Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What's Your Pattern?

 by Dick Mac

Taking a public stand on a political issue can be dangerous, especially to your reputation.

I know (and I am reminded repeatedly) that my vocal opposition to, and criticism of, the "conservatism" developing in America, since 1980, and its complementary economic policies, hurts (destroys?) my credibility with those who may not know me well.

I have nothing to lose by taking a public position.  I am not a business owner who must tread lightly around the hot topics of the day, lest I offend my customers,  I am not a candidate for public (or private) office, so having a reputation for being dramatic in my opposition tho things with which I disagree is not an impediment to my progress.  I am not shy or withdrawn, so I am taking little risk to practice and talk about the courage of my convictions.

What happens to those with businesses and those running for elective office when they take a public position that is unpopular?

During the recent campaign in North Carolina for a referendum on the civil rights of a minority, presented such an opportunity for Bob Page.

(One might point-out, correctly, that if civil rights are at hand, then the public does not get to vote on them.  They are either civil rights or they are not.  But, that is beside the point.)

Bob Page owns Replacements Limited, a company that sells replacement pieces for china patterns that can be hard to find.  When I chipped the edge of a tea cup from my Lenox china, I found Replacements Limited.  It was so long ago, that transactions were handled by mail!  Yes, snail mail!

Bob Page is a homosexual.  He has not been an activist, per se, in the gay community; but I get the sense that Bob Page didn't really hide his sexual preference.

Four Fortune 500 companies are based in North Carolina:  Bank of America, Duke Energy, VF Corporation and Lowe’s.  All four companies, although they spend a lot of money on political campaigning and electioneering across the country, remained conspicuously silent during this campaign.

So write down that list!  These companies refused to support the civil rights of gay North Carolinians:

One of America's major welfare recipients, Bank of America, believes that its homosexual customers in North Carolina should be denied their civil rights.

Duke Energy believes that its homosexual customers in North Carolina should be denied their civil rights.

Clothing manufacturer (Lee, Wrangler, Timberland, Vans, North Face), VF Corporation, believes that its homosexual customers in North Carolina should be denied their civil rights.

The home improvement store chain, Lowe's, believes that its homosexual customers in North Carolina should be denied their civil rights.

You can contact each of them by clicking the links above.

One nationally-known (internationally-known) company did take a position in support of homosexual taxpayers by taking a position on Amendment One.

Replacements Limited, Bob Page's company, was public and aggressive about supporting the rights of same-sex couples to marry.  There was backlash.  Many customers responded angrily and have promised to pull their business, and some responded with threats of violence and death.

So, Replacements Limited is experiencing a dip in sales because they support the civil rights of homosexuals.  There is a campaign against Bob Page because of his new-found activism.  He could lose a lot of money for having the courage of his convictions.

On America's wacky-fringe-right-wing, people are encouraged by their hateful leaders to band together and cause economic hardship to companies with whom they disagree.  The tactic is often successful.

On America's wacky-fringe-left-wing, people are constantly told by their leaders and media that boycotts do not work.  Which is incorrect.  Sadly, this belief that boycotts are ineffective has put an end to the public boycotting of bad corporations by progressive Americans.

You can find, I am certain, a homosexual complaining about the gay marriage ban while shopping for Timberland boots.  You likely can find a progressive black activist imploring others to take a progressive, if unpopular position, while consuming San Pellagrino water, or some other Nestle product.  You likely can find a homosexual using a Bank of America ATM machine and engage her in a discussion about same-sex marriage, and you would likely learn that her position is contradictory to that of the bank with whom she does business.  Yet, she continues to do business with that bank.

It is hard to boycott companies that do bad things, and it takes effort to find out which products are manufactured or distributed by bad companies.

In this case, we know for a fact that Bob Page's Replacements Limited company has an excellent position on the rights of homosexuals, the right of same-sex couples to marry.  We know that Replacements Limited uses some of its profits to protect the civil rights of homosexuals.

We need to support Bob Page by shopping at Replacements Limited.

Perhaps you need salt & pepper shakers, or a creamer, or a serving bowl.  Perhaps you could buy it from Replacements Limited.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Re-Vamp 01

by Dick Mac

This is the first try at using the new blogger templates.

I have been trying to maintain as much of the same look and feel as the last version of Dick Mac (alive!), and would like your opinion.

