Premature emasculation

Sweetie and I just returned from eight days in Florida.  Lots of pale old guys with bermudas, dark socks and white tennies.  Lots of women with too short shorts, too much makeup, and too little sex.  But what the hell, it’s better than hanging around New York and Chicago where the temperature only serves to preserve the flesh.

After an exhaustive analysis of Florida snowbird habits, most folks wake up, eat, read the paper, eat, nap, eat, get ready to eat and then eat.  Even saw Jackie Mason in a Greek restaurant.  Good thing I was eating or I would’ve missed him.

Sandy and Nancy have been inviting us to Boca for years.  Living in California apparently didn’t provide enough incentive to us til now.  Glad we went.  Good people, great hosts.  Also visited Vic and Kathy across the state in Naples.  Wonderful seeing them again after much too long.  Went on a harbor cruise and saw multi-million dollar shacks where nobody lives, even in the winter.  Finally spotted a woman sunbathing in front of her castle…or maybe it was the help.

Got a chance to catch up with the cousins who own Florida condos that serve as escape pods from wintery Chicago.  They’re so cute and loving.  The older I get the more I enjoy spending time with them.  Maybe it’s because there’s so little of it left.  Used to be that we’d say “got a full schedule…see you next trip.”  No more.

Other than the absence of mountains, Florida has much in common with California.  Lots of talk about Obama, lots of unemployment, foreclosures, and unsold high-rise condos.  The air was filled with some uncertainty about our new president.  The sheen seemed to be wearing.  The rising of a new moon clouded by frustration.

The ubiquitous TV highlighted the negatives of the stimulus bill, the on-again, off-again cabinet appointments, Tim Geithner’s less than Emmy winning performance, and John McCain’s leadership of a pack of hyenas that smell fresh blood.  The honeymooon was suffering from unfulfilled expectations and premature emasculation.

After all, it’s been almost a month since Obama, Michelle and the kids moved in.  Surely the White House debris of the last eight years would have been swept away by now.  The functioning of the bureaucracy tuned to a fever pitch.  The banks shoveling money to needy borrowers by the carload.  Wall Street’s DOW rocketing back to 12,000 on the strength of increased peanut butter sales.  Democrats and Republicans marching arm in arm just like Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy did in the 1936 movie San Francisco.

Alas, it was not to be.  Instead, the purveyors of depression and doom continue their pronouncement of failure, to be followed by years of misery, debt and tainted peanut butter.   David Brooks  devoted a full column to his version of It’s a Wonderful Life…with evil Lionel Barrymore ending up in control of Bedford Falls.

The Republicans, with the exception of three stout-hearted women and men, decided to bail on the stimulus bill.  In brief, they figured no one would give them credit if it turned into the second coming and no one would blame them if it caused the black plague.  So, why not say no and just hang around the commissary?   During the debate, the Republican leader, Representative John Boehner of Ohio, angrily dropped the 1,073-page bill text to the floor with a thump, as he accused Democrats of failing to read the legislation.  A habit they must have learned from him during his eight years of obedient heeling to the wishes of his now departed leader.

I don’t claim to be a financial genius (my depleted portfolio bearing stark witness to this fact).  But $787 billion poured into the economy through a combination of tax cuts, and spending that the rest of us seem loathe to do, is likely to have some discernable impact.  This, in contrast to sitting on our hands moaning “woe is me”, is a reasonable plan put into action in less time than it takes me to respond to Sweetie’s exhortation to take out the garbage.

And while we are on the subject of accomplishments.  Obama’s early-administration deeds also include signing bills to expand children’s health insurance and employment non-discrimination, and issuing executive orders that roll back Bush administration policies on detention of suspected terrorists, labor policies and fuel efficiency.

But am I happy?  Not really.  I still want to see Clark and Spencer marching arm-in-arm.   The DOW at 15,000.  The Israelis and Arabs trading Valentine cards.  North Korea leading a gay pride parade.  And the Iranians attending Shabbat services at my synagogue.

So, my dear friends, be not of faint heart.  There’s always tomorrow.  And a cure for premature emasculation.


4 Responses to “Premature emasculation”

  1. 1 Anne Shrage February 14, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    As usual Fred, I love reading what you write! Great title!!! I have the same reactions you do when I visit Florida, especially Boca where I also have tons of friends and relatives. Don’t we all? Did you go to the early bird special?

    Laurie has been reporting very different experiences from Miami; Multicultural,Intellectually stimulating Collegues,worldly, enlightened and engaged students, …. and as you observed, good places to eat.I hope to be visiting there next month.

    Eight years of destruction by the Bush administration and doom sayers are predicting failure for the new one? Shame on them!
    In one short month,they want miracles?


  2. 2 Mikey February 15, 2009 at 10:16 am

    A visit to Boca without stopping to see Linda Z is like a trip to Disneyworld without kids or grandkids…just kidding Freddy!
    And I think it’s due time to refer to President Obama at POTUS…especially when the first lady in Ojai is ‘Sweetie’. Need to hear more about Vic and Kathy when we next speak…too long here as well

    Keep writing…always love your expressions and observations.


  3. 3 Sid Cohn February 15, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Hi Fred,

    Great writing!! Best yet!! Is it because I totally agree with your politics and reaction to what’s going on in the ivory halls?? Welcome back.


  4. 4 Steven Rothenberg February 18, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    O.K. I’ll be tolerant, lenient, and compassionate and give Obama one more week (I’m looking at my watch……) to fix the world ! All by himself ! I think that’s more than fair. And if everything isn’t totally ship-shape and his room isn’t completely clean and spotless by then, I’m going to invoke impeachment proceedings !! And then put Stalin back in office. Now there’s a guy who knew how to treat his people with dignity & respect ! And let’s see, if Mussolini isn’t doing anything for the next couple decades, maybe he can help us out as well.
    But I don’t think I’ll contact Bush. That would be going a little too far – I mean, I’m not crazy…….


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