THE WAGES OF SIN TAX

Pardon the intrusion —
I don’t mean to pry —
But the deficit’s soaring;
The figures don’t lie.

Uncle Sam’s in a pickle —
Needs money like mad —
So he sent me to tell you
You must pay to be bad.

He’s taxed income and outgo
And capital gains;
Now, an excise on excess
Is all that remains.

Uncle wants to be fair —
No sin taxes he’ll seek
‘less you go making love
More than one time a week.

I’m installing surveillance
To monitor your behavior.
Lusting under covers won’t save you —
I’ll hear your cries to the Father of your Savior.

But please don’t take this personal —
It’s my job to listen and view it.
Hey, you know what they say:
Someone’s got to do it.

So….

 

 

 

 

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MAY IS OLDER AMERICANS MONTH (and don’t you forget it!)

May is OLDER AMERICANS MONTH. I’m pretty sure I qualify as an older American because, as George Washington told me, “The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be free men or slaves”….or maybe I’m thinkin’ of Lincoln (incidental details, like who said what, can get a bit hazy at my age). No matter — either way, it proves I’ve been around long enough to establish my bona feces.

As long as I’m quoting bigwigs I have known or could have known (as the case may be), no doubt you will be interested in other memorable quotes that I remember, most of which admittedly weren’t said to me directly, but which I either overheard, or were whiskered to me in confidence by the quotees under their goatees (or beards, as the face may be):

Old age is no place for sissies. –Bette Davis (whose facial hair at the time was confined to a mustache, as I recall)

Life is a moderately good play with a badly written third act. –Truman Capote

Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened. –Jennifer Yane

If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself. — variously attributed to  Eubie Blake, Adolph Zukor and Mae West, among others

There is no cure for the common birthday. —John Glenn

You’re only as old as the girl that you feel. –Groucho Marx

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional. –Chili Davis

Time may be a great healer, but it’s a lousy beautician. –Anonymous

Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes. –Anonymous

So there you have the story of my anonymous existence: just when I’m on a roll, I run flush out of time. C’est la vie. Take it on out, Pops (Louis) and Schnoz (Jimmy):

 

 

 

 

 

THE BARD ON THE DONALD

My April 22 post (MARK TWAIN ON DONALD TRUMP) was so well received that I’ve decided to give that theme (of holding up a mirror to The Tempest of Trumpian self-glorification) another go….this time, with the reflections of an even greater giant of literature: the Bard of Avon taking aim at the target of Twain and giving us his measure of the Tweeter of Twaddle. So, in case you haven’t given The Bard a second thought of late: straight from TAMING OF THE SHREW (filmed as KISS ME KATE), what say you….

and we’ll all know how….the Bard’s words speak to the Iago of Mar-a-Lago:

Time shall unfold what plighted cunning hides. Who cover faults, at last shame them derides.

False face must hide what the false heart doth know.

Go to your bosom: Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know.

God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.

It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.

When we are born we cry that we are come to this great stage of fools.

 

 

 

DO YOU KNOW YOU?

I think self-knowledge is the rarest trait in a human being. –Elizabeth Edwards

Do you know you? Hard though it be to imagine, that is the one question I wish I could force Donald Trump to answer from deep within, even though I doubt he’s capable of giving it a second thought (much less, capable of understanding why anyone would want to). Seriously. Self-knowledge may well be “the rarest trait in a human being,” but I think most people his age might at least pay it lip service, even if it’s never been ‘their thing.’

Well, far be it from me to disturb The Donald’s absence of self-knowledge, so I’ll settle for posing some quotes on the subject to Trump’s better angels, who haven’t been seen since they were fired….but who, being better angels, haven’t given up hope of getting to him:

It is a sad fate for a man to die well known to everybody else, and still unknown to himself. –Francis Bacon

Some people really ought to know themselves; they never think about anything else. –Evan Esar

It’s not only the most difficult thing to know oneself, but the most inconvenient. –Josh Billings

I was a typical specimen: the mental contortionist, able to rise to almost every challenge placed before him, except the challenge of real self-knowledge. –Walter Kirn

What are you afraid of? Your fears are a treasure house of self-knowledge if you explore them. –Marilyn Ferguson

I’m afraid I’ve run out of good quotes. I’d explore for more, but a guy can only take so much self-knowledge before falling asleep.

 

 

 

 

 

A DAY EARLY AND A SCHOLAR SHORT

I just learned I’ve made the first mistake of my entire life (excluding the countless ones that don’t count — like, who’z kounting?). Why I am admitting this mistake, I can’t say — no one seems to have noticed it, so I have no reason to believe my seemingly unblemished record wouldn’t continue to leave all my adoring followers none the wiser. All right, if you must know, I’m admitting the mistake because of writer’s block; now I have something to post about, otherwise you would be staring at a blankety-blank screen.

No doubt you’ve heard the expression “A day late and a dollar short.” Well, my last post on April 24th was a day early and a scholar short: EAST MEETS WEST DAY was April 25 (not April 24), and the head scholar on my staff failed to catch the error. I have therefore fired said head scholar, for whom I’ve generously provided a letter of recommendation to the Trump Administration for the position of Secretary of Wealth, Edumacation & Hellfare — a position held since January by one Alex Azar, who is but the fourth such Sec since Trump became President, lo, these many moons ago. Their average length of service being under four moonths, the position should become vacant shortly; my bumbling former head scholar will fit right in and fill the vacancy with no one being the wiser.

Now, I realize that I appear to be putting the blame for my date mistake on the poor schmuck I fired, but as President of this blog, the bucks stop here….and so, dear reader, I take full responsibility for the poor schmuck’s error, and

I humbly ask that you accept this sincere apology for what it’s worth. After all,

Love you.

EAST MEETS WEST DAY

EAST IS EAST, AND WEST IS WEST, AND NEVER THE TWAIN SHALL MEET. –Rudyard Kipling

The above quote notwithstanding, it’s not too late if you want to meet Twain. Forget East/West, and return to the site of my previous post (MARK TWAIN ON DONALD TRUMP), where Twain still lives. I could quibble that you should have met him there then, but I am magnanimous enough to forgive those of you who didn’t read that post (so long as you promise never to let it happen again).

Be that as it may, this is April — April 24th, to be exact, which just happens to be East Meets West Day, which just happens to give me an excuse to engross you with some of my favorite East and/or West songs, such as this old standard by an old favorite:

Keely Smith (born Dorothy Keely) died four months ago at age 89, one of the best (though underappreciated) female vocalists of the 1950s-60s.

Next, we change directions for this Kurt Weill classic from the 1943 musical ONE TOUCH OF VENUS:

Let us end, fittingly, with WEST END BLUES by Louis Armstrong, one of the all-time great recordings in jazz history:

That performance was recorded in 1928; 90 years later, you can travel far and wide, east and west, and never the same shall meet.

 

MARK TWAIN ON DONALD TRUMP

I recently came across the Mark Twain quote, “When in doubt, tell the truth.” It gave me pause, because it timelessly suggests why Donald Trump has no scruples when it comes to telling the truth: he is never in doubt about anything he thinks (or wants to think).

That recalls another Twain quote in response to news of his death in 1897 — “the report of my death is an exaggeration”– of which exaggeration he removed all doubt by living until 1910. He could still be living today, judging by these quotes indicating it’s no exaggeration to propose that Twain had more than a passing insight into the likes of Donald Trump:

When the doctrine of allegiance to party can utterly upend a man’s moral constitution and make a fool of him besides, what excuse are you going to offer for preaching it, teaching it, extending it, perpetuating it? Shall you say, the best good of the country demands allegiance to party? Shall you also say it demands that a man kick his truth and his conscience into the gutter, and become a mouthing lunatic, besides?

It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

A half-truth is the most cowardly of lies.

All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.

A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.

Never argue with a fool. Onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.

Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.

Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.

Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it.

I hear you loud and clear, Mark Twain. News of your death is indeed an exaggeration.