NO BRAINER DAY

I think, therefore I am. –René Descartes 
I overthink, therefore I post.
–mistermuse

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Lately, I’ve been burning too much mental energy cooking up posts to roast Trump (e.g., I almost said toast rump); the heat is turning my face red and giving me the thinking blues:

Frankly, friends, I think I need to cool it before the strain becomes a drain on my brain and gives me a pain. Fortunately, Feb. 27 is NO BRAINER DAY — a perfect day to post a post which requires little or no thinking. But before you Trump reprobates snidely ask how that would make this post any different from my previous posts, answer me this: how much thought do you think The Donald gives his tweets? Even a smart-ask Trumpite should allow that mistermuse be entitled to one day of devoting the same paucity of gray matter to his post that your Orange Oligarch devotes to his tweets every day.

With that in mind, I’m giving the rest of this tome over to posting what others thought when they thought about thinking/not thinking. Do I think their thinking will make you think you’re thinking what I’m thinking about thinking/not thinking? Just a thought.

So, let’s get quoting before I change my mind and start thinking again:

I think that I think; therefore, I think I am. –Ambrose Bierce

[I think that I think, therefore] I yam what I yam. –Popeye the Sailor Man

There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the labor of thinking. –Thomas Edison

Ours is an age which is proud of machines that think, and suspicious of men who try to. –Howard Mumford Jones

The best way [for a woman] to win a man is to make him think you think as much of him as he does. –Evan Esar

In America, we say what we think, and even if we can’t think, we say it anyhow. –Charles F. Kettering

In closing, did you know Rodin’s THE THINKER was originally called THE POET:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thinker

I happen to know that THE POET didn’t appreciate the name change, thus this reaction:

Mused The Poet to a passing skunk,
“What good is being called The Thinker?
To some day convey the aura of a President,
It should Don the wrap, like you, of The Stinker.”

 

 

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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.

 

BETTER HATE THAN NEVER

It does not matter much what a man hates provided he hates something. –Samuel Butler

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Eight days from today, much of the civilized world will celebrate Valentine’s Day. Between now and then, the candy kiss and chocolate industry will make nothing short of a mint, selling sweet somethings to buyers to treat lovers….what some might call a vast capitalist conspiracy to take advantage of the lovesick. I* call it, “Bah! Humbug! A poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every 14th of February!”

Therefore and mean-while, I’m proposing to you the need for a date — a day to counterbalance that upcoming day of over-commercialized romance and mushy love with a date which celebrates its opposite: hot-blooded, hard-boiled HATE. And what better way to inspire a hateful frame of mind than appropriate mood music:

*and Ebenezer Scrooge

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Still not feeling the hate? All right, ladies, repeat after me: I Hate You, Darling….

However, being the sensitive soul that I am, I’d rather you not hate me personally. So let’s broad-en the scope and close on this e-gal-itarian note:

Hold on. We can’t close without a name for this hate date. Down With Love Day? Cupid Sucks Day? Miss Ogamist Day? Better Hate Than Never Day? Wait a sec — now we’re back where we started.

This is the end.

 

OH, THE JOY! OH, THE JOY!

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” –Aldous Huxley

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I consider myself to be both a lover of ‘adult’ music and a pretty fair writer, but I’ve never felt capable of being an authoritative writer about music. For example, when I listen to music that moves me, I’m at a loss for words to express why it does so — case in point, the joy of re-experiencing this clip which I’d posted once before (OH, THE JOY! on 7/21/15):

I’ve played this clip several times, and it draws me in every time. Why? Is it the power of the music, the build-up of the way it’s staged, my identification with the gathering crowd, especially the children, reacting like they can’t resist the allure of beckoning Christmas or birthday presents? Beats me.

Speaking of Christmas and birthdays, Dec. 16 is the birthday not only of ODE TO JOY composer LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN, but of another composer (as well as playwright, singer, actor, etc.) whose sophisticated songs are always like Christmas presents to my ears, NOEL COWARD. Here, from the 1933 Academy Award-winning best picture CAVALCADE, is one of my favorite Noel Coward songs:

But wait — there’s more! What’s more, I saved it more or less as the best(?) for last. I refer to none other than YOSEMITE SAM, who made his entrance into the world in STAGE DOOR CARTOON on Dec. 16, 1944. So, without further ado, I present for your listening pleasure, my man Sam performing a looney tune which is, without question, the most magnum opus of merry melodies since Ode To Joy (eat your heart out, Ludwig):

So, if you were born tomorrow (Dec. 16) and haven’t yet joined your birthday brothers in pursuing musical fame and fortune, I hope you will take note and give it a shot.