There is a poll at the blog.  Please come over and give me feedback.  Or post a comment.  Or send me an email.  If you are so inclined.

Thank you.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Notice: Patience Is A Virtue (and sometimes looks really good)

by Dick Mac

So, blogger.com has completely changed the blog management interface, and they have been insisting that I update my Dick Mac (alive!) template.

I have resisted, but the time has come for action.

It may take a few days to get this all sorted.

Please avert your eyes a moment while I change my underthings.  I promise to be all decent again by 01 JUN 12 (perhaps sooner).

Until that time, please enjoy these pictures of Neymar and Gina Lollobrigida:

Dead Enz
Kyle G. Brixton
Limited Availability

Dead Enz
Kyle G. Brixton

Friday, May 25, 2012

Girl Talk - Music Video

by Dick Mac

Music and lyrics by Elvis Costello

There are some things you can't cover up
With lipstick and powder
Thought I heard you mention my name
Can't you talk any louder?

Don't come any closer
Don't come any nearer
My vision of you
Can't come any clearer
Oh I just wanna hear girls talk

Got a loaded imagination
Bein' fired by girls talk
It's a more or less situation
Inspired by girls talk

But I can't say
The words you wanna hear
I suppose you're gonna have to
Play it by ear, right here

And now, girls talk
And they wanna know how girls talk
And they say it's not allowed, girls talk
If they say that it's so
Don't they think that I'd know by now?

Got the word up on everyone's lipstick
That you're dedicated
You may not be an old-fashioned girl
But you're gonna get dated

"Was it really murder?"
"Were you just pretending?"
"Lately I've heard..."
"You are the living end"

Girls talk
And they wanna know how girls talk
And they say it's not allowed, girls talk
And they think they know how girls talk
If they say that it's so
Don't they think that I'd now by now?

But I can't say
The words you wanna hear
I suppose you're gonna have to
Play it by ear, I hear

There are some things you can't cover up
With lipstick and powder
But I heard you mention my name
Can't you talk any louder?

Don't come any closer
Don't come any nearer
My vision of you
Can't come any clearer

Thursday, May 24, 2012

by Dick Mac 

From what I can tell so far this morning, I did not have the winning numbers for last night's Power Ball drawing.

It's always exciting when the jackpot gets up to a hundred million dollars and for two bucks (less than the cost of a cup of coffee in many places) you can dram a little.

How soon would I leave my job?

Would I keep my job for an extended period for the benefits until I figured out how the hell you're supposed to get health care for your family in the failed American health care system.

How much would I give away and to whom?

Would I stay in my current home?  For how long?

Would I hire a majordomo or just get help as I needed it.

What kind of car would I buy?

Would I get a beach house or a place in the mountains?

Would I buy a home in a foreign country?

How much would I put into stocks, bonds, funds?

Do I have friends that need an investor for a project?

Could I save my daughter's school from closing?

It would be emotionally draining.

So few of us ever get to live out those challenges.

Virginia Fike, of Berryville, VA, recently had the emotional challenge of processing a million dollar lottery win.


In the same day.


When is it my turn?

Virginia Woman Wins $1 Million Lottery Twice in the Same Day

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Offending People With The Preposition "For"

by Dick Mac

Over at Facebook I am connected to Americans Against The Tea Party, who can be found at https://www.facebook.com/NoTeaParty

They generally post pictures and articles about the absurdity of the tea party movement, and they highlight the connection between hugely wealthy and powerful billionaires and the so-called grass-roots movement.

Just they other day I clicked "Like" on the picture (above) they posted of President Obama being greeted by a couple of men holding a banner that reads:  "Rednecks for Obama"!

The "liberal media" (which I don't think really exists, so we'll just call it the media) . . . the media would have us believe the tea party movement is this massively successful grass-roots movement that wants to put an end to the downward spiral of the last 30 years:  the economic disparity, the distortion and redistribution of government services, the failures of American enterprise, and the off-shoring of America's jobs.

These are things that most Americans are concerned about.

The philosophy and economic and political policies that have caused this shift over the past 30 years is the notion that is known as "Reaganomics."  Push the nation's resources (that is, redistribute the nation's resources) to the top of the economic food chain, and there will be so much success that the good fortune will trickle-down and raise every boat as the economic tide goes up.  To do this, we must eliminate all regulation of industry, stop government funding of social solutions, and get America "back" to some other time with some set of morals and values that nobody has ever been able to pinpoint on a timeline for me.

