THE BEST QUOTE I HAVE READ, OR HEARD, TODAY: August 4, 2020©

“Do it now — write nothing but what your conviction of its truth inspires you to write.”

Percy Bysshe Shelley via The Writer’s Almanac 

Good writing advice is hard to come by, and this is some of the best that I have read. Forceful and brief. Write your convictions, truth, and do it now.

Tomorrow may not come to us, we have no guarantee of continued life.

THE BEST QUOTE I HAVE READ, OR HEARD, TODAY: JULY 30, 2020©

“Monsters exist, but they are too few in numbers to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are [those] ready to believe and act without asking questions.”

Primo Levi via The Writer’s Almanac for Friday, July 31, 2020

Primo Levi was an Italian Jew that survived Auschwitz, so he knew something about monsters. But he also knew where the real power of the beast exists, it lies in the hands of those that empower them. His monsters lived during WWII, but they still roam the earth. And they are always enabled by the same type of people, the weak and the unquestioning. These are the same kind of people that allowed Jim Jones to lead his cult followers to their death.

Accepting as gospel the utterances of politicians without questions will always empower unscrupulous people. And these people are not always somewhere else, we, in America, have one among us, a cult leader that just happens to be President. He, too, is empowered in the same way that Hitler was, whose base of followers had their fear and hatred of Jews fed regularly by der Fuehrer, much as Trump’s base is fed a steady diet of hate and fear of blacks.

While I could compare Adolph Hitler, Donald Trump, and Jim Jones in many ways, I will only say that all of them lacked an essential human quality: Humility.

Humility is one of the basic human qualities that connect high officials to their constituencies in a way that the rank and file of a country can identify with. When Ronald Reagan eulogized the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger, he touched millions of people’s hearts in a way that we could all understand and identify with.  When I re-read his words today, I experienced the same emotions that I felt when I watched him in January 1986. I was never a fan or supporter of Reagan, but he knew how to unite and consol the American people at a time of tragedy and need. He did not need to cast blame on others to make himself look good, he knew what he needed to do, and he did it right.

In 2015 Barack Obama delivered the eulogy for the slain pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Pickney and 8 others died when Dylann Roof, a violent white supremacist, came into the church and killed 9 members in cold blood. In his eulogy, Obama spoke to hatred, racism, and gun violence, but he also talked of forgiveness and healing. He pulled no punches as to the history and violence against blacks in the South but preferred to bring the goodness of the victims forward. He did not speak with hatred or meanness, but with truth and forgiveness. You knew that he was genuinely touched by the violence that happened in a House of God. Obama did not need to cast blame, he, like Reagan, just needed to touch people’s hearts and to make them feel better. He did, and they did.

Whatever else you may think of Reagan and Obama, when it came to tragic events, they knew how to soften the blow, to make people feel that they had a leader that suffered along with them, but who also put the American people first and that showing their humility was also showing us their strength.

America again needs a leader that has the strength of humility.

 

Honey-do’s, Damn Honey-do’s, and Projects©

First off, my apologies to Mark Twain.

The Coronavirus pandemic is a terrible scourge on mankind, sickening millions, killing thousands, and wrecking economies around the world, this pestilence is almost as bad as the Trump presidency, and of course, it has been made worse by the said president.

But much of what The Crown Virus has wrought has been little covered in the mainstream media if at all, or often by any of the media sources. Things, important things such as the Cleanliness Crash, people are now going for days without bathing, yes, even women. And women are also neglecting other areas of personal care such as not getting their hair died, and groin grooming, which has totally fallen by the wayside, they are deep in the weeds now.

Working from home means that they can, and do, now work from their home office wearing nothing more than a t-shirt and panties, except for for when they are required to be on the occasional Zoom video conference call. Yes, slovenliness is not just for men anymore (although I have not trimmed the hair in my nose and ears since February). If and when we all return to an office the shock of daily bathing and grooming, and wearing of office attire will probably require onsite counselors to ease employees back into the of routines.

Most marriages can survive the above mentioned personal care digressions, however some are being severely strained by having both spouses working from home, together, all day, every day, and in the cases where the husband is retired or otherwise not gainfully employed the wife is likely to start assigning Honey-Do’s.

These usually start innocuously enough, if he is lucky they will occasionally require a trip out of the house, so the cagey spouse can add in a stop at his favorite fast food establishment to get some desperately needed variety in his diet.  You cannot eat Brussels Sprout’s every day.

But as the home confinement continues the tasks get larger and more onerous, and his porn watching and occasional day drinking time is getting severely infringed upon. But the clever male can usually find a workaround so as to not feel as if he has been sentenced to life on Devil’s Island. Until.

Working from home is usually not the usual 8-10 hour daily grind, plus commute, that most office workers faced back in the Good Old Days, now, we, meaning she, has more time to think about how she would like to make some improvements on the home front, this is how we gtet assigned the dreaded Projects.

We men usually hear about the project when she utters these 3 dreaded words: I’ve been thinking. This never good, and trust me, she has the time to contemplate projects because working from home during the pandemic does not fill the day, giving them time to fantasize about home improvements that she now feels there is plenty of time for HIM to carry out, and hopefully, have the money to pay for them.

We are usually told that they are a small, manageable project that the liars on YouTube say will only take 5-6 hours, cost $100.00, and only need simple tools that everyone already has. Liars!  Two weeks, $900.00, and permanent nerve damage in his elbows and hands, later, it is finally finished, along with life as you once knew it.

So yes, the human toll from the Coronavirus is not only found in the the sick and the dead, it is also to be counted in the broken lives, the damaged marriages, and most of all in the damaged bodies of the once young and strong men laid waste by the Crown.

 

Tugboat Joe versus Showboat Don©

I read this article by Leonard Pitts about the late Rep. John Lewis today, and the following quote inspired me to write this post: “Vote for the tugboat,” said the squat, balding Lewis, “not the showboat.” 

Tugboats are born ugly, I am convinced. But of all of the types of vessels that ply the waters of the world, they are the most honest. There is no pretension about them, they were put on this earth for one reason only, to work. They push, they pull, they shove to the side, no one ever holds a party on one, if they did the guests would show up in overalls and work boots, ready to work no less. These boats do the heavy lifting and hard work in ports and intercoastal canals; when large, heavy vessels need to maneuver in tight spaces, here comes the tugboat. Not afraid to get dirty and get the job done. This is the boat of the American worker.

Showboats on the other hand, well, they just look pretty, guests that come to a party on a showboat will not break a heel, chip a fingernail, nor be mistaken for the great American worker, the women are all elegant, the men, mostly nances. A showboat is all hat, no cattle. This is not the kind of boat that Americans would expect to get the job done for them. And they would be correct.

This brings me to the upcoming election.

If Joe Biden was a boat he would be a tugboat. Joe is a working-class kind of guy, yes, his professional life has mostly been in representative politics, but he has always served the interest of the little guys, the workers of this country. As both a Senator and a Vice President Biden has understood that governing and accomplishing good things for the American people took hard work, and a stubbornness to see things through. That is Joe Biden. He understands that as a democracy we have to work with and consider the needs and wants of the other side when legislation is crafted, to consider all parties, then all of our great country wins.

Then there is the showboat.

Donald Trump. One of his greatest failings as a President is that he does not know how to work with others to arrive at a consensus through compromise and negotiation. He only knows how to bully his way through, that is if he cannot just order things to be done thus and so, well, he pitches a fit. If a company like ExxonMobil, a publicly traded company is a democracy, then the Trump Companies is a dictatorship, which is how Trump wants to rule America. If that were to happen, our country would no longer be America. Trump is lazy, which is why, after winning in 2016, he wanted Mike Pence to “run” the country (do the hard work of governing), while he, would just showboat around America on a 4 year victory lap, at least when he was not playing golf. A great gig if you can it.

But Trump’s laziness and his authoritarian inclinations have shown us that the Constitution does not really provide as many protections against a man that would be king as we thought. We are now down to two options: vote the son of a bitch out, or, depose him. I vote for voting him out. America cannot stand another 4 years of Trump’s vision of an America no longer run under the rule of law.

America needs to vote for the tugboat in November, and send the showboat home to one of his golf courses. Permanently.

 

The Cat Census©

Yesterday I read this blog post by Cristian Mihai: The Best Blogging Advice is Always The One You Hate The Most and I left this comment: “My contribution (to blogging advice) is: Inspiration is everywhere, literally. Use it.” So after ruminating on it overnight and this morning I decided to take my own advice and use daily inspiration to create more varied blog postings.

My wife and I are pet people, we have 3 cats and 3 dogs, we also take a 4-mile walk in the morning 6 days a week. We get out at 6:00 AM to beat the oppressive Houston heat and humidity, never an easy proposition during the summer. Early on in our walks, we started noticing all the different stray/outdoor cats in our neighborhood, so we started counting them (The Cat Census), the next logical step was to start naming them, and finally making up stories about their little cat lives.

