Sunday, November 11, 2018

Poetry Sunday

Today is November 11th, the date once known as Armistice Day to mark the end of World War I - "the war to end all wars." Nowadays, we in the United States observe it as Veterans' Day, a day set aside to honor those who have served in the nation's armed forces. Memorial Day, celebrated in May, honors those who have died in the nation's wars. This classic poem by John McCrae honors the fallen.

In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Have a good day and a great holiday weekend. Take a moment to thank a veteran for the freedoms you enjoy, and say a prayer for those who didn't come home.

More thoughts coming.


Saturday, November 10, 2018

Cartoon Saturday

We're still on the road, so there's no bad news update this week, but the cartoons continue! Since tomorrow is Veterans' Day here in the US of A, I thought that some military-themed cartoons might be appropriate ...

It works for youth teams ...

As true as it gets ...

I think it's probably accurate ...

Awww ...

Not too many of those being given out in this administration ...

It's probably a lot cheaper than the original SDI ...

What more can I say? ...

When you don't check your uniform carefully after playing with the children ...

When the Trump administration finally succeeds in driving away all our allies, this will be a lot truer than one could fear ...

Good question! In England, at least, there's an explanation ...

To all my loyal readers who are Veterans, my hat is off to you on this day we share to show respect for our service.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow, when Poetry Sunday walks through Flanders Fields. Be here.


Friday, November 09, 2018

The Right-Cheek Ass Clown for November, 2018

Because Agnes and I are still on the road without regularly available Internet connectivity, I'm drafting this award a couple of weeks in advance. Therefore, I'd ask that you not get upset if there's a better candidate who has arisen in the meantime ... although in this case, it would be tough to find one.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Readers, it is with a moan of exasperation and a sad shake of the head that I award

The Right-Cheek Ass Clown for November 2018


An Unnamed Monster

The individual I have chosen not to name callously murdered eleven people worshiping at a Pittsburgh synagogue on October 27th. He targeted them specifically because of their religious beliefs.

I have also chosen not to include a picture of this monstrous creature, because he does not deserve to be recognized or remembered. He is nothing more than a poster child for those consumed by bitter hatreds, inflamed by the thoughtless rhetoric of those who should know better. 

The Right-Cheek Ass Clown for November, 2018 - and those whose hateful rhetoric and moral relativism empowered him - can look forward to a special place in the lowest depths of Hell. One can only hope, probably uselessly, that their actions will give pause to others who might follow their lead.

I'm not holding my breath, and neither should you.

Have a good day. Remember the victims, not the criminal.

More thoughts coming.


Sunday, November 04, 2018

Musical Sunday

Leonard Cohen wrote it, but Pentatonix does a brilliant cover ...

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. More thoughts coming.


Saturday, November 03, 2018

Cartoon Saturday

Agnes and I are traveling and are without consistent Wi-Fi at the moment, so the usual news summary will not appear. Let's just go straight to the cartoons, shall we? This week, featuring that most useful of devices, the Swiss Army knife ...

The French would have their own version, wouldn't they? ...

Other armies have their own knives, too ...

Other Swiss Army variations include the boot ...

And the helmet ...

It's a concern ...

I wonder how many lobsters are caught in Switzerland ...

A take on the Swiss Navy Knife ...

And another one, too ...

Swiss pirates ...

And, of course, the Swiss Army Tank ...

That's enough cutting humor for now. Have a good day and a great weekend, and come back tomorrow for a Musical Sunday visit with Pentatonix. More thoughts then.


Friday, November 02, 2018

Great Moments in Editing and Signage

First set for November ...

Good warning notice ...

I'd have complained, too ...

This would also be a great name for a punk rock band ...

Good for Nose ...

I think I've found a new accountant for the Trump Organization ...

Well, it's not as quick as you'd think ...

How many ways can you spell "spaghetti?" ...

I don't think I'll have the special today ...

Time to fire your advertising firm ...

I couldn't make this stuff up ...

There you go ... November is off to the races! Have a good day, and come back tomorrow for Cartoon Saturday, in which we honor that most adaptable of tools, the Swiss Army Knife. More thoughts then.


Sunday, October 28, 2018

Poetry Sunday

Yesterday we celebrated the birthday (in 1914) of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, who wrote many stirring and thoughtful poems, as well as the classic "A Child's Christmas in Wales" that was always a holiday favorite in our home when I was growing up. This week for Poetry Sunday, we revisit one of Dylan Thomas's most famous poems ...

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

To hear Dylan Thomas reciting this poem, go here.

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


Saturday, October 27, 2018

Cartoon Saturday

Welcome to our cold, wet Saturday, courtesy of the season's first nor'easter.

