Thursday Morning Vonnegut Blogging
Today is author, lecturer, and humanist Kurt Vonnegut’s 99th birthday. In his memory, a link to the new movie about him that opens in eight days…and some bits of rhetorical Vonnegoodness, of which he left us a bountiful harvest:
✌ Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’
✌ “As for preparing this country against an attack from anti-missile anti-missile anti-missiles by developing an anti-missile anti-missile anti-missile anti-missile, I may be in the minority, but I think the American people should spend the money on hospitals and housing and schools and Ferris wheels instead.”
✌ Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.
✌ Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead.
✌ “Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider the capacity for it terrifying.”
“So it goes…”
✌ “A show of hands, please: How many of you have had a teacher at any stage of your education, from the first grade until this day in May, who made you happier to be alive, prouder to be alive, than you had previously believed possible? Good! Now say the name of that teacher to someone sitting or standing near you. All done? If this isn’t nice, what is?”
✌ “Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.”
✌ “There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil. The triumph of anything is a matter of organization. If there are such things as angels, I hope that they are organized along the lines of the Mafia.”
✌ No matter how corrupt, greedy, and heartless our government, our corporations, our media, and our religious and charitable institutions may become, the music will still be wonderful. If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph: The Only Proof He Needed For The Existence Of God Was Music.
And, of course, my personal adopted motto:
✌ I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.
Happy Birthday, Kurt. And now, our feature presentation…
Cheers and Jeers for Thursday, November 11, 2021
Note: Due to the Veterans Day holiday, there is no bus service in Portland, Maine. However, volunteers from the American Legion will be available to fire you out of a Howitzer to within a hundred yards of your destination. $5 donation requested. —Mgt.
By the Numbers:
Days ’til winter: 40
Days ’til National Operating Room Nurse Day: 3
Percent of Republican adults who are still unvaccinated, compared with about 10% of Democrats: 40%
Rank of Pasadena, Seattle, and Jersey City among the top 200 cities for book lovers, according to a survey by, um, Lawn Love: #1, #2, #3
Rank of Sunrise Manor NV, Joliet IL, and Enterprise NV: #198, #199, #200
Age of M.J. Eberhart of Alabama, who just entered the record books as the oldest hiker to complete the Appalachian Trail: 83
Year the word “Vacationland” first appeared on Maine license plates: 1936
Your Thursday Molly Ivins Moment:
Speaking of what the rest of the world thinks of us, the [2004 election result] was nicely summed up by Britain’s Daily Mirror with its classic tabloid headline, “How Can 59,054,087 People Be So DUMB?”
The Guardian just put a tiny, white-on-black headline: “Oh God.”
I realize the “liberal elites” are not allowed to even quote the word “dumb” lest we be accused of “cultural condescension” toward our salt-of-the-earth red-state compatriots. Since I’m a populist happily living in the midst of a quite red state (some of my best friends are named Bubba), I never pay any attention to such horse poop. But I do resent it when the people running the country think we’re so dumb they can rip us off and then tell us to pray.
Puppy Pic of the Day: Dawg wi’d a lawg…
CHEERS to our men and women in uniform. Today is Veterans Day. The memory of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (the latter mercifully ended by President Biden) have burned into this country’s brain the fact that military service is a grueling, unpredictable and uncompromising challenge that often means paying a heavy and unexpected price in the pursuit of politician-selected goals that are not always noble or necessary. The military is where we go to become trained killers-of-bad-people and destroyer-of-bad-things in defense of our country, while at the same time serving as de facto U.S. ambassadors when we’re on foreign turf. And while we could go on and on about how our armed forces have been kicking ass for over 245 years—not to mention how a year ago we replaced a Commander-in-Chief who referred to our military as “losers” and “suckers” with a new one who ends his speeches with “God bless our troops”—we’ll leave it, as always, at a simple…
JEERS to the fickle American public. Courtesy of Seinfeld, C&J presents a demonstration of how We The People act when Democrats are in charge and actually get down to the hard business of fixing the nation’s messy, systemic problems while also, this time, dealing with the fallout from both a batshit crazy, do-nothing previous Republican president and his attempt to seize control of the government by insurrection:
Forget the vaccine mandate. What the whiners need is a mandatory time-out.
P.S. Columnist Paul Brandus at USA Today suggests the White House and its surrogates need to sharpen their framing with something like “Jobs, Jabs, Prosperity, and Peace.” Not bad. Bonus points for the Oxford comma.
JEERS to spikey time. Okay, here’s something that seems legit to grumble about. Inflation continues to be a thing—up 6.2 percent in October. (Slightly OT: where the hell did October go? Did we even have it?) I’m told that’s the highest in 30 years. I’m also told it’s temporary and due in large part to supply-chain issues. Golly, if only there was some sort of pending legislation—like really, really big legislation—that would help average Americans pay for stuff. Oh, wait…
How’s that sausage coming along, Congress? We’re a hungry bunch.
BRIEF SANITY BREAK
END BRIEF SANITY BREAK
CHEERS to today’s edition of Good To Know—Thanks! Courtesy of Judge Tanya Chutkan as she ruled that the National Archives must, by Friday, send Trump administration documents related to its attempted insurrection against the U.S. government to the House Jan. 6 Committee:
“Presidents are not kings. and Plaintiff is not President.”
This has been today’s edition of Good To Know—Thanks!
CHEERS and “Alki!” to the Evergreen State. Washington was admitted as our 42nd state on November 11, 1889. It’s a very cool state—pot has been legal for a long time, the government is Big D, and Seattle is like the upper-left thumbtack that keeps our country’s map from curling down towards the red states in the middle. To mark the occasion, some people might enjoy biting into a nice juicy Washington apple. Here, help yourself…
Personally, I prefer to drink mine. Mainly because noshing on healthy food gives my liver a false sense of hope.
Ten years ago in C&J: November 11, 2011
CHEERS to being prepared. Yesterday was the first test of the new, simplified National Alert System.
As soon as I heard the “Ah-ooooh-gahs” coming through my TV, I grabbed my walker and my helmet and went to the local fallout shelter, which turns out is an abandoned World War II-era supply bunker a few blocks away. After peeling away the asbestos-warning tape, I found the door welded shut, so I went to Rent-A-Center for a box of TNT. After blowing a hole in the door, I spent a few hours dusting and vacuuming the place. (I’m sorry, but I’m not going to ride out a commie missile strike in a filthy room where the only picture on the wall is “Dogs Playing Poker.”)
Then I found a desk under which to duck and cover, but I pulled my back out on the way down and had to half-stand, half-sit for twenty minutes until the Advil kicked in. Once under the desk, I added to my protection by covering my head with a rat-bitten copy of Welcome to the Army, Soldier! The Complete Guide to Fighting Nazis and Gonorrhea. I was back home and in bed by 3am. All I can say is: thank god they finally simplified the National Alert System.
And just one more…
CHEERS to the playthings of our lives. Lost in all the hubbub over the elections, the Covid vaccine-or-testing news, and other assorted headline stealers is the biggest story of the month. I’m speaking, of course, about the 2021 inductees into the National Toy Hall of Fame. The winners:
Risk: First published in the United States in 1959, Risk challenges players to control armies and conquer the world. The game’s innovative mechanics ignited renewed interest in strategy games in the 1970s and continues to influence the board game industry. Risk became one of the most popular board games of all time, inspiring a new corps of passionate gamers, and influencing other games which began the wargaming hobby.
Another worthy class.
Sand: Sand may be the most universal and oldest toy in the world. Children recognize sand as a creative material suitable for pouring, scooping, sieving, raking, and measuring. Wet sand is even better, ready for kids to construct, shape, and sculpt. Sand provides unique opportunities for tactical, physical, cooperative, creative, and independent free play.
American Girl Dolls: Created in 1986 by educator Pleasant Rowland, the 18-inch American Girl dolls—and their accompanying books—explore America’s social and cultural history. Each historical doll comes with a unique narrative that fits her era, such as Molly McIntire, who is waiting for her father to return home from World War II. American Girl released the Truly Me 18-inch contemporary doll line in 1995 (originally under the name American Girl Today) to help girls express their individuality and build confidence. In an era when some education experts claimed that school curriculums paid little attention to history, this toy may well have filled a void.
Thanks, National Toy Hall of Fame. Now I know what I’m sending all the racist doofuses on my Christmas list. Namely, my favorite American Girl doll: Critical Race Theory Thelma. (Unhinged school board meeting playset sold separately.)
Have a nice Thursday. Floor’s open…What are you cheering and jeering about today?
Today’s Shameless C&J Testimonial
“First of all, Bill in Portland Maine has no business being in the Cheers and Jeers kiddie pool. He should have never been encouraged. He doesn’t belong there.”