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Catch 22? I’ll decide!

Good morning. It’s a tad steamy here in DaRat’sNestLand, what with fog and not much in the way of any kind of breeze, as it’s  almost Summertime! Summertime! Sum-sum Summertime! Bop Pa-Pow-Pow!

 

I hope you all had an enjoyable weekend. We did.

 

OK, let’s get to it with some thoughts on things which happened on this date in history, shall we?

Yes it isn't, is it?

Yes it isn’t, is it?

 

In 1190, Frederick of Barbarossa drowned in a river while leading an army of the Third Crusade. No doubt the Saracens screamed out the 12th Century equivalent to, “Nyah! Nyah! Na Nyah-yah!”.

 

In 1692, Bridget Bishop was hanged for practicing witchcraft in Salem, Mass.

 

In 1776 the Continental Congress empanelled a committee to write the Declaration of Independence…a mere 84-years late for Ms. Bishop.

 

In 1898, U.S. Marines land in Cuba during the Spanish American War, paving the way for one of moi’s most favorite Presidents, Teddy Roosevelt,  to become President after his exploits as the leader of The Rough Riders; burning the name of San Juan Hill into our memories and serving as the backdrop for  hilarious scenes in “Arsenic & Old Lace” and now, a Bacardi commercial for a “Cuba Libre”, more generally known as a “Rum and Coke”.

 

In 1920, at the Republican convention in Chicago, women’s suffrage was endorsed. Stranger things have happened, I guess.

 

In 1925, the State of Tennessee adopted a biology textbook which denied evolution. They were so effin’ progressive there, weren’t they?

 

In 1963, a Buddhist monk self-immolated in Saigon to protest the repression of the Diem government, which we were supporting.

 

-”THAT’S SOME CATCH THAT CATCH-22.” “IT’S THE BEST THERE IS”. 

I begin with this coda to a key conversation in Joseph Heller’s classic novel, “Catch-22″, between his protagonist, Bombardier, John Yossarian and Flight Surgeon, Doc Daneeka.

 

Yossarian approaches Doc, begging him to “ground” him, as every time he gets within a few “missions” to allow him to go home, his CO raises the number. Doc says he can’t, to which Yo-yo asks why. Doc says it’s, “Catch-22″. Yo-Yo asks for an explanation which Doc gives by telling him this. I took the following from Wikipedia:

“There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he were sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle. Page 56, Ch.5.”

 

So, what does this mean in today’s entry? Well, we have the Big Brother issue involving former CIA-officer, NSA-Whistleblower, Edward Snowden, which also evokes Catch-22, which I’ll get to later and the paradox in which we exist. However, as I feel this about myself, I will speak in the first-person for now, as I do not feel I should be putting my attitudes on others.

 

Benjamin Franklin once said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety”. I fully embrace this sentiment. I have a “Don’t Tread On Me”, attitude as do many others. BUT, Mr. Franklin’s sage observation was made centuries ago. Before telephones…read that phone and communications companies…credit cards; PCs; smart phones; wireless technologies which would have dumfounded him had anyone broached them to him.

 

Permit me to share a few things which occurred recently which should support my hypothesis, which is this. How can I get my shorts in knot over this NSA flap when I engage in the following…all on my own…completely and totally voluntarily…being totally knowledgeable of what occurs when I do?

 

1.) CREDIT CARDS.

When I applied for any and all mine, I gave my SSN; address; phone; and permission to pull credit reports, etc., all in order to permit me to shop with the convenience of using a Visa; Master Card; American Express; Discovery; store credit card, etc., etc. etc.

 

The generic credit cards don’t know what I bought but the store cards do. BUT, those generic cards show where I shop; how much I spend and by inference what I bought, i.e., a $700.00 charge from a Firestone Tire shop would indicate I bought tires from that location.

 

Plus, Credit card records are part and parcel of credit reports. If you don’t think that’s anything, think again. I won’t go into the nuts and bolts but perfect strangers are checking you out; day in and day out.

 

Here’s something I did Saturday. We decided to go to The Rivers for dinner and to do some gambling. As I handed my credit card to the cashier, I decided to add in the tip as I didn’t have any smaller bills, saying to MBH, “May as well get the points”. So, not that the money from the tip was that important. It was the convenience. More on this in….

 

2.) LOYALTY CARDS

We all know what they are. Almost all the major retail businesses have these in some manner, shape or form. Mostly, they promise lower prices or future “cash-back” offers.

Yesterday, we stopped at a CVS as they had a “special” on 2-liter bottles of Coke @ $.99 each, Limit 5, with their “loyalty card”. But wait! There was more! If I’d “scan” my card, I’d get an in-store coupon worth an additional 25-cents off one of the bottles. So, for $2.25, I scanned in my card and, see above.

 

I’ve received all sorts of “cash-off offers” lately, what with Father’s Day, next Sunday. All I need do is use any of  my “loyalty cards” to “cash in” on them. And let someone know what I’m doing.

 

Here’s the thing. Each time I use any of these, credit/loyalty/discount/whatever cards, a record of this is made/kept and is reviewable by Gawd knows whom. AND…one thing I have on my “To do” list for today, is to take advantage of a 35% discount on a fishing rod I have been coveting for a long time.

So, while my outrage is still there, it’s a tad difficult expressing it in light of the foregoing.

 

You say, Hah! That’s OK. I don’t do that! OK.

Do you have a smart phone? If so, please see this which was sent to me by NesterJohn. http://www.youtube.com/embed/N2vARzvWxwY?rel=0

It’s scary, kids.

 

3.) PERSON OF INTEREST?

Big Brother is – quite literally – watching me.

From security cams on businesses to traffic-cams at intersections; toll booths; bank drive-thru windows; casino-ceilings and Gawd knows where, I may be filmed/photographed as often as Sophia Vergara! Does this bother me? Not really…unless I’m getting near one of those “traffic-cams” here in ChiTown. Those are big time traffic tickets and I don’t “run a yellow” as much as I once did.

 

AND, I am certain that those stills of the Tsarnaev-Slime Brothers; “Person of Interest”-style showing them as they wove their way through the crowd at this year’s Boston Marathon to set their bombs which killed three innocents; got to many other citizens as they did to me…that we had their pictures; that we’d find and that we’d punish them…which we did and will to the younger-slime.

 

 

So, does any of this make the NSA issue right? No. Two wrongs don’t make a right. That said, with all of the above taken into account, I find expressing true outrage a bit difficult. It’s like being a woman who tarts herself up; purposely walks by a construction site; then gets all hissy-fitty about the catcalls she hears.

 

OR

 

To paraphrase “Pogo”, “I have met the enemy and he is me”.

 

That’s how I feel.

 

-SNOWDEN.

Funny. Snowden’s the name of the kid in the tail-section of Yosarrian’s B-25, with his guts all spilled out; who keeps telling Yossarian he’s cold and all Yossarian can say is, “There. There”. It bothers him so much that he has constant nightmares about

this, again, as all he found himself able to do was to say, “There. There”. The thing of it is, while Snowden died, there was another character, Clevinger, who was always going on about what was wrong with what they were being made to do and his fellow aircrewmen warning him to keep it down as, “they” would, “disappear him”. Snowden, the current one, openly stated that he could be subject to a “rendition” by the CIA…our 21st Century word for “disappearing” him.

 

He was taking “refuge” in Hong Kong, which he said has, “…a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent”. That said, he is currently supposed to be seeking asylum in Iceland. Perhaps a tad more fitting of that description.

 

-ONE LAST THING ON THIS.

Following the recent rulings by The Supremes OK-ing  the taking of DNA of anyone arrested in connection with a serious crime,

Cook County Jail inmates will soon be subjected to such action. Please note, it says “arrested”…not “convicted”.

 

No, this is not voluntary.

 

No, most of the population of Cook County Jail aren’t exactly your basic Rotarians.

 

No, it should not affect any of us…unless we happen to be arrested on a “serious offense”.

 

But wait! There’s more! Law enforcement agencies in Ella Noise are pushing to expand the categories eligible for this testing.

 

Again, I am on the horns of this Catch-22 situation.

 

I’ll leave the rest to you.

 

********************************************************************************************************

 

-GAME OF THRONES. The season-finale was last night and unlike the last two, was not quite as bloody as they. If you are not a viewer, it’s kinds like a medieval “Homeland”, in that it’s nigh unto impossible to keep the plots; sub-plots and characters straight in one’s mind. For now, it’s wait till next year.

 

-HANNIBAL.

We are now caught up thanks to out DVR and quite glad to be so, as man, this show’s getting gorier and more  depravitier with each succeeding program. MBH and I both said if NBC renews it, we may have a problem tuning into it again.

Some of you may recall my aversion to Law & Order SVU after my stay in the hospital a couple years ago as other than news shows and the regular daytime TV-pap, the only other channel I had was USA. They would show several consecutive, SVU episodes, which just got to be hard for moi to continue to watch.

This show, Hannibal, has us caught up in the rest of the story, with apologies to Paul Harvey. Mads Mikkelsen is great as Hannibal Lecter, as is Laurence Fishburne as Jack Crawford. Hugh Dancy as Will and his descent into mental illness is getting fairly difficult to watch, though his acting is dead-on. That said, after the final, 2-episodes of this season, well, mmmmm, uh, we don’t know if we’ll return.

 

********************************************************************************************************

 

AND NOW…SPORT

 

-HERE COME THE HAWKS.

 

As previously, I “flipped over” seeing them up 2-0; then 2-1; then 2-2; then Kaner’s 3rd-period goal making it 3-2; then while watching the clock tick down. I did a 10-second tick-down and was just about to say to moi’s self that they won, when that stoopid icing occurred; forcing the face-off outside the Hawks net; with 6-Kings on the ice as they’d pulled their goalie and they scored with, what, 9.6 second left to tie it?

 

Then I watched the OTs. And I gotstasay, that game-winner was visibly “there”, as Taser brought the puck into the Kings’ zone on the left; then deftly passed it to the center to Kaner, who blasted it past Kings goalie, Jonathan Quick for the game-winner and Series winner.

 

They now face the Boston Bruins who are going to get all sorts of hoo-de-hah after the Marathon crappola. My focus will be on the games and the competition. BUT, the first time I hear some sports-talking-head make some stoopid equation that something on the ice somehow makes the deaths and injuries from the Marathon bombing not as bad, I’ll hit the “Mute” button on my remote.

 

Kane went from being the Hawks version of “Where’s Waldo” to the Star of the Show in one, fell-swoop.

 

It seemed to me they were tired and spending far to much time passing the puck instead of attacking the net. Then we had that pass from Taser to Kane set up the win, so, maybe, well, er, uh, hmmmm.

 

-SOX ARE STILL TALLEST MIDGET IN THE BI-STATE CIRCUS!

Yes, they are. Their mucho-gusto .443 W/L % off their 27-34 record is pulling them away from DaBOHICUBS, who are 25-35 for a .417 W/L % and DaCheeseTurds up Milwaukee-way @ 25-37 for a .403 W/L %.

 

-DaBOHICUBS.

Y’know, they do have some nice players. It’s just too bad they don’t win very often. As fans, we should have a reasonable expectation of having a 50-50 chance of a win. That’s asking for an equal chance to see a win as opposed to a loss, which works out to a .500 record. Yet, “…here we sit, broken-hearted…”, continuously. Oh well.

 

Will say it was nice to see Edwin Jackson finally pitch well.

 

That said, I’ll be at Wrigley Filed for tomorrow night’s game with NesterTom, hoping against hope that they throttle DustBin and his guys.

 

-JERRY’S “TACKLE-VINEYARD”, AMONG OTHER DRAFT-VINEYARDS, HAD THE BLIGHT!

Ya hadta know this was coming when former 1st-round pick, right-tackle Gabe Carimi was given Phil Emery’s “blessing” to miss OTAs, which we all know are completely voluntary, and resulted in his being traded to Tampa Bay.

 

Thus, the last of Jerry’s 1st-round picks is no longer a Bear. Of his 10 picks, he had none in ’06, ’09 and ’10, from some of his trades; leaving 7, who were: Marc Columbo, OL, a miss; Michael Haynes, DE, another miss; Tommie Harris, DT, a hit; Cedric Benson, RB, a thumbs-sideways; Greg Olsen, TE, a hit…with another team; Chris Williams, OT, a BIG miss; and finally, Carimi, a miss, sort-of, due to injuries.

 

Only time will tell if the Emery Board will do better. Shouldn’t be too hard.

 

-IT’S “OPEN” WEEK.

One has to bow in the direction of the USGA which a long time ago, decided to schedule the toughest Major on the Tour over Father’s Day weekend.

 

More on this later in the week.

 

OK, it’s nearing lunchtime and I didn’t have breakfast, so, seeya later alligators.

Remember, any day we can look down at a flower instead of up at its roots is a good one.

 

Take care,

 

FatRats.


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