Showing posts with label Manners. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Manners. Show all posts

Aug 29, 2015

Puss 'n' Boots language

A while back I used the word "lovely" in a conversation among two or three close friends. One of them took me gently to task for girly-girl talk. No big deal, but I was reminded of it this morning.

Once in a while I go through a breakfast ritual. Eggs just right, coffee with real cream and sugar, well-buttered toast, a pancake and maple syrup.  And a book, good book, just weighty enough to engage my facilities but not so idea-packed as to overstrain those facilities so early in the day.

Today: Meriwether Lewis is speaking through his journal. Entertaining as I do the the most confident hope of succeeding in a voyage which had formed a darling project of mind for the last ten years...


That sounds pretty puss 'n' bootsie, but considering the source, I'd be very reluctant to call the man on it. If there's a pantheon of tough guys in the American tradition, Lewis is in it.

(I use Puss 'n Boots as a substitute for you-know-what, a term midway along the scale of vulgarity and hence unsuitable for a family-oriented pessay. Wait. I mean essay.)

So, with the great  and brave explorer behind me,  I think I'll worry less about a drop or two of lilac water lacing my speech.

Don't you find that lovely?

Aug 22, 2015

Irritating the DHS

Here is Nancy Wilson, an extremely alluring woman who is of African-American heritage. She wears a nearly transparent cover over underthings designed for allure.  

This TMR presentation runs sadly afoul Department of Homeland Security rules for its agents' use of taxpayers' computers while on taxpayers' time. It appears to be obscene, racist, sexist, vulgar, and harmful (likely to harm DHS spooks' minds by generating impure thoughts, and we all know what that can lead to).

I also take malicious pleasure in posting it, thereby violating at least six of the 13 DHS guidelines in one tiny little post. Only seven to go. 


It is probably useful to note that she also sang at least as well as any other woman who ever lived.

Apr 28, 2014

April comes like an idiot, babbling ...

It has been a tough month on the racial front. Bundy allows as how Jews are this and that. The inarticulate old guy who owns a basketball team announces blacks are that and this. Television goes bananas, and "social media" wets down its share of the spectrum.

It seems to me we're about halfway to symmetry on the bigotry front so far in this episode. If someone would hunt up a network news crew and hurl a few ignorant slurs at Hispanics and another sling some generalized abuse at us white guys, I would be content. It would be just another saga of racially fused and made-for-teevee outrage, but at least even-handed in real time and therefore -- somehow -- less objectionable. If he had known how to write Karl Popper might have expressed it as, "When everyone is is a lunatic, then no one is."

Mark Twain: "Man is a sorry piece of work."


One ray of hope occurred in the silly mess of April. Government was again reminded that a number of Americans get irritated when it deploys platoons of slightly upgraded  mall ninjas, equipped like Seal Team Six, in case it decides to shoot down an American citizen and his family over an alleged civil infraction.

There was a little pleasure there, too, when the button-down BLM administrators noticed that some of the citizens, not necessarily limited to the certifiables among them, were in a mood to react in kind to a federal "shoot" order. It was literary pleasure. I don't think I've ever witnessed government's professional "communicators"  whip up the standard "only to preserve public safety" news releases so quickly. You admire professionalism under pressure no matter what the source.

It up to us to gently remind our brothers and sisters that a deeper motivation was to head off rude historical allusions to Ruby Ridge and the dead mother there, Waco and the dead kids there.


H/T to Edna St.Vincent Millay for the subject line

Apr 16, 2014

God: Bought and Paid For

A nice boy from the Jewish tradition, MAIG boss Michael Bloomberg certainly loosens jaws when he lines up with the most anal of the Calvinists and Weberites; you know, the folks who deem Tesla drivers holier than poor schmucks  tooling around in rusty pickups.

Bloomberg is going to Heaven because wealth is a sign of God's favor, don't you know?

Honey, I shrunk the camel.

His Gate pass wasn't free. He bought off St. Peter with deposit of  $103 million to pretend to clean up the coal and motivate fish to fuck more frequently. He now  announces he  getting his halo out of layaway with another $50 million to ensure that only criminals are armed.

No one is making this up:

I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.

So be it, and we can hope that former mayor Bloomberg enjoys an eternity in close companionship with Abner Scofield, of whom our friend Mark Twain wrote.  You'll recall, of course, that the wealthy coal dealer secured his seat near the Throne of God as a reward for sending $15 to his impoverished sister. The Recording Angel confirmed the arrangements in a personal letter to Abner:

"... (St.)Peter, weeping, said, "He shall be received with a torchlight procession when he comes"; and then all heaven boomed, and was glad you were going there. And so was hell."

Apr 7, 2014


CBS teevee reminds me this morning that  a golf tournament happens later this week. This excites me because it could easily produce news of sufficient drama and significance to push the hide-and-seek for a Malaya airplane off Page One.

It would help this national media  rebalance if professional feminists, strangely silent this Master's season, would tune up their shriek cords and track down some network news crews.  It could be they are still sedated by recent pro-diversity decisions in Augusta, but certainly there's something still bitchworthy, maybe a lack of unisex locker rooms or something like that, Anyway,  without socio-cultural drama, all that really happens down there is a golf game with muted baritone announcers saying, "Let's go to 17."

One other possibility exists, though I may have to orchestrate the national outrage all by myself. CBS chose to hustle the tournament today with a darling feature on some  pre-pubes playing the course, including a lovely 11-year-old Chinese -American lass who "drives 163 yards ... you will hear more of her."

That's sad in and of itself, but another factoid adds to it. This youngster was handed her first mashie at age six and ordered, or encouraged, to practice golf, and if that doesn't constitute actionable child abuse, I don't know what does.

Jan 28, 2014

Good Night, Irene

It's declasse around here to say anything nice -- even one tiny word -- about "folk" music and its performers.

Sorry about that, guys, but anyone slapped down hard by J. Edgar Hoover and Nixon's HUAC had to have something going for him

RIP Pete Seeger.

Mar 26, 2013

Quote of the Day (Clear Thinking in the 50 Words or Fewer Category)

Very tasty free ice cream  this morning from the potential  Empress of the Universe (and I've heard worse ideas). The subject is pedestrian -- shoveling your walks -- but she elevates it to a sizable segment of a world view and prompts a comment which ought to be chipped  into the marble front of every court house in  the land:

"... There are things you should do in order to live in a cultured society, and things you should be punished for if you don't. They are not necessarily the same set of things. Being unable to distinguish between the two is guaranteed to get you a police state."

Gay Day in America

A good day to be very judicious in consuming the output of the electric news from the cable. Anything over a couple-three minutes per hour could warp a mind into believing that there isn't a committed, loving, heterosexual couple in America -- or, if there is, no reason to pay attention to it.

Too much of what I see seems like an offshoot of some sort of old European navel-gazing novel aimed at making me like the idea of  homosexuals getting married, of achieving a class status identical to man-woman unions while simultaneously retaining their grip on the most exalted status in America -- victimhood.

I don't like it. There isn't enough money in the world to buy enough advertising to make me.

So what?

So this:

If the Supreme Court decides the Constitution protects gay marriage, good for the court. It would be the same Constitution and Constitutional reasoning that protects putrid speech. George Lincoln Rockwell.  Al Sharpton.

In a pleasant world of liberty, the court says, "Okay." Then gays marry one another, more or less quietly like most everyone else in the sub-celebrity genre. Then they shut up about it. It is found unnecessary to put their posed intimate gestures on national television in celebration of a new-found diversity.

Of course there are moral and practical objections, just as there are to other  freedoms. The morality can be debated where it belongs, outside the coercive chambers of government. Let a church sanctify gay marriages or refuse. If the Bachman woman and her husband want to operate a pray-away-the-gay business, it is neither official government business nor a fit subject for civil action.

The workaday problems can in due course yield to clear libertarian thinking. Write marriage out of the law books. Eliminate the marriage license. Write it out of the tax code and labor laws. See it for what it is, a moral and emotional commitment between humans which may be based on nothing more than that -- or on a religious ceremony or on a  confirming private contract between the private parties.

