“Aftermath” and other stuff…

In Lifestyle on January 4, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Return to whatever it was you were doing…

 The Iowa caucuses are over. It is unknown exactly how many Pheasants Forever memberships expired, unnoticed, in the past few months. The Des Moines Register, official news organ for the Iowa Ministry of Economics and Tourism, will return to daily coverage of high school ‘rassling and weather news.

That said; Ron Paul turned up a respectable third place. Gingrich, the politician formerly known as The Thug From Georgia, slithered off. Rick, what the heck was Texas drinking, Perry dabbed his eyes and said he would go back to Texas to pass out more booty to the oil corporations. Bachmann gurgled something. And, who the heck is Jon Huntsman?

The Register had opined that the caucuses would “mean nothing” if Ron Paul won or even placed well. Its editorial board fretted that a Paul victory (or even a good showing) would smudge the perception that Iowans have good sense.

No, here is the smudge on the Iowa caucuses: 58 votes for non-candidate Herman Cain, 117 votes for “Other” (think “Popeye”, “Seymour Heinie”, etc.) and 135 votes for the candidate of apathy “No Preference”.

While last night’s news shows hooted about “the three tickets out of Iowa” that were the prize in last night’s contest, the Des Moines Register dutifully revoked the third ticket earned by Ron Paul. According to the official news organ for the Iowa Ministry of Economics and Tourism, there are “only two tickets out of Iowa”.

The two corporate-approved ticket winners were: Rick Santorum the Candidate for the Christian Taliban whose last name recalls Victorian retreats for syphilitics and Mitt (What Tax Returns?) Romney.

The “Boss”…

Ron Paul clearly won the day at Valley High School when the candidates visited the children of Wells-Fargo bankers in West Des Moines.

“I’m supporting Ron Paul”, said one young student, “I’m seventeen years old and I don’t want to turn twenty-one in Iran.”

Well said!

No doubt there were a lot of stern dinner table lectures after school…”Ron Paul? He wants to put Mommy and Daddy out of work. Now, go to your room and think about it!”

The price of freedom…

Iowa’s official news organ for the Iowa Ministry of Economics and Tourism, the Des Moines Register, today crowed that the Occupy Iowa protests “cost the city $75,000”.

Phyne Dyning is researching Register archives for old articles decrying the cost of fire hoses, truncheons, and dogs in civil rights era Selma, Alabama.

I predict that the Occupy movement will take a much more “interesting” turn in the spring.

The rose-colored glasses worn by most of today’s graying Boomers only allows them to remember the civil rights movement for placid faces sitting quietly at the feet of Dr. Martin Luther King and white girls with daisies braided in their hair singing Kumbiyah.

They have forgotten how civil rights were finally attained for African-Americans only after American cities began to go up in flames.

Ah Spring; when tear gas and rubber bullets fill the air.

Hanukkah miracles still happen…

Browsing antique malls and flea markets is a certain sign of altercakker-dom and Mrs. Phyne Dyner and I enjoy visiting these places to rummage through the flotsam of other people’s lives

It is not all fun and games. We have an agenda…

…rescuing Judaica and Jewish ritual items.

Over the years, we have rescued Kiddush cups, prayer books, and a variety of Jewish-themed lapel pins and other trinkets.

Our latest rescue was a huge find: A medium-sized brass menorah (technically, a “chanukkiah”) standing forlornly among the discarded Christmas decorations on a vendor’s shelf.

[NOTE: Two categories of items are frequently offered up in Iowa’s antique malls and thrift shops: Christian ritual items and Christian-themed bric-a-brac…and those little, racist figurines and “art” stereotypically depicting African-Americans eating watermelon or doing servant work.]

We were appalled and delighted with our find.

Jewish ritual items are seldom disposed of in this manner. Most are lovingly passed l’dor v’dor (generation to generation) or are given to surviving Jewish friends. But, sometimes, when there were no other surviving family members, or (most often) the non-Jewish spouse in a mixed marriage simply “wins” by outliving the Jewish spouse and the “funny-looking Jewish stuff” gets abandoned to a post-funeral flea market.

