Friday 31 January 2020

Senate Trial Super Bowl!

Where is the Bigger Game - Washington or Miami?

This is a big week-end for Washington as well as Miami. The Senate's game has been going on for two weeks now and we still don't know the outcome - more like cricket.

There are more parallels than differences. However let's compare the biggest game in the Washington season and the biggest game in the football season:

  • Both rely heavily on corporate money.
  • Both make a big deal out of the kickoff but most times it amounts to nothing.
  • Inactive players sit on the sidelines. Senators watch their phones; footballers the game.
  • The Super Bowl umpires wear stripes. Perhaps the Senate ones should also - head to toe!
  • There is rough play and hard hitting in both but no penalties in the Senate.
  • You will do well in either if you can dodge, run fast, and pass the ball. 
  • In football you try to catch the ball. In the Senate you try to avoid it.
  • Both have offensive and defensive players. Most Senators however are always offensive.
  • Post game analysis lasts for hours in one but forever in the other.
  • The fans in both get into passionate fights.
  • In both, if you can keep winning you can keep playing.
  • Sometimes the oldest players do best in the Senate - not so much in football.
  • Women go crazy for footballers. You can probably guess the rest of this.
  • In the Super Bowl there is a clear winner. In the Senate there is no winner. Just losers.
  • Fans would miss almost anything for the Bowl; watch anything else but the Senate trial.

What a country! There is something for everyone.

The Brewster

Thursday 30 January 2020

Recycling Problem is Huge

Help Solve the Problem since You are the Problem

If you want to make a contribution to our world, just Google a few items on recycling of waste, types of recycling, sorting waste, classifications of waste.

Short on time? Start with plastics. The amount and types of plastic we use are eye openers. No wonder our oceans are full of them.

It seems to me there are two major problems: money and convenience.

The money part is obvious. Huge companies and their owners are making fortunes from producing and selling plastic. They are not so keen on taking it back. In addition, the packaging industry relies heavily on the stuff. Look at what you buy and what you throw out, including the fast food at restaurants and the containers discarded there that never make it home.

The convenience problem rests mainly on our shoulders. We buy the products. They are quick and easy and, as mentioned above, help to reduce the cost of the things we buy. Let's face it. This is one area where the average person is just too apathetic and lazy. Throw in cheap.

Focusing on plastics, manufacturers could use alternatives but they know if cost goes up and convenience goes down, we won't buy. As well if they ignore this, one of their competitors will likely break rank for the profits.

We are also guilty of doing a really lousy job of properly recycling. Be honest. Do you remove labels from containers? How many paper towels are discarded after a single use? Do you thoroughly wash out that peanut butter or margarine container? Do you still buy plastic shopping bags? Do you search for that tiny recycle emblem (plastic resin code) to see if it is acceptable for recycling where you live?

I could go on. My suggestion today is that since we are the major problem how about more suggestions on solutions or hacks to reuse items from us the consumers?

Here is a small one. What about mandating that those plastic codes must appear on the sides of containers? They should be big and bright enough that sorters of materials and you the consumer can see them right away. Color code them. Currently they can be difficult to find and read. If this will help with the separation, that would be a big step.

I welcome any other suggestions. All we need are ideas. There are enough entrepreneurs out there to run with them.

The Brewster

Tuesday 28 January 2020

The Golden Years of Retirement

My Golden Years Must Be Silver. They Are Tarnished

Many people fear retirement. I am there and would definitely say it is not to be feared but it absolutely requires preparation. The big one is finances. I have no problem keeping myself busy and that does not mean sitting on my butt in front of the TV. If you really want  to enjoy yourself you need 1 of 2 things: A big net worth to replace your salary with earnings or a very inexpensive passtime which you love.

I did really well in school always getting top marks but in that subject which is not taught per se, called life, and its advanced topic called retirement, I give myself a failing grade.

I was born in the late '40s. There are many things for which my generation should be grateful. In my case:

  1. I never had to go off to face the horrors of war possibly never to return.
  2. I did not face the discrimination many face daily.
  3. My family was not wealthy growing up but we had a decent life because of the hard work and sacrifice of my parents.
  4. I never had and so far still don't have any serious health problems. I do workout and watch what I eat to preserve this.
  5. I could have done anything and become anything I really wanted. So can you.
  6. I lived for several years in a university residence and had the time of my life. I had a lot of catching up to do with experiences most kids had in high school. My energy went more into socializing than to academics.
  7. I lived and worked for a few years in another country experiencing an entirely different culture - the U.K. I enjoyed it.
  8. I have no serious financial debts but also no excess to do many things that others are now enjoying.
I have many regrets and for these I am solely responsible:

  1. I never found a calling at which I had a natural talent and which I enjoyed. If you find that and give it all you have you will do well in life.
  2. Long before meeting my partner I let the one woman I should have asked to spend our lives together get away. That's the one regrettable thing about my time in the U.K. In the case of my partner on the other hand, long before we met she found the man she thought was her match but it did not work out.
  3. I should have pursued music, writing, or some other form of the creative arts.
  4. I did not have kids.
  5. I took my education for granted working very hard at it but for the wrong reasons and in the wrong fashion.
  6. For some time I did give professional financial advice and sold financial products to clients but in this area I was like the plumber with leaky taps at home.
  7. Essentially I drifted through life event by event. I should have charted a course.
So why people will ask, am I writing this? Perhaps some younger person or their parent will read it and realize the answer to that question: This is how NOT to lead your life. Invest for a rainy day and find something you love doing and someone to love. The rest will take care of itself.

The Brewster

Sunday 26 January 2020

Kobe Bryant and Gianna

A Tiny Bit of Positive, in a Horrible Tragedy

I don't follow sports but I knew the name and his celebrity as a basketball star. Now I even know the name of one of his daughter's.

Many are probably castigating me right now for the heading "Tiny Bit of Positive" for such a sad event. I understand but please read on.

The Bit of Positive to which I refer is simply that such an event involving a famous person makes us realize:

  1. Such a horrible thing can and does happen to ANYONE, even ourselves.
  2. Several families suffered here
  3. Such events can happen in the next 5 seconds, today, tomorrow - anytime.
  4. There is nothing we can do to prevent them.
  5. Celebrities and their loved ones grieve just like us.
  6. Live for today because tomorrow might never happen.
  7. Be damned appreciative that this has not yet happened to you or those you love (if that is the case) and make every minute with them count.
Having expressed that, my heart goes out to all of those who knew and loved all of these people because above all that is what we lost - people.

We will never know why this happened - not the technical causes - but why now, and why this, and why them. Religion and faith have no real answers.

It's called life and sometimes it really sucks.

The Brewster

The Dumbing Down of English

Misplaced Participle - Say What?

English is one of the most prevalent languages and citizens of many counties learn and speak it. I never forget however that it is indeed the ENGLISH language. It is not Canadian, American, Australian etc. So when it comes to one aspect of any spoken language - pronunciation - they are always right and we are not. WE have the accent and not those from over the pond.

It is natural that over time any dictionary grows and changes because of new terms and words. These are often slanged or technological terms that have simply become so commonplace that the great institutions like Oxford and Webster have accepted them. To me, sometimes this is good, sometimes not.

One I have heard frequently recently is nucular. Presidents and spokespeople for the industry have said it. The word is nuclear and I hope it is not accepted simply because many people are wrong in its use. More acceptable are viral as in a video "going viral" or Facebook "friends" even though you will never meet them.

There are lots of others but I am straying from my point.

What IS sad to me is the apparent total lack of focus on vocabulary and grammar the way they were taught years ago. Vocabulary was not taught per se but those who tended to read more possessed more extensive vocabularies.

Grammar is another matter. Perhaps this is because it used to be one of my better subjects and I remember a lot of it. Example: It is a topic most people won't relate to. Did you catch it? That should read "… is a topic to which most people won't relate." I speak this way and people look at me like I am from another planet - even those of my generation. Here is another: "As far as grammar most people don't care." It should be "As far as grammar is concerned …"; "As far as grammar goes …"; "When it comes to grammar … ."

