The “N” – Word: A Confession

OK, let me get it out now. Nigger. The “N”-word is nigger. The word is the rage of talk radio right now because the National Football League is planning to penalize any utterance of the word “nigger” (or permutations – e.g. “nigga”) with a fifteen yard loss. The discussions surrounding this NFL kerfuffle are extremely amusing: Should the penalty be assessed if an “African – American” (which I shall discuss herein as well) utters the word?  Or is it only when white players utter it? Is the prohibition only applied to on-field banter? Or does it include off-field, i.e. sideline, locker room) as well? What about Polynesian players?

I find the entire issue humorous because it is about a WORD! Not an action. A word that can be answered by ignoring it, laughing at it, or (unfortunately) aggressively responding to it. One can even win a trial by uttering it. I said “nigger” in a trial and lived to tell about it. I need to provide some background before relating the story.

I am a white attorney. At the time that this trial occurred, I was married to a black (which I shall discuss herein as well) female. One of our favorite television to watch was Russell Simmons Def Comedy Jam. It was emceed by the hysterical, but foul-mouthed, Martin Lawrence. One of Martin’s mannerisms was to call every black performer and black audience member “my nigga”. It was the first time that I had ever been exposed to this phenomena. (My father-in-law, for instance, did not say “my nigga” when seeing his other sons-in-law). I found it quite strange because I never heard anybody else use their pejorative with such glee. I did not see Jews, for instance, greet each other in temple with “my Kike” or “my Jew-boy”. Mexicans with “my wet-back“. Italians with “my wop“. Puerto Ricans with “my spic“. But there it was, in living color and on national TV, “my nigga”.

My client – a middle aged black male. His charged offense – aggravated assault with a firearm. The alleged victims – two black male teenagers. The judge – a white Jewish male (who is now, BTW, an appellate judge). The Assistant State Attorney – a black female. The jury – I’m a little fuzzy on this, but there were at least two black jurors. The allegations were that my client, without provocation, accosted and threatened these two yutes (oops), youths, with a gun. My client told me that these two youths were harassing his white wife. Both the client and his wife said that he confronted the two teenagers, but that he has unarmed.

The case proceeded, the witnesses told their versions of the facts (except for my client who chose to remain silent), and now it was time for closing argument. How could I explain why two fit, healthy male teenagers would flee from a middle aged man? Why not just stand and beat his ass? The solution I came upon is the following: [My client] came charging down the sidewalk like a madman, yelling insanely, arms flailing over his head. One of those kids turned to the other and said “That is one crazy nigger. Lets get out of here!” You would have though I dropped a bomb in the courtroom (which, figuratively, I did). The Assistant State Attorney shot to her feet, screeching “OBJECTION”!!! The judge shot ramrod straight in his chair and barked “In my chambers”. We retreated back to his chambers where I was reamed a new asshole. Fortunately, that was all. After the lambasting we returned to the courtroom where I continued my closing. I merely asked the jury to return a verdict of simple assault. After the judge read the instructions, the jury retired to the jury room to deliberate.

Far from tanking my case and enflaming the black members of the jury, they were perhaps the only people in the courtroom who were nonplussed. The jury quickly returned with a verdict – Guilty of the lesser included charge of assault. I won. My client won. The Assistant State Attorney to this day probably believes that I am a racist. She was never able to grasp the nuance in which I used “nigger”. The fact that I, a white man, uttered the word is enough to satisfy her “chip on the shoulder” attitude that I am a racist.

So ends the confession, but I do want to also address the matter of “African American”. For many years of the twentieth century, the use of “colored people” was a step up from the word “negroes”. In the sixties (my formative years), the youths of that population clamored for the use of “black”. “Black Power” and “Black is Beautiful” reverberated across the land. I internalized that, and I have called people black, without rancor or malice. 

