Having watched Donald Trump seemingly insult his way to the Republican nomination for the 2016 presidential election I think his real campaign slogan should be “make America hate again.”
Excuse my logic but on this the weekend of this year’s Super Bowl I thought this was the best time to share an observation. Admittedly this thought has nothing to do with the two teams playing this year.
It concerns those Tag Heuer Advertisements that feature New England Patriots’ Quarterback Tom Brady. I would love to post the photo of this ad but for copyright reasons thought it better not to. We have these billboards all over New Jersey.
The billboard shows a picture of a uniformed Tom Brady with the slogan #Don’t Crack Under Pressure. Wouldn’t it be interesting if a simple period (punctuation mark that is) was added between the words “Crack” and “Under” in this ad? It would become “Don’t Crack. Under Pressure.” Under would become an adverb for the verb pressure as in under inflate. I don’t think any further explanation is necessary.
First I’d like to thank those of you who were kind enough to tune into Excuse My Logic over the several years that I posted regularly. I especially appreciated those of you who commented on its content, regardless of whether you shared my opinion or not.
I took a sabbatical from posting to work on a novel that is very dear to me. It is dear to me because all the other novels I wrote and tried getting published (the last one I self published) were sort of trashy suspense stories, some of which were basically just slasher fiction.
My newest novel which I just self-published on Smashwords is titled “Two Nuts and a Bolt.” It is also dear to me because it is very personal to me. The two main characters, Skip Jack and Lance Axelrod are paranoid schizophrenics, like myself.
I do not wish to disclose any of the plot material because truthfully, I hope some of my readers will purchase the book from Smashwords, which is an affordable $.99. However I will state that it is a story with a message of hope for those who are mentally challenged. The story proffers that mentally challenged people wish to be loved just like everybody else. Even some people we as a society label as “evil” likely became that way because no one took the time to love them
The story culminates with Skip and Lance overcoming a myriad of obstacles to eventually achieve “sanity.” It is a message of hope for the mentally challenged because the underlying motif of this story is that the mentally challenged have to often work long and hard to find their place in society but can do just that if they have a passion to succeed.
Ultimately Two Nuts and a Bolt is a romantic comedy but I promise if you have a heart there are some sections that will make you cry as well.
I sincerely hope you will consider purchasing a copy and also recommending it to your friends. As for Excuse My Logic in the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, “I’ll be back.” However it may be a little while because after writing the book for two years and then the subsequent work of getting it formatted, designing a cover and finally going through the mechanics of self-publishing I am just a little winded.
However, I can state I loved every minute of it. If you do choose to read my book I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Several years back my family was watching Celebrity Rehab and I actually sat down for ten minutes to see what it was all about. Jeff Conaway (of whom I was a fan from his “Taxi” days) was on at that time along with other celebrities who I knew much less about. However, after only watching a few minutes of these famous people getting in each other’s faces in front of god knows how many millions of viewers I remarked to my wife very simply that any clean and sober AA member would have laughed at the absurdity of this show. Today I stand by that remark.
Alcoholics Anonymous defines alcoholism as an “illness.” AA categorically denies that alcoholism is a character defect. Now just because AA makes these statements does that mean they are irrefutable. Maybe not, but AA’s record in steering uncounted of millions of people onto a road of clean and sober is far more impressive than the record of Celebrity Rehab, which has maybe ushered hundreds of high profile clients through its doors. Hundreds, not millions.
AA prides itself on keeping members’ identities anonymous, thus its name. Is the system foolproof? Hell no. However whatever flaws may exist in its noble purpose of protecting its members anonymity, it is a far better guardian of peoples’ privacy than a television show that flaunts the identities of its suffering celebrities as if being addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling, or love (as Mindy McCready checked in for) is cause for celebration.
How one may ask do I know about AA? I have never been a member myself but I know of people who have. Notice I am not mentioning any names. The reader wouldn’t know them anyway. They are not famous. My whole point is though that some personal problems that people are suffering are just best kept out of the limelight, whether the sufferer is famous or not. Also, as a one time member of Nicotine Anonymous another 12 step program I am quite familiar with the 12 step premise and respect greatly the idea of privacy.
