The Book Of Romney – Chapter 1

Posted by: on Jul 23, 2012 | One Comment

In the show The Book of Mormon, our reluctant deity Arnold is a Mormon missionary who doesn’t really know the first thing about his religion. In trying to convert the African villagers, he throws in liberal doses of science fiction and fantasy including Star Wars, Star Trek and Lord of the Rings and they soak up every word as if it were actually the word of God. At the end of the show, we are introduced to the the Book of Arnold. A great depiction of modern religion if you ask me.  Equal parts faith, fantasy and the SyFy channel.

Which brings me to Mitt Romney. Again, my standard political disclaimer. I’m a moderate and not registered to any political party accept my own, the Common Sense Party but let’s move on to Mitt and his utter lack of common sense.  In The Book of Romney, our man Mitt just can’t see to get out of his own way. I’m wondering if the republicans knew then what they know now if he would be the nominee? I know that many of my right-of-center friends are having serious doubts and it seems so are some in the conservative media. His faith was always a big concern with the flaming right wing Christian conservatives who do not view Mormonism as a real religion but now it seems like Mitt is hiding lots of goodies that could prove fatal to his campaign. Every day comes some sort of revelation that he or his campaign have to defend.

As near as I can tell, his campaign has become a one trick pony (or so it seems to me), that being the only thing he can say is the economy would have been better, faster if he were now president. Here’s a question I have for you Mitt.  Exactly whose economy are you talking about? Ours because I don’t ever hear you talking about jobs you’ve created in America. You talk about American companies you’ve saved but not American workers. If you did save American jobs, where are they and why don’t you show some of them off? But in the Book of Romney, companies are people too so, I guess that’s good enough for Mitt.

And in the Book of Romney, Mitt walks through the streets of America covered in a holy cloak…The Shroud of Bain, in which you can clearly see the image of young man suffering with the burden of off shore bank accounts and all those tax returns he knows he can’t make public. Mitt, I gotta tell ya, by not disclosing those tax returns you are telling me everything I need to know because what you are hiding has to be a hell of lot worse than the consequences of revealing exactly what’s in Chapter 1040 of The Book of Romney.

Well children, that’s enough of The Book of Romney for today. Look for upcoming chapters as we follow Mitt on his quest to become president of the USA. Chapters to include Ann Romney – Is She The Only One and Why Do All The Romney Sons Look Approximately The Same Age. Until then, here’s hoping Mitt ends up exactly where he belongs…Orlando.

Aurora, Religion, Guns,

Posted by: on Jul 20, 2012 | 3 Comments

Aurora, Religion, Guns

I just read the comments of Rep. Louis Gohmert, a republican from Texas and he has gotten me really worked up. Using the tragedy in Aurora as a platform, he blames “ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs” in our country and goes on to question why no one else in the theater had a gun to take the shooter. As I write those words I get even more outraged by them.

I’m not going to respond to his statements about this being an anti-religious statement by the shooter or an attack on our Judeo-Christian beliefs. If there’s any evidence of this so far, I haven’t read a single word.

Who I really want to hear from are my friends and colleagues who are deeply religious. Could you please explain to me what in God’s name is this guy talking about? How does he come off as “good Christian” by making these types of inflammatory remarks within hours of this tragedy? Did God tell him that this was an attack on his Christian beliefs? If he were alive today, would Jesus carry an assault weapon to fend off his enemies? What am I missing?

My own faith is always in state of flux. I am Jewish but my Judaism is more cultural and spiritual than grounded in a deep belief in God. I believe in some sort higher power but have no clue as to what that is or what that means. What I do know is that throughout the course of history, religion has been used to fight wars, used in many attempts to exterminate entire cultures, and does as much bad as it does good as I think is the case here.

So, all you deeply religious folks out there, explain this guy to me because statements like this make me loose a lot of my own faith in our country and the religious/cultural diversity that makes this a great nation.

Memo to the Boy Scouts

Posted by: on Jul 17, 2012 | No Comments

Dear Mr. Leader of the Boy Scouts,

I have a little story to tell you. Many years ago, I rented a house from a very nice, very single gentleman. I’m going to call him Tom. From time-to-time, Tom would stop by our house to make sure everything was OK. One of these times, he was returning from a Boy Scouts camping weekend, as he was a scout leader. Tom was single and had no children, let alone any boys. I never gave it a second thought except thinking that it was great that he was involved in such a worthwhile organization.

A couple of years after we moved in, Tom stopped by our house with his “friend” who happened to be another man and it was pretty obvious this “friend” was gay. Let’s call him John. I like that…Tom and John. I guess at this point Tom came out of the closet.

Eventually the two of them moved back into that house and we moved up the block to another rental. We’d see them all the time, helped decorate their Christmas tree and even helped them out when Tom was injured in a motorcycle accident. My son was probably 3 or 4 years old at that time and he got a big kick out of the headless statue in the living room complete with stuffed jock strap. I’m sure you’d love it too.

The elderly neighbors really liked John, who was very helpful, just like a boy scout. We’d see him mowing the lawns, working in the garden and taking care of things around the house. Not only at his house but at the neighbors too. You would have loved his uniform. Black leather work boots, black leather hot pants and a black leather cap. On warm days, he wouldn’t wear his shirt but he did wear his medals of honor, 2 silver nipple rings.

