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)

Friday, April 05, 2024

East Coast Earthquake


The thing is, I did not feel the earthquake that has so discombobulated the East Coast this morning, Really. I did not feel the thing at all. I was sitting in my comfortable chair at work minding my own business and the earth moved and I did not realize that the earth had moved. Having missed the earth moving, I simply went on with my bureaucratic life as if nothing had happened because for me, nothing had. Well, better luck next time, I suppose. And that was that, or at least that was what I thought. 

Apparently, not feeling the earth move during an earthquake is a sign of diminished mental capacity. People kept coming into the egregious mold pit wherein I labor for my daily bread and demanding to know how I coped with the great East Coast earthquake of 2024 and were deeply shocked that I coped with the massive catastrophe by not realizing it was happening at the time. Now, I would understand this lack of insight on my part if the quake was an event on the order of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 or the Tokyo earthquake of 1923—it would take several deep hits off of a very large bong with incredibly strong weed to ignore disasters as large as those—but it wasn’t; from what I understand the quake measured 4.8 on the Richter scale, which several people from California have assured me is the planetary version of mild heartburn and not something to be worried about at all. Trees shook, plates rattled, pets were perturbed, and that was about it. The East Coast has hurricanes that do all of that and more, and in the winter we have nor’easters that leave you and yours up to your backsides in freezing cold mucky water, an altogether unpleasant experience. I am still pumping water out of my cellar from our last meteorological misadventure.

My guess is that it was the novelty of this intense non-disaster that has impressed itself on everyone’s mind. We don’t get a lot of earthquakes here in the Vampire State; the last one that I remember hereabouts was when the Attorney General managed to push the Governor out of office on sexual harassment charges, which people tell me is not the same thing at all, although I am certain that it was the same thing to the Governor. He was planning to run for re-election for the umpteenth time, but as Mr. Burns says, the best-laid plans of mice and men aft times gang agley. For years I had no clue what an agley was; I thought an agley was some sort of French cookie before an out of breath Scottish tourist stumbled into this place looking for a men's room and told me what it meant in the post-micturation interview where I told him how to get to the train station.

Be that as it may, many of the patrons of this mycological sinkhole regarded my insensitivity to the travails of Mother Earth as somewhat odd, given their own traumatic experiences, but I must say that insensitivity to what is going on around me is something people have been accusing me of for more years than I care to remember. The accusers are usually women, for some reason or another, teachers and librarians and other strange females that I became involved with in bars who decided that they did not like me anymore. I was never sure what the problem was, but it was usually something about not paying attention to their feelings. I thought I was paying attention, but my perception was clearly off as I am an insensitive lout. I know that because people, and by people I mean women, keep telling me that I am and who am I to argue with such a widespread and deeply held opinion? I do wish, however, that my mother would stop agreeing with them. It's an uncomfortable feeling when a boy can't be sure that his mom has his back.


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Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Disbelieving the obvious


I don't remember why I was watching Oprah that day; it was in the 1990's, I think, and I must have been bored out of my mind, because that's the only way I could be induced to watch her program at all. But I am still glad I did. The guest that day was the writer and poet Maya Angelou and they were having a discussion about relationships and in the course of that conversation Ms Angelou said something that I have never forgotten because it has applications in so many other fields. They were discussing why women kept returning to toxic relationships with unsuitable men and Ms Angelou said that she didn't understand it, that when someone tells you who they are, believe them. The first time. If a man tells you that he is selfish, or his actions show you that he is selfish, then believe him: he is selfish. And then, as soon as you can, get out of the relationship because nothing good can come of it. He is not going to change.

Her admonition works on so many levels that I don't understand why it isn't taught in every political science class in the country. The French aristocracy couldn't believe that the Jacobins meant to guillotine them all; Northerners could not believe that the slave-holding South would tear the United States apart in order to keep their peculiar institution; Austria-Hungary could not believe that Serbia would fight it out rather than turn their country into an Austrian protectorate; no one, except Winston Churchill, apparently, believed that Adolf Hitler actually meant the crazy stuff he wrote in Mein Kampf. No one in Washington could believe that the Japanese would launch a surprise attack on the United States Navy, despite the fact that a surprise attack on the Imperial Russian Navy is exactly how the Japanese launched the Russo-Japanese War in 1905.  And now there are the charters of Hamas and Fatah, and the decades of terrorism since the founding of Israel. So what is an Israeli to believe? Does he believe the peace crowd that concessions on settlements or the right of return or some other point will finally at long last bring lasting peace, or does he believe what the Palestinians themselves say, which is that Israel is to be destroyed and the Jews there massacred? When a man tells you that he means to kill you and destroy your country, believe him. He knows what he wants far better than you ever will.