Celebrity Rehab is part of the tidal wave of reality television shows that have taken the entertainment world by storm and completely changed the viewing habits of millions of people worldwide. I don’t hate all reality shows. I always found myself fond of “Undercover Boss”, “The Amazing Race” “Supernanny” and the lesser known but entertaining “Pawn Stars.”
However, Celebrity Rehab is snake oil at best, and maybe a lethal injection on the flip side. The danger I believe lies in what was mentioned above. The AA program attacks alcohol addiction as an illness. One of the basic and most important tenets of AA teaching is that the addict who is sincere about recovering must turn to their “higher power”, be that God, a “Supreme Being”, or an elevated consciousness. Human intervention alone (As good intentioned as it may be) cannot cure an addict hell bent on self destruction. It takes a radical shift in attitude on the addict’s part that AA believes is largely tied to the individual’s spirituality.
When a person signs on for Celebrity Rehab he or she is setting themselves up for possible relapse. They are inviting a complete public dissection of their private lives. They are openly admitting to a huge audience of people that they are an addict. Not everyone who watches the show is going to be non-judgemental or perceive the celebrity as a victim of his own illness. Therein is the problem. In this day of social media, mean spirited people will often take to Twitter or other online forums and skewer the celebrity. If that celebrity isn’t thick skinned it will have a disastrous effect. Although it wasn’t connected to Celebrity Rehab perhaps no other example serves to reveal the pitfalls of going public with an addiction as the case of Dana Plato. In May, 1999, one day after she was barraged with insulting callers to the Howard Stern Show on which she appeared touting her new sobriety the actress was dead, of an apparent overdose.
It should also be noted that one of the first and most important steps that AA teaches its members is that in order to achieve sobriety you must first admit to being powerless over your addiction. Extremely wealthy and popular celebrities are not generally inclined to admit they are powerless. Yet that’s the admission that is at the core of being cured. AA teaches its members to check their egos at the door. By paying celebrity addicts big money to appear on the show Celebrity Rehab is still fueling the addict’s ego, rather than questioning it.
AA and other 12 step programs such as narcotics anonymous and nicotine anonymous offer their members a fellowship. I believe Celebrity Rehab offers their participants a sinking ship.
Excuse my logic but as both a baseball purist and as a human being the way this Major League Baseball (MLB) season has played out has delighted me and restored my faith that the game still has an element of sports about it.
I think the ultimate story is the triumph of the Detroit Tigers. Despite having one of the worst records of all the teams to make the playoffs they emerged victorious and are now in the World Series. Miguel Cabrera won the first triple-crown since Carl Yastrzemski did it more than 40 years ago. This achievement alone is a once in a lifetime event for many fans to see. Yet what overshadows Miggy’s accomplishment is what this season can do to uplift the spirits of the people of Detroit. Just two years ago or so, I recall reading how in that city alone, some 9,000 properties were in foreclosure. The total acreage in foreclosure was equal to the size of Manhattan! It was suggested by some in the media that many professional athletes might not even want to play for a Detroit team in any sport for fear that people there couldn’t afford to go to professional sporting events. What professional athlete wants to play before a half full stadium or arena?
Yet here are the Tigers now, at the pinnacle of baseball success. Detroit needed this shot in the arm badly and Jim Leyland and company delivered it to them.
There were other feel good stories in MLB this year. The Saint Louis Cardinals lost their franchise player, one Albert Pujols and their veteran manager Tony La Russa who had guided them to two World Series championships in the past decade. As well, they like the Tigers had the lowest winning percentage of any playoff bound teams. Yet they made it to the National League Championship Series and almost knocked off the San Francisco Giants.
Then consider some of the other teams that made it to the playoffs. The Washington Nationals, Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles had all endured many lackluster seasons this past decade but found themselves’ in the hunt for the title.
Parity has at long last seemingly come back to the game. That juggernaut known as the New York Yankees has learned that the World Series trophy is not simply for sale to the highest bidder. Similarly, the Los Angeles Dodgers or Los Angeles Angels with all their money can’t just buy the championship either. Baseball has once again become a sport where the team with the most heart and soul can rise to the top.
For baseball, which was tarnished more than any other sport by admitted steroid use amongst even some of its most revered players the winds of change have been long overdue. MLB has gotten tough with dopers as evidenced by the suspensions, sometimes as much as 50 games handed down to users. Equally important though is the fact that it is truly a competition where anyone can win and true competition is the essence of any activity we call sports.
