60s, Boomer, Cynicism, Facts, History, Humor, Media, Politics, Social Commentary, Vietnam

1968 – Fifty-Five Years Ago

In 1968 I was a skinny, pimple-faced High School Senior. My biggest challenges were refraining from squeezing my zits and soiling my undies in my sleep. Worrying about economics, paying bills, who was in charge of the world, or any of those things took a back seat to fantasizing about my Business teacher, Miss Hopkins, and her Tabu perfume, and selling shoes at Bakers in Iverson Mall. But the whole country was going crazy; I just didn’t think about it.

It has been argued that 1968 was the year that changed everything. Lyndon Johnson grew frustrated with the war in Vietnam and decided not to seek reelection. He had become President upon the death of John Kennedy and then won the election by beating a lame opponent, Barry Goldwater. But now he wanted out. The country was being torn apart by opposition to a war that was none of our business. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated. After the death of MLK, the cities erupted in riots. Whole city blocks were burned to the ground.  Richard Nixon was elected to his first term as President, only to resign the office amid scandal five years later. O. J. Simpson won the Heisman Trophy.

It’s easy to say today that everyone was just out of their minds back then, but unless you were there you can’t know. I was there, but oblivious, so how can anyone not subjected to it really understand? There are news accounts and historical records, but the atmosphere is not in the records. It was surreal. I remember my mother waking me by yelling upstairs to my attic apartment that Bobby Kennedy had been killed. All that went through my mind was that one day five years before, where the only thing on television was the funeral of John Kennedy. Was I going to miss Mayberry R.F.D.? Seriously though, it was shocking. How could I understand what was happening? My graduation was in just a couple of days, and that was heavy on my mind.

The Tet Offensive had just taken place in January. We watched the television reports, while my parents worried I would be drafted. I worried, too. Everyone was expected to wave a flag and declare love for America, but the young people could not figure out why we were in Southeast Asia. We were being thrown to the dogs for the sake of stopping Communist aggression. Or, so the story went. No one wanted to call it a Civil War.

But that’s all in the past. We made a mistake and lost a lot of lives as a result. I just didn’t want to be one of them. John Prine wrote a great song, “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You into Heaven Anymore.” It was written in 1971, but I always loved the picture it painted. Honestly, I don’t really care what your feeling might be for that period of time, but while I was there, that’s how I felt. When the media was hammering Bill Clinton and George W. Bush for avoiding the draft, I sat back and held my tongue, because I understood. No one really wanted to go.

It’s easy to go to war when you can do it by proxy. Your life is safe if someone else is doing the fighting. Soldiers lose an arm, a leg, an eye, a life, a family, but it’s all OK, if it is them and not us. Politicians wave their arms high and scream “bloody murder,” but it is not them who are suffering. They don’t walk around with a limp, or an eye patch, or scooting around in a wheelchair. Yeah, they send their kids, but they send their kids. Not them. They’re safe. You can label me Liberal or whatever, but the fact of the matter is, war kills. It isn’t good for anyone. Everyone suffers.

As a society, we have to find a way to avoid war. If we are attacked, we have to react. Afghanistan made sense because that was the haven of Al-Qaeda, and they struck first. Iraq was vengeance, getting even for the past. 

If fifty years of history taught us anything, I would be surprised. We never seem to learn. When it comes to economic gains over death, we accept death as a consequence. As long as it’s not our death. Throw a soldier into the heat, and he’ll take it. But we’re running out of soldiers. In 1968 we had the draft, which meant the soldier had no choice. He had to go. Today, there is no draft, and with what is occurring at the present time, fewer men and women are opting to join. They don’t want to die any more than the politicians who have chosen their fate.

With that being said (ha ha), we need to change the future.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

P.S. Check out the videos for 1968.

