I have often said, “Retiring is tiring.” So being a man of resolve, I, along with Grandma P, have just returned from a 20-day Caribbean cruise. After all, when the going gets tough, the tough go cruising! (I should copyright that as a bumper sticker. It can’t be as bad as some of the other crappy bumper stickers that I have seen!)
We always have a wonderful time in all our little adventures. This cruise was notable for two reasons: Firstly, I again had to struggle with my BACON!!! addiction. Secondly, I met some really great people from other countries. It is interesting to converse with a non-American on their opinions about the United States.
First the addiction.
I blame Princess Cruise Lines for enabling my bacon-aholic addiction! While going through the breakfast line, the first thing you do after washing your hands is take a plate. So far, so good. Then you let your senses kick into warp drive! The first sense would be smell. And what is the first thing you smell? Bacon! Next, the visual senses are stimulated. Looking two feet past the plate pile, I see a large pan filled of corned beef hash. I love corned beef hash, but I can pass it up. So far, so good. The next large pan contains fried potatoes. I love potatoes, but I can pass it up. So far, so good. At this point, I am feeling good about my ability to resist calorie-laden, carbohydrate-driven temptations. Maybe I won’t gain any weight on this cruise after all? And then…….and then………..there it is. The dreaded, yet highly anticipated third large pan. Three feet past the plate pile. Mounds and pounds of bacon! I’m screwed. So much for resisting carbohydrate-caloric temptation! Any thoughts of maintaining or losing weight on this cruise just went out the door along with the next largest hole in my expanding belt. This must be the reason for the expression ‘hog wild’! How could Princess Cruise Lines be so cruel?
But wait! Isn’t this America? I can’t possibly be held accountable for my bacon-aholic addiction. It must be someone else’s fault. Where is that government program when I need it? The government is not readily available on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. Then who is to blame? Whom can I hold accountable? My intellectual acuteness finally adjusts to the real culprit. Princess Cruise Lines! It has to be their fault! So my next step was to use my persuasive powers to coerce Princess to take responsibility for my addiction.
Here is how the conversation unfolded at the passenger assistance desk.
“Hi. My name is Grandpa T, and I am a bacon-aholic.”
“What can we do for you, Grandpa T”
“Could you burn the bacon a little, so that it does not smell as good?” (I thought this to be a reasonable request.)
“Can you relocate the large pan containing the mounds and pounds of bacon at least six decks away just prior to me coming to the buffet? It would be out of my way in the library, as no one uses that room anyway.”
“Could you organize a chapter of ‘bacon-aholic anonymous’ on the ship?”
“What would be anonymous about people who are 60 pounds overweight, drooling over a pile of bacon? They are pretty easy to differentiate from the slender yogurt-and-fruit-junkies.”
Damn it. Foiled again by sound reasoning. I hate it when that happens! OK. I did not have a conversation with Princess Cruise Lines about my bacon-aholic addiction – but if I did, I suspect it would have gone down just like that.
Australians, Canadians and the Welsh.
I met some really interesting and intelligent people from other countries on this cruise. David and Petra were from Australia. Catherine and Keith were from Wales. Jeffrey and Claire currently live in Canada, but they have lived all over the world. This made for a great trivia team, as well as for interesting conversation. Gail was from Illinois. This, too, made for some interesting conversation.
What we had available on our ship for outside information was an in-room TV that had two financial channels, two ESPN channels, the BBC, and Fox News. There were also some other shopping/travel/shipboard channels. That was it. The one thing we were missing was any local TV channel. These are the channels that give you the good news taking place in your area or in the country. Apparently, it is against media ethics to show positive things happening in the world in general, and in the US, in particular. (OK. Fox News does televise some feel-good news items, but those were certainly overshadowed by other events.)
So what did our foreign friends observe on the TV?
