Monday, October 20, 2014

Rules to Live By, Part 2

The first half of my list of rules to live by, published last week, was a big hit with everyone - numerous comments indicated that you were waiting with bated breath for the second half of the list. Wait no more, Dear Readers ... here it is!

Everybody is somebody else's weirdo. I guess that would be me, eh?

Never argue with idiots. They drag you down to their level then beat you with experience. This is why I don't like to get into discussions with political and religious zealots.

I have the power to channel my imagination into ever-soaring levels of suspicion and paranoia. Consider the omnipresent bumper sticker: "I'm the NRA, and I vote!" 'Nuff said

The complete lack of evidence is the surest sign that the conspiracy is working. Yes! Yes, it is!

A closed mouth gathers no feet. Corollary: a closed mouth is extraordinarily rare among the nattering classes.

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. It's the combination of malice and stupidity that you have to worry about.

Anything is possible if you don't know what you're talking about. Such as getting a job as a shouting head on Faux News.

It's easier to ask forgiveness than gain permission. It's how we get things done!

It's easier to fix the blame than to fix the problem. See: Congress

When all's said and done, a lot more is said than done. See: Congress. 

For any given large, complex, hard-to-understand, expensive problem, there exists at least one short, simple, easy, cheap answer. It is wrong. And someone on Faux News will be demanding that the president be impeached because he's not doing it.

Chaos, panic, and disorder - my work here is done! Time for another election.

Nothing is impossible for the person who doesn't have to do it himself. Oh, so true.

If everything is going exactly according to plan, something somewhere is going catastrophically wrong. Been there, experienced that.

Fast - cheap - good: you can have any two. This is the Prime Directive of major acquisition programs.

To estimate a plan, work out how long it would take one person to do it then multiply that by the number of people on the project. Corollary: it takes one woman nine months to have a baby, no matter how many men you put on the job.

Warning: dates in the calendar are closer than you think. And they move more quickly than you can imagine.

That's the end of the list for now. Add your contributions in the comments ... there's room for a lot more!

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Poetry Sunday

Halloween is coming up fast, and so today and next Sunday we'll feature poems that celebrate the scary season. Here's the first one ...

A Ghost Story
by Ted Kooser

Her life was plain, her death
a common death—a girl
sewn into the watery shroud
of pneumonia. She was only
another Mary, there
in Illinois, and it was only
another April—the buds
of the honeysuckle folded
in prayer. Forgotten eyes,
forgotten smile, the cowlick
in her hair forgotten;
everything gone. Yet for
seventy years her grave
gave off the scent of roses.

Bwa, ha, HAAAAAAAA!!!

Have a good day, and enjoy the rest of your weekend. Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of "Rules to Live By." You know you want to.

More thoughts then.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cartoon Saturday

Halfway through October. Ever seen a month drag its heels so much?

The presence of the ebola virus in the United States continues to drive hysterical reactions among the population, and give Faux News something else to blame on the administration; in Florida, builders accidentally erected a $680,000 vacation home on the wrong lot; Jefferson County (Missouri) Recorder of Deeds Debbie Dunnegan called President Barack Obama "our domestic enemy" and suggested that the Constitution would give the US military the authority to oust him in a coup d'├ętat; best-selling author John Gresham backtracked and apologized after he expressed his belief that some people who view child pornography online are receiving punishments that don't match the scale of the crime; and Mark Driscoll, pastor of the Mars Hill megachurch, was forced to resign because of "arrogance, responding to conflict with a quick temper and harsh speech, and leading the staff and elders in a domineering manner."

Ah, yes ... plenty of good news out there, eh? Luckily for you, ol' Bilbo is standing by with your weekly mental IV of cartoons to help you recover ... this week featuring the most American of heroes - cowboys.

Perhaps the harmonica might have been a better choice ...

Around the campfire, too ...

Mother knows best, even for cowboys ...

Tough decision, but ...

Not a bad way to accessorize the horse, eh? ...

