Any port (or starboard) in a storm (of nonsense)

IMG_0459WELCOME TO 2016!!

First, allow me to apologize for my brief hiatus from these assorted ramblings of dubious quality – I’ve been enjoying the holidays along with the majority of the country, I daresay. Here’s hoping your holiday season brought you all the joy and happiness you anticipated – and, perhaps a bit more. At any rate – to business – after all you didn’t come by to schmooze, did you? Or did you? These days, I just can’t ever be sure. You see, I have reached the age where I’m never quite sure what I’m sure of (see previous post for more on that topic).

2016: a brand new year – a time for renewal and resolutions to improve on last year’s behaviors. To that end, I would like to proudly report that I accomplished MY New Year’s Resolution in record time this year – I first resolved to be more honest with myself this year – and suddenly realized that my list was done!

OK, enough schmoozing – my staff is urging me to quit stalling and get on with it. Speaking of my staff, (and, stalling) allow me to introduce my Managing Editor and Field Reporter – Lord Zeus and Baby C, respectively.


Tireless workers both, here they are helping to knock out my latest post. Zeus sniffs out the leads and Baby C ensures the veracity of them (making sure they will fly, so to speak). Sorry, couldn’t resist the corny joke(s) – it was too easy – I had to take the shots.

At any rate, in the spirit of self-honesty, I think it’s time I delivered on the founding premise of this blog: a little controversy.  And here we go….

I am reasonably certain I do not stand alone in the statement that I am SICK of having to “dial 1 for English” – neither is it a fresh complaint – one I am certain you can find on any forum with even a mild tilt towards starboard. But, here’s the deal: I am angry at the unmitigated arrogance underlying the assumption I require that particular service. I mean, I totally get that it’s a good and ostensibly progressive thing to offer alternate language options. I mean, America is a melting pot, we are bonded in our diversity, our differences make us stronger, blah, blah, yadda, yadda – that’s a fine concept, such as it is but, like everything else on the agenda that leans to port – I’m sick of having it jammed down my throat. My point is simple and, I believe, hardly a radical request: English is the language of this land and although there are many other languages spoken in our land, English is the vernacular. The Constitution (anyone remember that old thing?) was written in English – no alternate language options for the founding document of our nation. But nowadays, I can’t even get into the ATM for my own bank account without first selecting English as the language I want. Whatever phone service I seek, I am prompted to dial a 1 for English before I can proceed navigating the rest of the labyrinthine menu choices (I’ll probably comment further on THAT topic in a different post.) Anyway, you get the point, I guess – at least English is represented as the number 1 choice – a concession, no doubt from those port-leaning folks. OK, so we offer options since we recognize that many languages other than English are the choice of a large portion of the populace, but why do we have to choose doing our business in the language of the land?  Shouldn’t the “option” to use a different language be the circumstance that requires additional steps? Why can’t English, the language of the land (and, our forefathers) be the default? Shouldn’t you have to press 1 for Espanol or another language and not have to press ANYTHING to “continue in English? If you pick up a phone in Germany, for instance, You don’t have to Drücken Sie eine für Deutsch,. So why do I have to press 1 to hear things in the language of my land? Shouldn’t English be the DEFAULT language with no further ado, save the option to switch to an alternate language? And, why does this seemingly minor inconvenience vex me so? Admittedly, it’s not a major imposition to dial a single, additional digit when navigating the always cumbersome electronic menus that are now a mainstay of so-called customer service departments across the land (note to self: this topic alone is the stuff of at least another full-page rant and perhaps will be the topic of another entry). No, the inconvenience is not the issue, neither is it a perceived affront to my patriotism (that bit about the language of the Constitution being English was meant to establish the place of English as the language of the land – not to proffer its superiority over other languages). Rather it’s the foregone conclusion that I would have to choose to continue my business in English as opposed to some alternate language that gets my goat. It’s an assumption that is symptomatic of an ideology that is all too prevalent in today’s society, INMHO. We have become so enamored of and encumbered by endless efforts to be politically correct on all conceivable fronts, that I fear common sense is forfeit in an effort to appear enlightened. Now, I am sure I can hear you all thinking:” Ha! Just as I suspected – he’s dragging out the tired old clarion call of the right-wing crazies – well, we are all sick of THAT agenda! We knew all along he was probably a closet Limbaugh lover – a Fox News fan – probably even a Reagan-relisher!! You may, in fact, think you have caught me with my political slip showing, so to speak, but I urge you; resist the temptation to obscure my thoughts and words under hastily applied brush strokes of political “one coat” paint. I’m not talking about Democrats, Republicans, Liberals or Conservatives – I’m talking about common sense – a commodity that Samuel Clemens famously observed wasn’t common.

Anyway, as a reward to those who have accepted my challenge and reserved judgment, I will avoid rehashing the litany of complaints offered by the Starboard Side Folks and attempt to distill it down to this single observation:

Why is it that everyone is so concerned about offending people who do not share a traditional or even majority belief system that no one is concerned about offending those of us who do? Need an example? Coming off of the Holiday Season, an especially timely one comes to mind: Seeing the name of my Lord and Savior essentially “X’ed out” of Christmas greetings in veritably every form of public expression happens to offend ME, yet no one is trumpeting outrage over this callous and rather blatant failure at all-inclusiveness. What’s a commoner (possessed of the same sort of sense) to do?

BTW: For those of you who believe you have the measure of me at this juncture, I leave you with a quote from one of my personal fictional heroes from the fabulously provocative (and cancelled-too-soon) series: THE NEWSROOM

 Will McAvoy, responding to a question about his motivation for declaring himself a Republican:

“No, I call myself a Republican because I am one.

I believe in market solutions and common sense realities and the necessity to defend ourselves against a dangerous world and that’s about it.

The problem is now I have to be homophobic.  

I have to count the number of times people go to church.

I have to deny facts and think scientific research is a con.

I have to think poor people are getting a sweet ride.

And I have to have such a stunning inferiority complex that I fear education and intellect…in the 21st century.

But most of all, the biggest new requirement, really the only requirement is that I have to hate Democrats.

And I have to hate Chris Christie for not spitting on the president when he got off of Air Force One.

The two-party system is crucial to the whole operation.  There is honor in being the loyal opposition. And I’m a Republican for the same reasons you are.”





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