Category Archives: Opinion

“Caught up in the moment”

Opinion

I find it amazing that many people, both men AND women, are defending Thomas Callaway for slapping the butt of a female reporter during a race.

WTF?

Callaway is 43, a middle-aged white man from Georgia.

He probably was raised by an old white man who thinks that women are property and that this conduct is perfectly okay.

It’s not.

If he doesn’t understand that after being on this Earth for 43 years, 22 as an adult, I’m all for him being arrested and charged with sexual battery, even if it is only a misdemeanor. The publicity compensates some for it being just a misdemeanor.

I’m wondering if the women who are defending him would be okay with this taking place anywhere else, like a grocery store, or a movie theater. It certainly sounds like they would be.

Callaway said that he was “caught up in the moment.”

I say again,

WTF?

What kind of a moment allows a man to slap the butt of an unknown woman? Touching another person in this manner and participating in a race are two separate events. There is no “moment” here that is acceptable to me. There might be if they knew each other, especially if they were intimate…. boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife. But even then we know what happens when personal boundaries are not respected.

Guys need to learn to keep their hands to themselves and their dicks in their pants unless invited otherwise.

Why would they want to fix it?

Opinion

In 1970, my first year in high school (grade 10, though; 7-9 was junior high), I joined Key Club, a national high school service organization. One thing that immediately struck me was that people didn’t seem to care about the hungry, the sick, women and child abuse, animal abuse. (Has anything changed?) When we went to a nursing home (now called assisted living facility), I was playing dominoes with one of my friends and two elderly women. We had a great conversation while we were playing, and something one of the women said has stayed with me all these years:

People don’t care about anything unless it affects either them personally or someone they know.

It’s a generality painted with a huge brush, but I think it’s true. In today’s world, Twitler, his supporters and enablers, the excessively rich, and the big corporations are the epitome of not caring about anything other than what will make them richer in the short term.The Andromeda Evolution by Daniel H. Wilson

I am reading The Andromeda Evolution, by Daniel H. Wilson and a sequel to Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain (I have an uncorrected, pre-published, advance reader’s edition, but it went on sale on November 12, 2019). I came across a very telling few paragraphs on pages 14 &15 (remember that this is a novel, so names and such are not real):

It is a well-established Achilles’ heel of human civilization that individuals are more motivated by immediate private reward than by long-term, collective future benefits. This effect is particularly evident when considering payoffs that will take longer than a generation to arrive—a phenomenon called inter-generational discounting.

The concept was formally introduced by the young French economist Floria Pavard during a poorly attended speech at the International Conference of Social Economics on October 23, 1982:

The average span of a human generation is twenty-five years. Any reward occurring beyond this generational horizon creates an imbalance that undermines long-term cooperation. In short, we as a species are motivated to betray our own descendants. In my view, the only possible solution is the institution of harsh and immediate punishments for those who would be unfaithful to the future.

It has been subsequently theorized that our species’ seeming inability to focus on long-term existential threats will inexorably lead to the destruction of our environment, overpopulation, and resource exhaustion. It is therefore not an uncommon belief among economists that this inborn deficit represents a sort of built-in timer for the self-destruction of human civilization.

Sadly, all the evidence of world history supports this theory.

Although this is fiction, as my wise old grandmother always told me, fiction often is based on reality.

The above brings to mind the current United States president, a person I call Twitler because he acts like Hitler on Twitter. Witness Twitler when he said in December 2018 that he didn’t care about a predicted explosion of the United States’ debt because, I won’t be here.

He doesn’t care about the sick, the dying, the homeless, immigrants seeking a better life, the environment, our water, our skies, the forests, the rivers, the lakes…. He cares only about himself in the short term, and that’s detrimental to everyone except those of a similar ilk: big corporations and other excessively rich people.

The system is broken, but the only ones who can fix it are those who currently benefit from it, which begs the question, Why would they want to fix it?

Movie Review—Amistad, a Steven Spielberg film

Amistad

Amistad, a Steven Spielberg film starring Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins, Djimon Hounsou, and Matthew McConaughey, was released in 1997. I did not know about the film until a few days ago. At first I could not believe that because I have liked every Steven Spielberg movie ever made, and Morgan Freeman is one of my all-time favorite actors. However, 1997 was in the midst of what I call my lost decade, ten years in which I lost track of time, lost track of music, lost track of movies, pretty much lost track of life. So here I am, trying to catch up on everything.

Amistad is a long movie at two hours and thirty-four minutes. The subject matter, the slave trade in 1839, is not a matter to take lightly. In great Spielberg tradition, the visual effects were, well, too visual. I had to take a 24-hour break about halfway through the movie.

Movies like this one which are based on true events and show the most evil side of humanity used to leave me wondering how people could be so evil to other people, but now, with Twitler in the White House, it seems evil is not necessarily back (was it ever gone?) but certainly it is out in the open, and welcome.

Morgan Freeman got top billing but I think he wasn’t the lead in this movie. I’d have to give that position to either Djimon Honsou or Matthew McConaughey. Honsou was the leader of the captive slaves and McConaughey was the defense attorney working to get the slaves freed, a task which he ultimately was successful. A lower court ruled in favor of freeing the slaves and returning them to their home in Africa, but President Martin Van Buren appealed the lower court’s ruling to the Supreme Court. McConaughey sought help from a former president, John Quincy Adams, then a member of the United States House of Representatives, to argue the case in front of the Supreme Court. Anthony Hopkins played John Quincy Adams.

