Saturday, November 30, 2019

Dirty Words and Tot Tossing

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay 

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandchildren (who exist), and my great-grandchildren (who don't) — the Stickies — to haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.

                  
This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and approximately 39.9% of all grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering. 

                                                  Glossary  

                                                    About

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"... and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."
-Thomas Hobbes

[Gentlereaders: Mr. Mehlmauer is still in Washington D.C. Although he's no longer scheduled to testify at the Donald's impeachment inquiry he remains in town to do a bit of, um, consulting work for the FBI but expects to return this week. What follows is a new and improved version of a column originally published 8/12/15.]



George Carlin and his famous seven dirty words that you can’t say on TV routine literally changed the world. Mr. Carlin’s routine was, and still is, a comic masterpiece. However, it's a perfect illustration of one of my generations — Boomers, OK? more unfortunate tendencies: tossing the tot out with the Jacuzzi water.  
                                                  *     *     * 

We Baby Boomers grew up in an era of unprecedented affluence and scientific advances. We took this for granted; we thought this was normal.

Although we studied history in some form or fashion, at least in theory, all through grade school and high school, for most of us the water off a duck's back metaphor applied. Then as now, as always I suspect, anything that happened before we were born was ancient history.

Even if the Greatest Generation (my parents) and the Silent Generation that followed had made a more determined effort to keep our feet on the ground it probably wouldn’t have done much good.

They were our parents.

Most parents are wired to want the best for their kids, even parents that turn out to not be very good at being parents. Most parents will continue to want the best for their kids, even the kids that turn out to not be very good at being human offspring and opt for the high functioning chimpanzee track.

Most parents think (hope) their kids are special and continue to tell them so, even once they realize their kids may be as flawed as they are, or even more so.

The Greats and the Silents thought the Boomers were special. They were amazed, and grateful, to be sharing a reality with us that was in many aspects even better than the dreams that had sustained them through the Great Depression and the Second World War.

They told us we were special and that we had at least the potential to accomplish things they couldn't even imagine. After all, America put men on the moon less than a decade after JFK made it a national goal, clearly, the future was so bright the sunglasses industry wouldn’t be able to keep up with demand.  

I wish they had told us more about how lucky we were. I wish my parents had told me more about what the Depression and the Second World War had been like for them personally... although I probably wouldn't have paid much attention.

But if you were lucky enough to come of age taking food, clothing, shelter and oh, I dunno, antibiotics for granted? bread lines and fighting a world war that we could’ve lost resulting in enslavement if you were lucky death if you weren’t, is like, hard to relate to man.

Thanks, mom and dad but look at all the stuff that's still wrong with the world, you need to get out of the way, we've got a utopia to build and we're in a hurry. We need to blow up a lot of the goofy beliefs you hold that are standing in the way of us establishing heaven on earth.

For example, words are words, why are you so uptight about words?

* * *

Which brings us to "dirty" words and tot tossing. Words, obviously, are symbols. The word tree is not a tree, it's a label.

If we were to decide that tree spelled backward, eert, was a better label and this new word caught on with our fellow speakers of English, trees could become eerts. The superfluous e would probably fall off in short order.

Words are just words Mr. Carlin assured us. Hunny look! ain't doze erts budafull? 

Bullsh... Balderdash!

Words are the building blocks of language, language enables the networking of human minds, the networking of human minds enables us to survive, with a touch of style, in a reality that is, as you may have heard, "...solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short."

Words, their meanings, and how they are used are important in the same way that the composition of building materials, and how they are assembled, determines whether your home is a hut or a house.  

Words have power. How much, and what kind of power, depends on their context and meaning.

How you use words supplies the context and shapes the meaning. I've been known to use the phrase, what the hell. I've also been known to use the phrase, WTF. I use the world-famous acronym WTF here because I respect the power of the f-bomb and because the acronym works better within the context of this essay.

