DAMNING WITH FAINT PRAISE AND FLATTERY FLYING

In the final few moments of the “debate” (and I use the term with more than one grain of salt), the “contestants,” excuse me, I meant “candidates” were asked if there was anything at all that they liked or admired about their opponents.

Clinton said, “Look, I respect his children. His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald.” You could call it flattery. I’m less impressed with the Trump kids than she is. But she’s a politician and has to be politic and polite.

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Trump accepted Clinton’s words as “a nice compliment,” and added, “I will say this about Hillary. She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t give up. I respect that. I tell it like it is. She’s a fighter.” Really? Wow. Praise indeed.

It was the “high point” of the event, the high ground of a depressing hour of television. I hope this is as low as our political process can go. I think we’ve hit bedrock. After this, we’d have to dig and go underground.

In the spirit of this appalling year and proving (again) that “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose“(the more things change, the more they stay the same),  here’s a clip with Richard Pryor and Robin Williams. It’s called “Racist Court.” It’s at least 30 years old and still both relevant — and funny. Why aren’t I laughing?


FLATTERY | THE DAILY PROMPT

Why TIME TRAVEL DOESN’T WORK – BY TOM CURLEY

So there I was.

Thinking. Not quite awake. Not exactly asleep.

You know. The funny place between.

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And it hit me. Fixing all this craziness is simple. The question is WWCKD? Or, to put simply, “WHAT WOULD CAPTAIN KIRK DO?” If you look at the problem like that, the answer is simple. Obvious.

Travel back in time to a point where you can change the present from happening. As any Star Trek fan knows, Kirk did it all the time.

Now that I had the solution, the question became a matter of coördinates. To when and where do I go back to fix this? And the answer came to me as if in a dream …

Go back to 1998. Convince President Clinton to stay the hell away from Monica Lewinsky. There would be no scandal, no impeachment. Bill could campaign for Al Gore — like he was supposed to — and George Bush would never get elected. Everything that happened after that would not happen!

Brilliant!

So as I was drifting off to sleep, I imagined finding a time machine. Going back to 1998. Actually getting an audience with Bill Clinton … in the Oval Office.

How do I do this? Who knows? I’ll let the writers will work out those plot points later. I’m more into the “Big Picture Stuff”.

But … this is also where the whole idea fell apart because the conversation would go like this:


President Clinton: “Well for some reason the writers haven’t figured out yet, I believe you are a time traveler from the future with important information for me.”

Me: “Yes Mr. President. You must not have an affair with your intern, Monica Lewinsky.”

President Clinton: “Whoa! How’d you know about that?”

Me: “I’m from the future, remember?”

President Clinton: “Oh yeah right. I guess that makes sense. So, why shouldn’t I do that?”

Me: “Because you will get caught. The public is going to find out about it. The Republicans are going to impeach you because of it.”

President Clinton: “Well, that’s not good.”

Me: “Don’t worry. You don’t get convicted. Your approval ratings go up to over 70%.”

President Clinton: “Well that’s good, right?”

Me: “Not really. Because when Al Gore runs for president, he won’t let you campaign for him. Or let you anywhere near him.”

President Clinton: “Really. Hmm. Who’s he running against?”

Me: “George W. Bush.”

President Clinton: “You gotta be kidding me!”

Me: “Nope. And even though Al runs a terrible campaign, he will only lose the election by 500 votes. Well, actually years later, when a full recount is done, it turns out Al actually won. But in 2000, the Supreme Court steps in and stops the recount. And appoints Bush as President.”

President Clinton: “I don’t think the Supreme Court can do that.”

Me: “Neither did anybody else. Until they did it. So George W. Bush becomes the president. One of the first things he does is ignore all the intelligence agencies warnings that Osama Bin Ladin is going to attack the US.

Because of this al-Qaeda hijacks four 747’s out of Logan in Boston — and La Guardia in New York … using nothing but box cutters as weapons. They crash two planes into the World Trade Center and one into the Pentagon.

The Twin Towers are destroyed, thousands of people die. Now, even though all the hijackers are from Saudi Arabia — and Bin Laden is hiding in Afghanistan — Bush invades Iraq. Totally destabilizing the Middle East.

Wall Street creates a bubble based on the housing market and that causes a world-wide financial crash in 2008 in which trillions of dollars are lost, and millions of people around the world lose their jobs.

So in 2008 America elects a black guy — Barak Hussein Obama — as president, then in 2010 a bunch of billionaires help create something called the Tea Party. And the Republicans swing so far to the right, Barry Goldwater would be considered a Communist.

By 2016, it seems likely your wife is going to be running for President against … wait for it …

Donald Trump.”


At this point, the Secret Service enters the Oval Office and drags me away. As I’m being carried out, I see The Truth.

Wow. When you actually say all that out loud? I don’t believe it either.

Then I fell asleep.

BLOGGING BLUES by ELLIN CURLEY

the thinker

IT’S NOT AS EASY AS IT LOOKS … OR IS IT?

When I agreed to write a weekly blog for Serendipity I thought it would be easy. I read lots of ‘news’ articles, thousands of thoughts go through my mind every day; I talk to people about a wide variety of topics. How hard could it be to come up with just one bloggable idea a week? The answer is ‘very hard.’

The key word, if it is a word at all, is ‘bloggable’. Most ideas cannot be turned into a blog. Correction – a readable blog. The idea first has to be something that other people might remotely be interested in. My obsessive analysis of why my dog barks so much is out.

Second, the idea has to be expandable into a piece of a reasonable length. Most of my thoughts don’t seem to have expandability.

My average thought may be worth a few sentences, but rarely more. For example, every day I wonder why some people (my husband) can’t talk about what they might want to eat for dinner until it is almost dinnertime and they are actually hungry.

Lack of imagination? Inability to plan ahead? Short of commissioning a major psychological study, I don’t have much else to say except that I find it frustrating to live with someone like this since I like to plan dinner right after breakfast if I haven’t already done it the night before.

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A good blog also has to have an angle, a point of view, an interesting perspective. Most topics have already been written about in some format. But you can add to the existing literature if you have a different way of looking at the subject. I read lots of interesting articles but I have nothing to add to what has already been said. In that case, I share the article on Facebook and continue my search for a good blog idea.

Sometimes something I read really gets to me and I write about it even if my insights are not new and illuminating. The theory here is that with some issues, it’s important just to expose them to as many people as possible, as often as possible.

I’m not complaining. I love writing blogs. Maybe people would be interested in why my dog barks so much. Blog readers with dogs who are hair-trigger barkers like mine might be fascinated. Probably I’m overthinking the process. Maybe I should just have a cup of tea. Relax. Wait for another idea to just come to me.

They always do.

OLD STONES IN A CEMETERY

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: 2016 Week 40


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Garry and I went out to shoot foliage and never made it out of the cemetery. I know. That sounds odd, but this is a special cemetery. Old. Pre-Revolutionary War, which is about as old as anything created by Europeans on this continent is likely to be. There are stones from 1701 and even earlier.

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For reasons I do not understand, the trees in the cemetery are always very bright. The river is near, so that may be part of the reason … and it’s on high ground. Maybe that has something to do with it, too.

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But, to be fair, we didn’t shoot 600 frames between the two of us because of the foliage. The stones, the carving. The stories and the ghosts you can almost feel.

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There will be more about this cemetery because it’s important, but it’s a story for another day and Garry would like to write it. So, for today … just the pictures. Some of them.

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