I oversimplify of course, but mostly in the quest for clarity and for final burial of the the notion that we ought to keep the 82nd Airborne on high alert for two squigglies holding hands at 42nd and Broadway.

Mar 14, 2013

Does the pope chop onions?

I rather like what I read about Pope Francis.  He was not afraid to butt heads with Argentine politicians. He lived rather humbly for a Prince, sometimes cooking his own meals, riding a bus to work, strolling the slums for a personal look at  the real world.

I suppose his new responsibilities will temper that sort of thing.  It's hard to imagine the staff will let him rummage in the fridge for a half-pound of nice pampas beef,  light off the charcoal, and grill it himself.

But I really don't know, of course. My ignorance of how a pope lives is comprehensive. Because any ignorance a personal failing, I set out to rectify it by exhaustive research*, namely a look at Wiki.

There I discover that when he uttered "Accepto"  he was instantly blessed wiith a huge "family."  Or beset. Butlers and cooks and cleaners and chaplains and secretaries and body guards -- all those and more constituting what his church calls the papal "family. "

For a life-long celibate, that has to be a little unsettling. Most fathers, using the term in its biological sense,  get to work into the role gradually, learning as they go how to deal with a family, how to either supervise or ignore a forced grouping of fractious, bickering, grasping, malcontented egos.

Even the best of them will from time to time  lose it -- or persuasively pretend to. He rises to full height. Steely eyes sweep over the kids and cousins and in-laws:

 "Sit down and shut up!"

May Pope Francis never reach that point, but if he does we'll know for certain that he and we share a defining human trait.


*Exhaustive research is somewhat more amicable when the weather offers no  invitation to leave the cheery hearth.  So there's been a lot of exhaustive research around here lately, and frankly we're sick of it. So, Your Holiness, if at an early point in your new papacy you could file a petition for a bit of sunshine and more March-like temperatures in the general vicinity of 43N by 95W, we'd all take it kindly.

Mar 1, 2013

Fat and fingernails

I begin -- weakly but necessarily  -- with two disclaimers.

The first part of this report is based wholly on a Fox News item, so a certain little journalistic two-step is required, to wit: I believe I have never before performed such a questionable act, and I pledge not to repeat the offense.

The second part is less immoral but still academically suspect. It is snippet of my personal life which happened prior to the invention of the internet. It can not be documented, hence is outside the realm of scholarly,  peer-reviewed history. In other words, you'll just have to trust me on this one, Sidney.


Fox jumped on the story of a little  Massachusetts school kid whose parents received a letter from his school. The lad failed to study for his Body Mass Index test and was found officially obese which, manifestly, he is not.

The report explained that the local school blamed the silly fat letter on  mandate from Mass Bureau of Nutrition, Body Mass, Child Traumatizaton, and Parental Guilt. Both mother and son reacted calmly to the teevee questions, much more so than appropriate. While one rather objects to an elementary kid saying "bull shit,"  these are the times that try kids' souls, and I, at least, would have forgiven him  the vulgarity and applauded his concise expression of absolute truth.

The mother -- who mostly opined that the BMI was not a great metric for determining appropriate weight  --  should have said it, of course, like my very own sainted mother almost did long ago.


The state sent around a public health nurse to examine all the tykes in the realm, including my fellow kindergarten matriculants at Carpenter school. I passed handily -- clean ears, no head lice, no unnatural suppurations of disgusting bodily fluids.

Except for my fingernails. Mom always trimmed them. (Even in those days the family consensus was that I was not to be trusted with dangerous instruments.) She clipped them in a curve following the natural line of the finger tips. The nurse was horrified. and entered a sharp remark on the take-home health form (cc: school files; state Bureau of Meddling files; and, for all I know, Harry S. Truman.) It said that responsible mothers trimmed nails straight across.

You must understand that my mom's reaction to utter nonsense was nearly always a resigned sigh. "Hell" was not in her vocabulary; "heck" and darn" were suspect. But this one got to her and I recall pretty well: "If she doesn't like the way I cut your fingernails she can just kiss my (pause) A-double-Ess." 

Well said, Mom.


