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CSotD: Sunday Potpourri

Arctic Circle lures me into saying something I probably shouldn’t.

Part of it is about selfies in general and has to do with the idea that a picture of your big fat face is more important than whatever you were trying to tell us about, and aren’t you glad Ansel Adams had other priorities.

Not that selfies are often blocking anything terribly significant.

I was just remarking about someone whom it is exhausting to follow on Facebook because she’s always at some extraordinary event or other, but she is rarely in the shot, unless it’s because she’s on a panel at some prestigious presentation.

But I know what she looks like and I’m more interested at the moment in the latest amazing thing she’s part of.

Maybe I’m missing some point about bonding and friendship and suchlike, but my response to most selfies is, “Yep. That’s what you looked like two days ago and you still look like that.”

(I should add that, while both men and women post selfies, I think women post more, because most men’s selfies are “I grew a mustache!” and “I shaved my mustache!” and, while lunch with friends can happen often, facial hair only grows at a certain rate.)

So let’s go back to Arctic Circle and, specifically, the dialogue.

There is a piece of genuine wisdom that floats around the Internet, which I’m sure you’ve seen: It’s a plea not to tell little girls how beautiful they are, but to find some other way to compliment them, so that they don’t grow up defining themselves by their looks when they could be defining themselves by their talents.

But I swear you could stick a wig on a warthog, shoot a selfie of it, and the comments would include “Beautiful!” and “How lovely!”

Perhaps if the thing of not telling little girls how pretty they are catches on, selfies will fade into historical trivia and we won’t see people’s faces except when they appear on prestigious panels.


And speaking of historical trivia, Retail brings up the topic of white elephants.

And one of my favorite dreams, that of opening the “Non-Custodial Parents’ Gift Shoppe,” which would feature toys that make annoying noises, break into millions of parts or, as in this case, simply take up a whole lot of room for no particular benefit.

An albino elephant was, in Southeast Asia, considered a sign of godly favor, but one you might not want:

Because the animals were considered sacred and laws protected them from labor, receiving a gift of a white elephant from a monarch was simultaneously a blessing and a curse. It was a blessing because the animal was sacred and a sign of the monarch’s favour, and a curse because the recipient now had an expensive-to-maintain animal he could not give away and could not put to much practical use.

Which pretty much sums up the impact of giving a child one of those over-sized stuffed toys: It will amuse the kid for a day or maybe three, but, unlike other forgotten toys, you can’t sneak this one out to the thrift shop without its absence being noted.

Perfect for the Non-Custodial Parents’ Gift Shoppe.

And you could give a huge pink Valentine’s Day bear to your girlfriend but she would have no problem discarding both of you in a very short time.


Which brings us to Reality Check and dating sites.

It’s been a decade or two since I ventured onto one of these places but I see nothing has changed.

I think most of these disconnects are people fooling themselves rather than trying to fool you. I had a friend who took a chance on an older man because, like her, he enjoyed working out and running and so forth, but when they met in three-dimensions it turned out that he had enjoyed those things when he was her age and couldn’t possibly keep up at his age.

I do know some couples who met on line, but I don’t think they met through dating sites. They met through intelligent discussions of things they cared about.

Which, by the way, works in the real world, too.


Blasphemous Juxtaposition of the Day

(Mike Marland)

(Pat Bagley)

For a stoic like myself, there are particles of wisdom in Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ contention that God wanted Trump to be President, because, if you get away from the Bearded Guy on the Throne view of God, you can get into the universe of “everything unfolds as it should.”

Or, “as it does,” since the idea of “should” is presumptuous.

Still, there’s a difference between believing there is order in the universe and believing it’s so specific that, if you catch a ball and run into the end zone, it is because God has singled you out for glory.

While He’s making some kid in Bangladesh die of cholera.

Which makes this a good place to drop a classic Tommy Watches TV from 19 years ago.

However, I find atheism as unacceptable as fundamentalism.

It’s ridiculous, in view of modern science, to believe the universe was created in six days or that the Sun goes around the Earth, and it’s not hard to firmly disbelieve in that Bearded Man on the Throne.

But it’s unscientific to firmly disbelieve in all order, or in the possibility that there are things in heaven and earth that are not dreamt of in your philosophy.

Like phlogiston.

You rationalists were pretty damn sold on that one.

Agnosticism works. Atheism is foolish.

Anyway, if there is metaphorical order in the universe, such that the fall of a sparrow does not go unmarked and the lilies of the field are dressed in glory, then, yes, the presidency of Donald Trump was part of that order.

The blasphemy comes when you assume you were singled out, whether you are that receiver in the Super Bowl or that dying child in Bangladesh.

If there is a God, he’s like Sal Tessio: He has always liked you, and it’s only business.


Now this Super Bowl Prayer


Community Comments

#1 Kip Williams
@ 9:04 am

There was, for a short time, my area had a music mag called “Catharsis” that featured some pretty good comics by a fellow named McGeehan. My favorite was a one-off about “Catharsis Joe,” in which Joe and Jesus are conversing about life, and Jesus points out how their two sets of footprints go side by side in the sands of time for all of Joe’s life.

Joe complains that there are only one set of footprints in some of the difficult periods, like the time he lost his eye. (“A glass eye costs how much? Never mind, just gimme a patch.”) Jesus explains that the reason was because those were the times when Joe was too tired to walk, so Jesus carried him.

Joe persists: “How about this place here where there’s one set of footprints and a wavy line?” Jesus says, “that, my son, was where you were too heavy to carry, so I used a wheelbarrow.”

“And how about this place here, where there’s just a bunch of big dots in the sand?” Joe queries. “Pogo stick.” Jesus explains.

#2 Paul Berge
@ 11:04 am

I simply must remember to draw someday about a volatile middle eastern nation called Phlogistan.

#3 Mary McNeil
@ 4:48 pm

Paul -Giving odds on how long before Bolton wants to send troops ?

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