02/20 VISION

In the tumult of men and events, solitude was my temptation; now it is my friend. What other satisfaction can be sought once you have confronted History? –Charles de Gaulle

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Indeed.  Where else but in my solitude can equilibrium’s vision be sought (much less found), if the following selection of February 20 events from “confronted History” is representative of “the tumult of men and events”:

1513 Pope Julius II (aka The Fearsome Pope and The Warrior Pope) died and was laid to rest in a huge tomb sculptured by Michelangelo [In those days, Catholic artists regarded such Popes as ‘Patron’ Saints

1839 U.S. Congress prohibits dueling in the District of Columbia [What a bad idea this turned out to be, given that since then, no one in D.C. has had a clue how to better resolve differences]

1907 President Theodore Roosevelt signed an immigration act which excluded “idiots, imbeciles, feebleminded persons, epileptics, and insane  persons” from being admitted to the U.S. [Unfortunately, there has not been a comparable act excluding such persons from becoming politicians]

1909 F.T. Marinetti, Italian poet, published the first Futurist Manifesto in the Paris newspaper Le Figaro and in Venice, including the statement “We want to glorify war – the only cure for the world.” [Evidently a utopian exception to “The cure is worse than the disease”]

1927 Golfers in South Carolina were arrested for violating the Sabbath [Talk about playing a-round!]  

1933 Congress completed action on an amendment to repeal Prohibition in the U.S. [and “I’ll drink to that!” rang out across the land]

1942 Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate Majority Leader, was born [Coincidentally, the cartoon character Pruneface premiered (in a Dick Tracy comic strip) the same year]

1996 Gangsta rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg acquitted of murder in 1993 shooting of alleged gang member [Draw your own conclusions]

2002 The Pentagon stated that its recently created “Office of Strategic Influence” would not spread falsehoods in the media to advance U.S. war goals. Office was shut down six days later (Feb. 26) [Apparently the bummed guy in this snapshot was the last to get the message]:

Love’s labor lost. Lament in SOLITUDE. But despair not. It seems that Love, like the passions and madness of history, is where you — and a buoyantly young Julie Andrews — find it. So don’t be [Venetian] blind, it’s/all around you/everywhere.

 

 

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HALFWIT HUNT

My last post ventured forth in search of the brilliant wit of certain Presidents/would-be Presidents (past and present). Now I think it only fair to give equal time to the dim-witted musings of those of such sapience as to merit their own re-visiting. By so doing, I intend to demonstrate that a politician need not be Ronald Obama, Barack Reagan, or even Lucy Lou* to prove his/her comedic bone fides (or fidos, as the case may be) for high office.

*canine Mayor of Rabbit Hash, KY, whose dogged bid for the Presidency regrettably went up in smoke when her campaign headquarters went down in flames:

So, without further adog, let us turn our attention to the business at hand (or paw):

When a great many people are unable to find work, unemployment results. –Calvin Coolidge

Rarely is the question asked, “Is our children learning?” –George W. Bush

The voters have spoken — the bastards! –Morris Udall (after his loss in the 1976 Democratic Presidential primary)

It isn’t pollution that’s harming our environment. It’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it. –Dan Quayle (V.P. under George H. W. Bush and later a Presidential candidate for a short time)

Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country, and neither do we. –George W. Bush

My friends, no matter how rough the road may be, we can and we will never, never surrender to what is right. –Dan Quayle

Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across this country. –George W. Bush

I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future. –Dan Quayle

Hattie, I’m horny. –Bruce Babbitt to Mrs. Babbitt (not realizing his microphone was on) during his 1988 Democratic Presidential campaign

A zebra cannot change his spots. –Al Gore (not true; zebras change their spots every time they move — ha ha)

I want to be sure [the choice for new IRS commissioner] is a ruthless son of a bitch, that he will do what he’s told, that every income tax return I want to see, I see, [and] that he will go after our enemies and not our friends. If he isn’t, he doesn’t get the job. –Richard Nixon (May 1971 tapes)

There’s a place in Hell reserved for women who don’t support other women. –Sarah Palin on 10/4/08, when she was John McCain’s running mate

Well, Sarah, I may not be a woman, but I’ll be damned — who knew that you could be counted on to support Hillary Clinton for President in 2016? And now I can bring this post to a close, mercifully finding no need to inflict on my readers proof, in so many words, of The Donald’s endlessly witless qualifications.

PROMISES PROMISES

If you’re like me, you’ve about had your fill of Donald Trump, so I promise this will be my last post to mention his name (until next time)….and this post will do so only to bring us to the title subject. For as much as Pied Piper Trump has lured his infatuated followers with the siren song of an outsider/non-politician, he has one thing in common with typical politicians: they promise what they (should) well know they can’t deliver….but The Donald does it as shamelessly as, and more brazenly than, “real” politicians.

Idealistic politicians like 2008 Obama made unkeepable promises, but I think more out of näiveté than hubris or delusions of self-grandeur; he overestimated his powers of persuasion and underestimated the GOP’s resolve to repel him at every turn. Would the 2016 Obama make the same promises, knowing what he knows now, if he could do 2008 over again? Who knows? This post doesn’t promise answers, it promises promises.

One hardly knows where to begin when it comes to wading through the swamp of unbelievable promises made by politicians over the past millendium, so here’s someone else’s compendium, which I recommendium by extending ’em here:

http://www.viralnova.com/insane-political-promises/

For the geographically-challenged, if you didn’t “get” promise #12, Libya is IN Africa. As for me, having more or less winged my way to getting to this point in my post, I at least know how I’m going to bring it to a merciful end: with these promisory quotes….

Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing. –Edmund Burke

It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and broken promises. –Chief Joseph

They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one; they promised to take our land, and they took it. –Red Cloud

What’s important is promising something to the people, not actually keeping those promises. The people have always lived on hope alone. –Hermann Broch

It’s easy enough to get into power. You can make promises and try to be all things to all people. But the moment you have to make decisions, you’re going to annoy at least half of them. Whatever you do, in the end you’re almost certain to be brought down by your own character traits. –Robert Harris 

Vote for the man who promises least; he’ll be the least disappointing. –Bernard Baruch

Or you can heed this bumper sticker: DON’T THINK – VOTE TRUMP

 

 

WHAT WOULD GEORGE SAY?

Well, we know what they [politicians] want. I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests.
They want obedient workers, people just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits and vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. They want your fuckin’ retirement money, and you know something? They’ll get it from you sooner or later cause they own this fuckin’ place. It’s a big club and you ain’t in it.
–George Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008)

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Remember George (“THE SEVEN WORDS YOU CAN’T SAY ON TELEVISION”) Carlin? I was reminded of him by this May 11 comic strip in the local paper:

http://www.gocomics.com/pearlsbeforeswine/2016/05/11

….while on the very next day (Carlin’s birthday), my erstwhile friend Richard “Ricardo” Cahill posted this piece on his blog:

http://www.richardcahill.net/home/donald-trump-appreciation-day

Those two items combined to make me wonder what Carlin, who died before Barack Obama was elected President, would say about today’s politics in general/Donald Trump in particular. Judging by the opening quote, I don’t think we have to wonder long.

So, using the comb I no longer need to part the hair which parted ways with my skull years ago, I combed through the Carlin legacy to come up with these ever-apt ‘by George’ quotes:

When you’re born, you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in America, you get a front row seat (from which I gather that a Trump by any other name would spiel as P. T. Barnum).

In America, anyone can become President. That’s the problem. (George, I doubt that even you appreciated how true that may prove to be.)

By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth. [I talk, therefore I lie.]

Have you ever wondered why Republicans are so interested in encouraging people to volunteer in their communities? It’s because volunteers work for no pay [yes, but it’s for a great cause]. Republicans have been trying to get people to work for no pay for a long time.

Now, there’s one thing you might have noticed I don’t complain about: politicians. [Really?] Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don’t fall out of the sky. They come from American parents and American families, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish, ignorant leaders.

Good honest hard-working people continue to elect these rich cocksuckers who don’t give a fuck about you. [Lucky for George, this isn’t TV.]  They don’t care about you at all. Nobody seems to care. That’s what the owners count on. It’s called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.

So, it seems the title question has been answered. George would say today what he said then –  he’d just have even more clowns to laugh at. The Donald alone is an absurdist’s dream, not to mention such other relative newcomers to the national stage (aka The Theater of the Absurd) as Sarah Palin. But that’s show business….and, in the immortal words of P. T. Barnum, it’s still THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH.

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P.S. Memo to Hillary: This post contains classified information. Please handle appropriately.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GOP AIN’T GOT NO USE FOR PROPER GRAMMAR NOHOW

In a recent study by those grammar-checking nerds at http://www.grammarly.com/ (which is literally the literacy liturgist of all things literate and literary), it was found that supporters of current Republican candidates are more than twice as grammatically challenged as their Democratic counterparts.

Yes, friends, that which I have long suspected….has now been proven true: many right-wing Republicans don’t know their asterisks from a hole in the ground. According to the study, ass-kissers of GOP candidates on Facebook made an average of 8.7 grammatical mistakes (misspellings, punctuation, etc.) per 100 words, compared to 4.2 mistakes for supporters of Dems. Furthermore, Dem ass-kissers demonstrated a larger vocabulary, using on average 300 unique words per 1,000 words, while Repubs used butt 245.

But I’m almost at a loss for words at the news that the biggest loser was DONALD TRUMP, whose partisans made an average of 12.6 mistakes per 100 words. In fact, not a single GOP candidate’s backers scored better than the backers of any of the five Democratic candidates, whose scores ranged from 3.1 mistakes (Lincoln Chafee) to 3.7 (Bernie Sanders) to 6.3 (Hillary Clinton).

I hate to say it, but let us face facts. As much as we may revel in the boastful bloviating of The Donald, not to mention Rick Sanitarium (11.5  supporter mistakes per 100) and the rest of the GOP Presidential-wannabes, their constituents are a bunch of semi-literate, half-witted cretins (not to put too fine a point on it). And, sad to say, because of their limited vocabulary, these language-challenged dunces often resort to mean-spirited name calling as their only means of expressing their idiotic opinions — something which this writer, of course, would never stoop to.

This is indeed a sorry state of affairs. America can ill afford to have elections decided by those who don’t know the difference between a diphthong and a dipstick (not to mention elections decided by those whose opinions differ from mine). Perhaps it’s time to bring back the old voter literacy tests — but instead of tests meant to keep Southern State blacks from voting, we need tests designed to keep ignorant right-wing Republicans from voting.

This need not be complicated. Disqualification could be as expedient as this:

If you plan to vote for a candidate whose first name is Donald, Rick, TedBenBobby, Carly, or Mike, sign on this line with an “X” ______.  God bless you for exorcising your right to vote.

P.S. As my faithful readers know, I posted my choice a month ago. I’m voting for Lucy Lou.