YOU NEED TO READ SWIFT TO GET UP TO SPEED

I don’t recall how old I was — probably no later than my early teens — when I first read Jonathan Swift’s satirical masterpiece Gulliver’s Travels; all I know is it made a lasting impression on my unworldly-wise perception of the world. If you haven’t read the book, this summary will at least give you the bare bones:

Several films have been made based on the novel; here is the trailer for the version I remember seeing (the book was what made me think; the movie served as entertaining afterthought):

JONATHAN SWIFT, born this day (Nov. 30) in 1667 in Dublin, led a multi-faceted life between Ireland and England (his place of residence often depended on events beyond his control). For the meaty details of  his life, you might consider taking time to go Googling; here, I offer a dozen of his quotes, the first two of which are from Gulliver’s Travels:

Based on Gulliver’s descriptions of their behavior, the King describes Europeans as “the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.

The tiny Lilliputians surmise that Gulliver’s watch may be his God, because it is that which, he admits, he seldom does anything without consulting.

When the world has once begun to use us ill, it afterwards continues to use the same treatment with less scruple or ceremony, as men do to a whore.

I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed.

Words are the clothing of our thoughts.

Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it, so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late; the jest is over, and the tale hath had its effect: like a man who hath thought of a good repartee when the company departed.

Happiness is the perpetual possession of being well deceived.

We of this age have discovered a shorter, and more prudent method to become scholars and wits, without the fatigue of reading or of thinking.

We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.

I wonder what fool it was that first invented kissing.

It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.

Nothing is so hard for those who  abound in riches as to conceive how others can be in want.

Almost 300 years have passed since Swift completed Gulliver’s Travels, and the world still doesn’t seem to have gotten the word. Too bad.

THE SOUND OF SILENTS

You sure you can’t move? –what Harpo Marx “said” to the tied-up hero (Richard Dix) before punching him in the 1925 film TOO MANY KISSES (fortunately, the film survived)

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Italicized above are the only words ever “spoken” (but not heard) on film by the man whose birthday we note today, HARPO MARX. The audience didn’t hear those five words because the film was a “silent” — “talkies” didn’t come on the scene until 1927, two years before the first of thirteen Marx Brothers movies (1929-49). Harpo spoke in none of them.

But why, oh why-o, should I try-o to “bio” Harpo, when here-o you can click on the official thing from his offspring:

https://www.harposplace.com/

Because Harpo associated with Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley and other wits in the famed Algonquin Round Table repartee, I expected to turn up a number of witty Harpo Marx quotes for this piece. No such luck — I found only one I enjoyed enough to post here (both the “she” referred to in the quote, and who it is addressed to, are unknown):

“She’s a lovely person. She deserves a good husband. Marry her before she finds one.”

One quote being three quotes short of a gallon, I shall return to giving you “the silent treatment” with a quota of four quotes of silence said by forethoughtful others:

“Listen to the sound of silence.” –Paul Simon, American singer, songwriter, and actor

“Silence is golden unless you have kids, then it’s just plain suspicious.” –anonymous

“If nobody ever said anything unless he knew what he was talking about, what a ghastly hush would descend upon the earth!” –A. P. Herbert, English humorist, writer, and politician

“I believe in the discipline of silence and can talk for hours about it.” –George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright and critic

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Since I didn’t give Harpo the last word, I’ll let him give his audience the last laugh….and though he doesn’t speak, you’ll hear captivating sounds escape his lips 2:42 into this clip:

Bravo, Harpo!

EPILOGUE: Listen — 90+ years after the “silents” ended*, you can still hear….

*with the exception of two Charlie Chaplin masterpieces in the 1930s, CITY LIGHTS and MODERN TIMES

RETIREMENT TIME

Hard as it may be (for me, at least) to fathom, it seems that many people approaching retirement don’t look forward to it because they don’t know what they’ll do with all the time they’ll have when they have no job. That has never struck me as a problem, what with books to be read, writing to be written, learning to be learned (unless you already know everything), trips to plan, music to enjoy, sports to follow, chores to avoid, mislaid items to look for, naps to take, etc….not to mention human behavior forever to be baffled by.

