May 2011

By Wink

Time for a trip.

We don’t have ‘fly’ money, but we do have ‘drive’ money, so our trips are almost always driving trips. Since our vacations are usually two weeks long, we have time to get just about anywhere in the continental United States.

This time our major destination is Vancouver which, it turns out, is not IN the continental United States.

Imagine my surprise. I thought Coronado, or Cortez, or Fred de Cordova surrendered Vancouver to us when we won the Spanish-American war. Right?

The thing about driving, rather than flying, is that you get to see a bunch of stuff on the ground. Rocks and rivers, mountains and trees…. All that stuff tends to stay earth-bound. Driving is almost the best way to see them…

Why Vancouver? Why not? I heard somewhere that it is really cool, an urban center surrounded by tons of crazy-beautiful scenery. Works for me!

This contrasts somewhat with Las Vegas, which is essentially sand with a trillion watts of electricity coursing through it.

Vegas people, please don’t attack me. I have been to your burg, and spent my money there, on several occasions. And I DO recommend people go there, at least once in their lives, to see the crazy architecture. Gambling is no longer the draw, because you can do that anywhere, but Vegas buildings are wild.

Lovers of sand/desert people, I don’t want to hear your complaints either. I get it: The desert is its own ecosystem, beautiful in its own way. It too, teems with life, just types of life that are different from prairies/oceans/forests. I get it.

Las Vegas isn’t desert, it is an artificial edifice placed in the desert. If anything, Vegas ugly’s-up the desert. If I want ‘glitz’ I will go back to New York.

But back to Vancouver. Due to the length of the drive we will only be able to spend about three days there. This is where you come in.

What are the best things to do in and around Vancouver if you only have three days? Victoria Island? Whale watching? Garibaldi Provincial Park?

Let us know, but make the pitch fast. The limo is warming up…
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P.S. While waiting for us to come back, you can check out pythonline.com.

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By Wink

May 21 came and went. The world didn’t end. If anyone was ‘raptured’ up to heaven, I didn’t notice. (See the May 19 Winkest Link, “Our Final Farewell”)

That I did not get ‘raptured’ did not shock me. I try to be good, but I don’t expect to be on the ‘A’ train when the rapture happens. I am sure those seats are reserved for the genuinely deserving, and I don’t place myself in that category.

Since I will be stuck here on Earth, what can I do to occupy my time? I guess I could just make a crapload of money, but how do I go about it?

The “end-of-the-world” business model may be my best bet. The Oakland radio preacher who predicted this disaster raked in $80 million in the years leading up to this.

Let us repeat: Eighty (eight-zero) million dollars.

Granted, some of this money was spent on billboards and, since the preacher is 89, maybe some was spent on Metamucil. Even so, that would leave a lot left over for… for… I don’t know what… frills?

If the world was ending you certainly wouldn’t need to put money into a more powerful radio signal. You can just talk to God when you get there.

I am sure God talks to this preacher all the time, but God did not rain down the $80 million.

That money came from believers. People followed his apocalyptic message, and many probably still do. We all need something to believe in, even if that belief is “I am going to heaven and all those standing around me will burn in a fiery hell.”

Now that May 21 has come and gone, our preacher has a new point to make: Every day from here forward is May 21. We can’t be really sure WHICH May 21 will be the final day so be ready every day!

God’s vision is so much bigger than ours, so OUR definition of “May 21, 2011” is bound to be more limiting than Gods version of “May 21, 2011.” How can you NOT see this?

Predictions now get a lot easier. On May 21, 2011 …

  • The Cubs will win the World Series
  • Dick Cheney will admit that invading Iraq was arbitrary and an insane waste of American lives and dollars.
  • Pigs will fly

Prove me wrong.

Some followers may now begin to question the credibility of the Oakland preacher, and some may continue to follow him, but they all have one thing in common: They are not getting their $80 million back.

God must need that…

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By Wink

On May 21, a nearby symphony orchestra is performing “Live and Let Die: The Music of Paul McCartney”.

Live and Let Die? It can’t be any more appropriate.

May 21, 2011 is the end of the earth.

The orchestra could have chosen music from ‘Titanic,’ but maybe that would have been too subtle. Nope, “Live and Let Die” it is….

