Wisconsin! So I wonder, is it freedom or religion (or lack thereof?) that makes us such booze hounds?

Also, did you know that as far as internet speeds go (and we do love our internet here in the U.S.) the United States is 16th in internet speed! Latvia is 9th! Latvia??? And it costs us Americans about 50 dollars per month to use our 16th fastest internet. So you can just imagine how much it must cost in Latvia!

Okay, stop imagining. It costs 12 bucks over there. South Korea is first in internet speed at almost twice our speed…and you guessed it…at less than half the cost. And why is that?

Probably because we drink so much… I guess?

Cubanadian?

12 Jan

Is the hopeful Republican presidential nominee, Ted Cruz, an American citizen or a Cubanadian? Ted’s father is Cuban and Ted was born in Canada so Donald Trump (who else) thinks that he may not be an American at all. Now even the U.S. Senate is confused because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has recently said that he thinks the Senate “shouldn’t get in the middle of it.”

Get in the middle of what? For goodness sake, U.S. law is pretty clear on this. If your mother is an American citizen then guess what? You are too! And it does not matter where you were born…or your father.

But when you are the party of “making stuff up” and not a party of “facts” then this is what happens: Anyone can believe or say anything because “facts” are simply opinions that a lot of people agree on for no apparent reason.

Republicans are still on the fence about whether or not the President of the United States is an American simply because they really don’t want him to be…and President Obama was actually born in the United States! Whereas Ted Cruz was not! Even though they both have mothers who are American citizens, when you are in the party of “making stuff up” then you have a dilemma because, well you know, facts and laws don’t mean anything.

Actually, when you think about it, Ted Cruz is exactly as much Cuban as he is American. (father Cuban, Mother American) Just as President Obama is exactly as much white as he is black. (father black, mother white)

So perhaps Republicans (and others, to be fair)  should just keep on doing what they always do, judging  everyone by what he or she looks like. So what do you think? Does Ted Cruz look like a Cuban to you?

 

And the Count Continues…

1 Jan

Happy New Year everyone and thank you for visiting my blog once again this year. There are 525,600 minutes in a year and in 2012, I crossed the 30 million mark in minutes spent on Earth

…So that means that as of midnight of the 31st of December this year I will arrive at 31,874,400…but again, who’s counting? Still almost 32 million minutes alive!? Is that an accomplishment or just something that breathing and waking up every day took care of for me? And why does it seem to have flown by so quickly…and keep accelerating all the time? Life in the fourth dimension took forever to move through when I was a child…but now it seems like I’m on the fast track to old age!

Anyway, thanks for slowing yourself down every once in a while and taking the time to visit and read and please keep reading if you will, unless you can thing of a better way to spend your minutes.

In any case, do your best to Spend your time wisely …it may be a crazy and unpredictable world but it still is the only world in town.

I’ll be stepping over the 32 million minute threshold sometime this year and I will try to enjoy every minute of it!

Do your best to enjoy each and every one of your minutes too.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

SARAH THE GARDENER

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