Thursday, May 12, 2011

An Elephant Should Never Forget, Neither Should a Don Quixote

I will be going to Vienna this July and playing in the 13th Maccabi European Games as a member of the Men’s Masters Table Tennis Team, and have been reading Vienna and Its Jews, The Tragedy of Success, 1880-1980s.

On page 172 the author notes that Hitler addressed the Austrian Nazi party conference in 1920, spoke in several cities the next year to “the party faithful,” and in 1922, Hitler was the main speaker at the Party’s first major public rally in Vienna.

It’s My Party and I’ll Shout If I Want To

The main political parties were the Social Democrats whose ideology was basically Marxist, and the Christian Socials with its strong relationship with the Catholic Church. In late 1926 while setting their sights on the following year’s elections, the Christian Socials emphasized their opposition to Marxism and to the “predominance of the decomposing Jewish influence.”

As you may readily discern, these parties promulgated their opposing ideologies, much like America’s two major political parties do today.

The following paragraph found on page 177 is put forth here almost verbatim, only inserting any changed words in Italics including the substitution of “Congress” and “Congressional” for “Parliamentary” and “Parliament.”

Insert names here had both learned the arts of compromise and conciliation as party leaders but they nevertheless took a sacred view of their respective missions. Consequently, the two major parties confronted each other across a chasm that was both wide and deep. Congressional interchanges were marked with a minimum of courtesy and a maximum of acrimony. Personal insults including racial slurs were traded back and forth. One noted writer says the whole set up ‘emphasized division instead of debate, doctrine positions rather than weighing of concrete issues. Congress, then, instead of nursing a basic consensus, as it generally does in western democracies, emphasized the divisions in the country and contributed to the destruction of consensus.’”

2010 Is Dead and Gone, 2012 Is Now in Sight

Santayana is well known for his perceptive and sadly reaffirmed line, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” In Volume I of his 1905-1906 five-volume “The Life of Reason,” Santayana offers that thought and another for ineffectual, conciliatory weaklings like Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner and Harry Reid, who will be serving his fourth consecutive two-year term as Senate Democratic Leader. The two parties seem to have no knowledge of or have forgotten to heed or understand Santayana’s other pronouncement, “Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.”

George Santayana, Philosopher, Essayist Poet. December 16, 1863 – September 26, 1952

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Absurdity Becomes Reality

Certified Absurdity

On May 2, I sent an entry to the Huffington Post entitled “Certifiable Idiocy in the Matter of Birth and Death.” It described both the insanity of the birthers and the denial of European insurance companies who refused to pay claims to families of Holocaust survivors. The reason for the latter’s purposeful injustice was based on the fact that the Nazi had not issued death certificates “after they had extracted the victims gold teeth, gassed them, and then burned their bodies in the crematoriums in Auschwitz and Birkenau Concentration Camps.” The complete post can be found at:

At the conclusion I facetiously wrote, “Now that Osama Bin Laden has been killed, there is sure to be Doubting Donalds who see it as a sinister ploy by Obama to boost his ratings and increase his chances for re-election in 2012. They may demand to see a properly signed, official death certificate.”

The next morning when I turned to the letters-to-the-editor page of the San Jose Mercury News, John W. Lillpop had written in part, “Osama bin Laden’s death must be tempered by the probing question: Where’s the death certificate?” On his home page, J.W. describes himself as “a recovering liberal, 'clean and sober' since 1992.” On a recent blog he lauds the GOP’s leader writing,

“Donald Trump has demonstrated that he, and he alone, has the grit, determination, prestige, and intelligence to lead where the weak dare not go!”

I sent an email to J. W. praising his work and within five minutes he responded, “Wow! Thank you ever so kindly for your words. I was actually shocked that the SJMN published that.” Many others probably had the same feeling.

He added in another email, “Good to know there is another conservative in San Jose!” My problem is that J.W. is now sending me three emails a day, believing he has found ideological kinship with me.

Bay Area Absurdity

Leave Me Out of the Ball Park

When Atlanta played the Giants in San Francisco on April 23, the Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell allegedly made homophobic comments and crude gestures toward fans before a game. The leader of young men was also accused of using a baseball bat to threaten a fan that objected to his actions. McDowell was suspended without pay for two weeks by Major League Baseball and was fined an undisclosed amount. He will be required to complete sensitivity training and apologize directly to the fans involved.

Across the Bay, to celebrate the killing of Osama bin Laden, the Oakland A’s public address announcer asked fans to “Raise their Budweisers” in appreciation of those who serve their country.

Previews of Coming Distractions

Are you at all curious about the following juxtapositions?

1. On May 2, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the USA cost $3.963.

2. One year earlier, the cost was $2.898 per gallon.

3. During the first quarter of 2011, Exxon Mobil “earned” $10.7 billion, up 69% from one year ago.

4. In the same period Chevron “earned” $5.69 billion, up a mere 25% from 2010.

5. In 2010, Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon, survived on $21.6 million in compensation.

6. John Watson, CEO of Chevron, got by with $14.0 million in 2010.

That’s the Way the Ball Bounces

In a recent table tennis contest, one player was quite ebullient after winning a close game. Have you ever been ebullient and if so, when? If not, why not? We await your response by clicking on “Post a Comment” found below.