Sunday, May 27, 2018

Poetry Sunday

I've been retired going on three (gasp!) years and yes, I do do things more slowly now ... but with no less gusto.

by Faith Shearin 

On the island where I was a child
nearly everyone was retired, their fortunes
already made. Death was around them
the way water was around our streets.
They taught me how to go fishing
without catching fish; the tide’s breath
was marked in notebooks they kept
beneath their pillows. One old lady
fed me chocolates from a tin
until my teeth were stained by greed.
The old do things slowly so I grew used
to grocery store lines
that did not move, cars that stopped
in the middle of the road. One man spent
a whole day helping me bury a squirrel;
we wrote odes and dirges
to the way it once hurried and planned.

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


Saturday, May 26, 2018

It's Cartoon Saturday!!

The Mac has been repaired, the system has been restored from the last backup, and we're back in business! Now for the bad news ...

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un continued to play "After You, Alphonse" over their on-again, off-again summit meeting; the federal government has placed thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children in the homes of sponsors, but is unable to account for nearly 1,500 of them; Irish voters, in a landslide vote, have decided to overturn the national ban on abortion; the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii continues to pour out lava and ash, threatening homes and businesses on the Big Island; and in the latest school shooting, an unarmed teacher* in Indiana attacked and subdued a student who shot him three times and wounded another student.

This week - cartoons about politicians, because why not?

Now, THIS is a horrifying alien attack threat ...

It's an endless cycle ...

True. Very true ...

As a career move, it makes a lot of sense ...

An old saying that stays true over time ...

You've gotta love those technicalities ...

Or even president ...

No issue with "goin' legit" here ...

Any more, that's what voting comes down to ... 

How things trickle down over time ...

And that's it for this week's somewhat-delayed Cartoon Saturday. It's nice to have my beloved Mac back again.

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend, and take a few minutes amid the barbecues and the picnics to remember what it means.

More thoughts tomorrow.


* I thought the only thing that stopped a bad guy with a gun was a good guy with a gun. Hmmm ...

Not Cartoon Saturday, I'm Afraid

Good Morning!

Unfortunately, I will not be posting Cartoon Saturday today because my Mac died of terminal cancer of the hard drive, and until I get it back from repair (later this morning) and am able to restore my system from the backup, I'm dead in the digital water. This post is coming to you from Agnes's PC, from which I cannot access any of my data files.

I'll start restoring the system from the backup as soon as I get it home and hooked up ... with any luck, I should be back up and running by sometime tomorrow, at which time I will post a late edition of Cartoon Saturday.

Thanks for your patience. I'll be back as soon as I can.

Have a good day ... more thoughts once my beloved Mac is back on line.


Friday, May 25, 2018

The Left-Cheek Ass Clown for May, 2018

Tempus continues to fugit, and it’s again time to point the digital finger of shame at a suitably dishonorable ass clown. This period has been unusually rich in potential candidates, even considering the size of the pool represented by the scores of venal and ignorant politicians, entertainers, sports figures, and other bums clamoring for your recognition.

But in my humble opinion - the only one that counts, since it’s my blog - the standout winner of this issue of the award (Donald Trump no longer being eligible) is clear. And so it is that we name

The Left-Cheek Ass Clown for May, 2018

Representative Brooks displayed a staggering level of scientific ignorance this past week when he attributed the problem of sea level rise to a unique cause. He said,

“Every time you have that soil or rock or whatever it is that is deposited into the seas, that forces the sea levels to rise, because now you have less space in those oceans, because the bottom is moving up.”

Believe it or not, this man is a member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, and of its Environment Subcommittee. Even by the standards of contemporary Republican disdain for the reality of climate change and reliance on scientific research, Representative Brooks’ comment displays an amazing level of stupidity and dangerous ignorance of the realities we all face in planning for a future of more extreme climates.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Readers, Alabama Republican Representative Mo Brooks is named as our Left-Cheek Ass Clown for May, 2018. Don’t dump any rocks or soil into the ocean near property he owns ... he may sue.

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


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Musical Sunday

If you're not familiar with the musical stylings of Postmodern Jukebox, you need to get out more. They can take modern music and give it an amazing do-over in retro styles that will blow your musical mind. Here's their take on the 1978 Blondie tune "Heart of Glass," done in a vintage 1940 style ...

Postmodern Jukebox ... can you spell "awesome?"

Have a good day. More thoughts later.


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Cartoon Saturday

Since Agnes and I are on the road today celebrating our granddaughter Marcy's graduation from high school, the usual bad news summary will not appear. I'm sure you can find enough of it on your own, though.

As we approach the summer vacation season, it seems appropriate to focus his week's collection of cartoons on the joys of vacation travel ...

I think they just entered Pennsylvania ...

How to keep things moving on crowded beaches ...

Cowboy vacation accessories ...

Why I've never been thrilled about vacationing in big cities ...

I think I've been on board that ship ...

Just the thing for short trips ...

Where do you think people who live in major tourist destinations go on their vacations? ...

Now that's realism! ...

I've been there ...

When Agnes and I travel ...

Have a good day, and plan your vacations carefully. If you're enjoying a staycation at home, come back tomorrow for Musical Sunday.


Friday, May 18, 2018

Great Moments in Editing and Signage

Here we go again ...

One of those "alternative facts" beloved by our leadership ...

I think I'll not be visiting Kansas City for a while ...

She needs to move to DC ...

Give them what they really need ...

Hmmmm ...

This reminds me of a menu item at one of our favorite local restaurants: Beef with Greens. The fine print under the description of the entree tells you that if you want beef instead of lamb, it's $2.00 extra ...

Well, the Trump administration is working on it ...

I think I understand now why so many Indians I know are screwed up ...

For want of another "l" ...

That's pretty good, especially if nonconsensual strangulation results in death ... 

And there it is - another collection of Great Moments in Editing and Signage to amaze and entertain you. Perhaps you can find work as a proofreader for presidential tweets.

Have a good day. See you tomorrow for Cartoon Saturday.


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mothers' Day, 2018

This is the eleventh year that I have slightly revised and updated my traditional Mothers' Day post. It may be recycled and tweaked, but it comes no less from the heart. If you've read it before, just know that everything still applies ... read it again if you like, or come back another day for my thoughts on other things ...

Today is Mothers' Day, the one day each year we set aside to honor the lady we undervalue the other 364. It's the day we remember the person who made our hurts better, explained our homework, cooked our meals, washed our clothes, drove us where we needed to go, warned us about our less-savory acquaintances, embarrassed us in front of our friends, and did her best to point us down the straight line of a moral and upright life.

Mothers are the wonderful and woefully underappreciated people from whom the Army and the Navy stole their one-time recruiting slogans - the Army's "We do more before 9 AM than most people do all day," and the Navy's "It's not just a job, it's an adventure." With all due respect to Soldiers and Sailors everywhere ... you don't have a clue.

Somewhere in my web surfing I found this little riff on how we look at our Mothers at different ages:

Age 4: Mommy can do anything!
Age 8: Mom knows a lot!
Age 12: Mother doesn't know everything.
Age 14: Mother doesn't know anything.
Age 16: Mother is so old-fashioned.
Age 18: Her? She's out of it.
Age 25: Mom might know something about that.
Age 35: Before we decide, let's ask Mom.
Age 45: What would Mom have thought about that?
Age 65: I wish I could talk that over with Mom.

It's true.

My mother passed away seventeen years ago at the far-too-young age of 74. She spent a long and honorable life raising four children who, I like to think, made her proud ... most of the time, anyway. And in her twilight years, her once-formidable mind ravaged by Alzheimer's Disease, she missed much of the result of her love and care and sacrifice - a son who can dance (and who may yet write that book she thought he had in him, instead of a blog), a small army of grandchildren, and six beautiful great-grandchildren who will never know her love and wisdom and the off-the-wall sense of humor* that brightened the lives of everyone who knew her.

The next generation of mothers is moving the family forward. Between them, my beloved daughters Yasmin and Tabitha** are raising the world's six greatest grandchildren (Marcy, Joe, Noah, Leya, Elise, and Ava). And someday those wonderful grandchildren will sit down on Mothers' Day and reflect - just as their grandpa does today - on the lady who gave up so much of her own life and dreams to make them who they are.

And so again this year, I wish my own Agnes, Yasmin and Tabitha, my sister Lisa and sisters-in-law Laura and Brenda, fellow bloggers Amanda and Fiona, my dear friends Kathy and Lioudmila, and all the other mothers out there doing the world's toughest job, a very happy Mothers' Day and many more to come. We couldn't be what we are, or do what we do, without you.

