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  • mistermuse 1:00 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: actors, , , book rview, , , , , , war,   

    THE FIX IS OFF (for now) 

    Something has come up to postpone my out-of-town daughter’s Father’s Day visit until the following weekend ….so my browser problem will remain on hold, and without resolution, until the (offspring’s) fix is in. Meanwhile, back at the rant, I’ve finished reading the outspoken CARROLL O’CONNOR’s autobiography wherein he vents about many things. So, to fill in, let’s take up where my last post left off. After all, it’s All In The Family.

    O’Connor had a very varied pre-Archie Bunker life. Like many in their early adult years, he couldn’t find his niche. “I could not shake off a feeling of foolishnessa man of 26 plodding through the days and months with no plan, no answer for anyone who might ask “What are you going to do with yourself?” The eventual answer, after many dead-end turns, turned out to be acting….and, finally, stardom (which came with an Archie Bunker mentality).

    I — no doubt like most who read autobiographies — do so primarily to learn more about the author, his/her life and times. But I’ll also admit to the guilty pleasure of learning what the author thought of well-known contemporaries — in fact, such opinions may offer insights into other personalities and professions, which broaden (for better or worse) what I thought I knew about them. So, what were O’Connor’s impressions of….

    JOHN WAYNE: “He perceived America as the preeminent hero-nation, virtually a land of heroes in which he himself felt heroic (and actually was, as I knew him) and infused that perception into all his roles as naturally as if it were one of the primary  emotions.”

    JEAN STAPLETON: “Jean’s idea of Edith Bunker was not only original and perfectly suited to the American audience, but very comical and emotionally moving. If ever anything on television changed the country, not radically, not even obviously, it was the performance of Jean and the example of Edith. Did our series effectively attack bigotry and racism? We thought so at the time –”

    HARRY TRUMAN: “Nobody expected Truman to take part in a Korean civil war, if one should begin. His military chiefs had no battle plan; on the contrary, they had a plan for getting out of the way — withdrawing to Japan. I thought Truman was totally wrong — his political vision faulty, his practical leadership unintelligent, his moral justification false. For me, the issue of morality in war– whether or not it is a “just war” — turns on the question of choice. When you wage war because you have no choice you are acting justly. But when you have a reasonable choice and choose to wage war, you can’t call your war just.”

    MOVIE WRITERS, “though marvelously reliable in inventing space creatures — shriveled humanoids and hugely swollen insects — are unreliable in depicting intelligent life on earth.”

    AGENTS “are generally shrewd, knowing, clever people; good company, good friends. They have made my career; they make all careers; they are the most important people in the business.”

    ACTORS: “I shall never forget my first professional play rehearsal at The Gaiety Theatre, Dublin, in the spring of 1951 — the immediate cordiality of my new friends the actors: they greeted me like an intimate. Now after all these years I am still unfailingly comforted, encouraged and elated in the company of actors. There is something about the work these dear neurotics do, investigating every kind of human character, that  develops in them an extraordinary tolerance, forgiveness and good humor. I commend their company even to normal folk.”

    ….and I commend this book of Carroll’s to you.

    • waywardsparkles 1:50 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Those were the days watching All in the Family, The Jeffersons, and Maude! Ya know, I can’t remember a single episode of any of them; but I loved how Archie continued to open up as the show went on. Wait a minute, do you remember the episode when Archie had to get a transfusion? I do remember that episode. That was genius! Thanks for sharing about Carroll O’Connor’s autobiography, MM. Mona

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:42 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I vaguely remember that episode, Mona, but like you, I mainly remember the series in general, as a whole, not for individual programs. The same, I think, applies to MASH, although re-runs appear regularly on local TV and refresh memories of specific episodes much more readily.

        Liked by 1 person

    • blindzanygirl 2:42 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Aww. Sad your fix is off. But this is a very interesting post

      Liked by 1 person

    • calmkate 2:56 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      sorry your daughter is delayed, but she will get there!

      So JW was just being himself, explains why he was monotonously the same in everything he appeared in … Carroll’s shares some good insights, particularly about war! Thanks for the review 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:56 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Kate. I have several dozen biographies/autobiographies on my bookshelves, and O’Connor’s is one of the best.

        Liked by 1 person

    • obbverse 4:03 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Don’t panic! Help sounds like its on the way. Autobiographies seem to become more interesting the older we get. Something to do with the human condition, or trying to understand it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:08 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I agree, o.v. The ‘search’ for understanding is never-ending (until the end), but to paraphrase an old saying, “’tis better to have searched and come up short than never to have searched at all.”

        Liked by 1 person

    • Carmen 6:44 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      That book sound very interesting — what a character! Hope you get your fix soon, mister muse! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:57 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I hope so too, Carmen. The problems are getting worse (for example, my computer is increasingly ‘freezing’ on me — usually in the middle of writing a post or comment — requiring that I shut down and re-start). I wonder if it would help if I put my computer outside in the hot weather? 😉


    • Rivergirl 7:15 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      People always think of Archie when they think of O’Connor, but he really was so much more.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:19 am on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Absolutely, Rg. If he were still alive today, it’s not hard to imagine Archie supporting King Trump and O’Connor railing against him as the emperor who has no clothes.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Don Ostertag 10:44 pm on June 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I spent a week at Leonard Nimoy’s house which was across the street from O’Connor’s. That entire week, Carroll O’Connor cut his grass. He would finish with the lawn and start over again. I wanted to go and meet him, I heard he was a kind and intelligent person, but I never had the time. The Nimoys said he was a great neighbor.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 12:42 am on June 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Very interesting. The Nimoys must have had the fast growing grass in town. I mow my lawn once a year whether it needs it or not. 😉


        • Don Ostertag 1:17 am on June 20, 2020 Permalink

          Not the Nimoy’s lawn.., It was Carroll O’Connor cutting the O’Connor lawn.

          Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 7:47 am on June 20, 2020 Permalink

          Thanks for the clarification — I took “cut his grass” to mean that, because he was “a great neighbor,” O’Connor cut Nimoy’s lawn while Nimoy was away for a week. Out of even lesser misunderstandings, yards have been known to turn into battlefields!


    • annieasksyou 12:01 am on June 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting, mistermuse—especially O’Connor’s takes on Truman and John Wayne. Did he say why he felt Wayne was heroic?

      I don’t think computers like hot weather one whit, but I’m perhaps a tad more tech-adept than you, based on your description, so don’t byte a single bit of info I provide.
      Enjoy Father’s Day. Is this an actual —as opposed to virtual—visit?

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:16 am on June 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        When he knew Wayne, O’Connor wasn’t as liberal as he later became, so I assume that was how he felt then, before he ‘matured.’

        My daughter’s visit will be “actual” in order to install a new browser, as I am virtually blogging “up a creek without a paddle” on my outdated browser (at least, I assume that’s the cause of the problems I’m having — if not, I’m thinking of drowning my sorrow, and I don’t mean in the creek).

        Liked by 1 person

    • annieasksyou 9:21 am on June 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I hope your daughter rescues you forthwith. If not, I assume you mean drowning your sorrow in a “spirited” manner, to which I say “bottoms up.”
      I switched from Safari to Firefox at WP’s suggestion, only to learn that Firefox, for reasons I can’t comprehend, will not let me grab images the way Safari does. So I do my image search with Safari and my writing with Firefox. I am way beyond creek depth now with no daughter available to paddle me to safe land. Best of luck!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 2:18 pm on June 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        It so happens that my daughter plans to switch me to Firefox. Before she does, I’ll bring your experience to her attention. She’s the head computer technician at the university where she works, but she doesn’t blog, so she may not be familiar with the idiosyncrasies of the various browsers when it comes to blogging. Thanks for the ‘heads-up.’

