A slathering of the tribes….


“Top of the morning to ya!” “…and the rest of the day to you!”  Cheerful buggers, those Irish…..but what can you expect of folks who drink tea in the morning instead of coffee? (which makes me wonder….do Irish hackers drink caffeinated tea?). Let’s be off into the realm of reason, or a reasonable facsimile thereof…..

“All cruelty springs from weakness.’ — Seneca

Little needs to be said regarding this quote; it is pretty well complete just as it is, and far be it from me to take away from that. I will remind y’all though, it IS a good thing to remember once in awhile, as it helps explain a lot of the stuff that we see on the campaign trail coming out of the mouths of the ‘candidates’…..

“Although war is cruel and brutal, it is also dangerous and stupid.”  — Yakko Warner

Yakko, for the uninitiated, is a very odd creature. He resembles Felix the Cat physically, with some minor differences. They have the same wildly insane look about the eyes, though. His voice, when he troubles to use his own, sounds kind of like Ringo Starr pretending to be high on life.

With his sister Dot, and brother (blank mind space), he performs cartoon mayhem on Saturdays on the Warner Bros. Cartoon show. The writers, as with many new cartoons, write their dialog with adults in mind, often with broad caricature or obscure innuendo, and Yakko seems to get most of the Zinger lines, that poke fun at society, politics, or whatever. I really like the line above, as it typifies the kind of gentle propaganda that gets shoved in alongside the other cartoon nonsense, teaching them to question reality and authority. THAT is a good thing……

“What is wrong with us?” “It is in the air we breathe. The things we do. The things we say. Our books.  Our papers. Our theater. Our movies. Our radio and television. The way we behave. The interests we have. The values we fix.” “We are, on the average, rich beyond the dreams of kings of old. Yet something is not there that should be — something we once had.” — Louis Seltzer, Cleveland Press editor, 1952.

There is a lot of this kind of attitude going around, both in newsprint and online. Someone with half a coherent thought begins or ends their treatise with a lament about “the good old days”. I always feel as if I should take them aside and chastise them thoroughly for such nonsensical talk, but they never listen, and I’m tired of hiring lawyers to keep from spending jail time for clocking some fool. What is it about regular people that makes it impossible for them to accept reality just the way it is, and not always wish for better times?

Okay, sure, maybe society was simpler, and easier to deal with back in the g.o.d.’s, but that is somewhat overbalanced by having to walk through the snow to another building to use the commode. And sure, we were better people then, right? Wrong…people throughout history have always pretty much been a__holes, but back then there wasn’t a world-wide network of news outlets reporting every evil deed they can find, because that’s what people want to read about (or so they tell us).

There were no ‘good old days’. They’ve always been exactly the same as they are today. But we humans think there has to be something missing, or something wrong with today, because we are not self-aware, or able to confront reality without the protection of their rose-colored glasses. This lack of courage regarding the nature of reality is one of several insidious little characteristics of the human species that eventually will take us to the end of the road we are on, to extinction. All because we are unwilling to accept what is, without wishing it was not…..well, that and a lot of avarice…..

Here in my heart, I am Helen;
I’m Aspasia and Hero, at least.
I’m Judith, and Jael, and Madame de Stael;
I’m Salome, moon of the East.

Here in my soul I am Sappho;
Lady Hamilton am I, as well.
In me Recamier vies with Kitty O’Shea,
With Dido, and Eve, and poor Nell.

I’m all of the glamorous ladies
At whose beckoning history shook.
But you are a man, and see only my pan,
So I stay at home with a book.
— Dorothy Parker

Dear Dorothy….she had such a fine mind, but was never able to get past the mental chains wrapped upon her by a society that had no chance of understanding her. She spent a great portion of her life, it seems to me, using her mental skills to fight in the trenches of the War between the Sexes. Her wit, such as demonstrated above, was sharp, and she wielded it with great style and panache.

But I can’t help feeling that the world would have seen a much deeper, more productive output from her pen if she had been able to set aside her resentment at how women were treated during the early 20th century. As it is, her acerbic wit was most likely an instrumental factor in the suffrage movement, encouraging women to think for themselves, and to push back against the repressive mores of the time. Whether Ms. Parker would have been happier living today is too hard to tell…..we can just be thankful for what she did leave as her legacy.

Facts are not truths; they are not conclusions; they are not even premises.  The truth depends on, and is only arrived at by a legitimate deduction from all the facts which are truly material.

This little truism is more important than it seems, as it highlights a part of the reasoning process that is often left out by those whose agenda is not limited to scientific truth. It appears to me that every single politician alive uses the first half of this idea, and leaves out the second part, or using it only to puff up some otherwise irrelevant fact, making it seem more important than it is.

