Updates from April, 2016 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • mistermuse 12:01 am on April 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , commercialization, , , , Napoleon Bonaparte, , , , , , , ,   

    HUMOR INCORPORATED 

    Humor must both teach and preach if it would live forever; by forever, I mean 30 years.
    –Mark Twain

    If Webster’s definition of humor as the “quality of imagination quick to perceive the ludicrous or express itself in an amusing way” is on the mark, Twain underestimated the staying power of his humor by nigh onto 100 years (and counting). But “staying” is just one of humor’s possible powers, and because (as Lord Acton famously observed) power tends to corrupt, humor cannot absolutely avoid Acton’s axiom.

    My musing on this subject is occasioned by April being National Humor Month — so proclaimed in 1976 by Larry Wilde, Founder/Director of The Carmel Institute of Humor: http://www.larrywilde.com/

    As you might expect, The Carmel Institute of Humor is not without serious competition. A similar entity I’ve come across is The Humor Project, Inc., founded by Joel Goodman in 1977 “as the first organization in the world to focus full-time on the positive power of humor” — a claim that suggests a merger of Norman Vincent Peale’s “The Power of Positive Thinking” with funny business. And, from such appealing funny businesses as Goodman’s, have big businesses grown (judging by their “power” promotions): https://www.humorproject.com/

    Now, far be it from me to regard the corporatizing of humor as a phony business — hey, there are worse things to make of humor than a commodity, and worse ways to earn a buck than to commercialize the process. But, purist that I am, I see making humor in the same light as making love: much to be preferred on a human level than as an industry (the virtues of consumer capitalism notwithstanding). Nonetheless, I’m not so doctrinaire as to deny either humor or sex to potential customers when free(?) enterprise comes a-courting.

    Unlike Larry Wilde and Joel Goodman, mistermuse does not have a Speaker’s Bureau, a three-day Annual Conference (discounted fee for early registration), a five-point humor program, seminars or workshops. But mistermuse does offer an every-five-days discourse on subjects of interest (his, if not yours) — usually with tongue in cheek, and never with hat in hand. Dis course today concludes with ten humorous quotes, which come with a funny-back guarantee if he doesn’t think they’re priceless:

    Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same.Oscar Wilde (not to be confused with Larry – or Curly or Moe, for that matter)
    Conference: a meeting held to decide when the next meeting will take place. –Evan Esar
    You can’t study comedy; it’s within you. –Don Rickles (the Donald Trump of insult-comics)
    Start every day off with a smile and get it over with. –W.C. Fields
    Everything is funny, as long as it’s happening to somebody else. –Will Rogers
    Culture is roughly anything we do and monkeys don’t. –Lord Raglan
    In politics, an absurdity is not a handicap. –Napoleon Bonesapart (I’ve been waiting a long time for the opportunity to butcher that name)
    Politicians do more funny things naturally than I can think of doing purposely. –Will Rogers
    Humor is just another defense against the universe. –Mel Brooks
    Wit – the salt with which the American humorist spoils his intellectual cookery by leaving it out. –Ambrose Bierce

    Over, and out.

     

     
    • Cynthia Jobin 9:52 am on April 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Why do some people have to ruin the best things in life by turning them into a National Month or an institution/organization of some sort? I thoroughly enjoyed this post, and being partial to the more sardonic (sarcastic? satirical?) edges of humor, was glad to see some of my favorites featured…Oscar Wilde, W.C. Fields, Ambrose Bierce, and of course, Mark Twain.
      On the distaff side, one of my favorites is Dorothy Parker. I offer this bon mot of hers when she was hanging out with her fellow wits challenging each other to compose a funny sentence using the word “horticulture”….Parker’s contribution was: “You can lead a horticulture but you can’t make her think.”

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 10:28 am on April 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I love Dorothy Parker’s wit and probably should have included a Parker quote, but I’d set myself a limit of ten and liked the ten I’d chosen (plus, I think I already used that great quote before, though it certainly would’ve fit well here, and I thank you for offering it).

      To me, the quote that surprised me the most (in that I didn’t expect such profundity from the likes of Mel Brooks – what’s more, in so few words) was his “Humor is just another defense against the universe.”

      Liked by 2 people

    • D. Wallace Peach 11:03 am on April 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I like the Rickles quote. Well, I like all of them, but that one has always struck me as true. I would love to be funny, but just don’t have the gene. Fortunately, we don’t have to be funny ourselves to enjoy good wit and a belly laugh 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 12:13 pm on April 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Fat people take heart – the bigger the belly, the more capacity to laugh! No wonder Santa Claus is so jolly! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 11:09 am on April 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Humor is what separates humans from animals. That, and making tools. And not being afraid of vacuum cleaners.

      Like

      • mistermuse 12:21 pm on April 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Such separation is fortunate indeed, otherwise animals would be laughing themselves silly at what fools we humans be.

        Like

    • Garfield Hug 11:26 am on April 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Great share 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 12:23 pm on April 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Share and share a like, I always say. 🙂

      Like

    • Michaeline Montezinos 8:42 pm on April 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      One good belly laugh extends human life by one year ( My daughter the nurse .)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Todd Duffey Writes on Things 11:21 am on April 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Why do witticisms always come from people at least two generations before ours? Those people were way ahead of their time…

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 2:06 pm on April 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      As one of those people born more than two generations before this one, I thank you for the tribute. 🙂 Seriously, though, I think there still are such people – they just don’t get the recognition they did in the days before mass instant gratification “re-conditioned” us and became the norm. Wit demands at least a bit of reflection. Who does that anymore?

      Like

    • Don Frankel 11:30 am on April 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      “Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.” Mark Twain. My hero.

      Like

    • mistermuse 6:30 pm on April 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Don, I would stand corrected if I didn’t happen to agree (well, except for politicians – they’ve been withstanding the assault of laughter since most of them evolved from baboons).

      Like

    • Don Frankel 7:03 am on April 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      No Muse you’re right. Laughing at elected officials is actually a healthy sign of a society and poking fun is a good thing too. But when they are cooked and ushered off the stage laughter is the last thing they hear. Think Anthony Weiner here and Nixon too.

      Like

    • mistermuse 7:42 am on April 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Good point, Don. We in the West take our freedom to laugh at politicians for granted. Any North Korean who dared so much as think about laughing at President Kim Jung-un wouldn’t live to think again.

      Like

  • mistermuse 12:01 am on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: attitude, , , coping, drudgery, early retirement, human relations, , , jobs, lost souls, unemployment benefits,   

    TAKE THIS JOB AND CAN IT! 

    And to think that you can turn on the television any hour of any day and find a politician railing against the outsourcing of these manufacturing jobs, as if this is any great loss at all. The outsourcing hasn’t gone nearly far enough if you ask me; we should be outsourcing these factories to the ninth circle of hell, outsourcing them into oblivion! It’s not work fit for a human being….  —Franklin Schneider

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

    If you think my last post featured jobs that stink — stink again. Franklin Schneider, author of CANNED (subtitled How I Lost Ten Jobs in Ten Years and Learned to Love Unemployment) has held every type of job — briefly. He’s detasseled corn in Iowa, served time at a doomed Internet start-up, and for one shining moment became the “Most Successful Telemarketer in America.” But his search for a fairly compensated, fulfilling position free of pointless drudgery taught him one thing: Such a job does not exist. And if it did, his boss would  probably be an a**hole [quoted from back cover].

    CANNED is a book with an attitude you’ll probably either loathe or relate to. As I read it, I found myself doing a bit of both, because, although Schneider tells it like he sees it, I was left feeling — well, more or less like a combination of these reviews/reviewers:

    “For the majority of you reading Canned, a feeling of contempt will wash over you toward the writer for exemplifying the worst in Americans. Others will read these words and show some form of remorse for the author and his ill-conceived notions as to what he is ‘entitled’ [collecting unemployment benefits while deliberately ducking work]. In either respect, I am sure that every one who is not a Marxist can agree, Franklin Schneider is the type of person this country can do without.” –Charles Signorile

    “[It’s] a caustic celebration of the loser life, a ranting jeremiad against the working world and all its slavish pieties. It’s like watching Thoreau hand out tokens at the mall arcade, Melville grind his teeth in an Aeron chair at a media portal startup, or Bukowski lose his mind in an MCI telemarketing carrel: a twisted kind of fun.” –Tom Lutz

    “Franklin Schneider’s writing is smart, energetic, funny, illuminating, outrageous, painful (in the best possible way), quirky, distinctive and wildly entertaining.” –Josh Emmons

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

    I view CANNED in the broader context of a roiling world of differing individuals, groups and classes who can’t put themselves in the other guy’s place, unable (or averse) to consider there may be a happier way to run a steamboat. The late comedienne Joan Rivers put it like this: “Can we talk?” The answer: Apparently not really (unless by “talk,” is meant moving our lips and making sounds). No wonder many of us just don’t “get it.” Sometimes it seems that only kids make allowances.

    Like fellow lost-soul Schneider, I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was young. Unlike him, I wound up falling into a thirty year career with one company while I “found myself.” It was a career in which I take neither great pride nor lasting prejudice (in other words, I worked to live, not lived to work), from which I was able to retire early and end up doing what I came to want to do. Was it worth putting up with all the “slavish pieties” one must observe along the way? Given the cards we’re dealt, I never felt as if I had a choice.

    It’s easy to envy those who have the good fortune to earn a living doing what they love to do, but even some of them go off the deep end, unable to cope. For the everyone else of us, Franklin Schneider cites this quote: This is how the hero of our time must be. He will be characterized either by decisive inaction, or else by futile activity.* Perhaps so. In any case, I rest his case.

    *from A Hero of Our Time, by Mikhail Lermontov

    P.S. And what was it “I came to want to do?” Well, since you asked:

    http://www.gocomics.com/pearlsbeforeswine/2016/01/24

     

     
    • Midwestern Plant Girl 6:53 am on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I may have to read this book! I work to live right now, but would love to live for work. .. with the right job. I have never been on unemployment b4, but wouldn’t be ashamed to be now. I want to take classes to change careers, but have no time to go while working! Catch 22. 😯
      I need to change the way I feel about responsibility… why feel guilty about changing jobs when this is my life and I have only a short time to enjoy it!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Don Frankel 9:01 am on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      My 25 year career as a Civil Servant was at times exhilarating, challenging, boring, annoying, stressful, boring, fun and did I say boring? But it was, well, life.