        Liked by 1 person

    • annieasksyou 2:35 pm on June 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      You’re welcome. It happened to me with Google Advanced Image Search, which I use a lot, and with YouTube. But maybe your daughter the pro will be able to show you how to overcome my problem. And then maybe you can tell me!

      Liked by 1 person

    • magickmermaid 5:20 pm on June 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I hope you are having a nice Father’s Day!
      There was a Microsoft update this past week in which the new version of the Edge browser was installed. Much to my surprise it’s super-fast!
      I forgot to mention something regarding the “like” problem. If you have your Enhanced Tracker Setting for your browser set for “custom” or “strict”, that prevents “liking” on certain blogs. Just click on the shield icon in the address bar and you can uncheck the tracking. You will then be able to “like”. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 6:08 pm on June 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks. I AM having a nice Father’s Day — made all the nicer by my neighbor mowing my lawn this weekend (he is the father of the (no longer) little girl my wife and I took care of years ago while he and his wife worked). Now that’s what I call a good neighbor!

        P.S. I will pass your tip on to my daughter next weekend when she installs a new browser, as I will not be publishing any more posts until then.

        Liked by 1 person

    • josephurban 3:57 pm on June 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Nice article. If you like autobiographies I suggest the Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant. I am currently reading it after watching a History Channel 3 part series on Grant. Fascinating.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Silver Screenings 3:23 pm on July 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      This looks like a truly interesting, well-written book with lots of insight. I think I need to find a copy.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 5:42 pm on July 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, SS. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the book.


  • mistermuse 12:00 am on June 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Dr. Strangelove, George C. Scott, , Peter Sellers, , Slim Pickens, war   


    “Pickens,” in the above title, isn’t a typo. Granted, you may deem my blog slim pickins if you’re hoping it delivers posts that make your day….but this ain’t about that. No, friends, the title refers to Slim Pickens, the actor playing the U.S. Air Force Major who went hopping on a delivery that made his day in this film:

    Contrary to what some readers may conclude, I wasn’t born yesterday — but Slim Pickens was (June 29, 1919); thus this celebration of the actor and his most iconic role as Major Kong in DR. STRANGELOVE or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb….not just any bomb, but as you saw in the clip, a


    Pickens was born Louis Burton Lindley, Jr. in California, the son of a dairy farmer. An excellent horse rider as a boy, he grew bored with dairy farming (according to Wikipedia) and began earning money riding broncos and roping steers in his early teens, which his father learned of and forbid. Nonetheless, he entered a rodeo, despite being told by the dubious rodeo manager that there would be “slim pickin’s” for one so young. To keep his father from finding out, he registered as “Slim Pickens,” won, and pocketed $400. He went on to work as a rodeo clown until landing a role in the 1950 Errol Flynn western Rocky Mountain, beginning a long career in movies and TV.

    As for DR. STRANGELOVE, if you’ve seen the film (made in 1963), there’s no need to go into detail, and if you haven’t seen it, I urge you to do so. In brief, it’s a brilliant black comedy that provoked much controversy when belatedly released January 29, 1964. The very names of the characters (played by the likes of Peter Sellers, George C. Scott and Pickens) paint a picture of the satire that caused such consternation in those cold war times: President Merkin Muffley, General Buck Turgidson, Gen. Jack D. Ripper, Maj. T.J. ‘King’ Kong, Col. ‘Bat’ Guano, Soviet Premier Dimitri Kissof, Ambassador Desadeski.

    The idea that war is madness wasn’t new in 1963-64. Logically, war as madness comes with the territory when IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD (another 1963 movie — though the comedy is much broader and more mainstream than DR. STRANGELOVE). So we should have standards, as in this closing classic admonition from President Muffley:

    That’s it until July 10 as I go to a post-every-ten-days schedule, or perhaps a post-when-the-spirit-moves-me non-schedule (posting every five days has become a bit of a heavy load lately, so rather than cut corners on quality, I’m cutting back on quantity/frequency).




    • Carmen 6:40 am on June 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      In other words, we’re gettin’ slim pickins from now on. . . 🙂

      I must confess to not having seen either of these movies. . .I know, I know, cultural deprivation. . . but I have yet to find a movie that hubby stays awake for so I just don’t bother trying to watch ’em. But the above definitely look interesting!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:42 am on June 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Carmen, you are such a temptress, tempting me to say that my pickins won’t be as slim as those on your blog! But I hope you’ll forgive me when I add that although your posts are few and far between, I wouldn’t miss them for the (mad, mad, mad, mad) world. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂


        • Carmen 8:02 am on June 30, 2017 Permalink

          Ha, ha. . . reminds me to ‘get with it’. . . hmmmm. . ..

          Liked by 1 person

    • linnetmoss 6:55 am on June 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      That scene from Strangelove has always haunted me… the stuff of nightmares. But you have to ask what film the same people would make if they could see the bizarre goings-on of today.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 7:51 am on June 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        You couldn’t be more right, Linnet. The Strangelove director and co-author of the screenplay (Stanley Kubrick) would no doubt think that “the bizarre goings-on of today” are a satire in and of themselves, beyond anything he could possibly top.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Ricardo 9:25 am on June 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      It is tough to be over-the-top in our current reality-show political age, Sr. Muse. But I try.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:00 am on June 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        We should all keep trying, Ricardo. The orange guy in the White House is beyond the pale. His sycophants defend his mocking and personal insults with the excuse that he’s a “fighter,” but even fighters must play by the rules (like no hitting below the belt).

        Liked by 1 person

    • BroadBlogs 8:55 pm on June 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      In the era of Trump everyone should see “Dr. Strangelove”!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:54 pm on June 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Trump is strange, all right, but where’s the love?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 5:46 am on July 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I was away for a few days and just got back. I noticed that in Slim Pickens early movies he played a character named Slim Pickens.

      Wasn’t this movie sort of based on a serious one Fail Safe? I’m not sure at this stage of the game.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:54 am on July 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I researched DR. STRANGELOVE in preparing this post, and found that it has often been compared with FAIL SAFE, however the former was not based on the latter. The films were based on different novels and released in 1964, but STRANGELOVE was made in 1963 and released 1/29/64, whereas FAIL SAFE came out in Oct. 1964. Oddly enough, both came out of the same studio (Columbia Pictures).

      Liked by 2 people

    • Don Frankel 2:34 pm on July 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Muse. They seemed in my memory to have an eerie similarity. Maybe since they were both made by the same studio. It wasn’t uncommon back in those days for those studios to use a lot of same sets and actors or even some of the same scenes. I think a lot of Gone With the Wind and Ben Hur scenes were used in a lot of movies. I’m not sure how many times Atlanta burned but it was definitely more than once.

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 4:53 pm on July 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Right, Don. I think westerns often used the same settings, both natural and man-made (such as building fronts or even whole towns), back in the day. Studios sometimes even used the same footage to insert into later films — I seem to recall reading that KING KONG was one of those films from which scenes were appropriated for use in a later film (I don’t remember which one).


    • intrepid8 9:47 am on July 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      This is a good post! I had no idea who this guy was till now.

      Thanks for sharing, mister muse.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 11:01 am on July 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for commenting.


    • Mark Scheel 4:51 pm on July 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply


      Yes, I’ve seen both movies and remember the great comedy in both, dark though it was. And, yes, we’re entering “strangely” another era of similar threat. Anyway, Slim Pickens, the cowboy. Coincidentally I just posted a blog entry on the Western novel, if you really want to pursue Slim’s milieu.


      Liked by 1 person

    • RMW 2:05 pm on July 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Needless to say, so of course I will anyway… scarier today than ever before. When Strangelove first came out I was scared. But now I’m more scared by real life.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 4:33 pm on July 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        What can I say but “I don’t blame you.” In the past, the world has always somehow muddled through every crisis — but the world has never been this dangerously muddled (in the full and complete sense of the word).

