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

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

From the Archives: Yo! Squeeze My Nose!*

Time once again to delve into historical theory where we say “what if this is what really happened” at an event which may become a turning point in our nation’s history.  Our speculation is not based on any sworn testimony of the facts, or quotes by an un-named high-ranking source.   In fact our statements below may be totally fictitious, and may even be contradicted at some point later. We don’t trouble ourselves with the truth here. That’s why we call it “theory”, okay?

For example let’s peek into the fateful meeting between President Obama and General Stanley McChrystal after Rolling Stone published an article about McChrystal’s assignment in Afghanistan and his attitude towards the Commander-in-Chief.   It may have happened something like this:

Obama: As you know I’ve seen an advance copy of the Rolling Stone article, and I didn’t like what I read.  I admire you, general, and I appreciate the fact that you voted for me, but we can’t have this kind of insubordinate tone between the military and the civilian leadership.   And…you know I get the feeling that you’re not taking this issue seriously.

General:  Oh?   What clued you into that idea?   Is it my big, fuzzy buttons, or my massively over-sized shoes?   Oh, maybe it’s my big, red, rubber nose?   It makes a funny sound when you squeeze it.   Want to go for it?

Obama:  Um…I don’t…..

General:  Come on, Mr. President!   Squeeze my nose!

Obama: Let me show you something.   Here…it’s a sock filled with tennis balls.

General:  Okay, so why are you showing me th-

General: Ow!  Why’d you hit with me that, Mr. President?

Obama: As the saying goes, “Homey don’t play dat!”

Well, that was fun!   Let’s do another one!   Oh, I know…how about the recent appearance by BP chairman Tony Heyward in front of Congress….

Congressperson:   Mr. Hayward, we have found that your company operated with a willful and negligent disregard for the Gulf of Mexico environment in the name of profits.   Do you have anything to say in your defense?

Hayward:   Yes, I will only say that I’m very distraught about all this damage.  Now can I go back to my yacht and get my life back?

Congressperson:  Mr. Hayward, we don’t think you’re taking this issue very seriously.

Hayward:  Oh?   What gave me away?   Was it the large fuzzy buttons on my suit, or my over-sized shoes?  Hey, maybe it was my red, rubber nose?  It makes a funny sound when you squeeze.  Come over, squeeze my nose!

Congressperson:  Just a moment while I look for my sock filled with tennis balls….

Contempt for authority!   It’s here, it’s there, it’s everywhere!

(Thank you for reading.  Please remember life is full of clowns, and most of them never make it to the circus!)

*This entry was originally published on 6/27/2010.  I’m diving back into the Arteejee archive today for a change of pace from the recent oh-so-serious commentary in the more recent entries.  Please enjoy this snarky blast from the past that is not too relevant to today, but very much irreverent   Well, maybe it is relevant…

Arteejee will resume its normal programming in a few days.  Thank you!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Abandoning Science (At Our Peril)

Apparently the quest for truth in nature has always been at odds with the belief in spirituality. Until this year, we could all see one notorious example in the Scopes Monkey Trial, where some brave educators butted heads with some real narrow-minded legislators about the teaching of the Theory of Evolution.  Now it appears that our current political climate in America dictates that we abandon all scientific inquiry because somehow one small part of it regarding our changing climate has been deemed a hoax.

As if that notion was not toxic on its own, we should note that many deniers have more faith in God then they do with science.  Don’t get me wrong: faith in something, deity or not, is good.  However, there is no reason to think that a belief in science is automatically a war against religious beliefs.  The relationship is more symbiotic than we think.

So let’s just pretend for a moment that you are one of these science deniers, not just climate change deniers, but one who totally rejects the accumulated knowledge which man has gained in this discipline.  You behave and conduct yourselves as if you have no use for science. Indeed, the current American regime seems hell bent on turning back the clock of human progress just so they can save a few bucks.   

Scientists are being dismissed from the Environmental Protection Agency and a group of medical consultants resigned from a task force on HIV and AIDS because the current leadership just doesn’t give a damn about the issue.

If you are truly one who believes that science is a hoax, then may I suggest that you strip off all your clothes and move to the nearest open field where all of the advantages of science cannot possibly touch your narrow-minded ideas of living.  There in the open it will be just you and your…beliefs.

After all, science allowed mankind to identify problems,  formulate hypothesis to solve the problem,  conduct research to confirm a solution to the problem, and finally implement the solution to overcome the problem.

For example, that clothing I suggested that you take off and discard.  Why do we wear clothing? Because someone in our past realized that clothing would keep us warm and protect us from nature.  Man saw a problem, figured out that we could keep ourselves warm and protected using the same furs that lower life forms use for protection.  Then later man used science to figure out how to fashion cloth from animal fur or even from a substance that comes out their anus.  Or later when man figured out how to use chemicals to make synthetic cloth for our clothes.

