LET US TURN BACK TO THE WRIGHT, BROTHERS AND SISTERS

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

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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)

 

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THIS POST IS A DRAG

Having been a ‘square’ since round one of my life, I’ve never been too interested in the affairs of those of various and sundry sexual orientations. There are lots of ‘different’ people who aren’t on the same wavelength and/or don’t meet with other people’s approval, but I can’t help that — I’ve got my own problems. My mantra has been: To each his own. Live and let live. Whatever rattles your cage. Etc.

You may think the reason I’m writing this is because I have just experienced a sudden conversion and intend to become a zealot for the causes of the transsexual, transvestite, transgendered….etc. Not so. I’m still an old-fashioned, “You go your way, I’ll go mine” kind of gay — er, guy. But issues surrounding the foregoing have come increasingly to the fore in recent years, so I’m finally taking the trouble to educate myself a bit. How much time can it take to see if you can put yourself in the other guy’s/gal’s/gay’s shoes for a moment? They may not fit, but food for thought won’t make you fat.

http://www.medicaldaily.com/what-difference-between-transsexual-and-transgender-facebooks-new-version-its-complicated-271389

Then there is the biblical story of the prodi-gal son (forgive me, Father, for I have punned) as a reminder that sexual duality is nothing new. It’s been around since long before Commodus was commodious and Nero fiddled around. Would they have not been tyrants if they had been straight arrows? Isn’t that like saying a magician would not be an illusionist if he had one less rabbit in his bag of tricks? (I just pulled that one out of the hat — no doubt you can come up with a better analogy.)

And on that venture into the androgynous zone, I will close with this:

There’s a gender in your brain and a gender in your body. For 99 percent of people, those things are in alignment. For transgender people, they’re mismatched. That’s all it is. It’s not complicated, it’s not a neurosis. It’s a mix-up. It’s a birth defect, like a cleft palate.” — Chaz Bono

Who is Chaz Bono? Click on this 2009 video clip, then click where it says Watch on YouTube:

 

DUBIOUS PROPOSITIONS

I’m a big fan of old sayings, but even I concede that some sayings could no more pass the proverbial smell test than a rodent could pass a spell(ing) test. They may seem innoscent enough, but smellegant isn’t the same as elegant, and you must admit that a proverb like A turd in the hand is worth two in the tush is less than elegant. Really, close encounters of the turd kind could leave you holding your nose….if not checking your rear-view mirror.

That said, are such askew old sayings any less farcical than the twisted tweets America’s Tweeter-in-Chief oft twitters? “Fake news!”…”fake news!”…”fake news!” And if ANYONE can smell (like) a rat when it comes to fake news, it is obviously President Tweety Turd.

Leaving the President’s behind for a moment, here are some classic old sayings. Can you make out the fakeout — aka smell the rat — in these venerable gems?

If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and mocks like a mocking bird, duck — it’s The Donald.

A watched pot never boils….but it may get a bit peeved.

A rolling stone gathers no animosity.

A fool and his honey are soon parted.

Faint heart ne’er won bare lady.

Oil and water don’t mix — got that, Slick?

You can’t get blood out of a turnip, but you can get honey out of two-lips.

Monkey pee pee, monkey do do (easy come, easy go).

Dead men tell no tales, but some may leave a will which does.

Friends and would-be heirs, some of the above were almost enough to make me gag, but I can assure your butt that not every old phrase strays in dubious ways. For example:

….and this:

….and this:

Oh….and I almost forgot this old saying: HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

 

 

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.

 

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.