        Liked by 2 people

    • moorezart 9:35 pm on July 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:01 am on October 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , comedy of manners, , , , loneliness, , , THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, trust, war,   


    Did you fathom that the title of my last post (THE OLD MAN AND THE SEASON) was a play on Ernest Hemingway’s last completed novel, THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA? Because that post was about aging and autumn, perhaps I was remiss in not including a Hemingway quote (such as the first one below) among those I gathered for the occasion.

    This post will attempt to make up for that shortfall with a selection of Hemingway quotes, starting with this autumn-appropriate eulogy he wrote for a friend:

    Best of all he loved the fall/the leaves yellow on cottonwoods/leaves floating on trout streams/and above the hills/the high blue windless skies./Now he will be part of them forever.

    For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.

    The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.

    There is nothing to writing. All you have to do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. 

    When you go to war as a boy, you have a great illusion of immortality. Other people get killed, not you… Then, when you are badly wounded, you lose that illusion, and you know it can happen to you.

    In modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.

    True nobility is being superior to your former self.

    No weapon has ever settled a moral problem. 

    Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.

    There is no lonelier man, except the suicide, than that man who has lived with a good wife and then outlived her. If two people love each other, there can be no happy end to it.

    But hold on — happy or not, this isn’t the end. The title of this post is another play on words, this being Oscar Wilde’s peerless comedy of manners titled THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST….a parody of Victorian age social standing previewed in this trailer for the 1952 film (not to be confused with the inferior 2002 remake) of the Wilde play:

    Now (as the movie says when it’s over) this is THE END

    • linnetmoss 7:15 am on October 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Ah, Michael Redgrave! What a great cast this version has. Thanks for the trailer 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:34 am on October 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Great cast, great movie. Just seeing the trailer makes me want to watch the whole film again!


    • arekhill1 9:59 am on October 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      While I am not sufficiently versed in Hemingway, not having read any since my extreme youth, the competitors in the Bad Hemingway Contest have always had my respect: http://articles.latimes.com/1987-04-09/news/vw-142_1_bright-boy

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 11:18 am on October 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Great stuff Muse. And, I got the reference to the the Old Man and The Season. But a slight correction on that. The Old Man and The Sea was the last novel Hemingway wrote while he was alive. He wrote a whole bunch of novels after he was dead. None of them were any good. But let’s cut Papa a little slack as it must be tough writing when you’re dead. I mean it’s hard enough when you’re alive.

      In case people reading this don’t understand, his last wife Mary, kept finding manuscripts in the attic that Papa had never published. Either he didn’t publish them because they weren’t very good or the people who wrote them using his name weren’t very good. Take your pick.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 11:52 am on October 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I agree that it must be tough writing when you’re dead, Don — for one thing, you get terribly stiff, and it has to be hard to type with stiff fingers. The light can’t be too good six feet under, either. But at least he didn’t need no ghost writer, because he was one himself.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Don Frankel 4:23 pm on October 27, 2016 Permalink

          Great one Muse. He was his own Ghost Writer.

          Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 5:52 pm on October 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Singielka, thank you for your “Like” — this is just to let you know that I tried to submit a comment on one of your blog posts, but it didn’t go through (something about an insecure connection). Sorry.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC 2:40 pm on December 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        How lovely of you to attempt to follow up, and to comment that you did so. I get a more than a few folks whose online presence is impossible to access or locate – but I lack the time to leave them each a comment once I’ve tried and failed. I’m impressed.


        Liked by 1 person

    • Cynthia Jobin 10:06 pm on October 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve never cared for Ernest Hemingway’s works and it was a suffering to have to put up with them when they were assigned in English classes. Oscar Wilde, on the other hand, is a real favorite of mine. I loved reading The Importance of Being Earnest, and was part of a group that performed the original stage play in college….what great lines! Very interesting, the trailer you show here; I never happened to see “Earnest” as a movie. It seems it is a perennial.

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 7:59 am on October 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I also love the Wilde wit (wild wit too, for that matter) — unfortunately, each succeeding younger generation seems less connected to an appreciation of such wordly delights….and “more’s the pity” (to repeat a phrase I used in my last post). BTW, I now find that the 1952 & 2002 films aren’t the only versions of the play; there was a 1986 remake as well. I think all three can be viewed online in their entirety.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sarita 7:56 pm on October 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      • mistermuse 10:09 pm on October 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I’m not sure what you mean. If you mean why don’t I click Like, I don’t see where I can click Like on your posts. Apparently your internet connection is incompatible with mine. In any case, I do not have sufficient computer expertise to know what to do about it. Sorry.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Mél@nie 7:38 am on October 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      EXCELLENT post, Monsieur Muse… I always love your puns & intellectual “blendings”… 🙂

      I love Oscar Wilde’s works – he is one of the titans of world’s literature, and you certainly know he passed-away in Paris – his “chosen” city…(I saw his tomb in Père Lachaise cemetery) btw, he’s still present in Paris these days: 🙂

      • * *

      speakin’ of “papa Hemingway”, he’s been one of my favourite-US writers since high-school… I visited his villa in Key West a few years ago… you may have read my blog-post:

      Liked by 2 people

      • Mél@nie 7:40 am on October 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        P.S. désolée, but I forgot WP does NOT accept 2 links in the same comment… 🙂 that’s why, my comment is awaiting moderation… 🙂


      • mistermuse 11:34 am on October 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I knew Wilde died in Paris, but your link filled in details I did not know. Merci!

        P.S. I do recall reading your Key West post & recommend your 2nd link to those who haven’t.

        Liked by 1 person

    • D. Wallace Peach 6:52 pm on October 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Hemingway has some great quotes. Bleeding on the typewriter is a favorite as well as the one about trust. Oh, and the eulogy is beautiful. And the one about no happy end to love. And….

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 12:21 am on October 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I agree. I would add the one about being superior to your former self. Sorry to interject politics into this, but could there be a clearer example of not being superior to your former self (i.e. not growing as a human being) than the Republican candidate for President of the U.S.?

        Liked by 2 people

    • Mark Scheel 5:09 pm on October 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply


      The typewriter and bleeding–or some version of it–is more likely from Red Smith, the great sports writer. Although many have been credited with some variation. Yeah, I got the first Hemingway word play. He was one of my favorite authors early on and I studied his work endlessly–even into grad school. The comments on being dead and writing–were you aware that there’s a fellow who channels Hemingway and did a book on the conversations? It’s utterly fascinating–if it isn’t Hemingway’s ghost talking, it’s a remarkable imitation! Well, I won’t comment on the Trump allusions, just let the renewed e-mail discoveries and coming Wiki-Leaks dumps lead where they may! LOL

      Good post, muse!


      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 5:50 pm on October 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      No, I wasn’t aware of the fellow who channels Hemingway — he must be English (if you think that pun was bad, wait till you see my next post). 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC 2:48 pm on December 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Clever title. Wilde was a childhood favorite, but I never really warmed up to Hemingway. For me, a small book of quotes is about all I can get through where he is concerned – so thanks for yours.

      The comments on this post were fun to read too – and I love your theme (blog look) – which one is it?
      (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
      – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
      “It takes a village to educate a world!”

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 5:36 pm on December 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks. I try to respond to comments with ‘in kind’ (as opposed to generic) replies, as I feel that anyone who takes the trouble to read what I have to say and to comment specifically (as opposed to generically) deserves a thoughtful reply.

      As for Hemingway, I think he captures the meaning of inspiration perfectly with the quote that ends “Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.”


  • mistermuse 12:00 am on September 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , war, , , , , Chinese proverbs, , USA! USA! USA!   


