Updates from August, 2018 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on August 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Michael Avenatti, , , , Stormy Daniels, , The White House,   

    WE’RE ALL HUMAN (EVEN REPUBLICANS) 

    For those who pay little attention to American politics, the name of attorney Michael Avenatti may be unfamiliar, but most of you have no doubt heard of his famous client, the porn star and ex-Trump hookup, Stormy Daniels. I bring Avenatti up because I have often wondered why Democrats don’t more vehemently challenge GOP complicity when President Bully Boy acts as if the country were his own personal fiefdom to ru(i)n as he damn well pleases. On August 10, Avenatti addressed that very question:

    Now, I fully recognize that the Republican faithful (at least, a fair number of them) are human and, as such, susceptible to being sold a bill of goods and/or being evangelized by a vainglorious pied piper. As an ex-Catholic, I know what it’s like to be vulnerable to vested interests in positions of authority. They seem to have all the answers at a time answers are hard to come by, but you haven’t yet grown to realize that, to those who claim to have the answers, you are part of their agenda, another recruit to their cause/beliefs. Easy pickings.

    So, while I can empathize with being gullible (because I’ve been there, done that), there is a bigger issue at stake here, and that is what kind of country are we becoming? When will it prove too late to undo the divisiveness, to blue pencil the Orange Man who debases the dark place that was once The White House? What in the name of civility and integrity has become of our standards of leadership?

    America has never been “a perfect union”–far from it–but in a world where almost everything is relative, we are at a new low in my lifetime. For all the faults and failings of past Presidents, has there ever been one so self-obsessed, so megalomaniacal, so utterly incapable of reflection and putting himself in the place of those who come from a different place (both literally and figuratively)?

    I started this post intending to intersperse some humor into a sober matter, but despite all the Trump satire and jokes that serve as a sort of laugh-to-keep-from-crying palliative (I plead guilty to occasionally getting in on the relief act), there’s really nothing funny about this President in the long run. At the end of the day, the joke is on us….and we brought it on ourselves. Now it’s up to us–we, the voters–to get serious about an act of contrition.

    November 6, 2018 would be a good time to start.

     
    • leggypeggy 12:53 am on August 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Excellent post. Bring on November.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Paul Sunstone 3:16 am on August 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      “we are at a new low in my lifetime”. I agree, MM — worse one in my lifetime. Trump’s election has done in my faith in the American system. I will not be content until we eliminate the electoral college and have at last directly elected presidents.

      There are so many ways in which he is wrong for this country that it’s overwhelming just to think about all the ways.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the cheeto in chief.

      Liked by 5 people

      • mistermuse 9:04 am on August 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        “overwhelming just to think about all the ways” — you nailed it, Paul. Trump is such a nonstop narcissist, flimflam man, dissembler, panderer to his base, outright liar, white collar thug, unseeing hypocrite, braggart, bully, and amoral prevaricator (what am I missing?) that one is hard-pressed to know how to cope with it all. No wonder the Republicans want Robert Mueller to wrap up his investigation ‘yesterday’ because the longer it goes, the more endless the trail of deceit Trump leaves behind.

        Liked by 4 people

        • Paul Sunstone 11:26 am on August 13, 2018 Permalink

          I worry something is going to happen to get him reelected. A terrorist attack, maybe. Everyone rallying around him.

          Liked by 3 people

    • Lisa R. Palmer 10:11 am on August 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      You are both going to hate me (mistermuse and Paul), when I tell you I’m starting to go “soft” on Trump. But let me explain why…

      I realized recently that for all his faults, lies, scams, etc., Trump showed his true colors PRIOR to being elected. What he’s done while in office was sadly predictable, which is why I was struck with such mind-numbing shock when he was elected. I didn’t vote for him, but neither could I vote for Clinton – also corrupt, shady, elitist, etc… I voted for Jill Stein. And while I realize people blame people like me for handing the election to Trump, I disagree. I voted my conscience, and I feel no regret. If more would do that, perhaps a less corrupt government could be created, instead of playing strategy games between two opposing evils…

      But, here’s the thing. I’ve known for most of my life (being a Watergate kid) that the government was corrupt. And, like most Americans, I’ve been willing to turn away from such corruption, to ignore it, so long as it isn’t “in my face,” or interfering with my ability to “get by” on a daily basis. Same with social corruption and injustice. Yes, I rail against it, do my best to be inclusive, fair-minded, and compassionate. But I have not OWNED the “crimes” against others as my personal responsibility. So long as I was “living right,” I was doing my part, right?

      What Trump has shown me, personally, is that this “blind eye” approach IS the problem. That allowing such corruption to exist, and flourish, is MY responsibility. To allow such social injustice to continue “behind the scenes,” so long as I didn’t contribute and it didn’t touch me, was MY irresponsibility and selfishness at play…

      The Trump era has thrown all of that into the spotlight, and made me realize that I AM partly responsible for the mess we find ourselves in. As one of my “others” recently drove home to me: “it may not be YOUR fault, but it is definitely YOUR problem. Deal with it…”

      Besides, I’m absolutely terrified of Pence and his threatened Theocracy…

      Liked by 3 people

      • Paul Sunstone 11:30 am on August 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        I’ll take Trump over Pence any day.

        I agree — regardless of blame, it’s our problem. We suffer for it.

        Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 12:06 pm on August 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Lisa, 2016 was definitely a ‘lesser of two evils’ Presidential election (the worst choice of major party candidates in memory) — I believe that Hillary was the lesser of two evils and that the country would be in a better place right now if she had been elected. So, I respect your thinking (as evidenced by the last 3 sentences of my post); but just as we “can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” (because there’s no such thing as perfect in politics), we shouldn’t (have) let ‘the lesser evil (Clinton) be the enemy of the worse evil (Trump).’ The choices were what they were.

        BTW, I share your concern about Pence, but again I raise the point, who is the lesser evil: Pence or Trump? Perhaps a much closer call than Hillary or Trump, but I think a “threatened Theocracy” is a much less muddled battle than what we have to deal with in Trump’s case.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Lisa R. Palmer 2:06 am on August 14, 2018 Permalink

          I understand what you’re saying, and the me I was two years ago would have agreed unhesitatingly. But I’ve changed my stance since then. Certainly, had Hillary won, things would likely have seemed better, if for no other reason than most of the corruption would still be hidden behind closed doors, and much of the social injustice would be buried beneath the mantle of political correctness. All of that is gone now, in part because of Trump’s outrageous, outlandish and unforgivable behavior. We, as a nation, are being exposed on a daily basis for the villians we always were, but could pretend we weren’t.

          I find Trump to be the lesser evil, though, when compared to Pence, and the rest of the GOP. If nothing else, the whole world can see that he’s insane, whereas Pence and his buddies would prefer a quieter approach to taking apart our country. And with deeply embedded memories of how the Catholic Church once ruled Europe, I have no desire whatsoever to face such a theocracy here. In fact, it frightens me deeply. The exposure of the “Christian jihadists” (the extremist right) under Trump has shown me just how radicalized they are, and how far they’re willing to go to advance their agenda. Against that, I truly would feel powerless…

          Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 6:35 am on August 14, 2018 Permalink

          I really can’t disagree with much of what you say, Lisa–especially about this “nation” being duplicitous ever since before it was a nation, ruthlessly deceiving, exploiting and displacing/killing any Native Americans who ‘dared’ to be in their way. Much of the social injustice is, and has been, hidden in plain sight–it’s just that too many Americans throughout history put blinders on and refuse to see it.

          As for Pence, this ex-Catholic (me) thinks (as I said in my reply to Richard Cahill’s comment) that any threatened theocracy will be kept at bay IF Democrats win control of Congress in November. Therefore, I believe it’s more important (for our children’s sake, if nothing else) to rid the country of “Trump’s outrageous, outlandish and unforgivable behavior,” because if people can’t relate to each other in a civil (if not understanding) manner, we’re left with Trump’s behavior as the new normal.

