Sources say the average cost of a North American funeral these days is between $7,000 and $10,000. Imagine, then, what it costs each state to bury inmates who die in prison, those whose bodies are unclaimed by family members.
Just like the population in general, the average age of prisoners is increasing. Coupled with the past trend of imposing long prison sentences, more and more inmates die behind bars.
I recently subscribed to a men’s health magazine, for a couple of reasons. One, I have the wild hope that by reading about good health and fitness I can be magically lifted out of the gentle downhill track I’ve been on for decades. I fantasize that this can be achieved without my undergoing the exercises and dietary good sense that the magazine will suggest.
A second reason is that a full year’s subscription costs only 10 bucks or so. Such bargains are rare in today’s economy, where refrigerators sell for $1,000 and up, and leading restaurants try to con diners by offering a six-ounce steak for “only” $17.95, which includes fries and all the lettuce you can eat.
AND IN 6743 B.C. THE LORD YAHOO said unto the Togolites: “Do not eat the flesh of any animal with a cloven hoof, or a twisted tail, or calico fur, or a poor won-loss record, or bad breath.” And Uriliah, the chief cook, said, “Sir Yahoo, that pretty well rules out all of our available meat sources here in the wilderness. I beg of you, does your prohibition include gravy as well?” And Yahoo, who was in a good mood that day, said “No. Keep the gravy.”
AND THE TOGOLITES REJOICED, and were sustained by gravy for 873 years, when Yahoo was overthrown by Yahweh. - (The Book of Hepzibah, Chapter 3 Verse 77.)”
Going into the 2016 presidential election, virtually all political pundits and pollsters projected an easy victory for Hillary Clinton. Several of the most respected pollsters gave Clinton an 85 percent chance of defeating Donald Trump. Highly respected presidential scholar Larry Sabato projected that Clinton would win 347 electoral votes to Trump’s 191.
As we now know, Trump won 290 electoral votes to 232 for Clinton with Michigan’s 16 electoral votes still undecided. Although Trump won the electoral majority and the presidency, Clinton is leading by over 2 million popular votes.
Herewith, a few ideas bouncing around my mind following the Nov. 8 election:
THE CHINESE CURSE, as many of you are aware, is short and loaded: "May you live in interesting times." What a subtle but cruel thing to wish on an enemy. And how timely it is today. If our world gets any more interesting than it is right now it may simply explode from overload. I try to think of the last time the USA enjoyed less interesting times, and the best I can come up with is the Eisenhower years, the 1950s. Even then we had the Korean War to trouble us, but the truce was settled by mid-1953. An era of new excitements, both good and bad, began in January 1961 with the inauguration of JFK.
Hillary Clinton voters, I feel your pain. I've been on the losing side more times than I cared to be. It's painful and personal. I would venture to add that Donald J. Trump's victory probably is more bitter than a Clinton win would have been for conservatives because you didn't see it coming. You lost and you were sucker punched. Ouch.
For most of you, the approach voiced by Kevin Eckery, a GOP consultant who did not vote for Trump, should be instructive. "We got head-faked," Eckery told me. The election was never about Trump, it was about his voters. In the future, Eckery plans to "listen with a little more humility."
On the next to last morning of our nation’s most dreadful campaign, my wife questioned whether it’s possible to be a politician without losing one’s soul. As I started to name those I knew who had kept theirs, word came that my old friend Janet Reno had died. I rested my case.
Have you ever met or seen a whiffenpoof? Or known someone named Whiffenpoof? Neither have I. But through most of my life, without my seeking it, I have heard people playing or singing the Whiffenpoof Song. You, too, may have been aware of two things about it: it has something to do with Yale University, and it is about little black sheep who have gone astray.
A few weeks ago, out of the blue, I said to myself: “If this @##%&!! presidential campaign is ever finished I will track down the Whiffenpoofs and finally learn the who, what, why, when etc. that any alert inquiring citizen should be aware of!!!”
How did the national polls, which overwhelmingly predicted a Hillary Clinton victory, get the presidential election so wrong? A Capitol Weekly election postmortem panel Thursday gave me the opportunity to ask California pollsters unaffiliated with the bad national polls. Mark DiCamillo of the Field Poll saw the Bradley effect with female Trump voters. (The “Bradley effect” was born in 1982 when the late pollster Mervin Field proclaimed that voters would elect Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley to be California and America’s first black governor. He was wrong, he believed, because voters would not admit to pollsters they supported George Deukmejian lest they appear racist.)
Many critics believe polls under-sampled white blue-collar voters. To which veteran pollster Jonathan Brown responded: “Answer your damn phones, people.”