When profanity is no longer profane, when "dirty words" are just words and everything goes (don't be judgy!) Moynihan's "defining deviancy down" becomes a race to the cultural bottom.

When there's nothing left to measure yourself against or rebel against nihilism and despair spread faster than fake news on social media.  

If words are just words why is the psychic shrapnel from F-bombs tossed by tots more lethal than the psychic shrapnel of F-bombs tossed by truck drivers? Why do we want to toss the tots into a Jacuzzi and wash their mouths out with soap?  

                                        Have an OK day

Please scroll down to react, comment, or share. If my work pleases you I wouldn't be offended if you offered to buy me a coffee.  

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Your friendly neighborhood crank is not crazy about social media (I am a crank after all) but if you must, you can like me/follow me on Facebook. I post an announcement when I have a new column available as well as news articles/opinion pieces that reflect where I'm coming from or that I wish to call attention to. 

Cranky don't tweet.





Saturday, November 23, 2019

My First Triggering

Image by engin akyurt from Pixabay
[Gentlereaders, Mr. Mehlmauer is currently busy in Washington D.C. attempting to ascertain why he's been subpoenaed to testify in the Donald's impeachment inquiry, please accept our apologies. This column was originally published on 2/18/11.

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandchildren (who exist), and my great-grandchildren (who don't) — the Stickies — to haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.
                  
This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and approximately 39.9% of all grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering. 

                                                  Glossary  

                                                    About

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's" -Mark Twain


Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies,

When my first triggering occurred, that is to say, the first time I (accidentally) triggered someone, the oldest of you that have arrived so far was only seven.

When I was but a wee lad... No, actually till I was at least in my late twenties, it was possible to engage in mildly heated political discussions, as much for the fun of it as anything else, without feeling that civil war was inevitable.

Not that it was possible to do so with everyone. There's a reason many people recommend against discussing politics (and religion) at the dinner table and elsewhere.

However, with certain relatives and friends, particularly with a bunch of individuals I didn't go to college with, late-night political debates, that were often as not fueled by alcohol, were a thing.

Lines had to be drawn and observed but it was the intellectual equivalent of a friendly sports rivalry. No need to take it particularly seriously.

                                               

I married in my early thirties after a couple of years of managing a fleet of someone else's ice cream trucks in Texas. As to Texas, there was much in the way of partying, little in the way of debate, intellectual or otherwise. Hello Tom and Kitty, wherever you are.

Once married the endless party ended. My bride came pre-equipped with a kid and marriage, serious partying, and kids don't mix very well in my semi-humble opinion.

Late-night passionate debates didn't make a comeback either. I married a sick chick (I'm talking physically sick, but a veritable force of nature...) and betwixt helping to keep her alive, supporting my daughter (your mother or grandmother) and my gift for working my ass off while avoiding the burdens of financial success—I usually went to bed early.


Then I blinked three times and I was a widower and a grandfather. One evening in 2008 I found myself having dinner with a friend and a traditional married couple (one male, one female) in their mid-twenties.

This was my first encounter with triggering someone and triggering wasn't even a thing yet. I've always been a man ahead of my time.

After dinner, and over coffee and pie, a debate broke out over I remember not what. Although there's a slight chance that I may not be entirely correct, I have a vivid memory of intellectually dominating.

It was me v. my friend and the male half of the young couple. I was thoroughly enjoying myself and was confident that there was no danger that my opponents would challenge me to a duel. But I confess I neglected to note that storm clouds were building in the psyche of the young woman in question.

Hooge mistake.


In my defense, her participation in the discussion was virtually nil. However, I still might have been convicted had she charged me with political incorrectness which was, and remains, in vogue. Is political incorrectness subject to a statute of limitations?

Fortunately, Twitter and Facebook were still picking up steam and weren't yet that big a deal, at least here in Flyoverland. Trolls were merely malevolent mythological monstrosities.

And for that matter, Trigger was the answer to a trivia question. What was the name of Roy Rogers's horse?

[Roy who?]