          Liked by 1 person

        • mlrover 5:19 pm on August 15, 2018 Permalink

          Pence tried to push through his religious agenda in Indiana, a die-hard Republican and Bible belt bastion, and lost. His forcing his belief system did not go over well, even though many in the state agree with his opinions. I never voted for him, and as a Christian, am not a fan of Tea Party style evangelical hypocrisy. (Scripturally speaking, neither was Christ.) That said, as much as he gives others the creeps, as President, Pence could do damage because he has motivation. As least Trump is so self-involved and lazy he hasn’t blown us up. Yet. He’s also a coward. My sisters and I agree that the White House will have to be fumigated after he’s gone.

          Liked by 2 people

    • Richard Cahill 11:41 am on August 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Trump loses big in 2020, resigns the day after the election, tweeting about how fabulous his Presidency has been and blaming his loss on CNN. Pence is grateful to hold an office he’ll never be elected to for two months and pardons Trump, but doesn’t have the juice to install a temporary theocracy. My prediction.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 12:18 pm on August 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but if Democrats take control of Congress (as predicted) in the November election, there’s no way anything resembling a theocracy is going to go through, no matter how much a President Pence might push it. That’s just one more reason why the Nov. 6 election is a “must vote.”

        Liked by 2 people

        • mistermuse 5:55 pm on August 15, 2018 Permalink

          I appreciate your comment, mirover. Though I live in Ohio (next door to Indiana), I didn’t know (or forgot) that Pence “tried to push through his religious agenda” there. But it doesn’t surprise me.

          Like

    • thelonelyauthorblog 12:20 pm on August 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Great post. I would like to add, some of us are more human than others.

      Liked by 1 person

    • jonolan 1:12 pm on August 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      All you are doing is proving that the American people – we voted for President Trump – were right in our choice and in thoughts about what your kind actually are.

      We going to make America great again. It’s up to you all to either get on board with that or accept whatever consequences American patriots subject you too.

      Like

      • mistermuse 2:42 pm on August 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Did you say that with a straight face, or are you just trying to get a rise out of me?

        Like

        • jonolan 2:46 pm on August 13, 2018 Permalink

          Oh, it was in all sincerity. We’re sick of your hate being aimed at us, our nation, our culture, and the POTUS we elected. We’re not going to let you get in our way any more and we’re sure as Hell not going care about how we hurt your feelings or prospects in life in the course of making America great again.

          Like

        • mistermuse 2:48 pm on August 13, 2018 Permalink

          As if you ever did care.

          Liked by 1 person

      • rawgod 12:54 am on May 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Dear jo, so what are mistermuse’s kind? And what are their thoughts? If you are going to accuse someone of something, spell it out!

        And who is the “we” who are going to make a never-great country great “again”? I take it you think it was great of the Europeans to nearly commit genocide on the people of the Americas who were here before them. Smallpox blankets, rotten meat, alcohol, bullets vs arrows, unarable land for reservations, water so dirty it is undrinkable! You are proud of that? I’m not surprised, but neither will I be surprised when the Russians or Chinese decide to walk over your nation when it is so divided it cannot defend itself. That’s when you will be begging the Democrats and Social Justice Warriors for their help to save you from the bad guys.

        Liked by 1 person

    • restlessjo 2:25 pm on August 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Just a holy mess all round, the political situation. Not sure who I feel sorrier for- you, us or the planet 😦 😦

      Liked by 2 people

    • barkinginthedark 6:59 pm on August 31, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      you are far more generous than i re Republicans. as far as i can see they are the source of all that is bad in our country. they voted against social security, the new deal, fair deal, healthcare, busted unions, they gerrymander and deny people their right to vote…and now stand in lock step behind a monster.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 11:19 pm on August 31, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Couldn’t agree more re almost all Republican politicians. I am a bit more generous re the ‘laity,’ as I don’t think most of them are deliberately perverse — they’re just not sophisticated thinkers (for lack of a better term) and are too easily taken in (“susceptible to being sold a bill of goods,” as I put it in my post).

      Like

    • barkinginthedark 10:29 pm on September 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      “November 6, 2018 would be a good time to start” indeed…everything is at stake. VOTE! continue… .

      Liked by 1 person

    • barkinginthedark 11:04 pm on February 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      In light of this sham impeachment “trial” now we can be all but certain: Republicans are purely self-righteous hypocrites concerned only with power, and greed…aside from being traitorous cowardly toadies.. continue…

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:16 am on June 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , vanity, virtue   

    LET US PRAY…. 

    that the malaise of Donald Trump’s moral vacuity
    doesn’t linger like a curse in oral (and worse) perpetuity
    so when his term on his bully stage is o’er, we
    see that our humanity (which his vanity tested sore-ly)
    has withstood base attacks based on our credulity,
    as we pray virtue is its own reward (virtus ipsa pretium sui).

     
    • Carmen 6:48 am on June 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Even this atheist would pray for that, mistermuse. But I can’t help but wonder if the Supreme Court is going to be the next bastion of the destructive Christian Right. It’s not looking good. 😦

      Liked by 4 people

      • mlrover 8:11 am on June 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        I’m Christian and can’t help but gag at the hypocrisy of groups like the CR and Moral Majority. They have no understanding of the Constitution which gives them the right to be bullies.

        Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 9:31 am on June 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        You got that Right, Carmen (sorry, I couldn’t resist a pun, even when the subject’s not fun).

        Liked by 1 person

    • D. Wallace Peach 1:10 pm on June 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Pretty soon Trump-supporters are going to start feeling the economic pain. (And it will be Obama’s fault, of course.)

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 5:20 pm on June 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        And in that case, Diana, you can count on most Trump supporters believing him (that it’s Obama’s fault).

        Liked by 1 person

    • Rosaliene Bacchus 1:44 pm on July 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Amen.
      Thanks for the follow 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • America On Coffee 4:48 am on July 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Prayer is the answer. There are no presidents or prime minister’s worldwide. The courts rule. The courts are misleading to form a one world gov thru the UN is the big possibility. Nice post.

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 8:59 am on July 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        A.O.C., the title of this post was meant figuratively rather than literally, but you’re free to take it literally if you wish. Deists, of which I am one, have a different “take” on prayer (for the ‘reason,’ click “World Union of Deists” under BLOGROLL (right column)….but take care, because it is said the devil is in the details. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • America On Coffee 3:58 pm on July 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I understand. Consider still.– And, have a great day.

      Like

    • The Coastal Crone 10:54 pm on July 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I like your style! Thanks for the visit to my humble blog!

      Liked by 2 people

  • mistermuse 12:02 am on February 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bully, , , Don't Explain, , , , , , pity, , , suffering   

    DON’T EXPLAIN 

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

    Some time ago, after I’d written a number of posts lampooning America’s vainglorious leader, I was asked by a reader why I “hate” Donald Trump. I replied that I didn’t hate him, I pitied him — pitied him for being the kind of human being he is. In hindsight, I should have asked the reader, Does Trump hate those he insults? — i.e. “Pocahontas” Elizabeth Warren, “Little Marco” Rubio, “Lightweight” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (I suppose the Senator should be grateful Trump didn’t call her heavyweight), etc., etc., etc. My answer (and, I assume, that reader’s) is no — hate is something deeply felt, not a juvenile slur. Trump’s mocking is strictly gratuitous, like a bully who must put down anyone who, in his world, is a “loser” — someone in his way; an inconvenient object to be diminished or pushed aside. It’s not even personal (a “loser” is but an abstraction).

    So, in deference to Samuel Butler, should I apologize for not hating Trump — or anyone, for that matter? Truth be known, the closest I come to hating anyone is God….that is, if I believed in God — the biblical God, the invented God of wrath, innocent suffering and mystifying absence. But I am a ‘default’ deist, left with a creator God, an impersonal God, a God with nothing to explain — at least, not until the next life (if there is one). The creator God never said a word or promised us anything — not on earth or after. Perhaps I should be jealous, for, unlike the creator God, there are times (like now) when this only-human creator feels the need to explain what I create. And yet, I get not deigning to explain — explaining ain’t easy. If I were God or Trump, I might not explain myself either.

     

     

     

     

     
    • Lisa R. Palmer 9:22 am on February 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Yes!! I get this. And I feel this. And I am sincerely moved by the “truth” of it. I have spent much of my adult life attempting to define and explain the “God” of my understanding, and how it works, and here you put the matter so simply and so rationally, it blows my mind. Lol! Thank you for the glimpse behind the curtain, both universally and personally, for this is yet another side of you showing through…

      On another note, hatred seems like such a huge investment to make in someone; it’s very much like love in that regard. Most of these hate-able people, like insecure bullies, are not worth such investment from me. But perhaps my willingness to dismiss them so eagerly is part of the “problem,” in that my experience teaches that the more you ignore the ego-driven, the more they cry out to be acknowledged…

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 11:13 am on February 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I very much appreciate your comment, Lisa. It’s rewarding to have dialogues with fellow ‘searchers’ (as opposed to ‘dialogues’ with ideologues).

      I think your second paragraph is right on the money, especially “the more you ignore the ego-driven, the more they cry out to be acknowledged.” That describes Trump to a T, and is the reason he is more to be pitied than hated. In a certain sense, one can’t help but pity a man who seemingly can’t help being what he is and is incapable of even reflecting on the matter. Multiply him by millions like him, and you see the world through the eyes of an objective visitor from another planet.

      P.S. I’ll return to my space ship shortly and get back to my usual blogging routine of disgustingly humorous posts.

      Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 1:55 pm on February 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      According to conventional theology, Sr. Muse, it’s God’s will that we have Trump, which bolsters one of my theological observations–this God character does some shady shit.

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 2:44 pm on February 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Ricardo, that’s only the will of the religious/biblical God — not of the creator/deistic God, who has left man to his own devices since emerging from the primordial soup (which apparently wasn’t that long ago for some of us, if The Donald and his crackers are any indication).

        Liked by 1 person

    • Carmen 9:37 pm on February 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Your reply to Ricardo reminds me of the question, “What’s the difference between an invisible god and a non-existent one?” 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:30 pm on February 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        No difference whatsoever in this life, Carmen….except that with a non-existent one, there’s absolutely no possibility of a next life, and with an invisible one, who knows? Of course, we can hope for the invisible one and an afterlife, but even if both of those things turn out, one has to wonder (assuming we’ll ‘see’ our invisible maker, ourselves and each other as we really are) how in the hell we’ll be able to live with ourselves, each other, and an oblivious God. 😦

        Liked by 2 people

        • Carmen 6:57 am on February 19, 2018 Permalink

          The only thing we DO know for certainty is we get this life. Thankfully, there are those people who try to brighten someone else’s day by being pleasant, doing whatever they can to make others’ lives better, and filling the airwaves with wonderful music and sharp wit. 🙂

          Liked by 3 people

    • Don Frankel 8:15 am on February 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Assuming I’m that reader since I asked you that let me explain. It seems a waste of time and energy to get all bent out of shape over something or someone, you will have nothing to do with and can do nothing about. Doesn’t matter who it is, they can’t hear you and they don’t much care. You’re the one who is upset.

      There was this guy in the local Diner and it’s Jan 10, 2017 and he explains to me that President Obama was born in Kenya and isn’t an American citizen. Now the reason I remember the date is because President Obama was not going to be President in 10 days, so what was the guy on the stool’s point? He hates President Obama like really bad. So he spent 8 years of his life hating some guy who didn’t even know he was alive. And, it doesn’t seem to have effected or affected President Obama too much either. Maybe it did something for the guy sitting on that stool but I don’t get it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:44 am on February 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Don, if I were the only one who is upset, I’d agree with you. But this goes beyond politics. I’m just one of millions who see the unfettered narcissism and uncivil tone (to put it generously) set by Trump inexorably becoming the ‘new normal’ in this country unless enough of us stand up to him. If you think this doesn’t matter, what more is there to say?.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Don Frankel 10:01 am on February 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Okay I get it and good luck.

      Now you might imagine by living in New York I run into this with some of my very close friends so my new routine is to sing a little ditty from the movie The Producers. The original one and it’s the scene where Dick Shawn comes out on stage as Hitler for the first time and he is sitting at the piano and singing. “I’m gonna crush Poland and then take France. Then I’ll cross the English Channel and kick that guy in the pants.” Only I sing “that gal” because Theresa May is the current Prime Minister. There is no clip of this on youtube so consider it sung and imagine we’re both laughing.

      Like

    • mistermuse 11:57 am on February 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Well, at least with Theresa May, we may laugh. Even Hitler, that personification of evil, begged to be caricatured. But there’s no longer anything remotely funny to be found about Trump….though God knows I’ve tried.

      As local standup comedian Mark Chalifoux put it in Jan. 2017, “There’s too much to focus on. Our attention span rarely allows us to move past his tweets to anything of substance. His presidency….is going to be exhausting. Trump is simply too easy to make fun of, [what with] years of hearing the same jokes about hair, orange skin, small hands and where you can grab women. Anyone with a keyboard will be beating a dead horse until long after it becomes a bag of bones.”

      As I said before, we’ve reached a point where this goes beyond politics. This is about how we treat others and that old-fashioned notion of role model. I hope such values haven’t become associated with ‘losers.’ I think, or at least hope, these things still matter in New York; they still matter where I come from.

      Liked by 2 people

    • The Coastal Crone 9:30 pm on February 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I pity our vainglorious leader also. He has thrown the presidency away with both hands.

      Liked by 1 person

    • markscheel1 9:37 pm on February 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      mistermuse,

      Well, I read an article awhile ago that pointed out the Democrats said similar things of ridicule about Reagan, sonny Bush and now Trump. Also I heard a radio commentator assert recently that Trump is stupid—-“like a fox.” And went on to enumerate ways he’s outplayed the opposition and the media. Remember, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got. And concede this–Trump is in no way an ordinary politician! And we’re certainly getting something different! Ha.
      Speaking of religion and “God concepts,” have you tried “panentheism”? (Not pantheism.) From that point of view, Trump might actually be divine! The thought! But no, not the Second Coming. Let’s not get carried away. LOL
      I’d never heard Lady sing “Don’t Explain.” Thanks for that treat!

      Mark

      Liked by 1 person

      • Carmen 9:44 pm on February 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        The ‘something different’ that your country is getting is in no way funny. 😦

        Liked by 2 people

        • markscheel1 2:21 am on February 20, 2018 Permalink

          Hi Carmen,

          The “laugh” wasn’t meant to refer to what the country is getting, but rather the irony of the whole situation and the differing opinions regarding it. A booming economy, stock market up, red-tape regs cut so business can produce, vital SCOTUS appointment, real tax relief–those are things I’m not “laughing” about.

          Mark

          Like

    • mistermuse 10:59 pm on February 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Mark, when it comes to religion, I haven’t “tried” any of them in the sense of shopping around for one. I was born into Catholicism, but after years — decades, really — of growing increasingly unable to believe what the church believed, fell into deism (which is why I called myself a “default deist” in my post). I wasn’t looking for another religion, it was simply that I found that ‘where I was now at’ aligned with what deists like Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, and (some say) Thomas Jefferson believed….at least, in meeting-of-the-minds terms (deism isn’t even a religion in the doctrinal sense).

      You referred to Trump, but I’ve had my fill for now, so I’ll pass. As for the Lady Day (Billie Holiday) clip, she was well past her prime in 1958. There are recordings of her singing the song when she was much younger, but I opted for the clip I showed. Why? I defer to the title of this post.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 10:13 am on February 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        But at what cost, Mark? (re your reply to Carmen.) At what cost?

        Liked by 1 person

        • markscheel1 4:38 pm on February 20, 2018 Permalink

          Well, muse, with the currency I employ, I’d say it’s a bargain. Hmmmmm. Now, figure that one out. 😉

          Mark

          Like

    • mistermuse 12:20 am on February 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Mark, I’m guessing that you deferred to the title of this post too.