Well, when we first got on the ship in mid-November, the two big news topics were the Ferguson grand jury still being in deliberation and the fact that the POTUS just announced that he was circumventing an inert Congress and was going to use executive order to grant amnesty to 1.5 million illegal aliens. Add to this mix the story about one economist, Jonathan Gruber. You remember Jon-Boy? He was the Obamacare consultant that stated that Obamacare would not have been passed if it were not for the “stupidity of the American voter.”
So there you have it. The dominating new headlines were: Ferguson grand jury, illegal immigration Executive order, and a government consultant calling the American electorate stupid. Do you see anything positive for the good ole US of A concerning any of these news items? What would you have thought if you were a non-American. I can only surmise that they were quietly happy that they were not Americans. After all, Australia, Canada and Wales were not experiencing such disasters and embarrassment in in their countries.
Now we are a little further into the cruise. Obama is being fried over his executive order. As was poignantly pointed out, he had overstepped his presidential authority. He said he had not overstepped his authority. The Ping-Pong game of blame begins.
(As an aside, I pointed out in my last blog that I was fearful as to what both the POTUS and Congress would do before the Republican-controlled Congress was seated on January 5. I did not think any action such as this executive order would take place so quickly.)
Jonathan Gruber becomes a media sensation. The White House denies knowing him, even though he received about $500,000 for consulting on the proposed Affordable Health Care Act. There is documentation that he visited the White House 19 times. Nancy Pelosi denies knowing him even though there are pictures of her and Gruber together. Gruber’s name is specifically mentioned by Obama and Pelosi during speeches, but they still deny knowing him. He is videotaped making the statement about the ‘stupidity of the American voter.’
The tar pots are being heated! There are chickens being plucked all over America to assure we don’t run out of feathers and KFC doesn’t run out of chicken! So what happens next as we are further into our cruise? There was only one salvation that took Jonathan Gruber and the Illegal immigration executive order off the front page of the news networks – the timely Ferguson, Missouri grand jury decision!
There it was. In all its blazing (no pun intended) glory. A good, old fashioned burning and looting demonstration conducted by some of America’s finest citizens. How convenient for the POTUS to have this occur as the heat was being turned up both on his executive order and his association with Jonathan Gruber.
America’s democratic and judicial systems were laid bare for the entire world to see. According to the POTUS himself, we are a nation of laws. Apparently that does not apply if you disagree with the law. It must not apply when you don’t want to support the people that enforce our laws.
Who, in their right mind thought for one second that there was not going to be rioting/looting in Ferguson regardless of the decision? That is called civil disobedience. I certainly assumed there would be. Apparently the POTUS did not. Because much as Nero fiddled while Rome burned, the POTUS really did nothing to alleviate the building tensions in Ferguson. Hasn’t he claimed to be the ‘unification’ president? I believe this country is more racist now than it has been for the last 50 years. (Gruber may be on to something about American stupidity. We conveniently forget about what comes first – the crime or the arrest!)
Here is what our leader should have said: “The loss of any young life is a tragedy. But, we are a nation of laws, and we must let these laws work to preserve our great society. In this instance, a grand jury has been diligently working to assure that justice is being served. Regardless of the outcome, all Americans can be assured that all evidence was evaluated, all witnesses have testified, and all professional authorities have been heard regarding this case. Therefore, I call on all Americans to maintain peace and civility during these emotional times. Civil disobedience, terrorism, looting, rioting and the destruction of property are uncalled for and will not be tolerated.” (The reason I mention terrorism, is that some idiot burnt his hand while trying to light and throw a Molotov cocktail! That pretty much moves this event from a demonstration to terrorism!)
Did you hear anything from our President that sounded anything like what I just wrote? Unfortunately, I did not, either.
Now the end of the cruise is nearing. The destructive scenes of the damage done in Ferguson are shown on BBC and FOX. There are scenes of lesser destruction in other US cities. Most of this additional destruction was sanctioned by agitators, such as Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and even by our POTUS due to his convenient inaction and lack of law enforcement support following the initial Ferguson events.
What did my foreign friends think as we got off the ship in Florida? I can only surmise that they were happy to be returning to their own respective countries. Y’all come back now, ya hear? Things can only get better.