The Naked Guy at the Organ

When I was a teenager, I discovered Monty Python’s Flying Circus, a British television comedy series. My local public TV station, I later learned, was the first in America to broadcast the show. It came on Sunday night, after my bedtime.

I would sneak into the living room, turn the TV on at a low volume, and watch comedy like I’d never seen before. It was stream-of-consciousness comedy, one sketch flowing right into the next, with occasional interludes from animator Terry Gilliam.

And it was hilarious, I thought. Unabashedly silly nonsense, and I loved it. The writing was sharp and brilliant, and so were the performances by the Pythons: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Gilliam, Eric Idle, Michael Palin…

…and Terry Jones, who passed away yesterday at age 77, due to complications from a rare form of dementia.

Terry brought many funny characters to life: the waitress reading a menu which included Spam in every single item, the naked man sitting at an organ in the unlikeliest of places (a boxing ring, a battlefield, etc.), the Spanish Inquisitor torturing with “the Soft Pillows!”, the dangerously obese Mr. Creosote in the movie “Monty Python’s Meaning of Life”, and the mother of Brian in the movie “Life of Brian”, who famously chides Brian’s followers who have mistaken him for someone else, “He’s not the Messiah! He’s a very naughty boy!”

R.I.P., Terry. Long live Spam Monty Python Spam!

Choose Yes!

Reading or watching the news these days can be a downright demoralizing experience. Nearly every story is a bad one: war, mass murder, political malfeasance, racism, et al.

It’s partly our fault. Bad news makes ratings go up, and in the business of news, higher ratings are the goal. We like our news bad, for whatever reason.

But if you ever get tired of that, if you ever get to wondering if there’s any good news out there, my answer is Yes!

As in Yes! Magazine, a nonprofit, independent publication committed to, as they call it, “solutions journalism.” Here is an explanation from their website of just what that entails:

“Our explanatory journalism analyzes societal problems in terms of their root causes and explores opportunities for systemic, structural change. Our stories uncover environmental, economic, and social justice intersections. Our solutions reporting spotlights the ideas and initiatives of people building a better world. Our commentaries address dominant economic, political, and social structures and consider alternative ways of thinking that can produce a more equitable and Earth-friendly world.”

In other words, instead of just telling you what’s wrong in the world, Yes! Magazine wants to have the conversation about making it right. I think there’s a place for that.

I’ve read some thought provoking and inspirational stories here, and it’s a good reminder that all the news ain’t bad.

Just go to https://yesmagazine.org sometime and have a look for yourself.

You’re welcome.

Whatever Happened to Peace?

Maybe that’s a ridiculously naive question, but I still think it’s worth asking.

I just don’t know if anyone in Washington bothers asking it anymore. It’s as though the word has become quaint.

An entire generation of Americans has grown up in wartime. Peace, to them, is an abstract concept; maybe even a myth. That’s sad to think about.

Oh, well, I guess the defense contractors are happy, ‘cause their stocks went way up this week because of the events in Iran.

 

I guess it’s because peace requires maturity and toughness. I mean, think about it: anyone can fire missiles and beat their chest and talk macho. You want to prove how tough you are, have the guts to sit across from your enemy and work out a peace agreement.

I think women could do it if they were in charge. I think they are more acutely aware of the effects of war on children, and that would greatly influence their strategy in these situations.

Just sayin’.

Peace, not domination, not destruction, should be the objective in foreign relations.

You think Iran isn’t interested in peace? I’m willing to bet a large portion of the population actually is. We just never hear from them.

Just like they probably never hear from us. That’s got to change.

I don’t know how, exactly, but it’s time for those of us who cherish peace to take a stand for it.

Our opportunity, I think, is perilously close to ending.

 

 

The Big, Epic Blog Post

You may have noticed, I’ve not written anything in a while. At least, I’ve noticed.

The problem with that is, I start putting pressure on myself. I feel like, when I finally post something new, it has to be big. It has to be grand. It has to be memorable. So it will have been worth the wait, right?

Well, get ready to be disappointed; I got nothing.

I’m coming up blank on what to write about. It’s frustrating as hell.

I don’t really have any updates on my life, of note. My depression has been mostly under control, lately, with the occasional exception. No significant physical changes. I haven’t won any lotteries. Probably because I don’t play any.

I have no insight to offer regarding the news of the day; it still alternately depresses and enrages me. And that takes a toll, as I’m sure you can empathize.

I have, however, found some blogs I really enjoy, because I find them entertaining or thought-provoking, or both. Among them are:

The Written Addiction

Filosofa’s Word

The King’s Necktie

Dare to Know

Teri Carter’s Library

Check ‘em out sometime. I think you’ll enjoy them. Meanwhile, I’ll keep wrestling with this writer’s block thing I got going.

I Couldn’t Say It Better

 

This poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, written ten years before trump’s election, couldn’t have been more prophetic.

 

PITY THE NATION

(After Khalil Gibran)

Pity the nation whose people are sheep
And whose shepherds mislead them
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars
Whose sages are silenced
And whose bigots haunt the airwaves
Pity the nation that raises not its voice
Except to praise conquerers
And acclaim the bully as hero
And aims to rule the world
By force and by torture
Pity the nation that knows
No other language but its own
And no other culture but its own
Pity the nation whose breath is money
And sleeps the sleep of the too well fed
Pity the nation oh pity the people
who allow their rights to erode
and their freedoms to be washed away
My country, tears of thee
Sweet land of liberty!

 — Lawrence Ferlinghetti
San Francisco, January, 2006

Get These Guys a Dictionary


“So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here — a lynching. But we will WIN!

donald trump, tweeted 10/22/2019

 

“Sen. Lindsey Graham says he agrees with President Donald Trump that the Democratsimpeachment drive is like a lynching.

“The South Carolina Republican senator told reporters Tuesday that Trumps description is pretty well accurate, adding that the effort is a sham and a joke because the president doesnt know the identity of his accuser and the process is playing out in private.

“Graham told reporters on Capitol Hill that, This is a lynching in every sense. This is unAmerican.””

— Associated Press, 10/22/2019


LYNCH

verb (used with object)

  1. to put to death, especially by hanging, by mob action and without legal authority.

What am I missing?