All posts by Rob Darnell

An American, an Englishman, a Canadian and an Irishman Walked into a Bar

I have developed a habit of pointing out similarities between American liberals and conservatives. I keep observing these behavioral patterns and it angers me that each side thinks they’re better than the other. The conflict between our liberals and conservatives is disturbing. It’s alarming how polarized our country has become.

Recently, I wondered how it is in other countries. They seem to have more peace in their political arenas than we do. I started a topic in which I asked those from other countries to weigh in and tell us how it’s different in their countries, how is it that their liberals and conservatives seem to get along better than ours do?

The topic wasn’t limited to Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom, but I named those three because they were the ones that came to mind as I wrote the initial piece. It didn’t generate as much discussion as I had hoped, but I got a response from a true-bred of each of the countries I named.

The four of us appreciate beer, so I liken this sharing of thoughts to us sitting down in a bar and discussing our political systems.

Malcolm is probably as British as you can get. He’s no Londoner either. He hails from Manchester.

Malcolm feels that Americans are more open about politics. I can agree with that. In America, politics are everywhere. Politics are discussed in restaurants, bars, stores, on the streets. Anywhere you can think of, someone’s apt to start up on some political issue. Every election year, we see signs on front lawns in support of one candidate or another.

Malcolm can’t remember the last time he had a political discussion at the pub. He says Brits tend to hold their cards closer to their chests and political posters and placards in front yards are rare. Even during elections.

Imagine that. If people keep quiet about politics, then there’s no one to lash out at. I think it would be beneficial if more Americans took up that practice.

Malcolm admitted that, like in America, political parties in the United Kingdom hold rallies and, just like in America, if someone at these rallies utters a word against any of the speakers, that person is beaten up and thrown out. However, unlike in America, UK political parties hold one rally annually.

He says the United Kingdom is actually a three party system. and that there are a few smaller parties after the three main parties. The three main parties are the Conservatives, the Labour and the Liberal Democrats. The smaller parties are Brexit, Green and Indepedence.

That doesn’t sound too much different from America. America is a two-party system. The main parties are Republicans and Democrats, but we have a number of smaller parties in addition to the two main parties.

I completely agree with Malcolm that a three-party system makes the people less polarized. It’s especially helpful having a third main party that works for the people who are not entirely happy with the left leaning party or the right leaning and need a party that’s more in the middle of the road.  This is why I’m so supportive of the Libertarian party. The Libertarian party seems the most in the middle of the road that I’m going to get in America.

But currently, there are only two main parties in America. Republicans and Democrats. Libertarians or any other party are a joke to the majority. So, America keeps the two-party system, becomes more and more polarized, and then, eventually, America will pop.

Marty is the Canadian I was telling you about. He likes hockey, as a fan and a player. He’s also a musician and seems especially fond of the bass guitar.

So, we had another round of beers brought to our table and Marty opened up on Canada’s political system.

According to Marty, Canada is a three-party system like the UK. Canada also has other, smaller parties. But Marty feels that Canada’s politics are becoming more like US politics. Polarized left and right, and more political ads are attacking other parties instead of explaining their platforms.

That makes me think Canadians ought to stop paying so much attention to American politics. We are a bad influence when it comes to political parties. I know several Canadians and I rarely hear them talking about political issues in their own country. They’re always talking about our politics. What’s up with that?

I believe there’s hope for Canada, though. They have a three-party system and I think that should keep the people from becoming too polarized. Just don’t let one of those parties merge with another. That would suck.

Frodi is an Irishman. He’s from Ireland. Not Northern Ireland. Ireland. According to Frodi, Ireland’s two biggest political parties are essentially the same, but split by the politics of the Irish Civil War. I think that means these two political parties have the same goals, the same policies, the same ideas, but because of something that occurred during the Civil War, they remain separated.

Frodi admitted, though, that the two largest parties are unable to get fifty percent of the votes between them. That implies that there are other parties at work in Ireland and they are doing fairly well. Frodi goes on to say that all the parties stay on reasonably civil terms, because no single party commands the majority and they all have to work together.

I think that’s brilliant.

The Mound Is Flattened

It was easier going after I unearthed and removed the skull and ribcage that was buried there. At long last, the mound is flattened. I might’ve finished it sooner, but I didn’t work at it every day.

I just spread grass seed over it. At least I hope I did. I know I’ve seen grass seed before, but I don’t remember it being blue and smelling like chocolate cupcakes.

I hope the grass comes up right. I spread the seed around with my hands, and then used the rake to try getting the dirt over it, as the directions instructed. But I don’t know if I managed that part very good. I watered it, so we’ll see what happens.