      Like

      • markscheel1 3:39 pm on February 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        muse,

        That would be an appropriate assumption! 🙂 I’ve resolved to do memoir, not politics, as you know. Now, as an aside, Dee and I are back from the hospital. The heart procedure yesterday went well. (Ablation.) Great doctor. Wonderful nurses. Just wanted to let you know–“the beat goes on,” now normally! And I feel nothing but gratitude.

        Mark

        Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:14 pm on February 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Glad to hear it, Mark. Great doctors aren’t always easy to come by. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • barkinginthedark 4:13 pm on August 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Never apologize for hating Donald J. Trump. he is only worthy of hate – and nothing else. continue…

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on September 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bat Masterson, , female Marshals, , , , lawbreakers, , My L:ittle Chickadee, Philadelphia, , saloons, , six-shooter, U.S. Marshals, , Wild Bill Hickok, Wild West,   

    MARSHAL LAW and SOILED DOVES 

    I have often not been asked who my favorite Old West marshal is. Just as often, I have not replied: “I have not often given it any thought.” I suppose that if, for some desperate reason (such as drawing a blank for something to write about for this post) I had given it any thought, I would’ve come up with Wyatt Earp, Wild Bill Hickok or Bat Masterson. Don’t ask me to name other famous marshals. Were there any other famous marshals?

    Today is the 228th anniversary of the creation of the U.S. Marshal Service, so I decided to marshal my resources, round up a posse, and pursue my query. Unfortunately, it wasn’t posse-ble to corral volunteers for such a questionable undertaking; I will have to go it alone. If I don’t come out of this post alive, please pray that I have gone to a better place. Philadelphia will do.

    As you may have noticed in the above clip, Mae West was mighty handy with a six-shooter….but in yesteryear’s wild and wooly West, female marshals were scarcer than beer and whiskey drinkers on the wagon in a one-horse town with two saloons — a sobering thought, indeed. Thus, it mae be necessary to put up wanted posters in order to uncover additional famous marshals (preferably female).

    Well, that didn’t take long; there WERE female marshals in the Old West. Here they be:

    https://glitternight.com/tag/female-marshals/

    That appears to be the extent of their ranks — out of hundreds of marshals/deputy marshals, only four were of the fair sex. But that seems only fair. After all, 99% of the ‘bad guys’ were just that — ‘guys’ — so why should women be charged with maintaining law and order in the Wild West when almost all of the lawbreakers were men….though it’s no stretch to assume that certain upstanding citizens weren’t above regarding certain ladies as ‘hardened’ offenders:

    As Jesus and mistermuse not often say (therefore it bares repeating):  Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stein.

    Needless to say, I’ll drink to that!

     

     
    • Carmen 6:11 am on September 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      “Needless to say, I’ll drink to that!”
      On this fair Sunday morning, that’s a benediction worthy of discipleship. 🙂
      (Think you’d down a Sour Toe Cocktail?).

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:59 am on September 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Sorry, I’m not a cocktailer, Carmen….but I wouldn’t be above a sweet finger-lickin’ good. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 1:12 pm on September 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Salud, Sr. Muse.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 6:55 pm on September 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Muse I was trying to get the picture to copy directly but my computer doesn’t want to cooperate so this will have to be opened but least we forget Josephine Sarah Marcus aka Mrs. Wyatt Earp. And, she’s not wearing a bra here.

      http://richardelzey.com/kaloma.html

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:55 am on September 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Very interesting, Don. That period of time in American history is unique. No doubt thousands of stories could be told.

        Like

        • Carmen 9:17 am on September 25, 2017 Permalink

          Don, that’s a fascinating story! I love the picture, too! Thanks for the share. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    • literaryeyes 1:11 pm on September 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Calamity Jane was a wild one too, and I suspect on both sides of the law. It’s said by some historians that communities of men out West, for instance, the gold-miners, were out of control until the women came. That is, wives and no-nonsense types. Women have been a civilizing influence, but I rankle at giving them the whole burden of keeping the humanity in human beings.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 4:09 pm on September 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        The Creator seems to have put superior physical strength in the wrong hands when He/She/It gave men that advantage over women. On the other hand(s), human nature being what it is, who’s to say women wouldn’t be the ones “out of control” if their positions were reversed? Nonetheless, women could hardly do a worse job than men running things over the course of recorded history, so why not?

        Like

    • barkinginthedark 12:34 am on March 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Fields’ “It’s A Gift” is truly a comic masterwork. continue….

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:21 am on March 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        They don’t make comic geniuses like Fields, Chaplin, Keaton, and Laurel & Hardy anymore. Today we have “stable” geniuses like Trump. It’s enough to make a groan man cry.

        Like

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , ,   

    SET IN STONE 

    I think, therefore I am. –René Descartes

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    You will (hopefully) recall that my last post, STONE COLD DEAD, featured some of my favorite epitaphs published 4 years ago on SWI (a blog due to bite the dust in November). Ah, but the best laid plans….  The SWI editor announced on 9/1 that he would now need to pull the plug first thing on Sept. 6; thus today becomes SWI’s last full day on this earth.

    This sudden passing prompts me to salvage another of my previously published posts from that body of work: a poem which poses a question I believe naturally arises out of STONE COLD DEAD. Unlike that post, it ain’t funny, but perhaps the poem’s saving grace is that what it lacks in humor, it makes up in brevity. It’s the least I can do on Labor Day.

    LUCKY STIFFS

    Are the faithful
    dead better positioned
    to be saved
    than those who
    lived with doubt?
    Even a God
    can’t help being
    what He thinks.

     

     

     
    • painkills2 12:13 am on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Saved from what? After you’re dead, no one can save you. But if this is about hell, then I don’t want to be saved — that’s where all the fun people go. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:44 am on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Think of this poem as if it were written by an agnostic. Then the question becomes: If there is a God and an afterlife, is He any more morally fit to judge you than you are to judge Him? If there is no afterlife, it’s irrelevant whether or not there is a God, because we will never know either way.

      I might add that the God(s) of religions and myth only muddy the waters of how to think about this whole business of a possible Creator. The word “God” itself seems to me to be an impediment to rational thinking about life and all that it may imply.

      Liked by 2 people

      • painkills2 1:09 pm on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I suppose those who believe in a god also believe that this god is always right and shouldn’t be questioned. As for anyone — supernatural or not — who thinks they have the right to judge me, well, they’re wrong. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • scifihammy 7:12 am on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Nice one 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:26 am on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      They say it takes one to know one, so you’re a “nice one” too. 🙂

      Like

    • Cynthia Jobin 9:41 am on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      “God is dead.” —Nietzsche, 1883

      “Nietzsche is dead.” —God, 1900

      Liked by 3 people

    • mistermuse 9:51 am on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      “We’re all dead.” –Kismet, sooner or later 😦

      Liked by 3 people

    • arekhill1 11:42 am on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, death is the ultimate way of fitting in.

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 1:32 pm on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I’d call it forced integration God’s way….except for Christians, who make Book on to a different afterlife divide: heaven or hell.

      Like

    • Don Frankel 5:02 pm on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      All things come to an end but nothing really dies on the internet. It just spins somewhere throughout the universe. And, since we’re doing some oldies I can’t help but recall once again my favorite Epitaph on a Tombstone in Tombstone.

      Here Lies Lester Moore
      4 slugs from a .44
      No Les
      No More

      Liked by 1 person

    • carmen 6:18 pm on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I can never think about this topic (death) without this song running through my mind. I heard it for the first time when I was a teenager and it has stuck in my head ever since. Like this post, it’s remarkable for its brevity.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:14 pm on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for the song clip. When it comes to war and brevity, it took William Tecumseh Sherman only three words to tell it like it is: “War is hell.”

        Like

    • BroadBlogs 7:28 pm on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t know why God would punish our authenticity. Job is an interesting book to read on this topic.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:01 pm on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Well, this subject would take an entire post to address in depth, including (for starters) whether or not one accepts the story of Job as having a basis in reality. For atheists and agnostics, it’s a non-starter to begin with, because if you disbelieve or doubt that God exists, Job is meaningless. Personally, as a deist who believes in a Creator but not the so-called “revealed God” of most religions, it is not my job to take Job seriously (pun intended).

