A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Saturday, December 31, 2016

GTFOoH 2016

It is very early on the last day of what many people believe was the worst year in recent memory.  The cats are fed and contentedly staking out their morning nap positions.  Warrior Queen has arisen, and yes, there is the coffee bell being rung for her daily ration of “happy juice.”

Now a second longer ringing since I did not hop to it while I finished that last sentence.  Pardon me while I play fetch...

Okay, I’m back.  WQ has her coffee and all is right with the world.  No, I take that back.  It’s still 2016 for 17 more hours, so how can there be anything right with the world? 

WQ has just announced that Auckland will see the New Year within minutes from now.  Oh whoopty doo!  And the sunrise will instantly bring lollipops and rainbows back to our lives. 

Now allow me to go full grumpy on this thought:  I’ve never been big for lollipops, and rainbows could be a metaphor for all of mankind’s lofty endeavors, shining bright and colorful just to fade too quickly into memory.

Okay, I went full grumpy and I am still in a kvetching mood.

The year’s end will happen with many of us despairing over the approaching onslaught against our nation’s character.  We won’t remember this year fondly.  It will be the year which we can point to and say, “Yes, that’s the time when every inch of progress made in the last 8 years, nay, 50 years, started to go into reverse.”

2016 will be remembered more for losses than anything else.  Oh sure, the Cubs finally won the World Series, but beyond that, the tallies in the other column dwarf their accomplishment.  The human toll was particularly heavy this year, with the music industry taking a bigger hit than usual. 

We lost many of our jukebox heroes since the year started.  Some gave up the ghost after too many years in the fast lane (Glenn Frey); others were allowed to age and slip away gracefully (David Bowie and Leonard Cohen).  At least one was a genius who perhaps saw the writing on the wall and bowed out without having to withstand the indignity of old age (Prince).   So we mourn our loss with each passing and envy them at the same time.  Lucky bastards are in a better place now.

So for the rest of us, what is to be done except make the best of it.  In my immediate future (tonight) I will probably drink more than usual and console myself with what one blogger friend considers nasty chips and a big bowl of dip. Yet even as I will do this and expose my body to the instant gratification of sensations that are bad for me, I wish there was something more cathartic I could do to mark the year.

Oh, allow me to celebrate the occasion with one very cruel, inhumane thought: if 2016 were human we could tie it to a wheelchair and push it off the top of a long flight of steps!

What?  Oh come on!  We were all thinking it!

Are you still here 2016?   GET THE EFF OUT OF HERE! 

(Thank you for reading and Happy New Year.  Oh and 2016, don’t even think about coming back!)

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Yes, Virginia…

Please don’t be afraid, Virginia.  I say that customary plea even though I myself (and many like-minded individuals) am dreading the foreseeable future.   We have spent the last month or so in a daze wondering why things are happening the way they happened.   We’ve also wondered what has jumped up the butts of our fellow citizens to make them suddenly act so…so…uncivilized.

My despondency has given way from time to time to more philosophical moods about current events.  As a historian, I have to reason that these events need to happen, else mankind in all their naivety will never learn their lessons and progress.   So we will have to endure all of the worst case scenarios which our fertile imaginations believe will come to pass.

Indeed, it is a bad time to be a liberal-leaning progressive living in America.

In our collective despair, we have sought to minimize our pain at the expense of our fellow citizens.  Yes, we joke that the vast rural area between the metropolitan extremes of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh should no longer be called Pennsylvania, but rather Pennsyltucky.    

We equate the living space of our neighbors and relatives with the worst possible, most demeaning, redneck hick stereotype imaginable.

It may sound vulgar, but we don’t mean it.  Still the stereotype thoughts do get us through the day.  It’s called “humor”, and it’s how we hope to accomplish what our detractors keep telling us, “Get over it.”

Sorry, Virginia, I got side-tracked.  This is, after all, when Christians all over the world honor traditions.  A tradition of doing good will to our fellow men and women. A tradition of wishing all a peaceful and happy life. A tradition of remembering you, Virginia, as the little girl who fretted that the human embodiment of these other traditions, Santa Claus, did not exist.

I’ll be honest, Virginia.  Many of us are having our doubts this year about our fellow man.  Yes, we’ll paint them in the worst, garish hues to make ourselves feel better, but ultimately we won’t want to keep doing it.

Both sides see the other as bad this year.  Truly, Virginia, we are not all bad. Good people still exist. They just see the world differently than we are seeing them now. We can only hope to change their minds and look at the world differently then they see the world today.  No, I won’t be so bold or arrogant to insist that they have to see things our way.  Just different…

You see, Virginia, we should really look in the hearts of our fellow man and see goodness in all of them.   Sticky sweet sentiment?  Perhaps, but we all need to believe that we can achieve peace and extend good will to men  and women.   That’s all human Christians and non-Christians alike.

I believe that this is the way the rabbi for which we name our holiest of holidays would prefer we live our lives.  Sleep tight, Virginia, in peace and good will.

(Thank you for reading and please have a safe and happy holiday season.)

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Another Search for Light in the Darkness

My entries this holiday season are turning out to be a series of essays regarding an ongoing search for light (or truth, if you prefer) in the approaching darkness of our changing leadership.

Wow!  Just that sentence alone is too dark to contemplate further.

And yet, the holidays are happening anyway.  The sales are on, shoppers are out in force or more likely this year in front of their computer screens poised to click their mouse for the best holiday deal ever, the songs are playing on the radio, and the decorations are up everywhere.  There is no stopping the holiday this year despite the signs of gloom.

I don’t know the full story of how this feeling of good cheer came to be scheduled for this time of year.   This time of year when days are darker longer, the air is colder, and the environment overall is more hostile to human survival then at any other time of the year.  No, I don’t know the full story, but I’d be willing to bet that somewhere there was a conspiracy undertaken at some point to create a season of glad tidings for a time of year when mankind would be sorely tempted to commit mass suicide rather than brave the elements of the environment.

Now the cosmos has rubbed more salt in the wound this week with the passing of Greg Lake.  Like many others in the music industry, he recorded a composition for the season, but his work (I Believe in Father Christmas) is not a warm and fuzzy call for candy canes and eggnog.  No, in fact he went the other way. Lake dared to express his disillusionment with how the whole good and jolly season has been undermined by the mantra “buy, buy, buy.”

To that end, we will post his thought provoking ode which has been an earworm for me the last few days.  I don’t mind hearing it over and over.  The melody is soft, but beguiling.  You’re fooled into thinking this will be another happy joy tune for the season, ah, but the lyrics pull you up short.  No, listeners, it’s not necessarily an uplifting tune crammed with symbols of the season.  Rather it’s an indictment of how those symbols have been co-opted by that great “c” word: commercialization.

So go ahead buy that snow shovel which Irving Berlin insists you’ll need for Christmas Day.   Stock up on those chestnuts so you can imbibe in your favorite Currier and Ives fantasy.  And, oh yes, give an ugly pine tree a good home for a few weeks before it gets dumped to the curb for its ultimate fate in the shredder and next year’s mulch. 

I know, I know.  These images are dark.  That’s dark, dark, dark.

By all means, do all this, but keep Lake’s final pronouncement in mind.  It’s a philosophical finale which will get us through the gaudiness of the season and, perhaps, the shape of political things to come; “We get what we deserve.”

Oh, there’s some light now...

(Thank you for reading. Rest in Peace, Mr. Lake.)

Monday, December 05, 2016

Merry Malaise and Happy Neurosis

This year it is more difficult than ever to get into the spirit of the season.  By this time in past years I would be half way through signing my Christmas cards.  As of today this year I haven’t even started the first card.

I have been hoping that perhaps the seasonal music selections from the wireless would help lift my mood.  The annual assault by the media to “celebrate” the holidays hasn’t worked its total magic on me yet, but I’m giving it time to influence my mood in small doses.   Given that, I have resolved to be more proactive this year against two songs which I tired of years ago.   I am now turning off the radio whenever I hear the guitar licked jingle bell intro to Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer and Andy Williams warbles the irrelevant hickory dickory dock (Happy Holidays).

Still I do get sentimental about The Christmas Song, particularly Nat King Cole’s version.  The back story to this song it that it was created when southern California was suffering through an intensely hot summer.   The young composers (Mel Torme was one of them) tried to fill their composition with images of freezing cold to overcome their heated circumstances.  The results are smokin’, as in “What the hell were they smokin’ when they began their ode to cold, colder and coldest with the words ‘Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…’?”

We still have three weeks to go before the big day and I have performed one of my annual holiday traditions:  watching It’s A Wonderful Life on network television.  This has never failed to get me in the holiday mood in past years, although this year I feel the incredible urge to push Clarence Oddbody AS 2 (Angel Second Class) out of the way so I can throw George Bailey off the bridge myself.  Yes, this is where my mood is in relation to this holiest Christian holiday of the year.

I hasten to add that this story is also smokin’.  As in “What in hell were they smokin’ when they named their child Zuzu after naming the others Janie, Pete and Tommy?”  Where in the wide, wide world of middle class midwestern America (read: white) culture did this come from?

Of course, we would tempted to update George Bailey’s saga much like Dean Martin referred to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as Rudy the Red-Nosed Reindeer.*  In our new version, George Bailey’s campaign for mayor of Bedford Falls is threatened when Old Man Potter’s grand nephew (Old Man Potter was alas too mean for anyone to want to procreate with him so that he would have direct descendents) stumbles across a cache of e-mails George allegedly wrote about what he really thinks of his savings and loan customers.  The love of George’s life, Mary, does not work as a librarian, but rather spends many days picketing Planned Parenthood.   

And, no wait, I know this is all blasphemy, but trust me.  I’m just saying all this as a way for me to work through my holiday despair.   I refuse to embrace the hatred and fear that so many in the Christian community are suddenly approving.  The malaise is overpowering.

Okay, It’s A Wonderful Life didn’t work its usual magic on me this year.   Still I have time to work on adjusting my attitude.  I only hope that everyone else is willing to do the same.

*Add this to my list of songs which should be shut off whenever I hear it on the radio.

(Thank you for reading.  Don’t talk to me Clarence.  I’m not in the holiday mood yet.)