This has been a complete failure, of course; because it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that redistributing the nation's wealth to the top means that those at the top will keep that money for themselves.

Over the last ten years, yes even during the GW Bush presidency, there began a movement away from these absurd policies and the billionaires panicked.  The billionaires funded tea parties that demanded the government . . . you know, I'm not exactly sure what they want.

I know the tea parties hate immigrants, and minorities, especially blacks and homosexuals.  I know they are against allowing same-sex couples to marry.  I know they believe that the whole world is out to get us.  But, it's not really clear to me what they actually want to DO to make things better.

The billionaires funding the tea parties want everything to remain just as things are - at least regarding economic policy.  So, they continue spending money on candidates that will do their bidding, and they promote community events that reinforce the notion that America is a mess because of the blacks/immigrants/liberals/homosexuals/etc.

If you listened to the tea parties, you'd think there was no white person and/or Southerner who supports  progress and free-thinking, or could be liberal or open-minded.

Fortunately, there are many open-minded, free-thinking, progressive white people in the United States, and some of them live in the South.

I like the image that was posted on Facebook because it is living proof that not everyone in the South supports the movement of hate promoted by tea parties, and some of them actually know that the road on which the President wants to continue is the road (more-or-less) to freedom, prosperity and happiness for all Americans.

Today, Americans Against The Teal Party posted a new image:

Along with this caption:  "Can someone please tell me what rules this image violates? I just want to let everyone know about this censorship of our page. They took that image down QUICK."

Facebook removed this image because it offended somebody.  I guess the word "redneck" is offensive to some people, or the word "Obama" or the preposition "for" or the image of people standing too close to temporary orange safety fencing, or holding umbrellas, or walking in shirt-sleeves.

Somehow this image violates the rules of Facebook!

I'd love to know how.

I'd love to know how.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Howard Stern Defends Ellen

by Dick Mac

I didn't hear about this when it happened.

I've always wanted to be a fan of Howard Stern because he is so smart.

But, he supported Ronald Reagan for President, which helped to create an entire generation of young men who think it's cool to be right-wing, Republican, and tell tit jokes, just like their un-cool dads.

I also tire, very rapidly, of tit jokes and lesbian jokes inserted into political discourse.  It shows my stupid side when I resort to name-calling to get attention.  Don't get me wrong:  I do it; but I know it isn't good for my argument.  It equally destroys credibility. Howard Stern has made these a permanent part of his schtick and it kills most of his credibility.

Don't even get me started on his current "reality TV" job!

I know that, except for his endorsement of Ronald Reagan, his misogynistic discussions of women and lesbians, and his crude humor about homosexuals,  he generally has pretty good politics.  Well, OK, perhaps I am being too generous.

Still, this is an impressive discussion of the incident when a tiny group of women masquerading as mothers wanted JC Penney to fire Ellen Degeneres as a spokesperson because she is lesbian.

Right on, Howard!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fab Firsts: The Top 25 debut albums in rock history

by Dick Mac

I have often said that you don't know a good band/ musician/ singer/ singing group until they release their second record.

There are many great first records, especially when a band has a unique sound, or succeeds at blending multiple genres. Some bands with successful first albums have crappy second albums: Boston, Ace of Base, and The Cars come to mind off the top of my head.

Then there are bands with very strong second records who, whether I liked them or not, were destined to become big stars: Steely Dan and The Police are two bands I would never miss if their music vanished; but there is no taking-away the brilliance of their first albums.

Then there are those great first records followed by a series of wonderful records: The Beatles, The Who, Elvis Costello, The Ramones, Patti Smith, Blondie, Bruce Springsteen, and The Rolling Stones come to mind.

Then there is the band that releases a great first record and never releases another to be judged one way or another: Never Mind The Bollocks Here's The Sex Pistols might be the best example.

And then the artist whose first record was a total yawner, but set into motion an unstoppable career: David Bowie and Prince come to mind.

In more modern times, P!nk has released a string of great records, while Lady Gaga's second release places her squarely in in the camp of crap follow-ups. Time will tell if she is the real thing or not.