That’s all, folks!

SHORT AND (NOT SO) SWEET

Lately I’ve been (and remain) a bit under the weather, so rather than strain my brain trying to write something original, this post will quote from three book reviews which have something pertinent to say about the likes of our favorite President, either directly or by extension (book titles in caps):

KILL IT TO SAVE IT by Corey Dolgon

“Dolgon’s astute look at the conservative turn in US politics … offers a fascinating look at the phenomenon that made Donald J. Trump the preferred choice of many voters. The long-term fallout of this turn has many of us thinking far less critically than we should be–exactly as intended–and how and why we’ve learned to tolerate the intolerable.” –Eleanor J. Bader (reviewer)

UNDER THE COVER OF CHAOS by Lawrence Grossberg

“In damning detail, Grossberg here lays bare the deep roots of Trumpism. Rather than a break from some imagined pure, nuanced conservatism, Grossberg shows Trump’s manic nonsense is actually a continuation, the result of a long struggle between the new right and the reactionary right. Everyone should read this book if they want to understand the rise of authoritarianism in the United States.” –Henry Giroux (reviewer)

THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE FREE by Milton Mayer

An account of the rise of fascism in Germany from 1933-45. As such, “A timely reminder of how otherwise unremarkable and in many ways reasonable people can be seduced by demagogues and populists.” –Richard J. Evans (reviewer)

Upon further review, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

 

A QUOTER OF NINE

One must never miss an opportunity of quoting things by others which are always more interesting than those one thinks up oneself. –Marcel Proust

The idea for this post was born of the mating of the above quote (which came from a book I’m reading about Marcel Proust) with a play on words from the title of this old song:

The next step was to come up with nine quotes based on the above premise. Almost by default, I chose quotes about quotes. I hope the result isn’t born stillborn — if so, de fault is yours (or mine, if you want to be petty about it). Let’s begin and see how it works out:

Those who never quote, in return are never quoted. –Isaac D’Israeli

Pretty things that are well said — it’s nice to have them in your head. –Robert Frost

I have made it a rule that whenever I say something stupid, I immediately attribute it to Dr. Johnson, Marcus Aurelius or Dorothy Parker. –George Mikes

Asked to describe his most recent play, a playwright (who Dorothy Parker felt had been copying her) said, “It’s hard to say — except that it’s a play against all isms.” She replied, “Except plagiarism.

I always have a quotation for everything — it saves original thinking. –Dorothy L. Sayers

To be amused at what you read — that is the great spring of quotation. –Charles Edward Montague

While reading writers of great formulatory power — Henry James, Santayana, Proust — I find I can scarcely get through a page without having to stop to record some lapidary sentence. Reading Henry James, for example, I have muttered to myself, “C’mon, Henry, turn down the brilliance a notch, so I can get some reading done.” –Joseph Epstein

If you want to be quoted, say something you shouldn’t say. –Evan Esar

I really didn’t say everything I said. –Yogi Berra

So that makes me a quoter of nine, unless one counts the opening Marcel Proust quote, which doesn’t count as ten unless you’re keeping count, in which case, count it instead as a bonus which would only count if you don’t count Yogi, who said he didn’t say what he said if he didn’t say it (but don’t quote me on that).

 

 

A LITTLE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE

Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn’t there.
He wasn’t there again today;
Oh, how I wish he’d go away…
–Wm. Hughes Mearns

I was reminded of the above (from the 1899 poem ANTIGONISH) by this opening paragraph of a column by Susan Page in USA TODAY:

“At the [9/1/18] memorial service he had carefully planned, John McCain managed to deliver a final and defiant rebuke to the man who wasn’t there, whose name was never uttered.” In that spirit, I too will honor John McCain by not mentioning the name of the man who wasn’t there. We all (who follow the news) know the name of the man who wasn’t there, and we all know why he wasn’t there.

Susan Page goes on to quote the following words spoken so eloquently at the service by Meghan McCain, daughter of the late Arizona Senator:

“We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness, the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who lived lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served.”

The little man who wasn’t there once said that John McCain was no hero. The little man who wasn’t there isn’t fit to say ANYONE is no hero, because a narcissistic, bullying, amoral coward has no standing to judge the worth of anything, much less heroism.

“Oh, how I wish he’d go away”….but it will take more than wishes. It will take our votes. Nothing less than a resounding vote against political enablers of the President will convince Republicans that it’s in their self-interest to ‘flip.’ And make no mistake — to them, political self-interest (and living to fight another day) is everything.