Never mind, Dana.


Anyways, at some point, while I was not paying the attention that I—a man who had been successfully married for 21 years and who had learned many lessons the hard way—should have been paying, there was an explosion and I and my dining companions were riddled with psychic shrapnel.

"She leapt to her feet and stormed out of the restaurant in a huff." That's not a quote from a selection of mediocre fiction, that's exactly what happened. Really.

Although he was young and, relatively speaking, they had not been married very long he knew the rules. He leapt to his feet and followed.

"Now see what you've done," said my remaining companion, reacting to the no doubt baffled look on my face. "Hey, is that our server?"

"Did we just get stuck with the check?" I replied.


The young husband returned to the table as my older friend and I were in the process of splitting the check, calculating the tip, and discussing which one of us, if either, was going to act as a collection agent to recover the cost of their food.

The young wife had decided to wait for him in their car. Although the storm had apparently passed, ominous dark clouds lingered.

He, politely and diplomatically... well, long story short, it was explained to me that she passionately disagreed with me.

Although she lacked the rhetorical skill—and most importantly in my semi-humble opinion a command of the relevant facts to contest whatever it was I was on about—she knew she was right and she knew I was a bully. Case closed.

That's not exactly how he put it but that's exactly what he said.

Although I confess my heart wasn't in it, I apologized for being a boor and fled the scene of the drama ASAP.

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

Please scroll down to react, comment, or share. If my work pleases you I wouldn't be offended if you offered to buy me a coffee.  

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Your friendly neighborhood crank is not crazy about social media (I am a crank after all) but if you must, you can like me/follow me on Facebook. I post an announcement when I have a new column available as well as news articles/opinion pieces that reflect where I'm coming from or that I wish to call attention to. Cranky don't tweet. 

©2018 Mark Mehlmauer 












Saturday, November 16, 2019

Virtue (A prequel)





Rembrandt—Aristotle with a Bust of Homer—David Mark from Pixabay


This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandchildren (who exist), and my great-grandchildren (who don't) — the Stickies — to haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.
                  
This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and approximately 39.9% of all grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering. 

                                                  Glossary  

                                                    About

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"The greatest virtues are those which are most useful to other persons."
                                                                                        -Aristotle


Dear Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies (& Gentlereaders),

In my last letter a—New & Improved!—version of my thoughts on the formerly famous Seven Virtues that I originally wrote about in early 2017, I mentioned that I planned on writing a—New & Improved!—version of my take on the four cardinal (hinge) virtues that I also wrote about in 2017.

When I reread last week's letter a hooge honking flaw became apparent. What exactly are virtues and why should we cultivate them? I didn't go into this in 2017 or in last week's letter.

In my defense, having arrived on this planet at the tail end of the Black&White Ages I was thoroughly marinated in a cultural consensus that's been fragmenting ever since.

But I must be ever vigilant concerning things I take/took for granted. For example, when I was a kid baseball was literally the National Pastime, consciously capitalized.

Although to me, and no shortage of my fellow geezers and geezerettes, metaphorically speaking it still is and always will be (and I'm not even a fan)—it isn't.

We have all sorts of competing national pastimes nowadays. Sports, entertainment, infotainment, and outrage—24x7x365—come immediately to mind.

When I was a kid, Americans were hardly all on the same page but at least from this kid's perspective at the time, they all seemed to be on pages in the same book.

That book is no longer in print but many battered copies with yellowed pages and notes scribbled in the margins remain.

                                                   *     *     *

Wikipedia: "Virtue is moral excellence." Sounds simple enough. But this is the very first sentence of complex entry with 53 references.

Sister Mary McGillicuddy taught me and my fellow barbarians that we didn't have to figure out how to be morally excellent. The Catholic church and society had gone to the trouble of working it all out for us.

All we had to do was learn all the ecclesiastical rules laid down by the church. S'ter Mary, Miss Crabtree, our parents' et al. would provide the secular ones. 

However, it was a given that we'd break them from time to time, in fact, that we were born owing a share of the vigorish on Adam and Eve's original bad bet. 

But the all-merciful and all-powerful God had well-established procedures in place to get yourself right. It was highly recommended that you take advantage of them or the all-merciful and all-powerful God would sentence you to burn in hell for all eternity.

Amen. 
                                                                                             
                                                    *     *     *

While I rejected Catholic fundamentalism in my early teens, and reject religious fundamentalism now, I understand the appeal of knowing exactly what the rules are and what sort of behavior is required of a civilized H. sapien.

In fact, I worry not at all about folks of faith from the center, left, or right who cheerfully embrace the notion live and let live, fundamentalist or otherwise. The socialist left, Catholic or otherwise, scares the hell out of me. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

In fact, when the progressive socialists start talking about placing restrictions on freedom of speech I...

[Calm down, Sparky. You're veering off-topic and you've got that look again.]

Look! what look? Serenity now! Serenity now! I'm just... (Heavy sigh), thanks, Dana, you're right.

                                                   *     *     *

Look (GRIN), A life well-lived requires us to consciously decide what sort of behaviors (virtues) will allow us to function at our best while graciously (as possible...) sharing the playground with other kids trying to function at their best.

The cardinal virtues are four time-tested fundamental virtues with a deep pedigree that have much to offer everyone. There are also myriad other virtues that can be classified as fundamental or secondary.

But if you don't want the Big Bad Nihilist ("Everything's, like, relative, ya know?") to huff, and puff, and blow your house down you're going to need, at the very least, a solid foundation, strong walls, and a roof that's up to code.

I don't have a virtual clipboard hanging from an imaginary nail in an office located somewhere in my little grey cells with a sheet of tattered and smudged paper that's a copy of a copy clipped to it that's titled, Virtue's Checklist.

However, I do have Aristotle's comprehensive and actionable take on this sort of thing as explained in this video clip 'cause I'm cool like that... Also, it saves me from having to write an entire column on a subject that would probably bore you and most of my tens of gentlereaders.

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

Please scroll down to react, comment, or share. If my work pleases you I wouldn't be offended if you offered to buy me a coffee.  

                                                   *     *     *

Your friendly neighborhood crank is not crazy about social media (I am a crank after all) but if you must, you can like me/follow me on Facebook. I post an announcement when I have a new column available as well as news articles/opinion pieces that reflect where I'm coming from or that I wish to call attention to. Cranky don't tweet. 








Saturday, November 2, 2019

The Seven Virtues - New and Improved!

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandchildren (who exist), and my great-grandchildren (who don't) — the Stickies — to haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.
                  
This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and approximately 39.9% of all grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering. 

                                                  Glossary  


                                                    About

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"The virtues, like the Muses, are always seen in groups. A good principle was never found solitary in any breast." -Buddha


Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies (& Gentlereaders),


I wrote a series of letters about the seven virtues a few years back that was well received by my gentlereaders. I think that given the fact that what used to be called Western Civilization continues to be under attack on multiple fronts its time for an update. 


[Used to be called?]


Well, Dana, it is, as they say, complicated. 


It would take a very long essay for me to explain myself properly. Suffice it to say that when I recently had reason to enter the search term Western civilization into the Wikipedia search box I was presented with an article titled Western culture that begins by prevaricating, equivocating, and etceterating.


Hmmm... perhaps I screwed up.


As I was retyping in the original search term I noticed that Wikipedia helpfully offered up the search term Western civilization bias to save me some keystrokes. 


Clicking on their helpful shortcut brought up an article titled Eurocentrism which includes the words bias, colonialism, and imperialism in the first paragraph. 


[Oh... Well, why did you enter Western civilization in the first place? I mean...]


Background. 


I was thinking about providing more background than I had provided in the original version of this column. See, I was taught that the Seven Virtues were a very big deal, an important part (but now apparently just another "deconstructed metanarrative") of something called Western civilization. 