    Yesterday, Sept. 29, was CONFUCIUS DAY. Confucius say: Mistermuse perfect pundit to write Sept. 30 CONFUCIUS DAY post because he always a day late and a yuan* short. Mistermuse say: I not a day late, Confucius Day a day too soon — besides, everyone know yuan is actually Spanish/Latino name (as in Don Juan), not Chinese. Latinos say: Whatever. Just don’t Confuci-us with the Japanese, who have the yen. Anyway, before yuan thing lead to another, what counts is the way we Americans say it: “A day late and a dollar short.”  USA! USA! USA!

    *Chinese currency

    Now that we’ve cleared that up, let us get down to the business at hand, which happens to be a selection of profound proverbs by Confucius, followed by an equal proportion of proverbial conclusions by Contrarius (which happens to be the pun name of Anonymous).

    Choose a job that you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
    Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.
    To see and listen to the wicked is already the beginning of wickedness.
    He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make words good.
    Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.
    The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.

    Man who stand on toilet may be high on pot.
    Wife who put husband in doghouse soon find him in cat house.
    Passionate kiss like spider web: leads to undoing of fly.
    People who eat too many prunes get good run for money.
    War does not determine who is right, war determine who is left.
    Man who jump off cliff jump to conclusion.

    THE END (and not a moment too soon)




    • Cynthia Jobin 12:07 am on September 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Man who fly airplane upside down have crack up.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 7:26 am on September 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Man who walk through airport turnstile sideways going to Bangkok. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

        • Michaeline 9:14 am on September 30, 2016 Permalink

          Woman with dress on walking though airport doing handstands reveals cock pit.

          Bunnies making love in bushes can be seen by their cotton balls.


          Liked by 1 person

        • Cynthia Jobin 10:40 am on September 30, 2016 Permalink

          As the youngsters say: LOL! I heard a lot of those from my Dad. We used to watch old Charlie Chan movies….

          Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:30 am on September 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      But younger women have no such excuse, Michaeline, so your husband should wash your mouth out with soap. 🙂


    • arekhill1 11:18 am on September 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      This post gave me a bad case of deja moo, Sr. Muse. I’ve heard this bull before.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:31 am on September 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Sorry about that, Ricardo (and, according to your latest post, you’re not even a Taurus!).


    • Carmen 6:19 am on October 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I see you are being your a-MUSE-ing self. . . 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:24 am on October 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Carmen, but one thing in my post confuses, as much as it amuses, me: what do the Japanese have a yen for (of course, I could guess, but I don’t yuan-na).


    • Don Frankel 2:51 pm on October 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Great, wise and funny stuff here Muse. But I must take umbrage with the one about not listening to wicked people. I mean if I had done that in life, I wouldn’t have any friends.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 8:21 pm on October 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Well, you’d still have me for a friend, Don (unless you count me among the wicked). 🙂

        As for the wise and funny stuff, I think perhaps the wisest proverb is actually one that’s listed with the funny ones: “War does not determine who is right, war determine who is left.” How true that is!


    • Don Frankel 1:27 pm on October 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Think Winston Churchill got there first. “History is written by the victors.” Has a slight different bent but it’s the same thought.


    • mistermuse 3:19 pm on October 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I think “war determine who is left” could also be taken in ‘the last man standing’ sense, regardless of the naïve belief that ‘the good guys are bound to win because they’re ‘right.’ But you’re probably right that it’s just a different take on the same thought.


    • BroadBlogs 2:22 pm on October 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Man who jump off cliff jump to conclusion.

      Hope you don’t do that with Trump.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:11 pm on October 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Sorry, but I’ve already jumped to the conclusion that Trump is the worst excuse for a Presidential candidate in my lifetime. I’d go back before that, but that would be jumping to another conclusion. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Forestwoodfolkart 7:18 am on November 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I do like the Confucian sayings. They contain such wisdoms.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:40 am on November 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Absolutely! And to think that he said them 2,500 years ago! If most people haven’t taken them to heart by this time, will they ever?

        Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on May 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , anti-war films, armed forces, , , , Irving Thalberg, , Memorial Day, MGM, , , , THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI, war, war films   


    At the risk of making this a too-lengthy piece (lengthy peace, I’ll leave to miracle workers) I am going to blend a very disparate “double feature” into a two-for-the-price-of-one post….for today is not only Memorial Day, when America honors those killed in military service, but it’s the birthday of a man who literally changed the long-term ‘picture’ of the Marx Brothers after their riotous anti-war film, the anarchic classic, DUCK SOUP (1933).

    But first, for those who are interested and may be unfamiliar with the 100+ years history of war movies, I highly recommend taking time to check out this link for context: http://www.filmsite.org/warfilms.html (DUCK SOUP is listed under “Black Comedies”)

    I don’t necessarily agree with a blogger who wrote, “As we all know, every good war film is [an] anti-war film” — though I think any war picture which doesn’t contain at least an element of “war is madness” (as in BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI, below) is, at best, simplistic patriotism (e.g. John Wayne’s GREEN BERETS; I’d add Cagney’s YANKEE DOODLE DANDY, but it’s a rousing glorification of a man’s patriotism, not a war film).

    Back to that birthday man (Irving Thalberg), the film producer known as “The Boy Wonder” for becoming head of production at MGM at age 26 and turning it into the most successful studio in Hollywood during his reign (1925 until his death in 1936). Quoting Wikipedia, “He had the ability to combine quality with commercial success, and [to bring] his artistic aspirations in line with the demands of audiences.” Within this framework, we can appreciate this passage from ROGER EBERT’s great book, THE GREAT MOVIES:

    The Marx Brothers created a body of work in which individual films are like slices from the whole, but Duck Soup is probably the best. It represents a turning point in their movie work; it was their last film for Paramount. When it was a box office disappointment, they moved over to MGM, where production chief Irving Thalberg ordered their plots to find room for conventional romantic couples.
    A Night at the Opera (1935), their first MGM film, contains some of their best work, yes, but [also] sappy interludes involving Kitty Carlisle and Allan Jones. In Duck Soup, there are no sequences I can skip; the movie is funny from beginning to end.

    This may not be one of the funniest sequences in DUCK SOUP, but it certainly makes for a glorious celebration of war as madness:


    As even the longest war must eventually come to an end, so too must this Memorial Day piece (de résistance). Even so, it ain’t over till the DUCK SOUP fat lady sings: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xnec7z_freedonia-at-war-part-3-from-duck-soup-1933_shortfilms

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    P.S. The state of Ohio imprints the words ARMED FORCES on driver’s licenses whose bearer is/was a member. The last time I went in to renew my license, the BMV clerk took a look and thanked me for my service, which took me by surprise because my service is ancient history and I’d never been, or expected to be, thanked. I was a 1960 draftee who served during the so-called Cold War, not a volunteer in the Civil War (or whatever hot war my hoary appearance makes me look like I served in). But I realize that a bullet or bomb doesn’t care if you’re a draftee or volunteer when it takes you out, so to those who died in the service of this country and its professed ideals (and who had no choice as to whether or not the war they were in was worthy of their sacrifice), I thank youYou are the ones fate chose to earn this day.



    • Cynthia Jobin 12:20 am on May 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I watched The Bridge on the River Kwai on TV’s Turner Classic Movies this weekend. I am always perplexed by the idea of what Plato called The Guardians…the need for them, the tragedy of their engagement, the seeming futility of trying to do anything differently. But it’s good to acknowledge the willing, and the brave, as we do, on this holiday; and I hope we also do, when it’s not a holiday.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:46 am on May 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        On the same day BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI was on TCM, John Wayne’s best war movie, THEY WERE EXPENDABLE, was on. To me, the title of that WW II film says it all: for those who die in even the most ‘noble’ and necessary of wars, there is a sense that (of necessity?) THEY WERE EXPENDABLE. (I put a question mark after necessity because too often, bad judgment and stupid decisions of superiors lead to the unnecessary loss of many lives.)