      The best thing is to own your own business which I got to do as well. Now, I follow my passion.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:33 am on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        As the pig said in the PEARLS BEFORE SWINE comic strip, “BEING LAZY IS NOT A PASSION!” (Just kidding, Don — I couldn’t resist!) 🙂

        Like

    • arekhill1 10:36 am on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Still working here. Never been on unemployment, disability or workman’s comp in my life. Find time to write, too, in addition to carving out time to sit on the couch and drink beer. How does it all get done? Saving time by skipping personal pronouns helps.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 11:09 am on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Couldn’t have said it better myself.

      Like

    • literaryeyes 12:06 pm on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      This is a subject we don’t want to talk about, but many people are stuck in drudgery, and even worse, what they do has no lasting positive value. Most know it, but it’s easier to say, I’m doing it for my family, and I’ll “live” outside work. I love that you quoted Lermontov’s A Hero of our Time (some say a precursor to The Stranger); he was WAY ahead of his time. Worthwhile occupation may not bring you the same monetary compensation, but what is your sanity worth? I made little money doing what I believed was helpful to others, and in the process have a wealth of experience (if I modestly may say so!).

      Liked by 1 person

    • Michaeline Montezinos 12:16 pm on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Worked and or went to school from the age of 6. Schooling is work where you can only learn what your professor teaches. Finally had time to sit on the couch with my fourth daughter and loved every messy minute spent having babies and watching them grow. Not sure if marriage falls into any one of these categories . Maybe it has a passionate beginning and then the work begins. But it is a career you must want to pursue without selfishness and with devotion to responsibility. So I finally married the man who inspires me to do both.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 1:05 pm on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I can think of no job more important than being a stay-at-home mom (or dad, for that matter), but of course, that depends on the family financial situation and requirements (which shouldn’t put acquiring luxuries ahead of giving one’s kids the love, time and attention they need).

      Like

    • Todd Duffey Writes on Things 6:21 pm on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Hear hear! I’ve been an actor in cult films and TV shows, and yet I’ve also been on the government teat. If you’ve ever found something you absolutely love to do, nothing else will bring you the satisfaction of that thing. To those who haven’t found it, the point is moot. To those who have, they tax us for just such the occasion that, should we need it, it is there. Not to live off of. Simply to get us to the next opportunity.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:34 pm on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Wouldn’t it be heaven if everyone could earn a living doing what they love to do, whether it be digging ditches, writing the Great American or Great Armenian Novel, or sitting on the couch drinking beer (preferably craft beer). With all the promises politicians make, I don’t know why no candidate has promised that.

        Liked by 1 person

    • moorezart 6:27 pm on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:01 am on January 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: affluenza, dialect, , DUI, English, etymology, , , Pluto, , truthiness, Word of the Year,   

    SO, WHAT’S THE GOOD WORD? 

    Good question — and one we rarely hear nowadays. According to wordorigins.org, the title question “was popular back in the 40s and 50s but, like so many other things, it was obliterated by the 60s.” I bring this up now because, as it happens, the annual conference (Jan 7-10) of the American Dialect Society is shutting down (and up) today, and is announcing the 2015 Word of the Year. Here are the winners for the past decade:

    2005 – truthiness  2010 – app
    2006 – plutoed       2011 – occupy
    2007 – subprime    2012 – hashtag
    2008 – bailout        2013 – because
    2009 – tweet           2014 – #blacklivesmatter

    Speaking of American Dialect (or any other English language dialect) reminds me of what eminent Professor Henry Higgins had to say about it:

    Looking over those past Word of the Year winners, the one that, for me, caused pause was 2006’s “plutoed” — until I remembered that Pluto was down-graded by astronomers from a planet to a dwarf planet, or plutoid. Prediction: the 2016 Word of the Year winner will be “trumpoed,” in the expectation that planet Trump will be found to be little more than a gaseous bag of hot air, or trumpoid.

    But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. My nomination for 2015 Word of the Year is “affluenza,” the social disease (diagnosed as such by eminent shrinkologist, Dr. Don Frankel) which results from being spoiled by affluent parents who raise their kids in a values-vacuum….as in the case of the 16-year old who killed four people while DUI and was put on probation instead of being spanked….and then left the country with the help of his momma. I know — it’s not funny. It’s serious business….as if humor has no business being serious, even if it makes one think.

    If you (or some other brilliant person) were to ask me, I think I’d propose a sub-category for Humorous Word of the Year (not that some previous Word of the Year winners lacked humor, like 2005’s truthiness). Surely, my fellow nasal gazers, you don’t doubt that such words as booger would have been worthy contenders in the past….not to mention weenie, kumquat and odiferous.

    Speaking of reeking of serious humor, I nominate the class noun “etymology” for the proverbial last word :

    Online Etymology Dictionary – humor

     

     

     
    • ladysighs 9:43 am on January 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I’m still stuck in the 1900s. 😦 Don’t even recognize English anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:26 am on January 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Likewise. I’m still stuck in the 1900s too (the mid-1900s). 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • ladysighs 11:36 am on January 10, 2016 Permalink

          I know I’ll never see mid 2000.
          I have begun scheduling my posts …. just in case…. 😦
          I think I’ll schedule a few for Aug. 8, 2040. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

    • arekhill1 11:02 am on January 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Affluenza it is, Sr. Muse, especially since “trump” was already a word long before the Donald arose to plague us.

