Ralph Higgins

Ralph Higgins
color pencil sketch by Gayle Higgins

Quotes I Like

“Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

-Albert Einstein


Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Futile Attempt at Political Correctness

     I was accused of being “judgmental” by my wife today.  I made a politically incorrect and insensitive statement about someone in a “protected” group. I deserve to spend the rest of my life in a prison cell. 

            I guess I’m politically incorrect by nature.  I will admit that I find a certain joy in flaunting society’s arbitrary and irrational restraints.  After a certain age you can do that. (If challenged, just act confused.) 

            We've been told over and over that it isn't nice to discriminate and saying the wrong words can be even worse.  So I decided to experiment.  I will try to be politically correct for a week.  

            I'll avoid words that are considered offensive - things like "master bedroom,"  "policeman,"  "freshman," anything with "man" in it.  The rarely used word,  "niggardly"  caused an uprising in the black community when it was used by a black speaker.  The word means "miserly, stingy, cheap," but ignorance won out and the speaker was forced to apologize for using a legitimate word that had nothing to do with race.  We have to be very careful.

            Anyway, my anti-discrimination program began today.  After my shower I went to my sock drawer.  This was my first test.  I had planned to wear white socks with my tennis shoes, but a wave of guilt washed over me and I realized I was discriminating based on color, so I picked a black sock for my right foot and a white sock for my left. For more inclusion, I settled for brown dress shoes.  It didn't look right,  but I wanted to be politically correct.

            Upon reflection, I think I've discriminated all my life.  In fact, I can't think of an instance when I didn't discriminate.  I discriminated against men when I picked a wife and I discriminated against women when I chose football over being a flag girl. 

            I discriminate indiscriminately.  Every time I look at a restaurant menu, I discriminate.  Whenever I buy a car, I discriminate.  When I back Israel over Hamas, I discriminate.   When I prefer anyone over Hillary, I discriminate.  There is very little one can do during a normal day that does not involve discrimination of one sort or another.

            To avoid appearing bigoted I'll try to be ethnically inclusive when picking food for dinner this week.   One day it will be chow mien, then tortillas and beans, then fried chicken, collard greens, and watermelon, then paella, followed by shish kabob, spaghetti, and curry goat.

            We can't discriminate, but the government can.  This government discriminates against the coal industry, oil producers, gun owners, Christians, white males, traditional marriage, small business owners, to name a few.  Obama’s  terrifying wife put a hex on cheeseburgers and candy in schools. Elementary school kids are ecstatic about having carrots and broccoli on a sheet of lettuce for lunch.   

            If you own a business, when hiring you are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of genotype or phenotype, age, color, height, weight, language, sexual orientation, or "trans" anything.

            If you own a bakery and your religion is against gay marriage, you cannot refuse to build a cake for a gay wedding.  There are exceptions.  A restaurant owned by Muslims would never be forced to serve pork chops at a homosexual wedding. But, of course, a Christian baker is unlikely to behead you.

            If you are a 110 pound woman you must be considered for a firefighting job, which may involve hauling a 260 pound unconscious victim down a ladder from a ten story building.  Even the military has lowered physical requirements for women in combat. The logic of physical standards for these jobs evidently pales in comparison to gender equality.
            Homosexuals serve openly in the army, which makes the shower room for the "chosen ones" the equivalent of a Muslim being greeted in heaven by 72 virgins. 

            Colleges allow both sexes to use the same bathroom. You would think that would have a dampening affect on promiscuity, but that doesn't seem to be the case. 

            Then there’s the Washington Redskin controversy and wimp announcers who refuse to use the term “Redskins.”  I’m losing interest in football, which was a passion before the NFL became politically correct and feminized.

            The thought police now determine the opinions we are allowed to hold and the language we are allowed to use.  The entire country is being told what is acceptable speech.  This is devastating to a "free" society. 

            The woman who is posting the cartoon of Muhammad is being threatened, but if she is forced to stop, we will have succumbed to Sharia law - not our Constitution.    

            Makes you wonder if anti-discrimination and censored speech are motivated by compassion or are they actually motivated by fear?  I don't know if it was Thomas Jefferson or John Adams who said, "Only a government that is afraid of its citizens  tries to control them." 

            When we lose freedom of speech America is gone.  After more reflection, I've decided to cancel that idea of becoming politically correct, even for a week.  I'm obviously not very good at it, as this article demonstrates, but mainly because the Bill of Rights allows us to be politically incorrect.   


Monday, June 8, 2015

Family, Friends, and Calamari

            I didn't want to start using my blog as a diary, where I "share" our personal life with our kids, grandkids, and friends and blather about what I had for breakfast, how Gayle was fixated on the Triple Crown Saturday and our latest vacation adventure.  Well, I'll skip breakfast and just touch on the horse race and our latest "vacation."

            As everyone knows, American Pharoah (misspelling is intentional) won the Triple Crown Saturday.  He's the first horse to pull that off since Affirmed did it 37 years ago.  It's assumed that this great horse has the ability to earn hundreds of millions in stud fees. But there's concern that an injury could jeopardize such a glorious future. You may remember what happened to Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro at the Preakness in 2006.

            Thoroughbreds love to run. Gayle and I owned a couple once. If the choice were left to Pharoah, would he trade running around an oval for a pasture full of mares?  I know that's not how the stud thing works, but it's still a heck-of-a-retirement program.  The latest news indicates that Pharoah will run a few more races before he retires.

            The day prior we drove the six hour trip back home after attending grandson Seth's graduation and spending a week with our families and friends.  We knew we were almost home when a chubby little bear cub shuffled across the road just ahead of us.

            On one of the days Gayle and I had lunch with my brother Tom and his wonderful wife Sharon at Aldo's on the wharf in Santa Cruz.  We spent much of the time bragging about our grandkids, but I won't subject you to a re-run of that.  Needless to say, our grandkids are all perfect.

            As mountain dwellers, years removed from the bay area, we are always amazed at the frenetic bee hive of activity in civilization; the race tracks that are called freeways, the crowds and traffic jams that are considered normal.  The scene reminds me of San Marco Square in Venice, Italy, where pigeons blanket the pavement and flock to the corn tossed by tourists.  Kids sprinkle corn on their bodies and within seconds they are clothed in hungry pigeons. This frenzied activity of human beings is similar to those pigeons frantically fighting for kernels of corn in San Marco Square.  The corn in Silicon Valley is money. 

            I spent most of one day in Carmel and Monterey with my old buddy of almost 70 years, John Chaffin on his birthday.  We hit a favorite restaurant on the wharf for lunch.  I ordered an appetizer of deep-fried calamari and the main course of calamari steak.  How's that for a diary entry?

            I had a lot of catching up to do on my consumption of calamari.  I had calamari for dinner once in a Los Gatos restaurant.  I had calamari for lunch on the wharf in Santa Cruz.  I had the calamari appetizer plus a calamari steak in Monterey.  I think I had another dose of calamari somewhere else, but I can't remember where at the moment.  For some reason I became fixated on calamari last week.

            I have yet to taste any calamari that can match what I used to get at the Race Street fish market in San Jose 50 years ago.  Maybe that's why I keep searching and tasting.

            The combination of calamari and the Monterey bay brings back memories of the good old days when we fished using squid as bait in those ocean waters.  Now squid has become calamari and is known as a "poor man's abalone."  When I was a kid, my dad dove for abalone and we had stacks of abalone for dinner.  We had so much, we piled it like pancakes and actually tossed abalone to the dog.  Today it's rare.

            All my experiences with calamari or squid are not positive.  I may have told this story before, but I remember well one day of fishing with some buddies when the sea was rough and the fog obscured the horizon - a lethal combination when fighting sea sickness.  Beginning to turn green and fighting to hold my breakfast, I grasped the rail searching for a glimpse of the horizon.

            Just when it looked like I might win the battle, my late prankster buddy, Glen Dennee tapped me on the shoulder.  I turned to see a squid, dripping slime, hanging out of Glen's teeth just inches from my face. That was all it took.  I sent a stream of everything I had eaten since the third grade in a straight-line trajectory at least a half-mile out to sea.   

            Despite that experience, I still like to eat those strange creatures.  Is this rambling what they call a stream of consciousness?  I sure got off the subject.  I don't think I had a subject. Once I start typing, I never know where it's going.  This stream of consciousness, like most streams, is obviously going down hill.  I'm going to quit while I'm ahead.