Boomer, Censorship, Facts, General Information, Media, Politics, Social Commentary, Twitter

Lament of a Twitter Junkie

I joined Twitter on February 14, 2009, just 3 years after it started. The whole purpose for my involvement was to promote this blog. A guy who ran a Red Barn site dedicated to the memory of the restaurant chain read my post about being a Red Barn employee and really liked it (his website is gone now so I can’t really direct you to check it out). He suggested promoting my blog through Twitter, so I signed up and picked a logo from the internet that was not me. My interest was in being somewhat incognito, so my own picture wasn’t used. Later, Vilified was added to the avatar, which was meant as a spoof of the 2009 introduction of Verified Blue Check people (usually famous).

Twitter was new and looking for its way. The iPhone was invented in 2007 and the Twitter barrage began. In 2009 it was just people feeling their way around. There were a gaggle of tweets about coffee, drinking, drugs, food and a lot of jokes. People were funny. Many comedians and wanna be comics joined and just tweeted funny stuff. The businesses, media, celebrities and politicians had not yet figured it out and were reluctant to get involved. It was fun then. Donald Trump came onboard in May 2009, which didn’t faze me because I was only interested in trying to be funny and getting likes and LOLs for my tweets.

My first name was BeefTongue, which had been used on AOL. This wasn’t meant to be of any sexual nature, it was just a cool name. My wife worked in a butcher shop and one day while picking her up from work, I noticed a beef tongue in the display case and started using it on AOL and made it my first Twitter name.  Then in 2011 the zodiac signs supposedly changed, and I went from being an Aries to a Pisces, so I began using the Twitter name NowAPisces. Within this post you can see some of the other names I used on AOL.

There were two competing services which provided validation for the tweets of the jokesters, Favrd and Favstar. Things were running smoothly, and I was having a great time, making the  Favstar Leaderboard quite often based on the number of likes of my tweets. I felt like a star.

There were Tweetups being held across the country, which were meet and greets of Tweeters, usually within a certain geographic region.  Then in 2012, I along with Kay Moore decided to have a Tweetup in Frederick, MD, which had a decent nightlife and was centrally located. The 2012 Frederick Tweetup turned out to be a great success.

About 125 people from all over the country, Britain, Canada and Australia, ascended on the town on October 12, 2012. On Friday night we had a pub crawl and on Saturday evening there was a comedy show, featuring comedic Tweeters displaying their stuff. Here you can see a collection of photos from Frederick Tweetup 1 & 2. Many people met new friends and the follows of each other intensified. Things were grand and Twitter was really, really fun at this point. We had Frederick Tweetup 2 the next year attended by a smaller crowd, and I called off the third one because the interest had waned.

Some months after the second Tweetup it came to my attention that the zodiac sign change was a nothing story and decided I needed a new name, not wanting to be the only idiot on Twitter who was concerned about the zodiac confusion. I like Albert Camus and eggs over easy, so the name CamusOverEasy became my last moniker for Twitter.

The use of Twitter as a platform for politicians began in 2008, with Barack Obama understanding the value of reaching a huge audience and other politicos began tweeting regularly, as well. Businesses, celebrities and media outlets really started flooding Twitter shortly thereafter and the end began. My attention to the inundation was not concentrated on what was happening because I was still in my comedy bubble.

The absolute bastardization of Twitter started after Donald Trump announced his run for the Presidency in 2015. My favorite site started becoming mean and nasty.

After Trump was elected in 2016 the Bully Pulpit was on my phone, laptop and desktop. The lies and hatred grew exponentially, and the left-wing and right-wing politicians started going at each other. After the 2020 election the whining and lying about the results led to so much more hatred and threats that Twitter had become a bastion of evil.

Then I started getting caught up in the mess, tweeting my own form of hatred and sarcasm toward the MAGA believers and I was a bit out of

control, becoming somewhat of a punk and smartass filled with snarky comments, still trying to be funny. My last Twitter page shows my influence and pretty much where I stood.

But there was one particular politician, Ronny Jackson, the former White House Doctor, who really got on my nerves. His tweets had nothing to do with policy, just accusations, innuendos and nonsense.  What bothered me so much is he is a retired Admiral who’s just a political hack. As a veteran I tend to honor other Veterans, particularly Officers, but here is an Admiral who wasn’t worthy of my respect. So, I reacted to his tweets in a mean way because he always made me angry.