I was taught that I was both a product and beneficiary of this now revised meme. 

This was back at the tail end of the Black&White ages when I attended Catholic grade school. I was taught that there are four cardinal virtues and three theological virtues. Both kinds, I was told, were a very big deal.

I attended a public high school, and the theological virtues, for obvious reasons, were never mentioned. It occurs to me that neither were the cardinal ones.


                                                  *     *     *


The three theological virtues of the Catholic/Christian tradition, we were told, come from the grace of God. They’re sort of a list of the basic requirements that need to be met in order to live a Christian life while you’re here if you want to get your butt into heaven when you cross over to there.

They are faith (belief in God). Hope (the belief that you’ll make heaven if you live right). And charity, or love (love of God and everyone else, which implies it’s on you to be your sibling’s keeper).


Two quick points from your (technically) agnostic (it's complicated) Poppa.


One, note the simplicity. To hell (pun intended and embraced) with dogma wars. If you believe in God (which I personally think, although many do not, can simply be the higher power that saves drunks and druggies every day), follow a moral code and do what you can to take care of the other kids, you got this.


Two, It’s quite easy to secularize these three. If you don’t believe in God you can (and regardless, should) find something/someone to believe in and/or work towards. This will supply hope (and meaning) even when life is kicking you in the crotch. Finally, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This will make for a much nicer playground.


For the record, number two is a vastly oversimplified version of what I stole from the work of Dr. Deirdre N. McCloskey—polymath, and one of my heroeswho describes herself thusly:

“I’m a literary, quantitative, postmodern, free-market, progressive-Episcopalian, ex-Marxist, Midwestern woman from Boston who was once a man. Not ‘conservative’! I’m a Christian classical liberal.”

Dr. McCloskey was trans (and fully transitioned) long before trans was cool. And long before the Social Justice Warriors woke up and started identifying as this, that, and God only knows what other things.  

But I digress. 

The reason I’m writing about all of the seven virtues is because it's occurred to me that given the fact America, and a goodly chunk of the rest of the world, tossed the tot out with the jacuzzi water back in the 60s, perhaps we could find some guidance and common ground in all of them.


I believe that we react emotionally/instinctively/intuitionally first
rationally (hopefully…) later. While the former is an effective survival mechanism, the latter enables us to live together and, with a little luck, thrive instead of just survive. The creation of the seven virtues was the result of the applied reasoning of a lot of individuals who were smarter than I’ll ever be.

                                                  
*     *     *

The cardinal virtues are prudence (making good choices, wisdom), justice, temperance (restraint, self-control) and courage (not just bravery, refusing to define yourself as a helpless victim). There are all sorts of other virtues posited but these four were considered to be the foundation stones of a well-lived life in the Western tradition.


The Western tradition has nothing to do with cowboys or country music. It’s a term, now considered politically incorrect in many circles, that refers to a way of looking at, and living in, the world. 
It’s fallen out of favor for claiming (although it's admittedly flawed) that it's the best H. sapiens have come up with so far for how to share the playground. 

But, we’re now all one big happy global family; don't be a hater. Everything is like, relative, ya’ know? After all, the Western tradition includes all the evil dead white guys that ruined the world.

                                                    *     *     *

I’m a crank and I’m a libertarian. But, I hold some positions normally classified as conservative, others normally classified as progressive. I have a bias towards trying to discover what actually works and trying to discover how the left and right can compromise and peacefully share the playground.  


I’m a crank and I’m a follower of Taoism (an Eastern philosophy), but also a firm believer in most of the Western tradition. I think that the USA, a product of this tradition, though flawed (as is every-one and every-thing), rocks, and I’m glad and grateful this is my team.


I’m a crank. This is why I’m going to devote my next five letters/columns to restating my take on the cardinal virtues (you've been warned).


Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

Please scroll down to react, comment, or share. If my work pleases you I wouldn't be offended if you offered to buy me a coffee.  