The only downside to all this is that we may see cats for weeks, then they vanish without a trace, never to be seen again. No doubt, most of those MIA have been killed by cars, since I doubt that they were rescued by human Cat Angels. This is dedicated to all of the outside cats in the world.

The cat group that got us started was a group of 3 black and one gray cat that congregated at a corner house every morning. Eventually, we named them, Blackie 1, 2, and 3, the gray cat became Big Boy. Then, one morning we noticed some movement in the front garden, it was 4 tiny, gray tabby kittens. Talk about a population explosion.

But, all good things come to an end, eventually the 3 black cats became two, Big Boy has not been seen for several weeks, probably locked up for non-payment of kitten support, and the kitten population is down to one, we hope the other 3 found good homes. The remaining black cats also mosey two houses down the street to eat at a home we have dubbed The Breakfast Buffet. The owner sets to food each morning, just not as early as the cats would like, but begging cats cannot be too choosy.

Up the street, a bit is a lovely tuxedo cat we have dubbed Trash Cat. No, the cat his-self is not trashy, but the family that he owns is. In our neighborhood we have “heavy” trash pickup on Monday, along with regular trash and recycle, but, there are some rules for heavy trash and the owners do not comply with any of them, so their heavy trash stays on the curb until the homeowners association gets on them. Hence the name, Trash Cat.

Lest the dog lovers think we are totally ignoring them, I will include a few notes about them. Across the street from Trash Cat lives Suki (although we initially called her Farley). Suki is a Golden Retreiver, her master (Pop) drives her out to a park for a walk every morning, as they drive away from the house Suki has her head out the back passenger window, a big smile on her face and her tongue hanging out. What a life. 

Heading down the street and around the corner, we come to a catless home. The owners are Vietnamese, and they have created a beautiful front yard, but the Garden of Eden is in the back. Once when we were talking to them on a morning walk, they invited us into their back yard and we walked into a garden of delight, they grow as many of the fruits and vegetables from their homeland as possible. Beans and squashes grow up A-Frame trellises, papaya, lime, grapefruit, and mango trees abound, and a eucalyptus tree grows near the back of the house. If I dreamed of a garden for my back yard, this is it.

There are reasons why human encounters when walking are almost always good while encounters driving are generally not so good.

But, I digress, onward to more of the local cats. At the end of the block from the garden home is the Casa de Checkers, checkers being the Lady of the Manor She is a mostly white, tri-color cat, whose orange and black areas look to be in small, almost checkerboard patterns. The naming of street cats, not an exact science.

As we near home I have to mention one more dog that we have only seen once, but what he did he was worthy of notice and noting. We have not named him, but we did watch him with amusement. Walking by we heard a loud barking that seemed to come from inside a house, as we looked around we see this large german shepherd mix dog balancing on the window sill. Ok, we often see cats in windows frequently, but what appeared to be a 60-pound dog, not so often. And, he was vigorously barking and dancing in the window. Some dog.

We round out our journey at our next-door neighbor’s house. They have, had actually, two stray cats that they fed and watered on their front porch. Whitey and Blackie. Blackie showed up about 6 months ago as a small kitten, a rambunctious boy kitten. Whitey is an older female and not much for dealing with the bother of a growing kitten. But she tolerated him as needed. But Blackie, unusual for a stray, was not shy or untrusting, in fact, he was downright social, when I would be in the front yard talking to the neighbors he would just saunter over and rub against your leg, or flop on his side at your feet wanting to be petted. He was the kind of cat that my wife would take in a second, but we have 3 already. A few weeks ago we noticed that he was not coming around as usual. He was an un-altered male so we were used to him being gone for a few days at a time. Not this time. I can only hope that he rubbed up against the leg of someone that just could not resist bringing him into their home, forever. That is my story and I am sticking with it. He was a good cat.

Well, I have rambled on about our morning rambles enough for one day, but do check back if the spirit moves you. Chow. For now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE BEST QUOTE I HAVE READ, OR HEARD, TODAY: JULY 23, 2020©

How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Four. Saying that a tail is a leg doesn’t make it a leg.

Abraham Lincoln
Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/abraham-lincoln-quotes

Not everything that was said 155+ years ago is spot on in today’s political situation, but wow, this one by Abraham Lincoln certainly is.

It seems lately that our so called political leaders believe that anything they say will be accepted as gospel, certainly by their base, and the rest of us be damned. If they do not like what is said about them it is just fake news, or something else not to be believed, their version, alternative facts, revisionist history or otherwise, is all that can be believed.

