Sometimes a fully dressed article is too much, but a naked tweet isn’t enough. I’ve come up with an alternative I call Speedos.
Speedos are short pontifications. Like their namesake, the scanty swimsuit, they should be brief and colorful. And, like the Speedos worn on beaches, they can sometimes be inappropriate.
If you have a “speedo” you feel like sharing, transcribe it in the Comment Box and, if it meets the high standards of the Pontificator, we will publish it. Newest speedos will be displayed first, so they are easy to find.
Check back from time to time for the latest shorts and briefs—posted here—on Speedos.
Bad Water for Flint, MI Jan 16, 2016
In March 2011 the GOP in Michigan enacted Public Act 4, the Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act. The law grants unprecedented powers to the state’s emergency managers (EMs), including the breaking of union contracts, taking over pension systems, setting of school curriculums and even dissolving or dis-incorporating municipalities.
Under PA 4, EMs who are appointed by Governor Snyder can “exercise any power or authority of any officer, employee, department, board, commission or other similar entity of the local government whether elected or appointed.”
Under these powers, Governor Snyder took over all the black-majority cities in Michigan, except one. The cities include Allen Park, Benton Harbor, Detroit, Ecorse, Flint, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Pontiac, and Three Oaks Village; he also seized the Detroit, Muskegon, and Highland Park Schools.
Governor Snyder, by way of his Emergency Manager in Flint, decided that cheap water would benefit the citizens of one of Michigan’s oldest industrial cities. What could be less expensive than the poisoned waters of the Flint River? No one expected that people would get sick or that some would die. Really. What moron could have ever guessed that drinking out of the Flint River, one of the most polluted in the USA, could possibly harm people?
In the words of General Colin Powell of Gulf War fame: If you break it, you own it. Governor Snyder and the GOP of Michigan broke it. They destroyed the democratic process in Michigan for a million-plus people (including fully half of the black citizens of the state) and brought real harm to real people in a real place called Flint.
Statistical sampling of the population seems to suggest that every single child under the age of six in the city of Flint may have irreversible lead-contamination in their bodies. Heaven help the United States if people like Rick Snyder and his GOP friends ever get control of our country and its fragile democracy.
Click this link to learn more about Flint’s poisoned water-supply. The Editorial Board.
Ebola a-go-go Boogie Oct 22, 2014
Are you an un-hip shut-in who doesn’t get out much, never watches the news and can’t boot-up a computer or log onto YouTube? If not, then you can’t help but know—a new dance craze is sweeping America. It’s called the Ebola a-go-go Boogie. The fun begins when a citizen of West Africa visits the local hospital and says: Excuse me, nurse. Could you help me? I have a temperature of 98.7 !
The effect is magical. Nurses and doctors immediately throw up their hands and start gyrating their hips, high stepping their feet and shaking their tooties. Faces contort, lips flap and little screams escape their wide-open mouths.
Ebola, Ebola they howl hysterically to musical sounds that seem to emanate from inside their own heads. The music exudes the hypnotic beats and primal rhythms that can only have their roots in the deepest darkest blackest parts of Africa.
A few phones calls to the local television station and soon, the entire country starts rocking to the beat. Close the borders, incinerate the bodies, burn-down the apartments, isolate the families, quarantine the pets, etc. etc. The musical beat seduces all who hear it, while crescendos of passion wash over the sweaty dancers and frantic on-lookers.
Chubby Checker and the Twist didn’t generate this much popular passion during the turbulent 1960s. Who can say when the fun will end?
Billy Lee P.S. Ebola Wars, Richard Preston
Supreme Court Knocks Down Discrimination at Michigan Colleges. April 22, 2014
After decades of discrimination against black and Latino students, the Supreme Court has finally told Michigan colleges and universities, enough is enough.
Statistics from recent years clearly show that, as a percentage of the available population, the liberal colleges of Michigan—like Michigan State University, for example—admit 101% of eligible white kids. But only 65% of Hispanics are admitted, while blacks are stacked at the bottom of the pile at 50%. In contrast, 192% of Asians are admitted.
We have to end affirmative action admissions, Supreme Court Justice Roberts said. They just aren’t fair.
YANGIDY Mar 26, 2014
Today the Pontificator is announcing the creation of a brand new English word: Yangidy. Have you ever wondered how words are invented?
In this case my wife and I were placing a freshly washed blanket on our bed. Before being washed it had been… well, encrusted with foul-smelling body ash, hair and fluids. I said to my wife, we finally washed this blanket. It’s no longer… my mind raced to find the right word… It’s no longer… there didn’t seem to be one. Then the word flashed inside my head. Yangidy. It’s no longer yangidy, I said beaming.
Yangidy? My wife laughed and rolled her eyes. We both knew I had just invented a word; a new word that, with any luck, might someday join the English lexicons of the Western World, wherever people spoke of objects that reek with putrid fumes and decaying bodily substances.
To make sure yangidy was indeed original, we, of course, looked it up on the Internet. At first we were disappointed. It turned out yangidy was the Chinese word for “personal space.”
But the Chinese spell yangidy with an unintelligible script most Americans can’t read. Besides, Chinese has lots of words that sound American but mean something entirely different. They call them inter-linguistic homographs. An example, in French, is the word pet, which means to expel bodily gas. In English pet is what one does to a furry animal.
So my new word counts, we decided. In a curious serendipity, the Chinese for personal space seems somehow consanguineously connected to my English for foul-smelling body ash, despite me having absolutely no knowledge of Chinese before I invented the word.
In the years to come, my wife and I hope to enjoy hearing yangidy included more and more in everyday speech. Perhaps someday we will hear the word on television.
Attacked by Dog Mar 14, 2014
After fifteen years of daily walks without incident, a dog attacked me. Apparently, he broke his chain, jumped the fence and ran out onto his master’s driveway. As I approached—walking in the middle of the street—he went crazy, it seems.
He lunged onto the road, and—bumping and barking—drove me all the way into the next block. Knowing that dogs smell fear, I tried to walk fast while gently whispering good dog, good dog!
A normal dog would have bit me, but this one never did. Maybe he was a war dog–trained to kill, but only on verbal command from his owner. Anyway, as soon as we reached the cross street he stopped barking and ran home. His owner locked him up. The neighbors came out and told me he sometimes jumps the fence, but so far has never actually killed anyone.
Nashville Snow Emergency Mar 3, 2014
It’s 21° in Nashville. The Governor of Tennessee has declared a State of Emergency. Snow—some places 1/8 inch deep—has engulfed the Capital of Country Music and brought it to a standstill.
Pictures taken at Chuck & Mary’s near city center.
No Bugs (this one is kind of a bummer) Mar 1, 2014
On our recent vacation in Naples, Florida we stayed in a sprawling upscale gated community where lawn care was contracted out to various landscapers and pest control companies. I noticed we never saw any birds on the lawns.
One evening after a day at the beach we pulled into our driveway only to find several large bugs dead or writhing on the pavement. On our bike ride the next day we saw a couple of pesticide trucks loaded with barrels of insecticide making their rounds. Beside one truck a worker sprayed something into the roadside rain sewer.
We never saw an alligator, live snake or healthy bug while we vacationed in our Naples compound. The only flying insects we saw were a wasp—and one night—some gnats.