The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Blast from the past

So there I was, sitting on my fat patoot and not really working while I thought about how hard it is to write satire anymore, what with the times getting too weird for any one person to keep up with, when I heard Rick Springfield singing Jesse’s Girl on a kid’s radio or phone or whatever it is kids use to listen to music these days. The song first came out, if I remember this correctly, when Ronald Reagan was getting out of the hospital after the assassination attempt back in 1981 and I am pretty sure that I haven’t heard it since then. Listening to it now, however, gave me the same sense of profound creepiness that hearing it in 1981 did. It didn’t occur to me in 1981 that there was such a musical genre as stalker rock—I was much younger then, of course, and so I didn’t know any better—and in those halcyon days we all knew less about the strange drives that motivated Australian obsessives to lust for the girl friends of their best buddies, even with the best efforts of Phil Donahue to keep us all up to date with the latest fashions in neuroticism. But stalker rock it is, along with that song about Jenny and her phone number and an entry from the 1960’s, the Vogues’ Turn around, look at me, and it does make me wonder if any of these guys ever got over getting not dumped by their not girl friends. I never heard any of these songs without wanting to slap these guys and say, snap out of it, as Cher so correctly advised in Moonstruck. I mean, really, guy, Jesse’s girl is probably a grandmother by now; get over it.

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Saturday, June 20, 2015

The newest excuse for not writing is...

I went on vacation. Really. The first real vacation I've had since 2001. I had a nice time and now I am back to the grind of finding excuses for not writing. Nice to be home.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

More excuses, except without the nice picture of Emily.

Okay, so here’s the thing: I do have some stuff to post, but the pieces (there are two of them, you know, but they are not about the same thing, which makes them fraternal twins, I suppose) are not ready for prime time. In short, I have not finished either one of them and I have used a great deal of psychic energy these past few weeks justifying to myself why I have not finished them.  I could blame George W. Bush, but I started both of these pieces several years after Bush left the Presidency, although, if the newspapers are anything to go by, incumbency is not a requirement for things to be George W. Bush’s fault. But I can’t, not really, a result, I think, of long years of Roman Catholic teaching. The well-developed Catholic conscience understands that blaming others for one’s own faults is the oldest sin in the Book, other than eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and that Adam's excuse that she made me, and Eve's excuse that the serpent made her, does not excuse either one of them at all. So it is not George W. Bush’s fault that I have not been posting as much as I should, much as I would like to say otherwise.

My desultory posting is also not the fault of my brother and his potato salad, even if I am certain beyond a reasonable doubt that he gave me that potato salad in order to poison me.  In the cold salad realm, I have always been partial to macaroni salad, especially my mother’s macaroni salad. Unlike so many people, including my brother, my mother does not annoy the palate with a multitude of flavors. There’s vinegar and mayonnaise, some tomatoes and celery, which I pick out of the salad and throw to the nearest cat, and macaroni. Simple, basic, filling, all the things I want in a cold salad. My brother, on the other hand, is a pupil of the more is better culinary school, and in his potato salad there are potatoes that you cannot taste and every manner of spice that you can, sort of, when those spices are not fighting for space and attention on your taste buds.  In short, I hate my brother’s potato salad and I would not eat the ghastly stuff at all except that my mother values family peace over almost everything else, especially at family get-togethers, and so in the interest of peace and brotherhood and good will I ate my brother’s potato salad and quickly came down with a nasty case of food poisoning.  As you might imagine, my brother did not like my accusing him of attempted murder nor did he appreciate my calling his potato salad loathsome noisome swill. All right, I didn’t use those words exactly, but I am sure you get the point. My brother certainly did and he certainly didn’t like it. Some people get very defensive about their potato salad and my brother is one of those people. In his defense, however, I should point out that my refusal to buckle down and start writing pre-dated his attempted fratricide for quite a while, and so, in the interests of truth and fair play and all sorts of other virtues Americans hold sacred, I cannot blame him for my unswerving loyalty to procrastination as a virtue.  I still hate his potato salad, though.

What I do blame for all the delay is my recent commitment to lemur ranching for fun and profit.  Ranching on a spread filled with ring-tailed lemurs is something that can drive a grown man to Despair, which, people tell me, is a pretty upscale new French bar and grill here in our happy little burg.  I didn’t know that the French had bars and grills; none of those bistros you see in the travel brochures ever look like what I’d consider to be a bar and grill, but then I don’t get out much. The food is very nice though, if you like overly intellectualized hamburger. Contrary to what you might have heard, the cow involved is not having an existential crisis as a response to its search for meaning in a meaningless world; the cow has passed from being to nothingness by becoming hamburger. Ergo, the cow has solved its existential crisis by finding the meaning denied to so many human beings. For the cow, the purpose of existence is simple: it is dinner.  That the cow is no longer in a position to grasp this elegant solution to its existential problem simply demonstrates the inadequacy of any overarching philosophical system when that system confronts reality. And steak tastes good.

I don’t know what the lemurs taste like and I don’t intend to find out. I’m not raising them for food, at least not for people, and I don’t think the furry little bastards have enough meat on them to interest the pet food manufacturers.  So why bother with lemurs?  Lemur oil will cure a boatload of skin ailments, yes it will, everything from eczema to seborrhea and psoriasis, so step right up and put in your order for your own 12 oz. bottle of Dr. Green’s Old Fashioned Green Lemur Miracle Oil and if you order within the next ten minutes I will be happy to send you another bottle absolutely free; just pay shipping and handling. And then I sit and watch the money roll in, or I would, if only get the ornery little beasts to stay still for long enough to press some oil out of them.  Lemurs object to pressing, for reasons I am not sure I fathom—a consequence of poor parenting and equally poor socialization in the public schools seems a reasonable hypothesis—and while I am not pressing them the lemurs insist on three meals a day and a roof over their heads, which makes them seem less an investment than members of my family.  In addition to this, I have the Department of Agriculture inspectors going over every inch of my operation and the Humane Society and every other animal rights group in the country camped out in my front yard demonstrating against my pressing the lemurs at all. The lemurs don’t like the animal rights people very much; one of those PETA people broke into the lemurs’ compound two weeks ago to “liberate” them and the lemurs bit him on his ass for his troubles. Serves him right, too; I hope the bastard gets rabies.

So as you can see, as a small aspiring entrepreneur in the age of the Illinois Incitatus I am up to my backside in money problems and government red tape and high-minded idiots who don’t know the first thing about lemurs or business trying to tell me how to run my business. I simply do not have the time to whip up these little funny bits regularly. I have things to do, important things, like trying to figure out where the damn lemurs are hiding my pencils. Damn, I hate when they do that; it’s more annoying than you can imagine.

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