At this point I have probably lost half of my readers. I am not trying to be snobby, it just means something to me. It's a bit like those who still send real snail mail cards and acknowledge emails or gifts - just a case of old habits not dying because we don't want them to die.

In the late 1980's I took a business writing course at work. I was dressed down a few times because they were teaching that one should write at a grade 11 high school level. You were supposed to avoid words of more than three syllables. Really? So why did I finish school?

Do they even teach grammar? I know spelling is gone and script. What about basic math or arithmetic?

Too bad. I will continue to offend the sensitivities of some I suppose. After all, I is smart!

The Brewster

Saturday 25 January 2020

Trump and the Ukraine

Hold That Thought … No PAUSE It!

There is one point I would like to make before I address today's post. 

At some point the White House et al decided that the controversial hold on aid to the Ukraine was not a hold at all but a pause! Did everyone catch that? It was back in the House. A determined effort was made but occasionally one of them slipped and said hold again. Read these words guys: If it smells like a hold, walks like a hold, looks like a hold, and has the same negative effects on the Ukraine as a hold, IT PROBABLY IS A HOLD! Having noticed that weeks ago, now that I am hearing the Republican Senate Managers' arguments, their words have more substance. (Even though I heard both "hold" and "pause" today.)
I am not a Trump fan and agree with the Dem's efforts to oust him. However as I said in a recent post I think they have blown it.

Thursday and Friday we got to see the best that the President and the GOP could put forward. I must say I was impressed. One of the things I mentioned in the past was that the strategy of having seven Democratic managers effectively give the same old story seven times was bad. One Republican presenter whom I watched made reference to that. 

He also made a point of saying that he was not going to repeat what a prior speaker had said or what someone yet to come would say. Now THAT is the kind of coordination the Democrats lacked.

The 3 men I saw made great cases! They made really effective use of the very same witnesses we saw in the house but included segments the Democrats left out AND they mentioned the omissions. Very effective and I gather the Dem's won't have a chance to fire back. The third one explained quite effectively why certain witnesses were not permitted to address the House. This was a very different and new perspective never explained by the Democrats. The reasons were supposedly sound and legitimate.

But none of this matters because the majority of voters will vote on emotions, not facts. Unfortunately the Republican lawyers so far have much more expensive looking suits, ties, and hairdos so they will win regardless.

Perhaps the Dumbos (elephants) are going to nudge out the Jackasses (donkeys) in the home stretch.

The Brewster

Wednesday 22 January 2020

Senate Trial

I'll Huff and I'll Puff and I'll Blow Your House In

Day 2 now and I think the Democratic Managers have already blown it.

If I were Schumer or whoever is in charge of these seven people now in the Senate to make their final case, I would make sure that the world did not get just the same old story over and over again seven times.

Not so. This is like some kind of public speaking contest where the rules say you have to recite the same script and can only get points by differing your facial expressions, dramatic gestures and gesticulations, voice inflection, and poignant pauses. Even the videos we've seen before. They all want their 15 minutes of Warhol fame.

A big problem here is also the fact that we have been hearing this for months now on CNN. They have been Trump bashing 24/7 since the election. Same stuff. Saying the same thing a hundred times does not change the facts or substance one little bit, even if the story is true. It just turns people off and it has. Too bad many of them voters who might have been persuaded to switch but now have been bludgeoned too much and will not.

I want to see DJT gone as much as anyone but I fear that after the two years of Mueller's efforts which failed to meet expectations, the last big opportunity is being blown. CNN has to share the blame. They flogged us to death with this stuff. There is no drama left. The man will get away with it

When the subjects of forbidden witnesses and documents come up the Republicans and all the White House team keep saying that the Dems should have taken them to court to get them. That is apparently standard practice. Maybe now is the time to finally respond that nobody should be put in a position that they have to do that. The Republicans have always moaned that the House process was unfair. Talk about unfair! If the witnesses and documents could bring an early finish to all of this, and they want fair then don't say "you should have taken us to court."

