Archive for the ‘Bob Gaydos’ Category

Worms and Other Weird Happenings

Tuesday, May 21st, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

King Charles and his portrait.

King Charles and his official portrait.

  The week of weirdness started with the story about a worm eating part of Bobby Kennedy Junior’s brain. It ended with a portrait of Britain’s new King Charles bathed in bloody red. In between, it was just normal weird.

      After deliberating about it for a few days, I decided not to comment on the parasite in Kennedy’s brain because there would be no way to do so in good taste, what with social media twisting everyone’s words to negative stuff and I have already said plenty of that about Kennedy and anything else would likely be seen as unseemly and just a way to get in another cheap shot at someone who has done his best to sully the legacy of a father, who did not, as far as I know, have a parasite in his brain.

      So I moved on to the actual parasites who showed up at Donald Trump’s hush money trial in New York City, to lend The Leader an artificial image of support, since neither Melania nor most of his children had actually showed up to hear about how Daddy had cheated on Mommy with a porn star and some other naked lady, no less, while Melania was home with baby Baron and how Daddy then wrote checks while sitting in the Oval Office to cover up the stories. Lovely.

   The parasites I refer to here are Republican members of Congress, including House Speaker Mike Johnson, who have done no actual legislating in months, but chose to leave D.C. to go to Manhattan and suck up to the boss by reading prepared insults of the judge, prosecutor and others outside the courtroom, since Trump has been ordered by the judge not to do so.

     The depths of self-degradation to which so many Republicans have sunk continues to amaze and disgust me. My phone (which likes to write along with me) offered “dismay.” Sorry, Apple, we’re way beyond dismay and disappoint. In fact, I’m looking for a stronger word than disgust to refer to these MAGGATS.

      Not far behind in terms of “have you no respect for yourself” comes Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, already under fire for not disclosing expensive travel gifts, being caught with his pants down. That is, his Stars and Stripes hanging upside down, on the outside of his home. The initial weirdness here is that the flag episode happened three years ago and was only now reported by The New York Times. The upside down flag was seen as a way to signal support for the insurrectionists who attacked the Capitol as part of the “Stop the Steal” campaign promoted by Trump when he lost the 2020 election.

     Surprised by the report, which included an actual photo of the inverted flag, Alito rose to the occasion and blamed his wife. It was her idea, he said. So, a Supreme Court Justice has no sway in his own home?

      Maybe Alito was taking his cue from fellow justice, Clarence Thomas, whose wife actually helped plan the “Stop the steal” campaign, which has resulted in no negative consequences for her or her husband.

     In any event, Mrs. Alito can’t be pleased with hubby’s passing the buck. Then again, those expensive vacations are very nice. With these two justices refusing to recuse themselves from cases in which they, or their wives, are involved, not to mention countless expensive, unreported gifts, this court is looking anything but supreme. It is certainly not capable of policing itself.

      Also managing to make a supreme fool of himself (again, except to MAGGATS) was Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker, who delivered a commencement speech at Benedictine College in which he managed to insult all women by suggesting they hang their diplomas and retire to the kitchen and nursery for life, while also criticizing the Catholic Church for what he sees as failures of many priests and bishops to adhere to strict religious teachings (on abortion, gays, marriage) and the Church itself for not institutionalizing the Latin Mass everywhere. He didn’t mention altar boys. He chose to preach this ultra-conservative Catholicism at a Catholic university. The nuns were not pleased.

     Also, the National Football League was not happy with his address, saying it disagreed with the comments on a woman’s role. Weirdly, though, the wife of the owner of the Chiefs, said she supported the speech. That should make for some interesting dinner table talk. Meanwhile, female NFL fans will surely let Butker know how they feel this coming season every time he comes on the field to kick.

    Finally, the official royal portrait. Words fail me. King Charles sat formally for the painting, which will hang forever somewhere in Britain, inviting viewers to guess at what the heck the artist was thinking when he added a butterfly to the work and then drenched the whole thing in a rich, red hue. You have to strain to actually see much of His Royal Highness.

     While many loyal subjects were critical of the painting, Charles reportedly was pleased with it. Well, he is king now and he did wait a long time for his coronation. No word on whether there’s a worm in his family tree.

rjgaydos@gmail.com       



The Death of The Fourth Estate?

Friday, May 10th, 2024

… Or, when I realized that my suspicion that The New York Times was not going to do anything to help save democracy in America was correct.

