When I was a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh in the 1950s, I worked with rhesus monkeys. These were the macaca mulata that became famous when the Governor of Virginia referred to a young Indian-American reporter as “Macaca, or whatever your name is.” Calling a dark skinned person a monkey can get a politician into real trouble. Indeed, monkeys are particularly nasty critters so calling anyone a monkey is insulting. More
Variations on a Theme
Here are several denouements you are unlikely to find anywhere in literature … and that’s a good thing too!
This is a Western. Billy Goodheart and Black Bart have been rivals for the hand of Little Nell. A duel on Main Street is imminent. As Billy and Bart walk toward each other Little Nell notices a rifle barrel extend from a store window and aimed at Billy’s back. She quickly seizes a pistol and fires at the shadowy form by the window. Bart is distracted but Billy is hard of hearing so he maintains his composure and shoots the pistol out of Bart’s hand. More
I believe the issue of personal tax deductions deserves more consideration than is offered by the debate here over the IRS treatment of the subject. I have gone into this issue of deductions and other tax policy in some detail in my blog at henryklugh.blogspot.com. The blog is called Variations on a Theme and the particular entry dealing with personal deductions and other tax policy is under the heading Prolegomena to Any Future. I’ll summarize my position here because with that intro I doubt that any of you will be sufficiently grabbed by the title to bother reading it … And for some who do read it there will be a risk of apoplexy. More
When I was a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh my graduate assistantship required me to work in the University Testing Service. My boss, Dr. Fahey, was a tall, craggy-faced ex-Navy man who routinely ate his lunch in the University Faculty Club Dining Room one floor above our offices. We graduate students usually brought a couple of sandwiches which we ate in the cavernous student cafeteria in the basement. More
Watching football is much more meaningful if you have a lexicon to interpret the announcer’s comments. Without such help the viewer will be irretrievably lost:
- Offensive player: Almost all football players are offensive, particularly after losing a game … or even after they win one if you catch them in the locker room before they shower. More
Well, Uncle Horace Scherzer died last week; he was 88 years old but that’s a bit early to go for a Scherzer. Most all Scherzers make it to the late 90s. Of course by then they don’t see too good and most don’t hear at all, but hey they can still breathe in and out and that’s what counts. Doc Patterson said that Horace’s heart just give out, that he shouldn’t have been running at his age. More
Retired college professors must carefully tend to their social life, else it will fade away and eventually vanish. One way to slow this progression is to invite a guest for dinner. Perhaps a new member of the library staff, or a new nurse, or a senior secretary will agree to come, indeed she may be thrilled by the invitation. My invitations, unfortunately, are rarely reciprocated. Perhaps because my women guests are not very sure of their cooking skills, and as I was a marriageable bachelor, they may not want to reveal the paucity of their culinary assets … but who knows? More
I have become a good cook. My specialty is soup. I recall very vividly making my first pot of soup. It was about seventy-five years ago when I was ten years old, but the event is still firmly in my memory. My mother was ill and had taken to her bed. I thought it would be helpful if I made dinner. Soup, I thought, would be a good choice. I got out my mother’s largest pot, put it on the new electric stove and thought about what kind of soup to have. I was familiar with vegetable soup, but we had no vegetable soup. That was not a problem. I would just make it from scratch. More
The convention was shortened due to Hurricane Isaac. That had the advantage of eliminating “The Donald” who was rumored to have had a speaking slot. Sometimes less is more, as when Bush 43 spent close to a third of his presidency on vacation … to the considerable benefit of the country.
Opening night gave us Mrs. Romney, whose mission it was to convince us that hers was not a storybook marriage and that Mitt was a loving, caring, generous, thoughtful man. She mentioned her five children and the rigors of caring for them. She spoke of her bout of breast cancer and her current medical issues with MS, which has been in remission for many years. She was loving and sincere but for many families with those health issues there would have been a great concern about doctor and hospital bills. Mrs. Romney never mentioned having a problem paying medical bills. At the end of Mrs. Romney’s peroration Mitt stepped up on stage and they hugged. Their affection for each other was obvious but Mitt’s plastic smile was as unconvincing as ever and I think the viewers were right back where they started. More
Neither President Obama nor Governor Romney is a good politician. Obama came from a background of compromise. That may once have worked in politics; it doesn’t work now. He reached out to the other side only to retract a bloody hand. He should have known better. He also needs to play hardball with his own party people. Lyndon Johnson knew how to do that. How else could he have gotten a civil rights bill through a bunch of southern politicians still worshipping at the altar of Jimmy the Crow? Lyndon at 6’4” would invade your personal space and make you an offer you couldn’t refuse; at least you couldn’t if you wanted to keep your leadership positions. Obama can’t be bothered even to schmooze with his own people. He often won’t even return their phone calls. That is abysmal politics. More