WHERE’S THE CHIEF?

Bridge is a trick-taking game using a standard 52 card deck. –Wikipedia

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I don’t play bridge, but in perusing last Thursday morning’s newspaper, I couldn’t help noticing this headline atop the daily bridge column: DISAPPEARING TRUMP TRICK.

Given the kind of column it is, I might’ve known what I hoped for was too good to be true. Let’s face it: the notion of learning how to make America’s Look-at-me President magically disappear is a bridge too far. As for voluntarily leaving office at the prospect of obstruction of justice charges, Donald Trump may be a master at the game of evasion, but a disappearing act isn’t in the cards anytime soon; he’s too addicted to tweeting/hearing himself talk. At times, one wonders where his lips shtick comes from: an out-of-control ventriloquist, or from being an egocentric blowhard & shameless con man (for the record, the word dummy appears in the bridge column six times…but I vote for choice #2).

Actually, it wouldn’t be unprecedented for an American President to disappear. Remember Jimmy Hoffa, ex-(in more ways than one)President of America’s largest union, The International Brotherhood of Teamsters? He was last seen in the parking lot of a suburban Detroit restaurant on July 30, 1975 — the day he was to meet with Mafia bosses Anthony Giacalone and Anthony Provenzano. He hasn’t been heard from since.

Speaking of a restaurant (not where one of the above two CEOs of their respective fiefdoms was last seen), do you remember this commercial?

In the case of Hoffa, the question isn’t “Where’s the beef?”, but “Where’s the Chief?” Two weeks before his disappearance, the feds discovered that hundreds of millions of dollars had disappeared from the Teamster’s largest pension fund. Hoffa’s remains remain unfound, although the FBI has checked out numerous tips: under a section of the now-demolished Giants Stadium in New Jersey; in the concrete foundation of Detroit’s Renaissance Center; under a horse barn or backyard swimming pool in Michigan; a swamp in Florida; a vacant lot 20 miles north of that last scene Detroit restaurant  — seemingly everywhere but under Trump Tower in Manhattan (no tip to the FBI intended).

There have been many other mysterious disappearances in American history (Ambrose Bierce, D.B. Cooper, Virginia Dare, Amelia Earhart, etc.), but I say none is more mysterious than the above….or my real name isn’t James Riddle Hoffa.

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?

 

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.

 

DO YOU BELIEVE IN ATHEISTS?

ATHEIST HAS REPEAT NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE

Never.
Again.

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Although not an atheist myself, I believe they exist, and I’m not above quoting them….and what better day to do so than April Fool’s Day, a day of dubious origin and God-awful jokes? So, without further a-Dieu, I bring you the word(s) of Godless mortals:

I have too much respect for the idea of God to make it responsible for such an absurd world. -Georges Duhamel

When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion, it is called Religion. -Robert M. Pirsig

I once wanted to become an atheist but I gave up — they have no holidays. -Henny Youngman

If absolute power corrupts absolutely, where does that leave God? -George Deacon

Eskimo: If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?
Missionary: No, not if you didn’t know.
Eskimo: Then why did you tell me?
-Annie Dillard

I admire anyone who’s genuinely trying to achieve spiritual enlightenment and live a peaceful life. But religious dogma is a barrier to that. The last thing a dogmatist wants is for anyone to be enlightened, any more than a pharmaceutical company wants anyone cured. -Pat Condell

When did I realize I was God? Well, I was praying and I suddenly realized I was talking to myself. –Peter O’Toole

Christianity, as many religions, was just dreamed up by a couple people with really good imaginations, a lot of time on their hands, and even some “herbal” help. I mean, who would dream up half of that crap without being totally baked? -Jillian A. Spencer

Puritanism, n. The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy. -Ambrose Bierce

There ain’t no answer. There ain’t going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. That’s the answer. -Gertrude Stein (when asked about God)

Oh, well. We’ll always have Paris.

 

 

 

POL POTLUCK

 

April 17 being both NATIONAL CHEESEBALL DAY and BLAH, BLAH, BLAH DAY, my thoughts naturally turn to politics and politicians as subject matter for today’s post. Of course, many politicians are unintentional comedians, so there is a verbal plethora of political humor to choose from — too much, in fact, to arrange here in any coherent fashion in one day (not that I would care to do so anyway, had I the election of a plethora of days). I’ll start with an entree — The Devil’s Dictionary definition of politics — followed by a potluck buffet of jokes, quotes, axioms, etc. in no pontifical order:

Politics, n.  A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles.  –Ambrose Bierce

Four surgeons are taking a coffee break and discussing their profession. The first says, “I think accountants are the easiest to operate on. You open them up and everything inside is numbered.”
The second says, “I think librarians are the easiest. You open them up and everything is in alphabetical order.”
The third says, “I like to operate on electricians. You open them up and everything inside is color-coded.”
The fourth says, “I like to operate on politicians. They’re heartless, mindless, spineless, and their heads and their asses are interchangeable.”

We’ll let the other countries of the world be the peacekeepers and the great country called America be the pacemakers.  –George W. Bush

“I have had great financial sex.”  –Presidential candidate Ross Perot (intending to say “financial success“)

Congress is strange: a man gets up to speak and says nothing; nobody listens, and then everybody disagrees.  –Evan Esar

“I was recently on a tour of Latin America, and the only regret I have is that I didn’t study Latin harder in school so I could converse with those people.”  –Dan Quayle, former Vice President

The highest function of conservatism is to keep what progressiveness has accomplished.  –R. H. Fulton

“The American peole’s expectations are that we will fail. Our mission is to exceed their expectations.”  –George W. Bush

The chief defect of a democracy is that only the political party out of office knows how to run the government.  –Evan Esar

“The President has kept all of the promises he intended to keep.”  –George Stephanopolous, former aide to Bill Clinton

I have never found in a long experience in politics that criticism is ever inhibited by ignorance.  –Harold Macmillan 

“This is a great day for France!”  –Richard Nixon (while attending President DeGaulle’s funeral)

Etc., etc., etc….

 

 

APRIL 3 IS INTERNATIONAL KISS MY ASS DAY

If ever someone invented a freedom-loving holiday, this is the day. July 4th may be Independence Day, but April 3rd is even more liberating (if less patriotic). July 4 is a federal holiday when servicemen present arms at certain ceremonies; April 3 is an international holiday when fed-up men present asses without ceremony — and if anyone doesn’t like it …. well, (s)he can smooch you-know-what. As for me, I’m going to present the liberated observations of other men, and take the rest of the day off (April 3 also happens to be Don’t Go To Work Day):

What distinguishes Independence Day from all other days is that both orators and artillerymen shoot blank cartridges.  –John Burroughs

Liberty doesn’t work as well in practice as it does in speeches.  –Will Rogers

Liberty, n. One of Imagination’s most precious possessions.  –Ambrose Bierce (THE DEVIL’S DICTIONARY)

Liberty is being free from the things we don’t like in order to be slaves of the things we do like.  –Ernest Benn

Freedom is just Chaos, with better lighting.  —Alan Dean Foster

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that you have to spend much of your life defending sons-of-bitches.  –H. L. Mencken

People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid.  —Soren Kierkegaard

The greatest freedom of speech [is] the greatest safety, because if a man is a fool, the best thing is to encourage him to advertise the fact by speaking.  –Woodrow Wilson

Give me liberty or give me drink.  –Patrick O’Henry

The last word goes (as usual, ha ha) to a woman:

Please feel free to contact me with other matters that are of importance to you. I am honored to serve as your representative in the U. S. Congress. i think you’re an asshole.  –Jo Ann Emerson (letter sent to constituent; she subsequently claimed no knowledge of how the last line got added)

 

SCOFFER, BUT WISER

I tend to be drawn more to the wisdom of those who question everything than to “accepted” wisdom, since no one knows everything — no one I know and trust, that is. But what of God, who (I was taught) does know everything. As an American, how could I not trust God? The proclamation IN GOD WE TRUST is all-inclusively bannered on our country’s legal tender –which, if you stop to think, seems an odd bearer for it, given the admonishment that money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10).

Be that as it may, the thing about God is like the thing about truth — exactly whose God, whose truth are we talking about? To paraphrase the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, you’re entitled to your own God, your own truth — but not your own facts. If you take the discrepant God of divergent religions for a fact, how can a fact divided against itself stand?  Aren’t we left with the logic that no deity conceived by humans has a basis in fact? But you knew that …. right?

I don’t believe in any religion’s God (which isn’t the same as not believing in a Creator), but if I did, why would I want to take the life of, or coerce, a man of a different faith — both of our faiths are, after all, only fallible beliefs. Better to take the measure of human folly, as observed and recorded by those who have questioned everything:

The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunk man is happier than a sober one.  –George Bernard Shaw

If absolute power corrupts absolutely, where does that leave God?  –George Deacon

I don’t pray because I don’t want to bore God.  –Orson Welles

When I was a kid, I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realized that the Lord doesn’t work that way, so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me.  —Emo Phillips

Religion, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.  –Ambrose Bierce (THE DEVIL’S DICTIONARY)

Many a long dispute among divines may be thus abridged: It is so. It is not so. It is so. It is not so.  –Ben Franklin 

Well, you could become a Southern Baptist. I mean, instead of having to obey the Pope, you could just obey your husband.  –Arianna Huffington

The only thing that stops God from sending a second flood is that the first one was useless.  –Nicolas Chamfort

When I told the people of Northern Ireland that I was an atheist, a woman in the audience stood up and said, “Yes, but is it the God of the Catholics or the God of the Protestants in whom you don’t believe?”  –Quentin Crisp

I too much respect the idea of God to make it responsible for such an absurd world.  –Georges Duhamel

Amen.