Tarheeltalker

Name Calling or Am I Really a Freak?

Based on a couple of things I have recently read, I am a freak, hate intellectuals and am just  downright ignorant. I may be even worse than that since those characterizations come from  just two sources. A brief elaboration on the intellectual  comment. Not only do I hate intellectuals  but I probably don’t  even want to associate   with them since there is no room for them in the Republican Party, or so says Chris Matthews. Oops,  I wasn’t supposed to mention his name. Should I  not quote him as saying that Rick Perry is  a clown?

I realize that politicians have to accept a certain level of name calling as part of the territory but I so wish that those in the media who make their living with their words, could describe a candidate or office holder without the use of epithets.  This applies to both ends of the spectrum  since both are guilty of using this tactic and I just cannot stand it. It reminds me of  one of my  #1 pet peeves, tearing down another to make oneself look good.

I could probably be  called lots of things but I am relatively  certain that freak is not one of them. That was the name applied to Rep Louie Gohmert just a few weeks ago. and it has been amplified with the word crazy among others. And, since I  like the  congressman, while not always agreeing with him, guess I am a freak by association.

So, is there a cure  for this political name calling?  I really doubt it since the practice is time-honored in American politics as far back as he days of George Washington. In fact, the names used to describe some of our  earlier presidents were generally far more creative than those used today.

In fact, if I hear another conservative  called  Nazi, I think I might have a fit. What makes  this epithet so abhorrent to me is the person using the name has got to know better, He or she has to know what Nazis did and i daresay that none of those so described have done things to equal those.

So, the next time  you see fit to “attack”  a politician, try to use an appropriate word.

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September 26, 2011 Posted by | Media | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What do you think of Food Lion?

Food Lion is the primary place for grocery shopping in our community. Almost every time I go there, I  maintain that I am not going back. To backtrack a bit, we have three Food Lion stores locally and one is not too bad, one is terrible and one is sort of in the middle. Of course, the most convenient one is the worst of the three. Admittedly, in a town our size, none of the three is that far nor are my other options, Wal-Mart (aka the evil place) and Farm Fresh.

So, my wife wonders, why do I continue to torture myself by returning to my worst option? Believe me, I wish that I knew. Other than  force of habit and proximity, there is no discernible reason.

I suppose I should at the least attempt to justify my somewhat negative feelings toward Food Lion before I mail back my MVP card, ironically one of my smaller peeves. I have come to believe that customer service is either a misnomer at Food Lion or that they just do not care. There are often too few checkout lines open and those that are  often do not have  someone available to bag one’s  groceries.  Cashiers routinely come very close to completely  ignoring the customer or they  carry on a running conversation with  someone nearby, often a non-customer.

I suppose that a case could be made that the things are irritating to me reflect the fact that my  first job was in a grocery store and if my memory serves me correctly we were held to a higher standard. But my wife is also irritated from time to time though not as regularly as I seem to be.

I have wondered if the behavior at Food Lion reflects the fact that they feel they are either the only available choice or the default choice, in a  sense, for most shoppers. Perhaps that is why that purchased the locations of a former grocery store here in town to prevent their being occupied by a competitor. Ironically, one of these sites has finally been sold and the other is on the market. This action came after along period of vacancy for these buildings.

And to help in my decision, one of other shopping options gives us old folks a small discount  at certain times. Seems that it is time to move on.

September 13, 2011 Posted by | economy, Shopping | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Bone to pick with Michael Wilbon

A USPS van on Cambridge Street in Harvard Squa...

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I am a regular viewer of the ESPN show, Pardon the Interruption or PTI as it is known.The program is co-hosted by Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser. The program consists of the aforementioned gentlemen good naturedly  arguing and/or discussing sports and sports related issues. I have long enjoyed the show and  in particular those times when their discussions meshed sports and non sports issues. Of course, there is an inherent risk in that approach.One could actually postulate on issues well beyond one’s expertise.