Race-baiter Jesse Jackson was not satisfied, however. The white mans acceptance and comfort level with the word “black” meant it was time to change the language. “Black” people were now insulted by the use of “black” because it ignored the fact that there were a wide range of hues. “People of color” was the new descriptor because it was inclusive. “People of color” only lasted a short while for two reasons: First, it is unwieldy. Second, it harkened back to the rejected term “colored people”. This did not dissuade Jackson, however. He hit upon “African-Americans”. Brilliant! This identification is easy to use, salves white guilt, and decisively separates the black Americans out of America. Now black people have a reason to feel grieved – they are not a part of America. Jackson’s concoction, while brilliant on its face, is actually stupid and insulting. First, the phrase is descriptive of nothing. there are many white Africans. It is a lie. Black Americans have virtually nothing in common with their African ancestors but their skin color. A Black American thrown to Africa would be booking the next plane back to the United States.

Black Americans are Americans first, no matter where their ancestors came from. They are as varied in likes, interests, and opinions as every other American. My ex-wife is smart, super-tidy, family oriented, and liberal. And black. My present wife is brilliant, funny, and conservative. And black. I loved my first wife, and I love my present wife. And I’m white. The best thing is, all of us saw past the color of our skin and focused instead on the content of our character.              

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The Last Constitutional Saviors

Liberal Hollywood loves the idea: A general (i.e. a military appointee) takes it upon himself to unseat a tyrannical ruler and deliver the power of governance back to the elected representatives of the people. “Gladiator” won the Best Picture award at the 73rd Academy Award ceremony.

The World loves the idea: Generals of the Egyptian army took it upon themselves to unseat an elected tyrannical ruler, Mohamed Morsi, and the other members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and return the power of governance back to the people. New elections are forthcoming.

The United States president, before taking office, takes an oath swearing to defend the Constitution. Obama; by refusing to include Congress in the governance, by refusing to comply with and follow lawfully enacted legislation, by refusing to comply with the decisions of the courts, has failed his sworn responsibility. The United States congressional electees (i.e. Senate and House of Representatives), before taking office, each take an oath to defend the Constitution. Congressmen (and women); by refusing to hold the President accountable, have failed their sworn responsibility. Federal judges, before taking office, each take an oath to defend the Constitution. The courts; by declaring the Affordable Care Act constitutional and finding spying activities without a warrant constitutional, have failed their sworn responsibilities. United States servicemen (and women) (i.e. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard, Coast Guard), before enlisting, must take an oath to defend the Constitution. Where are they today?

Please, generals, uphold your oath, place Obama, Biden and Holder under arrest, hold them for trial for treason, and for death by firing squad that each so richly deserve. Deliver the power of governance back to the people and their elected representatives, and, specifically, the office of President to the next in constitutional line, the Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner. Hopefully he will lead this country back to the constitutional mandate on which this nation is founded.     

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One of Marriage’s Little Joys (or a Nit in the Heavenly Balm)

Physical health is, probably, the single most important matter to every single person alive (Fernando the exception).  We are almost daily battered and bombarded with stories about threats to our health and the extreme likelihood of some type of global pandemic, e.g. bird flu, viruses. Our nations largest pharmacy chains, CVS and Walgreens, constantly advertise flu shots.

Now I am not denigrating or making light of any of these messages (okay, maybe a little bit!). To protect myself I use the antimicrobial hand wipes on the shopping cart handles that Publix provides in the foyer of the store. In fact, I wish that gas stations provided these hand wipes at the location of the gas pumps. (Do you really want to pick up a pump handle right after the previous customer sneezed into his hand immediately before he picked the handle up??)

My wife is very devoted to disease avoidance. She truly believes that cleanliness is next to Godliness. The nit in the proverbial ointment is our differing opinions on how much antimicrobial soft soap is needed to be applied to one’s hands to ensure the best efficacy of the soap on the microbes?

I am of the opinion that only a little dab is sufficient, so long as it is enough that, upon physical machinations, ones hands have been in contact with the soap. My wife, on the other hand, pours a lot of soap into her hands so that, upon the physical machinations, her hands are clearly and distinctly slimed with the soap.

I tried to Google and find an answer. What I found from the world’s foremost authority, the World Health Organization, is typical bureaucratic blather that did not answer the question. (read page 96). So I can’t claim rightiness. Darn.

So how about it, People! How much antimicrobial soft soap is needed to be applied to one’s hands to ensure the best efficacy of the soap on the microbes?