Eventually Tom and John split up and moved out of the neighborhood. We spoke to them once or twice but eventually lost touch. It’s really too bad because I’d love to know if Tom is still involved with your organization and how he feels about your policy excluding gays. Personally, I think it sucks but I’ve learned that there is justice in the universe. Pretty sure this ruling will come back to bite you in the ass someday…or maybe someplace a little more personal.


Ira Berkowitz

Common Sense Cell Phone Ban

Posted by: on Jul 17, 2012 | One Comment

This morning I was driving to work behind someone who was most definitely a distracted driver. When we got to a light in town and I pulled up next to him, the reason became clear. He was texting on his cell phone.

As many of you know, I constantly bitch about folks who drive and use their cell phones at the same time. When presented with the opportunity, I’ve actually been known to politely (cough, cough) ask these folks to not use their cell phones and drive at the same time. Time for a disclaimer before I continue: I do talk on my cell phone but only in some sort of hands free mode and I do not text or read emails while driving.

Recently there has been some discussion on a total ban on cell phone usage while driving a car. Who are these people kidding? Ain’t gonna happen, no how, no way.

There some towns, cities and states that do have some sort of cell phone use restriction laws on the books, which don’t work because they ain’t enforced. If I were to go stand outside my office, on the corner of Millburn Avenue and Main Street, in a  few minutes dozens of cars would drive by with drivers holding their cell phones while talking on the car, which is illegal in the state of New Jersey. Problem is it’s a secondary offense, $100 fine, no vehicle or insurance points assessed, so no teeth in this law. When school lets out, that corner is manned by township police, which does not stop this offense from taking place. They are more concerned with getting the young folks across the street safely, as they should be.

When it comes to these types of issues, my mantra has always been “common sense.” In this case, common sense tell us you cannot stop people from talking on their cell phones while driving. It is now as common as eating, drinking or listening to the radio while driving. Hell, folks driving with their dog in their lap is the craziest and most unsafe thing I can think of, if you want my opinion (and doesn’t everyone want my opinion). The car manufacturers make cars with hands free technology, and millions and millions have dollars have gone into the goods needed so that folks can drive and talk at the same time.

However, common sense also tells us that you cannot be looking at your cell phone and typing on your cell phone while driving a car. If you have ever driven behind someone attempting to do this, the results are pretty obvious. So what should we do? Simple, enforce the existing laws in states that already have them, create new laws where they don’t and put some teeth into. Big fines, points, suspended licenses for multiple offenders.

Now about that doggie in the car window…

The Company You Keep

Posted by: on Jul 14, 2012 | 3 Comments

This is one that’s been bouncing around inside me for quite some time but I just couldn’t bring myself to throw this one out there….until now.  Before I continue I need to state that all the names you will read have clearly been changed, not all examples cited relate directly to me (others having told me similar relationship issues they have) and I may overstate things for dramatic effect (but who doesn’t).  Oh, and I think some folks out there are not going to be happy with me (if they believe I’m talking about them and can prove it) but what the hell. Let’s begin.

Groucho Marx stated that “I would never want to be a member of any club that would have me as a member.” I’m going to make this a little more personal and say “I would never want to be friends with anyone who would have ____________ (you can fill in the blank) as a friend.” There are a lot of things that I can look at that have effected my friendships over the years:  I don’t like their spouse, their spouse doesn’t like me (I know, hard to believe), our kids don’t get along, we don’t belong to the same club anymore, distance, divorce (you always have to choose sides) growing apart, yada, yada, yada.

A few months back, I had a conversation with my friend Woody (remember, not his real name) where I asked him how one of his friends was. He told me that he doesn’t really speak to Buzz, that they didn’t really socialize because he didn’t like Buzz’s other friends and he always had one of them in tow. When it came down to it, he realized that he had outgrown Buzz.

I thought that was interesting and began to wonder if Linda and I had any friends that we didn’t see for that same reason. The answer was yes and no. Yes, we see these people but we probably don’t see them as much because of the whole “other couples” thing. As some of you may know, I’m not shy about stating my feelings and opinions on these types of matters, so if I don’t like someone, there’s a good chance other people have been informed of who and why folks are on my shit list.

When Bob and Carol tell us they are going out with Ted and Alice (who I really want to have nothing to do with) and would we like to join them, we say no. But what I really started thinking about was does the fact that, if Bob and Carol really do like Ted and Alice, what does that say about me? If, in my humble opinion, Bob and Carol have such bad taste in their other friends, do I really want to be one of their friends.  If I consider Ted and Alice less than worthy human beings and Bob and Carol put us in their same friendship bed, am I less than worthy as well?

This topic came up recently when my friend Luke and I were talking about our mutual friend Han. We always questioned Han’s taste in woman but he has some friends that we really don’t like, including Leia who is a real princess. Does Han’s relationship with Leia make Luke and I less of a force? Not really and in the end, we agreed that Han was a well loved friend but he had some issues picking out friends, especially when his Schwartz was involved.

What I’ve come to decide is you just have to take people as they are. If you ask most of my friends, who the most obnoxious person they know is, chances are that I’m close to the top of that list but they still love me and value my friendship. So I guess I’m in in no position to judge other people based on who else they choose to spend their time with.