BY YOUR OWN PETARD, THOU ART HOISTED – Marilyn Armstrong

Last night I said to Garry “Aha! He is hoisted upon his own petard!”

By which meant he had just become the victim of what he (in this case a movie character) had planned for someone else. Then, I paused, thinking.

“What,” I asked Garry, “Is a petard?”

“I have no idea,” said my husband.  Which is when I realized I’ve been using this expression my whole life and don’t know what it means.

Petard sounds French, but what is it? I grabbed my laptop and typed  “hoist on his … ” into Google. Before I got to petard … up it came. Don’t you just love when that happens?

petards

Voila! Courtesy of Wikipedia, here is the rest of the story.

petard was a bomb used to blow up gates and walls when breaching fortifications. Castles. Walled cities. That sort of thing. The word was originally (duh) French and dates to the sixteenth century.

Typically, a petard was metal (bronze or iron), shaped like a cone or box. Filled with two or three kilos (5 or 6 pounds) of gunpowder and using a slow match for a fuse, the petard was a primitive, powerful and unstable explosive device.

After being filled with gunpowder, it would be attached to a wooden base and fastened to a wall, on or under a gate. The fuse was lit. If all went as planned, the explosion would blow a hole big enough to let assault troops through.

Thus the phrase “hoist on his/her own petard” came to mean “harmed by one’s own plan to harm someone else.” It suggests you could be lifted — hoisted — by your own bomb.

STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES (AGAIN) – TOM CURLEY


Stupid is as stupid does.

It’s an old line, probably used by everybody’s mother. Most memorably, it came from the movie Forrest Gump. It’s what Forest’s mother always told him when people made fun of him for being … well … Forrest Gump.

The thing is, I never really understood what the phrase actually means. It sounds very profound, but what is it actually saying?

I only think of this because stupid has become a word that’s popping up more and more these days. The current “so-called administration”, has been labeled “ignorant,” “immoral” and “inept.” But lately a new word is emerging to describe our “so-called government.”


Stupid.

Also the word “idiot” is cropping up. The headline of a recent NY Post editorial was “Donald Trump Jr. is an idiot.”

Why? When he discovered the New York Times was about to publish a story exposing emails which proved he was meeting with Russian agents to acquire damaging information about Hillary Clinton from high level Russian government sources — because they wanted to help Trump win the election — what did he do?

He released the actual emails. Proving he wanted to collude with Russian agents to get damaging information on Hillary Clinton and didn’t care that the Russian government was involved. He actually wrote back “I love it!”


HOW STUPID WAS THAT?

His defense was that he didn’t get any damaging info, so it didn’t count.


AND HOW STUPID IS THAT?  

It’s like saying “I went to rob a bank but when I got there they were all out of money,” so it doesn’t count.

And we all thought Eric was the dumb one.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  Cheesy McCheese head, the actual President of the United States, recently stated — publicly — that the Mexican wall must be transparent.

Why you ask?  Because Mexicans will be throwing large bags of drugs over the wall. He didn’t want unsuspecting Americans on our side to get hit on the head by large bags of drugs.

No, I’m not making that up. Absorb that for a few minutes.

Everybody has role models.  Trumpy’s role models seem to be Governor LePetomaine from Blazing Saddles. “Work, work, work, work. Hello boys!”

And the rebel leader from Woody Allen’s Bananas.

REBEL LEADER: From this point forward, underwear will be changed every half hour. Underwear will be worn on the outside. So we can check. Every child under 16 years old, is now 16 years old.”

Previously, we learned how utterly incompetent this administration is. But now, we are also getting a handle on just how incredibly stupid they are. Although I still don’t know precisely what “Stupid is as stupid does” means, it seems to explain our current administration.

YOU’VE HEARD IT BEFORE AND YOU’LL HEAR IT AGAIN

It all happened so fast.

Stay in the car!

No one was supposed to get hurt.

He was turning his life around. He HAD turned his life around.

Everybody loved him.

S/he didn’t have an enemy in the world.

He needed killing.

It was self-defense!

I was only trying to protect (you) (her) (them).

I had no choice. You would have done the same thing in my place.

(For the end of any disaster movie:) Now, we rebuild.

I didn’t see anything.

“I did it for you” is a variant of “I was just trying to protect …

Music to our ears! We’ve heard them all again and again. In cop shows and movies. In westerns and science fiction epics. These are, of course, just a few of the thousands of “lines” that comprise a typical “script.”

If you’re lucky, you can get a double or even triple play, as in: “You would have done the same thing. He wasn’t supposed to die (variant of “no one was supposed to get hurt). What else could I do (variant of “I had no other choice”).” A hat trick!

They are so standard, so common, so predictable, I decided to make a game board so you cross them off as they come up. Wherever gets a row first gets to shout NOW WE REBUILD!

72-bullshit-bingo

You win the prize. A beer, a coke … or maybe one of those soft, salty, hot pretzels from one of those pretzel stands in the mall. How about a pizza?

We used to have a business meeting version of this, lovingly known as Buzzword Bingo. Whenever someone at the meeting spoke one of the popular buzzwords of the day, like “think out of the box,” “monetizing,” “prioritizing,” or the deathless yet ever-popular “there’s no ‘I’ in team,” or any of the thousands of trite, meaningless business clichés, colleagues would leap to their feet and shout “BULLSHIT!” Then, everyone, including the boss, would cheer. Over time, it significantly shortened those meetings and always enlivened them. With everyone keeping score, it was almost fun. No one wanted to be the one who got the chorus of BULLSHIT from the entire staff, so folks started trying to convey information using real words and concepts.

After which, we could all get back to work.

Now that we are retired, waiting for the classic television clichés that have become the backbone of scriptwriters throughout the world, we wait to hear those words. When we do — and we always do — it  is one of the most rewarding parts of watching the tube.

You get extra points if they say it exactly as written. The other night someone said “He was turning his life around. Everyone loved him!” A big score — two in one with exact wording. Does it get any better than this?

NORMAL SCHMORMAL AHBIGAZINT

Pace Oddity

If you could slow down an action that usually zooms by, or speed up an event that normally drags on, which would you choose, and why?


 THINGS I BROOD ON AND WOULD LIKE TO GET DONE ALREADY

That’ what my mother would have said. “Normal shmormal, as long as your healthy.” In Yiddish. Well, I’m not very healthy and neither was she, and I don’t see what that has to do with it anyhow. I never did.

These days, my mind is focused on water. As the autumn begins to pass and the temperatures drop, I fret. I’m not the only one, either. Everyone is bit peevish. We all have laundry. We want our showers back. And we are stuck, waiting, because there’s one guy and a lot of wells and we aren’t the worst one.

Manchaug Dam

I’m a natural-born worrier. I’ve gotten better with the years, but when stuff like this happens, I want to be done with it. Fixed, finished, finalized. I want to get on with the important worries: why my breastbone has failed to fuse and still makes a grinding noise when I move.

Is there anything that will make my hips work like real hips so I can stop climbing the stairs using the railing hand over hand like a spelunker. So I can brood on what’s going on with my cancer. Just past 3 years and all I know is I’m alive. I’d like to know I don’t have cancer, but apparently that’s unrealistic.

Survivor equals “So far so good — not dead yet.”Maybe that’s the way all life is, but when you have had cancer, you get labels. And they stick.

So please Dave, fix my well. Let’s get ready for winter. I need the well finished. I need the sidewalk back in place. I need snow tires on the PT Cruiser. I need some cortisone shots in my hips.

I need a good night’s sleep.

Speed up! Let’s get this show on the road, Mr. Dave the Well Guy.

Hey, breast bone? Heal, dammit! They said 6 months. Now it’s seven months, so they are saying eight months. Or who know? Ten? Forever? Let’s get moving on this healing thing. I hate the grinding noise my chest bones make. It’s icky and it hurts.

BRIEF STATEMENT ABOUT DOCTORS AND TYPES OF DOCTORS

Nice Doctors

First is my shrink. She doesn’t shrink me,but she tries to help me by finding drugs that will help me feel better. She knows she can’t cure what ails me — because so much ails me — but she’d like me to enjoy my life despite all the problems and to this end, she is dedicated. And I adore her.

My cardiologist who favors anything that will make me feel better, whether it’s medical marijuana or strolling through the park on a lovely autumn day. He tells me I’m doing great,  even though I’m not doing so great in some ways, but I’m always happier when I leave his office. He approves of any drug that won’t kill me but might make my days more enjoyable. Bless his heart.

Stern Physician

I need him, but he’s like the parent who enforces the rules. Nothing namby-pamby about him. He’s my age … maybe a little older. Not big on sympathy. He has that Marine Corps attitude: “This is your body, good or ill. Suck it up, do the best you can. There are no body swaps. Have another painkiller. Oh, and here’s the name of a pain specialist. She’s good with needles. Your breast bone will heal when it’s damned good and ready.” He is not gonna cry ME a river.

“You’re 67 and you’ve had massive, invasive, extremely serious surgery. They cut you open with a buzz saw not all that long ago. What are you thinking?” (That I’d be okay by now and could get back to a normal-ish life?)

So if we are going to put a “hurry up” on something (other than getting the well done) … can we make that breast bone heal already? Please????

If, by perchance, I have an unknown and extremely wealthy relative somewhere who is ready to slip that mortal coil — preferably one who has had a long, productive, happy life, I’d appreciate a rapid distribution on my inheritance. Because I really need a chair lift for the stairs, a carrier for the car to hold a couple of scooters for my baby and me to ride the high country (zooped up ones that will also do off-roading, please). An a well-designed yet economical four-wheel-drive vehicle to get us through the winter and not leave us stranded in the driveway.

WITH CATHARSIS, WE GIVE EGGROLL

Phew. This was cathartic.

Mom, I hear ya’. Normal Schmormal Ahbigazint. And this too shall past. **

Sooner would be better than later, so put a rush it, please. Not the passing. Just everything else.


 

ATTAR of NISHIPUR** “This too shall pass” (Persian: این نیز بگذرد‎, pronunciation:īn nīz bogzarad, Arabic: لا شيء يدوم‎ (“Nothing endures“), Hebrew: גם זה יעבור‎) is an adage indicating that all material conditions, positive or negative, are temporary. The phrase seems to have originated in the writings of the medieval Persian Sufi poets, and is often attached to a fable of a great king who is humbled by the simple words. Some versions of the fable, beginning with that of Attar of Nishapur, add the detail that the phrase is inscribed on a ring, which has the ability to make the happy man sad and the sad man happy. Jewish folklore often describes Solomon as giving or receiving the phrase. The adage and associated fable were popular in the first half of the 19th century, appearing in a collection of tales by the English poet Edward Fitzgerald and being employed in a speech by Abraham Lincoln before he became president.


Abū Ḥamīd bin Abū Bakr Ibrāhīm (c. 1145 – c. 1221;Persian: ابو حامد بن ابوبکر ابراهیم‎), better known by his pen-names Farīd ud-Dīn (فرید الدین) and ʿAṭṭār (عطار, “the perfumer”), was a Persian Muslim poet, theoretician ofSufism, and hagiographer from Nishapur who had an immense and lasting influence on Persian poetry andSufism.

LOSERS WEEPERS – PARSING RIGHT AND WRONG

Finders, Keepers?

While walking on the beach you stumble on a valuable object buried in the sand — say, a piece of jewelry or an envelope full of cash. What do you do with it? Under what circumstances would you keep it?


What, are we are bunch of third graders here? Finders keepers, losers weepers? Seriously?

96-SunriseWalkNIK-CR-1

It’s not because I’m a goody two-shoes. I’m not. A couple of basics make it inevitable I’d feel obliged to return found valuables to their real owners or at least try.

1. I have lost valuables and sometimes been fortunate in having them returned to me by total strangers who apparently were raised right.

2. I know how painful loss is. How humiliating, saddening, and hurtful. I would not willingly inflict such pain on anyone if there’s a chance of fixing it.

Let me put this in perspective: if you don’t make a good faith effort to return what you found, what does that say about you? For that matter, about your parents, your schooling and anything you identify as your religion?

What does it say about us that this is supposedly a question worthy of consideration?

HOIST ON YOUR OWN PETARD!

Last night I said to Garry “Aha! He is hoist on his own petard!” Which meant that he had just become a victim of what he (in this case a movie character) had planned for someone else. Then, I paused, thinking.

“What,” I asked Garry, “Is a petard?”

“I have no idea,” said my husband.  Which is when I realized I’ve been using this expression my whole life … and don’t know what it means. Not really. Petard sounds French, but what is it? I grabbed my laptop and typed  “hoist on his … ” into Google. Before I got to petard … up it came. Don’t you just love when that happens?

petards

Voila! Courtesy of Wikipedia, here is the rest of the story.

petard was a bomb used to blow up gates and walls when breaching fortifications. Castles. Walled cities. That sort of thing. The word was originally (duh) French and dates to the sixteenth century. Typically, a petard was metal (bronze or iron), shaped like a cone or box. Filled with two or three kilos (5 or 6 pounds) of gunpowder and using a slow match for a fuse, the petard was a primitive, powerful and unstable explosive device.

After being filled with gunpowder, it would be attached to a wooden base and fastened to a wall, on or under a gate. The fuse was lit. If all went as planned, the explosion would blow a hole big enough to let assault troops through.

Thus the phrasehoist on his/her own petard” came to mean “harmed by ones own plan to harm someone else.”  It suggests you could be lifted — hoisted — by ones own bomb.