THE FLOCKS AND THE CROW, a play on Aesop’s fable THE FOX AND THE CROW

crow, v. To exult, esp. over another’s misfortune; to boast exultantly. –Webster’s New College Dictionary

You have no doubt heard many devotees of Donald Trump defend their support for America’s Crowmmander-In-Chief because “he says what he thinks” — as if such a character trait trumps all else as a Presidential prerequisite. Trust me: by that standard, a few of my in-laws are characters of sufficient grandiosity and shortness of breadth to be Prez. I declare, even Adolph Hitler (had he been born/raised here) might have ridden megalomania and bombastic B.S. to the White House. If drunk with power, no less a windbag than yours truly might rise to the occasion — Lord nose it’snot unthinkable.

My problem, however, is that I’m apt to think and think again before I crow what I think to my flock (otherwise, the by-line on my posts may as well be “by misterspews” instead of “by mistermuse“). Some might call this tendency over-thinking. Some might assert that was President Obama’s hangup. If so, then this guy certainly couldn’t cut it as President:

The Thinker by Rodin

The Thinker by Rodin

Well, then, shouldn’t we be seeking the fabled middle ground between extremes: under-thinking and over-thinking? But that smacks of compromise, and we certainly can’t have that.

What to do, what to do. Surely there must be a way to get ALL of what we want, if we’re foxy enough:

Any questions?

Any doubts?

Any rags?

BELIEVE IT, BELOVED

If you’ve ever experienced watching something happen that you found hard to believe was happening — like the shock of seeing the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers burn and collapse as one plane, then another, exploded into them on 9/11 — you get the idea of what many felt watching voting results unfold on election night into the wee hours of 11/9.

True — heavily-favored Hillary was a flawed candidate whose baggage was picked apart and mega-magnified by Trumped-up claims….and we who aren’t blind Clinton partisans realized that (for all her political experience) she was not a ‘natural’ as a campaigner, nor was she judicious enough to avoid making “deplorable” mistakes that left us wondering how someone so seasoned could make them. But we thought those shortcomings and errors paled in comparison to the narcissistic, knowledge-challenged, scorched-earth shamelessness of P.T. Barnum the Second, aka Donald Trump. Wrong. Disaffected voters sought a savior, and voted their anger, emotions and perceptions…. and now we face four years of BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR, beginning January 20, Inauguration Day. It should be interesting.

Meanwhile, back at the rant, I remember Republicans after the 2008 election vowing to do everything they could to make Obama a failed President. Contrast that with Obama at the White House yesterday saying he hopes Trump (who until recently claimed Obama wasn’t born in the U.S. & shouldn’t even be President) will be a success because “we’re Americans first,” not Republicans or Democrats. But enough about the election and wishful thinking. It’s over, and I’m looking at the bright side:
No more political robocalls ad infinitum.
No more political commercials on TV ad absurdum.
No more mailbox stuffed with political spin ad nauseam.
No more political campaign speeches which seem to go on ad vitam.
Need I ad etcetera?

IN NO MOOD TO KNOW NEWS

Tomorrow, Sept. 11, is NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS DAY, which celebrates a truism that isn’t necessarily true….but, if we apply it to covering this Presidential campaign season in America, no news would be good news every day until election day: No more being subjected to The Donald’s incessant Barnum-esque babblings, or to Hillary trying to overcome being Hillary. No more spin from their political shills on cable TV. No more polls. No more any of it. Let’s just vote and get it over with. I’m ready. I’ve been ready.

Now that that’s settled, I am going to start the celebration a day early by not mentioning either candidate for the remainder of this post. Furthermore, I’m not going to subject you to my babblings for the rest of this post; instead, while I’m off celebrating, I’ll let what others have said on the subject of news take it from here. Is that good news, or what?

But first, the news: The House of Commons was sealed off today [while in session] after police chased an escaped lunatic through the front door. A spokesman at Scotland Yard said it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. –Ronnie Barker

It’s not a 24 hour news cycle, it’s a 60 second news cycle now, it’s instantaneous. It has never been easier to get away with telling lies. It has never been easier to get away with the glib one-liner. –Malcolm Turnbull

We all want to get the news objectively, impartially, and from our own point of view. –Bill Vaughan

Public opinion is the God of democracy, and the journalist is his prophet. –Evan Esar

We are in the same tent as the clowns and the freaks — that’s show business. –Edward R. Murrow (broadcast journalist)

It’s amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper. –Jerry Seinfeld

The American news media has lowered the bar for all of humanity. British news media is definitely trying to stoop down to that level. Everyone is stooping to the lowest common denominator. –John Oliver

I don’t care what is written about me so long as it isn’t true. –Katherine Hepburn

Some people commit a crime for no other reason than to see their name in print. –Gustave Flaubert

Live long enough and nothing is news. ‘The News’ is ‘the new thing.’  That’s fine, until a hundred years go by and you realize there are no new things, only deep structures and cycles that repeat themselves through different period details. –Glen Duncan

 

 

 

DON’T LOSE YOUR HEAD

What would you do without your head? Well, you might become a candidate for President of the United Horsemen of Sleepy Hollow….or President of the United States of America. Just the thought of the latter naturally points to the strange case of one Donald Trump, a septuagenarian who appears to have a head — but every word emanating from said head makes it apparent that it isn’t a real head, but a cartoon head, with real drawing power.