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The Last Time

Human beings celebrate the “firsts” in life. The Birthday is the annual celebration of our first day of life, the Anniversary a celebration of our first day of wedded bliss. We all remember with utmost clarity each of our children’s first step. Rarely, however, do we remember the “last” time that we did something. Oh sure, we probably remember the last time that we saw a loved one before that person passed away. I am fascinated, however, by the cessation of the sublime, everyday activities in life. When my son put away his Hot Wheels cars into his toy chest, did either of us know that that would be the last time that we would play “smash-em-up” on the floor? After watching the videotape of Disney’s “The Rescuers” for the 500th time, did either of us know that that would be the last time that we ever again watch that movie? Pedaling our bikes home from the park, did either of us know that that would be the last time that we played in that park? And, if we had known these were the last times, would we have altered our lives by participating in that activity a little longer? Doing it again the next day?   

Life is like a flowing river; sometimes just placidly meandering and other times in a mighty rush. No matter the velocity, however, none of us can ever travel back up the river. I only wish that I would have better savored and remembered many of the beautiful spots along the way.

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Phil Has Spoken: Now it’s My Turn

Phil Robertson, patriarch of “Duck Dynasty“, has given his opinion of homosexuality in the pages of “GQ“. Now, solely for the possibility that I may someday be a public persona and that, therefore, my opinion on this subject will need to be known, I offer the following words.

Before starting, however, I wish to differentiate between “homosexuality” and “homosexuals”. “Homosexuality” are the acts of sexuality performed with members of like gender, while “homosexuals” are those people engaged in the acts of sexuality with members of their own gender. This distinction if of critical importance.

I am a conservative Jew. As I understand the teaching of my faith, “homosexuality” is not an approved behavior. (I don’t know enough to declare it to be a sin because I do know that Jews do not share Christians views of Heaven and Hell). Therefore, I do not approve of homosexuality either. I consider it a character flaw. However, gluttony, envy, selfishness and bigotry are also character flaws as well. It is safe to say that every single person (me included) are beset by numerous character flaws. Character flaws, I suppose, have varying values; i.e. there are serious flaws, and there are less serious flaws. For example, a flaw that permits a person to kill another person without any provocation is a SERIOUS flaw, whilst a flaw that permits a person to card a five on a hole that took him seven shots to hole out is a flaw that is not very serious. On my grading scale, homosexuality score right there with the golf score mis-counter.

The matter of marriage is a battle that need not be waged. Marriage is a religious rite. My shul would never allow homosexuals to wed (and if it did, I would change to a different shul that did not allow such a marriage). However, there are religions that allow homosexuals to wed, and I’m fine with that. If I were to be invited to such a wedding at such a church, I’d be honored to be invited. One things that I am sure of is that the government must not be involved in the matter of marriage. If it is to be involved at all, it must be limited to partnerships. And partnerships must be guided by universal rule of partnership. As part of those universal rules, a partnership can be comprised of two or more persons joining toward a common enterprise. If three men and five women want to become a partnership, then the government must allow it. (And, of course, if there is a religious order that would permit a marriage of three men and five women, then I would have no problem with that!)

I agree with Phil that homosexuality makes no common sense to me. A life form’s highest calling is to reproduce. Persons of any sexual orientation that engage in acts of homosexuality cannot reproduce. If homosexuals engage in acts sexuality with members of the opposite gender so that reproduction occurs, that is fine. All of this leads to the closing sentiment – HOMOSEXUALS may (or may not) be wonderful human beings. Homosexuality, however, is a behavior that is cowardly, selfish, and illogical.

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Addictions

I have always been fascinated by addictions. Mainly because I think that addictions are an overt demonstration of personal character flaws; personal weaknesses. How hard can in be to walk away from something that is destructive? Difficult but not impossible I have discovered.  

Tref. I grew up in a non-kosher household. I remember eating cheeseburgers, bacon, shrimp, clams, oysters and pork ribs. My favorites were scallops and lobster tails. When I divorced, I chose to go in a new direction. Part of it was to adhere closer to my Judaism. As I saw it, to be Jewish was to  obey the rules. Now I’m only human, so I knew that I’d be unable to do most of them, but I’d do the best that I could.  I believed that I could stick to the Kosher laws. And, really, its been easy (my brother maintains that I have only made it to “kosher-style” because, for instance, although I don’t combine dairy and meat, I buy my meat from Publix instead of a kosher shop). Beef ribs taste better than pork ribs; turkey bacon and beef bacon are better than pork bacon; and lobsters are the cockroaches of the ocean – ugh!