And lest you think I'm getting too maudlin about the whole thing, here's a picture from long ago of my Dad with four then and future moms: my daughter Yasmin, my sister Lisa, Agnes, and my mother ...

We're an odd family, but somehow we've turned out more-or-less all right. Good parents will do that to you.

Oh, and in case you haven't seen it, here's The Mom Song, set to the tune of The William Tell Overture ...

Have a good day, and take the time to give your Mother a hug and a kiss. Someday, you'll wish you had.


* Every time you groan at one of my puns, you should be grateful that you never had to go down in flames in a pun war with Mom.

** I don’t think of Tabitha as an “in-law.”

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Cartoon Saturday

As my dad would have said, if this week had been a fish, I'd have thrown it back ...

Little Rocket Man and his favorite dotard will meet for their summit* in Singapore on June 12th; Donald Trump lost his temper and raged at the Secretary of Homeland Security at a cabinet meeting, upset because she had the gall to remind him of laws that limit what can be done about those awful immigrants; North Korea released three US citizens it had held in prison, causing many conservative commentators (led by Trump himself) to hyperventilate about a Nobel Peace Prize for Donald Trump**; The Federal Communications Commission fined Adrian Abramovich of Miami $120 million for posing a threat to public safety by flooding telephone lines with unwanted robocalls; and in Washington, White House aide Kelly Sadler responded to Sen. John McCain's opposition to President Donald Trump's pick for CIA director by saying Thursday morning that "he's dying anyway."

This week, because of the vast numbers of lawyers in the news, our cartoons feature ... what else? ... lawyers.

I thought German and Russian were difficult ...

A fly on the wall in the Oval Office ...

It's all in how you choose your terms ...

I think this may be a good idea sometimes ...

Yes. Yes, it is ...


We don't dine at these places ...

This is how it really works ...

Legal education ...

Understanding the Trump legal team ...

Lawyers. Sigh.

Have a good day and a great weekend. Come back tomorrow for my traditional Mothers' Day post. More thoughts then.


* I find it hard to think of a meeting with a tinpot dictator like Kim Jong-un as a "summit."

** Before you get all pissy on me, I don't think Barack Obama deserved it, either.

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Right-Cheek Ass Clown for May, 2018

How time flies! It's been two weeks since we last dishonored an Ass Clown awardee, and so now it's time to troll the depths of the social and political cesspool and dredge up the mighty chunk that represents

The Right-Cheek Ass Clown for May, 2018

and the award goes to ...

Michael Cohen

Michael Cohen, the long-time personal lawyer and "fixer" for Donald Trump, found himself in self-heated hot water this past week when it was revealed that he had "shopped himself around" as the go-to person for understanding Mr Trump, advertising access to Trump for those with deep enough pockets. According to multiple reports, Cohen aggressively pitched himself to potential clients as a representative with unmatched access to Trump, thereby netting hundreds of thousands of dollars from powerful individuals and corporations located both in the United States and overseas.

Donald Trump came to office pledging to "drain the swamp" that he saw in Washington, but instead he brought in his own swamp creatures, one of which is Michael Cohen - a man who is the stereotype of the oily, deal-making lawyer who trades on his political connections.

The selection of Mr Cohen as the Right-Cheek Ass Clown for May was a difficult choice, as he was up against very tough competition from two other lawyers: previous Ass Clown Awardee Rudy Giuliani and celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti ... but but I'm sure both of those men will earn their own awards before long.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Readers, the Right-Cheek Ass Clown for May is Michael Cohen - the poster child for seamily aggressive and corrupt lawyers.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow, when Cartoon Saturday returns.


Tuesday, May 08, 2018

New Schedule

Good morning!

Those of you who have been with me for a while know that over the last 12 years and over 4,000 posts (!) I have managed to post to this blog almost every day. I've occasionally taken short breaks, and at one point during a very busy personal period cut back to only posting every other day or so.

While I enjoy writing this blog, which has become my favorite creative outlet, the simple fact is that putting out the quality posts I like and you have come to expect is not an easy task. Especially as summer has now arrived and I want to spend as much time as possible in my garden, the time spent indoors in my study researching and writing seriously limits the amount of time I can spend outside in the fresh air and sunshine.

Therefore, Dear Readers, I am going to cut back on my posting, at least for the duration of the summer. Instead of posting more-or-less every day, I'll post all the regularly occurring features (Great Moments in Editing and Signage, the Ass Clown Awards, Cartoon Saturday, and Poetry/Musical Sunday), and other posts on an as-I-have-time-or-a-good-idea basis. When summer is over and the weather turns wintry, I'll look at picking up the pace again.

The general rule for bloggers who want lots of readers is to post lots of stuff. I've built up a good (and very much appreciated) group of readers over the years and don't want to lose any of you, so please either keep checking back every few days or use the "Follow by E-Mail" link (upper left corner of the page) to get a notification every time a new post goes up.

Have a good day, and stick with me. More thoughts coming, if not quite as frequently.


Monday, May 07, 2018

Fathers' Day Gift Suggestion

Fathers' Day is still a month away, and my birthday well below the distant horizon, but in case you were looking for suitable gift ideas for your favorite grandparent ...

Size XL would be good, to allow for shrinkage.

And no, the part about "provid(ing) you with a really good made up answer" does not mean I'm angling for a job as White House Press Secretary or a member of the legal team.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


Sunday, May 06, 2018

Poetry Sunday

Given the horrendous damage that Scott Pruitt has caused at the Environmental Protection Administration, this poem seemed to be a good blend of poetic construction and sadly useful advice.

How to Clean an Oil-Slicked Penguin 
by Andrew Gent 

Like the punch line to a very bad joke
the obvious and actual answer
is: “carefully”.
First, you must learn to hold the penguin
from behind, to avoid the beak,
pressing both wings against the body
until you need to hold each out
(again, carefully) to clean
in and around the extremities.
Next, contrary to logic,
you apply more oil
(cooking oil works best)
to loosen and remove
the thicker crude. Working it (carefully)
into the feathers. Next
you clean what remains
with dishwashing detergent
four, five, maybe even six times.
Careful (yet again) to avoid
the eyes and mouth.
You want to clean the feathers
without removing their natural
protective coating, or else
the penguin will sink like a stone
having lost its normal buoyancy.
Finally, you let it rinse off
in a pool of clean water.
Let the penguin do the work,
preening its coat and reclaiming
what little remains of its dignity.
Do not expect thanks.
In fact, it will continue
to bite and scratch.
But, if you are lucky,
it might survive.
Which is the most
we can hope for.

Have a good day. Do your part to respect an environment to which the present administration pays only contempt.

More thoughts tomorrow.


Saturday, May 05, 2018

Cartoon Saturday

It's gotten so I'm afraid to watch the news and ask, "what next?" ...

Cambridge Analytica, the political research firm at the center of a scandal over its use of data on Facebook members during the 2016 presidential campaign, is going out of business although, like a zombie, it appears to have found new life under the name "Emerdata;" new Trump lawyer Rudi Giuliani has admitted that - despite his earlier denials - Donald Trump reimbursed his attorney Michael Cohen for hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels; the Kilauea volcano erupted in Hawaii, forcing the evacuation of some residents living nearby; Donald Trump addressed the national convention of the NRA on Friday, although he has yet to mention the good guy without a gun who disarmed a would-be mass murderer at a Waffle House restaurant last week; doctors in Connecticut removed a 132-pound ovarian tumor from a patient; and rapper Kanye West ignited a firestorm of controversy when he suggested that 400 years of slavery was a "choice."

This week, in honor of our national leadership's horror of aliens, legal, illegal, and otherwise, we have a collection of cartoons about - aliens.

The perennial curse of travelers ...

Alien abduction trial ...

Perhaps aliens are as wrapped around the religious intolerance axle as we are ...

You have to wonder what they'd make of the current state of affairs ...

The unexpected answer to how the pyramids were built ...

Alien opera ...

Yes, please ...

How we'd miss the arrival of the first interstellar travelers ...

It might take a few million years ...

Mother knows best, even on other worlds ...

And that's it for this week's edition of Cartoon Saturday ... this time featuring aliens from way north of the border.

It looks as if the weekend will be a bit cooler than the last few days, in which here in NoVa we went from not-quite-spring straight to mid-August. I love being outside and working in the garden, and I love relaxing in the sauna, but doing both at the same time is not my thing.

Have a good day and a great weekend. More thoughts tomorrow on Poetry Sunday.