Or how about another facet of human survival: nutrition and nourishment.  Man figured out many of the same animals could satisfy our hunger with the meat from their bodies and use fire to warm the meat for easier digestion.  Or even formulated a way to grow crops which we realized we needed to supplement our diets.   And what if water was not readily available to nourish ourselves and our crops?  We figured out the problem of irrigation and the movement of mass quantities of water to ourselves and to our crops. 

Or what about the problem of moving the food to where we lived?  We realized the concept of motion with the invention of the wheel.  From there it was just a short step of a millennium (or a dozen millennia) to develop more ways to transport our food, ourselves and other commodities which we deemed necessary for survival.  

Then we transported ideas, those products of our own imagination, great distances so they could be used by other homo sapiens so they too could survive and prosper.   We did this with the harnessing of electricity, storing it in batteries so we could move more people, more food, and more ideas.

Or how about shelter?  What about the roof over our heads that is supported by four walls to further protect us from the elements?  Yes, science enabled us to figure all of that out, too.

This could go on for a long time with an endless supply of examples, but the point is we were able to do all this using the discipline of science.  And how did we think of science and all the fascinating inventions we use to make our lives sustainable?   We, mankind, did it because we have a highly developed brain.  And where did we get this highly developed brain?


The same God many people believe is being destroyed by the science they fear.  People, God cannot be destroyed.  Your beliefs can be challenged certainly, but if you fear science will defeat God, your God, then you don’t really know as much about a supreme deity as you may think!

Many of us are now of the mind that people who are at war with science are, oh to put this diplomatically, dim-witted.   Or as my late father might have said, “If they had a brain they’d be dangerous.”

Think about it.  Why would God give us a highly-developed brain just so we can use it to destroy Him?  It wouldn’t make sense.  Besides, we’ve been taught that God would see through our measly attempts to end his existence long before we could carry out the devious plot any way.

So, go forth and abandon science.  Just let me know if you do strip off your clothes to live exposed to all the elements.  I will want to seek you out and I will bring my camera.

(Thank you for reading.   Just sayin’….)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Dad Memory

I have been trolling the Facebook pages today, and many of those appearing in my sphere are posting memories of their fathers.  I should be one of them, but I am not tech savvy enough to post a photo of my dear departed Daddy.  Instead I will reminisce about one memory when he was being mean, or so I thought at the time.

This memory also ties in nicely with my thoughts on the passing of Adam West last weekend.  His death came as a bit of a shock even though he was well in his eighties age-wise.   It’s just that I saw him live for the first time last April at a Three Stooges Convention, and he seemed wonderfully healthy and spry for a man of his years.  West qualified as a guest since he was the leading man in the Stooges last feature film, The Outlaws is Coming.

During the question and answer period of his presentation, West recounted how he was on the set of the film when he learned that he had gotten the lead role in a new television series, Batman.  West explained that one of his costars, Moe Howard, warned him that such a role could typecast him.  Moe turned out to be correct in the long run, but West took on the role and achieved television immortality.

Batman premiered in early 1966 and I was hooked immediately along with millions of other American children.  His adventures became a part of my world: I lived for Batman and Robin two nights every week - remember that the hour long episodes were divided into two parts on successive nights which introduced me to the drama concept known as the cliff hanger - and The Three Stooges every afternoon.  I did not ask for much more than to watch these shows in peace.

One of West’s obituaries recounted his comments in an interview how he was eager to do the type of comedy which the role of Batman offered.  Comedy?  Batman a comedy?  This is sacrilegious!  Batman to me was always real life!  It was never a comedy in my mind, and every adult in my life obliged me with this fantasy.  Of course every adult in my life knew that I was too young to understand another concept of drama known as camp.

Anyway, this story started out being about Dad.  Somewhere around the fourth week of the first season my brother and I did something which he felt merited some sort of punishment.  I don’t recall what we did; we were after all always perfect angels!  The punishment Dad meted out was we could not watch Batman that week!

How cruel!  How unfair!  This was my favorite part of the week!  How could he do this to us?  

Nevertheless we were sent to bed early so that we could not be up for the 8:00P start time of the new episode with Mr. Freeze as the guest villain.  Dad made sure that we would not sneak out of bed:  he stayed in our room until he was sure we had fallen asleep.  I know this because I woke up, tried to get out of bed, and was forced back down when Dad saw me.


It took a long while for me to forgive him for what I felt was an unjust punishment.  Over time I realized the lesson he was teaching me: I needed to prioritize my life so I could be a success in life.  In this case getting a good night’s sleep was more important than some television show.  There may have been other things he wanted me to learn from that experience, but that is the lesson which has remained with me.

The next week I got to watch my precious television show and continued to do so until the mean executives at ABC canceled the show two years later.   I enjoyed it throughout its initial run - comedy, camp or not.  Looking back from the perspective of a middle-aged male mind, I can see how silly it was.  After all, the plots and dramatic situations were grounded in a comic book fantasy world of super heroes and super villains.  It was a world we escaped to in a society filled with racial tensions and the surreal nightmare many young people faced in a far away and all too real land known as Vietnam.

So this weekend I will say Dad, I miss you.   Adam West, Rest in Peace.

(Thank you for reading.  “To the Bat Poles!!!!!”)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Crumbling Icon

Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial here in Montgomery County has gone to the jury.  The aging comedian was probably caught by surprise that this trial has come this far.   He probably believed that he had put the incident behind him since he and the victim had come to a monetary settlement years ago. 

Somehow the local district attorney decided that justice was not fully served and charged Cosby with a criminal complaint.  I thought that there might be a question of double jeopardy, but apparently that concept did not apply here.

So much for my limited knowledge of the law.

Whatever the outcome, I hope everyone is satisfied with the jury’s final verdict this time.  I also hope that even if Cosby’s personal reputation is tarnished, that the good parts of his legacy will endure.  Yes, the messenger turned out to be a serial sexual predator, but the messages he conveyed over the years about getting an education should be salvageable. 
Here is where commentators will insert the “heroes with feet of clay” cliché. Cosby enjoyed a squeaky clean image through the years.  Now we find—and here’s another cliché—that this image was too good to be true.  We shouldn’t have been surprised by any the allegations lodged against Cosby in the last few years.

First, let me say this: I don’t want to believe that Bill Cosby is a rapist.   I can believe it because I know the darkest ideas and thoughts of any other man, but I don’t want to believe it.  There is a difference.

Second, I should reveal that I am familiar with all the emotions associated with sexual assault.  The first woman I ever dated had been raped mere weeks before we met.  I witnessed the hurt and anger she suffered in the aftermath of the attack.  I can empathize with Cosby’s accusers, many of whom came forward years after the incidents and years after criminal prosecution was possible and/or allowed.

Many people are questioning why his accusers came forward 40 and 50 years after the fact.  The reasons could be varied and complicated.   Many may have felt that their stories would not have been believed.  After all, Bill Cosby was allowing America to forget their problems for awhile as he recounted his stories of growing up in North Philadelphia.   And when he wasn’t doing that he was teaching young people how to read (PBS' The Electric Company) and moral values on the weekends (Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids).

Who would believe their stories?  Ironically, they are probably now experiencing the same result anyway.   Who can believe them about events that happened decades ago?  The greatest counter argument to this is the consistency among all of the women’s accounts.

In Cosby’s case, we should recall that before he created Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, he had the image of a playboy. Yes, a playboy with a wife and family at home.  A successful comedian sporting a bushy mustache and smoking cigars, who guest hosted an innovative talk show in the late 60s called Playboy After Dark.   He shared hosting duties with Hugh Hefner (the show was set in Hef’s penthouse pad) more times than any other guest in the history of the show. 
A typical episode would feature interviews with celebrities of the day, music provided by the likes of Anthony Newley and Sammy Davis Jr. to the Ike Turner Revue (complete with Tina and the Ikettes) and Iron Butterfly.  And oh yes, of course, they were beautiful women everywhere.

The Playboy bunnies did not add much to the intellectual side of the proceedings.  They were hired to look sexy, laugh at guest’s jokes, or (in the case of guest Louis Nye), drape themselves casually over his shoulder.   If you’re reading this and smiling, then obviously you remember Nye’s nebbish persona.  Let’s put it this way: one could never imagine a beautiful woman anywhere near Louis Nye given the character he played wherever he appeared.

Don’t believe me?  Look up the episodes on YouTube and prepare to be enlightened or shocked.

But this was the acceptable form of humor back in those days:  the opposite sex portrayed as not totally a person, but an object.  We can now put a name on this era:  the Mad Man period of the 20th century.  It was an amalgamation, or perhaps more of a mash up, colliding the traditional values of men and women in society against the rise of feminism.  Couple this with Cosby suddenly thrust into the limelight of Hollywood with its infamous casting couch culture, and perhaps we can see how a man with otherwise honorable values could throw caution (and everything else for that matter) to the wind.

Of course we could probably include a possible narcissistic personality disorder in Cosby’s case.  Or could it be simply arrogance which would make him believe that he could get away with these attacks?  Regardless of his possession of personal psychoses, there can be no denial that the entertainment industry fed him the notion that he could no wrong.

And we, his fans in turn, fed the industry that fed the upright moral man who we now learn caved into mankind’s darkest and cruelest tendencies.

So why should we be so shocked at the stories?  Why should we feel disappointment at whatever the jury decides?  We should have seen this downfall coming, but we did not, or chose not to see it.

Whatever, a larger point today* is this: many of us are still refusing to see all too obvious flaws in our national leadership.  Many of us are setting ourselves up again for a major disappointment.

*Most of this entry was written in February of 2016.  I never got around to posting it until today.

(Thank you for reading. Prepare to be…let down!)