Our recent presidential election made me recall the 1948 upset of Harry Truman over Thomas Dewey. I was 18, a sailor fresh out of Navy boot camp at Great Lakes, and newly enrolled at a four-month radioman training program in Norfolk, Virginia, at the world's largest naval base.
On Election Day two of my classmates and I decided to go on liberty, have a few beers and then find some local ladies to entrance during the remainder of the night. Young sailors, as well as old ones, tend to have such lofty dreams. My buddies and I ignored the fact that (A) a limited number of local women were available and (B) thousands of other swabbies and Marines would be out there competing for their favors.
Senior investment club ST. PETERSBURG – A senior investment club conducts discussions every Friday at 10 a.m. at the Sunshine Center, 330 Fifth St. N.
The free club is open to the public and will feature discussions on anything related to investing. Share your best picks or your worst picks. Ask questions, give your opinion. It’s all about education and fun.
Wagged Out Walk ST. PETERSBURG – Wagged Out Walk will take place Saturday, Dec. 10, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Walter Fuller Park, 7901 30th Ave. N., St. Petersburg.
Proceeds from this event will benefit Frankie’s Friends, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to finding cures and saving pets with cancer and other life-threatening conditions. All walkers are welcome, with or without a dog. Walkers may join a team or walk as an individual.
Each walker may pick how far to walk based on their individual athletic desire. There will be volunteers and water stations along the routes. At the end of the walk, there will be a drawing for prizes.
Corey Avenue Sunday Market ST. PETE BEACH – The Corey Avenue Sunday Market, located on Corey Avenue between Boca Ciega Avenue and Gulf Boulevard on St. Pete Beach, is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 2-May 28.
The market supports vendors who sell a variety of locally produced and homemade items including produce, plants, take home foods, ready to eat lunch bites, hand crafts, eco-friendly and fair trade products. For information, visit www.TampaBayMarkets.com.
Tai Chi and Qigong classes ST. PETE BEACH – Tai Chi and Qigong classes are presented Mondays, 11 a.m.; and Thursdays, 12:30 p.m., at the St. Pete Beach Community Center, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, St. Pete Beach.
This class is designed to reduce stress, inflammation and disease associated with stress, as well as improve postural alignment and flexibility. The class combines specific movements, coordinated breathing and a calm focused mind used in traditional Chinese medicine, Tai Chi and Qigong practices that will improve health, vitality and longevity.
No prior experience is necessary. The cost is $5 for adults or free for SilverSneakers. Visit www.spbrec.com or call 727-363-9245 for more information.
Kiwanis Breakfast Club of Seminole meeting SEMINOLE – The Kiwanis Breakfast Club of Seminole meets on the second, third and fourth Tuesdays of the month, 7:15 a.m., in the third floor card room at Lake Seminole Square, 8333 Seminole Blvd.
The group features speakers from different organizations.
Visit kiwanisseminolebreakfast.com or call 727-319-8343 for more information.
Safety Harbor Writers & Poets meeting SAFETY HARBOR – The Safety Harbor Public Library hosts the Safety Harbor Writers & Poets, a monthly writing group created to encourage and promote writing in the community. Local author Laura Kepner facilitates meetings on second Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m., at the Safety Harbor Library, 101 Second St. N.
This gathering of writers connects to other writers with similar goals and mentors attendees with constructive tips and ideas on how to make their work successful. Participants are encouraged to bring something to share.
Seminole-SPC Toastmasters meeting SEMINOLE – Seminole-SPC Toastmasters meets Tuesdays, 6:15 to 7:30 p.m., at the Seminole Community Library, 9200 113th St. N. Guests ages 18 and older are welcome. This event is free and open to the public.
This personal development program is ideal for supervisors and leaders – or those aspiring – to learn vital leadership and communication skills.
Contact Dennis Hamel at 727-374-2612 or visit www.seminolespc.toastmastersclubs.org.
CPR training EAST LAKE - East Lake Fire Rescue offers monthly CPR training, open to the public, second Wednesdays, 6 p.m. at Station 57, 3375 Tarpon Lake Blvd. Cost for the class is $25. Sign up for a class at www.elfr.org by clicking on the Public Education section or by calling 727-784-8668, ext. 204.
East Lake Fire Rescue also will provide group training upon request.
CPR stands for Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation. More than 326,000 people in the United States suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year. Statistics prove that if more people knew CPR, more lives could be saved.
Using a combination of chest compressions and rescue breathing, CPR can give a person who has stopped breathing or whose heart has stopped beating a greater chance of survival.
More than eight out of every 10 cardiac arrests occur at home. Effective CPR can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival.