Saturday, June 29, 2019

Hair Today

Didn’t sleep a wink last night. Tossed and turned. And about 3 AM, had a vision float into my head: Donald Trump with a completely bald head. Shaved clean, shiny, without a hair in sight.

Gone was the edifice of cotton candy pulled left, shoved right, waved backwards, coaxed forwards. Trump has been to l'art de la coiffure what the Wonderbra was to bosoms. But, apparently, no longer.

Instead, he was joining ranks of Mark Messier, Michael Jordan, Mahatma Gandhi, Telly Savalas—and also a true plutocrat, Daddy Warbucks, who could become a new father figure to Donald.  

Warbucks was “an industrialist, but became a philanthropist as well—his fortune had built to ‘ten zillion dollars.’”* There is no evidence, however, that he set up a phony charitable foundation. And he did have a concern about the plight of one orphan child. One cannot imagine Warbucks leaving Annie stranded at the border. So, maybe not a daddy to Donny.

As for the others as clean-headed mentors: Donald as a selflessness Gandhi? It is to laugh. And since he couldn’t shoot a roundball like Michael or a frozen puck like Mark, they’re out. Maybe the best bet would be for him to take after Kojak—and suck lollipops.



Thursday, June 27, 2019

News of the Day 6/27

Airline Sued Over Animal Rebuff

“Emotional Support Animal” Kicked Off Vegas Flight 

An Armonk, New York man has filed suit against FliHi Airways, claiming he was discriminated against when he was not allowed to board flight 1820 to Las Vegas on Monday with his emotional support animal, Maizie. Justin Prestidigitalis claims that gate personal stopped him and Maizie from boarding, despite having a legitimate ticket and pre-assigned seat. 

“I saw other passengers—one with a gerbil and another with a rabbit—pass through the gate with no hassle,” Prestidigitalis said at a news conference held at the office of his attorney, Noah Dark. 

Prestidigitalis explained that he acquired Maizie on the advice of his psychotherapist after suffering a severe anxiety attack last February during the written portion of the New York State driver’s license examination. Since then, he says, he has experienced no further episodes with Maizie by his side.

Prestidigitalis, a 20-year-old professional gamer who goes by the screen name Crudekill1836, was attempting to fly to Las Vegas, NV to participate in the Zombieoffcon annual tournament this coming weekend. “Last year I finished 12th without any emotional support, and expected to do much better this year with Maizie there with me,” Prestidigitalis said. “I hope I can get my entrance fee back. Otherwise, I’ll add it to my suit for damages against the airline.”

Next month Prestidigitalis intends to compete in the Summer Dragonslaycon in Washington, DC. “With Maizie by my side,” Prestidigitalis said, “I expect to finish in the top 5.” 

“And this time we’re going by Amtrak.”


Saturday, June 22, 2019

Twenty More Aphorisms

Birth is showtime without a script.

A follower of fashion is always behind.

A simple betrayal. No simple forgiveness.

Who is a dog’s best friend?

God is not omniscient. He neglected to provide chairs for those who only stand and wait.

Death cancels your credit cards.

What has an elephant done that’s worth remembering?

The value of the persistence is proportional to the virtue of the undertaking.

Always face up to a backstabber.

A stopped clock is right twice a day, but its owner doesn’t know when.

Taking one step backward in order to take two steps forward does not work if you’re standing at the edge of a cliff.

That the astronauts didn’t encounter him doesn’t mean the man in the moon isn’t there.

The heart doesn’t have its reasons. It is a pump.

Over time, patience is surrender.

Fast food has taught us to be civilized and eat with our fingers.

If that stock is as good as you say, why aren’t you keeping it for yourself?

The best time to be late is for your execution.

The words “I truly believe” should precipitate a run for the exit.

Gravity is not to be argued with.

Your doppelgänger is having a better time than you.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Twenty Aphorisms

One of my literary idols is François de La Rochefoucauld, the renowned author of many famous maxims. Perhaps his most famous--and my favorite--is "We all have enough strength to endure the misfortunes of others."*

Blame James Geary for this post. I have been reading Geary's Guide to the World's Great Aphorists, which has led me down this path.


He who buries his treasures needs a good memory.

If you miss the boat, don’t try to swim.

Never trust the judgment of a man who looks in the mirror and doesn’t laugh.

The power of a simple “no” is vitiated when followed by a complex explanation.

It is difficult to be thankful for a gift horse if you don’t have a stable.

If they do one thing, they’re bound to do another.

A moment of doubt calls into question a lifetime of belief.

If all occupations were self-regulated, planes would fall from the skies.

No philosophy is sound that can’t be lived.

The longest journey ends with a single step.

Only a fool needs a horoscope to tell him when to travel.

Hope is for losers.

A shallow man can harbor no deep secrets.

A straight line is the shortest distance between two points. Unfortunately, the landscape seldom obliges.

Why should I believe what you profess today—when you didn’t believe it yesterday, and won’t believe it tomorrow.

Once is a favor. Twice is an obligation.

The problem with the future is that it isn’t past.

A job not worth doing is not worth doing well.

The opera is over when the fat lady takes a curtain call.

An ace up your sleeve is no good if you’re playing chess.


*Usually rendered, "We all have enough strength to bear the misfortunes of others."

But I think bear can be ambiguous here. So I prefer endure.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

I've Pledged Already, Thank You


                                              R. Taylor, The New Yorker, June 4, 1960


Does one imagine that the next day the couple—with or without giggling—plighted their troths again? 

Silly to ask, you say?


I bring this up as a back-door way to get around to discussing today’s “Knickers-in-a-Twist” winner, Kristy Swanson. Ms. Swanson, an alleged actress, tweeted (don’t they ever stop?) about a teacher who apparently doesn’t stand during the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.* Quelle horreur! Even worse, that teacher told the students that they didn’t have to stand either if they didn’t want to. 

Well, untwist your underpants, Ms. actress, for the teacher, opting out, is doing that most American of things: exercising his/her freedom of speech. And students don't have to recite it, because forcing them to violates the First Amendment, which protects free speech. 
If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.         Justice Robert Jackson, writing in the majority decision in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette.**

Despite the Supreme Court ruling, there is nothing some people love more than dragooning others into a conforming loyalism—and somehow that show of loyalty always happens to coincide with what the dragooners believe. (I wrote about this three years ago.***) 

It is quite curious to me that the nation managed to exist for over a hundred years before the Pledge of Allegiance was thrust upon its citizens in 1892. And even more curious to me is the fact that the Republic survived more than another half-century before God was shoe-horned into the mix in 1954.


To return to our starting point—the newly-weds—with a philosophical question: at what point does reciting one’s marriage vows become redundant? Or, to focus on our main topic: how many times does one have to pledge a pledge?

For me, having once pledged my allegiance, I stand by that pledge, until such time as I renounce that pledge or pledge loyalty to another flag.