Sep 7, 2012

The Public Vagina

If we must talk about it, I suppose we have to call it something, and vagina is technically accurate. Furthermore it is more, errr,  value-neutral than the four-and-five-letter synonyms of the locker room. So vagina it is as we chart the American future.

Get used to its ubiquity.  It has already begun to take root as a base for grammatical compounding. Such as "vagina-gogue," an offering in the National Review (of all places) by Michelle Malkin. She's furious at  Code Pink for fielding members dressed up like vaginae.  While I can't work myself up to a Malkin level of shrieking neocon rage, I too find it distasteful.

On aesthetic grounds, the costumed Pinkers resemble the female part only in the sense that a Salvador Dali clock resembles a clock. Certainly Dali had a First-Amendment right to draw slack, droopy, off-colored timepieces.

The ladies -- and a man or two, I gather from the news photos -- are similarly protected. Just as Stanley Kubrick was in gluing misshapen codpieces to his young thugs in "A Clockwork Orange."  If we want freedom of speech we learn to accept occasional ugliness along with, as in this case, the stupidity of vagina-as-political-tool.


The Pinkers and those who, like Malkin, take them seriously represent our failure persuade the masses and their political masters to raise their eyes about three feet -- from the national pelvis to the national brain.

I don't know if abortion is murder in the civil sense. I don't know if it is right or wrong to turn females into a financially protected or privileged class on the basis of their special health-care needs. (Or males for theirs.)  I do know that braying politicians are burdened with identical ignorance although they have struck electoral gold in pretending otherwise. Take a poll on "social issues." Count the votes. Plurality equals morality. Morality requires a law.

Mr. Obama, Mr. Romney, and all of your acolytes:  The world you aspire to rule is roiled by potential tragedy which might -- just might -- be tamped down by intelligent political effort. The problems are neither vaginal nor penile. They are economic, military, and organizational.

It is undoubtedly a futile dream that between now and November 6 you would elevate your focus, up from  the Y to the center of reasoning.

The fact that you won't makes some of us crotchety.

Aug 28, 2012

Next year in Sag Harbor

As a matter of principle, libertarians should rally around Karen Heaven's right to let gravity work its will. 

As a matter of good taste, this libertarian sought high and low to find just the right citation. That's why the carefully chosen site, above, contains no pictures of Karen and Karen's friends frolicking for the right to bare this and that, left and right, for camera clickers in a New York park.  (As always, TMR refuses to air any material likely to corrupt children or the clergy.) 

This extends all the way to resisting the misdemeanor known as "smirking with intent to pun," and I trust you, gentle reader, to note and applaud the absence of low-hanging fruit here -- even the delightful "titivate." 

Thank you.

Jun 27, 2012

Cultural Literacy

The 10 a.m. temperature at Camp J is 80 degrees. We'll hit the predicted 99 in a walk.  It is as though all the politically ambitious, seeking all the offices in this great land, had turned to face me, as Muslims to Mecca, and begun delivering their stump speeches.

I am doing the kind of work which should be done in less heated circumstances, so I welcomed a chuckle from my pal John in the GMA, even though it mentions heat, even though he doesn't know where it came from.  We salute the author, where ever he or she may be.


“Several commenters mistook my use of the microwave as the way all Americans heat water and clucked their tongues in disapproval. I’m happy to report to any of those who’ve returned to the site that I’m quite atypical in this regard. 

The standard American way to heat water is to take a pot of water out to our pickup truck, open the hood (what the Brits call a “bonnet”), and lock the pot onto the engine block using a set of latches readily available at any Wal-Mart. 

Then we drive around at high speed, reciting the Gospels and firing our shotguns out the window. After reading the Gospel of John for three minutes and sixteen seconds, the water is ready. I hope this puts to rest any confusion.”

Jun 23, 2012

Planely speaking

I don't care if all the cool kids are using Instagram. Not me. After careful ratiocination, I conclude it is strictly for squares.

Jun 10, 2012

Sunday Reminesce

This guy was about my age, maybe a little younger, a black man. He was stunningly squared away. I can imagine him stripped to the frame, deburred, hand-fitted and polished out to the 1000-grit level. Then somebody dipped him into hot tanks, and he emerged in flawless blue with gold inlays.