The End Of An Era And The Beginning Of A New One

This is a drawer from my kitchen. It’s where I keep my silverware, spatulas , sporks, stirrers and stuff like that. The staples that held the bottom of the drawer to the back became disconnected years ago. The back of the drawer had a big gap and stuff was always falling through it.

My solution was to put in the wood stick that you see in the picture. I put screws  through the bottom board and the back board, and into the wood stick. Now the bottom is solid and I don’t believe it’ll ever be loose again.

Steak & Baseball

If you’re not too far from Brown City, I recommend getting your steaks from the Brower Farms. These are good thick cuts. I have trouble finding satisfying cuts at the grocery store. Besides, I keep hearing about recalls on food that comes from the grocery store.

The Tigers are playing the Twins right now. At 9, Michigan will play UCLA in Game 1 of the NCAA Baseball Tournament. So, it’s a night of baseball.

Is it just America? (Copied from a discussion forum I’m on)

I’m not sure if this counts as a political thread, but I’m putting it here to be safe..

In the thread about fact checking, I said: “I try not to waste my time with that stuff, but sometimes I can’t stop myself. Often when I fact check and then point it out to them. they’re like ‘Ha! Snopes! Snopes is always wrong!’

When you snope on liberals, they claim Snopes caters to conservatives. When you snope on conservatives, they claim Snopes caters to liberals.

I did manage to convince a cousin that Heineken was not sponsoring the dog fight and we can drink Heineken without feeling guilty.”

Marty responded with: “And there is the core of what’s most wrong with America today. Liberals blame conservatives and vice-versa. As a result very little good can actually get done. If Donald wanted to really MAGA he’d try and stop the constant blame game. But I think it is all he knows and while he is President it will only get more partisan.”

As you know, Marty is a Canadian, but he’s talking about the United States, which implies that Marty doesn’t feel these issues exist in Canada, or at least not on the same level as they do in the United States.

Now, I’m not arguing with Marty about that, because it has been my understanding that Canada doesn’t have an ongoing clash between liberals and conservatives the way we do, neither does the United Kingdom, Ireland or several other countries.

But I wonder, how is it different? Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom have right wingers and left wingers. A cousin of mine who relocated to England a few years ago when she married a Brit told me that in politics over there, most people take one side or the other, that it’s pretty much a two-party system just as it is over here. I believe Canada is about the same. I’m not too sure about Ireland, though.

Do your conservatives and liberals just mingle better than ours do? Are your disagreements not as strong as ours are? Are you better at compromising?

Or is it really not that much different?

Grocery Store Interrogations

Have you ever been in the grocery store and had the cashier say to you something like, “Don’t you want to get mustard or mayonnaise for your sandwiches?” or “Jesus! Is that all you eat is steak and Hamburger Helper?”

I haven’t had an encounter like that recently, but there were times in the past when I did. Is it because there’s something about me that makes them suspicious about my mental stability? Why should I have to tell them that, believe it or not, I actually have other stuff at home?

This was on my mind because I just got a supply of meat from the Brower Farms. Ground beef, brat links, brat patties, burger patties, chicken, steak and pork chops. I’m going to Kroger today to get pasta,, pasta sauce, brat buns, hamburger buns and barbecue sauce. I keep thinking a cashier is going to assume I’ll be making meals out of buns and barbecue sauce alone.

If a cashier feels the need to interrogate me, I’ll try to remember to say something clever and smartassed, but chances are I’ll give a lame answer or I’ll say “Huh?”

I don’t really expect to be questioned, just that I have been before. So, you never know.

What’s the strangest thing a cashier has ever said to you?

Maude’s Alabama BBQ

I should’ve turned my phone a little to the left, so the sign on the post would be in the picture. Anyway, my uncle Ron recently opened this restaurant at 2602 Davison Rd. Flint, Michigan. Maude’s Alabama BBQ was named in my grandma’s honor.

It’s a small takeout restaurant, but there are counters and stools along the windows for those who would like to eat there. My dad and I stopped in today. I had a Maude’s All-American Burger and fries and I really enjoyed them. I think next time I’ll try the Southern Fried Catfish Sandwich.

They have several choices on their menu, which you can see on the website, maudesalabamabbq.com. You can place your orders online or call 810 875 9984. There’s even a drive-thru window.

Check ’em out.

Black Beauty Is Home

I bought this Ibanez black beauty from the pawn shop under my apartment, seventeen years ago. For the last few years, she’d been at my brother’s house. He’d needed an acoustic and I wasn’t playing much anymore, so I let him take her. My brother recently got a brand new acoustic, so he gave mine back to me. I decided not to keep her in the attic. She gets her own place in the living room.