      Like

      • Carmen 5:18 am on September 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Besides which, if you do read about poor old Job – and take the ‘lesson’ seriously-, you end up wondering why anyone would think Yahweh had any redeeming qualities.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Superduque777 7:49 am on September 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply


      CARPET DIEM

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 10:09 am on September 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      You would never guess from that photo what the girl is actually saying to the pope: “Ubi possum potiri petasi similis isti?” (“Where can I get a hat like that?”)

      Liked by 1 person

    • carmen 10:12 am on September 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      . . .and he’s probably saying, “Go now and spin no more”. . 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:39 am on September 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      No doubt Jim Beam had something to say about it too, but it looks like the pope is keeping it close to his vest-ments.

      Liked by 2 people

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on June 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Darwin, evangelism, , , human rights, , rationalism,   

    DO IT…BUY THE BOOK 

    Among the books I’ve owned for some time and not found time (until now) to read is one which convincingly illuminates how America has evolved (some might say retrogressed, in the case of our politicians) over the years.

    When I say “evolved,” most people (at least, those who don’t regard it as a dirty word) think of it in the Darwinian sense as gradual development from primitive to more adaptive or advanced stages….as, to take a human example, from very brutish to veddy British — or, from restive barbarians to festive Bavarians. But one would have to be blind not to see that human evolution isn’t a straight forward, rising-tide-lifts-all-boats proposition. In other words, what you sea is what you get (even my puns have their ups and downs).

    Then there’s the history of rights withheld, an early example being what American colonists determined to address. The British, loathe to let go, weren’t there yet…and neither are many of us there yet when it comes to the rights of others — speaking of which (for illustrative purposes), here’s a clip with reference to California’s 2008 ballot Proposition 8 denying same-sex couples the right to marry (an issue of no concern to me whatsoever except as it pertains to ‘affairs’ which some people — especially religious conservatives — can’t bear the thought of, even though it’s no skin off their nose):

    http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/c0cf508ff8/prop-8-the-musical-starring-jack-black-john-c-reilly-and-many-more-from-fod-team-jack-black-craig-robinson-john-c-reilly-and-rashida-jones?_cc=__d___&_ccid=dcac2697-3ae0-4cc9-b7fc-b87fad7ada17

    Coincidentally, 2008 is the same year the book I referred to at the start (THE AGE OF AMERICAN UNREASON by Susan Jacoby) was published. Here is a review of that book:

    http://www.dialoginternational.com/dialog_international/2008/05/i-admired-susan.html

    Though I’m in tune with that review for the most part, I take issue with the reviewer’s belief that “Jacoby is overestimating the role of religion in America in the decline of Enlightenment rationalism.” Furthermore, the reviewer states that “the number of true fundamentalists is probably not that significant: she [Jacoby] conflates fundamentalism with evangelism” — a contention which leads me to question whether the reviewer did more than skim through Chapter 8 (THE NEW OLD-TIME RELIGION), which takes pains to differentiate between the two — including such distinctions as The main difference between fundamentalists and evangelicals….is that not all evangelicals regard the Bible as literally true but all fundamentalists do. That chapter, detailing the role of evangelism and fundamentalism in America past and present, is alone worth the price of erudition….eminently readable erudition, I might add.

    If you want to add to your understanding of the forces and factors that have created THE AGE OF AMERICAN UNREASON, do it….buy the book.

     

     

     
    • painkills2 2:28 am on June 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Gay marriage cannot save the economy. But, it might save the institution of marriage. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 4:20 am on June 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      That reminds me of the old joke “Marriage is a wonderful institution….but who wants to live in an institution?”

      Liked by 2 people

    • linnetmoss 6:38 am on June 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I agree about the fundamentalist/evangelical distinction. Too many in the media have no idea what they’re talking about and use “evangelical” as a euphemism for “fundamentalist.” That said, there seem to be far fewer socially liberal evangelicals than in the past. Either that or they are far less vocal.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:57 am on June 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Good point about the media, which comes in for its fair share of criticism in Jacoby’s book; e.g. “the simplistic slogans of junk thought are perfectly suited to modern mass media, which must fixate on novelty in order to catch the eyes and ears of a public with an increasingly short attention span.” And that was written 8 years before Trump’s campaign for the GOP nomination!

        Liked by 1 person

        • linnetmoss 4:09 pm on June 10, 2016 Permalink

          I think this problem dates to the advent of television (or was made worse by it). Even today, I notice that radio news is much more nuanced and detailed. But ‘click bait’ has also been around for the long time, in the form of sensationalist tabloids.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 5:49 pm on June 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      You know how much I love polls. I wouldn’t say they make these things up as they go because that would sound like a conspiracy theory but they make these things up as they go. Besides people have been writing about the decline of America since well the place started. You can look it up.

      But accepting the fact that it’s all over, well what can I do but once again quote Riddick from the Chronicles of Riddick. “It’s gotta end sometime.”

      Like

    • mistermuse 8:01 pm on June 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Not to worry, Don. If America meets its end when and if The Donald becomes President, “IT’LL BE GREAT” (he has promised everything else he does will be great, so why should that be an exception).

      Like

    • Don Frankel 5:18 pm on June 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Muse maybe it won’t be so great but it will be YUUUUGGGEEEE and spectacular.

      Liked by 1 person

    • D. Wallace Peach 12:36 pm on June 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting post. I agree that fundamentalist and evangelist have become almost synonymous in the media, though politically they don’t seem to be that far apart when it comes to social reforms and politics is where the “news” focuses today. Prop 8 – The Musical was great. Now they need to make one for the Great Bathroom Debate.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 2:24 pm on June 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Now that (the Great Bathroom Debate) is a royal flush of a great idea, Diana. I hope it comes to pass, because I would buy a front row stool to see that one….not to mention #2 (the sequel).
        I could go on, but I’ve got to get back to work on the post I’m working on for tomorrow. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:01 am on April 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Wicked Witch of the West, Wizad of Oz   

    THE WICKED WHICH OF BEGETS* 

    Which is more naïve (naïver?) —
    to believe poetry that rings true
    ….or….
    to be a true believer?

    Which takes more courageous thinking —
    to whistle in the dark of faith
    ….or….
    to face reality without blinking?

    Which lays more cards on the table —
    the persuasion  of the power of babble
    ….or….
    the allegory of The Tower of Babel?

    Which is the bigger cancer —
    the answer that brooks no questions
    ….or….
    the questions that beget no answer?

    *with apologies to The Wicked Witch of the West (played by the late Margaret Hamilton in THE WIZARD OF OZ). In addition to her film career, it seems that Hamilton was also (according to Wikipedia) a Sunday School teacher in the 1950s, which carries my apologies beyond my title-play-on-words to the poem itself. May her Maker be as real as the great and powerful Wizard was a humbug, and more wonderful than the “whiz of a wiz” who Dorothy and her friends were told they’d see at the end of the yellow brick road:

     

     

     
    • arekhill1 9:51 am on April 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I Have always believed the Wicked Witch of the West to be deeply misunderstood. Her sister was murdered and that sibling’s shoes were stolen while colorfully dressed little people danced on her grave, yet we attribute the Green One’s desire for vengeance solely to wickedness? Another example of history being written by the winners. What a world, what a world.

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 10:36 am on April 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Every plot needs a bad guy (or gal), or there would be no story. Where would religion be without a Devil to blame for everything that has gone wrong with creation? No Wicked Witch, no wonderful Wizard of Oz; no Devil, no good God; no good God, no religion.

      Like

    • Cynthia Jobin 11:46 am on April 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      It’s a treat to encounter more unusual rhymes: naïver/believer and cancer/answer…because, because, because, because beCAUSE!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 3:45 pm on April 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank God (or others equally unknown) for my flair for rhyming light verse, otherwise I’d be the poet-equivalent of a bad wizard (in the manner of the Wizard of Oz’s response when Dorothy called him a very bad man: “Oh, no, my dear. I’m not a very bad man. I’m just a very bad wizard.”)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 7:57 am on April 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      You know I’m watching this clip and like everyone else I’ve seen it countless times but I just realized something. That dog there Toto, never gets enough credit. I mean she hits her mark all the time. She dances along with everyone else and unlike the rest of the characters she doesn’t need anything. She’s not complaining and she never pees on anyone’s leg either. She looks well almost Presidential.