The Trump administration has given notice that it will pull the US out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, claiming that the Russians are not observing it; a quick arrest was made in the case of pipe bombs mailed to a group of prominent Democratic/liberal figures, including former President Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former CIA director John Brennan, and liberal donor George Soros - Donald Trump blamed Democrats and the media, while his supporters and the conservative media suggested a "false flag" effort on the part of the Democrats to sabotage Republican election chances; from the Department of the Fox Minding the Henhouse, the government of Saudi Arabia announced that it would try the individuals charged in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi; and grandstanding lawyer Michael Avenatti and his client were referred for criminal prosecution by Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley on a charge of providing false statements to Congress ... Republicans being well able to recognize a false statement when it does not come from Donald Trump.

Halloween is just days away, and today marks the final part of our annual Cartoon Saturday Halloween Extravaganza. This week, everybody's favorite bloodsuckers ... no, not tax collectors, vampires ...

It helps to be specific ...

I guess you could call it false advertising ...

Vampire memes ...

When vampires need to take it outside ...

Good idea ...

Didn't know vampires could have diet problems, did you? ...

Happy hour down at the Creaky Coffin ...

It can be tough being a gourmet vampire ...

Some students just don't get it ...

Vampires have GPS apps, too ...

And that rounds out our annual Halloween Extravaganza here on Cartoon Saturday ... over the last four weeks we've honored Godzilla, Frankenstein, Witches, and Vampires as we get ready for the spooky season. I hope you enjoyed them.

Have a good day and a great weekend. Come back tomorrow for Poetry Sunday, when we visit Welsh poet Dylan Thomas in honor of his birthday ... which is actually today. See you then.


Friday, October 26, 2018

The Left-Cheek Ass Clown for October, 2018

Well, Dear Readers, today is Friday, October 26th - the last Friday in October, and eleven days until the midterm elections. If you are like me (and if you're reading this, you probably are, at least in part), you're utterly sick of brainless political attack ads, candidates who can't answer a simple question without telling you how bad his (or her) opponent is, and the supreme annoyance of door-to-door vote wranglers who can't answer basic questions about their preferred candidates.

All this means that it's been relatively easy to pick

The Left-Cheek Ass Clown for October, 2018

and the award goes - in a tie - to

The Republican and the Democratic Parties

It would be easy and satisfying to present this award to the GOP alone, simply on the basis of its shameless hypocrisy and betrayal of true and laudable conservative principles. This, however, would ignore the fact that the Democratic Party has failed utterly to present a comprehensive and rational program that could present liberal principles and goals in a defensible way. If Republicans have reduced their program to simple bumper stickers ("America First," "I'm a Nationalist," "Democrats Are Evil Incarnate"), the Democrats don't even have enough of a coherent program to fill a single bumper sticker.

Republicans and Democrats rely on demonizing each other, rather than on explaining in clear and precise English exactly what they want to do, why it's better than the specific programs advocated by their opposition, and how they propose to pay for it all. "Make America Great Again" is a great mantra for mindless chanting by armies of true believers, but it's no more a blueprint for useful action than is "Medicare for All" or any other Democratic line.

One might wish that the Libertarians could provide some adult options, but that's a forlorn hope. Libertarian belief in a world of near-zero government and limitless personal freedom crashes spectacularly on the rocks of human nature, yet remains smugly secure in the belief that every problem can be solved by grit and personal responsibility for ones actions.

This is the best campaign sign I've seen yet ...

... but there aren't any in the running. And we're not insisting on it.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Readers, the Left-Cheek Ass Clown Award for October, 2018, is presented to the Republican and Democratic parties. We deserve better. Don't wait up for it.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow, the last Cartoon Saturday of our annual Halloween Extravaganza.


Monday, October 22, 2018

"Educational Density"

I was listening to an interesting discussion on my local NPR station the other day in which the panelists and callers were discussing the various reasons why various groups of people vote the way they do, often in clear opposition to their own interests, and at one point in the discussion, one of the panelists referred to the role of educational density in group voting.

Educational density in this context referred to the percentage in a given city, state, or other voting region of a particular group of citizens who shared a particular level of education - grade school, high school, or college - with the idea being that the relative distribution of education levels can predict how a particular group or region will vote.

As I look at present-day America, I have another possible definition of educational density. In this definition, it refers to the ossification of one's way of thinking as a result of one's level of education ... such as, these damn college-educated elitists don't understand real people, or those high-school yahoos just don't understand how the world really works.

Speaking as one of those damn college-educated elitists, I believe that a lower level of education can lead to insular thinking and a failure to recognize the critical importance of interactions among people, nations and economies. I also believe that a higher level of education can lead to a tendency to ignore the day-to-day concerns of those whose points of view come from the school of hard knocks rather than the ivy-covered walls of academe.

It's important in our current supercharged, politically angry climate to understand the role of educational density not just as a convenient (if dodgy) predictor of voting patterns, but also as a danger to clear thinking. As I've often said here before, Bilbo's First Law applies: don't let anyone else do your thinking for you.

Have a good day. More thoughts coming.