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Have you ever wondered what the capital of Albania is? You haven't? Years ago, I committed that piece of information to memory for who knows what reason. Though I've yet to hear anyone ask what Albania's capital is, I am always poised to pounce on that inquiry, if and when it ever comes up.

There was a time when possessing troves of trivia gave a person status. In the 1980s, Trivial Pursuit became the most popular board game of the era. It allowed those who stashed factoids into their brain to strut their stuff and impress others. While I was a so-so Trivial Pursuit player, I did once correctly identify the Mindbenders as the 1960s backup group for Wayne Fontana. Most people could care less, but for the three other people who remember the Mindbenders, it's a “Groovy Kind of Love.”

The ’80s were the most technologically advanced age before the wide-spread use of the Internet. Besides the De- Lorean and parachute pants, personal computers were coming onto the scene and though it was as big as a loaf of bread, the cell phone emerged in that decade. Phones would get smaller, computers more powerful, and the Internet became fully functional, all finally combining into one unit that we know today as the smart phone.


Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, has become the poster child for the growing cultural divide in this country. Sentenced to jail time for not issuing paperwork for same-sex marriage applications, Davis has been vilified by her opponents and championed by her supporters.

Earlier this summer, the US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, that same-sex marriages must be allowed by all states. Chief Justice John Roberts dissented and predicted that conflicts in “religious liberty” would follow.

Much discussion goes on about the ability of the courts to “legislate from the bench,” creating laws. It may sound like parsing words, but interpreting a law can be a matter of changing it. The ruling in favor of same-sex marriages was in part based on an interpretation of the 14th Amendment. Those who like the outcome of a court decision don't consider it legislation, those that disagree, tend to see it as law-making, a power the courts are not suppose to have.


“If you build it, they will NOT come.” That is the claim of the proposed “Wall of America,” which should not be confused with the “Mall of America.”

Sealing off the southern border of the U.S. isn't a new idea but it has been getting extra traction during the current election cycle. The U.S./Mexican border is a little shy of 2,000 miles long and expense estimates vary depending on construction techniques. Minnesota's Mall of America, built in 1992, cost about a billion in today's dollars. The Wall of America, according to various sources could run as high as $50 billion in tomorrow's dollars. Of course, any particular figure only includes an initial expense and not maintenance and the manpower to service its operation, an operation that would presumably continue in perpetuity.

Immigration, legal or otherwise is a recurring issue that seems to jump into the forefront during shaky economic times. When the economy is doing well, there is less concern about foreign workers competing for jobs. This time around, the fear factor has been dialed up with the portrayal of immigrants en masse, engaging in a Latino-on-Gringo crime wave.


There's been quite an uproar concerning Walter Palmer, a dentist and big-game hunter from Minnesota, who killed Cecil, the “beloved” Zimbabwe game-preserve lion. Cecil's “beloved” status however appears to be mostly posthumous, since he wasn't exactly a household name while alive.

It's reported that Palmer paid $50,000 in permit fees in order to hunt. According to Palmer, he believed that he was on a legal hunt and had no idea that Cecil had been lured off the preserve. It wasn't as if Palmer had set up a sniper's nest at the municipal zoo or had laid land mines in the savanna. Nevertheless, the government of Zimbabwe which was quite willing to take Palmer's money in the first place for a “legal” kill, now wants to extradite him to stand trial and face possible imprisonment of up to ten years if convicted. Zimbabwe hardly has a stellar human rights record so maybe they hope to score some animal rights points to help balance things out.

On the home front, the hunter has become the hunted, by the not-so-social media. Hundreds of thousands of tweets, Facebook postings, as well as an online petition to the White House demanding action are in full circulation. As this is being written, Palmer is still in incognito. Even after the Cecil the lion news story is forgotten by the public, I doubt if life will ever be the same for Walter the dentist.


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