Archive for November, 2013

Thrift Tips McDonald’s Forgot

Posted: November 23, 2013 in New Post

To help its employees, McDonald’s recently published handy thrift tips for there employees, advise ranging from shopping at thrift stores to “stop complaining!”. Here are more tips they could have given to make the holiday season even more enjoyable at $8 and hour:

  • 10.  Get rid of your apartment and live at work. With the wages we pay,  your place can’t be much better.
  • 9.    Stop taking your medication. Have you read those scary side effects?
  • 8.    Sell your dinnerware. All our food comes in bags.
  • 7.     If you have several children, consider renting one of them out for the holidays.
  • 6.    Turn off the heat and take the opportunity for a group family hug.
  • 5.    Sell your refrigerator and hang your food from a tree. WOW! A new family holiday tradition!
  • 4.    Eat out of one of our dumpsters twice a week. Hint: It’s the same stuff we serve in our restaurant.
  • 3.    To save hot water, don’t wash your cloths until they start to stick to you.
  • 2.    Sell an organ. Kidneys are a popular choice. Did you know you only need one!
  • 1.    Stop splurging on Happy Meals!

November 22, 1963, A Date to Remember

Posted: November 21, 2013 in New Post

JFKWhere were you the day President Kennedy was shot? This is a question often asked of the members of my generation. To the Millennium Generation, November 22, 1963 is a date from a history book, a date to memorize, a question on a pop quiz. But to those of my generation who lived through it, it was a day of emotion, a day of anguish, a day of lost dreams. It wasn’t history, it was personal.

1963 was the year I turned 14, entered high school, and begin my journey to adulthood. Just three years earlier, my role models were athletes and movie spies, but that all changed with the presidential election of 1960. That was the year I was introduced to a new kind of role model, not one who hit home runs or defeated evil foreign agents, but one who cared for his country and the people in it. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was new. He was a war hero, a Pulitzer Prize winning author, and the first Catholic to become president. That last fact, seemingly inconsequential today, was a really big deal to the country as a whole, and to my family in particular. In our living room there hung three portraits: The Sacred Heart of Jesus, The Virgin Mary, and John F. Kennedy.

JFK_limousineThe afternoon of November 22 didn’t seem special. It was the end of the school week and the weekend before a Thanksgiving break. Cathedral High School was run by the Diocese of Scranton and that particular week was for religious retreat. It was to end with a Mass of thanksgiving and an early start to the weekend. Then, like a punch in the stomach, the news hit. Half way through the mass the priest walked  to the lectern and made the announcement that the president had been shot in Dallas. His condition unknown, we would all stop and say the rosary for his recovery, a recovery that would never come. About midway through the prayers came the news that John F. Kennedy had passed away, the victim of an assassin’s bullet. We finished our prayers and walked out of church in stunned silence.

The bus ride home seemed to take twice as long that day. I had never lost a family member and wondered what the scene would be on my arrival home. I ran most of the two blocks to my house on Franklin Street and was greeted by my Aunt Carmella, with tears in her eyses and asking “Did you hear! It’s just awful, our man is dead!” “Our man” was always understood to be the man in the White House, the symbol of hope and change for which a gerneration waited, the man of the people.

thThe scene in my living room was that of a funeral. The black and white tube that brought 15 minutes of news every night was now the focus of the entire family. That tube was transformed into a policeman calling to tell the family there had been an accident, the doctor in the ER who coming out to tell the family a loved one has been lost. When I walked in they hardly noticed.  Their eyes, filled with tears, were fixed on the scene in Dallas. Reporters and eyewitnesses were still trying to understand what had just happened. Images of the monster who pulled the trigger, Officer J.D. Tippit who was killed trying to apprehend the suspect, Parkland General Hospital who tried to save our champion, and the casket that held his remains being lifted onto the plane for the last ride home to Washington. There in the living room, three generations sat mourning for a man with which we never had a conversation or shared a meal but was as much a member of our household as anyone there.

The generations in that room had bravely left their homelands to start a new life in this country of promise, had survived an economic depression, had lost sons and brothers to war, and had seen their hope renewed in the person of this young president. In an instant, with the flash of three shots from a 6.5 mm Carcano carbine, that hope had vanished. Tears were shed in that room for the President, for the beautiful young family that had just lost its father, and for three generations of Italian Americans who had just lost their hopes for a brighter future. The torch of leadership that had been passed to a new generation was now to be turned into an eternal flame of sorrow.

November 22, 1963 is a date. It is a date in history. It is a date to remember where you were when you heard the news that the president had been killed. For me it wasn’t a question of where I was, but of what I felt. It is a date of emotion, of sorrow, and of loss. It is a date that three generations of my family lost their promise of hope and change.