      Like

    • mistermuse 11:47 am on January 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      If Republicans don’t come to their senses before giving America their choice for next President, the 2016 Word of the Year may be “DONkey-konged.” 😦

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 12:14 pm on January 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Ladysighs, I’m beginning to doubt that the WORLD will see mid 2000….but if it does, I hope it appreciates what you’re scheduling. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Cynthia Jobin 12:24 pm on January 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Is “awesome” dead yet?

      Liked by 1 person

      • rielyn 1:16 pm on January 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Awesome is totally not dead! In fact, if you think something is really awesome you can call it “awesomesauce”. I thought I was more qualified to answer this than my dad (mistermuse) since he does not speak 80’s or internet speak. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • literaryeyes 4:53 pm on January 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Awesome is still in vogue, as are cool and dope.

        Like

    • mistermuse 3:54 pm on January 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for coming to my rescue, My Fair Lady (& daughter) — after all, if Sir Galahad could save maidens in distress, why shouldn’t a fair maiden save a latter-day Sir Galahad (mistermuse)?
      Awesomesauce! 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

    • Don Frankel 9:45 am on January 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Well I vote for affluenza as well since Dr. Don is a close personal friend of mine.

      I do believe that Mr. Higgins would figure out where I was from in about 3 words or less.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:46 am on January 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I’d like to see Higgins figure out where Helen Keller was from! (Harpo Marx too, though he could speak – just not on film.) 🙂

      Like

    • literaryeyes 4:55 pm on January 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Because? Was I “totally” asleep in 2013? Whatever happened to “whatever”?

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 5:51 pm on January 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Beats me. I don’t recall the word “because” being cool in 2013….maybe “because” I’ve been too old to know what’s cool since about 1960. Whatever.

        Like

    • moorezart 5:34 pm on January 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 5:55 pm on January 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you very much. I should do some re-blogging myself, but I’m not cool enough technology-wise to know how to do it.

      Like

    • Don Frankel 8:55 pm on January 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      If my feeble memory serves me right, I do believe that Harpo said a word once. It was at the end of a scene or the whole movie. I could be wrong.

      Like

    • mistermuse 10:26 pm on January 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      According to Wikipedia, Harpo only “spoke” once on film, and that was in a silent movie in 1925 in which the audience saw his lips move and saw the words on a title card.

      I’m glad you made me curious enough to check it out, Don, because I didn’t know that.

      Like

    • scifihammy 8:22 am on January 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I love words – and like Affluenza! 🙂
      But I do have a bit of a problem with American English – because, as Henry Higgins says, “In America they haven’t used it (English) in years!” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:08 am on January 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I love that scene in MY FAIR LADY – in fact, the whole movie is great (though I haven’t seen it in years)! 🙂

      Like

    • hooklineandinkwell 6:03 pm on January 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      This is grade A writing…okay, it’s A++..one of the benefits of living in a remote fishing village in Newfoundland, is that we still use words and phrases that were brought here some four hundred years ago, though we’ve managed to learn a few new ones 🙂 I love the words you have selected and I hope for America’s (and the world’s) sake, that Trumpoed will come to refer to any politician who is run out off the planet – perhaps used in place of monkeys they senftinto space during test flights. Do they still do that?

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:56 pm on January 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you, F. T. American politics has gotten so screwed up that it’s like the proverbial inmates running the asylum, and too many voters want simplistic answers to intractable problems of which they themselves are often the cause. We’ve been down this road before with “My way or the highway” attitudes, but not this far down in a long time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • hooklineandinkwell 4:01 am on January 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        You are welcome, mistermuse. Ain’t this the truth!

        Liked by 1 person

    • RMW 12:19 pm on January 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting that “bailout” followed “subprime”…. we never learn from our mistakes… at least the financial institutions don’t. I have a rather mixed accent which seems to change with the time of day… and watching the video clip reminded me of the time a self-described linguist was adamant that I was from Brooklyn… he would not believe the origin of my accent was England! Most people guess Boston or Australia… don’t ask!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 2:45 pm on January 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      RWW, I’m sure you’re lovable in any language….or accent! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Outlier Babe 11:06 am on February 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Peachy post!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:55 pm on February 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Kumquaty too! 🙂

      Like

  • 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.

      Like

      • 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.

        Like

    • 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?

      Like

      • 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.

      Like

    • 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

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on November 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Blackbeard, coffee breaks, , fifteen minutes of fame, , , , pirates, , , , Treasure Island   

    15 THINGS 15 IS FAMOUS FOR 

    There is nothing I like more than a challenge (well, there is probably something I like more, but I needed a lead-in). After my posts “FIVE DAYS HATH NOVEMBER” on Nov. 5 and “TEN” on Nov. 10, it occurred to me to keep the gambit going with a “FIFTEEN” post on Nov. 15. However, other than the famous “Everyone will be famous for 15 minutes,” it’s hard to figure what else 15 is iconic for that I could build a post around. So I challenged myself to compile a list of 15 famous fifteens, knowing that although most of what I come up with may not yet be famous, the mere mention of them here will make them so — thanks to you, my many adoring readers and viral instigators.

