1st and 2nd

It’s been said that the first thought that pops into your head is just a reflection of how society has conditioned you to respond– it’s the second thought that defines who you are.

So if an unkind thought pops into your head, don’t fret over it.  Just replace it with one of your own.

(polite applause)

There’s a kind of joke comedians call “clappers,” jokes that aren’t really funny but it makes the crowd clap.  At the end of his career, Bob Hope did a lot of those.  He’d say, “Boy, politicians sure are stupid,” and everyone would clap because they, too, believed that politicians were stupid.

And to me, that’s the worst part of having Trump as president.  The only thing comedians and comic strips are giving us are “clappers.”

And I’m bored with them.

Doddering

When Ronald Reagan was president he was asked by an investigating committee if he had secretly sold arms to Iran (which was illegal) and used the proceeds to fund a covert war in Nicaragua (also illegal).  His reply was, “I don’t recall.”

Seriously!

And there were people who leapt to his defense, saying a president couldn’t possibly be expected to remember every little detail of every little thing that went on in his administration.

So just imagine how much damage Donald Trump could do if his image was that of a kindly, doddering old fool.

Three On A Theme

Three musically related times I have been very wrong:

  1.  “Madonna is just a flash in the pan. Cyndi Lauper is the enduring talent.”
  2.   On the Back In Black album: “I don’t even need to hear it. AC/DC can’t go on without Bon Scott. They should disband.”
  3.  “Grunge is the final nail in the coffin to that overproduced crap the music industry keeps trying to push down our throats.”

War & Peace

As a matter of policy, the Catholic church never takes a side in a war. They issue some vague guidelines, then trust that if the politicians (!) decide to kill people and animals and take other people’s things, they are probably doing it for Just and Moral reasons.

On the issue of abortion, they are definitive: “We have decided, and the answer is ‘No.'” On the issue of gay rights, they are definitive: “We have decided, and the answer is ‘No.'” On the issue of contraception, they are definitive: “We have decided, and the answer is ‘No.'” Even on the issue of capital punishment, they are definitive: “We have decided, and the answer is ‘No.'”

Then on the issue of war and peace, suddenly it becomes, “Well, you know, it’s not really our place to say…”

The United States is amping up for war, again, on a couple of different fronts. A compliant press is already busy paving the way.

Look for the Pope to wring his hands helplessly, issue vague “war is bad” kinds of statements, and pray for The Troops.

Mall People

One of my first jobs was working in the paint department at Sears in the early 1980s.  There were people, mostly elderly, whom we saw regularly.   We called them “mall people,” and their lives seemed to revolve around going to the mall, looking at things, and talking to clerks.

Some we saw every day.

That was when it first hit me how cruelly isolating our culture can be.