POST PROPOSES PARCEL-POSTING PRES TO POLE

This post is honored to note the 105th anniversary tomorrow of a notable day in U.S. Postal history. Let’s begin with a ‘little’ background, which you can take as gospel because it was written by a Pope:

https://postalmuseumblog.si.edu/2013/02/very-special-deliveries.html

Yes, friends, for just 53 cents worth of stamps attached to a little girl’s coat, the precious cargo wearing that coat was shipped by rail in a train’s mail compartment, thereby saving the cargo’s parents a pretty penny in passenger fare. This got me to thinking about the possibility of saving money by restoring the mailing of humans via the U.S. Postal Service. Think, for example, of all the “border wall” money alone that could be saved by shipping President Trump to the North Pole to chill in Santa’s workshop, helping Santa make toys that insure children are happy instead of policies that traumatize them….or Santa could toy with the bright idea of replacing Rudolph’s red nose with Donald and his orange glow.

Now, I’m not saying The Donald is a worm, but if it acts like a worm, leaves a trail of slime like a worm, and glows like a worm, that may account for why so many have taken the bait.

 

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SOMEONE CALL A DOCTOR – OUR PRESIDENT IS SICK

empathy, n. Identification with and understanding of another’s feelings, situation, and motives. –Webster’s New College Dictionary

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Unless you’ve been separated from the news since 2017, you’ve no doubt heard of our U.S. President’s “zero tolerance” (zero humanity?) immigration policy, whereby children (including infants and toddlers) are taken from their asylum-seeking mother and/or father at the southern border, resulting in what the New York Times reported as “thousands of migrant parents spending months in agonized uncertainty, unable to communicate with their children and in many cases not even knowing where their children are.”

Let’s call this unconscionable practice what it is:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/huppke/ct-met-family-separation-border-children-trump-huppke-20190211-story.html

In June 2018, a federal judge in San Diego directed the federal government to halt the separations and reunite children with their parents, but federal inspectors found that separations continued to occur. Furthermore, according to the N.Y. Times, the total number of separated children is unknown “because of the lack of a coordinated formal tracking system between the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the arm of Health and Human Services that takes in the children, and the Dept. of Homeland Security, which separated them from their parents.”

What is wrong with this morally sick President that renders him incapable of empathy, that blinds him to the needs of others, particularly the ‘least’ of us?

“All children old enough to recognize that they exist as separate (albeit weak and dependent) beings have a strong need to believe that their parents are ultimately good and kind. Parents appear to the child to be omnipotent figures who have everything: food, warmth, love, mobility and so forth. The child desperately needs to feel that these God-like parents are devoted to his or her particular needs and well-being: the consequences of the reverse, for the weak and utterly dependent child, are simply too terrible to contemplate.” — Scott Mann, author, HEART OF A HEARTLESS WORLD

Someone call a doctor — preferably a heart specialist — for our President.

 

SEE NO EVIL (REVISITING CHARLOTTESVILLE AS METAPHOR)

The statues you’re defending are of men who erased my history. –Kevin S. Aldridge, opinion editor, Cincinnati Enquirer

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Rick Borden said of his son, Daniel Borden, who (along with others) beat up an unarmed black man, “I absolutely don’t think my son did anything wrong.” Daniel’s mother called reports of her son’s actions “fake news” (sound familiar?). The beating victim was left with a concussion, eight staples in his head, a broken wrist, and other injuries. And we wonder why the son of such a father and mother grows up with moral blinders.

That beating wasn’t the only violent act committed in Charlottesville, Virginia, during that white supremacist rally in August 2017. An avowed neo-Nazi deliberately drove his car into rally-protesters, injuring dozens and killing 32-year old protester Heather Heyer. Her offense: actively opposing the alt-right’s racism. In her last Facebook post before her death, she had said of her activism: If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.