The 2014 version of The Wizard of Oz ...

Yes, I'll bet you would ...

I still think I'd rather get my paper cuts the old-fashioned way ...

Now, THIS is a brilliant invention ...

And finally, this one's no bull ...

And there you have it for our third Cartoon Saturday of this seemingly never-ending month. We're less than two weeks away from Halloween, which is a frightening thought ... especially when you consider that means we're less than 100 days away from Christmas. Oy.

It's going to be a nice, if chilly fall weekend here in NoVa, good for those last lawn care chores of autumn. Agnes and I will be going to the Anniversary Party tonight at Dance Studio Lioudmila, and tomorrow one of her friends will be coming over to collaborate on quilting projects. On the whole, it ought to be a good weekend. I can surely use it.

Have a good day and a great weekend. Come back tomorrow for Poetry Sunday ... the first of two with a Halloween theme.

More thoughts then.


Friday, October 17, 2014

The Second Ass Clown of the Month Award for October, 2014

It's a good thing there are three Fridays this month, because the amazingly well-qualified nominees for our quasi-prestigious award are stacking up fast.

At a time when our major political parties battle with each other to reach new depths of hypocrisy rather than working together to solve the nation's problems, this week's award-winner and her political supporters have achieved a level of straight-faced hypocrisy that makes even the most cynical of observers shake their heads in awe. The award for this period goes to:

Ms Rutledge, the Republican candidate for attorney general in Arkansas, has been discovered to have been registered to vote in multiple states in addition to Arkansas, and even voted by absentee ballot in Arkansas’ general election in November of 2008 – after she had registered to vote in Washington D.C. in July of the same year.

It's no wonder that the GOP is so hysterical about vote fraud ... after all, they seem to have practical experience with it.

For her marvelous display of political hypocrisy, Leslie Rutledge is named as our second Ass Clown for the month of October.

Have a good day. And you'd better have a photo ID ready if you expect to have it.

More thoughts tomorrow.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Three Tickets to Pittsburgh

It's an old joke, but it has something to offend almost everyone ...

Three elderly priests returning from a retreat in the mountains of North Carolina were in a small rural railroad station on their way home to Pittsburgh.

Behind the ticket counter was a very sexy, shapely, well-endowed woman wearing a very tight, skimpy halter top. She made the three priests very nervous, so they drew straws to determine who would get the tickets.

The first priest approached the window. “Young lady,” he said, “I would like three pickets to Titsburg.” He completely lost his composure and fled.

The second priest went up to the window. “Young lady,” he said, “I would like three tickets to Pittsburgh, and I would like the change in nipples and dimes.” He flushed bright red and slunk away from the window.

“Morons!”, the third priest muttered. He stepped up to the window. “Young lady,” he said, “I would like three tickets to Pittsburgh, and I would like the change in nickels and dimes. And, if you insist on dressing like that, when you get to the Pearly Gates, St. Finger’s going to shake his Peter at you!”

They took the bus.

Have a good day. Come back tomorrow to meet our second Ass Clown of the Month for October.

More thoughts then.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rules to Live By

There's a lot of wisdom out there on the Internet, if you just know where to look. Hint ... none of it is on any website sponsored by any politician, PAC, or Super PAC. There's a huge collection of pearls of wisdom on a website designed for military planners, from which I have selected these (with my commentary, of course) ...

Sometimes too much to drink is not enough. Like during election season.

The facts, although interesting, are irrelevant. As you know if you watch any political ads or suffer through any political robocalls.

If you think there's good in everybody, you haven't met everybody. Yep.

There is always one more imbecile than you counted on. So true, so true ...

Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool. No shortage of those around DC.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese. Think about it ...

Support bacteria - they're the only culture some people have. How very true!

When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane, going the wrong way. Been there ...

For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism. If you watch the news coverage of Congress, you know this is true.

Artificial Intelligence is no match for Natural Stupidity. This one is as true as it gets.

Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups. 435 or more?

Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue. With me, it's usually the statue.