        Liked by 2 people

    • scifihammy 2:03 am on May 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      A very good post. So much sacrifice and loss over all these years. Any movie that reminds us of this is a good movie.
      And how nice for you to be thanked after all this time. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:58 am on May 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you. It was a nice gesture, though it was obvious that the BMV clerks were instructed to say “Thank you for your service” to all service members (past & present) who appear before them, and I doubt that, without that directive, they would’ve even noticed. Nonetheless, it gave me pause.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 6:51 am on May 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Muse I swear that in the opening sequence of We’re Going to War, one of the Generals is Sadam Huessein. Take a good look there.

      I think From Here to Eternity is a great movie and listed as a war movie although the war only comes in at the end. But it is not so much a war is madness but the army is madness and the war makes the army sane.

      You served and you went where they sent you like everyone else. In most of our wars only a small percentage of those serving wind up in combat.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:23 am on May 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Don, that sequence goes by pretty fast, but from just a glance, it does indeed look like Sadam.
        I think there’s something to your statement about madness and war making the army sane….maybe something along the lines of “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.”


    • ladysighs 6:59 am on May 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Your posts are never too lengthy. Maybe too long, but never too lengthy. lol

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:27 am on May 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Ladysighs, I’m not so sure that doesn’t come under the heading of A DISTINCTION WITHOUT A DIFFERENCE — nonetheless, I accept all accolades, regardless of length. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • linnetmoss 7:53 am on May 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Duck Soup is a genius movie. I once saw it on a big screen! Just the name Rufus T. Firefly cracks me up.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:34 am on May 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        DUCK SOUP is indeed a genius movie. The fact that it was a box office disappointment probably shows that it was ahead of its time, though 1933 was the height of the Great Depression and many people couldn’t afford necessities, much less movies.

        Liked by 1 person

        • linnetmoss 9:35 am on May 30, 2016 Permalink

          These ones for the ages often fall flat in their own time. Moby Dick (the novel) comes to mind.

          Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 10:10 am on May 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Hail Freedonia! And hail to you as well, Sr. Muse, on this Memorial Day, for being a veteran in more ways than one.


    • Don Frankel 10:52 am on May 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Muse I read the book and the book lays it out with more detail. The Company where Prewitt/Montgomery Cliff is revolves around boxing. Boxers make up all the Non-commissioned officers as that is their reward for boxing. Most of them are incompetent and the Company is dysfunctional. After Pearl Harbor the Company has to gear up for the war and the Boxers are demoted and the Company begins to function. It is one of the many ironic subtleties that make it a great book.


    • mistermuse 1:08 pm on May 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Don. I’ve never read the book, and it’s been a while since I saw the movie. I think it’s on TCM now and then, so I’ll try to keep an eye open for it.


    • mistermuse 5:08 pm on May 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t know anyone who would disagree, Michaeline (but too many other people don’t seem to give a damn).


    • D. Wallace Peach 10:54 am on May 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve never watched Duck Soup (clearly, I should). I’ve seen a number of war movies, and they always leave me terribly melancholy. I think about the real wars and the irreplaceable lives lost, all those hopes and possibilities gone forever for the service men and women and the people who love them. As a grief counselor, I worked with little kids who lost parents in Iraq. I hate the politicians to toss lives into war without a thought about the true cost. I think the best way to honor the dead is to try our darnedest to make sure that war is the very last resort. Thank you for your service 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 11:36 am on May 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you, Diana. In a certain sense, it’s misleading to call Duck Soup a war movie because it’s the ultimate ANTI-war movie. No other film (that I’m aware of) subjects the glory of war to such manic ridicule….so I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts. And THANK YOU for your work as a grief counselor.

      Liked by 2 people

    • calmkate 7:31 am on June 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      wow love that Marx bros number, excellent 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on February 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , dogmatism, fanatics, , holy wars, human history, Middle East, Quakers, , secular humanists, tribalism, tribes, , war   


    tribal, adj. Of the nature of, or relating to, a tribe.
    tribe, n. 1. A unit of sociopolitical organization. 2. A political, ethnic, or ancestral division of ancient states and cultures [such as] a. the three divisions of the ancient Romans. b. the 12 divisions of ancient Israel.
    –Webster’s New College Dictionary

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    If anything seems clear from the seemingly endless wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, it is that tribalism and religion are at the heart of the madness. This is not to suggest that tribalism is confined to the Middle East (far from it), or that other forces haven’t played a part. But buried beneath the overlay of foreign intervention in the region (or meddling, if you prefer) are roots with a “history as old or nearly so as that of humanity itself” –Edward O. Wilson, biologist, naturalist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner.

    In his book THE MEANING OF HUMAN EXISTENCE, Wilson posits that tribalism and religion are inextricably bound together by what he calls “the instinctual force of tribalism in the genesis of religiosity. People deeply need membership in a group, whether religious or secular.” In a chapter titled simply “RELIGION,” Wilson states:

    The great religions are inspired by belief in an incorruptible deity–or multiple deities. Their priests bring solemnity to rites of passage through the cycle of life and death. They sacralize basic tenets of civil and moral law, comfort the afflicted, and take care of the desperately poor. Followers strive to be righteous in the sight of man and God. The churches are centers of community life [and] ultimate refuges against the inequities and tragedies of secular life. They and their ministers make more bearable tyranny, war, starvation, and the worst of natural catastrophes.
    The great religions are also, and tragically, sources of ceaseless and unnecessary suffering. They are impediments to the grasp of reality needed to solve most social problems in the real world. Their exquisitely human flaw is tribalism. It is tribalism, not the moral tenets and humanitarian thought of pure religion, that makes good people do bad things.
    Unfortunately, a religious group defines itself foremost by its creation myths, the supernatural narrative that explains how humans came into existence. This story is also the heart of tribalism. No matter how subtly explained, the core belief assures its members that God favors them above all others. It teaches that members of other religions worship the wrong gods, use wrong rituals, follow false prophets….

    Food for thought — but thought that leaves questions to chew on: if “love makes fools of us all” (to quote Thackeray), does it follow that tribalism makes blind fools of us all? Are we unwitting tribalists to the siren song of political/religious saviors, some of us to the extent of becoming tribal or religious fanatics? Are tribal/religious fanatics born or made (nature vs. nurture)? And, given that all religions are invented by man, does that entitle Wilson to tar them all with the same brush?

    For example, Wilson regards it as a mistake to fold believers of particular religious and dogmatic ideologies into two piles (moderate versus extremist), because “The true cause of hatred and violence is faith versus faith, an outward expression of the ancient instinct of tribalism.”  While that may be true, I question the notion that all religions/tribes wash out equally. For example, in pre-colonial times in North America, there were both peaceful and warlike Native American tribes. And so it is elsewhere. Aren’t secular humanists equally guilty of bad faith who don’t recognize/won’t separate the wheat from the chaff/laissez-faire from doctrinaire? Who and what have incited and fed religious wars and persecutions throughout history? It’s not the likes of the Quakers, nor is it directives from the heavens.

    The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.





    • Midwestern Plant Girl 8:33 am on February 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      This was a great read!
      I play my drum to a different beat and prefer to not be part of a group or religious. I like to read about these topics tho, as I want to understand it. I don’t feel left out, but sometimes don’t understand why people do things. Maybe it’s my O- blood? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:09 am on February 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you. I concur, but though I don’t seek to be part of a group, there is one group I can’t help belonging to: the human race. In that sense, we’re all in this together, which is why all the ongoing political and religious extreme dogmatism is a plague on all our houses.