He was probably one Hell of  a fighting officer to boot, and I'm positive Lt. Col. Somebody USMC was not thrilled  by orders to spend the 1989 Inaugural days serving as military aide to my boss. He would rather have been down at Quantico, drilling a battalion, but if The Corps decided he was more useful as a feudal appendage to a politician, he would damned well execute those orders to the best of his ability.

His job was to lend an aura of importance, glamor, and authority to the governor through the rounds of social hoopla celebrating the formal ascent of George H.W. Bush that January.

So was mine, though in a different sense. A governor must have an "aide" who looks important.  (And here I must cast modesty aside and report that, properly motivated, I clean up pretty well for a po boy from the corn fields.  Not that I could even approach the officer's presence as, say, a Les Baer custom. I wasn't a Hi-Point,  but -- again in comparison -- no better than a humdrum Series 70 with a trigger job.).

Nevertheless, the colonel kept calling me "Sir," thus sending me back to my own military days where I topped out at E5, petty officer second class, equivalent to staff sergeant in the land forces. Nobody called ever me "sir" unless he was trying to sell me a set of sharp civvies on Broadway in San Diego, nothing down, two years to pay.

This sirring was disconcerting. I thought about but decided against whispering to the colonel  that "Jim" would do fine. If he would even think of such a thing, his native courtesy would have required him to invite me to address him with similar intimacy, and that was unthinkable. This man could at any instant be called to command 1,000 other men in bloody circumstances. My duty was to look authoritative and to offer the governor political suggestions, preferably not half-assed. And to make sure he knew at all times the location of the nearest toilet.


This little memoir came to mind as I was checking some facts about the federal hierarchy. For every federal civilian rank, there is an "assimilated rank" equal to some military pay grade. The comparison is for matters of protocol only. By law and custom no civilian bureaucrat, not even a lofty GS15, (assimilated rank equal to full-bird colonel or Navy four-stripe captain) is authorized to order even a shavetail ensign around.

It applies primarily in social situations and where civilians and military people work  together. A GS1 (sweep the floors or type accurately) lives like a private; a GS 15 eats from real china with the gold-braid set.

I've never worked  as a civilian for the feds. The colonel probably didn't know or consider that. Most of what he saw was my boss whispering into my ear. (Where is is?) and me whispering back. (Down that hall, second door on the left.) The colonel could plausibly have concluded we were conferring about high matters of state and, as a matter of covering his ass, simply assumed that I held an assimilated rank exceeding his well-earned actual status.

That would have meant nothing in terms of anything in the real world, but it's quite possible he embraced the Matt Helm philosophy of dealing with questionable strangers in nice suits. "It costs nothing to call them 'sir,' and it's just a easy to shoot them if that turns out to be necessary."


Hierarchies exist, and I suppose a certain pecking order is necessary even across bureaucratic and professional lines, but I find the system morally bothersome.

The colonel and I never met again, and I sometimes wonder if we could have been pals if we had been introduced in dungarees, sitting in some one's back yard, an egalitarian bowl of ice and bottle of Jack gracing the picnic table.

May 4, 2012


Hey Kids! I almost  forgot to tell you. Come to Okoboji.  It's Willie Weekend! We have Willies wiggling all over  the place. Big Willies and So-So Willies and Wee Willies. One is very special, and if you can grab it it you'll get a wonderful reward. Wink.


Okay, so it's really Walleye Weekend, opening of the season with great fanfare and an astounding increase in retail prices. It marks the beginning of the annual Fleece -the-Tourist  extravaganza which runs through September.

There really is a special Willie walleye. It's tagged and worth a big bundle ($30k ? I never pay much attention.)

This post results from what is usually a nice quiet, traffic-free jaunt down to the nearest country convenience store. Also from my distaste for turning the quiet, contemplative, solitary art of fishing in to a goddam rave-cum-carnival-cum-lottery.

Feb 18, 2012

Tally Ho. PUULLL. Splash One.

Out on a South Kalinky plantation, a gathering of gentlemen organized a live pigeon shoot. Well-sensitized and organized souls objected.

