Friday, February 27, 2009

Caution: Chronosynclastic Infundibulae Ahead

I draw your attention to a most timely post by Mr. Grigg. He has a real gift for recognizing the felicitous connection: such as between the current bipartisan economic suicide pact and a classic Kurt Vonnegut novel. "Cheers in the wirehouse," indeed.

Shame on Me

I didn't vote last November, and so I missed my chance to make my voice heard in the hyper-momentous choice between Ol' Grampaw Angry-Pants and Rainbow Brite:
The plan allows three months longer to pull out combat forces than Obama promised during the presidential campaign, and "50,000 is a little higher number than I anticipated," Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said before the briefing.

Most lawmakers left the White House quickly after the briefing. Few issued statements, and what praise there was came largely from Republicans. Sen. John S. McCain (R-Ariz.) said he "supports the plan to leave 50,000 troops in Iraq as briefed by [chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] Admiral [Michael] Mullen and [Defense] Secretary [Robert M.] Gates."

Rep. John McHugh (N.Y.), the senior Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said that the president's withdrawal plan "is one that we should pray for, plan for and work toward." McHugh said he remained concerned about tenuous security in Iraq, and added that Obama had "assured me that he will revisit his plan if the situation on the ground deteriorates and violence increases."
Don't be like me, now. You be sure to vote. Voting changes things. As we can plainly see.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Digging and Refilling Holes -- or Craters

What seems to be the problem, Americans -- short on wealth? Short on jobs?
WASHINGTON (AP) — New jobless claims rose more than expected last week and the number of Americans continuing to receive unemployment benefits has topped 5.1 million, fresh evidence the recession is increasingly forcing employers to shed jobs.

The Labor Department said Thursday that first-time requests for unemployment benefits jumped to 667,000 from the previous week's figure of 631,000. Analysts had expected a slight drop in claims.

The 667,000 new claims are the most since October 1982, though the labor force has grown by about half since then. The four-week average of initial claims, which smooths out fluctuations, rose to 639,000, the highest in more than 26 years.
Keep that in mind while you scan this next item:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton makes her first foray into Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking next week, promising more than $900 million (628 million pounds) in aid for Gaza but with dim prospects of reviving talks soon.

Middle East experts say the timing could not be worse, with a new Israeli government being cobbled together after last week's election and Egyptian efforts making no headway yet in forging a Palestinian unity government.

Clinton will be in Egypt on Monday for a donors conference to rebuild Gaza after Israel's December invasion. She will go on to Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank for talks early next week with Israeli and Palestinian officials.
Yes, Americans, your empire may be broke and lacking in a real, productive, manufacturing-based economy, but your nobles are still trotting the globe with pockets full of sugar. And depend on it -- when Secretary Clinton lands in Israel next week, she'll have a somewhat larger gift ready for her hosts there. So you get to buy weapons for the Israelis, so that they can slaughter Palestinians and destroy Gaza, and then you get to pay to rebuild Gaza ... not, of course, through its democratically-elected government, but through the corrupt Western puppet organization Fatah. At the same time, you'll be continuing to pay to replenish the Israeli bomb locker, so the cycle can begin again. Do you ever get the feeling that you're caught in a Paul Newman movie? "I don't know, Boss ... I don't know what Boss Johnson's dirt is doin' in your hole. Don't hit me no more, Boss! I got my mind right!"

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Miscellaneous Updates

I spent (frittered away?) a little time this afternoon on the blog. I added a small archive of things I've written in this space over the past four years that I thought were good. That's an exercise in narcissism that's probably dangerous to the soul, and I'll try not to do it very often. You can see it in the right-hand sidebar. In the process of reading over some years-old blogs, I found some references to Deb H., whose blog used to be linked here until she stopped updating it; after that, I lost track of her. Well, she has a couple of new blogs up, and one of them is linked from the blogroll here. She's a wonderful writer, and you'll want to go have a look.

And now to do a few things I should have been doing earlier today.

Promises From the Chosen One

It says here that Rainbow Brite is going to "slash" the deficit by half by 2013:
President Barack Obama wants to slash the ballooning deficit in half by 2013, U.S. officials said on Saturday, after massively increasing public spending to stem the worst economic crisis in decades.

Obama will outline his ambitious goal when he hosts a summit at the White House on Monday on fiscal responsibility and later in the week when his administration presents a summary of its first budget, for the 2010 fiscal year.