      Like

    • mistermuse 9:12 am on April 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Excellent point, Don….and to think Toto did all that and only got $125 a week in dog food, which probably wasn’t much more than chicken feed compared to Lassie’s pay. I think Toto definitely deserves to be rated higher than 13th on the following list of film dogs:
      http://boingydog.com/the-25-most-famous-dogs-in-tv-and-movie-history/

      Like

  • mistermuse 6:50 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , blasphemy, Chosen People, Christianity, , , Good Friday, peace, , , ,   

    A GOOD DAY TO WONDER 

    I was going to title this awkward post GOOD FRIDAY FARE, but thought better of it (a little too light to fill the bill). Or I could have titled it REALLY?. Really? I may be an ex-Catholic, but I still respect the meaning of Good Friday for the hundreds of millions who take the premise of this day at faith value. My breach of faith is not with the faithful, but with the premise of their faith — as explained in the poem which follows this paragraph of Christian apologia:

    What’s So Good about Good Friday? asks Episcopal priest Justin Holcomb in a recent article. The origin of the term, he says, is debatable, but “Regardless of the origin, the name Good Friday is entirely appropriate because the suffering and death of Jesus, as terrible as it was, marked the dramatic culmination of God’s plan to save his people from their sins….all in accordance with what God had promised all along in the Scriptures.” We can all agree, can we not, with the gross understatement that people have been sinning since time immemorial? But….

    DIDN’T THE ANCIENTS EVER WONDER?

    One of the earliest questions which presented itself to my youthful mind was that of election: Why had God chosen the Jewish people as the sole recipients of  His divine revelation and of the messianic promise? By what creative caprice had he excluded all others? –Morris West, Catholic novelist & playwright (1916-99)

    After the Lord God said Let there be light, there was no one
    to share the scene. God looked down and beheld a creation
    too wondrous to keep to Himself. Flesh forward.
    Adam, meet Eve.
    But, inevitably, Adam and Eve stray.
    They have a bad day.
    ‘Twas the serpent, they say.

    Boys and girls, welcome to hard times
    where life becomes a chance bet
    begetters scatter and beget
    until they forget
    without regret
    where they came from and divine not
    what they’re about

    until at last there emerges a Chosen People on
    whom it never dawns that revelation comes with
    implications: were untold others not equally in need
    of deliverance from their benighted nature? If
    what you don’t know can’t hurt you, why now the
    Voice in the wilderness….and if it can hurt you,
    how was silence justified? You see we still live
    in the shadows of tribal primitives, still die in
    the wake of unasked questions….save for He who
    would die to save us from our sins, without asking
    if the creator was in need of saving from His own?

    Did my poem blaspheme, or did it pose a serious question (or did it blaspheme in posing a serious question)? Does your answer depend on whether you believe in an ALL-PERFECT, ALL-LOVING GOD, a MIGHT-MAKES-RIGHT GOD, or NO GOD at all? How far would you go to try to convince or force (as if belief can be forced) others to believe as you do? Isn’t it sad enough when members of one family can’t agree to disagree, much less the human family writ large? How much longer would you and your god have the world pay the price of religion’s aggressive side?

    Peace, however awkward, be with you on this Good Friday.

     

     

     

     
    • carmen 7:13 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Of course, the answer to your question, “Did my poem blaspheme, or did it pose a serious question (or did it blaspheme in posing a serious question)?” would be a resounding “YES!” to many people . . . those who believe in the myth will be insulted that you would even ask such a thing.
      But for me (having decided a few years ago that the whole thing is nothing more than a comforting ‘tale’ to many) it is a very insightful suggestion to all who read – please do consider the negativity associated with people’s religious beliefs.

      Let’s hope we all don’t get sucked into the great fight over whose invisible (and – I think – imaginary) god is the mightiest. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michaeline 8:07 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Carmen makes a good point in saying our God may be is an invisible God. The ancient Jews rolled up their tents and gathered their other things, put it all on donkeys and headed out for the next oasis. No temples and no statues for them. Just 10 rules to live by and that was it in the beginning. God the Creator is more to my liking as he will not interfere in my life decisions. If I do wrong, there is Yom Kipper to make it right once a year. I live with the knowledge that I have a creative, intelligent mind and I let common sense be my guide .I was a serious Catholic like mistermuse and it was a fairly good experience until my ex divorced me.

        I did not know how vicious gossip among the church going ladies could make my Mother feel so bad. Then I researched many religions and found I liked Reform Judaism the best. It is a fact many millions of people fought and died in religious wars..Maybe that is why my husband and his three brothers are all atheists after being raised as Conservative Jews.

        Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:26 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for your thoughts, Carmen. It seems we both have no problem with religious beliefs per se – but when believing is held to be the same as knowing, each differing belief becomes an absolute, and when absolutes are pitted against each other – well, human nature being what it is, bad things happen, and agreeing to disagree is out of the question (because questioning is anathema to absolutes).

        Like

    • Michaeline 8:18 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I like being a Reform Judaic Jewess. Became one after my studies with the rabbi. No one has all the answers about whether there is a God or not. My husband and his brothers were brought up as sons of a Conservative Jew. Once they grew up, attended college and worked diligently for a living, they became atheists. I like a religion where I can exercise my creative intelligence. I do not think mistermuse is guilty of blasphemy. He is sharing his thoughts and a very well written poem with us, Thank you, mistermuse

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:32 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for your thoughts as well, Michaeline. What I said about respecting the Catholic faithful goes for the Jewish falthful as well, despite my profound differences with their faiths.

        Like

    • Don Frankel 8:35 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Following up on what I was saying about screaming or praying, add writing.

      People are constantly manipulating people. For the greater good, of course. They use religion, politics, pills, potions and whatever they have because of course they are orchestrating the greater good. What is the greater good? That depends on each manipulator’s perception of it.

      As to what is truth? Your guess is as good as mine and anybody else’s. The brain like all the other organs in the body has it’s limitations. It can only do what it does. I don’t think its omniscient although some people think their’s is.

      Like I mentioned to you in the past I was brought up in an atheist household. My wife was a Catholic and because of that I read the Gospels and more than once. If you listen to the things Jesus says, actually says and not the centuries of other people’s interpretations of them, you can’t really go wrong in this life. Which is kind of amazing if you stop to think about it as it’s been a little shy of two thousand years.

      Liked by 1 person

      • carmen 8:42 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I agree to that last bit, Don (and who knows whether Jesus was divine or an apocalyptic preacher of his time?). Unfortunately, the imposter Paul got hold of the ‘gospel’.

        Like

    • Cynthia Jobin 10:33 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      When you know, you do not have to believe. Because you know. You believe things that you do not actually know….you believe the authority, the expert, your own wish for how you want the world to be. In Belief are the seeds of violence. You find yourself needing to defend your belief against the unbelief of others. Other beliefs are an affront to the validity of your belief. You want others to lend greater credence to your belief by believing it along with you. Others may not want to share your belief, they may feel imposed- upon by your belief….this is the rising of conflict. Actuality is all that we know….the rest is silence. And belief.

      I remember–having been raised a Catholic—how we used to keep silent between noon and 3 o’clock on Good Friday. I don’t practice that religion anymore, but I put no label on myself in terms of belief or disbelief. As I accept the impossibility of absolute abstract answers, the same old questions seem to grow dimmer and dimmer and fade into the silence.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 11:05 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Well put, as always, Cynthia. The problem seems to be that, for too many people, there is no difference between believing and knowing….which, ironically, I believe qualifies as ignorance.

        It’s interesting to me that, as I get to know more of my readers better, I’m finding that more of them were once practicing Catholics. I guess, depending on the eye of the beholder, that makes us serious thinkers, or heretics, or feckless, or confused, or lost souls (whatever connotation the beholder puts on “lost soul”). I prefer to think that we’re multi-dimensional. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:38 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Perceptive words, Don. I would only add, “Amen.”

      Like

    • arekhill1 11:15 am on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Anything that ever happened to anybody else can happen to you. That’s the only thing that’s certain here, God, Jesus and Jews notwithstanding. Have a Good Friday every Friday is my motto, and my wishes for you, Sr. Muse and friends.

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 1:35 pm on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Since I retired from gainful employment, Friday is just like every other day — the same with Good Friday since I retired from Catholicism. So I thank you and wish you a good everyday today and every day, Ricardo.

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    • arekhill1 1:37 pm on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Saw on SWI that your sister passed, Sr. Muse. My sympathies.

      Like

    • carmen 3:09 pm on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, Mister Muse – I am sorry to hear of her passing. 😦

      Like

    • mistermuse 7:41 pm on March 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you both. She was 7+ years younger than I, and my only sibling. In this life, it seems that, sooner or later, time makes visitors of us all.

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    • restlessjo 1:27 am on April 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      It’s good to think and question. I don’t do enough of either, being more of a head in the sand lady, but you raise some good points. 🙂 Hope Easter was peaceful for you.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:55 am on April 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you. Perhaps it is just as well not to think and question too much, as we can tie ourselves into knots trying to find answers which are beyond our capacity to find. On the other hand, a guy or gal has to go where a guy or gal has to go, even if we end up back where we started! 🙂

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  • mistermuse 12:00 am on February 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , dogmatism, fanatics, , holy wars, human history, Middle East, Quakers, , secular humanists, tribalism, tribes, ,   

    TRIBES AND TRIBULATIONS 

    tribal, adj. Of the nature of, or relating to, a tribe.
    tribe, n. 1. A unit of sociopolitical organization. 2. A political, ethnic, or ancestral division of ancient states and cultures [such as] a. the three divisions of the ancient Romans. b. the 12 divisions of ancient Israel.
    –Webster’s New College Dictionary

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    If anything seems clear from the seemingly endless wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, it is that tribalism and religion are at the heart of the madness. This is not to suggest that tribalism is confined to the Middle East (far from it), or that other forces haven’t played a part. But buried beneath the overlay of foreign intervention in the region (or meddling, if you prefer) are roots with a “history as old or nearly so as that of humanity itself” –Edward O. Wilson, biologist, naturalist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner.

    In his book THE MEANING OF HUMAN EXISTENCE, Wilson posits that tribalism and religion are inextricably bound together by what he calls “the instinctual force of tribalism in the genesis of religiosity. People deeply need membership in a group, whether religious or secular.” In a chapter titled simply “RELIGION,” Wilson states:

    The great religions are inspired by belief in an incorruptible deity–or multiple deities. Their priests bring solemnity to rites of passage through the cycle of life and death. They sacralize basic tenets of civil and moral law, comfort the afflicted, and take care of the desperately poor. Followers strive to be righteous in the sight of man and God. The churches are centers of community life [and] ultimate refuges against the inequities and tragedies of secular life. They and their ministers make more bearable tyranny, war, starvation, and the worst of natural catastrophes.
    The great religions are also, and tragically, sources of ceaseless and unnecessary suffering. They are impediments to the grasp of reality needed to solve most social problems in the real world. Their exquisitely human flaw is tribalism. It is tribalism, not the moral tenets and humanitarian thought of pure religion, that makes good people do bad things.
    Unfortunately, a religious group defines itself foremost by its creation myths, the supernatural narrative that explains how humans came into existence. This story is also the heart of tribalism. No matter how subtly explained, the core belief assures its members that God favors them above all others. It teaches that members of other religions worship the wrong gods, use wrong rituals, follow false prophets….

    Food for thought — but thought that leaves questions to chew on: if “love makes fools of us all” (to quote Thackeray), does it follow that tribalism makes blind fools of us all? Are we unwitting tribalists to the siren song of political/religious saviors, some of us to the extent of becoming tribal or religious fanatics? Are tribal/religious fanatics born or made (nature vs. nurture)? And, given that all religions are invented by man, does that entitle Wilson to tar them all with the same brush?

    For example, Wilson regards it as a mistake to fold believers of particular religious and dogmatic ideologies into two piles (moderate versus extremist), because “The true cause of hatred and violence is faith versus faith, an outward expression of the ancient instinct of tribalism.”  While that may be true, I question the notion that all religions/tribes wash out equally. For example, in pre-colonial times in North America, there were both peaceful and warlike Native American tribes. And so it is elsewhere. Aren’t secular humanists equally guilty of bad faith who don’t recognize/won’t separate the wheat from the chaff/laissez-faire from doctrinaire? Who and what have incited and fed religious wars and persecutions throughout history? It’s not the likes of the Quakers, nor is it directives from the heavens.

    The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.

     

     

     

     

     
    • Midwestern Plant Girl 8:33 am on February 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      This was a great read!
      I play my drum to a different beat and prefer to not be part of a group or religious. I like to read about these topics tho, as I want to understand it. I don’t feel left out, but sometimes don’t understand why people do things. Maybe it’s my O- blood? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:09 am on February 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you. I concur, but though I don’t seek to be part of a group, there is one group I can’t help belonging to: the human race. In that sense, we’re all in this together, which is why all the ongoing political and religious extreme dogmatism is a plague on all our houses.

        Liked by 2 people

    • arekhill1 1:49 pm on February 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Well put, Sr. Muse, and undoubtedly true. I’m an agnostic myself, thank God.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 2:45 pm on February 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Growing up Catholic put the fear of the Lord in me, Ricardo, so I’m still too chicken to be an agnostic. Some people may think I’m an egghead, so perhaps I’m now an egg-nostic. At least that would solve an age-old question: the chicken came before the egg-nostic.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Todd Duffey Writes on Things 10:06 am on February 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      This is the first blog of yours I’ve read, Mistermuse. I feel like there is a LOT more I will be learning from you! Bravo – you have opened this reader’s eyes to a much broader playing field!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 1:35 pm on February 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks. I usually write in a more creative, humorous vein, but my art-ery takes a serious turn every once in a while. I only post every fifth day, so your eyes shouldn’t get bloodshot from over-learning! 🙂

        Thanks again.

        Like

    • Don Frankel 10:50 am on February 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Good stuff Muse. A little heavy but sometimes we have to do heavy. I haven’t read Wilson so I wouldn’t want to characterize his stuff but if his basic premise is to blame it on Tribalism well it sort of a non-starter for me. It doesn’t matter what the Tribe says or the Government says or even and this may be heresy but even what the Supreme Court says. You make your decisions in this life and then you have to live with them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 1:46 pm on February 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        You make a good point, Don. We tend to think of tribalism as something uncivilized, something they do “over there” — but all you have to do is look at our own politics to see mindless tribal followings (albeit with a modern veneer).

        Liked by 1 person

    • John Looker 2:12 pm on February 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I have a great deal of sympathy with your analysis. Tribalism does appear deep rooted in the human condition — perhaps it is inescapable until societies can find ways of evolving appropriate forms of government. I found myself writing a group of poems on tribal loyalties a year ago. They might not interest you but, just in case, they can be found on my own (poetry) blog at: https://johnstevensjs.wordpress.com/category/looking-at-life-through-work-series/tribal-loyalties/ They also had a place in a book of mine published a year ago, but that’s another story. Congratulations on raising this in a thoughtful way.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 4:01 pm on February 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I appreciate your comment and like your tribal poems, especially THE DAWN RAID. I tend to think that the perversion of tribalism (mindless, dogmatic allegiance to its worst forms), more than tribalism itself, is the main problem….and one (skeptic that I am) that I believe will probably always be with us.

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    • John Looker 5:53 pm on February 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Yes. In any society there is going to be a reassuring sense of belonging to a familiar homogeneous group, but it is dangerous (or perverted as you put it) when there is no imagination about or empathy towards others. Such a pressing issue for our times! Glad you’ve raised it in the manner you do.