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                                ***

“To say that the threats of democracy are so great that the media is going to abandon its central role as a source of impartial information to help people vote — that’s essentially saying that the news media should become a propaganda arm for a single candidate, because we prefer that candidate’s agenda.”

Joe Kahn, editor NY Times,

May 5 in an interview with Semafor

                         ***

  “On this particular day, I looked to see what the great gray lady, The New York Times, had to say about the Trump trial. Its editorial went into great detail, carefully explaining all the nuances of the justice system and why everything was being done the way it was being done, etc. It was not until the end of what the paper itself described as “a seven-minute read,” that the editorial referred to Trump’s “disregard for the rule of law and his willingness to demean American justice when it suits his interests.”

   It continued, “Those actions render him manifestly unfit for office and would pose unique dangers to the United States during a second term. The greatest of those dangers, and the one that Americans should be most attuned to, is the damage that a second Trump presidency would inflict on the rule of law.”

      Well, no you-know-what Sherlock. Did no one at the Times ever explain to the editorial writer that “don’t bury the lead“ applies to editorials as well as news stories. Seven minutes to tell people don’t ever put this lunatic in office again? He’s too dangerous?! “Manifestly unfit!”

    Give me a break! Tell them at the top, tell them why and tell them again at the bottom. Tell them every damn day while you’ve still got a press! Geez, people, this is no time to be gentle.”

Me, April 18, in a column on Substack and zestoforange.com

                         ***

— The time, spring, 2034. The scene: A New York Times editor is watching the news on Government Channel 1 with his 10 year-old daughter.

Daughter: “Daddy, what were you doing when our great Orange Leader, who sadly just died, was saying he had to be made president for life, so that he could save the country from all the evil people trying to sneak into it and send them all back where they came from, and that he had to release all of those people who were wrongly put in jail for trying to kill the vice president, who was actually a traitor, and free the Capitol from a Congress that wasn’t following the Constitution and that he needed to punish all those people who were telling all those lies about him and stop Congress from sending money to Ukraine for weapons to fight Russia because Czar Putin was a good man and that we really needed instead to focus on saving the world from windmills? And he did! Do you remember what you were doing when he was saying all that?”

Daddy: “Well, yes, honey, I was a reporter at The Times and my job was writing about whether Marjorie Taylor Greene, an influential member of Congress at the time and now Secretary of State, thought the plans of our aging president, Joe Biden, for example to make life more affordable for everyone and to let people actually make their own decisions about their own lives, made any sense.

Daughter. Oh. Cool.

— Bob Gaydos




NASA and Boeing? Are They Kidding?

Wednesday, May 8th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos 

Boeing Starliner’s launch was delayed because of a faulty valve.

Boeing Starliner’s launch was delayed because of a faulty valve.

    So I’m scrolling through the daily Associated Press report the other day and, somewhere midway through the news, I spot an article that brought the scroll to a screeching halt:

     “CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Boeing called off its first astronaut launch because of a valve problem on the rocket Monday night.

      The two NASA test pilots had just strapped into Boeing’s Starliner capsule for a flight to the International Space Station when the countdown was halted, just two hours before the planned liftoff.”

      Ummm … I thought to myself: “Boeing? That Boeing? The one that had two 737 MAX jets fall out of the sky five years back killing 346 people, resulting in a grounding of the fleet by the FAA and the firing of the CEO who had focused on profitability over upgrading aircraft design? The Boeing whose 737 MAX fleet was grounded again this past January when a panel flew off a plane in flight because some bolts were loose? The Boeing where loose bolts were subsequently found on other aircraft cleared to fly? The one whose internal culture had been called into question recently by, not one, but two whistleblowers, who pointed out a continuing emphasis on profits and major lapses in what should be basic safety procedures? The Boeing who has had, not one, but two whistleblowers recently mysteriously turn up dead? That Boeing?

   “That Boeing is sending manned capsules to the International Space Station? Or at least trying to?”

     Am I missing something here?

      Clearly, it had escaped my immediate attention (what with Trump and MAGA, etc.) that, when NASA ended its space shuttle program, it hired private companies (for billions of dollars) to take astronauts to and from the Space Station. Space X, Elon Musk’s baby, has been doing it since 2020. This was to be Boeing’s maiden voyage.

      It was scuttled because of an “abundance of caution,” according to the CEO of the company in charge of launch procedures. Apparently, an oxygen pressure-relief valve on the Atlas rocket started fluttering open and closed, creating a loud buzz. Apparently that’s not a good thing.

    The CEO said the valve may have exceeded its 200,000 lifetime cycles, meaning it would have to be replaced. Well, yeah, probably better than exploding somewhere out there on the way to the Space Station.

    To me it sounds like the same kind of basic problem as loose bolts on an airplane panel. “Hey, Joe, anyone know how many times this valve’s been used? Huh? Yeah, looks good to me, too.”

       Ok, people. Long time to get to my point, but I think you get it. What in the world is Boeing, withs its history of deadly carelessness and two dead whistleblowers doing with a multi-billion dollar contract with NASA to ferry astronauts in space and get anywhere near the Space Station?

       They were talking about maybe trying again Friday, if the valve checked out good, or pushing the launch to next week giving them time to install a new valve. Eventually, they decided to roll the rocket off the launchpad, check all the valves and try again on May 17.

      Good decision. Actually, I wouldn’t go at all. Instead, I’d urge Congress to question NASA’s decision to even do business with Boeing. And I’d get the FBI working on those dead whistleblowers.

rjgaydos@gmail.com


You Mean We Don’t Shoot Dogs?

Sunday, May 5th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

Kiss your VP hopes goodbye, governor.

Kiss your VP hopes goodbye, governor.

    Poor Kristi Noem. All she wanted to do was please The Leader and spend four years by his side eagerly dismantling American democracy and maybe making a few bucks on the side. Not an unreasonable dream for a simple farm girl from South Dakota.

    Then she went and shot and killed a puppy. On purpose. For good measure, she also knocked off a goat, reloading her shotgun after initially wounding the animal, which apparently had the annoying habit of acting like, well, a goat.

      And of course, to make sure the world, and especially Donald Trump, knew that she was a no-nonsense woman and politician who could handle difficult situations, such as might be delegated to a vice president, she wrote about it in a memoir.

     When the manuscript of the not-yet published book was leaked, to Noem’s surprise, the world was pretty much shocked that someone would kill a puppy because she couldn’t train him and not simply give him to someone else who could.

      Worse for Noem, The Leader, learning of the shooting, book, etc., reportedly was disgusted and said, “Why would she do that?” Meaning, write all about it. In true Trump fashion, he observed that the South Dakota governor obviously has a poor sense of “public relations.”

       In her attempt to out-Trump Trump, she actually bragged about her evil side. Perhaps she hadn’t been paying attention to the trials, the lies, the stream of victimhood pouring from Trump’s mouth daily. Do it, yes. Then deny, deny, deny. It’s on tape? Deny. Fake news. There were witnesses? Deny. 

        Kill a puppy? It would have to have been viciously attacking, at your throat, no choice but to defend yourself. He killed a chicken? Umm … have Michael Cohen kill the story. Get a non-disclosure agreement from the farmer.

     Noem also admitted to one slight “error” in her memoir — she never actually met North Korea President Kim Jung Il in her wanderings. Somehow he wound up on a list of political figures with whom she had, um, some kind of personal connection. Vice presidential bona fides.

     Noem’s bloodthirsty naked ambition is yet another example of the depths of desperate ignorance and immorality to which much of today’s Republican Party has succumbed. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also ran afoul of the out-Trump Trump strategy in his brief, unsuccessful campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, especially by being tough on the issue of abortion. Can’t be done. Trump both criticized DeSantis’ strict policies and took credit for the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

    If anything positive emerged from Noem’s dog story, it showed that there were actually still some in her party with a heart. No one, even Republicans, seemed to like the thought of shooting a perhaps difficult dog rather than re-homing him to someone who would train and love him.

      Now, immigrants seeking asylum by crossing the border with Mexico, or students demonstrating on college campuses are still different stories. We might need the Army or National Guard to, you know, protect us.

       Anyway, after the dog story went viral, Noem was disinvited from a big Republican Party event and removed from any Trump vice presidential running mate list, if one exists.

     Maybe she can chalk this political misstep up to being from South Dakota, which is in the middle of nowhere and has fewer than a million residents and only three votes in the outdated Electoral College.

      I’ve heard rumors that there are so few people in South Dakota who are politically inclined that the residents take turns at being governor and Noem got the job because the guy ahead of her moved to Florida to sell t-shirts with a “100 percent genuine” photo of Trump and Kim embracing in the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Now that sounds like a good political move for a Republican.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

What the Heck Happened to Sports?

Wednesday, May 1st, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

My Little League mitt, circa 1951.

My Little League mitt, circa 1951. RJ Photography

Ruminations of an old sports editor:

     The daily grind of following and writing about the Trump/MAGA assault on our democracy can be tiring, so I sometimes turn to sports in search of a break.

      For example, former major league ball player Art Shallock celebrated his 100th birthday April 27. The one-time Yankee pitcher is said to be the oldest living major leaguer.

   Perhaps his most notable moment in baseball history is when he replaced 19-year-old Mickey Mantle on the Yankees roster when the future Hall of Famer was optioned to Triple A for more seasoning. That was in 1951, which is the same era in which I used the glove pictured with this column to play center field for my Little League team. So I’m an old sports editor in both senses of the word.

      Shallock won a few games with the Yankees, collected three World Series rings and never made more than $5,000 a year, but he seems content with his journey.

       Less content recently is Yankees manager Aaron Boone. It’s not enough that he’s going through a divorce, but he recently was ejected from a game because a fan sitting directly behind Boone and the Yankees dugout was harassing the umpire.

     Even when everyone pointed out that Boone hadn’t said anything, the ump still tossed him, saying, “The manager’s in charge.”

      The umpire, Hunter Wendelstedt, stuck by his guns and his ego and the Yankees appealed and, surprise! MLB actually said the ump was wrong and will be penalized. 

       I’d say a couple of weeks without pay for this dumb stunt and a refresher umpire school. The device that charts balls and strikes said he also missed 68 percent of the strikes thrown in the game. A few other umps could use refreshing, too. Robots are looming.

      In another recent case of a major sports entity surprisingly admitting it messed up, the NCAA gave Reggie Bush his 2005 Heisman Trophy back, conceding that times had changed.

        Indeed.

        Bush was given then denied the award for his efforts as a running back at Southern California because his family had benefited financially (trips and gifts) from his success, a big no-no for the world of amateur college athletes. 

         Well, that was then and now is apparently now and today’s college athletes receive lucrative payments for use of their likenesses because colleges have made millions from their efforts, much of which also went to coaches, but not to the athletes (who were supposedly getting a free college education.)

      So, traditional college conferences are now scrambled to get richer TV contracts, coaches and colleges are making millions, college athletes now go where they can get the best contract, the NFL avoids establishing a farm system like baseball did and Reggie Bush is finally getting his Heisman.

     Further signaling the steady demise of amateur athletics, medal winners are apparently going to be awarded cash prizes for the first time at the Paris Olympics this summer. Ain’t capitalism great?

     Oh, and lest we forget, you can now legally bet on pretty much anything in any sport, while the game is in progress, in (sort of) full confidence the athletes aren’t doing the same. 

    I patched together this sports report mostly from social media because, if you haven’t noticed, traditional — to wit, newspaper and magazine — sports reporting has been replaced by sports personalities with opinions “reporting” on TV. 

       Sports Illustrated, having laid off most of its staff, was recently saved from oblivion when some company said it would keep the onetime sports standard bearer going as a monthly, not a weekly. 

      No thanks. Not when the magazine has lost its immediacy and stable of top sports writers that once included Frank DeFord and the incomparable Jim Murray.

      Plus, The New York Times actually eliminated its sports staff, reassigning reporters to who knows what and hiring something called The Athletic, whose writers apparently know a lot about WAR and leaving the park velocity in baseball and whatever conspiracy theory potential Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers is currently spreading.

     Red Smith they are not (when he was writing about sports with The New York Herald Tribune as well as The Times.)

      Nor are they Al DeSantis in Middletown, N.Y., Joe Gross in Annapolis, Md., John Fox and, well, me in Binghamton, N.Y., or Dick Young, Jimmy Cannon and Mike Lupica in New York City or, for that matter, the Newark Star-Ledger’s Jerry Izenberg, who once lent me his typewriter at Yankee Stadium so I could write a piece about Orioles pitcher Jim Palmer, whom I had just interviewed while he was sitting in a whirlpool bath. Yes, naked.

      Guess those were the good, old days.

PS: Thanks to just-retired John Sterling, longtime Yankee radio broadcaster, for all those marvelous home run calls. “It is high! It is far! It is gone!“ A sterling effort.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

A Kennedy in Name Only

Wednesday, April 24th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

    Once upon a time, in an America in which politicians discussed, debated, argued and compromised in order to pass laws for the betterment of the nation, a man named Robert F. Kennedy ran for president.

       He had previously served as attorney general of the country and was a key adviser to the president, who happened to be his brother, John F. Kennedy.

       President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 and his brother, commonly called Bobby, eventually moved from Massachusetts (where his younger brother, Ted, would serve as senator for 47 years) to New York, where he was elected senator. Bobby served New York from 1965 to 1968, when he, too, ran for president.

       Life being sometimes cruelly unpredictable, Bobby Kennedy was also assassinated, being shot to death in a hotel kitchen while campaigning in California in 1968.

       Today, in an America in which one of the two major political parties has abandoned negotiation for fear, threats, lies and violence, Kennedy’s son, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., trading on the family name and legacy, is running for president. 

     Not as a Democrat, like his father and uncles, but as an independent candidate. Unfortunately, this apple has fallen far from the family tree. So far, in fact, that every member of his family has endorsed Democrat Joe Biden for president and encouraged Americans not to vote for RFK Jr. 

      When I decided to write about Kennedy’s third-party candidacy, it was mostly because I was angry that he would likely take votes away from Biden, since many Americans, while pridefully long on opinions, are woefully short on actual information. I thought, they’ll see the Kennedy name, think progressive Democrat, and figure, what the heck, he’s a lot younger than Joe.

      Yeah, but he’s more like Donald Trump and the Republican Party, which has abandoned all traditional American political principles. A lot more like Trump, in fact.

     Kennedy is a conspiracy theorist. An anti-vaccine activist. He says he’ll put the country on Blockchain currency if elected president. He threw the environmental group largely responsible for reclaiming the Hudson River, not far from me, into turmoil when he decided he wanted to take it over.

   And he’s definitely anti-Democrat. In fact, Kennedy’s New York campaign manager specifically said Junior was running as an independent, knowing full well he has no chance of winning, in order to take votes away from Biden.

    But guess what? Life being, as I said, unpredictable, those annoying polls, which keep popping up with dubious information, have apparently started showing Kennedy taking more votes away from Trump than from Biden.

     Maybe it’s the same theory: What the heck, he’s just as nutty and he’s a lot younger than Trump.

     For what it’s worth, Trump never got more votes than his opponent and he truly cannot afford to lose votes to a third-party candidate. Much more so than Biden, So Republicans are worried about Bobby Junior, too.

      I don’t know and I really don’t think the pollsters know. I do know that no third-party candidate is going to get elected president and that Americans who are familiar with history and cherish democracy have a duty to educate others who are familiar only with the name, Robert F. Kennedy. Names can be deceiving.

      I saw and heard Bobby Kennedy campaign for the presidency in person. This is not that Bobby Kennedy.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

     

 

        

Just Another Day in America

Thursday, April 18th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

78BD258A-80FB-4BFD-BC7B-E0E8E239379D    A quick snapshot of a recent day in America:

    A former president of the United States was on trial in a New York City courtroom in a story that could’ve been written by the National Enquirer. Well, actually, it was supposed to be, but then the Enquirer killed the story and that’s all part of what the trial is about.

    Donald Trump, the defendant, brooded, slept, glared, argued with his lawyers and pretty much showed he didn’t want to be where he was, sitting at the accused’s table in court. The judge kept warning him not to misbehave, but somehow still resisted locking Trump’s butt up for being a constant threat to the community with his comments on social media and elsewhere, an action that would prove to the rest of us that the law is truly applied equally to everyone. No matter. That day has to come.

   And despite Trump’s call to arms that “all hell will break loose” on Monday when his trial started, the only menacing site outside the courthouse was a group of college Young Republicans trying to figure out what the heck they were doing there. Not very menacing.

    Anyway, the trial is all about hush money paid to porn stars to keep them from going public with their stories, and hurting Trump’s chances of being elected president in 2016. Mostly, a lot of lying about what money was used for what purpose and one of the key witnesses against Trump is his old lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, who served a term in the federal prison just down the road from me for lying about all that money a few years ago.

   Anyway, it’s sleazy and salacious and I’m embarrassed as an American that this man once sat in the Oval Office and apparently a lot of Americans still think he should be given another shot at the job he totally botched. They keep showing up in these polls that are supposedly fair and scientific, but for which I have never been contacted in my entire life.

    Oh yeah, he’s the first American president ever to face criminal charges after leaving office. Well, that’s something he can lay claim to without having to lie about it.

     On the same day, NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned some player I never heard of from ever playing in the league for committing “a cardinal sin” of betting on the league’s games and sharing information on his own play, removing himself from games pretending to be injured, and controlling betting on his own play. The player actually played in Toronto, which is not in America, but the rest of the league is.

    Sports betting may yet be the downfall of the major sports leagues, but there seems to be no limit to it. The Los Angeles Dodgers only recently escaped major disaster as star Shohei Ohtani‘s former translator took the fall for stealing money from the ball player to cover millions of dollars in gambling losses. No baseball. The FBI says Ohtani didn’t know about it. Well, OK. Perhaps he’s taking English lessons now.

    On this particular day, I looked to see what the great grey lady, the New York Times, had to say about the Trump trial. Its editorial went into great detail, carefully explaining all the nuances of the justice system and why everything was being done the way it was being done, etc. It was not until the end of what the paper itself described as “a seven -minute read,” that the editorial referred to Trump’s “disregard for the rule of law and his willingness to demean American justice when it suits his interests.”

   It continued, “Those actions render him manifestly unfit for office and would pose unique dangers to the United States during a second term. The greatest of those dangers, and the one that Americans should be most attuned to, is the damage that a second Trump presidency would inflict on the rule of law.”

      Well, no you-know-what Sherlock. Did no one at the Times ever explain to the editorial writer that “don’t bury the lead“ applies to editorials as well as news stories. Seven minutes to tell people don’t ever put this lunatic in office again? He’s too dangerous?! “Manifestly unfit!”

    Give me a break! Tell them at the top, tell them why and tell them again at the bottom. Tell them every damn day while you’ve still got a press! Geez, people, this is no time to be gentle.

      A friend of mine recently asked how I felt about the direction this country was heading. Well, the first four presidents of my lifetime were Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy.

    Maybe it was a trick question.


rjgaydos@gmal.com

Is Alcohol a Problem? Take This Test

Wednesday, April 10th, 2024

Addiction and Recovery

By Bob Gaydos

 99A3CEDB-2C39-4BDB-B493-B063F5EF16D3  Some eight decades ago, Marty Mann, the first woman to get — and stay — sober in Alcoholics Anonymous (her sponsor was AA co-founder Bill Wilson), decided she wanted to spread the message of recovery. She used her talents as a writer and in public relations to teach people the facts about the disease of alcoholism. That work is still going on via her creation, the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence, a voluntary health organization with a nationwide network that provides information on prevention, awareness and treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction.
       Every April for 37 years, NCADD has observed Alcohol Awareness Month, with the goal of removing the stigma attached to alcoholism by educating a public still too unaware of the serious costs to individuals and society of alcoholism, as well as the fact that treatment is available and recovery possible. Of course, the process has to start with acknowledgment that alcoholism, today also referred to as alcohol use disorder, may be present.
       With that in mind, I occasionally offer a list of questions designed to help individuals decide if they, or someone they know, may be an alcoholic. If that is the case, recognition of the problem may well be the first flicker of hope, rather than the beacon of doom many people consider it to be. Following are questions from the NCADD Self-Test. Be honest.

What are the Signs of Alcoholism?
1.  Do you drink heavily when you are disappointed, under pressure or have had a quarrel with someone? Yes   No
2.  Can you handle more alcohol now than when you first started to drink? Yes   No
3.  Have you ever been unable to remember part of the previous evening, even though your friends say you didn’t pass out? Yes   No
4.  When drinking with other people, do you try to have a few extra drinks when others won’t know about it?  Yes   No
5.  Do you sometimes feel uncomfortable if alcohol is not available? Yes No
6.  Are you more in a hurry to get your first drink of the day than you used to be? Yes  No
7.  Do you sometimes feel a little guilty about your drinking? Yes  No
8.  Has a family member or close friend express concern or complained about your drinking? Yes   No
9.  Have you been having more memory “blackouts” recently? Yes   No
10.  Do you often want to continue drinking after your friends say they’ve had enough?  Yes   No
11.  Do you usually have a reason for the occasions when you drink heavily? Yes   No
12.  When you’re sober, do you sometimes regret things you did or said while drinking? Yes   No
13.  Have you tried switching brands or drinks, or following different plans to control your drinking?  Yes   No
14.  Have you sometimes failed to keep promises you made to yourself about controlling or cutting down on your drinking? Yes   No
15.  Have you ever had a DWI (driving while intoxicated) or DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol) violation, or any other legal problem related to your drinking?   Yes   No
16.  Do you try to avoid family or close friends while you are drinking?      Yes   No
17.  Are you having more financial, work, school, and/or family problems as a result of your drinking?   Yes   No
18.  Has your physician ever advised you to cut down on your drinking?  Yes   No
19.  Do you eat very little or irregularly during the periods when you are drinking? Yes   No
20.  Do you sometimes have the “shakes” in the morning and find that it helps to have a “little” drink, tranquilizer or medication of some kind?     Yes   No
21.  Have you recently noticed that you can’t drink as much as you used to?   Yes   No
22.  Do you sometimes stay drunk for several days at a time? Yes   No
23.  After periods of drinking do you sometimes see or hear things that aren’t there? Yes   No
24.  Have you ever gone to anyone for help about your drinking? Yes  No
25.  Do you ever feel depressed or anxious before, during or after periods of heavy drinking? Yes   No
26.  Have any of your blood relatives ever had a problem with alcohol?    Yes   No

Here’s how to score the test. According to the NCADD, if you answered two or more questions with a “yes,” you should consider having your drinking assessed by a professional. If you have five to eight “yes” answers, you could have a serious problem with alcohol. This test does not apply to drug use. The test and others, as well as information on substance abuse can be found on the NCADD web site: ncadd.us.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

 

The dumbing down of America, cont.

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

23D7DF21-4B50-483A-9B07-30BAFB25EA37    “Do you know who fought in the Civil War?”

    “The French and the Germans?“

     “How did you know that?

     “I took history.“

     Wait, there’s more.

      “When was the war of 1812 fought?”

      “The 1980s?”

       “Who was America’s first president?”

       “His first name was George. I don’t know the last.”

        “Can you name the continents?”

        “The USA?”

         “Can you name another one?”

          “Puerto Rico?”

          “How many inches in a foot?”

          “One?”

          “Do you know what state Utah is in?”

          “Illinois?”

         “How many stars in the American flag?”

          “One hundred?”

          “What is Obama’s last name?”

           “Care. C-a-r-e.”

      OK, enough torture. The preceding was an example of the continuing dumbing down of America, brought to you courtesy of a well-spoken, pleasant young man on Facebook, who simply asks questions of mostly high-school-age Americans in Times Square and malls in and around New York and New Jersey.

       No, it’s not entertaining and he does his best not to make fun of the unbelievably clueless contestants who clearly haven’t paid a lot of attention in history, math, science and other courses in school. I’m not even sure geography and civics are even taught anymore.

       Most of the “contestants” are young people of various ethnicities, although some older folks manage to show up with interesting answers as well. And clearly, he doesn’t show people who know all the answers, but far too many don’t know any of the correct answers.

        I don’t know who needs to hear this, but the American education system is in crisis. Too many young people don’t know things that used to be considered basic information you learned if you got through high school. Worse, too many adults seem interested in keeping it that way.

      Teachers are being told what they can teach, librarians are being told what they can have on their shelves. Too many young people are getting whatever information they get via social media. (One young lady could name all the Kardashians.)

       I’ve written about this before and it’s depressing for me to belabor the subject, but I don’t see much change for the better.

        People who know stuff today get mocked by perhaps the dumbest person to ever occupy the Oval Office and his cadre of obedient/frightened followers.

      But it didn’t start with Donald Trump. The Tea Partiers, having been warmly welcomed into the Republican Party, got to John McCain in 2012 and made him choose Sarah Palin, who said she can see Russia from her home in Alaska, as his vice presidential running mate. It’s been all downhill ever since.

      The Republican Party doesn’t have the numbers to out vote the Democratic Party, so, in addition to lying and cheating and trying to steal elections, it needs an uneducated citizenry that doesn’t know what it doesn’t know, and, worse, doesn’t seem to care.

