THE GREATER DEPRESSION CHRONICLES: Gone Rio!

Gone Rio!
The IOC's Gone Rio!

There is disappointment in the White House tonight. Ditto in Chicago. The 2016 Summer Olympics will not be coming to the Windy City in 2016.

The Olympics have gone Rio.

There are some folks giving the President a hard time for leaving the country to try and bring the Olympics to his adopted hometown. Unemployment is rising, despite the massive stimulus that was supposed to stop unemployment in its tracks. The markets might be tanking again. Afghanistan could be going better. "He should be here," they argue, "...instead of diddling in Denmark while America goes down the toilet."

But I have no quarrel with the President making a pitch to bring the Olympics to America. You can't let an opportunity to snag the games slip by. And I don't mind a bit that he wanted those games in the midwest instead of Los Angeles or New York.

I just think he picked the wrong midwestern city.

Now there's nothing wrong with Chicago. I've been there. Great City. Fabulous pizza.

But I think he should have tried to sell the International Olympic Committee on a midwestern city that represents the new America, a city that could surely use the boost the Olympics could bring.

Detroit, Michigan. Motor City. Motown. The home of Gubbermint Motors.

From the Sky - Part V


From the Sky - Part V

By James M. O'Meara, © 2009

(Need to catch up on From the Sky? Just click here to read Part I, here to read Part II, here to read Part III or here to read Part IV!)

Primi Piatti

Cannelloni...

Have you noticed the nights are a little cooler? The days still have their blazing heat, and the sun-softened asphalt keeps my boys on the lawn if they're outside playing barefoot. But I sat on the back porch late last night and almost went in the house for a sweater. When that starts happening, autumn is not far off. I notice all these little things that hint at changing seasons. In the early spring, I look for the arrival of tiny buds on our hedges. In summer, it is an unexpected evening chill. Come fall, it's that first tree with leaves turning color, or a flight of waterfowl heading south.

And winter?

Well, there's the solstice, I suppose. True, the worst winter weather still lies ahead, but the days slowly start growing longer and that makes the cold and winter's pervasive grayness bearable. And at some point each winter I'll get in my car on a bright, frigid day and notice that it's warm inside. The sun's rays have finally strengthened enough to toast up the interior a bit. That's a harbinger of winter's demise and the coming of spring.

My Joe doesn't notice any of that. These are his seasons: snow shoveling, grass-cutting and football. Just three seasons on his mental calendar, and that's all he needs. As long as he knows when to buy salt for the sidewalk, when to tune up the Craftsman, and when to start planning tailgate parties, he's as oriented to time and space as he needs to be.

He may not be in tune with nature, my Joe, but there are things that get his attention immediately, things I'd ignore or walk right by. Crabgrass attacking our lawn. Cracks in the driveway. An unfamiliar rattle somewhere under the car. An odd vibration when he's pushing his mower. A faucet that drips just once-per-hour. If it's mechanical, structural, or involves plumbing he laser beams right in on it. His brain and mine are just wired a little differently, but I suppose it's a good thing because we cover all the bases that way.

Still, I am amazed at some of the things which slip by him unnoticed. We were married for two years before Joe discovered the scar just above my eyebrow, that little love-bite I got from a honey locust thorn. Think about that. We also dated for nearly three years before we closed the deal. In all that time, all those nights staring into each other's eyes, he never saw it.

When the Doorbell Rings...

Just Buy'em...

Fiction Update...Mail List Update...

Folks....the next thing that gets posted will be another installment of From The Sky. The ending is actually written, but I'm still in the piece that precedes it. It looks to be at least two installments to finish the story, and I hope to have something ready soon.

I have also made a deliberate decision to cut back on my e-mails. I average about two e-mails monthly to my subscribers. Some months will have more ...other months, nada. But even that light volume somehow put me on the blacklist with Verizon and Comcast as a spammer. Likely, this was because my e-mail server is on a "shared" server with my hosting company, and some nimrod is probably sending out Viagra spam from Rumania...and I got blacklisted.

Both Verizon and Comcast say I'm Okey-Dokey now...but I'm not tempting fate. I will send a mailer only when I post new fiction. I'll also list any number of Random Thoughts posts. So...there'll be less of me in your e-mail ....but what does arrive will point you to plenty to read!

...Jimbo (Dynamo)!

The Great Escape ...

I finally went back to work today for the first time since my bionics surgery.

My wife wasn't thrilled.

Last Thursday, as I snoozed in the recovery area, Doc gave my wife some simple instructions:

Put Antiobiotic cream on the surgery site daily.

Okey Doke.

Make sure your husband takes all the prescribed medications.

Piece o'cake.

Come back to my office for a re-check on Friday the 21st.

No Problemo.

Oh...one last thing: Don't let him go back to work until I see him next week.

Yeah. Right. Put the State Police on alert. There will be an escape.

Tuesday morning I woke up at 5AM. After five consecutive days of mind-numbing vertigo, I could move my head without setting the Universe all a-whirl. I went to the PC and wrote fiction for two hours.

Yup. I felt great. Just a tad woozy, but 100% on my game. Fit as a fiddle. It was time to tunnel out and make a run for the office. I shaved, pulled my clothes out of the dryer, and got dressed. A thorough inspection in the mirror confirmed I looked sharp.

My wife wasn't thrilled, but I had the perfect argument.

