Friday, October 31, 2014

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


Today is not only Halloween, the day when we celebrate all things scary ... it's also the day to announce

Our Third Ass Clown of the Month Award for October!


And how appropriate is it that one of the scariest times of all - Election Day - is coming up in just a few days?

With that in mind, it seemed only logical to seek for our latest Ass Clown designee in the world of politics, and therefore it gives me great pleasure to announce that our final Ass Clown dishonoree for the month of October is an individual who is winning the award for the third time* ...

Speaker of the House John Boehner


Mr Boehner edged out many other worthy candidates for his third citation with this amazing comment he made earlier this week (you can watch it in context here):

"... does anybody think that Vladimir Putin would have gone into Crimea had George W. Bush been president of the United States? No! Even Putin is smart enough to know that Bush would have punched him in the nose in about 10 seconds!"

Mr Boehner seems to be suffering from GOP historical amnesia, having conveniently forgotten that, on Mr Bush's watch, Vladimir Putin invaded the independent nation of Georgia without having his nose punched.

For his blatant ignorance of history and straight-faced peddling of political fantasy utterly disconnected from reality, John Boehner is named our third Ass Clown of the Month for October, 2014.

Remember things like this next week when you go to the polls.

Have a good day. Come back tomorrow for a special election edition of Cartoon Saturday ... more thoughts then.

Bilbo

* You can review his earlier awards here and here, if you're so inclined.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Your Voter Preparation Kit


Let it not be said that all I do is bitch and moan about the ridiculous conduct of our political parties and the lack of respect they show for the average voter. As a public service for you, Dear Readers, here is my free preparation kit to help you get ready to go to the polls ...


Yes, it's a grain of salt. Use it every time you listen to a stupid TV spot or robocall.

You're welcome.

Have a good day. More thoughts coming.

Bilbo

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ask Bilbo: The Answers, Part 2


Welcome to the second installment of the answers to "Ask Bilbo!" Yesterday I answered the questions posed by Brandi, Meredith, Heidi, and Linda Kay. Today, we turn to our final four respondents ...

5. Gonzo Dave asked: "What's your opinion on Congressional term limits?"

I used to believe that Congressional term limits weren't necessary because the voters would throw the bums out when they'd worn out their electoral welcome, but I don't think that any more. Voters are lazy and keep voting for the incumbent as long as he (or she) hasn't been convicted of a major felony, and the enormous amounts of money pumped into campaigns by special interests keeps the "right" people coming back election after election. The Constitution limits the President to two terms ... I think we should also put a two-term limit in place for our members of Congress to keep them fresh and honest. Or as honest as they're ever likely to get.

6. Elvis asked two questions:

a. Do you think the Washington Redskins should change their mascot? How about the Boston Red Sox?

Given the number of burning issues we need to address in this country, the name of the Washington Redskins is a small and silly one except to the people who care about it above all else. Go ahead and change the name; not all of our problems have such an easy fix. But good luck getting everyone to agree on a new name. As for the Boston Red Sox, they can change, too ... I suggest changing to "Rainbow Sox" as a nod to the LGBT community.

b. Should large states like California and Texas subdivide into smaller ones?

Heavens, no!! Texans are enough of a pain in the ass with one state, much less two. And there's no need to subdivide California - before long the Big One will hit and half the state will slide into the Pacific and solve the problem.

7. Angel asked three questions:

a. Do you think that we need a third political party?

If the two political parties we already have don't grow up and learn to cooperatively govern, yes. A solid centrist party, appealing to people in the range between conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans, would be a good alternative to the stable of drooling horse's asses we have now. Of course, the monied special interests would never let it happen, but it's a nice fantasy*.

b. Is wearing crop tops and bikinis appropriate for women above age 25?

It depends upon the woman. There are some women under the age of 25 who have no business being seen in public in crop tops or bikinis, and other women in their 40s and 50s who can look smashing in them. It all depends on the lady and her body, and she should be smart enough to choose styles of clothing that flatter her. Wearing a crop top or a bikini because she thinks it makes her look younger and more attractive doesn't always work out ... and can seriously backfire**. And by the way, the same could be said for men who try to wear speedos and muscle shirts regardless of their build, thinking it makes them look studly. Anyone who's been to a beach or a public pool knows how well that works out for a lot of men.

c. Do you think that the quarantine measures being taken regarding Ebola are necessary or an overreaction?