With tens of thousands of Americans losing their jobs in the midst of a global economic meltdown, Obama has said fixing the U.S. economy is his top priority. He has acknowledged that his success or failure in that will define his presidency.

"We can't generate sustained growth without getting our deficits under control," Obama said in his weekly radio address in which he also announced immediate implementation of tax cuts for 95 percent of Americans as part of the effort to stimulate the economy.

An administration official said Obama was proposing to cut the deficit, which private economists project will rise to $1.5 trillion this year, through a mixture of tax increases on wealthier Americans and spending cuts.
But ... but ... but ... won't that crash our economy, whose only health and vigor comes from government spending? "Spending cut," indeed -- sounds like rank heresy to me! And, let's see, tax increases on wealthier Americans: wealthier than whom, or what? Yes, well, never mind that ... we should just assume that they're talking about someone else -- you know, the ones who don't pay their fair share.

Not to worry, though; this is coming from the same Magic Man who was going to get us out of Iraq in 16 months. How's that working out so far, Barack? You've been in office now for more than one-sixteenth of that time. Well ...
President Barack Obama faces split opinions within the military on whether to make the speedy withdrawal from Iraq he championed as a candidate.

Obama's top generals in Baghdad are pressing for an elongated timetable. Some influential senior advisers inside the Pentagon are more amenable to a quicker pullout.

Obama has yet to decide the matter. But his recent announcement that he is sending thousands more combat troops to Afghanistan implies a drawdown of at least two brigades from Iraq by summer.

That does not answer the question whether Obama will stick to his stated goal of a 16-month pullout or opt for a slower, less risky approach.

Gen. Ray Odierno, the top American commander in Baghdad, favors a longer timetable for leaving Iraq. He sees 2009 as a pivotal year, with parliamentary elections set to be held in December; he doesn't want to lose more than two of the 14 combat brigades that are now in Iraq before the end of the year. And he believes the U.S. military will need to remain engaged in Iraq, to some degree, for years to come.

Odierno's boss at U.S. Central Command, Gen. David Petraeus, leans toward Odierno's view.
I pointed out in this space, over six months ago, that Obama's 16-month plan for getting out of Iraq smelled like overripe fish out in the July noontime sun, even if implemented as described; the numbers don't work, and by a factor of two. And so far, it isn't being implemented at all. As Rainbow Brite contemplates whether to even pretend to get out of Iraq as he promised to do, and gets ready to fully and robustly and seriously implement the Bush Doctrine in Afghanistan and Pakistan and East Armpittistan, we see many of the lefties who railed against Bush's wars falling strangely silent. As the story quoted above notes:
The president has an additional factor to weigh: the political cost of backing off the 16-month pullout timetable that was a prominent feature of his campaign. Although he has said he thinks 16 months is a reasonable timetable, he also has assured military leaders that he will consider their advice.

Notably absent, at least so far, is even a whiff of public pressure from fellow Democrats to stick to a 16-month timeline. That suggests Obama's party might be satisfied so long as he makes early and clear steps in the direction of ending U.S. combat involvement in Iraq, even if on a somewhat longer timeline.
Ha! "Obama's party," meaning Reid, Pelosi & Co, will be satisfied as long as the corporate welfare keeps flowing and the Israelis are happy. No, I think the legions will remain on station until the economic collapse becomes a little more general. As for "our" faithless and feckless prexy, his notions of what the budget will look like four years from now are also apt to prove entirely irrelevant.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Another Brick in the Wall

Rainbow Brite's Attorney-General is not happy with us:
But the conversation that we now engage in as a nation on this and other racial subjects is too often simplistic and left to those on the extremes who are not hesitant to use these issues to advance nothing more than their own, narrow self interest. Our history has demonstrated that the vast majority of Americans are uncomfortable with, and would like to not have to deal with, racial matters and that is why those, black or white, elected or self-appointed, who promise relief in easy, quick solutions, no matter how divisive, are embraced. We are then free to retreat to our race protected cocoons where much is comfortable and where progress is not really made. If we allow this attitude to persist in the face of the most significant demographic changes that this nation has ever confronted- and remember, there will be no majority race in America in about fifty years- the coming diversity that could be such a powerful, positive force will, instead, become a reason for stagnation and polarization. We cannot allow this to happen and one way to prevent such an unwelcome outcome is to engage one another more routinely- and to do so now.
My interest in this speech by one of our new supervisors isn't that it involves race, although it does mystify me that progressive opinion assures us on Monday that there's no such thing as "race," that it's an illegitimate category ... and then on Tuesday, there is such a thing as "race" when it's a convenience in beating the unenlightened about the head and shoulders. But never mind that. I find it disagreeable when the freshly-minted commissar of the Department of (In)justice denounces our freedom -- limited, to be sure, and no doubt more limited in the future -- to associate as we please, and talks to his minions about the hazards of "allowing" such questionable practices and attitudes to continue. These people don't seem to see individuals, when they look at us non-supervisory Americanos. They don't see unique, free persons -- holy images of the Living God. They see components of the State, to be molded wisely and efficiently by experts and professionals for the good of the State. They see bricks, whose properties and attributes are to be tailored according to the requirements of the wall they're constructing.

Our supervisors want engagement? I'd suggest to all my fellow subjects of whatever race, if race there be, that our supervisors be instantly engaged with mutiny. It's the obvious way to avoid being, in fact, a "nation of cowards."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Opportunities Soon to Be Missed

The new Fearless Leader has crossed the border in his offical capacity, and I can think of a few good things that could happen:

Short trip, long agenda: Obama travels to Canada


OTTAWA (AP) — President Barack Obama huddled with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Thursday for talks on the slumping economy, trade and the war in Afghanistan as the new U.S. leader traveled outside his country's borders for the first time.

Obama touched down late morning in Ottawa, heading into a day of meetings on touchy topics. He came bearing a pro-trade message to assuage Canadian concerns over protectionism; a promise of a new strategy in Afghanistan as Canada moves to pull out all its troops there; and talk of clean-energy cooperation as controversy hangs over Canada's oil-rich sands.
Okay, "pro-trade message:" that sounds promising. "New strategy in Afghanistan as Canada moves to pull out all its troops there:" how about race you to the border, Stephen! "Clean-energy cooperation:" one could imagine a voluntary arrangement in which those who have oil sell it to those who want it, at a mutually-agreeable price. Pessimist that I am, though, I doubt that's what the substance of the meetings will be.
Canada is planning to pull its 2,500 combat troops out of Afghanistan's volatile south in 2011, following the loss of more than 100 troops killed in the country since 2001. Obama is headed the other direction, dispatching 17,000 more U.S. troops to the war zone.

Both the U.S. and Canada have urged other NATO countries to contribute more to stabilize Afghanistan, where insurgents have gained new strength and the top U.S commander is warning of a "tough year." But Canada's people say they have shouldered their burden enough.

Obama plans to tell Harper that the U.S. is overhauling its strategy in Afghanistan, with more effort on diplomacy.
Perhaps a little Canadian common sense will be transferred to President Rainbow Brite, but the possibility seems awfully remote. It's hard to reconcile "more effort on diplomacy" with "17,000 more U.S. troops," unless "diplomacy" is formally redefined as do what we say or we'll kill you. Maybe that's some of the coercive diplomacy that The Hillary seems to get so excited about. Sounds to me as if President Rainbow Brite plans to go on channeling Lyndon Baines Johnson. Great.
On the economy, Obama comes with a reassuring pro-trade message.

There is no strident talk from the White House about renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement — or even pulling out as a tool of leverage. Obama raised that idea as a candidate for president with an eye toward strengthening labor and environmental standards. But reopening a lucrative trade pact among Canada, Mexico and the U.S. is not a mess Obama wants to get into now.
Mexico aside, that doesn't sound bad. One cheer for the new guy.
Environmental groups want Obama to get tough with Canada about its massive oil sands operation. Alberta's tar sands present a deep supply of potential oil, but the extraction process produces a high amount of the greenhouse gases blamed for climate change.
"Get tough with Canada." And the Imperial beat goes on. It's a good thing for the whole world that we're broke. Soon we won't be able to borrow the money to pay our storm troopers any more. And I'm guessing they'll decline to kill for free. It's an ill wind that blows no one any good.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Laissez le Bon Temps Rouler

Check out Burkeman. Not much happy talk ... but, for what it's worth, my gut tells me he's got it right:
It should be painfully obvious to all of us by now. No one in power has a clue of what is going on or what to do. Obama’s “stimulus” bill is seen by nearly every non government employed or DC dependent economist as a total disaster that will do more harm than good.

And pretty much everyone knows it.

Weekly unemployment numbers continue to go up and up and up and the rhetoric of CNBC financial talking heads- whores to the oligarchs who have hollowed out the American economy over the past 30 years- is finally beginning to match reality. They have stopped talking about “bottoms” or “turn arounds” but rather have assumed a sort of gallows humor inevitability of doom.

Can you feel it? This is the calm before the storm.
What we are going to witness in the coming months and years is the painful death of an American self image and identity based entirely . . . let me say that again- entirely- on illusion and fantasy.


This country has been living off a lie since world war two. A lie that has had us believing in our own unique greatness. America’s economy wasn’t buoyed by the fact that the rest of the world was left in a shambles after WWII. Nope- we preferred to believe idiotic bullshit about how “great” we were – how innovative- how special.
America – a nation that NEVER has to worry about foreign invasion- then set about to build up the biggest most expensive military in the history of world- with 95 percent of it being wholly unnecessary for any sort of legitimate defensive purposes.

In effect this spending has been a national socialist industrial policy for the past 50 years. 50 years of building tanks, planes, ships, missiles, sophisticated weapons systems that do nothing but sit there and cost us more money in upkeep- draining resources and brain power from productive endeavors that would actually truly grow our economy.
Pleasant dreams, fellow Americans.

Insult + Injury = ???

One can only shake one's head in disbelief:
A large stockpile of unexploded weapons has disappeared in Gaza, before United Nations experts were able to dispose of it safely, the BBC has learned.

The explosives, including aircraft bombs and white phosphorus shells, were fired by the Israeli military during its recent offensive in the Gaza Strip.

UN officials said they were urgently trying to establish where the arms had gone and have called for their return.

Israel has accused Hamas of taking the stockpile, which was under Hamas guard.

Richard Miron, the senior UN spokesman in Jerusalem, said: "We are anxious to get the return of this ordnance. It's clearly extremely dangerous and needs to be disposed of in a safe manner.

"This is our primary concern."
So, the Izzies chuck tons of high explosives and white phosphorus (!!!) into Gaza, and, inevitably, there's a few duds. Now they accuse Hamas of "stealing" the stuff? This must be a new principle of warfare, by which all duds remain the property of the war criminal. Amazing. It's similar to the principle whereby, if the U.S. invades your country, you're not allowed to fight back; to do so makes you a terrorist and an unlawful combatant.

Maybe those Palestinians were also supposed to gather up any bombcase fragments they could find and ship them back to Tel Aviv. Perhaps Israel Military Industries could have recycled them and saved a little on raw materials for their next batch of hell munitions. I guess we Americans should push for that ... after all, it's our tax money that could be stretched further thereby. Killing swarthy foreigners is an obvious necessity, but shouldn't we always look for ways to do it "greener" and more economically?

'Way back when I was just a young engineer in Indianapolis, the other boys and I used to throw snowballs at one another. Well, sometimes they were snowballs ... other times, depending on conditions, they were more like slushballs, or even iceballs. Good for a fat lip or a bloody nose, they were, if you caught one in the face. Sometimes, if you delivered a weak, off-balance throw, your intended target might catch your iceball whole. It happened to me a few times, and that was always a bad feeling, knowing that your munition was about to be returned to you -- at high speed, and with unfriendly intent. I wonder if that's how the Chosen are feeling right now about some of the jolly toys they threw into Gaza?

Monday, February 16, 2009

It's a Monday -- Why Not?

It's a Monday in mid-February, and AFSCME can deliver votes for a fee -- so it must be time for another crap "holiday." Here we go:
Abraham Lincoln comes in first again in C-SPAN's second Historians Survey of Presidential Leadership -- an index that takes the views of 65 presidential historians and ranks the 42 former presidents according to 10 "attributes of leadership."
Ah, yes, good old Dishonest Abe, the tyrant who had no trouble closing newspapers, imprisoning political opponents, and spilling oceans of American blood to "save the union" -- in the form of a continent-sized prison, but who's quibbling? Father Abraham declared free those slaves that he had no power to free, carefully and explicitly not freeing the ones that he did have the power to free. To his dying day, he dreamed of shipping all the former slaves to Africa, to Central American colonies -- anywhere outside the United States. Here's the Great Emancipator on race relations, from one of his debates with Stephen Douglas:
"I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races - that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied everything."
But it really doesn't matter ... the great thing is that there's no mail delivery today, and that our public servants masters will have a day's leisure in which to contemplate, and be inspired by, Our Glorious Leaders of the Past. Huzzah!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

State Property

A local Fort Wayne story, but I'm sure it happens everywhere:
Five children in incest case removed from mom’s care
Rebecca S. Green
The Journal Gazette

The Indiana Department of Children Services has removed the children from the home of the woman at the center of a local incest case.

