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How Hard are These Times, Really?

By admin

As I was driving home the other night listening to news about the bad economy on the radio, I couldn’t help but notice all the late model cars around me – no doubt full of people going home to watch their giant flat-screen televisions in HD. If this is as bad as it gets I think we are OK folks. You hear the news actually throwing around the D-word (depression), and it just strikes me as irresponsible sensationalism. All the news stations are fighting for the best ratings, so it logically follows that they probably think you will watch the news broadcast which promises to give you the worse news about the economy. After all, everything is fine or economy is in a small recession just sounds boring. The more they can scare you with their teaser bits the more likely you are to watch.

Using the word depression is pretty ridiculous. You know how much edible food gets thrown out every single day in the city where you live? Probably enough to feed some starving nations. There has only been one depression in American history and believe me people were not throwing out food. People were actually starving. Ever see pictures of the actual depression from the 1930’s? There were bread lines full of ordinary middle-class citizens waiting on government-issued rations of bread to feed their families! Those few people alive today who remember the depression from their childhood probably laugh at the comparison (assuming their hearing aides are working properly).

I brought this up during happy hour at the pizza parlor on Friday, and when I mentioned that there are no bread lines three people at the bar all chimed in together in replying not yet! …Which just goes to show you the mentality that the media is managing to instill in just about everyone. These people at the pizza joint are somewhat-intelligent folks who I see there all the time, and even they are showing signs of succumbing to this media brainwashing. My friends, as long as all the fast food restaurants on every corner still have that .99 menu there is no danger of bread lines or a 1930’s style depression.

Mama Riah and I went out to dinner Saturday at King’s Fish House. If you aren’t familiar with this franchise, it is a chain of good seafood restaurants with a casual atmosphere – that deliver a check which looks like you just ate in a snazzy fine dining establishment. We got there about 6:00 because we like to eat early. The place was busy and we managed to score two seats at the bar.

Over the course of the next hour and a half as we enjoyed our meal, the place became absolutely jam-packed standing room only. If the economy was terrible, don’t you think casual dining joints that are priced like high-end restaurants would be the first to suffer? By the way, we each had two drinks and split a seafood salad and each had a bowl of clam chowder for a total bill of $60. It is extremely easy for two people to break a three digit check here if they are in a feasting mood.

After dinner as we were leaving, I noticed the mall parking lot was still pretty full. I could see across the street into the ATT&T wireless store which was still open and had at least half a dozen customers in there buying new I-phones and Blackberries. You know how long the cost of one of those things could feed you for, if push came to shove?

What we have right now doesn’t even qualify as a noticeable recession. If we actually get one of those they’ll probably be calling it a national disaster. I’m almost rooting for it just so I can make my point better!

Papa Riah



Isn’t A-Rod a Saint for Telling the Truth?

By admin

The sports pages of my local paper are putting a halo over the head of Alex Rodriquez for his brave confession to using steroids. Sympathy for this beloved sports figure is high. He has apparently earned much respect by setting such a good example for the kids in (finally) telling the truth. We should all be proud of him. Maybe even give him another trophy or something. But wait a minute. Over the past couple of years he vehemently denied ever using steroids. His recent confession emerged only after discovering that undeniable evidence was about to go public and he was flat-out caught with his hand in the cookie jar. So being the model citizen, he then did the right thing and admitted his drug use.

Isn’t it great that our society sends us such a clear message that we only need to be truthful when we are caught red-handed? If there is no video tape, then there is always some doubt so just lie like there’s no tomorrow. This is becoming the standard in America. People whose first inclination is to fess up when confronted with an embarrassing situation are becoming a small minority of the population.

This is a predictable result when we see celebrities setting the example for the rest of us. After all, we are all just a bunch of drones that act like whatever the people on TV are doing. Right? If our sports heroes can look us in the eye through the television camera and tell a bald-faced lie that is our justification for doing the same thing. Cheat if you can get away with it, and if anybody ever asks about it deny everything.

If you do get caught, try to follow Bill Belichick’s impressive example. If caught in the act of cheating do not acknowledge that what you were doing was actually cheating. Use a fancy term to describe what you were doing, or show a look of surprise and say you didn’t know that cheating was illegal. As a last resort you could hold out like Roger Clemons and Barry Bonds until your dying breath, denying everything and swearing to God you are innocent even when faced with overwhelming evidence. That will always create some tinge of doubt in the general public’s mind because, well, because the general public is pretty stupid. Always use that to your advantage.

The only problem with this approach is, of course, when a video tape that you didn’t know about shows up. That’s when it’s time to do the A-Rod thing and become a hero in the public eyes. We will carry him on our shoulders to the baseball hall of fame while sending Martha Stewart to prison because she didn’t see the truck coming quickly enough. Of course in the case of Bonds and Clemons all will be forgiven no matter how long they wait to confess. After all, they are sports heroes not some cooking show host.

Papa Riah



Venting is Great for One of You

By admin

We all know it’s unhealthy to keep frustrations bottled up inside. It’s much better for you mentally, emotionally, and physically if you rid yourself of them by venting. Afterwards, you feel so much better! And stress is probably the number one killer in today’s society. It aggravates existing health conditions and creates new ones. It makes you lose sleep. It causes stupid, unnecessary arguments in the home and workplace. And for what? Some stupid little problem that you have blown up in your mind, which is getting way more attention than it warrants.

You are generating negative energy in your environment when you do this. And we know that the issue is something small and stupid. How? Because after you finally vent it magically goes away. Amazing! This thing that was like a boulder about to be dropped on you and crush your entire world simply stops existing simply because you talked about it to somebody, and shared your feelings about it with them. No more looming boulder, just happy sunshine and bluebirds singing.

What happened to that boulder? Take a look at the person who just listened to you vent. It is now perched precariously over their heads. A few minutes a go they had sunshine and bluebirds, full of enthusiasm and willing to listen to your problem and try to help. Well they helped all right – your problem is gone and they now have it.

At least that’s the way it works with spouses and significant others. When it’s somebody you love, the only way to get them over the thing they are upset about is to take it from them so that you now have it. They are then happy and skipping and you are now slumped over and dejected, awaiting doomsday. It happens every time.

This is an amazing aspect of human nature. We aren’t supposed to sweat the small stuff, but we do anyway. When we get something in our mind that is bothering us, it can grow until it becomes all-consuming. Even when we know that the thing is stupid and doesn’t deserve the attention we are giving it. I mean, we can keep saying to ourselves over and over again don’t sweat the small stuff, this is no big deal, etc. but we don’t stop. We refuse to let ourselves be our own psychiatrist.

No, the only way out is venting. And unfortunately the person we vent to is usually our spouse. We get relief at the expense of their becoming burdened. There ought to be people in the phone book you can look up to go vent at. OK, there are – they are called therapists and they are very expensive! I meant somebody who didn’t go to college for 6 years. Somebody cheap. Maybe the homeless guy on the corner will listen for a couple of bucks.

Papa Riah

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