A decent man of deep religious beliefs came to Aspen last week to relax with friends and family and to celebrate some of his religion’s most joyous and holy days. It was Vice President Mike Pence, his religion is Christianity and he was here for Christmas week.
The locals taunted and hated on him.
There were several stories, but one stands out. Continue reading
“You lied to me!” So said my 6-year-old daughter to me one merry Christmas.
We always made a big deal out of Christmas Eve. It was the one night that I did the cooking, and that alone made it interesting.
After the guests pushed the food around on their plates long enough that they could plausibly pretend they were full, our tradition was to open gifts. We thought that we and the gifts looked better in the dim Christmas Eve lights after a few single malt scotches than in the bright Christmas Day lights with a hangover. The kids often put on a play.
Eventually, the party ended and the guests went home. After the stockings were well hung by the chimney with care, the kids would nestle all snug in their beds in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. Hallucinogenic visions of plums and whatnot danced in their sugar-infused heads.
After even the mice weren’t stirring, the curtain lifted on my own little play. Continue reading
The Discovery Channel has a series out on moonshiners. The characters are from red states like Tennessee and Kentucky, while the television producers are from blue states like California and New York.
The latter naturally portray the former as stupid.
The red state rednecks tell us that first you find a place for the still, then you haul all the stuff there. There’s a furnace, lots of piping, a condenser and miscellaneous things that go with it like duct tape, barrels, ATVs, propane tanks, sideburns, guns, denim overalls and tattoos.
Lots can go wrong in this business. If you use an old automobile radiator for the condenser, for example, you can poison yourself and your customers with the residual antifreeze. That’s bad for business.
In one episode, Continue reading
Where are Dems today on sexual assault? From their reaction to allegations three or four weeks ago by several women that a Republican candidate for Alabama senator sexually assaulted them three or four decades ago when he was a Democrat public official, the Dems seem to oppose it.
But as with the Dems’ position on Russia, it might depend on what day it is. More specifically, it might depend on when, where and especially by whom.
Remember the Clintons? Hillary was insatiable and predatory but only in matters of money and power. But Bill was in matters of sex. His nickname was “Big Dog.”
Back in the first and only Clinton administration, it all came to a head in the Oval Office when President Big Dog and his cigar and a young White House intern had a threesome. The cigar was not just a cigar.
And it was a foursome if you include the Congressman who was on the telephone.
Big Dog probably could have pulled it off, except that at the time he was a defendant in a sexual assault case brought by another woman. He gave a deposition under oath in that case where he was asked whether he’d had sexual relations with the intern, as rumored.
Big Dog being the Big Dog, he did what comes second most naturally to him. Continue reading
In the 1966 comedy movie, “The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming,” a Russian submarine accidentally runs aground near Cape Cod.
It turned out that the Russian submariners were good guys, and all ended well. But not until after the buffoonish Americans made fools of themselves for assuming that the Russians planned to make good on their longtime promise to do to America what they had done to Poland, East Germany, the Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania.
The movie’s sympathetic view of the Russians had little basis in events of the day. It was just a few years after President John Kennedy stared down the Soviets when they installed nuclear missiles in Cuba just 90 miles from Miami.
But then, as now, Hollywood never lets facts get in the way of sympathy for America’s enemies.
Kennedy’s clear-eyed view of the Soviets was the same as that of his Republican and Democrat predecessors. All had seen the carnage of Soviet communism. Stalin killed over 20 million people — 12 million in the gulags, another 7 million by orchestrated starvation and 1.5 million that were simply executed. Stalin killed more people than Hitler (but only half as many as his Chinese competitor in communism, Mao Zedong).
Later Soviet autocrats were not as bloody but just as threatening. Nikita Khrushchev famously promised, “We will bury you!” At a meeting of the United Nations, he raged and pounded his shoe on the table.
In Afghanistan, the Soviets conducted a genocide that killed 2 million people. The Red Army systematically raped women and threw them from helicopters.
Republicans never stopped being wary of the Russians, but something strange later happened with Democrats. Continue reading
Here in Aspen, we have taxpayer-subsidized housing for people making as much as $189,000 a year. The subsidy is 60 percent to 90 percent and sometimes more.
To disguise this welfare for the middle to upper class, they euphemistically call it “affordable housing.” I call it freebie housing.
In my neighborhood, there are four units of freebie housing close to the ski slope. Based on nearby comparable places, those units are worth over $3 million each. According to the housing records, the residents got them for less than $300,000.
Aspen’s freebie housing is similarly subsidized with respect to property taxes. Because they are artificially valued at a fraction of their true value, they bear only a fractional portion of the property tax.
The way residents get their freebie housing is by winning a lottery. Insiders are very lucky in this lottery. A few years ago, four of the five city council members were getting freebie housing, including the mayor. They never recused themselves from votes on the subject.
Many of the editors, writers and columnists for the local media also are in. Continue reading
As a fan, I’ll mourn the demise of football. What happens at football games during the national anthem is bad, and I’ll get to it in a moment. But what may end the game is what happens after the anthem.
Post-mortem dissections of the brains of 112 former NFL players recently revealed chronic traumatic encephalopathy (or CTE) in 111 of them. The study was published last summer in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association and summarized by the New York Times.
The Times reports that the symptoms of CTE include “memory loss, confusion, depression and dementia. The problems can arise years after the blows have stopped.”
Football players sustain CTE through frequent impacts to their heads. Their helmeted heads routinely collide violently with other helmets, shoulder pads and the ground. Even with a helmet, the impact is equivalent to driving a car into a brick wall at 30 miles per hour.
You may respond that playing football is voluntary. You may say that if people want to risk their brains and bodies to be rich and idolized, that’s their right.
I disagree. Continue reading