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

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Sunday Morning Post (V.1, #46) - Happy 2020?

Just so no one can accuse me of being a Pollyanna, I will say this at the outset: I’m not getting my hopes up for 2020.   Besides, I don’t believe I look very good in gingham.  It clashes with the grey in my mustache.

Even if an adult wins next year’s presidential election there will still be the monumental task of bringing us all back together and begin healing our wounds. Win or lose American democracy will be sorely tested (again). 

If democracy wins then we may be treated to the spectacle of a Chief Executive claiming that the election was rigged, and refusing to move out of the Oval Office. It is entirely conceivable he will barricade himself in the White House, prompting Congress to send in troops to drag him physically kicking and screaming from what we assert is still “The People’s House.”   Such a spectacle will most likely cause international embarrassment, further erode our reputation in the rest of the world, but hell’s bells it will put the television ratings through the roof!

Ratings…that’s all he cares about.

If democracy loses then we will be subjected to four more years (at least) of the current American fiasco.  I say at least because there is a chance however remote that he will be able to pass an amendment to the Constitution which will enable him to remain in office indefinitely.

Or he could just declare himself dictator for life, Constitution be damned.   Yes, the mind reels at all of the possible, unimaginable scenarios we previously thought were unimaginable.

We have no choice now to imagine them and, to paraphrase Christina Ricci in The Addams Family, ”Be afraid, be very afraid.”

I really want to be more optimistic about our chances to preserve our way of life in the coming year, but a fatalistic attitude towards life, the universe and everything is in my DNA.   

This supercedes my aversion to gingham.

I’ll leave the message of optimism to, irony of ironies, Monty Python.  In the meantime I will send out a sincere wish to everyone to have a safe and Happy New Year.

(Thank you for reading.  Thank you, Brigette.)

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Sunday Morning Post (V.1 #45) - Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Etc, Etc, Etc.

This week’s post is brought to you by the National Scrapple Association.   Scrapple!  The other gray meat!

Okay, we’ve got the commercial out of the way.

We wish everyone reading this the happiest of holidays with family and friends. Today, as a public service, we will note the programming schedule of the Hallmark Channel for the coming week.  It is advised that you check your local listings for dates and show times for these television movies:

“Christmas In/At/With __________"

“Another Christmas”

“More Another Christmas”

“Son of Another Christmas”

“Christmas 2: First Mistletoe”

“The Rise of Christmas” (not part of the Star Wars franchise)

“__________ For Christmas”

“No Humbug Christmas”

And of course: “Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, and Spam.”

(Thank you for reading.  As Uncle Don once said, “That should keep the elves happy for a while!”)

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Sunday Morning Post (V.1, #44): A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

The term “hero” has become an overused cliché in American history.  Most times it is applied to the memory of those who “acted beyond and above” the call of duty in defense of our country, it’s values, its ideals, the whole nine yards. Usually the above and beyond act involves making someone else die in the defense of their values, ideals, etc., but we don’t dwell on that for very long.

In recent years there was a hero in our midst who did not make anyone die or save the entire world with one mighty act of truth, justice and the American way, etc.  He didn’t cloak himself in a cape, he couldn’t fly without the assistance of a jet plane engine, but God help us, he saved a good portion of us from the badness in the world and ourselves.   His name was Rogers, Fred Rogers.

The 2018 biopic Won’t You Be My Neighbor filled in who he was, how he came to be the host of a long-running children’s television show which somehow thrived on non-commercialism, and the reality of the man inside the zip-up cardigan sweater.  Many of us knew that he was an ordained minister who didn’t shove the gospel of Jesus down his audience’s throats even as he taught us - quietly, calmly - how to cope in the world.  The documentary showed that his world view was largely conservative and he wasn’t quite as progressive as some liberals would have liked him to be, but that’s okay.   Learn the basic values first, then work on any inequities in how they are applied later.

This year, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood was released as another slice of the Fred Rogers' story.  It’s not a biopic, but it does show the life, times and mythology of Fred Rogers' persona through the story of investigative reporter Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys).  Vogel is assigned to interview Rogers for a magazine story at a time when his life is in great dishevel.  Yes, he does have a loving wife and beautiful baby son, but he is dealing with old issues involving a father who abandoned him and his mother while she suffered terminal cancer. 
Somehow Mr. Rogers picks up on Lloyd’s angst and sets a course to probe deeper.  He helps Lloyd see the self-destruction in his anger and how he himself has the tools to overcome the old feelings.  It won’t be a spoiler to reveal that there is a happy ending to the story.   Father and son, and indeed the whole family, are reunited in time to aid Dad during his final illness.  Even Mr. Rogers shows up with a fresh baked cherry pie.

Granted, Lloyd Vogel is a fictionalized version of Atlantic monthly reporter Tom Junod and the larger story of his familial conflicts may all be make-believe, but the end results of Mr. Rogers helping people is not a myth.  Rogers geared his episodes to small children, but the lessons reached the adults behind the children sitting in the nation’s living rooms.  The film itself is presented as a typical episode of Mister Rogers Neighborhood, starting with and returning to the scale model (HO? N gauge?) of the neighborhood (Pittsburgh) where the show was produced and New York City where Vogel resides and works.  It kept the film grounded in Mr. Rogers' make-believe roots, even as the values the show taught are very real.

Tom Hanks was born to play Fred Rogers.  Only he could recreate the calming persona which Mr. Rogers brought to our lives.  In this regard Mr. Rogers was routinely seen — and ridiculed - as being too good to be true.  Hanks’ performance acknowledges this and manages to show that Fred Rogers was a real human after all.

Real human, real hero.

The Vogel story is, obviously, not the only Fred Rogers success story.  He reached millions of children every day with each episode.  And how many of those children were able to use the lessons he taught later in life?  Much like George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life, we may never know how many lives Mr. Rogers touched or, more to the point, how many lives each of us touch.

Some years ago, a woman was recovering from surgery which, for all intents and purposes, saved her life.  Her husband at the time dealt with her illness and subsequent recovery by plunging back into his career.  The woman felt like she had to face her recovery alone.

As she recovered, the woman watched a lot of television and this involved watching episodes of Mister Rogers Neighborhood.   The episodes made her feel loved, wanted, and special.  She wrote to Mr. Rogers to thank him and was pleasantly surprised to receive a response.
Warrior Queen has told me that she still has this letter from Mr. Rogers.  I hope that she will scan it and post it on her blog someday.

(Thank you for reading.  Yes, we really need Mister Rogers now.)