    Without further ado, then, here are 15 things that 15 has been (or soon will be) famous for:

    1.  15 minutes of fame
    2.  15 minute coffee breaks
    3.  15 humble politicians (coming soon to a universe near you)
    4.  15 days of darkness beginning, coincidentally, Nov. 15 (another of those social media apocalyptic rumors, apparently started by someone who had been out in the sun too long)
    5.  15 gun salute (for credentials rated six guns beneath the warranting of a 21 gun salute)
    6.  15 things that look like Donald Trump:
    http://onemorepost.com/donald-trump-hair-look-alikes/
    7.  15 flavors of prunes
    8.  15 minutes of unforgiving flatulence
    9.  15 temptations (Satan’s answer to God’s 15 Commandments, of which Moses dropped five, while Satan’s temptations have multiplied like wildfire)
    10. Etcetera
    11. And so forth
    12. And so on
    13. And the like
    14. Whatever
    15. Last but lust, pure gold — this 15 from Robert Louis Stevenson’s TREASURE ISLAND:

    NOTE: The Dead Man’s Chest referenced in the song is DEAD CHEST ISLAND (aka DEAD MAN’S CHEST ISLAND), a small, uninhabited island in the British Virgin Islands. The pirate known as “Blackbeard” is said to have punished his mutinous crew by marooning them on the island, each with a cutlass and a bottle of rum, with the expectation that they would kill each other. But when he returned after 30 days, he found that 15 had survived; thus —

    Fifteen men on the Dead Man’s Chest–
    Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
    Drink and the devil had done for the rest
    Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!

    Robert Louis Stevenson, by the way, was born on November 13, 1850 — two days shy of coming to this post on his 165th birthday….a shortcoming for which I absolve posthaste the author of such admired works as the STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, KIDNAPPED, and TREASURE ISLAND.

    ADDENDUM: I was writing the first draft of this post when I heard of the terrorist attacks in Paris. To my friends/readers in France, may I express solidarité. In the aftermath, humor can seem out of place — but life marches on through (and past) the madness that does not know how to laugh. We cry at the mindlessness of it all, but we are human; we will laugh again….and we’ll always have Paris.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     
    • arekhill1 10:47 am on November 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Is that fifteen minutes of flatulence really unforgiving? Shouldn’t it be unforgivable? Or possibly unforgettable?

      Like

    • mistermuse 11:31 am on November 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Definitely unforgettable, but also unforgiving, in the sense that 15 minutes of hiccups is unforgiving if you can’t stop doing it. Unforgivable? Only if the 15 minutes of flatulence and hiccups are simultaneous.

      Like

    • Tosha Michelle 8:54 pm on November 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      15 minutes of my life i can never get back. I’m a slow reader. I’m kidding. I enjoyed this post immensely. Here’s looking at you, kid.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 9:00 pm on November 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      15 minutes are the amount of time in one quarter of a football game. 15 is also the number worn by Yankees Thurman Munson and Tom Tresh. 15 in French is Quinz. In Rugby 15 is the number of players on the field at any given time. And, why I don’t know but a whole lot of Jewish holidays are on the 15th.

      Like

    • mistermuse 12:35 am on November 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Don, I must admit I should’ve included the 15 minute quarters in a football game, but I have a good excuse — I didn’t think of it.

      Like

    • Mél@nie 2:31 am on November 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      1st of all: I thank you for “la Marseillaise”… ❤ Paris has always been THE symbol of FREEDOM – by definition and "Tossed but not sunk!”, it will prevail over all evils…

      • * *

      2nd of all: I also used Andy Warhol's famous statement @ https://myvirtualplayground.wordpress.com/about/

      • * *

      my very best, oceans of inspiration & have a serene week! respectful regards, MNB

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:57 am on November 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        To me, the “Marseillaise” as performed in CASABLANCA is one of the (if not THE) most emotionally stirring scene(s) in film history. All the best to you as well, and liberté, egalité, fraternité forever!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mél@nie 2:49 am on November 19, 2015 Permalink

          thanx! merci, Monsieur! Paris will always be THE symbol of FREEDOM – by definition and by excellence… I’ve been deeply impressed and emotional with this: La Marseillaise résonne au Metropolitan Opera de NYC… ❤
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVj4KrBE26Q

          • * *

          as a cultured gentleman, I'm sure you've read Hemingway's novels… 🙂

          "A Moveable Feast" – "Paris est une fête" by Ernest Hemingway

          “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast… When we came back to Paris it was clear and cold and lovely… There is never any ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. We always returned to it no matter who we were or how it was changed or with what difficulties, or ease, it could be reached. Paris was always worth it and you received return for whatever you brought to it… You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me…

          Paris was never to be the same again although it was always Paris and you changed as it changed… You expected to be sad in the Fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintry light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person had died for no reason. In those days, though, the spring always came finally but it was frightening that it had nearly failed…”

          Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:38 am on November 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Merci, Mél@nie, for the La Marseillaise/Metropolitan Opera video, which I couldn’t watch because “This video contains content from iTele. It is not available in your country.” However, the same clip is available on many American sites via Google, so no problem.