Ebola is a terrible disease that definitely requires serious prophylactic measures including selective quarantines. But I also think that because ebola is so terrifying, because the news media has done such an irresponsible job of reporting the true danger, and because it's a convenient club for the GOP to use to beat the administration in an election year, many of the measures being taken - including imposing ill-targeted quarantines and calls for flight bans from specific countries - are an overreaction driven more by fear and politics than by medical necessity.

8. Peggy also asked multiple questions:

a. Do you think Virginia will split into North and South as the southern part of the state wishes?

No. I think the two parts of the commonwealth need each other and will grit their teeth and stay together. But if they did decide to split and things got edgy, it might be interesting to see how we'd go about recruiting the new Army of Northern Virginia from the crowds of yuppies sipping lattes at Starbucks or hanging out at the local malls.

b. Do you think that we will survive the political ads and ugliness that is going to be starting soon?

What do you mean, starting soon? At least here in NoVa, the ugliness has been with us for weeks. Will we survive? We've survived all the other ugly elections, so I guess we'll survive this one, too. It's just a shame we have to think of elections in terms of survival.

And there you are ... the second installment of "Ask Bilbo." I hope you enjoyed the answers you received as much as I enjoyed coming up with them for you. If not, well, I'll be glad to respond to your "Ask (Your Name Here)."

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo

* Especially when compared to some of the other fantasies I might ... or might not ... have.

** As you know if you've ever spent any time in a Wal-Mart.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ask Bilbo: The Answers, Part 1


Well, butter my buns and call me a biscuit!

The last time I tried the "Ask Bilbo" theme, it took a few days to get enough questions to run a post with the answers. As of right now, I have questions from eight of my Dear Readers (several with multiple questions). There are a lot of you out there who are starved for information!

So, what I'm going to do is respond in two separate posts: the first half today, and the rest tomorrow. If there are any more, we'll get to them later. Here we go ...

1. Meredith asked: "Do you think Andrew Cuomo should run for president?"

Based on what I know about him, I think he should probably run. He's certainly no worse than any other possible candidates, and in some ways I think he may be better. Most of what I know, I read on his official Governor of New York website, and on the source-of-all-knowledge Wikipedia page.

2. Big Sky Heidi asked: "What foreign language do you think it is especially beneficial to learn?"

I think it depends on what you want to do and where you want to travel. Spanish is the obvious choice for 21st century America ... after all, there are a lot of places in the US of A nowadays where English is close to being a second language, and Spanish is widely spoken in Central and South America. If you are more interested in international affairs or business, Mandarin Chinese may be a better choice. China is an up-and-coming world power, and a knowledge of Chinese may be increasingly important in the coming years. French is still useful, as it is spoken in much of the world, and remains a key language of diplomacy and culture, but it's less important than the French would like to believe. As much as I love German, I have to say that it's a somewhat less useful language nowadays.

3. Brandi asked: "Do you approve of boob jobs?"

It's not really my place to approve or disapprove. In general, I don't think they're necessarily a good idea, particularly if it's done simply to please a partner who thinks boob size is the most important measure of a lady. It is fairly serious surgery, after all. But ultimately it's the lady's decision, and if it makes her feel good, then she should go ahead and do it.

4. Linda Kay asked: "In reference to Brandi's question, is a face lift appropriate for someone who is 76? Have a friend going for one."

My comment to Meredith still applies. I think face lifts are fine for people who can afford them and want to maintain a youthful appearance, but they generally aren't necessary and just reflect a desire to ignore the fact that we all tend to get older. If it makes the person feel better, go ahead and do it. For myself, I subscribe to the philosophy laid out by the German entertainer Harald Juhnke in his song titled "Keine Falte tut mir leid" ("No Wrinkle Bothers Me"):

"Ich sag dir keine Falte tut mir leid,
Ich bin ein Mann mit viel Vergangenheit"

"I tell you, no wrinkle bothers me -
I'm a man with a lot of past."


I am, indeed, a fellow with a lot of past. And looking to the future, tomorrow I'll answer the questions from Angel and Gonzo Dave, More thoughts then ... be here!

Bilbo

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ask Bilbo


With all of the problems and issues going on in the world, and an election coming up next week in which all we know about the candidates is how bad each one says the other is, don't you wish you had a real source of information on which you could rely? Someone you could ask the tough questions and get straight (or at least, less crooked) answers?

Your wait is over!

A few months have gone by since the last time we tried this (you can read the last one here), so let's give it another go ... it's time to

Ask Bilbo!

Yes, Dear Readers - now's your chance. Leave a comment and ask any question (within the bounds of good taste, of course ... children read this blog), and the Fairfax County Curmudgeon-at-Large will answer it for you. You can also e-mail your questions to der(underscore)blogmeister(at)yahoo(dot)com if you want a personal answer or you'd rather not advertise to all the other readers. As soon as I get enough questions to make a full post, I'll answer them, so submit yours today!

Have a good day. More thoughts coming.

Bilbo

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Poetry Sunday


Halloween is coming up on Friday, and I was going to post Edgar Allan Poe's classic "The Raven" as today's poem ... but then I changed my mind. I first ran across this short, complex poem by Wallace Stevens when parts of it were quoted in Stephen King's novel Salem's Lot, and I didn't fully realize how quietly unsettling it was until I finally read the whole thing ...

The Emperor of Ice-Cream
by Wallace Stevens

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Take from the dresser of deal,
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.


If you want to read a detailed analysis of the poem and its meaning, there's an excellent one at the Poetry Foundation's website - you can read it here.

Happy Halloween. Go ahead and leave the lights on ...

More thoughts coming.

Bilbo

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cartoon Saturday: the Halloween Edition


The hits just keep on hitting us ...

A freshman at a high school in Washington state carried a gun into the school cafeteria and shot five fellow students, killing one, before turning the gun on himself; in New York City, a man who was evidently a self-radicalized convert to Islam attacked a group of police officers with a hatchet, critically injuring one before being shot and killed by other officers; the governor of the Mexican state of Guerrero has stepped down after being criticized for his poor handling of the mass kidnapping of 43 students; the television "reality show" Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo has been cancelled by the TLC network after allegations that the mother of the titular star is in a relationship with a convicted sex offender who served ten years in prison for child molestation; and a government report states that in January 1998, government agents and lawyers mistreated former White House intern Monica Lewinsky to get her to cooperate with an investigation into former President Bill Clinton.

Cheer up ... only a week to go and we've made it out of October. But then comes the election ... oy. Better get to the cartoons right away!

This week, we'll feature thirteen* Halloween-oriented, ghostly, monstrous cartoons ... bwa, ha, HAAAAAAAA!!! ...

The aftermath of the party is always rough, even if you're a jack-o-lantern ...


Even vampires are not free of political chicanery ...


Mummies have it tough, don't they? ...


I can't think of a much more terrifying Halloween costume than that ...


The day after can be a letdown, can't it? ...


Scared ... well ... you know ...


Yes, indeed, those are some seriously scary decorations ...


I feel that way watching all the stupid campaign ads, too ...


This was the sort of commentary my father always had about the horror movies we watched at home ...


Sometimes the mirrors just don't work for you ...


And neither does the camera in the phone ...


Colder than a witch's ... uh ... you know ...


And finally, even a spirit can get busted! ...


And that's it for this year's Cartoon Saturday Halloween edition. I hope my little bit of seasonal levity helped take the edge of the yucky week. It looks like it's going to be a nice weekend here in NoVa weather-wise ... which is good because later this morning we're going to a "Trunk or Treat" Halloween party in the parking lot of our granddaughter's school, after which my daughter has visions of me helping her move more dirt and rocks as she continues carrying out her landscaping plans.

These relaxing weekends will kill me yet.

Have a good day. Be here tomorrow for our special Halloween edition of Poetry Sunday ... I've scared up a timely poem for you.

Bilbo

* The usual Cartoon Saturday offering is ten cartoons, but thirteen just seemed like a better number for some reason ...

Friday, October 24, 2014

More Great Moments in Editing


Gonzo Dave called me out two weeks ago on some of my selections for Great Moments in Editing, suggesting that they were not so much editorial faux pas (fauxs pas? fauxes pas? faux passes? whatever) as intentional puns or bits of irony. No matter. They're funny, and that's what counts, eh? Here's our selection for this period ...

