TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE, THAT IS THE QUESTION*

To see or not to see, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to look past
The slings and arrows of outrageous tweets
And excuse the lies and insults of our imperial Don,
So long as such doth advance our noble cause
And lead us back to the glory of righteous times,
Devoutly to be wish’d. Ay, there’s the rub:
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’opressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of dispriz’d love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the unworthy spurns,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus devil-deals doth make cowards of us all
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
Lie paraded, bare and exposed for all but us to see.

*with appreciation, but no apologies, to Shakespeare

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

B C-ING YOU (NO B S)

What do Bonnie and Clyde do?

What do mistermuse do?

He posits posts you can bank on for interest, though short term in sum cases (sumtimes as little as two seconds). If you’re thinking in terms of interest that goes on and on, read The Bard or The Donald (depending on whether you’re more attuned to Bill Shakespeare or Bull Shit).

For this particular caper, we stick up — I mean pick up — from the initial A, where our girl’s-name songs left off….this time killing two letters (B and C) with one post. For our B song, off to BONNIE SCOTLAND we go:

As long as we B in Scotland, we might as well C in Scotland:

OK, so CLYDE isn’t a girl’s name — not a minor detail, I confess. I am thus forced to acknowledge that selecting the ideal song isn’t as simple as A-B-C — our girl C will have to wait until my next post after all. I Be C-ing you then (Lord willing and the river don’t rise).

GRECIAN EARNS PLATO’S PLAUDITS; ‘REMAINS’ SILENT

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty — that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
–John Keats, from ODE ON A GRECIAN URN

On this day in February, 399 BC (according to onthisday.com) occurred the fateful trial of the famed Grecian philosopher Socrates, of whom it is said that he didn’t put anything in writing during his lifetime — or even afterward, for that matter. This might lead one to think he was either paranoid or illiterate. By all odes, however, he was neither — otherwise his life/trial/death-by-hemlock would have earned him no esteem….and in theory, the following quotes attributed to Socrates might have been not only recorded by, but credited to, Plato (as well as others Greek to me):

Wisdom begins in wonder.

The unexamined life is not worth living.

To find yourself, think for yourself.

By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.

I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.

But why should Plato and a few of his fellow G(r)eeks get all the credit for handing down what Socrates supposedly said? I may not be quite as ancient as they, but I go back far enough to be able to confide with the utmost confidence that Socrates never denied saying the following:

Wisdom begins in wonder….and ends the same way.

There’s no fool like an old fool. (On the other hand, some of us “old fools” prefer to think of ourselves as misanthropically eccentric seniors.)

It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. (Or, you could just pay your electric bill on time.)

My wife would talk to a wooden Indian. (That’s why I keep a wooden Indian around the house.)

All’s well that ends well. (Well, I don’t know about that….but I suppose if it was good enough for the doomed Socrates, it’s good enough for the likes of Shakespeare and mistermuse.)

THE END

 

 

THIS POST IS FOR THE BARDS

Larry was writing rhyme at the age of six; by 1910 [age 15], he’d been christened “Shakespeare” by friends. [He had] a passion for Shakespeare, a delight in wordplay, and a fondness for anachronistic juxtaposition. Not for nothing was Hart known as “Shakespeare.” –Dominick Symonds, author of WE’LL HAVE MANHATTAN (subtitled THE EARLY WORK OF RODGERS & HART)

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My previous post featured the words and music of Richard Rodgers and Larry Hart, which — along with the above — conveniently serve as segue into Shakespearean speculation:

BARD’S TUNE

What would William
have done with jazz?
Would he take jazz
where no one has?

Would jazz-you-like-
it, he accost?
Would he find jazz
love’s labor lost?

Would he have played
jazz instrument
measure for meas-
ure, or hell bent?

Or would he have,
a jazz voice, been —
the ‘King of Sing’
of noted men?

No! Peerless bard,
writer of wrongs —
if you dug jazz….
you’d write the songs.