Copyright 2012; Greg S.
He is often labeled “The Most Powerful Man on Earth.” He is also the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize. Excuse my logic, but seriously folks, are we going to label him Saint Obama?
If the photos tell the story maybe he’s already been canonized.
What I am getting at are photos that anyone who likes to Google can find that show some of our recent presidents with what appear to be halos above their heads.
Upon close inspection the viewer will quickly realize that the “halo” is nothing more than the blurred image of the presidential seal that is hung behind the president’s podium whenever he addresses the media or other official gatherings.
Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and now President Obama have all been immortalized with halo photos as shown below.
Now I am really impartial as far as President Obama is concerned. I am not his biggest fan but then again I am not a detractor. So when I first saw a halo photo last year the skeptical journalistic side of me was fuming that certain liberal members of the media had deliberately shot the photo that way to imbue Obama with divine persona.
Upon calming down over this phenomenon, I started Googling and soon saw that the other aforementioned presidents had also been adorned with halos in their photos.
Once I had the chance to think the whole thing over I must confess that I think the entire staging of these photos may have some positive sides.
We live in what is still the greatest most successful country on Earth. Serving as the president of this great nation is not an easy task. No matter what he does, there will always be some special interest group, lobbyist group or other naysayers that call him out.
When a new president is elected he rides into Washington on the wave of being picked the most popular politician in the country. People have high hopes. So is it surprising or even inaccurate to picture him with a halo? After all, albeit temporarily, the new president is often regarded as a sort of messiah who will safeguard our freedoms and deliver us to a life of prosperity and security. Of course, things don’t always turn out that way.
As well with regard to the halo, serving as president despite all the security protection he receives is a dangerous job. Two sitting presidents have been assassinated and countless other presidents have been the target of thwarted attempts on their lives.
Thus, the office of the president is in my opinion sacrosanct. To those who diss our country, be they Americans or others, I ask you to consider what other nation on earth has so welcomed immigrants from every walk of life and from every country the world over. Furthermore, look at countries such as North Korea, Iran, and now in particular Syria. Their records on human rights are atrocious. We in America like to complain when one of our civil rights is trampled on. Yet unlike Syria and other countries our president doesn’t employ secret hit squads to mow down anyone who opposes him. Here we are free to speak our mind and assemble peacefully to protest that which we don’t like about our government.
In recent years our past presidents and current one, have never been caught being drunk or impaired while on the job. Each of them has had to live in the huge fishbowl existence that the modern day media has created and have all behaved admirably well with grace under pressure.
In short, while someone reading this may not think that our current president or any specific past presidents are holy figures, the office of the President itself is a sacred spot.
Pictured below are some of our presidents wearing halos. If you want to have a little fun, picture what some of the distant past presidents would have looked like wearing one. In particular, I think Martin Van Buren would have looked hideous with one.
Here’s to the presidency and God Bless America.
Copyright 2012; Greg S.
Excuse my logic but this post aims to dispel some of the myths concerning gas stations.
For starters it is a prevailing belief among many consumers that individual filling stations “price gouge” and are making huge profits. The reality of this is that the big profits are made at the wholesale level. In other words, the big oil companies are reaping tremendous profits – hitting all time high levels as you read this. I have spoken to several independent gas station owners and they claim that the average retail station makes anywhere from $.10 to $.18 per gallon profit, which given today’s retail prices translates into between 2 and 6 percent.
In fact, many gas stations in recent years have found it absolutely necessary to add convenience stores at their facility. This is not a measure of greed where the owner is just trying to make more and more money. It is a matter of survival. How can a business make only 5 or 6 percent profit on gas and cover all the overhead, salaries, property taxes, etc.?
Another misconception which I admittedly believed myself is that the 9/10 of a cent that appears at the end of per gallon prices at most stations is a cheap ploy to make you think you are getting a good deal. In other words, and I believed this, the thinking goes that gas stations use the 9/10 of a cent ploy to make a typical consumer thinks that he’s getting a good deal if he pays $3.999 per gallon versus $4.00. I’ve been told by a friend of mine that this practice started long before today’s ballooning gas prices. Back in the days when gas cost pennies on the gallon this 9/10 of a cent was a big savings and the practice has just been kept as kind of a time honored tradition.
Some cynical people also believe that some gas stations are guilty of selling “watered down” gas. This is virtually impossible. Water is heavier than gas so if it were mixed with gas it would sink straight to the bottom of the gas stations underground tank. Furthermore, since almost all stations never pump gas from all the way at the bottom of the tank, they would never reach that dreaded water.
Many people also believe gas prices aren’t regulated enough. I don’t know all the ins and outs of this claim however I have been told that ironically enough there are regulations in place for preventing stations from pricing their gas too LOW. That’s right. I said regulators want to make sure stations don’t sell their gas below cost! “Why would anyone do that?” you may ask. Large gas station chains could theoretically afford to sell gas at a break even level for long periods of time in order to undercut the independents who would be forced to go out of business. Then the large chains would jack their prices back up and have succeeded in eliminating their smaller pesky competitors.
The last myth I get a chuckle out of concerns the reasoning behind gas attendants almost never collecting the money until they have removed the nozzle from your tank and replaced it at the pump. I always thought it was to guarantee that the attendant doesn’t mistakenly ask you to pay twice. The real reason is that they are afraid that if you pay before the filling is complete you may drive off with the nozzle still in your gas tank, thereby ripping the hose from the pump and dragging it down the road with you. As my one friend who owns a gas station remarked, “Hey, those hoses cost a lot to replace.”
Copyright 2012; Greg S.
Excuse my logic but as someone who craves logic, I often find myself in the discordant position of liking a motion picture but at the same time being bothered by inaccuracies or lack of reality.
Four of my favorite films of all time have been made in the past decade. They are “Swordfish,” released in 2001; “Pearl Harbor” released in 2001; “The Ring” released in 2002 and “The Day After Tomorrow” released in 2004.
In “Swordfish,” John Travolta’s character Gabriel Shear confronts the diabolical Senator Reisman who is trout fishing in an idyllic stream. He tells the Senator “Thomas Jefferson once shot a man on the lawn of the White House for treason.” Historians are virtually unanimous in dismissing this as a plain falsehood. Jefferson never shot a man on the White House lawn. Travolta’s line makes for great theater as he waves his pistol and fires upon the Senator but it is pure fantasy.
In “Pearl Harbor” Franklin Delano Roosevelt is addressing the members of the House and Senate immediately after D-Day. Someone utters the line to Roosevelt that a retalliation against Japanvery quickly would be “impossible.” The Roosevelt character pounds his hands on the table in front of him and pushes himself up into a standing position and even takes a few steps. As we all know Roosevelt had polio and such an action would be highly unlikely. The Roosevelt character proclaims “Nothing is impossible.” I found this scene to be incredibly stirring. Yes, I actually loved the scene. However, then that voice of logic starts playing in my head and I realize, this just didn’t happen.
In “The Ring” the Naomi Watts character Rachel is searching Cabin 12 at Shelter Mountain and happens upon a long dormant well covered up in one of the back rooms of the cabin. She accidentally falls down into the well where the body of Samara, the little girl whose mother pushed her down there, has been lying undisturbed for 30 years. The incredible part of this is that Samara’s body is not decomposed. It is completely preserved. I did a little research on this subject and found that a human body in water decomposes 2 times slower than a body exposed to air. In a warm climate a body exposed to air can decompose as quickly as in one week. So in water, let’s say being generous a body would decompose in a matter of months. To depict a body as not decomposing in 30 years is preposterous. Of course, this is a fictional horror story and there is such a thing as artistic license. Maybe I am just a kill joy.
In the last film mentioned above, “The Day After Tomorrow” released in 2004 we have an inaccuracy that I believe can’t be dismissed as artistic license. When the tsunami is seen thundering toward Manhattanit closes in on the Statue of Liberty inUpper New York Bay. The tsunami is coming out of the west (ie. from the direction of where New Jersey sits). The problem with this is that the Statue of Liberty as mentioned is in a bay. It is not near any ocean. How would a tsunami of this size be generated from a bay? Oh I get it. It was high tide you say.
I never tire of watching these four classic movies over and over again. They have become familiar and comfortable to me, like an old pair of shoes. However as comfy as that old pair of shoes may be, it doesn’t mean they don’t have holes.
Copyright 2012; Greg S.
