Sunday, November 22, 2020

Poetry Sunday

This coming Thursday we celebrate the American holiday of Thanksgiving. As those of you who know me or have been with me on this blog through the years, it's my favorite holiday. As much as I complain about all sorts of things, I'm smart enough to realize that I am uniquely blessed and have much to be thankful for - the love of a beautiful and talented wife, strong and dynamic children who have carved their own paths in life, six beautiful and talented grandchildren, a roof over my head, and a comfortable if modest existence.

Thanksgiving is the one day each year we are asked to stop and be grateful for what we have rather than what we wished we could have. This poem, the author of which is unknown to me, sums up how I feel about this most personal and meaningful of holidays.

I Am Thankful – A Poem of Thanksgiving
Author Unknown

I am thankful:

For the wife
Who says it’s hot dogs tonight
Because she is home with me
And not out with someone else.

For the husband
Who is on the sofa
Being a couch potato
Because he is home with me
And not out at the bars.

For the teenager
Who is complaining about doing dishes
Because it means she is at home,
Not on the streets.

For the taxes I pay
Because it means
I am employed.

For the mess to clean after a party
Because it means I have
Been surrounded by friends.

For the clothes that fit a little too snug
Because it means
I have enough to eat.

For my shadow that watches me work
Because it means
I am out in the sunshine.

For a lawn that needs mowing,
Windows that need cleaning,
And gutters that need fixing
Because it means that I have a home.

For all the complaining
I hear about the government
Because it means
We have freedom of speech.

For the parking spot
I find at the far end of the parking lot
Because it means
I am capable of walking,
And I have been blessed with transportation.

For my huge heating bill
Because it means
I am warm.

For the lady behind me in church
Who sings off key
Because it means I can hear.

For the pile of laundry and ironing
Because it means
I have clothes to wear.

For weariness and aching muscles
At the end of the day
Because it means I have been
Capable of working.

For the alarm that goes off
In the early morning hours
Because it means
I am alive.

I am thankful for many things, Dear Readers, and I hope I will never be so complacent about it as to limit my gratitude to one day per year.

Have a good day and enjoy this wonderful holiday, despite all the bitterness and chicanery in the world. Though our ability to celebrate with family and friends may be limited in this ghastly year, at least we are alive and living in America ... battered and dented it may be, it's still where the rest of the world wishes it could be.

More thoughts coming.


Saturday, November 21, 2020

Cartoon Saturday

Oh, dear gawd, make it stop ...

Der Furor's "elite strike team" of lawyers continued to spew evidence-free attempts to undermine the incoming Biden administration; in the face of raging rates of Coronavirus infections, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are encouraging Americans to stay at home and avoid large gatherings at Thanksgiving; police in the German capitol of Berlin have arrested a man suspected of sexually-motivated murder and cannibalism after a victim's bones were found in a city park; despite losing more than two dozen court cases, Der Furor's legal team continued its desperate attempts to overturn the results of an election Joe Biden won by more than six million votes; and in Wisconsin, accused murderer Kyle Rittenhouse claimed he used money from his government stimulus check to purchase the gun he used to kill two people and wound a third during violent demonstrations in August.

This week, as the weather gets colder and we turn to indoor pursuits, how about a few cartoons about the dancing of the horizontal tango? ...

It's all in how you look at it ...

I'm surprised it took so long for someone to draw this one ...

I saw a different version of this cartoon a few years ago in which the caption was, "Are you sure she's got a friend?" ...

I think this could be a little dicey, but ...

After you get to a certain age, it makes sense ...

Jealousy ...

Gives new meaning to the expression, "phoning it in" ...

Things are quite a bit different now than they were back in the day ...

Fun at any age, yes? ...

Well, at least you know the rules up front ...

Was it good for you, too? I hope so.

Have a good day and a great weekend. Come back tomorrow for the Thanksgiving edition of Poetry Sunday - more thoughts then.


Friday, November 20, 2020

The Left-Cheek Ass Clown for November, 2020

2020 has been a banner year for ass clowns. Tens of millions of them voted for an incompetent and dangerously erratic narcissist, then howled and demonstrated when - against all evidence - their guy lost the election by more than six million votes. Hundreds of them in official positions across the government at the state and local levels enabled a terrifyingly inept administration whose careless and frivolous approach to the public good has led to the needless deaths of - as of this morning - more than a quarter million Americans.