My Reality Check bounced. NSR - Not Sufficient Reality.

On the keyboard of life, always keep one finger on the escape key. Good advice. Unfortunately, it doesn't work.

That's the first half of the list. I'll publish the rest in a few days. You'll want to be here ... there's something for everyone.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

On Clowns, Ass and Other

Clowns are getting a lot of publicity these days, not all of it necessarily good ...

Politicians are frequent recipients of my Ass Clown of the Month award (now presented every other Friday, to help me keep up with the number of available candidates). I suppose I should apologize to clowns everywhere for associating them with such low-lifes.

Politics notwithstanding, evil clowns are a going concern nowadays. Sad, entertaining clowns like the famous Emmett Kelly are few and far between ...

They've been replaced by clowns like the terrifying, murderous Pennywise from Stephen King's novel It ...

and the horrifying clown called Twisty from the latest season of the TV series American Horror Story (Freak Show) ...

It's gotten so bad that fellow blogger Angel has addressed the topic of evil clowns, warning us to "stay away from guys wearing makeup!"

But why is it that a clown - someone supposed to bring laughter and fun - has managed to become a symbol of evil? There are a lot of theories. One of them is spelled out in Sophie Gilbert's recent article from the Atlantic Monthly: How Clowns Became Terrifying. She writes that clowns traditionally are anarchic figures who defy the boundaries of normal social conduct ... they can act crazy and ignore normal social rules because they're expected to do so. From there, it's not too far a jump to the sociopath who does the same thing, with or without the makeup, such as Batman's arch-enemy The Joker, as portrayed by Heath Ledger ...

or serial murderer John Wayne Gacy, whose alter ego was Pogo the Clown ...

Our love-fear relationship with clowns extends to the formal realm of psychology: there is a documented medical condition known as coulrophobia, referring to a morbid fear of clowns. Several otherwise tough-guy television heroes suffer from coulrophobia, including the characters of FBI Special Agent Seely Booth (played by David Boreanz in Bones) and NCIS Special Agent Sam Hanna (played by LL Cool J in NCIS:Los Angeles).

As for myself, I have no particular problem with clowns, which is a good thing. Were I afraid of clowns, I'd have a hard time selecting ass clowns every other week ... for reasons other than the fact of the generally despicable behavior that led to their selection for the award.

So - if only for a little while - let's give the clowns a break ... send some in today:

It'll keep them from making real mischief.

Have a good day. Kiss a clown ... I'm available.

More thoughts tomorrow.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Adventures in Therapy and Economics

An elderly couple, both well into their 80's, goes to a sex therapist's office. The doctor asks, "What can I do for you?"

The man asks, "Will you watch us have sexual intercourse?"

The doctor raises both eyebrows, but is so amazed that such an elderly couple is asking for sexual advice that she agrees.

When the couple finishes, the doctor says, "There's absolutely nothing wrong with the way you have intercourse."

She thanks them for coming, wishes them good luck, charges them $50 for the office visit, and says good bye.

The next week, the same couple returns and asks the therapist to observe them again. The therapist is a bit puzzled, but agrees.

This same scenario plays out week after week ... the couple  makes an appointment, has intercourse with no problems, pays the doctor, then leaves. Finally, after three months of this routine, the doctor says, "I'm sorry, but I have to ask: just what are you trying to find out?"

The man says, "We're not trying to find out anything. She's married; so we can't go to her house; I'm married; so we can't go to my house. The Holiday Inn charges $98 and the Hilton charges $139. We do it here for $50, and best of all Medicare pays $43 of it!"

Of course, this is what the GOP thinks everyone on Medicare is going, so you have to watch your politics if you opt to go this route.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Poetry Sunday

How others look at us strange Americans ...

