ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOT TALK?

When I was young, I never thought about getting old (a stage of life known as having one foot in the grave — almost curtains). So, having two feet in the grave was the last thing on my mind. Now I’m a senior citizen, and I’m still not ready to kick the bucket, but my feet are killing me like I am about to kick bucket — or, with my luck it (this bucket) kicks me:

Foot cramps, ingrown toenails, fungus among-us, smelly feet (you know this from my last post) — it’s like I got my feet at the Bad Feet Store. You name it, my feet are treating me like a heel. Don’t laugh — someday you may walk in my shoes, and then you’ll know the agony of de feet and be the sole of remorse for not seeing fit to empathize. But I guess you’ll cross that footbridge when you come to it.

Having retired from a desk job, I didn’t spend most of my life upon my feet, so my tootsies aren’t letting me down because of being mistreated. Likewise, I’ve seldom, if ever, worn high heels (I may have BEEN a heel a time or two, but that’s a different story). I don’t know — maybe I’m finally footing the bill for writing such poems as this:

All humans have more than one foot,
Unless one has less than two.
One can trust I count two on me —
More or less, can one count on you?

Groan. I guess my days of being this are over:

 

 

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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.”

 

 

THE WRONG BROTHERS

Friends, as much as I have enjoyed telling you in recent posts of the inspiring exploits of The Wright Brothers, inventors of the aeroplane, things don’t always go the Wright way in this woebegone world. As we all know, friends, the best laid planes of mice and men oft go a-why? Shot down happens. But, ever looking for new girls–make that, new worlds–to conquer, mice and men are not deterred. Onward and upward! Winners never quit, etc.:

But enough of such air-brained schemes. Let us put these proceedings on a higher plane:

Yes, my friends, the moral of the story is when you hit a downer, don’t be a frowner; and when you hit a sour note, don’t let it get your goat. Never despair — there’s music in the air. Go for it!

LET US TURN BACK TO THE WRIGHT, BROTHERS AND SISTERS

PROLOGUE:
We had to go ahead and discover everything for ourselves.
–Orville Wright, 1901

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Friends, Readers, Countrymen —

If you have spent many a sleepless night
tossing and turning ’til dawn’s early light,
wondering if I’d e’er host another post,
take such worries off thy plate — they’re toast.

Yes, Brothers and Sisters, thy long wait is o’er.
I’m back, and who of you could ask for more
although I must confess
that most may ask for less. 😦

Never-the-less, Brothers and Sisters,
it is written in the stars that I must return to the scene of my rhymes and other crimes. It’s Kismet.

Notwithstanding the never-the-less, Brothers and Sisters, I digress.
I come here not to berhyme the Wrights, but to praise them.

Thus this follow-up to my May 17 post, THE DAY THE WRIGHTS DONE ME WRONG, because, by ancient axiom, it’s the Wright thing to do (If at first you don’t succeed, fly, fly again). And if this discourse has the unintended consequence of being the sleep-aid you need to catch up on those zzzzz, the added benefit comes at no extra charge.

But I doubt that will be the case with THE WRIGHT BROTHERS, which, it so happens, is the title of a book I just finished reading (by my favorite historian, David McCullough). It’s no less than you’d expect from a Pulitzer Prize winning author: a masterful biography which (quoting from the dust cover) “draws on the immense riches of the Wright Papers, including personal diaries, notebooks, and more than a thousand letters from private family correspondence, to tell the human side of a profoundly American story.”

The Wrights spent years of trial and air working to construct the world’s first ‘aeroplane,’ but as reader Don Frankel noted on May 17, America paid scant attention even after their successful first flight Dec. 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (and Don wasn’t just whistling Dixie in his comment). Finally, in 1906, after numerous improvements (including a more powerful engine) and many test flights, “much of the scientific world and the press [began] to change their perspective on the brothers”, and they started to attract commercial and government–especially French, not American– interest.

To the latter point, President (and fellow Ohioan) Wm. Howard Taft spoke as follows in presenting the two brothers with Gold Medals on June 10, 1909, in Washington D.C.:

I esteem it a great honor and an opportunity to present these medals to you as an evidence of what you have done. I am so glad–perhaps at a delayed hour–to show that in America it is not true that “a prophet is not without honor save in his own country.” It is especially gratifying thus to note a great step in human discovery by paying honor to men who bear it so modestly. You made this discovery by a course that we of America like to feel is distinctly American–by keeping your noses right at the job until you had accomplished what you had determined to do.

There are many stories within the story of THE WRIGHT BROTHERS, many twists and turns and mishaps along the way. The Wrights weren’t ‘stick’ figures with no interests and little to commend beyond their mechanical genius. Wilbur, for example, wrote home from France in 1906 of long walks and “the great buildings and art treasures of Paris, revealing as he never had–or had call to–the extent of his interest in architecture and painting.”

Read this bio and you will surely be taken along for the ride, as was I, by “the human side of a profoundly American story” of two men most of us know only from dry history books.

So fasten your life jackets and come fly with me.

EPILOGUE:
We dared to hope we had invented something that would bring lasting peace to the Earth. But we were wrong. We underestimated man’s capacity to hate and to corrupt good means for an evil end. –Orville Wright, 1943 (during WWII)

 

LIAR, LIAR, RANTS ON FIRE

One of my readers, who is obviously a glutton for punishment, recently expressed disappointment that I haven’t posted more of my poems lately. At the risk of triggering that old axiom BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR, I thank her for having inspired me to address the deficiency thusly:

DECEIT DON’T STAND

As the twig is bent,
so grows the tree.
As the die is cast,
so shall it be.

If these be true,
why is it wise:
The Donald gets a pass
when he tells those lies?

Of course, I should also thank the President, without whose daily rants my inspiration for this poem would doubtless lie dormant. And now for a word from the truly wise about lies:

Carlyle said, “A lie cannot live”; it shows he did not know how to tell them. –Mark Twain

A man comes to believe in the end the lies he tells about himself to himself. –George Bernard Shaw

I admire liars, but surely not liars so clumsy they cannot fool even themselves. –H. L. Mencken

Pretending that you believe a lie is also a lie. –Arthur Schnitzler

If at first you’re not believed, lie, lie again. –Evan Esar

Not sure why the video is black. Maybe because the lies it laments aren’t white ones. But the sound is clear, and the voice shines through the darkness.

 

 

 

THE WAGES OF SIN TAX

Pardon the intrusion —
I don’t mean to pry —
But the deficit’s soaring;
The figures don’t lie.

Uncle Sam’s in a pickle —
Needs money like mad —
So he sent me to tell you
You must pay to be bad.

He’s taxed income and outgo
And capital gains;
Now, an excise on excess
Is all that remains.

Uncle wants to be fair —
No sin taxes he’ll seek
‘less you go making love
More than one time a week.

I’m installing surveillance
To monitor your behavior.
Lusting under covers won’t save you —
I’ll hear your cries to the Father of your Savior.

But please don’t take this personal —
It’s my job to listen and view it.
Hey, you know what they say:
Someone’s got to do it.

So….