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Monday, June 26, 2023

Bemoaning my fate......again

You know, I am starting to wonder when the crazy ever stops around this place. I don't know when I became an ATM for panhandlers or when I became the go to person to explain the philosophical niceties of Peanuts or why Jesus chose to walk on the water instead of taking the train. I have never seen The Wire and so I cannot discuss the plotting of season two and no, for the umpteenth time, you cannot use my phone to call your girl friend's brother to find out what she's wearing to her cousin's birthday party. You can use my phone only when you have an emergency, which I define as you pumping blood out of an artery all over the new carpeting. The weekend is only a half hour or so away and time is slowing down so that I may fully enjoy every single second of stupid that the general public can generate before I can get out of this dump.

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Tuesday, April 04, 2023

Just for the record


No, I did not give them this photo, and no, the guy to the right is not trying to grab her backside, despite what it looks like..

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Friday, February 10, 2023

Just a thought.


Friday, July 15, 2022

Recycling is good for the Earth and prevents global warming, or not, as the case may be.

In the Capuchin Catacombs in Palermo, which you can enter for a modest fee; I don’t remember how modest the fee was, only that she was modesty personified, a jewel of modesty and Christian virtue, whereas I can remember every detail of her very immodest sister, including the shots afterwards; you can see the cream of Palermitano society hanging on the walls. I do not know why 18th and 19th century Sicilian swells thought that being stuffed and mounted in a church basement was such a good idea, but they did, and who are we, the enthusiasts of the Hula-Hoop, the Pet Rock, and Pamela Anderson to point the finger of absurdity at anyone?

The catacombs form a natural refrigerator of sorts and the galleries feature separate areas for priests, nuns, including the mortal remains of one mother superior hanging from the ceiling doing her impression of the Flying Nun, and one archbishop in full episcopal regalia, with scintillating hints of Congregationalism around the pockets, looking as though someone put him together from cigarette ashes and Elmer’s Glue. There were several galleries of the rich and locally famous, the upper crust in their Sunday best, all of them moldering away along with their social pretensions. Here you have the society swain of 1830 hanging across the way from the rich girl he got in trouble in back in the early summer of 1829. The girl’s parents hang next to her, as if to make sure there’ll be no more of this monkey business here, thank you very much, and the swain hangs between the girl’s two brothers, whose heads are turned slightly towards their sister’s seducer and whose skeletal grins seem to say, “What? Twenty- seven stab wounds weren’t enough? You want more?” And so there they are, the rich in their full if more than slightly moldy glory, awaiting the Resurrection so they can get a change of clothes. Nowhere in the lot is there a poor person, nowhere in the lot is there someone having any connection with the advertising business. Life and death were both unfair in those days. Hanging on the wall after you died just wasn’t good enough for the poor and outcast way back then, although just hanging by the neck until you were dead was.

Nowadays, of course, we live in a much more democratic world and the poor may choose to be interred where they will, and today the same freeze dry technology gives you a great cup of coffee every morning is now available to stiffs, living and dead, of every income level. Why go through the trauma of a wake and funeral when it is possible to have Grandma freeze dried and left in her favorite chair in the corner? Why try to explain the concept of death to your children when you can keep Grandma as part of the family forever? Freeze drying lets you keep those near and dear to you exactly where they were the last time you saw them. You can even buy special attachments for your vacuum cleaner that will let you clean Grandma off before the neighbors notice she’s getting a bit dusty for her age. There’s even a line of clothes for the hip but deceased Grandma so she will never feel out of it, and no, I don’t know how they’ll get those clothes on her, but where there’s a will and you’re in it, there’s always a way. 

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Monday, June 20, 2022


In my quest to expand the boundaries of human knowledge, I have polled five monkeys to see if they regarded the term monkeypox as derogatory. All five monkeys, who, I should mention in the interest of verisimilitude, were not monkeys at all but rather three relatives, a dog, and a Boston Red Sox fan—monkeys are in short supply here in our happy little burg so I had to work with what I had—declared that the term was not derogatory, although the Boston Red Sox fan said he could not be sure, which is the sort of thing you would expect a Boston Red Sox fan to say, given their general lack of intelligence. The dog was ambivalent about the whole thing as well; there is a dogpox and most adult male dogs have had it at one time or another, but the malady is not related to monkeypox in any way and the dog believed that if he didn’t have to worry about monkeypox then he wasn’t going to worry about it. All the participants in the survey, however, agreed that bacon was the greatest thing since boar in a can. 

So, the monkeys are not complaining about the word monkeypox or any other variation of the variola virus. Given the lack of interest in the disease and its terminology in the monkey community, why are people complaining about the disease's name? Apparently, humans can spread monkeypox as well and usually do so at gay raves in Europe, which leads unavoidably to the question, which of the three do we avoid now? Discriminating against gays is illegal, discriminating against raves is boring, discriminating against Europe means that we have to drink American beer all the time. Perhaps the best solution is the one proposed by a friend of mine just as a wedding party crashed into our favorite watering hole: find out who is humping the monkeys and tell them to stop doing it. An admirable solution to the problem, I thought, but this solution does not come with a billion-dollar price tag and therefore is unlikely to generate much support from the pharmaceutical industry.


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