Will somebody on the Dem. team please make this point? Enough of phone calls, Giuliani, and Latin.

It might be your last hope.

The Brewster

Tuesday 21 January 2020

Senate Impeachment Olympics

Super Trial Tuesday

I have watched more American politics on TV in the last two years than I have any other programming. As a Canadian that is hard to admit. It is also silly.

So I might as well go all the way. I think there should be a new logo designed for this whole impeachment undertaking that is on prominent display both in the House and the Senate. Given the coverage and duration the Olympic rings would be good but they are taken and God knows we have enough lawsuits ongoing with you know who so better not go there. We need our own.

How about those three monkeys that depict "Hear No Evil", "See No Evil", and "Speak No Evil". Now that is more like it. Instead of monkeys however appropriate that might be we should use baboons. Better yet let's use the Democratic Donkey mascot (i.e. Jack Ass) and the Republican Elephant mascot (i.e. Dumbo).

In the House with a Democratic majority it could be two Jack Asses and one Dumbo. In the Senate the reverse. That is just one more thing for them to argue about but what the hell, it would at least be entertaining. Now a Jack Ass is stubborn which is very apropos. Unfortunately an elephant never forgets and the current GOP seem to selectively forget anything. Still with the name Dumbo, I can live with it.

I could take this to an even higher height of the ridiculous. Instead of dress code we could have dress up! You get extra time on the floor for the most extravagant outfit. Picture the bar in the first Star Wars with all those creatures. Members should have to wear head coverings. Not only would this make ethnic practices more acceptable but everyone including those speaking would have to concentrate on their message alone if they wanted to get the listener's attention.

Instead of a gavel sound, a recording of assault weapon fire would make everybody snap to it! Then they might also experience the horror of such a moment. Now for the top gun in the place. Headwear would be good. A crown is out of the question in America. What about a joker's, jester's, or dunce's hat?

One final morsel of food for thought. Sessions open and close to the Micky Mouse Club theme song!

Stay tuned for updates.

The Brewster

Monday 20 January 2020

Are Parents Facing Up or Copping Out?

Parental Teachings Extinct?

I like to start something like this with a few declarations. 
  1. I am a baby boomer.
  2. I don't have kids but once upon a time I was one (still am!)
  3. I said sure, sure, sure when my parents said stuff like this. 
  4. Now I am saying it just the same
How many of you in my generation are tired of seeing nostalgic pictures and videos somebody Emailed you about old commercials, TV shows, cars, sayings, gadgets, games, and things you can't even recognize? They get a little boring so this is a different list.

This one is about teachings that were usually part of a parental responsibility to make sure their kids were going to grow into strong, respectable offspring who could face the world and make them proud grandparents. The list is random. Do today's parents even try?
  1. Don't use that kind of language in my presence. Today parents use it themselves. 
  2. No you can't have this or that until you get a summer job and buy it yourselves. We don't make as much as Jimmy's / Sally's parents.
  3. Just to throw in a positive, praising your kids' accomplishments is always a good idea. Hard to do today when the kids are so self-absorbed that you don't know what those accomplishments are, especially if they are some score on their phone or game box.
  4. No more TV. Outside and play! Good luck with that today. 
  5. Get off the phone. Now they all have their own VERY expensive ones.
  6. No sex. Well at least late high school. Now I suspect it happens in primary school. 
  7. You are not leaving this house looking like that. Today the problem is that the parents often look like "that". 
  8. Call your grandmother (aunt; uncle etc.) and thank them for that gift. Say what?
  9. Eat your dinner - all of it. We did. Does anyone now? Dinner is usually fast food for the whole family. 
  10. Turn down that music. OK this is a good thing. Now parents can't hear it but the kids' ears are damaged even more.
Many more could be in the list. I know that for years both parents have had to work so there is less time to be a positive influence. 

This is the modern day generation gap. The kids I see were born to parents who themselves were raised without hearing any of the above. These parents don't see any problem. If they do they are too busy worrying about how they are going to pay off their credit card or get another one.