Au Pair
by Mary Jo Salter

The first thing she'd noticed, as they sat her down for lunch
by the picture window, was flags all doing a dance
in front of houses: was today a holiday?
No, they said smiling, it's just the American way,
and she couldn't help reflecting that in France
nobody needed reminding they were French,

but the neighborhood had turned out very nice,
no fences, big yards, kids racing back and forth;
you could let the shower run while you were soaping
or get ice from a giant refrigerator's face.
She couldn't believe how much the franc was worth
and she had no boyfriend yet, but she was hoping,

and because her father was the world's best baker
she naturally thought of his bakery in the Alps
whenever they passed her a slice of their so-called bread,
and sometimes she wished she could hire a jet to take her
back just for breakfast, but as her great-aunt had said
so wisely more than once, it never helps

to make comparisons, so she mostly refrained.
She couldn't believe, though, how here whenever it rained
the mother sent children out without their coats,
not carelessly, but because she had no power
and nobody made them finish the food on their plates
and bedtime was always bedtime plus an hour,

so au pairs were useless really, except for the driving.
Yes, that was puzzling: after she cracked up the car
they didn't blame her or ask her to pay a thing,
but once she let Caitlin eat some sort of cherry
with red dye in it, and then they were angry, very.
Americans were strange, that much was clear:

no penmanship, and lesbians held hands
on the street, and most women carried a pair
of pumps in a bag they never took out to wear;
it was so disrespectful, she couldn't understand
how the older ones got called nothing, not even Madame,
but then nobody in this country had a last name

which was going to make it hard to write them a letter
when she got back. It was really bittersweet
her visa running out; she was sad that all
she'd done with her days off was go to the mall,
she'd bought a million T-shirts and that was great
but she had to admit it, saving would have been better,

and she knew somehow that when she got on the plane
she'd probably never live anywhere foreign again
which filled her American family with more pity
than she felt for herself, because at least she was coping,
she'd work at her sister's shop and stay in the city
where she had no boyfriend yet. But she was hoping.

From one strange American to another, have a good day.

More thoughts tomorrow.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Cartoon Saturday

October ... two weeks down, two to go ...

Speculation continues over the status of North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un after he failed to appear at a key political event in the Hermit Kingdom; Senator Kay Hagan (D, NC) showed the relative importance of various facets of her job when it was revealed that she skipped a classified briefing on the threat of ISIS in order to attend a political fundraising event; a man in Arizona died and four others were injured after they were attacked by a swarm of 800,000 bees; the family of former Alaska governor and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin was involved in a wild brawl in Anchorage; and in Philadelphia, the coffin of a boy said to have been killed in an accident at a notorious and now-closed reform school for boys 90 years ago was found to be filled with wooden planks.

The good news just keeps on coming, doesn't it? Why not let's just bury our heads in the cartoon sand and hope it goes away.

Our collection of theme cartoons for this week deals with the economy ... Congress isn't dealing with it, so let's see what we can do ...

Perhaps we just need to present the data a little differently ...

Well, I think we already knew that ...

The real estate market still isn't back to where it one was ...

Maybe a little less accuracy is a good thing ...

I think this may actually be the right way to report the economic news ...

Charitable fundraising is a big part of the school year, especially when one political party is intent on gutting funding for schools as wasteful extravagance. Perhaps this is a better approach to fundraising ...

 Speaking of fundraising ...

People who've been married for a long time take a somewhat different view of the issue ...

Because my color vision is pretty wonky, Agnes generally picks out most of my clothes. Usually, this is a good thing, but it does have its downside ...

And finally, a take on modern office routines ...

It looks as if the weather for this holiday weekend will be pretty unsettled here in NoVa, with rain and clouds instead of the bright sunshine for which we might have wished ... right now, outside my study window it's raining like the proverbial cow peeing on a flat rock. Oh, well ... considering that we have to stay at home and wait for the repairman to come for the FOURTH time to try to fix our oven (which he probably won't be able to do, as the parts he "express ordered" haven't shown up yet), maybe it'll be a good day to spend indoors on honeydo's and drafting the famous Bilbo Christmas Letter. We'll see.

Have a good day and a great weekend. Come back tomorrow for Poetry Sunday.