Ending Gun Violence at the DNC

The DNC, (Disarm Normal Citizens), is taking a pretty firm stand on gun control, despite the fact that it is typically a losing issue for Damnocrats. In order to pander for black votes, er, illustrate the problem, they brought in the Mamas of some notorious victims of "gun violence". In order to make their efforts more successful, I am passing along a few surefire tips on how to reduce gun crime and violence:
1) Mamas, teach your children not to take stuff that does not belong to them. Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin might both be alive today if they had only learned that one. 
2) Mamas, don't get pregnant by any man not willing to marry you and support your kids. A two parent family will provide stability, a male role model and discipline to help keep young men out of gangs. 
3) Mamas, ask your children if it is fair to slap them every time the kid down the block does something wrong? Then explain to them, that killing some policemen at random, because you believe some other policeman, somewhere else, did something wrong, is about as moral as being a member of the Ku Klux Klan. 
4) Mamas, teach your babies that to study hard, demonstrate intelligence and work hard in school is not "acting white". There are a great multitude of stupid white people in the world. They should not be your role models. George Washington Carver and Condileeza Rice are and were smarter than 98% of the white people I know and neither one of them had to "act white". Say it loud, I'm smart, black and I'm proud! 
5) Mamas, teach your children, whatever race, color or creed they are, that no one owes them a living. If you adopt a victim mentality, you will always be a "victim". You may never have all the money, fame and toys of a rap star or an NFL player, but that's true about everybody. Make the best you can out of what you've got.
Add in a heaping helping of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you", and I think you have a formula for reducing gun violence in the hood,  the inner city and across America.

Or you could just blame guns and the damn police...

"Don't Let Anyone Tell You She Hasn't Had Work Done", or Something Like That!

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If you see either one of these women, proceed with caution!

Who can forget the stirring words of Michelle Obama in February 2008 telling us that for the first time in her adult life, she was finally proud of her country? Apparently, that would be...Michelle Obama! Michelle got up at the Democrat convention in Philadelphia and figuratively* wagged her finger at us (something she learned from her husband, no doubt), and told us "Don't ever let anyone tell you America isn't great", despite the fact that it's only gotten worse over the last eight years.

But, I guess if you "wake up every morning in a house built by slaves", have your servants cook and clean for you and cater to your every desire, if you can travel the world on multi-million dollar vacations, spend as much as you like on your wardrobe and have chefs flown in at the expense of the peons taxpayers to satisfy your every culinary whim, then I guess you'd think that your America was pretty great. For the rest of America?

Let them eat cake!

* I figured I should add that, since I couldn't actually stomach watching her speech in its entirety.

Abe Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and Melania Trump Walk into a Bar...

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...the bar of high standards. What do these three have in common? Together, I believe they illustrate the difference between plagiarism and allusion. With Melania, the Jayson Blair of presidential candidate's wives, it was clearly plagiarism. Not that it was that big of a deal. No one expected the equivalent of the Gettysburg Address from her. Many people think the unforced error of the kerfluffle which came when the plagiarism came out, with the initial denials from the Trump camp, were largely due to Trump being too cheap to hire a decent speechwriter for her, and the attempt at cover up was just pure Trump.

But I read something by Mike Rowe, of "Dirty Jobs" fame, and former opera singer:
I remember, in the wake of the Challenger disaster, Ronald Reagan gave a truly extraordinary speech. Every sentence was brilliant, but this part was unforgettable.

“We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them this morning, as they prepared for their journey, waved goodbye, and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.”

I was 22 at the time, and I literally cried when I heard those words. I was truly touched. Later, I learned those words had been written for Reagan by Peggy Noonan. After that, I learned Peggy Noonan had lifted those words from a poem called “High Flight,” written by an airman who died in WWII named John McGee.

Did Ronald Reagan plagiarize Peggy Noonan? Did Peggy Noonan plagiarize John McGee?

Now I'm a little bit older than Mr. Rowe, I predate the 24 hour news cycle. In fact, I not only predate 24 hour news, but I predate 24 hour TV!

Back in the olden days, when there were only three networks, and cable was what you used to suspend bridges, TV stations didn't broadcast 24/7. Typically they ended their "broadcast day" around one or two in the morning. And typically, the station just before signing off the air, would play the National Anthem and a short video of a jet fighter flying, while a narrator recited the poem "High Flight". Having on more than one occasion stayed up past the end of the broadcast day, and because there was literally "nothing else on", people would watch and listen to the stirring words of Airman John McGee. For those of Ronald Reagan, Peggy Noonan and my generation (heady company!), the words of High Flight were totally familiar and totally appropriate for Reagan to allude to. Whippersnappers like Mike Rowe may not have known where the words came from, but there was no attempt at plagiarism there, or anything like it.

But people often attribute a quote to the person they heard it from first. Many people attribute the line to Robert Kennedy that he quoted from George Bernard Shaw:
You see things; and you say “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say “Why not?”

A more famous attribution of a literary allusion to the wrong source comes from the aforementioned Gettysburg Address. It concludes:

...that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Lincoln was alluding to John Wycliffe's prologue to his Bible translation of 1384:
This Bible is for the Government of the People, by the People, and for the People.

Lincoln knew the source of the quote, as, no doubt, did the majority of those who heard it. No one rose up to yell that Lincoln had cribbed part of his speech. But his allusion to it immortalized those words, and today, people who never heard of Wycliffe (that's okay. Today's government schools the kids don't hear about anybody!), have heard his words echo through the years.

So we have one plagiarist, small potatoes in comparison to the plagiarisms of Teddy Kennedy, Joe Biden and even President Obama, and two well read presidents, able to make allusions to words well said by others. If we were to stack every literary or cultural allusion in the same boat as plagiarism, we need to get a bigger boat!*

You may quote me.



Jaws (1975)


Art by John Cox. More at John Cox Art

Confessions of a Pokémon Go Agnostic

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I confess. I just don't see the fascination of Pokémon Go. It seems to me to be a little bit like geocaching, but for geeks without the bona fides to be full fledged nerds.

My experience with Pokémon or "pocket monsters", is brief. There was an animated series a while back that featured this kid with a funny name, bad hair and a girl's voice. He would wander around with his friends catching Pokémon, training them and then using them to battle other people's monsters in an arena. Think "the NFL without cheerleaders". Or point.

I don't think I was ever able to sit through an entire annoying episode, but a friend of mine from college had a son who was a Pokémon enthusiast who gave me one of his cards. I still have it. Even though the catch phrase was "Gotta catch 'em all", I am quite content with just the one.

A few years back, I had a tremendous insight into the Pokémon phenomenon... If only I could remember what it was! It was truly breathtaking! You would have been impressed. However a couple of more recent thoughts came to mind, so I thought I'd share them with you before they too, are gone with the wind!

A lot of TV stations like to list their children's programming, whatever it is, as "educational". What lessons might a small child learn from Pokémon?

Pink Pantsuit and the Brain

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New and improved! Now with more pink!