CSotD: Response Team

So, since yesterday’s post, Dear Leader has changed directions, and the Task Force will no longer be disbanded at the end of this month and Dr. Fauci will be permitted to testify in front of Congress after all and Kevin Siers demonstrates how this flexibility has straightened things right out.

It’s hard to comment on politics when the person upon whose politics you are commenting is not only allergic to facts but also to consistency.

As it happens, I’ve been reading Captain Marryatt’s 1834 novel, “Peter Simple,” in which Peter’s friend O’Brien gets involved in a duel, despite having no experience whatsoever in fencing, which he describes as an advantage:

I’ll tell you, Peter. If one man fences well, and another is but an indifferent hand at it, it is clear that the first will run the other through the body; but if the other knows nothing at all about it, why, then, Peter, the case is not quite so clear: because the good fencer is almost as much puzzled by your ignorance as you are by his skill, and you become on more equal terms. 

O’Brien wins the duel on just that theory, and I think Dear Leader possesses not only the same advantage but the same flamboyant, utterly unjustified confidence.

And I suppose it follows that, if O’Brien could have rallied an army of men with absolutely no experience or skills and an utterly unjustified sense of confidence, he’d have been able to conquer the world.


Although I doubt the coronavirus has read “Peter Simple” and might prove even more invincibly ignorant than its opponent, as seen here in Mike Thompson‘s cartoon.

To which I would add that, while the “down my throat” parallel is nicely applied, my experience with the procedure was more aligned with the expression “Up your nose with a rubber hose.”

I promise you, a little intubation would surely cure anybody’s prideful ignorance.


Meanwhile, here in the Granite State, Mike Marland seems to capture the mood.

We’ve got our share of screwballs, magnified by the fact that we have a ridiculously overpopulated state legislature, such that all it takes for Tarquin Fin-tim-lin-bin-whin-bim-lim-bus-stop-F’tang-F’tang-Olé-Biscuitbarrel to win a seat in Concord is a handful of equally silly supporters.

Whence he can propose ridiculous legislation which the media will seize upon as a refreshing change in the usual dull work of actually accomplishing things.

Little of it reaches the floor of the legislature, Marland’s Yankee being more typical, as is our governor, who is not only a Republican but the son of GHWB’s chief of staff, and yet proposes sensible things since, like most of us here, he doesn’t take many cues from Washington.

In other words, we’re doing okay and most of our Covid-19 cases are on the southeast border which is really suburban Boston. Our main strategy in avoiding the coronavirus being staying the hell out of Massachusetts.

So far, so good.


Though we do, for the most part, wear masks indoors, and this Morten Morland cartoon made me laugh because I always feel like I’m about to rob the place when I pull up my bandana at the door.

But it’s New Hampshire, so when I went into the liquor store the other day, the guy behind the counter recognized me by my Houston Texans cap.

And I don’t think wearing a Patriots cap would help a budding stick-up artist, because I was wearing a plain cap when I went into the post office to check my mail and, bandana not withstanding, they called out to me that I had a package they hadn’t sorted into my box yet.

I’m actually surprised that New Hampshire is in the top half of states by population density at 148.4 per square mile, while Massachusetts is at 866.6, which is good if you plan to rob a liquor store but not so good if you’re trying to avoid that “up your nose with a rubber hose” experience.


And if we’ve got a handful of knuckleheads who go stand outside the Capitol to protest their right to shoot viruses with semiautomatic weapons, we’ve also got a few volunteer Kovid Kops, as seen in Graeme Keyes’ cartoon.

Somebody called the police here, apparently because they’d read that one dog out of the 61,080,000 dogs in America, and living nearby, just under 1,000 miles away, had tested positive for the coronavirus.

So some poor cop had to come down to the park and remind us to leash our dogs unless we were in the no-leash area, which he did with a combination of embarrassment and amusement, since he had no intention of writing anyone a ticket but, y’know, they got this call.

Fortunately, we’ve got a lot more Andys than Barneys hereabouts.