Excuse my logic but with all the recent fuss about Pink Slime in our beef, I thought it high time to take a look at that as well as some of the other crap we ingest in our daily lives.
Now prior to hearing about Pink Slime I grew up thinking the grossest foods on earth were some like you heard of on TV’s “The Beverly Hillbillies.” Anyone from my generation or older can probably remember Irene Ryan as Granny imploring visitors at the Clampett mansion to dine on such delicacies as “chicken gizzards,” “eye of newt,” “hog jowls,” or “toads brains.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has labeled pink slime safe for human consumption. As I am fond of reminding readers, after 911, Environmental Protection Agency head Christie Whitman told workers they’d be safe working at Ground Zero. The government also suggested the levees would be safe before Hurricane Katrina. Famous last words.
From what I’ve gleaned about pink slime from Wikipedia, it is of dubious origins. Pink Slime is also referred to as “lean finely textured beef (LFTB)” or “boneless lean beef trimmings (BLBT). It is a beef based food additive used as an inexpensive filler. The key words here as you will see later in this blog are “inexpensive filler.” Pink slime consists of finely ground beef scraps, sinew, fat and connective tissue which is mechanically removed from fat. The recovered material is then processed, heated and treated with either ammonia gas or citric acid to kill off bacteria. Ammonia gas? Isn’t ammonia that stuff that if you breathe it in deeply you feel like you’re going to pass out, or maybe just die?
As mentioned though the key words are “inexpensive fillers.” I watched an episode of Jamie’s Food Revolution back in 2009 and was appalled by the conglomeration of sordid chicken parts including bone chips, liver parts, etc. that go into making a chicken nugget. These too are inexpensive fillers, designed to maximize the meat suppliers’ profits with little concern to the welfare of the consumer.
It’s also interesting to note that for many years it was conventional wisdom when going to the local butcher to watch him weigh the meat carefully. The old butcher’s scales had a bowl like platter that the meat was placed in and it was often rumored that they would hide a small stone in it to buoy the weight reading. Thus you thought you were buying a pound of meat but in reality you were buying ¾ of a pound. Imagine if that practice continued today with Pink Slime. The butcher would be double whammying you by selling meat with cheap filler added and giving you less than what the scale read! Fortunately I don’t think things are THAT bad.
Going back some years before, I worked for a wealthy man who owned a meat packing plant in the Bronx. He told me that there were actually cases where meats sat frozen for as much as ten years before being sold on the open market. Probably not much nutrition left in those ice caked slabs.
I remember planning to write a blog that asks the question “Why is it that when you eat a quarter pounder with cheese, you don’t gain just a quarter pound but more like three pounds of weight?” Perhaps that pink slime is the smoking gun.
Given all of the above, I’d like to sign off with a list of some other foods I find totally distasteful. Bear in mind, some of them may be good for you but maybe just look yucky.
- Pigs Feet. Don’t take my word for it. Ask a Muslim some day why they never eat pork. You will be dumbstruck.
- Cow’s brains. The Government has banned consumption of cow’s brains from cows that have been slaughtered if they are older than 30 months. This tells you there’s cause for concern. Furthermore, I feel if I eat this, I may start walking around mooing at everyone or worse than that perhaps begin walking on all fours and eating grass.
- Sausage. I mean the big fat kind that you get in the meat department. To me it looks like a person’s intestines and I wouldn’t want to eat that.
- Caviar. Craved by the privileged rich I had it once and thought it was very much overrated as far as taste and appearance.
- Beef tongue. You never know where that tongue was poking around prior to being served up.
- Sauerkraut. Looks like something that was once green (even though it wasn’t) but has been lingering in the refrigerator way too long.
- Any kind of liver. Beef, chicken or I don’t care what else. It’s liver and it detoxifies the organism. You can never be sure what kind of toxins passed through its veins.
- Raisins. Now don’t get me wrong, I know they are considered one of the healthiest of all foods, but don’t stare at one too long. It just doesn’t look appealing.
- Last but not least, diet sodas. The benefits of drinking diet versus regular have been debated for years. All I know is that if you blindfold me and give me one glass of diet cola and one glass of regular I can tell the difference every time. Diet soda just tastes diluted.
In conclusion dieticians for years have been telling us “you are what you eat.” With that in mind you’d best stay away from fruit cake or upside down cake.
Copyright 2012; Greg S.