        Liked by 2 people

    • arekhill1 1:49 pm on February 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Well put, Sr. Muse, and undoubtedly true. I’m an agnostic myself, thank God.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 2:45 pm on February 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Growing up Catholic put the fear of the Lord in me, Ricardo, so I’m still too chicken to be an agnostic. Some people may think I’m an egghead, so perhaps I’m now an egg-nostic. At least that would solve an age-old question: the chicken came before the egg-nostic.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Todd Duffey Writes on Things 10:06 am on February 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      This is the first blog of yours I’ve read, Mistermuse. I feel like there is a LOT more I will be learning from you! Bravo – you have opened this reader’s eyes to a much broader playing field!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 1:35 pm on February 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks. I usually write in a more creative, humorous vein, but my art-ery takes a serious turn every once in a while. I only post every fifth day, so your eyes shouldn’t get bloodshot from over-learning! 🙂

        Thanks again.


    • Don Frankel 10:50 am on February 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Good stuff Muse. A little heavy but sometimes we have to do heavy. I haven’t read Wilson so I wouldn’t want to characterize his stuff but if his basic premise is to blame it on Tribalism well it sort of a non-starter for me. It doesn’t matter what the Tribe says or the Government says or even and this may be heresy but even what the Supreme Court says. You make your decisions in this life and then you have to live with them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 1:46 pm on February 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        You make a good point, Don. We tend to think of tribalism as something uncivilized, something they do “over there” — but all you have to do is look at our own politics to see mindless tribal followings (albeit with a modern veneer).

        Liked by 1 person

    • John Looker 2:12 pm on February 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I have a great deal of sympathy with your analysis. Tribalism does appear deep rooted in the human condition — perhaps it is inescapable until societies can find ways of evolving appropriate forms of government. I found myself writing a group of poems on tribal loyalties a year ago. They might not interest you but, just in case, they can be found on my own (poetry) blog at: https://johnstevensjs.wordpress.com/category/looking-at-life-through-work-series/tribal-loyalties/ They also had a place in a book of mine published a year ago, but that’s another story. Congratulations on raising this in a thoughtful way.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 4:01 pm on February 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I appreciate your comment and like your tribal poems, especially THE DAWN RAID. I tend to think that the perversion of tribalism (mindless, dogmatic allegiance to its worst forms), more than tribalism itself, is the main problem….and one (skeptic that I am) that I believe will probably always be with us.


    • John Looker 5:53 pm on February 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Yes. In any society there is going to be a reassuring sense of belonging to a familiar homogeneous group, but it is dangerous (or perverted as you put it) when there is no imagination about or empathy towards others. Such a pressing issue for our times! Glad you’ve raised it in the manner you do.

      Liked by 1 person

    • linnetmoss 6:29 am on February 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Religion is like science–not evil or good in itself, but depending on the use we make of it. (Although Christopher Hitchens made a pretty comprehensive case against it in “God is not Great.”) IMO science has relieved much more suffering than religion ever did. (And of course has caused its share.) As to tribalism, I don’t see much benefit in it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:11 am on February 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for more “food for thought.”

      I suppose, given that “People deeply need membership in a group, whether religious or secular” (as Edward O. Wilson wrote), one could say the same of tribalism–“not good or evil in itself,” but depending on the ends pursued (and the means used to pursue them). Another thought: how widely or loosely to define, or think of, tribalism. In a sense, fraternities, sororities, sports teams — such as the Cleveland Indians 🙂 — any group banded together for common cause, could be considered tribes.

      I own Hitchens’ GOD IS NOT GREAT, but haven’t read it in a long time — though I’m familiar with his arguments in general. It’s too complex to get into here, but I’ve written a few posts on these things before and will probably do so again.


    • literaryeyes 1:39 pm on February 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      H.L. Mencken ripped apart the basic foundations of religion in his book, Twilight of the Gods (I think that’s the title, or maybe that’s a movie-I plead senior memory). Religion started early when tribes were the social construct, so it’s plausible they are inextricably and at this time, irrevocably, intermixed. But to put a little humor in, here’s a quote purportedly from Mencken: “For centuries, theologians have been explaining the unknowable in terms of the-not-worth-knowing.” In other words, the improbable, in his opinion. I’m not as pragmatic as Mencken, by far, and believe we have an inherent spiritual nature that’s connected to our physical selves, and possibly to something outside ourselves.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 4:30 pm on February 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Well said. Neither the god(s) of religion, nor the concept of creation without a creator, is convincing to me. To quote from WHY DOES THE WORLD EXIST (by Jim Holt):
      “A scientific explanation must involve some sort of physical cause. But any physical cause is by definition part of the universe to be explained. Thus any purely scientific explanation of the existence of the universe is doomed to be circular. Even if it starts with something very minimal–a cosmic egg, a tiny bit of quantum vacuum, a singularity-it still starts with something, not nothing.”


    • restlessjo 3:05 am on February 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Sadly, I don’t have an argument. I simply wish it were otherwise, but wishing will never make it so.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 5:03 am on February 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      The good news is that with a creator, there remains the possibility of life after death for us. The bad news is that with a creator so above all the suffering it has deliberately made the lot of its creatures, what would that bode for our next-life relationship with such a creator? Sadly (to say the least), it’s enough to make thinking people careful what they wish for.
      But, for now, I wish for the best for you and everyone reading this.


  • mistermuse 12:01 am on December 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Afghanistan, bombast, bombs, collateral damage, , , George Orwell, , , , , the fog of war, war   


    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:

    30% Of Republicans Favor Bombing Fictional Disney City Of Agrabah

    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.


    • mistermuse 12:05 am on December 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Although this post is five days after my last one (which was a day early because of Christmas), I will get back on schedule January 5 – at least, that’s my (only) New Year’s resolution. I’d make more resolutions, but I’m retired.

      Liked by 2 people

    • arekhill1 1:35 am on December 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Really, Sr. Muse, you seem to be making light of this two-dimensional threat to the American way of life. We could quickly storyboard up a fleet of cartoon cruise missiles to lay waste to Agrabah. Of course, it’s a Pentagon storyboard, so the missiles would cost some millions apiece, but freedom isn’t free.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:15 am on December 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Me make light of human folly? On the contrary, I’m shocked — SHOCKED — that there is bumbling going on here! Thankfully, not only do our political candidates have all the answers for all our problems, but they’re confidently humble about it. How, for example, could we not trust our future to a candidate whose principal qualification seems to be that he is leading in the polls (as he modestly reminds us ad nauseam)?

      Liked by 1 person

    • ladysighs 7:02 am on December 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I must confess I don’t always watch your posted videos to the finish. But I couldn’t resist D.D.
      Read you next year! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • charlypriest 7:36 am on December 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I say bomb the shit out of that place. I could care less of collateral damage, imagine you were the soldier on the ground, just talking for myself, but when I was in the army we infantry hated this stupid rules of engagement because of collateral damage. Sorry, we didn´t use civilians as our shelter, but we are the ones that had to go in on foot and see your friends die or you yourself might die all because there is a possibility of collateral damage, war is war, damn ugly i can tell you the nuerous times when we had the enemy on sight and couldn´t even shoot with our rifles because there could be civilians around the building, and you could see these nutcases through your scope holding an AK and call it in the radio, by the time it went up al the channels and got back down to us they where already gone, to come and kill us another day, so for me, just carpet bomb the place if you really want to win that shitty war, which Mr.O let it begin in my opinión by not taking action agaainst this nutcases earier on calling them the JV team, taking out all the US tropos and living a vacume there to be filled by the muslim nutcases, so I´m with the majority of America and I´m not even American I´m Spanish, they started this fight you better end it quickly with overwhelming fire power if not this is the place where you are at, debating now wether they should bomb their headquarters, if they had acted earlier we wouldn´t be having this discussion. So the longer you draag it the worst, and as I said, for the soldiers on the ground it is sad and it does impact you to see dead bodies of kids but i always put it in perspective, it was a mistake but better them than one of my collegues that´s for sure and absolutely no regrets.

