NO BRAINER DAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

A READER WANTS TO KNOW….

THE ART OF THE REAL

“Would you explain your writing to me?”
“Certainly — I write what I see.”

“So, what you see is what you say?”
“In my mind, I see it that way.”

“But things aren’t always what they seem.”
“In that case, I write what I dream.”

“Pray, how to tell the two apart?”
“Some might say, therein’s the art.”

“Then, that’s the art — to part the two?”
“No, that’s the part that’s up to you.”

“Up to me? But you’re the writer!”
“Truth be told, aren’t you the decider?”

 

CERF’S UP

In his comment to 20/20 BEHINDSIGHT (my May 20 post which contained a look back at TWENTY QUESTIONS), long-time blog buddy Don Frankel mentioned WHAT’S MY LINE? (another old TV game show). It so happens that one of the regulars on that show, humor writer and publisher (co-founder of RANDOM HOUSE) Bennett Cerf had chosen the 25th of May (1898) to be born; thus, today I honor his birthday by posting a selection of favorite Cerf puns and quotes (and high time I returned the favor, considering that lo, some twenty-plus years ago, RANDOM HOUSE published several of my poems in THE RANDOM HOUSE TREASURY OF LIGHT VERSE).

But first, let’s take a look back at one of the WHAT’S MY LINE? programs from the same year as the TWENTY QUESTIONS clip shown in my previous post:

There is little question, I think you’ll agree, that WHAT’S MY LINE? was a step up in class compared to TWENTY QUESTIONS…..so it’s time to hit the Cerf (as beach bums refer to the swells) and ride the wave….to wit:

Gross ignorance is 144 times worse than ordinary ignorance.

The confused young man couldn’t decide whether to marry Kathryn or Edith. Try as he might, he just could not make up his mind. Unwilling to give up either, he strung them along far too long. This indecision continued until both women tired of the situation and left him for good. Moral of the story: You can’t have your Kate and Edith too.

Then there was the young female comic who was promised good roles in a hit TV show. All she had to do was divide her favors between the star and the producer. But it was just a sham; she never got any air time at all. You might even say she was….shared skit less.

There once was a student named Bessor
Whose knowledge grew lesser and lesser.
It at last grew so small
He knew nothing at all
And today he’s a college professor.

The Detroit String Quartet played Brahms last night. Brahms lost.

I shouldn’t be surprised  — it was four against one.

And on that note, I bid thee a fond fare well.

 

 

 

SPRING CLINGING

There’s something bad in everything good: when spring comes, can spring cleaning be far behind? — Evan Esar

Spring has come, but in my sequestered domain, this doesn’t mean spring cleaning must follow. Though my closets be crammed and my drawers be loaded — make that cluttered — I’ll have no problem leaving spring cleaning far behind (even if others stink otherwise).

Now, I’m not saying that spring cleaning doesn’t have its place. For example, it might be worth the bother if you’re young and in love:

Speaking of “young love,” how old do you think the above song is? If you guessed it dates back to the ‘Golden Age’ of popular music (1920s, 30s, 40s), welcome to one of my happy places. If you’re thinking I’m clinging to the best of those romantic old songs out of naught but nostalgia, nothing could be further from the youth — my guileless youth that Father Time gradually re-placed. But suppose the mature me were unable to relate to the ever-young work of, say, Twain, Stevenson and Swift — it wouldn’t be that their writing has become outdated.  I would simply have lost the capacity to appreciate its timelessness.

In like manner, whether it be seen as ‘gilding the lily’ of youth or burnishing the harmony of maturity, I still think of the oldies as younger than springtime….and on that note, I’ll tune out:

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF QUOTING ERNEST

Did you fathom that the title of my last post (THE OLD MAN AND THE SEASON) was a play on Ernest Hemingway’s last completed novel, THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA? Because that post was about aging and autumn, perhaps I was remiss in not including a Hemingway quote (such as the first one below) among those I gathered for the occasion.

This post will attempt to make up for that shortfall with a selection of Hemingway quotes, starting with this autumn-appropriate eulogy he wrote for a friend:

Best of all he loved the fall/the leaves yellow on cottonwoods/leaves floating on trout streams/and above the hills/the high blue windless skies./Now he will be part of them forever.

For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.

The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.

There is nothing to writing. All you have to do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. 

When you go to war as a boy, you have a great illusion of immortality. Other people get killed, not you… Then, when you are badly wounded, you lose that illusion, and you know it can happen to you.

In modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.

True nobility is being superior to your former self.

No weapon has ever settled a moral problem. 

Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.

There is no lonelier man, except the suicide, than that man who has lived with a good wife and then outlived her. If two people love each other, there can be no happy end to it.

But hold on — happy or not, this isn’t the end. The title of this post is another play on words, this being Oscar Wilde’s peerless comedy of manners titled THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST….a parody of Victorian age social standing previewed in this trailer for the 1952 film (not to be confused with the inferior 2002 remake) of the Wilde play:

Now (as the movie says when it’s over) this is THE END

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Mistermuse: A Birthday Tribute

On this day, *ahem* years ago, mistermuse (aka my dad) was born. And so to mark this auspicious occasion, I have compiled a list of little known facts about his life. There are many things we already know about mistermuse – he’s a reader, writer, thinker, jazz aficionado and classic movie buff, and today, in honor of his birthday, here are ten things you didn’t know about the man who aMUSEs us all!

  1. His grandfather came from County Clare, Ireland and could “talk the blarney”. Perhaps this is where mistermuse got his way with words.
  2. As a boy he traded his set of original Superman comics for a BB gun. At least he didn’t shoot his eye out!
  3. He worked for the same company his entire career, starting out in the mailroom and working his way up. How many can say that today?
  4. He met my mom through a “computer dating service” – a newfangled thing in the 60’s. His first matches weren’t so hot and he was going to give up the experiment after his sixth and last match. Thank goodness my mom was the sixth and not the seventh!
  5. When I was five years old he brought home a pet for the family in a cardboard box – no, it wasn’t a puppy, it was a duckling! For the next ten years we had a duck waddling around in our suburban backyard.
  6. In his travels, mistermuse has visited eight countries (Canada, Mexico, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland), all fifty US states, and has taken pictures of covered bridges in every state that had one.
  7. He retired at age 50 with a nice early retirement package and then worked for a couple of years as a building security guard. His favorite part of that job was getting to watch TV while working.
  8. Mistermuse has a sneeze with a decibel level high enough to set off our doorbell sensor. Thankfully, he has not yet blown down the house.
  9. He was always a devoted son and cared for his mother for the last 11 years of her life while she lived with our family.
  10. He is the best dad I could ever ask for. 🙂

So now you know ten more things about mistermuse than you did before and I hope you all enjoyed reading it too.

And finally,

Happy Birthday, Dad!

As poet I can’t compare – your wit’s sharpened on a strop,
but if Daddy I’m the bottom, you’re the top!

TITLES FOR BARE NAKED POEMS

Words should be only the clothes, carefully custom-made to fit the thought. –Jules Renard

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With the above in mind, I have tailored the following titles to fit a dozen poems fashioned to stir your imagination. WARNING: These poems may drive you stir crazy; do not take too literally.

WHITE OUT

I THOUGHT ABOUT EWE*

SILENCE OF THE LAMBS

EASY WRITER

THIS IS A PIECE OF CAKE

THE ICING ON THE CAKE

POETIC SUBSTANCE ABUSE

BLACK AND….

SNOW JOB IN SIBERIA

DRAWING A BLANK

SHAKESPEARE’S WORK BY BACON

LOVE’S LABOR#

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#The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.
–G. K. Chesterton

*In coming up with this title, I thought about this Johnny Mercer song: