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.

 

 

 

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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.

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.

 

 

 

I CAN’T USE IT

Today being April Fools’ Day, and April being National Humor Month, I thought I’d write a funny post. The problem is that I’m having problems writing a funny post. Either the jokes I find are losers, or I don’t ‘get’ them (obviously, if I don’t get them, they can’t be funny), or they contain one or more of the seven words you can’t say on television (or mention on a family blog) — you remember, the 7 words comedian George Carlin warned us about back in the 70s:

Of course, you would hear every one of those words if you watched the above clip, so I can’t use it.

And then I thought about using this clip,

but….

So, I can’t use it.

Finally, out of desperation, I thought I’d call my neighbors, the Funnies, but they were out of desperation too. However, they did let me borrow yesterday’s newspaper containing these cartoons:

https://www.indystar.com/story/opinion/columnists/varvel/2018/03/25/cartoonist-gary-varvel-donald-trumps-past/456682002/

Now that, I can use.

VERSES WITH CURSES

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

May the devil write your obituary in weasel’s piss. –old Irish curse

Hold on — how did that get there? Either the devil made me do it, or me computer is up to no good (which wouldn’t be the first time). To be sure, me fine lads and lassies, this post is about curses in verses, but a curse alone does not a poem make. As for that derelict curse above, there are no weasels in Ireland unless you count the sloat (which is often mistaken for a weasel) or the lowly human (which often acts like a weasel, but technically is not).

Be that as it may, I haven’t got all (St. Patrick’s) day, so let’s get on with it. Here is a cultivated selection of VERSES WITH CURSES which, not least among its Hibernian virtues, could serve to show America’s petulant President how to insult his inferiors with a bit more savoir fairy (class, in plain English) than is typical in his limited vocabulary:

THE CURSE by John Millington Synge

Lord, confound this surly sister,
Blight her brow with blotch and blister,
Cramp her larynx, lung, and liver,
In her guts a galling give her.

Let her live to earn her dinners
In Mountjoy with seedy sinners:
Lord, this judgment quickly bring,
And I’m your servant, J. M. Synge.

from THE CURSE OF DONERAILE by Patrick O’Kelly

Alas! how dismal is my tale,
I lost my watch in Doneraile.
My Dublin watch, my chain and seal,
Pilfered at once in Doneraile.
May Fire and Brimstone never fail,
To fall in showers on Doneraile.
May all the leading fiends assail
The thieving town of Doneraile,
As lightnings flash across the vale,
So down to Hell with Doneraile.
The fate of Pompey at Pharsale,
Be that the curse of Doneraile.
May beef, or mutton, lamb or veal
Be never found in Doneraile,
But garlic soup and scurvy kale
Be still the food of Doneraile.
And forward as the creeping snail,
Th’ industry be, of Doneraile.
May ev’ry churn and milking pail
Fall dry to staves in Doneraile.
May cold and hunger still congeal
The stagnant blood of Doneraile.
May ev’ry hour new woes reveal
That Hell reserves for Doneraile.
May ev’ry chosen ill prevail
O’er all the imps of Doneraile.
May not one prayer or wish avail
To sooth the woes of Doneraile.
May the Inquisition straight impale
The rapparees of Doneraile.
May curse of Sodom now prevail
And sink to ashes Doneraile.
May Charon’s Boat triumphant sail
Completely manned from Doneraile.
Oh! may my couplets never fail
To find new curse for Doneraile.
And may grim Pluto’s inner jail
Forever groan with Doneraile.

RIGHTEOUS ANGER by James Stephens

The lanky hank of a she over there
Nearly killed me for asking the loan of a glass of beer:
May the devil grip the whey-faced slut by the hair,
And beat bad manners out of her skin for a year.

That parboiled imp, with the hardest jaw you will see
On virtue’s path, and a voice that would rasp the dead,
Came roaring and raging the minute she looked on me,
And threw me out of the house on the back of my head!

If I asked her master, he’d give me a cask a day;
But she, with the beer at hand, not a gill would arrange!
May she marry a ghost and bear him a kitten, and may
The High King of Glory permit her to get the mange.

THE CURSE OF NOT BEING IRISH by mister O’muse

And so we can see, Donald T.,
What the problem may well be:
In your entire immigrant ancestry,
Of Irish blood, you’re entirely free.

But on St. Patrick’s Day, luckily,
Every man is an Irishman, glory be!
So depart for today from your family tree,
Uproot this curse, branch out, and be free!

From ass act to class act, verily
This very day, you can transformed be….
Therefore, by virtue of the Irish in me,
I dub thee, please God, President Donald O’T.

 

DON’T EXPLAIN

It does not matter much what a man hates provided he hates something. –Samuel Butler

Some time ago, after I’d written a number of posts lampooning America’s vainglorious leader, I was asked by a reader why I “hate” Donald Trump. I replied that I didn’t hate him, I pitied him — pitied him for being the kind of human being he is. In hindsight, I should have asked the reader, Does Trump hate those he insults? — i.e. “Pocahontas” Elizabeth Warren, “Little Marco” Rubio, “Lightweight” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (I suppose the Senator should be grateful Trump didn’t call her heavyweight), etc., etc., etc. My answer (and, I assume, that reader’s) is no — hate is something deeply felt, not a juvenile slur. Trump’s mocking is strictly gratuitous, like a bully who must put down anyone who, in his world, is a “loser” — someone in his way; an inconvenient object to be diminished or pushed aside. It’s not even personal (a “loser” is but an abstraction).

So, in deference to Samuel Butler, should I apologize for not hating Trump — or anyone, for that matter? Truth be known, the closest I come to hating anyone is God….that is, if I believed in God — the biblical God, the invented God of wrath, innocent suffering and mystifying absence. But I am a ‘default’ deist, left with a creator God, an impersonal God, a God with nothing to explain — at least, not until the next life (if there is one). The creator God never said a word or promised us anything — not on earth or after. Perhaps I should be jealous, for, unlike the creator God, there are times (like now) when this only-human creator feels the need to explain what I create. And yet, I get not deigning to explain — explaining ain’t easy. If I were God or Trump, I might not explain myself either.