CONFUCIUS SAY HERE TODAY, GONE TOMORROW

Today is birthday of Chinese philosopher Confucius, born September 28, 551 BC (not to be Confucius-ed with Chinese philosopher who long Ago Too Young die like fool, choking on egg). Confucius, of course, left us even more wise old sayings than the inscrutable Charlie Chan, which was pen name of writer called None the Wiser (not to be Confucius-ed with his agent — a gent named Ah So).

In any case, in the interest of being fair and balanced and sly as a Fox, we herewith present selection of Confucius sayings to go along with those in CHARLIE CHAN post of Sept. 15. No matter which you prefer, may you benefit from their wisdom, and may all your male children be wise guys.

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.

The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat.

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.

Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.

He who knows all the answers has not been asked all the questions.

The funniest people are the saddest ones.

Sad to say, my work here is dumb….make that done. On second thought, maybe right first time.

 

Advertisements

CONFUCIUS, PRO AND CON

Yesterday, Sept. 29, was CONFUCIUS DAY. Confucius say: Mistermuse perfect pundit to write Sept. 30 CONFUCIUS DAY post because he always a day late and a yuan* short. Mistermuse say: I not a day late, Confucius Day a day too soon — besides, everyone know yuan is actually Spanish/Latino name (as in Don Juan), not Chinese. Latinos say: Whatever. Just don’t Confuci-us with the Japanese, who have the yen. Anyway, before yuan thing lead to another, what counts is the way we Americans say it: “A day late and a dollar short.”  USA! USA! USA!

*Chinese currency

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let us get down to the business at hand, which happens to be a selection of profound proverbs by Confucius, followed by an equal proportion of proverbial conclusions by Contrarius (which happens to be the pun name of Anonymous).

Choose a job that you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.
To see and listen to the wicked is already the beginning of wickedness.
He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make words good.
Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.
The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.

Man who stand on toilet may be high on pot.
Wife who put husband in doghouse soon find him in cat house.
Passionate kiss like spider web: leads to undoing of fly.
People who eat too many prunes get good run for money.
War does not determine who is right, war determine who is left.
Man who jump off cliff jump to conclusion.

THE END (and not a moment too soon)

 

 

 

GARBAGE IN — GARBAGE OUT?

I consider myself reasonably wise in the ways of the world, but the more I think about it, the more I realize there’s been a lot of stuff going on that I’m not aware of. For example, every man-of-the-house knows that he’s the one who takes out the garbage (as my wife is sure to remind me if I forget) — but how does that work when two gays live together?

                                                     Garbage out

Then there’s the question of taking out the garbage in a high rise apartment building. I’ve never lived in one, so it never occurred to me to wonder how that works. Let’s say I rent a 30th floor apartment and, by the by, my cache of trash reaches a truly disgusting level of odoriferousness — do I open a window, look down to make sure ground zero is relatively clear, and submit to the gravity of the situation? What if the windows don’t open — do I look for a laundry chute? Do buildings even have laundry chutes anymore? Oh, for the good old days when you fed garbage to the hogs and buried what they did not eat behind the outhouse. (Don’t ask why they did not eat behind the outhouse — you’d think if they’d already made pigs of themselves, what goes in must come out, and what better place to be near than an outhouse? It just reeks of convenience!)

Anyway, the nice thing about writing a post on this subject is that it may be a bunch of garbage, but it’s not like it stinks….and even if it does, what did you expect? It’s not every day that I get to talk trash with imp.u.nity. And who knows what I could win if the awarders of the P.U.litzer Prize get wind of it? It’s clearly a wind-win situation.

So much for my take on trash. Now let’s see what rubbish others have put out there:

If you ever wonder whether or not someone is too good for you, I’d advise going through their trash. Really. No one looks superior after that. –Ally Carter

A simple pecking order has always characterized mankind’s relationship to waste: The wealthy throw out what they do not want, the poor scavenge what they can, and whatever remains is left to rot. –Dan Fagin

Waste not, want not. –John Wesley

Here’s a no-brainer that religious extremists/certain politicians can’t seem to wrap their heads around:
A mind is a terrible thing to waste. –Arthur Fletcher (Ya think?)