        The essence of the Hemingway quote, I think, is captured beautifully by Woody Allen in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS – a truly magical film and reminder of why “We’ll always have Paris.” 🙂

        Like

    • Jane 6:03 am on November 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for making me laugh! Humour provides such release. 15 humble politicians? Now wouldn’t that be something! Fifteen was never a significant number for me but after your post, I think it will be my favourite for some time to come. I won’t be able to hear it or see it without remembering your clever post. You are to blame if someone says 15 in a serious conversation and I giggle because I am thinking about flatulence! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:22 am on November 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Jane, mistermuse (though not a politician) humbly appreciates your comment so much that I will willingly accept blame for any giggling episodes caused by thinking about flatulence. To keep such giggling in check, however, I suggest you not think about simultaneous flatulence and hiccups (as expressed in my reply to arekhill 1’s opening comment).

      Liked by 1 person

    • inesephoto 5:48 pm on November 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Your list is hilarious 🙂
      Thank you for the video. French people will smile again, evil will never prevail.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:36 am on November 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for the comment. Though it may be argued that evil will never prevail (in the big picture), there is no denying that it does prevail in thousands of small pictures (over each individual who has been murdered by barbarians, not just in Paris, but in many places). When will we learn the lesson of Hitler, and take out the bad guys in the early stages of their power trips, before defeating them comes at the cost of thousands – even millions – of “small pictures?”

      Like

    • moorezart 4:27 pm on November 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 5:02 pm on November 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Merci beaucoup.
      I in turn recommend checking out the speaks-to-me pix and arresting artwork on your blog – well worth a visit in any language!

      Like

    • RMW 10:16 pm on November 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      When I clicked on the comments box you had 15 comments so I hesitated to add a comment to break the “15”… too late now. Enjoyable post.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 12:11 am on November 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      No problem. They say fame is fleeting, so why should 15’s fame be any different? Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 2 people

  • mistermuse 12:25 pm on August 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: angst, , , , Kermit the Frog, Lazy Afternoon, , libido, , , ,   

    LAZY DAY 

    This post marks the second mile, as the frog jumps (or as the crow flies, if you’re a traditionalist), on my post-every-five-days trial run, and already the timetable is beginning to seem unnatural and formulaic — not unlike having sex on a rigid schedule, instead of spontaneously (although there is something to be said for libidinal regularity, if you can keep it up).

    At any rate, a palpable angst is creeping over me, as if I’m a character in a Woody Allen film, torn between conflicted and competing neuroses. Not exactly the optimum scenario for a writer of my non compos mentis….or for a Casanova wannabe, for that matter.

    Be that as it may or may not be, now is not the time to dwell on second thoughts, ere this noble experiment hath run its allotted August course. Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their…. Oops! Wrong speech!

    Anyway, as you’ll recall from my August 5 post, August 10 is LAZY DAY, so my duty today is clear: punt, get out of the way, and let Lazy have its day….and then some:

    P.S. Although Kermit the Frog said time’s fun when you’re having flies, he probably never had to eat crow flies….and he’s too slow to catch horseflies.

     
    • scifihammy 1:20 pm on August 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Nice music clips 🙂 I hope you enjoy your lazy day 🙂

      Like

      • mistermuse 3:27 pm on August 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        If I weren’t so lazy today, I could’ve posted at least 3 more such clips: LAZYBONES, LAZY MOOD and LAZY RIVER – all “oldies but goodies” (just like me – ha ha).

        Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 1:20 pm on August 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Well, I had planned to do as little as possible today, but that little is turning out to be a lot, so I don’t know if your post has its usual comforting qualities for me, Sr. Muse. I would make a resolution to be less productive in the future, except that also seems like taking on another obligation.

      Like

    • mistermuse 3:32 pm on August 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Sounds like the old Catch 22, Ricardo. Good luck.

      Like

    • Michaeline Montezinos 3:54 pm on August 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Very clever post worthy of reading, mistermuse, Loved the music, too.

      Like

    • mistermuse 4:25 pm on August 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I know you’re a big Barbra Streisand fan, Michaeline, so when I came across her LAZY AFTERNOON clip, I thought, “This Barb’s for you!”

      Like

    • Don Frankel 7:02 am on August 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Perfectly timed Muse and since it is still Summer let’s

      Like

    • mistermuse 8:46 am on August 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Watched the clip on YouTube, Don, and I remember the song well. It’s a rather lightweight tune, but perfect for the season….and Nat King Cole is always a pleasure to listen to.

      Like

    • BroadBlogs 2:15 pm on August 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I wish I’d been more lazy on lazy day. It’ll be interesting to see how your new schedule goes.

      Like

    • mistermuse 5:01 pm on August 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks. I’m already beginning to give some thought as to whether I want to continue the schedule beyond August.

      Like

    • sonniq 10:36 am on August 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Great selection of tunes! Spanky takes me back to puberty. I know it’s hard to write on a schedule for me. Inspiration isn’t usually that clockwork and life gets in the way! Good luck to you!

