Fickle Finger of Fate

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Back in the late sixties and early seventies there was a television show called Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In. During the show they would often give the award shown above, the Fickle Finger of Fate award to some government entity or some famous person based on their dubious achievements.

Anyone who reads our blog with any regularity knows that one of Bob’s biggest concerns is the deficit and government spending. Keeping this in mind President Obama is in agreement with Bob on this issue and has appointed a Deficit Commission. The commission is to report its findings to the president on or before December 1.

With December 1 rapidly approaching I have already decided that the Fickle Finger of Fate award goes to …….. both Alan Simpson, former Republican Senator from Wyoming and Erskine Bowles, Chief of Staff to former President Clinton. In case anyone doesn’t know these two gentleman are leading the commission charged with identifying policies to improve the United States fiscal situation in the medium term and to achieve financial sustainability in the long term.

Earlier this week a poll was done asking Americans their opinions of some of the ideas that have been floated by the two gentlemen. First of all, only 25% of respondents thought the commission was a good idea and forty percent thought it was a bad idea, not a good sign. Two thirds of respondents said that they wanted government spending cuts made though and said that was the major reason why they voted the way they did.

Unfortunately when pressed respondents decided on the following:

70% were uncomfortable with cutting spending on Medicare, Social Security and defense,

60% were uncomfortable with raising taxes on gas, limiting home mortgage deductions and changing corporate tax rates,

and 60% were uncomfortable raising the retirement age to 69 from 67 over the next sixty years.

Well there you go, we want spending to be cut, but we don’t want any of the programs that are causing our debt problem to be cut. Oh and by the way 50% of respondents want the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to expire. If that’s the case then on January 1 more of Bob’s hard earned money will be going to help the government reduce the deficit, I hope !

Weird Robots And The Japanese Soul

What is it with the Japanese and robots, anyway?  They not only seem to be obsessed by them, they act on their obsessions in very weird ways.

Consider the Youtube clip below.  It shows a “female” Japanese robot known as HRP-4C, pictured at left, singing an annoying song as several young Japanese women frolic around her doing dances from the ’60s.  The robot herself looks like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz from the waist down, like a high-end blow-up doll from the neck up, is wearing what appears to be a yellow shower curtain, and has enormous “man hands” a la Seinfeld.  The robot looks like she could palm a medicine ball or crush an elephant’s skull with those mitts!  To top it off, the robot has a whiny voice and is about as fluid in her dance moves as the robot from Lost in SpaceDanger, Will Robinson!

Somewhere, in some dark, kinky corner of the Japanese soul, there may be an explanation for why a Japanese company would apparently spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop a half-Tin Man, half-humanoid robot with grossly oversized hands and then program it to sing a crappy pop song involving choreography that is a few cuts below Glee — and for that matter an explanation for why a Japanese audience would sit and watch the resulting production.  Let’s just hope we never actually figure out what that explanation is.