By now you know that an 89-year-old preacher from Oakland has declared May 21 as the beginning of the end. This same preacher predicted the end in 1994. He whiffed on that one, but maybe his internal end-of-the-world clock is better now than when he was only 72….

This type of prediction happens every couple of years, but a lot of people seem to have bought into this one.

Billboards are everywhere. People are traveling in caravans, warning of the end. A number of these people (seriously) have quit their jobs and given away all their worldly possessions. Yikes….

If these caravans have reached my little corner of the world (and they have), then there are A LOT of people out there expecting the worst…

When whack-jobs make dire predictions, people WILL listen. (How else do you think Glenn Beck stays a rich, rich man?)

I thought about rearranging my schedule, but things are sort of working out. We are celebrating my sisters birthday that day, but the get-together is at noon (six hours before the 6 PM cataclysm).

I am supposed to be throwing a big graduation party about a week later, but I guess I can ignore that now….

And I am sure sorry now that I paid to update the license plates for my car. There is no worry about getting tickets after Saturday.

My favorite advice came from CNN: “Skip the Green Bananas”

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By Wink

Do you sometimes wonder about Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Is he the cruel ruthless dictator we have painted him to be? Probably.

Is he a puppet for the Muslim Clerics of Iran, notably Ayatollah Khameini? Well, he certainly has been.

But maybe now, after all this time, he is developing a little backbone. It appears he may be staging a bit of a boycott.

This is a brave-brave move in a country run by a single religion. If the religious leaders declare you ‘impure’ they can remove you from office even if you won a legitimate(1) election, or they can execute you, or they can stir up religious zealots to murder you (similar to what pro-life zealots do to abortion doctors in the U.S.).

People (notably Glenn Beck) feel the U.S. founding fathers based our country on Christianity. This is demonstrably false, but that is a discussion for another day.

We do tend to run all our political candidates through the grinder of ‘is he Christian enough?’

Every president has been a protestant, save for John Kennedy, the lone Catholic. All are ‘Christian.’

Even so, a theocracy is a terrible idea. It stinks in Iran, and it would only cripple America. Theocrats do not allow their ideas to be questioned.

You only grow, as a person, as a business, as a country, by asking questions…. by questioning authority. To ‘believe’ whoever is in charge is to forfeit the intellectual high ground, is to forsake any possibility of improvement.

To get a teeny-tiny sense of what a theocracy would be like, note how the Bush/Cheney White House treated those who questioned the Iraq war.

If you dared question the war you were not just ‘wrong,’ you were an anti-American who supported terrorism. Supported terrorism!

Frankly it doesn’t even matter whether the anti-war protesters were right or wrong. They had the right to protest (and no, they did not ‘support terrorism’).

Not only were the protesters NOT un-American, they were the ultimate example of what America is supposed to be about… freedom. Our freedoms mandate we question our government.

I am not a big fan of the teabaggers, but they have the right to protest. That is America.

Now Ahmadinejad begins to question the Imams. Maybe he has seen the light. A secular Iran is their only hope to grow. God help him.
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(1) I am not saying Ahmadinejad won a legitimate election. He clearly did not. I am saying an honest election, anywhere, would not prevent theocratic leaders from removing the elected.

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By Wink

The world is a better place. Not at peace, but better than it was.

 

Osama Bin Laden is dead.

 

His demise does not rid us of terrorists. Splinter cells long ago began setting up around the world, and most did not take orders from Bin Laden.

 

Further, there are many types of terrorists, not just Islamic terrorists.  There are religious terrorists, political terrorists, eco-terrorists, etc.

 

So no, we are not at peace. We will never be free from zealots who feel compelled to express their displeasure by killing innocent people.

 

Regardless…. Today, we celebrate.  Osama Bin Laden is dead.

 

For Osama, I say ‘R.I.D.’  The “D” would stand for eternal discomfort or distress. You can probably think of a better ‘D.’  Feel free to suggest one…

 

(Long ago, a comic suggested that, for people of Bin Laden’s ilk, the correct phrase would be ‘rest in pieces,’ but I digress.)

 

We are all better off for being RID of Bin Laden.

 

“R.I.P.” should be reserved for someone who should rest in ‘peace.’  Like the victims of the many horrific attacks ordered/orchestrated by Bin laden.

 

The murdered, and their families, deserve peace.

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