The Brewster

Saturday 18 January 2020

In Praise of Good Authors

Ditch the Phone, PC, and Television

There are two forms of entertainment that are dying slow deaths. It is too bad. They used to be so strong - in fact they were the only games in town for in-house entertainment.

Once upon a time not so long ago, if you wanted to entertain yourselves in the evening or on the week-end, your choices were limited. I am talking pre-television. You listened to the radio, read a book or magazine, or played a board game, card game, did a jigsaw puzzle or whatever. There were movies, but you had to go to them.

Imagine - no motion or colour, no graphics or animation - in fact no visual at all. With radio there is sound. With a book there is sight. With both you use only one of the 5 human senses. However in each case you have to use that magnificent forerunner of all machines or electronics, the human brain and it's ability to imagine, think, and deduce.

I am no psychologist but I can certainly dream and with this suggestion I know I am dreaming! But I believe it would be great therapy for people to just sit as I often do all alone and read a good book. I never used to read much - the odd time. I credit my partner for getting me back into it - she loves to read. I used to think like many people that it is hard and it takes time. That is an excuse. In my opinion the author that wrote the book is even more clever than any movie producer precisely becuse he or she has only the written word with which to work. It is great mental exercise because that forces your brain to work. When you watch all the latest visual effects on TV or at a movie it is all done for you. They have two senses with which to excite you sight and sound.

Think of the other benefits. You can treat yourself to total silence while entertaining yourself. That drives some people nuts - they need background noise. Try it outside one a beautiful morning with the sounds of birds and the smells of nature. It is truly amazing. Think of it - no electricity or game controllers. No texting with others. You can also read anywhere in the house or yard - not so with TV or video.

Now think about radio. Here we are sadly lacking in options. When I was young everyone listened to a radio and once again the producers of the shows we heard only had sound with which to work. There were great comedy programs and fantastic scary, intriguing mysteries. Today in fact - especially for people with hearing disabilities - you can combine both by listening to books in audio form.

I can't imagine kids doing either of these unless their parents encourage or even enforce it. Today most kids really can't read or find it too much of a chore! Like it or not, there will come times when they have to read. It is good practice and it could be such a blessing in their elder years. I wish radio networks would make an effort to provide more verbal entertainment. In my opinion radio advertising is more effective because the message or brand is not lost in all of the other senses.

It will never happen en masse but that is a shame and it is probably why I blog. The writing is as therapeutic and satisfying to me as the reading. Try a compromise. If you have to watch your favourite sport OK and one or two shows but do yourself a favour and try reading. Libraries make it totally free.

Your brain will thank you and so will bidding authors and print journalists

The Brewster

Wednesday 15 January 2020

Last CNN Democratic Debate

First Impresions

Let me say it again. I am Canadian but I watched the CNN debate last night as the best of lousy alternatives. I always find it entertaining even though I am not a voter.

