Category Archives: Thoughts at Large

• People dealing with life issues are often given offered diametrically-opposed advice: separate one’s past from the present and the future; or bring together the past and the present and the future.  Whatever works.

• Who makes up the names of groups of animals?  Is there some organization that decides what a group of this or that is called?  I say that a group of penguins should be called a penitentiary, a group of bats should be called a battery and a group of sharks should be called a charcuterie.

• When a player or team wins an important game and credits the victory to God, wouldn’t it be good journalism for reporters to turn to the losing team and question them about the inadequacy of their prayers?  I would like to hear how the losers would respond but, sadly, it seems that we cannot count on the news media to do their jobs.

• “No man is without honor save in his own country,” so supposedly said Jesus.  I offer the obverse observation:  “Everyone’s dog is sweet before it bites the neighbor.”

• My wife was making a grocery run, so I asked her to pick up a box of cereal.  What kind?  Well, since I no longer eat Cheerios (or any oat cereal), I suggested Crispix (corn and rice) or the generic version if available.  So she returned with a box of Laura Lynn Hexa CrispHexa Crisp sounds like the kind of foodstuff one would stock in your family fallout shelter. But I am eating it anyway and hoping that I don’t have to build one before Trump is gone.

• Whenever I see a little child being scolded (or worse) by an out-of-control parent, I want to go over and hug the child and give her a kiss and tell her it is not her fault — mommy is just having a bad life.

• And what I really want to do is go over and lecture the parent about being mean.  But I know that this would be unproductive and possibly counterproductive.  Fred Rogers must have witnessed such scenes many times — I wonder how he reacted and acted.

What do Libertarians really want?  What kind of country would it be if Libertarians were granted their wishes and had the freedom to revoke our laws and reshape our society?  Allow me the liberty to speculate: life would be near-idyllic for a man absorbed in principle, whose happiness is “the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.” (So said Ayn Rand.)  Libertarians presume the world would be a better place — and humans would be a better race — if everyone were to fend for themselves.  Actually, Libertarians are lucky to live in a world where this isn’t true.  It isn’t Fred Rogers’ world that is the Neighborhood of Make-Believe — it’s Ayn Rand’s.

• Old liberals come to realize that they have lost their edge when they gather ’round to sing folk songs, and they find they have forgotten the tune to “This Land is Your Land” and so they just hum the theme from “Antiques Road Show” instead.

More in  Thoughts at Large | Be the first to comment
Thoughts @ Large: 53

• From the Irony Board:  The mechanics of creating a Thoughts @ Large post seems to erase from memory whatever thought-at-large it was that seemed so clever and important to share just a moment ago.

• I will not make reservations — or dine — at restaurants that do not post entrée prices on their online menus.  One can be sure that this is precisely the intended effect.

• It takes five minutes on my grill to produce the perfect rare-to-medium-rare hamburger.  It takes another thirty seconds on that same grill to produce something deemed inedible by certain members of this household whose name will be withheld to protect me.

• Given all the analogies that have been offered, I’m surprised that no one has yet to name this administration “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight.”

• Ha ha, you might say.  But I am now a gang-of-one who can’t cut straight.  I tried doing so yesterday, but the distortion in my left eye won’t allow it — my scissors appear to bend and my cut-line is confused.  As one who once relied so much on alignment and precision when making art, it is discouraging.  It seems I must now be content to paint curvy things, shapes that mask my incompetence.

• This state of affairs illustrates how my art has as much or more to do with my limitations than my talents.  As perhaps it always has been — and perhaps how it is for most artists.  (But those artists will have to speak for themselves.)

• One last item from the Irony Board about getting old and its related bothers: this month not only marks my entry into Medicare but also my enlarging the icons on my laptop and attaching a goose-neck magnifying glass onto my desk.  From here onward, I can look back fondly when Paul McCartney sings, When I’m Sixty-Four.

• There has to be some six-syllable German word for a person who you think is your friend but who in reality does not interact with you and may not have thought about you in years. Likewise, there must be an equally-long German word that describes you, the person who believes he has such a friend.

• Is customer service, mirabile dictu, getting better?  Looking back, I would say that the 1980s were the nadir in how businesses large and small felt free to take customers for granted, were deaf to satisfying them and put them through hell should any complain. Over the last decade (thanks to Amazon and/or social media) there has been a sea change in customer relations.  Whether it is sincere or scripted is not my concern as long as they are engaged in resolving my problem and, better yet, keeping problems from happening.  Amazon and its free shipping and no-questions-asked returns have changed everything in the retail landscape.  I am old enough to recall five-and-tens and those were not the days.  As Paul McCartney sang, it is getting better all the time.

More in  Thoughts at Large | Read 3 comments and add yours

•  Tonight my wife asks me if I want anything besides the salad and barbecue sandwich.   I say no, just your undying love.  And world peace.

•  If wine tasted good enough in the first place (given its price), there would be no need for the proliferation of aeration and delivery devices that are supposed to make it taste better.  I say, just pour it and drink it, and if it’s not satisfying then it’s either the wine’s fault or you opened it too soon.

•  I like to hide puzzles in my writings and in my artwork, for others to ponder and solve.  But it never seems to occur to me that others may have neither the patience or inclination to solve them.  I can’t figure out why that might be — how puzzling.

•  I tire of film and television scenes in which male-female conflicts and/or arguments are resolved by the antagonists having sex.  Whose fantasies are being served here?

•  Your friends: they have seen you at your best and they have seen you at your worst and somehow they remain your friends.  I offer this as both a definition and a formation rule.

•  I was not quite eleven years old when the Beatles’ Please Please Me was a hit in the U.S.   It was a nostalgic re-listen for me the other day.  Here are its opening verses:

Last night I said these words to my girl,
I know you never even try girl.
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon
Please please me, oh yeah,
Like I please you.

You don’t need me to show the way, love.
Why do I always have to say “love,”
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon
Please please me oh yeah,
Like I please you.

I must say I was surprised how sexually suggestive the lyrics now seem.  Please Please Me was released in the U.S. more than two years before the Rolling Stones’ (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, but on closer listen the Beatles were as every bit as plaintive as the Stones of the chronic and apparently painful hypertestosteronism suffered by post-adolescent men of that era.

•  Should I worry if my wife decides to serve me half a sweet potato for dessert?  I ask this hypothetically, mind you.  For a friend.

•  It’s tax season once again, so I went to Walgreens yesterday to ask for printouts of our 2017 prescription expenses.  The pharmacy had told me I could present my wife’s ID and pick up the printouts for both of us, but when I showed up, they had changed their minds.  They would only give me my own printout.  The tech explained that because my wife had not expressly authorized them to share her information with me, they could only give me my own printout.  I pointed out that I pick up her actual medications all the time at the Walgreens drive-in window without showing any ID.  No matter: I left half-empty-handed.

•  Potato-and-cauliflower dishes seem to be the in-thing for self-professed healthy eaters.   I can only agree — nothing like adding cauliflower to make one want to give up potatoes.

More in  Thoughts at Large | Read 3 comments and add yours