      Liked by 1 person

    • linnetmoss 6:29 am on February 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Religion is like science–not evil or good in itself, but depending on the use we make of it. (Although Christopher Hitchens made a pretty comprehensive case against it in “God is not Great.”) IMO science has relieved much more suffering than religion ever did. (And of course has caused its share.) As to tribalism, I don’t see much benefit in it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:11 am on February 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for more “food for thought.”

      I suppose, given that “People deeply need membership in a group, whether religious or secular” (as Edward O. Wilson wrote), one could say the same of tribalism–“not good or evil in itself,” but depending on the ends pursued (and the means used to pursue them). Another thought: how widely or loosely to define, or think of, tribalism. In a sense, fraternities, sororities, sports teams — such as the Cleveland Indians 🙂 — any group banded together for common cause, could be considered tribes.

      I own Hitchens’ GOD IS NOT GREAT, but haven’t read it in a long time — though I’m familiar with his arguments in general. It’s too complex to get into here, but I’ve written a few posts on these things before and will probably do so again.

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    • literaryeyes 1:39 pm on February 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      H.L. Mencken ripped apart the basic foundations of religion in his book, Twilight of the Gods (I think that’s the title, or maybe that’s a movie-I plead senior memory). Religion started early when tribes were the social construct, so it’s plausible they are inextricably and at this time, irrevocably, intermixed. But to put a little humor in, here’s a quote purportedly from Mencken: “For centuries, theologians have been explaining the unknowable in terms of the-not-worth-knowing.” In other words, the improbable, in his opinion. I’m not as pragmatic as Mencken, by far, and believe we have an inherent spiritual nature that’s connected to our physical selves, and possibly to something outside ourselves.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 4:30 pm on February 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Well said. Neither the god(s) of religion, nor the concept of creation without a creator, is convincing to me. To quote from WHY DOES THE WORLD EXIST (by Jim Holt):
      “A scientific explanation must involve some sort of physical cause. But any physical cause is by definition part of the universe to be explained. Thus any purely scientific explanation of the existence of the universe is doomed to be circular. Even if it starts with something very minimal–a cosmic egg, a tiny bit of quantum vacuum, a singularity-it still starts with something, not nothing.”

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    • restlessjo 3:05 am on February 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Sadly, I don’t have an argument. I simply wish it were otherwise, but wishing will never make it so.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 5:03 am on February 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      The good news is that with a creator, there remains the possibility of life after death for us. The bad news is that with a creator so above all the suffering it has deliberately made the lot of its creatures, what would that bode for our next-life relationship with such a creator? Sadly (to say the least), it’s enough to make thinking people careful what they wish for.
      But, for now, I wish for the best for you and everyone reading this.

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  • mistermuse 12:00 am on November 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , lawyers, , November 30, , , punning, , , ,   

    30 NOVEMBER — TO THE SWIFT 

    As 3o days hath the month of November,
    Today marks the end of a month to remember.
    Swift doth the day pass into December,
    Ere the twain shall meet….in a glowing ember.

    The above is my Lilliputian ode to two literary giants who were born on this day: Jonathan Swift  in 1667, Mark Twain in 1835. This post celebrates the former, the latter having been extolled in a post one year ago today (THE UNIVERSAL MARK TWAIN).

    Jonathan Swift’s pièce de résistance, of course, was GULLIVER’S TRAVELS, a book I gobbled up when about 12 years old (in an abridged version for children), and still own. However, at that age I didn’t fully appreciate that it was much more than a grand adventure tale — it’s also a masterpiece of parody and social/political satire, as exemplified by the enmity between the empires of Lilliput and Blefuscu over which end of an egg should be broken first before being eaten — a conflict which put Gulliver in the middle between the Big Endians and the Small Endians. Well, I suppose that makes just as much sense as real people fighting over whose god is the Big Enchilada.

    Let us turn now to three quotations from the unabridged GULLIVER’S TRAVELS:

    Here commences a new dominion acquired with a title by divine right. Ships are sent with the first opportunity; the natives driven out or destroyed; their princes tortured to discover their gold; a free license give to all acts of inhumanity and lust, the earth reeking with the blood of its inhabitants: and this execrable crew of butchers, employed in so pious an expedition, is a modern colony, sent to convert an idolatrous and barbarous people.

    The tiny Lilliputians surmise that Gulliver’s watch may be his god, because it is that which, he admits, he seldom does anything without consulting.

    It is a maxim among these lawyers, that whatever hath been done before may legally be done again: and therefore they take special care to record all the decisions formerly made against common justice and the general reason of mankind. These, under the name of precedents, they produce as authorities, to justify the most iniquitous opinions; and the judges never fail of decreeing accordingly.

    I close with three more Swift quotes, the last of which I intend to inscribe on a club to beat anyone who would disparage my stunning cunning punning:

    When the world has once begun to use us ill, it afterwards continues the same treatment with less scruple or ceremony, as men do to a whore.

    Words are the clothing of our thoughts.

    Punning is a talent which no man affects to despise except he that is without it.

     

    –30–

     

     
    • linnetmoss 7:26 am on November 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      If only there were more authors with the wit of these two! Love the quote about punning 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 1:34 pm on November 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Both seem to have had much in common as to how they viewed their fellow man, though I gather Swift was regarded as even more of a misanthrope than Twain. In any case, is there really much difference between a realist and a misanthrope, other than a matter of degree? 😦 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 7:59 am on November 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      People are ambitious. They come up with rationales as they go or afterwards.

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      • mistermuse 1:47 pm on November 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Right you are, Don — though I wouldn’t confine coming up with rationales just to the ambitious. For example, I have no problem coming up with rationales for being a couch potato on Sundays, because, as I tell my wife, watching football keeps me out of trouble.

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    • arekhill1 10:23 am on November 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Substitute “women” for “eggs” and the passions of the Small Endians regarding the Big Endians become more understandable. Is this what Swift really meant?

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      • mistermuse 2:13 pm on November 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Well, given the Swift quote about how men treat a whore, it appears he was able to put himself in a woman’s place and see things from her viewpoint. He was, after all, a priest in the Church of Ireland (a branch of the Anglican Church), which afforded him somewhat more latitude (in theory) than if he’d been a Catholic priest.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 8:24 pm on November 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      You’re not a Psychopath Muse, who sees people as objects that just need to be swept out of the way on your way to wherever and whatever. Perhaps on the way to the greater good.

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    • mistermuse 12:14 am on December 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Don, I’m probably more of a muse-anthrope — but whatever I am….

      Like

    • Jane 12:54 am on December 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I also loved Gulliver’s Travels as a child (the abridged version). It was only much later in life I understood that there was more to it than a children’s story. I must admit I have never read the unabridged version so thank you for sharing some of it along with your thoughts. Just a comment on abridged versions. I read so many as a child and they were a great way to introduce me gently and enjoyably to many great authors and playwrights. Reading Shakespeare’s plays as a book of stories with pictures as a child was great preparation for being able to understand his works later.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:57 am on December 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I appreciate your comment. I didn’t appreciate Shakespeare until later because I wasn’t “properly” introduced to him as a child. But, as they say, all good things come to those who wait (if you live long enough, which, fortunately, I have).

      Like

    • Outlier Babe 10:50 am on February 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I have read the unabridged version but see I must go back and not only do so again, but again annually or so. Will buy a copy. Hadn’t read “Travels” since college. Decades later, I’m slower–less swift 😉 –but more patient. That makes me smart enough now to read Swift properly.

      (Aspie ego-saving non-sequiter: I was always smart enough to read Twain properly.)

      I like your posts so far, Muse-Man. Maybe I’ll read some more some time. If I’ve got nothin’ better to do.

      –O. Babe

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:15 pm on February 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      That makes two of us, O. Babe, but I hope to read more of your posts sooner rather than….well, as soon as possible after researching, writing and editing my next post on Feb. 10 (I’m cursed with being something of a perfectionist, so it takes me a few days put it all together & get it – hopefully – right).

      Like

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