I notice that this list so far is amazingly white. You'd never know I grew-up listening to The Supremes, The Temptations, The Miracles, The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder and the rest of the Motown stable of brilliance, along with James Brown. In my memory, though, these artists released singles, not albums.

It wasn't until Stevie Wonder's string of wonderful releases in the 1970s that a Motown artist's work was critiqued in album-form. Innervisions, Talking Book, Fulfillingness' First Finale, and Songs in the Key Of Life, is a string of releases that rivals all of his contemporaries' and many of those who came before and after him. It is rare for an artist to release so many incredibly successful and creative albums in a row (especially in such a short period of time).

Marvin Gaye's string of What's Going On, Trouble Man, and Let's Get It On is also quite a legacy.

Then there is Black Sabbath. Four great releases in a row: Black Sabbath, Paranoid, Master of Reality, and Black Sabbath Vol. 4 define the scale by which future metal bands would be judged.

I could go on and on, of course, and so could you. So that is enough from me for now.

I hope you'll share yours. Tell all!

I found this Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article amusing: Fab Firsts: The Top 25 debut albums in rock history. Perhaps you will too.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Spring? Break?

by Dick Mac

Dick Mac (alive!) will be on a short hiatus to accommodate business travel, and will be back in stride just as soon as possible!

Coming articles include Michelle Bachmann's hatred of America, a new site of soccer player pictures, hockey playoffs, and Chicago (where I saw a man dancing with his own wife).

Until then:  Peace!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Soccer Players . . .

by Dick Mac

 . . . in their underwear!

Neymar is 100% Jesus, and I am not sure if that is a statement of religious belief, or the acknowledgment that he is like a god.

Following this link might lead you to believe the latter.

In general, this site is a visual collection of  exactly what is says it is:  undies boys soccer (or, Soccer Players in Underwear).



Monday, May 14, 2012

Unmarried Victims of Domestic Violence Get No Legal Protections

North Carolina:
a place where a battered woman
cannot be granted a protective order, 
unless they are married to her abuser.
by Dick Mac

In North Carolina. only married people are considered to have a "personal relationship" when it comes to application of state law.

Under North Carolina’s 50B statute, victims of domestic violence are only those people who have a “personal relationship” with the perpetrator. If there is no "personal relationship" then there can be no protective order.  The victim is on her own.

Previously, in North Carolina, "personal relationship" included  a spouse or former spouse, current or former housemates, unmarried straight couples who live or have lived together, parents who have a child in common, or people in a dating relationship with a member of the opposite sex.  In North Carolina, it has been impossible for two people of the same sex to have a legally-defined "personal relationship."  Only straight couples were covered.

When North Carolinians passed Amendment One last week, they passed a law that re-defines “Personal Relationship” as a term that describes only legally-married people.

A similar law was previously passed in Virginia.  Courts in Virginia can no longer issue a protective order for a victim of domestic abuse unless the couple is married.  In Virginia, a girl cannot get a protective order to protect her from an abusive boyfriend.  This means that the police will do nothing to help this girl until the boyfriend commits a crime (like killing her), and gets caught, and is convicted.

North Carolina is now a place where, like Virginia, any boy can physically, mentally, and emotionally terrorize his girlfriend until he is caught breaking the law.  It is only if he breaks a law that the police will stop him from abusing his victim.  If he is not caught breaking the law, he can continue on doing exactly what he chooses.

It will be interesting to watch the North Carolina courts scramble to protect an unmarried middle-class white woman from domestic violence, since there is no law that protects her.  It will be interesting to see if any criminals currently on trial for violation of a protective order will now walk away from the charges if the order was  issued to protect an unmarried person.  You see, as of the passage of Amendment One, all 50B rulings for the protection of unmarried persons are nullified.

Just after passage of the similar law in Virginia, shelters filled with single mothers and their children who needed protection.  Shelters were now their only protectors because the protective orders that allowed law enforcement agencies to protect them were no longer in effect.  The most vulnerable people in Virginia now need to rely on charitable organizations to keep them safe from violence, because the courts and police are not allowed to.

North Carolina joins Virginia as a place where law enforcement is not allowed to protect victims of domestic violence, unless the victim is married to the perpetrator.

Well, that will sure protect the institution of marriage in North Carolina!  You keep women married to abusive husbands because once they divorce, they are not protected!  Nice.