                                                   *     *     *


Your friendly neighborhood crank is not crazy about social media (I am a crank after all) but if you must, you can like me/follow me on Facebook. I post an announcement when I have a new column available as well as news articles/opinion pieces that reflect where I'm coming from or that I wish to call attention to. Cranky don't tweet.





Saturday, October 26, 2019

Halloween, 2019

Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay 

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandchildren (who exist), and my great-grandchildren (who don't) — the Stickies — to haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.
                  
This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and approximately 39.9% of all grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering. 

                                                  Glossary  

                                                    About

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night.
Good Lord, deliver us!"


Dear Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies (& Gentlereaders),

For the record, the quote above is a poem, or a (Scottish) prayer, or an anonymous children's rhyme of Scottish or Cornish or Welsh or Celtic origin. It depends on who you ask.

If it were my job to choose, I'd go with Scottish prayer because, well, because it pleases me, I have a poetic license—and it's my column.

Which reminds me, I need to get off the dime and ramp up my campaign. I'm running for king next year. You may have missed the announcement given that the obsessed purple press is about to begin year four of all, the Donald, all the time.

Anyways, I confess that the whatever it is that I quote above fascinates me. I've always liked it for its own sake. But then I went a-googlin' and discovered that everyone says or writes it the exact same way but no one is sure where it came from.

I think it reminds us that even in the Dizzinformation Age all facts—however useful, time-tested, corroborated, etceterated—are potentially provisional given that...


[FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! Is Mr. Cranky suffering from a severe bout of dementia and wandering the streets of his neighborhood in a fugue state, peeing his pants, and asking the feral cats under the viaduct why they killed all the birds?]

Get a grip, Dana. I know perfectly well most of the birds have fled south, as I wish I could. Winter's here in Canada's Deep South (Ohio) are brutal.

[Fine then, could we move past the freakin' lame lyrical loopy introduction and get on with the show?]

Speaking of dementia, I've noticed that you seem to be losing your temper a lot more than usual lately. When was the last time...

Bam! (A door slams shut in my head.)

                                                     *     *     *

My daily morning and evening perambulations around the neighborhood I've lived in, but have mostly ignored for the past decade, detailed in Mr. Cranky's Neighborhood, continue apace.

Halloween's upon us and the leaves are dying. Climate conditions this year were such that they're not going out in a blaze of glory. More like a soft glow of pastel mediocrity.

Halloween decorations, some of which went up quite early—but not as early as miniaturized candy bars encased in holiday-themed plastic bags (same candy, different bags)—have appeared here, there, and even in that street half full of deserted houses way over there.

Also, orange Halloween lights—I try to hit the streets when the sun is almost gone, sunsets in the Flatlands of Ohio are normally only at their best for a brief time—while not commonplace, are also not rare.

When I was a kid, there was no such thing as Halloween lights and miniaturized candy bars were rare. Full-sized bars were the rule and the infidels that desecrated the holiday by handing out tiny candy bars were as reviled as the people that handed out fruit.

And no, it wasn't because of a fear of carefully hidden razor blades, it was because it was fruit.

Yes, even back in the Black&White ages that story, and variations of that story, were in circulation. I went a googlin' and discovered it's so common there's a Wikipedia entry about it.

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The good news is that the Wikipedia entry, along with all sorts of other sources, have ruled that this myth is officially busted.

The bad news is that this urban legend has roots that extend all the way back to when candy started being made in factories, which according to this website, was as long ago as 1847.

"The inventor of 'chocolate for eating' is unknown, but in 1847 Joseph Fry discovered a way to mix cocoa powder, sugar, and cocoa to create a paste that could be pressed into a mold. The resulting Bar was a success."

"Candy from a factory, made by a machine? I'm stickin' with Mrs. McGillicuddy's hot chocolate. Lord knows what might be in that bar!"

The current kerfuffle concerning candy tampering commenced when I was a kid and coincided with the cultural chaos of the 60s and 70s that continues (alliteration rules! sorry...) to this day.

Although the stories have repeatedly been debunked, the legend, now more than 150 years old, lives on. Given the 24-hour news cycle, social media, and global terrorism it's not hard to imagine why. 

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In America, with the exception of certain pagans and a seemingly ever-diminishing number of Catholics, All Hallows Eve remains an unofficial and secular holiday even though it generates lots of profit, lots of jobs, and lots of fun.

Somehow, it's managed to avoid being turned into a Monday/three day weekend holiday even if some heretical communities celebrate it on a Friday or Saturday night.

Somehow, even public-sector unions haven't found a way to turn it into a paid holiday—for public-sector unions and no one else.

I've even heard rumors of places that don't have officially authorized hours for when ghoulies and ghosties are permitted to go trick or treating.

"Stop yer cryin' kid, rules are rules. If ya don't want yer candy confiscated ya gotta play by the rules. Hey, have your parents seen this costume? I mean..."

"Don't even go there, Ed, those rules are only for college students."

[Geesh, is there a point to this drivel?]

Dana, welcome back!

[Don't start, I...]

A point? I guess I'm just trying to say it pleases me no end that in America the busyiful we celebrate a holiday of (almost) no religious or secular significance primarily for the fun of it.

On a vaguely related note, I promise that if I'm elected king that I'll spend no shortage of political capital promoting the passage of the America's Closed on Sundays Just Because We Can Be amendment to the Constitution.

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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Your friendly neighborhood crank is not crazy about social media (I am a crank after all) but if you must, you can like me/follow me on Facebook. I post an announcement when I have a new column available as well as news articles/opinion pieces that reflect where I'm coming from or that I wish to call attention to. Cranky don't tweet. 


 

 






Saturday, October 19, 2019

Democratic... Debates?

May You Live in Interesting Times


Image by florentiabuckingham from Pixabay

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandchildren (who exist), and my great-grandchildren (who don't) — the Stickies — to haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.
                  
This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and approximately 39.9% of all grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering. 

                                                  Glossary  

                                                    About

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"It's not easy to be engaged in political debate when it is reduced to performers trying to outdo each other." -Alexandra Adornetto 


Dear Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies (& Gentlereaders),

I am, at this point in my present sojourn on this low-level planet, a somewhat jaded and cynical Citizen of the Republic.

[What the hell are you on about now, old man?]

Older than many, younger than many, Dana. Old enough to appreciate the significance and importance of Benjamin Franklin's reply to Mrs. Powell's question.

[Who's Mrs. Powell and what was her question?]

Allegedly, Mrs. Powell was the woman who asked Franklin what the Constitutional Convention had cooked up. "Well, doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?"

To which he (allegedly) replied, "A republic, if you can keep it."

I use the word allegedly since the evidence of exactly what happened is thin and contradictory. However, it's what I was taught, and given the fact it should be true, as far as I'm concerned it's written in stone.

[With minimal respect, your garrulousness, what's this got to do with the Democratic debates?]

Twelve carefully coiffed and professionally made-up people standing on a stage and just itching for a chance to deploy one of their pocketful of carefully crafted, focus group tested sound bytes created by professional political guns for hire is not a debate...

It's just another (un)reality show.

[I see you're in search of setup, Sparky. I'll bite, what should we do?]

We don't. There's nothing to be done but enjoy the show and pray for divine intervention or whatever it is, that somehow, so far, has enabled the Republic to always come out smelling like a rose. Eventually. Once the smoke clears.

[Why are you so...]

The Founding Oppressive Patriarchs, not wanting a king, set up a system that included a relatively weak chief executive with a narrowly defined job description. Power is supposed to be wielded by the people's representatives, Congress.

Nowadays, as George Will has noted, Congress is more theatrical than actual.

Congress has an approval rating, as this is being written, of 18%. Historically speaking, they have a reelection rate of about 97%. If that doesn't call for a big fat WTF! (wow, that's freaky!) I don't know what does.