        People, we need to rethink what we’re teaching and rededicate resources to our public schools. Young people, especially those of voting age, need to know that what’s at stake in this year‘s presidential election is their very future.

      So that when some young guy with a microphone asks them in the shopping mall, “When do they celebrate the Fourth of July in England?” they don’t say, as one young man did, “The day after us.”

    Because of the time zones, of course.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

            

          

Pentagon UFO Report is Too Dismissive

Sunday, March 31st, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

8D6DD022-FE1D-4464-BEEC-FA84D1B4BF91   “They’re not out there.”

    The little green men.

    The flying saucers.

    The UAPs.

    The UFOs.

    The whatever-they-are that-move-faster-than possible.

     Trust us. It’s one big game of phone tag encouraged by movies, TV and conspiracy theorists. Nothing happening. Nothing covered up. Nothing being reverse engineered. Get on with your day. That is all.

       The above is the gist of a 67-page report issued recently by the Defense Department’s All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office, entitled “Report on the Historical Record of U.S. Government Involvement with Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena.”

    To wit: Nothing out there. Nothing in some desert in New Mexico. The AARO, given full funding by Congress to do its job, concluded that most sitings were simply “misidentification” and, contrary to recent whistleblower claims, it “found no empirical evidence for claims that the USG and private companies have been reverse-engineering extraterrestrial technology.”

     Well … not so fast. I’m not a UFO fanatic or a conspiracy theorist, but I do believe the odds favor some form of life elsewhere in the universe and I know it’s risky business blindly accepting a report by a government agency summarily dismissing allegations against other segments of the same department.

   Also, I know that there were no weapons of mass destruction buried in Iraq, the U.S. did secretly buy weapons from Iran to arm Nicaraguan rebels and it’s still a bit sketchy on whether North Vietnamese ships really attacked U.S. Navy warships in the Gulf of Tonkin, thrusting the U.S. fully into the war in Vietnam.

    The point? The Defense Department investigating the Defense Department on a matter of wide public interest and controversy is probably not the best way to resolve long-standing questions.

      The mere fact that the government stopped referring to UFOs as UFOs and started calling them UAPs, unidentified aerial phenomena, suggests an effort to distance from easier public understanding of the topic. Give it a serious sounding name, suggesting all the other UFO stuff is just Hollywood making money. Most of the world will probably still refer to the balloons, satellites and other objects as UFOs, regardless.

     The report was requested by Congress after numerous reports by Navy pilots and other military personnel regarding the sighting of strange objects in the sky and reports from former Defense Department employees of some technology, not of this planet, being secretly reverse-engineered by  the government and private companies.

     A congressional committee held a closed-door meeting with the inspector general of the Intelligence community on such reports a while back and several members emerged thinking that, at the very least, the reports were credible enough for further investigation.

      AARO was given full funding by Congress to do so, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, of New York, being one of the senators pushing for the full funding. Haven’t heard any response from the senator yet to the AARO report.

       Most of the mainstream media simply reported the facts straight out of the report as presented: No UFOs, no little green men, nothing being hidden, ever, in the desert, or anywhere else regarding alien life. Just people repeating the same stories to each other, misidentified stuff, some references to other secret government programs and, well, maybe a few things there’s too little information on to draw a conclusion.

     Not good enough. Many of the recent reports, based on advanced technology, were made by credible witnesses. In fact, so were some of the older reports, many of which described objects similar to recent reports. Some older reports apparently were not even included in the AARO report.

   Instead of the Executive Department investigating the Executive Department, Congress, as an equal member of government, the funding member, should do so. There are reports that legislation is being prepared for just that purpose.

      People are unlikely to stop believing in UFOS or at least the possibility of them, especially when they’re dismissed as engaging in a game of phone tag. In fact, that’s the kind of response some bad Hollywood scriptwriters would come up with  

                                     ******

PS: The AARO report is unlikely to dampen the annual UFO parade and celebration in the Hamlet of Pine Bush in upstate New York. The UFO capital of the Northeast will hold its annual festivities June 1 and, yes, there will be little and big green men, robots, other strange creatures, lots of good food, music, goods to be bought and fun to be had. There will also be some serious discussion by serious people about UAPs, etc. I’d venture to say the AARO report will come up. A fun day for believers, non-believers and everyone in-between. Maybe Senator Gillibrand will stop by.


rjgaydos@gmail.com