Believe me, friends, if I had half the time my once-upon-a-time fellow wage slaves assume I have, I would be posting a post almost every day instead of once a week or so (which, I concede, may still be too often for you malcontents and party poopers out there).

So, how busy am I?

Oops — how did that clip get there? Fact is, I’m so busy, I don’t even have time to think of more to say about the subject….so I’ll avoid that chore by passing it on to others:

I have never liked working. To me, a job is an invasion of privacy. –Danny McGoorty

I’ve crunched the numbers in your retirement account. It’s time to figure out who will be wearing the mask and who will be driving the getaway car. –Unknown financial advisor

My retirement plan is to get thrown into a minimum security prison in Hawaii. –Julius Sharpe

I will not retire while I’ve still got my legs and my make-up box. –Bette Davis

The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off. –Abe Lemons

I find the biggest trouble with having nothing to do is you can’t tell when you’re done. –Unknown

As for me, except for an occasional heart attack, I feel as young as I ever did. –Robert Benchley

I can’t wait to retire so I can get up at 6 a.m. and drive around real slow and make everybody late for work. –Unknown

What do you call a person who is happy on Monday? Retired. –Unknown

When a professional golfer retires, what does he retire to? –Evan Esar

When you retire, you switch bosses — from the one who hired you to the one who married you. –Unknown

Time’s up. COMING, DEAR!

 

 

 

SENIOR MUSE SOUNDS OFF FOR OLD TIMERS SAKE

In 1984, members of the Oxford Library Club for Retired Professional People were especially looking forward to hearing a guest speaker on “Old Age, Absent-Mindedness, and Keeping Fit.” Unfortunately, the speaker forgot to show up. –excerpted from the book 1,000 UNFORGETTABLE SENIOR MOMENTS

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MAY being OLDER AMERICANS MONTH, and ME being an older American, I’ve decided to post a post predicated on passing on — make that on passing along — hoary words of wisdom concerning a subject I’m surpassingly qualified to write about, namely …. ….hmmm….uh….ah…. longevity (ha ha — you thought I forgot what I was going to write about, didn’t you?).

Actually, I must admit to being a bit of a senior citizen-slouch when it comes to longevity — at least, compared to this guy:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/worlds-oldest-man-146-birthday-long-life-location-country-name-celebrates-old-age-a7505401.html

And of course, that there this guy is himself a slouch compared to this here this guy:

Methuselah, as all my bible-believing brethr’n and sistern know, was said to have lived 969 years (Genesis 5:27), so you might think this song is my inspiration to keep marching on:

But (and I quote) “Who calls that livin’ when no gal’s gonna give in to no man what’s 900 years?”

So there you have it from Bobby Darin singing the lyrics of Ira Gershwin. Or you can take it from Senior Muse quoting the words of Oscar Wilde: “The tragedy of old age is not that one is old, but that one is not young.”

 

 

 

TRUMP COULDN’T HAVE SAID IT BETTER

As we know, our beloved, above-the-law President, Donald “Stonewall Maximum” Trump, is not one to account for his violations of civility, humanity or legality, but in case he ever feels a need to make excuses for his base….instincts, he can grab on to one of the following old floozies — I mean DOOZIES — for justification. Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, he may even want to lay claim to them all — no matter the doozies became noted quotes ere Trump ere heard of them or the quotees (well, maybe he heard of the first one.)

“I haven’t committed a crime. What I did was fail to comply with the law.” –DAVID DINKINS, former NYC Mayor

“I care not who makes the laws of a nation if I can get out an injunction.” –FINLEY PETER DUNNE, humorist

“Suppression is 9/10ths of the law.” –EVAN ESAR (a pun on the expression “Possession is 9/10ths of the law.”