Last month, Heyer’s killer was sentenced to life in prison. As for Daniel Borden, he was sentenced last week. The particulars? In the words of the old idiom, “Read ’em and weep”:

https://www.c-ville.com/daniel-borden-2/

Around the time of the Charlottesville madness, the opinion editor (a black man) who was quoted at the beginning of this post, wrote an editorial titled YOUR HERITAGE BEING ERASED? WELCOME TO THE CLUB. It included these words:

“There’s been a lot of consternation among some folks about this growing movement to take down Confederate statues and monuments across the United States. Even President Trump has joined the chorus of laments that removing these monuments is an attempt to erase or rewrite history and rob certain people of their Southern culture and heritage.”
“But here’s the thing that some people don’t seem to get or want to acknowledge: These monuments pay tribute to individuals who took away and erased the history of Africans through slavery, through the killing and slaughtering of innocents, through the destruction of black families by way of rape and separation  – all in the name of cruelty, white supremacy, exploitation and greed.”
“How would I like my history taken away?”
“Been there and done that, sir.”
“Most African-Americans in this country will never know the true history of our ancestors. Much of our heritage was lost when our forefathers were densely packed into slave ships and transported across the Atlantic to be sold like common goods. Many of them died and their individual histories along with them. And those who survived….had their native, ancestral names stripped from them and replaced with the ones slave masters wanted them to have.”
“Much of our African heritage has been irretrievably lost to the ravages and ruthlessness of callous individuals and traitors to this nation, such as General Lee, who fought to maintain the deplorable and murderous system of slavery. Now there are some who want to romanticize, revere and commemorate them as heroes.”
“Well, excuse me if I’m not willing to buy that brand. Forgive me if I don’t shed a tear for your loss. Sorry if it ruins some quaint childhood memory.”
“All I can say is, welcome to the club.”

Are YOU paying attention?

 

UNACCUSTOMED AS I AM TO PUBLIC LEAKING….

Perhaps, by the title, you’re anticipating that this post will be a dissertation on the subject of urinating in unisex restrooms–a practice little practiced in these provincial parts, and which, therefore, I feel little qualified to address. Obviously, such a paucity of experience could only end up in a cock-and-bull story which peters out soon after it starts, leaving my post hanging. That would be a big disappointment to my followers, I’m sure, but luckily, I have in mind other kinds of leaks to stretch this sordid exposition out to a respectable length.

Friends, I mean the kind of leaks which emanate from sources I can use to pad this post, thereby relieving me of the chore of overworking my brain cells. To my mind, that’s….

Yes, friends, I refer not to the kind of leaks that are a plumber’s best friend, but to….

https://www.history.com/news/9-leaks-that-changed-the-world

Of course, the above leaks barely scratch the surface when one considers the sheer volume of leaks released on a daily basis throughout history. Perhaps you yourself would like to reveal something that’s in the public interest, which you’ve kept bottled up for fear of exposure. Friends, if that’s the case with you, you can leak your dirty laundry right here with reasonable assurance that your name will stay right here. After all, who takes the time to read comments, much less notice who writes them….and you know mistermuse would never betray a source. So, leak with confidence, my friends, while I will go about my business, and you too will conclude….

 

TIME FLIES

It is said that “Time flies when you’re having fun.” As for me, time flies when you can’t believe a certain young woman and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary this fall, and next year on June 23, the oldest of our two daughters (Big One and Little One) will celebrate(?) her 50th birthday. How is it possible that one day the young woman and I got married, and the next thing we know, our girls are older than my oldest clothes (though not by much). Time and fun fly when ‘hangers-on’ in the closet look the same as decades ago….but the reflection in the mirror looks like Methuselah’s grandfather. 😦

The moral of the story?

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

Then be not coy, but use your time
And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.

–Robert Herrick (from his poem TO THE VIRGINS, TO MAKE MUCH OF TIME, 1648)

In other words, take the advice of legendary songwriter Irving Berlin (1888-1989) and….

Oh….I almost forgot: Happy 49th Birthday, Big One!