How on earth can I identify a single ass clown as representative of the class?

Fortunately, the choice is obvious. With a loud and flatulent blare of trumpets and a roll of muffled drums, we announce

The Left-Cheek Ass Clown for November, 2020

and the hands-down winner is

Rudy Giuliani

No one I can remember has squandered a good reputation and public goodwill as much as the man once known as "America's Mayor" for his leadership as mayor of New York City during the crisis period of September 11th, 2001. As the loudly sycophantic attorney for Der Furor, Mr Giuliani has led the charge to muddy the waters of this year's presidential election, trumpeting wild conspiracy theories and charges for which absolutely no evidence exists to salve the wounded feelings of his orange idol. With amazing tone-deafness, he held a news conference in defense of Der Furor in front of a landscaping company between an adult bookstore and a crematorium. He has been questioned skeptically by a Pennsylvania judge for his incompetence in presenting any sort of coherent, evidence-based defense of his contention of widespread voting fraud, and that the election was "stolen" from Der Furor.

In desperate search of material with which to smear former Vice President Joe Biden and to undermine the impeachment of Der Furor, Mr Giuliani traveled to Ukraine in an attempt to dig up evidence in support of his and Der Furor's unfounded allegations of wrongdoing by Biden and his family. 

Mr Giuliani has made himself a laughingstock and an embarrassment (if such is possible any more) to the administration and to the nation. If there is any justice left in this country, he will never again be allowed to appear in court other than as a defendant. He is the obvious choice for this award, his third* since we began designating standout ass clowns in 2011.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Readers, the Left-Cheek Ass Clown for November, 2020, is Mr Rudolph William Giuliani.

Have a good day, and come back tomorrow for Cartoon Saturday. You know you need it.

More thoughts then.


Sunday, November 15, 2020

Musical Sunday

2020 continued its list of sad news this week as we learned of the death of legendary TV figure Alex Trebek, host of the popular game show Jeopardy for 37 seasons and a total of 8,200 individual episodes. The show was wildly popular and inspired lots of imitators and satire - notably the extremely NSFW "Celebrity Jeopardy" takeoffs that aired on Saturday Night Live and often featured a very obscene parody of Sean Connery, who also passed away this month.

For Musical Sunday this week, we reach back to an early satire by Weird Al Yankovic in which the Greg Kihn tune "Our Love's in Jeopardy" became "I Lost on Jeopardy" ...

Oh, well ... at least Weird Al wasn't the only complete loser ... perhaps a future episode of Celebrity Jeopardy airing after next January will feature another one.

Have a good day and enjoy the rest of your weekend. More thoughts coming.


Saturday, November 14, 2020

Cartoon Saturday

If June 6, 1944, is remembered as "the longest day," there's not much doubt 2020 will be remembered as "the longest year" ... and yet it grinds on .,.

Alex Trebek, the avuncular long-time host of the popular TV game show "Jeopardy," passed away at 80; Der Furor continues to deny the reality of his loss of the presidency to Joe Biden, although the unofficial electoral total of 306 for Biden to 232 for his opponent is the same as that which Der Furor touted as a "historic landslide" when he won it in 2016; the Vatican published the 449-page report of its two-year internal investigation into the sex abuse scandal surrounding defrocked Cardinal Theodore McCarrick; tropical storm Theta became the 29th named storm of the 2020 season, breaking the previous record of 28 set in 2005; and Peter Sutcliffe, England's notorious "Yorkshire Ripper," died in prison of complications from Covid-19.

The way 2020 has been going, a collection of cartoons about the travails of crash test dummies seems appropriate ...

He always announces himself ...

Travel and sightseeing aren't always a nice break from the routine ...

Everybody's gotta start someplace ...

Repeat offender ...

Decisions, decisions ...

Uh, oh ...

Good decision ...

I hope she at least fastens her seat belt ...

Crash-test aerobics ...

You must have known how these things were tested ...

And there you have it - a collection of cartoons to try and help you get over the news. Hopefully, it helps.

Have a good day and a great weekend - more thoughts tomorrow, when Musical Sunday returns.