Fat foods. I’ve already humble-bragged in previous posts about modifying my diet. All I’m adding here is that eating junk IS destructive. Keeping that in mind makes sticking to your plan easy.

Finger-nail biting. I’ve chewed on my finger nails for as long as I can remember. I don’t chew the skin, but sometimes just chewing nails can draw blood. Frankly, it is disgusting. I’ve tried several times as an adult to quit. Well, I’m glad to relate that I have finally been successful in my battle. I let my nails grow long so I can scratch my wife’s back. Best thing is I use a nail clipper to clip my nails.

P.S. I also beat my coke addiction. I refuse to consume ANY soda.  

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Coexistence: Laudable Goal? or Mindless Pablum?

 COEXIST

I am sure that everybody has seen this on the bumper of a Prius or Volvo 240. I have always wanted to corner the driver of the vehicle and ask them  questions:

Question (1) Please define for me the word “coexistence”? Below is the definition of “coexist” and “exist” as defined in www.dictionary.com.

co·ex·ist – verb (used without object)
1. to exist together or at the same time.
2. to exist separately or independently but peaceably, often while remaining rivals or adversaries: Although their ideologies differ greatly, the two great powers must coexist.

exist – verb
1.  to have being or reality; to be
2.  to eke out a living; stay alive; survive: I can barely exist on this wage
3.  to be living; live
4.  to be present under specified conditions or in a specified place: sharks exist in the Pacific
5.  philosophy
a. to be actual rather than merely possible
b. to be a member of the domain of some theory, an element of some possible world, etc
c. to have contingent being while free, responsible, and aware of one’s situation

Coexistence sounds absolutely dismal; the worst and most base form of sharing of a planet by people. [In fact, it seems eerily similar to “separate but equal” as set forth in Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896). I’m guessing, though, that the little old lady in the Prius and the heavy pony-tailed guy with the tie-dyed t-shirt driving the Volvo don’t define it that way. They probably define it as everybody living together in harmony, sitting around the campfire singing Kumba-ya.

Question (2) What, specifically, is your plan for achieving coexistence? Since I have never actually spoken to one of these people (they take way too much time getting out of their cars), I can’t report to you what their actual plan is. Knowing these people as I do, however, leads me to assume that their first step would be to destroy Israel, either totally, or by moving it to Africa (as though it was a piece of bad furniture). In their minds, Israel is the source of all world-wide strife. Once Israel is gone, then the Moslems and the Catholics and the Protestants and the Buddhists will all be able to sit down at the table and play Parcheesi. Other than this concrete step, I believe any other plans would just be feel-good dribble. But it is these feel-good feelings that they believe all humans share. SO …

Question (3) What do you do if those other people DON’T WANT TO SIT DOWN and play nice with you? What if they just want to chop off your head and rape your grandchildren? What then? It seems to me that there should be thought given to the possibility that the lions will not sit down with the lambs (instead of eating them). As I said, I’ve never actually had a conversation with a coexistentialist, but if any of you out there support this belief, please post your responses. I truly am curious.

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Hey Lady, Can’t Your Read the Sign????

Am I crazy to think that express lanes in supermarkets are for shoppers with ten items or less? At the Publix markets, express lanes are marked with bright orange markers that clearly bear the words “Ten Items or less”.  There are usually only two such checkout lanes in each store. All the others lanes have bright white markers bearing the lane number.

I shop between two and five times a day. I buy for the meal, and not for the week. I rarely have more than ten items at a time. It outrages me when I get in line behind a person who clearly has more than ten items. It further outrages me that the cashier allows this type of behavior. I have complained to the store manager, but they tell me that Publix official policy is not to disrupt any customer, even those that flaunt the rules.

I am not bound by that rule however. I speak right up when I see that the person has more than ten. I will tell them that they need to put their items back into their basket and head for another lane. Really, is it too much too expect people to be able to read the signs??

Nine times out of ten, it is a middle aged white woman. And nine times out of ten, they take great umbrage and get mad at me!!! Like, how dare I make them abide by the rules?! I think that these white women somehow feel entitled – they can ignore the rules that apply to everybody because they are white and female. Well, not in my house, lady, not in my house! 

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“Cult of Personality” vs. Competence

Today in the Publix parking lot I saw a car sporting a bumper sticker that read “I Can’t Wait for Hillary 2016“. Coming out of the car was the typical Gabe Kaplan look alike goofball liberal. I shouted to him “after living under Obama, I can understand why you can’t wait for Hillary”. I really wanted to slap his goofy face silly.

What is it about the “cult of personality” that attracts voters? Does experience not count anymore? Are we so in thrall with smoke and mirrors that we cheerily ignore reality?

I won’t light into Obama because (1) it Is too easy and (2) it is too late. Hillary, however, is fair game. Sure, she is an educated, staunch liberal female. What has she accomplished? As a United State senator, she served without distinction. I don’t recall that she authored any significant legislation. Her primary achievement was that she was a Female Senator (albeit not the first one). She served one plus term as the United States Secretary of State. Under her stewardship, the United States lost face around the world, suffered repeated humiliations, and lost four good men (including an Ambassador) and an embassy to an attack. Rather than admit the truth and allow an open investigation of the attack, SecState Clinton LIED to the American people and the world at large, in blaming a private citizen of the United States for instigating a conflagration. She compounded her unethical behavior by stonewalling an investigation by those constitutionally charged (i.e. representative of the people) with investigating executive actions.

What else? Any executive experience? No. Any business experience? No. Any military experience? No (not unless you want to count her protests against the Viet Nam War and her support followed quickly by a reversal about the Iraqi War, AND her totally obscene attacks on General Petraeus). Other than being an uninspiring politician and the wife of an inspiring politician, what does she bring to the table?? NOTHING

I must note that this is not just a liberal thing. Supporters of Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) suffer from the same disease. Senator Rubio is a much more dynamic speaker and politician that both Obama and Hillary, but he suffers from the same lack of experience and achievement. I fear that he, too, is a figure with no real substance behind him. 

How about proven competence in running something big? America had its chance with former Governors Romney (R-MA) and Palin (R-AK), and NYC Mayor Giuliani (R). Recently retired NYC Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Christie (R-NJ) are both far more suited to run a nation than is Hillary. Now being a former governor is no guarantee that that experience will translate to a successful presidency – Governor Jimmy Carter (D-GA) is this nations second worse president,  Sixteen senators became president while seventeen governors became president. (Two, James Monroe and Andrew Jackson served in both capacities prior to becoming president). The governors list has a much more successful pedigree than the senate list. Good reason – experience. As history of competence allows the voters to see the type of man, or woman, that they are voting for. Give me proven competence over high-minded cult of personality every time.      

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Who’s “Right”? (About Food)

The other day I was listening to Rush Limbaugh, right-wing King of Talk Radio, launch into a riff about health-conscious eaters and how they like not only to eat a particular diet, but to compel others to follow that same diet. Everybody dies, and you only live once. No do-overs. So if one wants to eat a 50 ounce steak, doused in bleu-cheese sauce followed by a super rich chocolate cheesecake, let them.

Later on the same day I was listening to Michael Savage, another right-wing provocateur based in San Francisco, Michael Savage’s history, at least as he tells it, is one of doctoral research into the use of herbs and plants in place of drugs and pharmaceuticals. (BTW, he avidly detests Rush Limbaugh). He launched into a rant about why any person would choose to consume anything but a healthy plant heavy diet, especially with the research that has been reported.

So, which right-wing bloviater is right? They are both right! Every person has a God-given right to choose his or her own path in life. With each decision, however, there are consequences. In choosing the Rush diet, one certainly gains immediate gratification, but at a cost. Weight gain, stress, etc. are all likely (although genetics does control so much). For me, I prefer getting and staying light and small. I’ve loved chocolate cheese cake in the past, but now I have no difficulty in eating an orange instead. I don’t ever want to be on one of those motorized chairs, or bedridden tied to IVs, or sucking oxygen through a tube. I choose to live life on my terms – how about you?

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