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The presidency has degenerated into a cult of personality contest. All tribes and sub-tribes fixate on a messiah while demonizing all the other would-be messiahs secure in the knowledge that if they can get their guy canonized, heaven on Earth will commence directly.

[Well, maybe, but...]

The frontrunner of the week, Fauxcahontas (lawyer, 70, net worth $12,000,000) is formerly (that's so, like, last week) famous for claiming to have a significant amount of Cherokee blood in her veins so as to benefit from a homemade affirmative action program.

She's now becoming famous for spouting fountains of bafflegab when asked how she plans on funding her well-planned utopia without heavily taxing the middle class. It's a numbers thing, there aren't nearly enough evil rich folks to pay the tab.

There's still no such thing as a free lunch. A well functioning social democracy requires heavy taxes on as many people as possible to pay for all the free programs. If my fellow Americans want to go down this path, let 'em knock themselves out. 

However, tell us how much the easy monthly payment's going to be before we sign here and initial there, before we wind up with a political version of Bernie Madoff in the Whitehouse.

As for my favorite socialist, the other Bernie (78, net worth $2,500,000), given that he recently had a heart attack and has been a professional politician of minimal accomplishment for 99% of his adult life, Why hasn't he been voted off the island?

And leave us not forget Joe Biden friend of the working man born in hardscrabble Scranton, Pa (left when he was ten, lawyer, 76, net worth $9,000,000). Mr. Biden went to Washington. Mr. Biden should've had a more father-son conversations with his boy Hunter, who may have ruined dad's latest and likely last shot at the monarchy.

And how about...

It was at this point in my ruminations that I was struck stupid by a vision. 

I saw an, angel? An avatar of some sort materializing at the first debate between the Donald and... I couldn't make her out.

A drop-dead gorgeous, Bisexual Woman Of Color (she experimented in college but now is a faithfull mom of three married to a plumber of pallor), a BWOC, who appeared standing behind a podium of solid gold.

This persona had been tested and been rated Inevitably Electable (IE) by Frank Luntz, Swampmeister. Wikipedia: "Luntz's current company, Luntz Global, LLC, specializes in message creation and image management for commercial and political clients." 

The deliberately vaguely defined higher power (DVDHP) ain't dumb. It knows the current zeitgeist is one of all Showbiz all the time and is aware of the current importance of acronyms.

When the Secret Service rushed the stage they were repelled by an invisible barrier. A reporter (a plant hired by Luntz Global) shouted out, "Who are you, and where did you come from?!? She calmly replied that she's the embodiment of multiple statesmen that have appeared throughout history whenever America needed one.

"You can call me, Marie-Louise."

She said that she had been sent by the DVDHP to save us from ourselves since given the current state of the media, and the audience they pander to, a homegrown statesman is currently impossible.

Unable to control himself—having been temporarily taken possession of by the anti-DVDHP—an apparently biologically male member of the Righteous Resistance famous for his obnoxious personality leapt to his feet and demanded to know why she had used the words statesmen and statesman instead of statespersons and statesperson.

The IE-BWOC then pointed at the male member and a lightning bolt struck him in the chest. Fortunately, it was just a special effects lightning bolt, no more powerful than a Taser with depleted batteries. Just powerful enough to get everyone's attention.

The BWOC then said, "This is the sort of trivial, politically correct B.S. I'm here to put a stop to, honey. Anyone here have a real question?"

The Donald said, "Hey, Marie-Louise, sweetheart, how much for the podium, and what are you doing after the debate?"

Pandemonium ensued; I snapped out of it.

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

Please scroll down to react, comment, or share. If my work pleases you I wouldn't be offended if you offered to buy me a coffee.  

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Your friendly neighborhood crank is not crazy about social media (I am a crank after all) but if you must, you can like me/follow me on Facebook. I post an announcement when I have a new column available as well as news articles/opinion pieces that reflect where I'm coming from or that I wish to call attention to. Cranky don't tweet.