Since Elon Musk took over control of Twitter, the attack on liberals is unabated. Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene and others can be as mean as they want, without consequences. The Twitter Rules really haven’t changed, just the interpretation and enforcement of them. Tweeters were constantly complaining about Elon Musk’s takeover but staying out of the fray seemed like a good way of protecting myself by not slamming him. After all, he is the Free Speech Guy.

On February 26, I tried to sign on to Twitter and this is what I saw:

I also received an email with the attached Tweet explaining it was a violation of Twitter Rules to threaten anyone with bodily harm.

Now, it appears to me that no one is being threatened here. I was making a joke. My early Twitter experience got the best of me. I’ve tried appealing several times, but Twitter keeps telling me the “Twitter Rules” were broken, and my account will not be reinstated.

Frankly, Twitter has done me a favor. Since I had been tweeting for so long, there was this fear of loss if I were to quit. Now, I have no choice. Honestly, I’m glad it’s over.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

Boomer, Cynicism, Facts, History, Humor, Information, Media, Middle East, Politics, Social Commentary

Shoe Fly, Don’t Bother Me

George Bush was recently involved in a game of “Duck, Duck, Goose” during a news conference held in Iraq. One of the members of the Iraqi media (a minivan, with three reporters and two digital cameras) took off his shoes (size 10) and hurled them at the President in an effort to insult him. I am not up on Shoe Insult Theory, but apparently the thinking is if you show a person the bottom of your shoe, they are forever scorned. When the shoe thrown at the person being assaulted conks them in the head, the bruise or lump might be a pretty good reminder they have just been dissed.

I was a salesman at Bakers Shoes in Iverson Mall in 1967. Our patrons were only female and so many times when I was dying fabric pumps in the back room or bringing them to the women, I saw the soles. Not once did I shake or feel insulted. Maybe it was because they were new and had not yet traveled the road of dirty sidewalks or stepped in gum or anything that might make them filthy. My guess is the soiling of the soles of worn shoes is what adds to the insult of showing them to someone. It seems the indignity can only come from a man, since the theory appears to have originated among the not-so-tolerant-of-females men of the Middle East. That’s probably why I never shivered at Bakers. When Dwight Eisenhower was President, I wonder if Buster Browns were used for the gesture, or would it have been Kinney’s or Chucks (possibly the beginning of the term “chucking” shoes)?

Perhaps that explains why some men cross their legs like a girl and some like a man. Typically, men wear pants and have no need to hide their privates. The feminish crosser is most likely just being polite, attempting to avoid showing the sole to innocent observers. It seems to me displaying the bottom of dirty bare feet would be more of a disgusting gesture, but like I said earlier, I’m not a student of the theory. Restaurants do not ban soiled shoe soles, only bare feet. So, the owners of eating establishments must not understand the Shoe Insult Theory, either.

Does the term “shooing” someone or something away have anything to do with the insult? Usually the “shooing” away of them/it is for safety purposes or because of annoyance. When someone says “shoo” are they saying “shoo” or “shoe?” If a salesman gets a “shoe in the door” is the person whose door was entered insulted? A political candidate who is a “shoo-in” could be less than flattering to the “shoo-out.” Is it “shoo-in” or “shoe-in?” And what about Shoofly Pie? The name is thought to have originated from shooing flies away while it was cooling. Is it possible it was derived from shoes being used in the baking process to knead the dough, or is there a subtle insult being extended by the pie? Only the Amish know for sure (but they’re not reading this).

I’m too fat to cross my legs like a girl, so I’ll have to continue the man cross. I never could accomplish the feminine cross, even in my early years, when thin. It was just too uncomfortable and seemed a little sissy-like to me. If someone is insulted by the sole of my shoe as a result of my inability or lack of desire to perform the girly cross, let me apologize in advance for my unintended rudeness.

Shoes should be worn, not thrown.

With Love,

Bake My Fish