The acting was superb, which I figured it would be since Spielberg requires the best from the best. The ending was excellent—bravo to the British!

Overall I can highly recommend Amistad with the forewarning that there is a lot of full frontal nudity, both male and female, and a lot of cruelty that will make you cringe. Be prepared to take at least one good break during the movie.

Double R Creations & Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

Facts, research, science…. meh

Opinion

Texas A&M UniversityI worked for the Department of Chemistry, College of Science, and University Press at Texas A&M University from April 1, 1984, to May 15, 1987, and the Department of Chemistry, College of Science, and University Press at Stanford University from May 16, 1987 to September 30, 1987.

One of my tasks was to check facts, citations, sources, and references. I questioned everything and verified everything before any press release was released, before any newsletter was sent, and before any book was published.

Once I was satisfied about the integrity of a book, I assigned it an ISBN. In today’s world, ISBN’s can be bought for as low as $4.95. That helps self-publishers, but the whole definition of self-publisher means that no one has verified anything. That’s okay for something like a picture book, but it’s not okay for books relying on facts, research, and science.

Considering the prevalence of digital photos and photo editing software, as well as video editing software, and how those fake photos and videos spread on social media, it might not be good for picture books, either. I fear that the world is going to end as humans revert back to their evolutionary predecessors….

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Opinion—Cast iron cooking

Opinion

When I was living with my wise old grandmother in Kingsville TX from December 1965 to May 1973, she forced me to do child labor, things like hanging the laundry outside, bringing the laundry in, clearing the table, cleaning the sinks and bathtubs, vacuuming, mopping, cleaning the windows…….. oh, the list goes on……… that dastardly woman!

The one thing I hated the most, though, was washing and drying the dishes, especially her huge monster gigantic really really big and heavy cast iron frying pan. I promised myself that I would never have a frying pan like that.

Fortunately, Teflon came along about the same time, and I have been a Teflon fan all my life…. until last month when I bought a huge monster gigantic really really big and heavy cast iron frying pan.

I bought it because our new Samsung range that we bought in July 2017 came with a cast iron griddle. Finest thing ever for cooking pancakes and bacon. That encouraged me to think about a cast iron frying pan. They are expensive, more expensive than Zoey the Cool Cat’s prescription food.

However, while I was at my favorite outlet mall, Viejas Outlets, I went into Kitchen Collection and found a huge monster gigantic really really big and heavy cast iron frying pan for just $38. It came home with me.

Best. frying pan. ever.

Cast iron frying pan

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Opinion—See & hear & do it now

Opinion

Double R CreationsWith the start of my new business, Double R Creations, I’m in the process of combining all of my billions and billions and billions of pictures onto one huge 8TB SSD and then finally deleting the pictures that I won’t use—pictures that are too small, grainy pictures from decades ago, home inspection pictures, and stuff that I have saved for whatever reason. As my wise old grandmother told me in 1966, “If you haven’t used it in the past six months, get rid of it.” Her version of get rid of it was to have one of her famous semi-annual garage sales.

Here is something that I saved on August 26, 2003, and just re-discovered. I really like it.

Live It Up, by Ann Wells (Los Angeles Times)

My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister’s bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package. “This,” he said, “is not a slip. This is lingerie.” He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite; silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached. “Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion.” He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me. “Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you’re alive is a special occasion.”

I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister’s family lives. I thought about all the things that she hadn’t seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special. I’m still thinking about his words, and they’ve changed my life. I’m reading more and dusting less. I’m sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I’m spending more time with my family and friends, and less time in committee meetings.

Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experience to savor, not endure. I’m trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them. I’m not “saving” anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event—such as losing a pound, getting the sink Cameliaunstopped, the first camellia blossom. I wear my good blazer to the market if I feel like it. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries without wincing. I’m not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends. “Someday” and “one of these days” are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it’s worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now.

I’m not sure what my sister would have done had she known that she wouldn’t be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted. I think she would have called family members and a few close friends. She might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think she would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, her favorite food. I’m guessing—I’ll never know. It’s those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good friends whom I was going to get in touch with—someday. Angry because I hadn’t written certain letters that I intended to write—one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn’t tell my husband and daughter often enough how much I truly love them. I’m trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is special.

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Halloween offerings at Home Depot, El Cajon, California

Opinion—Little kids should still be in bed

Opinion

I like to go to Home Depot early in the morning since they open at 6:00, especially as the days get shorter because, in the early morning darkness, I can’t do too much outside.

Yesterday, August 27, 2018, Home Depot had put up their Halloween offerings. I snapped three pictures:

Halloween offerings at Home Depot, El Cajon, California

Halloween offerings at Home Depot, El Cajon, California

Halloween offerings at Home Depot, El Cajon, California

A little boy, probably all of six or seven, was standing in front of the skeleton dogs/tigers/whatever they were, pointing at them, and crying. He looked absolutely terrified. Meanwhile, daddy was ignoring the little guy while trying to find the right battery package on the hanging display nearby.

Notwithstanding the fact that Halloween is TWO FULL MONTHS and 3 days away—

hey! at least they don’t have Christmas displays up yet!—

shouldn’t little kids still be in bed at 6:00 a.m.? Asking for a friend.

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post