"Hey," I said. "I feel terrific. I'll just drive you nuts fidgeting around here all day. I'm better off at the office. Besides, I think the doctor's instructions were more a guideline. Why stay home? I'm hitting on all cylinders. Would Henry Ford or Bill Gates lollygag in my shoes? I think not!"

"One thing, Mr. Gates," said my wife.

"Yes?"

"Reboot your outfit. Your shirt's on inside-out."

They always get the last word, don't they?

The Bionic Dynamo ...

Pre-surgery Mugging...
Pre-surgery Mugging...

I am now the bionic man. Or, at least, I have a bionic right ear.

On Thursday, August 13th I had a cochlear implant successfully performed at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. An array of electrodes was placed within my cochlea, and these electrodes will pass signals gathered by a processor to my auditory nerve. The processor, which will be hooked up for the first time on September 4, looks a lot like a hearing aide.

While there is no way to be sure just how much hearing I will regain, I had several factors in my favor: I have a functional auditory nerve. I understand language. I lost the last of my hearing fairly recently. All of these are pluses.

While I will blog in much greater detail about this when I have a bit more energy, I have to take this opportunity to say how impressed I have been with the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) during every step of this process so far. I have always had a deep respect for those who work in health care. Over the course of my life, I have seen, first-hand, some incredible medical teams at work. HUP has been phenomenal. From my first trip down to HUP for an initial assessment through the surgery itself, there hasn't been one bump in the road. It's a very, very special group of people.

My Letter to the White House ... (yes, I really sent this!)

Dear White House:

I just heard about the flag @whitehouse.gov e-mail address. Sign me up immediately.

What size flag will I get? I have some small U.S. flags in the front yard, but I could really use a big one. Six-foot by six-foot or larger would be great.

What if I need a flagpole?

Will there be a pole @whitehouse.gov address soon?

What size flagpoles will be available? I could use a 30-footer. Will they be priced according to size? What if folks have older, smaller flagpoles? Can they get a check for trading up to a bigger one, like that cash-for-clunkers thing?

You know, I think a flagpole would be much better than hanging my big new flag from the porch ceiling. People driving by might not see it there. But they sure as heck will notice a brand-spanking-new American Flag flying high and proud from a brand-spanking-new-government-issued flagpole.

I think you should go with either silver poles or perhaps something in a cream or eggshell. That would look snazzy, don't you think?

Also…are these flags and poles part of the stimulus program? I think it's great that we'll have Americans getting new jobs making flags and flagpoles.

I don't know what all the fuss is about. Sign me up!!

James O'Meara, Sr.

Emanuel: No Tax Increase on Middle Class!

Rahm on the attack!
Rahm on the attack!

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel railed today against Republican charges that the Obama Administration will tax the bejesus out of the middle class.

"Let's be clear. Let's be unequivocal. This Administration will not increase taxes on the middle class. The tax burden will be placed on those making over $250,000."

"All these rumors about increased taxes on the middle-class are just the ramblings of paranoid, whack-job, nutball, right-wing conspiracy freaks.

"If you make less than $250,000 we're not touching you. Got it? If you make more, bend over baby, the freight train's a-coming!

When informed of Emanuel's crude comments, President Obama said: "Rahm gets a little pumped up. He really should have calibrated his words more carefully."

* * *

Big Changes Coming in Minimum Wage!

The Obama Administration today announced a surprise measure to radically boost the minimum wage. The move took analysts by surprise, as minimum wage jumped from $6.55 to $7.25 just a few weeks ago.

"We're going to jump-start this economy," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.

The Obama plan will raise minimum wage to $125.00 per hour, and mandate full time pay for all Americans, regardless of actual hours worked. Annual income for most Americans will be $260,000.

Tax increases will go hand-in-hand with the higher minimum wage.

Big bucks on the horizon?
Big bucks on the horizon?

"Most Americans will fall into a new 95% tax bracket," said an Obama Administration insider. "That may seem steep, but we all need to sacrifice."

When asked how Americans will survive on less than $10,000 annually (after state and local taxes take their bite), the official said: "Easy. If you can't afford your mortgage, the government will buy your house and let you live there for a nominal rent. Health care will be free. You'll be safer, too, because guns will be banned from residences. Firearms aren't permitted on government propery."

When asked how this plan will affect the middle class, Secretary Solis said: "You haven't been paying attention. There won't be a middle class. Everyone will be making more than a quarter million dollars a year. We'll all be rich. God Bless America."

Rumor has it that Timothy Geithner has already cranked up the printing presses to start churning out the dough for the new wages.

When asked about employers who can't afford to pay the new minimum wage, Solis said: "If they can't solve a simple payroll problem, we'll fire their asses and run the company."

THE GREATER DEPRESSION CHRONICLES: Gone Crackpot???

Crackpot?...

...That's me, according to some. I'm guilty of sounding crackpot at times, I suppose ...but mark my crackpot rantings with an asterisk. Why? Because if I'm wrong, I'll 'fess up. A true crackpot goes to the grave with his beliefs, despite any evidence to the contrary.

I admit that I can be a bit eccentric. Odd, perhaps. (Okay, sometimes more than a bit odd; let's be honest). But not, for the most part, a crackpot (though I have moments, particularly this past winter).

With that as the set-up, here are some of my views on the state of the nation. Let's see if I set off a crackpot alarm or two (take them all with a grain of salt):

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