Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Donald and the Birther Debate

Donald Trump

Was Donald Trump dumb enough to believe that Obama was born outside the U.S.?
All that ranting and raving like a dictator gone mad right before the rebel forces smashed through his windows and hauled him out of the country.   
Trump must be smarter than that, I thought, but oops, maybe he wasn’t.   
Or maybe he just wanted to splatter dirty doo-doo all over his nasty face.

But for what?  We all know he's the one with the lousy hair cut.  
So why?

‘Cause he’s The Donald, and he's running for president, and every candidate needs a cause.

But only something easy, so he didn’t bother with wars or the debt.

Something simple that would exemplify his disgust for Barak Obama?   
 Hey, the birth certificate again.

I say again because I saw a copy of that in Newsweek a couple years ago.  So wasn’t it already settled?  Turns out, it was only the short version.  Who knew?    

Since only the fringes on the far right supposedly believed this muck about the president, all Trump had to do was convince the rest of America.  But how long would the media allow him to waste the country’s time?  Ah, you forget it’s The Donald.  He booked himself onto every talk show and never shut his mouth.  As of last week, 47% of the Republicans believed that Obama wasn’t born in America, and the controversy was growing.              
So our president succumbed and released the long version, which Donald says “he’s going to study.”

Heaven and earth, God bless the day he was born.

I thought the man would be gulping heaps of crow in a corner, but no.  Trump said he was “proud” of himself for the task.  Did I hear right?   The king dropped his drawers yet claimed he rode the streets donning golden threads.

Now he wants all of Obama’s college transcripts.           

It’s a smear campaign, nothing more, and Trump’s fallen to my lowest level of all—you know the one with the Alaskan babe who sees Russia from the shore—but only on cloudless evenings.

But this morning brought a pleasant surprise.   The poll numbers of Republican Speaker John Boehner plummeted as have other prominent Republicans.   

Of course, these men and women knew from the start that our president is American, but their anger’s exploded against Obama, and so has the outrage. 
Unfortunately, it’s not going to end with a simple birth certificate.
There will be more nitpicking, and The Donald will remain in the ring until some caucus or his wife and kids pull him out.

Meanwhile, Jon Stewart and the rest of the late night comedians applaud Trump and want him to continue his campaign.  They pray for it.  What better fodder for material?  Trump’s the stooge, and America’s always loved outlandish clowns.

But hey, the guy’s too in love with himself to see three feet in front of him.  I love a good joke too, though I say shut off the cameras and yank that idiot from the American stage.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Not a Bagel? It's an Obwarzanek Krakowski

You might think it looks like an Einstein's, but just because it's made of thick white dough with a hole in it, don't call it a bagel.  This one’s got a twist to it, and the Polish of Krakow are proud of their obwarzanek krakowskis.  

Come again?  It’s sort of a bagel with a braid, and a group of bakers are pushing the European Union to designate it as a regional specialty like Chianti d Normandi and Prosciutto di Parma as an Old World delicacy.

Except there’s a problem.  Most people think it tastes like a bagel.

“They look pretty much the same, and both are based on a pretty simple premise,” says Patrick Vaughan, an American living in Krakow for the past ten years.

Aah, but there’s proof that the Obwarzanek Krakowski is unique, and the mild bakers are now packing evidence.  The Krakow kind’s got history. 
A decree in 1496 from King John Albert gave certain rights of white bread, which included the obwarzaneks, and another decree in 1611 gave rights to sell it in the city.

Besides, the recipe is different.  The Polish one calls for a bigger roll, and two strands are braided before baking.  Like the bagel—I only whisper the word—the obwarzanek can be sprinkled with poppy seeds or mixed with herbs, spices, cheese, and onion.  

But it’s NOT cut in half to make sandwiches.  

The Polish say it has been produced for 600 years, but Maria Balinska, author of a book about the bagel, disputes that evidence and says they pretty much started as the same.   She interviewed Krakow residents who said that their history was indistinguishable until the 1930s, but what worries the official makers of the Obwarzanek Krakowskis are the “counterfeiters,” who produce them outside the city and pass themselves off as the real thing.

They want their products labeled and imitators prosecuted under law.  The EU is supposed to make a decision shortly, and since no one had objected, Poland is optimistic.  So am I.

 I sit here chewing my bagel in Orlando—can’s find an Obwarzanek Krakowski anywhere--hoping for the best.

Come on, EU.  Some are arguing which one came first, the bagel or the big one, but according to author Balinska that question misses point.  “Both breads… most likely derived from a white, braided German specialty—the pretzel.”
And who doesn't like the pretzel?   