 

 

THE WRONG BROTHERS

Friends, as much as I have enjoyed telling you in recent posts of the inspiring exploits of The Wright Brothers, inventors of the aeroplane, things don’t always go the Wright way in this woebegone world. As we all know, friends, the best laid planes of mice and men oft go a-why? Shot down happens. But, ever looking for new girls–make that, new worlds–to conquer, mice and men are not deterred. Onward and upward! Winners never quit, etc.:

But enough of such air-brained schemes. Let us put these proceedings on a higher plane:

Yes, my friends, the moral of the story is when you hit a downer, don’t be a frowner; and when you hit a sour note, don’t let it get your goat. Never despair — there’s music in the air. Go for it!

LET US TURN BACK TO THE WRIGHT, BROTHERS AND SISTERS

PROLOGUE:
We had to go ahead and discover everything for ourselves.
–Orville Wright, 1901

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Friends, Readers, Countrymen —

If you have spent many a sleepless night
tossing and turning ’til dawn’s early light,
wondering if I’d e’er host another post,
take such worries off thy plate — they’re toast.

Yes, Brothers and Sisters, thy long wait is o’er.
I’m back, and who of you could ask for more
although I must confess
that most may ask for less. 😦

Never-the-less, Brothers and Sisters,
it is written in the stars that I must return to the scene of my rhymes and other crimes. It’s Kismet.

Notwithstanding the never-the-less, Brothers and Sisters, I digress.
I come here not to berhyme the Wrights, but to praise them.

Thus this follow-up to my May 17 post, THE DAY THE WRIGHTS DONE ME WRONG, because, by ancient axiom, it’s the Wright thing to do (If at first you don’t succeed, fly, fly again). And if this discourse has the unintended consequence of being the sleep-aid you need to catch up on those zzzzz, the added benefit comes at no extra charge.

But I doubt that will be the case with THE WRIGHT BROTHERS, which, it so happens, is the title of a book I just finished reading (by my favorite historian, David McCullough). It’s no less than you’d expect from a Pulitzer Prize winning author: a masterful biography which (quoting from the dust cover) “draws on the immense riches of the Wright Papers, including personal diaries, notebooks, and more than a thousand letters from private family correspondence, to tell the human side of a profoundly American story.”

The Wrights spent years of trial and air working to construct the world’s first ‘aeroplane,’ but as reader Don Frankel noted on May 17, America paid scant attention even after their successful first flight Dec. 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (and Don wasn’t just whistling Dixie in his comment). Finally, in 1906, after numerous improvements (including a more powerful engine) and many test flights, “much of the scientific world and the press [began] to change their perspective on the brothers”, and they started to attract commercial and government–especially French, not American– interest.

To the latter point, President (and fellow Ohioan) Wm. Howard Taft spoke as follows in presenting the two brothers with Gold Medals on June 10, 1909, in Washington D.C.:

I esteem it a great honor and an opportunity to present these medals to you as an evidence of what you have done. I am so glad–perhaps at a delayed hour–to show that in America it is not true that “a prophet is not without honor save in his own country.” It is especially gratifying thus to note a great step in human discovery by paying honor to men who bear it so modestly. You made this discovery by a course that we of America like to feel is distinctly American–by keeping your noses right at the job until you had accomplished what you had determined to do.

There are many stories within the story of THE WRIGHT BROTHERS, many twists and turns and mishaps along the way. The Wrights weren’t ‘stick’ figures with no interests and little to commend beyond their mechanical genius. Wilbur, for example, wrote home from France in 1906 of long walks and “the great buildings and art treasures of Paris, revealing as he never had–or had call to–the extent of his interest in architecture and painting.”

Read this bio and you will surely be taken along for the ride, as was I, by “the human side of a profoundly American story” of two men most of us know only from dry history books.

So fasten your life jackets and come fly with me.

EPILOGUE:
We dared to hope we had invented something that would bring lasting peace to the Earth. But we were wrong. We underestimated man’s capacity to hate and to corrupt good means for an evil end. –Orville Wright, 1943 (during WWII)