      Like

    • mistermuse 1:45 pm on August 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’m finding that a schedule isn’t an inspiration-blocker for me, though it probably would be if I waited until the last minute to come up with an idea of what I wanted to write about. I start thinking about the next post a few days in advance and write a rough draft ahead of time, so I can polish it at my leisure.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Like

  • mistermuse 10:51 pm on July 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , posting, Terminator   

    GIVE ME FIVE 

    It may not seem so, judging by the 300 or so posts I’ve crammed into this blog the past two years (not to mention my comments and responses here and on other blogs), but I’m a painstakingly slow writer. Perhaps I take too much time to think about what I want to write, and then I compound that interest by re-thinking as I’m writing, then tightening up what I’ve written, then editing, then re-editing what I’ve edited, et cetera (on second thought, make that etc.).

    Mind you, it’s not that I feel cursed by an addiction to unattainable perfection, or even to attainable quality. But I’d like to think that ARS GRATIA ARTIS (“Art for art’s sake”) is more than an MGM motto — it’s part of what every creative writer should strive for. Nonetheless, there comes a point where something has to give. There are too many other things I want or need to do, and there are only 24 hours, more or less, in a day. If I can’t yield on quality, the compromise will have to come on quantity.

    So, for the month of August, I’m going to slow down, try something a little different. Instead of posting every two or three days (even, at times, daily), I’m going to cut back by publishing every five days (August 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th and 30th). My hope for this experiment is that by posting less frequently but on a regular schedule, readers won’t miss the dubious pleasure of my company after a day or two, because they’ll know “I’ll be back” on dates certain.

    So, give me five. It’s not like I’m asking for a handout.

     

     
    • Michaeline Montezinos 11:19 pm on July 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I think that you have a solid plan to post five days apart. Best to slow down sometimes.
      I didn’t and have fallen again two more times. The last trip to the ER convinced me that striving for perfection is a huge waste of time. At least I had good care and got to go home after having my back of the head stapled. Almost wanted to quit working on my book, too. Which is just plain dumb. I cannot be that discouraged since my husband has ordered me a new computer. He is one great guy and I am a lucky girl.

      Liked by 2 people

    • DoesItEvenMatterWhoIAm? 11:24 pm on July 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      It is good that you recognize that you need to step back and focus more on what works for YOU. After all, isn’t that what blogging is all about? Isn’t it meant to be for us as individuals? I will still be here to read, every fifth day. More so, or less if that is what you choose. ♡♡♡ Melanie

      Liked by 1 person

    • Joseph Nebus 2:48 am on August 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      It’s certainly worth experimenting with. I’ve just gotten some data about how my mathematics blog readership varies with the number of posts I make and that’s been intriguing and worth thinking about.

      Really, the important thing is for every post to be interesting. After that the frequency doesn’t so much matter.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 4:57 am on August 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      So long as….

      Liked by 1 person

    • scifihammy 5:10 am on August 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      At the end of the day, Blogging should be fun! If it starts taking its toll then it is time to slow down. Your posts, and some others I read, are quite detailed and impossible to churn out. You won’t lose your regulars by posting every 5 days. See you later 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:19 am on August 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I woke up this morning to find five comments to GIVE ME FIVE – is that a good omen, or what? My thanks to all of you for the good vibes and good advice.

      I’LL BE BACK!

      Like

    • arekhill1 12:00 pm on August 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      i know how you feel, Sr. Muse. I’m trying to finish a project and sometimes the blog seems like such a chore, especially when there’s nothing in the headlines to mock. But I slog on.

      Like

    • mistermuse 4:42 pm on August 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Keep on slogging on, Ricardo – someone needs to mock the far right, and no one does it better than you (except maybe some of the characters on the far right themselves, inadvertently).

      Like

    • BroadBlogs 1:14 pm on August 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I tried posting everyday the first week I had my blog. It about killed me. So I decided to do three days a week. That was extremely hard at first. I’ve become a faster writer over the years, so it feels more doable now.

      Like

    • mistermuse 3:36 pm on August 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Even every other day about kills me, so we’ll see how every 5 days works out. I realize I tend to be too much of a perfectionist when I write, but you can’t teach an old dog new tricks….or so they say. I just may go to the dogs with tomorrow’s post. Time will tell.

      Like

  • mistermuse 6:35 am on June 20, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , questions and answers   

    WHACK-A-MUSE 

    Where is the poet
    Who wrote the poem
    Which raises the question
    What is the answer
    When prosaic people ask
    Why poets raise questions
    While answers go begging?

     
  • mistermuse 10:45 am on May 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bad words, , cussing, ,   

    WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE POETRY 

    Fellow writers,
    I implore us —
    It’s time that we be
    More decorous.

    I don’t mean to
    Be a censor,
    But we must be
    Less intense, or

    Readers will grow
    Tired of us an’
    Then we really
    Will be cussin’ —

    So, forego frickin’
    Words that shame us,
    And stop being an effin’
    Ignoramus.

     
    • arekhill1 10:49 am on May 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I am in favoring of abolishing all euphemisms, so intercourse that!

      Like

    • mistermuse 12:34 pm on May 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      “There ought to be a room in every house to swear in.” -Mark Twain
      But there already is such a room: the INTERCOURSE room. Where else is God’s name taken in vain so much? O GOD!!!

      Like

    • BroadBlogs 1:05 pm on May 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I like your title. And the irony.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 5:32 am on May 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Muse, I know you’re not referring to me as I strive to never offend anyone, at anytime and when confronted with a word that might do such a thing I use _____________.

      Like

    • mistermuse 7:23 am on May 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I certainly take you at your word, Don (but I’m not so sure about Dr. Don).

      Like

  • mistermuse 11:46 am on May 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Book of Nonsense, , , limericks, nonsense songs, , , , , The Owl and the Pussy-Cat   

    EDWARD LEAR — WHAT NONSENSE! 

    The uncertainty began with his birth. Born 12 May 1812, Lear was the 20th of 21 children. Many of the Lear offspring did not live beyond infancy. Though he lived to be 75, his health was always delicate. At age five, he experienced his first epileptic seizure. For Lear this “Demon,” as he dubbed his affliction, was a mark of shame. Much of his self-imposed isolation from those he loved derived from his need to hide his condition from them. -poetryfoundation.org

    I propose we toast beer to queer Mr. Lear and his health —
    A man they say was born this day (in 1812 on May 12th).
    Who was Lear, you may ask?
    I will save me the task
    By letting him tell you himself:

    HOW PLEASANT TO KNOW MR. LEAR (by Edward Lear)

    How pleasant to know Mr. Lear!
    Who has written such volumes of stuff!
    Some think him ill-tempered and queer,
    But a few think him pleasant enough.

    His mind is concrete and fastidious,
    His nose is remarkably big;
    His visage is more or less hideous,
    His beard it resembles a wig.

    He has ears, and two eyes, and ten fingers;
    Leastways if you reckon two thumbs;
    Long ago he was one of the singers,
    But now he is one of the dumbs.

    He sits in a beautiful parlour,
    With hundreds of books on the wall;
    He drinks a great deal of Marsala,
    But never gets tipsy at all.

    He has many friends, laymen and clerical;
    Old Foss is the name of his cat;
    His body is perfectly spherical,
    He weareth a runcible hat.

    When he walks in a waterproof white,
    The children run after him so!
    Calling out, ‘He’s come out in his night-
    Gown, that crazy old Englishman, oh!’

    He weeps by the side of the ocean,
    He weeps on the top of the hill;
    He purchases pancakes and lotion,
    And chocolate shrimps from the mill.

    He reads but he cannot speak Spanish,
    He cannot abide ginger-beer:
    Ere the days of his pilgrimage vanish,
    How pleasant to know Mr. Lear!

    If ever there was a man after my own heart (or I a man after his heart), it is the great Laureate of Nonsense, Edward Lear. To quote the late British author, editor and bibliophile Holbrook Jackson:

    There was something preposterous about Edward Lear, amiably preposterous. He might have stepped out of one of his own nonsense books, and he seemed to know it and to make the most of it. He pokes fun at himself even when he is serious, and his letters dance with caricatures of his own plump figure, high-domed brow, and bushy whiskers. By profession he was a painter of birds and landscapes, by habit a wanderer, a humorist and a grumbler. Even his puns have a style of their own which often trips over the boundaries of humor into his own rightful realm of nonsense.

    How pleasant indeed to know Mr. Lear, a man of manifold talents without peer! And how fitting that, whether by coincidence or what, May 12 is Limerick Day (as well as Mr. Lear’s birthday), for he was the first to popularize the limerick. Here is one of his many:

    There was an Old Man, on whose nose,
    Most birds of the air could repose;
    But they all flew away,
    At the closing of day,
    Which relieved that Old Man and his nose.

    And how better to close, than with two videos:

     
    • BroadBlogs 12:15 pm on May 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I love “the owl and the pussycat” First book that my mom thought I’d read — I’d actually memorized it (at least parts).

      Liked by 1 person

    • Joseph Nebus 11:00 pm on May 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, I’m not so much on ginger beer myself. I’m long past being spherical, though.

      Like

    • mistermuse 11:35 pm on May 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Ginger Rogers and gingerbread, I know well, but not ginger beer –
      Though ginger is good for what ales you – or at least, so I hear.

      Like

    • arekhill1 8:15 am on May 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Is “The Owl and the Pussycat” actually a parody (thickly concealed) of Ulysses?

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    • mistermuse 10:22 am on May 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      James Joyce’s novel ULYSSES was written after Lear’s death, but Lear’s contemporary and good friend Tennyson’s poem ULYSSES speaks of sailing beyond the sunset to “touch the Happy Isles.” If Tennyson wrote his poem before “The Owl and the Pussycat,” afflation seems conceivable.

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    • Don Frankel 8:14 am on May 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      “Every inch a King.”

      Oh no, that’s the other Lear. But well done Muse. I’d never heard of this guy.

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    • mistermuse 9:32 am on May 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      My guess is that few people outside of those interested in humorous verse have heard of Edward Lear. He was a talented artist, illustrator, and musician (piano, accordion, flute, guitar) of note, but when it comes to nonsense verse and wordplay, he rates being included with the likes of Lewis Carroll and W. S. Gilbert.

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