This week we witnessed one of the most bizarre weeks of political coverage in history. What amounted to a minor glitch on the ACA rollout turned into a political donnybrook and a media Cirque du Soleil. On Thursday, President Obama held a press conference to attempt to calm the pitchfork and torch crowd. It was OK, but I had a different approach in mind. Here, then, is the way I would have liked the presser to have gone:

“Good afternoon. Thank you for coming here on such short notice, leaving behind your vital work of regurgitating every lie and half-truth feed to you by the Republican party. I promise I will not keep you for long from that important mission. But first, I would like to address some of the developments this week related to the healthcare rollout.”
“Let me begin with my friends in the other party. I do realize you never wanted health care reform. As a matter of fact, I realize you never wanted to give up your plantations. But sooner or later, times catch up to you. Surely you must have realized that owning slaves and wearing powdered wigs would someday go out of style. Well, maybe not, but I digress. Out of style they went and so did your brand of self-centered politics. I know it was nice for you to visit your doctor’s office secure in the fact that there would be no bothersome ‘other’ people, in the waiting room. And you could have a clear conscience too, not only because you are a bunch of sociopaths, but also because you know that these ‘other’ people were safely crammed into understaffed, germ infested emergency rooms safely away from your white asses! Then I came along with all these uppity notions that all Americans should have affordable health care and your Lilly white little world was shattered. It wasn’t enough that this black fiend twice used a fake birth certificate to get into the White House. Oh, no. Now he wants us to share OUR health care system with EVERYONE! And what did you tell the people of America would happen? Death panels, doctor shortages, people with severed limbs waiting for months to have them reattached, and all this because some uppity black guy hates America. Well, I have news for you. I do not hate America, I hate YOU! I hate your party; I hate your drunken Speaker, and I hate those jowls hanging from Mitch McConnell’s chin. I hate that Russian psycho named Ayn Rand who gave you the right to feel good about your greed. I hate the Koch brothers who would use people who are willing to work for nothing in exchange for keeping their sleeping bags in a box at the park. But most of all I hate that your party acts like a giant polyp blocking progress. So my message to you today is this: get out of the way because this train is coming and it is not a wreck, it is your worst nightmare!”

“Now, for my friends in my own party. Thank you. Thank you for nothing. As if it weren’t bad enough that the Republicans want me to fail, then you come along to help them. I sometimes have a dream that I’m in the movie “Gravity”. Everyone is one big happy family, busy fixing the health care system and then, BANG! The Tea Party explodes, I look up and there you are frantically cutting the lifeline connecting me to you. Through my helmet I scream to help me, but you keep pointing to your asses and indicating that is all you care about. So I float away, on my own, with my wits and will to succeed the only chance of survival. I wake up in a cold sweat as Michelle pats my forehead and asks ‘wereyou having that dream about your friends in congress again?’ I say yes, and try to go back to sleep. But what would really make me sleep would be a party that didn’t cut and run at the first sign of trouble. It would be nice that when the Republicans were planning to slip a knife in my back, my friends were not the ones sharpening the blade. Ah, rest, I shall never know thee!”

“Finally, I would like to address you here in this press room. I have shared this room with you during the many successes and crises of my presidency. But I must say, never once did I enjoy it. How could I? I look out at the room and the faces I see nauseate me.”
“David Gregory, of NBC, you are the Eddie Haskell of journalism. Every week you lick the asses of every republican you can beg to be on your pathetic dog and pony show. You ask leading questions like ‘Just how bad a job is the president doing?’ or “do you think Obama will fail completely or is there a chance he’ll get something right in his second term?’. Just once maybe you could throw me a bone, like ‘I think he likes his dog’ or ‘it might be his medication’, anything to make me believe you have something good to say.”
“Chuck Todd, of MSNBC, I realize that your application to Fox News has been rejected twice. What I don’t understand is why you keep auditioning for the job at your current employer. Here’s a news flash: They don’t watch your show! Nobody does. That’s right, all that brown nosing is for nothing. You really should use that time for something that would really help you, like shaving that ridiculous beard or finding a new hair stylist. Certainly someone in the entire DC area can do a better job than Andrea Mitchell! Speaking of which, Andrea, it’s time to ditch that shriveled up ex-Fed Chairman for a new Ayn Rand model. Paul Ryan, perhaps?”

“And now for Fox News. Sean Hannity, nice hair. Apparently it keeps you on the air, so good for you. Bill O’Reilly, you freak me out, in a creep-in-the-van sort of way. Get a facelift already. And Elizabeth Hasselbeck? Nice move. Now you look like the smart one!” And finally, Ann Coulter, I risk the wrath of my lovely wife Michelle but I must ask you to eat a cheeseburger!”

“This concludes my prepared comments, and now I’ll take questions”

Silence in the press room.