There's nothing like a little truth in advertising ...


Things seem to have changed a lot since I went to the prom ...


Aerosol? ...


Bankers' mathematics ... no wonder the economy is so screwed up ...


I wonder if they needed four people with different lengths of fingers to sign the performance ...


Yes, that's how he always sounded to me, too ...


It's what you need for cooking foreign cuisine ...


Or fixing your bilingual hedgehog ...


I've always hated those bones ...


And finally, you just know there's a great backstory here ...


There you have it - another collection of gems found in print and video. Do they reflect poor editing or were they deliberate? You decide. Just enjoy the ride.

Have a good day. Come back tomorrow for the Halloween Edition of Cartoon Saturday.

More thoughts then.

Bilbo

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Things That Piss Us Off at Chez Bilbo


Agnes and I are pretty easy-going folks most of the time. Nevertheless, there are some things that really irritate us. Here are a few of them:

- Television news programs that look like 1960's-era disco shows. When the screen is so full of crawlers, flashing lights, fancy animated graphics, and other distractions that you can't concentrate on the news*, how do you learn anything? When the graphics are more important than the news, it's no wonder that the average American is so woefully uninformed**.

- Political robocalls. When the Caller ID says "Not Available" or "Blocked," and when you answer and hear a few seconds of silence before the recording kicks in, you know it's another useless political attack ad that tells you nothing except how stupid and lacking in original thought the sponsors are ... and how little they respect your intelligence.

- Charity solicitations by phone, especially when the local police association calls for donations, The person who calls is usually a police officer who booms out at you with his intimidating command voice: CAN WE COUNT ON YOU TO HELP THE BOYS OUT??

- Door-to-door political flacks who can't answer questions about their candidate's or party's positions and don't know anything that isn't on their script or list of talking points. Before the last presidential election, two ladies showed up at my door to drum up votes for the McCain/Palin ticket ... and couldn't answer a single policy or issue-related question I asked. All they could do was tell me (in so many words) that I was stupid and un-American for not enthusing over the GOP ticket, and for implying that the Democrats might have some ideas worth listening to. Don't tell me what a scum-sucking, bottom-feeding, ethically-challenged dirtbag the other guy is ... tell me - specifically - what your guy (or gal) will do if elected and why I should invest my vote.

- Hard-sell salesmen. And if you think that I hate hard-sell salesmen, you ought to see Agnes. Many years ago, we were shopping for a car for her, and went to a local dealership to see what was available. Within seconds, a salesman attached himself to us like a barnacle to a ship's hull. We told him very clearly that we were only looking and were not going to buy. He proceeded to follow us all over the lot at a distance of about six inches, and every time we stopped to look at a car, he launched into a rapid-fire hard sell routine ("what's it going to take to put you good folks in this car today?"). Within ten minutes, he'd pissed Agnes off so badly that she stormed off the lot ... at that point, he could have given her the car, thrown in free service, gas, and insurance for life, hired a chauffeur, and given her a perpetually paid-up E-Z Pass transponder, and she'd have still told him to go to hell and close the door behind him.

Trust me ... you do not want to see this side of my Very Best Beloved.

Okay, these are a few of the things that piss us off. How about you, Dear Reader ... what are the things that irritate you? Leave a comment and share the grouchiness.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo

* Which, given the news nowadays, may not be a bad thing after all.

** One might say, "stupid."

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rules for the Modern Man


You may well be tired of reading about various rules in this blog lately. After all, within the last month I offered some commentary on updated rules of chivalry, followed by rules to live by (Part 1 and Part 2). But at the risk of boring you with more rules than the US Code, I thought I'd share yet another set: rules for the modern man.

I first ran across an excerpt of the list on the website of James Michael Sama, the leader of the New Chivalry Movement, and then read the full list - The Unofficial Goldman Sachs Guide to Being a Man - here. Both lists are way too long ... here are a few items that caught my attention, with my commentary (of course):

1. If riding the bus doesn't incentivize you to improve your station in life, nothing will. I can't agree with this one. We have a nice car, but I ride the bus to work every day, and find it a great stress reliever to leave the driving in #%$@! DC traffic to someone else. Plus it gives me time to read (see #6 below) or catch a quick nap on the way to work. Trust me ... you are not too good to ride a bus.