“I simply misremembered it wrong.” –MARK KIRK, former Republican Senator from Illinois

“My friends, no matter how rough the road may be, we can and we will, never, surrender to what is right.” –DAN QUAYLE, VP of the United States under George H.W. Bush

“There are people in our society who should be separated and discarded.” –SPIRO AGNEW, V.P. of the U.S. under Richard Nixon

“I AM the Federal Government.” –TOM DELAY, former GOP Majority leader, after telling a business owner to put out his cigar due to a federal law against smoking in the building

Now that’s a quote we can lay on THE DONALD without DELAY.

 

 

 

WELL(ES) SAID

“My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four….unless there are three other people.” –Orson Welles (in his obese later years)

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Today being the birthday (5/6/1915) of the great director/actor Orson Welles, I’m going to risk repeating myself by repeating myself….with a few selections (including the following clip) from a past post acclaiming Welles and his role in the classic film THE THIRD MAN:

To those who think the likes of this 1949 film has appeal only for seniors (like me), I’d say such films are called classic because they’re ageless, not made to capitalize on what’s ‘in’ at the moment. To demonstrate, here is a non-senior citizen explaining why she loves it:

Of Welles, the man grown from “boy genius,” much has been written, but I won’t go into the details of his life/legend here — they can be readily culled by clicking this link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orson_Welles (or less readily culled from recommended books like ORSON WELLES, a 562 page biography by Barbara Leaming). Instead, I will call on some of the wisdom he left behind….and I quote:

Even if the good old days never existed, the fact that we can conceive such a world is, in fact, a confirmation of the human spirit.

Living in the lap of luxury isn’t bad except that you never know when luxury is going to stand up.

I don’t pray because I don’t want to bore God.

Race hate isn’t human nature; race hate is the abandonment of human nature.

Don’t give them what they think they want. Give them what they never thought was possible.

We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.

When people accept breaking the law as normal, something happens to the whole society.

Well(es) said, I’d say.

 

 

 

NO BRAINER DAY

I think, therefore I am. –René Descartes 
I overthink, therefore I post.
–mistermuse

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Lately, I’ve been burning too much mental energy cooking up posts to roast Trump (e.g., I almost said toast rump); the heat is turning my face red and giving me the thinking blues:

Frankly, friends, I think I need to cool it before the strain becomes a drain on my brain and gives me a pain. Fortunately, Feb. 27 is NO BRAINER DAY — a perfect day to post a post which requires little or no thinking. But before you Trump reprobates snidely ask how that would make this post any different from my previous posts, answer me this: how much thought do you think The Donald gives his tweets? Even a smart-ask Trumpite should allow that mistermuse be entitled to one day of devoting the same paucity of gray matter to his post that your Orange Oligarch devotes to his tweets every day.

With that in mind, I’m giving the rest of this tome over to posting what others thought when they thought about thinking/not thinking. Do I think their thinking will make you think you’re thinking what I’m thinking about thinking/not thinking? Just a thought.

So, let’s get quoting before I change my mind and start thinking again:

I think that I think; therefore, I think I am. –Ambrose Bierce

[I think that I think, therefore] I yam what I yam. –Popeye the Sailor Man

There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the labor of thinking. –Thomas Edison

Ours is an age which is proud of machines that think, and suspicious of men who try to. –Howard Mumford Jones

The best way [for a woman] to win a man is to make him think you think as much of him as he does. –Evan Esar

In America, we say what we think, and even if we can’t think, we say it anyhow. –Charles F. Kettering

In closing, did you know Rodin’s THE THINKER was originally called THE POET:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thinker

I happen to know that THE POET didn’t appreciate the name change, thus this reaction:

Mused The Poet to a passing skunk,
“What good is being called The Thinker?
To some day convey the aura of a President,
It should Don the wrap, like you, of The Stinker.”