On the last day preceding the last night of Hanukkah…

…we found (and rescued) someone’s abandoned menorah.

Home, again. Our Hanukkah miracle.


In Iowa, America’s Ukraine, one can achieve neighborhood rock star popularity by purchasing a snow blower. I sold mine and then bought it back after the buyer lost his good job (replaced by three minimum-wage jobs), lost his home and cars, and moved to an apartment (The emerging Iowa-normal as Iowa fell 55 places from last year’s opportunities for job-seekers!).

Over the past two years, I have helped keep my neighbors tunneled out of the Iowa snow. It is the neighborly thing to do. I began doing this after learning that a neighbor lady was fretting about being able to afford the $50 (per snow) it was costing her to have her driveway cleared of the white stuff every other day. Soon, I learned of neighbors who had heart problems, recent surgeries, or just could not manage shoveling any more.

My snow removal “route” grew.

Last winter, one red-faced neighbor ran from his house as I cleared snow from his sidewalk to sternly inform me that he would not pay me for my work because he had not asked me to clear his walk. He really looked perplexed when I told him that I was clearing his walk solely out of kindness and that I did not expect to be paid. I took off my glove and extended my hand. He stormed back to his house, ignoring my ungloved hand.

On Saturday, a thank you card filled with cash found its way to my mailbox. Some of the benefactors of my “free” snow removal service had banded together to say “thanks”.

No, “Mr. Red Face” did not contribute. But what the heck?

It’s called cooperative economics! I am proud of my Iowa neighbors who understand the concept. They “get it”.

We get mail…

A recent email to Phyne Dyning chided me for my support of Ron Paul’s candidacy:

“How can you support the Occupy movement and Ron Paul? Don’t you know that he (Ron Paul) wants to stop federal funding for abortions? I’m with him that government should not have bailed out Wall Street, but it is inhumane to force poor people to have babies they cannot afford…”

In a libertarian society we do not confiscate the wealth of others to pay for our pet projects. If we support access to abortion, we need to (ourselves) write the checks to pay for them. If bankers want welfare for the banks, other bankers need to write those checks. Jews wanting funds for Israel need to pony up as well…and so on. And, while libertarians support the free market, we know that a market manipulated by corporations and the uber-rich is not truly “free”. Consequently, we left-leaning libertarians have no qualms supporting the Occupy movement.

Another reader asks:

“Since you are supporting Ron Paul’s run, are you going to caucus for him?”

No. I am not a Republican. To caucus for Ron Paul, I would have to declare that I am a Republican. I am not. I am a member of the Libertarian Party. Democrat Mitt Romney may have no problems running as a Republican, but I have scruples. Besides, Iowa’s two-party political monopoly disenfranchises those who know that the Republicans and Democrats are identical pawns for the corporate-fascist state.

I am delighted to see that a growing number of Iowa Republicans are clamoring for libertarian ideology by supporting Paul’s candidacy.

From someone who reads “for the food”:

“Do you ever eat normal, American food?”


I have been trying to coax Mrs. Phyne Dyner’s recipe for baked liver and onions out of her for years. Like many of you, I grew up on liver meals where the cooked liver was nearly mummified and tough enough to patch tiles on the space shuttle.

My mother was a dreadful cook (“why I left home”)…her chop suey was referred to (quietly) by her sons as “chopped sewage”. She also put celery in the canned Chef Boyardee spaghetti sauce that simmered malignantly on the stove all day.

Baked liver and onions (with ‘lotsa’ mushrooms!) is Mrs. PD’s signature dish. I had my doubts when she first served it to me. But, really, it is truly awesome. Fork tender and flavorful! Served up with “from scratch” mashed potatoes and corn cut fresh from the cob…ahhhh.

Look for it…soon…I hope.

Write Phyne Dyning at: phynedyning(at)

And now,  for something completely different…


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