Friday, May 13, 2011

A how-to guide for a kaput computer

The past three days have not been particularly friendly to a computer-bound writer whose impossible achievement will be to construct a complete sentence without a typo. Actually there were hints of antisocial behavior by my computer more than a week ago. Strange looking lines danced across the screen. Know what I mean? If you have a computer, of course you know. If not now, then later.

Two days ago, home computer No.4 in a series died. I called the emergency squad in the person or our son Rick. No teenager is he, but far ahead of me in knowing what buttons to press while his father is sitting back in sullen panic. There are no how-to books on filling the empty hours when a computer has been prepared for burial. Oh, I did get some stiff advice from Nancy on what a good thing it would be if I took the time to clear out some of the debris in my office. Even a little effort would help the general appearance.

So I started pecking through the piles of printouts, clippings, notes to myself, magazines with paper-clipped pages and 2-for-1 hamburger ads that unfortunately had expired. Sifting through the piles I discovered it to be a much-needed break in the action. Since much of it turned on politics, it was sort of a low-budget romp through Disney World. Buried in the mess, for example, was a complaint by Republican Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin who lamented that he was having a hard time making ends meet on his $174,000 annual congressional salary.

And then we found that delicious James Bond -type report that the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, was accused of pressuring GI's to use psychological operations - psy-ops, for goodness sake - to "target visiting VIPs" to send more troops. Folks, they were talking about getting into the heads of senators like John McCain and Joe Lieberman. It would be a lot simpler and certainly not as messy, if they had just flat out asked these two hawks for the money or credit cards, don't you think?.

There were several tidbits from Rep.Steve King, the Iowa Republican, who is always ready to confound the listeners. King defended the Republican leadership "for having established their integrity and mendacity for years" against wild accusations by their opponents. Mendacity? Is that any way to talk about your side, Stevarino?

Finally I came across this old treasure from former New York Times columnist Bob Herbert. He wrote that upon inquiring about why John Boehner would pass out tobacco lobbyists' money on the House of Representatives floor, Boehner Chief of Staff Barry Jackson replied, ever so innocently: "The floor is where the members meet with each other."

Can't argue with that. Really no need for the four-day package to Disney.

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