Monthly Archives: August 2014

And on the Seventh Day, He Rests

It’s August: time for sitting back, enjoying a tall glass of whatever it is you like a tall glass of, hitting the sand, and otherwise taking it easy. In that spirit, The Curmudgeon is taking a break for the rest of the month and plans to return the morning after Labor Day. Between now and then, he hopes to rediscover the cranky. vacationUntil then, he leaves you with this vacation message.

Old Friends, Sat on a Park Bench Like Bookends

Old friends, old friends
Sat on their park bench like bookends
A newspaper blown through the grass
Falls on the round toes
Of the high shoes of the old friends

Old friends, winter companions, the old men
Lost in their overcoats, waiting for the sunset
The sounds of the city sifting through trees
Settle like dust on the shoulders of the old friends

Can you imagine us years from today?
Sharing a park bench quietly
How terribly strange to be seventy

Old friends, memory brushes the same years
Silently sharing the same fears

See the old friends, the winter companions, sharing their version of a park bench now that they’ve reached their seventies and apparently become old friends again.

Low Expectations

Last week a Philadelphia jury acquitted five city traffic court judges of conspiracy and wire and mail fraud charges associated with fixing traffic tickets.

What’s interesting about the case is that the question of whether the judges fixed tickets was not in dispute; everyone, including the defendants and their lawyers, conceded that they had.

Ultimately, though, the jury of all Philadelphians concluded that fixing tickets for friends, friends of friends, and political allies was not a crime – not even for a judge. As far as the jurors were concerned, there’s nothing wrong with judges fixing tickets unless you have to bribe them to do so.

And that, friends, is an amazing display of the low expectations some people have of judges and other elected officials.

If Congressional Democrats Cared So Much About Smoking…

In the wake of CVS’s announcement a few months ago that it would stop selling cigarettes, several heavyweight Democratic U.S. senators wrote to Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Walmart, asking them to follow suit and stop selling cigarettes, the online publication Politico reported.

The senators’ letter to Walmart said that

We recognize the legality of selling and profiting from tobacco products; however, Walmart’s position as the nation’s largest retailer of any kind puts your company in a unique position to contribute to the health and well-being of all Americans.

This is another of those situations like the one Dorothy faced in The Wizard of Oz. If you’ll recall, in case you haven’t seen the movie lately – although The Curmudgeon isn’t sure how anyone can not have seen that movie lately – Dorothy was given the magical ruby slippers early in the movie but didn’t come to understand until the end that she had always had the power to use the slippers to return to Kansas.

In other words, if these Senate Democrats care so much about curtailing cigarette smoking, why don’t they use their powers as, you know, U.S. senators, to attempt to pass a law banning cigarettes in the U.S.?

Wouldn’t that be a more productive approach than just complaining about it?

Until they do that, their complaints about retailers selling cigarettes amounts to little more than what comes out of the business end of those lucrative little cancer sticks: a lot of hot air.