Oh, and gay people can't get married.  Good job, North Carolina!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Dick Mac's Brooklyn

By Dick Mac

Handball Courts, Greenwood Playground

Foot bridge over Prospect Expressway

Friday, May 04, 2012

Back In My Arms Again, The Supremes

by Dick Mac

The Supremes ruled supreme until The Beatles hit America.  In the 1960s, The Supremes and The Beatles had more number one hits and more gold records than any others.

This video is from the television show Hullabaloo, and the host predicts that this would be their sixth gold record.

Of course this was their sixth gold record.  How could they go wrong with lyrics like:
All advice ever got me is many long and sleepless nights.

Each time we make romance, I',m grateful for a second chance.

Flo, she don't know, 'cause the boy that she loves is a Romeo.

I listened once to a friend's advice, but it's not gonna happen twice.

Written by the brilliant team of Holland-Dozier-Holland, "Back In My Arms Again" appeared on the album "More Hits" and reached #1 in the US and #40 in the UK.


Thursday, May 03, 2012

How Dare You?

How dare you politicize bin Laden!?!?!

Capitalizing on faux-patriotism, failed action, and terrorism is supposed to be the domain of Republicans and their tea party drones.  They are really unhappy when anyone else tries it!

Adam Zyglis cartoon used without permission.

Adam [Zyglis] is the staff cartoonist for The Buffalo News. 

His cartoons are internationally syndicated and have appeared in many publications around the world, including The Washington Post, USA Today, The New York Times and Los Angeles Times. In his spare time he has done freelance work in book illustration and storyboarding. His work has also appeared magazines such as The Week, Time, and MAD Magazine. In 2006 and 2011, he won third place for Editorial Cartoons in the National Headliner Awards, sponsored by the Atlantic City Press Club. . . .
See more at the Adam Zyglis website

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Getting Away With It

The Kenosha (WI) News reports that an employee of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Phil Dziki, allegedly threatened a Wisconsin citizen who was gathering signatures during a political campaign.

Then, when the signature drive was over, the same federal employee is alleged to have called the citizen's home, threatened him, and announced he knew where the person worked.

While investigating the alleged threats, police learned that the car Dziki was driving was illegally registered to "Elmer D. Fedd, 123 Rabbit Hole Drive, Coon Valley."

As I read the story, I have no reason to question the accusations.  The justice system will take care of that one way or another.

Action against Dziki has been nominal.  Law enforcement officials have taken the minimum action they must take against him, and he can get away with all this by paying a fine and never even appearing in court to face any criminal charges.


A guy threatens citizens participating in civic duty, drives around in a car he's registered to Elmer Fudd, then calls the home of a citizen and threatens him with the announcement that he knows where the guy works, and he gets away with it.

Dziki is a 60-year-old white conservative guy employed as a law enforcement investigator.  This means that law enforcement agencies will apply the law to him much more leniently than if he was, say . . . , a left-leaning single-mother of color.

I am pretty confident that any person of color who threatened a white person from an illegally registered car during a political campaign would be under arrest, probably held without bail, and charged with crimes at the federal, state and municipal levels.

Is Mr. Dziki allowed to get away with this criminal behavior because he is an investigator for the ATF?

Do Dziki and the local police get to laugh-off the whole incident as if nothing of substance has happened?

I'm certain this will all go away and Mr. Dziki will go back to rubbing his guns and fondling his bullets and planning to take further witty action against people he doesn't like.  One of these days, though, Dziki might go all Zimmerman on someone.  That day, will he be allowed to get away with murder?

Dziki's Facebook page is open to the public - you can see how bright and witty he is by having a look.

Here is the original article:  Former elected official cited for harassing petition gatherer

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

A sweet lesson on patience

by Dick Mac

This was posted on Facebook by Homestead Survival

A NYC Taxi driver wrote:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked. 'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.'

'Oh, you're such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, 'Could you drive through downtown?'

'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly.

'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued in a soft voice..'The doctor says I don't have very long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired.Let's go now'.

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

'How much do I owe you?' She asked, reaching into her purse.

'Nothing,' I said

'You have to make a living,' she answered.

'There are other passengers,' I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.

She held onto me tightly.

'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said. 'Thank you.'

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.