RHYMES AT RANDOM

In a comment to my last post (CERF’S UP), I raised the possibility of re-publishing several of my poetic baubles from THE RANDOM HOUSE TREASURY OF LIGHT VERSE. Generous soul that I am, suppose I add a bonus of bangles and beads to the baubles….for man does not live by words alone, but with the inspiration of Blyth spirit beautifully begetting beguiling music, without which our Kismet (fate) would be drab indeed:

Yes, my friends, I have rhymes — or, conversely, should I say….

And now, having strung my lead-in out this far / I wish upon a wishing star / to make appear my Random rhymes / from the pages of bygone times. / These rhymes abode in poems four / nothing less and nothing more / but not having used up all my string / I’ll save one of the poems for my next post-ing:

LOVER BOY

Narcissus was too perfect for sex or pelf —
He longed only to gaze in love at himself….
The moral of which is that, even in myths,
Too much reflection may be your nemesis.

THE BOOK OF WISDOM

Thou shalt not commit adultery;
Nor shalt thou covet thy neighbor’s spouse.
Shouldst thou succumbeth to temptation,
Thou shalt not do it in thy neighbor’s house.

CONCEIVABLY, THE COMPLEAT HISTORY OF HUMAN SEX

Adam and Eve,
I believe,
Were the start of it.

Everyone since,
I’m convinced,
Played a part in it.

NOTE: Ann Blyth, who played Marsinah (daughter of The Poet, played by Howard Keel) in the film version of Kismet, is one of the last surviving stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

 

 

HUSBAND APPRECIATION DAY

The third Saturday in April, which happens to be today, is HUSBAND APPRECIATION DAY. Unfortunately (or fortunately, as the case may be), I have but one wife to appreciate me. Not that I’m greedy, you understand, but I can’t help wondering what it would be like having many wives appreciate me — like in such open-minded countries as Afghanistan, where polygamy is a common practice. Speaking of practice, practice may make perfect, but prudence dictates that such things should be checked out before one plunges into it.

Luckily, one has only to turn to Googlepedia to find pertinent reports. For example, a well-educated Imam of Islam, Mohammed Bello Abubakar, was quoted in The Christian Science Monitor and the BBC as saying, “I married 86 women and there is peace in the house — if there is peace, how can this be wrong? A man with ten wives would collapse and die, but my own power is given by Allah. That is why I have been able to control 86 of them.” By the time of his death on January 28 at 92 (years, not wives), he actually had not 86, not 92, but 120 wives, and had fathered 203 children. And I thought I was busy.

But Bello Abubakar was a piker at polygamy compared to that wisest of Old Testament wife hoarders, King Solomon, who is said to have had up to 1,000 wives….not to mention 300 concubines on the side. Apparently, it helps to get religion if one hopes to honey-up and handle hives of wives. Bee that as it may, the problem is that one can’t grab unto just any religion in order to have one’s fill of mates. For example, I was raised Catholic, which is not the most reasonable religion in the world when it comes to conjugal largesse. On top of that — though I am now free of such doctrinaire prohibition — the secular powers-that-be in America maintain equally unenlightened views in marital matters. So you can see what we poor, monogamous men are up against in so-called liberal democracies.

Of course, we could resort to bigamy, but at what cost? It’s a sad state of affairs when you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. But never let it be said that I’m not a broad-minded guy — thus, I call on the following sexpert testimony, which unfortunately (or fortunately, as the case may be) includes no female witnesses:

Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same. –Oscar Wilde

The best argument against bigamy is that it leaves a man no place to hang his clothes. –Evan Esar

Bigamy is the only crime where two rites make a wrong. –Bob Hope

Why a man would want a wife is a mystery to bachelors; why a man would want two wives is a bigamystery. –Evan Esar

Polygamy, n. A house of atonement, fitted with several stools of repentance, as distinguished from monogamy, which has but one.–Ambrose Bierce (The Devil’s Dictionary)

Brigham Young originated mass production [in America], but Henry Ford was the one who improved on it. –Will Rogers

Polygamy: an endeavor to get more out of life than there is in it. –Elbert Hubbard

Every man should have four wives: a Persian, with whom he can converse; a woman from Khorasan, for the housework; a Hindu woman to raise the children; and one from Transoxiana, whom he can beat as a warning to the others. –Mirza Aziz Koka

That last quote seems a bit over the top, I must admit. How could the average person be expected to know where the hell Khorasan and Transoxiana are?

 

MARRIAGE TO A-MUSE

Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution? –Groucho Marx

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My wife and I celebrated our 48th wedding anniversary yesterday. You may think that, unlike the 50th, a 48th wedding anniversary is no big deal — and I wouldn’t disagree. But, being in need of an idea for this post, I wasn’t about to look a gift source in the mouth; thus, yesterday’s anniversary became my inspiration to write about….divorce.

Ha ha — just kidding (my wife might kill me if I were serious). This post will, of course, be about MARRIAGE….a fate which, as fates go, beats being killed (almost) any day. Ha ha ha. Just kidding again! Lest there be any doubt concerning my true feelings about marriage:

Yes, just as in the song, ask the local gentry, and they will say it’s elementary. But why stop with the local gentry? I believe my readers are nothing if not broad minded:

Marriage is the most licentious of human institutions — that is the secret of its popularity. –George Bernard Shaw

Getting married, like getting hanged, is a great deal less dreadful than it has been made out. –H. L. Mencken

It’s no disgrace for a woman to make a mistake in marrying — every woman does it. –Ed Howe

A good marriage would be between a blind wife and a deaf husband. –Michel de Montaigne

Marriage is like paying an endless visit in your worst clothes. –J. B. Priestley

When a man opens a car door for his wife, it’s either a new car or a new wife. –Prince Philip

Marriage is a feminine plot to add to a man’s responsibilities and subtract from his rights. –Evan Esar

Before marriage, a man declares he would lay down his life to serve you; after marriage, he won’t even lay down his paper to talk to you. –Helen Rowland

The majority of husbands remind me of an orangutan trying to play the violin. –Honore de Balzac

I haven’t spoken to my wife in years. I didn’t want to interrupt her. –Rodney Dangerfield

Ha ha ha ha….I mean, Yes, dear — I’m listening. Seriously.

 

ALL’S FARE IN LOVE AND FOUR

With my mind drawing blanks and little time to spare
….as this post comes due, I hope you will bear
with four poems previously published, not saying where….
but near in spirit to my last post’s bill of fare:

LOVER BOY

Narcissus was too perfect for sex or pelf;
He longed only to gaze in love at himself….
The moral of which is that, even in myths,
Too much reflection may be your nemesis.

THE BOOK OF WISDOM

Thou shalt not commit adultery,
Nor shalt thou covet thy neighbor’s spouse.
Shouldst thou succumbeth to temptation,
Thou shalt not covet in thy neighbor’s house.

FAIR WARNING

And so, when wise men say to you
Love’s a game for dreamers and fools….
Buddy, beware
That a lady fair
Doesn’t play by the wise men’s rules.

TREASURE CHEST

\/    Madame’s cleavage so fair; yet
xx    he must pretend not to see;
~~   he knows well the song:
/\    Let it beLet it be.

She may say, if he peeks,
he’s just looking for thrills….
but innocence is a broad, and she
gets There’s ogle in them thar hills.

ROMANCE WASN’T BUILT IN A DAY

To a romantic girl, all roads lead to Romeo. –Evan Esar

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August is ROMANCE AWARENESS MONTH. I’m not sure why a month is needed to raise awareness of romance (a week, or even a day, seems more than sufficient to awaken all but the most world-weary of libidos)….however, if it must take a month, I suppose August will do as well as any other. But then who needs Valentine’s Day  — enough is enough!

That may sound tantamount to telling Cupid to take a hike, but before you Romeos and Juliets go Roman off in a huff, be aware I have nothing against romance so long as it doesn’t get out of hand….which, as it happens, makes the title of my previous post (DON’T LOSE YOUR HEAD) appear as if I’d simultaneously had today’s post in mind. Alas, I am not that far-sighted, but as a killer of two birds with one stone, and as a preview of coming attractions, I must admit the title was prescient (and I assure you that the two birds killed weren’t lovebirds).

Anyway, what can I say about romance that hasn’t already been intimated by many others? Not much, I’m happy to say, because it comports with my creative energy level in these dog days of August. Therefore, I shall turn to those others who have already waxed eloquent about puppy love and the like, and relieve myself of further arduous cogitation:

Love is the emotion that a woman always feels for a poodle, and sometimes for a man. –George Jean Nathan

Romance has been elegantly defined as the offspring of fiction and love. –Disraeli

Marriage is a romance in which the heroine dies in the first chapter. –Cecelia Egan

This guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, Doc, my brother’s crazy! He thinks he’s a chicken. The doc says, Well, why don’t you turn him in? And the guy says, I would but I need the eggs. I guess that’s how I feel about relationships. They’re totally irrational, crazy and absurd, but we keep going through it because we need the eggs. –Woody Allen

Love is like an hourglass, with the heart filling up as the brain empties. –Jules Renard

The realist always falls in love with a girl he has grown up with, the romanticist with a girl from “off somewhere.” –Robert Frost

Fools rush in where bachelors fear to wed. –Evan Esar

Men always want to be a woman’s first love. That is their clumsy vanity. Women have a more subtle instinct: what they like is to be a man’s last romance. –Oscar Wilde

By the time you swear you’re his, shivering and sighing,
And he vows his passion is infinite, undying —
Lady, make a note of this: One of you is lying.

–Dorothy Parker

Nobody will ever win the battle of the sexes. There’s too much fraternizing with the enemy. –Henry Kissinger

In as much as we began this romantic excursion with several punning allusions to Rome, it seems fitting to close with scenes from one of my favorite films, the Audrey Hepburn-Gregory Peck romantic comedy, ROMAN HOLIDAY (1953):

DON’T LOSE YOUR HEAD

What would you do without your head? Well, you might become a candidate for President of the United Horsemen of Sleepy Hollow….or President of the United States of America. Just the thought of the latter naturally points to the strange case of one Donald Trump, a septuagenarian who appears to have a head — but every word emanating from said head makes it apparent that it isn’t a real head, but a cartoon head, with real drawing power.

And here all the Time

Now, it’s possible that Sir Donald, of House of Orange fame, was born with an ordinary human head (hard to picture, but possible). If so, it seems obvious that at some point he irretrievably lost it (perhaps in a naval exercise, or maybe it was told “You’re fired!” when he was an ANT (Apprentice Narcissistic Tycoon). Of course, it would never do for someone of his stature to appear headless (not great for the image), so no doubt he struck a great deal with a great cartoonist to draw a big replacement head on his shoulders that would not only be the envy of every bird seeking a nesting site, but would look great and inspire many tweets in the bargain.

Needless to say, the cartoonist succeeded in creating an artistic wonder, notwithstanding the fact that every time the head said something, it made its bear-er look like an ass. Of course, that’s not the cartoonist’s fault, but Sir Donald blamed him anyway, because that’s what winners do to losers (of everything but heads). Naturally, Sir Donald’s followers drank it up, because everything he says goes down like Dr. Trump’s Original Snake Oil, ‘still-made’ right here in the good old U.S. of A. by Mexican aliens, and guaranteed great for the constitution, for soothing fear, and curing everything that aliens you.

And so, my fellow Americans, the choice is queer (heterosexually speaking). The time is now. Or is it the choice is now and the times are queer? Anyway, if your mind (assuming you haven’t lost your head reading this post) was undecided as to who or whom to vote for at the start of this treatise, I trust that is no longer a problem.

This has been a public service announcement brought to you as a public service. I thank you.

P.S. Thanks also to Wayne Hogan for providing the cartoon which provided the idea for this post. If his name sounds vaguely familiar, another great Wayne’s world classic appears on the cover of my book SEX SCELLS, which I seem to recall a few of you buying under duress way back when (and of which I just happen to have some leftover copies, in case anyone’s interested).

FACING THE SERIOUS STUFF

Blessed is he who takes himself seriously, for he shall create much amusement. –Strictland Gillian

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Picking up from my last post, this post will re-print selected serious parts of old clippings left hanging on July 15. If you’re still into that post’s humor act, this character (actor) should help set the stage for transitioning from reacting like this  😀 to reacting like this.

Now that the appropriate mood has been established, I trust that you are in a frame of mind to engage in some serious Trump-like introspection as you consider the following. It’s going to be great, believe me:

No matter how many prayers uttered, no mater how many [guns fired] or coffins draped, a nation cannot heal itself without self-awareness. We seem not to want to recognize that we are the problem. –Kathleen Parker

We learn not from what we know, but from what we don’t know. — T. C. Collins

What is it in the American character that squirms in the presence of eloquence, that revels in barroom disdain for brainpower? The irony is that this country was founded by intellectuals, the Constitution written by men enlightened by the top thinkers of the day. We’ve gone from Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton to [Donald Trump*] and Dan Quayle. What happened? –Joe Robinson  *my proxy for a long-forgotten senator 

Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups. –John Kenneth Galbraith

There is still another reason to grant literature an important place in the life of nations. Without it, the critical mind, which is the real engine of historical change and the best protector of liberty, would suffer an irreparable loss. This is because all good literature poses radical questions about the world in which we live. –Mario Vargas Llosa

What is woman’s basic physical metaphor? It is mystery, the hidden. Psychoanalyst Karen Horney speaks of a girl’s inability to see her genitals and a boy’s ability to see his as the source of female subjectivity and male objectivity. The female body’s unbearable hiddenness applies to all aspects of men’s dealings with women. Mystery shrouds woman’s sexuality. This mystery is the main reason for the imprisonment man has imposed on woman. Modern feminism’s most naïve formulation is its assertion that rape is a crime of violence but not of sex, that it is merely power masquerading as sex. But sex is power, and power is inherently aggressive. Rape is male power fighting female power. It is no more to be excused than murder or any other assault on another’s civil rights. Society is woman’s protection against rape, not, as some feminists absurdly maintain, the cause of rape. Whenever social controls are weakened, as in war or mob rule, even civilized men behave in uncivilized ways. Sex crimes are always male, never female, because such crimes are conceptualized assaults on the unreachable omnipotence of woman and nature. –Harper’s Magazine, May 1990

The great physicist Hans Bethe said, “Well, I come down in the morning and I take up a pencil and I try to think.”  It’s a notion that appears to have gone the way of the rotary phone. Americans not only seem to be doing less serious thinking lately, they seem to have less and less tolerance for those who spend time wrestling with important and complex matters. If you can’t say it in 30 seconds, you have to move on. Donald Trump (“You’re fired!”) and Paris Hilton (“That’s hot!”) are cultural icons. Ignorance is in. —Bob Herbert, Feb. 2005

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There are more clippings where those excerpts came from, but the above should be enough to chew on for a while. If you like to fantasize, perhaps a few of these topics will be raised in the upcoming Presidential debates, as I’m sure The Donald would be more than delighted to discuss his views on such matters in depth — not that his supporters (or even the average American) seem to believe the capacity to think in-depth is an asset of any particular value for a President.

A penny for your thoughts?