Matt Wuerker points out a media flaw that, if you read this blog with any regularity, you’ve heard me rant about, which is that the squeaky wheels do indeed get the grease, and that what you see on the news isn’t necessarily reflective of reality.

“Man bites dog” is news precisely because it doesn’t happen very often, and you can’t ignore a bunch of people screaming and yelling in the middle of town, if only because people driving by will want to know what that was all about.

But you often get stuck in a bind, because if you say it was a handful of people, you’re siding with their opponents, while if you overplay the size of the crowd, you’re siding with them.

Either way, as Wuerker notes, the great majority of people will think you’re covering a small contingent of screwballs, which you often are.

Except when you’re not.

And preferably unarmed screwballs, but we’ll take that up another day.


Meanwhile, Tom Toles takes us circling around to our starting point, with the observation that, if Dear Leader isn’t willing to disband his merry crew, perhaps all those people who aren’t running around screaming about their Constitution rights to have tubes shoved up their noses will do the job for him.


At the risk of playing South African music two days in a row …

8 thoughts on “CSotD: Response Team

  1. I read a transcript of a Gabe Kaplan stand-up bit, and my take-away was that “Up your nose with a rubber hose” was a sanitized version of a similar rhyme concerning a Mello Roll, and I’ve wondered sometimes whether that, in turn, might have been a cleanup of one about broken glass.

  2. Kaplan had an album out in the 70s, possibly titled “Holes and Mello Rolls” (memories of that era are a bit faded, and I don’t want to spend the time looking it up lest I go further down the “time suck when I should be working” hole) – one of the tracks contained both phrases: up your hole with a Mello Roll and up your nose with a rubber hose. However, I don’t recall anything about broken glass (but … memories …). If you’ve not heard it and you liked Kaplan’s TV series, seek it out.

  3. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

    It’s also the first one replaced.

  4. None of which changes the original statement, which I would amend, in view of this discussion, to read that, if you are offered the choice of an intubation or a colonoscopy, go with the latter.

    Even if they’re using Mello-Rolls or broken glass.

    Adding only that Mello-Rolls appear to be entirely a NYC experience and we never had any up-your rhymes, that also being apparently a NYC experience.

    However, when the guys in Happy Days said “Sit on it,” I not only remembered the phrase but the universal gesture that went with it.

    Oh — and it’s a plastic tube, not a rubber hose. You still don’t want it.

  5. Thanks, Brett. I listened to the Ed Sullivan bit that was linked at the site you cited, realized it’s been over 40 years since I’d heard that, and went looking on YouTube. Found side A of the album, but not the flip side. It’s been decades since I’ve been in contact with the friend who had the album, so I’m hoping someone will put the other side on the web some day.

  6. This whole thing reminds me of the New Hampshire state motto. I always thought “live free or die” was a stupid motto, and even stupider for a state that got around “no sales tax” by taxing everything individually. Having grown up in Oregon, with genuinely no sales tax on anything (but gas, alcohol, and cigarettes), it seemed like such a stupid half measure. Similarly, it struck me that so many people who claimed to hate civilization hung on to it for dear life when in the outskirts of it. I’m not slamming real farmers here, but if you own more horses than tractors or cattle then I think you won’t be lasting a lot longer than the bankers when things actually start getting hot.

  7. Oddly enough, Charles, the anti-tax people are a vocal minority, except if someone suggests an income tax, which I also oppose on the basis of my not wanting the extra paperwork. I don’t mind dribbling it out in higher auto licenses and suchlike.

    And the liquor is a real win-win, because it’s cheap for us and it’s also a major income generator with people stopping off at the state liquor stores as they pass through.

    Though this does lead to the bizarre sight of liquor stores in the rest stops on the Interstate.

    Anyway, General Stark was a tough old bird with many adventures including being routinely furious with the sort of Congressional interference that doesn’t make it into history texts but drove him to resign a couple of times and had a worse effect on Benedict Arnold. “Live free or die, boys, death is not the worst of fates” sounds rough, but he surely earned the right to say it, several times over.

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