I’m surprised when I walk right into yet another abandoned hunters’ camp. Tattered plastic sheeting still hangs askew here and there. Blackened aerosol cans of Cheez Whiz sit in the fire pit, which sits in the middle of the trail. Assorted Styro-ware…. Where are these people? –Rick Bass

And with that, my gun — I mean, gum — is losing its flavor, so it’s time to stick it under my chair and call it a day. Lady-of-the-house, where are my nightcap and trail mix?

 

SAY WHAT AGAIN?

The use of wordplay in the titles of my last two posts (ROMANCE WASN’T BUILT IN A DAY and ALL’S FARE IN LOVE AND FOUR) doesn’t cancel the reservations I expressed in my 6/1/15 post (SAY WHAT?); i.e., it’s chancy to ‘pun’ old sayings because most people today don’t know them….and if they don’t know the sayings, they won’t get the wordplay.

Now, granted that some party-poopers may have known the actual sayings (ROME WASN’T BUILT IN A DAY and ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR) behind those titles, but pooh-poohed the wordplay as hardly worth the strain my brain went through to get the end result. Be that as it may, my purpose here is to be ‘test assured’ that my readers are more familiar with once-familiar old sayings than “most people” in the first place — so, if you’re game, here’s a list of 4 old sayings, 4 song titles, and 4 made-up idioms. If you can pick — out of the dozen — 3 of the 4 old sayings, consider yourself a genius. If you get all four right, I will consider you a genius.

1.  FAINT HEART NE’ER WON FAIR LADY

2.  A PRETTY GIRL IS LIKE A MELODY

3.  DISCRETION IS THE BETTER PART OF VALOR

4.  ANY PLACE I HANG MY HAT IS HOME

5.  GOOD FECES MAKE GOOD NEIGHBORS

6.  FISH AND VISITORS STINK AFTER THREE DAYS

7.  ANY TIME’S THE TIME TO FALL IN LOVE

8.  DON’T CHANGE CORPSES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREAM

9.  DON’T THROW COLD WATER ON THE FLAME OF LOVE

10. GO TO BED WITH THE CHICKENS, WAKE UP WITH THE ROOSTERS

11. WHILE THE CAT’S AWAY, THE MICE WILL PRAY*

12. GENIUS IS ONE PERCENT INSPIRATION AND 99 PERCENT PERSPIRATION

*Apparently they’re church mice.

So, how do you think you did? If you can’t stand the suspense, hold on to your pants, because I will keep you in suspenders no longer — the old sayings are #1, #3, #6 and #12. Speaking of #12, if you weren’t right at least 3 times of 4, obviously you don’t perspire enough to be a genius.

As for the other two categories, I made up #5 (“feces” for “fences”), #8 (“corpses” replaces “horses”), #10 and #11 (“pray” is a play on “play”), and the song titles are #2, #4, #7 and #9. What’s that you say — #9 sounds like something I made up, not a song? Well, I hate to throw cold water on your hot tamales, but the proof is in the pudding:

In  closing, take pride, ye geniuses who passed the test and could dig the rest; let the record show, The wordplay’s the thing.

 

 

 

SUMMERTIME, AND THE LIVIN’ IS EASY

In summer, the song sings itself. –William Carlos Williams
Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability. –Sam Keen

June 20 being the first day of summer, and thus the ‘official’ start of those lazy hazy days of summer, what better time to rest on my laurels — such as they are — and take it easy. The less said (and the more summer songs I can summon to save me the amount of work that went into my last post), the less strain on my brain to compose today’s post (if that rationale sounds like a reprise of a vaguely familiar theme, I did a celebration of spring songs on March 20 — the first day of spring — titled IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SPRING).

Excuse thus established, on with the show. Enjoy!

And with that, my very fine feted friends (notice I didn’t say fine fetid friends), I declare that….

TELLTALE TITLES

How much time and thought do you devote to coming up with just-the-right title for your story, poem or article? If you take writing seriously, the answer is probably: as long as it takes to nail it — which could be almost no time at all, if it comes to you in a flash — or, more time than a less intense writer is willing to allot.

