Alex has been at the top of his game this past week, and here’s one that evokes the unlikely phrase, “The good thing about syphilis …”
The good thing about syphilis being that the number of people who need to be informed is presumably more limited, though it does bring to mind Jim Bouton’s observation that the toughest thing about road trips in Major League Baseball was explaining to your wife why she needed penicillin for your kidney infection.
And, as I mentioned the other day, people were probably less traumatized by the death of James Garfield because we weren’t so interconnected with Washington, which, in turn, wasn’t so busily interconnecting either with us or with the rest of the world.
I don’t know if Harry Bliss is talking about contagion or simply country life in general, but as recently as five or six years ago, I used to refer to my cell phone as an “Adirondack pocket watch,” because once you got into the country, all it was good for was telling you the time.
It’s good that more towers have been built, given that the impetus was some cases of deaths in which people were unable to summon help, but, at the same time, “getting away from it all” takes a lot more effort than it used to.
You used to have much better odds of getting away with having an affair or discreetly seeking a new job, and, as much as people may complain about Alexa listening in on their conversations, we’ve volunteered for most of the surveillance and connectivity under which we live.
Daniel Boone famously said that, when you could see the smoke from your neighbor’s chimney, it was time to move on. Now we find it hard to maintain six feet of separation.
And for that matter, trying to verify Boone’s quote turned up this instead: “Nothing embitters my old age [like] the circulation of absurd stories that I retire as civilization advances.”
Even ol’ Dan’l wasn’t that sold on solitude.
Also on the topic of misinterpreting the past, last Sunday’s the Other Coast brings to mind an exhibit of pre-Columbian tomb-raiding loot from Peru that I saw in Montreal some years ago.
Granted, I was already put off by the thought that, however carefully and artfully these people preserved and positioned their dead, it was surely not done in hopes that someone would dig them back up and put them on display.
But what cracked me up anyway was that, in one part of the exhibit, they had silver cones strung as a necklace, while, elsewhere, they had the same type of cones being worn on a mannequin hand the way little kids put olives on their fingers at Thanksgiving.
No explanation of “we don’t know, and perhaps it’s this or perhaps it’s that” and, moreover, they were separated by enough space to suggest that they apparently hoped you wouldn’t notice.
I’m probably just skeptical because I got to see the Cardiff Giant at a rather young age, though not young enough to have been taken in.
Still on the subject of outside experts, Pros and Cons hit just as I was looking up “Latinx” to find out how it is pronounced (Not “Latinks” but “Lateen-ex”).
What else I found was that, while the word does a nice job of de-gendering the terms “Latino” and “Latina,” there are a significant number of Spanish-speaking people who don’t feel their language needed correction by well-intentioned gabachos or gabachas or, I suppose, gabaxes.
And I saw a reference to “Latinx America” which is just dumb, since (A) “Latin” is an adjective, not a noun, and (B) it’s already gender-neutral.
I’m putting it in the same bin as “Native American,” since I have yet to meet an enrolled member of any tribe who uses the term. They recognize that “Indian” was a geographical mistake, but don’t see it as something that requires correction.
And, if it ever does, they feel perfectly capable of handling the task themselves.
Juxtaposition of the Week
Having dogs isn’t so different from having kids, except that there’s generally less overlap, which is a good thing.
With kids, we all start out with high ideals and, unfortunately, as reality sets in, it leaves us having to explain to our first-born why baby brother gets to stay up later, doesn’t have to clean his plate and is generally getting a much sweeter ride.
The dogs, coming one or two at a time, don’t get to witness this slide. There was a time when my dogs weren’t allowed on the furniture at all.
Later dogs lived by the rule that they weren’t allowed on my bed.
At this point, I feel like I’m still in authority because my current dog shoves over and gives me a little space at night.
Ditto with the food thing: My earlier dogs didn’t even bother coming into the room at dinner time because they knew they weren’t getting anything.
Today? Those attentive smiles look familiar because Dog #10 wears one not just at mealtime but any time anything is being eaten.
And with good reason.
Wealth Mismanagement Dept.
While I haven’t kept a log, it seems there are a lot more ambulance-chasers, people willing to share the equity in your home and random snake-oil salesmen advertising on TV in the earlier dayparts than at night when people with real jobs, who are perhaps harder to flummox, are watching.
Barney & Clyde reminds me of, when, having seen one of those “We got John 10 million dollars worth of coverage for 57 cents a year without a physical” life insurance ads, I checked in with my State Farm guy to see what sort of minimal stick-him-in-the-ground coverage I could pick up.
At my age, I wouldn’t even have to invest it wisely. If I hung in for another decade, sticking the premium in a shoebox would be a break-even proposition.
It seems the companies that intend to pay off on a policy charge more than the companies that do not.
2 thoughts on “CSotD: Friday Funnies Despite It All”
There’s a lively Guy Clark song, “The New Cut Road”In it he bemoans the encroaching settlement of his back country area.
“Kentucky’s awright but there’s too many people. Just the other day I thought I saw a church steeple”
The song’s worth a listen, a knee bobber
Interesting that, when you throw that into Google, you get Bobby Bare’s recording. Can’t do a whole lot better than Bobby Bare, but now I’ve got to go back and look at all the good stuff Guy Clark wrote.
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