"We'll fix them," the SHARKs (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness, /sigh/) resolved. Then they sent their little drone helicopter to spook the birds.  The hunt was off.  Well, almost off.

"Seconds after it hit the air, numerous shots rang out," (Senior SHARK Steve) Hindi said in the release. "As an act of revenge for us shutting down the pigeon  slaughter, they had shot down our copter?"

Steve, ol' buddy, we detect a surprised tone in your wail. Let us review:

A bunch of heavily armed  guys gathered for a a legal -- if admittedly obnoxious -- "sport."  They were loaded to knock small flying things out of the sky. You badly pissed them off by sending a small but noisy flying object into the sky. And you expected  what, you dingbat? An invitation back to the plantation house for a few chuckles over bourbon and branch?

H/T Jon via email

Half-staffing Whitney Houston

The teevee stations are getting entirely too much free programming fodder out of this one.

Whitney Houston was an entertainer, wildly popular among one set of Americans, and if her fans want to fly their flags at half-mast, more power to them. Those objecting to so-honoring a gifted junkie are free to two-block Old Glory this morning -- as are the folks who don't give a damn one way or another.

I think most of us were weary of the half-ass half-staff posturing slugs after about the third heated exchange on Fox or MSNBC, depending on where we go for our daily dose of idiocy.

I'll start listening again if someone will direct me to a good argument for allowing a successful politician -- say Christie or Obama, just for instance --  to decide which deaths are to be extraordinarily and officially mourned and which are routine, bury and forget.

Meanwhile I stick with a belief that we hire these clowns to administer their departments in a business-like fashion. Period. We're pretty much able to find our own source of grief counselling, symbolic gestures advice, etc. all by ourselves.

Nov 17, 2011

Boy Scoutageddon

That last post got me thinking about federal charters in general. The first one I personally heard of was the 1916  charter of the Boy Scouts of America. When I was a Tenderfoot we were told we ought to be real proud of that.

The charter was accompanied by the tradition of making Potus the honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America. Yep, His Obamaness is the current head Scout. Never mind his discomfort in associating with a patriotic, quasi-religious organization which also insists that adult scout leaders be hetero -- or at least sufficiently controlled to keep their mouths shut and their hands off  the little boys at Camporee time.

Consider the unthinkable. Tragedy robs the nation of its president and vice-president  while Barney Frank is speaker of the U.S. House.   As his first official act he (with congresscritter help) charters Acorn. Then he waits for the invitation to honorarily head the Boy Scouts and wonders whether -- if the invitation comes -- he should accept or decline.  Talk about your horns of a dilemma...


On balance, I think the Scouts should bow out of the charter. If nothing else it would set a nice example for Freddy Mac.

Sep 16, 2011

Anda vun anda two ...

Scanning obscure bulletin board property-for-sale classifieds takes you to interesting places.

"2 br 1 bath home ...  new furnace and added insulation ... very cute with some updates ... perfect for a starter home or small family ... in Ringsted IA. Desperate need to sell ... $19,500 and offering $3500 cash back after closing. Willing to accept other offers. " 

My inner Donald Trump says you could walk into this home with $10,000 and wave good-bye to the previous owners in about ten seconds flat.Then you'd live with a bunch of Ringsted Danes. They founded the place in the 19th Century, and Wiki reports:

The St. Ansgar Danish Lutheran Church was organized by the city's original founders in 1882. In 1894, due to a theological debate about the word of God and activities such as dancing, the Danish Lutheran community was divided into two groups nicknamed "Happy Danes" and "Sad Danes" ... "Happy Danes" did not believe dancing was sinful. 

This dreadful theological schism persisted for a century and a quarter, but if I know my Lutherans the  jihad was effectuated mostly by refusing to shake hands except at weddings, funerals, threshing bees, and other solemn occasions. In any case, ecumenical harmony was restored four years ago when the warring dancers and long-faces officially reunited.

I haven't discovered if the union sanctions dancing, but if it does you might want to check out the house. A guy could do worse than spend his days living cheaply   and prancing the Dansk polka with happy Danes.