History has done a good job of recording the sayings and actions of all of the American presidents, and we can usually understand pretty easily why some are on Mount Rushmore and others are not. Nixon and Trump are unlikely to make the cut, but if the latter does then we should throw in the former to keep him company.

There have been a number of war time American presidents, but none faced a greater challenge than Lincoln, the republic was not fighting an external enemy, the Union was fighting their fellow Americans. I cannot imagine a harder decision for a new president to have to make than to prosecute a war, our deadliest, against ourselves.

I am feeling the need to read more about Lincoln and what he wrote during that awful crisis that ended 155 years ago, I believe that his words would strengthen and inspire me, and others, during our current, very difficult times.

I am a son of the south, but I identify more with the Battle Hymn of the Republic than with Dixie.

 

 

THE BEST QUOTE I HAVE READ, OR HEARD, TODAY: JULY 22, 2020©

“Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the thousand small uncaring ways.”

Stephen Vincent Benét 

We have all been told that “lost time is never found again“, one of many famous quotes by Benjamin Franklin, but the above quote by Stephen Benet really puts a fine point on the human need to act, and do, because every time we fail to do so, we have wasted an irreplaceable part of our life.

We waste time in minutes, not in the thousand hours that we may have spent writing the Great American novel that no one other than the author, and maybe a spouse or best friend, will ever read. No editor will ever read the manuscript past page 3, the pages were always returned without comment, the only evidence that it had been touched by another human was the big, bold, red stamp on the cover page that screamed: “REJECTED”.

No matter. You conceived the idea, you hammered at those keys, and a thousand hours (of actual research and typing) later there it is, 812 pages of your heart and soul. A labor of love. Your Opus magnum.

Such efforts are never to be considered wasted time, especially in the current time when many people have difficulty with a 280 character Tweet.

Write on. Do something with your time on this rock, even if it the result is not very good. Because no matter how bad a piece of writing, a painting, or a construction project is, if you do it, it can be improved upon, if you never start it, it will never be done and you will die wondering if you could have done that something that may have made you live on for people that never knew or loved you.

Do it. Start now. Don’t lose your life minute by minute.

THE BEST QUOTE I HAVE READ, OR HEARD, TODAY: JULY 7, 2020©

“You’re not supposed to criticize Tammy Duckworth in any way because she once served in the military. Most people just ignore her. But when Duckworth does speak in public, you’re reminded what a deeply silly and unimpressive person she is,”

Tucker Carlson – On Fox

Well, gee Tucker, tell us what you really think.

But I hardly think that Tammy Duckworth feels that she should not ever be criticized, even by the likes of you. But let’s turn things around a bit since you have brought up her military service to America, and maybe you could tell us a bit about YOUR military service to America. What’s that? You did not serve your country? Oh, kind of like that coward in the White House, no, not Jared, Trump. Remember how he had his feet amputated and he could not serve, oh, that’s right, it was just some bone spurs in his heels, his real war was in avoiding catching a venereal disease. So sad.

But I am sure that Sen. Duckworth would just love to have bone spurs in her heels right now, just one little problem, she does not have heels or feet, and most of her legs were blown away as well, but don’t feel sorry for her (don’t worry, I know you won’t), because she does not feel sorry for her situation, she has had children (2) and been elected to the Senate and could be tapped for Joe Biden’s running mate. She is far too busy and accomplished to gripe about how people are unfair to her.

She is a public figure and people will criticize her (she can handle it), after all, she survived getting shot down in a Blackhawk in Iraq and lived to tell about it; you are small potatoes to someone as tough and accomplished as her.

The Best Quote I Have Read, or Heard, Today: July 1, 2020©

So many great, not so great, profane, funny, and downright stupid things are said and written every day (and in the pre-internet past), so I have decided to try and post one each day, some will be current, others from the past; profound commentary of mine will accompany each quote. Hopefully, most, or at least some, will not come from politicians. 

“The world will know and understand me someday. But if that day does not arrive, it does not greatly matter. I shall have opened the way for other women.”

Lucile Aurore Dupin – aka George Sand

What caught my eye when reading this quote was the other-centric ideal that is expressed here, while Dupin hopes that she will be understood at some point in the future, she expresses clearly that that is not the most important thing, but rather that she may have opened doors for millions of women to live a more fulfilled life.

In 2020, in the thick  of the Age of Trump, it is easy to forget that some people did, and still do, think of others, and understand that the world does not completely revolve their person. These are the kind of people that make the world a better place.

Long live those that care.

This a place to record my thoughs on the world's events as satire, humor, speculation, or even serious discourse.