Friday, November 13, 2020

Great Moments in Editing and Signage

Here we go with the first batch of editorial and signage gems for November ... and on Friday the 13th, no less ...

They needed a study to determine this? ...

I'd think they'd need less than one day ...

There's always a shortage of bloob ...

Hell, I'm not a doctor, and I could have said this ...

Who wants dirty cheese? ...

I expect it's a little tough ...

I'm not familiar with this model ...

Well, it gives you something to do until the laundry is done ...

Glock makes knives? ...

What else can I say? ...

And so it goes for this edition of Great Moments in Editing and Signage. Now beat it, and come back tomorrow for Cartoon Saturday ... more thoughts then.


Sunday, November 08, 2020

Poetry Sunday

Some say that the presidency is the loneliest job in the world. This poem by Tony Hoagland begs to differ ...

The Loneliest Job in the World
by Tony Hoagland

As soon as you begin to ask the question, Who loves me?,
you are completely screwed, because
the next question is How Much?,

and then it is hundreds of hours later,
and you are still hunched over
your flowcharts and abacus,

trying to decide if you have gotten enough.
This is the loneliest job in the world:
to be an accountant of the heart.

It is late at night. You are by yourself,
and all around you, you can hear
the sounds of people moving

in and out of love,
pushing the turnstiles, putting
their coins in the slots,

paying the price which is asked,
which constantly changes.
No one knows why.

I love the phrase, "An accountant of the heart." I hope that your amatory calculator sums up all the love your heart might wish.

Have a good day and enjoy the rest of the weekend. More thoughts coming.


Saturday, November 07, 2020

Cartoon Saturday

It's been quite a week, hasn't it? ...

A 20-kilogram crate of satsuma mandarin oranges sold in Japan for $9,600; Der Furor turned to the courts to improve his chances of winning the election, filing a slew of lawsuits alleging - without evidence - electoral chicanery; Denmark is preparing to kill some 17 million minks which carry a mutated form of coronavirus that is spreading to humans; the United States set a grim record on Thursday, marking nearly 103,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day; and Der Furor's "spiritual advisor," megachurch pastor and televangelist Paula White-Cain, hosted a prayer service Wednesday night in an effort to secure desperately-needed heavenly help for DF's reelection.

It's been a long, bitter election season, and it's not over yet. How about a few election-related cartoons to help take the edge off? 

I think I should have made this suggestion in the survey I took after working the election ... 

It's number one on the right-wing stations ...

I felt the same way ...

It usually works for Der Furor ...

Why people vote for Der Furor ...

This cartoon actually dates back to the 2016 election, but it applies even more now ...

I wish we would have had these signs to put up at the polling station ...

We did in 2016 ...

Good advice ...

The monster under the bed, 2020 ...

And that's how it is for this first Cartoon Saturday of the month, and the first after the soul-destroying, as yet unfinished horror of the 2020 election. I hope I managed to give you a bit of a laugh to help get past it.

Have a good day and a great weekend. More thoughts tomorrow, when Poetry Sunday returns. See you then.


Friday, November 06, 2020

The Right-Cheek Ass Clown for November, 2020

No question about it.

The Right-Cheek Ass Clown for November, 2020

is presented to

The GOP's Army of Lawyers

Election Day was scarcely over when the the Litigator-in-Chief dispatched armies of lawyers across the country to contest every possible voting irregularity, no matter how minuscule, unsubstantial, or imaginary. The GOP has filed dozens of lawsuits across the country - lawsuits which will cost the taxpayers a great deal of money as they pay the cost of the lawyers their states must employ to defend against a tidal wave of mainly frivolous, time-wasting cases.

The Republican Party, firmly rooted in the past and wildly out of step with the vast majority of Americans, cannot win a national election on its merits, and so must resort to Der Furor's favorite tool - the lawsuit - to try to fix the outcome of the election.

Ladies and gentlemen, Dear Readers, the Right-Cheek Ass Clown Award for November of 2020 is presented to Der Furor's army of political litigators. May they and their their frivolous lawsuits be thrown out on their slimy backsides.

Have a good day, and come back tomorrow for Cartoon Saturday. After this week, you'll need it.


Wednesday, November 04, 2020

The Day After the Election, 2020

Those of you who are my friends on Facebook, and those of you who were readers of this blog as far back as 2016, know that I work as a volunteer Election Officer (EO) for Fairfax County during the election seasons. I have found being on the inside of the administrative process of voting to be an amazing civic education, one that I have embraced as a calming influence in these times of partisan insanity.

My first participation as an EO took place in the 2106 election, and I've worked a large number of general and special elections since then. You may want to read (or re-read) my precinct-worker-level commentary on the 2016 election here ... my observations of the system as it worked yesterday are very similar, but with a few changes and updates. In case you're interested, here's my take on the 2020 election at my precinct - number 626 - in Fairfax County, Virginia ...

Most of us turned out at the local elementary school to set up the polling place on Monday afternoon before the election. Under the direction of our experienced Chief Officer, we set up all the tables and desks, ran and taped down all the extension cords, put up all the new plexiglass safety barricades, taped up the 53 acres of various legally-required signs, measured and taped out six-foot distance markers to safely space people who would be standing in line, etc, etc. We did everything we could do in advance, leaving the last hour before the polls opened on Tuesday morning free for the things we could only legally do at the last minute: unpack and set up all our machines, update voting lists, verify starting numbers, sign paperwork, and take the official oath.

We on the election staff had a show time of 5:00 AM on Tuesday, and when the doors opened at 6:00 there were a great many people in line. My first job of the day was checking people in using our electronic "poll pads" linked to the county voter registration database ... this allowed us immediately to identify voters who were in the wrong place or who had already requested and received an absentee ballot. At the start of the day, we knew from the database that 169 absentee ballots issued to voters in our precinct had not yet been returned. In the course of the day, about half of those had been brought in by voters who wanted to exchange them (unused) for a paper ballot they could mark and file on the spot ... there was clearly concern on the part of many that their mailed-in or dropped-off absentee ballots might be not received, not be processed, or challenged as somehow illegitimate.

As in 2016, nobody questioned having to provide an ID. In fact, many people (particularly newer citizens and first-time voters) simply dumped every bit of ID they had into the tray and invited us to take what we needed!

We only had one person who came in without a mask. He wasn't trying to make a statement ... he was in a hurry and had simply forgotten to put it on when he left his car. We allowed him to vote without comment, as we were forbidden to require anyone to wear a mask, but he was visibly embarrassed about being the only person in the place without one.

Contrary to what I had expected in such a bitterly contested election, we had only two partisan poll watchers show up, and both were pleasant, orderly, and unobtrusive, never trying to insert themselves into any of our activities or challenging any individual voters. In fact, I couldn't tell which party either one represented. All of us on the staff, of course, took our oaths to be totally nonpartisan very seriously, and no one could have made a case that we were other than scrupulously fair and honest.

All the setup and organizational work we'd done ahead of time paid off in a very smooth and almost completely glitch-free day. We got a great many compliments from voters about how well organized and efficient we were, which was great to hear.

Interested in the results? Here are the final figures for our precinct as we recorded them at the end of election day in 2016 and 2020:

2016: Clinton, 1461; Trump, 739. Total ballots recorded: 2372.
2020: Biden, 594; Trump, 483. Total ballots recorded: 1114.

The total number of votes at the end of the day was about half of what we recorded in 2016, mainly as a function of the enormous turnout for early voting; thus, we won't know what the actual results for our precinct are until the early/absentee votes are tabulated and added to the totals. Plenty of time for drinking yet!

One last comment ... in the course of a very long day (5:00 AM to 8:45 PM) we had only a few minor complaints from disgruntled voters, almost all of them dealing with either directional signs or the accommodations we had to make for social distancing and hygiene. But the one HUGE complaint we heard over and over, all day long, was that we weren't handing out the traditional "I Voted!" stickers and the even-more-popular "Future Voter" stickers for children. Someone up the chain decided that the amount of handling and interpersonal contact involved in handing them out represented an unacceptable health hazard in the era of Covid-19. I think that's sad.

So those were my basic observations on the 2020 election. It was a long day, but I'm glad I did it. If nothing else, it gave me a day isolated from the constant bombardment of partisan political advertising in our resolutely non-partisan bubble!

Have a good day. If you didn't vote, shame on you; if you did vote, I hope it was for the right person and for the right reasons.

More thoughts coming.