Here’s a tip: next speech you listen to from one of the candidates, check to see if their facts, when put together, actually supports or justifies the rest of their assertion. I’m betting, (and I’ll bet big…) that you will find that the facts don’t support their ideas, or their facts aren’t facts, but assumptions or erroneous interpretations of actual facts. But these pseudo-factual assertions they make sound so real! And guess what? They are….almost….real. But, almost doesn’t count in communication……nothing counts except the truth…..

Enough folderol for one morning. It’s a Monday, and my Judeo-Christian upbringing is pushing at me to be productive. You  know, the old “idle hands are the Devil’s workshop” and similar nonsense. My usual reaction to this ancient tape that runs through my head is to rebel, and spend the day doing absolutely nothing. Hmmm….. that actually sounds good. I think I’ll do that…..meanwhile, y’all take care out there….


Sometimes I sits and thinks,
and sometimes
I just sits.




The Allure of Fuddy Duddy……

As life passes,
dressed in illusions of grace,
we sit upon our thrones of offal,
ignoring the smell in favor of delusion,
twisted souls blighted by ignorance, laughing,
oblivious to impending doom, until the end………

Perhaps it isn’t great poetry, but it works for me…..up early today, a natural result of going to bed early, & thought I’d try my hand at a line or two….no rhyming going on, but not a bad data compression ratio. Who knows, maybe one day all I learned sophomore year of high school about iambic pentameter will come back to me, and I’ll become a famous poet. Stranger things have happened, for sure….meantime, lets discuss some heavy s__t…..

“Yes, evil comes in many forms, whether it be a man-eating cow or Joseph Stalin, but you can’t let the package hide the pudding! Evil is just plain bad! You don’t cotton to it. You gotta smack it in the nose with the rolled-up newspaper of goodness! Bad dog. Bad dog.” — The Tick

Throughout history, literature, and the people who create it, have been the gadflies of society. Teaching morals and customs through humorous stories and fables goes back to the time even before the Greeks began producing theater, bringing us stories and plays that were both humorous and dramatic, passing on to later generations the public mindset that was prevalent at the time. Prior to theaters and formalized acting out of plays, minstrels and bards, often nomadic, were responsible for the passing on of knowledge to the next generation, teaching nursery rhymes to children, and singing the news to the adults.

     In the 19th century, the advancement in technology for the writing down of history, law, culture, etc. had gotten to the point that books could be produced fairly cheaply. Newspapers were even cheaper, and were able to carry the news from far away even more efficiently. It was about this era when political cartoons made their way into the consciousness of society at large, and cartoons became one more very powerful method for transmitting vitally important information to large numbers of people all at once. This has had some good effects, and some not so good…..

The primary effect, of course, is the ability of cartoon media to spread information to large numbers of people. People have learned to use the information presented there since childhood, from reading comics in the newspaper to watching Saturday morning cartoons all their lives, and have become accustomed to processing the information given in that format with no difficulty. In fact, I have observed that people will often trust a cartoon figure more than a live one, having a greater degree of confidence that they will get a straight answer from the cartoon, while the live person may lie. But the trust that people feel for cartoons carries over as well, and a great deal of information is now given using a “talking head” format. This format is what you see almost everywhere on TV, where a person’s head and shoulders are shown as they deliver some piece of news, or concept, or documentary; it has been refined over the years until today, we very seldom even think about it.

And that is the bad effect…..people have come to trust the talking heads, to believe that what they tell us is the truth, when in fact, probably more than 50% of what you see presented is a lie, always presented in such a fashion as to have us believe it is true, when it is not. Everything you see on TV, especially commercials, is intended to make you think a certain way, to believe certain things are true. There is even a name for the process, called putting the ‘spin’ on truth, meaning to twist and turn the truth into such a shape that it looks true, but is not. This misplaced trust is one of Evil’s most powerful tools, for it gives those who would do us harm a clear path into the control center of public consciousness, where they can adjust belief at their whim. It allows the PTB (Powers That Be) to control what the public hears, and how they hear it. “True power is control of the routes of perception.” — gigoid.

What is the answer to fighting this usurpation of the truth by our beloved ruling class? It lies in the same information media in which it is secured, with a small twist to the other direction. Parody and caricature, when applied by an artist of wit and style, can prick the balloon of lies we are given, and watch them shrivel, their demise hastened by our laughter. The Tick, whose philosophy is summarized above, is a good example of how the literati in society may fight back against the forces of darkness. Sheathed in apparent idiocy, the Tick blunders through the universe righting wrongs, because his heart is pure, and his writers are genius. Fortunately, though the percentage of humanity that sees the truth and brings it to light is small indeed, it has the advantage of the use of the same tool used by those whose self-interest is of primary importance. Used properly, we can laugh those nasty suckers right out of power……

When I’m not thank’d at all, I’m thank’d enough;
I’ve done my duty, and I’ve done no more.
— Henry Fielding (1707-1754)
— Tom Thumb the Great, Act i, Sc. 3

Duty is a word whose meaning has been somewhat obscured in this last century. Before about 1950 or 60, people in this country understood the word, and it’s true meaning. That understanding is what drove the millions of men who volunteered to go to war in WWII and Korea. These men assumed their duty to protect their home and families, and had no expectation of any reward beyond staying alive (the possibility of death is trivial to any man whose life is based on honor). Those men CHOSE to go to war; no threat was needed to obtain recruits. An army of volunteers is much more powerful and dangerous than one comprised of conscripts, a point proven by the war’s outcome.

But somewhere along the line, the concept of duty got perverted, and people apparently came to accept that government had the right to determine what our duty is, without consultation or consent from us. Duty is defined in most dictionaries as “moral obligation”, and as such is an obligation we must decide for ourselves whether or not to assume. No government is either responsible for, nor entitled to dictate, my morals, or anyone else’s.

     Morals are based on our personal beliefs, and as such is not subject to governmental authority. Hell, I don’t even give a religion that power; my morals are mine, and are not the business of anyone else, unless I choose to share them. You can rest assured, I will never allow any government, or church, or any other person to determine my duty for me. Only I make that choice, and any who would try to take that decision away from me should beware…..I get testy…..

“Noise proves nothing.  Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid.” — Mark Twain

I included this one as a light-hearted attempt at describing the current political scene here in the good ol’ USA, After a few moments though, what I thought about it looked as if it would be good for a couple thousand words all by itself, and though I got an early start on the day, that may be a bit much. So, we’ll just let it speak for itself, and I will merely point out the tendency of Ms. Bachmann, Mr. Cain, Mr. Perry, Mr. Hunt, Mr. Romney, et al, to insist on giving us a daily report on how many asteroids they have laid in the past week…..

On that note, I will bid thee adieu. I hope my verbosity didn’t put anyone off, but hey, if you think it’s too much, just let me know, ‘kay? In the meantime, y’all take care out there……

Sometimes I sits and thinks,
and sometimes
I just sits.




Clandestine morality….

When I was young I held the ideals of the young; I was sure I would make my mark on the world, to make it a better place. And like all who hold those lofty, cherished ideals, the reality of living has left them tarnished and weary, weakened by repeated beatings by the thugs of time.  Very few of my high expectations have been left intact, and basic requirements for survival dictated that ideals be sacrificed on the altar of mundane practicality.

There used to be a cartoon called “Pinky and the Brain”, about a self-proclaimed genius mouse and his idiot giant mouse friend, Pinky. The premise of the show was the Brain’s obsession with “taking over the world!”, and each episode would find him with a new Rube Goldberg plan or construction that would presumably start his campaign of world domination. But the device or plan never worked quite right, and he’d end up having to be rescued again by Pinky, who would proceed to ask Brain a very Zen-like question that identified the fatal mistake that defeated the Brain. He (the Brain) would give his Homer-like “Doh! I can’t believe I missed that!” expression, and then twist around the answer into his next brilliant plan to become the world’s dictator.

This reminiscence does have a point, that point being I enjoyed the Brain’s weekly descent into foolishness, and could relate very well to his obsession, as I had the same hobby for a short while. During my college years, when my idealism was at its peak, I actually wrote down three or four scenarios for world domination, and semi-seriously considered putting one of them into action. Fortunately for the world, I became distracted from my purpose by, yes, you guessed it, a woman. I say fortunately because I can be certain of only one thing about my plans; they might have worked. Had I decided to bend my efforts toward that end, current reality would certainly be different. Whether to say it would be better would, naturally, have to be determined by value judgments I’m not prepared to make now. It would have been better for me, but as for other folks, well, they might not fully agree……

So, we can all be glad that love, or at least lust, turned my path from plans of world domination toward more realizable goals like getting intimate with members of the opposite sex. SIGH, I do miss the grandiosity of that particular delusional dream, but I suppose we must admit that it was all for the best. Of course, since I didn’t take over the world, we now have to put up with the idiots who manipulate their way into public office. At least I was motivated by altruism, not avarice……Enjoy!…..

“As great scientists have said and as all children know, it is above all by the imagination that we achieve perception, and compassion, and hope.”
— Ursula K. LeGuin

“He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior.” — Confucius

And of course, No soap, radio.

The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.

The bustle in a house
The morning after death
Is solemnest of industries
Enacted upon earth,
The sweeping up the heart,
And putting love away
We shall not want to use again
Until eternity.
— Emily Dickinson

“Cursed is he that does not know when to shut his mind. An open mind is all very well in its way, but it ought not to be so open that there is no keeping anything in or out of it. It should be capable of shutting its doors sometimes, or may be found a little draughty.” — Samuel Butler

A finer collection of food for thought is not available in today’s market at any cost, much less for free…..y’all take care out there…..

Sometimes I sits and thinks,
and sometimes
I just sits.