I rest my creamed cheese and lox.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happy Birthday Civil War!

Fort Sumter
  A hundred fifty years ago today the Union troops attacked Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, winning handily and initiating the American Civil War.

It was an exciting, adrenaline inducing time, but after four long years—almost to the day—from April 12, 1861 to April 9, 1865--when General Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse—the country was exhausted, almost shattered beyond existence.  620,000 Americans were dead from battle wounds, disease.  Thousands of others were financially ruined.

But you what?  We've never quit fighting that war.

Re-enacters from all over have been giving up their free time for years, struggling into their store-bought gray and navy woolen uniforms to recreate the same battles, routes, and postures.  But this time around they used fake ammunition, and if someone gets bitten by a dog or a deer, there were antibiotics at the ready.

The late George Carlin once said they should use real bullets and get it over with already.

Yeah, it’s funny, but beyond the re-enacters, there are thousands of Civil War buffs—those fascinated with the subject—the people, the coincidences, and the very horror of these innocent kids gunned down while crossing an open field.         

So it’s 150 years past, and we’re still fighting the same old battles while a brand new one just popped up in this computer age.  

Turns out it’s between two confederate states.  So what’s the argument?  For heaven sake, they already lost the war.   Now they’re bickering about who lost the most war dead.
North Carolina always held the honor, which sort of implies the most heroism while Virginia used to be fourth until one Virginian librarian recently found 31,000 more casualties, and it’s steadily creeping into first place.  North Carolina says it could care less, but librarians on both sides are working feverishly to gather more gory statistics.

Of course, this might be an impossible task.

Battle Of Gettysburg

According to Civil War scholar and Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust, “…records were so poorly kept at the time…that no one will ever really know how many people actually died.”  Others say that even if they could get a closer count, it will take many more years to figure.

Does that mean by the time we celebrate 200 years, someone will find a dusty old IPAD up in Grandma’s attic, and add up the final tally?  Some say it could change the history of the Civil War.  Others say it will set things straight until the next argument begins.

If we live that long.

Until then, happy birthday to one of the saddest but one of the most emotionally gripping chapters of our history.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hoodoo Heals All Ills

Tracy McClendon, from Lucky
Want a magic potion to help get a job, save your house, your health, perk up your love life?
People from all over the country are turning to Hoodoo—an ancient belief system based on spells, potions, balms, and curses started by the slaves in the American Deep South.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Jennifer Forness, a thirty-nine year old woman living in Connecticut was falling apart about a year ago.   Suddenly unemployed, her husband wanted a divorce, and she began developing health problems.   One night at her lowest point, she discovered a website selling products for hoodoo.  Since then, things have begun looking up.  She found part time work and her health has improved.

“There is reason we believe in this stuff,” she says.

Thousands of others have found also relief while slashing debt and preventing foreclosures.  Gee, and I used to listen to Suzie Orman.

But Hoodoo?

Over several hundred years the slaves invented these mixtures of roots and herbs, and when they were freed, they walked away from the fields into the cold hard world and found the health care system nonexistent.  All they had is what they knew, and they brought their old recipes into the cities, now searching for the rare ingredients needed to make their magic potions.

 White pharmacists in black neighborhoods during the early twentieth century were often bombarded with questions from black customers regarding these elements until they finally sent away for mail-order products.  It became an ongoing business until the seventies when blacks became embarrassed with the rituals, and hoodoo died off.

Until now.

With internet access and the economy tanking, hoodoo suddenly got hot once again.  And this time it’s mostly whites and blacks catering to whites.           

The biggest website is with 23,000 customers.  They hawk hundreds of products including “attraction powder” and “goofer dust.” (Goofer dust is made of dead spiders to keep your enemies away.   I got a few in case Sarah Palin shows up at my door).

“Business is good,” say Richard “Doc” Miller, owner of Miller’s Rexall, a homeopathic and hoodoo shop in downtown Atlanta.  Walk-in customers are steady but online sales have exploded.  Business has grown from $10,000 in 1994 to over a million today.

some things they promise

Many blacks are furious with the comeback, saying these new Hoodoo products are phony and basically corrupt the original intent.   

Is anyone surprised?   You know Americans.  We're in a hurry to get healthy, wealthy, fall in love....   Yet thousands swear that they work, and who am I to argue?

But just to make sure I ordered a little High John the Conqueror to restore my internal power and got a curved Khadja fire sword because I couldn’t find my other one, while picking up a book of bottle spells—can’t have too many of those.

All set to go.

Oops, forgot my roots. 

Just made an appointment with my hairdresser Saturday.   Those are the only roots I worry about.