Friday, December 09, 2016

Great Moments in Editing and Signage


Yes, we all still need things to laugh at besides the antics of the incoming administration. Here's the latest batch of Great Moments in Editing and Signage ...

I know that people are very sensitive nowadays, but when even the appliances get upset, I think things have gone too far ...


Nothing like a name that's appropriate to your job, is there? ...


No wonder they're on sale ...


A big hit with whom, exactly? ...


What do you suppose he used? ...


I'd like a quart of cake, please ...


This must be where Hannibal Lecter shops ...


My nephew Ed sent this one to me ... I wonder if Alex Jones is aware of it ...


Just water for me, thanks ...


There are no words ...


And so goes another week of Great Moments in Editing and Signage. I hope you enjoyed it.

Agnes and I will be spending much of the day cheering on our granddaughter Leya as she competes in the regional climbing championships. At least they're indoors, because it's pretty cold outside.

Don't forget to start casting your votes for Ass Clown of the Year - voting closes at 11:59 PM on New Year's Eve, and the winner will be announced on January 1st. Let your voice be heard - vote early and vote often!

Have a good day. See you tomorrow for Cartoon Saturday. More thoughts then.

Bilbo

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Watch This Space



I have to take Agnes to the sewing machine doctor today, and so don't have time to write a full post for the day. Come back tomorrow for Great Moments in Editing and Signage, and while you're waiting, cast your votes for Ass Clown of the Year.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Voting is Open for the Ass Clown of the Year!


In a PS to the December Right-Cheek Ass Clown post last Friday, I reminded you that it's time to start thinking about the selection of our Ass Clown of the Year for 2016. Today is the official start of the selection campaign.

By December 30th (the last biweekly award for the year) I will have named 26 individual awardees in 2016, all of whom are eligible for the annual award. Of course, if there's someone I missed, you are free to vote for the candidate of your choice. Here are the basic ground rules for the Ass Clown of the Year voting:

- Chicago Rules apply: you may vote as many times as you want, for as many candidates as you want. You may cast votes on behalf of yourself, your family members, your friends, your pets, your friends' pets, or anyone else, living or dead. In the interest of fairness, I ask that you not cast more than ten votes at any one time for any one candidate ... just vote more often.

- You may vote for any of the 26 biweekly award winners (the first 24 are listed below), or for anyone else you wish.

- You need not be legally authorized to vote in an official American election.

- Photo ID is not required. I should note that my friend Tom, in a comment on my Facebook page, asked, "If you don't require government issued photo IDs, how will we know that the Russians did not manipulate the results to undermine the integrity of the award?" My response was this: Those wild conspiracy theorists who are convinced that elections are rigged will assume that any IDs I require will be falsified, anyhow. And in any case, integrity no longer matters in a political world in which "facts" require no proof other than conformity to one's preconceived notions. I worry more about my fellow citizens than I do about the Russians. So, sorry, Tom - ID not required.

- Votes will be accepted from now until 11:59 PM on December 31st. You may vote by leaving a comment on any blog post between now and then; by sending me an e-mail; by sending me a PM on Facebook if we are connected there; or in person if we should happen to meet.

I will announce the winner in my blog on Sunday, January 1st.

Here are the first 24 Ass Clown awardees for 2016, and the dates of their awards, in case you want to go back and review the citations:

January 15th (Right Cheek) - Ammon Bundy
January 29th (Left Cheek) - Maine Governor Paul LePage
February 13th (Right Cheek) - (joint award) Rick Snyder, Karen Weaver, and Darnell Earley
February 27th (Left Cheek) - Martin Peter Trennenborg
March 11th (Right Cheek) - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
March 25th (Left Cheek) - (tie) Senator Ted Cruz (R, TX) and Donald Trump
April 8th (Right Cheek) - Jamie Gilt
April 22nd (Left Cheek) - The Chinese Ministry for State Security
May 6th (Right Cheek) - The American Electorate
May 20th (Left Cheek) - Caleb Bailey
June 3 (Right Cheek) - The Worst Father of 2016
June 17th (Left Cheek) - Senator David Purdue (R, GA)
July 1st (Right Cheek) - Rep Trey Gowdy and the House Select Committee on Benghazi
July 15th (Left Cheek) - Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
July 29th (On Crack) - (tie) Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Donald Trump
August 12th (Right Cheek) - Donald Trump
August 26th (Left Cheek) - Ryan Lochte
September 9th (Right Cheek) - Anjem Choudary
September 23rd (Left Cheek) - Wells Fargo CEO John G. Stumpf
October 7th (Right Cheek) - Rudy Giuliani
October 21st (Left Cheek) - Dr Howard Schneider
November 4th (Right Cheek) - (joint award) FBI Director James Comey and the Republican Party
November 18th (Left Cheek) - The Media, Both "Mainstream" and "Alternate"
December 2nd (Right Cheek) - Paul Horner

Vote early, vote often. Let your voice be heard!

Bilbo

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Who Gets the Bill?


According to news reports (real, rather than faked), New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has sent a letter to the Obama Administration requesting $35 million to cover the cost of providing police protection to Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan between now and the January inauguration.

I don't know for sure, but it seems likely to me that hizzoner has sent the letter to the present administration because of Mr Trump's history of making good on his debts.

That is all.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo



Monday, December 05, 2016

Looking at the Potential Upside


I've decided to look at the potential upside of the Trump presidency ...


As the new week begins, have a good day. Buy and wrap your gifts, mail your cards, trim your tree, and consume mass quantities of Chex Mix and hot spiced wine. 

More thoughts coming.

Bilbo

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Poetry Sunday


Summer is definitely over, and we're moving through the cold and rainy days of fall toward the cold and (hopefully not-too) snowy days of winter. On these days, when darkness later and later grudgingly gives way to the day and eagerly arrives earlier and earlier in the evening, we often sit down and remember the warm and comforting days of summer, as W.S. Merwin does in this short poem ...

Remembering Summer 
by W. S. Merwin 

Being too warm the old lady said to me
is better than being too cold I think now
in between is the best because you never
give it a thought but it goes by too fast
I remember the winter how cold it got
I could never get warm wherever I was
but I don’t remember the summer heat like that
only the long days the breathing of the trees
the evenings with the hens still talking in the lane
and the light getting longer in the valley
the sound of a bell from down there somewhere
I can sit here now still listening to it


I remember how, many years ago, we would stand in the back yard of the old homestead back in Pittsburgh, warm and happy, and listen to the local church bells chiming out the Angelus, while Dad would tell us that "God made the summertime just for me."

Have a good day. Winter is coming*, but summer will be back. I'll be ready.

More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo

* Eddard Stark was right.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Cartoon Saturday


Welcome to December ... the inauguration is only a month away. And in other bad news ...

Transition amateur hour continues, as President-Elect Trump had a telephone conversation with the president of Taiwan, changing long-standing US policy on the fly without State Department advice and needlessly angering the Chinese government; astronaut Buzz Aldrin has been successfully evacuated from the South Pole after suffering a medical emergency during a visit; nearly 2,000 Iraqi troops and thousands of civilians have been killed in the bitter campaign to rid the country of fighters associated with Daesh, the so-called "Islamic State;" Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, who had claimed he would rule "for a billion years, if God wills it," learned that neither God nor Gambian voters did not will it, voting him out of office after 20 years in power; and 71 people, including most of a popular local football squad, were killed in a plane crash in Colombia.

We all need something to take our minds off the rolling circus of the Trump presidential transition, and so - because President Harry Truman allegedly once said that if you need a friend in Washington, you should get a dog - here is a collection of cartoons about man's best friend ...

We lead off with two riffs on the same joke ...


and,


Elizabethan collars for dogs recovering from surgery are an endless source of cartoon opportunities, at the movies ...


the obvious joke ...


and the orchestral accompaniment to the usual mindless baying ...


Dogs are very intelligent and can adapt well to technology ...


Well, when in France ...


The standard Lassie cartoon, updated ...


Sometimes a dog just wants a pre-nup ...


I'm not sure how funny this one is, as I've actually seen it any number of times ...


I realize that, given the scale of the bad news that keeps pouring in, you could use a double dose of cartoons today, but I don't want to run the risk of running out. Sorry.

Later today, I will be headed down to Manassas for the annual Christmas parade, in which our granddaughters Leya and Elise will be marching along with their friends from the climbing gym. Agnes, sadly, is down for maintenance with a terrible cold and sinus infection and won't be able to make the trip, so I'll have to do double grandparent duty and take lots of pictures.

How is your Christmas shopping coming? If you still need a copy of my wish list, let me know. The first wave of our Christmas letters was mailed yesterday, and my plan for this weekend is to get the rest of the letters done and the cards addressed so they can go into the mail on Monday. The tree is up and decorated, too. I think for once we've got a handle on this ... except for the shopping which, as ever, is still behind schedule. Oh, well ...

Have a good day and a great weekend. More thoughts coming.

Bilbo

Friday, December 02, 2016

The Right-Cheek Ass Clown for December, 2016


December is one of those months in which the calendar allow us three, rather than two, Fridays on which to heap dishonor on worthy ass clowns. I think we'll need all of them. For now, though, it's time to announce

The Right-Cheek Ass Clown
for
December, 2016


and the dishonor goes to

Paul Horner

No Photo Available

Paul Horner is one of the most prolific authors of the fake news articles that are the mainstay of the credulous idiots of the far right and far left who are unable or unwilling to separate satire and whole-cloth propaganda from actual fact. Here are a few quotes from a recent interview with Mr. Horner:

"Honestly, people are definitely dumber. They just keep passing stuff around. Nobody fact-checks anything anymore — I mean, that’s how Trump got elected. He just said whatever he wanted, and people believed everything, and when the things he said turned out not to be true, people didn’t care because they’d already accepted it. It’s real scary. I’ve never seen anything like it."

and,

"My sites were picked up by Trump supporters all the time. I think Trump is in the White House because of me. His followers don’t fact-check anything — they’ll post everything, believe anything. His campaign manager posted my story about a protester getting paid $3,500 as fact. Like, I made that up. I posted a fake ad on Craigslist."

and,

"Someone posts something I write, then they find out it’s false, then they look like idiots. But Trump supporters — they just keep running with it! They never fact-check anything! Now [Trump's] in the White House. Looking back, instead of hurting the campaign, I think I helped it. And that feels [bad]."

You can read the entire story and interview here

I was torn between bestowing this award on Mr Horner and bestowing it on The American Electorate, which has shown itself to be singularly unfit to choose a local dog catcher, much less a president. I have decided to go with Mr Horner because I've already given The American Electorate one award (you can review that post here). And also because - despite the fact that he recognized the horrendous effect of his fake news, he continued to post new stories and not to call out the credulous fools who accepted them unquestioningly as fact.

For his efforts that almost certainly contributed to the election of the most disastrously unfit person ever to win the presidency, Paul Horner is named the Right-Cheek Ass Clown for December, 2016.

I'd tell you to fact-check things before you swallow them, but if you're reading my blog, chances are you do that anyhow. Thanks.

Have a good day. Come back tomorrow for Cartoon Saturday - more thoughts then.

Bilbo

P.S. - Now that we're down to the final month of the year, it's time to start thinking about the selection of our Ass Clown of the Year for 2016. By December 30th (the last biweekly award for the year) I will have named 26 individual awardees in 2016, all of whom are eligible for the annual award. Of course, if there's someone I missed, you are free to vote for the candidate of your choice. Here are the basic ground rules for the Ass Clown of the Year voting:

- Chicago Rules apply: you may vote as many times as you want, for as many candidates as you want. You may cast votes on behalf of yourself, your family members, your friends, your pets, your friends' pets, or anyone else, living or dead. In the interest of fairness, I ask that you not cast more than ten votes at any one time for any one candidate ... just vote more often.

- You may vote for any of the 26 biweekly award winners (I will publish a list later in the month), or for anyone else you wish.

- You need not be legally authorized to vote in an official American election.

- Photo ID is not required. Brain is.

- Votes will be accepted from now until 11:59 PM on December 31st. You may vote by leaving a comment on any blog post; by sending me an e-mail; by sending me a PM on Facebook if we are connected there; or in person if we should happen to meet. 

The Ass Clown of the Year for 2016 will be announced in my blog on Sunday, January 1st. 

Vote early, vote often. Let your voice be heard!

Bilbo

Thursday, December 01, 2016

"Civil Rights" vs "Religious Liberty"


There's a serious issue today that revolves around the accommodation of both religious beliefs and civil rights, and it's not likely to be resolved any time soon. Here's an example ...

A full-page advertisement* appeared on page A7 of the Washington Post on Sunday, October 16th. It was titled "DECLARATION of DEPENDENCE UPON GOD and HIS HOLY BIBLE" (capitalization in the original), and began with these words,

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. Since our Creator gave us these rights, we declare that no government has the right to take them away. Among these rights is the right to exercise our Christian beliefs as put forth in God's Holy Bible."

It goes on to specifically oppose abortion**, "... same-sex marriage, polygamy, bestiality, and all other forms of sexual perversion prohibited by Holy Scripture," and closes with this ringing statement:

"Therefore we, the undersigned - not only as Christians but also believing we have the constitutional right as Americans to follow these time honored Christian beliefs - commit to conducting our churches ministries, businesses, and personal lives in accordance with our Christian faith and chose to obey God rather than man."

Translation: those who profess strong, specifically Christian, religious beliefs need not obey the law***.

Here's the dilemma ... citizens of the United States are guaranteed "freedom of religion." But how does unrestricted "freedom of religion" square with community life in a pluralistic society?

My problem with the major monotheistic religions is that they are by nature intolerant of other beliefs. For example, if you are a Christian, you believe absolutely in the literal truth of the Bible, and that unless a person accepts Jesus Christ as his/her lord and savior, that person cannot be saved and is denied entry into heaven. If you are a Muslim, you believe absolutely in the literal truth of the Quran, and that every other form of religious belief is wrong. Neither of these is an especially good recipe for loving your neighbor as yourself.

I've been concerned about this for a long time, and a while back saw this superb article in the Atlantic Monthly: Even the Government’s Smartest Lawyers Can’t Figure Out Religious Liberty. It's not too long, and is well worth your time to read, particularly if you believe your constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of religion is threatened by laws intended to protect those of whom you disapprove on religious grounds.

In case you don't want to read the whole thing, the main point is this: it is all but impossible in our constitutional republic to both guarantee complete freedom of religious expression and protect the civil rights of minorities - particularly those who are frowned upon by one religion or another. The problem will never be resolved by law - only by the good will of men and women willing to pull their heads out of their rigidly religious backsides.

In case you were wondering why I have chosen not to follow any particular system of religious belief, now you know.

Have a good day. Practice the Golden Rule ... you may find you like it.

Come back tomorrow for the unveiling of our Right-Cheek Ass Clown for December. More thoughts then.

Bilbo

* Paid for by Andrew Wommack Ministries.

** "...unless it is a direct threat to the life of the mother."

*** I'm not sure how this squares with Jesus' admonition in Matthew 22:21 to "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's," commonly interpreted to remind believers that they also have an obligation to respect temporal authority. In any case, what the Constitution actually says about "freedom of religion" (in the first words of the First Amendment) is this: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Seems pretty clear to me.

† As Jesus is reported to have mentioned in Mark 12:31 and Matthew 22:39 as "the second great commandment."

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Health Assessment


This afternoon, I have my first "health assessment" since I turned 65 and became a card-carrying, Medicare-covered old geezer. The good news is that I was able to get my old doctor back when I regained the health care coverage I lost when I retired back in April. The bad news is that the appointment probably won't be long enough to address the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to*.


I don't know what the doctor will have to say after he's reviewed all the test results and probed my nether regions, but if he comes back into the room wearing a hazmat suit I'll take it as a bad sign.

Have a good day. If you need a second opinion, ask Mr Trump - he'll tell you that the day is going to be terrible, and only he can fix it.

More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo

* Sorry, Hamlet.