And here all the Time

Now, it’s possible that Sir Donald, of House of Orange fame, was born with an ordinary human head (hard to picture, but possible). If so, it seems obvious that at some point he irretrievably lost it (perhaps in a naval exercise, or maybe it was told “You’re fired!” when he was an ANT (Apprentice Narcissistic Tycoon). Of course, it would never do for someone of his stature to appear headless (not great for the image), so no doubt he struck a great deal with a great cartoonist to draw a big replacement head on his shoulders that would not only be the envy of every bird seeking a nesting site, but would look great and inspire many tweets in the bargain.

Needless to say, the cartoonist succeeded in creating an artistic wonder, notwithstanding the fact that every time the head said something, it made its bear-er look like an ass. Of course, that’s not the cartoonist’s fault, but Sir Donald blamed him anyway, because that’s what winners do to losers (of everything but heads). Naturally, Sir Donald’s followers drank it up, because everything he says goes down like Dr. Trump’s Original Snake Oil, ‘still-made’ right here in the good old U.S. of A. by Mexican aliens, and guaranteed great for the constitution, for soothing fear, and curing everything that aliens you.

And so, my fellow Americans, the choice is queer (heterosexually speaking). The time is now. Or is it the choice is now and the times are queer? Anyway, if your mind (assuming you haven’t lost your head reading this post) was undecided as to who or whom to vote for at the start of this treatise, I trust that is no longer a problem.

This has been a public service announcement brought to you as a public service. I thank you.

P.S. Thanks also to Wayne Hogan for providing the cartoon which provided the idea for this post. If his name sounds vaguely familiar, another great Wayne’s world classic appears on the cover of my book SEX SCELLS, which I seem to recall a few of you buying under duress way back when (and of which I just happen to have some leftover copies, in case anyone’s interested).

YOU ARE WHO YOU ELECT

You are what you eat. –Dr. Victor Lindlahr, nutritionist (1897-1969)

Pun aside, a lot of whater has passed under the bridge since Dr. Lindlahr coined the above phrase 75+ years ago, and the older I get, the more I’ve taken his caution to heart….with resulting good health to show for it (if I should drop dead tomorrow, I shall reluctantly admit I came to that conclusion a bit prematurely).

But I have also come to see a parallel to this axiom in the public sector: it’s no accident that we have political dysfunction. We are who we elect. Our elected (and wanna-be elected) officials aren’t anomalies who have somehow passed under voters’ attention spans, leaving us to wonder how such coarse incivility found its way into the political mainstream. Well, wonder no more:

http://www.gocomics.com/wumo/2016/03/28

Obviously, then, eatin’ and politickin’ have a lot in common. As with our intellectual standards, if our table manners go down the drain, we regress into uncivilized louts. To combat this uncouth scourge, we must remember our etiquette. Politicians need to model their behavior after the culinary refinement of the epicure:

Therefore, let us get back to the good old days when politicians may have been idiots, but at least they weren’t tasteless idiots with little sense of propriety. Take these examples:

It’s time to put our blood or our urine where our mouth is. — Rep. Pat Murphy (D-IA) on drug testing, Feb. 1997

We have brave men and women who are willing to step forward because they know what’s at stake. They’re willing to sacrifice their lives for this great country. What I’m asking all of you tonight is not to put on a uniform. Put on a [Rick Santorum] bumper sticker. Is it that much to ask? Is it that much to ask to step up and serve your country? –Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), Jan. 2006

My problem was, I was too honest with you the first time. –Rep. Tillie Fowler (R-FL), explaining to her constituents why she changed positions.

The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, antifamily political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, , kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians. –Pat Robertson, 1992 fund raising letter

They intend to vote on the Sabbath, during Lent, to take away the liberty that we have right from God. This is an affront to God. –Rep. Steve King (R-IA)

Please burn before reading. –1972 Nixon White House illegal campaign tactics memo

My friends, no matter how rough the road may be, we can and we will never, never surrender to what is right. –Dan Quayle, Vice President under George H.W. Bush

I don’t think we came from monkeys. I think that’s ridiculous. I haven’t seen a half-monkey, half-person yet. –Glenn Beck (who apparently hadn’t looked in the mirror lately)

OK, Pat Robertson and Glenn Beck aren’t politicians. Hey, nobody’s perfect. Well, maybe Sarah Palin is, but we don’t have time to do her justice, so I’ll close with this reminder:

 

 

 

 

ALAS, SHRUGGED

Political elections are a good deal like marriages–there’s no accounting for anyone’s taste. –Will Rogers

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In a March 2 Cincinnati newspaper article (titled ROAD TRIPPIN’ TO COLUMBUS FOR TRUMP), a reporter writes of accompanying four Trump backers on a drive to Columbus (Ohio) for a DONALD TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT rally: “They’re serious about their support for Trump. They shrug off his bombastic speech.”