From my point of view that is exactly what took place on a segment that aired  on either Thursday or Friday of last week. The segment was set up with the question about what person one would like to see on a postage stamp. Mr Wilbon launched his answer with a boisterous comment that “stamps are irrelevant.”  At that point, I no longer  cared about the rest of their ” discussion” since Mr Wilbon had ( in my mind) cast aspersions on my profession.

As  a letter carrier, stamps are an integral part of what I do and I heard his statement as yet another example of  bashing the postal service and sort of dismissing us completely.  Dismissing the postal service dismisses its employees as well.

From my perspective, we are not  totally outmoded and outdated and ready for the scrap heap. Try this thought on for size. People often complain about so-called junk mail, particularly if it is unsolicited. There is an analogy in the internet world known as spam. Which of these two, if opened, can potentially ruin your computer and potentially compromise your identity? Hint, it isn’t a letter.

A more learned source puts it this way.  A recent study in the Journal of Marketing  discovered that mail  is the most effective means of direct advertising and is even considered less intrusive. Truly amazing, huh?

Just one last thought. This comes from  a recent Verizon commercial that actually  gave me  a warm feeling. A person dashes to their mailbox  at the end of the driveway and upon opening the door discovers a box from Verizon with their  eagerly  anticipated cellphone. It is hard to top the excitement of receiving that long-awaited or even expected letter or package in one’s mailbox. For me it sure beats that unexpected email.

September 9, 2011 Posted by | Media | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vespa crabo and friends

Those who know would call our title subject a hornet, which along with its associate the verspula germanica or wasp; is one of the little known objects of Hurricane Irene”s wrath. And even though I am one of those who had incurred their wrath at various times ( since I suffer from  a pronounced allergic reaction to their stings) I feel a duty to come to their defense.

We in North Carolina suffered significant damage from Irene although ours was not as widespread as that in some northeastern states. Hard to tell that to the residents of Hatteras though. One species that was significantly affected was those of the stinging variety. The combination of wind and water wreaked havoc on their nests and in the words of  the N C Division of Public Health may have caused them to be very aggressive as  a result. That’s a real no brainer, huh?

Come on, if your nest  was waterlogged and then blown several hundred  feet from its preferred location, you might be in a bad mood also. So, for a while give these guys  a wide berth and please, if at all possible, avoid using the Raid.

September 4, 2011 Posted by | Weather | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Shaping Young Minds…..Again

It’s that time of year again. Untold numbers of  children and young people are returning to the hallowed halls of public education. There are those, of course, with the means and/or opportunity to pursue another path; private or religious schools or home schooling. But the majority will trudge back to endure or enjoy the public school process, as my wife and I and our children did.

It seemed like a good time to write again about education as my younger grandson entered the “system” as a kindergarten student just yesterday. He was somewhat excited at the idea ahead of time which gave me pause as to whether we were actually related.

My public education years, which numbered only 12 since there was no mandated public kindergarten in those pre-historic days, would never be described with the words excited or eagerly anticipating. I have tried to find a suitable descriptive phrase and remembered  a Paul Simon lyric from “Kodachrome.” It goes like this. “When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it’s a wonder I can think at all.” Now, admittedly  that is not totally correct since I did have a wonderful English teacher my senior year whom I was privileged to get to know as a friend and neighbor. Alas, she was the exception.

Were I  to divide my 12 years into 2 segments; one being elementary and the other combining junior  and senior high; the former rates considerably higher than the latter but mainly by comparison. But, to close  on  a somewhat more positive note, the above referenced grandson now has three school days under his belt and still “loves” school and his teacher. That is the good news. The not so good news is that his bus riding experience has been utterly chaotic all  three days and in  a different way each day. Certainly hope that his school and who ever else is responsible for this gets their act together and soon! At this point, I  will refrain from mentioning the names of the school or school system, with my hope being that things change for the better.

September 3, 2011 Posted by | education, Family | , , , , , , | 3 Comments