First impressions: They are all going to have a very busy "First Day in Office" given the promises! You have to admire any of them for doing this in front of millions of people.
  1. Joe Biden: Lived up to expectations. You have to like the man but unfortunately every time he gets excited it seems that his brain and vocal chords disconnect. He stumbles verbally and although he recovers, the negative impression has already been formed. Trump will play this to the max. It makes him sound too old.
  2. Amy Klobuchar: My favourite (Canadian. spelling). Along with many others I like her more every time. She would make a great President and get al LOT done. Probably not going to happen. Hope she tries again. She speaks well and thinks quickly on her feet. I doubt she would take any crap from DJT.
  3. Elizabeth Warren: Another strong candidate but tax the rich just never seems to make it in a society totally controlled by them. Another quick thinker. Just don't think she will project as well as Hillary for example, on the world stage. How do we travel the day after she kills oil? It has to happen but gradually. Personally I do think the super rich have to pay and a lot more than she is proposing. 
  4. Pete Buttigieg: Always liked him. Sharp as a tack. Great military experience - the real thing - unlike DJT. As good a thinker and talker as Klobuchar. He might make a good VP for her. If America is still not ready for a female POTUS, they will self-implode with a male POTUS and male First Husband! Too bad but true.
  5. Tom Steyer: Always like him and what he says. I believe him when, even though he is very rich, he says he will put that experience to good use against the super rich and corporations who own politicians. Unlike Trump, he will put his business knowledge to good use. If he survives any longer, he has to stop looking at the camera after he wraps up any statements with the look of a little kid wanting a lollipop as a reward for what he just did. If an independent is nominated, it will be Blumberg who has a better track record in politics.
  6. Bernie Sanders: Again a really likeable guy but I doubt it will happen. How many times do I have to tell you Bernie, stop jabbing that finger in our faces! Well intentioned. Well educated. Well we hope, in health. Well past his time. The super rich will remove him if he is elected. The means won't matter. Could he stand the pressure in a real world military crisis? Preaching will not halt armies or missiles.
My picks? As mentioned above, how about Klobuchar for Pres. and Pete for VP? Let's REALLY go wild with Klobuchar AND Warren as a tag team? Both could fill either role. However, and yes this is the M.C.Pig coming out in me, before the first year one would have scratched out the eyes of the other. Naturally they would then say they are still friends .

If they would elect a woman and an elderly one the best choice would be Pelosi. Too bad. That leaves Blumberg. There is your best bet my good friends to the south. He could slaughter Trump AND get things done.

The Brewster

Monday 13 January 2020

Death and Something to Think About

Maybe It Has Another Purpose

The world is still mourning the recent loss of some 176 people after Iran used missiles to shoot down a plane. In August we said good bye to my mother. This week-end I will attend my long time neighbour's funeral.

Death is not fun. Some believe it has a purpose, other than keeping population growth in check. I am one of them.

In a reversal of tragedy, these are some of the things that run through my mind and perhaps yours. 
  1. You are still here even though they are not. However you can't help but ponder your own destiny. Will I be here tomorrow; next year; in 10 years?
  2. If the death was peaceful and pain-free, you think at least there is that. If not you try not to imagine how they suffered.
  3. Certainly in my case and when the death is horrific or involves innocent little children, I question the existence and nature of any higher being or deity. 
  4. For most it makes you glad that you and those you love are still here.
  5. If you are religious or believe in spirits, you wonder if they can now see you or know what you are thinking.
  6. It makes you think about the person if you knew them and THAT for me is the "spirit" part - the legacy.
  7. Along with #6, you wonder about things you should or shouldn't have done with the departed or said to them.
  8. If you believe in such things you wonder where they are now - in a better or worse place.
  9. It makes you realize that you damned well better enjoy all the things and people you can, starting RIGHT NOW before it is too late.
  10. Finally it SHOULD make you wonder how you can accomplish #9 while making life a little better for others so that one day others will be experiencing #6.

If you don't experience at least some of the above, you should start to question if you really are alive or ever have been.

The Brewster

Sunday 12 January 2020

Urban Centres of the Future

Will Personal Vehicles be Banned from Cities?

In my lifetime this is what I have experienced as trends for of living and working. I am referring here to a working class or middle income family. The very wealthy can always do whatever they want.

Families had a basic choice - buy in the city if you enjoyed that kind of living and could afford it, or buy further away in the "burbs" where property was cheaper and lots were bigger.

My parents chose the "burbs" - Scarborough, Ontario, Canada and bought car(s) to commute to Toronto where dad worked, which at that time was easy to do. 

I did both. With my first job and first car I lived and worked in the city as a young bachelor. I rented an apartment and travelled on public transportation. When I finally bought and settled down I switched to the burbs which had spread even further away from the core of the city. Depending on job location, I drove or took public transportation.