      Damn, I got wound up here. Good topic to point out though.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:07 am on December 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve commented elsewhere that Obama was asleep on the job while ISIL/ISIS was overrunning 1/3 of Iraq and only half-awake thereafter. I like him as a peacetime President, but as a wartime President, he doesn’t seem to get that you gotta do what you gotta do…and the sooner, the better. I dislike ideological, jingoistic, simplistic thinking-politicians, but ISIL/ISIS also thinks in those terms, and in their case, it’s lethal not to take them (out) seriously.


    • Don Frankel 10:43 am on December 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Muse this article fails to mention that a large number of democrats also want to bomb Agrabah which could mean that a majority of Americans want to bomb Agrabah and it has bi-partisan support. I say if we are to bomb Agrabah how can we not also bomb Shazam?


    • mistermuse 11:23 am on December 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      The article I cite does say (near the end) that 19% of Democrats want to bomb Agrabah, which, along with 30% of Republicans and undoubtedly some Independents, would indeed add up to a majority in favor of bombing….which also means that a majority of Americans failed to Google the name to learn where the hell Agrabah is, and thus would have found out that it doesn’t really exist, which means that most Americans want to bomb first and ask questions later. No wonder Trump is leading the polls.


    • Don Frankel 3:12 pm on December 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I know that article said 19% but I read somewhere else that it was higher which makes it an overwhelming majority. But let’s go back to the good old days.


    • mistermuse 10:10 pm on December 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Love that Doo Wop, Don….and speaking of “higher” and “the good old days,” here’s my favorite Doo Wop of them all:


    • Don Frankel 2:05 pm on January 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      If we’re going there how’s about this one.


    • Don Frankel 3:21 pm on January 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      No wait this is the sine qua non of do wop.


    • mistermuse 10:00 pm on January 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Don, The Platters sound to me like a cross between Doo Wop and The Ink Spots of the 1940s. Good stuff!


    • Joseph Nebus 7:43 pm on January 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I wouldn’t bomb Agrabah. They’ve got a genie, and I’ve seen the TV series. We could all end up turned into rats or something before we know what hit us. And I don’t want to be a rat. I want to be something in the raccoon family, or maybe Eugene the Jeep.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:04 pm on January 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I assume you mean the TV series I DREAM OF JEANNIE, which I confess I liked even if it wasn’t the most sophisticated comedy in the world (the fact that Jeannie was played by the luscious Barbara Eden may have had something to do with my appreciation of the show). In MY dream of Jeannie, the animal I’d have wanted to be is a wolf, but alas and rats! – time waits for no one, and she’s now 84, and I’m no spring chicken myself.


  • mistermuse 3:06 pm on October 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: borders, , , Greece, Hungary, illegals, migrants, refugee crisis, Strictly from hunger, , war,   


    You must remember this — the opening scene (after opening credits) in CASABLANCA:

    I am reminded of that scene’s “tortuous, roundabout refugee trail” when seeing reports  of tens of thousands fleeing from war-torn Syria, west across the Mediterranean in small boats to Greece, and thence overland hundreds of miles through passageway countries to Germany and other destinations. Some die in the attempt (recall the picture-worth-a-thousand-words of the lifeless body of a 3 year old boy washed up on a Turkish beach in early September). Many “wait….and wait….and wait….and wait” in refugee camps. Many more have been kept from continuing on, stopped on their way by the far right government of Hungary, which has been particularly strict in this regard. If you thought “exit visas/letters of transit” were hard to come by in CASABLANCA….

    Perhaps you’ve read some of the recent series of articles in USA TODAY called TREK WITH MIGRANTS in which journalist Kim Hjelmgaard follows “migrants on their arduous 1,500 mile journey from Greece to Berlin” to witness their challenges. Particularly illuminating was Day 7 (CHECKING OUT WALL CURLING ACROSS HUNGARY) of that series, from which I quote:

    I sat next to Robert [Kim’s guide] for most of Thursday as his car zigzagged around small-town Hungary in search of new additions to Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s controversial barrier. The Hungarian leader has already erected a 15-foot-high rampart along the entire 110-mile border with Serbia. Now, he was starting work on a fence to close the 25-mile [border] with Croatia.
    On my way up here this week from Greece, I had been told by several people not to mess with Hungarian police. They are prone to violence, they said. Last week, several journalists said they were beaten and detained for speaking to refugees. So it was Robert (and Naomi), or go straight to the Austrian border, and I didn’t want to do that. Naomi, his girlfriend, wasn’t in the car in the usual sense, but they were in frequent contact by phone, Facebook and text message.
    He told me that the “very beautiful” Naomi — she is 19; he is 23 — was studying to be a physical therapist, and she wanted to one day own a “big, big” house in Sweden and possess extremely expensive things.
    This wall in Hungary had been a flashpoint in the migrant crisis;
    I asked if he thought it was good for Hungary to be trying to seal its borders when so many people were intent on getting through anyway.
    Robert said he didn’t have an opinion either way. And so I asked about Naomi, what does she think, this policeman’s daughter? And of course Naomi had an opinion. I could hear that by the way her voice was spilling out over the edges of Robert’s cellphone. “She said she thinks the wall is a good idea, and that she also understands why the people are leaving their countries,” Robert said.
    “And Sweden?” I asked. “Was there any contradiction in her wanting to go there for the ‘big, big’ house, and people wanting to come to Europe for a house?”
    He didn’t know. I didn’t either.

    There is, of course, more to the refugee crisis than the one scene here. Still, one wonders, why can’t Hungary abide terrorized people passing through? Is Hungary worried that they’ll see how wonderful Hungary is and change their minds about continuing on? Is Hungary concerned that they’ll devour all available food and leave the country so Hungary that it will starve? Is Hungary afraid they’ll leave a trail of drugs, crime, and raped women in their wake? If so, why doesn’t Hungary say so? When it comes to demonizing illegals crossing borders, Hungary’s right wing counterparts in America have no such qualms (and, unlike America, Hungary’s “illegals” don’t come to stay).

    This is a post without a happy ending….but before I close, you younger-than-I trivia buffs may be interested in the origin/meaning of the idiom on which the post’s title is based:

    Strictly From Hunger: Explanations, investigations

    • arekhill1 12:25 am on October 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Lucky we live here, Sr. Muse, and have birth certificates that mean we can’t get kicked out. If I were a refugee, though, I’d dream about a big house in a warmer climate than Sweden’s.


      • mistermuse 7:43 am on October 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Well, if I were a refugee running for my (and my family’s) life, any war-ravaged country is too “hot” to either stay in or go to. But, given the luxury of a choice, I’m with you – I too would prefer the climate of, let’s say, Hawaii (not that Sweden wouldn’t be a nice place to visit but not live, as they say).


    • Don Frankel 6:17 am on October 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I find this incredibly ironic because my family fled Hungary in 1919. Actually that part had become Czechoslovakia. Then I remember back in the 1950’s after the Hungarian uprising against the U.S.S.R. some distant relative made her way to the U.S. We all went out to the airport to pick her up. I remember it so vividly, as my father spoke to her in Hungarian which seemed so strange. Hearing my Father speak a foreign language.

      I guess it’s.


    • Mél@nie 8:13 am on October 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I must have watched “Casablanca”… 10 times, and I’ve never been tired of it!!! 🙂

      • * *

      a human tragedy has been going on in “old Europe” these past months… and no country(government) has any steady or solid solutions!!! I was born in Romania and Hungary’s attitude hasn’t surprised me… history often repeats itself… btw, Hungarians have NO European origin, they’ve been the descendants of the Asian Huns(migratory people!), just like the Finnish people: their native languages sound almost alike, being reckoned as Finno-Ugric language family…


    • mistermuse 8:30 am on October 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Don, the story of your family fleeing Hungary in 1919 is very interesting. WWI was over by then, so I assume the country was so devastated that living conditions were terrible. An excellent movie could probably be made of every refugee’s story.