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BARDSTOWN

is an itty-bitty city in my neighboring state of Kentucky, voted “Most Beautiful Small Town in America” and noted for its annual KENTUCKY BOURBON FESTIVAL, MUSEUM OF WHISKEY, and MY OLD KENTUCKY HOME STATE PARK, site of the farm which inspired Stephen Foster to write “My Old Kentucky Home” (the state song of Kentucky).

http://www.visitbardstown.com/

I find the story of Stephen Foster most interesting, starting with the date of his birth: July 4, 1826 — the same day that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died hours apart. Foster was a dreamer whose love of music trumped more profitable ways of earning a living. Though he composed almost 200 songs (many of them popular in his own time), his last years were marked by poverty, a craving for liquor, and suffering from what may have been tuberculosis, dying 153 years and one week ago today (Jan. 13, 1864).

Foster can truly be considered the original bard of American music, as this 1946 quote by the late American composer and music critic, Deems Taylor, suggests:

What quality have they [Foster’s songs] that gives them such tremendous staying power? After all, other men in his day wrote songs that were as popular as his, possibly more so. What was his secret? It was, I think, that he helped fill a gap that had always existed in our musical culture. Our ancestors, coming here from all quarters of the globe, brought with them the folk songs of their native lands, but they were not peculiarly ours. It is ironic that the only race that developed a folksong literature in this country is the race that was brought here against its will, and was and has been the most brutally exploited of all — the Negro. The Negro spirituals and Stephen Foster’s songs are the nearest to completely indigenous folksongs that we have. Nor is it a coincidence that most of the best of his songs are in Negro dialect and sing the woes of the Negro. 

But I will close, in keeping with the theme of recent posts, with one of Foster’s love songs:

 

TITLES FOR BARE NAKED POEMS

Words should be only the clothes, carefully custom-made to fit the thought. –Jules Renard

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With the above in mind, I have tailored the following titles to fit a dozen poems fashioned to stir your imagination. WARNING: These poems may drive you stir crazy; do not take too literally.

WHITE OUT

I THOUGHT ABOUT EWE*

SILENCE OF THE LAMBS

EASY WRITER

THIS IS A PIECE OF CAKE

THE ICING ON THE CAKE

POETIC SUBSTANCE ABUSE

BLACK AND….

SNOW JOB IN SIBERIA

DRAWING A BLANK

SHAKESPEARE’S WORK BY BACON

LOVE’S LABOR#

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#The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.
–G. K. Chesterton

*In coming up with this title, I thought about this Johnny Mercer song:

 

 

ALL IN FAVOR OF BOMBING AGRABAH, SAY ABRACADABRA

Friends, I love to bomb the hell out of the enemy as much as the next guy, but as we know, in the dead-on, aptly-dubbed fog of war, mistakes are made (aka stuff happens)….for examples, the killing by “friendly fire” of former NFL star Pat Tillman in April 2004, the accidental bombing (which took the lives of 22 medical staff & patients) of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in October 2015 — both in Afghanistan — and who knows how many other such tragedies throughout history.

Thus it is with mixed feelings that I bring you tidings of a recent poll revealing that many Americans are in favor of bombing the city of Agrabah, which is located, not in the Middle East, but in the far-off kingdom of Apocrypha, no less:

http://www.mintpressnews.com/212204-2/212204

Friends, after some animated soul-searching, I regret to say that I must differ with my fellow patriots. I do not favor the bombing of Agrabah. It’s not because Agrabahn terrorists don’t deserve to die — they are, after all, cartoonish, less-than-human barbarians, committing appalling atrocities in the name of Allah (who apparently controls the minds of his adherents from the heavenly kingdom of Allahbah). No, friends, I demur because there is a near-100% chance of fog in the war zone, and an even greater probability of collateral damage, which of course only turns survivors into revenge-crazed recruits for the enemy. Even many of our esteemed leaders, both military and political, are believed to be aware of these realities, though clueless as to what to do about them (other than deem them regrettable and unavoidable).

Well, I say we spare Agrabah and all the other bahs whose populace has the misfortune of living in a different dream world than ours. If we must show them who’s boss, we can always blow them to kingdom-come with politically incorrect ridicule and blasts of bombast, such as the Shakespearean likes of Donald Trump drops on his adversaries, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Or – well, as a last resort, we could emulate the brilliant tactics employed by another politically incorrect Donald, by George:

So there, as a last report, you have my final post of 2015….and not a moment too soon, I dare say. Happy New Year to all, and to all, a good night.