I expect that most large North American cities and residents went through the same phases, as did European cites but often centuries ago. Now things are changing rapidly.
  1. Populations are exploding, primarily through immigration 
  2. City property is becoming way out of most peoples' range financially 
  3. Land and housing in the burbs is undergoing the same inflation of prices
  4. Commuter expressways are becoming impossible to travel - most are at standstills
  5. Petroleum fuelled vehicles are being phased out. But even if we all drove electric ones, that wouldn't solve the traffic congestion problem
  6. The vehicles themselves are getting beyond the financial reach of many people
  7. Many investors often foreign are buying up what properties are still available
  8. Most of the jobs available to my parents' and even my generation are gone
  9. Now there are many high rise condos being built close to trains. Most are for young people who still work in Toronto but can't afford housing anywhere. Traffic is even worse. Older generations (mine!) want to hold on to what they have
What can we do? Here are some thoughts but I welcome your input. Please comment below. 
  1. Make it financially unviable for most people to drive their cars to work. Put the onus on companies to say a car is needed for an employee if that is the case. Punish companies who falsify this
  2. For self-employed people, they would also have to declare in a suitable fashion that driving is necessary and prove why. Special officers could do random checks on people to see who is cheating
  3. For 1. and 2. to work massive spending on public transportation is needed. It has to be close, frequent, reliable, and inexpensive
  4. Considerable incentives should be available to large companies to locate their major offices outside the cities taking the jobs to the people
  5. If they have not done so already, political leaders should visit other cities who have solved many of these problems and Paris is a good starting place
  6. Wealthy people have to follow the same rules
  7. Nail today's non-paying cheaters on public transit with massive fines
Personal flying craft are the stuff of dreams. There are enough horrible drivers. Don't even think about it. Also I'd rather walk than trust an auto-pilot.

The Brewster

Saturday 11 January 2020

Iran and the Plane

Who is Covering Up Now?

I could write, as have others, many pieces about Trump and the U.S. and their role in all of this. None of it is good. I loved the quotes on CNN- verifiable - of DJT while Obama was POTUS predicting that Obama would play "The Iran Card" and start a war so he - Barack - could be re-elected. "Ironic" does not do it justice.

But let's look at the other side now. Some Islamic leaders have justified beheading and other horrific acts in the past as fighting the enemy - meaning any non-believers. Other more moderate leaders have said Islam is all about peace. We all hope so and know many peace loving Muslims.

But what do the leaders of Iran who also are the political leaders of their government in this non-secular country say about this murder of so many innocents? How is that justified? I understand an objective of removing American forces from your country and the Middle East. I can even understand the hatred of the idea that foreign governments think they have the right to force their ways and beliefs upon you.

But what role did those 176 passengers play? Why did you deny it and try to cover it up by cleaning up the site? The big question to me is why the perpetrator(s) would attack what is obviously a commercial jet taking off from Iran? Were they extremists trying to cause the Iranian regime massive problems at the passengers' expense?

One more point. What does Ukrainian President Zelensky whom Trump was so eager to "help" prior to his impeachment, think of his American friend now? Thankfully he probably has too much tact to try to make this tragedy any worse for the families of those lost. I wonder what DJT would do in similar circumstances? 

Oh good - I have just seen that Iran has apologized. Now what are they going to do about it?

The Brewster

Thursday 9 January 2020

Linda Ronstadt

The Sound of Her Voice Indeed!

I recently watched a well-advertised special on CNN about the rise of Linda Ronstadt. What a pleasant break from all the Trump dumping. This is one hell of a talented lady. The film shows her immense diversity and the album she did with Nelson Riddle drives home the point.

I always felt this but seeing her career in one continuum knocked me over. It was very well done containing a lot of personal dialogue with Linda herself. She always spoke her mind and did her own thing. This is an artist who knew exactly what she wanted song by song and had the guts to try literally anything in the music world. Good on her.

It was a sad thing to learn of her illness and how it stole her voice but she has an upbeat attitude or at least she is good at covering up any depression.

Too bad I wasn't playing tourist walking along the beach one day as she took a stroll. I am not an autograph seeker but sure would have asked for hers.

Good on you Linda. I have since dragged out the CDs and even cassettes I have of you.

The Brewster

Tuesday 7 January 2020

The USA is Now Safer?

Swat a Hornet's Nest and See If You Feel Safer

The White House is saying after the attack and killing of Iranian and Iraqi military men on territory belonging to Iraq, that the USA is now safer. Do you - anywhere in the world - feel safer?

I don't:
  • Anytime we are possibly about to see a major conflict grow into all out war with nuclear weapons a possibility. But hey, I am not DJT or his cronies
  • Anytime a people who already hate all Americans and everthing they stand for swear they will strike back
  • Anytime the USA says some hostile force is defeated and yet they really aren't
  • Anytime a US President is desperate to be re-elected
  • Anytime passionate religious fanatics are involved
  • Anytime America loses a conflict and has to start another so as not to lose face
Those are probably enough reasons but there are lots more.

The Brewster

Saturday 4 January 2020

Iraq Smack

One of These Days - POW!

Those who remember Jackie Gleason in The Honeymooners will recall him threatening his wife Alice with "POW" and hitting her so hard in the kisser she would go to the moon. Very incorrect these days!

However the same applies increasingly to America.

The U.S. has a history of violating other nations by launching attacks and military actions in their sovereign spaces with reckless abandon. Seldom is it purely for the sake of the poor oppressed or violated peoples of those countries. There is always an ulterior motive: protect or attain oil or other resources; secure or protect a military base; create a new strategic military position; and often simply to be the first to prevent others like The Soviet Union / Russia from beating them to it. Let's not forget the same few company executives getting filthy rich from the war machine.

Where were they when the Canadians were reporting on the slaughter in Rwanda?  Thousands of citizens including women and children had their arms and/or legs chopped off just for sport. There were appeals to the U.N. but it was seen as a humanitarian fight. There was nothing in it for America.

Even in the first and second world wars someone else had to convince the American Presidents it was in their best interests to get involved - now or later. (There was also of course in the 2nd case, a direct attack by Japan.)

There is no question I am glad, as are others, that America is there as a backup and often a disincentive to others with aggression or expansion in mind. However we hear daily declarations that the USA still has the mightiest military and weapons, years beyond what anybody else can develop. I am not so sure anymore. China in particular probably has many strategic weapons and technologies they keep to themselves.

Many of those other countries still bear a hatred for America. I don't think this is about to happen but let's say that China launched an all out attack against the USA. One or two others like Russia, Syria, North Korea, India, or Pakistan could side with the Chinese. Start ducking! The USA would have to bring out the nukes making results anybody's call.

I digress. My point today was about the latest killing by the United States in Iraq. Aside from the Twin Towers, there has never been a really big assault on mainland turf. More and more countries however could do so. They could also sink a ship; reach a major city with a missile; or target senior US military leaders in return. This would likely be to give America a taste of her own medicine. She would have to respond.

Does America really want to trigger this? Trump should make up his mind. Either get out of the business of nation building and bullying as he campaigned, or not. Many people agreed with him to let others fight their own battles unless the USA itself were in danger. What he is doing now is like throwing another spark into an almost defeated forest fire just to keep it going. As if we don't have enough forest fires to fight.

Is this to divert attention from impeachment or is it just another case of war being good for the economies of major participants? It is never good for the rest of us.

Mr. President if you keep playing with fire, one of these times you AND your great nation really will get burned.

The Brewster

Thursday 2 January 2020

Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell

Top 5 Pelosi / McConnell songs for 2020

As the standoff between these two continues into 2020, I thought it might be interesting to guess the tunes each might be singing right now. Here are some from the first few books I picked up!

  1. As Long as He Needs Me
  2. Too Beautiful to Last
  3. Anything Goes
  4. We've Only Just Begun
  5. Ain't Misbehavin'
  6. Don't Stop Me Now
  7. All the Way
  8. It Was a Very Good Year
  9. As Time Goes By
  10. Just Between You and Me


  1. What Kind of Fool Am I?
  2. Don't Fence Me In
  3. Ain't She Sweet
  4. Devil Woman
  5. My Way
  6. Release Me
  7. At Last  
  8. Quit Your Low Down Ways
  9. Under Pressure
  10. Helpless
There are lots of possibilities.

The Brewster