2. You probably use your cell phone too often and at the wrong moments.
 No question about this one. There are a lot of eejits out there who would probably go into screaming withdrawal if they didn't have their phones.

3. Ask for a salad instead of fries. I should have done this years ago. Sigh.

4. Do not use an electric razor. I have yet to find an electric razor that will give a clean, close shave that lasts more than a few hours. If you just need to touch up in the evening or before a big meeting, it's probably okay ... but in general, I think electric razors are a waste of money.

5. Staying angry is a waste of energy. In general, I agree with this one. But sometimes there's a source of anger that just begs to be kept stoked. I have one of those, and he knows who he is.

6. Read more. It allows you to borrow someone else’s brain, and will make you more interesting at a dinner party – provided that you don’t initiate conversation with, “So, who are you reading …” This is a no-brainer. And if you want to be a no-brainer, don't read.

And finally ...

7. #StopItWithTheHashtags. Oh, heavens yes! It would be hard to tell you how sick I am of seeing a hashtag on everything. Let's go back to a simpler time, when the hashtag just told you how much the hash cost down at the local diner.

Do you have any rules you follow for modern living? Leave a comment and let us know.

Have a good day. Remember that "rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men.”

More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Then and Now


I was born in 1951, a time when childhood and parenting were a lot different from what they are today. My parents spanked us reguarly when they felt we needed it. I went to a parochial grade school where the nuns regularly administered corporal punishment (I still remember old Sister Angelica storming down the aisle between the desks toward a misbehaving fellow in the back, shouting "I'm going to hit you with my fist!!" ... and doing it), rode my bike without a helmet, drank from the water hose, and walked significant distances after dark to and from my friends' homes. Somehow, I survived. So did most others of my generation.

I've seen a number of variations on this "then and now" summary, but this one is pretty comprehensive. It lacks nuance, but is nevertheless useful as a guide to how things have changed over the years. If you are the parent of grade-school or high-school age children today, you may well be shocked and amazed that your parents lived long enough to have you ...

1957 vs. 2014

Scenario 1 (Grade School): Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.

1957: Johnny quickly feels better and goes on playing.

2014: Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces three years in state prison. Johnny undergoes five years of therapy.


Scenario 2 (High School): Jack goes duck hunting before school and then pulls into the school parking lot with his shotgun in his truck's gun rack.

1957: Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack's shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.

2014: School goes into lockdown, SWAT team deployed, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his
truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

                       
Scenario 3 (High School): Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.

1957: Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.

2014: Police called; SWAT team arrives and arrests both Johnny and Mark. They are both charged with assault and expelled even though Johnny started it.


Scenario 4 (High School): Jeffrey will not be still in class, he disrupts other students.

1957: Jeffrey sent to the Principal's office and given a good paddling by the Principal. He returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.

2014: Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. He becomes a zombie. He is then tested for ADD. The family gets extra money (SSI) from the government because Jeffrey has a disability.


Scenario 5 (High School): Billy breaks a window in his neighbor's car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.

1957: Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college and becomes a successful businessman.

2014: Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse and Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. Billy's sister tells the state psychologist that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy's mom has an affair with the psychologist.


Scenario 6 (High School): Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.

1957: Mark shares his aspirin with the Principal out on the smoking dock.

2014: The police are called and Mark is expelled from school for drug violations. His car is searched for drugs and weapons.


Scenario 7 (High School): Pedro fails high school English.

1957: Pedro goes to summer school, passes English and goes to college.

2014: Pedro's cause is taken up by numerous civil rights groups. National newspapers editorialize that making English proficiency a requirement for graduation is racist. The ACLU files a class action lawsuit against the state school system and Pedro's English teacher. English is banned from core curriculum. Pedro is given his diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.


Scenario 8 (High School): Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the Fourth of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle and blows up an ant hill.

1957: Ants die.

2014: Local SWAT teams, the ATF, Homeland Security and the FBI are all called. Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. The FBI investigates his parents and all children are removed from their home. All the family’s computers are confiscated. Johnny's dad is placed on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.


It's a different world out there, isn't it?

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo

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.

Bilbo

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.

Bilbo

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.

Bilbo

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.

Bilbo

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.

Bilbo

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.

Bilbo

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.

Bilbo

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.

Bilbo