Ernest Hemingway, for one, evidently wasn’t the latter type. Case in point: in writing his definitive Spanish Civil War novel, he didn’t settle for less than a killer title that would encapsulate ‘the moral of the story,’ eventually finding it in this passage from a 1624 work by the poet John Donne: “Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

As a writer of (mostly) humorous poems and posts, I’m inclined to go for witty and/or wordplay titles. Many times, the title to a particular piece all but suggests itself, but more often, no such luck, and I’m stuck — until eventually (as with the title of this post) a eureka moment rewards my resolve….or a poem resists my labeling efforts, and I just settle for:

UNTITLED

This poem’s title is Untitled —
Not because it is untitled,
But because I am entitled
To entitle it Untitled.

If I’d not titled it Untitled,
It would truly be untitled….
Which would make it unentitled
To the title of Untitled.

So it is vital, if untitled,
Not to title it Untitled,
And to leave that title idled,
As a title is entitled.

Moving on, suppose we try a title quiz based on the Papa Hemingway model (sorry, those of you who’d prefer the mistermuse model). Here are five passages from classic original works from which later authors lifted titles for their novels. Can you name the five later works and pin each tale on its author (ten answers total)? If you name all ten correctly, you win the title (with apologies to Cervantes) of Donkeyote Of All You Survey.

PASSAGES FROM ORIGINAL WORKS:

Gentlemen-rankers out on the spree/Damned from here to Eternity/God ha’ mercy on such as we/Ba! Yah! Bah! –Rudyard Kipling

The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men/Gang aft a-gley/An’ lea’e us naught but grief an’ pain/For promised joy! –Robert Burns

By the pricking of my thumbs,/Something wicked this way comes. –Wm. Shakespeare

Come my tan-faced children/Follow well in order, get your weapons ready/Have you your pistols? Have you your sharp-edged axes?/Pioneers! O pioneers! –Walt Whitman

No Place so Sacred from such Fops is barr’d,/Nor is Paul’s Church more safe than Paul’s Churchyard./Nay, fly to altars; there they’ll talk you dead/For Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread. –Alexander Pope

TITLES (WITH AUTHORS) FROM  ABOVE PREVIOUS WORKS:

FROM HERE TO ETERNITY –James Jones
OF MICE AND MEN –John Steinbeck
SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES –Ray Bradbury
O PIONEERS! –Willa Cather
WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD –E.M. Forster

How many of the ten titles/authors did you get? That last title, parenthetically, became part of Johnny Mercer’s lyrics to this 1940 hit song composed by Rube Bloom:

And now I fear I must tread on out….before something wicked this way comes.

 

SENIOR MUSE

May is Older Americans Month (fka Senior Citizens Month). Back in 1963, when the month was established, I was “a young man full of idealism and vigor” (as Barack Obama joked recently at the White House in a different context), a year out of the army with the rest of my life ahead of me. Now here it is 2016, some 53 years later, and I still have the rest of my life ahead of me. Amazing.

So much for the glass-half-full outlook. In the other hand, the glass is half-empty:

COME TO THINK OF IT

Old age is a sad estate.
With it comes wisdom,
But it comes so late.

Now recall innocent youth.
Ignorance was bliss,
But less than truth.

Why can’t life be in reverse:
Born knowing the score,
Blameless in the hearse?

The old joke about old age is that there’s not much future in it. Maybe so, but I like to think ‘outside the box.’ One thing for sure: Old age is no place for sissies. –Bette Davis

Well, never let it be said that this blog is no place for good quotes. Most of the following goodies aren’t funny, but then, old age isn’t exactly a barrel of laughs either. So, until further adieu:

Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative. –Maurice Chevalier

Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that can happen to a man. –James Thurber

A stockbroker urged me to buy a stock that would triple its value every year. I told him, “At my age, I don’t even buy green bananas.” –Claude Pepper

Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late. –Benjamin Franklin

Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age. –Victor Hugo

There’s no such thing as old age; there is only sorrow. –Fay Weldon

Whatever poet, orator or sage may say of it, old age is still old age. –Sinclair Lewis

A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity, and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight. –Robertson Davies

Not even old age knows how to love death. –Sophocles

By the time you’re 80 years old you’ve learned everything. You only have to remember it. –George Burns (who, in case you forgot, lived to age 100)

And now for the BIG (double) FINISH: