Thursday, November 19, 2020

Solving life's little mysteries

Sometimes in life, you find yourself trying to make sense of something and yet the mystery defies your attempts to explain it. I’m always putting together theories to explain such things, and sometimes those theories are spectacularly wrong. Or very incomplete.

I was in a situation like that a few years ago. The unusual thing that had been happening, that had defied all my attempts at explanation was that almost every time I entered — or left — a store, I would set off the security alarm.

It didn’t happen every time, but it happened a lot. It kind of humored me that it was just as likely to happen while entering as while exiting; in fact, that gave me an opening to try to inject some humor into this mysterious and mildly-stressful occurrence.

“There I go again–trying to smuggle merchandise into the store!” I would quip. But the not-so-funny thing of it was that I still wanted to figure out why it happened and the solution had been eluding me for a good long while.

Then one day while entering a store, the alarm kicked in, fulfilling its purpose by signaling that the gentleman entering the store and sporting a sheepish grin was up to no good.

As it happened, there was a clerk just a step or two away from the entrance. He gave a smile as I launched into my usual explanation about how that had been happening to me a lot and that I had no earthly idea why.

A light seemed to come on for this helpful crew member. He looked at me, a glint of hope shining in his eyes, and he said, “take off your right shoe and give it to me”.

I did as he requested. He took it with him behind the sales counter. Reaching into a drawer, he grabbed some kind of a tool I had never seen. It somehow looked like a pair of pliers and a small pry bar had had a baby.

Well, there on the sole of my right shoe – just forward of the heel – was a peanut-sized gizmo I had never seen.

With my inverted shoe in his left hand, and the plier-thingy in his right, the clerk deftly removed the gizmo from my now-relieved shoe and looked at me with a smile.

I can best describe my mood at that moment as a strange mixture of confusion and relief. The relief part was simply that I knew I had triggered a store alarm for the last time. The confusion part was that it was quite clear that my feeble theories about what had been happening were now all shot-to-hell.

I loved those shoes, I had bought them in my favorite thrift store about two years before this strange scenario played itself out. I love brown shoes as they matched a couple of leather jackets I wore a lot in cooler weather. They were genuine leather, incredibly comfy and had given me two years of hard use in spite of the fact that they were used when I found them in that second-hand store.

As I strode happily out of the store — with two beloved shoes on my feet and without the sound of a shrieking alarm in my ears — the gears in my over-worked brain were turning…

Although I had plainly never put together successfully a theory that explained the robust ringing of alarms, a new question popped up, seemingly begging to be answered. A question that was wrapped around the first question, which had been the focus of prodigious amounts of my time and mental energy.

That foundational question concerned how such a fabulous and functional pair of shoes had come to sit, forlornly, on a dusty shelf in a second-hand store. And in that moment, my top-shelf, methodical mind framed a theory to address that burning question, to solve the larger mystery!

To this day, years later, I’m totally convinced that the reason I was able to steal those gorgeous, hand-crafted, Italian leather shoes in a thrift store for $6.95 was that… that the first owner got sick and tired of setting off alarms every time he entered a retail establishment!

Pure genius!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit shock Fotolia

Monday, November 9, 2020

GA Sec of State tips his hand

Some may read this afternoon's press release from Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and think that he's courageously pushing back at this morning's statement from Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. 

Those two corrupt GOP Georgia Senators issued this statement earlier today, calling on Raffensperger to resign. For not giving them enough of that good home cookin' for which the Peach State is so well known, apparently.

But folks who think that's the main take-away are missing the point. The honorable Secretary is saying -- straight up -- that he's upset that trump lost and that Loeffler and Perdue could lose, too.

As Georgia's Secretary of State, he's the one who's tasked with overseeing elections in Georgia and he openly acknowledges that he's upset with the Biden win?

This hack, this trump sycophant, just said the quiet part out loud. It's crystal-clear that he's pulling for trump at the top of the ticket even while that race appears to be heading for a recount! 

He goes on to say that Senators Loeffler and Perdue are in danger of losing their races too, if they don't bear down and focus a little more.

In which Banana Republic is this acceptable? To plainly say that although you're the man in charge, you're pulling for the candidates from your party?!

This is just one more outrage from the criminal GOP.  And it's not going to stop.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Saturday, November 7, 2020

The Election is Finally Called

 Note: this feature is a follow up to Tuesday's Election Day posting.

The call came from the AP and NBC News this morning that the Biden/Harris ticket did prevail in Tuesday’s election. In spite of the plainly-excessive caution with which the networks had handled the 2020 election results, the time had come to state the obvious.

I know that many Americans see the election very differently, but I’m feeling a lot of relief today. Relief and joy. The last four years under the “leadership” of donald trump have resulted in a thousand disasters, large and small. It’s pure joy to know that we won’t have to endure four more years of trump’s venality, incompetence and crass, hateful behavior.

There are many daunting challenges ahead for Joe Biden and his nascent administration. I don’t have the slightest doubt that trump, McConnell and the GOP will do everything they can to undercut team Biden and thwart their efforts to move us past the myriad of trump-induced woes that have afflicted our beloved country for the last four years.

But I’m still hopeful that we’ll make progress and move -- if even at a painfully slow pace -- toward better times for all Americans.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

It really is Nov 3rd

The 3rd of November is here and people are standing in lines to vote as I write this. As stunning as this may seem, 100 Million Americans have already cast their ballot. Absentee voting is up. Voting by mail is way, way up. A good bit of that is simply because some states and counties think that's a good way to go. But a lot of it -- as you might imagine -- is because of the pandemic.

The Biden/Harris ticket is poised to turn out trump and his inept administration. Biden's lead nationally is substantial; he is also leading in all but two of the swing states where the contest will actually be decided.

I'll leave the discussion about how accurate polls are -- or are not -- to others who're better versed on that subject. Suffice to say that Mr. Biden's leads just about everywhere are outside the margin of error. In 2016, that was not the case in many of the battleground states.

If you've followed this blog at all, you know I'm all in for the Biden/Harris ticket. I don't have the slightest doubt that Joe will prevail and that many other Democratic candidates will carry the day.

While that's a happy thought -- especially in light of how much havoc trump has wreaked in the last four years -- it's also true that we're very likely to sail through some rough seas between the time the polls close tonight until our lying, loser prez accepts the results, particularly in his race.

We know what he's going to do. We know he intends to declare victory before all the votes are counted. We know he'll do anything -- anything at all -- to keep from relinquishing power.

We're in for a wild ride in the days and weeks ahead. There will be violence from some of trump's cult followers. It quite possible that Americans will die because the squatter in the White House has gone to great lengths to stir up the blind rage that has been percolating just below the surface for years among many of his followers.

But in the end, his gambit will fail. And we'll have a new leader. One who's willing and able to lead the United States out of the chaotic mess into which we've descended in the last four years and back into our rightful role as a beacon of democracy and the leader of the free world.

"Bulldog Ben" Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile