Archive for the ‘Humor and Entertainment’ Category

TIME OUT FOR REASON

February 9, 2013

Time Out for Reason

It’s easy to become buried under the avalanche of bad news rushing over us; easy to become discouraged and fatalistic.  Shakespeare wisely and famously mused,  “To be or not to be, that is the question.  Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to bear the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to seize arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing, end them.”

The overall point of the exploration – from my perspective – is to know.  I’ve found that keeping the goal simple is best.  The persons benefiting from the robberies, rapes and murders do not care about any patterns or even predictable outcomes.  As long as they are profiting in some wise, the behavior goes unchecked.  As to the rest of us, we generally seem to suffer in silence until the pain becomes too great, and then we produce the predictable outcomes mentioned above.  I often think of Cassandra predicting the fall of Troy when I am contemplating the latest “I told you so” in the news.  Really bad case of “Nobody ever listens to me.”

I spent a few years, fifteen years ago, trying to inform the county commissioners of our great land that the West and Midwest are for sure running out of water.  The environment is observably in major transition and we are losing the human-friendly ecosystem that greatly enabled our planetary success.  Do we act to conserve what we’ve got?  No, of course not.  The powers that be commission studies to postpone action so that the last possible penny can be squeezed out of whatever the exploited resource might be.  Hence, I am contemptuous of the bozos that use the cliché, “Well, we lost ‘it’ in California (Birmingham, Detroit, wherever), but we still have a chance to save it here.”  I want to yell at them, “It didn’t need saving until you assholes showed up!”  Many also believe that someone or thing is going to save them before it’s “too late”.  They’re wrong.

I’ve gone back and forth on the meaning of life.  I conclude that Monte Python made the definitive statement on the subject: “Every sperm is sacred.”  That coupled with the Life of Brian – particularly the crucifixion chorus singing, The Bright Side of Life while hanging on their crosses.  There you go, all said and done.  Don’t even have to read Nietzsche or Sartre.  I prefer the light side to the dark, humor to grim acceptance (although there are times for each, I admit).  Still, I find myself more Zen than anything else, plus a strong, strong touch of Deist.  Don’t know if that latter is because of my erratic Roman Catholic upbringing, but I do believe in some sort of life force, great spirit, for want of another word, god.  For all I know though, god may be a composite of all souls, or a board of directors somewhere, or an alien playing space invaders.  Believing in a god doesn’t preclude the overwhelming sense that the world is one big turkey shoot and loony bin.  If the divine being has some sort of purpose, other than hanging out and looking at stuff, I have yet to discern it, but then who am I?  Moses, He talks to; Me, He doesn’t call, He doesn’t write…

Learning history has value in finding out that all the crap around you has happened in some form before you – not once but probably hundreds, if not thousands of times, or even more – and the world went on as if nothing mattered and there’s the key, I think.  As the in-country Vietnam vets used to say, “Don’t mean nothing.”  The insanity finally reaches a point of such overwhelming monstrosity that all one can do is cover up in the fetal position and whimper, or throw one’s head back and laugh like hell.

Everything we do is good and/or bad, it’s all interconnected, and each generation sees the world as new, and never before traveled – until it’s probably too damn late to correct for a wayward course.

Corporatists destroyed the New Deal and bankrupted the people of the United States, shoved them into war, and took their jobs and personal freedoms away.  Those of us who care, who are American, who are democrats – small “d” – are most in danger and must destroy the corporatists and re-instate the New Deal, or we are lost.  We shall be slaves of corporate masters for evermore.  We must live as if people mattered, not to protect stupid-ass property rights, or spend our lives at the level of swine.  Do you understand why their masters murdered slaves, serfs and peasants who learned to read?  The New Medievalism is just around the bend.

RELATED ARTICLE: CRUSHING AMERICA

 

Execution by Stoning: not just a sadistic bible tradition.

An Iranian woman at a protest in Brussels highlights the barbarity of death by stoning, in which women are buried up to their necks in front of a crowd of volunteers. Photograph: Thierry Roge/Reuters

ALEXANDER THE GREAT

December 30, 2012

 

And, now, for a complete change of pace, and without apology to Oliver Stone:

ALEXANDER THE GREAT By Will Cuppy

Alexander III of Macedonia was born in 356 B.C., on the sixth day of the month of Lous. (1)  He is known as Alexander the Great because he killed more people of more different kinds than any other man of his time. (2)  He did this in order to impress Greek culture upon them.  Alexander was not strictly a Greek and he was not cultured, but that was his story, and who am I to deny it? (3)

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1 That is what the Macedonians called the month of Hecatombaeom, Plutarch says, and he ought to know.

2  Professor F.A. Wright, in his Alexander the Great, goes so far as to call him “the greatest man that the human race has as yet produced.”

3  He spoke what was known as Attic Greek.

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Alexander’s father was Philip II of Macedonia.  Philip was a man of broad vision.  He drank a good deal and had eight wives.  He subdued the Greeks after they had knocked themselves out in the Peloponnesian War and appointed himself Captain General so that he could uphold the ideals of Hellas.  The main ideal of Hellas was to get rid of Philip, but he didn’t count that one.  He was assassinated in 336 B.C. by a friend of his wife Olympias. (4)

Olympias, the mother of Alexander, was slightly abnormal.  She was an Epirote.  She kept so many sacred snakes in her bedroom that Philip was afraid to go home after his drinking bouts. (5)  She told Alexander that his real father was Zeus Ammon, or Amon, a Graeco-Egyptian god in the form of a snake.  Alexander made much of this and would sit up all night boasting about it. (6)  He once executed thirteen Macedonians for saying he was not the son of a serpent.

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4  After Philip’s death, Olympias had one of his wives boiled alive.  Shows what she thought of her.

5  Having real snakes at home does an alcoholic no good.  It just complicates matters.

6  He got so he believed it himself.

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As a child Alexander was like most other children, if you see what I mean.  He had blue eyes, curly red hair, and a pink-and-white complexion, and he was small for his age.  At twelve he tamed Bucephalus, his favorite horse.  In the same year he playfully pushed Nectanebo, a visiting astronomer, into a deep pit and broke his neck while he was lecturing on the stars.  It has never been entirely proved that Alexander shoved the old man.  The fact remains that they were standing by the pit and all of a sudden Nectanebo wasn’t there any more.

For three years, until he was sixteen, Alexander was educated by Aristotle, who seems to have avoided pits and the edges of roofs.  Aristotle was famous for knowing everything.  He taught that the brain exists merely to cool the blood and is not involved in the process of thinking.  This is true only of certain persons.  He also said that the sheatfish is subject to sunstroke because it swims too near the surface of the water.  I doubt it.  In spite of his vast reputation, Aristotle was not a perfect instructor of youth.  He had a tendency to wander, in the classroom and elsewhere.  He didn’t keep his eye on the ball.

With a teacher like that, one’s values might well become warped.  On the other hand, even Aristotle couldn’t help some people. (7)  As soon as he had finished reading the Nicomachean Ethics, Alexander began killing right and left.  He exterminated the Theban Sacred Band at the Battle of Chaeronea while his father was still alive, and then got some fine practice killing Thracians, Illyrians, and such others as he could find around home. (8)

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7  Some years later, when Aristotle asked his former pupil to find out what caused the rising of the Nile, Alexander answered correctly, stating that it was caused by rain.  This pleased Aristotle very much, as he had worried about it for years and had almost given up in despair.

8  The Thebans were only Boeotians, generally regarded as oafs.  Plutarch, however, denies this with some heat.  Plutarch was a Boeotian.

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He was now ready for his real career, so he decided to go to Asia where there were more people and more of a variety.  After killing a few relatives who might have claimed the throne, (9) he declared war on Persia and crossed the Hellespont to preach Hellenic civilization.  The Greeks were embarrassed about this, but they couldn’t stop him.  They just had to grin and bear it.

Asia proved to be a regular paradise.  In no time at all Alexander had killed Medes, Persians, Pisidians, Cappadocians, Paphlagonians, and miscellaneous Mesopotamians. (10)  One day he would bag some Galatians, the next he would have to be content with a few Armenians.  Later, he got Bactrians, Sogdians, Arachosians, and some rare Uxians,  Even then, an Uxian, dead or alive, was a collector’s item. (11)

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9        He had connived at the liquidation of Philip.

10    “He boldly proclaimed the brotherhood of man.” – F.A. Wright.

11    The Uxians, or Huxians, may have been the ancestors of the Loories.

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Alexander put an end to the Persian Empire by defeating Darius in three important battles.  This Darius was not the Darius, but only Darius Codomannus, or Darius III, who had been placed on the throne by Bagoas, a eunuch. (12)  Bagoas had poisoned Artaxerxes III and his son Arses and had in turn been poisoned by Darius, just to be on the safe side. (13)  Darius was easy to defeat because you could always count on his doing exactly the wrong thing.  Then he would whip up his horses and try to escape in his slow-moving chariot.  He did this once too often.

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12    The name Bagoas is a shortened form of Bagadata, meaning Given by God.  It was often applied to eunuchs for reasons I have been unable to check.

13    Xerxes I was poisoned by the eunuch Aspamithres.

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The Persian army was all out of date.  It relied chiefly upon the Kinsmen, who were allowed to kiss the King, and the Apple Bearers, or royal guard, who had golden apples on the handles of their spears.  Darius believed that if he kept adding more Apple Bearers to his army the Persian Empire would never fall.  But life is not like that.  Apple Bearers are all right, if you know where to stop.  After a certain point is reached, however, the law of diminishing returns sets in and you simply have too many Apple Bearers.

Darius also had chariots armed with scythes on each side for mowing down his enemies.  These did not work out, since Alexander and his soldiers refused to go and stand in front of the scythes.  Darius had overlooked the facts that scythed chariots are effective only against persons who have lost the power of locomotion and that such persons are more likely to be home in bed than fighting battles in Asia.

Alexander’s best men were his Companions, or heavy cavalry, and his Phalangites, or improved Hoplites, who composed the Macedonian phalanx.  There was some doubt about what the Hypaspists were expected to do.  They acted as Peltasts at times and they could always run errands.  Alexander never advanced without covering his rear.  The Persians never bothered about that, and you see what happened to them.

At the Battle of Issus, Alexander captured Darius’ wife and two daughters and the royal harem of 360 concubines (14) and 400 eunuchs.  He snubbed the harem, as did his inseparable friend and roommate Hephaestion, but the soldiers obtained many beautiful rugs.  Alexander’s project more than paid for itself, for he acquired valuables worth 160,000 Persian talents, or $280,000,000, in the cities of Susa and Persepolis alone.  Unfortunately, much of this was stolen by Harpalus, a cultured Greek serving as imperial treasurer.

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14     Eunuchs were widely employed as royal advisers, as they had more time to think.

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Alexander spent the next nine years fighting more battles, marching and countermarching, killing people at random, and robbing their widows and orphans. (15)  He soon grew tired of impressing Greek culture upon the Persians and attempted to impress Persian culture upon the Greeks.  In an argument about this, he killed his friend Clitus, who had twice saved his life in battle.  Then he wept for forty-eight hours.  Alexander seldom killed his close friends unless he was drunk, and he always had a good cry afterwards. (16)  He was always weeping about something. (17)

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15    Among the Persians, sixty or any multiple of sixty was regarded as lucky.

16    He was often extremely brutal to his captives, whom he sold into slavery, tortured to death, or forced to learn Greek.

17    He evened an old score by hanging the historian Callisthenes, a grandnephew of Aristotle.  Callisthenes refused to prostrate himself in the Persian fashion, then Alexander refused to kiss him, and things went from bad to worse.

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Bucephalus died of old age and overwork in India, and the soldiers, who thought the whole business was nonsense, refused to march any farther. (18)  Three fourths of the soldiers died of starvation while returning through the Gerosian Desert, but some of them finally got back to Susa and broke training.  At this point, Alexander and Hephaestion felt it was time to stop fooling around and get married, and they decided to marry sisters, so that their children would be cousins.  Wasn’t that romantic?

The girls they chose were Statira and Drypetis, the daughters of Darius, who had been waiting around ever since the old Issus days nine years before.  I never heard how these marriages turned out.  All of Alexander’s biographers say that his nature was cool, if not perfectly frigid. (19)  He is said to have sinned occasionally, but he never quite got the hang of it.  He was not unattractive, if you care for undersized blonds. (20)  His physique was reported to be all right, what there was of it. (21)  I have found no description of Hephaestion’s looks, but I gather he was tall, dark, and handsome.

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18    Alexander did not conquer the world, by any means, since he had never been in Italy, Gaul, or Spain, to mention a few places.  He might have spared the tears about that.

19    Alexander had always been kind to Bucephalus, after whom he named a city.  He named another after his dog Peritas and seventeen after himself.

20    “From the weaknesses of the flesh, to which many great men have been subject, he was almost entirely immune.” – F.A. Wright.

21    There is probably no truth in that story about Alexander and Thalestris, Queen of the Amazons.  Still, Thalestris usually got her own way.

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Nothing much happened after the doings at Susa.  Hephaestion died a few months later of drink and fever.  Alexander passed away in Babylon from the same causes in the following year, 324 B.C.  He was not quite thirty-three, and he had been away from home eleven years.  He might have lived longer if he had not crucified his physician for failing to cure Hephaestion.  Well, it was fun while it lasted.

Alexander’s death left Macedonia rather at sixes and sevens.  Roxana, Alexander’s Bactrian wife, had Statira and Hephaestion’s widow murdered and thrown down a well, and Sisygambis starved herself to death.  Olympias executed Alexander’s illegitimate and feeble-minded half brother Arrhidaeus and forced his wife to hang herself.  Cassander executed Olympias, others murdered others, and it was all quite a mess.

Alexander’s empire fell to pieces at once, and nothing remained of his work except that the people he had killed were still dead.  He accomplished nothing very constructive. (22)  True, he cut the Gordian Knot instead of untying it according to the rules.  This was a silly thing to do, but the Gordian Knot itself was pretty silly.  He also introduced eggplant into Europe. (23)

Just what this distressing young man thought he was doing, and why, I really can’t say.  I doubt if he could have clarified the subject to any appreciable extent.  He had a habit of knitting his brows.  And no wonder.

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22    He is said to have smelled like violets.  I heard different.

23    But see F.A. Wright on Alexander’s work “above all as an apostle of world peace.”

WILL CUPPY – HUMORIST

(1950) The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody, New York: Holt. Edited by Fred Feldkamp. Illustrations by William Steig.

Harvest Night. Roman Nights series. ROMAN NIGHTS

BROTHER WOLF

December 23, 2012
Alien Wedding Cineplex.“Among the Arabian philosophers, Averroes has been accused of despising the religion of the Jews, the Christians, and the Mahometans. Each of these sects would agree that in two instances out of three his contempt was reasonable.” - Edward Gibbon.

Alien Wedding Cineplex.
“Among the Arabian philosophers, Averroes has been accused of despising the religion of the Jews, the Christians, and the Mahometans. Each of these sects would agree that in two instances out of three his contempt was reasonable.” – Edward Gibbon.

WALDO HEMMERSLEGG’S HISTORY OF THE WORLD: (Excerpt from COMMON LIVES, unpublished novel).

Our story begins – for it is literally our story, the story of humankind – about three million years ago in an African gorge in Tanganyika.  To the west is towering Mount Kilimanjaro, but here in Olduvai there is desert where once it was savannah teeming with antelope and zebra, wildebeest and all manner of animal treasures – some still with us and those now extinct.   In the midst of this was a hunting, gathering troop of advanced apelike creatures, one of whom, a female we call “Lucy” was the recipient of a rare mutated gene that made her the first human.  All human females carry that gene.  It is not present in males.  Left to the males, humankind would revert to apedom.  No wonder the ladies are considered a “civilizing influence.”  Hell, there wouldn’t be any civilization at all without them.  No man would ever think of building a chair when he had difficulty mastering the stick in the termite hole when trying to obtain a little protein.

If we had a time lapse film of the species from its beginning, we would see Lucy’s descendents evolving and expanding up out of Africa into the Middle East, hence to Europe and Asia, thence all over the planet.  The genetic material that makes human beings white, brown, black, yellow or red is a tiny marker in our genetic makeup.  Everything else is the same. We are identical in every other genetic respect.  We all come out of Mother Africa.  That should make us a tolerant, peaceful species, but we’re not.  We’ve fought and killed each other from Lucy’s day on, often over “proper” melatonin levels.  We form and maintain select groups as the “best” and attempt to destroy any one or any thing (including ideas) that threatens our belief in the holy righteousness of our own brand of blind ignorance.  We are all entitled to be ignorant and superstitious.

There is, in reality, only we and us.  It is apparently hard for red-necked hate-filled crackers, suicide bombers, militants of every stripe, ultra-Americans and other “special” groups to admit that they are just part of the human race.  “Otherness” is a big issue for them.  It is only by denying the humanity of their victims that they are able to do such savagery upon them, and by denying their own humanity that they are able to be so ruthlessly cruel. In Rite of Passage, Alexei Panshin wrote that there are “no spear carriers in real life.” A spear-carrier is the guy in the opera or movie who is stabbed as the hero goes by to save the maiden; the one who falls off the parapet feathered by an arrow.  They are anonymous, often faceless and assuming soulless creatures to be killed at will for dramatic effect.  They are not other people, but props to make the hero look good.

That’s why the military concentrates on “doing a job of work.”  Moving boulders, or whole villages, or killing whole peoples is easier when they are objectified as things subject to our divinely directed whim.  When one’s “cause is right,” because “God is on our side,” and “we must protect our way of life,” murder is most “holy”.  Sadness to relate, we still seem to be comfortable with that, and remain irate about our inherent equality.  What’s the real problem?  Nobody’s really all that special.

“LIKE TEARS IN THE RAIN”:

“I am bored by people who keep returning life to a moral plane, as if we were reducible, now, to some Biblical concept or its opposite, as if all our history and prehistory had not conditioned us for what we’ve become.  It’s enough to make a moral nigger out of a man.  The niggers are down there, no doubt about it.  But Jack didn’t put them there and neither did I.  When we get off the moral gold standard, when the man of enormous wealth is of no more importance to anybody than the man in rags, then maybe we’ll look back to our own day as a day of justifiable social wrath. Meantime, the game is rising, not leveling. Jack taught me that. Cured me. (Brother Wolf, are you listening?)” – William Kennedy, LEGS

“Never judge a book by its cover unless it’s red.”  Leo Gorcey, Bowery Boys.

“Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.” Gandhi.

Meaning of Life var.

Meaning of Life var.

STAR WARS: Obligatory Long Shot rev.

November 19, 2012

IS THAT GROVER?

Okay, I don’t like Star Wars. I can’t accept George Lucas as my personal lord and savior, and parts I-III, and V-VI suck. Re-title the series: Cliché Bores.

The special effects (eye-candy) are storied, superior and endless. Never have I been bored to death by more wonder, except maybe in a church crawl in Europe, a mosque crawl in Cairo, or camping out in Room 5,212 in the Louvre. Too much of a good thing?

Well, in the midst of all this mind-boggling clutter: our heroes and heroines, villains and villainesses (not too many of those – George doesn’t handle the female element very confidently or sympathetically – doesn’t seem to understand it). This is my major complaint with the whole second series: characters are as flat as cardboard cutouts, motivations as thin as tissue, dialogue as transparent as wax paper, drama as heavy-handed as wood chips in a roll of toilet paper. Lucas just does not understand either human psychology or actual human emotion; he’s a middle-class privileged guy from the Valley. He’s obviously read about them though, and borrows feelings one is supposed to have, according to his research, but it comes out so leaden, so slowly, tediously – just like the humor in Howard the Duck (was that supposed to be a comedy? I really don’t know. Howard makes my skin crawl).

And, although I shouldn’t expect unnecessary logic in a fantasy work, I find it utterly impossible to figure out why all the alien peoples have absolutely human earthbound attitudes, senses of humor, and even get hot for human women – isn’t there any sort of cross-species disinterest in outer space, or is the entire universe just get-anything-that-moves horny? Oh, yes, something else would require imagination, and might actually estrange audiences who only understand the just-what-they-know obvious – such as folks who go to Nascar (the kid in the flimsy-jack pod racer. Worst roadworthy design EVER). I know, picky.

However, I do find myself drawn to the enormous energy, will to succeed, and effort to achieve that Lucas demonstrates; he’s a pure work and win example of Horatio Alger proportions. He deserves his reputation for technical wonders, and for bringing the length and breadth of CG I to film. He is deservedly considered a pioneer genius of the technical side of film. So on that level, I totally GROK Star Wars. The cityscapes, et al are the best eye-candy without – I’m fairly sure – real rival. In this race, George is the one to beat.

And I just like to look at Natalie Portman – period. Sorry, women friends, I’m a guy – not dirty, just worshipful, watching a rare and unusual talent and charismatic feminine charm. She captivated the screen in her debut with Jean Reno in the Professional and has held it ever since.

I would gladly throttle the little kid in Part 1. Perhaps he was just playing the part of an insufferable little creep, in which case, he’s a fine actor.

In Parts 2 and 3 I kept hoping Hayden Christensen would misjudge those stories-falling leaps of his and hit an awning or a balcony. Something. Anything. Hated his hair, it blinded me to the rest of him. He does sullen and near clueless very well.

Someone should have given Ewen Mac Gregor something to say – he looked simply out of place, hard-working, a fine actor, but utterly wasted. He was supposed to be Alec Guinness later? Gotta say, there was a whole lot of learning to achieve Old Obi-Wan’s level of wisdom between Parts 3 and 4 that we obviously didn’t get to see. Maybe there should be a Midquel (bite my tongue, must not invoke the Force).

I could go on, but it would only be more of the same snarky thing.

Loved her, hated him. The eye-candy par excellence. Lose the kid.

George, hire a scriptwriter and let him/her come up with the storyline, character development and dialog. Stop pumping out your boyhood dreams and high school theme books, before we’re consumed by Star Wars the Postquel Parts 7-8-9 – suggested titles: The Republic Goes Rotten; Return of the Sith Lords; and Hell’s Bells, We’re Right Back Where We Started!

O, no, I said it aloud! Now the Force has been invoked! O, no! Scotty, beam me up!

The DOOM PATROL (det.)

DISORDER and FACT reprise

November 17, 2012

Fantasy Eruption

MEDITATIONS ON DISORDER and FACT:

Persistent and determined belief in fiction over fact is a clear sign of an emotional disorder. – See also: religion, supply side economics, 7/17/05

Poseidon: “Without gods, man is nothing.”  Odysseus: “I was only one man in the world – nothing more and nothing less.”

GIBBONISMS: Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

Of interest: “The Gregorian chants of the Christian church preserve the vocal and instrumental music of the theater in an attempt to imitate the melody of the Roman school, which was meant to soothe the distress, confirm the faith, mitigate the fierceness, and dispel the dark enthusiasm of the vulgar. ”

“It is not surprising that superstition should act most powerfully on the fears of her votaries, since the human fancy can paint with more energy the misery than the bliss of a future life.”

“Among the Arabian philosophers, Averroes has been accused of despising the religion of the Jews, the Christians, and the Mahometans.  Each of these sects would agree that in two instances out of three his contempt was reasonable.”

“…many a sober Christian would rather admit that a wafer is God, than that God is a cruel and capricious tyrant.”

“…such is the progress of credulity that miracles, most doubtful on the spot and at the moment, will be received with implicit faith at a convenient distance of time and space.”

“…the favor of the people is less permanent than the resentment of the priest…”

Ambition is a weed of quick and early vegetation in the vineyard of Christ.”

“The calculation of their number [pilgrims to Rome] could not be easy or accurate; and they probably have been magnified by a dexterous clergy, well apprised of the contagion of example…”

“The dominion of priests is most odious to a liberal spirit.”

“…all that is human must retrograde if it do not advance…”

OTHER PEOPLE SAY:

A guru will tell you just enough, but not everything, to lead you on.  A bad guru wants you to suppress your doubts and serve him, or you will be set aside, dropped from favor, lose the “love.”  A good guru tells you to serve a cause, not him, or yourself, and never demands belief.

“In the case of gods, death is only a matter of prejudice.” Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra.

“The history of Christianity is rife with violence resulting from an organized central authority wishing to force its minions to adhere to a rigid doctrine of belief…Even more ironic is the fact that the Church’s attacks on fellow believers have been the worst events in the history of religious persecution.” – Lost Treasure of the Knights Templar, Steven Sora.

“It is evident that use of manipulative methods and blackmail can be a very effective means of controlling members.  In certain organizations and movements secrecy and control are very important.” – ibid, Sora.

In order to control the mind, one must control the body.  That is the primary reason religions proscribe sex and cleanliness.

INTERESTING STRAY FACTS:

St. Morris was the African Christian who inspired the code of chivalry: Serve the king, but answer only to god.

Quid pro quo – one for another, tit for tat. (Only goes so far if chopping off fingers, say).

One light year is six trillion miles!

Humans are by biology and temperament, the dancing ape.  Our closest relatives, Chimpanzees, can’t dance.  Anyone or anything that stops, or tries to control the dance is anti-human.

SO, I THINK, IT’S FUNNY:

She looks like an old couch somebody threw out of a trailer.

“I’m really intrigued about what I’ve found out about this woman’s skull!” – bright cheerful English archeologist, History Channel, Meet the Ancestors, “The Tomb that Time Forgot.”  “Time” forgot no less.

Go ahead, make my dinner.

“How dumb can you be and still be useful?” – scientific question applied to robotics.

“If enough people say, ‘My god, stop talking,’ you become a good listener.” – Gilbert Gottfried, Becker.

“These days, doctors can keep people alive way past their usefulness.” – Hugh Neutron, Jimmy Neutron.

“Church Potluck: What a Friend We Have in Cheese Puffs!” – church sign, Simpsons.

“No one gives a [crap] about labor if they can get a delicious sandwich.” – Squidward, Sponge Bob.

Barbarians don’t have an education, so they go for the nearest thrill.” – History Channel professor.

END ON THE UPBEAT:

“One cuts it and the other gets first choice.” – How brothers should share pie, Baxter Black, PBS.

PRETTY IMPORTANT NEWS (earlier views, but obviously still true):

Published on Monday, July 27, 2009 by The Guardian/UK

World Will Warm Faster Than Predicted in Next Five Years, Study Warns.  New estimate based on the forthcoming upturn in solar activity and El Nino southern oscillation cycles is expected to silence global warming skeptics, by Duncan Clark.

The world faces a new period of record-breaking temperatures as the sun’s activity increases, leading the planet to heat up significantly faster than scientists had predicted over the next five years, according to a new study.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/07/27-9

Published on Monday, July 27, 2009 by The Telegraph/UK

Climate Change to Force 75 Million Pacific Islanders From Their Homes.  More than 75 million people living on Pacific islands will have to relocate by 2050 because of the effects of climate change, Oxfam has warned, by Bonnie Malkin in Sydney.

A report by the charity said Pacific Islanders were already feeling the effects of global warming, including food and water shortages, rising cases of malaria and more frequent flooding and storms. Some had already been forced from their homes and the number of displaced people was rising, it warned.

Published on Monday, July 27, 2009 by CommonDreams.org

Profiling CEOs and Their Sociopathic Paychecks, by Thomm Hartmann.  The Wall Street Journal reported last week that “Executives” and other highly compensated employees received nearly $2.1 trillion of the $6.4 trillion in total US pay in 2007, the latest figures available.”

One of the questions often asked when the subject of CEO pay comes up is, “What could a person such as William McGuire or Lee Raymond (the former CEOs of UnitedHealth and ExxonMobil, respectively) possibly do to justify a $1.7 billion paycheck or a $400 million retirement bonus?”

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/07/27

SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT

August 9, 2012
Ant Farm

EXCERPT from Common Lives, a novel

This piece won 98th place in the 80th Writer’s Digest Annual Awards literature and mainstream fiction category – in competition with 11,800 others. 98th! I’m 98th! LOL.

“In the Beginning”

Lost in the formless void of space, an electron came spinning out of nowhere to collide foolishly, randomly and willy-nilly with some microscopic other thing and a large explosion resulted. When the debris settled and the dust cleared, when the incredible multitude of subsequently tossed, collided and bumped other things slowed their rate of reaction, space became again a relatively calm place – although, it was now decidedly more cluttered, larger things having been mashed together from the smaller ones. As one can well imagine, that lone electron must have been in an incredible hurry, and the resulting accident at Lexington and Forty-First was a big one, with traffic backed up in all directions, clear to the edges of the city. It was later inferred by a philosopher-scientist in an ermine robe while speculating before his medieval books of alchemy that the electron may have been drinking.

For Eugene R. Formsby, the amazing thing about the Universe was its consistency; it had a beginning, middle and an end. Some scientist in Cleveland, staring through a telescope in order to bring the macroscopic down to earthly size, suggested that the whole thing was a sort of gigantic bubble of slowly expanding gas, which would eventually collapse, as bubbles always do. Eugene had once seen a bubble-blowing magician on television impregnate a soap shell with cigarette smoke. Eugene thought the end of the Universe would be as fleetingly unspectacular as watching the magician pierce the soap shell to allow the cigarette smoke to escape in a dirty, gray-white rush, to dissipate in the broader air. The soap shell itself collapsed with a wet spurt; all very satisfying as a television show, but lame as a proper end to the Universe.

Eugene felt a little disappointed with the magician. There were just so many things one could do with soap shells: spin them, encase one inside of another – rings of air, worlds of air, nested like wooden, brightly-painted Russian dolls – tie them together like balloon puppets, or whatever, the bubbles always vanished with the same, wet spurt.

Which made Eugene think about beginnings. He, Eugene, was the product of a minute, wet spurt, which – reacting, colliding – forced masses of other inert (or nearly so) materials to react and collide with…an endless series of seemingly chaotic, entirely trivial and absolutely fascinating mini-events, resulting in one Eugene R. (for “Robert”) Formsby. Life, Eugene decided, was funny that way: there was no accounting for it. Multiplied by all of the other minute, wet spurts, amid the howling, moaning, grunting and groaning cacophony of all the copulating creatures since the dawn of auditory, vocalizing creaturedom, Eugene felt quite insignificant and more than occasionally like a supernumerary.

Still, Eugene tried to please everybody, tried to appear like a superstar (which he was not), cleaned his supper plate assiduously – hearing the voice of his long-dead Mother chanting, “Starving children and half-mad dogs. The world’s a savage place, Eugene. Watch your step and don’t lose your way. Be careful crossing streets, Eugene, and always eat your peas.”  Eugene always ate his peas. He ate them first, to get that little chore out of the way.

“Eugene,” his mother would say. “Eu-gene,” she would whine. Eugene was a name made for being whined; a name one could get one’s nose tightly involved with. It was possible to draw the “Ewe” up and the “geene” out, so that the name was at one and the same time, an attention-grabber and an accusation, laden with extreme, resigned disappointment. The way his mother often said it sounded like, “You jean” – as if a jean was a poor thing to be, fit only for covering up assholes and crotches when skinning down trees and mud banks, and ending up dirty (which Eugene often was, being a relatively normal child.

Non-human creation fascinated Eugene early on, being less harmful and generally more peaceful than the World of Men. He identified with Kipling’s hero Mowgli in the Jungle Book, delighted in the savage tales of Tarzan, who defeated evil by breaking its back, or by stabbing it in the chest with his “mighty tooth” – which was really a knife, only being raised by apes, Tarzan didn’t know any better. Years later, Eugene equated the knife with something Sigmund Freud speculated about – but, as a boy, Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Conqueror (“eventually over-muscled by Arnold Schwarzenegger,” he said), and Tarzan of the Apes (“bloatedly defiled by a decaying Johnny Weismuller,” he lamented, “and prematurely denatured by Bo Derek and her cynical, self-styled Svengali of a husband”) stood for all that was wholesome, romantic and achievable. The orphan of the apes grew up to move freely, though begrudgingly, in society’s upper circles; Conan became King of Aquilonia; and Johnny Weismuller apologized for the racial stereotypes populating his naive, little films.

From such stuff, and its subsequent manipulation against real life, Eugene gradually formed the notion that under every rock, there was apt to be a disgustingly formed grub.

Nonetheless, Eugene loved nature and spent hours happily hiking woods, warmed by nature shows aired by public television, or sitting on a rock observing ants busily dismembering butterfly carcasses. He found fascination in small things, from which he extrapolated theories about the governance and overall uniformity of large things. Things became ever more complex as their size increased. Just as corporate machinery had to expand the secretary-typist’s pool to encompass and accommodate modern computerized word processing, so too, extra parts were required to adapt the feeding apparatus of an amoeba into the mouth of a moose. Yet, regardless of scale, the end purpose remained the same: one to reproduce words in frozen lines of print; the other, to feed the living organism, so that it might go on to multiply and/or divide, before ultimately subtracting itself altogether from the Universe as this specific amoeba, or that unique moose.

Uniqueness was a particularly troubling theme to Eugene, for he felt that each entity was unique, never-before-assembled, yet so integrally related to the Whole that, it was difficult to tell where something ceased to be a part of something else, and where it became, separately, all there was to one sort of thing alone. Within his own body, he knew that there were entire colonies of contributing members, which scurried about tending and maintaining him, so that he, the amalgamated Eugene, could continue to function and so maintain them – a fact which made Eugene sometimes wonder if he was really self-motivating when left to his own devices, or simply the end product of a committee decision, which predicated that Entity Twenty-one-billion-and-eight should be entitled Eugene R. Formsby, Consolidated Research Unit, Model X-4-D, and should now, by unanimous consent of the governing board members, sit down and eat.

“What do you think about life so far?” Father Randolph “Teeth and Tongue” Nornocker once asked Eugene as the two sat in the pastor’s study. Eugene was at that time a somewhat precocious eleven and expected by his elders to be able to philosophize to a limited extent. Father Nornocker was, appropriately enough, a big, knock-kneed man with a virtual awning of overbite, a high starched collar and dirty fingernails. Even as a child, Nornocker’s nails gave Eugene pause. As far as Eugene knew, Nornocker did no real work – a gardener tended the parish grounds; a handyman did the repairs; a housekeeper cleaned and cooked – but the pastor consistently had dirty nails. Eugene attributed it to lint in the padre’s pockets.

“About life?” Eugene asked blankly.

“Yes,” Nornocker said, nodding, threatening to bite himself in the neck to Eugene’s fascinated gaze. “Life,” said Nornocker, “the Universe, God.”

“I like God,” Eugene said innocently.

“Very good.” Nornocker smiled, audience ended.

Eugene’s conversations (if they could be called that) with Nornocker always ended anti-climactically. Nornocker gave no direct advice for daily living, except from the pulpit (“Repent or you are damned!”), or in formal counseling sessions held particularly for about-to-be-marrieds (“Are you on birth control, dear? Ah, yes, I see. You do know that’s a mortal sin?  See me for confession, dear.  We can handle it.  Don’t worry.  God is understanding. Do you, Jim, know the real meaning of the words, ‘husband’ and ‘father?’  Ah, good. Rehearsal’s at eight – sharp.  I don’t like latecomers, so don’t be tardy, we lock the doors!“). Eugene thought being locked out of one’s own wedding might possibly be a blessing in disguise.

Marriage appeared to him to be a particularly militant institution, populated by unwilling combatants who had taken an oath of service while under emotional duress – amounting to temporary insanity as fired by engorged genitalia. While Eugene’s own parents rarely fought, rarely spoke, rarely looked at one another, they were nonetheless at war. During momentary fits of lust, however, they apparently copulated – well after dark, when the children were sleeping, the doors were all locked, and neither partner had to directly see the other’s naked, flaccid body. Eugene had a rather bizarre childhood view of sex as a result, believing that the female navel somehow accepted the male organ; hence, he believed, his mother’s dismay over baby sister’s extruded umbilical orifice, referred to as an “outy,” and known to be cause for a tragic lifetime with no release from one-piece bathing suits. Boys might have an outy without undue comment, since no one was ever going to stick anything into it – unless, of course, they were trapped in, or naturally inclined toward the restrooms in Greyhound bus stations.

This set of views, as well as others, gradually led Eugene to believe that certain kinds of information were “wrong,” “prejudiced,” or “totally unreliable.” Unfortunately, he couldn’t easily tell which was which, and so left the whole affair to chance, operating on the best of what was currently available, while guarding his rear against yapping dogs and angry, leathershod feet.

Eugene was again the small boy who stood on the steps of the great cathedral, awed by its spires and turrets, its filigrees and gargoyles, its stained glass windows and golden crosses. Inside was the dark perfumed lair of the Lord God, with its high altar overhung by the bloody plaster body of Jesus Christ, His only begotten son. The outer aisles containing the sea of pews were marked by the boxed dioramas of the Stations of the Cross, which led to the place where the Son died. Old ladies in pillbox hats with veils sat on age-oiled mahogany seats beside straight old men with stiff collars and rose-oiled hair. The air was rich with incense, cologne and perfume. Altar boys ringing bells and flame-tipped candles filled the imagination with flickering images of high holiness, augmented by the mysterious repeated chanting, the rigorous standing, kneeling and sitting – all of which confused his small, earthbound brain and threatened rather than uplifted him. He knew nothing of the acts being performed, wished fervently to leave that enchanted, terrifying palace of extraterrestrial power for some richly-grassed sunlit park, where birds sang sweetly and he could hear the speakers from the ball grounds, buy a hot-dog and a cold drink, watch a butterfly investigate the flowers and close his eyes and dream with the sun’s warmth full on his face.

Eugene often dreamed. In dreaming there was escape and in escape there was peace. For a time, he did not have to do what all of those others wanted – the “big people” who ordered him this way and that, preparing him for “responsibility” and “correctness” and a “grand sense of the indomitable self” unsupported by the frailness of his small body or the muddle of his pliable mind. The world was so confusing, so mixed up with “thisses” and “thats,” propounded by robed men, collared men, high-hatted women, women in scarves, ermines, overalls and nothing at all. There had been a time when nylons had confused him and girls’ underpants had almost consumed him. He could not possibly enter a church when the solitude of confession alone nearly reduced him to paralytic fear and terrible, self-accusatory embarrassment.

But the small boy’s mother stretched out her hand and drew the child up the steps of the cathedral, toward the towering open doors and through the yawning mouth of the massive portal, into the secret, dark sanctuary of the blooded God within.

The Beatniks were fading out, bearing Kerouac’s limp body with them, and the Hippies were coming in, bearing narcotics and flowers, when he first attained political consciousness. One group was too old for him to be a peer; the other was too young to see him as anything except suspicious. He was fascinated and excited by both, but became a member of neither, remaining that impossibility: a non-conforming non-conformist. Left to his own devices, he became one of the first generation of television addicts. He grew up living the lip service on so many lips. As a goal, as a model, the myth reeked of individual power, but the first Superman he ever knew, George Reeves, blew his brains out. How could Superman put a bullet in his head? He wondered. Wouldn’t it just bounce off? The myth, in practiced fact, was a conditioner: a view of the world in carefully molded packaging. Careful, my son, don’t remove the plastic wrap if you don’t want the contents to lose value. Use caution, my son, when stealing peeks into Pandora’s box.

Later, he read the Book of Daniel and the Unquiet Death of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, refreshed himself on the case of Saco and Vanzetti, the lunacies of Attorney General Palmer’s Great Red Scare, Joe McCarthy’s witch hunts, and narrowed the glass to Ronald Reagan, the CIA, both Bushes, an Ashcroft, a Gonzales, and the “Moral” Majority. Rambo bulged out of the silver screen in living blood and the whole, mad, delirious killing frenzy danced on, with kids carrying submachine squirt guns and rubber knives the size of Route 66. The myth versus the reality: it echoed. Properly connected, with the correct measure of rising and falling sounds, clicks and “syllabalings,” words conjured up any sort of world. Once believed, the words structured reality and even reinforced the impulse to self-destruction.

Sadness to relate, Lamentation Number 4-billion-and-something: the scientific humanists have turned us into mechanical appliances. The corporate boardroom bastards have turned us into assembly line spare parts. And, the religionists have turned us into dependent, frightened moral bankrupts.

Why did I have to awaken? He wondered. Why couldn’t I have remained as mindlessly narcotized as my peers, skipping to the top, mesmerized by depilated crotch in designer bathing suits. The clever little ripper on his way to a semi-lifetime in the pen, darts in and out of the Square John crowd, putting time and distance between himself and the scene of his most recent petty crime. Xerox sells obsolete product two weeks before new product release, saying nothing to the client. The fossil-fuel barons, the Koch brothers, are poisoning the planet and opposed to all life-affirming change. Are they all the Devil’s helpers?

Q: What’s the fastest animal in the world?

A: A chicken crossing Darfur.

NEW BOOK: 

The COPPER-HANDLES AFFAIR: The Great San Francisco Earthquake, Fire and Bank Heist by John Patrick Legry (Oct 20, 2010)

NEW NOVEL at Amazon.com, etc.

THE COPPER-HANDLES AFFAIR: The Great San Francisco Earthquake, Fire and Bank Heist, begins with the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and a simple opportunistic bank robbery, plunging John Law Copper, accidental thief, and Frederick W. Handles, the pursuing policeman, into the greater game of big money power politics and civic corruption on the Ragtime U. S. Pacific Coast. The chase takes them through the vanished garden world of northern California to the dangerous shanghai town of Portland, Oregon. 50 b&w line drawings and two maps.

From reviews:

“FARGO meets LES MISERABLES meets LONESOME DOVE”

“John Legry’s novel “The Copper-Handles Affair” will especially delight lovers of history as well as those who enjoy a good cops-and-robbers story. Set at the time of the San Francisco earthquake, the reader follows two men: a thief, John Law Copper who stumbles across $400,000 in bank money during the aftermath of the quake; and Frederick W. Handles, a detective bent upon bringing Copper to justice.
The chase between San Francisco and Portland, Oregon exposes both characters to a variety of angels and villains and so the story’s pace never slackens. One twist follows another until the conclusion which surprises with a laugh.
The settings are authentic, the characters believeable and the writer’s drawings are beautiful renderings of the period. I can think of no more pleasant way to experience a bit of history while having a good read.”

“A great fast paced read. …hard to put down.  …characters are fully developed and believable. …the literary style of switching back and forth from Copper’s escape to Handles pursuit kept the adventure moving… Many of the “switches” ended in a cliffhanger that compelled the reader…on. Besides being a good read, this book takes you on a geographical and historical tour of Northern California and the Pacific Northwest.”

Click on images below to sample the flavor of the story:

Thugs in the Parlor

ODD SHOTS and IDLE PENSEES Master Link Index

July 16, 2012
Gene Kelley danced past Joe's in "Singing in the Rain." Gene Kelley danced past Joe’s in “Singing in the Rain.”

OCCASIONAL INSTALLMENTS of THISSES and THATS collected over the years: HUMOR, bits of philosophy, short-short rants, CURIOSITIES.

ODD SHOTS and IDLE PENSEES Master Link Index:
#1 – Odd Shots and Idle Pensees Nr. 1
#2 – This Man Needs a Chicken Suit!
#3 – Mother’s Advice
#4 – Say What?
#5 – Old Black Magic
#6 – The Lesser Known Earl Poppins
#7 – Tell the Truth and Run
#8 – Notorious Sex Scandal
#9 – Basic Human Behavior
#10 – Hacking Jack’s

Magic Mountains - Resurrection Machines

Magic Mountains – Poster (cards, postage, magnets) available at both the JLegry Gallery (prints, posters, cards) and Magic Mountains – Keepsake Box
at John Legry’s Store (gift boxes, t-shirts, mugs).

ODD SHOTS and IDLE PENSEES Sampler:

Ancient Greeks: To sin = “to miss the mark” – can be high or low. Sin is not living up to, or being who you are.

Dead, uncorrupted saints make good listeners.

548 Primrose Lane – Robocop’s home address before all the bad stuff went down.

“The more you drive, the less intelligent you are.” – Mechanic, Repo Man.

Note: Feeling loss of identity? Eager to believe in something, anything? You’re prime fodder for cults!

Madison 5-1190: Perry Mason’s phone number.

Warsaw can no more be Tartar than Venice can be Teutonic.  The kings lose their labor at this, and their honour.  Sooner or later, the submerged country floats to the surface and reappears.  Greece again becomes Greece, Italy again becomes Italy.  The protest of the right against the fact, persists forever.  The robbery of a people never becomes prescriptive.  These lofty swindles have no future.  You cannot pick the mark out of a nation as you can out of a handkerchief.”  – Victor Hugo, Les Miserables.

Mom’s Advice:  “Use Clorox to get rid of the DNA evidence.  Burn the barn.” – Some CSI-type crime show.

G.W. Bush’s recent efforts to rewrite his history remind me of Ramses the Great (pharaoh of the biblical exodus, if you believe).  He is called “great” because he managed to live longer than any other pharaoh and used the time to build more monuments to himself than all his predecessors and successors combined.  He had a factory that just turned out busts of his head so that he could knock the heads off other pharaohs’ statues and put his in their place.  He advertised himself shamelessly: painting and carving the story of the Battle of Kadesh on every wall and pillar in sight.  Kadesh was not even a draw and Rameses quickly signed a peace treaty with the victorious Hittite King, and went back to Egypt.  He nearly got himself killed and almost lost his army due to his egotistical rash actions as an inexperienced military leader, but he declared victory from near defeat, and covered up the fact that he came precious close to losing the farm – not just for himself, but for the whole kingdom of Egypt.  And that’s why G.W. Bush’s recent rewrite of his history reminds me of Ramses the Great, pharaoh of the biblical exodus, if you believe.  G.W. became president of the United States by the skin of his teeth and the lies on his lips: the same way Ramses II became “Great.”  – 11/04.

“On a farm with no watch dog, the fox rules the roost.” – Ancient Sumerian proverb.

First rule about dealing with the Devil: Don’t.

Law of Probable Dispersal: “Whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.”

“Separateness is a useful illusion.”  – The Big Kahuna.

Separateness is a youthful illusion.  Jl.

“God, the original Tony Soprano.” – church sign, Simpsons.

So, kick back, here are MORE ACTUAL Analogies and Metaphors Found in High School Essays:

  • The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
  • The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

“Even if you’re a born loser, you can and should be holy.”– Mother Angelica, cable TV nun

“Only fools and priests do squander life with thoughts of death.” — The Green Knight (Sean Connery), Sword of the Valiant.

Jimmy Neutron: “I didn’t know my candy would be that popular.” Candy Store Guy: “That’s what the man said who invented underwear.”

“I don’t want to go to prison; orange makes me look hippy!” Carl Wheezer, Jimmy Neutron.

“You are a smudge on history’s ledger, but you are my brother.” Agamemnon (Rufus Sewell) to Menelaus, Helen of Troy.

“The problem with the world is there’s too many stupid people, and nobody to eat them!” Carlos Mencia.

“I’ve heard it said that out of men, bishops are made!” – Cervantes, Man of Glass.

“This just isn’t the same cold, oppressive place I built with the sweat and toil of others.” Evil Emperor Zurg, Buzz Lightyear.

“I’m always up for a bit of adventure, Valerie, but you’re getting rather slapdash, aren’t you?” Art instructor to student, Midsommer Murders.

“Self-improvement is best handled by people who live in big cities.” Marge Simpson, Simpsons.

Visit the Galleries:

Fine Art: JLegry Gallery http://www.zazzle.com/jlegry

Humor, Sci-Fi, Fantasy: FatLemon Gallery http://www.zazzle.com/FatLemon

VINTAGE and COLLECTIBLES, including POLITICAL MEMORABILIA: TheAttic Gallery http://www.zazzle.com/TheAttic

A Choice, Not an Echo

CHIFFON WRINKLES TOO EASILY reprise

May 5, 2012

FUNNY STUFF:

From The Original Hollywood Squares TV Show – Peter Marshall host. Questions and answers from the days when game show responses were spontaneous and not scripted.

Q: Do female frogs croak?  A: Paul Lynde: If you hold their little heads under water long enough.

Q: If you’re going to make a parachute jump, you should be at least how high?  A: Charley Weaver: Three days of steady drinking should do it.

Q: True or false…a pea can last as long as 5,000 years.  A: George Gobel: Boy it sure seems that way sometimes.

Q: You’ve been having trouble going to sleep. Are you a man or a woman?  A: Don Knotts: That’s what’s been keeping me awake.

Q: According to Cosmo, if you meet a stranger at a party and you think he’s really attractive, is it okay to come out directly and ask him if he’s married?  A: Rose Marie: No, wait until morning.

Q: Which of your five senses tends to diminish, as you get older?  A: Charley Weaver: My sense of decency.

Q: In Hawaiian, does it take more than three words to say, “I love you”?  A: Vincent Price: No, you can say it with a pineapple and a twenty.

Q: What are “Do It”, “I Can Help” and “Can’t Get Enough”?  A: George Gobel: I don’t know but it’s coming from the next apartment.

Q: As you grow older, do you tend to gesture more or less with your hands while you are talking?  A: Rose Marie: You ask me one more growing older question, Peter, and I’ll give you a gesture you’ll never forget!

Q: Paul, why do Hell’s Angels wear leather?  A: Paul Lynde: Because chiffon wrinkles too easily

Q: Charley, you’ve just decided to grow strawberries. Are you going to get any during your first year?  A: Charley Weaver: Of course not, Peter. I’m too busy growing strawberries!

Q: In bowling, what’s a perfect score?  A: Rose Marie: Ralph, the pin boy.

Q: It is considered in bad taste to discuss two subjects at nudist camps.  One is politics. What is the other? A: Paul Lynde: Tape measures.

Q: During a tornado, are you safer in the bedroom or in the closet?  A: Rose Marie: Unfortunately, Peter, I’m always safe in the bedroom.

Q: Can boys join the Camp Fire Girls?  A: Marty Allen: Only after lights out.

Q: When you pat a dog on its head he will usually wag his tail. What will a goose do? A: Paul Lynde: Make him bark.

Q: If you were pregnant for two years, what would you give birth to?  A: Paul Lynde: Whatever it is, it would never be afraid of the dark.

Q: According to Ann Landers, is there anything wrong with getting into the habit of kissing a lot of people?  A: Charley Weaver: It got me out of the army!

Q: While visiting China, your tour guide starts shouting “Poo! Poo! Poo!” what does that mean?  A: George Goebel: Cattle crossing.

Q: It is the most abused and neglected part of your body – what is it?  A: Paul Lynde: Mine may be abused but it certainly isn’t neglected!

Q: Back in the old days, when Great Grandpa put horseradish on his head, what was he trying to do?  A: George Gobel: Get it in his mouth.

Q: Who stays pregnant for a longer period of time, your wife or your elephant?  A: Paul Lynde: Who told you about my elephant?

Q: When a couple has a baby, who is responsible for its sex?  A: Charley Weaver: I’ll lend him the car. The rest is up to him.

Q: James Stewart did it over 20 years ago, when he was 41 years old. Now he says it was “one of the best things I ever did.” What was it?  A: Marty Allen: Rhonda Fleming.

Q: Jackie Gleason recently revealed that he firmly believes in them and has actually seen them on at least two occasions. What are they? A: Charley Weaver: His feet.

RELATED, but maybe not so funny:

Hillary Clinton was mocked for correctly stating that there is a “vast rightwing conspiracy in America.”  We keep dancing all around the edges, but I think we have to take this thing head-on. READ MORE: ; ;

Uncle Sam Lost

ABOUT WAR:

Impression of Alexander the Great addressing his men when they refused to go on:

“Men, I don’t know why the gods set us on this great course, and what may be incomprehensible to me, must be doubly so for you.  And that’s why we have to go on, land after land, obstacle after obstacle, killing everyone who stands in our way, until the gods finally reveal their very great purpose to us.”

His men thought:

1:  Here we have one more useless heroic gesture from the parapet.

2:  It’s done to boost confidence/morale: cast admiring glances, swell with pride, rush/thrill with excitement, ache for the bittersweet glory of battle.

3.  Battle sucks, he’s a putz; and I hope they shoot his ass off before they get mine.

For some reason, his guys bought it; or maybe it was the execution of all the chief dissenters that encouraged the survivors’ understanding and will to carry on.

The troops who march off to war singing generally return silently if they return at all.  There is no sport in war, no winners, everybody loses, and the end result is disaster for some, and lifetime wounds for the rest – invisible, or not, we’re all disabled, dehumanized, and diminished by it, even non-combatants.  Even so, there are always those who yearn for Armageddon, who work for and revel in it, a giant I-told-you-so and a thumb in the eye for all the rest of us who must be made to suffer for ignoring them, I suppose.

The foolish gestures of war; the real heroism clichéd and trite, so prosaic, so real, is desperate stuff – what we console ourselves with as we face or lie dying, contemplate the dead, justify the holocaust. Innocence, forever startled. There is no glory, no promise, and no hope in warfare. Just blood. READ MORE: ; ALEXANDER THE GREAT

“Where Books Are Burned, In The End People Will Burn.”Heinrich Heine

Due to the circus, led by the hateful loonies of Dove Outreach, Dr. Muqtedar Khan counsels fellow-Muslims, if they see Qurans burning, to “recognize this provocation for what it is,” to “let Terry Jones enjoy the monopoly on barbarity,” to heed the Quran: “Forgive them and overlook their misdeeds, for Allah loves those who are kind.” The Nazis, he suggests, taught us all we need to know.

“Books are repositories of histories, of identities, of values. They are the soul of civilization. A society must abandon basic decencies to burn books as a celebratory act. Once it starts burning the souls of civilization, human souls will not be left behind.”

LIFE’S SWEET MYSTERY: Winding Down.

The overall point of the exploration – from my perspective – is to know.  I’ve found that keeping the goal simple is best.  Persons benefiting from robberies, rapes and murders do not care about patterns or predictable outcomes.  As long as they profit in some wise, their behavior goes unchecked.  The rest of us generally seem to suffer in silence until the pain becomes too great.  Cassandra predicted the fall of Troy, while the other Trojans gossiped about Paris and Helen’s big “celebrity sex scandal.”  Thus,

Taoists advise, Go with the flow.

Buddha says, Go forth in joyful participation in the sorrows of the world.

Joseph Campbell counsels, Follow your bliss.

Jacques Cousteau confesses, “I hope for the best, although I can’t say why.”

Gandhi directs, “Act. Without action there will be no result. You may not see it in your lifetime, but without the action there will be no result at all.”

FatLemon encourages, “Keep on keepin’ on, and don’t forget to salute the Man in the Moon.”

Our blessing and our curse is that we are able to see so much, and are still so nearly blind.

Loyd Blankfein, CEO Goldman Sachs. Just say, “Yes!”

YOUR ENEMIES ARE UP reprise

April 19, 2012

STALLING FOR TIME:

The world doesn’t have any more time to fool around with non-solutions to climate change.  Big oil and big coal wish to sacrifice all of us to their inconsequential wallets.  If they are not deliberately working against all of creation, it is hard to see what it is that they do wish to accomplish.  Their advocacy of fossil fuels has nothing to do with sense, only with greed, and an evident desire for self-destruction.  Unfortunately they are willing to include all of us in their apocalyptic insanity.  Resist these spoilers and fools.  Regulate carbon completely and immediately.  There is literally no time to waste.

We will lose our democracy and freedom if we do not defeat the corporatist assault on America.  These people are traitors and should be eligible for arrest and detention without habeas corpus.  See how they like it.

It is my sense that we must seize the reins and instruments of control and defeat the corporatist assault on our republic.  Or, we shall lose it.  They are so heavily and widely entrenched that their generational war against freedom and the middleclass is easily discoverable.  No conspiracy theories necessary.  This is a war – the rich plutocrats against everybody else – and we can’t let up on them for a minute.

“I am of opinion, upon the whole, that the manufacturing aristocracy which is growing under our eyes, is one of the harshest which ever existed in the world…  …Friends of democracy should keep their eyes anxiously fixed in this direction; for if ever a permanent inequality of conditions and aristocracy again penetrate into the world, it may be predicted that this is the channel by which they will enter.” – Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1840.

Amend U.S. Constitution to declare that corporations are not persons and do not have the rights of human beings. We Move to Amend.

We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to:

  • Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
  • Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our votes and participation count.
  • Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate “preemption” actions by global, national, and state governments.

Signed by 

Signed by 378,475 and counting . . . CONTACT: http://www.movetoamend.org/   CHECK THIS OUT: Loads of useful information and contact links.

Thomas Paine, American patriot and author warned us to watch, guide, and stop the powerful elite if we want humanity in general to succeed.  Paine proposed that any bill that enriches a corporation or grants a corporate charter should be enacted in one session of the legislature, and confirmed in a second, AFTER A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE, to stop corporate raids on the public treasuryREAD MORE: FreeSpeechforPeople.org to learn more and get involved!

http://www.alternet.org/blogs/rights/145361/a_constitutional_amendment_to_wrench_control_away_from_the_corporations/

https://johnlegry.wordpress.com/2009/07/04/independence-day-2009/

“Play it again, Sam!”

American financial crisis, periodically crippling bank failures, is an embedded scam in the United States. Historically the Boom and Bust cycle is well known. It persists because of lack of regulation, enforcement and punishment. The criminal is joined to the businessman in a climate of expediency and greed. The Greed creates, informs and directs the bubbles that always collapse, producing yet another profit opportunity for the exploiters. America would not experience Boom and Bust if it had honest and adequate regulation and independent enforcement powers with teeth. Despite the old saw, business has repeatedly shown that it CANNOT “police itself.” Contrary to belief monopolistic corporations do NOT have the consumer’s best interest at heart.

Posters at:  RAGTIME ENTERTAINMENT at TheAttic Gallery

True Progressives

Eugene Victor Debs (1855 – 1926) was an American union leader, one of the founding members of the International Labor Union and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), as well as candidate for President of the United States as a member of the Social Democratic Party in 1900. Later he was a presidential candidate as a member of the Socialist Party of America in 1904, 1908, 1912, and 1920. Debs helped motivate political opposition to corporations. He is honored for his compassion. “Years ago,” he said, “I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” He fought vigorously for the labor movement, but as he told an audience in Utah in 1910: “I am not a Labor Leader; I do not want you to follow me or anyone else; if you are looking for a Moses to lead you out of this capitalist wilderness, you will stay right where you are. I would not lead you into the promised land if I could, because if I led you in, some one else would lead you out. You must use your heads as well as your hands, and get yourself out of your present condition.” His running mate was Emil Seidel, the mayor of Milwaukee from 1910 to 1912, the first Socialist mayor of a major city in the United States. Reproduction of public domain campaign poster. 

We the People need each other.  GET INVOLVED:  MOVEON.ORG

ODD SHOTS and IDLE PENSEES #4

April 6, 2012
Paul Ryan – The Monarchists Are Loose

SAY WHAT?

“On a farm with no watch dog, the fox rules the roost.” – Ancient Sumerian proverb.

First rule about dealing with the Devil: Don’t.

Law of Probable Dispersal: “Whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.”

Muench’s Law: “Nothing improves an innovation like lack of controls.”

The Thing: “He came in, flew around the room, and right out through the wall.”  Mr. Fantastic: “I suspected as much.” – Fantastic Four.

“If this is love, how come I can’t get your entire head into my mouth?” – Sharkey, Eek the Cat.

I’m not really a neat, interesting, cool, handsome, intelligent, and friendly guy, but I play one on T.V.!

“I think if I saw a dog I knew from the old days, I’d put my arms around his neck, and just tell him everything.  It would really ease my soul.” – Mark Twain.

HOT OFF THE PRESSES:

“It’s ironic here in Hollywood where we make so much fiction, we haven’t needed it today, because we’ve had so much reality.” – ABC Newswoman, Los Angeles, 1/17/94.

“East is east, and west is west, but really, the east is west of here.” – NPR 2-03.

Q: (Today Show) When will action occur? A: (Leon Panetta) Hopefully right before the break, midway, sometime in July.

“Even if you’re a born loser, you can and should be holy.” – Mother Angelica, Cable T.V. Nun.

“Why so many questions? Can’t we just have a little blind faith around here?” – exasperated Sunday School teacher, The Simpsons.

A state legislator accused of sexual harassment apologized:  “I apologize for anything inappropriate I said, but I don’t apologize for what she said I said, because I didn’t say what she said I said.” – Channel 2, Portland, Oregon, 5-7-93.

News item: “Scientists promise that people who die by the age of 50 will be cut in half.”  Maybe they’re using tinier coffins?

“Let me give you a couple of straws of hope in the wind.” — James Q. Wilson, criminologist, MacNeil/Lehrer, 8-24-94

“They reiterate over and over again and again and again.” — Congressperson Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Miami (R), McNeil/Lehrer, 8-26-94

“Mark Pfizer, CEO of Pfizer Natural Health Supplements, died today at age 44 of natural causes.”CNN report, 5/00.

 “RIGHTEOUS” SWORD?

“Some Christians pretend that Christianity was not established by the sword; but of what period of time do they speak?  It was impossible that twelve men could begin with the sword; they had not the power; but no sooner were the professors of Christianity sufficiently powerful to employ the sword, than they did so, and the stake and fagot, too; and Mahomet could not do it sooner.  By the same spirit that Peter cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant (if the story be true), he would have cut off his head, and the head of his master, had he been able.  Besides this, Christianity grounds itself originally on the Bible, and the Bible was established altogether by the sword, and that in the worst use of it – not to terrify, but to extirpate.  The Jews made no converts; they butchered all.  The Bible is the sire of the Testament, and both are called the word of God.  The Christians read both books; the ministers preach from both books; and this thing called Christianity is made up of both.  It is then false to say that Christianity was not established by the sword.” – Thomas Paine, Age of Reason

 LIBERALS and CONSERVATIVES:

MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellow,    University of Wisconsin law professor Joel Rogers, identified as one of 100 Americans most likely to affect U.S. politics and culture in the 21st century, writes, “Public opinion in the United States is conventionally mapped on a liberal-conservative axis understood to run from government do-gooders without values on one end to free marketeering rich people without hearts at the other end. Most people in America place themselves in the middle.  They don’t find either end particularly attractive.  Today, the fight isn’t really between liberals and conservatives but between the workers/consumers/citizens who actually want the economy to reflect our values and those who want to keep things the way they are with a few irresponsible corporations running the country for their own benefit. In that fight we can win.  It’s our country.  Let’s run it for the people.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Rogers

 PAY FREAKIN’ ATTENTION, G’DAMMIT!

I have always had this desire to reach out and grab a person and shake the living bejazzus out of him or her, and yell, “What the hell’s the matter with ya, fer chris’sakes?  Are you nuts?  Wake up, for gawd’s sake!  Wake up, dammit!”

Just like that, with all the histrionic emphasis and shouting.

When I have their attention, and they’re scared witless, I will say, “Sorry to bother you.  I got a little excited.”  And walk away.

 HISTORY’S WITNESSES:

We are witnesses and victims of the greatest robbery in the history of the world – although it galls me to give such credit to the responsible scoundrels.  George W. Bush and his cronies looted the nation, corrupted our laws, and ruined our military and police forces to accomplish their seamless thus far unpunished theft.  While George W Bush postured in the spotlight, prancing like a moronic jester, his minions and handlers cleaned out the cash drawers, stripped the vaults, and dug up or tore out everything of value in the land.  They undoubtedly even took the light bulbs and the toilet paper with them when they fled the Whitehouse.  The world hasn’t seen a plague of locusts, or an Attila the Hun of greater proportion.  They prepared a massively destructive diversion – attack Iraq? – to facilitate and cover up their crimes and escape.  Their crimes surpassed routine Middle Eastern and Biblical disaster events to become a full-fledged global catastrophe.

Did you ever notice that George W. Bush looks a lot like Ted Bundy?

Finley Peter Dunne’s  nationally syndicated Mr. Dooley sketches (1898) included this advice from the pugnacious Irish bartender: “If somebody wants to give you rights, don’t take ’em, there’s probably something wrong with ’em. Rights are meant to be taken, not given.” Anyone up for a full-fledged reform movement?

 STOPPING RAIDS ON THE PUBLIC TREASURY:

Thomas Paine, American Revolutionary War author-patriot, warned us to watch, guide, and stop the powerful elite if we want humanity in general to succeed.  He proposed that any bill that enriches a corporation or grants a corporate charter should be enacted in one session of the legislature, and confirmed in a second, after a vote of the people, to stop corporate raids on the public treasury.

Tom Paine, author-patriot, 1737-1809

OLDER, BUT STILL VER-RY INTER-RESTING:

COULD DICK CHENEY GO TO PRISON? By Ray McGovern, Consortium News.  Cheney seems to fear that if our system of justice works, he could be in for some serious, uncommuted jail time.

http://www.alternet.org/action/141371/could_dick_cheney_go_to_prison/

THE BANK LOBBY’S INSANE ASSAULT ON CONSUMER PROTECTION by Zach Carter, AlterNet.  Even after causing millions of foreclosures and the worst recession since the 1930s, the bank lobby is still trying to screw us.

http://www.alternet.org/workplace/141383/the_bank_lobby%27s_insane_assault_on_consumer_protection/

THE SCANDAL CONTINUES: THE BILLIONS IN GOVT. CASH BEHIND GOLDMAN’S “PROFITS” – by Matt Taibbi, True/Slant.  That Goldman Sachs is getting away with robbery is bad enough – that they’re getting praised for being so smart is damn near intolerable.

http://www.alternet.org/workplace/141417/the_scandal_continues%3A_the_billions_in_govt._cash_behind_goldman%27s_%22profits%22/

LOOK OUT, ARE YOU ABOUT TO JOIN THE WHITE UNDERCLASS? By Joe Bageant, JoeBageant.com.  “We’re starting to hear a little discussion about the white underclass… Mainly because so many middle class folks are terrified of falling into it.”

http://www.alternet.org/workplace/141405/look_out%2C_are_you_about_to_join_the_white_underclass/

LAST WORDS: Richard Halasz

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