The 30-year-old woman, who has not been accused of a crime, has had custody of five of the seven children believed to have been fathered by her half brother, Donald F. Medsker.

... [snip] ...

According to Ann Houseworth, director of communications for the agency, whenever an alleged offender is released on bond, workers with the department re-evaluate the status of the children involved, taking any necessary actions to ensure the safety of the children.
I'm certainly not here to suggest that the actions of this woman or of her revolting half-brother are in any way acceptable. I simply note that she's been convicted of ... nothing ... and charged with ... nothing ... and that the state, in the person of "the agency," has snatched her children because the state was pleased to do so. The "agency" stands ready to take any action it deems necessary to ensure the safety of these children. Safety ... I'm sure they're in foster care already, where I'm sure they won't be mistreated or molested, because children in foster care never are mistreated or molested, right? And even if they are, well, you can be sure there'll be no consequences for anyone connected with "the agency."

By any reasonable definition, these children are the property of the state, since the state seems to have -- and use -- the power to dispose of them as it sees fit. Not only are these children state property: so are yours.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Power: a Weapon, Nothing More

One of my heroes, William N. Grigg, has a post up right now in which he notes the complete lack of principle found on both alleged sides of the alleged right-left American political division:
Recently in this space I described how the "progressive" and "conservative" factions in our political system are working, in dialectical symbiosis, to build a totalitarian Homeland Security State, each of them foolishly assuming that the apparatus of regimentation and coercion would be used to punish the other. There is a desperate need, I wrote, for people of all political persuasions "to decide that they love liberty more than they despise their political enemies...."

At the very least, people have to be willing to repudiate the operational principle of mass politics since Lenin, the idea that the fundamental question of politics is "Who does what to whom."

Well, as a friend of mine might put it, that's a whole lot of "Ain't-gonna-happen."
As usual, it's a great read, and I recommend it to your attention. Meanwhile, I saw this in today's news:
More and more Democrats in Congress are calling for action that Republicans warn could muzzle right-wing talk radio.

Representative Maurice Hinchey, a Democrat from New York is the latest to say he wants to bring back the "Fairness Doctrine," a federal regulation scrapped in 1987 that would require broadcasters to present opposing views on public issues.

"I think the Fairness Doctrine should be reinstated," Hinchey told CNNRadio. Hinchey says he could make it part of a bill he plans to introduce later this year overhauling radio and TV ownership laws.

Democratic Senators Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Tom Harkin of Iowa added their voices recently to those calling for a return of the regulation.

Republicans oppose the Fairness Doctrine, arguing it would be wrong for the federal government to monitor political speech on the airwaves, in order to require opposing views.
Now, there seems to be very little that your typical proggie enjoys any more than to snicker at those right-wing mouthbreathers who're forever moaning about "the lib'rul media." But the lefties seem to have a little problem with some media, at least, themselves -- and are (surprise! surprise!) ready to use government force to do something about it. Lenin seems to have been right: it's all about who gets to do what to whom, and nothing more.

Be sure to vote, now. Voting changes things. It swaps the "who" and the "whom." Very noble. Incredibly worthwhile. Oh, yes.

Monday, February 09, 2009


Watch yourself:
World Jewish leaders told Vatican officials that denying the Holocaust was "not an opinion but a crime" when they met on Monday to discuss a bishop they accuse of being anti-Semitic.

The meetings, the first since the controversy over Bishop Richard Williamson, who denies the extent of the Holocaust, began last month, took place three days before Pope Benedict is due to address a group of American Jewish leaders.

Williamson told Swedish television in an interview broadcast in January: "I believe there were no gas chambers." He said no more than 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps, rather than the 6 million accepted by most historians.

"Today we strongly reaffirmed that the denial of the Shoah is not an opinion, but a crime," said Richard Prasquier, president of the French Jewish umbrella organisation CRIF, using the Hebrew word for Holocaust.
Yes, and we know what sort of crime, too. It's thoughtcrime. To Room 101 with those recalcitrants!

It occurs to me that the only way this you-can't-say-that fascism stops is when the Thought Policeman who throws out the Deadly Accusation is greeted with loud, rude horselaughs from all sides. Consider my horselaugh emitted: haw, haw, haw!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Every Picture Ad Tells a Story, Don't It?

I didn't click on it. Still, though, it's a semi-truthful ad. It suggests that the primary purpose of the F22 is to protect aerospace jobs ... while I'd say that's probably more like the tertiary purpose. The real primary purpose is to secure corporate profits for Lock-Mart, Boeing, etc.; running a close second in the "purpose" race is the purchase of votes for Congresscreatures based on their success in delivering the bacon related to this thing.

Even so ... if we're determined to try to get out of a depression by borrowing vast sums, or printing them -- and good luck to us with that! -- maybe we could, you know, build sewers and wastewater treatment plants, or move our electric power lines and phone lines and so forth underground as a grownup country would, or ... even digging giant holes and then filling them back up again (rinse and repeat) at least doesn' kill other people. It just seems to me that the very worst possible welfare job is the one that builds insanely expensive death-and-destruction machines suitable for fighting enemies that pretty much don't exist right now. Although, just give our supervisors time on that last thing ... they're making enemies of every kind for us, just as fast as they can.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Talkin' 'Bout Mah Geeen-er-a-shun, Part 2

On the other hand ...

At my "home" YMCA at the beginning of this year, they announced the "1000-Mile Cardio Club," which is a deal whereby you pay in $20 and turn in, each day, the "mile equivalent" of that day's exercise activity, be it running, treadmill, elliptical, spinning class, swimming, etc. If you've turned in a cumulative total of at least 1000 miles by year's end, you get a fabulous prize package that includes a water bottle, a "regular" T-shirt, and a "dri-wicking T-shirt." I'm not clear on what that last thing is, exactly, but it sounds cool, so I know I must need one. The guy who's running this thing sends out a weekly email with a spreadsheet attached, in which you can see how you're doing against schedule (as it turns out, I've built up a 45-mile "cushion" already -- aren't I good!). He also tracks average cumulative miles per person by age group. Guess what the results show?

Age 50 - 59: 98.45 mi/person (I have 127.5!)
Age 40 - 49: 75.12 mi/person
Age 60 - 69: 70.69 mi/person
Age 30 - 39: 70.10 mi/person
Age 20 - 29: 61.92 mi/person
Age 19 and under: 50.40 mi/person

Hmmmmm ... see a trend here? Maybe there is a little something to be said for people my age, after all. Now, if we'd just start dressing decently when we go out in public ...

Talkin' 'Bout Mah Geeen-er-a-shun, Part 1

I was born in 1954, which makes me something of a trailing-edge baby boomer, if you buy into the whole generational-analysis concept, which I pretty much don't. Still, sometimes you see things that make you think there might be some horsepower in the notion. Sometimes it's hard to avoid the idea that baby boomers really aren't any good. At all.

For me, last Saturday was such a time. It was my wife's birthday; and, as things worked out, it was also the day of one of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic's "series" concerts to which she and I have subscription tickets. So, we thought that we'd combine birthday and concert by also going "someplace nice" to have our dinner beforehand. Neither she nor I had ever been to "Chops," even though it's been open for some years now. They take reservations. It's what I think of as sort of upper-mid-priced; we spent $60 between the two of us, and we weren't drinking (outside of a little iced tea, that is), and we skipped the appetizers, and so that's above the median price level in Fort Wayne ... though it's probably pretty cheap by bigger-city standards. We were headed, as I said, out to a classical concert afterward, so we were dressed reasonably well; my wife had a dressy slacks-based outfit on, and I was wearing the suit.

But we were badly out of place, I'm afraid. The place was full; the clientele averaged somewhat older than us. Median age was, I'd guess, upper 50s to early 60s. Main-sequence boomers, they were. And nearly every one was wearing his or her very finest blue jeans, and nearly every one was wearing his or her very best athletic footwear. In terms of the "tops," there was more diversity. The hoity-toity snobs were wearing golf shirts with collars, while the "regular folks" seemed to be divided between T-shirts (INDIANAPOLIS COLTS!) and sweatshirts.

It's the damnable boomers, is what it is. They spent their formative years in blue denim. Now they're in their financial prime years; they have the money, and they're by-god gonna wear their jeans wherever they want, 'cuz can't nobody tell 'em "no," nohow. And their sneaks. And their grungy T-shirts. It's that second childhood. It's just a shame so many reached their second childhood without ever having left their first.

C'mon, folks. There's nothing wrong with being grandpa-aged; I am myself, and that's fine. But why can't you dress like a grownup ... like your old grandpa used to do?