Alas, what they also “shrug off” is any suggestion that Trump is a big-talking combination of P.T. Barnum, bully, and simplistic-solutions artist who can order away the causes of Americans’ discontent as easily as he fires ‘losers’. Shrug–the perfect word to describe the casualness with which Trump supporters dismiss his “bombastic speech.” Bombastic? More like conveniently ignorant (Trump: “I don’t know anything about [white supremacist] David Duke”), or demeaning (“Would anyone vote for that [Carly Fiorina’s] face?”), or pathetic (“He [John McCain] is not a war hero”), or despicable (mocking a reporter, named Serge Kovaleski, who has a disability). Etc. Etc. Etc. But what do his followers care, because they think he “tells it like it is.”

Here’s how columnist Kathleen Parker saw it in a recent piece titled “The GOP may get what it deserves”: “The challenge for those of us in the observation business [lest you forget, this blog is called THE OBSERVATION POST] is to illuminate what’s plainly obvious without offending those who prefer not to see. But there’s no winning once passions are engaged, and hating the messenger [aka blaming the media] is a time-honored tradition.” Such a business.

One would expect sensible people to realize that Trump is no cure for the uncompromising dogmatism that plagues our politics. So, how to account for the gullibility (or “taste,” as Will Rogers put it) of those who’ve been seduced by their beloved’s dubious charms. Perhaps some see that rivals like Ted Cruz would only deepen the dogmatic ditch that divides us. But that gives them credit for more sophistication than is their due, in my estimation. Most of them simply don’t see Trump for the humbug he is, and dogmatism is a fancy word that doesn’t pay their bills or kick butt.

But Mitt Romney knows better:

Just between us, I find myself hoping that Trump wins the GOP nomination, in the belief (promulgated by Romney and other Republican leaders) that he would lose big to Hillary….and take down with him enough right wing candidates to lose control of the Senate (and hopefully loosen political and tribalistic gridlock in the process). Not that I’m a huge fan of Hillary, but at worst, she is the lesser of two evils, and in any case, more mature, warts and all. Or I may vote for Rabbit Hash Mayor/Presidential candidate Lucy Lou, who may be a dog, but not a dog who tears people apart. Nor, oddly enough, is she the least bit(e) dogmatic.

What is so hard about understanding that working together is the most reasonable and timely way to get things done in a democracy? Hillary’s jingoistic rejoinder to Trump’s jingoistic ‘Make America great again’ campaign slogan is, at least, a starting point: “America never stopped being great. We have to make America whole.” Or at least as whole as is relatively possible in a country divided against itself.

 

ME(ET) MR. RIGHT

To err is human, but it feels divine. –Mae West

To err is human – to blame it on a computer is even more so. –Robert Orben

To err is human; to blame someone else is politics. –Hubert Humphrey

To err is human, but when the eraser wears out before the pencil, you’re overdoing it. –-Josh Jenkins

I recently chanced upon a book titled BEING WRONG — which, of course, is a concept completely foreign to where I’m coming from (and I’m not even a politician) — but I decided to read the book anyway in the hope of learning why other people are so prone to being wrong.

It turns out that people are often wrong because they’re human….an attribute I was fairly certain that I possess (naturally, I can’t speak for some of the elephants and jackasses in Congress), so to be sure, I checked my birth certificate. Sure enough, “human” was written in the space after where it says “Genus” (or maybe it says “Genius” — the small print is hard to read). In any case, birth certificates don’t lie (I don’t care what Tea Party Republicans say). Make no mistake: mistermuse IS human — and possibly a genius as well, which could account for my never being wrong.

Now that that’s settled, let us turn to BEING WRONG, the book. Written by Kathryn Schulz, journalist, writer and “wrongologist,” this book should be required reading for anyone who thinks they’re always right, because (says Schulz) “the need to be always right simply keeps us from growing.” I can take that to heart (though my stomach may not be so easily deterred), and so can anyone at the point of “realizing halfway through an argument that you are mistaken, or halfway through a lifetime that you were wrong about your faith, your politics, yourself, your loved one, or your life’s work.”

But. of course, many people never (says I) “get” to that halfway point….and even if they do, refuse to admit — even to themselves — that they could be mistaken about anything (think Donald Trump, the poster child for this type, who, unlike yours truly, doesn’t have the excuse of being born a genius). You don’t really want to be like Donald Trump, do you? You do want much food for thought, don’t you? Then read this book….or at least, for starters, give its author a listen:

THE END
(but will it be the end, for long,
of my denying BEING RONG?)