      There’s another scene in CASABLANCA which reminds me of the “price” refugees pay to escape, such as what Syrian refugees pay smugglers to take them to Greece in overcrowded small boats which may capsize in rough Mediterranean waters:



    • mistermuse 8:38 am on October 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you, Mel@nie, for the info about the Hungarian people – I didn’t know they aren’t of European origin. History often repeats itself, indeed.
      I too have watched Casablanca many times – in my opinion (and that of many others), it’s the greatest movie ever made.

      Liked by 1 person

    • michele39 10:26 am on October 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      History repeats itself.


    • mistermuse 6:23 pm on October 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, as George Santayana said (or words to that effect)…and, unfortunately, sometimes it seems even those who do learn from history repeat it.


  • mistermuse 4:40 pm on December 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , war   


    All wars are boyish, and are fought by boys. –Herman Melville

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * *  * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Pray God, if men must still be boys,
    Why lords must arm them with men’s toys
    And preach that “Holy” wars are just —
    Just like the God in whom we trust.
    And so, along for the ride we bus,
    Our baggage tagged: ‘TWAS EVER THUS.

    • Michaeline Montezinos 12:28 am on December 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      And so it goes from the ancient times, youth must die for our crimes, while despots rule and men are mice. ready for the blood sacrifice. Blame not your god nor blame mine, for a tyrant only seeks the power, as he grooms hmself in a ivory tower, while below all mankind marches to a drum, beaten by an evil one.

      I liked your poem and here is mine, inspired by your lively rhyme.

      Copyright December 23, 2014
      by Michaeline Montezinos


    • mistermuse 8:19 am on December 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Pardon my sense of humor, Michaeline, but you must have written your poem in blank verse, because I don’t see it.

      As for blaming anyone’s god, as a deist, I don’t believe the creator does or ever has seen fit to reveal itself to man; man is what the creator designed from the beginning: a very mixed bag, to say the least. I think it’s fair to say that if the creator were human, we wouldn’t be handing out any blue ribbons for the end result….at least, not without knowing why. Maybe the creator is the divine equivalent of an abstract expressionist, who knows?


      • Michaeline Montezinos 1:13 pm on December 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Mistermuse, I thought the poem you wrote was about war. Why put the deist theory all over it? It was a good poem as it stands, okay? Not meaning to be ctritical but every person reads a meaning into a poem that is their impression, okay? Iwill try to write my poem like a poem. Hope that it will present to you that way.


        • Michaeline Montezinos 1:19 pm on December 24, 2014 Permalink

          So it goes from ancient times,
          Youth must pay for our crimes.
          While despots rule and men are mice,
          Ready for the blood sacrifice.
          Blame not your god nor blame mine,
          For a tyrant only seeks the power
          As he sits in his ivory tower.
          While below mankind marches to the drum,
          To fulfill the dreams of an evil one.

          (this is the final draft of my poem)

          Copyright December 24, 2014
          by Michaeline Montezinos


        • mistermuse 2:18 pm on December 24, 2014 Permalink

          I use the word “deist” as a one-word explanatory approximation of how I look at God, whom I mentioned twice in my poem. I am not a deist in the sense that someone is a Catholic, Jew or member/follower of any religion – it is simply an encapsulation of my current thinking as it relates to the creator. God, men, war – they are all interconnected morally, even if only by God’s failure to “educate” man from early on that war is an aberration, and a so-called “Holy ” war is even more so.


    • mistermuse 2:20 pm on December 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      As to your poem, Michaeline, I like it, and say “amen.”

      P.S. I’ll say one thing atheists have in their favor: they don’t have a god to blame, either for acting or failing to act.


      • Michaeline Montezinos 4:38 pm on December 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I may pray to my God and I may worship my God. Prayers that are answered, and many are,and some are unanswered. But that does not mean I can be irresponsible. I must obey the law of the land I live in. I try to treat others as I would have them treat me. No excuses.
        I agree that war is never “holy.” It is just a stupid reason to gather the masses and fight the other side. I am sorry if I objected to your theory on deism; I should have known better. Once you explained how your theory and the poem are intertwined, I understood now what you were saying. Forgive me, mistermuse. I am but an amateur here in this magnificent world of poetry and writing.


    • mistermuse 6:58 pm on December 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      No problem, Michaeline. We all say things we could’ve said better. Here’s a quote from a book I recently recommended, MARK TWAIN & ME by Dorothy Quick: “…words are difficult things to manage when it comes to expressing one’s innermost feelings, and even the best of them are inadequate at revealing deep and sincere emotions.”


      • Michaeline Montezinos 10:40 pm on December 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        After the crazy holidays are over, I must get to the library and order that book! My husband can place an order online and if it is not available at that branch, it can be sent from another library. I think this so cool, don’t you, mistermuse?

        thank you for allowing me to express myself w/o fearing I would hurt any one’s feelings. [Good to remember that, Michaeline.]


    • mistermuse 11:28 pm on December 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      My wife sometimes orders library books the same way. I seldom go to the library anymore because I already have too many unread books on hand.
      Enjoy the holidays.


    • arekhill1 4:24 pm on December 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Nicely said


    • mistermuse 12:22 am on December 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Gracias. I see from a quick reading of your post on another network that you had a good time south of the border. Welcome home and goodnight (it’s past my bedtime).


  • mistermuse 2:20 pm on December 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , innocence, , , war   


    I always feel young people are innocent. [They] have a certain beautiful innocence to them that’s touching and remarkable to see. –Woody Allen

    Christmas is for kids. As truisms go, that is one I find especially valid. It seems to me that even if you’re not Christian, it won’t hurt your young children to believe in Santa Claus. They’ll have to contend with the real world soon enough (there could be worse introductions to reality than the day they discover the truth about Santa). So, while they may, let them be innocent and without sin and believe in pure, unalloyed being loved. Isn’t that the idea that Christmas is supposed to represent?

    I may be old, but I’m not too old to remember the thrill of Christmas mornings as a boy in the early 1940s. What did I know of the World War raging a world away, where young men of my age little more than a decade earlier, were now dying like sacrificial lambs because innocence was foreign to the forces of time. Life is short. Life as a young child is short beyond belief, although wishful thinking can extend the warranty indefinetly. I wouldn’t count on it.

    • Ricardo 8:26 pm on December 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      But now that Fox has made Santa’s ethnicity an issue. I think I’ll be penning “I’m Dreaming of a White Santa” shortly, Sr. Muse


    • mistermuse 9:43 pm on December 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I hadn’t heard about the Fox/Santa issue, Ricardo. I’d check it out, but I can’t bear to watch Fox, no matter how much I could use a good laugh. In fact, if I knew Hell consisted of watching Fox News for all eternity, I (and maybe even you) would immediately start being so good that Santa would give me a sleigh ride straight to heaven’s gate when my time comes.


    • Don Frankel 11:01 am on December 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I can’t remember too well but I don’t think I was told that Santa was a real guy just an idea of giving. And yes this is a lot easier to read and you are half linked to SWI so the next time your daughter comes over have her finish the job.


    • mistermuse 12:03 pm on December 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I very much appreciate your suggestion, Don, but after giving it some thought, I probably won’t do that. I realize it would invite more traffic if I did, but at my age and stage of life, I already don’t have enough time for the things that matter to me the most….so, I’d rather just keep it simple, even at the expense of the fame & fortune I believe would surely come my way with a little more push on my part (I also believe in Santa Claus and have deep existential dialogues & exchanges with him, as you can see in my Dec. 16 post).


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